Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Review: "Poverty Prepping" by Susan Gregerson

Book review of “Poverty Prepping: How to stock up for tomorrow when you can't afford to eat today”
by Susan Gregerson

Available as a Kindle book or limited supplies in paperback.
Other offerings from this author include prepper fiction and a blog.

Version being reviewed is the kindle version, copyright April 2012.
Number of chapters: 10
At the time I purchased it the kindle version was 99 cents on Amazon. This morning it is still priced at $0.99. The author includes links and her email in the kindle version.

I was drawn to this book by the title with the thought that perhaps it would impart some knowledge that being poor hadn't already taught me. I also thought to myself more people than ever are beginning to join the ranks of prepping, self sufficiency, and simplicity and they are doing it with less expendable income than ever, maybe this could help. Oh who am I kidding amazon suggested it, it was only a buck and I said what the heck.... for a buck I'll try it. I only sort of wasted my dollar and here’s why:

This is a very beginner level book geared towards prepping for short term situations. (The general time frame given for need or use of stored items was three weeks.) It would be great for someone new to prepping, limited funds or not, who has no idea where to begin. It really is a great starter book in much the same way as Dick and Jane or Cat in the Hat are great for beginning readers. It is very basic and easy to understand with a no nonsense type of common sense that is easy to read, easy to understand, and more importantly easy to apply. The author succeeds in approaching the subject from a low income point of view while lightly covering the topics of the most basic ingredients, proper rotation and storage. She also offers simple ideas and Recipes for how to use the basic food items she recommends. The author also encourages gardening, foraging, and bartering to both augment your food stores and enhance your ability to survive.

It is however my opinion that any experienced Prepper, farmer or person who has lived in a rural location for a while will find this book too basic, no matter how broke they find themselves. The one exception to this is the Prepper who thinks everything must come from a prepping or survivalist geared company to be any good. I whole heartily recommend this book to them for the sheer practicality of it. So if that is the way you approach prepping I suggest you invest the dollar and get this book. It could very well shift the way you think about prepping.

As someone with a low income who preps, I found a few things particularly annoying however. First the author relies heavily on referring one to the Internet for information, recommending YouTube many times, yet she did not mention how or where someone may access the internet if they do not have it available to them at home. May I suggest your local library?

Second some subjects are particularly lacking in knowledge and information. For instance her discussion of fishing was primarily about her lack of knowledge in that area. In the discussion on raising your own animals for food the author briefly discusses rabbits but doesn't mention chickens at all. I was dumb founded. I'm sorry but in my opinion chickens seem like an obvious choice to mention along with rabbits in that chapter.

My Final analysis: This is a quick read that is Great for anyone just starting to prep with no idea of where to start or how. This is not meant for experienced preppers or "country folk". It is important to keep in mind that non-food items are considered expendable by this author and that the recommended period of need to prep/store for is again three weeks.

Best tip: Buy one item at a time. Normally I would give only one tip but the author mentions caulking around the lids of food grade storage containers for an extra seal and I list it here because I would not have thought to use silicone caulk as an extra sealant for storage buckets. Now I have and I might.

My favorite quote- while discussing caching your supplies the author offered up this bit of advice ~ "Make sure you won't come back to dig it up and find a Wal-Mart built over it."

Would I buy it again? For myself, I would not. I would probably buy it for someone who is just beginning or hasn't given any thought to prepping though. I do highly suggest you stop by the accompanying blog however as I have seen things there I haven't seen elsewhere.

It is a sad commentary that the author notes that you would be fine “after eating pop tarts and crackers" for a week. Is that really all the food people keep in their cupboards? Is that your experience?

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, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Update

Yay! It is BLACK FRIDAY! You want to know the best part? I'm here at home with my girls. Normally I would be getting right to my projects, organizing m'inion with crafts and utilizing this day to its fullest but I fear I have a turkey induced coma.

It managed to hang on through the night and seems to be lasting the better part of the day. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with family, friends and yes indeed even some complete strangers. The day was filled with shooting, horses, cards, good conversation and more food than two dozen plus people could eat in a week yet alone an afternoon. It was a good day indeed.

It appears from the replies to the "self sufficiency during the holidays" blog post that many of you are of like mind and are also bringing self sufficiency into the holidays. It helps to know that we are not alone; no matter what the personal motivations are. I hope you are enjoying this day of national madness in a way that makes you feel blissfully relaxed.  For all my friends who are participating in the shopping craziness; I hope you find what you went out for and stay safe. Rumor has it that the deals aren't that great and not as many folks intended to go out and shop today. Truly, I'm just glad to have discovered that we aren't the only "fruitcakes" embracing a less commercial attitude about the holidays. Bonus is At this point it looks like most of our family has hopped on board for the fifty-fifty rule and plans to try to do as little brand new big box or chain store shopping as possible.

Thank you all for taking time out of the busy holiday week to visit us here. We are still experiencing slight difficulties, conflicts and errors with posting comments via mobile devices. We are working on resolving these issues as soon as possible. If you get stuck while trying to enter your comment I suggest using the preview feature and then choosing edit. It worked for me. You will notice we have updated the page and added a ‘subscribe via email’ button at the upper right to make following us easier. Once again it's a work in progress and your feedback is the best judge of how we are doing so please leave us a comment and let us know how we are doing. Please feel free to contact us at Kaya Self Sufficiency on Facebook if you are unable to post a comment here.

Many Thanks and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours

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.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Self Sufficiency During the Holidays

The Black Friday ads started arriving in my inbox a little over a month ago and we've marked out Thanksgiving and Christmas break on the calendar too. So I did what every self sufficient prepper does; I checked our bug out bags for appropriate seasonal clothing and sizes; then I started checking my supplies and making lists for seasonal gifting. I haven't been to a black Friday sale in decades. While I was doing this I wondered how everyone else manages self sufficiency during the Holiday season. Do you buy the big items you otherwise wouldn't buy or have you embraced simplicity? Do you make your own gifts rather than buying them? Do you have a never ending to do list associated with the holidays or is it finally a time of relaxation? If you make stuff, did you start in July or wait until the last minute? In short I was really wondering: Am I the only fruitcake that does this? I have a crafting list that seems to get longer every year. I really need to start my projects much sooner than I do because even though I start gathering ideas in June or July I usually don't start my projects until around Halloween. Right now I am making two blankets, a purse, some Christmas ornaments and I have mittens and a rug planned as gifts as well. Think I'll finish it all by Christmas? I'm not positive I will but I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. Honestly, I think I've become that beloved old great aunt that gives you stuff she made for Christmas that you have no idea what to do with so you smile politely and go home and stuff it in the back of your closet somewhere. I swear all the inspiration I get from Pinterest will be the death of me yet.

I do try to be conscientious in my gifting but Christmas is really hard sometimes. People tend to have grandiose expectations and we have a teeny tiny microscopic budget that stretches less every year. Unfortunately this year many people I know down sized their incomes and thus their budgets and spending have been down sized accordingly. We have adopted simplicity throughout the greatest part of the year. To us that means not buying things if we can avoid it and buying handmade or thrift store finds when we must absolutely buy something. The exceptions here are socks and underwear because truly who wants to wear someone else's used underwear? It’s harder during the Holidays though as some of the people we give gifts do not practice nor appreciate this fine art.

To solve this dilemma we have decided to try what I am calling the 50/50 rule. To sum it up briefly fifty percent or more of the holiday shopping budget must go towards handmade, homemade, or thrift store gems and fifty percent may go towards brand new commercially sold items or gift cards. In our case we amended thrift store and handmade to include any used or handmade item in general which opens up venues like Etsy, Amazon and GameStop. Living in a small town you can't always find what you are looking for without looking online. You can also safely bet that craigslist and Freecycle will be searched this year too. Our personal challenge, keep the budget to a very minimal $10-20 per person this year. I know it’s not much given today’s prices but it is our hope that by shopping this way our money will stretch pretty far and more importantly we will support small businesses and charities in our area.

If there is anyone out there thinking "Oh My Gosh What a Cruddy Christmas that’s going to make!" I can only offer up the following.

We've gotten Lucky brand jeans hardly worn at the thrift store for $3/pair and at our small town thrift shop we've gotten even better deals on Brands like Levi, Wrangler, Cruel Girl and Rocky Jeans. Shirts and sweats from American Eagle, Aeropostale, and many others. Outdoor gear from Columbia, Carhartt and North Face. All in good shape, all less than $10. We can get used books and movies super cheap and get great discounts on video games as well. Meanwhile other items if purchased correctly lead to rebates, rewards, and more importantly gift cards. Will we have the latest and greatest or the newest trendiest thing out there? No probably not but we should still have a nice Christmas that is within our budget. Include our homemade projects that won't cost much more than our time and labor and it should be quite nice indeed. We will see how well everyone does shopping with the 50/50 rule. I have a feeling we will all be surprised at what we can find without getting brand new.

Now you might think I jumped right over Thanksgiving and into Christmas but I didn't really. It’s simply that Thanksgiving is so much easier than Christmas for us. We buy our meat from a local butcher shop in our small town. The majority of meat they sell was raised locally and while this isn't quite the same as raising and butchering our own animals we feel it's perhaps more important. It helps to support our small town and provide jobs where not many exist. It also supports the areas ranchers and farmers by keeping their costs down and ensuring they have a buyer. All of this provides us with a superior product at a reasonable price while limiting long haul shipping and building a community that works together. Most of the other items for thanksgiving dinner are stuff we have on hand; canned veggies and cranberries, Potato flakes and dry stuffing mix all make excellent prep items.

Now it’s your turn; Leave me a comment on how you handle self sufficiency during the holidays?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,
Sincerely Kaya

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.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A New Start for an Old Blog Update

11/17 Update

First I'd like to thank you all for visiting the blog. Additional thanks go out to those of you who posted or tried to. We have first and foremost been made aware of some conflicts and difficulties with posting comments. We are working on resolving these issues, as well as updating the page and adding a ‘subscribe via email’ button. I did receive the following comments and suggestions via Kaya on Facebook.

From the Kaya Group on Facebook suggested future topics are
1. Making your own stuff--soda, snacks, deodorant, laundry soap and soaps in general,  canning, dehydrating, and solar cooking
2. How is the rabbit raising going?
And From the Kaya page on Facebook we received the following...
3. Favorite homesteading books, especially livestock, gardening, preserving and cooking and all that jazz.

I hope to cover our adventures in snack making, cooking, canning, and dehydrating in our monthly cooking and recipe article. We do not make our own soda as we don't generally drink much of it but we may possibly have been persuaded to post about making our own root beer in the future. I will also cover our favorite books on homesteading in the book review each month. You can find many of the books we enjoy on the Kaya website as well. I will be happy to post on our garden, the rabbit, and our ongoing projects on a regular basis, perhaps in a monthly update. Things we haven't yet tried but will be trying in the coming new year are soap making--laundry soap to crock pot bar soap, building and using a solar cooker and making our own deodorant. I cannot promise much information on livestock as we live in a small town on approximately half an acre and are not permitted to have livestock. We may however have a serious discussion about adding chickens to our homestead come spring.

Once again many thanks for your participation and suggestions. I look forward to covering some of these topics for you as we move ahead in our journey towards self sufficiency.

Sincerely Kaya

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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A New Start for an Old Blog

Kaya: The wife of a Prepper


If you have followed this blog you will know two things.
   1. This blog has been irregular and sporadic.
   2. I have on occasion authored a few of the blogs.

What you need to know going forward is that I have taken over this blog. I will be writing and my husband will be handling the publishing and web posting.

That means changes!

First and foremost, I am not the Prepper or Researcher my husband, the previous author, is. My blogs will be less technical and more chatty.
Second, I have different areas of interest, experience, and knowledge. Do not expect to see blogs only about prepping or self-sufficiency.
Third, no matter what people prefer to think or say my being female changes the general point of view.

Due to these notable differences the content of this blog is most likely going to be vastly different most of the time. It is my goal to be consistent and timely in my postings and while writing about my/our real life experiences. I plan on posting bi-weekly, Monday's and Friday's. Monday’s posts will consist of a weekly topic. It is my goal to have a monthly book review and a monthly recipe posting as well. As it is my hope to create something that is more interactive, Friday’s posts will cover comments, questions, additional links and information concerning the weeks topic based on your responses... if I get no response... then Friday will not have a blog posted. Be forewarned, there will be delays or preemptive postings on Holidays and at other times throughout the year as family duties or illness precipitates. I am all in favor of holidays, weekends, and honoring family commitments. I also cannot predict when I will be too ill to write, if I could it would certainly make my life easier. I will however endeavor to be consistent, fair, honest and on time in posting.

My first weekly topic is a brief introduction for those who don't know me.

I am the wife of a Prepper. I participate in prepping activities; however, I am not always the most enthusiastic Prepper, homemaker, or self-sufficiency person you will find. In fact in many ways I am just your average everyday person.  I am 43 years old, the mother of two and grandmother of one. I am a high school graduate with some college and technical training. I am disabled and I am finally a stay at home mom after multiple jobs, career changes and many years of working the night shift.  I grew up in a large extended family in a large city.  We have a cat, a dog, and a rabbit. What makes me different is that I now live in a small town with a much smaller family by choice. In fact we live in a 95 year old fixer upper in a small town on the plains. I never would have imagined living where we do, much less enjoying it as much as I do. I enjoy reading, gardening, crocheting and Facebook as well as a plethora of other things. I am re-learning how to sew and have many other things I'd like to learn. My life has been deeply influenced by my elders; I was lucky enough have many of them available to me well into my twenties. Though I believe strongly in god I do not go to church. I do ask, please don't try to convert or save me. I promise; I won't try to convert or save you! When I mention God, it's because that is my personal belief. It is not meant to change your beliefs; they’re between you and the deity of your choice. The same goes for anyone else who comments on this blog, to each their own. I will not tolerate foul language, slamming of myself or anyone else. Negative, mean or spiteful attitudes or any other form of disrespect, Fear mongering and conspiracy theories have no place here and I will delete them. This is a blog about us, a family, trying to do the best we can with what we have where we are and as such I want this to be a family friendly place. If you wouldn't say it that way to your mother, grandparent, or child then don't say it that way here. To keep things simple you can address me/us as Kaya. My husband, the Kaya moderator and webmaster, shall henceforth be referred to as “the Mr.” by me for the purpose of this blog and my youngest, who is still at home, is known as minion. That concludes this brief introduction. I hope I can find a groove, hold your attention, and entertain you while discussing relevant topics.

As this is the first of the weekly topics I'd like to see everyone who reads this blog post a comment. This will help me in two ways. First it's a way for me to take a head count. Second it allows you submit your suggestions for future topics and I encourage you to do so.

Many thanks and much gratitude,
Sincerely Kaya

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.