Contest Winners for Photo and Book!

Please join me in congratulating the winners of the Photo and Book Review Contest.

First place: Jeremy H. — wins the $100 gift certificate.

Second place: Cheryl H. — wins the two-person survival kit backpack.

Third Place: Bill C. — wins the tactical shoulder bag.

Steve will get your prizes out to you within a few days.

We’d like to thank everyone who entered the contest and also all of you who voted on the various submissions. It was a pretty close race toward the end!

Book review: Hatchet

Hatchet was one of my more favorite survival books that I have
ever read. It begins as the main character Brian Robeson is going to
be flying to his father’s home in Canada. His mom just before he left
had bought him a hatchet. Forgetting how his hatchet was on his belt
he boarded his bush-plane. What he didn’t realize is that his hatchet
was going to be his only hope of survival for the next 54 days. On the plane ride his pilot dies from a heart attack and then Brian crashes into a lake in the middle of Canada Forest. He is able to get out of the plane because the windshield was broken in the crash, and he swims to land and then passed out. The next morning he wakes up and is super thirsty and wonders if he can drink the water from the lake. He figures that he drank a lot of it in the crash so he goes to a place where he sees no bugs and drinks straight up lake water. Afterword he dose a personal gear review and what he has is not alot. He has a finger nail clipper, 20 dollars, a small amount of change and the clothes on his back. He realizes that he needs to get shelter and finds and overhanging rock. He spend the night their and the next morning he goes out and looks for food. He finds what he calls choke berries and later gets sick off of them. The next few nights are a living hell for him. He is attacked by a porcupine and throws his hatchet at his rock wall and finds out that it is flint. He is now able to make fire and has problems with getting it going. He later gets it going and then in remembers the plane in the water and decides to get a raft to go and get the survival kit in the back of the plane. He is able to get the kit and goes through it. He has a .22 rifle, knife, fire starters, sleeping items, a emergency radar which he turns on, and a lot of food. As he is making the food a pilot picks up his signal and flies to rescue him. Brian is now saved.

What was the best part about the book is that Brian had the will to survive.

Book review: Encyclopedia of Country Living

My problem in entering this contest is not being able to chose from all the great survival and preparedness books that I have, they all have good information and I wouldn’t want to be without any of them. I’m constantly adding to my library, both in book form and on my Kindle Fire.

So, which one of them has inspired me the most? Taught me best? Encouraged me to keep going longer?

I thought back to the very first book that got me interested in all things to do with self-reliance, preparedness, homesteading, raising livestock, growing a garden, canning, living frugally.

That would be Carla Emery’s “Old Fashioned Recipe Book-An Encyclopedia of Country Living”. I found a battered copy of her 1974 edition at a local library when I was a young wife and mother trying to stretch our income to cover our needs and I knew it could help us out.
I remember sitting in the living room of our trailer late at night, the only one awake besides the cat, reading Carla’s fascinating book. She credited the idea of the Book to a subscription to Organic Gardening. Emery wrote: “It got me to thinking about how it seemed so many city people were wanting to move to the country and all the things they needed to know”. So she decided to write the “go to” manual for Back to the Earther’s, as she called them.
Unlike most books hers was advertised before it was written. She felt like she could adequately cover the subject in 2, at most 3 months, so she placed an ad for her book-to-be in the classified section of 3 magazines. The book would be written in installments for a total cost of $3.50.
She received hundreds of responses for a book that consisted of a Table of Contents and some good ideas.
Carla Emery started the Book in 1969. She was still working on it at the time of her death in 2005. Oh, she completed it! The first edition was mimeographed sheets that were collated around a huge table by a group of people passing the pages to each other. When the Book took off and the public became interested in it Bantam Books produced a printed copy, the one which so inspired me in 1993. From an original 529 pages the book grew to over 900 pages, single space, so crammed with information and experience that it reads like a novel in some parts. It morphed from being a basic country handbook to the 2010 edition which includes information on: living off the land, growing your own food, building a cabin…making egg noodles from scratch, delivering a baby, tap a maple tree, forage for wild food, use medicinal plants. Yes, her encyclopedia does cover all those topics, and does a thorough job of it, too. That’s just a smattering of the information available from the Book.
The Old Fashioned Recipe Book is exactly what it says it is: a recipe for living a responsible, self-reliant life. The Book taught me gardening and canning.
From Carla I learned how to raise chickens, preserve their eggs, and then slaughter the roosters and old hens. I made my own sausage from deer meat from her recipes.
Most of all I learned to work hard to do a job I was dedicated to: being a wife and a mother and the teacher of my children. Because of Carla’s work I was able to make some of my dreams come true. When I’m in need of new inspiration or a refresher course I reach for one of the 3 editions of her Encyclopedia. She was, and is, the best source of information I’ve ever found.

Book review: Patriots — Reviewed by Jeremy H.

I have not written a book report in some time, but I hate to pass up a chance for free gear. The book I would like to report on is “Patriots” by J.W. Rawles. When I was first introduced to the survivalist way of living a good friend of mine suggested this book to me. At the time I did not think that a fictional novel was going to be much help to me. I was wrong…very wrong! Since I have read it, I continually loan it out to people close to me in order to help them get on track when it comes to being prepared for a less than pleasant SHTF scenario. “Patriots” in all actuality is less of a novel and more of a “how to guide” on the subject of group survival. The book is filled with colorful characters and a great story line which makes for easy reading. This is one of the few books that I have read that I could not put down once I started reading it. If you feel like you have hit a wall in your personal training, have covered all your bases, or you are just getting started than this book is a must read for you. You will be able to learn about group development, barter and trade, communications, a little guerrilla warfare, and be entertained all at the same time. I don’t know how to stress enough how important this book is to anyone preparing for TEOTWAWKI!

Book Review — Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten

Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten
by Russ Cohen
Review by Dee B.

Wild Plants I Have Known . . . And Eaten (Russ Cohen, 2004)

Book Review by Dee Burke

Have you ever wondered how you’d feed your family during a crisis if for some reason your food storage wasn’t sufficient or available? What if the supermarket shelves were empty? If you know a thing or two about foraging for food in the wild, you likely won’t go hungry.

Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Russ Cohen, author of Wild Plants I Have Known . . . And Eaten. Over the course of an hour or so, I sat and listened to the voice of foraging wisdom, stared at images of plants I recognized as weeds growing in and around my own yard, and sampled treats made with foraged foods: autumn olive fruit leather and barberry/hickory nut thumb print cookies. I came away with a desire to take a nibble on the wild side and felt comfortable enough after what I’d heard to seek out some wild edibles on my own. So, of course, I bought the book. I wasn’t disappointed.

Wild Plants I Have Known . . . And Eaten contains a great deal of information in a straight forward, easy to read format. It’s a good starting point for beginners. It opens with an introduction to foraging, followed by information on more than 40 edible plants that focuses on those easily identified. Cohen encourages consulting a field guide specific to the reader’s area, and he provides the necessary cautions about being sure of what you’ve found before consuming any of the plant. At the same time, he makes foraging seem like something anyone could do.

Perhaps the most tempting part of the book is the recipes, proving foraged plants are not just salad greens or nuts. After a walk in the woods at the right time of year, you might feast on cattail chowder, black locust fritters, strawberry knotweed pie, sassafras candy, and sumacade. Yes, sumacade. The fruit of the unmistakable staghorn sumac can be made into a drink that looks and tastes remarkably like pink lemonade (and is high in vitamin C). Just the thing on a hot afternoon. I know because it was the first wild edible I harvested after reading the book.

While the focus of this book is wild edibles in New England, there is information on plants found across the country: stinging nettle, day lilies, invasives like garlic mustard, and every lawn owner’s nemesis, the dandelion. A particularly nice feature is the chronological listing at the back of the book identifying when each plant (and which part) is in season.

If you can find a copy of Wild Plants I Have Known . . . And Eaten, grab it. You just might find yourself inspired to make wild edibles a part of your regular diet now simply because they’re good to eat even when you still have those easy supermarket options.

New Look and New Contest!

Contest time! We’ve put together what we hope will be a fun and exciting one this time around, with some incredibly cool prizes. In fact, let’s talk prizes first.

The First Place winner will receive a $100.00 gift certificate to! That’s right, you get to pick and choose anything you want in the store.

The Second Place winner will receive a two-person survival kit backpack. Click over to that link for a full rundown on the contents. Here’s a pic of the kit:

The Third Place winner will receive a tactical shoulder bag. Personally, I love the one I have.

So, how do you win one of these great prizes? You can enter the contest in one of two ways:

1) Submit a photo to be published here on the blog. The photo should in some way relate to survival or emergency preparedness. Examples would include a nature scene, demonstrating a skill, pic of a bug out kit, that sort of thing. We’re leaving this one pretty wide open to interpretation. If after seeing the photo I’m unsure exactly how it relates to the topic, I’ll be in contact and give you an opportunity to make your case.

While not essential for your entry, a sentence or two about the picture that we can include when we post it would be welcome.

By sending in a photo, you are stipulating that the photo is yours and not gleaned from elsewhere on the Internet and that it has not been published anywhere, in print or otherwise.

2) Submit a positive book review for publication here on the blog. The book may be either fiction or non-fiction but must in some way relate to survival or disaster readiness. By “positive,” I mean you should pick a book you liked and want to share with others. In your review, you should specify why you feel the book has value to other preppers. The review should be no less than 200 words and there is no maximum word count.

Please do NOT send me reviews using Word, WordPerfect, or any other word processing program. Just put the review into the text of an email. I’ll take care of any formatting issues on my end. I would encourage you to proofread and spell check your review before sending it over to me. And again, by sending me a review, you are stipulating that it is original, written by you, and that it has not been published elsewhere.

Ok, so you send in either a photo or a book review, with me so far? You cannot enter the contest twice and, in fact, we’ll only accept one contest entry per household. So, pick one option and run with it.

Once your entry is posted here on the blog, readers will vote on the ones they like. The votes will be made by leaving a comment on the entries. Readers may vote for more than one entry but they may not vote more than once on the same one. I will also email each entrant a link to their specific entry so they can send that around to friends and family, post it on Facebook and Twitter, and generally try to drum up votes.

Now, in the past, we did have trouble with people submitting multiple votes for the same entry so please bear in mind we’re taking measures behind the scenes to prevent that. If we determine there is cheating going on, we will disqualify the offending entrant.

We will accept entries beginning now and through June 30th. Voting will begin with the first entry being posted and continue through July 7th. We will tally the votes and announce the winners on July 9th. Obviously, those who get their entries in first will have an advantage over those who procrastinate.

Send your photo or book review to Include your name, mailing address, and email address. I will contact you via email when your entry is posted so you have a direct link to it.

If you have any questions at all, please leave them below as a comment and I’ll address them as soon as I can.

Oh, one last thing. If you’ve won any of our previous contests, you are indeed still eligible to play this time around.

Good luck!