Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tools & getting started and organized

After about six months of prepping, I decided it was time to learn about pressure canning. I wanted to learn the skill before the SHTF & thought it would save me time & money in preparations. 
First, you need to know there is a great difference between pressure canning and pressure cooking. Seriously, you must learn that you can cook in a pressure canner, but you CAN NOT can in a pressure cooker. So I started with a Presto 16 qrt. (for the cost) with a weighted gauge. When prepping you also need to consider that you will also need replacement parts stored for the future. An extra rubber gasket, an extra weight, etc. This pressure canner does 7-8 jars at a time, a great starting place.
IMPORTANT TIP: When you are getting ready to purchase your canner, measure your stove CAREFULLY. You want to insure that the entire canner will fit on your stove & not hit any appliance that may be OVER the top of your stove.

You also need a set of canning utensils. I now have three sets currently. Plus timers (I have three) & clean dishtowels. I store them in a bag, which I keep inside my canner when not in use. That way I don't have to search for my tools, when I start canning.

I also have a little “S” hook that I use to hang my bag close to my stove during canning. That away I am able to access everything, yet it is out of the way.

All along my intent was to save for my All-American, which is top of the line & doesn't need replacement parts. Trust me it is well worth the cost. it does two layers of jars, increasing the amount of canning I am able to do at one time. So I now have two canners. 
Again: IMPORTANT TIP: When you are getting ready to purchase your canner, measure your stove CAREFULLY. You want to insure that the entire canner will fit on your stove & not hit any appliance that may be OVER the top of your stove. If you will note, even AFTER measuring, my All-American didn't fit on my stove top. UGH! It's o.k., now that I have moved one important thing I did was measure my new stove to insure my canner would fit. .

Prepper dogs...
Ever vigilant...


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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WATER...a real conversation

Why is water storage so important to me? More importantly why storing water should be important to you... When I started preparing, I literally wrote a list of everything I use each day, starting from when I woke up...
The first two things on that list where 1) t.p. & 2) WATER.
When you are getting started it can be pretty confusing. For example why is it better to store gallons of water in the type of container on the left, than the one on the right? It has to do with the type of plastic these containers are made from. For gallons, both of these cost about $1 each, but the one of the left will last longer in storage, because the type of plastic used to make the bottle is a better quality. The ones that look like milk carton WILL LEAK. That is not a lesson you want to learn the hard way.

The thing about water is you probably don't realize how much water you actually use in a day. FEMA recommends storing 1 gallon a day, per person. That covers just the minimum amount for survival. I personally recommend at least a gallon and a half to two gallons per person per day. Recently I helped my mother get her 72 hour kit together & we got 9 gallons for two people for three days. Particularly if you are simply looking at getting started for your 72 hours storage, this type of water storage is cost effective.

Once you get that 72 hour water storage established, then it's time to look at a longer haul. When we were in the suburbs, we had about 300 gallons of water stored, with 100 of that being rain barrels in the back yard.
We were chatting about how our children would react if DH & I were to pass away & they were starting to go through the house. I want to write a letter to them, explaining what is what & why and what to do with the various items, instead of just getting rid of it. We were laughing about the fact t
hat our tv sat on top of two FILLED 55 gallon water containers, cover with a black cloth. Strange as this sounds, there have been many people that visited often that never even noticed those containers.

& the gallons I have everywhere, I have these one gallon containers under each of our shelving units.

We also had two of these 30 gallons containers of water in the house, I am still trying to find a place for them in our new home.

After we did a water challenge (using only our stored water for three days) we added water specially for the dogs. The value of testing yourself and up to that point we hadn't included the three dogs in our water storage plan.

We keep a few gallons by the toilet (which is hidden behind the shower curtain) for emergency flushing.

Then the rain barrels, which are in the back yard, but also provide a renewable water catching system for more long term.

Not to mention the various types of pumps & water filters we have stored. 

This is an actual conversation I had with a fellow prepper, i have posted it before.

Me: So, I have been talking about doing a water challenge on my facebook page. Do you have water stored in the house?
Her: Oh, we are covered. We have a well, so we don't have to worry about it.
Me: Well, what if the well broke down.
Her: No worries, we do have a back up hand pump. We would just set it up & we have the pond. We could start hauling the water in 5 gallon buckets from the pond to the house.
Me: What if something actually happened to the water?
Her: What, like it got contaminated?
Me: Yes.
Her: Oh, we haven't thought about that. We do have the “B.....”.
Me: Hold on, let me check the long 9's for the “B.....”...
Her: What is “log 9's”?
Me: O.k. The log 9's are good on the “B.....”. Log 9's is a system that determines just how efficient the filter is at removing various contaminants.
It's makes me laugh when I hear that a water system will take out 99.9% of the contaminates. That is NOTHING. It only covers giardia, cyptosporidium and cyclospora. 99.9% is the requirement from the EPA for Protozoan (cysts). It won't cover things like bacteria which causes things like Cholera, botulism of typhoid, e coli, streptococcus or salmonella? Or viruses, like Hep A...
Me: Maybe you should consider doing the water challenge...(HINT) I did a three day water challenge & while I thought I had it covered, I still learned a lot.
Her: What did you learn?
Me: Well, for one thing, I hadn't included the dogs in our water storage. I did have enough, but since then they have their own supply of water stored.
I also learned that I would keep a large pot of hot water (which had been boiled) on the stove the whole time. At night I would prepare a lot of water and then put some in the fridge (since I like to drink water cold). And I bought some ice cube trays.
I also, added a 5 gallon water container to hold hot water for washing hands and things like that.

Anyway that is how the conversation we are living on a farm and working towards backing up our well with a secondary pump, which is our main source of water. When buying this property we also were excited to know we have a fresh spring and a pond on our property. This is an important thing to consider if you are looking at property.
I also take water filtration seriously. While there may be others out there, the only ones I personally would recommend are Sawyers, Aquamira & Berkey.

For us, I chose to go with the Sawyers Water filter(s).

1) Great Log 9's. 2) Reasonably priced. 3) 1 Million gallon guarantee 4) They are used a lot for charitable organizations that are being cleaner water to locations in the world where clean water isn't easily accessible. 

If you do choose to store water without any plastic usage, you are able to store water in canning jars. Even canning them. But remember you are talking about a lot of water. The bare minimum is storing 1 gallon a day for each person.

Now you have a basic idea of our water storage situation.
But, wait there is more...if you are interested in learning more about water filtration systems read this Details on Water Filtration Systems (an old post)

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. These are the actual products we have on hand and use for our water storage.

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I have been studying,,,

My Dear Husband is making the Zaycon chicken run this morning...then he gets there & sees nothing. Oh, no! I look up the information and pick up is TOMORROW.  Ugh! Can I say I have the BEST husband in the world! I called him back and he says "O.k., at least I know where it is for tomorrow". That is an hour nd a half drive one way!
I have been studying up on how to use the Tattler reusable canning lids I purchased this month.
They will be on sale for the rest of the month.
I have gone over the canning plan with my friend. We plan on having all three of our canners going on a rotating schedule.
Plus, I am making lists and starting to pile everything together that I am going to take.
My two canners
5 cases of caning jars
Tattler lids
My bag of accessories
Packing my overnight bag. I will be spending the night, so we can get started as soon as we wake up.
My camera
Oh, I know there are some things I am missing on this list. I guess I need to start making a pile.
I am seriously thinking about taking my video camera. We will see...

This is a link to my store on Amazon, if you want to see what items I recommend. I only add items I actually purchased, use & recommend, is available for the free shipping. It doesn't cost you anything extra & I do get a percentage of the sales.
Perky Prepping Gramma's Store

Leader of the pack...

    • My son was the one that sat down with me and told me about his concerns. He had been on YouTube and seen some videos. We sat down together for about an hour and watched them together.I learned so much in that hour. I was on board. He used my FB page to search for some pages that he liked. He saw PPG and really liked it. These are real people, not ex military or super preppers, just regular folks, he said. I started following and connected with people like us.

          • He's the one who came to me and explained his concerns. I jumped onboard. It's so funny, but he can explain the Federal Reserve to anyone who asks. He almost got kicked out of class the other day because he challenged a teacher on the shutdown. He's armed with facts, the real ones.
          and only being "almost 16" I'm proud of him. We have come a long way in just a year. He got me a 5 gallon bucket of rice for my birthday! So funny!

I was inspired after reading "One Second After" with my son last month to prep for the the dogs. 8 weeks of water ( thanks Elaine) bags of food, heart worm, flea treatment, ect. In the story, they were eating dogs within 30 days. Made me really think. Also we have an outdoor cat, so she's ready also. She mostly hunts, but I feed her too

 My son accepts your challenge with a smile! He plans on Spam, fried potatoes from our latest canning adventure, and eggs from our chickens. We will season our eggs with peppers and green onions from our garden. You put a big smile on a 15yo boys face! He's almost 16! He told me to put that lol

 yes, both boys are fans, but the younger one is more quiet about it.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa Claus is a Prepper?

Ho! Ho! Ho! “Prepping Santa Claus”
Don't believe it?
First he lives at the North Pole. That is a fairly secure bug in location. Not many people go there and aren't likely to “go to his house” if there is an economic collapse.
When you think about it, St. Nick's bug out vehicle is pretty amazing. A sleigh with flying reindeer. Pretty EMP proof if you ask me.
Then there is the prepping team of elves. They each have their expertise and cross train in various skills.
I can imagine his location is sustainable and self sufficient. When you think about it, the nearest town has got to be hundreds and hundreds of miles away. He can't just pop into town and pick up a gallon of milk. Mr. Claus has a lot of people he supports at his BOL. I would hypothesize that he has hydroponic gardens, cows, goats, chickens, bees...he has it all!
Besides the “Polar Express”, not a lot of people have actually been to his enclave. Obviously his OPSEC is extremely tight.

Then I found this older picture of Santa Claus (Thomas Nash's January, 1881 Harper's Weekly). Please note his survival gear.
Starting from the top left:
Tobacco and toys for children (i.e. rocking horse) for bartering.
Next there is a flask. Being a little old school he prefers to utilize essential oils.
The baby doll represents you must consider the needs of young children when you are prepping.
The belt was included for several reasons, up to including a tourniquet as needed.
His personal BOB, which has para-cord wrapped around it. Ms. Clause has hers in her vehicle.
Books for entertainment and education. Remember all that information online & on your computer, may not be availble.
Beneath the book is a full water bag with an excellent water filtration system.
A can of freeze dried mangos, his personal favorite fruit.
While his defense weapon, a sword, may seem old school; I figure he doesn't share “everything” he has up his sleeve. He “is” Santa after all & has an image to maintain.
Next, (non electric) hand fan & drum for communication in Morse code.
A wind up pocket watch.
Just above that, I know it looks like a pint of Ben & Jerry's; but it is actually a mini-butter churn.
I'm just guessing here, but it also looks like he also has a P38 and/or a whistle.
The final item is a tender box. It includes waterproof, strike anywhere matches, flint and a small amount of tender.

Plus, he gives away gifts. While most assuredly he doesn't need to increase his “likes” on Facebook, He simple shares what he has with others. Santa has got to be a “prepper”.

"Jolly 'Ol St. Nicolas, lean your ear this way.
I won't tell a single soul, what you're going to say.
I know that your prepping too, heard it from your elves.
I would just like you to please share, what's on your storage shelves..."

P.S. Just in case you didn't know, our very own Peter Bendal Kear (and his lovely wife, Mrs. Claus) is a real Santa!
Please fell free to like his FB page (Santa Peter & Mrs. Claus), but remember
his prepper identity is is SECRET to the rest of the world. Shhh....

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Building on a Budget...

It has been a process learning to do prepare on a balanced budget.
(National Geographic, Ancient Egyptians/Books of the Dead ca 1285 bCE Wiki Commons)
Basically at this point in time, when I get paid I put aside money for my tithe and through a processes of eliminating debt & excess spending I now budget 20% for prepping. Well, this pay period, I was out of work for a week (due to that heart episode) & my paycheck reflected that fact. But, I stick to my budget. So this pay period I have a lot less than normal, about $55. That's it.
I simply prioritized what was most important to purchase. So, I got 2 cases of canning jars, a couple of cheese blocks & some more chipped beef.
That's what I have to work with for the next two weeks. BUT, I also have the big canning weekend next week with the Zaycon chicken order..
In the links at the bottom of this post, I go into more detail of learning to work with what you have..

Financial Stability & Money (part 1)
Financial Stability & Money (part 2)

Sliced Apples in Simple Syrup

 Friends gave us some apples from an orchard & I decided to try my hand again at WB (water bathing). So, I opted for simple. Apples canned in simply very light syrup. 
I used the directions from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
I did about a third of this recipe.
10-12 lbs apples, stemmed, peeled, cored and quartered, treated to prevent browning* and drained (about 30-36 medium)
1 batch hot light or medium syrup
8 (16 oz) pint or 4 (32 oz) quart glass preserving jars with lids and bands

I have to admit, if I was doing more apples, I might not have used my apple corer/peeler. But, I get a kick out of using it.

1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.) PREPARE syrup by combining 1/4 cups sugar and 5 cups water for very light a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until needed, taking care not to boil down.
3.) COMBINE apples and syrup in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and boil gently for 5 minutes, until heated through. 

4.) PACK hot apples into hot jars, using a slotted spoon, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup into jar to cover apples leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight. 

5.) PROCESS jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. 

*To treat apple slices to prevent browning, apply Ball® Fruit-Fresh® Produce Protector according to the manufacturer's instructions or submerge cut apples in a mixture of 1/4 cup lemon juice and 4 cups water.

I thought I'd try dehydrating the peels (and some layers) for a snack for DH.He is using them for a snack.

Stroll down memory lane...

It's been one year ago today, that I started this facebook journey of simply sharing what I do to become prepared. I didn't even think about people following little ol' me. I just needed an alter ego to be able to share on other sites. 
First, I want to thank all of YOU! For some reason I have been blessed with experienced preppers and newbies alike from the beginning. I am grateful that you encourage not only me, but each other on this journey. It is still a amazing to me. 
My first profile picture was simply cooking green beans, I didn't even know, I could use this pan for BWB. Didn't know what that was. This treasure was left to my by my mom-in-law.

The first picture I posted was of my nifty "banana boxes". "Some early preps. I like banana boxes. I get them for free, they are convenient & they stack really well on shelves. They tend to hold 15 cans or packages (vege's etc) Easy to carry around also." 
Then it was a lot of canned items on sale.z
Now I am storing vegetables that I grew in my own garden this year.

Patti Emminger was my very first  "(Y)"
I had done a practice canning session on hamburger two weeks before, so I could learn how to can. I had to "force" my friend to teach me (long time BWB canner), because she had never done meat. LOL.
It was my second time pressure canning. my bgff (bestest, goodest friend forever) & I split a 40 pound box of chicken. I thought that was a LOT of chicken. Next weekend, we are splitting 120 lbs. Still not enough, but I still do it all within a budget.
Things i was talking about then was picking up my first order of Zaycon chicken & that Hurricane Sandy was fast approaching our area.
One milestone was a day late in December when my "likes" soared through the roof from 50 something to 900 something. It was the day I hit my 6 month goal of stored meat meals. Wow! I was so excited! 

From the beginning, I was concerned I wouldn't have enough to share, now I laugh. As long as I keep preparing I have plenty to learn, plenty to share & now you are sharing your leaning journeys.
I am even more excited today, than in the beginning; as I see our community growing & sharing. 

I will continue to share what I am actually doing and what you are doing. I won't post tons of links that go to links, that I implore you to like or share, just to increase traffic. Occasionally I will post a link (with credit) if it is something that is really important to know.

I won't have contests with give-aways. I prefer to offer challenges. I do that because I want you to participate, to be encouraged to actually "do the stuff" we talk about.  

So, today, I am going to share some of my very first post's here on Facebook. Join me on a stroll down memory lane.

Friday, October 18, 2013


This post stared because of the "Use 1, buy 2" Facebook post earlier.
Specifically about storing something you don't particularly like, but would eat if you HAD to.
I have one can of Spam (old Spam), 7 Dak hams that I purchased in the beginning before I figured out it would be better to pressure can my own meat. & 6 Ramen noodle packs, that we just sitting around.
Would we eat it if we had to, sure. Would I buy more? Nope. I don't eat Dak ham now, why store any more? It makes more sense to me to spend my money on things I know we will eat.

I have thought about storing things to barter, then again I always would revert to
1) Shouldn't I already have what I need if I am preparing?
Yes, there might be things I have forgotten-
Is accumulating bartering items we don't need or want be worth the cost now? This isn't set in stone, but a question I am constantly going over.

I also initially purchased a large package of a variety of seeds (non-GMO, non-hybrid) for storage. Will I do that again, probably not. For example there are turnips & okra seeds in that pack. I don't like them. I might consider bartering with those seeds.
As I plan my garden purchases this winter-I will continue to focus on vegetables and fruits that I know we will eat.

What would you be willing to barter?
Would you store items that you wouldn't eat, simply for bartering?
Would there be some ethics on what to barter?

Another example, many don't drink for various reasons. We rarely drink. Maybe 3 times a year.
But, there are great medicinal purposes for alcohol. For pain relief, sterilization & creating tinctures.
Do have alcohol stored? Yes. So do we have items to continue producing alcohol as our supplies run out? (plan B.) I will leave that to your imagination. Now as for bartering? Would you feel comfortable bartering alcohol?

What about ammo? Why barter away the ones we had decided to focus on and possibly run out? What about caliber's we are not focusing on, yet still have? Do I want to risk bartering with the possibility of those things being used against us?

I do believe I will barter as things become safe to do so. I also have given serious thought to (but, haven't decided) about having packages to give way with some basics for people in need, with the caveat this is a one time deal, do NOT return. Things like beans, cornmeal...
But then again, I end to do that in my life currently.

I know this post really is simply a lot of questions. Sometimes I don't have answers, but I want you to think about what you would do. I simply proffer these ideas for your consideration.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Best kept secret...

Sometime in the spring of 2013 I learned about LDS (Latter Day Saints) canneries & the LDS online store. 
First, there is an online LDS store. There is a limited selection & the store is a little hard to navigate. BUT, they have GREAT prices & they ship for free. plus there is not a lot of fluffy items, just basics. Have I mentioned that I don't like to go shopping? 
In May, my first shipment from the LDS online store arrived. I purchased a case (6 #10 sized cans) each of red wheat, oats & AP flour. I can't begin to tell you how easy it was.

Then, I ordered some lids (to reseal the open cans & 7 mil. Mylar bags. These are extremely heavy duty bags.
(250 bags for $94. That's .38 cents a bag)

Then, honestly somewhere in all my craziness called life, I forgot about the next goal, to visit a LDS Cannery. It is basically a giant store of already canned, long term storage food.. I have heard amazing things about the products, prices and people.Sadly a lot of these canneries have now closed.
You can try to find a cannery located near you here: Home Storage Centers 
Tammy Milsmom shared about her recent trip to an LDS cannery. "Absolutely unbelievable. Shopping at the LDS cannery is the BEST possible experience with amazing prices. I do not believe you could possibly get a better deal anywhere else. In fact, unless you got the ingredients free, I don't think you could grow/preserve/store it any cheaper. Not possible. GREAT people, GREAT experience. Be warned, you can buy more than your car can carry!  (Oh they will let you borrow a canning machine for free for one week, too. And their prices for oxygen absorbers, mylar, etc., are also unbeatable!)"
Seriously, check out their online LDS store, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. 

If you don't want to purchase that many Mylar bags, Amazon actually has some pretty great deals for smaller amounts with oxygen absorbers. 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. There all decent deals. The second one (without the picture) offers different quantities from 10-500.

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