Getting Ready for Winter in the Middle of Summer

firewoodIf you live in mountain country or an area where wood heat is a staple, you have probably already started collecting the wood you will burn through winter. Relying on a woodstove to heat a home is a common practice for many in cold areas because it tends to be cheaper and more reliable. A winter storm that knocks out the power can leave those who rely on a furnace for heat in the cold. No power and no heat can be life-threatening. As a prepper, you need to have a backup heat source, like a woodstove or a fireplace. It is common sense and often one of the first things on the list for a prepper.

The investment into a woodstove will run you anywhere from $500 to $2000 depending on the size of the stove and how much work needs to be done to install a chimney. If you can swing it, this is the summer to get it done. Buying a woodstove out of season is going to get you the best deals. You can get the clearance models that need to go before the new stock comes in for the upcoming winter.snow WV

Once you get your fireplace or woodstove in, it is time to start stockpiling wood. Depending on the size of your house and the average winter temperature, you could burn anywhere from 2 to 10 cords of wood. You have a couple of options for getting wood.

You can have it delivered already cut and ready to be stacked in a shed or somewhere you can keep it relatively out of the weather. You can save a little money by having rounds delivered, but you better be ready to do a lot of work. You will need to split the giant rounds in order to get the right size logs for your stove.

Another option is going to cut the wood yourself. You can buy a permit from the forest service that allows you a certain amount of wood. You will only want to take downed trees. In many cases, you will need a chain or some way to drag the log down a hillside. From there, you will need to use a chainsaw to cut the wood small enough to load into your truck or trailer. Once you get home, it is more cutting, splitting and stacking.

If you have your own property, you can use downed trees as a source of wood. You are also free to chop down any trees on your property and use those for wood. You will of course want them to dry out for several months to a year before you try burning.

Now is the time to think about winter readiness. You never know when the first winter blast is going to hit and getting caught unprepared could be disastrous.

Skills Matter—Knowledge is Only Half the Survival Battle

startup-594127__340There are two kinds of preppers. The kind that read and study and are endless resources of information and then there are those who do. The doers are learning by trial and error through actual experience. While neither way is technically the right way, it is pretty safe to say the doers are probably going to fare better in a true post SHTF situation.

Knowledge is power, but reading about starting a fire with a spark from a magnesium stick and actually knowing exactly how to hold the stick and how close to the tinder bundle it needs to be are two different things. Armchair preppers need to get out from behind the computer and get out into the wild from time to time. These knowledgeable armchair preppers do have their place in a post-apocalypse world. They will be a fountain of information and they can certainly direct others on what they should do, but if this kind of prepper is all alone, talking to the air isn’t going to help.scouts

There are a ton of skills that go along with survival; prepping, homesteading, growing food, raising animals and so on. Reading how to make cheese and actually making cheese are very different. Reading about butchering livestock and getting your hands bloody doing it will definitely be a shock to the system. Survival is messy business and if you aren’t used to or expecting the ick, you are going to have a tough time coping.

Get up, get out and get doing. Put your knowledge to the test and use the information you have gathered through research to really test your skills. Don’t wait until you actually need the skills to give them a trial run.

Are Your Kids Too Young to Be Preppers?

forest-386751_960_720Preppers come from all walks of life and tend to be chameleons. They blend in, doing what they can to keep their prepping practices on the down low. Usually, the whole family is involved in the prepping in some way, shape or form. However, there are some parents who take care of the bulk of the prepping needs and just assume they will be around to guide the kids and tell them what to do. But, what if you are not there? What if you are incapacitated somehow? Wouldn’t you want the kids to be able to take care of themselves or take care of you if needed?

Some people ask, “How old should my kids be before we start teaching them about prepping and survival?” The answer is simple—they are never too young. Prepping is a lifestyle. Your children learn from you from the very moment they enter the world. You have a very pliable little human in your hands, ready for your teaching. Use it wisely.

Kids should be taught basic survival skills early on. How many times have we heard about toddlers wandering off and getting lost in the woods overnight or being gone for days. There are plenty of miracle stories about those babies living through their ordeal. If, by some chance your little one finds himself/herself in a similar position, don’t you want them to be somewhat knowledgeable about what to do?children-770258_640

When you are stocking the shelves, putting together bug out bags or storing water, explain why you are doing such things to your children. Have them help you. Talk about what to do in various scenarios. When you are out and about, have the child keep an eye out for things that would be good to add to the storage shelves. Take them camping often and let them get some real practice.

Make it a family affair. Teach them so they are ready and feel more secure when things do go south. Having more hands on deck is only going to help you and them survive whatever comes your way.

Escaping Violence: 5 Survival Tips

gas-mask-718727_960_720As our world continues to get a little more dangerous, it is now more important than ever to be vigilant. You have to know what is going on around you at all times. You never know when a terrorist will decide to make a statement and open fire at the mall or a restaurant. The terrorist may be home-grown or foreign. You may be sitting at home and find yourself smack dab in the middle of a shoot out or surrounded by angry protesters. The world is not stable and if you want to make it through unscathed and alive, you need to know what to do when violence erupts around you.

These are a few tips to help you protect yourself and stay out of harm’s way.

1-Do not draw attention to yourself whether it is in a mob or active shooter situation. Don’t make any sudden movements, shout at the bad guy or try to make a run for it if the person/s have you in their crosshairs.

2-If you find yourself caught up in a mob without intentionally trying to do so, casually work your way to the outer edge and look for a place to escape and hide. Don’t protest the protesters. Keep your mouth shut and don’t make yourself obvious. Maybe it is turning a corner and using a building for cover or hiding behind a big tree. The key is to be casual and slowly slip away.gun-449783_960_720

3-For an active shooter situation, experts advise you to take cover, play dead if necessary. Wait until the shooter is distracted or looking elsewhere before you try to make your way out of the situation. Fortunately, most mass shootings are over and done in less than 15 minutes. Obviously, this isn’t the case in all situations, but while you are hiding, you need to stay calm and remind yourself it will soon be over.

4-Fighting back an active shooter is an option. In most cases, an active shooter is going to be in a public place, which means there are more of you than him. Gang up and use strength in numbers to take the shooter down. Experts recommend attacking from behind and the sides. Get the gun, then the shooter. Be violent in the attack. It is an all out fight for life or death and no time to worry about the repercussions of violently attacking a murderer.

5-The last tip is more about what to do before a situation happens. Always know what is happening around you. Be aware. When you walk into any building, store, mall or theater, know where the exits are. Identify places that will shield you, just in case. Keep your nose out of your phone and pay attention to the people around you. Humans are born with a natural instinct that can help them identify danger or when something isn’t right. When you get that feeling, don’t ignore it.

Desert Survival Tips to Stay Alive

desert-175465_640The middle of summer poses some extra challenges in a survival situation. If you happen to be traveling through a desert and your car breaks down or you get lost, you could be in trouble. Maybe you have gone hiking and got separated from your group in a remote area. Often times, cell phone service is very spotty in these sparsely populated areas. If you ever find yourself in a desert or near desert survival situation, these tips will help you beat the heat and survive.

1-Sleep and rest during the day. If you have a flashlight, you can travel at night—just make sure you can see where you are going. There is still a risk of tripping over rocks, animals and falling off cliffs. Travel in the early morning hours and dusk hours when the sun is setting but still provides some light.

2-Keep your skin covered as much as possible. Silk material is lightweight and offers you protection from the sun. You don’t want to get a sunburn that will dehydrate you very quickly.

3-Learn how to make a solar still, just in case your water situation becomes desperate. Ideally, you should always carry gear that will include water, but you may need to get resourceful if your survival situation extends several days.

4-Eating critters like lizards and snakes will give you some calories and the blood will help keep you hydrated. The tiny animals do not offer a lot of nutrition or hydration, but every little bit helps. Eating raw animals is not exactly a thrilling thought, but it will do in a pinch.sun-293615_640

5-Don’t overdo it. Don’t walk fast or run. You want to keep moving, but at a pace that doesn’t raise your heart rate and get you sweating. The more you sweat, the more water you lose. Just go easy. Make sure to leave your mark along the way so people can find you.

Ideally, if you find yourself lost in the desert, you should always stick with your vehicle. It provides you with shelter and is much easier to spot than your little old self. Always be prepared and have plenty of food, water and other basic supplies anytime you set out, just in case.