Friday, December 17, 2010

Preparedness Frisbees and Ponchos for Teens at Christmas!

Just a couple of thoughts that have been running around in my mind.

One area of preparedness that I think is often overlooked when a person is putting together emergency a way to have fun.  If you wind up confined to your home....or an evacuee facing a long term camping situation...what a boon it would be to have something fun to do!  A simple deck of cards...a doll for a child...a tennis ball...etc...could really brighten spirits...and help to pass the time.

Personally...I love throwing a frisbee!  I am admittedly a bit of a frisbee snob...and find lesser quality frisbees to be more aggravating than enjoyable.  I like the heavier frisbees made for ultimate frisbee.  The good ones fly long and true.  Of course you can't go wrong with a discraft frisbee....the official disc of the Ultimate Players Association!  Frisbees also serve a double purpose in that they can be used as a plate!

Next topic...

I teach an early morning religion class to high school kids.  I have noticed that not a single one of them ever wears a rain jacket!!  It could be pouring rain...and they will be wearing sweats.  That may be fine if they are indoors all day...but what if they get stuck outside.  I guess there is a sense of security that there will always be a shelter available somewhere and a place to get warm.  Perhaps a good stocking stuffer...or at least something to stick in their backpack is one of those cheap dollar store fold up ponchos.  They might look at you funny...but they may well appreciate it when the day comes that they need it.

Perhaps your shopping is already done.  If it isn' might consider getting some of what people need and hopefully want...things like preparedness frisbees and ponchos...the things that will help sustain those you care for through crisis!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Handgun Training...

People have seen too many movies...and think that they can just pick up a gun and become dirty Harry when they need to.  A reality is that becoming proficient with a gun takes practice...and a knowledge of fundamentals.  Here is a course that is being offered locally (Rocklin) that my wife and I will be attending to hone these skills...for a screamin' deal!  A 6-8 hour course with shooting range practice for $87!!!!!  Regularly $175.

The deal ends tomorrow...I believe before 6am.

Nothing says "I love you" more for Christmas than the gift of teaching your loved ones to defend themselves!

You might also revisit this article if you need some motivation.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Is the future optimistic...or pessimistic...the answer is...YES!!!

Perhaps you have noticed that I haven't been super active with the blog in a while.  My lack of posts is due largely to my being called back to teach a daily early morning religion class called "seminary".  With how demanding such a task order to do a good job I have had to change much of my course of thought and think less about how to stay alive eating bugs...and more about how to help a group of youth stay spiritually alive!

Despite my lack of posting...I am pleased to see that the readership continues to grow!  I hope that people will continue to read some of the past articles and find information that will help them to prepare.  I have started an additional 30 or so topics all in varying stages of completion.  As I find time to put the finishing touches on them...they will be posted!  Thank you for reading.

Now the article...

As the wicked Macbeth knocks on the witches door.  A witch...sensing his evil presence proclaims..."By the pricking of my thumbs...something wicked this way comes".

While our thumbs may not prick...and we don't expect Shakespeare's Macbeth to arrive at our door...a great many people of discernment...sense that evil times...times of great hardship are around the corner.

One needn't consult a necromancer to see "that there is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed"...when the news of the day is filled with ample signs of the degeneration of our society and how the life that we now live will more than likely change overnight.  Economies do crops...wars start...shipping is interrupted...natural disasters...plagues...infrastructure failures...etc...etc...all these things can happen overnight.  While it may pain us to dwell on the precariousness of our situation...the honest realize that we do truly walk on thin ice every day of our lives.

In addition to the news...people of Christian faith also have the words of Christ and prophets that paint a picture of some dire circumstances prior to the Saviors return.  Christians do not have to wonder if "if" these things will happen...they know they "will" happen.  While many of the signs that were foretold are around us...we know that we now only see the tip of the iceberg with regards to the troubles that are to come to mankind.  Troubles that will serve to turn man to God...or deny Him.

Those that are awake are being given time to prepare...and are grateful for each successive day that allows for them to hone another skill...amass more desired supplies...and of course get themselves spiritually sound.  And of course we aren't left in the dark as to what we are preparing a merciful God has also given us much information about how to be prepared and what to be prepared for.

A person...awakened to an understanding of impending peril could get pretty gloomy.  Stressed out.  Full of anxiety.  Full of grief for lost hope for a bright and cheerful life in the future.  Some who get in this funk will fall out of public life.  Some stop talking to their kids about "When you grow up you could be a..." believing that their child will in reality not have such opportunities but will instead be scavenging for food in a post apocalyptic world!  Some will say that it is just better to not even have kids with the world the way it is going.  Like Eeyore they walk around spreading 'sunshine' saying things like..."No use planting flowers...they're just going to be destroying in the nuclear blast..."  Real life Debbie Downers.

While I don't want to spend a lot of time getting into all of the doctrinal points...I do want to remind people that the trials that are to come are spoken of as "great and dreadful".  So often the dreadful overpowers our memory that it will be great too!  So if asked if the future is optimistic or pessimistic...I'd say that the answer is YES!!  It will be hard.  It will try us more than we have been tried.  It may even dispatch us and those we love to meet our God earlier than we anticipate.  Or we may find that we are offered deliverance from many of the trials.  Whatever may be our lot...we should live our lives happy and grateful for whatever situation we may be in.  And if it seems that there is no end to the darkness...we must remember that after the storm comes the rainbow...and the righteous win in the end!

I often think about how wonderful the earth will be in the millennium (The period after the destructions and return of Christ).  The shackles of oppressive government gone...the earth cleaned of unrighteousness.  I think I'd like to become a better surfer...learn some musical instruments...and work on the arts...and of course delve into trying to understand the many mysteries that will be revealed in those days!

Here are some quotes I recommend reading slowly and pondering...that can shape how we feel about impending drama...

“We must have faith in the future regardless of the ultimate eventualities. There could be no greater calamity in this world than the calamity of sitting down and waiting for calamity. We must not let the things which we can't do keep us from doing the things we can do . . . The future will always be better for those who are best prepared.”  Elder Richard L. Evans(Church News, June 25, 1988, p. 2).

“I recall a reported statement, attributed, as I remember it, to President Wilford Woodruff. Some of the brethren of his time are said to have approached him … and to have inquired of him as to when he felt the end would be—when would be the coming of the Master? These, I think, are not his exact words, but they convey the spirit of his reported reply: ‘I would live as if it were to be tomorrow—but I am still planting cherry trees!’ ” (Richard L. Evans Conference Report, April 1950, 105.)

From a talk by Patricia Holland (wife of the Apostle Jeffrey Holland)...

Not long ago we experienced the worst windstorm Bountiful has seen in several decades. The wind on the freeway was gauged at 113 miles an hour. Coming out of our canyon, it seemed even more than that. Just as I was hearing news reports of semi trucks—twenty of them—being blown over on the roadside, I looked out my lovely back window down toward our creek, and I saw one of our large trees go down with a crash. Another smaller one followed almost immediately.

For a moment, I confess I was truly fearful. For an instant, I thought of Kosovo and Littleton, Colorado, of our own Family History Library, and even the great bug-a-boo of the year Y2K. The wind became even more furious, and it was very loud. I am a little embarrassed to say it, but I was scared.

It was very early in the morning as the worst of this was happening, and Jeff was just leaving for the office. I said to him, "Do you think this is the end? Is it all over—or about to be?" I whispered. My husband, who has deep faith and endless optimism, took me in his arms and said, "No, but wouldn't it be wonderful if it were? Wouldn't it be wonderful if Christ really did come and his children really were ready for him? Wouldn't it be terrific if evil was finally conquered, once and for all, and the Savior of the world came down in the midst of the New Jerusalem to wipe away every tear from every eye? Yes," my husband said, "in lots of ways I wish it were the end, but it's not. It is just a stiff windstorm in Bountiful. We have got more work to do." So, he kissed me and drove off to work, with trees falling and rafters rattling.

Now, I was probably imagining it, but I thought I could hear him whistling a few bars of "Master, the Tempest Is Raging," especially that lovely closing refrain: "Peace, be still; peace, be still" (Hymns [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985], no. 105).

"Being settled in his soul, he has a serenity even in the midst of war and tumult. If he lives, he lives unto the Lord, if he dies, he dies unto the Lord, just as President Brigham Young said:

I say to the brethren who are leaving home . . . when you pray for your families . . . you must feel--if they live, all right; if they die, all right; if I die, all right; if I live, all right; for we are the Lords' and we shall soon meet again. [Journal of Discourses6:273]

The true believer can read the depressing signs of the times without being depressed because he has a particularized and "perfect brightness of hope" (2 Ne. 31:20). He knows that "Christ will lift [us] up" (Mor. 9:25). He does not naively depend on mortal rulers, assemblies, congresses, or parliaments to lift him up, though he is genuinely grateful for any true success by these. Rather, he has the precious perspective of Joseph Smith who observed:

The laws of men may guarantee to a people protection in the honorable pursuits of this life, and the temporal happiness arising from a protection against unjust insults and injuries; and when this is said, all is said, that can be in truth, of the power, extent, and influence of the laws of men, exclusive of the laws of God. [Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972) p. 50]

Besides, the true believer knows that in the awful winding-up scenes human deterioration will be finally and decisively and mercifully met by divine intervention. He understands, therefore, that in such conditions the sooner he renounces the world, the sooner he can help to save some souls in it."

The future is bright and dark.  Lets be ready for both!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Using Less Saves Money...No Duh...

I'm always grossed out by the portion of toothpaste that is used in toothpaste ads.  Of course such ads are put out by people selling toothpaste...who desire that you would put a monstrous glob of toothpaste on your brush...and proceed to burn through piles of toothpaste tubes and have to buy more.

Hopefully we know that putting toothpaste dripping off of your brush is not necessary for clean teeth.  One could use a tenth of that amount and still obtain clean teeth and fresh breath.

I'm not sure if many adults use that much toothpaste...but a lot of kids sure do.  They come to my home...and I watch in amazement as they pile their toothbrushes up...brush for a few moments and then spit a big clump of blue toothpaste in the sink to dry.

Follow these same children around and you will see them pump six pumps of soap on their hands to clean moderately dirty hands...or they will spin at the toilet paper roll like they are playing "The Price is Right" so they can use a giant wad of toilet paper to wipe a little pee-pee!

Of course...children aren't the only ones guilty of such waste.  Many of these wasteful habits carry into adulthood.  In a time when so many people are pinching every penny they way to free up some money is to use less.  Seriously.  I bet most people could cut many of their monthly expenses in half...just by consciously controlling their portions.

How much toothpaste do you really need to clean your teeth?

How many squares of toilet paper does it really take to do the job?

How much soap will clean your hands?  Shouldn't you buy those foam soap dispensers that stretch your soap out forever?!

Could you put your lunch sandwiches in a reusable container instead of using ziploc bags every day?

How about using a terry towel instead of paper towels?

I am not trying to make you into the stingy police of your households...but just to know that curbing your own waste and lovingly encouraging your family to follow suit could keep some cash in your pocket!

Monday, September 6, 2010


I've never really seen this articulated anywhere before...but it seems to me that as I work on my being prepared for whatever may come...that my preparations fall into 3 basic categories. primitive.  Each have their pro's and their con's.  But all are important to a well rounded preparedness plan.

Here is how I would define them...

Modern prepping makes use of the latest gadgetry and technology.  The goretex's...the high tech filters...the synthetic fibers that wisk sweat away...amazing metals to make knives out of that can bend without breaking and still keep a good edge...etc.  Awesome!  Science and capitalism have brought us some amazing things that can greatly enhance our preparations.  It is remarkable how so many things have become lighter and stronger and smaller making them easier to pack and transport.  The potential downsides that I see to modern prepping are...

1.  Many people purchase the latest and greatest gadget out there...which gives some level of peace of mind...but then they never actually practice using it.  Will they know what to do when an emergency happens?

2.  A lot of these gadgets are really expensive.  With the increasing stranglehold on the average families is may be hard to amass the "stuff".  Go to REI and tell me I'm wrong!

3.  I fear that strictly modern preppers will come to rely upon their gadgets too much.  What if they end up separated from their gadgets when disaster strikes?!

4.  I also think that it is possible to when using these separate yourself from the experience of the natural world.  We can end up like those people who try to experience Yosemite on a sanitized and aloof tour bus...viewing deer through plate glass...instead of getting down and dirty in nature and really gaining a better understanding of what is going on.

5.  A lot of modern gadgets rely upon electricity.  With the likelihood that a natural or manmade disaster could take out the grid long term...unless someone has a way to generate their own electricity...they will have a lot of non-working junk.

(Tip.  You know...there are lots of high tech preparedness gear items that can be picked up for a song on craigslist...and at local thrift stores.  People that never camp and clear out their closets...or they buy the latest and greatest and want to get rid of last years model.  If you can stomach being seen in last years Marmot sleeping bag...this might be a good choice to save a buck).

Pioneer prepping involves looking to those that lived before electricity came into the picture.  How did people wash their clothing before washing machines?  How did they stay warm indoors?  How did they live without running water?  etc..etc..etc...  Basically all of those things that that the pioneers used to make life easier and more comfortable.  It involves lot's of hand crank contraptions (see picture!) that work with some elbow grease.  A lifestyle that stresses frugality and makes use of means provided.

The good news is that a lot of the tools used by the pioneers are still available and generally are less expensive than their electric brothers.  One can actually find vintage pieces that are so well made...that they will work for you just as they did your great grandma.  There are even companies like Lehmans that specialize in reproductions and improved versions of those tools.

Downsides...well...not many I can think of.  I will say that...

1.  It still can rely on having "stuff".

2.  A lot of items in this category can be big and heavy duty.  This can be just fine if your staying in place...but not if you need to carry it somewhere!

Primitive prepping makes use of the technology that nature provides.  With knowledge and practice...given the proper can learn to provide all of the necessities of life with their own two hands. I see the ultimate of self reliance.  Knowing the natural world so well...that you can make use of it's bounty to provide.


1.  To solely rely upon primitive skills for long term survival could be really rough...and for most unrealistic.  Most people do not have the skill sets to find and make use of all of the calories they would need to stay alive.  Most don't have all of the skillsets that would help them not to just survive...but to flourish.  It seems much more plausible to survive if there were a small group of knowledgeable people working together.  Don't forget that America has been raped of many of it's natural resources that helped the natives of this land survive.  Rivers overflowing with fish...acre upon acre of oaks...neatly tended fields with edible roots.  Accounts of preoccupation America paint a very different picture of the landscape than the one we now live in.

Examples of Modern...Pioneer...Primitive....

Electric mill...hand crank mill...mortar and pestle...
Lighter...flint and steel...friction fire (sticks rubbed together)
Trail mix...pemmican...some seeds in a satchel...
Goretex jacket...wool jacket...twisted rabbit skin blanket...
Freeze dried food...dehydrated food...smoked
Nylon tent...canvas wall tent...structure built from sticks and debris...
GPS...compass...natural landmarks
Washing machine...tub and scrubbers...river and rocks...
Hybrid seed...heirloom seed...tending the wild...
Irish spring...lye soap...soaproot
Traveling in a car...with handcarts...on foot...
Flashlight...kerosene lantern...torch...
Toilet paper...a rag...a leaf...

I don't intend to throw out my nice insulated jacket anytime soon and try to kill enough rabbits to make a blanket to stay warm!  I appreciate my jacket too much!

I also don't intend to do my weekly bread baking milling my wheat with my hand crank mill...when I also have an electric one as well.  But hey...when the electricity is out...I know full well how to use the hand crank models...and if I get separated from that...well...I'll go and find a mortar and pestle to grind my grains!

Making use of the knowledge and tools of all three of these preparedness areas will help a person to be prepared much more than just studying one.  It provides a the peace of mind that comes with having a plan A...B...and C.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Buckeye Gathering 2011...

Hey friends.  This past May I went to what was to me...a life shaping event.  The first annual Buckeye Gathering.  A week long experience being submerged in an intense hands on study of primitive technology.  I drank up every moment.  The food was healthy and tasty...the music was incredible...I made great friends...the instructors were high quality.  It doesn't get better!

What is taught are "survival skills" of the highest degree.  Getting everything you may need from the natural world. No gadgets necessary.  A person at buckeye is learning to live basically as the Native Americans did and some other indigenous cultures still do.

I have had many people ask me questions about this event.  I want to give you a heads up well in they have set things in motion for the next one May of 2011.  With advanced planning...perhaps you can make plans to get off of work...and get the money together.   The cost for early registration is $300!!!  Thats for a week of all day instruction...and they feed you two meals a day!!!  That is cheap.

So you know...I should be teaching a class on oil extraction from acorns...and maybe something else on Oak tree ID.  We'll see.

Here is the link to their site.

Hope to see you there!

PS...People out of state...or out of the country...might do well to poke around and see if something like this is offered near where you live...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Investing in Food...

For several years now I have seen articles speaking of how various factors are pointing towards a time when there will be increased food shortages across the globe.  While food shortages may seem to the general public as something that only happens in countries that have names that are hard to pronounce...far removed from the cushy US...we more than likely will find out in the not too distant future how we are not above such challenges.

Here is an article that makes such sobering predictions.

My favorite line from the article...

"You don’t have to be an End Times survivalist to believe that storing food is pragmatic.  Everyone with expendable cash can and should design a good food storage and rotation system and buy bulk food as an investment -- in addition to creating self-sufficiency."

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Government in Your Garden...

I'd venture to guess that only a small fraction of US citizens have ever read a bill before it became law.  And who can blame them.  The bills are often ridiculously long and steeped in mind numbing and confusing legalese.  We're far too busy making bricks for Pharoah and attending circuses to try to wrap our head around such an intentionally convoluted mess.

A bill might have a fluffy...cute name like..."SB 2345 The happy fun make your life great act".  When in reality...hidden deep in the wording designed to have Americans give up their right of habeas corpus and be tried by military tribunals...or some other such nonsense. asks....isn't this sort of thing what our elected representatives are supposed to protect us from?!!

Sure we believe in a representative government...but it's quite obvious that many or most of those that supposedly represent the citizens...really represent whatever will put cash in their pockets...grow the welfare state...get them reelected...etc.  Many of these representatives...good intentioned but misinformed...grossly negligent...or conspiring and evil...push these bills through and ultimately they may become the unconstitutional "law" of the land.

What is also sickening is that many of these representatives never have a chance to...or don't bother to read the bills they are voting on !!

As a result...our freedoms dim with each successive year...month...and day as a collective Gulliver have the strings of tyranny placed over us.  Many of the politicians will continue to lull us with hollow promises...and encourage us to go back to sleep...while others are becoming brazenly open about their corruption as they believe that the people are too docile to ever do anything to really challenge them.

Here is a bill...that I am hearing about from time to time....that has the appearance of being ridiculously intrusive and corrupt.

It is called SB510  "The food safety modernization act".

Well...don't you want for your food to be "safe" and don't you want to be "Modern"?!!  What kind of crazy would be against safety and want to be a backwards outdated hillbilly in opposition to modernization!!?

Opponents of this bill say that it will (among other things) make it...

Illegal To Grow, Share,
Trade, Sell Homegrown Food

SB S510 Will Allow Government  To Put You In Jail ....

The government telling you how you can grow...what you can grow...etc!!!!

There are also people saying that there are ties to Monsanto...which is the devil.

To many...the notion that the government would ever come into your backyard and try to control what you grow may sound like some far fetched Orwellian plot.  That is...until someone shows up at your home with a clip board "just doing their job" to make sure that you are abiding the "law"...or you are found guilty of growing non-approved broccoli...and of course must therefore face the consequences!

So I'd recommend contacting your representatives...letting others know about it...and basically doing whatever becometh a concerned citizen.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

An Ember a Day...and a class invite...

"Why don't you just use a lighter or some matches?"...I am asked almost every time someone watches me attempt to make and ember using the hand drill or bow drill methods of fire starting.'s hard to explain. Perhaps the wonder that inside of a few dried sticks lies a glowing ember that can be coaxed out and transformed into a fire to cook my food and keep me warm...just never wears out. Perhaps it is just a weird way for me to live out my boyhood pyromaniac tendencies I never realized. Or maybe it is the intensely deep satisfaction that comes with knowing how to make a fire with no gadgets of any sort...the ultimate of self reliance. Maybe I just need to get this one more survival skill checked off my macho survival guy checklist. It could be the exhibitionist in me that enjoys people looking at me like I'm some sort of magician. Or perhaps it is born out of an inner desire to shed the trappings of "modern" society and grow a greater kinship not only with the people that lived where I do in generations past...but also with a multitude of world cultures that have started fires the same way for 1,000s of years.

Whatever it is...I am compelled to master it.

In my quest to become proficient with the hand drill method of friction fire I have been attempting to make an "ember a day". I have collected spindles and hearth boards of various local plants...and daily spend a little time learning what variations work best for me...and which end in failure. And I'll tell you...I do fail a lot. Not all woods will work. Sometimes I just don't have the stamina to get the heat generated. Sometimes my spindle is too bent and it walks all over making the process difficult. I learn from each failure and success.

I generally work at it until my hands feel as if they will blister...and then I stop. By the next day...they are toughened up and will be ready for another go. If I fail to make an ember with the hand drill...and my hands are just to hammered to continue...I often just bring out the bow drill set...which I can make fire almost 100% of the time with...and call it a night.

If you have no idea what I am talking about...go to and put in "hand drill fire" and "bow drill fire" and watch some videos.


If this sounds like something you would be interested in learning more about...

I will be doing a class on friction fire next month. It will be in two parts. We will go for a relatively short walk and I will help the class to identify some of the best plants for making fire. We will go over selection of woods and preparation of the materials for fire making. Then we will find a shady spot and try our hands at twirling up some embers...and making those into fires.

When - Saturday August 21st from 8am-10am.
Where - Hinkle Creek Nature Center at 7000 Baldwin Dam Rd. just below Lew Howard Park in Folsom CA.
Cost - $10 (That's the lot's of people have no job super special price!!)
Bring - Sun hat, water, pocket knife, a fire making attitude.

If you would like to come or have questions email me at

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My 3 Favorite Knives for Survival...

A knives importance in a survival situation cannot be underestimated.

It is the tool that can fabricate most anything that you might prepare food...defend yourself...and so on...

I agree with Ron Hood of that if I had to choose one knife to have with me in a survival situation...I would have a swiss army knife. As I said in another recent article...I like the Swiss Army Trekker. Here is why...

1. It is a longer length than what you might expect a "standard" swiss army knife to be...which makes it easier for me to grip...and the blades and other implements longer.

2. I despise having to pull out twenty tools to find the one that I want! The Trekker has the tools I use most. A knife...saw...and awl...without all the extras. Oh...and the very important tweezers! Can't tell you how often I get splinters.

3. My biggest heartburn with Swiss army has been that when the implements in the knife get gummed up at can take remarkable fingernail strength to open the knife. The trekker has a "one handed" open model that allows for the blade to open with a large thumb loop.

If I could choose two knives to take into a survival situation...
I would want the Ka-Bar Becker BK2. Here's why...

1. It has a heavier weight that allows for you to chop at branches. Like having a mini axe on your hip.

2. It is as thick as a pry bar which makes for effective batoning of wood. (Splitting of wood) This thickness makes it a virtually indestructible knife. No worries about abusing it.

3. It is not a cumbersome mini-sword like so many other knives made for similar purposes.

4. Though it may feel cumbersome...especially after carving with smaller is capable of doing various carving tasks.

If you wear it on your prepared to have people stop you and say "Holy Cow! What kind of knife is that!" most folks aren't used to such a heavy utility knife.

If I could choose a third knife I would have a simple Mora clipper knife. I have the carbon steel 840mg. (military green) Here is why...
1. I just love carving with it. It just feels good in my hand...and glides through wood.

2. It has a clearly laid bevel that beginners can easily sharpen. The carbon steel blade version has stayed sharp for me for a long time.

3. It weighs very little.

4. It is a tried and true effective bushcraft knife.

5. Not that this has any bearing on it's actual utility...but I also appreciate how inexpensive it is!

Knives are largely a thing of preference. What works best for one...may not be the best for another. Post any knife recommendations in the comments... Thanks!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Accumulating Jars for Canning...

I was chatting with a man who has taught canning techniques for longer than I've been alive. He works at a big canning supply factory in Oakland CA. Without any provocation on my part he went into a lengthy speech about all of the trouble our nation is quickly a disaster could change our lives...and the importance of storing food and supplies. He sounded a lot like me!

His belief was that next to having food should have supplies to store more food. Of course the hope with home production is that one can produce more fruits and veggies at home than what the family consumes...enabling excess food to be put away for the future!

He talked about steel suppliers and issues he was having getting in the raw materials to make the lids for the jars. He talked about how the price for the jars and lids had gone up...and he expected them to go drastically up again. He felt like the public should be running to the stores and cleaning the shelves of all canning supplies...while they still can.

After our conversation I have stocked up on some canning supplies here and there. Here is what we have done.

Although we do have a pressure cooker...most of our canning is done in a good ole' ball home canner. I recommend it as a great way to get into canning. It even comes with a canning book that many consider to be like a canning bible.

Both Walmart and Lowes carry canning supplies. From time to time...and when the price is right...I pick up a flat of jars with lids and a few of the little boxes of extra canning lids.

A great way to accumulate some jars is to purchase products that come in canning jars. While most jars aren't standard canning sizes that will fit canning lids...there are some companies out there that do use standard canning sized jars. Classico spaghetti sauces come in Mason jars. You can tell because it actually reads "Atlas Mason" in big print on the side of the jar. I have also seen Walmarts "Good Value" brand come in Mason jars. Specifically...I know that their peach chipotle salsa comes in a Mason jar. To reuse the jar...simply remove the label...and run it through your dishwasher. Then set it aside until you go to can...and use it as you would any other canning jar.

Please read the comments.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Keychain Survival!...

A friend of mine went on a rafting trip a while back. He was with a group of 25 people heading into some pretty intense rapids. A raft flipped...gear was lost...and they struggled to the shore to lick their wounds. The plan was to go home that night...but now they were way behind schedule and night was upon them. They were going to have to camp on the side of the river. My friend said "You know...out of those 25 people...I was the ONLY ONE that had any way to start a fire!" He went on to tell me that he always carries a lighter in his pocket. He is chastised by others for carrying he doesn't smoke...but it is just such occasions when having a habit of carrying useful items could save lives...or at least make a miserable night more comfortable.

A foundational principle of preparedness is to keep available what you need...when you will need it.

The challenge arises...that if you were to carry around with you all of the stuff you might need...your pockets and purses might end up filled to overflowing! A compromise is to have things a car be close when you might need it...or to have small preparedness items that are manageably carried from day to day.

An examination of many of our keychains would reveal that we currently are carrying keys that unlock who knows what...trinkets picked up from vacations...and other stuff we've accumulated over time. Our wallets and purses likewise also are collectors of junk...and could use a good purging from time to time to get rid of unwanted cargo. For people that drive...a keychain and wallet/purse...are some of the most important places to have preparedness items. Why?...because we almost always have them with us!

Here are some ideas about some things to consider putting on your keychain...or in your purse/wallet...

1. A knife - There are all kinds of options. For my everyday carry knife I have a Swiss Army Trekker. It has a few of the most important tools...without being what I consider too bulky or heavy. I have mixed feelings about the serrated edge on the knife...but I like the fact that it has a saw and an awl. This one even comes with a mini swiss army knife that would go well on a keychain.

2. Sharpener - A way to sharpen your knife! Here is a credit card sized option that fits in a wallet.

3. Firestarter - You could have a lighter like my friend. Another great option is to have a firesteel. They will produce thousands of fires...and you don't have to worry about getting them wet...or breaking them.

4. Pepper Spray - For subduing the bad guys...or animals.

5. Oil vial - For giving blessings to the sick. Personally...I see no reason why a woman can't also carry an oil vial. Prepared for her unprepared brothers. more thing I think is really important. Something that can allow for someone to return your keys to you if they are lost. I like dog tags engraved with my last name and phone number. Now...a person could get themselves all worked up wondering "What if they fell into the wrong hands!...A person would know where to go to rob me". While there is truth to this...I tend to believe that 99% of the time...the people that find your keys (granted you don't live in the ghetto) are prone to want to return them to you. I can't tell you how many functions I have been to where someone lost their keys...they were found...but no one had any clue how to get them back to the owner.

You might also consider having a carabiner like these to hold your keys. They allow for items to come on and off easily and have other potential preparedness uses.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Your Last Shopping Trip?...

I am often asked by people..."How long do you think things will go on before we're living in the wild west again?" Speaking of societal collapse in the US.

The answer is..."Every day that passes...I am amazed that it hasn't already happened"! It has been absolutely incredible that we have made it the last few years without a major disaster...manmade or otherwise to send us reeling back into the dark ages. One could look at our economic ails...terrorist threats...illegal alien problems...natural disasters...mettlesome foreign policy...wickedness...growing welfare state...poor crop yields...drought...corrupt governments...etc...and make a case that any one of them could cripple this country...and yet we have many of them reaching their ebullition seemingly at the same time!

Along these same lines...every time I step into a grocery store I think to myself..."I wonder if this is the last time I will be able to purchase food and supplies before the collapse?"

With this mindset I really...really question every purchase...making sure that every red cent goes to putting up more sustaining food and needed supplies for my opposed to being frittered away on useless garbage.

This has prompted the purchasing of extra apple sauce...toilet paper...and so forth.

Just a thought for you. If you knew that when you go to the grocery store tomorrow...that it would be your last time to stock up on food and supplies for an undetermined amount of time...what would you be buying? Would it just be business as usual? What items would be dropped from your list?

I am not recommending "going to extremes" or getting into debt for food storage or anything like that. I just want for people to have a reality check about the precariousness of our current situation...and to truly make use of the means that are currently available...that may not be for long.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Food Staples Surging in Price...

Not a lot of time for blogging these is a quick thought...

I am always interested when I see stories such as this one that talk about food shortages...inflation...rationing...etc. While this may seem like the problems of distant peoples... totally unrelated to the US...I think that would be a shortsighted assumption. Our connections can affect us when markets fail...when trade is limited or ceases...and in other ways. Our relations are a line of dominoes stood on end that reach around the world.

I read a story like this and marvel how little Americans currently pay for their food. While the people in the article pay up to 70% of their income on food...Americans pay somewhere around 7% of their income!!!

How differently we would view food if it was that expensive to us. I am planning for the day when we will be in the shoes of the so-called "poorer nations". When the facade of prosperity bursts...we will find we're not much different.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A New Foraging Blog...

I love foraging.  It is a passion.  I devote a lot of time and effort...and even money into my education on the topic.  My days are filled with sampling foliage...berries...seeds...etc...and putting them into the foods that my family eats. I do far more with it than I ever have time to post about.

And if I did post about it all here...I would have readers that would love it...and others that would grow weary.  Many of the plants that I discuss are endemic to California and therefore don't really completely apply to readers from other states...and even nations. seems that my local project "Sacred Garden School of Foraging" is gaining momentum.  Classes are formulating...and I plan on doing more and more as time goes on.  Students of the classes want more info on local plants...and may not be ready for a general preparedness blog.

It is because of this that I wanted to have a separate blog dedicated to the foraging send people to that are expressly interested in that do some more in depth studies...list some of the classes I will be doing...give recipes...and things of that nature.

This site will continue as it has...only without the foraging.

To check out the other blog...visit

I hope that even without the foraging info on this blog...that you will seek out an education on the topic.  I consider it one of the most valuable skills of self reliance that a person could possess.  Storing food is imperative.  Knowing how to grow your own is a must.  The skill to gather what you have not stored...or cannot grow...could fill in the gaps of your diet and save your life.

Just remember this.  An unskilled refugee has only the food he can carry on his back...and may starve when those supplies are gone.  A foraging refugee has nature as a supermarket...and can find food most wherever he or she goes!  That is prepared.

Thank you for reading!

Monday, May 24, 2010

To Invest...or Not to Invest...That is the Question...

I used to have a career in financial services.  Even though I am out of the industry...I still have people ask questions. In the hallway at church a young mother quietly asked..."My husband has an opportunity to put more money into a work sponsored retirement account. The company matches a certain percentage of what we put into the account. She went on to express her concerns about the markets but didn't want to jeopardize their families future by not investing.  "What should we do!??"

I didn't want in any way make her decision for her. I said..." all depends on what you believe."  "Is this just one more downturn before a prosperous future for our country...or have we reached a day of economic reckoning which will bankrupt our country?"  "Is this the buying opportunity of a lifetime...or the beginning of the greater than great depression?"

She responded that she didn't know.  I suggested that she study and pray about the decision.  We went on to talk about food storage and other things.  I am unsure what she decided to do.

Me.  I believe that we are on the cusp of the end of the dollar and great civil unrest in this country.

Phony Financial Optimism

While some might think to label me a pessimist...I consider myself a "real-ist" and an optimist. I am optimistic that whatever happens that the Lord will support me through it...if I am righteous. Being optimistic and having hope do not mean that you don't believe bad things will happen! Having optimism while standing on the sinking Titanic might mean that you believe that you could figure out a way to survive not that the ship won't sink. To ignore the ice cold water filling the ship...and pretend that it isn't coming in is not's stupidity.  My optimism or lack thereof would have no bearing on whether that ship is going to sink or not. Those whose rose colored glasses see only rainbows...bunnies...and the soft and cute things of the world may soon find what their so-called "optimism" has deceived their savings go up in a puff of smoke.

Gold and Silver

Their values are going up.  When the economy fails...they might be a good means of exchange.  If things get really bad and there is no shipment of food...just can't eat gold.

Here is the advice I would delivered from leaders of the church...(bolded for emphasis)  Reread it until you understand what is being said...

When will we learn these basic economic principles? However, “… when we really get into hard times,” said President Clark, “where food is scarce or there is none at all, and so with clothing and shelter, money may be no good for there may be nothing to buy, and you cannot eat money, you cannot get enough of it together to burn to keep warm, and you cannot wear it.” (Church News, November 21, 1953, p. 4.)

Food has an intrinsic value.  Supplies do.  Tools...etc.  Our trinkets and fine twined linens may soon be thrown to the people will trade their BMW for a bag of potatoes.  Those things that will actually support the essentials of life.

The Dollar Bubble

 Here is a video that showcases some economists and people whose views I share.  It may help some to see that this isn't just another market correction on an upward moving trend.  Truly past performance is not indicative of future results!!!  If anything it will motivate some to do more food storage planning!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Baskets are for sissies!  Right all you macho survivalist readers out there!  They are only for little girls in pretty dresses gathering Easter eggs...and should only be made and appreciated by crafty women who wear puppy dog sweat tops.  No self respecting Rambo would say otherwise!  WRONG-O!!!!  If Rambo had yet another would show him out in the jungle...sitting with some native women...fabricating his living and survival weaving baskets!

Open up your mind a bit if it isn't already.

With a bit of instruction...that could literally be learned in a couple of afternoons...a person could know how to weave together a basic container.  With the confidence of having made that simple could have the foundation for knowing how to make other various structures out of natural materials that they collect.

Now.  I am not meaning to say that there isn't a ton to know about basketry.  It truly is an art.  There are a myriad of different weaves and materials that people work a lifetime to master.  What I am saying is that with a little could put together some structures...that while they won't win any awards at the county fair...they will be useful.

I can speak with confidence on this...because for a couple of afternoons I sat at the feet of one of the most accomplished basket weavers in the world...Julia Parker...who helped me to get some of the basics down.  Now I feel like I could manufacture most any shape and size out of materials I find...natural or otherwise!!

So why is this a useful skill?

Think about it.  You could make...

Containers for gathering and storing.

For carrying and hauling.

For living in and sitting on.

For traveling in and with.

Cooking in.

For holding food...and even water!

Basketry skills make things like...


Fish and bird traps.

Fans for cooling off.

Huts and hats.

Chairs and clothing.

Animal Muzzles and cages.

Cradles and coffins.

The list goes on and on...

Basketry truly is a foundational skill for the truly self reliant in a primitive living scenario.

To learn basketry...I'd recommend as a first choice searching out the indigenous people's in your area to teach you.  Parks and recreations might also have classes like that.  Books are also very valuable...but can't completely substitute having the hands on instruction.  Check with your local library...and you may find as I have that there are plenty of books on the topic to check out for free.

Many native tribes also have a tradition that a basket should never be made by someone mourning a death...or when thinking bad thoughts.  The thought is that negative energy will transfer into the basket basically making it like a curse to whomever uses it.  This tradition has made basketry a happy occasion for it should be for you.  Don't get frustrated and upset.  Enjoy yourself!  Sit with friends and chat while out in nature and you may find as I did what an enriching experience it can be!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Walking in the Dark...

I can remember as a child...getting my first plastic flashlight.  It gave me...a small boy...a magical power that obeyed my every whim.  With a flick of my wrist a beam of laser power danced around the room.  I felt like Aladdin...with the power to release a genie.  I would stay up late into the night...mesmerized by the wonder of it.  Or nearly suffocate myself...going deep under my covers reading my "Peanuts" and "Calvin and Hobbes" comic books until my eyes couldn't see straight.  My joy would eventually turn to disappointment as I would awake one the morning with the flashlight in hand...dead from leaving it on all night.

While flashlights may seem commonplace to many of us "civilized" adults really is remarkable if you step back and think about it.  It is a portable means of lighting up an area to view...that happens with just the flick of a switch.  No fire has to be lit and lights great distances without one having to can light up broad areas or focus as a beam...there is no danger of being burned or smoked out.  Incredible!  What our ancestors would have done for such a power!

Well...they didn't have flashlights.  As far as I know...if they needed to travel at night...their options were to use a torch...or just walk in the dark.  Walking in the darkness can require a certain amount of faith and courage.  Is there danger hidden from view?  Do you really know your surroundings?  Can you find your way with the little you might be able to see?  Will you get lost?  Will your other you find your way?

For many of us...about the only time we have to find our way in the darkness is when we are trying to find a light-switch on a wall in our homes.  After being in a home for a while...we may have developed enough familiarity where we can boldly walk down a dark hall and flick an unseen switch with great confidence.  But that is as far as it goes.

I have to wonder if the ability to always use a light for our path...has given many of us a feeling of dependency on the light.  Like an unhealthy crutch that may be keeping our other skills and senses from staying sharp.

At the "Buckeye Gathering" a primitive living course that I recently striking difference between the group of people I was camping with...and every other group I have ever camped with...was that hardly anyone used a flashlight!  They just walked around in the darkness!  I followed suit.

You know what I found?  My eyes adjusted...and I could see a lot.   While I couldn't make out every rock...the path was easily discernible.  More stars became visible.  It seemed that I was relying more upon sound.  It was fun!  Really the only time I "needed" the flashlight was when I wanted to read something...or when I didn't want to waste time groping around in a dark tent trying to find a toothbrush.

On a field trip with my evening they took a group of 9 year olds on a night walk...and told all of them to bring no flashlights.  They spaced the children out...and had them walk along an unfamiliar trail alone.  Many of the children in the line had never walked in the darkness...and were terrified at the prospect.  While many of them were almost in tears over the ordeal...when they finished the walk they were all exhilarated!  They all shared stories of their fears and their triumphs!  A highlight of the trip for many of the children.

I wonder how many adults might experience the same feelings.  There is a internal power that is generated as one becomes truly self reliant.  Not reliant upon the gadgets of man to function.

Of course...common sense must be applied.  Walking in an area where you know there are sheer cliffs...patches of poison traffic (if you have no reflective gear)...or other dangers isn't smart.

Some other reasons to learn to walk in the dark...

1.  An obvious byproduct of reducing how much you use your that your batteries will last a whole lot longer.  I'm all for that...not because I buy into the myth of man-made global warming...just because I am very frugal!

2.  It can teach your family that just because they "Can" use a resource...doesn't mean they "Should" use a resource.  It will prepare them to conserve for a day of real want.  A good skill to teach to children that are notorious for draining flashlight batteries (as I was)!

3.  In the event you are in a prolonged disaster...and your batteries run out...or other circumstances leave you battery will have some practice functioning without.

4.  Walking in the dark is a way to pass through an area undetected.

5.  Doing so may help you to understand more greatly the spiritual lessons of walking the darkness as a trial of faith.  For found in this talk...

"Another example: We once had a major decision to make. When our prayers left us uncertain, I went to see Elder Harold B. Lee. He counseled us to proceed. Sensing that I was still very unsettled, he said, “The problem with you is you want to see the end from the beginning.” Then he quoted this verse from the Book of Mormon, “Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6).

He added, “You must learn to walk a few steps ahead into the darkness, and then the light will turn on and go before you.”"
6.  And builds character!  ;)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cord Locks and Target T-shirts...

I like to wear sombrero's that I pick up from thrift stores to protect myself from the sun.  The major downside is that when a moderate wind comes hat becomes like a kite and wants to fly away.  Lame!  I tried just tying a knot in the chin rope on the sombrero...but found it uncomfortable to have it cinched up all the I decided to track down what are called "Cord Locks".  They are those little do-dads that are on your jackets...hats...sleeping bag compression sacks...etc.

They're such a handy little thing to have. might be able to fabricate something that would work OK...but why go through the trouble?  These work remarkably well...are pretty durable...and are inexpensive.

I picked up a bag of 50 of them for roughly $10 from the "scrubhatlady" on ebay.  With that many...I can have them around for my replace locks that are lost...and for whatever other do-it-yourself gear projects I might have.  Awesome.

Target T-shirts

From a reader of the blog...uncensored!

"Hi there, 

just an idea for your blog from a pale girl whose skin burns more than easily and refuses to ever tan.. white long sleeved tissue tees are on sale at Target right now... will keep the sun off of my arms, are cooler than regular tees and are thin and light and won't take too much space in my pack.  perfect for when sunblock will be scarce or non-existent and I cannot spend my days at my office computer in air conditioning but rather surviving heaven knows where in the 3 1/2 season tent my hubby bought for me as our "2nd home""

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Food Waste...Storing Raw Materials...and Orderliness...

We live in what has rightly been dubbed the "throw away generation".  I remember in one of my first jobs as a youth...I worked at a cafe' where I bussed tables.  I was shocked and appalled to see how much waste happened on a daily basis.  While I sweated to earn my minimum wage...people would come in...purchase a tasty sandwich that would have taken me a couple of hours to earn...take one bite and then leave it!  And it wasn't because the food was bad that they didn't finish...because they would come right back and order the same thing day after day!!  They were there to drink their coffee and have a snack...there was no real pressing need to finish their food.  The food was an expendable commodity.

At that same cafe' the management told the employees that we were allowed to purchase day old baked goods for a discount...but if we didn't want to buy them...then we had to throw them out!!  They threatened that we would lose our jobs if they found out that we saved the food or gave it away...because they were afraid of the liability of someone eating their old food and suing them frivolously.

While that was a couple of decades still is a problem...and it has gotten worse in CA and this nation.  Restaurants in California as well as grocery stores and farms continue to throw out obscene amounts of food.  This recently written...sobering article says that "State studies have found that more than six million tons of food products are dumped annually, enough to fill the Staples Center in Los Angeles 35 times over."  Imagine that!!!   That waste makes me ill!  While our government forcefully takes our money for socialist welfare in theory "feed the hungry" (which is not a rightful function of government but of charities)...all that food goes unconsumed.  While people in the US wonder how they are going to feed their families in these difficult economic times...endless truckloads of good food go to the dump.

Such actions as a well as a country are shameful and in direct contrast to the teachings of  the Lord who taught us to be good stewards and not waste.  We should make our voices heard...encouraging the restaurants we go to...stores that we shop at...and farms we get produce from to not waste.  It would also be good to participate in efforts to facilitate saving food...not by seeking to force them in any way...legislating them to obey...or using any other bullying tactic.  They should do it because it's the right thing to do.  Of course patronizing businesses that practice the morally right things to a great way to keep such business!

The best place to start is by controlling our own actions and influence our families to avoid food waste.  

Brigham Young said...

Such was the attitude held by many of those who went through the great depression.  I can remember eating at my grandmothers home who is from that era...and while she wasn't looking we would check the dates on the packages to see how old the food see if it was "safe" to eat.  She had a reputation for never throwing food out.  I can still taste the stale chips mixed with the good ones!  

My cousin once poured himself a bowl of "Honey nut cheerios" one morning before a day of skiing.  When he lifted it to his mouth he exclaimed "These are like tiny rubber tires!!@!!"  We looked on the box and saw a picture of the honey bee mascot...but it was like an old school line drawing we had never seen!  We looked at the date and it was like a decade old.  When my cousin protested about eating it my grandmother said sternly..."Then you're not going to ski!!"  He ate the honey nut cheerios.  That bowl of cereal would not be thrown away at my grandmas house!

A person who has never known real want may not understand why my grandmother wouldn't just throw that old food out.  They may not understand why getting an orange for Christmas was an absolute treasure!  Or why someone would save a broken toy to fix it...instead of tossing it out and buying a new one. Why would someone wash off tinfoil and use it again!!?  Why would someone sow clothing and quilts out of a flour or feed bag?!!

They might also look at my grandmothers closet of boxes and boxes and racks and racks of shoes...many or most that she had never worn and wonder what possessed her to purchase so many shoes.  Not realizing that she had once gone without shoes as a child...and when she became financially able...she swore she would never go without again...and as like an emotional backlash...filled her closet to overflowing.

And they may not understand until everything they now have is gone.  As Joni Mitchell wisely once sang..."Don't it always seem to go...that we don't know what we got till it's gone".

We don't have to wonder if that day "may" come...we know that it "will" come.  All the "stuff" that is so easily replaced now...won't be at some point in the the prophets have told us that...

" there will come a time when there isn't a store ."(Spencer W. Kimball,GC April 1974 Welfare Session)

and we have been counseled to...

“Take good care of your material possessions, for the day will come when they will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace.” (President Packer quoting the prophet)

and those are just a couple of many quotes that point to a future day of want.  Days where we will be inclined to “Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

Storing Raw Materials

Now in preparation for a day when there is no store...and when we may not be able to replace our material possessions...we have long been counseled to store not just food...but "stuff".

Everything from bolts of cloth...needles and thread...etc...etc...

While I could dig up the quotes and try to compile an exhaustive list...the Lord has recently reminded us of what is on that list when he told us to store "Every needful thing".  So what are you going to need?  How long will the need last?

This knowledge of a future day of want...and of the command to store various materials and supplies...has led my family to hold onto various things...that if we knew they could easily be replaced in the future...we would gladly not cumber our ground with them.  This has caused for my family to gain a "pack rat" sort of reputation.  Extended family often chides us for having too much "stuff".  

The old adage "One mans trash is another man's treasure" is so true!  I go to throw out old leather shoes with a bad sole and I think "That is some good leather...perhaps I could make a knife sheath out of that...or I could repair the soles if I had no other shoes to wear.  What a waste to throw it out!".  Whereas an onlooker might just say "What a piece of junk...throw it away!  Buy another pair of shoes!"  Such a person might come to my home and think "Look at all of the junk he keeps"...and I would go to that person's house and think "This person has no "stuff"!  He is going to be up the creek when they have no store to go and get the things they need!!"

I live with a "scarcity" mentality now...preparing for a future day of need...while they live with an "abundance" mentality...thinking the world is a cornucopia that will not stop giving it's goods.


Now...I am not advocating living in squalor.  Living a life...tripping over everything is no way to live.

Clean and organized is what I aspire for.  I'm not there...but slowly and surely we are getting there.  As the Lord's house is a "house of order" should ours be.  

The truth is...that if you have a lot of "stuff" that is won't be able to find it when you need it!!  Defeating the purpose for storing it.

One should also avoid cumbering their ground with actual junk!  Things that have no intrinsic value.  Such things should be purged to make room for what you really need.

Question what you throw away.  Store what you'll need or want.  Learn to store it orderly so you'll have it when you need it.