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Unfortunately we didn’t make the minimum attendance as requested by Jim for this meeting  so we had to cancel.


On Saturday we will be having a meetup with a seasoned Prepper from South Jersey.  Jim is a retired science engineer who has been a Prepper for over 50 years.  He has interesting connections, and will be sharing his experience and insight.  One of his side careers is teaching families how to prep for disasters.  Hopefully we will make the minimum attendance for this meeting (25 people).  After my phone conversations with him this should be a very interesting meeting.  He also has a few interesting Prepper experiences to share.



Its important for all Preppers to know first aid and CPR.

Your local chapter of the Red Cross should offer these courses plus they also offer preparedness classes.

There is also an online CPR and First Aid class you can take which is good to become familiar with the information until you can take a hands on class. is one such online class that I’ve checked out. They offer free classes but if you want to get a certificate you have to pay for it, so as long as you just take the class it should be free, just stay away from the certificate part or it will cost money. The best way to learn CPR or first aid is to take a hands on class.

Our group Northern New Jersey Preparedness Group is currently looking into First Aid classes and are hoping to offer them to our group soon.


Update:  July 2012: Judge Lawrence Katz ruled that Victor Alfieri is not guilty of violating a town law by keeping three hens on his property.  Here is the article by Dan Hubbard, my favorite reporter:  


Here’s the background on Victor’s story:


Victor Alfieri who is running a valiant campaign to get the town of Wayne, NJ to change their chicken law.  I live in Wayne and I am for this change.  Currently you have to own 2 acres to raise chickens, who can afford 2 acres in Wayne?  And where can you find 2 acres in Wayne to buy?  When I was growing up Wayne had plenty of farms, now we have ONE.  When the developers starting paying off the politicians the farms disappeared as did the majority of trees.

Victor has worked hard on his fight, I’m sure the council people thought he would go away, but he didn’t.  And now the movement is growing.  At the final vote for the change, after a year and a half of discussions the council people decided they needed to discuss it some more.  If I hadn’t been there I never would have believed their behavior.  Accusations were flying and they were acting worse than 3rd graders, I was embarrassed for our town.  These are the people that represent us?  Even one member of the council that had helped to make the revisions voted it down!  How incredible is that?  Well that debacle will just make the movement stronger.

Here is the Podcast location for Victor, he brings up a lot of good information:   (Episode 883) Podcast Interview with Victor Alfieri on the Urban Homesteading Movement
With Jack from The Survival Podcast

Here is Victor’s website:

And here is Wayne’s proposed town ordinance that needs to go through:

The Planning Board will be recommending a change to the Township Council to permit chickens with the following standards:

For properties 10,000 square feet or greater but less than 2 acres. The keeping of no more than 4 chicken hens, provided that the following criteria are met:

(a) there shall be 2 square feet of coop area per chicken hen;
(b) coops shall be no closer than 10 feet to the rear property line;
(c) coops shall be no closer than 10 feet to the side property line;
(d) coops shall be located in a rear yard or a side yard; coops are not permitted in a front yard;
(e) there shall be provided a minimum 35 square feet of run area; Max 85 Sq. Ft.
(f) runs shall be located in a rear yard or a side yard; runs are not permitted in a front yard;
(g) roosters shall not be permitted;
(h) there shall be no breeding;
(i)  there shall be no slaughtering
(j) no selling of the eggs
(k) $25.00 yearly fee

An acre is 43,560 square feet.
10,000 square feet a little less
than a 1/4 acre.


Jason Charles giving a Preppers Bug out Bag presentation

Jason Charles giving a Preppers Bug out Bag presentation


We had our Preppers meeting (Northern NJ Preparationg group) yesterday.  Jason Charles gave an excellent Bug-Out-Bag discussion.  He brought in plenty of different types of bug out bags to show us, including the huge one he carried in on his back (the tan one in the right foreground of the above picture) and I believe he said it weighed in at 80 pounds!  I was impressed by that one as it was a big pack and had everything you could possibly think of needing, raft included.  He passed out a 10 page handout that included a listing of the essentials of a Bug Out Bag.  I was very impressed on how well Jason is prepared for different situations.   He pointed out that each member of the family should have their own Bug Out Bag including your children.

Jason also showed alternate ways to make a Bug Out Bag and gave out advice on how to make it easier to carry them on your back.  He feels that a 5 or 7 day Bug Out Bag is a much better way to be prepared rather than the tradition 72-hour Bug-Out-Bag that most push for.  Like he pointed out, Hurricane Katrina was a good example of how 72 hours wouldn’t have been enough and showed us all how important it is to be prepared.

Its also important to keep those Bug Out Bags close at hand, like next to the front door and don’t forget to have one in the car and don’t forget a good first aid kit.  And he pointed out the importance of keeping your own bag, don’t share with someone else… what would you do if you became separated?

It was a good meeting yesterday, lots of useful information, and Jason was fielded a lot of questions form the meetup group.  I am going to try to put up a copy of the video that I filmed of Jason’s presentation yesterday.  As soon as I end this post, I’m going to see what’s missing from our Bug Out Bags.


Prepper Bug Out Bag presentation by Jason Charles

Prepper Bug Out Bag presentation by Jason Charles




Have you started getting your garden ready for this year?

My husband has been getting the different garden sites ready around in the yard and also decided to expand one.  Last weekend I got the seeds started in the peat packs and some of the plants started popping up after only 2 days. Now I am hoping for the warm weather to finally stay so I can get them outside before the cat, dogs or myself knock any more of them over.  This year I’m including asparagus although from what I hear it takes about 3 years before you get a crop.  I am also going to cheat and get a few tomato plants from the local nearby farm, although I am starting some from seeds.

I’ve already planted some sunflower seeds outside… my biggest challenge every year because the squirrels or the groundhog seem to get to them before they are completely grown.  So this year I’m planting a lot more hoping we can all share.

I’ve added a lot of seeds to my seed vault this year and made sure I marked each envelope (I’m famous for not marking the seeds).

Its such a great feeling watching something grow from a seed that you planted.  Its an even nicer feeling when you get to put that food on your table.


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.

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