When Did Independence Become Illegal?

Over the last year, I have really started to notice a growing trend. At first, it was a news story here or there, usually talking about someplace far off. The news was disturbing, of course – people being forced to do this or that for violating some rule against what they could do on their land.

Then, I heard a story about a lady in Canada who had her sheep slaughtered by the authorities. They had to be killed to be tested for diseases. Let me repeat that: they had to be killed to be tested for diseases. None were found to be infected but all her livestock was dead. Her whole herd, wiped out. Zero compensation. In fact, she has thousands in legal fees to pay, plus all of her normal living expenses. Getting a flock of sheep back, same breed, is out of the question at this point (years later).

I wrote an article a while back about the illegal outdoor clothesline. People who live in HOAs (Home Owner Associations) know what I’m talking about. Many in the city also have laws that don’t allow clotheslines in yards, or have rules about not being able to see them from the road. Don’t even get me started on the rules against having food gardens in your front yard! I can understand why some municipalities would want to limit it: untended gardens can cause real pest problems. What I am talking about are blanket laws passed that limit what people can do on the property they own.

It’s like there’s an all out war against living independently from the grid.

I grew up in Alaska. You can still buy land here that isn’t part of any municipality and that means you truly own the land. No taxes, no restrictions (other than state safety and sanitation regulations), and no one to tell you “You can’t do that on your property!” Growing up, I thought that’s how it was. That was my normal. Imagine my horror, learning that people could get their land taken from them for not paying taxes or because the municipality decided they wanted to build a new road, right where your house is. You have no rights, no authority. You are responsible, but you have little authority against government (local or otherwise) entities.

Now I’m seeing people who are being kicked out of their homes because they live in tiny houses. I read about people who have their own grid with water, sewer, and electrical being forced to tie into the grid. I see people who are being told they have to remove a pond off their property because of some new law (never mind that the pond had been there over 100 years with fish and wildlife depending on it). Oh, and they had to pay for the removal, too.

It’s like there’s an all out war against living independently from the grid. It’s almost as if you’re a criminal because you don’t need what the government provides. You don’t need the electrical company’s power, you have your own – and you’re a criminal for it. Recently, here on my home island, the local utility company decided that everyone must pay water fees, even if there is no one living in the domicile. What that means is if you have a vacation home or a duplex, and no one is living there or using the water, you still have to pay. And there is little anyone can do about this ‘legal’ theft.

“If we aren’t being taught how to grow our own food, how to take care of ourselves and our families, and how to live without the need for huge governments, banks or corporations – as our ancestors once did – then we aren’t being educated; we are being indoctrinated to be dependent and subservient to the system~Gavin Nascimento.”

Of course, on top of all of that, there’s the requirement for licensing on everything from marriage to hunting, fishing to using the national parks set aside for our use. And though we have “the right to bear arms and defend ourselves from those who would do us harm,” we have to effectively get permission and go through hoops from the government to do so. The laws get more and more strict for the law abiding citizens, making it harder for us to exercise the right while the criminals are toodling along, bypassing all the red tape and still getting as many guns as they want. The “Gun Free Zones” are prime target areas to create victims, too. The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun and that is a time tested truth. To stop the bad guy, you need a good guy with the same or larger ‘stick/rock/etc.’ But I digress.

There are raids on homes for growing food and raising livestock. I recall an article about a couple who bought growing equipment for an indoor hydroponic set up and were raided by police, SWAT-style. It was believed they were growing marijuana. Charges were never filed because nothing was found. The leaves found and tested in their trash, on 3 separate occasions, were found to be tea leaves, not cannabis.

There was a time in this country when the same government not only encouraged keeping chickens and having a “victory garden,” you were considered patriotic for doing so! Homesteading was patriotic. Oh, how times have changed. Now, you have to perform feats of super human patience and paperwork-filling skills just to get the organic label to put on food you may sell from your homestead/farm to the public. The government is perfectly OK with all these chemical sprays and dusts put onto our food as it grows but you have to go through some crazy stuff to prove you aren’t using any. The system is completely backwards and I strongly believe that is a direct results of Big Agra and their lobbyers.

“We can’t let these people grow and make and do for themselves! Then we lose profit! We lose control! Our investors will suffer!”

The world is so angry now, or perhaps I am just more aware of it due to social media and instant information. In many ways, instant information has decreased the value of knowledge. It’s so easy to just look something up that committing anything to memory isn’t done the same way.

I used to have dozens of phone numbers memorized when I was a kid. Not so much anymore – just pop open your smartphone and tap the picture! Knowledge is no longer earned, therefore its value has decreased. Now, that is not to say that the internet and social media hasn’t had some positive influences – I learned to can food (both water bath and pressure styles) because of videos and articles online! I learned a great deal about gardening in my zone (7b) and would not have had the successes I did when I started if not for it.

The desire to be away from cities, work the land, and provide for yourself is under attack. Not everyone can just up and move to the country and live the life they truly want. I’m currently one of them (working on it though!).

What Preppers Are REALLY Getting Ready For

No matter what your ‘disaster’ is, we are all truly just getting ready for the same basic thing. Some would say survival, others would say catastrophe or crisis. At the end of the day, we are all just preparing for an interruption in the day-to-day life we’re used to.

The media always seems to show that all ‘preppers’ are getting ready for some huge event. Some end-of-times, biblical, end-of-the-world chaos. While there are those out there who focus on one type of disaster, this is far from the norm. Very far.

Most preppers are people who don’t even realize they are preppers! It’s not prepping, it’s life! They’re just people who live in areas where things can get a little crazy – usually from Mother Nature. Those who label themselves as preppers tend to plan for general chaos instead of assuming that, out of all the possibilities for disasters out there, theirs is the one that is most likely to happen. Now, I’m not judging these people but I do feel it’s a bit short sighted to focus on only one type of scenario. Part of preparedness is flexibility and the ability to adapt. Focusing on only one situation doesn’t make much sense unless you are mastering something and then moving on.

So, if we are all preparing for is a disruption to our normal day-to-day, what can we do to help smooth it out? What are we really getting ready for? We are preparing to make sure that if the water stops working, we have back up. If a wildfire or bug infestation wipes out our entire garden, we have backup food stored and ready to be eaten. If the main bread winner loses their income, we have supplies and food stored up so we don’t have to spend money on it – letting the limited funds go to other things instead. If we lose heat, we have alternative ways to stay warm. The list goes on and on. It’s also not the same list for everyone. In fact, there really is only one “One Size Fits All” prepping plan. All humans need the same basic things to survive. The difference comes in how those needs are prepared for and that is, again, different for everyone.

We are prepping for an interruption of the norm so that we can get through it with less stress and worry.

For us, we fish, hunt, and forage to help supplement our food. I also garden as much as I am able and will be expanding to a larger garden so we can provide more for ourselves. I take comfort and pride in having more control over my food – where it comes from, how it was grown/hunted, how it was handled, and how it was preserved. I have retaken control over my food from Big Agra and the USDA. I don’t need a sticker telling me it’s organic, I know it is because I grew it!

The Bottom Line

No matter whether you consider yourself a “prepper” or not, you do prepare for things on a daily basis. Paying your insurance, for example, is a way to be prepared for the unforeseen. Making sure your smoke alarm batteries are charged is another example. Buying food staples in bulk, when on sale, and storing it would definitely fall into the category of ‘prepping’ because the majority of the population doesn’t do that anymore. The average American household only has about a week’s worth of food, especially in the city.

Toss the media hype out the window. Honestly. Just do it and start thinking for yourself again. What is so wrong or “over the top” about having some supplies set back in case you need them? You don’t need a huge pantry, underground bunker, or arsenal of firearms to survive. What you do need though, is a plan. Starting with enough food and water for a week for everyone in your home (don’t forget Fido and Whiskers!) is a fantastic and achievable goal. There’s some great comfort in knowing that you have an “ace in the hole” that you put there for your family. It doesn’t have to break the bank and it doesn’t have to be extreme. We are prepping for an interruption of the norm so that we can get through it with less stress and worry.

Wouldn’t it be better to rely on yourself instead of waiting for the government or other authority to come and give you what you need?

Diapering During An Emergency (Or the SHTF)

When you first become a parent, one of the decisions you have to make is the type of diapers you use for your little bundle of joy. Cloth or disposables? A lot of people will already have an answer in mind. When the SHTF, will your choice still be the same?

In the current state of our world, we are relatively free to make decisions about how we will raise our children. There may be many factors that may contribute to our decision making process, including:

  • Is the environment important to me?
  • Do I have the time to commit to cleaning them?
  • Do I need an option that is convenient?
  • How much money am I willing to spend?

Cloth Diapers

I always knew that I wanted to use cloth diapers. When you consider the impact on the environment, cloth diapers certainly win the question of what is going to cause less waste.

They tend to win the cost factor as well. You can expect to pay anything from $200 for a second hand diaper stash up to thousands if you’re buying them brand new. However, this still works out cheaper than buying a pack of disposables every week. Even if you are buying the disposables in bulk, you would have to get a really good deal to be able to beat the savings to be made with cloth.

Disposable Diapers

The convenience of disposables is undeniable. As much as it hurts the earth loving mama in me to admit, being able to roll up that ball of destruction and throw it in the bin is certainly convenient. No rinsing, pre-washing or stain removing. Washing, let alone the time spent hanging them out, bring them back in and folding them, certainly adds up.

When our family moved interstate, we were staying in temporary accommodation and didn’t have regular access to a washing machine. This means that when it comes to diapers, we had to either go to the laundry mat or use disposables. Yes, we took the convenient option. To make myself feel a bit better about this decision, we chose to go with compostable disposables. This bumped the price up.

I never thought that we would be in a position to want to use disposables. Overnight and outings are often times where even people using cloth may consider using an alternative. We were still happy using cloth. Our experience taught me one thing.

Don’t Forget to Visit Mama Zed’s Homestead Site!

Cloth diapering is completely and utterly impractical if the SHTF.

When you’re considering the items for your bug out bag, you will not be reaching for the bulky cloth parcels that would take up the majority of the space. You won’t be more than doubling your drinking water stash to make sure that you have enough to be able to wash them.

You’ll be packing disposables.

Cheap, easy to stock up on, disposables.

Of course, there is an exception to this. If you were in a long term situation where you had constant access to clean water and could wash cloth diapers, it may be more achievable and could even be more practical. Rather than trying to find a constant supply of disposables, you could try and make cloth diapers work.

If you need to pack diapers in your bug out bag:

  • Do a test run with your baby first – You don’t want to find out later on that the brand leaks or that your baby has an adverse reaction to them.
  • Keep an eye on your stockpile –  As with your other emergency supplies, they will need to be rotated. Good luck trying to diaper a toddler with newborn sized diapers because you forgot to do this.
  • Don’t forget the other accessories – As a parent, you already know that diapers aren’t the only part of the baby cleaning process. You’ll need to make sure you have a solution for wipes and creams as well.

There is always one more option. Hope that toilet training becomes easy and that your baby miraculously picks it up really fast!

Dreams are free right?

You can find more from MamaZed on Facebook, Pinterest, and www.mamazedshomestead.com.

3 Reasons Why I EDC A Water Filter (And Bottle!)

I always have a water bottle on me. All.The.Time. Since giving up soda pop (I miss the bubbles sooo much), I’ve taken to being one of those women who haul around a reusable water bottle like an extra appendage. I also EDC a water filter or always have one close at hand and it has come in handy more times than I can count!

First off, I know it seems a little odd to most people to carry a water filter with them. I carry a backpack everyday and it has all sorts of bits and bobs in there that have shown me an EDC bag isn’t just for disasters! When it comes to the lifestyle I live, not to mention where (rural Alaska), an adventure or afternoon hike can lead you to places you didn’t expect! Having water, and the means to reliably filter more, is a big deal and this is the first reason I carry one.

We have tried both the LifeStraw and the Sawyer water filters. For us, we much prefer the Sawyer system for several reasons.

  • Smaller
  • Filters more
  • Comes with cleaning system to purge the filter
  • Comes with a heavy duty plastic bag that can be used for gravity filtering and water storing

They are roughly the same price. I go into more details on different emergency water filter solutions in another article. The purpose of this one is not to compare different options, but more to discuss the importance and ease of having one close at hand, if not carried everyday like I do.

Water is life. Without it, you won’t last more than 3 days. This is my second reason for carrying a water filter. Most people don’t consider how much water they really use in a day, a week, or a month. Between hygiene and cooking, not to mention lawns, car washing, and laundry, the average person uses 80 – 100 gallons of water per day! (source) So, it kind of makes sense that we should take some simple steps to increase our chances of having access to safe, potable water.

Last year, my husband and I took a 3 mile hike (one way) to a lake. The hike itself isn’t too bad – there is a boardwalk and stairs for most of it. There are some good elevation climbs here and there but when you’re out of shape…let’s just say we went through the water much faster than we’d thought we would. We had 3 liters between us but by the time we made it to the lake itself, we were out.

It was pouring down rain, which helped for a swallow or two. Of course, we were prepared with our Sawyer filter and Kelly Kettle (reviewed here) so it wasn’t the end of the world. We didn’t have to worry about getting sick from drinking unfiltered (and boiled!) water.

The third reason I carry one on me, or have access to one at all times, is because it’s small and easy, so why not? I don’t care one iota what other people think of me. They can think I am some crazy prepper or survivalist all they want. I know I will have clean and safe water – something taken for granted by most in the United States. I would rather be in charge of my own needs and being prepared to meet those needs is something I take seriously. Water is kind of a big deal for us to survive and grow.

All joking aside, there are more good reasons to carry a water filter with you than there are reasons not to. The bottom line is when you need a water filter….there’s usually a pretty good reason. Preparedness isn’t just for some major natural or man made disaster. It’s for dealing with the malarky that comes after the disaster. Water is just as important as air and that is why I will not be caught without my water bottle and filter!

WANT MORE!? Follow the links to see what a few of the Prepared Bloggers always carry in their EDC. Would you feel safer with these items close at hand?

Shelle at PreparednessMama always carries cash, find out why and how much she recommends.

John at 1776 Patriot USA tell us the 5 reasons he thinks his pistol is the essential item to have.

LeAnn at Homestead Dreamer won’t be caught without her handy water filter.

Justin at Sheep Dog Man has suggestions for the best flashlights to carry every day.

Bernie at Apartment Prepper always carries two knives with her, find out what she recommends.

Nettie at Preppers Survive has a cool way to carry duct tape that you can duplicate.

Todd at Ed That Matters tells us about the one item you’ll always go back for…your cell phone

Erica at Living Life in Rural Iowa knows how important her whistle can be when you want to be safe.

Todd at Survival Sherpa always carries 3 essential fire starters wherever he goes.

The Easy Way To Harvest Seeds

I want to learn, and hone, how to harvest seeds from my garden for the next year’s crop. To me, it is the ultimate in self reliance! No more seed ordering every year or the expense that goes with it. Not that my seed cost is huge, mind you, but that’s not the point. The problem is, I have a lazy streak that doesn’t do me any favors.

Because of that, I tend to try and learn the easier things first. It helps me feel like I am accomplishing something and able to see some results more quickly. I’ve fiddled around with seed saving before, successfully at that, but I feel I got lucky more than anything. I got a wild hair and decided to take a few pinto beans from a bag I had in the pantry and planted them to see what would happen. Well, the plant grew and a few pods survived the slug battle of 2014. I ended up getting a small handful of beans that eventually ended up in a soup pot but hey, I did it!

Beyond peas and beans, however, are things like carrots and onions. What about those? You plant them, then harvest and never see any signs of seeds. That’s because they are a biennial plant – meaning they need two years to fulfill its full life cycle. To get seeds, you need to let the plants overwinter and grow again. While the carrots and onions are still edible the second year, they aren’t very palatable.

The plants will flower and make seeds that you harvest when dried! Simple as that. You don’t need to let that many plants overwinter, either! Depending how large your crops are of each type of biennial, it’s unlikely you would need more than 5 (3 should be sufficient in all honesty). Each plant will give you dozens, if not hundreds, of seeds but it’s always wide to plan for crop failure. If you only have 2 carrots that you let overwinter and they both fail, you’re sunk. It’s also a good idea to not have all the ones you’re going to let ‘go to seed’ in one area. This will reduce the chance of it all going bad or succumbing to pests or other issues.

To me, it seems lazy – almost like you’re cheating! “All I have to do is not pick a few carrots or onions and I get seeds?” Yes. Now, the trick is to make sure you leave behind a few each year for the next year’s crops. Over time, and so many seasons, your plants will have evolved some to better survive in the climate you are growing in. It’s just nature’s way of adapting! A fine example is the garlic we grow. We got several bulbs from a lady who has been growing the same variety in her garden for over 20 years. The variety is a Killarney Red which grows well in a wet climate in general. We have a really wet climate and it holds up to the hard winds and feet of rain it will get in a growing season.

Speaking of garlic, and growing it, this is another ‘seed’ that is just about the easiest seed to harvest and plant! The cloves themselves are the seed! Take note: garlic will not split properly unless you plant it in the fall before the first freeze. For more information on how I learned that particular lesson, click here (will open in new tab)!

There are many other plants that are biennials and make for some incredibly easy seed harvesting:

  • Cabbage
  • Beets
  • Kale
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Parsley
  • Celery
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Leeks

With a little research, you’ll realize that you can get off the revolving seed ordering ride and start saving your own instead! Just make sure they are good and dry before storing them. Generally speaking, the flowers that will grow seed pods dry out and you just have to shake the pod into a bowl to get the seeds. See? Incredibly easy!

Do you harvest seeds to plant the next year? Share below, including tips and tricks – you may just inspire someone (or save them a headache!). 

What If You Had To Bug Out In Winter?

Being in the thick of winter, it can be a winter wonderland or a frozen version of hell on earth. What if you, and everyone around you, had to evacuate your warm home? Where would you bug out to? I asked Dan Sullivan for his thoughts on this and below is what he shared with me!

With freezing temperatures across the US and Europe, I wonder how many preppers have thought about the possibility that a SHTF event could occur during the winter. It’s a serious question, one that could, in fact, get you to tear your bug out bag apart, so you can add some of the items I’m about to recommend in this article.

Now, I know on some survival shows you see people bugging out during hot, summer days, but what are the odds of that happening? 1 in 4? Maybe less… but if you have to evacuate when there’s snow everywhere, it is going to be tough.

To make sure you’re as prepared as possible, let’s talk about some of the things you should bring with you when you flee that are winter specific.

#1. Cough, Cold and Flu Medication

This weekend I was supposed to go on a hike. Not a long one, we were going to come back in less than two hours. I was all packed but, when I woke up the next morning, I already had fever and could barely move.

Needless to say, the recovery was not easy. I took a lot of medicine and I obviously had to stay inside, all this while my friend was sending me photos of him up on that mountain. But this poses a very good question: what are the odds of you catching a cold while bugging out during winter? Will the shelter you make be warm enough? What if you have to be on the move no matter what?

One way to ensure a speedy recovery is to have the right meds. Cough medicine, antibiotics, a thermometer, hot water (to make tea), tissues and so on… will you have all of these as you’re bugging out?

If you don’t and you’re away from home with no possibility of returning, a flu can not only mean the end of your bug out, but it can also complicate itself to the point you can get really sick.

#2. Warm Clothes

I briefly mentioned you’re going to need a place to stay that’s warm and can keep a constant temperature. The trouble is, most survival shelters will NOT be warm enough if there will be freezing temperatures outside.

So what can you do? You need to pack warm clothes: thick socks (preferably wool), a jacket, a wool or polyester top and a wool scarf, if you have one. To make sure they all fit, you may want to consider slimmer mountain equipment and get the layers right.

Just keep in mind that the things that are in the bag are one thing. The other crucial thing is that you need to dress really warm the moment you evacuate.

Think several layers of clothes, your hiking boots, gloves, a thick warm hat and a pair of thick pants. Keep in mind that if you have to walk through thick snow, some may end up inside your boots and some of it will stick to your pants.

#3. Your bug out vehicle

It’s not just you who has to get ready for winter, your car also has to be ready for snow and freezing temperatures. If you don’t have 4-wheel drive, maybe it’s time to consider getting such a car. Plus, you’re going to need winter and snow tires and even chains, in case you need to get over an icy surface.

Snow, ice, and cold temperatures give headaches to drivers every single year, I cannot imagine what these people would do if they had to evacuate during the winter. This actually raises an interesting question: what would traffic be like in a winter evacuation? Put panicked people behind the wheel of a vehicle that’s not prepared and they could easily lose control and run into you.

#4. Camping inside your vehicle is probably the best idea

Sure, there are plenty of ideas for bug out vehicles out there: bikes, skate-boards, ATVs and what not… but most of them are simply unfit for winter. If you have a car, on the other hand, and you get stuck in a traffic jam or in snow, you and your family can stay relatively warm and relatively safe for days on end.

Of course, you can’t just consume your fuel to keep warm, you should pack up on things such as blankets and hand warmers and foot warmers.

Tip: if you’re stuck in a snowstorm, one other reason not to turn on the engine is that, if the exhaust pipe gets clogged with snow, you risk asphyxiating everyone with the CO that could build up inside the car.

#5. Boost your immunity

Some people get cold and flu really easy, others can swim naked in ice-cold water and be fine. Why? We all have different immunities. The good news is, we can all improve our body’s defense mechanisms by altering our habits

The starting point of doing that is to see your doctor, of course. Take basic medical tests and you’ll uncover vitamin deficiencies as well as other problems that, once fixed, would mean you’re less likely to come down with the common cold.

Once you’ve taken care of your urgent health issues, it’s time to really give your immunity a boost. There are plenty of ways to do that, including:

  • Eating more fruits and veggies every day
  • Eating and drinking less processed sugar (such as Coke and sweets) because they’re responsible for a huge number of people getting sick every year
  • Exercise regularly and go on hikes, even during the winter, to get your body used to low temperatures

If you were thinking of buying yet another knife or gun, or even stockpiling more food, I think you’ll agree with me: The advice given in this article has made you look at things from a different perspective. Sure, getting more of the same is great, but uncovering holes in your survival plans is even better! No one really knows when SHTF will hit for them, what if it does so during winter?

Good luck!

Dan F. Sullivan



The Realistic Prepping Plan

It seems no matter which way you turn lately, there’s someone trying to tell you that you need to prep and unless you have X, Y, and Z, you will fail. You will suffer. Your kids will suffer. “But if you buy this one item, you’ll be all set!” How about a realistic prepping plan? I have a problem with sites that fear monger people into a panic and then try to sell them something!


To do battle against those fear mongering sites, I decided to give another point of view. A more logical one. Something that isn’t so far fetched as to make a person never even start prepping (like buying a year’s worth of freeze dried food for 4 in one shot). Honestly, who can afford to buy a bunker and have it buried? Not many and truthfully, it’s completely unrealistic.

What’s needed is a plan that makes sense, is achievable by just about everyone, and is more down to earth. It also needs to be something done in steps, built over time. The twist is there’s only one real “one size fits all” prepper plan (having food, water, warmth, and shelter). It requires each individual or group to put some thought and work into making a plan that works for them. People in Alaska would need different stuff than those in Florida. The only thing that’s the same is what every human needs to live.

To make a realistic prepping plan, you need to define certain things first:

  • Who will you be prepping for? How many? (Don’t forget the pets!)
  • What kind of natural disasters do you have in your area? It’s more likely a natural disaster will happen than WWIII breaking out.
  • Will natural disasters force you to leave your home?
  • How long do you think you would be waiting (before help comes, etc)?

Yes, there are thousands of little details but we’re focusing on being simple, reasonable, and realistic. Yes, the disaster could be man made but that isn’t as probable as the stormy season causing a flood. Focus on things you know will come instead of something more far fetched.

You need to decide for yourself how much food you want to store. The government’s site, Ready.gov, suggests having at least 3 days of food and water for each person in your home. That’s a great start! I recommend you read some of what they have to say about getting started and things you may want to consider adding to your preps.

For us, we started with a week of supplies being the goal. The problem with that is you need a lot of storage space and good imagination to work around it. Not only that, it needs to be the right kind of storage space. A family of 4 would need enough room for 28 gallons of water for a week! We certainly didn’t have that much space (even for the 2 of us) and opted to store 3 days of water and get some Sawyer Water Filters that are just fantastic. They work so much better than the Life Straws. There are many water filter options out there and I recommend you look around to find which ones would work best for your family.

You want to make sure you’re buying food that your family actually eats. A disaster situation is bad enough; you don’t need your three year old losing their minds because you’re trying to feed them new foods. The food needs to be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place with as little temperature fluctuations as possible. Worst case scenario, a closet will work. Twice a year, you should check the expiration dates of what you have stored. Anything getting close to expiring can be rotated into your regular stocks and replaced.

You’ve got a start on food and water. Now you need to consider shelter (with a backup plan if possible) and ways to stay warm. If you are lucky enough to have a wood stove, you’re covered on all sorts of things. For the rest of us, there are several options. One of the most effective methods of staying warm when the power is out is to choose one room that will be kept warm. Using plastic sheeting, blankets (if you can spare them) or other coverings over doors and windows will hold heat in. Close the doors to all other rooms and gather everyone inside!

Other things to consider and plan for is how you will cook, flush the toilets, and deal with hygiene/garbage. Disease is as much a threat to you as the disaster itself. In some cases, disease is an even bigger threat!

Should you have to leave your shelter, having some packs made up that you can grab and go with is a fantastic way to make sure you have a fighting chance. An alternative, though a bit extreme, would be to make supply caches. Each person carries with them enough food and supplies for 48 hours. Don’t make them too heavy. What you decide to put in them is up to you and your circumstances. BUYER BEWARE: if the item seems too good to be true, it is. Do your research and try to get items that are tried and true. Anything that is multipurpose is especially valuable.

Remember: you need food, water, shelter, and warmth to survive. Start small, 3 days minimum. Build up to a week or so. Then, decide whether or not you’re comfortable there or want to go further. For many, a week will suffice. For others, three months isn’t long enough. There is no right or wrong here. To each their own! Each person who preps for disasters makes the whole that much stronger.

Most new preppers make their first mistakes in the earliest stages of ‘waking up.’ If you haven’t already read The 5 Stages New Preppers Go Through, I highly recommend it. I’ve had more emails and feedback from that one article than any other in the last 3 years. I wrote it from the heart and it has rung true, to varying degrees, with thousands of people. It helps you realize that you’re not alone and, most importantly, you can do this!