Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Find Your Peers

What are peers?  In school as a teenager we think of peers as our friends or someone who is the same age, background, social class, maybe it is even someone we want to be like.  

The dictionary defines a peer as "A person who has equal standing with another or others, as in rank, class, or age: children who are easily influenced by their peers."

Why in the world do we need to find our peers?  Don't we go through school being told that we need to choose our peer group carefully, as they will influence the rest of our lives.  Or we are told that we don't need to follow our peers in everything they do.  Perhaps our parents don't like our group of peers.  I know my didn't like the ones I had when I was in high school.  

Learn from your peers
However, now I am going to tell you to find your peers.  Find the people who know what you want to know, and learn everything you can learn from them. If we take the definition from the dictionary, and add in a few words, keeping in mind food storage and emergency preparation, here is what it might look like.

Peers: People who understand and practice food storage, who have earned the knowledge and respect because of their practice and study, and who can easily teach and help others understand the why's and how's of food storage and being prepared in today's world - these are the peers that we want to seek out.

Who are the peers we want to find?  I am almost sure that there are some locally, close to wherever you are, that would be more than willing to help you learn.  You just need to find who they are.  Sometimes, they are quiet and like to keep to themselves, and other times you will find them teaching and sharing everything they know.  Just look locally to find them, they are out there.

Another place to find them is on the internet.  This internet that we have all become so dependent upon, is a wonderful tool, full of incredible amounts of information.  If you do a search for food storage, or emergency preparedness, you will find more information than what you can learn in a short amount of time.  In fact it can be a lifetime of study for some topics.  Here are a few links of some of my favorite sites to go - or some of my peers that I learn from:

This is just a small sampling of the information that is available, and the peers that you can find on the internet.  There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of sites now, that will share, teach and help you get on your way to being prepared and gathering in your food storage for your family.  If you look on the front page of this blog, you will find quite a few other links that I recommend as well.

I have also written a book about becoming prepared.  In it, I have listed my 52 weeks to preparedness, which I created for our church group many years ago.  I still use it today to help people start from nothing
Another of my books on Amazon
and build a storage, or start from where ever they are and build it up to something great.  You can purchase my book from my amazon site here at this link:  Davilyn Atwood on Amazon  and this link will also share with you the other books I have written on frugal living, herbal medicine and nutrition.

You can find a fair amount of information right here on this blog.  But if for some reason, you can't find what you need, please contact me and I will make sure you find it.  

Peers are all around us.  It seems like no matter what it is that we want to learn, there is someone close by who can teach us, all we have to do is open our eyes and use our mouths, and we will find what we need.  So for now, I say - Find Your Peers - find the ones you need to get you where you want to be going, and go along for the ride.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Year From Now.....

Have you completely lost your marbles?
Food storage is one of those things that you either love and do, or you avoid.  I can always tell when I am talking to someone about it, which side of the fence they are sitting on.  It really isn't that hard to tell.  Those that do it will love to talk about it and will tell you there stories, or ask questions.  Those that don't will sometimes keep quiet and look at you with this look, (you know they think you are totally nuts), or they will change the subject, or just turn and walk away.  There aren't very many in between fence sitters.

There are those who want to do it and some day they will get their food storage together, you know, when they have the space, or when they have the money, or the time, or whatever their reasons are.  To them I say this.....

It's not that far away
A year from now where will you be?  Will your situation be any different from now?  What if you start today with one little thing at a time?  What if you don't?  You can either start today and build up your food storage a little bit at a time, or you can be in the same spot one year from now, wishing that you had started today.  What will you do?

It really doesn't take very much to start.  Let me tell you of my story a little bit. 

I have grown up always gardening with my family.  When we were kids we used to have a huge garden and we would have major corn canning days, pea freezing, chicken butchering, etc.  We lived on a farm and we lived off of what we produced.  We canned or froze everything.  There was very little that we ate that was not home made.  So this way of life has never been new to me. 

But then of course as I grew up a bit, I fell into the trap for awhile that it was easier to just go to the store and buy stuff.  It was so much work to grow and preserve it all.  And it was.  It is a lot of work.

As a young married couple with little ones running around, again I realized that my parents were pretty smart,
yellow zucchini - mmmmm
and I always tried to grow a garden, whether it was in the ground or in pots.  I learned to shop the sales and do my own canning to save money.  I realized that money was something that was really hard to come by, and often we went without if I didn't produce or make it myself.  It was a hard life, but a good one.  Learning step by step and remembering the things I had been taught as a child.

There were many miracles along the journey that helped us.  We saw the blessings directly from trying our best to gather our food storage.  The windows of Heaven were definitely opened to us.  But it wasn't until about 10 years ago, that I really had the biggest change in my life regarding food storage.

LDS Temple in Cardston
We had gone to our church temple to seek for some guidance and help.  Prayer and fasting was a big part, because we really wanted some answers.  We stopped at a book store after, and I purchased a book about dehydrating food.  I really felt like I wanted to start doing more food storage again.  Ours had depleted pretty severely over the years and we hadn't really replenished it like we should have, but I didn't know where to even begin again.  So I had prayed.  I asked for help.  I promised that if Heavenly Father would help me get food to preserve, I would do it all.  I would whatever I could to get my food storage for my whole family.  I really wanted it. 

Miracles started to happen within minutes of me voicing that prayer.  I immediately received a phone call from a friend who had scads of apples that she wanted to give me!  I was shocked!  My prayer was immediately answered!  He cared and He really wanted me to do this!  I was encouraged and motivated like
none other.  I had work to do! 

The calls and opportunities to this day have never stopped.  I can not even explain to you how the windows of Heaven have been opened to us on a scale that I never imagined possible.  All I had to do was ask, and be willing to go and do.  Today I can say comfortably that my food storage will sustain us for quite some time.  Sure there are things that we may run out of, but there are basics that I have that will keep us alive for a long time.

So let me ask you again....... A year from now where will you be?  Will  you still be giving excuses as to why you can't do it, or will you be one year ahead, watching the miracles and blessings unfold before your eyes because you took that leap of faith and were obedient?  The choice is yours.  You can look at me, and others like me, and think we are crazy, or you can engage in conversation with us and learn and grow with us. 

A year from now where will you be?  Still struggling from paycheck to paycheck to put food on the table, or building up your own little store in your home? 

A year from now where will you be?  Still waiting for something miraculous to happen, or making miracles happen?

A year from now where will you be? Unprepared and hoping that disaster doesn't strike, or prepared and saying come what may....

A year from now where will you be? Being obedient to the counsel we have been given or still making excuses as to why you can't do it?

A year from now...................

Saturday, July 19, 2014

What is Your Biggest Threat?

Sometimes it is really hard for our family, friends and / or neighbors to buy into the fact that it is important to always be prepared.  I have had my fair share of people who think I like to cry doom and gloom.  I don't take it personally, because I know that I am at peace with what I have done and am doing, and I know that my family is prepared for most possibilities where I live.  So perhaps we cry doom and gloom, but at least we are not the ostrich with our heads in the sand.  I am afraid the ostrich's are going to get their butts kicked really hard one of these times, when they are not looking.

So how in the world can we get these kind of people to understand the importance of preparedness?  Some never will, so you can just walk away from those ones.  They will just drain your energies and try to bring you down.  For those that you might be able to persuade, you need your facts and reasons, so that you can show them why.  Start with your biggest threat to your area.  What is that?  What is the biggest natural or man made threat that you can think of, that could affect where you live?

For example: Where I live, flooding is a pretty major thing every year, but only in parts of the city.  I live up on a hill, so I don't worry about that, other than if the water treatment plant, down by the river gets flooded,
Personal Preparedness Portfolio 
then perhaps we may be without clean water for a time.  It has happened before.  This is a big threat, but not sure if it is at the top of the list.  Another threat, which is pretty realistic right now, wildfires.  We currently have wildfires burning through out the province, none that are too close to us, but that can change very quickly.  It is not uncommon for prairie fires to catch hold in the extreme hot weather, and for areas to be evacuated because of these fires.  So another threat, but not a huge one.  Sever weather in the winter or summer months are not uncommon here.  In the summer months, we have seen severe hail and even tornadoes, and in the winter, harsh winter storms happen often.

We have a very real threat very close to us, which is an army base.  It is run by the British, but it is a real threat for us.  They do some chemical testing and war games and stuff out there.  Not unrealistic to think that they could attract some unwanted attention if war were to get close to home.  We also have some chemical plants in our city that actively teach the city, schools and businesses to shelter in place in case of chemical spills or explosions.  Not too fun there.

So all of these things are very real threats, to us as a whole.  Trucker strikes, food shortages, etc, all are a part of it as well.  But lets think a little closer to home, what about our homes?  What if you or your spouse were to fall ill, or worse die?  What kind of situation would that leave you or your kids in?  What if your employment were to end?  What if your house flooded, or a fire destroyed it?  What if you got robbed?  I know some of these things sound a bit unrealistic and we often think it won't happen to us, but I can assure you, that I have seen every one of these things happen to people I personally know.  Some were prepared and weathered the storm not too bad, and others being unprepared, were devastated from their storms, whatever they may have been.

I think the way to help people see what they should be prepared for, is to get them to think of what their biggest threat is, and then in the process, they will also see all of the other threats that often go unseen, until they surface.  Start that conversation and see where it goes.  Don't try to overwhelm them with too many details or thoughts at one time.  Take it slow.  Start with the biggest threats and how would you prepare for them, and then go from there.

I think with all of the things that I listed, our biggest threat, is power outages due to severe weather storms.  I have seen people right here go pretty crazy when the power was out for less than 24 hours.  What if something wild happened that took out power for a week, or two or three weeks?  It isn't uncommon these days.  It could happen.  How would you cook?  How would you run your technology?  How would you bathe, flush, clean, phone, or function.  It would turn our world upside down, and we are prepared for such a scenario.  What about you?

I have written a book titled Your Personal Preparedness Portfolio, which will actually walk you through step by step of different scenarios, to help you get prepared, perhaps even for things which you may not have thought of.  It is a great workbook, to create a great plan for your family.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Gardening With the Future in Mind

Last year I really started thinking different about gardening.  Normally my gardens would include what fresh vegetables we might want through the summer months, and what produce I could grow to preserve and use for the winter.  I have always been blessed with great family and friends who have very large gardens / farms who have let me work for produce and such.  My dad has always had a large market garden / berry farm, but when he decided to sell out soon, I started to realize that I have wasted many of my years here, by not starting sooner to build up my own little yard into my own little survival garden.
My grape vine!  So loaded with grapes

Last year I planted cherry trees, Saskatoon bushes, raspberry bushes, some strawberry plants and currant bushes. We already have a really great set up of grape vines which all the juice and jelly that we could use in a season.  However if I had planted these 12 years ago when we moved into this home, I would have a really great little berry farm on my corner lot in the city.  Now I have to wait for a few years to really see the benefits of planting these.

Calendula, a herb that benefits the garden and your health.
I have also planted a few herbs that are perennials. Some of these are herbs that we use on a daily basis, so planting them will help us long term to become more self reliant.  Some herbs are annuals where I live, so they need to be planted each year.

A couple of years ago we built four raised beds, that have proven to be prolific in pretty much whatever I plant in them.  I love them!  They are so easy to weed and water, easy to plant, and easy to harvest the produce.  I have tried to used the square foot method of gardening in them a bit, and it seems to work great.  We have also built some metal sides to the raised beds, that way we can wrap them in plastic to make little 4 by 4 green houses.  It works like a charm.

Okay, so I have some perennial herbs planted, and lots of berry bushes and trees planted, but what other things can I get growing and how can I make better use of my yard to make my family more self reliant?

Beans growing like crazy in a raised bed
Probably one of the first things that you can do when planting a garden, is to try and buy garden seeds that are called "Heirloom" seeds.  These can grow produce for this year, and if you save the seeds, you can use them to grow produce next year and from year to year. The seeds that are called hybrid seeds, are genetically modified to produce a great, heavy yielding crop for the one year, and then you have to purchase seeds again for the next year.  They will not produce fruit from planting the seed the second year.  You can use a mixture of seeds in your garden, depending on what you want, but just make sure you keep notes on which seeds are which, that way you can save useful seeds, and not waste time on others.

It would be wise also to learn which native weeds are actually herbs and food.  Many of these most obnoxious weeds we have, could sustain life, and actually help heal many of our minor complaints.  Weeds like dandelion, plantain, burdock, mullein, and portulaca can be really noxious weeds, but are all really healthy for us to eat, and have some amazing healing properties.  These can be a great resource for our
Black currants and raspberries along the back fence
survival gardening, just learning where to find them and what to do with them.

Some good vegetables to plant would include: green or yellow beans, corn (if you have the space), tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, cucumbers and squash (if you have the space).  Some of these take up quite a bit of space, so you can either get the kinds that climb, or find another garden space that you can let them spread.  You can learn to plant climbers with stalk plants, like beans or peas with corn, and then plant squash around the base to fill in.

Mmmmm can't wait to eat these little babies!
You can plant things in pots too.  There are many years that I have not had enough garden space, so I grow things in pots.  Peppers, tomatoes, beans, carrots, and even zucchini can grow in pots.  Do a little bit of research because with careful attention, you can do all of your gardening in pots, if you are motivated enough.

This year, I am going to make a couple of more raised beds.  I am running out of room in my yard, so I may have to use up some of my lawn and turn it into garden space.  We can each do little things each year, that can have a huge benefit for the future years.  One day, one year at a time, we can become a little bit more self sufficient.