What are the basic supplies and knowledge we should all have to live a prepared lifestyle? Join me on this podcast with Malori from Black Rifle Homestead as she shares her experience as a military wife.
Welcome to Pioneering Today Podcast episode #361. In this episode, we're continuing the conversation of must-have homesteading skills with a unique look into the preparedness side of things.
This podcast is an addition to some of my recent podcasts where we talked about the must-have essential homesteading skills.
Despite moving every 2-3 years (and sometimes sooner than that!), they are starting to practice this homesteading life. On their website and YouTube channel, they share about their homesteading journey while in the military.
This is an interesting lifestyle because you have someone who is homesteading, but is also having to move frequently with her husband's military schedule.
For those who don't know, September is national preparedness month, so it's very fitting that we're talking about this on today's podcast.
This podcast is sponsored by Azure Standard, which is a great place to build up your bulk supplies and long-term food storage.
Azure has a special promotion going through October 30th, 2022 for first time customers. When you make a purchase of $50 or more, you can get 10% off your order with my coupon code “MKN10”.
I have been shopping with Azure for over three years and love the variety of items they offer. You can buy items in the same quantity or size as you would find them at the grocery store, or, they also offer items in bulk and by the case.
What I love about Azure Standard is that they partner with small farms across the US that adhere to the same strict standards that I am looking for in my food.
In This Episode
Malori and I discuss the following topics in this podcast. Below, you'll find the topics and related links for more information.
- What do you first asses when moving to a new homestead?
- Learn about your gardening zone, what you can and can't grow in your area and familiarize yourself with climate and weather patterns.
- Check out the local agriculture programs or extension offices.
- Find someone who is an avid gardener to use as a resource.
- Build up your food storage.
- Find sources for local produce, meat, and other items. The closer we can find food, the better.
- If you see locally raised or locally grown food at the grocery store, try going direct to that farmer to ask if you can get direct pricing!
- Being prepared against cyber attacks – You have locks and alarms for your house and cars. You also need to have security built-in on your computers and phones. Read more of Malori's husband's blog post, “How to Prepare for Cyber Warfare in the United States,” here.
- Stockpile One Month of Food – When Covid hit, the bulk supplies I had let run low were eye-opening. So we built that supply back up, but as the years go by, there are other areas of our food storage that just don't get restocked as quickly.
- Seeds – Have two years' worth of seeds on hand and start learning how to seed save from your garden.
- Have a Way to Purify Water – Whether that's with a Berkey water filter or a survival straw, it's always smart to have a way to access clean, drinkable water.
- Backup Heat Source & Fuel – We can't rely on the power company to heat our homes. Make sure you have a backup source like a wood stove or non-electric heater (with fuel) to stay warm.
- Building a Community with Neighbors – Meet your neighbors, and see if there are ways you can work together or barter goods so everyone wins.
- Have Commodities to Barter – Make sure you have a stockpile of items you can use to barter with, such as ammo, food, alcohol, fuel, etc.
- Learn First Aid – Consider taking a CPR or basic first-aid class. Malori talks about a survival training camp she went through, where she learned how to trap animals and forage for food. Ask around your area for any classes like this. Malori recommends checking with local martial arts gyms to see if they offer any self-defense classes.
- Well-Stocked First Aid Kit – Along with knowing basic first aid, you'll want a good first aid kit and medicinal supply. Malori recommends a medical tourniquet, some “Quick Clot” (or yarrow), bandaids and Neosporin, a thermometer, blood pressure cuff, tweezers, natural remedies, and extra prescription drugs.
Where to Find Malori
Be sure to check out Malori and Black Rifle Homestead at the following places:
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Melissa: Hey pioneers, welcome to episode number 361. In today's episode, we are going to be continuing the conversation on homesteading skill sets to have. This is kind of a part three, but it's more like an adage with today's interview. But I think you are really going to enjoy it. Today's interview is with Malori from Black Rifle Homestead, and Malori is a military wife, and her husband is active duty in the Army. And so this has been really interesting, because you have someone who is homesteading but is having to move often, as is to be expected if someone is in active military, but how they are able to homestead, to what degree, especially with those moves, but also what they've been able to witness by living in a lot of different places, including overseas as homesteaders, and then tips and things that they have gleaned with that military background while also homesteading that you and I can take away and use and apply to our homesteads.
Melissa: So, this month is actually, September, is National Preparedness Month, so it's very fitting that we are talking about these things. And today's podcast episode is sponsored by Azure Standard. Now, you'll hear in today's episode in the interview where we are talking about different things such as food storage, getting things in bulk, and building up your pantry, et cetera, and different things like that. And Azure Standard is one of the major places that I use to build and maintain our food storage. So they have a very special program right now. This promotion expires October 30th of 2022, so in about a month and a half from the data this release. And it's available for first time Azure customer orders with a minimum of $50 order or more to their drop location. And it's a one-time use per customer, but we have a coupon code that will get you 10% off, and that is MKN10.
Melissa: So just my initials from Melissa K. Norris, MKN, and then number 10, 1-0, MKN10. And, as I said, Azure Standard has been a company I have been shopping from now and using, fell in love with them I think going on about three years ago now. But they have a lot of items that you can get in bulk. You can also get smaller, so they've got lots of different options, but even up to like 50 pounds, sometimes bigger, but even down as small as just a couple of pounds, depending on what the item is. They have dry goods. They do have some fresh produce, canned goods, just all kinds of things.
Melissa: But what's wonderful is they do have some of their own farms, so you'll see product directly that's an Azure Standard brand, but they also partner with other farms across the US that are small farms that have really strict standards, which most homesteaders or people who are health food conscious adhere to. So you're not going to find high fructose corn syrup and a lot of food dye. So all of the products, I feel like it's the one place I can go, and no matter what brand I'm picking, I can be assured that it is a high quality brand and doesn't have the stuff in it that I don't want for myself or my family.
Melissa: So, anyways, go and check them out if you're not a customer or not familiar with them already and make sure that you use that coupon code and use that to get your pantry stacked up. But onto today's episode.
Melissa: Well Malori, welcome to the Pioneering Today Podcast.
Malori: Thanks Melissa. I'm so excited to be here.
Melissa: Yeah, I am too. In fact, when you first reached out, I thought this was an excellent topic and when you reached out, we actually got you scheduled, I did not even know that I was going to be doing the homesteading skills series right now. We just released part two. But I feel like what we're going to be talking about today fits so well within that series of topics, where we're kind of building up on skill sets, like, "Here's where you start. If you're brand new to homesteading, here's the skill set you start to gather," and then building that progression where you build upon them. But I feel like so much of what you guys are doing and have learned over the years really falls into that well. So it's one of those things like, "Oh, the good Lord knew we were going to be talking and had the series planned for me."
Melissa: But just for those who don't know you, if you could give a little bit of background about you guys, and, I don't want to say unique take to homesteading, because I know there's actually a lot of people in your situation as well, but kind of your guys' background and story.
Malori: Yeah, sure. So like you said, my name's Malori, and online, I'm known as Black Rifle Homestead. We recently rebranded to that as we were kind of transitioning into like, "Yeah, we want to share more about homesteading and what we're doing as a military family to do that." So I guess I'll explain the name a little bit, because some people were a little confused when I changed the name. So Black Rifle is basically a moniker for things that are military-related, because soldiers carry a black rifle in combat. So anything that has black rifle associated with it means like military.
Malori: And then I thought it was kind of... Some people might think it's like an oxymoron, I guess, to combine that with homestead, because I think when people typically think of homestead, they think like, "Oh, you're setting down roots, and you're staying there forever, and you have animals and a ton of land." But in the military, you can't really do that. We move every two to three years on average. Sometimes it's less. We're in Kansas right now, I guess, just for context. We've been here about a year, and before that, we lived in California for 18 months, and before that, we lived in Germany for two years. And so you kind of get the picture, we're all over the place.
Malori: And so, some people might think, "Well, it's not really possible to homestead when you're moving all the time." But I would really like to challenge that idea, because the way I approach homesteading is primarily through changing your mindset and looking at it as a lifestyle and not necessarily what your circumstances are. So that's kind the background of what we're doing. And so, yeah, my husband is in the military, he's been in the Army for 13 years, I think. So, he's going for retirement for 20 years, so we're in it for the long haul.
Melissa: You're in it for [inaudible 00:07:08]. Well, first off, thank you for your service, both to your husband and to you and your family, because it's not just-
Malori: Oh, thank you.
Melissa: I know it's not just the person who's in there. It's a whole family effort there and affects all of you. But I actually think it actually gives you an advantage homesteading skill-wise in some aspects, because you are moving, because you are really seeing what can work universally across the board in almost any setting, because you are moving so often, and that makes it so applicable to anybody who's listening. And it also has really helped you to develop skill sets, I feel, really fast in certain aspects, because you have to learn them quick. You are only in one area for so long, and as soon as you get to the new area, if you want to pick back up where you left off, you have to jump into that kind of as soon as possible, I'm assuming, because I've never been in that situation. So I think it actually has its advantages, in some aspects.
Malori: Yeah, that's a really great point. Just thinking about our situation here, didn't do much. I had a very small garden in California. We were in Monterey, so the weather was the same all year round, which is very different to me. But then when we moved to Kansas, we have seasons here, and we moved here at the beginning of summer, and I was also very pregnant. I was like 34 weeks with our second. And so, getting a garden started at that time was a little difficult. Thankfully, my dad, he's an expert gardener down in Texas, and he helped us get our garden beds set up. We have 16... they're 3x6 foot garden beds, and so definitely the biggest garden we've ever had.
Malori: And so last year, last summer, it was just kind of... Maybe we had like half of them filled with stuff. And then this year, I was like, "Okay, I'm really going to take on all of it, get all 16 beds filled with crops." And definitely, like I said, it was like I'm having to learn things so quickly and learn specifically what works here. So I've been taking notes on like, "Okay, this works here, I'm not going to do this next year, because we have one more year here." So this year was like a test year, and then next year, I'll be able to implement more what I've learned this year.
Melissa: Yeah. So walk me through a little bit, because I think that this is really good for people who may be considering moving. I know a lot of people, especially, more so, I would say, than probably any other recent time in history, the past couple of years, and even now, are still moving to completely different locations in a lot of instances, like moving out of state from where they've been or what not, at least I know quite a few people myself, both who have moved into my area, have moved away from our area, et cetera. So as a homesteader state of mind, or even people who are like, "I'm just coming into homesteading, but I've never... Where I live now, it's not been something I've been doing." So what are the things that you first assess when you are coming to the new place? And maybe it's things that you're looking at before you guys... Once you get this is where you're going, you're not even there yet. What does that very first layer look like?
Malori: Yeah, well I guess as far as gardening goes, I made sure to look at our zone. I think... I forgot to bring my little... I have your gardening journal, and I meant to bring it in with me, and I didn't. But we're Zone 6a, I believe. And so, looking at the zone, I went online to see what kind of gardening resources there might be for this specific area. And we live near a university, K-State, and so they have a agricultural program, and so they had some really good information on there about gardening and what works here. But I guess I like doing research like that, but then I'm like, "I just want to jump into it." I just want to jump in both feet and just see what works.
Malori: My dad also is a great resource. He has been gardening like this whole life, so I'm always going to him for help. So, if you don't have somebody in your family like that, maybe somebody like a neighbor or a friend or something that you could go to to give you personal advice on what you're doing, because, yeah, it definitely is a lot of learning. So, yeah, just kind of familiarizing yourself with climate,, weather patterns and stuff like that.
Melissa: Yeah. Now, I know you guys are also an advocate of buying whole organic sustainably-raised food, especially because, like you said, you're not in a position where you can raise livestock. So when you're looking for those types of food items that you're not able to provide for yourself, especially if you're moving to a new area or maybe you've just always... For those who may be listening, you're like, "Oh, I've kind of just always bought that just from our local grocery store, but I too now want to support that and move in that direction," how do you start to source those items when you're new to an area?
Malori: Yeah, yeah, that's so important. That's definitely one of my key areas that I focus on as a military or suburban homesteader, want to call it that. So, yeah, we did our first cow share this past year last December, and we're so fortunate. There's actually a family farm like two minutes down the road from us, where our neighborhood is, and they do cow shares. And then also, we have an excellent farmer's market. So that's a great place to start for somebody, if you're new an area, to look up online, just do a quick internet search or look for Facebook groups on if you have a local farmer's market. And I've found some really good people there, too.
Malori: But we decided to go with the people just down the road for our cow share. So we got a quarter of a cow for our family of four, and it's lasted us... We're still eating off of it now, so September of the following year. And so that's a great way to kind of lock in that price of your food, especially with inflation, and then also support somebody local and then have that food available to you, with the instability that's gone on, to have food in your freezer stocked. You don't have to worry as much about, "Okay, am I going to go to the store today and things are going to be out of stock?"
Melissa: Yeah, I'm with you. And I love that when you are buying from someone that local, you actually, because they are so close to you, you can lay eyes on their farm. You can actually see the animals. And it is so close that there's not the larger footprint of that beef, even as it's being butchered, sent to the butcher, and you picking it up. It's staying really small.
Melissa: And so, that also helps to keep costs down, especially like you're saying with the increase of fuel prices, unfortunately, just all those different things. The closer that we can find to home I think is so important. And I realize, you've got somebody who's raising... a couple... just a few minutes down the road from you, and I know that not everybody is in that position. But I do think that you will be able to find stuff, even if it's maybe an hour from you. That's still much, much closer than meat that's being processed in China and then shipped back, like chicken and whatnot, just ridiculous stuff that goes on with our larger agriculture system or meat system, all of that. So I think that's really great.
Melissa: Some of the things, too, I have seen where... We, of course, raise our own beef, but our local co-op, if you can find a co-op, oftentimes, they will have meat from smaller local farms, and sometimes, those farms will sell meat to the co-op and to different store stores like that. But you can go directly to the farm website itself and sometimes buy directly from them, as well, or, like you're saying, doing the cow share, where you're getting whole half or a quarter of a beef, and you can get really good savings that way.
Melissa: So sometimes, if you see in even a regular grocery store, they have a section that says like, "Local raised meat," or whatever, see what that farm name is and then go and look them up and see if there's an option for you to buy directly from them, because I know locally, we have a couple different farms who actually do that. They have a small amount in the regular local grocery store, but then you can also just go and buy directly from them. So, just some-
Malori: Yeah, that's a great idea.
Melissa: Yeah, yeah, just some little additional tips that I've seen locally. So with the military lifestyle, because you say... There's the nomadic aspect to that, so how do you handle your...? How much do you stockpile, or build up your pantry, because you know you're going to likely have to be moving this whole said pantry in a couple of years and taking glass jars filled with food. There's breakable potential. So do you have a system that you use to balance that, or you're just like, "Well, we'll just deal with moving it," or how do you work with that?
Malori: Yeah, that's such a great question, and I actually had a really good conversation with somebody who's also in the military, or she's a military wife and into homesteading. She left a comment on my YouTube channel, and we were discussing this point, and I'm like, "Yeah, you're bringing up some really good points."
Malori: So, yeah, with the glass jars and having a stocked pantry, that definitely is something to consider. So, typically, it can change so wildly. The military will tell you, something's going to happen, and then it doesn't happen, and then it changes last minute or whatever. But for us right now, we know that we will be moving in 2024, so like spring, summerish. So if you kind of have a timetable like that, even if it's just a general timetable, then if you don't want to go through the trouble of trying to move a bunch of shelf-stable food, then you can strategize like, "Okay, I know we're going to use X amount over the next X month," and make sure you use up most of it so that there's not a lot of food waste. You don't have to give away a lot, especially with, if you're doing your own canning, then you have those glass mason jars, and the movers, like if you're having professional movers come, they definitely will not pack that, because they know like, "Okay, this is a breakage risk. We are not packing that."
Malori: If it's stuff like canned goods from the store or like dry goods like rice, wheat, and stuff like that, they do pack that, like spices, all that kind of stuff. Dry goods, that is totally okay. And even liquid items that are from the store and they're not open, so they're sealed, they will pack those as well. But yeah, I would not take the risk with the mason jars. One option is if you're driving from your old duty station to the new one and you do have home-canned goods, you could pack those in your own vehicle and drive, but that is also a little bit risky too. You could still have breakage. So, strategizing your timeline I think is the best thing, and also focusing on other ways of food preservation than just canning, so like dehydrating. I've started doing that. We have a little dehydrator and dehydrating herbs and veggies, fruit, whatever. And so that's a lot more compact and lighter... What's the word?
Melissa: Yeah, no, I mean [inaudible 00:19:03].
Malori: [inaudible 00:19:02].
Melissa: It's a lot easier to pack and move dehydrated food, because, you're right, you can put it in the bags if you need to to seal it up, it's a lot more portable-friendly.
Melissa: Yes. Yeah.
Malori: Mm-hmm. Yeah, it saves more space,
Malori: Yeah. So, yeah. So maybe focusing more on that, and then also, watching your freezer too. If you have a cow share or whatnot, then making sure that, "Okay, can we eat this up before we move?" And then making sure if a move is coming up, not getting another cow share, and then you have all this meat. Unless you're moving a couple hours away, you could keep it frozen in your car, then you kind of have to strategize, yeah.
Melissa: Yeah. So, I'm curious about this, because it's something that I have thought about, like, "Oh goodness, if we did move..." At one point, we had looked at... We're beginning to look at property, actually, in Tennessee, and we're in Washington State, so that's a very long, big type move. And when we were... I started to think. Of course, my mind went, "Well, gosh, if we really did buy that property and we really did move," same thing, you would have to run down your stuff or leave some of it behind as far as food storage goes. But then on the other hand, that starts to bring me a little bit of stress, because my food storage is very much a source of peace for me. There's that peace of mind knowing that we've got this set amount of food, et cetera. And because you are in a military situation, how do you deal, I guess, with that kind of emotional aspect? Are you concerned about food in our country, that type of thing?
Malori: Yeah, I mean, definitely over the last couple years, it's definitely become more of a concern. In the past, like when we moved from Germany to California, that... especially like overseas moves, those are even more restrictive with what you can bring, what they'll pack for you. So it always pains me whenever we move, because we do have to give away some food, especially like refrigerated stuff and freezer stuff. I do... Our dry goods and rice and things like that, we can always pack.
Malori: But yeah, but it is always like, "Ugh, all this good food, we have to give it away." But I mean, at least if you're giving it away, somebody's going to use it. But I think now, my mindset has shifted a little bit over the past couple years with how everything has changed in our country. And so that it definitely is a bigger concern for me now. So, it'll be interesting for our next move, because we do have a bigger stockpile than we've had in the past. So, yeah. So that'll be interesting to see how that goes.
Melissa: Yeah. I'm curious, so when you were living in Germany, just because I've obviously never lived outside of the US, so did you notice really any differences in the food? And I don't just mean what they culturally cook, but like in the food available there, their food supply, the way that they grow food, like their standards as a country with food, et cetera?
Malori: Yeah, I definitely did. I remember they had... Aldi is really big over there. I mean, that's where it originated from. And I remember going to the store, and it was just regular chicken. It wasn't even organic or anything. And I like chicken breasts, so I brought it home and cooked it, and I'm like, "This actually tastes like chicken. It tastes like real..." I don't know, it was just so flavorful. But they're really big on fresh eating in season. I would be looking for kale, and we had a really beautiful farm market, not a farmer's market, but they were open every day, so it was like an actual farm, and they had a produce section and a dairy section, and I'm looking for kale, and I'm like, "Why can't I find it?" And they only have it during the part of the year that it's actually grown. So they eat very in season, which is really nice.
Malori: A key difference that I noticed is that they don't have bulk food stores over there, like we have Costco and Jays and whatnot. They shop very frequently during the week. They buy things fresh, so they might go grocery shopping like every other day or something like that, because they're always buying fresh stuff, so they don't really do like the... We see on... I really like watching on YouTube the grocery hauls, like a month's worth of groceries. They do not do that over there.
Melissa: Interesting. Do you think it's because more of what they are eating can't last that long, because they are just eating it fresh, or it's just a cultural that's just how they shop?
Malori: Yeah, it might be both, I think. I mean, a lot of it, yeah, is very fresh and in season. But also, their houses are just different. We didn't really have a pantry. If kitchens are smaller, it was more like a larger cupboard I guess was like our pantry. So things are smaller, and our refrigerators are smaller. Freezers are smaller. They don't have as much storage space as we would in American size appliances.
Malori: Yeah, yeah. And people... It's very walkable over there, so [inaudible 00:24:27] walk to the market and all that. So yeah, it's just a different way of living, I guess.
Melissa: Yeah. Did it seem that more of their food, especially if you were at the farmer's stand you were talking about, does it seem like more of the food that's available to buy is raised locally in comparison to most places in America, or...?
Melissa: Yeah. Okay.
Malori: Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah, for sure. They also had a meat market there. I mean, they had all sorts of cuts of meat that were fresh, and if you wanted ground beef, they would grind it right there.
Melissa: Oh wow. Oh man.
Malori: So good. I miss that so much. It was so great.
Melissa: That actually makes me want to... I would love to be at a point... which it sounds really funny when you have a farm and a dairy cow. I'm like, "I would love to be able to travel someday to other countries to see their food up close and personal and how they work." But, yeah, that's something much further down the road with the current lifestyle.
Melissa: But I do find that really interesting, especially because you weren't just visiting there on holiday. You were actually living there and seeing those... Because I've heard that a big part of Europe, anyways, that their food is very different than ours in the way that it's grown, like they don't... even if there's some brands that are in the US and also are sold over there, that the ingredients are different.
Melissa: The European brands aren't allowed to use as much of the food dyes. The high fructose corn syrup isn't allowed. No GMO items are allowed in that. And so you think you're buying Cheerios, as example, but over there, it's a very different... I would consider it a healthier version. I think most people would, especially people who are listening to this podcast. So part of me is like, "Oh man, that sounds so wonderful." I hope that we're able to start to shift things even more so in our country with our food to more of that. But anyway, that's a whole nother podcast and soapbox, so...
Malori: Yeah. No, but you're so right. I mean, yeah, it is very different, and yeah, it was a good learning experience, because I think over here in the US, we can find the same quality of food but it just takes a lot more education, I think, and sourcing and really doing your due diligence, basically. So over there, I think it's a little easier just to go to the store, and there's seasonal, local stuff to buy, whereas here, you have to do a little more footwork. But it's definitely possible, so yeah.
Melissa: Yeah. Agreed. Curious, pricewise. Now, I realize it probably was not in US dollars, because you were in Germany.
Melissa: But did you feel like for that quality of food...? Because here, it costs more, generally speaking. It costs more to buy that higher level of sustainable, well-raised, in my opinion, type food products, or not type of food products, but actual food products. Did you feel that the price was more for that there, or it was cheaper, or just kind of about the same?
Malori: Yeah, I mean dollar to euro, I can't really remember as far as our budget went. But yeah, just the quality that you would get for the price, I definitely think that it was a better price, because you wouldn't necessarily have to buy all organic if you're trying to avoid a lot of pesticides or whatnot, because things are more restricted over there.
Melissa: Yeah, that's just their general standard is probably closer to what our organic standard is. Yeah.
Melissa: Yeah. That's fascinating. So we kind of got off on a little bit but tangent there, but I was very, very curious, and I'm assuming other people are too, as well. So I know, as you said, your husband is working full-time as an Army officer, and you guys have got seven more years.
Malori: Yeah. [inaudible 00:28:25] count.
Melissa: Yes, count all that, count it down. But you said that... One of the things that caught my attention is that he had written a really comprehensive blog post on being prepared for cyberattacks. So we'll put the link in that to the show notes. And today's episode is number 361. So if you are listening in, you can always jump over to the blog post that we put with every episode at melissaknorris.com/361, because it's the number 361.
Melissa: But I would love for you to walk through, as a military family, as far as cyberattacks or your emergency preparedness levels, walk me through with, of course, whatever you feel comfortable with. Walk me through some of that and some steps that people might want to think about or implement if they haven't.
Malori: Sure, like specifically regarding the cyberattacks, or just like generally?
Melissa: I would say let's start with the cyberattacks, and then we can go from there, depending on how deep we go.
Malori: Yeah. Yeah. So I highly recommend people read that post. I had people asking me like, "Can he talk about this?" Because he knows so much about that realm and survival and preparedness and all that, just from his military training. So the first thing with regards to that would be preparing your home. So we think about physical security, you have a alarm system in place and cameras and whatnot, but it's also important to have that kind of security posture for your online life. So the strong passwords that we always hear people talk about, have your antivirus software updated regularly on your computers, and then, don't rely so much on what he calls the Internet of Things devices like Bluetooth stuff, Alexa devices, that kind of thing. Because they just... I don't know. Alexa probably just knows so much about all of us, so-
Melissa: Yeah, that and our smartphones. Oh boy, yeah.
Malori: Yeah, they're getting a little too smart these days. So, just reining that all in. And then the next part, the next step would be to stockpile one month of food, at least. Just, I mean, it seems kind of not related to cyber, but we're looking at our overall security here. So having that food, that one-month supply of food and water and medications for each member of the family. If you can do more, like three to six months of stocked food is ideal. But we all have to start somewhere. And my favorite way of stockpiling is just to do it very gradually. So every time you go to the grocery store, pick up a few extra things, like a few extra canned goods. That's just a few dollars, so you don't have to spend a ton of money at one time. If you can, that's great. But if you can't, you just do it slowly over time, and eventually, you will have several months of food.
Malori: And then also, seeds, if you're growing a garden, to also have seeds on hand, because sometimes, we can't get the seeds that we want. Seed catalogs, they're running out, or they're at stock of certain seeds, so, to have your seeds on hand, or seeds saved. I know you're a big advocate of that, of seed saving.
Malori: And then also, water. Having water is important, either having several ways of purifying your water. So we have a Berkey and then things like the LifeStraws or some kind of purifying straw. Having a couple of different ways to purify is a really smart idea. So, yeah, you have your main source, and then you have a backup, and then you have a backup to the backup. That's a very typical military thing to do.
Malori: And then, with your home, have a secondary means of maintaining safe temperatures. So if the utilities go out, there's no power, whatnot, like a generator or a wood burning stove, especially in the winter, you've got to keep your family from freezing. So, definitely give consideration to that. I think that's something that maybe a lot of people don't think about. We're just so reliant on our utilities, and you just think that the AC or the heat will always be there, but it might not be so.
Malori: And then, of course, being able to defend yourself. You got all your stockpile and everything and your family, but you have to have a way to protect those things, so having some kind of defense system, a security system, that kind of stuff. And then, building a community with your neighbors, like finding other people who think the same way as you that want to be prepared, that's always good. You can barter for things or barter for skills. So I'm a nurse, I'm a registered nurse, so if somebody needed medical care or something like that, and then maybe there's somebody else down the road that has some skill that you need, then you can kind of trade with skills. [inaudible 00:33:55]-
Melissa: I love that you bring this up, because it's interesting. I've been having this conversation a lot in different places, which I think is good. But it's interesting, because homesteading, part of our goal is to be self-sufficient in a lot of realms. However, you can't be a one-man island or even a one-family island, because nobody can ever produce all the things and do all the things. It's just not possible. Even homesteaders of old didn't. And so really focusing on that community aspect is so important.
Melissa: We have some newer neighbors who moved in just a couple of years ago, actually, two sets of them. But it's been wonderful, because one of them has the automatic chicken plucker, which we don't have our own automatic chicken plucker, but we have a wood splitter for firewood, a splitter. And so, we swapped. He's like, "I need to get my firewood up, and it seems really silly for me to go buy this wood splitter for just doing a couple cord." And we didn't have a chicken plucker. And so we've been able to swap things like that rather than both of us buying both of those things and having them on hand to be able to use those resources.
Melissa: And then our other neighbor that moved in, her husband is an electrician, which has been fabulous, because we've had him come and do some electrician work, and then they were newer to homestead living, so I've been able to give them tips and supplies and share stuff from the garden and just walk through. She'd be like, "Well, what do I...?" Up here... They moved from the city where everything is in walking distance and not having to have a pantry or anything like that, so kind of walking her through like, "Oh," this. So, anyways, yeah that is so important. And I think when we start to think about emergency preparedness and survival, that is not something that's talked about very often.
Malori: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I mean, you hear the word self-sufficiency thrown around a lot in the homesteading community, but yeah, you're not supposed to be an island, or, yeah, you can't possibly do every single thing on your own. In the military, we do have that kind of built-in community with other military families, which is nice, because you're always moving, so you always have to meet new people. But yeah, that community is so important, because you just never know when you might need somebody to help you out, or you might need to help out somebody else.
Melissa: Yeah, I think I sidetracked us because I really wanted to talk about that point for a few minutes. You were getting ready to list something, so hopefully I didn't ruin your train of thought there.
Malori: No, no, no. No, you're good. You're good. That's a really good point to make. Let's see, so, yeah, we were talking about the bartering, and also having items on hand to barter, like ammunition, alcohol, cash, extra food, that kind of thing. Car batteries is another thing that people just might really need. And then especially if all of this is overwhelming, going to an outside expert and getting training, like survival and emergency medical training for members of the family, that's really important to learn that. I mean it's really great to listen and read about this stuff, but going to an actual class, highly, highly recommend that, especially as a nurse. There's so many things that you can learn just as a lay person that could save somebody's life.
Melissa: Yeah. Where would you go to find out about those classes? Would your local fire department ever offer anything, or what would be a resource that you could go and look at? I want to take these classes, but where would you start? Do you know?
Malori: I think the basic place to start would be a CPR class, for sure, so like American Heart Association, that's where I do it as a medical professional to get certified. But they also offer for lay people to just have that CPR and AED training. That's crucial. And then, as far as more advanced things, we actually did a survival training kind of like camp back when we lived in North Carolina, before we lived in Germany. So we went up to Virginia, and there's this man named Tim MacWelch, and he is a self-trained survivalist, and he offers classes in the wilderness, in the woods of Virginia. And so we went, I think it like was a three or four-day thing where my husband and I went, and it was you have a tent, you camp, and then you're learning all these different skills, like how to build a trap to catch animals to eat, how to forage for different medicinal plants that you can use as medicine.
Malori: All those kind of... How to start a fire without matches, that kind of stuff. And it was really, really good. And then I went back for another one myself that was more focused on emergency medical, wilderness medical training. So that kind of stuff. There's that up in Virginia, or there might be local things that sometimes they're through self defense places. So I've done an escape and an evasion class, back when I lived in Texas through... They taught Krav Maga there when they did the escape and innovation class, stuff like that. So, yeah, self defense studios would be another place to look for local things.
Melissa: And I would even say on skill sets is something... And this is because I've always lived very rurally. And so our emergency response is the volunteer fire department, which does have EMTs. And so, they can generally get anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, because if it's during the day and most of the volunteers are working day jobs, they've commuted, and there's not a lot on hand. So that can kind of vary. And that's just for your fire department and your EMTs.
Melissa: And then for an actual paramedic to get to us, you're looking at usually a minimum of 20 minute, because they have to come from the neighboring town, 20 minutes to a half an hour, depending. And so, we have always... You always have supplies on hand. If it's a severe wound, to be able to put the pressure on and to be able to bind that. And just what you would almost think of as basic first aid, but take it just a little bit further, and even having a really well-stocked first aid kit, because I think that that's something... Making sure that you've got, like I said, those gauze pads, and just different things like that that you... Not just a box of Band-Aids. I guess that's where I'm going.
Malori: Right. Yeah.
Melissa: And that sounds like a really obvious thing. But again, my friends who are neighbors who had moved out here, if you're used to living in the city, and then, of course, in an attack or an emergency preparedness type situation, those resources are probably not going to be able to reach you very soon either. Whereas that's just something that's normal for us. But just having some of that basic knowledge, like you need to put pressure on here. If you did need to put on a tourniquet, in what situation would you do that, and where would you do it, and do you have the things to do that? Which is kind of basic first aid, to a degree. But even those types of things, and of course, like I said, ideally, that you have just those things stocked and already on hand.
Malori: Yeah, definitely. The little box of Band-Aids isn't going to get you very far. Yeah, that was definitely another one of my points, was to have medical supplies on hand, the tourniquet. There's something called QuikClot, so if there's a big wound and there's a lot of bleeding, you can put that in the wound, and that'll help clot the blood. Yeah, gauze bandages, medical scissors, topical medications, like Neosporin, that kind of thing. Yeah, think medical, or think first aid kit and then expand for all types of situations. What else? Even like a thermometer, blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, tweezers, any natural remedies. We have both conventional stuff, and then our favorite natural remedies stocked up, so like manuka honey, colloidal silver, essential oils. And then also, don't forget any prescription meds that members of your family take, like having extra on hand if you can. Sometimes doctors could write a larger prescription, or you can get a extra month's worth or something like that. Don't just have your one-month supply and then... What if you can't get to the store?
Melissa: Yeah, actually, it was funny, because when you were saying the clot thing, I'm like, "Have your yarrow on hand."
Malori: That too. That's a good one too.
Melissa: Yeah, no, those are all really good things. And I feel like we're going to be releasing this, obviously, in fall, and actually, September is National Preparedness Month. So I think it's always good to just kind of revisit this, because it's funny, I was talking with a friend again this week, and I said... When COVID first hit, I realized where I had holes in my food supply, and I'm like, "Okay." I eventually got everything stocked back up to where we were, and I'm like, "Okay, this is the new threshold for us, for our family. We're not dropping beneath this." And that was kind of right at the peak within the first three months, et cetera. But it's now been like two years. And I told her, I said... I was looking at things, I'm like, "I've gotten a little lax again. I've let some things run low," where I've just kind of, I don't want to say became complacent, but I just haven't been as focused or tracking quite as well in making sure that we have this certain threshold of the things in our pantry.
Melissa: And so, we were just talking about that last night, actually. And so, it's funny we're having this conversation now today, and I'm like, "Yes, it's time for me to do a little assessing and get things back up." So I think it's good to have these conversations, because a lot of what we're saying, I'm sure people have heard in other spots, or you know these things. I know these things, but I forget. And so hearing them like this is like, "Yes, I need to go get on that now." It was actually our first aid kit. I'm like, "Ooh, there's some things in there that I need to restock."
Malori: Yes, and checking expiration dates on meds is so important, especially if... We don't use a ton of over-the-counter medication, so they're going to expire. So you got to check that and restock on a regular basis.
Melissa: Yeah. All really, really good points. But we actually have covered a lot of ground. I'm like, "Wow, we've been talking for a while here." So is there any last tips that you want to really make sure that we cover?
Malori: Yeah, I guess kind of like a mindset tip for people is hearing about all this, like especially the survival preparedness stuff, it can be really overwhelming, and it can be sometimes a little scary for some people, like, "Oh no, if you're doing all this stuff, then that means something bad is going to happen." But it's better to have all these things and be prepared, have your pantry stocked, even if you might never use it. That's the best case scenario, right? We hope we never have to use these things.
Malori: But if you do come into a situation when you have to use it, even something like COVID, like the lockdowns and stuff, you can't get to the store, you're going to be so glad that you have all that. And in the cyber warfare article that my husband wrote, at the beginning, he put a verse from Proverbs, and it says, "A prudent person sees evil and hides himself, but the naive proceed and pay the penalty," and that's in Proverbs 27:12. And so having that kind of prudence and looking ahead of to what could happen, that's so important to take care of your family and stewards your family well in that way. So, yeah.
Melissa: Yeah. Yeah. No, I agree. So, we will definitely have the link to the blog post so people can go and read that. But if folks want to follow along with your guys' journey and learn more from you, where are the best spots for them to connect?
Malori: Sure. So I post a lot of Instagram, so it's Black Rifle Homestead on Instagram, and then we have the blog, blackriflehomestead.com. And then also, I have a YouTube channel, the same name, Black Rifle Homestead. So you can pretty much find us anywhere with the Black Rifle Homestead name.
Melissa: Okay, great. Well, thank you so much for coming on, Malori, and, again, thank you guys for your service, and-
Malori: Thank you so much.
Melissa: Yeah, really, really enjoyed this.
Malori: Yeah, it was great to talk with you, and you provide such a great service to all of us who are still learning so much. I've learned so much from your podcast, so I really appreciate you having me on.
Melissa: Oh, I'm happy to hear that.
Malori: Yeah, so...
Melissa: Well, hey there. I hope you guys enjoyed that episode as much as I did and were able to get some good food for thought and some actionable tips for things that you will be adding to possibly your first aid medicine kit, as well as your food storage or implementing other things for home security. Thank you so much for joining me, and I can't wait to be back here with you next week. Blessings and mason jars for now, my friends.
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