MESSAGE FROM TESS
You couldn’t get rid of me that easily! Earlier this month, we completed the 52-Weeks to Preparedness series. I hope that you all enjoyed the information that the series provided and were able to put down or plan for creating a preparedness foundation for your family. Now, it’s time that I ask you for some help. I would love to hear some feedback from each and every one of you on what you thought of this series. Even if it is a sentence or two, it would mean so much for me to hear from you regarding whether you feel this series has benefited you in some way, caused you to see preparedness from a different perspective or if you felt certain areas needed improvement.
I want to emphasize that the 52-weeks series has never been about the destination, but the journey and I sincerely want to thank all of you for coming on this preparedness journey with me. In all honesty, you have helped me get more prepared as much as I have hopefully helped you. That said, the journey is far from over. As most of you well know, preparedness is a mindset and one can never truly be finished preparing. There is always something more you can add or a new skill to develop. Now that we have a well-established preparedness foundation, it’s time to begin refining our skill sets to move beyond preparedness. The next newsletter series I plan on writing about will be based of this very subject. I plan on starting this new series up soon, so stay tuned!
Many of you have been asking if I am going to put the 52-Weeks to Preparedness in a downloadable format or DVD. While we are exploring ways to make this available on online, we’re not sure when this will be available. We are definitely working on it and hope to get it out to you soon. At the moment, I am beginning to add more tips and suggestions to the existing program to make it even more comprehensive.
Even though “The Prepper’s Cookbook” is finished, the editing continues! My publishers have given the book back to me with all sorts of corrections to make. The release date of the book is January 15th, so get ready!
As always, feel free to follow us on Twitter or Facebook. I love to link to great articles that I find on the web in addition to getting to know all of you in the preparedness community. It’s also a great way to get in touch with me if you have any questions.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
PREP OF THE WEEK
53 of 52 Weeks: The Preparedness Lifestyle
For the past 52-weeks, we have invested in, researched for and practiced ways to get our families prepared for the unexpected. This investment of time, energy and supplies is not yet complete. You are at pivotal point in your preparedness journey; either you feel comfortable with the preps and skills you have attained and feel they can carry you through an extended emergency, or you have begun to see that it is necessary to take your preparedness journey to the next level. Some of us find that we are never finished preparing, researching or learning new skills to help carry us through a given emergency. This need to learn and develop more is what I want to discuss with you today because it won’t require you to go and invest your money into preps. This next step is about a change you will make to your existing mindset. Because now we are at a point where we shift from preparing for a preparedness lifestyle into living a preparedness lifestyle.
As James T. Stevens says in his preparedness guide, Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook, a paradigm shift occurs once the mindset changes from being prepared to living a preparedness lifestyle, “suddenly it’s neither so daunting or burdensome – it becomes your routine – the way you live on a daily basis!”
That being said, once I adopted this new lifestyle, I realized that my current living situation did not support what I wanted or needed to achieve. I didn’t want to just talk the talk, but wanted to walk the walk. Changes were made, and some of those were met with resistance from friends and family members (something I am sure that many of you have first-hand experience dealing with.). Once I adopted this mindset, my attitude shifted from living in fear to living with courage to face what may come. I had found my balance.
My need to take preparedness to the next level has changed my entire outlook on life. It simplified my life in a way that I no longer am concerned with what the latest fad is or what Snooki is doing on television. In fact, for the better part of 3 years I severed my ties to television and didn’t watch it. Each of us will make our own choices as to what is best for our families, but my choice to concentrate on my preparedness path and work on going forward with it has been a wonderful blessing. I’m much more immersed in caring for my chickens, finding ways to get my garden to grow, appreciating my surroundings and making sure that my family is cared for.
There are challenges to shifting to a preparedness lifestyle and I have documented those issues on my website and in this newsletter. But I continue to stay positive and view mistakes that I make as learning experiences. Sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t, but at least I am working towards my goal of being 100% self-reliant. I am thankful that I still have the time to make these mistakes and learn from them.
Throughout your preparedness journey, no doubt many of you have become frustrated because you can’t seem to wrap your head around a certain skill, or you can’t seem to prepare enough because of the rising food prices, or you are growing more and more concerned that a large scale disaster is around the corner and you won’t be ready in time. Don’t get discouraged! We have a wonderful community that is there to encourage us through these bumps in the road; and I am here for you as well. In the coming months, I will be posting videos and articles that will enhance your skill sets and encourage you further. The bottom line is this: we can only prepare so far, then we have to trust our skill sets and leave the rest to God.
I want to leave you with a quote. “Remember, that even though we are preparing for rainy days, it’s important to enjoy the sunshine we have.” Waiting for the bomb to drop is no way to live. In my experience, I have learned the importance of living in the now. We must make time, no matter how small to enjoy the love and the gifts that are surrounding us right now. After all, these are the moments that we are going to look back on and remember.
WHAT WE’RE UP TO
In the Home:
Do you remember in the last newsletter when I mentioned how great the chickens were doing? Well, I spoke too soon. It seems that a fox was able to get into the chicken house and chickens started disappearing one by one. Before we realized what was going on, we were only left with 3 out of the original 10 chicks. After a visit to the local feed store, we made another investment of 21 chicks (7 Americuanas, 7 Barred Rocks and 7 Buff Orpingtons). This was, of course, after we made improvements to the chicken house. We plugged the hole that the fox dug and stapled chicken wire onto the ground of the chicken house. (A future project of ours is to extend the chicken house into a full fledged ban.) I have learned a very valuable lesson, and that is to never underestimate the power that hunger has over a creature (or human). They will stop at nothing until their needs are met. That said, I will stop at nothing to protect what is mine, so we are on the lookout for the fox’s den and then it’s game on!
We are getting ready to conduct a household experiment soon. Even though we have a full propane tank to heat the home, we plan to only use the tank for a last resort. Instead, we have purchased a large amount of wood to use as a heating fuel source and some space heaters to use in a few of the hallways and rooms. We are going to record how much wood we use to maintain the heat in our house. This information will not only help us know how much more firewood we need, but will also be important for planning long-term emergency needs. So far, we have only had to turn the heat on once for a few hours. I think we are still acclimating to the colder weather, but nothing is better than a warm fire heating a home.
I was telling some of my Facebook friends that I can’t seem to stop buying toilet paper! We have plenty, but for some reason I am so fixated on this one prep item. Many preppers seem to do this with a specific prep item. For some, they continue stocking up on medical supplies or spices. For me, it’s toilet paper!
Over the weekend, I was marveling at all the tools we have been investing in since we moved to the ranch. Having the right tool makes all the difference in the world as far as time/energy yield goes. The next purchase we want to make is a mulcher. There is such an abundance of leaves and twigs on the property that we want to put them to good use. We are already adding the leaves to the garden, compost piles and to prepare areas for future gardens, but there is so much of it that we want to expedite the decomposition process.
We found a Farmer’s Market in our little town where locals sell their produce, honey and other tasty edibles. My husband keeps buying peppers, tomatoes and onions for me to make more salsa. In fact, I have 15 lbs. of tomatoes waiting for me as I write this. He is a true Texan through and through and uses salsa on everything! He wants to ensure that we have enough salas to get him through the winter! As the saying goes, “those who do, teach”. Therefore, it’s time to cross train my hubby in the art of canning. This weekend, he is going to learn how to make my delicious salsa (a recipe that happens to be in my upcoming cookbook) and to use the beautiful pressure canner he bought me for Christmas. This brings up an excellent point about the importance of cross training group members. If one becomes injured or cannot perform a certain task, then others must step up. In this case, my husband must learn how to can produce – for his own survival. 🙂
In the Garden:
The earthworms are alive!!!! When we first moved to the ranch I jumped the gun on purchasing earthworms for the garden. I wanted so badly to enrich the soil and with the intense dry summer we had, I thought I killed them. However, they did what any survivalist would do, they stayed out of harm’s way by burrowing themselves deep within the soil. Now that the fierce sun isn’t drying out the soil as much, they are now coming up to the surface. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see those little guys! They are going to do wonders for this garden and I’m going to spoil them rotten with lots of leaves and compost to munch on over winter.
Since it is starting to get cooler out here, I bought some large bags of manure, peat moss and 2 bales of hay to fertilize and insulate the garden. So far, we have a nice garden growing with a great variety of vegetables. It’s a good start, but I will need more vegetables in order to live off of. It’s really hard finding the right amount of seeds to plant in order to grow enough to sustain our family. Does anyone know of some kind of calculator that helps calculate how many plants to need for a family of 5?
I saw a sale on blueberry and raspberry plants and bought 3 each of them. I am concerned with planting them right before winter, so I am going to plant them in pots to make them easier to move indoors. Hopefully, this will give them a chance to develop a better root system before I plant them in the Spring.
I am also looking at purchasing some clear plastic sheeting to make a greenhouse around the garden. If I can do this, then we will be able to extend the growing season and have vegetables and fruits year round!
STATS AND FACTS
I never realized there was a prepper creed until a few days ago when I found this outstanding article on www.Truther.org. Below is a list of the Prepper’s 10 Commandments. Follow the link provided below to read more about the commandments.
- Thou Shalt Have Options
- Thou Shalt Have A Passport
- Thou Shalt Live Off The Land
- Thou Shalt Network
- Thou Shalt Fight Or Flight
- Thou Shalt Depend Not
- Thou Shalt Invest Internationally
- Thou Shalt Expose False-Prophets
- Thou Shalt Know Thine Enemy
- Though Shalt Pray
To read this great article in its entirety, click here.
LETTERS TO TESS
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
This week’s letter addresses storing your food preps outdoors:
I’ve asked you questions in the past and you’ve always come thru. I need some help know. Kind of a save our marriage question. HAHAHA! Seriously though we have many bulk bags in our bedroom. Sugar. Flour, Oats, Wheat, and Rice. Can this stuff go out in the shed in air tight, bug proof barrels?? Also we live in Maine. Within the next couple months it will be in the teens and 20’s. But we’ve got to do something. Both of us are committed in prepping it’s just that 2 adults and 4 kids live in a single wide and it gets snug.
It’s best to keep your food preps in a temperature controlled environment. Storage temperature of food is extremely proportional to its shelf life. When temperatures fluctuate it can break down food items quickly. The fact that you live in a colder climate is good, but the temps in Maine drop fast and hard. If your food freezes and then thaws, you are taking the chance of molds and mildews forming. One option, if you have the money to do so, is to rent a unit at a temperature controlled storage. It’s not ideal and you do have to go out of pocket on it, but if you are storing several thousand dollars’ worth of preps, you want to protect that investment as much as possible.
Even though I do not advise you storing your food stuffs in an outdoor shed, there are ways to work around the problem. Is there any way to insulate the shed to maintain the temperature? You also want to ensure that you store your food preps in an area that is rodent and critter proof. Can an animal dig a hole into the shed? Is there a bottom to it? What material is the shed made from? If it is plastic, it can easily be chewed through by rodents. Incorporating some rodent traps around your food storage may help to control this issue. Also, some preppers have found that plugging holes with steel wool have been very effective. Rodents hate this product and will not attempt to paw through it. Another suggestion from preppers is moth crystals. Moth crystals where wood meets the ground (like the foundation of a shed or porch) or where wood meets cement, keeps out a lot of things. Make sure that you purchase moth crystals because moth balls are easily pawed away and become less effective. It’s a good rule of thumb to check your supplies frequently from all sides to ensure that rodents and critters have not penetrated the containers.
Also, a possible Spring project for you would be to dig a root cellar on your property. This would be a good alternative to storing food outside of your home and in an environment where the temperature is controlled. In fact, when nestled in the earth and way from temperature fluctuations (such as the kitchen stove, or the sun for that matter), a root cellar maintains a constant temperature just above freezing. This book may be helpful: Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables. A plus to this option is that you can store vegetables or fruits away to prolong their shelf lives as well thus giving you access to fresh fruit and vegetables even in the dead of winter!
Here are some helpful articles I found on the subject discussed:
I hope this is somewhat helpful for you and your family’s prepping endeavors.
Best of luck,
Be the change you wish to see in the world!