“Concerned about Deterioration of the Economy” Interview with Tess Pennington, Author of The Prepper’s Blueprint

250x250-PreppersBluePrintI had the opportunity to read The Prepper’s Blueprint written by Tess Pennington and edited by Daisy Luther.  This is a huge book and it give you a wealth of information about preparing for any disaster.  Becoming prepared can be overwhelming but this book will walk you through what you need to know.

The Prepper’s Blueprint, offers a “no nonsense” guide to preparing for either short term or long term emergencies. The book is written in a friendly, non-judgmental tone; you feel like a friend is helping you get motivated. Tess Pennington knows of what she writes. I liked the practical advice and actionable steps that anyone can follow. This book is a keeper.

In addition, I also interviewed the author, Tess Pennington.  Tess has made the big leap that many of us can only imagine:  moving from life in the big city to a small town.   Even though we can’t move just yet, there are many things we can do to live more sustainably while living in the city.  Read on…

1.  There are multiple threats to prepare for – what are you most concerned about?

My largest concern is with the deterioration of the economy. Currently, 1 in 4 Americans have no emergency savings. Emergency savings is hard to do when the country is in such a fragile economic state. Americans are struggling and finding ways to cut corners and learn to make ends the best they can. We are dealing with an epidemic of unemployment, the amount of families on food stamps is staggering, and it is becoming clear that an economic recovery is nowhere in sight.

Many years ago, I was enslaved to debt, we had no savings, I had no preparations and my young children were depending on me to get them through. My husband and I made some abrupt changes. We consumed less and worked at paying off our bills. Rather than taking vacations, we invested in emergency supplies and began growing our own food sources. I wouldn’t say that we are 100% self-reliant, but we are close to being debt free and are closer to our goal. One aspect of preparedness that is not discussed often is the time involved in accumulating supplies, learning the pertinent skills and becoming confident in your abilities. This takes years and those who are new to prepping may become discouraged in the process. The best way to approach prepping is with open eyes and new mindset.

If we can each take steps to eliminate debt, save money, simplify our lifestyle and prepare for the unexpected disasters that life can throw at us, then when those emergencies do happen, we will be prepared and ready to face them head on. We will not be as dependent on the economic cycles.

2.  What was a driving reason to leave the city and relocate to a different location?

Our driving reason was that the life in the city/suburbs didn’t reflect what we wanted anymore. We were ready to get some land and practice a more self-reliant lifestyle. Luckily, my husband and I work from home, so we were able to be picky about where we moved to. Not many people have the opportunity to pick up and move. Where our job is usually reflects where we can and cannot live.

For us, living in Houston, TX came with certain concerns. This is a densely populated area, crime rates seemed to be increasing, and there were concerns of multiple natural disasters and man-made disasters that we didn’t want to subject our family to. When we made the decision to move, we did a lot of research on areas around the country that were not densely populated, were rich in natural resources and didn’t pose as many natural disasters compared to where we were living. One resource that was exceptionally helpful during this research period was http://www.city-data.com/.

3.  What was the most difficult adjustment you (or your family) had to make?

In all, I feel that the adjustment was easy because I had done a lot of research in homesteading and self-reliance living. I knew going into it that there were going to be some challenges and learning curves. I wanted to get my hands dirty and knew that mistakes were all part of the process.

The most difficult thing I have found about the whole process is not be complacent. We get comfortable with things, maybe a little cocky in learning new skills and then you just stop learning, stop reading about new products and perhaps, become less open to new ways of thinking. In my experience, you should always be continuing to learn and train your skills. Find people around you or online that share your interests and learn from them.

4.  What steps can be taken to ease the transition when you move away from convenient and familiar surroundings?

When you make the decision to move away from all that you know, it can be scary at first. You may doubt yourself and your abilities. But, don’t give up! As mentioned above, my husband and I did a lot of research on where we were moving and had a plan of action before we moved. I had my checklist of things to do before I left.

My biggest advice for this question is to trust in your decision and give yourself time to adjust and acclimate to your new surroundings. One of the first things I did when we moved was start getting my garden set up. I am one of those people who have to have a garden growing. It calms me and gives me time to myself. You could also join local grounds (master gardeners, go to the gun range, meet up groups, etc.) to get you meeting the locals.

5.  Many families are unable to move out of the city due to financial and family reasons – what would you recommend in their situation?

Roughly, 80% of the population is urban, so you aren’t alone. There are many things you can do to promote a more sustainable lifestyle while living in the city. Make the best of where you are and refine skills you can use in an urban setting. Some great skills you can easily learn are:

Raise micro-livestock
Garden and produce your own food supply
Forage for local plants and herbs
Learn about Hydroponic/Aquaponic food production
Train your physical body in the event of evacuations
Take an emergency first-aid class or self-defense class
Start a prepper’s pantry and store shelf stable foods
Learn how to preserve your food supply
Go to farmer’s markets and get in contact with local growers and practice bartering
Visit self-reliant or prepper expos and take some prepper classes

Many families have to stay in urban areas but do not let that stop you from your prepping endeavors. There are lots of things you can do and many people who are in the same place as you with the same interests. Hopefully, the above suggestions can help you get started.

Now for the giveaway…

Tess is giving away a copy of The Prepper’s Blueprint to one lucky winner.

To enter, just comment on the question below:

Describe what skills are you trying to acquire to live more sustainably and why?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, August 9th at 8 pm Central.  *Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or other winners will be drawn.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

 

Why You Should Keep Tarp in Your Survival Kit

Why You Should Keep Tarp in Your Survival Kit A few weeks ago, we took a day trip to a wilderness area for a picnic.  There was no rain in the forecast that day, and there were no clouds in the sky when we set out.  After an hour’s drive, we arrived and scoped out a spot by some trees.  A couple of hours later, the clouds started coming in.  Pretty soon the sky was dark and you could just feel a slight cool down in the temperature, which signifies rain.  The wind came in and we knew we were about to have a downpour.  We didn’t want to leave just yet, so Mr. Apt Prepper rigged up a tarp into a makeshift shelter.  Paracord came in handy for tie-ups.

It was not a very attractive set-up but it kept us from getting drenched.  The rain lasted for about 45 minutes then the sun came out.

I was glad we had the tarp and paracord to build a makeshift shelter.  I have written about paracord before, but not about tarp.

Mutiple uses for tarp:

  • Barrier under a tent floor to protect you from sharp rocks or critters
  • Blanket to keep warm
  • Picnic blanket
  • Use as a hammock
  • Improvise a stretcher to carry an injured person
  • Use as a surface to field dress game
  • Make a shelter to protect from rain or to get some shade
  • Protect your car’s seats from messes
  • As a wrapping for stuff
  • Assemble into a backpack with paracord straps
  • As a covering for items carried on top of your car or truck
  • For camouflage if it is has the right colors
  • Make a sail
  • Catch rainwater:  dig a hole in the ground, line it with tarp and collect water.  It can also be used to direct the flow of water into a container
  • Protect your floor while doing a paint job
  • Use as a way to signal – if you are lost somewhere, find an area to spread out the tarp so it can be seen from above.
  • Makeshift shower curtain
  • Privacy screen for an outdoor toilet
  • Make an indoor fort for kids to entertain themselves during a power outage
  • Covering for windows

Keep some tarp, along with paracord and some duct tape in your car survival kit.  While you’re at it, might as well keep one at home and in your bug out bag.

 

 

Fire Roasted Vegetables for Food Storage

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg Blend4At last week’s Monday Musings, I mentioned I was catching up on product reviews.  Therefore, in lieu of the scheduled posts, this week is Review Week!

I had the opportunity to test out the new Mountain House Fire Roasted Vegetables.

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg BlendLong time readers know we’ve tested a few Mountain House entrees, and brought them on camping and backpacking trips.

I was a little iffy about how fire roasted vegetables would turn out, as this is one of my favorite foods and some restaurants don’t even cook them properly.  But I gave it shot so here’s the result.

Here is what the vegetables look as you open the packet.  It contains freeze dried fire roasted bell peppers, onions with corn and black beans.

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg Blend2

As usual, I followed the instructions to take out the oxygen absorber then just add 1.5 cups boiling water.

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg Blend3Then mix up the contents to make sure the water has covered the vegetables.  Then seal up the bag and wait.  The directions said leave it alone 7-8 minutes.

I checked it after the 8 minutes were up and the vegetables were ready the the black beans were still a bit tough.  So I left it for another 7 minutes for a total of 15.  By now the black beans were perfect.

Mountain House Fire Roasted Veg Blend5I tasted the vegetables and they were excellent.  They had a sweet, fresh taste and a firm, not mushy consistency.  The pouch contains 2.5 servings.  I had it plain for lunch and it was satisfying.

I think it’s actually better than some of the frozen fire roasted vegetable blends I’ve tried from the supermarket.  They would be great for camping, backpacking and long term food storage.  I highly recommend Mountain House Fire Roasted Vegetables.

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Grow Great Vegetables in Containers with these 4 Tips

Grow Great Vegetables in Containers with these 4 TipsBy Mike Podlesny

Do not let the lack of space keep you from growing some great tasting fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs at home. Regardless of whether you have a balcony at your apartment or a small backyard in the city, it is possible to reap a bountiful harvest every gardening season.

CHOOSE WISELY

The first thing to consider when growing fruits, vegetables and herbs in containers is choosing varieties that make sense for the amount of space that you have. You might think there is nothing out there that fits your need, but that would be the furthest from the truth. There are plenty of determinant vegetable varieties that will work.

For example, if you love fresh home grown beans like I do, go with some heirloom bush varieties such as royal burgundy or golden wax, as opposed to pole beans that would require trellising and take up a bit more space.

If cucumbers are your favorite, you are in luck, because the determinant heirloom bush crop variety is perfect for your space, and grows very well in small containers. I am growing bush crop cucumbers this year and have nine plants in a three foot by three foot raised garden bed. You can squeeze plenty of these varieties of cucumbers in a small space and still get prolific production.

THE CONTAINERonions_growing_in_container
After you have decided what to grow, you now need something to plant your vegetables, herbs and fruit in. A good container will have a diameter of at least sixteen inches and a depth of no less than twelve inches, although much deeper is always better. If you can afford a bigger container for both price and space, I would highly recommend it.thyme_growing_in_an_herb_box

Because you are growing vegetables, fruits and herbs in containers, there are some things you have to remember.

Use a good potting soil that is loaded with plenty of plant food. The key here is potting soil.  Do not use a garden soil. Garden soil is too dense for a container application. There are a lot of great organic choices available, or you can make your own by combining homemade compost, a little perlite and some coir.

You will need to water your plants more frequently. Your container will dry out quicker, so watering daily will be a part of your routine, and if you are in an area with extreme high temperatures, twice a day is not out of the question. Just keep an eye on them.
Your container should have plenty of drainage. I would highly recommend drilling a few more holes into the bottom of your containers. This allows excess water to drain better. The last thing you want is excess water sitting around the roots of your vegetable plants. That will cause a condition called root rot.

pumpkin_growing_in_a_pot

LOCATION

Your plants should receive at least 8 hours of sun although you can get away with less if you are growing leafy veggies such as kale, lettuce or spinach. The beauty about containers is that you can move them around. So if you are growing a container variety of tomato, which requires a full day’s worth of sun, and the sun hits 4 hours on one side of your balcony, and 4 on the other, simply pick the pot up and follow the sun. It really is not that much work once you get used to it.

You may also want to consider adding artificial light, such as grow lights, if your apartment, condo, house etc., sits on the side that receives more shade than sun. They are very inexpensive, available at any giant home center, and do not cost that much to operate.

bush_cucumbersFEED YOUR PLANTS
Finally, don’t forget to feed your plants. Because your vegetables, fruits and herbs are growing in confined quarters, they are going to use up the nutrients in the soil much faster. If you start with a good potting soil as mentioned earlier, you can easily get away with feeding your plants once per week after the first month.

I would recommend a good fertilizer like fish emulsion or even adding some compost to the top of your container and allowing it to work its way down, which it will eventually do. You can also use that compost to make compost tea, which makes a great elixir for your plants.

Just because you have a small space to work with does not mean you cannot be big on growing your own food. With a few tips and a little work, you will be well on your way to filling up those pantries with plenty of fresh beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and more.

About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts.

 

 

Forsaking Home by A. American – Book Review and Giveaway

Forsaking HomeToday we are looking at Forsaking Home, Book 4 of the Survivalist Series by A. American.  As you know, I am a fan of the Survivalist Series, having reviewed the books in the past.  As soon as I heard the fourth book was available for review, I jumped at the chance.

As a quick summary, Forsaking Home delves into what our main character, Morgan Carter has to do for his family’s survival in the aftermath of the failure of the electric grid.  At the same time, the book also covers the actions of Sarge, who plans to take down a refugee camp run by oppressors.

I enjoyed reading this book and was happy to find out what happened after we left off in the third book.  However, I the book felt divided to me, as about 1/3 of the book dealt with Morgan Carter and his family, and 2/3 dealt with Sarge and the planned take down of the camp.  I would have preferred more of the book dedicated to Morgan, as I was more attached to Morgan’s character than Sarge.

As in the previous books, you can pick up some great survival tips as you are reading Forsaking Home.  The story moves along at a satisfying pace, and keeps the reader interested in the unfolding events.

I like the books overall, and hope this is not the final book in the series.

Now for the giveaway…

If you have not started reading the books, this is a great opportunity!  One winner can win all four books in the entire series.

Going Home

Surviving Home

Escaping Home

Forsaking Home

To enter, please leave a comment below regarding:

What outdoor or bushcraft skills are you most interested in learning and why?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, July 26th 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.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

 

Off Grid Tip: How to Tell How Much Daylight is Left

How to Tell How Much Daylight is LeftThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I mentioned a while back that we “unplugged” from devices at our recent camping trip:  no GPS, no cell phones or laptops.  The kids felt strange at first, but eventually got used to it.

Apt Prepper son used this trick he learned watching Les Stroud, Survivorman – to find out how much time is left until the sky goes completely dark.  It was around 7 pm or so at the time, and he estimated around two hours and 15 minutes of daylight left.  He estimated it would be dark around 9:15 pm.  I had a solar watch and I checked the time to see if he was accurate.  I thought that seemed really late but I waited to see if it would really work.

After the sun finally went down and it was pitch black, I checked the time:  9:15.  The method was amazingly accurate.

Here’s how:

Hold your arm and stick  your hand out.  Place your hand between the sun and the horizon.  Each finger represents 15 minutes, and four fingers will equal one hour.   If you can stack your hands twice then that is two hours and so on.  In our case, at around 7 pm, Apt Prepper son was able to stack his hands twice plus one finger between the sun and the horizon, thereby coming up with 9:15 pm.

This method can be a lifesaver if you are out in the wilderness without a way to tell time.  You can gauge how much daylight you have left so you can return back to base camp in a timely manner.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Show young kids that being prepared can be fun!

Jake and Miller's Big Adventure

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

Sign up here for free:

Monday Musings: 7/14/2014

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links as well as updates on the blog and preps.  Lots of things going on this week!

First the updates:

Wanted:  a natural mosquito repellant that works

This week we are being extra careful about applying insect repellant as we heard the Chikungunya virus has come to HoustonI told you about this weeks ago, and now it’s here.  This mosquito borne virus has no vaccine and can be quite miserable if you catch it.  I have spray on repellants containing DEET which are effective, but I’d prefer to use more natural repellants.  This week I will be trying some out.  I’ll post about it soon.

Giveaways going on

You can still enter to win a free Mega One meal replacement for Food Storage made by Legacy from Preparewise

As a requirement in the entry, please remember to follow @LegacyPremium and have them tweet about the giveaway using the hashtag #ilovepreparewise

Also, the Prepared Bloggers are holding a Titan Ready Water Giveaway starting today.

So many reviews so little time

My review pile is growing steadily, and they are scheduled several weeks in advance.  Being short on space, a corner next to my bed is stacked high with books and items waiting to be read and tested.  As you know I try out everything to talk about on this blog and these experiments take time.  Some reviews include giveaways, but some don’t.  I figure they would still be helpful to someone who is considering purchasing the item and looking for information before making a decision.  You may see a few additional review posts in the next few weeks, hopefully you will find them of value.

Prepared Bloggers Network Update

As you know I am a member of the Prepared Bloggers Network, a fine group of preparedness and homesteading bloggers.  Please visit the Facebook page, we also have a new page on Pinterest.

Now for the links…

New Adventure Show with Creek Stewart

I got an email announcing a new series featuring friend of the blog, Creek Stewart, who runs Willow Haven Outdoor.  The new show is called “Fat Guys in the Woods” and it premieres on Sunday, August 10 at 10:00 p.m. ET following “So You Think You’d Survive?” at 9:00 p.m. ET.

In every episode of “Fat Guys in the Woods,” Creek brings three average Joes to the woods to survive for a week, while teaching them the skills necessary for survival.

The premiere episode features three friends from California, with Creek’s guidance, who embark on a bitter cold survival adventure in the Smoky Mountains during record-breaking low temperatures…the same week where three hikers were airlifted from the same region after battling for their lives. After making a massive wikiup shelter and starting a fire with flint they find in the woods, the guys need to survive the freezing weather conditions and find food armed with little beyond their own two hands.

Click here for a link to the promo spot for the show.

Fat Guys in the Woods

“Fat Guys in the Woods”: Survival Expert Creek Stewart

Photo Credit: The Weather Channel

I have not seen the show, so I can’t do a review just yet, but I look forward to seeing it.

Ebola in Africa: Can we dodge a global pandemic?

Forgotten vials of smallpox found in storage room

Deadliest, Rarest Form of Plague Contracted Near Denver

One Of The NSA’s Original Whistleblowers Says The Goal Is ‘Total Population Control’

Breakfast takes a bigger bite out of your wallet

10 habits you should pick up from your grandmother

Small Batch Fruit Preserving

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

Survival Tin Party Favor

Survival Tin Party FavorThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I got this heart tin as a wedding party favor.  Originally it contained mints but after they were gone, I kept the container.

I thought it would be fun to use it as a survival tin, as I had done a while back with my pocket sized first aid kit.  Instead of giving out candy, why not include items that could one day help someone out in an emergency.  It’s useful, handy and can be stashed in a desk or purse.

Here are a couple of ideas:

All purpose survival tin

Secret Survival Tin 1Include:

  • Strike anywhere matches
  • A couple of safety pins
  • Paracord
  • Anti-bacterial wipe
  • Cash:  a few coins and a bill

You can also include a couple of water purification tablets, paper clip, rubber bands etc.

First Aid Tin

First Aid TinInclude:

  • A couple sizes of adhesive bandage
  • Sanitizing wipe
  • Pain reliever
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Diarrhea remedy (already inside the tin)

You can also add allergy medicine, a couple of cotton swabs, eye drops etc.

First Aid Tin 2

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Show young kids that being prepared can be fun!

Jake and Miller's Big Adventure© Apartment Prepper 2014

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

Monday Musings: 7/7/2014

Monday Musings 07072014This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links as well as updates on the blog and preps.

First the blog updates:

Encore interview   I have an encore interview with our friend Gaye over at Backdoor Survival.  Check it out here.  Don’t forget to submit your entry.

Prepared Bloggers

Prepared BloggersJust a quick reminder to check out this wonderful group I belong to:  Prepared Bloggers for lots of great preparedness and self-sufficiency articles.

Thoughts on giveaways

As long time readers know, I have been doing giveaways on this blog for some time.  Sometimes they are sponsors, sometimes not, and sometimes I just team up with other bloggers to do them.  There have been some giveaways that have disappointing results, and I wonder why very few responded; other times, we have enthusiastic responses.

It is frustrating when a winner is chosen and they do not respond within a timely manner.  Don’t they check their emails?   The rules state the winner of the drawing must respond within 48 hours or another winner is chosen so we do.

I still do them anyway, and many readers have left positive comments about them.

Why do I like them?

I do them for the simple reason that a giveaway gave me a great start when I began my own preparedness journey.   I won the Cansolidator from Modern Survival Online.  I never won anything before and was so excited to win.  I did a review of the item and it helped me organize my small pantry.

Who won the Crafting with Paracord Giveaway?

Gary won the giveaway for Crafting with Paracord.

Now for the links…

18 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is Accelerating As We Enter The Last Half Of 2014

Fear and Rumors Hinder Containment of Ebola Outbreak

Is this wise? Controversial scientist recreates pandemic flu virus that killed 500,000 people… except it’s WORSE

Why It’s Possible to Drown in a Dry Parking Lot

Prepping in an Apartment with an Eye to the Future

How Fast Food Providers Beat Inflation – Add Wood Pulp To Burgers

30 Everyday Products You Can Make Instead of Buying at Walmart


Source: Fix.com

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Show young kids that being prepared can be fun!

Jake and Miller's Big Adventure

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Nite Ize DoohicKey Key Tool – Does it Work?

Nite Ize DooHicKeyThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Today we are reviewing the Nite Ize DoohicKey Key Tool, a little gadget that has multiple uses.

According to the package, it can be used as:

  • Carabiner
  • Box Cutter
  • Bottle Opener
  • Wrench
  • Ruler
  • Flat Head Screw Driver

The Nite Ize DoohicKey Key Tool is small enough to place in your key ring.

I tested out its uses and found it to be sturdy enough to perform its intended uses.  I also like that it does not take up a lot of space.

Here is one of the uses I found for it:

Nite Ize carabinerI hung up a collapsible water carrier to dry for several hours and the Nite Ize DoohicKey Key Tool held up well.

It also worked well for opening boxes, and is not sharp enough to cut yourself.  It came in handy as a bottle opener.

Priced at $6.71 on Amazon, it is inexpensive enough to buy one for everyone in the family.  I think it would also make a nice stocking stuffer, office gift even for people who don’t want to think about prepping.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!