What did you do to prep this week?

This weeks preps – December 21, 2019

Spent the last 2 weeks working on refinancing a hard money loan on one of our properties. Four different banks. Every bank has a different set of documentation they want. Some won’t let you apply online, only face to face. It’s a bigger hassle than it should be because my credit score sucks. It’s my fault, I made some poor decisions in the past. So I’m not blaming anyone besides myself, but it reinforces the idea that finances should be part of your preps. Because of the time spent on finding a mortgage, I didn’t get a lot of “big” preps done, so I concentrated on the “small” things.

Why are you prepping anyway?

I mean besides the basic will to live that most (all?) people have. I’ll agree that’s a pretty good reason, but the best preps in the world will only keep you here for so long. A couple other good reasons to prep – the ability to care for and protect your clan, and the ability to pass on your values. This is talked about occasionally on the Mountain Guerrilla blog and in detail in Forging the Hero. Since I haven’t had time for major preps and not much extra money, I focused on values and “little” preps.

Something else, too, reminded me of the importance of passing on values. My wife is not a Christian. I want her to share my faith, so a few years ago I would gather the family every night and read from the devotions booklet that my church gives out. It didn’t work, we got busier with our side jobs, so after a few weeks I quit doing it. For some reason last week, my wife said she wants me to start doing it again. That got me thinking about my values and passing them on. It’s also something that doesn’t take a lot of time. One of the “little” things.

“Little” preps…

Nightly devotions – at the suggestion of my wife, I started reading devotions to the family every night.

Exercise – I’ve been working out on and off since July, but over the past 2 weeks I’ve really tried to be more consistent. One of the things holding my up was my back. I’m at the point where trap bar dead lifts are harder on my lower back than my legs. I got a lifting belt, and yes it really helps. Now I can lift heavier with no back pain. Also I’ve tried to get the kids more interested in working out with me. That is still definitely a work in progress…

Besides weight work, I’ve been pretty consistent with walking at least 1-1/2 miles a day, every day. I’ve also started putting on a pack when I walk. Currently mine is loaded to 20 lbs. Not a lot, but I think it’s better to work up slow since I haven’t carried a pack in a long time. Besides, the stuff I’m adding for weight is all stuff that will be permanent content of my bug out/micro adventure bag. The weight will build as I get more gear to add.

Misc. :

  • Got my workbench cleaned off and organized.
  • Boxed up a bunch of books I no longer read and offered them to my prepping friends.
  • Got my mule scope mounted on a rifle I bought last summer and haven’t had a chance to shoot yet.
  • Traded an ALICE pack I’m not using for a nice 10×10 silnylon tarp with stuff sack and a single person mesh tent. Both are now in my bug out bag.
  • Added 45 lbs (10 4.5 lb bags) of organic quinoa to my food supply. Instead of opening the bags and dumping them into a 5 gallon food bucket, I left them in bags and put 5 bags each into 2 food buckets. Bulkier but more versatile.

That’s it for the past 2 weeks. Last time I said I wanted to start some micro greens, but I just didn’t have time. Hopefully I will over Christmas and News Years. What did you dou to prep this week? Until next time…

Peace out,

What did you do to prep this week?

This weeks preps – December 7, 2019

The big thing for me was selling our rental property this week. Before you say “that’s not prepping” – I say it’s a financial prep. We’re using some of the money to pay off our home, which will save us a really big mortgage payment every month. Also, with one less rental to manage I’ll have a lot more time for other preps. I spent the past week educating myself on the local city government, networking (i.e. building clan – kith and kin), and getting ready to try some indoor winter gardening. I also put a bug in my wife’s ear about wanting an exercise bike. For me, physical conditioning is just as important as the other preps I do.

City government, building community, etc.

Our house is near a proposed development, so the city had a public hearing on the zoning change requested by the developer. If you thought that local governments work for their citizens, you’re wrong. Not a complaint, just an observation. I would highly recommend that everyone attend a local city council meeting. If you don’t live in the city, go to a county planning commission meeting or whatever your local equivalent is. If you’re a prepper, you need to be aware that your local government will not necessarily be working for your best interests. They’ll be taking care of themselves and their friends. At best, you’ll be an after thought. Be able to rely on yourself, family, and friends.

I met with a friend this week and we talked about a couple of areas I’m looking at for land. He and his wife might set up a small geodesic dome shelter if I get it, with a wind turbine for power. That should be fun to play around with. I guess now I need to get serious about looking for land…

I talked last week about wanting to grow micro greens, so I ordered a grow light from Amazon. Glad I did when I did. It was on special for $96. Two days after I ordered the price went back to $120. I also cleared a shelf in my garage for a sprouting tray, cleaned up one of my trays, and managed to find an unopened bag of potting soil. Now all I need to do is decide whether to grow sunflower or speckled peas. For the coming week, I hope to get the seeds started and maybe play around with a clay pot candle heater. What did you do to prep this week? Until next time…

Peace out,

What did you do to prep this week?

This weeks preps – November 30, 2019

This week’s update will be a little different. I’ll be talking more about my thinking on preps instead of what I did over the past week. It’s not that I haven’t been prepping since Sept. 22, just that lately my preps haven’t fit into nice little weekly chunks. My 12 days away from home gave me some time to think and things to think about. I’ve also been doing a lot of reading. A couple of my friends have had serious health problems in the past month. I might have access to about an acre of land south of here, and hopefully we’re closing on a house (selling) in 2 days. I’m also changing the day of these to Saturday so I can properly observe the Sabbath. So with that…

This weeks’s preps

This week was pretty much spent on reading, research, and finalizing the closing on our house. Keeping my fingers crossed because if it really does close, the money opens up a lot of options.

My reading material was things I can do to make money if I quit my job next year. The Urban Farmer by Curtis Stone and The Essential Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal. I know gardening isn’t exactly “back woods,” but it does fit into self sufficiency and it’s outdoor work. Supposedly you can gross around $58K per year on 1/10 acre if you work your but off and have a good marketing plan. Right now in my life any outdoor job seems better than my current job (information technology).

Besides reading about gardening, I found and sorted all my seeds. I wish I would’ve thought more about what I was buying. Looking at some of them and it’s like “WTH was i thinking?” They’ll all get used next year though. One thing I’d like to try is micro greens. Supposedly they’re popular with trendy restaurants . They’re also supposedly really healthy. I’m interested because they have a very short growing cycle (2 weeks), don’t take up much space, and I can grow them inside under lights. That means I can start messing with them soon instead of waiting for next summer. Amazon has a really good deal on a 1200W LED panel right now, so… maybe. After looking at my seed supply, I don’t want to be making any more impulse buys. But I’ll probably get one to experiment with.

Rethinking my approach to prepping

Most of my prepper friends are gear junkies. You know, two is one and one is none and all that stuff. Gotta have a tool or gadget to handle anything that might happen. And, I kind of get their point… if you need a tool you need a tool.

I also know a couple of survivalists. They’re minimalists, to the point that they like to make fun of preppers for having too much stuff. Instead of two is one and all that, it’s the more you know the less you need. Heck, if you know enough, all you need is a knife and a loin cloth and you can survive being dropped into the high Sierras in the middle of winter. Right??? They have a point too. All the gear in the world won’t save you if you don’t know how to use it.

Preppers and survivalists both have some good points, but they also miss a few things. Two that jump out at me are sustainability and community. That 1 year food supply in my basement won’t do me any good if I have to bug out. All the trapping skill in the world isn’t going to feed me if there’s no game to be had.

Community, sustainability, and experience-based prepping

John Mosby writes a lot about community on the Mountain Guerrilla blog. He also pokes a lot of holes in mainstream prepper thinking. I agree with a lot of what he has to say. I’m going to start focusing less on gear and “survival skills and more on practical skills and community building. That community thing will be hard because my social skills suck, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Part of that will be working with what I have instead of working to get what’s perfect (or at least better). I was planning on moving north (better political climate), but I might have access to a 1 acre lot to the south. The political climate sucks, but I can have a big garden and raise meat animals. That’s a lot of practical experience to be had, plus I have friends in the area so that helps with the community building.

I guess that’s enough rambling for today, so until next time…

Peace out,

What did you do to prep this week?

This weeks preps – September 22, 2019

I got a lot of organizing done in my garage this week, and also got my reloading bench cleaned off. Now I can actually use it for a reloading bench again. I also spent more time studying for my general class amateur radio license and did some research on first aid classes I can take. The “need” for recruiting a doctor (or at the least a nurse) seems to be a recurring theme on prepper blogs.  I’m not much of a recruiter so I decided I need to learn some stuff on my own.

National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) offers a 9 day Wilderness First Responder (WFR) class I want to take. Even better, they’re holding one in my home town (about a 4 hour drive). I have my wife half talked into letting me take the class. The only holdup is 2 vacant (and trashed) rental units I have to finish first. So I’ll be busy with that for the next few weeks… What did you do to prep this week?

Peace out,

What did you do to prep this week?

This weeks preps – September 15, 2019

This week I went to my prepper group’s monthly meeting. We talked about wild edible plants that grow in our area. One thing that was brought up is the fact that most books on wild edibles do a poor job of explaining what areas different plants grow, You can be reading the best book ever written on the subject, but if it doesn’t talk about plants that grow in your area it doesn’t do you much good. We also talked about the lack of wild game in our area. We have rabbits and ground squirrels and not much else. I asked about a fat source (you need fat to survive) and learned that pine nuts are a great source of dietary fat if you need it. We have pinyon pines within 20 miles of my house so I’m planning on getting some this fall. Come to think of it, it’s already harvest season for pine nuts…

Besides that, I’ve been working out, organizing my stuff (especially my prepping stuff), working on my prepping plans, and studying for my general class ham radio license. What did you do to prep this week? Until next time…

Peace out,

Have you been prepping lately?

I’ve been slacking in my preps lately. How about you, have you been prepping? I’ve been going to my group’s monthly meetings, but that’s about it. The August meeting was kind of FUBAR though, and the aftermath was kind of a wake-up call for me.

How to scare people away from your group:

It started out OK. We were talking about wild edible plants that grow locally. We have had a fairly new member that I like a lot. Her politics are different than mine but I don’t care. She’s smart and had skills she was willing to share. She also asked good questions that led to more discussion on whatever we were talking about. She doesn’t didn’t attend every month, so I was really glad to see her at the August meeting.

Unfortunately, the meeting was shorter than normal so the group was just hanging out and talking.  Without getting into the gory details, some of the talk devolved into conspiracy theories and then sunk even further into what I call bat shit crazy. About 10 minutes into the “conversation,” our new member got up, quietly excused herself, and left.

There were a couple takeaways for me. For groups as a whole, stay focused on the topic. For me personally, I wish I’d tried to steer the conversation back towards Realityville as soon as I saw it starting to veer towards la-la land.

Back to prepping…

We lost two members over the fiasco. One I was sorry to see go, the other one not so much. The good thing was I think it was a wake up call to stay focused on prepping. After all, it is a prepping group…

As part of the aftermath, our group leader asked everyone for their 3, 6, and 12 month prepping goals. Not as a demand. but as an aid to our preps. I agree that’s a really good idea. As someone once said, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” So that’s what I’ve been working on for the last few weeks. My short term goals are mostly organizational and planning. Medium and long term goals are mainly related to sustainability and self reliance instead of buying more stuff.  Now that I’m back to it, I’ll resume my This Week’s Preps series starting Sunday.

Peace out,

What have you been doing to prep lately?

This week’s (???) preps – January 6, 2019

This post is more about what I didn’t do than what I did. A few months ago I was talking to some friends about balanced prepping. Some of them think that people tend to get hung up on one or two favorite things and spend most of their time on money on just those things. I agreed with what they were saying – then I got home and it kind of dawned on me that I do that all the time. My preps are way out of whack…

What I didn’t do to prep…

Keeping the talk with my friends in mind, I didn’t do some things. It was hard, you know old habits die hard and all that. But I didn’t:

  • Buy any new gardening books
  • Get any new Glocks
  • Make any new lists on “preps I need”
  • Waste a bunch of time watching videos on “how to prep,” “what you need to prep,” “the best way to prep,” etc.
  • Waste money on “prepper food” I’ll probably never eat

OK, so what DID I do? I thought a lot about my prepping balance. Lets just say I figured out I’m pretty heavy on gear and very light on necessities like food and water. I’ve been working on correcting that. I already have a 5 gallon bucket each of rice and lentils which is about 3 weeks of (very bland) food for my family. I got another bucket and filled it with olive oil and seasonings which might actually make the rice and lentils taste good. I also got a case of canned salmon and a few 8-packs of Dennison’s chili to put up.

For water, I ordered a 10-pack of 3.5 gallon water bricks. Not enough, but I do have my Berkey system. I’ve also set aside enough money to get another 10 water bricks, two 55 gallon water barrels, and another set of Berkey filters. By the end of January, that gives me enough water to supply my family for a little over 3 weeks.

Besides that I’ve been looking into doing some hunting in California. I can’t (won’t) live there, but there are still good places to hunt and I’m familiar with the state. Their non-resident hunting and fishing licenses aren’t too pricey so I’ll probably be doing a lot of hunting there in the fall.

Until next time, peace out…

What did you do to prep this week?

This weeks preps – December 16, 2018

My prepping group met this past week. We talked about what to carry in your vehicle during winter months and alternative methods of heating if there’s a utility outage. One way that looked interesting is using two clay pots and a candle to make a small heater. I’ve got the stuff now so I hope to experiment with that this week. Next month we’re going to talk about home power generation so I’m also looking into solar panels.

Yesterday I took John Mosby’s advice and ground my own wheat to bake homemade bread. My mom has a wheat grinder so I borrowed that instead of buying one. The bread turned out OK considering it was my first try. The flavor was great, but the dough had too much water (or not enough flour) so the finished loaf was too doughy. To console myself I made a batch of homemade beef jerky.

I spent a lot of time cleaning and organizing my garage and the family room. My kid wants a punching bag for Christmas and I don’t have room, hence the cleanup. I also bought a floor standing drill press for some projects I have coming up, and a small band saw so I can start making handgun grips and knife scales.

Besides that, I’ve been looking pretty seriously into moving to a different state next year. What did you do to prep this week?

Peace out,

What have you been doing to prep lately?

This week’s preps – November 25 2018

It’s not like I haven’t done any prepping since August 12, I just haven’t had time to write about it. I’ve actually done a few things:

  • Rebuilt the shelves in my garage
  • Cleaned out my storage unit
  • Worked on my long term food storage
  • Started researching property and jobs in the American Redoubt
  • Bought a sewing machine
  • Made lots of homemade beef jerky
  • Signed up for an online programming class
  • Finished programming my 5 UHV/VHF HT radios
  • Upgraded the sights on my carry pistol
  • Prepped my truck for winter driving
  • Bought a ping pong table

I learned the most from rebuilding my garage shelves and putting up the shed so I’ll touch on those below. Some of the other things might have you scratching your head and wondering wtf they have to do with prepping or being a Backyardsman, so I’ll post about those in the future. Anyway…

Rebuilding my garage shelves

The shelves in my garage were a falling down mess. They’d been “built” (that is stretching the term) by the previous home owner. The shelves were particle board with no support on the back side, so the sagged badly. The shelf supports were 1×4 boards nailed together at the corners so they wood was splitting. The shelves were too wide to comfortable get a car into the garage bay. One of the shelves finally collapsed so i decided to rebuild them. I used 3/4″ plywood for the shelves and made them 18″ wide (originals were 24″). for the supports I used 2×4 for the back support and 1×3 for the front. They’re not perfect, but a lot nicer than what they replaced.

Building a shed

One problem I have is lack of storage. We bought a small metal shed kit last year but never got it put up. My brother and sister are going back to China this week, so we wanted to get a shed put up before they left. A couple weeks ago we had a concrete pad poured to put it on, and over Thanksgiving weekend we got the shed put up. Instead of using our metal shed kit we decided to go with a wood framed shed. Home depot had kits for between $1000 and $3600. The $1000 shed kit looked like a cheap piece of junk and the $3600 was more than we can afford right now, so we decided to scratch build.

Our DIY shed is 7×10 feet, has a real window, and the siding is tongue and groove lumber. Total cost (including a hammer drill for installing the anchors) is about $1800. In my opinion it’s also a lot nicer shed than even the expensive model from Home Depot. It’s not perfect but we learned a lot and the next one we build will even be better. I’m really glad we decided to scratch build instead of going with a kit.

What does THAT have to do with prepping???

You might be wondering what a ping pong table has to do with prepping. What does a programming class have to do with being a Backyardsman? Or programming 2-way radios? I’ll explain it soon I hope. In the mean time, what did you do to prep this week?

Peace out,

What did you do to prep this week?

This week’s preps – August 12 2018

My monthly prepper meetup was this past week so I went to that. It was nice to catch up with some of the people, but some others I was hoping to see weren’t there so that was disappointing. There was no specific topic, just general discussion. We did talk about bugging out vs. sheltering in place which is a topic I like. Also talked about finding a sustainable place that’s not a two day drive away. I was surprised that some of the old timers think that’s still possible, considering the out of control growth in our area.

Our rental house is about finished. We have 2 tenants so far. Another one is moving in tomorrow. Only 3 rooms left… My brother (in law) is quite the handyman. He’s doing all the wood trim and some tile cutting. My wife and her sister are doing the vinyl plank flooring. We wouldn’t be nearly this far along without their help. Good family is truly a blessing.

Speaking of my brother and sister (in law), from now on I’ll just refer to them as brother and sister. No “in law,” family is family. They’ve also done a ton of work in our back yard. My brother loves working in the garden. He also wants to go hunting this fall. Can’t wait to take him…

Misc. stuff… I bought a Remington 783 a few years ago as a project rifle. Put a new stock on it but it never worked right. Almost impossible to chamber a round and doesn’t eject worth s***. Finally said enough and took it to my gun smith. Found a jammed up ejector and incorrectly cut extractor. He fixed both and it works better but still not what I’d expect from a Remington. Don’t get a Remington 783 – it’s a crappy design. If you want a Remington get a 700. If you want a cheap (but good) rifle, get a Savage Axis.

Continuing the gun theme, I loaded 600 rounds of 9mm. I’ve been shooting my pellet gun every chance I get. I’m actually improving. I put a dry fire kit into one of my Glocks and got a holster for it. I’ve been experimenting with sights since my near vision sucks. I’m getting discouraged, nothing really seems to work. Maybe I can get some reader lenses for my Wiley-X shooting glasses.

Almost forgot – put bird netting over the peach tree to keep the birds away.

That’s about it for now. What did you do to prep this week?

Peace out,