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24 June, 2013

Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide, Part 2

Read Part 1

Chapter 2
How Much Food to Store

When starting their food storage people commonly ask: How much food do I need? There are a few considerations to make when deciding on quantity. Each food storage type has its own characteristics so included below are some things to keep in mind when determining how much to store.

Pantry/Canned Foods:

If you decide to include pantry/canned foods such as the grocery items that you consume regularly, calculating this can be fairly simple. First figure out how much you and your family go through in a typical week. Take that number and multiply it by the amount of time you would like to have food on hand and strive to obtain that amount. Thirty days is a good initial goal.

Taking advantage of grocery store sales is a great way to quickly build up this portion of your food storage. Remember: eat what you store and store what you eat. This means don’t buy foods that you don’t normally eat just because you see them on sale. By purchasing and preparing the foods you normally eat, rotating out the oldest items in your pantry first and then replacing these items regularly you ensure that this portion of your food storage is always fully stocked and up-to-date.

Bulk Items:

When it comes to bulk foods, remember that these storage items are excellent for extending meals that you make with your other storage foods or making meals from scratch. Adding rice, pasta or beans to any meal will stretch your food dollar regardless if the meal is canned, freeze-dried or a long-term storage food, Bulk foods are also great for having everyday essentials on hand such as salt, sugar and flour. For example, you will want to store sugar if you are used adding it to your daily coffee.

When determining how much to purchase consider your family’s typical serving sizes and then buy the items based on how many times a week you plan on needing them. Having a surplus will never an issue because bulk foods can last a very long time if properly stored. Note that when purchasing bulk food items you may need to repackage them in order to extend their shelf life sufficiently for your needs.


If you plan to include MREs as part of your food storage, keep in mind their limited variety and high cost; they are best suited for short-term emergencies. MREs don’t require any cooking so put them in your go bags or evacuation packs. A case of MREs contains 12 meals. Each MRE contains 800-1200 calories so you only need about two per day. A smart goal would be to have one case of MREs per person; this will provide approximately 1 week of meals for each family member.

Dehydrated and Freeze Dried Foods

Dehydrated and freeze-dried meals are much lighter and can come in small packages for portability. These, too, could double as a bug out supply with the understanding that extra water would be needed for reconstitution.

While you can get individual food items that are either dehydrated or freeze dried, one advantage of these foods is that you can buy prepackaged meals and then all that you would need to make a tasty meal is hot water. These complete meals may not be as convenient to eat as MREs but they provide a much greater variety of meals from which to choose.

Unlike pantry food and MREs, calculating how much freeze-dried and/or dehydrated food you will need is not easy so we will guide you through it.

How much Long-Term Food is Enough?

When deciding how much freeze-dried and dehydrated foods to add to your emergency supply, the most important rule to remember is to go by calories not by serving size. Emergency food companies have different definitions for what constitutes a serving and emergency food kits are not one-size-fits-all even though they may be advertised that way. The first step is to figure out how many calories you and your family consume on a daily basis. Next multiply that by the number of days for which you want to be prepared. This becomes the minimum number of calories that you need to have in your food storage program.

Once you know how many calories your family requires you can figure out how much dehydrated and freeze-dried meals you need. Keep in mind that your daily caloric requirement changes based on what activities you are doing. For example, a hard work day cutting down trees and moving storm debris will require more calories than sitting around playing cards while waiting for a storm to pass. Its best to assume you will need more calories than less. In general teenage and adult males need 2800 calories per day, teenage and adult females require 2200 and children 13 and under use 1400. Infants require special food so plan and purchase food accordingly.

Once you have the total daily calories needed decide how many months’ worth of food you want. This is influenced by your personal comfort level. The longer period of time you can supply for the better but most people can’t afford to go out and buy a year’s worth of food without some prior planning and budgeting. The best recommendation is to start where you can. First build up a 2-week supply and then move to 30 days’ worth. Once you have that, work up to three months, then six and then a year. Build up your food storage supply as big as you need in order to feel safe and to be able to provide for your family in any disaster situation.

Watch out For Serving Size

Remember when choosing an emergency food supplier to look at the total calories in what they call a serving. Similar with our everyday food, a single serving is not enough calories to be considered a complete meal. Instead consider the total number of calories in the package. Going by our figures above an adult male needs about 2800 calories a day or 933 calories per meal.

Many people make the incorrect assumption that a serving size should contain enough calories for a complete meal. In truth, there are no standards for serving sizes; they are only suggested portions by the manufacturer.

Serving sizes are recommendations that also assume that you will also be eating other foods. Focus on the amount of calories in the whole package instead of the number of servings per package. Don’t expect an entrée meal to complete your calorie intake. Look into having snacks, drinks, fruits, vegetables, rice and other food items to help increase your daily calories. Having a variety of foods to eat creates normalcy in an emergency situation.

SUMMARY: Deciding which food storage option you need and how much to secure can be overwhelming. We have included a worksheet at the end of this document to help you develop the best food storage plan for you and your family. We will help you ask the right questions, provide you with answers and help you make the best choice.

Chapter 3
What To Store...Ingredients Matter

One common misconception about emergency preparedness is that food storage quality doesn’t matter as long as you have some food stored that will last for a long time without spoiling. Having something stored is better than nothing but it is also crucial to fill your body with nourishing ingredients during an emergency. This will keep you satisfied and in top form. Eating lesser-quality foods can leave you susceptible to sickness and diminish your mental and physical health. You are storing food to protect your family against starvation but you also want to protect them from sickness and diseases caused by harmful ingredients. Do this by knowing what goes into the food that you buy.

Long-term emergency food storage is made to last a long time. Some companies in the industry cut corners and add a variety of artificial preservatives, dyes and flavors in order to lengthen the shelf life of their foods. If you are committing to protect your family be sure to make the best, healthiest choices possible. When selecting your food storage beware of artificial ingredients. Here are other red flags to consider as you look around.

Avoid Hydrolyzed Yeast Extract and Similar Flavorings

Hydrolyzed yeast extract is a controversial ingredient found in many packaged foods and is common in food storage items. It is primarily used as a flavor-enhancer and is created by breaking down yeast cells. The FDA classifies yeast extract as a natural ingredient but according to many health experts, yeast extract is a cheaper alternative to monosodium glutamate (MSG) and actually does contain some MSG.(1) Some health and consumer advocates say that labeling something as containing yeast extract is the way food companies avoid saying that a product contains MSG.(2)

MSG has many negative side effects. Consumption of MSG has been linked to a variety of scary conditions including headaches, numbness in the face and neck, heart palpitations, chest pain, nausea, weakness, appetite control problems and other negative symptoms.(1) Whether or not you have had a sensitivity to MSG in the past, it is best to avoid this ingredient in your storage food altogether.

For a good list of other additives that are linked to MSG check out the following articles:


Consider GMO-Free Foods

When looking for emergency food it is equally important that the ingredients are free from genetically modified organisms or labeled GMO-free. The use of genetically modified foods is another controversial topic in the world of food and nutrition. It is best to avoid GMOs while the debate is still going on, particularly if this is a long-term purchase.

Genetically modified organisms are created by taking the genetic material of one organism and inserting it into the genetic code of another. This bold practice is becoming more and more widespread despite being widely acknowledged as a risky and understudied process. Many experts opposed to genetically modified foods argue that there has not been adequate testing on human subjects. Despite the increasing insertion of GMO ingredients into mainstream foods there are still too many unknowns about the health effects these human-engineered foods could have. Some health groups like the Center for Food Safety have gone so far as to claim that genetically modified foods can increase the likelihood of antibiotic resistance, immune-suppression and even cancer.(3) Why put your family at risk with untested ingredients when you will have other worries to contend with in a survival situation?

Because the use of GMOs in manufactured foods is becoming such a widespread practice, very few emergency foods are free of GMO ingredients. However, there are a few companies that produce foods that are GMO-free. If this is an issue that is important to you, be certain that the emergency food is certified GMO-free. Some companies may claim to be free of genetically modified ingredients but without the certification have no proof.

Other Health Considerations

Other health considerations include checking amounts of cholesterol, trans fat and sodium in the food storage. Packaged foods often have high amounts of these three things and emergency foods are no exception. High-quality emergency food brands limit cholesterol, trans fat, and sodium amounts but you need to read the labels to be sure.

Make Sure Your Food Storage Ingredients Will Stand The Test Of Time

Emergency food should be able to last and still be healthful. As you look for the right emergency food be aware that some food storage companies haven’t done their research on ingredients that spoil versus those that keep. As a result they incorporate ingredients into their emergency food that go bad after a relatively short period of time. Canola oil, for example, will only last a year before it goes rancid, thus spoiling whatever food storage in which it is used. Novice food companies use canola oil in their granola to make the clusters stick together and uneducated food buyers end up with a worthless product after just a year.

Bottom line: it’s important to know what goes into your storage food. Take the time to do some research on the food you are buying; be sure it will contribute to the health and well-being of you and your family in a disaster.

23 June, 2013

A Rare and Precious Awakening to the True System of Control

I was talking to a family member the other day, and I had a rare opportunity to congratulate him on the very beginning stages of his awakening to the truth.

He was talking about the whole Paula Deen scandal and saying that, while what she said was wrong, it shouldn't be getting nearly as much attention as the fact that we are all being systematically spied upon by our own government and treated like criminals, without so much as a warrant being issued.

I told him that he was speaking my language; and I proceeded to explain to him that such distractions are, not only quite common, but are also done by design.

As I explained to him, the logical next step should be to pay attention to how much broadcast time or publication space is devoted to stories like that one, while more important things only get a brief mention or very small space in the publication. You can actually sit down with a stopwatch and quantify that what I'm saying is true. 

Then, research who owns all of the parent companies of all of these media outlets. Here's a hint: everything you see or hear in the media comes back to only a small number of families who control it all. These are the same people whose huge political contributions end up deciding who wins both major political Party nominations, ensuring that, no matter who you vote for, you are voting for a preapproved candidate. Whichever candidate brings in the most money is the one who always wins, and so these people just funnel their money to the ones that fit their agenda. They don't need to actually control the person in the Oval Office. They only need to make sure that whoever is elected President already has views that align with theirs. That's why Obama has continued so many of Bush's policies, and it is exactly why Romney would have done the same thing if he had been elected. They use their monetary influence to give you a false choice, and, either way, they win. 

And they they use their media to further that agenda and distract the masses in the same way Bread & Circuses were used to distract the citizens of ancient Rome. A Big Brother police state benefits the Elite, and so they don't want us talking about the kinds of things we're talking about. They'd rather we all talk about Paula Deen instead.

Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide, Part 1

Emergencies Are Real

With all the modern conveniences we enjoy, it’s easy to forget how dependent we are on these technological advancements. Most of us have free-flowing water at our fingertips, electrical power that feeds directly into our homes and 24-hour grocery stores filled with endless supplies of fresh food. This is a luxury; without warning one disaster could delay or destroy our entire food supply.

World news tells us how fragile this dependence is. The world has natural disasters that are occurring with increasing frequency and severity; continuous political unrest rages in countries across the globe; economies are failing all around us. We are constantly reminded that our fragile system is not guaranteed from failure. This system is similar to an elaborate structure made out of dominoes: the shifting of one piece can cause the whole thing to come crashing down.

As the world becomes increasingly less stable, more and more people are choosing to become educated on emergency preparedness. Like those of us at Legacy, people are learning that in an emergency situation or other devastating life event (job loss, severe illness or unanticipated disability), we cannot always rely on government or other people to step in and provide for the needs of our families. Should incident occur the only way to assure ourselves that our loved ones will be taken care of is to get prepared on our own.

If we want to take care of our families’ needs in a crisis, having a sufficient store of emergency food is the crucial first step. Food storage options seem endless. Anyone who wants to start a food storage plan may feel overwhelmed by the large amount of conflicting and confusing information on the web regarding what to store, how much you need and how to store it.

In this guide Legacy Foods outlines some basic information to help you make the best choices as you build your family's emergency food storage supply. We will specifically discuss the benefits and disadvantages of different types of food storage, common questions about how much food to store, the importance of storing healthy and tasty food and how best to store what you have. When planning your food storage you have many considerations to make; this guide will help you get started.

Chapter 1
Food Storage Types Compared

With many food storage options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When planning your food storage there are many questions to answer: Are cans better? Should I have bulk foods? Are MREs really a feasible food storage option? What’s all the hype about freeze-dried foods? How do I know which is right for my family?

As you navigate your options many factors will weigh in your decision. This includes: nutritional content; ease of storage and transport; cost; shelf life; taste; ease of preparation. All types of storage food have benefits and you should have some of each in your supply. Below is a summary of the different types of food storage options and their relative benefits and drawbacks.

Pantry/Canned Foods

Pantry foods are probably the most familiar type of food storage. Cans are a simple and easy way to start storing food because you can find a wide variety in any grocery store. This group also includes boxed items and other packaged foods. Filling your pantry with foods that you eat every day makes great short-term food storage because these foods are convenient to use and easy to prepare. Weekly sales are a great way to quickly build up your food supply fairly inexpensively. One added benefit of cans is that they do not require cooking and can be eaten cold if needed. These foods are ready to eat with minimal-to-no preparation. Wet-packed cans contain water or juice with the contents of the can making them beneficial if water supplies are low during an emergency situation.

Pantry goods typically have expiration dates from one to five years so they need to be rotated more frequently than other types of food storage. Many pantry foods are not packaged for long-term storage and are more susceptible to bugs and rodents. These are foods that you should eat and rotate on a regular basis; simply put the newer food behind what is already on your pantry shelf. Make sure to check for dents in cans and only buy non-damaged items so the food is not compromised. Make sure to have at least one manual can opener in case of a power outage; it would be a challenge to open canned food without one.

Cans are not a great portable option because they are heavy and bulky, making them difficult to store and pack. Boxed items are lighter but typically require other ingredients to prepare. When buying canned foods make sure to get the appropriate size. Large #10 cans are a common food storage option and seem to be a great value for your money; however, they can be a bad idea because once opened you have to consume the contents within a short amount of time or it will spoil. Choose your #10 cans wisely our you could be eating the same food item for several meals in a row, finding a way to store leftovers or dealing with spoilage. In summary, pantry foods are the first you will use in an emergency because of the easy preparation and limited shelf life.

Bulk Foods

Bulk foods are another conventional way to store food. When properly stored these dried items have a long shelf life; some will virtually last forever. Typical bulk foods are wheat, powdered milk, corn meal, dried potatoes, dry beans, corn, pasta, and white rice. Many people like bulk foods because it can be a do-it-yourself method of storage. Other items available in bulk include vegetable oils, baking powder, coffee, tea, cocoa, salt, sugar, honey, bouillon and vinegar.

Storing bulk foods is not an ideal food storage option because it takes more preparation and creative cooking to produce a variety of meals. On the other hand, bulk foods are a fantastic way to stretch out any meal and will allow you to make things from scratch. Adding rice, pasta or beans to a meal can bulk up the meal and stretch your food dollar. With wheat, yeast and salt you can make a loaf of bread. The downside to bulk food is that you will need to have an alternative cooking should you lose power or gas. You won’t be able to make much from these food items without the ability to cook, bake, boil or simmer.

Bulk foods can be difficult to store because they come in large, heavy packages or containers, some of which might need to be repackaged for long shelf life. This is not the type of food you want to carry with you if you need to evacuate your home. The biggest disadvantage of bulk food storage is that you will need to cook mostly from scratch. Keep in mind that though bulk foods may provide more food per pound, they also require longer planning and preparation in order to have a wide variety of meals.

A significant drawback to having only bulk foods in your food storage is that you are unable to make a quick meal. During the immediate aftermath of a disaster you won't have time to stop and cook for 3 hours; you will be focusing on other things and will need something you can quickly eat with little preparation.


Meals, Ready-To-Eat (MREs) are military rations. The name says it all; these full-course meals have everything in one package: entree, side dish, dessert, drink and condiments; these often include a small heating device. MREs do not require water and are the most convenient food storage option. Some people like the taste but others do not. This is what our military uses because of their high calorie content and because they are shelf stable. MREs also include a spoon, toilet paper, wet nap and salt with every meal. Because of the high calories they are an excellent choice for a bug out or evacuation situation.

Though they can be on the heavy side, MREs are a good option because they are very portable. They are the perfect food to put in your evacuation bag. MREs a great short-term, zero-preparation food to live on until you are able to get to a more secure location. The shelf life of MREs can be 5 to 10 years if stored well; after that, palatability can be affected. The greatest disadvantage of MREs is that they are very expensive and have a limited variety. They are best reserved for short timeframes.

Dehydrated or Freeze-dried /Long-Term Storage 10-25+ Shelf Life

Another emergency food option is freeze-dried and/or dehydrated foods. This type of food storage is convenient because it is delivered already packaged for long-term storage. Some foods are better preserved using the freeze-drying process; others are better dehydrated. Some companies may stick to one method while others use a combination of both in their prepackaged food storage options.

Dehydration is a long-standing method of preserving food. During this process foods are put through a low temperature chamber where up to 98% of the moisture is taken out and then the food is packaged. This dehydration process reduces both the size and weight of the food while maintaining flavor. Tests have shown that texture and color can be affected with this process. Some experts believe that nutrients are reduced during the dehydration process but others do not agree.

Dehydrated foods are lightweight and can be ideal for quick mobility in the event of an evacuation. These foods are typically not full meals but are the foods you use to make meals such as: fruits, vegetables, jerky, eggs, pancake mix, butter, tomato and cheese powder.

Dehydrating can be done at home but can be very time-consuming; storage life will be shorter without the right packaging. Dehydrating food at home can be a cost-effective way of adding to your food storage if you incorporate these foods into your everyday cooking. Professionally dehydrated foods are properly packaged and can store for a much longer time.

Freeze drying is a process of preserving food that requires high-end equipment that flash freezes fresh or cooked food. The food is then put in a vacuum chamber that remains as cold as -50° F. Minimal heat is applied and the ice evaporates without ever going back into the liquid phase. This removes almost all of the moisture from the food. Freeze dried foods make for better tasting meals because the process preserves the color, flavor, shape and texture of the original food. Because water has been removed it weighs less, making it a great portable option. One downside is the slightly higher cost than dehydrated food. Another is that since it retains the shape of the food it is also slightly bulkier to store.

Both dehydrated and freeze-dried meals have many advantages over other food storage options. Overall they are easier to store, are light-weight, take up little space and do not require refrigeration. They do require water for reconstitution so you will need to increase your water storage accordingly. These foods are properly packaged for long-term storage and easier mobility. These foods save you time because they are quick and easy to prepare. They are also nutritious and great tasting.

The main disadvantage of these types of foods is the cost. Due to the intense processes these foods undergo as well as being pre-packaged for long-term storage, the cost is higher.

SUMMARY: Study these options and decide which types can fit into your plan. Each level of food storage has advantages and disadvantages. Because of this many people choose to have a combination of the food storage types for the most comprehensive plan. Consider all the factors and store what is right for your family.

To Be Continued...

22 June, 2013

ATV Survival Guide: Increase Your Chances of Survival

You drove to go hunting in the middle of nowhere, dozens of miles from a gas station or paved road, confident you made the right decision last year when you bought your all-terrain vehicle. The electric power steering was so good that you were able to move your way over large rocks and through several muddy streams.

But now you’re stuck. Your machine has broken down and the parts are acting up. Fortunately, your pre-trip research, quick wits and all the resources at your disposal will exponentially improve your chances of survival.

Cutting Wood - 1 November 2008

Photo of ATV by Marion Doss via Flickr

Preparing To Survive

It’s easy to say, “don’t panic,” when the unthinkable happens, but this is a fundamental key to survival and often begins far before ever entering the wild. Your preparation and consideration is about to pay off.

For starters, you have an ATV survival kit which includes a diverse set of tools. Serious ATV riders who have been stranded in desolate locations knows the value of an emergency kit.

Pack a survival kit including a winch, portable air compressor, wrenches, jumper cables, a tire repair kit and extra fuel, recommends CampingATV.com. Your kit may not be identical, but chances are you've packed some, if not all, of these for your outing and now they'll become vital for getting you back home in one piece. In a best-case scenario, your kit may contain “personal survival” items including:

  • aluminum foil
  • blanket
  • compass
  • water container
  • fire starter, lighter and waterproof matches
  • first-aid kit
  • magnifying lens
  • map
  • multi-tool that includes a knife blade
  • nylon cord
  • signal whistle
  • water purification tablets

In addition, Tread Lightly! recommends bringing high-energy food, 16 to 32 ounces of bottled water per person, biodegradable toilet paper, a rain jacket, a pen or pencil, paper, a portable CB radio or cell phone, and a flashlight or high-powered penlight with a spare bulb and batteries.

How long will you be stranded? Of course, it’s hard to know, but preparing for an extended stay in the woods is essential.

ATV Survival Tips

Surviving with your machine is easier than surviving without it, even if the vehicle isn’t working.

For starters, CampingATV.com recommends that you stay with the ATV because of its size and useful components, namely the headlight which can be double as a signaling device.

Position your ATV so it will block the cold and wind. However, you should not rely on your ATV as shelter. Building a small overnight shelter is preferable to building a larger one because a smaller shelter minimizes your body’s loss of heat as the temperature drops. The ground could also lower your body temperature. Thus, you should use leaves and/or pine needles as bedding rather than the grass.

Any extra fuel can also be beneficial. Obviously, starting a fire is important to keeping you warm, but starting more than one fire could increase the chances that you will be seen. Exercise caution when starting signal flames, as a forest fire could place you in more immediate danger than your current breakdown. The rubber compound in the tires may also create thick plumes of distress smoke and flag down potential rescue teams.

Furthermore, you may be able to salvage your Honda ATV parts by using the chain and engine to craft makeshift saws, perfect for cutting through wood you may need for your shelter or fire.

Survival is all about composure and ingenuity. Keep your wits about you, prioritize your strategy and get creative; when the engine fails, the horn may still work.

5 Most Common Problems with Home Security Systems (and their Easy Fixes)

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/donsolo/4652427872/
Installing a new home alarm system is a means of escaping the anxiety of not being able to attend to the safety of your home and belongings while away or asleep. It’s not surprising then that having a security system that fails is a frustrating experience; but overwhelmingly, the causes of security breaches are absolutely preventable. Below are the five most common problems that inexperienced home security system owners encounter − along with the easy fixes to each of them.

1. Incomplete home coverage is a crucial flaw in many peoples’ security systems. Most people fail to account for all possible entries because security companies usually have tempting low-cost packages that provide a bare minimum of coverage − usually limited to a door and a few windows at most.

The Easy Fix:
As tempting as it is to be economical with your security system, it is better to make sure your system is more reliable than affordable. If a system can be easily bypassed, it may as well have never been installed. Consider all possible entries: is there a balcony accessible via ladder, or maybe a tree? Is there a crawlspace that can be exploited? Is there an entrance through the garage that isn’t secured? Consider every possibility and tailor your system accordingly.

2. Improperly calibrated and poorly maintained equipment is another common failure of home security. In order to avoid the dreaded false alarm, many people calibrate their equipment too leniently. Alternatively, equipment can fall into disrepair and become useless. Motion sensors, for example, are often programmed to exclude a few feet of crawling room so that pets cannot trigger an alarm; criminals are frequently aware of this. Sound sensors are sometimes set at too high of a threshold and can completely ignore the sounds of breaking glass. Contacts at windows and doors can be prone to failure, which may either make them highly sensitive and sound at the slightest budge or never sound at all. But surprisingly, one of the more common problems is that people simply forget to change the batteries on their equipment.

The Easy Fix:
Have a specialist calibrate your equipment and test it so that your equipment is in order and functioning at its best. If you’re experiencing false alarms for no apparent reason, it is most likely due to an equipment failure of some kind. This can be avoided with regular inspections and, when necessary, maintenance. And always keep a few extra batteries so that you’re never left without a system. Turning on a security system while the battery voltage is low is a surefire way to trigger a false alarm.

3. Using passwords for security that are easily guessed or well-known is a reckless habit. If your password is easy enough that any acquaintance can guess it, consider changing it immediately.

The Easy Fix:
Your password should only be given to people who live with you. Or, if you have frequent visitors, share only with the most trusted. Never distribute the password to people who you don’t know unless you can supervise their stay, and change the password promptly afterwards. Refrain from leaving the password written down anywhere common. Resist making the password relevant to your personal information, such as incorporating birthdates, loved ones, or hobbies. If your password can be guessed by someone who browses you on a social network, consider changing it immediately (and change your social media habits!)

4. Buying and installing security products that aren’t compatible or effective together is a bad practice that may compromise your security entirely. A tracking security camera may disrupt a motion detector; placing two pieces of equipment near each other might result in electromagnetic interference, which could disrupt either piece’s function.

The Easy Fix:
As tempting as it is to purchase something that might be on sale to contribute to your security system, it’s better to stick with one provider unless you have expertise in installing equipment or your security provider approves the addition. Hire a specialist to help you plan your system if you’re the DIY type and would rather not deal with a provider.

5. Not turning the system on to avoid false alarms is one of the more unfortunately common no-brainer ways a security system fails. 80% of calls made through security systems are estimated to be false alarms. This can be undoubtedly frustrating to families inexperienced with security systems, and the decision is frequently made to leave a system off because of the inconveniences of false alarms.

The Easy Fix:
It bears repeating: correct installation and maintenance is absolutely necessary in keeping security systems functioning properly. Investing in a security system is not the ultimate answer in defending your home, but it is a very powerful tool in your efforts. Owners of systems who responsibly manage their equipment can prevent false alarms without sacrificing their peace of mind. Following the tips above will reduce – and even eliminate – your false alarm incidents. It will also ensure that your system is working correctly when you need it most.

Author Bio:
Ben Thatcher is a DIY home security guy who blogs tips and tutorials about home security systems. He currently writes for Protect America.

21 June, 2013

Tips for Long Term Storage of Survival Gear and Food

Preparing for a natural or manmade disaster is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family in the event the unthinkable happens. While many things need to be taken into consideration when selecting survival food and supplies the importance of one aspect of the process that absolutely cannot be minimized is storage. Nothing else will undermine your efforts faster than improper or poor storage of survival gear and emergency food supplies. Here’s a list of storage best practices that you should follow to make sure your gear and food remain in top condition in case a day comes that you need them.

Keep Your Food Where You Live
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about food storage is that you need to keep it close by. I’ve seen some people suggest renting a self-storage unit to store food, but this isn’t a good idea. For starters many facilities do not allow food to be stored in their units for obvious reasons. Second, in the event of a disaster (whether natural or manmade) you may not be able to leave your home to visit an offsite location. And third, keeping your food close means you’ll have 24/7 access to it. In addition, storing your food where you sleep provides you with the best opportunity to protect it from thieves and rodents, as well as prevent it from spoiling due to heat, sun, or humidity.

Instead of utilizing a second location for food storage you should make use of a second location to store your non-essentials. If you’ve considered converting a spare room into storage for food, but realize you have too much stuff, why not utilize an offsite storage unit for that purpose? Doing so will free up space where you live and give you the option of keeping your personal belongings at the same time. Regardless of what you may think right now, I can assure you of one thing: your bin of wrapping paper or light up Santa statues won’t help you if a disaster occurs.

Store Gear in Multiple Locations
Storing your survival and preparedness gear in two locations will give you the biggest advantage if and when something happens. The first place you should consider for gear storage is your home’s garage. If you don’t have a garage, an attic or spare bedroom will do nicely. Another suggestion that I highly recommend is utilizing the aforementioned self-storage unit to store some of your gear. Having two locations to store your gear gives you an advantage because it prevents you from losing all your supplies if one location is compromised for any reason.

Additionally, if you do choose to rent a storage unit, you’ll have the option to store the larger and more difficult to move items there in case you need to leave your home in a hurry. It’s also worth mentioning that you should keep the essentials in both locations. This means purchasing two tents, two portable water purification systems, two first aid kits, etc. Although it may cost a little extra up front, the peace of mind you’ll get from the added security is well worth it.

Keep it Clean and Dry
Nothing will reduce the longevity, readiness, or quality of your food and gear faster than improper storage. Whether your main storage is at home, in the garage, or offsite at a storage facility, the best way to prevent your stuff from being damaged is to keep it clean. This means cleaning your storage area prior to placing items there, but it also means checking up on it regularly. Wherever food is stored, rodents will be a concern. Check for signs of rodents every couple of days. Place traps nearby and be sure to regularly vacuum areas of the storage room that aren’t easily accessible by broom or mop.

Aside from rodents, another destroyer of food and gear is heat and humidity. For at home storage, consider purchasing a small dehumidifier and leave it plugged in in the same room (with the door closed) as your food and gear supply. This won’t be necessary during the summer months if you run the AC constantly, but you will want to monitor the temperature of the room during the cooler months to make sure your heater isn’t making things too hot.

If you plan to utilize an offsite self-storage unit be sure to look into a unit with climate control as this will ensure your gear stays in optimal condition should you ever need to use it. An additional benefit of a storage facility is that they are specifically designed to keep your stuff in, and the weather out. Rodents are also of little concern at a storage facility so that will be one less thing you need to worry about.

While it’s true you can never be too prepared for a disaster or survival situation, you can most certainly be underprepared. Utilizing the tips above will give you peace of mind that your food and gear will be ready should the day ever come that you need to use them. Do you have experience with food and gear storage? If so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Author Bio:
Jenny Young is a freelance writer working with Uncle Bob's self storage facility. She enjoys beautifying her home with organization projects and keeping things uncluttered through efficient storage.

20 June, 2013

A First Aid Kits’ Most Important Tool, Knowledge

One of the basic staples of your survival gear is a first aid kit. But with so many choices available from small kits that can fit into a pocketbook to expedition sized kits, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. As a result, many individuals make their decisions based on two factors, size of the kit and price. But neither of these two factors will guarantee you will have what you need in a medical emergency, for the most important tool in your first aid kit is your knowledge.

Sure, the majority of these over the counter kits will suffice for minor non-life threatening injuries, but in the event of an extended disaster, as parts of the country have already experienced, trained medical help may be a day or longer away. In such a case it is smart to follow the old adage “Plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

The intent of this article is not to list out every sort of bandage or tape that you should include in a first aid kit. You can find any number of articles online to help you with that. As mentioned before, any number of medical supplies can be found online or at your local drug or outdoor store. This article is meant to make you think seriously about your ability to use the contents of a first aid kit. Because when a serious disaster hits, it may become your only aid kit.

Educate Yourself

Even our federal government has encouraged us to have enough emergency supplies on hand to last us for several days until they can get organized and provide relief. Beyond that we are left to fend for ourselves. In the military, they say that in a stressful situation you don’t rise to the occasion, you drop to your level of training.

That frame of mind is important to consider should we ever be faced with a life threatening medical emergency. We may possess the most complete first aid kit available, but without the proper training and confidence it may be useless to us.

We wouldn’t buy a weapon and then store it away without learning how to use it effectively. No, the prudent gun owner will spend time at the gun range improving his skill and becoming familiar with his weapon. The same should be true of our first aid skills.

For starters, apply yourself to learning basic first aid and CPR. Take a class. Many are inexpensive or even free. Buy a first aid book or read through and make sure you understand the first aid manual that comes with many first aid kits. If you are inclined, take an advanced course in first aid. The knowledge and confidence you gain will well be worth the time and expense of the course.

Preparing for a medical emergency means more than having a well-stocked first aid kit, it means having the knowledge to use it. If called upon, could you wash out a deep cut and suture it up? Do you know the signs of hypothermia? Heat stroke? Such knowledge is an indispensable part of your first aid kit.

Author Bio:
Frank Nielson is a retired medical researcher who enjoys writing about being sufficiently prepared for medical emergencies. Through his writing, he is keen on helping individuals find the best wound care supplies at an affordable price.

7 Realistic Instances of SHTF Moments: Reasons to Prepare

There are a lot of people out there who poke fun at those of us who prepare for the worst case scenario. Although many of us can take it to obsessive compulsive behaviors, what is the problem with preparing for various situations that require survival to the extent of its meaning? Although a zombie apocalypse may not happen and being attacked by aliens is a remote possibility, there are many situations in which being prepared can save the lives of yourself and your family.

1. Earthquakes - While scientists continuously try to predict the nature of earthquakes, we are still a long way off from knowing when and where a quake will happen. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is prime example of how nature can knock us down a peg. The quake shook Japan and then launched a tidal wave that consumed a great portion of the island and it happened without warning.

2. Volcanoes - There are tell-tale signs of volcano eruptions that can give us a bit of a warning before they erupt. However, Mt. Saint Helens didn't give much of a warning when the mountain disintegrated the top of its peak in 1980. One of the most feared of today is the inevitable eruption of the Yellowstone Caldera.

3. Solar Flares - The Sun sends great plumes of radiation out into space on a regular basis. If one of these larger eruptions was sent our way, it could knock out a great deal of our means for generating power and communication. As the telegraph lines were disrupted in the 1800s, imagine how an EM blast like that would affect our satellite system today.

4. Tornadoes - Every year, tornado alley experiences various tornadoes that usually wind up wiping out a small town. In some cases, these magnificent swirling vortexes take a portion of larger cities and reduce it to rubble. Even areas that were previously thought to not experience tornadoes have been affected at some point.

5. Hurricanes - Some of the most deadly of storms, hurricanes can devastate a large portion of landmass from the sheer winds they produce. Storms of this nature can leave an long lasting recuperation by the populace such as seen with Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

6. Man Made - Never underestimate the greed and incompetence of some humans. The aftermath of the explosion that rocked Texas just north of Waco in 2013 left a great deal of damage. Apartments were blasted to pieces from nothing more than the shock wave of the detonation.

7. Extraterrestrial - No, this isn't about an alien race coming down to take our resources. However, space is a shooting gallery of asteroids and meteors. In past years, humans have witnessed close calls by these massive rocks and just one landing in the right place can cause great devastation. While most of these burn up in the atmosphere, a larger and denser meteor could hit the Earth with more power than the most destructive bomb we have.

While it may be greatly pessimistic to prepare for the best and expect the worst, this line of reasoning could keep yourself and your family safe and secure. Never underestimate the incompetence of some people or the power of Mother Nature. No matter how humans try to predict and keep safe from catastrophes, chaos will always find a way to intervene within our lives. It is better to face the situation prepared than to be caught with your guard down.

Author Bio:
This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from housekeeping.org. She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more. She welcomes your comments which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping@gmail.com.

16 June, 2013

SafeGuard Armor Giveaway

Just a heads-up:

SafeGuard Armor is conducting a giveaway contest via their Facebook page and ending on 28 June, 2013, wherein the prize includes the new StealthPro™ brand vest in Level 3a ballistic, Level 2 Stab and Spike, as well as two (2) Polyethylene plates.


Developing Survivalist TV Series

Passing this along...

Hey there,

I work in development for Karga Seven Pictures... we're an LA-based TV production company. We work a lot with Discovery, History, NatGeo, Science, Travel, etc...

We're currently working on a new documentary series that focuses on survivalist families and individuals. Ideally, we are looking for families living a subsistence lifestyle to some degree and who are open to travel.

We came across your info and were hoping to see if this might be of interest to you or someone you know. If this sounds like your family and you're interested, I'd be happy to give you more details.

I'd greatly appreciate it if you could either email or call me or let me know how/when is best to reach you.



Karga Seven Pictures
Casting / Development

15 June, 2013

Preparation, Not Just Prevention

Editor's Note: While the following article concentrates mainly on issues revolving around aviation accidents, it explores concepts that fit the overall tone of this blog as being an emergency preparedness advocacy website. I chose to accept it for submission and to publish it here because all of the themes explored can be adjusted to fit any number of survival situations. I hope you enjoy. :-)

Aviation crashes are among the most complex cases to litigate. Because of the myriad factors involved in their investigation, as well as the high profile nature of the official cause, small contributing factors that could have mitigated the losses incurred are often lost in the shuffle.

Pilot error, mechanical failure, lack of maintenance, and air traffic control miscues are simple enough to detect and act upon. But many other issues can contribute.

Perhaps the most significant of these is a lack of provisions for passenger and crew survival after an accident takes place. Television coverage of crashes near cities and towns would distort our perceptions of aviation incidents as taking place within a few yards of qualified assistance.

The reality is that many air crashes take place in remote areas, where emergency survival kits are a critical component of the occupants' odds of surviving the crash.

The NTSB concurs. The report on an Alaska crash highlights the need for functional, well-equipped survival kits and states the incumbent need for the pilot to instruct passengers on its presence and use.

The value of this equipment is seen in several factors, each of which can dramatically enhance the speed with which a crash site is located, the durability of occupants, and subsequently the prospects of survival.

Trauma Care

Seemingly minor injuries that can be quickly treated by untrained people can prove fatal if not addressed. Survival kits must be stocked with enough medical supplies to ensure that passengers with bleeding injuries can be treated immediately and will not die of blood loss before help arrives.

Fire Suppression

Post-crash fires are often thought of as infernos that erupt on impact, with no time for occupants to react. But that's not always the case.

Just as a minor injury can become deadly if not treated right away, the smallest post-crash fire can quickly escalate and kill trapped or injured occupants. A fire extinguisher should be on board for any flight.

Protection from Elements

Any seasoned airline passenger knows to dress for the weather at the destination, not the departure. A downed craft provides little shelter or warmth after a crash, so blankets and other protection from cold temperatures and precipitation must be aboard.

Hydration and Nourishment

Few plane crashes go undetected for so long that starvation is an issue, but occupants can quickly become dehydrated at a crash site, particularly if weather is adverse or if the occupants are elderly, very young, or in fragile health. A reasonable supply of water and some simple, nonperishable foods should be provided.

Ability to Signal For Help

Again, perception is in conflict with reality here. A major event like a helicopter crash would seem to be visible to witnesses for miles, but terrain, darkness, and weather can obscure the view.

Craft that come to rest in heavy vegetation can be very difficult to see even under fair weather search conditions. Low-tech signaling devices that require little of a survivor's energy, such as mirrors and whistles, should be included in safety kits to ensure that even a weak or injured occupant can attempt to attract help.


Remote areas can prove impossible for effective cellular coverage. Any pilot undertaking a flight whose path that ventures over very isolated areas should plan to have a satellite phone aboard. Aviation radios can easily be damaged and rendered useless by a crash, so a means of communication that is independent of the craft itself should be on board and fully charged.

While pilots, mechanics, controllers, and plane owners have a responsibility to make every effort to prevent accidents, they are also obligated to be prepared to maximize survivability and communications after an incident. Litigants and counsel should be aware of the potential breach of this obligation when preparing legal action.

14 June, 2013

The EU's Fools With Rules, Part 2

"The EU's Fools With Rules, Part 2"

Desert Gal

Read Part 1

The 'crats of yesteryear broke the spine of the Persian empire, paralyzed the Incas in their later days, and brought the word "mandarin" into the world's vocabulary. By the way, if someone calls you a mandarin it is NOT a compliment.

Looking at the recent EU plan, reading the interminable pages of convoluted gobbedygook, one can only assume that it was conceived by Big Brother and the Red Queen during an all-night drinking session.

Supposedly a piece of legislation to protect biodiversity in food plants, it soon becomes apparent that its real purpose is to eliminate biodiversity entirely. It is obvious that the new laws will criminalize the people who are growing them. Cultivating vegetables will become a punishable offense if you do not grow the "right" ones.

Now who decides which vegetables are the "right" ones? An unelected batch of 'crats will decide which vegetables are "right" and more importantly which ones are "wrong." And here we ignorant farming people thought that all vegetables were equally good for you. We knew nothing about the dangers of rogue carrots and undocumented cucumbers, so this selfless band of public servants, who can tell at one glance which stick of celery is endangering the world, has come to save us from... what was it again that they are saving us from?

Oh yes, growing the wrong vegetables.

This is such a pressing problem that we don't know why it didn't get on the EU's agenda sooner.

Luckily, God is great and He gave us many wonderful plants and the skill to grow them as well as the good sense to know what is good for us and bad for us. To have our entire food supply at the mercy of the fools with rules would be bad for us and every other person on the planet.

We may not be able to stop this massive portion of idiocy from becoming law, at least temporarily, but farmers and gardeners should consider it their duty to future generations to put a spoke in the wheel at every opportunity, while pretending to comply.

Seeds are small and can be hidden almost anywhere. And most seeds according to type look very much alike. Most vegetables look alike too. It should not be too much trouble to grow your own kind of carrot while putting one of their labels on the row marker.

Will they pull up every radish in every garden to make sure that we are growing the "right" ones? Unless the 'crats develop tricorder capabilities a la Star Trek how will they be able to tell your pet lettuce from theirs? Or how about planting the first three in the row from their seed and the rest from your seeds? You can save the approved ones for visiting 'crats as you gratefully present them with gift baskets.

After all they saved us from... what did they save us from again? Oh yes, all those vicious illegal dangerous vegetables we might have grown in our gardens.

We are so very grateful.

Actually the opportunities for mischief... er... non-violent protest are almost endless.

Nature itself will work against their rules. If hybrid vegetables are grown out to a second generation, the offspring may exhibit the traits of either parent plant or any mix in between. This means new plants and possibly new varieties will grow out of their "non criminal" vegetables. What a shame. And they had such good law abiding parents.

Unless it becomes a crime to save seed from year-to-year. Good luck in trying to stop us from doing that on every farm and every garden. They are going to need a team of enforcers more numerous, more efficient, and more pervasive than the East German security services. And the 'crats, in passing these laws, may evev cause much suffering. They may even cause famine in Europe as they have in other places where they have seized control of the food supply.

They will cause many people to commit "crimes" as the most ordinary and fundamental rural freedoms, like owning a cow or planting a garden, will suddenly becomes violations of the law.

Am I being too cynical when I suggest that the real intended consequence of the rules of the fools with rules is producing classes of people the 'crats can legally harass?

I don't think so.

This is all going to be very unpleasant.

But God, nature, the rules of plant genetics, and every free farmer and gardener are on our side in this one.

And our allies are as numerous as the seeds on a dandelion clock and the blades of grass in the fields.

13 June, 2013

The EU's Fools With Rules, Part 1

"The EU's Fools With Rules, Part 1"

Desert Gal

Starting from a handful of seed, each successive generation of a given plant becomes more at home in your garden. This is a mathematical process called transgressive segregation and occurs because stronger plants that are more at home set more and better seed and thereby have more influence on successive generations than the weaker plants. This is one of the ways that new varieties of herbs and vegetables come about, because a handful of varied seed will develop differently in different locales and gardens.

The EU regulations would put a stop to this process, effectively criminalizing in-crop diversity rather than protecting it. Woe to farmers and gardeners that fall into the clutches of the bureaucrats, the "fools with rules."

They never contribute to food quality, quantity, security, or safety.

They only blight food systems, bully rural communities, and punish the people who actually live there.

Because the bureaucrats fundamentally misunderstand the agricultural world, and so they tend to destroy both land and people as they try to exert control.

Just to give a few examples of what happens when the 'crats take control.

Shortly after 1917 in the Ukraine a class of people known as kulaks were murdered, sent to Siberia, or had all their food confiscated and were left to starve. Their crime? They had three cows.

Now for an ordinary mortal who knows something about dairy animals, three cows is the minimum for supplying the farm with milk for most of the year. That is because cows do not give milk the way chocolate milk comes out of a drink dispenser. A cow must have a calf to give milk. That's two cows right there. The third cow is gotten pregnant to begin lactation when the first cow goes dry. It also has a calf. So that's four cows. If the farmer is a real do-it-yourselfer, he also has a bull. Oh no -- Five cows!! (never mind that calling a bull a cow is ridiculous, the ones who made up the rule did not differentiate).

That's two more than enough to get you killed by the fools with rules.

The most ordinary and sensible rule of animal husbandry suddenly became a sign of counter revolutionary greed, a criminal act.

That is what happens when the 'crats take power.

Or we could look at Soviet Wheat Day on which, all over the Soviet Union, farmers were to plant wheat on the same day. It was law, a government decree. Of course, in the biggest country on the face of the earth, with nine time zones, taking up one third of all the arable land in the world and one sixth of the planet's fresh water, there were bound to be a few glitches in such a plan.

By the Black Sea, the planting was almost two months too late. In Kamchatka, the farmers were ordered to plow and plant the frozen ground as it had not yet thawed for the season. Stupid? Of course! But those were the rules. Everyone and everything has to conform to the rules. For our own good.

Brilliant legislation of this sort quickly reduced the Soviet Union to a net importer of food. It was necessary for this vast nation, endowed with immense resources to buy wheat from the capitalists in the U.S., Australia, and Canada. A good deal of the rest of the food was produced in tiny private plots or in black market operations. The harm done by 'crats may have finished the Soviet Union as a world power.

The present leadership is struggling mightily to regain for Russia at least some of its former influence, but the damage done in seventy years of such mind-numbing witlessness to the work ethic and the population base will probably never be undone.

We should also remember the record of Communist China where the 'crats engineered a famine that took millions of lives and crippled millions more with malnutrition.

Oh but those 'crats were commies... surely in the free world...

Well, how about the British Raj and their quaint notion that eating the rice one grows is "stealing paddy" and worthy of a jail sentence?

In the USA, swat teams have been sent after Amish farmers to keep them from selling raw milk. Police units usually deployed against drug cartels have kicked in the doors of organic food markets.

That is because the 'crats are dismayingly apolitical.

But God help the farmers and gardeners when they fall into to the grasps of fools with rules.

12 June, 2013

DIY Insect Repellants and Other Green Pest Control Tips

Pest control experts share that you don’t need harsh chemicals to prevent and control pests. In fact, natural pest control is an effective way to deter pests in a way that keeps your family, pets and the environment safe. When you practice them regularly, natural pest control techniques offer a great long-term solution that will always beat the use of toxins.

DIY Natural Insect Repellants


Make a spray repellant using scents that spiders hate: spearmint, peppermint and garlic. To save your own olfactory system, don’t combine the garlic and mints. To make the solution with spearmint or peppermint, place several drops of either herb’s essential oil into a water-filled spray bottle. To make a garlic solution, smash a clove of garlic in a garlic press. Then place the pureed garlic in a spray bottle with water. Shake the spray bottle before using it to mix the ingredients.


Make a repellent spray to clear the chemical trails that ants make and prevent the return of the insect. Use the spray that you made to repel spiders or make a different concoction using mint-scented soapy water. Undiluted vinegar also works well.

As you garden, incorporate plants that ants hate around the perimeter of your home and in window boxes. These plants include spearmint and lavender.

Use household items to make a defensive barrier that you place around windows, doors and other strategic locations with one of these items: baby powder, ground cinnamon, used coffee grounds, food-grade diatomaceous earth, citrus oil or petroleum jelly. Experiment with them to see which works best for you.


The best way to repel mosquitoes is to not have any sources of standing or pooled water on your property, like in flowerpots or on a tarp. If you have one, change out the water in a birdbath regularly.

Also, incorporate the following plants into your garden to help keep mosquitoes away: catnip, citronella grass, rosemary, pitcher plants, wormwood, marigolds, eucalyptus, basil, horsemint and lavender.

Fruit Flies

The following natural pest control solution traps fruit flies. Fill a glass bowl or cup with 1 or 2 inches of apple cider vinegar. Stretch a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the container and poke a few holes in the plastic. The sweet smell of the vinegar lures fruit flies and the plastic wrap traps them in the container, causing them to drown in the vinegar.

House Flies

Sends house flies buzzing away from your home by hanging aromatic sachets from the ceiling filled with eucalyptus, cloves and clover blossoms.


Roaches seem impossible to kill with chemical insecticides, but you can wipe them out with two ingredients in your pantry: powdered sugar and baking soda. Mix equal amounts of each ingredient and place a bit in an area that the cockroaches frequent. The sugar attracts the bugs and the baking soda kills them.

You can also send cockroaches running with a spice blend. In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of the spiciest hot sauce that you can find. Spray the mix in the areas where you tend to see cockroaches, like in the kitchen or the outside garbage cans.

Natural Pest Control Tips

Pest control pros share that regular home maintenance and simple tricks are some of the best ways to naturally prevent pests:

• Keep your landscaping tidy and manicured.
• Don’t let produce rot in your garden.
• Keep your woodpile dry, away from your home and elevated off the ground.
• Dust and vacuum regularly.
• Fix all the leaks on your property.
• Always use the lids on outside garbage cans.
• Welcome beneficial bugs into your garden such as ladybugs, bees, spiders and praying mantises.
• Immediately clean food and beverage spills.
• Don’t leave food out in the open after a meal and avoid dirty dishes sit in the sink overnight.
• Seal cracks on the exterior and interior walls of your home.

For more tips about how to naturally prevent pests at your own home, schedule an inspection with a green pest control company. (Many offer this service free of charge.) The professional who comes to your home can point out the spots around your home that are vulnerable to a pest infestation.

Author Bio:
This post was contributed by Jen McCauley, the marketing director of Eden Advanced Pest Technologies. Eden Pest is a leading integrated pest management company in Western Washington and Oregon that offers green pest control solutions and advice for both residential and commercial customers.

11 June, 2013

How To Protect Your House From Burglary

Living on a rural homestead has its own charm. However staying away from the crowd also has its own set of challenges; the primary one being burglaries. According to data provided by the FBI, over 24% of all property related crimes committed in 2011 were burglaries. However, with minimal investment and some smart work, you can not only ensure your house is safe when you are at home or away, but also make the potential burglars wary of the risks involved and thus avoid taking on your house.

First things first – make sure you have proper locks to secure your home while you are away. Most burglaries take place in broad daylight when the residents are out at work. By making your house difficult to penetrate, you force the burglar to target a different house instead and thus avoid your house. An important thing to keep in mind – if you are looking to duplicate a spare key for your lock, get it done from someone away from your neighborhood. It’s never a good idea to hand over your keys to someone in your own neighborhood thus making it easier for them to duplicate your key for their own nefarious purposes.

The next step is to keep your house on video surveillance. This can be done in two ways – visible and covert. Given the rise in number of surveillance cameras across neighborhoods, these cameras are the first things that burglars look for while breaking into a house. A visible camera could often be the target of the burglars and while it would help in keeping away lot of break-ins, the covertly placed cameras would help capture their identity in case someone does dare to get through the fences. According to the guide on outdoor surveillance from Safe Sound Family, there are over 11 different types of outdoor cameras including the popular dome camera that can capture images across 360 degrees making it difficult for the potential burglar to avoid being sighted.

One of the easiest but often overlooked aspects of securing your household from burglary is in setting up your windows. A lot of break-ins happen through windows, and it is important to make it difficult for potential burglars to break in this way. One way is to ensure that your window does not open more than 6-10 inches. A primary function of a window is to let in air and light – making it open beyond 10 inches is just an invitation for other things, including burglars to get in.

The suggestions given here do not cost a great deal and can often be implemented in a minimal budget. However they are extremely vital elements that deter break-ins and give you the peace of mind that you so much need while you are away from your homestead.

05 June, 2013

Don't Forget Your Tarp... Seriously, Get Your Tarp

Almost any type of camping or day long outdoor activity can benefit from having a tarp or two on hand. Tarps are inexpensive and so versatile, that there is almost no excuse for not including one with your camping gear. Even if you are carrying a tent with you, a good tarp will come in handy.

Day hikers can put a lightweight polyethylene tarp in their backpack in case of bad weather or to ensure a shady spot when they reach their destination. Mesh tarps are great for partial shade or a wind break. You just run a bungee cord or short piece of rope through the grommets and tie it to four trees, or poles, canoe paddles or even vehicles to create a defined spaced that blocks about 75% of the sun or wind. These tarps are typically made with rust proof, reinforced grommets for durability and to last for years. Well made mesh tarps will have reinforced corners and do not have a seam.

If there is a possibility of storms or extended rain, nylon tarps are waterproof and can provide temporary or emergency shelter in a downpour. Nylon tarps are also known as trail tarps, and are handy for spreading out over wet or damp ground, underneath the floor of a traditional tent. Tucking the edges under helps keep water from pooling on the top of the tarp. If the ground has a lot of sticks and small stones, a tarp under the tent floor helps protect the tent from tearing or ripping.

For camping trips that will last more than one night, tarps are useful for

• covering gear to keep it clean from falling or blowing debris;
• for keeping camp firewood and kindling dry from rain or dew; and
• for shading coolers or other items that should be kept out of the sun.

These types of tarp uses are for more than just tent camping or hiking. People who like to camp in recreational vehicles and cabins can use tarps to cover their gear and to provide shade. Many RVs do not have awnings, so a simple tarp stretched across four poles can shelter an eating area or play area for children. Stretched between two RVs parked parallel to each other, a tarp can provide a covered walkway between the campers.

Using a tarp tent for camping as opposed to using a traditional tent is popular with hikers who like primitive camping. Tarps weigh less and are more compact than tents, but they do not have a floor. Tarp tents can allow insects, snakes and other critters into the sleeping area, and if it rains during the night a camper can wake up with a soggy wet sleeping bag.

Some heavy duty tarps are made specifically as canopies or commercial tarp tents that cover cars, trucks, RVs and boats. Tarp tents on four tall aluminum poles or rectangular frames are popular in desert and tropical climates to protect the painted exteriors of the vehicles from the sun, rain and natural elements like tree sap or bird droppings. They also keep the interior of vehicles coolers, which helps prevent cracking and fading of leather and plastic.

For camping destinations that may have windy conditions, a tarp can buffer the wind and block blowing debris or sand. Tarps are very practical for the beach, providing both shade and blocking blowing sand. Things to remember when going camping include planning ahead for more than just shelter – plan for bad weather and use a list to make sure you do not forget anything important.

Nat Geo Casting Call


My name is Brooklyn Bagwell and I’m the Casting Director for Doomsday Preppers on Nat Geo TV. I wanted to let you know about our new format for Season 3. We are looking for big projects to build and complete on camera. I would love to speak with you about this in more detail. It is a great opportunity for any prepper that has construction/mechanical/engineering/welding/fabrication skills and looking to show off some cool prepping inventions.

Please email me at brooklyn@sharpentertainment.com

Or Call 212 994 2233

I look forward to hearing back from you!

My best,

Brooklyn Bagwell

Brooklyn Bagwell | Casting Director
Sharp Entertainment
1071 Avenue of the Americas, 7th Floor | New York, NY 10018
(O) 212 994 2233
(C) 828 442 0787