No good movies to see this weekend? Too expensive to go out to dinner? The weather sucks so outdoor activities are out too?
Put your weekend to good use — try to develop or improve all or some of these survival skills. You'll be glad you did it, either now or later. Some could even become a regular habit or activity.
1. Cook a meal from scratch. Try using your food storage, like freeze dried or dehydrated foods in your recipe. I know some of us do this all the time (or most of the time), then try something new. Use a recipe your family loves and make it only with dehydrated or freeze dried foods. Could be fun to see if they can tell the difference between this type of food and what you regularly use.
2. Bake a couple loaves of bread, including grind your own wheat (if you have access to a grain grinder). Nothing, to me, is as satisfying as a couple of loaves of beautiful bread just out of the oven. It usually brings my family into the kitchen begging for "just one slice, please?" I have found that freshly ground wheat (I use hard red or white whole wheat) makes better bread than store-bought flour that you have no idea how old it is or how long it has been since it was freshly ground.
3. Update your survival kits or your household disaster kits. Don't forget a bag for each of your children. They grow so fast that their bags may be out of date. Check the food for expiration dates. Check the clothes in your kid's bags to see if they still fit. Make sure flashlights work, batteries are fresh, and everything works as it should. Also, make sure you know how to use everything in those bags. During a crisis is not a good time to learn this.
4. Gather supplies for your auto emergency kits and make sure all your vehicles have one. I purchased a couple and then added some items from the list on my page here. You know, things like clothing (weather dependent), extra flashlights, water, etc.
5. Check out this list of barter items and stock up on a few. I saw a video of a couple who had an enormous storage area for their survival supplies. They showed viewers what they had and why. This was an older couple with no children at home who do not drink, but they had stored quite a bit of alcohol for bartering purposes. If you think for a moment that is a silly thing to do — think again. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), there are people in this world who are alcoholics or who just can't handle the stress of the crisis, who would pay anything for some "spirits". It could be a very good bartering item. But there are many others that you might want to stock up on.
6. Access your finances and see where you can save more if difficult times "visit" you. None of us want to face financial hardships, but they are inevitable from time to time — if not for you (because you planned well), maybe to someone in your family that you would like to help out. Still, are you really prepared with a rainy-day fund, savings for retirement, ready cash in case of an economic downturn, job loss, etc. Going over finances regularly, together with your spouse, is just a prudent thing to do.
7. Take an inventory of your survival supplies and access where you need to add or improve. I don't think any of us has all the supplies we might need for a long term crisis. No, not even me. Just like you, I'm still working on getting more supplies we might need. Mostly, I'm sure we need more food. I have close family who either are not preparing or cannot afford to prepare. I know they will show up at our door. We plan on helping them out. An inventory of supplies about every six months is a good task to accomplish.
8. Learn to make your own jerky. My husband loves jerky, but I read the ingredients on the label and told him I wouldn't let him eat that store-bought stuff. So I made my own. I know what is in it and feel better about him enjoying his jerky. It turned out awesome! Even I liked it and I'm not a jerky fan at all.
9. Dehydrate some fruit or vegetables. This is so much easier than canning. It's not a substitute, but an addition to the methods we use to preserve and store food. Yes, it takes a bit of time to cut up the food or sometimes to blanch it, but then you just put it on the trays, turn on the dehydrator and go about your business. If you don't have time to cut up fruit or veggies, buy some already cut up at the store (Sam's and Costco have a lot of it), put it on the dehydrator trays and go do something else. Be sure and package it properly for longer term storage.
10. Sprout some seeds - broccoli, alfalfa, beans, wheat, etc. Fresh vegetables all year around and SO easy. I have some sprouted broccoli seeds in my refrigerator (took only three days to grow them). I throw them in soup, put through the juicer, or stack them on sandwiches. So easy — and so good for you.
11. Start a garden. I just started mine today! It's not quite warm enough to put the tomato plants outside yet, but I planted lettuce, spinach, carrots, and peas. They don't mind the still cool nights — they actually prefer them. If you need gardening supplies check out Gardener's Supply.
12. How are your water supplies? Maybe you could set up some rain barrels this weekend. Or add another 55 gallon barrel and fill it up (buy them at Walmart - prices are half that of most places). Whatever you can do to add to your water supply is a good thing. Because really, water is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you can store. You need it for cooking, drinking, sanitation, washing everything — everything! While you're at it, purchase a water purifier, especially if you don't have the room to store a lot of 55 gallon barrels fully of water.
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Grow vegetables the way the professionals growers do, in beds protected with black plastic mulch. Suppresses weed growth, conserves moisture and warms the soil. Foliage and fruits don't come into contact with soil, which minimizes problems with soil-borne diseases. Install a soaker hose underneath. Perforated, 3" planting holes - pop out only the holes you need.