Common Myths About Prepping Part 2

There are lots of misconceptions about being a prepared citizen or ‘preppers’ as we’re often referred to. I would like to take a little time over the next week or two to address a few of those. Hope you enjoy

Preppers are all right-wing extremists

While many preppers/survivalists are driven by their political views, the movement is really as diverse as the population itself. Fact is, I personally know several folks that most people would consider to be ‘preppers’ who are definitely left of center. The desire to be prepared or simply more self reliant really has no political boundaries.

You live in constant fear/paranoia

Again, while this maybe true of some, most preppers I know find that being prepared gives them a certain peace of mind. Preparing for potential disasters is like buying insurance; if something bad happens, you’re covered. To me it’s like money in the bank; a job loss, ice storm, blackout, or civil unrest – I am covered.

Preppers are just religious zealots

Building an Ark? While many Christians will cite Proverbs 21 as a basis for their preparations There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up”; not all Christians subscribe to this concept. I have even heard some Christians say that prepping is based on a lack of faith – though I disagree with this, the fact remains that some do believe this. Just as prepping is not limited to those who hold certain political beliefs it is also not limited by religious affiliation.

You have to have an underground bunker

While there aren’t any solid statistics to back up my conclusion (where would you even get those), this is clearly false. While the ultra rich silicone valley types may have such elaborate preps, the vast majority of us do not. Fact is, a pantry stocked with food, water and other basic supplies will get you through most disasters you might face. Disclaimer: I do have an underground bunker stocked with food, water, medical supplies, firearms, ammunition and communication equipment all powered by a solar back up system – it’s called a basement.

Preppers just hate Obama

“Clinging to their guns and Bibles” certainly didn’t endear him to many folks in this part of the country, but the fact remains that the prepper/survivalist movement long predates the Obama presidency – remember Y2K? Some say it began during the Cold War, others say that it goes all the way back to the Pilgrims. My parents were both depression babies and always prepared for “what might happen” – it was just what you did. While the movement may have picked up steam during this time, the basic premise is false.

You live in the mountains eating MREs and wearing camo

You might certainly get this impression if you look at the stereotypes that are often attached to the term ‘preppers.’ Fact is the term ‘preppers’ is often used as a derogatory description of the prepared citizen – and the very reason I chose it for the name of the website. True, I personally live in the mountains for a variety of reasons, however I do not OWN any camo and I absolutely hate MREs. No, preppers live in cities, suburbs, large towns, small towns, urban, rural and probably right next door to you.

What misconceptions about preppers have you heard?

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

Advertisements

Common Myths About Prepping Part 1

prepper faints

There are lot’s of misconceptions about being a prepared citizen or ‘preppers’ as we’re often referred to. I would like to take a little time over the next week or two to address a few of those. Hope you enjoy.

Prepping is expensive

Yes, we’ve all seen stories about Silicon Valley millionaires buying luxury underground bunkers and staging helicopters to whisk them away to a secluded island, but the average prepper is living on a budget just like you. Can it be expensive, of course, but that depends on you. You can spend $50 a month or $1000 a month; even $5 a week can make you far more prepared than your neighbors – slow and steady wins the race.

You have to have commando like skills

While skills are certainly an important part of being prepared, you don’t have to be skilled in hand-to-hand combat to prepare for most disaster situations. Are there preppers with a military background, absolutely; helpful, yes; necessary, no.

You are just gun nuts with an arsenal of guns and ammo

This is probably the most common misperception about preppers. While most preppers are keenly aware of the need for security, prepping is far more than collecting piles of guns and ammunition. Do you lock your front door, of course you do. Do you leave your keys in the car, I certainly hope not. Preppers tend to own firearms because they are aware of the world we live in and refuse to rely on someone else for their family’s security.

You are a delusional/conspiracy theory nut

You don’t have to be an Alex Jones fan to realize that natural and man-made disasters can, do, and will happen. I do not think that the government is reading my mail (although they obviously have the ability) nor do I think that aliens are secretly running our government – yes, I actually heard that one recently. Are there a few ‘different’ individuals in the prepper movement, of course, but isn’t that true of any group?

You are hoping for the end of the world

While I’m convinced that some of the folks appearing on ‘Doomsday Preppers’ are indeed hoping for the end, most preppers certainly do not. Preparing for a disaster is not an indication of hoping for one no more than carrying a spare tire in your trunk is hoping for a flat tire. Sorry, we like air conditioning too!

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

Practicing Your Preps

All the guns, ammo and equipment in the world won’t do you much good if you aren’t practiced and prepared to use it. I ran into this many years ago when we were transitioning into our current home. A strong thunderstorm rumbled through knocking out power across the area, no problem I thought as I had already brought the generator, but to my dismay the heavy duty extension cord that I would normally have used to power the refrigerator was not long enough to reach – fail. I thought I was prepared; generator, fuel, cord – but I had not tested the plan. If YOU have a generator, when was the last time you started it? Does it have gas; did you use a fuel stabilizer? The point is you need to test your preps periodically to make sure they will work in a crisis.

Recently I shared an article titled ‘Hey! That’s my water!’ in which the author tested their preps by turning off the water and the challenges they faced and the lessons they learned. Most people really don’t understand how much we take water and power for granted till it’s not there. Personally we have gone for days without power and tested our blackout preps, but I think I would have a really hard time convincing my wife to turn off the water! If suddenly the water supply stopped or was somehow contaminated, how long could you survive?

water 2

One area where I was lacking and I suspect I’m not alone, is in practicing with my firearms. I’m fortunate that I can practice safely on my property and avoid the range fees, but range time can be useful as well. Range time can help you smooth out your technique, dial in the sights or even get some professional instruction, all which are important. Some ranges actually have combat training which can be invaluable in developing your skills. Unfortunately I don’t have access to such a facility here so when I practice at home I like to work on those types of skills; shooting across your body, shooting on the move, etc. Practice, practice, practice; if you’re not properly prepared to use your weapon it might very well be used on you.

target practice 1

Being practiced and confident in your skills can turn a crisis into little more than an inconvenience.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

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!

Solar Project Update: Feeling Like a New Prepper Again

All smiles; day 2 and the system is performing better than expected. Day one was sunny and the panels were producing well, day two was a mixed bag of clouds and sun, but again the system kept up with what we’ve put on it. So far we are running a lap top, an all-in-one desktop, modem, router and now a tower lamp. The forecast for today is calling for snow so this should prove to be a good test.

Again, our primary goal is to be able to generate power (aside from our gas generator) in a blackout situation. I should note that we live in a very rural area and are the very last house on this part of the grid; the power going out here is not unusual. We continue to use the  Kill A Watt meter to test and document what items burn how much energy to further assess what we might be able to power with the system. Our initial assessment has led us to order 2 additional panels, another 12v GEL battery, a larger 1500 watt inverter and of course various items to connect it all with. The upgrade will allow us generate and store more energy and run larger appliances.

This project has turned out to be a GREAT deal easier than I initially thought it would be. The feeling of producing some usable energy independent of the grid is amazing for us and we feel it has taken us one step further in our journey. Even small steps eventually get you to your destination.

Update: Day 3

We woke up to about an inch of snow and cloudy overcast skies, but after clearing the snow from the solar panels the system immediately started charging the battery. So far our results are better than expected.

Update: Day 5

After 2 days of clouds rain/snow the battery finally dropped to below acceptable levels and the inverter shut down the show. The additional battery and 2 more panels should be arriving tomorrow, till then capacity is an issue.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

Cutting the Cord

Part of the journey to a more sustainable and self-reliant life is eliminating unnecessary expenses. Analyze your spending and eliminate the fat; we’ve gone through this exercise several times over the years and we always find something that can go. One of the biggest ‘luxury’ items people spend money on is cable TV. Remember when TV was free? The average American is now paying $64 a month just for basic cable, not to mention all the add-on movie channels, sports channels or just expanded basic; I personally know someone who pays $230 a month for cable they rarely watch!

Time to cut the cord folks; YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc., can replace most of your TV watching for a fraction of the cost. How many channels are you paying for that you never watch? If you’re ok with wasting money, fine, but literally hundreds of thousands of others have dumped cable with many more to come. I know, some of you will insist that you have to have that local TV news, but even if that’s a priority for you, are you paying for other services you aren’t using? Some folks have gone back to putting an antenna on their house to pick up free broadcast HD TV (you do need a special antenna and converter box or HD ready TV to watch).

Still have a land-line? Seriously? Even my elderly parents have moved on to cell phones. When was the last time you even used that thing?

We cut the cord 2 years ago and never looked back. Not only are we saving money, we actually spend less time watching movies and more time actually talking to each other. What a concept!

If you found this helpful you might also enjoy a few of my other articles:

Starting 2017 off broke? Try these 12 money saving tips

Financial Prepping

Prepping on a budget

Breaking a bad habit!

Credit, Credit, Credit: Too Much or Not Enough?

Growing Your Own Food

We all need to eat right? Why not at least supplement your diet with healthy homegrown fruits and veggies while reducing your grocery bill? How many of you have plants in your home or a flower garden in the yard? Why not use at least some of that space for growing edibles? My wife has a very green thumb when it comes to raising ornamentals both inside and out, but our gardening efforts have met with mixed results. This year, with better planning and execution, we hope will be more productive.

Gardens, raised beds, containers – yes, all of the above.

We built a new 8’ x 16’ raised bed last year that proved to be far more productive than our traditional garden spot as it was easier to care for – fewer weeds to pull and still accessible when the ground was wet. We plan on adding at least one more bed of the same size this year; one will be primarily melons while the other will be squash and cucumbers.  

Our container garden (52 buckets) was the most productive for us last year so we plan to expand that to at least 100 – crazy right? The great thing about container gardening is you don’t have to have good soil or even a lot of space; you can have a couple on your porch, deck or balcony. You can grow a tomato or two, or like us you can grow a whole crop of them. We primary grow tomatoes, blueberries and a variety of peppers in our buckets, but we did do some lettuce, kale and spinach all with some success. Note: buying that many buckets can get expensive, but sometimes you can get them from a local restaurant for free. The local donut shop I frequent sells them for $2 each and often times just gives them to me for free.

We have 3 other ‘traditional’ garden spots that we’ve been working for the last couple of years with mixed results. The soil is rocky and very acidic. We’ve been steadily working to improve the soil by adding organic material from our compost pile and spreading lime to balance out the Ph. Two of the spots will be primarily beans and peas while the other will be sweet corn; we’ve yet to have any success with corn, but try, try again.

Finally, we are attempting to grow strawberries in hanging baskets and blueberries, lettuce, kale and spinach in planters inside our home. Our past attempts at growing any kind of berries only led to a well fed bird population.

We hope you will share your gardening tips and tricks with us.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping.