Wednesday, July 20, 2016

TIP: Save Money & Storage Space With Cloth Not Paper

It is rather amusing to me when I see tips, hacks and instructions on how to make reusable or un-paper towels. 
TIP: They are called rags, cleaning clothes, & napkins. Personally it is one of the ways I save a lot of money. As you see here, I use cloth napkins, dish clothes, dish towels and even handkerchiefs. Over the years I have collected some really cute ones and have some wonderful vintage ones from my mother in law. I needed to learn how to restore my vintage linens, but it wasn't too hard to do.



Next, if you haven't discovered microfiber cleaning clothes, I highly recommend you try them. I have a supply of new ones and when they get ugly looking, I make them with an "X" and throw them in my cleaning basket. These are ones that I use in place of paper towels.  These are used for all sorts of dirty jobs like to mop up spills, I even use these clothes when I am cooking greasy foods like fried chicken. if they are used for a really dirty job, I pre-soak them with a little Charlies Laundry Soap before I place in the dirty clothes basket.
The biggest advantage is that I no longer am taking up a ton of storage space for something like paper towels. 

What I do here is simply share our preparedness journey. If you liked this post we would love it if you joined our Perky Prepping Gramma community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.

    
Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you. Perky Prepping Gramma is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.


Vintage Skill: Map Reading

Recently I was traveling the back roads of North Carolina and my GPS wasn't telling me what I needed to know. So, I stopped at a gas station to purchase a paper map. Low and behold, I was REALLY surprised they didn't carry one single map in the store.
Thankfully, I had couple east coast maps, including a book of maps in my vehicle. But, I realized that my maps were really old, like 10 years old. It dawned on me that we have become so dependent on technology, that paper maps are becoming extinct to a degree. I also realized that this is a skill that we aren't teaching to our children. Now I am determined to teach my grandchildren the art of map reading.  

The biggest thought I have been thinking about is if the GPS system stops working, would I have the maps I need to get where I am going. There are only three locations I care about if the SHTF, where my mom is located and where my children (grandchildren) are located. So this week I updated my paper maps.
Over the years, I have traveled by car to a lot of places. When my son was about 5, I started teaching him how to read a map. Actually it started out as a way to keep him occupied - this is way before children had Game Boys and phones. It also required him to figure out the answer to "are we there yet?". Because he was in charge of locating where we were AND how far it was to our destination. We made a game of map reading. 
North/South East/West: One of the first things he learned is that North/South roads were always designated by an odd number (I-95) and East/West roads are even numbers (I-70, I-66). Roads that circled around cities were roads like 295, 495, 395.
Mileage Markers: My son was always good at math. We would determine how many miles the road was across the state and then used the mileage markers to determine how far we had come or how far we were from the state border. he was way better at this than I was.
Name the States: This was a game he came up with. He would name a letter and I had to come up with the state names that began with the letter. Then I would give him a letter.

Biological GPS: Well,  we didn't have a GPS so I would have him determine what our next maneuver would be...like the next road was I-81, his job was to track that road by road signs and keep me posted on when it was coming up and when to get ready to turn off.
These are just a few ideas for games we actually played when traveling. It made our road trips go a lot faster and I don't think he ever asked me "Are we there yet?"
So, buy a road map and make traveling a fun learning experience. 
What I do here is simply share our preparedness journey. If you liked this post we would love it if you joined our Perky Prepping Gramma community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.
Items I have used this week:

        

Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you.Perky Prepping Gramma is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How to Take an Old Fashioned Bird Bath

I try to remember that sometimes there are questions we don't even know to ask, particularly about prepping. Today I wanted to share how to take an old fashioned bird bath, as my grandmother used to call them. Plus, it's one of those topics I have never seen discussed.
Granted if life crashes as we know it, we don't need to bath everyday. But as it so happens we are in the middle of getting a new bathroom. Today we have a new vanity and cool looking faucet that isn't plumbed, no shower/tub and no running water in the bathroom & I have a doctors appointment this morning. 

The Set Up: I used a pan with about 1/2 gallon of heated water. This pan happens to be one I no longer use any more for cooking; but you may use a bucket, dish pan, pretty much anything. Then a towel, 2 wash clothes, soap, a jar of water and a jar for spitting. Remember you want to use enough water to be effective, but being mindful of that fact you more than likely will be hauling this water. Also note that if you are only storing 1 gallon a day for each person (which is the standard recommendation), you are just going to be dirty.
The Sections:
Head: This is my personal preference, I have a separate wash cloth for my face. Since you may not want to be using a new cloth everyday. Basically you start at the top and work your way down.
Pits: This is where I start using the second cloth. 


Bits: Clean this well. 'Nuff said.





Feet: Since my feet are the dirtiest part, I save that for last.



Preps:  In our prep storage we also have a Coleman 5-gallon Solar Shower
Gearing for short-term and long term preparedness, I just wanted to have the option of a shower still. Ann from our community had a good suggestion of storing baby wipes, which is a fairly inexpensive item to have on hand.

Brushing Teeth:
Pretty easy to do. I had a canning jar with water, a canning jar to spit in (saved that clean water).

After you have got cleaned up what you have is grey water. Don't just throw it away- there are many uses for greywater.


What I do here is simply share our preparedness journey. If you liked this post we would love it if you joined our Perky Prepping Gramma community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.
Items I have used this week: First is the Coleman Solar Shower we have in our preps. I am currently reading "Lucifer's Hammer" again, I am dehydrating eggs shells today and sealing up some snacks in canning jars.

   
Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you. Perky Prepping Gramma is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lessons from a day without a toilet...

Day 1- Complete
New floor, new vanity...
If you are reading this, you probably have access to running water, a shower and a working toilet. This week we won't. We are having a jacuzzi tub, new vanity and flooring installed this week & we only have the one bathroom.
But, we have alternative solutions planned. 
Fun challenge. Thankfully we have also prepared how to handle the *S when the SHTF. Let's talk about emergency tiolets.
We already had a 5 gallon bucket with toilet seat cover, very similar to the one below. We set it up in a secluded location, away from the end of the house where the workers were & away from the kitchen. I must say I was very happy I had this toilet available-because I forgot how often I pee.
I didn't pull you the personal clothes for today, but used t.p. I have though ahead and had jars stored for disposing of the t.p. (personal cloths). May need to think this through a little further. Covered containers for the waste material. They need to be easily cleaned.Because we will be practicing our “skills” this week, I have seriously started thinking about adding an outhouse or porta potty to our property.
I was surprised to see that porta potties weren't extremely expensive.
At this point if you are considering something for a get home bag-though I haven't got one yet, I have a friend who is a big camper and swears by the female device for being able to urinate standing up.

I know I sound like a broken record, but seriously try your products out. Do test runs without electricity, water or even without a toilet. Every time I actually do something like this, I learn. I am sure you will too.

What I do here is simply share our preparedness journey. If you liked this post we would love it if you joined our Perky Prepping Gramma community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.


Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you.Perky Prepping Gramma is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Drawing a Line in the Sand

One of the basic skill preps for TEOTWAWKI is thinking through scenarios. 
It's a skill that I don't see discussed often. Too often people just read articles and don't actually prepare, or even worse IMHO there are Facebook pages and websites where the owners don't talk about if they even prep (pet peeve), let alone how they do it. That is why I actually share what I am doing or have done. I show you my successes and my failures, because we are able to learn from both.


Know your Neighbors
Frankly, it not a matter if you like your neighbors or not. You don't have to be best friends. But you need to understand who they are, their belief system.
Gather all the information you can. If a time comes when the SHTF, you will already have a great idea how to interact with your neighbors.
For me, I am supposed to love my neighbor and I take that seriously. The “Art of Neighboring” is an excellent book on just that. So my intention is to be able to love them. Again, I don't have to be best fiends with them.


Trust
Next you need to determine how much you are able to trust people. I keep this little diagram in my notebook of key players for our team. I know who is represented, including children and "moms" that will need to brought into the fold.
Sometimes you get lucky. One of the very first couple from church I met when we moved, turned out to be pretty much instantaneous trust. And it so happened they also prep. We have intentionally developed the relationship, even to the point where Mr. Perky and I have offered to sell them a couple acres on our farm. That is how much we trust them. Now granted, this is a very unique situation.


Threat Assessment
From conversions, it should fairly easy to assess threat levels. Admittedly the more you know the better you are able to assess this & be prepared.


Bring to the Table
I have a general idea of who would be on our team, either here on our property or in close proximity. Some know that we are part of an intentional team. We each know the various skill sets we all have and have a lot of strong needs met from two previous law enforcement backgrounds, two current law enforcement people, weapons expert including repair, farming experience, medical experience, military backgrounds, plus just good old fashioned wisdom and knowledge of how to do a wide range of skills.
Assets

We know who has what. Food, livestock, water access, wells, weapons, ammo, tangible trading assets, land, equipment and fuels.
The interesting thing for me is recognizing we have differences in prepping guidelines with some of our friends, but we can all still work together.

Choice
Either way, gathering and filing away the information will hopefully give us a leg up in TEOTWAWKI occurs. At least we have an idea of where to start as people make their way out to our property. Who we are able to trust, people who have similar commitment levels. This information prepares us to make an educated opinion and not leave everything to chance. Some of our most critical choices are being made now, as we prepare.

Last but not least, is do you know where you will draw the line in the sand? If you taken the time to evaluate where you are, what you need you can evaluate wisely as you interact with others after the fall. We absolutely are in agreement and know where we will draw the line.


What I do here is simply share our preparedness journey. If you liked this post we would love it if you joined our Perky Prepping Gramma community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.
I share actually items that I use and like. Items we have used this week:

    Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you. Perky Prepping Gramma is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.




Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How To Store Coffee Beans

Coffee...the elixir of life for so many people. Storing coffee beans is critical for any caffeine addicted individual or possibly for bartering if you don't drink coffee. It is so simple to do...if you choose the right type. The secret is in the bag. I actually have somewhere around 300 pounds of coffee beans stored in my preps. That's correct 300 pounds! 
Just so you know, the "Perky" in my name actually came from me working at Starbucks. 
I was the "Perky Barista" for 9 1/2 years. So I know my coffee. Let's get started. First, storing coffee beans lasts longer than storing ground coffee. Personally, I would look for a vacuum sealed bag of beans for storage. Now not every likes Starbucks Coffee, I get that. What I like about storing Starbucks, besides the fact it was free for me, is that is has a patented "magic button" (just what I call it) which allows the bag to remain vacuum sealed, while releasing the carbon dioxide build-up. This is critical to the shelf life of the coffee. Like most storage items, oxygen is the enemy of coffee. Remember to store your coffee is a dark, cool, dry place.


Usually coffee beans have a best buy date of one year from the time of roasting. But I have used coffee from my storage that is at least 5 years old and it still tastes perfect.
If you can't find your brand already vacuum sealed, then you could probably vacuum seal the beans in canning jars. EDIT: I mentioned canning jars here, since it is sort of my go to for storage. Someone asked me about vacuum sealing in bags, That would be another good option. Though I would recommend using mylar bags to store, since the FoodSaver bags are still air permeable. In a long term storage situation I would opt for mylar.


To keep it simple, whenever you buy coffee, buy one or two more for your storage preps.

COFFEE PARAPHERNALIA
Next, you are going to need a coffee grinder to grind your beans with. Think, no electricity and go with a good hand grinder. You certainly don't want to resort to using a hammer to grind your beans. Plus, I would highly recommend a simple percolator, you know the old fashioned kind people used to use on the stove top or when camping. You could use a french press.  I think the old adage of "Two is one, one is none" is important to remember when adding to your equipment storage. I have multiples of all the equipment I would need to make coffee.



One last suggestion, if you have a bug out bag or get home bag, I also store Via(TM) and Starbucks Refreshers. Via isn't an instant coffee, but a finely ground, single serve coffee that you just add hot water to make a cup of coffee. Several people in our community have tried these products. If you look at the first picture in this article, you can see Via in the jar on the left. 
Just so you know, I make a KILLER Coffee Custard (<-- recipe) with the Via packets.
There you have it. Coffee is one thing that I definitely have a handle on in my storage preps. How about you?

What I do here is simply share our preparedness journey. If you liked this post we would love it if you joined our Perky Prepping Gramma community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day. 


Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you.Perky Prepping Gramma is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.




Thursday, June 16, 2016

Spilling the Beans on Practical Prepping...


What I haven't told you is since we purchased our new home (about a year and a half ago), I have actually been testing my storage and using everything from my preps. The truth is I didn't want to have to move all of our preps. I have learned a LOT. Now I am ready to spill the beans about what I have learned about practical prepping. What works and what doesn't work, how prepared we actually turned out to be. Also showing you the various adjustments I am making to my storage with this new paradigm shift. This is really changing up how we prepare. Duh, learning the skills to make stuff.

Let's start with my initial Make a List: We were started prepping, the very first step for me was I simply started by making a list of everything thing we used everyday. Literally, from the time I woke up I wrote down what we used...this worked extremely well.


Things like: water, meds. (prescription and OTC's), TP, soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc...


I utilized the principle of "use one, but two". I really had more than enough stored. But then I have decided to actually store less and learn to adapt my thought process.
Let's just use three examples.
First, toilet paper. I had two years worth of toilet paper stored by the time we were getting ready to move. i had to laugh. I found out that sometime along the way, the toilet paper company had reduced the size of the roll by about 1/2 an inch. 



 What I am doing now. I have 1 year of actual toilet paper stored & I have a box of clean clothes that I cut from old shirts I was getting rid off to use as personal clothes.  I have black, white and cream colors. Each has it's own purpose, if you get my drift. You could even store red ones if necessary. I pick really soft materials, since it was available. I chose a years supply in case it was just a loss of job, or something medical so we could have a decent supply of t.p. 


But, in case the SHTF, we might as well just get used to using the cloth. These personal clothes are now sitting on a top shelf in the bedroom ready when needed. 
The bonus is, it is already prepared a head of time and takes up less storage space. Certainly better than depending on leaves. 

Now, shampoo. Even after using a years supply, I found I still have at least 3 years worth of shampoo and conditioner. I am going to work that down to about a years worth (to save storage space). Again, 1 year to store; but now I will be increasing my storage of baking soda to make my own shampoo and conditioner. Just another great principle of prepping: learn how to make it. It really is simply to make.
I have also learned how to make my own vinegar and I am growing my own herbs for tinctures.


While I am at it, here is my recipe for DIY Toothpaste. I still have a least two years worth of toothpaste stored. I am going to run that down to one years supply. Again reducing actually toothpaste I am storing, since I already store the ingredients in bulk. Saving time & money. 
Three simple things/skills that I have learned that are now reducing what I have to store in my preps.

What I do here is simply share our preparedness journey. If you liked this post we would love it if you joined our Perky Prepping Gramma community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.

   
Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you. Perky Prepping Gramma is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.