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Get Prepped Newsletter: April 27, 2012

Get Prepped is Ready Nutrition’s weekly newsletter helping readers get ready for the unexpected. This week, the newsletter focuses on the ideal characteristics of a survival retreat.


I am blown away that there are only ten weeks left until we finish our 52-weeks to Preparedness series. Over the last 12 months, I hope that your preparedness supplies have grown, as well as your knowledge base. I firmly believe that as a community, each of us has so much to offer one another.

In our 42nd week, we will be discussing what an ideal retreat would be like. Knowing what characteristics to look for in a survival retreat property, as well as the surrounding area, and local government can help you find the best area to bug in or bug out to.

Next week, we will be discussing homesteading and how gardening and livestock have a symbiotic relationship. So, stay tuned!

What’s the best piece of advice you can give a fellow prepper? Your preparedness story or advice could make a profound difference for someone just beginning to prepare or move into their next stage of preparedness. Why not take a moment and leave your story.

If you haven’t already, follow us on Twitter or Facebook. I love to interact with the preparedness community, because after all, we are all in this together!


Tess Pennington


Be the change you wish to see in the world.


Week 42 of 52: Ideal Retreat Characteristics

By now, each of you are keenly aware of the different disasters that could affect our way of life. Some of these disasters even have the capacity to cause widespread destruction, panic and suffering. Given the pandemonium that would ensue in the more populated areas of our country, some of us are ready to take the necessary steps to be more self-reliant.

As a result, many are selling their suburban and urban dwellings to move to more rural settings to start their survival retreats. Preparing your home to be a survival retreat allows you to stock more supplies, and be more prepared for longer-term emergencies. This resource, by M.D. Creekmore has excellent book reviews and shows readers how to build a survival retreat on a low budget.

Deciding exactly where to relocate is not an exact science. You can gauge the potential threat and plan accordingly, but you can never be completely certain what will happen and where the safest place will be. However, knowing that you have researched and prepared the best retreat possible puts you at a far greater advantage than many others.

Location and land characteristics are crucial factors when a person is considering purchasing land for a survival retreat.  According to James Rawles, author of How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It, the decision to have a survival retreat should be a “well-prepared and defensible redoubt with well-planned logistics.”

Experts agree on the fact that the area we  should choose for a retreat property needs to be a semi-isolated location with steady water supply and a fair amount of timber for heat in a woodstove/fireplace. If we find ourselves in a grid-down scenario, we want to be able to support our basic needs. These will be the top priorities in the beginning.

While walking the property note what resources and obstacles your site has before you make a plan. Keep in mind that you want to find a property that can be sustainable. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • “What’s there that you can use? Trees, bamboo, stones, sand, soil, clay…?
  • Is there plenty of wood or coal for fire?
  • Is there a natural water supply?
  • Can you work with those materials? Can you learn to?
  • Can the retreat property be seen from the road?
  • Is there a major highway nearby?
  • Can you protect your land, if attacked?

Keeping these questions in mind will help you determine whether the property is appropriate for surviving long-term disasters.

Climate is another consideration. Although many believe that living in the warm climates of the south will be an ideal area for retreats, keep in mind that most southern states are susceptible to damage brought on by hurricanes, tropical storms and flooding. As you can see from the map below, most our states are exposed to one or more climatic issues. Therefore, keep this in mind when determining where you want to set your retreat up.

Map provided by Redcross.org and Noaa.gov

Another aspect to factor in is whether any major cities are in your desired retreat area. Ideally, you want to choose an area that has low population density. If a major disaster occurs, living in a more isolated area (especially from major highways) will help to protect your from transient mobs leaving the cities. You don’t want to be on the lines of drift from major cities, as towns along these roads will be hit hard by hordes of people, some of whom might not be friendly. See the map below to view the major cities of the United States.

Map provided by the Survival Blog

U.S. Major Cities

Some other important factors to consider are:

  • A long growing season
  • Property backs up to a state or national park
  • Low population density and away major cities and suburban developments
  • Sufficient year-round precipitation and surface water
  • Rich topsoil
  • Sunny area for solar panels
  • No major earthquake, hurricane, or tornado risks
  • No flooding risk
  • No tidal-wave (at least two hundred feet above sea level)
  • Minimal forest-fire risk
  • Away from interstate freeways and other channelized areas
  • What type of employment is in the area
  • A diverse economy and agriculture
  • Low taxes
  • Non-intrusive scale of government
  • Favorable zoning and inexpensive building permits
  • Minimal gun laws
  • A lifestyle geared toward self-sufficiency
  • Plentiful local sources of wood or coal
  • No restrictions on keeping livestock
  • Defensible terrain
  • Not near a prison or large mental institution
  • Inexpensive insurance rates (home, auto, health)
  • Upwind and away from major nuclear power plants

Consider searching within an active farming area. This is beneficial because the barter systems are already in place, not to mention an abundance of livestock and produce.

When thinking about where you’d prefer to buy your retreat and/or retirement home, look at all the factors and whether the piece of land can sustain you and your family’s needs.

Use this mapping tool to:

  • Look into if there are any underground aquifers in the area
  • If there are any environmental or climatic issues in the area
  • Maps the vegetation growth in the area

Further Reading:



Preps to Buy:

  • Topographic and geographic maps of the area
  • Farmer’s Almanac to find out growing season

Action Items:

  1. Research! Compare counties that you are interested in moving to.
  2. Look into the local governments and what local laws are in place.
  3. Research websites like www.city-data.com to see what the statistics are for the location you are considering.
  4. Find out the condition of the soil.
  5. Determine if there is a barter system.
  6. To learn more about understanding the principles of a retreat, consider reading this page from Survival Blog.


In the Home:

OK, I have some amazing news. I have been asked to write a cook book using items found in our preparedness pantry. I love the concept and believe this would be a great addition to the preparedness library. It should be on the store shelves around Christmas-time. I’m so excited! I’m planning some great recipes to share with all of you.

In the meantime, I have been practicing all of my regular recipes to perfect them. This week, I have been making homemade cheese crackers. They don’t last long in my house. I have already made 2 batches and the kiddos keep eating them. Here’s the recipe:

Cheese Crackers


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 cup butter, chilled
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
6 tablespoons cold water, or as needed


  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, white pepper and mustard. Cut in butter with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in Cheddar cheese. Stir in water one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is able to hold together. Press the mixture into a ball, wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a rectangle that is 16×12 inches. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 1×3 inch strips. Place the strips onto the prepared baking sheets spaced about 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden and crispy. Cool completely before storing.

Family Preps:

In June, my husband and son are planning a father/son road trip to the Grand Canyon. So, for my son’s birthday (which will be during the road trip) I bought him his own pair of binoculars. My son will be 10 and is very responsible, so we decided to invest in a good pair from REI. Like my monocular I mentioned previously, I wanted the binoculars to be lightweight, waterproof, fog proof and have good shock absorption. I bought an REI 8×25 binocular for $85. Even though it’s designated as a birthday present, the binoculars will be going into his bug out bag.

In the Garden:

I’m starting to pick some of my cucumbers. In honor of my freshly picked cucumbers, I made some fresh tzatziki with it and ate it with some homemade pita bread. Trust me, it was amazing. I’m hoping in the next week or so, I can share with you my dill pickle recipe. We just have to wait for the cucumbers to grow.


Cash is Out, Bartering is King

Homemade Fruit Roll Ups

The Barter Value of Skills

Chia Seeds: A Tiny Powerhouse for Sustainability


This week is National Severe Storm Preparedness Week. In light of the severe storms and tornadoes we have witnessed over the last two years, it is paramount that you prepare for the likelihood of being affected in some way by severe storms.

Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms can and do occur at any location, any time of day or night, and any time of year given the right atmospheric conditions. Keep in mind that even though the weather may be calm at the time a Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm Watch or Warning is issued for your area, conditions can rapidly deteriorate and become life threatening.

Keep the following tips in mind when preparing for severe weather:

  • Develop a plan for you and your family at home, work, school, and when outdoors.
  •  Know the risk for the area in which you live or visit. NWS warnings identify locations in the path of approaching severe weather.
  • Have a Public Alert™ certified NOAA Weather Radio and battery backup to receive warnings.
  • Always heed warnings even if warnings issued for your area in the past did not result in severe weather. Don’t gamble with your life.
  • Tune into your favorite radio or television weather information source for severe weather watch and warning information.
  • If severe weather threatens, check on people who are elderly, very young, or physically or mentally disabled.
  • Having a safe room in your home or small business can help provide “near-absolute protection” for you and your family or your employees from injury or death caused by extreme winds. By near-absolute protection we mean that there is a very high probability the occupants of a safe room built according to current guidance will avoid injury or death.


Family Emergency Plan Checklist

Short-Term Emergency Checklist

Emergency Evacuation Checklist



Do you have a preparedness question? One of the perks of my job at Ready Nutrition is to address questions and/or concerns that you may have with your prepping endeavors. Feel free to ask anything that is on your mind because no question is too big or small. You can email questions to: getprepped@readynutrition.com

This week’s question addresses bugging in:


Can you give any advice if you are unable to get out of dodge? My husband is ill and I have stocked piled his meds as much as I can and lots of food about 2 year’s worth and we have a deep well and a shallow well I can pump out by hand and yes, I have guns and plenty of ammo and know how to use them and will. But we are out in the open on farm land. And since we have know one to help or group with. I need some advice.


Hi Chris,

I see your dilemma. If you are determined to bug in, I would start working on your security preparedness and begin looking into finding ways to protect the perimeter of your land. Investing in tall shrubs or trees may be helpful in concealing your home, as well as fencing. Depending on the area you live in, I have also heard great things about bamboo. They are very prolific, extremely strong and are multipurpose. You could plant a wall of bamboo to help detract unwanted visitors.

Further, you may want to consider starting a survival group to help you protect what is yours. If the worst were to happen you can be assured that organized bands of looters will be ready to take everything you have, including your life. They’ll be heavily armed, well versed in their tactics, fully committed to the mission at hand, and they won’t be taking prisoners.

These looters will be looking for a prepared household to steal supplies. Some things they may look for are a running generator, a visible garden, or even a flicker of light in the middle of the night. These simple mistakes can have significant repercussions for you and your family. Ensure that you find ways to camouflage the things that could make you a target.

Here are some items to consider:

  • Black out curtains
  • Reinforced locks
  • Shatterproof glass
  • Barbed wires
  • Walkie talkies
  • Binoculars
  • Mechanical warning devices
  • Guard dogs
  • Camouflage netting

Here is an article about securing your home using multiple security layers.

And, if you are interested in keeping your garden out of sight, this would be a useful article.

If you are over run, you want to consider having two evacuation routes with a cache of food and supplies at your designated evac spot.

These are a few thoughts and I hope they help get you on the right track.

Best of luck,


This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on April 27th, 2012

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