Sunday, May 6, 2012

What a great experience at The Sensible Mountain Preparedness Seminar in Black Mountain! Thank you to all who heard and commented to me about my presentation, Developing The Survival Mindset, and Hiding in Plain Sight. An extra large thanks to Bill and Jan of  www.Carolina Readiness for all their efforts which drew a record breaking crowd!
And, an apology from me. Moments after I completed my presentation, and was shaking hands with many of you- someone politely told me I misidentified serial killer Ted Bundy's picture. Immediately I knew this was exactly right! My apology  to all of you for this error. My outline with pictures has been edited properly here.

Check at the top of the page where it says, HOME  Developing A Survival Mindset

I will post more detailed comments soon, including additional ways to increase your awareness and your Survival Mindset!
Guard your privacy!

I call it Hiding in Plain Sight. This author says, "Muddy your tracks!" No matter what you call it, keep a low profile to protect your personal information.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Second Annual Sensible Mountain Prepper's Conference, Black Mountain, NC

Save these dates: May 5-6, 2012.  We will be meeting at The Ridgewood Conference Center in Black Mountain!

The Guest Speaker will be William Forstchen, author of One Second After.

One Second After [Book]

If any of you have read or heard this amazing author, you will know he speaks to us in a way that changes lives! He gives us insight in very practical ways, and knows how to provide a timeline for the effects of disaster... His comments will help you frame your preparedness. And how unique! He will be speaking with us in the town where Once Second After was set!

Carolina Readiness Supply, Inc. is sponsoring this event- and they have rounded up a wonderful group of preparedness speakers (including, me!):

Engineer 775

This promises to be a great gathering! I have already heard several regional preparedness groups plan to use this as an opportunity to link up with other like-minded neighbors from their own region.
Advanced tickets for the two day event are $15, ($18.00 at the door). The Ridgewood Conference Center in Black Mountain is saving a block of rooms at a special price for conference attendees.
Friday, 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm    Saturday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Get directions and more from Carolina Readiness Supply  72 Montgomery St., Waynesville, NC 28726
(828) 456-5310 for more information!

I will be speaking on special needs for women and families during difficult times, and another chapter on Hiding in Place!  I received so many wonderful comments and great support after my presentation at the Sensible Prepper's Conference in Greenville, NC last summer. Hope to see you all again, and meet new friends in Black Mountain!

Meanwhile, check out some of the above speakers on Youtube, and support our generous sponsor, Carolina Readiness Supply.  Their knowledge and stock of emergency supplies, camping gear, and preparedness has never been more important. No matter what your need or interest- you will find it, and many like-minded people, at the conference in Black Mountain. Please come introduce yourself to me there!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hunting and Gathering

Whether we call ourselves survivalists, preppers, or just plain smart.... being well prepared for disaster or the uncertain future is a good plan.
There are quite a few survival must-have or nice-to-have lists on the Internet. Here is one more!
One thing I might add: As you prepare, consider budgeting some inexpensive yet useful items to use for barter or charity. Ramen noodles are still only about 15 cents a pack, and you can purchase Bic lighters in bulk for very cheap. These items will be in high demand in an emergency situation when the grocery shelves quickly go bare.
Goodwill stores and flea markets often have a selection of basic kitchen items or old garage tools.

Pick up rotary beaters, hand-crank meat or grain grinders.

Old hammers, saws, and even hand crank drills are good to hold on to. (Six weeks after Hurricane Irene- some folks in Connecticut were still without electricity. I'm just sayin'!)

Before purchasing canning jars second hand, be sure to check for any small chips on the rim.

If you have a slightly chipped  Ball jar (and Ball is the most durable, in my humble opinion!), don't necessarily throw it away. There are ways to carefully recycle:

As with any list, pick out and prioritize according to your wants and needs.You will probably be surprised at how many things you already have.  On my carry-around list, I use highlighters to color and prioritize the things I should try to purchase first according to my budget and storage space. A separate color is used to identify things like food or batteries to be rotated or regularly replaced.

Last but not least, seek out training for skills you don't have. The Red Cross, County Extension, and most County Emergency Management groups are glad to have new students or volunteers.  The more you know, the more self-reliant you become. Empower yourself!

1. Generators (Good ones cost a lot)
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 – 12 months to become dried.
5. Lamp Oil, Lamps, Wicks (Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice – Beans – Wheat
11. Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must be boiled etc.,)
12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)
13. Water Containers Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY.
14. Mini Heater head (Propane) (Without this item, propane won’t heat a room.)
15. Grain Grinder (Non-electric)
16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur.)
17. Survival Guide Book
18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without it, long-term lighting is difficult.)
19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.
20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
21. Cookstoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
22. Vitamins
23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder
24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products
25. Thermal Underwear (Tops & Bottoms)
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil)
27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking and Barter Item)
28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)
29. Garbage Bags (Impossible To Have Too Many)
30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels
31. Milk – Powdered & Condensed (Shake Liquid every 3 to 4 months)
32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) (A MUST)
33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
34. Coleman’s Pump Repair Kit
35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
36. Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in every room)
37. First Aid Kits
38. Batteries (all sizes…buy furthest-out for Expiration Dates)
39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)
41. Flour, yeast & salt
42. Matches (“Strike Anywhere” preferred.) Boxed, wooden matches will go first
43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculators
44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime.)
45. Workboots, belts, Levis & durable shirts
46. Flashlights/LIGHTSTICKS & torches, “No. 76 Dietz” Lanterns
47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (jot down ideas, feelings, experiences)
48. Garbage cans – Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting – if with wheels)
49. Men’s Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, etc.
50. Cast Iron Cookware (sturdy, efficient)
51. Fishing supplies/tools
52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
53. Duct Tape
54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
55. Candles
56. Laundry Detergent (liquid)
57. Backpacks, Duffel Bags
58. Garden tools & supplies
59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.
61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)
62. Canning Supplies (Jars/lids/wax)
63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
64. Bicycles – Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc.
65. Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats
66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
67. Board Games, Cards, Dice
68. d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & cockroach magnets
70. Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks)
71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & Antibacterial soap (saves a lot of water)
72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.
73. Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave)
74. Hand Pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
75. Soysauce, vinegar, bullions/gravy/soupbase
76. Reading glasses
77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)
78. “Survival-in-a-Can”
79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
80. Boy Scout Handbook
81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit
82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky
83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
85. Lumber (all types)
86. Wagons & carts (for transport to and from)
87. Cots & Inflatable Mattresses
88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
89. Lantern Hangers
90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws,, nuts & bolts
91. Teas
92. Coffee
93. Cigarettes
94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc,)
95. Paraffin Wax
96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
97. Chewing gum/candies
98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)
99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs
100. Goats/chickens

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Learning to Prepare? Meet Me at The Fair!

Every season offers new opportunities to learn skills of survival or preparedness, but Autumn is harvest time! Fall abundance is everywhere you turn!

When you think of ways to sustain your family for the long term, do you consider raising a few pigs, cows or goats?  Do you imagine yourself with a few chickens, a sustainable garden, and a safe way to set back food?
Even if you just want an eye-opener to all the possibilities, there's no better place to visit than The County Fair.  This is where you can touch base with some authentic survivalists: the people who have been prepping and making a living doing it, sometimes for generations.
 Many counties hold their own fall fair. Touch base with the local farmers, and learn what crops grow best in your area.  When asked respectfully, most country folk are more than happy to share their knowledge of what works and what doesn't on the farm.  If you'd like a couple of tips about cooking or canning, red and blue ribbon winners will be out in force!
Homemade jellies and jams will be selling like farmhouse hot cakes! Not to mention, good pies to buy!
Every Imaginable Pie!

If you can get to The State Fair, you will find farmers and ranchers who have traveled miles to compete and sell live stock. These are the people who know an Angus from a Hereford, and a Jersey from a Holstein. Very good knowledge if you plan to collect dairy cattle, and not the meat variety. As for chickens, you may see birds of a feather you've never seen before!
Young people who have a passion for raising animals will abound, and possibly inspire your own children.

The North Carolina State Fair offers a Village of Yesteryear, where artists and craftsmen keep primitive skills alive. Rug weaving, lace making, stone carving, and pottery turning are among a few demonstrations. Look for information about quilting and bee-keeping, too. There is even a 3rd generation Tin Smith on hand. (For other views of the ancient art of smiths, check out The Renaissance Faires.  Metal workers who hand forge swords, knives, battle armor, horse shoes, eating utensils, and even jewelry...are found over a fire, showing how it's done.)

There will be a "midway" at the fair. Inevitably, this will be the location for funnel cakes, corn dogs, and red candy apples.  There's always some attention-grabber frying a Snickers bar... but there will be a variety of grilled pork, seasoned turkey, and other good eats:

Even if farm dwelling isn't a part of your plan, you will certainly enjoy a day of feast for the senses, and the family can experience a peek at what daily life could be like in a world without Facebook, television, and city plumbing. Enjoy the day, and the evening!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Frankly, my dear- You need to prepare to make bank!

Here is a subject I have been pondering for a while.

Let's say... a disaster (pick one) happens, and there is a temporary collapse of the way we go about our everyday lives. No banks or ATMs, maybe no jobs... and it may be a while before civilization as we know it comes back.  If ever!
Just our luck, the Tax Collector survives, and wants the taxes on Tara before our cotton field is ready for market! We may be prepared to barter some things, and turn Mama's portiers into a dress... but are there some ways to plan ahead to make some cash in the hard times?
Stealing your sister's wealthy fiance is still frowned upon, so I was excited to see the blogspot, Frugally Sustainable, attack this very question! Here are some of their suggestions, adaptable to small or large spaces:
1.Follow your interests and do what you love – Before you do anything else, do what you love and the provision will follow.
2.Eat from your garden and sell the rest – Utilize every square inch of your property for production. Focus on planting perennials that come back year after year and require little care (i.e. nuts, fruits, berries, etc.). Gather provisions for your family and sell the rest for profit. Consider...selling at a farmer's  market.
3.Raise and sell animals – .... raising heritage breed rabbits and selling them on craigslist and/or to local farm supply stores as pets.
4.Sell pastured eggs from your backyard hens – ... There are farmers that are making thousands of dollars raising and selling pastured eggs.
5.Start a Farm School – ....Open your home to teaching people the old ways of doing things. ...Wisdom that was once commonly passed down from generation to generation has in many ways been lost. People are eager for a rebirth of traditional know-how.
6.Turn your crafty skills into a profitable business – Make candles, soaps, lotions, homemade/repurposed clothing....
7.Write – Begin chronicling your interests. Use social media to your advantage (smile).Create a blog ... someone will find your thoughts valuable.

This is just the short version. I encourage you to visit this great site! Read more at

A good point made by this author is that big is not necessarily better. What good is that 160 acres of land over at Twelve Oaks if you don't have the seed or workers to help farm it? Work what you have, and make every square foot count- even on a balcony! Even in Atlanta!
We say we long to find a more simple, self-sufficient way of living... but the more we read and study we see that the simple life is not as simple as it appears. Learn how to make do with less, and how TO DO more! Learn how to can, sew, and garden... and maybe even how to birth a baby, just in case! After all,  Tomorrow is another day! Get ready!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"You are your own First Responder!"

One person who has been a great inspiration to me is Lt. General Russel Honore.  You may remember him as the Army General who led Task Force Katrina.  He is a true American Hero because in the middle of "government inaction"- he stepped in and took a no nonsense control in the way a true leader does.  He set out steps and a plan for help... and when the media whined and balked, he told them bluntly, "Don't get stuck on stupid!"

That sums it up. Don't cry about what's happened, don't tell me all the reasons this wont work, or "that's not practical." Move ahead with a good plan!
Lt. General Honore says one of the hardest lessons learned from Katrina is: "You are your own First Responder!"
His 1st Step jump-start advice:
1. Have a plan to evacuate
2. Have an emergency evacuation kit, and 3 days supply of food and water at home
3. Have a Weather Radio- or some other means of staying informed

This is the very basics... but a life saver, and something we all can do!