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!  ;)