Guest post by Alexis.
1. Learn how to explain the necessity of preparedness to stubborn adult family members so as to edge them toward better preparedness for themselves without encouraging them to have you locked in the loony bin.
This may require much creativity on your part especially when you harden your house, and they want to know why you have decided to live in a prison. Helpful hint: If you have burglar bars placed on your house, put them on the inside or build valances over your windows and install the pull down kind that attach at the bottom, and people may not even notice.
2. Develop the finesse to encourage friends to prepare so that they do not know how prepared you are becoming, but yet they can prepare enough so as to not have to rely on you or starve.
Come on, you know that you will not be able to turn away your very best friend with whom you have shared all the things that the man in your life would not understand. Helpful hint: Get her to go with you to canning classes and then can together, or show her how to compost or build a rain barrel for her garden because that’s just good, green garden practice, or explain how great it is to buy freeze dried food and premake meals that she can just fix by adding water after a long day at the office. Get together and put 20 or 30 together from time to time. Go shopping together and buy outdoor solar lights and explain that when a storm comes, and the lights go out, she can just bring them indoors and have lights, and, if they are the kind that have an off and on switch, they will be almost as convenient as the grid lights. She won’t even know she’s getting prepared.
3. Learn to be a sponge. Learn everything you can from every reputable source that you can find. Even if the S never Hits The Fan, you will have gone a long way in preventing your own case of Alzheimer’s with all this extra learning!
4. Develop a garden plan that does not stand out as a garden to the passerby. Vegetables do not have to be planted in nice neat rows. They can be planted in pots and look like ornamentals. Garlic can be planted around your roses and will keep the bugs and blackspot
off the roses as well as be there for you to eat or use to make medicine. Who would ever notice? As you prepare, you may find yourself short on space and will learn to hide many things in plain sight.
5. Know three ways to get water and have three ways to make it fit for use. Practice using them! Also, learn how to handle human waste so as not to pollute your water sources. If you are lucky enough to be on a septic system rather than a sewer system, you might want to think about having the tank pumped, and you might want to talk to an expert about how to keep your system healthy. It would be so much easier if all you had to do was haul some unpotable water into the loo than to deal with digging the correct holes for latrines in your yard.
If you do not have a septic system, it would be helpful to learn how to construct a composting toilet, and go ahead and have the plan and the materials on hand just in case. There are excellent directions to be found online, (also, for lots of other neat things you might need.) Ain’t technology wonderful for learning how to be low tech?
6. Learn how to store food in at least three ways and know how and on what to cook that stored food in at least three ways. If you talk really nicely to your extension agents, there is a chance that they might offer classes in things like canning, dehydrating, and using alternative cooking sources. And, while you are at it you might talk them into having classes for women on things like simple home repair, automobile upkeep, plumbing fixes, and simple electrical jobs since, of course, there are so many single moms and women whose fathers taught their brothers how to do things, but not them. Worked for me!
7. Learn what goes into a good, usable medical kit and how to use what’s in it. Ask around your neighborhood and find out what medical professionals live close by. Get their advice. Strike up a friendship.
If a friendly relationship develops, you might want to add some medical supplies to your stash that maybe you might not know how to use, but they could use if called upon in a crisis. Just because they are the experts does not mean that they couldn’t be caught without materials in a SHTF scenario. If you could supply some needed equipment, that would go a long way in building good rapport with your neighbors when it might be helpful.
8. Learn as much as you can about alternative energy sources, and gather the supplies you will need in case of a grid-down scenario. While you are at it, you may as well identify those in your community who have good construction and engineering skills if you are as bad at physics as I am!
9. Learn how to protect yourself, your loved ones, and what is yours. Take classes or call upon someone you know who is both knowledgeable about security and self defense to both help you learn and help you identify your home’s weaknesses. Get over yourself and accept that your life is your responsibility. A self-sufficient life is not for sissies!
10. Learn skills that would both help you survive and be worthwhile for barter. When choosing these endeavors, think about the things that you already know something about or that interest you.
One of the great shames of life is that so many of us hate what we do for a living. In a SHTF situation things will already be hard enough. Choose something you would love to do anyway. If you already love to garden, grow herbs and learn how they can be used for encouraging health. Our supplies won’t last forever, and some working knowledge of how to use our plants would really be helpful. Our ancestors knew how to use the things around them, and we can learn it too. If you love hunting, learn how to repair guns and reload. If you love animals, learn how to raise them for use or how to doctor them. You know what turns you on. Do it!
11. Learn to see the glass ½ full. Learning not to depend on the system at all will be a hard pill to swallow. In order to make sure that our families survive and thrive, we will have to see life as a challenge that can still be enjoyed no matter what challenges may come our way. It is our responsibility to give our children and grandchildren a hope for the future. We can lead them in this by remembering to be grateful for what we have and can do for ourselves.
12. Accept that we cannot ever be totally prepared and in control of everything all the time. All that we can do is all that we can do. The rest must be left to faith. Remember that in 1929 our parents and grandparents had no warning that a Great Depression was on its way.. One day everything was fine, and the next day everything had fallen in. They had no chance to prepare. We have. We are the lucky ones.
13. Learn to take a deep breath and relax. It is easy to become overwhelmed and panic stricken. We are still making it. As my mother once said about my worrying, “If you haven’t starved to death yet, you are not likely to.” Or, in the words of some sage, “Don’t worry, be happy!”
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