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

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
Survival Buzz: Stepping Up to Failure by Having a Plan B

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.

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

1.  I am unable to create a starter from the natural yeast in the air.  I have read lots of books and experimented with all sorts of things: apples, potatoes, raisins, you name it. I have even purchased starters and faithfully reconstituted them and kept them well fed.  Still they fail.  How will I be able to bake bread when there is no longer any yeast?  I suppose I should learn to make matzah instead.  Or perhaps hardtack.

2.  My immediate family does not prep.  Period.  Two spare five gallon bottles of water is their idea of prepping.  Enough said.  To them, I am sure I am considered more than a bit quirky.  Eccentric even.  You know the story about leading a horse to water?  If the SHTF, I know I will take my family in and am allowing for the extra burden on my food and water supply.

3.  I can sow seeds and grow a garden that is weed free, but I can’t harvest much more than a few salads from the bounty.  A small yard, lack of sunlight, and a short growing season stack the deck against me.  Still I try over and over again, spending countless dollars on grow lights, seed mats, and tools to push things along.  I have finally resolved to be happy in the knowledge that I know how to garden and have tons of heirloom seeds properly stored for the long term.  If the time comes where I need to feed myself from the land, I am hopeful that my willingness to work plus by tools and seeds will allow me to partake of someone else’s bounty.

4.  My composting skills suck.  There is no other way to describe it.  I have a nifty composter but two years later?  No compost, just a bin full of leaves and organic scraps.  Most likely this is due to #3 above but still, I feel like a composting failure.

Shall I go on?  I better stop before I get depressed. There is a lesson here.

Whereas each of these 4 skills are important; at some point you have have to step up to failure and come up with a plan B.  That is what I am doing and you should too.  You may still feel like a failure but that is okay.  At the end of the day, you will most likely prevail.

And for today, that is all I am going to say about that.

Backdoor Survival Mail Bag & Reader Tips

A few week ago Steve shared this tip in response to 100 Budget Friendly Items for the Frugal Prepper:

I love the items listed here!!!

I can add a few as well…for fire starters…pine cones.. there are plenty of these bad boys laying all over the place in my home town.. the ones already opened to be exact.. step on them to smash them up a bit and they make great tinder…pine needles…another great tinder that can be scooped up anywhere for absolutely nothing!!

As to cotton balls, I soak mine in Hydrogen peroxide to make a faster fire starter. Let them dry and they go up quick!

Deborah offered this tip and I thought I would pass it on for those of you that have issues with restless legs:

Put several bars of soap under the bottom sheet in the calf area. This has stopped my legs jumping.

After a year or so I removed the soap but the leg jumping has not returned.

This was recommended by a doctor, but he didn’t know why it worked, just that patients were getting relief.

For those of you looking for some natural relief from aches and pains, Bob shared his experience with the DIY salve I fondly call “The Birch”.

I found your site shortly after I was hurt a year ago. I broke my arm in three places between the shoulder and elbow. Two full length plates and three dozen screws later your Birch EO mix helped me with the pain without the prescription drugs.

I have been a reader and fan ever since.

How cool is that?  If you want to give “The Birch” a try, here is the article:  Birch Essential Oil for Arthritis, Muscle and Joint Pain.

Keep those comments and tips coming.  I really do read every single one.

Prepare Your Family for Survival: Tip #X

Here are this week’s prep tips from Linda Loosli’s recently published a book, Prepare Your Family For Survival.

Chapter 8 – The Power of Many

Tip: See if you can talk your neighbors into getting some walkie talkies. The perfect neighborhood solution when landlines and cell service fail.

Experts recommend Motorola Talkabout 2-Way Radios #MR35OR. If you purchase them as a group you will all have the same model and can set them to the same channel. Plus, you might get a discount.

For more about the book, visit the article 11 Ways to Prepare Your Family for Survival and read my interview with Linda here: Prepper Book Festival 11: Prepare Your Family For Survival.

Current Backdoor Survival Giveaways

Charge Your Devices With the Cheotech Portable Solar Panel | Backdoor Survival

Charge Your Devices With the Cheotech Portable Solar Panel + Giveaway

  Prepping for a Pandemic | Backdoor Survival

Prepper Book Festival 11: Prepping for a Pandemic + Giveaway

With all giveaways, winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate will be selected.  Once selected, the names of winners are also displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article.  This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway. 

Starting Soon: 2016 Home Grown Food Summit – Online & Free

You are probably tired of me telling you about the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit, but it is such a fantastic opportunity to learn about backyard food production, homesteading, and off-grid living that I want to give you a final heads up.  It starts Monday, March 7th and is totally online.  You do not need to leave the comfort of your home to participate.

Remember where I told you about my fails at the beginning of today’s Buzz?  I am going to pick and chose the presentations I am interested in plus, as stubborn as I am, try to remedy some of my fails by learning some tricks from the experts.

For sure, however, my primary focus is going to be on learning more about herbal medicine.  Sound good?  You can still register using this link:  2016 Home Grown Food Summit March 7-13.

The Final Word

In closing, I thought I would circle around to the beginning and remind you that failure is a part of learning.  It is okay to try and try again, and if you continue to fail, come up with an alternate plan.  You can still continue to learn, but don’t beat yourself up too badly.  For every fail, there are undoubtedly nine or ten wins.

This week I am interested in learning about your own failures and how you dealt with them. Care to share in the comments below?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

Here for your discernment are items related to today’s article plus a sampling of personal and reader favorites.

Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair): These are the radios recommended by my friend Linda Loosli. Note, however, that there is no radio of this type that has a true, 35 mile range.  Think 3 or 4 miles, max.  On the positive side of the ledger, no license is required.  Uses standard AA batteries.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:  The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2 oz.  making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.

Medicinal Seed Kit from Buy Emergency Foods: Not only does this kit include all of the medicinal herbs I recommend in the article 10 Useful Medicinal Plants To Cultivate From Seeds, but I value the research and testing that has gone into the drying of these seeds for long term storage purposes.

Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger: Much to my surprise, this was the top purchase by Backdoor Survival readers last month. This nicely built charger will charge charge AA, AAA, C, D, N, 9V, Ni-MH, Ni-CD, and Alkaline batteries. It has an LED display so that when you first put a battery in the charging bay, you know whether it is viable for charging or simply bad and ready to go back to the recycle box.

Maximal Power battery charger from Amazon

Yes it really works, even under solar power.  Read about in this article: How to Recharge Alkaline Batteries.

VICTORIO Four-Tray Kitchen Crop Sprouter:  Using a sprouter is the safest way to create  fresh, healthy organic sprouts at home in just 3-5 days. The unique growing tray design uses water surface tension to keep the correct amount of water in each tray for all stages of the growing process.


What are the best oils for your survival kit? Here are my top picks.

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor 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 then sometimes, it is as simple as a huge discount.

20% Off Discount Code:  BACKDOORSURVIVAL
This is the sale you have been waiting for!Spark Naturals Anniversary Sale | Backdoor Survival

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.

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17 Responses to “Survival Buzz: Stepping Up to Failure by Having a Plan B”

  1. Bleach, I really get tired of people should now better saying to stock up on bleach. BLEACH HAS A VERY SHORT SHELF LIFE. It will just be smelly water in a few months. Save some money in the present and be better prepared by buying calcium hypochlorite (pool shock) and making your own bleach as needed.

    • Exactly. Just remember to have all the safety gear you need when dealing with the powder since it’s dangerous if mishandled. I keep two sets of chemical resistant gloves, goggles half mask respirator and plastic aprons. Probably overkill, but the last thing I need during an emergency is a chemical burn.

  2. My biggest shortcoming is being disorganized with the storage of my preps. I have a fairly good supply of freeze dried and dehydrated foods and quick fix meals, but heaven help me if I need to find a specific item quickly.
    Gaye… I was having the same problem with my compost bins (I have the rotating drum type bins) and the leaves and veggie scraps just sat there, until I introduced some earthworms… just some earthworms that I found under the leaves that I had failed to rake up the previous fall… now my compost breaks down in short order and the worms have multiplied into big balls of earthworms that eat banana peels, apple cores, carrot peels, and anything else organic that I throw in there… and then in turn, they give me wonderful rich worm excrement that is wonderful for my square foot gardens. The other trick seems to be to rotate the drums every few days to aerate the composting matter and treat the worms to a Ferris wheel like ride. If you have a stationary compost bin, then you would need to use a pitchfork or other devise to turn the compost and get some air into the middle of it… but the single best thing you can do is add the earthworms and let them do all the work (and be fruitful and multiply). If you can’t find worms to get started, email me the next time you are going to be in Seattle or Bellevue and I will send you home with a nice starter supply of earthworms to get your compost rolling in the right direction.

    • My compost bin is a tumbler as well so before giving up (who me?) I will add some earthworms. I am sure I can find some in the large pots where I raise tomatoes. I feel kind of stupid for not thinking of this myself. That is why I love the comments!!

      Enjoyed the “worm ferris wheel” comment as well!

  3. Having a Plan B, as well as a Plan C, D, E, etc, is an absolute necessity to improving your overall ability to survive a disaster. I’d love to ein this contest as information is the most important aspect of formulating any survival plan.

  4. Always have multiple plans. I have been gathering multiple bread or type of bread recipes in the event I do not have a yeast or sourdough starter still viable.

  5. Thanks so much, Gaye, for the article. I can take a deep breath, walk away, cut my losses and move on. I can beat a dead horse to dust if I let myself.

    On your wild yeast failure, why not consider sourdough starter as a Plan B for baking? It’s easier to get going and besides the older it gets, the better it is. It’s also a lot healthier because of it’s fermented qualities. It takes a bit of care and practice, but it can be a “steady eddie” in your kitchen. There are lots of ideas out there for baking, including scones, cookies, muffins, crackers, etc. And they don’t taste “sour” lie plain bread does. Some people even give it a name 😉

    Unfortunately I managed to let mine die. They turn pink when they die 🙁 In sourdough’s case gray is good, pink is bad.

  6. My biggest failure is growing plants.No matter how carefully I follow the instructions, invariably they die, BUT I keep trying. Now Da Hubs on the other hand can get just about anything to grow and flourish. SO needless to say right now He takes care of the greenery and I take care of the mechanical stuff. My dad was a mechanic/electrician and as oldest of the 6 kids I invariably went with him when he would go the grandparents to fix stuff. So I know how to hang drywall, fix cars(pre-catalytic converter years) and some electrical and plumbing. Yes , I was a tomboy growing up. Mom made sure we ALL knew how to cook, clean, sew,knit and crochet, including the boys. When my brothers were in the service, their comrades were amazed they knew how to sew on their patches for the uniforms correctly. I think one of them even made some extra “pocket money” by doing the other guys uniforms rather than them having to pay a tailor to do it.

  7. One of my failures is growing the herb rosemary. I had a rosemary plant in a big pot (can’t grow it outside year round in my climate) for several years and it was really nice to be able to cut fresh rosemary to add to stews, etc. That plant died several years ago. Every replacement plant I have bought since then has died within a week or two.

  8. My Plan B for not being able to culture natural yeast for baking is to stockpile baking soda and baking powder. There are many uses for baking soda so make sure to get lots of it!

  9. In preparing with food storage, which would be better: regular all purpose flour or self-rising flour? I’m thinking the self-rising flour since you don’t have to have separate ingredients to make it rise.

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