Saturday, December 24, 2011
A very special thanks goes out to all the contributers that have made this possible...
The Real Tabby
You have all helped bring this site back to an active status, and therefore, help spread the word about preparedness and self reliance.
Of course, this would all be for nothing without you, our faithful readers.
Also, not to be forgotten is Dwight from Briden Solutions, who has directed many people to this blog as well as the forum.
Last, but certainly not least is North Idaho Patriot. Without him, all this would not be possible.
So to all of you, authors, readers, and creators...
Merry Christmas, and all the best to you and your families.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I decided to give it a try for several reasons. The first was my ongoing struggle with allergies. I seem to be allergic to the strangest things and at times have a wallop of an attack. Life with allergies is no fun so over the years I have looked at nearly everything I come into contact with to see if there was some way I could mitigate the allergic response. The second reason is financial - we seemed to be constantly buying or running out of laundry soap. Even though the cheapest brands weren't always satisfactory they seemed to give me less of an allergic response than the big name brands perhaps because there was less scent. Homemade laundry soap has very little scent to it except clean. The third reason is storage which I will explain in a moment.
Making your own laundry soap might seem like something super-homesteading-large-family-enviromental-frugal people do. Well - perhaps - but it's so simple it doesn't matter what your reasons are - this stuff is fantastic and inexpensive and doesn't make me itch or sneeze (except when grating the soap!) and it super-simple-easy to make and it can be used in a HD washing machine because of the minimual amount of suds AND does a great job of cleaning your clothes!
Here's what to do:
In a large pot on the stove combine:
How does it save money???
Linda soap bar: $1.49 a bar
2kg. Borax: less than $5.00 (8.5 recipes)
3 kg. Washing soda: less than $5.00 for 13 recipes
But think about this... if you bought:
13 bars of soap $20.00
2 boxes Borax $10.00
1 box Washing soda $5.00
For a total of less than $35.00 you could make the recipe 13 times which would be enough for more than 3 years (39 months to be exact!)
That's less than $1.00 a month..
Can you see why I love this stuff! We've been using homemade laundry soap for 5 or 6 years and I wouldn't switch back for any reason. Frugal. Practical. Simple.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Communicating about our goals means I know where we're at with our finances, what I need to save for and buy, what's going on this week with the business or the kids and what needs to get done. I have a list - so now it's time to get off my uncomfortable brown couch and go out and paint another fence!
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Packing aside, a recent concern of mine is OPSEC. As economic issues in the world seem to be coming to a head, I wonder if the time is near when my preps will become a necessity instead of an eccentricity. I don't want to compromise my supplies by allowing them to become public knowledge.
I'm using a moving company this time around. This brings a new concern to the table. If they are hauling hampers full of canned goods and going into my storage room to lug boxes, what are the chances they are going to remember that room when there is no food to be found? Moving hundreds of pounds of canned foods is bound to make an impression!
However, I have an evil plan. Using my love for hiding things in plain sight, I'm going to box up my food stores and mark them in secret code. Shhh....I'll let you use my secret decoder ring!
BABY BOOKS: Canned vegetables, spaghetti sauce
BABY TOYS: Canned and dried fruits
BABY CLOTHES: Dried goods like pasta and dry cereal
CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS: Baking supplies and flour
HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS: Juices and drink mixes
You get the drift.
In fact, I liked this idea so much, I decided to incorporate it into OPSEC for the new house! Imagine you have a repairman poking around the basement to fix your furnace. Is he going to give a second glance to box after box of baby stuff and holiday decorations?
Besides my supply of food, I have enough water stored to last us for a month. For those of you doing the math, that is 110 gallons of water. Divide that into 2 litre bottles and you have...................190 two litre bottles and 6 five gallon jugs. LOTSA WATER!!!
Clearly, I'm not paying someone to lug all that water over there. I feel terrible about dumping it, but I'm going to empty my 2 liter bottles into the tub and throw them into a big garbage bag. Okay, a few big garbage bags. Once we get moved and everyone is gone, I will refill them again. I'm going to put them one deep at the back of the storage shelves and put boxes in front of them. It took so long to collect that many bottles, I don't want to start all over again despite the fact that I really love Diet Coke.
Other prepping items are less likely to draw attention. Camping supplies are simply camping supplies, candles will be in a box and so will extra batteries, etc. I'm not too concerned that somebody will covet my 27 bottles of shampoo or my 60 bars of Ivory soap.
Have you ever had to move your preps? What did you do to camouflage your supplies? Do you do anything to disguise your storage in your home?
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
As a single mama with two lovely teenage daughters, the last thing in the world I plan to do is take off on foot to destinations unknown with the rest of the golden horde. We plan to hunker down and hide out in plain sight.
We live in a city of around 100,000 people in Southern Ontario. While that is not ideal in terms of population, it's what we have to work with. So the question is, with weapons strictly monitored in Canada, how do you make your house the least inviting one on the block?
Take a moment to consider the humble "Quarantine" sign. How can a simple typed piece of paper strike fear into the heart of the most hardened and well-armed criminal? Just invoke the power of a deadly virus. Very few people could want what the house contains enough to enter a place that is restricted due to quarantine.
For all intents and purposes, my home could be host to H1N1, cholera, dysentery, measles, smallpox or even a biological contagion like Anthrax. I've included some photos that I found on the internet but feel free to do your own Google search.
I've printed off a number of different signs and have them filed neatly away in my office. It's important to use something that is realistic to the crisis at hand. If sanitation or flooding is an issue, water-borne illnesses like Cholera are realistic. During a pandemic, go with the disease at hand. During times of civil unrest a biological contaminant is far more likely, including radiation, small pox or anthrax.
What horrible diseases sound realistic to you? Do you have other strategies for making your home undesirable to criminals if the SHTF? Are there some diseases that you feel people would risk to access your home and possibly find provisions?
Remember, the fight that you avoid is the fight that you win.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Continue this conversation and ask your chicken questions by checking out the Canadian Preppers Network forum thread at
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
But as I puttered through my morning routine I was mulling over the information that this man had presented in his video. As much as I dearly love my American cousins and best friends, I do believe that Americans in general can be rather excitable. They get all up in arms and in a twist over things that Canadians tend to ignore. For instance, the pepper-spray incident to get at a good deal on Black Friday. I can't really see a Canadian shopper doing something along that line. It has been said that Canadians are like Vichyssoise...cold, half french and hard to stir.
This can be a good thing...or a bad thing. In this particular case, I'm going to say that our politeness and lack of excitability is going to prove a downfall. As many of us are aware, our illustrious government is more or less UP the *@! of the US government. What goes on in the south, does tend to spill over by way of convenient legislation into our backyards whether we like it or not.
Based on the definitions used in the current piece of legislation noted in the video, every farmer that's ever lost a finger to an auger is a potential threat. Every housewife with an impressive storage room - potential threat. Every hunter smart enough to weather protect his ammunition - potential threat. All of which could be arrested and detained without cause, trial or due process.
Take a few minutes (nine, to be exact), watch the video and then post your thoughts...I would dearly love to hear everyone's take on this little bit of news that is quietly avoiding the mainstream media.
Terrorist Preppers, Total Police State, All of America Declared a Battlefield
Thoughts would be appreciated!
Rational, Positive, Creative
Monday, November 28, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
If you may be interested, or know of someone who may be, please let me know using the email link below, and I can give you their contact details.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Preppers, survivalists, nut-jobs, call us what you will...there really is much to be said on the topic of knowledge, skills, tips and tricks and so forth. However, this all having been said, and having spent too many hours surfing around here and there looking for unique ideas on what to write about it all comes down to one thing. Can you DO it? This in turn brought me to the notion of "oh hell, I have no clue".
I was reading through an article this morning on cob ovens. Wow, I thought, what a cool idea! Then I glanced out the window at our rapidly settling (and world famous) Saskatchewan winter and thought - wow! That would really SUCK! I would really hate to try baking bread outdoors at -40.
Some of the cob ovens that I looked at were simply amazing works of art! Some were sculpted into fantastical creatures, others were simple bake ovens. This particular one caught my attention! Untold hours of tile setting went into this one. It's quite beautiful.
Items such as these would only really be applicable if your SHTF plans happen to include bugging out to a predetermined location with supplies and shelter waiting. To my mind, having the "location B" in place is simply logical. Having an oven such as this on-site would be a really good idea, for at least three seasons anyway.
Back to the original problem of winter. Winter survival is rather an issue in climates such as ours. Temperatures can hit -40 in the blink of an eye and the Girl Guides will still go door to door selling cookies. If one had to get by in a slightly more remote (or rural) location, then combining the notion of cooking as well as central heat may just be a REALLY good idea.
So, alternatives, anyone?
I surfed and dug and could NOT find anything that looked even remotely suitable. I found a few photos of cob-style ovens installed in houses, but for the most part they were small and yuppie-like devices.
Does anyone know where we could find a more practical option??
Ideally, the device would have a cooking grill or flat iron surface on which to use pots and other standard cooking items as well as the oven itself.
I found a number of large "outdoor kitchen" type of installations. Wildwood Ovens http://www.wildwoodovens.com has a nifty selection of kit-like ovens. But they appear to be more of an outdoor installation or a smaller novelty type of oven. I doubt they would really suffice for a heating/cooking option during the LONG winters around here.
I would be VERY interested to see if anyone out there: 1) actually reads some of my silly ramblings or 2) knows of, or knows who, uses a cob style of oven for heat AND cooking.
I think it would be a really good idea to add a little of this type of building to my skillz portfolio!
Rational, positive, creative - pizza is no exception!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
So what happens when SHTF and you run out of yeast? Well there is yeast in the air we breathe all around us as well as in the flour we use to bake bread. All you need to do is set out a bowl of food to capture and grow it. This is called sourdough. To make sourdough bread, you need a sourdough starter.
Here is what you will need...
A glass bowl to keep it in...clear glass with a lid will be best as you can use this to keep your starter in.
Yup, that’s it.
In your bowl, mix
· ½ cup flour
· ½ cup water
Combine the flour and water in the container until all the flour has been absorbed and there are no more dry particles. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and cover. Put the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature (like the top of the refrigerator) and let sit for 24 hours.
· ½ cup flour
· ½ cup water
Your starter should be fairly thick and soupy. You may see a few small bubbles here and there. This is good! The bubbles mean that wild yeast from the air and the flour itself have started making themselves at home in your starter. They will eat the sugars in the the flour and release carbon dioxide (the bubbles) and alcohol. They will also increase the acidity of the mixture, preventing other "bad" microbes from growing.
Add the fresh water and flour. Stir vigorously to combine everything and incorporate more oxygen into the mixture. Scrape down the sides, cover, and let it sit for 24 hours.
· ½ cup flour
· ½ cup water
By day three, your starter should be getting nice and bubbly (see below), be the consistency of pancake batter, and have roughly doubled in size. If you taste a little (Go on! Try it!), the mixture should make your mouth pucker with sour and vinegar flavors. It will also smell musty and fermented, a bit like grain alcohol.
Go ahead and mix in the fresh ingredients as with Day 2, cover, and let sit for 24-hours.
Repeat day 3.
By day 5 (or even day 4) your starter will be ripe and ready to use. The surface will look frothy and fermented (see below), and if you've been using a clear container, you can see an intricate network of bubbles when you hold it up. It will smell and taste very pungent and tangy like, well, concentrated sourdough!
At this point, your sourdough is ready to be used, or you can cover and store it in the fridge for up to one week. After a week, you'll need to refresh the starter by taking out a cup or so of starter (to use or discard) and then "feeding" it with 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of filtered water. Likewise, after using some of your starter in a recipe, you can replenish what's left with equal parts flour and water.
Starter will keep indefinitely as long as you feed it every week or so. Treat it like a household plant that needs to be watered and fertilized regularly. It's very hardy and will even perk back up with a few daily feedings if you've neglected it too long. If a clear liquid forms on the top, just stir it in (this is actually alcohol from the wild yeast). The only time you should throw away the starter completely is if that liquid has a pinkish hue, which indicates that the starter has spoiled.
To use your starter, simply replace ½ cup flour and ½ cup water in your favorite recipe for 1 cup of starter and forget about the yeast. Then, replace the used starter with ½ cup four and ½ cup water to keep it up.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Self-discipline is remembering what you really want. That was the mindset that got us from the city to the country - we had a goal in mind and we kept working towards it - little by little every day. We have been preppers for 8 or 9 years now - slowly coming to the conclusion that life as we knew it was perhaps not even the life we wanted. It sure didn't have much in the way of security. If the power went out I figured we had about 6 hours in the winter and we'd be forced to leave our home. Never mind the lack of lights and the freezer defrosting. We came up with ways to avoid most of those issues temporarily but the longing remained to have a place to call our own where we could live more self sufficiently. It was many small decisions and steps that got us from that place to this place and there's many steps to go before this place is all that we dream it can be.
I live with my family on a small farm surrounded by conservation lands. We raise chickens, ducks for meat and eggs and sheep. We also have a donkey, 6 barn cats and a spoiled city dog.
Life here is an amazing adventure of FINALLYS. We finally had room for a huge garden - that had lots of weeds in it this summer but actually produced quite well. We could finally have more animals than the 6 urban chickens of our city life. We could finally sit in our "backyard" and hear - silence... We could finally run out of the house in our pjs to feed the cats or get the mail! Well - it doesn't take much to make me happy!
I hope to share some of my adventures with you in the coming weeks. From food storage and canning to backyard chickens and beyond. I'm not an expert - just someone who loves to learn and happily lives on a farm.