Prepping Basics: Water And Keeping Clean

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This is geared towards the beginner prepper with limited funds, done in order to secure the most basic things first. This is based upon the classic electric-grid down scenario, which is the most likely, and could be caused by any number of things, from a blizzard/hurricane to an EMP pulse or even a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the sun, both of which would fry all electronics, even cars and cellphones.

WATER SECURITY: The importance of water absolutely cannot be stressed enough, it is essential to life, without it you die in about 3 days yet millions of people live without their own source of water. Reliant upon being hooked into the city or town water supply the cleanliness of which is dependent upon having a functional water processing plant, the funtionality of which is dependent upon a faulty and extremely vulnerable electrical grid. Most processing plants have back up generators and enough water stored to keep supplies going for a little while in an average localized emergency type situation, but in instances like an EMP detonated over the country or a CME from the sun everything electrical would be fried, and even if the water still flowed in such a situation it would get very dirty, very fast. Quite honestly, it is very hard for me to fathom how anyone can feel comfortable living without their own secure and reliable source of water.

The easiest way to begin to correct such a stupid lifestyle choice is to save one gallon milk jugs and vinegar jugs. Every time you have an empty one don’t throw it out, instead clean it out and then fill it with water from the tap, leaving about 3 inches of space at the top to allow for expansion of water so that the jugs don’t burst if they happen to freeze.  Remember, in a grid down scenario there will be no real way to regulate indoor temperatures without electricity. Obviously though, if you live in a place such as Florida for example, where freezing is not likely to be an issue then just go ahead and fill it all the way to the top! Add 8 drops of regular unscented plain bleach to the jug and screw the cap on tight, shake a little to distribute the bleach, write the date on the outside of the jug with a permanent marker and store in a cool dark place, like at the back of a seldom used closet or in a corner of the basement. Although I don’t drink soda, and I don’t recommend that people do so, you can also save water the same way buy using empty 2 liter soda bottles, adding 4 drops of bleach instead of 8. Also, buy and store extra bleach, it’s a great multi-purpose disinfectant for more than just water!

((btw, you can also store water jugs in your freezer, filling up any extra space, especially in a chest freezer! and use them to keep your food cold at the beginning of the grid-down situation and then once fully melted you can drink the water.))

Another thing you can do, of course, is to simply buy water and store it. One gallon per person per day, store at the very least 3 DAYS worth, for a family of 5 that would be 15 GALLONS and this is just BARE MINIMUM, this does not include water for washing dishes, clothes, or bodies. Three gallons per person per day would be more ideal, so three days supply for a family of five would be 45 GALLONS! (personally, when I lived in suburbia, dependent upon the tap for water, I always stored 50 GALLONS MINIMUM.)

Even then that, to me, always seems so woefully insufficient. Personally, a secure clean water source is something that I would spare no expense on especially if I lived in a place where I was dependent upon the tap. For me, a high quality industrial strength filter, something like a Big Berkey or Berkey Light, along with the white fluoride filters (which also filters out heavy metals and other poisons like arsenic) and an extra set of the black filters, is an ABSOLUTE must have!

This combined with some type of water catchment system, or at the very minimum at least a bunch of extra clean buckets for catching rain water and then feeding the rain water through the Berkey (filter for drinking and cooking but the water can be used “as is” for washing) would be a lot more secure and actually I would do ALL of these: store water in jugs and have a filter and have a way to catch rain water and I would have ALL of that accomplished before buying ANY extra food stores, throwing all available extra cash towards solving the water issue first and foremost, it really is that important!

Plus, don’t forget that, in an emergency, you can also empty the water from the water heater and if you have warning and the forethought to do so, such as in the case of an incoming blizzard/ice storm or other large storm like a hurricane, you can also fill up your bathtub and fill up any other large containers like your water catchment buckets that I suggested before (Lowe’s sells 5 gallon buckets for about $3.79 each, at least that was the price last time I checked) or large stockpots/canner etc. And in the case of a blizzard, which is something very likely to occur where I live in the mountains, don’t forget that you can also melt snow for water!

Extra Credit: Also have a portable filter, something like a LifeStraw or something equivalent to that, for each member of the family.

2. KEEPING CLEAN: This isn’t something that I see covered very often but it is so important! In a grid down situation with very limited water it’s gonna be difficult for most people to maintain their usual first world standards of cleanliness. First to go, right off the bat, will be the daily hot water showers along with the continuous ease of clothes washing and daily clothing changes. Without electricity and an ample source of water such luxuries are far too wasteful to be indulged in on a daily basis.

Better learn NOW to accept the fact in your brain that it’ll be very strict sponge baths in a grid-down situation, what I call “The Triple P” Sponge Bath: Pits, Privates and Presentation (ie. appearance, which means face and any visible dirtiness on arms legs feet etc.) and the same water used for the sponge bath can then be used for washing your underwear and socks. Scrub them well by rubbing the sides of cloth against each other, then rinse them in clean water, wring them out really really well and hang to dry, preferably outdoors where the sun will hit them and disinfect them. Then put on fresh pairs of each keeping your stock rotating between wearing and drying.

This would be your BARE MINIMUM daily cleanliness ritual most likely performed at night before going to sleep. You won’t be changing your clothes until they are far too visibly dirty or stanky to keep on any longer, good idea then is to NOT sleep in your regular clothes but, after your sponge bath and changing into clean socks and underwear, put on some type of pajama for bed, just sweatpants and a t-shirt will suffice for most people kept exclusively for bedtime wear, along with a scarf tied around your head or knit cap in the wintertime. This will help keep your bedsheets clean as frequent changing of sheets just won’t be practical in this new grid-down world. Besides, sleeping in nothing but your underwear probably isn’t the best idea as the odds are greatly increased that something might happen at night where you may have to suddenly flee or defend yourself or even just to run out the back door and shoot some predator trying to eat your chickens. Sleeping with shoes and gun nearby and ready to go is ALWAYS a good idea!

Besides stocking up on extras of your regular soap or body wash, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant  etc. another good thing is Dr. Bronner’s Natural Soap. It is very liquid and concentrated, a tiny bit goes a very long way; just a teaspoon or two in a gallon of water to wash the body and a couple articles of clothing, plus it doesn’t have to be rinsed off making it especially useful for sponge baths!

Cleanliness is so important because people are toxic. I remember as a younger teen, at my church summer camp, an especially obese girl sweating so profusely outside in the hot humid air, she was just sweating and sweating and sweating, and then seemingly out of nowhere, she broke out into a horrible case of head to toe hives! Apparently her sweat was so toxic that she was allergic to it!

Such a reaction really isn’t all that surprising, sweat is the body’s preferred way to rid itself of toxins, especially heavy metals. However, the majority of americans are rarely active enough to get a good sweat going, but in a grid-down situation they won’t have a choice! LOL I can easily envision the same thing happening to all the millions of obese americans so used to sittin’ on ass in front of the TV or computer screen all day inside their electricity fueled climate controlled domiciles. In a grid-down situation without air conditioning, plus the added increase in manual labor that naturally follows, people will be sweating out ALL KINDS of toxins! Which makes it even more imperative that people keep themselves clean or they make suffer secondary afflictions, such as head to toe hives, an allergic reaction to their own toxic sweat!

Proper trash disposal also falls under the topic of keeping clean. Forget about garbage collection, you’ll be on your own in a grid-down situation. I know about, and have read many times in various preparedness articles, the reccommendation that people get paper products as part of their preps. Paper plates, cups, plastic utensils etc. with the reasoning that it will make everything easier at first without having to wash dishes, however, I could NOT disagree more! YOU will have to dispose of all that trash!!

Just imagine the amount of trash that gets hauled away from your house each week, now imagine that trash just sitting around in your yard, in your house, on the street corner. It’s gonna get real ugly, real fast! Bag upon bag of food covered paper plates, coffee stained cups, cruddy utensils, cardboard and plastic packaging, dirty diapers, bloody tampons etc. attracting all KINDS of things: flies, roaches, vermin, stray dogs, all spreading filth and disease.

This is how plagues start people.

Now, under normal conditions, the logical thing would be to burn your trash to dispose of it, but in an extended and possibly permanent grid-down situation this may not be wise. While you and I may have been smart enough to prepare there will be MILLIONS of people who did not and within about three days, more or less, those people are gonna be running out of food and doing anything and everything, including hurting, killing and stealing from others, in order to secure their next meal.

A giant smoking trash fire in your backyard might as well be a dinner bell, if you have something to burn it means you had something to eat which means you might still have more (especially if they can literally SEE the empty food packaging and paper plates covered in food residue as they burn..) and once people figure this out they’ll be all over you like zombies in a horror flick.

Ideally you want to keep the trash build-up as minimized as possible which definitely means no paper products. Instead store plenty of dishwashing soap, I buy this in big one gallon bottles from Sam’s Club for about $5 a gallon, and wash everything by hand, reusing the plates, cups, bowls, pots and pans that you already own (wow, what a novel idea! *rolls eyes*).

Instead of stocking disposable products like toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, tampons, or menstrual pads…which also tend to be bulky and take up space that can be used for more important things like food…store plenty of extra washcloths, hankerchiefs, handtowels, regular sized towels and cloth diapers along with sufficient amounts of liquid laundry detergent to wash them (I buy all these things, except the cloth diapers, hotel/restaurant commercial use high quality white colored in bulk, 24-36 ct. packages, from Sam’s Club). One more reason why it is imperative to have your own water source or, at the very least, some way of catching and storing rainwater. Something like this system <—-Clickable link! an all in one starter kit for about $100.

Plus water collection is a lot quieter and attracts a lot less attention than a giant smoking trash fire! And even though the tap might stop running (and if it keeps running it might not be trustworthy, at least not for drinking and cooking purposes…) the drains should continue to drain into the sewer for quite sometime, which means that you can also use the collected water, most likely the grey-water leftover from washing laundry, to manually flush the toilet as well. Although it is also a good idea to have a camp toilet as back up. You could also use a 5 gallon bucket with fitted seat, a scoop of dirt and then a handful of grass between layers of waste will help it begin to decompose until you can bury it. Having extra shovels is always a good thing too!

For the most part, the food items that are part of your food storage should be removed from packaging and stored in permanent containers like glass mason jars or food grade heavy duty plastic, preferably with an air-tight lid, once these containers empty they would just be washed and stored away in hopes of being re-filled with food again in (hopefully) the not too distant future. Other trash, like aluminium food cans, can be washed, labels removed, and kept as well. If the grid-down situation becomes permanent the aluminium in those cans then becomes a resource which could be broken down and remade into all sorts of useful items.

Same thing goes for other food containers, especially those things stored in glass, but plastic is fine too, like peanut butter jars for example, which tend to have really nice fitting lids. I routinely buy pickles, those big fat kosher dill monster sized ones in those huge 1 gallon glass jars, NOT for the pickles mind you (my homemade homegrown ones are at least 10 times better..) but for the JAR! $4.50 for a nice big one gallon glass jar is a pretty damn good deal if you ask me, it only takes about two days for my kids to eat them all and then the jar is MINE. I store all kinds of bulk organic grains, organic whole and ground spices, and organic dried herbs in those jars and then vaccum seal with a Pump -n- Seal <—-Clickable Link! which requires no electricity to run!  We’ve had one for going on ten years now and it is an indispensable part of our prepping.

Any other clean paper and plastic material, without food residue or bodily fluids on them, can be safely stored in a garbage bag inside a garbage can with a tight fitting lid, maybe store the garbage can in the garage or basement but if you are going to do this the trash MUST be clean, not even one crumb of food allowed or else you’ll be attracting mice or rats! Obviously though, the moment there is opportunity to do so, you would want to burn all of this. After about a week or so, when the smell of riotous burning cities (and they WILL be burning by that point!) can provide cover for the scent and in the middle of the night when it’s harder for the smoke to be seen from afar. Burning indoors in a fireplace or woodstove is ideal. If burnt out of doors try and contain it in something like a burn barrel and keep the fire small to minimize the amount of light it gives off so as not to attract unwanted attention.

That’s it for now, I’ve tried my best to give a basic overview of what I know, if you have any questions please leave them in the comment section.  The next part in this series will be about heating, cooking and energy economy.

Frivolous Lazy ASS Housewives

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In the average single income household, such as where the husband works outside the home and the wife stays at home, especially if said husband works extra long hours or odd hours, such as a graveyard shift, I always feel very very bad for that man. Especially if said wife is the type that is always spending money, the recreational shopper type always looking for something new just for the sake of buying something…a new pair of shoes, new throw pillows for the living room, a new kitchen whatchamajig, new DVDs for the children, and every few years she’s all like “time to buy a new washer/dryer!” OR “time to buy that new stainless steel fridge I’ve been wanting!” OR (even worse) “time to buy a new that new SUV!”

And, more often than not, this family is already deeply in debt. Credit card debt, a mortgage, probably two car payments so that she can go traipsing about while her husband is at work (..although I guess most recreational shopping is probably done online anymore, making it even easier to waste money..) Savings mean very little with debts like that, if you don’t have enough savings to completely cover your debts then you actually DO NOT have savings. It’s as simple as that.

And I always look at that kind of a situation, one that I saw quite often when we still lived in Maryland, and I think to myself…well firstly I think to myself “how can the husband allow that?” I mean, he’s the one making all the money, how can he allow her to just spend it ALL with no regard for anything? Whoever makes the money should control the money, that’s only fair. Call me old fashioned, but if the husband is working his ass off all day and night to make the money, he should be the one managing the money because he is the one who earned it therefore, logic dictates, that he will be then one to most sensibly spend it because he understands and appreciates all that went into obtaining that wealth.

In my experience, the majority of men tend to be more logical and sensible than the majority of women; whether liberal or conservative, religious or non-religious, black or white, rich or poor, it seems to supersede ALL boundary lines…it even applies to homosexual relationships! There is always the cool calm collected more “masculine” partner and then the silly frivolous emotional more “feminine” partner, at least that’s what the movie stereotypes always portray and it’s the homosexuals that basically run Hollywood so it MUST be true, right? right? (LMAO!!)

But seriously, men, in general, are more level-headed and common sensical than females.

Now now, I am aware that there can be exceptions to this, and NO I don’t need you to tell me about your “special case” ’cause Lord knows nothing annoys me more than when wives bitch about their husbands (rolls eyes). “Oh he’s just so immature! I HAVE to handle the money, if I didn’t the bills wouldn’t get paid and there’d be no food on the table! He would just go out and spend it all on worthless junk!” but what you’re actually saying is “boo hoo hoo, but he won’t spend the money how I want him to spend it, waaaaaaaaa! *sniff, sniff*”. But YOU didn’t earn the money. “But.. but… but, we’re husband and wife! we’re one flesh! he NEEDS me to help him make decisions.”

Really? Really? Do you honestly think the man is going to let his children go hungry or go without needed things like clothing and shoes or forget to pay the mortgage/rent and make eveyone be homeless just so that he can buy some man toy? Seriously?? Wow, then if that’s the case you did a pretty shitty job in choosing a husband didn’t you? After all, you’re the one that chose to marry the man…how does the saying go? sleep in the bed you’ve made? or something to that effect, yeah I think that applies here.

Do you want to know what I really think? Of course you do! or else you wouldn’t be reading my blog *grin*. I think that you, dear wifey of the above described hypothetical situation, are full of excuses that serve as cover for your real desire and that desire is to live a life of “luxury” sittin’ on ass at home doing next to nothing while your husband slaves away all day, that’s what I think. Either that or you just straight up do not trust or respect your husband AT ALL! I mean, keeping house and caring for children is really NOT that difficult, especially when you only have two and they spend the majority of their time in school away from you all day.

And that brings me to my second thought and the main topic of this blog post:

“What in the holy hell do you DO all day?!”

Historically speaking, the role of wives has always found meaning and fulfillment in securing and maintaining the homefront, doing her damnedest to make the absolute most of the resources at her disposal.  I know that this is looked down upon by the wives of today, but honestly it’s just plain common sense, especially for a single income household: your husband provides the resources and while he is away at work the wife (and children, if you’re homeschoolers) works hard at preserving, stretching, and growing those resources.

For example, number one thing: Land.  Most suburbanite single family home dwellers almost always have at least some small patch of land, what use are you making of it?  It wasn’t all that long ago when nearly every family home at least had a small garden and some still even had chickens, especially in the south.  Chickens are really the ultimate resource maximizer, so much of your husband’s money goes into providing food and waaay too much of that food often ends up wasted and in the trash, especially for those who have children.  But chickens, being omnivores, will eat ANYTHING!  Feed those food scraps to the chickens, even if it’s just 2-3 hens the way egg prices are going it’ll be worth it, and in return you get good healthy eggs, and when the chicken is done laying you get meat! and practically for free.  And the chicken waste can be used to fertilize the garden or fruiting trees/bushes whatever you plant on your land.  The money that your husband earns goes towards paying the mortgage/rent for that home on that bit of land and yet, more often than not, it is a resource that is utterly wasted!

I always see such a big deal made in all those wifey christian circles about the Proverbs 31 woman, so many lift her up as an example, but never actually DO anything.  Yet time and time again throughout that chapter we see a wife taking the resources provided by her husband and making best use of them in every possible way!

If not for religious reasons then do so from the standpoint of pure practicality, everybody knows that the economy is tanking, there is no getting better.  If your husband still has a job then be grateful and work at home to match his work away hour for hour, you have no excuse for sittin’ on ass watching TV or in front of the computer or reading a book or, quite frankly, doing ANY recreational activity while he is working hard to provide for you and the children.  If you are at home there is no excuse for using more expensive and less nutritious pre-packaged foods (or even worse, eating out!), you have the time (especially if your kids are in public school) you should be cooking from scratch using cheaper and more healthy ingredients, especially homegrown which is practically free!

Instead of pining away for some new piece of furniture or some new bit of decorative whatever: fill in the blank.  Instead of wasting money on something new, thoroughly clean, repair, refurbish and reorganize what you already own…you’ll be amazed at what can be done with a bit of elbow grease and some creativity and you’ll be maximizing the resources your husband has already provided instead of wasting money on something new.

Our foremothers, the visionary colonial women, the tough pioneer women, the ingenious women of the great depression, if they could see what the american housewife has devolved into I think that they would be both disappointed and embarrassed at seeing what all their hard work has led to.  That a major part in the economic downfall of our country was played by the lazy, materialistic housewife that squandered and wasted so many resources.  You better figure it out again soon, time is running out.

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Nutrition and Food Storage

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The food items that take center stage in our food storage system are protein and fat…not canned vegetables, not beans and rice or pasta, or pancake mix and bottles of maple flavored high fructose corn syrup *sigh*…NO! it is canned meats of various types and FAT, mainly coconut oil (both extra virgin and refined) and peanut oil along with smaller amounts of extra virgin olive oil, butter and very soon we’ll be adding in lard as we recently discovered a source that doesn’t have added BHA or BHT (nasty chemicals them is..)

In “the end of the world as we know it” (teotwawki) type scenario, like economic collapse for instance, such as would make Greece look like a walk in the park, which is probably the most likely scenario at this point, not including any number of natural disasters that could occur. The main thing most people will have a hard time getting their hands on will be protein and fat. I mean just look at our nation’s heartland! We grow literally MOUNTAINS of soybeans and corn each year (granted most of it is genetically modified). We, as a nation, also produce lots of wheat and potatoes.

But meat? The size of our cattle herds hasn’t been this low since the 1950’s! (but the nation’s population has grown tremendously!) and we just lost MILLIONS of birds, both meat fowl and egg laying fowl not even a few months ago! (..I wonder what turkey prices will look like this Thanksgiving..) and that’s not even mentioning the pig diarrhea thing that was happening before that, and forget about fish! I’ll take my seafood without a side of radiation thankyouverymuch.  Personally, I mainly stick to canned sardines or anchovies as they are small and fast growing so they can’t absorb a lot of chemicals or radiation before being harvested, plus they are very nutritious overall.

I mean, just outside my backdoor, even without the garden, so long as it isn’t the absolute dead of winter, you could quite easily forage for wild greens and herbs aplenty for a nice salad.  The southern Appalachias has the widest diversity of plant and animal species in ALL of North America (it’s true, Google it). And you could make a soup of wild roots like burdock, chicory and dandelion, maybe adding some wild garlic and edible mushrooms to the soup depending on the time of year, to go with the salad.  Or add the greens to the soup if you prefer.

Of course, all of this would be much more palatable and nourishing with the addition of some type of fat, a nice salad dressing made with extra virgin olive oil and raw apple cider vinegar (which also plays a HUGE role in our food storage..along with real gray sea salt and whole peppercorns and a pepper grinder or three for back-ups). Plus, the soup could certainly do with a dollop of coconut oil, butter or lard and you’d have a meal that can almost sustain, but without the added fat you’d just barely be getting by.

Of course, if you had a gun and ammo you could also shoot something. But that would mean knowing how to use a gun and knowing how to butcher an animal and most americans have never even picked a leaf directly off an edible plant and eaten it…and that’s assuming they even know which wild plants ARE edible…let alone butchering an animal! lol (I laugh merely to keep from crying, God this nation is PATHETIC…)

I would do it even better by having canned meat broth or canned coconut milk or even canned evaporated milk on hand, however the coconut milk has way more fat and calories which is why I prefer it. I would use one or a combination of these rather than only water for the soup. Just a small step above that level would be to grow potatoes or sweet potatoes, which are SO EASY to grow you really have no excuse for not doing so, you can even grow them in an average sized suburban backyard. I would add the potatoes or sweet potatoes, without peeling as that’s where most of the nutrition is, to the soup as well…and now we’re talking almost a REAL MEAL!

You also have to keep in mind the expenditure of energy used in foraging for the wild edibles and in digging up the wild roots, hope you own a shovel or hand trowel! Then finding clean water to wash it all, scrubbing and chopping the roots, chopped finely so that they cook faster, and then making and keeping a fire going hot enough and for long enough to cook the soup until the roots are tender enough to eat, which would involve expenditure of EVEN MORE energy in collecting up enough wood. And that’s assuming you actually know HOW to make fire, which is assuming A LOT I know (rolls eyes).. even with matches or a lighter it’s still not very easy, having some dry cardboard or newspaper will help get it going faster though…

Quite honestly, doing ALL of this just to get a meal is really NOT the easiest thing in the world and most average americans sittin’ on ass all day would probably have a hard time of it, expending more calories then they’re getting in the long run. But, hopefully, if you are smart and stored at least some food you won’t have to resort to ALL of that, at least not right away.

Your stored food, if you do it right, will be there to help you make a slow transition into growing, foraging and hunting the majority of your own food over time while, at first, using your stored food to fuel these activities. Which is exactly WHY I recommend storing ample amounts of fat as part of your food storage plan, one gram of fat is 9 calories! Protein and carbs are only 4 calories per gram, with protein having the most nutritious 4 calories per gram.

My most preferred fat for long term storage is coconut oil, especially extra virgin coconut oil but refined (like the jars of Lou Ana coconut oil frequently found in a lot of grocery stores) is okay as well. It is 100% PURE saturated fat making it very shelf stable at room temperature. Guaranteed store-able for at least five years, especially if it’s in the smaller unopened 1 quart sized containers, stored in a cool dark place like a basement or root cellar it could easily last a decade I would think.

Same goes for small unopened jars of peanut butter spread, like JIF Natural, which has palm oil (similar in composition to coconut oil, both are tropical oils with high amounts of saturated fat) mixed in with the peanut butter to reduce separation, but it also has the added benefit of making the peanut butter more shelf stable as well.

As a matter of fact, just this past week my local Kroger grocery store was selling 16 oz. jars of JIF Natural for 99 cents each when bought in groups of five (their buy 5, save $5 sale). That’s 2,660 calories of almost PURE FAT for 99 cents!! And as far as I can tell by watching the sale patterns over time, they seem to run that sale only about every 8-12 months. But even my local Walmart sells the larger 28 oz. jars of JIF Natural for $4.98 each regular everyday price…that’s still 4,655 calories per jar = 935 calories per dollar which is still pretty damn good. And that peanut butter could easily be stretched by pairing it up with bread or crackers, or making an oriental peanut sauce served over noodles for instance, as peanuts and wheat (especially WHOLE wheat) together form a complete protein.

An especially nutritious meal is to take sprouted wheat kernels, I prefer red spring wheat for it’s higher protein content, ground to a mush in either the food processor or a hand grinder and cooked mixed with water and peanut butter to make something like a hot cereal.  Seasoned with a bit of salt and drizzled with some raw honey it tastes reminiscent of peanut butter cookie, especially when eaten with a glass of raw goat’s milk from our goats, my kids also like it with a bit of chopped banana mixed in!

That brings me to my second favorite fat for food storage: peanut oil!  Not roasted peanut oil, but the more bland flavorless type typically used for deep fat frying. We usually buy huge 5 gallon jugs of it from Sam’s Club for around $40 each…that’s $8 a gallon!  Now it certainly isn’t the most nutritious of fats but it isn’t nearly as bad for you as soybean oil or canola oil, and it can be used for everything from baking to stir-frying and even making mayonnaise.

There is also extra virgin olive oil which should really never be used for cooking. We reserve ours mainly for mixing half and half with peanut oil to make mayo or in homemade salad dressing to drizzle on top of homegrown salads, eaten along with a hardboiled egg or two from our hens, makes for a great cheap and nutritious meal.

You can also can your own butter <—-Clickable link!

…and can your own cheese <—-Clickable link!

I’ve done both and continue to can my own butter, but not the cheese so much as I am not really a big fan of processed cheesefood stuff like Velveeta, but it would be better than nothing when the SHTF.  The canned butter works well though and lasts a long time, the oldest jar I ever opened was three years old and it was still perfectly good!  However, with both the canned butter and canned cheese, storage is important, they very much need to be stored in a cool dark place.  The jars that I had for three years had been stored in the coolest darkest area of our basement at the time, it had a dirt floor just like a root cellar!

For stored meats we buy canned beef from here <—-Clickable link! .. Spam, vienna sausages, canned corned beef and corned beef hash, sardines, and anchovies for the most part.  We like to buy meats that pair easily with what we grow, for example: corned beef hash and scrambled eggs or fried vienna sausages with eggs or canned beef with beans or finely chopped Spam stir-fried crispy with veggies like zucchini, squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic (the BACON Spam is especially good in a stir-fry!).

The meats can also be paired up with other grains that we store.  Pinto beans, lentils, brown basmati rice, red spring wheat, and thick rolled old fashioned oats.  All are 100% Organic and with the exception of the oats, all are soaked and sprouted before cooking.  The oats being rolled cannot be sprouted but I do soak/ferment them before cooking.

Why do I sprout them? Mainly to reduce the gluten in the wheat and the phytic acid content in everything else including the wheat.  Phytic acid is a compound found in all legumes, grains, and nuts that inhibits mineral and nutrient absorption in the body. Mainly minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, and B vitamins all of which are incredibly important to dietary health. Soaking and sprouting nuts/seeds/grains/legumes helps increase phytase activity, ie. the enzyme that helps break down phytic acid.  A wide range of health benefits have been associated with sprouted grains including: increase in folate, increase in vitamin C and vitamin A, increase in B vitamins, reduction of common allergens (especially with wheat), increase and ease of digestibility, increases in protein content, increases in amino acid content, plus it makes minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc easier to absorb; and in general starches are converted into simple carbohydrates making them “easier to digest” which is especially helpful when it comes to beans.

There is no hard and fast rule for sprouting, it’s really more of a method, basically the smaller and softer the seed the less soaking time required to get it to sprout.  The amount of water I use is enough to fully cover by at least one inch, but you might have to add more if all the water is used up before the soaking time is done.  Also, it needs to be reasonably warm, at least room temperature but 80F is more ideal.  I stick mine in the oven with just the oven light on and the temperature stays pretty steady between 80F and 85F.  After soaking you drain them in a colander and I just leave it in the colander out on the counter with a bowl underneath to catch the drips and rinse at least twice a day which is just like “watering” the emerging baby seedling.  For the things that I store, here is my main “rule of thumb” so to speak…

PInto Beans: Soak 8-12 hours, 2 days for sprouting

Lentils: Soak no more than 8 hours, 2 days for sprouting

Brown Basmati Rice: Soak 9 hours, 3-4 days for sprouts (although I often just soak and cook as the sprouts are so tiny and take too long imho)

Hard Red Spring Wheat: Soak no more than 8 hours, 2 days for sprouts

After soaking and sprouting just cook like normal.  I like using the sprouted pinto beans cooked and then mashed and refried in coconut oil, refried beans are loved by everyone in this household!  The lentils and rice are very often served together in the same dish, but I also use the rice to serve alongside stir-fries and the lentils are frequently made into stew using things like homegrown potatoes and carrots along with chicken broth made from homegrown chicken.  Our favorite way to enjoy the sprouted wheat is in the hot cereal form than I mentioned earlier or let the wheat continue to sprout for another two days, they’ll get very sweet tasting and are great “as is” or lightly steamed and served topped with butter, salt and pepper.  You can also cook theses “extra large” wheat sprouts along with rice for added protein and nutrition.

All done for now, more about sprouting in the next blog post!

Rustic Summer Vegetable Soup

Sprsumfall

I make this every year, usually in August, and, except for the bay leaf, all the ingredients are 100% homegrown organic straight from the garden! This recipe can also be expanded infinitely in size so as long as you’ve got a pot big enough to hold it all!

1 pound fresh shell beans or white dry bean like cannellini or great northern, soaked in warm water for at least 12 hours but preferably 24 hours
1 bay leaf
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 pound yellow onions, finely chopped
1 pound zucchini and/or yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 pound green beans, ends removed and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced

My favorite Green Shelling Bean "Haricot Tarbais"

My favorite Green Shelling Bean “Haricot Tarbais”

Super easy method! First cook the beans, bay leaf, garlic, and onions together at a vigorous simmer in 2 qt. of fresh water until the beans are soft. About 30 minutes for fresh shell beans, 45-60 minutes for dried beans. Drain the beans reserving the cooking liquid and bay leaf.

Return the cooking liquid and bay leaf to the pan and add enough water to make 6 cups total. Bring to a simmer and add the zucchini/summer squash and green beans and cook for 10 minutes. Next add the tomatoes and continue cooking until everything is tender but not yet falling apart. Then add the already cooked beans and let simmer for another five minutes or so. Remove the bay leaf. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper, ladle into serving bowls and spoon some the pesto on top.

Full of basil with roasted garlic on top

Full of basil with roasted garlic on top

Finished pesto!

Finished pesto!

Easy Pesto
In a blender whirl together several cloves of raw garlic or several whole bulbs of roasted garlic along with LOTS of basil, adding enough extra virgin olive oil to get a nice puree of moderate thickness. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I make this every year and keep it in the fridge to add quick flavor to almost any dish, it’s especially good spooned into soup or smeared on chicken. I also make a similar version using cilantro instead of basil.

The finished soup, dished out and cooling, for five HUNGRY kids!

The finished soup, dished out and cooling, for five HUNGRY kids!

Prep Like It’s 1999

doomsday

“I was dreamin’ when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray
But when I woke up this mornin’, could’ve sworn it was judgment day
The sky was all purple, there were people runnin’ everywhere
Tryin’ to run from the destruction, you know I didn’t even care

Say say two thousand zero zero party over, oops, out of time
So tonight I’m gonna PREP like it’s nineteen ninety-nine..”

I’ve been actively prepping for 13 years now, it’s easy to remember since it began, for me, the day my husband and I got married. He had been a prepper even before there was such a term!

I remember him, only two weeks after we started dating, pulling a huge pack out of his closet and opening it up revealing all sorts of survivalist gear from paracord and a compass to a mini fishing kit and emergency Mylar blankets and everything in between! Along with a map all marked up in detail showing the safest and easiest route, both by road and on foot, to his friend’s property in Southern West Virginia (we lived in central Maryland at the time, just north and east of Baltimore city…)

He also showed me a couple of guns and a couple of machetes that he said we would use for protection on our journey should we ever have to “get out of dodge” – nowadays the average prepper would say “bug out” lol – in the event of another 9/11 or something worse occurring, our plan back then was to get out of the major metropolitan areas before marshal law was declared (remember this was February 2002, only five months after 9/11…and yes, for those of you thinking it, he was a Y2K prepper…)

We were prepping in a tiny apartment just on the outskirts of a sprawling crime ridden city. We were prepping when we lived in an 82 year old fixer upper with a large backyard in a suburban neighborhood in West Virginia. And we’re prepping still, but now in a small cottage on 9 acres in the middle of the deep backwoods of Southeastern West Virginia. And with each place we’ve lived our prepping principles have changed and adapted. Basically, at this point, I think we could pretty much survive anywhere! lol

But no matter where we’ve lived, for us there has always been three main basics to prepping and survival: Protection, Water, Food…and yes, in that order!

There is NO POINT in wasting time and energy procuring water and food if you CANNOT protect it! If you will not or cannot protect what is yours then you are better off not preparing AT ALL ’cause you’ll just end up feeding the bad guys in the long run.

Half assed is a dead ass.

Protection doesn’t only mean physical protection from other people, it’s not just guns and knives which I am not going to discuss here as there are plenty others who are far more knowledgeable on the subject than I am.  However, the subject of protection also includes protection from corrupt and unscrupulous government agencies that have no greater desire than to rip apart and destroy a large homeschooling Christian family.  Always, always, ALWAYS be as compliant with the law as much as you possibly can if you are homeschooling, never give them any excuse AT ALL to think that you are doing otherwise.

Same goes for vaccine refusal. Here in West Virginia if you want to send your child to public school you are 100% REQUIRED to vaccinate that child, no exceptions, not even a religious exemption is allowed. The way around that? You homeschool.

Homeschooling and vaccine refusal tend to go hand in hand in this state.

But if you are going to homeschool, it must needs be done LAWFULLY or else when it’s discovered that you are not in compliance with homeschool law (and quite honestly all it really takes is just one tiny phone call from an idiot ass nosy neighbor who happens to “notice” that your kids are outside during school hours..) action WILL be taken against you in the so-called “best interest” of the children.

That being said, one simple way to protect yourself from this is to keep track of when school is in session and the days the kids have off in the year. Just call up the school board and request that a school calendar be sent to your house and do not let your kids outside unless it is a time when all other children would normally be outside after the school day is done (we wait till the public school bus passes by our house) or if it’s a scheduled day off, same goes for snow days as well.

Of course this applies more to those who live in a place where they actually have neighbors. Even though we now live in a place where we have no direct neighbors we still stick to this rule unless we are all headed into the woods, even a car driving by on the road can’t see that the children are out during school hours if they are in the woods! lol

Don’t be stupid. Pay your taxes (render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s)…if this really bothers you then stick to such wealth production as that cannot be monetized ie. hard assets. Knowledge and skills cannot be taxed, any and all tools are great for this niche as well, especially hand tools. Also food that you grow/forage/hunt along with livestock and wood, whether standing timber or stockpiled from the local lumberyard along with things like nails, screws, etc. etc.

Try not to so much view property taxes as them forcibly taking your wealth, but more like you are paying them off, a bribe to keep the off your back so to speak…they operate like an organized crime syndicate anyways so might as well call it what it is. And if all they ever demand of you is money understand, and then thank the Lord above, that you are getting off lucky! Most governments throughout the history of the world have often demanded far more from their citizenry, if not their very lives!

In many ways I do my best to be the gray man just another nameless face in a herd of blithering sheeple. I’ve been utilizing this all of my life, before I had ever even learned there was such a thing, it just came naturally especially when I was in high school. And honestly, it’s just plain common sense: if you are outnumbered and surrounded then you better do your damnedest to blend in and NOT draw attention to yourself, this is how I got through the twelve hellish years of public school (okay maybe the first five years weren’t quite hell, but the rest certainly were!) with my soul still fully intact on graduation day. It does not matter what they think of you and, ideally, it is best if they do not think of you AT ALL!

Also, in keeping with the gray man idea, we do not belong officially to any club or established organization, not a church, not any political organizations or gun clubs, not even the local homeschool group…we are friends with like-minded people, there’s just no “official” record.

Another thing to consider:  West Virginia isn’t one of them, but some states have laws that require you to have electricity and/or running water especially if you have people under the age of 18 living in your house, make sure that your state isn’t one of them and if so make sure you are in compliance with that law.  The same goes for healthcare (just keep in mind there that IS a difference between having and using)…again, give them NO EXCUSE to target you!!

Getting back to the more practical aspects of prepping, under the category of protection is also lighting and shelter.  The number one thing for lighting that I simply cannot recommend more is a Waka Waka Light, it is a small handheld light with a built-in solar panel that charges even on an overcast day.  We have one for each member of our family over the age of five, they use them for reading before bed but, of course, the true purpose is to be used in an emergency or teotwawki situation. You can also use outdoor solar lamps made for the intention of lining a walkway but they can just as easily be used indoors after charging in the direct sunlight all day, however the solar panel does not work as well as the one on a Waka Waka Light.

One thing that most people in a grid down situation might not think of is simply just doing without light and adapting to the natural cycles of light and darkness.  We quite naturally fell into this rhythm during Derecho 2012 when our power grid was down for 11 days.  You simply work when it’s light, sleep when it’s dark, this is especially important if you find yourself in a population center, using light at night could possibly attract all sorts of unwanted attention.

My main pet peeve about lighting that I have run into several times over the years is this absurd notion that you must buy those little expensive bottles labelled as “lamp oil” for your oil lamps…NO, you do not…instead just use good old fashioned kerosene from a gas station, it’s waaay cheaper and also produces a much brighter light!  Almost needless to say, you can also use candles, I am always on the lookout for used candles at thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales.  If not used “as is” then melted down and re-purposed into fire-starters.  I have bought huge pillar candles for as little as 25 cents each! Don’t forget to stock up on matches and plenty of lighters!

As for shelter, well, the securest shelter is one that you own in full and a mortgage, no matter how you cut it, is NOT full ownership, simple as that. We own our own house and land and have been absolutely 100% DEBT FREE since 2003.  The closer you can be to fully owning a house and piece of land as far away from the city as possible the better off you will be and the more secure your preps will be…not much else to say really…moving on to water…

Water! is so important! If you do not have access to a safe clean water source independent of the electrical grid then you better be storing LOTS of it!  One gallon per person per day is the absolute minimum, three gallons per person per day is more ideal.

One thing my husband did when we still lived in the city was locate a natural spring. In the woods between our apartment complex and the eight lane interstate highway, woods that were narrow but quite long running for a good distance along the interstate, about one mile from our apartment he found a naturally occurring spring and we kept it’s location in mind just in case we ever found ourselves in a situation without water…if you collect from a natural water source however, just make sure to boil the water for at least seven minutes, ten is better, and treat each gallon with bleach.  For those who might be interested, here<—clickable link! is a good article on locating a natural spring.

I used to store water in old one gallon milk jugs and vinegar jugs adding 8 drops of bleach to purify and screwing the cap on tight stored in a cool place out of direct sunlight, like the back of a seldom used closet. When we moved from Maryland to West Virginia I remember dumping close to 50 gallons of water down the drain lol. Now we live on land with it’s own well and medium sized creek fed by two natural springs, I still keep 20 gallons (in four 5 gallon jugs) stored in the house at all times though.  I also highly recommend the Big Berky water filter, we’ve been using one since 2006 and they work great!

As for food, I tend to disagree with other preppers out there on how exactly to go about on food storage.  In my opinion, if you do not have the ability to cook or properly store food independent of the electrical grid then you should only be storing food that requires no cooking or refrigeration.  Especially if you find yourself in a city situation, the smell of food cooking is liable to attract unwanted attention, ie. people that will want to take your food.  Bag upon bag of dry beans and rice do you no good at all if you have not the means to cook it!

 Buy Canned Food that does not require cooking. Everybody goes for the tuna, but it’s a poor choice, containing few calories or fat it can fill your stomach but will not provide much in the way of energy and in a survival situation you NEED energy! And FAT, fat is essential in helping your body to properly deal with stress and can even prevent you from going into shock should your situation become especially perilous. Go for the sardines or canned salmon or even canned mackerel, with plenty of hot sauce or mustard and some saltine crackers…it will provide you with REAL (mostly nutritious) energy.

Any of the canned chilis taste fine cold, and other canned meats like SPAM or canned ham (NOT the chicken, you need the fat and it doesn’t have enough!) or potted meat even…any of these paired up with saltine crackers (preferably whole wheat saltines if you can get ’em) or other cracker like Triscuits will provide good basic energy for little money and it will not go bad nor does it require cooking. Other good ideas are shelled roasted and salted sunflower seed kernels, banana chips fried in coconut oil or palm oil (both the sunflower seeds and banana chips I get from The Dollar Tree for $1..I mix these with raisins and mini M&M baking chips, or mini chocolate chips if melting isn’t going to be an issue, to make my own trail mix). Peanut butter is excellent as well and BUTTER is a good idea too, the salted kind can remain at room temperature, around 70°f, for weeks without going bad. All of these things have A LOT of calories for little money and they don’t require refrigeration or cooking.

Also, make sure you have plenty of manual can openers on hand!

Other good food ideas that don’t require cooking or refrigeration: canned olives, canned coconut milk, canned sweet potatoes, beef or BACON jerky in vacuum sealed packages, jarred pickled eggs, canned meat broth, extra virgin coconut oil, raw honey and dried seaweed in vacuum sealed packages..might sound weird but the seaweed will last forever unopened and has lotsa good nutrition it can be soaked in broth and then drank-eaten together even without heating the broth. Also, good high quality moist grey colored sea salt! It is one thing that most people cannot produce themselves (unless they live near the ocean) plus it will never go bad and if you have a large reserve you can use small amounts for barter since the majority of people in a SHTF scenario will be too late in realizing the preciousness of something as simple as salt!

Once you procure the means to cook without electricity, maybe a propane or kerosene stove with ample amounts of stored fuel.  Or, even better, a Biolite Stove, we bought one a couple of years ago, it cooks great, especially the grilling attachment, we use hickory harvested from our woods for grilling…PLUS it can charge any USB device with nothing more than a simple woodfire and wood is the one thing that we have basically an unlimited supply of! Thus enabling us to charge things like our cell phone, tablet or laptop so that we can continue to run our Ebay business even when the electrical grid is down!

Next up, if you’re lucky, prepping and nutrition.  AKA “We NEED Protein People!”

How To Save Money Part 2

how-to-save-money-today

Right now, for us, our bills are very few.

We don’t have a rent or mortgage, our house and land is completely paid for.

We don’t have car payments, our car is completely paid for. We have ZERO debt!

We have our own well, a deep artisan well, a large creek, and two springs on our land (one is a year round spring, the other is seasonal) so we do not have to pay for water, but we do have to pay for the electricity to operate the well pump and run water into the house. We have plans to get a hand pump installed in the future though, it’s uncomfortable feeling to be reliant on something as fickle as electricity for something as important as water. That project will be paid for using money from either our “prepper fund” or “projects fund”.

We have a septic system and do not have to pay for sewer. We do pay $20 a year for septic microbes that we use religiously, by doing this and by not flushing the toilet paper, our septic tank still hasn’t gotten full enough to require pumping yet. We also have plans to buy a composting toilet in the future, again using money from either our “prepper fund” or “projects fund” of course :)

The bills that we do have are:

Electricity: usually stays around $130, but it can as much as DOUBLE in winter using two space heaters, plus we use the clothes dryer a lot more often in winter which adds to the bill as well. We do have AC but it never really gets hot enough here in the summer for us to justify running it. We have all the usual big appliances like an electric oven, washer and dryer and one fridge. But we also know how to live without those things. I know how to hand wash clothing (I got PLENTY of practice with THAT during Derecho 2012 when we went 11 days without electricity!) and we have a clothesline that I use pretty regularly during the warm months, we also have several different means to cook without electricity and the ability to store food without electricity. A word about the fridge, most of the stuff that people store in a fridge doesn’t even need to be in there, things like most condiments, most drinks and even most veggies don’t NEED a fridge! Neither do eggs, which when you harvest them fresh from your own chickens will last a week or longer just sittin’ on the kitchen counter (however, I never eat eggs that are more than a day old, why should I when I don’t have to??…I also never drink milk that is more than 12 hours old, again why should I if I don’t have to?? When you grow your own you can afford to be a food snob :P ) and, because we eat seasonally, most of our veggies are stored in the garden until we use them. You don’t have to keep the fridge as cold as all the “experts” always recommend, I know that most say 40F but we keep ours in the 45F-50F range with no issue at all. We don’t keep meat in the fridge though except to thaw it out, all of our meat is either killed fresh on the homestead or bought fresh and used within 1-2 days max or, for longer term storage, it is either thrown into the freezer or canned.

Internet/Cell Phone: my husband has a cell phone with unlimited data and we have cellular internet with 10 gigs, all of this we get through Verizon and pay a sum total of $210 a month for all of it, we used to pay less than that but it recently went up, again. :roll: . This may seem like a lot, but it is necessary because we run an internet based business. The internet is also indispensable for entertainment purposes, buying things that we need (mostly from Amazon Prime and E-bay), researching different topics and gathering information on what is happening in the world, and, because we do not buy any sort of “official” curriculum, for homeschooling the children.

Netflix: $25 per month. We don’t have cable or satellite TV programming, we watch everything either on DVD or streamed over the internet.

Trash Pick-Up: like I said before, we pay for this all at once at the beginning of the year.

Human food and household items: we budget $400 a month and stick to it pretty religiously. But every six months, usually once in the spring and once in the fall, we order organic red spring wheat, organic brown basmati rice, organic pinto beans, organic lentils, organic thick rolled oats and Real Salt in bulk (in 25-50 lb. bags) which usually costs us around $200. We belong to a food co-op that is run by The Seventh Day Adventist Church in our local town and they order their stuff from Frankferd Farms in Pennsylvania. They also run a rather large thrift store that I have been shopping at for going on six years now and I buy the majority of our clothing from them, so they know me pretty well there and since we observe a Saturday Sabbath, same as them, we have things in common which have resulted in many interesting and edifying conversations with the ladies that volunteer there. However, we are NOT members of the church and have never even attended it, the co-op and thrift store are services that they provide to the community and I am so grateful for them!! :D When we lived in Maryland I shopped at a similar type thrift store, but it was owned and operated by a Lutheran Church. Also, every six months, usually in the summer and in the winter, I make a trip into “da big shitty” (as I like to call it ;) ) and shop at Sam’s Club where I stock up on business supplies for our E-bay business and other paper products like toilet paper and paper towels, also things like dirt cheap industrial strength dishwashing soap ($4.98/gal.) and laundry soap ($15 for 35 pounds) that I buy in bulk or white vinegar and baking soda for example that are a really good deal when purchased there, usually spending a grand total of about $200 for all of it. So, four months out of the year we spend $600 a month on human food and household items, but these extra expenditures are planned and budgeted for ahead of time so that it’s really no big deal :)

Animal Food (for the 20+ chickens, 4 goats, and 5 cats): $200 a month at the very most, including the price of hay which we have delivered once a month from a farm five miles down the street, but it is often A LOT less in the summer when there are plenty of wild green things for the chickens and goats to eat.

Gasoline: $35-$40 a month. Most people require gasoline to fuel their car so they can get to and from work everyday, but because we work from home we just don’t require much. We make trips into town (which is 30 miles away) only twice a month and once a week we take the kiddos to the nearest library which is 6 miles away and right down the street from a Family Dollar Store that just built about 8 months ago. We get the hay for the goats delivered once a month so no gas is used there, but we do make a once a month trip to the farm store (which is about 15 miles away) to buy a month’s worth of animal feed at a time. Another way that we save money is by doing ALL of our regular grocery shopping every month at Kroger, for every $100 you spend they give you 10 cents/gal. off the price of gasoline if you buy it at their pumps, we almost always save 30 cents/gal. and fill our gas tank up only once a month plus we get extra gasoline to run the chainsaw.

E-bay Fees: this is almost always our BIGGEST bill each month and it is dependent upon how much we did in sales, so it can range anywheres from just a couple hundred dollars to a couple THOUSAND dollars. This might seem like a lot but when you take into account the cost of having an actual physical store front versus selling online the fees are WAY LESS than what it would cost to operate a physical brick and mortar business thus enabling us to keep more of our money as profit :)

So, not counting the E-bay fees (which can vary pretty wildly) or trash pick-up or car insurance or property taxes (which we always pay for all at once at the beginning of the year, one less thing to deal with..), we require about $1400 a month to live and that is for a family of EIGHT! I got this number by adding up the grand yearly total according to the above numbers and then dividing that total by twelve and rounding up. So, $1400 is a liberal estimate, we could live on as little as $1000 a month if we really had to. We eventually plan to go off-grid, we’re already 75% of the way to that goal, so if we got rid of the electric bill we could live on even less.

Now I am going to talk about food some more because it is SO important an issue when it comes to living frugally. Remember, I have termed my particular brand of frugalness as “practical frugality”, the main reason I use this term is because I want to be frugal in ways that are practical and not just in the short term but also in the long term. When people want to be frugal the food budget is often the first to receive the most severe cut backs, as if living off Ramen Noodles forever is enough of a sacrifice to get you noticed by the money gods who will grant your money saving request :lol: But, in reality, it’s just plain stupid! You might be saving money in the short term but only at the expense of your health, which, if you continue the lifestyle, will cost you even more money in medical bills in the not too distant future.

As you age, this is one of the main ways that the system continues to suck power from you. You eat their nasty frankenfood and drink their nasty soda pop and develop chronic illness which they then give you pharmaceutical drugs and other treatments to “fix” but nothing ever really heals because most things that we call “chronic illness” are really just severe forms of malnutrition and the drugs are designed to mask your symptoms (which, btw, is your body’s way of tell you that something is WRONG!) so that you can feel well enough to continue work in your wage slave job. After all, they gotta make sure that you at least make it to age 65 to get the best return on their investment, like cattle in an industrial slaughterhouse fed just well enough to keep them alive until butchering time. They don’t care about you! Let me repeat that: They DON’T CARE About You!! You’re simply the battery that powers their system and, when the time is right, you will be disposed of with the same disinterest that a Duracell D-Cell is tossed into the trash.

I’ll say it again: They.Don’t.Care.About.You.

russian-nesting-dollsI have my own theory on nutrition which I’ve written about before, I call it “The Russian Nesting Doll Theory Of Nutrition”.

Imagine yourself and all the many facets of yourself and your body as little russian nesting dolls.  Like the dolls inside of dolls, each doll should be seen as a whole in relation to all the others.  The smallest doll, lets say, represents the whole of nutrition…from the proper preparation of the soil, through the harvesting, handling, processing, and marketing of food; the careful selections which make it possible for each of the body requirements to be fully met; the precise and proper preparation and the gracious serving of that food; the pleasantness and relaxation necessary to assure digestion and full absorption of nutrients; and other factors which can be controlled to prevent destruction of nutrients in the body (things like limiting sugar and sprouting seeds to neutralize phytic acid for example) and the subsequent losses through the excreta.

The next larger doll might symbolize the body as a whole, all of it’s parts and organs functioning cooperatively and in harmony with each other.  Health is not simply just one part of the body, not something outside it to which we must attain, instead it is the cumulative effect of every cell in the body functioning in a right and normal manner.  Whether recognized by the mainstream medical community or not, disease is not simply one part of the body but exists in every body cell.  If the cells don’t have what they need to be healthy the logical result will always be disease, whether it be communicable disease (like the common cold) or a diseases of malnutrition (like heart disease or cancer).

The third doll would symbolize the needs of the body as a whole…such as love, worthiness, peace of mind, psychological adjustment, relaxation, and personal recognition as well as the needs of the physical body such as exercise, sleep, fresh air, sunshine, and warmth.

The fourth doll would represent the individual in relation to his environment; family, friends, work, hobbies, and recreation.  And the largest and final doll would be representative of the individual’s personal philosophy, religion, convictions, ethics, prejudices and morals…which, in turn, would determine the part that he/she plays in the world.  In order for the largest “doll” to function rightly all the other “dolls” within it must also be in good working order…nutrition, when seen in this light, is still a small part of the whole; yet it remains the most VITAL part.

What you do, know, and believe is almost entirely dependent upon the state of the body…if you are sickly because of poor nutrition (and this is the state of the majority of the population) work will seem like drudgery, you won’t have any energy for hobbies and you would care less about anything having to do with philosophy or religion or morals because you would hate your life and therefore hate God.  It’s difficult to think in a “higher consciousness” type way (choosing the Love Filled Spirit response/reaction over the Fleshly Fallen Human response/reaction) when your body is beaten down and sickly…this is the overall reason why they tamper with the food supply, making things that should not be so… abominations like corn or soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and all the crops that have been genetically tampered with in the name of the Almighty Dollar (their god)…we were never meant to eat these…these foods make us SICK, and on top of that they give us pharmaceuticals in the name of “making us well” which just makes us sicker,  and sickly people are easier to control.

I personally categorize food according to two values: Nutrition per dollar and Calories per dollar.  First, all foods containing things like soybean oil, canola oil, safflower oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, trans fats (listed as “partially hydrogenated” on the ingredient list) or high fructose corn syrup are automatically eliminated.  For the most part, I do not buy foods that contain these ingredients.  As I said before meat and protein products, like eggs and milk products, almost always contain more nutrition than fruits, veggies and grains.  Don’t believe me?  Then, check out and compare the nutritional analysis of 1 apple, 1 egg and 1 potato.

Nutrition Analysis of 1 medium apple:

Vitamin A
1
%
Calcium
1
%
Vitamin D
0
%
Thiamin
2
%
Niacin
1
%
Vitamin B6
3
%
Phosphorus
2
%
Selenium
0
%
Vitamin C
11
%
Iron
1
%
Vitamin E
1
%
Riboflavin
2
%
Vitamin B12
0
%
Manganese
2
%
Copper
2
%
Magnesium
2
%
Zinc
0
%

Nutritional Analysis of 1 large egg:

Vitamin A
5
%
Calcium
3
%
Vitamin D
4
%
Thiamin
2
%
Niacin
0
%
Vitamin B6
4
%
Phosphorus
10
%
Selenium
23
%
Vitamin C
0
%
Iron
5
%
Vitamin E
2
%
Riboflavin
14
%
Vitamin B12
11
%
Manganese
1
%
Copper
3
%
Magnesium
2
%
Zinc
4
%

Nutritional Analysis of 1 medium potato:

Vitamin A
0
%
Calcium
3
%
Vitamin D
0
%
Thiamin
12
%
Niacin
11
%
Vitamin B6
37
%
Phosphorus
12
%
Selenium
1
%
Vitamin C
20
%
Iron
10
%
Vitamin E
0
%
Riboflavin
4
%
Vitamin B12
0
%
Manganese
17
%
Copper
11
%
Magnesium
12
%
Zinc
4
%

Now if you took an egg, an apple, and a potato and sat them in front of a random person and asked them to point to the one that is most nutritious, odds are they would most likely point to the apple because that is what they have always been brainwashed to believe…I mean, apples are healthy right? RIGHT?!  But not when you look at the nutritional analysis, the egg and the potato BOTH have FAR MORE nutrition than the apple.  And  if you look even closer you’ll see that, nutrition-wise, the egg and potato compliment each other, this is why fried eggs and potatoes (eggs fried in butter and potatoes fried in refined coconut oil) are our main breakfast meal…easily grown, easily prepared and easily eaten! :D

You can do this with ANY meat and with ANY fruit or vegetable and almost always the meat/protein will have more nutrition, the only instance where this isn’t always true is with fish, which is the least nutritious of the meats…funny how that one is always being promoted as nutritious as well, huh?  If I was a conspiracy theorist, I’d say it almost seems like the diet dictocrats purposefully promote that which is LEAST nutritious, but why?  And do YOU have the guts to answer that question for yourself?

This is why I center our diet around meat and protein with vegetables and sprouted or fermented grains being second.  All of those grains that I mentioned before, that I buy in bulk, I routinely sprout them before cooking (other than the oats which I ferment before cooking) because once sprouted the seed is no longer a “grain” but now a baby plant, doing this eliminates most of the bad stuff in the grain, even things like gluten are partially broken down, and it increases by many-fold all the GOOD THINGS found in the seed!  Not too mention, these things are CHEAP!  …buying the organic version in bulk only costs me around $1.30/pound on average.

There WILL be a part 3 as I have the time, so stay tuned for that!

 

How To Save Money

keep-calm-and-do-your-budget

First of all, a bit of a disclaimer, this is not your average “how to save a buck” faux frugality article. This is extreme frugality or, better yet, what I have personally termed “practical frugality” that takes into account both the short term and long term scope of not only living within one’s means in the present but gradually over time reducing one’s need for money overall. I have a unique perspective, that of a stay at home mom who is also a homesteader pursuing a more sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle, which allows me more freedom than the average city dwelling wage slave in implementing a wide variety of strategies in the quest to reduce my need for money. I have written this article for people who are like me or on the road towards a similar goal.

The first rule of how to save money is to not spend money, even if you “think” you need to spend money, don’t spend money. PERIOD. I know that sounds ridiculously simple but once you have a deeper understanding of what exactly money is and what exactly you are doing when you spend it, it might be easier to refrain or, at the very least, be more discerning in how you spend your money.

Money, in our society, in it’s most basic form is a symbol of your labor. Your actual energy and time taken from your life is exchanged at a certain rate (your wage) for what we call money. It’s life-force converted into an easily transferable mode of exchange and this force is the power that runs the world. If you’re working for $10/hr. and buy a $10 shirt you just traded 1 hour of your life for that shirt..was it worth it? How about for a $5 fancy coffee? You just traded 30 minutes of your life for it…was it worth it? Or, for the stay at home moms, you really think that $50 new kitchen appliance will make your life easier but you just traded 5 hours of your husband’s life to make your own life easier…was it worth it? It really puts the constant spending of money into a different light when you look at it that way doesn’t it? :)

Foundationally, money is one of the main ways by which you can and continually DO influence the world around you. You’re like a battery, and when you spend money the people who run the companies that you give it to are receiving power from you and who exactly are you empowering? And what will they use their power for? In a very real sense you CAN decide who runs the world by simply being discerning in how you spend your money. It’s quite simple: Give your power (money) to the people you wish to support.

Money in and of itself is NOT inherently evil. I know that among certain christian circles it is fashionable to be poor (as if you get extra “brownie points” with God or something :roll: ) using it as a mask to cover up certain character flaws such as laziness or lack of discipline and self-control which is, more often than not, the REAL reason for their poverty. However, Jesus very specifically said that the LOVE of money is the root of all evil! Having money and spending money, using it as the tool that it is, is not evil but loving it IS evil. I don’t love money, I actually HATE it, which is why I work as hard as I do to reduce my need for it and to mitigate as much as possible the power it has to harm me and my family by lack of it. I hate how society uses money, the having and the not having of it, to control the people. They make it practically impossible to live without it, even if you wished to opt out of the system entirely and live on a little plot of land providing the majority of your own needs you’d still have to find a way to make some money in order to pay your property taxes! It’s ludicrous and, sadly, it is also by design, you’re the battery that powers their system and the LAST THING they want is people opting out!

So, how do we achieve this balance? How do we reduce our need for money while, at the same time, having money enough to cover our needs and to prepare for unforeseeable calamities or disasters?

My husband and I have been selling on E-bay since 2003, at first it was part time while my husband still worked outside the home and we were saving money to buy our first house. Then, in the fall of 2005, when we bought our first house and moved from Maryland to West Virginia we went full time and, 10 years later, our E-bay sales are still our primary source of income. As you might expect, being an E-bay seller is not exactly the most stable source of income :lol: . We sell mostly video games so there are times, like during the holiday shopping season, when the money is just ROLLING IN! And then there are other times, like in September and October when all the kids first go back to school, that our video game sales drop off sharply and were lucky to even make a profit at all in those months. So, we’ve learned, out of necessity, an age old lesson that is really just plain common sense: In times of plenty, prepare for the inevitable famine. Fortunately, this also goes directly hand in hand with our homesteading/self-reliance/prepper/survivalist lifestyle :D

All of the laws of the universe tend to operate around this “boom-bust cycle”. You have summer and then winter ALWAYS inevitably follows, there is NO stopping it! And how you prepare during the summer months (the boom cycle) determines whether or not you will make it through the winter months (the bust cycle). Most people, however, spend the summer months on vacation, lying on their backs in the sunshine with nary a care in the world. Then, when winter arrives, and they can’t buy food and they can’t heat their house ’cause they didn’t save during the summer months, they go a runnin’ to big mommy government with wide open mouths, like baby birds in the nest, expecting to be fed.

That’s why the first rule is: Don’t spend money. And the second part to that rule is: Instead, save that money for when you TRULY need it!

And what are your basic NEEDS?

First, you have oxygen, without it you may survive about 7 minutes but fortunately it’s still free (for now, but if they can find a way to make you pay for it, mark my word, they will!).

Next, you have water, without it you may survive about 3 days and most people in our society have to pay for it, they also pay for the water that is used to flush their waste away into the sewer. The easiest way for most people to buy water, in our society, is to receive it through “the tap” that runs into their home for which most people are paying either a rent or mortgage to live in, which makes shelter just as important as water.

So, you have oxygen first, then water/sewer and shelter together, and next comes food.

How long you can live without food varies greatly from person to person depending on how much extra fat they have stored on their body, which for the average american is quite a bit! :lol: Now unless you plan to eat at a restaurant for every meal or make a trip to the grocery store everyday you need someplace to store food, which would be your shelter. You also need some way of storing it so that it doesn’t go bad very quickly and some way to cook it. For most people, in our american society, this would be accomplished by using a fridge and a oven which, for most people, requires electricity and you need to be living in a home to have access to the electricity needed so you can store and cook your food. The majority of people in our society also require electricity to heat and cool their home.

Unless you are growing all your own food, you also need transportation to get that food to your house and, unless you work from home, you need transportation to get to your job to trade your life force (your labor) for money to buy the things you need to live. For most people this means owning an automobile of some kind, if you live in a city then you can probably get by with public transportation, you can also walk everywhere if you really have too but if it’s more than just two or three miles you have to seriously consider then how your time is being used. Those extra hours a day spent walking, other than making you more physically fit, are basically wasted hours that could be better used growing a garden or tending livestock (if you have the land for it) or possibly pursuing a secondary source of income, like selling on E-bay for example.

Not having transportation also limits other options. For example, it would be very hard to set up an adequate food storage system without the ability to buy and transport large amounts of food to your home. What if the grocery store is running that twice a year $1 each awesome sale on canned chili (which is an excellent storeable food btw) and you wanna buy 50 cans for your food storage? While you can transport it home by walking, it won’t be easy and maybe not even be worth it for the time spent. I suppose you might be able to get a ride with somebody but that isn’t reliable and plus they’ll probably be asking all sorts of stupid nosy questions, like “why in the world are you buying 50 cans of chili?!” (now for some people that might not be a big deal, but I HATE having to explain myself to others, just mind your own damn business!).

It also limits heating options. If you live in an area with bad winters it is not wise to rely on electricity as your sole source of heat, the first bad snow or ice storm and ZAP! it’s gone! and you freeze to death! – or, at the very least, you have a very miserable time trying to keep warm :lol: Having a source of heat, such as a wood stove or a kerosene heater, that is not reliant upon electricity is a very prudent choice. But, unless you harvest your own wood from your own land you would have to transport wood that you buy from someone else or have them deliver to you. However, owning a kerosene heater is a much more viable option for most people because a kerosene heater is cheap to buy (usually around $130 at the most) and does not require a chimney which makes it good if you live in an apartment or townhouse in a city, there are also kerosene cook-stoves that you can buy to cook your food on.

Kerosene is not all that much more expensive than heating with electricity, where I live electricity is 11 cents per KiloWatt hour which, when you do the math, makes kerosene only slightly more expensive than using electricity to heat a home and most people’s electricity costs are A LOT more expensive than where I live (but with all the closing of the coal plants that rate is destined to go UP unfortunately). Even though it is slightly more, the extra expense is well worth it for the added security of having a heat source and fuel that is not dependent on an electrical connection and can be stockpiled inside your home waiting and ready to go in case of an emergency. However, kerosene is quite heavy, most liquids weighing 8 pounds per gallon, and most kerosene containers store 5 gallons at a time so that is 40 pounds, and while it can be done it won’t be easy having to transport kerosene to your house on foot, especially to stockpile enough for use in an emergency situation. Again, you need some form of transportation to get it home.

Now, you could always rent a car once a month and stock up on the necessities, this is what we did when we lived for a year without a car (back in the fall of 2006 our car died and we didn’t have enough money to buy one and so took a year to save the money) however most people do not have enough money saved even to buy a month’s worth of necessities all at one time, fortunately though, we did :D

So, from the data presented, I think it’s safe to say that the most important need is shelter ’cause without it you have no reliable source of water or electricity or a secure place to store and process the food that you procure (not to mention, it is also a place to sleep and store your clothing and keep you warm and dry!). I have never had a mortgage and I’ve haven’t had to pay any form of rent in quit some time, but when we lived in Maryland and rented an apartment the first thing we did, after paying off my husband’s school debt, our only debt ever, was save up enough money to cover 3 months of rent, we were paying $585/mo. at the time so we saved up an even $1800 reserved for rent payments should we ever, in the future, for some unforeseen reason, not have the means to pay.

We already owned a car that ran well, the biggest issue with it was the paying of the car insurance every year, so after we had the $1800 saved for rent we then saved enough to cover one year’s worth of car insurance expense should we ever, in the future, for some unforeseen reason, not have the means to pay.

Btw, you can also “pre-pay” other bills in this way. For example, most people’s water usage stays pretty stable resulting in relatively the same amount used in water each month, give or take a dollar here and there. So, take 1 month’s water bill and multiply it by 12 and save up that amount to have on hand so that you have the means to pay the water bill for a year. The same goes for trash pick-up, which is usually the same amount each month, we pay for the whole year all at once at the beginning of the year that way there is one less bill to keep track of. Or for electricity, especially when it comes to winter time heating, estimate the amount extra that it will cost each month to heat and multiply it by how ever many months you heat for and save up that total amount before the next winter hits, this way you already have it paid for!

After we had enough saved to cover 3 months of rent and 1 year of car insurance, we then created budgets according to the “envelope system” of saving, which most people are familiar with. Using different envelopes for the different budgets and putting the allotted money into the proper envelope each month. To this day we still do the same EXACT thing, but more through book-keeping a ledger than with actual physical cash in actual physical envelopes because a lot of our money is imaginary and in Paypal and in the bank account since we doing the majority of our buying and selling online. But we do have the ability to remove it ALL at a moment’s notice should we ever have to.

After we have paid all the bills for the month, the remaining profit is then spread, in percentages, over several savings budgets which are as follows:

General Savings: 30% – long ago this was our house/land fund for buying a house and land. Now, the money in this fund can, in theory, be used for anything but, in reality, it is used for nothing EVER! unless there is no other option, not just our “rainy day” fund more like our “when it rains, it pours” fund ;)

Health Fund: 20% – this is how we paid for a midwife in our recent homebirth, this is also how we pay for various herbal and nutritional supplements to keep the family healthy.

Car Fund: 10% – this is kept separately from the 1 year’s worth of car insurance, this fund is for regular car maintenance and any major car repairs or, heaven forbid, if we should have to buy a new vehicle :P

Tithe Fund: 10% – we don’t attend church and we don’t give tithes, instead we set aside 10% each month reserved for people who God puts in our path and makes it evident that we should help them, having this set aside makes sure that the money is always there and ready to go at a moment’s notice!

Children’s Fund: 5% – mostly used for clothing, shoes and homeschooling books and supplies.

Entertainment Fund: 5% – we dip into this fund for various family outings, like going to the state fair or going out to eat, or buying something like a video game or new toy that the children want etc. etc.

Prepper Fund: 5% – yes, we have a prepper fund! :D This is used for purchasing anything homesteading/self-reliance/prepper/survivalist related and is also an extra fund in addition to general savings that we could dip into in a time of emergency.

Projects Fund: 5% – this funds various projects around the house and land, we used it this summer to build a 5 foot wide floor to ceiling bookcase, an island/bar for the center of the kitchen and a brand new bigger and better chicken coop!

Personal Money: 10% (5% for me and 5% for my husband) – a.k.a. “Mad Money” lol ..this is money that my husband and I each get every month to spend however we want on whatever we want without having to consult the other spouse or involve them in the purchase. This also provides incentive for us to be as frugal as possible because, the more profit there is leftover after paying all of the bills each month, the more each of us gets to spend however we want! :D

Of course, all of this planning and saving is pointless if you do not have the discipline to limit your spending to the point where you actually have enough leftover at the end of each month to save. It is also pointless if you do not have the self -control to refrain from spending the money that you do manage to save, except for to spend it on that which the money is intended to be used. If you set rules and limits on yourself then, it follows, that in order to be successful you have to obey your own rules. For us, the “personal money” fund was key to making all of this work, at least in the beginning, after we got in the habit of saving though it just became second nature and now I could not imagine living life any differently!

Another thing I want to talk about is nutrition and the food budget.  Most people tend to spend money on food in a way that makes no sense, buying and eating things that are extremely unhealthy, especially things full of sugar and trans fats which are proven to harm your health, and the eating of which will just cost them money in medical bills in the long run.  I buy very little anything with much sugar in it, definitely no soda, only small amounts of 100% grape juice and I definitely don’t buy any baked goods or dry boxed cereal or anything like salad dressing or mayo containing soybean oil which is also extremely unhealthy.  If we wish to have a treat, such as birthday cake for example, I make it at home from scratch using things like real butter and eggs from our hens and milk from our goats.  Instead of dry-boxed cereal we eat oatmeal made from organic oats that I buy in 50 lb. bags.  I also make our own salad dressings using things like real extra virgin olive oil and raw apple cider vinegar along with fresh-cut herbs from the garden and my own mayonnaise using eggs from our hens.  Doing all of this saves a tremendous amount of money on the food bill while at the same time ensuring that we consistently eat REAL whole foods that nourish our bodies rather than destroy our health…saving us TREMENDOUS amounts of money in the long run.  Money that will never go to line the pockets of some stupid pharmaceutical company!

The most nutritious thing you can eat is meat, animal flesh, and protein in the form of eggs or dairy products that have been fermented like plain whole milk yogurt and cheese.  Even if the only thing you can afford is just regular ol’ commercial quality meat and protein it still has MORE nutrition and calories per dollar than regular non-organic commercially raised fruits, veggies and grains.  Most people try and say that veggies and fruit are healthy, but I beg to differ.  They CAN be healthy if they are organic and raised up in soil that hasn’t been nutritionally depleted, for the product only contains as much nutrition as the soil it was raised in.  Most of our produce we eat in season and a lot of it we grow ourselves, if I want a tomato or berries I don’t buy them from the store in the middle of winter, NO! they are treats reserved for eating at their specific time in their specific season, to do otherwise is quite simply just retarded, and not just from the perspective of taste but also from the perspective of getting the most nutrition for the money.  And if you want the most calories for the money buying these things NEVER makes sense for fruits and veggies contain very little calories, but raising them on your own land and consuming them in season makes PERFECT SENSE! :D

Therefore, the basis of the majority of our meals is meat and protein.  We eat A LOT of eggs that we raise ourselves, along with those eggs there are potatoes, both ones that we grow or organic potatoes that I buy from the store or the organic oatmeal that I mentioned earlier, occasionally we have homemade from scratch pancakes topped with butter and raw honey along with bacon or sausage on the side, these meals make up 99% of our breakfasts.  Lunches and dinners are mostly just meats/proteins with a side of either organic potatoes, organic brown rice that has been soaked, sometimes sprouted, and then cooked (I buy this in 50 pound bags), organic beans that have been sprouted and then cooked (I also buy these in 50 pound bags) or 100% whole wheat bread that I make with flour that I grind myself from organic red spring wheat that I buy in 50 pound bags.  Buying organic food in bulk from a co-op makes it FAR more economical than buying it in smaller packages from the grocery store.

And if you are a homesteader like me, one of the best ways to get the most nutrition and calories for the money and time spent is to raise your own milking animals, either goat or cow, and consume their milk raw and use it to make everything from butter to cheese, yogurt and even your own ice cream!  Raw milk contains loads of easily assimilable nutrition, including things like antibodies that keep your immune system running smoothly.  When our goats are in milk and we are consuming that milk on a regular basis we rarely get sick, the last time our goats were in milk my kids went 16 months without getting sick and, when the milk ran out and they eventually did get sick it was just a simple runny nose type thingy that dried up in about three days with no lingering after effects or secondary bacterial infection.  You just can’t go wrong when you grow your own!

I plan to follow this up with a part two on more ways to save money, so keep on the look out :D