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Saturday, November 19, 2011

I Hate Commercials

From: Salty Dawg
(Warning Salty is Grumpy)

Third party commercials are annoying interruption to my thought process. Although, some would say that they are necessary to our free market society. I must agree because word of mouth ain’t what it used to be. I am not talking about the commercials that sell us our goods and services. I am not even talking about the commercials that sell “Snuggies” and “Sham-WoW’s”. Many would say they are annoying but still necessary.

I am particularly irritated by the third party commercials that are brought to you with false pretences. Just like those that are starting to plague many of the Preparedness sites in which I read in search of teachable content. Let me give you an example. For some time now I have railed against prognosticating doom sayers that are only in the game to line their own pockets.

Purveying fear and panic for the sake of making a buck should be combated by speaking out about it and calling it what it is. You might ask me if I believe the world is changing and of course the answer is yes and it is my belief in many cases not for the better. At the Pirates Republic we believe we should prepare for the events that we may face throughout our lives. Gas, food, transportation cost are climbing. The middle class is disappearing, our schools are indoctrinating our children and the government is intruding on our rights at an alarming rate but that is another article.

This rant is directed solely at the people who claim they have the prepping community at heart when truly their main intent is to whore themselves out to any and all comers for penny’s per click or affiliate commission on whatever they can redirect you to. Third party sites trying to sell you products by exacerbating fear and evoking panic so you will feel compelled to purchase whatever product they are hocking at the moment. Cause if you don’t buy it then surely your family will die by morning! FOOLS!

For example, I use to recommend a particular web site because in the beginning the content was valuable and since we primarily instruct people on staying put during an emergency situation and maximize their chances of survival by staying in place. We also teach the skills of bugging out but for many people this is just not practical for them to maintain a double secret location fully stocked with all the necessary items for what they and their family to survive in an apocalyptic event. We teach “Survival in Place” and the content was well presented and much better written than I possess the talent to accomplish. So I would send people over to the site to start a conversation about the content and teach upon that content.

Then we move forward in time and the owner started another web site, then another, then another all linked together and of course you could join by signing up for the newsletter or spend money and join the secret society to help you be prepared. Now this guy has product of his own and to be honest I still recommend one product he offers but can’t in good conscience recommend people to buy it because they will get inundated by third party crap! Remember, I have zero problems with folks promoting the services or products they use and recommend. But the third party solicitations are out of hand and muddy up the informational waters!

On average from this one site after signing up for the newsletter I used to get one or two informational email from him and life was good. However, since he has branched out into multiple web sites I now get on average 8 out of 10 emails promoting third party crap. He recommends videos that I must watch in order to protect my family and finances from impending doom. He recommends that I must click this link in order to read about some guy who knows the stock market is failing and gold is your only bet for salvation. He recommends that I click this link in order to get food preps that are so special that I must buy them now and this is a special offer given to only his readers if you buy now. Of course anybody else could get this “deal” even if they stumbled onto the third party site by accident! You get the point. Well Mr. Morris I do not have to do anything but to keep on preparing myself, my family and my community from what undoubtedly is coming.

I also believe it is also our responsibility to teach the willing regardless of money. This is something people should take note about instead of prostituting themselves out to anybody to who has some snake oil to sell to cure whatever you got. Instead how about you give way to the integrity you initially started your web site adventure with??? Examples you ask???? Oh I have examples and they can be considered recommendations that I won’t get a penny for. Bear Grylls, Dave Canteberry and the bare foot hippie had programs that I personally had very little reason to watch. I figured they had value in the entertainment industry but held little value for the programs until it inspired discussions and debate on their actions during the program. None of the people prostituted themselves out to 3rd party panic profiteers even though they all have web sites and newsletters. Bear Grylls partnered with the Gerber Company and lent his name to some of their survival products. I have used them and still to this day. Dave Canterbury has the Pathfinder schools. I have not been through the school but it comes with high recommendations by attendees if you can afford it. He also partners with Blind Horse Knives and those are quality tools that if you can afford it well made quality product.

Web sites like the American Preppers Network Provides an arena for forums and information exchanges. I do not always agree with the contributor’s ideas but it still promotes thought and does not pander to panic. In fact most every article is a solution based, fact filled article that should make you think about how to adapt the information to your situation. It also breaks down into state networks and they also have forums and articles to read. It is a treasure trove of good information and it is interactive. You can ask questions and there are plenty of people who offer good sound advice or at the very least their opinions. I enjoy reading the postings by The Idaho Prepper and other state contributors. Although I am a diehard Notre Dame fan I enjoy reading articles from the Wolverine talking about his amigos the toolman and tonto. Since I live in God’s Country and in a different climate than he, I am able to read about different perspectives of how they prepare for what is to come.

How about the Survival Blog? This guy has some incredible information on a wide array of topics from sprouting (yuck) to living off the grid. Not everything applies to my situation but interesting and thought provoking none the less.

Speaking about living off the grid take a look at Pioneeerliving.net now I admit I am biased about this site because he resides in God’s country but there is a lot of insight on what you can do as a Prepper right now and for the future. He even has advice on the gold market and I wasn’t asked to watch a video! He formed his own opinion with facts and then presented his opinion to his readership and let them decide without fear mongering. I can site many more examples like Natural News they have several article that are topical for today I don’t always agree with the outlandish stuff but they have passion
The Preparedness Pro she offers well thought out great written articles and yes she sells her services and expertise on Coupons.

The Berkey guy contributes several articles that are worth a look I learned about fluoride and 1 part per million found in nature and Preparedness Radio has Podcast as well as live call in shows that are full of information sign up FOR FREE and download podcast FOR FREE and you can hear a variety of opinions and facts from many people that are in the preparedness community.

There are a bunch of others I haven’t listed that provide useful information instead of littering the Prepping community with garbage that they deem useful as long as there is a kick back to them!

I have not taken pleasure in calling out a prepping site for its uselessness because people have their own opinions about what is useful and mine is not always perfect (I know Right?) . I just get furious when we the Prepping Community have to endure this plague we have been inundated with as of late.

I have used one particular site to show the progression that these types of sites use. Fear mongering and preying on the new Preppers is their means to a greedy end regardless the damage they inflict. Preppers should look out for the sites that serve their own ends rather than the good of the community of knowledge seekers. I only used this site as my example because I believed this site to be honorable and after many attempts to contact the creator to return to being relevant. The only reply I got from the sites creator was another solicitation to join another paid membership society created by the same person.

Again, I do not enjoy calling anybody out for being less than is expected of them but our motto at the Pirates Republic is “Evil flourishes when good men do nothing” and silence is nothing. Thank you for allowing me to rant. I am going sit down and have some milk and cookies and read another article from the American Preppers network it seems that Wolverine (Go Irish) and the Idaho Prepper just posted again.

AKA Salty Dawg
The Pirates Republic.com

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Record Heat Waves

With the record heat waves and drought across the nation, the American Preppers Network hopes that you have been prepared.  Disasters of any type can and do happen anywhere, at anytime, and without warning.  We are now witnessing and will continue to witness a prime example of how one disaster can cause a chain reaction leading to other disasters.  Here are some potential disasters to be aware of as a result of the drought and heat waves.

1) Water shortages.  Water is the number 1 most important necessity to survival.  The average human can only survive 3 days without water, and even less in a heat wave.  I hope you've stored some.  If the water system shuts down or does not have enough, you could turn on the tap only to have a few drips.  If you run into a situation where there is not enough municipal water supply to your home, start looking for other sources of stored water.
  • Your hot water tank may have 30 - 50 gallons of water stored. 
  • The top supply tank to your toilette is typically clean water that you can use.
  • Your plumbing in your house could have a few gallons.  Open a higher faucet in your house as in a shower, sink, or upstairs source to relieve pressure, then open a lower outside faucet to retrieve water from your plumbing system.
Don't short change yourself on water!  Make sure you have plenty for personal consumption.  If you stop sweating, that means you are dehydrated!   

Got Water?

2) Heat.  Heat poses many risks, including but not limited to:
  • Heat Stroke.  Watch family members closely, especially the elderly, watch for slurred speech and disorientation.  When in doubt, call for help.  Time lost is brain lost.  Never leave pets or children in a vehicle, and keep them out of the direct sun.  Drink lots of water.
  • Fire.  Fires are much more common in the heat.  Things dry out and become more flammable.  Keep dry brush and trash picked up.  Do not store fuel in or around your house, and keep well ventilated in a cool area out of the sun.  Keep grass cut short, especially if your city is rationing water and not allowing watering of lawns.  Do not store any flammables in the direct sun or in your attic.  
  • Vehicle breakdowns. Avoid driving unless it's absolutely necessary, or drive at nite. Check your fluid levels and make sure your oil and coolant are topped off.  Bring extra oil and coolant with you in case you need it.  DO NOT top off your fuel tank!  Make sure your tires are property inflated and not over or under inflated.  Bring extra water with you in case you do break down.  Drive with the A/C off when going uphill.  Watch your vehicles tempature when climbing grades.  If your car starts to overheat when going uphill, pull over at a safe location to let it cool.  Check to make sure your thermostat is working before you make your trip.
3) Blackouts.   The nations grids are maxed out.  With everyone using A/C, expect rolling blackouts.  If you are in a blackout, you can wrap sleeping bags around your refrigerator or freezer to help insulate it.  To conserve power, only use what you absolutely need.  Keep lights turned off and keep your A/C set to the warmest temperature that you can safely stand.  Do you have a generator?  Be prepared to use it.  Do you have plenty of non-perishable food stored?  If there is an extended blackout, you may need it.  Stores and gas stations will be shut down in a blackout.  Do you have an emergency battery powered radio and flashlights?

4) Food Prices   Expect food prices to increase.  Especially meat.  Many ranchers are butchering all of there livestock as there is not enough food and water to care for them, this means shortages in the future.  Produce crops are drying up. Prices of corn, wheat and other grains will increase.  Even produce grown in unaffected areas may increase in price as well due to demand.  If the blackouts are too severe, stores, gas stations and truck stops may close down temporarily disrupting the supply chain and preventing food from making it to the stores.

Stay safe during this heat wave and dought.  This is a serious and potentially devastating national disaster.

If you have tips, ideas, news, videos or pictures that you wish to share regarding this heat wave you can submit your article to americanprepper@yahoo.com.  If your article is chosen we will post it on your states preppers network blog.  Top articles will get posted on APN.  The top article of the week will win a free flashlantern valued at $49.95 (made in the USA).  Articles must be submitted before 7/29.

Feel free to copy and repost this article in it's entirety.  Credit source as AmericanPreppersNetwork.com

Here are some free helpful pdf files to download

Fire and Heat Waves
- ARC - Are You Ready - Fire

- ARC - Are You Ready - Heat Wave

- ARC - Are You Ready - Wildfires

- Fact Sheet: Fires

- Fact Sheet: Fire Safe

- WildFires

- ARC - Food and Water in Emergency

- Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water 

- How To Make A Solar Still (Plastic Cover)

- Purification Of Water On A Small Scale 

- Simple Solar Still For The Production Of Distilled Water

- Slow Sand Filters

- Water Purification

- Water Treatment

Fire Safety 

- Fighting Fire 

- Fire Safety

Get More Free Downloads here:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Preparedness 101

3 part lesson

Phase 2

Physical Preparation

This phase is in my opinion is where the wheat gets separated from the chaff because in the cerebral phase although you have to think there are many things that can help you. In the Cerebral phase many people get mired down by paralyzation through analization in which I will be writting about soon. however, getting beyond the Thought process we get to the Action. In the Physical Preperation phase you have to actually do something! There are not magical Prepping fairies to bippidy boppidy boo your Prepping heaven into existence nor can you just will It into being. Much like Noah and a few supporters, you are on your own kid.

You can reach out to the other like minded people within the prepping community to lend a hand and you will reciprocate I am sure! Use the community for help but for the most part you are going to have to actually physically do something and that my friends is where the "Sheep" shine!!!! The Sheople will be glad to stand by and watch. They will be anti-encouraging telling you there is no sense in what you are doing and it is an exercise in futility. If the big boom happens they would just as soon go out with the bang. The Pirates Republic call them the Sheople or Naysayers. The very same Sheep that will come knocking at your door for a handout at the first sign of any trouble or anything that will rock their little worlds they will look to you to set it upright.

Physical Prepping is the place where you will put into action your thoughts. Once you have cleared the cobb webs from head with the onslaught of advice from the "experts". You will finally settle down and start processing the vast amounts of information and start working on a plan. a plan of what and who you are prepping for. Think about where you are going and what you need to get there. Remember you are building on the cerebral phase using it as a foundation for the next phase. The first thing Pepper's have to do to begin the next phase of physical is develop a plan. This plan will be the starting point of your roadmap. Even though you will and should put a lot of conceptual thought into your plan, you will undoubtably make mistakes! Everyone does so dont be discouraged just keep moving forward with the absolute certainty in what you are doing, not arrogant just certainty and with purpose.

(Can you see how you transition from just thinking it into doing it, using one phase of the process to prop up the next. You will get stronger in your resolve. )

Your Plan will be and should be revisited often to revise the functionality of your plan. As your situations change so shall the plan. For example if you add members to your family then the plan should change accordingly. You start branching out into the Prepper network so shall the plan change as outlined in an article titled "assets to your inventory". This may sound like something rather difficult and you may at this point want to retreat back to the Cerebral phase to gather your thoughts, go ahead we can wait……………tick tock, tick tock……

Okay now for the reality check. The making of the plan is actually easier than it sounds. There are a ton of resources out in cyber land that is at your disposal. I suggest you take advantage of these resources. Not all Resources have a fee attached to them; in fact there is a ton of good quality information out there that the only cost associated with them is your time. We offer many a mate council and opinions just for the asking.

I suppose for some it does comes down to time if you want to put in the effort to develop your own plan through the research and advice of trusted people then the rewards are many and the knowledge is a valuable.

There are many plans out there that will guide you through the processes. There are "72 hour kits", "Every Day Carry Bags", "get out of dodge bags", "Bug Out Bags" and "Get Home Bags" which I believe are the same but I guess it helps people sell more bags. There are gardening and storage devices products. We have Gun dealers and ammo suppliers, Clothing manufactures and of course Bag makers. There are people everywhere, some trying to pontificate and just selling fear. However, There are trustworthy merchants actually trying to help and provide a service and trying to make a living at it.

People write Magazines and Ezines and you can buy subscriptions to this and that. Stores are popping up all over the internet as well as your local towns. Apparently Prepping is the new trend for now. For some of us we have been doing this most of our lives we just didn't know it was cool and trendy until now. I wonder if Barbara Mandrell will right a "Peanuts in my Coke" song for us? it could go like this ...I put dehydrated food in my potable water.........hmmmm, maybe not, i think it has a good beat but you just cant dance to it. Well not to worry we will still be here after the new labels and the trendy crapola has faded, in fact we will probably be the ones they sell their "never been used" survival items at a ridiculously (everything must go) fire sale prices.

There are many plans that will suffice for your needs but remember all survival is based on shelter, food and water. First satisfy these immediate needs and you are moving in the right direction. Yes I said FOOD, you have to eat, WATER, you have to drink and SHELTER, you have to have a place to store your items as well as rest your little head, correct?

Making a plan can be fun, No really it can be fun. You should involve all the members that the plan will effect because they may have specific concerns that you may not immediately think about.

Guys do not think of all the necessary items that women may need likewise women may underestimate the necessity of a three stooges DVD (the complete collection of course) for the emotional well being of everyone. Laughter for all I say! Therefore let it be so!

yuk, yuk, yuk!

Hey MO,

why I oughta.

I know the dooms day folks are going to trash me and say "Well what if there is no electricity then what now funny guy"? My retort is you should have a power backup such as a solar charging station and a 12 volt T. V. complete with a built in DVD player which happens to fall under the necessities of any RV camper. Besides even if you choose not to have this type of back up then at least the covers are funny to look at and just think of the countless hours of you trying to explain to the women why you think the stooges are funny, yes hours of entertainment to be had by all.

Back to the plan! There should be a master plan that is broke down into several smaller "direct issue" type of plans. It's a little thing we like to call the "what if, then, else" game. For all you computer geeks out there stop chuckling. Here's how it goes take a scenario and play it through to fruition. For example in our area we are prone to tornado's which always cause quite a stir (pardon the pun) but, we can start with that scenario What if a tornado was coming straight at us? Then we will do? Else we will do?

This formula can be used to process any and all situations as well as program computers. What if an earthquake was to occur? Then we will do? (If that solution is not available) Else we will do? If we were caught in a wild fire, then we will do? Else we will do? Now taking it through to fruition what if the world collapsed as we know it? Then we will do? Else we will do? Sorry to get apocalyptic however I did mention it would work in every scenario.

This is a game that is meant to offer positive solution to negative scenarios.

The outcomes should be positive ones that are used to teach and reinforce the positive solutions that have been thought out in advance of the scenarios being played out in real life. If you need help making a plan please ask someone you may trust rather than just throwing your hands in the air and giving up.

If you question your solutions then by all means run them by a trusted source and get feedback that is why the Prepping community is important. The Pirates Republic helps people with their plans and you should do this as well. This is what a community is supposed to do!

I know there is a thirst for the knowledge and you just need to find the trusted sources to assist you on your quest and believe me when I say I strive to learn new things everyday and I believe everyone has the capability to teach me something. Those who have chosen to move past the ability to learn have already died they just haven't been made aware.

We can help each other with our plans then we can learn and grow together. Then maybe we can get our own TV show and parade around barefoot in the swamps and sell ourselves as survival experts or maybe not! Oh well it puts me right on track with the next phase namely Actual SURVIVAL.

My Beautiful and lovely Bride asked me to lay off the Rum References for ye land lubbers not knowing I be a teaser. so Where's me milk it's closing time?

I have never claimed to be an expert, just experienced. so as always if you have inquires or positive comments then drop us a scribe at saltydawg@thepiraatesrepublic.com

Salty Dawg

there need be a captain in thar somewhere Mate!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Preparedness 101

3 part lesson

Phase 1

Cerebral Preparation

Alright so you have an interest in joining the ranks of the prepared. Good for you have a seat we have cookies. No matter the reason you have come to these decisions congratulations you are here.

The entry course to your new life long journey is called preparedness 101. It begins by assessing the need to prepare for the "what if's" in life. Many Prepare for the apocalypse and others prepare for more minor events that may occur in their local regions.

Regardless the reasons you have decided to take on this challenge we all started off the same way. Let me reiterate NOT ONE PERSON POPPED INTO THIS WORLD KNOWING HOW TO PREPARE AND HANDLE EVERY SITUATION regardless of what the so called experts hocking their goods WILL TRY TO CONVINCE YOU OF. Everyone started off right where you are right now. They had the benefit of knowledge and someone passing that knowledge onto them to enable them to be in the position they are in currently.

Through the years our first teachers were our parents or care givers. Advanced skills were learned through hands on instruction and then taught to those who wish to learn those skills. This is how it is supposed to be its called passing on the knowledge, teaching, genetic instruction, the nature of things, the circle of life, hakuna matata!

I believe there are solid foundation blocks of the survival pyramid and they are Cerebral and physical preparedness leading to the actual act of survival itself.

Each phase builds upon the other to culminating into the final result in which we all hope we never have to deploy but want to have the skills to do so if the situation warrants.

Let's discuss the first phase Cerebral Preparedness.

This process seems pretty simple and straight forward all you have to do is think about a couple of things as you watch some barefoot hippie types running around some jungle somewhere. After watching a couple of episodes you have thought you needed to prepare a little something in case you have to jump out of a plane onto a hot lava field and make it back to civilization before the zombies get you or your camera crew.

Regardless of what brought you here, you are here and I suppose I can't complain too much eh? A simple process of thinking. You think about a can of beans, a case of water, some Girl Scout cookies and some wieners in the freezer and you are set ready for anything. Great, let's move on shall we…………or just for giggles and grins we take the thought process to a more relevant level hmm, what say you?

Think about why you decided that you had the need to prepare. Think about what you should prepare for. Think about where you should to prepare and when to prepare. Think about whom you should prepare for. Simple stuff right?

Great, now that you have all that down let's move on………or maybe we should just stay on this subject for just a tinsy bit longer………. humor me alright?

First and quite possibly the most important thing beyond making the decision to start preparing in the first place is the remembering the reason you made the decision to prepare in the first place. This decision will be a motivational factor throughout the entire process. Whether you are a Newby or an ancient you will use that reason to motivate yourself beyond the sheople or naysayers (usually your family or friends) and propel yourself forward because you believe you are right and just in doing this craziness we call prepping.

You must imprint into your genetic code the reason you have started this journey. Your reasons may evolve as you move forward but always remember you're first reason. Hold onto that reason when the task seems overwhelming. Every Prepper has gotten discouraged at the scope of the overall plan but that is why we have thin mints and the Prepper's networks across this great nation. Whether it is for self preservation and or the preservation of the people God has put in your charge.

It doesn't matter the reason, it only matters that the reason, for you is strong enough to motivate you into action. You need to think about the reason every day, not as an obsession but as a reminder to act. You do not have to justify your decision to the naysayers or even to yourself because you know you have made the right decision is good enough! Now that I have gotten philosophically preachy about using your noggin for more than a hat rest so let's move on because Sittin' and thinkin' ain't all there is to it just one important phase and it can seem to careen out of control so Keep your hands inside the ride at all times because we racing further into the rabbit hole and next stop the magical place called The Physical Prepping arena where there are many a wonderful things.

As always if you have any questions or just want to blow wind in my sails drop us a line matey. saltydawg@thepiratesrepublic

Salty Dawg

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Grocery Shopping in Hard Times

I thought I would share a few things that I have learned over the years about grocery shopping.  I am sure that many of these you have heard before.  There is a reason for that though.  They work!  With food prices skyrocketing it has become even more important to make you dollar stretch.  And for those of us who are working on our food storage it means that the more we can save in one area, the more we can prep in another!

I like to keep a running list of the things I use.  Mine is on my fridge. A friend of mine keeps her's inside her pantry door with a pen attached to it so she can jot it down as she takes it out of the cupboard.   When you remove something from your pantry write it down so you will remember to replace it.  And always remember to rotate your groceries.  This makes sure you don't end up with wasted food. There is nothing worse than having to toss out something that you could have used if you had just rotated it in your pantry!

*** Check out the weekly ads in your area BEFORE you go shopping and use it to help with making your list.  Once you get your pantry stocked up you can use this "tip" to help you prep and save money while you are doing it.  The idea is to try and NEVER buy anything that isn't on sale or doesn't have the best bang for the buck so to speak.

*** Always shop with a list

*** If you have to veer off the list... make sure it is because you have found a REAL bargain.  Try and give yourself a little "leeway" just in case you find one of those Unadvertised Specials.  Don't make a habit of it but always try to be aware of these specials and jump on them if you find yourself a good bargain!

*** Use coupons. You CAN save alot of money using coupons.  There are tons of websites dedicated to couponing.  Check them out and do a little homework. Check out stores that offer double and triple coupons.  Don't buy things that you will not use or that you don't need.  Remember:  Eat what you Store and Store what you Eat.

*** Never shop when you are hungry.  There is no better way for me to load up on "crap" than when I go to the store with the munchies.  All the sudden everything looks good!

*** Try to shop alone.  Think about it.  When you take the kids or even the significant other how often do you find yourself buying things you had NO intention of getting when you walked in the store?

*** Check out the store brands.  Not always, but more often than not, the store brands are just as good and usually less expensive.  If you try the product and don't like it, most stores will refund you your money. They want your business and want you to come back.   I have actually taken back the label of an empty can of soup once that I thought was disgusting.   They gave me my $ back!  OK I know this one isn't a tip for the faint of heart but hey ....if you are cheap....er frugal...

*** Compare unit prices.  I have found this to be really really helpful.  Most all stores show the price per ounce. Lot's of times what you "thought" was a good deal really isn't at all. Compare the per ounce costs of each item.  You would be surprised at how many times "bigger is not always better".

*** Buying in bulk can save money.  Be careful with this one though.  I have found lately that some smaller sizes are actually less expensive than buying in bulk.  This is where watching your "unit" prices comes in handy.

*** When you are checking out ALWAYS watch the scanner.  I've caught mistakes over and over again because items didn't ring up correctly at the checkout.  Why spend all that time trying to save money just to have them not ring it up correctly?  Don't be shy about letting them know.

*** Watch for marked down items.  You can save huge money.  I try to go earlier in the day to catch marked down items. Always check what I like to call "the bargain buggy" This is where you can pick up some great deals on "dented" and discontinued items. When a package is torn or squashed they will mark the item down as well. 

*** I also find some excellent deals in the meat department like this.  Since I either use what I have bought the same day or freeze it that same day this works well for me.  I once found sliced cheese (24 oz package) marked down to $0.75 each. And yes it was "real" cheese. I bought all 15 packages and put them up in the freezer.

*** When you find something that you use regularly on sale - Stock up and buy as much as you can afford to. You know you will be using it later on and prices are rising fast these days.  Store what you eat and eat what you store.

*** If the store is out of your "sale" item always ask for a raincheck.  They usually ask how many you want at that price.  I ALWAYS tell them I want the maximum number allowed if it has a limit.  When you redeem the coupon you don't have to buy that amount but if you can afford it and want to you still have that option.  While you are waiting for them to restock that item you can also start looking for coupons for it.  That way when it does come in, you can save even more.

*** Sign up for the "Store Card"  This can save you money that you didn't even know about.  If you are reluctant to give up your information to them do what I do.  Make up some BS information.  They NEVER check the information anyway. And if they do, so what? What are they going to do?  Call the grocery cops on you? 

*** Remember that a sale is not always necessarily a sale. Many times a store will try to push something that has been overstocked and will just put it on an end-cap to get your attention.

*** Stay away from convenience foods.  You can make most of the same things at home for half the price. (I should  do a whole post on this one!)

*** Avoid last minute  impulse items.  They put all that stuff next to the check-out counter to try and get you to make unnecessary purchases.  Keep your hands to yourself in the check-out lane!

These are just a few suggestions.  I am sure there are MANY more.  But following just a few basic guidelines can help you save lots of money and help your food storage to grow and grow.

Join the APN Forum at www.AmericanPreppersNetwork.net
Visit the Oklahoma Forum at www.OklahomaPreppersNetwork.net

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Pitiful Performance!

Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Pitiful Performance!
From:  Salty Dawg
Yep it’s more than just an exercise in the capitalization of P! It is a mantra of sorts that every Prepper utilizes whether they know it or not. The very idea of prepping for anything that comes down the path is really genetically encoded within us all.
However, some are lazy! Lazy is my word for stupid! Let me digress to illustrate the example, even the cave man brought a stick or a rock along to pound over the head of a potential food source or protect himself against a potential threat. I guess in a way you could consider them our first multi tool. Even in the earliest of days our ancestors prepared or simply died out. This learned response was passed down from generation to generation to help perpetuate the species of man and that includes women.
Today we have two categories of people, the “us’s” and the “them’s” this is not a class warfare term it is rather a separation of the people not from the have and have not’s rather from the people who do and who do not. The “Us’s” are the Preppers like you and I that are, in a word preparing but preparing for what you say? Preparing for whatever I exclaim proudly! We are preparing ourselves mentally with knowledge and know how and physically with supplies and goods.
There are many reasons people prepare and one is no less important than another. Your reason may be to simply have some provisions around in case of a storm and to level out the spikes in food and fuel pricing. Others may have loftier goals in mind and are preparing so they may remove themselves from the grid entirely. Most of us fall somewhere in between the two ends of this spectrum. The reasons that you prepare are not as important as the actual act of preparing.
There is an old saying that goes like this “expect the best prepare for the worst”, is this another Prepper’s mantra or just some good solid advice? The Prepper at their very core believes in storing up or putting back for the proverbial rainy day. Generations of people before us have set up cupboards, pantries and cellars with canned or dried goods some have made do with cisterns for water to offset any lack of performance from their a water wells. They scrimped and saved and prepared for whatever came their way next because inevitably something always comes along.
During the Great Depression the “Us’s” of that generation learned the value of sacrifice and saving and taught that lesson to their children thus perpetuating the survival of mankind. However, at that very same time the government started a program of handouts. The intention was valid enough but unknowingly or some say even knowingly created the first generation of “Thems” the non contributing takers of our society. Not a few weak minded drains on the general population but an entire generation of non-contributing takers of the general populous.
Every city in every state of our Great Nation has them in ever growing numbers. Once the resources are drained from that particular area they move on to drain the resources of another or stay in place and demand that the government take care of them because they are down trodden. So Instead of believing they had the right to pursue happiness as defined in the Bill of Rights. The “Thems” have a distorted belief that they had the right to their happiness guaranteed through the efforts of others.
The damage could have been contained if remanded after the immediate need was met but unfortunately they also taught their children to press the government to take care of them thus being a burden on society and made a generation of un-prepared masses willing to take hand outs rather than take measure to ensure their own survival rate against what may befall them later. Enough political jiber - jabber, and history lessons as seen through my eyes! So whatever the reasons you have chosen to be one of “US” then hoorah!!!! Welcome aboard we have cookies! Let’s go to a great place to start. which coincidentally is the name of the next article in this series.
The Salty Dawg
Evil thrives when good men do nothing

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bugging Out

Bugging Out

What, me run? When is it better to bail? What scenarios would make us actually think about vacating our Head Quarters?

You spent a ton of time, money and brain cells on equipping the ultimate shelter and now you are faced with someone having the audacity to ask you to think of the possibility of evacuating your fortress of solitude, Let alone demand that you leave or far worse being removed by force.

No matter the level of survivalist I speak with, the topic of bugging out always comes up. Bug out bags, bug out vehicles, bug out locations, bug out routes, bug out this and bug out that, bob, bov, bol, bor, blt’s, OMG!!!!!!!!!!!. Wait take a deep breath and think. Sadly, most people believe if they have spent any amount of time thinking about the subject of bugging out they believe they have prepared adequately.

Have you thought this through; this is a wicked little maze you are going to embark upon. When I ask this question I get the stink eye and the obligatory raised eyebrow However, I am always mindful that the devil is in the details and neither you nor I are immune.

The more prepared you are the less the impact it will be on you and whom you Sheppard when it hits the fan. Let’s face it when the enemy is landing on your beaches it’s not the time to start building bunkers and battleships. So if you find yourself asking this question “Should I hunker down or ride like the wind” you will be glad you have considered or perhaps reconsidered your options.

Should you hunker down or ride like the wind? That really is a question that can only be answered by you and it certainly depends upon you and your comfort zone. I personally have spent too much time setting up my headquarters for me to just arbitrarily vacate all willie nillie! In my particular situation I have very few reasons to bug out. So you can consider me one of the “survival in place” crowd however, this doesn’t mean there isn’t any reasons I would short time evacuate or permanently vacate my head quarters. Two good reasons for me would be chemical and biological these two are definitely some reasons that are absolute in bugging out and getting the hell out of dodge. As for my situation these are pretty much the only reasons I would have need to giddy up and out, both for the most part are manmade but we can talk about these two items in another article should you wish.

Now getting back on topic let’s say we have made the command decision that the situation is serious enough to warrant an “evac”. What now? Now you are faced with two choices to vacate the premises under your own plan or under somebody else’s plan. As for me and my household we like our chances with our thought out, reasoned and rehearsed plan.

Remember, although you may have a plan in place you must take into consideration that the city, state and federal authorities will also have a plan and the government plan will always supersede all other plans being implemented. So I periodically go into my city hall and ask about their evacuation or disaster plan. You can also ask this of your county and state government officials. I do recommend being respectful. In today’s world climate asking the government about proposed evacuation plans always raises eyebrows so I always start the conversation with something non aggressive such as “I visited the Red Cross website and it suggested that I should inquire with you as to your disaster scenario plans”. This seems to settle them down and treat you with respect.

This knowledge is beneficial and gives me insight as to the all knowing big brothers plan for my survival but more importantly I can plan to potentially avoid the congested areas that surely would be mired down by the confused masses! Now with that being said, we press on with Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Pitiful Performance!
That's the name of the next article in this series, and I won't try to sell you something in it either! Just some ramblings from a Saltydawg who doesn't claim to be an expert just experienced!

Salty Dawg
The Pirates Republic
Evil thrives when good men do nothing

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One Year Supply of Food Storage Under $300

 A years worth of food storage for under $300! Yes, you read that right.  How does expanding your food storage with literally hundreds of meals for around $300 sound?  I think I may have found one of the best kept secrets around for pumping your food storage up REAL FAST and REAL CHEAP.

Scotch Broth is  is a combination of grains and legumes and it provides a balanced and nutritious meal on the cheap!  "This particular combination is said to provide a balance of ALL of the appropriate amino acids required for a person." 

This is really easy recipe to "change" in countless ways.By adding left over meats or vegetables or adding dried vegetables to the mix you could totally change it up. It wouldn't have to be "the same ol' thing either!
The following is an excerpt from the forums at Timebomb2k. This recipe has been floating around the internet for several years but I don't think it has gotten nearly enough attention.

This is what you will need
4 x 22lb (or 10kg) rice. (Any kind will do).
2 x 11lb (or 5kg) kidney beans
2 x 11lb (or 5kg) barley
2 x 11lb (or 5kg) lentils (yellow)
1 x 5.5lb (or 2.5kg) green split peas
1 x 5.5lb (or2.5 kg) chick peas (garbanzo beans)

( You will also need a total of 30 pounds of bouillon. This has been added into the total cost of $300. You will add it to each batch as you cook it.  I think I will store both chicken AND beef bouillon.)

Put the rice in a mixing container.Then add each of the other ingredients 5kg at a time, mixing as you go. (Use surgical gloves or you'll have no nails left, LOL!).
When you have all the other ingredients mixed in with the first two bags of rice, add the last two bags of rice and *REALLY* mix well or you'll get all rice on the bottom of your mixture.

Take 16oz of the dry mixture and put in about 6-7 quarts of water (with a nut of butter or a tsp. of olive oil to prevent soup boiling over) and add 3 tablespoons (or to taste) of powdered soup stock. We like to use chicken stock.
Then add any veggies, meat, & seasoning you like (if available). (We like to also put in lots of garlic) (DO NOT USE ONIONS - they'll spoil the mixture).
Bring to a boil and let simmer for two hours and you have enough soup for two days for 4 people.

On the second day you'll need to add some more water (it thickens in the fridge overnight) and another tablespoon of stock. Make sure to boil for at least 10 minutes the second day to kill off any potential bacteria, - especially if you are not storing in fridge, but just in a root cellar or like that in the event of no electricity in summer.

We make our own bread and have a thick slice fer dunkin' with a large bowl of this delicious soup and it serves as a main meal. You are FULL after just one (large size) bowl of this stuff.

Kids will usually only be able to eat half a bowl w/bread, or a small bowl, whichever you prefer. Adults will likely want a nice big bowl.

If there is any mixture left on the third day, just add the new mixture to it. You will need less of course, but you'll get to know how to gauge things as you go along catering to the requirements of your own little family."

ONIONS-Re: onions... They ferment too quickly, and cut down the amount of time you can safely store already cooked soup.

Assuming there are no refrigerators etc., it's best to err on the side of caution and not use them in the soup. If you want to waste fuel and make your soup daily, then onions aren't a problem.

We LOVE onions in our house, and cook them by wrapping them in tinfoil, and putting them in the ever-burning wood stove for an hour. We put in some potatoes too usually, and have a meal of tatties & onions. They taste wonderful prepared in this way, particularly if you add a little butter or olive oil and some herbs when you take them out of the fire. This and some greens is all you need to exist except for vitamin B12.

The recipe calls for the following ingredients by weight
88 pound(s) or 40 kilogram(s) rice
22 pound(s) or 10 kilogram(s) kidney beans
22 pound(s) or 10 kilogram(s) barley

22 pound(s) or 10 kilogram(s) lentils, yellow
5.50 pound(s) or 05 kilogram(s) green split peas
5.50 pound(s) or 05 kilogram(s) chick peas
165 pound(s) or 80 kilogram(s) Total weight

These parts are converted (by weight) as follows to arrive at one pound of broth.
08 ounce(s) rice
02 ounce(s) red kidney beans
02 ounce(s) pearl barley
02 ounce(s) lentils (yellow)
01 ounce(s) green split peas
01 ounce(s) chick peas (Garbanzos)
16 ounce(s) Total Food

Along with the basic recipe there are also other suggestions to make this truly an excellent source for your long term food storage.  One thought that I had was that this would be a good way to have some "charitable" foods on hand.  You could package it into smaller containers (1 or 2 pounds)  and have a few meals on hand for the less fortunate.   Another idea would be to make up a batch and dehydrate it.  You would have a fast and tasty "Instant Soup". 
If you were to do this over 12 pay-days, and if you are paid weekly, - you would have a10-year food supply in just 3 months.  What a super way to "pump up" your food storage!           
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Dehydrate Hamburger (Hamburger Rocks)

How would you like to be able to store hamburger without having to freeze it?  How about being able to take advantage of a good sale without having to worry about how much freezer space it is going to take up?    What if you could  keep it for a couple of years or more just sitting on your shelf?  What if you could have it already cooked and ready to use in no time at all and with no thawing involved?  If this sounds like something you would be interested in,  then boy do I have some good news for you!  They are called Hamburger Rocks and they do! (Rock, that is!) And the best part?  Simple, easy to use and you can do it right in your own kitchen.
  There are countless recipes you can use with hamburger rocks.  Now with that being said, there are a few things that this stuff won't work for. You can't really "form" it so you won't be able to make things like meatballs or hamburger patties.  Other than that your imagination is your only limitation. Use it for things like taco meat,  spaghetti sauce, soups, chipped beef, meat pies, and  pizza toppings. Even Hamburger Helper just got even easier!!   Anything you usually use "crumbled" hamburger for, you can use hamburger rocks for.
Here's how you do it.

1. Brown your hamburger a skillet.  While you are cooking it be sure to break it up well. You don't want large chunks in your pan.
2. Once your hamburger is browned, drain all the grease from it.  An easy way to do that is to use a colander.
3. After you drain as much grease out as you can, rinse the meat with boiling hot water until the grease is gone and let it drain again. You want as little as possible in your meat.  Grease will make your meat go rancid pretty quickly.  You want to avoid this at all costs.
4. After you have the grease out and the meat is well drained, put it in a clean skillet. Season your meat with whatever you choose to use. I use salt, pepper onion powder and garlic powder.  Season it to your own taste. (You could make up different batches like "taco meat" or any other flavor)   Continue cooking until all the moisture is gone.  You want to get it as dry as you can without burning the meat.
5.If you are using a dehydrator, place your meat on the trays.  I would use screens or fruit roll up trays so the meat doesn't fall through.  If you are going to be using your oven, put the meat in a baking pan about 1/2 inch or so deep.  A cookie sheet or something similar works well.
6. Dry at 165 degrees for approximately 15 hours in your dehydrator.  For your oven (if you can't set it at 165 degrees) you may need to it at its lowest temperature. Put a spoon or something like it in the door to prop it open slightly.  This will allow the moisture to escape as well a lower the temperature slightly. 
Stir every few hours to make sure it is evenly drying. When it is done, the meat will be dark brown and hard (like little rocks) with no moisture in it.
7. Store in air tight jars. You can use your vacuum sealer or o2 absorbers to draw out the air.  

To re-hydrate, place the meat in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  As with most dehydrated foods the rule of thumb is 2 parts water to 1 part meat.
And there you have it.  A really simple way to store hamburger meat with minimal effort.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Oklahoma Preppers Roll Call - All Preppers Please Check In

The American Preppers Network is conducting a network-wide roll call.  Whether you are a member or not please check in and let us know what you are doing to prepare.

This is a good opportunity to network with other preppers near you.

Oklahoma Preppers, to respond to the roll call please follow this link:

  • Reply to the Roll Call and let us know what you have been doing to prepare.
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dehydrating Is Fun

I really love dehydrating foods.  It is an easy solution  for storing many things in your long term storage.  Fruits and vegetables don't take up as much room and it is also extremely easy to do.  Folks have been drying foods for centuries.  It doesn't take much equipment and the foods, when dried, can be stored easily and take very little space. 
You can dehydrate most vegetables.  There are of course exceptions to every rule, but generally most will do well when dried.
   You will need some method of drying your vegetables, something to cut them with and some method of blanching some of your vegetables.  All that means is that you need a dryer, a knife and a big pot of boiling water!
    People ask what kind of dehydrators they should look for.  Two of the most popular are the Excalibur and the Nesco American Harvester.  The Excalibur is an excellent dehydrator and what I call the "Caddy" (as in Cadillac) of dryers. It is also one of the most expensive ones on the market.  The folks I know who own them wouldn't trade them for the world.  A really nice dehydrator with nine large trays.  The fan is located in the back of the dehydrator and blows air evenly ACROSS the foods.
    The Nesco American Harvester is a great dehydrator. The cost is less than half of the Excalibur.  It is the one that I own.  I love mine and it does a wonderful job.  It is an expandable dehydrator. What that means is that you can add up to 12 trays or use as few as one.  The fan on the Nesco is at the top of the dryer and blows air down and back up the trays.  It has "vents" in the sides that also help to circulate the air. 
Either of these dehydrators are an excellent choice. The one thing you want in a dryer is to make sure that it has a thermostat.  Some come with timers but in my opinion they are unnecessary.
   Another dehydrator to consider is a solar dehydrator.  You can buy these already constructed or build one yourself.  There are many plans out there on the internet for building  one yourself.  You may just have things laying around the house that can be turned into a solar dryer.  You could even make a "redneck" dehydrator by using a car in the summertime.  Sounds funny I know, but it can and does work!  Like I said, just do an internet search and you will come up with tons of different ways to make your own dehydrator. 
    As I said earlier, you can dehydrate almost any vegetable and lots of different fruits. Once your garden starts producing ( You do have a garden started right?) you can dry all those vegetables rather than using up your freezer space. 
I'll be doing some more posts on dehydrating in the future.   Don't forget to check out the American Preppers Network Forums. Lots of wonderful folks there with many layers of experience.  So if you are just starting out prepping or have been at it all your life you can find something of interest there.  There's a link at the top of the page.  Click it and ta da!!  You are there.
But if you are looking for more information there are many places on the net. One of the best is Dehydrate2Store.  Tammy is a dehydrating "guru" and there is much that you can learn from her videos. 
                 ~~~ Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ...~~~

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spring Time in the Garden

I haven't been doing a lot of "prepper" stuff  lately. With all the things going on in America and around the world these days I should be screaming from the rafters PREPARE NOW!!!!  Things are getting scary and for some reason, now that things are starting to fall apart, I feel almost frozen in place.  Which happens occasionally.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  I believe we are living in what will be looked back upon as historic times.  Take notes boys and girls, this will be one to tell your grandchildren about.  Let's just hope we can tell them while still living in a Free America and not just about "the good old days" when we lived in a place we used to call America, the Beautiful.

Ok, now that I have identified the reason for my "dismal mood" and realize that my general outlook has been sucking... (sucking? I'm pretty sure that's not really the word I was looking for but it certainly fits)  It is now time to pull up my proverbial "big girl panties" and get on with it.  After all, spring is right around the corner and there are things we can be doing to get ready for what is sure to be an "interesting" summer.
One of the things we CAN do about getting ourselves more prepared for the inevitable higher prices we are going to see in the grocery stores this year is to plant a garden. Even if you have never tried growing one it's really  not that hard to do.

So lets talk about some gardening!  After spending most of the winter looking out the window and wishing for warmer weather, nothing makes a person feel better than to start planning your garden.
 You will first have to figure out just what you have to work with. No excuses either!  Even if you live in an apartment you can grow something.  Container gardening can produce lots of vegetables in small amount of space. You just need a few containers, some good dirt, and some seeds.  Heck, this year, instead of planting those seasonal flowers in your flower bed, how about using that space to grow edible plants!  You would be amazed at how many vegetables are not only good to eat but are pretty to look at!

You can use most any kind of containers as long as they have a way to let the water drain off the soil.  Even old 5 gallon buckets will work.  Just drill some holes in the bottom and you will be ready to go.  Your choice of containers is only as limited as your imagination.   You can easily grow tomato's, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, etc in containers.

I am a big advocate for shopping local and your local nursery is no exception.  You can pick up most everything you need there as well as your seeds.  You can also purchase some vegetable starter plants at your local nursery.  They are a great resource for information about planting in your area.   If you don't have a nursery near you then even your "big box" stores will usually carry starter plants and seeds.  I personally would rather not shop there but if there isn't another option for now then by all means go for it.  Planting something is much better than not planting at all!

If you still have time to do it, then another option for purchasing your seeds is to  shop online for them.  Places like Baker Creek Seeds, Seeds of Change and the Seed Savers Exchange  all carry heirloom and open pollinated seeds.  There are many other places that carry heirloom seeds as well. Just be sure that they are truly not Genetically Modified seeds.  And be sure to ask if they are affiliated in ANY way with Monsanto.  Those seeds are a big no no in my personal opinion.

With that being said I personally think that most plants are just as easy to start from seed, but if you are more comfortable starting out with seedlings then go with that!  Remember, this is your garden and it is supposed to be fun and lots of us find it pretty relaxing too! So don't let the little things stress you out.  Find a  spot somewhere that gets maximum sunlight. Some morning or afternoon shade is ok but you will want to have at least 6 hours or so of direct sunlight. 

  Do you have a garden spot already? Then it's time to get your dirt turned over and tilled up. Now would be a good time to take a soil sample to your local County Extension Agency. Some of them still offer this service for free or at a really nominal rate. They can tell you what, if anything, your soil might be needing.  They are also a great source for information about what AND when to plant in your specific area.  And now is a great time to do that.

Here is the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map. Click here to find out what zone you are in.  Most vegetables can be planted between April 15th and June 1st, depending on the zone you are in. The Vegetable Garden is a super website  that lists the planting schedules and extension agencies for your area.  The information there is invaluable to both the new gardener and those with more hands on experience as well.

Planting a garden of any kind can be lots of fun. Make a summer kids garden while you are at it.  Teach your children gardening this year and create a lifetime of memories.  And face it, there isn't anything much better that fresh, right out of the garden vegetables on your dinner table.  You will be amazed at what you can do.   With food prices out of control in the stores, you can save a ton of money this summer.  So get out there and get started.  The only thing stopping you is you!

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived with all of her family.  Of course most people live with their family, but this little girl lived with ALL of hers from time to time. She would visit with her mothers parents and all of her wonderful aunts and uncles from time to time.  You see, her mother went away when she was small and so her father sent her to live with his parents.  He was a soldier and Uncle Sam said the little girl couldn't go with him.  
     So she came to live with her grandparents. Her grandparents loved her very much. In fact, more wonderful people were hard to find.  Her grandmother shared her love of music and her love of life with the little girl. Grandmother would play the piano and the little girl would place her hands on hers. She felt  magic in the sounds of the piano.  They would sing fun songs and songs she would sing in Sunday School. Her grandmother taught her to crochet and even how to paint.  Of course the little girls pictures were just the pictures that little girls draw, but to her grandmother they were works of art.  She showed her and to cook  and to can all sorts of wonderful things that came from the garden her grandfather tended.  
     Her grandfather taught her to whistle and  where to find the best worms for fishing.  How put a wiggly worm on the hook and how to reel in "The biggest fish I ever saw!" They would work in the big garden he grew. He showed her how to tell the differences in the good plants and the bad plants. They would eat fresh vegetables right off the plants. She learned the difference between beans and peas  and all sorts of other good things to eat.  Once he even planted strawberries  for her just because she loved them so much. .  He showed her how to tell when the strawberries were just right to pluck from the vine.  They filled their baskets with the red sweet fruits, nibbling at the juicy berries all the while. and would take them to her grandmother to wash and clean.  The little girl would pull up her favorite chair to the kitchen counter and help her grandmother make heavenly jams and jellies.
     Her father came home from the war and brought a new mom for the little girl.  Her new mom was lots of fun and knew how to do lots of things. She taught the little girl how to do cartwheels.  She even learned make her own bed, with clean sheets that smelled of sunshine and fresh breezes.  Hanging clothes on the line was fun and besides, her mom really needed someone to hand her the clothes pins right?    Her new mother would bake fresh bread  and cakes and cookies.  On Saturday mornings they would cook yummy things like French Toast or pancakes and bacon.  Once again the little girl dragged her chair up to the kitchen counter and helped make all these yummy things. 
    Her father let her help in his garden since she now knew what weeds looked like! They would eat warm ripe tomato's out in the garden and the juice would run down their chins. Sometimes she would  make sandwiches with fresh bread and homemade jelly and they would go to the woods and hunt. Other times they would go fishing. Often they had fresh meat or fish for dinner that night.  She learned how to clean a fish but never wanted to learn to how to clean game.  Her father called it "dressing out the game".  She never did figure that one out.  It was more like undressing to her!  
And then, before she knew it, the girl had grown  up and had a home and family of her own.  But she would never forget the things her family had  taught her. She knew that one day she would be able to do all these things and more.
                                        The End
Or is it just the beginning?  You see, all those skills that our parents and grandparents taught us are slowly becoming lost. I feel that we, as parents and responsible adults,  have a responsibility to make sure they not. Pass them on.  The day is coming (soon) that they will be some of the most important things we could know.

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Prepping For Pets

by Who is John Gall »

Ok, I would be the first to admit that if I had to choose, I would choose a loved human over a loved animal and most of my planning has been done with that in mind. But, nevertheless, I do still plan for them.

We have a cat, four dogs, three parrots, a 50 gallon fish tank (with fish), and the koi pond (with koi). I live in hurricane country, so I plan with that in mind... What if we are without power for weeks? What if the house is destroyed (nearly was in Gustav)?

Yes, I do stock extra food and water for everyone (fur, feathers, and scales). But, the fish need good water quality. A well maintained aquarium should be able to withstand 24 (maybe 48) hours without circulating water, but after that the fish will start to suffocate and die in the stagnant water. To try and keep the fish alive (I have had some of them for over 5 years now, they are like scaly family) here are my plans: First, when I know that a storm is approaching, do a water change (time permitting). Next, during the storm when the power goes out, use battery powered air pumps (more on those latter). Then, when the generator gets going, run the tanks filters on the ginny. As a last resort, manually circulate the water (pull out and dump back in a gallon of water at a time every hour or so).

Not sure if I am doing this photo bit right, but here is a pic of one brand of battery powered air pump:
There are others, I have seen some at Walmart in the fishing section for use with live bait wells. Most seem to rum about $7-$15. The one that I have runs off of D cells and plugs into a wall outlet. It does not run off of the AC current, but as soon as that current goes off/the power goes out the little pump comes on. They come with air stones, but I use the little disposable charcoal filters for kiddie tanks from Petsmart. They are cheap, provide some circulation, and provide some filtration too. You just rinse them off with tap water and plug them into the air hose and they are ready to go. I have three of these air pumps for the tank. I am also planning on using this system with the fish in 5 gallon buckets, should we need to evacuate (or when we end up moving in the next year or so...no, toting the fish about during a forced relocation is not my plan, but I am prepared to do so).

Still working on the koi pond. It holds about 800 gallons, which would probably be topped off with the rain during a hurricane, and the fish have all fared well without the pump going for several days in a row. I am thinking of building a solar generator to run some things in the house at need (the generator gets really loud) and will probably have it run the pond's pump all of the time to exercise the battery.

As for the other animals, I try and keep them all ready to evacuate at need. I keep a 5-gallon bucket sealed with their stuff in it: extra collars and leashes, toys, doggie baggies, copies of immunization records, zip lock bags of kitty litter. I have a travel carrier for each animal (2 of the parrots fit well in wire rabbit cages and the third goes into a wire dog crate) and a disposable litter box for the cat. I also keep a pet first aid kit...amazingly enough, though, the antibiotics for the fish that they sell at Petsmart seem to be the same as the ones that are dispensed for people.

I do know that these pets are all just creature comforts, and if worse were to come to worse and I had to chose what goes into the truck, a case of MREs or a bucket of fish...well MREs can be pretty tasty. Nonetheless, I still believe in planning for the worst and hoping for the best.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

5 Simple Ways To Prepare For The Coming Food Crisis

Activist Post

Recently there has been an incredible flurry of news reporting about food shortages and the pending global food crisis. Everyone who looks at the indicators would agree that this crisis is only likely to worsen. It is estimated that the Australia floods alone could cause a 30% jump in food prices. Although the average shopper already can feel the food inflation, it is difficult to recognize the severity of the looming food shortages. After all, there are still 15 types of colorfully-boxed Cheerios packing the isles, which gives us the illusion of abundance.

The truth is that we are headed for large food production shortfalls, manipulated or not, while middle-class food demand grows massively in the developing world. For decades the world's agriculture community produced more than enough food to feed the planet, yet some now believe we are reaching "Peak Food" production levels. In turn, other experts believe the "food bubble" is about to burst, and not even the biotech companies can save us.

However, there are still vast unused stretches of fertile land that can be used around the globe, and the U.S. ethanol mandates that reportedly consume at least 25% of the corn harvest could be reduced to ease the burden. Therefore, it seems that despite the extreme weather and dwindling harvests, food production still has room to increase, but not without foresight and planning.

Additionally, the current systems for growing food are fully dependent on oil to achieve high levels of production, while livestock production is running at full concentration-camp capacity; the end product must then travel thousands of miles to get to store shelves. Clearly we can see the fragile nature of this system, especially on human health and the environment. Consequently, solving the so-called "food crisis" is far more complex than simply fixing statistical supply and demand issues.

Indeed, these are turbulent times where humanity appears to be nearing Peak Everything. Ultimately, solutions to the food crisis will begin at the local level. There are cutting-edge farming techniques gaining popularity that produce a large variety of crops by mimicking nature, as well as innovative techniques for small-scale food production at home or in urban buildings. These hold promise for easing local hunger.

Personal ways to protect yourself from food shortages may seem obvious to some, but many feel the task can be insurmountable. To the contrary, here are 5 simple ways to protect yourself from the coming food crisis:

1. Create a Food Bank: Everyone should have a back-up to the everyday food pantry. In this environment, you should consider your personal food bank far more valuable than a dollar savings account. Start by picking up extra canned goods, dried foods, and other essentials for storage each time you go to the store. Also, hunt for coupons and shop for deals when they come up. Devise a plan for FIFO (first in, first out) rotation for your food bank. It is advisable to acquire food-grade bins to store your bulk dried foods, and be sure to label and date everything. Besides the obvious store-able foods like rice and beans, or canned goods, some other important items to hoard are salt, peanut butter, cooking oils, sugar, coffee, and powdered milk. If you don't believe the food crisis will be too severe, then buy items that you would eat on a normal daily basis. But if you believe the crisis will be sustained for some time, purchasing a grain mill to refine bulk wheat or corn may prove to be the most economical way to stretch your food bank. Some emergency MREs are also something to consider because they have a long shelf life.

2. Produce Your Own Food: Having some capacity to produce your own food will simply become a necessity as the food system crumbles. If you don't know much about gardening, then start small with a few garden boxes for tomatoes, herbs, or sprouting and keep expanding to the limits of your garden. And for goodness sakes, get some chickens. They are a supremely easy animal to maintain and come with endless benefits from providing eggs and meat, to eating bugs and producing rich manure. Five laying hens will ensure good cheap protein for the whole family. If you have limited growing space, there are brilliant aquaculture systems that can produce an abundance of fish and vegetables in a small area. Aquaponics is a contained organic hydroponic system where the fertilized waste water from the fish tank is pumped through the vegetable growing trays which absorb the nutrients before returning clean water to the fish tank. Set high goals for independent food production, but start with what's manageable.

3. Learn Food Preservation: Food preservation comes in many forms such as canning, pickling, and dehydrating. In every case some tools and materials are required along with a good deal of knowledge. If you can afford a dehydrator, they all usually come with a preparation guide for most foods. You can also purchase a vacuum sealer if you have the means. A good vacuum sealer should come with thorough instructions and storage tips, and will add months if not years to many food items. If you're a beginner at canning, start with tomatoes first. It's easy and very valuable when all your tomatoes ripen at the same time and you want fresh pasta sauce in the winter. A bigger ticket item that is nice to have for food preservation is a DC solar powered chest freezer. It is the ultimate treasure chest.

4. Store Seeds: The government and the elite have seed banks and so should you. Seeds have been a viable currency in many civilizations past and present. They represent food when scarcity hits. Before the rise of commercial seed giants like Monsanto, local gardeners were adept at selecting seeds from the healthiest plants, saving them, and introducing them to the harvest for the following year, thus strengthening the species. Through local adaptation to pests, genetic diversity was further ensured; it was long-term thinking at its finest. That is why it is important to find heirloom seed banks and learn to save seeds from each harvest.

5. Join or Start a Local Co-Op: Joining local cooperatives is very important, especially when food shortages occur. You may not be able to provide for yourself completely, especially in terms of variety, so having a community mechanism to spread the burden and share the spoils will be critical. If you don't know if you have a local food cooperative in your area you can search the directory at LocalHarvest.org. You may also be able to get information from your local farmers market. If your area doesn't have a co-op, then start one. These co-ops don't have to be big or elaborate. In fact, it may be more optimal to organize it with friends, neighbors, or co-workers. Whether you join or start a cooperative, work to expand the participants and products.

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