Sep 04

Built to Last “My Homestead” where I am!

Backwoods Home150x100The elderberries are ripe and the first signs of changing seasons are appearing, soon fall will be on the wind. Join Lynna on The Other Side… A Preppers Path as she brings in the first day of September with a smile and a look at Built to Last My Homestead. Often when thinking of a homestead we envision a country mural with a quaint farmhouse, smoke curling out of the chimney, a wood stack nearby, chickens roaming a green expanse with a barn and other critters milling about. A perfect picture of a sustainable self-reliant home but in reality that is just one take on a homestead.

Homestead6-8Are you yearning for that picture of a homestead, wishing away your days and nights, take heart and come realize your homestead right where you are TODAY. They say the home is where the heart is, where you are is your stead, turn your stead into your homestead today, whether you are in the rural wilds, a sprawling downtown urban apartment, a tucked away subdivision, a boat, or any other place you call home. Homesteading is about living life in a self- sufficient, reliable and sustainable method, we think it has to be out in the country somewhere and frankly that is the pinnacle of homesteading but today you can take steps to realize the homesteader in you.

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Mar 06

Getting Started with a Treadle Sewing Machine

Ida contributed this article.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The Daily Prepper News

Getting Started with a Treadle Sewing Machine

By Ida from the Kansas Urban Prairie

As part of my prepping plan, I wanted to learn to sew on a treadle sewing machine i.e. off grid. I grew up sewing mostly with Singer sewing machines but had never used a treadle. This article is about my adventure, my mistakes, and my eventual success. I hope you find it useful. It is intended for the novice trying to bring a Singer treadle back to life.

Features I wanted

First I had to decide what kind of machine I wanted. First and foremost I wanted a machine I could make functional. I was not interested in a collector’s item to sit around and collect dust. I started with lots of research on the internet. There are thousands of sites with manuals, technical information, and other details. I wanted a Singer. I decided on a flat, round bobbin rather than a “flying” shuttle. Flat bobbins are easier to use and are still used today. My bobbins work in my treadles and my five year old electricity machine. I want at least some attachments that I could learn to use later.

Purchasing decision

There are lots of places to buy inexpensive old treadles. Try garage sales, yard sales, auctions, Craigslist, and thrift stores. My 1906 Singer cost $40 with a six drawer cabinet, base, two attachments, and two pressure feet. The base is not a Singer but a Domestic brand. The cabinet has a few chips in the wood and the decals are not perfect. This machine has seen many yards of fabric go across its face. It was purchased on Craigslist.

My second treadle, a 1911 Singer Red Eye, came from an auction. It has a three drawer cabinet plus a lap drawer and a Singer base. There was one pressure foot but no attachments. My son paid $60 for it.

The most important aspect is that everything still moves. Most likely the belt will be gone. Try the treadle. So either sit at the machine or reach down and move the foot treadle. Turn the hand wheel. Does the wheel turn? Does the needle arm go up and down? Does the feed dog (under the needle) move up and down? As long as there are no broken parts or it is not completely frozen up, you should be able to make it functional. If parts are rusted together, I would not buy it. Someone with more skills than I have might bring it back to life but I was not into that challenge.

When buying a treadle, buy it for the machine head. The cabinets and bases are interchangeable. My first treadle does not have a Singer base. Once I finally had it completely cleaned and oiled, it flies along. It truly does not matter what brand the base is.

I also wanted flat round bobbins. They are easier to use and hold more thread. Both of my treadles and my current electric machine all use the same bobbins. They are easy to find and cheap.


Making it functional

Once you buy a treadle the next step is getting it from “barn fresh” to functional. Go to Singer’s website, Enter your serial number, you will learn the date it was manufactured and the model number. Next, search for “Singer manual and the model number”. This will be a huge help. I printed it off and put it in a notebook with other articles I found.

Cleaning and oiling

You have to disassemble at least parts of the machine to clean it. Get a small container to put all parts in so you do not lose anything. I took areas apart and then put it back together and moved on. I do not know that the sequence matters. I started with the bobbin case and the pressure plate under the needle. Use a small medium stiff brush to clean out all debris. I used canned air next. After using the canned air, I allowed time for any condensation to dry out. Using the manual for guidance, I oiled all the open holes. I used 3-in-1 oil but you can also use sewing machine oil. I reassembled that area.

Next I removed the silver plate on the left side. Remove the thumbscrew. Lift up on the plate and it will slide off the upper screw. I brushed it out, sprayed with can air, dried, oiled. At this point, turn the hand wheel to be sure everything moves easily. Reassemble.

On the back side of the head is a round disc with a thumb screw. Remove the screw and the plate will come off. Again, brush, spray, dry, oil, and reassemble. I followed this process around the hand wheel. Finally, I laid the head back and cleaned under the machine. I cleaned the entire stand.

I did wipe down the entire cabinet with Dr. Woodwell’s Wood Elixir. I am sure there are other products that would refurbish the cabinet finish but I chose this one.

Replacing the belt

My treadles use a round leather belt. Do not buy a belt for your specific model. I did that and paid three times the price. You can purchase leather by the foot at many sites including Amazon. It is much cheaper. The two ends of the belt are held together with a C-hook. I bought them at the same time I purchased the belting.

One item I found useful was a pair of treadle pliers. There are places to cut the leather, to punch the hole in the cut end of the leather, typical plier function to hook the two ends together, and crimp the C-hook. The first place I looked they were $40. I finally found a pair for $30. I think they work really well. Ladies, I can now replace a belt independently.

Follow the diagram in your manual to install the belt. Cut the leather so the ends just meet. Punch the hole. Hook the C-hook in both holes. Crimp the C-hook.

One final, myth – I thought I needed to build up the muscles in my legs to run a treadle. If you have thoroughly cleaned and oiled the machine, it is not hard to run.

First project

I purchased three unused curtain panels at a thrift shop for $9. I hung two panels to the window in my home office. The third panel I made into to standard pillowcases. They turned out great but I may wear them out showing everyone my treadle and pillowcases. Have fun with your treadie!!!


I read many, many articles on the web. Any information you need is out there. Here are three sites to get you started.


I have no association with any of these sites other than I found them to be useful.

Mar 04

Good Morning Kansas!

I would like to introduce myself to you.  I am Josh Livengood, the publisher of The Daily Prepper and editor of the APN state blogs.  It’s been quite a job to catch up with all the states and see who is doing what.  Kansas is one of the states I lived in for a number of years.  All of my children were born in Salina.  I graduated college in Hays and have lived all over the country since.

The year I moved away from Kansas, the western half of the state was in the middle of a very long drought.  The prediction was made that the drought would last several more years.  The city was rationing water, and attempting to purchase it from Colorado by the thousands of acre feet.  I remember people being fined for letting water get on the sidewalk or street and for washing their cars in the driveway.  It was about 10 years before I was in Hays again.  That’s how I remembered it.

About four years ago, I returned to visit family and friends and found Salina much as I left it, just bigger.  Hays on the other hand, was both bigger and greener.  The grass was lush and beautiful.  Never once in the years I lived there was it so pretty.  Suddenly memories of boating and camping at the lakes came flooding back.

Then, just as quickly as the memory of the good times I was reminded that a drought could come back at any time.  I wondered if the cit was more prepared for another drought than it was during the last one.  It was a struggle to have enough water for the city.  Citizens who violated the water restrictions were given two violations and the third time gave them an opportunity to justify their violation to the judge.  Hotels presented a huge problem because they used more waters than apartment buildings and it was impossible for hotel owners to control the actions of their guests.  Because of this, hotels were exempt from water usage restrictions.  So was the college.  Farmers had drought  trouble too.  Many of the farmers used irrigation to water crops.  With their wells going dry, they were not able to do that.

The whole thing reminded me of an episode of “Gun Smoke” where the drought was very bad and people were on the verge of death by thirst.  No one in that episode was prepared for a long period of drought, and neither were the citizens of Hays.

So, standing there in my son’s yard, with my bare feet enjoying the green lush grass we don’t have in Texas, I knew in my heart it was temporary and it should be enjoyed while it lasted.  The 2012 drought severely affected western Kansas causing city and state officials to reactivate water restrictions in many communities.  They declared the area a disaster area.  They could have used some of the  historical 17 inches of snow during the drought.  Next time, I’ll talk about differences between prepping in eastern and central Kansas compared to prepping in western Kansas.


The Daily Prepper News



Mar 25

Preparing for what?

by CCCooper

The list of items is long…Very Long. Many people have different viewpoints on the WHY’S of preparing and while ALL agree on the need, the WHY is hotly debated.

Economic Collapse, Hyperinflation, Currency Collapse, Martial Law, Nuclear Attack, Terrorism, Rioting/Looting, delivery systems failure, and an out of control federal Government hell-bent on usurping the constitution are but a few of the man-made problems we MAY (will?) face.

Natural Disasters are another story. We all witnessed the events that happened before and after Katrina struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. We all watched the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti. We’ve seen a little of the Tsunami Videos. All were events that happened with little or no warning (Katrina arrived in 3-4 days) and the large majority of those affected were woefully unprepared for ANY type of disaster.

Personal events are another concern of many. A large majority of people live check-to-check. (Or check to ALMOST check) A personal event is something along the lines of a job loss, vehicular accident, sudden disability, debilitating illness, or other loss in your family. These types of events may put a strain on your finances or your ability to support your family. Being prepared with sufficient supplies of foodstuffs, water, and medications may very well help ease your burdens.

While no one can prepare for every concern, being prepared WILL give you a little peace of mind.

On another note, the last concern on the long list is ZOMBIES. Yes, I still have a sense of humor.

Jan 23

Food Prep Step 2 from the Urban Kansas Prairie

By ldavies1

Starting your food prep—

So you have decided to start storing food. Maybe you have not made a long term commitment but it sounds reasonable to move away from living from one grocery store run to the next. Inflation and possible job loss are enough to get you moving. So you start to add a little extra to the kitchen cabinets. Once you get past the obvious what do you buy?

Begin to make a list of the food and nonfood items you regularly use and how much you use each week or month. This is your guide to stocking up. It does no good to buy things you or your family will not eat. Buy what you normally eat. Also start listing prices so you can learn when a sale is really a good sale.

Where do you shop? Discount groceries, closeout stores, salvaged stores are all good sources but you need to know how to spot a good price. Then go for the loss leaders at the major stores. You absolutely need to learn to control impulse buying. If I go into the store and there is a cart full of discounted items, it is smart to look and see if there is anything you use and if the price is really good. Buying ice cream that is not on your list is not a good buy but it is your choice.

Balance in your storage is important. Fifty bottles of ketchup is not good storage. As you begin, start an inventory in a spreadsheet or notebook. As you prep, think in terms of meals. Canned chunky soup over rice can be a pretty good meal without much prep so several meals worth these two items can go a long way. There is also great variety. If you purchase spaghetti sauce you must also have the pasta. Meat is actually optional, good but optional.

In addition to maintaining an inventory, it is important to rotate your food so it is used by the expiration date. When I bring home new storage items, I write the expiration date on the lid or label with a fine magic marker. This makes it easier to find and read. Slide the previous purchased items to the front of the shelf and put the current ones in back. I have several can rotators in my kitchen cabinets. This makes it easy to rotate. It handles the rotating – first in first out. I must admit that I skipped this step for the first three months because my mind was still in the normal shopping mode. It was a lot of work to go back and write all of the expiration dates on the containers and organize them. So if your new to prepping, learn this one.

Finally, as your storage begins to grow, you need to set goals. My initial goals were six months of regular food and six months of long term storage. I have to admit I had very little idea of what long term storage was at this point but I continue to research and educate myself.

Warning: food storage, water storage, equipment, etc can become overwhelming. I started a list of other topics to explore so I could stay focused on whatever step I was on but not forget the passing idea.

Until next time

Ida from the Urban Kansas Prairie

Jan 13

How I got started prepping

by ldavies1
from the Urban Kansas Prairie

How I got started prepping—

I can’t remember what first peeked my curious 15 months ago but I began to read and research. I wanted to understand why people were prepping and how they were doing it. It was a year of many natural disasters so it was not completely out of the realm of understanding. I soon learned that I had a wealth of experiences that applied if I renewed my skills. I grew up in an urban area but my family camped, did lots of scouting, and had big gardens. Mom canned lots of fruits and vegetable. My dad was a carpenter so we did lots of hands on repair work on our house, my grandparents houses, neighbors, and the rental houses. So doing it yourself was always the first option. Over the years as I raised my children and they became adults, I had gotten so I did less and less for myself. Now as I approach retirement, I am prepping and rebuilding old skills and new ones. This is my journey. It is more about skill building than just acquiring stuff. As many have said, you can read all day long but if you do not learn to do it is of no use.

I started with food storage. I read and researched and printed more prepping lists than I care to admit. I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted six months of regular food and six months of long term storage food. I have accomplished both of those goals. So now when I find a GOOD sale I buy several. Last week I came up on an unadvertised sale of boneless hams for a dollar a pound. I purchased four of them. That was about 24 pounds. I brought them home and cut each one into three pieces and froze them. I now have meat for 48 meals for about fifty cents or less per meal. Not too bad.

Rotating the regular food storage is very important and I continue to find ways to do that. I have several can organizers in my kitchen cabinets. These little devices are easy –First In First out. I also have steel shelves in my storage room. Before I put can goods or jars on the shelves, I write the expiration date on the lid or label with a sharpie large enough to easily read. Then I put the new item at the back of the row sliding older items to the front. I always use the one with the closes expiration date next.

I also have some wheat and a hand grinder. One of my upcoming projects is to grind the wheat and make bread from scratch. I made bread from scratch many years ago but wheat grinding will be a new skill but that is for a future blog.

Jul 22

The Record Heat Waves

With the record heat waves and drought across the nation, the American Preppers Network hopes that you have been prepared.  Disasters of any type can and do happen anywhere, at anytime, and without warning.  We are now witnessing and will continue to witness a prime example of how one disaster can cause a chain reaction leading to other disasters.  Here are some potential disasters to be aware of as a result of the drought and heat waves.

1) Water shortages.  Water is the number 1 most important necessity to survival.  The average human can only survive 3 days without water, and even less in a heat wave.  I hope you’ve stored some.  If the water system shuts down or does not have enough, you could turn on the tap only to have a few drips.  If you run into a situation where there is not enough municipal water supply to your home, start looking for other sources of stored water.

  • Your hot water tank may have 30 – 50 gallons of water stored. 
  • The top supply tank to your toilette is typically clean water that you can use.
  • Your plumbing in your house could have a few gallons.  Open a higher faucet in your house as in a shower, sink, or upstairs source to relieve pressure, then open a lower outside faucet to retrieve water from your plumbing system.

Don’t short change yourself on water!  Make sure you have plenty for personal consumption.  If you stop sweating, that means you are dehydrated!   

Got Water?

2) Heat.  Heat poses many risks, including but not limited to:

  • Heat Stroke.  Watch family members closely, especially the elderly, watch for slurred speech and disorientation.  When in doubt, call for help.  Time lost is brain lost.  Never leave pets or children in a vehicle, and keep them out of the direct sun.  Drink lots of water.
  • Fire.  Fires are much more common in the heat.  Things dry out and become more flammable.  Keep dry brush and trash picked up.  Do not store fuel in or around your house, and keep well ventilated in a cool area out of the sun.  Keep grass cut short, especially if your city is rationing water and not allowing watering of lawns.  Do not store any flammables in the direct sun or in your attic.  
  • Vehicle breakdowns. Avoid driving unless it’s absolutely necessary, or drive at nite. Check your fluid levels and make sure your oil and coolant are topped off.  Bring extra oil and coolant with you in case you need it.  DO NOT top off your fuel tank!  Make sure your tires are property inflated and not over or under inflated.  Bring extra water with you in case you do break down.  Drive with the A/C off when going uphill.  Watch your vehicles tempature when climbing grades.  If your car starts to overheat when going uphill, pull over at a safe location to let it cool.  Check to make sure your thermostat is working before you make your trip.

3) Blackouts.   The nations grids are maxed out.  With everyone using A/C, expect rolling blackouts.  If you are in a blackout, you can wrap sleeping bags around your refrigerator or freezer to help insulate it.  To conserve power, only use what you absolutely need.  Keep lights turned off and keep your A/C set to the warmest temperature that you can safely stand.  Do you have a generator?  Be prepared to use it.  Do you have plenty of non-perishable food stored?  If there is an extended blackout, you may need it.  Stores and gas stations will be shut down in a blackout.  Do you have an emergency battery powered radio and flashlights?

4) Food Prices   Expect food prices to increase.  Especially meat.  Many ranchers are butchering all of there livestock as there is not enough food and water to care for them, this means shortages in the future.  Produce crops are drying up. Prices of corn, wheat and other grains will increase.  Even produce grown in unaffected areas may increase in price as well due to demand.  If the blackouts are too severe, stores, gas stations and truck stops may close down temporarily disrupting the supply chain and preventing food from making it to the stores.

Stay safe during this heat wave and dought.  This is a serious and potentially devastating national disaster.

If you have tips, ideas, news, videos or pictures that you wish to share regarding this heat wave you can submit your article to  If your article is chosen we will post it on your states preppers network blog.  Top articles will get posted on APN.  The top article of the week will win a free flashlantern valued at $49.95 (made in the USA).  Articles must be submitted before 7/29.

Feel free to copy and repost this article in it’s entirety.  Credit source as

Here are some free helpful pdf files to download

Fire and Heat Waves
- ARC – Are You Ready – Fire

- ARC – Are You Ready – Heat Wave

- ARC – Are You Ready – Wildfires

- Fact Sheet: Fires

- Fact Sheet: Fire Safe

- WildFires

- ARC – Food and Water in Emergency

- Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water 

- How To Make A Solar Still (Plastic Cover)

- Purification Of Water On A Small Scale 

- Simple Solar Still For The Production Of Distilled Water

- Slow Sand Filters

- Water Purification

- Water Treatment

Fire Safety 

- Fighting Fire 

- Fire Safety

Get More Free Downloads here:

May 12

How to grow your own mushrooms indoors

You can go and purchase a mushroom growing kit or make your own.

First you will need a shallow container, something like a plastic storage bin works well.

mushroom growing

We use a cardboard box lined with plastic.

Mix equal amounts of sterile compost, potting soil and peat, filling your container with a 2-to-3-inch layer. Reserve 1/4 cup for use later. Smooth the top layer of soil as uniformly as possible.

Now gather some shroom spores. If you know your wild mushrooms then go for it. However, if you are not sure, it is best to purchase your mushrooms. Grocery stores are fine to purchase them, as pesticides are not used in mushroom production. Once you have them you need to do some spore printing. Remove the stems and with gills down, press you mushroom caps down on a piece of clean white paper. Set aside and wait 12 hours for the spores to be released.

Mist the soil of your new kit with water enough to make the soil glisten. Scatter the spores over the top, then sprinkle your reserved soil over the top. Place plastic wrap over the top, poking several holes in the plastic for air flow.

Place this into your closet or anywhere that is is relatively dark and cooler, no more than 75F no less than 55F. Keep the soil lightly damp by misting every few days.

Mold will appear on the soil. when this happens (usually in about a week), remove the plastic wrap and cover with a light towel. Mushrooms could appear in as little as 10 days. Harvest your mushrooms at will.

You should be able to get mushrooms for 6-8 weeks using this homemade kit.

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May 09

Plants you should know; Redbud tree.

The flower buds are a high source of vitamin C. Without natural citrus growing in Kansas this is important. TEOTWAWKI happens, and we have a population suffering from scurvy, argh!

You can eat them raw, adding to your salad or pickle them for later use. (good replacement for capers)

Pickled Redbud Buds

2 cups flower buds (remove stem)

1 cup cider vinegar

1 tbl. sugar

1 tsp. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. canning salt

1-one inch long cinnamon stick

1 whole clove

Combine all. Bring to just boiling. Add to your sterilized jar. Refrigerate until ready for use. Or can as you would your cucumber pickles.

The pods are edible as well. Finding the right time to harvest the pods is a trial and error attempt, you want them young, but not so young that seeds have yet to develop. Eat and can like green beans.

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May 04

Eating the Lillies

Lillies are common here. People love to dress up their yards with them. But to a prepper they might not be the the flower you would want in your edible garden. But before you rip them out, think of them as a treat, a way to pep up that prepper diet of yours.

Day Lilly’s are edible, Tiger Lilly’s are not!

You can save them for future use by drying. Soak them for 30 minutes in water to rehydrate for use. Day Lilly’s taste a little like green beans when used fresh.

Sautéed Day lily Buds
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a heavy skillet over a medium heat. Add rinsed and trimmed buds, sauté until lightly browned. Add a few teaspoons water. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and 10 min. drain.

Day Lilly Blossoms stuffed with Chicken salad

6 open day Lilly blossoms
2 1/2 c. cooked chicken breast meat, chopped
25 seedless grapes, cut in quarters
1 slice green sweet onion, diced
1/2 stalk celery, diced
3/4 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
2 tbsp. fresh chopped French tarragon
6 borage flowers
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Wash day Lilly blossoms and remove stamen . Make sure there are no flaws or discoloration in flowers. Mix chicken, grapes, celery, onion, mayonnaise, parsley, tarragon and pepper together in bowl. Stuff chicken salad into blossoms and top each with a borage flower.

Spiced Pickled Day Lilly
2 qt Day lily buds, unopened freshly picked
3 c White vinegar
3/4 c Light brown sugar, packed
1/2 ts Salt
1/2 ts Whole allspice
2 Two-inch sticks cinnamon,
10 To 12 whole cloves

Rinse and drain unopened day lily buds; remove any stem remnants. Place buds in to a saucepan. Add water so it barely covers buds. Bring to a quick boil, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Drain. Pack hot buds into 8 hot an sterile half-pint canning jars. Combine vinegar, brown sugar, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil 3 minutes. Pour pickling solution over buds, distributing spices equally. Seal, process in a hot water bath 10 minutes.

You can stuff the Day Lilly buds with cheese after the 20 minute simmer, and drain, to serve as an appetizer.

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