What I Did This Week To Prep

Taking my own advice, I bought some new heavy hiking boots. I needed to replace my old Danner boots that I have owned for over 14 years – since I was in the military. I knew they had finally given up the ghost when the Danner Refurbishing Department said they couldn’t rebuild my boots again (they had been rebuilt once and resoled three times – I loved those boots). So I went to a local shop and got them repaired and resoled as best as they could, and passed them down to Ryan. When Danner said they couldn’t rebuild my boots, they did send me a 25% off coupon for a new pair. For a late Christmas gift we ordered me a new pair of Danner Rain Forest Plain Toe Work Boots. They arrived in the mail this week. I was thrilled to have them, but not thrilled to have to break in a new pair of boots. It’s much easier to talk (or blog) the talk, then walk the walk (pun intended). Fortunately today’s genre of hiking boots is far better and easier to break in then they were a generation ago. But they sure felt stiff when Kate (our Border Collie) and I went out for the first three-mile walk. Now, I no longer have an excuse when it’s time to take her for a walk.

We visited Costco this week. (For the record, this month’s coupons sucked; nothing in the way of good prepper stuff.) We purchased a cross-cut paper shredder to be able to ‘create’ more browns for our compost pile (reference last week’s What I Did This Week To Prep). We also got a three-pack set of basic utilities knives for $10 to put in our BOBs*, they’re not as cool as the Gerber EAB, but at 1/3 of the cost they’ll work just fine and they–the utility knifes and the Gerber EAB–all use the same blades so we’ll only have to stock one type. Also, interesting to note, peanut butter (that went up in price in November, see What I Did This Week To Prep 10/21/11) is still $2 higher than it’s price last fall. We’re glad we had our SWYE all stocked up with plenty of PB and don’t need to buy it now at the higher price.

I also ordered the book, The Eagle Has Crashed by Ted Lacksonen. A novel about an economic meltdown and how society collapses in the aftermath. I heard him interviewed on The Survival Podcast (Episode 814) and was impressed with his insights and attitudes. I look forward to reading his book and plan to write a review of it.

What did you do?

(Monday: Adding New Page: My Reading List)

*For my list of abbreviations and other information, open the above ‘Check Here…’ page tab.

What I Did This Week To Prep

Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated in our prepping, especially this time of year.  November 21 to January 21 are the darkest days of the year; in Washington State on the ‘shortest day’ there are eight hours from sunrise to sunset (time to break out the Vitamin D). The holidays are here, everyone’s schedule is hectic, and money is going toward gifts, food, socializing, etc. I know, I feel it too. On TSP Jack did a show this week entitled, Avoiding Prepper Burn Out (episode 797). It was a timely and appreciated. So during this month, if you’re feeling it too, know what you’re not alone. Also realize that, statistically speaking, the world probably isn’t going to end this month (that’s not scheduled until December 2012). If you need to ease back on your prepping in December (as I do) do it, and do it guilt-free. Use this holiday season to really enjoy your family, they’re the reason we’re prepping after all.

This week we (and by ‘we’ I mean Ryan) expanded our compost bin system from two to three bins. When we had two bins, we could only have one pile going at a time because the other had to be left open for rotation. Now with three bins we will be able to have an ‘older’ and ‘newer’ pile going and use the third open one for rotation. This is the way I’ve seen others do it and think will work best for us.

We went Costco shopping early this month to get ready for Christmas. I saw a new item that I had to get: a 4-pack of industrial grade duct tape! As a good prepper I couldn’t pass this up; I’ll probably get another one next month. We all know how duct tape is the physical ‘glue’ that holds together the concept of improvise, adapt, and overcome. I also bought some more household surface disinfectant wipes. Again, in any kind of disaster keeping clean is essential and water could be in short supply. Both these items store long-term and can be regularly rotated.

What did you do?

What I Did This Week To Prep

& What I’m Thankful For

When I thought back to what I’d done this week I realized I hadn’t done much prepping. When I wondered why I realized, oh yea, it was Thanksgiving week (did I mention we had a house full of family?). So I decided this week–keeping with the Thanksgiving theme–to also talk about what I’m thankful for, especially in the prepper aspects of my life.

But first the couple prepper things I did do. As anyone with a deep freezer knows, it’s hard to keep track of what is in there – especially at the bottom. I didn’t come up with this idea, but I’m trying it and passing it along: how to keep a simple food storage tracking system. As shown on the right, using graph paper, make a list of all the food items you store. Then make a slash (/) for each item you currently have. When you remove an item, turn the far left / into an X; the remaining slashes show your current count. When you add more, add more slashes. When you take things out change the appropriate amount of slashes into Xs. For example, bacon: X X / / / / /, would show that you currently have five packages of bacon. When you take two out, it would now show: X X X X / / /. Hopefully that makes sense. We stapled the list to the wall, and hung a pen, next to the freezer so everyone can add and deduct as necessary – we’ll see how it works.

At Costco we bought less normal stuff and more stuff geared toward Thanksgiving and the holidays. The only good sale item which we got for our preps was D cell batteries. Batteries are, by definition, a finite/self-reliant source of power. But short-term they’re very nice and convenient to have; they are also one of the first things that sell out when the masses rush to the stores for a pending disaster. If you store them correctly and rotate them appropriately, then it’s good to buy and store extras (not much different than how we do all our preps).

During this time of year we celebrate the bountiful harvest, and we lay up stores–so we know we will be prepared and we will make it through–for the coming winter. I am thankful for:

  • my wife and children. Without them I wouldn’t be doing most of this; I prep because of my family. I love and care for them very much, and I believe it is ultimately my responsibility to prepare to keep them safe and secure in case things ever go bad.
  • my wife Sarah. I’m thankful I found, fell in love with, and married her. I’m glad we’re partners in this life. I’m thankful for her support, advice and active assistance (and tolerance) as I prep and plan for our family. I’m thankful for her help with this blog; three times each week she reads through and makes sure it’s well written and makes sense.
  • being able to live near my kids (it hasn’t always been this way). Ryan, Brynn, Emily, and Alison (and Chanse). I’m glad I can see them on a regular basis, really get to know them, and be an active part of their lives. I’m glad I can be their dad and do my best to watch over them now, and teach and prepare them for the future.
  • the rights and liberties that are recognized in this country that allow me to be a prepper, to move as I choose, to own firearms, and complain about my government.
  • the members of our military; especially the true warriors, the ones who keep the wolves at bay.
  • true friends who stand by and support you through thick or thin. “Friends help you move, good friends help you move bodies.” I’m thankful for body-moving friends.
  • the many prepper resources available (especially for Jack Spirko’s TSP). I’m thankful for the internet where all compiled knowledge is at our fingertips, all we have to do is search for it.

What did you do and what are you thankful for? (Feel free to put what you’re thankful for in the comments.)

(Monday: Only Seconds To React)

What I Did This Week To Prep

The north side of the Olympic Peninsula near Sequim (pronounce: skwim) is the area where we hope to find our BOL. We’ve spent considerable time determining what we wanted in a BOL community before deciding on Sequim. Our goal was to find something in a rural area near a small town, with a temperate climate, that was less than three hours from our current home; a location that didn’t require us to drive through the mountains, a major metropolis, or cross a bridge to get there. We really like the resources and feeling of Sequim; now we just need to find that right piece of property.

That part is much easier said than done. We’ve been tracking available properties online for several months. We had even gone to look at a few, but hadn’t found anything that interested us. Recently I’ve been watching one online that looked promising. We researched it further and agreed it’d be worth looking at. Since Sarah had an extra couple days off we decided to head out to Sequim and look at BOL property. We spent time looking at it and walking around the acreage, and we both really liked it. The property itself is great; the structures will need some work – but it had location, location, location. I’ll keep you posted if anything comes of it.

On the way back from Sequim we stopped in Vashon Island to pick up the newest addition to our family: a seven week old female Border Collie, named Kate. We had been in contact with the breeder for several weeks and were just waiting for her to get old enough so that we could go get her and bring her home. She is a cute little thing; as Emily says, she’s “freaking adorable.” Is a dog a prepper topic? Of course it is! Not only does a dog add to the home security with it’s heightened senses and awareness, it also adds comfort and a sense of normalcy in a stressful situation. Remember, you dog needs to be included in planning your preps: storing extra dog food, and including it in your evacuation plan.

Since we needed dog food for Kate, we made our monthly trip to Costco early. (Early in the sense that their monthly coupons weren’t available for another week.) They had a good price on Duracell Daylite LED D cell flashlights, so we picked up a couple of those. We have several flashlights, but they are already distributed throughout the house; we wanted to get a couple of quality ones to put in a central location. We bough puppy food (including plenty of extra), the Kirkland brand has good ingredients at a good price. We got some extra peanut butter and plan to get more before peanut butter prices go up soon – ounce for ounce peanut butter is one of the cheapest sources of protein available. Also wool socks were on sale so we got a few extra to add to our BOBs.

What did you do?

(Monday: One Man’s Tool)


What I Did This Week To Prep (An Intro)

There is an analogy that life is like walking up a ‘down’ escalator. If you just stand there – you go backward. If you walk at an even pace – you maintain. If you walk faster and push yourself harder – you go forward. I believe that, to a great extent, this sums up a self-reliant lifestyle. So writing this each week will help me remember to continue moving forward. Most of the things I do, I’ll just briefly mention here; many of them will probably turn into full posts later (if you see something you’re especially interested in be sure and mention it in the comments).

My wife (who is my biggest supporter) asked, “Are you sure you want to commit to writing this each week?” “What if you don’t do anything?” “What happens when we’re done?” Then in a slightly hesitant voice she asks, “We will be done eventually, right?”

I believe that prepping is a habit, a lifestyle, a defining characteristic. Once you start, once you take “the red pill”* it’s difficult to return to “the blissful ignorance”. Jack (on TSP) says, “Everything you do to prepare . . . should be blended into your life in a way that improves your life even if nothing disastrous ever occurs.” (TSP Modern Survivalist Philosophy).

“Hope for the best. Plan for the worst.” I plan for a possible disaster(s), but I also plan for success. ‘What I Did This Week To Prep’ could therefore–hopefully–also be worded as ‘how I prepared this week to make my life better and more fulfilling for my family and myself’.

So, this week Sarah and I made our monthly Costco trip. Costco is a preppers playground: lots of stuff you need, lots of stuff you want, good prices, in big quantities. We used their coupons for AAA batteries and Kirkland brand vitamins (multi and C – I don’t take vitamins on a regular basis, but I do believe it’s appropriate to have in your preps). We bought the normal stuff we get in bulk and/or to back fill our SWYE shelves. We also got a Coleman LED 8 D-cell battery lantern (we have flashlights, headlamps, and oil lanterns, but figured this would fill a convenience/safety gap that we had).

The garden continues to come along (spring here was late and set everything back). Tomatoes are finally starting to ripen. Our fall back position for those that don’t ripen is to make and can green salsa. The herb garden is doing well; we’re using fresh herbs regularly and drying the surplus (we’ve tried both hanging them and putting them in the dehydrator, hanging was more efficient). We want to find a good way to continue to grow fresh herbs inside the house throughout the winter.

Ryan and I had set-up two 55-gallon rain barrels in mid-July and, believe it or not, we didn’t have enough rain to test them until last weekend (yes in Washington) when we determined they didn’t really work as planned/hoped. So we’re going to rebuild them. Our goal, in an emergency, is to use the rain water to flush the toilets and clean with, and filter if necessary. (We already have two additional barrels of drinking water.)

What did you do?

(Monday: Location, Location, Location)

*The term red pill and its opposite, blue pill, are pop culture terms that have become a common symbol for the choice between the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue) and embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red). The terms were popularized in science fiction culture via the 1999 film The Matrix. In the movie, the main character is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill, with the red pill leading to his “escape” from the Matrix, a fictional computer-generated world, while the blue pill would allow him to remain in the world with no knowledge that anything is wrong. -‘Red pill and blue pill’, Wikipedia