A Decade Of Homesteading: 7 Things We Got Right From The Beginning

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Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

There are a lot of lessons my husband and I learned the hard way since taking up homesteading in 2007, and there are plenty of things we would do differently if we could transport back in time and start over. But I am proud of the things we got right, too. Here are a few of the things that helped keep us going in the general direction of success:

1. We were on the same page. Unlike the 60s TV sitcom where a New York City couple suddenly lands on a farm in a move that appears to be completely against the wife’s wishes—she loved him, she sang in the opening credits, but would rather have Fifth Avenue—we were in complete agreement about why we wanted to take up homesteading and what standards and practices we would strive for once we got started. Many of the details have morphed over the years, sometimes in the same direction as one another and sometimes not, but we started out in complete consensus and have remained largely thus.

This is probably the most important thing we did, or anyone could do, the right way.  Sure, one partner might feel more strongly about the venture, or about particular aspects of it, than the other. But dragging along a reluctant or resentful spouse is not likely to work out long-term.

2. It helped that we were not total greenhorns. We were already accustomed to the outdoors and the natural world, having spent hundreds of hours hiking, backpacking, camping, hunting, fishing and camping before the idea of sustainable living ever struck us. As veteran outdoorspeople who were deeply involved with our local Boy Scout troop and other outdoor groups, we were no strangers to life beyond the pavement.

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We started out at our homestead with at least a smattering of already-established skills, as well. Our volunteer work with the Maine Appalachian Trail Club had helped teach us basic forestry, carpentry and chainsaw skills. Our previous home in a village had afforded us the opportunity to run a wood stove, grow ornamentals and a few vegetables, and cook food from scratch. It may not be essential that anyone considering homesteading have advance familiarity with such things, but it can be a great head start.

Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

3. We did a lot of homework before taking the plunge. My husband and I read books, watched videos, attended local living fairs, and visited farms. While it is true that studying something in books and other media is never quite the same as doing it in real life, I believe it made a big difference for us. Not only did we gain a lot of practical knowledge that could be put to use on the homestead, but we also gleaned a lot of philosophy from our reading. During occasional spells of frustration and difficulty over the years, we have found ourselves relying on what we learned beforehand to answer not only the question of how to, but the question of why when it needed to be restated.

4. There were mentors in our lives. We knew people who had first-hand experience at many different aspects of homesteading. There were those who had grown up on a dairy farm, who had raised backyard pigs, who volunteered for the cooperative extension as Master Gardeners, who were expert canners, who had worked on a berry farm, and many more. My husband and I gained more knowledge, practical tips and encouragement from our mentors than we ever could have gotten from anywhere else.

5. We were fit and healthy. Homesteading involves long hours, backbreaking work in all kinds of weather conditions, tedious and repetitive tasks, and often high stress — all of which can take a significant toll on one’s well-being. Starting off with our best feet forward was a real plus.

6. Our positive attitudes served us well. We were excited about possibilities, earnest in our endeavors, and confident. We were passionate about our goals, tried to stay open-minded about inevitable detours, and strove to balance idealism with realism. We didn’t always get it exactly right, but an optimistic outlook can carry most people further than they might get without it.

Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

7. More than anything, the thing we got right from the beginning was this: we up and did it! It really can be just that simple. I cannot tell you how many people visiting our homestead have sighed wistfully and said how lucky we are to be living our dream. There was a time when I would attempt to explain to them that it is not luck, but is instead hard work and dedication and sacrifice. A lot of it was about choice—about ours to live without some things they had and theirs to place other priorities above what we had. I used to try to help them understand that we faced a lot of obstacles on our road to homesteading, too—probably as many as they would. I would point out that living one’s dream involves some degree of intentionality.

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Now, though, I just nod and agree. We are indeed blessed to be living our dream. Like ducks skimming along the surface of an idyllic pond, paddling for all we’re worth underwater, we are making our choice of lifestyle work.

When a young relative recently lamented her limited success with her first-year vegetable garden, I encouraged her to focus on the fact that she grew more vegetables than she ever had before, instead of beating herself up over the plants that failed. In the same way, my husband and I try to hang onto our successes. And in the end, in homesteading practices as well as life in general, our mistakes do not define us. Instead, what counts is the fact that we dove in and gave it our all, and that we are still enjoying the journey.

If you’re a homesteader, what did you “get right” from the beginning? What advice would you give newbie homesteaders? Share your tips in the section below:

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Saturday Round Up #4 – Farm to Table

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Welcome to the Saturday Round Up. Those of you who have been around here for a while will recognize that the Saturday Round Up has been revived and reworked for 2017. It’s a new year and a fresh start. Come and share your links each week with us. The focus of the week will change, although the schedule is very simple. I will gray out all except the current week, so you can see the focus and plan for later. This week’s focus is on FOOD! Now food starts with the garden and the barnyard and ends on the table,

Survival Gear Review: Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10

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Celestron_Elements_Thermotorch_10_outside_cold

Celestron_Elements_Thermotorch_10_overall_viewMany folks these days are not interested in single-function devices whether a watch that just tells time, a phone that just makes calls, or a flashlight that just, well, flashes light. So enter Celestron, a company known for telescopes and innovation. Celestron is now exploring the market of creative tools that improve your chances of survival. Or at least make the situation more convenient and comfortable.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog

The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 is a newer offering that combines a 300 lumen rechargeable flashlight with a pair of 5000 milliamp-hour (totaling 10,000 mAh) USB outputs of external backup power for phones, tablets, and cameras, combined with an electric hand warmer that pumps out enough micro-BTUs to take the edge off cold fingers when it matters most.

A Pound of Light

This set of valuable features does come at a cost. Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 weighs in at 17 ounces (486 grams). That’s a handful, about the same as a fully loaded Glock 42. But given that there is a pair of USB outputs (a one amp and a two amp) this light is more than meets the eye.

Related: Bug Out Flashlight Wisdom

Celestron_Elements_Thermotorch_10_Charging_iPhone_USB_PortsThe input jack to charge up this beast requires a standard mini-USB port, not the ubiquitous micro-USB that powers almost all non-Apple cell phones and other portable electronic devices on earth. I’m not sure what’s behind the continued use of the mini-USB since I don’t see any real advantages over the micro-USB that is the global industry standard for cell phones, and properly known as the Common External Power Supply or Common EPS.

Remember This

The operation of the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10, or its smaller brother, the Thermotorch 5, is pretty simple but must be memorized. The single large button on the upper side toggles through the low-medium-high flashlight settings. If depressed and held for three seconds, the hand warming capabilities are initiated. Another three seconds of constant button-down and the feature is turned off. It does take minutes before you will notice much of a temperature change in the flashlight’s shaft, and five minutes later you will be enjoying this feature.

Celestron_Elements_Thermotorch_10_charging_iPhoneCelestron calculates that you can charge your iPhone four times, your iPad once, and GoPro or music player about seven times. The dual 10000mAh (combined) battery power can also be routed to 48 hours of 60 lumen light (low), 30 hours of 100 lumen light (medium), and eight hours of 300 lumen light (high). However, to the human eye, there is not a dramatic difference between 100 and 300 lumens, and between 100 and 60 lumens. So for most use, the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 will be used at it’s highest or lowest flashlight setting. As a big fan of Surefire’s decision of a five lumen minimum, I think that amount is a useful low end cutoff when you really do need low light or a wildly long runtime.

An added feature under the tailcap of the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 is a four-LED battery level indicator that shows how much juice is left, or how far along the recharging is progressing. The LED indicator is activated with a push of the flashlight button and they stay lit for about 10 seconds.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can also give you up to 10 hours of hand warmer heat between 103-114 degrees F. Or, if doing a little cold weather nighttime E&E, you can get about six hours of 60 lumen light while the handwarmer is chugging away. The handwarmer feature is a welcome addition to cold night use with bare hands. But I found that if it’s cold enough to need a hand warmer, it’s cold enough to use gloves. However, the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can warm up other things besides hands including batteries, electronics, and gloves and mittens. The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 does not blast out heat but it does take the sting out of your cold hands. Right now it’s about 2 degrees above zero F outside, and I suspect that using the handwarmer might actually improve internal battery life, or at least maintain it at a higher output. Just a guess, but why not test it?

Pushing the Limits

Celestron_Elements_Thermotorch_10_voltmeterSetting the flashlight outside, I let it cool off to about 8 degrees F as measured by my infrared noncontact temperature sensor. I plugged in my USB tester that measures voltage. When cold, the USB voltmeter recorded about 4.90 volts. After 20 minutes of the handwarmer function turned on with the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 sitting in the almost-zero outdoors, it warmed itself up to about 60 degrees F. The USB voltage output was measured at a maximum of 5.02 volts. I learned three things. First, the handwarmer function will not work at the same time as the USB charging ports. Second, the ambient temperature plays a big role in how warm the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can get. And third, the heavy aluminum Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can get dangerously cold to the touch and requires either gloves or use of the hand warmer for any sustained bare hand holding. Smaller lights like the Surefire are also cold when left outside, but have a much lower overall density and thus smaller heat capacity allowing their smaller profile to warm up in the hand much faster. The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 is like holding a billet of aluminium which in a defensive situation could be a good thing. In fact it is reminiscent of the 2-D Maglite flashlight/club/boat anchor.

Read Also: Milwaukee Work Lights

I don’t see backpacking with the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10. But not because of it’s weight or size. But because I like to travel in the wilds with a supply of batteries. Unless I also carried a solar panel charger with mini-USB cable and some sunny weather, I would get one use from the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10, although that is really three uses in one.

Where the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 does shine is car travel, off roading, and base camping. Having a rock-solid light/charger/hand warmer is a good thing if you don’t have to carry it far even though it does ship with a nice belt holster with velcro closure.  Considering the Celestron’s long-life light and external battery pack, this flashlight will always be on my shortlist of electronics when heading out on a domestic adventure or for camping near my truck.

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The Weed Wacker Generator

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When the world goes to hell in a handbasket, you’re going to want people who know how to do stuff like the guy in THIS video.

Just look at the Generator he built just using a broken weed-wacker.

Pretty cool right!?

There’s just one problem…

While some people can look at this video and figure out how to put that generator together, other people need a little more help.

So if you’d like help on putting the project in this video together, here’s what you need to do.

First: Download Our Ethical Looters Checklist.  EthicalLootersChecklistCover

This checklist show you exactly what parts you need to go and find, and where to find them for building this weed wacker… it shows you how to put together 10 other really cool projects from scrap parts as well.

Then next…

We created an Electrical Wiring & Assembly guide that shows you how to put a weed wacker like this together.  And right now, that assembly guide is available as part of a bundle of SHTF Engineering guides we’ve just published specifically on how to build great DIY Survival projects in a post collapse environment where we’re assuming the stores are closed, and you have to find every part from stuff you can scavange up around town.

Learn More About Our SHTF Engineering Guides Here

Check it out, and give some of the projects a try, I think you’ll find them pretty cool.

Talk Soon,

Chet

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How To Pick The Cheapest, Most Efficient Heat For Your Home (Hint: It’s Not Always Wood)

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How To Pick The Cheapest, Most Efficient Heat For Your Home (Hint: It's Not Always Wood)

Heating your home is a critical, but what is the most effective fuel source to do it – and what should you use as a backup?

Electric heat? Stove oil? Propane? Wood? Choosing a fuel source can seem overwhelming when trying to balance both cost efficiency and heating efficiency.

Whether you live urban or rural, in the prairie or in the forest, your average seasonal temps are all variables that weigh heavily on choosing the most efficient heating source. In this article, I’ll detail five different common ways of heating your home and the pros and cons of each.

Electric Heat

Let’s start with one of the most common types of home heating in urban areas: electric heat. In many areas of the country, electric heat is popular because it is a relatively cheap source of heat. If you live in the Midwest this is especially true, where electricity prices average about 10 cents per kilowatt hour. If you live on the coasts or where I am (Alaska), however, you can pay upwards of 17 cents per kilowatt hour. This can make electric heat quite a bit more expensive than some other heat sources. Electric heat also can be problematic if you are living off-grid and have other fuel sources readily available that might be better put toward the use of heating your home.

Firewood

If you have an easily accessible source of wood in your area and don’t want to be dependent on other infrastructure systems for your source of fuel, heating with firewood may be your best option. Modern-day woodstoves have become much more efficient in recent years, with many models burning at upwards of 80 percent heating efficiency.

Are You Prepared For A Long-Term Blackout? Get Backup Electricity Today!

If you can cut the wood yourself, your fuel source also can be virtually free, leaving you with only the initial cost outlay for the woodstove itself. If you don’t have the means to cut your own firewood, the average cost for a cord (4 x 4 x 8 stack) of firewood is between $150 and $250, although this cost is heavily dependent on your area. You can expect to go through about 4-7 cords per winter season with a modern-day wood stove.

Stove Oil

Stove oil is also commonly used for heating homes. Stove oil is available in most areas of the country and is especially popular in the Northeast and my area of Alaska. Stove oil prices fluctuate just like gasoline prices, but current prices for stove oil are right around $3 per gallon. Although not ridiculously expensive, stove oil has a higher cost than both propane and natural gas, with the average household spending about $2,500 per household per winter season. Stove oil can be more efficient than heating with wood, however, and has efficiencies ranging from 80 to 90 percent.

Propane

How To Pick The Cheapest, Most Efficient Heat For Your Home (Hint: It's Not Always Wood)Although still fairly common, propane has been losing popularity in recent years as a heating fuel. Current average household propane costs for the country are right around $2 per gallon, but that price varies significantly region to region. In some areas, propane may be cost-prohibitive. In others, it may be vastly cheaper than electricity. Propane stove efficiency is not the highest, averaging 75 to 85 percent, but propane is a readily available source of heat in most areas.

Natural Gas

If you have access to it in your area, natural gas often can be an economical and efficient choice for heating. It is one of the most popular choices in the country, with as many as 56 million households using it for space heating (as of 2009). Using natural gas, you will be dependent on the infrastructure necessary to bring it to your home, but the cost savings may be worth it. While natural gas heaters often have standard efficiency comparable to propane stoves, your heating costs will be drastically lower. This cost also varies by area. The state of Massachusetts reported a winter home heating cost of over $3,000 for propane users in 2014, while that number for natural gas users was closer to $1,200.

Choosing which primary and backup fuel source is right for you requires a close look at a wide range of variables. Compare different fuel costs for your specific region of the country and be sure to take into account your budget for the initial cost of a stove and availability of chosen fuel source.

Aryn Young lives in Homer, Alaska, running a small farm and sustainable land-clearing operation. 

What are your primary and backup sources of heat? Share your tips in the section below:

3 Ways Prepping Pays Off Right Now

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

It’s far more likely to encounter a little emergency than a major movie-style event. So what to do with the big pile of food, gear, etc. that represents an investment of time, money, and storage space?

The post 3 Ways Prepping Pays Off Right Now appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Video: Norovirus, the Stomach Flu

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hot-dog-stand

In this video, Joe Alton, MD discusses a recent experience with the stomach flu on a trip to New York. Norovirus is the most common cause of the “stomach flu”, a debilitating and dehydrating intestinal illness that affects millions every year throughout the world. Often caused by contaminated food on cruises, 800 students at a high school in Illinois were recently affected, presumably due to cafeteria issues. Learn more about the norovirus and what to do if you or a loved one comes down with it.

 

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe Alton, MD

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Stranded Near Saltwater: How To Make Salt Water Safe To Drink

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Desalination/distillation is a centuries old process and is still used today in many parts of the world. In ancient times sailors that were at sea for months used this process to convert seawater into potable water.

This very basic process that occurs in nature is responsible for the water (hydrologic) cycle. The sun’s rays supply the energy that causes water to evaporate from surface sources such as lakes, oceans, and streams. In a survival situation, the source would be water that you have collected whether it is seawater or a contaminated surface water source.

This evaporative process creates water vapor that once exposed to cooler air will re-condense to form dew or rain. We can, of course, create a so-called artificial system that will do the same thing, and the system is usually called a solar still (USGS, n.d.).

Inflatable Solar Still

Photo Credit: TurbineGenerator.org

You can purchase an inflatable solar still (inflatable by mouth) and it would make an ideal piece of survival gear for your survival kit. A solar still will not only desalinate saltwater it will purify/distill any surface water source. Anyone that plans for a trip at sea should have an inflatable still packed away because if you are stranded on a boat in the middle of an ocean your only means of obtaining safe drinking water is by desalination of saltwater, or collection of rainwater.

The concept as described above is simple, and of course, if you become stranded without a solar still you can make your own, or use other methods to extract the salt from seawater.

One method is to collect steam from boiling seawater. This method is time-consuming and requires a substantial fuel source, a metal container in which to boil water, clean cloth preferably cotton, and of course, you need the ability to create a fire.

You would lay the absorbent cloth over most of the pot opening to collect the steam. You will need to wring the collected water from the cloth into a clean collection container. The water from the cloth is purified, distilled in other words. It is important that the cloth used is not contaminated with chemicals or toxins of any kind. The cloth will be hot so only drape it partially over the opening so there is a portion that can be held to wring it out.

This process will have to be performed a number of times to collect enough water to prevent dehydration. However, there will be plenty of water if you are near an ocean and if you have a good fuel source; you will get enough water to survive.

Another method is to hang a piece of plastic so the steam from the boiling water collects on the surface. As we stated before once the steam hits the cooler material, it will condense into water droplets. The plastic needs to be hung in such a way that the condensed droplets can drain into a collection cup. To help the process along you can cool off the plastic by applying water to the opposite side.

Any distillation process requires a cooler surface in which the vapor will collect or flow through in the case of copper tubing and condense. Seaweed or soaked cloth can be used to cool the plastic on the side that will not collect the steam of course.

You can also dig a solar still in the sand or soil. You would need plastic sheeting for vapor collection and condensation, and a collection vessel for the purified water.

Create a depression in the sand and pile the excavated sand along the sides to create a berm. Fill the depression with wet seaweed, green vegetation or pour seawater into the depression ensuring the sand is thoroughly soaked. Place the collection cup in the middle of the depression making sure it is not contaminated with the seawater. Lay the plastic over the depression and secure it along the sides by any means available. Punch a hole in the middle of the plastic over the cup and weight the center down with pebbles to form a depression for draining into the cup.

The sun heats the sand, vegetation and/or seaweed under the plastic causing very humid conditions and soon the vapor rising from the seaweed or water soaked sand will collect on the top side of the plastic, and once gravity takes hold the droplets will drain into the cup.

USGS. (n.d.). Retrieved 2017, from https://water.usgs.gov/edu/drinkseawater.html

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Crock Pot Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken Recipe

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Crock Pot Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken Recipe I fell in love with the recipe but didn’t have the time for a crockpot meal so I made it on top of the stove. All the same ingredients just in my new cast-iron skillet. It only took about 45 minutes from start to finish. (the boneless chicken breasts were frozen so some of that time was for thawing) Once I tasted the sauce, I HAD to double it so that I would have PLENTY left for lunch tomorrow. I also topped it with chopped green onions. Absolutely AWESOME! Recipe and photo courtesy

The post Crock Pot Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken Recipe appeared first on Mental Scoop.

Discovery Channels New Survival Reality Show: The Wheel

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The Wheel is set in South America and has six contestants that are expected to survive six distinctly grueling landscapes according to The Discovery Channel. The Wheel turns and with each turn of the wheel contestant is dropped into a new location.

The locations are some of the world’s deadliest terrain, such as freezing tundra’s, rugged mountains and treacherous rainforests. The wheel spins based on the moons rotation. When your name comes up you are dropped off in a totally different environment from where you were previously. The participants do not know when or where they will end up.

Each contestant is given a survival pack referred to as “light” and SOS devices so if they do get into a life-threatening situation or if they simply want to give up and go home, they can call for help and assumedly be extracted to safety. They must find shelter, water, and food, at each location so it is assumed they do not start out with any in their packs. Their ordeal is 60 days, a very difficult 60 days to say the least.

The show has its debut on January 13, 2017, and we here, of course, have not seen the show, and by no means is this article a critique/review of the show (The Discovery Channel., 2017).

Preppers, survivalist, and bushcraft experts like to run various survival scenarios through their head, “what if situations” if you will. This mental exercise helps to prime the thinking process. Our ability to reason and to think ahead is one of the reasons we are an Apex predator. We can design and implement tools, we can do calculations in our heads, and we know high and low tides when to expect cold or hot weather and so on. We can take information and come up with an educated hypothesis based on that information.

We never know when disaster may strike. It could be in the dead of winter or the peak of summer, and in some cases, we may not know where our geographic location may be either. We could be near a swamp, in the mountains, on a prairie, or in a desert environment when the SHTF, so the question is, are you prepared right now to survive in any one of the described locations.

Thinking about transitioning without notice from frozen tundra’s to a sweltering rainforest virtually overnight has us thinking about what ifs. 

As we have stated numerous times in various articles, survival essentials are not necessarily disaster specific. You need life essentials regardless of the calamity, but location, location, location is everything right? Chances are very high that when the SHTF you will be in your home or at work in the community where your home is located.

You know the weather patterns, how cold it gets in the winter, how hot in the summer, and will the spring thaw bring flooding. This is information you take for granted. If you practice your survival craft, you probably know what local plants are safe to eat, where the best fishing is and you may hunt and have a favorite spot that usually yields fresh game during hunting season, but what if you are miles from your home, out of your comfort zone as it were. A strange land, with odd looking plants and unpredictable weather patterns and you, may have no idea of the type of game that roams the area. You would expect wild game to be there but what size is a mystery, which means your weapon of choice, is not clear either.

It would be very hard to transition without notice from hot to a very cold region to mountainous to swampland to prairie. A novice would not likely survive, but the reality show The Wheel like most other survival shows is closely monitored to ensure the safety of the participants, but your own survival situation would not be monitored, you would be on your own.

It is important to know the area in which you are. You need to know the hiking trails, the weather patterns, and realize that moving from lowlands to higher elevations means temperature changes. It can be warm starting out and yet you could find yourself in a snowstorm in a matter of hours as you move to higher elevations.

You cannot pack for every situation, so it is important you know what the situation is likely to be before setting out. Setting out whether you are driving, hiking, or camping. If you are taking a road trip, know what the conditions are likely to be at the other end and in between as well. Do your research first so you know how to pack, because you only have so much room and you cannot as a practical matter pack for every conceived possibility, from frozen tundra’s to rainforests to mountains. You have to go with what is most probable based on your research.

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Surprise! Police Support Gun Rights Even MORE Than Americans Do, Poll Finds

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Surprise! Police Support Gun Rights, Survey Says

Image source: Pixabay.com

WASHINGTON — Cops are more supportive of Second Amendment rights and more opposed to gun control than average Americans are, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center.

Pew’s “Behind the Badge” survey on police and public views was released Jan. 11 and found that the majority of law enforcement officers strongly support the Second Amendment, with 74 percent saying it is more important to protect the rights of citizen to own guns than it is to control gun ownership. Among the general population, only 53 percent support gun rights over gun control.

Be Prepared. Learn The Best Ways To Hide Your Guns.

Police even support the rights of Americans to own so-called assault rifles, with only 32 percent favoring a ban on them, compared to 64 percent of Americans who answered that way.

The survey did find that police favor some gun control measures. A full 95 percent of police support laws preventing the mentally ill from purchasing guns, and 88 percent favor background checks on people who buy firearms at gun shows or from individuals. Those numbers are similar to the beliefs of the general public.

On the question of whether a national database should be created to track gun sales, 61 percent of police and 71 percent of the general public support such an idea.

What is your reaction to police mostly backing gun rights? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns For Home Defense. Read More Here.

New Improved Eneloop Rechargeable Battery AA & AAA

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There’s a new battery in town. It’s an improved ‘best’ new rechargeable battery (AA-size & AAA-size). It’s made by the same manufacturer of the previous ‘best’ rechargeable battery (Panasonic Eneloop), who has increased their battery performance such that their new ‘Pro’ version AA & AAA now holds more energy capacity than ever before. I have […]

Knife Forging: How Forged Knives Are Made & Are They Stronger?

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Knife Forging: How Forged Knives Are Made & Are They Stronger?

Knife forging is a hot topic amongst knife aficionados and collectors. I feel it’s safe to say that there isn’t a single aficionado or collector in the knife industry who hasn’t formed an opinion on “forged knives.” There’s a reason I’m putting that in quotes – and that’s because what people mean when they say… Read More

This is just the start of the post Knife Forging: How Forged Knives Are Made & Are They Stronger?. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!


Knife Forging: How Forged Knives Are Made & Are They Stronger?, written by Thomas Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

Check Out The Best Survival Backpacks

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via BugOutBagExperts.com

Finding the right backpack to keep your BOB items in is not an easy task. You need something reliable, you need something you can carry.

Depending on your age, sex, location, climate, level of fitness and so on, you need to make a decision on which backpack to get.

Hint: if you’re on a tight budget, you might find an old backpack somewhere in the attic that you could use. Just keep in mind that, in case of a bug out, it might not be strong enough to hold your gear together.

Whatever decision you make, it’s up to you to get informed, so click here to learn more about survival backpacks.

How To Bake Bread And Survive Any Disaster

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I will show you how to bake bread and survive any disaster today. Yes, you can make bread with my no-fail recipe. I promise. A few years ago I wrote a post showing how you can make bread three different ways. Well, since then I have learned to make bread in a Dutch oven so now I can show you how to make bread four ways. Now, not everyone has a wheat grinder so today it’s all about making white bread. After a disaster, white bread will fill the belly and you can serve it with soup. I hope people in your community are teaching each other how to make bread with or without a bread mixing machine. If it’s a freshly ground whole wheat bread class, you rock. I grew up making bread so it’s just a way of life for me and saves me lots of $$$ on my food budget.

I have taught several classes on how to make bread, in my home, in specialty kitchen stores, and in large groups in church kitchens. If you have fresh ingredients, you can make bread. I have a no-fail recipe anyone can succeed at making bread. When I say fresh ingredients, here’s the deal on this statement. I only buy this yeast: Saf Instant Yeast, 1-Pound Pouches (Pack of 4) if you don’t bake a lot just buy one: Saf Instant Yeast, 1 Pound Pouch. I store ONLY the amount of SAF Yeast in my refrigerator that I will use in a month. The open pouch that won’t fit in my refrigerator jars goes in an air-tight container in a quart mason jar in the freezer. The other unopened SAF yeast pouches go directly into my freezer. I always buy 4-6 pouches at a time. I cannot ever run out of yeast. Yes, I could make unleavened bread but I don’t want to for my weekly bread making. I shouldn’t say weekly, it’s actually about every two weeks because I only make eight loaves and freeze seven.

Which reminds me, these are the bags I use to freeze my bread: 100 Count Clear Bread Bags / Includes 100 Cable TiesThese are fairly cheap and include the ties. I never reuse the bags, but I do use these bags for other things besides bread. It’s just the shape of the bags are what I need to store and freeze my bread.

I also only recommend bread flour, I grew up using all-purpose white flour but it’s not the same, trust me on this one. I try always to buy unbleached bread flour, just giving you the heads up here. The flour must be less than 12 months old because it has bread spores leaching in the bucket after a year. I store my flour in 5-gallon buckets with Gamma lids. Gamma lids make the container air-tight and are easier to open and close the buckets: Gamma Seal Lid – Red – For 3.5 to 7 Gallon Buckets or Pails Gamma2

Bake Bread and Survive:

First of all here is my recipe for two loaves of bread: White-Bread-For-Two Recipe or Whole-Wheat-Bread-For-Two Recipe I have to laugh every time I share my two-loaf recipe. When I was asked to write my book “Prepare Your Family For Survival” my publisher said I had to cut my recipe down to two loaves. The editors mentioned no one makes more than one loaf at a time where we live. Well, in Utah most people make 4-8 loaves at a time, right? So, yes, I cut my recipe down and actually it’s been a favorite download for college students, two member families, etc.

Lodge Dutch oven:

If you have a 6-quart Dutch oven you can make bread perfectly by only using charcoal briquettes and a match. I just the rocks out in my front yard to start the small fire away from trees and of course, my house. Here’s a picture of my first loaf I made:

bake bread and survive

Here is my PRINTABLE Dutch oven chart: Dutch Oven Chart I called Lodge Manufacturing to see if I could make my own printable chart using their numbers and they gave me permission to do so. I love their products.

Here’s the picture of the first three loaves of bread using three different ovens a few years ago:

bake bread and survive

Sun Oven:

The one loaf on the left was baked in a Sun Oven using a non-reflective or non-shiny pan. If you use a stainless steel pan the sun will reflect the heat away from the items you are cooking. All American Sun Oven- The Ultimate Solar Appliance

bake bread and survive

Conventional Oven:

The two middle loaves were baked in my home in my own conventional oven.

Camp Chef Stove/Oven Combination:

The loaf of bread on the far right is was baked in my Camp Chef: Camp Chef Camping Outdoor Oven with 2 Burner Camping Stove

bake bread and survive

Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected, May God bless you for your efforts.

 

The post How To Bake Bread And Survive Any Disaster appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

The importance of water to survival

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In the wilderness people do die after becoming lost or having their vehicle break down in remote and unknown areas. Many of these deaths occurred due to excessive heat, thirst and exposure to elements. Causalities also occur because the individuals have poor survival knowledge and they lack basic supplies such as water and food. The … Read more…

The post The importance of water to survival was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

How To Make Activated Charcoal

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how to make activated charcoal

How to Make Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal has so many applications. It often used by emergency personnel to treat acute poisoning, and is great for absorbing toxins. I’ve used to to treat everything from the stomach flu to a brown recluse spider bite. I’ve even read that it can stop an anaphylactic reaction from stings or severe food allergies (studies have shown activated charcoal will absorb peanut proteins and stop anaphylaxis). I actually carry a bottle of activated charcoal in my purse at all times. It’s definitely a must-have for your first aid kits. And wouldn’t it be great if you knew how to make activated charcoal yourself?

Making activated charcoal at home is a little labor intensive, but I think it’s a skill worth having at least basic knowledge of just in case you can’t buy it. You will need to have calcium chloride in order to turn regular homemade charcoal into activated carbon.

Here’s how to make activated charcoal:

how to make activated charcoal

Step 1: Grind homemade charcoal into a fine powder using a pestle and mortar.

If you don’t already know how to make homemade charcoal, google is your friend.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 2: Make a calcium chloride solution.

In a glass jar, combine 100g calcium chloride with 300 ml of water, or use a 1:3 ratio.

how to make activated charcoal

Screw a tight lid onto the jar and swirl to combine. Use caution, the solution will get very hot. You will probably need to open the lid to release some of the gases, and then tighten it back down and swirl more until well combined.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 3: Combine the powdered charcoal with the calcium chloride solution.

Slowly pour the calcium chloride solution into a bowl of powdered charcoal (approx. 2-3 cups). Use a glass or stainless steel bowl. Aluminum might possibly react to the chemicals being combined.

how to make activated charcoal

Mix until a paste forms.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 4: Cover the mixture and allow to sit for 24 hours.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 5: Dump the paste onto a blanket to dry.

Baby blankets, t-shirts, and bed sheets work well for this. You want to use something that is 100% cotton and has a tight weave so the paste doesn’t seep through. Don’t use anything that smells like laundry detergent or bleach because these compounds will react with the activated charcoal and will make it less effective.

how to make activated charcoal

Allow the paste to air dry overnight.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 6: Rinse the charcoal mixture.

Place the blanket over a bowl and pour clean water (approx. 6 cups) over the charcoal mixture to rinse. It’s important that purified water is used so as not to add anything to the charcoal which would cause it to react. Reverse osmosis filtered water works great. If using municipal water you’ll need to run it through a carbon filter to remove any chlorine, such as a Berkey filter.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 7: Recover lost carbon.

During the straining process, some of the carbon (activated charcoal) will escape through the blanket and will end up in the water in the bowl. To recover this lost carbon, pour the liquid through a coffee filter.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 8: Dry in oven.

Place the coffee filter with the captured carbon, as well as the carbon from the blanket onto a baking tray and bake at 250*F for 30 minutes.

how to make activated charcoal

The finished product should be a light powder, and completely dry.

Store in an airtight container. Activated charcoal lasts pretty much indefinitely as long as it doesn’t come into contact with anything that will cause it to react.

You can watch the whole process on how to make activated charcoal step by step in the video tutorial below.

Check out this article on herbal medicines you’ll need when doctors disappear for more great information on how to be ready if SHTF.

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7+ Tips To Survive When Camping In Winter

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Survive When Camping In Winter

For the average Joe out there, myself included, winter camping usually means renting a cabin somewhere nice in the mountains and spending the holidays with friends, family, and a few bottles of booze while chatting, listening to CCR and enjoying the downtime. (Still I would survive out there without these, if I have to.)

However, there are hardcore outdoors aficionados who actually resent the idea of camping in a heated cabin by a romantic wood stove. That’s not camping – it’s glamping.

Moreover, there are adventurous folks who prefer to grab their backpack, rent a snowmobile, and go somewhere in the wilderness away from the mad world, the rush, and the insanity of civilization for a few days or weeks.

Regardless of what your pleasure is about camping during winter, there are a few tips and tricks you should know before going out in the cold.

Hypothermia is a very “cold” (pun intended) fact to consider if camping outside in extreme weather conditions. If you want to return home in one piece, with all your thumbs and toes in working condition, then keep reading, as I will share with you some important information about how to stay warm even in -45 F. Okay, maybe not toasty warm when it’s that cold, but you got the idea.

To begin with, you should be realistic and realize that winter camping is not for everyone. However, if you’re properly equipped and trained, you may very well have the time of your life even on Everest.

Let’s begin with the basics: pre-trip planning. Pre-planning prior to any type of endeavor is the key to success, especially if we’re talking about camping during winter.

If you remember that old Bob Dylan song, you don’t need a weatherman to tell you where the wind blows. In other words, regardless what the weather forecast says, you must always prepare for the worst winter conditions possible. Better safe than sorry, right?

1. Plan Your Trip

Even if it may sound like overkill, make sure you’ll be packing all the emergency supplies you’ll ever need in a winter survival situation, such as extra food and water supplies (or means to procure water by melting snow and ice), extra clothes, etc., especially if you’re going somewhere remote.

Also, if the weather conditions are likely to bad, as in dangerous bad, you should play it safe and postpone your trip, that is, if you don’t want to win the Darwin award, if you know what I mean. If not, Google it. It’s fun in a macabre sort of way.

Pack light, but don’t scrimp on essential gear, like a camping snow shovel, plenty of lighting, spare batteries, a first-aid kit, ski poles/walking poles and always go for a strong/sturdy waterproof tent.

20 Survival Uses For An Emergency Survival Blanket. Get yours today! 

2. Take a Friend With You

Another crucial rule when it comes to winter outdoors survival is a rule I’ve learned from a Jack London novel. Never travel alone. Period.

3. Research the Campsite

Research the area you’re going to visit, check the surroundings, see if there’s a forest nearby (read firewood), see if there are any villages or small towns around, learn how long it will take to get from point A to B, etc. We’re living in the age of Google Maps and satellite imagery, so you don’t have any excuse not to get proper intel before going in!

Choose the right campsite (the sun is your best friend during the winter, so check out where it rises), start your fire first thing, before anything else, plan ahead, and stay warm folks.

4. Inform Your Family & Friends

Also, remember to inform your friends and family about your whereabouts, i.e. where you’re going to be for the next couple of days/weeks or whatever, thus making sure you’ll be able to get help if SHTF. If you can give them a detailed map of your route, that’s even better.

5. Keep Warm

Now, let’s talk about keeping warm. Obviously, the main thing to consider when camping outside during the winter is the right clothing. That’s the detail that will make all the difference in the world.

Dress in Layers

Layers is the word. Wear layers of clothing, as layers are the outdoors explorer’s best friend, besides a good fire. Layers work by trapping air between them, thus insulating your body from the cold. A few layers of clothing are more efficient than a single one, regardless of how thick it is.

Also, stay away from cotton clothes, because cotton absorbs moisture (you’ll get sweaty at some point during your trip) and damp or wet clothes are your worst enemy when it’s cold outside.

Basically, you should use three layers of clothing: the base layer, something like a second skin which helps you trap the body heat (synthetic materials/merino wool are the best for the base layer), the mid layer, which works as the main insulator (you can go for fleece lined trousers/heavy fleece) and the outer layer, which must be waterproof.

Dress In Layers

Keep Your Feet Warm

Feet are the infantry’s secret weapon, as my old drill sergeant used to say, so when you go out camping during the winter, pay extra attention to your feet.

To avoid cold feet, keep your cotton socks at home and go for polyester socks or wool socks. Specialty stores stock special foot gear (read socks and boots) designed for hiking. Obviously, the boots are very important too, as they must be waterproof and grippy, especially if you’re going to hike through the snow or ice.

Never Neglect Your Head and Your Hands

A huge amount of body heat, almost half of it in fact, is lost through the head during the winter, so make sure you wear a hat that’s going to block the wind and keep your heat in. Finally, don’t forget a nice pair of gloves.

6. Know Your Gear

The sleeping bag is an essential piece of gear when it comes to winter camping, so know your gear well if you want to survive low night-time temperatures. The idea is that you’ll require a high-quality sleeping bag if you want to be comfortable during the night and wake up healthy.

Or, double up your existing one just in case by putting one inside the other. Remember to always put a foam roll mat (or 2) under your mattress.

The idea is that shelter is pretty important when camping during the winter, as you may experience snowstorms, strong winds, and the whole palaver. Don’t get cheap on your tent, nor on your sleeping bag. They can make the difference between waking up relatively warm and safe and having somebody find your popsicle body.

7. Know Your Body

Together with knowing your gear, knowing your body is very important. Some folks sleep cold, others sleep warm. There are variables, like your age, sex, fitness level, experience, the amount of body fat and lots of other factors, which differentiate between the comfort levels achieved by different people using the exact same gear.

If you’re not familiarized with winter camping, it’s better to be over-prepared than not prepared enough. I am talking about layers of clothing, sleeping bags, and just about anything else that counts toward survival.

Go to Sleep Already Warmed Up

Always remember to go to bed, (inside your sleeping bag that is) already warmed up. The idea is that warmth cometh from within, while the sleeping bag is playing just the insulation part, so if you’re freezing and sleepy, do a few press ups/sit ups or just jump around a little before getting inside your sleeping bag. You’ll thank me later.

Eat Late

Another trick for a good night’s sleep while winter camping is to eat late, ideally a hot meal just before going to sleep. The ideal meal would be fatty (as opposed to carbohydrates), as fat gets metabolized slowly by your body (it lasts longer) and, needless to say, you’ll require fuel to make heat, right? Cheese, olive oil, bacon, pork; you know what I am talking about.

Eat high-energy food at all times, preferably in the form of warm meals. If you can’t, go for nuts, chocolate, and energy bars. Cover your exposed skin in animal fat or vaseline, just like the Inuit have been doing forever, thus preventing frostbite and windburn.

Keep Your Sleeping Bag Dry

Keep your sleeping bag dry at all costs, add more layers outside eventually as you need them. This doesn’t have to be clothes; it can be as simple as putting a metallic survival blanket over your sleeping bag.

This Emergency Survival Blanket helps retain 90% of your body heat. Get yours now! 

Video first seen on Survival Frog

Avoid breathing into your sleeping bag while sleeping (it introduces moisture) and sleep with your boots in your bag. Put them at the bottom of your sleeping bag so they don’t freeze during the night.

Leave your water filter at home and concentrate on boiling the snow. Chemical filters work painfully slow in the cold while mechanical ones may crack/fail due to the cold.

Hydrate

Don’t forget to drink enough water, even if you don’t have your usual thirst reflex, which is common in extreme cold. However, dehydration is a serious danger in sub-zero conditions, especially if you’re sweating. Also, a lot of moisture gets lost while breathing in and exhaling the cold air, as the air is very dry during the winter.

Try to prevent your water supply from freezing, but that’s easier said than done.

If you have other ideas or suggestions, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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A Couple of Thoughts On The Future…

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     It happens one week from today … the nation is waiting breathlessly as our country experiences the peaceful transfer of power.  As I watch the circus that has become our political process, I am not sure that anything in this world will change until Jesus returns.  I sense that half of the country is eagerly expecting a new beginning of honesty, authenticity, and trustworthiness among those who govern us; while the other half is anticipating oppression, repression, and suppression.  T
     Those who lean Left, politically, fear the loss of all they’ve gained in the last 43+ years: their newly acquired right to marry anyone of their choice, regardless of sex; their ability to choose to destroy a fetus; and their newfound freedom to culturally express themselves as any gender on any given day.  Those who lean to the political and religious Right hope to see the demise of all those “freedoms”.
     We, here in America, pride ourselves on our bedrock of Freedom and Human Rights.  As I contemplate our future, both here at home and abroad, I am deeply concerned that we are too far down the path of unrighteousness to effect any dramatic turn in direction.
     Take this for instance: the First Amendment to our Bill of Rights protects the free exercise of religion and the freedom of speech, right? But for far too long, our Churches have restricted themselves from being able to express their opinions on moral, cultural, or political issues.  

“No one can serve two masters …”

      We are all familiar with the 501(c)3 tax status, which exempts churches from paying federal income taxes as a non-profit public charity.  But as I look around at the mega-churches and the healthy bank accounts of even small town churches, I hardly consider churches “non-profit”.  What I see is this … in an attempt to benefit from man’s laws, the Church has become a privileged government entity, receiving monetary “favors” in exchange for operating under and representing private civil law.  In other words, our churches now operate under man’s law instead of the freedom of God’s Law, trading the headship of Christ for the mandates of the State.
     Now, along comes Donald Trump, who as our President-Elect, declares that he will remove or repeal the Johnson Amendment, which limits freedom of speech from the pulpits.  This amendment is a change in the U.S. tax code, made in 1954, which prohibited certain tax-exempt organizations (including churches) from endorsing and opposing political candidates.  In this election cycle, Christian citizens received this as a ray of hope that the pastors in our pulpits could return to speaking God’s whole Truth without fear of government intervention or retaliation.
     But I wonder if it is really the fear of the government that has silenced our pulpits, or the fear of cultural disapproval?  Haven’t we really silenced ourselves in an attempt to appease and pacify the growing cultural objection to our Biblical belief system?  Not only have we kept silent, but we have actually adopted the culture as our guiding model for administering our churches.  Same-sex marriage is not only becoming more acceptable in Christian churches, but abortion as a sin is minimized, and the Bible is increasingly discredited.
     When I consider that more churches will adapt to these kinds of Biblical sin, yet condemn a healing or deliverance ministry as “too controversial” (even though Jesus modeled both for us!), then I know that Satan has infiltrated the Church and the seminaries.  And it saddens me that we, the Body of Christ in our nation’s churches, would look towards the repeal of a piece of legislation as our lifeline, rather than the pure, unadulterated, and solid Word of God.  In reality, all the Johnson Amendment did was to limit pastors from endorsing or opposing political candidates.  But what stopped them from speaking out about political corruption (and preaching what God is really saying in Romans 13); or speaking out about LGBT activism, abortion, cohabitation, unwed mothers — any of which have become celebrated statuses in our culture?
     The truth is that no new administration is going to change our culture overnight, and if we are pinning our hopes on Trump and his gang of “outsiders” to effect any great shift in the direction of our government policies or societal culture, then I’m afraid we are going to find ourselves hugely disappointed. And it is not just our churches that determine whether our Christian principles will be upheld.  Our governmental offices and institutions have the ability to stifle our worldwide Christian outreach as well.

     Take for instance, the nomination of Rex Tillerson as President-Elect Trump’s Secretary of State. Many are excited about his executive management skills and I’ve read more than a couple of inspiring stories about the righteous character of the man.  But I’m also curious to know about the man; especially when I read that, as head of Exxon, Tillerson oversaw large donations to Planned Parenthood.  Are we to anticipate that this organization’s radical abortion agenda will be supported as part of our foreign policy?  Also, Mr. Tillerson served on the Boy Scout national board when that organization extended troop leadership to homosexual males.  As a Christian, those actions give me pause, because as Secretary of State, he will have considerable influence on the global impact of the United States, and I am seriously concerned about what social policies we are exporting to the world.
     For instance, will he continue to uphold the October, 2016 rule for the administration of USAID (The United States Agency for International Development; the government agency which is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid)?  This rule, enacted by President Obama (without Congress) prohibits organizations that contract with USAID from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the administration of aid. In other words, as expressed in an article on Barbwire.com, “authentic Christian principles must be betrayed in order to serve poor, diseased, displaced and suffering people”.  Will Christian-affiliated mission groups be barred from service to the disadvantaged of the world unless they endorse the homosexual agenda?  As Roger Severino, director of the Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, said, “Disaster relief agencies may now be required to open their women’s shower and sleeping facilities to biological males who self-identify as women or be stripped of all funding for alleged ‘gender identity discrimination’ “. Is that the message we want to send to the world? And is that truly representative of Jesus’s form of social justice?
     So, as much as I hate to say it, I’m not so confident that change is in our future … that anything like repealing the Johnson Amendment will affect the culture of our churches.  I fear that our churches have become institutions unto themselves, more concerned about perpetuating their existence than discipling followers of Jesus in how to live a Biblically righteous life.  And I am waiting to see if the attitudes and behaviors of elected government officials will reflect a desire to promote Christian values at home and in the world, or if we will see the continued advancement of our culture’s immorality.
     To tell you the truth, I am more excited and optimistic when I talk to fellow Christians who, single-handedly, are walking out the Great Commission — Believers who are being bold and taking advantage of the opportunities presented to them to engage with their fellow man and share their faith.  I’m talking about people who, in the course of their day, share Jesus with their physical therapist, the waitress at lunch, the grocery store clerk, or the child in their classroom.  These are Believers who are not ruled by the laws of men; who do not let the opinions of the disbelieving culture inhibit them from shining the Light of the Lord into someone’s life.
     I know that will sound like a fantasy dream to some.  But I honestly believe that these simple acts of faith will be honored by God more than all the repealed laws and extraordinary government appointments man can make. Jesus didn’t ask us to build massive church buildings and congregations in His Name, or institute powerful governments to represent Him.  He asked us to make disciples of men, baptize them into the Kingdom of God, and teach each man, woman, and child all that He has commanded us.  We do that one person at a time, compromising nothing in our message, and fearing no one but Him.  THAT is the future that I’m ready to witness!  Let it begin with me!

1 Peter 3:15   “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,”

   

Best Bugout Flashlight

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I was updating my bug out bag this weekend. I like to do this in winter every year since there are times we can be iced in. I had the toughest time picking which flashlight I wanted to put into my bug out bag this year though! There are so many great flashlights to pick […]

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New Template

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I’m trying a new template to make the blog easier to read and after 8 years a little different look. Right now I’m having a little trouble getting the title block image to size properly. So you’ll see a number of attempts at it including the blogs background colors.

How to Use Lemon Juice Powder in Cooking

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Lemon juice powder is a kitchen standby for any pantry. It gives you the ability to add a punch of lemon flavor to any recipe you are creating | PreparednessMama

Include this flavorful addition in your pantry. Lemon zest is a kitchen standby for any pantry. It gives you the ability to add a punch of lemon flavor to any recipe you are creating. What happens when you run out of zest? Substitute lemon juice powder instead. You may not be familiar with this little-known […]

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Instapot Chicken and Rice

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See larger image Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W Instant Pot is a smart Electric Pressure Cooker designed by Canadians aiming to be Safe, Convenient and Dependable. It speeds up cooking by 2~6 times using up to 70% less energy and, above all, produces nutritious healthy food in a convenient and consistent fashion. […]

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New Fence as a Thief Deterrent

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After having a lot of small stuff stolen from the land, the thieves graduated to taking something of real value. My dad’s commercial grade backpack blower came up missing when he left the land for the day. Hopefully the new gate will make it harder. Now they have to either come from the neighbor’s place […]

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Top 10 Skills for the Advanced Prepper

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CPR_skills_survival

danger_prepper_gunsApocalypse, Doomsday, Judgment Day, Armageddon — for those of you who believe that the end of the world as we know it is drawing near, it doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you’re prepared for it. Right? Right. If you’re reading this article, and you are a Prepper, then (1), let’s be friends, and (2) here are some of the most important skills that you, an advanced prepper, should know in order to be fully prepared for that day. 

By Ryan, a contributing author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Find yourself without these skills and your life will be significantly more difficult. While the skills in this list may seem complicated, with hard work and dedication, they can be mastered. Don’t let the gravity of these skills dissuade you from learning. You’ll feel much more comfortable knowing these abilities.

1. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

You can become CPR certified through the American Red Cross, which will, most likely, offer a class at a location near you. Community Centers, employers and churches may offer a class or two at their locations as well, having trained professionals leading the class. You can also get your BLS certification, which includes how to administer oxygen, splinting broken or dislocated bones and how to stop excessive bleeding.

2. First Aid

red_cross_first_aid.svgThis covers a slew of topics, including how to treat burns, cuts and bites, along with how to stop and administer to those who are bleeding and to those with frostbite; how to perform the heimlich maneuver, and so much more. First Aid courses are usually offered in conjunction with CPR classes through the American Red Cross and National Safety Council. Once you pass, your certification card should be valid for two years.

3. Surviving Outdoors

There are so many factors that go into surviving in the outdoors. A few of them include:

Building a fire – No excuses. Know how to do this.

Purifying Water – Purchase a filter and water purification tablets.

Building a shelter – Learn how to build the following: A-Frame, Lean-to, frame-and-tarp and Cocoon. To build these shelters, you should know how to tie various knots and use a hatchet.

Entomology – This is the study of insects and will help you identify poisonous and non-poisonous bugs, as well as those rich in fiber and protein.

Botany – This is the study of plants. Having this knowledge will save you from drudging through poisonous plants. You will also be able to identify edible plants and flowers, and foliage is best for all-natural salves.

Fishing and hunting – You can procure a license for both activities in most states online via the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

4. How to Handle a Crisis

Chaos is sure to ensue when the end is near. As a doomsday prepper, you need to know how to stay calm and keep a level head despite what is happening around you. If you can do this, then you and your family are more likely to survive.

5. Bartering

In an apocalyptic setting, money will no longer be of value. You need to know how to make smart trading decisions. You’ve got to give something to get something.

6. HAM Radio/Communications

Knowing how to operate a HAM Radio will make you an invaluable member of your community come D-Day. In order to send communications via a HAM Radio, you will need a license to do so. You should, without a doubt, also own and know how to use walkie talkies.

7. Mend Clothes

Target isn’t going to be open during Judgment Day, so we suggest learning how to sew on a button, whipstitch a hole and put on a patch to make your clothes last.

8. Spending Time Alone

The hard truth? You might end up alone during the last days. Prepare for this harsh reality by doing things by yourself once or twice a week.

9. Car Maintenance

If you have a car during Armageddon, it sure would be great if you knew how to maintain it. Know how to change the oil, change the tires, replace parts, and if you lose your keys, start the ignition without them.

10. Navigation Skills

You may not want to rely on Siri to get you through Doomsday. Learn how to use a compass, read a map and navigate when it’s dark using the stars.

flight-plane-accident-crashIt can be a frightening to think that one day, the world might end. True or not, we should all be prepared for disasters and hardships to come. There’s an old adage: better to need it and not have it, than need it and not have it. The logic of that adage is applicable here. Even if we are never parties to a cataclysmic event in our lifetimes, the skills in this list will be important for everyday activities. Preppers, get to prepping. Good luck.

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The Prepared Workplace: Lifesaving Supplies You Need Before the Emergency

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prepared workplace[Editor’s Note: On average, we spend over 50 hours a week away from our homes. Chances are, if a sudden disaster occurs at your workplace and you are forced to shelter in place for a given time, many coworkers (including yourself) could be unprepared. Would you have enough food and water to wait an emergency out at work? A disaster plan is only as good as your Plan A, B and C.]

So, ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, have you made a big batch of pemmican for yourselves yet?  If so, then I commend you.  If not, then get on the stick!  The beef stick, that is, because pemmican is one of the foods that is perfect to carry around.  I know, I know, between bug-out bags, micro-tools, thermoses, and the likes of which I have been writing about recently…you need to be an octopus to be able to carry all of it.  It is better to have, as you well know, than not to have something.  Let’s talk about food in this regard.

The Secret to Survival is Prior Planning

Undoubtedly you have laid up a supply for yourselves and your families in your home and have some packed in your “go” bags.  We’ll now touch on a few other areas: in your workplace and on your person. Some preparedness and emergency items for the entire office are:

Talk to your supervisor about the existing emergency plan and find ways of improving it. You could even create a preparedness month where each coworker donates money to get the office prepped!

Ultimately, It’s About You!

If your workplace shrugs off your attempts to get them prepped, that shouldn’t stop you from getting some extra food and provisions for yourself in your workplace (and also carry a little on you at all times). Keep in mind, this is about giving yourself an “edge” and perhaps buying you some time in a sticky situation.

If you have a workplace locker (the best are those that lock), a basket/cubby space, or a shelf for your things, you can stock up a few cans of food and some essentials.  Why?  Because that is what preparation is all about: the “what-if’s” that may arise.  What if you cannot go outside to your vehicle to get your “go” bag?  There could be any number of reasons: severe flooding, rioting, extreme cold weather, among others.  You may have to make do with what you have on your person or in your workplace.

As well, make sure you have some clean athletic socks and walking shoes stored on you. As well, have some extra change on hand in case you need to get items from the vending machines (items like water, nuts, crackers, etc., will run out quickly in an emergency).

Your Personal Workplace Prepper Pantry

Even if you just have a bag that you stash under a table or in a back room, you can throw extra canned goods in there.  Here’s a sample of what to place in your bag or locker (with a locker, remember, you can probably put some more food in there):

  • (4) cans of food (preferably heat-and-eat prepared dinner-ravioli, soups, etc.)
  • (2) 20-ounce or 32-ounce bottle of water
  • (1) Ziploc sandwich bag of a snack (trail mix, pretzels, dried fruit, etc.)
  • (1) Ziploc bag of hard candies
  • (1) small bag of dried meat (jerky, pemmican, beef sticks, etc.)

That will get you started, but you don’t have to stop there. There are many types of disasters that could occur while you are at work. What happens if there is a fire and you need to escape? Or, in a worst case scenario, hazardous material has leaked into the air. Why not have a gas mask on hand? There are many gas masks that are compact and can fit inside your desk.

Remember, these items are for your personal space/storage space in your workplace.  If you have an office and a desk, all the better.  If the desk has any drawers that lock, then it’s optimal.  Remember this rule:

If it’s a time of trouble or scarcity, whatever you need will also be needed by others.

Sesame Street rules aside, you do not need to advertise that you have a stash of extra food in your office drawer or wall locker.  Keep your supplies in a nondescript gym bag or other non-transparent/non-translucent carrier.

Their need is not a justification for your sharing, nor their shortsightedness for your “help” regarding preparations. 

One way to circumvent this is to get coworkers involved in getting the workplace prepared for these types of emergencies and have them create their own personal workplace pantries.

So, we’ve addressed the workplace, and now how about on your person?  Why?  Because it gives you an edge.  I have written articles in the past on the value of cargo pants with cargo pockets.  Here I am, recommending them again.  I carry a small bag of peanut butter-filled pretzels in my cargo pocket, as well as a bag of jerky, and about half a dozen hard candies (I like those Jolly Rancher ones).  There’s a good reason for it.

What if you’re trapped in an elevator?  Or (as mentioned before) something goes wrong, such as a power outage that leaves you trapped for a while.  What then?  It is a proven fact that the intake of simple sugars helps the human body during times of stress or crisis.  In addition, it is a psychological support you’ll give to yourself to help you deal with all of it.  The protein in the jerky and the peanut butter is important; the necessity to replace protein can never be understated.

The hard candies give you some simple sugar to throw into your bloodstream, and keep the mouth from drying out.  As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, if you can’t drink, then do not eat anything.  You will deplete yourself further; you must drink in order to digest your food.  The difficulty this presents is obvious, because if you don’t tote around a water bottle all the time, you’ll have trouble finding water when the need arises.  So, tote it around!  Everybody walks around all the time with coffee cups and soda bottles, so it won’t look out of place for you to tote around a 20-ounce PowerAde bottle with water in it.

These are akin to “tiers” of response levels: 1st is what you have on you, 2nd in your work area/locker, and 3rd in your vehicle.

One more key point: All the stuff not on you becomes a cache point if you can’t reach it, and you can go for the stuff later on.

You may have to forgo getting food out of your locked desk drawer because 10 other people may see it.  Who’s going to think of going into your desk drawer for food unless you make them aware it’s there.  Practice OPSEC, and re-read the article I wrote on the Nosy Neighbors…the ones who will eat your food and maybe you along with it if their needs call for it.  Keep it to yourself.  It’s better to wait until everybody is out of the area, and then obtain your supplies from your locked and unknown (to your “buddies” at work) location.  Ounce of prevention, pound of cure.  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

2017 Suburban Steader Update – Week 02

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Two weeks of 2017 are in the books. Have of January is gone. And what have I done around the Suburban Steader homestead? The simple answer is: not much. But that’s about to change… This Week’s Milestones Much like last week, this week was kind of mild around the old home front. It was mostly

Electrifying developments in bicycling!

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Electrifying developments in bicycling! Bob Howkins “APN Report” Audio in player below! Throughout the bicycle industry two trends have created a bright future in bicycle development, an aging customer base, and the rise in popularity of electric powered vehicles. In some ways, both are joined at the hip. With more people re-discovering their health by … Continue reading Electrifying developments in bicycling!

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