Are you ready?

Good Morning!

Going along with a similar message from my last post, I thought we might continue on in the same vein as we did a couple of weeks ago — survival.  With droughts in the south and midwest, flooding in our farmlands and northern states and with grain elevators gradually reduced to only about 3 months of food supply, it takes only a little foresight to see that we may be in for a long haul in the near future.  To that end, I thought we might revisit some survival tactics.  I’ll be giving away, by the way, a book on survival tactics (well sort of survival tactics) — LONG ARROW’S PRIDE to some lucky blogger.  So be sure to come in and leave a message.  (Note, this offer applies to the greater 50 States and to Canada only.)

In the old days, the Indians lived off the land and rarely starved.  It wasn’t until reservation days that starvation became a real threat.  Before that time, the Indians knew what plants to look for and where to look, what animals to kill, how to kill them for food, how to jerky the meat and how to survive and live off the land.  In truth, before the last World War, most Americas were living on farms and so the Depression (I never call it the Great Depression, as I think of Great things as good things) — but the collaspe of the economy during the Depression – bad as it was, wasn’t as bad as it might be in our future because most people still lived on farms back then and knew how to grow their own food.  So, as I used to learn in the Girl Scouts, let me ask you this.  How prepared are you for a collapse if it were to come upon us?

Heaven forbid it ever happen.  But as my mother used to say, “You prepare for the worst and enjoy those things you stored when it doesn’t happen.”  So let’s go over a few things that might come in handy to have, just in case, okay?

1)  Food — do you have a minimum of a 1 year supply for all members of your family on hand.  These are storeable items like grains, dried fruits, canned organic veggies, nuts, baking soda, fish-liver oil, baking powder, and anything else that you can thing of to store — meat, etc.  Get them for long storage — again that’s minimum 1 year supply for every member of your family and any member of your family that in a catastrophe might come home.  : )

2)  Medical supplies.  You can’t have enough medical supplies.  Bandages, bandaids, aspirin, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and any other medicine that you need.  For me, because I don’t take drugs, this means a year’s supply minimum of vitamins and minerals, as well as any herbs needed for medical emergencies.  And remember this is a 1 year supply for every member of your family — and those who might join you later on.

3)  Seeds — organic seeds, if you please.  The reason for heirloom, organic seeds is that the new Monsanto seeds and even the more common hybrid seeds don’t produce seeds for replanting — and keeping seeds from year to year is vital.  Even is you live in the city, you can start a garden of some kind.  My husband and I live in the city and instead of growing a lawn, we are now growing a garden.  We are learning also that one needs to LEARN how to garden and how to keep out pests.  So far squirrels and rabbits are benefitting from our new garden.  : )

4)  An herb garden is pretty essential.  From an herb garden you can obtain many medicinal plants — like  Echinacea and Goldenseal, as well as Oregano, sage and other herbs.  And again, even if you live on the city, you can probably start a garden on the roof or on a window seal.  You might even be able to make friends with local farmers who might be able to help you through a tough time, but I would advise you to plant as much as you can for yourself and for your family.

5)  Protection.

Now, while it might be fun to have these two men riding protection for you, probably it is a good idea to have a rifle or a gun of some kind as a form of self and family protection as well as protection of your food stores.  Personally, I think our Founding Fathers were right in guaranteeing the natural God-given right to bear arms.  Every creature will try to defend itself against any who seek to kill it.  For people, this means guns and other means to protect yourself.  After all, criminals and vandals are criminals and vandals because they can’t obey the law — therefore, they will always find a way to get guns.  My huband and I belong to Frontsight, a shooting organization that teaches you not only self-protection and makes sure that you know how to place a good shot, but teaches you when to make that shot and when not to.  But not only is protection important in emergencies — to protect the lives of your family and yourself — guns are important in keeping pests like rabbits and squirrels away from your garden — guns can also bring in fresh game in case of a food shortage.  If you don’t like guns and will absolutely not have one in your household, then I would advise you to learn self-defense — hand-to-hand — and to learn to use a bow and arrow for hunting.

Okay, let’s see.  What have I left out?  There’s something that’s important that I’m not thinking of here.

Oh, yes, a subject that is dear to the pocketbook:

6)  Some sort of cash.  Now what do I mean by cash?  Some say silver or gold with lead to protect that silver or gold.  : )  Some say to invest in the Euro — just in case the dollar falls.  I will say right here and right now that this is not an area that I know much about.  And if there is some kind of castastrophe — heaven forbid — or martial law — double heaven forbid — what might people use as money?  Barter?  Gold?  Silver?  Your guess is as good as mine.  All I know is that you might want to have something on hand to barter with.

Well, now that’s all I can think of right now.  You might be able to think of other things that one might to do be prepared.  In the old days — the days of my grandparents, all families had either a full year’s supply of food on hand and/or a victory garden.  When I was growing up, almost all of my neighbors  had gardens of one kind or another — chicken coops, etc.

How about you?  Can you think of something I’ve forgotten here in order to be prepared for any sort of economical or other kind of emergency?  Do you remember the victory gardens?  Families with supplies of food on hand, just in case?  Or were you a Girl Scout and taught to always be prepared?

I’m not wishing for  this — I hope a cause for this never happens — but just in case…

And don’t forget, I’ll be giving away a free copy of LONE ARROW’S PRIDE to some lucky blogger.  This applies, by the way to the great 50 States and Canada only. 

So come on in and let’s talk about survival.

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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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37 thoughts on “Are you ready?”

  1. Unfortunately I am totally unprepared in every way! YIKES!!

    This has definitely opened up my eyes. SCARY!

  2. What a great post Karen! I must admit that I am not as prepared as I should be. I would love to see you write a book on this subject ~hint~hint~. I can see where it would be a great advantage to a large number of people.
    I too have a bad feeling about things to come in our country. I think that all of us could benefit from learning from the Indians who lived off of the land.
    I think our past might be our future. 🙂

  3. Great post,I have a little bit put back but dont want to dwell on what might happen,,if I did,I would be constantly worried,but thats just me,right now,I keep a bit stocked but not enought room to store a lot

  4. Food for thought Karen!! Great post. I have a few items from these lists.. But I must admit I would be feeling it if there was any kind of disaster. I try to have canned goods and staples on hand. I try not to think of what could happen and hope for the best.

  5. I’ve heard that you can buy a backpack with two weeks worth of food in it. Food that won’t spoil like K-Rations or MREs (Meals Ready to Eat, that the army has) something of that sort.
    I’ve never done it but it seems like a good idea. You can just grab that backpack and go.
    With all the earthquakes and flooding and hurricanes driving people out of their homes it’s a pretty good idea. Of course I’m so disorganized if i ever needed the stupid backpack I wouldn’t be able to find it.

    But since we’re on high ground (the midwestern flooding along the Missouri is close but not threatening us) and away from hurricane and earthquake territory, we’re pretty much just left with tornadoes and those hit so fast and you don’t RUN from a tornado, you take cover. So I suppose after the tornado is past you can hunt for the backpack at your leisure in the rubble of your home.

  6. However, being ranchers we are probably more prepared for survival than most. We have a garden and cattle (though they’re sort of wild, I wouldn’t want to try and milk one…but it’s a possibility…and I wouldn’t want to butcher one, though I suppose I could do it…theoretically…I think chickens would be much more managable for eggs and meat.)
    We have gasoline tanks. Electric generators. This is all more about power outages than anything. We could also go hunting. Eat a wild turkey. And we could cook on our gas grill and have a propane tank full of gas so we could eat for a long, long time. So we may be more prepared than I think.

  7. Great post Karen! You know I am really bad about stocking up food but I am not sure I would have a years worth. We had an ice storm that put us without power for a week a few years back and I was not prepared. Now I did have food in the house but no way to fix it. We didn’t have any backup heat or anything. That has now changed. We do have a karasene heater now if something happens and you can heat food on that. We were caught with our pants down so to speek but are a little more prepared now.

  8. Hi Laurie G.!

    You know, as my mother always said, (she lived through the Depression, by the way), you have a plan — you work on the plan — store food, get ready in case of any emergency — and then the emergency which you saw coming never happens.

    It’s why I think it’s really good to look ahead and plan and store food and valuables — not only for “just in case,” but also to avert an emergency.

    Another person once said, if one is prepared, instead of panic, one simply responds. 🙂

  9. Hi Tammy!

    You know, I am thinking of doing a blog on this and on food in general — I have a lot of knowledge, passed down to me through relatives who were healers — and so I have many friends who keep telling me that I should do this.

    But I so love writing fiction, also — when I get a moment (and I actually have about 2-3 articles written already), I will probably do this. I once did a video on how to sprout grains and why this is so necessary — but the lighting was bad and I have a crooked front tooth and so every time I smiled it looked like I had missing teeth — so here I was talking about nutrition and when I smiled I looked like a country hick (which in many ways I am). It was hilarious!

  10. Hi Vickie!

    You know, I’m a worrier too and sometimes I think I shouldn’t listen so much to the news. But then again, if one doesn’t keep themselves informed (and certainly not fromt he propaganda news), then one can be caught eating poison or other such things. For instance, did you know that it’s now been found that garden hoses made in China contain high degrees of toxic lead?

    I swear, that country (not its people but its government) has done much to cause me to stay away from anything they produce — pet food that kills, baby’s clothing that poisons if put in the mouth, dry-walls that send people to the hospital, poisoned toothpaste, poisoned milk for babies (melamine in the milk). And that’s only the start of the list. Sigh…

  11. Hi Kathleen!

    I know. Maybe it’s because my mother so drilled into my nogan that one must always be prepared. But then she lived through the Depression and it was a time she refused to talk about except to say that one must always be prepared.

  12. Hi Mary!

    I’ve heard of that too. Back packs that one just straps on and goes. Good idea. However, like you, I probably wouldn’t be able to find it. Sigh…

    You always make me laugh, Mary.

  13. Ive always kept canned goods and boxed goods in supply and a few extras here and there but I’m woefully unprepared otherwise. I do plant a small vegetable garden (all in containers) since I don’t have a lot of available land and I live in the notheast so not much growing time. I just read where someone is being stopped because she made her front lawn into a vegetable garden. I can’t remember where it was but I think she should be able to do what she wants. Lawns are worthless and have just made chemical companies and the such rich. Great blog as usual.

  14. Hi again, Mary!

    Interestingly, there was an older Indian gentleman on the Blackfeet reservation who told me that one could still live off the land.

    I think that’s great and I think that would be good for us. I worry about the future of our children and their children, however. Monsanto (with Obama’s signature) just got the go-ahead to plant their GMO plants in wildlands. Now they own those plants and anything that has anything to do with them — note, that Monsanto has taken farmers to court over finding a single plant in their field that is GMO (genetically modified organism) — now with wind and birds and other creatures that naturally shift plants from here to there, it is not the fault of the farmer. However, it appears that the courts favor Monsanto and they have been winning these cases.

    So what does this mean — if you extend out the concept — if they are planting GMO seeds in the wild and the wild then eats those plants — does Monsanto then “own” the creature? Would we be again in the dark ages where all game was the “King’s game,” and one could go to prison and rot there for trying to feed his family?

    Things (not so pleasant things) but things nonetheless to think about.

  15. Hi Quilt Lady!

    Yes, some sort of way to fix food that doesn’t require gas or electricity would be great. Or store food that is dehydrated so that one could have food on the go.

    Interesting things to think about. 🙂

  16. Hi Catslady!

    You are so right. That lady lives in Michigan — I think her error was to hesitate to take the regulator to court and sue his/her butt. In this day and age, if one does nothing, then in the eyes of the law, that’s considered compliance, which puts you under their jurisdiction and then they can do what they want.

    Yes, they are going directly against the Bible and are threatening to put her in jail for growing her own food in her front yard. It’s against the Bible because it is a victim-less crime — according to the Bible, if no one has been harmed, a crime has not been committed. Something that I think we tend to forget.

    By the way, I have absolutely no backyard but a big front yard and so my garden is in my frontyard also. Luckily for now, I live in a town that has almost no zoning.

    But yes, this lady was actually put in jail — or was she just threatened — I think she was put in jail for a while — for growing her own food in her front yard.


  17. Going along with the thought from the previous post, the wrong thing to do is nothing. It costs very little to file a complaint and take that regulator to court.

    But she didn’t and now her only choice is to go public, which she is doing. We don’t live any longer in the same environment that I grew up in — that’s why it’s so important to stay alert — keep informed (but not by the propaganda press). And be willing to do something about an problem that might plop itself on your plate. In the eyes of the law, doing nothing signifies compliance and the other side then gets its way in court.


  18. I have some items on the list, but not a lot. I always am prepared for either snowstorms or thunderstorms by having crank flashlights because the batteries always seem to go dead in the others. I have been better about gathering survival items in winter due to having a really bad ice storm 4 years ago that left us without electricity for 5 nights.

  19. Love the pix of Graham Green and Tom SElleck nd Am Elliott. Hmmmm. I’m pretty resourceful so like to think I could withstand anything…but I sure don’t have a whole year’s worth of food. We could get by for a while. And all I have growing are herbs and tomatoes. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  20. Hi Deb!

    There was once a few years ago when our electricity went out — but we have a generator and so it wasn’t too much of the inconvenience it might have been. But I didn’t have food stored at that time. Thankfully, it was quickly repaired. 🙂 It did make me think, however.

  21. I, too, love those pictures. 🙂 You know, it’s something to think about — get prepared — for me, it’s also a way to stave off the wolves.

  22. With family scattered around the world, I’ve become conscious of natural disasters and have bookmarked sites for updates. What variety. So, I’d like to have my computer, please. At the very least, a radio w/ good batteries. And my dog wants to ensure she’s not forgotten.

  23. My family is good on food supplies, some medical supplies, we always have containers of water, never tried an herb garden… it would be nice to have fresh herbs…

  24. After the Northridge earthquake I’m almost paranoid about being prepared. Our house sustained so much damage we lived on the front lawn until inspectors could check the structural damage of our house. We now own a self-contained RV parked in our driveway. What we lack is a garden.

  25. Yes, I do remember the Victory Gardens and thank goodness for my family my grandparents were farmers and grew or hunted for most of the food we ate. Living now in Calif. I have my Earthquake supplies on hand…I’m prepared!

  26. Hey Kay,

    Great post as always…I do believe that times are going to get tougher. I always will say that I have lived in the wrong time span. I always loved the 1800’s living in a village among my native family

    Anyway love the post

    Walk in hamrony,

  27. Hi Liz!

    Yeah, we’ve been buying pet food, also. But like I said, I think one has to prepare and then the worst just doesn’t happen. 🙂

  28. Hi Colleen!

    This is such a great thing. I know I’m not there, yet. I just know it has to be done. I do, however, have an herb garden — although I only have one herb right now — and that’s mint. 🙂

  29. Hi Margaret!

    Wow! That’s incredible. I was in Orange County during that quake, but I did see the damage — and now I live more in the quake area. We, too, have an RV — but right now, Grandfather George lives in it. I guess in a pinch…

  30. You know, Margaret, I’d keep them. With all the stuff happening in this country around our nuclear power plants…those masks just might come in handy. I always keep masks around, mostly because I’m allergic to many things. I keep them everywhere — in my house, car, etc. 🙂

  31. We have always had a garden, even when we lived in town. For many years, my flower beds always had vegetables mixed in. It is surprising how much you can harvest from a small area. Many towns have cooperatives, where you contribute a small amount to belong, work a set number of hours weeding and in distribution, and get a share of the produce each week. My daughter in NC has belonged to one for several years. It is a good option for someone with no place to plant a garden.

    We now have a full garden and chickens, at my daughter’s. We have raised pigs and a calf for meat. If you have the room, chickens are perfect. You get eggs and can eat them if they are roosters or stop laying. If you keep a rooster and let a hen sit on a clutch every year, you will increase your flock/replace those you have eaten.

    Pigs are more work to keep, but they are good for disposing of kitchen and garden scraps. The time to maturity is relatively short.

    I think the economy will rely heavily on bartering. We already do a lot of that. With the economy as it is now, many people have already started doing this.

    The protection part is troubling, but necessary. We have guns, but they are locked away. A baseball bat is an option if necessary.

    We have a pretty good store of food, but not enough for a full year. That takes more room than many people have. We know we can manage to raise, put up, hunt, and produce what we need. The biggest concern would always be civil order or disorder as the case might be. If the basic social structure is maintained, things will be fine.

  32. Having “survived” a few natural disasters in my 30 years, the biggest influence was Hurricane Katrina. My experience taught me that more matter how prepared you are, it really depends on your location. What’s that phrase when buying a house: Location! Location! Location!
    If you are talking being prepared for a natural disaster, a garden or house full of food under a hurricane surge is not going to help you at that moment in time. A person needs survival skills and a lot of common sense. Most of what is needed can be learned, but one should always learn to trust their instincts. Be prepared for the circumstances of your location.
    Since your post is not regarding natural disaster but an economic one, my family too has discussed our future in this country and I was intrigued by your post to hear that so many others are starting to see the danger our society will be faced with ‘when’ our economy crashes. Our background in a natural disaster has helped break down priorities and necessities.

    Things to Think About:

    Shelter: If you are renting, would your landlord be able to provide you further shelter if something drastic were to take place? Are you comfortable having someone else provide that kind of security for you and your family? (I will tell you that there was a lot of issues with this after Hurricane Katrina with so many homes destroyed and a lot of renters with no place to go) I would also stress renter’s insurance. So many people think that their personal property will be fine and trust that a landowner will keep their place in top notch. Doesn’t happen. Protect your own stuff! I know insurance wouldn’t help an economic crash, but until it does, insurance is the best for all other circumstances.
    For homeowners, if the economy was to fail, where is your property, would you be able to become self sustainable? Do you have insurance on your home and the things in it? Do you cover what natural disasters may come your way? Again, not for economic.

    Heat: If you are in cold climate, if you had no power, how would you keep warm? Do you have a fireplace or woodstove and access to wood? Propane heaters or a propane tank? Blankets, thick clothing?

    Water: I found that gathered water works in so many ways. My husband and I have bought plastic barrels to catch rainwater from our gutters. We currently have plans to use it for our garden and greenhouse, but if it came down to it, we would have water to flush toilets and clean with. It could also be used to drink if it is sterilized by boiling it or they do sell tablets you can put in water now to sterilize it. In a winterstorm I was caught in for 2 weeks, we melted snow in buckets, caught dripping water from the melting snow on the roof, and even siphoned water from a nearby pond with a garden hose. It is also good to also have several gallons of drinking water stored. These do have to be replaced every so often. Nothing lasts forever. But for quick use in an emergency, they are good to have. But like I said at the beginning, to get through a hard time, most people need to learn survival skills and common sense to get them through. The depression lasted longer than a year. A year’s water supply would be nice, but let’s face it, no one has that kind of room. One other investment that we are looking to get one day (hopefully sooner than later) is a water well. It doesn’t require electricity to have. So if for some reason you didn’t have power, you still have water

    Food: a year’s supply is great and would help, but like said, the depression lasted longer than that and so will another economic hardship. Other countries that have fallen and still trying to pick themselves back up decades later. Start learning how to garden. Even though my grandparents had a farm and grew crops, I as an adult, still find myself completely ignorant to gardening in some aspects. Learning what you want to grow, how it grows, for how long, at what time, etc are essential to gardening. Then there is understanding what you can do with the produce once you have it, ie canning, drying, freezing, and storing. I do all of it. Self taught. There is tons of information everywhere that can teach you the life skills you need to know to be self sufficient. We live in a suburb so our space is limited, but we use our small amount of land the best possible way. All our trees are fruit trees. Also a good source of fresh produce and canning for later. If we had the land we would have livestock, unfortunately, we are limited to chickens. We have 2 layers and they keep my family of 4 quite fed with 2 eggs a day. We don’t eat a whole lot of eggs though so that amount suits us and they are very cheap to raise. They would also be a good source for meat and we have discussed future plans if we were close to the inevitable to get a rooster and raise chickens for the meat. Right now it’s not necessary. Also, learning how to game hunt is another way to keep your family fed. I also have collected lots of recipes, and I’m not really talking entree dishes, I’m talking, how to make salad dressing, ketchup, breads, tomato sauce, etc. Things that you know are easy to get now, but if you couldn’t get them, would you know how to make them?

    Light: Not a big issue but one to think about. Daylight of course, but if you didn’t want to go to bed in the winter when the days were terribly short, do you have lanterns? Kerosene? Gas lanterns and propane? Candles? Do you know how to make candles or melt down old candles to make new ones? Flashlights and batteries?

    Money: Money will never be understood or predicted. Your $1000 can be worth nothing tomorrow. It could be nothing but paper like the Confederate money after the Civil War, or lose considerable value, or people may want to trade gold like the Cali Gold Rush years, etc etc. It will basically come down to your ability to trade. What do you have to offer that someone else would want? Not everyone in the city can have a farm, so you as a city dweller, what would you be able to give the farmer that he couldn’t get? That way everyone wins. Do you sew? cook? clean? mechanic? Mr. Fix it? Craft? What service or product could you provide to sell for the things you need? THAT will be what runs this country. No money value.

    Protection: Absolutely agree with this. People get desperate in desperate times. No one should allow themselves to become a victim because they were afraid of thinking of the possibility. Have a way to protect yourself: gun, knives, taser, pepper spray, baseball bat, a piece of wood with nails stuck through the end, bean bag gun, pellet gun. There are so many things that could be used. The idea is to know where it is if a situation called for it and how to use it.

    Information: Do you know addresses? Phone numbers? What if you didn’t have a cell phone, and for some this would be a very hard time for them! Our society has become so dependent on them that its scary to realize the “what if” If you didn’t have a computer, where would your life go? Do you have books, information on survival, info on life skills, or how to fix a machine you own but don’t have the manual, info on anything it is you think you would need in the time where you may not have it easily at the end of your fingertips? We are blessed in this day in age to have it and it is taken advantage of and not appreciated, so “what if” we didn’t have the WWW anymore? Do you have a battery operated or turn crank radio in case you needed information you couldn’t get normally from the outside world?

    Recycle: I lot of people don’t think about it because it’s so easy just to go to the store and buy another one, but what if the store didn’t stock as much as it does? Could you use items in your house for other purposes? Example, I cut the bottom off an emptied milk jug to use as a starter planter for my seeds for my garden. I start them early in the planter and then transfer them when they are bigger. Fabric: it can be used over and over again until it falls apart for so many things. And if you know how to sew, you’ve got an advantage because you can make anything you need like bags, curtains, make hats and gloves from old shirts, slings, scarfs, etc etc. I also use containers and buckets from products. When we bought cat litter, I save all the buckets because buckets are always a good thing to have around a house. Jars I save because you can always use them to organize anything from bathroom and office supplies to cooking supplies, or hold old grease, or for my boys’ sake, to catch bugs! Going back to the recipes, you need a container to put those items in, so old jars or plastic squeeze bottles are always good things to keep on hand. Squirt bottles from cleaning supplies are fun to save too and when washed out really well, are good toys for kids. But containers have TONS of uses, not just for bulking your trash can.

    And this is not a priority but a “Think About” because I know there are so many people out there:
    Entertainment: Let’s say there is no more internet, no phones, no tv. Most people would be saying “My life is over!” because they don’t anything other than that. When my family and I weren’t gathering water or wood, there was a LOT of down time. We learned REAL quick how boring it can get without a hobby or something to do. Have board games, cards, books, drawing pencils, lots of batteries for things that would require it, a hobby like crocheting or crafting, reading or writing, etc. Most of a person’s time will be taken up by trying to “survive” the situation, but what about the moments where you don’t have something to occupy the boredom?

    These are my opinions and experiences. Just thought I’d give some more Food For Thought and I’m so glad this has been addressed because so many have not considered “WHAT IF”

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