What Should I Do? Blog

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    Free Range Chickens

    Raising Your Own Chickens

    The basics of having backyard chickens
    by Tom Page

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 3:02 PM


    A major theme of this site is improving resiliency and preparing for a different future than we may be used to at present. One good way that is receiving growing interest is keeping your own chickens for eggs or meat. In this brief article, I will show that raising chickens is fun, easy, and provides many benefits, regardless of the need to prepare for the potential risks of Peak Oil or economic downturns.

    There are many great resources on chickens already out there, with more detailed information than can be contained in this article. I’ll just highlight the basics here and share some of my personal experiences that have been successful.

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    Dealing With a Reluctant Partner

    How to lessen the divide when you're not on the same page
    by Becca Martenson

    Friday, December 17, 2010, 4:13 PM

    Is your partner not “on board” with the ideas in The Crash Course?  Here are the do’s and don'ts of speaking with your reluctant partner.

    In early 2002, the stock market was tanking and Chris watched our savings drop along with it.  Ignoring the platitudes of our financial advisor to "wait it out because the stock market always goes back up," he began an intensely focused (dare I say obsessive?) study of the economy.  What he learned made him both angry and afraid. He ranted about the state of debt levels, the fragility of fiat currencies, and the inequities of the banking system – and I barely listened:  “Uh huh.  Really?  Gosh, that’s too bad.  Can you pass me a diaper, please?”

    The movie “The Matrix” had just come out, providing perfect metaphors that made him sound pretty darn crazy to me:  He talked about having taken the red pill, and that he didn’t want to be a battery for the machine anymore.  I figured this was some kind of mid-life crisis in the works.  It was an emotional squall; I just had to wait it out, and Chris would be back to his usual self in a few months.  But the squall didn’t pass – instead, it picked up energy and became a real storm.  The harder the storm raged, the more I shut down to what Chris was trying to tell me.  He was growing increasingly distrustful of the system and fearful about the impact on his family, but I couldn’t open up and listen to what he was saying at all.  No one else I knew was talking about this stuff.  What was the matter with my husband?


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    Making the Urban-to-Rural Transition

    by joemanc

    Sunday, December 26, 2010, 10:51 PM


    My transition began in the fall of 2008 during the financial crisis. I had watched the Crash Course earlier in the summer, and as the crisis unfolded, I began to take the initial steps, or Step Zero, as has been mentioned on the site before.

    How I Got Here

    In 2008, I was living in a condo in a city of about 50,000. I began to wonder whether living in a condo was the way to go, or to find a house and/or land. I knew the housing market was horrible and that it would get worse. Ultimately, I decided my best bet was to buy a house with land in a small town. The key was getting to that point.

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    Prepping on a Shoestring

    by Amanda Witman

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010, 5:01 PM



    If you are short on time and want a quick list of tips, click here for Ten Free Things You Can Do Right Now. Otherwise, read on:

    How to Prepare When Times Are Already Tight

    Here at PeakProsperity.com, I manage correspondence and respond to most incoming email from users, among other things. We sometimes hear from people who complain that our site is not relevant to their situation because they have no extra funds to invest or put toward preparedness.

    Let me be the first to say that there is something here at PeakProsperity.com for everyone, and there absolutely are meaningful ways to improve your situation and outlook even if you don’t have “extra money.” The good news is that there is still time, and with a little creativity and awareness, you can also be among those who feel more securely prepared for the very different future that we are facing.

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    Practical Survival Skills 101 – Water

    by Aaron M

    Friday, January 7, 2011, 2:35 AM


    In this continuation of our series on practical survival, we’re going to discuss water: where to find it and what to do with it to make it “safe.”

    Water is a common theme in survival – it is unique in that it is both an absolute necessity and a looming threat at the same time. Behind breathable oxygen, it is the single most important element on our survival saw, and we have just three days to ensure a clean, potable supply of water if we are to survive. This is an overview of the “hard” way of procuring safe drinking water. Obviously, Katadyne filters, iodine tablets, and other methods of purification are superior, when they are available. However, we can’t always count on technology, and so here we’ll talk about how to strain impurities/debris and kill microbes in the water.

    When determining how we’ll come by water, there are several things to consider:

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    Situational Problem Solving: Increasing Your Odds of Success When Facing Challenge

    by mooselick7

    Sunday, January 9, 2011, 9:25 PM


    Improvise, Adapt, Overcome is an unofficial slogan among Marines made popular by Clint Eastwood’s movie, Heartbreak Ridge. No matter what your plans for the uncertain future, the ability to improvise, adapt, and overcome problems will be necessary regardless of how well stocked, tooled, provisioned, or conditioned you currently are. 

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    Making Soap

    by Mary Aceves

    Friday, January 14, 2011, 10:02 PM


    Roman history notes that the women washing in the water below the temples after sacrifices found the water there to be foamy and excellent for washing clothes.  The fat had run down through the ashes and rain had washed it down the hill.  They took credit for the invention of soap, although some historians believe it was actually first invented in Egypt. The Spaniards later found that they didn’t have to use animal fat; they used olive oil and created the gentle Castille soap.
    In the United States, at the end of the 19th century, the meat packers discovered that they could take the fat from the pigs, make soap, and extract the glycerin for nitro glycerin. The money was in the glycerin, but with mass production and clever advertising the soap sold well too. 


    There are lots of reasons not to make soap at home. It takes a lot of equipment you shouldn’t use for other purposes. It is inherently dangerous and the raw materials must be respected. It takes some training and skill to make a product that is gentle and pleasant to use. But any soapmaker will tell you that the process is creative and addictive. The soap forms as if by magic. The fragrance of drying soap is intoxicating. The soap itself is better for the skin than commercially produced soaps.


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    by bklement

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 5:59 PM


    I grew up in a house in rural central Wisconsin that didn’t have central air. My father started woodworking when he was a teenager in his parents’ basement. So after he moved out and got married, he started acquiring the tools for his own woodworking shop that resided in the basement. My father has been building furniture and cabinets for people for as long as I can remember. My mother is a wood carver who has won several awards at the International Woodcarver’s Congress. So to avoid the heat on those hot summer days, I headed down to the cool basement and there started on my woodworking education. 


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    Practical Survival Skills 101 – Obtaining Shelter

    by Aaron M

    Friday, January 21, 2011, 10:04 PM


    Authors Note: For this edition of Practical Survival Skills, I want to make things more interactive, as I believe that this format is really beneficial for learning. During the “Mesoscale” discussion, I’ll ask the reader a series of questions that they should answer based on their location. If you don’t want to participate in the conversation, that’s perfectly fine! It’s simply an exercise to get you thinking about how to improvise under pressure.

    The Survival Saw gives us three hours of exposure before we begin to succumb to the elements. 

    This essay is going to largely fill the “mainstream” ideas of what constitutes a wilderness shelter, but I believe in simple, effective techniques, practiced towards perfection, and mental flexibility. Once you understand the concepts, it becomes easier to ‘improvise.’ This is critically important here, because it’s extremely difficult for me to write giving adequate consideration to all environments; it’s incumbent on you to learn your area, know its tendencies, and have the mental flexibility to survive.

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    Cold Frame in the snow - Woodman

    Extending the Harvest in Your Home Garden

    Grow year-round with these simple methods
    by Tom Page

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 11:05 PM


    One way to improve resiliency as well as quality of life is to grow your own vegetables locally. However, gardeners in northern climates are especially challenged by limited growing seasons. In this brief article I will show examples of how to easily extend and preserve the harvest and have fun doing it.

    Why Extend Your Harvest?

    Presently we can drive to the supermarket to get nearly anything we want even in winter. The fresh fruits and vegetables we see have often been grown thousands of miles away in a tropical climate and flown in using a lot of energy may not be so cheap or plentiful in the future. As well as potentially reducing dependence on energy, extending the harvest of your own foods has advantages including:

    • Less work and simpler than preserving by canning or freezing
    • Fresher, higher quality than canned
    • Less expensive than supermarket
    • Increased resiliency with the option to of a local food source
    • Controlling your own food sources is more pleasurable and rewarding


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