Tag Archives: preparedness

Getting Started – Changing from a Grasshopper to an Ant

Many ask the question, “How do I get started?”  Prepping 101 is about giving you ideas to get started.

First thing you will need to do is determine where you are in your life before you start prepping. Have you spent your whole life not prepping?  That’s ok you are the normal average American.  How many years have you spent being unprepared?  Be grateful you have awakened yourself.  It took you many years of being unprepared, it will take years to become prepared.  This is now a lifestyle change, not buying more stuff to put in your basement just in case.

You now have to decide where you are.  Start with determining how much food do you have in your home.  List how many meals you have in your home.  Write it down on a piece of paper.  If you want 30 days worth of food you need to know how many days you have to start with.

Start storing food.  Start copy canning.  When you go to the store to buy corn, buy two cans instead of one.  Put the second one in storage.  Do this until you have 30 days worth of food or whatever amount of food you want in your home.

Start making a documentation book.  One in each car, 0ne in the house

  • List of all the people you may want to get a hold of and all the numbers and addresses for them
  • List of services, these are people you call in case of emergency
    • Tree trimming
    • Plumbing
    • Electrical
    • HVAC
    • Roofing
    • Masonry
    • Carpentry
    • Drywall
  • 3 places you would go and 3 routes to get to each place.  All of the places will be far apart.  Make sure you put the names and phone #’s of each place.  If you choose hotels in an area pick 3-4 hotels in each area.  Print out each place from Google Maps with the 3 different ways to get there.  Put it in your book.

Organize your pantry.  You may realize you have more food than you thought.  Now with your pantry organized it will make your copy canning easier.

If you really feel overwhelmed, go to the store and buy some beans, rice, pasta and sauce.  This will get you immediate sense of relief.  You can do this for less than $50.

Get out of debt.  As you know this is something we preach often around here.  Debt makes you a slave to the lender.  I think getting out of debt is so important you may put some of your preps on hold until you get out of debt.  You could easily store 30-60 days worth of food and cash and then all you do is put your money into getting out of debt.  Making a budget is the easiest way to cut money out.  Make a list of your debts in order from smallest to largest.  Start with the smallest and apply as much money as possible until it is paid off.  Take the payment from the last bill and apply it to the next until they are paid off.

Start cutting expenses.  You can always add them back later if you feel they are needed again.  Cut, cut, cut until you can cut no more and then live like this for 3 months and if you want to add something back, do so.

Understand the commonality of disaster and use it to make your preps easier.  What is the most likely thing to happen?  A personal disaster is the most common.  What will having food mean if you lose your job?  What will having some cash mean if you get sick?  What will life insurance mean if you spouse dies?  If you start planning for the most common things you will be 90%. prepared.  We do not plan for specific threats, we plan for the general disaster to happen.

Realize and OWN your plan. No one will have the same plan as you.  If you have your own plan you will not be able to blame someone else for the failure of their plan.  You will also be the one to reap the success of the plan YOU implemented.

Be prepared to protect yourself.  This means having something both lethal and non lethal.  Get training on how to protect yourself and your family.  You may have to start with pepper spray and some self-defense training.  Becoming armed is an increase in responsibility.  Being armed means you are going to avoid conflict at a greater cost.  When you bring a gun to a fight it automatically becomes a gun fight.  Are you ready for this?

Last is understanding your success depends on you.  The ownership of your goals, plans and objectives is in your hands.  I can help make suggestions but ultimately it depends on you.

Go forward with confidence knowing the future is brighter today than yesterday.  The steps you take today are steps moving you closer to your goal of personal freedom and liberty.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

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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 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

 

 

How to get your spouse to start prepping- part 2

Part 2

  1. Discuss the “better life” you want.  Talk about how you want to live the “better life” on less cost and how you want it for your family.  You should be able to show your spouse the ways to live a better life on less money.  Show them how you plan to go about improving the family’s lifestyle.
  2. Start with a small plan and work from there.  Don’t start off with, ‘Hey we should move to the country and hole up for armageddon’.  That’s a sure fire way to not go anywhere.  Start with a small plan and work the plan.  Show how it makes your life better.  Move to other things as the easy ones fall into place.  Remember- to walk a mile starts with one step.
  3. Offer to do the first step  with them.  You can start with one or more.  By showing you support them, it shows you care about the concerns they have.  Doing it together promotes unity.
  4. Have your spouse suggest a second step.  Do the second step together no matter what you think of it.  You will not always have the same ideas, but by doing it with them it shows you value their opinion.
  5. Discuss how you want to spend time with them.  Show how you want to spend time now not when you are old and can’t do anything together.  Doing things together is how you build your family unit.  Caring about one another is how we show them they are important.  Getting our of debt and saving money will enable you to spend more years together.
  6. Get them to talk about their fears and REALLY listen to them.  They are the most important person to you.  Without them you will not be able to succeed.  Find out about them.
  7. Be positive.  The future is bright.  Show them it can be brighter.  There may be some tough times ahead, but you want to thrive during those times.  Prepping is a little like insurance.  You buy it hoping you will never need it, but if you do you are glad you have it.
  8. Don’t expect to be perfect in everything you do.  You will make mistakes.  Learn from them and move on.  Do not expect your spouse to suddenly change their mind and be 100% on board.  It took you time to realize what is going on.  Give you spouse some time also.
  9. Come up with a long term vision and what it means to the family.  You are doing this so your family will be better prepared.  Preparedness is about the family not about an individual.
  10. Share this blog with them.  Sometimes people need an outside opinion.  They need to hear it from someone else other than you.

Remember to convey at all times, what you are trying to do is improve your families lifestyle.  You care about them and the conditions around them.

In the comments, what other ways have you had your spouse come on board?

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

How to get your spouse to start prepping- part 1

This is brought about by my own personal experience.  I have had some trouble convincing my spouse to become as prepared as I would like.  Not that she does not want to be prepared, but to what extent.  I am on a path which is different from hers.  I wanted to go over some things which have helped me get her on board.

  1. Focus on debt elimination.  Debt is a burden in all families.  I am sure your spouse knows of the crushing feeling of having debt.  By eliminating this your financial and emotional well-being will be better.  Even if this is the only thing you do for your first year, do it.  Knowing debt is cancer will improve your ability to acquire the preparedness stuff later.
  2. Never demand to do it your way.  I have done much research and on most things know which way to go.  The best way to show someone how to do something is to do it.  We pull people into doing things, we never push.  You want to lead them into the correct idea.  The best thing you can do is show your spouse how happy you are when the family is prepared.
  3. Always work as a team.  Try to get things done as a unit.  This in not to say you may have to do some things on your own.  But try to arrive at a decision together.
  4. Have your partner do your weaker items.  There are things you can not do or do very well.  Have your spouse or children do them.  This will get them involved and have some stake in the outcome.  Showing them you can not do everything says you are willing to involve everyone to get the job done.  This will show you care about those around you.
  5. Never put what you “want to do” over what needs to be done.  A sure fire way to get them to put the brakes on a project is to show preference for your own things.  You may think you need a gun, but you don’t have a black out kit.  Remember you are a team.  Make a list of all the things you need and prioritize them.  Go down the list in order.  Every so often you will have to rearrange.  This way you will both be in sync on the next project you have to accomplish.
  6. Live the way you want them to live.  Show them how happy you are in your preparedness lifestyle.  Let them see you in action.  If you become happier and a more supportive spouse, they will be open to your actions.  I know since I started living a more prepared lifestyle, I have seen the changes in my wife.  She now thinks about gardening (she is reading Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew).  She has her own bed and is interested in planting for herself.
  7. Ask “what if questions.”  Ask what if the lights went out for 24 hours?  What if we had a boil water advisory?  What if I lost my job?  Then listen to the answers.  Do not talk.  Do not offer suggestions.  LISTEN.  You will learn more about your spouse than your ever thought you knew.  Discuss with them the answers they gave you.  Maybe you are both on the same page but your spouse is just not quite sure where to start.
  8. Explain to them how having food and savings is a great investment.  Food goes up in price, by buying now instead of later you are saving money.  Having extra food saves you time since you do not have to go to the store as frequently.  Having money in the bank allows you to make smarter purchases.

Part 2 is for next time.  One of the greatest blessing in life is to have a cohesive team planning for the future.  Nothing makes me happier than when WE are on the same page and moving forward to a common goal.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

 

Why we Prepare.

There is an old fable from Aesop called the “Ant and the Grasshopper.”

It goes a little like this (I am paraphrasing).

There once was a grasshopper and an ant.  Each were going about their business.  The ant was busily putting away food for he knew winter was coming.  The grasshopper would say to him, ‘Ant, why don’t you play with me, there is much abundance now and winter is not coming for a long time?’

To which the ant would reply, “Grasshopper, of course there is much now, for it is summer and the fields are ready for harvest.  But winter will come soon and you will be left in the cold and have no food.  A ask of you to prepare now while it is not too late.”

Meanwhile, the grasshopper went about his merry way frolicking in the fields and gallivanting about.  The ant was also busy doing what he does, putting away food for the long winter.  Every once in a while the ant would go and play, but soon he realized there was work to be done.

As fall started to approach the night became a little cooler and the food became a little more scarce.  And yet the grasshopper would say to the ant, “Why don’t you come and play a little?  There is still much food available.”  The ant would shake his head and realize the grasshopper was only doing what grasshoppers do.  Meanwhile the ant continued to put away food for the winter.

Soon it was almost winter and very cold outside.  Most of the food had died and the grasshopper was left outside shivering in the cold.  He soon knocked on the ants door and asked if he could have some food.  To which the ant replied, “i am sorry grasshopper, we have prepared all year-long and we only have enough food for ourselves.”  During that night the grasshopper succumbed to the harsh, cold night.  In the morning the ants went outside, scooped the grasshopper up and put him in their food storage.

I have changed the ended to better reflect what real life is like.  All of us ants in the world can not possibly help every grasshopper.  It is up to us to prepare for ourselves and family first and then to try and prepare for others.

The lesson in the fable is those who don’t prepare die.  The grasshopper dies.  We have changed the fable to reflect a more PC culture, not realizing the true nature of the grasshopper.  Be an ant.

I ask you through your actions to show everyone that as an ant you can change for the better.  Your life will become better whether systems break down or not.  Realize no matter what you do, what you do matters.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Are You Preparing for Nothing?

What happens if we do all these preparations and nothing goes wrong?

I am made fun of sometimes for being prepared.  Mostly people will say “Are you one of those survival types?”  NO.  Number one I don’t like the word survivalist, I like being prepared.  There are no tin foil hatters involved with preparedness.  It sounds more prudent. If nothing goes wrong then I am ahead is how I see it.

When you prepare you are ready for what may eventually happen.  Why do you carry a spare tire in your car?  Because the zombies might eat one and then you will have another?  NO.  You carry a spare tire because things happen.  We can’t control everything, but we can prepare for eventuality.  You see being prepared is not something new.

Everyone up until your grandparents stored food.  Why?  They knew this winter would be lean and what if next years harvest was not as big.  Well, what if Chile has a bad harvest?  What if prices go up next year?  They do go up you know.

You see being prepared has many advantages over not being prepared.  If our car blows a tire, we can change it and be on our way.  If we want some peaches in winter we can go downstairs and get some.  When wheat goes from $7 to $11 in a month, we are glad we stored a little extra.  When the water heater breaks, we are glad we have some money in savings.  When our wife dies, we are glad we have life insurance.

Being prepared is not always about zombies.  It is about being prudent.  Anticipating what may happen and what has happened in the past.   We know things go in cycles and we prepare for those things to happen again.  That is why we don’t prepare for events.  We prepare for systems of support to break down.  It is why I focus on the 5 tenets.  Food, water, shelter, energy, sanitation.  These are the systems which may break down.

Realize that being prepared is about being human.  Nothing gives someone more guilt than knowing they could have done something but didn’t.

Remember your preparedness plan is your own.  You are the master of your own destiny.  I am here to give suggestions as I see them.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother