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Monday, September 10, 2012

Flu and other nasties

The GirlChild is ready for the upcoming flu season, but are you?

Flu epidemics are notoriously hard to predict and even track. The CDC recommends flu vaccines to everyone older than 6 months of age and especially immunocompromised and the elderly.

So do you vaccinate?

I personally am not a good candidate for vaccination because of an outstanding health problem, so I feel it is essential to protect those around me in my immediate family. Teaching great hand hygiene also is a must. Someone will undoubtedly fell a bit under the weather, so in our preps I include

Cold Medication for all ages in our home (pediatric and adult)
Chest Rub
Anti Nausea Medication
Commercial Hydrators (gatorade, pedialyte)
 I also keep antibiotics, TamiFlu and other prescriptives on hand. Being honest with your doctor and asking for a prophylactic prescription may payoff when there is an out break and your friendly neighborhood drug store is waiting for 3 or more days to be restocked is definitely worthwhile. We keep the hallmarks of prepping, like the N95 masks and gloves available, and hope that we will not need them.
What are you stocking?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back to School

Sorry for the delay, but have been getting little ones back to school, and blogging just hasn't been a priority.

So how do we send our prepared child back to school?

 For our little one, we have to be careful what we pack in her bag. Zero tolerance weapons policies have to be taken heavily into consideration. So what is in the GirlChild's backpack?
N95 Mask
Large super absorbent towel
Rain Poncho
Bandaids (cannot send other supplies especially acohol wipes, violate zero tolerance)
Hot Hands Hand Warmers
Millenia Bar
Hand Sanitizer
Emergency Contact Numbers List (not pictured...OpSec)
I can fit all of this in a vacuum bag, and fit this into the outside pocket of her backpack. Additionally, we add things like a complete set of clothes in case she needs them. The weight is minimal, and we know she is prepared.
Now, the plan. We constantly review with GirlChild what to do. If something happens, a flu outbreak, a snow storm or power outage, she is to stay exactly where she is, at school. For us, we are using the "hug a tree" theory to keep our little one safe. We don't want her trying to walk home or bug out. We want to go to where she is. 
What's your plan?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Apple Abundance

Apples are in! Time to add to the stash!

The beginnings of pie filling
The finished product ready for a hot bath!
Dehydrating for adding to muffins, oatmeal and other meals later. We vacuum pack these when done

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Peep's EDC

Sheepdog showed off his EDC, now I am showing mine. I carry this every single day. I work out of town 2 days a week. In case SHTF in a way that would incapacitate our vehicle, I would be 46 miles form my home and family. I took this into consideration, and plan seasonal carries also. For instance, I typically have a small can of Sterno, but it isn't pictured here because I am not carrying Sterno in August. I check my bag every single day. In addition, we also keep a fully stocked bag in our vehicle that is very grab and go. I also keep a small cache of supplies in my office.

So whats in the bag?

A complete change of clothes and bandanna. On days I wear heels, I carry additional shoes.
Rain Poncho
Water bottle and purification tablets
Space blanket
Super absorbent towel
Cell Phone and charger
Written emergency contact list (not pictured)
2 disposable toothbrushes
Feminine hygiene products
Hand Sanitizer
Waterproof matches
Glasses ( I wear contacts)
Bug Spray
First Aid Kit
Spork (boy that comes in handy a lot!)
Millenia Bars
Black Sharpie
Several flashlights, one crank powered
Walkie Talkie (Sheepdog has the mate)
Chemical Glow Sticks
On my keys- multi tool, flashlight, compass and whistle
And this is my little bag! Everything gets packed into one pocket, so I can keep the large compartment available for work or traveling overnight ect.

Being prepared takes a lot of the anxiety that I feel about working out of town away. I have an established escape route home that I and Sheepdog talk about regularly. We are always reviewing our plans, almost daily if not more.

If you aren't preparing yet, please think about starting today!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Coming Clean

This is the detergent blend that we have been mixing at home. We use a cup of Borax and Washing Soda to every Fels Naptha bar and bar of soap. I feel like it gets the clothes clean, without any weird residue and is so incredibly cheap! GirlChild doesn't mind working the bars over a cheese grater that we have dedicate  to detergent making.

All of there ingredients are found in the detergent aisle.

We use 2-3 tbsp per load, and so far so good!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Sheepdog Every Day Carry (EDC)

Peep and I both carry EDC bags or as we sometimes call them, 'Get Home' bags.  The idea in addition to the EDC concept is to be prepared to get home from work in the event of an emergency even if we have to abandon the vehicle and walk.  Peep and I are constantly altering and adjusting our bags.  Almost every day we decide to carry an additional item or remove something.  We often tailor the bag to what we might be doing that day or where we might be going.  Items also change through the seasons.  For example, in the winter I would probably have some HeatMax Hot Hands and other items related to cold weather survival.  Below I'll describe what I carried today in the 85 degree August heat.

  • Spiderwire sunglasses - Very necessary in summer and winter.
  • Bandanna - Yes that bandanna has skulls and hearts on it cause nothing says friendly prepper like skulls and hearts. A bandanna has many uses, dust mask, tourniquet, bandage, sling...
  • Hat - Shelter for your head and the visor is handy in the sun.
  • Mechanix Wear Impact Pro Gloves - I love these gloves.  I shoot with them all the time.  They are very form fitting and grip everything very well.
  • Cobra Microtalk 16 mile Walkie Talkie - Peep has the other one and we would use these if the phone systems were down.  Powered by AAA batteries.
  • Coleman LED Flashlight - Very bright, 90 lumens, strong aluminum case, wrist strap and powered by AAA batteries.
  • Lighter - You never know when you may need to start a fire or frey stop nylon.
  • Gerber Suspension Multi Tool - Chose this for the price but am very happy with it and use it often.
  • Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm - I conceal carry every day, everywhere.  Just part of the sheepdog philosophy.
  • Extra Magazine - Just in case.
  • Camillus Carbonitride Titanium Knife - Very nice knife.  Open assist, Japanese AUS 8 steel blade 3.8 inches and is very sharp all the time.
  • Energizer Crank FM/AM/Siren Radio Flashlight - Gotta love crank power and it doubles as an extra flashlight.
  • Notepad
  • Pen
  • Permanent Marker
  • Wallet
  • Check book
  • Keys
  • Money Clip and Cards
  • Phone
  • Phone Charger
  • Water Bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Chapstick
  • First Aid Bag - I put together my own first aid kit in a sandwich bag
  • Kleenex
  • 2 Ponchos
  • Energy Bar
Things to note:
  • I'm able to wear sneakers to work or I would have a pair in this bag.
  • I keep a large stock of rechargeable AA and AAA batteries and purposefully buy gadgets that require them (flashlights, radios, weapon lights, illuminated sights, everything).
  • For awhile now I have been using a small shoulder bag but recently I was at Walmart and saw this little tactical looking back pack for $20. It's much more feature rich than my shoulder bag so I had to try it. It has an internal camel back pouch and lots of places for my molle accessories.  I doubt it conforms exactly to molle spec though...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Being Correctly Prepared and a post about Sterno

Sometimes, I manage to get it right. Sometimes, I learn a lesson.

This weekend, we had several events and occurrences that were out of the norm. In preparation for an all day out door fundraising event, I rearranged and re packed my EDC (every day carry). I took out the can of Sterno, added a few beach towels and an extra poncho, as the forecast was looking iffy. I was going to be around more kids than just the GirlChild, so I threw in more kid friendly snacks. Everything went off without a hitch. The other moms work with me, and I have developed a reputation for preparedness. They all now what is in my EDC, down to the last band aid. Heck, my multi tool was the only thing around to open the after event beer with! The towels were useful as it poured, and the kids were pleasantly entertained for 6 hours.

Now the bad news.

We lost power here in the middle of the night. We have water and food and plenty of supplies. However, the things that we really needed this morning, we had run out of and not replaced! Oh the horror and embarrassment! What kind of preppers are we?! We had no propane for our grill, where I planned to boil water for coffee (no coffee=no functioning). Back to that trusty can of Sterno. This is the thing, for lack of a better word, that I constructed.
Yep, that's a can of Sterno, on a glass pie plate. This whole apparatus was constructed on the grill. To be honest, in my mind we only lose power when its cold outside and we have the wood burner going.

 Today was a lesson!

The coffee was great, by the way. This was a totally Peep project, and Sheepdog laughed at it when he ventured downstairs to find out what the cursing was about.

Grateful the power is back on

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How do you encourage others to prepare?

How do you encourage your family and friends to prepare for the worst? We really think the CDC hit it out of the park with the zombie apocalypse related preparedness posts. Think about it. What event made you start wanting to think about maybe possibly one day getting a plan together for you and yours. Hurricane Katrina? Joplin's tornadoes? A power outage that lasted long than it was convenient? Maybe it was a movie or a Discovery Channel show. For our family, it was a combination of multiple factors and events that made us start storing food, making kits and forming plans. Not all of our extended family is on board with the plan, so we have decided to prep as if we are expecting more people than actually live with us. We also encourage everyone to start prepping for LIFE to happen. Someone will lose a job or have a paycheck that isn't enough. What will you eat? Someone will get sick or have an injury in the middle of the night. How will you treat it? Something will go bump in the night. How will you defend against it?

So where to start when there are more questions than answers? The CDC gives a great guide, as does the Red Cross. In fact, the GirlChild carries a Red Cross generate emergency contact card in her bookbag (she doesn't need to know it is really an EDC)

Check out the links over in our Friends in the Blogsphere to find a starting point,and let us know how you are doing!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Getting home and the gear to do it.

Worked on revising and replenishing our get home bags. We used to view these only as BOB's or bug out bags. For our family, we found out that we had made our living arrangement such that we were living in our bug out location! Since we are all away from home every day though, we needed to look at our need to get home and the best way to prepare for that.

So, the bag. We all chose typical backpacks, made to blend in. Nothing to military looking or noticeable to the common observer. In addition, we have a vehicle bag and a stash in the truck that we can augment our bags with if we have to leave the truck.

There are 3 of is in the immediate family. Sheepdog is our 30 something fearless leader and will review his own bag in another post. The GirlChild is 7 and while I pack and prep her bag, she is a very full participant and we have a very specific get home plan for her!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Sheepdog's Comments cause a stir

Today, Sheepdog commented on a post and this is what he said (not edited and in full):

"I knew there would be ignorant comments about gun laws and the NRA on here. For your information fairobserver, the world is FULL of guns! Laws like the treaty the UN is trying to pass will only keep guns out of the hands of law obiding people. Evil people will always have guns. My question is where in the heck were all my sheepdogs at??? There should have been 30 conceal carriers in that theater that stood up and took out the shooter. If I was there I would have saved lives."

The original article is here:

So what are your thoughts? Sheepdog had multiple comments in response to his, and all blaming the actions of one less than sane killer on the NRA and lack of gun control and legislature.


What makes a sheepdog? Taken from Dave Grossman, author of "On Killing"

On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs - Dave Grossman

By LTC (RET) Dave Grossman, author of "On Killing."
Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always,even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? - William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997
One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me:
"Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another. Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.
Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.
I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful.? For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.
"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.
"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."
If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed
Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools.
But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.
The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.
Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa."
Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.
The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door.
Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?
Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.
Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.
There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population. There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.
Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.
Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, "Let's roll," which authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers - athletes, business people and parents. -- from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.
There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke
Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn't have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.
If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.
For example, many officers carry their weapons in church.? They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs.? Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.
I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop replied, "I will never be caught without my gun in church." I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy's body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?"
Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for "heads to roll" if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids' school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them.
Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, "Do you have and idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?"
It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up.
Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear helplessness and horror at your moment of truth.
Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation: "...denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn't so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling."
Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level.
And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes. If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be "on" 24/7, for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself...
This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.

The Sheepdog Concept- all credit to our pal nutnfancy