Self-Sufficiency Series

Monday, September 1, 2014

Molly Green Magazine

I'm pleased to report that the Fall issue of Molly Green Magazine is now available! The magazine is being relaunched in a gloriously colorful e-format, and yours truly is now writing for it.

For those unfamiliar with Molly Green, it's a publication that celebrates Home. It focuses on homesteading, homekeeping, homeschooling, and home industry. Can you see why I'm interested?

Because the editors are still in the process of tweaking the new Molly Green website, the Sept/Oct 2014 issue is available for free as a pdf until the end of September. Go to this link and fill in the necessary information, then download.

To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what to expect when they asked me to write for them. I just knew I liked the premise. But when I saw the first issue... WOW. My eyeballs about hit the floor. Holy cow, it's fantastic. Beautiful graphics, meaty articles, excellent layout. I couldn't be more pleased to be writing for them.

So go download that issue and let them know what you think!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

30 Signs You're One of those Crazy Preppers

In contrast to the rather sobering list of Inconvenient Truths About TEOTWAWKI, I thought you'd all enjoy this humorous list from The Organic Prepper entitled 30 Signs That You’re One of Those “Crazy Preppers.”

Here are the top 30 signs, should you ever be the subject of a nationwide manhunt, that you too will be considered a "Crazy Prepper on the Loose":

1. Pantries are so mainstream... you have food stashed in strange places in every room of the house.
2. You have enough toilet paper to get through a year of uncomfortable digestive upsets... occurring with 6 people simultaneously
3. Speaking of which, you possess at least 3 different ways to use the bathroom, only one of which is an actual bathroom.
4. Your kids know what OPSEC means…at the age of 4.
5. You have topographical maps of your area... plural.
6. When you’re forced to interact with “the others” you feel like you are awkwardly censoring your true opinions
7. You think nothing of treating an injury or illness yourself because “what if there was no doctor?”
8. Paintball is no longer just a fun way to spend an afternoon –- it’s called "training."
9. With every major purchase, you contemplate going for the off-grid version.
10. You have more manual tools than power tools.
11. You’ve washed entire loads of laundry by hand for either necessity or practice. (And not just your dainties... we’re talking about jeans and stuff!)
12. Your kids are not afraid of guns…or fingers pointed like guns... or pastries in the shape of guns…or drawings of guns.
13. When house hunting you look for multiple heat and water sources.
14. You store food in buckets... lots of buckets... like, maybe even a whole room full of buckets.
15. You garden with a determination and time commitment normally reserved for endurance athletes training for an Ironman triathlon.
16. If you don’t have a water source on your property, you have put in miles of footwork searching for one nearby, and have mapped multiple discreet routes to and from the source, and figured out how to haul the water back to your house on each route.
17. Your first instinct when hearing about some event on the mainstream news is skepticism. (False flag event, anyone?)
18. You believe that FEMA camps are real and that you are most likely on “The List”.
19. Instead of CNN, you have alternative news sites bookmarked in your favorites on your computer.
20. You have enough coffee/tea/favorite-caffeinated-item-of-choice to last you through three apocalypses.
21. You have enough over the counter medications stashed away to outfit a small-town pharmacy.
22. You have an instinctive mistrust of most cops or anyone working for an alphabet agency.
23. You could sink a ship with the weight of your stored ammo.
24. Looking for a fun weekend outing with the kids? Forget amusement parks –- the shooting range is where it’s at.
25. When the power goes out, you calmly light the candles and proceed with whatever you had been dong previously.
26. A longer-term power outage is called "practice."
27. If a like-minded person comes over to your house, they’ll realize you are "one of them" by seeing your reading material. Other folks won’t even notice. The FBI would call your copy of The Prepper’s Blueprint and your James Wesley Rawles fiction "subversive literature."
28. Your children carry a modified bug-out kit in their school backpacks.
29. You can and dehydrate food with the single-minded fervor of a Amish grandmother facing a seven-year drought.
30. Calling 911 is not part of your home security plan.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor who lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author of The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. Daisy is a co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, which focuses on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and you can email her at


(The Organic Prepper encourages everyone to add to this list.)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The power of willpower

A few months ago I received an email from a woman named Laura who had a question, and we fell into an email conversation. She told me a bit about her and her husband's story. They were living near Philadelphia and longed to move to north Idaho and start a homestead. As we chatted, I found myself deeply impressed -- not only by their attitudes and hard work in starting a home business, but by Laura's impeccable English (she immigrated from Romania when she was 18). They were working hard toward their goals -- learning, saving money, paying off debt, living frugally... in short, doing everything right.

A couple days ago, Laura dropped me an update: she and her husband are now the proud owners of a piece of property in the area! As you can imagine, they're thrilled to make the move and get started turning their new place into a small farm.

Laura gave me permission to post the following. I think you'll agree that these folks are taking the right approach toward moving rural.

As she says in her email, their story should be encouraging for all those who want to make such a leap. I wish them every happiness in their new home!

This has been our dream for the past two years... in preparation for it we have learned to can and "garden" on our tiny balcony, started cooking everything from scratch and stopped eating out, we have gone out to yard sales every weekend for an entire summer in order to gather cheap tools and watched many eBay auctions to get what we needed to start our homestead at a price we could afford. We saved every extra penny we earned from our jobs and worked very hard to build our businesses so we could afford to work from home when we would start our homestead.

We are now at the point where we will be able to sustain ourselves between our businesses and our savings and are confident that we can make it work. It'll still be a stretch but we now have confidence in our ability to be frugal. It is incredible to see all of our hard work finally paying off. We are beyond excited to begin this new stage in our lives.

If you'd like to share these last paragraphs with your readers, you are more than welcome to. If you do, I hope this will act as an encouragement to anyone who has a big dream of homesteading or living differently from the mainstream. We have gotten plenty of strange looks when people hear of our dream but we pushed through no matter what and now we are so glad we did. There were moments when we weren't sure if we were ever going to make it happen but it was all worth it in the end.

Thank you, also, for your wonderful advice and for conversing with me over e-mail for so long. It helped us narrow down where we would like to rent, and it also convinced us of just how nice and friendly North Idahoans are. I am very excited to be meeting more people there and making new like-minded friends in the area.


Congratulations to Laura and her husband!

More on college degrees

This week's WND column (originally titled Worthless College Degrees) is pretty much a recap of this blog post.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Inconvenient truths about TEOTWAWKI

I found this cheery list on Todd Savage's Strategic Relocation blog. If nothing else, it gives sobering food for thought. (I found #11 especially true... because at this point we're ALL armchair survivalists. #22 is also true -- trust me on this.)

Just to clarify, the list as well as the commentary that follows was reprinted from the blog post; it's not anything I wrote.


28 Inconvenient Truths About TEOTWAWKI

The end of the world as we know it may hold realities that are
very, very different from our expectations. Consider these points:

1. Not everyone will survive. Ouch.
2. For many, circumstances will trump preparedness.
3. Preparedness will cost money. There's no way around it.
4. If you talk about preparedness, you'll be ridiculed. If you
keep your mouth shut, you'll miss out on establishing a support
system that is 100% necessary to survival.
5. A rural retreat won't save you. The federal government has
you in their cross-hairs, as does the United Nations.
6. Stored food runs out, eventually.
7. Even the best prepared survivalist Navy Seal can be brought down
by an infected ingrown toenail.
8. You probably aren't tough enough for what's coming.
9. Gold and silver may be useless if a world currency is
established. Using them may even be criminalized.
10. In a time of plenty, it's impossible to imagine the reality
of true scarcity.
11. Survival is easy for armchair quarterbacks.
12. Most survivalists and preppers are overly optimistic when it
comes to how much food store, what scenarios to plan for, and their
ability to survive off the grid.
13. TEOTWAWKI will change the way you and your children and
grandchildren live. Forever.
14. The minute you bug out, your chances of reaching your retreat
destination are slim.
15. You're kidding yourself if you think your hidden caches
won't be found by others, eventually.
16. You won't know if you're ready for TEOTWAWKI until
you're in the middle of it.
17. Ultimately, a too-powerful government will be the biggest
threat to your survival.
18. Life will become cheap.
19. Free time will become a thing of the past.
20. There's nothing wrong with preparing for natural disasters,
but if you're not ready for a collapse of the American economy,
you're not ready.
21. Coming tough times will threaten even the best of marriages and
other close relationships.
22. Growing your own food is a bigger challenge than you ever
thought possible.
23. Depending on where you live and any drought conditions, a green
garden can be spotted from miles away, thus endangering your food
source and your family.
24. Dealing with human waste and trash will become your new
part-time job.
25. You'll discover exactly what you're capable of when your
family is threatened.
26. Formerly strong and capable people will escape their new reality
through booze, drugs, and/or suicide.
27. Protecting and nurturing close family ties will become one of
the most important things you can do.
28. Those who can accept and adapt will find survival easier than
those who hold on to the past or have unrealistic expectations of
the future.

None of these points are especially cheerful. In fact, they're
downright discouraging. However, the fact that you are preparing
for difficult times, as well as everyday emergencies, is very
Encouraging! You're aware of storm clouds on the horizon and
you know it will hit eventually.

Do something this week to become just a little better prepared!
(Relayed by Ryan L Olsen)

(reprinted with permission)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book hangover

A friend sent this. It couldn't be more true!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Are we in for a hard winter?

Here in Idaho (as well as many other northern locations) they say we have three distinct seasons: Winter, After Winter, and Getting Ready for Winter. There's some truth to that.

Old-timey folks wisdom is full of predictors for the weather, usually interpreting signs in the natural world (both plant and animal) to dictate whether we'll have a hard winter or not.

Last winter most of the country was WHOMPED with one of the harshest cold seasons on record... yet north Idaho managed to escape the worst of it and we had just a regular winter. But we've had our share of nasty weather as well. A few years ago, we had two harsh winters in a row that illustrated with great clarity why a prepared lifestyle is a wise lifestyle.

So when I saw Granny Miller's blog post on a hornet nest winter forecast, it got me thinking about our winter preps. We have a lot we want to do before the snow flies, but here's what we've got done so far.

We have oil lamps primed and on standby, as well as a generous supply of kerosene.

We have about 40 gallons of stored water on hand (no photo, sorry).

We have lots of firewood.

We have our hay in.

The livestock have shelter from the barn awning.

The chicken coop is now insulated.

But there are a LOT of projects we want to accomplish before the snow flies. These include:

• We want to build feed boxes for the cattle under the awning. This will keep hay from being wasted as much, and will keep debris from building up as fast.

• We want to build an above-ground root cellar out of a pen in the barn. We anticipate a heavy crop of potatoes and don't really have an adequate way to store them. Our house doesn't have a basement and digging underground involves a lot more logistics than we're willing to put in at the moment, but retrofitting a pen with heavy insulation is more do-able.

• I want to do a lot more canning. A lot more.

• Don wants to drop several more dead trees and cut them up for firewood. Not only will this reduce the chances of losing other trees to insect damage, but it will provide additional firewood.

• We'll need to blow out and put away part of the drip irrigation system in the garden.

• We want to build an extension to the bull pen shed. Our current shed is kinda cozy (read: small) and having additional room will allow the animals to over-winter more comfortably.

• We want to install guttering on the barn awning. Currently water just dumps down the awning and creates horrifically muddy conditions. Guttering will funnel the water away and make the bull pen and feedlot much less sticky.

• We want to buy a ton of chicken feed. Yes, literally. We found a source of bulk feed where the feed comes in thousand-pound bags. The cost is half what we're currently paying for 50-lb bags, and it means we won't run out of chicken feed in the middle of a blizzard. However we'll have to build rodent-proof bin before we can buy the bulk feed.

• We'll make sure to have plenty of food on hand, both for us and for our pets. For example we always try to keep two bags of dog food ahead of what we're using, just in case.

• We'll top off our propane tanks.

As you can see, plenty to do before the snow flies! But since it's not yet September, we'll have about two full months (maybe more, if the weather cooperates) to get these tasks done. We'll prioritize as we go, and the least important (or the least do-able) will get put off until next year.

Yep, we're in the season of Getting Ready for Winter. We must be in north Idaho.

What are your winterizing plans?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bacon and Eggs blog

A reader just reported the sad news that Jodi ("SciFiChick") of the Bacon and Eggs blog passed away last Thursday of an apparent heart attack.

I never knew Jodi in person, but her gardening skills and ability in the domestic arts were staggering and an inspiration to many. Franboise Manor blog has a beautiful tribute to her, as does A Homestead Neophyte blog.

May you rest in peace, Jodi, and thank you for all the humor, wisdom, and know-how.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Vanilla fish and other culinary disasters

Last night at our neighborhood potluck, our neighbor served fish he had raised and harvested himself. It was tender and flaky and delicious. And it reminded me of a story...

Back when Don and I were newlyweds, I decided to try a new seafood recipe. I don’t recall where I found it or what it consisted of, but the idea was I was supposed to start with fillets of fish, dredge them with plain yogurt, coat them with crumbs of some sort (cracker crumbs? cornmeal? – I forget) and bake the fillets.

The recipe looked delicious and I was anxious to impress my new husband with my (cough) culinary skills. So I got to work.

The only problem was, we didn’t have any plain yogurt on hand. But I had VANILLA yogurt. It’s white too, right? Just like plain yogurt? So I diligently dredged the fish in the yogurt, coated the pieces with crumbs, and baked it.

It looked fabulous. If I recall, I even garnished the dish with lemon and paprika.

My dear husband, who has suffered through my gastronomic shortcomings for the past 24 years, gamely worked his way through three or four bites... but then he had to admit defeat. The fish was simply inedible. I had to face facts: vanilla yogurt and fish don't do well together.

On the down side, that cooking mishap gave me something of a phobia about my kitchen skills. Cooking has never been my strength to begin with. Oh sure, I can DO it... I just don’t ENJOY it. Such is life.

On the plus side, we’ve gotten more mileage out of that silly faux pas than we ever had if the recipe had turned out well. We have laughed, joked, teased, kidded, poked fun, and otherwise remembered that horrific meal with fondness (especially since I never attempted to re-try it with plain yogurt).

The subject of my kitchen deficiencies came up today, and it got me thinking... We've ALL had some sort of culinary calamity in the kitchen. What are yours? Let’s shed the shame and share the stories so we can ALL get a laugh.

Ready… set… GO.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August chaos

This time of year, it should come as no surprise that the house is a mess. It's the busy season for our woodcraft business, and tidiness must go by the wayside as we labor to keep up with the workload.

Yesterday evening I looked around and realized the house was in the typical state of chaos, with multiple projects going on, that usually happens this time of year. To wit:

We glued bottoms on about 130 tankards.

I've been canning blueberries as they come ripe. Yesterday I canned six pints.

Pizza for dinner.

Glue pans, tin cans, tankards. Typical tableau.

Half-inch oak (for tankard bottoms), used duct tape (it holds the tankard bodies together until we glue), and boxes and buckets for transporting between the house and shop.

Messes everywhere, right?

I remember once, a long long time ago, I visited someone's beautiful house that was in immaculate condition. It was so beautiful it was almost like a museum. And I remember wondering -- didn't these people ever DO anything? Did they live in a house or a home?

A home full of projects -- woodcrafts, canning, dinner from scratch -- is a happy home, in my opinion. Yes, I managed to get the kitchen clean before bedtime, but at this time of year nothing stays tidy for long.

At least, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Mocking feminists

Here's my WND column for this weekend entitled Mocking Feminists (a fun column to write, I might add).

I received an email from a reader named Humphrey who wrote, "Patrice, I sent your column to all the women in my life. After reading it I hope they are still in my life. Thank you for the service." -- which made me burst out laughing.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Beyond extreme

I've been following with great concern the historic drought in California. The situation has moved beyond extreme into the classification of "exceptional" drought. I lived in California for twenty years and Don's and my families are still there, as well as innumerable friends.

We had a successful garden this year, but it goes without saying most of it is due to the fact that our water is abundant. Clearly right now a garden is an impossibility for most people in the Golden State.

Not only is surface water drying up, but so are the aquifers, which are being pumped dry by farmers desperate to keep their crops alive.

It's bad enough for those with annual crops; but for those who raise walnuts or peaches or other tree crops, losing entire orchards (which take years to establish) must be heart-breaking.

Water issues were one of the reasons we decided to leave California back in 1993. By no means was it the deciding factor, but it certainly contributed. Somewhere in the back of our minds we knew that if we wanted a homestead, we needed to settle in a place where water was, if not abundant, at least not a crisis point more times than not.

But we left when we were young, childless, and not yet rooted. It was hard enough to leave our family and friends behind. It's harder for folks with children who are surrounded by loving extended families. For most people, there are also employment issues to consider as well.

Should a drought issue suddenly plague north Idaho, it would be a FAR more difficult decision for us to up and move, since we now have an established farm and roots in our community.

But California may face a more serious issue than whether or not to grow a garden. There's talk about relocating people as communities run out of water. What happens then? It's not like anyone could hope to sell their home to someone moving in, if people are being asked to leave. There is speculation that this drought could continue for years. It's truly a crisis.

I know many readers of this blog either farm on a small scale, or someday hope to farm on a small scale, so water availability is doubtless high in their minds. What can Californians do? For those actually living in California -- will you stay or are you thinking about leaving? What are your thoughts on the future of the Golden State?