Clearing Out our Survival Retreat and a Look at What We Stored There

Ever wonder what a prepper stores at their survival retreat? We visited our retreat and here’s a look at the supplies we cached there.

Over the long weekend, we made the long journey to our survival retreat and recovered some supplies we had cached there. Most of them had been there for less than a decade, but some items had been there since before Y2K.

Now that we have our permanent prepper property, the retreat property will be sold. This trip to remove our personal property was the first step in that process. We also met with a realtor and she gave us some ideas on how she would market it. Thankfully, she agreed that we should sell it “as is” and while we won’t be making any renovations or major improvements, she made some suggestions of what might make it more marketable without the need to spend much money. We hope it will be on the market in June.

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So You Want to Raise Bees: What are your Objectives?

Many homesteaders and preppers raise bees. Are they right for you? What are possible objectives for raising bees? What are the start-up costs?

I’ve decided to take up the hobby of beekeeping again because it fits well with our current lifestyle: We have moved to a home in a rural location, we have plenty of land, and I have the time to give them the attention they deserve. Because I raised bees before, I have some experience, enough knowledge to be dangerous, and a good bit of equipment, reducing my startup costs.

My objective is to raise bees for their honey, which I expect will provide us with a resource during tough times. That resource may be as simple as added calories that can be easily preserved (honey stores forever), or it may be as a means of barter. It could be an important natural sweetener down the road since we won’t be making maple syrup or raising sugar cane around here.

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Book Review “World Made by Hand” by James Howard Kunstler

Sometimes you pick up a book and its difficult to put down again. This book definitely roped me in and grabbed my attention. A great read!

The book World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler is a tale of good and evil, hope and despair, tenderness and love, and mysticism and the supernatural. It overflows with remarkable, well-developed characters and has an interesting take on life after the electricity stops and the cars cease to run. I found it to be a post-apocalyptic story unlike any I had read before.

I was so impressed with this book and the author’s exceptional story telling ability that I did little else but read, putting aside two other books I was reading, so that I could finish it in a day or two.

In many books about the end of the world, the calamity—how the world ended—drives the story. This one is a departure because World Made by Hand is a character-driven story. The people that populate this book make the story compelling, and it would remain as captivating if it took place in the 1850s. That it is set in the near future after a collapse is a bonus.

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As the Shutdowns Draw to a Close, Traffic and Crime Rises

Shutting down the country to prevent the spread of COVID-19 had plenty of unintended consequences, from the economic to mental health. Reopening may have consequences, too.

My daughter, who lives in a mid-sized city, was complaining about the recent increase in traffic and how it is making her commute longer. (Since she works in healthcare, she has been back at work for months. And yes, she caught COVID-19 but recovered quickly, probably thanks to being young.) Apparently, people are going back to the office after the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and the highways are getting crowded again.

A friend in our old home town confirmed that traffic is “back to normal” or perhaps worse. Construction is also going on at a rapid pace, possibly because the area is one where people from large cities are moving to escape. I’m not sure moving from an apartment in a large city to a townhouse or condo in a mid-sized city is that big an escape, but it took me multiple steps to get from New York City to the country, so you have to start somewhere. That’s why we call it your prepping journey.

It will be interesting to see if the re-opening of American and the thought of facing crowds again drives more people out of cities.

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Spring Shows Up For a Few Days, the Tease

The yellow blooms of forsythia in the valley below us herald the coming of spring, but our mountain locations keeps it at bay.

I came down off our mountain to go shopping and realized it was spring in the valley. The forsythia was blooming. Willow trees had ribbons of green along their branches. When I got to our village, a few ornamental cherry and pear trees in front of houses were blooming.

On the mountain, spring has not yet sprung. In the woods, there are hint of it; red along the tree tops from the maples and touches of green in the undergrowth as small bushes. It’s as if they want to get a jump on the sunshine started soaking it up before their broadleaf cousins could intercept it all, and there was sunshine aplenty. It made me wish for bees. This would be their first real chance to gather pollen and perhaps some nectar and to rebuild their colony after the long cold winter.

While temperatures in the low 60s are welcome, we cannot get carried away. We are not done with the cold weather yet, as it is more than six weeks until our average last frost date. Already the five day forecast shows night time temperatures dropping back into the 20s before the weekend. With my luck, we’ll have snow.

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Social Media is Killing us Softly; How to Limited Your Risk

After three months, I dip my toe back into the social media stream and I remember why I left: social media is a big part of what is wrong with society.

I logged in to Twitter today and posted a tweet about a recent post. Then I made the mistake of seeing what people were tweeting about. This was the first time I’d spent any serious time on Twitter in three months. Turns out I hadn’t missed anything. Same bull, different day.

During the long COVID-19 quarantine, Twitter was a good way to kill time. Now? Not so much. It’s a waste of time.

If you are on Twitter, I recommend giving yourself a couple of days or weeks without it. Delete it from your phone and I bet you will be happier without it.

We were Better off Before Social Media

I think social media has harmed our society by emphasizing our differences rather than our similarities. Before, we were all Americans. Today, everything divides us. These differences have always been there, but they were under the surface. Today, all you have to do is find someone’s social media page and know that you hate them in two minutes or less.

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Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

If we didn’t expect something bad to happen, we wouldn’t prep. What you prepare for and how you prepare are critical to your success.

Whether or not we know it, we are all sitting here waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Some wait with trepidation, fear and anxiety, certain that something terrible lies in their future. Others look forward to the coming collapse, thinking that it is the only way we will ever get to have a do-over.

Some work to hasten the collapse, the downfall of our country. They are actually people out there that believe that our population is too high and that we need a great die off to save “Mother Earth.” Strange that none of these people seem will to step up and commit suicide to save the planet. They would rather sacrifice you and your family in the name of good.

Some refuse to think about it, either through youth and nativity or possibly denial. Perhaps some are so self-absorbed and live in such a small inward-looking world that they have no idea what the real world is a dangerous place and that life is a terminal disease that no one escapes.

Personally, I like to prepare for something terrible and then live like I don’t care. Maybe the other shoe will drop tomorrow or next year, but by preparing, I feel ready for whatever the future may bring. No fear, no anxiety, and no worries.

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A Thump in the Night and I Grab my Shockwave

What do you reach for when you hear a loud noise in the middle of the night? The phone? Your rifle? I reached for my Mossberg Shockwave because it was handy.

Well after midnight last night, while I was in the basement working on yesterday’s blog post, I heard a noise outside that I did not recognize. Was it a car door closing? Someone driving up the driveway? I was not sure, but it came from that side of the house. This was not the cat or another noise I recognized; this was something unusual.

I tucked my Glock into my waistband, not even bothering with the holster or a spare mag. I grabbed the Mossberg Shockwave with the 1,000 lumen TL Racker and stuck my head and arm through the single-point sling. Not hearing any further noise, I took the time to jam my feet into a pair of shoes.

It was pitch black outside. No sign of light. That means the motion-detection lights on the house had not gone on, which I took as a good sign. There were also no headlights, and while you can drive without them, it is so darn dark out on a stormy night, that doing so risks running off the road or off the driveway, both of which have sharp drop-offs.

I cracked the door, noticing that there were no engine noises. I let the gun lead me out the door, pointed it down the driveway, and hit the pressure sensitive-switch. The 1,000 lumen LED lit up the driveway all the way down to the sharp turn.

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A Quick and Easy Way to Add Important Macronutrients to Your Food Storage Plan

Many long term storage foods leaving you short of important macronutrients because they are carb-heavy and starch-based.

Many of the commercial survival food packages out there are very heavy on carbohydrates and light on protein with almost no fats.

You should look at your stored food because you don’t want to find out about the lack of these important nutritional building blocks when you find yourself in a serious survival situation and must rely on the food you have in buckets and #10 cans.

Go down to your basement, out to your garage, into that closet, or wherever else you store your emergency food and inspect your emergency foods. I bet you fill find lots of fruits, grains (rice, wheat oatmeal, and baking mixes like pancake and biscuit mix), pasta (also grain based,) potatoes, with some vegetables (also heavy on carbs). Most of the protein in your commercial package is going to be from things like powdered milk and textured vegetable protein (TVP) which is a polite way of saying soybeans that have been flavored to taste like meat.

The Recommended Daily Value of the big three macronutrients set by the Food and Drug Administration for a 2,000 calorie diet are: 300 grams of carbs, 50 grams of protein, and 78 grams of fat. How close are your stores?

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A New, Local Queen and Bees to Strengthen our Hive

When we went to pick up the bee hive components I had ordered, we found a source for local queens and bees to help our hive start off strong.

We picked up our beehive equipment today, but even more exciting is that I have found a new source for our bees. Instead of a three-pound package of bees from a big national company, I am buying a nuc from a local beekeeper.

The bees will not be ready as soon, but I am excited about a local source for two reasons: First, a nuc gives me a head start over a package of bees, and second, I expect to get better queen genetics. Let me explain:

Bees, Hives, Frames, and Brood

Starting with a nuc (short for nucleus, or the core of a hive) is far better than three pounds of bees. The nuc comes with five frames of brood and honey, which means new bees will hatch over the next few days, and the honey will provide stored food. A package of bees would have to start from scratch and build up to this point.

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