Tinctures, Salves, Poultices and More

Home Remedies

I have not given much thought to tinctures, salves and poultices until I read the e-book Home Remedies by Alex Smith.   We will get back to what they are in a bit.

First, let’s talk about the book.

Home Remedies is exactly that:  a book that gives cures for common ailments using easy to find household items.  The conditions are listed in alphabetical order, making things easy to find.  One thing I did not expect was, the book also gives tips for general cleaning, deodorizing, doing laundry… even starting an herb garden.  It even includes home remedies for pets!

Now back to tinctures, salves and poultices…  The book gives great definitions of the terms used, as well as examples throughout the book.

What are they anyway?  From what I learned from Home Remedies (paraphrased):

Tincture is a mixture created by soaking an herb in alcohol or vinegar, helping draw out the properties of the herb, while preserving it.  Salve is an oil with wax added.  A poultice is comprised of a bandage combined with a paste or moist mixture and is placed on a wound, rash or other affected area.

Here’s a handful of fascinating things I learned…

  • Cornstarch can help soothe a sunburn
  • Cherries are good for the nervous system and stress relief.
  • Eating caraway seeds can calm an upset stomach.
  • Sucking on a lemon helps relieve nausea
  • Eating a banana helps calm a hangover (replaces the potassium lost)

I don’t want to give away too much… you’ll have to read the book to find out more.  It’s a good book to have around, to help you find simple home remedies for quick relief, until you can get to a doctor.  You get lots of “good to know” tips at $3.99 for the Kindle edition.  It is also available on paperback.


© Apartment Prepper 2014

R.P. Ruggiero, BrushFire Plague: The Reckoning – Author Interview and a Giveaway

Brushfire Plague ReckoningThe second book in the Brushfire Plague series, The Reckoning is out.  A brief description from the author:

The Reckoning begins as the Brushfire Plague that has crippled the globe slowly loses its lethality, only to be replaced by the harsh reality of its origin and what this will mean for civilization. 

Driven by his obligation to honesty at all costs, Cooper Adams has made himself a wanted man by exposing the truth he has learned about the plague. After being rejected by those who once viewed Cooper as a hero, he is forced to go on the run with his 11-year old son and his few remaining allies. As he tries to escape to the safety of his friend’s rural hideout, Cooper is faced with the challenge of doing what it takes to survive, while trying to preserve his son’s slowly disappearing childhood innocence.  

                The Oregon that Cooper witnesses along this journey only resembles fragments of the state he calls home. Death and despair are unavoidable and lawlessness is slowly taking over. When he reaches his final destination where he can go into hiding and protect his son while digging more deeply into the truth behind the Plague, Cooper finds himself in the middle of a town’s political and social battle for dominance. When his son is taken as a hostage by a power-hungry local, a guilt-ridden Cooper must use his increasing bravery and leadership skills to gain the trust and support of doubtful residents in order to save him.


I reviewed the first book, and had good things to say about it.  This time I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview the author, R.P. Ruggiero:

1.  Most of our readers live in big cities, and it is a big concern that cities will become unsafe in a disaster especially a pandemic.  What would you advice city dwellers on improving their chances to survive a large scale disaster?
Water.  Store what you can, but invest in water filters.  The gravity-fed ones by Sawyer are around a $100 but will filter thousands and thousands of gallons.  Of course, the Berkey filters are the holy grail if you can afford them.  But, get your water straight.  Then, is food.  Store at least one year if you have the room–but do whatever you can.  For “less than full collapse” scenarios, even a month supply will put you ahead of most people in the city.  Finally, you’ll need to secure your dwelling and/or have plans to do that.  And, if you plan on having a gun on hand, which I recommend, get trained on how to use it and please keep it away from the kids!
2.  What role does having a community play when a disaster happens?
To me, nothing is more important.  Humans live in a society because there is safety in numbers.  Now, a crisis or disaster scenario can flip that–but having a group you can trust will put you in a much better survival situation.  For example, the ‘neighborhood defense’ scenario I set up in Brushfire Plague is actually what happens in real life.  And, the neighborhoods that rally to their own defense are typically left alone by the bad guys!  Beyond the added defensive capacity–you gain access to more resources, skills, and the support a group gives you will be beyond valuable when and if the SHTF.
3.  Many preppers are surrounded by family and friends who do not prepare.  What advice would you give them?
Honestly?  Give them a copy of Brushfire Plague or other prepper or apocalyptic fiction.  I’ll never forget when my wife finished reading Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower” and literally looked up from the book and said, “I now know why you have all those guns.”  The other way to go is to just get them talking about natural disasters and how we might all be ready for them….that’s one way to get others started on the road.  I don’t think preaching or telling people they are wrong or stupid ever gets anyone to do anything!
4.  Please tell us a bit about your background.
Think the strength of Chuck Norris with the street smarts of Ray Liotta and the wisdom of Buddha and you’ll have a pretty good picture of me.  Nah, just kidding.  Well, I grew up loving to read apocalyptic fiction so I guess I’ve always been thinking about how to be ready for “the end” since I was pretty young!  And, in my adulthood, I work with groups that experience a high degree of stress and challenge to achieve their goals.  So, that really helped me focus on group dynamics in the Brushfire Plague series.
5.  When is the third book scheduled for release?  Any plans for other books?
My plan is to release it by early 2015.  I don’t believe in just churning books out as I want to maintain the high-quality writing I feel I have established.  I take my relationship with my readers as a bit of a sacred trust, so this is important to me.  And, then, I hope they return the favor and do reviews online and tell their friends!  I will finish the Brushfire Plague’s core tale with the third book.  But, I might continue in that world with some or all the characters.  Or, I might launch into a new story.  In any case, I will definitely keep writing!  It’s a joy and the feedback has been extremely humbling and rewarding.
Our thanks to R.P. Ruggiero for the interview as well as the giveaway!

Win a copy of Brushfire Plague series, The Reckoning

Just add your comment below:

Have you considered what steps you would take in the event of a pandemic?  What would you do?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, February 1st at 8 pm Central.*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Going Home by A. American: Book Review and Giveaway

Going-Home-199x300If the power grid were to collapse while you are far from home on a road trip, how would you handle it?  That is the premise of Going Home:  A Novel of Survival by A. AmericanGoing Home is the first book of the series, followed by Surviving Home and Escaping Home.

Going Home has a very believable story.  Morgan Carter, the main character, thought he was going on a quick business trip and was on his way home when all electronics just stop.  His car stalls, his cell phone dies and all transactions become “cash only” as stores are unable to process electronic transactions.  His trip quickly turns into a struggle to survive as he tries to get home from 250 miles away.  The scenario is actually one of my fears as a prepper:  being far from home and family when a disaster happens.

Morgan is a regular guy, an everyday prepper.  He is prepared, in terms of a “get home” bag, but he is not a super hero nor has any extraordinary training.  In short, many readers can easily relate to him.  The environment and political climate described in the book are also very plausible, and close to reality.

The events in the book move along at a constant pace and keeps you riveted in what happens.

I think if we had to choose what we didn’t like about it, it would be that some of the characters were a bit too trusting and friendships were struck too quickly.  I believe people would be more reserved in real life, but that is just me.  Except for this minor issue, I have no misgivings about the book and highly recommend it to everyone.

Mr. Apt Prepper actually read this book before I did, and told me his opinion about the book:  he could not put it down.  He thorough enjoyed the story and also appreciated the survival skills described, as well as details about the equipment contained in the bug-out bag.  He has finished all three books in a matter of days.

Now for the giveaway…

One winner will be chosen to win all three books:

Going Home

Surviving Home

Escaping Home


Just add your comment below on either one or both of these items:

What are your best bug out bag tips? 


What items have come in handy in your bug out bag or emergency kit?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, December 7th at 8 pm Central.

*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

The Prepper’s Pantry

The Prepper’s Pantry




Glen Tate, Author of 299 Days – Advice for Preppers and a Giveaway

299 Days Volume 5 - Copy

299 Days: The Visitors (Volume 5)

I was excited to have the opportunity to interview Glen Tate, author of the 299 Days series of books.  Thus far I have read four of the books, soon to read Volume Five.  First, a quick background from the author’s bio:

Glen Tate has led an amazing life – and one that took a surprising turn. He grew up poor in the rural logging town of Forks, Washington. He worked hard to become a successful professional with a job in the political arena. Thinking he’d finally made it and everything was great, he was stunned to see how corrupt government is. From his observations at his job, he realized that America is collapsing and bad things are coming. Very soon. He began to prepare for him and his family to make it through the civil unrest of the coming collapse. That meant he had to return to his rural roots – quite a shock to his family and friends. Even more amazing was that he wrote down what he foresees happening during the collapse and it became a ten-book novel series published by Prepper Press.

On with the interview…

1.  The first book, 299 Days delves into the main character’s need to prepare, but his wife is not convinced.   Many preppers can relate to this predicament – what advice can you give them?

GT:  When dealing with non supportive family members, you have to stay calm and not be perceived as over-reacting.  The first thing you need to do is accept their position:  they feel your concerns are crazy.  Get them interested by appealing to what’s important to them.  For example, if they are concerned about the kids, then keeping the kids safe in a disaster would appeal to them.  On the other hand, if guns are a “turn-off” to them, downplay or stay away from that topic.  You know your relative or friend very well, so you already know their likes and dislikes.  Use whatever works in your favor to get them on your side.

Editor’s note:  This is excellent advice and I am going to try it.  I personally know people in my family who consider preparedness “just something that I do,”  One of the relatives is motivated by financial gains, so perhaps stressing how stockpiling can save money, while others are protective of their families.  Family safety in an emergency would be of interest to those relatives.

2.  Most of our readers live in big cities, and it is a big concern that cities will become unsafe in a disaster.  What would you say is the biggest obstacle to getting a bug-out location and what can you do about it?

GT:  The biggest obstacle to finding a bug-out location is money.  Not everyone can afford to buy land in a rural area.  While things are normal, write down a list of potential places, including names and addresses, that you can run to in the event of a large scale emergency.  Don’t store it electronically in the event there is no power.  This list can include friends and family whom you know enough to have contact information.  They do not need to be immediate family, but can be 2nd or 3rd tier contacts.  Try contacting them ahead of time and get a feel for how they would react.  If anything happens, such as an economic collapse, during the early stages, try and be the first one to ask.  Have something to contribute – bring your supplies with you.  Throw everything you can take in a U-haul trailer and get out.

3.  Grant Matson, the main character, has a group that he trains with – what do you think about defensive training for the average person who does not have the same contacts?

GT:  Spend as much on training as you spend on guns and ammunition.  Training is often overlooked but it is essential to build confidence and familiarity with your weapon.  Even if you just try something once, it takes the mystery out of it and you will not hesitate to act when the time comes.  You can practice at the range or even shoot at cans in a gravel pit.  You will carry yourself with confidence which also makes a difference in how people perceive you.

4.  In the book, Grant’s daughter learns how to shoot – what is a good age for children to start learning about the proper use of firearms?

GT:  It really depends on the child’s maturity.  Some seven to eight year old children have a readiness to learn while some may not be ready.

5.  Although ammunition is starting to become available again, they are still expensive.  What advice can you give?

- Stock up when you can.  Always get a few boxes as they become available.

- Consider team reloading.  Find a team you can do hand-loading with and share the cost.

-  Use 22s at the range.  If you can, get a 2nd gun that functions the same, mechanically, as your favorite gun.  This way you are training with less expensive ammunition.

6.  If you can only choose one rifle, what would it be?

GT:  I am an AK fan, but since the question is only of one type, I would choose the AR-15, because it is easy to operate ergonomically.

7.  We try to stay away from politics at Apartment Prepper, but what would you say is the biggest risk for our country at this point?

GT:  The problem is non-partisan, the country is borrowing too much, spending too much, and printing money too much.  Both parties are not acting fiscally responsible and the highest risk is economic in nature.

Politicians do try to do what the people want, and many or their constituents feel entitled and believe there is such a thing as a “free lunch”  The problem is, this willingness to take stuff is not sustainable.  An economic crash will cause problems to the political system, which in turn will cause social break downs.

The good news is we can all prepare while we still can and I feel I am doing what I am meant to do:  get people aware of the need to prepare and get the message out.

We had a great interview with Glen Tate.  Although the 299 Days series of books is pure fiction, Glen is an active prepper and has experienced or witnessed many of the situations described.  Thank you Glen for taking the time to speak with Apartment Prepper.

Now for the giveaway:

You can win a copy of 299 Days:  The Visitors

For a chance to win, just leave a comment below:

– What are your biggest concerns that you are preparing for?


– What have you done lately to prepare?

The winner* will be chosen at random on Saturday,  Sept, 7 at 8 pm Central.

*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.



The Prepper’s Pantry

The Prepper’s Pantry

The Prepper’s Cookbook by Tess Pennington: Recipe Test and Giveaway

The Prepper's Pantry by Tess PenningtonI received a review copy of The Prepper’s Cookbook:  300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals by Tess Pennington.

In it you will find 300 recipes using common food storage items, many of which you may already have in your kitchen shelves.  The recipes are easy to follow, and require no special equipment.

The book includes practical tips for starting, building and using your emergency pantry.  I liked the section on making your own seasoning mixes, ingredient substitutes, and enjoyed the section on beans and rice.  Beans and rice are some of the most common and inexpensive items you can keep in your food storage, but sure can get boring if you prepare the same thing day after day.  The Prepper’s Cookbook includes a lot of variations that no one will mind eating.

I tested the recipe for Cuban Black Beans and Rice because I already had all the ingredients available.

The dish turned out very well – here is a photo:

Beans and Rice

Even if you don’t like beans and rice, there are lots of recipes to choose from, and there is a whole section on kid-friendly snacks.  You too can try these recipes – I recommend you pick up The Prepper’s Cookbook by Tess Pennington.

The Giveaway

A copy of The Prepper’s Cookbook is reserved for one lucky winner.  For a chance to win, just leave a comment below:

– What is your favorite food storage tip?


– How many months worth of food storage do you currently have?


The winner* will be chosen at random on Saturday,  August at 8 pm Central.  Good luck!


*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.


Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Summer Reading: Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck and Harriet Parke

Agenda 21 by Glenn BeckI didn’t originally have Agenda 21 on my summer reading list until I saw the post about it on Survival Common Sense.

I got interested and decided to read it for myself.  The story starts slowly as a description of the world inhabited by the characters enfolds.  We are following Emmeline, a young girl who has just reached puberty and is now required to “pair up” with someone so she can reproduce for the good of the republic.  We learn that the citizens no longer have control over anything in their lives:  they are given nutrition cubes and a set amount of water to drink; they spend their day generating energy for the State, on a stationary bike.  Every move they make is monitored by local “gatekeepers.”  It’s the “nanny state gone wild” scenario, where  even the choice of partners and the raising of children has been taken over by the government in the name of efficiency and universal welfare.  Emmeline does give birth and the baby is immediately taken away.  Piece by piece she comes to realize the truth about how their freedoms got taken away, and her horror in finding out happened to her family is unrelenting.   Can she find a way out?  You will need to read the book to find out.

I was pulled into the story very quickly and I read the book in a couple of days.

What is Agenda 21?  In a nutshell, Agenda 21 is the U.N. grand plan for “sustainable development,” to be implemented at local, national, and global levels.  It is voluntary, and seeks to control behavior, land and home ownership, natural resources, transportation, food and water.  In short,  anything that impacts the environment will be regulated.

You can’t help but wonder, “Can this happen here?”  I am the practical sort and normally not given to conspiracy theories and speculation.  It seemed a bit far fetched at first, but if you read the Afterword, you will understand what Agenda 21 goals are about, and notice all the small but notable actions that are being taken all around us.  This is a long term plan, and every change is started with very small steps.

I don’t want to give away any more details,  you will just have to read it.  At last check, the book is available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble as well as at the public library.   Agenda 21 is definitely a page turner and is a great summer read.


The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide: Review and Giveaway

Creek's New Book

I received a review copy of Creek Stewart’s latest book, The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide.   I had read his first book, Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag and reviewed it previously.   I had great expectations for the second book, and I was pleased to read it.

It is well known that The Hunger Games books and movie had a lot of survival type situations and this book relates how one might actually survive when faced with such difficult circumstances.

First, the Big Question

We might as well get the big question out of the way:  Do you need to read The Hunger Games series of books or see the movie before you can appreciate this one?   I would say it helps, but it is not absolutely necessary.  I admit I have not seen the movie, but I did read the books a couple of years ago.   There is a tie-in, as the topics relate to some of the survival issues covered in the book, but if you have not read or seen the movie you will still learn a lot of survival lessons.

What I Thought about The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide

I thought the book was very informative and covered all the necessities for survival.

Some of the topics include:

  • Finding water and making it safe to drink
  • Identifying edible plants
  • Building snares
  • Building a shelter to protect against heat, cold, wind and rain
  • Fire-starting
  • Navigation
  • First aid
  • Travel tips for rescue and evasion
  • Making tools to increase the odds of survival such as a bow, knife from a sharp rock

and a lot more.

I enjoyed the sections that I personally feel deficient in, such as identifying plants that are safe to eat, finding your way using things in nature, natural camouflage, good fire-starting materials etc.

I liked reading the “Survival Quick Tips” that were sprinkled throughout the book, giving helpful advice that is related to the section.  The book also includes a lot of photos and illustrations, making it easy for the reader to follow along.

The author gives specific advice on where to look when you need additional information about a subject such as the best guide for foraging plants, references and actual brands of gear that are known to work.   As anyone who has researched emergency gear knows, finding out about what works and what doesn’t takes time and money:  having concrete advice like this handy eliminates a lot of guesswork and wasted time.

Fortunately for us, we are not faced with life or death survival situations such as those experienced by the characters in The Hunger Games, but you never know when you will be faced with such a predicament.  The time to learn these skills is now, not when we’re already deep in the middle of a crisis.  As author Creek Stewart says, “Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN.”  I recommend The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide to anyone who wants to learn survival skills in an entertaining but illuminating format.

Now for the Giveaway

Two lucky readers will be chosen to win this giveaway of the following:

  • Autographed copy of The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide
  • Willow Haven Outdoor Logo Sling Pack,
  • A 100% cotton Willow Haven Outdoor Survival Bandanna
  • A Multi-Fuctional Survival Tool with built in lanyard, compass, ferro rod, whistle and water-proof container for storing matches other survival kit items.

Creek's giveaway 2

To win, please comment below regarding any of the following:

  • What survival situation in The Hunger Games you were most curious about
  • What you hope to learn from this book

Entries will be accepted until Sunday, May 26th at 8 pm Central.  We will contact the winners via email-please respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.  Good luck!

Note:  This giveaway is now closed.


Review of Apocalypse Drift by Joe Nobody and Book Giveaway

Apocalypse Drift

I recently finished reading Joe Nobody’s new novel, Apocalypse Drift.  The book deals with the aftermath of an economic collapse, that was triggered by a cyber attack.  We see the main characters’ struggle for survival in the ensuing chaos.  I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but instead share my impressions of the book.

Too Close for Comfort

The backdrop of the story, with the economy already weak and a formerly upper middle class family caught in a downward spiral had me thinking about real events and real people.  The characters are well defined and their predicament is believable.  I could not help but look at parallels with current headlines.

Fast paced

The story moves along at a good clip and the book is hard to put down.  I spent all my free time reading it and finished it in a couple of days.

Now for the minuses

I have to admit that since I am not into sailing, I rushed through some of the nautical descriptions as this is not something I personally can relate to.

The book describes a possible solution to the economic ills, which sounds plausible to me, however, I cannot see things getting resolved as quickly as they did in the book.  Perhaps I am more pessimistic, but that’s just me.

A Worthwhile Read

I enjoyed the story overall.  The events described are realistic and well thought out.  As an after effect of reading a Joe Nobody book, I started revisiting my own preparations mentally and double-checking my emergency plans.   And that is always a good thing.

Book Giveaway!

For a chance to win a copy of Apocalypse Drift, leave a comment below on either one of the following:

  • What is your favorite Joe Nobody book and why?
  • If you have never read a Joe Nobody book, what is your favorite SURVIVAL FICTION book?

The winner* will be chosen at random on Saturday, May 4th at 8 pm Central.  Good luck!  I look forward to reading your comments.

*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.


Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

For beginning preppers

DebtProof Living


Book Review: The Home Distiller’s Workbook

The Home Distiller's Workbook

I received a review copy of the Home Distiller’s Workbook by Jeff King.  Before we jump into the review, please note, as clearly indicated in the back cover of the book:  Warning:  It is illegal to distill alcohol in the United States without first obtaining the proper licenses.”

If you have ever wondered how the mountain men back in the day made moonshine from corn, this book tells you how in great detail.

It is a small book, which I think is a “plus” as it does not contain a lot of fluff and excess details.  It tells how the process works:  fermenting, distilling and aging.  It covers the ingredients needed, equipment, concepts and finally, recipes.

You can tell the author is quite knowledgeable and passionate about the subject.  He provides a lot of hands on tips.

The book is very thorough and informative.  Although distilling was not a subject I personally considered,  I found it to be an interesting read.  I enjoyed learning about the science behind it, how the yeast and other ingredients interact with each other; the diagrams were helpful as well.

Because it is illegal, and also requires a lot of equipment, home distilling is not on the “to do” list, but knowledge about the process is a good thing.  If the laws were to change, becoming skilled in distillation can be valuable.

If you are interested in learning about home distilling for educational and entertainment purposes of course, this is a good book to have.






Is Defense the Biggest Hole in Your Preps? Read “Prepper’s Home Defense” by Jim Cobb

preppers home defenseWhen starting the preparedness journey, most people focus on storing food, water and first aid supplies.  But there is one aspect of preparedness that should not be ignored, and that is defense.  You need to be able to protect yourself and your family during normal times; if a collapse happens, defense would become even more critical.

Prepper’s Home Defense contains a lot of useful information without being overwhelming.   It even includes a list of commonly used acronyms that is helpful if you are new prepper.  Some of the subjects covered include post-collapse security, physical defense such as protecting the perimeter, safe rooms, hidden storage, weapons such as firearms and other weapons, guard dogs, communications, etc.  The book was written by Jim Cobb, who writes at Survival Weekly and Survival-Gear.com  Jim has worked in the security and investigation field for 20 years and is a survivalist.

The author points out that post collapse security is vastly different from normal day to day security, as you will be faced with more varied and determined threats.  As an example, he cites how something as basic as answering a ringing doorbell must be approached differently in a post collapse situation.   As an apartment prepper, there are limits to modifications you can make to your home, and therefore you may not be able to implement a few of the strategies.  Some of the tactics described are applicable only on a post collapse scenario, so as not to break any laws, but they are still good to know nonetheless.   There is a good section on weapons and the book does not limit itself to firearms.  It also covers martial arts weapons, improvised weapons, pepper spray and even natural weapons such as elbows, knees and feet.  I also enjoyed the section on guard dogs versus watch dogs, which I have not previously distinguished.

Prepper’s Home Defense has a lot to offer, in a subject that is often overlooked by beginner and intermediate preppers.  If you have not made plans on how you will protect your home and family, or feel that defense is a weak spot in your emergency plans, I recommend you pick up Prepper’s Home Defense.