Wednesday, October 28, 2015


“So, Mom, how’s the bomb shelter under the barn coming along?”  Sounds of random tittering accompanied the question. “Where you hiding the dirt?”

“What makes you think I’m going to tell you, you mockity, mock, mockers?”

“Because we have your grandchildren.”

True. When I store food, plan for emergencies, and imagine various disaster scenarios it’s not the adults that I think about. It’s the children.

I have eyes. I watch cable news. I can see what’s happening everywhere around the world.

I can read. I know history. I am under no illusions that this country ‘putting a man on the moon’ a long time ago is some kind of lucky charm against trouble and upheaval. I’m not that arrogant.

This country is one good trucker’s strike and seventy-two hours away from anarchy and real hunger should the food disappear from that Walmart down the road. I have twelve grandchildren. They need me to be thinking ahead.

They need me to be smart about prepping for potential trouble. Our children need the adults in their lives to be smart about the future.

In a recent article (The British People Preparing for the End of the World) from BBC News, I enjoyed the comments of one gentleman when asked to explain his prepping lifestyle. From the article . . .

His view, however, is that prepping is simply about remaining in control.

"It's not just about the end of the world, we prepare for everything - what would happen if you lost your job tomorrow? Would you have enough food and money to survive and provide for your family?"

The name Roach comes from Michael's YouTube channel, armouredcockroach, where he shares examples of his prepping with other people around the globe. He believes those who do not prepare are naive.

"When people say 'Roach, I can't believe you're a prepper', I reply with, 'I can't believe you aren't'. It's important we don't underestimate how quickly things could turn sour."

[He] admits he is taking it too far in the eyes of many, but he insists prepping is a broad concept and many of us are prepared whether we know it or not.

"You could put every spare penny you have in the bank for a rainy day, that's prepping. You could pay your mortgage off 10 years early. Whatever you decide you need to do to prepare for the future, that makes you a prepper."

I’m a prepper. I like the idea of “remaining in control” as much as that is even possible in this crazy world. I like knowing I have something to offer my family in times of trouble.

Don’t be silly; I’m not building a bomb shelter—yet.

Linda (Stock Up) Zern

Friday, October 23, 2015

PREPPER NEWS: Preparing for Solar Storms in the News

READ THE ARTICLE:  Most likely "grid collapse" scenario are solar storms that will overload our electrical grid. NOW is the time to prepare! The scenario is real. The novel is fiction. The story is thrilling and eye opening. #beyondthestrandline

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


“YaYa, I don’t want to learn how to make lip gloss. I want to learn how to make a fire,” Zoe told me. She was eleven.

“Yeah,” I said, “me too.”

So my granddaughter, Zoe, and I signed up to survive, wanting to be the cool girl in the novel with a few survival skills and the power of knowing a thing or two.

Last year, we spent a bit of time in the woods with Byron Kerns learning a little about surviving.

It was eye opening. And we did learn how to make a fire . . . and find water and make a temporary shelter and be smart about the woods and be prepared for emergencies and think like a survivalist and learn the importance of a positive mental attitude and . . .

There were important lessons before we even left home. Over the years, I’ve gathered up a lot of gear, buying a little here, a little there, for emergencies and such—like hurricanes, the end of the world, etc. Mr. Kerns’ class gave me a chance to take stock and sort through the collection. Half of the stuff I didn’t even recognize. A lot of it was silly or cheap. Too much of what I’d collected I didn’t know how to use.  

One of the important lessons I learned from the experience:  Bug out bags and personal survival kits are just that. Personal. Investing in some generic kit is fine, using a checklist is great, but at some point it’s important to think through an emergency scenario or two and personalize your efforts. What will you need to feel better?

For me it’s dry socks. I hate having wet feet and damp socks. It gets me down. For one of our instructors it was having dirty fingernails. She always includes a fingernail brush in her emergency survival kit. For some people it's Chapstick. What's your one special thing?

 It doesn’t have to a big thing, but it should be your own. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple stupid is an excellent motto when it comes to preparation.

Linda (Two Socks) Zern       

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Questions, Questions.....are there any answers??

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Start With Great Questions to Find Great Answ

One of the questions I had when reading "Beyond the Strandline" was about Tessla and her family. They are in the car going somewhere and know that there are threats everywhere. Did they leave their house with the "important" things? Items that would help them survive? How did her Dad figure out a safe way back to the Strandline after her Mom was taken?? Was he familiar with the area? Did he know different ways to get there??? 

Image result for free images of bug out bagsIf you don't want to get caught unprepared...
Then Prepare!

This is a good first step: Put together a "bug-out" bag. Or a "we broke down" bag, or a "it was good weather when we started" bag. Whatever you want to call it,  Just. Do. It. I have a friend who has awesome BOB bags in her vehicle. I haven't done that. But, what I have done is make a good "kit" that I keep in the car at all times. I have traveled a lot up and down the East Coast I-95 area. I've had a few close calls with wrecks, major traffic jams, broken down vehicles, etc. Each time something happens, I add to my bag. That's because I figured out I needed "this" and didn't have it! 

Here are the items I keep in my "bag": (not in order of importance)

  Baby wipes/clorox wipes
  Poncho/Emergency Blanket
  First Aid kit
  Glow Sticks
  Pepper spray
  N95 Mask
  Toilet paper
  Large garbage bag
  Pepper spray
  Gloves (work and medical)
  Hand warmers
  Hard candy

Most of this stuff can be found in your house right now, or at your local Walmart. Find a bag/bucket/ziplock, etc. and make it your next goal! It's not the BEST ever BOB...but, it'll help in a pinch and you'll have something to build on as you learn and gain experience. 

Southeastern United States

Next question? Why would this be helpful??

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Fridge . . . A Fridge . . . My Kingdom for a Fridge

Disasters come big and small.

This disaster is absolutely on the small side. Okay, so no one has marched into my village, spray painted a symbol for my Mormon faith on the side of my house, and slated my family for slavery and crucifixion . . . but . . .

Our fridge died—a first world problem—true. Still . . . these small moments of first world frustration can help us appreciate and even wonder about what the world is dealing with on a much, much larger and more horrifying scale.

How do they do it in a refugee camp of 100,000 people? Keep food from spoiling, that’s what. Feed 100,000 people every single day for years?

Our fridge died last Sunday. The new one won’t be here for a week. I’ve been tossing rotten food out for days. Actually, I’ve been feeding it to our small flock of chickens because I hate the idea of wasting so much food.

I made a huge family meal on Sunday, planning on eating leftovers all week. Not so fast. Monday morning the temperature inside the refrigerator read fifty degrees. It was a goner.

Food: It used to be an everyday activity. No leftovers tucked neatly into the electric icebox. No fast food. No doggie bags. Open a can of something. Eat a can of something.    

I looked it up. How long before the food I cooked yesterday or today would be in the “danger zone” without refrigeration?

Potentially hazardous food that stays in the temperature "danger zone", 40-140 °F (4-60 °C), for more than 2 hours should be discarded. Potentially hazardous foods are those foods that spoil most easily, such as unshelled eggs, raw meats, fish, shellfish, dairy products, almost all cooked foods.

I have a new appreciation for preservatives, and for Mindy's suggestion about an emergency box of food, for . . . you know . . . emergencies.

Linda (Modern Conveniences) Zern




Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Little Steps can mean a BIG difference!

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Google "free images for menu planning"

How are you doing with your menu planning? Have you written down a week's worth of meals? I put a piece of paper up on my fridge and I jot down the meal as I do it! I'm not good at planning ahead with exactly what I'm having for dinner. I usually look in the weekly flyers and see what's on sale and looks good. Here is one of my favorite menu planners. 

I can write down in the box what we had for dinner and then follow thru with ingredients below. It helps remind me I need to do that part, too. I keep working them until I've run out of my usual dinners. Then, I've got a good idea of what we REALLY eat and what I need to stock up on. 

If a "trial or disaster" of some type were to hit your family, would you like this pantry?

Image result for free images of empty food storage pantry                                                                                                

Or one that looks like this?? It takes work, but YOU can do it!
Image result for free images of food storage pantry

Saturday, October 10, 2015

When Food Isn't Easy Anymore!

My grandmothers (the regular grandmother, known as Big Gram, and the great grandmother known as Little Gram) were preppers: not on purpose or even by design. They just were. Food was a constant chore. Fast food was a luxury in the sixties, when I was a girl, and a novelty, something that you saved for a special weekend occasions. 

My grandparents ate three meals a day—at a table, together—morning, noon, and night, because they owned their own family business.

Someone (Big Gram or Little Gram) was always preparing to cook, cooking, or cleaning up from cooking. They made food. Their house was full of staples, the ingredients for cookies, not cookies from a bag. They always had a stockpile of basic ingredients on hand and only shopped for perishable items on a weekly basis: milk, eggs, and butter. Vegetables and meat they canned themselves.

They were always ahead of the food prep game. Of course, my Little Gram had been born when iceboxes were cooled with blocks of actual ice and they both lived through the Great Depression and WWII. They were survivors and unwitting preppers. In their experiences governments failed and the world caught fire—once in a while.

As I thought about these Danish immigrants in my heritage, I realized that prepping isn’t some new, silly fad; prepping is what you have to do when food isn’t easy. It’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle we may have to re-visit in some distant or not so distant future.

I take a lot of guff from the younger generation in my family about my efforts to stay ahead of the food prep game.

“So what have you been up to this week, Mom?  Digging a bomb shelter under the barn?”

Hardy har, har.

I just smile, count my number ten cans and remember my grandmothers peeling the stems on the broccoli and carefully chopping every single bit of the vegetable from the top to the bottom—wasting nothing. 

Linda (Prep Now) Zern     


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Prepping...the "Storms" of Life!

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 I’ve been watching the news this week following the path of the storm. Not the Tropical Storm, just the one that decided to settle over the Southeastern part of the US. While many were worried and paying attention to the possibility of a hurricane coming this way…the area was blitzed by a “mere” fall weather storm! Who could have imagined that there would be such devastation from it? Who could have imagined people needing emergency evacuation? Or that people would die from it? Life often brings about storms that we have no control over, but with a little “preparation” can weather  a bit better. How ready are you and your family for an unexpected emergency? Here are a few areas for you to work on in planning ahead.

-Bottled Water.  (I’ve mentioned this one a FEW times before J) Since the storm hit water has been the most needed item. Four days later the need is even greater. For each of your family members, store 3 gallons, per day, per person. (Did you know the average person uses between 80-100 gallons per day?)

-Canned Food. Something easy to open and something you COULD eat cold if necessary. Think PB, jelly, crackers, tuna, canned chicken, beans, spaghetti, etc. Ask each member what they would eat and store it. Put it in a box and leave it alone. Mark it “emergency food”. Next year, rotate it all into your regular storage and replace. Your crackers will be totally stale…feed them to the birds!

-Light. When the electricity is out it is SUPER dark. No street lights. No light coming from the neighbors house. Store several different types of light. IE: candles & matches, flashlights & batteries, lanterns, wicks, fuel. Lightsticks for the kids. It will make all the difference in an emergency.

Do SOMETHING. You may not have all you need, but anything you have will help!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

There will ALWAYS be a grocery store...what's the big deal??

Image result for how fast are stores depleted in an emergency free images

Did you know that it takes about 3 days for a grocery store to be completely depleted in an emergency? Or that most grocery stores have no "storage" in the back anymore? Have you seen grocery workers with their little "guns" clicking on tags where the item is either almost out or totally out? That process is what's known as "on time delivery". It's efficient. It keeps stores from having to keep stock in the back....with no money (product) just sitting around. It's really great, except when there is an emergency. What you see (or in an emergency, don't see) is what there is in the store. Have you ever tried to get bread and milk if there is a storm brewing in your area??

Wise and prudent people look ahead and plan. You may not be a "prepper" like in "Beyond The Strandline", but you may be feeling like it might be a good idea to put some items aside...just in case. Here are a few things to begin thinking about regarding food, in preparing for "just in case". 

Three Month Supply-I think this is the easiest place to begin. This is food you eat all the time. To begin, write down the meals you eat for the next week. Record breakfast, lunch, and dinner...including ALL that you eat. Don't just write down "Beef Stroganoff", include a veggie, noodles, bread, dessert, drinks. At the end of the week, take a sheet of paper and write down for each meal all the components of each meal. (IE: Beef Stroganoff- beef chunks, noodles, soup, broth, mushrooms, sour cream, spices, green beans, french bread, water.)  Do this for each week for one month. I make a very simple spreadsheet (handwritten!) with ingredients written down, putting like things together. (Meats, sauces, soups, veggies, fruits, etc.) If you use cream of mushroom soup for 3 meals, make sure you mark it down for each meal. Then, multiply by 3 and you have a "buying" sheet for a 3 month supply. Next, start watching for sales on your items and begin stocking! Try not to be overwhelmed...every little bit you do is a step forward. Here are a couple tips- (1) If broth is on sale and I need it this week for dinner...I buy one for my meal and at least one more to "put away". I don't touch that until I have enough for my 3 month supply. Then, I start rotating. (2) Put money aside from your regular grocery money to build your supply. Even $5 a week will eventually add up!

Before you know it, your pantry can look like this. Wouldn't that be comforting? And, bring peace if YOU had an emergency??

 Image result for food storage free pictures


Mindy’s got me thinking about water: the containers I need for storage, the amount of clean water I have ready for an emergency, sources for when the stored water runs out, and unconventional ways to collect water in an emergency.

Zoe, my eleven-year old granddaughter, and I went to a bona fide survival camp. We marched into the woods carrying our water, food, and shelter.

And then learned that survival is ninety percent positive mental attitude and a few important skills.

Water – It’s everywhere.

Our survival instructor showed us how to pluck water out of the air around us by making transpiration bags.

Transpiration is the process by which plants excrete water back into the natural system. Plants take in water through their roots. Leaves transpire excess water. Think leaf sweat. Heat and sun keep the process moving.  

Capturing the leaf sweat is as simple as tying a plastic bag onto a branch, putting a weight in the bottom of the bag (rock, pebble, or we used a chunk of metal from our tent gear) and waiting. Takes a while, so be patient. We set our bag up in the morning and had a glass of water in the afternoon. That's one transpiration bag. 

The water collected is pure and does not require purification the way water from an open water source (pond, ditch, stream) would.

Strain out any leaves and sticks with your handy dandy bandana (more about bandanas later) and drink up.

Linda (Full Glass) Zern