SHTF

The Prepper’s Exhaustive Guide to Sleep Saboteurs

by Todd Walker

Catching enough zzzz’s can be difficult. A hungry infant, tomorrow’s big presentation at work, blogging, paying bills, TV, a novel you can’t put down, catching up with visiting relatives, or little Johnny’s science project – good or bad – all serve as sleep saboteurs.

The Prepper Exhaustive Guide to Sleep Saboteurs

Image source: Mommasgonecity.com

These all happen in ‘normal’ times and leave us feeling half-baked! I still remember being a sleepless zombie for a year after our first daughter was born. Will she ever sleep through the night!?!?

Now imagine the nightmarish effect a wide-scale disaster scenario will have on our physiological need for quality sleep. Being sleepless in Seattle or anywhere else for an extended period of time will only increase your chances of not making it out alive.

Not getting enough sleep makes us sloppy. We can cope with some sloppiness when times are good. Our modern medical systems are in place to cover our mistakes.

However, you need to be functioning on all cylinders in the crunch. No matter how much stuff, skills, and knowledge you’ve acquired, fatigue makes cowards of us all.

Have you thought about how you plan to get enough sleep WTSHTF?

Your natural circadian rhythm can be ignored, but not for long – and not without consequences. When all hell is breaking loose around you and your family, your body and mind need sleep to survive. Not the one-eye-wide-open variety. But the deep, dead-to-the-world type that restores the body, mind, and soul.

When the crunch arrives, sleep as we know it will change – suddenly.

The Sandman cometh

Off the top of my well-rested head, here’s the science on how insufficient sleep will sabotage your health and survival:

  • Accelerates aging and may increase age-related pathologies like cancer. Have you ever heard this line before. I used to say it myself. “I can sleep when I’m dead.” Insufficient sleep will oblige and speed up your journey.
  • Associated with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.
  • Heading over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving? Just realize that 1 in 10 of your fellow travelers have fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. Drowsy driving is responsible for 16.5 percent of deadly crashes.
  • You want to consolidate and use all those new survival skills you’ve been learning, right? A group of researchers in Switzerland found that sufficient sleep was the key to good memory and increases our ability to perform new skills.
  • Group cohesion is likely to come unglued if your tribe doesn’t have enough people to pull graveyard guard shifts for those who are sleeping. The stressors in survival situations take a toll on our bodies, minds, emotions, and overall health. Add sleep deprivation to the mix and the attitude of your group will likely take on a more negative tint.
  • Poor sleep disrupts metabolic function. That’s right, sleepless nights are linked to obesity and diabetes. This study shows data supporting the role of sleep in the regulation of glucose homeostasis and the hormones involved in the regulation of appetite. For preppers wanting to lose weight and build lean muscle mass, get quality sleep before the reset.
  • Reaction time slows. Instead of responding alertly to a threat, sleep deprived individuals are slower to react than those who are well rested. This could be costly when seconds count.

The main occupational hazard of survivalists is dying. When our sleep equilibrium is out of whack, nature finds a way to balance the equation. Our body stops functioning at peak capacity in an effort to restore and rebuild. That’s not something you can afford in the coming collapse. You need to be strong to be useful.

Sleepless nights will abound in an extended SHTF scenario. Food, water, shelter, security, and personal hygiene are top priorities in the preparedness community. If you’ve got these basics taken care of, congrats! However, you’ll be reeling in regret if you neglect sleep hygiene.

Sleep hygiene simply means getting proper amounts of quality sleep.

This photo shows an owl perched at a tree bran...

In case it hasn’t dawned on you yet, a scheduled sleep plan is one of the most important, yet most neglected, parts of long-term survival with the added bonus of chronic good health!

To turn your dream of quality pillow time into reality, here’s my Sherpa tips for creating a Survival Sleep Hygiene Plan.

Tips for a Survival Sleep Hygiene Plan

A.) Listen to your biological clock

It becomes more important to follow our natural sleep cycle as we age. Over the last four years my sleep patterns have changed. It may have something to do with following a Primal/Paleo lifestyle. I get sleepy and go to bed around 8 to 9 PM and get up between 4 to 5 AM – without an alarm clock. I stare in silence at my lunch table buddies when the conversation turns to who won American Idol or Dancing with the Stars. They know not to include me since I’m in dreamland at that hour. I’m sure I didn’t miss any significant stuff.

B.) Schedule your sleep

As much as possible, stick to a regular bedtime and wakeup schedule. If you have children, you already know the importance a sleep schedule.

If you can’t sleep with the thought of missing your favorite TV show, record it and watch it later. Better yet, unplug it during the work week. Your body will thank you the morning after! In a crisis, mindless entertainment won’t be on your immediate list of priorities anyway.

C.) Find your balance

The average person needs 7-9 hours of shut-eye each night. Too little or too much sleep adds oxidative stress.

D.) Light discipline

This one may be easy to come by if our fragile power grid goes bye-bye. Until the lights go out, sleep is best had in total darkness. Even the glow of LED lights on an alarm clock can interrupt sleep. Cover your alarm clock or just ditch it. Your rooster will let you know when it’s morning time.

Outdoor security lights can be blocked with blackout window shades – useful to keep light inside your house when the need arises.

E.) Avoid the blue glow after dark

Bright light is linked to a decrease in melatonin, the hormone that helps control your natural sleep-wake cycle. Filling your eyes with bright lights before bedtime will have you counting too many sheep.

A word of caution: Melatonin supplements are sold as a natural, safe sleep aid. It’s a hormone – not a vitamin – and can cause damage if miss used!

Blue light emitted from your computer and TV mimics sunlight. Consider installing Flux to make your screen match the light in your room.

For night-time TV viewing, try wearing a pair of orange tinted safety goggles to filter out the blue light. Since I don’t watch much TV, I haven’t tried this geeky trick.

F.) Get more natural blue light

Our primitive ancestors spent lots of time outdoors in the sunlight. Natural light can help regulate your circadian rhythm. Escape your artificially lit cubical and step into the sunlight on work breaks for a natural shot blue light and fresh air.

G.) Room temperature

Dirt Road Girl and I sleep best when it’s cold in the bedroom. We open a window for cold air flow in the winter. Of course, make sure you have security measures in place for open windows.

My best sleep happens at our off-grid cabin in cold weather. No lights and cold sheets. Snuggling under wool blankets is a valid heat source! In the spring/summer/fall, I like to take a deep dive into the spring-fed portion of the lake to cool down before jumping in bed.

H.) Physical exertion before bed

Regular exercise is great for optimal health. But working out just before hitting the sack without giving your body time to cool down can hamstring quality sleep. A few minutes of light stretching before bed should be okay.

I.) No big meals before bedtime

J.) Burn a candle

Lighting candles not only adds a romantic mood while eating Meals Ready to Eat in your survival lair, fire light doesn’t emit artificial blue light. Plus, you might get lucky with this added sleep aid.

K.) Read a book before bed

Nothing new here.

L.) De-gadget your bedroom

Get rid of TV’s, phones, electronic devices, and any other potential sleep saboteurs in the bedroom. That includes pets.

M.) Take a short nap

A 20 to 30 minute power nap has been shown to increase productivity. Maybe your boss will catch on.

N.) Does your city ever sleep?

Mr. Rawles of SurvivalBlog.com may be right about the American Redoubt.

Map of Sleep Insufficiency:

The map below depicts age-adjusted* percentage of adults who reported 30 days of insufficient rest or sleep† during the preceding 30 days. Data is from the 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States.‡

A map of the United States displaying the Percentage of Adults Reporting 30 Days Insufficient Rest of Sleep During Preceding 30 Days
* Age adjusted to 2000 projected U.S. population.
† Determined by response to the question, “During the past 30 days, for about how many days have you felt you did not get enough rest or sleep?”
‡ Includes the 50 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Map Source

Sleep has been viewed as a passive event and a waste of time by some. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sleep is vital to your survival! Find a way to let melatonin do its night-time job of restoring and repairing your body tissue and cells. 

Are you sick and tired of being exhausted? Get ahead of the herd by starting your Survival Sleep Hygiene Plan before the next crisis erupts.

Stop yawning and let us know your thoughts in the comments. Life is short – sleep hard!

Keep Doing the Stuff!

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

Categories: Preparedness, SHTF, TEOTWAWKI, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Would You Choose Chuck Norris to Survive?

by Todd Walker

I hate hypothetical scenarios with situational ethics.

would-you-choose-chuck-norris-to-survive?

Remember the roundhouse! Source

In a recent training for fellow math teachers, our instructor started off the day with ‘what if’ situation. I’m normally bored to death at these types of trainings. My prepper ears perked up when she threw this bomb at us.

She tells the class that we are about to be bombed. There’s a bunker that only holds 4 people. The problem is that there are five people needing shelter: a doctor, parent, lawyer, athlete, and movie star.

“Who would you choose to survive in the bunker?” she said.

She divided us up into five groups and assigned each group a character to represent. I was randomly chosen to be in the ‘movie star’ group.

She gave us 3 minutes to devise a plan to convince the other four characters that we deserved to be saved from the bomb. Of course my Survival Sherpa brain went into overdrive.

We were the last group to plead our case. I was elected spokesman for our group with one minute to argue our point and one minute for rebuttal. My opening line was…

“Hi. I’m Chuck Norris.”

You’d think that would be enough. Apparently not. The movie star was eventually voted out after being tied with the lawyer.

I tell this story not to make you think about who would be the most valuable in a TEOTWAWKI bunker. But to stop you, or at least slow you down, from judging preppers by their day jobs.

Let’s break down each of the characters voted into the survival shelter in this exercise in futility. No background knowledge was given for any of the potential bunker residents.

Doctor

The doctor argued about the ability to save lives, medically speaking. Everyone needs a good doctor, right? Doctors know how the body works and how to heal… blah, blah, blah.

My rebuttal: The last two years of DRG’s battle with cancer taught us that modern medical doctors are not very useful without modern medical technology. That’s why it’s called ‘practicing’ medicine. Without electronic equipment and BigPharma’s pills, doctors may not add much value in the bunker.

I would a prefer a general practitioner over a specialist in this case. Maybe an older country doctor that was use to making house calls and not afraid to use unconventional methods.

SmartPrepper Tip: Stocking up on medicine and medical supplies is smart. A more important resource is to develop skills and knowledge in alternative medicine and herbal remedies. The pills will eventually run out.

Parent

The main argument to keep the parent was for procreation. We’ll need breeders to repopulate after weathering the storm. Plus they have nurturing skills.

Rebuttal: (I didn’t add to this one) Others pointed out that the other three would have the same fertility properties as the parent. Note: gender was not specified for any of the participants. I think everyone assumed ‘parent’ meant mom.

Lawyer

One of my good friends argued the benefits of keeping the lawyer. She noted that we would need a lawyer who understood legalese when it came time to rebuild and write a new constitution.

My rebuttal: One reason we’re in the mess we’re in today is because lawyers were involved in writing our Constitution. It’s not that cut and dried, I know.

Immediately, another teacher from the lawyer’s firm piped up and declared, “The U.S. Constitution was written by farmer not lawyers.” Yes, she was demonstrating her vast knowledge of history and the success of our indoctrinating system of education. Not a critical thought in the collective’s head.

Athlete

This person made it into the bunker. They pointed out the benefits of having a strong, healthy person to do the heavy lifting. The athlete would also add speed and endurance and good genes for the parent in procreation.

Rebuttal: The physical strength of the athlete was intimidating for some. Many argued that he/she would take over and rule the group by sheer force.

Making Judgements without Background Knowledge

Choosing any of the above characters for survivability without background knowledge is an exercise in futility. The lawyer, my least favorite, could have been one of my readers who is a multitasking SmartPrepper who values personal liberty. I’d still want him/her on a short leash ;)

The parent could be Lisa Bedford, The Survival Mom, or James Wesley Rawles of Survival Blog, or an unknown SmartPrepper busy doing the stuff.

The point is to get to know people when building tribe. Don’t make hasty judgements on who can and can’t add value to your group. Vetting is important and takes time. You won’t get to know other people if you’re not in an active, ongoing relationship.

And just so you know, Chuck Norris doesn’t need a bunker anyway. He is the bunker!

Just for fun, out of these, who would you choose?

Keep doing the stuff!

Todd

P.S.

As always, if anything from this site adds value to your life, please pass it on. You can also connect with us on TwitterPinterest, and our new Facebook page.

Any information on this site may be shared freely, in part or whole, with a link back to this site crediting the author. Thanks for sharing the stuff!

P.P.S.

Tomorrow this blog will be participating in our first ‘blog hop’. Something new. Be sure to check it out!

 

Categories: Preparedness, SHTF, Survival, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , | 8 Comments

Stump Shooting as a Survival Skill

by Todd Walker

Flinging arrows at archery targets in a controlled environment helps you master the fundamentals of archery. If you’re bored with a sterile target range, grab your stick and string and hit the woods for a dress rehearsal for bow season – or survival.

Stump Shooting as a Survival Skill

A little stump shooting in a target-rich environment!

Stump shooting, for those unfamiliar with the practice, is simply walking through the wilderness, with bow and arrow in hand, and shooting at decaying stumps, dirt mounds, foliage, or other natural targets. I use to go stumpin’ often in my younger days. Those were some fun adventures!

I still enjoy stump shooting. However, as archery season gets closer, stumping becomes a bit more serious.

If you are averse to killing game animals in good times, learning how to get close to animals, even if you only shoot them with your camera, is a skill worth adding to your survival set.

Sherpa Tip: In a complete break down of society and collapse scenario, hunting for meat should be used by baiting game animals. This only applies to true survival situations (WROL – Without Rule Of Law). Check your game laws before attempting to bait animals for hunting.

Stump Shooting Pros

These are a few ways stumping can benefit your hunting and survival skills.

  • You’re in the woods! That alone offers endless challenges and shooting opportunities.
  • Exercise. You can make it as challenging or relaxing as you like. Try carrying your hunting pack or bug out bag while stumping.
  • Grab a partner and make a game of stumping. Kind of like frisbee golf, only way cooler!
  • Hone your hunting/stalking skills. Practice moving through brush as quietly as possible. Try not to brush against vegetation or limbs. You’ll find yourself in crazy yoga-style positions. I hear yoga is very good for you.
  • Raises your awareness in wilderness surroundings. Practice using all five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Bow hunting requires a totally different skill set than harvesting game with a gun.
  • Estimating yardage without range finders.
  • Varied shooting angles – uphill, downhill, and level. This is useful for those who prefer hunting from trees or stands. Climb a hill to practice shooting at your stand height.
  • Practice instinctive shooting. I shoot with traditional archer equipment. No fancy pin sights. This allows me to acquire my target quickly.
Honing Survival Skills by Stump Shooting

The camera is on a tripod. No danger :)

I’m shooting a recurve bow (43 pound draw weight) in the above photo with a mix of cheap arrows. It’s not advisable to stump shoot with compound bows unless you’re sure your target is soft enough. The force generated from modern archery equipment is extreme. If your target is not sufficiently decayed, you’ve just destroyed an arrow.

stump-shooting-as-a-survival-skill

A cheap $2 arrow in a not-so dead stump. Had a time pulling that one.

Points for stump shooting can be plain field tips. Judo points and rubber blunt tips are better options. As always, be sure of your backdrop when shooting.

stump-shooting-as-a-survival-skill

Judo point from my Sling Shot Pocket Hunter.

The most obvious advantage of archery equipment in a SHTF survival situation is noise discipline. You can harvest all manner of game animal with proper shot placement without giving up your position.

On the other hand, there is usually tracking involved when shooting larger animals with an arrow. Wandering around the woods with your eyes searching for a blood trail could be a distinct disadvantage.

Archery equipment gives you options in your preparedness plan. And options make you robust and anti-fragile.

Buying a bow and arrow does not make you an archer. But it’s a start. Doing the stuff to build your archery skills may one day swing survival in your favor. Stumping is a one way to practice in real field conditions and can offer survival simulations.

Primitive bows have been used for thousands of years as weapons for war and hunting. In the hands of a skilled archer, they’re lethal. They do have their limitations, though.

What’s your thoughts on the pros and cons of using archery equipment as a survival tool? Share in the comments if you’d like.

Keep doing the stuff!

Todd

P.S.

As always, if anything from this site adds value to your life, please pass it on. You can also connect with us on TwitterPinterest, and our new Facebook page.

Any information on this site may be shared freely, in part or whole, with a link back to this site crediting the author. Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Categories: Gear, Primal Skills, SHTF, Survival | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

100 Helpful Resources to Help on Your Climb to Self-Reliance

A few months back Jake from My Bug Out Bag List contacted me. He was in the same place I was in a year and a half ago… new to the preparedness blogger scene. Since then we’ve stayed in touch on our journey to self-reliance. 

One of the greatest parts of the preparedness community is their willingness to help each other. One piece of advice I gave Jake, which is true even if you’re not a blogger, is to add value to other people’s lives. He took the advice and is building a fine blog full of helpful information and original content. Here’s his latest post. Be sure to give him a shout! 

This article first appeared on My Bug Out Bag List and republished here with the author’s permission.

100 Ways to Prep: Watch, Read and Tweet Your Way To Self Reliance

By Jake 

It’s a common theme amongst my readers that I hear the words “gear is great, but it is nothing without knowledge”. I wanted to use those words to inspire my next blog post. So here you go, more knowledge than you could ever hope to acquire.

Below I’ve listed 20 each of my favorite blogs, books, YouTube channels, Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts for you to visit, watch, read and learn from.

One thing to note is that many of these blogs have an accompanying Facebook page and Twitter account, many Facebook pages have a twitter account, many YouTube channels have a website, etc. In order to provide the broadest base of knowledge I did my best to avoid overlap between these. But by all means please check out all avenues of communication each one of these amazing people and sites has to offer.

I hope this provides a great start to you on your prepping journey! Now I’ll shut up because you have some reading, watching and tweeting to do ;)

Disclaimer: These lists are not “ranked” in any sort of order. It is simply a list of my favorite resources so pay no attention to #1 vs #20.

Blogs

The Survivalist Blog

  1. Willow Haven Outdoor
  2. My Family Survival Plan
  3. Survival Sherpa
  4. Off Grid Survival
  5. Survival Cache
  6. Apartment Prepper
  7. Modern Survival Blog
  8. The Prepper Journal
  9. Survival Blog
  10. American Preppers Network
  11. The Survival Mom
  12. SHTF Plan
  13. Backdoor Survival
  14. The Survivalist Blog
  15. Suburban Prepper
  16. The Survival Podcast
  17. Prepper Website
  18. Canadian Preppers Network
  19. Knowledge Weighs Nothing
  20. The Prepared Ninja

YouTube Channels

The Pathfinder School

  1. The Pathfinder School
  2. Nutnfancy
  3. Equip2Endure
  4. Ultimate Survival Tips
  5. SIGMA 3 Survival School
  6. Maine Prepper
  7. Ray Mears Bushcraft
  8. Analytical Survival
  9. Funky Prepper
  10. James Yeager
  11. No More Op 4
  12. Southern Prepper
  13. The Patriot Nurse
  14. Sensible Prepper
  15. Yankee Prepper
  16. Bushcraft on Fire
  17. Common Sense Outdoors
  18. The Urban Prepper
  19. Sootch00
  20. Becky’s Homestead

Facebook Pages

Homestead Survival

  1. Doomsday Preppers
  2. Homestead Survival
  3. Prepper Penny
  4. Preppers World
  5. American Preppers Network
  6. Prepper Chicks
  7. Homesteading/Survivalism
  8. Survival Preparedness
  9. Dual Survival
  10. SHTF Survival Tips
  11. Reality Survival
  12. The Prepper Project
  13. The Wannabe Homesteader
  14. Ready Nutrition
  15. Prepared Housewives
  16. SHFT & Prepping Central
  17. reThink Survival
  18. Prepared Christian
  19. Food Storage and Survival
  20. The Art of Manliness

Twitter Accounts

Survivor Jane

  1. The Weather Network (Canada)
  2. The Weather Channel (US)
  3. The Weather Channel Breaking
  4. National Hurricane Center
  5. National Weather Service
  6. The Urban Homestead
  7. CNN Breaking News
  8. Prepper Central
  9. Survivor Jane
  10. Prepper Exchange
  11. Expert Prepper
  12. iSurival Skills
  13. Prepper Broadcasting Network
  14. Prepper Talk
  15. Survival Spot
  16. Camping Survival
  17. The Survival News
  18. Les Stroud (Survivorman)
  19. I.N.C.H. Survival
  20. Daily Survival Tips

Books

SAS Survival Handbook

  1. SAS Survival Guide
  2. Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag – Your 72-Hour Disaster Kit
  3. Survival Mom – How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenario
  4. Edible Wild Plants – Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate
  5. Ray Mears – Essential Bushcraft
  6. Barnyard in Your Backyard: A Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, and Cattle
  7. Bushcraft – Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival
  8. 31 Days to Survival – A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness
  9. Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat – One Man’s Solution
  10. The Prepper’s Pocket Guide – 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster
  11. The Survival Handbook: Essential Skills for Outdoor Adventure
  12. When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes
  13. The Forager’s Harvest – A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
  14. Medicine for the Outdoors – The Essential Guide to First Aid and Medical Emergency, 5th Edition
  15. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times
  16. Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family
  17. Prepper’s Instruction Manual – 50 Steps to Prepare for any Disaster
  18. Mini Farming: Self Sufficiency on a 1/4 Acre
  19. Strategic Relocation – North American Guide to Safe Places, 3rd Edition
  20. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America

So what are your favorite places to learn? Who did I miss? I’d love to hear all of your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Categories: Bushcraft, Homesteading, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF | Tags: , | 14 Comments

The Essential Pillars of Preparedness for SmartPreppers

by Todd Walker

Part 1 ~ Essential Pillars of Preparedness Series

Don’t be deceived. No matter how elaborate or advanced you think you are in your preparedness journey, it won’t be enough for every conceivable situation. Life has too many unknowns.

Not knowing, or some cases – knowing, motivates us to prepare. It’s easy to be lulled into complacency by our convenience-driven lifestyles. Press a button, get what you want. Food, water, medicine, security, and shelter get taken for granted in our neo mindset.

Just ask school-aged children where that fried chicken breast they’re munching on came from. I once had a 7th grade student tell me that steaks grew in gardens. I kid you not!

I probed deeper. Apparently, farmers dig a hole, cover a piece of meat, and you pick steaks off the stalk. I’m sure the nice gardener takes his ‘produce’ and wraps it in a styrofoam tray with clear plastic wrap and delivers it to the super market.

Chalk this up to youth and our teach-to-the-test public schooling culture.

In this series, you will learn practical ways to increase your chances of not only surviving, but tipping the scales towards thriving in the coming chaos.

We humans have been adapting and changing for thousands of years. If your alive, things change. No matter how much you plan and prep though, our customary way of living can change without notice. Stocking up on essential supplies, resources, skills, knowledge, and relationships will help you get through the hard times – however they appear. No one knows it all. That’s why we have to help each other.

Doomsday events are relative to the individual. Losing your job, being diagnosed with cancer, or the death of a spouse or child all qualify for personal SHTF events. In my world, lessons from our personal SHTF events are transferable to the big picture disaster scenarios – total economic collapse and the coming Reset.

Preparing necessarily means doing the stuff in advance or before the need shows up at your door. There’s not an Easy Button to press to magically make you prepared.

But… here’s the good news! Even if you’re too broke to pay attention, it’s not too late. You can start today!

Once you start your journey to preparedness and self-sufficiency, good habits replace the bad and a whole new lifestyle is forged. You’ll find yourself applying the famous words of Weaver D (of REM fame) as your prepping becomes…

Automatic for the people!

If you’re taking your first steps to climbing the preparedness mountain, I recommend that you focus on these 7 areas first. Any event that disrupts our ‘normal’ can be softened by building firm, sustainable foundations in these 7 areas.

These are my priorities which reflect my paradigm. If you agree, glad to hear it. If not, chew on the hay and spit out the sticks.

Keep in mind that all areas covered in this series must to be applied to your individual situation (see my Individual Preparedness Plan series for more help). This is not meant to be a cookie-cutter solution for all people. For example, if you’re surrounded by natural, abundant sources of potable water, you may put water further down your list.

With that being said, here’s my list:

  1. Health and Fitness
  2. Water and Food
  3. Skills and Knowledge
  4. Shelter and Energy
  5. Waste and Sanitation
  6. Natural Medical
  7. Security and Protection

Health

If you don’t have health and some level of functional fitness, you’re already running on a deficit. This point seems to be lost on a lot of good folk in the preparedness community.

Let me stop right here.

I’ve been there and done that and lived my first two statements. I don’t want to come across as ‘preachy’ or having arrived. I haven’t. Remember, this preparedness journey takes time, effort, focus, and encouragement – NOT bashing!

Here’s what worked for me. Your results may vary.

“Diets” don’t work in the long run. You’re in this for the long-haul, right? Plus, how will all that Jenny Craig ‘food’ get delivered post collapse? Think of all the real food and preps you could buy with the $7,000/yr. you would spend buying prepackaged JC food.

Developing a healthy lifestyle was the key for me. I eat healthy fats, meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other nutrient dense foods. Basically, I stopped eating the Standard American Diet.

I traded our government food pyramid for this one:

food pyramid flat 2011sm 1

Image Source: Mark’s Daily Apple

Fitness

But my Primal lifestyle goes deeper than just eating like a caveman. When it comes to fitness, I don’t float the mainstream.

I hold two degrees in Health and Physical Education. Over three years ago, I made this discovery – the conventional wisdom I was taught in school was a big waste. Eating what the USDA’s food pyramid recommended and following conventional fitness regiments left me hungry, tired, and fat.

fitness pyramid flat 2012

Image Source: Mark’s Daily Apple

Burn out and injury typically accompany conventional fitness wisdom. You can reach optimal fitness without wrecking your joints and being a permanent fixture in the gym.

If functional fitness is your goal, randomness is a good thing. I define functional fitness as being able to do the stuff (fill in the blank) when it counts.

Would you be able to carry your spouse or a stranger from a burning building? Even if you’re never in a life and death situation, lifting heavy things helps you burn fat, improve bone density, survive longer, and enjoy life better than weaker folks.

Humans have been pushing, pulling, squatting, running fast, and walking slowly throughout our entire existence. Although we won’t have to outrun a saber-toothed tiger or battle rival tribes for hunting territory, these basic movements can help you survive.

Here are four bodyweight exercises every SmartPrepper should incorporate into their physical training: Pushups, pullups, squats, and sprints. There’s no expensive gym equipment involved. And you can do these exercises most any place.

B.O.B. pushups

Doing a set of B.O.B. pushups for added resistance.

If you’re engaging your fast twitch muscle fibers with maximum force over a short period of time, you’ll need 2 to 5 days to recover properly before lifting heavy stuff again.

Mainstream conventional workout programs will have you spend day after boring day on some machine trying to isolate a particular muscle group. When I flip that piece of chimney at our park, all my muscles, tendons, bones, and joints work together at maximum effort. This is how our bodies are meant to function.

brick house workout

Don’t know the weight of this section of chimney. I do know that it takes a maximum effort to flip it.

On days when you’re not ‘destroying’ your muscles from lifting heavy stuff or sprinting, remember to walk long distances at a slow pace.

Do you want to look like a bag of skin and bones just to finish a marathon? Or, do you want to build your body into a functionally fit prepping machine?

The crazy part is that you can gain maximum effect with minimum effort. And you’ll no longer look like the other zombies brainlessly walking on those treadmills at the gym.

This is meant to be a primer on our first Pillar of Preparedness for SmartPreppers. There’s much more that can be added on the topic of functional fitness and healthy living. If you have questions or something you’d like to add, please feel free to drop a line in the comment section or email me.

Essential Pillars of Preparedness Series

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

Categories: Functional Fitness, Natural Health, Preparedness, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle, SHTF | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Deer Proofing Your Garden Now and Post-SHTF

by Todd Walker

After the Reset, what’s your plan to keep deer from munching on all your food?

It only takes one cute Bambi to destroy what you had planned to feed your family in the winter.

Dirt Road Girl and I returned from a two-day getaway to find mostly stubs in our raised bed garden. What used to be peppers and okra looked like oversized match sticks pressed into the soil. We aren’t dependent on our garden to get us through to the next growing season – yet. We can ‘always’ run to the store to replace what the deer feasted on.

Our matchstick garden.

Our matchstick okra plant.

We still have other food options now.

After an event (collapse), running to the local supermarket won’t be an option to replace what was growing on those match sticks. YOYO – Your Own Your Own.

Let’s forget about having to deal with hungry zombie hoards for now. Zombies don’t eat from gardens, do they? Learning to repel destructive deer is purpose of this article.

An old-timer down the street told me to put up an electric fence with a single strand of wire 27 inches high (solar-powered fences are available). Our electric fence worked last year for our front yard garden. I got lax and didn’t put it back up this year. Now I’m raising match sticks that won’t light a fire! The fence is up now to salvage what’s left.

I know deer can jump higher than 27 inches. Heck, I can jump that high! For some reason, deer don’t, or didn’t last year, breach the fence. Maybe one or two got zapped in the chest and passed the word to go to lower hanging fruit – like my neighbor’s hosta beds. But word spread that the Walker’s have a free smorgasbord this year.

Tough lesson. But not devastating – in these ‘good’ times.

Another tip from guy at our local farmer’s market was to put up a baling twine fence. The orange twine used to bail pine straw worked for him. He strung three or four strands on electrical conduit poles with the top strand about 7 feet high.

The key to success of his deer fence is the top stand. He bent the conduit at the 5 foot mark to angle slightly away from the interior  of his garden. It resembles a chain link fence with barbed wire on top at a 30 degree angle. He’s been using this set up on his 1/4 acre garden for years and said it keeps the deer out. Not very expensive, either.

We don’t have larger big game animals like moose and elk to deal with in Georgia. And the above described fence won’t keep smaller critters out. But it may be an inexpensive way to keep the deer from feasting on your plants.

Keep in mind, any determined deer that’s left after a collapse will find a way to eat easy pickings in your garden.

Here are a few other deer deterrents you might want to consider in your plan. There are different categories: scents and plants, gadgets, dogs, and physical barriers. Unless you can afford an 8 foot deer fence, you may want to employ a combination of these strategies described below.

Scents and Plants

Many commercial scents are available. Then there are recipes for homemade scents that supposedly deter deer. I wouldn’t count on scents to deter determined deer. Now is the time to test them. Anyone ever tried rotten egg spray? Here’s a link to the recipe which I found and included below:

  • Rotten Egg Spray Recipe In a blender mix eggs and garlic. Add water and blend. Remove to a container with a lid and let sit outside for several days in the sun. Strain mixture with cheesecloth or coffee filter into a spray bottle and enjoy. (Don’t skip the straining part or your mixture will clog in the sprayer)
    6 -8 eggs
    6 gloves garlic (add more if you like)
    5 cups water
    2 squirts Elmer’s Glue
    2 squirts dish detergent (to help it stick on plants)

Commercial scents can be purchased that contain urine from predators that eat deer (coyote and wolf). Even scenting your garden perimeter with your own pee is an option. Gotta use stealth for exposed front yard gardens like mine. *kidding*

Seriously, collect your pee in private and apply. The drawback for our neighborhood, and possibly yours, is that the members of our deer herd are like neighborhood pets and some folks actually feed them for entertainment purposes – encouraging them to keep coming back for more.

There may come a time when you’ll want to feed (bait) deer to get a close, easy shot. But while rule of law exists, don’t feed the critters!

Other offensive, smelly stuff include: garlic, cat feces, bags of human hair, sewage sludge, and fermented blood. This stuff will even keep zombies and vampires away, so I’m told.

Plants: Raising plants that deer don’t like is another strategy. Again, I’ve seen hungry deer eat stuff that was not on their typical diet. Just like human animals, we’ll eat most anything when we’re hungry enough.

Plants should not be your only line of deer defense. They may help, but are not foolproof. If you go the plant route, cultivate plants with strong smells. Mint, sage, chives, lemon balm, purple cone flower, and bee balm are a few to consider.

Gadgets

My neighbor uses a motion activated sprinkler to keep his flowers and plants intact. They cost about 50 bucks and seem to work. He’s protecting hostas and flowers while the high-pressure water and electricity is still on.

For a grid-down situation, and just for the fun of it, here’s a rat trap rigged with fishing line that, when tripped, strike a percussion cap and alerts you of four-legged intruders. The warning shot could also alert unwanted two-legged animals.

Noise-makers with flashing lights can be purchased or made. Or you can build DiY gadgets. In urban/suburban settings, loud bangs and noises will only get you noticed by angry neighbors at 2:33 in the morning. Some people like to sleep.

Aluminum pie tins attached to string on the perimeter of your garden is another option. This strategy is best employed in rural setting. Here’s a thought. Build a solar-powered, mechanical scarecrow robot with motion detectors :D – Yea, that’ll work.

Dogs

Working dogs like the Great Pyrenees are great guardians of the garden, home, and homestead. A dog inside a fenced area will help deter deer and other pesky varmints. Dogs don’t have to be huge and ferocious to be effective on a homestead. Small yappers get the job done for alerting you to garden intruders.

abby

Abby has super hero powers. Her cheerleading shirt is to keep her from licking stitches in her shoulder. She usually wears a Wonder Dog cape.  

Combining any of these ploys to protect your survival garden will increase your chances of not becoming a matchstick farmer.

If I had to pick my best option for pre and post-SHTF deer deterrent, I’d choose…

A fence and a dog.

What has worked for you? Drop your ideas in the comment section to help us out!

Keep doing the stuff,

Todd

P.S.

Be a SmartPrepper and follow us here on our blog, TwitterPinterest, and ‘like’, comment, and share our Facebook page.

P.P.S.

Any information on this site may be shared freely, in part or whole, with a link back to this site crediting the author. Thanks for sharing the stuff!

 

Categories: Gardening, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Anti-Fragile Strategies for SmartPreppers

by Todd

Is the term antifragile new to you?

Our modern world is built on fragile systems. Systems that get worse, not better, with the smallest of stressors. Technology is a wonderful and scary tool. Systems get hacked. Bugs cause chaos. And it all depend on our power grid.

Think about our ‘just in time’ food delivery system, transportation, municipal water, medicine, banks, and even our governmental system. All are delicately fragile.

The lights are on, gas is in the car, food in the fridge, and your baby is healthy. A small glitch or hiccup in ‘normal’ can disrupt your comfort level. When a regional natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy hits, our modern systems become worthless. God help us if disaster ever struck country or world-wide.

Living life is messy even in ‘normal’ conditions. That’s why the preparedness minded work to simplify systems and build redundancy. How do we know if our plan will hold up to the stress of what’s coming? It would be wise to create controlled stressors in normal times to gauge your anti-fragility before all hell breaks loose.

The Problem with Linear-Life-Thinking

Life is not linear. Doing the stuff to prepare and respond to life’s ups and downs will determine whether you survive, thrive, or die. Self-sufficiency never arrives by accident. It’s built through choices. We haven’t left the rat race entirely. Like the rest of you regular guys/gals, DRG and I still have to pay the bills.

Over a year ago, we experienced our own personal SHTF situation. Dirt Road Girl was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. As you might imagine, we were devastated. Suddenly, one thing mattered. Survival!

Due to DRG’s attitude,  prayers from family and friends, and a second opinion from a wise doctor, she’s bouncing back and taking full advantage of her second chance at life. She’s more than resilient. She’s becoming antifragile.

She’s a shining example of what ‘doing the stuff’ is all about. Her fighting spirit motivates me – stops my complaining – causes me to be more honest with myself – teaches me to laugh at life… and death – makes me embrace both my mortality and immortality.

Building an Antifragile Life

No shame in failure – try again – and fail again. Caroline Cooper used the term ‘antifragile’ in an email to me recently. What a great word! It comes from Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

“Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.” [Emphasis mine]

This is not a book review since I’ve not read his book yet. Anti-fragility is what I’ve been promoting on this blog without being aware of the term. (I’m ordering his book today).

How can becoming antifragile make our preparations and life better?

Let’s see, we live in a fragile system/world.  A SHTF event, personal or otherwise, will happen. It shakes us to our core. Our foundation is compromised. Paradigms are destroyed. What you thought would work doesn’t. The ‘plan’ and the ‘backup plan’ fail. The map you were told to follow leads you to a bridge to nowhere.

What do you do next?

The SmartPrepper builds anti-fragility. Strategies that gain from disorder and disaster.

Here are some antifragile strategies to get you thinking.

1.) Economics: Decrease your exposure in the fragile banking system as much as possible. A hundred years ago our Federal Reserve (private central bank) started a stupid system that can’t withstand shock. Our fractional reserve banking is too big to fail. Their rules don’t apply to the individual – you and me. If individuals make stupid mistakes, we get immediate results. Failure is a great teacher.

Antifragile Strategy: Invest in tangibles. Productive land, skills, natural health, quality tools, precious metals, and stuff you can’t make on your own.  Having the ability to produce potable water may be more valuable gold. You can’t drink gold.

2.) Community: We live in a global community whether we like it or not. Stuff happens in China and we feel it in main street America. Globalization means the problems we face are too big to understand and fix. Government leaders, no matter what their party affiliation, can’t solve problems for you and your family.

Antifragile Strategy: You are the answer for your problems. But you can’t do it alone. You need local community no matter how self-sufficient you’ve become. A bunker mentality will not save you.

Start by building antifragile systems and skills locally – produce real food (even with limited space), make your home a producer instead of a consumer (rain collection systems, alternative and sustainable energy, etc.), buy locally grown real food, and support local producers.

3.) Education: Let me be clear. ‘Education’ is not referring to school. Schools do one thing very well – schooling. Schools are the last places on earth to learn anti-fragility. Students are not allowed to explore their interests. There’s simply not enough time and the overseers can’t allow individualism to take root. Schools are just another too-big-to-fail, propped up government institution that is wildly successful at failure.

“Children do not need to be made to learn about the world or shown how. They want to, and they know how.” – John Holt

[And it won't happen through schooling - me]

Antifragile Strategy: Follow your interests! Homeschooling/unschooling allows your children to follow their passions. Just like any other investment, there are sacrifices that must be made to achieve the desired result.

John Taylor Gatto once said, “Genius is as common as the air we breath.” Schools are not structured to allow genius to be developed. If that’s true with kids in school, the same goes for you as a life learner. Keep learning. Avoid the cookie-cutter mentality of  factory schooling – for you and your children’s future. Build skills, then get educated.

4.) Take Risks and Keep Doing the Stuff: Anti-fragility places high value on doing over just thinking. Risk failure. Fail. Try it again. Get it right.

Is this stressful? Indeed! There are no shortcuts to becoming antifragile. There’s no ‘safe’ place. We want to insulate our children from danger. That’s noble to a certain point. But we’ve crossed over into dangerous territory when our protection is smothering. Helicopter parenting, if you will.

Taking risks is an American thing to do. That’s how we built this country. Maybe my view is tainted somewhat from teaching, but I see a growing number of kids that have had risk erased from their lives through government education and helicopter parenting. Free-range kids learn to deal with risks, survive stressors, and gain from their experience.

Antifragile Strategy: Now is the time to practice doing the stuff before an event forces you. I’m a huge proponent of testing gear, knowledge, attitude, and abilities. This alone will prepare you for those pesky unknown unknowns. Even doing the stuff now won’t guarantee success when it counts. But it will greatly increase the odds in your favor when disorder and volatility show up on your doorstep.

Self-imposed stressors help gauge your anti-fragility. Knowledge may weigh nothing, but until you start doing the stuff, your book knowledge won’t matter. There’s a big gap between reading a how-to on blacksmithing and actually hammering hot steel into a useful object.

Here’s some of the ways to start doing the antifragile stuff. Note: Doing this stuff is for healthy people who want to stress their system in a natural, healthy way.

Physical Stuff

  • Part of your plan may be to grab your Bug Out Bag and walk to a pre-determined location if need be. We do what we practice. At least once a week, sometimes more, DRG and I do our B.O.B. workout. That is, we strap on our fully loaded backpacks (72 hour go-bags) and hike around our town and neighborhood (about 3 or 4 miles). If you’ve got a B.O.B. laying in your closet that you’ve never carried, try it. You might find your hips and legs need more practice doing this stuff. We’re not sure if we’d ever need to bug out, but it’s comforting to know we could physically if we had to. [Tip: Don't go all Rambo on your outings. Blend in as much as possible. You're simply conditioning for your summer hiking trip.]
Bug Out Bag Monday workouts

B.O.B. Monday workout! Notice the SmartPrepper apparel :)

  • Stress your body. Anyone that’s hung out here knows that I’m not a fan of conventional workouts (repetitive, boring gym workouts). My plan involves lifting heavy things, moving slowly daily (walking), and sprinting (max effort) once a week. It’s not rocket science. Move in a way that builds functional fitness. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check the Brick House Workout here. Keep your body in a state of randomness.
  • Polar dip. That’s right. Taking a dip in a cold water stresses your system. I also take cold showers regularly in the hot months – and occasionally in the winter. There’s nothing like diving into the lake at the Dam Cabin in November, climbing out shivering, and warming up by the camp fire. Sound crazy? You may be surprised at the health benefits. I’m not suggesting you turn your hot water heater into a bar-b-que grill. Just test the cold water to see if it works for you.
  • Get grounded. Three years ago I removed the casts (running shoes) from my feet. Now I run in my birthday shoes. My students think I’m nuts. They wonder if I ever step in dog poop – their biggest concern. Barefoot running has taken the stress off my joints, improved my balance, and strengthened my feet and ankles. If you’re considering an unshod run, be smart and invest some time in research. Begin here. Even if you never run ‘naked’, loose the shoes and walk in your yard. Feel the grass/weeds between your toes. There are free health benefits to putting your sole on the ground (earthing).

Food Stuff

  • Intermittent Fasting:  IF has many benefits other than weight loss. Here’s a IF resource I’ve put together if you’re interested. Skipping meals may one not be optional one day.
  • Variety: Try new food. Shock you system with occasional wild foods and fermented food. Heck, just stop eating processed junk will send healthy shock waves through the Standard American’s Diet.
  • Eat the real stuff: Eating real food is now trendy and revolutionary. We call it organic. It’s really the nutrient dense foods that our grandparents cooked from scratch before our wonderful industrial food machine destroyed our eats. Buying (if you can’t grow your own) local naturally raised or organic plants and animals not only makes you healthy, it your community antifragile.

System Stuff

  • Water. Can’t do without this stuff. What’s your system for acquiring H2O? Depending on your city/county to deliver potable water after an event is fragile thinking. Build an antifragile system that improves your life.
  • Security. Dialing 911 is an option if your life is threatened. But know that you’re beholden to a response time that may be too late. Take your security into your own hands. ‘Nuff said.
  • Waste. Okay, this is a dirty subject, but… I don’t think many of us give it a second thought. When the Sh*t Hits The Fan, what do you do with the brown stuff? We take for granted that our toilet handle will always handle the job and paper work. If our fragile system fails, what’s your plan to eliminate your waste? Outhouse or 5 gallon bucket and a Sears and Roebuck catalog? You may want to look into some type of composting toilet. Just saying.
  • Networking. Building relationships with other antifragile people increases your chances of surviving stressors. You won’t need to just borrow a cup of milk from your nurse neighbor post-collapse, she’d be sewing up that gash in your foot from a glancing blow at the firewood shed. Neighboring and networking now is the antifragile thing to do to avoid the rush.

Alright, your turn. What systems and strategies do you recommend for anti-fragility? See you in the comments!

P.S.

However you got here, make yourself at home! You can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest if you’d like.

 

Categories: Investing/Tangibles, Natural Health, Preparedness, Real Food, SHTF | Tags: , , , | 20 Comments

Dirt Don’t Hurt: A Dirty Letter to Prepping Helicopter Parents

by Todd Walker

Is our obsession with sanitation healthy? Venture out into any public space and you’ll find hand sanitizer in the form of wipes, gels, sprays, and foams. It’s a desperate attempt to build a barrier against the creepy crawly “uncleans” lurking at every turn.

See mom, dirt don't hurt!

See mom, dirt don’t hurt!

We’ve forgotten this dirty little secret: Dirt don’t hurt. 

This goes out to all helicopter moms… dads too.

In our war on dirt, we may be causing more harm than goodHelicopter parents shriek when their two-year old takes a bite of the mud pie she proudly made. “Grab the wet wipes, quick!” The “five second” rule no longer applies today. Heaven forbid a  chicken wing fall off the plate at the family picnic and make it to your lips. Who knows who or what touched that picnic table.

As a kid, my family camped a lot, even on horse back. If food hit the ground, we ate it. Uncle Otha called the soil “camp salt.” I have adopted the term “caveman seasoning” for those specks of dirt and ash on a campfire hotdog.

Many people actually eat dirt…intentionally. And not just in starving third world countries. Geophagy (eating earth) happens in developed parts of the world as well.

I’m not saying you need to give your toddler a spoon and a bowl of dirt. What I am suggesting is that you land your helicopter from time to time and let your little one get his daily dose of good bacteria. A dirty mouth helps build healthy gut flora and a strong immune system in growing kids. Just keep them away from non-organic matter and dog poop.

Did you know that one gram of uncontaminated soil hosts 10 billion microbial cells? Sprinkle that on your yogurt and eat it.

Our immune system, especially when we’re young, needs a good workout. In a sterilized world of Purell, young children never get a chance to exercise their immune response to bacteria, which by the way, are everywhere. Like the keyboard your using right now. Eww!

The introduction of good and bad bacteria to the body is like putting your physical body through a CrossFit workout for the first time. Your muscles might ache for a few days, but will recover and be stronger.

Even adults need good dirt. Here’s a couple of suggestions to re-connect with your inner child and get dirty.

  • Take your shoes off and walk in the dirt. Get grounded.
  • Dig in your garden – without gloves. Clean your nails later.
  • Eat some veggies from your organic garden that haven’t been washed yet.
  • Actually play with your kids (if you have any) in the mud puddles after a rain.
  • If you’re into competition, get a group of your friends together and run the Tough Mudder or other dirty race.
  • Go fishing, bait your own hook, and rinse the worm slim off your hands in the pond water… then eat your can of sardines. What a great source of Omega 3’s.
  • Take a hike or go camping… anything outdoors, really. Being in the dirty outdoors can improve your memory by 20%.
  • Go swimming in a lake, pond, or stream.
  • Re-establish the “5 Second Rule” on dropped food.
  • Land your helicopter and join the fun.

There’s obviously a time and place when it’s appropriate to be clean. You don’t want your doctor stitching you up  with filthy hands and suture tools. Duh!

Keeping some hand sanitizer in your purse or bug out bag would be useful if you need to start an emergency fire. The stuff is really flammable. It’s also handy when there’s no water and soap available and clean hands are absolutely needed.

For everyday life though, obsessive cleaning is way overrated. Sanitize-everything gets hyped to SHTF proportions…

Repeat after me, “Dirt don’t hurt. Dirt don’t hurt.” 

Now, say it out loud.

You feel better, right?

Don’t hate me. Ditch the hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soaps and wash up with plain old soap. Wash your hands after handling raw meat, changing the oil in your SUV, and before exiting the restroom. Give yourself and your kids permission to get head to toe dirty.

By reading this far, you’re one step closer to destroying your dirt deficit. How about a dirty little grin?

Your turn to talk dirty. What’s your thoughts?

As always, if you found this helpful, please share. Thanks so much. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for more dirt on our journey to self-sufficiency and resilient living @SurvivalSherpa.

Categories: Natural Health, Preparedness, SHTF, Survival Education | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Ability Is A Poor Prepper’s Wealth

by Todd Walker

“To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” Lao Tzu

 

Image source

I use to look at all the preparedness blogs and books and turn green drooling over all the cool stuff these folks say I needed to survive an emergency, SHTF situation, or TEOTWAWKI.

I’d wake up at crazy hours of the night wondering how I’d get my family to safety in an emergency. I still envy some of my self-reliant heroes and heroine. It’s addictive. But I’ve come to realize that only makes me more stupid.

I’m no expert on anything. I’m a self-professed serial multitasker. I consider myself the stupidest survivalist on the planet. I’ve added lots of preparedness knowledge to my brain, but I have to balance my knowledge with wisdom. Taking away things like prepper envy adds wisdom. It’s so unwise to envy what many in the prepper community have in terms of gadgets, supplies, skills, and tools.  But I catch myself still doing it. Then I remind myself to live Sherpa Simple.

Here are 7 ways to beat the envy trap.

Prepper Envy Cure #1:

Be honest. Seems simple. The most useful, yet most neglected, item in my preparedness toolbox is honesty. I wish I was more honest with myself. I said I’m the stupidest survivalist on the planet. I really feel this way. This isn’t false humility or self-depreciation babble. This falls into the more I know, the less I know category.

Arrogance humbles. Last year I decided I needed to start working out with my BOB (Bug Out Bag). I consider myself to be in above average shape for my age (50). So I sling my 40 pound pack on my back and start my daily 4 mile walk with my Dirt Road Girl. Into mile 2 I discovered I hadn’t been honest about two things: A) my fitness level; B) the amount of “needed” stuff in my BOB. Find out before showtime if you’re ready. Be honest and adjust your lifestyle.

Prepper Envy Cure #2:

Don’t worrying, be happy. Pollyanna notions about whirled peas is not what I’m talking about here. Worrying may be the biggest drain and waste of energy in the prepper community.

A friend gave me this advise in the early 90′s that has served me well since (when I do it): Be prayed-up and laid back. At some point, we all have to get over ourselves and depend on a higher power. Mine happens to be God. This is by no means a He’ll take care of everything excuse not to prepare for my future. Prepare. But stop worrying about things you can’t control. Do what you can do, do all you can do, and let go of the rest.

What’s your biggest fear?

Prepper Envy Cure #3:

Hone your abilities. Coach John Wooden once said, “Ability is a poor man’s wealth.” You don’t have to be wealthy to be prepared. Skills trump gadgets.

Ability comes from experience and practice. Doing the stuff. Turn off the TV or computer (ONLY after you’ve finished my article) and get outside and practice bushcraft skills. Take a kid fishing/hunting. Walk your lawn and identify common weeds that might be useful for meds or food. You do have weeds in your yard right? I know exactly were to find plantain in my yard for the occasional tick bite or skin irritation. It’s an amazing wild weed!

Quit wishing you had the latest shiny object some experts say you need. Time spent developing yourself helps dissolve prepper envy.

Prepper Envy Cure #4:

Avoid stupid mistakes. Avoid getting a personal “Darwin Award”.

“That could have put your eye out,” Mama said.

Why? Because we were shooting our BB guns at each other and she found out. It was obvious with the welt over my eye. I’d be envying the ability to see if the BB had landed 2 inches lower.

We all make stupid mistakes. Prepper envy doesn’t have to be one of them.

Prepper Envy Cure #5:

Exercise mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I know I should have only listed 4 cures. But I refuse to have “list envy” on top of prepper envy – (you’ve seen it, “The 39 Top Threats…”,  “7 Myths That Schools Teach as Real History”, “30 Canned Foods You Never Knew Existed“).

I touched on the physical aspect here. I’ll develop these four in a later post.

Prepper Envy Cure #6:

Fail forward. No regrets. I regret way too much.

When I was five, I wanted to grow up to be the guy that rode on the back of the trash truck. It looked fun at the time. I don’t regret following that childhood dream. I do regret wasting so much money, time, and energy on stuff that really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of life. I envy those with no regrets. See how it’s a vicious cycle.

Regrets waste energy and stop your momentum. Let the past go. In an earlier chapter of my life, I read a John Maxwell book or listened to one of his cassette tapes (that dates it, huh?). I remember hearing the phrase “fail forward.” That stuck with me. I don’t always follow this wisdom, but it’s still true.

Regrets kills future ideas! I’ve never read any science on this, but it’s been proven in my life. The more I wallow in regret, the less creative I am.

Prepper Envy Cure #7:

Perfection is overrated. If you have OCD (Obsessive Compulsion Disorder), I feel for you. My mother-in-law has it. I don’t know how I passed the vetting to marry her daughter. Somehow she overlooked my many imperfections.

We’re bombarded with thousands of images daily promoting perfection – the perfect figure, job, car, drug, home, makeup, gun, knife, etc. Resist the urge to envy ‘perfect’ preppers. They’re photo shopped. Be yourself. That’s enough.

Be honest about your imperfections. This quality opens more doors and opportunities than the vinyl veneer of perfection.

See, I told you I’m the stupidest survivalist on the planet.

Keep doing the stuff,

Todd

P.S.

As always, if anything from this site adds value to your life, please share it. You can also connect with us on TwitterPinterest, and our new Facebook page.

Any information on this site may be shared freely, in part or whole, with a link back to this site crediting the author. Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Preparedness, SHTF, Survival | Tags: , , | 18 Comments

DiY Cigar Survival Fishing Kit

by Todd Walker

Every year I get older and my backpack gets heavier. To trim some weight, I began downsizing items in my bag. Here’s a great stove that weighs less than 6 ounces and runs on twigs.

I humped my backpack the other day through the woods with DRG. I immediately noticed the extra strain on my hips. Not overbearing, but noticeable. As I age, I look for ways to lighten my load on stuff I carry – body weight included :) Here’s a great way to shave a few ounces off any fishing kits you pack for your bug out bag, walk-about bag, or hunting bag. It fits in a glove box in your vehicle nicely too.

The idea for my last fishing kit for my bug out bag came from Dave Canterbury. It was made of PVC, which was very sturdy, but weighed more than I liked. This summer I wanted to trim the weight on my BOB. It’s not going to be ultralight, but every pound I trim only makes humping that thing easier. The first piece I tackle is my…well…my fishing tackle.

First, assemble materials. I looked for a lightweight tube for a couple of weeks. I didn’t want glass. Plastic would work. Aluminum would be even better. I found a plastic tube that held a watch on a shopping trip with my wife. I bought it for $5.oo and ditched the cheap watch. The problem with the plastic tube is that I would not be able to use it for boiling water in a survival situation.

Then we stopped by the adult beverage store for some wine. This place also has a nice humidor with a great selection of cigars.

*Aha Moment*

We spent the next five minutes rummaging through stogies looking for the perfect candidate. I needed it to be long enough and with sufficient diameter to hold the necessary fish-catching supplies. I found a cigar, which I enjoy from time to time, with a great tube. It measures 1 inch in diameter by 6 1/4 inches long tube. Being aluminum, I can use it to boil water in a pinch. The picture below shows the difference in sizes of the old PVC kit (bottom) and the new one completed.

Here’s what I used to assemble my kit: Cigar sleeve, duct tape, bank line, electrical tape, 10# fishing line, strike anywhere matches, fire starter, dry flies, artificial lizard, non-lead weights, 3 types of fishing hooks, metal leader, swivels, 2 floats/bobbers, and a snack size zip-lock baggie.

Assembly Process

Step A: Wrap the screw end (or non-rounded end) with about 3 or 4 feet of duct tape. Do I even have to tell you about all the uses for this miracle survival material?  I keep strips of it in my cars, wallet, desk, almost every where I go. Duct tape may not help you catch fish, but I’m sure it’s possible with a little creativity. It’s a utility player that should be on and in every preppers gear and bags.

Step B: Tie a slip knot on the end of your bank line (don’t forget to burn the nylon end to prevent unraveling) and tighten it around the tube next to the duct tape. Wind about 50 to 100 feet of line onto the tube. I used closer to 50 feet to keep the profile of the tube even. Bank line can be used for limb hooks and trot lines in a true survival situation. This allows for passive fishing while you attend to other tasks. [NOTE: Check your local fishing and game laws during rule of law times before using these methods.]

The bank line can also be used for a makeshift fly rod (and other cordage needs). Simply cut a sapling about 8 feet, attach 10 feet of bank line to the end, add a piece of mono filament line to the bank line with one of the dry flies in the kit and you have a hillbilly fly rod rig. When no bait is available for your hooks, use this rig to catch smaller pan fish to use for bait on limb hooks. This is very enticing for larger fish and turtles.

Bank line being wrapped

Step C: Secure the bank line to the tube with a couple of wraps of electrical tape. Again, more tape to use as needed.

Electrical tape wrapped around bank line

Step D: Now you’re ready to add the mono filament fishing line. I used 10# line. I wouldn’t recommend anything below 6# line. (Update: I used 50 lb spider wire for our son’s Christmas stocking). In a survival situation, the last thing you want to see is a decent sized fish run with 4# line and snap it off.

An old technique I’ve used for years is to lay the line inside a book and feed the line onto the tackle. I did this for the cigar tube as well. Tie a slip knot on the end of the fishing line and secure it to the tube where you taped off the bank line. Start rotating the tube to add line. I guess you could wind the line on the tube with you free hand. I prefer to roll the line on by rotating the tube with my finger tips from both ends of the tube. I’m a little OCD. I think the line might accumulate more kinks if you wind it with you free hand.

Add line until you get within one inch of the rounded end of the tube, then double back over the existing line. I added about 50 feet of line to my rig. Next, add a layer of electrical tape to secure the line to the kit. A wide rubber band might work, but I like the tape.

Below is the finished exterior of the kit. By the way, if you haven’t purchased and read “Boston’s Gun Bible“, do so now. I read it yearly.

Step E: Place the strike-anywhere matches, fire starter (more details about this item later), dry flies, artificial lizard, non-lead weights, 3 types of fishing hooks, and swivels in a snack size zip-lock baggie. Squeeze the air out by rolling it toward the top of the bag. Seal the bag and slide into the tube.

Step F: Screw end-cap onto tube and wrap with electrical tape for a water-tight seal.

Fire Starter Note: I made the fire starter a few years ago. It’s jute twin that was saturated with paraffin wax. It literally only takes a spark to get a flame going. Just cut a one inch piece, unravel, and “fluff” to create more surface area for your spark. Another added bonus is that it even lights in wet conditions. I have bundles in all my bags. You never know when you’ll need to cook up those fish you just caught with your new Cigar Survival Fishing Kit!

The only modification I’d add is to make a paracord loop extending from the end of the cap. I’ll add pics when that happens.

Your turn. Got any suggestions to make this better? Please add them in the comment section.

Follow me on Twitter for the latest on our journey to self-reliance, preparedness, and resilient living: @SurvivalSherpa

 

 

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, DIY Preparedness Projects, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,352 other followers

%d bloggers like this: