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Dear Editor,

I need help/advice with getting prepared for a number of different possible disasters that I believe can come upon us. Back in 1998 and 1999, I prepared well for Y2K, but all my stores are gone now. I am widowed since 2008. My son, daughter-in-law, their 2-year-old, and soon-to-be-born child share my home with 26 1/2 acres. I am 58 and very limited with physical activity due to rheumatoid arthritis. I become so overwhelmed with the thought of wanting “everything” to be prepared that I don’t know where to begin. Please advise me – there are Mylar bags, O2 bags, I need storage buckets, food, water, Tyvek suits, gas masks, and I could go on and on with all that I want and feel I need. Where do I begin? Thank you for your help in advance.

DM

 

Dear DM,

You’re so focused on the forest that you can’t see the trees. It’s overwhelming, and rightly so! Please, take a moment, step back, and realize that you can do this in increments. If you try to eat the whole pie at once, you’re going to choke to death! (I’m sorry…I’m in a mood for clichés today, and bad ones at that!)

First of all, I hear you say that you live in your home that you kindly share with your son and his family, yet you speak of your preparation efforts as something that you have to tackle by yourself. May I be blunt? You have grown people (who I assume are in better health than you are) living in your home. They need to be involved and contribute to the preparations that you are willing to make. No one person can tackle this for a group by themselves. It’s time for some tough love, mom. Make sure they’re part of the process.

Next you need to prepare in small ways first and then increase your goals for longer periods of time. Instead of trying to be prepared for a year immediately, get prepared for three to seven days. Get that much done. Then increase your preparation stores for those things you’d need in the event of a foreign, economic, or natural disaster. After you’ve prepared sufficiently for that, then prepare for being off grid for an indeterminate amount of time.

Solutions From Science, our parent company, has the perfect book that you need to guide you through this process. I love the logical progression it makes from having stores enough for three days to a week, to being prepared for total off-grid living. It breaks the preparation process down into easily digestible bites and gives you work sheets to figure out what you’re going to need for each phase of preparing. Go to https://www.readyforanythingmanual.com/ to order yourself a copy. In addition to the hard copy of the book, you also get a pdf download of Gone Before You Get There: 77 Items You Must Have That Instantly Vanish From Store. It’s the perfect companion to the book.

I wish you the best of luck in your goals,

The Editor

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Dear Editor,

Hello, I just read the letter and your response about stinkbug infestation. I live in Pennsylvania and here at our home, we don’t have a problem with stinkbugs. We get a few here and there mostly in little hiding spots, like boxes, window corners, etc. This is most likely because we have free-range chickens. Chickens seem to love stinkbugs and if stinkbugs can’t find a hiding spot, they get gobbled up. Bonus: they also lay eggs and as they are free range they are healthier than store eggs and less expensive.

We also don’t have a problem with ticks, Japanese beetles, fleas, flies and so on. Now you would have to be able to put up with some chicken poop and some scratching in the dirt. I have been able to deter them from scratching around plants by putting in rocks, decorative items, and sticking short sticks in the ground. Also, you definitely must fence in your tomatoes, squash, strawberries, and such garden plants, because they will eat them right on the stem, when they are ripe. Now beans, peas, carrots, and other such plants will be pest free and they don’t tend to eat the crop. When I plant a bean crop, my chickens keep them pest free and they have never bothered the beans.

You must have an indoor place that they can roost at night or they get picked off by predators (owls, foxes, etc.).

I hope this is helpful to you and your readers.

Practically Bug Free in Pennsylvania,

Jackie   

 

Dear Jackie,

Great letter and I agree! Chickens can be a great natural predator for some of the pests we have traditionally used pesticides for. Working more in tandem with nature is most certainly the way to go!

Thank you for your input,

The Editor

 

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