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 ( or 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!

5 responses to “Prepardness Periodicals (And a Contest to Boot!)

  • Joseph Travers

    Well, I am glad you found them. I have been living with Mother Earth News for uh, forty years! At about the same time I found the Foxfire series of book on independent living. Thanks for the opportunity to participate.

  • David

    For me, preparedness started two generations before I was born. My grandparents (both sets), having lived through the Great Depression, were all about canning, and quickly sucked my mom and aunt in. I remember summer mornings with my mom and grandparents canning green beans and other stuff. My dad, since he was a young boy, hunted with his side of the family, as did I with him when I was younger. I began shooting when I was seven, and became an Eagle Scout a decade later (“Be Prepared” sound familiar?). To this day, my dad’s freezers (my mom has since passed) are full of deer, wild boar, and elk meat.

    Preparedness hit home for me on October 17, 1989, at 5:04pm. At that day and time, a huge magnitude 7.1 earthquake (Loma Prieta) rocked the Bay Area (where I lived at the time), collapsing highways, and crushing lives. After this event, I vowed that I would make sure to have food, water and camping gear in case of a similar emergency (my first awkward steps toward preparedness). Roughly sixteen years later, my wife and I watched in utter amazement as folks living below sea level watched a class five hurricane come their way, and did absolutely nothing to prepare for it, and paid with their lives. Not even a case of Costco water?!?!? That disaster (both the natural part and the multiple layers of failed government) made a clear impression – in the event of a major event, we are CLEARLY on our own. Few messages are clearer.

    A few years later, I worked at a part of DHS that supported domestic nuclear detection. We designed systems that attempted to detect nuclear weapons and materials that were being brought into this country. Want to know something scary? You can file a totally legal flight plan into NYC, fly your nice business jet (with your fireworks of choice in the back) into town, abort the landing, and be over Manhattan untouched in well under one minute. DHS, CBP, and all the rest never get a chance to scan, search, etc. BOOM. If something like that doesn’t scare the pants off of you, I don’t know what will. So that kicked my interest into overdrive, along with the gained experience in things that glow in the dark. Throw in some CBRNE classes, and my engineering side was hooked.

    What does this all mean? I believe I have a responsibility to take care of my own business and that of my family, and to not be a burden on first responders (as much as I have control over that).To be self-reliant as much as possible; to not be another moocher seeking a handout. As a man, I have a Biblical duty to provide for and defend my family, and while I hope I never have to demonstrate it, if you’re stupid enough to threaten my family, I will make sure that is the LAST mistake you EVER make, and will defend them tooth and nail to the very end. I may seem very mild manned, but God help you if I’m backed into a corner and the only thing between you and my family.

    I don’t do this because its a fad, I’m a “gun nut” (although I do like them a lot), I think I’m some action hero, or I think anybody can predict God’s plan for the End. I do this because there is nothing more precious to me on this Earth than my family, and I will do everything in my power to protect them and guide them, and make sure they get the opportunity to grow old peacefully. That is my #1 job in life, and the only one that counts.

    When the San Jose Sharks hockey team started up, Arturs Irbe (a fan favorite goalie) once said during the playoffs “I must be like wall”. So if and when the SHTF, like Arturs, I must be “like wall”, because I’ll be the only thing standing between my family, and a whole lotta hurt.

  • keepbuilder

    Come on folks! David poured his soul into that response! Don’t let him win by default. At least give him a run for his money… money actually! Winner gets a years subscription to either Mother Earth News or Grit magazine.

  • Joseph Travers

    Okay, since I grew up on an Island in the Chesapeake Bay with parents and Grandparents and it sounds like up bringing, or stories are very similar. And since he was the quickest on the pen, mine would only sound like a copy. This makes my job a bit tougher and I am working on it but thanks for the encouragement.

  • JoeCOOP

    Being born and raised on an island in the Chesapeake Bay, I saw my share of hazards, risks, and seasonal storms. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. And, due to its remoteness (a forty minute car ride through marsh and swamp land to the county seat and hospital) self-reliance was a way of life. This is a place that makes its sister parish, Cameron, in Louisiana proud. With the island being six feet above sea-level at its highest point, flooding was always a problem. Wells contaminated by raw sewage, dirt and trash and every kind of animal both dead and alive swimming around your house when the storm surge came in and out. As a boy I remember standing critter watch with a 22 rifle to keep things off and out of the house and attending the coffin roundup after they popped out of their culvert graves with the flood water.

    My dad was president and Chief of the local volunteer fire department and I vividly remember my mother putting (pitching really) me and my younger brother and sisters out of the bedroom window, basinet and all into the snow when our house caught fire. Another critter in the attic chewing on the electrical wires was to blame. On the island everyone, ready or not became your family when the Nor’easter of fate started to blow.

    Prepping was in your blood. Every season had its share of threats and risks to be ready for and everyone in the family, no matter your age was involved in some element of preparedness. Whether picking wild asparagus, blackberries, figs, dandelion or sassafras roots. Or the butchering of a pig or steer twice a year always involved the entire family. And the bounty that awaited just by hunting. Turtles, fish, crabs and oysters, goose, duck and deer were all part of the prepper’s menu. And all these gatherings followed with the canning, smoking and bottling that came with it and all helped prepare for the coming seasons.

    But you cannot prepare for any of this without energy. We did have electricity but there were also Kerosene lamps (for when there was no electricity which happened a lot) and the bane of my childhood, fire wood. I spent most of my young life (up until sixteen) working on the end of a cross cut saw or axe, which are still in my basement. We heated with it in the winter and cooked with it. The outdoor summer kitchen was the only way to survive in the house with no air conditioning once the weather temperate set above 50 degrees. Like your water supply, never under estimate the amount of wood you will need to have to get you through your cooking and heating needs.

    All of this family prepping served me as I enlisted in the US Navy. The most important things you learn about living onboard a ship (or any vessel) is preparing to survive its sinking. Water is the most necessary item we need as a human and its destructive power is most often underestimated. It’s a blessing and a bane. Ships vanish when they flood and if you cannot stop it and pump it out, you sink and a different set of skills will be needed, surviving at sea. The next bad thing to happen onboard a ship is fire. If you cannot control and extinguish it, it will eventually cause the ship to sink and it’s to the water or raft and surviving at sea again. It is amazing how many vessels (small boats to large ships) leave port each year and vanish without a trace and without the great work of our US Coast Guard many more seaman, local fisherman and weekend boaters would be dead. The Coast Guard just sunk a large Japanese fishing vessel that was washed up and out to sea during the earthquake and tsunami. It drifted for over a year unseen, all the way across the Pacific to the coast of Alaska where it was found. What if someone had been onboard?

    It was during my time in the Navy, that I found and read the Fox Fire series of books. There in print were many of the skills I learned as a kid. I also discovered the Mother Earth News. My first issue arrived in the mail in June of 1976 and in its pages were more interesting and useful articles and items for simple living which is the basis of the Prepper’s life. By the time I started to become involved with IT Disaster Recovery and Data Center restoration for IBM, many of the same simple principles for being prepared applied. Understand your needs, keep the systems and processes as simple as possible, create a plan, and pre-deploy the equipment and supplies you need for its recovery and most important, test it.

    As business processes became more depend on technology, we learned to build very good data center recovery plans. However, we sacrificed the most important element, our customer. Throughout the 1990’s Business Continuity and the customer became more intertwined and technology moved from the driving force in continuity to the critical supporting elements. With the Y2K scenario, the new business continuity prepper’s were born. Our planning efforts now focused on what was critical to keeping our company from sinking and its survival if we found ourselves in the water or life raft. In the face of all the new threats and risks that developed in the 90’s (terrorism on our own fields becoming a real threat) nothing I experienced living on the island, working with the volunteer fire company and serving in the Navy really prepare me for my next step in the business continuity profession.

    On September 11th, 2001, I was working for Deutsche Bank. I travelled between Baltimore and New York weekly providing continuity and network services and found myself staring into the mouth of the dragon like many others. Deutsche Bank owned a forty-two story building right next to the South Tower of the World Trade Center. As that tragic event unfolded, the collapse of the South Tower severely damaged our building. Our crisis management team struggled to communicate and understand what was happening and get control of its business. There were six thousand employees in just that one building which were in route to work that day, where were they, how were they, became the question. Our largest trading floor to the New York Stock Exchange was destroyed; hundreds of investors impacted and our major company Telecom’s center for national and international trading and communications was out of action. All my prepper experiences and Navy skills did not prepare me for the pressures of that week and recovery our business services.

    It was in the turmoil of those following days and weeks that I discovered what my profession was going to be and Business Continuity and personal preparedness has become my life. From my days of speaking to churches, community groups and small businesses about the nature and effects of Y2K, I now look to speak to these same groups about business continuity and preparing for the risks and threats to them. As my family taught me the skills of self-reliance living on the island, I now teach my family and friends about personal preparedness and how to survive if they find themselves in the life raft.

    While I allowed my subscription to Mother Earth to lapse a decade ago and only now see it occasionally at my brother-in-law’s, I still remember its messages fondly, “Be prepared to help yourself, your family, and your friends.” And whether I win this contest or not, the network of like-minded folks and the friendships established through this blog will be of greater value in the days that lay ahead than the printed words; we are all members of the Continuity preparedness family.

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