Sep 23

51st State Initiative

Texas SucedeSecession. the word invokes a lot of emotions, both good and bad. The nation tore itself apart in the 1860’s over the word; however, the Constitution allows for states to have counties or regions secede. Really, it does! With the growth of political extremism in some states and regions, people caught in the minority on the opposing side of the extremism have little lawful means of redress for political or civil liberty wrongs perpetrated against them. Increasingly, people have sought to secede from individual states to form new states within the Union. Join us for our round table interview with representatives from the secession movements in Colorado and Maryland. These people are making national news and this is YOUR opportunity to speak to them live!

For live broadcast of 51st State Initiative go to Listen & Chat Monday 9/2382013  9:00pm/Est. 8:00pm/Ct. 6:00pm/Pt.

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Chris Watson

Jan 18

New Emergency Preparedness APP for Virginians

Virginians can now be “mobile ready” thanks to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

According to WSLS10 the announcement came yesterday from Governor Bob McDonnell.

“Mobile phones and tablets quickly have become a primary way for people to stay informed during disasters. Last year, social media and web-based information were critical to informing the public and keeping individuals updated with important information during the severe derecho wind storm and Hurricane Sandy,” said Governor McDonnell. “The new Ready Virginia mobile app gives people another way to stay informed and quickly identify services and other valuable resources regardless of their location.

With smartphones becoming more and more an integral part of peoples lives, it only makes good sense to use the devices to better inform and equip people prior to any disaster.

The app offers several features including weather watches and warnings, news from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Maps that include open Red Cross shelters, hurricane evacuation routes and more

In addition to the mobile app, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management launched a mobile version of its website at The mobile site contains all the information available on VDEM’s regular website, but with easier navigation for those who use smart phones and tablets to access websites.

Sep 16

Moving by Vehicles in High Threat Environments

by max velocity

The intent of this article is to act as an introduction with some thoughts and primers for moving your family or group in high threat environments. It is not intended to give all the answers and that would be beyond the scope of this short piece. The type of environment envisioned is a post-collapse situation where there has been a breakdown in law and order. To clarify, this article is not concerned with the sort of ‘bug-out’ movement that families may conduct in response to a localized natural disaster, where you have to get in your car with some basic equipment and move out of the impacted area. Rather, this is directed at those who find they have to move locations after a significant societal collapse has happened.

As background it is clear that to read the conventional prepper wisdom to survive any coming apocalypse you need to be in a fortified self-sustaining retreat somewhere out in the boonies, with three years of food in the basement and the ability to grow food plus animals. This is the gold standard; you will be really well positioned if that is where you are with your preparations. The reality for many is that they simply do not have that. For whatever reason, they may be in an urban or suburban environment. Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 18

Home Fried Potatoes in a Cast Iron Skillet

by Holly M Cooley

I used my cast iron skillet and some freeze dried Red Peppers and Potato Dices to make a really awesome breakfast last Saturday. The kids were home visiting unexpectedly and had spent the night, and I wanted to make them a hearty breakfast.  It was so nice to know that I didn’t have to worry about running out to the grocery store to buy food for company, because I have my own little home store that I can go to! Yay for emergency foods!

I wonder if you’ve tried cooking with your food storage?  It’s a delicious way to naturally rotate your stores and keep things from expiring. It’s also a great way to make sure you really like the foods that you are stocking up on. As soon as you open a can of something, plan to replace that item right away, and you will have a perfect little system going on.

So I thought maybe you’d like to see how easy it is.  I took a few photos. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 01


One of the many facets of the preparedness community is the terminology or lingo used to describe certain aspects of prepping or preparedness activity.  Much of the prepper lingo is a series of acronyms that often are straight to the point, just brief in spelling.  A couple of acronyms are derived from the military and are used to clean up the language a bit.

Okay, lets take a short look at Prepper Lingo 101.  Here’s the most well used terms in the prepper repertoire:

ANTS – Americans Networking To Survive.  A survival network of individual preppers committed to providing supplies when a disaster strikes.

BOB – Bug Out Bag:  This is a duffle bag or back pack equipped with essential emergency supplies that can be quickly accessed if you have to move to another location.

BOHICA – Bend Over, Here I Come Again.  Communication slur to announce a repeated maneuver. 

BOL – Bug Out Location:  Where you will rally for your primary or secondary location.

BOV – Bug Out Vehicle.  The transportation type you will use to get to your BOL.

Bug In – When an individual or group decides to stay put to ride out a disaster.  

Bug Out - Another word for evacuate. 

COMMS – Short for the use of communications.

EDC – Everyday Carry.  What armament a person may carry on their person on a daily basis.


FAK – First Aid Kit.


FUBAR – Fouled UBeyond All Repair.  Can be used as a expletive when a situation or equipment is beyond recovery or ability to repair.


GHB – Get Home Bag.  Bag or backpack stocked with essentials kept at work, school or in a vehicle.  Reserve supplies needed until you reach your primary location or rally point.


GOOD – Get Out ODodge.  Basically, get out of the town or location you are in.  An act of evacuation.


HDR – Humanitarian Daily Ration.  This is a reduced portion of the MRE.  HDR’s are used primarily by international relief organizations and government relief to areas in which some foods are not accepted due to culture or religious beliefs.  Contains no animal meat or by products.


HX - History.  Refers to the background information of a situation.  Also used to refer to medical history.


INCH – I ANever Coming Home.  Sometimes referred to the type of BOB you are preparing.  In essence, you are taking the absolute essentials with the knowledge you may not be returning to your home due to crisis.


Multi-Tool - A combination tool or survival knife which may include several types of tools.  For instance, knife blade(s), screwdriver, file, can opener, pliers, etc.


MRE – Meal Ready to Eat.  This is a military ration of food.  Typically the shelf life is for several years.  The contents are sealed in a tough plastic wrapper.  Various types of foods can be MREs.  MREs are typically found in BOB for when you have to Bug Out.


NBC – Nuclear Biological Chemical.  Refers to an disaster event involving nuclear, chemical or biological means.  Also can refer to the equipment necessary to survive such a disaster.


OPSEC – Operational Security.  A critical component of the preparedness community.  Meaning to assure that logisitical, personal and location information is kept private to maintain the integrity of a preparedness plan.


ORP – Optimal Rally Point or Operational Rally Point. A key location designated to mobilize for a disaster.


PSK – Personal Survival Kit.  Essential tools and necessities used for survivalist methods.


SHTF – Shit Hits The Fan.  This refers to a the occurrence of a serious disaster or crisis.  In some regards this may be more of a local or regional disaster.  Although if its TEOTWAWKI, then SHTF really means a dire situation.


TEOTWAWKI – The End OThe World AWKnow It.  This means a catastrophic world event has occurred.  In many regards, this refers to the possible end of civilization or humanity.


WWL – World Without Law.  Referring to a total breakdown of society.  The scenario where the laws as we know it today do not exist.


The preparedness community continues to grow its lingo as time goes by and as new methods/equipment are introduced.

Mar 26

Prepper meetup groups in Virginia


Map of all American Preppers Network and Partner meetup groups.

Scroll past the map for a listing.

View American Preppers Network Meetups in a larger map
(APN Partner Group)

Piedmont Preppers (APN Partner group)

Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach Disaster Prep (APN Partner Group)

Mar 04

Meals in a jar

By Holly
Holly – Shelf Reliance


Fast food storage?Meal in a Jar

Winter is a time that I usually spend organizing and cleaning stuff since I can’t spend a whole lot of time outdoors without turning into a human popsicle! So one of my winter projects is usually to go through my root cellar and my food storage, rotate stuff, check quantities, check the seals on all of my canning jars to make sure they’re good, and make a list of the things that I need to restock. I also straighten up and organize my empty jars and other canning supplies to have them handy for the summer time when I’m canning or dehydrating my fool head off. I’ve usually picked up boxes of lids and rings at the stores in the late fall, since they go on sale and just made piles, along with all of the random glass jars with reusable lids that I regularly save for canning jellies and jams–basically it’s a mess. So I like getting all of that stuff organized and picked up. And I feel like I’ve taken good stock of what I’ve got to work with to feed my family.

Well I want to share something that’s gotten me pretty excited, and maybe it’s something that will excite you as well.

It will:

  • Help you take inventory of your food storage from a different perspective.
  • Help you rotate your food storage.
  • Give you a better idea of how much you actually need to store of specific food items that you know your family likes.
  • Allow you to experiment and work with your food storage without compromising the shelf life.
  • Allow you to create healthy, delicious, and inexpensive “fast food” meals for your family with a 5-8 year shelf life.
  • Extend the shelf life of some of your spices, pastas, and other store packaged items.
  • Give you one skillet meals that will be ready in less than 30 minutes, allowing you to spend less time in the kitchen and have more time for things you’d rather do.


I recently began following a blog that truly intrigues me. I mean, this woman has incredible talent, not only as a baker of wonderful tasting whole grain breads, but as a bread artist, making loaves of bread look like sculptured and painted works of art! You can see what I mean here.

But one of the articles on her blog caught my eye recently. Stephanie Peterson–AKA Chef Tess Bakeresse– has been creating recipes for meals with ingredients that will fit into a quart sized canning jar. Who would have thought that a meal for 4 people could fit into a quart jar?! She’s compiled quite a few recipes so far and is working on a book, so I hope that means many more recipes are on the way.

Well, I decided I had to try it. The idea of being able to combine ingredients from my #10 cans to create meals ahead of time was really appealing. (I might also have a ‘thing’ about seeing glass jars with yummy contents lined up neatly on my pantry shelves, but that’s another story.)

So this is how it happened. First, I had to order some 300cc Oxygen Absorbers. I chose some that were in packages of 20. I figured working with 20 jars at a time would be comfortable. (I realize you can purchase them in larger quantities and repackage the unused portion with a vacuum sealer, but, hey, I was already getting ready to do enough repackaging, for Pete’s sake!)

Next, I checked my pantry to make sure I had the proper quantities of ingredients. I would need to substitute some ingredients for the one’s called for, so I experimented, cooked one or two of the recipes with what I already had and made adjustments accordingly, making sure to jot this new version of the recipe down so I could duplicate X 20! I printed out labels with the cooking instructions and a place to mark the date that I packaged them. Then I gathered my 20 jars (wide mouth works best) and sterilized them (I did this far enough in advance to make sure that my jars were good and dry) and gathered the lids and rings.

The morning I attempted this, I assembled the ingredients and began systematically filling the jars with the ingredients. (Oh, and I measured a set of them into my skillet too…might as well be fixing tonight’s dinner while I’m putting in my kitchen time!)

Using a wide mouth funnel, I would measure an ingredient into a jar; shake it down and twist to help it settle. (If you’ve not worked with canning jars, I’ll just mention that it’s tempting to bang the jar on the counter, but it’s bad for the jar and can weaken the bottom of it. So, bang it on the palm of your other hand or on a towel covered counter.) Throw in more ingredients; shake it down. Throw in still MORE ingredients…. Shake your head and mumble about how “that’s never gonna fit.” Shake down the ingredients and be pleasantly surprised that they all really DO fit after all!

At this point I placed my lids in a warm place, like on a cookie sheet on the wood stove, or in a warm oven. This softened the gasket a bit so that I could screw the ring down and get a good seal.

I then made sure the rim of the jar was completely clear of any food particles. I placed the oxygen absorber in the top of each jar, being careful that the corners would not interfere with the lid coming in contact with the rim of the jar. I positioned the lid and tightened down the ring. Then I waited for the ‘plink’ as a vacuum formed inside the jars. It was really that easy! No hot water bath. No pressure cooker. It’s called “Dry Packing”. Using the Oxygen absorber to form an air tight seal, these meals will have an extended shelf of 5-8 years on average, according to Chef Tess.

What I discovered pretty quickly is that I need to stock up on more spices. I also need more tomato powder. And it was interesting to find out exactly how many meals I could hope to get out of a # 10 can of Freeze dried ground beef or Sausage TVP. When you are making twenty dinners at one time, you get a real good perspective on what you should be stocking in your pantry!

Other things I learned:

  • I now have a cool new way to store pastas and rice!
  • I need to stock up on more canning jars, lids, rings.
  • I had the best success rate of jars sealing when I warmed the lids so that the gasket was softer.
  • Wide mouth jars worked the best. Standard will work, too, but I REALLY had to work to get the ingredients shaken down enough to seal. I also had to finagle the corners of the oxygen absorber down and ‘hold my tongue just right’ to get the lid and the ring on without the oxygen absorber trying to creep out.
  • I live in an area where it can be very humid in the summer time. Planning to assemble these meals in the winter with the wood stove going was probably the best environment for working with my freeze dried foods.
  • I did the math and found that if I purchased everything I needed to make 20 of these meals (assuming I already had the jars, lids, rings), each dinner for 4 would cost between $6.00 and $8.00. That means the cost per serving is $1.50 to 2.00. That’s pretty good for a nutritious, delicious meal! At that price, my food storage is a really economical option! Not to mention the money I’ll save on gas going to the grocery store.
  • It feels really great to see those readymade, healthy ‘fast foods’ on my pantry shelf! A couple of hours of work have saved me time in the future for other things. And they look beautiful lined up on my pantry shelves…

Here is one of the recipes that I modified based on what I had:

(Modified from “Saucy baked Ziti with Sausage and Mushrooms” by Chef Tess)

Put the following in a Quart jar:

2/3 c Thrive Tomato Powder, ½ C Thrive Freeze Dried Onion, 2 T Thrive FD Spinach, 1 tsp. Oregano,

1 tsp Basil, ¼ tsp Marjoram, Dash of Thyme, 2 T Thrive Cheese Blend, 1 tsp sugar,

1 Cup Thrive Sausage TVP, 1 Cup (3 oz) Ziti, or other Pasta 1/3 Cup Thrive FD Mushrooms, 2 T Thrive Carrot Dices

If there was extra space, I packed more Pasta in there, piece by piece.

Label for Jar:

Directions: Place contents of jar in a covered skillet, along with 4 3/4 cups water. Simmer 15-20 minutes until pasta is tender and sauce is thickened. Serves 4

Thanks to Chef Tess, I’ve found a terrific way to not only rotate some of my food storage, but open it up and see exactly what’s inside! Taste it, study it, make sure my family likes it, and then have fun repackaging it into readymade meals that will be quick and easy to fix in a pinch! Meals that will still have a lengthy shelf life! I hope you give this a try as well.