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How to Prep for the Worst: Advice from a Modern-Day Survivalist

A Survivalist's List of Things You Need to Outlast a Potential Crisis


You've heard of them, you may know one or even be one. So what or who is a prepper? Preppers, survivalists, and homesteaders are individuals that wholeheartedly believe that one can prepare for any calamity as long as you do x, y, and z. Mike and Serena are learning everything they need to be ready for the next potential economic, natural, or health crisis.


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Transcript

Starting at {10:56}


Serena

I found a nice lady named Misty that is also a military spouse that is going to talk to us about what she does as prepping just to kind of give us insight. We've kind of talked before on the show about my husband being what we call prepper light.


As a service member, he's always wanted to prep. I always have to rein him in because we PCS (Permanent Change of Station) every few years. Due to weight limits, we can't have all of these extra dry and canned goods. We can't have that keep and transport that stuff in bulk because it's heavy. It's not economical to haul around with you to every duty station. Because of this fact, we've always been prepper light. My husband wants to prep because he worries about the economy. He worries about natural disasters.

We grew up in Kansas, where tornadoes are a thing. We don't belong to a church or community where they have food pantries and things available. He worries about that kind of stuff. He's worried about how do we protect ourselves. If shit hits the fan, will we be prepared? I know that I used to laugh about that, but today, I don't laugh about it.

Misty, welcome.


Misty

Hi, guys. It's nice to be here. Thanks.


Serena

So I guess we'll start off Misty, what started you with prepping? Do you have just canned goods? What do you do? Tell me what made you start doing it.

Misty

So really, I have been prepping. Prepping has been turned into a dirty word. I've been prepping since before prepping was cool. I grew up in that type of lifestyle. Not like the doomsday-type preppers, but very rural. I grew up on a farm and my family had always tried to be self-sufficient as possible. Growing up in the late 70s, early 80s, there wasn't a lot of finances. My father worked in the oil field; it was either boom or bust.

We garden, we raise our own animals for food, whether it be eggs, and milk, or fried chicken and hamburgers. It was a natural thing for me. My husband and I have been married for going on 12 years. He had quite a few years in the military prior to that. He's at about 22 years, because of his community and his rate, he's very much tied into one base. He's kind of in high demand. So where we are, we're very fortunate. We don't have to move around.


My folks are right down the road. So this is where I'm from. After we've been married for about a year, we had our daughter who is now 11. I was fortunate enough to get to stay home with her and leave my career. I want my kids to see how I grew up and experience that. We started with chickens and goats, then added milk cows, hogs, and things like that. Prepping has been a lifestyle. I don't think of it as prepping, I think of it as being self-sustainable, or as self-reliant as possible.


Serena

And that's really awesome. When my husband says we don't have enough of this or we don't have enough of that. I say we live in a little tiny cul de sac in a city that we're leaving in three months, relax. I feel what he's talking about. I would love to be able to sustain ourselves in that sense. If I need something, I love the idea of knowing that I have a can of tomatoes downstairs that we grew. I don't have a green thumb, my husband does the growing and I do the canning.

Misty

Like you said there are so many things that can happen, whether it be natural disaster-related or the economy and to know that even in the smallest way you can provide whether it's you're growing own greens for dinner or you're growing enough to can and use through the summer and they put by for the winter.

Mike

So do you just grow for your family?


Misty

I do right you know I grew up in the if you have extra you share it, I do canning but if I've got an overabundance of zucchini, everyone knows zucchini season because everybody locks their cars.


Mike

Why do they lock their cars? I'm confused on that one.

Misty

Because those people that that garden zucchini is always the running joke because once it starts to take, then you have more of it than you could ever you start giving your neighbors and your community.

Just a random donation. Here you go.


Serena

I love it. I love it if I would have a bag of zucchinis in my car. I was able to grow zucchinis in South Carolina when we lived there. My husband had a hydroponics garden and zucchini took so well that we had to give away zucchini because we grew too much. I can't make enough bread and my kids were sick of them. I don't know how to can food, can you teach me?


Misty

Let me tell you dehydrators are great things.

Serena

Oh, I do have one of those. I don't stock like a crazy person. I always make sure we have toilet paper and paper towels in the house because of my little ones. I have an autoimmune disease where I need to have certain medication. I do stock that kind of stuff, just in case.


Considering a Kansas winter, I have a couple of Costco-sized bottles of the medication I need then that'll last me maybe a month or two. Growing up in Kansas. If you have an ice storm, you can be out of power and can't get leave your house because of ice for a week or two. I'm not even talking about collapse. I'm talking about how do I survive for a week or two without that kind of stuff?


Misty says she preps for her family and then if she has enough, she shares. Misty, do you make sure that you always have a certain amount of things on hand? Do you keep track of that kind of stuff? I would assume you have to so things don't go bad, right?


Misty

Absolutely. I try to treat what I have in stock like a grocery store would. First in is what we use first. Anything that I buy new goes to the very back of that tub or shelf. I do keep quite a bit extra lately since we're in this odd situation with a pandemic and because I too have an autoimmune disorder. So I've been able to kind of be a hermit and enjoy it.


If it's something that's just in a tub, I Sharpie the date on it. So I know that I'm using things in order of which they were purchased. I keep an eye on kind of where my expiration dates are. The casual preppers like to tell you that expiration dates are not a huge thing, whether it's in canned goods, or even medications, because those are usually just recommendations. I don't always stick to that.


Serena

You gotta look at your vegetables, I'm not gonna eat puffy can have a carrot.


Misty

Right, right. You know, anything that's dented or dinged, or from 1970.


Serena

It sounds like it when it comes to the military, I say this in the most nicest and polite is when it comes to my heart, you guys have had it made with being able to prepare for your family and live the life you live. I I envy that as a military spouse. Awesome that you guys got to do that as a family and that you've stayed in this one place for so long. You've been fortunate enough to stay home with your children and your husband being in the military. Does that mean that you bared a lot of the weight of your homestead?

Misty

Absolutely. And that was an agreement. My husband is not a huge animal lover, we did not work cows well together.


Serena

I mean, that's you got to really get along to do that


Misty

You really do. There are some ugly words said sometimes, apologies made later. The understanding was always that I knew what his job was, that I make plans, God and the military laugh. He said, as long as you have money to buy these things, to feed these things, and you've paid the bills first, you do whatever you want. Knowing that you have to take care of it. So I was the one swapping hogs or throwing in hay and bringing two cows are milking cows twice a day. It is my deal. So aside from virtual learning from my kiddo that I supervise right now. That's what I do.


Serena

I have an 11-year-old doing virtual right now.

Mike

Well, you guys are virtual learning, that's not a little thing. Teaching homeschooling these kids is a big thing. It takes a lot of damn time.

Misty

It really it really is. I try to give a lot of grace to our teachers because they're phenomenal. Where we're at right now, we have the option to be virtual or to be a traditional student. Because of the restrictions that they put on our military members, and the risk that I'm under with my health, we decided to keep our daughter home and to do school virtually. It's really tough on these teachers trying to teach a traditional class. They've got double the burden because they have to keep track of virtual students. So we kind of fall in between the cracks where we don't get all of the new learning instruction. Do you remember when Jeff Foxworthy made a show called Smarter than a fifth grader?


Serena

Yes

Michael

Yeah, I wasn't very good at it.


Misty

I love Google because you can put almost anything and it comes right up. I'm relearning and teaching my kiddo as well.


Serena

My husband walks in the door at night, and he looks at my son and says, what happened today? I can't do the math.

Well, I have to say, Misty, it sounds like you've had your hands full with schooling, keeping your homestead running, and keeping that lifestyle running. Covod added extra flair to all that. I feel bad that happened to you but I hope that you felt prepared.


Misty

I feel like we were a little bit more prepared than other folks, but there was still that apprehension. I don't prep for any certain thing. We try to kind of keep an eye on what's going on and the international news, even the local news, just to see what's going on. How do the gas prices look? What is the weather? Is that going to affect corn crops, soy, or wheat?


Michael

All I worry about is when does Walmart close?


Serena

I feel like Mike is on the total opposite end of the spectrum. I'm falling right in the middle. I did grow up on land with farm animals, and all of those things. We didn't raise cattle to eat the beef ourselves. We had steers and things like that. I'm not totally naive to farm animals and what it takes. I can't imagine if I had to get up and go feed everybody and make sure no water is frozen. Make sure everybody's got hay and everybody's warm. Then come back to the house and then help make sure my kids are doing all their schoolwork. I can't imagine having to do all that right now. I know people do that. I know that's a tale as old as time people that actually homeschool. They have to do that too. I can't even fathom having to do that right now.

Misty

Let me tell you, there are definitely times when it's 15 degrees outside and I'm saying screw this. Let's sell everything and move to Florida. Trade all those real animals for flamingos and a trailer. I'm done mowing the yard. I'm done, let's just go.


Serena

That's so funny. Just to kind of wrap this up, you said prepping is such an ugly word. It makes people sound cuckoo. There are also some people that just want to live off their own land and sustain themselves, which is really admirable. What's one myth that you would like to say like to us and to everybody listening that you don't the thing that you'd like the least about? That ugly word of prepping? What's the worst myth?


Misty

Not everybody is a doomsday prepper. We're not all insane. We don't all stock beans, band aids and bullets. There's so much that's involved in that. It's not in the world and Zombie Apocalypse stuff. It's being prepared to take care of your family, regardless of what life throws at you. I think a lot of military spouses can agree with that and say if they really stop and think about it, they're a little bit prepper at heart, too.


Serena

Yes, I totally agree. And what a great note, to end this conversation on. As military spouses, we have to learn to roll with the punches. In this world, everybody is kind of getting a taste of what a military spouse kind of has to deal with. Everybody is stuck at home and we're usually doing this solo. What a wild time that we're living in right now. Misty, I totally appreciate you talking to us. I know that it's a sensitive subject for a lot of people. I love that you gave us some time today to ask you some questions. I will probably be reaching out here soon. I'd love to learn some things. It sounds like you might be a wealth of knowledge for me. I'd like to learn. I'd love to learn if you'd be willing to teach me off the record.


Misty

Really, anytime, Serena, I think it's important that we all always keep our skills updated and growing. Thanks for having me, guys.




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