Saturday, October 27, 2012

Preparedness Challenge #40

Welcome to the Preparedness Challenge! Each month USA Emergency Supply hosts a give away to encourage families to set something aside to prepare for a time of emergency or the unexpected. Those who link up or leave a comment of something they did during the month to be prepared will be entered in the drawing (please take a moment to read the rules at the bottom of the post).

To Those Who Link Up Monthly...

Many of you have been faithful to the challenge, month after month... I congratulate you! Take a minute and consider all the prepping you've done that would have never happened if you hadn't taken the initiative to accept the challenge. Those little (and sometimes BIG) steps add up to quite a bit!

If you've been doing the Preparedness Challenge for over a year, you've probably developed a lifestyle of prepping at this point. This is the mindset that we want to adopt, because a one time purchase of emergency food really isn't going to meet your family's needs either in the immediate future or long term. As you know, there is so much more to prepping!

To Encourage You Further...

Not everyone has made it this far in the Challenge... at week #40, many have been overwhelmed. I get that! It's a daunting task at times, especially in our consumer oriented disposable society where nearly everything can be purchased at anytime if you have the money (or credit card!). To be both debt free and prepared... sometimes it's like swimming upstream with a 100 pound pack strapped on your back!

Preparing can happen no matter how small the steps. If you've fallen off the band wagon, time to make it a priority again and JUST DO IT. Here's how I'm going to help you...

1. For those who link up with a blog post and list something from ALL 3 CATEGORIES (see below), you'll be entered in the give-away twice!

2. After linking up or leaving a comment, anyone who shares the Challenge on ANY SOCIAL MEDIA, may leave a second comment telling me what they've done and they'll be entered in the drawing a second time.

3. I'm going to feature one of the blogs that links up each month. I'm looking for a post where someone adds something to encourage others to prepare, helps with preparedness ideas, or goes over and beyond by prepping in an unusual way.

October's Featured Prepper...
Lisa at The Way Grandmama Does It, wrote an outstanding post on gift ideas for those who want to promote a preparedness lifestyle and get family members on the right track. She definitely gets the idea behind our challenge and is ready to help others do the same... way to go, Lisa! Thanks for sharing your passion for prepping and your Christmas plan with the rest of us.

Today's Winner & Give-Away!

Last month's give-away from USA Emergency Supply was the Freeze Dried Vegetable Combo for food storage and emergencies. I'm pleased to announce the winner today...

Mooberry Farmwife at

A New Give-Away!

Guess you've already noticed the photo to the right... Don't laugh! THIS is an item you might REALLY want to have on hand should the water to your home cease to exist for a week or more! Just think... a bucket style toilet can be relocated in any number of places in order to keep odors away from the main living area in a disaster. Isn't it amazing how many details there are to consider? We take so much for granted... like indoor plumbing. USA Emergency Supply is including the bucket, deodorant, and digester to the winner of our October Challenge. 

Be sure to take a minute to read over their Winter Storms information page. Now is the time to be prepared for blizzards, snow, and other weather situations that come with those cold north winds.

Coming Soon...

With Thanksgiving at the end of the month (and so many of us focused on family gatherings), I'm combining both November and December's Preparedness Challenge and moving it to the first Saturday in December, which is the 1st. And because it's the end of the year, USA Emergency Supply is going to offer an End-Of-The-Year Blast...

Wondermill Junior Deluxe
Value $219!
We'll talk more about that next month, but you might want to get busy on that prepping so you can enter for sure!

How I Met The Challenge!

• Food Storage:  I visited an Olive farm and purchased some outstanding bulk olive oil. Better yet, I established a source for future purchases! I also have located a source for organic walnuts (in state as well - sort of local).

• Emergency Preparedness: I ordered all the supplies I need to make emergency candles from soy wax. (Another post to follow with details). With winter and inclimate weather coming, I'm thinking I'd like to have several sources for back up lights.

• Sustainable Living: A Homestead Library is so important... I'm always looking for a good book to add. This month, I purchased Kat Drovdahl's book The Accessible Pet, Equine, and Livestock Herbal as a reference book for animal care using herbal remedies. Definitely an investment, but I believe it will be well used over the years, saving me much more than the cost of the book in vet fees. (I am not an anti-vet person; I just feel there is a lot that one can do before a problem gets out of hand). I also potted some herbs for winter, planted garlic, and just hours after this post goes live, I'm butchering a flock of meat birds. 

Just A Reminder...

Don't forget that part of being prepared is PRAYER! Please keep those in the path of Hurricane Sandy in your prayers! It could make landfall this week on the east coast.

Now it's your turn to join the Preparedness Challenge..

Join the Challenge & Enter The Give Away

To be entered in the drawing you must complete the following 2 steps:

1) Either leave a comment
(with your email info - this is required to contact you)
link up your Preparedness Challenge blog post
(you only need to comment or postnot both).

2) Your comment or link up MUST include something you did this week to be more prepared in terms of food storage, emergencies, or sustainable living. Posts not related to at least one of the three areas of preparedness will not be counted toward the give-away. Please be sure to clearly state in your comment or post what you did this month to be more prepared (see my example above as one easy way to do this). Again, the three areas we are focusing on include: 

• food storage for life's unexpected events whether related to long term effects from a disaster or a job loss and everything in between

• emergencies for times of power outages, natural disasters, and such

• sustainable living in order to be more independent, both physically and financially, and to live as close to the land as possible given each individual's situation 

3) If you do something in all 3 areas, leave me a second comment and just say "I DID 3!"

4) If you share about the challenge on a social media site, leave me a new comment and say "Shared on ________."

Please be respectful of our challenge and only add a post on one of these three preparedness topics ONLY in order to retain the integrity of the link up event. If your post is just a general homesteading post, please save it for the Monday Homestead Barn Hop.

NOTE: This challenge and give-away ends Friday, November 2nd at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Be sure to take the Preparedness Challenge picture and add it to your blog so others know you're participating and hopefully they'll join up, too! THANK YOU!!


  1. I live on the East Coast so I am taking extra steps to prepare for Hurricane Sandy. We have stocked up on batteries, candles, water, and I am planning to bake some muffins and finger foods for easy meals if we lose power. Today I also plan to make chicken stock from a chicken that I roasted yesterday.


  2. I cleaned out the chicken coop and added extra hay for winter warmth. Also changed out the coop screens with winter windows. Checked tractor battery and replaced it for use in the winter. Changed tractor from mower to snow blade. Ordered gas for the storage tank for use in the tractors and generator. Ran the generator and checked it over to make sure it is running smoothly. Cleaned gutters. Put fresh hay in dog house. Checked lp in grill in case it's needed for winter cooking. Cleaning out deep freeze for incoming beef order.

  3. My work this month focused on sustainable living. I planted some plants for pollinators and predatory good bugs like lace wings. This does not directly affect my food garden, but I think it is an important component toward a sustainable lifestyle.

    I tried to start chard, onions, broccoli and fennel from seed, but failed miserably. All of them died. So this month, I found Swiss chard, broccoli, dill, and cabbage seedlings at a local store. I planted them and have been watering them to keep them alive. I also found onion sets. I planted them, though I think the ones I bought are not right for this area. I have planted them and am trying to get home grown onions.

    The other thing I did was to turn my husband from a $1000 purchase that I considered unnecessary. I don't know if this fits any of the preparedness topics, but it was an important savings for my family in case we need to be prepared for an emergency.

    Thanks for what you do. It is encouraging to me to be able to report my activities each month. It helps me keep focused on the goal.

  4. This week I put up another 20 pounds of rice in jars. I also stored more water and made more storage space for food and water in the house.

    I got rid of a china cabinet in the dining room in order to make room to install a woodstove, which is currently sitting on our front porch. Just have to install it now.

    I also got a new book--the Backyard Homestead, with lots of helpful info on gardening and livestock.

  5. Thanks for hosting this Amy. I had the opportunity to stock up on my favorite flour. Bob's Red Mill all purpose unbromated. It comes in a well sealed plastic bag and 4 bags are inside a sealed cardboard box and was on uber sale at my local store for $2.50 a five pound bag. Even though it wasn't in the budget for this month I bought 150lbs of it. I was jazzed because I had been fretting about the lack of this basic element in my pantry and I bake. The wheat mills, buckets, Mylar bags etc for storing wheat have just not been something I could afford all at once. The flour has a sell by date of 8/14 so I am really happy about that. Now I can add a bag with a longer sell by date as I use a bag. or

  6. I did all three! I mentioned some in my earlier comment but couldn't think of a sustainable living entry. But I saved seeds from this year's produce for planting next year--pumpkins done today!

  7. Guess we actually did all three when I think about it. My daughter and I picked the apples on our tree and made apple butter, cider, and stored the other two boxes. I stored acorn squash (our favorite)froze goats milk for making cheese this winter (yes it works)and food storage is an ongoing thing around here. Apple sauce and canned pears are next on the agenda. The man did maintenance on the generator by changing the oil and giving it a good going over. Our emergency red cross radio is ready to go, stocked up on chicken food, dog and cat food because you need to think about the animals that depend on you. Also stocked up on oil for the Aladdin lamps just in case and our 1000 gallon propane tank is being topped off as we speak. Although I don't expect a hard winter we do live on an earthquake fault and on an island (think tsunami)so the family knows where to go to be on higher ground if that happens. I guess the third thing on sustainability is the fall garden that includes root vegis and Cole crops and the cold frame that contains spinach and lettuce. So there it is. Thanks again.

  8. This week, I harvested the apple tree in my back yard. My family processed the apples into apple sauce and apple butter. They are now canned and waiting for us to enjoy them all winter long. So that qualified for FOOD STORAGE :)

  9. This week we are cutting up and elk, putting into the freezer; tried making homemade ketchup-guys didn't like-will have to re-try, bought a cheesemaking kit to start making some hard cheeses.

  10. This week I am putting up 60 pounds of apples, buying lots of bulk grains from a military family who is moving and selling their stores, and if we can get to it, we're planting some seeds in the fall garden today.

  11. Hello Amy! Just dropping by for a visit. (Please do not enter me into your drawing as I am not there yet!)

    Was wondering if you could respond here with a direct link to one of your older "Preparedness Challenge" posts that you think would be a good place to start for a newbie. I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the great info that you provided in today's post...and have no idea what I should focus on first in preparedness.

    Thanks and blessings,

    1. Valerie, here is an index of posts that's easy to access:
      Start at the top of the list and work down. YOU CAN DO THIS!!

  12. We bought the same book that you did this month! It's a great resource to have!

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. I dug twenty pounds of rice out of the freezer and put that in some jars I had been accumulating (thanks mom).

    I just picked a huge bag of carrots and potatoes which I will be canning, along with squash and pumpkins from the garden.

    Discussed with my dad how I could turn a very tiny closet size room into a "root cellar". I had knocked out a cement block and added a small window -- but it lacks any kind of door. Dad said --- well that's no problem!!

  15. Earlier this month I canned turnip greens (something I don't know I'll EVER do again! It's so time consuming! Some things are meant to be eaten fresh and given to friends and family and I believe turnip greens are one of them!).

    Today, we pulled up our first harvest of turnips, fed the tops to the bunnies and goats and washed the bottoms for canning (and roasting, yummm!). We also planted new rows to replace the ones we harvested and planted lettuce. Then, we "harvested" all our goat, rabbit,and chicken droppings to "feed" the garden. It was a bust Saturday!

    For emergencies, Mr. has been purchasing a little gold and silver just in case... he's also been practicing his trading skills. Through his trading he has acquired a top of the line Stihl leaf blower. The leaves we gather and feed to the goats and mulch the garden with.

  16. I ordered and recieved 2-40 gallon buckets of freeze dried fruits and veggies from Costco for my long term storage build. Made applesauce to freeze from local apples, put up our "sunroom" for our chickens for shletered space, and added light to the coop for more egg production. Prepped our house for winter storms- bought more batteries, checked on oil supply for lamps. Busy, busy.

  17. I love the bucket toilet giveaway, that's awesome. I've been loosely following along for a while but not really participating, but I think maybe I will start paying more attention. I built a humanure toilet and we used it for a few months until I filled up my compost bin. I am in the middle of expanding the bin so we can start using it again.

  18. I evaluated my storage methods for herbs and medicines this week, as part of an assignment for a class I am taking on Herbalism:

    According to the Textbook:

    ·Dried herbs should be stored whole to avoid deterioration

    ·Small quantities can be stored in dark, colored, labeled, glass jars with airtight lids

    ·Herbs can be wrapped in brown paper and stored in temperatures below 65 degrees to prevent evaporation of essential oils

    ·Date and label your herbs clearly (including Latin names)

    ·Check your herbs every month for signs of deterioration

    ·Do not keep herbs for longer than 2 years

    (Petersen, 2012)


    The materials I received for the class are still stored in their original packaging and are still in the box, unless we need them. Because the Mylar envelopes are sealed with a Ziploc, if closed correctly they are airtight. The essential oils I put in the kitchen cupboard with the essential oils I already had.

    Until this week it has been over 90 degrees here in Texas, so the house, with the air conditioner set at 73, was the coolest place to store them. Now that it is cooling down I could move the box to the garage, provided it does not get hot again.

    I did not date the herbs I received but I have the receipt so I can go back and add that. I need to do the same thing with the soap that I made a month ago too. Which is currently in my living room.

    I think I already have considered and do a fair job at storage because I have raw supplies for my business and had already considered where the cool dark places are in my house.


    Petersen, D. (2012, 10 24). Basics of Herbal Medicine. Portland, Oregon, USA.

  19. Husband and I are just beginning this homesteading/preparedness journey. We attended a missions conference about a month ago and learned a lot about how folks are using urban farming to reach out to their community. So we have decided to turn our older suburban home into a "homestead."

    1) I received a gift of about a bushel of apples and canned applesauce this week. Also made and canned chow chow from some green tomatoes from our garden.
    2) The utility company did some tree trimming in our neighborhood and even completely cut down several trees. We have been able to score some firewood for free so Husband spent 2 days chopping wood for use in our fireplace this winter.
    3) We have purchased a couple of homesteading books and we are evaluating our property for the best places for gardening, composting, water collection, and hopefully chickens!

    Praying for those who will be affected by Hurricane Sandy.

  20. We just purchased 30 boxes of matches to store for emergency preparedness and we canned 35 pounds of Roma tomatoes. Also, we added three more laying hens to our flock and built a second small coop with attached run to serve as a grow-out coop before we join any new additions with our free ranging older ladies. Ordered two cords of wood for winter heating, although more will definitely be required but since wood is expensive, this is something we purchase as we are able. Also, cut up and split some trees that had fallen on our property so they can properly dry out and season.

  21. Hi, I forgot my email address. It's Thanks!

  22. We bred our goats, so we will hopefully have milk this spring. We installed a woodstove that not only heats our house, but we can cook on it as well! Yay! I purchased some essential oils for my medicine cabinet, planted garlic, and covered the strawberry plants for the winter. I also purchased several more cases of food for the pantry.

  23. We have been making some good progress in our emergency preparedness. I enjoy your web posts and it's nice to look back at the month and capture our progress.

    Food Storage: I purchased #10 cans of hard red winter wheat, white rice, pinto beans, quick oats and white wheat for storage. Picked our pomegranate tree and put up jelly to store and give to friends. Yum!

    Emergency Preparedness: After the mulit-state power outage last year, we realized we didn't have a good emergency radio. I finally purchased a solar/battery/crank AM/FM/LW/SW & NOAA weather emergency radio. We also picked up a few extra lantern mantles and water treatment tablets. Oh! and an emergency seed bank canister.

    Sustainable Living: I attended a wonderful environmental festival where I participated in a hands-on workshop on hydroponics and brought home my project planted with various veggies. Since we live in an area that doesn't freeze, hydroponics may be a great addition to the garden. In the afternoon I attended a lecture on permaculture. Our electric solar has been up and running for a full month now and we are on track to zero out!

  24. I am very new to prepping, and just found your blog. Though I may be behind y'all I am going to work extra-hard to catch up fast! It was easy for me to meet all three objectives, since I am really starting from ground zero. I just made a new garden bed to be ready to plant in the spring, I just started researching all the options for food storage and found a great local source for buckets, loaded up on extra firewood, ordered some books to read over the winter, and also doubled up basic items on this week's Costco trip.I have a ways to go, but it is a good start.

  25. I did all 3. In terms of storage we inventoried and we organzied our supplies as well as added to our stories with both food items and additional canning supplies. We began preparing for the winter or emergencies by changing the oil in the generator. Sustainable living activities included planting some wheat grass seeds, planning for the spring garden, and adding to the free-range chicken area.

  26. I grew up with older parents who went through the depression and the concept of "prepping" and homesteading was a normal part of my growing up.

    Today my husband and I have a nine acre mini farm where we practice sustainable living by raising our own pastured sheep and Guinea hogs for home butchering. I also have hens for eggs. We garden and raise almost all of our own veggies and herbs. This year we grew a bumper crop of white sweet potatoes from slips I grew on last years potatoes. We have a hand dug well and pond on our place but we are hooked up to city water for now. We heat with wood and I cook on the wood stove most of the winter. I also try to interest others in heritage crafts and home skills. I teach hand spinning with my wool, soap making with the tallow and lard we render, linen production and hominy making.

    Since I grew up canning and fell heir to my families stash of canning jars and equipment, this is my choice for preserving food. We just recently discovered Tattler lids and really like them. Tonight I am up waiting for the canner of meatballs to process. I grew up canning veggies and fruit but decided to try canning meats a couple of years ago and I am thankful I did. I also store winter squash and sweet potatoes which keep well over winter. When we get the opportunity to get a deer I like to jerk much of it, though with three sons most of it does not last long enough to be stored. We always keep staples such as beans, rice, wheat and dry milk on hand and recently purchased a pail of honey for storage. For many years I ground my own wheat with a cheap grain mill. I actually made bread for a family of seven that way. I never did get a good mill but my father-in-law recently found an old Bell masa mill in someones shed he was cleaning out and gave it to me. It is quite a bit easier to use.

    We also try to keep abreast of emergency preparedness issues. Last summer I took a locally offered CERT class and a Red Cross CPR Certification class. I also had the opportunity to become a Weather Spotter through a class with the National Weather Service.To be prepared for the emergencies that could occur in our area we have different types of emergency kits. I have a "road trip" bag with enough first aid and hygiene supplies for a three night camping excursion or a field trip with several kids. I also have my CERT bag with disaster tools and supplies. We also have "bug out bags" with clothing and food stuffs. Last Christmas we purchased Extreme Cold Weather sleeping bags for each other.

    Over all, I enjoy this lifestyle and try to encourage others to be prepared for what ever happens in life.

  27. It was great to find your blog again--I'm a perpetual lurker. I'm back now after becoming debt free!

    This month, we planted garlic, and butchered our own hogs. We reclaimed some of the old cellar so that we can use it as cold storage. Goats are bred now. We kept more heifer calves to build our cow herd. And we just picked out a chainsaw to increase our wood cutting efficiency!

    I love the toilet, btw!

  28. I want to get the frozen grapes out of the freezer and get them canned for longer term storage. I'm researching the benefits and usage of colloidal silver and grapefruit seed extract. I'm re-planting (for the 3rd time) the winter lettuces, carrots, bok choy etc. that some type of caterpillar keeps eating down to the ground.

  29. Hi Amy! I am so very inspired by the information you provide and I am striving to accomplish as much as our very limited budget will allow. My husband and I have managed to pick up some extra canned goods and non-perishables, currently enough to hold our family for about 2 weeks. Hurricane Sandy encouraged us to stock up on batteries, water and paper products. We have also started working on composting our kitchen scraps into our garden, which we hope to expand in the spring. Thank you for the potentially life-saving information that you provide. God bless! Heather C. (

  30. This week we add to our little farm to be more sustainable. We planted some spinach. I experimented with sprouting alfalfa seeds and had success. We also invested in meal worms and red composting worms. We want to try to raise meal worms for the chickens and the redworms for composting and fishing. I also add 80 lbs of rice to my long term storage.

  31. We 1. dehydrated pears with a gifted dehydrator 2. chopped the dry wood and stacked it for the coming winter 3. recycled a too small shirt for a new doll dress for a friend's birthday and built a new storage shelf for the canning jars also gifted to us for canning venison. Thank you for letting me enter even though I don't have a blog.

    Monica pianomom 02 at g mail dot com

  32. We did all three categories.

    Monica pianomom02 at g mail dot com

  33. Well, I missed the deadline! Mine is still in draft form. I'll just add to it for next time, hope that's okay! (Darn!)


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