Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Halfway through writing book two of BEYOND the STRANDLINE, still working on the title, I realized how important details are in getting the story right.

In book two, I talk about the way Florida pioneers kept their yards free of grass and weeds. Cabins were surrounded by sand and dirt. There were a couple of reasons for this: one, to provide a natural firebreak around their wooden cabins, barns, and sheds, and two, so that it would be easier to spot the poisonous snakes that inhabit the semi-tropical state.


Grassy lawns are a modern day luxury. Think about it.

In a recent blog post, I talked about cast iron pots and how important the right cookware for open flames and high heat would be without the easy predictability and consistency of electric heat.

It made me do a bit of research on the subject: details.

What I learned. 

Cast iron needs to be seasoned. Rub it lightly with oil and heat in the oven until it smokes lightly. A detail I had not known before about cast iron is that storing a kettle or Dutch oven with the lid closed tight can make the oil go rancid and smell. I checked my pots and true. To fix it, wash, oil, and re-season.  Note: Some say soap is okay. Some say not.

Just make sure that you store the pots with the lids slightly askew so that air can circulate.


The stuff our grandmothers knew and quit telling us when we starting buying Teflon and Tupperware.

Linda (Good and Seasoned) Zern       


Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Buy a copy of BEYOND the STRANDLINE this weekend at the Author for Authors Book Fair and receive a FREE bandana for your go-bag. 9:30 - 4:30 Eau Gallie Civic Center, Florida

Monday, November 16, 2015

What do you know about FREEZE DRIED foods??

Image result for free images of freeze dried foods
Lots of variety

Have you ever wondered if you’d like to use FD foods? Wondered how and what?? Do they taste good, and do they really rehydrate and taste “mostly” like fresh or canned foods? For the most part, the answer is yes! Here are some tips from the Survival Mom book.   
*Do you use a lot of fruits and veggies? Jot down the ones you buy each week. Use these interchangeably with your regular recipes. These are tasty eaten right out of the can!
*You have a favorite pasta dish? You might try FD crumbled sausage (good stuff!), dehydrated onions, FD cheese (rehydrates like fresh). AND, that macaroni or spaghetti you already have in your pantry.
*What about staples? I don’t buy things pre-canned like sugar, salt, etc. But, I do like having small cans of baking powder, baking soda, etc. They are a bit bigger and store well.
*Emergency meals. FD just add water meals could be a lifesaver in an emergency. Many companies sell meals that can be cooked/heated in the original bag. I like these for my 72 hr. kits. BUT….they ALL taste differently. I’d buy the smallest size to try before buying a #10 can.
*Meats. They have come a LONG way in the last several years. Competing companies have helped bring more variety in the product itself and in packaging. If you have several casserole type meals…this is a great place to try out FD meats.
*Convenience. Some companies sell veggies packaged for soup. What an easy way to throw a dinner together….emergency or not!

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LOTS of different companies~
I have been building this part of my pantry for several years. I use them sparingly because of the expense.  I only buy what’s on sale, usually from Emergency Essentials. However, I have friends who use them all the time, saying it’s the easiest way to get food on the table.  The MOST important thing to remember about FOOD STORAGE is that it’s your pantry and your family. Build a pantry that can serve you!

Here's the link to THE SURVIVAL MOM's post about FD foods. 



I loved Mindy's bug-out-bag list for her car. I'm all about the lists and checklists, maybe it's that "making a list and checking it twice" lyric from Christmas time.

Anything that can help me take stock, organize, and make a list to work on, is right in.

Here's a website a fellow prepper posted on Facebook today . . . a lot of great checklists and advice.


Friday, November 13, 2015

You've got a Chicken, You've got a what??

In Linda's last post, she talked about the wonders of dutch ovens. They've been around forever and if taken care of properly can last generations. You can bet that Colonel Kennedy had thought ahead about this problem. And, had several different options!'re ready to cook something in your DO....what are some options? 

What about a Rocket Stove?? 
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These are a great way to cook your food. They can be simple and pretty cheap or not! As a prepper, you actually might want both. Remember...a back up to a back up! Here is the principle behind this idea-

Image result for free images of rocket stove

A simple rocket stove can be made for around $10-15, and is quick to put together. You can pick up your supplies from HD or Lowe's, and be ready to cook outside tonight! Because, remember the OTHER prepper skill??? Practice, practice, practice!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Crock-pots are the single greatest invention known to man—in my opinion—and since it’s just my opinion, I can still think it if I want to in America. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that it’s true.

Anyway . . . I wrote this book with a fictional apocalypse scenario where solar flares crash the electrical grid and the world never recovers. It’s really science fiction, but it gave me the chance to imagine a world without crock-pots or Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was eye opening, especially when it comes to the basics like eating food. What would the residents of the S-Line Ranch likely eat.

In the 1950’s it was common for families to sit down at the end of day and have dinner. Mothers were careful to make it balanced: two kinds of vegetables, a starch, bread, meat, and dessert. High schools offered “Home Economics” where girls were taught a government approved “food pyramid.” Sounds prehistoric. Doesn’t it? SIDENOTE: Just remember childhood obesity was unknown when I was a girl.

Now, families are more likely to eat processed food and fast food than not. 

Writing BEYOND THE STRANDLINE made me re-think the way a family would have to prepare and cook food without the power grid and vats of bubbling oil at Macdonald’s. 

Think crock-pots! Without electric. Take away the electric and you’ve got one pot cooking, tinfoil dinners: stews and soups. 

Meals with separate offerings of starch and vegetables and protein would not be practical or saved for special occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas. On a day-to-day basis, it’s going to be one pot cooking. 

And bread or hard tack . . . homemade cheese, hard-boiled eggs, jerked/smoked meat . . . portable . . . fruit in season . . . raw vegetables . . . 

Cast iron one pot cooking: Dutch ovens and cast iron kettles; pots tough enough to stand up to the intense heat of an open flame.

And bread . . . homemade bread. Let’s start practicing. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Paper Maps....out of date or useful??

When I think about prepping, I often wonder what I would miss the most or NEED the most if something happened. Maybe the event is something simple and easily fixable. Say I was just stuck on the highway going to see my family 600 miles away from home. And, a chemical spill happens, or a wreck that causes hours and miles of delay. If you have a smart phone (we don't) and can access the internet, you could find your way around those problems.  

But, what if it's a bigger problem. Say an attack like 9-11. Or an EMP. Or even a natural disaster that damages the power grid enough that we go "dark" for even a few days. 

If something big happens, I would want to be with my family or have them come here. The easiest way is to drive. However, planning ahead will be key. I have to map a few different routes, knowing I'll probably have to change many times along the way.

Image result for free image of usa road gridlock
This would be slow...but moving.

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But, THIS is a more realistic picture of what you'd experience!
So. Maps. Paper ones. Like these. If I need to get to Florida, NOT taking I-95 or I-85/75 will be key to success. There are tons of back roads to get there that might not be the parking lot that will be the Interstates. And, once I get to the area, (I picked Jacksonville, FL....ever tried to get around all the bridges and waterways???), I have a local, city map that will help me navigate. 

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Larger area map
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City Map

Be prepared. You need to decide what the plan is for your family. Then, get the maps you need. Think big picture (road atlas, state highway maps, local city maps) for your chosen destination. Sit down and look at different possible routes, noting "problematic" areas (big cities, bridges, tracks, chemical type sites) along the way. Mark your map, make it your own! It might save your life!

Pockets in Progress

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the bug-out vest idea. I’m going to call this post my pockets in progress . . .

What I’ve included and why, and what I’ve learned:

Pocketknife – A good pocketknife is an absolute must, and what I’ve learned from my good friend, Lisa, is that a sharpener is a must. Knives dull fast. And there’s nothing worse than needing a sharp edge on a knife and not being able to get one. This sharpener is too big, so I’ll be looking for something smaller and more portable.

Fire Starter – I’ve shown two different kinds here. One takes two hands to use, but the other is one handed, which might come in handy in you were hurt . . . Something to think about.

A Whistle – An absolute must.  Three sharp, short whistles = the international symbol for trouble.

Chapstick – Nothing worse than chapped, sore lips. I figured this out from trail riding on my horse. Being miserable does not help.

Headlamp – Flashlights are right out. Headlamps are the only way to go, frees up your hands to fight off bears and such.

SOCKS – Dry socks are my one important psychological boost. Wet socks depress me.

Pen & Notepaper – Something I wouldn’t have thought of, once upon a time, but I’ve come to appreciate the importance of being able to communicate.

Cord – For so many, many things, and the Boy Scouts were right. Learn to tie knots!!!

Transpiration bag – Collect water from the air.

Water – Because I don’t have any purification tablets or a Lifestraw yet. Hikers and campers swear by the Lifestraw, and I’d like to look into it.

BANDANA or SCARF – For everything else.  Truly.

Linda (Bug Out Proof) Zern 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Zoe and I were the best dressed girls at the survival campout, wearing this lightweight vest (White Sierra Women's Traveler Vest) with pockets galore. Runs small. 

This is going to be about how to be the best-dressed girl bugging out for the apocalypse. In the book BEYOND the STRANDLINE, Tess uses a hunting vest for all her daily gear.

Think pockets.

First) plan a camping trip. Second) put all the stuff you think you’re going to need on the dining room table. Third) figure out how much of the stuff is necessary and how much you’re going to have to ditch along the apocalypse trail.

Historical Side Note: When the first pioneers started west, they packed their wagons with all kinds of foolish choices: China cabinets, stoves, furniture, and pianos. Most of it wound up dumped alongside the trail. Experience taught the pioneers that basic equipment was best: tools, weapons, seeds, and food for the journey.

My experience has taught me that for apocalyptic bugging out and camping in general there is nothing more helpful, more useful, and more needed than pockets. Greatest invention known to man.

The Army understands the importance of a place for everything and everything in its place, and pockets are a staple of Army packs, sacks, and pants. Take a hint.

On our survival campout, Zoe and I were required to hike in all our gear and food. We are not big folks. Because we are both little, I knew that having a decent vest with plenty of handy pockets would be our best bet.

It was tricky to find a vest that wasn’t too heavy since we live in Florida. Searching Amazon I used keywords like light-weight, camping, vest, women’s, and it still took me awhile. Pockets a must!

Another thought:  I’m wondering if setting up my vest as a “bug-out” vest might be my best bet. Something I can throw on easily and quickly and keep equipped with basic survival gear: fire starter, para-cord, some water, pocket knife, sharpener, wet wipes, etc. with a backpack or duffle bag for heavier seventy-two hour type gear. Think. Think. Think. Plan. Plan. Plan.

And look for pockets.

Linda (Kangaroo) Zern