Thursday, August 28, 2008

Minor SHTF

situation here at the moment. Won't be posting for a bit as the phone company and I are at odds over a disconnect of the DSL that never should have happened and they've decided they want ANOTHER $50 deposit for their mistake.

Go figure!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Like it Or Not

Tonight you were witness to history in the making. Whether or not you watched or even cared, history was made when Barack Obama was chosen as the Democratic Nominee for president. You are going to hear that a lot over the next few months, btw.

Lest you not forget that there is a world outside the current presidential race, a few tidbits of history are in the news:

A Katrina Repeat in the Making?
Prodding the Bear some more and even more (btw, this bothers me more than just about anything going on other than our "candidates"...can't put my finger on why exactly)
Don't count North Korea out of the game

These are history in the making as well. Particularly, I believe, the Bear. Baiting the Bear is unwise, but it is being done none the less. Where does that leave us regular ol' folks just trying to get by and put by a little for the morrow?

Wondering if the morrow will come sooner than we think, at least that is where I am at. Mid-week inventory (I do a quick overall on Wednesdays and Saturdays to see where I stand with everyday things) turned up alright this week. Thankfully next week is shopping, not that we are close to starving, just that I need to pick up some canned meats (tuna, chicken, etc) to round out the stores enough that I feel totally confident in being able to make it by. I've been debating on picking up some dehydrated meats that I've seen...not the jerky you nuts (though I will be getting more of that) but the crumbled beef. I've not tried it yet, so if I decide to get some it will only be a package or two. I simply do not stock things that we won't eat, so trial runs are short and sweet here.

Topic change! I am doing a bit of shopping for a bow...for me, of course. Thinking of asking the in-laws to get the eldest screamer one for Christmas/birthday this year as well. I'm open to suggestions as I've not bow hunted in a while. I'm thinking compound naturally, but am willing to check out recommendations ya know.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I need NO permit to protest!

Larry Hales with the activist group Recreate 68 said his group did nothing wrong Monday and had a permit for the Civic Center gathering when police closed in and created havoc.Denver Post Original Article

The blogosphere is abuzz with the news of the approximately 100 protesters pepper sprayed and arrested in Denver. In reading the linked article, the above statement took my breath a bit. A permit to protest? Is that not part of free speech, the protesting? Why, pray tell, do I NEED a permit to exercise one of my most basic rights as a United States citizen? This goes for owning a firearm as well, btw.

So here, I lay out my protest...permit free.

I detest that large corporations donating huge amounts of money to corrupt politicians are making decisions as to how my life should be handled. It grates on my nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard that the religious right believes that they should have a say in who should get birth control and why. I get hives thinking that some putz in DC thinks that he needs to be the one to decide whether or not I can own a bit of armed protection. I drives me completely insane to have someone tell me that "meat is murder" and the like (excuse me, but I am an omnivore...humans WERE designed that way....mmmmm beef, chicken, pork). I get up in arms over bull the likes of which we have and are seeing in Denver just for speaking your know my thoughts (see above) on the "designated" protest areas and freakin' permits required.

How about this (insert any given donating entity to "the cause")? You control the things in YOUR life that you want controlled and leave my life out of this. I personally don't enjoy living in a serfdom, being told when to do what and why by those that own more than myself. Especially not when I am supposed to be living in America, land of the FREE.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A few favorite Herbals

Tried and tested by yours truly, staples in our household and our herbal first aid kits (yes, we have several). Naturally, to protect my rearend, I have to say that spill about the FDA not approving and blah, blah, blah. Read as "use at your own risk". Now that all of the "legal" goo is out of the way, we use these regularly in this house. Not that we are forever getting hurt (well, the screamers are but that is a whole other can of worms) but scratches and bruises do happen. So ready or not, here we go!

Lemon Juice

~Used externally as an antiseptic. Excellent for acne, sunburns, warts, athlete's foot, insect bites, ringworm and chilblains.

~A warm tea with lemon juice, garlic and cinnamon is wonderful for helping ease the nasty of colds and flu.

~Gargles containing lemon juice assist in healing mouth ulcers and treating sore throats and bleeding gums.

Tea Tree Oil

~One of THE all-purpose herbals. Useful on infected burns, wounds, insect bites, stings, athlete's foot, mouth ulcers, sore throats, fungal infections, inhaled to treat coughs and colds.

Lavender Essential Oil

~The other all-purpose oil. Assists in calming nerves/irritability, treating insomnia, healing burns/wounds/sores. Rubbed on insect bites it relieves pain and inflammation. Can also be used to treat head lice and scabies. An infusion of the FLOWERS aids in relieving indigestion/colic/gas.

Witch Hazel

~has a drying effect that assists in creating a protective covering for the skin. Use on insect bites/minor cuts/bruises.

~useful for treating delicate skin sensitivities like eczema.

I could go on and on, but really I want to give a couple of recipes that I enjoy using here. Please note, that all of the measurements are NOT exact by any means.

Onion Cough Syrup

1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thinly
Sugar (brown or white, your choice)

Spread thinly sliced onion on a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with sugar. Cover well and set in a warm place for no less than 24hrs. Strain juice into a container. Take 1tblspn (adults) as needed for cough. (children 12 and under: 1/4 to 1tsp as needed)

Ozark Momma's Hubby is an dufus sunburn ease

1 bottle of witch hazel approx. 2/3 full
enough lemon juice to fill above bottle most of the way
rubbed sage
thyme leaves

Dump approx. 1/2 tsp of each of the above herbs into witch hazel bottle. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with lemon juice. Shake well and store in the fridge. Apply liberally to sunburn with clean cotton cloth. (note that this is VERY cold and will likely cause yelps of "dang baby, that is freezing". Simply ignore these yelps and apply as needed.)

For those that don't want to go into all of the mess involved with ordering massive amounts of beeswax, oils, herbs and the such...I've found the perfect solution for you! Go visit The Gallagher's to check out their DIY herbal pharmacy kit. Scroll all the way down to the bottom (reading as you go) and sign up for the notification, you'll also get get a free audio lesson on botanicals. While the cost may be off-putting you have to remember that to get a decent discount on materials that you don't have or don't grown yourself you have to order a lot. It all evens out (actually the kit is the better end of the deal, imo).

I am off to assist my mother in the great fruit preserving race tomorrow, so should have more than one anecdote for you when I get back! Remember...just keep preppin! (that's for you Mayberry...lmao)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Don't Wait

Get those stores in while you can still afford to! I promise, even if the economy doesn't come crashing down around us (and it will...I swear), you will need them this winter. Heating costs are going to be outrageous, as if they aren't already, and you can top it off with food prices going even higher.

In its latest food prices report, USDA said the increase for 2008 was due partly to higher costs for meat, poultry and fish, which make up about 12 percent of total food spending. Overall, costs for these items are forecast to rise 3 percent compared to 2.5 percent estimated last month.

Prices for fruits and vegetables, which account for more than 8 percent of food spending, will also rise 5.5 percent versus 5 percent predicted in July.

USDA also forecast increases this year of 9.5 percent for cereals and bakery products, a 14 percent surge for eggs and a 13.5 percent hike for fats and oils.

That is a big jump folks. Prices are already noticeably higher, there is no doubt about that as my budgeted food allowance is not getting as much as it did 3 months ago, but are set to go higher as the winter trudges on. What can you do?

Buy what you can while you can, freeze/can/dehydrate as much as humanly possible, forage while the temps are still good enough that plants are available, if you don't have a garden but a neighbor does ask if they mind if you glean behind them (I am ALWAYS gleaning behind Dad and always coming up with several things he has missed), check with locally owned groceries (yes, they do still exist in some places) about taking "spoiled" produce off their hands, ask around at local vineyards/orchards about helping with the picking in exchange for fruit instead of pay (make sure it would be an equal exchange however) and finally learn to dumpster dive. Around here you won't come up with much from the dumpster that is truly useful, but I hear in larger towns and cities you can get a big ol' bunch of useful stuff.

A few links to get you started on foraging/finding creative food venues.

Foraging: The World of Wild Edible Food
Background information on foraging for wild edible plants, the varieties and uses in nature, and how we can use them in cooking and preservation.
View more »
Doc Weed's Doin's
Edible Plants
Forager Press
Modern Day Food Foraging
Free Groceries (no, this isn't one of those survey's a good recipe given entry on Hubpages)
And a book that I sooo want for myself: The Storm Gourmet

Also, and I know this will so tick off some of you, look into getting a few of those shelf-stable meals (aka Dinty Moore) that are in the grocery section if you don't have the capacity (like myself) to go all out on freeze dried or MRE's. These are easy to heat up in a pot of water over your alternative heat source when the electric goes off...oh and they work in a microwave too. They travel well and are palatable even when cold.

A lot of us preppin' bloggers have been warning on winter, what with needing to get yourself and your house ready, consider this one of those. I know that there are those of us out there (ahem, me and Mayberry at least ;p) that aren't completely and totally prepared for the onslaught of higher food prices and our stores could use a little boost. Sure to heck there are more out there than just us, hence the be prepared or starting getting your butt that way post.

Need some home weathering inspirations, go visit Natog.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A little something to think about....

water filtration on the go. Usually means iodine tabs or a filtration pump, right? Well, if you have the cash to spend, take a look at the Lifesaver Bottle. I know, I know...sounds like an infomercial. But seriously, that is a nice looking bottle that has some pretty good creditability for being new to the scene. If I could afford it, I'd have it.

From the site:

'will remove bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and all other microbiological waterborne pathogens without using chemicals like iodine or chlorine which leave a distinctive foul taste.'

'shuts off the bottle’s cartridge upon expiry, preventing contaminated water from being drunk'

Now wouldn't that be nice to have for buggin' out...heck, I'd take it for our backpacking trips!

pathetic rhetoric and soapmaking

After Warsaw and Washington announced the agreement on the deal last week, top Russian Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn warned that Poland is risking attack, and possibly a nuclear one, by deploying the American missile defense system, Russia's Interfax news agency reported.

Poles have been shaken by the threats, but NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop dismissed them Tuesday as "pathetic rhetoric."

"It is unhelpful and it leads nowhere," he told reporters at a NATO meeting in Brussels, Belgium.
Original Article

Why do they not see the threat? It is right there, breathing down our necks. Who cares if the Russian army is not totally at level with the US...we can't win a war where the army/seperatist/insurgents are at a level far below. That is where the threat lies folks.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the Polish missile base. The Poles want it, the guberment gave it. But to dismiss the threats of a country whose military most closely rivals our own is stupid. Especially considering the bear has shown that it is quite willing to bite.

Okay, rant over. On to prepping. Or crafting. Or maybe just enabling.

In light of Wretha's asking me earlier this week about soapmaking, I went in search of info. Just google soapmaking, you'll see what I dug through until I went cross-eyed. I did find a site that is quite interesting, complete with supplies and formulas. I won't be able to order from them for a bit, so can't comment on customer service, shipping and what not, but they look to be pretty well versed in the subject. Plus it is a small company, I like to support those puppies when I can. Be sure to check it out when you have plenty of time on your hands:

Snowdrift Farm

I've also been digging for quality essential oils. Found a good place to get oils, herbs and most importantly herb seeds so I can grow my own everything. Now that is sufficiency. Check out this one:


Now, I'm off to start on tomorrow's nite!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cookware...Diggin' In or Buggin' Out

I debated on this entry for a good long while...I don't like telling people what to buy, merely suggesting it. But you have to see where I'm coming from on this one. Yes, it will cost you will be worth it.


Whooo, glad I got that out of my system. I've owned my fair share of cookware over the years. At least 6 sets in my 12yrs of marriage. All but my cast iron and most recent set (about a 6mths old now...housewarming gift that I think was above and beyond) were sets from chinamart. They didn't last long, couldn't handle my abuse and generally fell apart before they were 4 mths old. Nothing like picking up a pot of hot soup only to have a handle come off. That's dangerous I tell ya!

Naturally, being the cooking snob I am, I have a nice set of cast iron cookware that I've had and used for years. Not the newer pre-treated stuff either (had one, gave it away...ugh). Mine is well-seasoned, well-loved and used pert near everyday. If you don't have any, get some. Of course, the pre-treated really is fine, I promise. I just didn't like the way it was treated. I ended up giving to my sister after stripping it out as promised and retreating it my way (aka the right way, lol). Works fine for her, so I guess no complaints. Where was I?

Oh, good cast iron cookware. Get some. You can cook on any heat source with the stuff, once it is seasoned nicely it's just as good as (if not better than) the high falutin' fancy non-stick stuff and if you take care of it right it will last forever. Heck, my small dutch oven belonged to my crazy great-grandmother and is still in fantastic shape. It also makes for a good weapon in the event that you need such a weapon.

My other cookware is a set of Calphalon Hard Anodized. Expensive? Sorta. Worth it? You bet your freakin' bippy it is! Works best with medium to high heat, holds its temp well, cleans easy and would make a decent weapon since it's pretty heavy. I have the set linked above, the Everyday pan and 12qt stock pot. They all get used. I've tested them when camping over various heat sources, just not an open fire yet, and they've done beautifully.

The point of this is...get the good stuff when it comes to cookware. You most seriously don't want to be cooking a meal over a propane/wood/whatever stove only to have your aluminum el cheapo decide to go kaput.

Naturally, all of the above would be a bit hard on your back in a BO situation. So I've dug up a few good ones for that. I've not tested any of these, we have the el cheapo aluminum for that right now, but they are on my personal wishlist.


And just because I think it's freakin' cool and I "might" think about getting one:

A Coleman Crockpot!

Not totally off topic....

I don't usually really waste time patrolling sites that aren't related to my interests (more than just prepping, I assure you) but I do hit I can haz every once in a great while.

I saw this and immediately spit coffee all over the monitor...after some clean up, I present it to you:

more cat pictures

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Food Storage Programs/Calculators

I've been doing some searching and playing with all those wonderful programs out trials, name it. While I always abide by the hand-written method of keeping track of stores, I realize that a computerized version is easier to delve into as a beginner than doing some hard work by hand. I am sure I missed a few, but I do have a jumping off point for you at least.

First, there are calculators. These tell you what you need based on family size and ages of members. All relate back to one main one: The LDS calculator which covers the basics of your food needs for whatever length of time you punch in.

Here are a couple more (pretty much the same as above):

Chef Noah (also has some good tips on food storage, emergencies and such)

Those will get you started at least on the path to answering "what do I store?"

Now on to my most favorite...the programs for download that do everything but wipe your rear. As an instant gratification kinda gal, these were fun to play with AND they showed me a few things to stock up on that I didn't really think of, where I can fill in to round out what I already have and what I've spent (like I REALLY want to know that).

The LDS Home Storage Program (free trial for 15 uses, cost of $24.95 to register for keeps) has all kinds of super cool goodies, including a home inventory list with purchase prices for insurance usage, budgeting and loan calculators and more. I did have some trouble getting the actual food storage bit to work with me, could be because it is only the trial version. This is not the one I chose to keep for my own usage though because, well I'm cheap.

I like the Deyo Storage Program. It's free, it's a spreadsheet, it does all the calculations for you OR you can punch in your own numbers. Did I mention it's free? Oh and it's the one that lets you keep track of what you've spent (I ignore that column completely btw). Not only does it have info sections on food, it covers things like pet supplies, meds, batteries and more. Plus it has standard shelf life listings on just about everything. Can you tell I love it? I forgot...It has a storage calculator built in...what a time saver!

Revelar is apparently a popular one to use, I have tested this one and it is nice..complete with a recipe section and a bit that takes what you've used out of your storage listing. I just can't get past the always works better with a budget this small.

So if you've been looking for something computerized to help you along with your food storage inventory, check these out. But as always, keep yourself a nice hand-written inventory in a notebook. Preferably somewhere you can find it and the kids can't...did I mention my oldest LOVES to draw?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Avert your Eyes Fellas (aka It's Lady Time Again)

You gentlemen are of course welcome to hang about and get educated...heck, some of you may have something to add that I've forgotten.

We're going to talk fertility today. Whether or not you intend on having children, you should really...REALLY...know how to monitor your fertility in a SHTF situation. Birth control, as we know it now, may not be available and you will have to rely on the signs your body is giving you. These little buggers can be tricky, to be sure...that is why I suggest you learn them now. Of course, if you are currently on birth control the following will likely not be helpful to you at all as the extra hormones mess with your body's ability to "speak". Either way, I most highly suggest THIS BOOK. Be sure to check around on prices as I've seen them vary widely according to source.

In the above book, you will learn all about monitoring your morning temps (possibly not feasible in a SHTF situation which is why the rest of the signs are important to learn), cervical fluid, cervical position and how it all relates to your fertile periods. Anyone that has used Natural Family planning already knows most, if not all of this. But it bears repeating. Learn the signs and listen to your body.

Here is where keeping a daily journal comes in handy. Not only can you write about your day (I mean write literally...with a pen and paper), make reminder lists, have a little "me" time and a plehora of other things BUT you can also record your signals, in code if need be, in a little corner of your entry. This will help you remember where you sit in your cycle so that you can avoid intercourse or have fun with it as to your conception desires. Journaling all of the information can help you establish a pattern of "normal" for you as well. This in turn can help you see warning signs of potential problems before they get too far out of hand. Include in your information breast exams, done monthly AFTER your menses.

Since I'm not a trained medical professional (though all my experience with infertility should earn me a freakin' medal), I can only give my personal recommendations. "Taking Charge of your Fertility" is the big one. The website also offers a free trial period of a compatible software that allows to you track your signs and reminds you of what they mean. You can also use Fertility Friend to do the same (for free period). Both programs however highly depend on you taking your morning temperature at a consistent time (I fail so miserably at this). I do need to add here that I currently have both programs going (to test the Ovusoft one...I use Fertility Friend regularly because the price is right, lol) and they are at odds over fertile and ovulation timing...a little concerning to say the least as I have two dates, a week apart. The true test of their timing will come in a couple of weeks I suppose!

I also stumbled upon these in my research (Cycle Beads)...I have not used them as my cycles are a little weird in length, but they show promise for someone that is far more regular than myself.

Learning and keeping track of your body's fertility signs can help you achieve or avoid pregnancy. Though I have to say it just to sound like my mom...."The only guaranteed birth control is to not have sex"....sure Mom, sure.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Slight Political Rant, A Bit of Doom

Feel free to disregard this post...this is MY rant on politics and the choices we have. I don't care for "well do something about it" comments, why? Because I made my choice and now my choice is moot. I vote. I get to gripe. So here goes.

We have no choice this fall. No choice for actual progress. No choice for something more stable. This is not what bothers me. What bothers me are the choices we do have. A hard-nosed revenge seeker and an inexperienced buffoon. Not very promising, now is it?

I can give Mc one know where he stands most of the time. He is transparent to a fault. Outspoken, blunt and on occasion he even cracks me up with his ideals. Doesn't win my vote, but he at least makes me laugh. His need for revenge is frightening in a way that GW could only dream of.

Obama on the other hand does not make me laugh, has zero experience (no, his previous roles are not experience, not when he has been campaigning instead of working), sidesteps everything, promotes change but can't say WHAT he wants to change, panders to the fears of every class of Americans, provides no real solutions or answers. O is a man that the big guys love, pour into him your ideals and they become his. Nice suit, where's the man that belongs inside?

Why the rant? Because I feel as if my hands are tied. I don't even feel that there is a lesser evil to vote for this time, which is sad. The upside of this is that the lack of choices in this arena has spurred me forward in a way that I can control. No, I'm not a control freak...just ask hubby. It's amazing with our laid back styles that anything is ever agreed upon or even gets accomplished. Once again, our mindset is very much the same in regards to the upcoming election.

We have both started gettin' down to business with insuring our and our children's futures in the best way we know how. We are not rich nor are we even well off. We are a working class family that is living paycheck to paycheck while still trying to find a way to survive the coming flood. We are instilling in our boys a sense of duty, honesty, hard work and frugality. Not that we weren't already doing it, the difference is with our prepping they actually SEE the fruits of their labors. We are putting by, saving up...what ever you want to call it...for times when things get tough. Times are tough now. This is just the beginning. Really, it is.

I am not by nature a "doom sayer", I'm an upbeat kinda gal that loves to live life to the fullest. The choices of the future however have made me look at things quite differently. Regardless of who wins, we are in doo-doo. A spiraling economy, housing bust, impending wars on top of the ones we already have our noses in (if you think not, you live in a hole)...America of the last century is becoming obsolete. We no longer command the respect of the world at large, we are seen as meddlesome and weakening. The man that wins the election in November is in for a rude awakening when he takes the oath of office. It won't matter what his campaign promises were or what his plans are. This hole is so damned deep that only the bottom falling out will bring us back up.

It's sad to say that the bottom falling out is the most likely scenario. Fast or slow, it's going to happen. Will we as a country be better for it, maybe. Sometimes you have to tear something down to the foundation to bring it back up right. Do I look forward to this? Not on your life. But I'm doing my best to imagine the worst and prepare for it the best I can. Are you?

~I promise, I will get back to prepping posts soon. Beware, there is another ladies only post coming've been warned.~

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Aborted Break and Puppy Panderings

I love my parents, really I do....but my four-legged siblings are not my best of friends. I have serious issues with the mini-dach that weighs 25lbs (btw, that is what my 2yr old weighs...snort, mini) and her constant need for food. So I abandoned my folks' house in favor of home. Now don't fret, the creatures are fine and will be checked again in the morning. So I am here, comfortable in front of my 'puter, with no little yippy dog to impede my thought process. Relief!

I know that the above may paint me as a dog hater...I am so not. In fact, we are only dogless at the moment because our landlord IS a dog hater. However, as time draws closer for us to leave, we have started our research on a four-legged friend. I would love, love to have a Rhodesian Ridgeback, but the $1500 price tag makes that a no-go. So, I've come up with a list of dogs that we love. Got one? Let me know how you love your pup!

Great Pyr (no brainer as to why people love them)
Boxer (had one, loved her...lost her. Ready for another if it would be guaranteed to be even half as smart and loving)
Beagle (multi-purpose pup...hunting, running, laze about, player)
Labrador Retriever (another multi-purpose pup)
Ibizan Hound Dog (never owned one and don't know anyone that does...but think that it would fit our family)
Irish Wolfhound (have loved these dogs for years, never could find a reliable breeder)

So as part of my research into not only securing our home via pet with a pet (ie a guard dog that will play with the screamers), I've been doing lots of reading up. But reading doesn't give you everything. I would love opinions on a dog. We're a pretty active family now anyway, so an active dog is not a problem. We would have to have a kid-friendly dog and prefer a breed that is smart (my experience with Cockers for example leads me to believe they tend the other way...and I've had lots of experience). I know what works in a city/urban setting, but we've not had to worry about a good multi-purpose dog that has been used for a purpose other than pet for years. Lay it on me, opine with me. What is your ideal doggie? Yippy dogs not acceptable, lol.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Confessions

I have been putting off a lot of fall/winter preps. Mainly things like knits for the screamers and myself, clothing for the screamers and reorganizing the pantry/stores to see what's missing. I think it's because of the, the heat isn't bad at all...I just have the prepping blahs. I know that we have plenty of food stuffs to get us through so I don't really worry about it. This doesn't go to say I've stopped prepping though.

I haven't done near as much canning this year as I would have liked, as my mother took over the entire garden (with the exception of my eggplants). Which is fine by me, she has more time on her hands than I do. Let her can to her hearts content, I say. It actually leaves me time to work on research for our little slice of hopefully heaven.

Planning for the homestead has been a true eyeopener, there are just way more choices to research than you would imagine at first glance. Of course, if you are an experienced, grizzled 'steader you know this already. I've not had a place to actually put in my own garden or have my own chickens in over two years, even then it was a rental that was on-grid and we would have never considered going off. The research on solar options alone has at times made me simply walk away from the computer, head shaking. Decisions, decisions.

We are still up in the air as to how big we want to build. Hubby would "like" to get a loan using our land as a, nope. He does realize that now is really not the time to be dabbling in the loan arena, something that I'm grateful for. Our talk recently has turned to the possibility of him being recalled to serve...that would put a massive dent in our planning, should it happen. Highly unlikely though as his particular MOS is quite popular now. Good thing as I don't particularly feel like doing all the planning and such alone. I could, but would prefer not to.

In the meantime, research and planning continue. I spend my computer time mostly researching heirloom seeds, poultry, floor plans, alternative energy sources, equiptment rental rates, homeschooling stuff, storage/food supply lists and recipes...the list goes on. Not only for my own sake, but for information on writing for here as well. As I learn, I share.

Of course, I've gotten into the habit of only sharing here as most of you are of the same mindset. No use blathering on to family that think I'm a bit touched. Only my sister understands, which is hilarious since we didn't really like each other much until about 10 years ago (it was the age difference...had to be). She feels much the same way as I do, only our political views don't match one bit. Once again, I am the weirdo in the family...what with my odd lifestyle and political choices. I've gotten used to the has not. What a surprise they will all have this Christmas when they realize their gifts are all prep related. Should be interesting!

I will be MIA for a couple of sitting at the parents while they traipse off to a cousin's wedding. We are saving money, so won't be going...therefore I was volunteered to keep the four-legged siblings. Go figure. At least I will actually be able to get in the garden without mother staring over my shoulder to see what I'm getting. Finally, a chance to get some of the fruits of my labor!!

Have a swimmingly fun weekend all...think of me as I climb the plum tree!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Keeping you in clothing

Nope, not stocking you up with a gazillion clothes in even more sizes. That takes up entirely too much space, imo. And one thing you will learn here is that I am all about space.

It is far easier to store the implements for making clothing in various sizes than it is to store the clothing itself. Far cheaper for prepping period, if you do it right. This of course assumes that you actually know how to hand sew. Treadle machines can still be found, but are generally in bad shape. You will find that the ones that are still in good usable shape are most likely out of your price range (at least they are out of mine). At any rate, "you will eventually be sewing something by hand so you may as well learn" to quote my mother.

Now, onto the things you'll want to put by or the things I have put by myself.

Fabric: sturdy fabrics like denims, canvas, broadcloth, muslin and GOOD flannels. All of these are by no means cheap. I suggest you sign up for sales bills from JoAnn's. Not only will you get advanced notice on sales, but you get a 40% off coupon on each flier. It is only good on non-sale items, so keep that in mind. You can also do as I do and keep an eye on the clearance fabric at chinamart (should your's still have a fabric department that is). Every once in a while they will get a wild hair and mark some actual quality fabric down to $2 or $1 a yard. I buy the bolt if I have the money. I never, ever buy anything less than 4 yards of anything I buy...mainly because most of the sizes I make call for at least 2 yds of fabric. That is with the exception of the screamers clothing, but I always make duplicates for them. The point of this huge paragraph is to buy sturdy fabrics, by the bolt or in enough yardage that you are certain you can make two or more of what you are making. The better quality of broadcloth, muslin and flannel virtually ensures that the items you make will stand up to lots of wear.

Patterns: My rule of thumb...find a gender neutral pattern or a pattern that has styles for both sexes included and buy multiples of it. I also do this a JoAnn's during the sales. This weekend for example Simplicity patterns are 5 for $5. Those are the times to get them, in multiple sizes and duplicates. Then use your 40% off coupon to buy some pattern-ease for copying said patterns if you want. It last way longer than the tissue the pattern is printed on and even outlasts brown paper or newspaper (you KNOW that some of you have done that...heck, I have patterns that are 90% newspaper now).

Psst...a favorite pattern of mine for the screamers is New Look (aka Simplicity) #6398. Shorts, pants, vests, shirts, jackets and a skirt (not that we need the skirt here, yet) all in sizes 2-7. I've got 4 uncut and one cut. Seems extreme but this is a really good pattern for rambunctious little ones.

Accessories: Needles, in every possible size you can find, you never ever know what size you'll like or need. Scissors, you can get several pair of el cheapos or a couple of pair of good ones (I prefer Fiskars myself) and a sharpener. Let's not forget a pair or two of pinking shears while we're at it. Measuring tapes are really a must because pattern sizing is not standardized and some are just WAY off. Pins, both straight and safety, be sure to good some good quality ones also. They may have to last a long, long time. Pin cushion is optional, I myself have one of those magnetic do-hickies for the pack I'm using and several unopened packs in storage. You can also pick up some tailor's chalk and all those cool little marking do dads, but I don't have them so can't tell you whether or not they are worth your trouble.

Thread and Buttons/Zippers/Cording: Buy lots and lots of them. I have an old glass juice jar (about a gallon) loaded down with buttons that I've pulled off of unrepairable clothing over the years. I have a gallon sized ziploc that is full of cording and drawstrings pulled out of that same pile of clothing, in addition to a couple of rolls of cording in different sizes. Zippers, storage there is a LARGE box of zippers gifted to me by a friend that frequents estate sales. I don't have any clue as to why she bought them, she paid a dollar for them...there is roughly 250 in there. All in lovely shades of avocado, mustard and all those other cool '70's colors. Now thread, can do as my mother and buy some of every shade on the market so that you are guaranteed to have matching thread OR you can be like me...white, black and that lovely clear quilter's thread. I too have thread to match every fabric, lol.

Elastics will eventually dry rot, even in the best of situations. You can choose to replace it with some more (I do have several of the chinamart small packs stored away) or forget elastics all together and go for drawstrings and lacings.

For those just curious about my fabric stash, here's what I currently have:

2 20yd bolts of denim (one semi-stretchy, one not)
2 15yd bolts unbleached muslin (quilter's heavyweight stuff)
2 15yd bolts bleached muslin (again, the heavy stuff)
1 20yd bolt each of black, blue, white broadcloth (heavy again)
way, way too many 4 and 5yd cuts of flannels in various colors and prints
1 15yd bolt canvas (lightweight)
1 16yd bolt canvas (midweight)
1 12yd bolt canvas (heavyweight)
way too many 4-6yd cuts of various woven cotton prints and solids
roughly 20yds worth of cuts of various knitted cottons
1 20yd bolt of cotton gauze (this makes for nice airy skirts and doubles as bandaging)

That's just off the top of my head as I know I have more including corduroy, some odd polyester stuff mom gave me and upholstery fabrics. It sounds like a lot, I know. The bolts fit nicely in those big, plastic storage bins and the others are categorized into smaller bins. All stacked, out of the way, in a closet. It all takes up considerably less room than clothing purchased in multiple sizes for my growing monkeys. I replace as I use, when money permits, and I use often. I also very rarely say no to someone offering up fabric that they "just can't use" as I'm sure I'll be able to use it.

Now, I know there is likely something somewhere that I've missed that someone will find vitally important. Pop it in a comment and share your knowledge.

Mind if I ramble here a bit?

Of course you don't, it is my blog after all.

Today was spent in the most unusual manner for us. No school, no chores...everything got blown off in favor of heading to the parents' place. The boys were boys and played in dirt (quite should see the bathtub or the mud hole as it is at this moment) while I gleaned the garden. Poor Dad, he just doesn't stand a chance against those green beans. I am forever going behind him to pick at least an additional gallon to the five he's already picked. I then ambled around the fields, eyeballing the plum trees (tiny little plums, so not what I'm used to seeing in chinamart) while debating whether or not to start climbing for picking. Since I will be dog sitting there this weekend, I've decided to put off that task until Saturday.

I glared at the gooseberry bushes, now devoid of most of the berries. I had forgotten how prickly those buggers are and didn't even get enough berries to justify the thorns. The wild grapes have been terrorized by the cattle, so nothing there. The pears in the back field are even smaller than the plums, I'm just hoping they are a late type. We shall see I suppose.

While completing my rounds, I was thinking on future posts here. There isn't much that I can add that hasn't already been covered by someone somewhere, just a hopefully fresh perspective is all. A few topics that have sprung to mind are food storage in a small space (aka the rental), recipes using preps, homeschooling, my personal experiences with hunting game for the very first time (nope, not done it...ever...unless you count the targets on the ranges at Fort Leonard Wood), prepping for making your own clothing, family planning (um, yeah...that will come in handy for those that don't REALLY know anything other than what they teach in school) and all my adventures with teaching the wee screamers all there is to know about life out of the "norm".

I'm open to suggestions, of course, on what YOU would like to hear about. Perhaps you are an ol' pro at this, but want to know what a newbie like myself thinks of one thing or another in particular. Shoot me a line. I'm full of pert opinions and pretty useless facts.

On a food prepping note, I brought home (from the garden) roughly 5lbs of grape tomatoes...problem is, they don't know they were supposed to be grape tomatoes. Think small roma tomatoes. About 2-3 inches long. I'm thinking on drying them, as really the plants are just producing so many that it is hard to know what to do with them. Dry them, cook them down...I dunno. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This one is for you (ladies)

Ladies only...of course, you fellas can stick around if you see fit. I wasn't raised to be the prim 'n proper southern belle that only spoke of such things in hushed tones, face flushing with embarrassment. In fact, there was very little we didn't talk about growing up. Could have been that Mom was a young mom or that there was 6 and 8 yrs between me and my older siblings or just that I have no shame...take your pick. At any rate, have been warned.

So ladies, I gotta ask. What are your preps for good ol' Aunt Flo (aka the period, menstruation, menses, that time of the month)? Got a nice little stockpile of disposable stuff? What if you run out?

Planning on using traditional backups like animal pelts, mosses, rags and vegetable fibres? While effective, to a degree (hey, they worked for a good LONG time), I don't see many jumping back on this bandwagon.

Well, what are you going to do? I hear you asking. I do it already, so it's no big change. I use Sea Pearls. They last a very long time, are comfy and when compared to disposable products cost a heck of a lot less.

You can of course use cloth padsthat you've purchased, cloth pads that you've made (or this link, which I like a lot for more than the pad check out the rest of the baby crafts), a Keeper, a Diva or get ambitious and make your own tampons. I realize that this is probably something that you may not have thought of, or maybe you have but didn't know your options or you just prefer not to think about it at all. Sorry, but you have to. Prep for everything, I tell ya!

You should research all your options, of course, and think long and hard about what you would like to try (warning: while some love one thing, others will hate it...just like everything else in the world). As I said earlier, I'm a Sea Pearls kinda gal. I have 4 sets, 3 of which are socked away in personal preps. I have a few cloth pads too, but I just can't get my mind over the whole "it feels like a diaper" thing that I've always had so they are socked away with the extra pearls.

Now I'm not trying to preach you out of your comfort zone (yeah, I am and you know it) but periods are a fact of life. They happen unless you are breastfeeding (sometimes even then), pregnant (again, been known to happen), malnourished or have been through the change. It really is an issue that you must be prepared to deal with in a SHTF (either minor or major) situtation.

Just a little food for thought! Sorry guys, back to the regularly scheduled programming now.

A mindless prep

that is good for gift giving too.

Homemade Vanilla Extract
2-3 whole vanilla beans, split
1 cup quality vodka

Add the above to a capable bottle. Put in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks, shaking occasionally.

Ta're done. How easy was that?

Look here for a more instructions with pictures (ooooohhh, pictures!). Or you could just totally ignore this, run to chinamart and get a dozen bottles of the under $1 imitation stuff.

REALLY late ETA here: You can just pour you a drink out of the bottle (I prefer screwdrivers myself) and pop about 6 (3 for a small bottle) of those loverly vanilla pods in there then recap it and put it away, mourning the loss of your booze. But if you are a true prepper, there is no loss because there is another bottle or more in the pantry.

Why Prep?

Because survival is one of the most base instincts that an animal has. Humans are animals, regardless of whether or not you believe that. It is deep within us to want to survive.

Prepping is an insurance policy that you will in fact survive. You buy health insurance, life insurance, auto insurance...why not buy survival insurance? Food, supplies, shelter...these items are your survival insurance. (Thank you HT members for giving me that inspiration!)

Let's not think in terms of TEOTWAWKI, let's think in shorter terms...terms that many beginning preppers can cope with on a comfort scale. Think of an ice storm hitting this winter and wiping out your power supply, slicking the roads so badly that getting out is virtually impossible. You are stuck, in your home, with no hope of rescue for 48 or more hours at the least. Don't think it can happen? My dear friend Ms. Ruth would wholeheartedly disagree as she and her hubby were trapped on their not-so-remote property for a full week last winter. Snowed in and, because they do not live on a county road, at the mercy of Ma Nature because not a soul could get in or out.

Being diabetics, they had health concerns to keep them on their toes. Being older, they had age to give them wisdom. Ms. Ruth is a prepper, though she wouldn't call herself that. But she is. They have backup heating in a wood furnace, food stored in her inability to NOT can any vegetable that doesn't move and entertainment in her sewing and his reading. Prepping does not have to be totally giving over to the dark side and readying yourself for the inevitable.

Baby steps in the form of prepping for simple things like a bad month at work (ie construction, lay offs, etc), weather related issues (ice/snow storms, flooding rains that block your exit routes but don't flood you out, etc) and like me, a mild case of OCD that demands you have extra on hand, just in case.

Worried about taking the plunge? Build yourself up to it. Take your first step by buying an extra week's worth of non-perishables along with your regular grocery purchases (if you can afford this without putting yourself at risk with late bills). Learn to make bread, cook a dinner completely from scratch with what you have on hand (pretend there is no store to run to for whatever you don't have), buy a non-electric heating source as a backup (kerosene is pretty good for this if like us you are in a rental...doubles nicely as a cooking implement) and make sure you have fuel for it. Baby steps.

If you find yourself still unwilling to commit, think of what exactly would happen if you were trapped in your house for a week, snowbound like Ms. Ruth...would you be able to eat? Would you have heat? Would you be able to take care of yourself until help came...if help even knew you needed help?

This is where most preppers get their start. Planning for something little then working up to making sure that they can survive the somethings big. Does this mean that you should run around grabbing up things in a panic? No.

It means that one should seriously consider re-learning how to care for themselves and their family WITHOUT the aid of others. Friends, family and neighbors are wonderful to have but you must remember that they have to take care of themselves as well. Emergency services cannot help everyone in record time...there simply aren't enough hands to go around. Believe me, knowing that you can care for your family and yourself for a week without being able to get out to "civilization" for anything will give a bit of relief to the stress you might be feeling.

Think there is nothing to plan for? There is always something to plan for. Prepping is some folks' way of planning, buying insurance for their own survival in the uncertain future. And things are most certainly uncertain now.

Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse. All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul. ~Victor Hugo

Monday, August 11, 2008

On to the Finer Things

I realize that I've posted pretty much nothing but BO info since the beginning, probably because right now, in the event of a major emergency, this is what we as a family will be doing. It makes it sound though like I have no preps here. So not the case.

Right this moment, we have enough canned goods to get through 6 months comfortably without any wild crafting. Add in the wild edibles and we can certainly stretch that out a bit, at least a few months. Then you add the bounty of the parents' garden that has overflowed into an avalanche of zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and squash...well, let us just say that we are good with vegetables for quite some time.

I'm going to rattle on a bit about grains now. Please, please, please...for heaven's sake...if you do not know what to do with raw wheat DON'T buy 100lbs of it. You have to store it, grind it and then actually do something with it ya doesn't grind itself and it most certainly does not magically form into baked loaves of bread. The grain elves do not come and make everything bright and shiny (nod to Firefly)...there is actual physical labor and planning involved.

Where does the above come from, you this chick off her rocker? Nope, just a word of warning to pre-preppers (ahem, mother) that are jumping in with both feet firmly encased in cement. If you must buy some, buy only as much as you can store in your regular flour storage container...if you somehow manage to use it before you go totally insane, then buy more. The point is to actually know what to do with the stuff BEFORE you have to know what to do with it. TEOTWAWKI is not the time to take up the fun new skill of grain grinding.

And while we are at it...make sure you can grind it with a manual grinder (not electric, sans plug, no get the idea) before you go hog wild buying grain. Smack lotta good it will do you to have all that wheat and a prettyful electric grinder with all the bells and whistles when you have zero electric (unless of course you are already off grid, then you should notice no change to your daily schedule as the rest of the world wonders why the switch isn't working). All of those lovely gadgets are great, now. Should the inevitable happen, they will be good for...well, not much.

Okay, now that the main grain spill is over (main grain...snort) I can get to what I am currently using as a solution. Oh, and yes I do know WHAT to do with the grain and HOW to do it...I just don't have room for it here in the rental. Right this moment, I have 4 five gallon food grade buckets (big china mart $4 special in the paint department, already called and they're good) lined with mylar bags and filled with pre-ground flour. And an oxygen absorber (a la Riverwalker, check the "preppin' tips" section on the left). They are stacked in the utility room along with five gallon buckets of cornmeal, rice, pinto beans, rolled oats and sugar. Since I am a big proponent of use what you store, everything is rotated out and used on a regular basis. This also allows for me to keep track of what is left and make sure buggies stay out. Simple really, isn't it? Not for some people...not for my mother.

She is the bulk grain buyer with no idea of what to do. Yep, ain't I proud...sigh. I truly am the alien child, the weird one, in the family. Where the heck did I come from?

Alas, disregarding my flawed genetics, I have enough put by to get us through at least a few months of digging in at the rental. I've slowly been adding dehydrated meats and jerkies to our stash of canned meats and rotating them into our regular meals. Not even the hubby can tell much of a difference between "the real stuff" and the storage friendly (which may or may not mean that my cooking sucks). The littles think it's great fun for mommy to cook camping food a couple times a week. Of course, these are the same children who have not slept in an actual bed in over a month.

None of this is to say that I am even remotely completely prepared to have to dig in, not by any means. I've yet to finish fully prepping powdered milk, powdered eggs, butter and many other things. This just goes to say that if you intend on prepping something you can use, be sure you can use it before the time comes that it's your only option.

Use what you store!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

An eye-opening Sunday

Now I know where the holes are, for the most part, in the preps for bugging out. We played a game of bug out today and they were glaring, gaping holes. Stupid things, really stupid things, that I should have paid closer attention to.

Thing #1...the wee screamers greatly object to being rushed out the door. They enjoy taking their sweet time gathering things that they deem necessary to life. Crayons, toys, a recently favorite stuffed animal. Keep in mind I have crayons, toys and other things in their BOB's...apparently not the correct ones though. Mental note: either know where these seemingly vitally important items are or be prepared to tranquilize the children.

Thing #2 (the BIG stupid)...there is ONE way out of the area we live in that is paved. Once you get past the gates there are two road options. One short and directly into town, the other a bit longer and comes to the main road just west of town (the direction in which our land lies). Should the road be blocked before or at the gate, we are SOL...don't think the van will be all that good for off-roading. Has anyone taken a Voyager off-road? Let me know how it did, would ya? I have now resigned myself with familiarizing myself with the many, many ATV trails that criss cross through here. Lazy afternoon walks will now be a mental mapping session to find alternate routes.

Thing #3...DH is not as close to being a prepper as I am. The phrase "why couldn't we just go to your parents?" came up several times. After phrase repeat #6 I simply told him to shut up...not nice, I know. But you can only explain so many times that the parents live 8 miles in the opposite direction of our land...that they would probably end up trying to get to us anyway...that even though they live back off the road, every road that leads to them with the exception of their drive is paved...that their neighbors have a very large family that would all be trying to get to them and that amount of traffic is bound to attract attention. Oh, let's not forget the morons that live at the top of the hill that cause, with their ever present ignorance, the road to get washed out at every little rainstorm. Yep, the parents house is not the best of ideas. I think he figured that out finally. But he still isn't here yet, not right here. Not thinking about the entire thing. He's quite happy to go on planning the off-grid house we hope to start on next spring (provided we aren't all glowing by then) while I go on planning how to make it in much less hospitable conditions.

~~~~Warning: the section below is full of nonsense, questions and just random thoughts that my tired brain has decided to regurgitate onto the screen.~~~~

Some day, that man will be right here...right where I'm at. Probably not until he absolutely has to be, but he'll be here eventually. I'll admit, I'm not all prepper...I still like my lazy dinners of ringing up the chinese restaurant on occassion, but darn it I could do without if I had to. Besides, I know how to make crab ragoon so it will be all good, as long as I can find some crab here in MO.

I'll also admit, I've never in my life fired an actual shotgun. M16, 9mm, muzzleloader rifle and pistol, compound bow...yes. Shotgun, no. So, the hubby has given me a task...clean and blue his 1912 shotgun (I'll get the actual info on it tomorrow night...can't remember exactly right now) that his grandfather gave him and he will "teach" me to shoot it. Does this make me a bad survivalist...that I've never fired a shotgun? I sure hope not, lol...'cause I don't know where I can get an M16 and I would think that they'd do a bit of damage to a deer...wouldn't they?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Feeling the Panic yet?

With all the lovely things going on the past week or so, are you feeling the panic? The "I have to get (insert whatever you have to get) and I have to get it now" feeling?

Not to drive you into a panic, but below are a few thing to make you think a bit on prepping for your family's survival. Today in the news:

~ The Ruskies got lonely in the "we haven't started a war in a while" camp and naturally the US has to go giving orders.
~ Might be time to find a new Paki friend for Bush
~ Freddie and Fannie, an economic fundraiser paid for by YOU
~ More refunds
~ The Anti-Christ is born...just kidding, that will be my nephew's title

With the exception of the last one, the rest give me the willies. Okay, maybe the last one does too but not for the same reasons. The rest have made me get to eyeing the pantry preps and such. I find that we are good on everything but meats for about 6 months if we stay in place (if it is possible). If we have to BO, well...we'll be packing the vehicle full of food stuffs first. If we have the time.

So tonight is revise the plan night. Tonight is sit down, make a list of the most probable scenarios we'd be dealing with and find solutions/actions that will work for us. Now, I've done this with things like weather/storm related issues, fire, chem spills and other things that wouldn't neccessarily require we be gone for an extended period (aka a week or more). We're good there.

The issues I'm working on tonight are more along the lines of quick BO's to "the place" and what we would be able to toss in the vehicle in a matter of minutes. There is already a tote in there with a few days worth of easy, non-perishable foods, water, clothing, blankets and the like. The three season tent and personal BOB's are set up in an easy access location for grabbing on the way out the door.

So for my own mental access, I'll pop down a list of things I'm going to be adding to the vehicle tomorrow morning:

~ camp stove and fuel (not sure about the fuel...have to think on that)
~ basic camp cooking supplies (cook pot, plates, utensils)
~ the 5 gallon solar shower (not a need but will be good for carrying extra water if needed)
~ Extra couple of gallons of water

Not much...just making it look like we are always ready to go camping. Yeah, that's it. Camping. Nothing to see here, move on along.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kids (not goats) and Preps

I should probably be talking about food storage or the like since I am currently buried under green beans and tomatoes, but I won't. I want to talk about children and prepping. This is one of the way up there on the list ones for me. I have two youngsters that are homeschooled, though they are technically too young for school according to the public system...but who asked?

I digress. The goofballs are homeschooled and will remain so regardless of how big the SHTF situation gets. How do I plan ahead for future education, should SHTF actually happen on a scale large enough to keep me from getting any resources? I buy the basics, I plan to teach the basics (hello, high school trig was a complete waste of my time). Basic math (to include PRACTICAL applications of Geometry...not freakin' proofs which are nothing but a mathematical form of torture), History (not an issue there as my brain is full of seemingly useless historical data), English, Science to include Anatomy and Biology.

Here we use non-faith based materials just because that's the way I want it. However, if that is what floats your boat, buy it. The point is be prepared to continue your child's education should the inevitable happen. Now is the time to grab up all the extra notebooks, pencils, crayons, scissors and whatever else you think you might need. Back to school sales are the time and place to stock up. Neither kiddo is old enough for school, but I hit the local parent teacher store for some good deals on curriculum that is "old" (aka being replaced with a smancy new version that teaches the same thing but costs more). We are set through at least the 8th grade right now.

Even if you aren't planning on permanent SHTF type stuff, just filling BOB's (or Emergency Packs) you still want those types of items for your children. Have you ever been trapped in a vehicle with a bored 4yr old...I have, for 8 hours. We do not leave the house without his "man bag" which is filled with crayons, little pocket notebooks, pencils and rubber bands. Don't ask...that kid can do anything with a rubber band, he's a mini MacGyver. The point is to have a small bag that has the things your child loves the best in it to keep them occupied. It needs to be light enough for your child to pack it themselves. My two year old carries his BOB to the car every time we walk out the door. There is nothing in it that is too heavy for him to carry for an extended period of time.

Which leads me back to the carrying of the BOB to the car. We grab them EVERY single time we walk out the door. Why? Because you never, ever know what will happen. Yes, we have a family BOB in the car containing blankets, water, non-perishable foods, extra keys, change of clothes for everyone and a bit of extra cash. BUT the individual BOB's are where the clout is. Each tailored to the person that wears/carries them. Allowing your children to help you decide and pack what will be in their bag makes it all the more important to them. For us, getting the boys into the habit of grabbing their bag on the way out the door was just as important. It is teaching them responsibility, preparedness and gives them a sense of security as well. It is a routine and any one with more than one child will tell you, routine is important. But so is flexibility.

You must teach your child to be flexible enough to handle any situation. This has been a struggle for me as both children tend to freak out when they are separated, the younger one calming down considerably faster than the older. We are working on the self-reliance thing a little, but don't push it since they are so young. However both boys are quite adept at gleaning gardens and identifying edible berries (not helpful in the winter, I know). We are teaching them about other wild edibles (mushrooms are being saved for when they are older...too dangerous right now) and including a few in a meal or two each week so they grow accustomed to them.

Routine...I tell's the key. Get them, and yourself for that matter, used to doing things that they and you will rely on in a post SHTF world.

Keep hangin' on...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Oh Baby!

and the preps that go along with them.

Okay, so maybe you don't have a baby yet. Do you plan on having one? Are you of "child bearing" age? Are you "fixed"? What do you plan to do when TSHTF and you run the risk of having a wee little screamer to take care of?

As a mom, my children (aka wee little screamers) are the first thing on my mind. One is potty learned, the other is working towards that goal but is still in diapers. I am still fairly young, so more children are a distinct possibility. Being an experienced mom, I know my options for baby care. This is for those that do not or do but are open to something new.

I say new, but nothing that I'm putting out there is new. In fact, every bit of it is old. Some of it is likely to set you screaming off into the night, hands over your ears and eyes tightly closed...lalalalalala, I can't hear you!! But these are the facts folks, you gotta be ready for anything.

Now, first things first. Those little buggers come into this world. It's a fact. They don't just magically appear or get dropped off on the porch by the stork (this is highly debatable according to my husband, though he is referring to the number of stray animals that find their way into our lives). So you need to know how to handle childbirth, without medical assistance, as it is very unlikely in a post-SHTF world that you would be able to get along to the hospital for help.

BornFree! is a most excellent place to start. Unassisted birthing is not unnatural, it's how people were born for centuries and in some places it is the norm instead of the odd. Read up, email Laura with questions, join the forum. LEARN!! This does not go to say that you can't have an assisted birth even with TWAWKI being way different. Midwifery will still exist in some form or another, it really is a basic instinct.

After birthing, the next thing to worry about is feeding. Oh yeah, they have to eat. Hmm, what shall we give them? Why breastmilk of course! Yep, that's what those things were originally intended for. Not some eyecatching contraption to get a fella's attention. Nope, they are for the babies! (hey, I have that tee shirt)

I realize that there are those that will not be able to breastfeed, I sympathize really. My first was not a good nurser and we had to give it up after 7 long months of trying to find what worked. He refused to take formula, so it was straight on to whole milk. Don't go there, the pedi already did, besides nothing wrong with the boy now except that his ears don't work on occasion. Where was I? Oh yes, not being able to breastfeed. Well, I would imagine that post-EOTWAWKI there will be a shortage of factories pumping out canned and powdered formula. What do you do?

This is precisely why I advocate having canned evaporated milk in your food storage stash. Not only does it make the best gravies and yummy biscuits (use what you store folks!) but it can be used as a formula. I do not recommend this for usage NOW as there are many other suitable options available for the moment (had to cover my rear there). Here, in pdf format, you can find instructions on making formula from evaporated milk. Naturally it goes through the short spill of why you shouldn't do it, but the recipe is there anyway.

Once you feed the little blighters, they poop. Or pee. It's messy, it has to be dealt with. I've got one word for ya, CLOTH! May as well start using them now, if you have one in diapers, just to get used to using them. It's not as hard as you think. I won't go into all the wonderful innovations that modern cloth diapers won't be using those long. You'll want something simple to care for, easy to use (with a learning curve of course) and won't take up a buttload of space in your post SHTF life. You're gonna want flats. Why? You can get 8 dozen of them for under $100, they fit most babies all the way up to potty learning, they are easy to wash and dry, that many flats take up a whole heck of a lot less room than that many pockets, fitteds or prefolds. Sure, you'll need covers (or just want them, my youngest goes coverless 95% of the time) but if you are handy with a set of knitting needles you can make them yourself. Wool is what you want there, though if you have a stash of acrylic yarn hidden away you can use it to. Do a Google search for free patterns (longies, soakers, diaper covers) to knit or'll be overwhelmed. Below are some links to finding what you need. No, this isn't my store but I have used them several times and have been quite pleased every time.

Pins and Snappis (for the pin-fearer)
How to fold those crazy squares of fabric (pick a fold, any fold)

That's it for tonight folks. I'll pick up on Baby goo at a later date, including what to do when they shove not one but two peas up one nostril.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Adding to the Chaos

Yep, it's yet another survival blog. This one is written by a woman though. Not unique in anyway, I'm certain. There are scores of "us" out there, quite a few blogging and even more not blogging.

I am what you would consider a beginning survivalist, still in the learning stages. But most experienced folks still have something to learn, right? If you stick around here, we can learn together. A fresh point of view or the opportunity to share wisdom never really hurt anyone. Everyone can learn something new.

I welcome your CONSTRUCTIVE comments, idiotic ones will be ignored and you will be considered a troll that will soon starve here.

Strap in and enjoy the's sure to be a wild one.
The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts. --Edmund Burke