Christian Prepper Gal: Back to the Past?

Christian Prepper Gal talks about staying on track for spiritual and physical preparedness in Back to the Past?

We need to learn from history!

 

It is often said that history repeats itself. There are those in today’s society who are trying to erase our history. They want to pretend that it never existed. But the wise know that history is there for us to learn from.

When I was growing up history was boring to me. I had absolutely no interest in it. So, I can sort of see why those people in today’s society would want to ignore it, erase it, and pretend it never happened. But, as an adult I have come to understand why it is important for us to know our history.

Hosea 4:6, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

What does this verse have to do with history? Well, with history comes knowledge. Knowledge of how to handle a situation, knowledge of what not to do, knowledge of what to do, knowledge of consequences for our actions (or lack thereof), etc. Not having that knowledge could destroy us, both physically and spiritually.

Even many Christians ignore history. They say we don’t need to store up food to be prepared for what is to come. They say that God will provide. While it is true that God will provide our needs, it is also true that in His providing he has often told His people to prepare themselves for what is to come. A huge example of that in our history is the story of Noah (Genesis 6-8). God warned His people of what was to come but only one man listened to what He was saying. And look what happened. Those who did not listen to God’s warning perished. The one who listened to God’s warning and did what God told him to do to prepare himself and his family lived. How can Christians argue that we do not need to be prepared?!?

As Christians, most of us believe that we are living in the End Times. And sadly, almost as many Christians are not prepared for what will actually happen in the “End Times”. It’s like we are the opposite of the world when it comes to being prepared. We prepare spiritually, but do near to nothing to be prepared physically. Whereas the world (those who are wise enough) will prepare physically, by storing up food and essentials, but do nothing to be prepared spiritually. But, if we look back on the history of our world, we would know that we need to be prepared both spiritually and physically.

If we do not need to also prepare physically by storing food and other provisions, then why did God have Noah prepare food and provisions for his family? Why didn’t God just provide what Noah and his family needed? Wait. He did! By telling Noah what he needed to do to be prepared! This really is deep. Please take a moment to think about it.

Do you remember what happened when the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic broke out? How the toilet paper disappeared from the store shelves? Quickly followed by hand sanitizers, antibacterial cleaning products, paper towels, flour, yeast, garden seeds, some food products, most survival/emergency foods, and even canning jars and lids? To some that’s already a distant memory. But to me, it is forefront in my mind. Why is that? Because I do not want to forget what happened. I want to remember so that I remember to be prepared in case something like that ever happens again! We experienced and lived through a true SHTF scenario and many people did not even realize it or acknowledge it as being that. It happened so suddenly! And, those who were not prepared were affected the most. While those who were prepared were barely affected by it. Some areas were worse than others. Some countries were worse than others. It could have been worse everywhere. And I thank God it wasn’t. But, we are not out of possible danger from it yet. We are still in the midst of it.

I personally believe that this pandemic was/is a warning of things yet to come. For if we are truly living in the End Times as many believe, there will be many more things that have to happen before our Lord returns to this earth. And, someone will have to live through it. I’m not trying to put fear into anyone by saying this. But, I am doing what God has told me to do and that is to prepare and warn others to do so also. For if we are warned and we listen to and heed said warning then we will be prepared and we will get through whatever it is to come with less suffering. God does not want His children to suffer. But, just as parents warn their children to do or not do something that could harm them, so does our Father in heaven. And in the same way, when our children don’t listen to our warnings they sometimes end up getting hurt, so do we when we do not listen to God’s warnings. And, He’s warning us that we need to be prepared. We need to stock our homes just as Noah filled and stocked the Ark. We need to be prepared physically, just as Noah and his family were prepared physically. Noah was already prepared spiritually, just as many of us are. But, if you are not yet prepared spiritually, then you need to do so. Without being prepared spiritually, all of the preparedness in the world will do no good.

Where was I going with this? That is not a rhetorical question, lol. I got a little sidetracked in my mind. Oh yes…some of us have already forgotten those early days of the pandemic when things were no longer stocked on the shelves of our grocery stores. In our striving to get “back to normal” our minds want to forget what got us in the predicament in the first place. But, please do not forget. Because it was just an example of how we need to be prepared and how things can happen literally overnight.

I know I’ve written this type of blog before. Many times. But, that’s because we need to be reminded often of the need to stay on track with our prepping. It’s easy to forget when things are going well in our lives. Just like it’s easy for some to forget history. But, let’s don’t let history disappear. Let’s be wise and learn from history. Let us be prepared in every way possible for what is yet to come. Because if we truly believe that we are living in the End Times, it will come.

Deuteronomy 31:8, And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

So, just as we know that there are things yet to come that we don’t know what they will be, let us also know that if we put our trust in Him, He will guide us and direct us in the way He would have us to be prepared. It is my prayer that you are able to hear him Him when He does.

In the Bible, Jesus tells us that the End Times will be “as in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37). So let us be as prepared as Noah was; both spiritually and physically (prepping). Let us learn from history, this time by repeating what was done! No, you don’t need to go build an ark. I meant to be prepared by having food and necessities stored, and getting closer to God. 😊

If you have questions about prepping, or just need to talk, I’m here for you. Just fill out the contact form here and I will get back to you via email.

Until next time…happy prepping, and God bless!

John 16:33, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  

AYWtGS: Survival Applications and Everyday Uses for Activated Charcoal

This article at A Year Without the Grocery Store talks about the Survival Applications and Everyday Uses for Activated Charcoal

Old Wives’ Tales?

There are so many old wives’ tales about health.  Your grandmother’s chicken soup for a cold.  Feed the flu, starve a fever.  Drink chamomile tea to help you sleep.  Upset stomach?  Try peppermint tea.

But several of those things have more than a shred of truth to them.  Did you know that chicken broth is one of the best items to soothe your digestive tract and give your immune system – which many people believe is centered in your gut – a boost.  Chamomile tea has been proven to help aid in sleep.  And while “Feed a cold and starve a fever came into being in the 1500s, there’s very little truth to it.  But Peppermint tea has been shown to help digestive issues.  In a former article, I discussed eight OTC’s that could save your life.  Activated Charcoal is one of those.

Another Well-Known Remedy 

But there’s another natural remedy that many people tout as almost a cureall – Activated Charcoal.

Activated charcoal was first used by the Egyptians for medicinal purposes as early as 1500BC.  But it was also used by the Phonecians by 400 for its antiseptic properties.  By 50 AD was used by Hippocrates and the Greeks.  But it was lost for a long time during the dark ages.  It re-emerged in the 1700s as a medicinal treatment for many things.

But today, not only does activated charcoal have a ton of every-day applications.  It also has many survival applications.  So let’s jump in!

***There are links in this post.  The FCC wants me to tell you that some of the links may be affiliate links. My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. All of these are the items that I have bought for my own family.  If you click on a link, your price will remain the same.  If you make a purchase, we may make a small commission that aids in covering the cost of running this website.***

Pertinent Info and Cautions

If you are on medicines, Activated Charcoal will nullify any medicines that you’ve taken in the last 4-6 hours.  So if you do decide to use it and you’re on medicines, make sure that you don’t take it with the medicines or even near the time when you took the medicines.

Activated charcoal is NOT the same thing as the charcoal that you find at the grocery store and that you use in your grill.  Not only will they not work the same, but charcoal briquettes have chemicals in them which are harmful.  Please do not mistake the one for the other.

What is it?

Activated charcoal is created when organic materials like wood, bamboo, coconut husks, or coal are burned at temperatures of 600-900 degrees celsius to create a charcoal powder.  Between that and charring it with chloride salts and exposing it to steam, a vast network of pores is created.  It’s this network of pores that gives activated charcoal it’s properties.

So much additional surface area is created during the activation process that 50 grams of activated charcoal (which is about the weight of 20 U.S. pennies) has 17.5 times more surface area than a full-size football field, according to a 2016 study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Forms of Activated Charcoal

I personally purchase activated charcoal in two forms.  I purchase it in a powder and in a pill form.  Each has its uses.

Powder form

As you read below, you’ll find that activated charcoal can be used to make poultices for various medical applications.  In order to use activated charcoal in this manner, having a powder form on hand is more than helpful.  This is the one that I personally choose.  It’s USDA Certified organic and food grade.

Pill Form

But at the same time, you may not want to try to drink activated charcoal mixed with water in a powder form because it will temporarily discolor your teeth and mouth.  If you have somewhere to go quickly, but you want to take some activated charcoal, having it if pill form is much more convenient.

So if you’re looking for a convenient pill form of activated charcoal that is highly rated, I’d recommend this one.

Survival Applications 

Before we jump right into this.  I need to remind you all that I am NOT a doctor.  I’ve researched these treatments, but I don’t understand 100% of everything I’m writing about.  Please make sure that you do your own research before you commit to any course of action.  I’m also not suggesting that anyone should use activated charcoal instead of heading to see a doctor.  Survival applications are just that – these are for a time where you can’t get to a doctor either because there are none around that you can find or you’re in a SHTF situation where you can’t leave your house.

1.) Poisoning and Overdose

Activated charcoal has been used to treat poisonings or overdoses since the 1700s.  It’s one of the oldest documented medicinal uses of Activated Charcoal.  Even here in the United States, activated charcoal is used in hospitals to treat poisoning and accidental overdoses.  As far as survival goes, having a way to treat an overdose or accidental poisoning is more than important.

There are certain types of poisonous substances that activated charcoal cannot counteract.  Anything caustic – something that burns on contact, poisonous gasses, lye, petroleum products, metals such as lithium and iron.

2.) Bites/stings

Making a paste of activated charcoal will help draw out the toxins.  I had a friend whose fairly young child (around 3) had gotten a bite, but because it was on the inside of his thigh, she didn’t find it right away.  When she did, it was a weekend, and she didn’t feel it warranted a trip to the ER, so she made a thick paste of activated charcoal and wrapped his leg in saran wrap to keep the moisture in.  It drew out the toxins and left a bit of a crater in his leg – until it filled in, but he healed just fine!

If you’re not living through a survival situation, if you have a snake bite or something else serious, please do seek medical help, though.

3.)  Skin abscesses

Activated charcoal poultices don’t only work on stings and bites, but they also work on other skin problems like abscesses and cysts.

You make a poultice by starting with the dry activated charcoal powder, drip enough water into it to make a wet paste.  Apply the paste to the skin and cover it with something like saran wrap to keep the paste wet.  Change it every 12 hours.

Survival and Everyday Applications for Activatec Charcoal4.) Water filtration

Because activated charcoal has so much surface area and so many pores, it makes a great water filter.  Many companies that make water filters used activated charcoal in the filters – Including Brita.  Just go to Amazon and search activated charcoal water filters.  You’ll find a ton of them.  Brita uses charcoal filters in their pitchers.

5.)  Can improve kidney function in people with kidney disease

Activated charcoal is able to remove excess phosphorus, urea, and other toxins from the blood.  Some patients in end-stage renal disease use it to lessen the time that they have to be hooked up to a dialysis machine.  Since it removes excess urea from your blood, it may also improve/prevent gout.

6.) Digestive issues

These would vary from vomiting to diarrhea to bloating to stomach cramps to gas/flatulence.  Because activated charcoal is able to adsorb (yes, that is the correct word) various contaminants in your digestive system, it is a great way to help quell and calm digestive upset throughout your digestive tract.  When my children have an upset stomach or start throwing up, I will mix 1 capsule (about 1/4 tsp of activated charcoal with some water.  For my littlest one, I will add a packet of stevia.  Then I have them drink the concoction through a straw.  If you don’t use a straw, they’ll have to brush their teeth as you’ll leave your teeth stained by the activated charcoal.

7.)  Lymes disease

Lymes patients often suffer from die off reactions also called herxheimer reactions.  It’s where dying bad bacteria give off toxins as they die.  In research for this article, I went to article, after article, after article which talked about how people with Lyme’s disease benefit from using activated charcoal.

8.)  Mold toxicity

We’ve had several families that used to attend our church that suffered from mold toxicity reactions. We had mold removed from the church, but apparently, the toxins are persistent even if the mold is removed. One of these families said that whenever they left the church building, they would experience reactions to being exposed to these mold toxins.  One family would take activated charcoal every time they left the building.  They said that it helped immensely.

But don’t take my word on their word.  There are studies that have been done that discuss the benefits of taking activated charcoal for mold toxicity.

Survival and Everyday Applications for Activatec Charcoal9.) Deodorant

Activated Charcoal doesn’t just adsorb toxins, it is able to adsorb unpleasant smells.  Besides being able to be used in a refrigerator to remove persistent stenches, it can also do the same with your underarms.  Want to give it a try?  Here’s a DIY recipe for activated charcoal deodorant.

10.)  Plant Poisons

I’m not talking about poisonous plants that you ingest.  I’m talking about plants like poison ivy, poison oak, stinging nettle.  This is another instance that you can create a poultice using activated charcoal and cover the affected area with it.  Wrap it in something that will keep the moisture in (plastic wrap works well) and change it every 6-12 hours…(continues)

National Geographic: Disaster ‘Prepping’ Was Once an American Pastime. Today, It’s Mainstream Again.

In the spring of 1941, guests of the Allerton House in New York City descended 45 feet below ground to check out the hotel’s newly completed air raid shelter. The shelter boasted an auxiliary lighting system in case the building lost electricity. Watching the German bombing campaign over London terrified Americans, and led the government to form civil defense preparations. Photograph via Bettmann/Getty

National Geographic talks about the past, present and possible future of American preparedness in Disaster ‘prepping’ was once an American pastime. Today, it’s mainstream again.

here’s a reason “preppers,” people who plan for the worst-case scenario, like to talk about the zombie apocalypse. The idea of an army of walking dead swarming the country pervades their thoughts because, says Roman Zrazhevskiy, “If you prepare as if a zombie apocalypse is going to happen, you have all the bases covered.” That means: an escape route, medical supplies, a few weeks’ worth of food.

Zrazhevskiy has been thinking about this for decades. He was born in Russia a few months after the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl. At the dinner table, his family often talked about the disaster and what went wrong. Then, after they relocated to New York, Zrazhevskiy stood on the waterfront outside his Brooklyn high school on September 11, 2001, and watched the World Trade Center towers collapse. Even then, he had a small go-bag prepared with disaster supplies.

Now, he’s the guy who has a kit and a checklist for every occasion, including taking his toddler to the beach. Zrazhevskiy lives in Texas and runs survival outfitters Ready to Go Survival and Mira Safety. In 2019, with protests in Hong Kong, wildfires in Australia, and the threat of war with Iran, business boomed. But when the CDC announced the U.S.’s first confirmed coronavirus case last January, business reached “a whole new level,” says Zrazhevskiy. His companies spent the next couple of months scrambling to fill backorders. The flood of new customers had so many questions that he hired seven full-time staffers just to answer emails. “It’s kind of a customer service nightmare,” he says. “People are really flipping out.”

In a public imagination fueled by reality TV, preppers are lonely survivalists, members of fanatical religious groups, or even wealthy Silicon Valley moguls who buy luxury underground bunkers and keep a getaway helicopter fueled. But in reality preppers range from New Yorkers with extra boxes of canned goods squeezed in their studio apartments to wilderness experts with fully stocked bunkers.

Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, something has shifted in our collective psyche as we remember empty aisles and medical supply shortages. Firearm sales are up, bread baking and canning are trendy, and toilet paper stockpiles are common. Are we all preppers now?

A forgotten American tradition

The coronavirus pandemic is the epitome of what preppers call a “s*** hits the fan” event. As the country braced for lockdowns and began seeing shortages of crucial supplies last March, people found themselves woefully unprepared. But there was a time in American history when many more civilians were ready for disaster.

In 1979, when Alex Bitterman was in second grade, Sister Mary Jane gathered her students in the gym of their Catholic school. In front of her sat a three-foot-tall gray barrel and she asked the students to guess what was inside. A clown, they thought. Or snakes? The nun opened it and pulled out a wool blanket, a plastic water container, and a large tin of saltines. These items would save them, she said, if the Soviet Union dropped a nuclear bomb on the town of Cheektowaga, New York.

For decades, a barrel like this was no surprise to American schoolchildren. A stockpile sat in the back of Bitterman’s school gym, and a yellow binder in the administration office held a set of hyper-local contingency plans for various disasters. So when COVID-19 reached the U.S., Bitterman, now an architecture professor at Alfred State College in upstate New York who studies how extreme events shape communities, remembered that barrel. Forty-one years later, he realized the country has lost its collective preparedness. “Why are we sitting in our houses waiting for someone to come save us?” he says. “No one’s coming.”

But there was a time when the nation felt that someone would come. The Great Depression birthed the New Deal, which gave Americans a safety net—Social Security, federal housing, and federal unemployment insurance—and instilled the belief that the government would step in when they needed a hand. Helping them prepare for a disaster or attack was part of the deal.

In 1941, after Americans watched British civilians take shelter in the London Tube during German bombardment in World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt formed the Office of Civilian Defense with the aim of helping Americans prepare for a military attack on a local level. A variety of government-mandated civil defense agencies operated from World War II through the Cold War and provided communities with guidelines and resources to keep emergency response local.

This effort manifested in the barrel and binder Bitterman remembers from childhood, as well as things like a national emergency alert system. Starting in the 1950s, designated civil defense radio channels would broadcast information in case of a Soviet attack. For decades, every radio and TV station was required to test the system weekly. The civil defense bible—the 162-page, government-issued “Blue Book”—laid out strategy and instructions for an emergency that often kept the responsibility hyperlocal. A family unit, the authors stressed, was the “basis for organized self-protection.” Soon, the need to be prepared seeped into all aspects of life, from architecture (basement bomb shelters) to education (the infamous classroom “duck and cover” drills).

Two decades later, the Cuban Missile Crisis delivered another wake-up call. A nuclear arsenal aimed at the U.S. from 90 miles off the coast, Bitterman says, eroded the idea that the country was safe from outside threat. The agency’s name would change over the years, but civil defense adapted to the evolving threats of the 20th century. It was, says Bitterman, “the one time in our shared American history when we had a unified, coordinated effort to prepare for disasters of all different kinds.”

As the Cold War thawed, the threat of natural disasters took its place: hurricanes on the east coast, tornados in the Midwest, earthquakes in California. Such problems were too large for local communities to manage on their own. Massive environmental contamination required federal clean-up, and disasters like the 1979 Three Mile Island reactor meltdown in Pennsylvania spooked the public….(continues)

Brushbeater: Ontario Ranger Assault Knife – Best?

My Ontario RAK in a third-party kydex sheath

Here is NC Scout of Brushbeater talking about Ontario’s Ranger Assault Knife: The Best Of All Worlds? Perhaps I’m a little biased because I have one of these knives and enjoy it myself. NC Scout mentions getting a better sheath, and I have a kydex sheath made by someone who doesn’t appear to be making them any more, but here’s a photo of the sheath. There are similar kydex sheaths sold by others available online.

What would be that ‘one knife’, that if the rest of the world went to hell, that you could strap on your side and do just about everything you’d need a fixed blade to do?

That’s a tough question and one I bet more than a few of you battle on a regular basis. I do, and I’ve carried knives I picked into hell with me, only to later find something that fit the bill just a bit better. It seems like with each wilderness trip, class, or hunt I end up with new wants in a blade. It hasn’t got any better since I got that first Air Force Survival Knife (aka the Jumpmaster knife) I borrowed from an AWOL kid’s kit so long ago. Doubt he missed it. That knife did everything I ever asked it to, is easy to sharpen, and doubles as a combat effective fighting knife. And for a long while it served me well, and still absolutely could had I not retired it when I returned from Afghanistan. But would it be my first choice today? Probably not; designs have evolved and I’ve got a number of knives that fit the general purpose bit a lot better, and one of them is Ontario’s Ranger Assault Knife.

Combat knives are always a fun topic of discussion and one that’s often highly personal. That old USAF design was meant to be a jack of all trades and it excelled at a few. Like most of its contemporaries, it is a stick tang short Bowie-type with an integrated handguard to prevent the user’s hands from slipping up the blade during a stab but also to protect against glancing blows. Mine slayed MREs, 550 cord and tubular nylon just like everyone else’s- even skinned a goat we picked up from a local village in Afghanistan. Its also made notches, battoned wood, made fire and processed domestic game with the best of them.

I’ve always loved tactical knives and fighter-type blades. But the reality is that most often a tactical knife, with many serrations, odd grind angles and ultra-hard steel is more a hindrance than an enabler for most mundane survival tasks. What’s basic and simple, at least in my experience, has become the preferred blade to a lot of the more tactical-oriented types. It’s a view that’s neither good or bad, its just personal choice based on what we call on our tools to do. Some of these tasks include:

  • Skinning and processing game
  • Light Chopping
  • Making feather sticks and tinder bundles
  • Striking of Ferro Rods
  • Batoning through small limbs
  • Be easily re-honed in the field

Lets look at the list. Any knife can skin and process game- in fact I’ve skinned more animals with my decade-old Buck-Strider folder than any other knife I’ve owned. And likewise for feather stick making, any sharp knife with decent edge geometry can do that. But for the heavier duty tasks a good fixed blade is what’s needed. For battening through limbs, a full-tang knife is really the best option. I’ve done it with the old USAF knife, but a full tang construction is best. And when striking ferro rods, high carbon steel and a squared spine gets the job done without having to use the knife’s edge. Speaking of, the ability to bring back a good working edge in the field is paramount. S30V, 154CM and the like are excellent for edge retention, but what happens if your edge does take some damage during use? 1095 is easier to bring back even from severe damage while using a small field stone or diamond plate like we use in the First Line Course, along with a small piece of leather as a strop.

So that brings us to Ontario’s Ranger Assault Knife (RAK). Justin Gingrich, founder of Ranger Knives and Green Beret, partnered with Ontario Knife Company several years back to mass produce his tactical and survival blade designs. I’ve used an RD-7 for a number of years now as a general purpose woods blade and its a highly functional design. His knives are a no-frills, hard use utilitarian types over the elegance of say, a Randall Made or Blackjack. These are not exactly lookers, but they will do everything asked of them and probably much more. The Ranger Assault Knife was something of a crossover design; combining the attributes of a functional fighting weapon and qualities you’d want in a simple survival knife.

Even batoning through this large knotty pine, which is generally a no-no, is no problem for the RAK.
The design sports a sabre grind that starts 2/3 of the way up the blade. Even after heavy use, including batoning, there’s no visible damage to the edge.

Looking over the design you’ll notice the spear point of the 6 inch blade. It’s as great for stabbing as it is choking up on the knife and making finer cuts with the tip. Being 3/16in thick and having the full width go to the tip, its very strong for any prying task you might be called on to do in the wild. Fortunately choking up on that blade is made easy by the very large (yuuuge!) choil. It allows you to control the blade for power cuts but also to accommodate the guard as part of the design. It’s one solid piece of 1095 steel, hardened to 53-55rc, which is hard enough to retain an edge a reasonable amount of time while still soft enough to flex when prying or batoning to prevent chipping. And the knife has no issues batoning- hard wood, soft wood, anything reasonable it breaks down pretty easily.

The blade itself sports a thick saber grind with a short, flat secondary bevel. I prefer a full flat grind for pretty much everything I do with a knife, but on this blade it works to the advantage of the design by maintaining the knife’s strength. Since the parameters of the intended use include aircrew survival, that strength is required when possibly cutting through aluminum airframes or punching out glass.  The pointed pommel serves as a glass breaker also, the same way the older RAT 5 and ESEE 5 knives do. And that leads me to my only real complain with it; that spike pommel is borderline obnoxious. Everything else about the knife is excellent, and since I don’t plan on needing to egress from an aircraft anytime soon, I’m thinking of grinding it down a bit. And the stock sheath is a flimsy nylon piece of junk. I threw it in the trash and had a kydex one made. But that’s it; the steel, the heat treat, the edge retention, and the flat out utility of this knife is excellent.

My Final Thoughts

The RAK pictured next to a RAT 5. Compare the glass breaker bevels on both.

For what this blade costs, around $65, it’s an excellent buy and well worth picking up a couple. You’ll need a better sheath but honestly I’m rarely happy with most stock sheaths. The design is definitely a jack of all trades and well thought out as a utility blade for those going into harm’s way. And as easily as it can be used in combat, it finds itself at home with a wide variety of survival tasks. Would it be that ‘one knife’ to use if the world went to hell? I think it could be. You could spend a heck of a lot more money and not come close to what you get out of this blade.

Survivalist/Prepper/Outdoorsman Auction – Naples, ID – Nov. 19-21

JKern Auction Group in Naples, ID is holding an auction of survivalist, prepper, and outdoors gear.

The huge Survivalist, preppers and outdoorsman auction is finally here!! We will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, Thursday, November, 19 for you to come walk through to view all the items and to pre-register for tomorrow and Saturdays auction. There are some Buy It Now items available for purchase today such as: books, clothing, blankets and holiday items. See you today at 138 Latigo Lane, Naples, Idaho. (Moose Valley Nursery on Highway 95 between Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry).

Preview and registration: Thursday, Nov. 19, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Auction days: Friday, Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 21, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Seattle Times: Toilet Paper Shelves Bare, as Shoppers Worry about Washington Restrictions

At the Costco in Seattle on Sunday, shoppers waited in a long line and a whiteboard listed out-of-stock items: toilet paper, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, all Kleenex products. (Paige Cornwell / The Seattle Times)

The Seattle Times has a story about people in the state once again caught unprepared as new COVID-19 restrictions were announced yesterday. Toilet paper shelves again left bare, as grocery store shoppers worry about Washington restrictions

In announcing new statewide restrictions aimed at reducing the spike in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday urged people not to hoard “supplies.”

“Buying up everything really hurts everybody,” Inslee said, “and there’s no necessity of it right now.”

But while the man didn’t specifically call out toilet paper, the toilet paper sure did call to shoppers.

At some Seattle stores on Sunday, in a throwback to earlier days of the pandemic, people were already buying up stacks of bathroom tissue, which seems to turn to spun gold when things look grim.

Costco ran out of the stuff over the weekend, and there was none to be found Sunday at the Safeway on Madison Street in Seattle, or the QFC on Rainier Avenue South.

(The Costco on Fourth Avenue was also out of paper towels, disinfectant wipes and all Kleenex products, according to a whiteboard posted outside).

There was still some left at the Safeway just down Rainier — but it was going at a steady clip. Angel Soft, Charmin. Quilted, cotton or mega. Didn’t matter.

“Is there a limit?” asked a woman named Pat.

Pat didn’t want to give her last name, which makes a certain kind of sense. Much as we talk about the stuff — how much we need for how many people and for how long — toilet paper is still a very personal thing.

“There’s only two of us,” Pat said, grabbing a package of 12 rolls of Charmin, then dropping her voice. “But my daughter goes through it quite fast.”

OK. Understood. No judgment.

“When I was growing up, my Dad, his rule was one sheet,” she continued. “We may have to go to Grandpa’s rule.”

She stopped, scanned the semi-bare shelves and grabbed another package.

“Maybe I’ll try for three,” she said. “Put them under my bed.”

AYWtGS: How My Christianity Affects My Prepping In Positive Ways

This morning’s article comes from A Year Without the Grocery Store – How My Christianity Affects My Prepping In Positive Ways.

I believe in preparedness.  I know.  It’s shocking coming from a preparedness author who runs a preparedness blog.  But I think that sometimes Christians fall into onto of two categories.  One group believes that being prepared is lacking faith.  The other group understands that preparedness flows out of their Christianity.  I fall into the latter category.  And today, I want to talk about how my preparedness flows out of my Christianity.

I will be using Bible verses to prove my point.  If you will be offended, please just close this post now.  I really don’t want to offend anyone.

***There are links in this post.  Some of the links may be affiliate links. My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. All of these are the items that I have bought for my own family.  If you click on a link, your price will remain the same.  If you make a purchase, we may make a small commission that aids in the cost of the running of this website.***

But first a funny.

Optimistic Outlook

Now, I am Presbyterian, and in general, we do have an optimistic view of future things sometimes known as Post-millennialism.

Do things look bleak here in America right now – Oh my goodness – YES!  However, did you know that there are almost 8 billion people on the planet?  Two billion of those claim the name of Christ.  And, did you realize that the Christian population in South America, Africa, and Asia rival that of North America and Europe?  And the number of Christians is growing in South America, Africa, and Asia, while the Christian population of North America and Europa is shrinking.  Just because when we look around and see what looks like everything around us crumbling down HERE, doesn’t mean that it is everywhere.

I believe that the Lord is still working and growing his kingdom.  Part of my preparedness should be to witness to those around me.  I want people to love God and worship Him out of a heart full of praise.  Why?  Because in doing so, their joy will be full.  And because their joy is full – mine will be more so.

How my Christianity affects my preparedness?

My Christianity Affects My Prepping in Positive Ways1.)  I believe that we’re given the example in scripture to be prepare

Where do I believe the Bible gives us the command to prepare? This example comes from Christ himself in Matthew 25:1-10.

Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 

Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 

but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 

But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’

Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 

And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 

But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

Five wise virgins prepared.  Five foolish ones didn’t.  The first five entered the kingdom.  The second five didn’t.  And, yes, I get that the picture of the kingdom really is discussing being ready for meeting our King.  But there’s also a secondary meaning.  Be prepared.

2.) Because of my Christianity, I believe that my preparedness will be effective.

Will it be perfect?  No, but I believe that it will be effective.  Like the oil for the widow of Zarephath in I Kings 17:7-15, I believe that my efforts will be multiplied.

But that doesn’t mean that I sit on my laurels.  I can go “A Year Without the Grocery Store.”  I also have worked on preparing our house.  Right now, we’re working on preparing our house for winter.  We’re stocked on wood and propane for the cold season as well. I’ve also worked on getting our vehicle in order to take care of us if something happens while we’re on the road or out and about.

We’ve also worked a lot as we’ve learned about “Homesteading in the Burbs” on .24 acres.  We’ve planted apple trees, peach trees, grapevines, black raspberry vines.  We’re working on water barrel towers.  We’ve got a clothesline put up.

So I haven’t been lax, but because I’ve worked at this, I do believe that that Lord will bless it.  Psalm 37:25 says, “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.”

3.)  Because of my Christianity, I prepare because I have the responsibility of some taking care of others.

Acts 2:44-45 says, “ Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”  This isn’t a verse that supports socialism.  These people sold what they had of their own accord and helped people of their own accord.  

And if things go poorly, I had a responsibility to help take care of others.  I don’t just prepare for myself.  My husband and I are hoping to purchase acreage so that we can help others if things go poorly.   The hope is that we’ll have enough acreage to help people – starting with people in our family and then moving to people in our church.  Then we’ll see who else we would help.  I can’t speak to more than family and church yet.

4.)  Because of my Christianity, if things fall apart, I believe that if I survive, I have the responsibility to rebuild.

Those who survive should embrace the responsibility of rebuilding – even if it is incredibly hard.   And it’s something that we really need to start talking about now.  On what principles do we want to rebuild society?  What will be the basis for governmental structure and law?

There’s a lot to talk about and think about.  Do you have a preparedness group?  Discuss this with them.  Get their thoughts and input.

I would highly recommend this book – sometimes you’ll see it broken down into a three-book series.  It’s called God and Government by Gary Demar.  It’s a great read to understand how our government could be.  The American Vision website describes this book by saying, “Relying on clear historical and biblical research, author Gary DeMar demonstrated how America had been great and how she could be great again.”

So What About You?

Are you a Christian who is preparing?  What drives your preparedness efforts?  Where do you root them?  I’d love to hear. Share with us in the comments below so that we can all be better prepared.

Together let’s Love, Live, Practice, and Overcome!

Economic Collapse Blog: More than half “plan to stockpile food and other essentials” for the months ahead

Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse says that More than half of all Americans “plan to stockpile food and other essentials” for the chaotic months ahead

There was a time when preppers were relentlessly mocked, but nobody is laughing now.  Today, most Americans are thinking about stockpiling food, and this massive shift in our national mindset has been sparked by concern about what is going to happen in the months ahead.  Many Americans believe that another wave of the coronavirus pandemic is coming, others believe that our ongoing economic depression will get even deeper, and yet others are convinced that the upcoming election could produce widespread violence.  Of course there have always been people that have been deeply alarmed about future events, but we have never seen anything quite like this.  In fact, a brand new survey has found that over half of all Americans are currently planning “to stockpile food and other essentials”

Slightly more than half of Americans in a recent poll from Sports and Leisure Research Group say they already have or plan to stockpile food and other essentials. The chief reason: fears of a resurgent pandemic, which could lead to disruptions such as new restrictions on businesses. On Oct. 2, the number of COVID-19 cases in the USA was its highest in almost two months.

People still remember the shortages that we witnessed earlier this year when the coronavirus pandemic first erupted in this country, and those that ended up being stuck at home without enough toilet paper would rather not repeat that experience.

So as the mainstream media continues to hype a new wave of the pandemic, we should expect to see Americans hitting the grocery stores really hard.  And according to data company Envestnet Yodlee, there is evidence that this is already happening

Already, there’s some evidence that grocery sales are rising, according to data from industry sources. The typical bill for a trip to the grocery store rose to $72 for the week ended October 6, or 11% higher from the week before, according to data company Envestnet Yodlee.

“That’s the highest we’ve seen since the first week of June and the second-highest since we started tracking this in January,” said Bill Parsons, group president of data and analytics at Evestnet.

Fortunately, many grocery store chains anticipated a spike in demand in advance and started stocking up ahead of time.  The following comes from CNN

Grocery stores across the United States are stocking up on products to avoid shortages during a second wave of coronavirus.

Household products — including paper towels and Clorox wipes — have been difficult to find at times during the pandemic, and if grocery stores aren’t stocked up and prepared for second wave this winter, runs on products and shortages could happen again.

During a time when other retailers all over the nation are failing at a pace that we have never seen before, many grocery store chains are actually experiencing booming sales.

And of course I have been warning that this would eventually happen for a very long time.  During a time of crisis, demand for food and other essentials tends to go up and demand for non-essential items tends to go down.

Needless to say, this is something that is not just happening in the United States.  All over the world we have seen demand for food on the rise, and this comes at a time when global food production has become increasingly stressed.

As a result, food prices all over the world are starting to escalate quite aggressively

Food prices continue rising during the coronavirus pandemic, jeopardizing food security for tens of millions worldwide.

On Thursday, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations said world food prices rose for the fourth consecutive month in September, led by surging prices for cereals and vegetable oils, reported Reuters.

FAO’s food price index, which tracks the international prices of the top traded food commodities (cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat, and sugar), averaged 97.9 in September versus a downwardly revised 95.9 in August.

Sadly, this is just the beginning.

Global food supplies will continue to get even tighter, and global demand for food will just continue to shoot higher.

So I would stock up while you still can, because prices will never be lower than they are right now.

Meanwhile, our society continues to unravel right in front of our eyes.  You would think that the Lakers winning the NBA title would be a time to celebrate for the city of Los Angeles, but instead large crowds of young people used it as an opportunity to riot and attack police officers

A crowd of more than 1,000 revelers descended into the area around Staples Center after the game. Unruly individuals mixed within the crowd began throwing glass bottles, rocks, and other projectiles at officers. That is when an unlawful assembly was declared, and only a limited number of people complied and began to disperse. A larger portion of the group broke off and began vandalizing businesses while continuing to engage in violent behavior, some aimed at responding officers.

In Portland, protesters just toppled statues of Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln during a “day of rage”, but the mainstream media didn’t seem to think that this was any sort of a problem.

And in the middle of the country, the violence never seems to stop in the city of Chicago

Five people were killed and 48 others were injured by gunfire this weekend in Chicago. Five of those wounded were teenagers.

Last weekend saw 37 people shot throughout the city, five of them fatally.

Of course things could soon get a whole lot worse.

According to one recent survey, 56 percent of all Americans expect “an increase in violence as a result of the election”.

Isn’t that incredibly sad?

Many are still hoping that such a scenario can be avoided if one of the candidates is able to build an extremely large lead on election night.  A large enough lead could potentially cause the candidate that is behind to concede fairly quickly, and that may ease tensions.

But I wouldn’t count on that.

At this point we are about 500 hours away from the election, and both sides are indicating that they are prepared to fight until the bitter end.

And the side that ultimately ends up losing is likely to throw a massive temper tantrum, and that won’t be good for our country at all.

So it makes sense that so many Americans are making extra preparations for the months that are ahead, because it definitely appears that they could be quite rocky.

Organic Prepper: A Personal Letter to Stressed Out Preppers

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper writes A Personal Letter to Stressed Out Preppers Who Are TIRED of This Apocalypse

Dear Friends:

2020 has certainly been quite a year so far, and a defining one for the preparedness movement. No longer are our stockpiles of rice, beans, and hand sanitizer objects that make us strange. Our stashes of TP would make us the envy of the neighborhood if, of course, anybody knew we had it.

So many of the things and beliefs that made us figures of mockery in the past are now proving their value. We’re learning, with a mixture of relief and perhaps dismay, that we weren’t so crazy after all.

When the first lockdown began, we weren’t out there emptying the shelves in the frenzied throng (even though we’re the ones who got blamed for it.) We were watchful but for the most part, comfortable with our preparations. We understood before things went sideways that extended events can result in civil unrest, crime sprees, and chaos. We realized that we could be facing shortages.

And then time went on.

And on.

And on.

This has been a year in which so many things have occurred that proved preppers have things right that it’s positively exhausting. We’ve had a pandemic, civil unrest, food shortages, increases in crime, exorbitant unemployment, and we’re facing an economic collapse, or at the very least, an economic crisis.

And we’re tired.

Maybe everyone doesn’t feel this way. Maybe you’re perfectly fine and you live on your back 40 and have been completely untouched by any of the above-mentioned crises. Maybe your finances are just fine, you never got out much anyway, and you’ve still got 8 years’ worth of food socked away to supplement the things you grow. Maybe you’re reading this as you spin goat hair into yarn from which you’ll make this year’s mittens. Maybe you have no relatives, friends, or loved ones in the path of danger. Maybe your area isn’t prone to a single natural disaster.

If this is the case, I salute you. I really do. Good for you.

But for most of us, this is not the case. A lot of us are tired.

And I mean tired.

I’m sure there will be plenty of folks in the comments who say, “Daisy Luther is such a whiner” but whatever. I’m just going to come right out and tell you how I feel about this.

This year has been difficult.

My life changed completely. The lives of people I love changed completely. I lost some people I cared for deeply to the virus. I watched people in my family frolic around blithely ignoring the virus for which they’re in a peak risk group for death. I watched my country get torn asunder by everything from the pandemic response to racial injustice to perceived insults or losses of rights. I have a family member who lives in a riot zone but due to work and finances, can’t just relocate. (Although those folks on the internet always make it sound so damned easy to just quit your job then up and move to the boondocks to raise sheep.)

I have friends who have developed such extreme political views on either side that I don’t even know what to say to them anymore. I still love them. I still know they’re good people or we wouldn’t have been friends in the first place. But what the heck, y’all?

Then we’ve got hurricanes and the worst wildfires ever in history and floods and droughts and snow in September and murder hornets and the Olympics got canceled and there was some radiation leak in Russia and police brutality, which you will say is alleged or real, depending on your personal perspective. Oh yeah, and the US Postal Service has gone to heck, a lot of kids can’t go back to school so they’re surfing the net while they’re supposed to be “distance learning” online, and Netflix is playing a child porn movie to prove that kids are getting sexually exploited. Our system is going downhill on a greasy slide.

Our presidential candidates are (in my humble opinion) like a choice between your favorite sexually transmitted infection, syphillis or gonhorrhea. And regardless of whether syphilis or gonorrhea wins, all hell’s going to break loose (or break looser because it’s already pretty freakin’ bad in a lot of places) before and after the election that may not even happen the regular way because of the pandemic.

And we preppers who were ready for an emergency are sitting here scratching our heads thinking, “Heck fire, I wasn’t actually prepared for ALL OF THE EMERGENCIES AT ONCE.”

And it’s going on and on and on.

And that’s the other thing.

This stuff is going on and on and on forever. Ad infinitum. We are still in the middle of a global viral outbreak that we don’t completely understand and lots of places are still under major restrictions. A lot of folks don’t have their jobs back and a lot never will. We have been dealing with this particular disaster since at least February and the mental toll of dealing with the restrictions, the loss of income, the isolation, and the loss of freedom has been harsh for many people. There are folks who are just plain mad that they didn’t get the apocalypse they signed up for and they haven’t gotten to shoot any marauders and quite frankly, lockdown is boring as heck.

Lots of us have family members and people in our inner circles who are chomping at the bit to get back to “normal” when things simply are not normal. We’ve got loved ones who want to head out to parties and who want to throw caution to the wind and who flat don’t give a hoot what they bring home to Grandma. We’ve got loved ones who are using this entire scenario to say how we’ve overreacted. We’ve got loved ones who still get aggravated when we bring home more toilet paper.

When we were prepping for all this stuff most of us never expected that our families who were also prepping for this stuff might not be on board with this specific scenario. We never thought we’d have to argue with children and spouses and friends and lovers about things like quarantines and masks and not eating all five years’ worth of the good snacks like Oreos in the first 6 months. We didn’t consider that we might not be able to replace our Bluetooth headsets or that we’d need them for work or that we’d have to have our offices in our homes or that our kids’ teachers might see their BB guns in their bedrooms and send the SWAT teams after us.

We can’t go to church but we can go to riots. We aren’t supposed to travel yet mysterious busloads full of “protesters” show up in other states and that’s just hunky-dory. The borders are closed except they’re not really and the restaurants can’t serve you except they can sort of and we can’t go to the beach but we can line up for a vaccine once the promised injection, untested for long-term side effects, is ready.

This is the worst apocalypse ever because it’s so dad-gum boring and it’s going on for-freaking-ever. That’s the thing that nobody warned us about. This monotony just goes on and on and on. It would be one thing if we were out there fighting for resources but in reality, we’re all just standin’ in line at Wal-Mart with our masks on waiting for our turn to get zapped with a thermometer to see if we are allowed to go inside. If it weren’t for wifi we’d all be crazy by now. Or – let’s be real for a moment – maybe it’s because of wifi so many people are crazy right now. Social media is a jungle – an outright vicious and bloody jungle – and may the most audacious mofo win because those of us who still retain our human decency are not going to be able to hang with the people out there flinging wild ungrounded insults like poop in the monkey cages at the zoo.

And folks – I hate to say it but we’re still on Round One.

We’re going to be dealing with this bizarre altered reality for quite some time. This virus ain’t over yet or if you don’t believe in the virus, then consider that this government response isn’t over yet. We’re never “getting back to normal” and we’re going to have to adapt. We’re going to have to hope our children who are going to school in personal bubbles aren’t going to have OCD and chronic anxiety for the rest of their lives. We’re going to have to learn to make do without all the imports that no longer seem to be populating stores.

We never really expected that a huge part of survival would just be waiting and adapting to the new world around us. Not this new world anyway. This isn’t one we can shoot our way out of or buy our way out of or wait our way out of.  We have to adapt to the new economy, the new precautions, and the new suspicions. We have to adapt to a different type of supply chain.  We have to move into survival mode as we watch civil unrest and riots break out in the most unlikely places, although it’s not really the survival mode we ever expected. We have to adjust to the nearly constant state of offense and unrest. We’re going to have to teach our children to be bold and fearless despite a system that wants them to be afraid. We’re going to have to forge a path through a labyrinth that is nothing like the one we expected when we began prepping for serious events because this event was so wildly unpredictable that nobody could have seen it happening the way it did.

But this is what we do.

We’re preppers. Preparing for the unexpected is our thing. Even when the unexpected is long-lasting, monotonous, boring, and stifling. Even when our family thinks we’re overreacting. Even when everything changes and things don’t get back to “normal.” Even when we’re just sitting there right on the edge of chaos wondering if today is the day that things will erupt in our neck of the woods.

Every.

Single.

Day.

For.

Months.

The way this unfolded isn’t the disaster any of us expected but it’s the hand we’ve been dealt. How well we’re able to handle it will tell us a lot about how mentally prepared we actually are. How we manage our friends, families, and expectations will help us determine how things might go in a future, more Mad-Max variety of apocalypse.

Take this as the learning experience that it is. And don’t be lulled by the boredom into a false sense of security.

Because this is not over. Not by a long shot.

Hang in there, my friends. Whether we have to pull our loved ones along by their collars, whether we have to buy our supplies and stash them away on the sly, whether we have to prepare all on our own, we have to deal with the apocalypse we’ve been given, emotionally and physically.

It’s going to be a long haul, but we’ve got this. I don’t know if you’re feeling the same way that I am, but just in case you are, I wanted you to know – you’re not alone.

Daisy

The Organic Prepper: Our System Is Crumbling Right In Front of Our Eyes

Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper talks about how Our System Is Crumbling Right In Front of Our Eyes.

Back in January, when the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to catch globe attention, Selco wrote an article stating, “It’s not the virus you need to worry about. It’s the system.”

Virus or illness on itself might not be a problem in its essence, but the impact that it brings to the system and people might be so huge through the media that it causes the system to stop working in the normal way. So you could find yourself in a collapse not necessarily because of a huge pandemic, but because of the reaction to it.

Another case might be the simple unwillingness from the system to admit how bad the situation is in order to stop the panic when folks realized the truth.

So, what might bring the system to collapse might be a real pandemic or a reaction to the pandemic (which might or might not be controllable) or simply the government’s poor or late response to the pandemic. (source)

As things were just beginning to unfold, the article took a lot of heat on social media, with people saying Selco didn’t understand how things would go because he is not American and doesn’t know how things work here. Whoops. I guess that’s rather embarrassing in retrospect.

Because here we are, seven months after Selco wrote his warning, and our system is indeed falling apart.

Our system is failing in many ways.

It’s indisputable that our system is now failing in numerous ways. Some of these things directly relate to the virus and the subsequent lockdown, while others are tied to the nonstop riots that have been going on in some areas for more than 100 days. The riots began after the death of George Floyd when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck until he suffocated.

From the economy to the justice system to the infrastructure, our system is grinding to a halt in a variety of manners that stand to completely change the American way of life. Let’s take a look.

The economy

As predicted, our economy took a massive hit when government-mandated lockdowns closed the doors to many businesses. Despite billions of dollars in relief (much of which went to large businesses in an act of crony capitalism), the new economy has been nothing short of disastrous.

Millions of jobs are gone and are never coming back. Millions of small businesses have fallen. Corporate landlords aren’t getting paid rent and mom and pop landlords are being forced by the CDC (that’s right – the Center for Disease Control) to house people who can’t pay their rent, while still maintaining their mortgages.

Obviously, this trickles down to the average American who just wants to go to work and pay his or her bills. If you’ve lost your job, you are now in a heated competition for the few jobs remaining. The effect on the economy was “swift and severe” according to a paper published by the Brookings Institute. Now that the CARES Act financial assistance has run out, more and more families are being pushed into desperate levels of poverty. (If this is happening to you, please check out this article for essential advice on surviving this situation.)

But it goes even further than that – in a puzzling turn of events, our country is running out of coins. Many stores no longer give out change that is less than a dollar. You can choose to donate your change digitally to the charity of the store’s choice or get it back on a store loyalty card. Many people are concerned that this is a push toward a cashless society, something that would cause even more day to day financial problems for people who are already struggling. (And this is not as far-fetched as it might seem – it’s happened in Venezuela, too.)

Consumer inventory

And what about the folks who do have money? Well, spending it might be harder than it used to be.

Remember when the first hints of a looming lockdown occurred and store shelves across the country were emptied? And remember when all the shortages were blamed on those selfish hoarder preppers? And remember when they said if you would just buy for the next few days or for the week all the inventory would quickly be replenished because the supply chain was A-OK?

Yeah. I remember that too. And guess what?

Store shelves are still pretty spotty in many parts of the country. Some places still have limits on how much meat or toilet paper you can buy. If you go to your local Target, it’s difficult to find things like bedding and certain cleaning supplies.

Food plants continue to close due to outbreaks. Canned goods are still in high demand. (source) And what is affecting us even more is that we still aren’t getting the shipments from China that we used to receive.  When all of this began, I posted a list of essentials that we were getting from China which might affect our supplies, and unsurprisingly, many of these items remain difficult to find.

When you can find supplies in your local stores, you may find that the selection of options is far more limited than before. This is pretty startling, but something that I noticed when I spent several months abroad was that most other countries don’t have chicken cut in 12 different ways or 47 different brands of laundry detergent. What feels like a “shortage” to us is somewhat normal elsewhere and this is something you can adapt to fairly well.

At the same time, limits on purchases make it incredibly difficult to stock up for the future, and you can also expect to see fewer and fewer choices in the months ahead unless something happens to change the situation dramatically.

Education

One of the first casualties of the lockdown was the education system. Most schools simply gave up and didn’t continue the school year after the March lockdown. Colleges and universities turned to distance learning. Graduations were held virtually, if at all.

The new school year looks a lot different too. The schools that have reopened for in-person learning have stringent – and somewhat unsettling – social distancing policies. Many schools are only open for distance learning via Zoom or other online portals. (And don’t even get my started on the privacy issues this has unlocked – not to mention the overreaction of at least one school so shocked at the sight of a Nerf gun in a boy’s room that they called the cops and suspended him.)

Some schools reopened only to close again within a week when a new outbreak erupted. Huge outbreaks are occurring at universities as (big surprise) students party without a lot of regard for social distancing. Many colleges are fighting this by offering as many classes as possible in an online format. This is causing many families to question why they’re still paying the same exceptionally high prices for the education as they did when everyone spent time in the classroom, used campus facilities, and had the benefit of an active social life.

The postal service

The US Postal Service has been losing money hand over fist for years. After the COVID pandemic, it lost a whopping 2.2 billion dollars in the second quarter. In a recent Senate hearing, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified that they could not guarantee the ability to deliver mail-in ballots for the November election in a timely manner.

And it isn’t just the mail-in ballots that are a problem. There have recently been massive delays with the mail. These delays have led to mailed prescription drugs arriving late to patients who depend on them, thousands of dead baby chicks, and shipping delays that are causing unprecedented issues for small businesses that mail products to customers – and 70% of small businesses use the USPS regularly.

Many have blamed changes made by Postmaster General DeJoy, who donated to President Trump’s campaign, for the crisis.

The new leadership of the U.S. postal service has come under fire from lawmakers and advocates who worry that a slower mail system will affect the presidential election in November. But the impacts could disrupt everyday life for Americans in many other ways.

The U.S. postal service, which has suffered from financial troubles for years, has lost billions of dollars amid the coronavirus pandemic. But last month, new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued a number of orders aimed at cutting costs within the agency. Those changes include eliminating employees’ ability to log overtime and barring workers from making extra trips to deliver late-arriving mail. DeJoy’s changes have been blamed for reported widespread mail delays.

“Let me be clear about the reasons behind our restructuring and the need for our plan. Our financial condition is dire,” DeJoy said in a memo sent to USPS staff on Thursday, NBC reported. “Our critics are quick to point to our finances, yet they offer no solution.” (source)

Regardless of the specific cause, it appears a reliable postal service has been yet another systemic casualty. One recent video even came to light of massive bags of mail simply being dumped in a parking lot.

The legal and criminal justice system

After the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, the country erupted. Protests were widespread. The organization Black Lives Matter reached peak popularity. The movement was quickly co-opted and groups like Antifa and the Occupy movement took over. Protests soon turned into violent riots that saw cities across the country turn into battle zones.

The unrest has lasted for more than three months and shows no signs of slowing down soon. Armed conflict has broken out in numerous cities. In fact, a demonstration promising to “lay siege” to the White House is planned for later this month through the election.

This goes hand in hand with calls to defund the police in many of the cities where the protests/riots are taking place. Massive budget cuts have already occurred in Minneapolis, New York City, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Oakland, Portland, Philadelphia, Hartford, Salt Lake City, and Seattle, just to name a few cities. (source) It’s important to note that some of these cities have been the sites of extreme upticks in violence, looting, destruction, and arson.

And it isn’t just the criminal justice system breaking down. The court system in general has been on hiatus. Family court closures have halted divorce and custody hearings. Civil suits are at a standstill. Once the courts reopen, the massive backlog will mean even further delays.

The wheels have simply stopped turning.

The election

The upcoming election is the next broken element of the system. This year hardly feels like an election year in the first place.

Many people are hesitant to vote in person due to the virus. The postal service has said they may not be able to get ballots to people on time. Big rallies are a thing of elections past. We have yet to see a presidential debate between the candidates. We probably won’t know who won on election night. In fact, it could be weeks before a winner is announced, and even then, it looks as though Biden and Trump are both intent on questioning the outcome if it isn’t in their favor.

In short, it’s going to be a huge bone of contention that is likely to escalate the violence discussed above for weeks, if not months. We could have the fifth contested presidential election in American history. (And I’d say that isn’t just a possibility, but a likelihood.)

If an already divided country can’t agree on who won the election, would that be the final nail in the coffin of our system?

What can we do?

A lot of these are “big circle” things that are out of our personal realm of control. We can’t do anything about imports from China, we can’t stop the riots in Seattle, we can’t fix the postal service.

But we can focus our energy on getting as prepared as possible for what promises to be a bumpy road ahead. And we must also stop focusing on a system that is broken to solve our problems. Selco wrote:

Do not forget one basic fact: you as a prepper/survivalist, at your core, most probably do not trust the system.

I am not saying you hate it, but you just do not trust it completely.

So, watch the news and announcements. Help if possible, obey if possible (and if it makes sense) but always keep in mind that the system at its core has a very basic obligation: to keep that system running. If that means the system has to lie to you or let’s say, bend the truth, it will do it, because to the system you are an individual, and the system is machinery that needs to run.

So, keep some common sense, and trust your gut instinct. (source)

Pieces of the system are tumbling over like one domino after another. Every stressor added is knocking out more of the system as time goes on.

Do you think the system is fixable or do you believe it is broken beyond repair? What do you foresee for the rest of the year?

Civil Defense Manual by Jack Lawson on Sale Now

Jack Lawson is one of the co-authors of the now out-of-print but still much sought after book A Failure of Civility. He has now published Civil Defense Manual, Vol. I & II: How to Prepare and Protect Your Neighborhood from Disaster, Riot and Civil Unrest.

What’s in the Civil Defense Manual?

An overview of some subjects…

  • How to protect and secure your neighborhood against riot, civil unrest and fire using the CDM Neighborhood Protection PlanTM concept.
  • How to determine the level of danger from mobs where you live with this simple calculator
  • Checklists of items you must immediately purchase when Extraordinary Catastrophic Events strike in practical check box checklist forms
  • Tips on how to survive a gun battle
  • How to get gas station fuel from underground tanks in a total Grid Down situation
  • How neighbors can make their area a secure fortress by using simple military tactics
  • Night fighting without night vision equipment-written by a Navy SEAL Officer
  • Water sources, where are they and how to make water drinkable
  • Emergency lighting on and off the grid, how to make a torch and lamp, how to make lamp oil from trees, how to make candles and wicks
  • A simple way to store chicken eggs without refrigeration for up to two years
  • What you need for individual/cooperative tools, supplies, equipment needed for survival
  • Improvised security devices, improvised weapons and improvised attack vehicles
  • How to make your own N95 equivalent reusable face mask
  • The most probable catastrophes that are looming and what their characteristics will be
  • How to make a bullet cause a shotgun effect by using the ‘skipping rounds’ technique
  • Where and how to get salt from Mother Nature virtually anywhere
  • The step by step procedure of organizing your neighborhood and how to put it in action
  • What to buy in emergency foods and proper storage
  • Cold weather refuge from freezing without burning fuel
  • How to make Pemmican-the long-term storage food staple that provides everything you need in one food source
  • Marksmanship fundamentals… how to logically and properly choose your firearm
  • Medical information and resources and alternative pain control methods
  • How to make your own hand sanitizer
  • All about short and long-range radio communications
  • Dental care, how to protect your teeth without a dentist and pain control methods
  • How to make your own toothbrush and toothpaste
  • What fuel to store and how to store it.
  • The ABCs of alternative power sources
  • How to survive hypothermia and cold weather when others die
  • How to aggressively defend your neighborhood using strategies and simple military tactics that will defeat far superior forces
  • How to survive biological infectious disease and protective equipment needed
  • Principles of an Area Tactical Proactive Defense, patrolling and house clearing
  • Strategic and tactical principles of thought
  • Tactics… Plain language explanations, that even with no military or Law Enforcement background, you can understand. Tactical and strategic principles, effects and movement:
    • All Around Defense
    • Fields of Fire
    • Interlocking Fields of Fire
    • Supporting Fields of Fire
    • Element of Surprise
    • Force Multiplier Effect
    • Violence of Action
    • Economy of Force
    • Kill Zone maze
    • Defense In Depth
    • Flanking Attack principles
    • L Shaped Ambush
    • Cover and Fire Movement
    • Fall Back Fighting Positions
    • Area Tactical Proactive Defense (aggressive defense employing offensive maneuvers)
    • Serpentine Entry Control
    • Perimeter Defense and the Vauban Star Perimeter Defense principle
    • Indirect Approach Strategy
    • Employment and coordination of Inside Marksmen and OutFlanker Marksmen
    • The Rapid Response Force
    • The third Dimension of the Defensive Perimeter
    • The Castle Concept
  • Setting up long-range marksmen and observation posts
  • How to fortify and defend a suburban neighborhood, high-rise building, ranch, farm or houseboat on a lake or river
  • Where to hunker down in the city
  • How to survive hurricane, earthquake, tornados, electrical power outages
  • Why government can’t assist and why you and your neighbors are on your own.
  • Why natural gas flow will stop with most severe disasters-contrary to popular thought
  • The organizational structure needed for a CDM Neighborhood Protection PlanTM
  • Defense Perimeter principles and how to build fortifications
  • Surviving Nuclear Warfare where you are with what you have
  • The effect of an Electro Magnetic Pulse event (EMP) on you and what it will damage
  • How to build an inexpensive Faraday Cage
  • Sanitation and care for the dead made simple
  • Fire protection procedures
  • What a disaster will really be like and how to mentally prepare yourself for disaster
  • How to create an essential Intelligence Section to know what is happening in your area
  • The A to Z of underground shelters and everything you could possibly want to know
  • Security in Motion, Survival-Escape-Resistance-Evasion (SERE)
  • How to deal with family, friends and those who don’t prepare
  • Bullet proof vest protection level chart and penetration chart of common materials
  • Morse Code chart
  • Emergency Radio Frequency list
  • The Military Phonetic Alphabet
  • Calculation form for food, how many people it will feed and for how long
  • Blood transfusion compatibility chart
  • Chart of Catastrophic Events and Characteristics
  • Numerous engaging and illustrative stories to heighten the learning experience
  • Book features: Large font, written in Layman terms, practical check box checklists and forms, definitions, diagrams, depictions, charts, photographs and stories

Update: Having received a copy of Civil Defense Manual, I can now see that contributing authors include Sam Culper of Forward Observer, NC Scout from Brushbeater blog, former Navy SEAL Matt Bracken, Concerned American from Western Rifle Shooters Assoc., and SELCO among others. All of those names should be familiar to readers of this website, as I’ve posted or linked to all of them previously. Their contributions are mostly in the form of chapters dealing with their specialties, like communications for NC Scout and intelligence by Sam Culper. At least some of those sections may have been previously published by those contributors. The two volumes are letter-sized paper, perfect bound, for a total of 950 pages.

See also Civil Defense Manual Store Food Now!

…The Food Weapon

No folks… not that kind of weapon. Food… or the lack thereof. Food is a weapon that can destroy people, movements, groups, nations… and those with enough power to control food and use it as a weapon… don’t have to lift a finger, fire one bullet or even engage their enemy.

All they have to do is sit back and wait for your emaciated and starved carcass to start rotting. Then what will come true is what Charles Heston said at an NRA Convention… “You can have my rifle… but you’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands!” That’s what those who use food as a weapon will do… wait until you’re dead and cold. And as an added bonus… they have that fine firearm you were going to defend your lifestyle with…

AYWtGS: Homeschooling Is Preparedness

From A Year Without the Grocery Store blog comes Homeschooling Is Preparedness.

Wow, what a year and a summer it’s been!  Are you apprehensive about sending your children back to school wearing masks?  Have you considered homeschooling, but you’re – if you’re very honest – kinda scared?  Is there even an apprehension that you may even screw something up so badly that your child’s education will be skewed for life?

***There are links in this post.  Some of the links may be affiliate links. My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. Many of these are the items that I have bought for my own family.  If you click on a link, your price will remain the same.  If you make a purchase, we may make a small commission which aids in the cost of running of this website.***

Homeschooling As Preparedness - It's Honestly Very Simple

Homeschooling as Preparedness

Have you ever considered that schooling your kids CAN BE a part of preparedness?  Last year, I wrote about the fact that there may come a time when you may HAVE TO homeschool your kids.  I’m sure that almost no one believed me!  I have to kind of chuckle sitting here now.  I was……well…..kinda right.

But the truth of the matter is we are “sitting” here now and many people have had to do a version of homeschooling earlier this year, and now, some people are considering homeschooling.

But why should you listen to me?  Well, I’ve been homeschooling for more than 14 years, and I’ve graduated two children.  I’ve got three more children still in school.  I’m not perfect, but I’ve been at this a LONG time and tried all different kinds of curricula from boxed to DIY to combining multiple curricula together.  I’ve also been writing and homeschooling as a part of preparedness and discussing cheap schooling supplies for a long time.

I have a revelation.  Homeschooling is actually VERY simple though not always easy.  But anyone can do it!

The hardest part of homeschooling can be just being with your kids, but even then, you CAN do that!  And, it honestly does get easier over time.  I’m to the point that I hand my kids their assignment sheets (which I create an entire semester in an evening) once a week, and then give me their assignments at the end of the week.  I do have to grade their work, but I’m fairly hands-off other than that.

Homeschooling As Preparedness - It's Honestly Very Simple

Homeschooling Options

So in writing this article, I was trying to figure out the way that I could most simplify this for you.

I want you to ask yourself these questions, and choose the one that fits you best.

1.)  Do you need someone else to plan the curriculum AND do the teaching?

2.)  Want to do the actual teaching yourself, but you need someone to plan it for you?

3.)  Do you want to create something for your kids yourself so you can play to their interests?

4.)  Or does this fit you?  You want your kids to learn, but you don’t want them to feel like their actually doing school.

Homeschooling As Preparedness - It's Honestly Very SimpleWhich number fits you?  #1?

If #1 fits you best, you have a lot of options.  I mostly know if Christian curricula, so that’s going to be mostly my focus.  If you want someone to do the actual teaching, you have several awesome options.

ABeka

ABeka has a video curriculum for grades 1-12.  They have an option where they will even grade it for you and keep your transcripts.  This is a Christian based curriculum with Bible stories in grade school and Bible as one of the subjects in high school.  It is rigorous – so do be aware.  We used the online class portal with one of our children three years ago.  As the parent, we tracked their video watching and had to check to see which videos this child watched (or skipped as was the case sometimes) and which assignments they still needed to submit.

Pluses – It’s all done for you.  It’s very comprehensive.  The videos are first class – and every class is on video.  It’s like your child is a member of the classroom, so in many ways, they will feel like they are at school.  It’s immersive in that way.

Minuses – if you can call this a minus – it’s very rigorous.  I had a child (in 8th grade) who was struggling terribly with grammar.  I took him back to do some remedial grammar, but because Abeka is rigorous, I took him all the way back to A Beka’s second-grade grammar and spelling.  It really started at the beginning.  Another minus is the cost.  Because it’s almost like your child is attending a classroom with a teacher and fellow students, it is more expensive.  Costs range between $110 and $140/month for 10 months or one single payment of $959 for grades 1-6 or $1219 for grades 7-12.

Monarch

Monarch homeschooling is through Alpha Omega press.  It’s a completely online homeschooling option that allows you to use it for up to three kids and you get access to up to 50 courses.  Each student takes five different core courses including Bible, History and Geography, Language Arts, Math, and Science.  The student reads (or watches) all the lessons online and does the work that goes along with it.  They also take tests and quizzes online.  The grading is done automatically.  This is really a great “Hands-Off” option if you work from home, but want to homeschool.

We’ve used the DVD curriculum version of this about four years ago.  So we’re fairly familiar with it.

Pluses – You can do up to 3 children for $70/month or just one child for $40/month.  It’s so very hands-off for people who need someone else to teach their children or for a mom or dad who works from home but doesn’t want to send their child to school.

Minuses – If you’re child is really at different grade levels in different subjects, it’s hard to figure out which grade to put them in.  It’s not all a video, but there are some videos.  Many of the lessons, however, are mostly read.  If you have a child who does better as an audio or visual learner, this may not be the curriculum for you.

Which number fits you?  #2?  Homeschooling As Preparedness - It's Honestly Very Simple

Do you really want to teach your children yourself, but you need someone to tell you what to do?  There are several options, but I want to give you a word of encouragement.  You are the teacher.  When you read through the curriculum, if you see something you don’t want to do, you don’t have to do everything that the curriculum tells you to.  You can choose what you want your children to do and what is too much for them.  No matter what curriculum you use, you can still tailor it to them!

ABeka Book Curriculum

This is different from the video school curriculum.  It’s still rigorous – you use the same books for your classes, but you teach them and direct their education.  You will grade their work and help them as they work through their classes.  We used this curriculum for K4 and K5, and honestly loved it!

My Father’s World

Ever heard of the Charlotte Mason approach to schooling?  My Father’s World is a Bible-based curriculum that employs the Charlotte Mason approach.  History is studied in chronological order.  Great books are read.  Notebooking and narration are employed techniques of learning.  We’ve never used My Father’s World, but I have to admit, it intrigues me…(continues)

TACDA: Water – The Absolute Basic

Dr. Landon Beales has written an article for The Journal of Civil Defense on Water: The Absolute Basic on storage and purification of water.

Storing water is as easy as turning on the faucet—as long as you store it before an emergency arises! If you wait until it’s critical, then both frustration and costs increase – in direct proportion to the water’s availability! The following are some basic recommenda-
tions to guide you in this fairly simple storage project.

Recommendation #1: Store water from the source you are currently drinking.

Family members are accustomed to its taste and mineral content, so adjustment to “new” water won’t be necessary. There are enough other challenges during emergencies without being frustrated by your water supply.Recommendation #2: Store your water reserves in new, thoroughly cleaned, heavy duty, plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.

Heavy, plastic containers have the major advantage of being shatterproof and lighter than glass bottles or jugs.
The federal government, through the Department of Transportation, has developed a rigid burst test and handling standard (DOT #34) for plastic containers utilized in the interstate hauling industry. Plastic containers in this classification are designed to specifications for strength and transportability when filled with liquids. Plastic containers meeting DOT #34 are available in many sizes, ranging from 5-gallon to 55-gallon models. Water weighs eight pounds per gallon, so the 5-gallon container (at 40 lbs.) is about the maximum weight most people can carry – and just the right size for water storage. The 5-gallon container is designed for  tacking to conserve space and is easy to handle for rotating your water supply.

If you don’t have a storage space problem, the larger containers are better for consolidating and organizing water storage. If your storage space is fairly limited, smaller storage containers  facilitate stacking and moving them more often. Shipping-grade water containers, when filled with water, are capable of withstanding both hot and cold outdoor temperatures. This is important if some of your volume of water must be stored outside the protected environment of your living space.

There is always a great temptation to “keep it cheap” and store water in used containers. The difference in price of acquiring and preparing used containers is comparable to acquiring new equipment, all things considered. It’s not worth risking loss of your water supply by using containers of unknown origin and quality.

New containers should be sanitized. Rinse the new container with drinking water from a new, dedicated ‘drinking water safe’ hose (such as those used in campers). Rinse 55-gallon containers with a 50% solution of water and bleach. Wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Leave the bung filler cap slightly loose. Swish and roll the container so the bleach solution reaches all areas of the container. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Pour the solution back into a clean bucket and use it for the next container. Repeat the process. Pour out the solution before filling with clean tap water. The remaining bleach will ‘shock’ the drinking water. You may wish to add 1⁄4 c. bleach per 55-
gallon drum of water before tightly replacing the cap on the bung. Wash off the outside of the drum with clean water so as not to damage clothing or nearby items with bleach. Bleach residue is dangerous to your health. Filter water at point of use…(continues)

PDF of article from The American Civil Defense Association

Detroit News: How to Get Prepared

The Detroit News interviewed the couple who run The Provident Prepper website and asked them about preparedness in COVID-19 caught us off guard. Here’s what disaster preppers say we needed to do all along

For three months, Jonathan and Kylene Jones didn’t step foot inside a grocery store. They relied on their Utah home’s built-in storage room supply: flour, rice, beans, a freezer full of food.

That was last summer.

The couple, founders of the “The Provident Prepper” website and YouTube channel, wanted to do a 90-day trial of surviving solely on their food storage and garden. Bartering and trading was allowed — their kids hauled hay for a nearby farmer one day in return for a Subway sandwich — but they couldn’t go to the grocery store. Those were the rules.

So when the coronavirus erupted in March, emptying grocery stores and turning others into hoarders overnight, Kylene and Jonathan Jones relaxed.

“When this pandemic struck, we’d already been through it,” said Kylene Jones, 55. “There was this great sense of peace that taught us that we’re just fine, we can do this.”

The Joneses acknowledge that very few people have the patience or time to do an experiment like theirs.

But a variety of people who prioritize preparedness say that most people can and should have supplies and plans to get them through several days. It’s doable without entertaining conspiracy theories or spending a fortune on special tools and supplies.

Here’s how to start.

Think it through 

Yes, it might feel weird or unnerving to imagine worst-case scenarios. But thinking through possible disasters — especially now that we can envision one — is key to preparation and peace of mind, said Ontario’s fire administrative director Jordan Villwock.

“While it’s not fun to think about, it’s always better when an incident happens that you’re prepared,” Villwock said. “Hope is not a good contingency plan.”

Florida gets hurricanes. In the Midwest, tornadoes. California is blessed with earthquakes, wildfires and mudslides. Get to know your area’s specific vulnerabilities. Do you live on a fault line? Is your beachfront property susceptible to a tsunami? Look up your local jurisdiction’s hazard mitigation plan, which should detail threats unique to your area, Villwock recommends.

While you’re at it, look up evacuation routes for your neighborhood — include routes with the blue “evacuation” signs as well as little-known streets that might come in handy if the larger thoroughfares get blocked. Find routes that don’t use bridges or roads crossed by bridges. Know how to get out, in case of an emergency.

Plan for communication 

Sit down with your family, roommates or neighbors and discuss. Decide on a meeting place in your neighborhood and one farther away, if it’s not safe to stay close to home. Agree on an out-of-state contact who can serve as an intermediary to help relay information. Memorize and write down that person’s contact information.

“Some people hesitate to feed their children information that’s scary, but I think it can be done in a non-threatening way,” said Jonathan Jones, 60. “It truly empowers them to look at a situation and say, ‘OK, here’s what we’ve already done and we can think this through.’”

Also write down your medical insurance, doctors’ contact information and any other health conditions (including allergies).

Many jurisdictions now have the capability to send messages through Amber alerts _ remember your cellphone blaring the various curfew alerts? Individual cities and counties often have their own emergency alert systems. Sign up for them on your city’s website. You should also follow your local government, police and fire departments’ social media, which are often the first to sound the alarm about an emergency near you.

Get ready to go 

Practiced preppers often have a couple different stores of supplies. Call it whatever you want — a go-bag, bugout bag, 72-hour supplies, or basic preparedness kit — it should be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Think of the 2018 Camp Fire, a deadly wildfire that tore through the Northern California town of Paradise in minutes.

Ready.gov, the federal preparedness website, advises that you fill your bag with the basic supplies we’re now all accustomed to — hand sanitizer, face masks and gloves — and some we’re not — an AM/FM crank radio, a flashlight, cellphone charger, extra batteries, a whistle, a utility tool, a blanket, a personal hygiene kit, bottles of water and at least three days of non-perishable food.

Villwock recommends also keeping cash in small bills in your bag, along with paper maps of your city.

“Think what life would be like if you’re finding places and you don’t have Google Maps anymore,” he said. “How would you get around?”

Don’t forget a first aid kit, which should contain supplies to treat an immediate injury and help you last a few hours if you can’t get medical help quickly. Villwock recommends bandages, ointment, antiseptic towelettes, an ice pack, tweezers and tape.

Once you have the basics down, customize. If you have children, add enough supplies for them too. If you live in a cold climate, pack a sweater, hat or boots. Perhaps you need medication for anxiety.

“Address stuff based on what’s going to kill you or cause you the largest problems the quickest,” said Dan Baird, founder and head instructor of the California Survival School. “Take care of your first aid needs and basic health and safety needs first.”

Keep your bag in a readily accessible place, like your car, a coat closet or garage. “You don’t want it buried deep in the closet in the middle of the house,” Baird said. If you keep the bag in your car, maybe add glow sticks so people can see you if you’re stranded one night on the side of the road.

Some experienced survivalists include other tools, ranging from eating utensils to things like the “doomsday axe.” But Villwock cautioned against getting caught up in all the advanced supplies.

“Having all those tools and blankets … is going to make it more comfortable during the disaster,” Villwock said. “When you have reusable plates and can openers and duct tape and Q-tips, yeah that’s going to all come in handy, if necessary. But 72 hours, I could go without a Q-tip most likely, you know.”

Prepare the home 

By now, we’re probably all accustomed to having a couple extras boxes of pasta or cans of beans in our pantry. But what do we really need in a home supply?

Preppers recommend plenty of non-perishable food and at least one gallon of water per person, per day. You’ll also need a backup of your medications and basic home tools. Frozen food is good too, but it may spoil quickly during a power outage.

How long should supplies last? Three weeks, three months or a year, depending on which prepper you ask. You’ll have to decide what length of time makes sense to you.

Once you do, they advise that you buy a little extra of your regular grocery list every week until you’re stocked up. Don’t waste money on items you never use, Baird said. Rotate through the items, keeping your supply’s shelf life fresh.

“Have your spaghetti, have your macaroni and cheese, have your oatmeal,” Baird said. “Have whatever it is you already like to eat.”

The Joneses agreed. During their 90-day survival trial, they learned they had packed too much tuna for their liking, but not enough cat food. They fed the tuna to the cats and adjusted their shopping list going forward. Also, Kylene Jones realized, they needed more chocolate.

Where to keep it all? Don’t be afraid to do a spring cleaning to maximize your pantry or closet space. Then get creative. In addition to a storage room on their 1.5 acres, the Joneses use empty space under their bed.

“We recognize that a lot of people can’t have that, or it’s not practicable, but whatever space you have, you can make it usable,” Jonathan Jones said.

Don’t get overwhelmed 

If you’re stressed imagining the next disaster and the prospect of preparing for it seems too much, stop and take a breath. Think of prepping as the opposite of hoarding — get ready while you’re in a calm state of mind so you don’t have to panic later.

Preparing is also a form of community care, the Joneses said. Planning ahead means no last-minute runs to the store to stock up, taking away from other people in need.

“A lot of the reason people don’t prepare is because it seems overwhelming until you break it down,” Jonathan Jones said. “When you break it down into small, manageable pieces, then it’s doable, then you can make some real progress. And then what comes with that is a lot of peace of mind.”

So think ahead. Keep it simple. And don’t hoard toilet paper.