It is important to remind ourselves that we did not always have the peace and courage that comes from living the prepper lifestyle. We didn’t always know that “life as we know it” is not stable and that it can change overnight. The inner peace that we, as preppers, have realized comes from slowly taking the steps to insure that our families will have a roof over their heads, water to drink and food for them to eat.
The average person is just rocking along with life and my have had limited exposure to people like us. They might have a flashlight, some batteries and possibly a portable radio socked away for when the lights go out, but they are not prepared for any real life changing events. Then they meet someone like us and they think we are strangle and might even treat us differently. Our family will tolerate us preppers because they have to, after all they are family.
However then we have contact with that average person that was just rocking along and they have suddenly had the “First Exposure” with the need to be prepared. They may have just lost their job or knows someone who has. They might have just lived through a natural disaster that made life scary for a few days or a week and now they realize that their family is vulnerable. Or like most people they have discovered that our country cannot keep plugging along spending more money than it takes in every year and they have noticed that the cost of everyday living has risen very fast and it all gives them some concern. Whatever the reason is, they have started seeking out advice and are looking for justification to start spending a pile of money on things that they think they need so they can have the same peace and courage we have when we take on whatever life throws our way.
What we have to remember is that “First Exposure” sucks. Not only does it suck but the person that was recently exposed feels alone and knows that they cannot talk to most people or their family because they know that their friends and family will think they are crazy, just as they would have thought about us before their exposure. Now they are seeking out someone who does not think they are crazy!
Hopefully they find someone who is a level-headed prepper that will steer them in the right direction. Someone that gives them good solid advice and helps them think of thing logically and points them to reliable resources so they can educate themselves before they waste lots of money. I also hope that they find someone who will direct them to more like-minded people so they can start building community and a support group.
I have a feeling that 2014 will produce many new people who experience their “First Exposure” and there is a good chance that you will be placed in a position to be that SOMEONE I mentioned earlier. I ask you to remember what it was like when you had your “First Exposure” and that you help your new friend down the path of preparedness with understanding and patience.
Help them get started and help them to feel normal. Living a prepping/preparedness lifestyle is nothing new. People until recent history lived this way. Remember you grandparents, their generation lived this way. They always saved and put supplies up for later use. People all over the world live a preparedness lifestyle. It was not until recent times that people were taught that we can just run to the store whenever they needed something. Well I believe that is a false security and that 2014 will show us all just how false it is.
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By: Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)
Prepping is an important activity that everyone should make sure that they are participating in. You never know when a winter storm will close down your city or truckers will go on strike, keeping the much needed food supply from being delivered to your community.
I have been asked by both friends and family this one question: What is prepping? This question often confuses me because prepping is such a natural activity. It is what American’s have done since the beginning of our great county. Prepping is preparing for the future. It is just that simple. You decide what you are preparing for and do it. But for most of us, the acts of prepping consist of storing up basics for the future (food, water and supplies). For more information about what our grandparents did check out this blog entry: https://ki4idb.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/our-grandparents-had-it-right/
Once you decide that you need to start prepping and then you look around at all the things you need to purchase and store, you can become easily overwhelmed. That is when most people start to get discouraged. Then after the first trip to the store and you find yourself spending $100’s of dollars on food, water, water purification devices and medical supplies you find yourself wanting to run for the hills. At least I did!
Then I decided that I was going to have to take the slow and steady approach. That is how I was able to prep without being overwhelmed. My slow and steady approach is very simple … I just do one small prep a day. If I don’t have any extra money to purchase a prep for the day, then I work on a new skill like “Knife Sharpening” or “Gardening”. Each thing you do makes you more prepared then you were before and that is what is important. However, you also have to a goal in mind and continue to strive to obtain that goal. Good beginner goals to have would be to store up a month supply of food and water. After that maybe have an extra 10 gallons of gas on hand or extra LP gas for your propane grill, both of those things are important preps.
If you were to look back at my prepping activities for the last 5 days you would see the following:
Day 1 – Stored an extra gallon of water in an empty Arizona gallon tea jug.
Day 2 – Bought a few extra can goods while grocery shopping.
Day 3 – Cleaned and oiled guns.
Day 4 – Bought an extra bag of food for the chickens.
Day 5 – Bought extra dental floss and some large needles (you would be surprised at all the uses for dental floss).
You can follow along on my Facebook page, where I ask the daily question, “What was your prep for the day?”; you will be surprised at some of the answers. https://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper
By: Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)
For over 5000 years people have been keeping domesticated chickens and there must be a good reason for that. I would say that the reasons are quite simple; the chicken provides food security along with food safety and quality, putting it at the top of any preppers list.
If you are planning to keep chickens to provide food for your family after an economic collapse then you have made a great choice. Chickens are small in size, have low maintenance and the ability to provide you with both eggs and meat. The average chicken will lay 260 eggs a year, so if you have a small flock of just four hens you should have over 1,000 eggs to feed your family. If you add a rooster to the mix and make sure you have a breed of chicken that is known for being broody, then you can leave some of those eggs in with the hens and your flock will continue to thrive. In addition to providing direct food for you and your family they also produce fertilizer and eat pest that could ruin your survival garden.
If you are not worried about an economic collapse or the end of the world there are other fine reasons why chickens are a bargain and a must have. One of the most economic and politically compelling reasons to raise chickens is to recycle food and yard waste, keeping it out of the land fill and becoming a valuable organic soil builder for your garden. Chickens provide natural insect control by eating protein packed insect, which will cut down on their feed bill. But, for me and my family, we are more concerned with food production.
If you have chickens, then you need to make sure you can provide for them while they continue to produce for you and your family. Like mentioned above chickens love to eat bugs and scratch at the ground to dig up other tiny morsels of food, helping to provide for themselves. But they can only do this if you allow them to free range. My current flock of eight hens and a rooster get about 60% of their food from grain and the other 40% from forging around the yard. They could get by on less gain but if you want them to produce more eggs for you I honestly believe the grain is an important part of there up keep. However, I know people that just let them forage for their food, giving them just enough grain to come back to the coop every night. After TSHTF and you run low on grain you can always feed them kitchen scraps and you should be fine. I included kitchen scraps in the above estimate of the grain I feed them.
One last note for the prepper with chickens in their survival plan like anything else there is a learning curve, so I encourage you to start your flock now. You will be glad you do not have to learn another skill when all hell breaks loose, in addition to trying to figure out where your starter flock is going to come from.
For more information on prepping please visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper .
By: Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)
Several years ago I was minding my own business watching TV and a crazy show called “Doomsday Preppers” came on the screen. I watch about a half an hour of those weird people before turning it off. But the concept of the show sparked an interest in the back of my mind and got me thinking about the safety of my own family. I really started wondering if they would be taken care of or if they would be safe if anything (SHTF) bad happened. I concluded that we were grossly unprepared and our family’s journey began.
I am a list maker so the first thing I did was make a list of what I needed for my family to have just two month’s worth of supplies (food, water, soap, toothpaste …). Once finished I looked at my list and then at my checkbook, I am a father of six with a stay at home wife, and I quickly got over whelmed and then I panicked. After a few days I got brave enough to broach the subject with my wife and we figured out where the disposable income needed would come from. Like most of you, the economy has not been good to me. I have not had a real raise in years and the price of everything keeps going up, even while the government is telling us there is no noticeable appreciation.
My wife came up with the idea of prepping in little bits and watching it all add up. We spent one evening going over our budget and found ways to save money. I cut out my bi-weekly trip to Starbucks, started taking lunch to work a few day a week. We even cut out some of our soda habit and we realized we could easily find $10 a week to put towards our preps, and that is what we did.
You will not believe what $10 can buy until you really start paying attention. Here are just a few things you can get from a discount store like Family Dollar or Dollar General:
Rice (3 lb. bag) $1.69 – you can store 5 bags for $8.45
Dried beans (1.5 lb. bag) $1.99 – 5 bags = $9.95
Sugar (4 lb. bag) $2.39 – 4 bags = $9.95
Toothpaste $1.79 a tube – 5 tubes = $8.95
Kraft Easy Mac (2.05 oz. container) $1.00 – 10 containers = $10
The list goes on and on. Again I can’t say it enough that you can quickly store lots of supplies for as little as $10 a week. When we found a big item we wanted we would just save our $10 weekly prepping money until we could afford to buy the item. I think the first big item we got was a propane burner. In just a few weeks we had the money needed.
The key is to be consistent and disciplined and make that $10 purchase every week. In just a few months into your prepping journey you will be amazed at what you’re accomplishing. Then at the end of the first year you will look into your prepper closet and feel a lot better about your preparedness.
Once you get the basics of prepping started, you will quickly start doing things like gardening, canning your own food, seed saving and other inexpensive prepping activities that will quickly increase your safety and preparedness.
For more information on prepping please visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper
By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)
By the time garden season gets into full swing most back yard gardeners have more cucumbers, peppers and onions then they know what to do with.
Every summer I take several quart jars and make up some Cool Cucumber Salad for my family and friends …. Enjoying a few for myself along the way. The recipe is easy and will last two months, as long as it is kept refrigerated.
– 7 cups pickling Cucumbers sliced thin (about 7 large cucumbers)
– 1 cup sliced Onions
– 1 cup sliced Bell Pepper
– 1 tablespoon salt
– 1 cup white vinegar
– 2 cups sugar
– 1 teaspoon celery seed
– 1 teaspoon mustard seed
Place the vinegar, sugar, celery seed and mustard seed in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, remove from heat and cool for one hour. While your vinegar mixture cools place your cucumber, onion and bell pepper in a large bowl and sprinkle salt on top. Mix all the vegetables together and place them into two quart jars (wide mouth jars work best). Once the vinegar mix has cool for an hour, pour over the vegetables and place in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day enjoy your Cool Cucumber Salad!
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 http://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper?ref=hl
By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)
I have been looking for an easy way to save dry goods like rice and flour for a while. I buy a little just about every time I go to the grocery store and have been looking for an cost effective way add them to my long term food storage. During my research I learned about oven canning and thought it might by a great solution for me.
Unlike many people who store food I do not buy in bulk; for two reasons. The first being that I do not have any stores nearby that sell bulk dry goods and the other is I don’t have the extra money to buy 100 pounds of rice and then all the Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers and food grade buckets. What I do have is a few extra dollars every week and lots of jars that were in grandma’s out building. So I can buy a few 3 pound bags of rice at the end of the week, oven can it and I am done.
The other great thing about oven canning is that if you can your dry goods correctly they can have a storage life of 15 to 20 years. So if you are at the grocery store and find flour or sale and decide to pick up a few extra bags you will know that you can store it long term and you will not have lost any money. The other great thing is that the jars are a good size so you can rotate the dry goods easily. We use ½ gallon jars for our oven canning. When needed my wife will just open one up and keep it in the pantry. When that jars is empty, she washes it and puts back in the box with the other empties and gets another full jar out of storage. We have found that the half gallon Ball jars hold about 3 ½ pounds of rice and 2 ½ pounds of flour. Any size jar will work from pints to half gallons.
What can be oven canned?
Dried goods like oatmeal, rice, whole wheat flour, white flour, cake mixes, and potato flakes can all be oven canned. Sugar and products that contain oil cannot be oven canned.
How to oven can Dry Goods
The first thing you need to do is pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees (depending on the size of jar you are using you might have to remove the top rack in your oven). While your oven is heating up make sure that you have the correct size lids and bands to fit the jars. Fill your clean jars with the dry goods you are canning. Once the oven has pre-heated place your full jars (no lids) on a cookie sheet in the oven. We always place the cookie sheet in the oven first and then place the jars on the cookie sheet. The cookie sheets job is to keep the jars from tipping over in the oven.
Leave the filled jars in the oven for one hour. While they are processing get a clean towel and place it on your counter so the hot jars want damage it when you remove them from the oven. Once the jars have processed for an hours use hot mitts to remove a jar and place it on the towel. Carefully wipe the rim with a damp (not wet) paper towel. Lastly place the lid on the hot jar and screw the band firmly in place. Carefully grab another jar and repeat this process until all the jars have lids and bands firmly secured. As the jars cool you will hear them start to make a “clicking” noise. That is the sound of the lids sealing. Let the jars cool completely, remove bands, label and store.
Oven canning is an excellent way to prolong the shelf life of dry goods. It also kills bugs and eggs that you might not know are in your products. The big one for me was that if frees up valuable freezer space and helps me take advantage of sales at my local grocery store.
Please be extremely careful when handling hot jars and remember I am not a professional and I am only sharing what has worked for my family and me. If you have any question about safety please feel free to check with your local extension office.