Getting Prepared


The Untrained Housewife’s Guide to Getting Prepared: Surviving Emergencies Without Stress

By Robin Egerton and Angela England

176 pages

ISBN: 0615777082



Everyone remembers the Y2K scare.  I can recall numerous individuals who stockpiled toilet paper, ammo, dehydrated carrots, and TVP in a state of panic and fear. Some even went so far as to move to the sticks to avoid the impending chaos that was sure to come. Anyone who didn’t share their view was heckled.   And yet, on January 1, 2000; life went on pretty much the same.  No one apologized for the heckling,  and the dehydrated carrots and TVP were quietly sent on to the missionaries.

This has been my past experience with prepping.  And since I was one of those who was heckled, and later the missionary who received the TVP by the caseload, “prepping”  doesn’t really get me very excited.

But having lived through the Tulsa ice storm of 2007  where I spent a miserable three days (we were among the lucky ones) in the cold and dark, and currently living in the heart of tornado alley where we had our first big storm last week; I have come to realize that prepping isn’t necessarily a doomsday sort of thing.  It is just being sufficiently prepared to face whatever might come your way; whether it be unemployment, a major storm, or even unexpected company.

Because we live in a rural area off the beaten path, being prepared has been a main focus for us.   We don’t live completely off grid, but we have a strategy to survive in the event the grid goes down.  I had therefore seen us as a couple who is “prepared”.

Recently however, I had the opportunity to read the new release of Getting Prepared by Robin Egerton and Angela England; and through this simple, straightforward, and yet detailed guide I was made aware of some areas in our strategy that could use some improvement.

Before listing those though, I just wanted to say that often times the terms “prepper” and “survivalist” and the connotations in which they can be used ie. disaster, economic collapse, terrorist attack; are very frightening.  I tend to run when I encounter them.  One thing that I really appreciated about this book was the absence of fear.  The motivation is simply to analyze where you live  and be prepared to survive up to 30 days in any situation you could realistically face.  For us that would be a tornado, a drought, or an ice storm.  With that approach, I was able to read through, even enjoy the suggestions given by the authors.

So here is my to do list for getting prepared prompted by the guide:

1. A  72 hour emergency kit and a safe place

A storm cellar has been on my radar for some time and I had seen and heard about the need for these kits out and about in the world of emergency preparedness.  But honestly, they had seemed to me like a superfluous pain in the rear…until the first tornado warning in the very wee hours of last Thursday morning.  We stood in the living room looking at each other  while the storm blazed outside.  Where do we go?  A radio report indicated a tornado touch down several miles west of us that had torn off the roof of a building.  If that had been us, what would we have done?  Husbie said to me, “I think we really do need a kit. One for each of us, and one for the dogs to include their food and water.”   Fortunately one whole chapter of the book is devoted to what should be in your kit.

2. Purchase and learn to use an alternate cooking source

While we do have a propane stove, the starter is electric.  Even though we may be able to work around that by lighting the stove with a match,  having an alternate source for cooking and the skills and know-how to prepare a meal without a stove wouldn’t hurt.  One of the suggestions in chapter 3 on Kitchen Supplies was a Dutch Oven along with detailed instructions on how to get one started.   Since we enjoy cooking and love to cook outdoors, this is a new skill we’d like to learn.   Other suggestions included a stockpile of charcoal for the grill, as that is one of the top items to disappear in an emergency.

3. Refine our foraging skills

We’ve already given this a try by foraging for dandelion greens and plantain, but there are several other sources of free food available for the taking if we could learn to identify them.  The book includes several photos for identifications, and I loved the suggestion to actually cultivate some weeds in the garden.  With plantain voluntarily springing up between our lettuces, this is something we should be able to accomplish effortlessly.

4. Put together a basic first aid kit

I know.  Having this as an item on a “to-do” list instead of  in a box in my bathroom cabinet is a no-no, and really should be #1 on my list.   In addition to the obvious necessities suggested for the kit, the authors have also included a list of herbal preparations  and essential oils for those of us who are of the crunchier variety.  I appreciated that and look forward to putting together some natural alternatives.

While I would highly recommend the manual as a resource for those getting started with emergency preparedness, I feel the need to gently point out that some of the canning tips and procedures presented had me concerned. 

Suggesting that lids do not need to be prepared prior to processing or that processed jars can be left in the canner to cool were just a few of the tips I disagreed with and which prevent me from being able to recommend this as a canning guide.   While some of the recipes are helpful, they should be cross referenced with a reliable source such as The Complete Guide to Canning and Preserving published by the USDA or The Ball Blue book.


What sorts of things do you prepare for and how?


 Getting Prepared is now available on Amazon in Kindle format HERE and paperback HERE.


Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for the review but the thoughts and opinions are all my own.

Find this post and others like it linked to: The Homestead Barn Hop, Homemade Mondays, The Backyard Farming Connection, Tuesdays with a Twist, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, The HomeAcre Hop, Farm Girl Blog Fest

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Getting Prepared — 13 Comments

  1. I absolutely admire your desire to learn new skills and then share them with the world. Good things will come to you and Black Fox Homestead because of that. You are right, being prepared is an absolute essential part of homesteading – not just the fad of “prepping.”

    • We have seriously considered one of those and may get one yet. Still trying to decide where we’d put it.

  2. We’ve invested in some food, water, bug out bags and medical supplies since we live in N Texas and share the tornado warnings that happen often in spring storms. Three years ago we had a freak snowstorm which resulted in 12 inches of snow which is almost unheard of here. That’s when the electric company let us down. Fourteen hours, overnight, without power was really hard. Luckily we had a supply of firewood and a fire place to burn it in. That allowed us to cook, keep tea warm and we all slept in the living room together. I do so want a storm shelter, but we are still looking for our farm and rent so we can’t have one now.

    • Your snowstorm sounds like our ice storm. It was miserable. Best wishes in locating a farm!

  3. We’re really lucky where we are that the event of an emergency to leave us snowed in or stormed in etc is unlikely. The most serious threats we face here is bushfire and one doesn’t hang around in the instance of a bushfire. :) We’re above the 100 year flood levels and the rest of the town is too. There are several ways out of town, all bar one of which are high enough to be flood free. There are no tornadoes where we are, no tropical cyclones, 500m asl so no tidal waves but a large storm could take out power. We did lose the power for 9 hours a few weeks back. In winter the coldest we’re likely to receive is -4C so we could survive all in 1 bed in thick jarmies and all our doonas piled on overnight and the days will be around 10C which although cold is definitely survivable with warm clothes. We have a wood heater called Ignisa that has a cook top and oven, both of which I’m learning to cook in. In fact soup and rolls tonight were all cooked using Ignisa. :) She also heats our hot water so we don’t need to rely on gas or electricity for that. We buy in bulk so we have enough food to get us through a couple of weeks at least, oil lamps and a kerosene lantern too so we have lighting. It’s all slow, steady and (hopefully) sensible preparation for when peak oil bites and conventional heating and lighting becomes unaffordable. :)
    I recently did an online test through a friends blog ( if you don’t mind me linking it) and we fell down in areas of medication and security. It was a good test to give a nice overall view of areas to focus on and areas that you’ve got it pretty right.

  4. Hi Jenny! This book sounds like a great resource for everyone. In Florida we have to be prepared for hurricanes which can know out the power for 3 weeks or more.
    Thanks for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist!

  5. Thanks for the review. We live along the coast in Texas and so hurricanes is our main thing we need to be prepared for. One thing we have is a fireproof portable safe in our home. We keep all the important papers such as birth certificates, titles, wills and insurance records in there. We also keep some cash in there. My husband and I each have a key and each of my teenage boys have a key. They know where it is and that in the event of an emergency they are to get it before leaving the house IF it is safe to do so. One of my goals this summer is to get all of our photos on flash drives and get them in the safe.

    • That’s a really good idea Angi. A safe is another one of those things that we’ve talked about but not done yet. One of the recommendations in the book was to have those papers you suggested in a place where they cannot be lost or damaged and photos are irreplaceable.

  6. Though we already have solar thermal panels for heating our hot water my husband and I eventually want to get a roof of solar panels for electricity, the really big expense will be the batteries to store the power from the sun. But living in New England and with our new “every 100 year storm” coming every year we would like an alternative to relying on the utility company. We live in a rural area and with each of the last 3 bad storms we lost power for over a week.