Friday, April 30, 2010


Wendy suggested (OMG I had a reader and she commented twice and my husband thought I had lost my mind when I saw that because I ran around the house giggling for like 20 minutes) in my comments that I focus on one thing as we begin our Survival Journey and she suggested what my gut already knew.

There is just too much and I feel manic when I try and get it all straight and organized in my head. I can not accomplish total survival mode in a year. I just can't.

Or even 2 really. So please, as our Mayan guide told us in Chichen Itza, do not let the world end on 12/21/12 because I will SO not be ready.

I am going to focus on food. This will be a slow process of course but my main focus will be learning to grow it, store it (including drying and canning) and introducing it into our diets.

My kids will eat more vegetables than my husband or I currently do so this will be a challenge. I hope he's up for it.

Currently my container garden holds:
Sugar Snap Peas
Yellow Onions
Blueberries (if the dogs would stop digging it up)
Radishes (I'm actually waiting to see if those sprout)

Yet to be planted are tomatoes, both Cherry and regular as well as some more cucumber plants and some jalapeno peppers.

I need to still start my bell peppers as well. And I want some apple trees. And raspberry bushes.

This is more than I had initially planned and I'm already learning some valuable lessons such as chicken wire for garden fencing in case of dogs.

I didn't focus this year on open-pollinating seeds or heirlooms because at the time, I just didn't know how important those would be.

Next year that will be more of my focus. Acquiring those and learning to seed save from those plants.

This year I want to learn to can. I have a basic idea of how to can applesauce so I'll try that on my own. I would also like to make a tomato sauce or salsa and can it. And finally some fruit leather made either in the oven or in the sun.

I also need to learn how to incorporate more of our home grown and local food into our diet. I'll start with our farmers market and see, with the help of my children, what we can move to.

A small goal also will be ongoing and that will be to acquire 1-2 books a year on this homesteading/survival situation.

Not surprisingly I think a book on either growing food in a small space or storing the food will be a top priority.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My garden

I have a known talent in my family. I'm known for killing green things. I generally can't keep a plant alive in my house to save my life. Normally it's from overwatering as opposed to under but sometimes it's just my brown thumb.

This year though, I made a decision that I wanted to be able to grow and can some of my family's food. I bought magazines, read the internet and thought long and hard about how and what I wanted to plant and grow.

We have 2 dogs so a traditional garden plot was out of the question for this year. While ultimately I would like to plant fruit bearing trees and bushes in the perminter of the yard for our use and consumption, I want the dogs to have as much yard as possible for playing, running and being, well, dogs.

So I opted to do container gardening this year. I figured it would keep me small because once you start gardening it's easy to get excited about seed packets and small green shoots and reall over commit yourself and kill everything while you are learning.

My first container I planted sugar snap peas that I had grow from seeds, plus 2 more seeds, just in case these failed since I was planting them at the begining of April and we could (and have) still had frost and snow this month.

I also planted carrots and rosemary, sage and chives in that same container in a circle pattern in accorance to companion planting information. I also put together a bamboo tripof for the peas to climb and so far things seem to be going great in that pot. I am starting to finally see carrot seeds spouting.

My second container I dedicated to strawberries so I bought two different kinds. One is a big ever bearing variet and the other is a smaller, low lying variety. The big ones already are begining to spout berries and if everything goes well we should have a nice, albeit small, strawberry crop this year.

My third container I didn't plant until 2 weeks ago. In it I put the only surviving cumumber plant that I raised from seed, two other piles of cucumber plants, one specifically for pickling, radishes, white onions i had raised from seed and yellow onion "sets" or starters. I have watered them, loved them and checked on them. I have covered them with the plant blanket when there was a chance of frost or snow and have whispered to each and every one of my plants.

And then Saturday one of the dogs got into the container with the cucumber and onions and dug it all up.

I wanted to kill her. The rage is my wanted to choke the very life from her. My babies were destroyed. I leave an entire yard and this dog felt like she was totally cool just digging into my 32 inches of space.

This is the same dog that I suspect dug out my blueberry bushes. Three times. This is the same dog that eats crap that isn't food but instead chews on books, tin cans, diapers and box tops for education.

I stood outside in the chilly night air with the deck light and a flash light digging in the wet uprooted earth and recovered my poor cucumber plant and 3 onions. I replanted what I could and told my husband to take the dog somewhere else.

Instead he told me no. He told me I couldn't kill the dog (at no time did I seriously want him to kill the dog and when I felt that rage I got awat from her) or even hit her. That that wasn't the woman he married and he would leave me.

So the dog redug out everything I planted at midnight. She did it sometime between 3 and 8:30am.

My husband doesn't care.

He chose the dog over me.

He chose the dog over my hard work, my hours of effort.

He chose the dog over what I consider the stepping stone to being totally prepared in case the world as we know it ends.

He chose the dog over our food safety.

And it stings. And I'm hurt.

And no matter how much he tells me now that he chooses me first, I don't believe him. If he chose me first that dog would not have had the ability to redig up my container. It would not have had the ability to destroy every shred of food safety and self reliance that I felt.

We had rigged large tomatoe cages at my Mother in laws idea and insistance and I am grateful because I was just so devasted I couldn't put my heart into working on it anymore.

But I dont want to touch the dog. As far as I am concerned she is a destroyer. And I can't even look at my husband. He cares more for the dog than for humans in my mind.

And I dont know how to deal with that.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What I am preparing for and what I need

In my fantasy world my family and I would move to a cabin/home in the semi-wilderness with about 5 acres of land. The house would be completely self-sufficient meaning wood burning oven, fireplace, well, composting toilets, root cellar, etc. BUT, we would also have solar and wind power for things like television, movies, computer, etc. That way when the shit hits the fan, as it were, we would be self sufficient and wouldn't suffer from the meltdown that society will experience.

We would have a garden that the entire family would work from, we would have a small farm yard, mostly chickens, maybe a milking cow (assuming someone has a bull down the road for pregnancy) and some goats.

If I win the lotto that will be a top priority.

However, I live in the real world. I have children that need a roof over their heads, food in their bellies and the History Channel. (Okay that's for me)

I also like my job, my profession. I want to work outside the home when feasible and possible.

I live in suburbia and I have friends and family. I don't need them seeing my "crazy" as I call it when it comes to this stuff and I don't want jokes about tinfoil hats or doomsday prophecy.

So...what am I preparing for?

I believe that a global meltdown is inevitable in the very near future. I predict it will be economic. But it could very well be caused by a biological agent such as a pandemic that decimates the worlds population leading to a complete shutdown of society as we know it.

Is that the psycho shower scene music playing in the background?

Anyways, I want to be ready if that happens.

I don't want to try and figure out how to cook for my family for the first time when the power goes out.

I don't want to worry about how to maintain household hygiene after the place is a mess and the water is scarce.

I don't want to worry about where to get food or the danger of trying to loot a grocery store if we run out.

I don't want to worry about security in those kinds of times. (I've turned that over to Survival Dad though. He heard guns and security and was good to go.)

I don't want to worry about drinking water in desperate times.

I don't want to worry about food storage and nutrition.

So - really this blog is for me.

I have so many things and ideas and needs that I want to get in order. This blog is to help me with that.

I need to learn how to garden.

I need to learn how to cook from scratch. And over a camp fire, wood stove or fireplace flame. None of which I have on hand.

I need to learn basic medical safety and guidelines and gather the materials necessary should I need them.

I need to learn how to can and dry food.

I need to teach myself how to eat better.

I need to learn how to become less reliant on fossil fuels and more reliant on natural energy.

I need to be debt free.

I need to learn how to entertain my family when there is no tv, iPhone or electronics.

I need skillz yo.

How the mighty have fallen

2 generations ago, both sides of my family farmed.

Not like that was their livelihood, as I understand it, it was not. But it was their main source of food.

My maternal grandparents lived on that "farm" for many years and raised 6 children in a 3 bedroom home that is smaller than the top half of my home now.

They raised chickens and crops specifically for their family and not for selling. My grandfather was a mechanic in the ore beds of Northern Minnesota. (So Northern they sound like Canadians, eh?) My grandmother tended the children and tended the home. They grew, they canned and they lived on very little.

When I was growing up in the big city my Mother still managed to can pickles, spagetti sauce, beans and peas. That's just what I remember. The older I got, the more she canned so for all I know she was canning everything she can get her hands on. I moved out when I was 18 and she died when I was 26. I wasn't interested in canning or gardening so I learned nothing from her in that regard. I am so very sad and sorry for that now.

When I was small though she did have her own garden way out in the middle of nowhere, where we lived at the time. I remember it as huge but I was also at most 5. But she would sit hours and hours in her garden pulling weeks and I would made mud pies with the weeds and weed houses and weed hills and weed..well, you get the idea. She also had a greenhouse and still today when I smell a growing tomato plant I think of that greenhouse.

Today, neither my husband not myself could tell you where our food comes from. Other than the grocery store. We are both very picky eaters (something unheard of in my mothers formative years) and we neither of us like vegetables. I am unsure that my 5 year old would know a chicken if she saw one.

I feel like we are the norm. We are an example of what American society has become and I'm worried for us.

So I'm working to garden and learn about where my food comes from again. I'm working to change the complancency in my children and also in myself.

I still like soda though.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Who am I?

When I was a child I briefly lived in a flood zone in Texas. Every time it would rain hard or there was a flood warning I would panic and tie my stuffed animals to my body. All of them. I would pile them in the bed and sleep with as many of them as I could get gripped tightly in my arms so as not to lose them.

I wasn't being selfish and not wanting to give up my toys. In my 6-7 year old mind my stuffed toys were counting on me to protect them. They were helpless (you know, because they aren't alive and stuff) and I needed to save them in case we were caught in a flood.

I did not count on my mother or grandparents protecting me in the floor. I was completely confident in my swimming abilities (I shouldn't have been) and I knew I would be okay in the way that every child believes they are invincible. But my children could not fend for themselves, they could not look after themselves and so they needed me. And I was committed to protecting them.

I see bad things happening every day in the world. I knew the housing boom had to bust. I know credit isn't a cure all. I've seen disasters happening on the movie screen and real life.

I believe that there will come a time very soon that we as a society will be rocked so hard that we will be forced back to basics and will only have ourselves to depend on. I want to prepare for that day.

But I am a city girl. Granted, when I was VERY young we lived in a cabin in the middle of nowhere until I was 5. But once that lifestyle stopped it completely stopped and I became familiar with the creature comforts of running water (of all temperatures), flushing toilets and grocery stores.

I still like those things. I still want to be able to watch my movies and play with my iPhone. I want to take a hot shower and grocery shop at 11pm. BUT, I also want to be prepared in case I can't do any of those things.

This blog will document my journey as I learn skills for surviving in case the world as we know it comes to an end.

I have 3 children, a husband, 2 dogs and a cat. Plus we have family members in the area. I need to plan for all of them to depend on me in our home in case of emergency.