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I went to visit my friends, a married couple, that I’ve known for many years. I haven’t seen them since they moved to their new home which they brought 5 years ago. Talk about prepping!  To some, their life may seem extreme, but to serious preppers I’m sure their life choices would be appreciated. During my visit I asked them if I could share what I had seen, they said I could as long as I didn’t disclose their names or where they live and I agreed, so I will call them Brian and Jessica for the purpose of this writing.

Brian took an early retirement from a NYC corporate job (it was killing his health) and Jessica quit her job and they sold their home in Wayne.  Because of family, they stayed in NJ, but moved to a more rural area, much further away from NYC.  Luckily I have a navigation system in my car because I never would have found their place.  Its definitely off the main roads… I had no problem finding the street, but the hardest part was finding the house.  The area has a few farms with open fields, but parts are very wooded and they have the best of both of these worlds.  Their driveway is a long and winding dirt road and from the street you can’t see their home as the driveway area runs through the woods.  Brian later showed me how he has debris off to the side of the driveway that he can use to make a blockade if needed to make the driveay “disappear”.  He also has a hidden thick chain attached to hidden cement blocks to also help with the blockade if every needed (Brian said this was constructed by the previous owners).

Once I drove up through the wooded area to the house I could see why they picked their house. A beautifully restored old 1889 farmhouse with an old rustic barn along with a few other small buildings plus a 2 car detached garage. An big open field around the house but beyond the field thick forest. The neighbor’s house to the left of them can barely be seen through the woods and there are no homes immediately behind them.  A nice secluded spot with a stream on the property and a small lake within walking distance.

As soon as I arrived they started showing me what they had done in terms of prepping, I have so much more that I will talk about in another Prepper post.  They are very into sustainability and natural living and they were able to get off the grid after almost 3 years of living in the house.  The sustainability part will also have to be on another post… too much to mention now.

All their supplies they have two of …. two huge wood piles (1 kept inside a building and 1 outside), two emergency underground shelters (constructed by the previous owner), two food supplies, two supplies of tools… 1 is located right near the house and the other is hidden off in another area.  Both are very well hidden, I didnt know they were there until I was shown the entrance.  The larger one has 1 storage room stocked with long term storage food and water with 2 other rooms.  One is a small bathroom area and the larger room has 2 foldout beds, a table, folding chairs, and some other small pieces of fold out furniture and even had pictures on one wall of outdoor scenes and a fake window complete with curtains, I had to laugh when I saw that, and Brian said that was for Jessica who doesnt like closed in spaces,  They are stocked with games, clothes, books, flashlights, candles, matches, etc.  Very well planned out.  The second shelter wasn’t as nice, but served its purpose and also had food and water storage, some furniture, and necessary items.

They definitely have enough storage and they said the hardest part is making sure that food and water is switched around… longest stored is used first. Sounds like a lot of work, but they said they finally got used to it as their biggest food cache is what they would normally eat, since they don’t like wasting things.  They are very fortunate in that they had the finances to pursue their life they way they wanted to.  Brian and Jessica now have a network of Prepper friends that they keep in contact with as they are both very social people from their past life. Over the last 5 years they have both taken first aid, self defense and gun training classes, as well as home repair, canning and dehydrating classes, since prepping was brand new to them until they met the old owner of the old home who shared so much of his knowledge with them, and who was only selling the house because he was moving to Arizona to help his daughter who was very ill.

I spent a few hours with them, we got to catch up on the years we hadn’t seen each other. I got to enjoy some of their homemade wine and they even gave me a bottle to take home.  They shared a wealth of prepping information, some of which I was familiar with but other prepping ideas were new to me so I’ll have to get into that in another post.

They now live a very simple, much more rewarding lifestyle.  What a great visit, such a peaceful place to be a prepper, I didn’t want to leave.

 

Here is another post that Mike posted on the Northern NJ Preparedness group discussion board (with his permission – Thanks Mike):

 

This is the first post in a series I will write about selecting a retreat/bugout location.

Choosing your retreat/bugout location should not be a quick or easy decision. There are many factors to consider. You need to weigh the pros and cons of each property/location carefully. Some factors will automatically rule out that area as a viable option while others may turn out to be a force multiplier. Keep in mind, the chances of finding an absolutely perfect location is very low. There will almost always be at least one or more negatives that may cause you to want to search for another location.

Let’s start with probably the most obvious factor to consider in your retreat location – geography and climate. What part of the US are you considering? Do you like the hot and dry climate of the southwest or the hot and humid climate of the southeast? Do you thrive in harsh winters or desert climates? Are you partial to the mountains or lowland areas? Personally, I love the winter. I hunt in the snow, go ice fishing often and enjoy skiing and snowboarding, but…..I am not talking about a vacation home. I am talking about a location I will move to and live at in a worse case scenario (ie grid down, civil unrest, etc…). It will not be easy to survive the winters in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California in a grid down situation. Or think about some of the harsh winters we have had in NJ. If you were lucky enough to have a wood burning stove, you would need to have a stockpile of about 9 cords of wood to make it through the winter. A harsher winter climate would almost guarantee smaller populations and less chance of hostile contact. It will also be easier to heat a home or structure than to cool down a home in a survival situation.

In most cases, living in a more mild climate will give you a longer growing season. Growing vegetables and fruit would be a beneficial addition to your diet and would give you the much needed fiber to aid your digestion, vitamins for health and carbohydrates for energy. Ideally, you would want at least a 150 day growing season. This is one option I would not discount for a long term survival situation.

Another important factor to consider in your retreat location is precipitation. Obviously, an area that gets more rain will be better for most crops you plant as opposed to a dry, hot climate. More rain usually means a higher humidity level, though. If you’re worried about comfort level, hot weather accompanied by a humidity level over 80% will be a lot more difficult to deal with than the same temperature in the mountains or high deserts where the humidity levels are generally much lower. Humid climates are also breeding grounds for insects, mold and bacteria. With these things come greater chances for disease, infection and death.

Regardless of the factors I have gone over, I will tell you that I prefer the American southeast (but not a coastal state). For me, the negatives of added humidity are overshadowed by the positives of a mild winter, longer growing season and plentiful water for my own consumption and the watering of crops.

I will continue this discussion of selecting a retreat/bugout location at a later time.

 

Fitness in preparation is just as important to being food and supply readied.  If  you had to pick up and run, or fight someone while protecting your family could you do it?  And I say this for the whole family including children.  Many children live on their computers and don’t get out to enjoy the fresh air or get any exercise.  We have all become a sedentary society and so many of us are overweight.  The payoff to a regular exercise routine is it reduces your health problems, and that’s something to seriously consider.  Being in the best shape you can be is so important to think about right now, not tomorrow or next month.   Start out by walking…. take a short walk and then gradually increase the distance.  You’ll be surprised at how good it feels to breath fresh air, and you might even talk to some of your neighbors while you’re out walking.

My husband and I walk our 3 dogs almost 2 miles every day, if there’s a day that we have to miss the dogs let us know, they are our incentive to keep walking.  We are lucky that we have a nice park within walking distance that has some great paths.  Five mornings a week I do 40 minutes on the elliptical, which when I first started using that machine I couldn’t do more than 10 minutes.  I still have weight to loose, but at least I feel so much better than I did a few years ago before I started this regular routine.  My husband works out regularly also.  When I started prepping this got even more important to me.

So find someone to exercise or walk with, its always nicer to have someone to motivate you.  As a prepper, when the SHTF you want to be as prepared as you can so remember that includes being physically fit too… and the time to start is now.

 

 

 

 

Post from Susan:

When does a Prepper become a Hoarder?  I’ve thought of this after watching the Hoarders TV show and then watching some YouTube videos of a prepper with overstocked and crammed food storage strewn in piles all over living areas.

Is a person not labeled a Hoarder if his inventory is neat and organized compared to someone who just throws things in piles and is extremely unorganized?  One difference between a hoarder and a Prepper is a hoarder saves everything, whether its needed or not and cannot throw anything out.  A Prepper saves for future horrific events as a safety net for themselves and their family.

I often wonder if there’s a line you pass when you start out as a Prepper but then turn into a hoarder as the stockpile of food grows and grows until even a small army couldn’t eat it all before the expiration dates. Some people become unable to pass up any sale food item, even if its something they will never eat.

That’s why its so important to be organized. Keeping track of what comes in and even making a list with expiration dates.  Also doing a Last In, First Out method of keeping food so the food doesn’t get lost before it expires.  That’s why its also important to try to buy what you would normally eat so that you do have the turnover of using the oldest food first.

When does “Being Prepared” turn into going too far?  I think that when storage becomes more important and takes over living space, when people stop living their normal life and that’s all they think about and forget that you have to enjoy your family life also.  If prepping is effecting your family life, I think that’s when its gone too far and it might be the time to take a step back and see if maybe you’ve done enough already, take a break and take stock of what you have.

Not by any means am I against Prepping, I have my one year food storage for myself and my family, I just think like anything else it needs to be kept in perspective.  I think that Prepping can become an obsession and can be taken too far at the cost of one’s family. I’ve seen it happen, I’m just saying, but what do I know.

Ok, now I have to go check my prepping list again, I’m sure I’m missing something.

And as a last note, if you are neither a Hoarder or a Prepper you better start preparing for something that may never happen, but then again it just might.  I’d rather be prepared, if even going overboard as I can always share with my relatives that think I’m crazy if a crisis does occur.

 

Prepper Dog Toy

Pets often get forgotten when it comes to emergencies.  That’s why its so important to prepare ahead.  Making a prepper bug out bag for them is the best thing and keep it next to yours.  Keep 3 days worth of food, water, and don’t forget some treats.  I included some chew toys for my dogs (the three of them have to share a but out bag along with the cat)  I also included food & water dishes that can be stacked on top of each other to allow for room.  I put in the 3 day supply of cat food since my cat is also a prepper (he’s a cool cat).  If any animals need medication keep at lest a 7 day supply of that in the bug out bag.  Nail clippers and tweezers (for those nasty ticks) and I also keep a spare flea comb that I have, also a first aid kit.  Any thing that you use for your animals on a daily or weekly basis should be included.  Don’t forget a can opener if you use canned food.  I have a cat carrier near the bug out bags for quick retrieval.  Also a good idea is to keep spare leashes and collars in the bag.  I also included a small blanket, which isn’t enough for my crew, they will fight over that, but blankets take up a lot of space.  I also keep a spare towel just in case (maybe whoever doesn’t get to use the blanket can fight over that… only kidding).  I have one of those metal twist tie out to twist into the ground to then keep a dog tied up in one spot, that may be going overboard but I had a spare so I threw it in. I also have a dog sweater that my small dog refuses to wear, it’s too embarrassing for her… but you never know if we’re stuck in the cold she might change her mind.

I also put in my dog’s latest shot records, just in case.  Being prepared means covering all bases, some of this might seem extreme to some and to others the norm.  I just don’t want to have to be running around in circles if disaster strikes and I would rather be over prepared then under.  Oh and don’t forget to put emergency numbers in that bag… that of your veterinarian.  I’ve also read to keep a photo of your pet in the bag in case they get lost.  Remember that being in a catastrophic situation brings out the worst in all of us, and your pets are no different.  A pet might bolt away from you, being so frightened, and you might be separated through no fault of your own so a photo might become important in finding a lost pet.  The Red Cross has many good suggestions for pet preparedness in an emergency, and I’m sure there are many more suggestions on their site than I’ve mentioned.

Oh yes, and I haven’t forgotten our cockatiel, Gabby.  Luckily he and his food is right near the bug out bags so he’s all set too.

Every once in a while I go through the scenario of what I would do if disaster strikes… like they said have a plan and be prepared and I consider my pets in that scenario as they are a part of my family also and I am ultimately the one responsible for their well being.  So get your pet bug out bag and let us know what else you’ve included in yours.

Good luck with your prepping.

 

Unless you have a fully stocked, fortified, easily defendable structure to bug out to within a reasonable distance to your current position, you’re in for a world of hurt. If you really think you are going to grab your BOB and relocate on foot to the mountains and live off the land, you’re fooling yourself and ignoring reality.

What kind of training do you have? Have you ever tried doing this before? Have you ever spent extended periods of time exposed to the elements…..negative 0 degree temperatures in the winter or 100+ degrees in the summer? How about getting rained on for days on end and all of your clothes and gear are soaked. What are you going to do? Start a fire with your soggy matches? Where is your food coming from after your three day supply of MRE’s run out. Are you suddenly going to discover your hunter/gatherer primitive skills? The answer is no. You will get hypothermia and possibly die or starve or eat the wrong thing and die horribly.

How about defense/offense? Is making a spear really going to help you when the other guy has a firearm? Is digging a pitfall really going to work or just expend valuable calories from your diet? What do you have to defend yourself? Do you know how to competently use what you have? How much ammo do you have? Can you even carry a reasonable amount of ammo with your food storage, medical gear, cold weather clothing and portable shelter?

Do you really believe your bug out buddies are going to abandon everything they have to come and find you? They won’t. The only person you can truly count on is yourself in a bug out situation.

Would you consider bugging out if you have a family with small children? I hope not for your kid’s sake. At times when you need extreme noise discipline, your young children will be unable to comply.

Even if I lived in NYC instead of a suburb, I believe bugging out might turn out to be a death sentence. NYC will be a lost cause with the amount to people inside it. They will quickly turn on themselves as regular public utilities shut down (electricity will shut off first plunging us into darkness, which will in turn shut down the pumps that create water pressure eliminating drinking water, cooking water and sanitation).

Did you even bother to think about the hundred’s of thousands of folks that think they will also bug out to the country? You will be in competition with them. I guarantee they will not be planning on banding together as opposed to what you think.

 

With permission, as posted by  Mike in our Northern New Jersey Preparedness Group at Meetup.com

 


Mike, from our Northern NJ Preparedness Group wrote the following post on that site and gave me permission to reprint it here:

I had a long conversation with a buddy of mine tonight over a large pot of venison stew. I was shocked that he was not practicing any long term food storage because he does not have the skills to do it. That motivated me to write this post after promising my buddy to teach him what I know about food storage.

Folks, do not waste your money buying prepackaged, bulk, long term food storage unless you have the money to burn and/or don’t have the time to spend on doing it yourself. For most of us though, I’m sure saving a lot of money would be a plus because that would allow us to spend the money saved on more supplies. Keep in mind, depending on future the skills you learn doing the preservation yourself may become invaluable.

Anyway, here’s my advice – buy and read a few books or spend some of your free time watching youtube videos on bulk food preservation. Learn about canning and dehydrating. Try to figure our what would work best for you. What are your needs, goals and fears for the future? Is your main plan to bug in or bug out? You’re probably thinking, “What do these things have to do with food preservation?”. But when you do your research everything will come together and make sense.

If you plan on rotating the food storage into your regular meals, canning is a great way to preserve many foods that you grow in your yard for several years or even longer depending on the storage conditions.
You can store meats for the same amount of time through pressure canning – only slightly more advanced but requiring a more expensive (pressure) canner. This is a great way to preserve large amounts of animal products purchased while on sale. Most canned foods can also be eaten safely out of the jar without heating or cooking (canned foods are fully cooked through the canning process).

If you are planning on bugging out and only have canned vegetables and meats – you may have a problem….Think about packing the heavy pint and quart sized glass jars. Think about the amount of space you have in your BOB or even your vehicle. Think about your physical ability to carry the heavy load and the small amount of meals relative to those heavy loads. If those jars don’t break, you may be able to carry enough to sustain yourself for several days to a week. If you had to feed a few other people, you would all be starving in several days.

So, maybe canned goods isn’t the best solution for bugging out. Or maybe you want to put a large amount of long term storable food in your basement and forget about it until the SHTF. Let’s consider dehydrated food. Because their bulk and weight have been greatly reduced through the dehydrating process, dehydrated foods are more compact and convenient for storing and require very little space. Quite simply, you can store more than twice the calories/meals in less than half the space and less than 1/3 the weight!

Dehydrated foods also offer quick mobility in the event of a bug out situation. For example, one case of regular canned food weighs approximately 24 pounds. The same item of dehydrated foods would weigh from 36 to 45 ounce. Dehydrated foods have approximately double the yield of regular canned foods even though their cost is much lower. And then there’s also those handy, stackable 1, 5 or 6 gallon food grade buckets which are easy to carry multiples of with their handles and light weight. If you couple the food grade buckets with mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, now you have a long term storable food (30+ years for long grain white rice, certain legumes, hard red wheat and others…) that is stackable, easily stored, carried and transported.

Keep in mind, in order to consume dehydrated foods like rice and legumes, they need to be rehydrated. That means you need a heat source, water and time. In a bug out situation, you may not be able to make a fire as you would give away your position easily. You may not have the time to prepare your meal as you need to keep on the move to get out of dodge and/or evade pursuers. You may not have the skills to make a fire on your own. Or all of your natural combustible material and your flint may be wet due to the weather.

So there you have it. Canning and dehydrating are two excellent forms of long term food storage. There are pluses and minuses to both depending on your financial situation, timeline, goals, plans of bugging in or bugging out, or tactical considerations. Do your research. The information is out there on the web for free but there is no substitution for having a hard copy in event of a grid down situation.

-Practicality trumps style and skill beat bulls@%t.-

Many thanks to Mike for the excellent advice.

 

 

 

Close up of one of the jets that flew over our home on Saturday.

This doesn’t really relate to prepping, but its something that really bothers me so I’m mentioning it anyway.  I’ve been noticing a lot of jets flying overhead lately that make lots of contrails.  This past weekend was the worst I’ve ever seen of this traffic.  They were leaving contrail X’s all over the sky.  It started out as a nice blue sky with no clouds but by the time they were done the “clouds” from their exhaust were all over. It bothered me so much I started filming them, and I had to drag my husband out to take a look.  He was disturbed by it also.  I then tried to call Channel 12 news… they said someone else had called about them too.  I even called Governor Christie’s office, which is always a waste of time, but I did it anyway, and as usual it was a waste of time talking to the guy that took the phone call.

You might be thinking “What does this have to do about Prepping?” I just feel that anything that might be causing a negative impact to our quality of live is something every Prepper needs to be aware of. I’ve read a lot of negative information on contrails and the guesses of what the government is doing.  I finally checked out a website called AirCrap.org  a website that addresses their concern about contrails.  They were the ones that suggested that I post it on YouTube and also to call the local tv stations.

Check out the AirCrap video and then check out the one I posted on YouTube (sorry about the ad I have on that one). I filmed this March 10th and 11th in Wayne.  As a matter of fact I started filming when I left the first North Jersey Prepping meeting that we had on Saturday (how ironic is that).  Luckily I had my camera with me. Then I was even more shocked the next day to see the same amount of activity in the sky.

Have you been seeing this activity where you live?

This is just some of the mess of X’s, they were everywhere in the sky.

And to think that earlier there were no “clouds” at all in the sky.

Keep an eye on your sky!


 

We had the Northern New Jersey Preparedness meeting this past Saturday. There were over 25 of us there, and what a great group of people… full of ideas. It was nice meeting everyone.

The members came from all different areas of Northern NJ, from different walks of life and different sets of skills, a great mix. Every one came up with lots of ideas for our future meetings and I’ve already reserved the meeting room for the next two months as we decided we should at least meet monthly.

We started the meeting by introducing ourselves and mentioned the reasons we were there and what we each wanted to get out of the group. The two hours went by so quickly.  At the end many of us stayed and talked in small groups and exchanged useful information.  It was suggested that maybe we should do that at the end of each meeting…. mingle and talk among ourselves, not a bad idea.

Our plan is to figure out what skills our members would like to share with the rest of the group and each month we can highlight a member.

I just had to take a picture of the room before everyone arrived.  I didn’t set up the table and chairs very well so we had to rearrange them after the meeting started.  We put the tables around in a circle so everyone could see each other.  Lesson learned for the next meeting.

I’m looking forward to the next meeting already!

 

This short rant is for the new prepper. Gather slow, don’t buy, buy, buy and then have no place to put it. Plan ahead before you bring things home on where you want to store it all. Try to buy things on sale, so wait if you do anticipate a good sale. Some preppers go overboard and buy all kinds of food, even stuff that they wouldn’t normally eat, and enough to last decades. Remember that food has shelf life and its a waste to buy to much, store it and then have it go bad. I buy only what we normally eat, and stay away from things that have a great sale price but I know my family won’t use, so unless I get it for free I won’t waste my money no matter how good a sale it is. I mark everything with the date that I purchased it and make sure to store the newest toward the back so that I’m using the oldest first. It is a pain to bring stuff in from the food store, mark it with the dates, drag it all to the storage area and then rearrange so the newest goes in the back, but at least I then keep familiar what I have and I know that we are using and will have less chance of wasting anything. Being a prepper is work, but worth the peace of mind.

The USDA has a wonderful site that is great for every prepper on food safety and shelf life.   Check it out.

Ok that’s my sermon for today. Thanks for stopping by.

 

A can with botulism

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