What’s Your Level of Preparedness?

I was talking with a friend the other day who was some-what boasting about all the things he’d acquired to provide for his family in the event of some potential disaster in the future.  I must admit, I was pretty impressed with the long list of things he rattled off and the amount of money he said he spent to “get ready”.

I’m one of those that prefers not to say too much about what I’ve put away for a rainy day, especially if I’m talking to someone I don’t know very well.  So when others want to start talking about all their preps, I’m all ears and just listen and ask questions to learn as much as I can about potential areas where I could improve.

My buddy started listing things like his food storage (over a one year supply for his family), water storage and purification systems, first aid, solar panels, wind turbine, a huge amount of split fire wood, 800 lbs. of charcoal briquettes, 200 gallons of propane, and the list just kept going.  I can’t even remember all the things he mentioned.  I would stop him every now and then to get details and clarification on an area where I felt I was a little weak.  It was actually rather entertaining.  It’s almost as if he was about to burst his buttons, he was so proud of his accomplishments and he just couldn’t keep it a secret – he had to tell someone!

I made sure I complimented him several times for his accomplishments (I could sense he really wanted that validation) and asked him what his next step was and if he was going to continue adding to his supplies.  He looked at me kind of funny, almost as if I’d somehow just missed his entire presentation and stated, “Dude, I’m done!  I’m ready!”  It now came more into focus, he felt he had completed his homework assignment and he was now giving his oral report and wanting not only a very high score, but a significant amount of praise.

And you know what, that’s OK.  At least he took the assignment to prepare seriously and did a great job and his best in accomplishing that task. (Just a side note, this guy is pretty well healed financially so he definitely had the where-with-all to get it done in a hurry.)  If it had been a race, he chose the 100 yard dash and sprinted to the finish line.  Unfortunately, for most of us, it’s far more than even a marathon, probably more like an ultra-long distance mountain run similar to the Hardrock 100 Mile Endurance Run in Colorado.  This race has 34,000 feet of ascent!

For most of us it will take time, both to figure out what is the best solution for our family’s needs as well as needing to work within our budgets.  While we’re moving down this preparedness path, it’s helpful on occasion to grade ourselves as to the progress we’re making.  This will assist in possibly providing needed course correction that will help us get to the finish line as quickly as our conditions will allow.

I came across an interesting rating system recently that helps bring the priorities of prepping into focus.  It rates one’s preps into five categories.  Take a look at these questions and grade yourself on how you’re doing by way of preparations and see which category you fit in.

5 Levels of Preparation

Level 0:  Every emergency is a disaster

Less than two weeks of food in the house

No water purification system

No bug-out bag

No defensive weapons

No way to produce their own food

No physical gold or silver

No tangible assets to barter

Level 1:  Can Survive Two Weeks of Minor Emergency

Have sufficient food and water for two weeks of emergency

Able to heat their home for two weeks without relying on the power grid by use of kerosene heater or fireplace

Able to cook their meals for two weeks without relying on the power grid

Has a first aid kit

Likely has no defensive weapons

Must leave their home after two weeks due to lack of preparation

Level 2:  Can Survive One Month of an Emergency

Likely has a portable power generator and sufficient fuel for one month of operation

Has handguns or shotgun to defend their home

Has a month’s worth of food storage

Has sufficient prescription medicines for 30 days

Has enough batteries for powering a portable radio for 30 days

Level 3:  Can Survive Three Months of an Emergency

Has a deep-short term pantry

Likely has a water purification system

Likely has defensive weapon for each family member

Likely has some type of neighborhood safety watch or 24 hour security watch rotation at the home

Has stocked wood to burn in fireplace and/or wood burning stove

Has communication gear to keep track of local and world events

Has means to recharge batteries without relying on power grid

Has three months of prescription medicines

Level 4:  Can Survive One Year of an Emergency

Has a deep short and long-term food pantry

Likely has their own garden to produce food

Likely has small-sized farm animals to produce protein (chickens, goats, rabbits)

Has a deep supply of ammo (2000+ rounds per weapon)

Has a spare weapon in event of damage

Has means to produce herbal medicines to replace prescriptions

Has a long-term store of antibiotics

Likely has dog for security watch

Has full 24 hour rotation of security watch on the home (requires 6 adults)

Should have secondary off-site storage of food, weapons, and ammo

Is ready to bug-out with full hiking and camping gear, if security situation degrades

Is able to educate their children at home

Level 5:  Can Survive Indefinitely from their Home during an multi-year SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation

Has a fully functioning large garden or small farm for food production

Is able to can and store the results of food harvest for the coming year

Is able to harvest seeds for next year’s planting

Is able to raise multiple generations of farm animals (cattle, sheep, horses)

Has horses for local and distance travel

Has enough ammo to last a generation (10,000+ rounds per weapon)

Has spares of each weapon and lots of extra magazines

Able to generate their own fuel (bio-diesel, alcohol)

Likely has fully functional solar power bank with deep storage batteries

Has natural on-site water sources for farm and home

Has home-based business to generate income

Is able to build new buildings and make any necessary repairs to existing buildings

Is able to provide excess food for charity

Has a secondary residency (such as mountain cabin) for full bug-out

Is prepared for minor surgery and child birth at home

Has stores of gold and silver for barter

Is able to produce their own clothing (from raw wool or raw cotton with spinning wheel and small loom)

________

I’m fairly certain most of us would prefer not to consider having to live under the conditions of levels four or five.  Many are still struggling with trying to complete the requirements of level one.  My purpose of sharing this information is not to overwhelm or depress you but to possibly assist you in understanding what it really takes to become truly self-reliant and provide for an uncertain future.  Choose the level where you feel most comfortable and work on it as a family and you will experience the peace of mind and sense of security you deserve.

Our Food Supply is Fragile

For as long as I can remember, the availability of food has not been an issue.  If we run out of something, sure it’s an inconvenience but knowing that item can easily be replaced by just running down to the local grocery store makes it really a non-issue.

I believe this is one of the primary issues why most people don’t take the time or make the effort to prepare for the possibility of not being able to go to the grocery store.  The idea seems foreign and unlikely for most.  Surely the government will do whatever it takes to keep food on the shelves, right?

Unfortunately, far too many good people live in a bubble of complacency assuming all is well and life will continue to move forward as it is today.

The fact is, today is as good as it ever will be.  If one believes in the Bible, it’s quite clear that in the last days things are not going to get better.  There will be more wars and rumors of war, more natural disasters, more contention between once friends and even family members.

Or as the Apostle Paul describes in 2Timothy 3:1-5: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”  Do you see this happening around you or in the government today?  Yes, we are definitely in the last days!

Food Doesn’t Grow on the Shelves

Grocery stores don’t stock weeks of food anymore. Most keep only 72 hours of food on the shelves. They re-stock based on just-in-time delivery of food supplies. If the trucks stop rolling in your part of the country during a crisis, the store shelves will be emptied almost immediately. In fact, expect a shortage of mainstay items like milk and bread to occur similar to what happens before an approaching hurricane hits. Those who are aware of the problem but who haven’t already made preparations will engage in a last-minute rush to buy a few extra supplies.

Transportation is the Key

Without transportation, farmers can’t get their crops to the wholesalers or food processing facilities.  Food is heavy, generally speaking, and it requires trucks and trains to move it around — a literal ARMY of trucks and trains, weaving their way from city to city, optimized and prioritized by computers. If the computers freeze, the whole transportation infrastructure will shut down.

Transportation also depends heavily on fuel, which means the oil-producing countries in the Middle East have to be able to produce the oil that gets refined into diesel fuel here in America.  So, in other words, your food supply depends on Saudi Arabia being alive and well.  Do you trust the people in charge in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait with your life?  If you don’t make preparations now, you’re trusting them by default.

Cities Depend Entirely on Rural Land

Did you know cities would be ghost towns without the supporting imports of food from the country?  We should all thank the farmers a little more, because they literally keep us all alive. Cities are like concrete islands. You might think a city is self-sustaining until you really think about it, but underneath it all, that city is a ghost town without the people in the country supporting it.

You may already know that city people and country people have very different views on politics and life in general.  Country people tend to be more religious and more conservative.  City people tend to be more liberal.  So there’s more than a little animosity between country people and city people.

When a crisis hits, and the country people find they are without electricity and fuel, they will still survive, for the most part, because they’re used to surviving.  But do you think they will really put “saving city people” high on their list of priorities?  I don’t think so.  Any food that’s harvested from the fields will be kept and stored by the farmers themselves. They will NOT be shipping this stuff to the cities unless they have excess goods and can find a transportation method that still works (and has fuel).

Unfortunately, if some emergency powers acts are signed into place by the President, the Federal Emergency Management Association will have the legal power to actually confiscate and redistribute food. This makes it all the more likely that farmers will harvest it and HIDE IT in order to keep it.  And that means even less food making it to the cities.  Bottom line? Cities where food can’t be delivered will eventually be gutted, looted, evacuated and likely burned to the ground.

You Need to Start Stocking Food

You can do a lot if you start early. Unfortunately, “early” might have been yesterday. Now we’re way past early, and you need a reasonable plan to get food supplies that will store well and don’t cost too much.

An important aspect of storing food is assuring you store a wide variety of foods to avoid appetite fatigue. There are those who think providing variety in the diet is relatively unimportant and that if and when the time comes they’ll eat what they’ve got and that will be that.  For healthy, well, adjusted adults under ordinary circumstances or for those who have the vital survival mindset this might be possible without too much difficulty.  However, the reason for having a home food storage program in the first place is for when circumstances aren’t ordinary.

Times of crisis produce stress – possibly physical, but always mental.  If you are suddenly forced to eat a diet both alien and monotonous, it is going to add that much more stress on top of what you are already dealing with.  If your planning includes the elderly, young children, and/or infants there is a significant risk they will quit eating or refuse to eat sufficient amounts of the right foods leaving them unable to survive.

This is not a trivial problem and should be given serious consideration.  When it’s wheat, day in and day out, wheat’s going to start becoming unpopular fast. Far better to have a variety of foods on hand to forestall appetite fatigue and, more importantly, to use those storable foods in your everyday diet so that you’ll be accustomed to eating them.

In his book, “Making the Best of Basics”, James Stevens mentions a post-WWII study by Dr. Norman Wright, of the British Food Ministry, which found the people of England and Europe were more likely to reject unfamiliar or distasteful foods during times of stress than under normal conditions.  Consider the positive aspects of adding variety and comfort foods to your storage program.

So please consider the following, unless you are already familiar with a particular type of food, do not put large quantities of it into your pantry.  Sure, there may be great health benefits to eating quinoa or lentils, but most likely your family has not made a habit of eating such grains or legumes.

One of the best ways to overcome this concern is to focus on freeze-dried entrees with real meat you know your family likes.  It just doesn’t make any sense to load up on whole grains and basics when what you really need is more comfort foods you know your family will like and eat.  In addition, the thought of going to the effort of making a meal from whole grains versus just adding water to a freeze-dried meal, especially in times of stress, just doesn’t make sense.

Please take the time now to assure your family has an ample supply of the food they will want to eat and are easy to prepare as well as having an extended shelf life.

The Coming Food Collapse

The most obvious factor controlling our food supply is climate.  If it’s too dry, the crops won’t grow.  If it’s too cold, once again, the crops won’t grow.  There are many other conditions that will affect the quality and amount of food we can produce, but basic moisture and temperature are the two biggies.

There are many who track potential climate changes and much of the data is available to you and me as well.  There are YouTube Channels such as Suspicious0bservers, Adapt 2030, Ice Age Farmer and Grand Solar Minimum that will provide you with more information than you probably bargained for.

Contrary to all of the nonsense being spewed by governments, NGO’s and so-called centers of higher learning, we are NOT suffering from Anthropogenic (man-caused) Global Warming, Carbon Dioxide Poisoning, Climate Change (when the “forecasted” models didn’t deliver the promised rise in temperatures), etc., etc., etc.

We are now entering what is known as a Grand Solar Minimum period where the temperatures will mainly be dropping (with some areas warming as well) resulting in cold, wet conditions, shortened growing seasons, crop failures, the spread of disease and so on. This does not mean that it will be getting colder everywhere, as it may be likely in Iceland, Alaska and probably the western U.S. the temperatures may be warmer and drier if you follow the historic model of what happened in the Maunder Minimum in the early 1600’s. These cycles go like clockwork, every two hundred or so years: The Dalton Period of the early 1800’s, The Maunder Minimum of the 1600’s, the Sporer Minimum of the 1400’s, and so on.

A solar minimum period is when the sun goes into a quiet period of reduced sun spots (a normal eleven year cycle).  A Grand Solar Minimum is when the sun spot activity goes down to very little or next to none. The sunspots are what help energize the weather patterns on earth. When solar activity goes down, it changes the weather patterns. Cosmic ray activity comes lower into the atmosphere, creating low and cold cloud layers that increase levels of rain fall and snow.

Look at all of the unseasonal weather, the 500 and 1,000 year flooding and other events (like snow in the Sahara and the Saudi Peninsula) that keep occurring on a continuing basis.

With all of this late season cold weather and continuing snow storms, there has been a growing increase of crop failures due to snow, ice, hail, cold, etc.

Many have followed Dave Dubyne of Adapt 2030 (meaning adapting to the Grand Solar Minimum period bottoming out around the year 2030) for some time now, and he has tracked crop failures across the globe and has noted the increased pattern of crop failures and the results look pretty dim in the coming year and years to come.  Livestock losses have been mounting as well because of bad weather.  Below is his most recent video which shows these trends. Take a look at his earlier videos in the past several weeks, for they are eye-opening.

Be ready for what is coming: a reduced food supply, which means greatly increasing prices, increasing bad weather, earthquakes and volcanism and disease – which will all mean increasing societal pressures.

Here’s an interesting article posted in Armstrong Economics that discusses this same issue and how it’s affecting crops in Russia.

Russia’s Wheat Crop Fails

“The weather turned very cold this year as our computer has been forecasting. The importance of our model’s forecasts lies in determining what will be the next cycle focus. Each cycle tends to shift from one to the next sector. While we still risk a strong dollar rally into 2020 creating the economic recession through deflation as assets decline, the next 8.6-year cycle appears to be setting up to be a commodity cycle. As the climate changes to bitter cold, we have warned this is when FAMINE and DISEASE rise. The flu season is always when it turns cold – not warm.”

“It is important to keep an eye on the climate cycle and prepare for the next real bull market. This year, the wheat crop in Russia has failed because of the bitter cold with even April coming in as the coldest in more than 140 years. The people who want to believe in global warming are so enamored with this idea mixing up pollution with climate change that they fail to see the trend coming. As crops fail with colder winters, food supplies will decline and prices will rise. So look for the next 8.6-year Economic Confidence Model Wave to bring higher prices in food.”

Here’s another interesting video showing more about the unexpected facts regarding climate change.

Dr. Raymond H. Wheeler (1892-1961) developed a clock to forecast recurring droughts, which coincided with colder climates. He found that every 170 years, the climate would turn colder and dryer, social mood would turn negative, civil wars would proliferate, and the economy would suffer from financial collapse.

Although he completed his work during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, he was able to accurately forecast the second half of the 20th century, based upon the cycles that occurred over and over again like clockwork from 600 BC through today.

The Drought Clock shows shorter 100 year cycles of cold and dry which are compounded by the larger degree 170 year cycle, when they happen at the same time. You can see that he forecast the start of a cold, dry 170 year cycle just before the year 2000.

The bottom line – there are numerous factors that can and will affect our food supply.  It’s critical that we learn from the past and properly prepare for the future by assuring we have enough food stored to provide for our families in these uncertain times.

Source:  https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/markets-by-sector/agriculture/russias-wheat-crop-fails/

Source:  http://worldcyclesinstitute.com/dr-wheelers-drought-clock/

Are You Prepared for the Outdoors?

Every summer, our church provide​s​ a special activity for single adults ranging in age from 18 to 30.  We call it our Summer Summit and it’s held in the mountains about 8,000 feet above sea level at a church owned property.  It’s a 40 acre tract of land with three lakes, two of which have zip lines over the water.

It’s a two day activity with great food, camping out, rock climbing, swimming, canoeing, archery, trap shooting, hamster ball (if you’ve never heard of this, you’ve got to google it), rope courses, team building activities, speakers, and a big dance Friday night.  It really is a BIG production!

We typically have 600 to 700 young single adults attend and it’s just a blast.  My wife and I have been helping the last five years and even though it’s a lot of work, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know these young adults and watch them mingle and enjoy some good, clean fun.

This last year, my wife and I were assigned to oversee the waterfront on the main lake.  This included all swimming, canoeing and zip line activities.  We asked two other couples to assist us simply because there were just too many kids wanting to do too many different things all at the same time.

I really enjoyed working the zip line tower.  Kids would climb up a ladder to the top of the tower where I was standing, I would explain the rules and how best to jump out when they were over the water.  I would ​help ​them get properly seated in the harness and then tell them to jump off ​the tower ​when they were ready.

There was a long rope attached to the harness so that it could be pulled back to the tower after the rider jumped out.  I had no idea just how much work it would be to pull the harness back to the tower after each jump.  After 40 or 50 turns, my arms were screaming for a rest.  Even though one’s arms would get totally wasted pulling the harness back time after time, the real problem was happening silently and consistently without one even noticing.

The top of my head, my forehead, my nose​,​ the tops of my ears ​and the back of my neck were getting fried!  I was so preoccupied with the tasks at hand that I had neglected to wear a hat or any sunscreen.  The problem with getting severely sunburned is that it happens so easily that you really don’t know you’re in trouble until it’s too late.

That night and the next day, I really paid the price.  There wasn’t enough Aloe Vera in the county to drive away the pain.  I couldn’t believe I was so stupid as to not properly prepare for being out in the sun all day.  I seldom use sunscreen but usually I’ll w​ear​ at least a baseball cap that will protect the top of my head and my forehead.

One of the fellows that was helping us out at the water front was sporting a really cool looking hat.​  I asked him about it and he began an infomercial that I wasn’t expecting.  The hat he was wearing was called a Tilley hat and has quite a reputation as well as a lifetime guarantee.  He related several examples of how hats like his had been abused and subjected to extraordinarily harsh conditions and withstood it all.  The one example I remember was the story of how an elephant trainer had his Tilley hat eaten by an elephant and after it passed through the elephant’s digestive tract, was recovered, washed and continued to be used by the trainer as if nothing had ever happened to the hat.

Not that I was particularly concerned about the threat of an elephant eating my hat, but I was intrigued by the quality and the lifetime guarantee of the Tilley hat.  Most importantly, I though it looked nice and had a wide enough brim to cover ones forehead, ears and back on the neck.​

I like baseball caps but for prolonged outside exposure to the sun, they just don’t provide the protection that is needed.  So I started to pay attention and observe those who spend a lot of time in the sun and see what they used to shield themselves from the harsh effects of overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

I had a great example I watched for several weeks last summer when the owners of the home across the street from me decided to renovate and re-landscape their home.  The landscaping crew was predominately Mexican who seemed to know something many of us don’t realize.  They know how to dress for prolonged exposure to the sun and it obviously works.  Many of us, who don’t know better assume if it’s hot and we’re in the sun, remove as much clothing as possible to try and keep cool.

These construction workers knew better.  The first thing I noticed was that they all wore long-sleeved, collared shirts.  No collarless tee-shirts.  In addition, some wore hoodies with the hoods over their heads.  Others wore large brimmed hats that would provide sufficient shade to cover their heads and necks.  One older worker wore what I first thought was a costume or prank cowboy hat.  It must have been three times the size of a regular cowboy hat.  After watching him over several days, I realized it was a legitimate hat that provided a significant amount of shade.

Growing up in New Mexico, it was very common to see Navajo women wearing long velvet dresses out in the sun in the summer.  My father explained to me it actually helped insulate them against the heat rather than making them hotter.

In the event of some major event or natural disaster, the odds are you will be spending more time outside that you do now.  You certainly don’t want to add to your woes by not protecting yourself from the sun.  Put on your list to get the right kind of hat for each family member and make sure the brim is large enough to cover the ears and back of the neck.  Being properly prepared with the right kind of hats for your family will save you pain and discomfort in the future.

Avoiding the Threat of a Deep Freeze

It’s always exciting when Spring arrives and warmer days are right around the corner.  I love it when the days get a little longer and Day-light Savings Time is re-engaged so it’s light longer in the evening.  I also like to watch the fruit trees start to blossom and get excited about all the great apples, cherries, apricots and plums we’ll be able to harvest in the coming months.  The smell of the blossoms and the buzzing of the bees around them are wonderful to experience.

Then sometimes, it all comes to a screeching halt.  All of the dreams and great expectations of a bountiful harvest are dashed.  Mother Nature throws us a curve ball and we get hammered with a late frost.  The blossoms turn brown and shrivel up and the dreams of bushels of fruit have to be put off till next year.

My dad grew up working in an apple orchard and would tell us of the long nights keeping the smudge pots burning in an attempt to keep the temperatures just high enough to ward off a hard frost.  Typically, if the temperature drops to 28 degrees for more than a couple of hours, real damage can be done to the crop.  There were years they were successful and the smudge pots saved the crop and others, in spite of their efforts, where they lost most of their fruit.

Orchards farmers today use both water and wind to increase the temperature of their orchards and prevent freezing.  Sprinklers using ground water will increase the temperature by 2 to 4 degrees and wind machines help mix the cold air with warmer air and can increase the temperature by 2 to 3 degrees.

Our ancestors were very familiar with these potential cold snaps and would prepare for such events.  Many didn’t have the local grocery store to rely on and had to provide from their own orchards and gardens.  These wise providers knew the importance of preserving as much of their harvest as they could for later use.  We hear the term “canning” which really means putting up food in quart and pint jars to be used at some future date.  Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers spent countless hours in the kitchen canning fruits, vegetables, meats, butter, nuts and any other food item that would last.  They had to preserve not only enough to last till the next harvest but extra in the event something went wrong.

Most have heard the term, “year’s supply of food”.  Have you ever wondered why a year?  What’s so important about a full year?  Why not just three or six months’ worth of food storage?  The simple answer is this: It’s a growing cycle.  Yep, that’s it.  Our ancestors understood that if a crop got wiped out this year, it would be at least another year before they could harvest their next crop.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  Yet in today’s world, we’re seldom conscience of the growing season of any given food.  The grocery store always seems to have what we need and apparently, somewhere in the world, it’s the right growing season for what we’re looking for and the grocery store has it shipped in from far and wide.

As a result, we have allowed ourselves to become dependent on a significant amount of produce shipped in from Mexico and South and Central America.  U.S. farmers grow a lot of produce, but imports are filling most of the rising demand, especially during winter months.  In fact, the volume of imports has increased to more than 150 fruits and vegetables.

As the farming, production and distribution of our food supply becomes more and more complex, the potential disruption of this supply becomes more probable.  There are just so many moving parts that it’s only a matter of time before something goes sideways and disrupts the flow from the grower to the consumer.

We have all seen the news reports of empty shelves at grocery stores due to a trucker’s strike or an impending hurricane or announced shortage.  It doesn’t take long for panicked consumers to rush to their local grocery store in an attempt to beat others to the available food so at least “they and theirs” will have something to eat, not concerning themselves with others who may not have been able to get to the store as quickly.

The bottom line, you and I have no control over the flow of food to our local grocery store.  We are totally dependent on all the factors coming together in a timely fashion to provide us with the fresh food and produce we’re accustom to purchasing and consuming.  The only way we can protect ourselves against a myriad of potential issues that could disrupt our food supply is to follow the example of our ancestors – set aside enough food for future needs.

We have so much the advantage over what our ancestors had to do to provide the security of food storage.  Rather than spending countless hours and days of labor growing, harvesting and preserving the food, we now have access to dehydrated and freeze-dried food.  It will last longer, it’s more durable and takes up less space than countless quart jars of bottled food.  And all we need to do is purchase the appropriate amount for our families and store it away.

In addition, due to current-day technology, we can also store away our second year’s supply of food in the form of heirloom seeds.  These seeds have been properly treated to last over five years on your shelf and provide a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.  They are heirloom seeds (non-hybrid) so that one can take the seeds from the harvested produce to plant a subsequent year’s garden.  The cost of this “second year’s supply” is very reasonable and the seeds are easy to store.  As long as you have the space to grow a garden, (even if it means tilling up your lawn) and access to water, you’ll be in great shape should the need to grow your own food lasts longer than a year.

Please take the time now to protect your family against the very real possibility of food shortages in the future by not only having the appropriate level on dehydrated and freeze-dried food but also the back-up of heirloom garden seeds.  Mother Nature WILL throw us a curve ball.  It’s happened so many times in the past and is guaranteed to happen again in the future.

Sources:  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/graphic-science-where-in-the-world-your-fruits-vegetables-come-from-interactive/

http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1057-B/index2.tmpl

As a Man Thinketh

A few years ago, my father-in-law organized a pack trip through some spectacular high mountain trails in the Rocky Mountains.  We took horses on this trip with a couple of pack horses to carry all our gear.  One of the horses was a young two year old gelding that was still being trained.

Every so often we would cross a stream and would stop in the middle of the stream to let the horses drink.  In a particularly steep area, we came across a wide stream that crossed the trail.  We walked the horses out in the middle of the stream to once again let them drink.  The old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” is so true.  The young gelding just stood in the water, looking down at it but did not drink.

I’ve never seen this before, but this young pack horse continued to stare at the passing water until something bizarre happened.  Watching the moving water caused the young horse to lose his balance and he just tipped over and fell down a steep incline.   The horse rolled a couple of times and the panniers were torn off spilling much of our gear in the water.  We thought for sure the horse would have broken a leg or worse.

We jumped off our horses and slid down the hill to try and rescue the horse and collect our gear.  As you can imagine, the horse was thrashing about, trying to stand up.  There were still ropes and the pack saddle attached to the horse which made him panic all the more.  It was only after a considerable amount of time and effort we were able to calm the horse down and get him back up to the trail.  It was nothing short of a miracle that he hadn’t broken any bones.

After tying up the horse, we gathered up all the gear we could find and repacked it into the panniers.  We tried to lighten the load on the young horse by carrying some of the gear on the other horses.  After about an hour, we were on the trail again headed for our first campsite.

This experience reminded me of one of my girls when she was a toddler.  We were at the beach enjoying the California weather.  I have a video of her running on the sand near the water’s edge.  As the waves would come in and the water line would move up the sand and then back out again, it would throw her balance off and she would fall.  It’s a cute video but I can’t help but wonder how often we act or react like the pack horse or my young daughter.  What are the things in our lives that we focus on?  Will that focus move us closer to what matters most or cause us to stumble and fall?

There’s a classic book entitled “As a Man Thinketh” written by James Allen and published in 1903.  The title is influenced by a verse in the Bible from the Book of Proverbs, chapter 23, verse 7: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”.  It’s only 70 pages long but is jam-packed with wisdom, the essence being, “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”

I’ve never been one who just listens to music on the radio while I drive.  I’ve always preferred spending my time listening to talk shows or motivational speakers.  Back in the days of cassette tape players in cars, I would keep a case of tapes of motivational speakers such as Zig Ziglar, Stephen Covey, Dennis Waitley, Ira Hayes, Paul Harvey, W. Clement Stone, Cavett Robert just to name a few.

One of my favorites was Earl Nightingale.  He was a famous radio speaker and author, dealing mostly with the subjects of human character development, motivation, and meaningful existence.  He died in 1989. He had a very distinctive voice with the ability to motivate without yelling or jumping up and down.  There was pure inspiration in his voice. He had a masterful way of communicating and many of his stories will forever remain seared into my memory banks.

Some of my favorites are “The Common Denominator of Success”, “Acres of Diamonds” and “Miracle of Your Mind”.  It would be well worth your time to Google these titles and listen to them.  A classic is “We Become What We Think About”.  Here’s a brief excerpt of that presentation:

Indeed, we become what we think about and that can be either positive or negative in our lives. There are times in our lives when we can become consumed with our thoughts.  I can’t help but think about two Hollywood examples portrayed in film.  First, there’s the entertaining holiday movie of Ralphie and his all-consuming plight of convincing his parents that the perfect Christmas gift would be a Red Ryder BB gun in “The Christmas Story” (one of my favorite Christmas movie traditions).  The thought of getting that BB gun totally consumed his every thought.

Then there’s the Disney portrayal of an enterprising frog named “Mr. Toad”.  When Mr. Toad first saw an automobile, he also became totally consumed with driving a car which led to “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”.  This obsession became a mania for Mr. Toad, one he just couldn’t control.

There are times when becoming Ralphie or Mr. Toad can be a strong, positive thing in our lives, as long as we are allowing ourselves to be consumed with good, positive goals and objectives.  Even still, proper moderation is an essential key to keeping our lives balanced.  We can never allow any such goals to take precedence over what matters most.

Be prudent – don’t let prepping consume you and occupy your every thought.  There’s plenty of negative in the world that could keep us depressed and worried 24/7.  Focus on the positive, not the negative news we hear each day.  Take the time to properly prepare and then focus on the positive, hopeful and enjoyable aspects of your life.  Don’t fret about the future – tomorrow will come regardless of what we do today.

1 Thessalonians 5:6 – Wake Up

1 Thessalonians is a letter from Paul, the apostle, to the people of Thessaloniki, a Greek port city on the Thermic Gulf. Paul and Silas established the first church of Thessalonica. Following the teaching of Jesus Christ put the people at odds with Caeser. The idea that Jesus was a greater king made Caeser very angry, obviously.  So he persecuted the people, which forced Silas and Paul to flee. Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians in an attempt to reconnect with the Christians in Thessalonica. Despite the persecution of Caeser, at this point, they were doing remarkably well.

Paul praised the people for their love towards others, as well as their hope and faithfulness in the face of Caeser’s injustices. The people of Thessaloniki treated Paul like family and he felt especially close to them. Paul was persecuted by his fellow Jews and the Christians were persecuted by Caeser. Paul felt a certain level of comradery with the people because of their shared experiences. Paul wanted the Christians in Thessaloniki to be known for there hard work. He wanted them to work hard not only to provide for themselves but to provide for the needy as well.

Caeser promised to bring Pax Roma, peace and security, to the people. Unfortunately, this peace was maintained through terrible violence. Paul explained that true hope and security came from Jesus Christ. He invited the people to stay sober and awake, to live as if Jesus had already returned.

“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.”

 1 Thessalonians 5:6 

Wake Up Paul wanted the people to be aware of the world around them, to see a need and to fill that need. How does this relate to your life today? How are you asleep and not aware of those around you? How can you wake up and see others’ needs better?  “Let us not be like others, who are asleep…” Wake up and see the world around you, the good and the bad. Beung aware of the negative things in life will help you prepare for the bad and enjoy the good. Prepare for the worst and hope the best.

Be Sober Caeser’s treatment of the Christians was cruel, yet the people continued to persevere. They remained hopeful in against terrible odds. During an emergency, it is easy to lose your head. It is difficult to remain cool and collected in a chaotic environment. Not surprisingly, psychologists often see a spike in depression during a disaster. Would you be able to persevere during trying times? As Paul advises in this scripture, don’t drown yourself in distractions, “be awake and sober.” Face the difficulties head-on. Some suggestions to do so include:

Adjust your attitude. Paul also said, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4) Attitude is a general determinant of how you feel. Look at the trial you are facing and ask yourself what you can learn from this.

Pray for understanding and support. “The Spirit … bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:16-18). Whether your crisis is financial, spiritual, the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a lifestyle due to a calamity, turn to Him for the guidance and support you need.

Be Prepared. Of course, you don’t know the future. However, there are some things you can do to be ready for unknown trials. Store up your goods, your food storage and money, so that you can focus on coming out of the the trial instead of worrying about the necessities of life.

What do you do to ensure you are “awake and sober” in case of an emergency?

Source: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Thessalonians+5%3A6&version=NIV

https://www.ancient.eu/Pax_Romana/

Proverbs 21:20 – The Wise Store Up Food

The Old Testament Book of Proverbs is full of ancient thinkers and prophets who collected choice phrases and stories in order to pass down their wisdom through the generations. The book of Proverbs is a guide to living well or wisely in God’s universe. It is filled with short sayings and longer poems which teach moral values. Proverbs divides actions into God’s idea of good and bad. The teachings form a moral compass to live by.

Of course, Proverbs has something to say about spiritual preparedness, as well as temporal preparedness. In a day and time where food didn’t come in cans from grocery stores, these wise people understood the importance of storage and preparedness.

“The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but the fools gulp theirs down”

Proverbs 21:20 

Proverbs 21:20 is mixed in with literally hundreds of other ancient words of wisdom.  This passage clearly defines the wise as those who save and store food. Whereas the foolish quickly use up their supplies. What can we learn from this ancient phrase? Proverbs 21:20 can be divided into two ideas; food storage and financial independence.

Food Storage Food storage is an obvious takeaway, the passage clearly states “the wise store up choice food.” Emergency food storage is an important and necessary part of any emergency plan. In ancient times extra food from the harvest season was stored to keep people fed throughout the cold winter months. Those with a meager harvest or those who failed to store food often died from starvation.

For most of the developed world, starvation might not seem like much of a problem. However, some predict that the world may face massive food storage as little as 10 years. According to Sara Menker, chief executive of Gro Intelligence, world food supplies are currently measured by weight and not nutritional value. Estimates put the world’s population at over 9 billion people by 2050. Demands for higher calorie foods such as red meat could be problematic. Ensure your family is prepared. Be wise, store emergency food and water.

Financial Independence Living within your means is an important life skill. Proverbs 21:20 tells us that the foolish people “gulp down” their supplies. In the ancient world, crops and livestock were your wealth. Say you have a good harvest and feast on all the spoils, then you will have nothing eat later. Saving money works on the same principle.

Financial experts recommend having an emergency fund, obviously. This should be money set aside for unexpected medical bills, car repairs, job loss, etc. This shouldn’t be saved for a home or a vacation. Experts suggest you set aside 6-12 months of earned income. This will allow you to manage unexpected expenses while still paying your everyday bills. Don’t be foolish and spend every penny you earn, when disaster strikes you won’t be able to fund your needs. Instead be wise and set aside a rainy day fund.

Principles from Proverbs 21:20

  • Spend less than you earn
  • Store food and water

Source: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+21%3A20&version=NIV

http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/world-could-run-out-of-food-in-10-years/news-story/3f5777be99e52abaf8fe562112629f69

Photo Credit: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/greece/travel-tips-and-articles/more-than-ouzo-a-drinkers-guide-to-greece/40625c8c-8a11-5710-a052-1479d2762cf9

http://biram.info/old-weight-scale/old-weight-balance-scale-old-weighing-scale-images-old-body-weight-scale-balance-scale/

I Felt Horrible – Accepting Help When You Need It

I had a humbling experience at the gym that taught me a valuable lesson.  On the second level of our city rec center/gym, there are several rooms surrounded by a track.  Two of the rooms are a cardio room with treadmills, elliptical​s​, ​e​xercycle​s​ and other similar equipment and the weight room with ​a variety of weight machines and free weights. Both of these rooms are enclosed by chain-link fences so it’s easy to see people as they run the track or go to any of the other rooms on that floor.

While in the weight room, I remember seeing a young family walking around as if they had a specific purpose for being there.  They had two young children, both less than five years old.  A few minutes later after I had re-focused on my lifting routine, I was startled by one of their children, a little girl, while I was using the squat machine.

I always wear earphones when working out but seldom listen to music.  It’s usually some podcast of a radio talk show that keeps my mind occupied.  So this little girl came up to me and in a quiet, shy voice asked if I would like a drink of water and then held out a bottle of water.  I was a little surprised by her kind offer and since I wasn’t sure if I had heard her correctly, I just said no thank you and continued with my workout.

When I moved to another piece of equipment, I could see the family again and it all came clear what was transpiring.  These good parents had wanted to give their children the opportunity of experiencing the joy of offering random acts of kindness.  Their game plan was to come to the gym with several bottles of water and give them to those who they thought might appreciate a drink.

All of a sudden, I felt horrible!  This cute little girl had approached me offering this kind gesture and I turned her away.  I felt like a real jerk!  I knew what I needed to do so I quickly left the weight area and walked down the hall to where the family was gathered.  I knelt down in front of the little girl and apologized for not accepting her gift and explained to her I wasn’t sure I had heard her correctly due to my ear phones.

I then asked if she still had that bottle of water because I really would love a drink.  She handed me the bottle and I noticed they had replaced the regular label with a homemade one encouraging me to pay this random act of kindness forward.  I thanked the little girl and apologized again for turning her away and told her what a wonderful thing she was doing with her family.

I smiled at her parents and I could tell how much they appreciated my helping their little girl feel the joy of giving.  I kept that water bottle to remind me of a weakness I have that I need to be far more humble and willing to receive and accept help and aid.

I have always thought of myself as a real self-reliant guy who didn’t need anybody’s help. ​If anything, I always saw myself as the one who would offer help, not receive it. ​ I’ve always felt I could solve most any problem – repair most any broken item and have the strength to comfort those in need of comfort feeling I was not one of the “weaker” ones.  Boy, what a stupid and arrogant way of thinking!  And it took a sweet little girl at the gym to humble me enough to recognize just how foolish I was.

We all go through different phases of our lives where times are good and other times when they’re not so great.  I don’t know of a single soul who couldn’t use some comfort or help at some time in their life.  We all fall into that category.

Part of this valuable lesson I learned was how inappropriate and thoughtless it is when we prevent others from receiving the blessings of service.  When we turn down such offers, we are depriving those sincere souls of the blessings of serving their fellowmen.

​When you take this feeling of superiority and independence to the next level, it can create significant difficulties when there are those who will refuse the council and guidance of others because they feel they know it all.  They don’t need other people offering suggestions or unsolicited council on how they might improve certain aspects of their lives.

Once again, this lack of humility, this attitude of not needing anyone else telling them how to improve their lives can and will create many problems going forward.  Several years ago, I was asked by a friend to go in business with him.  He had a great business idea and was going to offer both a product and service that were both needed and not currently addressed.

As we started putting our business plan together, I began feeling concerned because my new partner was making decisions that had the potential of adversely affecting the profitability and longevity of the company.  The bottom line was he had such a high level of greed, he didn’t want to spend any money to hire specific professionals that were needed to properly launch the company.  He wanted to handle the accounting, legal, R & D and marketing all in house – meaning him and me.

I felt very uncomfortable about not having the skill or required certification to properly handle our accounting and legal needs and my partner’s response was always. “We don’t need to be paying others for what we can do ourselves.”  Problem was, we couldn’t properly do these things ourselves.  We needed professional advice and assistance from legitimate accountants, lawyers, etc.  My partner and I unfortunately could not agree on this issue and ended up parting ways.

As I see it, there are two important acknowledgements we all need to embrace:

●  We don’t have all the answers.
●  It takes humility to ask for and receive the help and answers we need.

Just because I’ve been in the preparedness industry for over 35 years doesn’t mean I can’t still learn from others and their experience.  Being humble and willing to take advice from others does not diminish the knowledge and experience I’ve accumulated.  It’s one of my goals to strive each day to be more open to help and advice from others and show gratitude to those who offer such council and assistance.

If and when things get really dicey, trying to survive on your own is a real recipe for disaster and failure.  You need to surround yourself with like-minded people and learn from each other, being willing to help and be helped.  There is indeed safety in numbers.

So next time someone offers to help you with your groceries, or bring in your garbage can from the street or asks if they can shovel the snow from you walkway, let them help.  Next time someone opens a door for you or pulls out a shopping cart from the stack of carts and gives it to you, thank them sincerely and pay it forward. ​Work with me in trying to be more humble and allow others the blessings of offering service to you.

Understanding Julian Dates

If you’re new to the food storage world, you may be a bit confused about expiration dates and Julian dates, the string of numbers you see on some MREs and  #10 cans. These numbers represent the manufacturer’s Julian dates.  While initially this system can seem confusing, there’s an easy way to decipher these numbers.

The Julian Calendar – Julian dates are based on the Julian calendar which started over 4000 BC. It started by simply qualifying each day as Day 1, Day 2, etc. So, January 1, 4713 BC was Day 1.  January 30 4713 BC was Day 30.

That doesn’t do much for us since we work with the Gregorian calendar now, using days, months, and years. However, many manufacturers, especially MRE and food storage manufacturers depend on Julian dates simply because it’s easier for their computer systems to calculate them.

It’s Like Military Time – Think of it this way, the military uses continuous military time as a 24-hour system so it doesn’t have to differentiate between AM and PM. It takes a bit to get used to military time, but once you do, it’s a very clear way to document time. A Julian date is also a very easy, clear way to document dates. Manufacturers don’t need to use a mix of letters and numbers, work with shorter months/longer months, or adjust to leap year days. It’s simply a number.

Breaking it down – A Julian date is usually a 4 or 5 digit number starting with the last 2 digits of the year the item is made. The last three numbers correlate with the day of the year the product is made.  Here are a couple examples:
Product made January 12, 2018.  Julian Date: 18012.
Product made August 24, 2016.  Julian Date: 16237. (2016 was a leap year.)

If you’d like a Julian cheat sheet, here you go.

Just a reminder- MREs have a 1-5 year shelf-life. The Julian date is NOT the expiration date, but rather the manufacture date. Look at the date and add 1-5 years to figure out when you need to restock.

 

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