Friday, July 3, 2015

Opportunities in the Purchase of Prepper Homes, Farms and Complexes

           
          This is "Three Bear Holler" which is about a fifty acre N.C. based property which is
          fully self sufficient.  It comes with multiple homes for adult children or extended family and outbuildings.
     http://www.survivalrealty.com/2015/06/selfsustaining-49-acre-secure.html



            I have mentioned before that one of the hottest and most dynamic sectors in real estate right now is the "survival home" or "preparedness compound".    Of course, almost anyone over time, can fashion an excellent family home which lends itself to preparedness.  Buying an expensive prepper complex or survival home simply affords the purchaser a manner of  more rapidly acquiring one that is more fully supplied or ready for immediate use. Such a home may potentially have more self sufficient heating, cooling, water and cooking systems. Such a home may also have  been stocked in advance with supplies prior to the purchase itself.   A lot of these homes list for between 1.2 and 3.3 million US dollars.    However, because some of them are in secluded regions,  some of the smaller homes, that still feature the larger acreage are simply a few hundred thousand US dollars. With the acreage, ponds and systems included, some of them really are an excellent buy.



        This is one of the additional homes which is included in "Three Bear Holler"



                 Having evolved to being a natural cynic, I always wish to know why people would invest in a large piece of secluded  land, spend the money in such a labor of love only to place the compound up for sale a couple of years after completion.  In the last five years or so, I have kept a tally of the reasons people were selling their defensible preparedness compounds.   The most common reason for selling over all,  was a serious health challenge. Building a home in a very secluded place takes your family away from major medical centers and from state-of-the-art or world class medical care.  If someone in your household develops a serious illness or cancer, then many times, the choice to sell is made. The next most common reason for selling such a compound is that a spouse has died.   Sometimes the spouse who has died was the one who knew all about the compounds special systems and its required maintenance.  Other times, simply living there without the spouse fuels a desire to sell and move on to somewhere less isolated.  Financial problems and divorce have also been reasons given for parting with a fully stocked survival home.




       This is a home which is seven thousand square feet on just slightly less than sixty acres.  It is located in Washington State and has a myriad of features including a creek.
     http://www.survivalrealty.com/2015/06/58-private-acres-creek-7200-sq.html



                Lately, I have observed that an awful lot of people, in both the US and in foreign lands are selling their preparedness homes or preparedness farms.   The reason given more frequently now is that many of the owners of the American prepper complexes are leaving the United States.  This is particularly interesting.  Why would they heavily invest in a particular region within the US and then change their minds, believing that another place could be safer or at least more beneficial to their families ?  Before you invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a particular property aimed at creating a long term survival home, would you not have explored everything from the health care, defensibility of the location, potential for natural disaster, tax rates, etc ?



  This is a Spanish style home built to American standard in Panama.  It rests on twenty seven acres and the home is 4000 square feet. Is is solar powered with the exception of the washing machine which runs via generator. It has a greenhouse and a chicken coop.
  http://www.viviun.com/AD-222177/



                Sometimes, I suspect that a family who has created an excellent prepper property has simply completed the task over years and just has some ideas about how they might do some things differently.  Perhaps selling and starting over again from scratch is simply a part of the prepper lifestyle, since so many of us descend from those who historically had the pioneer spirit.





  Important Information and Disclaimer:

 I have no financial or personal interests in the properties for sale which I chose to profile here today.  Please do all the research you can and your due diligence prior to investing in any property whatsoever.
     All of the properties profiled were, in fact, available for sale when this post was written.
      Please realize that foreigners are not always permitted to own properties in foreign lands. It's best to do all of your research before visiting a nation for the purpose of acquiring real estate and certainly before committing to any transaction whatsoever.
    Of course, much smaller properties exist also, and are likely best found by establishing a business relationship with a realtor in your desired target area.


         




Other posts of mine in the same or similar vein:


http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2015/04/establishing-preppers-home-yourself.html

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2013/05/how-realistic-is-relocation-from-united.html

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2012/01/americans-seeking-to-live-outside.html 




Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Writing on the Wall....Is That It May Be Disintegrating

          
(www.essex1.com )




  One of my sons, who shall remain nameless for the purpose of this post, jokingly calls me "Debbie Downer" sometimes.  Although I would very much like my sons and daughter to enjoy the opportunities I did when starting my life independent of my parents in the eighties, 2014/2015 and onward are a very different era.  For one thing, although I graduated from college in the eighties during a recession, I had seven job offers as graduation loomed. (I accepted three and then figured out which one to actually start in when I was able to secure housing at that location.)  Affordable housing at the time was a tougher nut to crack than the job had been.   One of my friends who graduated the same year as I never sent a single resume. In the last year of college as an electrical engineer, he sent out postcards to prospective employers stating his interest and graduation date.  He was hired before graduation and remained at that company in a very good position, for many years.  The people with whom I went to college, have all done well.   When I look back at friends from high school, some of them chose not to go to college at all. They went directly into jobs after high school that would teach them valuable skills while they were being paid.  They took advantage of in house training, and a few of them took college courses paid for by their employers.  They bought homes and had families faster than I did, as I was slowed a bit by college. The recurring theme here is that even the slackers from my youth found their way and became gainfully employed. They all have assets now and many of them have grown families.

(accountantthousandoaks.com )





                Several of my children are now university graduates. They worked hard and have much less student loan debt than many of their contemporaries. Still, one graduated in 2009 with honors and found it took more than a year to find a full time job with benefits.  Not a single one of that child's friend's of the graduating class got a job that they did not already have before completing their degree. (Subway sandwich maker, night grocery stockman, Wal-Mart bathroom cleaner etc.)   Our next to graduate the following year, also with honors has never found an actual full time job.  A third one of our kids stays in university gathering credentials we hope will be useful in obtaining work.  The fact is, that jobs with a future and with potential are extremely hard to find in the US.  A few jobs of the jobs  you might locate may be hire or fire leaving the young person with a year long lease in a new city, and no job to pay for that apartment.   You may also find yourself in a salaried position where you are paid based on a forty hour week, but expected to be available and to work seventy hours. If you won't or can't, you will find yourself replaced by someone hungrier than you, who will.  There has been a dramatic and broad change in the opportunities available to students graduating from high school and also to those graduating from college even in supposedly hot majors.  Even nursing majors upon graduation may find extreme difficulties getting a first job.  Many must relocate in order to start that first job, because hospitals clearly prefer experienced nurses and will not take chances on new graduates.  We've come a long way from hospitals hiring new graduates annually in order to train a crop of loyal long term workers in acceptance of the fact that some would invariably marry and have children and be out of the full time market for a time.

            Those of us with twenty and thirty years experience in the job market are not finding life easy either. People with experience often cannot work for starter wages.  Some employers don't actually want people who have a clear overview of their business. Some prefer to have their staff work only a small section of the business so as not to be able to start their own later.  Sometimes, employers will hire less capable people because they don't want people with will question or understand the big picture.  In nursing, for example, RNs in hospitals may be taking over some of the physical tasks formerly done by physicians..(..for example the adjustment of a Swan-Ganz catheter on a patient in the ICU.)  However, RNs have been replaced by medical assistants in many venues.   This might be appropriate in some specific tasks, but sometimes, these paraprofessionals fashion themselves as nurses, and simply don't know as much as a first semester nursing student might. This is not good for the public, and it's not good for the profession of nursing. However, it is cheaper than hiring nurses.   Additionally, the dumbing down of our schools and programs across the board are creating a public which may not be able to compete with other nations in the world market, just at a time when everyone from Kazakhstan to Brazil are truly gearing up to do business worldwide. The US stood still and slid back, and everyone else surged ahead.  According to television and newspapers which originate there, India is relishing its anticipated takeover of Information Technology jobs in the US. In some cities in the US, this has already happened.


            It's not that I wish to see the deterioration of the US and the dissolution of the opportunities here, because I assure you, I do not.   I had five children.  Four are biological ones and one who blessed us through legal adoption.  I am truly worried about all of their economic futures.   We were strongly middle class in their eighties and nineties but I wonder now, if a middle class will exist in the US for much longer.  Many people with whom I am acquainted now, would be considered "the working poor". We are told that "the rich get richer", but of my friends who were truly wealthy pre 2008, only one of them is now.  Wealthy people have also seen great reversals of fortune.

             The economy in the US is not good, and yet the world faces many fairly ominous challenges.  China has claimed the South China Sea and is spending huge amounts of resources to make islands there and station military bases. There is apparently much oil in the South China Sea.  Japan, Vietnam, and the Koreas are quite concerned, as this territory does not belong to China exclusively.    Russians in Vladivostok, Russia (North of the Korean peninsula) are also concerned and wonder what the impact of a war in the region would have to them.

             Greece may well default and exit the Eurozone.   England is planning a referendum to better define their limited role in the Eurozone. It is possible that following such a referendum that England will exit the Eurozone entirely.  I don't think I have to explain that the Middle East is on fire.    In addition to ignoring the sovereignty of Ukraine, Russia has been pushing the envelope in other parts of the world.   Russian planes have been flying over Canadian airspace and British airspace periodically, without permission.  The present Russian administration has also rented a state of the art military base from Norway (Olavsvern) where it is now felt to be a significant threat to Scandinavia.



Olavsvern is a great place to store your war machines.   




              While Rome burns, the US media distracts everyone with focus on everything else but the economy, potential for world collapse, potential for world war, financial mismanagement, etc. The  focus on racial issues has value, but the singular focus on it serves no one.   An economy which is failing fails for whites, blacks, browns, yellows and reds.   We are all on the blue ball together and we don't have time to exaggerate our racial problems. When the economy improves, it improves for everyone.

            As for gun control........much of the US does not have easy access to law enforcement.  In many places, a police officer cannot come out for a week after a call.   Some municipalities are honest enough to tell you that they are only funded for, and  can therefore only concern themselves with "blood crimes".   Some others actually plan, in emergencies, to deputize their concealed weapons permit holders. Handguns are therefore necessary in the hands of trained civilians, for the protection of families in their homes, and often when they leave their homes and buy food or run errands.  Certainly, there are unbalanced individuals in all societies who would injure or murder, but under present laws in the US, such individuals should not be able to lawfully obtain firearms.  The rest of us need them for defense against such individuals and against those from ISIS who are making their way across the Mexican border into the US in order to perpetrate terror here.

           Without being Debbie Downer, I hope I have conveyed some of the very real threats we have in the world which are emerging.     Certainly, we cannot fix them all, but here are a few of my suggestions for you to consider implementing.


1. Consider a safe on your property.   Perhaps a hidden place in the floor of a garage is ideal.  Don't keep all your money in a bank.  If a collapse occurs, it could be some time before you can access your money.  Having a reasonable amount of cash on hand....large enough to cover some groceries and some medications but not large enough to get confiscated while local government claims to  suspect anyone with cash of drug dealing, might be in order.  Consider your circumstances and what is possible.

2. Stock enough food for emergencies for all of your family members and pets.  Some of this should be freeze dried food with a twenty-five or thirty year lifespan because it is expensive enough that you don't need to be replacing it every few years.    Stock short term emergency food and long term emergency food.  If a terrorist attack limits travel and the movement of trucks carrying  food in our nation, make sure you can shelter-in-place for a reasonable period.

3. Craft a plan for your family to shelter-in-place, as you might for an emergency or collapse where we are told to remain in our homes.  This should be a written plan and it should be known to all of the family members who reside in your home.   Craft a family evacuation plan which spells out similar details.  Where would you meet ?  Where would your family go if you needed to evacuate ?    Craft a separate plan for your pets.  They also deserve your consideration in emergencies.

4. Stock reasonable amounts of OTC  medications (over-the-counter non-prescription for those of you reading from nations other than the US) and reasonable amounts of prescription medications you use long term.  Remember that on 9-11 when all the planes were down, most pharmacies were out of insulin, blood pressure,  and cardiac meds very very quickly as they depend on having many things overnighted from a pharmacy warehouse.   As much as you are able to stock and lock up buys you time in such an emergency.   Sometimes, spending your own cash and sidestepping insurance allows you to buy ahead more than using your prescription would.  Each family and individual must assess how important a particular medication is, and how far ahead they need to be.
 Remember that such meds need to be locked up to avoid theft and also the tragedy of child poisoning.


5. If possible, we should try to diversify our family's employment.   If Dad works in construction, then Mom should work elsewhere.  If Mom works in banking, then perhaps adult children should work in other industries, if possible.  We should avoid entire families working in the same company or business because when a business collapses or lays off due to economic conditions, all of them are not out of work.  When the Soviet Union collapsed, many families survived because someone in the family was working while others were not. When someone from the family got a job often the person who had been working before was laid off.   Diversify your employment, just as you would investments.

    6. Pay down whatever debt you have.  Fewer debts translate into more choices.  Think carefully before taking on new debt.  A needed septic tank revision may be worth a short term debt because it improves the safety of your home, especially with more people living there.  However, a debt for a new car that you could actually avoid buying by having some work done on the one you have, may not be.

7.  Keeping a mortgage may be the conventional wisdom because it allows mortgage interest to be deducted on annual taxes, however, not everyone has enough interest to make such a deduction worthwhile.  Would you be better off taking cash and paying off your mortgage ?  Seek intelligent counsel before taking such steps. We all should do this because we may not always be permitted to take the interest deduction on a home loan anyway.

8. How much are you spending on insurance ?    One by one, get quotes on your life insurance, your homeowners insurance and your car insurance.   It's possible that there are better buys out there and that a new provider might free up more monthly cash for other things.   When comparing insurance, bring your insurance paperwork from your present provider.  Make sure that you are comparing the same level of coverage. Don't simply seek a cheaper premium at the expense of your coverage.



             Your family can't anticipate everything that may occur, however most families can do a better job of anticipating the negative potentials that so clearly exist.   Remember that children need not be frightened by discussions of weather or economic emergencies.  In fact, they gain confidence that their parents are looking ahead and making plans to keep the family secure, in addition to gathering self confidence and important preparedness learning which could safe their own lives and their own young families someday.





Olafsverns's Website

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Does Buying In to the Internet and It's Trappings Make You Poor ?

             





           An acquaintance of mine this week was lamenting that he doesn't have the cash in order to prep although he very much understands the need to have some emergency food stored.  Other than encouraging him to look at his monthly bills, there wasn't a lot I could encourage him to do because in actuality, he enjoys a larger monthly cash flow than I do.   He has a monthly television bill of $130., fees for an expensive phone, and an internet bill of almost a hundred dollars monthly.    His non-essential recurrent bills are about $350. monthly.  I use an antenna in my attic which means I pay nothing for television. My cell phone costs twenty dollars monthly and it allows me to make brief or emergency calls both here and in Canada. My internet is not the speediest on the planet because I live in a very rural area and because the high speed type isn't available here anyway. This translates into my having a couple of hundred dollars monthly to put away emergency supplies which I think might well be more important than being as connected to the cloud as my friend is.  I'll let you know which revisions he chooses to make.


(Photo: taragis.com)





                  The internet is a wonderful thing.  I have bought many things online for less money than I could acquire them within a day's drive.   I have taken courses online which broadened my understanding and abilities on everything from my job to gardening and animal care. Some years ago now I sold outgrown sporting equipment and clothing from our family on Ebay.   The internet made sending chapters of my books back and forth to the publisher much easier than mailing it and waiting would have been. I have been able to stay in touch with some of my friends whose paths have taken them around the world as a benefit of the internet. I have friends who started internet businesses with very low overhead and have generated consistent supplemental incomes.

               However, the internet is also an energy vampire.  It takes time, attention, and money that we could be using to advance our interests in the real world.    Many people use the internet as a sanitized way of having friends and living a life.  They spend a disproportionate amount of money maintaining their connection to cyberspace, and have little left to live an actual life.  They spend hours a day talking to a funny college student in Minsk yet they haven't shared five minutes worth of conversation to their own family members.   In addition, having too much information on the internet constitutes a terrible security risk.  Once information is out, it can't easily be put back in the box.

               Don't get me wrong.  I understand that a lot of business contacts are made in cyberspace.  I understand that the world has changed and that many jobs are obtained there.  However, I think the future probably belong to, and is best enjoyed by those who understand that the internet is simply a tool, not really a place where all of our needs can be met and most of our lives can be lived.    Perhaps we should continue to see it as a tool and not a place and draw some lines as to how much time and how much of our hard earned assets should be invested in it on a monthly basis.





Monday, June 1, 2015

Let's Discuss Signage

             
These signs are available at most hardware stores.  Interestingly, when up at our property, they were broadly ignored.
 


             I am a big believer in custom signage in the protection of your property, your farm, or your ranch. When I used standard No Trespassing signs, I noticed that they were routinely ignored and that everyone from contractors offering home washing and window washing services or driveway blacktopping,  to Jehovah's Witnesses visited anyway.  When we had a few customized signs made, in addition to being posted No Trespassing around the periphery of the farm, we had much better results.    We had about a hundred dollars worth of customized signs made which said a variety of things.  The most effective was a large sign which simply said  "TRESPASSERS ARE PROSECUTED"  with a red background, and a small signature below.  Before we ordered these signs, I asked our sheriff what type of signs he would be comfortable with, and which ones would make his deputies uncomfortable. You should do the same, as county to county, city to city, police jurisdictions do not agree.  You wish to make people who don't belong at your place think twice before entering, but you want law enforcement to be at least comfortable entering should they ever be called, should you ever need their help or the help of emergency medical services.




                 I do think that you should be extremely careful as to what your custom signage says.

Signs which say:

"Trespassers Will Be Shot, Survivors Will Be Shot Again"

"If You Can Read This, Then You Are In Range"


This would not be recommended in the rural community in which I reside.   If it's acceptable where you are, it comes from www.logo-kid.com  )


This one probably falls into the "no go" category.  It comes from www.misterdecal.com






     Signs such as these seem aggressive.   Choosing signs such as these may be a big problem in that when you call an ambulance or law enforcement, they may not enter the property, fearing that they may be shot.  You don't really want an ambulance to wait outside your property until a police officer arrives as an escort when you need help immediately.  Secondly, if you are ever in a home invasion situation where you truly are in fear for your life, and you do take lethal action, prosecutors already have evidence of your being fairly aggressive, from your own signs !  You simply don't need to pay $80, 000 to defend yourself for shooting a home invader, even when you did so entirely appropriately.

      So, if you have a rural or even a suburban property, you may wish to consider "No Trespassing" signage.  In many states or localities, it is impossible to prosecute a trespasser for trespassing unless you had a signed "No Trespassing" sign plainly visible at the periphery of your property.


          
This sign is available from www.artsignworks.com


Available from www.mysecuritysign.com
            These last two are examples of more unusual customized signs which are not as "threatening" as some of the others of which I spoke, and may therefore be wiser choices.


           Your property signage is a first chance to make a first impression.  Make sure that it sends the right message.






I don't receive discounts or payment for recommending them, but this company does an excellent job for a fair price, whatever the project.

  www.buildasign.com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Incredible Value of Spices, Especially for Preppers

     

  There are many times, during emergencies, power outages, flu pandemics, or even during civil unrest that eating out becomes unwise if not dangerous.  Yet, many American families have stocked kitchens, and live a life that requires that they eat out multiple times each week.   This post is one of a several pronged attempt to examine this practice and gradually make some changes which allow eating at home as a safer, less expensive, and potentially a more pleasant experience.
 


          In the last post I explained that learning to cook was not a skill set I mastered early in my marriage.  Consistent with that, I thought that a collection of spices was an extravagance.  I did not learn until much later how important having a supply of spices and knowing how to use them, really can be.

            In the US, in the past twenty years or so, families have developed a bad habit of eating out with their children at least once a week, and often much, much more. We tell ourselves that we don't have time to cook, but often, we eat out because the food simply tastes better than something we think we might make at home.  Proper seasoning of food may be one of the reasons we might have this misperception.

           In addition, spices are not simply an extravagance. Spices not only can provide an interesting an appetizing draw to food, for only a few calories, if any, but they can provide vitamins and significant amounts of trace minerals.   Nutmeg for example is metabolized as magnesium !  Most of us could use additional dietary magnesium.   Many studies bear out the great value of dietary spices.  Although I am not personally a fan of Indian food, we know that many cancers are quite rare in India, in part because they spice their food with a particular set of spices which are now proven to benefit health.

The following is a listing of just a few spices and how you and your family can incorporate these in your normal diet


Nutmeg:

In reasonable amount used as a seasoning, many cultures from Asia to Europe use it.   I like to use it on top of hot chocolate and on baked custard, but many cultures use it on vegetables also.  Some cultures use it on potatoes, and other on vegetables like Brussel sprouts.  In any event, you are taking on additional magnesium while you are enjoying a tasty treat.




Cumin

   Cumin is also a spice which has bee widely used throughout the world for hundreds if not thousands of years.  It can be used ground, as I do, or in the seed form also.  It can add an earthy, warm taste to soups, stews and even chili.  There is scientific data which suggests that it is mildly antibacterial and antiviral and aids with digestion.




Turmeric

       This spice is used in South East Asian cuisine in both vegetable and meat dishes.  India also uses it broadly. There are too many health benefits to list in the form of a brief blog post, and so I will encourage you to research these yourself.



Cinnamon

         From French toast to flavoring your own oatmeal and healthy oatmeal cookies cinnamon  is of great benefit.  Some use cinnamon on certain potato, sweet potato or carrot dishes also.




Ginger

         From flavoring meats, poultry, to salads, ginger can provide that inexplicable something that the Asian restaurants know so well.   Ginger is also said to be an excellent way of settling a stomach.



Chili powder


              The important take away point is that being able to produce tasty food which makes eating in public during difficult times less of a necessity is an important preparedness skill.  Going out to eat should be rare, and the times you do it should be chosen.  Not only is eating out costly, but it does eating increase your exposure to the hazards of other people in difficult times (like civil unrest, for example). It exposes us and our families to potential for food  poisoning.   No matter how nice a restaurant might look, there is always the potential for food poisoning.


Cardamom

               A fairly expensive spice, this is used in teas. It is also a fantastic addition to certain breads. There are positive health uses.


               This post does not encourage you to build a spice cabinet for hundreds of dollars by Friday.  What I am saying is that bit my bit, preppers especially should begin, one by one, to gather salt, pepper, ginger, chili powder, freeze dried chives, and all manner of spices you believe you would use.  I have also bought large long term containers of powdered chicken gravy and beef gravy.   CVS and Wahlgreens also stock some low priced spices.  I am quite sure that these may not be the very best of spices available, but sometimes, when we wish to try something we have never used before, a dollar or two is all that we should spend.    Badia is also a brand of spices sold fairly inexpensively in grocery stores.  Sometimes it has a stronger flavor than other brands, but it is inexpensive and is especially good value if you enjoy spices often used in Mexican food.     There are also combinations of spices which you might invest in.  I am particularly fond of Montreal Steak Seasoning, and now there is a Montreal Chicken Seasoning also.


This was a coca cola bottle holder turned into a spice rack.





                In the interest of good health and in spending more time eating at home, for both economic and practical reasons, we owe it to ourselves and our families to begin to gather spices and experiment as to how to properly use them.   Some time ago my husband returned from a business trip in Mexico with a wonderful recipe he learned from the hotel.  A chicken breast is split and fried gently in olive oil and salt and pepper.  Then cumin is shaken on front and back of the chicken and it is cooked until it is golden brown.  Unusual and delicious !   We owe it to ourselves to learn more about spicing.


If you are unable to locate a spice you would like to try, this is an excellent source of all spices:

http://www.myspicesage.com




Regarding Reporting Food Poisoning After Eating Out   (A State by State Reporting System)

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/find-your-health-department-to-report-food-poisoning/#.VVsiFVI1fTo

Regarding Food Poisoning:

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2014/06/03/food-poisoning-it-was-likely-a-restaurant-worker/


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Why Learning to Cook from Scratch and Why Making Your Own Dinners Makes Sense

        

(Photo: www.myrhodespizza.com  )


             This is an incredibly timely post for those considering preparedness issues, as inflation, civil unrest, and other factors may make older habits of eating out less attractive.  These are some of your alternatives.

 


              I used not to put much thought, time or money in making food when I was first married.  Since we both worked, we ate out a lot.   Cooking has also not been a skill I acquired early in my marriage.  There were other things which interested me, and I was quite happy in those early years to eat crusty bread, cheese and fruit and then go out to dinner a couple of times a week. I baked a cake once a month or so, and keeping the kitchen clean was more of a priority for me than making it dirty.

              As our family grew and we became even busier, eating out wasn't really an option as much.  With four and then five children, it also became more expensive an option.  In addition, we might be willing to take the chance on food poisoning ourselves (a statistical possibility at most restaurants), but we were not willing to take such risks with our children.

               When we moved out to the country, eating out wasn't even an option.  There were no Chinese restaurants in our rural county.  Pizza delivery wasn't available. There are no "Mom and Pop" restaurants for fifty miles.  We needed to make tasty food ourselves.  Homeschooling also took a lot of time and sometimes we weren't finished with studies when I really needed to start dinner.  We found that one or two days a month, the kids and I could make our own family dinners from scratch. We would freeze them in a large freezer and then we had "healthy convenience food" for almost the next month of dinners.  This also allowed our children to learn something about cooking and about nutrition.  Because one of our sons had some food allergies, it also allowed us to carefully select some of the ingredients in order to stay on the safe side with him.



Kids will make some irregular looking pizzas at first, but they will quickly catch on.  (Picture: www.thekeithstone.com )




                In those years, we took a trip with the minivan to Sam's Club and bought the correct flours, tomatoes, sale foods, meats, and everything else, and then another day we would cook all day.  On those days we made the following:

Green peppers stuffed with beef with rice
Quiche Lorraine
Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche
Pizza Quiche
Cabbage stuffed with beef
Chicken parmigian with spaghetti
Cheese Pizza
Pepperoni Pizza
Pizza with green pepper and chicken
Shepherd's Pie    (the kids use beef as they are not big fans of pork or lamb)
Turkey meatballs in Italian sauce (for use on long rolls for sandwiches)
Pancakes and sausage (these freeze quite well and they like "breakfast for dinner every couple of weeks)
Chili
Broccoli and cheddar casserole
Cheesy rice and spinach casserole
 Beef stew
Hearty chicken noodle soup stew
Lighter macaroni and cheese casserole
Meatloaf
Red Meat Sauce for Spaghetti
Lemon Cod and Fries
Meat pie
Chicken Alfredo
Homemade hamburger helper

On days when we don't need to pull something ready made from the freezer we would occasionally cook steaks on the grill, make hamburgers, a shrimp salad with garlic toast or tacos.


cheesy broccoli and cheddar casserole  (this picture:  www.southernplate.com  )





Some of the recipes were adapted from family traditional recipes. All of the recipes listed above are available on quick internet searches, just as I did when I found I needed to make quick food and wasn't a big fan of the cooking process. Note also that the calorie count per serving and other nutritional information is available on many of the recipes found on the internet.   When you like a recipe, print it out and place it in a plastic protective sheet in a three ring binder.

      Sometimes, while the stove and the cook top was running, we would be using two slow cookers on the counter for beef stew and chili.

    The other clear benefit to cooking two days a month with your kids is that you will have time to bake an apple pie or two as you learn to coordinate how to cook rice while cooking pasta and prepping one thing while waiting for another. Over time, this will teach your children, and yourself how to better time the coordination of the cooking of different dishes.

       After cooking, you can double package the food in freezer wrap and mark and date it, so that you can pull the oldest frozen dinner. This also allows you to avoid the plastic containers that many prepackaged foods come in.   We really don't know the potential effects of plastic food packaging which is in direct contact with your food, and is microwaved from frozen.  I suspect that it does deliver some chemicals to our systems particularly in the long term.  Making and packaging your own allows you and your family to sidestep such chemicals.    I usually add frozen vegetables and/or salad at the last minute to each entree when it is served.

      The part that I like best is that we really only significantly dirty the kitchen and the oven and stove two days a month, so it saves on at least some of the daily kitchen cleaning.

         Last, you would be surprised as to how much money a large family can potentially save by forsaking Stouffer's and Lean Cuisine, and learning to make your very own frozen meals.  You can also make some individual servings of special foods if they need to be decalorized or specially made due to allergies.  This can also work well for families with a member who has gluten or casein allergy.   Did you know that cupcakes and decalorized mini chocolate pound cakes can be frozen and are fantastic even  when defrosted ?

       Best of all, I haven't had a headache due to MSG (Monosodium glutamate, which is in almost all prepared food and mixes.) in years, except when I forget and taste something at a tasting station at Sam's Club !

         If you are interested in prepping then this method of pre-making dinner can be especially helpful.  It puts you in better tough with meal planning, with using up what you have rather than letting it age.  It incorporates your children into at least one aspect of preparedness, which is meal preparation and sensible food shopping.  It puts your attention, at least monthly when you cook on food rotation.  It will also help you see what items need to be purchased in larger quantities at your house, and what you might wish to abandon altogether.  We learned that we use an awful lot of oatmeal at our house, but very little in terms of creamed soups. We use a variety of beans but not as many as I thought we needed to stock.   I hope this endeavor is as helpful to you.


The next post deals with the value of spices, especially for preppers.






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Friday, May 8, 2015

Defining the "Bubba Factor"

          
(Photo:  www.thedailysheeple.com )




   US Law Enforcement, State Police, Special Forces, and even the Central Intelligence Agency have all periodically mentioned something they call  "The Bubba Factor".   I actually dislike the term because I think it can be misleading, and I would prefer a more precise label, if a label needs to exist at all.   The "Bubba Factor" does not actually refer to the idiocy of the common man, as many think it does.  The way this is defined among law enforcement and CIA operatives is that a group of men who own their own weapons and who embrace the US Constitution as they understand it with limited education, and who are willing to help protect their counties and home areas, even if it results in actions which would be considered illegal by federal standards. They would also consider dying for the US Constitution as they understand it. These men are sometimes involved in local militias.  Some of them have been helping Texas ranchers prevent illegal aliens and drug dealers from using their properties with some effectiveness.

               The concern by Special Forces and the CIA is that groups of organized armed men who might not understand law could be dangerous in situations where during a major protracted disaster or perhaps an economic crash in the US were to occur.  They have concerns that in an emergency, such men would consider that the federal government no longer has jurisdiction in their area, or that the federal government is corrupt or  is anti-Constitution.   There are furthur concerns that former soldiers who swore to defend the US Constitution, and then came home to a nation in which the Constitution appears to be frequently discounted or ignored, make take seriously their solemn vow to defend it against all enemies.   There may be "bubbas" who consider the present regime an enemy of the US Constitution. (There are days I think that myself)  They don't fear "bubbas" as much as they fear vigilantism.


           Of course, it is the job of elements of the federal government to create contingency plans for many things that will never be.  My own family invested in a basement shelter in the 1960s which was never used, as anything other than canned food storage . Many things simply never come to pass but a plan for them needs to exist nonetheless.  There are a few things we all can do to help to quell some of the "Bubba Factor" concerns.


1.  If the Federal Government fears it's citizens then it needs to think again.  It works for the people who legally inhabit the United States.  The government for and by the people needs to reflect what is right for them.  When the government finds the need to do something that might not be accepted well, then a policy of transparency needs to exist.  Americans are entitled to know where their tax money is going and why.  A little more transparency on the part of government will result in a lot less loose talk on the part of the citizenry.  This would contribute to much more comfort and perhaps confidence,on both sides.

2. Militia members need to have trusted contacts in their local law enforcement and in their state police departments or equivalent.  If you are known to law enforcement as a reasonable person, then you are less likely to be wrongly investigated, feared or inappropriately detained.  Fear breeds misunderstandings, and misunderstandings also breed accidental shootings.  Most officers travel with a round chambered all the time.  It doesn't take much more than a scary situation and some adrenalin pumping, for an accidental firearm discharge to occur. Networking and cooperating with law enforcement can be a very wise choice. Knowing law enforcement personally also helps us to realize that although there certainly are some bad police officers (and some bad lawyers, some bad nurses, and some bad doctors) that the bulk of them are good people professionally and deserving of our respect and cooperation.

3. In many communities in the US, the sheriff must approve a concealed weapons permit following a background and criminal check of the citizen, as well as examination of his firearm training certificate.  Intelligent sheriffs like this plan.   Vetted concealed weapons carriers are known to him (or her) to have a clean criminal record, and in the event of a dire emergency or a disaster, surviving concealed weapons permit carriers could be deputized to aid the sheriff, especially in areas where very few law enforcement officers or back up exists.  Rather than collecting weapons, perhaps we should be making sure that vetted persons actually have them, and carry them.

4. A firearm is a tool, just as a steak knife, and a hammer is a tool.   In my early nurses training I met several patients who had killed people using knives or hammers.  Tools do not have a mind of their own. They exert no control over individuals.  People who are misguided or insane can use anything from a clothes line to a swimming pool to kill someone.  The paranoia regarding handguns and long guns needs to stop.   Don't we wish to have trained citizenry able to use firearms competently when ISIS hits "soft" targets ?


            I think we would also do well to remember that a lot of the real work of this country is done by people who would be considered to be "bubbas".   Perhaps we should fear their not working.