Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Aquiring Skills

So, do you wonder if you will be able to do for yourself after disaster strikes?  Wondering how to aquire the skills you would need to fix a broken window after a storm?  How about patching the roof after a tornado?  Maybe an earthquake broke some plumbing in the basement.  Not very handy?  Need to learn?

Search the internet for how to sites.  Forget DIY TV or HGTV, these stations are more designer hype than actual how to.  If you are wondering how to home ulpolster a headboard then go for it. There are plenty of sites that offer real how-to and advice such as

Then there are the TV show based sites like

These are just a few examples, the list goes on and on.

The best way to gain skills is to get hands on experience.  The next time a buddy asks for help to recover his roof, dig out a foundation, or other project, jump right in.  Not only will you connect with your friends, but likely meet other experienced DIYers that will be overflowing with information and tips.  Also, you can network a pool of buddies of your own to help out with your next project.

Another great resource is your local home center.  Not only are the staff usually knowledgeable about a multitude of topics, but from time to time, they will offer workshops that will give you hands on time with the project.  These workshops are often free as the retailer counts on you buying the materials from him to give it a go at your own house.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Matter of Degree

Another African nation is in the news lately. Somalia is enduring what has been called the worst famine in a generation, and millions are at risk. Drought is the primary cause, although there are contributing factors. There is little likelihood that sufficient aid will reach those in need quickly enough and in sufficient quantity to save many.

What relevance is this to us in affluent North America, you may ask. After all, what do we have in common with a war torn impoverished country in perpetually crisis ridden Africa? As it turns out, we have plenty. We just aren’t seeing the extremes….yet.

First up is climate change. I really don’t care if you think it is anthropogenic or a natural turn of earth’s climate. Perhaps it is both. The undeniable fact is that unless you are deliberately obtuse, we are facing changes in climate. A quick example is the fact that previously, you might see two or three +20C nights on the prairies, now there are roughly 20 per year, which means there is that much more energy for violent thunderstorms and other extreme weather events.

We have seen two very difficult, wet spring planting seasons on the prairies, and now we are gripped in a heat wave. Much of the southern USA is in a long and extreme drought. While we haven’t seen extreme crop failures as yet, growing conditions are changing, which bring new challenges to farmers.

Somalis are without significant government aid on any level. Here in North America, we have seen the inadequacy of resources available to deal with Katrina, and elsewhere with New Zealand and Japan. Compounding that, we are seeing governments at many levels trimming services to balance budgets which may leave what services there are stretched too thin too be of any real use.

So far, we don’t have the civil wars that plague Somalia. That could change if and when conditions worsen, either here or in the US. There is already a de facto movement to create a group of US states that would be a ‘redoubt’ against hard times, and a half serious idea has been floated to have counties of California secede and create a new state (one that incidentally would vote overwhelmingly Republican, but I digress). I doubt any American government will allow the first, and the second civil war would be on. Note also that warfare doesn’t need to involve governments. The escalation of gang warfare in many large cities can be as dangerous as any regular war.

Inflation is a problem in Somalia. Food prices have risen 270 percent in a short time. Worldwide, food prices have already been on the rise, and if we have a financial event of the right magnitude, it might well spark an inflationary spiral in the more developed nations.

Not that I’m saying that we have the trials that the Somalis are facing, far from it. I just want to point out that what they have in the extreme, we already possess the seeds of in some small way, and while things are pretty dang good over all, things can go from good to bad in a short period of time.

Take a minute to be thankful we live in a rich country that provides us the opportunity to put back supplies and equipment for hard times. Then get busy doing it.

We aren’t immune.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cable Show Needs Canadian Preppers

People who are preparing to survive The End Of The World As We Know It(TEOTWAWKI).


* Are You Or Someone You Know, A Prepper?
* Are You Stocking Food And Water?
* Are You Developing Innovative Ways To Live More Sustainably, Off Grid, or Assessing Ways To Become More Self-Sufficient?
* Do You Have An Escape Route, Bunker, Or Hidden Shelter?
* Are You Preparing To Survive An Imminent "Doomsday"?

If you believe in 2012 predictions, nuclear holocaust, economic collapse, or any other "End Of The World As We Know It" Scenario, If you are a committed Prepper and want to educate others about the necessity to prepare, then you could star in this series!


* “PREPPER” Must Reside Within The United States, U.S Territories, Or Canada
* Ages 18+
* Looking For People Who Have Prepared To Survive Months Or Even Years!
* Specifically Looking For Truly Dedicated Prepeprs Who Have Made Prepping A Lifestyle.
* Serious Preppers Only. Do Not Submit If you Have Only Stocked Enough To Withstand A Bad Storm.

If Interested, Please Send A Description Of How You Are Preparing, What You Are Preparing For And Why To If Available, Please Also Include Any Photos, Articles, Or Videos That Will Help Us Asses The Extent Of Your Preparations. All Submissions Will Be Kept For Internal Use Only.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Six Tips To Save Enough Money To Buy Your House For CASH!!!

Last night on my first podcast, I outlined all the tricks I used to save money enough to buy my house for cash.  Here is a recap, and it works!  All you need is some self control and a bit of determination.

1 - Pay off credit card debt - all of it, as fast as you can.  Saving money is just too hard to do if you are making monthly interest payments on credit cards.  Feel free to use the cards, many of them offer a rewards program to get free gift cards or groceries.  Just be sure not to overspend and pay the bill in full each month.

2 - Trade in the new car for a reliable used vehicle.  I found 2 cars for under $1000.00 for both.  If you have 2 cars and pay $250.00 per month each, that's $500.00 a month in your pocket.

3 - Budget your expenses, save everywhere you can.  Keep utility bills low, buy groceries, clothing etc. ON SALE ONLY and use coupons to boot!  Take an allowance from your weekly paycheck and spend only that.  Brown bag your lunch instead of eating out....saves easily $50.00 a week.

4 - Get a second income, if your spouse can't find work, consider selling crafts or babysitting neighborhood kids. Grow a garden if you can...even a container garden on a city balcony can help save on groceries.

5 - Look for a distressed property...abandoned, fix-it-upper, desperate seller.  Learn to renovate or build on by yourself or with the help of friends.  Contracting work out can cost you 3 times what you could spend doing it yourself.

6 - Squirrel your money OUT OF THE BANKS.  Let's face it, banks have been known to suddenly close without warning, tying up your cash until the lawers et al get it all sorted out...if they ever do!

Believe it or not $25,000.00 is all you need to start looking for a home.  I personally saved about $2000.00 a month by following these tricks and in under a year, was handing over a down payment on my house....CASH!  There is no better feeling than knowing you will never write another rent cheque or make another mortgage payment.  This way your home really is YOUR home.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sharing My Personal Experiences On A Podcast

Starting this Sunday night, I will be hosting a weekly podcast with the folks over at Prepper Podcast Radio B
Network.  Show time is 9PM central.  The show is done live and there is a call in number you can use to talk with me live.  I will be sharing my prepping experiences and highlighting prepping from a Canadian point of view.  You can keep up with the show on my podcast blog at  The show is called Movin' On Out and is the story of my move from the city to a rural home in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec.  Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Economy Of Prepping

So why is it that so many prepper sites preach about saving money?  Well it's simple...prepping can get expensive.  Let's say a weeks worth of food would cost you $200.00 for your family.  Multiply that by the number of weeks you want to be prepped for and you will soon get the picture.  Add to that all the equipment you want to stockpile like candles, flashlights, radios, batteries...WOW, that can really add up quick.  This is why being a prepper turns into a lifelong chore.  Slowly gathering more & more supplies, using up food items and replacing them to ensure rotation, getting that next gadget or hand tool just in case.  Simply put a prepper has no choice put to watch & wait for sales, clip coupons and shop garage & estate sales.  The best course of action is to get something every week.  One of the biggest hindrances to prepping would be carrying a debt.  Pay off your credit cards, mortgage, loans, and anything else that cost you regular interest payments.  This will allow more cash flow for prepping.  As a matter of fact, had I not eliminated all my credit card debt, I doubt I would even have begun to stockpile basic food.  So stop being afraid of appearing're just an economist who knows how to get the most bang for the buck!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Time To Get Back Into The Swing Of Things

Well, I would love to tell you all that the last few weeks were restful for me, but there is nothing restful about moving your family 100 km into the mountains.  Although we are settled enough to make life fairly normal, there is still plenty of unpacking to do.  Above that, the outdoors needs quite a bit of attention.  The property we bought ad not been maintained for about 6 years and is quite overgrown.  Despite all of this, prepping has not come to a halt.  We continue to seek out sales on food items, even though we have run out of space to keep it all.  I guess the pantry will have to be expanded sooner than later!  Some of you may be like me and dream of a little house in the country.  Let me tell you, it's a lot of work.  We made the offer on the house on July of 2010 and only now has it been made liveable.  A few things have had to be out on hold for now such as the garden and clearing some of the overgrowth to reclaim some of the lost lawn space for the kids to play.  But in the end, it will all be worth it.  Instead of waking to busses, sirens and traffic noise, birds chirp in the morning light.  We spend Saturday afternoons swimming in the lake instead of roasting on the concrete by the public pool.  The benefits of the move far outweigh the trouble of making it happen.  If you have a dream, keep it in your heart and find a way to make it happen.  Don't take your eyes off the prize.  Now that we are here, I already feel more confident about facing the what if.  We have our own water supply, Food is piling up at an impressive rate, and we look forward to growing much of our own.  Some of the projects we are planning include wind power for the out buildings, gardening, solar oven building & cooking, food dehydration and much more.  So has life become easier?  Well, no.  There is the garden to get dug for next season, wood to start collecting for the coming winter, and the list goes on.  But with all these chores comes the satisfaction that we are one step closer to our goals of being as ready as we can be for the future.  So now the posts can start up again, and I hope to have so much more to share with you all.  It's great to be back into the swing of things.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Storm Clouds

There is an ugly feeling in the air, at least in financial circles. There is growing, if anecdotal evidence that we might be headed for some unsettling times. If so, there are things you need to be doing, but first let’s look at what’s going on in the world that has brought us (or at least me) to this gloomy prognostication.

First, there is the ongoing situation in Europe. Greece and its financial woes are hardly, if at all resolved, and several other of the weaker economies in the EU are desperately trying to avoid Greece’s situation. Should Greece or one of the other countries default, it will send major ripples through the world’s financial structure.

On this side of the pond, the USA is currently struggling to resolve its debt cieling and deficit problems, and as of this writing, have only three weeks to do so. If an agreement between the parties is not reached, the US will be in default of its debt by early August, and the shockwaves that will occur in the markets don’t bear thinking about.

Even if that is resolved (and political games of chicken aside, it likely will be), the US economy is still faltering, and the world’s largest economic engine is at risk of stalling out, with consequences for almost everyone else in the world. The underlying causes of the 2008 crisis still exist. All that was done in the last few years was just treating symptoms, not curing the disease.

If you’re wondering where that leaves you, Joe or Jill Average, the answer is: Not in a good place. You might see goods scarcities, price inflation and possibly hyperinflation, large interest rate rises, more unemployment. I don’t think the possibility of another major depression is at all out of the question, with all the consequences that involves.

It is time to batten down the hatches and prepare to ride out the storm, economically speaking. If you have major debt, get rid of it. If you have a mortgage, even though the short term rates are really good, I’d think about locking in for up to five years to protect yourself. Consider looking at whatever investments you have and how you may be able to shift those to safer areas.

Look at you’re spending as well. Do you really need the bigger car, the 200 channel satellite package, or to eat out as much as you do? Cut your living expenses to the bone and start setting money aside. You need to have a reserve fund of at least three months expenses, but six would be far better.

And for me, here’s some extreme advice: I’ve never been big on buying physical gold and silver (can’t eat it or wear it), but I’d take at least 10% of the money you save and invest in some precious metals. Silver is (relatively) cheap compared to gold.

If there is overtime available, take it, it won’t last. If you can get a second job, think about doing it, at least for long enough to get better set financially.

I am not usually a doom and gloom guy. In fact, prepping makes me relaxed and happy. But right now I’m very pessimistic about the overall economic picture, and I am taking steps I never would have considered to ensure my economic preparedness in case of an ‘event’.

You might want to do so as well.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Girl Power

Survivalism and preparedness needs to get in touch with its feminine side. The vast majority of writing and other media on preparedness is almost always male oriented. Certainly, there are lots of female preppers out there, but they seem to have little voice. I am of course excepting our own Sue, who writes from a unique viewpoint, and has and is making a valuable contribution to this forum.

Unfortunately, she is in the minority. Where there are women‘s voices in the prepping world, they tend to fall into one of two broad categories: Either they tend to emulate the viewpoint and attitudes of their male colleagues, or they restrict themselves to traditional areas of female endeavour. The first might be from a desire to please a largely male readership, or it may be an attempt to fit in. The latter seems to largely grow out of the high proportion of conservative Christians in the prepping movement.

Not that there is anything wrong with writing from those viewpoints, except that it doesn’t really serve the needs of a large portion of women involved in preparedness. We need to see more women writing for women in this field. Then maybe we’ll hear fewer tales of hard to convince spouses, especially if prepping stops looking like another boys club.

So what areas are being missed? Here are just a few things I’ve noticed little or no attention being paid to over the years.

Load bearing Equipment - As some of you guys might have noticed, females are proportioned in delightfully different ways, which means for the most efficiency, safety, and weight capacity, packs designed specifically for women.

Weapons - Everything from knives and bows to assault rifles. The weapons themselves are not only not sized to a woman’s smaller frame and lesser physical strength, the available training rarely takes into account either the physicality or psychology of women.

Fitness and Health - Lots of emphasis on fitness in prepping, little of it directed at helping women. This is an especially important subject, given that women can be at a disadvantage in the strength department. The thing is, they don’t have to be.

There is a little discussion of women’s health issues, but what there is cursory, mostly confined to stocking up on tampons. Contraception, pregnancy, and a whole host of other subjects just don’t get mentioned much.

Martial Arts - In many scenarios, there is much discussion of civil disorder and the possibility of endemic crime, including assaults sexual and otherwise. Yet there is little space devoted to women being able to defend themselves physically. The assumption seems to be that some one with a Y chromosome will always be there to save them.

Those are just a few of the areas that need to be written about, but almost every area of prepping is involved. Even food can be an issue for women. For example, Canadian IMPs are fine in the short term, but are deficient in calcium and folic acid over the long term, two nutrients especially necessary in pregnancy, and folic acid is also necessary to prevent anemia, a problem for some women.

More than half the population is female. Perhaps more writing should address their concerns?