Keeping Your Food Storage Cool this Summer

food pantry-1As you continue to build up your preps, you need to take special care to ensure they are being stored properly. With summer temperatures expected to be hotter than ever, it is even more important you take precautions to keeping your food at an ideal temperature. Canned food that gets too hot will spoil. All of your hard-earned money that was spent buying the food will be wasted. Freeze-dried food may not spoil, but it will certainly not hold up as well in extreme conditions.

Here are a few ways you can help keep your food storage from being spoiled by a hot summer.

1-If your preps are in a room in the house, install a ceiling fan or put a couple of oscillating fans in the room to keep the air moving. Opening a window at night will allow a cool breeze in to help keep the room cool.

2-Cover the windows in the room with heavy curtains. Putting aluminum foil on the windows will also help reflect the heat keeping it from heating up the room.

3-Consider building a root cellar to hold your preps. The earth tends to hold around 50 degrees, which is a perfect temperature for your food. The best part about using a root cellar is it can be used year-round and is also a great place to store your root vegetables like potatoes and onions.air-2260_640

4-Basements will typically remain fairly cool, but they can get humid. Keep a fan running to help circulate the air and prevent condensation from building up on your food. Moisture is not something you want in your food storage area.

Your food storage area doesn’t have to be kept as cool as the rest of the house, but you do want to try to keep it under 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A fan can help circulate the cooler air from the rest of the house into your pantry to keep it at an ideal temperature. Your food storage is too important to let go to waste because of a little heat.

Practice Survival Skills this Spring

camping foodIt is time to dust off the gear and head out into the woods, prairie or wherever you live nearby and put your survival skills to the test. Think of survival as training for a big race or marathon. Marathon running requires endurance and you must be in shape. You need to know what to do if you get a cramp and you need to be prepared to deal with bad weather, unsportsmanlike conduct and so on. Survival is basically the same thing. You have to be prepared to deal with rain, bad guys on your tail and a whole host of other scenarios that could come your way. The only way to truly practice is to get out there and do it.

Take your bug out bag with you and experiment with some of your survival gear. Learn how to use that magnesium stick or try and put together a tinder bundle with the stuff you find in the environment—even if it is all been under snow for the past several months. It isn’t like you are going to be thrust into a survival situation in perfect conditions. While it would be great if the weather was a perfect 70 degrees and there wasn’t a rain cloud in the sky, it is just too good to be true.

Get out there and camp overnight. Take the family with you. Do some hands on training and teach the kids how to collect firewood and build a fire. Show them how to properly use the restroom when living outdoors. These are all skills that will be honed the more you do it. Try your hand at some primitive fire-making methods like using a bow drill. You will likely discover it is very difficult and it will reinforce your desire to make sure you always have a way to start a fire with you.scouts

Reading books and listening to experts cannot replace the value of learning and doing with your own two hands. This is the time to start planning some weekend trips and really putting your knowledge to the test.

Droughts Increase Risk of Wildfires–Are You Prepared?

fireWith the very real possibility of drought in areas all across the country, it is important you prepare to deal with a wildfire that has spun out of control. With a lack of snow and rain, the open country is going to be akin to a giant tinder bundle. A spark from a passing car or a strike of lightning could set off a devastating wildfire that threatens homes and lives. Fire is incredibly unpredictable and can change directions at anytime. You need to be prepared and ready to flee should a wildfire threaten your home.

When you hear about or see a fire in your area, you need to pay attention. Listen to the radio and check in with the news every hour or so to check the progress of the fight. Firefighters will give containment numbers. This means they have the fire a certain percent contained. Fires that are burning out of control and have a 0 percent containment are the most dangerous.

If an evacuation advisory is issued, it would be best to listen and get out before it becomes a mandatory evacuation. If there is not an order to leave the area, you still may want to consider doing so anyways, especially if you have anybody in the home that has any kind of respiratory problems. Wild fires contain toxins in the smoke that can make it difficult to breathe and may cause adverse reactions. It is best to get away from the area and let the firefighters do their thing while you watch from a safe distance.firefighters

Keep a bug out bag ready to go at all times. It is a good idea to keep family keepsakes in a single bin that can be grabbed and tossed into the car on a moment’s notice. You don’t want to waste time trying to hunt down grandma’s wedding ring. Have a credit card available to use to rent a room in a nearby town. Make sure you have at least half a tank of gas in the car to get you far enough away from the fire as well.

Don’t assume a wildfire will never happen in your area. They can happen anywhere at anytime. Be prepared to deal with one.

Emergency Makeshift Survival Water Filter

pollution-359014_640Every prepper knows one of the most important elements of survival is to have enough water stored to sustain you for at least 30 days. If you can’t store that much water, than you need to store water purification tablets or be prepared to boil the water you collect to make it safe to drink. Drinking water, even if you think it looks clean, could be deadly. You simply cannot take the risk. However, you may find yourself in an extreme survival situation without your gear. You still need to be able to drink water. You can construct a makeshift water filter that will eliminate some of the contaminants in water you collect. It is not a sure fire method of purifying water, but it can keep you going until you come up with a way to boil your water.

The makeshift water filter can be built from things that are typically in any environment.

1-Your first step is to find an old water bottle or plastic soda bottle. Unscrew the lid and cut off the bottom.

2-Look around for an old campfire or a tree that has been hit by lightning. You need the charcoal. If you have built a fire and can get charcoal from there, you are in luck. Put a handful of charcoal in the bottom (which was the top of the bottle) and pack it in.

3-Next, you will want to add a layer of sand on top of the charcoal.

4-Add a layer of small rocks/gravel on top of the sand.rocks-698504_640

5-Add some leafy green grass, dandelions or even tree leaves.

That is your water filter. Pour the water through the opening at what was the bottom of the bottle. The water should move slowly through the filter. If it goes straight through, pack the layers a little tighter. Each layer filters some of the contaminants. You can certainly run the water through the filter a few times to help get it clear. Adding a piece of cloth over the top can help filter out any large pieces of debris that may be in the water.

This filter will work in a pinch, but it is not a guaranteed method of removing bacteria and viruses from contaminated water. Do your best to find water that is clear and moving.

New Report Reveals Power Grid Vulnerability

power-supply-493209_640There are rising concerns that the electrical grids in developed nations could be the target of a coordinated terrorist attack. Recently, a report revealed just how often attacks were lodged against power grids. We typically don’t hear about these attacks because they are fairly small and the government doesn’t want to panic the citizens. However, it is becoming more obvious than ever that a widespread, massive attack against the power grid is going to happen in the near future. While government agencies work to prevent the attack and hope to develop a system that is not vulnerable to computer viruses and physical attacks, you also need to prepare for the inevitable.

These are some things you will want to start doing today to prepare for a downed power grid that could be out of commission for days or possibly weeks or more.

*Have a supply of canned, freeze-dried and dried food on hand. Grocery stores are going to be closed during power outages and will likely be looted.

*Have emergency lighting on hand. Grab some of the solar lights from the home improvement store to use indoors at night.

*Have enough drinking water on hand to last at least 30 days. Sanitation systems will be down without electricity. Those on their own well who rely on an electric pump will need hand pumps or will need to store water.well-318609_640

*Have a supply of medicine and first aid supplies on hand. Clinics and doctor’s offices will be closed. Hospitals are going to be overwhelmed. Do your best to learn basic first aid to take care of any minor injuries that do not technically need medical attention.

*Have a battery or crank radio so you can stay informed about what is happening and how long you can expect to be without power.

*Be prepared to defend your property against those who want the supplies you have stored. If the outage is extended, people are going to become desperate and will do things they normally wouldn’t. Do not advertise what you have and do your best to keep a low profile.

Power outages are fairly common, but we always expect the power to be restored within a matter of hours. You must be prepared to ride out a major event. The possibility of such an event happening is extremely high.

Preparing to Garden During Extreme Heat and Drought

drought-84611_640There are plenty of states and regions all around the world that are expecting the worse this summer. Whether anybody wants to name the problem, it is no secret our world’s weather is drastically changing. With many regions light on snowfall over the previous winter and the winter we are just coming out of, drought is inevitable. Places like California were banking on a wet winter to bring them out of the drought they were in last year. It didn’t happen.

It is time to prepare for droughts and exorbitant food prices due to those droughts. As a prepper, you should be learning how to grow your own food. As a prepared prepper (is that redundant), you need to know how to conserve and save as much water as you can in order to keep your garden thriving throughout what is predicted to be a very hot summer.

*Mulch will be your friend. Pile it around the roots of the plants to help keep the ground moist. You don’t want the hot sun baking the earth and evaporating the water before your plant’s roots get a chance to absorb it.

*Invest in rain barrels—if your city ordinance allows. Put the barrels up now and catch as much rainwater as possible to prepare for a dry July and August.rainbarrel

*Use irrigation style watering instead of sprinklers. Sprinklers waste a great deal of water that could be used to water the roots directly. Sprinklers are also to blame for some leaf spotting.

*Set a timer to avoid over watering. It is easy to forget you have the water on and you could be harming your plants by giving them too much water.

*Only water in the early hours of the morning or late at night. This ensures the sun is not evaporating the water as quick as it is hitting the ground.

Keeping plants partly shaded can also help if the temperatures are exceeding 100 degrees or more. On extremely hot days, your plants are going to wilt and need more water to survive. Container planting is another way to conserve water. The water is not absorbed as quickly and you will be able to move the plants out of the heat of the sun when it becomes too much.

Surviving a Riot in Your Neighborhood

It only takes a second for a bad decision to result in far-reaching consequences. We have seen more and more riots and violent protests erupt in cities all around the world for one reason or another. These riots end up shutting down neighborhoods and city streets, trapping anybody who happens to be in the area. The people holed up in their homes risk life and limb if they try to leave the area. They may not even be safe inside their homes or businesses if the rioting mob decides to loot and burglarize as part of their protesting.police-275875_640

You must be prepared to deal with a riot at any time. Because police and emergency services are going to be focused on keeping the streets safe and the rioters in check, you are not going to get a lot of help from them should something happen. This is especially true if the riot is large and encompasses a wide area.

It could become unsafe for you to leave your home to go to work, school or even to the store for groceries. You may very well need to shelter-in-place to avoid getting caught in the crossfire. These are some of the things you can do to prepare for a riot and steps you can take to get through one if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

1-Your best bet is avoiding the mess altogether. If you hear rumblings in the neighborhood that a protest or riot is being organized, consider going to a friend or relative’s house in another town until it is over.

2-If a riot erupts and you are smack dab in the middle of it, do your best to blend in. Don’t participate in illegal activities, but don’t take off running in the opposite direction. Casually move away from the area and do your best not to draw attention to yourself.

3-Take steps to make your home as secure as possible. Add a deadbolt to the front door. Having sheets of wood on hand to put over the windows is also helpful. Window locks may help, but unruly rioters will not be deterred by glass.

4-Have at least a 3-day supply of food and water on hand along with any medicines the family may need. Prepare to hole up in your house for at least 3 days while police or the National Guard get things under control.

5-Don’t open the door to anybody unless you know for sure who it is. Only do so if it is safe.rioting

6-Plan evacuation routes should you have to flee your home. Arrange a meeting place outside of the neighborhood for your family members to gather in case you are separated.

7-Consider making your home look uninviting by tossing trash in the front yard. You want potential looters to think your home has already been hit.

8-Avoid using light at night that will advertise you are in the home.

Rioters can quickly spin out of control in a matter of seconds. Do your best to avoid the area and get out as soon as you see things escalating. Don’t be a looky-loo and hang out to see what happens. Your home can be replaced, your life cannot.

3 Ways to Dry Food without Electricity

Part of prepping is learning skills that you will need after SHTF. There is a very strong possibility electricity will be extremely limited or completely non-existent following a major disaster. It could take months or years for the world to be righted again. You have to be able to preserve the food you grow and hunt in order to carry you through the months where it is difficult to garden or find game to hunt.chili

These are 3 ways you can dry food to store for long periods. Drying food will be one of your only options of food preservation as the world relearns the old way of our ancestors.

1-Hanging your fruits, veggies and meat out in an the open sunlight is one way to dry food enough to put it in storage. It is important you string your rope in an area that gets direct sunlight. It cannot be somewhere that is shaded half of the day by a building or trees. It can take a full day, possibly 2 days to get the food completely dry. You can help ensure the drying process is successful by cutting the food thin enough to help speed drying. At night, put the food in a cool, dry place to keep it from spoiling and put it out again the next day as soon as the sun rises. This will keep the food from developing moisture from condensation.

2-A solar dryer is something you will want to build today. There are plenty of designs available on the internet. Use an old window from a junkyard or second hand store. You can use the screen from the window or buy some screening material at your local hardware store. Stretch the screening material over a frame so that it is tight and will hold your food slices. The glass window should mount over the top of the screen. It is a good idea to build your solar dryer on legs so that is off the ground. This is a preferred method as it will keep your food from being littered with debris in the environment as well as protect it from birds and other animals.

car3-It is easy to imagine there will be a lot of broken down cars following a disaster. If those cars have all their windows intact, they will make excellent dehydrators. Push the car into a sunny place and roll up all the windows. Place your sliced food on window screens or cookie sheets. Place the sheets in the front and back windows of the car. The car will become hot as an oven—literally, which is perfect for dehydrating your food. The car will also protect your food from animals and stuff in the environment falling into it.

Is that Plant Safe to Eat? The Edibility Test

chickweedIf you ever find yourself stranded or out in the wilderness with no food to speak of, you need to know what you can eat that you find growing in the wild. There are hundreds and hundreds of plants that are edible. It is extremely difficult to try and remember what every one of those plants are. If you are traveling, you will notice that the terrains vary and so do the plants that naturally grow in the various environments. It would be tough to memorize every edible plant in every terrain. You need to know how to test a plant to determine if it is safe to eat.

These quick steps will help you determine what is edible and what should be avoided.

1-When you have identified a plant that looks like something you could eat, separate it into three main parts. Put the flowers, stem and leaves in separate piles. You could also set the roots aside.

2-Rub the portion of the plant you are planning on eating on the inside of your arm. Wait 15 to 30 minutes to see if there is a negative reaction. Itchiness, redness or burning would all be negative reactions. If no reaction, go to step 3.weeds

3-Rub a portion from the same pile on your lips. Wait another 15 minutes to see if there are any signs you are having a bad reaction. If no reaction, go on to step 4.

4-Put a portion from the same pile under your tongue. If you notice any burning, bitter taste or swelling, spit it out and avoid the plant. If no reaction, go on to step 5.

5-Eat a portion of the plant and nothing else. Do not eat anything for at least 8 hours. Wait to see if you have a bad reaction. Vomiting, diarrhea or cramps are all signs you don’t want to eat the plant.

If you do not have any negative reactions, you can eat the plant in moderation. Do not test more than one plant in a 24 hour period.

5 Plants You Want for Survival Medicine

lavenderAfter a disaster strikes, doctors and modern medicine are going to be scarce. Your tummy ache or that incessant headache are not going to be important enough for a doctor to see you if you can find one. Hospitals and medical workers are going to be overwhelmed treating those who have been seriously injured. It doesn’t mean you have to suffer, though. You can take care of some of your minor aches and pains by growing a few plants or knowing what they look like so you can harvest them and use them to treat yourself.

Here are 5 plants that will come in handy after your life has been turned upside down.

1-Peppermint leaves can be chewed on or put into a tea to help ease a headache. The tea tea will also soothe an upset stomach and is safe for young children to drink. The refreshing taste is also known to be a mood enhancer.

2-Aloe vera is a common house plant, but it is also an excellent healing agent. Apply the juice squeezed from the plant to wounds to aid in healing. Burns, including sunburns, can also be soothed with the liquid from an aloe vera plant.garlic

3-Garlic isn’t just for spaghetti. Eating garlic when you are battling an ear infection or other mild infection can help your body win the battle against the infection. Garlic is a natural antibiotic. Eat it or make it into a tea.

4-Lavender fields are pretty easy to spot. Lavender can be made into a tea to help calm your nerves. When you are dealing with chaos, you may feel anxious and even suffer from anxiety attacks. A little lavender will help calm you. Smelling the lavender is effective as well.

5-Sage is nature’s gauze. It is super soft and contains antibacterial qualities. Wrap a wound with sage leaves to promote healing while protecting the injury from getting more dirt inside it.

There are many uses for herbs and plants found growing in the wild. Spend some time getting familiar with medicinal plants so you are ready to treat your aches and pains when there are no doctors.