Gaia's Garden

Gaia’s Garden – A Priceless Permaculture Reference

I absolutely love my garden. My passion began as I felt a growing need to produce everything I possibly could on my own property to reduce our dependence on outside sources. Our ultimate goal is to be able to survive off of what we can produce ourselves. That being said, I can’t grow chocolate … so I may be forever dependent on an outside source for at least one of my needs.

Lately, I’ve been researching permaculture. While I am not fond of the politics that seem to be associated with the movement, the sustainable garden design holds a lot of promise. A correctly designed mature permaculture landscape should require little human intervention and still provide food year after year. Theoretically, there should be no need to weed, till, fertilize, spray for bugs, and the need for irrigating is greatly reduced. I see it reducing my work load, but I will still need to prune, harvest, water, plant annuals, and tend to the garden.

Gaias Garden 238x300 Gaias Garden   A Priceless Permaculture ReferenceBasically, permaculture is a system where you grow plants together that benefit one another usually using a guild. For instance, an apple tree guild would have an apple tree planted in the center with plants that suppress grass (daffodils, camas, garlic chives), fertilize (nutrient accumulators such as yarrow, chicory, plantain), attract predatory insects to kill detrimental ones (dill, fennel, bee balm), and mulch plants to build soil (comfrey, artichoke) which all work together to provide the perfect environment for each other to thrive.

When designing the perfect long-term prepper garden, these methods could ultimately produce the highest level of productivity with the least amount of work. There are a growing number of resources out there now. The best book on permaculture that I have come across is Gaia’s Garden A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture Second Edition.

Toby Hemenway provides clear principles on growing a great sustainable food forest on any urban lot. He covers everything from watering using grey water, rainwater and swales, to designing beneficial tree guilds, to the best multi-use plants, to the best plants for chicken and rabbit fodder.

I checked Gaia’s Garden out from a library and decided that it is a must-have book for my prepper library and ordered a copy. In the long run, it will be cheaper than the late fines I would accrue from my reluctance to let this gem out of my hands. It was a brand new copy and I’m returning it a little tattered and worn from use. It is a great reference book to help you design your survival landscape.


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Faith Behind the Fences

History – The Master Teacher

The library shelves are quickly filling with prepper fiction books which quite effectively scare you into prepping or make you think all preppers are insane. The books dramatize the need to prepare, challenges that lie ahead, and deadly adventures with everything from a zombie apocalypse to surviving the complete collapse of society.

FaithBehindTheFences 200x300 History   The Master TeacherI’ve read several popular novels in the prepper genre, few leaving me with hope and useable knowledge. Recently I picked up the book Faith Behind the Fences written by Kelly Dispirito Taylor and found the story and knowledge gained to be invaluable. History is a master teacher.

Faith Behind the Fences is a true story of survival in a Japanese prison camp. The author retells the experiences of Hanny Londt-Shultz who was a teenager living in the Dutch East Indies at the time that Pearl Harbor was bombed. The Dutch citizens were forced from their comfortable homes and brusquely transported to internment camps. Families were separated placing men in different camps than their wives and children.

When news of the bombings came, Pappy immediately went about preparing things. Creating hiding places for documents in suitcases, burying valuables, preparing to the very best of his skills and knowledge. He was determined to help his country. Some preps were critical and other ones proved not-so-helpful. They packed cans of food, but no can opener.

In the camps, starvation, disease, death and brutality were endured on a daily basis. I was especially interested in the reasons why some prisoners chose to act with honor and compassion, while others resorted to a self-preservation mode showing no integrity whatsoever. Why does one steal and betray fellow prisoners and another risk her life to feed starving children a few grains of rice?

Mammy’s skill as a gardener saves her children from scurvy and other diseases. She saves seeds from rotten vegetables and plants them in any piece of ground she has access to. She never knew how long they would stay in one place, but as soon as they were moved to a new location she started saving seeds and growing vegetables again. She saved everything to be used again or bargained for other necessities. Her knowledge of natural remedies and medical skills saved lives in the camps.

Mammy began to collect seeds form the rotten vegetables we were given. Before we cooked them over a fire outside our house, she would slice them open with her fingers and extract the seeds. She dried them out for a day or two in the sun and then planted them in a small garden patch of her own on the side of the house.

“These are pepper plants. They’ll give us vitamin C, which will keep us from getting scurvy and other sicknesses. The few vegetables we get at dinner just aren’t enough to keep us going, and who knows how long we’ll even get those? Best to try and supplement with ones we can grow ourselves.”

However, the strongest and most valuable skill that they possessed was faith in God. No matter how difficult the challenges, they continued to be grateful for each tender mercy and to trust in God. They witnessed many miracles and beheld the hand of God throughout their imprisonment.

“God is watching over us, Hanny. Even in the midst of all this chaos, He is still in charge, and we can trust Him.”


“I honestly don’t know how to explain it, but it felt so real. It felt like if I had turned around at that precise moment, I would have seen someone right behind me, urging me forward,” she responded. I know it sounds strange, but that push felt like hands on my back.”

“Whose hands?” Peggy asked skeptically.

“I honestly don’t know, girls. I’ve thought about it all day. There was definitely no one else in that kitchen area.” She said, shaking her head.

“Maybe they were . . . I don’t know, otherworldy or something.” I suggested feeling chills go down my back.

“That’s the conclusion I came to as well, Hanny. Angels attending, maybe? That’s the only way I can explain it. I think, somehow, I was being protected this morning.”

We were all silent as we pondered our conversation, Mammy had incredible faith. She had always taught us to believe in God as well. Was it such a stretch to believe that some force had stepped in to help her today in a most crucial moment? It rang true to me. I couldn’t explain it and I didn’t understand how, but I believed that was what had happened. It made me feel warm inside. Grateful and warm.

I have seen tender mercies and the hand of God in my own life. Why would we think that when times get rough we will be left to our own devices?

I prepare to the very best of my ability. We sacrifice recreational activities and little extras to build our family food stores. But all those “things” can be gone in an instant and what do I have left? I have a Heavenly Father who hears and answers my prayers. I am confident that faith in Jesus Christ will sustain me and my family through the challenges in our future.

Everyone will eventually die. I may be taken earlier than I’d like in a hundred different ways. I have little control other than doing what I can to reduce the risk. There is one thing I have control over. My actions. Will I be the one who gives my last crust of bread and a kind word to a suffering soul? Or perhaps, risk my own life to care for a sick child? Or will I horde my grain and be prepared to kill anyone who attempts to take it?

When all is said and done. Will my life have made a difference? I hope that I have the courage and integrity to do the right thing even when the consequences are terrifying. I hope that my faith will be strong enough to rely on a power not seen with earthly eyes. To know that God will sustain me or take me home to live with Him. Death is not the end.

Think about it. Are you right with God? Are you ready to rely on Him to get you through the challenges that lie ahead? It just might be the most important skill you have in your preparedness arsenal.

Read Faith Behind the Fences. You might just learn something.


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Ebola at Your Door?

Ebola at Your Door? Review Our Pandemic Preps Checklist

Ebola at Your Door Ebola at Your Door? Review Our Pandemic Preps ChecklistThe threat of an Ebola outbreak in the United States appears to be a real possibility. It is time to check your preparations and ensure that everything is in order. How do you prepare for a pandemic anyway?

Ebola has a very high mortality rate. Your best chance of surviving is to avoid the virus all together. This might mean isolating your family from any and all interaction with others to prevent exposure. Any interaction places you at risk of contracting the deadly disease. Just how do you pull that off in our society? Here are some ideas.

  • Discuss options with your employer. Is there a way to telecommute? What precautions will be taken in the workplace? If you work in healthcare, emergency services or another critical field, you may need to protect your family by finding another place to live until the threat resolves.
  • Do you have children in school? A school is a great place to share communicable diseases. We spoke with our junior high school principal and he is in the process of trying to work out a way for school to continue using Skype or FaceTime since all of the students have been provided with iPads. What are the options for homeschooling in your area? Do you need to gather necessary supplies?
  • Avoid all public places. That means no travel, no stores, no church, no movie theaters, no parks, no hospitals or doctor’s office, nowhere where other people are or have recently been.
  • Be prepared to stay home for at least one year. The Spanish Flu of 1918 lasted for just under two years. Public gatherings were outlawed and schools were closed.

None of this is easy. It takes hard work to get prepared and be determined to stay out of public places. We think it is worth your consideration to prepare just in case.

If Ebola hits the United States, there is a good possibility a lot of good people will die. Many will hunker down trying to avoid exposure. Who will man vital infrastructures such as power, sewer, water, emergency services, hospitals, etc.? Prepare to live without public utilities and emergency help. We discuss how to do all of this in our book The Provident Prepper – A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies.

Do you have enough food and other supplies to survive without visiting the store for a year or so? Depending on the extent of the pandemic, food and supplies may not even be available. How will you cook the food if the power is out? How will you stay warm?

As discussed, the best way to protect yourself is to avoid exposure. What if someone you love is exposed? What if the number of sick overruns the medical system and quality care is unavailable? Could you care for your loved one at home? Should you try? These are very individual decisions.

Patients do not usually survive Ebola even with medical care, but some do. Caregivers are at high risk of contracting the disease. Considering the odds, I would still prepare to care for my loved ones at home should it become necessary.

Kenneth B. Moravec sent me this list of suggested pandemic supplies that will provide minimal protection. I share his list with permission.

  • 1 gallon of liquid bleach per person of the household (yes that is gallons) – to sanitize everything
  • Pesticide sprayer and a small hand spray gun for the liquid bleach solution – to sanitize everything
  • 4 boxes of latex or nitrile gloves (different sizes for every member of the household)
  • 2 boxes of 20 of N95 masks for every member of the household
  • Antibacterial soap – for meticulous hand washing
  • Styrofoam “Take Out” containers – to give to people that come to your door looking for food
  • 100′ roll of clear 4 mil plastic – for setting up an isolation room
  • 10 rolls duct tape – for setting up an isolation room
  • More HEPA filters – for whole room air filtration system
  • Port-a-potty – for isolation room
  • Urinal and bed pan – for sick patients
  • Several boxes of Borax – for provisional toilets
  • 25 lbs. of lime per person – for provisional toilets
  • 50 “yard waste” black garbage bags per person – for provisional toilets and garbage
  • 100 “kitchen” bags per person – for provisional toilets and garbage
  • 25 lbs. of kitty litter per person – for sick people’s body fluids clean up
  • 100 rolls of toilet paper per person – for personal sanitation
  • 20 rolls of paper towels per person – for personal sanitation
  • Several boxes of straws – for sick people so you don’t contaminate drinking cups too much
  • Metal or plastic eating utensils and tableware for sick patients that can be cleaned easily
  • Plastic or metal chairs and tables for an isolation room with no wood or cloth on them
  • Extra bed linen
  • Metal or plastic wash basins for clean room outside of isolation room
  • Clothesline – for washing clothes by hand
  • Laundry soap – for washing clothes by hand
  • Good dish soap like “Dawn” or other aggressive anti-grease formula
  • Burn barrel, kerosene and matches – for burning contaminated items that should not be buried or washed
  • Water filtration and purification devices
  • Water collection, storage and carrying containers
  • Water, water, and more water

I am sure there are more items but this is a good list to start with.

Kenneth’s list is a great place to start. These basics are important, but may vary for each individual circumstance. I would add these items to his list.

  • Start this instant to build your immune system by eating healthy foods and exercising.
  • Get preventative medical and dental care now … it may be too risky to visit medical establishments soon.
  • Healthy stash of vitamin C as explained in Dr. Kyle Christensen’s article on Ebola.
  • Dry calcium hypochlorite which can be used to make fresh batches of chlorine for disinfection. Go to Disinfecting Water Using Calcium Hypochlorite to learn more.
  • Quality medical reference books and diagnostic equipment as discussed in Prepping for Medical Care. Don’t underestimate the power of alternative medicine such as healing herbs and energy work.
  • Build a supply of any critical prescription medications you are taking. You may need to work with your physician and pay cash for a few extra months of medications.
  • Basic over-the-counter medications and pain relievers.
  • Learn how to care for a critically ill patient using correct body fluid precautions and how to set up an isolation room. Get the right supplies and learn to use them appropriately.

Preparing to self-isolate is a really difficult challenge. Ignoring it will not make it easier. Procrastinating may put you in a “too little, too late” scenario. Do not go to extremes. Think about what options you have. Be creative. What are your resources and how you can use them to best protect your family? Do the best you can, just make sure it is your very best.

Above all else, do not allow fear to motivate you. Enjoy today while providing for your future.

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Could Your Dog Carry Ebola?

Ebola – Transmission by Dogs, Cockroaches, and Mosquitoes?

Is it possible that your family dog could spread Ebola? How about an annoying mosquito or cockroach?I came across this very interesting article on Ebola safety precautions and possible methods of transmission this morning. The author expresses some unique observations that might be worth considering as you prepare for the possibility of a deadly epidemic.

The unthinkable: Dogs, cockroaches, mosquitos and Ebola.
Published October 8, 2014 | By Richard Duarte
By Vincent DeNiro, Editor-In Chief, Prepper & Shooter Magazine

As we countdown the weeks and days to find out if any of Mr. Thomas Duncan’s family or friends, or any of the general public he came into contact with will come down with Ebola, I can’t stop thinking about the two deputies that were sent into his family’s apartment without any protective clothing – why? The “it can’t happen here” attitude of the tens of millions of Joe Sixpacks and Sally Soapoperas in the U.S. really can be seen in the videos of the maintenance workers hosing down Mr. Duncan’s vomit on the sidewalk of the apartment where his relatives live. They are just spraying it all over the parking lot, and the reports I read stated that it went down the sewer. Also, what is wrong with the Red Cross workers that brought food and supplies to the quarantined family of Mr. Duncan? They delivered and handed boxes of supplies to the family without any protective clothing and in rolled-up shirt sleeves and short sleeves. If the American Red Cross doesn’t know protocol in a situation like this, then the U.S. is in trouble.

As a deputy sheriff over 20 years ago, I had similar concerns with AIDS, hepatitis, and other diseases while working at a large jail and out on patrol. I always carried disposable rubber gloves, a bottle of isopropyl alcohol, and dust masks in order to have a minimum of protection. Some of my fellow police officers took similar precautions — some. One night while responding to one of the worst mass shootings of unarmed people in Ohio, I slipped when entering the bar where the shootings took place because there was so much blood on the floor. I had no choice but to wipe as much blood off of my shoes on the side walk before jumping back in the patrol car as the call came over the radio to pursue the shooters a few blocks away. I later doused my shoes in alcohol, but I don’t remember if I cleaned the car mat that my shoes rested on. Similar incidents happened many times, I’m just happy that I didn’t have to deal with Ebola. The domestic violence calls, the fights during arrests, the filthy street drug addicts, transporting ill prisoners to the hospital – that is the side of policing that is not shown in the career brochures from police academies.

Ebola is spread through bodily fluids, including sweat, saliva, and blood. Shake the sweaty hand of a person contagious with Ebola and wipe your nose, touch your eyes, or forget to wash your hands while eating, and there is a chance that you can get it. Microscopic water droplets of saliva fill the air when you speak. If you ever want to see where those droplets go when you speak, then lite up a cigar, fill your mouth with smoke, and just talk – you will see a similar path that your exhaled vapors travel. The CDC is downplaying airborne transmissions of Ebola but just this week, the World Health Organization stated that Ebola can be spread through sneezing. This makes sense, as sneezing spreads other viruses and bacteria.


It’s gross but true; dogs eat vomit. I don’t know if any got into what came out of Mr. Duncan, but as “fast” as we have seen emergency officials show up, there would have been plenty of time. Dogs also are eating corpses of Ebola victims in West Africa, and they are spreading the disease. In Madrid, Spain, authorities have just ordered the destruction of the dog owned by the nurse who came down with Ebola last week after treating an Ebola patient. Reportedly, she wore the proper bio-suit and followed infectious disease protocol, but officials are still trying to figure out how she contracted it. They fear that she may have passed it to her dog. Life will change quickly in the Dallas area regarding how to deal with the cute little pooch that wants to come and do its business in your yard, say “hello” by licking you, or approach your children or your pets. How many dogs defecate in yards, streets, the woods, etc.? I’m sure that there is a figure out there somewhere. Even if you could ask Fido if he feels like he has Ebola, he wouldn’t know, as dogs carry and transmit the disease, but they don’t get it.


I’ve lived in the Dallas area, and I will tell you that every apartment complex, no matter how small and “Mom & Pop” it is, always has an extermination program in effect for cockroaches. It does not matter how clean you are in Texas, if you live in an apartment, you are going to have roaches. If you never saw one, it’s because you were probably sleeping or your apartment manager is flooding your home with pesticides when you are not aware of it. Bottom line is that all you can do is reduce the numbers to a point that you don’t see them much – they are still in the walls and in many other areas of apartment complexes. You don’t even have to leave a little food out for them, they have plenty to eat. In addition to any food product, cockroaches will eat soap, glue, book-binding, dead skin, cardboard, bodily fluid residue, feces left in a diaper, other bugs, and even a smudge of toothpaste left in the sink. Leave a half-eaten slice of pizza on your coffee table overnight and you have just opened up the La Cucaracha Pizzeria. What about the college kids in the apartment next door? Do you think that they are cleaning up after each Friday night beer blast? The health officials did not clean and disinfect Mr. Duncan’s relatives’ apartment for several days. Do you think that some cockroaches could have consumed any of Mr. Duncan’s bodily fluids left behind on toilets, food, vomit, soiled clothes, etc.? It’s hard to say, but what if they did?

While the mosquito is considered a vector regarding disease transmission, the cockroach is more like a vessel that carries disease and spreads it where ever it goes. It carries disease in its gut and on its body in hairs and in the crevices that make up its anatomy. Cockroaches carry more than 30 bacteria-based diseases in their gut such as Typhoid (spread in Italy by roaches), E-coli, Polio, Klebsiella pneumonia, Cholera, Salmonella, Shigella (spread in restaurants in Ireland in the 1970s), Staphylococcus, etc. They also carry parasites on their body like hookworm, pinworm, and whipworm to name a few. Studies have shown that trapped cockroaches had up to 14 million microbes on their bodies and 7 million microbes in their droppings (my source did not state how many cockroaches were measured in the studies). According to reports from Liberian medical officials, cockroaches carry Ebola. Fruit bats also carry Ebola, and the ground of caves where they live is caked with bat feces. Cockroaches are also everywhere on the cave floors, as they eat – you guessed it – bat droppings. Cockroaches also reproduce at an alarming rate and some female species can have over 1,200 offspring in a lifetime of one year (the female of those offspring have offspring as well). Cockroaches are also blamed for the Hepatitis A outbreak in Los Angeles in the late 1950s, which spread throughout apartment complexes. Roaches travel through walls. Walls separate apartments. Roaches spread to other apartments through walls. Get the picture? Dogs sometimes eat cockroaches, cats do too.


Ever swat a mosquito? Ever see a blood splat after swatting it? Ever think, “That was not my blood – it didn’t bite me”? Liberian officials claim that mosquitos also carry the Ebola virus. It makes sense, as mosquitos carry Malaria, Eastern equine encephalitis (triple E), Chikungunya, Dog Heartworm, Dengue, Yellow Fever, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, Lacrosse Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, and West Nile Virus. Since dogs get Dog Heartworm from mosquitos, and humans get West Nile Virus from mosquitos, it seems that the Liberian officials know something that is not being discussed in the U.S.

There are thousands of visas approved for people from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and other African countries to come to the U.S. and government officials do not want to stop people from countries with the Ebola epidemic from coming here – insane. How many more Thomas Duncans will fly in today?

If you never thought that pepper spray for dogs, roach killer, or cases of OFF or dozens of citronella plants would be part of your preparedness stockpile, you may want to give it some thought. Also, start getting some NBC training, as well as picking up NBC suits and masks before they are all sold out, like in the Dallas area.

I pray that all is well in November.

Permission to post this article is granted as long as it is posted un-edited, with credit, and link to Prepper & Shooter Magazine (

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Turkey in a Global Sun Oven - Copyright Your Family Ark LLC

Solar Cooking – Clean, Abundant, Free Energy

Sun oven cooking girls web 300x213 Solar Cooking – Clean, Abundant, Free EnergyA solar oven uses the power of the sun to cook. In our climate, that means that the majority of days we can cook our meals outside without using additional energy, saving our precious fuel storage. Overcast days may decrease the temperature of the oven and, in turn, increase cooking time.

Solar energy is a clean, inexpensive, abundant, renewable energy. We have experimented with several and like the Global Sun Oven best. It can reach temperatures up to 400° but usually hoovers between 300-325°. It is easy to use, safe, portable, and almost impossible to burn food. I have baked bread, cobblers, chicken, roasts, cakes, and some incredible chili … not to mention an 18 pound turkey.

GlobalSunOvenJanuaryCopyrightYourFamilyArkLLC 300x227 Solar Cooking – Clean, Abundant, Free EnergyLet us review the science that makes solar cookers work. It is not the sun’s heat that cooks the food, but the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet radiation penetrates the atmosphere when the sun is high in the sky. For example, in the northern hemisphere the sun is low on the horizon from November through March so its light passes through more atmosphere to reach the earth. This screens out most of the UV rays—that’s why it’s difficult to get a tan in the winter. When the sun is overhead, light rays pass through less atmosphere, so less UV radiation is screened out.

A solar cooker works like a one-way lobster trap. It lets UV light rays in and then converts them to longer infrared light rays that can’t escape. Infrared radiation has the right energy to make the water, fat, and protein molecules in food vibrate vigorously and heat up. That explains why you need a fairly clear sky with the sun at least 45 degrees above the horizon for enough time to cook your meal. Optimal cooking occurs when the UV Index is 7 or higher. Don’t give up on days with lower UV Index, just cook more forgiving foods such as those you would cook in a slow cooker. Bake bread on days with higher UV Index.

WholeWheatBreadSunOvenCopyrightYourFamilyArkLLC 300x227 Solar Cooking – Clean, Abundant, Free EnergySolar ovens work best between 10 a.m.– 4 p.m. Some directional adjustments may be required during the cooking process to take best advantage of the sun. It is important to start cooking early enough in the day to ensure enough sunlight to complete cooking. If you start bread too late in the day it will raise and raise and raise and never cook. Solar ovens are incredible, however they have significant limitations.

We strongly encourage everyone to add a good solar oven to their emergency cooking options. You can find plans on the internet or there are many commercial brands available. Research well before purchasing. Some designs are more efficient than others. A good solar oven can help you stretch your fuel storage much farther. Quite frankly, I’m always amazed at the miracle of solar cooking.

UV Index Forecast Map

A good site on solar oven to explore is

Global Sun Oven

SolarOvenJanuaryCopyrightYourFamilyArkLLC 300x227 Solar Cooking – Clean, Abundant, Free EnergyThis picture was taken on a chilly 10° day in January. I put the oven up on a table because I was worried about cold transfer from the ground. I’m not sure that was necessary. It reached a high of 360° on a winter day.

Solar ovens require periodic adjustments for optimal performance.

sunoventurkey 300x227 Solar Cooking – Clean, Abundant, Free Energy

The Global Sun oven comes with a levelator tray that keeps food level regardless of the angle of the oven. In order to take best advantage of the sun, periodic adjustments are necessary to aim the oven as the sun moves across the sky.

Cook a turkey by removing the levelator tray, placing the turkey in an oven-safe roasting bag, and putting the bagged turkey directly on a small towel on the bottom of the oven.

Just about anything can be baked in a sun oven. It is quite difficult to burn food. For optimal temperatures use dark, non-reflective cookware. However, I have used bread pans, glass pans, and muffin tins and they all turned out great.

Sun ovens use safe, abundant, renewable energy. This oven is a valuable tool for provident living and preparedness. Foods can be safely cooked outside without heating up the kitchen on those hot summer days. We actually have two so I can bake dinner and dessert at the same time.

Solar Funnel Cooker – A Unique Design

This homemade solar funnel cooker was created from Dr. Steven Jones’ original idea. It utilizes a canning jar as a type of pressure cooker to speed the cooking process. Step by step directions can be found by clicking here.

SolarFunnelCookerCopyrightYourFamilyArkLLC 300x199 Solar Cooking – Clean, Abundant, Free Energy


This post was written for Marjory Wildcraft at Visit Grow Your Own Groceries for great ideas on producing your own food. 

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Spaghetti Baby Copyright Your Family Ark LLC

Emergency Sanitation for Our Little Loved Ones

SpaghettiBabyCopyrightYFA 240x300 Emergency Sanitation for Our Little Loved OnesAre you ready for an emergency without running water with your little one? Adults can get by with less water for hygiene purposes, but not so with our youngest friends.

Babies definitely fall into the “special needs” category when planning for emergencies. They are dependent upon caregivers for survival. The young are more at risk for serious illness or death when exposed to severe weather, nuclear radiation, chemical or biological toxins, or inadequate nutrition. If you have little ones in your life, take extra time to prepare well for their needs.

Keep at least one month of disposable diapers on hand at all times. Remember how quickly these little guys grow. This is easily accomplished by purchasing a month supply of the next size up in diapers. Rotate by simply using the smallest sizes.

Cloth diapers or dishtowels, diaper pins, and plastic pants to serve as a back up in case your disposable diaper supply runs out. Remember to stock diaper ointment, petroleum jelly, and baby powder to care for diaper rashes.

Keep a supply of extra-large sized disposable diapers or Pull-ups for children. In response to a DirtyGirlGutterCopyrightYFA 148x300 Emergency Sanitation for Our Little Loved Onestraumatic event, toilet-trained children may revert to wetting their pants. An older child may begin wetting the bed. This can be extremely stressful if there is no running water available. A little planning ahead and understanding can make this situation much less stressful for everyone. Remember that stress, unfamiliar foods, and contaminated water may cause diarrhea. Take this into consideration when determining the amount to store.

Toothbrush, toothpaste, baby wash, baby shampoo, baby brush or comb, fingernail clippers, small scissors, and wash cloths are all good items to have in your stores.

Stock a generous supply of baby wipes. They can be used for bathing and personal hygiene. Remember that it is vitally important to remain clean during a crisis to avoid the spread of diseases which may be more prevalent during this time. While soap is best, hand sanitizer may help prevent the spread of germs and diseases with a limited water supply. Store sanitizing wipes and disinfectants for maintaining a clean environment. Clean spills and keep surfaces as germ-free as possible.

Dispose of diapers with care. If garbage pickup has been disrupted, make sure that diapers are kept in waterproof containers with tight-fitting lids until you can safely dispose of them.

A small potty chair may be more comfortable for young children. The grown up “alternative toilet options” may be frightening to a young child and create resistance to using the toilet at all. The bowl may be lined with small bags and disposed of in an airtight bucket after each use or contents can be buried. You may be able to use it a few times before emptying depending on the child (add a little disinfectant after each use). Remember to take into consideration a child’s natural curiosity. If the child is apt to play in the contents of the bag, it is better to change it after each use. The small bags are not expensive, plan ahead!

Store a generous amount of toilet paper. Children tend to consume large amounts of toilet paper. Don’t count on this changing just because you are in the middle of an emergency. Toilet paper is definitely not something that you want to be without!

Store lots of paper towels. Most children have not mastered throwing up into a bag, bowl, or toilet. They are generally just cute, messy, little creatures. If you are practicing emergency sanitation that means that you will have no running water for laundry. You can never store enough paper towels!

Stock lots and lots of small plastic bags for using in the potty chair and disposing of soiled diapers. A small waste can size is perfect. Don’t skimp and use plastic grocery bags for this! They will leak and create a mess.

BabiesInTubCopyright2014 300x184 Emergency Sanitation for Our Little Loved OnesSave plastic buckets with tight-fitting lids for storage of waste products. A used laundry soap bucket works great and is free. Don’t underestimate how many you might need. Better to store too many than run short when you need them.

Remember that children reflect the emotions of adults. If you adopt a positive, can-do attitude, your children will likely follow your lead. Be strong and prepare well. Let children take part in the preparations. Practice when you go camping or during pretend play. Make it into a grand adventure!

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Get Ready for Ebola

safe from ebola 300x168 Get Ready for EbolaThe Centers for Disease Control recently released a checklist to help hospitals detect, protect and respond to Ebola patients. While Ebola does not currently present a threat in the United States, an Ebola outbreak could be devastating to our population. There is no cure or vaccine and the death rate is extremely high. The best way to protect your loved ones is to avoid exposure all together. That might mean avoiding any interaction with people once the disease begins to spread.

You may want to review Dr. Kyle Christensen’s article on Ebola for interesting information and spend some time researching the disease. Often the public is given limited information in an effort to avoid panic. Search some reputable sites from other countries as well to make sure you have a good understanding of the disease and how it is transmitted.

Now is a really good time to check your preparedness status. Would it be possible for you to avoid going out in public until the disease has run its course? What if that took a year or two? Depending on the number of lives lost, we may experience loss of public utilities including electricity, gas, water, sewer, etc. Are you prepared to handle that?

Are your shelves stocked with enough food and supplies to avoid going to the store for an extended period of time? Do you have a fresh supply of over-the-counter and prescription medications? Do you have medical reference books and diagnostic equipment to help you treat family members at home to avoid highly contagious areas like clinics and hospitals? How about personal protective equipment such as disposable gloves and masks? Disinfectants and sanitizers?

Think about how you might need to rearrange things in order to avoid possible contamination. Can you telecommute or work from home? Could you take an extended leave and still pay the bills? Are you prepared to home school if necessary? Do you have a plan?

We hope that Ebola will be nothing more than a distant concern. However, it would be prudent to step up your preparations and make sure that you are ready for Ebola or anything else that might threaten the safety of your family while we still have the opportunity to do so. We encourage you to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Learn more about how to be prepare for these and other events in The Provident Prepper – A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies.

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Charcoal - Copyright Your Family Ark LLC

Charcoal – The Biggest Bang for Your Fuel Buck

charcoal briquettes web 283x300 Charcoal   The Biggest Bang for Your Fuel BuckWhen it comes to storage fuels, charcoal is one of safest and least expensive options. Charcoal briquettes burn very hot and are easily managed to distribute heat evenly. The one drawback is that they produce large amounts of carbon monoxide (a deadly gas) and should never be used indoors or in a garage where fumes might seep into the house.

Charcoal briquettes will store pretty much forever if they are kept in an air-tight container. When charcoal is left exposed to the air, it readily absorbs moisture rendering the briquettes useless. The good news is that it is easily renewed by allowing it to sit out in the sun on a nice hot day to dry out. For long-term storage, we recommend using quality original style briquettes. The lighter fluid on the easy-light versions will evaporate over time.

charcoal storage buckets web 300x227 Charcoal   The Biggest Bang for Your Fuel BuckOur favorite way to store briquettes is in empty laundry soap buckets with the lid caulked on tightly. This is a great use for clean non-food grade recycled plastic buckets. Charcoal briquettes can also be stored in the original bag and placed in a garbage can with a tight-fitting lid for long term storage. Be creative and use whatever resources you have available to protect the briquettes from moisture. It is important that they work when you need them to.

Lit Charcoals 300x220 Charcoal   The Biggest Bang for Your Fuel BuckCharcoal needs to be started before it is ready to use. A charcoal chimney is a great way to accomplish this. The briquettes are put in the top of the chimney and a small newspaper fire is started underneath, igniting the charcoal within a few minutes. I actually prefer to use Safe Heat to start my coals. Just light the can and place under the chimney, no blowing or tending the fire. Guaranteed to start without trouble every time.

Dutch oven volcano 300x260 Charcoal   The Biggest Bang for Your Fuel BuckMy favorite way to use charcoal briquettes is in Dutch oven cooking. A great Dutch oven meal can make a power outage into a special occasion. Dutch oven cooking takes a little bit of practice to master, but can be a fun and tasty hobby. Anything you can cook in an oven can be made in one of these … bread, cobblers, cakes, potatoes, roasts, casseroles … seriously the possibilities are endless. A Volcano cook stove is a great way to increase efficiency and conserve fuel while cooking in a Dutch oven. The cast iron cookware also works well over an open fire with coals created from the burning wood.

apple box reflector ready to use online 300x250 Charcoal   The Biggest Bang for Your Fuel BuckAnother way to cook with charcoals is in a reflector box oven. An inexpensive box oven can be created out of a cardboard box and aluminum foil. These simple tools allow you to bake in your regular kitchen pans using charcoal briquettes. An apple box reflector oven is created using an apple box. The food is placed on an elevated cooling rack and the box covers it, creating an oven. To learn how to construct this inexpensive oven go to

A paper box oven is a creative tweak on the apple box design. It uses less coals to Paper box reflector oven web 300x224 Charcoal   The Biggest Bang for Your Fuel Buckaccomplish the same job, thus stretching your fuel supply. It is created from the cardboard box that reams of paper are sold in. The food sits on aluminum covered dowels inside the box. For more information on this reflector oven go to

Indefinite shelf life, inexpensive, and safe to store. It really doesn’t get much better than that. A stash of quality charcoal briquettes and a few tools can allow you to cook gourmet meals outside during a power outage. Once you have become a practiced Dutch oven chef your family might just get excited when the power goes out.

This post was written for Marjory Wildcraft at Visit Grow Your Own Groceries for great ideas on producing your own food.

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Girl Picking Nose

Secret to Stopping a Nosebleed

Life’s challenges present great opportunities to gain hidden treasures of knowledge. At 8:30 on Sunday morning I received a call asking for tips to stop a nosebleed. My dear mother-in-law had been up since 3 am with a bloody nose. She has a history of nosebleeds and is pretty up-to-date on the options, which she had exhausted, and wondered if it might be time to seek medical intervention.

I have comfrey growing in my herb garden and know that it is an effective tool to help control bleeding. I harvested some fresh leaves and did a quick google search to learn exactly how to use it before heading over to her home. I found several references stating that comfrey can be used to stop nosebleeds, but no exact directions. So I headed out the door with comfrey in hand and hoped for the best.

I was relieved to find Steve, a physician assistant whose specialty just happens to be ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat), had arrived just before me. He examined her and determined that we didn’t need to rush her off to the emergency room to have it cauterized, but asked if anyone had Afrin Nasal Spray.  He explained that AFRIN works as a vasoconstrictor similar to cocaine. It would quickly constrict the vessels and stop the bleeding.

Afrin bottle 229x300 Secret to Stopping a NosebleedThere was none to be found, but a quick trip to the market produced a bottle 20 minutes later. Due to the sheer amount of blood it was a little bit of a tricky process to spray the drug up into her nose, but we succeeded eventually. Within 3 minutes her nosebleed had completely stopped. It was absolutely amazing.

Steve always carries Afrin (or the generic brand) in his first aid kit and recommends everyone have a bottle around. The spray will have a similar effect on other areas of the body and may be an option to control some types of bleeding in an emergency.

It turns out that the Mayo Clinic also recommends using a decongestant nasal spray containing oxymetazoline for hard to control nosebleeds. The following is a quote from their website: 

Nosebleeds are common. Most often they are a nuisance and not a true medical problem. But they can be both.

To take care of a nosebleed

  • Sit upright and lean forward. By remaining upright, you reduce blood pressure in the veins of your nose. This discourages further bleeding. Sitting forward will help you avoid swallowing blood, which can irritate your stomach.
  • Pinch your nose. Use your thumb and index finger to pinch your nostrils shut. Breathe through your mouth. Continue to pinch for five to 10 minutes. Pinching sends pressure to the bleeding point on the nasal septum and often stops the flow of blood.
  • To prevent re-bleeding, don’t pick or blow your nose and don’t bend down for several hours after the bleeding episode. During this time remember to keep your head higher than the level of your heart.
  • If re-bleeding occurs, blow out forcefully to clear your nose of blood clots and spray both sides of your nose with a decongestant nasal spray containing oxymetazoline (Afrin, Mucinex Moisture Smart, others). Pinch your nose again as described above and call your doctor.

Seek medical care immediately if

  • The bleeding lasts for more than 20 minutes
  • The nosebleed follows an accident, a fall or an injury to your head, including a punch in the face that may have broken your nose

Contact your doctor if

  • You experience frequent nosebleeds. You may need a blood vessel cauterized. Cautery is a technique in which the blood vessel is burned with electric current, silver nitrate or a laser. Your doctor may pack your nose with special gauze or an inflatable latex balloon to put pressure on the blood vessel and stop the bleeding.
  • You’re experiencing nasal bleeding and are taking blood thinners, such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin). Your doctor may advise adjusting your medication dosage.

Using supplemental oxygen administered with a nasal tube (cannula) may increase your risk of nosebleeds. Apply a water-based lubricant to your nostrils and increase the humidity in your home to help relieve nasal bleeding.

Once again I had found my emergency medical supplies and knowledge lacking during a minor emergency with a store luckily only 10 minutes away. I had made a conscious decision not to stock nasal decongestant sprays due to their addictive nature. Now I know that an off-label use of Afrin might just come in very handy someday.


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The Provident Prepper - A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies

Announcing … The Provident Prepper – A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies

We recently received some exciting news. Life is full of challenges and difficulties, but as we face those challenges we often become better or stronger as a result … and so it is with publishing a book. Allow me to elaborate.

Our book, The Practical Prepper – A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies, was released in early July. The release of our book has been a momentous event and a great achievement for us. We have been quite pleased with the positive response and are thrilled that so many of our readers are making a greater effort to prepare. Thank you all for being part of the solution.

In early August, we were surprised to discover that a book had been released with a similar title. After considering our options, we have made the decision to rebrand our book in order to avoid any confusion. The only change to the book will be the actual title.The content of the book will remain the same.

Drum roll please! Announcing … The Provident Prepper – A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies.

PROVIDENT Prepper COVER web 199x300 Announcing ... The Provident Prepper   A Common Sense Guide to Preparing for EmergenciesYou may be wondering why we are so pleased with the title change, considering all of the time, energy and resources converting the title will require. We have always felt that the name The Provident Prepper fit us perfectly. Yes, we are practical and don’t tend to go to extremes so that title also fits us, just not as well.

The definitions of the word provident include; making or indicative of timely preparation for the future, having or showing foresight, providing carefully for the future, providing for future needs or events, and exercising foresight in the management of one’s affairs or resources. Can you see why provident is the perfect word to describe our work?

The Provident Prepper – A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies is your guide to exercising foresight and making timely preparation for future events. We greatly appreciate Cedar Fort Publishing for allowing us to change the title of our book. So for those of you who purchased a copy of The Practical Prepper, hang onto it tightly. There were only a limited number printed. It just may become a collector’s item someday.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for preparing to become part of the solution, instead of being part of the problem. Together we will conquer the challenges that await us in the future.


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