I’ve written previously about The Top 10 Symptoms of Poor Man’s Disease and about how I’ve been unemployed, lived check-to-check and once lived in such a rough neighborhood I counted prostitutes on my way home from work each night…but I never chose to be poor and I do believe that poor is a choice.
I never went hungry growing up or did without anything I needed (and by my high school years had just about everything I wanted) but there was a time when I was very young when my folks would search through the couch cushions at the end of the month to scrape together enough money to have a treat at McDonalds. As an adult I’ve been unemployed, lived check-to-check and I once lived in such a bad neighborhood that I made a game of counting how many prostitutes I passed on my way home from work.
I now live in a small town and one of the benefits of living in a small town is that you get to know many different types of people. Folks with varied economic and educational backgrounds…folks with different definitions of success who define ‘the good life’ in ways many of us couldn’t even imagine. I know lots of folks who don’t have a lot of financial resources but I don’t know a whole lot of ‘poor’ people…and most of the folks I know who are ‘poor’ live a life to be envied by most folks…and I’m not talking about people like Hillary Clinton talking about being broke when she and President Clinton left the White House.
Even those that are members of the lucky sperm club and grow up with all the benefits that family wealth provides have been known to choose poverty… then there are guys like Donald Trump who’s failed and gone bankrupt multiple times, but never let it keep him down.
‘Poor’ is a combination of:
Being poor really is a choice, or more appropriately a series of choices made and choices not made. If you accept my assertion that poor is a choice, why not choose rich. Below are a number of choices to make…or avoid to choose rich. I’ve written this guide as advice for the young…who have opportunities that those of us a little more seasoned might not have…but even if you’ve made some poor choices in the past, it’s never too late to choose rich!
What’s this have to do with preparedness? A lot actually, by choosing to live rich you’ll be happier, deal with setbacks more effectively, be more self sufficient and perhaps have more money for preps. Survival is an attitude…so is choosing to live richly.
Bonus Choice: Choose to vote for politicians that will leave you and your pocketbook alone: Compliance takes up so much of any business owner’s time and the penalties for non-compliance can be crippling…don’t let these obstacles keep you from trying but do your best to vote out the bastards that punish entrepreneurs and those who create our GNP.
Living a self-sufficient lifestyle, and trying to cut down your reliance on outside entities is not something that comes out of the blue. It is something that must be worked on and fostered. Part of that entails learning the skills and gathering the knowledge to do so. Without continued learning, your efforts stagnate, and you never achieve your goals. There is not a single person that I know who is traveling the path towards self reliance who is not constantly trying a new technique, or reading some book or manual in order to learn new skills and accumulate more knowledge.
For many, a natural progression after gaining, or mastering, new skills, is to pass them along. The obvious answer as to why they do this is that they are propagating the idea of self-reliance and independent living. On the other hand, many people don’t consider themselves teachers and don’t have the confidence to teach others what they know. If you fall in to the latter category, there are a couple of reasons why you should reconsider becoming a teacher or mentor, if for no other reason then for your own self-improvement.
The first reason is that by teaching others, you are forced to critically break down the process. You gain a more intimate knowledge of what you are teaching. By doing so, you become better at whatever you are passing along. The second reason for teaching others what you know is that you expose yourself to new ideas and outlooks on the subject matter. A student may give you fresh angle on the topic, or impart some knowledge you don’t have.
Andrew’s Note: In my Army life I’ve always volunteered to teach topics that I struggled with…preparing to teach others is the best way to learn a difficult topic or perfect your knowledge.
People learn new skills and knowledge in through three primary methods. We all incorporate all three methods when we learn. Everybody will gravitate towards one primary method dependent on their personality and hard wiring. It is important to know how your students learn and what method(s) are best suited to your topic. Tailor your class to have the maximum impact by incorporating multiple teaching methods appropriate for your topic.
The three types of learners are:
Since we now know the primary ways people learn, let’s go over several ways to go about teaching people the skills you know.
Now that we know how people learn, and several methods of teaching, it is important to touch upon some personal skills that will help you translate your skills and knowledge into student learning:
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Ben Franklin
AJ teases me about being an “evangelical prepper”, because I am constantly trying to bring new folks into the fold. I gladly take that title on, and so should you. Your teachers and mentors passed along the self reliance skills and knowledge that you are using to live a more self-reliant and independent lifestyle. Pay it forward and teach and mentor others even if the thought terrifies you. At the end of the day, you’ll have gained more than you gave out, and chances are that you’ll have learned something along the way.
I’d previously dismissed this abundant and low cost building material from an outdated worry surrounding introducing toxic chemicals into my immediate environment. I can still hear one of my sergeants yelling at then Private Jackson…”Jackson, take that damned pallet off the fire, don’t you know they’re treated with toxic chemicals!”
Grumpy G and others over the years have shared pallet wood project stories with me and I’ve been concerned with their safety but have had my concerns brushed off by those in the know…that doesn’t mean every pallet is safe to build from (or burn nearby) but some of them certainly are and you can find out which ones by reading this short article from Instructibles or this article for expanded information.
…anyway, on to the purpose of this note to our readers…Grumpy G has shared a cool website with me called 1001 Pallets but would more appropriately be titled 1001 Pallet Wood Projects. It’s a great place to view the possibilities for this most humble of recyclable materials. You can see pictures of pallet wood projects for the garden, the workplace, the home or anyplace else you can imagine…check it out.
This isn’t the mother of all tax dodges… Friedman and fellow traveler Thiel are after something more audacious. Settling on the sea offers a way to opt out of an overregulated society, Friedman says, and invent new forms of governance that stoke innovation.
Andrew’s Note: Ever want to build your own country…I mean that literally!
We have an incredible warrior class in this country – people in law enforcement, intelligence – and I thank God every night we have them standing fast to protect us from the tremendous amount of evil that exists in the world.
Brad Thor, Author
Dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables is a quick and easy way of creating inexpensive long term preps. They are less expensive than freeze dried, or prepared dehydrated vegetables and they are quicker and easier to prepare than fresh vegetables. They also offer more flexibility in your preparation schedule as well as providing a good, uniform quality in the end product. There are certainly some negatives to using them but the benefits outweigh the negatives by a wide margin.
Anyone on budget or is cost conscience knows that freeze dried or prepared dehydrated foods can be an expensive choice for long term food storage. Recently, an online store had #10 cans of freeze dried sweet corn on sale for $12.95. The suggested 23 servings per can cost $.56 apiece. That is on the low end, as regular prices can be upwards of 50% higher. In comparison, I recently bought all the store brand frozen veggies pictured to the left for $.89 each, that’s five bags for just $4.45. Each bag contained ten servings, giving me a total of 50 servings. Broken down, that is $.09 a serving. Sometimes, you can even find store brand frozen veggies on sale for as low as $.69 each; driving the cost down even more.
I think almost everyone would agree that eating preserved home grown vegetables is preferable to eating store bought. The problem is that once most vegetables are picked, you have a very narrow window to preserve them in before they go bad. For someone in a time crunch this could be an issue. You are also limited by the amount of your harvest. If you have small garden, you may not be able to raise the amount of vegetables it took to get the 50 servings in my example above. Store brand frozen vegetables, on the other hand can currently be purchased year round and stored in the freezer until you have time to prepare them. The only limiting factors to getting the best price is the timing of sales at whatever stores you frequent.
The prep steps for dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables are dead simple. There is no planting and growing. There is no harvesting. There is no cleaning and prepping consists of just 2 steps . Getting them ready is as simple as opening the bag and spreading them out on your dehydrator trays.
From the time the your frozen vegetables hit your kitchen, you have complete control over the quality of your process. Don’t become complacent because you’re working with mass produced vegetables…keep a clean kitchen and start with quality veggies and you’re likely to have a high quality end product.
Dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables does have some negatives. The biggest drawback is not knowing the source of the veggies used and all the associated concerns. If it came from your garden or a local farmer you can feel safe with the product. If it came from a big industrial farm through a multi-state or multi-country distribution system you don’t have such reassurances. Let’s be honest, for most people buying freeze dried or prepared dehydrated foods this isn’t a primary concern. If it were, they wouldn’t be buying foods from the store to begin with. The other concern about using store brand frozen vegetables is shelf life. Dehydrated foods don’t have the shelf life of freeze dried foods. Still, homemade dehydrated foods when packaged properly, can last 10 to 15 years. If done with exceptional care, they can last almost as long as their expensive freeze dried alternative. Even so, you should still rotate your food stocks to assure that you consume your foods while they still contain most of their nutritional content.
Dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables is not being put forward as a complete replacement for freeze dried or prepared dehydrated foods. Some items can’t be exposed to the heat used by most dehydrators, while others just aren’t practical. Trying to properly dehydrate something like broccoli, for instance, seems daunting to me. I am not even sure you can do it, let alone do it at home. Even so, when you weigh the positives and the negatives I believe that dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables is an inexpensive, quick, and easy way to bulk up your long term food supplies.
Check back with Prepography later this week for my Top 10 Tips for Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables.
When you rob someone of their incentive to go out there and improve themselves, you are not doing them any favors… When you take somebody and pat them on the head and say, ‘There there, you poor little thing… Let me give you housing subsidies, let me give you free health care because you can’t do that.’”
“What would be much more empowering is to use our intellect and our resources to give those people a way up and out…
Do or do not. There is no try.
Yoda, character from Star Wars
“Prepping As A Moral Imperative” is going to be a little “evangelical prepping”. That is a phrase coined by AJ. No, this isn’t a sermon on Christianity. I do believe the Bible is very clear on being prepared and self-sufficient. I am going to look at the matter in a more secular manner. The evangelical portion comes through my apologist’s attempt to draw more people in to “prepping”. This essay frames the argument in a way that tries to appeal to the “rational being” in the non-prepper.
An imperative is a principal that a person is unable to resist. Reason is what makes an imperative a moral choice. It becomes a moral “law” that must be followed. To act against this law is seen as self-defeating and against reason. We can test moral imperatives by applying a series of tests that German philosopher Immanuel Kant (below right) created in the mid-1700s. These tests either verify, or debunk the validity of a moral/ethical idea. Kant’s ultimate goal was to establish how much sway a moral argument should hold in a society.
The first test is called “The Maxim Test”. A maxim is a statement of truth. A very simple and easily understood maxim is, “water is wet”. A philosophical maxim is one that states a moral truth. This type of maxim is one that all should follow. Take lying, for instance. If the act of lying is morally right, then that morality must extend to everyone. Chaos would reign, if everyone lied all the time. This chaos would be self-defeating. Thus, as a rule, lying is bad. The second test is the “Individual As An End” test. This test is meant to determine if the imperative is benefiting the individual alone or others, as well. The greater good is served, if it passes the test; even if the individual benefits. A good example would the white lie. You are serving your own self interest of “being kind” when you tell a white lie. This is done at the cost of sacrificing the honesty being asked for. Only one person benefits from the white lie; you. The third and final test is called the “Kingdom of Ends”. It combines the first two tests and applies it to the group. basically, a moral imperative is true, if the group can set down moral laws which apply to everyone equally. No specific sub-group, or individual gains from the application of this new moral “law”.
Let’s apply Kant’s formulas to prepping as a moral imperative. The maxim of prepping as a moral imperative proposes that being prepared for an emergency is beneficial. Not being so would be self-defeating. It reasons that a person who is concerned about their well being would take steps to protect against foreseeable emergencies. Even the US government promotes individual preparedness on its Ready.Gov site. The maxim passes the first test, even by government standards. The next test determines whether the individual is using prepping to benefit themselves alone, or if the whole of society is served by the act. The person who prepares is acting in a self-preserving manner. In the event of an emergency, they would no doubt benefit. Society also reaps rewards during a time of crisis from the prepared. The person who preps needs less help during a crisis. They use less communal resources and are better placed to help with recovery. In fact, the well prepared can give aid to others in need, when called upon. Again, the idea of prepping passes philosophical muster. The last test helps us determine whether the morality of prepping benefits across the whole of society, when applied to every individual. If every individual in society applied the principles of “prepping”, then in times of crisis, society would benefit from the maxim. During the crisis, no one group benefits, to the detriment of another. No individual is better, or worse off than another, except to the extent in which they had prepared for said crisis. In the end, though, society is much better off should everyone be prepared to some extent, rather than some being prepared, while others are not.
I realize that I am most likely preaching to the choir. Chances are if you visit Prepography regularly you already feel that prepping is a moral imperative. Your take away from “Prepping As A Moral Imperative” can be a new tool to work on the hesitant. If you don’t buy in to the whole prepping mentality, ask yourself this one thing, “Is what has been put forth in favor of prepping as a moral imperative reasoned, rational and logical?” If the answer is yes, then ask yourself, “Why am I not becoming more prepared and self-sufficient?”