Here’s a fun little project you can do with your little preppers! Seed bombs are little balls made of seeds and growing medium. The ones we made were clay, soil and seeds.
4 parts air dry clay (found here)
1 part potting soil
1 part seeds
This is a subject that I haven’t really seen a lot of information on out there so I thought I’d let you all know what I do to prepare for those fun once a month times. Men, you may want to stick around too. (Got women in your family? Need something to barter?)
A while ago, I started a non-profit organization that makes and sends reusable menstrual pads to women in need. Before sending my first package (it went to Africa), I decided I can’t very well send a product that I don’t know anything about so I tried them for myself and never looked back.
The premise is simple. Why fill your valuable shelf space with packages and packages of plastic pads and tampons that you will only use once and then throw away. (Throw away where? Now a days to the dump where your biological material can seep out into the water system- gross. Or after an emergency, well I guess you could burn or bury it). I found a simple pattern online (using an envelope style pad with an insert) and make the pads from donated sheets, pyjamas etc. When done with it, throw it in the wash (or to avoid stains, soak in cold water first).
So, we’re saving space and the environment so far (not to mention the almighty dollar!!) Find a pattern online, sew together some pads and hang on to them. Even if you don’t want to use them now (or you’re a guy, or your daughters are too young) it’s not a bad idea to have a sustainable option for when you might need it. Again, you can barter with these if you don’t need them for yourself. My non-profit runs a program where if you buy one pad, one gets donated (we also just donate anyways but its nice to have a little bit of help in the running costs).
Want to make your own? Google it! There’s plenty of free patterns out there and most people have an old flannel shirt or something they can part with.
Life post-SHTF will be very different than what we are used to. Different, harder, crueler and probably nothing like we expect it to be. We will have to deal with boredom (which can be a killer). People in the same environment for extended periods with a loss of privacy, a lack of hygiene, emotional issues, not to mention food fatigue and the digestive problems this can bring on will definitely need something to keep their minds off of things.
All of this is enough to bring anyone down. It is important to keep morale high. Boredom can lead to depression and depression can lead to a loss of will to live. This obviously is counter productive to our survival plans. So:
Give people a job to do, establish a routine. I’ve said it before, people thrive on routines. When you know what to expect and what your day looks like, it makes it easier to deal with.
Make sure you have entertainment. Books, games, decks of cards, coloring books for the kids, anything. If you don’t have a physical source of entertainment, put on a play, sing some songs or have a talent show.
Learn some skills that are fun and productive. Knitting or crocheting (which can be done with whittled sticks and plant made fibers!) can produce clothing, wash cloths, blankets and even nets for fishing. Wood working can make utensils (for eating and cooking), bows and arrows for hunting and improve your shelter!
Include some goodies in your preps. Candies or chocolates, stored in cool dark locations, can last almost indefinitely. (PLEASE do not throw out chocolate that has gone white! As a former chef I can tell you that it is NOT mold! It is called bloom and it is the fat in the chocolate separating. You can eat it as is or you can melt it down and mix the fats back in.) For the adults: a small bottle of your favorite liquor might be more to your taste. Or add a case of your family’s favorite soda to help ease the transition.
Above all else, never give up hope!
Strawberry jam is a yearly occurrence in our house. Everyone loves strawberries (so much in fact that last year when I purchased two flats of strawberries, they were gone in a few days before I could make the jam). I always use local strawberries because the flavor is amazing (so much more so than berries that have ripened on a truck).
This is the recipe my grandmother used, I’m pretty sure it’s the Bernardin recipe, so clearly I don’t own it.
Place 8 250ml size jars (available here) on a rack in a water canner and heat to a simmer (make sure water is covering the jars). Heat snap lids separately. Keep hot until ready for use.
Bring mixture of 8 cups strawberries (crushed), 6 cups sugar and 1/3 cup lemon juice to a boil slowly. (make sure sugar is dissolved so it doesn’t stick to the bottom). Boil for about 30 minutes or until the mixture thickens and passes the ‘gelling test’. (Coat a spoon with the jam and move it away from your pot, watch the jam slide off the spoon, if it falls in chunks instead of drips, its ready).
Pour your hot jam into the hot jars leaving a quarter inch of headspace. Keep your rims clean! Place your snap lid on the jar and screw the band on until finger tight. Boil filled jam jars for 10 minutes. Pull out and let sit for 24 hours (do not move them).
Traditionally, items canned like this last for about a year (not exactly long-term food storage) but I’ve used them after the year has come and gone.
On Tuesday this week, a water main broke at one of the biggest reservoirs serving our area. We were originally on a water restriction that has now been replaced with a ban. Our city still has tap water but a lot of the smaller towns right around us don’t even have that.
According to our local media, our city uses on average 140 million liters of water per day (about 40 million gallons) but yesterday, our city used 200 million liters (about 53 million gallons). People were seen watering their lawns, washing their driveways and running sprinklers for their children.
Most people in my area do not have a water storage and now a lot of grocery stores are low or out of bottled water. We haven’t had a water ban since 1998.We are surrounded by the Great Lakes so who would think you would need it, I guess is what most people think. BUT:
– this past weekend was Victoria Day, a long weekend that has long been the ‘safe point’ to start your gardening in our area. Many people that participated in the water ban now have dead plants because they don’t have a rain barrel or don’t use their grey water.
– the next town over has no tap water so no showers, no drinking water, no dishwasher and so on. Do you have enough water stored for at least three days of drinking, watering your veggie garden and giving to your pets?
The weather was 30*C (86 F ) yesterday and muggy, I can understand people want to cool down. Here’s a few ideas (based on what I saw in my neighborhood and on social media) for water conservation.
Instead of filling the pool or running the sprinkler for the kids, give them a popsicle, they’ll love you for it!
Stay indoors between the hours of 11-3 when the sun is at its hottest.
As a lesser evil, turn on your air conditioning unit rather than leaving water running.
Take a shorter shower (or use the dry shampoo recipe I gave a few posts ago)
Use paper plates or eat out of the pots that you cook in.
When you shower, leave the plug in and collect the water for use in your garden (grey water)
Buy (or make) a rain barrel (this one is similar to the one I own)
Don’t water your lawn, it will make it grow and then you have to cut it!
Moral of the story: you should probably have some cases of bottled water put aside for drinking and a rain barrel or grey water system (or both!) for your veggies.
Here’s part two of the list I posted earlier.
Soil – I know people that have tens of thousands of seeds but no soil. What happens if you have to plant inside? Or if the soil where you are is too sandy or too much clay? A couple bags of decent quality potting soil are a good idea to keep around. I recently got 10 20 liter bags of soil for $10.
Pets- please don’t forget your four legged friends! Make sure you have food and water put aside for them. You can put aside a couple of bags of kibble that your animals usually eat but you can also make your own dehydrated pet foods. I have also begun to see dehydrated animal food at the specialty pet stores. Just remember if you’re using dehydrated foods to have enough water to rehydrate. Which brings me to the next point.
Water – Yes, most of us have enough to drink but a lot of preppers have dehydrated foods. You need to consider how much water these things will take to rehydrate. What about gardening? There’s really no way to calculate how much water you would need for gardening but using a rain barrel can offset that. But keep in mind, there could always be a drought and if you’re counting on a garden as a large part of your food you better have a back up plan.
Garbage Bags – most people plan to burn their garbage, which is fine. But how about disposing of a body? You don’t necessarily want to be handling that. Or if you have lice, you can bag your clothing and bedding for a couple weeks to kill the lice. You can also use it for quarantine purposes. Make your ill person strip down, bag the clothes and get them into something clean. How about blacking out windows? Using a heavy duty garbage bag taped over windows can help to hide any light showing through (you may have to double up though)