5 More DIY Probiotics – Kefir, Kvass, and Kombucha

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cross-cut-red-cabbage-closeupIf you missed part 1 of this series, see this article for an overview of 4 good alternatives to the pricey probiotics you see in your local health food stores: DIY Probiotics – 4 Cheap and Easy Alternatives. As you’ll see, there’s no need to break the bank for expensive capsules and tablets when you can indulge in your own DIY recipes that are easy to make at home. And, they’re cheap too!

#5 – Milk (Dairy) Kefir

Even though there’s plenty of confusion around the different names used for ferments, this one is fairly straight forward. In this case, we’re talking about the traditional process of incorporating cow, goat, or sheep milk with kefir grains. Kefir grains are really strands of Streptococci bacteria (e.g. Streptoccocus thermophilus), Lactobacilli bacteria (e.g. Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. casei, L. paracasei, and L. brevis) and various kinds of yeasts. They are often referred to as yeast or bacterial starters. The bacteria use the lactose sugar in the milk to survive and thrive.

It’s especially easy to make your own. You can purchase a package of powdered starter for cheap from the supermarket or health food store and make quick on fermenting your own. You can also buy kefir grains online (they have different strains of bacteria than the ones sold in powdered form) or even get some starter from someone you know. It only takes 24 hours to culture. Once you have your first batch of kefir done, you can then use that as a starter, and continually have a fresh supply of kefir on hand. You can expect to be drinking between 30-50 healthy probiotics – no excuses as to why we shouldn’t all be drinking probiotic-rich kefir every day!

Basic Milk Kefir Recipe
• 4 cups organic milk, whole, part or skimmed
• 1 package milk kefir starter

Instructions: Place milk starter in a clean 1-quart mason jar. Gently warm the milk in a ceramic, glass, or stainless steel pot on the stove until finger hot. Pour the milk into the jar. Stir to dissolve the powder with the handle of a clean, wooden spoon. Cover with a dish cloth or paper towel, secure with an elastic band, and let sit in a warm area of your kitchen (70-75°F) for 24 hours. Colder temperatures will mean it will take longer for your milk to culture while warmer temperatures mean it will take less time. After 24 hours, the kefir will have the consistency of buttermilk, or a thin, runny yogurt. It’s ready to drink! Add kefir to smoothies or use to make creamy salad dressings like ranch and dill.

Notes: 1) If you are making kefir with kefir grains (not the powdered starter), you’ll have to strain out the grains using a plastic (not metal) fine mesh sieve before consuming the liquid. 2) To make a fresh batch of kefir, place 1 cup of kefir in a 1 quart mason jar to use as your starter. Gently warm 3 cups milk and pour over the starter. Stir to combine with the handle of a wooden spoon. Place a dish cloth or paper towel, secure with elastic band, and let sit in a warm place in your kitchen. Done in 24 hours!

#6 – Non-Dairy Kefir

Oh no, not again! But this time without the milk?! Are there even kefir grains used?! Yes, the word kefir has now been stretched to reflect the trend of fermenting nut, seed, grain and coconut milks with kefir grains. And yes, because there is no lactose sugar in these types of milks, the bacterial strains used to ferment them may be somewhat different than the ones used for dairy kefirs. For example, some use the same transparent grains to ferment water kefir (see below) while others use specific strains of probiotics like Body Ecology’s Kefir Starter. Bacterial strains that you’ll find in this type of ferment can include Lactobacillus casei, L. plantarum, L. cremoris along with the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii. Note that sometimes inulin (a prebiotic) can be added to kefir grains to help feed the bacterial strains, that is, the probiotics.

While you can purchase the kefir grains online (some health food stores may carry them, look for the word “vegan” on the packaging), it’s best to make your own non-dairy milk rather than buying the ones from stores which contain carrageenan, guar gum, and other unsavory ingredients. Note that in comparison to dairy kefir, non-dairy kefir is quite watery – all the better to add to smoothies, dilute juices, make cold soups like gazpacho, or drink as is!

Basic Non-Dairy Kefir Recipe
• 1 liter non-dairy milk (sunflower, hemp, walnut, almond, sesame, coconut, etc.)*
• 6 Tbsp kefir grains
• 1 tsp date paste (optional)**

Instructions: As with dairy kefir, place grains in a mason jar. Warm the non-dairy milk until finger hot (when you stick your clean finger in, there is no difference in temperature). Pour the non-dairy milk into the jar and stir with a non-metallic object. Place on the lid and screw cap loosely and leave to ferment in a warm area of your kitchen for 24-48 hours. As with other ferments, humidity and heat will affect the ferment time. Pour non-dairy milk through a non-metallic sieve, or use a nut milk bag. You can reuse the kefir grains to make up to 5-6 more batches of kefir.

Variation: The following technique may be helpful to extend the shelf life of your kefir grains’ potency indefinitely: after straining out the kefir grains, place the grains in 1-liter finger hot dairy milk + 1 tsp date paste. Let sit 24 hours, then strain out the kefir grains (if someone is OK with dairy kefir, give them this liquid to drink!). Now use the grains to make your non-dairy kefir as in the recipe above. Do this process of letting the grains sit in dairy milk (in other words, making a dairy kefir) once a week. If you are very sensitive to dairy, do not use this technique.

*Basic Non-Dairy Milk Recipe
• 1 cup seed or nuts
• 2 cups spring water

Instructions: If you wish, you may soak your seeds/nuts for 4-8 hours, then strain and use. Place nuts/seeds in a high speed blender with the water and puree. Strain the liquid out using a nut milk bag. Drink or use in recipes.

Variation: For a thicker milk, use 1 cup water and for a thinner milk use 3 cups water. I’d recommend using 1-2 cups water when using to make kefir.

**Basic Date Paste Recipe
• Organic dates (Medjool, honey, etc)
• Water to cover

Instructions: Place dates in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak 4-8 hours until soft. Place dates (remove any pits first) in a food processor and add in enough of the soak water to make a thick paste. Use in recipes where you want a sweet taste. Store in a mason jar in the fridge.

#7 – Water Kefir

Seriously? I bet there are no milk or kefir grains used, are there?! Well, yes and no. There are two methods to make water kefir, you see. In the first, water is used as the liquid, and the “kefir grains” are really sugar and fresh and/or dried fruits that are allowed to ferment in the water. I should mention that this is also sometimes called Kvass (see below). In the second method, water is used as the liquid, and sugar is paired with the same kefir grains used to make non-dairy kefir above. After this first ferment, the strained liquid is then made to ferment again with dried fruits, fresh fruits, fruit juices, and herbs and spices. Bacteria and yeasts are present, and might include Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. brevis and L. bulgaricus, as well as the yeasts Saccharomyces boulardii and S. cerevisiae.

You have to admit that even if you’re using zero kefir grains to make a beneficial brew of bacteria, the principle of what a kefir is still holds true: it is a liquid in which a symbiotic relationship of various beneficial bacteria and yeast consume sugar and produce ethanol, carbon dioxide and lactic acid. And in case you were wondering, dairy kefir grains create a complex matrix of soluble polysaccharides/complex sugars (another way of saying that is mucous) while non-dairy/water kefir grains are a matrix of insoluble complex sugars (which is why this kefir is much more watery than the dairy one).

There are many sites online where you can buy water kefir grains, and there are just as many recipes around. If you’re looking to add flavor to water kefir, the general rules are:

• Fruit Juice: Add 1/2 cup fruit juice for every 4 cups water kefir – use right away or refrigerate.
• Fresh Fruit: Add 1-2 chopped fresh fruits to every 4 cups water kefir and let sit 1-2 days, then strain.
• Dried Fruit: Add a handful of dried fruits to every 4 cups water kefir and let sit 3-7 days, then strain.

If you’d like to add fizz to your ferment, then instead of using a mason jar, use a tightly capped bottle that doesn’t allow oxygen in. Just be sure you “burp” (open) the bottle once a day to prevent gas buildup from bursting your bottle and be careful when opening the bottle – contents are under pressure! Dare I mention that these fizzy water kefir drinks are sometimes referred to as fizzy sodas? Right, so here’s that basic recipe:

Basic Water Kefir Recipe
• 1 pkg or 3 Tbsp water kefir grains
• 1/4 cup organic sugar
• 4 cups spring water
• 1/4 tsp ConcenTrace minerals or unsulphured blackstrap molasses* (recommended, but optional)

Instructions: Place sugar in a mason jar. Warm the water gently in a glass, ceramic or stainless steel pot. Add to mason jar and stir to dissolve with a non-metallic object. Add in the kefir grains. Cover with a dish cloth or paper towel and secure with an elastic band. Let sit for 24-48 hours in a warm spot in your kitchen. Strain out the kefir grains using a non-metallic sieve. You can now reuse your kefir grains and your kefir is now ready to be consumed, refrigerated or fermented a second time with fruits to add flavor.

* Water kefir tends to ferment better when minerals are present. Blackstrap molasses yields a particularly strong taste that some don’t mind while others do.

Variation: Easily flavor this basic recipe by adding in 1/2 cup of your favorite juice. Keep remainders refrigerated.

Here’s an interesting wild recipe that you can try on for size:

Stinging Nettle Vitamin C Enhancer
• 4 cups stinging nettle infusion or 4 cups water + 1/4 tsp ConcenTrace minerals
• 3 Tbsp water kefir grains
• 1/4 cup sucanat or organic sugar
• 1 Tbsp each dried rosehip, elderberry, and goji berry
• Peel from 1 orange and 1 lemon
• (optional but oh-so yummy) 1 Tbsp each orange and lemon juice

Instructions: Make your water kefir first: warm nettle infusion (or water + minerals) in a glass, ceramic or stainless steel pot. Place sugar in a mason jar and pour in warm tea/water. Stir with the handle of a wooden spoon or other non-metallic object to dissolve. Add in kefir grains. Place a paper towel or dish cloth on top, secure with an elastic band, and let sit 24-48 hours. Strain out kefir grains using a plastic sieve (you can now use the grains to make another batch of kefir).

Pour the kefir into a mason jar or bottle with the dried fruits, peels and juices, if using. Let sit 3-7 days. Taste test on day 3 and then on each day until it is to your liking. You can always add in more orange and/or lemon juice, if desired. Be sure to burp bottles each day to help with gas buildup.

#8 and #9 – Kvass and Kombucha

Hold on a minute there, sister. So, one of the methods to make water kefir is also called kvass? Yes, although I think kvass is a better classification name to use where fruits or veggies, perhaps sugar or honey, plus water are fermented and no kefir grains are used. Perhaps we could call it fermented fruit or fermented tea? Perhaps not. Let me muddy the waters further by pointing out that you can find different traditional ways to make kvass: the first is to ferment grains or bread (usually rye) with fruits, perhaps with a sweetener and a pinch of spice. The second way is to use beets, and the method to make it is similar to the beet rejuvelac or beet kefir covered in Part 1: DIY Probiotics. Now don’t roll your eyes, let’s put all the name calling aside!

While kvass may be much less popularly known than kombucha (see below), it’s a breeze to make. Some people don’t use sugar at all, some use honey instead, some are keen on using fresh fruits and some enjoy using edible flowers and herbs. Children seem to really enjoy the sweet version of using fresh fruits, perhaps with a touch of honey.

Here’s the basic version of making beet kvass using salt, followed by a wild fermented fruity “tea” kvass:

Basic Beet Kvass Recipe
• 2 beets
• 1-2 tsp sea salt
• 4 cups spring water

Instructions: Trim beet ends. No need to peel, simply wash and then dice beet. Place beet, salt and water in a clean mason jar. Put on lid and screw cap and place on a plate. Let ferment for 3-7 days. Taste test on day 3 and each day thereafter to see if it’s to your liking. Scoop off any mold that forms. Strain out beets using a non-metallic sieve. You can drink the liquid (kvass) right away or refrigerate first and consume after a few days (some say the taste mellows out) . Drink 3-4 ounces per day.

Note: Do open the jar every day to prevent gas buildup, which can warp the lid.

Variation: Use 3 3/4 cups water + 1/4 cup cabbage or other veggie rejuvelac (see Part 1: DIY Probiotics) as your starter. Alternatively, you can use 1/4 cup of any ‘kraut brine recipe. Use 1 tsp salt. Let ferment 2-3 days, then strain out liquid. Drink and refrigerate leftovers.

Apple and Rose Petal Kvass Recipe
• 1-2 small apples, cored and diced
• 1 handful dried rose petals
• 2 cups spring water
• 1-2 Tbsp honey (optional)

Instructions: Place all ingredients in a 2 cup mason jar. Place on lid and screw cap. Shake a few times a day. Done in 2-3 days, when apples look “cooked” or there are bubbles on the top. Strain out the liquid and compost the fruit and petals. Keep refrigerated afterwards. Drink 3-4 ounces per day.

Variation: Replace apples with a handful of fresh cranberries, raspberries or blueberries. Dried fruit works fine too. Replace rose petals with dried chrysanthemum flowers.

Notes: 1) Push down on lid to test for amount of carbon dioxide buildup. If it doesn’t pop up or push down, open lid to release gas, then screw lid back on. Do this 1-2 times each day. 2) Some people find that the honey makes for a better ferment, while others find it too sweet and prefer it without – almost like a fermented tea.

Speaking of fermented teas, in kombucha, black or green tea is first fermented with a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast called a SCOBY, also called mother, baby, or mushroom (it’s not a mushroom). Once this initial ferment has been done, various fruits and herbs can be added and the liquid can be allowed to further ferment, offering up a host of tasty flavorings. It’s a fizzy drink and the alcohol content can vary. Usually, the first ferment will yield a brew of about 0.5%. Second ferments, where the naturally occurring sugars in fruit will react with the yeasts, can bump the alcohol content up, so you might be interested in purchasing a hydrometer from your local brewery supply store.

Making your own kombucha is quite cheap, once you have procured your SCOBY. If you know someone who brews kombucha, you can ask them if they might share a baby from their mother SCOBY. Otherwise you can purchase one online for $15-$35, and you might find one cheaper on Craigslist or Kijiji. Another option is this: since all bottles of kombucha contain SCOBY, you can begin your journey into kombucha-making by buying 1 bottle from the health food store and growing your own SCOBY:

• 1 bottle unflavored, raw, unpasteurized, organic kombucha
• 1 cup black or green tea, with 1 Tbsp organic sugar dissolved

Instructions: Place kombucha and sweetened tea in a mason jar. Cover with a dish cloth or paper towel secured with an elastic band. Let the SCOBY grow for several weeks (will depend on heat and humidity, estimate 2-4 weeks). At first, the bacteria will ferment to look like a thin film floating on the top of the surface. It will then grow and be ready to use when it is 1/4-1/3 inch thick.

Now that you have your mother, or SCOBY, there are plenty of recipes online that you can find and experiment with. Make sure to share the love with friends and family!

There are many fermented foods out there that you can buy or make (many recipes online), such as:

• dairy or non-dairy cheeses and yogurts
• the fermented soys of tempeh (tofu fermented with the fungus Rhizopus oligosporus or R. oryzae), miso (soy beans fermented with the fungus Aspergillus oryzae), and natto (soybeans fermented with Baccillus subtilis var. natto)
• pickled goodies like umeboshi plum, ginger, beets, pickles and kimchi
• apple cider vinegar with “mother”
• raw milk, to which nothing need be added!

The takeaway of this fermented story? In theory, almost any food can be fermented – yes, there are even recipes for making fermented fish! I’ll leave you with this one last easy-peasy recipe that you can make at night and eat in the morning:

Kefir-Inspired Cinnamon Raisin Oats
• 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if need be)
• 1/2 cup dairy or non-dairy milk + 1/2 cup dairy, non-dairy or water kefir
• A handful of raisins or 2-3 chopped and pitted Medjool dates
• 1 Tbsp ground chia seeds or 1 1/2 Tbsp whole chia seeds
• 1/8-1/4 tsp cinnamon
• (optional) 1-2 Tbsp shredded coconut
• Stevia, to sweeten

Instructions: Add all to a mason jar, except stevia. Shake jar well, then refrigerate overnight. In the morning, shake jar again. Pour into a bowl and sweeten with stevia, if desired.

Variation: Use 1 cup dairy, non-dairy or water kefir. You can also use 1 cup dairy or non-dairy milk.

Variation: For a chocolatey taste, dissolve 1 Tbsp cacao powder with a bit of hot water. Add to the mason jar with the rest of the ingredients. In the morning, top your oatmeal with 1-2 Tbsp carob chips, dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs, if desired.

This article is part 1 of a 2 part series called “DIY Probiotics” about cheap and easy alternatives to the expensive packaged probiotics available in health food stores. You can read the rest of the series here:

Part 1: DIY Probiotics – 4 Cheap and Easy Alternatives
Part 2: More DIY Probiotics – Kefir, Kvass, and Kombucha


Paperwork for the HUD loan collected

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I got the last of the paperwork needed for the HUD loan finished up today. The loan repayment would be in the $85.00-$100.00 per month if I could not defer the loan until the house sold.  I’m a bit leery about deferring government loans as the compound interest keeps building, that can eat up any profits very quickly.  Since I have used my VA loan for this house, I need to sell at a little profit so I can make a 20% down payment via a conventional loan to eliminate any mortgage insurance cost. Worse case scenario on the loan is my payments for the house will be around $500.00 per month. I can afford that loan cost for housing and I’m about 33% monthly debt to income ratio. At best it will take 2-3 months for the paperwork to go through the bowels of government.  Perhaps in March-July I might have loan approval for fixing/replacing the roof.

I got good news on my credit score getting bumped up to 760 and above for any loans.  It has taken a few years since I got smacked to rock bottom financially speaking when I got disabled.  But I have repaired my credit rating without getting credit cards or going into a lot of debt. I got a small revolving credit account at Les Schwab and got a small personal loan via the Credit Union for the fireplace that I paid on time/paid off a little early. I’m living proof you can rebuild your credit rating without resorting to credit cards or expensive (high interest) loans. Speaking for myself, I suck at using credit cards as it is just to easy for me to rationalize using credit because I need something or it is on sale.  Well if you you can’t pay off the credit bill every month all of your “savings” will get eaten up in compounding interest payments.

Some folks are great at using credit cards. They pay the bill in full monthly before the interest kicks in, they gain all those “bonus points” and savings.  I’m just not that good, as the same idea of getting some thing on sale this month tends to put off paying off the card the next month. If you pay off your card monthly, I say more power to you because I know the credit card companies “hate”  you and would much rather have a credit card user like me that buy on sale and then pay the min. payment so the interest builds.  If you suck at using credit cards like me (rationalizing) buying on sale or making min. payments. I suggest you stay away from those cards.  A Visa or Master Card debit card will do most everything a credit card does, but without going into debt.  For me going to cash and not using a debit card while shopping made me save money.  I am pretty tight with my shopping money but there seems to be a big difference to me sliding a debit card or breaking a $20.00, $50.00 or $100.00 bill. Debit card spending does not feel quite real to me, but busting a $100.00 is very real and I get immediate feed back of what I have just spent.

I don’t think I am a “Juggernaut” but I can be very relentless in attaining a goal I have set for myself.  It may not happen quickly, heck I spent over 18 months waiting for the Kia mini-van to replace the PT cruiser. Over 3 years of planing for installing the wood fireplace. I’m not afraid to spend another year or two here at Casa de Chaos and getting thing fixed up to sell. If the bottom drops out of the real estate market again, at worse I will have a solid home/shelter and a pretty good setup for growing some food to augment my supplies and plenty of water after adding the greenhouses and water cisterns. Plan for the worse and hope for the best is my goal.

Sometimes the best plan is to just sit and not do anything and see how things shake out.



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WIN A COPY OF "OFF THE GRID"  Do you have ​great pictures of your Off Grid cabin, shack, trailer​…. ​or somebody else’s that you happened to be visiting?
Now is your opportunity to put them to good use!
You could win a copy of Nick Rosen’s book, “Off The Grid”,​ published by Penguin,​ and see your ​snaps published on our website, Facebook page, twitter, and instagram.

Just follow ​these simple steps to enter the contest!

1. ​Email a brief story of how ​you came to be​ at the place in the photo​, ​or what inspired you​ about it​, with your full name and email address ​to: ​news@off-grid.net (only ONE picture by participant).
2. Attach the pic to the email
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The Doomsday Clock Just Struck Midnight: What’s Your First Move?

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Doomsday Clock 12am

The word doomsday can be considered Prepper terminology now, because of the show “Doomsday Preppers”, because of the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world, and because some people just love the sound of the word. Doomsday is the final reckoning, the end of the world, and where some people are called to account for their actions in life.

Mostly today, the word is used to define a catastrophe that would change the world, as we know it, change, and never be the same again, so the clock strikes midnight. Are you ready, and if you are decisions must be made, and your survival hinges on those decisions. If you are not ready, then assumedly, you will not live long enough to make any first moves.

1. Do a Medical Check and Render Aid If Needed

Is anyone in the group or family injured? Assess quickly, because injuries can influence all of your decisions from this point forward. Some injured people cannot be moved, and if you had planned to bug-out or feel the need to evacuate, then injuries change the plans. Go to plan “B”, you do have a plan B right?

2. Is Everyone Accounted For

If not, do you have the means to contact them if the grid is down, or for whatever reason the power is disrupted? Is there a staging area, and it does require prior planning. You cannot meet up if there is not a pre-designated area in which to meet. Disasters will occur while people are at work, at school and simply when they are out and about. You need to plan for this.

3. Do I Stay or Do I Go: Good Intel Is Important

The title may be misleading. Once disaster strikes, you usually do not make any moves until you have gathered some intelligence. Rushing headlong into the dark night may create a crisis in and of itself. In other words, do not panic, and then make impulsive decisions until you know what the situation is.

This is where good intelligence gathering skills come into play. There is passive gathering, which is ongoing before the crisis and then active gathering once in the midst of a crisis. The information gathered daily is used to piece together what brought the situation to a head and then you need real time Intel as the disaster unfolds. As stated earlier, communications are important, scanners, Ham radios, two-way radios and person-to-person encounters are just a few Intel gathering methods.

4. Are You Secure

First, you have to know if there is an imminent threat or if there could be. Was there a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack, or are there suicide bombers setting off their explosive vests in various locations. A nuclear, chemical, or biological attack close to your home requires an immediate response by you. You have to either evacuate or get into a protective posture, which would be a bunker or protective clothing and respirators.

You should have a plan for securing your home because now is not the time to wonder about security. You would need to know your battle space, the space where you would have to engage those wishing you and yours harm. You would need to know who walks the perimeter and who stays inside the shelter. This requires planning and practice drills, so everyone knows to go to his or her battle stations if you will, once disaster strikes.

5. Everyone Shoulders Their Bug-Out Bags

You may not have to move, but you have to be ready to move. Everyone needs their own bug-out-bag, or go-bag, action bag or call it what you will, so if someone gets separated they have the means to survive alone.

Everyone must be ready to move to a rallying point, or to evacuate to a bug-out-location, emergency shelters or to some other safe structure. You must always have shelter in mind whether it is your current one or an alternative one.

If you haven’t already, then cache some supplies on your property, so if the home is destroyed, or overrun you can resupply. Assign this task, while others stay on guard. Ideally, you would have supplies already cached, but it is better late than never. The thing about plans is that most of them do not work as intended once the action starts, so you have to adapt on the fly.

Other Considerations

Establish contact with neighbors, and others, because they may have information you do not have, and they may have certain skill sets that you can use. Previous articles have talked about the need to network somewhat, so you know who is living next door or in the immediate area, such as doctors, carpenters, retired police or military personnel and others that may have critical skills.

If you haven’t figured it out already planning is important and the above are just a few of the things that have to be done before anything else and Intel gathering, for example, must be ongoing so you have the information at hand to make decisions as to your next move.

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Russian stock crash increases risk of war in the Middle East

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Last week, I warned that Russia has become the country with the ability to push the Middle East into a major war.  In particular, Russia cannot and will not tolerate

Get Your Comms In Order – TAKE ACTION NOW!

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Many theorized, myself included, that when 0 became president for a second term, that he would become a dictator.  Unfortunately, we are seeing the reality of it now.  There is no theorizing or hypothesizing anymore.  When a US president can write law, that president no longer needs martial law.

My fears are shifting.  At one point, I thought the only way that 0 would get power would be through martial law.  I figured we could have a major attack and that would be the excuse to enact ML (that could still happen).  But, now we have a president that can apparently write law.  I am among those that believe this is the last presidency of the United States.  I sure hope I am wrong.

A good friend sent me this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fcbeur34Tl0.  Keep in mind that the test of a true prophet is 100% accuracy, so time will tell on that part, but the rest of the video is informative and motivational.

Perhaps I am wrong, but I truly believe we are now at the acceleration point.  I think, again, I hope I am wrong, that 0 will now use the pen to write laws quickly in the coming months.  The government dedicating its attention to the law abiding citizen is now happening.

What if a “prepper” in general is determined unfit mentally?  What if a Christians is deemed unfit?  What if the information gathering on citizens is put into the hands of the ATF?  What if a law is penned that expedites the process of firearm removal from those deemed inadequate to bear arms?

The answers are obvious.

When the right to bear arms is revoked, I, and many of you, will be criminals.  Our rights are under attack and therefore, we are under attack.

You really need to take control of your comms and you need to do it now!

First, be sure to prepare with a thankful spirit.  God has given you breath.  He has given you a brain to think with.  He has given you the time you have right now.  Prepare your heart before all else.  Thank the Almighty first and foremost!


Set up at least one anonymous email account (probably 2 or three).  As a free service, safe-mail.net (based in Israel) is a good choice.  Protonmail.com (based in Switzerland) is also a good choice but they have a waiting list.  If you are looking for  good privacy that is served behind Norwegian privacy laws, then you can’t beat runbox.com.  We’ve been using Runbox for well over a year and it loads quick (even on Tails/Tor).  It is also the email service we offer at our store at a discount (Shop).

Another great thing to do is share an email account with family.  Keep you messages as drafts, but never send them.  I wondered about the effectiveness of this trick, but the book Spy Craft confirms that this is a difficult method to track (of course, such action needs to be hidden under TOR or other anonymizing methods).

Multi-Level Communication:

You must learn to communicate under the wire.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew how to effectively communicate on different levels at the same time.  For example, your family probably knows when you are speaking sarcastically about something.  If you speak even in a non-sarcastic tone, they will likely understand your sarcasm, even when a bystander doesn’t understand.

Bonhoeffer also used communication tricks to get his message out.  They were simple methods, like putting a slight dot above a character and working backward from the end of a letter to include a simple message (the same can be done with a book).  Today, we can use OTP (one time pads) to communicate short messages.  See article: OTP (One Time Pad) HOWTO From Dirk Rijmenants.  Or, we can use anonymous email with TOR to minimize, or even disappear, from the RADAR (again, this a method that the book Spy Craft confirms).

Communicate a key phrase or code word that your family easily understands.  It needs to be something that you can easily slip into a conversation.  Simple phrases can be questions, like “how’s aunt Barbara?” (when you don’t have an aunt Barbara).  To further communicate on this level, different names can mean different things.  Like “Amanda” can mean location A.  Barbara can mean location B, etc.  Also, Amanda can mean a location like “Atlanta” that begins with A (though this is an example and I highly recommend staying away from Atlanta in a disaster).


Stop Taking Your Cellphone Everywhere

I know this is tough, but a simple cellular “ping” can and will reveal your location within 100 feet.  This is a technique that has been used for a long time called “triangulation.”  Your cell phone is constantly reporting the signal it has to various towers.  Only three towers are required to get the cellphone location.

If you can’t help but take your cell phone everywhere you go, then be sure to use a cellphone that has an easily removable battery.  The DuraXT by Kyocera is such a model.  Be sure to check out our Ting banner for a phone plan that gives you better control (also, Ting is a Canadian company and does not ask for your SSN, so setting up an anonymous cell phone is pretty easy).

Get a Ham Radio License

Many of you are already hams I’m sure, but many also are not.  Getting a ham license is a piece of cake these days.  Yes, under new laws it would be easily for ham licenses to be revoked, but the knowledge that being a ham gives you is invaluable.  Hamtestonline.com is the tool I used to study with and I passed my Technician and General Class license on the same day and I only got 2 or 3 questions wrong (then I went on to pass my Morse code test without a hitch, again, same day).

Learn Morse code.  It is really much easier than it sounds.  Don’t be afraid to learn it.  I used this site: http://www.zzickle.com/misc/morsecode.html.  After getting a few characters down, I’d just listen to some sample code, and see if I could write it down.  You can practice here: http://aa9pw.com/morsecode/

Make a Tails Bootable USB

We already have a bunch of articles about Tails and have multiple interviews with PrepperRecon on this topic.  Just search around on the site or just hit our Communications link.

Get a Mumble Server (or other chat system) up and running:

Also, we have information about Mumble on our site (ePrepper HowTo :: Run a Mumble Communications Server).  If you want to be able to communicate under the wire, you need to take control of your own communications infrastructure.

Additionally, you should get your files out of the “cloud” and into your OwnCloud (Part 4-6 of 6: Improving Communications Series, Getting Started with Your Own Server & Take Control of Your Cell Service).

I know this is a ton of information.  Many that started reading this article probably ditched out due to overload.  But, to reiterate my point… the collapse is no longer coming, it is here and it begins with a lawless president.  The trends that are happening now are the same trends that can be seen pre-Nazi Germany.  The warning flags are waving, the lights are flashing, the alarms are going off.  Preparedness cannot wait.  Make preparedness a priority in 2016, you have to!

How To Make An Every Day Carry Belt

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How To Make An Every Day Carry (EDC) Belt Being able to have emergency preparedness equipment on you at all times is all good and said but in reality, carrying your EDC kit with you isn’t always an option. (meetings, traveling, vacations, etc) There are so many varieties of EDC kits available, from the big …

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Saying Goodbye to Boxed and Canned Foods

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Is It Time to Say Goodbye to Boxed and Canned Foods? There is a growing movement out there about using more whole and raw foods in cooking instead of the convenient ‘food products’ that are put out by the Big Food companies. If you are like most Americans, the knowledge to cook from scratch is …

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How To Get Home Without a Map and Compass

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How To Get Home Without a Map and Compass One of the biggest fears many people have is getting lost. Good and truly lost, to the point where nothing looks familiar and everything looks the same. Even if you live in the city, it is still possible to get lost out there! Primitive navigation is …

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How To Store Your Saved Heirloom Seeds

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How To Store Your Saved Heirloom Seeds Heirloom seeds are the best of the best, untouched by human hands for generations and generations, vegetables as god intended. Store them for your next garden correctly. Savor fresh onions, potatoes and other crops from the garden all winter long with the use of simple, time-honored storage techniques. …

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How to Make Camping Better: A Guide for the Non-Camper

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How to Make Camping Better: A Guide for the Non-Camper To those who don’t have any experience with camping, or have very little, it can seem more like a chore than a vacation, however by looking at it with the right mentality and learning a few tips and tricks about camping as a whole, you …

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Top 10 Tastiest Bugs To Eat In A Pinch

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Top 10 Tastiest Bugs To Eat In A Pinch Bugs aren’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a tasty snack, or even a delicious meal. To most people, thinking about crunching into an insect is the last thing that they want to do, however there are almost 2000 different …

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Do you know what CERT is – is it for you?

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CertlogoFor years I have heard of CERT certification and have been curious about it. I have wanted to become certified but between pregnancies, nursing babies, and my schedule I haven’t been able to make it work. This month however my church was sponsoring a CERT class that would run 2 Saturdays ALL day. I knew it would be a sacrifice to attend but I also knew a typical CERT certification course ran for weeks one night a week. A weekly schedule for many weeks just doesn’t work for me right now so I jumped on this opportunity. I am only finished the first Saturday but I’m really excited about what I am learning and wanted to encourage you all to check it out, learn more, and eventually become CERT certified if it works for you. As I finish the certification I’ll share some of what I have been learning with you.


CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. CERT educates individuals about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT volunteers can assist others in their community following a disaster when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT volunteers are also encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking an active role in emergency preparedness projects.

Some things I learned on the first day:

  • More about disasters that can happen in my community with a lot of information on earthquakes
  • How and when to turn off utilities
  • What to do in case of fires
  • Triage and communication plans
  • Carries and holds for moving victims
  • Basic first aid
  • Search and rescue techniques
  • Basic psychology issues to be aware of
  • Organizing block captains and tagging/assessing homes
  • Using cribs to remove victims from under obstruction
  • Setting up an NEOC (Neighborhood Emergency Operation Center


One of my favorite things was when we got to put out a little fire with an extinguisher. I can honestly say I have never used an extinguisher and if push came to shove and I had to use one I PROBABLY would have panicked. Now that I have practiced using one I feel confident I could use one in an emergency. It’s just like so much of what we teach and talk about. Practice, practice, practice (when you don’t really need it). Then when it comes time to using those skills you’ll have confidence in your abilities.


Here are a couple links that might be of interest to you in learning more:

CERT information page
Find a nearby CERT programs

The post Do you know what CERT is – is it for you? appeared first on Food Storage Made Easy.

10 Foods You Can Store For Over 100 Years

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There’s a common misconception that all food goes bad, but that’s not entirely accurate. There are some foods that, for all intents and purposes, will last forever. Or at least for the rest of your life. I’m talking about the so-called “forever foods.” Sugar, salt, and honey are […]

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Tornado Shelters, Why you May Want to Consider Getting One

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tornado shelters

Here is a underground tornado shelter being installed

I have been doing some research on tornado shelters (storm cellars) and their availability and cost.  Since we don’t get many tornados in the area where I live, they have been off my radar until now.  Now that I have looked at them, I am impressed with what I found available.  There are many reputable companies that are manufacturing and selling them.  They came in all sizes and shapes and are readily available in many areas of the country.

They are available in both aboveground and underground designs.  Personally, I would prefer an underground one.  While many of them are small, you can get large ones as big as 10 x 30.  They are available in concrete, metal, fiberglass and even plastic.  Admittedly, they are only designed for a short stay, but you could modify one to make it work for longer periods.  Look at some of the old bomb shelter designs from the 1950’s.  They were small and used every bit of space.  They will give you good ideas.

tornado shelters

here is a different model above ground prior to installation

Since tornado shelters are functionally just an underground bunker, tornado shelters can also be used as improvised bomb shelters or fallout shelters.  The underground construction makes them cool and dark; tornado shelters on farmsteads in the Midwest have traditionally been used as root cellars to store seasonal canned goods for use during the winter.

Because the prices are lower that the fancy underground pre manufactured bunkers, more of us can afford them.  In addition, depending on your income and the area in which you live the government will help you with financing.  Go to the following FEMA link and you will find information on what funding is available.

It is my understanding that in many areas these are so common that you will not attract undue attention by installing one.  If they do not fully meet your needs, you have the option of modifying after they are installed.  With a little imagination, you can make these serve your needs.  Besides, even in their original configuration they are way better than nothing.


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Are These Dirty Little Secrets Lurking in Your Toxic Laundry Products?

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For a space that’s completely dedicated to getting things clean, the laundry room can be a landmine of dirty substances.  Toxic laundry products can contain ingredients that are irritating to the skin and damaging to the lungs. Some products disrupt hormones and have been linked to cancer.

This month, our Whole Home Detox efforts focus on the laundry room. We’ll discuss laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets. There are homemade options that are excellent, or, if you aren’t into DIY, I’ll list some products you can buy that are less of a threat to your health than the standard offerings at the store.

What’s in your laundry room?

The detergent aisle at the store is a bright colorful place full of enticing promises.

  • Gets Clothes Cleaner!
  • Brightens Whites!
  • Outdoor Fresh Smell!
  • Removes Stains!

And you know, those promises are the whole point of doing laundry. We want our end result to be clothing that is stain-free, clean, and fresh smelling. But the route to this goal can be fraught with hazards these days, because there is no real oversight regarding the ingredients in the soaps you get at the store.

The substances contained within laundry products aren’t that bad if you are just exposed to them once, but when you use them in your laundry, you have constant exposure. The artificial fragrances are chemically designed to linger in your clothing, meaning that your skin and lungs are constantly exposed. These fragrances and other toxic ingredients build up over time in your system and have been linked to issues like:

  • Asthma and other respiratory issues
  • Hormone disruption
  • Reproductive problems
  • Birth defects
  • Cancer
  • Liver and kidney damage

Manufacturers aren’t required to list the specific ingredients of their products, because their trade secrets are protected before our health is. This increases the difficulty for consumers who are trying to make informed decisions about the products they use for their families.

Back in 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act was passed, but only a few chemicals used in commerce have been subjected to testing. Of the ones that have been tested, even fewer have been tested in combination with the other chemicals that are in the detergents. (Often a substance that is perfectly harmless on its own can become extremely dangerous when combined with another chemical.) Some have been proven to be toxic in animal studies, but no testing has been done to see how those substances are potential dangerous to humans. Still others have been shown to be harmful to human health, but they’re used nonetheless. Don’t look to the EPA or the FDA for help on this one. They’re more interested in going after small businesses like artisan soapmakers and women who sew cloth solutions for feminine hygiene. Meanwhile, large corporations continue to poison us, completely unchecked.

The 8 Worst Ingredients in Toxic Laundry Products

The bottom line: it’s totally up to you to keep the following chemicals out of your home. In no particular order of awfulness, these are the 8 worst ingredients you are likely to find in the laundry aisle:

  1. 2-Butoxyethanol: This is in stain remover, as well as an ingredient in dry cleaning products.  It has been linked to birth defects, reproductive issues, developmental delays, blood issues, upper respiratory issues, and digestive issues. The substance is irritating to the eyes, the skin and the respiratory tract and is a known animal carcinogen. Tests have not confirmed carcinogenic effects on humans. Rated F by the EWG.
  2. Artificial fragrances: These can run the gamut, since “artificial fragrances” is such a broad term. Skin, lung, and eye irritation are of immediate concern. Some have been linked to cancer. Fragrance can be a trigger for migraines, allergies, and asthma for some people.
  3. Chlorine: This is the primary ingredient in bleach. It’s a strong irritant for the eyes, upper respiratory tract, lungs, and skin. It has been linked to cancer and reproductive concerns. “Chronic (long-term) exposure to chlorine gas in workers has resulted in respiratory effects, including eye and throat irritation and airflow obstruction.” (NIH) Rated F by the EWG.
  4. Diethanolamine: This is an ingredient found in many detergents“Limited information is available on the health effects of diethanolamine. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to diethanolamine in humans may result in irritation of the nose and throat, and dermal exposure may irritate the skin. No information is available on the chronic (long-term), reproductive, developmental, or carcinogenic effects of diethanolamine in humans. Animal studies have reported effects on the liver, kidney, blood, and central nervous system (CNS) from chronic oral exposure to diethanolamine. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) reported an increased incidence of liver and kidney tumors in mice from dermal exposure to diethanolamine.” (NIHRated F by the EWG
  5. Ethyl acetate  (Also ethoxyethanol acetate and related to ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) This is an ingredient in fabric softeners. Prolonged inhalation may be damaging to lungs, liver, kidneys, & heart. “Runners were evaluated after complaining of wheezing coughing, rhinitis, or shortness of breath after practicing in a facility under construction. Investigation revealed levels of ethyl acetate and toluene low enough to meet federal guidelines but apparently sufficient to cause symptoms in the athletes.” (NIH) There is a high concern for developmental and reproductive toxicity. Rated F by the EWG
  6. Optical Brighteners (also listed as ER, KSN, OB, OB-1 ) Optical brighteners are a variety of different chemicals that coat clothing in the washing machine and stick to the fabric even after rinsing, to make the washed item appear brighter. Optical brighteners can cause skin irritation and have been linked to reproductive and developmental issues.
  7. Petroleum distillates (also called naphthas) These chemicals are frequently found in laundry detergent. They have been linked to linked to cancer and lung damage.There is some evidence of DNA damage. Rated F by the EWG.
  8. Quaternium-15: This chemical found in laundry detergent releases formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. It can trigger asthma, damage the respiratory system, and cause skin rashes upon contact.  Rated F by the EWG

So will these ingredients immediately cause toxicity and death?

Nope. They may not even cause symptoms of illness right away unless you’re incredibly sensitive to that type of thing.

For most of us, the issue is not occasional exposure, but cumulative exposure. If these substances are indicated as causes of illness and disease, isn’t it better to avoid them whenever you can? While you can’t stay away from these types of substances when you are out and about, what you choose to bring into your home is completely under your control. So why not avoid exposure whenever possible?

How to avoid toxic laundry products

Avoiding toxic laundry products

There are some great resources available to help you avoid the hazards listed above.  This month in our Whole Home Detox, we’ll break down our laundry room into the following categories. Below, I’ll add the links as the articles are written.

  • Laundry detergents 
  • Fabric softeners
  • Dryer sheets

Homemade products are nearly always my favorite because then you know exactly what’s in them. (And they’re very budget-friendly!) However, if you don’t like DIY, don’t worry! There are some good products out there that you can purchase to replace the standards that contain ingredients you don’t want to bring into your home.

Stay tuned for detailed instructions and recommendations to replace the toxic products with less harmful alternatives.



Mother Earth Living

EWG: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

EWG’s Guide to Laundry Products

NIH: 1, 2, 3


What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Natural Laundry Detergent: DIY Organic Laundry Detergent Recipes For Effective Cleaning

Better options for laundry products

Whole Home Detox

The post Are These Dirty Little Secrets Lurking in Your Toxic Laundry Products? appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Here’s How to Protect Yourself From Mob Violence

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riot policeHuman beings have a peculiar duality. We love to imagine ourselves as rugged individuals, but we’re extremely susceptible to herd instincts. We are after all, social creatures, and our instinctive need to “go with the crowd” has helped us survive and thrive in a world where going it alone can be a death sentence. Unfortunately, that same urge often drives us to do things that are violent, stupid, and ultimately self-destructive.

That sort of behavior was on full display in Cologne, Germany on New Year’s Eve, when a mob of around 1000 people, many of them refugees from Middle East, lit fireworks, robbed and assaulted pedestrians, and groped dozens of women (at least two cases of rape have been reported). They essentially formed a gauntlet of several mobs that passengers coming out of the Cologne train station had to fight through.

Frankly, it’s shocking that such an event could happen in Germany, a country that is (or at least was) prosperous, stable, and orderly. It just goes to show that no nation is immune to mob-like behavior, even when there is no natural or man-made disaster to inspire these acts.

The politics surrounding this incident have been thoroughly discussed already, so there’s no need to tread that ground again. Instead, I want to talk about what you can do to protect yourself, if you ever find yourself wrapped up in a belligerent crowd. Here’s what you need to know:

The Borg

When faced with a mob, the normal rules of human behavior are thrown out the window. That’s because you’re no longer dealing with a group of individuals. When people join the mob, they stop thinking for themselves, and start acting in the interest of the group, even when it doesn’t necessarily benefit them as individuals. What you’re really dealing with, is one person with many bodies. This is what makes the mob so cohesive and dangerous, but as you’ll see in a moment, it’s also its greatest weakness.

Don’t Fight the Crowd

Any situation that involves dangerous people is going to spark your fight or flight response. With a mob, both of those options could end disastrously, though fighting a crowd of people is arguably worse. You’re not going to win that fight. In some cases, brandishing a weapon might convince members of the crowd to snap out of their groupthink, but it’s often the case that a mob can’t be reasoned with, even if their lives depend on it. Inhibitions are low for members of the mob (even without the influence of drugs and alcohol, which are often present) and these people feel safe, and sometimes invulnerable. I don’t care how much of a badass you are, you can’t fight everybody. If you try going toe to toe with a mob, they’ll tear you to pieces.

Don’t Run From the Crowd Either

The moment you try to flee the mob, it becomes blatantly obvious that you are not a part of the mob, and are thus a target. This is where the uniformity of the crowd becomes its weakness. The best advice I’ve heard on escaping a mob comes from this article from offthegridnews.com. Rather than fleeing, start acting like everyone else in the crowd so you don’t stand out.

Then, slowly drift away from everyone else until you reach the edge of the mob. Eventually you can duck out and hide by slipping into an alley way or store front. If the mob starts moving into a different direction, go with them, but at a slower speed. Eventually they’ll just leave you behind.

Stay Calm and Aware

In case you haven’t noticed already, normal human instincts don’t serve you well in this situation. If anything, it’s normal human instincts that cause mob violence in the first place. Since your fight or flight response will get you in trouble, it’s important to remember that you have to stay cool, and be aware of your surroundings. In a sense, everyone in the mob has tunnel vision. They’re very focused at the task at hand, whatever that may be.

If you keep it together, you’ll have a significant advantage over them, because you’ll have so much more awareness. You’ll see gaps in the crowd that you can drift through. You’ll see where the mob is moving to before any individual within the group knows it. You’ll notice when the police arrive before they do. And more importantly, you’ll see opportunities to escape while the mob is preoccupied or distracted. So stay calm, blend in, and drift away before anyone notices you. It’s not guaranteed to save you in every situation, but it’s still the best way to escape the grasp of any mob.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Hydroponic Farm Grows 350 Varieties of Vegetables with 90 minerals

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John from Growing Your Greens goes on a field trip to Swank Specialty Produce that grows over 350 varieties of vegetables and uses 90 minerals to grow the best tasting food.

In this episode, John will visit a farm in South Florida growing both Hyrdoponic Shade House Grown and Organic Full Sun Production.

You will get a full tour of the farm including many of the crops they are currently growing, how they are growing them. You will learn how important it is to grow diversity in your garden and grow specific varieties of crops for success instead of failure.

You will also discover the special trace minerals they use to grow the best tasting food.

Finally, John will interview Darren Swank, the farmer who has been been in the business of farming for 13+ years now and ask him the following questions:

Questions answered in the video:

  • Is there any such thing as Organic Hydroponics?
  • What Nutrients do you use in your Hydroponic System?
  • How do you control pests using organic methods?
  • Why is it important to be proactive instead of reactive for pest control?
  • What organic control do you use for Powderly Mildew?
  • How important is growing diversity in crops?
  • What are the easiest vegetables to grow in South Florida?
  • How important is educating the public if you are a farmer?
  • How can people learn more about and contact your farm

The post Hydroponic Farm Grows 350 Varieties of Vegetables with 90 minerals appeared first on Walden Labs.

Valley Food Storage – Review

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One of the things about preparedness is it is tough to determine what food to store. Recently, this question was simplified when the folks from Valley Food Storage reached out to me to review some of their products. Given the choice of the three shipped, I selected the Irish Pub Style Cheddar and Potato soup first. This … Continue reading

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The Ultimate Primitive Torch When You Need Hours of Fire

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The Ultimate Primitive Torch When You Need Hours of Fire

The Ultimate Primitive Torch When You Need Hours of Fire

When the world plunges into darkness and batteries have long since been drained of life, knowing how to fire up a primitive torch is an essential survival skill to have in your arsenal.

Let their be light!

How easy is it to build a survival torch that burns for hours and isn’t a danger to use?

This is an important question to ask ourselves. So many people are preparing for a possible collapse nowadays, any smart prepper should be seriously considering how they’re going to have light for months on end, if we lose power on a long term basis.

Solar power is an option for a lot of people; I personally don’t want to put my focus on solar power though. There are just too many things we can expect to take place following a collapse and carrying around solar power equipment and keeping it in working condition is a big gamble.

Solar power does have it’s place, in the short term

Solar power could work well the first few days or weeks people are sheltering in place. But disasters, wind storms, earthquakes and full scale war can knock a fragile solar power system to pieces; or just enough to make it inoperable.

A back up lighting source is paramount to having a sustainable, long term solution for light in the evening hours.

Survival torches can light the way

Prior to the modern age, some of our ancestors used lard or blubber (whale fat) as oil to fuel their lamps and torches. While our technologically advanced lives today don’t look anything like our hunter-gatherer ancestors, we can turn to a few modern tools to build our own survival torches.

Why not just stock up on batteries and use flashlights and lanterns?

Even if you manage to build up a six month supply of batteries, at some point your flashlights and lanterns are going to stop working. In decades past kerosene lanterns were common, but the problem with kerosene is that it’s expensive to stock up on as a long term lighting option; plus, it’s extremely flammable and can be dangerous to use on a repeat basis. Many cabins and shelters have been set ablaze accidentally when a kerosene lantern has been knocked over.

Then there’s the fumes; even small kerosene burning lanterns produce dangerous fumes that take 1.5 million lives every year in third world countries where kerosene use is still common today.

I’d like to suggest a cheaper and safer oil that can be used for homemade torches and lanterns…

Vegetable oil is cheap and it’s safer to use than kerosene

Those living in third world countries don’t have the luxury to buy vegetable oil in large quantities, or they simply are so accustomed to using kerosene that they have no idea there are safer and better fuels available. We in developed countries have the ability to buy vegetable oil, and we can buy it in large quantities, and safely stockpile it without fear that our entire home is going to blow up should it ever be set on fire (and vegetable oil can’t be set on fire — not unless it’s heated up first to 450 degrees). So, there’s little risk with a stockpile of vegetable oil.

Discover how our grandfathers used to preserve food for long periods of time.CLICK HERE to find out more !

After researching the concept behind primitive torches, and then looking closely at what’s still around when it comes to torches, it turns out that there really aren’t many common uses for torches nowadays, other than a backyard “Tiki” torch which commonly burns a citronella fuel.

Plus, those flames are pretty small in those backyard Tiki torches, and most of us, when it comes to using a torch, would probably prefer something that gave off heat and light on about the same scale as a small campfire.

Bigger flames, cheaper and safer fuel

If you drop a match on kerosene oil it will ignite. It is highly flammable and thus one reason it has caused many fires and burned down many cabins and shelters in decades past.

Vegetable oil on the other hand will not do that. You can drop a match on vegetable oil and the match will go out — the oil will not ignite. If you knock your torch or lantern over, though the wick may still be burning, it’s possible that even the wick will be put out by any vegetable oil that spills on it.

This shows that vegetable oil is a much safer alternative to kerosene.

Now we need a wick

Though it would seem an actual fire torch is a thing of the past, it turns out that real fire torches are still used by entertainers such as fire jugglers and circus performers. So the question to ask is: How do they do it? How to they get their props to stay lit and not burn out or use up fuel too quickly?

It turns out that Kevlar makes a great material for use as a wick and is commonly used by today’s fire jugglers and those practicing “fire poi”. A 3 foot roll of Kevlar can be cut into several small wicks; each wick you cut from this 3 foot roll can be used a few times and burn for several hours in total. Whereas a candle wick can only be used once; a Kevlar wick can be used more than once. Like a Tiki torch wick, a Kevlar wick is first soaked in vegetable oil for at a minimum of a few hours, though you can simply leave your Kevlar wicks soaking in a small jar of vegetable oil and then use it a few days or weeks later, whenever a situation calls.

Assembling a fire torch

The simplest fire torch can be a medium sized stick, 2 – 4 feet in length, with a vegetable soaked Kevlar wick wrapped around the top end. Fire jugglers use two bolts to bolt their wicks to their decorative metal torches; that’s simple to do also if you have a power drill and a couple bolts and nuts. When it comes to survival though, our fire torches don’t have to look so neat; just some steel wire wrapped tightly around a Kevlar wick will also keep your wick in place.

When using steel wire for a fire torch, use stainless steel vs galvanized steel. The reason is this: When galvanized steel is heated by fire it releases toxic fumes. Galvanized steel is steel with a zinc coating in place to protect from corrosion; not only are the zinc fumes toxic, there can also be small amounts of lead and hexevalent chromium present within the coating on the galvanized steel, both of which also produce toxic fumes (according to reports I found).

Fuel base

Like the popular backyard Tiki torches, you’ll need a small container (fuel base) to hold the vegetable oil that the Kevlar wick will supply it’s fuel from. While a person could use a commercially produced Tiki torch for this scenario, in survival you may need to build your own fuel base for your torch from materials you can gather. An empty soda can will work (use a knife to make the opening larger for your rolled up wick) and even a small beer, wine, or soda bottle can also be used (the opening needs to be big enough though for a rolled up wick to be stuck from the top; keep in mind that the thicker you roll your wick, the larger the flame, and the longer the wick will last).

Remember that steel wire? Use it to secure your fuel base (small container holding your fuel, which the wick rises up from) to the stick you are using for your torch.

CLICK HERE to find out how to build your proven-to-work portable device which provides clean fresh water 24/7.

Caution: If the wick does not fit snuggly in the fuel base, oil will drip out if you hold your torch at an angle. For example, if you stuff a rag into the top of a small jar filled with water, and tilt it sideways, the rag will catch the water, but some water will drip out because the rag is not snug or thick enough to stop the water; so, that is why a thick, rolled up Kevlar wick is important for your homemade torch; it will plug the top of the container and keep vegetable oil from spilling out if your torch is held at angle for a few moments.

For the most part, though, exercise caution and keep your torch held vertically.

What your torch should look like

Large flame burning from wick at the top

Rolled up wick long enough to reach to bottom of small container (fuel base) holding vegetable oil

Steel wire clamping small container to stick or pole (2 – 4 feet in length)

How to put your flame out safely

Place small metal can over the top of your torch’s flame; the can should fit snuggly over the top of the flame (where the wick sticks up from the fuel base) and your flame should be abruptly snuffed out. This is the same way that a commercially produced Tiki torch works.

How much wick do I need?

By my estimate, I can take a 6 inch strip of Kevlar from my Kevlar roll on a weekend camping trip with my family, build a blazing survival torch and still have several weeks left of survival torches just on this 3 foot roll.

Packing heat resistant gloves

When it comes to things like using fire torches, working with burning Kevlar wicks, etc., as long as you exercise caution you can do this without getting burned. As an added precaution though, heat resistant gloves give you the added protection of handling burning or hot materials with out risk of burning. As an added benefit, heat resistant gloves may have multiple uses in long term survival or living life off the grid. Primitive oven building, using wood stoves, using kilns; each of these has a valuable role to play in living off the land, allowing you to cook foods (primitive ovens), heat homes and cabins (wood stoves), and melt metals (kilns).

Creative uses for a Kevlar torch

Build a Reusable Candle Tin campfire


Six candle tins with lids

Kevlar wicks (you can cut several 4 – 6 inch wicks from a 3 foot roll of Kevlar; “Play” is the company I purchased my roll from for testing; it is a high quality Kevlar wick)

1 gallon of vegetable oil (can last you several days of use)

Stainless Steel Wire (26 gauge should work fine or an even thinner gauge can work would be my bet)

Need a campfire in a hurry? Use six “candle tins”, each filled with vegetable oil with a Kevlar wick propped up in the center, and then group these six candle tins together in a circle.

With six of these burning, you now have an instant campfire, no fire wood required. Since there is no risk of burning ash falling on trees or brush in the vicinity of your campfire, this should be legal to use in an area where campfires may presently be banned due to drought or fire danger to a national forest.

Interested in how to improve you medical survival skills? CLICK HERE to find out!

When it’s time to put your “campfire” out, put each of the six lids back on each candle tin, and each of your wicks will be instantly snuffed out. Since the vegetable oil will have heated up while each candle tin has been lit, let each one cool for a few minutes before handling with bare hands (or just have those heat resistant gloves handy and these tins will be safe to handle).

Building a survival torch without a fuel base

By far, using a fuel base can provide you with several hours use at a time, for just one torch. Several torches can ring your campsite with light and even keep intrusive wildlife at bay. In a survival situation though, where you are carrying a torch around to travel by night or even for exploring caves (which comes with several precautions and is too much to go into in this article), then you can use the same techniques that professional fire jugglers use for their torch

Cut several inches from a roll of Kevlar wick and soak it in barbecue lighter fluid or kerosene (paraffin) or even Coleman fuel. After your wick is thoroughly soaked, use it to wrap the head of a long stick or poll and secure it with stainless steel wire (wrapped tightly around the wick); and now it’s ready to light.

When using a torch, always exercise caution

Like anything that has to do with fire or heat, exercise caution at all times and you now have a new skill to add to your growing arsenal of survival skills, one that can provide light and even heat in an emergency or long term survival following a collapse of government or loss of the power grid.




Source : secretsofsurvival.com

Other Useful Resources :    

Mega Drought USA:(Discover The Amazing Device That Turns Air Into Water)-DIY

Survive The End Days (Biggest Cover Up Of Our President)

Survival MD (Best Post SHTF Medical Survival Guide Ever)

Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness guide)

Bullet Proof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home )

Backyard Innovator (All Year Round Source Of Fresh Meat,Vegetables And Clean Drinking Water)-DIY

Conquering the coming collapse (Financial advice and preparedness )

Liberty Generator (Easy DIY to build your own off-grid free energy device)

Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)

Family Self Defense (Best Self Defense Strategies For You And Your Family)

The post The Ultimate Primitive Torch When You Need Hours of Fire appeared first on Backdoor Prepper.

Blood Groups

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MaryN just asked an question on the forums about Blood Groups which made me realise that I had forgotten mine and also couldn’t remember what Blood Groups were compatible with others. It is an area of great interest containing areas of concern and is more than knowing your blood group and looking at a chart […]

How To Grow Food During Winter in a Greenhouse

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This video demonstrates how you can grow during the winter in a 4 season greenhouse in Colorado.

Here are five more examples of cold climate greenhouses. Greenhouses are great for extending your growing season to 2, 3 or even 4 seasons.

For many colder climates a simple cold frame or high tunnel (or any of these 6 DIY greenhouse designs) can extend your season by weeks or even months in both the spring and the fall. Using warm beds and other techniques you can potentially grow food year round, depending on where you live.

The post How To Grow Food During Winter in a Greenhouse appeared first on Walden Labs.

How To Grow Potatoes In Containers And Get An Amazing Yield

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The traditional approach growing potatoes is to hill them. Essentially, you use a hoe to cover up the potato sprouts as they emerge to get more growth out of them.

In contrast to the above, a growing in containers you grow the potato vertically, above ground. This method has the potential to yield more than an “in ground” method while using less space and reducing the labor required to dig them up.

You can grow potatoes in hay, on compost, directly in the dirt, growing boxes, buckets, chicken whire and any other good sized container.

Potato towers

The post How To Grow Potatoes In Containers And Get An Amazing Yield appeared first on Walden Labs.

Hawaii’s Whales are Still Missing — But the Missing Whale Deniers Are Out In Full Force

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stock here–

Not a shred of evidence has been presented to date about the Humpbacks showing up in Hawaii as of January 11, 2016.

The the mass media has sure ramped up to deny the whale story.   They present lies without any backup.  

Now sure, the whales may show up, and I am sure that a good amount will.  

But to pretend that this is “Normal” does not match my 25 years of living in Hawaii, 900 SCUBA dives, hundreds of sailing and boating trips.   AND my particular interest in Whale Watching and photography.

So yes, I am an expert in Hawaii’s whales.   And it is very unusual for them to not have showed up at this point, January 11, 2016


huffpost seems like a mouthpiece for the powers that be

“We can’t say that there are lower numbers, just later numbers,” Chow said. “Total numbers would require dedicated research. Anything else is observational or anecdotal.”

Really?     Chow….you can say for fact that there will be later numbers?  



We don’t have any empirical data that can verify whether there are fewer whales at this time of year as compared to recent years,” wrote Elia Herman, the marine protected species program manager for Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, in an email to Live Science. “What we do know is that that has been the general impression of some people,” she stated.


Is The Ponzi Scheme Finally Unraveling?

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You listen to the media and they’re blaming China, they’re blaming this and they’re blaming that… The thing is, it’s everything. It’s the ponzi scheme that’s finally unraveling. We are in a deflationary depressionary cycle that appears to be spreading far and wide. Just about everywhere you look, the data is pointing towards an unraveling […]

How to pack your bug-out bag like a survival expert

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Bug-out bag

By Daniel Barker – Natural News

(NaturalNews) If you’re thinking of assembling a bug-out bag — and I strongly recommend that everyone do so — you may find yourself becoming confused by the boatloads of sometimes conflicting (and often useless) information you’ll find on the web regarding the subject.

The first thing to keep in mind is that there is no one perfect bug-out bag that will meet the needs of everyone or every situation. There are as many different schools of thought and definitions as to what constitutes a bug-out bag, as there are people who have made their own versions, so no one person or website can be considered the single best source of expertise on the subject.

After all, even the most well-considered approach to creating a personal bag will always be a compromise between the considerations of weight, space and whatever is deemed to be essential to survival.

Continue reading at Natural News: How to pack your bug-out bag like a survival expert

Filed under: Bug Out Bags, Prepping

Satellite Images: Oil Tank Fires in Libya

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Survival World News

Oil Tank Fires in Libya

Acquired January 6, 2016download large image (3 MB, JPEG, 2200×1600)

Acquired January 7, 2016download large image (426 KB, JPEG, 1200×1000)

Source: Earth Observatory

After battles in Libya on January 4–6, 2016, several fires were observed at oil production and storage facilities near Sidra, on the coast between Sirte and Benghazi. Smoke plumes from several oil tanks and facilities spread a pall of black smoke across the nation’s Mediterranean coast.

At 2:05 p.m. Libya time (12:05 Universal Time) on January 6, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an image (top) of smoke plumes rising from the fires and blowing to the east and northeast. By 11:35 a.m. local time (09:35 Universal Time) on January 7, the winds had shifted, driving the smoke southeast as shown in an image acquired by the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite.

A multispectal imager on the European Space…

View original post 236 more words

Filed under: Environment, News/ Current Events

Polar vortex to send arctic air into central, eastern US through midweek

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By Jordan Root – AccuWeather

A piece of the polar vortex will help spread arctic air across the central and eastern United States through the midweek, bringing the coldest air of the season to many.

“The polar vortex will shift southward across Canada and set up near Hudson Bay for a several-day stint during the second full week of January,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Temperatures will likely peak 10 to 20 F below-normal across the Plains, Midwest, and Great Lakes for a couple of days next week. Temperatures may not escape the single digits through the middle of the week in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest.

Continue reading at AccuWeather; Polar vortex to send arctic air into central, eastern US through midweek

Filed under: News/ Current Events, Weather

Space Weather, Pressure Movement | S0 News Jan.11.2016

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By Suspicious0bservers

Published on Jan 11, 2016


Observing the Frontier Conference Page:


Solar Alerts on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheRealS0s

Good Videos/Articles:
The Sun is Going to Sleep: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7whL9…
Discussing Earthquakes with Kongpop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThCUZ…
Earth’s Magnetic Reversal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIayx…
Top 6 Climate Change Problems: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ew05…
Pause on Pausing the Pause: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZH46…
Sun Series: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=…
STARWATER Article: http://wavechronicle.com/wave/?p=1151
S0 Notes on Solar Shutdown: http://www.suspicious0bservers.org/fo…
IPCC History: http://www.suspicious0bservers.org/se…

Filed under: Climate, Earthquakes, Environment, News/ Current Events, Science, Space Weather, Volcanic Activity, Weather

Todays Latest Earthquakes Worldwide Monday, 11 January 2016

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Source: Volcano Discovery

Earthquake list: past 24 hours (only M>=2.6) (124 quakes)

Updated: Mon, 11 Jan 15:14 UTC (GMT)

Time Mag. / Depth Nearest volcano (distance) Location Map Source
Mon, 11 Jan (71 earthquakes)
Mon, 11 Jan 14:57 UTC M 2.8 / 150.3 km – [info] (119 km) New Zealand


Mon, 11 Jan 14:16 UTC M 3.0 / 5 km – [info] (499 km) – 30km NW of Fairview, Oklahoma


Mon, 11 Jan 14:01 UTC M 3.0 / 59 km – [info] (197 km) NORTHERN NARA PREF


Mon, 11 Jan 13:22 UTC M 4.4 / 81.6 km – [info] (564 km) – 217km E of Enarotali, Indonesia


Mon, 11 Jan 13:19 UTC M 3.0 / 1.4 km – [info] (148 km) SW OFF KYUSHU


Mon, 11 Jan 13:12 UTC M 2.9 / 5 km – [info] (499 km) – 30km NW of Fairview, Oklahoma


Mon, 11 Jan 13:06 UTC M 3.2 / 91.4 km – [info] (42 km) – 68km SW of Anchor Point, Alaska


Mon, 11 Jan 12:57 UTC M 4.7 / 111 km – [info] Aoba (26 km) – Vanuatu Vanuatu Islands


Mon, 11 Jan 12:32 UTC M 2.7 / 147 km – [info] Maroa (24 km) – New Zealand New Zealand


Mon, 11 Jan 12:21 UTC M 3.0 / 47 km – [info] (80 km) SW IBARAKI PREF


Mon, 11 Jan 12:15 UTC M 2.7 / 8.4 km – [info] (230 km) 12 Km NW from Ithaki


Mon, 11 Jan 11:38 UTC M 3.0 / 130 km – [info] (177 km) 54 km al E de Mina Los Pelambres


GUG (U. Chile)
Mon, 11 Jan 11:27 UTC M 3.4 / 5.9 km – [info] (735 km) New Zealand



Continue reading at Volcano Discovery: Todays Latest Earthquakes Worldwide Monday, 11 January 2016

Filed under: Earthquakes, News/ Current Events

6 Surprising Preparedness Uses for Sage

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uses for sageSage – the culinary seasoning that makes its way into so many holiday recipes – should also make its way into your herbal preps kit. Here’s some of the best preparedness uses for sage.

Although it is usually only valued as an ingredient in savory dishes nowadays,  sage (salvia officinalis) has been valued for health and healing for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks as well as Chinese used varieties of sage for an astounding number of health problems. Common garden sage, the one we now use for cooking, was even used for broader health purposes as recently as the late 1800s by early doctors such as the Eclectics, Thomasonians, and Physiomedicalists in America.

Throughout history, sage has proven itself time and time again for everything from minor discomforts like gas and bloating after eating a fatty meal, to more serious conditions such as typhoid fever and tuberculosis.

Respiratory Health

Sage can help strengthen the lungs during bouts with coughs and bronchitis. Traditionally, sage was used in smoking blends for asthmatics. Although we realize now that the particles from a smoking blend could cause more problems in the long run than they relieve in the short term, using sage as an herbal steam might still offer some relief. In addition to the coughing that comes along with a common cold, sage can help balance the runny nose and postnasal drip that often accompanies the cough.

If you do use steam, essential oils are the fastest and easiest method. It is a good technique for respiratory problems but anyone with asthma should be very careful with this method. After removing the boiling water from heat, drop a few drops in the heat. Put your head over it with a towel draped on top to keep the steam in.

Digestive Health

Constituents in sage are believed to assist the body with the breakdown of fats and proteins, which is one reason sage may have been such a success as a seasoning for meats. In addition, sage’s astringent, antispasmodic, and carminative actions can help calm the digestive tract during a round of diarrhea, gas, or bloating.

Emotional Well-being

Sage is also a very capable nervine, an herb that settles and calms the nerves and strengthens the nervous system. Many old sources discuss sage as an herb for healing grief and uplifting the emotions. Because of its influence on the nervous system, sage was also commonly used for disorders like palsy and epilepsy.

In addition, Sage is beneficial for strengthening the senses and sharpening the mind. Because grief can be something that is part of the aftermath of a natural disaster or emergency scenario, sage is valuable in the herbal preps kit on the strength of its nervine properties alone.

Oral Health

Tea made from sage leaf can be used as a gargle to promote oral health and the textured leaves make a decent stand-in for a toothbrush in a pinch. Traditional uses of sage for oral health include as a mouthwash for bleeding or receding gums, or as a gargle for hoarseness, swollen glands, and sore throat. This makes it a nice addition to an herbal first aid kit for dental hygiene and throat health.

Trauma Recovery

A less well known ability of sage involves the blood. Traditional herbalists made use of it when there was a traumatic injury potentially leading to dangerous blood clots, in order to harmlessly break up clots and discourage strokes and thrombosis. Sage also has astringent properties that make it useful for cleaning up cuts and scrapes in a pinch. Applying sage tea as a wash for wounds and bruises, or applying the extract are good ways to utilize this aspect of sage.


Sage was also used as an herb to support the nervous system during fevers, and was used when there were fevers with signs of stress on the nervous system. This included high fevers with delirium or convulsions, or lower fevers with restlessness or muscle spasms.

Safety and Use

Sage is very safe when used at the levels normally found in cooking, and is considered safe by most herbalists when used for less than three weeks at a time at the serving size listed below. Modern research has shown that sage contains a compound, thujone, that can be toxic if it builds up in the body over time. Large doses of thujone can lead to convulsions or even coma, so be sure to follow the directions on the packaging that come with any sage supplements you purchase at the store, and follow the traditional wisdom regarding length of time and serving size if you are using sage you have grown yourself.

Sage Tea

One serving of sage tea can be made by adding 1-2 tsps of fresh or dried leaf to 8 oz of boiling water, and allowing to steep for 10 minutes.

Sage Extract

15-30 drops 1-3 times per day

For more information on sage

uses for sage


How To Turn an Old Wrench into a Beautiful Knife

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Knives, and knife making, goes back literally millions of years. As humankind’s first tool, certain cultures have attached spiritual and religious significance to the knife.

But DIY knife making, along with many other ancient skills is an art that’s being lost in the hustle of modern life and highly centralized manufacturing.

The truth is, in order to be self-reliant and resilient, we need to reconnect with these skills that our forefathers depended upon to survive.

This video teaches you how to turn an ordinary wrench into a fully functional knife.

The post How To Turn an Old Wrench into a Beautiful Knife appeared first on Walden Labs.

Prepper New Year’s Resolutions

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The old saying goes, “New year, new you,” and while few of us actually stick to any of the resolutions we make for the new year, that might be because we’re not setting ones that are important. Losing weight, getting into shape, and reading more are all common resolutions and are probably the ones most often left incomplete.

This year, instead of setting the same old resolutions, consider setting some prepper-based ones in order to make yourself safer and better prepared for the coming year. A little action in a few key areas can really get you far more organized and prepared than the average person and really give you a leg up in an emergency. Here are my suggestions for New Year’s resolutions for preppers. Leave yours in the comments too.

Finally build that bug-out bag


You know you need one, but like many things we know we need to do, building your bug-out bag is something that’s easily put off. Maybe it’s because of the added cost of purchasing the items for your bag, or perhaps it’s just the work involved with crafting the perfect bag. Whatever the case, make this the year you finally build a real bug-out bag.

Sure, bugging out isn’t always the solution, but there are more reasons than you can probably think of to warrant getting out of Dodge for a few days. Check out these posts for more specifics on building a great bug-out bag, and if you already have one, here are some tips on putting it on a diet for the new year too.

Start your food prep (or add to it)


While bug-out bags are perfect for getting out while the getting’s good, there are many reasons that you might want to hunker down and weather the storm at home, perhaps literally. In times like these, you need a good food and water supply to keep you and your family fed and hydrated until you can make it out to the other side of the emergency.

Start with 72 hours of food and water for you and your family. This gives you three days of food and water, and while that’s not a lot when talking about a long-term disaster, it’s a great place to start. Here’s some great info on emergency water storage and food preservation to get you started.

Already have a food and water prep started? Take this time to add a few more days to it. Prepped for three days of use? Add three more and you’ll almost have a full week of food and water in case of an emergency.

Get in Shape

A female jogging for exercise. A female jogging for exercise.

I know, I know. This is one of those New Year’s resolutions that is always promised and never followed through on, but hear me out. Getting in shape just because you “should” is a sure-fire way to never get in shape. Instead, get yourself into better shape as part of your prep.

When the SHTF and disaster strikes, your health and fitness are as important as any physical item you could put into your prep. That bug-out bag you built is all nice and fine, but if you can’t walk more than a mile or two with it on your back, what’s the point in having it?

Check out this post on preparing yourself for physical activity, and go a little deeper by creating an ideal survival fitness training regimen.

Stop smoking

This one obviously only applies to the smokers out there, but if you’re a smoker, make this the year you quit. Sure, you’ll gain health benefits and help your “get in shape” resolution, but you’ll also be preparing yourself to be without them in a disaster situation.

If an emergency strikes, the last thing you should be worrying about is where you’re going to find your next cigarette, but that’s exactly what you’ll be worrying about if you continue to smoke. Consider getting yourself ready for the lack of cigarettes and kick the habit starting today.

Get better with your gun


You can never be too skilled with a firearm, so take some time in 2016 to learn more. Take a marksmanship class, go to the range more, and get your guns fine-tuned to shoot correctly every time.

Having a gun is one thing, but being able to hit something with it is something else entirely. All too often people buy guns and just expect to be able to use them when the time comes. Not only do you need to hone your marksmanship skills, but you also need to learn how to shoot in an emergency. Practice shooting on the move and hitting targets while excited. These skills are best learned by taking a class, so find one in your area and start being better with your gun now.

Learn a new skill


Finally, make 2016 the year of learning. It doesn’t matter if you have all the coolest technology and tools in your prep; if you don’t have long-term survival skills, they won’t get you very far. From canning to hunting to bushcraft, knowing how to do something is better than having a tool that can do it for you.

Check out the constant battle of skills versus stuff, and see what skills you can learn this year to make you a better prepper.

Following through with even one of these resolutions for 2016 will make a major difference in your prep, which will have a direct impact on your survivability and preparedness during an emergency. Remember, you’re not just prepping for the end of the world, but also for much smaller but equally deadly disasters like floods, earthquakes, and power outages. Keep these in mind while prepping in 2016 and you’ll be a more well-rounded prepper that’s ready to take on just about anything. Do you have a prepper resolution that we didn’t mention? Leave it in the comments below and maybe we’ll have to update our own lists, too.

Vid: Quick Concrete shelters.

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Hello my friend!  Welcome to today’s Video Monday.  Today we are going to look at Concrete shelters that can be put up very quickly,  I first saw these a while back and was really impressed.  I thought today would be a good day to show all of you just incase you haven’t seen them. The …

The post Vid: Quick Concrete shelters. appeared first on American Preppers Online.

15 Lost Survival Tips From The Cowboys

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Cowboy survival

When we think of the Wild West we often think of the old films with John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. They’d sit out under the stars, eating beans from a can and chewing tobacco or smoking a cigar.

By the way, in 1900s these cigarette packs came with a set of illustrations that depicted the hard life of a cowboy in the Wild West and a few tricks that made their life easier and a lot more enjoyable.

The frontiers people who came to the western states looking for a new life, had to be hardy folk, who had the skills to take care of themselves with little resources and scarce food availability. The cowboys who settled in the West were not good, nor bad. They were survivors.

Maybe we can all take advantage of their wisdom, and learn how to cope with a new life after SHTF.

1. His Best Friend

Cowboy and horseA cowboy’s best friend is his weapon. In the old days of the West, a cowboy needed a handy weapon, one he could carry around easily and that would be multi-purpose, for controlling his cattle and protecting him from ‘ cattle rustlers’.

The weapon of choice of those old westerners was the Colt .45 six-shooter because they could carry it in their belt and it was easy to use.

The gun, nicknamed the ‘Peacemaker’, was originally designed for U.S. government service use but was also popular with ranchers too.

Life was hard in those days, if you had cattle, you had something other people wanted and you had to be prepared to protect that asset. So the Colt .45 was an essential best friend to the ranchers of the Wild West. As well as rustlers, cowboys, especially those who lived in the southwest, also had to protect their ranch, cattle and families from other hostile elements, including Native Americans.

Another weapon of choice was the Winchester model 73, also known as the gun that ‘Won the Wild West’. The Winchester is a repeating arms rifle, so longer than the Colt .45. Cowboys would ride with these fastened to their saddles, ready to pull out when needed.

2. Repairing a Break

repairing breakThe famous American Poet, Robert Frost, in his poem ‘ Mending Wall’, said that,  “good fences, make good neighbors”. In the early days of the Wild West, keeping your ranch fence intact wasn’t an issue because fences were only used within the context of a coral; the cattle roamed freely across the plains.

As land rights started to enter the arena, around the latter part of the 19th century, fences started to be erected. In 1862, homesteaders were given the right to 65 hectares of land if they agreed to live on it and improve it. As the land became broken up and given to the new homesteaders, the competition for land increased and existing ownership had to be protected.

In 1874 barbed wire was invented and ranchers used it to mark out and protect their land. As free land became less available, the ‘Fence Cutting Wars’ started.

Homesteaders would go around cutting the barbed wire the ranchers had used to designate their land, to try and push it back into the public pot. Ranchers would have to go around the circumference of their land and fix any broken fences to retain their ownership rights.

3. Skinning a Buffalo

skinning buffaloBuffalo ranged the North American plains in their millions before the West became fully settled. During this time buffalo were hunted by the Native Americans every part of the animal being used for something.

The hides had a multitude of uses, including, teepee covers, clothing and moccasins. The horns were used to make cups and ladles and to form headdresses. The bones for knives, arrowheads and even dice, the fat used to make soap and to cook with and even buffalo dung could be used for fuel. The whole animal was made use of, there was little or no waste.

Once the settlers arrived they too hunted the buffalo, but they didn’t make use of the animal in the same way. The new settlers mainly hunted the animal for the meat and hide. Occasionally the cowboys would use the bones for fertilizer too. But the hide was used for many purposes including making drive belts for machinery. The cowboys of old did make use of the buffalo hide, using it for clothes and bedding against the harsh winters.

Buffalo tastes good; A little like lean beef. They were such a popular food source that by the end of the 19th century, they ended up being hunted to almost extinction, with only 300 individuals in the wild by 1900 – something that has happened to many species throughout human history. The herd size of today is back up to around 500,000 across the USA and Canada. Only because they were such a useful resource, North American Buffalo was once very close to extinction.

4. Getting the Horse Thief

5There are few things as iconic as a cowboy on his horse. Horses were of the utmost importance in ranching life.

Most ranchers had a herd of horses to help with the daily workings of the ranch.

On an average day you could see 3000 heads of cattle driven as much as 25 miles.

Horses were a valuable part of the ranch workforce. So if a horse was stolen, this was seen as a massive crime, certainly in the league of murder and could result in certain states in delivery of the death sentence.

If the legal system let the ranchers down, then they would resort to forming vigilante gangs. These gangs were brutal. It was often believed that the horse rustlers were from ethnic groups like Mexican or Native American. Local men within this community would become the focus of the vigilantes who would hunt them down, taking swift action against them, including hanging.

One account near Fort Griffin in Texas tells of a vigilante group who caught a man ‘in the act’ of stealing horses. They hung him, there and then, leaving a shovel underneath the body in case someone wanted to dig a grave. The action of the ranchers in protecting their most valued resource, the horse, was seen as natural justice.

5. A Long Shot

long shotThe Wild West cowboy had to be a marksman. His weapons were always by his side.

The weapons of choice were the Colt .45 revolver for shorter ranges and easy shooting, but for longer ranges, the Winchester was his preferred piece. The cowboy would often need to make a shot from atop a horse.

The best steeds were those that knew when to keep still, to let their rider take a clear shot.

The cowboy would use a gentle pat on the horses steer, or move his knee into the horse’s side to indicate it was time to keep very still. Then he would aim his rifle at a deer or antelope in the distance.

Antelope are one of the trickiest animals to hunt. They are common in places like Wyoming and eastern Colorado.

Antelope are hard to hunt as they have excellent vision and are well camouflaged against the flats that they wander through. It is said that if you’ve seen an antelope, it’s seen you too. The slightest movement by a hunter and the antelope flees at up to 55 miles per hour. The cowboy’s only hope of an antelope kill, is to have a steady quiet pony, a keen eye, and an accurate long shot gun, like a Winchester.

6. Cowboy Courtship

courtshipAffairs of the heart are an exciting and important part of any young person’s life and cowboys are no exception.

Having a wife and partner who can play an active role in the life of the ranch is something that good cowboys seek out at some stage or other.

Courtship for cowboys was a mutual affair, if the man wasn’t right, the girl would make sure he knew.

And likewise, the woman would need the necessary personality and skills to take up life on the ranch.

Often the girls would have been brought up on the ranch and so would already know the hired hands or ‘cowpunchers’ well and would have a good idea of who would make good husband material.

Being a cowboy wasn’t just a job, it was a way of life and anyone entering that lifestyle had to be of the same mind. The dream of the cowpuncher was to acquire a ranch of their own. Having a wife who understood how to help run that ranch was an important part of that dream.

The life of a rancher’s wife was remote and often hard, as their husband built up his business and herded cattle across many miles of land. Because of this, cowboys would sometimes wait until they had established their ranch before embarking on courtship, instead bringing their new wife into a more settled ranch.

7. Evening on the Prairie

prairie nightThe life of a cowpuncher was hard. Often they would be outside for days, herding cattle.

They had to spend many a night sleeping in the outdoors, under the stars; no tents were used – if it rained, the cowpuncher got wet. Their camp was basic and they camped wherever they could find a suitable spot, but some would sleep in the saddle.

Cowpunchers were a hardy lot and knew what it was like to go without sleep whilst on the trail. Each person in the outfit had to guard for two hours through the night, to protect the horses and cattle against rustlers and predators.

During those two hours they would ride amongst the herd, singing quietly to the cattle to let them know they were being watched over, the songs were gentle to prevent the herd from bolting if startled, but to let them know that the rider was there.

Sleep for the cowpuncher was intermittent and short and cowpunchers were known to rub tobacco in their eyes to keep awake. But they were good-natured folk and would hand out the cigarettes and often sing a song like ‘Little Black Bull’ for entertainment, or tell tales of their lives. They were a band of brothers who relied on each other for protection and entertainment and kinship.

8. Heading a Stampede

stampedeCattle can be dangerous animals. The herd acts like one beast when upset. Anything can set off a bad reaction in the cattle herd, which could result in the serious injury of a cowpuncher or rancher. And in the mid to late 1800’s serious injury was to be avoided at all costs, as modern medicine and hospitals were not available in the Wild West.

Any sudden noise or movement could spook a herd. Herds being driven to market and in unknown territory were easily made jittery. Nighttime was a dangerous time, the bark of a coyote, or a sudden thunderclap and the herd could stampede in seconds; anyone in the way of the hooves and horns would become trampled, stabbed, or kicked.

Cowpunchers would use tricks like driving the herd into a tight grouping, making them feel more secure. They’d also sing to the herd, sad and sentimental songs, to calm them. If the herd were to panic, the skill of the herders and their horsemanship meant they were able to ride around the front of the stampeding herd, pushing them into a tight grouping again to calm them.

The men had to have stamina to do this as it may take them all night to pull the herd together again.

9. A Balky Pupil

balky pupilThose old western films from the 1940s always seemed to have a horse being ‘broken in’. This method of horsemanship was prevalent throughout the Wild West. Specialist ‘horse breakers’ were employed at a fixed price to break in a horse.

The horse needed to be mature, because of the work it was expected to do, such as carry a rider for days on end. So the horse would be weaned by the ranch owners and when ready ‘broken in’. The breaking in had to be done within a week, which meant that the horse needed to be able to be ridden within about four days. The breakers were often highly skilled and were intuitive with animals and the use of the word ‘break’ in this context is perhaps over harsh at times – although less skilled handlers may have used overly heavy methods of course.

The breakers would be working on around six horses per week to make a living. More modern horse handing techniques have come into play and the idea of a ‘horse whisperer’ is someone who can teach a horse to handle a rider without any harsh techniques, but by using systematic methods that train the horse to perform certain actions based on simple commands.

 10. Outnumbered 

outnumberedThe Wild West wasn’t called wild for nothing. It was a dangerous place. It had dangerous animals like bears and snakes to contend with. There were harsh winters and rough country to traverse. There was also a war raging between the Native Americans and the settlers. The West was seen in the 1800s as an undiscovered country, devoid of human habitation and ripe for settlement.

However, when the first settlers got there they found it was in fact the homeland of Native Americans. To try and alleviate the problem, the government formed reservations for the Native Americans. This didn’t work out well and as resources became depleted, including the near extinction of the Buffalo, the staple diet of the Native American, anger spread and the Indian Wars of the late 1800s began with conflicts such as ‘Wounded knee’ and ‘Geronimo’ now ensconced in American history.

Cowboys lived through these violent times and when they rode out with the herd they literally took their life into their own hands. Even fully armed with their trusty Winchester, a lone cowboy was easy game and the Native Americans armory, included powerful short bows to bring you down, and ball-headed war clubs and tomahawk axes to finish you off. The best way for a cowboy to protect himself during the Indian Wars was to stay in a group with other men.

11. A Lucky Bag

lucky bagFood during the earlier days of the Wild West, before the railroads opened up trade, could be monotonous. Vegetables, like beans, were often out of a can, the meat variety was limited, squirrel being an alternative to the usual buffalo.

Provisions such as coffee, sugar and flour were scarce and stocked up on, when the opportunity arose.

These were the days before home freezing or even cool boxes. The cowboy and girl would need to use preservation techniques, like salting, pickling or dehydration to keep food over the winter.

Dugouts were also used to store food in. Early cowboys really had to make use of their hunter-gatherer instincts.

For fresh vegetables they would have to forage for fresh berries, wild fruit and other green edibles and roots. Herbs and acorns were also foraged for and used to liven up meals. Some folk would create a smoke house that would be used communally, the people taking advantage of it, leaving some meat or fish for the smoke house owner as payment for use.

If the cowboy had time, they could go hunting, perhaps bagging a deer or antelope. They could then add some extra pizazz to their meals and keep the rest of the meat using one of the preserving techniques.

12. Branding Calves

branding calvesCattle were valuable in the old days of the West. As they roamed pretty much freely, the rancher needed a way to recognize their own cattle from another’s.

To do this they used to brand the calves. This entailed a painful exercise involving applying a hot iron to the animal’s skin. The branding iron has a distinctive metal symbol at the end to represent a particular ranch.

It meant that the calves, as they grew up, retained this mark (symbol) and could freely move across the range, yet be easily identified when it was time to be taken to market.

Branding was also a useful way to protect against rustling. Neighbors would recognize a brand and if they caught a rustler, even if it were neighbor’s cattle being stolen, they would catch the rustler and ‘string him up’.

Branding was a two-man job. The cowpunchers would find a mother and calf, separate them form the herd and then lasso the calf. The cowpunchers were masters at lassoing. They’d get the rope under the calves back legs and take the calf down. One man would then hold the calf, while the other quickly branded it. The process would be over quickly, the calf then released back to its waiting mother. The calf, now branded with the ranches own personal mark, would wander freely across the plains, the rancher knowing he could pick out his cattle.

13. Rounding Up

rounding upThe task of rounding up, that is bringing together perhaps thousands of cattle was a mammoth one and needed highly skilled men to do that work.

In the early days of the Wild West, early Texan settlers would hire ‘Vaqueros’ who were skilled horseman, used to driving wild cattle to market.

The Vaqueros had strength, agility and they understood how cattle moved and could be controlled. The settlers soon learned the ways of the Vaqueros and became just as skilled in the management and rounding up of large herds of cattle.

Texas had a large number of cattle after the American Civil War and these cattle were sold at higher prices in places that had a scarcity of meats such as those in eastern and northern states. Between 1865-1880 there were around 10 million cattle herded by cowboys in Texas up to Kansas.

This was a major feat and cowboy and his horse had work together as one seamless entity. This meant that the horses too, had to be highly trained as the cowboy relied totally on their working to his commands.

Most drives had around 18 cowboys working them and a herd of horses. Cowboys often had several steers that would be used throughout the round up, as the drives were long and arduous and horses needed to rest up.

14 Queen of the Ranch

cowgirlCowboys in the Wild West revered good, strong women. A woman, who accompanied her husband on the long arduous trip to settle land, had to be as hardy as her husband.

Times were tough; food was monotonous and often scarce and poverty the order of the day. We’ve all heard of ‘Calamity Jane’ the frontierswoman and scout, but most women of the Wild West led much simpler lives.

They came from all sorts of backgrounds and levels of education. Women of the Wild West had to learn quickly how to survive and they were taught to ride from being a young girl. Many stories are told about the women who blazed the trail to the West along with their husbands, fathers and brothers.

These women soon learned how to make the most of scraps of food, when the meat ran out, they’d make soup from the bones and left over scraps. The women would also be the gatherers and occasionally the hunters too, of small animals, like mice and rabbits.

The women of the West as well as being the persons who cleaned and cooked, were also doctor and nurse. They would use homemade remedies to treat wounds and cope with fevers. Willow bark was used for infections and headaches; poultices were used to treat wounds, and sulfur and molasses for stomachache. The women of the West were an integral part of its development, keeping the menfolk and children fed and healthy.

15. How The Cowboys Tied Their Lasso

lassoLasso is a word of Spanish origin, but the Westerner called it a “rope” and the people in Southwest called it a “reata”. There is a good reason why every cowboy carried one at his saddle. Roping cattle was a daily business. It was generally 40 feet long, which was the most practical size for an average size man. Lassos were previously manufactured by using hemp or rawhide.

Rawhide was snipped into strips and then half-tanned with the hair. The knot is so easy that once you learn it you’ll never forget it.

The illustration is pretty self-explanatory. First you need to make a loop about 1 food from the end of the rope. At the end of the rope tie a simple knot. Then pass this knot through one of the loops and tighten the lasso as you can see in image 3. Pull the other end of the rope through the new loop and there you have it.

Life in the saddlebag meant survival of the fittest. Cowboys lived rugged lives, and lessons were learnt the hard way.  This is your time to learn their lessons, but you have the chance to do it the easy way.


This article has been written for Survivopedia by Claude Davis from Ask a Prepper.

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Natural Garden Pest Control Methods

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There are many alternatives for natural garden pest control. Use one in your garden this year | PreparednessMama

This is my first year gardening in Texas and I’ve become acquainted with the grasshopper. Let me tell you these bugs are big, measuring in at 2 to 3 inches long.  And they eat a lot.  I’ve caught them on more than one occasion nibbling the broccoli. They land on the moringa and move around […]

The post Natural Garden Pest Control Methods appeared first on PreparednessMama.

What Is REAL Courage?

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     You know, with all the alerts from around the world warning us that evil is encroaching upon our security, it would be easy to give in to the unsettling fear and worry.  I’m afraid that, as a culture, we have lost the sense of self-preservation and the responsibility to protect ourselves that was a hallmark of our ancestors.  Are courage and heroism no longer desired traits?

     We seem to have exchanged our instincts to defend and safeguard ourselves and our families for the idea that others will do it for us (like the government) — or even more ridiculously, that it will never reach our shores.  Then again, we have become a society that puts more stock in the perceptions and interpretations we see on our TV and movie screens than we do in our own lives.  We sit back and watch celebrities play real-life characters in movies like American Sniper and the upcoming 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, and look upon those actors as heroes, relegating the stories of the actual men to two-and-a-half hours of whatever the screenwriter chooses to highlight.  So, we are able to transfer those acts of courage onto a movie star, and give no further thought to the real struggles that those real-life heroes face — or, even more importantly, how we might be called upon to respond in kind.

Bradley Cooper, as Chris Kyle

     That’s why it sickens me when I see and hear the accolades heaped upon actors like Bradley Cooper, Liam Neeson, and Edward Norton (and the additional 97 celebrities who joined them) for signing a letter to the President in support of gun control.  What are we to think of them?  If they truly believe that “guns [are] far too easily available to people intent on doing harm”, are we to assume that they lack a moral compass or conscience because they have no problem making millions of dollars playing characters who use guns to defend themselves, the weak, and the defenseless?

     Don’t be mistaken — I’m not looking to turn this into a gun control argument, although I do find their argument for enhanced background checks without logic — as Breitbart.com states, “It is hard to figure out which is most embarrassing, the fact they cite a shooting where the gunman and gunwoman passed a background check for their handguns–San Bernardino–or the fact that they cite Sandy Hook, where Adam Lanza went around background checks altogether by stealing his guns.”  But, back to my real point — It is that they don’t deserve to be compared to the flesh-and-blood heroes they portray; nor do I think they comprehend what lies at the foundation of real courage. 
     Let them spend one day, even one hour, in the shoes of men like Chris Kyle, or Glen Doherty, or Tyrone Woods, and maybe… just maybe… I would listen to what they have to say.  Instead, let them visit with Jeff Struecker, a real-life survivor of another blockbuster movie, Blackhawk Down.  Maybe it is easy for actors, once the cameras stop rolling, to discard the persona of the dead men they are playing.  But let them hear Jeff Struecker tell his story of what it was like those fateful hours in Mogadishu, as the Army Rangers/Delta Force attempted to secure the area after a UN peacekeeping mission went awry in the middle of Somalia’s civil war.  Let them hear, first-hand, how Ranger PFC Todd Blackburn failed his fast-rope drop-in and fell 70 feet to the ground headfirst.  Let them experience the horrors that surrounded the Rangers and Delta Force operators, as they secured the perimeter, and how the subsequent efforts to rescue the fallen ranger led to two helicopters being shot down and 18 deaths.  
     Let Struecker relate how he rescued Blackburn, who was unconscious and bleeding through his nose and mouth, and stretchered him to a Humvee that would drive him to the base; how he drove carefully through the alleys of Mogadishu, so as not to jar the injured soldier.  And then, let them try to imagine what it was like as Struecker paints them the following picture:  “Turning a corner, the entire city erupted with gunfire.  We were being shot at from a 100 different directions, it seemed like—from rooftops, from alleyways and from doorways and windows. There were rocket propelled grenades and automatic gunfire from AK-47s from 20, 30 feet away.”  
     Rear gunner Sgt. Dominick Pilla was killed by a militiaman waiting in ambush. “When I turned and looked over my shoulder, it looked like the whole back of my vehicle had been painted red with Dominick Pilla’s blood,” says Struecker. “I thought I was going to die in the next moments, but then I remembered I was in charge and I needed to get myself under control if I was going to get my men out of there.”  It is one thing to play those emotions as an actor; it’s quite another to actually live them.
     But here is the part of the story that I’m fairly certain these actors cannot understand, and where the heart of what courage really is comes into play … The column of Humvees managed to escape the hostilities in the city and return to the base. Medics and surgeons ran to stretcher in Blackburn. Meanwhile Struecker thanked God that he had gotten out alive.  At that moment, the platoon leader informed Struecker that a Black Hawk helicopter had been shot down, and that the pilot needed Humvees to go rescue him. A special operator counseled him to wash the blood off the Humvee first so as to not terrify the new crew.
     As he washed the Humvee, he experienced convulsions of fear like he had never felt before. “I was totally and completely certain that I was going to die,” he said. “And every fiber of my being was saying, ‘No, Jeff, don’t do this. This is crazy. It’s suicide. You’re going to get yourself killed if you go back out there.’  But then he remembered he was a Ranger, whose creed is to never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy. As a Christian, he started to pray.  
     “God I’m in big trouble right now, and I need your help because I’m certain that I’m going to die tonight,” he said.  The Lord brought to his mind the recent Bible devotional about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. There, Jesus said, “Not my will, but yours be done… Jesus, the perfect sinless Son of God, walked into the hands of the enemy and He willingly, freely gave His life up so that your sin and my sin could be dealt with once and for all,” Struecker relates. “At the back of that Humvee, I prayed, not my will. From that moment on, God once and for all dealt with that fear. I had no worries about what was going to happen to me that night.”
Jeff Struecker

     I’m pretty sure that no Academy-award winning actor could accurately portray how that changed Jeff Struecker.  “I realized if I go home to my family in Georgia or go home to my Father in heaven, in either case, I cannot lose because of what my Savior Jesus Christ had done for me.  That alone gave me the peace to go back and forth into the streets repeatedly for the rest of the night.”  And that he did, miraculously avoiding death as an RPG bounced off the hood of his Humvee, and gunmen opened fire on him with AK-47s from point blank range.

     Note that it was the peace of God that gave Jeff Struecker his courage.  That kind of courage doesn’t come from the efforts of a man, and that is something these actors may never realize.  But Struecker’s fellow soldiers saw it, and wanted to know how he did it.  They approached him, “Jeff, there was something different about you last night, and I want to know what it was,'” Struecker says.  “For the next 24 hours, I had guys lined up to ask me about Jesus Christ because they could see the difference that He makes when you’re getting shot at and when the bullets are flying.” 
     “Before that night, I thought you could transform the world through military prowess and national power,” Struecker said. “But I realized something in Mogadishu, Somalia: There is only one force great enough to transform the world, and it is the Holy Spirit of the Living God through His Son Jesus Christ.”  And that’s why, after counseling a large number of comrades shaken by death, Struecker realized God had something greater for him than “kicking in doors and slinging lead at the enemies of our country,” he said.  He became a Chaplain for his same Ranger regiment.
     And that is my definition of a hero.  You see, Jeff Struecker learned what real courage was that night, and how to deal with his fears, as he experienced the tragedy that was Mogadishu.  In the Bible, courage is the opposite of fear. When Struecker prayed for God’s will, and not his own, we can see God working in each incident in those dark alleyways of Somalia.  It was not natural for Jeff Struecker to be brave and courageous, but with God protecting and guiding him, he could have courage because he was confident in Him.
     That is something that only comes from knowing God.  That is what allows a man to be called a hero.  It will never come from “playing” a hero.  What Jeff Struecker learned that night in Mogadishu is what each one of us needs to learn as we face the uncertain future and our own fears.  We need to stop play-acting, and relying on our roles as Americans, or successful businessmen, or church leaders, or whatever part we’re playing in our life’s story.  We need to allow God to replace that fear, and come to the understanding of His sovereignty, and that His plans and purposes cannot be stopped; that every circumstance of life is subservient to His will.
     I began this post by saying that it would be easy to give into our unsettling fears and worries, and that we have lost the sense to defend ourselves.  But we must realize, as I believe our ancestors did, that God is our defense and our shield; that He is the one who makes it possible for us to do acts of courage because He takes away our fear and replaces it with confidence in His will and purpose for our lives.  Real men, like Jeff Struecker, have experienced fear and overcome it with their trust in the will of God.  May each of us experience that same Godly courage in the days to come.
Joshua 1:9    Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

10 Easy DIY Greenhouse Plans (They’re Free!)

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Building a greenhouse does not have to break your budget. There are cheap and easy to build greenhouse plans out there, and below you’ll find ten of them.

Also check out these 6 DIY greenhouse designs inspired by traditional shelters and these five northern greenhouse examples.

1. Build an Easy 5 x 5 Home Greenhouse for under $25

Cold frame greenhouse

free plan

2. How to build your own Recycled Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

Recycled bottle greenhouse

free plan

3. How To Build a Fold-Down Greenhouse

Fold down greenhouse

free plan

4. How to build My 50 Dollar Greenhouse

$50 greenhouse

free plan

5. Free step by step plans to build a barn style greenhouse!

Barn style greenhouse

free plan

6. My Homemade Greenhouse

Homemade greenhouse

free plan

7. CD Case Greenhouse Tutorial

CD case greenhouse

free plan

8. On the Farm: Building a DIY Greenhouse (For less than you think)

DIY greenhouse

free plan

9. How to Build a GeoDome Greenhouse

Geodome greenhouse

free plan

10. FREE plans for PVC pipe projects / Arched Greenhouse

PVC greenhouse

free plan

The post 10 Easy DIY Greenhouse Plans (They’re Free!) appeared first on Walden Labs.

How To Teach The Gift Of Money Management

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I wish that when I was in school there had been a course on how to teach the gift of money management. My husband and I both grew up in families with limited finances, although we didn’t know it at the time. When my dates came over to pick me up for the night I always wondered if they could see the pillows under the blanket that covered the hole in the couch. I think we called them davenports back then. Wow, that word just came to my mind. Life is all about memories, right?

I grew up with homemade bread my mother made. When I would go to friends after school we would take her soft white bread and spread a thick layer of butter (I bet it was margarine) and then sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar. It tasted like dessert to me. My mom made great bread, but we never had store bought fluffy white bread. I sewed all of my clothes from the time I was very young, and I’m grateful I learned early in life to sew. I think the fabric was cheaper back then. Now it’s cheaper to go to some of our local stores to buy clothes on sale or clearance. I think I had 5 dresses (yep we had to wear dresses to school), one for each day. I go to my daughter’s houses and their closets are filled with clothes. Man, I would have loved to have had seven dresses to choose from for school. My sisters and I had one pair of shoes. Yep, no matching shoes to every outfit for my family or special ones to use outside. I just laugh because life changes for each of us, and that’s a good thing.

Mark, my husband always wanted shirts like the other guys in school when he was young. You know the ones with the button down collars? He spent one whole night sewing on buttons to the collars of his shirts so he had “button” down shirts like the other kids. Mark lived in Salt Lake City, Utah where the snow in the winter is just about the best in the USA! If you snow-ski you can picture the white fluffy powder snow and the sunshine peeking through the trees on the ski lift. In Utah, most ski resorts have buses that take kids up to learn to ski. Our daughters learned to ski at a very young age by taking that bus with friends up to some of the ski resorts. Now let me talk about his ski outfit. He started skiing about the time manufacturers were designing skis with “safety bindings” that would let the boots come out when you fall so you were less likely to sprain an ankle or worse yet, break a leg. His parents mentioned there was a pair of skis out in the shed and that he should use those to make sure he really wanted to participate, then they could consider buying the fancy new skis. The skis he used had the old “bear trap” bindings that would let the boot out no matter what. The newer ski poles had small baskets at the bottom, his were large, like pasta strainers. Most of the kids on the ski bus had fancy new boots that went up the calf, almost to the knee for better support.  His boots were the ones he used to go hiking. His “ski clothes” amounted to Levi’s, a flannel shirt, stocking cap and oversized jacket with regular snow gloves. We still laugh when we think of how he must have looked when he climbed on that ski school bus at Bryant Junior High.

You might be wondering why I am telling you all of this. I learned at a very young age all about money management. I cleaned houses and babysat kids from the time I was eight years old. Now most parents wouldn’t think of having a neighbor child tend their children for any length of time unless the sitter was 12 years of age or older. I was raised by a single mom and my sisters and I took the laundry each week to a laundromat while my mother worked to put food on the table. If there had been food stamps my mother would have been too proud to accept them. There was no entitlement wanted or expected, and that’s how I was raised. I believe there are people who occasionally need help from the government to feed their families. I get that. But we need to teach people that they are not entitled to live off the government for years.

When my husband was going to school full time at the University of Utah he worked two jobs to cover his schooling costs, our housing, and food. We never took out a student loan. We both worked several jobs so we would not have any school debt. I’m not sure what was available back then regarding school loans and grants for education. Wish we had known the best way to research for financial guidance, but neither of our parents had gone to college and we were pretty naive. As a former bank officer, I witnessed a lot of different client families and how they managed their finances.  It gave me good insight about how things could be if sound financial management was applied.  I’ve listed some things we all should consider:

Money Management:

  1. Teach your children to work. They are watching us…teach by example.
  2. Teach your children to want less “stuff”.
  3. Learn to save 10% of your income, or more if possible.
  4. Live on less than you earn.
  5. If you get a raise, save the money and continue to live on what you make today.
  6. Save for your retirement NOW, not later.
  7. Never ever take out a 40-year loan on your house because you will not only get a higher interest rate, but the loan payment amount between a 30-year and 40-year loan is minimal. If you qualify for a 30-year loan that’s great. If you can qualify for a 20-year loan that’s fabulous. If you can qualify for a 15-year loan you rock! Buy a smaller home, we don’t need a monument to show our success. Either way, pay extra on every mortgage payment you can. Do without the “toys” in order to pay off your house. Trust me, you will smile when you retire.
  8. Stop giving gifts that our kids or grandkids really do not need. We need to stop the entitlement mentality. I was lucky to get a used bike for Christmas. I was thrilled.
  9. Make a budget and learn to stick to it. You can start by using my printable budget sheet. Start with your house payment or rent payment because we need to pay for our housing first. Food Storage Moms Printable Budget. If you write it down you know where the money is going each money. Determine your net income and see where you stand. If your income is a bit short….start by cutting out things like cable TV extravagant plans, fancy cell phone service or wherever you can cut expenses. If it means going back to a flip phone, so be it.
  10. My snowball effect of paying off debt: pay off the smallest debt first. Pay the minimum amounts on the other debts. Now, when the first credit card or car is paid off use the $$$ you used to pay that debt off and add it to the next lowest payment amount. Continue to pay the minimum amount on your other debt. Every time you pay off the next debt you continue adding the $$$ to pay off another debt. Now when you get to the point you only have a house payment, you rock! Now start paying all that extra $$$ on your house. Continue your savings plan so you can pay cash for your next car when needed.
  11. Some people put cash in envelopes for all expenses that are not online. I suggest setting up (automatic) ACH payments for your monthly ongoing payments. I seldom write checks, literally. I use my debit card for my monthly grocery shopping spree. The less I go to the store the more money I can save. Few of us have the self restraint to pay off our credit cards when the statement comes.  If you can great, but it sure is a temptation to “let it slide” and just make a minimum payment, hoping next month will provide the extra cash to pay if off.
  12. Cook from scratch, this is why I am starting my Back to Basics Series. I started last week with “How To Use a Wheat Grinder”. You will save money once you get your pantry stocked with the necessary items to be able to cook from scratch. Trust me, you will save lots of $$$$, I promise.
  13. When you think of purchases start thinking about this: do I need it or do I want it? Is the item really necessary?
  14. Turn off the lights in your home when you are NOT in that room. Remember, most all electronics are using electricity even when turned off. Start replacing your  light bulbs with LED bulbs. Yes, they are expensive but they will save you money in the long run. Obvious, if you are renting a home for a short time I would not recommend this.
  15. Take shorter showers….just think of the amount of water you will save plus the amount of energy to heat it.
  16. Consider going to one car if it’s just the two of you. We’ve been using one car for about the last five or six years. Sure, not as convenient, but we’ve saved a ton of money. If your family has multiple cars, consider cutting back to fewer. It’s amazing how much is saved on fuel, insurance, upkeep and more, even after the car is paid off.
  17. Consider using public transit, if available.  We used the Trax light rail system in Salt Lake City the last time we visited family.  It was super cheap and not as troublesome as I had expected.
  18. For both winter and summer, months make sure your home is energy efficient. Check doors and windows for air leaks. Put extra insulation in the attic. Use a programmable thermostat and set the temperature to be comfortable when home, but higher or lower when you aren’t at home, depending on the season.
  19. Try setting your water heater to a lower temperature. Each degree you set it lower will save on your gas or electric bill. Also, look into putting an insulation blanket on the water heater and possibly insulating the water pipes as they come into your home.
  20. We all love to eat out, myself included. We know people who eat out most of their meals. Mark and I enjoy meals at home, not only because it saves us money, but also because we tend to eat less food and the food also tends to be healthier. Sure, we go out from time to time, particularly as friends come into town for a visit, but even then, we often invite them over for the meal and we’ll sit around and tell stories about previously adventures.

I hope this post today helps you teach the gift of money management to your family members. It’s all about saving one penny, nickel, dime, quarter or dollar at a time. May God bless you in your efforts to be self-sufficient.

The post How To Teach The Gift Of Money Management appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

20 Life-Changing Ways To De-Clutter & Organize Your Closet

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20 Life-Changing Ways To De-Clutter & Organize Your Closet

Have you ever found yourself wishing for a larger closet space to fit the huge number of shoes, shirts, pants, and other various things you find all to often in a heap on the floor? The dimensions of the closet itself might not be something you can change, but theres’ probably a whole lot more space than you suspect. The trick is finding it! Even just a few of these do-it-yourself closet hacks will have your space feeling brand new in no time, without your wallet feeling light!


1. Closet Organizer Kit – The easiest place to run completely out of control is your clothing closet, probably in your bedroom. This kit can help you de-clutter much of the space you’ve lost to poor storage tactics.


2. Shoe Rack – A little bit of PVC pipe can go a long ways! Without an entryway to store your shoes, they can really pile up. Try this stacking technique inside a closet to cut down on clutter.


3. Tie Rack – Finding a good place to hang your ties can be tough and hard to manage. This rack makes your ties visible, accessible, and avoids any creases or wrinkles!


4. Custom Shelving – If you’ve been looking for a cube-styled closet wall, look no further. This guide shows you how to build your own, with tons of individualized nooks!

kids closet kit -

5. Kids Closet Kit – Another space that always feels like a crowded mess: your child’s closet! This kit can help you divide up the space into easy-to-manages sections.

scarf hanger

6. Scarf Hanger – If you’re looking for an even easier solution to clothing management, grab a few shower curtain hoops and a hanger for a great scarf rack!


7. Scarf and Belt Sliding Rack – If you’ve ever found yourself digging to the back of your closet to get out an belt or an accessory, you could probably use this.


8. Hanging Office Bins – The best space-saving spots are the ones you haven’t even thought of yet! These baskets hang under any shelf and allow for easy removal and storage.


9. Hanging Tier Baskets – Great for a tall space or corner of your craft or extra room’s closet, these baskets stack nicely and openly for easy access.



10. Cleaning Supplies – Laundry Room closet nightmare? A repurposed shoe door hanger makes an excellent place to store anything from your bathroom cleaners to your shoe polish.


11. Paper Towel Hanger – Another household closet trick: using a vertical hanging shoe organizer for your toilet paper or your paper towel.


12. Earrings – If you’re looking for a place to store a large number of earrings in an already tight space while keeping them organized and out of the way, this is an incredibly creative fix.

closet shelving

13. Closet Door Shelving – Sometimes, no matter what you seem to do, there simply isn’t enough room to work with in a closet. This solution is a clever way to build invisible shelves on the inside of a closet door. Be sure to measure first!

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 4.09.42 PM

14. Extra Rods – In most closets, many of the space constraints can be fixed by simply adding on a few more bars to the dead space in the sides of the closets.


15. Measuring Cup Hangers – There’s probably even more space to be had inside your kitchen cupboards! This neat labeling system is wonderfully tidy as well as handy!

coupon filing

16. Coupon Organizer – Coupon binders and folders can be both unwieldy and hard to thumb through quickly when you’re planning you next shopping trip. Not to mention all the desk space they take up! File them in this handy index instead, and keep them on any low floor or shelf space.


17. Mitten and Hat Holder – This cute seasonal hanger is great for easy set-up and removal, and makes a great alternative to picking up your kid’s winer wear off the floor!

themed bins

18. Themed Kid’s Bins – A quick way to keep extra clothes divided by season to free space for the rest of their clothes? Themed bins. Keep them on the upmost rack, or grab some lids and stack them!


19. Shared Divided Closet – Your children might not get their own bedroom, but they sure would love to have their own half of a closet! Save the trouble of digging through what goes where with this easy to divide closet plan.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 5.03.01 PM

20. Linen Closet – A simple but helpful addition to any linen closet is to install some bars to the inside of the door to hang towels! Be sure to make sure you have ample room before installing them!

Station Eleven: Pandemic Vision of Future Events

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Huples. One thing I love at Christmas is getting that one small present I was not expecting that delights me. Getting a mainstream literary book that has a pandemic as its theme definitely fulfilled that this Christmas. While “One Second After” by […]

The post Station Eleven: Pandemic Vision of Future Events appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Self defense in a gun-free zone

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The way things are going, it seems that daily carry will become a memory of our rights. A memory of when we were allowed to carry a handgun. We will live to see the day when our guns will be taken away from us and we will have to find other means to protect our … Read more…

The post Self defense in a gun-free zone appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Money Mondays: How to Save Money with You Tube

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In the last month or so, I have found You Tube to be a great resource that has helped our family save money. We started looking at videos to help me do things ourselves, rather than pay someone else to do it.
Here are ways I save money with You Tube: Continue reading

The post Money Mondays: How to Save Money with You Tube appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

All Purpose White Flour Storage

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Long term storing of All Purpose White Flour is rarely discussed. It’s like its taboo and that probably started back at Y2K where some fool said “you can’t store it because it will go rancid” or cited some other internet nonsense.
Because the rumor mill said you can’t long term store white flour, some people feel lost or left out of proper food storage and having familiar baked goods to eat during disaster times. The worst time to be eating foods you don’t like or have to do without is during a disaster.

Well, good news! I looked into this rumor years back and sure enough it is Bull Flop! True it doesn’t store 30 years but it does store 10 years!! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) sells it in #10 cans with an oxygen absorber sealed inside and states it is good for 10 years. So that opens the door to us using Mylar Bags with absorbers sealed inside to get the same shelf life.

I also found that the older flour may gain a very slight off-odor. This can be removed by sifting the flour to reintroduce oxygen back into the flour that the Oxygen Absorber removed.

So there you go, store away! Follow good long term storage methods and procedures and you’ll be eating just like normal during the worst of times.

Below is the exact copy of the email that the LDS Store people sent me when I questioned the long term storage of white flour:




Dear Mike,

Thank you for your email regarding the storage life of White Flour.

The flour is good for only 10 years for storing.

Thank you,

Annette, Global Service Center”

How To Do Laundry Off Grid With a Bike-Powered Washing Machine

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January 11th, 2016

Video courtesy of Fouch-O-Matic Off Grid

A fun demo of how one Off Grid family has developed a system for doing laundry and staying in shape at the same time!

New Book Reveals the Little Known Secrets of How To Maintain An Extremely Low Profile In An Age Of Hackers, Snoops, Data Miners, Corrupt Bureaucrats and Surveillance Grid Profilers.



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5 Off-Grid Steps To Making Your Own Brick

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5 Off-Grid Steps To Making Your Own Brick

Image source: Pixabay.com

Over the years, I’ve used logs to build cabins and sticks to make furniture, but my proudest moment was the first time I successfully made a small pile of bricks. I kept making more over one summer and eventually used them to construct an outdoor, wood-fired oven and grill. It was nice to know that if I ever needed brick and none were available that I had the know-how and raw materials at hand.

While the bricks I made were all of even size and had great structural integrity, they were like many homemade things – a little rough around the edges. This was mostly due to my primitive “firing” method, which is the last step in the brick making process. I also took a simpler approach to the use of clay.

Some approaches recommend gathering clay and letting it dry over the winter and then crushing it into a powder. I harvested the clay, wet it down a bit, and immediately began to work it. This left some pebbles in the clay to be incorporated into the final brick. Brick-making purists would frown upon my shortcut, but for my purposes the bricks came out fine and I didn’t mind seeing a pebble here and there.

How to Make Rustic Bricks

1. Find clay

Finding a good source of clay is critical to this brick-making approach. Where I live the clay runs six to 12 feet deep under the topsoil until it comes to bedrock. I learned the hard way that my property was “blessed” with clay every time I tried to plant a tree or bush.

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You also can find clay along river banks. Keep in mind, however, that clay is very heavy and so it’s best if you can find a source that’s close to home. I took my harvested clay from my backyard and piled it on a 4 feet x 8 feet sheet of plywood. I then put on an old pair of gym shoes and while holding a bucket of water began to squish and knead the clay with my feet while occasionally pouring some water on the clay to loosen it up. It’s a messy process, but not difficult.

Be careful with the amount of water you use. You don’t want clay soup, but rather something with pliable, elastic consistency.

2. Mix in sand

The proportion of sand to clay should be four parts clay to one part sand. I had to eyeball this to estimate the volume of clay in my clay blob. I then sprinkled the sand over the clay and once again did my clay dance to incorporate the sand. I also used a shovel to toss the clay/sand to incorporate it better.

3. Mold the bricks

5 Off-Grid Steps To Making Your Own Brick

Image source: Pixabay.com

Now comes the fun part and if you have kids they might enjoy helping. What you’ll need is a form/mold made from wood that’s 4 inches wide, 8 inches long and 2 1/4 inches high. It should be open at the top and bottom. You can make your bricks any size you want, but this size is believed to be the old-world standard. You also can make a form with numerous compartments of this size.

An old trick I learned is to dust the inside of the mold with charcoal dust. This helps the clay mix slip out when the form is lifted. The black charcoal dust will burn off during the firing process and not affect the color of your bricks.

As a work surface I used a 2 feet x 4 feet sheet of plywood that I greased with oil. Any oil will do; I used vegetable oil. This will help the brick to release after it has dried and also will burn it off.

Place your mold to one side of this work surface and remember that this brick will have to dry on this smaller sheet of plywood. I usually leave about two inches between each wet brick.

After dusting the mold with the charcoal, start slopping the clay mix into the mold, patting it down as you go. To get a clean top surface use a length of bailing wire stretched across the frame of a small bow saw and drag the taught wire slowly across the top of the brick.

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Let the clay rest in the mold for about 20 minutes and then gently lift the mold straight up. Ideally your clay consistency will have enough integrity to not bulge on the sides. But results can vary. The first time I did this, I got it perfect. My second batch was too wet and I had to let the clay/sand dry overnight on the big board.

4. Dry

You need to let the bricks dry at this point. In my case, I simply moved the small board of about eight bricks into the sun. If you think it’s going to rain, either cover the bricks with a tarp or move them inside. I usually let mine dry for three to four days before going to the final step.

5. Firing

There are all sorts of opinions, approaches and kilns for this firing process. I decided to keep it simple and primitive. I laid down on the ground a course of long, equally-sized logs about four inches in diameter. I put my eight bricks on top. I then began to stack firewood around and over the bricks. It was the usual structure of kindling leading to larger woods and I stacked enough wood to make a bonfire about three feet high. Then I started the fire and let it burn.

When the fire is first out, don’t even think about grabbing one of the bricks. They can often remain hot for up to a week. Once you’re satisfied they’ve cooled, rinse them with water, scrub with a brush, and you’re done. Until you decide to make the next batch, that is.

Have you ever made brick? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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Survival Foods: What Are The Top Six?

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You will not have the luxury of eating what you feel like when a catastrophe hits. In such situations, you should know what survival foods are best in terms of nourishment, vitality, energy and taste.  They should be also easy to carry around in case you need to bug out.

Here is a list of six survival foods regarded as the best by some of the top preppers:

Top Six Survival Foods

Canned Alaskan Wild Salmon

Salmon is rich in protein and sound fats like omega 3s. Many variation of Alaskan wild salmon will come canned with little to none of the contaminants that can appear in cans of other types of fish. The Inuit people (local individuals of Alaska and northern Canada) regularly eat Alaskan wild salmon.  Likewise, they are known for low rates of heart attack and stroke.  This phenomenon is credited to their regular salmon consumption. Like tuna fish, you can eat canned Alaskan wild salmon right out of the can without cooking. Leftovers must be refrigerated and will keep for 3 – 4 days.

Dried Beans

Many beans are high in calories and contain a decent amount of protein per serving.  They also contain key vitamins and minerals.  You could try these beans if you’re interested:

The main thing to remember is that most beans need to soak for a few hours before eating. Finally, dried beans have a long shelf life. Dried beans will stay great in the back of your vehicle, your office survival unit and, obviously, your survival foods home pantry.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is high in calories and also contains key vitamins and minerals. As a dry, non-perishable food item, it additionally has a long shelf life. Simply add high temperature water and let it soak for 1 – 2 hours, or until the rice extends(eat rice after it’s extended).

Bulk Nuts

Look for bulk nuts in the seed/nut area of your supermarket.  You should look particularly for unsalted and unshelled nuts. Peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and various different nuts/seeds ordinarily sold in food markets are high in fundamental vitamins, minerals, vital unsaturated fats and have a decent amount of protein. They’re also lightweight; a serving size may be as little as a 1/4 container.

Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter is packed with protein and crucial unsaturated fats. It also contains numerous fundamental vitamins and minerals. For the best wellbeing, pick natural brands that are well known for organic food. A few tablespoons a day of peanut butter can provide assistance with surviving during long durations of constrained food intake. Amid a debacle, one of your procedures to survive needs to incorporate an understanding that it’s an ideal opportunity to cut calories. Many people eat a greater number of calories every day than they really need to survive. Cutting calories implies your food will last longer.

Energy Bars and Chocolate Bars

There’s an energy bar for each taste these days. Search for brands with a high calorie count as well as a lot of protein. Chocolate bars can be a quick source of vitality and an awesome morale booster among children, while being liberal in calories.


As you can see, these six survival foods are nutrient and calorie dense foods which are easy to carry and store.  They can be acquired for relatively little money and allow you to build a quality survival food pantry relatively quickly.

photo credit: preserves on my dining room table (http://www.flickr.com/photos/11134789@N00/4181594331) via photopin (http://photopin.com) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

Do you agree with our suggestions? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!

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Guest Poster: James Smith on sabtwitter
Guest Poster: James Smith
James Smith is an avid prepper with a passion for self-protection at all levels. He loves to write about survival skills and techniques that can help us to survive in a teotwawki event. For more updates follow him on Twitter.

12 Overlooked Items No One Includes In Their Preps (But Should)

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12 Overlooked Items No One Includes In Their Preps (But Should)

Image source: Pixabay.com

No matter how much thought and effort we put into preparing for the unknown, there’s always something we’re likely to forget. We fail to stock up on this, we put off buying that, or we neglect preparing things we think we’ll never use in a disaster situation.

Following is a list of things we often overlook when preparing for a natural or man-made disaster – or even a time when the power is simply out for a few days or weeks. You wouldn’t normally find them in the usual survivalist lists because they’re not urgently needed. But in a major, long-term collapse when business is down and most goods and services aren’t on the market (or maybe there WON’T be any market at all), these are the things you’ll wish you had stocked up on – regular, ordinary things that usually wear out in a few years or factory-made stuff that’s impossible to make yourself.

If you have the means, get them now while you still can and while you’re still able to choose the kind you want. Many of them can be bartered if needed, so it won’t hurt to have several extra pieces in your cache.

1. Boots. Get sturdy, good-quality boots that you can use for a variety of purposes and in different terrain. While shoes – and boots for that matter – are highly specialized these days, you can opt for hybrids. Hybrids are durable enough for hiking, but versatile and comfy enough for gardening, walking downtown and even pedaling short distances. They’ll just be your back-up anyway, something you can resort to if your current pair breaks down.

2. Eyewear. Do you wear glasses? Get an extra pair of your prescription glasses or several pairs of contact lenses (a few dozen if they’re disposable) so you won’t be visually challenged if you break or lose your existing pair. Extra sunglasses are good to have, too, if you’re out in the sun a lot.

12 Overlooked Items No One Includes In Their Preps (But Should)

Image source: Pixabay.com

3. Bicycle. If your car breaks down or runs out of gas, you’ll have to pedal to town or to your nearest neighbor for help. Consider attaching a basket or a trailer for hauling supplies. Get spare tubes, too, along with an extra pump.

4. Basic hand tools. These are critical if a disaster strikes and the grid goes down. Expect to have to do some repairs or minor projects by manual labor. You already know the essentials: hammer, screwdrivers, drills, pliers, wrenches, crowbar, a saw. If you already have them, make sure they’re in good shape. Throw in a couple of knives, scissors, can openers and nails of various sizes. If you do a lot of homesteading you know how indispensable gardening tools and supplies are, from axes to gloves to wheelbarrows.

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If you already have them, make sure they’re in good shape. Throw in a couple of knives, scissors, can openers and nails of various sizes. If you do a lot of homesteading you know how indispensable gardening tools and supplies are, from axes to gloves to wheelbarrows.

5. Raw building materials. Homesteaders usually have these in their sheds already but suburban dwellers likely still run to Home Depot for such things as plywood and PVC pipes. These are essential for building, repairing and reinforcing. If you have the space, consider storing lumber of different sizes, galvanized iron sheets, a few steel bars, chicken wire, and maybe even some bags of concrete. It also wouldn’t hurt to stock up on sealants, heavy duty glue, lubricants and ropes.

12 Overlooked Items No One Includes In Their Preps (But Should)

Image source: Wikipedia

6. Lightbulbs. If you’re off the grid and able to produce your own power through solar or other means, you’re still going to need these.

7. Snow and rain gear. You may not be living in a region prone to hurricanes and blizzards, but with today’s erratic weather you’ll need clothes for extremely cold and wet weather.

8. Underwear. If you have young children, you know how fast they outgrow these. For us adults, it just gets uncomfortable when those undies get a little too loose and worn. They might be great for sleeping, but what about outdoors when you need to be doing a lot of physical activity? Nothing beats a snug fit. Include a dozen pairs of thick socks, too.

9. Maps in hard copy. In a grid-down scenario, you won’t have the Internet or your phone’s GPS to guide you. Get a road map of your city, state and region. Get a topographical map of your retreat area. Search online for useful info that your map doesn’t have yet. Mark important locations you’ll want to remember in the future, such as water sources, bike trails, high elevation areas, etc.

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If disaster strikes and you’re still able to monitor the news, maps can help you track problems like storms, wildfires and chemical plant accidents in reference to your area. You can print online maps out for use and likely find very specific maps that show water tables, logging roads, gas pipes, fishing lakes, railroads, contour lines and the like. Laminate your maps so they’re waterproof.

10. Grain mill. Something to consider if you’re planning on doing extensive gardening. If you can grow your own grains, peanuts, beans and even seeds from which to derive oils (sunflower, grapes, even moringa), why not invest in a grinder? You can save money by baking your own bread or even just grinding store-bought coffee or cocoa beans. There are manual and electric types, and convertible ones. Many are for home use but some are heavy-duty enough for a small business.

11. Dental health. No, you don’t want an impacted wisdom tooth or cavity-ridden molars causing you pain in a disaster scenario. Rotten, aching teeth are not only painful but can create dangerous infections. If you don’t have a dentist in your prep group, take care of dental problems now rather than suffer the consequences later. Meanwhile, be diligent with your dental care regimen to keep those pearly whites healthy: regular brushing, flossing and proper nutrition.

12. Bible/inspirational books. Probably the least prioritized but the most helpful for one’s spiritual and emotional health. Having a book that inspires and brings you peace can be very useful when things become really dire. And reading can provide a healthy distraction and a break from the troubles that come with a disaster.

What would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below:

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The Best Used Budget Pistols You Can Buy (For Around $300)

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The Best Used Budget Pistols You Can Buy (For Around $300)

CZ-75. Image source: wikipedia

If you’re into self-defense, one item that cannot go overlooked is the budget-priced handgun. You might treasure your $800 Sig P226 or custom 1911, but there are times when something else is more appropriate.

We are not talking about “cheap pistols made from spurious materials,” but rather proven platforms that can be had for a fraction of the price of new state-of-the-art handguns. The reasons for these types of firearms are many, and we will examine each one of them.

In today’s day and age, not everyone has the means to buy a $1,000 pistol and heap the same amount in custom work on top of it. For the average working-class shooter who has to provide for a family, make the rent, factor in car repairs or gas to work, there is simply a matter of balancing the household budget — and the difference between a few hundred dollars can look like financial ruin.

But there are many other reasons you should consider a budget pistol. For starters, it could be stolen. This is more the idea of: “If my handgun is stolen out of my car or luggage, do I want to be out $1000 or $350?”

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My advice: Don’t leave a firearm in a vehicle. For many years I did (a police trade-in Smith & Wesson Model 6906) and one fateful day it was stolen. However, some people insist on doing this and in those cases a cheaper alternative is preferable.

Another consideration: Should your pistol be used in self-defense, depending upon the jurisdiction, it may be taken away from you as evidence. In the day and age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it may bring friends or family members of the assailant to your door looking for revenge. It makes sense to have another alternative, if necessary.

So What Are We Talking About?

Ten or 20 years ago, this would have been about the “police revolver.” Nowadays, though, those old police trade-in revolvers are appreciating as collector’s items and some of our budget handguns may do that as well, but this is not a collector speculation article. This is about choosing something viable to save your life.Beretta


The Best Used Budget Pistols You Can Buy (For Around $300)

Beretta 92 FS Image source: Wikipedia

The hottest handgun of the 1980s has been turning up as a “police trade-in” from a variety of sources. One of the best deals is the Beretta 92S that were former Italian police pistols. These double-action 9mm auto-loaders resemble the same pistols used by the US Military with a few exceptions: a European-style magazine release, different magazines and a safety mounted on the left side only. I have seen these pistols offered as low as $229. It may not be an ideal concealed carry piece, but I would take it over a Hi-Point for home defense any day of the week.

For a little bit more money, genuine Model 92 FS pistols have been coming in from various departments that are a little rougher condition-wise, but the upgrades such as night sights, the ambi-safety and the US mag release puts them in the $300-$400 range.

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On the smaller side, various Beretta model 84s and 85s in 380 ACP have been turning up from former Israeli police service. A seven-shot 380 like the Model 85 for $300 may not sound very attractive, as these pistols run on the large size, but the Model 84’s double-stacked magazine holds 13 rounds.CZ


From CZ and Tanfoglio there are a number of double-action pistols hitting the surplus market for the same price point as the Berettas. Like the Berettas, they can be had from Aim Surplus, Southern Ohio Gun and CDI Sales.

The CZ75 is a classic design that is reliable, and spare parts and magazines are always in supply. Even if an actual CZ75 is not available, the Italian-made Tanfoglio clones, sometimes imported by EAA, can be had for very reasonable prices. Likewise, there are the reliable Jericho pistols made in Israel that operate on the same principle.

I have found the Tanfoglios as cheap as $225 in a little rougher shape finish-wise with some minor pitting, but this is for a dependable and accurate pistol, not an heirloom piece intended to be left in the safe.


Working guns can come from the ranks of Glock, SIG and Smith & Wesson that were former police pistols. The prices may run a little higher, but magazines and spare parts are still widely available for these fine handguns. Some may show holster wear or have department markings on them, but they are usually just a casualty of either a department upgrade to a new caliber or more modern generation.

There are lots of options out there and while it might be comforting to have several high-end pistols at your disposal, do not be so quick to turn your nose up at a bargain priced pistol that is still completely functional and relevant.

What pistols would you add to the list? Share your advice in the section below:

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The Incredible Healing Power Of Essential Oils — For Livestock

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The Healing Power Of Essential Oils -- For Livestock

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Essential oils can be a great alternative to conventional drugs on the homestead farm. I have used them successfully to treat various illnesses, help control insects and parasites, and increase the growth rates of pigs and poultry.

As with anything conventional or alternative, they are not a magic bullet to overcome poor livestock management. Livestock of any sort need proper nutrition and housing as the foundation to health and productivity.

Essential oils – if you’re not familiar with them — are plant extracts that have many healing properties. Some, such as oregano, thyme and cinnamon, have antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties.

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In the past several years, a good deal of scientific research has been conducted to explore the use of various essential oils in livestock management. One such study was published in the October 2014 edition of the journal Poultry Science, and it found that chickens that consumed feed with added oregano oil had a 59 percent lower mortality rate due to ascites, than birds that were not treated. You can find many other similar studies on the Internet with a simple Google search.

To help keep layer flocks and broiler chickens healthy, try a mixture of oregano and cinnamon oil in their water. A good rule of thumb is it takes about seven drops of oil in a gallon of water to equal 100 ppm. Oil doesn’t mix with water, so you’ll need to shake it up as you think about it through the day, or at least each time you refill the water.

heritage pigsOregano, cinnamon and tea tree oil are three of my favorite oils for use on the homestead. Oregano and cinnamon are hot oils, meaning they will burn your skin if used without a carrier oil to dilute it. When applying topically or mixing in feed, mix with a carrier oil such as vegetable oil, coconut oil or olive oil. I mix them in a three-to-one ratio. (Three drops of carrier oil to one drop of essential oil).

Essential oils are highly concentrated and should be used sparingly. The smaller the animal, the less you will need. A chicken or young pig may need only three drops where full-grown pigs or goats may need 10 drops.

If you are treating some type of illness in your stock, it is best to apply small amounts several times a day rather than a large amount once a day.

If I have young pigs that are showing signs of illness, such as coughing or just generally not doing well, I’ll mix up equal parts oregano, cinnamon and tea tree oil diluted in a three-to-one ratio with a carrier oil and simply drip three to five drops on the back of their neck or behind their ears as they are eating at the feeder.

Over the years, I have had pigs come down sick in the pasture to the point they were off their feet and seemingly not going to make it. We got them in the barn and began a treatment protocol of this mixture topically behind the ears, and three to five drops on their tongue at least twice a day (better if you can do three to five times a day).We have been amazed at how they make a complete turnaround in a week or less. I have helped neighboring farmers bring livestock back to health using essential oils when the veterinarian had given up.

Do some research on the powerful effects that essential oils can have on your homestead livestock. You will be glad you did — and so will your animals.

Have you used essential oils on livestock? If so, share your advice in the section below:

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