Today I would like to talk about taking advantage of nature’s bounty. Specifically, I am referring to food items that are out there and yours for the taking for free or very little money. Examples? Fish, shellfish and game.
So what brought this on? Last weekend some visiting neighbors brought over a bucket of fresh Dungeness crabs that had been caught in our local waters. Oh yeah, I remember going crabbing myself when we had a boat. But what happened? Dunno . . . without a vessel I suppose I just forgot about this bounty from the sea.
That got me thinking: now that I have this prepper mindset I need to gather up the gear and start up again. After all, the catch will be free (except for the cost the license) and the results are delicious. A doubly whammy of the good kind.
Last month I suggested that prepping can be done, even on a strict budget of $5 to $10 a week. We started with water, both purchased water (you will be surprised at how much bottled water you can get for $10 on sale) as well as the do-it-yourself type in used jugs.
We then moved on to raiding your pantry and moving canned goods, dry goods, and staples from your day to day supply to the emergency bin, cupboard or even a large garbage bag. The point was to set your emergency food somewhere away from you daily pantry to that it will actually be there when you need it. The caveat was/is to store your food away from heat extremes and moisture.
So what comes next? Say you only have $5 to $10 spend and even that is a stretch. I say don’t spend a dime this week. Instead, add this amount to the cookie jar where you will have the extra cash available to spend on prepping next week.
127 Hours is a movie about real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston who slides into a canyon crevasse while climbing in Utah. His arm is pinned under an bolder and he has very little food and water. After being trapped for 127 hours, he literally cuts himself loose from danger but amputating his arm and lives to tell about it.
During his 127 hours stuck in the crevasse, Ralston must resort to his basest survival instincts. So what are the lessons learned from this true story?
1. First and foremost: Use your head! To quote Joel at Survival Cache: “Your number one survival tool is the grey matter that keeps your ears apart.”
In the movie, Aron took off on his climb in a remote location without letting anyone know where he was headed. That was not using his head! He also took very little water and food with him with no plan for contingencies. On the other hand, he figured out that the only way out was to disengage from the bolder so with much bravery, he cut off his arm.
And it is only May. So many tragedies and so much disruption of daily life. I don’t know why but most certainly I do not believe that the inhabitants of earth are being punished for some reason. I simply do not know.
There are those that claim that the multitude of natural disasters have been predicated by global warming. Others claim that our planet is simply undergoing a 1000 year geological cycle. I am not 100% convinced one way or another and boy, I wish I understood the science a little bit better.
The American Dream website (see link below) has just posted an interesting article on the topic.
So far in 2011, we have seen a record number of tornadoes, unprecedented flooding, rampant earthquakes, disturbing volcanic eruptions and a tsunami in Japan that none of us will ever forget. So why are there so many natural disasters in 2011? Our top scientists seem to be at a complete loss to explain what is happening. It just seems like there is one disaster or emergency after another. Many Americans are getting “disaster fatigue” as the requests to donate money to various relief efforts never seem to end. There has never been a time in recent history when we have seen so many natural disasters compressed into such a short period of time. So exactly what is going on here? Is something causing all of this or is this all one big coincidence?
Today it is my pleasure to share a question and answer session I recently had with BadVooDooDaddy at The Retreat Blog. For those of you that are not familiar with this site, The Retreat features Bushcraft, Survival Skills, Preparedness.
As I mentioned in Protecting the Homestead, I am a newbie and therefore a bit anxious and fearful when it comes to guns of any sort. And even though Survival Husband and I now own a shotgun, knowledge is power and so I wanted to learn more.
Shall we begin?
1. Q: What do you consider to be a good starter weapon for someone with little or no experience with firearms?
A: Well for a person with little or no firearms experience I would suggest something like an SKS rifle or a Mosin Nagant rifle. Both of these weapons are very simple in how they are built and they are virtually indestructible. I would also suggest a 12 gauge shot gun if home defense is all you need a weapon for.
2. Q: What about ammo? Are there differences and how does a novice determine what to buy?
A: Yes there are many different types of ammo out there. Depending on what the weapon is going to be used for will determine what type you need to get. There are several types that are pretty common such as, FMJ(Full Metal Jacket) this is primarily used for defense or hunting, JSP(Jacketed Soft Point) This has a lot more stopping power than a FMJ. It is good self defense ammo. There is also JHP(Jacketed Hollow point). This is a much softer ammo and used primarily on unarmored targets.
Freaking out over water or simply a water freak? I suppose it really does not matter since when it comes to water, I am a hoarder. In addition to my 55 gallon water barrel, I have cases of bottled drinking water in the cellar and another case or two in the garage. Is that enough? Don’t know. Actually, I hope I will never have to use my stored water.
How about you? Did you ever purchase that water barrel along with a siphon and a bung wrench? Or, if like a lot of folks, have you put off that purchase due to financial or space limitations?
It was recently pointed out to me that barring the acquisition of long term storage facilities (such as the water barrel), there are numerous ways to collect and store ordinary tap water for free. Not a bad idea, actually, especially when you take in to account that you may also use the free, short term water supply for cleaning, laundry, toilet bowl flushing and more.
So how can you safely store the water right out of your tap?
I am finally back home after a week long hiatus to the big city. Traffic, dirt, noise . . . yuk. Anyway, I am very thankful that I have my quiet little cottage here on San Juan island. Enough personal stuff; it is time to get back to the business of prepping.
The horrific storms sweeping through the southeast have not gone unnoticed from my place here in Washington State. As with the Japan quake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown (which, for some reason is no long newsworthy) the massive destruction to homes and the fabric of normal life are gut wrenching. I keep thinking about the folks who thought they were prepared: plenty of extra food, water, auxiliary power and cash to get by in the event of a crisis. They too lost everything.
So once I again I raise my hand and say “What happens if my home is swept away along with all of my precious preps?” Now that is one heck of question, especially since we personally (oops, here I go again with the personal stuff) have made so much progress this year in preparing our little homestead to be self-sufficient.
Below is a list of the lessons I have learned from this latest disaster in Alabama, Tennessee and other areas of the Southern United States.
Imagine this: you have spent years preparing for a worst case scenario, acquiring food, water, and tools and carefully storing these items for the long term. You have rotated stock, put together a comprehensive first aid kit, and made sure that you have a family notification plan so that loved ones will be able to contact each other when or if the SHTF.
But wait. Things around you are in chaos. Perhaps there was an earthquake or tornado. Perhaps – heaven forbid – a pandemic is running rampant or the dollar has become valueless. These are worst case scenarios and there will be panic. That is guaranteed.
To the best of your ability, you are going to want to keep yourself physically safe and to protect and preserve those items you have so carefully put away over the year at no trivial expense. So, as much as you may be against violence and against the use of force, the time may come when you will have no choice but to protect the homestead using brute force. This means firearms.
Not everyone is blessed with a decent job, no mortgage debt, no car payments, and plenty of food on the table. As sad as it may seem, the grim reality is that we all have friends, neighbors, and relatives that are scraping by with meager incomes and barely enough cash to keep the utilities turned on in their homes.
I have spoken one on one to many such folks and it is amazing how resilient they are. Many have given up the use of an automobile for all but essential trips. Others have either given up or cut back on their cable TV and have learned to make prodigious use of the public library.
Now let me set the record straight: I am not talking about the braggarts who pare down their 150 satellite channel lineup to 80 channels and talk/brag about their new-found, politically correct, austerity. No, I am referring to hard working folks who, with the rising cost of food and fuel, have no extra money and are struggling to come up with the cash to cover basics such as toothpaste and TP.
So therein lies the challenge. As I attempt to educate others on the need to be prepared and to be self-reliant, what do I say when the piggy bank is empty and there is little or no extra cash? Can I offer a family preparedness solution to what may seem to be an expensive proposition?
Thinking about amusement and entertainment during a period of crisis may at first blush seem frivolous but think about it. If things were bad, really bad, and you had to shelter in place or perhaps move to a community shelter, what would you do to while away the hours?
Let us assume you have food, water plus the other necessities of life (TP, meds, first aid, sleeping bags) on hand so the basics are covered.
Now your choices are:
1. Sit around and grouse about how bad things are
2. Feel sorry for your self and get depressed
3. Make the best of things and keep mind engaged
Given a choice – and given that the basics are covered because you have been following the weekly preps at Backdoor Survival – I go for door number three. Today I took a stroll around the house and gathered up some fun and games to stash in one of my survival bins.
The first day of 2011 has come and gone and with it, a renewed energy to continue to focus on self sufficiency and personal independence.Personal independence and the ability to take care of one’s needs without reliance on others is a mantra that can exist anywhere, including cities, rural communities, farmlands, and remote outposts. It is time to take a preparedness inventory.