Monthly Archives: April, 2013

Five Things Every 12 Year Old Should Know

By: Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

As a father of six children I have found that there are several things my children must know. As the world becomes much more complex; these things become more important. There are many other things that our kids should know and hopefully they will learn them before they need them, but these five things are a must.

1. How to get home:

I remember about 15 years ago I took my family to Disney World to see Mickey Mouse and his friends. After lunch we were all standing in line to ride yet another ride and I look around and could not find my 4 year old son. I felt the sinking feeling in my heart as I began to scour the crowd for him. Luckily for me, there was a nice older couple who saw him walk off and brought him back to me. This event got me wondering; what would have happened if that couple would not have seen him walk off?

That very night the education began. My wife and I made flash cards and started teaching our children important information like their home address, telephone number and our full names.

As they got a little older we taught them how to get home. This was fairly easy to do. We started off by going about three blocks from our home and had them tell us where to turn to get us all home safely. Once the three blocks were mastered we would venture further away from our home and have them direct us back home. Eventually we would go to large landmarks in town like a shopping mall, the State House, Church, etc. and they all learned how to get home.

As technology changed so did our teaching. When my wife and I got cell phones the kids learned those new numbers. When the older children moved out, the younger kids learned where they lived and there cell phone numbers. You will be amazed at how much information your children can retain!

2. Basic first aid:

This is also very important and when I say basic I am not talking about how to stich a large wound closed or anything thing like that. What I am talking about is that they know where the family’s first aid kit is kept and how to use the items in it. Like most prepping families our first aid kit is larger than the little kits you get at Wal-Mart and we carry extra smaller kits when we leave home.

Our kits not only have Band-Aids and the other basics but also gaze pads, terry strips and OTC medicines. All the kids know how to properly clean out a wound, stop basic bleeding and how to get help.

A commonly over looked important item to have in your first-aid kits would be the phone numbers for adults that live close by that can assist with the rendering of aid along with the contact number for your local EMT office.

In order for your children to feel comfortable with the first aid kit you have at home I would recommend that you roll play with them and have them treat you for different events. In some cases you might have a small cut on your finger and they have to properly clean it out, add ointment and a bandage. Yet in another scenario you might have a broken arm and they would have to help you immobilize it and call a neighbor who could get you to help.

Whatever kind of kit you have it is important that your children are familiar with where your kit is stored and how to use the items in it.

3. How to find food and water:

If your children are at home, this is a pretty easy task to complete. But once they know where the food is stored they also need to know what to do with it. When I was off at college I called my wife (then girlfriend) long distance to ask her how to cook a can of green beans. She got a good laugh out of that and vowed that none of her children would ever be that helpless. She has taught all of our children how to cook. Just the other day my 12 year old daughter cooked supper to include homemade biscuits.

Now when they are away from home this task is not so easy. What would happen if you and your child were hiking or camping in the woods and your child got separated from you? Do they know what plants can be eaten; can they fish or catch small game? If not then you need to teach them. A simple internet search for Wild Eatables would be a good place to start.

4. How to defend/prefect themselves

Gun safety would be a good place to start. There are several types of firearms in and around our farm. The first thing I did was take the curiosity about guns away by showing the guns to all the children. The children were allowed to hold them, after they were made safe, and I have allowed them to all shoot a gun at the range. A 22 caliber rifle is a good place to start. At the age of 9 my youngest daughter learned how to handle and safely shoot a 22 rifle.

Sometimes hiding is the best way for the kids to protect themselves. Find a good place for the kids to take refuge if danger shows up.

Emergency numbers are another good resource that your kids can use to keep themselves safe. If they are ever in a situation where they need help, a list of emergency phone numbers will be very useful. The list should include, but not be limited to, the local police station, neighbors, family and close friends.

Lastly check into self-defense classes. These can be found at your local YMCA, Police Department or Church. Many organizations offer self-defense classes for entire family.

5. How to swim

Swimming is an important skill for the entire family to learn. We have a small pond in our back yard and spend part of the summer hiking around a local lake. I am sure that just about every family routinely comes in contact with both large and small bodies of water and because of this it is important for your children to learn how to swim.

Children can actually learn how to swim before that can walk. There are many places that offer swimming lessons and usually at a reasonable price. Check your local YMCA or swim club for a list of lessons. We actually bartered with a local lifeguard for swimming lessons.

I was speaking with a few of my preparedness blogging friends and we all decided to write on this subject. Please check out there blogs to see their ideas on this important subject.

Mom with a Prep –

Are We Crazy, Or What? –

You can also find me on Facebook –

Firearms Safety – It is Your Responsibility

By: Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)


I would say that several times a week I am being asked about guns. What to buy, where to buy it and how do I obtain a CWP (Concealed Weapons Permit). In addition, I have seen an increase in CWP holders. Just last year my wife, my oldest son, an older couple from church and the lady at Starbuck’s have all gotten there CWP Permits.

The one question I have not been asked is about gun safety, which is the most important information that any gun holder should have. It would seem to me that most people are quick to get to the end result, owning a gun, without taking time to obtain all the information needed to be a responsible gun owner.

I firmly believe that every law abiding citizen, that what’s to own a firearm of some sort, should have that right! I just want to make sure that new and old gun owners have the basic knowledge to be a responsible gun owner.

10 Basics of Gun Safety

1. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction – If everyone handled a firearm so carefully that the muzzle never pointed at something they did not intend to shoot, there would be virtually no firearms accidents.

2. Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use – It is your responsibility to prevent children and unauthorized adults from gaining access to firearms or ammunition.

3. Don’t rely on your gun’s “Safety” –Treat every gun as though it can fire at any time, regardless of pressure on the trigger.

4. Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it – Don’t shoot unless you know exactly what your shot is going to strike.

5. Use correct ammunition – You must assume the serious responsibility of using only the correct ammunition for your firearm.

6. If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, HANDLE WITH CARE! – Any time there is a cartridge (bullet) in the chamber, your gun is loaded and ready to fire even if you’ve tried to shoot and it did not go off. It could go off at any time, so you must always remember RULE #1 and watch the muzzle!

7. Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting – All shooters should wear protective glasses and some form of hearing protection while shooting.

8. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting – Before you load your firearm, open the action and be certain that no ammunition is in the chamber or magazine.

9. Don’t alter or modify your gun and have guns services regularly –Any alteration or change made to a firearm after manufacture can make the gun dangerous and will usually void any factory warranties.

10. Learn the Mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using – Since guns can be so different; never handle any firearm without first thoroughly familiarizing yourself with it.

My goal in posting this quick article is to just give you the simplest of basics in gun safety. For more information please visit the below listed websites:

National Shooting Sports Foundation –
Project ChildSafe –

You can always check out my Palmetto Prepper Facebook page –

Dilly Beans

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

dilly beans

Just the other night I was sitting in the den with the kids and had an urge for something special. I don’t know about you but I love pickled food! I have eaten pickled okra, pickled asparagus, pickled bell peppers and my favorite; pickled green beans (AKA: Dilly Beans).

I snuck over to the pantry and grabbed a pint jar of dilly beans, which my wife and I canned about two months ago, and sat down at the kitchen table hoping the kids would not smell them. I barely started enjoying those crunchy pickled green beans before the kids came to investigate. I ended up having to fight off the kids to get my equal portion of beans. Of course my equal portion is larger than the kids portion, I mean that is only fair right?

For those of you that do not have the Ball Blue Book I will share with you the recipe so you and your family can also enjoy this delicious treat. If you are just starting out in canning, I would strongly recommend that you get a copy of the Blue Book, it is very helpful!

Here is the Dilly Bean recipe from the Ball Blue Book:

Dilly Beans

2 pounds trimmed green beans
4 heads of dill
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (red pepper flakes can be substituted)
2 ½ cups vinegar
2 ½ cups water
¼ cup canning salt (do not use table salt)

Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready to use, pack beans lengthwise into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. To each pint, add ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic and 1 head dill. Combine remaining ingredients in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil. Pour hot liquid over beans, leaving ¼ inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims with damp cloth and adjust caps. Process pints for 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Yields – 4 pints.

Usually any low acid foods like beans need to be processed in a pressure canning for safety, however when you are pickling, water bath processing is the recommended method.

This is a very easy recipe and takes very little time to make such a yummy treat.

Give it a try and happy canning!

For more information check out my facebook page at:

Our Grandparents had it Right

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

Back when our grandparents were young most people were fairly resilient and resourceful. Largely they grew a lot of their own food, knew how to can/store it for the winter and had the basic ability to fix and repair items when they broke. In addition, they did not spend their money foolishly and were masters of reusing and repurposing items. If our grandparents made a bad decision there was no federal program to bail them out; they were accountable for the outcomes of their decisions.

Most people now a day live in a disposable/instant gratification world. If it is broken they throw it away and simply buy a new one. Worse than that is when a newer model of an item they already have comes out, lots of people will simply disregard the older model and buy a new one (I have a friend that has a new iPhone 5 and also an iPhone 4 and 4S in a bedroom drawer; still in working condition). There is no waiting; you get hungry simply pull into the nearest fast food drive thru and in a few minutes you have a hot meal and cold drink. This society has left us empty and wanting more!

Society has forgotten the mottos of our grandparents. Patience is a virtue. Waste not, want not. If you want something you will have to work for it. If you squander what you have then you will go without. Put some away for a rainy day. When was the last time you have heard any of those mottos? I know for me it has been a long time!

However, trends seem to be changing. More and more people are getting interested in prepping. If you think about what prepping is, it is basically trying to live our lives closer to the way our grandparents did and less like people of the very recent past. The prepping movement seems to be growing. More people are waking up and realize that we are going to have to be accountable for ourselves and our families, society as a collective will not be able to keep up with the pace of people needs.

Spring is upon us, go plant a little garden, examine your life and take responsibility for you decisions. Make your grandparents proud!

For more information please visit my Facebook page -Palmetto Prepper at