The Organic Prepper: The Second Wave

Toby Cowern at The Organic Prepper discusses the second pandemic wave and some things that you should be thinking of in order to be prepared in The Second Wave: Regardless of What You Think About the Virus, Things Are About to Change

…Regardless of your personal opinion about the virus, things will change for everyone with the second wave.

First, there’s GOING to be a second wave.

Firstly, we need to accept there is going to be a second viral wave. That is inevitable. That is absolutely inevitable. Now, regardless of your feelings on how bad the pandemic is, how lethal the virus is, what you think of the statistics, or the reporting, etc. I am not going to say that’s irrelevant, but I am going to say that it doesn’t undermine is the fact there’s going to be a second wave. Secondly, for any virus that spreads in the general population spread, there is always a risk of mutations, so just because we could say it hasn’t potentially been “that bad” until now, doesn’t mean that’s the status quo, and it’s going to stay the same.

So let’s first acknowledge those two things.

Now, here’s what’s important about that. Looking at historical trend analysis, which is fairly substantive, the second wave is always going to be worse than the first, not only in infection and fatality numbers but also in overall impact. And why is that? The fact is, the number spike will largely be due to people’s actions as they come out of the lockdown of wave one.

We’re already seeing that:

  • people are (understandably) demonstrating their frustration and venting their concerns
  • gathering in large groups
  • not following certain advice to minimize the potential infection spread

That’s happening and it’s happening worldwide. It is not exclusive to any country. Many, many countries are suffering from this same problem. This isn’t speculative. You can all see this occurring with your own eyes. So these actions are going to be reflected in wave two infection numbers.

For those countries already into the second wave, you can see that wave one is being dwarfed. For those that are not into the wave two yet, don’t worry, unfortunately, you’ll catch up in time.

Government measures

Now, the control measures that the government will try to utilize for wave two will initially be the same actions as wave one, but they just won’t be as readily accepted by the vast majority of the population that came through wave one. People are tired, they are frustrated and angry, and they are scared, largely due to exceptionally irresponsible media action.

So now it gets a bit more ‘wild west’ as the policy for wave two tries to replicate the policy for wave one, but the general populace is not as inclined to comply as it previously was.

That will vary from region to region and country to country as to how vehemently these measures will be pushed back against. The other thing to consider is that people have now had far longer and got far more information to make up their mind on how they feel about certain things. People went into wave one really in the dark. They were able to look at the historical pandemic examples, but not much more. Now, people have read up and formed their own opinion, and begun to crystallize their own thought processes AND will act (or refuse to act) accordingly.

The supply chain

All the problems that occurred in wave one will reoccur in wave two, possibly with more consequences and/or potentially with a deeper meaning. Let’s start with the supply line.

The weakening of the supply lines that has occurred, the lack of certain products, the panic buying, the herd mentality – that’s all still there, and large parts still ‘unsolved’ and it’s going to happen again, it’s inevitable. Things are not “going back to normal.”

I hate to say it, but people in packs, follow very set scripts. They are very predictable in their behavior. That is why we can make statements such as these with good authority. And as much as the suppliers are trying to assure us wave one was ‘well managed’ and ‘not that bad’, reports from various places are showing the contradiction that there was, is, and WILL BE impact on the supply line.

Financial problems

Now, there’s a twofold solution to these problems we are highlighting. One is just to keep preparing to always be prepared, keep chipping away, bit by bit, keep making your purchases, keep your stocks up.

But unfortunately, a lot of people got massive economic hits in wave one. So many are likely limited in their financial ability prepare via purchase. That we fully understand and sympathize with.

Things are going to be different for most of us.

Managing expectations

That brings us to the next point, and I would apply this across the board, regardless of your current situation, is you need to start managing your own and your immediate family’s expectations. You need to start thinking in terms of this:

As supplies dwindle and prices increase, we need to eat more simply, to accept things as they are. We might have to eat less meat, or in fact, we might just have to eat less food.”

Period.

Now this is very challenging because you will still naturally want to push back to get that “normalcy.” You’ll think, “Why should I have to *insert selected discomfort here*?”

Unfortunately, far too many people in the preppersphere were preparing on the basis of:

My lifestyle is never going to be interrupted no matter what.”

When we’re into a long-term scenario, such as this pandemic, there are going to be uncomfortable impacts for everybody.

There will be a point when you will start to feel the impact after you’ve gone as far as you can in your familiar lifestyle and kept to your original standards for as long as possible. If we are being honest, many of you are already at this point.

As much as you can adjust your mental attitude early and acknowledge and start to accept that the impact is happening, or coming, and will worsen, it positions you to be far more resilient further into this pandemic. Because that, folks, is where we are.

We are a LONG way from the end of this.

We can’t relax our preparations.

I’ve been having a number of very interesting online conversations lately, and the phrase that keeps re-occurring is that we’ve been given a “slow-burning virus.” In this modern, insanely paced world, it seems that everybody wanted to have a simple, quick ‘zombie apocalypse’, and in two weeks, it’s all over. Then we kind that we go from there, rebuild, and move on…(continues)

The Organic Prepper: Why You Should Homeschool

Linnea Johnson at The Organic Prepper writes What, Me Homeschool? Here’s Why You Should Consider Homeschooling Your Children as many parents, now seeing what their kids actually learn in school as their kids work from home, come to the realization that they either don’t like what their kids are being taught or that their kids are learning better on their own and wonder if homeschooling must just be a better way to go.

Should you consider homeschooling?

Have you ever asked yourself what might possess someone to homeschool instead of getting a free education in the public schools?  Have you, friends, or family members had less than desirable experiences in schools, whether public or private?  Have you known children who were different, perhaps had learning differences, or were bullied by other children or in my personal experience, even by the teacher, and did not thrive in a classroom situation?

Here are some things to think about.

Does the classroom actually prepare kids for real life?

We spend the rest of our lives after we complete our schooling interacting with people of all ages, ethnicities, worldviews, abilities, and income levels.  Why would we expect children, who are kept almost all their days in classrooms of children and teens the same age, probably a similar income level, and with similar curriculum to be able to function effectively and happily in a world of such diversity?

Related: A Homeschooling Guide for Public Schoolers

Children are still figuring out who they are, what they believe about the world, and whom they can trust.  If a child is in the majority of a group, they will probably do just fine, but if they are different in some way, perhaps a more critical or deeper thinker, or one who needs more hands-on learning, or one who looks different, or one who comes from a different culture, or one who has different abilities, they will suffer cognitive dissonance at a young age and will be expected to respond as the majority responds.

Is cognitive dissonance bad?  Not always. That’s how we learn new things, but sometimes kids need support to help them bridge the two ideas or to decide if the new idea is one they can accept.

In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefsideas, or values. The occurrence of cognitive dissonance is a consequence of a person’s performing an action that contradicts personal beliefs, ideals, and values; and also occurs when confronted with new information that contradicts said beliefs, ideals, and values. (Source)

Children are quick to “fix” other children who are different, calling them stupid, or ugly, or “not cool”, or clumsy, or _______… you fill in the blank.  You’re likely to harken back to your own experiences of this example of socialization, or more aptly, ensuring everyone thinks, looks, talks, and even believes the same way.

Is this what we want from a society that desperately needs creative thinking and different solutions to solve the complex problems we face?  Shouldn’t there be some freedom to think differently without being beaten down?

What are your beliefs?

Whether you believe freedom of thought is important or whether you believe your child’s natural abilities and gifts should be encouraged and nurtured, or whether you believe that the worldview of the majority is inconsistent with what you want your child to learn, there are a plethora of reasons to consider homeschooling.  In our family, we had a number of reasons.

One son had some learning differences and experienced bullying, another needed more hands-on learning than could be reasonably provided in a large classroom.  We ran the gamut between public, private, and homeschool, and experienced the pros and cons of each.  Heck, I even went on to get a masters degree in curriculum and instruction and started a PhD, became a licensed secondary education teacher, and in the course of my work experience taught everything from preschool music to English as a 2nd language, to high school technology, business, and personal finance to adult education.

To be sure, there is a best learning environment for everyone; it’s just a challenge to find it sometimes.  I wanted to be the kind of parent who helped my kids find out who they really were and to discover their natural abilities, and interests, without unduly sheltering them from others.  I wanted them to love to learn and to do it for the rest of their lives.  They took music lessons, played on teams, attended church and youth groups, did community service, and didn’t miss out on that time with their peers, but did have time to explore what really interested them and develop those talents.

Need More Reasons to Consider Homeschooling?

 Homeschooled kids score higher on standardized tests and are better adapted socially according to research. Lots of famous people have homeschooled and with good results.  Some post-secondary schools now prefer homeschooled students:

Away from the standardized tests and rigid schedules in public education, kids can let their creative sides flourish, learn about the world they live in, and, when it’s time, earn acceptance into the best colleges in the world.

“The high achievement level of homeschoolers is readily recognized by recruiters from some of the best colleges in the nation,” education expert Dr. Susan Berry recently told Alpha Omega.

“Schools such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Stanford, and Duke University all actively recruit homeschoolers,” Berry said.

However, it’s not that being schooled at home advances an application.

The real value lies in what the added freedom of homeschooling allows students to do with their time.

Tell me the truth…this isn’t all fun and games

Were there challenges on the homeschool path?  Sure.  You still pay your taxes that support the public schools and buy curriculum and lessons on top of that.  Parents need to find a way to teach and care for their children through co-ops or splitting the work between themselves and others and work to provide an income.  It’s not a choice for the faint-hearted, but it can be done, and there are some significant rewards including building a relationship with your children beyond dinner, homework, and bedtime.   Your children will learn to work together, work with you, and learn from you.  You can take outings or vacations, and not just on holiday weekends…(continues)

The Organic Prepper: What I Learned During the COVID Crisis

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper talks about lessons she’s learned during the pandemic – What I Learned During the COVID Crisis.

…Here are the things I’ve learned.

Trust your instincts.

I began writing about this virus back in January when it was announced that the entire city of Wuhan was being locked down and millions of people were under stay at home orders. With that many people under a mandatory lockdown, I was firmly convinced that this had potential global ramifications.

I had come back from Europe to attend a funeral in early January and was supposed to return on January 28th. After doing the research for the article mentioned above, I rescheduled my flight for March 28th and settled in with my youngest daughter at her apartment to help out with the bills. We immediately began stocking up.

A lot of folks at that time said I was crazy – a few here on my website but more so on other sites that republished my work. I’m no stranger to being called crazy – I’m in the preparedness industry and I like guns, so right there, the mainstream media sees me as a lunatic. It no longer bothers me and I was convinced that this was going to be a big deal.

Every day from January 23rd to the present, I’ve spent hours researching as this pandemic has unfolded. I sincerely wish that I had not been correct, but here we are, still in lockdown in many parts of the country.

You can prepare fast if you’re aware before other folks are.

I had sold or donated nearly everything that my daughters didn’t want before I took off on an open-ended trip to Europe last fall. The other items were divided up between my two girls. So while the daughter with whom I stayed still had a few things, like firearms, water filters, etc., the stockpile was pretty much gone.

By the end of January, I was pretty sure that we were going to see mandatory quarantines or lockdowns here and I began stocking up. It’s important to note that at this point, you could still buy anything you wanted or needed. I grabbed some extra masks and gloves but most of my focus was on food and other everyday supplies. By the end of February, I was pretty content with the amount of supplies we had. I had spent as little as possible on “right now food” and focused most of my budget on shelf-stable items like canned goods, pasta, and rice.

For about $600, we accumulated a supply that would see us through a minimum of 3 months without leaving the house. I figured, if it turned out that I had overreacted, my daughter would use the food anyway.

I also started a personal spending freeze at the end of January. If it wasn’t an item we needed to become better prepared, I didn’t spend a dime. I was able to put back a few months’ worth of expenses while still stocking up. It helped that my daughter was living thrifty in a less expensive apartment with utilities included. I was very concerned about things like cash flow and it turns out, this has been a huge problem for a lot of people.

You can’t always have the “ideal” situation.

There were a lot of things about my situation that were less than ideal. But that’s probably true in a lot of cases. You just have to adapt to the reality of your situation instead of endlessly wishing it was different or feeling that it’s hopeless. “Less than ideal” does not mean that all hope is lost.

First, there was the situation of living arrangements. I have a daughter in Canada and a daughter in the US. My older daughter in Canada has been working longer and was better established. My younger daughter, who lives in the US, was new to the workforce and didn’t have a lot of money so I stayed with her to help out financially. Her apartment is in a lower-middle-class residential area of the city where she works. Thankfully, it is a two-bedroom and I only brought with me two suitcases.

Living in an apartment without much of a yard during this kind of event is not something I would have chosen, given time to seek alternatives. But we all know this crept up fast. Moving was not an option. I focused on hardening the apartment with plywood to put up at the windows, tripwires that could be set up quickly if needed, and sturdier locks. We got some quarantine warning signs that we could post if all hell broke loose as a potential deterrent, and I set up spotlights in the front yard. Currently, they face the stairs to the front door, but in a bad situation, they could be turned around to illuminate anyone coming up to the house instead.

I bought more ammo for our firearms and we sat down together to work through potential scenarios. We developed a “fatal funnel” in the front hallway and added “stumbling blocks” in the front hall that could be shoved in front of the door to slow down an advance. (Just cardboard boxes filled with hardcover books – nothing fancy.)

We made friends with the other family who lives in the building while maintaining our OPSEC. It’s always good to have allies and they have a better line of sight from their upper apartment.

Normally, I would have bought loads of organic food and preserved it myself, but early in the crisis, there was still a question of whether or not we’d have power throughout the emergency and there simply wasn’t enough time at this late date. My stockpile is not ideal – lots of storebought canned goods and carbs like pasta and rice – but it’s filling and versatile.  And most of all, it’s what was readily available. I was able to grab cases of canned fruits and vegetables and canned ravioli when it was cheap and abundant.

So while it isn’t our normal diet or even our normal preps, we’re fortunate to have it. We’ve continued to hit the store weekly for foods that are more “normal” but can easily shift to the stockpile if it becomes necessary.

As you can see there are a lot of things that aren’t ideal from a prepper’s point of view, but when disaster strikes, you have to adapt. So if your situation isn’t perfect, don’t just throw your hands up in the air and give up – ADAPT…(continues)

Click here to continue reading at The Organic Prepper.

Organic Prepper: All-Out Civil Unrest to Erupt?

Photo courtesy Newsweek

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper has a piece up about widespread unrest because of stay at home orders and economic carnage – Tempers Are Flaring Over Lockdown, Masks, and Money: Is All-Out Civil Unrest About to Erupt?

Across the nation, tempers are flaring over the continued lockdowns in many parts of America, and also on the requirement to wear masks in public. I wrote previously about the possibility of civil unrest over the lockdowns, and unfortunately, it appears that’s where we’re headed.

The longer the lockdowns are continued, the more likely it is that we are going to see violence erupt.

People seem unable or unwilling to respect the opinions of others with regard to COVID19, which has affected every family differently. Some are devastated by the loss of or risk to loved ones, while others are struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Others are rightfully concerned about the losses of liberty that we’re seeing. All of these concerns are valid, and not mutually exclusive.

Some violence has already occurred over mask requirements.

Just over the past couple of days, there were several disturbing incidences of violence when people refused to wear face masks in businesses that required it. Whether or not you think that you should be wearing masks, violence toward employees is not the answer. People working in retail just want to keep their jobs, and unfortunately, that sometimes leaves them in the vulnerable position of having to police customers who don’t want to comply with store policies.

A physical fight erupted at a gas station in Decatur, Illinois when a customer refused to don a mask to pay for his fuel. Sgt. Brian Earles with Decatur Police spoke to the press about the incident. It seems that a 59-year-old customer got into a verbal altercation with a 56-year-old cashier when he was trying to pay for gasoline without a mask, as is mandated by the state of Illinois. The customer allegedly shoved the cashier, who said he felt threatened, and the cashier responded by punching the customer in the face. The customer was arrested and charged with battery over the incident.

In Holly Michigan, a Dollar Tree customer refused to follow the posted store policy of wearing a mask. When a young female employee approached him and let him know of the policy he responded by saying, “Here, I will just use this as a mask,” and wiped his face on her sleeve. The customer continued to behave belligerently until he left. The entire incident was caught on store surveillance.

At a Family Dollar store in Flint, Michigan, the most violent response yet occurred when Calvin Munerlyn, a security guard for the store, was shot and killed after he refused to allow a customer’s daughter to come into the store without a mask.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said Sharmel Teague “began yelling at Munerlyn and spit at him and Munerlyn told her to leave the store and instructed a cashier not to serve her.”

Sharmel left the store. About 20 minutes later, she returned with two men who officials identified as Larry Teague and Ramonyea Bishop. The two men confronted Munerlyn, and Bishop shot Munerlyn in the back of the head, the prosecutor’s office said.

Bishop is Sharmel Teague’s son, the office said. (source)

Sharmel Teague and both men have been charged in Munerlyn’s death.

Anti-lockdown protests are spreading across the nation.

A lot of people aren’t formally protesting – they’re simply ignoring restrictions. Parks and beaches have been full of people who are sick of being stuck at home. Police officers are fed up with going out to break up crowds and enforce social distancing.

While some states are beginning to lift lockdowns, others are not. Protesters across the United States are demanding that restrictions be lifted. The Hill reports that protests are taking place in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Tennessee, and Washington. There are also protests occurring in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine, as well as North Carolina.

Protests are scheduled this coming weekend in Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Louisiana, and Wisconsin…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

The Organic Prepper: What We Learned Living on Our Food Storage for a Month

Kara Stiff at The Organic Prepper has used the recent stay at home orders to test living off of her food storage and relays What We Learned Living on Our Food Storage for a Month.

Before the stay-at-home order was even issued in my state, I stopped going to the grocery store. I despise shopping: the fluorescent lights, the spending of money, the inane conversations about children with strangers. It’s easy to convince myself not to go if people might be sick there. Since I have the luxury of doing so, I can leave what’s available for those who haven’t had the ability to stock up.

This is important. Stocking up when items are scarce is hoarding, but stocking up when there is plenty available is the opposite of hoarding. If I’m stocked up, I have the power to remove the pressure of my own consumption from the system just when the system is most stressed, therefore allowing others to get more of what they need.

I had never actually given our food storage and production systems a good test, though. Now I have, and I’ve learned some important things.

To be clear, my kitchen wasn’t perfectly sealed off from the world. A friend gave us some milk before the stay-at-home order, and my mom brought us some baked goods while I gave her beets and eggs. My husband bought cheese once. But other than that, we’ve been eating at home.

Organization really matters

We’ve been keeping a deep pantry for about seven years, ever since my first child was born and money was very tight. Back then it was just a giant Rubbermaid full of canned tomatoes, beans, pasta, and crackers. We called it the Zombie Apocalypse Box. It was easy to move, which mattered a lot because we moved five times in less than five years, first while pregnant, then with one small child, then with two.

Though it was mobile, the ZAB had serious limitations. First, it probably only constituted two weeks’ worth of supplementation to the regular pantry, which isn’t enough. Even worse, it was difficult to maintain because it was not easy to access and organize. I had to haul the heavy thing out and spread it all over the living room floor once a month to check the expiration dates and rotate stock. This was an impossible task when I had a baby who never slept.

As we finished building our house, the delightful prospect of never moving again sank in. I planned out the cabinet space and stocked what I figured was a month to six weeks of olives, tomatoes, pasta, coconut milk, peanut butter, canned mackerel, and other staples. I also packed some rice and beans for longer-term preservation. (More about a layered food storage plan here).

Not only is this organization much easier to maintain and rotate, but it also allows me to put a greater amount of food in an area not much bigger because the shelves make it easy to stack efficiently. Some things, though, are better off less accessible. This month I was able to keep back a bag of potato chips by hiding them from myself, and I greatly appreciated having them later.

Food storage isn’t enough

A stockpile cannot last forever, no matter how large. Humans are biological, and to survive we must have a place in the ecosystem. Modern industrial agriculture denies this. It tries to bend every flow of living energy into our own mouths, replacing resilient forests with vulnerable cornfields, swapping intricate wild networks for simple one-way streams to build ever more human bodies. Wild mammals now account for less than 4% of the mammal biomass on Earth, while humans, pets, and livestock account for the other 96%.

My family chose a parcel of land that was large enough to accommodate different levels of management. We have a sheet-mulch garden where we tightly control which species are welcome, and a fenced pasture and young orchard that are more of a compromise. Rabbits and raccoons are welcome in the orchard but not Bradford pear trees, and everything is welcome in the pasture except raccoons (geese deter them). These areas constitute only a small slice of our land, while the rest is pretty wild.

This spring, here is what’s available from our land: arugula, beets, and chard overwintered in the garden, French sorrel and a small amount of asparagus from our young patch, wild greens and onions, and eggs from the chickens. From last year’s production, we have goat, chicken, okra, and sweet corn still in the freezer, as well as pumpkins, sweet potatoes, flour corn, pickles, and salsa on the shelf. There isn’t any milk for people yet, because the first goat of the season only kidded yesterday…

Dietary deficiencies are no joke. They can have permanent effects on the body, and they sap the will to live. Some people do well for decades on vegetarian or vegan or other specialized diets, while others discover after years that what used to work fine has now ruined their health. Everyone is different, and I know of no sure way to tell ahead of time what is right for whom. Blood tests don’t tell the whole story; my tests looked normal, but my fatigue was crushing. The best I can do is try to feed us a wide variety and listen to all our bodies.

Stocking back up

When I went to stock back up before supply chains deteriorate further, only a few of the shelves at my local grocery store were sparse. Coronavirus has been moving more slowly in my state than others, so there hasn’t been panic in my lightly-populated rural area. It’s part of why we moved here: new developments get to this part of the world last.

There wasn’t much choice of flour, oatmeal, rice, or garlic. I adjusted my buying so as not to take the last thing of any type, and I swapped some generics for name brands because that was what was available, but I was largely able to get what I needed. I’m aware that may not be the case next month. In stocking back up I also leaned on local sources of food, trying to support those businesses and help keep them solvent during a difficult time.

I expected eating from stores to cost a little less, but I was surprised to be able to bring my stock of necessary items back up to full for about 70% of the cost of a typical month’s food. I would not have believed we were eating 30% of our food budget in chips, milk, butter, tortillas, fresh things like avocados and bananas, and cheese. But it’s true…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

The Organic Prepper: The Truth About Neighbors in Survival Situations

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper has an article on The Truth About Neighbors, Coworkers, & Friends in Survival Situations, detailing some things learned about people during this pandemic. I can think of a few additions to the types listed from my experiences, can you?

…many of us are realizing that there’s also a lot to learn about the folks just outside our inner circles: our neighbors, our co-workers, our extended families, and other communities in which we’re involved like churches or schools.

Behavior outside of the group.

While our connections with these people aren’t as intimate as those within our groups,  in some cases they can still threaten an otherwise solid survival plan. Some of the people described below may sound familiar after weeks of movement restriction.

  • The people you warned for months if not years that they needed to put some food aside, make arrangements for their prescriptions, and buy some extra toilet paper and soap.
  • Folks who know more than you now wish they did about your pantry and who’ve made it clear that they think it’s “greedy” that your family has so much while others have so little
  • People we used to really like boasting on Facebook how they snitched on somebody for some innocuous thing they felt flouted the “rules”
  • Neighbors taking a sudden and noticeable interest in your garden or your chickens
  • People in the neighborhood who are no longer working and now just sit on their porch all day and closely watch what everyone else is doing – including people unloading supplies from their cars into their homes
  • The nosy neighbor who demands that everything be “fair” and wants to take a tally of anything – people, water, supplies, guns, you name it.
  • That guy down the street you never liked in the first place who is becoming even more unlikeable by promoting himself as some kind of neighborhood watch king, handing out unsolicited advice and warnings, or maybe trying to set up “rules” by which he expects everyone else to abide
  • The people who are moving closer and closer to overstepping the boundaries of civil behavior – they’re doing small things dropping their trash in your yard or blatantly looking inside the windows of your car – but it’s an escalation
  • The co-worker who asks way more questions about your preparedness level than is really appropriate
  • The community group (church, social club, volunteer organization) that wants donations or participation in a way that is likely to threaten your OPSEC (operational security – more on that later)

You know the ones. They’re trying to get just a little too close for comfort. We’ve probably all seen somebody over this period of time and thought, “Yeah, I’m going to have to watch that guy.”

If the situation were to worsen, you would indeed have to watch that guy.

Identify “who” your neighbors and coworkers are

The people around you can be beneficial, neutral, or a threat. It’s best to determine which one they are as early as possible in an emergency…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

Organic Prepper: 11 Delicious Ways to Use Dry Beans from Your Storage

A week ago, we posted an article on cooking the dry beans from your food storage. Here’s one from The Organic Prepper that has recipes for using those beans in ways you may not have thought previously – 11 Delicious Ways to Use Those Dry Beans You Stockpiled. The author, Diane Vukovic, is also the author of the book Disaster Preparedness for Women.

Dry beans are one of the best disaster foods to stockpile. They are nutritious, cheap, and last for years when stored properly. But then disaster strikes and you suddenly have to figure out how you are going to use all of those beans. Eating rice and beans gets boring quickly!

I’m lucky because my family already eats beans almost daily. So, when COVID-19 struct and we tapped into our food stockpiles, our diet didn’t change much. Here are some of the bean recipes my family is eating now. Even my kids like most of these.

Tip: When building up your disaster food stockpile, think about how you will use the foods in meals. Otherwise, you could end up with a lot of foods you don’t like. Or you might end up with disproportionate amounts of food, like 30lbs of pasta but not sauce to go on it.

In my book Disaster Preparedness for Women, I show exactly how to plan a food stockpile so you can make healthy, balanced meals. The book also covers all the preparedness essentials so you are ready for anything. Get the book here.

Here are 11 tasty ways to use dried beans

Try these delicious dried bean recipes.

1. Red Bean Pasta Sauce

This disaster recipe couldn’t be easier. Just blend (or mash) 1 cup of cooked pinto beans with 1 cup of tomato sauce to make 4 generous servings. Add seasonings like salt, basil, and oregano to taste. Serve over pasta.

2. Chickpea Nuggets

Of all the beans, chickpeas are the most kid-friendly. They also don’t have as much water as other beans, so are easier to form into burgers, balls, or nuggets. I like this recipe which uses oats to hold the nuggets together. If you don’t have breadcrumbs or cornflakes you can just use more blended oats for the coating. You can also omit the nutritional yeast.

3. White Bean and Olive Oil “Alfredo” Sauce

Here’s another easy bean sauce for pasta. Just blend (or mash) 1 cup of cooked white beans and ¼ cup of olive oil or butter to make the base. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, parmesan, and a splash of lemon juice to make a delicious creamy sauce for pasta.

*You can also sneak this sauce into mac n’ cheese so your kids get more protein without even realizing it.

4. Lentil Bread

Whenever I make bread, I sneak in some extra nutrition. How? I add things like blended kale, pulverized dried mushrooms, or bean puree. The bread comes out great and my kids eat it up.

To make, remove about ½ cup of water from your bread recipe and replace it with ½ cup of bean puree. If the dough ends up being too wet, add more flour…

5. Bean Burgers and Sausages

Beans and lentils can easily be turned into burgers or sausages. All you need to do is:

  • Make sure the beans are drained very well or the burgers will fall apart. Lentils are particularly wet so I’ll squeeze them by hand to remove the water.
  •  Pulse in a food processor with some cooked veggies and seasonings. If you have egg, add an egg to the mixture.*
  • Add oats, breadcrumbs, or flour (oats and breadcrumbs work best because they absorb moisture and hold the burgers together well). Keep adding until you form a mixture that sticks together.
  • Form into burger or sausage shapes. Bake or fry.

*Egg acts like glue to hold the burgers together. If you don’t have egg, you can usually just omit the egg and the recipe will still work. Another option is to use flax or chia seeds instead of egg. These become a bit like glue when wet and do a good job of holding burgers together. I’ve got a massive stockpile of flax at home specifically for this purpose!

6. Black Bean Brownies

I know this one probably sounds weird, but you can’t taste the black beans the brownies at all. It ends up being a protein-packed treat and your kids don’t even realize they are eating beans. I like this recipe which is simple to make with disaster staples…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

Rainier Redoubt: Prepare For At Least Six More Months of Social Distancing

As the virus spread has appeared to slow in Washington state, it’s easy to begin thinking that things may return to normal soon. Here’s Rainier Redoubt talking about why that may not be so, Prepare For At Least Six More Months of Social Distancing and Stay-At-Home Orders.

On March 24, 2020 we asked the question COVID-19, When Will It End? In this blog post we suggested that it pays to start planning for strong social distancing for at least the next six months.

On April 2, 2020 Washington State Governor Jay Inslee extended end date of the state’s “stay-at-home” order from April 6th to May 4th.

On April 6, 2020 the Govenor and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, announced that both public and private schools in Washington would remain closed for the remainder of the school year. The school year in Washington normally ends in mid-June, so this adds an additional six weeks of school closuers beyond the current end date for the state’s stay-at-home order.

As of April 6, 2020 there were 1,346,299 confirmed cases of COVID-19 world-wide, with at least 368,000 of those cases being in the United States. State and Federal governments must weigh the risks of the spread of the COVID-19 virus and perhaps a million deaths, against a complete collapse of the economy with millions of people out of work and small businesses never being able to recover from the financial loss.

The government must decide at what point it is medically safe to allow businesses to reopen and to lift restrictions on social distancing. Even if the government removes these restrictions prior to October 2020, we still strongly recommend caution in your social interactions through at least the end of the year.

COVID-19 is not going to just suddenly disappear. Until an effective vaccine and treatment are developed and distributed there will be a significant health risk from the virus.

In the absence of a vaccine, cure, or massive testing and quarantine, lockdowns and stay-at-home orders will need to last for months. However, the US faces a unique challenge because only half the states have adopted aggressive intervention, and done so at varying times. Even if these states achieve control or containment, they may be vulnerable to contagion from other states that were late to do so. (SSRN)
According to an article in Business Insider, Ultimately, experts say that social-distancing measures will be necessary until we have a vaccine, and that’s 12 to 18 months. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re all in our homes for 18 months, it means maybe we’re avoiding public gatherings for that amount of time or limiting the amount of travel internationally, but it’s not necessarily as restrictive as what we’re seeing now.

Click here to read the entire article at Rainier Redoubt.

See also The Organic Prepper – We Won’t Be Getting “Back to Normal.” Not Soon. Not Ever.

Organic Prepper: How to Survive Uncertainty About the Future

From Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper, What Will the Future Bring? Here’s How to Survive the Uncertainty

…Three months ago, we all had dreams, goals for the future, or at least some idea of what the upcoming year would hold for us.

I’ll bet none of us even considered on New Year’s Eve that we’d spend the first half (at least) of the year dealing with a deadly pandemic. Heck, I sat on a balcony in a little seaside village in Montenegro, toasting the new decade with a friend and some Jack Daniels, watching fireworks over the Adriatic Sea, and planning what European destination I’d be heading to next.

It probably never crossed anyone’s mind that there’d be some crazy new virus that nobody had ever heard of which would leave us under the equivalent of house arrest for months. Few of us imagined that suddenly, over the course of just a few weeks, more than ten million Americans would suddenly become unemployed.

Dreams have been shattered.

Goals have been put aside.

Lives have been lost.

Everything has changed.

And nobody knows what the future will hold.

A lot of the things we do know are horrible.

How utterly terrifying to know that we’re all likely to lose somebody we love to this virus or to a medical condition that would have been survivable if the local hospital hadn’t been overflowing with COVID patients.

We know there’s nary a roll of toilet paper to be found in a huge swath of the United States. We know that our supply chain, if not broken, is at the least, badly bruised. We know that if a person we love goes into the hospital with COVID-19, there’s a frighteningly large chance they may never come out again unless it’s in a body bag. We know that medical professionals in New York City don’t even have personal protective equipment to keep themselves healthy while they try to keep people alive. We know that yesterday in the state of New York, 23 people died every hour of the day from the coronavirus that has destroyed the world as we know it.

We nearly all know people who have been laid off. Maybe it’s someone in your family. Maybe it’s you. And if you haven’t yet lost your job, are you waiting for that hammer to drop? We all know of businesses that aren’t going to make it through months of this shutdown.

We know people who couldn’t pay their rent this month. We know people who pulled it together this month but won’t be able to pay May’s rent if this lockdown should continue. We know it’s so bad that the government has said landlords can’t evict tenants in many states – which means the landlords may not be able to pay their mortgages.

We may not know much right now, but we know that the economy is a f*cking disaster.

And we have no idea when this current purgatory will end…

We’d all like to think that one day this will suddenly be over. The kids will return to school. We’ll go back to our offices and our commutes. We won’t be struggling over money anymore. Life will return to the pre-COVID days.

But is this the healthiest way to look at the situation?

Spending all your time looking forward to the day when this is over is an exercise in frustration because nobody knows when that will be. And more than that, nobody knows what “normal” is going to look like when all the lockdowns are over. A lot of things will never be the same.

You can help yourself by learning to adapt now to changed circumstances. This will help you learn to live with the new normal, whatever that turns out to be. Major events are bound to cause major and long-lasting changes. This has happened throughout history.

In reality, the things we’re experiencing right now, while not necessarily easy, aren’t so bad. Things will probably get worse before they get better, but eventually, some form of “better” will come.

Your ability to adapt is indicative of your ability to survive. So let’s get through this lockdown and keep our mindsets positive.  Let’s get through the part that comes next.

Then, eventually, we’ll come out on the other side, ready to tackle the new normal, whatever that ends up being like…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

Warnings of Coronavirus Riots/Civil Unrest

A variety of people/outlets are warning of imminent civil unrest because of lockdowns/job loss/lack of food/etc. resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and government responses.

Express: Coronavirus riots to erupt ‘at any moment’ as Red Cross warns cities face ‘social bomb’

Europe has seen a substantial increase in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in recent weeks, as the continent accounts for over half of the world’s 601,520 cases. Italy, Spain, Germany and France are Europe’s worst-hit countries, with Italy surpassing China’s total confirmed cases and death toll this week. The shocking figures has prompted one Red Cross official to warn an eruption of social unrest across Europe’s biggest cities is imminent.

Francesco Rocca, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) told a United Nations news briefing: “We have a lot of people who are living very marginalised, in the so-called black hole of society.

“In the most difficult neighbourhoods of the biggest cities I am afraid that in a few weeks we will have social problems.

“This is a social bomb that can explode at any moment, because they don’t have any way to have an income.”

He warned the risk of suicide is increasing among vulnerable people forced to isolate on their own…

The Organic Prepper: It’s Only a Matter of Time Until COVID-19 Lockdowns Lead to Civil Unrest and Violent Crime

The United States of America is basically closed for business, leaving citizens jobless, broke, and without options. We’re facing restrictions on movement the likes of which our nation has never seen. The stores that are open have never fully restocked after the “panic buying” of previous weeks, leading to shelves barren of things like meat, flour, toilet paper, and rice.

It’s only a matter of time before these issues combine to become the flashpoint that leads to an explosion of civil unrest and violent crime.

The financial situation

Unemployment skyrocketed, with 3.3 million claims last week, and the Fed estimates that number to climb to a whopping 47 million due to the virus. Many of these jobs may not come back after the Covid-19 virus has run its course through the nation – businesses small and large are going to be defaulting on their April rent payments, and many simply won’t be able to catch up later.

So far, a lot of people in the area where I’m staying seem to be treating this break of business like a surprise staycation. It’s nice to see families out walking together, playing games, and spending time with the people they love.

But this happiness may be shortlived. Despite generous government-mandated disaster pay, unemployment, and stimulus checks, the money may not arrive in time for former employees, self-employed people, and gig workers to pay their personal bills. And when the money does arrive, for many folks it isn’t going to be the same amount they were earning before the shutdowns. Most people don’t have emergency funds, so things will be dire in short order.

Of course, this affects landlord, mortgage companies, utility companies, retail businesses…the list could go on and on…

Foreign Policy: The Coronavirus Could Topple Governments Around the World

…The consequences will be very different in countries where political institutions are weaker and where the illness or death of a leader has been known to generate the kind of power vacuum that might inspire rival leaders, opposition parties, or the military to launch a power grab. This is a particular problem in countries where checks and balances are weak and political parties don’t have strong decision-making mechanisms, which is true in parts of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and post-communist Europe. According to the researchers Rodger Govea and John Holm, 61 percent of leadership transitions in Africa are “unregulated,” and many of these episodes have resulted in a political crisis.

In countries where politics are more personalized, the death of a leader can trigger damaging succession battles that can split the ruling party and, in the worst cases, encourage a military coup. It is therefore extremely worrying that senior political officials and leaders have also contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, in countries such as Burkina Faso, Iran, and Nigeria—countries that are already unstable gerontocracies…

Silver Doctors: Looting, Riots & Civil Unrest Are Coming To The US, Will Be Much Worse Than Asia Or Europe

It’s par for the economic collapse course.

Last week we got some “reports” of riots (protests?) coming out of China:

This week, civil unrest is taking place in Italy, and to think, the United States is just a little bit behind Italy.

In Italy, however, with a more or less disarmed population, the riots have so far have been without major violence, or at least that’s what can be gleaned with a minimal internet search.

That is to say, the Italians are talking about snatching a bag from somebody walking home from the grocery store, but it’s not like the victim is stabbed and left to bleed to death, or worse:

The victims in Italy basically lose their groceries.

It’s unlikely the bag snatching in the US will go over as smoothly as it has in Italy, for reasons we’ll get to in a moment…

Fox 5 NY: Store owners boarding up buildings across Manhattan

…The businesses have taken the unsightly measure in an effort to defend against the potential for civil unrest caused by the coronavirus and a lack of officers on the streets…

Zero Hedge: Lockdown-Backlash Begins: Angry Crowd Surrounds Capitol, Demands Michigan Governor Reopen Economy

WOOD-TV’s Heather Walker provides coverage from within Operation Gridlock as people use their cars to lockdown streets around the Capitol building. Walker interviewed several Michiganders, who are fed up with the public health order and want the economy to reopen. Many said they could make their own health decisions and don’t need the government to tell them what to do.

Some protestors were dressed in body armor, wielding AR-15s.

The Daily Reckoning: Worst Recession in 150 Years

Yet even this three-system analysis I just described (pandemic > economy > politics) does not go far enough. The next phase has been little noticed and less discussed.

It involves social disorder. An economic breakdown is more than just economic. It leads quickly to a social breakdown that involves looting, random violence, fraud and decadent behavior.

The Roaring ’20s in the U.S. (with Al Capone and Champagne baths) and Weimar Germany (with riots and cabaret) are good examples.

Looting, burglary and violence in the midst of a state of emergency are the shape of things to come.

Zero Hedge: America On The Brink? Shocking Images Show “Pennsylvania Militia” Rolling Up To “Reopen America” Rally

America could be standing on the edge of a revolution. Seriously, well, with National Guard troops deployed across the country, any uprising would likely be squashed.

We noted late last month that a “social bomb” was set to detonate over major Western cities. It was thought that the epicenter of unrest could begin deep within inner cities, such as those in Baltimore and Detroit, but that might not be the case.

It appears tensions are soaring among anti-quarantine protesters and state governments. The lockdown backlash started last Thursday in Lansing, Michigan…

The Organic Prepper: A Homeschooling Guide for Public Schoolers

Kara Stiff at The Organic Prepper is a homeschooling parent and shares her thoughts with those who are attempting to home school their public school children during the Covid-19 pandemic – A Homeschooling Guide for Public Schoolers

My heart goes out to all the parents who were never planning to home school, but nevertheless find themselves teaching their children at home today. I chose this beautiful, crazy life, and I completely understand why some people wouldn’t choose it. But here we are. We have to do what we have to do. You don’t want them to fall behind. You don’t want to lose your mind.

Believe it or not, it’s a golden opportunity.

Caveat: these are only my personal thoughts. I’m not a professional educator, just a parent successfully homeschooling.

This advice is only for people whose greatest hurdle right now is remaining sane with the little ones. This is a high bar to clear, to be sure, but some people are facing the little people plus big financial problems, they’re sick or working through mental health issues, or they’re managing other emergencies. In those cases, if you’re keeping everyone more or less fed and warm then you’re succeeding, and you don’t need me to tell you to forget the rest for as long as necessary.

For everyone else, I do have a little advice. I’m sure you’re getting support from your school district, which is excellent. Worrying about what to teach is often a new homeschooler’s first and biggest concern. But deciding what to teach is actually the easy part, and now it’s mom, dad, uncle or grandma doing the really hard part: actually sitting with the kid, helping/making him or her do the work.

First, I think you can safely let go of the worry that you may not be a good enough teacher because you’re a terrible speller, or you think you’re bad at math. It’s good to know these things about yourself so they can be addressed, but the truth is that how great you personally are at division isn’t necessarily a predictor of success. Neither is how well you explain things, or even how well you demonstrate looking things up, although that is a priceless skill to impart to inquiring minds. To my mind, the most important skill for successful homeschooling is:

Controlling your own frustration

We adults are fantastically knowledgeable and amazingly skilled. No, really, we are! So we forget how hard it is to do seemingly simple things for the first time. I remember sitting in my college biochemistry class, listening to the professor say:

“Come on you guys, this is easy!”

Folks, I’m here to tell you that biochemistry isn’t easy for most people who are new to it, especially people who just drug themselves out of bed five minutes ago, possibly with a touch of a hangover. And reading isn’t easy for a five-year-old, and multiplication isn’t easy for an eight-year-old.

The parent has to slow down, go through it again, redirect the child’s attention for the hundredth time and explain the material in a different way, preferably without pulling out their own hair. You can develop these skills. Even if you’re new to it, and you don’t find it easy.

When it just isn’t working, the parent has to know when to shift gears and let it rest. Preserving your relationship with the child is always very important, but it’s doubly so when you’re home with them all day every day.

I think I can safely say that all homeschool parents want to scream sometimes. Many of us have threatened to send our kids to public school at one point or another (or maybe once a week). It doesn’t make you a bad parent or even a bad teacher, it just makes you human. In the last week, I have seen a bunch of public school parents join my online homeschool groups, and the outpouring of sympathy, support and good ideas from homeschool parents makes me tear up. We’re here for you. Get in touch.

Run your day in a way that works for YOU

Just because they’re usually in school for six or eight hours a day doesn’t mean you have to school them for six or eight hours a day. That schedule is a crowd control measure instituted for the good of society, not for the good of children.

My children are homeschooled primarily because I think a kid should spend a lot of time outside moving around, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do that and public school. My own public school experience was pretty different from the norm today, with much less homework and much more self-direction, but still, I feel that I didn’t get enough practice directing my own attention. Research backs me up on this: kids who get many hours of freedom develop excellent executive function, which not only makes them a valuable employee but also helps them run their own life someday.

At my house, we do about an hour of formal school work per day, six or seven days a week. The rest of the time the kids help me with gardening and animal care, climb trees and play in the creek, draw and write and read things on their own or together, and make stuff out of Legos. They have an hour of screen time each afternoon just so they will sit down and be quiet, usually a documentary. David Attenborough is definitely this house’s biggest celebrity. We’re also accustomed to spending several days of the week with other homeschool families, although obviously that is curtailed now due to social distancing.

Learning doesn’t stop when we leave the table, because kids are unstoppable learning machines when they’re not too tired or stressed out. I’m always available to answer questions and help look stuff up, and the questions are pretty frequent. An adult reads to them (or they read to us) books of their choosing at bedtime, and sometimes just after dinner, too. It’s also a pretty common occurrence in my house for a child to see an adult reading a novel, a piece of nonfiction, or The Economist, and request to have it read aloud to them, which we do. They also sometimes watch me balance the household budget.

The schedule that works best for your family might look very different from ours, and that is good. Children are people. People have very different needs, and one of the charms of schooling at home is that you can arrange things in a pretty good compromise to meet everyone’s needs. An hour or two of focused one-on-two attention per day is plenty of time for my four- and seven-year-olds to get well ahead of grade level on reading, writing, and math…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

Organic Prepper: Ways to Prep When There Are No Supplies and You’re Out of Money

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper has a timely article out 12 Ways to Prep When There Are No Supplies to Buy and You’re Out of Money. Anyone reading the news knows that many preparedness/daily living items are in short supply, and with millions laid off or working reduced hours money is tight for many more.

If you’ve been prepping for the Covid-19 pandemic recently, you’ve probably noticed a couple of things.

  1. The stores are quickly running out of the supplies people want.
  2. People are quickly running out of money.

Both of these things are important. Of course, if there are no supplies, you can’t buy what you need. But secondly, you need to still consider your budget. This situation with Covid-19 will be personally costly. At this point, we all still have bills to pay and your stockpile won’t do you much good when it’s sitting on the curb beside you because you couldn’t make your mortgage payment.

So while I advise doing everything you can to be prepared, I also encourage you NOT to go deeply into debt now of all times. People are getting laid off by the tens of thousands right now. Everything is changing.

We’re at a critical point right now when there’s a crisis bearing down on us and we want to get prepared. But there are very few supplies left on store shelves to buy and many of us don’t have much money left to spend. This does not mean there’s nothing you can do. In fact, you’re at one of the most crucial junctures of preparedness right now.

How to prep without buying more stuff

Here are some things you can do to prepare for the possibility of quarantine when you’ve put a halt to the frantic spending. Make yourself a checklist and get cracking.

  1. Fill up all your containers with water. A Mason jar full of water takes up the same amount of space as an empty Mason jar. Go through your house and fill up every vessel you can with water.
  2. Organize your supplies. If you bought a whole lot of stuff in a frenzy – and let’s be honest, a lot of us did – you may have them stacked in a precarious pile in some area of the house. Take the time to organize your food. You can go about this in different ways – put ingredients for meals together, put all the veggies in one area, all the grains in another area…however you decide to go about it, getting organized will help you see what you have on hand.
  3. Make a menu. While you’re organizing your food stockpile, create some meal plans based on the supplies that you have.
  4. Organize first aid and medical supplies. Put all your first aid, over-the-counter medications, prescription meds, and medical supplies together so you can see what you have. Think about how you can improvise anything you’re missing.
  5. Organize other supplies. I keep my supplies in kits. I have a power outage kit with candles, lighters, flashlights, batteries, solar chargers, etc. I have a pandemic kit I created back in 2014 during the Ebola scare with masks, gloves, Tyvek suits, booties, and other things specific to a pandemic. I use big Rubbermaid tubs for these kits but you can use anything: cardboard boxes, even space on a shelf.
  6. Do a home-security check.  Go outside and take a walk around your house. Are there things that need to be addressed to make your home more secure? Do you need to trim back some shrubs to keep the area under windows visible? Should you secure downstairs windows so they can’t easily be raised up from the outside? Can you put a locking latch on the gate in the back yard? Does your shed need a lock on it? Focus on the small tasks you may have been putting off to make your home more secure.
  7. Make a family security plan. Would your family members know what to do in the event of a home invasion? If not, you need to make a plan. Vulnerable family members need to get out of the way, and family members who are engaging the criminals need to know who is doing what so they don’t get in each other’s way. Place weapons and potential weapons in strategic areas around the home.
  8. Figure out a long-term water plan. Where could you acquire water if no longer came from the taps? Identify places where you could get water – creeks, ponds, rivers, lakes, even fountains if you’re in the city. If there’s nothing like that, figure out how you could capture rainwater the most efficiently. Make sure you have a way to purify this water.
  9. Take a look at your budget. Are there things you can cut right now to help you get better prepared for a long-term financial crisis? Slash unnecessary expenditures now. Call your insurance company for a better rate. Cancel subscription boxes.
  10. Spend some time learning. If you’re already in lockdown, make the most of your time by learning new skills and acquiring knowledge. The best thing you can do right now is to subscribe to Selco’s Patreon that he’s running with his business partner Toby. It’s only $1 a month and the information on there is timely and PURE GOLD. Learn to make things, repair things, grow things, and take some time to look into old-fashioned solutions. This is a great time to pick up some new skills. Read some of those books in your to-read pile and check out how-to videos on YouTube.
  11. Clean and do laundry. This may not sound like a prep at all, but in the unlikely event that the power is interrupted, it would really be bad to start out with a house that needs to be vacuumed and a sky-high pile of dirty laundry.
  12. Assess your neighborhood. If it’s still okay to go for a walk (without coming in close contact with others) take a stroll around your immediate neighborhood. Identify resources, like creeks or fruit trees in the park. Think about which neighbors are more likely to be allies and which ones you expect could be troublesome. This isn’t something you need to act on now – you’re just gathering information.

When you complete these exercises you may find that there are a few things you still need to buy. At the time of this writing, you can probably still do that. The good news is, these things are unlikely to be the stuff that everyone else is buying in a frenzy – think about essential hardware, high-level medical supplies, and tools.

There’s a lot more to prepping than simply buying stuff and piling it into a closet. The time you spend now on non-purchase prepping is also very important. It’s a whole lot easier to think things through right now when you are calm and well-fed than it is to try and figure them out when you’re under stress. This isn’t the time to sit around streaming Netflix or doing a crossword puzzle. There’s a lot of work to be done before we reach the point that we can’t do anything more.

So close that Amazon window on your computer and get to work…

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

Organic Prepper: How to Talk to Creditors When You Can’t Pay

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper has an article on How to Talk to Creditors When You Can’t Pay Your Bills. With some businesses closing permanently and others temporarily closed over the coronavirus pandemic, many people are put in an economic bind with no income coming in. While Washington state has announced some coming benefits for workers who are quarantined or laid off because of the coronavirus, we don’t know how long it will take to file, eligibility, or how it affects hourly workers who are not laid off or quarantined, but are not working because they business is closed or slow.

As our economy gets rocked by the coronavirus outbreak, lots of folks are already beginning to have financial problems. For others, they see money trouble on the horizon.

These issues are occurring for several reasons. Some businesses are cutting back staff or hours preemptively so they can survive financially. Other businesses are laying people off because of supply chain shortages – if you can’t get parts to repair furnaces, you can’t pay people to repair furnaces. The travel and shipping industries are already feeling the pain from the global outbreak.

So if you aren’t having money problems now, it’s very possible you will be soon.

What to do when your income slows down

This is something I’ve written about in detail in more than one article. Here’s a detailed article about job loss but the strategies would also work if your hours are cut. The basics are:

  1. Know your rights. You may have some recourse if your hours are cut or if you are laid off. If you have any type of employment contract, now is the time to go over it with a fine-tooth comb. Don’t sign anything until you’ve taken the time to calm down and think things through.
  2. Begin a total spending freeze. Give it a couple of days before you spend a dime. You’ll need to re-assess your budget.
  3. Apply for unemployment. Whether you lost your job completely or your hours were cut, you may qualify for unemployment or other benefits. You’ve been paying taxes for just this reason, so don’t be too proud to accept the help.
  4. Create a budget for necessities. Sit down and create a budget for the absolute bare minimum expenditures.
  5. Slash luxury spending. Now isn’t the time to go on a vacation, join a gym, or eat out at restaurants.
  6. Look for new streams of income. If you can, look for odd jobs, start a small business that doesn’t require an investment, or use your expertise to begin consulting in your field.
  7. Sell stuff. All that stuff you’ve been meaning to go through in the basement just might be the key to keeping a roof over your head.  Sell things online or in person, keeping in mind your personal safety.
  8. Audit your budget. Take the time to see where you can slash your spending. Can you cut your fixed or variable expenses?

Take action right away to stop the bleeding of money. A few dollars may not seem like much right now but it could be a much bigger deal in the future. You may need to make drastic cuts.

Make a list of your creditors.

Once you have created your new emergency budget, it’s time to take a look at those to whom you owe money. Some of these will be necessary expenditures. Keeping a roof over your head, the utilities on, a car in the driveway, and remaining insured. are likely the most important expenses.

Other expenditures are things like unsecured debt: credit cards, student loans, and personal loans. You may have some secured debt on things with which you’re willing to part – second cars, recreational vehicles, etc.

Write down all these expenses, your account numbers, your minimum monthly payments, and contact information for the creditor.

Before anybody jumps in and says, “You shouldn’t have any credit card debt” or “I bought my car in cash,” remember that I’m writing about a change in circumstances here. Sure it’s better to be debt-free, but when you have found yourself in a crunch, it’s all about surviving the rough time, not about beating yourself up for previous decisions.

Contact them one by one.

Next comes the part that may be difficult for some – you need to contact your creditors and see if they can help.

Keep in mind that many people are running into difficulty right now and these companies know it. Some places may have already authorized negotiations with debtors in expectation of the difficulty in which you currently find yourself.

Contact them in order from most essential to least. Below you’ll find some tips to help you guide the conversation.

How to talk to creditors… (continues)

Click here to continue reading at The Organic Prepper.

Organic Prepper: China’s Control of Pharmaceuticals

In this article from The Organic Prepper, Daisy Luther discusses China’s corner on the pharmaceutical market – 80% of pharmaceutical ingredients are made in China – and recent threats (or merely boasts?) that China would or could cut off drug exports to the US.

As China allegedly conquers the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak that began in Wuhan, it appears that they’re right back to considering the United States an enemy. On Xiahuanet, the Communist Party news outlet, they threatened to withhold all medical exports to the US, at the same asking for an “apology” from the US and “gratitude” from the rest of the world.

This comes at the most crucial point of an outbreak that originated in their own country.

Why is China angry with the US?

Xinhuanet is the biggest news agency in China, and very “influential.” The outlet is the official state-run press agency, so anything found on the website is straight from the Chinese government. An article titled, “The World Should Thank China,” which was published on March 4, covered the outbreak of Covid-19 in the United States.

The article suggests that the US’s data is suspicious because all cases of coronavirus must be confirmed by the CDC. (I can’t disagree with them that our numbers are questionable.) It shows a photograph of people praying in the White House to underline how “nervous” President Trump is about the virus. (This photo was actually of a meeting that the Vice President had about the rapidly spreading virus, as opposed to the President.)

Xinhuanet goes on to tout the control they have taken over the outbreak, saying that Trump admires their handling of the crisis and that his “remarks came from the bottom of his heart.”

At the same time, Xinhuanet criticized the US’s perceived mistreatment of China, citing the travel ban and the evacuation of American citizens from Wuhan, the heart of the outbreak. This caused, according to Xinhuanet, other countries to also “isolate” China from the rest of the world, causing them economic harm.

A translated version of the article says:

These practices in the United States are very unkind. They can be described as falling into the ground and killing people while they are ill. (source)

And now, if it is to be believed that China has contained the outbreak and they’re back to business as usual, they may want to exact some vengeance for this “unkindness.” (And of course, this remains the question – do they even currently possess the capability to manufacture these medical products or is this all a way to save face because their workforce is decimated and the virus is actually not contained at all?)

How did China threaten the US?

In the article, China suggests that they could easily get even with the United States for their perceived mistreatment of China during the outbreak by cutting off medical supplies while we are in the midst of our own outbreak.

If China retaliates against the United States at this time, in addition to announcing a travel ban on the United States, it will also announce strategic control over medical products and ban exports to the United States. Then the United States will be caught in the ocean of new crown viruses.

According to the US CDC officials, most masks in the United States are made in China and imported from China. If China bans the export of masks to the United States, the United States will fall into the mask shortage, and the most basic measures to prevent the new crown virus are Can’t do it.

Also according to the US CDC officials, most of the drugs in the United States are imported, and some drugs are imported from Europe. However, Europe also places the production base of these drugs in China, so more than 90% of the US imported drugs are Related to China. The implication is that at this time, as long as China announces that its drugs are as domestic as possible and banned exports, the United States will fall into the hell of the new crown pneumonia epidemic. (source)

In the next paragraph, Xinhuanet basically says, “Nah, don’t worry. We are filled with love.”

However, there is a great love in the world. The Chinese people and the Chinese government have never done so. They have not insulted the United States, nor have they banned the export of masks and medicines to the United States. (source)

Then the article suggests that the United States, if not the entire world, owes China an apology due to our media coverage of the outbreak in Wuhan and comments made about the outbreak by government officials like  Secretary of Commerce Rose, US Secretary of State Pompeo, and US White House Economic Adviser Navarro. They say these officials “gloated” about the coronavirus outbreak and saw it as an opportunity to pull US manufacturing out of China…

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

Organic Prepper: Eating What We Grow

As Spring begins to sneak across the land, thoughts turn to gardens. Here are some thoughts from Kara Still at The Organic Prepper on growing and foraging food – Eating What We Grow: What We Learn and What We Love.

I grew up in Alaska. My family bought most of what we ate at the store, shipped in from the “Lower 48,” as the rest of the U.S. is known up north. The supply chains were long and fragile, and the produce was both expensive and terrible. Wilted lettuce, fuzzy strawberries, bruised apples. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would eat a peach or an ear of corn on the cob because after weeks in transit these delicacies taste like cardboard (or like rot). I ate ice cream, frozen hash browns and plenty of McDonald’s. Alaska is America, after all.

There was also another cuisine in my household, one born out of connection to the land. My family picked tart wild blueberries on the steep mountainside, with the tundra a spongy vermillion carpet around us and the first snows dusting the bare peaks above. We spent hours on icy glacial rivers or motoring past a pebbly shore, casting after salmon and halibut. We scoured the woods for wild mushrooms: nutty white King bolete (porcini), sweet-sour butter bolete, blue-bruising birch bolete, shaggy manes, and oyster mushrooms.

My eyes were opened when I was able to access other foods.

I got so sick of salmon that I refused to eat it, but the joke was on me because the salmon was already in my soul, residing there as a deep curiosity about unusual foods. As I attained adulthood and went traveling I sampled a long list of strange stuff: raw whitefish roe and muktuk (raw whale skin with the fat still on) in rural Alaska, alpaca and guinea pig in Peru, kangaroo and saltwater crocodile in Australia. I nibbled whatever was available: feijoa and loquat and dragon fruit, carpenter ant and raw jellyfish and bladderwrack seaweed, oysters smashed open on the beach.

This isn’t as strange as it sounds. Dr. Weston A. Price, the author of the classic book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, was a dentist who traveled the world in the 1930s to document what people ate. His research includes 500 pages of pictures of people’s mouths and long lists of who did and who did not have cavities. At the edges of the Earth, Dr. Price found healthy people thriving on almost every imaginable diet: dried fish with a little oatmeal and cabbage in Scotland, cattle milk and blood plus wild vegetables in Africa, seal or caribou and berries in Alaska, cheese and rye bread with a little cabbage in alpine Scandinavia. Their teeth were flawless, their faces beautiful.

Not everyone was healthy, though. Some places Price visited, most people had had every tooth pulled from their heads by the age of 20. Some populations also had underdeveloped chests, high incidence of tuberculosis, crowded mouths and facial deformities, all from lack of nutrients. These folks were not eating a wide variety of different diets. They were all eating the same diet, which mostly consisted of white flour and jam.

There isn’t one perfect diet, because humans are omnivores that can thrive and be healthy on lots of different sets of foods. Just not on white flour and jam.

Now we’re eating wild and foraged things, plus what we grow.

These days, I live on a little homestead in rural North Carolina. My family has 17 acres of mixed woods and overgrown fields, with a pond and a stream. We have a little house we built with our hands, a garden, a young orchard, a few goats, chickens and geese.

We still eat wild things, mostly violets and sheep sorrel, chickweed, wild spring onion, a few puffballs and blackberries, bass out of the pond. One year we found a bumper crop of shaggy-bark boletes that taste like the butter boletes I grew up with. One year I killed and cooked an egg-stealing rat snake (it made fine tacos).

But my county is farm country, a thoroughly humanized landscape since before Columbus when the natives burned the undergrowth to create a fantastically productive landscape that white settlers thought was a park. If we want to eat from the land rather than the Walmart (and we do), most of that food has to be encouraged to grow, not just hunted and gathered.

Growing food is a fascinating and complex endeavor fraught with failure and surprise. My favorite potatoes and English peas are tougher to produce here in the baking south than in the frozen north. Instead, I’m gradually learning to grow exotic things even the luckiest Alaskan gardener can only dream of, like eggplant, grinding corn, hot peppers, and sweet potatoes.

Some growing seasons are successes and others are lessons.

This year was an education in drought. In June we had a 100-year flood that took out the bridges on two of the four roads into our property. Nine months later, those bridges still aren’t fixed. After that deluge, it hardly rained for three months. Seminole pumpkin, for several years running a heavy producer, utterly failed because of squash bug combined with too little water. My tomatoes made only enough for the table and about 15 jars of salsa. I have a brand new solar dehydrator, and I was looking forward to dried tomatoes with everything. Instead, I have more frozen green beans than I know what to do with…

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.