Revisiting Winter Weather Preparedness

snowWith much of the country gearing up for a wild winter, it is a good time to talk about winter preparedness. A heavy snowfall or severe weather that results in icy roads or widespread power outages can put people’s lives at risk. If you are prepared for such nasty weather, you don’t have to worry about much more than how you will pass the time.

Winter weather preparedness means you need to be prepared to get stuck at home for days on end. You will have to eat what you have in the pantry and fridge. There is also a good chance you will have to be prepared to stay warm without the luxury of your electric furnace. You will likely need a supply of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking if you don’t have a woodstove to cook on.

There are many elements to winter preparedness. You want to get prepared now, even if you don’t think you will ever need your preps. The old saying, “to have it and not need it is better than to need it and not have it.”

This list will cover the things you need to think about and prepare for.

*A backup source of heat i.e. woodstove or fireplace, if this isn’t possible, you will need to be prepared to seal off a room in the house to try and keep warm with candles, blankets and body heat

*Have a supply of non-perishable foods, you have to assume the power will go out and food in the fridge and freezer will be difficult to cook and may spoil

*Have a supply of rock salt to make the areas you need to walk on outside a little safer

*Have plenty of board games, books and your favorite nonelectrical hobby to keep entertained

*If you do have a woodstove, load up on dry wood nowwood-1767521_1280

*If possible, invest in a portable generator

*Have an emergency kit that includes candles, matches, flashlights and spare batteries

*A snow shovel will be a must, if you can get your hands on a snowblower it will save you some manual labor, don’t forget a roof rake to pull the snow off the roof to prevent a roof collapse

*Plenty of winter gear i.e. wool socks, coats, hats, gloves and waterproof boots, have backups in case the first set gets wet or tears

Usually, in the event of severe winter weather, life gets back to normal within a few days. During that time, you must be prepared to do with what you have at home. You may not be able to go to work, schools will typically be canceled and the whole family will be home. Prepare to feed, entertain and keep everyone warm. Look at it as some time to bond with the family.

Your vehicle needs to be prepared as well. We will cover that in next week’s post.

5 Quick Prepping Tips to Do This Weekend

food pantry-1Before the holidays soak up all of your time, spend about 10 minutes this weekend taking care of some tasks that will ensure you are prepped and ready to go should SHTF tomorrow. While we all hope we could see the signs and have a little time to prepare, that isn’t always the case. The best thing you can do is to always be ready. When the warning is sounded or an alert is given, the millions of other people who are not prepared are going to be rushing to take care of all the stuff they put off. You will find the shelves empty and you will be out of luck.

Check out the 5 things you can do this weekend.

1. Check your stock for signs of spoilage. Bulging cans or dripping jars are bad news and need to get disposed of quickly. If you have wood shelves, the leaks can rot the wood and cause serious problems.
2. If you have a shelf full of empty canning jars that won’t be used this season, fill them with water. Put clean lids and bands and you will have extra water, just in case.
3. Do a quick inventory and organize your food into like categories. Putting like foods together helps you do a quick visual to see what you need to balance out the food groups. If you have a lot, take it a step further and put canned corn together, canned beans and so on.meal planning
4. Jot down items that you need or want to add. Put the list in the car so you have it handy. A copy of the list in your wallet or purse will give you a quick reference when you are at the store. Use the memo section on your smartphone to list the items you need.
5. Put together a go bag. This doesn’t have to necessarily be your bug out bag. Something small that includes matches or some kind of fire starter, an emergency blanket, water purification and a multi-tool. This can be stashed in a small ziploc bag or some other small zippered bag. This bag can be quickly packed into a suitcase or tossed in a purse if you have to leave home for a short trip.

These quick tasks will pay off in an emergency. They won’t take more than 10 minutes. Revisiting your storage and tidying up will help you stay on top of things and know where everything is, what you have and what you don’t. The goal is to keep your prepping top of mind. Carve out some time this weekend and get it done!

Planning for Prepping in 2017

illuminated-1479168_1280As we roll through the next 6 weeks that will likely have us all so busy spending time with family and friends, shopping and enjoying the holidays in general, our prepping can get put on the back burner. Any extra cash in the budget is likely allotted to gifts and holiday parties. Although prepping should always be a priority, it isn’t out of the normal to focus on living today and worrying about tomorrow, later.

The holidays may take up a lot of your time, but when you are asking for gifts or giving gifts, cool gadgets that aid in survival would be the gift that will keep on giving. You will also want to think about those holiday sales on certain foods. You can get some great deals on canned soups, baking items and some spices. Don’t forget to shop the clearance aisles once the holidays have passed. Learn how to get the longest shelf lives from the foods you do buy. Mylar bags are your friend!food storage

Once the new year kicks off, put prepping at the top of the list. Truly commit to making room in the budget for food and other supplies. You don’t have to fall into the trap of making a New Year’s Resolution, make it a way of life. Stockpiling items should be a habit. When you walk by a garage sale or check the free items on Craig’s List, think about things you can use to rebuild and really help your family survive and thrive when there are no more stores. When you can’t run to Home Depot or Wal-Mart to pick up garbage bags or a box of nails.

Find the room in your house and make it happen. Don’t just think about it. Do it. The times they are a changing and you better be ready to roll with it all. You can soften the blow of a job loss, sluggish economy, aftermath of a natural disaster or civil unrest by committing making your stockpile a priority in the coming year.

Preparing for the Changing President

riotingIt is a time of great strife in America, which is having long-reaching effects across the world. America elected a new president. There was no right choice or wrong choice. The outcome is what it is and people are angry. Riots and protests have already started. Threats of dire consequences and circumstances are being predicted and it is hard not to feel a little anxious about the future. This isn’t about a political party, race or anything else. This is what preppers have been preparing for. This change of hands in the White House that could be good or it could be bad. One thing is for sure, it has divided the country and the world as a whole.

It doesn’t matter who you voted for or who you did or didn’t want. It is about preparing for the fallout. Our lives are going to change. We can all hope it will be for the better, but is that a realistic outcome? It is truly hard to say. The media in general thrives on the drama. The more that is stirred up, the more they have to report on. The more they report, the antsier and angrier people get, which is where preppers come in.

You all need to be ready for the changing tide. Now, more than ever, you need to get your stuff together. Get your food stockpiled. Get some water stored. And yes, store some guns and the ammunition to make them effective. It may not be the newly elected president that poses the threat. It could be your neighbors or another country. The changing of the guard so to speak is always a vulnerable time.food pantry-1

Start stockpiling these things now;

  • Non-perishable food items i.e. canned meat, dried beans, grains, freeze-dried foods
  • First aid supplies
  • Guns and ammo
  • Basic construction supplies i.e. hammer, nails, saws
  • Pandemic supplies i.e. face masks, gloves, Tyvek suits, plastic
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Entertainment items i.e. books, board games, cards, pen and paper, crayons for the kids
  • Communication devices i.e. 2-way radios, HAM or CB radio, satellite phone
  • Backup power source—solar is great option
  • Prescription medicines

You know what your family needs. Stock up on what you need to stay alive should you have to stay in your home for weeks at a time to ride out civil unrest or a terrorist attack. Don’t get caught off guard.

Practice Makes Almost Perfect Survival Skills

mountain-man-205306_640The old adage, “practice makes perfect” is rarely accurate in the true sense of the word, but it can make any skill pretty close to perfect. Survival skills deserve the same kind of attention you would give to a professional sport. Athletes practice quite a bit to be the best they can be at whatever it is they do, as do hobbyists. The more you practice, the better you get. Don’t you want to be the best you can be at starting a fire, building a shelter or hunting when your life depends on it?

Schedule some time to get outside doing the things you will likely have to do in a true survival situation. Don’t just get out when the weather is nice and warm. Get out when there is three feet of snow on the ground. Get out when the wind is howling and the rain is pouring. This is the only way you are going to prepare yourself for real life situations that are more likely to occur. When you think about it, what are the chances of you being forced to flee for the wilderness when it is a nice 70 degrees out? Not likely. In fact, not probable at all considering a natural disaster is what very well may send you running.camping food

Get the feel for what it is like to feel the rain on your face or what it feels like when you have to walk a mile in deep snow. Every discomfort you feel or problem you face is an opportunity to learn. Learn from those problems and grow your skills. This is how you get better, just like a star football player practices twice a day for years.

Block out some time this month and go for a hike. Go in the backyard and practice making tinder bundles. Practice using your flint to spark a fire. Do some studying about edible plants in your area. Sign up for classes and learn from experts. The more practice you do, you will get pretty close to perfect.

The Importance of Concealing Your Preps

food pantry-1With more and more people realizing the danger the world is in, it has become very normal for people to start prepping. People are stockpiling food, water and weapons in the anticipation of a major fallout. We all know we are on a speeding train headed for disaster, with no way off. The only option is to prepare for the impending train wreck we are headed for.

With so many people prepping, you wouldn’t think it was necessary to be too worried about hiding your supplies. If everyone has enough, who would need yours? Well, sadly, the majority of the population isn’t prepping. They are not ready to deal with a total collapse. This is bad news for those that are prepping. When the non-preppers run out of food and water, they are coming for yours. It is important you take the time to disguise and hide your preps.

Hiding your supplies will ensure the average looter doesn’t find them. It ensures you will have food to feed your family. There is an old saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” That is the case with your preps as well. Don’t put them all in one place. You need to not only hide them, but you also need to have several caches hidden around.a stocked pantry is disaster insurance

Get creative with how you hide preps. You can hide them in plain sight. Fill boxes with food and supplies and label them with things like “winter clothes” or “Christmas decorations.” People who are in a hurry are not going to waste a lot of time searching boxes that are not going to yield them anything good.

Root cellars that have been concealed are also great options. Dig the cellar a little away from the home or secondary location. Looters are going for the obvious and are not going to spend a lot of time searching around the grounds for a root cellar.

Never, put all of your food and supplies in one place. Having a main storage room is great, but have some backups as well. A good prepper has a backup for their backup. Get creative and think out of the box a bit so you can make sure your preps are there when you need them.

Are You Ready for Hunting?

sniper-1194303_1280Tis the season hunters all across the country are gearing up and heading off into the forest or wilderness to do a little hunting. Hunting for ducks, elk, deer and so on is a family tradition for many. It is a way to bond with friends and family as you skulk through the woods, looking for an animal to take. In today’s world, you need a license and a tag to take your catch home. You spend a lot of money gearing up for your hunting expedition. You only have a small window and it is important you take advantage of the fancy gear and equipment to make sure you don’t go home empty handed.

Hunting in today’s world is cushy compared to what it will be like when hunting is how you put food on the table. When there are no grocery stores to pick up the slack, you have to be prepared to take an animal every time. You will be hunting more than once a year and while it may still be a sport, it is going to be very serious business.

You need to have supplies tucked away for hunting. Sure, you can rough it and you can hunt without a lot of the little luxuries that are available today, but why should you have to if you don’t need to? Plus, if you have never hunted the old-fashioned way, you are going to struggle without your gadgets.hunter-67002_1280

Some things you can add to your stockpile that will make hunting a little easier and possibly successful (depending on who you ask).

*Camouflage—waterproof is best

*Hunting knife

*Bone saw for processing what you harvest

*Dragging gear—makes it a lot easier to get large animals back to camp

*Hunting pack

*Gun with plenty of ammunitionrifles tend to be the weapon of choice

*Bow and arrows

*Calls—duck, deer or whatever you are hunting

You may be a hunter that really depends on the scents used to lure in animals or the descenting products that are meant to mask your smell. If you use these things and have had success, it would be a good idea to add some to your stockpile. Hunting is a lot like cooking. Everyone has their own style and personal preferences. It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do. All that matters is that you are successful. Don’t worry about other hunters shaming you for using various tools. If they work, that is what counts and your family will be fed.

Preparing for High Winds

tree-14340_1280Strong winds can be a nuisance as well as a life-threatening, potentially devastating situation for many. For people who live in rural areas, a strong windstorm can disrupt their lives for days, weeks and in some situations, months after the storm blows through. Downed power lines are obviously a major issue, but it can be so much more than that. For those who have homesteads, your entire life gets tossed around when those winds tear through. Barns, gardens and even livestock can be severely impacted after a windstorm.

Strong winds are unlike any other seasonal storms. You can get a windstorm any season. Usually, the winds are accompanied by either snow, rain, hail or even lightning. In any scenario, it is a recipe for disaster. The winds can destroy buildings by blowing off roofs or dropping trees and other debris on top of the structures. There is little you can do in the moment, which means a home being flooded and all of the supplies and furnishings inside being damaged or destroyed.key-west-86025_1280

As part of your preparations, it is important to prepare for strong winds, no matter where you live. It is a fact the weather is getting more extreme. New records are being established all around the world. It is best to prepare for anything and hope for the best.

Fortunately, our weather forecasters can give us an idea of when a windstorm is headed our way, which gives you hours, if not days to prepare. The following list includes some of the things you will want to do to get ready for a serious windstorm.

*Take a walk around your property and cut down any dead tree limbs that will likely turn into missiles in a windstorm. Cut heavy branches that could fall and hit your home or any other outbuildings.

*Take a few minutes to inspect your roof. Tighten down loose shingles now. If you have a metal roof, make sure it is all secure.

*Put lawn furniture in the garage or tie it down. It takes very little to blow chairs and tables across the patio and possibly right through glass windows and doors.

*Secure any livestock fencing. A downed fence could spell disaster if your animals get out.

*Prepare for an extended power outage. Have flashlights, generator and water on standby.

*Close the blinds or curtains on the windows if you don’t have shutters. This can help prevent glass from being blown inside if the windows are struck by flying debris.

Don’t let the next windstorm take you by surprise. Be ready, just in case the storm turns into a record-setting event.

When Your Preps are Threatened

thunderstorm-567678_640We have all experienced the wrath of Mother Nature on some scale at one time or another. She can be a violent, temperamental beast and strike without warning. In some cases, we are fortunate enough to get a little inkling of what she is up to thanks to modern technology and various imaging tools. This week, it is Hurricane Matthew storming across the Atlantic and wreaking havoc as it goes.

For preppers along the south eastern coastline, it has to make you a little worried for your stockpile. For those not in the direct path of the hurricane, it should make you think a little harder about how you will secure your own stockpile in case a natural disaster heads your way. What happens if you have to evacuate? Do you have a backup plan?

Your stockpile is meant to be used in the case of a natural disaster, like a hurricane, so you need to make sure it will weather the storm with you. That means you need to do everything you can to make sure your stockpile is safe from the weather.

  • Store your food in 5-gallon buckets with lids that lock on tight. This will help protect your food from any water damage that may happen in a flood. If your roof is damaged in a hurricane, the buckets will keep your food dry.
  • Secure your shelving units to the wall with anchors. You don’t want your shelves to fall forward, possibly popping the lids off buckets, bursting cans or breaking jars.
  • Add a piece of 1×2 or a thick rope across your shelves to keep things from sliding off if there is an earthquake or even strong enough winds. If your home is seriously damaged, you want the majority of your supplies to be okay.hurricane-67581_640
  • Put your food storage somewhere that is fairly secure and well-supported. If you are using a root cellar or basement, make sure major flooding won’t be an issue. This applies to underground shelters as well. If it is in a spare room, put plywood over the windows, just in case the glass breaks.
  • If you can, put a tarp over your shelves stocked with food and secure with ropes or bungee cords. This is just another layer of protection for your supplies. It may also make it easier to find if you need to dig through the rubble.

While you can’t control Mother Nature, you can take steps to protect your investment. If you weren’t able to evacuate and an area is hard hit, you are going to need those supplies They will be extremely valuable. Every layer of protection you add will help.

 

Why Cover Crops are Important for Homesteaders

agriculture-87581_1280Preparing to live in a world that has been devastated by a natural disaster, war or an economic collapse means you need to be self-sustainable. Right now, you may have a good size survival garden and some livestock. You are probably feeling pretty good about your situation—and you should. You are almost there. If you have acres and acres of land available for your livestock to graze on, you probably aren’t too worried about feeding them when you can’t run to the feed store or to Farmer Joe down the road to buy hay. For those, who have limited land available, you need to grow food for your animals as well as your family.

One way you can keep food growing all year is by planting cover crops. Cover crops are a common practice for large farming operations because they help build up the soil. The roots are putting nutrients into the soil. This is an excellent way to help soil that isn’t quite ready for planting a full garden. Growing things alfalfa and clover will feed your livestock while preparing your soil for the following year’s garden. It is often referred to as green manure.clover-828698_1280

You will also help minimize weed growth over the fall and winter. This will save you a lot of time and trouble in the spring when you need to prepare your fields for planting. The soil will also be protected from hardening over the winter. Again, less work when it comes to spring planting.

What you grow is up to you. You will need to pick things that will survive the winter. If your goal is to feed livestock, stick with clover, which is very hardy. Throw out clover and alfalfa seeds in areas you will have your animals graze on as well. This will provide them with plenty of food the following year. Make sure you save seeds so you can start the process all over next fall.