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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.

Review: Be Prepared with the Archeer Jump Starter

Review: Be Prepared with the Archeer Jump Starter

Most of the time when a vehicle will not start, it is due to a dead battery. This can happen at any time and it seems that the newer the car, the more likely this can happen. I know this from experience. We have a fairly new Subaru and unbeknownst to us, the battery stayed “hot” with the key in the ignition but turned to the off position. Until we figured this out, we had a vehicle that would not start at the most inopportune times.

As annoying as this situation can be, it is even more so in the winter months, when being stranded in a cold vehicle while waiting for help to arrive can be miserable. Today I present a solution, the Archeer Car Jump Starter & External Battery Emergency Kit. The compact device will not only jump start your battery but will also serve as a battery pack to charge your phone or tablet while on the go. This great little unit is compact and portable and I have one up for grabs in the latest Backdoor Survival giveaway.

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).

Review: Be Medically Prepared with a Gunshot & Bleeding Wound Kit

Review: Be Medically Prepared with a Gunshot & Bleeding Wound Kit

Accidents do happen and we all need to be prepared for a medical emergency when help may not be on the way. It is my belief that everyone should have a kit that can control severe bleeding and my top choice is the Gunshot Wound Kit from Joe and Amy Alton’s Doom and Bloom Store. Today I will tell you about the kit and also, in a fantastic giveaway, offer both the kit and a copy of the book, The Survival Medicine Handbook, Third Edition, to one lucky reader of this article.

Prepper Book Festival 13: The 299 Days Series by Glen Tate

Prepper Book Festival 13: The 299 Days Series by Glen Tate

The very first Prepper Book Festival occurred in 2012. Where has the time gone? In looking back, many of the books featured at that time have become a distant memory while others have become classics. One of the books that has withstood the test of time was the first book in the 299 Days Series by Glen Tate.

It seems like a fitting finale to this round of books is to feature the entire 299 Days Series. Now ten books strong, I have an encore interview with Glen plus a set of the first three books in the series to offer up as a giveaway.

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

Prepper Book Festival: Heal Local 20 Essential Herbs for DIY Home Healthcare

Prepper Book Festival: Heal Local 20 Essential Herbs for DIY Home Healthcare

Over the past few years, I have acquired a sizeable library of books and eBooks on natural remedies. Some are good but somewhat dry, boring, and overly technical. Others are fluff or simply a glorified blog post article. A select few are outstanding and today’s book is one of them.

Heal Local: 20 Essential Herbs for Do-it-Yourself Home Healthcare is one of those rare books that takes an overwhelming subject and breaks it down into manageable bites. The book begins with an extensive discussion of developing a local medicine community and the value of using healing herbs and plants that grow in our backyards. It then moves on to the ways you can put these herbs to use, whether as a tincture, oil infusion, steam pot, salve, bone broth, vinegar or any of a number of other methods that can be used administer herbs in emergency and first aid situations. Read the author interview then enter to win a copy of “Heal Local” for free.. Three copies are up for grabs!

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.

10 Top Myths About Preventing a Cold

10 Top Myths About Preventing a Cold

Like the game of party line we played as kids, myths about colds and other short-term illnesses prevail. The reality is that the common cold is caused by a virus that is passed from person to person. They can occur anytime during the year and not just during what is commonly referred to as the “cold season”. So what are those myths? Contributing author Dr. Joe Alton is here to debunk them and to reinforce what I have always said: thoroughly washing your hands is one of the best ways to avoid sickness, including the common cold.

Warning: Some of these myths may surprise you. Who knew?

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”?

My Gift to You This Holiday Season

My Gift to You This Holiday Season

During this year of personal changes, this holiday season is especially meaningful. Always a time of reflection, this year, in particular, finds me particularly thankful as I look back at the amazing adventure that began a little over a year ago. Personal changes aside, one thing is for certain. The Backdoor Survival community is filled with awesomeness not only in spirit but also in resourcefulness and kindness. Because of that, this year, I knew I wanted to come up with something I could offer as a gift – something free with no strings attached. What I came up with is a free copy of my eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.