Home skills for the Survivalist

As Preppers we try to anticipate and prepare for a potential system to break down or be unavailable.  But what if your water system goes down or your furnace quits working?  Are you skilled enough to fix it or do you have to call someone?  I know you can make a mean elk burger with the elk you killed during the hunt last fall.  But when your ceiling fan goes on the fritz can you replace a switch?  As preppers we also need to remember a break down in our own home can create havoc.  Here are some things I think you should be able to do at your home.

  • Minor electrical  You should be able to do the following
    • Replace a light fixture
    • Replace a 110 outlet
    • Put a new receptacle on the end of an extension cord
  • Plumbing
    • Fix a leaky faucet
    • Replace a float valve in a leaky toilet
    • Turn of the water to your house
    • Put a new wax ring on a toilet
    • Install a toilet
    • Install a shower head or faucet
  • Carpentry
    • Put up a wall with 2 x 4’s
    • Install a door
    • Hang baseboard and casing
    • Install shelving
    • Use the following tools
      • Hammer
      • Chop saw/ mitre saw
      • Skill saw/construction saw
    • Know the difference between plumb and level
    • How to fix something which is out of square
    • Use a chainsaw
  • Finish work
    • How to prep a wall for paint
    • How to paint, both roller and brush
    • How to put up weather-stripping
    • How to install a dead bolt/ door handle
    • Fix a drawer
    • How to install ceramic tile
  • Other
    • Insulation

Here are some more advanced techniques

  • How to run new water lines
  • How to put in a P trap
  • How to put in a 220 outlet
  • How to install crown molding
  • How to install can lighting
  • Drywall and mudding
  • Insulation

These are just some of the things we should be able to do or are learning to do.

Do you have any other suggestions?

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

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What does your Senator stand for?

On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend the caucus meeting for my district to choose our representative to elect our senator  at the upcoming primary election.  By a large margin Orrin Hatch was the victor(Incumbent R-UT).  I was so disappointed in our district.  Not necessarily at the election of Mr. Hatch, with whom I do not agree with, but this is the way the system works, but at the reasons given to keep him.  Here are some of the reasons I heard

  • We should not vote against Hatch but for someone else.  This I agree with, but when you know the person in office is not the right person then you need to get rid of them and find an appropriate replacement.  We do not need to settle.  I think we as voters need to remember we can change who we put in office.  We can stand on principle.
  • He has seniority or will be on a high-ranking committee.  The purpose of the senate and congress in general is to protect our rights.  Giving someone power to tell us what they are going to do to help us is the wrong way to go about it.  We want them to stop taking away our money, not tell us how much we are going to get back.
  • He is electable.  Everyone is electable if we stand behind and support them.  The incumbent is more electable since he has more money.  He has more money since we live in a system where corporations are in cahoots with the government.  We need to start standing up for a system where the elected official represents us, not the other way around.
  • That is the way the system works.  I heard this statement and almost started to cry.  This statement in and of itself is the reason we are in the place we are in. We have to change the way we look at the system.  You may not get back as much money from the feds until you start to change.  Leaders have to lead and it may not be profitable for them initially, but down the road we will all be better for it.
  • If Romney wins then he will need Hatch.  Romney does not need a rubber stamp from Utah.   He needs to present his ideas so the people in Utah will vote for them.  Our state comes first not the other way around.  We do not need Washington to keep saying yes.  We need them to start saying NO.

I get the sense we were voting out of fear.  If we do not vote for the incumbent then things will be bad.  Guess what folks, we have right now what we deserve.  We have an oppresive government because we have voted for people who want an oppressive government.  Until we realize there is going to be pain for everyone involved and we step up to the plate to take care of each other and not have some government entity do it, then we will continually keep passing the buck.

This is why this site and community are so important.  We are trying to prepare ourselves for what we see ahead.  We know it will not be good, but we are going to work to the best of our ability to help as many people as possible.  I want you to realize despite my gloomy Thursday, I am optimistic about the future.  People are waking up.  Two years ago at the same caucus meeting we had 10 people.  This year we had 80.  I can see the worry in their eyes.  I want you to be a light on a hill showing them the way to prosperity is through liberty and freedom.  We will keep showing them when you are prepared you become less of a slave to someone else.  And when the someone else has to go away because of budget cuts or some other reason, then you will be able to step in and help.  This way of life is the way of the future.  It is the solution.  Lets stay together as a community and keep spreading the word.  Get involved in your local politics since it is where the largest difference is made.  But remember what you do matters.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Planning your Suburban Homestead

When you read the title did you think ‘suburban homestead’, that’s an oxymoron.  This guy is crazy, homesteads are in the country, fool.  I believe anyone can make their home a homestead.  For some it is not an option to move to the country.  Instead lets focus on the positives of where we live and have our home become more of a producer.

The first thing you will need to do is evaluate your goals for your homestead.

  • What do you want it to do?  Provide food, income, security?  Give some thought on your overall goals.
  • Determine your landscape and limitations.  If you live on 1/4 acre like me, you can’t do cattle.  Do you want meat or would you rather have a larger garden?  Perennials or annuals?  Vines or bushes?  What about lawn? Do you have kids?  Do they need a place to run and play?  Are you on a hill or flat?  Sandy or loamy?  Lots of rain or no rain?  Where is there sun, shade, wind, high or low usage, easy to access?  Think of the external sources which contribute to your homestead.
  • Determine your wants and needs.  First decide what you like to eat.  Next find out what is easy and cheap to buy.  If it is easy and cheap to buy then you might not want to grow it.  If you can buy corn 12 ears for $1 then do not grow corn.  If you want to then by all means do so, but most of us have a space premium.  Next decide if it is expensive to buy or difficult to acquire locally or organically.  These will be good things to grow.  Most of all grow what you will eat.
  • Determine which crops you will grow.  Focus on heavy producers.  Beans, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, peas, squash.   Try to grow varieties not available locally or commercially.  Try lemon cucumbers or pole beans.  Pick perennials over annuals if possible.  They generate food year after year with very little input.  Also look for items which store well.  I often think of squash, potatoes, onions, and herbs.
  • Consider livestock.  I know you are thinking my spouse barely goes along with what is going on now and you want me to bring an animal on board?  I will confess the aforementioned question applies to me.  We do not have any livestock.  I would like some but it is one step at a time.  Think about chickens for eggs or you could raise broilers for the summer.  Rabbits have a small footprint, produce great manure and have excellent meat.  Something I am considering is aquaculture or aquaponics.  I am doing research this year on it.  I will let you know what I decide.
  • Extend your gardening season.  This fall I am going to put some hoops on my raised bed to try to get through November with some hardy veggies.  You could also make a cold frame.  Do you have a spot in your yard, maybe a corner, which get lots of sun?  Maybe you can grow something a zone higher by capitalizing on this micro-climate.
  • Increase your productivity through trellising and vertical spaces.  Plants like cucumbers, grapes, beans, kiwi, and even melons can be trellised.  I have about 100 feet of perimeter in my backyard where I grow raspberries, melons and other things.  Using trellises for beans and cucumbers can give better results since the veggie is not on the ground.  They are also easier to see and pick.

Hopefully these have been some helpful hints to improve your gardening for this year.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Ten Gardening Skills for the Survivalist

There are two skills I constantly write on this site, debt and gardening.  I think between the two it will relieve about 90% of your preparedness problems.  With spring upon us I want to give some more gardening tips to help you have a successful garden this year.

The ten things are

  • Succession planting
  • Composting
  • Companion planting
  • Container gardening
  • Mulching
  • Guerrilla gardening
  • Water harvesting
  • Wildlife identification
  • Trellising
  • Seed starting

Succession Planting

Succession planting is planting one plant after another in the same spot.  We plant lettuce in the spring and tomatoes in the summer than spinach in the fall.  Succession planting allows us to grow more crops in the same space.   Combining in succession varieties of plants allows us to maintain soil fertility.  If we plant legumes last we will get some nitrogen back in the soil.

Composting

Using our food waste as garden material is a something we can all do for a variety of reasons.  I do it so I won’t have as much garbage to haul out to the curb.  Composting creates new soil.  If you haven’t started one you can do it just like I did by putting my clipping in the corner and letting nature take its course.  There is a science some use.  I prefer to just let nature do it all by herself and then at the beginning of the year I take last years compost and put it on the garden.

Companion planting

Some plants compliment each other.  Basil and tomatoes. Cucumbers and corn.  One plant may have a deep tap root and the other will give shade.  One may fix nitrogen while the other is a heavy nitrogen user.

Container gardening

Container gardening will allow you to grow things you might not be able to grow otherwise.  Think blueberries.  If you have alkaline soil it is hard to grow blueberries since they like acidic soil.  What to do?  Put them into a container.  Can’t grow citrus where you are?  Put them in a container and when it gets cold outside and you have a nice sunny spot inside put them there.  If you live in a condo or apartment, containers allow you to grow where there is no dirt.

Mulching

Mulching helps you save on water and cuts down on weeds.  It makes gardening easier.  With continuous mulch weeds are kept at bay and you are supplying new soil all the time.

Guerrilla gardening

This is a stealth type of gardening.  You plant where there typically is not a garden.  Usually perennial seeds are put into a ball of dirt and this ball of seeds is placed in and empty lot, public park, canal dirt road, in a forest.  You are allowing nature to produce more food.   This is a great way to have a bigger garden without you actually having a garden of your own.  These spots then become places where you can continue to cultivate.

Water harvesting

Since water is essential to all living things, gathering and retaining water is a great skill to have.  Just retaining the water from your roof will water your garden all year.  With water wars springing up all over the arid western states, having a method of harvesting the water on your own lot may prove valuable

Wildlife identification

Knowing what is eating you tomatoes is important.  Knowing what to plant to attract the animal that eats the thing eating your tomato is even more important.  Make it part of your continuing education to learn about the wildlife in your yard.  What attracts bees?  What eats cutworms?  All of your gardening questions should have an answer not containing the word ending in ‘cide’.

Trellising

Trellising is the method of allowing your plants to grow upward.  This saves on space and makes it easier on your back.  Cucumbers, grapes, beans, melons can all be trellised.

Seed starting

The benefits to seed starting are almost too many to write down.  The main one for me is season extension.  I am able to start earlier in the spring and continue in the fall.  By starting indoors in the spring, I can plant when ready rather than direct sowing when ready.  Same goes for the fall.  It is hard to start lettuce with the hot soil of the summer, but if I start indoors I can plant in the fall when the days are not quite as warm and my lettuce flourishes.

 

Any skills I forgot?  Email at prepping101@gmail.com

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

What You Do Matters

As I was driving down the road today listening to the radio I was struck by the amazing turn of events in our nation.  We now have the Vatican being put on a list of potential money laundering countries.  Now this looks innocuous enough, but I believe we are starting to see the wielding of the power of the government.  I started to feel overwhelmed the direction we are going.  How many people just do not see what is happening.  This led me to thinking about what we can do as individuals.

I was struck by the awesome power of the individual and what the individual can do.  Within the last two years I have done the following.

  • Started a garden
  • Only home debt
  • Money in savings
  • Food storage
  • Learned plumbing and electrical
  • Bought a generator
  • Planted 2 new fruit trees
  • Grew vegetables from seed
  • Started Prepping 101

I do not list these things to pump myself up, but to show you what can be done.  Doing these things have decreased stress in my life and have shown my family we can make it.  We have changed ourselves and helped to change our neighborhood.

I was just reminded of the all things we can do to make our life better.  I thank all of you who have been a part of this community and given me the drive to continue posting.  I am going to start podcasting.  My job has me frequently traveling within the city.  I usually have between 15-60 minutes of driving between jobs. I think audio lends itself well to what we talk about here.  If there are any special topics you would like me to cover let me know.

prepping101@gmail.com

I should have a “real” website up by the end of the month.  I already have about 20 podcasts in the queue.  The domain name is Prepping101.com.  You can go there and it takes you to this wordpress blog(where you are now).

I wanted to say Thank You.  What you do matters.  It matters to me.  It matters to your family.  It matters to your neighborhood.  Your ability to take responsibility for yourself makes all the difference to those around you.  I applaud you and am grateful for you.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road A Little Smoother

Incorporating Wildlife into your Garden

Spring is upon us and it is time to start planting.  I wanted to get you to start thinking about including some wildlife in your preparations.  As the the world is continuing its maelstrom of problems, we need to continue to feed, protect and provide for ourselves.

Animals give an opportunity to accomplish some of the goals as a prepper/survivalist.

As you are thinking about animals for your homestead, think about the things which make them useful.

  • Produce food.  The animal itself is consumed.  Meat would the common thread here.
  • Useful byproducts.  Think hide, eggs
  • Useful waste.  Manure for our compost.
  • Provides entertainment.  Animals can have some fun component.  Playing with your dog is a useful activity
  • Support to other systems.  Do they protect livestock, eat slugs, keep the grass trimmed?
  • Performs a function.  Each animal should perform a function.  Dogs serve as protectors, bees pollinate.  Use the animal to perform a function instead of you having to do the function.

Some animals you may think about.

  • Rabbits- Good meat, manure, easy to care for, small space requirement.
  • Dogs- protectors, friends
  • Small swine-  meat, meat, meat.  They also work as ploughs.
  • Squirrels, Raccoons- nobody likes raccoons, especially if you have chickens.  These can be tasty items for supplementation.
  • Bees- pollinators, honey
  • Ducks-  tasty meat, eggs.  Good for mosquitoes and slugs.
  • Aquaculture- Fish, frogs, crayfish, catfish, trout.  All of these can be encouraged on a small homestead.
  • Goats and sheep.  Goats provide milk and meat.  Sheep have wool and meat.
  • Birds- Quail, pheasant or other fowl life.  Having birds around helps with the predator prey population.
  • Don’t forget the dirt life-  Worms and insects provide a wonderful resources for you dirt.

Hopefully these were some ideas to get you going.  I am trying to get a podcast going so I can go into these in a little more depth.

Do you have any other suggestions for small livestock for your homestead?

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

What is a Bug out Bag and why do I need one?

Today we discuss the need for a bug out bag.

What is a Bug out Bag(BOB) ( sometimes known as a 72 hour kit)?

It is a ‘bag’ containing the things you will need to get from spot A to spot B in relative safety.

What Bug out Bag is NOT?  It is not a bag to take you in the wilderness so you can start living there.  We do not head up into the forest or mountains with our bug out bag.

Now we have established what a BOB is and is not.  What do we put in it?

  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter
  • Security
  • Sanitation

Do these look familiar?  They are the 5 basic survival items everyone needs.  In our BOB we pair this down so we only have the basics.  Remember when you are packing your BOB, you only need it for 3-5 days not for two weeks.  You are not planning on going on a vacation.  And no we are not running from the zombie hoards.

Food

I like to put storable items in  my pack.  Things like granola bars, energy bars, trail mix, nuts, MRE’s, crackers.  Most anything which stores for an extended period. I like to carry a leatherman for use in opening cans of food or other items.

Water

You will need to put in some water.  I try to carry about one gallon of water.  Along with the water you will need some method of purification.  If you are traveling light you can use iodine tablets.  The taste is not as good, but they are very light and packable.  You can also use a mini backpacking filter.  These are more expensive, but they can filter more water than iodine tablets.

Shelter

You will need good shelter.  I use a Gore-tex type jacket and pants.  I have some old ones which I have put in my pack.  Make sure you put in a hat and gloves.  Shelter in the winter becomes trickier.  You may need a lightweight sleeping bag or tent, if you can afford one.  For the minimalist I recommend a shell and using the backpack to cover your feet for sleeping.  I am sure there are various ways for shelter, it will depend on your local conditions.  This part of your bag can become the most expensive part.  Be creative.  Sometimes you have to use what you have.

Security

I recommend carrying a gun if your state allows it.  Otherwise you may have to think of some other ways of self defense.  Realize you may use your BOB during times when the police are not as protective of our second amendment rights.  Keep this in mind when you are planning for security.  You will want a backup form of protection.  Pepper spray, taser, kubaton, knifes are all good alternatives.  Please get proper training on all form of self-defense you plan on using.

Sanitation

Having a means of sanitation is of paramount importance.  Carry a shovel and toilet paper along with hand wipes.

Other Items

  • Flashlight
  • Map, GPS, compass
  • Small tool kit- you never know

Remember you will need one for your car and one for your house.  I travel in my local city daily and need one in my car.  Don’t forget to reevaluate you BOB every six months as the weather is changing.  A BOB is another simple thing every family and individual can do to prepare for life’s uncertainties.

 

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother