Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Growing Food: Gardening in Small Spaces

Ya gotta think outside the box! If you live in an apartment or in a small house in a big city with very little lawn or garden space, you can still grow food to dehydrate or preserve for emergencies.

Just check out this photo on the left. My wife grows all her herbs on our back deck but we've never branched out into growing tomatoes or zucchini or other plants there. We have an unused front porch too where no one ever sits! This photo has me thinking more creatively too. Guess what I'm going to be trying next spring?

For those with too much direct sun on the patio I've been advised that 4 bamboo stake/poles and a few yards of muslin will make a nice sunshade - lets light through, doesn't let the hot sun scorch the plants.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Easy Ways to Save & Store Water for Emergency Survival

This is a 3.78L (almost 4 quarts) jug that used to contain orange juice. Every time I finish one, I wash it well and fill it with tap water. Then I add it to my water storage for emergencies.

An adult needs between 3 to 5 L of water daily to survive. This jug has enough water to keep me alive for one day.

This is one of the best ways to make sure you have enough water in an emergency.

Below you can see enough water to keep one adult alive for 5 days (5 jugs).

Yes they take up room, but they can go on shelves in a closet, on the floor of a closet, in a basement room, or if you don't have snow and freezing temperatures, you can store them in a garage or barn or even on your porch.

I'm experimenting this winter with filling some 3/4 full (to allow for expansion) and putting them in my barn.

Last winter I tried using the disposable containers you can buy for water coolers but they cracked. I think I might try the tougher non-disposable ones this year.

We have other stores of water too. My wife keeps 4 of the water cooler jugs filled and in a closet. We also have several trays of bottle water and try to never let them get below two extras in the house at all times.

But the orange juice containers are so handy we have about 35 filled and stored now, plus about 2 dozen empty ones strung on a bungie cord in the barn. We can quickly fill those if we have warning of a disaster possibility. And we're adding more every week each time we finish a jug of juice.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Are You Prepared for Isaac or Other Emergencies?

As Tropical Storm Isaac approaches Louisiana, I spotted this in the newspapers

Gulf residents started stocking up on supplies and securing their homes. In New Orleans, which sits below sea level, long lines formed at some gas stations and in Gulfport, Mississippi, people crowded supermarkets to buy bottled water and canned food.

Long lines at gas stations.
People rushing to stores to buy food and water.

Will this be you? Or do you have at least 3 months of food and water stockpiled? Do you have an emergency bug-in plan in place? Do you have a bug-out plan and bug-out bag ready to go?

I hope you are prepared. Don't get caught up in the panic that can take place when disaster strikes.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dehydrate Your Foods!

My wife dehydrates leftover vegetables and fruits. So here she is to tell you all about it.

Dehydrating Apples
Hi. I'm a huge fan of dehydrating food. You know how you buy celery but only use a little bit and the rest wilts and you end up throwing it out? Well I cut off what I'm going to use and then I immediately dehydrate the rest! I save the leaves for making soup - just wash and dry them and toss them in a freezer bag into the freezer.

Sometimes I buy bruised fruit, like bananas, on sale, then I dehydrate them. I have two dehydrators and have also used my oven in a pinch (but you have to buy the mesh mats or the food falls through the oven racks)

I've dehydrated bananas, apples, lemons, rhubarb, carrots, celery, potatoes, brussel sprouts, cabbage, yams (sweet potatoes), zucchini, cherries, mushroooms, bell peppers, and all kinds of herbs including parsley.

Dehydrated Rhubarb
Dehydrated Brussel Sprouts

I store my dehydrated foods in sterilized glass jars. I use leftover jars from other foods - salsa jars, herb bottles, spaghetti sauce jars, etc. When I say sterilized I mean put 'em in the dishwasher on sani-wash.

Then I keep the dehydrated food in a dark cupboard. I'm running out of room so have to find another dark spot. A closet works fine.

There's two great things about dehydrating food for emergency food supplies - they last a long time and they take up very little room. You can see how much room 24 brussel sprouts took up once I dehydrated them! To cook 'em just rehydrate overnight or toss directly into your pot.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Always Carry Some Cash for Emergency Power Outages

I was reminded again today of the importance of having some cash on hand at all times. I was in the grocery store getting a few things when all of a sudden the lights went out.

Now the lights being out was not really a big deal but the problem was no one could pay for anything.

We have all fallen into the no cash trap. We have wallets full of plastic that has no value as soon as the electricity stops flowing.

So always carry some cash. You may need it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Be Ready To Cross The Border as Your Bug-Out Plan

If you live within a few hundred miles of another country you may want to consider the idea of crossing the border.

Now crossing a border in a disaster is generally not a good idea as it involves all kinds of potential problems but one must consider the possibility that a situation could arise that would necessitate such a move.

So with that in mind it's always a good idea to keep your travel documents in good order and keep some foreign cash on hand.
If you live in Canada you will want some US dollars. Living in USA you'll want Mexican and Canadian money. I'm sure you get what I'm talking about

Another good idea if you live close to the border is to investigate locations for crossing without documents. I am not suggesting you break the law but if your life depends on it you would be wise to have a plan.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Defending Your Home, Food & Family With a Handgun

CZ75 and .455 Webly
As promised in my blog post on defending your home, food and family, here's the last of my suggestions for your must-have weapons.

  A hand gun. A hand gun is a great addition to your home defense plan. When your shot gun or rifle is out of ammo or craps out on you it's great to have a handgun of some kind to fall back on. I say fall back on as a handgun is not the best choice for home defense. A hand gun is a last ditch weapon for when you have nothing better. Handguns are much harder to use effectively and have really limited range.

Choice of Manufacturer & Ammo is Important
Now as to what kind you get that's up to you. Just stick to a well known manufacture. Ruger, Colt, Smith and Wesson or one of the others. And stick to a common caliber like 9mm. .40cal. 38special. 45auto or the like. I love my old .455 Webly but it would be really hard to find ammo for it in an emergency.

My gun of choice is my CZ75. It's a great gun and it fits my hand like a glove. I have mentioned how important it is to pick a firearm that ammunition is readily available for. It should be said that this is of course much more important in a long term survival situation than it is in the short term. If you are only planing for the short term than you may feel that a few boxes of ammo are fine and you are probably right.

Any gunfight you find yourself in will probably be over quickly with only a few rounds fired. Long gunfights are rare. Most only last a few seconds before someone runs away or is shot. For proof of this look at how much ammo your average police officer carries. It's not much.

 One other firearm I like
 In a long term situation you would be wise to have a .22. I myself like the Ruger 10/22. I think it's the best on the market. The .22 my not be the best self defense firearm in the world but it does have a few good points for self defense that are worth mentioning.

#1 the gun itself is cheap.

#2 the ammo is cheap. And as the ammo is cheap you can practice shooting it a lot and you can stock pile so much of it you can afford to waste it. Wasting ammo can be a useful defensive tactic. Large volumes of fire can deter potential aggressors. Some people call this spray and pray. I call it spray to make them go away.

#3 low noise and recoil. Because of the low noise a .22 will attract less attention. The low/no recoil makes accurate shooting easy. It's easy with a .22 to put all your rounds into the target really fast. And it's better to hit the bad guy 2 or 3 times in the chest with a .22 than it is to miss him with your M14. And of course the .22 is great for hunting small game to put some meat on the table.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Free Storage Containers for Emergency Survival Food Stores

One of the things every Prepper needs is good airtight storage containers for storing food.

Now you can go purchase containers but that gets expensive. So to save some money I have found a good source. Restaurants.

Many restaurants order food in bulk. Thing like pickles and fetta cheese. Often this stuff comes in nice air tight food grade pails that are just tossed out after use. I have one restaurant that gives me one large pickle pail each week for free and another that gives me all the pails I want for $1 each.

Caveat: the pails are not clean. I do have to spend a few minutes washing each one out but I figure the savings more than make up for my time.

So ask around at your local restaurants. You might be surprised at what you can get.

Oh one more thing - make sure the pails are completely dry before you put food in them!

Monday, August 13, 2012

I have no money so I can't prepare for emergency survival - wrong!!

I can not tell you how many times I have had people say I want to prepare but I can't afford to. Well you can. And you don't need to spend a lot. In fact depending on your lifestyle you would be amazed at how much you can do for FREE. All it takes is a little thought a little effort and a little time.

So over the next little while I am going to give you a few little ideas that can help you put together a little stockpile of goods to give you a fighting chance.

So today's tip. Restaurant and fast food extras. In today's society most of us frequent Coffee shops or fast food places on a weekly or even daily schedule. I myself go to the coffee shop almost every day. So one simple thing that I do is grab an extra sugar or some other little thing that goes with my order.

Now before you freak out and call me a thief let me explain that I am not suggesting you go in and fill your pockets. I do not take anything that I am not entitled to use. For example when you purchase a coffee you are entitled to use a few packets of sugar. I always had three in every coffee. So in the interest of my health ( to much sugar is not good for you) I have cut back to 2. But the third one comes home with me.

After a year of doing this I now have over 300 packets of sugar. Thats about 1/2 a years worth of your daly need of sugar for an adult.

Of course sugar is only one small part of it. I save everything I can get my hands on. Extra packets of mustard and catsup (ketchup) that come from fast food places. The little packs of stuff like soy sauce, hot mustard, fortune cookies etc that come from the Chinese food place. It's incredible how it piles up over time.

Now if you are willing and don't mind the jokes and funny comments you may have to put up with I have discovered an additional little trick. Enlist your non-Prepper family and friends. I now have several people who are not preppers and think the entire thing is quite silly saving me all their extras. Yes they poke fun at me. But I don't care. Take a look at the photo of what I have gathered myself and from friends in just 2 weeks.

As you can see it's a lot of the basic things one needs to sustain life. I have salt, sugar, fat, carbohydrate and protein. This little pile would keep me alive for several days at least.

I made a list of what I save and what it's good for.

Packets of salt. An adult needs 4 of these little packets per day. That's assuming it's your only source of salt. If you are getting some in your other foods then you need less. Salt is essential for life. Without it we die.

Packets of sugar. Collecting a packet a day will give you 2 kilograms in about 10 months.

Restaurant candies. They have sugar. And they're great little morale boosters in an extreme survival situation

Catsup (Ketchup). It has salt, sugar and carbohydrates. It is also a good source of Vitamin C.

Peanut Butter. It has fat, salt, iron, vitamin E, protein and some other good stuff.

Honey. Has sugar. Lasts forever if it's pure honey. A nice way to add variety to your daily diet.

Mustard. Has salt and a tiny bit of protein.

Black Pepper.  This spice is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin K, Iron, Copper and Manganese.

Strawberry Jam. It has less good stuff in it than one would think but it's high in sugar and it sure tastes good.

Plum Sauce. Good for Vitamin A, C, Calcium and Iron. This food is high in Sodium which normally is a bad thing but in an emergency survival situation, guess what? We need salt to live!

Soy Sauce. Will last forever as it's mostly vinegar. A great little extra to change the boring daily rice you'll be eating!

Hot Chili Sauce. Same as Soy sauce but it may not last as long

Vinegar. Lasts forever, excellent disinfectant, good for bartering, good as a cleanser and a medical necessity. It's an all-round powerhouse. For more info on it's miracle properties, see

Vinegar, The Magic Food, Medicine and Cleanser for Survival

Fortune Cookies - will never go bad unless they get wet. They're sweet and they're carbs, sort of  a pasta wannabee. And - in an extreme survival situation it might be a morale boost to have a sweet cookie that has a fortune inside. You can also play the old game of everyone reads their fortune out loud and you add the phrase "in your pants" Believe it nor, this is quite funny in normal times, imagine how funny it would be in a tough situation.

This is my favorite site for nutrional information on pretty much everything, including spices!

So start saving up the extras we all toss out. You may be glad you did.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

West Coast Earthquake Hazard - Are You Prepared?

Are you prepared? Do you have your emergency food and water supplies for at least 3 months? Get your plan for a disaster ready now! Don't wait until disaster strikes. 

Two separate geological studies suggest the earthquake hazard in the transboundary region of the Pacific Coast of North America — including southern British Columbia — is significantly greater than previously believed, with both teams of U.S. scientists urging heightened readiness for a future offshore “megathrust” event that could compare with the one that triggered Japan’s catastrophe last year.

In one study, a 13-year, comprehensive analysis of the Cascadia earthquake-prone zone between Vancouver Island and Northern California, a team of researchers led by Oregon State University earth scientist Chris Goldfinger concluded that the “clock is ticking” ahead of a potentially devastating earthquake in the region within the next 50 years.

Read more

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ebola outbreak in Uganda said to be under control

World Health Organization officials says that authorities are halting the spread of the deadly Ebola disease. At least 16 people have died so far in this latest outbreak.

Ebola was confirmed in Uganda on July 28, several days after villagers started dying in a remote village. Ugandan officials were at first slow to investigate possible Ebola because the victims did not show the usual symptoms, such as coughing blood.

This is the fourth known outbreak of Ebola in Uganda since 2000, when the disease killed at least 224 people. Ebola is extremely infectious and kills its victims quickly.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cheese Preserveration FAIL!

On August 1st my wife started an experiment to preserve cheese in a trial run for a survival situation. You can read about it here

It was looking good until Day 6, when she notice some white spots forming on the cheese in the preserver. Day 7 - well, see for yourself!

The block of cheese in the preserver with the correct preservers, is mouldy! Epic fail. But most surprising to us was that the block of cheese she left out on the counter, is fine!

There is no mould on it anywhere.

Next step is for her to order cheese wax and wax some blocks of cheese to see how long that will keep the cheese fresh.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Global warming is a concern for preppers

With all the freaky weather the World has been experiencing the last few years it has become apparent that any one who is concerned about preparing for the future must add the effects of possible climate change into their plans.

How each person prepares for climate change depends on many factors. The most important of course being where you live.

We must each look at our location and think about what effects global warming is likely to have in our area. For example Florida is likely to experience more Hurricanes, flooding, extreme heat etc. The Midwest may get dryer and hotter and become more desert like.

We must also look at and prepare for the effects that climate change could have on the population and what the results could be.

One of the biggest problems with climate change is the devastating effect it may have on agriculture. Farmers all over the world rely on predictable weather. The farmer must know what the weather in his area will be like so he knows when and what to plant. But it seems that one of the affects of climate change is weird and unpredictable weather leading to crop failure. Now it is true the crops fail in one country or another almost every year. However in the modern world we are able to move food around all over the world with ease, so a crop failure in one country is not that much of a problem in the big picture.

However climate change opens up the possibility of world wide crop failure. If crops were to fail all over the world it would lead to mass starvation in poorer countries and possibly even starvation in some of the more wealthy countries. If crops were to fail 2 years in a row then you would have mass starvation every where.

We must also remember that starvation on a mass scale brings with it a host of other problems. Crime goes up. Populations start to move as they look for food. Governments can fall. You get an increase in all kinds of disease. And hungry countries may even go to war over limited resources. The list of bad things goes on and on.

So if you are prepping I would advise you take climate change into consideration. You may be glad you did.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Preserving Cheese in an Emergency Survival Situation

This is an experiment my wife is trying. She bought an antique Cheese Preserver and is giving it a try.

 I'm not sure what the point is but she says if there's an emergency survival situation and we have cheese (or we make our own from our goats) she wants to know ahead of time what she should do to make the cheese last the longest time possible.
 So she put the vinegar, salt and water as directed on the lid in the container. Then she took a block of cheese and added that.
 Lastly she put the lid on and has been removing the lid for a few minutes each morning (again, as directed on the preserver. She also put a similar block of cheese on a plate, open to the air and is using that as her comparison.
Which cheese will last longest before it goes mouldy and how long will the cheese in the preserver last?

We're on Day 4 and the only change is a kind of split in the cheese and it looks like it's leaking. She's also going to try waxing cheese and has ordered red wax from an online company. We'll try that as an experiment too although we're both pretty sure the waxed cheese will have a much longer shelf life.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Watch the news. It's important.

Watch the news, people. You can stockpile food. You can store extra water. You can buy guns and ammo. You can turn your house into a fortress. But the cheapest and easiest thing you can do is simply be aware of what is going on in the world.

Now it's true that some disasters (like earthquakes) come out of nowhere and you just have to deal with it. However many times we have at least some degree of warning ahead of time. The people who were caught off guard in Huricane Katrina had plenty of warning that the storm was coming.

And even in situations that give no warning of the initial event, being informed can keep you from getting caught up in the aftermath. I have read many stories over the years of people who are not involved in the disaster who actually stumble into it simply because they were unaware any thing was going on.

The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is make a cup of tea and read the online news. When I am in the car I have the radio on. If I see clouds in the sky I listen to the weather. The last thing I do at night as I am climbing into bed is to take one last look at the online news.

Stay informed. It may save your life.