As promised last week, here is this year’s McLene list of gift ideas for a prepper Christmas. I went back to take a look at last year’s list to make sure I didn’t unknowingly repeat any of my previous suggestions. I also looked at the comments regarding the list and I noticed one of the posters wasn’t too happy I didn’t put up anything by way of gear or gadgets.
There’s a pretty simple reason for that. I don’t usually go in for gear, per say. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot of tools or that I don’t use them; it simply means I’ve never spent a lot of time looking for the “best” hammer, nor do I run out to buy the “newest” wrench.
Is prepping the right thing for to do for Christians? Or should we just be trusting in the Lord? Learn about that balance in “Be Thou Prepared” by Carl Gallups – “Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble.”
As I’ve said before: I’m not a prepper specialist, I’m a prepper generalist. My firearms are all serviceable. My communications gear is sufficient for my anticipated needs. I don’t see the point of buying a home freeze dryer because for years I’ve put up dried food, or pressure canned those items that require it. I have hundreds of books and prepper-related manuals on disc … but I also have those same items – whenever possible – in bound form, because I like the printed word and because a book is the ultimate EMP-proof media.
If I recommended my AR-take-your-pick, you’d quite likely be able to argue yours is lighter, has more rails and shoots a tighter group at 100 yards. Well done. My prepper community consists of several much finer marksmen than me with tuned guns, and I’m glad they’re there. My nearest neighbor has far better radio equipment and greater experience operating that equipment than I do, and in times of trouble I’m sure I’ll rely on him heavily.
But none of my neighbors have been walking the self-dependent path as long as I have; and while each of these excellent companions are true experts in their areas of interest, I’m the guy that gets called upon frequently to remind them they don’t live by bread (or beans or bullets or broadband) alone. However, don’t get me wrong. I practice what I preach because I preach practice.
Check out some options in the WND Superstore preparedness department. New products of all kinds being added regularly for all your prepper needs – from informational books, movies to shovels, water purifiers, and food from soup to nuts!
So once again, this year I’m going to go long on knowledge and not on equipment. The following books in this year’s list are on my bookshelves. Some are really old and some are very new. I read them frequently for pleasure or for use. They may not be the best books for the subjects they cover, but I haven’t come across better. Both new and experienced preppers should have them in their library. If you aspire to be a prepper generalist, these are “tools” that – combined with practice – will help you reach that goal.
So let’s begin.
- Two books that should be on the shelf of any aspiring or experienced home butcher are “Butchering Beef: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering“by Adam Danforth and Temple Grandin, as well as “Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering” by Adam Danforth and Joel Salatin. Both of these books are the bomb with complete (and completely photographed) instructions for the humane dispatching, butchering and packaging of livestock. Each of these books provides detailed information on pre-slaughter treatment, meat aging, and the required tools and equipment as well, each step lavishly displayed in hundreds of photos.
- Next, I would like you to consider a little gem called “Homemade Contrivances and How to Make Them.” It literally describes 1001 constructible things to make life easier at your compound. From “Racks, Mangers, Stanchions and Troughs” to “Country Bridges and Culverts,” you find out how the old-timers did it and how you can too.
- In the same vein, everyone should have James Wesley, Rawles’ “Tools for Survival: What You Need to Survive When You’re on Your Own,” a comprehensive and descriptive list of the tools you’ll need to “… survive on your own.” As I said above, I was a prepper before prepping was “cool,” but I’ve found suggestions in this book for needful tools I hadn’t considered. It’s a great checklist, review, and instruction text all in one, and you should read it.
- Another must-have book is “Making the Best of Basics” by James Talmage Stevens. It lays out food storage in tables and charts and brings you through a step-by-step plan for building an emergency food supply. It’s also filled with recipes and printable checklists.
- Then, take a look at the similarly named “Back to Basics: How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills” put out by Readers Digest (go figure). It has lots of general explanations on everything from beekeeping to snowshoes. Obviously detailed coverage of so many aspects of such a broad topic isn’t possible in one book, but “Back to Basics” will provide you with enough information on each subject to be able to intelligently search out more. Plus it’s just fun to browse and is therefore a great prepper coffee table book.
- If you or your engineer/plumber/metalworker partner doesn’t already have a “Pocket Ref” by Thomas J. Glover, then you’ve got the chance to gift them with a great stocking stuffer. Small enough for a coverall pocket or a tool box, the Pocket Ref is filled with invaluable mechanical data. To prove this point, I will now open mine three times randomly and write out the headings: (1) Insulation value of materials (five small-print pages); (2) Nails (five pages); and (3) Tons of force needed to puncture structural steel. This tiny book has 542 pages of everything from the strength of wood beams by species, to the two-letter designations of airports. Get two or three.
- “The Home Schooled Shootist: Training to Fight with a Carbine” by Joe Nobody. This guy writes some great books, and this one is quite superior. It’s designed for the intermediate-to-advanced shooter and, as usual for Mr. Nobody, it’s strong on process. If you’re interested in improving your shooting skills or know someone who should, this is the book for you. I have a lot of friends who swear by “The Home Schooled Shootist.”
- Here’s a freebie: “Boy Scouts Handbook: The First Edition, 1911.” You can get a hard copy reprint from Amazon or you can download a free copy in epub, pdf or mobi on the Gutenberg site. A wonderful (if kind of sad) read of what real boys used to do and what boys are missing today. It’s packed with actual camping survival skills (just the diagram on making a mattress on site is worth the acquisition).
- On the periodical side, consider giving a great gift to your loved ones (or yourself) by subscribing to “Backwoods Home Magazine” and or “Self-Reliance,” both published by the famed Duffy family. BWH has been a mainstay of homesteading and prepping for over 25 years, and Self-Reliance is the relatively new spin-off managed by Anne Duffy. Although BWH is now only available on Kindle, Self-Reliance is issued as a quarterly print magazine. Whether you read either of them on a Kindle, a computer, or on paper illuminated by a lantern, you won’t find a better collection of instructional articles on guns, food storage, building construction, animal husbandry and every other topic of interest to the true back-to-the-land types in both magazines. If you’re sorry you didn’t start reading Backwoods Home 25 years ago, no worries. You can get anthologies containing almost every article or you can get every article ever published on BWH in the first 24 years (over 2500 articles from 600 authors and searchable by author, title, and key words) on disc. Take a look. It’s all good.
- Got your live-in bug-out all set up, or are considering a move to the country but wondering how to pay your way when you get there? Take a look at “How to Make Money Homesteading ” by Tim Young. He provides a number of practical ways to generate income from your homestead. He also covers the questions you should ask before buying your country dream home and how to protect yourself financially if things head south. There is lots of great information based on the experience of real people who’ve made the move.
- “Cookin’ With Beans and Rice” by Peggy D. Layton is a great low-cost high-value cookbook geared towards the self-sufficient. It contains tons of recipes from main dishes to salads and even desserts, all of which have at their base these two staples of food storage. We eat a lot of delicious meals made with the recipes contained in this book. A fantastic cook book for the prepper chef.
- Now a repeat from last year’s list because it’s so good: “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” by Carla Emery. It is THE classic of self-sufficiency. If you don’t own a copy (or a friend doesn’t), make sure you put this under the tree. This is one book on every “Top Ten” book list out there. Deservedly.
- And last but best, make sure you’ve got some Bibles. Lot of them. Get some you can hand out to others when the spirit moves. You can’t live on bread alone; and when everything around you is a disaster, leaning on yourself is spiritual starvation.
I hope you all have a joyous Christmas. Our earthly future is uncertain (except for the end, of course, when we will all join the majority). May the Peace of God be with you all for evermore.