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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Preppin 101 - Part 4 - The Purpose of Shelter

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalker's Stealth Survival

All the various types of shelters serve three basic purposes. The fact that you won’t have all the comforts of home should be a part of your survival mindset. There is some psychological value to certain styles but most any type of shelter will ultimately satisfy your emotional needs. There may be a need for protection from animals, etc. but the primary purpose of a survival shelter is to protect your body from the adverse effects of the weather.

It is the effects of hypothermia, which is caused by the loss of body heat, which causes the majority of deaths in survival situations. Being able to make or build a good shelter is crucial.

A good shelter prevents this in the three following ways:

1.) It creates a space to shelter your body from the adverse effects of weather.

2.) It creates a space that can be heated by your body or an alternate source of heat.

3.) It creates a sense of security by making you feel more secure and protected.

People with no skills have sometimes survived in circumstances where others with a great deal of survival knowledge have died. A lack of creativity and the inability to improvise may be the real culprits. Sometimes a little understanding of the principles involved and a willingness to think and observe your surroundings can be just as important as specific skills.

Look at what is available, and consider how you can use it. The ability to improvise will help you to survive. In a survival situation, a shelter that can keep you warm and dry and imparts a sense of security becomes crucial. Check your surroundings carefully. Is there anything which can be used to create a shelter? Consider the available materials around you in terms of how you can use them for the purpose of making or building a shelter.

Creativity, an ability to improvise, and good powers of observation can be your keys to survival, no matter what your circumstances. Being able to create a shelter out of what is available can make a world of difference in your chances for survival. The best survival shelter is the one that works for your situation!

Staying above the water line!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Preppin’ 101 - Part 3 - Health - Eating the Rainbow

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalker's Stealth Survival

Have you ever tried eating the rainbow? It is not an actual diet, but refers to choosing foods that are the colors of the rainbow. By including fruits and vegetables that are the colors of the rainbow in your daily diet, you can assure yourself of the proper servings of fruits and vegetables in order to maintain good health. Fruits and vegetables come in different colors and each of the different colors gives us different types of vitamins and nutrients. Eating the full rainbow of foods on a daily basis helps give your body the essential nutrients that it needs. These nutrients help strengthen your immune system and help to prevent or lessen the risk of certain diseases. What color is your food?

The Color Red

Red fruits and vegetables improve your memory, help to maintain a healthy heart, and lower the risks of some types of cancers.

Sources include red apples, cranberries, red grapes, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, grapefruit, tomatoes, radishes, red peppers and red onions.

The Color Blue

Blue fruits and vegetables help fight the effects of aging, help to improve urinary tract function, and can also reduce the risk of some types of cancers.

Sources include raisins, blackberries, plums, purple grapes, eggplant and purple cabbage.

The Color White

White fruits and vegetables help lower cholesterol levels and improve the health of your heart.

Sources include bananas, white nectarines, white peaches, garlic, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions and potatoes.

The Color Green

Green fruits and vegetables help maintain good vision, work to build strong bones and teeth and are good sources of antioxidants.

Sources include green apples, green grapes, kiwi fruit, honeydew melon, avocado, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, lettuce, celery and asparagus.

The Color Yellow / Orange

Yellow or orange fruits and vegetables help strengthen your immune system.

Sources include yellow apples, apricots, cantaloupe, oranges, peaches, nectarines, mangoes, pineapple, yellow peppers, pumpkin, sweet corn, lemons and sweet potatoes.

Along with regular exercise, eating properly is one of the best ways to maintain your health. Eating the rainbow will help create a healthier lifestyle. It is something you can do on a regular basis without a lot of extra effort.

Staying above the water line!


Monday, November 30, 2009

Food Safety - Part 2 - Shigella

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalker's Stealth Survival

There are many different ways for food to become contaminated. Once contaminated it should be disposed of properly. Avoid food poisoning and therefore its sometimes deadly effects by knowing the proper means of handling and preparing your food. Learn to recognize the different symptoms of the various kinds of food poisoning and its effects.

Food Poisoning Type - Shigella

This bacteria is generally associated with raw sewage or contaminated water. Food poisoning of this type is caused by direct contact of food with raw sewage, contaminated water or by indirect contact with improperly cleaned cooking or eating utensils. Improper hand washing techniques can also be a cause of this type of food poisoning

Signs and Symptoms - Shigella

The most common symptoms are diarrhea, fever and nausea. These symptoms can appear whithin as short a time span of six to seven hours to as long as a week after eating contaminated food. The symptoms may last for a week or slightly longer but in most cases are rarely fatal.

Sources of Shigella Poisoning

Any type of food that requires manual preparation is a potential source of shigella.

Prevention Tips - Shigella

1.) Maintain good personal hygiene at all times.

2.) Always use proper water treatment methods to insure purity.

3.) Use proper hygiene in all food preparation and cooking areas.

A little safety goes a long way in keeping you and your family safe. In an emergency or crisis situation, the last thing you will need is a case of food poisoning added to your list of problems.

Staying above the water line!


A comment from one of our readers

A tiny bit of advice i could offer is that if anyone wanted to buy a used freezer, they should be sure it's running !!
I bought a nice-looking chest freezer from someone nearby for $75 and it fit perfectly in my unheated mud room - I knew the fellow hadn't been using it for awhile, but I didn't need it right away, didn't have an outlet in mudroom (yeah, yeah, I know), so didn't even try the thing until it got cold & I wanted to butcher. All it did was heat up the room !
Finally contacted fellow I bought from & he will give me $50 back & I will have a $25 secure chest for grains, etc.... Buyer beware !!!

R.F. in Western Mtns. of Maine

Thanks for the comment!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Simple Food Storage Items - Beverages - Part 3 - Distilled Spirits

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalker's Stealth Survival

Shelf life is a major factor when considering long term storage of beverage items. The shelf life of most distilled liquors is almost indefinite when unopened. While some variations, such as liqueurs, have a very short shelf life. Under the proper storage conditions, distilled spirits can last a very substantial period of time once they are opened.

Distilled Spirits

Most distilled spirits do not age or mature in the bottle. This means that your 20 year old, unopened bottle of bourbon or whiskey will taste relatively the same as first day it was bottled. However, like beer certain liquors can "go bad" after a few months in an opened bottle. This may cause your liquor to loose some of its character or flavor.

Base Liquors

Brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka and whiskey are typically the most stable distilled spirits. These can be stored for a long time. These liquors have an indefinite shelf life and once opened may begin to lose certain flavor qualities over a period of time. Depending upon your storage methods, this can be anywhere from several months to several years.


The shelf life of liqueurs is less than the plain distilled spirits because they contain sugar, sweeteners or other ingredients that can spoil or go bad. Most opened liqueurs should last for several months or longer depending on their percentage of alcohol content and the type and amount of preservatives. Opened bottles will lose some of their characteristics due to exposure to the air. If there are any signs of sugar crystallizing on the bottom, discoloration, curdling or other similar changes you will need to discard it. Cream liqueurs that contain dairy, cream or egg products should be consumed by their expiration date. Cheaper versions of cream liqueurs will deteriorate even quicker.

Fortified Wines

Vermouths and other fortified wines have a much longer opened shelf life than regular wines. Vermouth can be stored in an open bottle for at least a few months. It will lose most of its flavor if stored too long after opening.


Follow the manufacturer’s recommended expiration date on the labels of all juices and bottled mixers. It is usually best to refrigerate mixers after opening. Club soda, ginger ale and tonic water should be consumed when opened or shortly afterwards.

Liquor Storage Tips

1.) Keep opened bottles sealed tightly. Use the original cap or a replacement cork.

2.) Never store liquor bottles with speed pourers attached unless they are in use.

3.) Avoid exposure to extreme hot or cold temperatures.

4.) Store your liquor away from exterior walls.

5.) Avoid exposing your liquor to any type of sunlight or bright lighting.

Distilled spirits offer extremely long shelf for your alcoholic beverage storage options.

Staying above the "watered-down liquor" line!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Simple Survival Tips - Balanced Preppin'

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalker's Stealth Survival

While it is very easy to get carried away by our emotions at time, it is important to keep a balance in your preps. There are certain things that you will always need to survive. If you fail to maintain a proper balance within these needs, you run the risk of endangering your survival.

You will need food and water. Your survival depends on it. You will also need shelter. Humans are relatively frail creatures that don't do well in harsh or extreme climates. You will also need protection. If you don't have the means to protect your food and water or your shelter, you will be endangering your survival. All of the things necessary for your survival are each a vital part of the whole package that is necessary for you and your family to survive.

Don't let yor emotions run wild. Cooler heads always prevail. Think about where you're at and where you want to be. Don't ignore one part of your preps to the detriment of the others. Leave the panic mode for the sheeple who haven't even begun to prepare. Realize that if you fail to keep a proper balance, you could suddenly find yourself in worse shape that you thought!

Staying above the water line!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Food Safety - Part 1 - Salmonella

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalker's Stealth Survival

There are many different ways for food to become contaminated. Once contaminated it should be disposed of properly. Avoid food poisoning and therefore its sometimes deadly effects by knowing the proper means of handling and preparing your food. Learn to recognize the different symptoms of the various kinds of food posoning and its effects. Always practice food safety.

Food Poisoning Type - Salmonella

This type of bacteria causes food poisoning when eaten in a food that contains large amounts of this type of bacteria. It’s the most common cause of food poisoning in the majority of countries. The main source of salmonella food poisoning are foods that are not heated or cooked sufficiently to destroy the bacteria or become contaminated after they are cooked or heated.

Signs and Symptoms - Salmonella

The symptoms of salmonella poisoning are diarrhoea, vomiting and fever. These symptoms usuallly occur 10 to 24 hours after eating contaminated food and the effects can last for anywhere from two to four days. These symptoms can be fatal to elderly people, people who are already sick or have a compromised immune sytem, or infants and very young children. Always exercise greater care when handling or preparing food for infants or young children.

Sources of Salmonella Poisoning

1.) The main sources of salmonella poisoning are poultry, eggs, and egg products. Avoid consuming raw doughs or batters containing eggs prior to being fully cooked. Raw cookie dough may taste good but can be potentially dangerous!

2.) Certain dairy products may also pose a potential risk to your health.

Prevention Tips - Salmonella

1.) Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods at all times.

2.) Always carefully clean cooking utensils and equipment before each use.

3.) Never use the same kitchen utensils or equipment on both raw food and cooked food.

4.) People with stomach problems should not prepare or handle cooked foods prior to their consumption.

5.) Use good personal hygiene at all times. Always thoroughly wash your hands before and after handling raw food and prior to handling any cooked food.

A little safety goes a long way in keeping you and your family safe. In an emergency or crisis situation, the last thing you will need is a case of food poisoning added to your list of problems.

Staying above the water line!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Preppin' 101 - Part 6 - Educational Resources

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalker's Stealth Survival

Being prepared also includes knowing your educational resources. Today there are a wide variety of resources available to further increase your knowledge. From your local library to the internet, the knowledge and information is out there. Invest some quality time to obtain some quality knowledge.

Charlotte M. Mason was a firm believer in the value of education and was one of the leaders in homeschooling. Her series of articles on homeschooling are now available for free download and will make a great addition to your survival library. This online version of Charlotte Mason's six-volume book series is provided for public use at no cost.

The Original Homeschooling Series by Charlotte M. Mason in HTML format is available here for free:

You can also find additional homeschooling tips here: Homeschooling Tips

Staying above the water line!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Simple Survival Tips - Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalkers Stealth Survival

Carbon_monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and deadly gas. When you are exposed to carbon monoxide, it limits the blood's capacity to carry oxygen throughout your body. This will literally cause your body to die from a lack of oxygen. Carbon monoxide can form in the air through an improperly working heater or furnace, a wood-burning stove, a gas range or water heater, a home fireplace, or any one of a number of devices that burn any type of combustible fuel or oil. Carbon_monoxide_poisoning kills hundreds of people each year and sends thousands more to hospital emergency rooms. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms can often be confused with flu symptoms but rapidly become much more serious in nature.

Common symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, irregular breathing, mental confusion, unconsciousness, and if present in sufficient quantity it can even lead to death. The best way to protect yourself and your family is through prevention and the use of a quality carbon monoxide detector. Everyone is susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide. The majority of medical experts feel that small children, senior citizens, pregnant women and people with heart or respiratory problems are probably more susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide.

Safety Tips for Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

1.) Keep fresh air circulating throughout any heated areas at all times.

2.) Open a window or vent in order to eliminate any toxic fumes that may build up.

3.) Appliances should be properly vented to direct fumes outdoors and away from any living areas.

4.) Install carbon monoxide detectors with an audible warning alarm. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper installation and maintenance.

5.) Perform proper maintenance on your carbon monoxide detectors on a regularly basis.

6.) Check your furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, and water heaters prior to winter to make sure they are working properly and are properly vented.

7.) Never run the engine in your vehicle in an enclosed area. Always open the garage door before starting your vehicle. Never run a generator indoors.

8.) Never use charcoal or wood burning grills inside your home.

9.) Never operate gas-burning heaters in a closed environment without proper ventilation.

10.) Test your carbon monoxide detectors on a regular basis in order to make sure they are functioning properly. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed detectors that sound an audible warning are probably one of the better types to use.

Prevention and early detection are your best protection from the often deadly effects of carbon monoxide. Sometimes the biggest dangers from winter aren’t on the outside, but on the inside of your home.

Staying above the water line!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Simple Food Storage Items - Beverages - Part 2 - Beer

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalkers Stealth Survival

Shelf life is a major factor when considering long term storage of beverage items. The shelf life of beer is usually quite short but there are alternatives that can enable you to store some beers up to a period of 5 years or more under the proper storage conditions.

There are four main things that impact a beer's shelf life. More than one process is sometimes combined to increase the shelf life. It is important to understand the different factors that affect beer’s shelf life.

1.) The first process is pasteurization. This is where beer is heated for a short time period to kill microbes in the beer. This is what usually causes the beer’s taste and quality to deteriorate over time.

2.) The second process is sterile filtration. This is where beer passes through a mechanical filtration system that removes any yeast or hops still present in the beer which could cause a continuation of the fermentation process.

3.) The third process is bottle-conditioning. This is where some yeast is left in the bottle to slow the oxidation process. This helps to maintain the beer's quality.

4.) The fourth process is the actual beer recipe. Beers with higher alcohol content or more hops in the recipe will take longer to lose their freshness than beers with lower alcohol or hops content. As a result, stouts, porters, Belgian Ales, and German Bocks have the longest shelf lives.
Proper purchasing techniques can increase the shelf life of your beer. Look for freshness dating on beer. The date may be on the bottle, case packaging, or cap. Also keep in mind that beer sitting at room temperature will start to degrade very quickly. Refrigerated storage slows the oxidation process that takes place in beer. Oxidation is what gives your beer that flat, cardboard taste after a period of time. It is also best to avoid any beer that's been sitting in direct sunlight. This spoils the hops and creates that “skunky” flavor.

To achieve your beer's maximum shelf life, give it a little respect. The more common American beers have a short shelf life of approximately six to eight weeks. This can be almost doubled with proper storage. You can increase this shelf life by storing it at a room temperature of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise you will need to keep it refrigerated. It will also need to be stored out of any form of direct sunlight, if not refrigerated, to increase its shelf life. You can also get a longer shelf life by purchasing bottle-conditioned beers (ales, bocks, etc.). These beers contain living yeast, and when stored at moderate room temperatures and out of direct sunlight they can have a shelf life of up to five years or more.

Here is a guide for the different types of beer:

Guide to Different Types of Beer

Here is a list of bottle-conditioned beers available:

Bottle-Conditioned Beers

Around the Riverwalker farm, the shelf life of most beer is measured in minutes!

Staying above the water line!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Preparedness Tips - Re-Packaging Ground Coffee for Storage

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalkers Stealth Survival

Here's a great tip on re-packaging your ground coffee. Ground coffee has a very short shelf life once opened. To keep that fresh ground coffee taste here's a valuable tip.

Sam said...

Coffee StorageRW, you are dead on that ground coffee is only good for about two weeks after it is opened.

Good news! I just completed a save-the-coffee experiment, and It worked! I can only drink one (large) cup of coffee a day. Yet in my preps I have a bunch of three pound cans of ground coffee. I discovered that I could only use a quarter (max) of a can before it turned sour.I got the bright idea to repack the freshly opened ground coffee into small canning jars.

Pack coffee in the jar tight (to get the air out) till it was slightly less than half an inch from the top of the jar, wipe the rim of the jar free of coffee grounds, and screw on a new lid.Then I used my Pump and Seal ($20 online) and vacuum sealed the jar. Stored these in a cool dark closet till I needed one.

I just finished the last jar (10 weeks after repackaging it). It tasted fresh to the last cup! I use that little Pump and Seal for a lot of my preps, but not ammo. It can suck the bullets right out of a cartridge.

Keep up the great work RW!

November 10, 2008 9:00 AM

You can read about or order a pump-n-seal unit here: http://www.pump-n-seal.com/

Staying above the water line!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

DIY De-humidifier for Your Gun Storage - Update

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalkers Stealth Survival

A couple of readers have left excellent tips for a DIY de-humidifier for your gun storage.
Here are a couple of excellent tips!

R.E.A.L. said…

That's one way to do it, however I use this method.
1. Container with plastic lid or Mason jar and just the ring.
2. 1 coffee filter
3. Silica gel from hobby store

Place gel in container and cover top with coffee filter. Place ring on Mason jar or cut center out of plastic lid and put on container. The filter lets moisture in and keeps the gel from spilling out.

BTW, any hygroscopic material will work. Silica gel is effective, but I might use pickling lime in a pinch instead of chalk.

gott_cha said...

Here is another one Riverwalker.

Take 1 pair of clean gym socks, fill half way with fresh uncooked white rice.....tie off the ends,..pitch into the bottom of the gun safe/closet... Very cheap and you should already have the rice on hand.This lasts about 8 months before it needs to be dumped out and sun dried to recharge.

Thanks R.E.A.L! Thanks gott_cha!

Staying above the water line!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Simple Survival Tips - Handling Ammunition Safely

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalkers Stealth Survival

Many people’s homes in America contain a variety of common items that are far more dangerous than a collection of ammunition for firearms. Cans of spray paint, gasoline containers for lawn equipment, or propane tanks for Bar-b-que grills pose a much greater explosive hazard. These will all explode as easily as ammunition with far more disastrous consequences. They will also provide additional fuel to a fire. It is vital that you know how to handle and use your ammunition safely.

Rules for Safe Ammunition Use, Storage, and Transport

1.) Always use the correct ammunition for your firearm. Rotate your stock of ammunition on a regular basis.

2.) Always check with a firearms dealer or qualified gunsmith to determine the proper ammunition for your firearm if you do not know the proper type.

3.) Always check the condition of your ammunition before use in your firearm. Damaged or irregular ammunition of any type should not be used.

4.) Always keep your ammunition away from excessive heat or impact with sharp objects. Avoid excessive humidity as this can adversely affect the shelf life.

5.) Always store your ammunition in the original container, a properly labeled ammo box or a properly labeled storage area in your gun safe.

6.) Always keep different size cartridges and shells separate. This will prevent accidental loading of improper ammunition for your firearm.

7.) Always keep your ammunition in a secure location.

8.) Always discard ammunition which can not be properly identified. Missing head stamps on cartridges or unlabeled ammunition storage containers can lead to deadly consequences.

9.) Always use proper containers to carry or transport your ammunition.
Ammo bags, pouches, or cans should be a necessary part of ammo transport.

10.) Always check with a qualified gunsmith if your firearm appears to have been modified or re-chambered to insure you are using the proper caliber of ammunition.

Ammunition exposed to a fire may eventually be heated to the point that the primer or powder will ignite. This usually results in the cartridge case rupturing and forcing the primer from the pocket. The powder will burn but does not explode. The force is dispersed in all directions because the ammunition is not constrained within the barrel of a gun. Military surplus ammo cans are an excellent and safe method for the storing of your ammunition.

Staying above the water line!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Simple Food Storage Items - Beverages

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalkers Stealth Survival

One of the most useful items you can have in your food storage program is beverages. There are also a number of instant products that have very good shelf life. If it becomes necessary to boil your water or add chemical purifiers, having beverage mixes handy will increase the flavor and taste of an otherwise bland drink. Here are some simple storage beverage items.


Ground Coffee has a shelf life of about 2 years when unopened and about 2 weeks when opened.

Instant Coffee has a shelf life of about 1 year unopened and about 2 to 3 weeks when opened.

Powdered Coffee Creamer has an approximate shelf life of 6 months.


Instant Tea has a shelf life of about 3 years.

Loose Tea has a shelf life of about 2 years.

Tea Bags have a shelf life of approximately 18 months.


Canned Milk has an approximate shelf life of 1 year.

Instant Nonfat Dry Milk has an approximate shelf life of 6 months in the pantry and up to a year in the freezer.


Diet Sodas have a shelf life of about 3 months when unopened.

Regular Sodas have a shelf life of about 6 months when unopened.


Country Time Lemonade, Crystal Light, and Kool Aid Drink Mixes, etc. have an approximate shelf life of 2 years.


Powder Baby Formula in cans is good for approximately one year after the expiration date. The reason they last longer is they are vacuum sealed in order to maintain freshness.Opened cans are good for approximately 4 weeks once opened and this time period can be extended to about 8 weeks if stored in the refrigerator.

Storing beverage items will give you additional variety in your food storage program.

Staying above the water line!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Simple Survival Gear - DIY De-humidifier for Ammo Storage

Re-post Courtesy of Riverwalkers Stealth Survival

Humidity is one of the main factors that can affect your ammo storage. While there are many good de-humidifiers for your gun safes that work quite well, financial resources may be limited. You may also lack the funds for a large gun safe and are looking for a way to protect your ammunition from humidity that is being stored in ammo cans because of their portability. Here is a simple way to make a DIY dehumidifier for your ammo storage.

The Needed Items:

1.) Plastic container with tight-fitting lid that is appropriately sized for your storage area. Use a larger one for a gun safe and a smaller size for an ammo can, etc.

2.) A hammer, rock, or boot heel to pound with.

3.) An old piece of ladies hosiery. Do not use the wife’s good ones. Ask nicely and she will give you an old pair. They usually have a bunch of old ones. Do not go out and buy new hose as this is not a “macho guy” type thing.

4.) Knife, nail, or other sharp pointy object to poke holes. Your Ka-bar will work.

4.) Sidewalk chalk (any color works fine - just don’t use pink-colored unless you are female). Do not use your children’s sidewalk chalk as this could cause your children undue stress. It’s very cheap! Go buy your own!

The How-To-Make Procedure:

1.) Pound sidewalk chalk with hammer, rock, or boot heel.

2.) Place pulverized sidewalk chalk in piece of hosiery and secure any open ends with string or twine.

3.) Take appropriate size plastic container with lid and use sharp pointy object to poke numerous small holes in the container or lid, whichever is easier.

4.) Place hosiery bag with busted chalk in plastic container and place in ammo storage unit (gun safe, ammo can, coffee can, old cardboard box, etc.).

Check your DIY De-Humidifier for Ammo Storage on a fairly frequent basis, every few weeks should be sufficient, and simply remove the bag if it gets moist or starts to clump up from humidity and place in bright sunlight for a few hours to dry out and return it to its container when the chalk has dried out. It is now ready to be re-used. Recycling can be fun and easy!

Got chalk?

Staying above the water line!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Where has the time gone? Isn't this always the way? Life gets busy, the garden needs planting, the grass needs mowing, the house needs to be spiffed up and longer days mean more projects.

Here in the north woods the garden is in. We start our garden earlier than a lot of people with the mindset that if you don't lose some of your crop you are not planting early enough.

It has been a rainy and wet start to the growing season and we are thankful that our plants had a good head start before the deluge of rain over the past couple weeks. I lost some cucumbers but I had some others ready to plant so no real loss.

Other people waited until after memorial day to start their gardens and due to the rain, lost their seedlings and other seeds directly planted rotted in the ground or washed away.

All winter I save empty milk jugs and yogurt cups to use in my garden. Yogurt cups make a great cut worm collar. Just cut out the bottoms with a sharp knife. If you have ever had a problem with cut worms you will see the neccesity of a collar. My first experience with cut worms was last year when I planted some broccoli. It was just starting to look good when one morning to my horror it was all laying on the ground. On further inspection I saw that it had been chewed clean through at ground level. The dastardly cut worm then moved in a straight line to the next broccoli plant and chewed through it too!!!! I dug around in the dirt until I found the worm and sent him to his maker! Now all my plants have collars.

I use the empty milk jugs as mini green houses to protect my tomato plants. I cover my plants with the jugs after I cut the bottoms off~ remove the caps during the day and put them on at night until all danger of frost has passed. This allows me to plant earlier and I usually have ripe tomatos long before other people.

Looking at every day objects and wondering what use they serve after the initial use is a prepper mindset. Recycling items and not immediately throwing them into the trash clutters up my front porch but I am likely to always find a use for an empty mayonaise container, coffee can, milk jug etc.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Swine Flu

Perhaps we have dodged a bullet this time, it seems that swine flu news has gone off the radar, but I wouldn't let my guard down just yet. Cases are still multiplying here in Maine there are 13 confirmed cases with only six of those being directly related to the person either having vacationed in Mexico or been in contact with someone who has been to Mexico.

Flu season is coming to an end in the US but be prepared next fall for it to come back. If you have holes in your preparations now would be a good time to close the holes. Formulate a plan on how you will deal with a sick person in your home. Do you have a plan if you become sick? Who will care for you?

In our local paper the protocol from the hospital was to call first if you suspect you have the flu. They wanted to minimize exposure of sick people to healthy people or other people sick with other illness which is wise. One person I know that was feeling ill called and was told to stay home and monitor symptoms.

We wrote down our flu plan on paper. I suggest you do the same. We designated and area of our place that will be the quarantine room. We have established a protocol for dealing with the sick person. Everything from when to take temperatures, how to document fluid intake, precautionary measures to take, etc etc etc right down to who will give the care and when to call for emergency assistance.

In the 1918 pandemic it has been said that the use of medications to reduce fever may have caused some deaths. Fever is your bodies attempt at killing a virus. Fever should be monitored closely and not allowed to get out of hand but fever does serve a purpose. That said be prepared to bring a fever down as people, especially children, can take a turn for the worse fairly quick with a high fever. We all know that the use of drugs like Tylenol and Asprin can bring down a fever. Do not give asprin to children. Stock up on tylenol (or generic store brand) and follow dosing instructions.

Fluid loss is another danger of the flu. You can minimize the loss of fluids with a couple simple at home recipes that will replace electrolyte loss. Copy the recipe and keep it with your flu preparedness materials. Make sure you have on hand the ingredients as well.

ELECTROLYTE and FLUID Replacement Recipe
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon "Lite Salt" (by Morton*)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
10 teaspoons table sugar
1 quart or more of water, plus ice if possible.

and from the WHO
1 quart water
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons sugar

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Natural Anti Viral

Again, with more flu preparedness.... there are now three confirmed cases in Maine. Two in Kennebec County and one in York County. Expect more. If you are sick for Gods sake STAY HOME!!!!! If you are not sick you want to do everything you can to stay that way. While there is only one confirmed death in the US (as of this morning) there is no use taking chances when you dont have to. AND WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!! this cant be repeated enough. Stick a bandaid on the end of a finger on each hand as a reminder to NOT touch your face.

In that vein I did a quick google search on natural anti virals. Olive leaf extract was what popped up first. I had been taking this as a supplement but stopped about three months ago. I am getting some TODAY.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chest Cupping

In line with todays headlines of more and more cases of Swine Flu popping up across the country I want to share a technique that could save the life of someone you love if this flu turns into a pandemic and health services are hard to access. Or in the event of an EOTWAWKI scenario and health services have been totally interrupted.

Its called chest cupping. I learned this technique years ago when I did a practicum as a CNA and was fortunate enough to do rounds with a respiratory therapist. This technique is not hard and if done correctly with cupped hands should not result in injury. However, as a disclaimer, use at your own discretion and caution. I will add a link at the end that will describe this and other methods that can be used to assist a patient breathe easier and help clear mucus secretions....but pay specific attention to the warnings.

The basic concept of chest cupping is that the percussion of your cupped hands in a rhythmic motion on the sides along the rib cage and across the back in the lung lobe region will result in the loosening of thick mucus that accompanies the flu and often results in the flu turning into pneumonia. It makes flem easier to cough up and improves oxygen intake. The patient will have immediate relief and be able to breathe much easier and deeper.

This is not a flat of hand slapping motion but rather a cupped hand (picture using your hand to get a drink of water) motion.

Read more about it and other techniques here- http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Chest+Physical+Therapy

You also may find the following link to narratives from people who lived through the 1918 pandemic intresting. 2008 marked the 90th anniversary of the pandemic that killed millions of people world wide.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Swine flu.....

Just a heads up that an apparent out break of swine flu has the potential to turn into a pandemic according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Apparently this out break started in Mexico City in late March and has spread across the border into the US. The best way to avoid the flu is to minimize your chances of coming in contact with infected people and surfaces and to use good sanitation and wash your hands a lot!!! None of us probably wash our hands as much as we should.

The CDC website has the best and most up to date information on the outbreak. If you live in an area that has not had a reported case as of yet, tomorrow might be a good day to do a little stocking up...that is unless you are sick, if you are stay home!!! Read all the information available on the site. This is a new strain of flu and people should take precautions even if they have had a flu shot.

Yesterday when this story finally made front page news there were eight cases. Six in California and two in Texas. Today there are reports that there are cases in NY and Kansas.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dehydrated Foods

Dehydrated-Freeze Dried foods have a longer shelf life than foods that are canned with liquid.
While I feel there is some wiggle room with "use by dates" on canned items unless you are rotating and going through stock rather quickly you might have some dust covered canned beets from 2003 that you may not feel are still safe to eat.

A way to avoid this altogether is to purchase freeze dried food. Freeze dried food has an incredible shelf life of up to 25 years. You will not get that with traditionally canned goods no matter how careful you are in rotation of cans. Freeze dried foods with a 25 year shelf life can take a lot of worry out of your preps as you do not have to worry if something has gone bad. Having opened a few cans of nasty smelling and lumpy looking canned goods this could become a life or death situation if a person isn't careful.

I also think that because of weight issues, freeze dried foods are easier to transport in a "bug out" situation if the need arises. Mountain House offers several different options for preppers who want to add freeze dried food to their larder. If you have never ate freeze dried food I would suggest you get a 72 hour emergency kit and eat it. For the price of a dinner out($52.00) you could sample the food and see if it would fit with your preparedness plans.

Freeze dried food is also a good choice for BOBs (bug out bags) again because of the weight. Do not forget that hot water is needed to rehydrate the food so where ever you have it stored, do not forget that you will need a means of heating water to prepare it. A mess kit and magnesium fire starter should also be in your BOB so no need to fret.

To learn more about freeze dried food and for ordering info from Mountain House check the link- you will be suprised with the amount of choices there are.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

creative garden solutions

You do not need large acreage to plant potato. Potato is a food staple in many a home here in Maine. I saw this alternative potato planting method some years ago and its great for those who do not have the resources to plant row after row.

All you need is a good sunny location, some seed potato, soil mix that has some peat moss mixed in (the acid level helps prevent scab) and a big lawn and trash bag or a barrel. Sounds easy enough doesn't it? It is.

Poke drainage holes in your container. Put a good foot of earth in the container and plant your potato according to the directions on the package. Stand back and watch them grow. Once the foliage of the plants are eight inches above the soil carefully add some more soil so you cover 1/2 to 2/3 of the stem. Each time you add soil add some liquid fertilizer mixed with water, stop doing this once the plant flowers. You want your plants to stay moist but not soggy, if you experience a heavy spring or summer rain make sure your plants don't drown in the container.

Once the plant is in full bloom you can carefully dig around and harvest a few small "new" potatoes. These are great washed and boiled right in their skin as they are fairly small.

When the plant has stopped blooming and the foliage starts to die off and turns yellow stop watering the plant altogether. Leave the potatoes in the soil to cure for a couple weeks and then voila'....knock over the container and harvest your crop.

They can be stored in a cool dry place for months. Periodically check for ones that have gone bad as a couple rotten "taters" will do the same thing as a couple rotten apples and spoil the whole bunch.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

Today I am going to link to a very informative site that deals with third world countries. This site has many many MANY how to articles on topics that may come in handy for preppers even here in the good ole USA. Topics range from agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, harvesting etc etc etc. Granted some of the topics would not be relevant to our country but once you start looking around you will find so much information that you can use that its worth putting the link in your favorites.

Better yet, if you see a topic that is relevant and speaks to a topic you want to learn more about either print it off or jot down the relevant portions and keep them with your survival library material.

Your prepper/survival library is a very important aspect of being prepared. If there are skills you do not have search out someone who does and ask them to teach you. If that is not an option get a book or research it on line.

It is wise to practice skills especially those that are not easily accomplished or that you need to brush up on. If there are skills you have that you know you are good at, offer to teach someone else.

There is truth to the old saying that practice makes perfect. You do not want to be relying on a skill for survival that you have only read about but never put to practical use by actually doing it. Can you build a fire with no matches? Can you navigate with a compass? Have you and your family done a dry run on bugging out? Do you have a means of communication with others? Can you construct a temporary shelter if need be? Can you smoke or dry meat? Can you make a snare?

Understanding something in theory is not the same as actually doing it. There is a thing called muscle memory that kicks in automatically when a skill is practiced repeatedly. For an example remember the first time you split wood by hand? You may have been clumsy and slow. Now you can whip through a wood pile like no ones business! The first time you shot a handgun you were more than likely clumsy and nervous. Now you can shoot, drop the mag, reload, shoot some more and there is not a lot of thought process like there was the first time you picked it up or drew it from your holster. You have taught your muscles the actions to perform that task with practice.

If there was a true survival situation the more skills that you have stored in muscle memory the better. These things become automatic responses. For example I live in Maine. We have snow. We have ice. We lose power at times. This past winter the power went out, but we expected it. We already had our water drawn. I had a thermos of coffee ready. We started a fire in the old wood burning cook stove to supplement the heat from the wood stove in the basement. The candles, lanterns, and flashlights were brought out and ready. The radio was switched to battery power so we could still get news updates and the day went on. It wasnt a big deal, these things were done automatically. There was no question of who was doing what, we knew what needed to be done and just did it. This is because the power goes out here a lot. The reaction and action is a learned response.

There is no time like the present. Create a scenario that meshes with your level of preparedness and put your skills to use. Dust off that book on building a shelter or a smoke house and actually do it. If you have kids, have them pitch in to help. Make a day or weekend of it and make it fun. The more things you are confident at the better equipped you will be when you need that skill to kick in automatically.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Four Letter Word

We have all heard them, been warned against uttering them by our parents but the the draw and allure makes the utterance irresistible.

Today, for my blog post, I have decided to throw caution to the wind and utter the most vile, villainous, dirty four letter word I know.


There, I said it. DEBT and your ability to carry it is a marker of success right? You can walk into your bank and get a loan for a new car.
You can get that credit card that you were sent an offer for or borrow money to get your self a cocker of a new boat!!! Life is good!
You are successful....You arent keeping up with the Jones' you ARE the Jones'.
Your ability to carry DEBT tells you so. Your ability to carry debt is known as good credit....a thing we have been foolishly lead to believe is a good thing.
Its not. Credit is that dirty four letter word spelled D-E-B-T.

To set you on the right track to rid yourself of DEBT I have a few tips. Cut up your credit cards. Yes, they do come in handy in an emergency.
But the money you spend on the monthly payment could be set aside FOR that emergency, and if a little extra cash is something you cant come
up with or a rainy day is something you cant save for, you cant afford that emergency or rainy day at 18% interest either!

Do not cancel your card.Call the company and attempt to work a better deal for yourself, ask for a better interest rate....its worth a shot, but STOP USING THE CARD!Making the minimum payment on your card ensures that you will stay in debt for the near future. Cut it up, pay it down and pay it off.

At the same time start a savings account.This is a must! Even if the money is kept in a mason jar in your back yard. Pay yourself religiously just like you pay your other bills.
If all you can afford is ten dollars a week ($40 dollars a month) pay it. If you can reasonably afford twenty a week($80 dollars a month) pay it.
No matter the amount a penny saved is a penny not spent paying off something you couldnt afford to begin with. Look at this way. If all you can pay yourself a week is ten dollars over the course of a year you have socked away $10x52weeks=$520. if you borrowed that $520 dollars on a credit card at 18% interest you would be paying back an additional $93 dollars. At ten dollars a week over the course of a year, that would put you nine weeks in the hole for the coming year.This is not good money management.
Your savings should start now. Do not make this savings easy to acccess. Get it in your mind that its a hands off account.

Personal loans, Car, and Mortgage DEBT. Loan payment amounts are split between interest and actual principal. You can make your payment
every month but can you afford a little more?? A good way to get yourself out of DEBT is to include an extra $10, $20, $30, or whatever amount you can manage-in addition to your payment- with a specific instruction to your lender to apply it towards the principal. It may not sound like a lot of money, but the lower your actual principal, the less interest you will pay over the course of your loan. More money in your pocket is a good thing! If you are in good standing with your lender call them and see if refinancing to a lower interest rate is something you can achieve. If you are paying a $600 dollar mortgage payment at 7% interest with no problem- a reduction of that interest rate to 5% would free up some additional money that you can specifically apply to principal.

The most important thing to remember is the specific instruction to "apply towards principal" written clearly on the memo portion of your check or statement. You do not want the bank or lender to automatically take a portion of this payment and apply it to interest....collecting that interest is the banks goal- not yours....so be specific.

Lastly and most importantly is to stop aquiring new debt. Just dont do it. Being debt free and independent should be a long term goal, once reached, you want to stay there!!!!!! Live within your means. Being a prepper this concept of self reliance should not be a hard one to get your mind around. Having the ability to self regulate your spending habits is a goal we all should work on. Besides, the less debt you carry, the better able you will be to add to your survival supplies. In an EOTWAWKI(end of the world as we know it) scenario your saved money can add to your supply of tangible items...beans butter and bulllets....which in the end- will mean more than that shiney new car your neighbors are drooling over.

You can replace the dirty four letter words of DEBT and POOR with RICH- and thats one four letter word that doesnt leave a bad taste in your mouth!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ditch Food

It is spring here in the Maine woods. A time to don the rubber boots and go slogging through the wet woods in search of "ditch food". After a long winter nothing tastes better than the fiddleheads that will soon populate the river banks. Fiddleheads are immature ostrich ferns and somewhat of a Maine delicacy.

In a survival situation where foraging may be a must, fiddleheads would be the first spring "vegetable" a person here would have access to. They are easy to gather with a sharp knife but bring a burlap bag or sack as you will want to get as many as you can carry.

Look for fiddle heads that are firm, green, and tightly rolled at the tops. To harvest, simply cut the plant with a sharp knife leaving a good amount of stem.
To clean the fiddleheads there are several methods. Some people toss them up and down in the wind, a bag full at a time, on a clean bed sheet. This seperates the dried and brown leaf parts that cling to the stalks. It is also easy to just dunk them in cold water up and down until the brown and dried bits float to the top of the water. Or just leave them in a bucket outside under a slow running hose until the water overflows and looks clear.

Cooking is easy as well. To cook fiddleheads just add them to a pot of boiling salted water for ten minutes, or steam for 20 minutes. Here in Maine, people like fiddleheads so much they gather plenty and "put some up" for later. To freeze just parboil in boiling water for 2 minutes, remove from water, and quickly pat dry with a paper towel then package in freezer bags. They keep for several months.

Of course they taste the best when cooked fresh dressed with a little salt and butter. I personally like to add a little apple cider vinegar to mine for a little zip. Gathering fiddleheads is a good way to add to your larder and the price couldnt be better, they are FREE and with some minimal work can get you through until the first veggies start to sprout in your garden. With a little care, you can enjoy them for months to come.

With a delicate flavor much like asparagus they do not deserve the handle of "ditch food" but they are found in ditches and along streams and rivers. To learn more about my favorite "ditch food" as well as safe ways to store and some tasty recipes for pickled fiddleheads (you do have plenty of canning jars on hand right??) check out this link which includes a picture of fiddleheads for those who may not have had the pleasure of meeting them face to face!

It might be a good idea to print off the info on fiddleheads and keep it with any gardening books you may have in your survival library.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Welcome to the Maines Preppers Network. My user name is Bullseye and I am the Eastern Regional Coordinator for American Preppers Network. I am from Kentucky and part of the Kentucky Preppers Network too. I will be making a few posts on this Network until we find an individual who is interested in running the Network. If you are a patriot, survivalist, homesteader or are interested in preparedness you may be the person we are looking for. If you are interested please contact me, Bullseye, 1kentuckyprepper@gmail.com or Tom, americanprepper@yahoo.com for more information. Until then I have found a few web sites that I think all Maine residents would want to be aware of. I have listed them below for your convenience.

Maine Prepares News

Maine Pandemic Information

University of Maine Emergency Preparedness

American Red Cross

These are a few very useful links for all the residents of Maine. Please book mark these and I will be adding the links for each on the side bar so you will be able to find them when you need them most.Thank you all so much for your time and I will be posting again in the very near future. Comments are always welcome and I reply to each as time permits. Thank you.
MainePreppersNetwork.com Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Maine Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.