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Here’s Why You Should Start Getting Ready for Christmas NOW

Here’s Why You Should Start Getting Ready for Christmas NOW

It’s probably no surprise to learn that what has been one of the strangest years in recent history could culminate in a very strange Christmas. Our nation is reeling from an economy that was crashed by COVID lockdowns, the potential second wave of a pandemic which will result in more economic damage, a broken supply chaincivil unrest, and a presidential election that will almost certainly be hotly contested, regardless of who “wins.”

As Selco likes to remind us, there’s not a whole lot we can do about “big circle” problems like the ones listed above. We need to focus on the “small circle” – things we can do something about, like our response to the crises listed above.

So let’s talk about the upcoming holiday season and the ways that this year could be very different.

Gifts may be difficult to acquire.

You need only to look at the bare spots in your local Target store to see that we could be looking at a shortage of desired gifts. Due to supply chain issues, stores are not getting anywhere near the same amount of merchandise they used to get. That means that once the Christmas rush begins, the things that ARE available could sell out quickly. And it also means that you may have a lot more trouble than usual ticking items off your family members’ Christmas lists.

Retailers are quickly trying to adapt to social distancing rules while still making a buck, which means even more sales than usual will take place online.

Peggy AlfordPayPal’s executive vice president of global sales, told PYMNTS that retailers “are trying to make themselves as ready as possible.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Quick Reminder of How Venezuela RAN OUT of Food: Does This Look Familiar?

A Quick Reminder of How Venezuela RAN OUT of Food: Does This Look Familiar?

We’d all like to believe that the United States is on the road to economic recovery and that things are going to get better. Everyone wants to think the store shelves are just a few cargo ships away from being refilled. People want to believe that once 2020 is over, life will return to “normal” and that we’re just having a really bad year.

But someone pointed out an article I published four and a half years ago and when you look at the things which happened there and compare them to our situation, you may notice some uncanny similarities.

Here’s how Venezuela ran out of food.

In February of 2016, I wrote about what an economic collapse really looks like, using Venezuela as an illustration.

Venezuela:

The article begins when prepping began to be frowned upon by the Venezuelan government.

In 2013, many began to suspect that the outlook for Venezuela was grim when prepping became illegal.  The Attorney General of Venezuela, Luisa Ortega Díaz, called on prosecutors to target people who are “hoarding” basic staples with serious sanctions.

Shortly thereafter, grocery stores instituted a fingerprint registry to purchase food and supplies. Families had to register and were allotted a certain amount of supplies to prevent “hoarding.” (source)

The United States:

Early in 2020, supplies began to be difficult to find due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the potential of a lockdown. When folks couldn’t find basics like toilet paper, fingers immediately began to point at “preppers” and “hoarders.”

The word “hoarding” is being repeatedly used throughout news reports. They’re already working to paint preppers as bad and selfish people. They’re already vilifying those who hurry out to fill any gaps in their supplies. They’re making it seem like a mental illness to get prepared for what could potentially be a long stretch of time at home with only the supplies you have on hand.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Preparedness Community’s Dangerous Failure of Imagination

The Preparedness Community’s Dangerous Failure of Imagination

In Northern regions of an unstable country, a battle broke out yesterday in the streets of a small city. Meanwhile, in the Southeastern corridor, protesters continue to clash over control of a monument, and in the North West, rebels have been battling local authorities for control of the Capitol for 80 days. One city in the central part of the nation has isolated itself by raising drawbridges in an effort to quell the violence and destruction of ongoing riots. After a massive crime spreehe largest city in the nation looks like the setting of a dystopian movie.

The formerly prosperous nation has been rocked by disease, authoritarian measures, police corruption, and economic catastrophe throughout the summer. A hotly contested presidential race is spurring further division, and the level of violence is expected to increase as election day approaches.

It sounds like coverage of some distant, war-torn country. I remember when I was in college hearing daily coverage of the situation in Sarajevo and it sounded so far away that at some point, I stopped paying attention.

But now the war-torn country is ours.

The report above is about events currently taking place in KalamazooStone MountainSeattleChicago, and New York City.

And still, I see people saying, “It can’t happen here.” They say, “Our area is different.”

Have you checked your normalcy bias lately?

One of the things that Selco writes about often is recognizing that a new set of rules is in place, and acting on that immediately. The earlier you can accept that the rules of the game have changed, the better off you’re going to be.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Building a Better Bug-Out Bag: You’re NOT Going on a Fun-Filled Camping Trip

Building a Better Bug-Out Bag: You’re NOT Going on a Fun-Filled Camping Trip

Based on the things I’ve learned from folks who have actually lived through survival situations and bugged out, I think that we need to revisit what bugging out really means and why you might use a bug out bag. If we understand the concept better, it’s easier to pack a bug out bag that will work for each of us personally.

3 kinds of bug-outs

There are at least three different kinds of bugging out:

  • You’re never coming home again: This bug-out means you’re leaving and you don’t expect to be returning. It could be due to a rapidly approaching natural disaster that is likely to demolish everything in its path, like a wildfire, or it could be due to terrorism or genocide. It could happen at the last moment or you might have time to pack – it really depends on the situation. If it’s a last-minute thing, you might only have the things you can grab in your bug out bag.  Sometimes you don’t even have time to grab that – it could be a situation in which a few seconds are the difference between life and death. When I visited a museum about the genocide in Bosnia, one woman told of leaving the house with her child wrapped in nothing but a hastily grabbed towel because the little girl had been in the bathtub when the family was hauled away.
  • Bug Out with Warning: This bug-out happens during natural disasters and often (but not always) you’ll have a few days of warning. Some examples might be a nearby wildfire or an approaching hurricane. You can load up your vehicle with sentimental items and bring more than you’d ordinarily bring. The focus for this type of bug-out is often on the things you can never replace.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Here’s What 75 Preppers Learned During the Lockdown

Here’s What 75 Preppers Learned During the Lockdown

The lockdown that recently took place due to the pandemic was like a practice run for a bigger SHTF event. Many of our prepper theories played out and were accurate, while others weren’t as realistic as we thought beforehand.

People who weren’t preppers already learned a lot about why they would want to be better prepared in the future, but they weren’t the only ones who learned lessons. These preppers took a moment to answer questions about the lessons they learned during the lockdown. (Here’s an article about the things I learned.)

What did you learn about preparedness during the lockdown?

Trisha…

I learned two main things. First, I was very surprised at how strongly the isolation hit me. I am a person who is “energized” by interacting with other people. I knew that already, but I was shocked at how MUCH it affected me. Second, I got a taste of normalcy bias. I kept trying to see ways in which our situation was still “Normal”. As a school teacher of little ones for thirty years, I was pretty much used to switching into action immediately to deal with a crisis and putting my feelings on the back burner. So, I was shocked that it took me a couple of months to “accept” the changes in our lives and start looking for creative ways to make life work and meet our needs.

Maria…

I learned it is so important to pay attention to what’s going on and stay ahead of the crowd. My husband and I were able to stock up two weeks before everyone else panicked. I also learned my plan of being stocked up and shopping only for replacements is a great system.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

9 Things to Buy Every Time You Go to the Store

9 Things to Buy Every Time You Go to the Store

Lots of folks have mentioned that their grocery stores never fully restocked after the rush on food and supplies back at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. And with the current news stories about spiking COVID numbers, it may not be long until we’re locked down again.

Work on what’s within your control

It’s important to note that even if you are unconcerned about the virus, there are a lot of things that could be out of your control in the event of another governmental series of actions:

  • Workplaces may close back down
  • Supply chains may be further damaged
  • The economy will take another hit
  • You may not be able to go where you want

Real, or not real; dangerous or not, the end result for us is the same.

It’s just like the debate over whether a terror attack in the news is a false flag or an actual terror attack. Every time I write about surviving one of these attacks, people flock to the comments to tell everyone that it was all crisis actors, the whole thing is a hoax, or our own government did it to take away our guns.

But we’re talking about survival. If you’re there when the bullets are flying or the bombs are going off or the planes are crashing, it doesn’t matter who’s behind it. Your only goal at that point is to survive it.

With COVID, does it even matter if the numbers are accurate or not? Because the government is using it as an excuse to exercise rigid control over all of us – telling us when we can go to work, when we can visit with loved ones, keeping us away from hospitals and leaving our ailing relatives to die alone, and enforcing laws about masks and appropriate distances.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Do You Prepare for a Revolution?

How Do You Prepare for a Revolution?

As all hell breaks loose across the United States of America (and we haven’t even gotten to the election yet), a resistance movement to the status quo seems to be increasingly violent, taking over a Minneapolis police precinct and an area in downtown Seattle. Protests continue to be peaceful in some areas but show little signs of letting up.

A lot of folks are pretty sure that a revolution is coming – and many people say it’s already here.

I got a great question in a group that I moderate: how do you prepare for a revolution?

As preppers, this is always our go-to response to trouble. We want to know what we can do, specifically, to meet the crisis head-on and keep our families safe.

How do you prepare for a revolution?

In this article, I want to speak specifically about the practical steps you need to take to be prepared for a revolution if things should come to that point across the country. This article is not about philosophy or right vs. wrong. It’s not about fighting for your “side” whatever side that might be. It’s about surviving. There are lots of links because I’m not reinventing the entire wheel here – that would be a book on its own. This is merely a guideline so you know where to focus your time, money, and attention.

I pondered the question for quite a while before answering because it isn’t really a situation I had given a lot of thought to before.

The answer is really not anything earth-shattering. In fact, many will probably find it underwhelming.

You prepare for a revolution by simply continuing to prep. Specifically, consider prepping for the following:

  • Supply chain disruption and shortages of food
  • Supply chain disruption and shortages of material goods
  • Civil unrest
  • Disruption of utilities
  • Disruption of services

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What I Learned During the COVID Crisis

What I Learned During the COVID Crisis

The COVID-19 crisis has affected just about every family in the United States in some way or another. All of our situations are unique and everyone I’ve spoken to has learned some lessons about their levels of preparedness. Some of those lessons are unconventional but valuable nonetheless. There are a whole lot of things you can’t learn from a book or a blog.

Here are the things I’ve learned.

Trust your instincts.

I began writing about this virus back in January when it was announced that the entire city of Wuhan was being locked down and millions of people were under stay at home orders. With that many people under a mandatory lockdown, I was firmly convinced that this had potential global ramifications.

I had come back from Europe to attend a funeral in early January and was supposed to return on January 28th. After doing the research for the article mentioned above, I rescheduled my flight for March 28th and settled in with my youngest daughter at her apartment to help out with the bills. We immediately began stocking up.

A lot of folks at that time said I was crazy – a few here on my website but more so on other sites that republished my work. I’m no stranger to being called crazy – I’m in the preparedness industry and I like guns, so right there, the mainstream media sees me as a lunatic. It no longer bothers me and I was convinced that this was going to be a big deal.

Every day from January 23rd to the present, I’ve spent hours researching as this pandemic has unfolded. I sincerely wish that I had not been correct, but here we are, still in lockdown in many parts of the country.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Here’s How to Become a Prepper

Here’s How to Become a Prepper

If the coronavirus has inspired you to become a prepper, you’re not alone. At long last, prepping has become mainstream due to runs on supplies, shortages, and stay-at-home orders throughout the country. More folks than ever before are seeing the wisdom of having extra food and household goods on hand. It can help you through not only disasters and pandemics, but also through personal financial problems.

But delve into most preparedness websites (including this one) and it can start to get overwhelming when you read articles about civil unrest, EMPs, and existential catastrophes. You’ll see articles about guns and outdoor survival and all sorts of things in which you have absolutely no interest.

And more than that, it’s kind of overwhelming. It can make you feel like, “Wow, I will never be able to have a bunker in Montana with 150,000 rounds of ammo. I don’t even know how to build a fire. Why even bother?”

Before we get started with the “how to’s” here are a few things you should know.

All of us started at the beginning.

It’s important to know that all of us started somewhere. We all had some event that awakened us to the need to be better prepared. (To learn how some readers were inspired to get started, go here.) We all had to learn the ins and outs, read the books, and acquire the stuff.

Most of us don’t have thousands of dollars to drop on buckets of food and secondary locations. We began by just getting a few extra things when we could.

It takes some time.

Getting well-prepared doesn’t happen overnight. Even if you have a budget that is relatively unlimited, you will find that it still takes time to figure out what you need, where to get it, and where to store it.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Meat Shortages Go Mainstream with Rations and Menu Changes: How to Keep Meat on Your Table

Meat Shortages Go Mainstream with Rations and Menu Changes: How to Keep Meat on Your Table

Chalk it up to a side effect nobody ever expected from the pandemic: meat is becoming difficult to get. Who would have expected this to result in grocery stores across the country rationing meat purchases? Who would have ever thought the COVID-19 virus would mean that places like Wendy’s would stop selling burgers altogether and that McDonald’s would cut its menu to only a handful of offerings?

Workers at meat packaging plants have been especially hard hit with the coronavirus. Almost 60% of the employees at one Tyson plant in Iowa have tested positive for COVID. Plants everywhere are shutting down for the safety of their employees and despite President Trump’s invocation of the Defense Production Act to force them to reopen, many workers have refused to return to the plants. Factory farms have culled millions of cows, hogs, and chickens because they cannot be to plants that are either closed or reducing the amount of meat they’re able to process while practicing social distancing.

Historically, the centralization of food has always ended in disaster. Unfortunately, giant CAFO operations and USDA approval have centralized our own food supply, and here we are.

Do the meat shortages mean that you have to become a vegetarian? While that is one option, here are some other ways to keep meat on the table at your house.

Buy in bulk locally

One of the best ways to acquire meat is to purchase in bulk and to do so locally. You can buy a quarter or a half of a pig or cow and have it processed into your favorite cuts. As well, you are locking in your meat price by purchasing it all at once. This way, you won’t be as strongly affected by meat inflation until next season.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A One-Month Shelf-Stable Food Menu Your Family Will Love

A One-Month Shelf-Stable Food Menu Your Family Will Love

Now that most of the country is practicing social isolation, people are turning more and more often to their pantries to make meals from shelf-stable ingredients.

Do you ever wonder what on earth you’d eat if you had to rely solely on the items in your pantry? How could you possibly make tasty meals from these items you have stashed away? Do you imagine a future filled with cans of Spaghetti-O’s and saltine crackers?

Trust me when I tell you, you can do much better than that. Here’s a menu that you can adjust to your family’s preferences.

A one-month menu of shelf-stable dinners

If you have fresh or frozen ingredients on hand, feel free to substitute them in for shelf-stable ones. If you’re a vegetarian, a lot of these meals can be converted by simply omitting the meat or replacing the meat with lentils or beans. Tweak the meals according to your family’s preferences and allergies or intolerances.

Menu: Week One

  • 5-Can Chili
  • Chili Pie
  • Tuna Noodle Casserole
  • Chicken Alfredo and Pasta
  • Udon Noodles in Peanut Sauce
  • Scalloped Potatoes with Ham
  • Mexican Pizza Pie

Menu: Week Two

  • Shepherd’s Pie
  • Vegetable Soup
  • Chicken and Dumplings
  • One-Pot Beans and Rice
  • Spaghetti
  • Bread and Gravy
  • Pantry Potato Soup

Menu: Week Three

  • Goulash
  • Vegetable Fried Rice
  • Chicken and Dressing
  • Jambalaya
  • Fry Bread Tacos
  • Split Pea Soup
  • Pasta Primavera

Menu Week Four

  • Pasta Fagioli
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Poor Man’s Stroganoff
  • Baked Beans with Ham and Sweet Potatoes
  • Baked Bean Chili
  • Southwestern Chicken and Rice
  • Corn Chowder

I like to save leftovers from dinner for the following day’s lunch. Shelf-stable breakfasts are pretty simple with things like powdered milk, dried fruit, and cereal or oatmeal. You can get all these recipes and a shopping list in my PDF book, The Stockpile Cafe, for just $5.

Below, find one of my family’s favorite shelf-stable recipes.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We Won’t Be Getting “Back to Normal.” Not Soon. Not Ever.

We Won’t Be Getting “Back to Normal.” Not Soon. Not Ever.

When will we get back to normal?

If you yearn for the days before COVID-19 swept across the planet, I regret to inform you that those days are gone.

This isn’t a warm and fuzzy blog post telling you that everything is going to be all right. If you’re looking for reassurance that “we’ve got this,” I’m afraid I can’t provide it. This article wasn’t written to console or coddle you, so if that’s what you’re seeking, you’re going to want to stop reading right now.

If, however, you want a reality check on what I believe we’re really facing, I’m not going to hold back. You’ve been warned.

We’re not even halfway through.

You may have seen some optimistic reports recently that the “worst” is behind us. It would certainly be lovely if that’s the case, but in my opinion, this ordeal is just getting started. I wrote an article previously about how long we could expect our current state of lockdown to last using the timelines of China and Italy as points of comparison, and based on that, we are 17 days in as of the writing of this article on April 8.

The lockdown of Wuhan is expected to last 77 days. If our own timeline continues to echo that of China, then we’re not even halfway there. We have at least 2 months left and this doesn’t include any new clusters when the lockdowns are totally lifted or any second waves. We’ve barely begun living in our current state of purgatory and this will continue (and most likely worsen) for quite some time.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Will the Future Bring? Here’s How to Survive the Uncertainty

What Will the Future Bring? Here’s How to Survive the Uncertainty

We live in a very different world than we did back in January when the calendar turned to 2020 and everyone was anticipating the great things they’d accomplish in the brand new decade.

Only 3 months ago, we all had futures we imagined…

  • Kids graduating from high school or college
  • A vacation we were planning
  • A new job we were striving toward
  • Retirement so close you could practically smell the beach where you’d spend your golden years
  • The health and fitness goal you were finally going to achieve
  • A positive lifestyle change you were planning to make
  • A relocation to a new destination
  • The advancement of your relationship, whether it was a new one or one you’d been in for a while
  • A summer road trip
  • Getting a new pet
  • An empty nest and what you were going to do with that newly vacant bedroom
  • A new family member

Three months ago, we all had dreams, goals for the future, or at least some idea of what the upcoming year would hold for us.

I’ll bet none of us even considered on New Year’s Eve that we’d spend the first half (at least) of the year dealing with a deadly pandemic. Heck, I sat on a balcony in a little seaside village in Montenegro, toasting the new decade with a friend and some Jack Daniels, watching fireworks over the Adriatic Sea, and planning what European destination I’d be heading to next.

It probably never crossed anyone’s mind that there’d be some crazy new virus that nobody had ever heard of which would leave us under the equivalent of house arrest for months. Few of us imagined that suddenly, over the course of just a few weeks, more than ten million Americans would suddenly become unemployed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

It’s Only a Matter of Time Until COVID-19 Lockdowns Lead to Civil Unrest and Violent Crime

It’s Only a Matter of Time Until COVID-19 Lockdowns Lead to Civil Unrest and Violent Crime

(March 31, 2020)  The United States of America is basically closed for business, leaving citizens jobless, broke, and without options. We’re facing restrictions on movement the likes of which our nation has never seen. The stores that are open have never fully restocked after the “panic buying” of previous weeks, leading to shelves barren of things like meat, flour, toilet paper, and rice.

It’s only a matter of time before these issues combine to become the flashpoint that leads to an explosion of civil unrest and violent crime.

The financial situation

Unemployment skyrocketed, with 3.3 million claims last week, and the Fed estimates that number to climb to a whopping 47 million due to the virus. Many of these jobs may not come back after the Covid-19 virus has run its course through the nation – businesses small and large are going to be defaulting on their April rent payments, and many simply won’t be able to catch up later.

So far, a lot of people in the area where I’m staying seem to be treating this break of business like a surprise staycation. It’s nice to see families out walking together, playing games, and spending time with the people they love.

But this happiness may be shortlived. Despite generous government-mandated disaster pay, unemployment, and stimulus checks, the money may not arrive in time for former employees, self-employed people, and gig workers to pay their personal bills. And when the money does arrive, for many folks it isn’t going to be the same amount they were earning before the shutdowns. Most people don’t have emergency funds, so things will be dire in short order.

Of course, this affects landlord, mortgage companies, utility companies, retail businesses…the list could go on and on.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Covid-19 Economic Crisis Will Change Everything: Short Term and Long Term Effects

The Covid-19 Economic Crisis Will Change Everything: Short Term and Long Term Effects

Whether you think the global pandemic is “just the flu” or you realize it’s the real deal, one thing is difficult to debate – many Americans are already feeling the economic pain being caused by the outbreak and the measures taken to stop it.

Unemployment claims skyrocketed this week as businesses laid-off employees in an attempt to weather the storm. More than 281,000 people filed for unemployment and those numbers would have been even higher if the influx of claims had not crashed the systems in several states.

In a news release, the Department of Labor said:

During the week ending March 14, the increase in initial claims are clearly attributable to impacts from the COVID-19 virus. A number of states specifically cited COVID-19 related layoffs, while many states reported increased layoffs in service-related industries broadly and in the accommodation and food services industries specifically, as well as in the transportation and warehousing industry, whether COVID-19 was identified directly or not. (source)

At the same time as employees are filing claims, businesses are trying to figure out how to stay afloat. Restaurants are switching to carry-out only. Bars are closed. Retail sales are down unless the business happens to be selling vital supplies like medications, food, and the new gold standard, toilet paper and Lysol wipes.

The Covid-19 pandemic is causing an economic crisis that will have both short-term and long-term effects. This will challenge your adaptability skills, but I want to stress something: life will be different, but that doesn’t mean life is over.  Here’s what you need to know.

Recession or Depression?

This is just the beginning of the economic crisis bearing down on us. As social distancing measures become more widespread, less and less money will be in play – both earned and spent.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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