Survival Buzz: Creating Custom Healing Salves on the Fly

Creating Custom Healing Salves on the Fly | Backdoor Survival

As life would have it, I am approaching the weekend with the remnants of severe cold; something I have not had to deal with in years.  I can’t even remember that last time that the combination of sniffles, coughing, and congestion affected me in this manner.

To be honest, I believe this is the result of burning the candle at both ends as a result of a family crisis and quick trip to Seattle.  Ten hours in a vehicle is way to long when squeezed into a 14 hour period.  This had me thinking about the impact of stress to our overall health as a topic to explore a bit deeper over the next months.

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Survival Buzz: Win a Lifestraw Go With Buzz Break #3

A LifeStraw Go for You and a Buzz Break for Me | Backdoor Survival

Here we go again with another LifeStraw Go Giveaway.  This is month number three as I keep my promise of offering up a total of five LifeStraw Go water filter bottles, one a month for five months.  I get to take a break from writing, and one lucky reader wins a LifeStraw Go.

Do you know about the LifeStraw Go?  In the simplest of terms, it is a “LifeStraw in a bottle”.  What that means is no bending down to water level to suck up drinking water. All you need to do is scoop or pour the questionable water into your bottle, and drink from the straw.  

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Survival Buzz: Adapting to the Challenges of Relocation

Adapting to the Challenges of Relocation | Backdoor Survival

Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.

Once again, this week I am going to answer questions posed during the March Lifestraw Go Giveaway.  Before I do, I want to remind you that I do not consider myself an expert.  A lot of what I share comes from my own personal experience and research.  Admittedly, I like to think that I know a lot more than many, but realistically, I also know that there are many that know a lot more than me.

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Survival Buzz: Firearms Safety for Newbies

Firearms Safety for Newbies | Backdoor Survival

Like most people, I have a lot of knowledge about many topics but just a handful where I would consider myself an authority.  Precious few, actually.  It really quite humbling, you know, to be of a certain age and not know it all.

One area where I am especially weak is with firearms.  I have been to classes, have my own handgun (which I find uncomfortable to use and need to replace), and have shot a few rounds in my day.  As much as I realize the importance of training and practice, I feel as though I will forever be a firearms newbie. 

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Survival Buzz: How to Clean Cast Iron the Easy Way

How to Clean Cast Iron the Easy Way | Backdoor Survival

For the longest time I have been promising to share with you my number one tip for cleaning cast iron skillets.  Well finally, today is that day.

Let me begin at the beginning.  Six months ago, on a lark, I ordered this chain-like gizmo called “The Ringer”.  The purchase was based upon one of those “just for you” suggestions from Amazon and in a moment of weakness, I fell for it.  Little did I know that cleaning my cast iron skillets would become so easy.  Not that cleaning cast iron is difficult, mind you, but it can and does take some time.

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Survival Buzz: Thoughts on Alternative Transportation Following an EMP

Thoughts on alternative transportation following an EMP | Backdoor Survival

Last week’s call for questions was amazing.  There were over 100 of them which will surely keep me busy for awhile.  There were so many that I actually hired an assistant to help me categorize and compile them into an organized list.

With that type of interest in what I have to say, it seems fitting that I answer one question right away.  This question comes from the winner of the LifeStraw Go and it is a good one.

I would like more information on alternative transportation in an EMP situation.

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Survival Buzz: Enter to Win a Free LifeStraw Go in Buzz Break #2

Win a LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle | Backdoor Survival

Do you remember me telling you about the LifeStraw Go last month?  The LifeStraw Go is a “LifeStraw in a bottle”.  What that means is no bending down to water level to suck up your drinking water.  Don’t get me wrong. The original LifeStraw is a fantastic product and has a prominent place in my preps.

Still, with the LifeStraw Go, you simply fill the bottle and take a drink.  Everything is nice and tidy in one simple water filtering package.  In addition, refill filters are available. How cool is that?

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Survival Buzz: Catching Up With Prepping Following a Relocation

Catching Up With Prepping Following a Relocation| Backdoor Survival

One of the challenges of relocating, even temporarily, is that your preps take second fiddle to the rest of the logistics.  And then, boom!  You realize that if something happens, you may be at risk of not being ready.

I am not saying that happened to me because I did bring some basics to Arizona, plus, the first week I was here I ordered two 160-gallon water barrels From Emergency Essentials, and a 720 serving emergency food kit from Buy Emergency Foods.  Shortly after that, I worked on building up my canned goods and bulk foods, pretty much using 12 Months of Prepping as a checklist for the basics, as well the 20 item food storage kick-start list from both my book and this website. 

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Survival Buzz: 2 Pieces of Advice For Living a Strategic Life

2 Pieces of Advice for Living a Strategic Life | Backdoor Survival

Some days, I have a very short fuse.  Call it stress, age, or simply disgust at the world situation, but the smallest things can set me on a rant.  As a prepper, these feelings are a bit troublesome given that in a true emergency, rants and temper tantrums will have no place. It will be survival that counts.

Do you remember a time when you could handle a lot more than you can now?  I do.  The bottom line is that  life is simply more complicated now than twenty or thirty years ago. 

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Survival Buzz: Are You As Fit as You Need To Be?

Are You As Fit as You Need To Be | Backdoor Survival

Are you as fit as you need to be to perform the tasks and chores required given a disruptive event?  I know that is a loaded question mostly because there are so many types of disruptive events that can turn your life upside down at a moment’s notice.

For example, hunkering down during a pandemic requires a different physical response than living for weeks or months with no power and no water.  Bugging out and possibly living outdoors or away from the comforts of home adds another dimension to the physical prowess needed to survive. 

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Survival Buzz: A LifeStraw Go for You and Buzz Break for Me

A LifeStraw Go for You and a Buzz Break for Me | Backdoor Survival

Who ever said that life was easy?  Kicking, screaming, and grumbling, there is a lot of “life is the pits” conversation going on in my house this week.

Perhaps it is due to the process of completing my tax return and realizing how little value I am getting for my money.  More likely, though, I am just plain tired.  Lucky for you, my being grumpy is your gain.  Brent from has offered to giveaway a free LifeStraw Go water bottle each month for the next five months so that I can take a monthly Buzz Break.

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Survival Buzz: Stepping Up to Failure by Having a Plan B

Stepping Up to Failure by Having a Plan B | Backdoor Survival

Anyone who takes prepping seriously is bound to feel like a failure at one time or another.  Speaking from personal experience, I know that there have been many occasions where I simply can not get things right, regardless of the time and money I threw at it.

Being stubborn and bull-headed, I simply can not let it go. It seems the harder I try, and the longer I try, the more I fail.  Let me list some personal examples for you.

1.  I am unable to create a starter from the natural yeast in the air.

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Survival Buzz: The Myth of Serving Sizes in Packaged Emergency Food

Myth of Serving Sizes in Packaged Emergency Food | Backdoor Survival

Something that absolutely drives me bonkers is to open a four-serving package of food, whether it is “regular food” or “emergency food”, only to find that it barely serves two people.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a big eater.  Still, I expect to eat a plateful of food as I get in my 1600 calories a day.

Then there is the issue of cost.  If I am paying for four servings, I want four servings.  To me, 1/4th cup of rice with a speck of meat and two specks of vegetables does not constitute a serving.

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Survival Buzz: How to Cook Using Food Storage Ingredients

Cook Using Food Storage Ingredients | Backdoor Survival

Something you may not know is that I keep a folder in my email client where I stash reader comments and emails for future sharing.  For one reason or another, the folder was buried and when I checked this morning, there were over 70 items saved.  Sounds like its time for some digital housekeeping, right?

This week the Survival Buzz is going to focus on reader questions, mail and tips relative to food storage.

But first, I want to share a downloadable eBook with you.  The title is “Cooking with Food Storage Ingredients“. 

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Survival Buzz: Oops! A Drawer Full of Batteries and None of Them Charged

Drawer Full of Batteries and None of Them Charged | Backdoor Survival

Do you use rechargeable batteries?  Although I have a large inventory of traditional Alkaline batteries, my go-to batteries are rechargeable Panasonic eneloops or those from Amazon Basics (which I have heard are Eneloops in disguise).  I must have three dozen of these batteries, separated into two sections of my drawer, charged and not charged.

A few nights ago, my favorite flashlight was getting dim so I went to my trusty drawer and oh my goodness, not a charged battery in sight.

Since I own lots of flashlights as well as Alkaline batteries, this was not a big deal. 

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Survival Buzz: Are You Pandemic Ready?

Are You Pandemic Ready Survival Buzz | Backdoor Survival

Do you ever have times when you need to call in some help from your friends?  Here at Backdoor Survival Land this is one of those weeks.  Shelly and I have been rehearsing like crazy for a local musical production and this is show week.  After weeks of rehearsals, we have five performances and time is precious.

So, to help me out, Ken McClelland, author of The Pandemic Preparedness Guide, has stepped in and offered up two more copies of his book in a special Survival Buzz bonus giveaway.  With the latest woes caused by the Zika virus, I would say that his timing is good.

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Survival Buzz: The Very Best Tool For Prepping

Best Tool For Prepping | Backdoor Survival

Have you ever stopped to consider the very best tool in your preparedness arsenal?  I am asked this question all of the time.  Requests come from readers, other bloggers looking for a quote, and even from independent authors doing research for their next book.

Now you might be thinking that I am setting you up to pitch a list of the top 10 items in my survival storage locker. Although that list may be interesting, nothing could be further from the truth.

What, in my opinion, is the very best tool for prepping?

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Survival Buzz: Septic System Maintenance as the Forgotten Prep

Septic System Maintenance is the Forgotten Prep | Backdoor Survival

Right now, as I am writing this, two close friends are having major issues with their septic systems.  A combination of heavy, unseasonable rains, and deferred maintenance have resulted in nightmare situations.

What happens when the septic tank is full and the leach field is fully saturated?  No showers and no flushing!

Last month, Cindy sent me the following note, again having to do with the failure of an aged septic system. Please, if you are on a septic system, consider routine maintenance to be a must-do prep.

I consider myself moderately well-prepared for a lengthy “bug-in” session, but my neglect of one critical infrastructure has really opened my eyes.

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Survival Buzz: 46 Must Have Items for Your Emergency Vehicle Kit

46 Must Have Items for Your Emergency Vehicle Kit |Backdoor Survival

As much as I like to think I have a handle on things, sometimes projects slip through the cracks. Case in point.  Since the big road trip to Arizona in late September, not once have I gone out to the Subaru and reviewed the contents of my car kit.  At the time of my journey I was certain that I had everything I needed in the event of a calamity along the way.  The journey, after all, was close to 1,500 miles.

Since then, life has happened.  We needed room to cart groceries and, in Shelly’s case, to transport 4 set of golf clubs along with 3 of his buddies. 

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Survival Buzz: Prepping and Self-Sufficiency are Peas in a Pod

Prepping and Self-Sufficiency are Peas in a Pod | Backdoor Survival

In analyzing the most popular articles of 2015, I was more than a little bit surprised to learn that the most viewed articles last year were mostly related to self-sufficiency (DIY) and essential oils.  Not all but most.

At first, I found this discouraging because after all is said and done, this is a preparedness website site.  Upon reflection, however, it all made sense.  There really is no hard and fast line that differentiates between prepping and self-sufficiency.  As a matter of fact, prepping and self-sufficiency are peas in a pod!

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Survival Buzz: Can a Prepper Afford to Be Lazy?

Can a Prepper Afford to be Lazy | Backdoor Survival

Can a prepper afford to be lazy?  I want to respond not only with a resounding yes, but with a “you have to in order to keep your sanity”!

For anyone other than a prepper, being lazy would be referred to as “scheduling some downtime”.  For us, taking time to do nothing gets more complicated. Let me explain.

Being a type A person, the never ending list of things to do always beckons.  As the list gets longer, so does the guilt.  Remember the goals I set out last month?  The intent was to check them off and at the end of December and set up new goals for the month of January. 

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Survival Buzz: Remembering The Ant and the Grasshopper

The Ant and the Grasshopper | Backdoor Survival

A few days ago I casually mentioned the ant and the grasshopper.  It never occurred to me that this childhood story of the ant and grasshopper may not be familiar to everyone.

For those of you that are curious or that simply need a refresher course, today I bring back the tale of the ant and grasshopper, which, along with the story of Noah, is one of the all time classic stories of preparedness.

Remembering The Ant and the Grasshopper

This Aesop’s Fable describes how a hungry grasshopper begs for food from an ant when winter comes and is refused.

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Survival Buzz #200: Relax and De-Stress With an Adult Coloring Book

Relax and De-Stress With An Adult Coloring Book | Backdoor Survival

It has been awhile since I have reported on my latest prepping haul so I thought today would be a good time to clear the decks, put things away, and give you an inkling of what I have been doing prep-gear wise these last few weeks.

But first, let me tell you that if you have not jumped on the adult coloring book bandwagon, please do give it a try.  After a day of prepping, you can relax and de-stress with an adult coloring book.

I am finding that there is nothing more soothing than pulling out your colored pencils and letting your mind focus on creating a beautiful, artistically colored design. 

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Survival Buzz #199: Have An Eyes Wide Open Approach to Prepping

Have An Eyes Wide Open Approach to Prepping | Backdoor Survival

The Backdoor Survival mailbag runneth over.  Some days there are hundreds of emails and although I don’t have the time to personally respond to each, I do take up to an hour a day to read every single one.  And that includes those giveaway questions.

This week I share some items from the mail bag.  But first, let me share my thoughts of the moment.

When I was chatting with Daisy Luther yesterday, she mentioned “I never expected the SHTF event to be a Muslim Jihad”.  Indeed.  Keep your eyes wide open, everyone. 

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Survival Buzz #198: Do You Think Setting Short-Term Goals is a Good Idea?

Do You Think Setting Short-Term Goals is a Good Idea? | Backdoor Survival

This week in the Buzz I want to focus on looking forward and setting short-term preparedness goals.  Do you think setting short-term goals is a good idea?  After all, who hasn’t set long-term preparedness goals?  My guess is no one.  I know that I have, and my endless list-of-things-to-do proves it.

The problem as I see it is that a close examination of that list of preparedness goals reveals lofty, broad brush things such as “take another firearms course, learn to use my All-American Canner, and build a rocket stove out of cement bricks”. 

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The Survival Buzz #197: Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone


Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz as life returns to normal after all of the Black Friday brouhaha yesterday.

I woke up to over 100 so-called deals on my inbox Friday morning and as tempted as I was to let my fingers to the shopping, I did show some restraint and stuck to my monthly prepping budget.  It did help that I had a few unused gift cards in my desk drawer so I was able to take advantage of some of the free shipping offers being featured this weekend.

Anyhow, it is the last Buzz of the month which means my pal Daisy Luther is going to fill in for me. 

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The Survival Buzz #196: Organizing Prep Purchases – Again!

Organizing Prep Purchases Again | Backdoor Survival

Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps plus news and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.

For the past few weeks, I have been purchasing this and that and stashing the items in a closed off room.  Who has not done that from time to time?  This week I decided it was time to start putting things in their proper place so that is what I did.  It probably took more time to organize after the fact than if I had done it from the get go but heck, at least it is done.

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The Survival Buzz #195: What It Means to Be Prepared

Be Prepared for What? | Backdoor Survival

Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps plus news and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.

A couple of week’s ago this comment from “Chele” was posted to my Facebook page:

The boy scout’s motto is ‘be prepared.’ But be prepared for what–was the first thing I thought.

Be prepared…. for life, living, things as they come, things as they happen. Be prepared to make your way, as you become better enabled, as you can. Be prepared to respond, not just react, to situations as you face them.

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The Survival Buzz #194: Give Your Preps and Chores A Rest!

Give Your Preps and Chores A Rest | Backdoor Survival

Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps plus news and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.

When I was a young woman, my parents told me that everything I did became a grand adventure.  To this day, I don’t know whether that was a compliment or not, but hey, I will take it.  How that plays out now is that with each day and with each task, the mundane becomes a big deal.  Does that make sense?

And thus it is with prepping.  It is all, for me, a big adventure with purpose. 

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The Survival Buzz #193: With Mother Nature There Is No Room for Procrastination

With Mother Nature There Is No Room to Procrastinate | Backdoor Survival

Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on preps plus news and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.  So what’s new this week?

You might recall that during my road trip, I had my friend and online blogging colleague, Daisy Luther, fill in for me with reports from her homestead in Northern California.  In keeping with that tradition, I have invited Daisy to come back and join us monthly with prepping news and tips that bring a different perspective to the Buzz.  The fact that it gives me a bit of time off does not hurt either!

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