Friday, October 25, 2013

Thankful for pre-collapse medical care!!

Well, I am back. I have had quite a year. 

My husband was driving early in the evening last New Year's Eve, a few miles from our house, going about 45 mph. A dually pickup truck left oncoming traffic, crossed a median and oncoming traffic and hit my husband's van.

He was trapped in our van for 52 minutes before the jaws of life could get him out. He was taken by ambulance to a nearby trauma center. He sustained a punctured and lacerated left eyeball, and heavy trauma to his entire body including shearing forces on his very brain cells. He had 15 bones and sinuses broken on the left side of his face. He had broken ribs, his scapula, sternum, left hip and pelvis, left thighbone and knee, both wrists, left forearm and left upper arm shattered. He was in a drugged sedation in ICU for 3 weeks, airlifted, and in-patient rehab for a month. 

He has continued in his recovery very well. He is walking with a cane, swimming, and cooking seated by the stove. 

I couldn't help but thinking that he would certainly, certainly died if this happened after a collapse or before modern trauma centers. He has ingested huge quantities of painkillers this year. He was on IV antibiotics for over a month. He had an intubation, tracheotomy, feeding tube, 29 bones set with plates, rods, pins, screws. Round-the-clock skilled nursing. I can't even imagine what life would've been like without painkillers this year. 

If you want to read about his recovery you can here at http://james   dear7.  blogspot.com/2013/01/  monday-december-31-2012.html Copy and paste that URL and take out the spaces I added. Just keep pushing "newer posts" and you can read it all chronologically.

But now for the past few months, maybe two, I've been able to take my focus off of James' injuries and turn my attention to our preparations again. Preparations for what seems like a nation fast-forwarding to disaster! I have felt sort of panicky lately as I see China moving in, positioning to change the world trade currency to anything other than the dollar. I can't believe what idiots our government look like to any and everyone!

We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt and Light! Choose how you live!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Quit Bookmarking! Email Yourself

I began emailing myself the useful info I found online.

When I come across a great article online, I copy and paste it into an email, and send it to myself. To make this easier, I keep a second tab open when I catch up on my prepper blog reading. In this tab I have my email carrier open to a new email. This also works for the blogs you have an email subscription to.

 However I get the info, after it is in the email I do the same thing. When I get a blog post sent to me, first I forward it to myself. I changed the subject line to PRINT: (title/subject). Then, it comes to my inbox and I immediately file it in a folder called "Print."

Then when I get to a printer (we don't have one) I can just click click click and not have to search all over the internet for a website and find the article, or, follow a bookmark and print an unwieldy printer-unfriendly article.

Then I have all the pre-edited, labeled articles on a variety of subjects ready to stick in my TEOTWAWKI hard-copy folder. You do have a hard copy folder, right?

We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt and Light! Choose how you live!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Ear Care

Our family seems prone to high earwax production.

Mmmm. Nice topic, huh?

Whereas my husband's genes cause his ears to self clean, ie, he has wax that come down the ear canal on its own, my side seems to produce stubborn (thicker?) wax which stays put, blocking the canal and causing hearing loss.

Ear candling is seen by some as a method to suck or vacuum ear wax out of the ear canal. After some research and using an ear candle (two, actually) myself, I think this is totally false.

I was suffering from hearing loss especially in my right ear and tried at-home remedies to dislodge what I assumed was a wax blockage. This happened to me as a child and I went in to the doctor, who patiently and repeatedly irrigated my ears with warm water. I think this is the best method to maintain or clear your ears.


Ear candles are simply a home remedy for earache, sinusitis, ringing in the ears, inner ear imbalance problems, etc. Ear candling is being used as an experimental treatment for a wide variety of ailments. As with other home remedies, results vary from user to user. (Colonial Ear Candle Co.) 

When my son was going through a phase when he had repeated ear infections, I spoke with my doctor  about purchasing an (check out this ridiculous Japanese device!) otoscope so I could avoid coming in to the office so often. She said I could, but that mastering the use of it is a challenge. She said it was quite a while after many patients before she could identify the different views of an eardrum.

I think, as with so many items in prepping, if you had the opportunity to get a certain "prep" at the right price then you should. Even if you don't necessarily know how to use it, one day you may be able to incorporate a person with skills but no equipment into your group.




We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt and Light! Choose how you live!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Finally a Post After Baby is Born

Do you remember why I am making plans to move? A nuclear research facility 11 miles from my house. If the grid went down for any reason, it's too close for comfort. Here is a comment from when Sandy came through:

One final comment for the preppers of the world: The Oyster Creek nuclear power plant confirmed near-total cooling pump failure, and power failure. The back-up diesels saved the day on the spent fuel pool. Salem I, which had the emergency steam release, has been quiet. No further news that I can find. In a real long-term grid down scenario… there are more than a hundred nuclear power plants/reactors in the US alone. And so I ask, with all seriousness, are we doomed under such circumstances regardless of our plans? (SurvivalBlog)  

Regarding the election, I read a transcript of something Rush Limbaugh said. I had been in quiet mourning and was confused about HOW our nation could re-elect this man. He said (my summary) Romney was campaigning on a platform of '50s values and how hard work can better your situation, whereas Obama was campaigning on a platform of "life's not fair- I will take from those who have and give to you." and who's not going to vote for Santa Claus?! Also a friend emailed me:

I guess I am more angry now than anything. I was studying recently about the Egyptian plagues and after Pharaoh was warned about the death of the firstborn, he still refused to obey God and Moses went away angry, furious it says. I was asked why do you think he was angry? My thoughts were "because the pain and destruction that God has promised was avoidable. All that was needed was a repentant heart, but because he refused much suffering was coming". That is how I feel now. There comes a point where the ark door is sealed and the flood will come. Obama is right about one thing, we are no longer a 'Christian nation'. It is a shame we will not return until the persecution is overwhelming. 

We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt and Light! Choose how you live!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bare Minimum of Medical Preps to Have

One of the prepper cliches is "beans, bullets, and band-aids" and here is my list for the bare minimum of "band-aids" to get when you start stockpiling.

Keep in mind, that even if you are under-trained to use everything, that a person with medical training- head knowledge and hands experience- can join your group and will need supplies. It is better to have supplies than to have nothing.

 

We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt and Light! Choose how you live!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Preventing Group B Strep (GBS) Transmission in Post-SHTF Pregnancies

This is my fifth pregnancy. My first pregnancy was in 2001. Certainly research has benefited from the intervening years, and one of the things that is different this go-round is my midwife's attitude toward me being GBS+. (please remember I am not a doctor or midwife and this is me relating my experience to you as I would to a friend over coffee. Consult your own medical provider.)

Now, if you don't know, being GBS+ is a "condition" that affects about 1 in 4 women. It simply means that a given woman- pregnant or not- carries the group B strep bacteria in her digestive tract. The time that this is important to know is when it's time to deliver a baby- the baby can pick up the bacteria from the mother and become sick. GBS is responsible for affecting about 1 in every 2,000 babies in the United States. source Frequently, the time the bacteria is transmitted is when the water breaks and then there is a large time gap before delivery. This is what happened with my third child. She was lethargic after birth and needed 10 days of IV antibiotics. (How would you handle that in a grid-down situation?! If you make pregnancy,  labor and delivery preps as I've suggested before, you could print out the article linked above and add it to there.)

Now what is controversial is this: if in your pregnancy you test positive for GBS (usually at some point in week 35-38), you are strongly suggested to have a course of IV antibiotics when you go into labor to prevent the bacteria from being transmitted to your baby. If you have ever had a baby be treated for GBS, you are pretty much put on them whether or not you test positive this pregnancy or not.


Now, when my midwife learned that not only did I test positive in each of my four previous pregnancies for GBS, and that I also had an newborn hospitalized with sepsis (attributed to GBS), she suggested a novel idea: change my body pH so that it would be inhospitable to the bacteria.

So I did what she said, and last week I had my test, and I was NEGATIVE!! How exciting this was for me! Let me tell you how I did it. If you have a pregnant woman in your group/family when/if TSHTF, you can assume she is GBS+ for safety's sake and prevent, as much as possible, the possibility of there being any GBS to transmit to her infant

So, what I did:
  1.  as your due date approaches, every time you use the bathroom do a quick rinse with a vinegar and water solution. Use about an ounce and pat dry. A Peri-Bottle is perfect for this and should be in your pregnancy preps. The bacteria don't like an acidic habitat.
  2. each evening insert a probiotic into the vagina so it can dissolve. This helps colonize beneficial bacteria in the birth canal that will overpower the GBS and replace it with good flora. In a grid down situation this can be replaced with live culture yogurt.
  3. over the course of the day, drink lots of water, and in each glass of water splash some apple cider vinegar. This helps change your body's acidity as well. 
  4. eat foods high in beneficial bacteria such as yogurt and sauerkraut to help colonize your entire digestive tract with helpful bacteria.
There you have it, four easy steps to help ensure a healthy infant! I can't tell you how excited I am that I "passed my test" last week!

There are two kinds of GBS infections in newborns: early onset and late onset. My midwife suggests taking the baby's temperature every day for a month to be on the lookout for late onset. This way you can be alerted as soon as possible to a brewing infection in your infant.




We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt and Light! Choose how you live!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

SHTF Relocation: The Best Five States to Move Your Prepper Family To

Please note that this is not another "how to choose a retreat location" article. It's an article looking to give resources for a prepper who is planning a strategic location change. This is not how to find a hidey-hole to stock up and run away to, it's finding a great place to move a family to, prepper-style.

THE GOALto find a homestead, as safe as possible from as many prepper-minded threats as possible, and to resume a normal, sustainable modern lifestyle there.

We are looking to move in the next 6-9 months. This journey began when I learned that there is a nuclear training facility 11 miles from my home. The chance of the electric grid going down for over a week, causing a meltdown or nuclear incident, may be low. But the devastation for my family would be 100%. We are so close we would have to leave. When the effect is that high, even for what could be a low probability event, I try to counter it in my preps. As I learned of the fragility of our electrical grid, vulnerable to so many failures, I have judged it is too likely for my comfort level. I have begun the daunting process of choosing where to live.

States and the reasons they are crossed off my list:
  • California- multiple reasons incl lack of water, earthquake risk, political climate
  • the southwest: heat and lack of water; incl Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas
  • New Madrid Fault risk states: Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi
  • too cold/short growing season: Alaska, Washington (state), Montana, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
  • Population density: the top most densely populated states are disqualified, being:  Washington DC, Maryland, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Georgia, Delaware, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Indiana, Hawaii, and Louisiana. (Doubly disqualified from previous criteria incl: RI, MA, CT, CA, IL, TN, NH, KY, WI.)
  • Near or directly east of known nuclear plant: Every state east of the Mississippi River, the only two not already disqualified are West Virginia and Iowa. In addition, the narrow northern portion of ID and MT are east of known plants. (Because of the curious shape of Idaho, I didn't disqualify it from this or the "too cold" category. Both possible threats are in the long narrow northern portion.) Although it is on Wikipedia, a comprehensive looking list of nuclear reactors- active, decommissioned, power plants and training facilities, are listed here. Please check for anything in your area.
  • You know how preppers caution about settling within the 300-mi radius around any city, to avoid the golden horde migrations?  HERE is the first I've seen of its kind: a map covered in 300-mile-circles... the idea is to choose a spot outside of any circle and live there. Some states have low population density but are so near dense cities that they disqualified this map helped me see Alabama, Oklahoma and Colorado this way. (Nearly all of Oregon, half of what's left of Idaho, and about a third of Nebraska are covered with these circles as well. I will * these, below, in the list of states that haven't been crossed off our list.)
  • I don't know very much about the threat of Yellowstone- supervolcano, ash cloud... I think the local devastation would be spectacular, but my line of thinking is that an ash cloud would be a generally temporary problem- temporary being even up to an entire year. With the proper long-term preps a family could limp by for that long until the sky cleared.  So I don't exclude Nebraska, Kansas, or Oregon. Because of Yellowstone's extreme western location in Wyoming, combined with general west-to-east national wind patterns, all of Wyoming is excluded. Again, parts of Idaho scrape by. I judge the threat of Yellowstone's caldera to be like living right beside a nuclear facility: possibly unlikely, but with 100% local devastation.
So, that excludes 45 of the 50 states! Which ones are left?
  1. Oregon*
  2.  Idaho*
  3. South Dakota
  4. Nebraska*
  5. Kansas

For our family, a personal choice to homeschool is very important and so states that heavily regulate that are also disqualified. From the remaining 5 states, South Dakota is now disqualified.

So after all this mental gymnastics and research, I have a starting point.

We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt and Light! Choose how you live!

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Great Pyrenees to Guard my Chickens

I am pleased to report I did some prepping this month. I just realized it, because it didn't involve food or Amazon.com!

We moved our chicks to their own fenced yard. We used old-fashioned Egyptian engineering to move the coop in there too. Then, yesterday we got a Great Pyrenees off Craigslist for $100. It's a 12 week old male we named Ivan. He is a tiny ball of fluff right now but we are confident soon he will be fur-ocious.

Here's a full-grown male, and some info about the breed:

The Great Pyrenees is a capable and imposing guardian, devoted to its family, and somewhat wary of strangers - human or canine. They are often used to guard livestock. When not provoked, it is calm, well- mannered, and somewhat serious. Courageous, very loyal and obedient. Gentle and affectionate with those he loves. Devoted to family even if self-sacrifice is required. It is very gentle with its family and children. (source)
In nature, the Great Pyrenees is confident, gentle (especially with children), and affectionate. While territorial and protective of its flock or family when necessary, its general demeanor is one of composure and patience. It is a strong willed, independent and reserved breed. It is also attentive, quite fearless and loyal to its duties. The Great Pyrenees' size makes it an imposing guardian. A dog of this breed will patrol its perimeter and may wander away if off lead in an unenclosed space. The Great Pyrenees also tends to growl and bark a lot unless trained against such behavior.The Great Pyrenees can be slow to learn new commands, slow to obey, and somewhat stubborn to train.(source)
Livestock guardian dogs are a smart investment for now or later. These heirloom chicks and milk-producing goats are expensive and I got them to feed my family, not the local predators! If food was a critical commodity then the protection of our resources (livestock, home, perimeter) should be an utmost priority.

Pyrenees are good for protecting sheep, goats, chickens, not to mention children and homes. Our first full day with him has hopefully been indicative of our future together. Here's how it's gone so far.
  •  learned a ton from his previous owner as we walked her farm together.
  • he chilled with my four-year-old for the hour ride home
  • got extensive de-burring
  • killed fleas with tea tree oil- he was covered! poor ears.
  • gave him a bath
  • fed him
  • played with all four kids for hours
  • met my chickens- was unimpressed and bored
  • he climbed up into the coop with the chickens for the night
  • he fussed and cried some, and calmed down within an hour
  • this morning he was chilling in the coop when I went to let everyone out- all alive!
  • he barked at our boxer who approached the chicken yard 
  • he hung out under the coop to keep cool
  • he let out a whuf to let a chick know "move over, I'm stealing that morsel"
  • when he heard the thud of watermelon rinds hit the ground, he came tearing around the coop, barking, to find out what the noise was.



I'm pleased with our first day together. It seems like he has a lot of potential. Of course, at this point, he is a fluffball and not much actual protection for the chickens. He's an investment- he needs to leave distractable puppy hood and mature.

We are discussing whether or not to get him fixed. We've been looking at Pyrenees with chicken experience on Craigslist for about 3 months. They sell really quickly. When we get our goats, I want to get another Pyrenees who will be in charge of them, and we are contemplating getting a female. 



We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt and Light! Choose how you live!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Customer Service From Tattler Reusable Canning Lids

Well, dear reader, I wanted to share with you an email exchange I had with the good people at Tattler Reusable Canning Lids. Hopefully I won't look to dim-witted! I think I must be a pretty visual learner if I was confused. But also, I was confused about them selling just the rings. Anywho here are the emails.


MY QUESTION:
The replacement rubber rings, shown on a strange white jar, are they for canning? My idea was that they could go on regular canning jars with a used regular, usually disposable canning lid, and the ring. What are they meant for? Thanks.

RESPONSE:
The jars we used in the pictures are your regular, clear, Ball, Mason, Kerr, etc. jars that you probably have at home. The lids we make and sell are white plastic lids, and they come with a red rubber gasket. The gasket is what helps create the seal. We don't recommend that you use our rubber rings with the disposable metal lids, but you can try it out and see if it works for you. Thanks.

 MY QUESTION, CLARIFIED:
As you can see (in my email, I linked to the photo, above) there is a thick, strange sleeve-like rubber thing on the top of a strange white jar. The ring, if it is one, looks different than the ring-shaped rubber thing on the front of the other package:

Are they a stack of rings on a stack of lids? In what situation would someone want regular (ie, not reusable, I assume?) rubber rings from you, with no reusable lids, if they aren't for use with a metal lid?
Thanks, I'm sure my question is confusing.

THEIR RESPONSE:
Yes, they are a stack of rings on a stack of lids. When someone buys just rubber rings from us, it is because their rubber rings have torn, stretched, or gotten lost. We sell both plastic lids and rubber gasket rings. The USDA does not approve the re-use of metal lids. Thanks.

**********
Soon after this exchange, I happened to get an update from Tattler, that I thought I'd share with you since we're talking about them anyway. Here it is:

Dear Tattler Reusable Canning Lids Customer,
We are e-mailing past customers to inform you of slight changes we
made to our instructions in late 2011. We found that many customers
were over-tightening the metal screw band prior to processing, which
can cause excessive pressure to become trapped in the jar, thus
causing potential problems with the seal.

Please refer to the set of new instructions below our company contact

information at the bottom of this page, paying particular attention
to Step #5 (the only major change we made) and #7 when canning with
your reusable canning lids.

Please also note that we have had a price change to include the cost

of shipping. If you would like a new brochure with updated pricing
please contact us.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at:

877-747-2793
 (TOLL FREE)


Here is the contact information for the helpful people at Tattler Reusable Canning Lids:

Customer Service
Tattler Reusable Canning Lids
PO Box 373
Fruita, CO. 81521
970-255-7011
www.reusablecanninglids.com
www.facebook.com/reusablecanninglids


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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Best Four Cookbooks So You Can Prepare Your Stored Food

Well, money has been super tight.

I've had to seriously curtail my preps recently.

But last month, I felt it suddenly very necessary to buy 4 cookbooks. I didn't want to fall into one of the big prepper mistakes- buying what you don't eat, or not knowing how to eat what you've bought. If the country's economy tanked tomorrow, I wanted to be better prepared to use what I already have. I knew that if I had to depend on my food storage, I was setting myself (and those I prep for) up for boredom and repetition.

I have a lot of wheat. All I know what to do with it right now is grind it into flour and make bread products. And many of those recipes call for all purpose flour- whereas I'd have whole wheat flour. (yes, at least I have a high-quality wheat grinder!)

I also have beans- a wide variety of beans. I know how to cook different kinds of beans in appealing ways, but each kind of bean has only one recipe. Ie, split pea soup with ham. Lima beans with rosemary. Red beans and rice. Lentils with ginger and carrots. Each kind of bean was limited, and we generally made them seasonally- like bean soups in winter only, which cuts down the variety for a given week.

I studied each and every review, for each book, on Amazon. I looked at the inside pages and compared the goals of the different books, and chose the following four. Some people seem hooked on color photos of the dishes being in cookbooks (per Amazon reviewers), so please note that none of these cookbooks have any photos of any of the dishes. Here are my four book reports:


The first one is called How to Live on Wheat by John Hill. I would encourage you strongly to follow the link and look at the table of contents. It is expansive and very informative.  He includes information on grain storage, sprouts, nutrition, kinds of grains and legumes, catching sourdough starter, baking, noodles, gluten meat substitute, cooking with corn, tempeh, using cast iron cookware, and other important equipment.

As you can see, it focuses on wheat but addresses many other facets- and ingredients- also. I was glad to see the clearly explained section from "cooking with corn" that explained the importance of treating corn with alkaline to avoid pellagra. But he doesn't stop there, and tells you 3 ways to do it.

He is attuned to the importance of nutrition in hard times- that you need every nutrient to be absorbed and utilized. He has simple, attainable recipes and no crazy ingredients. The only exception are his pages devoted to tempeh, which requires a starter and a knowledge and confidence about fermentation.

One drawback I found initially was that nearly all the recipes call for a "Legume Protein Complement." He explains "The purpose of this is to complement the grain protein and make the protein more assimilable." My question is, if I don't have cooked beans or peas to dry and grind, or TVP to grind, does the recipe fail?



Another cookbook focused on wheat is called Wheat Cookin' Made Easy by Pam Crockett. This cookbook has an excessive amount of duplicated clip art, annoyingly placed and duplicated even on pages facing each other. Ugh. It is spiral-bound with kitchy hand-drawn borders on each page. All these uppity complaints aside, it is a thorough and well-rounded cookbook.

The table of contents ends with a half-page of definitions for words like wheat berries, wheat kernels, steamed wheat, and cracked wheat. Generally I was very pleased with the required ingredients. There was almost exclusively things I could find in my food storage plan. If you are being smart and storing spices/seasonings, dried fruit, cocoa powder, vinegar, baking soda,  cream of tartar, etc, you should do well with this cookbook. Even the main dishes call for basic vegetables and available garden herbs.  The cookbook has 8 sections:
  1. bread and biscuits
  2. bread machine
  3. breakfast
  4. crackers and pasta
  5. dessert 
  6. sourdough
  7. kid's recipes
  8. main dishes
Now, in a TEOTWAWKI-type situation, the bread machine or kids recipes may not be super handy. If you have your solar generator, of course you could use it to run the bread machine. The kids section has craft items like salt dough, ornament dough, and dog treats, but also has kid-friendly treats like teething cookies, pretzels, and other snacks.

The main dish section incorporates wheat into casseroles, meat loaf and other dishes (thus "stretching" the meat) but also using wheat berries as the starchy base to the dish. It includes a few gravy and sauce recipes.

One section I was glad to see was the cracker and pasta section. Crackers are handy carriers for other foods- like egg salad or dips- that I would miss if I couldn't have them. They are crunchy and can fulfill a craving for salty snacks.

A drawback to the sourdough section: no directions on how to get the sourdough starter called for in each recipe!!



Next up is a cookbook called Bean By Bean: A Cookbook by a woman fantastically named Crescent Dragonwagon. 

I have a friend who cooks all from scratch and uses all whole ingredients. She LOVED this cookbook. It's written in a friendly encouraging tone and just begs you to try the dishes-- and fall madly in love with beans. It opens with 6 pages of philisophical musing on the bean. Then on to 23 pages of bean basics: "A primer for all things bean. Everything you've ever wondered about selecting, preparing, cooking, and storing dried beans, fresh beans, shell beans, canned beans, and dehydrated beans-- including, yes, a revolutionary method for making beans more belly friendly."

The cookbook includes these sections:
  1. dips
  2. soups
  3. salads
  4. chili
  5. stews/curries
  6. bakes & casseroles
  7. skillets & stir-frys
  8. bean with grain dishes
  9. beans for dessert
Now, each recipe has an introductory story about who gave her the recipe, how she altered it, or its origin. In addition, there are half-pages of Q & A and other informative bean-related info. 



A cookbook full of "food storage" recipes instead of recipes focusing on a certain food item, like the wheat- or bean-focused cookbooks above, is called Simple Recipes Using Food Storage by Cedar Fort Inc. 

 This cookbook is really great. It is a great place to start- it is aimed at, I assume, Mormon housewives who are starting their food storage (in line with the LDS church guidelines) and want to cook what they store.

Opening with a quote from the Book of Mormon, it has a quick two-page section on using whole-wheat flour, using wheat, sweeteners, and honey.

Then it's on to part two. Opening with a quote from an LDS president, it brings you to the crux of the book: a set of recipes based on what you've stored so far. The book has 7 steps, each building on the previous. As you increase what you store, there are more varied recipes to draw on.

Step one uses only wheat, oil, salt, honey/sugar, and water. Step two adds yeast, spices, powdered milk and eggs, vinegar and baking additives. Step three adds powdered butter, cheese, and tomatoes. Step four adds canned milk and canned fruits. Step five adds rice, beans, seeds and meats. Step six adds vegetables including potatoes- she leaves it to you to decide if they are frozen, canned, or dried. The last step adds variety: oatmeal, additional flavorings, rennet tablets, and peanut butter.

 The recipes are varied in approach and taste, and a few replicate familiar box dinners. There are recipes for all the meals of a given day, including dessert.

Now, personally, with my own prepping, I did not start with the items she lists. I started with wheat, beans, rice, pasta and oatmeal. Then I added dried veggies and fruits, and then added spices, baking essentials, sprouting seeds, and canned milk. I still am low on meats, cheese, and butter, which are introduced early in this cookbook, but that I am working on incorporating into my sustainable small farm lifestyle.

 

We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt and Light! Choose how you live!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ugh- A Woman's Response to Sheeple

 

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Using Diatomaceous Earth to Deworm Animals


My puppy had a distended little belly, and didn't eat his breakfast. I got concerned, since I noticed it when he didn't really have an appetite last night, so I googled his symptoms. There were a bunch of options, mainly including:
  1. bloating- eating too fast and getting air
  2. gas
  3. twisted stomach
  4. obstruction in intestine
Another item that kept popping up was worms, and how you need to deworm puppies, as they get them from their mothers.

We hadn't done this yet. $$. Twisted stomach involved pain and imminent death, but he wasn't uncomfortable and it started the night before. I gave him some hydrogen peroxide to make him vomit. It worked, his dinner came up, and he looked less bloated.


So, I knew diatomaceous earth (DE) was great for humans to get rid of parasites (isn't it funny, I don't want to say "deworm" when referring to humans!). So I thought, can I save some money and deworm them with DE, which I already have? Here's what I found:

Dosage:
Puppies less than 10 lbs. – 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
Puppies 10 to 19 lbs. – 2 teaspoons
Dogs 20 to 50 lbs. – 1 to 1.5 tablespoons
Dogs 50+ lbs. – 2 tablespoons
*Humans – 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons daily (1 tbsp. AM, 1 tbsp. PM)

For the rest of the article, including more info about other benefits, click here. You have to be consistent with it for three weeks, mixing the food-grade DE (a powder) with milk or yogurt or on wet dog food.

Here is a good website that addresses using it on goats. Scroll down to where it addresses parasites.

I've found that food-grade DE is affordable at Five Star Preparedness.

We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt and Light! Choose how you live!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beginning a Local Prepper Network: My Unfolding Story

I have recently become aware of 4 women in my circles who are also preppers. I wanted to create a local group to share fellowship and skills but I didn't know if any of them did. So I sent out this email to see how they felt about the topic. I've taken out any details and left it in the casual tone I wrote it in, as I know these women already.


I had a few things in mind as I was writing it to keep each of them comfortable. I sent the email to them individually, not as a cc or bcc, so that their emails/ names would be kept apart. I didn't assume anything about their focus or knowledge. I made it clear that this wouldn't be a "women's" group but a team of couples.


Hey. 
I've been thinking, I've "identified" 4 women in ____ besides me who are "preparing for the zombie apocalypse." I am sending out 3 emails to these women (cut & paste, exactly what you're getting- uh, cause you're one of the 4) to see if anyone is interested in beginning to create a local group of like-minded friends. Sometimes I feel lonely not having anyone local to share/ learn skills with, trade books with, etc etc. The internet is great but not conducive to girly conversation. Not that any of us are particularly "girly." 


An important part of this is incorporating our husbands and their skills into it. I'd like to propose that we make it a habit to get together at least once a month and practice canning veggies or suturing a chicken breast (then grilling it and having dinner) or giving oral book reports about some cool book or going to the range together or ironing Mylar together over a cup of coffee. 


Open to ideas. Please talk to your husband and let me know.

Then after I had received responses, I sent out the following email. I wanted to have our first meeting be a time of sharing where we came from and where we stood. Partially because I didn't know all these answers for all the women, and definitely so that all of us could see the different focus/ skills/ mindset of the others.

All three of you would like to create a support group of some kind! I was thinking we could choose an upcoming date to meet and introduce ourselves etc. When we do meet, the 6 adults could be prepared with a list of the following: 

1. when you woke up to a problem- what is the problem? 
2. your biggest concern/ what you deem the most likely threat 
3. a list of your assets or skills - tangible or knowledge 
4. your biggest weakness 
5. any plan or steps you have taken to lessen effects of _____  
6. resources you've found helpful that others can use/ investigate 

I think it's important for us to make these lists individually, as opposed to making one as a family unit. What are your thoughts? I think since we are just meeting we could be vague or general about some things as to maintain a level of confidence since we are just meeting and considering one another. 

Please forward this email to your husbands so they can read it. Please tell me if I'm jumping the gun/ assuming anything. etc etc. Let the rest of us know if you know of anyone who may be interested in joining us.

At this point, that's all that has happened. I'm not going to publish the responses I received, of course, but the women were interested and excited to meet and share skills. One said her husband was less gung-ho than she. Another said she had to wait a few months. But I am excited to get the ball rolling.

Reading Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse by James Wesley, Rawles was the impetus for trying to get these people together. I was intrigued by the teamwork of the Group in the book. They were comfortable with one another and knew where each other stood, a benefit I can see the value of if TSHTF and you needed people with you. I don't know if this group is going to go that direction, we all live in the suburbs at this point, but it's what got me thinking.



We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt and Light! Choose how you live!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Reusing Glass Containers by Cutting off the Tops


I really like one of my cookbooks, which is saying a lot, since I hate to cook. It's about fermenting foods to eat healthier and maintain a healthy gut. If you're interested, its called Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods. Fermenting helps food remain edible longer, which could be important to anyone living off-grid, etc. In addition, some food allergies can be nullified by fermenting and other foods are made more digestible by fermenting, an interesting fact to know if you may be feeding a baby or elderly person WTSHTF. Here is a great selection of books about and how-to ferment foods (and beverages!)

 

Anyway, you may be asking yourself, why did I click on a link to what I thought was an article about re-using glass jars, and here's an article about fermenting foods?! Well, because it was when I was thinking of fermenting a batch of cabbage into sauerkraut that I realized I was waay too cool to ferment in a plastic bucket, but I was waay too poor to afford a nice big crock. What to do?


My husband and younger daughter like this expensive apple juice that comes in a large gallon glass jar like the Gallo wine, above. I've kept three, thinking of making mead (also a fermentation!) but wasn't getting around to it. Then I realized if I could somehow get the sloping sides and narrow neck off the glass bottle, I could use it as a fermenting crock. 


A quick Google search led me to believe you could ferment foods in a clear container with no ill-effects on the food (because of light). However, keeping the glass "crocks" in a cabinet or whipping up some sleeves for them with dark fabric would be easy enough to do as well if you were concerned.


Anyway, the best way to do it was as follows: soak string in lighter fluid. Tie it around the glass jar at the point you want to cut. Set on fire. Grind edges smooth. For the full article click here.



Besides making fermenting crocks, you could create a set of glassware that will service your entire survival community from empty beer bottles, you could create pots for plants, you could make vases, etc etc!

We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt and Light! Choose how you live!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Review of The Survivalist Blog

I have been following The Survivalist Blog for two years, and have witnessed the growth of not only the website, but its followers as well. It was one of the first blogs I read when I left the ranks of the Sheeple. It has continued to appeal to me through the different phases in my prepping journey.


First, Mr. Creekmore seems to be a caring and conscientious editor. He gives his readers regular updates on his life while remaining OPSEC aware, not an easy task. These insights personalize the blog, and prevent it from being only an instructional tool. He has a PayPal button on his site, and always gives a hearty thank you to those who donate. In addition, he tells us how the donations further his own preps, which show his readers not only that he uses the donations responsibly, but give readers a product review to look forward to!

Second, The Survivalist Blog seems to follow the format of Rawles' Survival Blog in some ways, but remains different in a few key ways. It remains similar by frequently hosting guest articles on a variety of topics. This allows preppers who don't blog to share their vast range of skills and specialties in a public forum. It gives The Survivalist Blog's readers a lot of "written voices" to enjoy. It spreads experience and knowledge for the benefit of all of us. Also it is similar because like Rawles' "Odds and Sods," Mr. Creekmore posts updates, links, thank-yous, and commentary of his own. However, it may be two differences (from Rawles' blog) that I enjoy the most.

The first difference is that The Survivalist Blog allows comments and pictures or diagrams. The community that has grown in the comment section of The Survivalist Blog not only shares knowledge but also rejoices together in small achievements. It's evident that the commenting community has gotten to know each other and it always has a respectful tone. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and frequently a choice diagram can take the place of excessive written explanation. I must be a "visual learner" because I am sometimes frustrated by the lack of diagrams on Rawles' blog.

The other difference I appreciate is the lack of excessive doom and gloom. Although Mr. Creekmore has chosen a retreat-and-defend emphasis for his own preps, he isn't as stringent in his insistence for his readers to take the same approach. Simply leaving the rank of Sheeple and awakening to the fragility of our nation is terrifying for most of us. It doesn't help to then be confronted with every article, link, map and commentary reinforcing that. Sometimes just taking the next step for your family is the only thing you can do. Mr. Creekmore and his guest articles encourage fellow preppers to learn skills and do the next right thing. Rawles tells you to move to Idaho and buy expensive night vision goggles, whereas on The Survivalist Blog you are congratulated for buying another box of .22 ammo and locating all the natural bodies of water near you.

All in all, I continue to read and enjoy Mr. Creekmore's The Survivalist Blog because it is encouraging and useful. Although my mindset and prepping activities have changed and matured over the last few years, the content and positive attitude found there have kept me coming back.

 We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt and Light! Choose how you live!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cloth Diapers With Prepping in Mind


So Many Kinds of cloth diapers!!  -- Click the link to see images of the options!

With  baby #5, due sometime at the end of July or beginning of August, I decided to return to cloth diapering.  I did this for three reasons:
  1. cost- I just do not have an extra $20 a month to spend on diapers any more.
  2. ease- there have been many "technological advancements" in cloth diapering recently that make it much easier.
  3. prepping- unlike disposables, cloth diapers are infinitely reusable and take up little space.

1. COST

Way back when I was pregnant with baby #1 we compared all the options, and did the math for investing in a set of diapers. We priced new inserts and covers ranging in sizes from newborn to toddler, and it all came up to about $350 (this was in the olden days before Craigslist). Then we looked at estimates for purchasing disposables for 2 years and it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $350 also. We went with ease and familiarity- disposables. Too late, somewhere down the road, we realized that the initial cost of cloth diapers got halved with each additional child.  Now, including this child, our per-child cost for diapering would have been $70. Oh well.


I briefly used cloth diapers with kid #3, for about a year. I was seriously strapped for cash and it was time to go buy diapers. I was buying about a box a month, 60 or 70 disposables, for about $17, if I remember.  I looked at the 20 dollar bill in my hand. I decided to get a few fabric diaper covers and a 12-pack of prefold Gerber inserts and see how impossible cloth diapering was. 


- used diaper cover, $6 each (x2 = $12)
- new Gerber prefolds, 12ct ($12)


(I wanted to let you know that I bought one more cover the next month. Then I successfully cloth diapered my daughter for a year using three covers and 12 inserts. You don't need a huge amount to succeed.) 

Nowadays with Craigslist and children's resale shops, not to mention ebay, the initial investment can be very slight. In addition, you can get covers in the next size up as your child grows, not at the beginning.


Already, just by announcing to people that we are doing cloth diapering, and by putting some on our baby registry, we are inheriting oodles of supplies from cloth diapering "veterans" who also give advice and encouragement on using them!

2. EASE:

As I see it, there have been 3 advancements that make cloth diapering so much easier than when people had to diaper this way- wetbags, snappis
and disposable liners. Wetbags are lined, waterproof zipper bags that make carrying the wet/dirty diapers home to wash much easier.


 Snappi- instead of clumsy and pointy pins

Disposable (poop-catching) liner, makes washing easier

3. PREPPING:


 The volume of a single cloth diaper is usually larger than a single disposable diaper. However, the sheer storage space needed to store enough disposables for a single child until it's time for potty training is huge. I inherited a huge assortment of cloth diapers covers recently that all fit into a reusable grocery bag. I need to purchase prefold absorbent liners, which should fill another reusable grocery bag, and then I should be ready to go. 


As far as prepping goes, a waterproof cover and absorbent prefold inside is the method of choice. You don't need to wash the cover each time, and the separate prefolds dry much more quickly than other, all-in-one options out there.

Waterproof cover- Velcro closure
Waterproof cover- Adjustable snap closures (hung upside down)
prefold diapers that fit inside either of the above covers

You may be intimidated by the look of that snap cover- don't be. It is adjustable not only around the waist, but also the rise- the snaps sort of floating there snap together to make the diaper shorter up/down. Here's a picture of two identical snap diaper covers, on the right snapped to the biggest setting, the other to the smallest.



If you have children in diapers or plan to, and you're a prepper, I would strongly encourage you to invest in cloth diapering. If you have grandkids in your group who are currently diapered in disposables,
I would strongly encourage you to invest in cloth diapering. If you have women of child bearing age in your group, I would strongly encourage you to invest in cloth diapering.


Here is a blog that is really informative and excited about cloth diapering: The Awesome Cloth Diaper Blog.


We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt & Light! Choose how you live!

Friday, April 27, 2012

29 Heirloom Chickies- Week 2

Here's the picture of our 31 chickies the morning they arrived in the mail. You can see my fat pregnant belly too! The post office called us a little after 8 a.m. and we picked them up at 9 or so. One chick was dead when we opened it, the rest looked fine. (What hardened farmers my children are becoming, they didn't bat an eyelash and we didn't have a funeral.)

I had prepared a gallon of warmish water with apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup honey, and 3 crushed garlic cloves as per Harvey Ussery's guidelines. I took each chick out of the mailing box, dipped it's beak in the water, and waited for it to move like it was drinking. When it did, I dried off its feathers and put it in the temporary habitat.

James got a discarded dishwasher box and we put an inch of wood shavings in the bottom. You can see the 2 feeders, $3 each, filled with chick starter, the $2 thermometer, and the 3-gallon waterer, $16. The packing instructions that came with the chicks said we should keep them at 100 degrees for at least 4 hours. Our light bulb wasn't putting out enough heat so we kept the hair dryer on in the box for the morning.

Within five days the bottom of the dishwasher box was a disintegrated mess and my husband found this unidentified box made not of corrugated cardboard, but corrugated plastic. It was also much bigger (5ft x 5ft, instead of 3x3) and the sides were lower, all around much improved. We got a higher wattage light bulb and put away the hair dryer. Mr. Ussery says he's never used a thermometer and just watches the chick's behavior.

If they huddle together, it's too cool; if they are hanging out around the edges, away from the heat source, it is too warm. .. Scooting about over the litter like water bugs on a pond indicates that the temperature is "just right." (Of course, like all babies,  chicks need a lot of sleep, so don't be perturbed to see immobile chicks beak-down in the litter.)

They really do look totally dead when they're sleeping. Speaking of dead,  on day 4 one chick was slow and clumsy and just died. The same day, when I took out the 3-gallon waterer, I found a smothered Dominique chickie underneath it. So our present count is 29 chicks. Hopefully that holds strong until processing day, aka Fill My Freezer With Rooster Day, aka I'm a Real Farmer Now Day.



You'll remember my recent post singing the praises about Harvey Ussery's guide to the small flock. Click here to read it again... "The Small-Scale Poultry Flock."  I've read the chapter on the brooder quite a bit lately, and it is just as helpful as I remember. I treated a chick for pasty-butt (yes, a very technical chicken owner term, as I assured my husband) and it's looking tons better, a little bare from the attention but clean. 


Here's what my chickies will look like in a few months:

 DELAWARE ROOSTER
DELAWARE HEN
 DOMINIQUE ROOSTER
DOMINIQUE HEN

We chose these breeds because they are an endangered, good-laying, good-meat, heat tolerant bird.


We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt & Light! Choose how you live!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Special Delivery: Pregnancy and Birth When TSHTF



You may recall that I announced I am pregnant- yay! I am 19 weeks and have gained 12 pounds. As I drink this soda I realize how much my baby likes high fructose corn syrup.

I bought a book that I had seen recommended on a few prepper websites as a good resource to have in your "survival library." It's called Heart and Hands: A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth and I really enjoyed it. It has 216 pages of information divided into these sections:
  1. prenatal care
  2. problems in pregnancy; physical and psychological
  3. assisting at births
  4. complications in labor
  5. postpartum care
The remaining 70-odd pages are for the midwife- starting a practice, materials lists, legal info, resources, etc.

It lists herbs, essential oils and other homeopathic tools to care for the mother and baby. They are sporadically placed throughout the book as they apply to the topic at hand. The photos are numerous (although somewhat dated- 80's?) and the sketches are very useful- the sketches are used at just the right times to best portray whatever information- for instance, an intact placenta (both sides) and determining station (where the baby has descended to).

The book is technical and uses medical terminology and assumes a degree of familiarity with pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Although it is confident and reassuring it does not in any way detract from the abilities of modern obstetrics to "save the day" when necessary. It tackles breech birth, hemorrhage, dystocia and other difficult situations as being able to manage- but always recommends "transfer" when the patient's care needs more modern technological interventions. In a SHTF situation that may not be an option.

Another thing I noticed a few days after I read the book, as I contemplated writing this review, was my own life experiences coloring of my perception of the book. Although I bought it because other preppers thought it was a valuable resource (both men, actually) I wondered how my own knowledge may have made the book easier to understand, or if my own attitude toward birth made the topic more (mentally) manageable. I wanted to be a midwife for about 10 years, from 16-26, read a hundred books about pregnancy, labor, delivery, pain coping techniques, midwifery, and modern obstetrics. I love the human body, fetal development, pregnancy and delivery. I have four kids of my own- four pregnancies and deliveries, surprisingly different from each other. So possibly this book may be more technical than I realize. It did make me realize how years of delivering babies makes midwives realize how each woman, each labor, is different, and how the mindset of the mother (and the birth space) affects labor, how serious of a venture it is to help usher a new life into the world.




At Cascade Home Birth Supplies there is a very affordable ($49) kit with more than enough for one birth. They also sell a set of blank patient charts for only $2.50. If you deliver a baby and there has been meconium in the amniotic fluid, you would want a DeLee suction catheter to help get any fluid out, and they are less than $20. If you have had children, love birth, have nursing (RN) experience, expect to deliver babies, or want to be prepared for someone who could, you should consider creating a birth kit for post SHTF use. Following are links to the items recommended by Heart and Hands: A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth.




We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt & Light! Choose how you live!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Certainty of Solar Flares- Intensity is the Variable


When I hear of an event that is certain to occur based on scientific evidence and recorded historical cycles, I feel that it is crucially important to be prepared for it.

You may have heard of an EMP, or electro-magnetic pulse. Usually it is referring to a nuclear device detonated at varying altitudes by a terrorist, as an attack on our country by doing the most damage for the least effort. An EMP will send a massive surge through the power grid, rendering the grid itself, and all electric appliances attached to the grid (plugged in) useless. In addition, the appliances not technically connected to the grid (such as a car, plane, or any device with a computer chip, such as your iPhone on the kitchen table) will receive such a magnetic pulse that the computer chips will be ruined. Electric well pumps, generators, electronic locks, ATMS, city water, everything- all down. This scenario is terrifying to contemplate. It is usually judged to be just too big a problem to solve nationwide

What you may not know is that the Sun's magnetic energy cycle touches its highest level every 22 years, and the number of sun spots (or flares) reaches its peak every 11 years. These two events will take place together in 2013 to produce huge levels of radiation. Keep in mind that these flares, although massive in amounts of electro-magnetic energy, are harmless to living things such as people, animals, and plants. The cycle's first small flares will be observed in 2012 and the cycle will continue to grow in strength until 2014

"In March 1989, during the solar maximum of Solar Cycle #22, the Northeast U.S. and Eastern Canada experienced a minor geomagnetic storm which compromised the electrical grid throughout for hours. The March 1989 event pales in comparison to the ‘Carrington Event of 1859’. At 11:18 a.m. on September 1, 1859, 33-year old Richard Carrington was observing an 11-inch image of the sun on a screen and was drawing the sunspots he saw in the image. Suddenly, two beads of intense white light appeared over the sunspots. Within 60 seconds the light had significantly diminished, and within five minutes completely disappeared from the screen. Just before dawn the next day, skies all over planet Earth erupted in red, green, and purple auroras so brilliant that newspapers could be read as easily as in daylight. Aurora borealis pulsated as far south as tropical latitudes over Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Hawaii. The only equipment in place resembling today’s electrical grid, telegraph systems worldwide went haywire. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set the telegraph paper on fire. Even when telegraphers disconnected the batteries powering the lines, aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted. If such an event were to occur today, the impact on modern society would be absolutely catastrophic." (source)




This knowledge starts a whole host of things that begin to run through my mind... here's a brain-dump of a few:

-Banks will lose all records and will not know what loans they have, nor where to collect them, or have the communication skills to organize the collection of them. (this could be a good thing

-Electronic bank balances (including 401Ks and stocks) will disappear and people will be left with the money they have on hand, usually paper, essentially worthless.

-Legitimate attempts to go to banks to get the contents of your security boxes will precipitate encounters with those going to merely harvest what they can find. Is your only weapon in a safe with an electronic lock?

-Anyone with preps should lay low while the initial chaos strikes those who realize that they don't have any supplies (mainly food and water; they won't realize the extent of their situation at first). Many will take what they can, many will die in the struggle. The ability to hunker down and literally not leave the house for even a few months may mean surviving the destructive start of the collapse.

-As people realize that nothing will be produced any more (such as Tylenol, sheets, string cheese) they will go into scavenge and hoard mode, or conquer and steal mode.

-When the grid goes down, many will be without a source of water. How about you? Not just some stored for a hurricane or snow storm, but some serious water supplies.

-There will be solar flares for the entire cycle- even up to two years- so having key pieces of your SHTF equipment in a homemade Faraday won't work... unless you keep them under wraps till you are sure the solar cycle is over. Then, of course, you'd make yourself a target by having the only equipment... things to consider.

-Many of the "more extreme" prepper styles (zombie, anarchy, 1800's lifestyle) will suddenly seem more relevant when you consider the panicked mobs of unprepared, hunger-crazed people there are. Of course, the more industrialized the country, the more the effects of the EMP will be felt. Rural China, outback of Australia, Central America, desert of Africa... their day-to-day style of life won't be torn apart like we will be here and in Europe, where we are so dependent on computers and electricity.

It sometimes seems to Americans that only the faraway places of earth are where the people die from diarrhea, clan wars, starvation, and are sold into slavery. But if the upcoming solar cycle is literally TEOTWAWKI, these things will be happening in your own county.

Does something that seem like such a certainty cause you to tremble in your boots? Think to what made you begin to prep. For me, it was when my husband lost his job and had no unemployment. I thought back to Katrina, and watched Haiti unfold. Things happen. We need to assess the realistic threat and the best way to act. Here is what I think are bare minimum goals:

accumulate a large amount of stored water inside your home. secure a very local water source.

accumulate a large amount of properly stored staple foods (wheat, rice, beans, oats, sugar, salt, pasta)

accumulate a large pantry of groceries, including spices and fats.

at the very least, if you can't grow vegetables and collect seed, buy a variety of sprouting seeds, which can be grown indoors year-round.

accumulate any and all medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, medicines, and first aid training and health manuals.

acquire, train with and supply at least 2 kinds of weapons for home defense. Many people find it realistic to buy hand guns and rifles in the same caliber to make storing a ton of ammunition easier. I suggest having a dozen or more pepper sprays too.

After these goals are met you can begin setting aside clothes and other non-essential but important items. All of the items on the list are the things you are probably doing already. If I can urge you to do them faster, or tell more people about prepping, then I'm satisfied. The most important thing to do is STAY CALM and DO SOMETHING.

We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt & Light! Choose how you live!

Monday, March 19, 2012

How to Handle Being the Healthy Spouse When Prepping

This post isn't really going to be helpful to the prepping community at large, unless its value lies in you suddenly realizing you aren't alone, that there are others out there like you.

My husband is a disabled vet, crippled not by a land mine, but in his head by anxiety and depression. Summed up, he is little help with the mental and practical prepping to-do list for our family.

He is panicked by thoughts of EMP, martial law, or the stores closing. If the government fails, his VA stipend, our only income, may be gone. He reacts to this panic by fleeing- be it physically to hang out with sheeple, or mentally by going to sleep.

He is easily overwhelmed and the projects that would help us get an advantage- putting in fencing, moving a 275 gallon water cube, making a coop, earning extra money to acheive goals- they are so big and such work that he freezes up and does nothing.

Until now, I have done what I could with little concern. Prepping for financial collapse or a tornado makes me feel safe and "ready." Sometimes I read about the mental strength it takes to survive and thrive after a stressful event- and I fear for my husband (and thus, the rest of us) because he gets stressed going to Costco. But when those infrequent thoughts would arise, I knew there was little I could do, and I would move back to the tangible, check-offable to-do list.

He is glad to hand over all the surplus money each month for me to do what I wish, reaching any prepping goal on my own without question. He likes for me to learn about a challenge, make a plan, and enact the steps to our safety pretty much just giving him updates. This may seem like a dream come true to some preppers who have whole, healthy spouses who don't approve or agree with prepping, but in reality it is a heavy burden to carry alone. My blogging community is my sounding board, the only ones I have to bounce ideas off of and raise concerns to.

My email box has been inundated with solar flare announcements. My biggest fear  has become a solar flare that will knock out the grid that keeps the nuclear research facility near my home cool. It is less than 12 miles away. Mandatory evacuation guidelines in the event of a nuclear accident say 19 miles, but of course if a solar flare knocked out the grid, there'd be no announcement of its failure or of the "accident" to the public. And my car wouldn't work anyway.

Of course, I immediately began researching moving about 200 miles away. This is such a big deal, and such a big change, that he doesn't want to. I now am planning on moving half my preps and all the duplicates of everything to a storage unit 250 miles away. In rural west Texas, climate-controlled storage units are a high priority and never seem to come up available to rent. Of course, there's the cost of that each month. I'm setting aside the nuclear decontamination (internal) supplements for my family to account for the time it would take to "get away."

I have to say this most recent phase of my prepping life- since I learned of the nuclear training facility- has been the first time I've felt sorta crazy. It's so big, so extreme, so (I hope?) remote. So 100% bad and fatal if it occurs. So close by. The weight of my children, my parents, my husband weigh heavy on my shoulders. Now his grandparents are coming to live with us, and they are an additional element to consider. Setting aside elder care items and although they come with a wealth of knowledge- I have assumed their care for now.

I have come to the only conclusion: I can do what I can do. God is watching over the world, and my family's little place in it. If our salvation is secure, what can really happen? I fear watching my children suffer, but if "the worst" should happen, I am secure to know that they'd be in the best place ever- safe, and suffering/ pain/ uncertainty/ fear free in heaven with the creator who actually, unbelievingly, loves them more than I do.

This is simple and trite, but I've come to the realization that aside from moving forward with my goals, all I can do is take the time to train my children that their lives are in the hands of the Lord, and that whether it is in this life or afterward, He has promised to take care of his children.

We're so pleased you are reading Farming Salt & Light! Choose how you live!