The Survival Mom » Preparedness http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:55:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 Canning Weird – Moving Beyond Jams and Salsas http://thesurvivalmom.com/canning-weird-moving-beyond-jams-salsas/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/canning-weird-moving-beyond-jams-salsas/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:55:27 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23562 I think just about everyone who learns to can foods starts with water bathed strawberry jam and tomato salsas. Some then progress to vegetables and fruits, and if they are really brave, step up their game and start pressure canning meats. When I first tried canning a savory fig jam, I thought I was being […]

The post Canning Weird – Moving Beyond Jams and Salsas by Amy VR appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>

Canning Weird

I think just about everyone who learns to can foods starts with water bathed strawberry jam and tomato salsas. Some then progress to vegetables and fruits, and if they are really brave, step up their game and start pressure canning meats. When I first tried canning a savory fig jam, I thought I was being pretty “wild.” But then, I really went outside my canning comfort zone and started “Canning Weird” according to my family.

There’s nothing at all unusual about canning jelly… unless you use flowers! I’m not typically a fan of “flowery” flavors, or even scents. But this jelly, made from dried lavender, is both delicious and beautiful! There are so many medical and therapeutic benefits to lavender, why not add a culinary use as well? (Don’t have lavender in your yard? You can buy food grade lavender online.)

Recipe: Lavender Jelly from “Howling Duck Ranch”

My next out of the ordinary canning project was “Cherry Stomp” (AKA: Cherry Bounce or Drunken Cherries).  The first batch I tried used bourbon and was WAY too boozy for me… and for the friends that received jars as gifts!… but I discovered a better recipe that uses vodka instead. It might have been a personal preference, so if you like bourbon, whiskey, or brandy then look up recipes using those as the main ingredient. Someday I’d like to try it with rum. But whichever alcohol you use… be warned! These are potent!

Recipe: Cherry Stomp Recipe from “City Boy Hens”

This last one… you’re going to have to trust me on this… Canned Pickled Watermelon Rinds.

Let me be more specific… you only can the white part of the rind… the fleshy part between the red fruit and the green rind. After cutting up the delicious red watermelon flesh save those rinds! Slice the white portion out, set it aside and get to canning! I admit, this one worried me a bit. But the final result was quite yummy! If you’re the kind of person who wants to use every edible scrap, canning this part of the melon that is usually trash is a great idea.

Recipe: Canned Pickled Watermelon Rinds Recipe from “Pick Your Own”

I have an old Ball Canning Guide from 1943 with a few more unusual canning recipes… including canned Frog Legs, Mushroom Ketchup, and Lye Hominy. I’m not sure if I will go quite that “crazy” just yet! But I am sure to step out-of-the-box and try something new every now and then.

What’s the most unusual thing you have ever canned?

The post Canning Weird – Moving Beyond Jams and Salsas by Amy VR appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>
http://thesurvivalmom.com/canning-weird-moving-beyond-jams-salsas/feed/ 15
6 Essential Attributes of Successful Survivalists http://thesurvivalmom.com/6-essential-attributes-of-successful-survivalists/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/6-essential-attributes-of-successful-survivalists/#comments Sun, 19 Jul 2015 07:00:17 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10160 Having lived off the grid for the last 7 years, you see ’em come, and you see ’em go.  The dozens of people we’ve seen succeed in this lifestyle and the dozens of people we’ve seen fail has given us a keen eye to the attributes necessary to be a survivalist.  Like we’ve told many […]

The post 6 Essential Attributes of Successful Survivalists by The Survival Mom appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>

Having lived off the grid for the last 7 years, you see ’em come, and you see ’em go.  The dozens of people we’ve seen succeed in this lifestyle and the dozens of people we’ve seen fail has given us a keen eye to the attributes necessary to be a survivalist.  Like we’ve told many people before, no matter how prepared you think you are, you’re gonna go through some changes!  So after many years of observation, below are listed the 6 essential traits every survivalist should possess to be successful. They go beyond the typical survival skills list, since what matters most is what lies in your head and in your heart.

1. Tenacity (“stick-to-it-ness”)

This, more than anything else, has beaten many a would-be survivalist.  We knew a young couple from Texas who bought a 5-acre parcel in a very rural, mountain subdivision.  They purchased a camper and a 40′ shipping container and filled them with supplies.  Before they ever made the move, the husband freaked out when he discovered that there were ants on the property!  (Aren’t ants everywhere?)  These weren’t fire ants, just plain old picnic ants, and it was a real problem for him, resulting in their abandoning the property for the comfort of their old apartment.   The ants were just his way out of a situation he never was committed to in the first place.

 As Sun Tzu said, “No one can ever be defeated who has made a strong resolve to win.”

2.  Resourcefulness

In today’s modern world, being resourceful usually means knowing what aisle at Home Depot has that pair of pliers.  What we’re talking about here is true resourcefulness.  Resourcefulness like building a house out of local rocks and local adobe, taking apart another house to use the lumber for your roof.  Resourcefulness like butchering a chicken, foraging for Navajo figs, yucca fruit and pinion nuts, and then creating a glorious dinner with them.  Resourcefulness like seeing the potential in a junker truck or a broken washing machine to be used in a new way.  There is a house outside of Taos that was built entirely out of adobe and the windows from an abandoned truck, total cost for the house, $200 for 20 bags of lime.

 Resourcefulness is thinking outside the box.

3.  Thick Skin

There will be countless people all around you who are more than willing to tell you you’re crazy.  You need to understand that you’re the one who is seeing the world unveiled. Most people are very reluctant to admit that they are a product of television programming. Edward Bernaise coined the term, “programming,” because that’s exactly what he intended.  TV was developed to program society to take certain actions, feel certain emotions, want certain items and live a certain way – and to fear those who do not.

Many people will try to validate their life choices by convincing you that you made the wrong choice, not them.  Also, those who will try to take advantage of you are all too common.  Many people who are conscious enough to be looking for a better way to live tend to be overly charitable.  Be on the look out for those who are on the look out for you.  Being kind is one thing, being a fool is another.

If you’ve been given the gift of a vision of a better life, don’t let someone take that away.

4.  Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

This is the mantra of the U.S. Marines and should be the mantra of every survivalist.  To improvise means to take what you have and use it in unconventional way to accomplish your goals, such as removing the alternator from a car and giving it new life as a generator to power your home.

To adapt means to make course adjustments along the way to accomplish your goal, such as changing your house plans from stick-built to rock construction because rocks are plentiful.  To overcome means to let nothing stand in the way of accomplishing  your goals – to know that you can solve any puzzle put before you, face any foe and triumph.

Be flexible and ready to make adjustments. Be prepared to go beyond a survival skills list, and dig deep into your own creativity and ability to adapt.

5.  Solidarity

Work towards having solidarity with everyone in your party.  Whether you are a family or non-related group, everyone  should be striving towards a common goal.  This is much overlooked but it’s crucial.  I can’t tell you how many times a wife or husband has asked us to convince their spouse of the importance of preparing.  You must all be of the same resolve deep within to be successful.  A disgruntled spouse or family member can scuttle the entire enterprise, whether overtly or covertly, often even below the consciousness of the scuttler.

Have a sincere talk with anyone you plan on joining forces with and make sure everyone is on the same page.

6.  Trust

By this, I don’t mean to trust in foolishness, meant only to create self-sabotage,  but real trust in yourself, in your own abilities.

And trust in a universal energy, a natural law that knows the difference between right and wrong and will lead you towards right, if you listen.

Lisa’s note: As I read over Sheila’s list, it struck me how every one of these qualities are must-haves for every Survival Mom, no matter where she lives. The urban mom who spots an old microwave on the side of the road or spots wild quinoa growing in a field is being resourceful, adaptive, and strong. Many of us face skeptics within the family circle and among our friends, and we’ve learned to stay focused on what we believe is the best course for our family, self-reliance and preparing for uncertain times. Thanks, Sheila, for an insightful article and for giving us this list to guide us.

Guest post by Sheila, a survivalist living in New Mexico with her husband and son.

Did you enjoy this article? Receive an update from me each Sunday morning with more!

 

The post 6 Essential Attributes of Successful Survivalists by The Survival Mom appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>
http://thesurvivalmom.com/6-essential-attributes-of-successful-survivalists/feed/ 19
The Top 8 Deadly Myths About Survivalism http://thesurvivalmom.com/the-top-8-deadly-myths-about-survivalism/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/the-top-8-deadly-myths-about-survivalism/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 19:55:14 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10026 Our survivalism story, in a nutshell Hi! I’m Sheila. For the last several years, our family, my husband Dan, our son Jesse and I, have been living what some may call the “survivalist” lifestyle.  Actually, we live  the off-grid (so far off the grid that there is no land line and no cell phone service […]

The post The Top 8 Deadly Myths About Survivalism by Guest Poster appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>

myths about survivalism

Our survivalism story, in a nutshell

Hi! I’m Sheila.

For the last several years, our family, my husband Dan, our son Jesse and I, have been living what some may call the “survivalist” lifestyle.  Actually, we live  the off-grid (so far off the grid that there is no land line and no cell phone service available), self-sufficient life.  We’re not here to get away from the world for a few days while chaos happens and calms down. We don’t think that’s what will happen, anyway.  We’re here because we have chosen to separate ourselves from the rat race, the system, and not be swept away in the tide of what we see as society running amok.  This is not a temporary lifestyle to us. It’s a wonderfully peaceful, sometimes difficult and always rewarding life. Regardless of what does or doesn’t happen, “out there”, this is how we choose to live.

We were basically city folk all our lives, but over the past 20-plus years, we formulated, clarified and then realized our vision to make the transformation to our current lifestyle.   We understand the fear and panic many are now feeling in contemplating  making a lifestyle change within a short time because they are observing events around them that require such a drastic move.

Once we moved to our current location in New Mexico, we chose to lease parts of our land to form a small community of like-minded, people (I would rather call it, “like-spirited”) to help each other make it through what we believe is coming down the pike soon.  In that search for the right people (who we eventually did find) we met many types of self-proclaimed, “survivalists,” most of whom were in reality, “survival tourists.” Our son coined this phrase to describe those who only wanted to investigate survivalism just deeply enough to find reasons they couldn’t/shouldn’t do it. (“Phew, I almost had to wash my dishes by hand!”).

We met people who spent lots of money on land, a shelter and storage foods, only to forget to prepare the most important thing, their minds!  It’s going to take so much more than a gross of toilet paper to save your rear.  You’re going to have to put on your, “big girl pants,” and deal with things like going out in the cold to get firewood, learning to make pancakes using only flour you’ve ground, an egg and water, and wearing the same clothes for years without falling apart, neither the clothes nor you!

The things you might think are important now will seem silly once you’re more concerned with chores that simply keep you alive through a cold winter. We met people who didn’t think they could live without their 62” plasma screen TV.  We’ve been watching the same 1200 piece library of DVDs on our laptop for our evening’s entertainment for several years.  We know the scripts backwards and forwards, but it takes our minds off the day’s work when we need it.

Before we were able to have our well drilled, we were depending on a local water delivery service, 2500 gallons at a time, not a 5 gallon visit from the “Culligan Man”, who one day decided that he didn’t want to make the rough trip to our ranch any longer.  We had to make our last 500 gallons last throughout a brutally cold winter, washing dishes with 2 gallons a day, washing our hair about once very 2 weeks.  But you discover that you make it through.

Myths about survivalism

If you’re considering living the survivalist lifestyle, you should know the truth about these myths?

1. It’s just like camping.

It’s nothing like camping.  When you go camping, if you can’t take a shower for a couple of days. No problem, you’ll take one when you get home.  This will be your home, and you’ll have to figure out how to keep your body (and clothing) clean all year long,  in the cold, snow or wind.

On a camping trip, you can live without anything for a couple of days, even weeks, and you can always jump back in the car and go to the nearest grocery store to pick up what you need.  What if there were no grocery store available?  How will you feel when your daily habits are interrupted, not just for a few days trip, but for the foreseeable future?

2. You can buy enough food and supplies for forever.

No, someday what you have will run out.  You’ll have to learn to grow and/or gather new food supplies and to learn to use what you have, even if that means pancakes without baking powder.  Someday you will have to wipe your butt with a washable rag instead of disposable toilet paper.  Someday there could be no gas to get to the store and the store won’t have anything on the shelves anyway.

3. Your neighbors will gather around and help each other. 

Think about your neighbors who haven’t got a clue, or can’t bear the thought, of their comfy suburban lives changing when the reality of where society is going hits them, “upside the head”.  What if your neighbors can’t get their daily supply of cigarettes, beer, Prozac, soda pop, etc., etc., etc.?  Are they going to be the kind of people you can depend on?  For how long?

4. If I buy enough gadgets (mini washing machine, generator, solar tracker) I’ll be OK. 

If you truly believe that society is in for a big shake up, you’ll realize that this is not a time to spend money unnecessarily, but to put every penny you can into what is practical.  Gadgets are going to break down and then you will have to learn to live without them anyway.  Why not learn now?

5. I can get to my survival location when TSHTF. 

This is the most flawed and perhaps the most popular plan, thinking that when all hell breaks loose, you will know far enough in advance to travel the hundreds of miles to your survival location.  When the door slams shut, the highways will be blocked, the urban and suburban streets will be blocked and patrolled and no one will be going anywhere!  Even if your survival location is only a few miles away, you probably won’t be able to get there.  If you truly understand the need for being “survival-minded”, why not begin living the self-sufficient lifestyle NOW?  Learn what it really means to live off-the-grid NOW, not when there is chaos all around you.  You may find that it’s a much better lifestyle than the one you are living now.

6. I can convince my significant other that this is the right move. 

No, you can’t, and you shouldn’t. All you can do is give them information and allow them to do with it what they do.  People either get this or they don’t.  It’s not for everyone.  This goes for all family members.  I’m not saying go or don’t go without them.  That’s an individual, circumstantial decision and action.  If all members of your family are not on the same page, you’ll have to determine what to do.  Staying where you are may be your choice.  Just do it as an informed decision.

7/ I don’t need to prepare a place.  I’ll just grab my Bug-Out-Bag and find a cave somewhere. 

How many others do you think have that same plan?  Especially those who live near caves, already know where they are and already expect to be occupying them? And can your bug out bag hold what you really need for an extended period of time?

8. My kids will be bored. 

Your kids will be learning so many new ways of living, so many daily activities and chores, connecting with nature in so many new ways, they won’t have time to be bored.  Allow them the freedom to discover things like what bugs are in the grass around your home, what plants grow, what wildlife is still abundant on this beautiful land. If your attitude is one of wonder and not worry, so will theirs be. Help them look at this as an adventure, not a burden.

A final comment to anyone who does not yet understand why it might be time to make a move from your comfy, familiar, suburban lifestyle, you’re not watching the news.  Or maybe you are only watching mainstream news, who tell you, “everything is as it should be.” It’s not. Sources of news on the internet are reporting events that, somehow, never make it to the nightly news or newspapers.

Friedrich Nietzsche was right. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”  It’s amazing to see just what we are capable of living through, of accomplishing when we depend only on ourselves.  When there is no safety net, sometimes you just learn to fly.

Guest post by Shieila, who lives the survivalist lifestyle in New Mexico with her husband and son.

Never miss another great article like this one…

myths about survivalism

You might want to check out these Skills of the Month to help you along your survivalism journey!

The post The Top 8 Deadly Myths About Survivalism by Guest Poster appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>
http://thesurvivalmom.com/the-top-8-deadly-myths-about-survivalism/feed/ 49
Herbal Solutions for Sunburn http://thesurvivalmom.com/herbal-solutions-sunburn/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/herbal-solutions-sunburn/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 07:00:59 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23970 Sunburn happens. If you have very fair skin, it can happen year round, but for most people, sunburn is an annual summertime event, despite their best intentions to avoid it! Avoiding sunburn by using sunscreen, covering up with long sleeves and a hat, and staying out of the sun during the sunniest of the day […]

The post Herbal Solutions for Sunburn by Agatha Noveille appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>

herbal sunburn remediesSunburn happens.

If you have very fair skin, it can happen year round, but for most people, sunburn is an annual summertime event, despite their best intentions to avoid it!

Avoiding sunburn by using sunscreen, covering up with long sleeves and a hat, and staying out of the sun during the sunniest of the day is always the best policy. But sometimes sunburn happens anyway, whether we forgot the sunscreen or it wore off, or we didn’t think we’d be out long enough to get burned.

It’s nice to know that there are soothing herbal sunburn remedies available to help our bodies recover. Keeping an aloe plant in a sunny windowsill, and adding dried rose, lavender, and marshmallow root to our herbal preps can make sure we have ways to help ourselves stay comfortable while our skin heals – naturally!

Aloe

Aloe vera is an herbal burn ally that really does a wonderful job keeping a burn moist and soothed while it has a chance to heal. In one study, burns applied with aloe healed in less than twelve days, vs burns in the control group that were covered in Vaseline and healed in around 18 days(1).

To use aloe, cut a leaf from the plant and slice the leaf open from bottom to top. Scrape the gel from the inside of the leaf and apply it directly to the desired area. Bottles of aloe gel or juice can be purchased at the store and used much the same way.

For some people, though, aloe is not a good choice for after-sun care. Aloe can cause allergies in some people, and should be avoided if known allergies to latex, or plants in the lily family (like garlic and onions) exist.

Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow root makes a nice spritz for after sun care and is a great alternative to aloe.  Because the parts of the plant that are useful for burns lose their strength when exposed to heat, the best way to use this herb is by placing a handful of the dried root into a glass jar and covering it with room temperature water. Allow the herb to soak in the cool water for at least an hour, and preferably overnight.

Strain out the root and pour the marshmallow-infused water into a spritz bottle. You might notice that the water appears to be slightly gelled- that’s normal! Marshmallow has moistening, gel-like properties that activate when exposed to water. Apply your marshmallow-water as needed. Because there are no preservatives, a new batch will need to be made each evening as long as it is needed.

Rose as an herbal sunburn remedy

Rose petals have been used as a folk remedy for burns for centuries. One of the easiest ways to use this herb for sunburns is to make a vinegar extract. Soak a handful of petals in enough vinegar to cover until the petals have faded (usually around a week), and then strain out the petals. Store the vinegar in the refrigerator in a spray bottle until it is needed. For extra soothing power, stir in a tablespoon of honey, which is another traditional burn remedy and was even used during WWII to dress burns in war time hospitals.

Lavender

Lavender buds can be combined with rose petals as a vinegar, or used on their own. Some people prefer to use lavender essential oil, but be aware that lavender EO should never be applied directly to the skin. It should always be diluted first in a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. If applied neat, that is, without being diluted, it can worsen the burn. However, vinegar made from soaking lavender buds is safe to apply directly.

Lavender tea can also be added to bath water so the sunburned person can have a soothing soak. Teas made from lavender buds (rose petals work, too!) can even be frozen as ice cubes and bundled together with a paper towel or cheesecloth to provide cooling relief in the aftermath of a sunburn.

Basic first aid for sunburn

Regardless of what after-sun care routine you chose, remember to keep the basics of sunburn first aid in mind. Making sure to stay hydrated, taking a cool shower and applying an oil free moisturizer can help dissipate the heat from the burn and keep the skin moist and flexible while it heals.

 

herbal sunburn remedies

 

 

 

The post Herbal Solutions for Sunburn by Agatha Noveille appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>
http://thesurvivalmom.com/herbal-solutions-sunburn/feed/ 2
How To Can Cherry Pie Filling http://thesurvivalmom.com/can-cherry-pie-filling/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/can-cherry-pie-filling/#respond Tue, 14 Jul 2015 07:00:05 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23745 Can I just say how much I love cherries? They are one of my most favorite fruits. Sweet, juicy, and slightly messy. It seems like nothing is quite so good unless it stains like the Dickens. Late June and early July is cherry season in my neighborhood, but unfortunately it doesn’t last forever. We usually […]

The post How To Can Cherry Pie Filling by Beth Buck appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>

How to can cherry pie filling

Can I just say how much I love cherries? They are one of my most favorite fruits. Sweet, juicy, and slightly messy. It seems like nothing is quite so good unless it stains like the Dickens. Late June and early July is cherry season in my neighborhood, but unfortunately it doesn’t last forever. We usually get a huge bumper crop and have to rush to eat, bake, or preserve our cherries before they all go bad.

I am not much of a fan of just plain canned cherries, so this year I decided to branch out and try a few different things. I feel that pie filling is always a good choice. Everybody likes pie, right? If you’ve only ever canned fruit in sugar syrup, don’t worry – pie filling is not much more complicated. It’s basically the same, except instead of sugar syrup, you add a thick sauce to the fruit. That sauce generally combines sugar, water, spices and/ or flavorings, and a thickener.

The basics of cherry pie filling

Most of the cherries found in stores are bing cherries – sweet, red, and juicy, perfect for eating fresh. These aren’t the kind that are used for making commercial cherry pie filling. Eaten plain, pie cherries are excruciatingly sour.

Funny story: my grandmother used to have a pie cherry tree in her backyard. I got a very horrible surprise when I tried to snitch a couple while she was making a pie. Those cherries were worse than lemons. Now, pie cherries are a good variety when it comes to making pies and pastries, however, because the tartness counterbalances the many cups of added sugar. As such, when making pies with bing cherries you need to add a lot of lemon juice – like 1/2 cup for seven quarts.

Before canning must come the preparation. For cherries, this means pitting. If you are canning them plain, you can get away with merely how to can cherry pie fillinggiving them a slight poke with a pin – you can spit out the pits as you eat them later. But for anything else, you really need to remove the pits first. Cherry pits are not commonly thought to be a welcome addition to pie. I happened to have inherited this lovely cast-iron number from my grandmother, who I believe purchased it in the 1950s. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a grandma as awesome as mine, there are many to choose from on Amazon, made of easy-to-clean plastic.

I used a recipe that came with some Thick Gel modified starch, that is especially for making pie filling. Instead of becoming runny after baking, it will remain thick. It comes in powdered form. Most pie recipes call for some kind of thickener, whether it’s flour, corn starch or something else. If you don’t have Thick Gel immediately on hand, you can substitute regular corn starch. I prefer not to use flour because I feel it gives the pie a pasty, floury flavor.

This recipe makes seven quarts of cherry pie filling, so I hope you really like cherry pie or know someone who does.

Cherry Pie Filling Ingredients

6 quarts cherries, washed and pitted

7 cups granulated sugar

1 3/4 cups Thick Gel (or similar)

9 1/3 cups cold water

1/2 c lemon juice (more if your cherries are extra-sweet)

1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

2 tsp almond extract (optional)

1/2 tsp red food coloring (optional)

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a large pot except cherries, lemon juice, and almond extract. Stir over medium hhow to can cherry pie fillingigh heat until mixture comes to a boil. Add lemon juice and boil for an additional minute.

If using corn starch or flour: divide cherries evenly in seven quart jars. Stir in almond extract just before ladling mixture into jars.

If using Thick Gel or similar:  The mixture will be too thick to spread down into the bottom of the jars, filling up the spaces between the cherries. Instead, remove the mixture from heat, stir in almond extract, and fold in cherries. You may need a large cooking spoon instead of a ladle to fill your seven quart jars.

Be sure to wipe the rims of your jars very thoroughly before applying the lids – pie filling is messy, and residue on the rim will prevent the lid from creating a proper seal. Process your jars for 30-35 minutes (depending on your altitude) in a boiling-water canner.

One quart of pie filling equals one pie. Use as you would a can of pie filling from the store.

Want to learn more about canning?

Always be up to date with new articles and giveaways!

The post How To Can Cherry Pie Filling by Beth Buck appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>
http://thesurvivalmom.com/can-cherry-pie-filling/feed/ 0
July Skill of the Month: Boost Your Canning Skills http://thesurvivalmom.com/learn-how-to-can/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/learn-how-to-can/#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2015 18:53:01 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=24075 It wasn’t too long ago that canning was a quaint skill relegated to the hot, humid kitchens of Grandma and Great Aunt Pauline. Somewhere in the past  few years, though, that has changed in a big way. Canning is now a hot, hot trend, in large part as a backlash to the widespread rejection of […]

The post July Skill of the Month: Boost Your Canning Skills by The Survival Mom appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>

learn how to canIt wasn’t too long ago that canning was a quaint skill relegated to the hot, humid kitchens of Grandma and Great Aunt Pauline. Somewhere in the past  few years, though, that has changed in a big way.

Canning is now a hot, hot trend, in large part as a backlash to the widespread rejection of the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) and a return to whole, healthier foods. Millions of Americans want to know exactly how their food is produced and packaged, and they aren’t satisfied with government-approved labels. Approval by the FDA and USDA doesn’t exactly elicit wide-eyed trust anymore.

So, we can.

This month, if you haven’t tried canning, I’m challenging you to give it a try. Learn how to can! Start with water bath canning and a few pounds of fresh tomatoes. This is a very easy and rewarding project, especially if you find yourself frequently purchasing canned tomatoes. Some food experts aren’t a big fan of canned tomatoes and fresh is always best.

Here’s what you’ll need to start canning

All canning projects start with jars, lids, and rims. The rim is the round open portion that screws on top and seals the lid to the jar. It’s best to buy canning jars made by Ball and Kerr. I’ve purchased Walmart’s canning jars, and they are cheaper, but I’ve read numerous complaints about them.

These jars will last for years and years, if not decades, so purchase quality jars, even if they come from second hand stores and yard sales. The lids can be used only one time but the rims can be re-used as long as they are rust-free and in good shape.

Canning jars come in several sizes:

  • Tiny 4-ounce jars for things like jelly, small batches of preserves
  • Half-pint (8 ounce)
  • Pint (16 ounce)
  • Pint and a Half (24 ounces)
  • Quart (32 ounces)
  • Half Gallon (64 ounces)

Here’s a handy canning jar guide you can download.

Purple canning jars? Why, yes, thank you!

Purple canning jars? Why, yes, thank you!

Jumping on the popularity of canning, Ball now offers their jars in beautiful colors, including this gorgeous blue, green, and purple.

The jars also come in regular mouth and wide mouth openings. I’ve always preferred the wide mouth jars, just because they’re easier to fill.

When you purchase canning jars from any store, and you’ll find them everywhere from grocery stores to Walmart and Target, they will come with the lids and rims. However, you might want to buy extra lids, in particular, and you’ll find them on sale toward the end of the fall canning season.

By the way, for many canning fanatics, there is no such thing as “canning season”! They can all kinds of food year-round, including things like spaghetti sauce and homemade soup.

A few more tools to make the job easier

If you start with water bath canning, you’ll need a very, very large pot, one that can accommodate several canning jars. I’ve heard of some people using whatever large, deep pot they happen to already have, and this is fine. Just make sure the pot is deep enough to allow at least 2-3 inches of water over the tops of the jars.

water bath canner

This is the water bath canner I own.

The water bath canner pictured here is the one that I own and use. You’ll notice that this particular pot comes with several accessories that are not only helpful, but necessary. For example, there really is no safe substitute for a pair of tongs large enough to remove scalding hot jars from boiling water! You’ll need these!

One big safety tip

Although the water bath canner is the easiest one for most people who are just getting started, it’s important to know that not everything can be canned using this method.

Water bath canning

Foods that can be safely canned using the water bath canning method are:

All fruits

Jams

Jellies

Pie fillings

Pickles

Tomatoes, with lemon juice added (for increased acidity)

Pressure canning

Pretty much, everything else needs to be canned in a pressure canner. One reason I like the pressure canner method is because, with its tight fitting lid, all the steam is kept inside throughout the canning process. This was especially appreciated on hot summer days in Phoenix!

Specific foods that require pressure canning:

All meat and chicken

Vegetables

Soups

Other main dish recipes

If you can imagine opening a large, quart jar filled with your family’s very favorite soup, salsa, or marinara sauce, you’ll really come to appreciate using a pressure canner for its versatility.

One final note about food safety is that it’s strongly recommended that you stick with canning recipes that have been tested by official canning kitchens and experts. I know that many, many experienced canners can all types of things that aren’t officially sanctioned and haven’t been tested for safety, and they insist that their family has used the recipe and canning technique for generations. However, I have to err on the side of caution and say, go with what has been tested and approved by organizations such as Ball, the National Center for Home Food Preservation, and extension offices around the country.

Where to get cheap produce

If your garden is overflowing with abundant produce, you’ll have no problem coming up with loads of fresh fruits and veggies to can. However, most people struggle to grow even a few tomato plants!

For cheap produce in large quantities, seek out produce co-ops in your area by doing an online search. Bountiful Baskets is a great resource.

Look for exceptionally low prices at grocery stores and, in particular, ethnic grocery stores. One year I bought a massive amount of Roma tomatoes at a Hispanic market for just 20 cents a pound!

There’s more to canning than this article!

Entire books have been written about canning and there are probably hundreds of websites that are devoted to canning and only canning! As well, you’ll find numerous articles here on the blog.

Decide today that this is the year you are going to learn how to can and begin collecting the supplies you need. I recommend getting the jars and other tools lined up and then buying the produce. You don’t want to watch perfectly good food rot just because you don’t have canning jars, a water bath canner, or some other critical piece of equipment! (Can you tell I’ve done just that?)

Watch this webinar that I taught a couple of years ago, covering the basics of canning, Canning 101.

Enjoy preserving fresh food by learning how to can!

A few canning resources I recommend

learn how to can

The post July Skill of the Month: Boost Your Canning Skills by The Survival Mom appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>
http://thesurvivalmom.com/learn-how-to-can/feed/ 8
Living Off the Grid, (or Close to it) Urban Style http://thesurvivalmom.com/urban-living-off-grid/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/urban-living-off-grid/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2015 07:47:52 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23529 Admit it, you have been thinking about it. Off the grid living. Late at night, at the end of a long day, you have pictured your life off grid. Images of Little House on the Prairie come to mind. Maybe you ponder becoming a long bearded man living in the mountains, content to be a […]

The post Living Off the Grid, (or Close to it) Urban Style by Erin Foster appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>

urban living off grid

Admit it, you have been thinking about it. Off the grid living.

Late at night, at the end of a long day, you have pictured your life off grid. Images of Little House on the Prairie come to mind. Maybe you ponder becoming a long bearded man living in the mountains, content to be a hermit.

You are not alone in your thoughts, as more people are choosing an off grid lifestyle. Some are able to escape the noisy concrete city and move to quiet acreage in the Midwest or another idyllic country setting. However, for many, like me, work and family obligations make that impossible, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do our best to live as off the grid as possible.

Living off grid is defined as being self-sufficient of municipal utilities, such as water, natural gas, electricity, sewer and trash services. Choosing to live an urban off grid life is possible and does have many advantages.

One advantage is knowing that you and your family can be prepared and will be able to survive quite well when a disaster happens. Many have been able to save money on their utilities and purchases. Others have found peace and confidence in their new learned skills along their path to grid-less-ness, but do not conjure up a romanticized version of happily churning your own butter and building an outhouse. Off-grid living, whether urban, suburban, or rural, isn’t the easiest choice you’ll ever make!

Urban living off-grid

The type of home in which you are living determines, in large part, the extent to which you can go grid-free. If you are in a home with a yard, it is easier to become more self-sufficient. Apartment life can accommodate a degree of off-grid living, just in a smaller scale.

An advantage for both types of homes is that everything you normally need in the course of a day or week is close to home. Walking or biking around town provides great exercise and saves money on gas, vehicle maintenance and insurance. Bikes can be inexpensive and easy to repair. A wagon or cart can be added to the back.

Public transportation, like the bus system, can be very economical. Try the various methods of transportation your city offers and know what works best for you. Look into monthly passes, if used regularly, it may save you money. Pay attention to where you go and its location. Combine trips, shop in your local neighborhood and learn of new activities in your community for your family. Libraries, parks, swimming pools, local colleges and recreation centers offer free or low cost entertainment and activities. All of these options will allow you to not be reliant on your gasoline/diesel powered vehicles and the supply of fuel into your community. It will also help you to save money.

Being independent of all utilities may not be possible, but minimizing usage and creating your own electricity can be. Solar panels are one alternative and can be installed on various types of homes. Be aware that an entire house solar system will be tied to the grid and will be vulnerable to the effects of an EMP, should that ever occur.

Another way to save money and energy is to minimizing your electricity usage. Some easy suggestions are:

• Unplugging everything that isn’t currently being used. This will help you realize what you rely on the most and then find ways of coping without that appliance, electronic, or whatever.
• Turning off lights. Try to go for 48 hours without using any lamps or electric lights of any kind. This will help you figure out what kind of lighting you would need in a grid-down emergency.
• Throwing on an extra layer of clothing on in the winter
Hand washing clothes
• Hanging clothes on a clothes line
• Insulating your attic
• Wash dishes by hand
• Close unused air vents
• Swap regular bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs

Going off-grid with your water and food supply

We need to use water for cooking, cleaning and washing, we just need to be wise about our water usage. Whether your water comes from a well or the city, less is better. Try some of these simple methods to reduce your dependence and cost of water:

• Short showers, maybe shower at the gym. A 5-minute shower can save you up to 1,000 gallons per month.
• Have a 5 gallon bucket in the shower to hold any water that is running while you find the right temperature for your shower. Use this water for plants or flushing the toilet.
• Keep a clean dishpan in the kitchen sink. It will hold the running water you use when washing hands and rinsing veggies.
• Use this water for your garden or washing dishes
• Install water saving shower heads, faucets and toilets
• Use a rain barrel system to collect water for your garden

Begin to minimize your dependence on grocery stores by growing your own food as much as possible. Start small with just 1 vegetable and 1 herb. If the plants don’t seem to be thriving, try using more or less water, a fertilizer (consult a nursery), but be sure to make notes. Growing food to any large extent is extremely difficult and can take years to master.

Apartment balconies can hold pots for vegetables and you can build vertical growing systems. In a home, you can plant in flowerbeds, allot a spot in your yard for a garden or add containers for additional space. Learn how to vertical garden and utilize the fence and exterior walls of your home. If you do not have the space to garden, consider community gardens. The are a low cost option and give you an opportunity to know your neighbors. Another option is to arrange with a neighbor that, in exchange for the use of their backyard for your garden, you’ll give them a percentage of the harvest and cover the cost of water, fertilizer, seeds, mulch, and the like.

Choosing to become more self sufficient and rely less on the grid can be an overwhelming thought. It is a lifestyle choice, a commitment to use less, save money and prepare. Take these suggestion and implement them into your life one by one. You will find more money in your budget to stock up on food and other emergency supplies for your family as you implement urban living off-grid. Maybe this will increase your savings so you can get that acreage in your favorite rural countryside.

*Check with city and county codes before going partial or off grid.

The post Living Off the Grid, (or Close to it) Urban Style by Erin Foster appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>
http://thesurvivalmom.com/urban-living-off-grid/feed/ 3
9 Tips to Avoid the Summertime Prepping Slump http://thesurvivalmom.com/9-tips-to-avoid-the-summertime-prepping-slump/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/9-tips-to-avoid-the-summertime-prepping-slump/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 07:12:29 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12204 It’s so easy for the hot, lazy days of summer to just sort of run into each other until the day arrives when it’s time once again to get the kids ready for school, and we ask, where did the summer go? If your prepping goals have taken a break right along with your pledge […]

The post 9 Tips to Avoid the Summertime Prepping Slump by The Survival Mom appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>

prepper activitiesIt’s so easy for the hot, lazy days of summer to just sort of run into each other until the day arrives when it’s time once again to get the kids ready for school, and we ask, where did the summer go?

If your prepping goals have taken a break right along with your pledge to have the kids do daily math drills and read for at least 30 minutes every day, then here are a few prepping activities and tips to avoid the summertime prepping slump.

1.  Get the kids involved in prepping activities

If they’re sitting around the house doing nothing, then they can help you prep! They can fill canning jars, mylar bags, and buckets with dry goods and oxygen absorbers. They can help weed the garden and pick ripe fruits and vegetables. They can wash and prepare produce for canning and dehydration. Kids can go through their closets and drawers and pull out toys they no longer play with and clothing that no longer fits.

Download my FREE ebook, Declutter and Organize Your Living SpaceIt contains enough tips and information to keep your kids busy all summer!

Hey, every time they say they’re bored, give them a prepping related task! They’ll have something productive to do and you’ll accomplish your prepping goals more quickly.

2.  Learn something as a family

Check out online calendars for craft stores, REI, Cabela’s, gyms, and your city’s summertime offerings. Many of these are survival and/or prepping related, such as learning how to read a compass, learning how to crochet or sew, etc. and very often these classes are free.

If these resources aren’t readily available to you, then check out a how-to book or watch some how-to YouTube videos on something your family would like to learn and do it yourselves!

Browse through my Skill of the Month page for dozens of ideas that will appeal to all members of your family!

Or, ask around and see if there is someone in your circle of friends and acquaintances who has a skill you would like to learn and is a willing teacher.

For more insights into staying motivated, listen to this episode of The Survival Mom Radio Hour!

3.  Turn a family outing or vacation into survival training!

Camping, hiking, fishing — those are all survival related, fun, and everyone can be involved. Check out these articles with more information about enjoying the great outdoors, as a prepper:

7 Summer Children’s Activities for Sowing Survivalist Seeds

25 Things I Learned From Long-Term Camping

A Camping Skill Basic: Safe Fire Building

Camping is More than Just Equipment — Here is a list of skills you need to have

Make This Summer a Family Camping Summer

Survival Mom Camping-Survival Secrets

And then there’s my series on family road trips. As a veteran of some 16,000 highway miles, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert in this area!

Eating On the Road: A Family Road Trip Survival Plan

Survive the Family Road Trip With These 13 Tips

Surviving the Family Road Trip

4.  Check into summer day camps related to prepping

Two summers ago my kids learned rifle skills in a 2-day camp at a local gun range. Lots of towns and cities start the summer with directories of these day camps.  If your kids are in a day camp or have gone away to camp, learning some sort of practical skill, then you’ll have time to either take a nap, read a relaxing book (just for fun!), or do anything else you like! Free time for mom is necessary!

5.  Amass produce in quantities and begin canning and dehydrating

Summer is prime produce time. Even if your garden was a flop or you didn’t get certain items planted, there are probably local gardeners and farmers who would love to share their bounty. Some might even be willing to trade a portion of their harvest for a portion of yours.

Bountiful Baskets is a large produce co-op that operates in many states. Do an internet search for “produce co-ops” in your area and you may end up finding a source of delicious, fresh product that you can then preserve for later.

Here are a few resources I’ve accumulated here to help you with canning different foods;

Once you have a good amount of green beans or tomatoes or whatever, make a simple plan for canning, dehydrating, and/or pickling. If your kids are whining about being bored, then you know who your helpers will be!

6.  Get away from the electronics!

Nothing zaps energy faster than sitting in front of a TV or computer screen hour after hour. Not only is time wasted but our minds and bodies become accustomed to inaction and it becomes even hard to get up and start doing something!

Allow yourself and the kids only a certain number of minutes per day in front of a screen.

7.  Take a few minutes to make lists to organize your prepping activities

A lot of time we find ourselves in a slump because we’re unfocused and are not sure what to do next. I’ve found that when I have all my scattered goals written down, it helps immensely.

Three lists that have helped me stay organized and focused on my preps are To Learn, To Do, and To Buy. From my book, Survival Mom:

List #1: To Learn
On this list you’ll keep track of skills and knowledge you realize will be important. A few examples on my own list are: Learn to tie various knots and know when to use them; work on creating recipes from my food-storage ingredients; and push my knitting skills to a higher level and knit a pair of socks.

Interestingly, many items on this list won’t cost a dime. If your budget is already strained, and buying even a few extra cans of tuna is a stretch, put more time and energy into learning skills, gaining knowledge, and seeking out other Survival Moms as resources.

List #2: To Do
Here’s another list that doesn’t have to empty out your bank account. Have you been meaning to compile all your important documents or inventory a garage filled with tools? Do you need to prepare your garden for the spring season?

There are simply dozens of things we intend to do, but they flicker in and out of our minds and are then . . . gone! As you read this book, start adding tasks to a To Do list and keep track of what you accomplish. It’s very empowering to see progress, although you will likely never have an empty To Do list!

List #3: To Buy
Although Lists 1 and 2 will keep you busy, there’s really no way around List 3. Stocking up on food, extra toiletries, good quality tools, and other supplies requires money. However, the good news is that a master To Buy list will help set priorities, keep you on budget, and even provide a shopping list when hitting the garage sale circuit.

Without a To Buy list, you may very well find yourself (a) spending money on things you later discover tucked away in a back cupboard or (b) snatching up purchases in a panic. This list helps save money as well as time.

8.  Assess whether or not the emotions that started your prepper journey have changed

If we begin a project or set a goal based mostly on emotion, when that emotion fades, and it will, very often our motivation fades as well. If you began preparing out of fear or panic, it’s likely that you’re not as motivated as you once were.

That’s all perfectly normal, however, if the logical part of your brain is convinced that prepping is important to the well-being of your family. You’ve just entered a new level of motivation based on rational conclusions. This is where lists come in handy: To Do, To Learn, To Buy. They’ll help you stay focused on what is most important regardless of the current state of your emotions.

9.  Start making plans and goals for when the kids are back in school

Summers are wonderful but let’s face it. When the kids return to school, so do routines. Having a predictable schedule once again will help you set priorities, focus on achieving small prepping goals, continue with prepping activities, and become the Super Survival Mom of your dreams!

Want to stay up to date with articles like this one?


prepper activities

The post 9 Tips to Avoid the Summertime Prepping Slump by The Survival Mom appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>
http://thesurvivalmom.com/9-tips-to-avoid-the-summertime-prepping-slump/feed/ 6
12 Tips for Living Out of Your Car http://thesurvivalmom.com/repost-12-tips-for-living-out-of-your-car/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/repost-12-tips-for-living-out-of-your-car/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:06:50 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=6223 If you need knowledge, read a book.  If you want to really know something, experience is the best teacher.  My advice for anyone reading this is to try living in a car or van for a week or two.  There isn’t anything better to wring out your survival kit than practical use. Here are some […]

The post 12 Tips for Living Out of Your Car by The Survival Mom appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>

living out of your carIf you need knowledge, read a book.  If you want to really know something, experience is the best teacher.  My advice for anyone reading this is to try living in a car or van for a week or two.  There isn’t anything better to wring out your survival kit than practical use.

Here are some tips from my own experiences.

image by thomas riboulet

Add a flip-up roof vent to the van, if that’s what you have.  Heating/cooking with propane produces water as a byproduct.  The vent will get rid of the  interior water buildup .  It will also exhaust hot air in the warmer parts of the year.  A solar powered fan in the vent is even better.

Solar film on the windows keeps things private, but you need a blackout curtain to keep light from being seen at night.  I used a denim tube and lined it with high density foam, hung from wire springs on both the top and bottom of the tube curtain.  The curtain needs to cover the whole window.  It provides a bit of insulation, too.

Never park in the same place twice in the same week.  Stay away from other parkers in your same situation.  Parking around a 24-hour biz is better than residential areas.  Apartment complexes offer a degree of stealth street parking due to the high turnover of tenants and friends, NOT in their parking lot, however!  Same for 24-hour grocery stores.

Sometimes your employer will let you park behind the biz if you’re a good employee and they want to help you out.  That’s always a personal call that depends on the boss’s personality and the particular job.  Sometimes it’s better the boss doesn’t know your situation.

Rent a mini-storage cubicle with 24-hour access for your spill-over and items that might be stolen from your vehicle.  If you’re a customer, you have bathroom privileges.

A health club membership is the golden ticket for street living.  You can shower, steam, and work out, too.  Municipal indoor pools are good, too.  Learn to bathe in a sink, as in sponge baths.  Always clean up your mess!

A private mailbox that provides a street address (not a Post Office box) makes you look more like someone with a real address.  This comes into play for drivers licenses, state ID cards, car insurance, job applications, etc.

A pay-as-you-go cell phone provides a telephone for job calls and if you need emergency services.

Try to find an apartment manager job if you have good people skills and some simple maintenance experience.  The local Apartment Association may offer training so you can get that job.  Once you’re in, you’re in for life.  They like peeps that have experience, so this is the route in.  Much easier if you’re a couple.  Mini-storage management is even better.  Usually small buildings only trade an apartment and light housekeeping duties for your time.  You will need to work part-time to pay the bills.

A portable CD player with a radio is very handy for entertainment and news.

Most libraries have computer access.  If you have a wireless laptop, then those businesses that let you surf on their wi-fi connection for a cup of coffee are helpful, too.

Always dress and act middle class or better.  The way you look determines how the police will handle you when they come calling.  That’s when, not if.

Don’t think you are depression proof.  Plan ahead for  hard times and practice.  You won’t be disappointed.  Living hand to mouth eventually gives you a can-do attitude that can be a life saver.  Even if you have to give up your home, you will still have one.

This advice came from webbee, over on Survivalist Boards  who granted his permission to re-post it here.  You and I may never have to live in our vehicles, but this advice is helpful for evacuations or if you’re ever stranded somewhere without funds for a hotel. 

See also:

Even If You Aren’t Living In A Car, You Need To Read These Terrific Survival Tips!

Getting Started With Dumpster Diving

Want more survival information like this?

 

The post 12 Tips for Living Out of Your Car by The Survival Mom appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>
http://thesurvivalmom.com/repost-12-tips-for-living-out-of-your-car/feed/ 28
10 Tips For Bugging Out to the Country http://thesurvivalmom.com/bugging-out-to-the-country/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/bugging-out-to-the-country/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2015 07:17:44 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=5962 When many urban or suburban people think about Prepping or Survivalism, they think about bugging out to a more rural location.  This has to be one of the most frequently-expressed fantasies in the Prepping world, and reams have been written about where to go and how to get there. But very little has been written […]

The post 10 Tips For Bugging Out to the Country by The Survival Mom appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>

bugging out to the countryWhen many urban or suburban people think about Prepping or Survivalism, they think about bugging out to a more rural location.  This has to be one of the most frequently-expressed fantasies in the Prepping world, and reams have been written about where to go and how to get there.

But very little has been written from the perspective of the rural dwellers.  How does your average farmer or homesteader feel about urban folks bugging out to the country?

We live on a twenty-acre homestead farm in rural north Idaho.  Wow, I can see your eyes sparkling from here.  You’re thinking, “What a perfect bug out location!”  Then believe me when I say the most dreaded words a homesteader can hear on the subject of Prepping is, “Well, if the bleep hits the fan we’ll just come live with you.”

Oh, bleep.

The truth about farms and homesteads

“Farm” does NOT mean remote or isolated or even self-sufficient.  Farmers live pretty much like you do, but with more elbow room.  We go to the grocery store.  We have jobs.  We have neighbors.  And we have towns nearby.

Okay, granted those towns can be pretty small by urban standards, but they’re just as full of unprepared people as anywhere else.  That means if the manure hits the rotating device, we’re going to have our hands full dealing with them.

Bear in mind that most people in the country may not be much more prepared than you are – which is to say, perhaps not at all.  Unless rural folks already have a Preparedness mindset, they’re just as susceptible to societal interruptions as your average city person.

Our only advantage is we’re farther away from the Golden Horde, that mythical group of city folks who will take to the road in times of disorder, or so some survival experts believe.

Or, are we really that far away and safe from thousands of straggling refugees? In our case, we live within a very short drive (as in, four minutes) from a town of 1000, many of whom are on welfare and are just as dependent on government checks as anyone in the inner city.  This means they will certainly go “foraging” when they get hungry.

Many people don’t realize that the Greater Depression has already impacted rural areas.  Hard.  Jobs out here are as scarce as hen’s teeth (as the saying goes) and unemployment in our county hovers around 20%.  Most of us are poor to begin with, especially by urban standards.  That means we don’t have a lot of money to pour into elaborate “prepper” projects.

So does this mean you should give up your idealized little dream about bugging out to the country?  Yes and no.  It depends on how realistic you’re being about your bug out plans.

Ten Tips if you decide to bug out to the country

To smooth the way, here are ten tips that may make your welcome a little warmer.

1. Don’t Come Unannounced

If you want to escape from the city, make your own private plans in advance and do not broadcast them to every Tom, Dick, and Harry of your acquaintance.  Nothing will dismay a rural friend or relative – much less a perfect stranger – more than having a brace of new people on their doorstep asking for food, shelter, and protection.  There’s nothing wrong with talking to rural-dwelling friends or relatives about the idea of deploying to their place if things get bad.  But if you do……

2. Prepare the Way

One of the “panic” aspects we country folk feel is that we don’t have enough supplies to provide for a hungry horde.  And we don’t.  Let’s face it, sometimes we barely have enough supplies to feed ourselves (remember, 20% unemployment in our area).  Do the math to understand our concerns.  If, through hard work, thrift, and diligence we’ve managed to squirrel away a year’s worth of food for our family of four – and then you show up with your family of four – then we’ve automatically halved our supplies to six months.  Now can you understand our fears?

Pretend you’ve bought an isolated cabin in the mountains to use as a bug out.  Would you be pleased to show up, exhausted and scared, to a cabin with no food, water, bedding, lighting, heat, or other necessities?  Of course not.  Presumably you would outfit your cabin to be ready for a bad scenario.

Your plans to bug out to a host family should be no different.  Send supplies in advance.  Send lots of supplies in advance.  Can’t afford it?  Well guess what, neither can we.  That shouldn’t stop you from sending a case of canned goods, a few sacks of rice and beans, perhaps some boxes of ammo.  If the host family has an unused corner of their barn, perhaps they’ll allow you to dedicate that area for your supplies.  Don’t forget clothing, sleeping bags, toiletries, firearms, medical supplies, etc., and make sure you make everything weather, insect, and rodent-proof.

If your finances permit, consider funding an expensive project that may be beyond a host family’s reach, such as a windmill, pond, or other pricey item. Think of it as a sort of investment.

Sending supplies in advance proves your worth.  It demonstrates you don’t plan to be a leech.

3. Clarify your Baggage

Even if you’ve made plans ahead of time and stashed adequate supplies, don’t expect a host family to welcome all your baggage.  For example, we have two large and semi-aggressive dogs.  We have large and aggressive dogs on purpose – they help protect us.  If you show up with a yappy Pomeranian and four cats, don’t expect us to be happy about it.  Our dogs would spend every waking hour trying to eat your pets for lunch.  And no, it’s not our fault that our dogs are “aggressive.”  It’s your fault for bringing animals into a situation that we’re not prepared – or willing – to handle.

4. You’re Not the Boss

This is our home.  We live and work here.  We pay the mortgage.  No matter how much we may love and welcome you, you’re still coming as a supplicant, not a part-owner of our farm.  You are in no position to make demands or request that we change our way of doing things unless you can demonstrate you’re an expert.  And even then, it’s still our house, property, equipment, and possibly food and other supplies.

Hint: diplomacy will go a long way if you think you know a better way to do something.

5. Prepare to Work

If you bug out to a rural host family, remember they’re not running a bed-and-breakfast.  Don’t expect them to wait on you or cater to your every whim.  A farm – especially post-bleep – will be a place of constant and brutal work.  Nothing will annoy a host family more than some lazy jerk who does whatever he can to weasel out of the day’s chores.  Be ready, willing, and able to help.  It’s possible that lives may depend on the willingness of everyone to pitch in and work together to do what must be done.

6. Don’t Be Wasteful

When you arrive at your host family’s rural location, you must immediately change any wasteful habits you may have and become very parsimonious.   If you spill something, don’t lavishly use paper towels to wipe it up because you can’t buy any more.  Use a rag.  Treat everything as irreplaceable – because believe me, if you’ve bugged out in the first place, it’s probably because the bleep has hit the fan and common everyday things are irreplaceable.

7. Bring Skills

Host families in rural areas will be more likely to welcome those with useful skills. If your most useful skill is shopping or meditation or social activism, don’t expect a whole lot of sympathy.  Your master’s degree in 18th century French literature is not likely to do you a whole lot of good post-bleep.  But if you have practical skills – medicine or defense or mechanics or food preservation or animal husbandry or veterinarian skills or sewing or something similarly needed – you’re far more likely to find an open door.

And this should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Don’t lie about your skills or abilities. If you state with confidence that you’re an expert at hunting and butchering – but have never held a rifle or dispatched a steer – that will be discovered soon enough. Learn those skills first before you claim knowledge. Duh.

So learn stuff.  Don’t show up ignorant.

8. Clarify by Contract

If/when the bleep hits the fan, people (urban and rural) are likely to be a lot more hysterical than normal. Having your plans in writing ahead of time clarifies all the obligations, expectations, and limitations between the two parties. This contract can also include what the urban person can and cannot bring. Pets should be included in this list. If the rural refuge is not prepared to handle your yappy Pomeranian because he has three aggressive German Shepherds, you need to know that in advance.

This contract should include one very important part: how many people the host family is expected to take in.  If, in your compassion, you gather up every second-cousin-twice-removed and show up with a swell of fifty people, do you honestly think that’s going to work?

9. Shut Your Mouth

Okay, let’s say you’ve done everything right.  You’ve made a contractual plan in advance with a rural host family.  You’ve sent plenty of supplies ahead of you.  The welcome mat is ready to be rolled out.

Now whatever you do, shut upDon’t blab your plans to friends and coworkers, because doubtless they’ll want to know more, and before you know it, the host family’s OpSec is blown.  The host family is already going out on a limb by agreeing to take you in – don’t compromise their safety even more.  And if martial law ensues and your gossip spreads about the host family’s supplies, it may mean those supplies may be confiscated.  Congratulations, now you’re screwed – and so are the people who took you in.

10. Practice Forbearance

The dictionary defines forbearance as “patient endurance and self-control.”  Believe me, if the bleep hits the fan, we’re all going to have to practice astronomical amounts of forbearance.

It is not easy to move into someone else’s house.  It’s not easy for the hosts to have permanent guests either.  Imagine a standard-sized ranch house with five women in the kitchen.  Do you honestly think they’ll all get along swimmingly?  If that’s too sexist for you, imagine a building project with five guys or (worse) five engineers who all have their own ideas of how something should be done.  Who’s right?

Hint: Whoever owns the house gets the final say unless you can diplomatically demonstrate you’re an expert in something.  And even then, ownership trumps expertise.

Remember what it’s like at your home when friends and family arrive for the holidays?  After three days, you long for everyone to leave.  Well if it’s TEOTWAWKI, it won’t be a three-day vacation.  There will be stress, anxiety, and short tempers.  Everyone will need to walk gently, or the biggest danger for all may be much closer to home than you realize.

Living spaces are likely to be cramped and not private.  There is only so much room in the average country home.  It’s not like farmers live in mansions with multiple extra bedrooms.  Expect to be bunked down on the living room floor or even the barn, shoulder to shoulder.  (And no, the host family should NOT have to give up their bedrooms for you.)

Additionally, septic systems are easily overwhelmed by extra usage.  One of the first projects everyone is likely to be involved in is digging an outhouse.  Please don’t complain about its construction or usage.

If the circumstances with your host family become hostile and unbearable due to stress, high emotions, and general fears – then feel free to make other arrangements and leave.

I apologize if this list makes me sound hostile, but I’ll admit rural folks get tired of being treated like everyone’s personal deep larder if the bleep hits the fan, expected to uncomplainingly provide food and water and medical care and shelter and protection for anyone unprepared enough to show up on their doorstep.  Don’t get me wrong, we’re not without Christian charity and will do what we can to help; but like most of our neighbors, we are low income and our resources are NOT INEXHAUSTIBLE.   Our primary focus will be our family, neighbors, and beloved friends.

This article is not necessarily to discourage anyone from making plans to bug out to the country.  This is just an attempt to make you look realistically at the people whom you’ll be bugging – and I use that double-meaning intentionally.

Guest post by Patrice Lewis, columnist and blogger at Rural Revolution.

Want to read more articles like this one? Subscribe to my emails!

 bugging out to the country

The post 10 Tips For Bugging Out to the Country by The Survival Mom appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

]]>
http://thesurvivalmom.com/bugging-out-to-the-country/feed/ 57