Today, more than ever before, you need to put together a paper library of the most important topics to help keep you and your family safe, fed, clean, warm, and healthy. Just ask yourself this question, “Am I a survivalist?” Then, continue to ask yourself what you would do if a major catastrophe occurred where you did not have access to power, food, electricity, medicines, or the basic necessities like soap or clothes?
The need for a paper library could not be more important than NOW.
Are you dependent on your computer for information? If you have all your documents saved there, you need to print those all-important articles, put them in a notebook and place that notebook with your emergency supplies. And, if you do not have an emergency kit put together, start today. Start with simple things like toilet paper, water, dried fruits and dehydrated meals. REI is a good place to purchase your dehydrated meals; you can also check online to purchase them. There are some links listed in this article that will help you start building your paper library.
The Boy Scout Handbook is one book you need to have in your emergency kit. It helps you with first-aid emergencies such as snake bites, broken bones, burns, shock and fainting, and severe bleeding. The handbook will teach you how to start fires for cooking, warmth, and what tinder to look for. You’ll learn how to purify water. Call your local Boy Scout office to inquire about purchasing this valuable, life-saving handbook.
Light the Way with Homemade Candles!
Candles purchased at specialty stores are expensive, especially fragrant ones. Most of us use them when “company” comes for dinner or over the holidays to get our homes ready for the scent of the holidays. But do you have an emergency stash of candles that is easily accessible? What happens when you have no power and you need to SEE?
Candles are easy to make for emergency situations. Just do a search on the internet for basic items like yellow or white beeswax or a soy-based wax. If you want fragrance, then by all means get some. But for emergencies, just stick to the basic necessities. Next, you’ll need wicks. Wicks come in all sizes and lengths. Brambleberry.com  had a good selection and the prices are very reasonable. If you want extra wicks, buy 100 for only $9.00. That way you have them on hand.
You’ll also need are jars. My suggestion to you is to buy canning jars. You can use these jars over and over again, and you can store your completed candles in the box the jars came in. And, ah, yes, store matches in with the candles so you don’t have to feel your way in the dark, cursing yourself for not being able to find those matches! But if you want to go “emergency fancy”, visit your local Salvation Army or Goodwill for a selection of inexpensive glass containers.
Visit the internet and find your favorite site for making homemade candles. My favorite in searching was Brambleberry.com  because they sell all items needed for candle making and they give you great tips on making your own candles. Don’t forget to print out the information!
Clean Yourself Up With Homemade Soap
I don’t know about you, but my grandmother was a Dust Bowl and Great Depression survivor. Her family made their own soap. Grandma’s favorite soap for scrubbing clothes on a washboard was lye. It was also used by her granddaughter on the many occasions she got her hands in some poison ivy, thinking it got rid of the oils. (It didn’t work.) Lye was used a great deal then because it was cheap and let’s face it, the selection of soaps was limited.
If you are intent on “getting back to basics” in living “off the grid”, then keep reading.
One ingredient you’ll need for making your soap will be lye. Lye must be used with caution. Wear gloves and protective glasses. Again, Brambleberry.com  has a great selection of ingredients and instructions to get you through the process.
Another type of homemade soap is milled soap. These soaps look like the traditional soap balls unique to New England and they smell wonderful. Some of the ingredients are aloe vera gel, rosewater, primrose oil, juniper essential oil, lemon, cinnamon, and ginger essential oils and of course, grated soap. Here is the recipe if you’re interested: ALOE SOAP BALLS 
Tip . . . aloe vera live plants are great for each room of your house. The plants are excellent air purifiers. These plants process the chemicals given off by paint, carpet and other construction materials.
Are you ready to learn as much as you can to live off the land? Subjects like pest-proofing your garden or mastering wide row planting; farming blackberries or pickling and preserving are available to you.
Natural home remedies that grandma used to use such as chamomile for tea, calendula in the garden for soothing and healing the skin; Echinacea as an immune-system enhancer; garlic as a food enhancer or its many therapeutic properties are available to you. A very good book that covers all the information discussed here is located in Country Wisdom & Know-How – Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land . This book contains 8,167 skills and step-by-step instructions, recipes, ingredients, tables, formulas, and resources to help you in your quest to live “off the grid.” This wonderful book should be part of anyone’s paper library.
Don’t wait until the next disaster strikes or for the next temporary (or permanent!) power outage to occur before thinking about what you need to make it through the storm. Start amassing your paper library today.
Other articles in this issue:
- Urban Gardening: Indoor and Balcony Gardening Tips 
- How Ready is Your Neighborhood? 
- Urban Chickens!