The Sunday Survival Buzz #132

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Jul 4, 2019

Welcome to this week’s all-new Sunday Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.

I really had to think hard to come up with my prepping activities this week.  You see, the way it works is that once you have been doing this for a while, preparedness becomes a part of your DNA.  Okay, not biologically but you know what I mean.

More specifically, every trip to the store, every bargain, every piece of usable but perhaps no longer fashionable clothing, is evaluated in terms of whether it would be good to have for SHFT.  In my own household, we make light of this.  Should we get it?  Should we skip it?  Oh wait, that would be good for stuff hits the fan.  This dialog is ongoing and happens every single day.

has preparedness become part of your dna

If you personally are not there yet, be forewarned.  I would never call it a game but it is very much game-like.  What do we need? How much can I purchase?  Can we afford it?  There are always these same questions. In addition, with my small house, there is also a question of where I going to put it all. Sometimes I go back and re-read 16 Food Storage Tips for the Space Challenged Prepper although the tactics for me apply as much to gear as to food.

Anyway, enough about that.  For those of you not on Facebook where I reported it first, last week my endodontist (root canal guy), decided to do nothing dental-work wise. He advised me to stop the antibiotics, add some probiotics and mostly, continue with Dee’s cocktail for at least another week. He suggested adding some cinnamon indicating that both turmeric and cinnamon are “natures antibiotics”.  Those were his words, not mine.

At the end of the day, it was not the antibiotics and Vicodin that solved my dental woes but a cocktail of lemon juice, turmeric, and cayenne. I don’t know about you, but I think it is wonderful that there are still established, mainstream, health care professionals that believe in the traditional ways.

That about covers it for me this week.  Now for some announcements.


The following giveaway is active, ending Thursday at 6 PM Pacific.  This book by Jim Cobb is really a good one so you will definitely want to enter.

Summer 2014 Book Festival: Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide


The winner of The Shadow Patriots is Barbara S.  Here is the event that set her on a path of preparedness:

For me, it started with 9/11. I remember being so afraid of a possible bio-weapon attack. It’s been in my mind since then but really just in the last year that I’ve gotten organized and started prepping in earnest.

As always, you have 48 hours to claim your winning book.


Throughout the Labor Day weekend, Spark Naturals is offering free shipping on everything!  If you have never used essential oils, this is a great opportunity to give them a try.

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


Remember to use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL for an additional 10% off your Spark Natural order.


My friends at Mountain House let me know that as a result of some new, independent testing, the shelf life of Mountain House pouches has now been increased from 10 to 12 years.   When asked for more details, they said:

I’m glad you asked — it was independent testing done by Oregon State University Sensory Science Laboratory.  It was commissioned because MH periodically tests their archived pouches to determine if they meet our criteria for shelf life, namely that the archived product is “virtually indistinguishable from new production”. This is the most conservative definition of “shelf life” in the industry.

As you know, shelf life is one of the most important variables in the emergency preparedness market, and MH wanted to provide their consumers with the most up to date information on our products, backed by unbiased 3rd party testing.

So basically, what they are saying, is that the end of 12 years, the meal pouch is of the same quality as it was at the time of manufacturer.  Although I prefer to purchase FD meals in tins, the shelf life does degrade once opened.  Plus, #10  tins are not portable enough to carry in bug-out-bags.  Pouches, even at the higher cost, are a good option to consider.  Another advantage is that you can add water directly to the pouch without the need for cooking utensils.


As I walked Tucker yesterday, I could feel the breeze, see the clouds, and recognize that summer was almost over.  Where did it go?  Our lives get so busy that we forget that time marches forward.  Trust me, the older you are, the faster the march.

That has me thinking that I have a bit of backtracking to do.  I still have lots of stuff to give away as part of the Summer Survival Blast (remember I mentioned giveaway burnout?) plus I counted 11 more books in the Summer Book Festival.  I think I have to come up with some better naming conventions.

Enjoy the day, everyone.  If you have a moment, leave a comment and let the rest of us know what you did to prep this week.

So what about you – what did you do to prep this week?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for me daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin: Today I share some of the favorite budget-friendly items that I personally own.

Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed:  The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one, used it, and can recommend it.  See The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.

Note:  the price can vary by color so if you are not particular, scroll through the colors and save a couple of bucks.

FordEx Group 300lm Mini Cree Led Flashlight Torch Adjustable Focus Zoom Light Lamp:  Here we go with another flashlight.  It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof.  Plus, it uses a single, standard AA sized battery.  This my number one deal!

ProForce Commando Wire Saw Bulk, Ideal For Survival Kits:   Here is what one reviewer had to say:

“When I got the saw, I thought it was a dinky little wire. My expectations were blown away!! I can cut a three inch tree in three min. I would much so recommend that you get this saw.”

I’ll see if I can talk Shelly into doing a mini-review for us this great little saw.

The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage:  My book will provide you with everything you need to create an affordable food storage plan, including what to buy and how to store it. Nothing scary and nothing overwhelming – you really can do this!  Hint wink!  I just lowered the price of the ebook to 99 cents on Friday!  Let’s see how many of you catch this!

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!



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42 Responses to “The Sunday Survival Buzz #132”

  1. Gaye, Does a true essential oil have to say “essential” on the bottle, or is Lavender Oil also an essential oil. I am confused since I became involved with essential oils, thanks to you.

    • Great question. Before responding, I wanted to check some of the bottles of essential oils I had purchased before I started using Spark Naturals. My inexpensive bottle of Lavender from NOW FOODS is labeled:
      100% Pure Lavender

      Elsewhere on the label is says 100% pure lavender oil and “Natural essential oils are highly concentrated …”.

      I believe it is safe to say that this indeed, is an essential oil. Check your bottle for clues; somewhere there should be an indication that it is 100% oil as well as the words “essential oil”. Important note: if there is no supplement information (such as what you see on a vitamin bottle), do not ingest the essential oil. If in doubt, do not do it.

      FYI – I have been using SN Oregano Oil in my oil pulling. Mostly though, I do not ingest my oils even though I could. Personal choice.

    • Remember: what you put ON you gets IN you immediately- bypassing the stomach and liver. So BE SURE the EOs you use are certified as therapeutic (the SparkNaturals EOs you feature ARE this type!) You can use these internally as well!

  2. Good morning Gaye! I had to shake my head and laugh the knowing laugh of someone who, like you, has lost the differentiation of “normal” life and “prepping” life. It’s all the same here too! I am glad it has become second nature.

    This week I simmered up an enormous pot of chicken bone broth. I absolutely swear by its ability to boost the body’s immune system and heal intestinal issues. Then I used the broth to cook red beans and rice from the pantry: all in all, meals this week were practically free and it’s good to get practice in making meals from food storage.

    I swung by my local thrift store on their half-price day and scored several awesome deals. Two manual can openers, a food mill, a brand new swiss army knife, two new boardgames and the recent edition of the Merck Manual all for $12.

    I cleaned out my change jar, and amazingly had over $100! That cash went in the BOB.

    Thanks for everything Gaye. Have a great week.

    • Now that you mention it, manual can openers may be an item to stock up on for barter!
      “Trade ya a can opener for a can of beans and a can of peaches!” 🙂

  3. Yes Gaye, the days are getting shorter. My tomatoes are producing fewer and fewer fruit. At our age, it wont be long until the snow is flying.
    With Sparks Natural giving free shipping, I finally took the plunge. I ordered the Zaq Dew so I hope I can look in your archives to see what oils you recommend for these old bodies. If you don’t have them in the archives, this is something for you to do, like you have so much time on your hands.

    • John – see my response to Peggy below. I have been keeping track of how I use my essential oils in my daily routine. As far as “old bodies”, I have a fantastic remedy for arthritis. I will post it later or in a day or two.

      What other old body woes??

    • This old body doesn’t have the strength and endurance it use to have. No get up and go. In other words, it is getting harder and harder to get out of bed each morning. I guess I need something to put in my new diffuser that will put zing in my step.

    • John – I keep a diffuser in my bathroom pumping out peppermint and rosemary to get me going in the morning. I use a half and half combination of 4 drops each. You can use more or less but that will be a good start. You might notice that in a couple of weeks you nose gets used to the smell. Don’t add more oils. Instead, switch out blends. I will try to post more over time. Really, I had no idea there was so much interest.

      Peppermint is invigorating and rosemary provides mental clarity. Both are what you need in the AM. They also have lots of other qualities such as headache and allergy relief.

      Have fun with your diffuser but do keep it away from the fishies.

    • One other little known tip. Start with hot water in the diffuser and will pump out a stronger mist. Perhaps that is just a perception but it seems to work.

  4. I spent another week non-prepping! Altho I did receive some freeze dried pouches I ordered last week and still have several that haven’t arrived as yet. There is no place within 100 miles where I can get some of those, so I order online and try to find places that will ship to my home for free if I order a set amount. Waiting for all utility bills to come in so I know how much cash I have left. Then figure how much I can spend on prep items.
    Been running the brushhog and the “walk behind string trimmer” in an effort to get rid of some of the jungle of weeds that have sprouted around my house. Lowers the fire risk!

  5. What I did this week was to walk around my house and imagine certain scenarios and examine how well some things would fare. Well I realization that I hadn’t considered before and haven’t seen mentioned anywhere….maybe because I’m a little nutz, you decide. If all power was out for extended period of time(like solar flare wiping out grid or whatever) then these hot summer days would consist of windows open in the house to attempt to keep cool. Well most houses today do not have true screen “wire” in their windows, but a sort of cloth mesh stuff. The problem is that grasshoppers can and DO chew holes in this stuff. I have personally had to replace a couple of mine in years past. This would lead to all sorts of critters having access to your indoor space. The thought of flies buzzing around, mosquitoes carrying west-nile virus, wasps, and stinging scorpions has me thinking of a trip to store to replace mesh with real wire screens and maybe keeping a roll on hand to make repairs as needed.

  6. New to prepping I accomplished the first month of prepping this week. I’m hoping that I can get my grand kids interested and teach them skills as I go along. I received 3 waterbricks that I ordered through Amazon and filled them yesterday. I was concerned about the weight and did not want to get the 5 gallon containers in stores because I can’t lift that much weight. I’m 66 and the 3.5 gallons was a challenge too. I might go to the half brick for future purchases. Something people want to consider when getting any prepping supplies is the weight. If you cannot lift it or more it then it might not be usable.

  7. Glad to hear about your health, I’m up to a 30 lb restriction on my right arm, it’s been a long summer thankfully the ” boy” is 6’5″ 300+. Just a thought for you or Shelley very few people know how to correctly sharpen an ax. If you could come up with the correctcontour diagram it would help a lot of people not to sharpen them like a knife. Just a thought.

    • I am going to need a volunteer to help me with that (sharpening an ax). We have never done it. That is another pioneer skill to add to the list of things to learn.

    • Have you seen this government publication on axe sharpening? Good read.

    • Jim – What a great find. Not only that, it can be freely republished. I will set it up for BDS so everyone will have access. Do you have any other gems like this in your back pocket?

    • I sometimes run across things like that. If I find any more on my computer or on the web I’ll try to wait till I get several of them then email the links to you. That way you don’t have to moderate the links here and can take your time on publishing them. I do know that I have some on government studies of EMP effects. But, usually I just download the pdf and don’t keep the link!

  8. This week was spend going through my store of herbs and spices. Making my blends and writing down what I needed. Checking my drying herbs. See my medicine cabinet is my kitchen. Between my food and my herbs/spices, it’s how I keep healthy. So when someone mentioned she was in pain, I just naturally shared. 🙂 Though as often happens, in giving the info, I made a mistake but since it was made with real food, no foul, though her mouth might have been a little warm. 😉
    BTW: while you’re prepping, you may want to store extra pepper. Most of us use it on a regular basis but forget it’s a spice which come from the opposite side of our world. 😉
    The other action I took was to re-evaluate what I had in sewing materials. I realized I needed some heavy duty needles along with heavy duty threads. Things will need to be fixed, altered etc. and that’s a skill I’ve grown up with. 🙂 Even to knowing a bit about fixing stuffed furniture. 🙂 So I ordered some leather needles, denim needles and some silver cloth to put the needles in so they don’t tarnish.

    • Thank you for the tip, I didn’t know about storing my heavy duty needles in a silver cloth. Needle pullers are a great item to have, to pull the large needles through materials. or wax buttons

    • Small female set of pliers to keep with needles will do that pulling but I’m also ordering an awl. //

  9. I’ve been drying tomatoes. I canned them last year. Thought I’d try them this way and will add to oil later if they make it that far. They are great snacks just the way they are. Cucumbers too! Most of my winter veggies are growing nicely. With our recent earthquake in Napa, I have also been going through and securing things. I have been laxed in that area for a while. Bought some more 22Lr and also made a noise maker with a rat trap and shot gun shell. You have options here. We used just the primer and was load. Leaving the powder in was loader yet and of course if really, really necessary…
    Like Dee mentioned, it is often you need to think of what you did, because you just do it as part of your life, like storing water from used bottles, research & printing articles or organizing something. Not major things, just a part of life. Of course with my wife in Vegas, I got to have a bachelors dinner that if SHTF, I won’t be able to have anymore. Does that count for prepping? It’s a large bowl of a peanut butter milk shake. Sometimes with a dessert of popcorn, but not last night. 🙂

    • LOL. When Shelly used to travel, I would forget to eat dinner until it was bedtime. I would make a huge bowl of popcorn and call it a night. I don’t know why more people do not include popcorn with their preps.

  10. This week I started a blog so I can leave a written record of my journey to self-sufficiency. I realize that this is not exactly prepping but I also bought some books on gardening. I talked to a contractor friend who is going to hook me up with lumber scrap he would normally throw out. I plan to use this to build my garden boxes and other things. I got permission from my landlord to have a garden and to have chickens and rabbits. So maybe not a lot of physical things got done. But I did get a lot done that will allow the physical to be done.

    • Angela – I read your blog this morning and I hope others do to. Storing water in milk jugs is not the best way to go so be sure to rotate frequently. Perhaps you can find a neighbor that drinks soda or juice so that they can donate some of their empty jugs for you to use instead of the milk jugs.

      The landlord is allowing chicken and rabbits? Way to go!

    • Hey that’s a lot to get done! BTW: if you use vinegar to clean as well as for cooking, use those bottles, the water may taste a bit vinegary but that vinegar coating will keep the water potable. 🙂 Take it from someone who’s been doing this for a spell. 😉

  11. I ordered Summer Of Survival webinars, watched/listen to 2. Dried apples and tomatoes that I soaked in red wine. Finished the para cord lanyards I made for the’12 Months Before Christmas’ Garden is going great but late. And than ended up in the hospital. So I am now loaded on Percs so I can half way function. 2 week count down to Cruise to Alaska for Momma’s 86th B’day.

    • Oh my gosh – the hospital?? I truly hope you are on the mend. Take care; you don’t want to miss that cruise. I love Alaska!

  12. I’ve never tried essential oils before. I’m reading Valerie Worwood’s book that you recommended. I just ordered Sparks 4 pack introductory pack. Hope it comes with instructions on how to use, as I’m a rank beginner. Never even heard of Essential Oils until started reading your blog. Everyone have a nice Labor Day weekend.

    • I have been hesitant to post too many articles on using essential oils. On the other hand, I use them every single day for one thing or another. If no one objects, I will post some additional information that is very specific both as to how I use them personally and also specific uses of the 4-pack and other favorites. As long as there is interest, I post some diffuser blends too. I have 3 diffusers: one in my office, one in the bathroom, and one in the bedroom. I am still considering one more for my great room (the entire first floor of my cottage).

    • I object! 🙂
      Why haven’t you been posting them already? One or two bits a week, mixed with the other things you cover. That will give people time to decide if they want to try them. I think that would be better than one large post with too much information to be easily absorbed!

    • I have been putting some tips up over on the Strategic-Living facebook page but that is not the best platform since space is limited and not everyone does FB. I want to get the Strategic-Living website up and running again so I can post short little articles there. FUD. Future Under Development.

      The Sunday Buzz is really the only platform I have for short little EO tips but then they get buried. I suppose that is better than nothing 🙂

    • The other thing, as I mentioned earlier, I had no idea there was so much interest!

    • I think the interest (at least for me) is that people have came to the realization that, if something major happens, big pharma may not be around. If the medications are needed to remain alive or to aid healing of injuries and illneses then the medications may not be available and alternatives can fill the bill. Knowing what “tea” will reduce a fever can be a great comfort to someone with small children. Knowing what EO helps with congestion, headache, muscle soreness, and many other things, will help reduce worries about the possible future.

  13. I’ve been trying to get a little canning done this week. I have gotten so, so far behind.
    I really need also to organize my stored supplies but I haven’t gotten to it lately. Somehow “real” life with everyday cooking, pets, etc. just kind of takes up the day.
    I too look at every purchase as what it would mean to the supplies I have stored and what I might use it for in worse times of the future.
    Just keep putting one foot in front of the other was good advice given to me recently. Something I need to remember.

  14. My preps this week have been pretty slim (end of the month), but did pick up a 2-pack of Hydrogen Peroxide and a 2-pack of Rubbing Alcohol at Costco, along with a couple of 4.5 Lb boxes of Minute Rice to add to our stash. Like many of you, our prepping has been on-going for several years…slow and steady. Now I am trying to make an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the food items, expiration dates, servings per package or can, storage locations etc. I have saved all of my invoices from Emergency Essentials and other sources in a “Prepping” file folder so won’t be too hard to put the spread sheet together. Just need some quiet time with my computer.
    Gaye… we appreciate your hard work and diligence in producing your web-site and blog. I don’t do Facebook due to a very unpleasant experience several years ago, but just recently signed up to follow you on Pinterest if I can just figure out how it works.

  15. Gaye,
    When I read your article asking if Prepping is in Your DNA and “every bargain, every piece of usable but perhaps no longer fashionable clothing, is evaluated in terms of whether it would be good to have for SHFT.” … I laughed out loud!
    Apparently prepping IS in my DNA because I base all my decisions on whether I keep, toss or donate everything based on whether it will be useful for my family or as a barter item after the SHTF. Clothes, especially cold weather items will highly sought after especially by families with kids who are still growing. How awesome would it be to know a child could be warm because I thought to keep an outgrown jacket or pair of jeans? I have been laying in a supply of sturdy jean and other materials just in case we have a disaster that alters LAWKI for a long time.
    I have my husband determining how we’d adjust our sewing machine to manual from electric and looking for what we’ll need to make that happen. I am picking up hand cranks and other old tools at thrift shops and have found that people who own or stable horses usually sell old but very usable leather tack that would be useful in many ways. I’m also hitting salvage yards for old grill racks and metal poles to use for cooking outside etc because I don’t expect fuel sources to last long. BTW: Recycle yards give away old pallets that can be used to build outhouses, drying sheds etc.
    Anyway, thanks for the laugh! It’s easy to forget to live for today and laugh and just breathe when you are making sure you can survive tomorrow. Take good care JM

    • JM – I have one of those inexpensive solar kits from Harbor Freight and have no trouble using the solar energy it creates to run my sewing machine. We do not have a sunny yard so given the shaded conditions, the solar panels actually are quite effective. I don’t remember exactly, but the entire set up was under $200 and probably a lot less. I should check.

    • JM – you may want to look around for an old treadle sewing machine. My grandmother made a lot of clothes and quilt tops on hers. Wish we still had it! I may not be a seamstress (seamster? male seamstress??), but I have made jumpsuits, shirts and even a kilt (all on electric sewing machines). So I’m not afraid to tackle making my own clothing!

  16. Gaye, I actually live very close to you and I haven’t chosen anything solar because we have very few sunny day for 3/4 of the year. Are you saying solar panels can work on overcast days? If so I’ll be jumping on Solar panels of some type right away. BTW: I can’t really sew much except a straight line but I do have someone who is willing to teach me. I’m learning to darn wool socks etc and picked up darning needles, wool thread and a darning egg. Keeping sox and other wool clothing in shape will be important due to out cold winters.
    JimW, I’ve been looking at/for treadle sewing machines but they are so expensive! I’m hoping to stumble across one that needs repairs so I can get it at a reasonable price and have my husband repair it. I have 1 current machine and 2 much older sewing machines that are built into stands but they too are electric. I’m still on the hunt.
    Can anyone recommend a really good whole family water filter? Gaye, Sometime ago I read your article on a gravity feed water filter and want to know if it met your expectations and how long the filter lasted. A good comprehensive water filter is actually my next planned purchase gotta have water!
    BTW: I was speaking with the manager of a large water testing company and he told me that crushing up a vitamin C tablet and adding it to bleach treated water will remove the bleach taste. Think I’ll be adding more vitamin C tablets to my preps! Have a good prepping day everyone! JM

    • When it comes to solar, keep in mind that the solar panel charge batteries and that whatever you are doing, you are using the stored energy from the batteries and not the panels themselves. If you have a large enough battery of bank of batteries (i.e. marine deep cycle batteries are good), you should be able to store up enough energy to use a sewing machine. And yes, they do charge up on overcast days but it does take longer.

      As far as a filter goes, if you are going to hunker down in place, consider a Berkey. I believe the gravity fed filter was the LifeStraw Family. I can’t remember the longevity but it was a long time. //

    • Our BIG BERKEY was among our first prepping purchases several years ago. It sits on our kitchen counter next to our Keurig coffeemaker, and we use the filtered water always for coffee making as well as sometimes for drinking. The Black Berkey filters need to be primed and kept moist for best speed of filtering…when they dry out, filtering will be extremely slow. By using the water for making coffee (and some other uses), we need to fill it every other day or every third day, which means the filters never dry out. We have purchased a back-up set of Black Berkey filters and a spare spigot, just in case (it’s in the preppers DNA to have redundancy)
      Big Berkey is perfect for sheltering in place. The LifeStraw “Family” filter is perfect for Bug Out situations (small, light-weight, and portable). It is scheduled to be our next non-food purchase.

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