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The Grocery Store In Your Backyard: Wild Edibles

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A man is cutting mushroom with a knife.

If you’re a family doing prepping right you know it’s not just about buying a bunch of junk. Families who are prepping right know how to use prepping as an opportunity to teach their children valuable skills and spend quality time with their families.

One great opportunity for you to spend more time with your family while teaching your kids some valuable survival skills is looking for wild edibles. The fall is the absolute perfect time for this, with all kinds of fall edibles around for you to harvest and feast on with your kids. 

This is the opposite of a harried trip to the grocery store with your kids to run through the aisles and get in and out as quickly as possible. Harvesting wild edibles together gives you guys time to slowly walk around, enjoy the sights and sounds of nature and build experiences together. 

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Getting Started With Foraging

So much of what you can forage is reliant upon where you live. For example, if you live in Southern California you can forage for wild oranges and lemons… if you live in Maine, not so much. 

So to get started with wild foraging there are two pieces of homework that you need to do.

First, you should get a book on foraging in general from your local library. Sam Thayer and Pascal Baudur are widely renowned as experts on the subject of what lies out there in the wild that you can safely eat. The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora is another excellent resource for getting your feet wet on this topic.

Then you need to do a little research about which of these actually grow in the area where you live. If you can find (and can afford) a guide that can help you get started, but it’s by no means necessary. 

Thinking Beyond The Berry

hand picking wild growing blueberries

Wild berries are obviously a favorite and for good reason – they’re absolutely delicious. It’s important to know the difference between the wild ones you can eat and the ones you can’t, but once you know which is which, they’re hard to unsee. 

With that said, there’s so much more you can pick out of the wild to eat than just fruits and berries. 

Many weeds have medicinal properties and having a small stock of these can help you to avoid a trip to the pharmacy if someone is feeling under the weather. Nuts, including the humble acorn are edible. While many people think about local leafy greens, there are plenty of roots and tubers growing from coast to coast that are likewise edible. You can even eat local pollen and save tons of money you might otherwise spend at the farmer’s market for the same thing. 

Unusual Foraging Choices

Some choices for foraging are far more esoteric than others. In fact, you’d look at some of these and automatically think you couldn’t eat it… when in fact not only an you, but it’s delicious.

Mushrooms are an obvious example here, but one frankly can’t be too cautious about eating wild mushrooms Even expert mycologists have made the wrong choice and with fatal consequences. 

Many forms of lichen growing in the forest make for delicious seasonings provided that you know how to cook with them. There’s even plants growing in both freshwater and saltwater that can be harvested for great effect.

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Foraging is a great way to spend a few hours with the family while also expanding your horizons when it comes to what you can eat. Remember never to eat anything you’re not absolutely sure is safe… but also remember that includes a lot of plants you walk by every day without giving a second look. 

Whether you end up having to live off of chicken of the woods or not, you’ll be building lasting memories with your family to last a lifetime. 

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Family

Family Survival Games: Fun Ways to Teach Preparedness Skills

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Preparing for emergencies and teaching preparedness skills to your family doesn’t have to be dull or intimidating. In fact, it can be turned into an enjoyable and educational experience through the use of family survival games. These games not only make learning about preparedness fun but also help reinforce important skills that could prove invaluable during emergencies. 

Emergency Preparedness Scavenger Hunt

Turn emergency preparedness into an adventure with an emergency preparedness scavenger hunt. Create a list of items related to emergency kits, survival gear, and household safety measures. Divide your family into teams and set them loose to find the items on the list. Make it competitive by setting a time limit and awarding prizes for the first team to complete the hunt.

Disaster Simulation Role-Playing

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Create scenarios based on different types of emergencies such as earthquakes, floods, or power outages. Assign roles to each family member, such as a rescuer, medic, or communicator. Act out the scenario and encourage family members to problem-solve and work together to overcome challenges. This hands-on approach helps build teamwork and decision-making skills in a fun and interactive way.

DIY Survival Skills Challenge

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Test your family’s survival skills with a DIY survival skills challenge. Set up stations with various tasks such as building a shelter, starting a fire without matches, purifying water, or tying useful knots. Provide materials and instructions for each task and challenge family members to complete them within a certain time frame. Not only is this game educational, but it also fosters creativity and resourcefulness.

Emergency Kit Packing Race

Turn packing emergency kits into a race by challenging family members to pack their kits quickly and efficiently. Provide a checklist of essential items such as food, water, first-aid supplies, flashlights, and batteries. Set a timer and see who can pack their kit the fastest while ensuring they have all the necessary items. This game not only reinforces the importance of having an emergency kit but also teaches organization and time management skills.

Outdoor Survival Orienteering

Combine outdoor adventure with survival skills by organizing an orienteering activity. Set up checkpoints in a local park or nature reserve and provide maps and compasses to navigate between them. Along the way, include challenges such as identifying edible plants, signaling for help, or building a makeshift shelter. This game promotes outdoor exploration while teaching valuable navigation and wilderness survival skills.

Family survival games offer a fun and engaging way to teach preparedness skills while spending quality time together. Whether it’s an emergency preparedness scavenger hunt, disaster simulation role-playing, DIY survival skills challenge, emergency kit packing race, or outdoor survival orienteering, these games provide valuable lessons in teamwork, problem-solving, and resourcefulness. By incorporating these games into your family activities, you can ensure that everyone is well-equipped and prepared to handle emergencies with confidence and resilience.

Do you play games with your kids to prepare them for emergencies? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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Surviving Financial Crises as a Family: Budgeting and Preparedness Strategies

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In today’s uncertain economic climate, it’s essential for families to be prepared for financial downturns. Whether it’s a recession, job loss, or unexpected expenses, having a solid plan in place can help ease the burden and ensure your family’s stability during tough times. In this article, we’ll explore some budgeting and preparedness strategies to help your family navigate through financial crises.

Understanding Your Financial Situation

Before diving into budgeting and preparedness strategies, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your family’s financial situation. Start by taking stock of your income, expenses, savings, and debt. This will give you a realistic picture of where you stand and help identify areas for improvement.

Creating a Survival Budget

One of the first steps in preparing for a financial crisis is to create a survival budget. This budget should prioritize essential expenses such as housing, food, utilities, and transportation. Cut out non-essential expenses and look for ways to reduce costs where possible. Consider alternatives such as cooking at home instead of dining out or cancelling subscription services.

Building an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund acts as a financial safety net during tough times. Aim to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an easily accessible account. Start by setting aside a small amount from each paycheck until you reach your goal. Having an emergency fund can provide peace of mind and help cover unexpected expenses without relying on credit cards or loans.

Diversifying Income Streams

Relying solely on one source of income can leave your family vulnerable during a financial crisis. Explore opportunities to diversify your income streams, such as freelance work, part-time jobs, or passive income sources like rental properties or investments. Having multiple streams of income can help cushion the blow of job loss or reduced hours.

Prioritizing Debt Repayment

High-interest debt can quickly drain your finances during a financial crisis. Prioritize debt repayment by focusing on high-interest debts first while making minimum payments on others. Consider negotiating with creditors for lower interest rates or payment plans if you’re struggling to keep up. Once you’ve paid off high-interest debts, allocate the extra funds towards building your emergency fund or investing for the future.

Preparing for the Unexpected

In addition to financial preparedness, it’s essential to plan for unexpected emergencies such as natural disasters or medical emergencies. Make sure your family has adequate insurance coverage for health, home, and auto. Create a family emergency plan that outlines what to do in case of an emergency, including evacuation routes and meeting points. Stock up on essential supplies such as food, water, and first-aid kits to sustain your family during emergencies.

Seeking Professional Help

If you’re struggling to make ends meet or facing overwhelming debt, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Financial advisors, credit counselors, and debt relief agencies can provide guidance and assistance tailored to your family’s needs. They can help you develop a realistic financial plan, negotiate with creditors, and explore options for debt relief or bankruptcy if necessary.

Surviving financial crises as a family requires careful planning, budgeting, and preparedness. By understanding your financial situation, creating a survival budget, building an emergency fund, diversifying income streams, prioritizing debt repayment, preparing for the unexpected, and seeking professional help when needed, you can weather the storm and emerge stronger on the other side. With these strategies in place, your family can navigate through uncertain times with confidence and resilience.

Does your family plan for financial collapse? How? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

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Preparing Pets for Emergencies: Keeping Your Furry Family Members Safe

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Our beloved pets are valued members of our families, and just like any other family member, they need to be included in our emergency preparedness plans. Disasters and emergencies can strike at any time, and ensuring the safety and well-being of our furry companions should be a top priority. In this article, we’ll discuss essential steps to prepare your pets for emergencies and keep them safe during challenging times.

Identification and Documentation

One of the most critical aspects of pet preparedness is ensuring that your pets are properly identified and have up-to-date documentation. Make sure your pets are microchipped and that the information linked to the microchip is current, including your contact details and any relevant medical information. Additionally, keep copies of your pets’ vaccination records, medical history, and recent photos in a waterproof container or stored electronically.

Emergency Kit for Pets

Similar to a human emergency kit, it’s essential to have a dedicated emergency kit for your pets. Include items such as:

  • Sufficient food and water for at least three days, stored in airtight containers.
  • Bowls for food and water.
  • Any necessary medications along with instructions for administration.
  • Copies of vaccination records and medical history.
  • Collapsible pet carriers or crates.
  • Leashes, harnesses, and/or pet carriers for transportation.
  • Blankets or towels for comfort and warmth.
  • Toys or comfort items to help reduce stress.
  • Litter box and litter for cats.
  • Plastic bags for waste disposal.

Evacuation Plan

In the event of an evacuation, it’s crucial to have a plan in place for safely evacuating your pets. Identify pet-friendly shelters or hotels in advance, as not all emergency shelters may accept pets. If you plan to evacuate to a friend or family member’s home, ensure they are willing and able to accommodate your pets as well. Practice evacuating with your pets so they become familiar with the process, and keep their carriers easily accessible for quick departure.

Pet-Specific Considerations

 

Different types of pets may have specific needs and considerations during emergencies. For example:

  • Dogs: Ensure your dog is wearing a sturdy collar with identification tags and a leash. Pack extra waste bags and consider bringing along a muzzle if your dog may become anxious or agitated.
  • Cats: Keep your cat in a carrier during evacuation to prevent them from escaping or becoming lost. Provide familiar bedding or blankets to help reduce stress.
  • Small animals (e.g., rabbits, guinea pigs, birds): Transport small animals in secure carriers with plenty of ventilation. Pack extra bedding and familiar items from their habitats to provide comfort.
  • Fish: If you have an aquarium, have a plan in place for transporting and maintaining their habitat, such as battery-operated air pumps and containers for transporting water.

Staying Informed

Stay informed about potential emergencies or disasters in your area by signing up for alerts and notifications from local authorities. Be aware of common hazards such as wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes, and take proactive measures to prepare your pets accordingly. Keep a list of emergency contacts, including veterinarians, animal shelters, and pet-friendly hotels, readily available.

Preparing your pets for emergencies is an essential part of overall family preparedness. By taking proactive steps to identify, document, and prepare for your pets’ needs, you can help ensure their safety and well-being during challenging times. Remember to include your pets in your emergency plans, practice evacuation procedures regularly, and stay informed about potential hazards in your area. With proper preparation and care, you can keep your furry family members safe and secure in any situation.

Do you have a “bug out plan” for your pets? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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