The Survival Buzz #190: Bloom and Thrive Where You Are Planted

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There is a saying that is often heard these days: “Bloom where you are planted”.  If you are not familiar with this saying, the gist of it is that regardless of where you are and what is happening in your life, you can still be happy.  You can thrive and you can survive.

This may be an odd way to start the Survival Buzz but it rings true in my life and so, setting side any vagaries I have alluded to in recent months, today I share some personal news that will give you insight what is happening in my own life.

Bloom and Thrive Where You Are Planted | Backdoor Survival

Recently I embarked on a well-publicized road trip.  The purpose of that trip was to establish a second home base away from earthquake country and the cold, winter weather of the Pacific Northwest.  This meant leaving the security of a remote island off shore the State of Washington and an idyllic survival platform.

Now I don’t know about you, but for me change, even a temporary change is difficult.  Being a nester, I like my home and I like my own stuff.  Being a prepper, I like knowing that the preps I have steadily built up over the past five years will see me through uncertain times.

All that being said, for personal reasons, Shelly (aka the Survival Husband), Tucker the Dog, and I have packed up the Subaru and moved to a temporary location in Central Arizona.  We will be here for five or six months.  When I say packed up the Subaru, I mean that literally.  One carful of carefully chosen possessions is all we took with us.

What does this mean?  It means that I must once again begin prepping from the ground up.  I have my knowledge and my skills and a defined budget for food, water storage and gear but not much else.  The gauntlet has been laid down and I need to get to work.

This gets me to the “springboard” part.  In the coming months I hope to share with you the steps I am taking to build up my supplies without busting the bank.  I have started already with bulk rice, cases of bottle water, coconut oil and honey.  Next comes tools and ammo and everything else that someone starting from scratch needs to feel secure in today’s world.

Am I stressed?  You bet.  You might even say a bit panicked.  That being said, I have my diffuser going full tilt with some Zen and Wild Orange, and have a handful of good friends (George, Paul, MB and Daisy – you know who you are), that will keep me going.  I have someone watching the homestead, and a bit saved up so I can build up my supplies as quickly as humanly possible.

What I have done is not an uncommon situation although the reasons may be different.  One reader I correspond with was forced to leave her secure country home and live in the city for business reasons.  Leaving her preps behind was one of the toughest things she could do but on the positive side, it gave her time to refocus and re-evaluate her efforts and her life.  She learned to bloom and thrive where she was planted.

And so there you have it.  In some small way I hope what I am doing gives you permission to also make tough choices and changes, based on personal needs even though those needs may conflict with your preparedness goals.

That is pretty much all I have to say about this other than I hope you will continue to hang in there with me as I go forward with this new adventure.

Disaster Preps – For Your Reading and Viewing Pleasure

If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, take a look at this article. As you go through the links, you will find many practical tips and ideas for becoming better prepared. Now that I think about it, many of the preps are applicable to any disaster or disruptive event, and not just earthquakes.

How To Prepare For The Cascadia Megaquake

A hat-tip to long-time reader, Dee, for bringing this article to my attention.

Along the same lines, want something more visual?  PBS recently broadcast an excellent program called “Unprepared” that is available for free online viewing.  J. A. Charnov (author of Cascadia’s Curse), passed this along.

It is a a new Oregon Field Guide production called “Unprepared” that is available for free online viewing at the PBS website.  Click here to watch.


Backdoor Survival Mail Bag & Reader Tips

Tom asked:

I recently placed food in Mylar bags along with the appropriate amount of oxygen absorbers based on the size of the bags, and heat sealed the bags and and then put them in a 5 gallon food grade bucket. I noticed that some of the Mylar bags had shriveled up and some had not.

Does that mean that the oxygen absorbers in the non-shriveled bags are not working? If everything is fine with all the bags, why do some bags shrivel up and others do not?

Here is my response:

Not necessarily. A lot has to do with the amount of headspace left in the bag and/or the moisture content of the goods that have been packaged. Keep in mind that oxygen is not the only component of air so most likely, what remains is nitrogen. If you were confident that the O2 absorbers were good (not hard like a brick when you placed them in the bag), you should be okay.

Here is an article you can refer to if you have not already seen it:

Also in my email was a note from Richard Broome who saw the article How to Test Your Ability to Carry a Bug Out Bag.  As you might recall, he is the one that raised the Prepper Fit question in the first place.  Anyway, for a short period he has lowered the price of his two books to just $2.99 for the Kindle version.


Leaving the Trees and Good Crazy are books you must read.  To get a feel for them, read my article Leaving the Trees: More Lessons of Survival.

Essential Oils: Deal of the Week

Each week I update a special page with the Spark Naturals item of the week?  You can find it here:  Essential Oils from Spark Naturals – Weekly Deals. Every once in awhile there will be free shipping or a free gift offered as well as a product discount.

And remember, you can always use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL for an additional 10% off your entire SN order.  When it comes to saving money, every little bit helps.

Spark Naturals Weekly Sales | Backdoor Survival

Other Announcements

There were reports that a few of you wanting to watch the replay of the Sun Oven Solar Cooking webinar experienced technical glitches.  The webinar was taken off line but at my request, is now once again available for a few more days.

This replay of the Sun Oven and Solar Cooking Webinar will be available through midnight October 12th.  Be sure to watch it to the very end where Paul presents a special short-term offer that will save you $133 on the purchase of a Sun Oven.

The Final Word

This has been an exhausting week.  We have slept on the floor since arriving at our location and experienced our first rattlesnake encounter.  We have very few preps and are scrambling like crazy to learn how to cope in the heat of the desert.  Everything is strange and different but happily, we are away from the city in a “middle of nowhere” location.

We are thriving and we are surviving and we will bloom and thrive where we are planted.

What did you do to prep this week?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Spotlight:  As of this writing, the Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife is currently on sale for $16.24 which is a bargain.  It is a good deal at $25 but this is truly amazing.

This “oh so sweet” knife is a solidly built, stainless steel knife that comes razor sharp right out of the package. It will pretty much cut through anything the price is amazing.  Currently about $16; normally about $25.

Bargain Bin:  Today I spotlight some of my favorite preps.  These are items that made it to Central Arizona in the back of the Subaru!

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way: This book teaches how to deal with all the likely medical issues you will face in a disaster situation, including strategies to keep your family healthy even in the worse scenarios. It covers skills such as performing a physical exam, transporting the injured patient, and even how to suture a wound. This medical reference belongs in every survival library.

Alaska May 2013 312 Lifestraw

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:  The LifeStraw contains no chemicals, no batteries and no moving parts to wear out. It features a a high flow rate and weighs only 2 oz. It works quickly, taking roughly 3-5 seconds of sucking to start the flow of water through the filter. It’s ultra-light and inexpensive but effective.  There is also the LifeStraw Family that will purify up to 12 liters per hour.

AquaPod:   Have you considered storing water in your bathtub?  The AquaPod is a bladder that you can use in your bathtub to store water if you know that a storm, flood, or hurricane is brewing. (I call these “disruptive events”.)

Puralytics SolarBag Water Purifier: I reviewed the Solar Bag last year and cannot say enough good things about it.  This is by far the easiest way to purify water using the sun.  It even works on a cloudy day; it just takes longer.  Here is my review: The SolarBag Water Purifier.

Solo Stove_21

Solo Stove:  I personally own three solo stoves.  They are compact yet well-built and perfect for cooking off-grid with just a bit of biomass.  This is one item that you should gift to yourself if you do not have one already.

Cascadia’s CurseYou will enjoy this book about two sisters who are jolted awake by the piercing alarm of their emergency alert radio. It’s the middle of a cold, damp March night on the Oregon coast, and a tsunami warning has just been issued after a great earthquake occurs nearly 2,000 miles away in the eastern Aleutian Islands.   This is only the beginning and they work to overcome the challenge of survival.

ZAQ Noor Diffuser:  Of my three diffusers, this is my favorite and is therefore the one I recommend.  It puts out a strong, fragrant mist that is both soothing and healing.  My second most favorite is the ZAQ Dew (pictured below).  With both diffuser, the really cool thing is that the light (which can be turned off) changes colors all by its own self.  Very soothing and I love it!

Zen and Wild Orange Essential Oils:  When it comes to diffusing oils, ZEN is my go-to oil for stress relief.  I like to use 6 drops of Zen plus 4 drops of Wild Orange in my ZAQ Dew.  Not only does this blend relive anxiety (yes, I am human and do have some of that), but it also helps me focus while working.  When making a purchase from Spark Naturals, don’t forget to use code BACKDOORSURVIVAL for an extra 10% off (including 10% off sale prices).

Ticket to Ride:  When it comes to board games, this is my favorite.  (It helps that I usually win.)  This is fun for the entire family.  Warning, you and your gift recipient will become addicted and will often ask the question:  Want to play train aka “ticket to ride”?


Shop Emergency Essentials Sales for Fantastic Deals!

For over 25 years Emergency Essentials has been providing the highest quality preparedness products at great prices.  Plus, each month they feature sales that quite honestly are fantastic.  This month note the great sale prices two of my favorites, the Mobile Washer (Hand Operated Washing Machine) now only $14.95 and the Tote-able Toilet Seat and Lid, now only $11.79.



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The Survival Buzz #190: Bloom and Thrive Where You Are Planted — 18 Comments

  1. I wonder what you’re sleeping On while sleeping on the floor and what your comfort level is (rating of such) what doesn’t work, what is the best feature? Do you use regular pillows or did you pack and use camping sized pillows?

    Photos are always good.

    This week I took some heavy duty thick contractor over-sized black trash bags and took each one (without taking it apart so it retained its factory flatness) and rolled it up, wrapped a narrow strip of velcro around it to keep it tight and put it into a gallon sized ziplock bag to protect it somewhat from sand, abrasion and light cuts, and to keep the ends of the rolled up trash bag from slipping out the ends of the roll. I put one in the top of each nylon bag I store my sleeping bags in. This way, if I want to, I can make my sleeping bags waterproof-ish for if say, I want to hike in the rain or I’m in some other wet environment.

    The trash bags are a bit over-sized, even for the over-sized puffy Winter rated sleeping bags, but, better too big, than too tight and small. Plus, now that I think about it, if I had a cut or something on one hand while out camping, I’m not certain if I could stuff a sleeping bag into the factory sleeping bag carrying bags while using only one hand but I think I could easily manage to get a sleeping bag into one of these trash bags with one hand if I had to in a pinch.

    I thought about putting the trash bag into a smaller sized ziplock bag but I want to retain the factory produced flatness of the trash bag in order that it didn’t develop any weak points from being folded differently from the factory method. I hope it sits unused for years.

    Typing this out makes it seem like I way over-thought this, but really, I only spent fifteen minutes total doing this.

    I considered putting two bags in each but decided against it to keep the bulk down a tad. The reason I would put two in is that these bags make great temporary knee high boots. I just happened to have some of these bags with me one day while out hunting years ago and used this method to cross a flooded creek that I expected to be much less flooded, it worked very well. I folded the wet bags up and stuffed them under a log to use on my return trip(s) so I didn’t have to carry wet bags. A gallon sized ziplock bag would be good to use to carry them in if not returning.

    Also, I printed out the following link and am giving it to someone I know, I have read a lot of people are concerned about having the medications they might need, especially due to how short-term they store, maybe this would help some people?

    How To Achieve Diabetic Control Completely Free Of Prescription Drugs

    • Thank you for that informative research, my partner is a diabetic. He follows the Paleo and takes most of the vitamins recommended. Will try to incorporate lipoid and cinnamon.

  2. Gaye,Shelly and Tucker: My wife and I live in Northern AZ just South of Ash Fork. You should be reasonably close to us. We have lived off grid here for about 15 yrs. We would like to offer to give you ideas for living in AZ. It is much different the the NW.
    Some suggestions regarding your present problems: As for sleeping on the floor I would suggest getting a quality air mattress for each of you. The camping style is fine. It is very comfortable and keeps you off of the cold floor which makes a world of difference in being able to sleep well.
    Keeping cool: We have found that a rotating fan set on the floor blowing toward you helps a lot. If you get close to it with a mister and spray the mister between you and the fan is cooling. You can also put a damp tea towel in front of the fan and the fan blows cool air. There are also cooling towels that you soak for a while in water and put them around your neck. They help some. Unless you have a lot of solar panels you can’t have air conditioning. BUT you can get a swamp cooler which is much cooler and far less expensive. It should help a lot. You are getting here at the start of the cold season, lucky you. It will get cold.
    You can e-mail us any time. I’m not putting our phone # down as this is a public site. Feel free to contact us if you wish too.
    Dennis, Holly, Fester and Rusty. The last two are our small, very friendly dogs.

    • Thank you so much. We are going to be full solar but that will not be hooked up until early to mid-November. In the meantime, we do have AC but at 22 cents per Kilowatt (versus 8 cents back home), 82 degrees indoors is just fine with me.

      I can’t remember whether I wrote about the rattlesnake that greeted us at the front door. There are also bugs of all sorts but so far, no scorpions.

      The main challenge is finding room for my food storage that is on the cool side. My guess is that I am going to have to compromise shelf life and rotate more often. It all should make for some interesting blog posts!

      • About the rattlesnake: Don’t kill them. They are good for rodent control but not around the house. You can pick them up with a broom handle-slide it under the middle of the snake and lift it up and put it into a 5 gal. bucket,put the lid on it and walk out about 150 yds, tip the bucket over and let it go. We have never had one return. We haven’t killed one yet. Look out for the Mojave rattlesnake. It is aggressive. They generally a smaller snake but they have a green coloring. You can still use the stick and bucket method.
        Scorpions come out at night and can been seen easier at night with a black light as they will glow. Wear boots and no problems. If they can get into your house or ?, be sure to shake your boots out in the morning because they will crawl into them. Scorpions bite is a lot like a bee sting EXCEPT for the bark scorpion. He is a little fellow, sort of a grey color and his sting is a bad one.
        For food storage if you have the money you can put in a root cellar. There are DIY plans on the internet.
        A helpful hint. Leave your car hood up when it is parked at your place. Rats and mice love to get under the hood and can cost thousands of dollars in getting your Subaru rewired. Put a light at the front of your vehicle and shine it back underneath it. It does a pretty good job of keeping them out of the engine compartment.We use a solar powered flagpole light and it works just fine.
        It would be helpful if we could write back and forth, if you want to, using our emails.Easier for me anyway.
        Did you like the skip-bo game? That is something to do when there is nothing else going on. Dennis and Holly

  3. Gaye, I have two words for you: memory foam! It can make any bed really comfortable–even the floor! I like the thought that we can turn difficulties into opportunities–in this case, regardless of circumstances, you get hands-on experience at bugging-out. Sending good thoughts your way…

    I have a question, pretty basic, really: With rice being cheap and plentiful, it seems like an excellent food to store for lean times. What is the best way to store rice for the long-term? Does it need to be repackaged in mylar? Thanks!

    • There are some great articles here on Backdoor Survival about mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, look in the Search box. It seems to me, “The best” is a matter of opinion when it comes to rice storage. Sort of like with mattresses? I do think “The best” way to store rice is in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, but it’s not absolute. Jmho.

      I’m drawn to the idea of those memory foam mattresses (the portability of memory foam is a Big plus) but at the same time I’m leery of them. Especially after reading this article:

      Americans Have More Toxic Flame Retardants in Their Bodies Than Previously Thought… Free Test Can Determine if You’re Sitting on Toxic Furniture

      The article mentions wool mattresses as a good option. That seems like a grand idea but I haven’t researched them yet, seen one, or heard of anybody’s experiences sleeping on one. They might be too expensive, too? And, too heavy. Would a wool mattress be good in warm and cold climates?

      I do have some experience sleeping on air beds, I hated every minute of it. They make too much noise – and transmit too much vibration – when you move (tend to wake other people, and yourself, up) and if they are not inflated completely you wind up with a back ache. Also, waking up in the middle of the night to find you have a leak is Not fun. Maybe there’s better brands than others? I think mine were middle priced/quality brands, eight to 12 inches thick when inflated. And of course, mileage probably varies. I have never tried the thinner ones a few inches thick when inflated made especially for camping.

      • I live in an RV and have slept on airbeds with a memory foam topper for years. Contrary to the previous opinion, I love it. A friend flopped on mine for a few minutes and then immediately ordered an air mattress and memory foam and threw out her RV mattress. She also loves this combo. Unlike regular mattresses, you can easily adjust the firmness.

        Here are a few tips:
        1) The air mattresses will occasionally need to be replaced. The longest one has lasted for me has been 3 years.
        2) I’ve had two fairly expensive airbeds and several cheaper ones. The cheaper ones lasted much longer. Go figure!
        3) I recommend memory foam that’s at least 3 inches thick.
        4) Memory foam stinks at first, so spread it out for at least one day to air it out.

        Try it! You’ll like it!

  4. Hi Gaye, I really love hearing about your life. It took a lot of courage to chose a location that is opposite in every way. I hope to hear your plans for sustainable water as you keep posting.

    One thing you said is very validating. You mentioned rice, water, honey, and coconut oil as a start. That is very close to my bugout and cache. Rice, beans, salt, sugar, honey, coconut oil. And 2 quarts of water. That is a lot to carry on my back and cache in the ground. And seeds. My plan is to use the bugout food to supplement foraging, which I am studying.

  5. Hi Gaye, I would like to know that if you brought only a small amount of your prepping supplies with you, what did you do with the rest? Give them away? Or are you going back for them later?

  6. Hi Gaye

    Prepping in the desert is not easy due to the dry heat. We use a swamp cooler instead of AC as it is less costly to operate. We have full so;ar as well as being on the grid,(our Edison bill is $.83 per month). We also have large rain
    catchment barrels, (total over 1000 gallons) as well as over 500 gallons of drinking water. Lots of other items just in case.
    Good luck in Arizona.

  7. Hi Gaye,
    It is funny that the happiest day of my life was the day we left PHX for ABQ. I like to say that the only time I want to be in PHX is changing planes at Sky Harbor! But I do understand what you are going through and I commend you for making your choice. We may be relocating to ID and I don’t really want to. But it does make sense for us as family is there. You hang in and plant those flowers. See the best, not the worst. Most important enjoy your new surrounding and embrace the history and culture.

    • Thank you JoAnn. I am already missing the forest and the availability of abundant spring water and biomass for the rocket stoves. You are right, though. I need to plant the flowers and embrace my surroundings. This is a very grand adventure!

  8. Dear Gaye and Husband:
    Welcome to the Southwest! You probably already love the “energy” of Arizona and its beautiful sunsets. I think you will also love being able to plan outdoor activities without much thought about weather conditions such as rain! It’s also nice to actually have a picnic without a troupe of ants and flies as unwelcome picnic “guests.” Anyway, please get up off the floor for sleeping…I worry about scorpions mainly….not a fun experience. So glad you have joined the rest of us “desert dwellers” at least for part of the year. Take care. Tip: Prescott has Costco, Traders Joes, Whole Foods, Sam’s Club, and Sprouts along with a nice local farmers market next to the downtown square…..just sayin….

    • We are now off the floor and in a real bed!! Yay! There is so much to learn about the desert. I have been told to be suspicious of “rubber bands” on the ground; they might be scorpions. Holy smoke – who would have thought it. I am such a newb.

      • I live in the far northwest part of the Phoenix valley and nothing primitive or off grid, but sure do enjoy reading your blogs. We moved here 16 years ago in August from Spokane. Love the sunshine and have adapted well to full time here. Summer’s are actually delightful for lack of overwhelming traffic. LOL. Hope you enjoy your season here.

        • Thank you. I am learning that a lot of BDS readers are scattered through Arizona. I learn more everyday but must admit that I miss the sea and the forest already. Still, the weather has been grand and learning to experience prepping from a different perspective has been a eye opener.

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