Don had been in charge of posting entries in the Safecastle Freedom Awards writing contest, but he's been super-dooper busy lately so he forwarded the entries to me. We need to have all entries posted by the end of the year, then we'll submit the winner to the Safecastle folks. The rules for writing are posted here. The Safecastle website is here.
Just FYI, the contest prizes were modified due to poor economic conditions. You can see the modifications here.
But our prizes remain the same! To wit:
10 Rural Revolution laser-engraved tankards for the top 10 entries!
If you'd still like to send in your original essay or video on self-sufficiency, survivalism, or prepping -- there's still time!
Now to our next contestant...
What Does It Mean to Me to be Prepared?
I was born and raised in the Oakland bay area. Talk about a rat race. I now live in rural Arkansas on 5 acres and the only thing I would trade it for is more land here locally. My daddy was a truck driver when I was a kid and always hauled off the docks in the bay. When the longshoremen went on strike it was like the depression for us. We had no money and no food. We would stand in lines at the food pantries to get some food. My mother made soup from bones she got for free at Safeway as "dog bones" and produce with bad spots on it that the store was throwing away. That convinced me as a child that when I grew up I would always keep extra so that my children would not go without. I taught myself to can food, make bread, cheese and everything else under the sun. My motto is if they (the factories) can then I can…. Also I do not want to eat something I can not pronounce…
I look around and with the way the world is going I feel for sure that there is some kind of disaster around the corner. Because I grew up a trucker’s daughter I also understand how fragile the chain is from fields to factories to grocery store shelves. My husband was raised a businessman’s son. They lived in hotels ordering from room service and restaurants. So my way of thinking was a huge change for him. I wanted some land so we got 5 acres with a nice doublewide on it that was a HUD repo and was in a mess. We remodeled it doing 95% of the work ourselves. Now we have a really nice house for a tenth of what it would have cost us to buy it all new and do it the “easy way”. He learned to cut tile and hang sheetrock. The deed is free and clear with no mortgage. My car is a 14 year old jeep with over 200,000 miles on it and yes it breaks down but you know what? I spend less on parts than I would on a car payment and I refuse to pay a mechanic. We are debt free and like it that way.
I can everything I am able get my hands on whether it is excess produce from the local food pantry, what I grow in my ½ acre garden or what I pick up on sale at the store. When I make soup I make it 5 gallons at a time and can what we do not eat for that meal. Even for thanksgiving I used the turkey bones and made 18 qts of turkey soup for the cabinet. Our society has turned into a lazy society, buying what they want for dinner the same day. They would just throw out those turkey bones instead of getting the very most out of it. After I made soup then the bones went out to the dogs. Between the dogs and the chickens (I have 13 hens and 1 rooster) no scraps go to waste.
My kids and husband where unsure when I made the switch to “No convenience food in this house.” But then they figured out that I can make those cool frozen burritos, breakfast sandwiches and hot pockets and put them in the freezer just the same. Yesterday I made potato chips from real potatoes and BBQ beef sandwiches on homemade buns. The BBQ I had canned myself. I culture my husband’s buttermilk because I refuse to pay $1.57 for a qt of buttermilk at Wal-Mart. I will be glad when we can get a cow and I can quit buying milk and cheese all together. But for now I can buy a gallon of sweet milk for $2 which means I can have a gallon of buttermilk for $2 instead of $6.28. I make my own mayonnaise for pennies compared to the $4 they want for it at the store and you know what? there is nothing in it that can not be pronounced. Hot pockets and burritos cost to make a tenth of what the stores charge. Breakfast sandwiches are the same way. I still make pumpkin butter which is pretty much a lost art since Libby’s came out with “pumpkin pie mix” in a can. The USDA decided it was “unsafe” to home can pumpkin butter at the same time the store bought stuff came on the market but for years people (my family and people from church) have been eating my pumpkin butter and no one has ever gotten sick. It is wonderful on toast and so easy to make a pie with.
I know that if everything shuts down my family will not go hungry. They may not get what they want but they will have food in their tummies. That will be more than probably 90% of the rest of the area will have. My step daughter complains that her mother only buys what she needs for the day on her way home from work and that there is nothing ever to eat in the house. Those kinds of people will be hungry. There is peace of mind in knowing that whether it is a complete economic shutdown, civil war or a natural disaster we will be much better off than the people living in the ticky tacky houses in the subdivisions and running their rat race in a maze. I am already at the finish line of my maze and they will be lost in their own.
I have oil lamps, candles and extra kerosene I say let the lights go out…. I have books a plenty, let the cable go out… I can hunt and grow a garden, let the stores be empty… I have a sewing machine and lots of fabric, who needs a mall to buy clothes… I have a gun and extra ammo, LET SOMEONE TRY TO TAKE IT AWAY…
So what does it mean to be prepared? It means that my family will be warm, fed and safe. I know that no matter what the world throws at us we will survive better than most of the population. We depend on ourselves and God and no one else.