Monthly Archives: March 2012

Don’t Forget (2)

It occurred to me that we haven’t talked about purchasing reflective vests. These should be in your go-kits. All your go-kits, car, work, and home. Depending on the circumstances, you might not need a reflective vest; however, if you do… you REALLY need it. I can’t stress this enough. If you are forced to abandon your car at night to walk to safety on a road with no shoulder, you need to be visible. If you are hiking to safety in the woods during hunting season, better hope you have a brightly colored vest. If you are simply changing a tire on the side of a road at night, you need to be visible. And equally important is the visibility of your children or grandchildren. Keep in mind that they are even smaller and easier to miss. I am constantly amazed at people who wear dark clothing and walk along the edge of the roads at night. I scares the you know what out of me to think that I could hit one of them with my truck. Perhaps they are clueless as to the danger they are in or maybe they are in a difficult situation and at the time had no choice. But if you are prepared, that doesn’t have to be you.

You can find these for as little as $5.99 or as much as $100.00 (crazy expensive cycling version). Keep in mind that while anything is better than nothing, there is a certification available for reflective vests. There is a European standard known as  EN471. There is also an American version know as ANSI207 (American National Standards Institute).  There are differences in the two. If the issue of certification interests you, I highly recommend you read the information at the following link:

http://www.brandvis.com/customized-workwear/hi-vis-certification/

(Caveat: There is a disclaimer on the page that says this is for certification information and not intended for professional advice. And I wouldn’t detract from that, but just for informational purposes, I found this site to contain the most useful information in one place.)

Bottom line? The reflective vest is an invaluable safety item that should be considered a must for your go-kits. DO NOT overlook purchasing vests for each child in the household in an appropriate size for their little bodies.

These are great stocking stuffers or Easter basket treats for you tiny preparedness advocates. They will be as excited if you are, so make it a treat for them and then teach them why they are important. They are no different from seatbelts. Wearing these will keep them safe.

Go forth and prepare! 🙂


Prepardness Periodicals (And a Contest to Boot!)

I have a new periodical friend. Her name is Mother Earth News. She has a brother named Grit. He’s pretty cool too. I’ve just spent a cozy hour communing with both of my new friends. And may I say, I believe this is one of those relationships where I’m going to receive more than I give. (smile…I don’t find many of those!)

I do have to say that so far I prefer Mother Earth News, but Grit is still good too. If I could only subscribe to one, right now it would be her. (I think they inherently seem female and male by their names, don’t you?) But quite honestly as soon as my budget allows, I’ll be subscribing to both. Payday is Friday and other than the usual bills and the not so popular dental bill that has been following me for a few weeks, I’m going to subscribe to Mother Earth News this go round. I’ll be considering the Grit subscription thereafter.

The byline for Mother Earth is “The Original Guide to Living Wisely”. Here are some of the topics covered in my issue that I found interesting for our purposes.

  • Learn to Be Self-Sufficient: Advice From Homesteading Experts. They interviewed 9 homesteaders who have authored books about their lifestyles.
  • Small Space Gardening – This discussed how to get started with limited space and no land…i.e. container gardening.
  • Create Easy. Low-Cost Raised Garden Beds – The idea submitted by a reader was to use cinderblocks to build the raised bed area.
  • In addition their website has lots of web-exclusive articles and content that is great too. (I loved the one about growing potatoes in a barrel!)
  • I should also mention they have an app version for your I-gadgets or smart phone if you are a subscriber.

Mother Earth discusses things like off-grid living, gardening/farming, DIY solar solutions, etc.

Grit’s byline reads: Celebrating Rural America Since 1882. My favorite articles from this issue covered:

  • Ten Easy Crops Anyone Can Grow – One listed was garlic, which tickles me because that’s one of those ingredients that I always feel is overpriced!
  • A Bounty to Buzz About: The Art of Attracting Nature’s Pollinators to Your Garden – This article is all about utilizing pollination to ensure a bountiful harvest. It outlines what plants will attract the right bees to increase your crop.
  • Plant a Few Herbs: Turn Your Patio Into a Container Herb Garden and Harvest the Delicious Results. – This article simply pointed out the best herbs to start a container garden, but it included suggested uses for each herb which would be helpful when choosing.

I was able to find a description on their website regarding the goals/objectives of Grit.

  • GRIT offers practical advice, product reviews, livestock guides, gardening,  cooking and other do-it-yourself information, humor and the inspirational  stories of folks who moved to the country and love it. Each issue covers topics  related to country living, land management, wildlife, gardening, livestock or  pets, skills and techniques, seasonal food, community, machinery or tools, and  lifestyle events.

Mother Earth comes out every other month, for a total of 6 issues/year. You can get a  year for $12.95 or two years for $22.95. Grit releases at the same rate for the same one year subscription price. (No two-year price was listed.) I did quite a bit of digging to read reviews other than mine regarding the magazines. The most popular complaint that I found was that there was far too much advertising. And to be honest, yes, there is quite a bit. However, the magazine (with a subscription) costs $1.91. Give it another two years and you won’t be able to mail a letter for that. I personally enjoyed much of the advertising because it is a place to see ads for this kind of lifestyle without having to embark randomly through an interweb search.

I truly want to be a sponge and sit and read the THOUSANDS of books on self-sustained living, emergency preparedness, survival skills, etc. And when I can, I do, but those moments sure are few and far between. I work full-time and mother/wife full-time. Not much time left (hence my sporadic blogs lately…sorry guys!). But my point is that the magazines contain short concise articles that not only inspire me, but guide me to accomplishing my goals. The fact that they are articles and not entire books helps me get a big return on a small investment, time-wise and money-wise.

So go check out the websites (www.motherearthnews.com or www.grit.com) or pick up a copy and given them a try. I’d like to see if they inspire you on your journey as well. And how about this, to get you on the road to your journey, let’s have a contest. Everybody likes to win free stuff right? Post a comment in response to this and tell me your preparedness story. You can write about one or some of the following:

  • How did your preparedness interest start?
  • What inspires and motivates you to prepare?
  • What are your ultimate preparedness dreams?
  • What obstacles stand between you and your preparedness dreams?

I will give everyone two weeks for submissions. Have your entries in by midnight on  April 9th. The winner will receive a one-year subscription to either Mother Earth Magazine or Grit. Their choice. I’ll announce the winner in a future blog to be posted no later than April 16th. Good luck!


Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

If you haven’t had the pleasure (or displeasure, depending on your perspective :-)) of sitting through one of my presentations, then you haven’t yet heard me talk at length about getting in touch with your loved ones following a crisis. (See previous post The Silence will be Deafening for information regarding general communications planning).

In my previous post I mention designating an out-of-state relative or friend to contact via land line because we learned in 9/11 that using a landline to call out-of-state during a crisis is far more effective than calling in-state or using cell phones. But what if you don’t have an out-of-state relative or friend with whom you can trust such a responsibility? Are there any other ways to let the world know you have survived and are ok? We learned from Hurricane Katrina that this is one of the most important aspects of post incident response as far as families and loved ones are concerned. Quite honestly its a burden on emergency services to families pushing and pulling every which way to ascertain the status of their loved ones. But at the same time, I as a mother, wife, and daughter can understand the urgent need to find your family. So…what else can be done? Below are some websites with details on how they can help.

  • American Red Cross Registry – www.safeandwell.org – This website allows friends and family to search the list of those who have registered themselves as “safe and well”. The results will display first name, last name and a brief message.
  • Next of Kin Registry – www.nokr.org – NOKR was established as a free emergency contact system. They operate in the United States plus 87 other countries. They are a non-profit organization dedicated to bridging rapid emergency contact information. ***My favorite part of using this system is the free decal they will mail you if you send a self-addressed stamped envelope. It’s intended to be placed on your driver’s license and functions sort of like your organ donor’s symbol (and by the way, if you aren’t an organ donor, shame on you. What do you need those for after your time is over? Unless you have religious objections…sign up!) But anyway, the idea is that the decal would alter emergency services that you are signed up in the system. They can then use that information to announce to your loved ones that you have been found and/or reach out to your loved ones once you are found.***

definitely take some time to check out the sites and make an informed decision as to which one is right for you and yours. The next step is to actually register and then educate your friends and family regarding which system you have chosen and how they can utilize it if they are ever looking for you following a crisis.

Parting thought…don’t think that Facebook or any other form of social media is going to handle this for you. (Although Facebook is testing emergency communications alerts through their site, but it’s still in the testing phase) Those sites will be bombarded with all types of messages from the “save me” to the “what’s up” during an event. I really recommend something such as these instead. They are designed for just this use and until social media catches up, these are you best bets.


Doomsday Bill

 Did you hear the buzz about the Wyoming “Doomsday Bill”? Seems that the governing folks in Wyoming created House Bill 85. It would have essentially created a government task force whose purpose would be to investigate how the state would be effected by a variety of crisis situations. The law even mentioned things such as looking into alternate currency should we lose the dollar. The bill was sponsored by Republican state Rep. David Miller, and as you can see by my use of the past tense, it didn’t pass.

I think the thing to notice here is that things have progressed to the point where even our state governments are acknowledging by their actions, things are not going well. And more importantly, the Federal Government is not necessarily going to have the ability to come in and provide some sweeping rescue operation to save states from a widespread event. And even further, the states don’t necessarily have a plan to come rescue you either.

I just think that if you look around at the mental climate regarding preparedness, things are changing. The tide is turning. We, preppers, have started to achieve enough notoriety to be mentioned in proposed state legislation and have our own reality show. Yes, I know the shore at Jersey has one too! :-). Maybe achieving a reality show is as easy as falling off a log, but you get my point. This is a clue. If you still have friends or loved ones who are hold outs, it’s not just you against them anymore. Its us! There are lots of us. We are multiplying like rabbits, and thank God for it. As this type of thinking becomes more mainstream, those of us who have been unable to convince “our people” to join us should be able to leverage the recent surge in popularity to continue to motivate folks.

Yes, there will still be those who ridicule and judge, but in what instance in life isn’t there? Things may not have panned out for the Wyoming Doomsday Bill, but don’t let that stop you from taking heart. Folks are noticing. They are noticing the same things we notice. Our once stable country is playing with fire when it comes to spending and it has been for a long, long time. Regardless of whose right about the future of our nation, there’s still mother nature to consider. She’s been stretching the limits of what we expect from her as well. I say, keep your chin up and continue to plan to reach your preparedness goals.