Turning Preps into Cash

One thing that preppers are really good at is learning new skills for survival. But how many of us have ever tried earning an income from our knowledge? Forget about YouuTube, Patreon, and all those other internet headaches. Adding a home based business can supplement, and in some cases replace your pay check.

Selling Products

Experienced preppers produce goods. Growing produce, canning food, knitting warm mittens and scarves…these are just a few skills that could be put to work earning you cash. Over the years I’ve seen preppers open up online stores to sell soaps and salves, natural pet flea powder, and a lot of other homemade products.

Online stores are getting easier to set up with the tools provided by hosting providers. Once set up, it’s a matter of filling orders and collecting cash. They do cost a bit of money though, but it takes money to make money. We’re not talking about a huge investment here, your domain (website address) and hosting package (a place to run your website from) will cost you under $200 per year.

For those intimidated or inexperienced by the technology, local flea markets, farmers markets, church bazaars and the like are a good choice. Of course the time investment is greater, but the advantage is greater flexibility in what you can offer for wares. As an example, homemade jams or pickles are a great option for tabletop sales, but may not fair well being shipped out by mail or courier. These venues are often open on weekends and you can rent space for $5.00 to $20.00 on average for the day. A lot of communities have a Christmas Village set up in town for the holidays where you can rent a stall.

Selling Services

Offering services allows for customized sales. Blacksmithing is a great example. Many home blacksmiths offer standard fare such as coat hooks or candle holders, but will take orders for almost anything that can be forged from metal. Many also expand into knifesmithing.

A tree removal service is another popular choice for a prepper home business. This give the additional benefit of having a supply of firewood on hand for your own use or for selling. Combine this service with a small sawmill and you can also sell rough cut boards or larger beams that have become popular home decor items.

Teaching Others

Your skills are most likely transferable to others. Take advantage of this by offering classes or seminars either to groups or individuals. I’ve seen preppers open up archery ranges and offer lessons, range time and other fun events like archery tag. One prepper I know even opened up a very successful day camp for kids where he teaches basic bushcrafting and survival!

It doesn’t matter if you don’t create that home business that earns you millions, you can supplement your income and at least help pay for a few preps while becoming more self reliant.

Source: CPN Blog

My EDC Kit

Whenever I go somewhere further than an hour or so walk back home I, like many preppers, carry an EDC Kit. This is not intended to be a 72 hour survival bag, bug out bag, or get home bag. Just a small, easy to grab kit with a few items in it for those little issues that arise.

Let’s take a look at the complete packed kit.

EDC Packed

That’s it! Are you surprised at the size? EDC kits are not intended to be big. Packed as shown this kit measures about 6″ x 4″ x 4″. It’s small enough for me to not say “meh…I don’t need this bulky thing today”. Remember, easy to cary means you’re more likely to carry it. Also, not shown on the back are 2 belt loops for hands free transportation.

Now for the expanded view.

EDC Contents

This is what I carry as standard EDC.

TOP:

Baofeng UV5R with stock antenna, programmed with the same frequencies as all my radios.

Multitool with various screwdriver bits. Nothing fancy, just a decent Canadian Tire special worth about $30. This tool has lasted me over a decade with regular use. I have yet to see the value in spending $100 or more on fancy name brand multitools or pocket knives.

BOTTOM:

Rechargeable battery bank with USB cable. This can charge my flip phone twice from dead. The cable also can be used to recharge the battery bank from any USB port.

Flip Phone. Say what you want, it does what I need it to do which is make/receive calls and send/receive texts. They also cost a lot less month to month than an Iphone whatever they’re up to now.

12VDC auto accessory to USB port adaptor. Great for charging phones, battery banks, tablets, even the Boafeng with the right cable.

LED flashlight with spare 18650 battery. This thing just works. It throws light with an adjustable focus beam and a hi/lo setting. Lumens? Who cares as I’m not going to use it to light up a military target at 1000 yards!

I found that keeping my cell phone in the pouch makes me even more likely to grab the pouch on my way out the door. Full disclosure though, I usually have a folding pocket knife on me…a leatherman 154cm. They aren’t made anymore and it was a gift, so I can’t tell you how much it costs, but I would guess somewhere around $30-$40. It’s sharp, keeps its edge well, and is of perfectly acceptable quality.

So what’s in your EDC? Do you feel the need for the best, often most expensive gear or go more for the decent quality to price ratio stuff?

Source: CPN Blog

Get Ready For The Giveaways!

With the new year creeping into sight, we’re getting ready to give you lots of free stuff! We have teamed up with our sponsors to bring you a monthly freebeefor a full year of giveaways. Soon you will be presented with a popup when you visit the site announcing the giveaway item of the month and a simple form to fill out to enter. Your entry will be valid for the full year or until you win a prize (sorry, only one freebee per person is allowed).

You must register via the form in the popup to enter!

Januarys giveaway is already set to go, so keep coming back to get your chance at one of these fantastic prizes!

Source: CPN Blog

Making a List and Checking it Twice

Well here we go again with a weather warning! Honestly, this looks like a winter that’s going to have its challenges! Whenever we get weather warning around here I always seem to find myself running around checking on this and that. It can get frustrating to try to think of everything to get battened down before mother nature has her little tantrum.

I’ve decided to make lists. Different lists for different scenarios. This time it’s a weather warning that could end up with a power failure. Rather than trying to remember everything I need to do and the things I should do, I will be making a list of all the preparations that I want to get done when these warning occur.

Of course everyone’s list will be different, but there will also be some similarities. Keeping the rules of 3 in mind, I go through the most important items first. Let’s take a look in order of importance…

1 – Air – not much to deal with here. A weather warning is not likely to require a gas mask, but an air quality warning might get you thinking about N95 masks so get them handy if you think you might need them.

2 – Shelter – lots to think about here. Personally I need to bring in an ample supply of fire wood for heating. In addition, I plan to use propane heaters in my crawlspace to keep the pipes from freezing up. So testing the propane heater and topping up propane supplies goes on the list.

3 – Water – I draw water from a well, so no power=no water. This adds a few items to the checklist such as making sure potable water is on hand and possibly filling the bathtub. In addition to that, I can run my well pump from the generator. Add a test run and topping off fuel to the list.

4 – Food – well we will need to cook without the electric stove during an outage. We use a combination of a wood stove and propane camp stove. Let’s add refilling 1lb propane cans and testing the stove to the list. Wood was covered in number 2, so good to go.

5 – Safety – Lighting could be important so we’ll be adding that to the list by making sure all rechargeable lights and batteries are charged and working. Exterior safety can also be an issue for this type of scenario, so we’ll also make sure we have enough ice salt and anti skid material on hand.

6 – general day to day stuff – I’ve been made fun of for suggesting this before, but I think it counts. Get your daily crap like dishes and laundry done. You don’t need to head into a multiday power outage with dirty dishes in the sink and your favorite woolies in the hamper.

Organize your lists in a first needed basis. Obviously if you need to charge up batteries, get this going first. They can charge on their own while you do other things. Don’t forget to check the TO DO list also. There may be minor projects on there that if completed could help you through.

THink of different scenarios, both advertised such as weather related issues, and not advertised such as EMP or other such event. What can you do in the first minutes, hours and days? Writing it down and creating a physical paper copy checklist can help you keep calm, cool, and organized when you need to be at the top of your game.

Source: CPN Blog

Ordering Seeds in these changing times – Guest Post by Farmgal

This post is tailored more towards those that have land, bigger gardens and for homesteaders that are growing to fill their jars, cellars, pantry’s and keep their families bellies full for up to a year or two.

Its not going to be quite as applicable to smaller scale gardens that can be covered more easily, still have drip lines or are watered well as a square foot garden would be.

With the rising costs of fruit/veggies in the store and the increase in recalls, you might also find that extra veggies produced will have very good re-sale or barter value in the coming years!

As will proven quality saved seed!

Want to know what I will be spending more money on this year..

Seeds, so many more seeds. I am going crazy on the seeds, I know it, hubby just blinks hard at me, catalog come in, friends connect and community seed savers and I are chatting.

I am ordering in short season seeds and I hope they are going to help me get two season’s in the gardens. I used to plan for a three season garden, but I am officially saying NOPE.. in the past five years, I have not gotten a single three season garden and with the coming flip of the el Nino, there is no end in sight.

I say two season now because either the first season starts so soon in the spring that come regular garden season, its high drought or it’s flipped and is a flood spring and the back-end is changing as well.. we have more fall rains making it harder to save seed, harder get harvests done and then throw in early hard frosts. Sorry folks, other than in greenhouse or double hoop house growing..

I am calling it.. my farms ability in the first ten years we were here to grow three season cropping is DONE.. so be it.. two season it is..

Adapt people.. It’s the name of the game!

The reason I am pouring of the seed catalog is because I am looking for seeds that

  • Start in cold wet soil
  • Seeds that will start well in pots
  • Continue to produce well in hot dry conditions
  • Set seed in cool temps
  • Set seed in hot temps
  • Produce after light frosts
  • Shorter crops heights
  • Higher crops that produce dense cover

See where I am going with this? If you are garden already you know why that list but for those new at gardening.. lets break that list down a bit of you.

Starting in cold wet soil.. welcome to spring floods or the cold spring evening temps.. both of them can be worked on with seeds that can still be gotten in cold damp soil. both of which are hard as heck on new little seedlings.. they tend to get cranky about both of these!

Seeds that start well in pots (look to the plants that are being set up as “container gardening” It may seem silly if you are planting out half an acre or a full acre in garden to want to have certain plants that grow well in containers.. I am after them two-fold.. One because if they are in pots out in the garden area, they can be pulled if needed into shelter for seed saving even if the rest of the crop fails and second if they are meant to be started in pots, then they will be good to start in the greenhouse in pots and transfer out if required.

A lot of the plants I have grown for many years do good in a normal summer but are struggling hard in these hot summers.. I have had crops that are normally heavy producers just sit there in holding waiting for the cooler fall temps and rains to come and then they explode and for a few years, it worked, the falls were long enough that I was still getting crops in.. but then in the past two years.. hard short sharp frosts with early winters have really messed with that!

Seed saving is a huge part of my gardening and I have had way to many losses in the past couple years.. seed heads that didn’t fill (see the above, nothing like getting the crop and going YES! WHOOT< only to realize that you have these then 5% of your seeds set out of dozens and dozens of winter squash)  Or growing an amazing crop of beans but watching it rain daily for weeks, and finally bringing them in to hang and running heaters to still lose your most of your “seed crop”

So in keeping with that, seed saving times are getting much more tight and I am hunting down types that will set in cool temps and types that will set in high/dry temps. Yes I know that the dry/high will have a lot less yield but that’s fine..

Its happening more and more often that we get lighter frosts earlier in the season, I had friends that took frosts in aug, our normal frost dates are in oct.. so its important to make sure a lot of our heavier calorie crops can take some light frosts without falling over like a wilted lady who needs smelling salts!

Shorter Crops Heights.  I am sure you all know that I am going to say wind, o those crazy high winds and working with swells and planting in created micro climates. Can’t get certain crops to produce in a standard garden. Look to your food forest and get those annuals intermixed, get some wind protection, while still getting edge sun on them.

Crops that will grow tall, have dense cover.. What can I say, no point in just slapping shade over your greens or others that need less sun, does a shade cover produce food or medical use.. nope..  but if you do your research, you have plants that can grow to give you wind cover, shade cover and if luck is good.. they will produce food for you.. if no luck and they get beat up, if they do their job, your calorie dense root veggies that needed some help from the high heat will grow well and be worth the extra work.

I am not bringing in a years worth of these seeds either, I am buying at least three seasons worth at a time, I will give each plant I pick a true test, If they do well, great I will intermix the seeds and plant again, if they do poor, I can start with the pure new seed for another two years.

Learning your garden plants is a dance and it takes longer then one year to know if they are a go. These guys will get 3 years to prove their worth or they will be removed.  I have types and seeds from what I have been growing that are NOT making the grade!

If you have limited space or limited time or limited water and lists go on.. consider forage for your greens needs, consider your area for forage for your wild fruit harvest and focus on calorie dense crops in your garden space combined with your favorite herbs in pots and make sure your “flowers” are medical/pollination plants that will keep and grow your native bee populations.

While its still worth it to have some “hard stone”  fruit trees, give more space to your canes and to rhubarb.. they are going to be your work horses on bad years..  they are as tough as they come..

Best of luck on your own seed hunting.. be brave.. step outside your comfort zone, step outside your local feed store or home hardware center that sells the same 50 types of seeds across the whole country..

Get Small Farm Canada’s Seed Guide to all the seed houses across Canada and happy reading!

Please take the time to visit Farmgal’s blog, 
Just another Day on the Farm

Source: CPN Blog

Goal Zero Torch 250 Review

Some time ago I was sent a Goal Zero Torch 250 for review.  Full disclosure:  it was sent free of charge.  I must say that when I was first contacted by a Goal Zero distributor about reviewing a product I never expected to be sent a flashlight.  Let’s face it, this is NOT what Goal Zero is known for!  However I was optimistic that they had come up with a way to integrate a handy light source into a power storage unit.

Let’s begin by taking a tour of the unit…

The Torche 250 sports 3 light sources.  An LED spotlight with high or low settings, a multi LED floodlight with high or low settings, and two red LED emergency lights with solid on or flashing settings.  For charging options there is a build in USB cable that is not replaceable, a small 0.8 watt solar panel, and a hand crank dynamo.
On the bottom of the unit are 3 pushbutton switcheds for the 3 light features, a USB output port, 2 fold down hooks for hanging, and 4 LED lights as a charge indicator.

Of course the first thing I wanted to look at was the actual battery life vs the advertised battery life.  To do this I simply turned the unit on and watched for it to go out.  Here are the results.

Spot light on high setting:
Advertised – 7hrs
Actual – 10 hrs

Flood light on high setting:
Advertised – 22 hrs
Actual – 11 hrs

Goal Zero claims a charge time of 5 hrs from a USB source, which is just about on the mark.  As you can see however, the battery life estimates are completely out of whack!  As for charging via the built in solar panel or hand crank, the estimates given by Goal Zero were so poor (23 – 46 hours for solar and 1 minute of cranking for 2 minutes of light) that they don’t warrant testing.  It should be noted that I was able to charge the light using an external folding 10 watt solar panel and the built in USB cable in about 5 hours of direct sunlight.

SInce Goal Zero is known for solar power generation and storage, I decided to check out a few devices I would want to charge or power up in real life.  I was able to charge my flip phone twice with a full battery and I could also run a small QRP ham radio for several hours.As for todays popular smart phones, I have no idea as I do not own one and hopefully never will.

What I liked:
I love rechargeable lights, so as such it is simply OK, but has limitations as you will read lower down.

What I didn’t like:
Limited recharge options.  The solar and crank options are all but useless and the built in USB cable looks cheap and prone to general wear and tear.  Remember, it is built in and therefor not replaceable.

The fold out hooks for hanging are small and limit yuor options for placement.  For example they would not fit around a standard shower curtain rod to help see where you are “going”.

The operating temperature rating is from 0c to 40c.  Not Canada friendly.

The price.  At $110 CAD from MEC (others may sell for more or less) this is one expensive flashlight!

All in all the Torch 250 missed the mark on many levels.  I had hoped for a power storage unit with a lighting option, but was disapointed.  Look for better options.

Source: CPN Blog

How Does a Hand Crank Emergency Radio Work? – Guest Post By Danny Major

How Does a Hand Crank Emergency Radio Work?

Article kindly provided by Danny Major of Alpha Survivalist
Hand crank power generation has been around in one form or another for decades, so it hardly surprising that this relatively simple technology would eventually become so mainstream that it would become a main feature of all the best emergency weather radios.
Power outages are common in hurricanes and during powerful storms, so having a weather radio at hand that doesn’t need to be powered by the grid or disposible batteries can be an absolute life saver, literally!
But how do these radios work, and why are they truly so valuable?

The Principles of Hand Powered Generators

Hand crank radios, also known as windup radios and emergency radios, use hand powered generators to function. This means that, while the radio still requires a flow of electricity through all of its components to be capable of capturing and decoding radio signals sent by transmission stations, the energy converted to electricity is actually the kinetic energy generated by the user’s own hands.
The basic principle is the following: by creating a certain movement, you move around a magnet or a coil inside the radio or generator. This movement creates a changing magnetic field which generates an electric current between the two connectors of the coil, leading to power generation similar to what you’d find in a battery. That electrical energy is then used to power the radio’s circuits and speaker.
This principle is the same as the one used in power plants, except instead of using the energy derived from burning coal, moving rivers or nuclear reactors, the relatively small generator used to power a hand crank radio just uses your hand’s movements.
The mechanical makeup of a hand crank generator ensures that, as long as it’s cranked up, it will keep working for as long as its components can function. However, to add additional measures to ensure that the generator keeps working under any condition, many manufacturers also add solar panels and rechargeable batteries that keep everything going for a longer time, even if you can’t crank up the radio as frequently as you’d like.

Storing Energy for Hand Crank Radios

The surest way to ensure that a hand crank emergency weather radio keeps working is to add more than one means of providing it with energy or storing electrical energy. A few of these methods can include the following:
·         Some hand crank radios use complicated mechanical systems to prolong the movement and keep the magnetic field fluctuating for as long as possible. So the radio literally winds up and slowly unwinds, like a mechanical alarm clock.
·         Solar panels can be used to top off the energy once the radio runs out of kinetic energy. If you have to leave it in the other room and you don’t crank it for a while, using a solar panel as a backup can be really handy.
·         Rechargeable lithium ion batteries and large capacitors that can store electrical power in a similar fashion to a battery can also be used to keep storing the electricity for a while longer.
These principles and ideas are behind the functionality of all the emergency radios you see on the market.
So, whether you need a cheap radio or the most advanced one you can get your hands on, make sure that it uses the best means of power generation, before you consider buying it.
Author Bio: Danny Major is the owner of Alpha Survivalist, a relatively new website about survival and emergency preparedness. He is a former reconnaisance soldier in HM Armed forces so he knows a thing or two about concealment.

Source: CPN Blog

Discussion on Wartime Farm Part 1

As we get into the series, there is one theme that sticks out to me.  All preppers have heard the term WROL or without rule of law.  The idea being that when SHTF, government bodies will cease to exist.  If we stop to think for a moment though, we may realise that this may not be the case.  Imagine the preps you could set up with access to billions of dollars.  Trust me, if any entity has prepared to survive most anything, it is the government and they are set up not only to survive, but to keep control over the military and law enforcement.  A more likely scenario in SHTF would be EROL or excessive rule of law.

We see this in the series with the introduction of the “war ag”.  An agency set up with special powers to actually tell farmers what to grow and what not to.  There are stories of farms in the UK being taken over by the government due to lack of cooperation or under production.  Todays government is no different with the powers to take possesion of property for the use of the “greater good”.  I can’t guess how many times I’ve heard preppers complain about this, perhaps without keeping the scope in mind.  It is doubtful that your preps, even a year’s supply for a familly would be considered even a drop in the bucket of what is needed.  Just like you would not want to bother spending a day of hard labour for minimum wage, the government is not likely to be bothered searching your home for the low return of resources.  Producers are the more likely target.  In the case of this series, farms are highlighted, but factories were also confiscated and retooled for weapons and other military production.

With raw materials in short supply, old machinery is put back into use by repurposing the materials they are made from.  We see a subsoiler fashioned out of scrap metal, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work.  There is an important lesson here in that even with skills such as blacksmithing, projects may not work out as planned.  Preppers have to be prepared for failure as well and be able to bounce back and make the best of the situation.  In some cases, failure was almost a certainty but the efforts were made in spite of this. 

Throughout this series we will see many topics raised that can relate to how a current day SHTF situation may affect our lives.  Feel free to comment with your observations and thoughts.

Source: CPN Blog

Canada Has Gone To Pot

For those of you that are expecting some politically charged rant post, you will be disappointed!  You all should know me better than that by now!

WARNING
THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS CORNY INNUENDO

Preparedness bloggers and youtubers have been saturating their mediums over the past week over the legalizastion of recreational pot.  I’m only aa little surprissed at how this topic has come up with such gusto in the preparedness community.  Across the country pot heads are rejoicing!  
Medical Mary Jane has been available in Canada since 1999 with lots of restrictions and a prescription.  The medical benefits have been well documented and the whaky weed does indeed have it’s place for certain conditions.  However, unlike antibiotics preppers have not had access to pot until now.  Preppers now have a new LEGAL natural medication for their medical tool kits.
The diggity dank can be used for pain management, increasing appetite, and as an mental escape for PTSD.  All legitimate uses for post SHTF situations.  Marijuana is a plant that is harvested and dried for smoking.  Preppers from coast to coast are making plans for producing and stockpiling this magical plant.  This is where I have a problem with most of the information being distributed by preppers who are supposed to be “in the know” about what they publish.  The problem is, most are giving out false or incomplete information.  I suspect some of them are getting high on their own supply!
Although it is the federal government that passed legalization, there are limits to the federal laws and in many cases even more so on a provincial and even local level.  As an example, before you head out to buy bulk pounds of pot, keep inn mind that you are limited to 30 grams of public possesion.  That’s gonna make for a lot of trips to the weed store to get your cache fully stocked.  Another legal limit is 150 grams per household, regardless of how many individuals reside there.  So long term storage of massive amounts is NOT allowed!
Most preppers produce a lot of their own food by gardening, so it stands to reason that those with green thumbs (and green brains) would start growing their own.  Federally, this is legit to a point.  You may be allowed to grow your own, but before you go plowing up the back acres, know that you are limited to 4 plants per household.  That’s the federal law, but some provinces have outlawed the practice of home grown herb altogether.

Stockpiling and/or producing stinkweed has also been discussed as a bartering item.  Personally, I’m not a big fan of bartering addictive substances for barter.  It has the potential to invite problems, but this is a personal choice you have to make for yourself.  If you believe the hype that ganja isn’t addictive, think again.  Ignoring the “professional studies” I have been able to observe the 420 friendlies who have hit dry spells.  Believe me, some of them are going to get quite ingenious and even agressive in their attempts to score a puff! 

The decision whether or not to grow, aquire or stock pile pot is completely up to you.  Like everything else, there are pros and cons in doing so.  All I ask is to ignore the blunt hype some preppers are pushing and do your own research on benefits, dangers, uses, and legalities.

Source: CPN Blog

Fall Wood Stove Prepping

The signs are all around us.  The air is cooler, the leaves are falling, and the farmers markets are bursting with fresh local prrocuce!  That’s right, it’s Fall which means Winter is right around the corner.  As a matter of fact, many of us have probably already burned a fire or two in the wood stove on a particularly cool night.

Since we are so close to ussing ouur wood stovves on a more regular basis, let’s take a look at some important items on the to do list.

  1. Clean Chimney – either DIY or call a professional, but DO NOT omit this step.  Even burning only dry hardwood in your stove can deposit dangerous amounts of creosote in your chimney which can ignite if left unchecked.  Despite the claims of numerous products on the market, there is no substitution for a thorough chimney sweeping.  Sweep the chimney in the fall before heavy use, and a second cleaning on a warmer winter day can’t hurt either.
  2. Check and replace Door gaskets.  Loose or overly compacted door gaskets can cause too much air flow to enter the stove causing excessily hot fires and essentially disabling dampers.  Replacement gaskets are inexpensive and come in a kit with heat resistant glue for a simple DIY job.  Many stove owners replace gaskets every fall as a preventative measure.  If your stove has a window in the door, check and replace that gasket too.
  3. Check and replace fire bricks.  Look for cracked or broken fire bricks and replace as needed.  If a broken brick falls out of place, it can cause a hot spot on the stove and increase the fire risk in your home.
  4. Physically clean and inspect your stove.  Dust settles on stoves and needs to be removed.  Clean every inch of your stove front to back, top to bottom removing any dust or dirt and looking for cracks or open seals on the stove especially around the seams.  Try putting a light source in your stove and checking for light escaping on the outside.
  5. Clear the area around your stove of clutter.  Ensure that all flamable materials are a safe distance away. 
  6. Ensure that a fire extinguisher is close by and has been inspected.  Call your local fire department for information on what size to have and where to get them inspected.
  7. Use creosote preventing products.  As mentioned in item 1, these are NOT an alternative to proper sweepings, but can help lessen the amount of creosote that deposits on the chimney walls.

Have a happy and safe winter.
Source: CPN Blog