New Prep Item – Dehydrated Water?

I was checking out a few things on Emergency Essentials website and found this:

Provident Pantry Dehydrated Water

I decided to post it after I stopped laughing. Just think how far this would last, even with a big family. The low weight alone would make it desirable for backpacking. Needless to say, I had to order one. I just don’t know if I should wait to see what the shelf life is like, or go ahead and open it up to see how many servings are really in there.

Thanks to Emergency Essentials and Provident Pantry for the great product. I have ordered items from them a few different times, and each order was quickly shipped without hassle. Please use the links throughout this site to request a catalog or see what they offer.

Take care,

Controlling what you can influence

I know the title is boring, but this is one of the most importing mental exercise you can prepare for, so bear with me.

Have you heard of the topic of Circle of Concern vs. your Circle of Influence? If not, this will help you to focus on what is important, rather than things out of your control.

Steven Covey is the author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I have not personally read the book, but have heard about this habit and latched on to it. My take from this habit is there is too many things to worry about: National politics, global warming (or cooling depending on the day), ebola, peak gas, and many other things that are definitely a concern, but no matter what what you do, you could have no affect on them at all. The more important part of his ideal is the Circle of Influence, or what is within your control. You can influence local politics for your community, prepare to live in a warmer (or cooler) environment, wash your hands often, build sustainable power systems, etc.. Rather then dwell on these huge issues and feel depressed, spend your time on things you know you will need. I don’t know about you, but I eat food three times a day, require water to drink a few times daily, and need a sanitary way to pass the excess. The more important point I am trying to make is that all these concerns don’t mean anything after a couple of days without water, or a couple of weeks without food. I could spend my entire life and never vote, or consume the last drop of gas.

There is little need to worry about the significant issues we face globally, but working to guide your lifestyle to adapt and hopefully prosper during these tough times may be the most important thing you do for your family, or community.

Whatever is really happening at the highest levels in World Government is unknown. The certain result is a dividing of us to serve a purpose. Whether they have us arguing about black vs. white, Democrat vs. Republican, rich vs. poor, the majority of people help them further their control, and nothing positive as a whole results from it. By ignoring the dichotomy, turning off the news, building relationships in your neighborhood help to loosen their grip of control.

Hopefully enough people stop paying attention to the clowns running the show, and start to build sustainable lifestyles when they are deemed irrelevant. Working towards goals you have influence upon will keep your focus because I only see the list of concerns growing with each and every clown voted into the upper levels of government.

Are you prepared for an Ebola outbreak?

If you are not, then don’t worry too much (about Ebola that is). There are many reasons every household should have some preparations in order, and Ebola is not necessarily one of them. With all the media hype surrounding this horrific disease, the chances of it affecting you directly is almost zero.

The things you should be preparing for are not that glamorous or sexy, or receive the media hype that a pandemic can create. The potential for a job loss, localized weather events or family medical issues that could prevent you from working, or generating the income needed for day to day life has almost a 100 percent chance of happening to all households. The fact that you have some extra food, some extra money set aside for paying the bills and other common supplies set aside for a rainy day, may help offset the lost income during one of these mini-emaergencies.

If you have not started preparing, please start now. It does not matter what reason you prepare for, you won’t get to choose which disaster affects you. If it happens to you, it can be fairly certain having these supplies can make a difference during that hardship.

Start gardening now, or pay the price

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

It is getting closer to spring (thank goodness), and time is quickly approaching for getting the gardens ready. If you are not a gardener, then this year should be the kick in the rear to get you started. If you have been following the news lately, you should have heard that California is continuing another drought year with a bang. It has been reported that the largest state for producing many of the fruits and vegetables we see at the store has only received 1/4th of the snowfall they normally would get. Compound this with the dependence on diverted water from nearby states and environmental restrictions to save some endangered slug, prices and availability of common food you buy will be that kick you need. The government has already stated that they will not provide needed water from their stockpile to irrigate farmland, due to a limited initial supply for this year.

Gardening is a crazy mix between and art and a science. Starting a garden this year provides knowledge and experience for next year, and for life. These lessons compound over time and the yields increase each year due to the skill you learn and better soil care. Now is the time to be starting seeds. If you are not experienced at gardening, please ask a neighbor, friend, look online, or get some books to help get your garden started right.

The quality of the food you grow will be much healthier for you as compared to the “science” used by large scale growers to grow the redder and bigger than belief tomato that shows up at your grocery store weeks after it was picked. The taste and nutrition factor of food you can grow will be superior to most of the food in the stores, but it unfortunately may not look exactly like what you may be used to.

Learn to can extra food that you have grown, to fill your pantry and remind you of your hard work during the growing season. There are many reasons for food prices to rise, and it seems this year is going to be especially difficult, and we are not even out of February yet.

Take care,

SHTF Chickens, Bock bock

We have had chickens for the last 5-6 years, and they have been enjoyable little workers for our tiny homestead. Awhile ago I was one of the Trustees for our large plot subdivision, that prohibits having chickens. My wife wanted chickens, and she ignored my dislike of the idea, and spoke with the other Trustees. She was asking for a variance to the subdivision rules, and followed their direction getting signatures from a portion of the other homeowners. Once complete, then they had other hoops for her to jump through just to get a vote to change the rules. What??? She just wanted a variance, not to change the rules, or to jump through more hoops to be told no. She asked what would happen if she just got them, and they replied they would sue (with a grin on his face, because he know there were much bigger fish to fry than a pretty girl’s chickens).

So, now we had to build a coop. The coop measured about 8 foot by 4 foot, and about 5 foot high at the top of the angled roof. The floor of the coop is layered with wood shavings and a nesting box provides access into the coop to grab the eggs. My wife built a run measuring 8 foot by 20, out of regular lumber and covered it with chicken wire. The chickens were ordered in a group of 25 baby hens, and she raised them, then found a new home for half of them, as she originally only wanted about a dozen birds.

Chicken coop

The birds are allowed to free range throughout the day, and they find their way back into the coop as the sun is setting. We will go out in the evening to close the run and the coop, and open it all up the next morning. A couple of times, the run gets closed before they retire for the night, and we have had to hunt them down roosting in trees and behind bushes in the middle of the night. There is chicken feed to supplement the food they can find free ranging. Their egg production for the first few years was great, we would net about 8 eggs every day. We could had more if we ran a light 16 hours a day in the coop. Now that the remainder of those chickens are older, egg production has dwindled to almost none. She has a couple of new batches of hens (and a rooster, hope the neighbors aren’t too annoyed) that she has raised since May.

The chickens help the yard by scratching around looking for bugs. They are entertaining to watch how they interact with each other and handle their “pecking order”. One bit of advice though, don’t let your wife name them after her aunts, because it is difficult to tell the family that a stray dog, or another predator has killed the chicken named after them. The chickens we have are basically pets that luckily have a small production quality, rather than just being consumers. We have considered getting birds to raise for meat, but we are not ready for handling the day the culling would happen just yet, although the quality of meat would be far superior to what the grocery stores offer.

Chicken coop

We also realized how little is known about chicken reproduction. We have been asked numerous time about why we get eggs when we (at the time) did not have a rooster. We also were surprised when someone couldn’t believe we would eat brown eggs that came out of a chicken’s butt. So I asked where the white eggs she buys at the store come from (and watched a blank stare of realization happening). The eggs are very fresh and look much richer than eggs bought from the store, and likely they are a month or two fresher.

If you have some space and the desire to raise chickens, they will be an asset to your little homestead too. Please feel free to comment with your questions or tell us about your flock.


Best gun for a SHTF event

Drum roll please…… wait for it, Ok the best gun for a SHTF event is…..
The one that you have on you when the SHTF. Easy answer.

Seriously, too much controversy is stirred up on forums when someone says “I am going to use my XXX with xxx bullets on those bad Zombies”. A fire storm of comments back-up and tear-down the original posters choice. Now there is no doubt that there are very good choices depending on the situation. and having multiple types of guns for self protection, small game hunting, large game hunting, and home defense would be better. Preppers starting out should concentrate on the basic needs of food, water, shelter, etc. first. Right after those basic needs are met is when guns should start to become a priority.

Starting out with little experience (and possibly little money), I would suggest a shotgun as the first weapon for your future collection. The shotgun is the most versatile choice to meet the needs for hunting small game (with a light bird shot), medium game ( medium shot), and larger game (buckshot and slugs). A shotgun also make a formidable home defense weapon and will almost definitely stop a threat in your home (without the bullet going through multiple walls). The only weakness I see with shotguns would be there inability for long shots (over 75 yards). Shotguns can be bought very inexpensively ($250), and the ammunition for them was not constrained nearly as much as rifle and pistol ammunition was last year.

My second weapon choice would be a military style rifle like an SKS or an Mosin Nagant $100 – $300). Both of these rifles are very inexpensive as compared to the AR-15 and AK-47 varieties. There are many models of deer rifles that would fit into this category as well. I do not hunt big game, and would research some of these for good recommendations. A rifle will handle most problems at a distance over 100 yards (and your shotgun can handle the close problems).

Next I would look into a good quality larger caliber semi-automatic handgun (Glock, Smith & Wesson – $500 in 9mm, .40, or .45) are solid choices. I would suggest a semi-auto, as additional magazines can be bought, and the magazines can be readily available for reloading the pistol. The pistol serves us well at close distances.

With your arsenal almost complete, it is time to have a little fun, and possibly pick up a precision rifle for small game. A quality .22 rifle like the Ruger 10/22 or Remington 597. Both of these rifles are affordable, and ammunition is (or at least used to be) cheap when it is available. The .22 is great for hunting small game, or for practicing.

As you can see, other than the pistol, all the gun selections are budget minded, but also provide adequate quality. These are all popular guns, and finding parts for them will be easier than some more rare or expensive models. If you can only afford one gun now, the shotgun is hard to beat. Visit this thread again, as I am sure I will add additional recommendations, or more information about the shotgun ammunition varieties ( although this could be a whole new post). Please comment on you ideas for preppers starting their collection.

Take care,

Important survival skills during a SHTF event

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Basic survival is rather easy, and humans have managed to prosper for tens of thousands of years with a rather small skill set. Arguably these are the skills everyone should be learning and practicing.

Starting a fire without using a lighter or matches is difficult to do. I also see plenty of people that have issues when they do have a lighter. The key to getting a fire started is to have three groups of materials ready. Start with tinder which is a material that will easily turn a spark into a flame. To get a spark, a ferrocerium rod and steel striker can be used, or upgrade to magnesium block. Use a knife to create small shavings of magnesium inside your tender, and use a steel striker on the ferrocerium rod to get an intense flame. Next start adding kindling, small thin sticks to keep your flame burning. Then add small fuel branches and work your way up to bigger pieces of fuel.

Water finding
Finding water and purifying it is very important to staying alive. If you are not fortunate to live by a lake river, creek etc., you will want to have plenty of it stored up for drinking, cooking and sanitation. You will also need to be proactive and have systems in place to catch rainfall from the roof of your home or some other method that works for your area. Water is heavy, and walking long distances to a water source and carrying it back will be uncomfortable and it will expose yourself to increased security problems. Use a filter to help remove water pathogens, and boiling it for a couple of minutes will be additional insurance to have safe drinking water.

Raising small livestock
Knowing how to care for and raise chickens and/ or rabbits is another skill that will be important to know. Both of these animals will reproduce quickly, and other than storing feed for them, are easy to care for. If you have garden space available, it could be used to grow things both chickens and rabbits can eat.

Gardening and foraging
It takes time to get your green thumb, as we have had better and better results from our garden each year. We unfortunately have busy lives, and the garden seems to suffer towards the end of summer. Start small and work in additional garden space, and realize you can have a spring, summer and fall garden. Learn to can the extra food you grow, for the winter months. Learn about plants in your area that can be eaten. The yellow flower and green leaves of a Dandelion can be eaten, and is a good source of minerals your body can use. The more sources of food you can grow or find, will extend the life of any food you have stored in your basement.

Trapping, Snaring
One of the best benefits of trapping is that these are passive hunting techniques. You set your trap, and while you are working on other projects, your traps are working for you.

Knot tying and Rope making
It took me a long time to figure out why my Dad tied certain knots, when I could tie a knot much faster, then it dawned on me that his knots were much easier to untie… I have a definite appreciation of the basic knots and the best uses for each of them. Visit ProKnot to learn about the different knots. I like their applications on iOS and Android. As far as rope making, unlike our ancestors, we have various kinds of rope available. Knowing how to twist a couple of bundles of long fibers in a clockwise direction, then twist both of them together in a counter clockwise direction will make a rope. The rope you make is much better than the rope you forgot to bring with you.

Security – situational awareness
It will be important to do quick security assessments during a SHTF event. Just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you. Be careful about running loud generators at night, or lighting up your entire house if every other house is dark. You may want to have a big roaring fire to cook on, or cook something that will send an unwanted invitation to some bad people’s noses. If you are in a subdivision, work with neighbors and help each other with keeping watch, or reporting suspicious behaviors. Have a warning bell that can alert many people to a possible situation.

Knife sharpening
Lastly I think more people need to know how to sharpen a knife or axe, etc., these tools work so much better when they are sharp.

Please comment on your ideas of skills that will be needed when the SHTF. Our ancestors were obviously very good at surviving without electricity, AC, smartphones and TV. We have become too reliant on modern conveniences.

Take care,
Sensible Prepper

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Communication needs

During a disaster, whether it is a natural or caused by society, communication will be another important item for you to plan for. Back in the old days (Really just a decade ago) there were pay phones on every corner, and they were a very dependable method to transfer information. Now, most people carry a cellular phone, and rely on apps like Facebook, text messaging and Twitter to communicate with friends and family (isn’t is scary that cell phones are increasingly not used for talking to people). Cellular phones will not handle a large disaster, and depending on them to request help or provide your personal status should not be a priority. Each cell tower can only handle a specific number of connections, and with the way our government has been stomping on our 4th Amendment rights:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The cellular networks can be shut down by this oppressive government, and you need to have alternative methods for communicating.

Have a small portable radio that is battery powered, and preferably with a crank generator, NOAA Weather bands and short ware reception. Emergency Essentials have an affordable model located here. I have a similar model made by Grundig, and I have been happy with it. NOAA Weather channels can inform you of storms close to your region. Short wave reception is useful for getting information from across the USA and at night, (Due to the radio waves ability to bounce off the atmosphere) you can get information from other countries. I’m not saying our government would tell us what they want us to know (I love sarcasm), but it seems other countries news have much more accuracy than our US media that strives to give us unbiased and objective news (more sarcasm, I’m on a roll).

I have a Technicians Class Amateur Radio license, and see the benefit a Ham operator’s ability to relay information great distances. A Technicians License is fairly limited, and I expect to be able to reach other Hams within 8-10 miles from me with a good line of sight. I can transmit using a 2-meter radio in the 144 -148 MHz range. Most areas have a repeater to receive my broadcast, and retransmit my broadcast much further than my license allows. Higher license classes can use more powerful equipment and transmit much further than s 2-meter radio. The radio I have is a Yaesu VX-150 handheld. It is a reliable, tough, and inexpensive radio, and like most radios, can scan band used by emergency officials, so I can monitor my local area.

A CB (Citizens Band) radio has about the same range ability of a 2-meter radio. It does not require a license, which like a online chatroom or forum, allows the occasional jerk to cause trouble.

Another possible communication method is a GMRS/FRS radio. These radios have a range of about 1-2 miles, and have a license requirement ($85.00 fee) on channels 1-8, and channels 9-15 do not have the license requirement. Please do your own research as the rules are not as straightforward as I am implying.

As you can see, there are good choices for keeping contact with family and friends during an emergency. Relying on cellular service is not the best choice for getting valuable weather reports and news when we may need it most. Please comment on your thoughts on how you will stay in communication.

Take care,
Sensible Prepper

When Things Go Dark

Whether the power is off for a short time, or quite a bit longer, it is important to think now about how to handle your basic needs.

All emergency kits should have a good quality flashlight, and spare batteries. A battery powered radio will be good to keep tabs on weather or news, have spare batteries for the radio as well. A small solar panel can be used to charge rechargeable batteries for long outages. If it is possible for you to get a small generator and store gas, do it, but remember that you cannot store enough gas for long outages.

Solar yard lights can also be used for emergency lighting. I have found a very basic solar light at the big box store for $2.00. Alone it will not provide much more light other than keeping you from stubbing your toe on furniture, so having a few is good. Even a few of them will not allow you enough light for specific tasks, but it will definitely beat being in the dark. Place them outside during the day, and bring them inside at night. I have modified a few that I have, by adding a micro switch to not allow them to run continuously and preserve the charge.

Candles should also be kept available in your supplies, along with matches or a lighter. Tea light candles are another good source for light. They are small, inexpensive, come many to a pack and can last for 2-3 hours.

By using a small 150W inverter that plugs into your cars cigarette lighter, and an extension cord, you can power small devices and lighting inside your home. Purchase a LED light bulb (which draws only 3-7 Watts), put in in a table lamp, plug it into your extension cord to provide adequate lighting for most needs. It is one of the best tips for the short term power failures I can think of, and the cost is minimal.

Cooking can be done outside on the grill (assuming you have a charcoal or gas stove, make sure you store extra fuel), and when your supplies run out, be prepared to start a fire for cooking.

Heating and cooling is a very difficult task to handle without a large generator, and is much longer subject for this post. I have some basic ideas for my needs including a small AC unit, fans for cooling, and a wood burning stove for the colder months. Please think about things you can do now to keep your family comfortable.

Please comment on any ideas you have that will help us all provide for our energy needs when things go dark.

Sensible Prepper

Why Bugging in is the best option

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

I have heard too many times on how the Rambos are going to take to the woods when the collapse happens. Frankly, I am tired of this thought. I do not see any upside to leaving home (unless my house is burned up, or leveled in a earthquake or tornado). If I was forced to leave my home, I have alternative shelter (a small old travel trailer) and places with family and friends I can go to (bringing as much of my supplies as I can of course).

The fact is even if I was single, there is not enough room to bring everything I would want with me. Surely the Bug-Outers realize how much space food, water, shelter, and countless other necessities will take. Trying to gather water and hunt for food leaves their supplies vulnerable to every other Bug-Outer that had the same idea.

Their likely reason for leaving will be the zombie hordes roaming the city looting for their existence. This relates to an earlier post and taking the opportunity soon to move away from the congested progressive-minded zombies that think they should have what you worked hard to obtain. While I understand looting will be an issue, it can be handled by having a strong community presence, and protecting one another. These looters will not be tolerated for very long at all before all unknown people are automatically considered a danger and watched closely until proven otherwise. Trust is, for the right reason, going to be very difficult to earn. Having these strong communities and neighbors watching out for each other in place now are vital to keeping the Bug In option preferable.

Bugging In will also be the most comforting thing we will have during a collapse besides family. Think about how you would handle living through a week long power outage, and what things you can put in place now that would make that outage a little more bearable. Work on putting in a spring summer and fall garden, having these routines during a collapse will help with keeping you comfortable. I think that during a collapse, we will be very busy with getting water ready to drink, tending to the garden, cutting firewood, gathering food and preparing meals will keep us busy. These are everyday necessities and the tools alone to do these chores will not likely be taken by the Bug-Outer.

Another negative reason for Bugging Out on someone else’s property, is that the owner of the property will be expecting visitors, their trust level will be zero, and they will evict you at best.

Please let me know if Bugging out is your choice, and give some reasons why this works for you.

Take care,
Sensible Prepper

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