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Saturday, December 31, 2011

We have moved

The Ohio Preppers Network has moved.  Please bookmark our new location at: http://ohio.preppersnetwork.com/

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Friday, July 22, 2011

The Record Heat Waves

With the record heat waves and drought across the nation, the American Preppers Network hopes that you have been prepared.  Disasters of any type can and do happen anywhere, at anytime, and without warning.  We are now witnessing and will continue to witness a prime example of how one disaster can cause a chain reaction leading to other disasters.  Here are some potential disasters to be aware of as a result of the drought and heat waves.

1) Water shortages.  Water is the number 1 most important necessity to survival.  The average human can only survive 3 days without water, and even less in a heat wave.  I hope you've stored some.  If the water system shuts down or does not have enough, you could turn on the tap only to have a few drips.  If you run into a situation where there is not enough municipal water supply to your home, start looking for other sources of stored water.
  • Your hot water tank may have 30 - 50 gallons of water stored. 
  • The top supply tank to your toilette is typically clean water that you can use.
  • Your plumbing in your house could have a few gallons.  Open a higher faucet in your house as in a shower, sink, or upstairs source to relieve pressure, then open a lower outside faucet to retrieve water from your plumbing system.
Don't short change yourself on water!  Make sure you have plenty for personal consumption.  If you stop sweating, that means you are dehydrated!   

Got Water?

2) Heat.  Heat poses many risks, including but not limited to:
  • Heat Stroke.  Watch family members closely, especially the elderly, watch for slurred speech and disorientation.  When in doubt, call for help.  Time lost is brain lost.  Never leave pets or children in a vehicle, and keep them out of the direct sun.  Drink lots of water.
  • Fire.  Fires are much more common in the heat.  Things dry out and become more flammable.  Keep dry brush and trash picked up.  Do not store fuel in or around your house, and keep well ventilated in a cool area out of the sun.  Keep grass cut short, especially if your city is rationing water and not allowing watering of lawns.  Do not store any flammables in the direct sun or in your attic.  
  • Vehicle breakdowns. Avoid driving unless it's absolutely necessary, or drive at nite. Check your fluid levels and make sure your oil and coolant are topped off.  Bring extra oil and coolant with you in case you need it.  DO NOT top off your fuel tank!  Make sure your tires are property inflated and not over or under inflated.  Bring extra water with you in case you do break down.  Drive with the A/C off when going uphill.  Watch your vehicles tempature when climbing grades.  If your car starts to overheat when going uphill, pull over at a safe location to let it cool.  Check to make sure your thermostat is working before you make your trip.
3) Blackouts.   The nations grids are maxed out.  With everyone using A/C, expect rolling blackouts.  If you are in a blackout, you can wrap sleeping bags around your refrigerator or freezer to help insulate it.  To conserve power, only use what you absolutely need.  Keep lights turned off and keep your A/C set to the warmest temperature that you can safely stand.  Do you have a generator?  Be prepared to use it.  Do you have plenty of non-perishable food stored?  If there is an extended blackout, you may need it.  Stores and gas stations will be shut down in a blackout.  Do you have an emergency battery powered radio and flashlights?

4) Food Prices   Expect food prices to increase.  Especially meat.  Many ranchers are butchering all of there livestock as there is not enough food and water to care for them, this means shortages in the future.  Produce crops are drying up. Prices of corn, wheat and other grains will increase.  Even produce grown in unaffected areas may increase in price as well due to demand.  If the blackouts are too severe, stores, gas stations and truck stops may close down temporarily disrupting the supply chain and preventing food from making it to the stores.

Stay safe during this heat wave and dought.  This is a serious and potentially devastating national disaster.

If you have tips, ideas, news, videos or pictures that you wish to share regarding this heat wave you can submit your article to americanprepper@yahoo.com.  If your article is chosen we will post it on your states preppers network blog.  Top articles will get posted on APN.  The top article of the week will win a free flashlantern valued at $49.95 (made in the USA).  Articles must be submitted before 7/29.

Feel free to copy and repost this article in it's entirety.  Credit source as AmericanPreppersNetwork.com

Here are some free helpful pdf files to download

Fire and Heat Waves
- ARC - Are You Ready - Fire

- ARC - Are You Ready - Heat Wave

- ARC - Are You Ready - Wildfires

- Fact Sheet: Fires

- Fact Sheet: Fire Safe

- WildFires

- ARC - Food and Water in Emergency

- Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water 

- How To Make A Solar Still (Plastic Cover)

- Purification Of Water On A Small Scale 

- Simple Solar Still For The Production Of Distilled Water

- Slow Sand Filters

- Water Purification

- Water Treatment

Fire Safety 

- Fighting Fire 

- Fire Safety

Get More Free Downloads here:

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I hope you all are enjoying the warm weather and your gardens are growing beautifully. On a much sadder note, a fellow blogger, Gen, from the Illinois Preppers Site has come upon a serious illness. She has been hospitalized with a brain aneurism and I am requesting that we lift her and her family up in prayer.

According to her facebook page, she has successfully come out of surgery and has been placed in ICU, is still on a vent and recovery looks good. She will undergo more tests in the coming days. I will update on the Ohio site if anything changes.

Gen has shared her knowledge and homesteading skills for the novice and experienced preppers and/or homesteaders and is always there to give advice and answer questions.

Please remember Gen in your prayers that the Lord will restore her to good health and give strength to her husband and children during this difficult time.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

A Most Interesting Conversation

I was at the local farm store this weekend to pick up a few plants when I stopped and talked to the owner.  Okay, he's my neighbor, and my cousin, but a farmer and the owner too.  We ended up having the most illuminating conversation. 

It all started out over a tray of sweet potato plants.

I was picking "D's" brain about raising sweet potatoes, specifically for keeping them through the winter, when sort of out of nowhere he says "Andie, don't believe what you're hearing on TV and reading in the paper.  There's not going to be a grain crop this year."


He said Ohio's grain is 7% planted and the cut-off date for planting is little more than a week away.  Only high grounds are planted and low lying fields are still too swampy to get large equipment into. 

He talked about the fact that there won't be a crop along the Mississippi for several years possibly, because the flooding washed away the topsoil and left behind a layer of thick mud and debris.  Tens of thousands of acres of prime farmland, perfect for growing wheat, soy, corn, cotton were washed away, along with the living of several dozen farm families.
The drought in the western states, Asia and Europe came up, and that much of the world would be doggedly looking to buy as much grain as possible and the impact it would have on the already rising food prices.  Limited grain crops are going to drive the price of EVERYTHING through the roof.  

And then he talked about the cheery reports he hears out of the media, specifically from government departments.  He said there's little to be cheery about and that this one bad season is going to affect grain prices for the next 2-3 years.  Or longer.

I can't fully explain the impact of this conversation because you all don't know "D".  He's very quiet.  Very reserved.  Slow to give his opinion.  Conversations with "D" are normally very short, kept to basic, polite "hey how are you, how are the kids?" type of talk.  Once in a while, we talk gardening, but that's the extent of exchanges with "D".  To hear him talk about what's coming around the bend, that was a real AHA moment for me; not because it's a lot of new information, but because someone else is seeing it for what it is.

We talked food storage for a few minutes and I told him that we'd been hitting the commodities hard; wheat, sugar, coffee and chocolate, at which he laughed and promised not to tell his wife where our chocolate stash is located.  

Then I bought a bunch of extra veggie plants.  If his plan was to increase garden plant sales, it worked on me!

I just can't emphasize enough the importance of a deep larder this year.  Everything is going to go up this year, everything.  We're not an oil-based economy, we're a grain-based economy and everything we eat is somehow tied to grain.  Our clothes are tied to crops.  Our fuel is tied to crops.  And when those crops aren't available, we're going to feel that impact hard and fast.    

Pick up some extra food for long term storage.  Even if it's freakin' Ramen noodles and Spam.  Whatever.  Just get some food in your pantry while you can afford it.  If you've been thinking about buying wheat, corn, etc for storage, don't wait!  Do it now while grain is still available and affordable.  The local Walmart store carries 25# bags of white or red wheat for about $12-$13, so there's no excuses for putting it off!  And bear in mind, that shortages in wheat, soy and corn could lead to shortages in other grains as consumers turn to oats, barley, rye for substitutes.  If you start every morning with a bowl of oats, pick up an extra package (or 4) and put them away for darker days.     

Buy an extra pair of blue jeans while you can afford them.  If you need bedding, fabric, towels, look into it sooner than later!  If you have small children as I do, watch for sales on the next-size-up clothing.  They'll prove invaluable later on. 

If you need straw for your garden, buy it now.  No wheat crop = no straw.

Pick up extra seeds for next year.  Sounds like they may be necessary.

Safely store some fuel for cold weather.

Get ready to prove your mettle.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Pasta Steal....Lost Post?

I'm not sure what happened, but blogger was down for the better part of 24 hours and now my last post is missing.  What the heck? 

Anyway, in case you didn't read it, go here  for coupons for Ronzoni pasta....$1.00 off 2 boxes.   Then get thee to the local Kroger store where they're on sale for $.49 a box.......and you can get them free with the coupon!  My store had a limited selection, but I still got out of there with 12 boxes of free pasta.  And free is the best way to stock that pantry,  yes?

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

$6/Gallon Gas?

As I watched the early show this morning, the anchor did the obligatory "stocks are up, all is good with the world" segment, followed by something that really shocked me.  Apparently the dollar index is at a 3 year low and some experts are expecting $6/gal gas by summertime. 

I was speechless.

I'd heard suggestions that $5/gal gas was right around the corner, and felt begrudgingly resigned to paying that price.  Now hearing expectations of $6 gas, I long for the days of $5 gas! 

Maybe that's how this ploy works? 

Step 1.  Introduce a bad idea.

Step 2.  Introduce a WORSE idea.

Step 3.  Suddenly idea #1 isn't so bad.

I told a friend last week that I feel like we're at a tipping point, our economy and our country, that is.  That we're balanced at the apex of a pyramid built on false money, inflated stocks and misinformation. 

You can only balance for so long. 

Then you slip.

I'm truly afraid we're about to slip. 

As a wife, a mama, a neighbor, I hope that you're putting food away.  Paying off debt.  Planning your garden.  Brushing up on skills.  Taking baby steps toward a simpler life.  These are the things that will make the difference between surviving and thriving. 


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Friday, April 15, 2011

Off The Grid News

Hey there, Buckeyes!  Hope this post finds you well and enjoying the lovely spring weather.  We've been quite busy around the homestead lately, trying to get things ready for planting and assessing damage from a rough, rough winter.  Thankfully we came through mostly unscathed, with only a few downed branches and a patch of strawberries that didn't survive. 

I just wanted to share with you a cool website I found this morning...it may be old news to some of you, but it's new and fresh and exciting to me!   http://www.offthegridnews.com/   Off The Grid News is sort of Mother Earth News meets FoxNews, if that makes sense!  There are lots of very practical articles with useful information on topics like gardening, self-defense, education with a bit of tin-foil hat stuff thrown in for good measure!  Whether you enjoy the politics or not, there is much information to be gleaned from this site! 

I hope you find it as useful as I did...and make sure you sign up for the newsletter to get the free e-book download "Food Shock". 


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Survival Giveaway

I see so many great giveaways during my daily WWW browsing...if it's okay with you, I'll start posting them here so more people have the opportunity to win.  Heaven knows I rarely win ANYTHING LOL. 

Anyway, Pete at Patriots Against the NWO has been doing some marathon giveaways of late...and the prizes are wonderful...especially if you're a prepper.  This week he's giving away a book called "SURVIVE! The Disaster, Crisis and Emergency Handbook".  Here's the book description, straight from Pete's site:

"Book Description:
Disasters strike within a moment's notice. How do you protect your family and yourself? Surviving the first 72 hours following any disaster is critical to your family's safety and security. Jerry Ahern, best-selling author of the post apocalyptic series, The Survivalist, goes beyond science fiction and shows you how to survive any impending disaster.

Through straight-forward advice and compelling photos, Ahern takes you step-by-step and shows you what could possibly happen when terrorists attack, when hurricanes and tornado's hit ground, when floods and wildfires ravage the earth, and when the ever-growing threat of ecological hazards occur.

The need to prepare is real. Disasters affect power grids and disrupt emergency services forcing people to make their own decisions--decisions that could be a matter of life and death!

Survive teaches you everything you need to know in order to survive any disaster and prepare you for any emergency."
Make the time and get over there!  What a great prize!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thoughts On Heirloom Skills

This post could so easily turn into a rant.

That's not my intention, but it could.  Just saying...........

The past few days, the subject of heirloom skills has been a hot topic in my house.  You know, heirloom skills, plain old basic life skills that used to be passed down from one generation to the next, much like Great-Granny's English tea pot.  These skills were learned by little girls at the elbows of their mothers and grandmothers and when the little girl was grown, she could apply that skill in her own life and pass it down to her daughters.  (I say daughters, mothers, grandmothers, but you could just as easily replace those terms with sons, fathers, grandfathers.)  I remember doing that; learning plain old basic life skills by working next to my mom and grandmother and my favorite aunt Vickie. 

I remember springtimes spent in the garden, watering transplants with buckets of water brought up from the creek.  Summers were spent juicing, snapping, shucking, milling, canning and freezing in the cinder block summer kitchen.  The wild black raspberries ripened in mid- to late-summer and oh how thrilling it was when Papaw climbed over the farm fence and disappeared for an hour picking berries!  It seems like he'd always come back with gallons and gallons of fresh black raspberries that we'd turn into jellies, cobblers and freeze for winter.  At least the ones that made it to the kitchen.  A fair number of them never made it beyond the walk back from the orchard. 

In fall, there were gorgeous fruit harvests of apples and peaches followed by peeling, saucing, buttering and canning.  I remember one year having brown hands from all the peaches I helped Mom peel and turn into peach butter.  I was about 13 and I was so embarrassed of my brown hands and stained fingernails!  I wasn't so embarrassed when it came time to top mom's homemade biscuits with peach butter!  That was some good eating right there. 

Wintertime was the greatest because all our efforts came inside.  Thanksgiving was a huge affair, with a full spread of food, all homemade and much of it homegrown.  There was no instant this and just add water that.  It was full-fat, full-calorie, full-flavor and made in bulk to accommodate all the aunts, uncles, cousins and grandchildren.  I remember homemade gifts and Christmas cakes baked from scratch.  And homemade toffee candies made with black walnuts that we gathered from the tree next door in Mr. Adam's yard.  I remember homemade peach and apple pies every year for Mamaw's birthdays, made from homegrown peaches and locally grown apples.   I remember Mom crocheting baby blankets and Mamaw making quilts when her old ones wore through.  And when spring came around again, Easter was a huge celebration, with homemade cakes and candies.  Our lives revolved around the seasons and our time was spent close to home.  And with few exceptions, I cannot imagine a more idyllic childhood. 

Somewhere over the past couple generations, that's all changed.

Life is spent at a hurried pace, going from one activity to another.  From school to sports to community functions to take-out restaurant then back home again to hurriedly get a few scant hours of sleep in order to start all over again.  Not that there's anything inherently wrong with those activities, but home and the family unit have been neglected in the process.  Hours spent together in the kitchen learning to cook whole foods have been swapped for fast food in order to free up time for watching TV.  Hard work and sweat in the garden have been traded in exchange for manicures and shopping sprees.  We don't produce anything; we simply consume.  We rack up debt to free up our time and then poison ourselves with convenience foods because we're simply too tired to cook.  What the frig??????

Now what we have is a generation of Americans who aren't capable of survival.  I don't mean survival as in Bear Grylls and roughing in the wilderness with only a package of matches and a tarp.  I mean cooking foods in their most basic form and mending a pair of jeans to last through the winter.  I'm talking about nourishing our family's tummies and spirits with simple hearty fare that we grew through our own labors.  Scrapping together a thick, fluffy, warm blanket to snuggle under on a cold winter day.   The skills of 3-4 generations ago are long-forgotten and have been replaced by mind-numbing, budget-killing, body-sickening hobbies and habits.

We're now enslaved by convenience.  Do you realize that?  What was once pleasant and convenient has now become a necessity and big businesses are laughing all the way to the bank.  Processed, packaged foods have become a staple because we've forgotten basic cooking skills.  Manufactured clothing has become a necessity because we've forgotten the ability to sew.  We're reliant on goods shipped from overseas because we've outsourced our skills for convenience and leisure.  We don't know how to sew, quilt, cook, work leather, make soap, tap trees, heal ourselves with herbs,  raise livestock, brew ales, make yogurt, construct simple furniture.  We absolutely refuse to make do or do without...that would be beneath our dignity.  After all, we're Americans and we're entitled to a certain quality of life.  And so we're now slaves to big business and mass consumerism; oh and the debt that goes along with it.  In so many ways we're like children; reliant upon someone else to take care of our most basic needs. 

We make fun of folks on welfare and look down our noses at entitlements, but honestly, are we any different?  We are nearly 100% dependent on other people to feed us, cloth us, heal us and give us a warm place to sleep.  The question is, where does this all end?  At what point do we learn again to take care of ourselves?  At what point do we free ourselves from bondage and use the skills of our forefathers in order to provide for ourselves?

If you don't know these skills, honestly, I'm not picking on you.  Our generation is the product of a crazy environment and an ever-maddening culture, but that's no excuse not to move beyond what we know and develop skills that will enrich our lives and that of our family.  There are so many resources available now to people who only look for them.  County extension offices offer courses in gardening and canning.  Local hardware stores teach classes on basic plumbing and carpentry.  Family-run greenhouses and garden centers can teach you the basics of planting a garden or using herbs.  Craft and fabric stores often teach elementary sewing.  And if none of that pans out, there are surrogate grannies to be found everywhere who would love to trade their skills for an afternoon with a captive audience!  There is a wealth of information to be had online, you just have to take the time to find it.  And old books, they're the greatest at teaching basic skills.  Watch garage sales and auctions for old home economics books, pre-WWII 'receipt' books, Girl/Boy Scout manuals.  They can be bought for practically nothing but are full of essential information.

Our culture is so big on the acquisition of stuff, especially if it promises to make life easier, but now it's time to turn away from that and work on the acquisition of knowledge and relationships.  It's time to build a home and a family, to develop our minds and expand our culture beyond what pop-media tells us is trendy.  Can you think of a better time to start than right now? 

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Ohio Preppers Roll Call - All Preppers Please Check In

The American Preppers Network is conducting a network-wide roll call.  Whether you are a member or not please check in and let us know what you are doing to prepare.

This is a good opportunity to network with other preppers near you.

Ohio Preppers, to respond to the roll call please follow this link:

  • Reply to the Roll Call and let us know what you have been doing to prepare.
If you are not yet a member of the forum you can register here for free:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

C&E Gun Shows Responds to Columbus, Ohio Mayor Michael Coleman

Cam Edwards talks to Annette Elliott, who responds to Columbus, Ohio Mayor Michael Coleman, who called her gun shows out in his State of the City Address - NRA News - February 24, 2011 - http://www.NRANews.com

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Gardening and Firearms

I was browsing my favorite blogs this morning and found this post on Survival Mom (reprinted with permission from Backyard Food Production) and felt it crucial that everyone in the prepping/homesteading community read it. 

The long and short of the article is that a local shopkeeper declared he would never need to grow his own food and slammed a handgun down on the counter to prove it.  In a Schumer-esque situation, he'll just take what he needs from those of us who do grow food. 

Oh that's original. 

I know his line of thinking isn't new or different.  It's no real surprise.  There may even be some among you who think the same way.

What does surprise me is that this shopkeeper hasn't connected the dots and figured out that we gardeners didn't have to trade in our firearms in order to afford a tiller.  I'm surprised that in his compartamentalized little mind he thinks that you can EITHER own a gun OR grow a garden, but you can't do BOTH. 

I mean really.

Does he think that we're going to spend all spring and summer working our fingers to the bone and then stand by and watch this lazy lump raid our garden?

Does he think we only keep our great-granddaddy's Brown Bess around for dispatching rodents?


I have 3 thoughts on this topic: 

-If you think you're going to steal from my garden, you'd better carry something larger than a handgun.

-I know exactly how far it is from the back bedroom window to the edge of the garden...and I know it for a reason.

-That sign in the garden that reads "IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU'RE IN RANGE" isn't there for decoration.  Consider it a warning shot.

I'm trying not to get worked up about this article, but it just sickens me.  I don't know if it's just the nature of mankind to take what one wants or if it's a by-product of our entitlement culture....either way, it infuriates me. 

Care to share your thoughts?     

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Preparing for the Family

Posts have been sort of scant and far between lately, and for that, I apologize.  A beloved family member  is in failing health, nearing the end of her journey, and needless to say, I've been distracted.

But as I've said before, anything can be a learning experience; an opportunity to gain wisdom, to unite and love each other the way our Creator intended.  The dying experience is no different.  It's a chance to reflect, reevaluate your situation and your intent, to see where you can make changes, improvements, new goals.

Here's what I've learned.

What has become blatantly obvious to me in the past weeks is how unprepared I am to deal with crowds, especially of the related variety.  I remember once in AP Senior English class, my teacher wrote an evaluation of me that stated:

"Nice girl.  Kind to her mother.  Comes unglued in crowds."

I thought he was joking, but nearly 20 years later, I can see the truth in his words.  I do come unglued in crowds.  I'd like to think that I'm calmer, more secure and more adaptable than the 17 year old girl he wrote that about, but I can't honestly say that's true.  Crowds still unhinge me.  Even if I know them.  Even if I love them. 

Recently, while preparing meals for my father-in-law in a less-than-full, only slighted-crowded house, I could feel my stress levels rising.  In addition to the normal busy-ness of preparing a filling meal, there were people looking over my shoulder, asking what I was doing and what I was making.  In a desire to help, they were behind me, in front of me, next to me, between me and the sink, me and the fridge, me and the prep area.  Bumping into me.  Trying to help with dirty dishes.  As much as I appreciated their offers to help,  it drove me insane.  I was stressed mentally from the onset, and the physical closeness and constant activity around me only added to that stress. 

Mr. "A" was right. 

I am a nice girl, kind to my mother, but I come unglued in crowds. 

As Americans, we like our space.  We need our space.  We feel entitled to our space.  And just the thought of a bunch of people crowded into my house in a post-SHTF situation causes me to break out in hives.  I'm completely unprepared emotionally/mentally to handle a bunch of people invading my space.  That is obviously something I need to work on as the likelihood of the family piling into one home for an extended period of time is great.

I've also come to realize how unprepared I am to handle family and crowds in terms of real estate.  I have a nice home; a modest 1970's ranch with a partial basement that's partially finished.  It's not fancy, but it's comfortable with good bones and updated utilities...and believe it or not, it's worth what we paid for it.  (There's one for the record book!)  I have food socked away, along with water and backup sources of light and heat.  We have enough room to be comfortable yet cozy.  I'm prepared to take care of my husband and children.

But when an out-of-town family member needed a place to stay during a weekend visit, I was sent scrambling to make provisions for him.  I had no extra bedrooms.  No extra beds.  No air-mattresses.  A couple extra blankets, but not much in the way of pillows.  I didn't have a plan for combining rooms.  The prospect of one extra person in our home sent me reeling.  Had this been a true, excrement-hit-the-ventilation situation, in which my brother and his young family or my husband's aging parents needed a safe place to stay, I can't honestly say I would have been prepared to take them in.  In a short-term emergency, a pallet on the living room floor would work.  But in a long-term situation, that would get tiresome and stressfull very quickly.

I know that I'm thinking about these situations, perhaps, in incorrect terms.  I'm thinking about them in comfortable, safe, entitled American terms.  In post-apocalyptic, 'survival-by-any-means' terms, a pallet on the floor and bumping into a cousin while cooking would be nothing.  It would be a very pleasant inconvenience when faced with the alternatives.  But here and now, while times are reasonably good and fairly stable, this is the time to prepare for family members and worst case scenarios.  A little forethought now may save a lot of time, grief and stress later on.

In order to be better prepared for an emergency, I'm giving thought to dealing with crowds of family.  I'm talking to my kids about sharing rooms.  (I know.  Gasp.  Spoiled American kids sharing a room.  Oh the hardship.)  I've discussed with my husband the logistics of bunking our family into one bedroom, both for space and for security.  We've added a queen-size air bed to our preps, which in a pinch could easily sleep 2 adults and a kid or two.  We've talked about alternative sleeping arrangements, such as using the window seat for a child's bed.   The possibility of sleeping and eating in shifts came up.  And I'm also tossing around the addition of a sofa-bed to the basement family room, for both sleeping and waking comfort.  All these plans could help take care of the 'real estate' aspect of family preparedness.

But how does one prep mentally for a family invasion?  What can you do to prepare yourself for the 'new normal' that would involve combining households and giving up your precious elbow room?  Believe it or not, I found only one article on the entire world-wide-web that in some means deals with close-quarter living.  One. Article.

So I ask the pros:  How have you prepared, both mentally and spatially, to deal with crowds, extended family and close living quarters? 

In His Service,



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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Canning Beans

This lull between the seasons is about to kill me.  I think wintertime is absolutely the worst, most difficult time of the year for preppers and homesteaders like me. 

At first it's pleasant.

You spend spring starting seeds and planting plants and getting the yard into shape after a long, cold winter.

You spend summer tilling and weeding and otherwise keeping the yard and garden tidy, awaiting your first fruits of the year.  And there's the lovely family stuff, like summer vacations and homemade ice cream and fire works and fireflies.  Ahhhh summer.

You spend fall pickling and dehydrating and freezing and jellying and canning anything that you can lay hands on, in addition to winterizing the yard and garden in preparation for cold weather.  And then there's the push to get ready for the holidays.

So yeah, those first lazy weeks of winter are pleasant.  A chance to rest mind and body after a busy year.  A chance to hibernate and enjoy the fruit of your labors.  And then the boredom sets in.  The restlessness.  The listlessness.  The never-ending days of snow-ice-thaw-snow-ice-thaw where the only respite for the soul is the occasional seed catalog that lets you daydream about spring.  I feel so very unproductive during the wintertime.  As I said last week, you can only bake so much bread and cook so many casseroles before you want to throw yourself off a bridge...don't worry...I'm not going to throw myself off a bridge.  All the bridges in my area are so slick with ice, they're closed to foot traffic :)

So this week, I've decided I NEED to do something, both for sanity and prepping purposes...and canning beans seems to be the logical choice.  I have lots of beans, I have lots of empty jars and lots of free time on my hands.  Beans it is.

I try to keep a few cans of beans on hand at all times.  A can or two of black beans, a can of baked beans and a few cans of pork and beans are normally enough to sustain us.  Baked beans are a fast side dish or even a filling main dish.  Black beans make for great/quick wraps, burritos, enchiladas.  And pork and beans make a great baked beans and franks dish for cold, winter nights.   But recently the prices have really gone up.  Plain old, off-brand pork and beans are approaching a dollar a can and baked beans can easily run 2 bucks.  That's insane!  Time to can my own! 

The Ball Blue Book I won last fall  from Angela at Food Storage and Survival has a couple great recipes for home-canning beans.  There's a recipe for pork and beans, one for baked beans as well as instructions for canning plain old beans such as black and chickpeas.  The directions seem fairly straight-forward.  You sort your beans.  You soak your beans.  You boil/bake them for a certain amount of time.  You transfer them to a canning jar leaving an inch of head space.  You season them accordingly.  You cap them and  process them: generally 1hour 15 for pints and 1hour 30 for quarts (of course this varies depending on the recipe.  Follow the recipe!)  Yes, that's a long time to run the old pressure canner, but if the canner is full and I can come away with 8-9 quarts of beans, then I'm way ahead and I save a LOT of money in the long run.

What I love about the idea of canning dried beans is the ability to add/substitute the seasonings of my choice.  Garlic, onions and peppers go a long way towards spicing up a rather bland protein like beans.  Plus I don't have to worry about what various companies are adding to the beans, like HFCS, e. coli and mouse droppings.

Another reason to can beans is to encourage rotation of food stores.  While dried beans DO have a long shelf life, from what I read, after a few years the beans won't rehydrate.  So no matter how long you soak 'em, no matter how long you cook 'em, they simply won't soften up.  Canning is a great way to rotate dried beans out of your storage and into your daily meals.  Just replace what you home-can with a fresh supply of dried beans!

And lastly, home-canned beans are a great quick meal option.  If you live out in the boonies, home-canned meals like baked beans are a great 'fast food' option.  Let's face it...40 minutes to an hour for a round-trip to get a take out meal is NOT fast food.  And even with the addition of meats, brown sugar and sauces, home-canned beans are far more healthy than any deli meal you might pick up from the grocery.  But the best reason to can your own beans: it's a quick, filling meal when the power goes out and you can't spend hours cooking those dried, stored beans.  They can be eaten cold straight from the can or warmed over a chaffing dish or a camp stove.   

Pretty compelling reasons to can your own beans, wouldn't you say?  So I reiterate: beans it is!

Have you tried home-canning beans?

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Working Through The Storm

We're on day 2 of the mother of all Ohio ice storms...at least that's what the meteorologist said this morning.  Although today it's not so much the ice as the 30 mph sustained winds and the 50 mph gusts.  Ah sheesh, I love Ohio living.  In true prepper form, we had some quick-fix meals, a full kerosene stove and plenty of clean clothes in case of a power outage, but so far we've managed to stay powered up.  

Keeping occupied has been the most difficult task as our usual quiet routines have been thrown into chaos.  We normally don't make trips into town mid-week, but just knowing that we CAN'T go anywhere because of the near inch-thick coating of ice, that's making me crazy. 

So we're all feeling just a little cabin-feverish today.   To keep hands and minds busy, I've spent the past 2 days making soup, baking bread and sowing seeds.  The kids slept in, played arts and crafts and have enjoyed Wii time whenever possible.  But you can only bake so much bread and play so much Wii.  All this leads me to wonder what would happen if there truly was a SHTF scenario and we were quarantined or under curfew or whatever. 

How would I occupy the kids?

How would I occupy myself? 

How could I keep myself from going stark-raving mad and taking everyone in the house with me~?~

I'm feeling compelled to stock up on more activity books, age appropriate games, puzzles and educational toys that only come out on special occasions, such as blizzards and epidemics.  I've also been giving thought to some beginner-skills activities that would keep the kids engaged during a long winter storm.  My 5 year old daughter wants to learn to sew, so maybe some plastic canvas and yarn, just to learn the general idea?  And my 6 year old son wants to learn how to cook, so possibly a child's cookbook with simple recipes and instructions?

What plans do you have in place to entertain and educate the kids when you're snowbound?

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Miss This Giveaway!

Hey folks!  This will be a quick post as I'm expecting to lose power at any given minute LOL.  Darn ice storms.

Anyway, one of my favorite prepper sites is Adventures in Self-Reliance...Angela covers all the bases, from food storage to firearms and everything in between.  After teasing us faithful followers for a couple of weeks, she unveiled her new site today and is running the most amazing giveaway EVER!  I'm talking Berkey water bottles, Tattler reusable canning lids, parachute cord, seeds,  books...and a few other things that my sleep-deprived mind can't recall. 

Make sure you check it out!  There's lots of great information to be had and prizes to win as well!

Stay safe,

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Sunday, January 30, 2011


I hope this post finds all you warm and doing well. As most of you may know, many areas in the midwest are expected to get the granddaddy of all snowstorms in recent memory. Northwest Ohio is supposed to get anywhere from 10-18 inches of snow or this could possibly turn into an ice storm. It is forecasted to be a dangerous storm that could cause deaths, if this turns out to be an ice event due to power outages and property damage.

Do you have an alternate heat source or can you hunker down with family that has a wood stove or fireplace? If you do have wood heat is the wood covered and do you have easy access to the wood. Ice will freeze the wood together and make it difficult to gather your wood and bring it in. Better yet, do you have a porch to store wood if you need it. Kerosene heater and extra kerosene. Both work together, so make sure the heater is working and the cans are filled. Make sure you know where the heavy blankets are should you need them. I know who wouldn't know where the heavier blankets are, but you never know.

Are the flashlights working and accessible with extra batteries? If the power goes out, it would be a good time to try the oil lamps if you have them. Are the candles out and ready? Do you have a working radio to listen for directions or updates on current conditions? Cell phones anyone! Are they charged?

Kids will get bored quickly if the electricity goes out. Are the games and playing cards handy and accessible. If the weather is as bad as predicted, we may be in for a couple days and this could be a great time to play those games we've been putting off due to busy schedules. Before the storm would be a great time to charge those gameboys if your kids have them.

Cooking! Do you have a way to heat simple foods if you have all electric power. I'm not sure if gas stoves can run without electricity, but make sure you have a simple means to heat food, unless you like to eat cold soup or raviolis.

As preppers, I would like to think we could make it a lot longer than three days without going to the grocery store, but how are you fixed on water. This is an area I have slacked on due to having well water. So for long term storage I try to remember to take a couple of containers to town when I go, but not as often as I should. So check the water as I think this is the one area alot of people take for granted. If the power goes out, so goes the water, unless your fortunate enough to have a manual well. Most of us are not that primitive anymore and have modern updates.

Check on older relatives and see if they want to ride out the storm with you. If not, see if they need anything should this storm turn out to be a doozy.

Do you have animals? Make sure they have enough bedding, food and water so they will not die. Do you have outdoor dogs? Bring them in and put them on an enclosed porch if you have one to keep them out of the elements.

Folks, prepping isn't just about a SHTF scenario, it is about being ready for the unexpected. To give you peace of mind and not have to worry about beating the crowds to the store just to find the store out of supplies. This is what it's all about. If I head to the store before the storm, it will be to pick up some sale items, IF I WANT TO, NOT BECAUSE I HAVE TO.

Be safe, stay warm and think spring,


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Friday, January 21, 2011

What Would YOU Say?

A couple times a week, I get emails from readers and I absolutely love it.  It's like getting a late Christmas present or an unexpected package in the mail.  Fun fun.  On Sunday, I got an email from a lovely lady in a neighboring county asking for information on preparedness; how to get started, specifically, and for a while I wasn't sure what to say. 

Preparedness is such a fluid topic, subject to change at a moment's notice depending on where you live and how you live and what you hope to accomplish in life.  Unlike FEMA's one-size-fits-all-3-day-food-supply public service announcement, true preparedness is case-specific and no two person's approaches will be the same.  We're both limited by and supported by our climate, our community, our livelihood, our budgets and what suits me probably wouldn't be a good fit for the California survivalist.

After a few minutes of consideration, I answered this particular email with the suggestion that learning practical skills like gardening and food preservation is a good place to start. I also suggested stocking up on shelf-stable commodities like wheat, pasta, rice, sugar and finding local resources for basic items like eggs, milk and meat.  But those are MY priorities.  My main concern at the moment is the future of our food supply with regard to QE, inflation, poor harvests and supply problems.  Not everyone has those same priorities.

If you received an email from a neighbor asking where to start on the journey to preparedness, what would you say?

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Rual King Sale

Here is a special emailed to me from Getting Started
Do You Live in IL, IN, KY, MI, MO, OH, or TN

.. then I have a deal for you.

Rural King has a sell on 5-gallon buckets. These buckets are the thicker .90 mil buckets, they are thicker and stronger then .75 mil buckets. The cost ...


Now, I don't know if these are food-grade buckets, so caveat emptor.

Now, the bad news.

The sale ends Sunday; the buckets have a painted Rural King logo; and the $1.49 lids are flimsy.

Let me say this again.

The on sale lids are flimsy. If you plan to stack the buckets, you will need to buy a .75 or .90 mil lid.

Rural King - Store Locator

Rural King - Weekly Ad

Just so you know, I just paid over six bucks for some buckets and two bucks for some lids from my local supplier.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Incorporating: Grains Part 2

To continue with our series on incorporating various foods into both our stores and our everyday diets, corn is the obvious choice.


Corn is extremely versatile, stores well, appeals to most palates and is nutritious.  Not to mention the fact that Ohio is one of America's prime corn producers and chances are good that there are acres upon acres of corn grown in fields near you.  It's always good to know how to store and use locally produced foods, right?  Corn has been a staple food for Americans (both South and Native) for countless hundreds of years due to it's ease of preparation and  nutritional value.  Corn is chock full of fiber, calcium and folate, while low in sugar and fat.   It's also a very dense source of calories and carbohydrates which is extremely important in a survival situation.

Most corn available for storage purposes will fall into the dent or field corn category.  It's simply mature corn that has dried on the stalk and has hundreds of uses, from commercial cooking oil and ethanol to animal feed and corn meal.  It can be had for under a dollar a pound from sources like Honeyvill Grains, or if you're lucky, you may be able to find it locally at feed stores.  Just be careful what you buy if you go the feed store route; corn intended for animal feed is often treated with chemicals such as chlorine and fungicides to prevent mold and fungus. 

Dent corn can be used in so many different ways...parched into a simple, portable snack, ground for corn meal or cooked whole.  One thing I must mention though is that if we move from a diet of mainly wheat to a diet of mainly corn, it's will be difficult for our bodies to absorb the minerals and vitamins from the corn which can lead to all sorts of health issues.  In order to more readily absorb the nutrients, corn must undergo a process called nixtmalization; here's a link for you to describe the process of cooking corn in alkali water.  In the event that we need to heavily rely on corn as a staple food, nixtmalization will be a crucial skill to ensure good health and good eats. 

So what the heck do you do with this nixtmalized corn?  Cook it whole as hominy with some butter and spices.  Yum-o.  Or grind to make corn bread, hush puppies, rustic pancakes or breading for meats.  Mixed with salt and a little water, fresh ground cornmeal also makes delicious corn tortillas and chips.  Or cook it slow with water and salt to make a thick delicious cornmeal mush.  I know you're cringing right now, but homemade is really pretty good, especially topped with butter and honey.  You can also cool mush, slice it and fry it up to serve as polenta with some tomato sauce, fresh herbs and parmesan cheese.  My kids love polenta as a main course from time to time.  Here are some great recipes to try if you're so inclined.

Other options for your food storage are dried sweet corn and popcorn.  While dried sweet corn can be expensive to buy commercially, it can be made (and grown!) at home for pennies.  Dried sweet corn retains much of it's fresh, sweet flavor and is actually rather crisp, much like fresh corn.  Once it's rehydrated it can be cooked into soups and stews or mashed up a bit to act as a thickener and stretcher in casseroles.

Popcorn is another important option for your stores.  While it's inexpensive to purchase, it can also be grown easily enough in the backyard and harvested to really stretch your prepping dollar.  Don't relegate corn to just a snack food!  Popcorn is so good for you and versatile as well.  Pilgrims ate popped corn for breakfast with cream and sugar much like any other grain.  And did you know that ground popcorn makes the most delicious cornbread ever?  Oh it's true, my friend!  Pop-cornbread is light and fluffy and may be more appealing to people who have texture issues with traditional cornbread.  In addition, popcorn is a healthy, easily stored, easily prepared comfort food that pretty much everyone enjoys.  While we store a variety of popcorn, our favorite is the white hulless Amish varieties that can be found in stores everywhere.

So there's a quick overview of what's available in the corn department and what you can do with it.  I'd love to hear how the rest of you in Corn Country plan to make use of one of Ohio's best resources!

Next up: Oats and Barley


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Monday, January 3, 2011

Deals for Week of January 2

Time for another addition of deals that relate to prepping. I haven't noticed too may deals lately, but noticed Meijer's had some great deals on produce and a few canned goods. They are having their 10 for 10 sale with the 11th item free. This is a mix and match event. Below are some of the highlights I noticed this week.

5# white tators 1.00
3# carrots 1.00
mushrooms 1.00
3# yellow onions 1.00
meijer brand crackers 1.00
Hunts Sketti sauce 1.00
Campbells Sketti O's .50 coupon for .40/3 in 12/12 SS insert and 1.00/6 mm coupon makes these only 7 cents this week. Super Duper stock up price. Meijer only lets you double 2 like coupons so I usually go to self checkout and do multiple transactions so I don't have to make another trip to the store.

If you like to dehydrate foods and did not put in a garden over the summer and concerned about rising prices this would be a good deal to cash in on. I cannot recall in recent months ever seeing 3# of carrots or onions for 1.00.

In the next day or two I will do a brief post on how to dehydrate some of these deals.


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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Just a quick post to wish all you Ohioans a Happy and Prosperous New Year. New Years is a great time of reflection and a time to plan out the next year.

This is a great time to plan out your gardens, organize your homes, clean out those closets, go through your food storage and figure out what you need, research on line and print out information you may need if the internet gets shut down, and order those seeds. These are great projects to do when the weather is frigid and cold.

If you will be new to gardening, now is a good time to decide where that garden will be, what you plan on growing, what type of seeds (heirloom or store bought) or if you will buy your starts at your local greenhouse or nursery.

Organizing is a great way to declutter your closets, etc... to make space for more preps-hehe or find or take inventory of what you have. This not only will save you money by not buying duplicates, you will know where your stuff is at, if it is needed in a hurry. While your at it, you could throw unwanted items in a bin to sell in the spring or give away to charity.

This is a great time of year to go through your short and long food storage. Did you skimp on shopping for your short term preps to free up money for the holidays? Or did you buy some longer term staples such as flour that needs to be repackaged for long term sustainability (3-5 year). Winter time is a good time to take care of these things.

The cheapest and in my opinion one of the best ways to prep is learning an old skill of yesteryear. Are you new to gardening and want to learn the art of canning and dehydrating your goods? Always wanted to know how to build a solar oven. Now is the time when the sky is gloomy and the air frigid to get the info you need to put these skills to use come spring and summer.

The month of January I will be going through some basics of food storage and what to store for short and long term and how to store it. As some of you know we are a home schooling family and wanna be homesteaders, so time is always short for us, but this info has been requested by some of you within the past couple of months. I apologize for the delay and will get this info out to you this month.

Best wishes for a great 2011,

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