What I Did To Prep This Week: September 27th– October 2nd 2020

Hello Pack. We had one heck of a great week of prepping. Bobby and I (and our two blue heelers) just got back from Prepper Camp in Saluda, North Carolina. Once again the three day hands-on self-reliance camp did not disappoint.

We learned new skills, honed existing once, embraced old prepping pals, and made new ones. The atmosphere at Prepper Camp is so very welcoming that no one ever wants to leave when it’s all over – even if it pours down the rain for hours.

The feature photo above is the cabin we stayed in at the Cabin Fever campground a few miles from the event – we were not quick enough clicking on my laptop keyboard to get a cabin or tent space on-site at the event.

It was an amazing cabin and the rustic homemade playground the couple who owns the place built would be every child’s dream – even those who have been allowed to become addicted to electronic screen time.

I was both an instructor and a student at Prepper Camp this year. I officially taught a homesteading homeschool class and shared the self-reliance skills based curriculum that I wrote to grow with children from preschool through senior year. I am in the process of posting all of the theme unit studies to my ETSY shop now.

The photo below shows just a few of the class tents as attendees started to arrive for the first learning experience of the day:

Unofficially, I also taught a class about poultry bird breeds with a side of chicken eggs vs duck eggs. A dozen or so of the folks stayed at the same tent from one class to the next one, and had 15 minutes to kill before the next course started.

One wife laughing at her husband’s misfortune the first time that he attempted to make cheese – the hands-on lesson with Grannie Pam from the prior class. The mush he ended up with was fed to the chickens, hence the impromptu lesson about poultry birds.

Grammie Pam

Grannie Pam making 30-minute mozzarella cheese below. I love her Cooking With Big Flavors recipe book. We all got to taste a piece and it was amazing. I was excited to try Pam’s new powdered vinegar making recipe as soon as we got home.

It would be hard for anyone who attended this potentially life changing and life saving event to pick a favorite class – even those of us blessed enough to be asked to teach by the primary event organizer Rick Austin and his lovely wife, Survivor Jane.

In the photo below is Survivor Jane teaching about basic preparedness skills, needs, and mindset. Her inexpensive “portable bidet” simply has to be the best DIY prepper project ever made.

There will be no need to rush out and buy copious amounts of toilet paper if you make one of these handy little things with an agricultural sprayer.

SJ welcoming students as they start to file into her prepper basics class.

I of course had to hit the “prepper mall” a few times while at camp. I bought and then bartered with Jordan Smith for some manual handheld spinning wheels so that I can make my own yarn from wool and mohair.

They were beautifully and very reasonably priced works of art. In the photo below you will see how easy Jordan makes spinning on a more substantial spinning wheel look easy.

woman showcasing a spinning wheel

The Grumpy Smith offered an introduction in blacksmithing class that helped guide my Bobby and hundreds of others on their quest to work a forge to make tools and weapons. He was as entertaining as he was informative.

the grumpy smith

Getting to spend some time with Chief Joseph and Dr. Laralynn Riverwind was such an unexpected treat. Laralynn started out her college learning at a traditional medical school, but decided that rat race was not for her and became a master herbalist and doctor of naturopathy instead.

I would not dare to attempt to list all of her training and certifications here because I did not write them down and they were lengthy. Their vast array of tinctures and the handmade bead jewelry by her fathers were my most extensive shopping at camp.

Chief Joseph, an Army veteran, was equally impressive both in his activism and the tomahawk throwing class.

Chief Joseph and Dr. Laralynn Riverwind

Hakim Isler was also one of my favorite instructors at Prepper Camp. Isler, a combat veteran and 4th degree ninja blackbelt , is known as “The Black MacGyver.”

I was prepared to be totally unimpressed by him because he was a reality show star – Naked and Afraid, but, I got to know him and a bunch of other people in a long line at a food truck.

Because of the virus, some of the vendors had gone out of business, and the wait for food at lunch was a bit lengthy this year.

Isler is so far more than some muscular guy who did well on a reality show. He is as intelligent as he is brawny, super friendly, and truly motivated to educate and help others.

Hakim Isler started the SOIL (Seeds of Indigenous Learning) Foundation to help youth, veterans, and civil servants to reconnect with nature to find both strength and peace, while overcoming traumatic experiences.

Hakim Isler taught the psychological warfare, machete combat techniques, and the (walking) stick combat classes.

Hakim Isler
Hakim Isler

Suzanne Upton from Birch Water Botanicals taught some intriguing classes about wild food gardening. Even an experienced forager had something to learn from Upton.

The photo below is of “cross weed.” I hope it grows or can grow in Ohio, having an all natural energy booster source at my disposal both now and during a SHTF event will be quite beneficial.

cross vine Bignonia capreolata

Mary from the Wild Abundance school’s vibrant personality drew folks to her booth – even if you were not initially interested in hide tanning and the many classes the school offers.

I do not think I have ever met a friendly or more kind person in my life – and yes, I did learn some handy new hide tanning tips too.

Mary from the Wild Abundance

Taking classes from Richard Clevelend, the owner of the Earth School was another highlight from this year’s Prepper Camp. What I learned about the potential of dandelion root to help treat cancer naturally was worth the seven hour plus drive to Saluda, alone.

I did have an extremely proud grandma moment when multiple adults could not identify commonly growing plants that my 2 ¾, 4, and 5 year old grandkiddos can. The phrase, “raise them up in the way you want them to go” was never more present in my mind.

The adults that were newbie foragers left with a whole new appreciation and excitement about edible and medicinal plants thanks to Richard’s excellent and inspiring teaching skills.

I also had the distinct pleasure to meet and become friends with the Facebook famous “AlphaSixx” Suz Gasaway. She and my beloved have been social media pals for quite a while and he frequently showed me some of her posts.

Digging into what is really going on in America, doing the painstaking research to see the documents referenced on television (as well as the ones that aren’t and should be) so you can actually read them for yourself is just one of Suz’s top skills.

AlphaSixx will not know this until she reads this post, but I really did not think I would like her. Bobby was looking forward to meeting a couple of online buddies and introducing me to them, but I was not sure Suz’s personality and mine would mix.

She seems like she might be a little too intense and fussy, but boy howdy was I wrong. It took all of about five seconds to think yet, definite new best buddy potential.

AlphaSixx can be a part of our survival tribe anytime – I am sure any of you that start following her posts or joined her SHTF preparedness group or SHTF ladies only group, will think the exact same thing.

Those are just the highlights from my Prepper Camp experience this year. There were many more incredible instructors and moments.

Even after having some serious surgeries this year, my prepping mentor Rick Austin was still able to pull off the best self-reliance event in the country during a pandemic … and thousands of folks are so glad he did.

This Week’s Questions:

  1. Which one of my favorite Prepper Camp classes sound like the most useful or interesting to you and why?
  2. Has the pandemic prompted you to decide to homeschool or at least prep for having to teach your children at home during a SHTF event like so many of the attendees to my classes – why or why not?
  3. What did you do to prep this week?


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