Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Self Sufficient New Year!

My one and only New Year’s resolution for the past ten or more years has been to not make a new year’s resolution. Well, this year, my wife and daughter and I live in our very first own home. It’s time to start up again.

Now, I could sit here and come up with way too many things to resolve but I’m not going to do that. I’m going to make one solid resolution.

I resolve to be more than 50% self sufficient by the end of 2012. This means many things. So, here’s the list:

1.   Finish off my book on readiness and get it published.
2.   Garden large enough to provide as much of my own food as possible.
3.   Secondary garden grown for the purpose of donation and barter.
4.   Switch to wood heat with propane as a back-up.
5.   Generate at least half of my own power via wind and/or solar with a propane generator as a back-up.
6.   Purchase a pre-1974 pickup truck.
7.   Start building and selling/bartering mission style furniture made from old barn wood.
8.   At least start sewing my own clothing and doing some leather work.

Now, I’m sure I could add plenty more to this list but it’s enough to give you the gist of my goals. Ever since I was a small child, I’ve envied the original homesteaders. I know life was not necessarily easy for them but I can tell you that it was simple.

Yes, there is a BIG difference between easy and simple. In my opinion, life is meant to be enjoyed and we are meant to learn as we live. Easy, overall, equals lazy. No, I’m not calling you lazy because you like easy, but let me give you an example.

I live in a small town. I can walk to a small grocery store, the Post Office, our local library, a park and my daughter’s school. Simple means actually doing the walking. It’s good exercise. It’s fresh air. It’s sunshine. It doesn’t use resources. It allows me to greet others in a personal way. Easy would mean jumping in the car and driving those places. It’s fast. It allows for no distractions. The car has a heater. I wouldn’t have to carry my books or groceries or mail.

Can you guess which I do? I walk. Of course there is a very small percentage of the time I will drive but only if it’s raining or if I have a large amount of groceries to get. For all the walking I do, I find it amazing that the only others I see walking are the local kids. The parents are almost always driving. Now keep in mind here, I’m not talking miles or even one mile. I’m talking four blocks at the most.

That’s just one example. Another deals with my garden. Easy is to drive to the store and buy vegetables. Simple is if I don’t plant the seed, I’m not going to be eating. There’s one difference with this example though. Gardening is not necessarily hard. It just takes time and patience. For many people time and patience is actually the hard part.

There is one trick you can use that can quickly turn a simple life into an easy one. That is love. Before you start some odd thought process here, I must tell you two things. Yes, I am a hippy. And, the love I’m talking about is a simple love for all things. In this case, love what you do. Do you know how much better tasting a fresh, garden grown tomato tastes than one purchased at a supermarket? Oh just about a hundred times better. And if you grow it yourself, you can make that a thousand times better.

Love what you do. I love gardening because it helps my family and I live a healthier life. It lessens the burden on others. It uses local resources thereby boosting the local economy. It allows me to barter for other fresh, local things like the eggs, milk and meat I cannot yet provide for myself.

There is one more reason I would prefer being as self sufficient as possible. That is preparedness. I’m not necessarily talking about survivalism. I mean simply being ready for what life can throw at you. If you are gardening and canning your food, you have a supply of food incase the weather makes it impossible to go to the grocery store or stops trucking lines from delivering. If you are powering and heating your home on your own, when the power goes out it doesn’t change much of anything.

Now that you know my goals for the new year, what are yours? Are you going to do something just for you or are you going to do for those around you?

Here are a few links to help you get started:

ReadyGarden™ 1-Acre SEEDSAFE™: Premium non-hybrid, open pollinated garden heirloom seeds are great for preparation. Comes with 21 seed varieties & almost 25,000 seeds!

Kaya Self Sufficiency Facebook group. My own group dedicated to being as self sufficient and self sustainable as possible.

Lehman’s. A wonderful place to find many of the tools and supplies to help you live your new, simple life.

Also, if you look to both sides of this blog, you will find several other resources for a self sufficient lifestyle. Enjoy!

Happy New Year to you all! May the best of your past be the worst of your future and may your home always be too small to hold all the love in your life!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Basic Emergency Preparedness

This blog was originally posted Monday, July 06, 2009

Since it is winter and the weather outside is frightful, I figured I would share this with you also. It came from a different blog site I had set up. It is closed now and all pertinent info has now been shared on this blog site.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security suggests three things that you should do to keep yourself and your family prepared:
·         Get one or more emergency preparedness kits
·         Make a family emergency plan
·         Be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur in your area and their appropriate responses

Everyone should have some basic preparedness supplies on hand in order to survive three days or more if an emergency occurs. The following is a list of some basic items that every emergency preparedness kit should include. However, it is important that you review this list and consider where you live and the unique needs of your family in order to create an emergency preparedness kit that will meet your needs. You should also consider having two or more emergency preparedness kits, one full kit at home and smaller portable kits in your workplace, vehicle and/or other places you spend time.

Recommended Items to Include in your Basic Emergency Preparedness Kit:
·         Water: one gallon of water or more per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
·         Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
·         Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
·         Flashlight and extra batteries
·         First aid kit
·         Whistle to signal for help
·         Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air
·         Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
·         Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
·         Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
·         Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
·         Local maps: city, county and state

Additional Items to Consider Adding to your Emergency Preparedness Kit:
·         Prescription medications and glasses
·         Infant formula and diapers
·         Pet food and extra water for your pet
·         Important family documents: copies of identification, insurance policies, and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
·         Cash and change equaling around $100
·         Emergency reference material: a comprehensive first aid book and a survival manual such as The SAS Urban Survival Handbook
·         Sleeping bag or warm blanket per person: Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate
·         Complete change of clothing: long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes per person. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate
·         Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper: Dilute nine parts water to one part bleach to be used as a disinfectant. In an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 8-12 drops per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners
·         Fire Extinguisher
·         Matches in a waterproof container
·         Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
·         Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
·         Paper and pencil
·         Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

You can find basic kits, expanded kits, family kits and many other items at “The Ready Store” website.

As usual, you are more than welcome to visit my Facebook group called "Kaya Self Sufficiency".

Have a wonderful season and be safe!

The 'New Survivalism'

I would like to share this with you. This is the first blog post I ever did. I have deleted the original blog and I thought, not only that you would all enjoy it, but that it should be 'saved in cyberland'. Enjoy!

This blog was originally written and posted Thursday, May 29, 2008

A major newspaper recently called it “The New Survivalism”. I call it common sense. We have all heard the horror stories about Hurricane Katrina. We know that New Orleans (just one effected town) may never fully recover from that terrible disaster. There are even towns in that area that simply don’t exist anymore. There are hundreds, most likely thousands, of stories about natural disasters in which things could have been changed by simply being prepared, physically, for the disaster.

Here’s a statistic for you (and I hate statistics, but this one is worth saying). Only seven percent of Americans are prepared, even for a small, local emergency situation, let alone a major one. I don’t know the percentage for the entire planet but you can bet that it’s less than five percent. I can tell you right now that there are two main reasons that folks aren't prepared for emergency situations. Number One: The wrongful thinking that ‘It’ll never happen to me’ and Number Two: ‘I don’t have the money to buy an emergency survival kit’. Let’s look at these one at a time.

Number One: I’m willing to bet that, with most major disasters, all involved didn’t even make it to the ‘It won’t happen to me’ phase. If you were to ask, most of them probably never even thought about it. We have become a complacent society with the thought somewhere in the back of our minds that, if it ever does happen, the government will help us or that we and our neighbors will stick together and get through it. Please, please, please don’t let that be the case. Our government is even less ready than we are to handle any large scale disaster situation. When it comes to our neighbors, there are a few of us out there that truly care for others and would help out but the majority will be worrying only about their own families. Keep in mind; I’m talking about the first three to five days here. After that, help will be showing up from several different sources.

Number Two: Money is important, yes, but isn’t your life, the lives of your family members, or even the lives of your pets, much more important? You don’t have to buy a kit. A kit can be put together over a period of time, one item at a time. Five to seven dollars (one less lottery ticket purchase or one less Latte) can get you a five gallon water container (two is a good idea), a package of water purification tablets, one emergency food bar (get at least one of the 3600 calorie size for each family member plus one extra), a flashlight, a box of emergency candles, a five gallon bucket ‘toilet’ (don’t forget the extra package of toilet paper), a small shovel, a tube tent or emergency blanket/sleeping bag (again, one for each family member plus one extra), a small first aide kit, an extra bag of pet food, a small water bowl for your animal, a cheap fanny pack and many other small items that all add up to a nice sense of security. Believe me, knowing you’ll be prepared for a few days while making other arrangements is a major load off your back.

Now, there are several other things we need to go over before concluding here. Planning is the most important. If and when something does happen, there is no guarantee that your family is going to all be together. Each person should know what to do and where to go to meet. You should have a route planned that may be less congested. Pick each place you frequent, the mall, school, work, the grocery store, the library, and friends’ homes, and choose a route to home or to where ever you decide to meet. You also may want to each have a list of phone numbers that are important. I keep a small list in my wallet because I don’t remember numbers. All I do is push a button on my cell phone.

Next, you need to have a route planned to get to other places from your own home or chosen meeting place. Pick several places where you either will be comfortable or where ‘help’ may find you. Comfort places might include a relative’s home in another town or maybe a camping place you've been before. Places to find help might include your local YMCA or high school or even a local large event center. Choose your route using ways that there will be fewer people or traffic- side streets, back yards, back roads or even logging roads, the less congestion, the less stress.

You also need to think about personal and mental comfort zones. Think about it, how well will Mom and Dad be able ‘take charge’ if Baby is screaming for Teddy Bear or if Tweener is whining for his baseball mitt or if Teenager is moaning for her MP3 player? You should choose one ‘comfort item’ for each member of the family. It’s also a good idea to have a coloring book and crayons, a note pad and pen/pencil, a book or two and a game you can all play, like cards, travel Monopoly, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game travel edition/card game or something similar.

The last thing and maybe one of the most important things is preparing your confidence levels as best as you can. Mentally, it is hard to be truly fully prepared for something major and unexpected. Humans, however, are survivors. We can survive anything from out of gas to global pole reversal because we can think and reason (and because we have opposable thumbs). We can live in trees or underground. We can make tools. We can eat almost anything. I know earthworms are gross but if you’re starving they look just like little, squirming hot dogs. We will be around even after the planet itself is destroyed.

Copyright 2008 Noel Napolitan of Survival Gear Central, Denver, Colorado

You may copy and use this article as long as the content remains unchanged and there is never a fee or charge of any kind for reading, saving or printing it. That said, please, share this with anyone you know who may be unprepared. Of course I would love you to visit my websites; however, I share this info to wake people up and to hopefully save lives.

My new site is my Facebook group called "Kaya Self Sufficiency" Please feel free to check it out. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Alternative Holidays

Good day to you all! I’ll be taking a bit of a break from this blog for a few days for the ‘holidays’. I have a few great topics lined up for you for after I get back. We’ll talk about hydrogen-peroxide and calories and we’ll go over rotation of emergency supplies and also cover a good check list to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything.

In the meantime, my family and I wish you all a happy and wonderful Advent ~ Boxing Day ~ Christmas Eve ~ Christmas ~ Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe ~ Feast of the Immaculate Conception ~ Festivus ~ Hanukkah ~ Kwanzaa ~ New Year ~ Saint Nicholas Day ~ Santa Lucia Day ~ Winter Solstice ~ New Year’s Eve ~ New Year’s Day!!!

Also, let us not forget the most important holidays of the season: Flying Spaghetti Monster Day, Day of the Ninja, Refrigerator Day, Agnostica, Wintersday, Xistlessnessmas and last but not least ~ Kwansolhaneidmas!!!!

Also, feel free to visit my group on Facebook ~ Kaya Self Sufficiency. Since I am the ‘supreme being’ for the group, I am obliged to stick my head in just about every day to make sure you all are being good.

And don't forget, I do love you all very much!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

American Made Alternatives

This is just a quickie blog for today. Several folks have asked about this, so here you go!

One of the best ways to help your country and thereby help yourself is to buy American made goods, support local artisans and utilize companies and corporations who hire American workers. If we could all do that, our economy might get a little better as would our quality of life, because we can be proud of a job well done and of supporting our fellow neighbors and countrymen.

Many people these days, and myself until just recently, think that American made products are more expensive. Yes, many of them are but if you really search, you can find a few here and there that are a bit less expensive.

Here are a few sites that deal with American made products:

You can also see my previous post for handmade ideas.

As always you can join the Facebook group, like the Facebook community page, and visit the website. All of these are conveniently called “Kaya Self Sufficiency”. I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope you are getting better at providing as much as you can for yourself and for your family, group, or community.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Natural Alternatives to Dead Trees

OK, I know that not everyone celebrates Christmas so please don’t take offence to this post. Having said that, there are a large number of folks who do celebrate Christmas. I would like to give a gift to Mother Nature this year and would love it if you joined me.

I have a plastic tree that the wife and I purchased several years ago. This year is the first year we’ve been able to assemble the entire thing (minus the tree topper) because this is the first year it has actually fit in the home we are in. I must say, however, that I absolutely love the smell of a real tree in my living room.

The gift for Mother Nature is not killing a new tree every year just for “pretties” in my home. Besides killing, there are also the disposal issues. Every year I hear about someone’s old, dead Christmas tree being set on fire in a street somewhere. Every year I see hundreds of trees on street corners and in alleys just rotting away. It may just be me but somehow it just doesn’t feel right to be wasting all that life, and even wood for that matter.

Here are two ways you can help.

First, you can purchase a living tree in a pot that can be transplanted into your yard come spring. You can even donate the tree to someone or someplace else, like your local school or fire department or even to your town or city. This also gives you an excuse (not that you really need one) to leave your tree up until March or April. It smells wonderful too.

Second, you can decorate a tree in your yard for all to see and enjoy. Then, in your home you can hang light strings (I recommend LED lights, such as these) from your ceiling and put all your gifts under them. If you miss the scent of the tree, you can purchase a few packs of pine incense.

Now, there is one last option for those who heat and or cook using a wood stove. Go ahead and buy your tree or get permission to cut one yourself. Decorate it. Leave it up as long as you want but dispose of it by cutting it up for use in your stove or fireplace. Also, as time goes by and it starts drying out, you can collect the needles that drop and put them in a small pot of water on your wood stove, creating your own potpourri that adds an extra dimension to that wonderful smell.

All of these options are a gift, not only to Mother Nature, but to all who see and enjoy a wondrous sight and act of love. May you all have a wonderful holiday of your choosing!

Now, I would also like to share with you my Facebook Group ~ Kaya Self Sufficiency. You can click here or on the title of this post to go there. I created this group to help you discover new ways of being self sufficient, prepared for emergencies, less of a burden on our planet and much less dependent on government aid. Please visit and say hi. Also, feel free to post and share your knowledge with the rest of us. All I ask is to avoid politics and religion as much as possible.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Alium Elementum

No, it’s not a spell from a movie. It’s one of the gifts I gave for Christmas last year. I made it myself. Gift giving, for me, no matter what time of year or what the occasion, is very personal.

Give me a big screen TV and I’ll love it, of course, but in five years it will be gone or seriously out of date. Give me a handmade wreath or card and in five years I’ll still love and cherish it every bit as much as I did the day you gave it to me.

Garlic Jelly Photo by William Dickey and Styling by Leslie Byars Simpson

By the way, alium elementum is garlic jelly. I love giving away ‘food from scratch’. I love receiving it also! My wife is currently in the process of making, by hand, her own gifts to give this season. To explain my thoughts about handmade gift giving here’s another example. That TV mentioned above took a particular type of energy to give, namely money. However, that wreath or my alium elementum took an entirely different kind of energy and that is called ‘Love’.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “A gift from the heart goes to the heart.” Well, it’s true. Gifting something handmade, or even just locally made, can do more than you may realize. Not only do folks love it (hopefully) but it helps the family budget, which keeps getting smaller and smaller these days, or it helps your local economy, which can ALWAYS use the help.

This is not to say the big screen TV is not appreciated but the corporation that received the money for it has most likely taken your energy and sent it, not just out of your town or even out of your state but out of the country. There’s another saying I’ve heard that I actually disagree with. “Think globally. Act locally.”

I’ll tell you why. I think you should allow your heart to go out to your fellows all around the world but you should think locally AND act locally. When you can do that, it just may happen that the rest of the world will start thinking the same way. And that will bring us all together into the big happy family we should be.

Here are a few websites that can help you give from the heart to the heart:

In addition to these, you can repurpose things you already have. Trust me, it can be very, very fun to find a new use for an old thing that can help a friend or simply make someone else smile. So, think about it a little harder the next time you give a gift and try to make it something that is really a gift for more than one reason or more than one person.

I celebrate Christmas but in deference to all those who do not, since I truly believe you have the right to believe as you wish, I will say,

“Happy Gift Giving!”

As always you can join the Facebook group, like the Facebook community page, and visit the website. All of these are conveniently called “Kaya Self Sufficiency”. I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope you are getting better at providing as much as you can for yourself and for your family, group, or community.