Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Favorite Prepping Websites

            You might think it is silly to recommend other people’s blogs when I have one of my own. However, my intent with this blog has never been to become the most inclusive, one-stop shop for everything prepper related on the internet. Rather, I want a small, succinct spot for sharing some ideas for the small-scale prepper like myself. I can’t afford to buy a homestead in the country and cut myself off from society. At this point, anyway, I am not willing to do that.
            I do, though, devour many books and websites devoted to prepping and survival. I have come across some very good sites, but they can be overwhelming. Below are two of my favorites. From the website: “The purpose of this Blog is to inform and motivate readers to take steps that will help prepare themselves and their families. Survival is not just about guns, groceries and gadgets. More importantly, it is about having friends that you can trust when times get hard, such as for:
A Dollar Crisis/Monetary Collapse (witness the current hyperinflation in Zimbabwe)
Naturally occurring plague or pandemic
Nuclear Blackmail (North Korea and China have already made public threats)
Terrorist LNG fuel sector or power grid attack
Terrorist nuclear, biological, or chemical attack
Fuel and/or food shortage crisis
Major volcanic and/or earthquake events
Nation-state nuclear, biological, or chemical attack

As well for these far less likely but potentially even more cataclysmic possibilities:
Asteroid or comet strike
Tidal Waves/Surges
Global War
Martial Law
Science Accidents (Genetically modified crop failure, nanotechnology "gray goo", et cetera.)
Climate change

          James Wesley, Rawles (I don’t know what the comma is for) is the “godfather” of preppers/survivalists. I tell everyone I know to read his book Patriots if they want to know why I am the way I am. There is a ton of information, but it is all good information. From the website: “Even though I have been a city dweller my entire life, I was brought up by parents who knew and taught us the value of self reliance, frugal living, and how to have a do-it-yourself outlook. My Father could fix anything, build anything, and just make things work.
My growing up years were spent on a ½ acre plot of land where my parents built our house and planted apple, pear, cherry, peach and plum trees, a large raspberry patch, and a garden with a variety of vegetables. We had a large freezer which my Mother filled with home-baked bread, fruits, vegetables, and beef, bought at 1/2 of the animal when we could afford it.
Under the laundry room, via a trap door, was our cellar filled with home-canned fruit and bottles of various jams and jellies. Most of our clothing was homemade, sewn on an old treadle sewing machine.
We were poor by my parent’s standards, but I never noticed. We always had plenty to eat, clothes to wear, a variety of toys (the homemade stilts were a blast!), and lots of love. Because of this upbringing, frugal living is deeply engrained in me.”

          Joan (last name not found on site) is a grandmother who has always been a prepper. She created her website so she could disseminate information on survival geared specifically towards families and to make a little money. It is an incredible site that seems to focus most on food and sundry preparation techniques. She uses old school Mormon principals of including keeping a two year supply of food and water and charity towards your neighbors.

You owe it to yourself to visit these sites as you start your prepping. Just remember, Baby Steps.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Little Babies

            Man, am I glad I don’t have a baby in the home. A prepping nightmare! First off, there is the food. If you are nursing, you’re golden. But what if mom isn’t available? What if mom’s nutrition is very poor, affecting the quality of her milk (and her own health)?

            Well, babies are actually pretty resilient. So let’s deal with food first. You need to put some formula away. I know formula is expensive, but it is necessary, especially if your baby needs special formula for a sensitive tummy. Again, this type is even more expensive, but having an extra month supply of formula will give you piece of mind. You may want to buy a month’s worth of the single serving packets. Don’t forget the extra water!

Let’s look at an example using the packets at the link above. In the first month, they will be eating at least 2 ounces every 3 hours or so. That means a packet that makes four ounces will be good for two feedings. At 8 feedings a day, you would need four packets a day, so a 16 packet box will last 4 days. You would need about 8 boxes for a month which would run you about $100. If the baby is older, it would take more.

Of course you may go with a cheaper brand since this is just your emergency backup. Just remember, the shelf life is not great, so you want to buy an emergency stash of formula that you can use and replace. Also, for older babies consider getting some powdered or instant milk (there is a difference). You can mix a little of the powdered or instant milk in with the formula to make it last longer. The powdered or instant milk is much cheaper, but less nutritious.

That being said, you need vitamins. Vitamins are an essential part of all emergency supplies, but especially necessary for babies. Get some for your stash, but remember to rotate out the vitamins with fresh supplies often.

Disposable diapers are good, but bulky. Always keep at least an extra pack, but invest in some cloth diapers. They are lighter and fit in a backpack better. Just set aside a ziplock with some Dreft or other baby detergent in your bug-out bag. Extra powder and lotion should be bought and placed in their own ziplock bags.

Extra pacifiers should be packed along with some small toys (not rattles or other loud toys) and teething rings. Onesies, blankets, socks and clothes and anything else essential you can think of and can fit in your bug-out bag will be good. I think baby is going to get their own bag, don’t you?

How about carrying baby? If you are on the move, you need a good baby carrier. A stroller is a start, but not so good for cross country travel. A jogging stroller or backpack carrier would work best.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fire Logs

Ok, I took a little time off from the blog to catch up on life. Now I’m back.

After watching the latest episode of Doomsday Preppers, I was struck by the use “fire bricks” by one of the featured prepper families. Using old paper to make fire “logs” or “bricks” has been around for sometime and in Europe is still very popular. The crux of it is that you take old paper, such as newspaper, shredded paper, etc., soak it a day or two. Then form into a shape, press the water out and let it dry for a while.

The simplest and cheapest way is to use cheesecloth and any recyclable paper. Shred the paper, soak it a day or so in a large bucket and form it into log shapes on cheesecloth. Wrap the cheesecloth around the “log” and twist the ends to squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Set the log, still in the cloth, in a sunny place for a few days to dry, turning every day to dry evenly. Then store in a dry place away from any flame. It will take a long time to dry since you can’t get a lot of the water out by twisting the weak and brittle cheesecloth. If done properly, you will not get a lot of smoke or ash and it should burn for one to two hours.

There are many alternatives to this method but most cost a little money. For about $25 you can get the Paper Briquette Maker which is very popular with the Europeans. It is the same method described above but uses a press to get most of the water out and form small bricks. This makes them useful sooner and makes your bricks the same size so they store easier. There is also the Original Dry Paper Logmaker. This uses a roll of newspaper with junk paper and other combustibles wrapped inside. No pressing out of water required.

            Don’t want to spend $25? OK, you can pretty easily make your own press. This Instructables Paper Log Maker is simple to make. Many of us have scrap PVC laying around. Really, all you need a small form to press the paper into with some holes in it to allow drainage.

            Where can you burn these logs? Anywhere you normally would burn logs. The more water you remove, the cleaner they burn as far as smoke and ash. A warning, though, you are still burning them! This is not “green” energy except that you are recycling. You can even use the ash in your composter. Also, be careful of colored paper and glossy paper. They may contain chemicals that are bad for you to inhale.