Sunday, September 27, 2015


Super blood moons, the shemitah, the idiot behavior of secular leaders, aggressive foreign governments, the threat of pandemics, signs, symbols, and portents, and you’ve got the last days folks. Oh, I don’t mean it’s the end of days.

I mean, that no matter who you are or what you believe, your days are numbered.

Deal with it.

“Why you always getting ready for the apo[p]alypse, YaYa.” Conner (age 8) wanted to know.

“Because I watch the ‘Walking Dead,’ kid. That’s why.”

It was a joke, kind of.

Actually, I’m a prepper because I’m not stupid and experience has taught me and I have learned and that makes me teachable.

My grandparents lived through the great depression in Chicago, Illinois. My grandfather watched business men jump to their deaths in the financial district. He thought it was people throwing garbage out of the windows. The depression changed them. They saved string, tinfoil, paper, Kentucky fried chicken buckets, and silver coins, which they buried in the backyard in an ammo box.

When I was child, my father came home from his job at Cape Canaveral in the middle of the day. He and my mother sat at the Formica kitchen counter discussing whether or not they would be joining the evacuation of Florida because of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The world teetered on the edge of nuclear devastation. They opted to stay in our home on Rose Marie Drive in Titusville and ride it out. Besides A1A was a parking lot, jammed with cars of South Floridians trying to escape. It was too late to leave.

When I was a young mom, hurricane Andrew flattened South Florida. My husband went with members of our church to help with the cleanup. He came home talking about honeybees. When the relief workers sat down to eat their lunches, bees swarmed their sodas looking for sugar. There were no flowers left. The hurricane had blown all the flowers away.

Ten years ago, hurricanes crisscrossed our state, forming a kind of giant X on the map where they all intersected. We lived at the center of the X, and X absolutely marked the spot.

I have watched the devastation of hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, wars and rumors of war on my television, and I’m not so arrogant to believe that it could never happen to me and mine. Of course it can.

So, I pay attention. I don’t panic. I don’t run to the mountains to hole up in my underground bunker. (What bunker? What have you heard?) Slowly and surely, I add a few things to my food storage every month, preparing for whatever ill wind may blow through. That’s all.

“Be prepared.”  It’s the Scout motto and a good one.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Water....a few last thoughts!

Image result for free images of disasters 
Which might affect you and your family?? 
And, I can think of a few others off the top of my head. Hurricanes, gas leaks, fire, chemical spills, etc.

So, what about water?? What's the big deal? If you REALLY want to find out why it's a problem, do a small experiment in the safety and fallback of your own home. Turn off your water source and try to live a "normal" life for just one day. We use our fresh, clean, readily available, water ALL the time. Get up and take your shower, use the potty, brush your teeth, get a glass of water...this is just the first 15-30 minutes of YOUR day...not that of your spouse or family. If water is gone...not just CLEAN water, but water....what will you do??
Here are some ideas to get you thinking and hopefully researching how you will solve your problem. And, here is a huge tip...don't put all your water "eggs" in one basket. Have a backup to your backup to your backup!

**Do you know how heavy water is?? Planning on taking your 55 gallon drum with you if you had to leave your home? It weighs just under 500 lbs. when it is filled! That baby isn't going anywhere unless you have it on a trailer, ready to go! A 30 gallon container weighs 264 lbs. and a 15 gallon one weighs in at a mere 133 lbs! 

**Here are some ways to clean water. Do you have any of them?
   **Boiling water (do you have a heat source?)
   **Chlorine dioxide tablets and water drops 
    **Chlorine bleach
    **Filtration (Big Berkey Water Filter, Katadyn water filter, Lifestraw water filter, SteriPen, etc.)
**Places to get emergency water (rainwater, fire hydrant, hot water tank...some of these will need special tools)

**Do you use or own a well? If the electricity is off, how will you pump water?? Think about investing in a hand pump. You can hook your well pump up to a generator...however, when the gas runs out, then what?

**Some of these ideas are good to research for DIY options. We've made a "Berkey" type water filter from food grade water buckets and chalk filters. It's what has been used in places like Haiti to clean their water. Easy to transport and inexpensive!

What did Col. Kennedy use? They had water sources, but here is an example of a "natural" way to help clean your water. But, it also needs pre-planning to have the items you might need like charcoal, sand, etc.  This is something you would use in the event that all other sources had dried up! :)

 Image result for free images of charcoal water filters      Image result for free images of charcoal water filters

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Mindy’s been talking about water and water got me to thinking about carrying water and carrying water has me thinking of buckets, and what if water didn’t flow out of my faucet or into my tub with a twist of a handle, and I had to carry it from here to there; how would I do it?


Or build a Roman aqueduct.

But buckets seem a more reasonable solution.

One of the truly delightful consequences of writing a novel like Beyond the Strandline is the opportunity to play the “what if” game. It’s eye opening.

What if the water stopped? Tess Lane and her sisters carry water from their deep water well in buckets, catch water in rain barrels, and are constantly boiling water to keep it and their surroundings clean. Water from a safe well would be safe as long as the containers used to transport it were clean.  

Three days without water and it’s a done deal and not just any water, clean water, water that would need to be boiled to be drinkable if it were from an open water source: creek, pond, river, lake. According to, open waterways contain: “The hardy giardia and other disease-causing bacteria, known generally as coliform bacteria, can survive outside the body for months, spreading water-borne disease from animals or humans. Several common culprits cause symptoms that may range from mild indigestion to diarrhea, dehydration and death.”

Yucky. And that's an official prepping term.
The closest place I can think of to get water in an emergency would be the swampy area at the back of our property. A little digging and we would have a mucky pond, but that’s not next to my kitchen sink. Believe me. I’d need a bucket and not just any bucket but a bucket that could be kept clean, really clean: germ resistant, heat resistant, drop-on-the-ground resistant.

Plastic. Galvanized. Ancient. Battered. I took a good look at the buckets we use around the farm and realized that I wouldn’t trust them to put mud in, let alone my water.

Plastic buckets are inexpensive, but they don’t hold up. They crack and aren’t very sturdy.

And galvanized buckets corrode, good for feed, seed, and eggs. I’m not sure a corroded bucket would be my first pick for carrying my family’s water.

I’m thinking that a seamless, stainless steel bucket would be best, the kind of buckets recommended for milk, the kind you could sterilize, food grade. Milk buckets are made without seams so that there’s no place for the germs to grow. They’re designed to stand up to heat. Could I boil the water in the bucket? 

It’s settled. I’m going to do some more research and find out more about buckets.

It’s what happens when you write books; you start to think about things you might not have thought about before. Like buckets. How handy they can be. How much you’d miss them if you didn’t have one when you needed it.

And if you did have a big enough bucket to drag water back to the house then what would you boil the water in? Tea kettles. Too small. Wash tubs. Too big. Cast iron . . . hmmmm . . .  

And so it goes. Before you know it, you have a novel . . . or some new buckets.

Linda (Bucket Brigade) Zern

Monday, September 14, 2015

....another kind of help from your friends....

From the beginning people have asked the question, "How did Col. Kennedy know to get prepared and how did he do it"?

Image result for preparedness quotes

This past weekend in my end of the woods (central NC) there was an "Emergency Prep/Food Storage Fair"...and, the sign said ALL WELCOME! I grabbed another like minded friend and off we went. It was AWESOME...especially if you were just getting into being prepared. Here are some of the booths they had: Gardening (with free seeds!), How to build a 3 month supply, Canning and Dehydrating (with totally tasty samples of jerky from chicken, beef, pork, turkey, and deer), Beekeeping, 72 hr. kits for men, women, children and the elderly, Fire building, Ham Radio, with several others and the most wonderful display of a Food Storage Pantry! Another great thing was they had classes to give a bit more instruction from the displays they had on their tables. One really helpful thing they did was to have a table with food samples from your Pantry....the tricky stuff (oats, wheat, rice, etc.)! Like, what do you do with Wheat Berries? I don't like "mushy" foods like oatmeal and cooked wheat berry cereal, which makes my wheat limited in how I can use it! They cooked a Wheat Pudding....sounds icky, doesn't it?? It was AWESOME! I'm pickier than most kids and I really liked it. Not too sweet, not too mushy....just right. That one new tip for me was worth the hour drive!

So, what does this have to do with Col. Kennedy?? Where do you think he learned his skills?? Where did he find "like-minded" people like Gwen and the others? What kind of people know where to find the "weird" stuff we preppers need? Look around your area. Google Self Reliance Expo Fairs. Take your notebook and start asking questions. Preparedness people LOVE to share what they know and are usually happy to help in any way they can!

Have more questions? Let us know!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

With a Little Help From My Friends

In the novel, BEYOND THE STRANDLINE, the character of Col. Kennedy creates an oasis of
preparation and stability at the S-Line ranch and then he invited others to be part of it. He understood the importance of building a family.

It isn't just about having a stash of food and water; almost as important is to build a human support structure around your family, people of like mind that will be there when you need them. It's as important as rice and beans.

After hurricane Andrew flattened South Florida, members of my church pushed open their bathroom doors and walked from inside to outside. Their bathrooms and utility rooms, where they'd taken refuge, were the only parts of their homes still standing.

There was nothing left: no phone, water, food, shelter, transportation . . . nothing.

A church leader in one neighborhood, standing in a community he no longer recognized, comforted his neighbors, "Don't worry. My friends are coming."

His neighbors said, "You can't possible know that."

But he did, because he was a member of a support system and a good one, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that he knew had trucks loaded and ready.

Do your part. Be part of a support system. Band together with those of like mind. Do it before the crisis.

Members of my church in Sierra Leone discovered how important it was to have someone in their corner when they were devastated by a deadly outbreak of ebola. Read the article. Know that if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.


FROM THE ARTICLE:  "To prevent the further spread of the disease, in September 2014 the president of Sierra Leone announced a nationwide lockdown to begin in just a few days. During the lockdown, all citizens would be required to remain indoors. Most people would have to make do with whatever food they had in their homes.

Monday, September 7, 2015

WATER...easy ideas for prepping!

Image result for free water storage picturesImage result for free water storage pictures
Image result for free PETE bottle picturesImage result for free water bottle pictures    Here are some different sizes of containers you can use to store water. The top left is a 55 gallon drum with a spigot (usually bought online from "prep" type stores like Emergency Essentials), top right is 5-7 gallon containers (can get from Walmart, and notice that they stack??), bottom left picture you can get anywhere! The bottom right picture....recognize the containers?? (it's a secret!)

 Remember in our last post, we talked about a minimum of 2 gallons per day, per person. These are a couple ways to approach the problem. I have used just ordinary 1 gallon water jugs from the grocery store. These are straight from the store with their "seal" on them. I put them in my bathroom closet and they lasted 3 years there before 1 sort of leaked. I have replaced the water in them twice with no problems.  My favorite are DeerPark gallons, which are stack-able if you can get the cardboard they are shipped in. Each week I picked up several until I had the amount I needed for my family. I also buy the water bottle cases from Costco that are now stacked in my pantry and marked "For 72 hr. Kit Use ONLY". Recently I had a friend find me a couple used 55 gallon drums (food grade ONLY) a garage sale. She cleaned and scrubbed them well and they are ready to use. The difference in price?? $4 each at the garage sale, and around $90 new. HOWEVER, I was saving my money to purchase them new because I felt it was worth the cost to have a couple of these filled and ready for use in an emergency. Last, but not least, is the "secret" picture. They are PETE bottles, being "re-purposed". The picture shows them filled with food, but they are great for storing water. PETE is a label (grading the plastic) which means it is FOOD GRADE (check the bottom of the container and your should see it imprinted). Once washed well they are reusable for food or water. We use soda bottles, juice bottles in various sizes, even reuse our 20 oz. soda bottles. They are FREE!! And, you're helping the planet :) Make a goal this week to bring in enough water for your family for ONE day.