Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Five Ways Preppers Do It Right

I am probably dwelling a bit too long and too much on that anti-Prepper article.  I mean, first of all it was published in 2015.  Two years ago.  Maybe the author has changed his stance since then.

But also, I don't know him.  I've never even heard of the organization (Pique) that pays him to write his (inflammatory and misguided) opinion pieces.  His feelings about Preppers have no bearing on my life.

All of that is true, but I can't stop just thinking about the need to put it out there - that contrary to his close-minded attitude, those in the Prepping community are not some Neanderthal caricature figure who salivates every time another disaster hits, hoping THIS time, it's the real deal.

We all know all of the ways that Preppers do things right, when it comes to natural disasters and other large scale emergencies.  Mr. Anthony asserts that Preppers do well in these events, because they have situated themselves in those areas that are prone to natural disasters - his passive-aggressive suggestion that Preppers are masochistic, gluttons for punishment.  He says, in short, that Preppers tend to live in trailer parks in places like Oklahoma, where tornadoes are an ever-present threat.  I submit that a lot of people, many of whom aren't Preppers, live in trailers in Oklahoma and one thing has nothing to do with the other.

As I discussed in my previous post, NONE of us are immune to disaster, and just when we think it won't happen to us, it does.

But the fact is that Preppers aren't just ready for disaster.  Real Preppers are ever-ready for whatever life throws their way.  It's not just the big emergencies that we handle - with aplomb - but also those every day little hiccups that send the non-prepared running for the stores and hoping to get there before they close for the day.

Here are five ways that Preppers Do It Right, Every Day.

1.  Dinner's On Us.

It's 9:00 PM on a Tuesday.  You've just finished cleaning up from dinner.  The kids are getting ready for bed.  You're thinking about that glass of wine and some mind-numbing time in front of the tube.

"Mom, I told my teacher you'd make cookies for the bake sale," your fourth grader tells you.

"Okay.  When is the bake sale?"

She spits toothpaste in the sink.  "Tomorrow."

As a Prepper, we will, definitely, grumble about having to, now, spend the next hour baking cookies, but we don't panic, because ... ah!  There they are ... the chocolate chips.  There's the flour and the butter and the eggs.  There's plenty of baking powder and baking soda (especially baking soda, because you buy this by the pallet, since it's used, not only in your kitchen, for baking, but also in your laundry soap, your deodorant, and most of your cleaning solutions around the house).  Oh, and sugar!  Of course!

You even have some some raisins you dehydrated from grapes you grew in your yard.  Oatmeal, peanut butter, almond extract, an assortment of jellies.  What kind of cookies did you want?

Last minute is no sweat.  For a prepper.

It could just be the southern girl in me.  Deus Ex Machina says I must be part Italian, because I always make too much food.  Whether it's some weird genetic anomaly associated with food or my Prepper instincts, if you show up, and it's dinner time, I can plan and prepare a quick meal and have enough food to accommodate an extra guest or two.

And there would probably even be leftovers.

It goes further, though.

Several years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to host my son's wedding.  It was a small affair with only a couple dozen guests.  No one had a lot of money to spend, and thankfully, we didn't need a lot.  We rented a canopy and some tables, but everything else, I pretty much had on hand, including the food.

We served a three course meal that included Leg of Lamb with herbed potatoes as the main course. And we shared our homemade Strawberry wine, which was a HUGE hit.   We were able to give them a memorable and fun celebration without breaking the bank, because we prep.

2.  Party at the Prepper's House!

Have you ever spent weeks planning for an event, only to hit the inevitable SNAFU and have to rearrange your plans?

For my daughter's tenth birthday, she wanted an ice cream birthday party at a local candy shop.  A few weeks before her birthday, we'd inquired about it, with no set dates or reservations made.  We told them what we were thinking and when the party would be, and we were assured that everything could happen, just like we said.

Two weeks before her birthday, it was time to make the reservation and pay deposits, etc.  Sometime between having our discussion with the store owner about the party idea and our actual trying to reserve the space, they started doing some renovations.  They were going to be closed that day!

I won't lie.  I was annoyed.  My daughter was horribly disappointed, which annoyed me even more.  I boycotted that candy store for several years - not that they noticed, because they're seasonal anyway, and they don't care about us Townies.

We changed plans, organized a party here at our house where we made Stupid Sock Creatures.  We already had all of the supplies we needed, including the book.

What was great about the birthday is that we had a fun and creative project for all of the kids, and each guest went home with the thing he/she had created.  So, we had party favors, too - without spending a bunch of money on plastic crap from the dollar store.

We also have other really cool things - like glow sticks (which are good for when the electricity goes out).  So when our children's friends come over for an impromptu sleepover, we don't have to run out to the store to buy things for them to do.  We already have all of that stuff, tucked away, and usually purchased on sale at the end of a season - which means we also saved money.

Don't worry, adults.  We got you covered, too.  As Preppers, we usually have a stash ... for medicinal purposes, you know.  Since I'm always making tinctures, I keep a supply on hand of various alcohols, and what I'm not buying, we're making.  There's often something fermenting on the counter and something fermented in the fridge.
That's what happens, though, when you're a Prepper.  You have things stored for those emergencies that make other not-so-emergency emergencies easier on your psyche and easier on your wallet.

By the way, other party favors are good prepping tools, too.  Balloons are great as airlocks for fermenting, for example.  Thinking outside the box is the hallmark of the prepper brain.

3.  Preppers Make Things.

Another thing that Preppers do really well is giving gifts.  Having all of those stored supplies means that when a special occasion sneaks up on the Prepper (who is often elbow deep in some other project, and not intentionally forgetful, but momentarily distracted), she is ready to throw together the perfect gift from her stored supplies.

I'm a huge fan of Handmade for the Holidays, and anyone who reads here regularly will have seen my gift posts.  One of my favorites is the clothe game board I made with materials I had on hand.

But it's not just gifts.  There have been many times when I have had to assemble costumes - for Halloween, for Dance Recitals.  Having the materials I need to be able to make some great costumes.
In 2010, at the last minute, I was asked to help out with some props for the annual dance recital.  I was going to be onstage for the dance number, and it was suggested that I do so in an appropriate attire.  It was a hippie-themed number.   So, I went home, and I made a costume using materials I had on hand.

4.  Preppers can Do It.

So, yes, it's true, Preppers tend to have a lot of stuff on hand.  Tools, extra food, supplies, novelty items.  We like stuff, but most of it is stuff that we actually use.  There certainly are Preppers who have things on hand that they will rarely (or never) use, like gas-masks, but even if they never use them for a real emergency, those gas masks can make a great Dr. Who Themed costume for the Cosplay Ball.  There's a use for them.  

More important than the tools, however, is the fact that most preppers are skilled.  I can cook dinner for two people or forty.  I can sew both costumes and real every day clothes.  I know how to butcher a rabbit and a chicken.  I can grow food.  I can knit a square.  I can darn a sock.  I can make candles and soap and guanciale.  I can preserve food.  I can forage.  I can make fermented pickles and sauerkraut.  I can make wine and beer.  I can start a fire.  

What I don't already know how to do, I probably have a how-to book for in my home library.  

Real Preppers aren't just hoarding supplies.  They are out there learning how to do things, by hand, that other folks don't think they will ever need to know how to do, because ... well, you know, they are impervious to disaster.  

5.  Preppers Save the Animals

The first four were, somewhat, related.  This last one isn't, but it is.

One of the main criticisms of Preppers has to do with their focus on security.  There's the image of the armed-to-the-teeth prepper, and certainly, most preppers will fight for their Right to Bear Arms. Most preppers understand, however, that the Right to Bear Arms is not about arming themselves against their neighbors or against the roaming hoards of non-preppers when the SHTF and those jerks who failed to prepare are trying to take our stuff, but rather against a tyrannical government.

The thing is our own government is a greater threat to our freedom and safety - if history is to be our witness - than the Mad Maxes.  We don't have to look very far back to see tyrannical governments killing people.  It's happening RIGHT NOW in Myanmar.  The Rohingya have no choice, but to run. We have a choice.

But it's not guns that are the primary focus when it comes to prepping.  On the list of 100 Items to Disappear First, number forty is "Big Dogs."

When I was a volunteer dog walker at the animal shelter, there were a lot of big dogs, who spent a long time waiting for their forever families.  There were several weeks in a row where I walked the same big dog.  I got to know them, and it was a little bittersweet when they, finally, got adopted.  The thing is that regular people don't want those BIG dogs, because ... well, they're big.  They take up a lot of space, and they can be kind of scary.

For a prepper, however, that's what makes them perfect.  They take up a lot of space, and they're scary.   In nearly every article about home security, burglars confess that they will avoid homes where there's a dog, especially if it's a big dog.  Big dogs are a strong deterrent for those who have ill-intentions.

Say what you will about Preppers, but their desire to improve their home security means that those big dogs ... that no one wants ... find a home - a home where they will be seen as not just a pet, but as a valuable asset.

Cats, too.  Preppers understand the need to have vermin control without a reliance on poison (which can be dangerous for the Preppers' home security systems (dogs), and if the Prepper also has livestock, like chickens, could result in lost food if the chicken gets a hold of the poison either before or after the mouse).

The animal shelters are often over-burdened with unwanted pets.  We, preppers, want them.  We want the ones that no else wants, because we know the big dogs have a value beyond just being a companion (although, that's good, too), and the cats aren't just lap warmers (although that works, also).

It's fun to criticize people who have different values and beliefs, but it's not really a very worthy use of one's time.  Better would be to learn about the people one might think to ridicule, and in that opening of one's mind gain some valuable insight and knowledge about a lifestyle that might just be something deeper than what one sees on the surface.

In his final paragraphs, Mr. Anthony advises his readers to "neuter" us Preppers.  Joking or not, a call to violence against someone with differing beliefs has been defined as a hate crime.  I wonder if he realizes the irony in that call to action coming from someone who pretends to be more civilized and cultured than the group he is maligning.


  1. Well written! I agree completely; it's less about what I have, and more about multiple uses for those things. A mind that thinks creatively, coupled with a willingness to acquire new skills, is a hallmark of a prepper, and a well rounded person in general. We used to admire renaissance men, jack-of-all-trades, women who could turn their hands to whatever needed doing around the homestead..I still do.

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