The Prepper Journal is a daily survival blog devoted to a wide variety of preparedness, survival, self-reliance and personal defense topics for readers who want to protect themselves and their family from seen and unseen disasters in our future.
Editors Note: Another article from R. Ann Parris to The Prepper Journal. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies!
As I make this list, I’m weighing several things. One is the wildly different climates in Sydney, Savannah, Saskatoon, Santa Fe, Scarborough, and Seattle. General health, needs, yields (and yield types), and multi-functionality weigh heavily. Ease/difficulty in storage processing is also a factor, as is difficulty in propagation or seed saving for future years.
I’m also considering the stages of preparedness, experience, and growing capabilities.
These work for ‘burbs and acreage. They also work for small dooryard gardens, 8×8’ community-garden plots, balconies, and in some cases windowsills. While small-scale growers may not be able to get significant yields of some, there are sometimes side uses or the ability to establish baselines and expand seed stock.
I might amend this list a bit if we were solely looking at production spaces in excess of 500 square feet (that’s only a dozen 4×10’-4×12’ beds or a 20×25’ plot), but it really wouldn’t change much.
But No Elephants
What you won’t see are maybe the most-popular and most-recommended annuals and perennials in the English-reading world: Tomatoes, apples, and plums.
Water needs, timing of water, weather sensitivity, voracious appetites (especially the competition for calcium), timing of fertilizer, disease harboring and susceptibility, and the number of other critters that like tomatoes drop them off my list. There’s some pains in canning (mess, time) and in seed saving, but mostly it’s their neediness.
*Granted: Some tomatoes can work even in hanging pots by windows and they can be wildly productive.
Apples and plums drop off mostly due to health, pests, pollination, and annual yield potentials for their square- and cubic-footage. There are high loss risks of any single-harvest plant, which also reduces their value in this context.
The elephant eventually came through for Grandma Tildy, but not before it had consumed vast quantities and created enormous disruption. If we’re in a suitable location and have supplies for an elephant, go for it. If not, aim for less-needy and more-productive options.
*Jerry Smith’s book is absolutely adorable and totally worth re-reading and stocking for our children/grands. We can also apply it to our lives, and not just the number of elephants we can find in prepping, each with Elephant’s drawbacks and the possibility of Elephant’s big save. It’s full of other lessons, for both life and preparedness.
Have ya ever noticed how often strawberries pop up in suggestions, whether we’re talking about companion planting, stacking functions, expanding harvest seasons, easy starters, multi-purpose crops, homestead profit crops, or compact indoor and outdoor container gardening?
There’s reasons for that. Lots of them. Chances are pretty good you’ll need slug deterrents and you may need deer and-or bird exclusions, but they’re pretty hardy little things. They’re fast, easy, and not overly needy – to grow, and to propagate. They offer enormous harvests for their biomass and their footprint.
Varieties exist for many climates. They can handle anywhere from 6-10 hours of direct light. They’re suited for pretty much every single type of growing – good ol’ dirt in big beds or small hanging or stacked vertical containers, or any of the water- or mist-based methods.
They’re also easy to pick and clean, and they sun- and air-dry well, even in some of the more humid environments. They freeze and can pretty well, too, and they mix well with other fruits, both in foods and in the garden. Their leaves, too, are handy, with medicinal uses for us and our animals.
Corn comes in a variety of types. I’m specifically recommending popcorn as the for-anybody self-reliance option. Most aren’t great for sweet corn, roasting, or hominy, although you can do it. However, it does offer some versatility along with ease and hardiness.
Popcorn’s a little less-needy than modern field grain corns, whether they’re heirlooms or newer OP’s. It can be grown in compact, high-yielding Three Sisters, Elder or Iroquois mounds – alongside other self-sufficiency top crops. Hand pollinating small-stand corn is fast and simple.
Storage is as easy as draping it in banners along the ceiling in homes or sheds, or piling it in a crib. We can wait to take it off the cob, and decide later if we want to pop it or grind it for ash cakes, polenta, or grits. We can also sprout it for salad greens or livestock feed. Cracked and soaked, it’s also fine for animal feeds.
*Soak corn in slake water to improve nutrient availability.
Some varieties bear in short-enough time for even North Dakota to stagger plantings by a couple weeks. Some can handle arid Utah mountains. Others thrive in steam bath-summer regions. Some of the bigger, longer-growing varieties can out-yield anything but Big Ag hybrids.
*Sidebar: Don’t bother the adorable little bees curled up napping in your squash flowers. Those are squash bees – https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/squash-bees-in-the-home-garden. They’re hella useful and they’re becoming an endangered species. Avoid sprays and powders, and try to leave your squash beds/containers undisturbed after frosts.
If you’re space crunched, I’m talking about a compact summer squash. If you have elbow room, I’m talking about autumn and winter squashes and pumpkins.
We may be able to squeeze sprawling/vining squash into more designs by trellising them (tie fruit to the trellis directly), angling them to shade heat-tender lettuces and root veggies, or using Three Sisters companion mounds.
Both types are heavy feeders and susceptible to two crop-wrecking pests: vine borer and squash bugs. Both air dry well, summer types faster than dense storage squashes.
Summer Squashes are also easier to chop into, have a whole host of uses, from noodles to chips, filled “boats”, grilled spears, and cooked casseroles.
Storage squashes have that storage bonus due to their tough skins, though – long shelf lives as-is – but they’re also larger, take far longer, and regularly produce fewer total pounds.
That extended growth makes them more vulnerable to pests, to not finishing, and to heat conditions leading to only male flowers – creating delays in fertilized flowers and in extreme cases, no yield at all.
Summer squash can start producing in 45-60 days and fill a laundry basket if picked early and often. They’re lower-calorie than autumn squash, but it’s not a huge difference. They don’t sit out as long, but we’re not talking cut lettuce here – you have a few days.
We will have to let summer squashes (and cucumbers) mature fully to collect seeds. Squash seeds are pretty hardy and will last 4-6+ years in paper on a shelf, so if you’re starting with 20-30 and only planting 2-5 … you’ve got years before you have to let a couple mature or worry about netting and then hand pollinating seed stock (they’re promiscuous and will hybridize in a heartbeat).
*Heads up: Cut and scoop seeds for saving before autumn squash are cooked.
The edible seeds are one of the things that make mature squashes and pumpkins incredibly valuable self-sufficiency crops. The center pulp, too – it’s a rich boost for livestock.
Potatoes, Yams & Sweets
First off, sweet potatoes aren’t yams. They’re in the Ipomoea family with morning glories. Irish potatoes are tomato cousins (Solanum; nightshades). Yams are barky-skinned Dioscorea.
*Oca, taro, and konjac all try to steal the yam name, too. If growing one of those is an option, consider them listed here, too.
There are locations where potatoes are going to do far better than a tropical tuber, root, or corm. Even they may require soil-warming dark groundcovers and plastic row covers. Likewise, not all of us live somewhere that makes growing and storing potatoes viable should we end up in self-reliance conditions. For us, there’s yams, sweets, and those “exotic” alternatives.
All of them are calorie staples. True yams are closer to Irish potatoes than they are sweets – both are starchier, yielding higher calories per area and pound (160-230 per cubed cup). For a veggie, though, sweet potatoes aren’t bad – 110-180 calories per cubed cup.
Comparatively, per cup it’s 40-70 for winter squashes, 280+ for raw squash and pumpkin seeds, 600-780 for dried or roasted seeds, and 125-140 for sweet corn and green peas.
The foreign and less-recognizable domestic root/tuber crops have an added bonus: Neighbors may not even realize we’re producing food – compared to more recognizable corn, squashes and berries. Some, like sweets, also offer edible leafy greens, for us and our livestock.
High-Yielding Multi-Use Pole Beans
Those adjectives were deliberate, although I’m not putting beans here for the usual starchy-protein reason. For small space growers, especially, it’s the ability to get so many veggies out of such a small footprint.
It takes a lot of pods to get enough dry beans for a meal or a family, see. However, it only takes a handful of plants to produce enough green beans for a meal at a time. That makes it a very effective small-space crop.
With 20-50 instead, we can be harvesting pints and quarts a day, and still net ourselves a full gallon+ of dry beans.
Like squash, we can arrange them to shade heat-sensitive crops, but with some hooks and cord, they can also be shading our porches and windows. They increase soil fertility, and are incredibly easy to save seed from, and we can continue harvesting from the same plant..
As Preppers we spend a good deal of our time preparing for the “what if’s” that life can throws at us. Let’s face it, we are planners above all else and we factor that into our parenting, our civic responsibilities, our sense of family, we plan and we hope for the best.
But I propose we are also explorers in a sense. Not only do we like to know what is all around us but we also want to know what is over that next ridge, on the other side of that up slope, down in that valley or around that far bend in the river. Again, I think, for the spirit of adventure in us all, but definitely for our planning. To know what is out there.
As such I have often planned spur of the moment trips to places I have not seen before and the reality is, that is an expensive hobby. So I though I would share some tips on how to keep moving without busting the bank. So, if you are looking for travel bargains there are some to be found.
Do you, like me, have an insane urge to plan a vacation? When you wake up, do you think of places you can visit during long weekends? Do you look at the cost of airline tickets and hotel rooms during your spare time and rant about how everything is so expensive?
Well, then you are probably showing symptoms of being bitten by the travel bug. In extreme cases, it may even turn into a serious case of wanderlust. The only cure is travel. But with travel being so expensive, can you afford this treatment, this temporary cure?
Yes, you can, if you plan!
Here are 7 simple ways to reduce costs while travelling:
Travel During the Off-Season
This is probably the easiest way to save money and enjoy your holiday. During the off-season, airline tickets will cost less and so will hotels. In fact, you could probably end up staying at a hotel that you probably wouldn’t have been able to afford if you travelled during the peak season.
What’s more, off-season travel also means fewer tourists. So, you won’t have to brave the crowds to see a popular monument or travel to a foreign country only to get lost in the crowds.
Spend in Local Currency
This tip is probably going to save you a lot of money. Especially if you intend to use your credit card for most of your spending. The reason being, each time you decide to convert a purchase from the local currency to your home currency, you are charged a conversion fee. This conversion fee usually ranges between 2% to 3%. Add to this, the merchant may provide you with a poor conversion rate.
If you are wondering why the merchant decides the exchange rate and not the bank, it is all thanks to a service known as Dynamic Currency Conversion or DCC. DCC is provided by a third-party who acts as the middleman between the merchant and your card issuer which also charges at least 1%.
Ditch the Hotels
When you plan for a holiday or do some quick math to see how much you spent during your vacation, you will realise that a large chunk of your money goes (or went) towards your stay. Especially if you are holidaying during peak seasons.
If you aren’t too fussy about luxury amenities, then you could consider staying in a hostel. A great alternative to hostels is CouchSurfing. Here, you can find people who are willing to host guests in their home at a minimal cost.
Better yet, look for an Airbnb. You will be able to find wonderful places to stay that fit your budget. Through an Airbnb or a bed and breakfast, you will also come across some locals who will show you what it is like to live like them. They will also be able to warn you about overpriced and pesky tourist traps.
Use Credit Card Points
If you have a travel credit card that allows you to earn miles for every $ that you spend, then plan ahead for your holiday. Once you have the required number of air miles, you can easily exchange those miles for flight tickets! If you don’t travel often or are saving up to travel to your dream destination, then you should consider getting a credit card which offers reward points that don’t expire. This way you will be able to convert your points to miles, whenever you decide to travel!
Most credit cards also allow you to convert your points to hotel loyalty points. This way, you won’t have to pay a lot while booking your stay. In fact, the hotels with which these credit cards have tie-ups are almost always some of the most luxurious ones such as the Hilton or the Marriott.
Hire a Vehicle
Public transport can be pretty expensive and pretty confusing if you don’t know where exactly to go. One way to circumvent this problem and save money is to hire a vehicle and split the cost with your co-passengers. Of course, this works best if you are traveling in a group. If you are travelling on your own and have a global driver’s license, then you can even rent a car for the period of your stay.
If you are travelling on your own, you could also consider walking short distances. It’s a great way to see the place while saving money!
Save on Entry Fees
While researching places to visit, you will soon realise that almost every tourist attraction will charge you an entry fee. One that is astronomical for foreigners. Instead of doing what every tourist does, look for places that have free entry. Some museums have free entries because they may not be as popular among tourists. Consider going there. You could also ask locals about any street carnivals or fairs in town, and enjoy that free of cost.
Only ever pay the entry fee if you think that you shouldn’t miss out on a particular attraction. And skip the guided tours. You can get the same information from reading up before going to a particular museum or monument.
My late wife and I were planning a trip to Hawaii, a few days on Maui and a few on Oahu and when I called United to use frequent-flyers miles the agent was unable to accommodate our plans to travel from Los Angeles to Honolulu and then onto Maui and return home from there. I hung up the phone disappointed and considered spending the $1,400 on air fare. After I moment I called United again, different agent of course, and asked if I could travel from Los Angeles to Maui and then onto Oahu 5 days later and return home from their using frequent-flyer miles and BINGO it worked, in fact it worked so well we got upgraded to first-class on the red-eye home which was a life saver since the 5-hour flight, once out on the active runway was delayed another 3-hours due to weather. That “one more try” saved us $1,400. (and 8+ hours in a coach seat.)
Purchase Travel Insurance
Buy to save? That’s right! Travel insurance can end up saving you a lot of money. While you may think that your holiday will be smooth sailing, there are never any guarantees. Your flight may be cancelled, the airline could lose your luggage, you could lose travel documents, or even fall sick while abroad. These are just some of the things that could happen. Almost all travel insurance policies provide coverage for such events.
This way, if something were to go wrong, you are at least protected up to the coverage amount as stated on your policy. Even if you are sure that you don’t need insurance while travelling, just think about the amount you will end up saving if things were to go south while you are holidaying.
There is an old saying that travel is the only way to spend money that makes you richer. Don’t know that the practical side of me agrees with that but it certainly does enrich your life. Be safe out there.
Editors Note: An article from Demi Rose to The Prepper Journal. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies!
Editor: This post may leave you with more questions than answers but that isn’t always a bad thing. When we are forced by circumstances to live off the grid sometimes we need to make some pretty edgy decisions in our preparedness. One recurring theme on The Prepper Journal has been stockpiling meds, with prescriptions meds being a sore subject due to the influence of our pseudo-socialized medical system now in the throws of either its death or its immortality. No matter the end game on that insurance companies and doctors, rightfully so, do not generally support prescriptions of more than 30-days duration. So now people are looking at alternatives and one that is getting a lot of attention is antibiotics for fish as a possible substitute since they can be close to those used in humans and they are NOT regulated, they can be bought on Amazon or at pet stores over the counter.
Some doctors will prescribe antibiotics for survival storage, but not very many as their abuse can lead to their ineffectiveness, your immune system can work against you. So is has been rumored that many preppers explore fish antibioticsas an alternative. They’re commonly sold in human doses and available without a prescription.
Fish antibiotics such as Fish Mox Forte are used to treat bacterial infections in fish. The antibiotics that are used to treat fish are the same or similar as the antibiotics that are provided for human use from antibiotic manufacturing companies, depending on type of antibiotic and form. Some consider their use a very bad idea. As a Prepper you should know the facts and make an informed decision.
Everything you’ve wanted to know about fish antibiotics for survival
In the event that there has been a bug out situation and someone needs emergency attention and medical help seems to be far away or nowhere to be found, then, is the next best thing to lay your hands on a bottle of fish antibiotics? Your guess will be as good as mine – do you administer them to enhance someones chance of survival from a wound or injury in the hope of giving them added time while you seek professional medical help? Will such a thing as professional medical help really exist in a true TEOTWAWKI situation?
The real question remains“are fish antibiotics reliable for human survival?” Below is an all-encompassing guide to everything you would want to know about fish antibiotics in the hope of helping you make an intelligent decision.
Many believe that fish antibiotics are a handy alternative for human antibiotics and as such are good “make up” components for your survival kit. So when I grab my crankbait fishing rod for my weekend angling, armed with my bug-out bag stocked up with fish antibiotics I am confident of a wonderful weekend with no worries. Most prepper blogs advice that one can stock up on these pills as they have an all-round semblance to the normally prescribed medicine in hospitals.
What are fish antibiotics?
Thomas labs explains that fish antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections in fish. Most fish antibiotics we have (either in capsule or tablet form) possesses similar USP grades to those produced by pharmaceutical companies for human use; that means that antibiotics used for fish treatment are similar to those used for human bacterial treatment, not necessarily that we suffer the same infection but the active ingredient in fish antibiotics are almost the same in milligram with human antibiotics. However its use for human treatment is subject to confirmation by a certified medical personnel as this justifies the negation of the label ‘fish use only‘.
Fish antibiotics? Why human use?
As I said earlier, its human use does not negate the manufacturers caution on the pack which clearly states, “not for human use” and that only qualified medical personnel could mandate its use and answer the above authoritatively. But for the sake of the guide, a slight comparison to ascertain its similarity with those prescribed by the doctor for humans won’t hurt. What are the components of these fish antibiotics that are present also in human antibiotics, keeping in mind that animal doses might vary from human doses, so at least while comparing make sure you get the dosage correct.
Fish antibiotics: Active ingredient:
Fish Amp forte. Ampicillin 500mg
fish mox forte. Amoxicillin 500mg
Fish pen forte. Penicillin 500mg
Fish flox forte. Ciprofloxacin 500mg
fin flex forte. Cephalexin 500mg
These ingredients not only appear in human antibiotics, but most times have the exact same dosage. This strengthens the claim that fish antibiotics could be a worthy stand in, in case of an emergency. Nonetheless we should be careful that there is just one of these active ingredients and that it supports human survival to avoid other drug allergies, and adverse reactions.
Having known these, are there other things worth knowing?
For the fact that the topic in question is about a drug, one should be aptly informed before embarking on its use to avoid its abuse. As mentioned earlier drugs are composed of various ingredients which have different effects, so I think you will need to know if the fish antibiotics you are getting has just this one ingredient that is similar to the humans own or are there additives and fillers which might cause allergies as a result of a different effect? My advice would be stay with a drug that has just that one similar active ingredient.
Dosages might be similar, but it is worth checking with a qualified Medical professional to be sure. If you must take or give fish antibiotics, make sure the dosage is right according to accepted medical guidelines. This can not be overstated.
This is where the “Danger Alarms” may become deafening. Look out for allergies – if at all possible ensure your patient is not allergic to any of the components listed on the drug pack label or user manual. I say this as ones needs a conscious and coherent victim to assure you of their allergies. The circumstances of a misdiagnoses can be severe.
Storage is essential
Like all medications these drugs are to be stored in a cool environment, under the appropriate temperature and also check out for the expiration date and make sure you exhaust or replace as and when due.
Pricing fluctuationsand availability
Price fluctuations and availability in the market or in stores are some of the challenges that one could encounter when going for antibiotics. These challenges are caused by demand for these drugs; you can imagine when humans start requesting fish antibiotics, there would definitely be an increased demand which has a direct effect on the price. Another case maybe that the pharmaceutical company may consider it pertinent to withdraw a particular brand of antibiotic from the market completely and replace it with a better and more effective one. Often times antibiotic removal is related to profits of the pharmaceutical manufacturers no matter the viability of the medication. For example, if an antibiotic is not selling well in the market there is a high probability that its production will be reduced or stopped entirely.
Where are my reliable and available sources?
Aside from the fluctuation in the availability of these drugs, again probably caused by their increasing demand and to a lesser extent, manufacturers profit issues as earlier discussed above, I don’t have a recommended source. Although Amazon would could guarantee an easy purchase of fish medications.
In conclusion, fish antibiotics in recent times have filled in seamlessly for its human equivalent. Consequently, it appears to be an essential for your survival kit, although like I mentioned in the guide, requires confirmation from some qualified medical personnel which of course is important to avoid drug abuse related issues. So, I will advise that you get one before buying a can of fish antibiotics.
About the Author
Demi is the Founder of outdoorsdoc.com. She loves to share everything about enjoying and surviving the outdoors. If you love the outdoors, you will find interesting and informational articles on her blog
Editors Note: An article from Tiffany Bolgert to The Prepper Journal. We are comfortable with instant coffee (yech!), instant oatmeal (where have all the nutrients gone?) and we can even buy instant underpants! So when the idea of an “instant tent” popped into someones head, well, The Prepper Journal had to find out!
As enjoying as a camping trip with the family might be, the main drawback of this activity is the sheer frustration that arises from setting your shelter up. Regardless of your camping experience and how well the instructions were followed, things will never go according to plan.
The problems can range from minor inconveniences, such as discovering that there is a missing piece or that you have placed the pole in the wrong spot, to major, like having the tent fall over you in the middle of the night from the slightest gust of wind. The solution to these problems? An instant tent. If you do not want to bother with traditional tents, here is a small guide that will help you choose the best instant tent for your next trip.
What is an Instant Tent?
For generations, humanity has struggled with the process of setting up and taking down tents. Even the most ardent campers will relate to the frustration of seeing your tent falling over all your possessions after spending two hours installing it.
The easiest way to solve this problem (other than ditching the tent altogether and digging a hole in the ground, of course) is getting an instant tent. Alternatively called a ‘’pop up tent’’, it is an innovative camping item that does not need a degree in civil engineering to set up. All you have to do is pull it out of the bag, throw it on the ground and, in just a matter of minutes, you will have something to shelter you from the freezing rain.
Usually, the best instant tents come in two categories. The first category work exactly how the name suggests, while the second category includes hybrid instant tents with integrated lightweight poles. The latter’s extra component does not matter – they are both just as easy to install and disassemble.
However, the main downfall of instant tents is the fact that, due to a lack of heavy poles, they are more vulnerable to the whims of the wind. Therefore, all campers should make sure to stake them. On the other hand, all instant tents will protect your belongings from the elements of nature.
Now that we have established what exactly is an instant tent, it is time to highlight several factors on which you should base your purchase decision. When it comes to instant tents (or all tents, as a matter of fact), the quality and the strength of the item are of the utmost importance. Ideally, you want to pick a tent that will stand tall in all weather conditions, whether we are talking about rain, heat, or cold. Even though instant tents are admittedly susceptible to the wind, they are perfectly capable of handling the rest.
Materials and Useful Features
The next important factor is related to the materials. While instant tents come in a wide variety of shapes and structures, the high-quality ones share certain similarities. When it comes to the sides of the tent, the best ones are made out of nylon. This material allows the moisture created by the people exhaling inside the tent to dissipate in a timely fashion. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that the tent’s durability and longevity depend on the weight of the nylon – the heavier it is, the more it will last.
Another thing to consider is the rain fly. A rain fly is a separate piece of plastic that covers the tent, which protects it against the effects of rain. For an extra degree of comfort and safety, it is a good idea to choose tents with nylon floors, as they will keep you and your possessions dry for as long as it takes.
Furthermore, you should also think about the number of doors you need, as well as the shape and the orientation of the tent. If you are camping with your whole family, a tent with a higher number of doors is obviously ideal if you do not want to disturb them in the middle of the night. If you are camping with a smaller group, a mid-sized tent with one door and a couple of windows should cover your needs.
As with all products, price reflects the quality of the item. There are instant tents that are cheap, durable but the material can leak, as well as expensive tents that can last a lifetime, but don’t come with the perks suited for your particular needs. To prevent the latter scenario from occurring, you should ask yourself the following questions:
How often do you embark on camping trips?
What is the average size of the party (in numbers)?
Duration of the trip – are you planning to spend several days out camping, or just a weekend?
How much stuff do you need to carry after you in order to feel comfortable – clothes, food, first aid kits, etc?
Can the tent fit in your car?
By checking these boxes, you can find out if it is worth dropping a few hundred dollars on a tent, or if you could just make do with a cheaper one. As a general rule of thumb, it is better to invest in an expensive tent because there is a high chance you will not need another one anytime soon.
Choosing the right instant-tent for you and your loved ones can be as hard as deciding on a location or what supplies you should bring along. However, it is not that hard as long as you know what to look for. Make sure to read through our small guide and you will surely make the right decision.
Editors Note: An article from Berta Melder to The Prepper Journal. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies!
Our homes are usually our first, best option in a SHTF, TEOTWAWKI or natural disaster scenario. Not only does it most likely have the majority of our prepping supplies, but its has “the family” and is often the primary “meet here” place in disaster planning when family is spread across work locations, schools, friends homes, etc.
So it goes without saying that home security is of monumental importance and that the world is a place full of people who will take what is yours given the opportunity. Professional thieves seldom miss an easy target and the opportunity to get into your house and take what’s yours, and even bored youths may find the idea of an easy target a thrill, not to mention free stuff!
This is after all our homes, our castles, the place where our children and family feel the most secure. As such we are all dealing with a group of people who steal for a living, and practice makes better (perfection is not achievable.) Alas, as preppers and homeowners or tenants, we do all bare the responsibility of protecting ourselves and we have to admit that some of us do not cross all the “t’s” and dot all the “i’s”.
Many of our neighbors are just not as concerned about the security and safety of their homes, or they are but have made little no effort to discourage intruders.
Fortunately I could find no real pictures of people running from bears.
While you cannot free this world from burglars, you can protect your house and make their job much more difficult. It is the application of the bear escape principal. If you are not alone and chased by a charging bear you do NOT have to outrun the bear, just someone else running with you. So making your home a harder target than your neighbors is the goal here.
30 years ago, you could protect your home from intruders by buying a dog, installing more door locks, and asking neighbors to keep an eye on your house while you’re on vacation. Fortunately, now we have many more tools and gadgets that can protect your property and create problems for those who want to steal from you.
What Are The Burglars Friends?
First of all, burglars are looking for an opportunity. They are searching for homes they can easily access and leave quietly, hopefully unnoticed. They want to do it quickly because the more time they spend on getting in, the higher chances that someone will see them and call the police.
Why do people lock their doors? The truth is, there is no lock that can make your home 100% safe. The only function of locks is to buy you more time. If a burglar realizes that he must spend an hour picking your locks, he will likely go away looking for an easier job.
Burglars don’t want to attract attention. Any loud sound can make your neighbors look out their windows and see that something is wrong. If there is a barking dog or a loud alarm, a burglar will likely move on to the next house. Breaking windows makes sound and taking out enough to release the simple lock or to get in makes a lot of sound.
Why do we say “like a thief in the night?” Because criminals like dark areas. If you have many trees and your garden is dark, it is likely to be the first home that burglars check. They choose such homes because there they can easily hide. If your bushes are trimmed and your home is well-lit 24 hours a day, you stand a better chance that they won’t try to break in.
These three items, time, sound and visibility are still concerns today even with the advent of so many smart gadgets and security services.
Motion sensors comes to mind as a near perfect solution for those who don’t want to waste electricity, but do want to not only know when someone is out there but, more importantly, want the intruder to know that he has been discovered.
Smart gadgets allow you to see what happens in your home while you’re away and to be aware of burglars when they just start thinking about getting in.
While we hope the following gadgets/services will help you in preventing crime, and are provided as an explanation of the service they provide. YOU can better protect your home, family, and yourself by ensuring that the three buglers friends, time, visibility and sound are denied by controlling the access.
Why Do I Need Smart Home Gadgets?
Because they are a deterrence, Period. Can smart-devices be hacked? Yes, anything using wifi can be hacked by someone determined, and skilled in the dark-web arts. But the key here is again, out running your neighbors as opposed to the bear.
Advanced technology does provides you with a vast range of opportunities to make your home more secure. Remote cameras allow you to keep an eye on your house while you’re at work or on vacation by just opening an app on your smartphone. No matter how far away you are, you can see what happens in real time. There are security systems that can be armed or unarmed remotely, even if you forget to do it in the morning when going to work. You can also install smart locks that will lock your doors automatically any time you go out. Various motion-detecting devices can notify you at the very moment when someone is trying to get into your house.
Gadgets & Services that Can Protect Your Home
So a quick review of some of the more prominent players in home security systems.
FrontPoint is a simple solution. This company offers a range of security devices that you can easily install yourself. Frontpoint also includes a traditional monitoring option which will cost you around $35 a month. You can customize and adjust this system using live video and automation functions.
Vivint offers many smart devices for your home security system. This kit includes cameras, smart locks, thermostats, doorbells, and sensors, so you can create your own system that meets your needs. This system requires professional installation, which implies additional fees, but people who don’t like DIY solutions will appreciate it.
Simplisafe – this is a kit that includes sirens, alarms, monitoring system, and a number of sensors that detect movement, fires, and even natural disasters. Why is it called Simplisafe? Because you can control the whole system using one device and a security code keypad. If you want to save money, you’ll appreciate this system for simple installation. There are many all-in-one solutions, but not many of them include an alarming monitoring system. It’s a perfect solution for small homes and apartments.
Link Interactive – If you’re looking for a traditional security system, Link Interactive is a good choice for you. It takes care of your house while you can do whatever you want, with no need to control the system. It includes sensors, locks, and a professional monitoring system. You can also install an app and control it remotely. Link also includes advanced protection of your electricity, in case a burglar tries to turn it off.
Scout – This system is much more flexible than its competitors. The system consists of only four sensors and is controlled using one hub. All devices can be installed anywhere in your house, allowing you to create your own security system. It comes with an easy-to-use app that will notify you if your alarms suddenly go off. Prices for monitoring start from $10 a month, which makes this system rather inexpensive. However, this system also has a considerable disadvantage: It does not support security cameras.
Brinks – Brinks is a great solution, especially if you already have some smart security devices. It’s a set of smart wireless gadgets that can be customized as you like. Remote monitoring involves a monthly fee that starts from $20, which is not too bad but get this set in stone. A good feature is you can always cancel it for free.
Protect America – Choosing Protect America, you can select one of many customizable plans. This system allows you to add as many smart gadgets as you want, from simple sensors to Amazon’s Echo. It comes as an all-in-one solution, and the system is installed by professionals. Prices are rather high and you won’t be able to change the chosen plan. However, if you’re not satisfied with other traditional systems, Protect America may be the right choice.
ADT – This is, probably, the most conservative security system. However, recently, ADT released their updated Pulse line, which is a fruit of its collaboration with such partners as Samsung SmartThings and Nest. Some packages include free installation, and the system itself also includes some free options, such as a Nest Thermostat. On the other hand, we suggest reading your contract carefully because it can’t be called flexible.
Nest Secure – If you’re a fan of DIY solutions and don’t want to pay monthly fees for monitoring services, Nest is your best choice. This system was made for people who love managing their smart homes. It consists of a motion sensor, hub, and a satellite sensor. The latter is called Detect and helps in guarding windows and doors. A Tag system makes it possible for certain people and animals to pass through sensors without triggering the alarm. You can add as many sensors and cameras as you need, which is also a great thing, however, Nest devices are not cheap.
Abode – It’s one of the simplest starter kits on the market, and it is also beautiful. It includes a motion sensor, hub, door sensor, and a key fob. This system allows you to install your devices wherever you need. You can also buy additional cameras and sensors and control your security system using a simple app. There are also many plans available, including weekly and 3-day options.
There are many ways to make your home a safe place. Some smart systems are simple and allow you to create your own scheme, adjusting every device to your needs. Others will be good for users who want to forget about all troubles, buying an optimal monitoring plan. Smart home gadgets come in all shapes and sizes, so everyone can choose a solution that will be best for a particular house.
There is a whole world of dummy cameras, easily installed, even some that move and blink. Great to make anyone think twice. There are even systems that can trigger a broadcast of a large dog bark when a doorbell is rang or any other noise is detected, like breaking glass.
It’s important to understand that, even though you cannot stop criminal activity, you are still able to make your home a challenge even for the most experienced burglars. New security technologies will help you protect yourself and your family, so you have more peace of mind when it comes to your homes security, no matter where you are.
Berta Melder is a brand manager and co-founder of Masterra.com. Being passionate about her job, she cooperates with different universities as a guest lecturer on examples of leading brands, cases of successful personal branding. In her spare time she enjoys creative writing and blogging. Follow @BertaMelder on Twitter.
Editor’s Note: This post was an entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Matt W in January of 2017. I am re-posting it because I have had many questions of late on the cost effectiveness of reloading vs stockpiling commercial ammunition and I am still on the fence on the subject in general.
Being a “doer” like most preppers I have always been fascinated with the idea of loading my own ammo. Perhaps caught up in the advertising that shows a rugged individual working a re-loader in a nice wood-paneled room full of hunting gear and trophies, wearing a plaid flannel shirt, a steaming cup of coffee (or hot chocolate) on the bench, with trees in autumn colors outside the window, and of course, his favorite hunting dog laying at his feet in anticipation of time in the field filling his head.
The cold hard fact from my point of view is that I did not do enough shooting to really justify the initial investment. I once actually had the whole deal in a shopping cart at a favorite supply store. I love hunting upland birds and shooting skeet and trap, but life has gotten in the way of that almost daily. Am I the only one who realizes the more time-saving gadgets I have the less time I have to take advantage of them? So I returned everything to its rightful place back on the shelf. I was looking at $900 and couldn’t justify it not having shot that much commercial ammunition in the preceding 18 months. Of course I would be ahead now, 6 years later, but just barely. And now, looking at favorite pistol and rifle calibers, I see some sense in it as I once had a 264 Winchester Magnum that was a GREAT varmint rifle but commercial ammo was expensive, still is. Traded it away when $$$ was tight. Don’t know that I would have shot it enough to recoup the investment but I would love to have that rifle back. The clarity of hindsight.
In any case I would love to hear what other preppers think on the subject. Wild Bill
With the interest in the preparedness lifestyle growing at an explosive rate, one important skill is often brushed aside: reloading ammunition. Often, persons embarking on their own personal prepping journey will procrastinate on learning to reload their own ammunition. The reasons to put off learning to reload are understandable. Often, many people would rather just buy more firearms and more ammunition than put the time and money into learning reloading. People usually are put off by the expense of reloading equipment, feel that they do not have the time to learn reloading, or they do not have a person available to teach them.
Learning about all the reloading equipment and techniques can seem daunting at first but the skill is worth the effort. The initial investment in equipment and supplies for reloading can cost as little as about $300 or as much as one is willing to spend. However, there are many benefits to making the investment. First, a person can save a lot of money reloading, quickly recouping the startup costs. Second, by reloading ammunition a person can get much improved accuracy over using only factory ammunition. Third, for many rifle and pistol calibers a hand-loader will have many more choices available than solely relying on factory offerings, the combinations of components are near infinite. Fourth, reloading will allow a person to have ample supply of hard to find ammunition for a favorite pet caliber, unusual and rare cartridge, or old hunting rifle. Finally, when the next ammo shortage happens the reloader will be able to maintain his / her stockpile. As can be seen, there are many good reasons for preppers to take up reloading and each one will be looked in more detail.
Lee Precision Breech Lock Challenger Kit – Great starter reloading option.
Without a doubt, one of the most popular reasons that persons learn to reload ammunition is to save money. Ammunition is expensive and it is not getting any cheaper! However, anywhere from 65% to 80% of the cost of ammunition is in the cartridge case. Therefore, a person should always pick up their spent cartridge cases. That reusable brass case ties up a bunch of money, too much money to just leave laying on the ground like garbage. For example: if a box of rifle ammunition cost around $20 then about $15 of that is likely tied up in just the cartridge cases. No one would walk by $15 laying on the ground and not pick it up but people will leave perfectly good cartridge cases laying all over the range. A person could reload that box of ammo for $5 or less. That savings adds up fast and recoups the initial investment in equipment. The amount of money saved can be used to buy more ammo, more guns, optics, range time, training, prepping supplies, and on and on. If shooting those big safari rifles is appealing, the savings to the reloader are truly amazing. Some big game rifles cost the shooter anywhere from $5 to over $25 every time the trigger is pulled. This cost can prevent any frequent or meaningful target practice, often even impairing properly sighting in the weapon or zeroing a scope. Reloading can make shooting these big guns affordable and fun. As mentioned earlier, cost savings is a major motivator for reloaders. As a person living the preparedness lifestyle, allocating money and resources properly to maintain a regular life while preparing for the worst events is an ongoing process. Reloading is a good way to help preppers cut cost and spare resources.
Obtaining greater accuracy is another good reason to learn reloading. Many people who start reloading just to save money quickly discover this benefit. The quest for peak accuracy is what gets many people really fired up about reloading. Once a person experiences how easy it is to increase accuracy for a given load, they are well on the way to a life time of reloading. Firearms are expensive. Many times, people have been very disappointed with a new firearms shot groups, assuming there is a problem with the expensive new weapon. After hand-loading some ammunition, they have discovered there is nothing wrong with the weapon and that factory available ammunition is causing this sub-par performance. For example: this is very typical for 45 Colt revolvers. Historically, there has been some variation in bore diameters of production revolvers in this caliber. For safety reasons, the major ammunition manufacturers will produce loaded ammo with bullets in the smallest produced bore diameter. In some guns, these too small bullets will not engage the rifling’s and just rattle down the barrel, flying erratically out the muzzle. Accuracy is unbelievably poor when this happens. An easy fix for a reloader is to determine the bore diameter and reload using bullets of the appropriate diameter. This method has been proven to turn poorly grouping guns into tack drivers. Sometimes, the problem with a firearms accuracy is not in the gun but in the ammunition. Loading one’s own ammunition can help correct that.
Reloading greatly improves consistency and uniformity in the loaded cartridges. Hand-loading can definitely help with increasing accuracy over the modest distances of handgun ranges but the most dramatic improvements can be gained over the longer ranges usually shot with rifles. Some factory ammunition is very good. However, hand-loads will give the best and most accurate results over factory loaded ammunition. Much of the accuracy potential in a batch of hand-loads comes from consistency gained through precise attention to detail. With factory ammunition, there can easily be a 5% to 10% variation in muzzle velocity from shot to shot. A careful hand-loader can greatly reduce that variation in muzzle velocity, which will give a more consistent point of impact. Reloaders can also adjust the overall length of the loaded cartridge by adjusting bullet seating depth to better match the specific weapon they are using. This will improve accuracy by reducing bullet jump (distance a bullet travels before engaging the rifling) and more closely aligning the bullet center with the bore axis when the rifling is engaged, resulting in a better spin and truer flight. A careful reloader can more precisely align the bullet into the case, keeping the center of the bullet more closely on the axis of the weapon’s bore. The reloader is in control of every variable of the cartridge. The case lengths can be trimmed to exact specifications. Case mouths and crimping can be uniformed. Any possible variable can be minimized or eliminated to produce the most consistent ammunition, which all leads to better shot groups. Competitive shooters have long known that hand-loading is the way to get out the most accuracy from their weapons.
If a person is not shooting one of the more popular calibers, they may be disappointed with choices in factory available ammunition. Some of the lesser known, newly introduced, or very old calibers will not have enough choices of bullet styles and weights available in factory production ammunition. Some very capable cartridges are no longer offered in newly manufactured ammunition. A reloader will still have the ability to produce ammunition for these discontinued calibers. Dies and cartridge cases can still be purchased for calibers that have been discontinued long ago. Handloading or reloading ammunition is a way to get around these limitations.
The combinations of components are limitless. Bullet weights and shapes can be chosen specifically for maximum efficiency for any given purpose. Different bullet tip shapes, ogives, and base configurations can be chosen to fit a rifle or load for greater accuracy, consistency, or function. A person can load expanding bullets into cartridges for old surplus rifles that are generally only available in full metal jacket configuration, turning that old surplus rifle into a viable hunting weapon. Different propellants will burn with different rates and characteristics. This will affect muzzle velocity, consistency, and accuracy. With so many possible combinations of bullets, propellants, primers, and cases, a person can tailor a specific load for any purpose. If the goal is to get maximum efficiency, maximum utility, maximum accuracy, or effectiveness over a wide range of shooting distances, reloaders can tailor ammunition to any purpose. The sky’s the limit on possible loadings.
Money lying on the ground?
One very important thing to anyone living the preparedness lifestyle is securing and maintaining an ammunition supply. In recent years in the United States, we have experienced several ammunition shortages of varying degrees and durations. Everyone knows that is not a question of whether or not there will be another ammunition supply interruption but when the next big one is coming. The author remembers a time when he would give no consideration to leaving the house with a firearm without any ammo thinking “I’ll just pick up some on the way to the shooting range.” It is getting better but not quite back to those days yet. Certainly, anyone reading this article has not so distant memories of going to wally-world and seeing the ammo shelves empty. During the last ammo shortage, reloading components were still available for a time after all the ammo was off the shelves, allowing reloaders to stock up on components before the supply temporarily dried up. Reloading components are easy to stock up on. For example: at the time of writing this article Unique and Power Pistol powders were about $20 a pound. A person could load up around 1,150 rounds of 9mm ammo with one pound of these powders! Store a few pounds of powder and a person is set up to last through the ammo drought. Another way for a reloader to cut cost and extend his or her ammo supply is to cast lead bullets. After the initial cost of equipment, money saved by casting bullets will quickly recover the startup costs. Additionally, lead could be gathered from alternative sources instead of buying it. This will allow the resourceful prepper to make lead bullets at no cost. With some components in storage, the resourceful prepper can spend a little time in the evening reloading and replenishing his or her ammo supply when everyone else is scrounging for ammo or getting gouged by online price hikes.
So, it’s easy to see how reloading is another valuable tool in well-rounded preppers kit. Many people tend to feel rushed and overwhelmed when coming into the preparedness lifestyle. Along with marksmanship, martial arts, archery, fishing, hunting, farming, canning, tanning, mechanics, carpentry, communications, first aid, sewing, sanitation, and land navigation (just to get started) reloading seems like a ton to learn. However, persons reading this already have a great asset: motivation. If a person is willing and motivated to learn, there is a wealth of resources available.
Everyone is different and learns differently. For some people, it will be very difficult to pick up a reloading manual and start off reloading without any issues. For most people, the easiest and fastest way to learn is to have a someone actually show them step by step how to do it. Unfortunately, unless someone already knows a friend or family member who reloads it can be difficult to connect with someone willing to teach. No one wants to deal with that grumpy old condescending jerk at the local gun shop or put up with the know it all attitude from gun show arm chair rangers. This is why I’ve taken it upon myself to bring reloading to the preparedness community. I had no one to help me when I was learning reloading. It was frustrating. There is a whole new crowd of people who are either first time gun owners or have a general interest in firearms but feel isolated because they don’t have good resource people in their social circle. Often these persons are turned off to guns or discouraged because someone at a gun shop or gun show discouraged them or talked to them like they were stupid. That is why I am passionate about teaching others to reload. I offer completely free help, advice, and information in an encouraging, supportive, and nonjudgmental environment through email. Even though anyone could pick up good info from my emails, my emails are geared toward persons who have no or very little knowledge and / or experience with reloading. All you need is an inbox and a desire to learn. I’m not compensated for this service in any way by any one. This is just my way to give back to a great community. I send out emails regularly with reloading related content. Additionally, anyone can send me a message and ask anything they want about reloading. It’s a totally free service. You can follow the link below to sign up to my email list or just message me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can subscribe to my newsletter at https://forms.aweber.com/form/82/515771282.htm
I’ll look forward to your questions,
Matt “Papa Bear” Wooddell
AGAIN Preppers you get to cast your votes for the “best articles” published in The Prepper Journal over the last three months! Money, money, money! But more importantly GREAT information!
I have chosen five (5) worthy candidates for Round Fourteen of the Preppers Writing Contest. Again, it was a hard thing to do, so many honorable mentions, so much coverage of wide-ranging subjects. Impressive. Paring the list down to five (5) remains the challenge. As always, I want to thank everyone who entered and, as always, previous winners can still win again!
Editors Note: Another article from RA to The Prepper Journal. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, then enter today!
“Round Fourteen of The Prepper Journal’s Writing Contest is coming Tomorrow!”
I grow a stealthy food source and I have never come across anyone who realized that it is edible.
The beauty of the flowers makes people think that this easily available variety is only useful as a decorative plant. It works well in hanging baskets. You might see this plant growing alongside the highway or you may already have this plant in your yard and consider it to be just a weed.
It came here from Persia and India and has flourished. This plant is known as Purslane.
The University of Illinois says that Purslane seeds have been known to stay viable for 40 years.
I bought 6 small pots of Purslane for only $1.47 apiece. I transplanted them into larger pots with some good soil and they’re getting big. This is despite me eating from them almost every day.
I also feed some cuttings to my flock of chickens. Purslane is very tender and very juicy.
It has thick, succulent leaves and stems. You can also eat the flowers. Everything but the roots. I think it tastes great and I’m a person who doesn’t like most vegetables.
Purslane works well in salads and juices but I prefer to just snap off branches and munch them in the garden. Doing this promotes bushier growth.
Purslane works great as the crunch in a sandwich. It can be steamed, stir-fried or pureed.
Purslane is also used as a spinach substitute.
The wild Purslane has yellow flowers. I grew some from seed but the ornamental varieties I bought at a garden center do better for me. The best way to propagate Purslane is through root cuttings.
Ornamental Purslane can be red, pink, coral or white. I think they taste just as good as the wild Purslane.
There is no leafy plant with more of the highly sought Omega 3 fatty acid (α-linolenic acid) than Purslane. It even has more than some fish oils. It safeguards you against heart disease & stroke & also helps with autism and other developmental diseases. The Stanford School of Medicine says that Omega 3 fatty acids help prevent cancer.
The United States Department of Agriculture says that Purslane is a source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese, along with two types of powerful betalain alkaloid pigment anti-oxidants; the reddish beta cyanins, and the yellow beta xanthins.
The Chinese have long used Purslane to treat intestinal conditions due to the organic compounds found in purslane, including dopamine, malic acid, citric acid, alanine and glucose. Purslane is said to improve skin, improve vision, strengthen bones & improve circulation. Purslane is very low in calories and helps with weight loss.
Right now you can be benefiting from a vitamin source better than any pill.
In a survival situation where rationing and shortages are the norm, this can be vital.
The plant Moss Rose is often confused with Purslane. Be careful not to confuse Purslane with the Spurges. They have a similar stalk and also like to grow low along the ground but although the leaves may have a similar shape, they are not succulent like Purslane, which seems more like a Jade plant. If in doubt, break the stem. Purslane juice is clear. Spurge is milky white.
Purslane contains oxalic acid. Those with known urinary tract oxalic stones should not eat Purslane or members of the Brassica family of vegetables. I have been eating lots of Purslane all year with no ill effects.
There is another plant that you should grow, if you have any kind of livestock.
That plant is Comfrey which grows large leaves up to 18 inches long.
You can chop the entire plant 5 or more times each season and it will grow back.
Feed the leaves to your chickens, rabbits, ducks, turkeys, goats, pigs, sheep or cows.
You can also grow quantities of Comfrey and dry the leaves for Winter use.
Animals enjoy it either way and even dried, it retains its very high protein content.
There is a common variety of Comfrey known as True Comfrey but most people use a Russian variety that can’t produce viable seed. This is because Comfrey grows TOO well and people want to maintain control of it.
Even with the Bocking varieties, they propagate easily through root cuttings. You can start with one plant and in 2 years, have a thousand plants if you wish. Bocking 14 is the most popular variety but I have recently planted Bocking 4, which is said to be even more palatable to animals.
Comfrey is also renowned for its medicinal properties. It can be made into a poultice that helps healing with ailments that reach all the way into the bones. Comfrey fell out of favor in the 80’s when an Australian report surfaced claiming that it’s alkaloids are harmful if ingested.
I don’t know of any people who are eating Comfrey but many people now dispute those findings and many people report making Comfrey a large part of the diet for their livestock without manifesting any ill effects. According to the book, The Safety of Comfrey, by J.A Pembrey, “there appear to be no cases, in medical history or veterinary records, of humans or animals, showing clinical symptoms, of pyrrolizidine alkaloid poisoning from the consumption of comfrey.”
From the site – Simple Unhooked Living –
“Foster Savage, who takes credit for introducing comfrey into Australia in 1954, fed it to his stock in great quantities (and ate quite a bit of it himself.) He found that milk production increased dramatically in his cows, with the bonus of thick cream. He also fed his pigs as much comfrey as they could eat and the quality of his meat became legendary. His butcher remarked that he had never seen pigs with such healthy livers.”
Comfrey is available as seed, or for the Bocking varieties, as root cuttings, live plants or just the crowns of newly emerging leaves.
There is a multitude of information about these two plants on the internet. Research them for yourself and consider growing them now so you’ll have this valuable resource at your disposal when any disaster scenario arises.
“Round Fourteen of The Prepper Journal’s Writing Contest is coming Friday!”
Suppose you flee to a nuclear bunker in order to survive a bomb blast. You can’t stay bored in the fortification for the next 9 or 12 years without electricity, can you? Being cooped up in a dugout can be frustrating not to mention that you might run out of food before the time is up. Assuming that you have sufficient food for a long stay, what hobbies would you consider to keep yourself busy?
A hobby is not simply a way of passing time. It also improves life quality. You do it for pleasure and no one pays for entertaining yourself. In normal circumstances, we take hobbies for leisure and sometimes they may seem a luxury we cannot afford. But if you are surviving a catastrophe in a blockhouse, a hobby might be the only thing to keep you occupied. An entertainment activity offers a plethora of benefits such as:
It gives you hope
It keeps your mind occupied
It can invoke passion in you
It provides a sense of self-sufficiency
It is a creative outlet
Below are fun activities that can improve your quality of life while you’re underground.
Books provide a lot of imaginative fun. You can even read them out to your family and friends. Any scenarios you could imagine can be played put in a fiction book. Reading allows you to take your mind off the possible tragedy as you take accommodation in a safe shelter. This activity involves more than just passing time. It polishes your knowledge and trains your brain to concentrate. Don’t forget that reading also improves your vocabulary. What a better way to improve brain power. It is like working out your brain like you do to your body in the gym. Moreover, research indicates that reading minimizes stress by 69% so you will be able to sleep better.
Apart from fiction books, consider reading human psychology and medicine. You will learn how to diagnose and treat common sicknesses which you might encounter in the fortification. By the time you get out of the ‘hole,’ you will have gained incredible skills like those of medical practitioners. You can also learn how to be a builder or an electrician by reading books on engineering. This will not only keep your brain active but also focused during the prolonged stay. Go ahead and teach yourself about the economy. There are a lot of skills you need as far as investment goes. Find out how other nations are doing economic-wise. You might be interested to move to another country which is more economically stable after leaving the bunker. By making good use of the many years at disposal, you would come out more knowledgeable than ever before and perhaps start teaching people!
Yoga benefits both the mind and the body. You only need a small space to keep your body and mind healthy. You will be in a position to keep your sanity intact while you are cooped up down there. Yoga is also an active form of entertainment for both men and women. After many years of training, you will be so physically fit that others might think you are a fitness model. The best thing about yoga is that it helps you to meditate. Meditation is another wonderful technique of reducing stress, improving brain focus, lowering blood pressure, and improving your immunity. Meditation is fun too. It gets you into a good mood and you feel relaxed all the time.
Learn a Foreign Language
You may not have professional teachers in the bunker but you can ask someone to teach you their language. Learning new language allows you to communicate effectively during travels. Being multilingual would also be a great addition to your resume. Studies show that bilinguals think differently than monolinguals. The ability to speak more than one language makes you smarter and you will be more decisive. It actually helps you to polish your own native language. The other benefit is that you can cope with dementia more effectively and you will be more perceptive.
Dancing is fun. It also provides benefits like those of physical workouts. Furthermore, it reduces stress by increasing the production of serotonin which is a neurotransmitter hormone that is associated with wellness feelings. Dancing also improves cognitive power thus making you smarter.
Have you checked out exceptional essays about dancing on Edu Birdie? There is a lot you could learn from this site.
Awaken your inner karate child
Karate is a martial art and provides real value to your life. It is one of the best ways to learn self-defense. Practicing martial arts allows you to develop coordination, stamina, strength, and body balance. Moreover, karate teaches you to be more disciplined and stay focused. It is another way to bring your body and mind together.
What craft are you good at? Maybe you are good at knitting. You can pick up the needles and threads and make stuff. According to an expert, crafting offers similar benefits to those of meditation. It can help you get over a chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. The continuous action of knitting triggers your parasympathetic nervous system. This is a form of nervous control that calms you down during stress so you don’t have to take a flight or fight response. It is normal to get bad illusions when you are stuck in a place but engaging in craft can give you the peace of mind you just need.
Make new friends
It doesn’t matter how many people are with you in the bunker. You can meet them and establish friendships that will be of great help in future. The last thing you can do when idle is to isolate yourself. Did you know that social isolation is a worse killer than obesity? Spending time with others is fun. They don’t have to be in the same age as you – there is a lot you can learn from the elders and younger people as well. Making new friends is one key to happiness.
Juggling can boost your brain concentration as well as hand-eye coordination. Moreover, it is a form of active meditation like yoga. It ensures that your brain is fully engaged in the objects you are trying to juggle, putting you in a relaxed state of mind like you would achieve when chanting with your legs crossed o the floor.
In a bunker, you don’t get to chat with friends on Facebook or watch your favorite TV series. But there are countless hobbies you can pick or develop in the dugout. You may start with the 8 activities outlined above and still live your best life.
Three Sisters, Elders, or Iroquois mounds are one of the most common and oldest examples of companion planting to be found. Corn, beans and squash are grown in close association, with each plant filling another’s needs. It’s a proven winner large or small, throughout history, including modern university studies on yields and post-harvest soil.
Succotash gardens are also billed as a survival and a storage all-in-one gardens – pretty fair assessments.
The first in is corn. Pole beans are planted after a delay, and use the corn as a trellis. They also stabilize the corn, removing the need to hill it – which is good, because you’re not going to wiggle a hoe through a thriving Three Sisters mound. The beans also replace some or all of the nitrogen used by the corn and, in trinity plantings, their third sister: squash. The squash helps shade the soil, preserving moisture.
There are now about as many ways to arrange them as there are to use the produce, which we’ll touch on later. We’ll also look at ways we can modify it for the crops commonly grown in today’s backyards, tubs, and big plots, compared to the traditional versions.
Clarification – N
The beans are not boosting the nitrogen for this year’s crop. By the end of the season, the beans will have started producing excess nitrogen if the proper bacteria is present, but it’s toward the end of the season. They’re replacing nitrogen used by their companions, which means less amendment is needed in subsequent plantings.
Sunflowers – Skip It
Subbing sunflowers for corn in Elders mounds regularly pops up. It’s more than possible that somebody’s managed successfully, but nobody I know and I’ve yet to find good results/yield data or late-season and harvest images posted by those who claim it works.
When we hear after-action reports on this experiment, it’s usually “well boogers” or excited growers who have not yet established an on-their-own baseline yield for their squash and bean varieties.
Mostly, like many things, we just don’t hear back on it – which is sad, because some of those gardeners who are just getting started or just branching out are likely embarrassed, and think it’s them.
First: Failures are part of any learning curve. “No” is an option on troubleshooting and decision-making flow charts for a reason. “Well that didn’t work” is part of the feedback loop for everything from permaculture to scientific method.
Share failures. We get more feedback yet, which lets us make better adjustments than we would on our own.
Secondly, don’t believe everything you read online – especially start-off suggestions without final results presented. That’s something we’ll touch on with the planting suggestions, too.
I do grow some of my beans with sunflowers, but I expect the major productivity drop versus a corn planting and I do so knowing that bean production is already lower in corn-companionship stands.
(It’s the total productivity of the space that’s a wowser, versus the same area with a single crop, and usually corn gets a pretty significant boost.)
So let’s understand sunflowers. There is a wide, wide range of sunflowers beyond production types. I plant some of them for tiny bird seed. Plus, well, look how cute!
In production conversations, we’re typically looking at two types. Black Oil Sunflower Seeds (BOSS) are used for oils and most animal/bird feed, and are usually 4-6’ tall. The big 8’ and 12’ “stripeys” (professionals say “confection”) are the human-snack and in some animal feeds.
Both are greedy. Like, way greedy. They just don’t share well. There are weed-suppressing groundcovers that work, but whatever you stick near a sunflower is likely to end up stunted. That’s not great for the yields from companions.
Sunflowers seem like they’d sub in for corn without problems, but in the long run, especially for survival gardens, it’s not effective. You’ll need to plant 3-5x the beans you would to meet your normal harvest baselines from corn-bean mounds or single-crop stands, and if you go for a trinity planting, squash just isn’t going to fair well at all.
*Bonus Tidbit: All sunflower stalks are suitable for drying, burning or chipping, and spreading as potent fertilizer elsewhere because they’re so greedy. They’re particularly potassium-hungry, which makes them a fabulous source of potash for other crops.
Back to Corn…
Natives mostly grew dry corn. Today, backyard and small-market growers are mostly after sweet corn. Thing is, sweet corn is ready 20-60 days before most popcorn or field corn varieties – and most dry pole beans.
This becomes super significant when planning a succotash garden.
If you use a big, multi-vined pole bean, it’s tough to get in there to harvest sweet corn without snagging the drying bean vines. Sweet corn is usually more loosely branched, so you may be able to wiggle harvests out from around lighter, single-vine pole beans, but there is regularly damage to vines.
One solution is to use the pole beans mostly for green beans. We can dedicate lower pods to going to seed for us, limiting the potential damages are limited to veggies with less time invested and faster regrowth.
Another option is to use bush, semi-vining or semi-runner beans with sweet corn, so their max height is lower than the upper ears. At most you might damage tips at 3-4’ harvesting the bottom ear. We can also just declare the bottom ears to be our future seed stock, or let them dry for popcorn/milling so we don’t have to disturb even those shorter vines.
If we’re growing dwarf, compact, bantam, and container corn, shorter-vined and bush beans are definitely superior choices as companions.
There’s some drawbacks to bush beans, but there’s also benefits. A bush bean won’t typically yield as much as a pole bean, either by the plant or by square-foot.
We have place them carefully, especially with field/dry corn varieties that have denser leafing than sweet corn, or they’ll get shaded out. They’re also a little more likely to be overrun by large squash varieties if we go with a three-species “trinity” mound, so we may have to use bush-type summer squashes.
However, they’re pretty easy to step over for maintenance, and they’re fast-growing and fast-yielding. Packing low-growing bush beans in tightly lets us reap some weed and soil-evaporation suppression from them as well as squashes – or if our squash is in separate rows and mounds.
Bush beans won’t anchor our corn for us – although some bush types will send out a few 6-18” tendrils, particularly the “southern pea” types.
Especially if we’re after sweet corn or working with a bantam, or if we’re working in more limited space, bush beans may be the best option. Instead of traditional beans, we can also consider vining English peas or crowder peas for early and compact corn.
Historically, a near-pumpkin squash, gourd-like squashes, and small true pumpkins were planted as the third sister in elders gardens. We can use anything we want. Melons, trailing-vine squashes, or compact bush types, and even cucumbers offer pretty similar benefits.
Those options have the added advantage of those spiky vines surrounding the mound, which anecdotally deter pests and critters, but we can even use eggplant. It will do the same soil-shading job as the squashes.
There are a lot of planting plans out there for Three Sisters now. Some combine all three sisters in a trinity planting per mound, while many have squash on a separate mound. Some use 18” mounds, some suggests 3-5’.
One involves working inside a bucket-sized ring (roughly 12”). If you use that one, consider going easy on densities and fertilize heavily – that’s a lot of biomass in a very small space.
I also give my squash way more than 4-6”, my beans go more than 3” from my corn, and my mounds are usually more than 2-3’ on center, more similar to Wampanoag plantings.
Wampanoag systems also have an arc of sunflowers to the north with separate squash mounds and corn-bean mounds filling in a circle. Others suggest similar, but arrange the beans-corn mounds differently.
In a bed system versus mounds, I tend to max corn and beans through the center and stick whichever squash varieties I want on the ends of short beds, or create breaks with double or triple squash plants every 10-12’ on long beds. Others break up hilled rows and beds in smaller repeating patterns.
Mechanizing is as easy as setting up hoppers with different seed, and a third hopper or a second pass for a much-decreased squash planting 18-36” offset from them, or alternating rows of corn-and-beans with rows of squash.
If we’re using narrow beds/rows or containers, we can easily set up multiple pairs – a few bush beans with that squash, or a squash and a pole bean or two that are going to go up one trellis, and another with our corn and another few beans.