Monday, August 27, 2012

Prepping: Where To Begin

At the request of a reader who is ready to prep, wants to prep and is excited about prepping but doesn't know where to start I decided to write a bit on what I consider the 4 main places to start are.  There are a lot more things that you can do to in your prepping but these are the 4 that I consider the place to start.  There is a ton of information out there on the web and it can get a bit discouraging.  Most of the websites you find online are owned by experienced preppers and you should definitely be reading what they have to say but it can be confusing trying to figure out where to begin when there is so much to do.  Well, grab your self a cup of coffee and a pen and paper and let's get started shall we?



  1. Grow and preserve your own food:   I can not stress the importance of this first step.  Growing your own food is the final answer to the self sufficiency question.  A hundred years ago everyone knew this.  There was no grocery store. You could maybe find a market on the weekends where you could go trade for or buy goods.  But there weren't any stores where you could go buy bags of food that somebody else prepared and packaged up for you.  There was just your garden where in early spring the ground would be prepared for the transplants you started from the seeds you saved from your garden last year.  It's the ultimate circle of life.  If you can grow, harvest and preserve what you grow you know you won't go hungry. 
  2. Store extra food and water:   One can not always depend on the grocery store to be open or that some government helper will bring you water and food so it's best to have your own . You never know what  the future will bring.  What ever reason you are prepping whether it's an act of nature that knocks power and services out for a few days or an act of man that breaks down society you need food.  It seems daunting when you see pictures of stores of food some people have.  It's best to remember that they have been doing this a lot longer.  I started by picking up extra when I went grocery shopping.  If pasta and spaghetti sauce were on sale I bought what I needed for the week and then bought for 1 extra meal.  I do the same thing with bottled water as it is always on sale somewhere.  Every time I go shopping I pick up an extra gallon.  Don't go buy something you or your family don't usually eat.  No reason to be having to live off your stockpile for some reason and then having to eat something you don't like.  I use the 'store what you eat and eat what you store' philosophy.  Which means I only buy things I know my family and I will eat and incorporate it into my day to day life.  Meaning that before the food in my stockpile expires we will use it up and purchase more of it.  There are also places online that you can purchase buckets of food supplies.  I don't because I am fussy about my food, I like to know where it started out from.
  3. Get fit:  Yep, you heard me.  You know those 5lbs that you've been meaning to get rid of?  Do it now!  The last thing you want to worry about in any survival situation is your health.  If  you can't walk a mile without gasping for breath then what are you going to do if you have to run with a heavy backpack on?  Getting fit is probably the least expensive thing you can do as a prepper.  You don't have to go all Sara Conner or anything, this is not Terminator but you don't want to worry about a heart failure in the middle of hiking up a mountain either.  Eating fresh and in season food, a daily dose of honey (stayed tuned for an article on honey), quitting the cigarettes (hey I did it, so can you!) and getting plenty of exercise will help tremendously. 
  4. Get out of debt:  But, you say, it's the end of the world as we know it who cares if I owe back taxes on my property?  Well, what if it's just an economic depression and in a year or two life gets better do you want to chance the government taking away your house because you didn't pay the property taxes on it?  If you can and when you can pay at least up to 3 months ahead on your mortgage and at least a year on your property taxes.  If for some reason you lose your job well at least you know you have food and water stocked up and you don't have to worry about getting behind on your bills.  This is the hardest part of prepping I think.  Money is such an issue for everyone right now and it's scary to let it out of your sight if you don't have to but let me tell you that money is nothing compared to knowing you won't lose your house and property in an economic depression.  
 There is so much more to do but if you start here you will be fine.  While you are getting your stockpile started and rearranging your budget while you go for a walk you can be thinking about a few other things to add to your list. 

Purchasing pre 1964 silver dimes and quarters- during a depression this will be worth more than paper money. Prior to 1964 dimes and quarters were made mostly of silver.  In 1964 a gallon of gas cost 1 quarter today that same silver quarter is worth around 4 or 5 dollars.  Silver keeps it's value so start stocking up on that now.

Purchasing a gun and ammo- you want to be able to protect yourself and your family.  Learn how to use it.  It doesn't do any good to have it sitting around and you don't even know how to load it.  

Learning to hunt, trap or fish-veggies are fine but without a significant source of protein you won't have the strength to take care of yourself or your family.

Start putting together an emergency back pack for everyone in your family.  It should have at least 3 days worth of food in it, water, water purification tables, 1st aid kit, flashlight, batteries and an emergency radio.  You should also keep a tent and some emergency blankets.  I also recommend keeping emergency kits in each of your vehicles.

While you are building your stockpile be sure to store things that you could use for barter if you need to.  Coffee, alcohol, ladies products, shampoos, toothbrushes etc are luxuries that you can bet will become barter items.

Like I said there is a lot out there that you can do to prepare yourself for whatever comes but these are the few basics everyone should have.  

          

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Have a Confession...

Okay, I will admit it.  I have found a new love.  It's an unexpected love.  The kind of love that has always been there and you just never noticed.  It stays in the background hoping that you will turn around and notice it.  Well I did.  Just last week I noticed what had been staring at me in the face for as many years as I can remember and I just never understood the joy it would bring me.

It may be wrong but.... I. LOVE. VINEGAR.!!

About $2.00 for this gallon of plain ole vinegar.  Very inexpensive.

Now before you rush to judge me let me tell you our tale. It's not the typical tale but it is one full of new understandings, forgotten truths, and respect.  Vinegar is in fact the most versatile and useful thing you can have in your home.  After you hear and learn all that I have about this completely amazing product you will love it to, that's okay I will share ;).

It all started with a Google search as these things often do.  I was looking for cleaning products that were a little more on the natural side and was looking for ways to cut costs so we could save a little more money for a piece of real estate we can someday call our own.  I am very fussy about my kitchen, I usually disinfect with bleach 2 or 3 times a week.  I clean it every day but a couple times a week I spray everything down with bleach and let it sit for 30mins or so before I wash it off.  I have a thing about germs, I can't help it I just do LOL.  My husband on the other hand can not stand the smell of bleach and will complain for hours after he gets home.  I don't know why he can't just appreciate the germ free environment I provide for him but as a good wife I decided to see what else I could do.

After reading a million posts and blog articles on how vinegar makes a spiffy disinfectant I didn't just want to fall for some old wives tale so I dug a little more.  Well, according to science, vinegar is very high in acid so it is pretty low on the pH scale at 3.1. Most germs can not live in that type of environment and will die off before they can infest an unsuspecting host.  I sprayed my counters down with a full dose of vinegar for the initial kill off of germs,  and let it set for 20 to 30 minutes before I wiped it down with soap and water and then I mixed up a batch of 'everyday' cleaner, 1 part vinegar to 1 part water.  I use it every day when I clean the kitchen now and intend to do a once a week full strength dose.  Apparently, vinegar can be hard for some surfaces so do a test area first.

Combine equal parts vinegar and water in spray bottle for a kick butt counter cleaner.

It's a disinfectant so what?  So skeptical you all are.  Pay attention there is still more to this story.  Go get a cup of coffee...it's okay I will wait.

I recently decided to try to make my own laundry soap as I live in a house with 3 sensitive men.  Well 3 men with skin sensitivities anyway.  It was a smashing success.  No itchies, my sons acne on his back is improving and  we all love it!  Except one small thing.  It makes the clothes a little rough and stiff.  So back to Google I go and what do you suppose comes up as an all powerful and great fabric softener??  You got it babe, its VINEGAR!  I was skeptical at first I'll be honest.  While I was pretty impressed that it could clean my counters to my satisfaction I wasn't quite ready with the thought that  I could put in my laundry (apparently people all across the land knows this!).  But I really didn't find anything else to be helpful so I decided to do a test run.  Loaded a load of the kids laundry (I wasn't going to use my clothes, I'm not crazy) put in my 1 Tbsp of laundry soap and a quarter cup of vinegar to my rinse cycle and said a quick prayer that the kids don't start school smelling like deviled eggs. Lo and Behold, let me tell you that those close look and feel really good AND they don't smell like deviled eggs!

Mix equal parts olive oil and vinegar with a few drops of citrus oil for a great furniture polish.  Shake well before using. You can use juice from the fruit but you must keep it refrigerated..


'Wow' you say!  That is impressive, it disinfects and softens clothes!?! That is amazing.  But wait!!  There is more.

We just recently made a big move where we sold everything and moved halfway across the nation and had to repurchase most things.  After a lot of thought we decided we were going to shop for quality and not for price.  The kids are older and the dogs no longer have the strength to jump on the furniture so why the heck not!  Oh our furniture is all wood, beautiful and truly the nicest thing I have ever had.  I polish it up to a shine once a week and baby it for the rest of the time.  I needed a decent furniture polish that cleaned and polished at the same time.  I mean I do have a life and all this cleaning is really a buzz kill.  So, well you know back to Google I went and found a magnificent recipe for homemade furniture polish.  You guessed it! Vinegar!  Mix it with olive oil and few drops of citrus oil, shake it up and WHAM!  Shiny and clean wood and I didn't have to spend a fortune on cleaning supplies.

It is unbelievable what vinegar can do.  I have heard little rumors here and there about how great it does on windows and that it can kill weeds but truly, I never knew.  Check here for more uses:  http://www.rd.com/home/150-household-uses-for-vinegar/.

Vinegar is so inexpensive, I paid less than $2.00 for a gallon of the stuff.  I will be doing a cost breakdown between vinegar recipes as opposed to the store bought cleaners but I really think it is a much better bargain.

I should also mention that the smell does not linger, your house will not smell like you have been decorating eggs all day.

Also, because of the acidic nature of vinegar I use gloves as it can be a bit harsh straight on your skin.

Hope you learn to love vinegar as much as I do.  It is less harsh than cleansers you have around the house, safer to have around children and pets and way less expensive.  I will never buy another cleaner again.  This is the bee's knees!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DIY Laundry Soap For Sensitive Skin


Look how lovely it looks.


My husband and two sons have super sensitive skin to most laundry detergents and my oldest son even breaks out in hives if I use something on the 'no no' list.  We had been using All Free and Clear and it worked for a few years but they are complaining again of itchy and dry skin. So instead of spending a bunch of money trying a new variety of detergents to figure out what we could use next I decided to hit Google and see what I could find.

I ran across this blog post http://thethriftycouple.com/2012/01/26/homemade-laundry-detergent-powder-recipe-like-ivory-snow-and-dreft-soap/ that a very informative woman wrote. I chatted with her for a few days, ran our situation by her and decided to go ahead and  give it a try.  

After 3 days of them wearing clothes washed in it the itchy complaints have stopped.    Of course this was a blind study because I think sometimes they just get an idea in their heads and run with it LOL.   I do want to point out that I chose baking soda over the washing soda because it is less caustic.  I don't have little kids anymore so the clothes don't get that dirty.


It was so inexpensive and super easy to make anyone could do it.  $4.99 for the Borax, $1.00 for the Ivory soap and $2.99 for the Baking Soda.  That is a lot less than the cost of the All Detergent.  Plus it is even less when you separate it out into how many batches I can make.  With the 3 pack soap we know I can at least make 3 batches.  I think though that it would make at least 5 if I had bought a 5 pack of Ivory rather than the smaller package.

I was also surprised at how little I have use.  I use 1 to 2 tablespoons depending on what I am washing and it gets them sparkly clean and there is no detergent odor left on the clothes.  

Just one more tiny step in my quest of self sufficiency and prepping for the anything that might come up.

Please post any questions you might have and I will do my best to answer them or at least point you in the right direction to get it answered.



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Step by Step Solar Oven

SOLAR OVEN FUN!!!

Having a solar oven is one of the things I always wanted to try.  I have friends who have built some and love them.  Another friend told me I could build an super easy one out of cardboard and a few other things I had laying around the house.  So Google and I spent the afternoon together searching the web for a fairly simple one.  Stay tuned tomorrow because I will be trying it out with a meal.


I started with a medium moving box because we just moved and I had a ton of them.  My box is 18 inches or so squared which made it much simpler to do as far as measurements went.  

Other Supplies

-Cotton batting (the directions I used actually called 
for insulation but that seemed a bit much for me.  I used cotton batting, like the kind you use for making quilts. It was a bit more expensive than I would have liked but I didn't think fiberglass would be good either.   $20.00
-Elmer's Glue-non toxic.  I went through 2 4oz bottles.  $0.50 each
-black spray paint-flat, the kind you use for BBQs-non-toxic $3
-Reynolds' cooking bag $1
-aluminium foil- maybe about $1 worth
-scissors, measuring tape and duct tape, which I already had.



 Tape the flaps to the outside of the box.
I also reinforced the bottom of the box with a bit of duct tape as well.  This is obviously not a forever model.  Remember it's just a test model.  So far the building of the solar oven is pretty easy LOL.






Now the directions told me to cut out the insulation. I need 5 pieces each 18 inches or so squared to fit the bottom of my box as well as all four sides.









 I used cotton batting and as it is pretty thin I actually used 10 pieces total.  2 pieces glued together for each side.




Aluminium foil is next.  You want to cover the entire cotton with it.  Shiny side out.  I glued  it straight to the cotton.  

It should look something like this when it is done.  After I made five of them I took them outside to spray paint them black.  Again I used non-toxic flat black spray paint-the kind they use on BBQers.


While those are drying make the cover.


^ for the lid you want a bit of a bigger box that the one you used for the oven.  I fortunately have lot's of those as well.  I cut my lid 20in X 20in  and measured in 1 inch on all four sides and cut the middle out.


Cut the bottom and up one side of the turkey bag and spread it out. 


Glue the turkey bag to the frame and cut the excess edge off.


I also duck taped it around the edge just to give it some more stability.  I am thinking a two inch frame would have been better for that.  But we live and we learn.


Okay the insulation covered with aluminium foil and painted black is now dry.   I started with the bottom of the box and glued it down.  Do that to all four of the sides as well.  


Because the insulation caused the insides to be different dimensions (which I totally did not account for DUH!)  I had some sticking out of the top of the box.  You could trim it down, I just used duct tape and taped it to the outside of the box.  Really is there anything duct tape can't do?  Love it!


After words you place your turkey bag frame over the top and voila!  You are supposed to be able to take it out and cook.  I decided it needed a bit more.


Reflectors!  Duh!  I just cut some more card board and glued aluminium foil shiny side up to them.  
It's a bit late in my day to try and cook anything today so tomorrow will be the big test.  Hope it works.

  

A solar oven usually doesn't get over about 250 degrees so it will work more like a crock pot.  You will need to make sure you have plenty of time and sun available.  Because of how long it takes you may have to   turn it every so often so you get max sun.  

As always feel free to comment and please go check out my Facebook page and give it a like at 

To give credit where credit is due I printed off directions to make this oven at:

Monday, August 20, 2012

8 easy steps for folding a napkin

Having the in-laws over for dinner or just want to fancy up a dinner for two.  Just  follow these easy steps.

1. Lay napkin down seamed side up.


2. Pull up one corner and bring it diagonally to its opposite corner.  It may not line up exactly but it should still work.  It should look like a triangle at this point.  Pretty easy so far huh?  


3.  Pull up left corner to middle corner and crease by just running your hand along the seams.  


4.  Pull up right corner to middle corner and crease.  Your napkin should now look like a diamond with a line up the middle.


5. Flip entire napkin up side down. Still looks like a diamond.  Are you still with me?  Trust me, do this a couple times and you will never forget how.  


6.  Pull up the bottom part of the diamond and bring it to it's opposite end and crease down the middle. Looks like a triangle again.  So easy!  See that little gap right there?  That's going to be the fancy part of this whole folding thing.


7. Fold napkin in half along that little gap.  Be sure you fold it so the gap is facing out.  Now it looks like an even smaller triangle.  Don't give up,  you are almost there!


8.  Now just set it up like this.  First photo is how it should look from the front.  Second photo is how it looks from the behind.



Told you it was disgustingly easy to do.  



Kindle Touch 99$

I promise that I won't keep bombarding  you with ads but seriously what a bargain!  I absolutely love love love my Kindle.  This is not the fancy Fire one but if you are just looking for something you can read a book on and don't need all the bells and whistles that the Fire has this is the one right here!  Plus because it's not color and it doesn't have all those nifty apps the battery lasts a very long time.  I seriously charge mine maybe 2 times a month and I use it a lot!  If you have been thinking of getting one. Do it!


Likely Scenarios Part 1


LIKELY SCENARIOS

This took on a life of its own and has almost turned into a mini book.  With that being the case I decided to turn this into a 3 part series.  Bear with me, It’s been a lot of years since I have had to write and it’s taking me bit to get warmed back up.
  
I am often asked exactly what am I preparing my family for.  A total global economic collapse? An earthquake? Nuclear war? A Depression? Zombie apocalypse? How about the Mayan predictions or maybe the mother ship is coming to take me home?  My answer is: Absolutely!  Obviously some things are not very likely to happen but many are very real possibilities and those are the scenarios that I am preparing for.

Figuring out where to start is always the hardest part of any endeavor one takes on and it is no different with prepping. I had so many scenarios dancing in my head I finally had to break everything into groups that I found most could fit under.  I am sure there are a lot more you can think of and I would love to hear about it so leave a comment when you are done reading.

1. Group one would be things that are most likely to happen. Someone you know, maybe it’s even happened to you, has probably experienced them. These are the little disasters that are hitting US citizens every single day.  You see these scenarios every day around 5pm when you turn on the news.  You should already be prepared for these situations, if you’re not then start your focus here.



2. Group two will still be scenarios that are likely to happen maybe not tomorrow or next spring but most probably within the next 10 to 15years.  Some of these are situations your grand parents can give you firsthand accounts of and some of them you have seen yourself in your lifetime or have heard of it happening in another country.  



3. The third group will be those that are least likely to happen and yet are in no way so far out of the realm of possibility that I should forego thinking about them.



Let’s talk jobs.  How secure is your job?  Are you thinking pretty secure?  Are you sure? Well finding a job isn't as easy as it used to be.  As of July 2012 the national unemployment rate in the US was 8.3% with Nevada and California leading the ranks at 13.8% and 11.9% respectively.  That means of every 100 people in Nevada almost 14 are unemployed.  Do me a favor now. Go outside and take a walk.  Walk 2 square blocks and look around, 8 of those neighbors are looking for work right now.  That’s a lot of people without a paycheck to pay their bills, to feed their families and to keep a roof over their children’s heads.  What are they going to do? 

If they made just a couple basic preparations they will have given themselves a bit of breathing room.  Maybe when they went grocery shopping they picked up extra of canned goods when they were on sale? Maybe they bought flour, rice and sugar in bulk because they use a lot of it.  Maybe they have a small garden in the back yard. According to data I got from the USDA the average family of 4 spends about $182.70 a week on groceries.  That is $730.80 a month that family was able to save while they looked for a new job.  That’s quite a bit of relief off their shoulders. Let’s take it one step forward.


This is a family who probably also lived frugally, meaning they didn’t spend more than they made.  Maybe they gave up movie night or got rid of cable, whatever saves them a couple bucks and they were able to sock some away and pay ahead on their mortgage and car payments.  One thing that I hear about that I love is paying extra on your mortgage.  The best advice is when you have the extra money-instead of wasting it on stuff you don’t really need-pay a month in advance. What a load off to know you will still have a roof over your head for a month or more.  Depending on where you are that can save a family up to let’s say $1500 a month.  So between the groceries they saved and paying ahead on their mortgage they are looking at not having to worry about coming up with a bit more than $2200 for a month at least but hopefully 3 months.  
That is a pretty local scenario.  It is pretty much your house, your family and your problem. Not completely the end of the world as we know it but definitely hard times.

Let’s expand from there.  Almost every part of the Earth is affected by some sort of natural disaster. Hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, flooding and drought are all happening right now somewhere in the world. These are the scenarios that you know are going to happen this year or next year.  You probably talk about getting a kit together maybe putting away a gallon or two of water just in case a storm knocks out your power but life gets in the way.  I know that.  It’s certainly happened to me more than once, but I had to make prepping a priority.  You can only talk about it and research it so long before you finally just have to do it



On August 28, 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit the coast of Louisiana.  Because of the ferocity of the hurricane and an out dated levy system New Orleans became like a third world country over night.  Because of some ‘misunderstanding’ between the Governor of Louisiana and the former FEMA chief, Michael Brown, the southern parishes in Louisiana did not get put on the list that President G.W. Bush used to declare states of emergency the day before.  FEMA showed up late for that one. You can’t always depend on the government to come and rescue your butt with government aid.

By August 30th looting had started.  Just two days after a hurricane New Orleans society was collapsing. The rioting and looting stretched the search and rescue teams so thin that there were victims still waiting for rescue on rooftops days later because the law officials and rescue teams were trying to keep control. A police officer was quoted as saying “Go to hell it’s every man for himself”. That’s pretty scary. In 48 hours it started becoming an everyman for himself scenario.  I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they don’t think most people would behave that way after all we are civilized even knowing what they know happened after Katrina. You think so? 

Catastrophic things happen all over.  Tsunamis devastate coastlines, tornados tear up homes, heck I lived in Cordell, Oklahoma back in 2001/2002 and went through a tornado in Oct. 2001 and in February of 2002 there was an ice storm that left us without electricity for a week or so.  Had we not always carried at least 3 months worth of food and water in our house and had a generator we might have got through as well had and been able to offer assistance to another family of five whose home was all electric. 



Our country right now is having one of the worst droughts we have seen in a very long time. Because of this 51% of the corn crop was described by the USDA as being “poor/very poor” according to an article businessinsider http://www.businessinsider.com/what-the-threat-of-a-global-food-crisis-means-for-world-markets-2012-8#ixzz23vJ7lNOv.  Consider a food shortage on top of a drought piled on top of an economy that is shaky at best and that is piled high on top of a population that is increasingly agitated with a government that seems to care more about big business making money that it does the rest of us.  I can see that going to very scary places and I would like to be prepared for that.  Unless we get rain soon this will be a real problem real soon affecting not just us but a lot of the world.  The United States is the world’s largest exporter of corn.

These are a few of the most likely scenarios that could disrupt our lives.  I am hoping you can look at those and thing to yourself that you can prepare for those with no problems.  When you go to the grocery store just pick up a couple extra cans of what you eat and put it away.  Don’t buy things your family doesn’t eat though.  If you have a scenario where you are having to use your supply it’s already going to be hard don’t make it worse by trying to cram cans of  spam down your families throats if they don’t like it.  Store what you eat and eat what you store. Just make sure you use the stuff that will expire first.

And as always feel free to leave comments on both the blog and my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ThePreppingPrincess .

Book Review: Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles


A work of fiction that is so well written you would think he had lived through something.  It is a story set in a the not so distant future during a time of hyper-inflation and economic collapse.  He is a Christian writer and you will pick that up in his work but it is not forced nor is it the main focus of the story.  He does get pretty involved with his descriptions and novice preppers may get a bit lost with the terminology but I guarantee you will walk away a new sense of purpose.

From the back cover:
America faces a full-scale socioeconomic collapse in the near future. The stock market plummets, hyperinflation cripples commerce and the mounting crisis passes the tipping point. Practically overnight, the fragile chains of supply and high-technology infrastructure fall, and wholesale rioting and looting grip every major city
As hordes of refugees and looters pour out of the cities, a small group of friends living in the Midwest desperately tries to make their way to a safe-haven ranch in northern Idaho. The journey requires all their skill and training since communication, commerce, transportation and law enforcement have all disappeared. Once at the ranch, the group fends off vicious attacks from outsiders and then looks to join other groups that are trying to restore true Constitutional law to the country.
Patriots is a thrilling narrative depicting fictional characters using authentic survivalist techniques to endure the collapse of the American civilization. Reading this compelling, fast-paced novel could one day mean the difference between life and death.


Amazon has new and used prices but I bought it on my Kindle in both the book form and in an audible form.  In the audible book the man reading it does an excellent job, he has a very nice voice.  I had no problem keeping up.  If you want to read a good story that stresses the importance of prepping then grab this one.  You won't regret it.

You should know that this in not a novel on self-sufficiency, although it does talk about stockpiling food and water and using heirloom seeds.  It is still a fantastic read.

If you decide to purchase this book I respectfully ask that you use my link.  I do get a few cents if you purchase and every little penny helps me prep and convince my husband that this whole blog is a good idea.

Brandy


And as always feel free to leave comments on both the blog and my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ThePreppingPrincess .

Sunday, August 19, 2012

30 steps to prepping



I was researching this subject for an article I was thinking of writing for next week but this one was just so good. I figured why not just send you to this site.



http://www.survivalblog.com/2012/08/getting-on-the-bandwagon----30-steps-for-mainstream-preppers-by-boreal-c.html

I wanna go!!!

Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa next month.

Oh it's things like this that make wish I was still in California!  If you are in that area check it out.  Fun fun and lot's of great speakers.  Go and learn something my friends.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

THE PODCAST THAT STARTED IT ALL




I think the website I am going to start off sharing with you is www.survivalpodcast.com .  He is exactly what I think a self sufficient prepper should be. I have been listening to this podcast for around 4 years.  I can remember when he was recording his podcasts while driving to work every morning. Jack Spirko is the gentleman’s name and he is really a smart cookie.  He can get a bit extreme in a couple of his views but I think if you really listen you will find he has good reasons for it.  A new podcast comes out almost daily each packed with so much useful information.  Go check out his website, he has a very informative forum with some really great members.  You can rummage through his podcast archives and find something on anything you want to know. He has some wonderful YouTube videos on permaculture and other stuff.  I recently found out he had an app made for his podcasts so you can listen to them right on your phone. 

And as always feel free to leave comments on both the blog and my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ThePreppingPrincess .
 I welcome any constructive insight you can offer.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Vitamins everyone should keep on hand




When we think prepping we think water, food, and fuel, usually in that order.  Then as time goes on and we start gathering our supplies and we pick up other things here and there.  My new focus right now is going through my supplies, medicine kits and bug out bags and seeing where I am as far as vitamins go. 
The best way to get these vitamins and minerals is through your food which is what your body is best at absorbing but in a survival situation nutrition isn’t always what it should be, we aren’t eating the right things, or enough of the right things, or we aren’t getting enough calories or even being under a lot of stress can cause major deficiencies.  Having the right supplements can save your life.  I have researched, studied and cross referenced a lot of vitamins and supplements and have chosen the ones I felt would be most beneficial in a SHTF scenario. 

Please if you feel I have left any out leave a comment with the name of the vitamin and what it is helpful for and hopefully we can all learn a new thing or two.


Vitamins are described as:  Any of a group of organic compounds that are essential for normal growth and nutrition and are required in small quantities in the diet because they cannot be synthesized by the body.

Vitamin B-1 or Thiamin

This is the first of the B vitamins which I feel are the most important in the vitamin world.  All B vitamins help the body produce energy, metabolize fats and proteins and are needed for good brain function. A deficiency in Vitamin B-1 can lead to mental confusion, muscle weakness and wasting (described as a progressive involuntary weight loss).  As you can see a deficiency in this in a SHTF type scenario can’t be good.  If you are already not taking in enough calories needing this vitamin can make it much worse.  B-1 can be found in such foods as pork, liver, whole grains and peas.

Vitamin B-6

This is an especially important one for myself and I actually take this regularly anyway.  B-6 is very important for protein metabolism and in the making of red blood cells.  Effects of a B-6 deficiency can be dermatitis, irritability, anemia and kidney stones. Foods that have this vitamin in them are meats, whole grains, cereal and green leafy veggies. If you know you are prone to anemia or have a history of kidney stones make sure you put this vitamin in your stockpile.

Vitamin B-12
One of those vitamins that are good to have if you are prone to anemia.  It is essential in the development of red blood cells and taking care of your nervous system. A deficiency in this can lead to anemia and possible Alzheimer’s like dementia. This vitamin is only in animal foods like meats, fish, oysters, shellfish, egss and milk.  If you are vegetarian or vegan this deficiency could be a real problem for you. 

Vitamin B-3 or Niacin
Another B class vitamin used for energy production, promoting an appetite (helpful in wasting situation I can see) and healthy skin and nerves a deficiency can lead to weakness, diarrhea and mental confusion.  I recently also seen a study on a larger dose of Niacin helping in depression that  Andrew W. Saul ,Ph.D. and Therapeutic Nutrition Specialist talk about on the movie Food Matters.  Our body does not make Niacin by itself so we need to make sure our diets supply us with it or we supplement it with a vitamin.  B-3 can be found in liver, fish, poultry, meat, peanuts and whole grains.  Again vegetarians and vegans need to be especially on the the lookout  for these symptoms.

Vitamin C
Everyone knows how great vitamin C is for keeping their immune system boosted.  We all make sure we get more of it during the cold and flu season because it works. That’s a great vitamin to have just for a healthy immune system, but a severe deficiency in this vitamin could lead to scurvy, defined as a disease marked by inanition, debility, anemia, and edema of the dependent parts; a spongy condition sometimes with ulceration of the gums and loss of teeth, hemorrhages into the skin from the mucous membranes and internal organs, and poor wound healing; due to a diet lacking vitamin C. Vegetarians probably won’t have as much of a problem unless they can’t get to a supply of veggies but if your prepping and living a sustainable lifestyle you won’t have this problem.  Vitamin C can be found naturally  many fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, tomatoes and broccoli. You can find tables, capsules and cough drop style Vitamin C.  You can buy up what’s on sale and be okay.

Folic Acid
Folic Acid is another B type vitamin making it very important in the break down, use and the making new proteins.  It also helps with the formation of red blood cells and even helps produce DNA which is why it is important for women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause fatigue, gray hair, mouth sores, poor growth and swollen tongue.  You can get folic acid by eating green leafy vegetables and liver.

Zinc
Another immune booster, zinc, is an important mineral we don’t want to be deficient on.  Zinc has wonderful immune enhancing properties and powerful anti-oxidant boosting properties as well.  It is an important part of more that 300 enzymes that our body uses to repair wounds, synthesize protein, cell reproduction, and protects against free radicals.  A deficiency in this mineral can lead to growth retardation, impaired immunity, weight loss, and mental lethargy.  So with all those good things it does it makes sense to keep that around.  Some good sources of zinc are meat, eggs, seafood, wheat germ and tofu.  Vegetarians need to be especially careful of a deficiency in zinc.  Zinc performs better when taken with selenium. 

All in all a good multivitamin should be able to handle everything but the extreme deficiency.  If however you are anemic you should carry extra B vitamins.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Things that you can do even in the suburbs

Yes, I prep for the upcoming emergency that will happen someday.  I believe that everyone should keep at least 30 days worth of food and water in their house just in case of lost job, weather emergency, epidemic and what not.  Anything that can keep you from getting to the grocer or if you need to conserve what funds you have.  I also believe in sustainable living.  Don't get me wrong I am not one of those people who believe we should all live together sharing our goods, holding hands singing Kumbaya while flowers grow up around our feet, but I do believe that part of prepping is living as frugally as you can and living a sustainable life is the best way to do that.  Grow your own food, if you have a diesel engine make your own fuel, collect the rain water, learn to can and dehydrate your harvests, there are a lot of ways you can do it.

1. Grain Mill

You can get these hand operated or electric operated.  While the electrical ones are a lot easier to use they wouldn't be practical if for some reason the power grid went down for any length of time.  You can buy grains in bulk at most organic type grocery stores such as Trader Joe's or Wholefoods, or you can grow them yourselves.  This is actually in  my monthly budget for this month, trying to decide if I want to buy one or find plans to make my own.  Either way once I have one I will be using it for now on.  I do not see the reason to buy all these things on the off chance we may need them so most of the gadgets I want to have if the SHTF will be used even if it doesn't.  Can't wait to grow my own grains and make my own flour for cooking.  

2. Rain Barrels
Warning: Please check with your local laws about collecting rain, some cities or states claim it is illegal to catch water as it belongs to the public.

I love these and I want some!  These are especially good for suburban preppers who are on city water. Easy to build and they are on my DIY list (so keep your eyes out for that future project).  If the grid goes down so will our water supply installing these as soon as you can is highly recommended.  Right now a large part of our country is in a severe drought.  I have friends who have lost most of their garden this year because it's not raining and their city/state is under water conservation.  With these guys set up to gather the rain that does come down your garden should be safe and in an SHTF scenario it can also be used for drinking, cooking and bathing (and the soft water is so good for your hair in case you are a princess like me).  I live in an HOA rental so I am limited by what I can do, but I think in the back yard out of sight of the neighbors I can put in a couple of these.  Again this is something I can use in any scenario and it still makes sense to use them even if things are okay.  I am not just about prepping for an emergency but about living as self sustainable as I can.

3. Solar Oven


Another DIY project for you to look out for from me.  I may be a princess and like my gadgets but I hate cooking indoors when it's so nice outside.  Plus I live in Texas where Hell has nothing on our weather here so it gets too hot to use the oven during the summer and fall.  Having one of these would make things so much better.  Not only am I not heating up my house but I am saving gas and electricity. Not using my gas oven saves the gas and not having to run the AC because the house heats up saves on the electric bill.  I have friends who use theirs all the time.  One friend even made her daughters birthday cake and cupcakes using hers she built herself.  This is one of the projects I am looking the most forward to.  This princess knows how to use a drill and isn't afraid of a hammer.

4. Food Dehydrator

Ah yes, another great way of preserving food for your prepping lifestyle is dehydration.  I see a lot of ads for dehydrated meats, veggies, fruits and all that and then I look at the price HOLY COW!.  If I had to wait to prep until I could buy all that I would starve to death when the SHTF.  By learning to garden and store your harvests for future use you can save tons of money on your grocery bill and on your prepping bill.  I have friends that have spent thousands on buckets of MREs but invest no time in learning how to feed themselves when those run out.  I like food, good food, fresh food if possible maybe that is what makes me a princess but I don't want to eat MREs, I will if I have to and I do have a few in my bug out bags but I don't want to only survive I want to thrive.  Besides if you can preserve your extra food harvests you always have something to trade for (like coffee LOL).  If you don't have a garden hit up your local farmer's markets, usually at the end of the day they offer what's wilted and left for discount prices.  Buy it up take it home and preserve it however you like.  

And the best for last.....

5.  The Garden

This is not a picture of my garden darn it!  But is definitely something I want to start soon.  Like I said before we rent and are not allowed to dig up the yard so I will be learning square foot gardening or using containers. Yes, I am that determined!  Here in Texas we have a very long growing season (where I am at mid March to mid November) so I should be able to keep growing most of the year.  I see no reason why everyone can't have at least one tomato plant and a small lettuce and herb garden.  The important thing to remember is to buy heirloom seeds or plants.  You can save the seeds from them to grow next season.  If the SHTF you may not be able to guarantee a stock of seeds except Monsanto's franken-seeds from retailers.  By using heirloom seeds you guarantee yourself stock for next season and something to barter for other supplies.  

Please if you have any ideas or thoughts of what I have posted or something I may have left out that you think is important leave a comment.  As always just remember I am not here to argue but to learn.






Wednesday, August 15, 2012

So far


Water is number one on prepping list.  We not only need it to stay alive but we need it to cook and clean ourselves as well.  I have been on a half a dozen sites that all tell you to save a different amount per person.  I have made the decision to put up 3 gallons of water a day per person and 1 gallon a day per dog, which comes out to 14 gallons of water a day for the household/day and 42 gallons for my initial 3 day goal.  As you can see I still have a bit more to get.  Right now we have 20 gallons.  

Food is number two on my list.  Hubby picked up some MRE type stuff but I think in my initial scenario of a hurricane that we won't really need those as much as if we were going to be without a way to get more for more than 3 or 4 days.  I have heard and believe in the store what you eat and eat what you store scenario, but that being said we don't usually eat canned or boxed foods as we buy what is in season.  So, I will be learning as I go there, plus I will can whatever extra I grow myself but that probably won't start until next year unless I can get some good deals on bulk fruit and veggie at the farmer's market.  

Working from there I need to get more organized.  Make my lists, do my research and learn what I can learn.  It's a lot of work, but I am excited and ready to get out there and get started.

Well here goes nothing


Today I decided to start blogging on what will be my personal experience in prepping for whatever the future may throw at me.  I don't think on December 21 of this year the world is going to end, or that zombies will come for me, but I do believe that we live in very uncertain times on a planet that is vastly overcrowded and does not produce enough food to feed everyone on it.  I know I live in a country that has been having some serious economic issues and that my family has felt those issues.  My ultimate goal is to be totally self sufficient and you get to watch me get there from the beginning.

Right now we rent a home in Texas near the gulf.  We just moved here from California because my husband finally found a job so I am a bit late getting a garden together for my canning year .I can't dig up the yard to grow my garden because my landlord says no plus we live in a HOA and they are pretty picky about what we can do.  So as of today I have basil, mint, oregano and an aloe vera plant started in pots in the back yard.  Not much but it's a start.

Part of prepping for me will be to get a decent stockpile of food, water, vitamins and knowledge together so that if anything should happen I can care for my family long enough to see them through it.  As I live in hurricane country going without electricity is a real problem.  With that in mind my first goal is to get 3 days worth of food, water and clothing set aside for every one living in my house (there are 4 of us) and for my 2 dogs.  That's it!  That's my first goal.  I have others of course that include expanding the amount of food, water and other things, growing my own food, finding a piece of property I can begin to set up, etc etc.  So stick with me while I learn and grow.  Teach me if you can and I will hopefully teach you as well.  Here we gooooooo.......