I just wanted to send out a quick email to remind you that (A) We are still around, and (2) We have a lot of great recipes. I thought the recipes below were particularly timely given Halloween is tomorrow and Fall is in full swing. These dishes are great for the family or a party.
Whether you plan on staying home, trick or treating with the kids, or something in between; I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween/Samhain/Thursday! And most importantly, I hope everyone stays safe. Until next time, keep Making a Homestead, one day at a time.
Today, we are lucky enough to have a guest post by Neil Gensing, entitled, “Fire Safety Rules”. Please remember that all thoughts and links by guest posters are theirs and not necessarily endorsed by Makingahomestead.com. Everything however has been screened to ensure the discussion is at least relevant to the site. Please don’t think I am calling Neil out; because I’m not! I have just been having a lot of guest posts lately and am going to be putting a disclaimer on all, moving forward. Thank you and enjoy the post!
Guest Post: “Fire Safety Rules” By: Neil Gensing
Our love/hate relationship with fire has been going on since we first realized that we could actually use it as a tool. Curling up in front of a warm fireplace, roasting marshmallows over a campfire, lighting oil lamps during a blackout; these are all things that make us happy fire is around. We also know that, when out of control, it can have devastating consequences. It can ravage a forest, destroy a home, create pain and scars, and end our lives.
So how can do we protect ourselves from the harm that fire can cause? Prevention, planning, and the right fire fighting products.
Preventing an uncontrolled fire is the best way to protect yourself and others. Give your home a detailed inspection from top to bottom and look for potential problems. Are there flammable materials anywhere near your furnace? Are there matches or lighters in places where young children can easily reach them? Do you hang your pot holders and dish towels too close to the stove? If any situation you see has even the slightest chance of causing a fire, then err on the side of safety and correct it. Bad wiring is a common cause of home and other building fires, so have yours checked by a certified electrician and fix anything that is a potential hazard.
What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and realized your home was on fire? If you’re not sure, then make creating an escape plan for you and your family a priority. Map out the safest routes of escape for everyone, depending on where they sleep. Practice your escapes together at first, then have unexpected drills by setting off the smoke alarm on random nights. If your children don’t know whether it is a real fire or not, they are less likely to panic and forget what to do.
3. Fire fighting products
For small fires, keep a dependable extinguisher within easy reach. Have attached long hoses in both the front and back yards. Install a fire escape ladder if your home has a second or third story. Keep an easily-reachable flashlight in every room. Think about the things you might need, then make sure you have them. If you don’t have any of those mentioned, better purchase firefighter products from the nearest store.
Remember, fire safety is up to you. Rise to the responsibility!
Well, the Fall is beginning and things are starting to slow down some and I am finally getting more chances to write. Don’t forget, even if I am not posting on the website, there is usually a lot going at our Facebook (MakingAHomestead) and Twitter (@Makeahomestead) Pages. Their format just lends itself to quick photo updates and to sharing articles much easier than the site at times. I also have begun writing as a weekly columnist for a new website, Brink of Freedom, a prepper e-magazine published every Friday. Below are links to the 3 articles I have posted three so far, with the fourth out today.
Be on the lookout for more articles coming out soon, both Here and Brink of Freedom. There are a lot of really interesting projects on the horizon so, stay tuned. Until next time, keep Making a Homestead, one day at a time.
Today, we have a guest post by writer, Naomi Broderick, entitled, “Protect Your Most Valuable Assets”. A topic that I know is near and dear to the hearts of my readers. Broderick has three kids and when she’s not assuring that her kids are safe, she writes about home safety in all aspects of life.
Protect Your Most Valuable Assets
I won’t come out and tell you what your most valuable asset should be. Depending on your value system, your current mood, and what and who is present in your life, an individual’s most valuable assets will shift. Regardless, here are a few tactics you can do to protect the people and items you cannot live without.
Home Security Systems
Picture Taken from “Protect Your Home” (http://www.protectyourhome.com)
Modern technology provides homeowners and renters better protection than ever. Once installed a home security system will protect an occupied and deserted home.
These systems are designed to scan hallways for movement and monitor when a door or window has been opened. Many of the alarm systems also scan for carbon monoxide and fire hazards. If the alarm senses a problem, indoor sirens go off to alert anyone present in the home of the potential danger.
Alarm monitoring services are offered in conjunction with your home security system. Alarm systems take your safety to a higher level. A home alarm system won’t do much good if no one is in the neighborhood to alert the proper authorities. Alarm monitoring services alert owners of potential problems in the home. If no one at the home can verify a false alarm, they will make a 911 call to the police for you. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the police might arrive in time to catch the intruder. On the other hand, if the police are sent to your house for too many false alarms, you will be billed for the trouble.
The buddy system, while juvenile, has merit. You cannot be home at all times, nor can you be constantly vigilant. Sleep and other distractions can leave you vulnerable. Befriending your next-door-neighbors and forming a pact to watch out for each other can increase personal safety of everyone in the neighborhood. A group can protect better than a solitary individual.
If neighbors are slow to agree to a buddy system, assure them that the protection will go both ways. If they are still on the fence, point out that fires spread easily and buglers can hit more than one house in a neighborhood. So, by watching out for you they are also protecting themselves.
You are never too old to learn some proper self-defense. Whether, it is karate, kickboxing or some other type of self-defense; personal knowledge of how to fight and escape from an attack will increase the safety of you, your family and your neighborhood.
Sign up for classes with family members and friends. You might think your family is too young to learn to fight but, you will not always be there to protect them. There might also be occasions where you do not possess the skill or ability to protect your family from multiple invaders at once. Family members that are experienced in self-defense can help you protect the family or at the very least, they will be able to hold off any potential intruders until you can finish off your own opponents.
Maybe no one will ever invade your home, try to steal your car or make off with your prized poodle but, knowing that you and other family members know enough to fight back and escape might lead to a decrease in anxiety levels.
Don’t Be Obvious
When it comes to personal safety, nothing can undermine your efforts faster than predictability. When you create passwords, hide keys and store valuables; you should endeavor to be as creative as possible. You are too obvious if:
You plan on using an overly familiar number or alphabet sequence like a birthday or pet name for a password.
You place the key under the door mat or you buy a lawn ornament that is designed to hold a key.
You store your family jewels or other objects in fancy containers located in the master bedroom.
By incorporating a few items and tactics into your daily routine, you can increase the safety of the people and items in your home. Home security systems with complicated passwords and buddy systems between concerned neighbors with rudimentary knowledge of self-defense can increase the personal safety of the whole neighborhood.
Until next time, keep Making a Homestead, one day at a time.
Today, we are lucky enough to have a guest post by writer and nature lover Mackenzie Kupfer. Mackenzie has been a lover of all things green since the age of six when she began gardening with her Nana. She is currently an online publisher for the provider of flower gardening supplies, Avant Garden Decor. In her free time, Mackenzie enjoys attending garden shows, hiking, and collecting ceramic tea sets.
Planting a Fruit Tree
Growing fruit trees takes quite the commitment and you’re not likely to experience the fruits of your labor for a couple of years depending on the tree you decide to grow. Fruit trees require careful planning and maintenance to reach their full potential and produce lush fruit. Depending on who you talk to, growing your own fruit trees is either as easy as a piece of pie or as hard as bark. In my opinion, growing fruit trees is as difficult or as easy as you chose to make it. As long as you follow the basic steps, you will be able to grow your own fruit trees with minimal frustration.
When you first receive your fruit tree, take it out of the packaging even if you aren’t planning to plant it right away. If you’re not going to plant the tree for a couple of days, store it in a cool, dry place. Cover the roots in moist soil or sand and never allow the roots to dry out. On the day before you are planning to plant your tree, submerge the roots in water and allow them to soak for 12 to 25 hours. This will help the tree recoup any moisture lost during shipping or storage.
Planting Your Tree
Once you decide the best location to plant your tree, dig a hole large enough to accommodate all of the trees roots without smushing them up. Dig deep enough so that when you plant the tree, bud union is no more than 2 inches above the soil once it settles. Make a mound on the bottom center of the hole that is a couple of inches tall using what you dug out of the hole. Make sure the soil is pat down. This will help to center and stabilize your tree.
When placing your tree in the ground, center it on the mound you created and spread the roots out. Keep the bud union a couple of inches above ground level. Higher is better than lower because the tree will likely settle after it is planted.
Fill in the hole with the soil you excavated from this by gently covering the roots and patting down to prevent air pockets.Continue this process until you have filled the hole back up to ground level. Use the leftover soil to build a circle about 4 feet in diameter around the tree to help it retain water.You may wish to add some nutrients to enhance the soil but check with your local nursery first. Creating an artificial environment for your tree at the beginning may be beneficial at first, but it may stunt its growth in the long run.
Stake your tree and water it thoroughly. When staking your tree, put the stake 6 to 12 inches away from the tree and tie the tree to the stake in a figure eight pattern about 6 inches above the point where the trunk begins to flex. Trees need to flex in the wind to promote strong root and trunk growth.
Growing your own fruit trees can take a lot of time and patience but your efforts will surely be rewarded. Aside from the fresh supply of homegrown fruit, you will be able to experience other benefits of having them. Fruit trees are aesthetically pleasing as they will spend several weeks out of the year covered in blossoms and the developing fruit will look great for month.
Until next time, keep Making a Homestead, one day at a time.
“299 Days: The Collapse” , by author Glen Tate, is book 2 in his “299 Days” series and as the title suggests, the “S” has indeed Hit The Fan. The book opens up with a very detailed, and even probable, list of events that, in the book, lead to a partial-collapse of the United States. I’ll leave it to the author to cover the details, except to say that it is a mix of economic depression and a mix of both government action (over-reaction?) and government inaction. Stocks plummet and gas prices sky-rocket.
In a “government” town like Olympia, it is complete chaos. A slow ramp-up of chaos, but the spiral downwards is steep and not all see the chasm before them. Everyone becomes divided; the nation, the states, towns, neighborhoods, even families. Fingers point everywhere and some people just plain refuse to see what is going on; while others see it as an opportunity to seize power. The lead character, Grant, sees what he feels needs to be done as he desperately seeks to protect his family, at any cost. But, will his family understand what he’s doing? Or, will they think he’s finally gone over the edge?
This book is a short, but power packed follow-up to 299 Days: The Preparation. I must warn the reader though, it will definitely make you want more. The story is addicting and all too real. Glen Tate’s eye for detail will satisfy the most detail-minded prepper without losing the casual reader. His character’s are painted as real as if they stood before you. Their anguish becomes yours, as does their frustration. This series just keeps getting better and better, as the reader moves ever closer to the end of their seat.
Below are the details on the book copied her for fair use from Amazon and below that you will find a link to the review of book 1, links to the “299 Days” website, Facebook, Twitter and other ways to keep in touch concerning the “299 Days” series.
Publication Date: August 27, 2012
Picking up where The Preparation ended, the collapse begins to unfold in this second book of the 299 Days series. In The Collapse, the government stops working, guns and ammo are in high demand, and a trip to the gas station has become a mission rather than an errand. Grant and the Team see these warning signs and know it is only the beginning, so they begin taking action to protect themselves and their loved ones. As they prepare to get out of dodge after a deadly incident in Grant’s neighborhood, they will soon learn whether the preparations they made in Book One will be enough to survive the breakdown of society, or if they don’t stand a chance against greed and violence in the face of a collapse. The resulting chaos and fear that begins to envelop the country will strip all of the characters of what they know to normal, and will require them to question what they will stand for, what they will stand up against, and, most importantly, who they will stand with.
There have been a horrible rash recently of what the disaster preparedness community terms an Active Shooter Event as well as recent Terrorist events in Boston. These tragic events are troubling to think about, much less talk about. To think that such horrible things can really happen in America can be understandably frightening. And there has been a lot of public discussion on how to prevent these from happening, but not much on what one should do if such an event occurs. It can be hard to consider as one wants to think, “it can’t happen here” or “it can’t happen to me”. The reality is that it shouldn’t, but it could.
This is of course a sobering thought that nobody wants to dwell upon. And I hope it doesn’t happen to you or anyone else ever again. But, that doesn’t mean it won’t. Sadly, there are bad people out there who are sick individuals with no regard for the bad things they do.
An organization called, Ready Houston, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security released a video with some very useful tips that may keep you alive if you are ever unfortunate enough to be trapped in one of these horrid events. Again, it is my solemn wish that you never have to use any of this information. However, I don’t plan on getting in accident either, but I still wear my seat-belt.
“Make a Plan, Build a Kit, Stay Informed, Know your Neighbors.
The Houston Region is the kind of place where big ideas typically become larger-than-life realities. Throw any challenge our way and we meet it head on. But are we really ready for anything?
No one likes to think about disasters, but they happen here just like in every other part of the world. The question is — are you prepared to survive them?
Ready Houston is designed to provide quick access to a variety of local and national information on disaster preparedness.
Ready Houston is a regional preparedness initiative for Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, and Montgomery Counties in southeast Texas. The program is funded by the Department of Homeland Security, and is a project of the Houston UASI Community Preparedness Committee. This site is produced by the City of Houston Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security.”
I would like to conclude this post by offering my sympathies and heartfelt regards to those who were effected by the recent tragedies in Aurora, Newtown and Boston and to their families. Now, is a time to come together, not for irrational decisions and unneeded conflicts. If you haven’t, I urge you to take a moment of silence and reflection for those whose lives have unnecessarily been effected and in some cases ended by the recent tragedies.
Until next time, keep Making a Homestead, one day at a time.
Part of being a “prepper” or a survivalist means being prepared to weather the turbulent and often unpredictable storm of life and, at its very core, it’s about being self-sufficient. This principal extends to the concept of home safety as well – how safe do you feel in your own home?
With the economy being in the state that it is, it’s hard for many people not to draw correlations between our country’s finances and the dangers homeowners can face. Peace of mind, however, should not be the price you have to pay – you should feel safe in your home and there are lots of ways to accomplish this without breaking the bank, including:
Home and Yard Projects
Hollywood and the mass media often tell us that most home invasions occur through windows. The truth, however, is that many intrusions start through the front door. Most seasoned criminals will pretend to be on the phone or delivering an envelope as they approach the front door. Then, when the coast is clear, they kick down the door and in they go.
Fortifying your major entrances is extremely important when it comes to home safety and security. This can be done by installing a peephole in the front door and, maybe, even switching out the entire door for a hardier slab version. Replacing the locks is also important – especially if you have had the same locks and deadbolts for a couple years.
Home and Yard Projects
Home invasion is a scary thought for many homeowners, especially ones with children, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking a proactive approach in home security. One of the best ways you can do this is by eliminating the criminal’s ability to observe the home.
Shades and curtains for inside the home can help limit their ability to see inside and trimming back any bushes surrounding the windows and doors also eliminates their cover. The harder you make it for a criminal to scope out the home, the less likely they will carry out an intrusion.
Another thing you can consider if all else fails is a home security system. Lots of sites online have loads of information on different systems and home security prices. There are also systems you can install yourself.
And just remember that however you decide to go about home safety and security, make sure you do SOMETHING. As a prepper, you don’t wait for life to strike before you do something about it – you prepare to meet any challenge head-on. This includes the challenge of keeping a safe home, as well.
I hope you enjoyed this guest post on “Making Your Stand in the Home”. Until next time, keep making a homestead, one day at a time.
299 Days: The Preparation (book one in a ten book series) author, Glen Tate, has a self-described “front row seat to the corruption of government”¹ and weaves his experiences in with world news to chronicle a possible future collapse of the United States, one in fact, that may be inevitable. Largely, it is told from the point of view of Grant Matson, an average suburban guy, who has quietly been preparing himself, his family and his friends for just this sort of thing. When I say quietly, I mean it; even his wife isn’t in the know. This sets up a very interesting interplay between the characters as they try to make their way in a world that has completely changed while coping with the adjustment from their past lives. Not everyone is ready to cope with their new reality.
As the title suggests, 299 Days: The Preparation, largely concerns the preparation that Grant goes through to ready himself for the disaster. Tate does a great job telling his story in great narrative detail. This book can act as a guide to help one prepare, but it is NOT a book of lists. It is sensible and entertaining. And it isn’t just beans, bullets and band-aids, like some Survivalist novels. Grant takes special care to get the “3 Bs”, but goes beyond that explaining the importance of things such as stocking up on his son’s favorite pancake mix to keep him happy. MREs aren’t for everyone and something as simple as pancake mix can be very comforting in a crisis.
This first novel in the series also serves to supply the back story of Grant Matson, who is pretty much an “Average Joe”. This not only allows the reader the chance to get to know Grant, but to also envision themselves in his shoes. This is not an unrealistic chronicle of how some guy on SEAL Team 6 would survive in a collapse; it is about a normal white-collar guy trying to survive. Grant’s white collar job is a lawyer, wait STOP booing! He is a lawyer whose job it is to sue the government when they break their own laws and hurt the little guy. So, right away you are rooting for Grant as you see what a good guy he genuinely is.
Grant’s job also allows him that front row seat I mentioned earlier as he fights corruption at every turn. As the story progresses it becomes increasingly apparent to Grant, and the reader, that the government corruption runs deep and it is quickly bankrupting the state of Washington, where he resides. It is quickly recognized that the corruption is not just in Washington State, but in other states as well and definitely in Washington D.C. The Federal Government itself is quickly becoming bankrupt as other countries decide to stop lending it money when the national credit rating drops and the stock market follows.
I would highly encourage every American, survivalist or not, to read this book and the rest of the series. Not only is it highly entertaining, but it serves as a wakeup call to everyone that thinks, “It can’t happen here.” It can happen here and it is better to be prepared than blindsided. It forces the ostrich to take their head out of the sand and actually take a look around. However, Grant has a firm head on his shoulders and is not a “Chicken Little”, he knows that the point is to prepare, not freak out. Nobody can buy everything at once; Grant sets a methodical pace akin to the turtle racing the hare and we all know how that story ended.
Until next time, keep Making a Homestead, one day at a time.