Thursday, December 13, 2012

Prepping in Social Media

In case you haven't had a chance, there are multiple outlets for The Reluctant Prepper.

Twitter: @ReluctPrep
I like Twitter, I really do. However, some people seem to do all of their talking through Twitter. I am following some people that do 30-60 updates a day. It clogs the Twitter-verse with the same, canned, recycled proclamations every hour. That is just too much. Follow me and I will not bother you that much, I promise.

You have a Facebook account, so you might as well "like me." Generally, I re-tweet on Twitter and compose original stuff on Facebook that then automatically updates to Twitter.

If you are not on Pinterest, you are missing a whole new world. If you are more of a picture book person (like me) than a novel person, you will absolutely love it.

Feel free to follow!

Monday, December 10, 2012

“I’ll Just Grow My Own Food”

           Ever hear anyone say this? My reply is, “Have you ever tried that before?” Growing food is not easy. It is labor intensive and requires, at minimum, seeds, space and water. Oh boy, is that making it much simpler than it is.
            Let’s set up a survival scenario. Society has collapsed due to economic troubles, natural disaster, or some outside military influence. Let’s say the worst part is over. The physically weak have died off and order has been restored to some degree (at least regionally). Your limited stored food preps have held out. But there is no deliver trucks rolling to the grocery store which has long since been cleaned out. You still have a few months worth of food, but you need another food source soon to augment it. You can forage around for food, but there are a lot of other people foraging, as well. And how well do you know your edible, wild plants? (That’s a whole other blog entry, I promise) Do the work now so you don’t have to become an “overnight expert.”

Seeds. What kind of seeds should you buy? Well, you should buy a variety of seeds that are shown to do well in your climate and in your soil. You need some fast growing seeds (like radish or other green, leafy that can be edible in as early as a month), some seeds for sprouts (alfalfa sprouts can be ready in a few days) and some seeds that provide more substantial sustenance including essential vitamins and minerals (like, kale or corn).  Instead of giving you a long list of seed to look for, I will bow to the masters that have already done the work for you. Remember 2 vital things: heirloom or organic seed is best since you will want to save some of the next planting and you need to store your seed in a cool, dry place.
            You may need to fertilizer, too. Luckily, that is easy to come by since you make it yourself. Also, composting is a good idea. And, of course, try to choose seed that you will actually eat. A five gallon bucket of okra is nice, but if no one is willing to eat okra it is useless. Sure, you might feel differently if you are starving, but why not plan ahead and get something you like.

Space. There is dirt everywhere, right? Well, not all dirt is equal. You will need fertile soil for your garden and lots of it. A lot of bare ground is bare for a reason. It has been drenched in herbicide or is completely devoid of nutrients for plant growth. Neither is going to give you much edible plant material. How about if you live in an apartment? Sure, the building has land, but you don’t own it and will have a tough time defending it from foragers who see a meal. Containers would be a start, but you are not going to get super yields from a small container garden on your patio. It takes a lot of space to grow enough plant material for you and your family to live on. Of course, any food will be helpful. A community garden would be even better since you can share the burden and defense of it.
            Let’s summarize: You need to find space close to where you will be living. It needs to be secure, either behind a fence or hidden to some degree. The soil needs to be good for growing (are there plants already growing on it?). There needs to be at least 8 hours of full sun each day.

Water. Pure and simple, plants, like us, need water. Growing plants need a lot of water. Maybe you’ve heard of dryland farming. Don’t rely on the clouds to give you all your water. You need access to plenty of water. A hand pumped well, a canal, a reservoir, or even city water if you still have it. Sure, some areas get lots of rain in the growing season, but you can’t count on it. Rain barrels attached to your rain gutters or some other catchment system would help augment any shortages of water.

           We call it “Prepping” for a reason. If you have never grown a large garden, you had better start now. There is a lot of knowledge that can only be learned from doing it. Pledge to grow a small garden in your back yard this Spring. You have plenty of time to prepare over the next couple of months. I recommend people build raised beds in their yards since they are much easier to tend. Research the types of seeds you can grow AND that you would likely eat. Ten healthy Kale plants are beautiful and nutritious, but if no one eats kale you just wasted a lot of time and resources.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Prepper Stocking Stuffers, Pt.3

Water is the most important part of your preparation. Having safe, potable water will save your life in any environment. I guess that is why I concentrate so much on it. In the near future, I am going to discuss rain barrels, but for now I will look to portable water solutions. The SteriPen is awesome if you find a water source and you’re not sure it is safe. The SteriPen is small, but does a big job: Saving your butt! There are several kits you can buy, but really all you need is the basic SteriPen, some cheese cloth and some back up batteries in your bug out kit and you are set for roaming.
Everyone should have a first aid kit in their home and vehicle. That is a no-brainer. For Preppers, we tend to do a little better than your basic First Aid Kit. You can go all out and buy an emergency room in a bag, but that is not really a stocking stuffer, is it? My pick would be the Tactical Trauma kit sold by For $30, you get a lot. I won’t list it all, but trust me, it is a lot more than your Target brand hard pack. This one is on my list of near future acquisitions.
Any Prepper worth his own salt needs to have a green thumb. Some people, though, are short on space. Using a Mini-Greenhouse to get your seed sprouted or even using it to maintain to small garden is a great start. I’ve used these in the past and even added my own grow lights to the back for continued growth and warmth in the winter months. Perfect if you only have a patio or porch.
What? You don’t have a Tactical Tomahawk yet? Besides being a formidable weapon for close quarters defense or short distance throwing (I throw mine across the yard in “some” accuracy), they are a great tool for digging, scoring and chopping small, wood things. And don’t rule out the cool factor. Strap one of these babies on your hip for your next camping trip and watch everyone’s eyes move to it as you walk by.
            My final recommendation is a little more loose. I have recently begun to search for more hand tools. By hand tools, I mean the opposite of power tools. Things like drills and files and planers and such that allow you to make or break things without any power other than living tissue. You can never have too many hammers! Do you even own an axe or a hatchet? How about a rough tooth saw? And let’s not forget the kitchen. There are choppers, hand blenders, sifters, and all manner of knives for breaking down dead animals. They not only have a cool, antique display factor, but they actually get the job done. Flea markets and “antique” stores are great places to find these things.
I hope you enjoyed these lists. While I certainly didn’t cover everything, hopefully you found something for that wide-eyed Prepper in your family. You should definitely check out some of the other Prepper websites for more ideas or if you are looking to spend a little more. There is a list of some of my favorites on the right side of this page.