Monthly Archives: December 2013

2 is 1, 1 is none, permanent pantry

PantrySo you have a stocked pantry. You are all set for whatever scenario may happen to you and your family. Now what? If you are unable to get to the store to restock your pantry for whatever reason, what do you do next? It could be because of a job loss and you can’t afford to go buy what you use. It could be because the store isn’t there. It could be for any number of reasons. Wouldn’t you like to have a plan B, or a plan C?

Many people with a preparedness mindset or general planning have heard picture courtesy of stormdrane.blogspot.comthe phrase “2 is 1, 1 is none”.  If you have never heard this before it simply means that your plan A could fail and you should have a plan B. Here is a simple for instance. You are out hiking, and your shoelace breaks. You are 2 miles away from your car, and walking in the terrain would surely give blisters and possibly other damage like a twisted ankle. Do you have a plan B? What if you wear a paracord bracelet or you carry a bit in your pack. You unwind it and now have instant shoe lace. If you only had 1 option for a lace your walk back to the car would be a walk to remember. 2 is 1, 1 is none.

imagesJANC3764Here is another example that is more relevant to today. A friend recently posted that her furnace went out; it was 18 degrees at night and the repairman wouldn’t be able to fix it for at least another day. What do you do? Luckily she had a gas fireplace. But having a propane take and a Heat Buddy or other propane powered heat source could be the difference in hotel stay and staying in your own home.  Here the 2 options to have heat available vs. only one.

Permaculture could be your plan B or even C. Live as normal is your Plan A, Plan B is the stocked pantry and plan C is your food forest. It doesn’t even have to be plan C. It can be a way to save money, eat better, or become more independent.


My wife will occasionally make fun, but more in a positive way. That I add an additional layer of security in that I add to the slogan, “2 is 1, 1 is none, and 3 is for redundancy”. Because, sometimes it comes down to that third option. Better to have it, and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Over at Midwest Sustainable I wrote an article about how having a permaculture pantry is equivalent to having a permanent pantry. Check it out and see how you can start your own permanent pantry and have a backup plan.


Scholarship for the January conference

scholarshipWe are please to announce that we are offering two scholarships to attendees who would like to attend but would otherwise financially be unable to. This was in part due to a pay it forward program that Jack from TSP mentioned in a podcast. There is a link to the podcast on the MSE site. For people who have the means of  setting up a scholarship it has typically been to attend a university. Well lately a degree from a typical university hasn’t gotten you ahead financially like the school recruiters told you it would. Most people just rack up the debt, and end up taking jobs that have nothing to do with their degree or even need a degree for the position. We want to help a few people out where we could. Here are all the details.

I chose the red pill

Are you truly aware of what is going on around you? Do you know what is the truth or what is just reported. Are you given all the facts, or partial information? Do you know where to look for the truth? Do you know the right questions to ask?

A friend of mine recently enlightened me to a great many things. The massive protests in the Ukraine (1.6 million people shut down the capital for days), protests in Italy, in Thailand, the Icelandic overthrow of the government. Yet our news media intentionally blocks these events, or limits the exposure as to “not incite the people”. Today she enlightened me to the statement made during Occupy Wall Street. I was completely unaware such a statement existed. It may have been from my own ignorance, I rarely watch the news as I do not believe what is broadcast is truly news worthy with all that is really going on in the world. Her education has made me really wake up and dig into what is the truth? What is reality? For a lack of better terms, “What is the Matrix?” I hope that maybe this would help others start looking for their own truth. Once you learn what is out there it is difficult to unlearn, forget, or blindly accept what is fed to you anymore. You question more. You want to dig deeper. You want to follow the rabbit down the hole and see how far it goes.

So I ask, did anyone know of this statement? Are you “aware” of what is going on in the world, in the country, in your own back yard? There is what you see in news outlets, and then there is the news that is not told, hidden even. Do you accept what is told to you? Do you ask the important questions? Do you care to know the truth?

This is the Statement of Solidarity, Occupy Wall Street from October 2011

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the forces of the world can know that we are your allies. As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power.

We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments.

We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses. They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement of others, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil. They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt. They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.

To the people of the world, we, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power. Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal. Join us and make your voices heard!

Free permaculture design questionnaire is now live

If you have already registered for the January conference, and you wanted your property considered for the FREE design build, the form is now live. You must be registered no later than December 28th and the from must be completed and submitted no later than December 31st to have your property considered.  One rural and one urban/suburban property will be selected. The design could save you hundreds or more on design, and food costs.

The form is below.

Here is the site for the conference.

Some fun with kids

Someone wanted me to post a few ideas we use at our house for fun with kids. So here are some different ideas. I like to think outside the box, and really like giving the kids something that they either have never seen or heard of before, or something that challenges me and I have fun with too. My chance to be a big kid again.

Snow time fun

Use clean food grade, or new never used spray bottles. You can get them at the dollar store for 3/$1.00. Pick up a pack of liquid food coloring. A few drops in the bottles and fill with water. Now go out and paint your white canvas of snow.  The more bottles you use the more colors you can come up with. Mix and match colors for new color combinations. Here is a home school tip. What colors can you make with what combinations of food coloring drops? Red and yellow make what? All depends on the age. Your white canvas will soon look like a bunch of hippies took over your yard with a tie-dyed commune and your snowman will look out of this world. FYI, special note, a friend whom I trust with advice and her word on issues like this, is Guardia has been showing up in snow. We had to tell our kids not to eat snow this year as a result.  It is a waterborne illness and can cause death. Additionally if you use yellow as a color in the bottle, well lets just say you HOPE the yellow snow was the food coloring if they ate it.  


Awesome indoor fun. Note, I do not recommend the food coloring. The more kids play with it, the more the coloring works into the skin. May have some smurfs running around.  We roll our wax paper and let the kids have different utensils to play with it on the table. Spoons, forks, rolling pins etc. Here is the recipe and a video on what it should look like. Also a science lesson for you homeschoolers.


Mega tinker toys

In warmer months, go to your local home improvement store. Buy 20 or so ½ inch 8 foot lengths of PCV pipe, a contractor bag ½ inch fittings, 4 way, 3 way, 90⁰ angles. Cut the pipes into 1, 2, and 4 foot lengths. If you have a PVC pipe cutter (looks like ratcheting pruners) it is easier. Now turn the kids loose. Let them build all kinds of designs and structures. Add a few tarps and you have a never ending design of forts, castles, hideouts, and caves.

Once they are tired of that, usually takes a month or two, buy a connection fitting to connect the PVC to your garden hose. Now you have water fun, or use a dremel with a super small drill bit and have a never ending unique water sprinkler activity set.

January conference just got cheaper!

SaveEveryone, Jack from The Survival Podcast just offered the MSB discount for $30 rather than the usual $50. If you are buying one ticket to the January conference you save $22.50 using the MSB discount PLUS all the MSB other discounts and free stuff. If you are buying 2 tickets you save $60.00 (total 2 tickets x $30.00). You are now DOUBLING your discount for spending the $30 PLUS all the free and discounted stuff from the MSB. If you are on the fence now might be the time to make a decision. The sale is only until December 15th.

Here is the link for the MSB details.

Here is the registration for the January conference.

Important dates for January sustainability conference

We were at the hotel yesterday finalizing all the details. We may have some surprises and bonuses for people who attend. More details to come.

December 20th This is the last day to get a discount on hotel registration for the class. Mention you are attending the conference for a special deal on the room rates.

 December 28th This is the last day to register for the class to have you property considered for the free design. You can register after that, but properties submitted may not be considered due to time needed for design.

 December 31st This is the last day to submit the questionnaire for property evaluation.

 No deadline for class registration, however there is limited space and once the class is full registration will be closed. There is also limited space in the hotel.

More details at


Being prepared isn’t a bad thing

Be Prepared LogoIn today’s society and current state of natural disasters being prepared isn’t a bad thing. Many people associate being prepared as being a “prepper”.  Would you call your grandparents “preppers”? Is that what you have in your mind as a “prepper”? I put it in quotes because so many people have a stereotype of what a “prepper” is, primarily based on TV, or the “reality TV” shows. Folks, this isn’t reality.

My grandparents stored canned goods under every bed, in closets, had a spare freezer, and kept jugs of water in a back bedroom. Granted they were retired and lived out literally in the sticks down a dirt road, at least an hour from a grocery store. There was the bait, tackle, gas station place down the road, but that was it. I used to stay with them in the summer when I was out of school. My grandfather hunted, fished, we had several gas cans always full, and gardens. I never thought this as being a “prepper”. This is how they lived. Later I learned they went through the great depression and stocked up when times were good, so that when time were bad they could still feed themselves and the family. They had “been there, done that” already and knew enough, that was a lesson learned.

I see today that they  have these sensationalized people on different reality shows talking about the end of the world and what they are preparing for. This is NOT reality, and NOT how many of these people really believe or act. Out of the 600 hours of taped material, careful editing, and down to 40 min of making people look like nut jobs the producers have done a great job of blurring reality. Would my grandparent be labeled today as nutjobs or “preppers” because they lived through hard times, and were just being cautious? Would they be labeled as preparing for the next great depression or total economic collapse?

I don’t consider myself a prepper. I am a homesteader, and I prepare my family for the unknown. Being prepared is not a bad thing. There are any number of natural disasters or situations that we may encounter in our lives that a little bit of extra planning or “preparing” would pay off. Even most disaster relief agencies state you should have 7-14 days of supplies on hand. No one knows what the future holds. Could we get a major earthquake here in Indiana? Yes. Do I think it is likely? I am not sure. Most of the houses and structures are not designed to withstand an earthquake of a large magnitude here. Having lived in California, where earthquakes are common, buildings are built more resilient. Could I have a tornado, flood, or ice store that could knock out my utilities for days? Yep.  Do I go around worrying about this? Nope. Why? Because, I have taken little steps here and they so that my family and I can be prepared for any number of situations, and it won’t majorly impact us. No power, not a problem. No water, not a problem. No Sewer, not a problem. No gas, not a problem.  How many in today’s society can say that? Many people flip out if there is no internet or power for 3-4 hours, let alone days or weeks.

When you go on a trip, you prepare by packing clothes and things you need for your trip. Maybe you get the car tuned up, pack some snacks, toiletries, and things you may need. Does that make you a “prepper” because you prepared for things you may encounter on your trip?

Friends and family make the joke when they come over, or things come up during conversations “Oh you are one of those prepper people aren’t you? What disaster are you preparing for?” I smile, say I prepare for the unknown. Then the comment is made “Well we will just come over to your house if something happens”. I smile again, and inform them that “While it may be a joke, I take my family’s safety seriously, and no you won’t. You will be met with a smile, a reminder you too should have been preparing for life events, and here is your go away bucket, you can take it and leave, or I can demonstrate our security for our home”. That usually ends the laughter and jokes. But it is a serious statement. We have made buckets with food, fire making materials, and water purification. “We like you, and that is why you at least get a bucket”. Do I ever think it would come to that? Probably not, but then again, I bet people of the great depression, hurricane Sandy, and hurricane Katrina thought it wouldn’t be that bad either.

Why do people mock being prepared? These are the same people who will come to your house because you did the work ahead of time. I believe it is fear. They don’t want to have supplies because then it is making their fear a reality, because “someone” will always be there to take care of them. Ask Katrina, or Sandy victims who was there and how much help they received. I also believe it is laziness. People just don’t want to put forth a little extra effort, as more and more today things are just handed to people, and handouts and aid are expected. Did you know that there is no requirement for any agency to respond to 911 calls? Think about that the next time you dial. The police, fire, ambulance etc, have no requirement to respond to your pleas for help. Thinking being a little more prepare is better option now?

If you think about Aesop’s fable of the ant and the grasshopper, being prepared  is no different. Except our modern story books have changed the ending so that everything works out in the end. Because there are always happy endings, right? The real story is the ant, allows the grasshopper to die in winter because he didn’t prepare for the long months ahead. The grasshopper was warned to start preparing for the winter months but didn’t heed the warning. Here is your warning. Rather than mock people for keeping a few extra canned goods, and gallons of water, maybe you should be doing the same. For most people I know who do keep extra food, water, gas, won’t want to share with the grasshopper who mocked them earlier. Granted in the true story the ant ate the grasshopper, but that is WAY beyond any sort of comparison.

People mock the prepared people stating, “Are you preparing for the zombies?” Truth of the matter is, we kind of are. A bunch of mindless people, cold, wrought with hunger and thirst, which move from house to house or town to town looking for handouts. The people who mocked those that prepared, they are the zombies. Have you ever seen photos of refugees, or disaster victims after the events? Resemble zombies from the movies. Does it sound crazy to store extra food and water knowing you live in an area that has a potential for natural disaster, or is it crazy to not heed the warning and advice for a potential natural disaster? Before you mock someone for being “one of those crazy preppers”, maybe you should ask, am I crazy for not keeping a few extra things around the house? The same people who mock, are the first to say they will be coming to your house. They call me crazy, but then they want to be the first in line to my house during the crazy time of a disaster?  All I can say is here is your bucket, grasshopper, now be on your way

1391797_568973436507889_510742523_nIf you are unsure where to begin, or feel completely overwhelmed, you are not alone. That is why I created the Be Prepared Series. I want people to take control of their own lives and not rely on the handouts from others. Be the ant not the grasshopper. I want to educate not castigate.

Insects – Why They Matter!

Insects – Why They Matter!.

Great article from fellow presenter Jason Akers.