Avatar for Gaye Levy

Author: Gaye Levy

I grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, I started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. Awhile back I abandoned city life and moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on on San Juan Island in NW Washington State.

These days I call Arizona home and am actively pursuing the purchase of a mountain retreat along the Mogollon Rim.

As you may have noticed, I am a bit of a glamourista but hope you do not hold that against. me. My bug out bag includes makeup and other items to make me look and feel good if SHTF.
How to Make Cold Pressed Aloe Vera Soap

How to Make Cold Pressed Aloe Vera Soap

Late last year I put out a call for topics that would enhance your ability to become self-sufficient. One of the topics that was suggested over and over again was step by step instructions for making soap from common ingredients that could be stored as part of our long-term preps.

As part of the Backdoor Survival “doing it my way” initiative, I put a call out to colleagues who had not only made soap themselves but were will to share their experience so we could learn ourselves. In this article, experienced prepper and soap-maker, Carmela Tyrell teaches us how to make cold pressed soap safely and easily using common ingredients plus gel from the Aloe Vera plant.

4 Tools to Cut and Chop Wood for Survival

4 Tools to Cut and Chop Wood for Survival

One of the basics of survival is having the ability to cut and chop wood. It is wood that will fuel the fires that keep us warm, boil our water, and cook our food. It seems simple enough, right? Grab your tool of choice, head outdoors and chop away. Alas, if it were only that easy. How many times have you gone to the garage or outdoors to the shed, only to be perplexed when it comes to choosing the best tool for cutting or chopping wood? Been there done that.

For this article I have reached out to experienced outdoorsman, Cody Assmann, to share his knowledge with those of us that have yet to select the perfect tool to meet our needs.

Diffusers and You: What You Need to Know

Diffusers and You: What You Need to Know

Using a diffuser to dispense the healing qualities of essential oils is one of the easiest ways to become accustomed to their use. Say, for example, someone in your home is sick with a cold or flu. Adding 5 or 6 drops of an anti-microbial essential oil to a diffuser will allow the healing qualities of the oil to disperse and circulate around the room, benefiting all if its occupants.

Likewise, if you are having problems breathing, a few drops of an essential oil running in a diffuser can clear the nasal passages and allow you to breathe more easily, especially at night. If this sounds familiar to the old fashioned vaporizer our mother’s put in our rooms as kids, you are correct. The concept is the same but instead of breathing in a chemical cocktail invented by the OTC drug industry, you are breathing something plant based that is actually good for you.

In this article, I share with you some of the benefits of using an essential oil diffuser along with alternatives for those times when a diffuser is not available. I also suggest specific oils and blends to get you started. (Part 1 of a 2 part series).

How to Make Coffee Using a French Press

How to Make Coffee Using a French Press

If you are anything like me, you have a tough time facing the day without first imbibing on a robust cup of hot coffee. Can you imagine being in a survival situation, faced with the stress of a disruptive event, and not having your morning fix of java? Although I say this somewhat tongue in cheek, the reality is that drinking coffee is a simple comfort that can bring pleasure when things are not going well.

In this article learn how to use a French Press to make an excellent cup of coffee with a minimum of effort and while using as little fuel from a heat

What You Need To Know About Animal Snares for Survival

What You Need To Know About Animal Snares for Survival

When it comes to long term survival under dire circumstances, many of us will need to step outside our personal comfort zone and use snares to trap animals for food. The thought of doing so is unpleasant to me personally, but if I had to do it I could and I would. This has led me to research animal snares and how best to use them in modern times.

To pull this together, I have collaborated with Cody Assmann, an experienced outdoorsman who has a lot of hands-on experience with this sort of thing. In this article you will learn that animal snares are an ancient tool that everyone interested in survival should become familiar with for SHTF purposes.

Prepper Book Festival 13: Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook

Prepper Book Festival 13: Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook

One of the common laments of preppers is they feel they are a lone wolf. In their hearts and minds they know if there is a major emergency, stored preps will be handy, but in reality, it will take teamwork to survive. We are not talking about OPSEC here. Instead, we are talking about community preparedness where neighbors help neighbors to ensure that everyone gets out of harm’s way safely. The Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook by Scott Finazzo is a book about community preparedness. It is a detailed guide to finding like-minded folks in your community that can band together to organize a disaster preparedness network.

Read an all-new interview with Scott plus enter to win a copy of his book for free.

12 Disruptive Events to Prepare For This Year

12 Disruptive Events to Prepare For This Year

An important rule of prepping is to identify disruptive events that could happen to you. These events are likely to be highly individualized and based on location, domestic situation, age, income, health, and a number of other factors. There are, however, twelve disruptive events that are universal. These are the dire situations we should all prepare for in one way or another. Here is a list of those events along with a plan to learn about them.

How to Be a Prepper In 22 Words

How to Be a Prepper In 22 Words

It seems fitting that while things are a bit more relaxed, prepping wise, we take a few moments to reflect upon preparedness strategies that are universal. I have given this a lot of thought and found that the rules of prepping boil down to just a few simple words, twenty-two to be exact. Here, in simplistic terms, are four steps every prepper needs to adhere to in order to succeed.

How to Use Essential Oils to Relieve Sinus Congestion

How to Use Essential Oils to Relieve Sinus Congestion

A sinus infection is miserable. Technically called sinusitis, this is a common ailment that first appears to be symptomatic of a common cold but in reality, is the result of swollen and inflamed nasal cavities. It is often caused by a virus which means treating with antibiotics is useless. That is just one reason why it makes sense to know how to treat the symptoms of a sinus infection without running to the drugstore for an armload of drugs that either will not work or will make you drowsy and incidentally raise your blood pressure.

Over the past couple of months, a number of people around me have suffered from sinus congestion. Like a mad scientist on a mission, I started experimenting with essential oils and with the help of Valerie Worwood’s fantastic book on essential oils, came up with a formula that works. If you have sinus problems, here is a DIY remedy using budget-friendly essential oils along with three different ways to use the blend: topically, in a diffuser, and by simple inhalation.

Do You Think Prepping Has Died?

Do You Think Prepping Has Died?

Shortly after the 2016 election, I read an article by one of my blogging colleagues titled “Is Prepping Dead?”. I felt so strongly about what she said that I shared her article throughout the social media, hoping that others would see it and continue their preparedness efforts. Now, one month later, I can confirm that I too am seeing signs that prepping, while not dead, has certainly slowed down. This seems odd to me since the likelihood of a disruptive event has not changed. It is as strong now as ever.

What are those signals and why should we continue to be prepared and to proudly call ourselves “Preppers”?

How to Store Vegetables Without a Root Cellar

How to Store Vegetables Without a Root Cellar

Anyone who loves to garden, especially those who wish to be able to provide wholesome foods for themselves and their families and live independently enough to survive economic or natural disasters will need to know what to do with all of the surplus from the summer. It’s great to be able to eat vegetables right out of the ground, but it is just as important to have good food all winter long. There are many methods of preservation.

The way you store each vegetable will depend on its needs and its hardiness. Here are ways to keep all of your produce, and especially the root vegetables, in great shape for the long winter months.

How to Make DIY Hand Sanitizer With Essential Oils

How to Make DIY Hand Sanitizer With Essential Oils

Hand sanitizers have their place in our lives, especially in the sick room where alcohol-based sanitizers rule. On the other hand, many hand sanitizers currently on the market deliver a chemical brew that results in a sticky, nasty mess along with ingredients such as triclosan and other anti-bacterial ingredients that are now suspected to contribute to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Given that plant-based essential oils are some of the strongest antibacterial and anti-microbial substances around, I have chosen to make my own day-to-day hand sanitizer. I use this hand sanitizer to supplement good old fashioned hand washing with plenty of soap and water. This recipe uses 100% organic, cold-pressed Aloe Vera gel, organic coconut oil, and a mix and match blend of essential oils.

Cooking Off Grid With a Wood Burning Stove

Cooking Off Grid With a Wood Burning Stove

As much as I enjoy reading and learning about living off-grid, nothing interests me more than off-grid cooking using a wood burning stove. Sure, there are rocket stoves, and all sorts of grills available for use outdoors but it is a big, beautiful, antique-style wood-burning stove sitting in the kitchen that captures my imagination.

Alas, at present I do not have the space to add a full-sized wood burning stove to my modern kitchen. That does not preclude my desire to learn as much as I can about off-grid cooking using wood and biomass.

Today I am thrilled to bring us one step closer to learning our way around an off-grid kitchen.

14 Tips for Creating a Robust and Well-Stocked Pantry

14 Tips for Creating a Robust and Well-Stocked Pantry

For many preppers, after setting aside water, the journey begins with food. When you think about it, that makes sense. Without food for sustenance and energy, everything else is moot. You need food to stay strong, healthy, and mentally balanced which in turn gives you the wherewithal to protect and defend yourself from the nuances of mother nature, and sadly, your fellow man.

A lot can be said for having a robust closet full of long-term food storage products. But what about your day to day pantry? Here are 14 tips that will help you build a robust pantry to serve you well during good times and bad.

Prepper Book Festival 13: Prepper’s Guide to Knots

Prepper Book Festival 13: Prepper’s Guide to Knots

Anyone who has spent time outdoors knows the value of using the best knot for the task at hand. In Prepper’s Guide to Knots, learn about knots and also how to select and care for your rope and other types of cordage. Plus, read an interview with the author and enter the giveaway to win a free copy of his book. There will be three winners.

10 Things To Do in Thirty Minutes to Up Your Prepping Game

10 Things To Do in Thirty Minutes to Up Your Prepping Game

There are times when we get so busy that we set aside our prepping for another day. From my perspective, that is perfectly okay. On the other hand, we can be our own worst enemies and sometimes the guilt from not prepping frustrates and upsets us. I know since I have personally been there and done that.

As a solution, consider taking an occasional small bite of prepping such as once a day or once a week. Set aside one day or one evening a week, and spend thirty minutes attending to your preps. Need some ideas? Here are ten things you can do to prep just a little bit for the next ten weeks.