USB back-up

An often overlooked prep is a USB back-up or Memory Stick. A simple USB memory stick can store a lot of data and really help you out in a disaster in a number of ways; from dealing with insurance to bugging out… forever. Below is a list of items that I think one should have a back-up copy. Ideally, this would also be encrypted so that only you or someone with the code could access. Preferably, one would keep 2 of these USB back-ups; one in their go bag that they grab in emergencies and if possible one in a safety deposit box at their bank. Many banks will provide a safe deposit for free if you have an account with them.

  1. Photo or Scanned Copy of Driver’s License
  2. Photo or Scanned Copy of Passport
  3. Photo or Scanned Copy of Marriage License
  4. Photo or Scanned Copy of Deed
  5. Photo or Scanned Copy of Car Title
  6. Photo or Scanned Copy of Insurance
  7. Photo or Scanned Copy of Credit Cards
  8. Photo or Scanned Copy of Birth Certificate
  9. Photo or Scanned Copy of Social Security Card
  10. Photo or Scanned Copy of Will/Living Will
  11. Banking and Stock Information
  12. List of Emergency Contacts and their Information
  13. List of Emergency Services with address and phone numbers
  14. Photos of Firearms and Electronics as well as their Serial Numbers
  15. Photos of other Valuables such as Jewelry
  16. Copies of Evacuation Routes, Rendezvous Points and Related Maps
  17. Important PDFs of Manuals and such
  18. Important Family Photos
  19. The Bible (or whatever your preferred religious text may be)
  20. If there is any room you may want to add some regular books. Many classics such as Shakespeare are available for Free on PDF for common use. Project Gutenberg is the largest online collection of such with over 45,000 free ebooks.

Here are a few examples of Encrypted USB back-ups…

Apricorn Aegis Secure Key FIPS Validated 4 GB USB 2.0 256-bit AES-CBC Encrypted Flash Drive

 

Integral® 8GB Crypto Drive – FIPS 197 Encrypted USB

This last one is NOT encrypted, HOWEVER you can install a free encryption software such as, TrueCrypt. This one is mainly included because it is water-proof and shock-resistant.

Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth 32GB USB 3.0

 

If you have a lot of data you wish to back-up then an encrypted external hard drive like the one below may be in order…

Apricorn Aegis Padlock 1 TB USB 3.0 256-bit AES XTS Hardware Encrypted Portable External Hard Drive

Until next time, keep Making a Homestead, one day at a time.

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Potato Salad Recipe

This potato salad recipe was my first attempt at potato salad and it was easier than I thought. More importantly though, it was delicious! I also got to use potatoes from my own garden, which made it extra special. We will definitely be doing it again.  :)

Potato Salad 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Pounds of Red Potatoes
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1/2 Pound of Bacon
  • 2 Cups of Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 Cup of Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Wash off and slice the Potatoes into cubes
  2. In a large pot, Boil the Potatoes for about 15 minutes
  3. In a separate pot, Boil the Eggs for about 12 minutes (adding vinegar to the water makes it easier to peel later)
  4. After boiling, place Eggs in a boil of ice water to cool
  5. Drain the water off the Potatoes and set aside to cool
  6. Cook the Bacon in a pan until crispy, then set on paper towel to drain any excess grease
  7. Use your fingers or a pair of kitchen scissors to crumble the bacon into small bits
  8. Dice the 1/2 onion into small pieces
  9. Peel the Eggs and mash them (or slice if you prefer)
  10. In a large bowl; Mix the Potatoes, Eggs, Onion, Bacon, Mayonnaise, Mustard and Salt and Pepper (to taste) thoroughly
  11. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour
  12. Enjoy!!!

 

Until next time, keep Making a Homestead, one day at a time.

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Remember me?

Wow! It sure has been a long time since I have posted anything.  I assure you that the rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.  :)  I have a bunch of ideas for future posts and also changes to the site itself. However, I want to make sure I am really giving the readers what they want.  So, I would like you to do just that. Send me a quick email or comment here and tell me something that you would like to hear about or know more about.  My email address is below.  I look forward to reading your emails!

roswell@makingahomestead.com

 

Until next time, keep Making a Homestead, one day at a time.

Roswell

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Halloween and Fall Recipes

Halloween_pumpkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Pizza Mummies Recipe - Appetizer for parties or a fun dinner for the kids

Pumpkin Seed Recipe - Delicious snack (get creative with your seasonings)

Sweet Baked Squash Recipe - Excellent side dish or dessert

 

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.

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Guest Post: Fire Safety Rules

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

 

match

 

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.

 

 

 

 

1. Prevention

 

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.

 

2. Planning

 

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!

 

For more information please contact Kidron at +972-4-6931271 or visit http://www.youtube.com/user/KidronFire.

 

Until next time, keep Making a Homestead, one day at a time.

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Homestead Update

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.
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Guest Post:

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

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.

Buddy System

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.

Learn Self-Defense

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.

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Guest Post:

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.

Before Planting

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.

Staking

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.

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Review of

 

“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.

 

FROM AMAZON:

Book Description

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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: PrepperPress.com (August 27, 2012)
  • Language: English

 

For More Information:

Website: 299Days.com

Facebook: 299 Days (The Book)

Amazon Link: 299 Days: The Collapse By: Glen Tate

Review of 299 Days: The Preparation  By: Roswell (me) – CLICK HERE

Amazon Link: 299 Days: The Preparation By: Glen Tate

 

 

Until next time, keep Making a Homestead, one day at a time.

 

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RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. Surviving an Active Shooter Event

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.

RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. Surviving an Active Shooter Event

 

About Ready Houston (from their YouTube site):

“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.

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