Prepping with CERT


Last weekend I had the pleasure of taking FEMA’s basic CERT (Citizen’s Emergency Response Team) class at my local fire department. Say what you will about FEMA, but this class is a prepper’s dream. Yes, you will get a lot of information that you already know, but you will be surprised at what you don’t. I have been prepping for a number of years, but this class humbled me. We are all beginners, no matter how long we have been at this. Here are a few things I wasn’t expecting:

  • You will meet like-minded folks from all different walks of life. We had a geologist, parents, fire and law enforcement personnel, HAM operators, and all manner of retired bad-asses and crazy geniuses in our group. This is an incredible networking opportunity!
  • You probably had a hunch that in a major disaster, help would be scarce. In your class, you will find out what your city/county resources really are and how they will be allocated. When you see where most folks fit in on that list, you will be, lets say, inspired to get your preps in order and truly be able to take care of yourself and your family should disaster strike.
  • You will learn about disaster psychology, which is often overlooked and so very important when dealing with panicked zombies, and/or your neighbors.

Day 1:

We covered CERT organization and ICS (Incident Command System). ICS is the structure under which CERT, and other responders, work. You will likely be required to take an online prerequisite which describes this chain of command. Our group was particularly fortunate to have a fire chief for a teacher, as he is very familiar with how things really go down in an emergency, and with the importance of having trained people in place should roads be impassable. Your first goal as a CERT is to take care of yourself and your family. Then, and only then, do you move on to help others. This helps ensure that you do not become another casualty for professional responders to deal with, when (perhaps days or weeks later) they can finally get to you.

Day 2:

I was delighted to come to class and find an EMT there to teach us all about triage and emergency medical treatment. The triage section was emotionally difficult. Nobody wants to think about sticking that black tag on another human being. The pictures were graphic and real. Ouch. I was eternally thankful the Chief had strong coffee for us early on a Saturday morning. The emergency medical treatment section was fascinating. Should I ever have to deal with a severed limb situation I feel quite prepared. How to treat a blocked airway or shock? Covered. What are the different types of burns and how do you deal with them? Covered. What do you do with someone who is running around with a head wound and shouting obscenities at you? Yep. Also, I got some great tips on things to put in my emergency medical kit. As in, what the pros are carrying. (Combat Action Tourniquet & SAM Splints)

Next came the fire suppression segment. I’m sure we all have fire extinguishers, but how well can you use one? It’s not just point and shoot, there is a finesse to it. Also, there are several different types and sizes. Does yours have a gauge? It should! Not only did we learn all about fire and fire extinguishers, but we got to don our gloves and goggles and put out a real friggin fire! BOO-YAH!

Day 3:

On this day we started with light search and rescue. It was all about keeping yourself safe while helping your neighbor who may be trapped in his home after a disaster. You know those FEMA markings we all saw on houses after Katrina? They seemed cryptic and scary to a lot of us, but really they were the scrawlings made by helpful volunteers who were trying to save lives. They let people know the house has been searched and what/who was found inside. We learned methods for carrying the incapacitated out of a dangerous situation as well as how to evaluate whether a structure is even safe to go searching in.

Disaster psychology was next, and this was a rough one. How do you deal emotionally with those terrible things you can never un-see?  It is so valuable to have a support network during and after a disaster. We all like to think that we will be able to keep on keepin’ on, but you have to keep in mind that you are not only the rescuer, but also a victim. These things are, as the Chief said, not things human beings were meant to see.

Next, there was a section on terrorism. Now, there is not a whole lot a CERT can do to help during a terrorist event, but this section includes a lot of info on sheltering in place.

We ended the day with a search and resucue simulation where we put our skills to the test. We broke out into Search, Rescue, and Medical Teams following and Incident Command Structure. We searched the firehouse and found someone (a dummy) trapped under a trailer and some downed wood. We used a leveraging and cribbing technique to extricate him, then evaluated his status. This is where it really hit home that drills are so very important. It took us a good 25 minutes from the time that we entered the building to the time we were evaluating him. We found that he was in shock, but the unbelievable part is we didn’t even see that he had a severed hand. Granted, this was a dummy, so no blood. But if we had done a proper head to toe check, we would have seen it. This guy was toast. Practice, practice, practice.


Charley Davis

New Military Issue Combat Application Tourniquet, CAT

SAM Splint Combo Pack – 2 Orange & Blue Splints and 2 rolls Blue Cohesive Wrap

Nexis Preparedness Systems CT-521 C.E.R.T. Level-2 Backpack Kit

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8 SHTF Hand Tools You May Not Have Thought of


If you have been homesteading or prepping for any length of time, you probably have, or have thought about, what you would need if you were off-grid, or if you were in a grid-down scenario. We all probably have the basics: Hammer, saw, screwdrivers etc., but what would you really need to operate your home or homestead?

We are so very fortunate to have our modern power tools, but if that were not the case, we’d need to think like great-grandpa did. The following is a list of tools that you may really be thankful for someday. You may even find yourself using some of them when the power is on!

Brace (Hand Drill)

You are going to need to drill stuff, build stuff, and screw things in. Maybe big things. You will need to do repairs and reinforcements on your home, and boy would that be a pain in the patootie with nothing but a set of regular screwdrivers! We have one of these on the Funny Little Farm and it gets used even now when we don’t want to pull out the Makita to drill one hole or, ahem, we forgot to charge it.

Stanley – 5044 Bit Brace 250 Mm 10In


You are going to need to get those precious seeds into the ground! If you are fortunate enough to have an animal to pull a plow, you won’t even give this tool a second glance, but tilling the earth by hand is hard work. A cultivator will not make it a piece of cake, but it will help loosen up clay or rocky soil. One of these is also handy to have if you have a small to medium size garden plot already and just want to aerate it in the spring before planting.

TrimmerPlus GC720 Garden Cultivator with Four Premium Tines

Cross Cut Saw

Here’s the deal…Trees are big. Winter is cold. Fire is warm. When there is no fuel for your chainsaw, you will either need one of these or a trained pet beaver.

Lynx 5′ Two Man Crosscut Saw


If you are building something in a long-term grid down situation, it’s likely you won’t be able to run to the lumberyard and get nice, perfectly shaped planks for your project. It’s more likely you are going to be trying to fit together pieces of fallen wood or wood you have cut yourself. Get those pieces to interlock perfectly or fit snugly together with woodworking chisels. To this end, consider a Hand Plane and set of files as well.

Irwin M444SB6N Blue Chip Bevel Edge Woodworking Chisel Set, 6-Piece (Box set)

Block and Tackle

These things are great! You’re going to need to move things. Potentially very heavy things. And nobody wants to risk a back injury when they need to be out plowing a field the next day if the family is going to eat this Summer. You can find these handy lifters in varying weight capacities and specific various tasks. There are ones for lifting tons, and ones for lifting game. You can get a pretty nautical one and even use it as a decoration! Pair it with a winch and you are golden.

Super-Handy Heavy-Duty 4,000 LB Capacity Rope Hoist

Ratcheting tie downs

Rope is great for many tasks, but you can’t beat ratcheting tie downs for holding power. If you haven’t used these before, your world will change when you do. There is a wide strap with a hook on each end, and there is a ratchet in the middle that you use to tighten the strap. You can use these to keep things in place when you are hauling on a trailer, you can use them to keep your greenhouse or other yard stuff from blowing away in a windstorm, you can even use them as a come-along when moving very heavy objects on skids.

Erickson 34416 Pro Series Black 2″ x 10′ Retractable Ratcheting Tie-Down Strap


This tool is used when you are trying to use an area of your property where the earth has a lot of roots and/or rocks in it. You can show those roots who’s boss with this thing and get your dirt ready for planting or building upon.

Truper 31638 5-Pound Cutter Mattock with Fiberglass Handle


So many uses…. Carrying water from the source to your filtering system, carrying rocks or wood, moving anything not quite heavy enough for a winch. Now, you can get steel sided ones or ones with larger capacity than the one I’m recommending here, but let me tell you why this one works for our family.

  • Solid tires. In a SHTF situation we don’t want to worry about flats.
  • This folds up and fits in our van. If we were in a situation where we had to walk home, I could just plunk the kiddos and bug out bag I keep in the car in there and watch me roll.
  • You can fit a lot of stuff in here. It is not only useful on the farm, but could be a lifesaver when you are trying to get out of Dodge.

EasyGoWagon Folding/Collapsible Utility Wagon Black

I hope this list helps you on your preparedness journey. If you have ideas for other items, let the readers know by leaving a comment!


Charley Davis

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Making and Canning Stock (Bone Broth)


Back when I was in Culinary school (Oui, the farm girl is classically trained!), we learned that a good stock is the basis for almost all cooking. In fact, we spent the first three months learning almost exclusively knife skills and stock-making. Now, real stock (or bone broth) is an entirely different animal than your canned broth. This stuff is flavorful, healthy, and gorgeous. You can use it in all your sauces, you can cook rice in it, basically you can use it anywhere you might use water in a savory dish to increase the flavor potential like mad.

And you can make and can it at home! From scratch!

The health benefits are astounding. It is incredibly vitamin and mineral dense, and is an excellent source of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. It contains collagen for health skin and hair. It’s rich in glycine and proline, which are amino acids important for a healthy gut and digestion. (Some people use it for leaky gut syndrome). And, it contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, which reduce inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain.

Well then Charley, how do you make the stuff?!?!

You start with bones. As many as you can muster up. Chicken or turkey bones for poultry stock can be raw, or if you’ve roasted some chickens and picked all the meat off, that’s fine too. I usually freeze the bones from our chicken dinners and then make stock after I have enough to fill our big stock pot. Beef or lamb bones should be roasted for a bit in the oven until they are a nice dark caramel color to give your beef or lamb stock extra flavor.

Take your bones and put them in a big pot. Fill the pot with water so it comes up about 2 inches over the bones. You don’t want to have too much water or your stock will be, er, watery.

Now for your veggies. The amount you add is going to depend on how many bones you have. I’ll give an example for a 5 quart pot (which is the standard large pot in most sets). We use a larger stock pot (15 quarts) so I just triple these amounts. Keep in mind these ingredients are for flavor, so you don’t need to be exact. Don’t let the fact that you only have 1 bunch of celery in the house keep you from making stock.

  • 2 small or 1 large onion. Take off the root end and any moldy skin, cut the onions in half, and plunk ’em in.
  • 1/2 bunch of celery. You can cut the pieces about 3 inches long.
  • 3 or so medium carrots, but the pieces about 3 inches long also.

Next, your herbs. In fancy culinary speak this is called the “bouquet garni”. If you would like to feel fancy and impress you friends, you can bind these herbs up in a cheesecloth bag (kind of like a tea bag), Honestly, I just throw them in the pot. I rarely make stock when friends are over, and my friends are impressed when I have just gone to the trouble of brushing my hair and picking up the children’s discarded cheerios off of the floor. We call them floorios, but that’s for another post.

  • Half a bunch of parsley
  • A few bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons of peppercorns
  • Some rosemary if you’ve got it, and maybe some oregano and/or thyme, about a tablespoon each.

Hint: Fresh herbs are always better. Not just because they are fresh, but because they are way easier to strain out later.

Ready to simmer!

Ready to simmer!

Now, put your pot over medium high heat until it begins to just simmer. When the simmering starts, you want to adjust your heat so that it simmers but does not boil. Boiling will make the stock cloudy. Now let it simmer for the rest of the day. Before bed, check to make sure your water level is about three inches above the bones. Some of the bones will float, that’s ok, just make approximate measurements. Don’t turn the heat up, it will come back on its own. Let it simmer all night.

In the morning, you are ready to strain. Do not be tempted to let it cool down because it will take forever and you are allowing bacteria to grow. yuk. Just use some good tongs to pick out the big pieces, then place a strainer or cheesecloth lined colander over a bucket or another big pot and pour.

Straining the stock

Straining the stock

You have stock! Ta-da! At this point you can freeze the stock, or if you would like to can it, read on.


You must use a pressure canner to can stock. A water bath canner will not reach the temperatures needed to keep stock germ-free.

Make sure all your jars are clean and free of chips or cracks. Fill them with the stock, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Place your lids on and screw the rings on finger tight. Add water to your pressure canner according to the manufacturer instructions.

My Presto Pressure Canner

My Presto Pressure Canner

Hint: I always add a tablespoon of white vinegar to the water to keep the outside of the jars from getting cloudy.

Put the lid on you canner and follow your canner’s directions for heating the water up.

Here are the recommended processing times from the National Center for Home Food Preservation:

Table 1. Recommended process time for Meat Stock in a dial-gauge pressure canner.
Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 2,000 ft 2,001 – 4,000 ft 4,001 – 6,000 ft 6,001 – 8,000 ft
Hot Pints 20 min 11 lb 12 lb 13 lb 14 lb
Quarts 25 11 12 13 14
Table 2. Recommended process time for Meat Stock in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.
Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints 20 min 10 lb 15 lb
Quarts 25 10 15


Now you have canned stock! Go do a happy dance in your pantry!


Charley Davis

A disclosure about affiliate links: Affiliate links allow me to make a small commission from sales related to posts. This is what keeps Funny Little Farm up and running, so if you would like to support the farm and you see something you need, this is a great place to get it!

Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker

Presto 09995 7 Function Canning Kit

Bayou Classic 1124 24-Quart All Purpose Stainless Steel Stockpot with Steam and Boil Basket

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Cover the Basics: 8 Prepper Tools to Get You Through a Disaster

This article by Tess at Ready Nutrition really does a great job of covering the basics of what you would need in a small scale disaster scenario. We all need to eat, drink, and poop, and she’s got ya covered!



Many of us made the stark realization of just how dependent we are on our modern conveniences quickly following a disaster. It seems that only when the lights go out and the stove won’t turn on, or the air conditioner doesn’t cool down the house do we even think about being more prepared for these setbacks. The above mentioned was my personal realization eight years ago when my family and I went through the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. I had three small children under the age of 5 and had to deal with the municipal water being questionable, not having a way to prepare food, having to use flashlights as a way of getting through the night. I’ll be honest, we couldn’t even maintain our basic needs continuously for two weeks. This was my husband’s and my “ah ha” moment. After that event we made the decision to never go through a disaster under prepared again and quickly began prepping for disasters and found ourselves on a life-changing path.

Continue reading on Ready Nutrition

Berkey BK4X2-BB Big Berkey Stainless Steel Water Filtration System with 2 Black Filter Elements

Lodge L410 Pre-Seasoned Sportsman’s Charcoal Grill

Tote-able Toilet Seat and Lid

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Elderberry Syrup For Colds and Flu



Looking for a natural way to boost immunity? Want to keep those coughs and colds from getting out of hand? Elderberry syrup is so simple to make and tasty to boot. I never have trouble getting the littles to have a sip. And in my opinion, it’s a great idea to know how to take care of our bodies without having to run to the doctor for every illness and owie. You never know when you may not have access to a professional.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the benefits of Elderberries From HerbWisdom.comElderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. Elderberries were listed in the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs as early as 1985, and are listed in the 2000 Mosby’s Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever.

We don’t have wild growing elderberries in our neck of the woods. I’ve planted a few bushes around the Funny Little Farm but they are young and have yet to produce a bumper crop. I usually go ahead and order organic Elder%20Berries Whole Organic – 1 lb,(Frontier)dried ones online.

All you need to do is take 2 cups of water and 1 cup of elderberries and simmer them in a pot for about 40 minutes. Strain out the berries and add a sweetener if you so choose. I add 1/2 cup honey. Store this in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

In our house we take 1 Tablespoon a day for healthy adults, and 1 teaspoon a day for healthy kids. If we have a cold or flu we take 1 dose in the morning and 1 in the evening.

In good health,


Charley Davis

A disclosure about affiliate links: Affiliate links allow me to make a small commission from sales related to posts. This is what keeps Funny Little Farm up and running, so if you would like to support the farm and you see something you need, this is a great place to get it!

Elder Berries Whole Organic – 1 lb,(Frontier)

Culina Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers, Silver, Set of 3

17 Oz Pocket Flask

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A Review of APack MREs


So, today I just happened to have a little extra time with Bearded Husband. It was a lovely sunny day, around lunchtime, so we decided to sit down to a nice romantic MRE. Really, best husband ever.

This is review is for the APack Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini meal. I have to admit I wasn’t going into this with the highest of expectations, but Bearded Husband was going along with my prepper shenanigans so I decided to roll with it. We opened the package and examined the contents.


  • 1 Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini entree with warmer
  • 1 Spoon for shoveling said entree into gullet
  • 1 Package of crackers
  • 1 Package of peanut butter, presumably to decorate crackers
  • 1 Oatmeal cookie
  • 1 Package of raisins
  • 1 Pack of M&Ms
  • 1 Drink mix (Lemon)
  • Pepper (no salt), and wet wipe

We followed the instructions for heating up the meal pouch. You take the pouch and put it in the green heating bag, and add the little packet of salt water. Then you put it back in the little cardboard box and wait 12 minutes. You can hear it bubbling!

While we waited for it to heat, we tried the other stuff.


The crackers tasted like saltines without the salt. The peanut butter tasted like any other creamy peanut butter out there.


The cookie was dry but actually quite good.

The drink mix tasted an awful lot like Gatorade mix.

The raisins…. oh boy. Not good. There was something definitely wrong there. They had an off flavor, Bearded Husband thought it might be the glycerol preservative. I thought it was a plastic flavor.


Then it was time for the big reveal!


The Chicken Tetrazzini was totally NOT GROSS! It was actually quite tasty. There were bits of chicken, of course. And bits of vegetable (red and green bell pepper). There was a bit of spice to it, and the sauce was surprisingly creamy.

All in all, if the SHTF I would really consider myself fortunate if I had a few of these socked away. It was fast, easy, and filling. I think I’ll get some for camping too! And maybe some for the auto emergency kit…and a few for the bug out bag…


Charley Davis

A disclosure about affiliate links: Affiliate links allow me to make a small commission from sales related to posts. This is what keeps Funny Little Farm up and running, so if you would like to support the farm and you see something you need, this is a great place to get it!


Columbia River Knife And Tool’s Eat N Tool 9100Kc Black Oxide Multi Tool

Tactical Assault Military Army Style Backpack By Monkey Paks with Hydration Water Bladder Included * Acu Camo * Black * Tan * Water Resistant Rucksack * Molle Compatatible * Great for Bug Out Bag or Daypack * 600 D Nylon Multiple Zippered Pockets to Keep All Your Stuff Organized (Tan)

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9 Steps to Build a DIY Off-Grid Solar System

Ok, so here at the Funny Little Farm we’ve been working on getting all schooled in solar power. The goal is to have a solar powered quail house by next winter. This tutorial from Survival and Perspective is hands-down the best I have seen, and boy howdy, have I looked! Now I have no excuse not to get started…

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5 Ways to Make Survival Candles from Household Items 

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Preparing Your Children for Disasters

This is one of the scariest things a prepper parent thinks about. What if we are not together when a disaster hits? The best way to ensure their safety is to get them prepared!



By Pat Henry – The Prepper Journal

Preppers try to plan for all manner of situations in which their lives or health could be in jeopardy. We take steps to mitigate the bad effects of disasters so that our family will be as least impacted or safe as possible. When we start to make plans for situations where one or more members of our group are separated from us, the possibilities are endless. How do you prepare for every conceivable option possible for someone who is away from you? Is the main goal for those away, to get to your location? Do you rendezvous at a central location or are they supposed to wait to be collected? When do you know it is time to go? What rules do you have to consider breaking to survive?

This is further complicated when the person you are making these plans for are…

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Hatching Coturnix Quail


They are so flippin’ cute! They always look very disapproving. Hehe.

We started raising quail because our HOA will not allow chickens. Phhhht. I know, it’s crazy, we live out in the middle of rural nowhere. But, they are super fun, easy, and they lay eggs! (The quail, not the HOA.) They have turned out to be key in our plan for food self sufficiency.

I had a really hard time gathering all the info I needed for the first hatch, and I thought I would help out all you would-be quail farmers with the details of how I did it.

I started by researching incubators. There are a lot of really fancy ones out there, with humidity control and auto-egg turners, but the reality on the farm was that we just couldn’t make that kind of investment. I ended up buying this model, the Janome 10.


It worked like a charm. Kept a constant temperature, and has a nice window all around for chick viewing. It also re-warms very quickly after you have opened it to turn or candle the eggs. It does not have an auto turner, so you would need to turn the eggs manually. Also, it does not have a humidity sensor. Coturnix quail are not too sensitive to humidity, so I just filled the inner well with water for the first 14 days, then filled both wells at “lockdown” (that’s the last few days of incubation, where you don’t open the incubator). Alternately, you could buy a sensor and put it in there.

I ordered my Jumbo Brown Coturnix and Texas A&M eggs from They arrived on time, with none broken, and they had even put in a few extra! We lost a few to overzealous farmer children as we were numbering them with sharpies, and putting an “X” on one side and an “O” on the other. You do this so that you know which ones you turned in the incubator. Also the dog ate one, but I still love him.

I set the temp to 38.2 C. Coturnix take 14-18 days to hatch, so I dutifully checked the water and turned the eggs 3 times a day for 14 days starting on the day after the eggs went in the incubator (By convention, that day is day 0).  I candled after about a week. I found that it rook a little more than a week to really be sure whether or not the eggs had chicks in them. Eggs with chicks will have veins or a dark mass in them, whereas a dud will just light up. Maybe we will have a post on candling later, eh?

On day 15, the eggs go into lockdown. Turn down the temp by 1 degree, increase humidity a tad, and wait. Don’t do ANYTHING.

Mine started hatching on day 16. You will start to see little “pips”. This is when the chicks make a little air hole in the egg. They probably will take a rest after that, maybe even a whole day or more. Then, they will start “zipping”. This is when the chick cracks the egg all around in a circle to create a little door which they then kick out of. This process can take a long while too, so be patient. After the chick kicks out, he will be all wet.


Leave him in the incubator for 12-24 hours before moving him to the brooder, or he will get too cold. All chicks go for a little while without needing food or water because they have absorbed the yolk sac into their abdomen. Quail chicks need food sooner than chicken chicks though, so 24 hours is the max drying time.

Congrats! You are now on your way to having a flock!


Charley Davis

A disclosure about affiliate links: Affiliate links allow me to make a small commission from sales related to posts. This is what keeps Funny Little Farm up and running, so if you would like to support the farm and you see something you need, this is a great place to get it!

Fluker’s Repta-Clamp Lamp 8.5-Inch Ceramic with Dimmable Switch

Zoo Med Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter 100 Watts

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