Friday, January 29, 2010

My Garden Experience / Style

     I wanted to tell you about my experience gardening. First and foremost, my garden is the front of my major prepping. It really is. I know tons of people buy survival seeds, but do they really even know how to grow them if their life depended on it?

     I was more of an Art person, and what little experience I had with plants wasn’t exactly successful (being houseplants). Growing up my grandmother had raised me and my brother outta the ground. We depended on a garden and on the chickens for all of our food. I had seen plants, I had seen how they grew and how to tend them, but I had avoided it for years because I did not want to responsible for the massive plant massacres that I thought would occur. Then one year when all I had was a tent in the woods a friend brought me some seeds he had scavenged out of a rubbish bin. There was nothing wrong with them, they were from the season before, and I guess someone just threw them away, he asked me if I would grow them, seeing he said, that I was a nature child. I said I didn’t know how to grow anything, so he said, you just rake the soil spread the seed, water every once in a while and wait. 

Seemed simple enough to me. So that’s what I did, and less than half a season I was pulling in food left and right. It was good, so I did that for years afterwards, sometimes hiding vegetable plants where I didn’t think anyone would notice them. Onions in the park, a pepper plant at the arboretum, arugala by the library. No one would know, and the world would be my buffet. 

I only had one landscaper ever notice my addition, and a I soon found that he chose kale for the winter season and ornamental cabbages, he was also nice enough to tell me before they would be ripped out, so that I might take them home and eat them. 

It was quirky, but it worked for me. Latter on after I had come in from the wild, and settled, I grew herbs and salads in my apartment in hanging baskets, and I set up a micro farm in my 110 Square foot yard. Using Tupperware storage boxes for tomatoes peppers and onions and such. 

My neighbors were a bit wary at first, but then everyone admires the plants, the truly colorful addition in a mostly barren landscape. 

Then we got our house, we didn’t move in till July, so we were a bit late in the season, I had seed started late, and we waited. We had 4 acres, but we only planned to use a bit of it. We actually cut up the sod by hand, clearing the ground, and we set the plants in. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

About PrepperMom

So I thought I should probably tell you a bit about myself.
I am a 28 year old mother of 2  young toddlers and wife of 1 wonderful educator.
Before I had my first child I lived "in-the-wild" in the heart of central texas for quite a few years.

I loved camping , and having been raised in a backwoods of appalachia , I did it well.
When I had my first child my inner prepper just kicked in  , I was bringing a child into the world I needed to know how to be self sufficient. Not just everyday disaster preparedness  , but also the self sufficiency skills in a large scale event. Being a single - self employed  mother of a very small child I had many hours to read and study and put in practice everything that lay ahead of me. 2 weeks after I gave birth to my son , I experienced my first unplanned scenario. Texas experienced a minor Ice storm , and my apartment complex lost all electricity.

Having a newborn baby in an unheated apartment was panic inducing. I wound up moving us into the bathroom and ran the shower every hour or so  , because the gas and water still worked , just not electricity. I was capable of doing that for 2 nights till the electricity was restored, so that I did not have to go to a shelter and expose my newborn to way to many germs.

About 8 months later I met my the man who would become my husband and we clicked over a wonderful discussion about firearms. A year latter we moved to Iowa with one more child and found a small homestead. We currently have 4 acres of land. We started a garden late in the season last year and harvest over 800 lb of produce , and that was off maybe  of 1/2 and acre , we plan on using all 4 acers this year and dehydrating and canning.

The entire transition to back to basics / being self sufficient has not been as hard for me as my husband because i grew up without electricity and such. My husband  , well he stockpiles ammo , and me I stockpile books and knowledge. LOL

I am also a frugalista  , I'm always on the trail of sales , increasing my stockpile and making most things from scratch. I don't buy do-hikkies so much as go out and learn how to make them myself.

So well thats me. PrepperMom.
NIce to meet you  :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

10 - Winter Weather / Ice Related Saftey Tips

Seeing that Most of Iowa and a few other states are covered with a rather uneven but definably solid layer of Ice I thought I might as well give a few safety tips:

  1. Assume EVERYTHING is Icy , Better Safe than Sorry
  2. Test your path , salt/gravel , shovel or break ice before attempting to take a small child to the car
  3. If you start to fall carrying a child fall backwards so they land on YOU.
  4. Make sure you shoes have traction of some sort.
  5. You can use , Salt , Bird-food and corn meal or kitty litter to create traction over icy walkways
  6. Hit / Break Ice to Create Traction
  7. You can use a cane / Pole or Brook Stick to help keep you balanced by Shoving it through ice
  8. Sometimes it better to walk through snow than ON ice
  9. Don't be afraid to shuffle if need be , better funny looking than injured
  10. Remember to keep an extra blanket or 3 in your car
Image Provided Through Apeture / Flicker Freely Liscenced

Madwoman or Genius ?

So , It started out simple enough.
I decided I was going to check the mail.
Simple dosnt it ?
Well I thought so too.

Till I got out there and discovered the entire yard was covered in ice.
First I tried to walk on the ice , even the cat yelled at me as he slid down the drive and desperately attempted to make his way back up the hill , but the ice was so thick his poor little paws couldn't do it and he bawled like a lost calf.

So I took off my scarf and threw it towards him , he latched on and I pulled him back to safety.
He promptly let himself in the plant room and looked at me like I was crazy. I was not to be deterred. Getting the mail is my Job , and I will not let the ice get me.

So I went inside.
I put on a second pair of socks.
And a plastic grocery sack on each foot , and put on my moccasins.
I tucked in my head scarf.
I grabbed my trusty broom , and I set out again.

This time I was determined , I decided to take the drifts over the driveway. I knew the snow was thick. I held my broom upside down , and I smashed the handle through the ice.
Then Step by Step I I broke the ice and let myself sink. Leaving deep but not so slippery prints.
It took a bit longer than the normal 3 minuet walk to the mail box , and my ankles are a bit sore from being cut open by the ice , but I somehow feel accomplished.

Who knew checking the mail could be so exciting ?
I keep wandering what my neighbors must think of the crazy lady with her bright yellow broomstick trudging through snowdrifts ?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Plant Room

Today I got up w/ to the kids screaming about the kitties you see , we have a plant room that is built on to our house , so we have an odd wall with windows that looks straight from the living room into the plant-room. Yes , its odd , but it works. Well , I went to go look at what the kdis were screaming about excitedly (as toddlers are prone to being excitable as is). There was a Coon , rather small one but definitely and adult , curled up against on of the plant room heaters. You see the plant room has 3 heaters because I have a nice collection of tropical plants that need to be a bit warmer than our house is normally heated. It seems one of the cats opened the door and it did not latch back securely , and Mr.Coon just let himself right in.

I chased him out with a broom , and will let my husband know he can be rid of him .

The plantroom is showing signs of life which brings joy to me for sure.

I have started a bit of seed. Lacking chain to regulate how far the light is , I have substituted Styrofoam , as they get taller I will remove a layer of foam. I have a few of my main crop seeds starting early , I also have decided to start all my celery and a handful of salad and herbs as well.

I am so happy My Salad tin has started to grow full of sprouts , its been a month since the last of my chicon was used up. I am overjoyed to see these little sprouts for sure.

My poor Overwintered Cabbage , My husband says that we will plant it out and let it go for seed when it warms again. That Pan is full of tulips I overwintered. I got them on sale just before fall , 2 Cents a Dozen.

My Lemon Balm seems to have been sparked to life in the last week as well , and I dream of its full return. I love the way it smells and tastes.

My Foundation Seed

This is Year 2 @ The Farm , so I decided to look around to see what I could find in a survival seed (Aka Heirloom Seed Kit ) , I went out with a couple of reasonable requirements , high variety , reasonable price. While this is not a cheap kit @ 99$ it IS high in variety , including pollinators. I also did not want to focus on a a grain based packaged since I am probably most of my descendants will not find wheat an acceptable food source. With 63 Varieties and 4 separate gardens (Vegetable , Herb , Floral , Herbal) It was pretty extensive. I also liked this because it came with a winter squash extravaganza for sure , have you ever really thought of all the uses of gourds ? I have.

I did however supplement a few uncommon things such as luffa , parsnip , nasturtium etc.
I used a local supplier and RH Shumway (Nasturtiums). I invested a bit in this foundation stock , but If I am top of things I shoudl never have to buy seed again. Hows That for Self sufficiency ?

I was well pleased with the Heirloom Master Gardener Pack from .

I was well pleased with the
Heirloom Master Gardener Pack from .

Monday, January 18, 2010

Examples of My MRE Alternatives

The other Day I blogged about MRE Alternatives , Now for my family These MRE Alternatives will not be a a full time food source , but more of a supplement , and for traveling , or a last minuet addition. We focus more on dehydrated and canned goods for long term storage and in our daily usage.

These MRE alternatives also wound up being taste tested against my will , with my husband stealing a couple for work , and my children finding the box and jumping up and down in excitement over their contents. SO they are family approved. The only change I will make is having sardines in sauce VS soybean oil (apparently my husband picked up the wrong ones).

I packed each in a Plain brown paper bag , with a drink pack mix of some sort , and many had mini tissue packs as well. I stapled the Bags shut (after the entire child discovery incident). I wrote the calories on the bottom of each bag for future reference.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Real Person , Not Just an Avatar

Spring 08

MRE Alternatives

I was over @ The American Prepper Network Forum when i saw this wonderful Topic

MRE's for $120 a case??????? Screw That!!

It really go me thinking , MRE's are created with High Calorie for an active Warrior , not exactly what may be needed by everyone. While I personally enjoy MRE's I am not so sure that MY children would eat them , and as a prepared mom it is my responsibility to know I have stocked something my children would eat with no problem.

D_Loki was kind enough to lend me his spreadsheet , so I went in and fiddled around with some other ingredients in an attempt to create MRE Replacement that would work for MY family.

You can see a copy of D_Loki's Spreadsheet with My modifications in a shaded green @ Google Docs Here : MRE Alternative @ D_Loki (Open in a New Tab to stay on this page)

I shaded my changed in green , and I also added a column for price as well.
I know that the items I purchased for these are not the most price effective ,but they are shelf stable.

Those with more proficient skills may be able to make their own mini packed items , but I made this so simple even my unskilled father & his wife could make their own.

I spent about 20 $ in total , I sought out high calorie , eat to eat , easy to open , shelf stable goods.

Instead of going with a high energy caloric needs I calculate the caloric needs of my family. Average activity for adults , adjusted calorics for toddlers.

Family Calorics :

Adult Active Male - 3000 (A day)
Adult Female - 2000 (A day)
Toddlers - 1300 (A day)
Tween - 2,200(A day)

Go Check out My Version of the Spreadsheet to See what I came up with.
No matter how I tried I could not easily find shelf stable HIGH caloric foods.
Each Kit I came out with was around 1200 Calories , My husband need close to 3 a day to work , and I 2 a day , my children would be fine with 1 each day , but my sister would probaly have to go for 2 a day as well.

Simple enough. I would love to see what others can come up with to use the Linky below
Where it Says Tittle add your username the @ Symbol and Your Blog Title
PrepperMom@ Prepared Mom
My Username @My Blog Name
For the URL You will want to Enter URL of your Blog Page or The URL to YOUR worksheet.

This makes it easier to find in the future. This Linky Will Quit Collecting in 7 Days , if you desire to continue do not hesitate to comment and let me know and I will restart another.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Forgotten Investment

In Todays Society somethings have gone forgotten , when I think about being prepared I look around my house and I wonder what I could not live without. Before the advent of the internet where did people go to learn about new things ? The Library.

What would you do in an emergency , or in a long term seclusion ? Well , I would go to my Encyclopedia.

I am by no means saying go out and buy a brand new encyclopedia , personally I actually prefer older encyclopedias from the 60's and 70's they tend to have better illustrations of how things work , and of what plants look like.

I found that if you cruise through craigslist of book shops you can find them at more than reasonably affordable prices , and at times you can even get them free.

Please dont forget to invest in you future , and quite possibly your children's future. Even if you dont have children , are you sure you will never have any under your care ? Do you have a sufficient amount of information for basic as well as advanced teaching in your home.

Things you can do with an encyclopedia :

  • Look up Edible Plants
  • Look Up Medicinal Herbs
  • Look up How things Work
  • Look up basic Medical Procedures
  • How to Butcher an Animal
  • How things are made

Image provided Courtesy blaize @

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Child Related Items in Your Kits

When I was young , very much pregnant with my first child I started to freak out about the things I might need in an kits. Some of those things are as follows :

  • Lactation Tea - In an emergency Try to keep / and dry out and use again if needed
  • Hand Powered Breast Pump - Make sure you know how to use it
  • Emergency Formula - Keep Regular & Soy on Hand
  • Barley - For Mother or Child
  • Nappies - Clothe Diapers
  • A Sling - Know how to use it
  • Extra Clothing / Sleep Sack / Shoes / Socks
  • Bottle / Bottle Brush / Nipples
  • Cheese Cloth
  • Zip Storage Bags for all , including one for soiled clothing / Nappies
  • Rags Marked for Specific Uses - Diaper , Burp , Bath kept sealed in completely different bags. Keeping them marked keeps people from using them inappropriately and spreading germs / disease.

Latter when I had my second child I my first had grown quite a bit I found the following Just as useful.

  • Child Leash - For Toddlers on a Walk
  • Stash of Toys - To keep em Occupied
  • A Stuffed Animal - Comfort Objects
  • Board Books - Entertainment , Calming Ritual with Parents
  • Children Ban-Aides - Kissing Boos make it heal better.
  • A Second Sling - In Case you need to Carry you older child.
Even if you do not have children I think that these are things you might want to look into , because sooner or later you are bound to interact with others who Do have children , or maybe even have some of your own.

I also recommend keeping the following herbs / Oils around or in pack in for use by nursing mothers and children.

  • Lavender Oil - Relaxes Small children
  • Fenugreek - For lactation stimulation
  • Anise - (NOT star Anise , please look it up ) - for gassiness
  • Ground Cloves - for teething issues

As with all emergency kits you should keep checking in and keep items up to date. I have found the formula needs to be changed out often if you hand measure it , Similac Carries a Type in Convenient bottle size doses that I highly recommend and used with my own children , these , left sealed can be stored for up to a year . Always make sure that you have proper accommodations in clothing and sleeping gear for littles. Children Grow Fast and Their Clothing becomes too small quickly so you should also keep their clothing in kits up to date or larger than they might really need. I also recommend Nappie Pins , even if you use velcro , because velcro can wear our . You should make sure you know how to use these things in an emergency , not just have them around and have no idea how to use them.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Review of The Food Storage Analyzer

So , I was over @ Preparedness Pantry , I get their paper catalog every few months and I had seen info on their Food Storage Analyzer , but I had never taken the time to go look at it , well I made the time today .

At first I was a bit confused , but then I clicked some more and I figured it out. I had seen food storage analyzers before , but they just calculated stuff. This food storage calculator actually lets you calculate and compare your needs vs what you have. That was a real sup-rise , not only did it tell you what you would need , but it allowed you to list what you already have. Really this is a wonderful tool , and the fact that you can store your settings is very wonderful. Its a free tool , and I didn't feel any pressure to buy things , but it is handy to track what I prepare to buy and what I have , and believe me I plan to buy some. It also makes shopping much easier because you already have a list , just press through to buy what you need as you are capable. SO when you get the time go over and give it a try. ALso I highly recommend their paper catalog too !!

Gift Card Giveaway

What it is to be a Prepper

What it is to be a Prepper as Defined from the personal viewpoint of PrepperMom

To prepare , Protect , and Provide for my family at all costs.
I must be prepared to protect my family , wether it from the nature or man.
  • I must be aware of my enviroment
  • Be aware of the risks in my enviroment
  • Be prepared to battle the risks of any environment
I must educate myself , and my family members on how to be self sufficient if the need arise.
I must be strong enough to defend myself and my children if my husband is not around.
I must be knowledgeable , my children's lives may depend on MY quick thinking.
I must be willing to do what might make me uncomfortable to aide the greater good.

Being a Prepared to deal with any situation that may arise is an act of love for my family.

Monday, January 11, 2010

School Children & Preparedness

During an emergency it is vital that you know where your child is , who is caring for him , and where he may be relocated to. Here are some things to think about :

Do you know where your Children are ?
  • Do you have a copy of your Child's Schedule ?
  • Do you know the layout of the building ?
  • Do you know what the schools emergency plans are ?
  • Do you know where Shelters & Evacuation routes are ?
Do you know who your children are with ?

  • Do you know what instructor you child is with throughout the day ?
  • Do you know each instructor looks like ?
  • Do you have the instructors personal contact information ?

Do you know your Schools Evacuation , Sheltering & Emergency Scenario Plans ?
  • Where are your children to Shelter during an Tornado ?
  • Where would your children be evacuated to if there were a flood or fire ?
Do your older children have a meeting spot or safety code word ?
  • Do your children know who to call in an emergency if they can not get hold of you ?
  • Do you have a rendezvous point set with your children in case of evacuation ?
  • Do you and your child have a safety word to let you know if something is scary but they cant say anything ? (example , worplehead was my younger sisters safe word , a nonsensical word , but one time she called from a friends house and told me that she thought that I needed to check on our cat worplehead , I knew something was wrong and picked her up from her friends house immediately )
Your schools administration should never hesitate to give you this information and should also be willing to give you a tour and help you meet your child instructors. These people are to be the protectors of your children when you are not around , I think it best that you get to know them a bit , especially if you may need to one day seek them out to help you find your child.

Each instructor SHOULD have a firm grasp on how they are to act during an emergency and should be able to tell you in detail . Feel free to contact your child's school with any questions you may have , that is what they are there for.