The Survival Buzz #195: What It Means to Be Prepared

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Jul 1, 2019

Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps plus news and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.

A couple of week’s ago this comment from “Chele” was posted to my Facebook page:

The boy scout’s motto is ‘be prepared.’ But be prepared for what–was the first thing I thought.

Be prepared…. for life, living, things as they come, things as they happen. Be prepared to make your way, as you become better enabled, as you can. Be prepared to respond, not just react, to situations as you face them.

This definition of what it means to be prepared is so well aligned with my own core values that it deserves a spot front and center in the Buzz.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Be Prepared For What? | Backdoor Survival

Instead of listing my latest preps for you, I decided to a bit of blog housekeeping and share a number of comments I have been saving from various readers.  Many of you have told me that you learn as much from the comments as from the articles themselves.  That is a good thing and I am so blessed to have such engaged and helpful readers.  Your willingness to share is awesome.

So, without further ado, let us move on to the mailbag.

Backdoor Survival Mail Bag & Reader Tips

In response to the article 25 Natural Remedies For Diabetes, Steve wrote:

Another plant one can use is the crepe myrtle for type 2 diabetes.

The variety you would want to use is the Lagerstroemia indica, it is used in India, China, Korea, and Japan. These are also found throughout the United States and do very well especially in the south.

All one has to do is steep the leaves in hot water then drink. Very useful plant to have around the house if you have Type 2 diabetes like me. I have been using this bush/tree for over 2 years now and have had no ill effects and have not taken any medication for diabetes for over 1 1/2 years. So you might want to look into it just incase or as an alternative.


Bob wrote in response to the long-standing article How to Recharge Alkaline Batteries:

I have two grandsons who go thru batteries over and over. Like you I had a bunch of old dead ones lying around. I decided to try both the Maximal Power FC999 charger and the meter / tester. I had them shipped to me at work. I wanted to test it out. We have a bucket or pail that is full of old dead batteries of all sizes for proper disposal.

I picked out 4 AA’s dead by meter test and charged them until they showed OK. Checked them again with the meter. They now show high end of good on the meter. I also found when testing for others to charge there were a lot of batteries that showed good on the meter. And OK in the charger. I have 20 AAs that I took home and gave a friend 20 AA’s also. Still charging as I type this. The charger and meter won’t take long to pay for itself at this rate. I keep mining the bucket for AAA, AA, C, and D’s good and those needing charged. The charger only showed 1 battery as BAD so it went back in the bucket.

Long story short. Thank you for not only useful information but $$$ savings too.

The takeaway from this comment is not that you have to go out and purchase an alkaline battery charger (although they do work great), but that many times, a device or gizmo with multiple batteries may show “dead” when only one of the many batteries is fully discharged.

For the cost of an inexpensive tester, you can retrieve the good batteries (those that show good on the meter) and continue to use them.  The rest can be returned to recycle or charged up using the Maximal Power FC999.

Battery Tester BT-250 | Backdoor Survival

Speaking of meters, I have a bunch of them up in Washington State but they never made south during my road trip.  Since I had to buy new anyway, I opted for a slightly upgraded model, the Amprobe BAT-250 and found it superior.  The way it is designed, the battery your are testing fits into a grove, holding it place while you move the slider to make contact.  I like it so much that it will be going into this year’s holiday gift guide.


Here is some excellent advice from “Really Old Guy”:

One caution regarding bugging out to the in-laws or other relatives. Yes, they may have a WELL-stocked retreat. Yes, they may welcome you with open arms (they ARE family, after all).

BUT, as every fisherman knows, worms get rotten if they aren’t packaged correctly and fish spoil if they aren’t kept in a package in the fridge or freezer.

I HIGHLY suggest that if you’re headed to friends or relatives houses as your BOL, that you do some ‘advance’ preparations. FIRST, talk to them about your concerns and see what their take is on your staying there—perhaps FOREVER (I’m talking TEOTWAKI) or even for an ‘extended’ period of time.

I strongly suggest you store some alternate supplies at this BOL. Just a couple boxes/buckets of beans and rice may be all you can afford, but it’ll definitely ease the tension if you’re there for a LONG period of time. I’d suggest some basic tools, as well and maybe even some heirloom seeds. Since none of us knows the future, and none of us knows what may befall, it only makes sense to prepare for those unseen circumstances and not be a burden on friends and/or family.


Ruby asks:

I’ve been wondering if the re-usable Mason jar lids are worth purchasing.  Quite an up front expense.  But, buying the ‘one time’ lid is getting expensive too.  Would love to see an article from Gaye comparing the two and cost effectiveness of the re-usable ones.

If the re-usable ones are worth the money; which brand would you suggest?

I have a big, beautiful canner that is still sitting in its box so I asked my canning maven, Daisy Luther (aka The Organic Canner), for her opinion.  She tried the re-usable canning lids years ago and at the time, was not impressed. That said, she readily admits that they have probably been improved over the years.

Are there any canners out in Backdoor Survival land with some experience with reusable mason jar lids that you are willing to share?  I am sure that Ruby, as well as others, would be grateful.


Interesting in “Value Prepping” ?  Check out this advice from “dmwalsh”:

For value prepping quickly, rice and lentils along with salt and maybe some hot sauce as a splurge are a great way to get long term storage foods for minimal cost.

But the best way to get inexpensive food with variety would be to watch for supermarket sales and any coupons in local papers. If your markets are stingy with their sales, just try to pick up a can or two of soup, ravioli, spaghetti, canned meats, etc each time you shop. Just two extra cans a week adds up to 104 cans by the end of a year.

Alternatively, you can try to earn extra money on the side by leveraging any skills you have. Fixing broken bikes, lawnmowers, snow blowers, etc. can be great if you can get broken ones free. Or if you’re handyman handy then doing odd jobs for neighbors can earn you cash while you get to see if any of them could be helpful in a disaster.

Flexibility and creativity are great skills for any prepper, newbie or old hand. 🙂


Current Backdoor Survival Giveaways

There are two good ones this week, both with multiple winners.  Good luck!

5 Oddball Uses for Duct Tape + RediTape Giveaway

Six Winners!

 Prepper Book Festival 10: Lights Out by Ted Koppel + Giveaway

Five Winners!

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, if not sooner.

Other Announcements

My friend George Ure, who (who runs has published his first novel, Dreamover. This has been his dream for years and I am soooooo proud of him.

His book is a story that involves finance, the national security state, and a good bit of woo-woo. Toss in location settings in Seattle, rural East Texas, and a few flying scenes (one of George’s dozens of hobbies and distractions).

I told him I would mention when his book came out – you can find more details over here…it’s an action-adventure along the lines of a Clive Cussler novel. Hope you enjoy it!

The Final Word

Before signing off for today, I want to thank everyone for your many comments and emails.  Averaging over 100 a day, it would be impossible to respond to all of them.  That said, please know that I do read them and take what you have to say seriously.

On the other hand, I will no longer tolerate profanity and name-calling, whether directed at another reader or directed at me.  Yes, it happens and no, it is not acceptable.  This website is about family preparedness and while you can be as critical as you please, there is simply no room for rudeness.  Period.

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 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 are some items that are related to todays Survival Buzz.

Amprobe BAT-250 Battery Tester:  The new BAT-250 is designed to enable one-handed battery testing.  I especially like the redesigned side cradle that holds batteries securely in place during testing – no more erratic battery readings from movement off contacts. There are also new high-quality 9V contacts make tests more straight forward and error-free. The shape of the case has been molded to better contour to your hand for comfortable measurements.  I love my new battery tester!

Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger: 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.

RediTape Pocket Duct Tape 2-Pack:  RediTape is available in 2 packs.  I love this stuff and am stashing packs in all of kits.  In many cases it will replace a big bulky roll of the 3M stuff, giving me room for additional preps.

Tattler Reusable Wide Mouth Canning Lids & Rubber Rings: The idea of having reusable canning jar lids appeals to me but I have not tried them.  That said, the reviews are good.

The Organic Canner: Written by my friend, Daisy Luther, this is a no-nonsense book on canning the right way.  The first part of the book is instruction and an introduction to canning. It is accurate, easy to understand, and written in an engaging, fun to read style that is the hallmark of everything Daisy does. If you are intimidated at the thought of learning to can, this book will help you have the confidence to give it a try!  And if you are an experience canner?  There is fantastic assortment of great canning recipes that will give you a heads up on creating healthy meals for your family.  Recommended!

Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker: This is the best selling canner for good reason. It is well-priced, affordable and a favorite among new and old canning mavens alike.

Nesco 600-Watt Food Dehydrator:  This modestly priced dehydrator has over 2,300 reviews and comes up as the most highly rated dehydrator.

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


Are You Interested in Essential Oils?

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

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival



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6 Responses to “The Survival Buzz #195: What It Means to Be Prepared”

  1. Awesome post. I love reading the survival buzz. Really interesting to hear what others are working on. To the person who mentioned rice and lentils. That is exactly what I’m prepping these days. I had a lot of food go bad after several years of no air conditioning. So I started over: water, 2 kinds of lentils plus other beans, rice, salt, honey, coconut oil. And oats and cinnamon for breakfast. Pretty simple. You’ll notice that salt, honey and coconut oil are from Gaye’s list of products that keep forever.

    Regarding containers for the rice and beans. It is washed repurposed plastic containers that held GNC protein powder. They have a food grade symbol on the botton. The labels can be completely removed. I go through a container every 3 weeks so that is my rate of prepping. Each one holds 7 pounds of rice or 6.5 pounds of beans. I prep 2 jugs of rice to one jug of beans. And 2 jugs of lentils to one jug of other beans. They are easy to move and carry. And of course an OXYGEN ABSORBER in each jug. PLEASE forgive my obsession with detail.

    • Just want to address the blandness of my preps. The intention is to sprout for greens and grow vegetables and I’m learning foraging.

    • Depending on how airtight those GNC containers are, it may just be a waste of oxygen absorbers. Normally folks only use those in vacuum sealed canning jars or in mylar bags because a lot of the plastic containers breathe.
      If your budget extends a bit, you can get some decent mylar bags and a hair straightener to seal them with. I’m fond of the 1 gallon ziplock style mylar bags from I then put the sealed bags in food grade buckets from Lowe’s (probably overkill, but I’d rather waste a few dollars today than not have safe food later when I really need it.) The ziplock style means that once I unseal a bag, I can use it like a big ziplock bag to keep out air and moisture while I slowly use up the contents.
      And lately I’ve been making up meal buckets, first type has even amounts of rice and lentils (in separate bags), then add in some soy sauce bottles and pound containers of iodized salt (enough to fill up the bucket.) I don’t put hot sauce in there because I found out the hard way that not all hot sauces last forever. Latest meal bucket is red beans and rice, with equal amounts of small kidney beans, rice and four cans of spam plus a pound of iodized salt.
      Also, as Kathy posted, don’t forget herbs and spices. Having some flavorings can go a long way to keeping some variety in your meals. Also, don’t forget white vinegar and vanilla extract last forever. I keep gallons of white vinegar as well as a rotating supply of apple cider vinegar, and some balsamic vinegars.
      But if the budget is tight, starting with the rice and lentils is a very smart move – basics always need to come first, then the frills. Over time you can add other flavorings and some canned meats.

  2. Karen,
    Don’t apologize. That’s what I did, built a base and am adding as I go along.Don’t forget to add herbs and spices.Because of my dad and DH’s parents dietary restrictions I learned to cook with very little salt(it’s on the table at mealtimes for those who need a little bit more salt on their food ;)). Play with the herbs and spices. They’ll make your meals very tasty.

  3. Luv.luv.your survival buz! Thank u! Don’t let the negative people get u down with the their bad comments.

  4. I am looking forward to finding out about the reusable canning lids. I am new to canning. This is just my second year and so far I have put up jams, tomatoes and pickles. I have a pressure canner but so far, that is still in the box, waiting for me to try it out. I wondered if the reusable lids were worth the money or should I try to just stock up on canning lids? I also enjoy reading the comments when I have time. I love to see what others do, how they do it!


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