Top 10 items for any emergency

 

As storms spring storms and tornadoes rip through the South, I thought it might be a good idea to repost this basic introduction to prepping. Stay safe out there!

If you’re depending on some Government agency to come rushing to rescue, odds are you’ve found yourself here by mistake! However, if you believe it is your responsibility to take care of yourself and your family, then you’ve come to the right place. So without further delay…

Water – you can’t live without it and you can’t have too much, also consider having a Water Purifier.

Food – basic canned goods along with other longer shelf life products can literally be a life saver. Check out our big incomplete list of items to store:

Medication and basic first aide – any prescription medication that you or your family need plus Baby Aspirin, Band-Aids, gauze, antibiotic creme etc…consider a small First Aid Kit.

Light – getting around a darkened house can be dangerous; a couple of good flashlights, LED Lantern and of course batteries will brighten any situation.

Heat source – particularly in colder climates, a small indoor-safe propane heater can be the difference between life and death when the power goes out.

Propane stove/grill – obviously not all food needs to be warmed/cooked to be edible, but having a camping stove definitely opens the menu a bit.

Fuel – usually becomes scarce quickly and your nifty stove and heater are useless without it.  Also, if you need to ‘bug out’ your vehicle is a lot more effective if it has fuel!

Radio – knowing what is going on in any emergency situation is critical for planning as well as for simple peace of mind. A good AM/FM radio is fine, but I like the Red Cross Hand Crank Radio that you can use to charge your cell phone with.

Firearms and ammo – it many disaster situations looting starts almost immediately; all the supplies you’ve stashed won’t do you any good if you can’t protect them. Please be sure to not only practice using your firearm, but make sure everyone in your family does as well.

Cash – cash is still king, at least for now. I don’t recommend hiding all your money under the mattress, but a few hundred dollars in small bills may buy you out of a jam. We keep a decent stash of cash at home, some in each vehicle as well as a few bucks stashed behind the old cell phone cover.

Yes, there a dozens of other items that could be added to the list, but for now let’s keep it simple. Regardless of what you’re personally preparing for these 10 items will give you a definite advantage over those who simply go through life chasing Pokemon and watching America’s Got Talent.

Happy prepping!

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American Blackout Revisited

With the spring storm season here and the very real threat of storm related blackouts I thought it might be appropriate to revisit Blackout the Movie. This film by National Geographic depicts what might happen should the US electrical grid fail due to a cyberattack. Personally I think it does a pretty good job touching on the reactions of different people to this scenario. The video is free to watch via YouTube.

Hope you find it useful.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

Spring Fever! Update

I know I’m not the only one excited that spring has finally arrived and we’re working to make the most of it. The ability to grow at least some of your own food, in my humble opinion, is a big part of being prepared. To be more self sufficient (and healthier) growing fruits and vegetables is as basic as you get; what’s more basic to survival than food?

One problem we’ve run into this year was ‘where to put all these seedlings?’ They were literally everywhere! So I did break down and finally complete a project I’ve been talking about for a couple of years – window shelves. A couple of 1×12’s from Home Depot as well as shelf brackets, drywall screws, anchors some stain and problem solved – at least for now.

 Shelves

Shelves 2

We did finally get some fruit trees planted, 2 apple and 4 peach of different varieties. Transplanted 3 blueberry bushes into buckets, more strawberries into containers, and began transplanting some of these seedlings! Whew! Hoping the garden spots will be dry enough to begin planting today.

Peach

What are you working on?

Oh, and as a side note, with a few supplies left over from the shelving project I was able to complete this little job, because it isn’t ALL about food.

AR

We were finally able to get into the garden spots for a day and were able to get 2 of them planted. Rows of green beans, peas, and hills of cucumbers, yellow squash, watermelon and cantaloupe hopefully are still resting where they were planted as the rain has once again moved into the area. We did get 15 containers of bell peppers and 5 more containers of strawberries transplanted as well as rooting a couple cuttings of grapes. Hope you all are enjoying a prosperous spring!

Have a great day and happy spring!

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

Earth Day? Sure Why Not

Spring is here and boy do we have the fever. Despite the garden spots being far too wet to work as storm after storm has moved through the area over the last few days, I couldn’t resist the urge to plant a few seeds in the raised beds. Watermelon, cantaloupe, and pickling cucumbers to name just a few; the rest will have to wait till it dries out a bit.

peppers

Seedlings are ready to move to their new homes soon, while we picked up a couple of new varieties of strawberries for the hanging baskets.

berries

The goal for the week is to get at least 2 of the garden spots planted, and (finally) plant some fruit trees. Forget Al Gore and rest, and make everyday a real Earth Day.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

Gear Review: Renogy 200 Watt Complete Solar Kit

It seems prepping and Solar Power often go hand in hand, so despite my long held opposition to alternative energy, I began to do some research (I will post some links at the bottom of the article.) There are a large number of players in arena, but thanks to some extensive reviews and recommendations over at the TinHatRanch.com we decided to take our chances with a Renogy kit. Aside from the positive reviews, Renogy had (at least on Amazon) the only ‘complete kit’ that was actually a complete kit. Yes, several claimed to be complete, yet require at minimum a battery to actually function. The Renogy kit cam with 2 100 watt monocrystalline panels, 30 watt PWM charge controller, 500 watt inverter, 12v 100ah sealed GEL battery and all the cables and hardware needed to hook it all up. Being skeptical I ordered a few extra cables ‘just in case,’ but wound up not needing them. Here is a link to the unit as we purchased it: Renogy 200 Watts 12 Volt Complete Solar Panel kit Monocrystalline with Charge Controller +Mounts+ 100AH Gel Battery+ 500W Pure Sine Inverter

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The panels seem well constructed and as I stated are of the monocrystalline variety vs. the polycrystalline as they are promoted as being more efficient particularly in low light. I guess I just have to take their word for it on this one.

charge controler

The charge control is a very basic 30 amp unit with only light indicators for battery type, battery status, and charging status. A upgraded version would be preferable, but the unit does it’s job as intended.

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The inverter is a basic 500 watt unit, nothing fancy, but a larger unit than is contained in most solar kits in this price range. At 500 watts it will run most small electronics and can easily run more than the 2 panels can generate.

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The battery is the biggest surprise here as none of the other kits actually came with a battery, none. This 12v 100ah sealed GEL battery is a little beast weighing in at nearly 70 pounds with a claimed 10 year lifespan. Oddly, the stats claim a maximum recommended charging of 20 amps in a system that is expandable up to 30 amps, but so far so good.

Set up

Surprisingly the kit actually came with all the cables, z-brackets, and fuses necessary to get the unit up and running in just a couple of hours. My only complaint is that the tray cables are not color coded for simplification nor are the cables on the back of the solar panels. Yes, this was easily overcome with some red electrical tape, but details can make a difference. The kit came with instruction manuals for each unit instead of one manual for the kit. However, their help line was extremely good.

Overall I am very pleased with the kit as an easy way to get started with solar. If you are well versed in solar, then you would be better off purchasing individual parts to better customize the system to your needs. However, this is a great way to get started without breaking the bank.

Update: we have added 2 more panels, another 100 watt battery and upgraded the fuses to meet those needs. Now 8 weeks into the project, I would still recommend this kit to anyone taking their first journey into solar energy.

Hope you found this helpful.

Here are 7 great videos on the subject from the TinHatRanch.

Solar Part 1

Solar Part 2

Solar Part 3

Solar Part 4

Solar Part 5

Solar Part 6

Solar Part 7

Trump: 1st President Since Reagan to Speak At NRA Annual Meeting

Bloomberg has announced that President Trump is scheduled to speak to the NRA’s 2017 Leadership Forum on April 28th. Love him or hate him, but Trump is clearly a departure from Washington’s ‘business as usual.’ If you support the 2nd Amendment, which was clearly designed to keep an overbearing government from disarming the public, then Trump is acting in your best interest (at least on this issue.)  

In the November election, we clearly ‘dodged a bullet,’ as Hillary Clinton had repeatedly expressed her bias against guns, gun owners, and has long sought to demonize groups such as the NRA. Trump on the other hand embraced the NRA and it’s supporters and our right to defend ourselves, our families and our liberty. Trump has already reversed Obama’s Social Security gun ban, and Obama’s ban on using lead ammunition on Federal land. Oh, did I forget to mention the nomination and confirmation of a conservative Supreme Court Justice? Thank you sir, may I have another?

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

The Next Step in the Journey

It’s a bit surreal to think of how far we’ve come on this journey to a more self sustaining life. Our goal of leaving the rat race, to live a simpler more fulfilling life, has been a long and difficult one. Now, more than 10 years since the journey began, we are about to take the next step. When I awake Saturday morning, I will no longer have an alarm to set, or work schedule to adhere to. No, the 60 hour work weeks will be over, something that is hard to wrap my head around. Wish us luck, we’ll keep you posted!

“So often times it happens, that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key.”

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!