5 ‘Survival Insurance’ Trees Every Homesteader Should Plant

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5 ‘Survival Insurance’ Trees Every Homesteader Should Plant

Honey Locust. Image source: Pixabay.com

There is an old saying that goes, “The best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago.” This holds especially true for trees that someday may save your life in the event of a crisis or disaster.

The next best time to plant a tree, of course, is right now.

But, what should you plant?

Below is a list of trees that are especially important for food and other survival uses, based on the amount of calories they can supply, how well they store, and how long they take to produce.

1. Hazelnut (Corylus species)

Uses: Nuts are one of the most nutrient-dense, long-term storage crops you can grow, and hazelnuts top the list of best nuts to plant. This is because of their exceptional nutritional value as well as their ability to produce quickly, within 4-5 years. Keep the nut shell on and store in a cool, dry place, and it should store for at least 12 months. An edible oil can be extracted from the seed.

Propagation: The seeds should be planted fresh during autumn in a cold frame if possible, or stratified (kept moist, but not soggy in soil or soilless mix) over the winter. Stored seed can be pre-soaked in warm water for 48 hours and then given 2 weeks of warm moist treatment, followed by 3-4 months of cold moist treatment (i.e. warm stratification, followed by cold stratification). It should then germinate in 1-6 months. As with all trees, particularly when first planted, mulch aggressively, and consider putting a weed barrier around them (e.g. cardboard) as they establish, and then mulch with 4-6 inches of mulch to or beyond their drip line (recommended for all trees). All trees benefit from mycorrhizal inoculant, as well.

2. Walnut (Juglans species)

Uses: Black walnut (Juglans nigra) and California walnut (Juglans californica) are both good choices, as is the English walnut (Juglans regia). The nuts are high in calories and nutrients, with a sweet, rich flavor. They can be stored like other nuts (dried, kept cool and dark) and will keep for up to 6 months, though roasting extends storage times.

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A brown dye can be extracted from the husks, bark, leaves and stems, and the husks also can be made into a high-quality coal once removed from the nut (burn at low oxygen), which can be used to create a water filter. All parts of the tree contain juglone, which can be used as an insecticide and herbicide (use only in an emergency, as it will kill soil life and could affect health of soil, while making the soil unsuitable for most plants). Sap also can be tapped and used in moderation for hydration, or boiled into a syrup.

5 ‘Survival Insurance’ Trees Every Homesteader Should Plant

Image source: Pixabay.com

Propagation: There are cultivars of walnut that are much better for eating (larger nuts, thinner shells), so if possible, obtain these trees, or seeds, from nurseries. Growing wild walnuts from seed is certainly not a bad idea, however. You can get nuts from a tree from seed in as little as 10 years, although they take some time to produce in quantity. You also can graft cultivars onto root stock that you grow from seed. To grow from seed, either plant the seeds in their permanent location in the fall after removing them from the husk, and protect them from rodents by putting chicken wire over the planting area, or stratify them in a bucket of soil or soilless mix outdoors over the winter (if planting a winter hardy species of walnut in a cold climate), followed by planting in the spring, potentially even individually as you check for sprouting nuts. They require deep, well-drained soil as they have a tap root, and should be planted into their permanent position immediately, or within a year if you can keep them in a deep pot (4 inch PVC pipes 2 inches long with mesh holding the soil in will work, and will prevent roots from tangling).

3. Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)

Uses: Much the same as walnut, particularly the edible nut. Hickory nuts store better than walnuts, however, keep for up to 2 years. The seed also can be ground into a meal and used as a thickener, while it is also sweet and delicious on its own.

Propagation: The same as walnuts, but they cannot be stored as long and should be sown as soon as possible. Store seeds in moist soil or soilless mix until planting. Like walnuts, look for improved eating cultivars.

4. Mulberry (Morus species)

Uses: Mulberry has a sweet and delicious edible berry that is usually produced in abundance, and can be eaten fresh (although it doesn’t keep well), made into preserves, or dried. Unfurling leaves and young shoots are also edible (raw or cooked) in most if not all species, including Morus alba and Morus rubra. Young leaves are better. Mulberry is also an excellent fodder crop for livestock (this is, the leaves and berries), and you can get decent fiber from the bark and young stems, which is traditionally used for cloth and paper making.

Propagation: A fast-growing tree, it is best grown from seed. (Seed-grown plants are much more vigorous than those from cuttings.) Seed requires 2-3 months of cold stratification. Red mulberry (Morus rubra) is said to be among the best species for eating, although it is endangered and can be difficult to find. Seeds can be sprouted in their stratification container and then pricked out into individual pots, or planted densely in pots before sprouting, and then thinned or transplanted as soon as they germinate. Trees develop a tap root, so are best planted into their permanent position within 1 year, and should be kept in deep pots until then.

5. Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

Uses: Seeds are edible raw or cooked, with a taste similar to peas, and they are high in carbs and protein. Seed pulp is sweet and can be eaten or used as a sugar substitute. Pods also are great livestock fodder, and the tender young seedpods are edible cooked. The tree fixes nitrogen so is a good companion plant for many other plants, and can be used to make a “living fence” by planting them densely in rows and then keeping them trimmed. Wood is very rot-resistant and can be useful for making tools or fence posts (although living fences are much smarter since they never rot).

Propagation: Seeds can be “scarified” by soaking in water that is boiled and then letting them sit in the water for 5 minutes. Soak for 24 hours. This will break down the tough seed coating, and the seed should then “imbibe,” meaning it will engorge with water. Seeds that do not engorge should be re-soaked in hot water until they do. Viable seed has a high germination rate, and the tree will then grow quickly. To get thornless honey locust, find a larger tree and cut a thornless grafting scion from the top (the tops of trees often do not grow thorns) to graft onto planted root stock.

These are, of course, only a few of the excellent choices for trees to grow for survival insurance. Others include honeyberry (a.k.a. haskap, a fast-growing berry shrub), elderberry, white/paper birch (fast growing, excellent sap for hydration), yellow horn, chestnut, and many others. Given that nothing in life is certain, it’s best to prepare ourselves by planting our own low-maintenance food trees around our homes. Your future self may thank you.

What trees would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:

Compact & Lightweight Guns Every Bug-Out Bag Needs

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Compact & Lightweight Guns Every Bug-Out Bag Needs

Image source: Kel-Tec

The size and content of a bug-out bag or survival kit varies based on the needs and location of the person, but there are some items that always should be included. Among these: firearms that can be used for either hunting or self-defense.

In this article, we will discuss the different types of weapons that you should consider picking up for your bug-out bag. If you are looking into getting a firearm or two for this purpose, these criteria will help you pick the right one:

1. Size. The firearm(s) should fit inside the bag, if possible. This can be a challenge when looking at rifles and shotguns, so find one that can collapse or break down into smaller components for easy storage.

2. Weight. You may be carrying your bug-out bag for an extended period of time, so you’ll want any firearms in it to be as light as possible. You also will need to carry ammunition, cleaning supplies, and accessories for it, as well, which adds even more weight to your pack.

3. Cost. Unlike any other guns you may own, the firearms you get for your bug-out bag should stay in it unless you are shooting or cleaning them. If you can afford to spend a bit extra on a higher-quality firearm, do it; however, you can easily find a firearm for this purpose without breaking the bank. Your firearm just needs to be reliable. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Handguns

A pistol or revolver is a critical tool to have in your bug-out bag. Ideally, it should be one that shoots centerfire ammunition suitable for self-defense, such as 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP. In addition to your pistol, your bug-out bag also should contain ammunition, spare magazines, a holster and a magazine pouch. Check out our “best pistols under $300” article for some low-cost suggestions.

Break-Action Shotguns

Break-action shotguns are simple to operate, have few moving parts, and are very easy to maintain. They also can be disassembled for storage without using tools. When buying a break-action shotgun for your bag, try to find one with a defense-length (18-inch) barrel.

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If you can’t find one with that barrel length in your budget, you always ban buy one with a longer hunting barrel and have a gunsmith cut it down to defense length. Certain companies are also making inserts for break-action shotguns that allow you to fire other types of ammunition types through it. This is a great addition to any bug-out bag, and not something that you can get for a pump-action or semi-automatic shotgun.

Pump-Action Shotguns

If the thought of having to reload after every one or two shots makes you cringe, then a pump-action shotgun is an excellent alternative to the break-action for your bug-out bag. You can easily find one with a defense-length barrel, and aftermarket parts can be found at relatively low price online. These tend to be a bit larger than a break-action when disassembled, so it would be a good idea to buy an aftermarket folding stock or pistol grip for it.

Pistol-Caliber Carbines

While pistol-caliber carbines may not be the best option for hunting larger game, they definitely will handle small game, and work admirably in a defensive role. Some have the added benefit of accepting pistol magazines, which makes them an excellent companion for a pistol in your bug-out bag. Some models, such as the KelTec Sub2000, can be folded and placed in your bag, while others like the TNW ASR or JR Carbine are designed to be easily disassembled for compact storage.

Depending on your state’s restrictions, you may be able to purchase a “pistol” version of a pistol-caliber carbine, which has a short barrel and no buttstock. Some examples include the Chiappa PAK-9, ATI MilSport, or Angstadt Arms UDP-9. These types of weapons are great for close-quarters defensive scenarios, and their smaller size allows them to fit easily in your bug-out bag.

Semiautomatic Rifles

For both hunting and defensive situations, a semiautomatic rifle chambered in .223 Remington, 7.62x39mm NATO, or .308 Winchester is a great tool to have in your bug-out bag. Unfortunately, most of the AR- and AK-variant rifles in this category are not easy to fit in a backpack. One alternative, the KelTec SU16, is a survival rifle that lets you use high-capacity AR magazines, and folds into a compact 25-inch package.

Another option is to purchase an entry-level AR-15 and install a “takedown” kit, which allows you to quickly remove the barrel for storage. These can be purchased from a number of manufacturers, including Vision Defense, DRD Tactical and Cry Havoc. AR-platform takedown rifles like the Ruger SR556 are another option, although they are a bit more expensive. You also might consider a side- or under-folding AK-platform, which are reasonably compact (roughly 28 inches folded).

Other Rifle Configurations

There are a number of single-shot and lever-action rifles in various calibers that can be disassembled and stored easily. There are many to choose from, including the Rossi W, the Browning BLR-81, the CVA Scout, the Thompson/Center Encore Pro Hunter, and the Chiappa 1892. If you want a combination rifle and shotgun, the Chiappa X-Caliber is an-over-under shotgun/rifle combination in 12- or 20-gauge and .22 LR or .22 WMR. Other rimfire options include the Henry Arms AR-7 and the Ruger 10-22 Takedown.

What are your favorite firearms for bug-out bags or survival kits? Tell us in the section below:

Branch Out! Here’s 5 Weird (But Delicious) Vegetables You Should Plant This Year

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Branch Out! Here’s 5 Weird (But Delicious) Vegetables You Should Plant This Year

Kohlrabi. Image source: Pixabay.com

It’s easy to fall into a predictable habit when you garden. You plant a few of your favorite vegetables and some flowers, and consider your crop selection over.

In doing so, you may have overlooked a few of some of the most unique (and even weird) plants that you could (and should) grow. It’s time to take your garden to the next level. Instead of simply planning the same standard garden this year that you’ve always done, spruce it up with a few of these unique plants.

1. Black tomatoes

Love tomatoes? Add some visual appeal to your tomato crop by planting the Indigo Rose tomato – also known as black tomatoes. These antioxidant-rich tomatoes are healthier than their traditional red counterparts, but are just as easy to grow. With their striking black color, these tomatoes have a dark skin, but the interior is fleshy and savory.

2. Kohlrabi

Earning a place in the “oddest looking” category, kohlrabi comes in bright purple, white or green. Part of the cabbage family, this colorful plant might be the closest you get to an alien encounter – and you won’t even have to leave your garden. Perfect for gardens in cooler weather, the kohlrabi is a cross between the cucumber and the radish.

3. Mexican sour gherkin

cucamelon -- pixabay

Cucamelon. Image source: Pixabay.com

The Mexican sour gherkin (or cucamelon) is a miniature cucumber, with the look of a watermelon.

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They thrive in very similar conditions to the cucumber (warm temperatures and sunny location), but are more pest-resistant than their traditional counterparts. Despite their sweet outward appearance, they have a tangy cucumber taste.

4. Stevia

This calorie-free, natural sweetener is easy to grow and has multiple benefits that can only be obtained from the plant. The highly-processed compound used in most commercial sugar substitutes has little of the healthful properties found in the plant. Stevia leaves can be used fresh or dried. Recent studies have indicated that the stevia plant may be more effective in the treatment of Lyme’s disease than the commonly used antibiotics. This plant can be grown easily in raised beds or containers, making it a plant that can find a home in almost every garden.

5. Amaranth

If you live in a warm climate, then you have a small window of opportunity to grow leafy vegetables such as spinach. With their green, stalky leaves, amaranth gives you a viable substitute to spinach, kale or chard. In addition, it is one of the few greens that thrive in hot, humid conditions. Use this in soups, salads or sandwiches – anywhere you would use spinach leaves.

What unique plants have you tried in your garden? We’d love to hear about them! Share your thoughts in the section below:

7 Disease-Fighting Foods Hidden In Your Kitchen

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7 Disease-Fighting Foods Hidden In Your Kitchen

Image source: Pixabay.com

One of the biggest culprits of disease is foods that are cheap and bad for you – full of sugar, salt and fats.

The key to eating healthy is to look past the processed food and reach for organic, disease-fighting foods instead. You may already have these foods hidden right in your kitchen.

Once you learn which foods actually fight disease as opposed to cause disease, you can combine them into nutritious meals.

1. Garlic and onions

Garlic and onions are from the same plant family and offer heart and immune system support. Garlic has more than 70 phytochemicals which can decrease high blood pressure as much as 30 points. Phytochemicals also prevent cancer. Garlic can help prevent colorectal, ovarian and other cancers.

Onions are high in quercetin, a flavonoid and an antioxidant that fights free radicals, prevents blood clots, and promotes blood health.

Furthermore, both garlic and onions can help reduce allergies.

2. Beans

Beans are one of the most affordable, nutritious foods that you can purchase. They are high in isoflavone, which improves prostate and bone health, prevents heart disease, and can ease the symptoms of menopause.

Beans also are high in protein and low in fat. It’s easy to add beans to soups, salads and pasta dishes. You can use pureed beans to make sauces and dips, and even substitute beans for red meat in certain dishes.

It’s best to use dried beans and not canned beans, which can have salt and harmful preservatives added.

3. Cinnamon

Cinnamon can lower blood sugar and blood pressure, and boost the immune system. The high level of antioxidants found in cinnamon can activate insulin sensors in cells and fight free radicals. Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces the risk of heart disease.

Additionally, cinnamon is shown to kill E. coli bacteria that grows in some foods.

It’s easy to add a teaspoon of cinnamon to a lot of your meals, your breakfast foods, and even your coffee or tea.

4. Ginger

Ginger is a spice that is found in most spice cabinets. Gingerol is the compound found in ginger that has many medicinal properties. A lot of people don’t realize that ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory and can help to ease aches and pains. Furthermore, ginger can contribute to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

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Studies have also shown that ginger can help boost the immune system and fight viruses, such as the flu.

You can use ginger bought as a spice, but a more potent form is fresh ginger root. You can buy ginger root and crush it yourself. Ginger can be added to many dishes, and ginger tea is a popular way to get the daily health benefits of this herb.

5. The mint family

7 Disease-Fighting Foods Hidden In Your Kitchen

Image source: Pixabay.com

There are hundreds of plants included in the mint family, and you probably already have some of these in your kitchen. Oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, and of course, peppermint are all classified as a mint.

These herbs have lots of health benefits. Some advantages include aiding in digestion and preventing indigestion and nausea, reducing aches and pains (especially headaches and pain from arthritis), combating respiratory disorders and helping to relieve coughs and congestion, fighting fatigue, and even reducing the feelings of depression.

It’s easy to add herbs from the mint family to your daily meals or steep them in a tea. Consider growing your own in a windowsill herb garden!

6. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits are full of antioxidants and contain more than 200 cancer-fighting properties. They can prevent numerous diseases such as heart disease and even skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Citrus also contains cholesterol-lowering fibers and inflammation-reducing flavonoids.

Citrus fruits are not only high in antioxidants, but are high in fiber, vitamin C and A, calcium, folate and potassium.

It’s easy to buy organically grown citrus fruits or to grow your own. Either eat them as-is or include them in your daily meals. Fruits are a great addition to any breakfast food and also will give you much-needed energy for the day!

7. Turmeric

Turmeric is another common spice found in most kitchens. Unfortunately, many people only associate it with certain dishes. This habit should change, because turmeric has a multitude of health benefits.

Turmeric contains bioactive compounds called curcuminoids, with the most potent being curcumin. It is a very strong antioxidant which fights diseases and is an anti-inflammatory to reduce bodily aches and pains.

Furthermore, turmeric is shown to boost brain function and also can reduce your risk of heart disease and other cancers.

New studies show that turmeric even fights anxiety and depression.

It’s easy to get your daily dose of turmeric if you add it to your food or steep it in a tea. Buy fresh turmeric root for the best results.

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to go far to find disease-fighting foods! The key to unlocking the health benefits is to add them to your daily meals or steep them in a tea.

Sources

https://draxe.com/quercetin/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/isoflavone.htm

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-proven-benefits-of-cinnamon/

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-benefits-of-ginger/

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-mint.html

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-citrus-fruits-7925.html

https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric/

A Sure Sign of The End Times-Part 2

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This is the second half of my guest appearance on Soaring Eagle Radio with Dr. Mike Spaulding. We talked about the Laodicean spirit which has infected much of the church in America and the apostasy which 2 Thessalonians 2 says will be a sign of the end.

Everett and Courtney Carroll have survived the Seven Seal Judgments which devastated the planet. But have their efforts to stay alive been in vain? The next series of judgments to fall upon the earth are known as the Seven Trumpets.With each subsequent Trumpet Judgement their odds of living grow slimmer. If Everett and Courtney are to survive, they’ll need perseverance, faith, and a great outpouring of providence from The Almighty. Buy your copy of Wormwood in audio, paperback or Kindle edition today!

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The Enemies of Food Storage

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The Enemies of Food Storage This is an article on food safety. In fact, I would encourage anyone who is truly interested in food storage, canning and other ways of growing, cooking and processing foods to take a course in food safety. It is great information for the smooth sailing of today or the rough …

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Range day

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Nineteen bundles of 10/22 mags left. All the cool kids are doing it.
——————————

Well, a fairly abbreviated range day anyway. There was a competition going on so all the ranges I normally like to use were full up. But, I dumped a couple magazines of ball through the new-to-me P95DC.

20170514_102305Good enough for the girls I go with. I’ll drift the sight a tad to center things a bit, but all in all I can live with that. I was packing for the range and discovered that while I have plenty of end-of-the-world 9mm ammo stashed away, my supply of go-to-the-range 9mm ammo is pretty thin. I need to crank up the RL 1050 and spit out a couple thousand rounds of ammo.

The P96DC shot well with one failure to extract as a result of a decidedly weak reload. Otherwise, it chugged along happily. Good little gun. These things were dirt cheap for Ruger to produce…it’s one of the very, very few polymer pistols that doesn’t use metal inserts for the rails to ride on. This is one of the reasons the manufacturing costs were low. The rest of the parts are Rugers usual castings, which also are cheap to make, and the whole gun only has about three dozen parts.

Has it always been a love story? No…I had a first generation P85 way back that was wildly inaccurate. Couldn’t hit the side of a barn if you were standing in it. But, as I understand it, the early guns had two-piece barrels of questionable quality. Ruger polished the P85 up in a hurry and re-ran it as the P89, which did better but was still a brick with a trigger. The guns were extremely overbuilt for a 9mm. Thats all well and good for end-of-the-world durability, but they felt like the handle on a gas pump.

Further refinement begat the P9x series of guns. And, to me, the P95DC with the textured grip and light rail were the pinacle of the the P series. The P95 was still a ’90’s design with it’s double/single-action, ring hammer, and styling. Glock ran the table and hammered autos went the way of tail fins and leisure suits. But…there’s a key for every lock, and for every gun there is a following. Some folks still like the DA/SA hammered autos. I certainly love me some HiPower, and a buddy of mine is practically a walking shrine to the CZ75. No doubt the Ruger P-series has it’s fan base as well, although it is certainly a quiet group.

One of the things I like about the Glock is that it is a gun that I can get wet, dirty, and drop without feeling the remorse I would feel if a similar event befell my 1911 or HiPower. The Ruger is an even hardier animal. I suspect that it’s ‘Isoplast’ frame is a little less forgiving of impact than Glock’s polymer blend, but I have no problem thinking that it would withstand the kind of trauma that would destroy the person holding it.

Anyway, its always nice to get out to the range and make some noise. This P95DC will get cleaned, lubed up, thrown back in it’s case with a couple loaded mags, and go off to the Deep Sleep.

How to Carry EDC Gear

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How to Carry EDC Gear There is so much written and so much said about the topic of EDC. Those items that you carry on your person Every Day are always a hot topic in the prepper and survivalist world. This article takes an angle that I feel is never discussed. How do you carry …

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Do You Live In A Hotspot For Civil Unrest?

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Do You Live In A Hotspot For Civil Unrest? This is a big topic to get ahead of. You have to be honest about what our country is right now. Those with the voice seem to be angry. They have hijacked the microphone and are not happy. There are also very few outlets preaching unity …

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Spring and Summer Outdoor Rituals

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Spring and Summer Outdoor Rituals This is an article about a slowly disappearing art. The title is a bit deceiving because it only really mentions one ritual. That said, its a very important one. Written by a hunting and rock and roll legend this article focuses on a style of practice in bow hunting that …

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5 Tips To Eliminate Blight And Disease Naturally

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 5 Tips To Eliminate Blight And Disease Naturally Why are tomatoes such a right of passage for gardeners? Of all the incredible things you sprout in the dirt it seems like of the growing of tomatoes there is no end! Maybe that’s a good thing because the garden tomato is such an anomaly when eaten …

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The Best Food to Dehydrate for Long Term Survival Storage

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The Best Food to Dehydrate for Long Term Survival Storage First you back stock your pantry and keep it at a level where it could sustain you and your family for 72 hours. Then you step it up a notch, get some shelving, and store enough food for a few weeks. Before long you have …

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So Now What, Anything Constructive?

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I did a post on May 6th that pointed out how ridiculous some of the “Moolisha” claims on both sides (antifa and the “Right”) were, and how they’ve shown there is very little in the “Responsible Power” category that is being put out on social media. The bottom line to my “power” comment is due to […]

10 Ways to Get Survival Supplies When You Have Almost No Money

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Prepping for a disaster can be expensive. While fully-stocked private bunkers and steel safes full of weapons and supplies are great for the wealthy, low-income people need to be able to survive when the SHTF, too. Thankfully, prepping for tough times doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If you are looking for a way to get […]

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Is rooftop solar a challenge to power companies?

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electric meter

As more and more people are installing solar panels on their roof, I hear my friends talking about wanting to do grid tied solar so that they can make their electric meters run backwards and get a check from the electric company. I always hate to burst their bubbles, it is possible to do that, but it’s never as easy as it seems.

The electric companies are there to make money, that’s their bottom line, nothing wrong with that, but they will protect their ability to earn a profit at every turn. They need to be able to maintain the infrastructure they have developed that gets electricity from point A to point B and beyond. When just a few people were putting solar panels on their rooftops, it wasn’t a problem, but once solar panels came down in price and more people could afford them, it is becoming more commonplace to see solar panels adorning rooftops in neighborhoods.

Earning money from the power companies is a bit more complicated than just turning your meter backwards when you are generating more power than you are using. Many power companies would require a second separate meter to measure how much electricity you were putting back into the grid. They didn’t pay you what you were paying them per kilowatt either, just like any other industry, there is a wholesale and retail price. You are paying the retail price for your power, anything you sell back to the power company is done at wholesale price.

The power companies are trying to keep themselves ahead of the game, some are experimenting with charging extra fees if you are generating your own power while their customer, though in the case of the power company in the podcast, they quickly dumped that idea. They state that they aren’t trying to stop people from using solar, but are trying to make it work for everyone.

Listen to the show and let me know what you think.

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Is rooftop solar a challenge to power companies?

electric meter

As more and more people are installing solar panels on their roof, I hear my friends talking about wanting to do grid tied solar so that they can make their electric meters run backwards and get a check from the electric company. I always hate to burst their bubbles, it is possible to do that, but it’s never as easy as it seems.

The electric companies are there to make money, that’s their bottom line, nothing wrong with that, but they will protect their ability to earn a profit at every turn. They need to be able to maintain the infrastructure they have developed that gets electricity from point A to point B and beyond. When just a few people were putting solar panels on their rooftops, it wasn’t a problem, but once solar panels came down in price and more people could afford them, it is becoming more commonplace to see solar panels adorning rooftops in neighborhoods.

Earning money from the power companies is a bit more complicated than just turning your meter backwards when you are generating more power than you are using. Many power companies would require a second separate meter to measure how much electricity you were putting back into the grid. They didn’t pay you what you were paying them per kilowatt either, just like any other industry, there is a wholesale and retail price. You are paying the retail price for your power, anything you sell back to the power company is done at wholesale price.

The power companies are trying to keep themselves ahead of the game, some are experimenting with charging extra fees if you are generating your own power while their customer, though in the case of the power company in the podcast, they quickly dumped that idea. They state that they aren’t trying to stop people from using solar, but are trying to make it work for everyone.

Listen to the show and let me know what you think.

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6 Ways You Can Build a Water Pump

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Most people today rely on municipal water supplies, but they are not beyond the risk of water shortages. In fact, as more areas deal with uncontrollable forest fires and droughts, you can expect the water crisis to get even worse.

Potable water supplies are more and more contaminated with dangerous drugs, commercial pollutants, and other unwanted additives that need to be filtered out.

If you have your own water pump, you take control of your water supply and also make it easier to obtain water regardless of the situation you find yourself in. But if you don’t have one, you should learn how to build it.

And here’s what you need to learn about it!

PVC Hand Pump for Wells

If you have a well that has water within 25 feet of the surface of the ground, a manual hand pump is one of the best options.

The simplest and cheapest form you can make is made of PVC pipe and shaped like a “T”. To make a “T” shaped pump from PVC you will need:

  • PVC tubing – if you must make a manual well pump in a natural setting, you could use a hollowed out tree limb. Even though it will rot out fairly quickly, this pump will still buy some time until you can find something that will not rot or corrode easily.
  • Check Valves – at its simplest, a check valve allows water to flow only in one direction. You can make a check valve by cutting a rubber sphere in half and inserting it into the main PVC tube. If you have no plastic or actual check valves available, try making them from plant based rubber.
  • O-rings – most people use rubber o-rings for preventing leaks in a manual water pump. In a time of need, you can also use leather, or make the rings from plant based rubber.

Video first seen on Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”.

Reciprocating Displacement Pumps

These are the more traditional looking manual pumps that you may be accustomed to: they have a long handle off to the side of the main shaft that you raise and lower, and there is a piston inside the pipe that fits very close to the sides.

As you move the handle, it creates a vacuum in the pipe as the piston moves upward. As long as water can get into the pipe, then it will be pulled upward until it reaches a spout for the water to flow out of. When you move the handle again, the rod attached to it sends it back down the pipe.

For the most part, you will find these pumps easier to make using natural materials. As with the PVC hand pump, you can still use a hollowed out log until you can make pipe from a more durable material. The handle and bar attached to the piston can also be made from wood.

While you can also make the piston from wood, you will need to wrap something around it that will make a tight seal. You can use plant based rubber or just about anything else that will withstand being immersed in water and will also form a tight seal with the pipe.

Remember, you may need a thicker seal layer as well as find some means to make sure the inner surface of the pipe is as smooth and even as possible.

This proven-to-work portable device provides clean fresh water 24/7! 

Archimedes Screw for Surface and Underground Water

As its name implies, the Archimedes Screw makes use of the angle of a helix to move water from a lower level to a higher one.

Here are the basic parts you will need to build an Archimedes Screw:

  • A pipe that extends into the water. The bottom of this pipe will always have to be below the water level.
  • A screw-like structure that fits into the pipe. Unlike a screw, this form needs to have deeper blades that rise at an angle up the length of the shaft. The lowermost part of the screw must also be submerged in water.
  • You will also need a crank or something else attached to the upper part of the screw to make it turn. Historically speaking, animal labor was commonly used to turn the screw. More modern versions make use of motors.
  • A sealant that prevents water from slipping back downward while not seizing against the wall of the chamber. This is especially important if you need to use animal or human labor to keep the pump turning. While some 20 – 50% leakage may not be a problem if you have a motor and plenty of power at your disposal, it can spell disaster if your resources are more limited. Use a rubber edging on the screw itself, and then perhaps coating the wall of the surrounding pipe with food safe silicon or some other lubricant. This would give you a better seal and still enable the screw to turn with the minimal amount of resistance.

Unlike many other pump listed in this article, it can move water over large distances or from great depths. As long as you have the power to turn the screw, and the material that you’re using is durable enough, you can deliver water to just about any location.

Historically, screw designs were made from fairly weighty metals that required a lot of energy to move. Today, there are many fiberglass compounds that are almost as durable as metal, and will not be ruined by exposure to water. If you can mold these compounds into a suitable form, then you will have a light weight but durable Archimedes Screw.

You could also design a tube that will seal better so that less water drops back down to lower levels. Do not forget that you can also use rubber and other materials to form better seals than were possible in historical times.

Get your own amazing device that turns air into water! 

Mini Electric Pump for Moving Small Volumes of Water

Many Americans are concerned about the reduced safety paired with the soaring cost of municipal water supplies, while local and state governments insist on preventing people from using wells or harvesting water by other means. Consumer level water collection is still possible, and will become inevitable during a major crisis.

One of the biggest overlooked problems surrounding collecting your own water is moving it from one place to another. Consider a situation where you are collecting rainwater and intend to use it to flush your toilet. Even though you may be able to gather enough water using a simple system to reduce your municipal water usage by 20%, you must still get the water from the outside into the toilet.

Initially, you may feel that simply dipping a pail into your water cache and dumping it into the toilet may be good enough. While this system will work, there are easier and more convenient ways to achieve your goal plus utilize the stored water for other means. You can use a mini pump attached to a water barrel to pump water directly into the water tank of the toilet.

Many modern heating systems rely on a blower to move warm or cool air through access paths located in the walls and floors of your home. If you cannot generate electricity, it won’t matter if you have fuel to run the furnace, in part because the furnace may be in a basement or crawl space where it won’t deliver heat to important areas of your home.

A few inexpensive pipes and radiators can be used to move hot or cold water around your home. Aside from installing a boiler and a water tank on your heating and cooling system, you will also need one or more pumps to move the water into the pipes and radiators. If you choose models that run on battery power, it should be possible to recharge those batteries with solar capture devices or wind turbines.

You do not need a huge or very powerful pump for this purpose, many motors that you scavenge from both battery and conventionally powered appliances can be used. Once you have a working motor, all you need to do is create an impeller and an impeller chamber.

Make sure that you do not take everything you see in videos or instruction sites as matter of fact. For example, more than a few videos show plastic covering the air vents of the motor. Not only is this useless, it is dangerous and can cause the motor to overheat and catch fire. Even though there are submersible motors used in aquarium filters and other applications, you cannot expect to simply close off the vents on a regular pump and achieve the same results.

You can make your own motor using magnets and coils of wire, as long as you have these materials. Just remember you will need to practice winding motors so that you can build the best possible model.

Ram Pumps

The hydraulic ram pump is one every prepper should practice building because it does not require electricity to run and can move water from lower elevations to higher ones. As long as you have a source of moving water such as a stream or river, a ram pump will deliver a steady amount of water with very little in the way of maintenance.

It does not matter if the water is flowing above ground or below ground. In order for the ram pump to work, the inlet pipe only needs to be about 18 inches below the water level. That being said, if the underground stream or river is too low in relation to the area where you want to collect the water, you will need a stronger pump, or find a way to collect the water at a lower level.

Even though most commercial ram pumps are made from iron or other metals, you can make one from PVC pipe, a check ball, and a few fittings. It should be noted the PVC version of the ram pump is very different from the manual pump version.

To begin, in order to use the manual pump, you will need to apply steady physical force to the pump. On the other hand, the ram pump gets all of its power from the movement of water as it moves through the inlet pipe. While both pumps require a check ball, their modes of operation are truly different, and also ideal usefulness in different settings.

Video first seen on joshuaburks

Diaphragm Pumps

Your water resources are extremely low? A diaphragm pump will be less likely to fail if thin mud, grit, or grime get into it. Even though you will need to separate the best of the water out from these solutions, at least it is better than nothing.

At its simplest, a diaphragm pump relies on an empty chamber that changes shape as energy is applied to a diaphragm or membrane at one end of the chamber. While diaphragm pumps are often used for pumping air, they are also very useful for pumping water.

All you will need is some PVC pipe, a source of flexible rubber (this can be as simple as rubber gloves), two check balls, and some PVC piping for the diaphragm chamber, inlet, outlet, and main body of the pump. You will also need an electric motor or some other means to cause the membrane to vibrate. I would recommend experimenting with sound waves, which are used to make speakers vibrate.

Gravity motors and other simple non-electric motors may also be used to power the diaphragm pump. Just make sure that you try out different systems and methods now rather than wait until an emergency occurs. A mistake made now can be overcome with adjustments. Once a crisis occurs, it will be too late to obtain other materials or find needed information.

Across time, people have used many different methods to move water from one location to another. Once municipal water supplies and electric pumps are no longer operable, you will need some way to pump water on your own.

Depending on the water source available or the specific application you are interested in, one or several of these pump designs may be of interest to you.

Learn how to build and use these devices. Worst comes to worst, you will have a few extra pumps in your stockpile, or you will know exactly how to build what is needed during and after a major social collapse.

 

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/ah810e/AH810E06.htm

http://explorable.com/archimedes-screw

http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/hydraulic-ram-pump-zmaz79mjzraw

Romans 1:16

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For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…

     In Romans, Chapter 1, Paul is speaking of the exalted power of the Gospel, and when properly understood, I believe it speaks to an even bigger concept than the Church has realized up til now.  We have all been taught that Jesus came to die for our sins, so that we might escape the wrath of God by receiving Him as our Savior.  The benefit of that decision is exchanging a life of sin that leads to Death and the eternal absence of God for a life lived in Jesus’s imputed righteousness and the gift of spending eternity in Heaven with the Father and Son. Does that do a pretty good job of what the Body of Christ is believing?  It is all correct, without a doubt — but there’s so much more!
     For those of us who are willing to hear and see what the Word of God is actually saying, that picture takes on new dimensions and significance.  If you read the first few verses of Romans 1, you see Paul laying out the foundation of our faith … the Gospel of God prophesied [through the prophets] that the Son of God would be born as a descendant of David in the flesh; that Jesus Christ was declared the Son of God [as a result of] power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Holy Spirit; that we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all people for His name’s sake.
     I’m afraid we might have reduced the real magnitude of these verses to a simplified “salvation message”.  And I believe that is borne out by our limited understanding of verse 16, in which we don’t see the big picture of what “the power of God for salvation” really means.  Let me see if I can explain …
     Are we guilty of reading this verse from the standpoint of the Reformation, which preached God’s mercy to bring us into freedom from sin and His wrath?  In other words, are we interpreting this word “salvation” as strictly meaning the escape from eternal damnation in the Day of Judgment, and only seeing the work of the Holy Spirit as He relates to conversion?  
     If you are seeing with newly opened spiritual eyes, I hope that you are discerning salvation in the larger scope of its purposes for the Kingdom.  As I have continually written, it is my opinion that the Church has lost the sense of God’s Power in us, and doesn’t have a very good sense that Jesus came to preach the Good News about the influence of that power [through us] in this dimension called earth.  Furthermore, we don’t have a clear grasp that those Kingdom purposes are about forgiveness, and about having the ability and the authority to communicate with God (as Jesus did) so that we can actually be in communication with God’s enabled power to heal the sick, for instance.  We don’t understand that He desires to use us by releasing His power through us to cast out demons, and even raise people from the dead, if He tells us that is His will.  
     We have not been taught that the Holy Spirit [in us] enables us to see in the spirit, and hear in the spirit so that we can implement our Father’s plans and will — just as Jesus did in His incarnate state.  He showed us that is possible!  And this is the fullest sense of that word SALVATION which includes forgiveness, healing, deliverance and the redemption of “the poor in spirit.”
     For too long, we have believed that the power of God worked independently from us, and we saw Him as some distant Benefactor or Judge [depending on our circumstances]. Remember, God identifies Himself as the “I AM”. He is not the “I WAS” or the “I WILL BE”.  The same actions of healing and deliverance from demons that He exhibited through the Apostles are to be acted out in faith and obedience by us. 
     When we proclaim the Gospel Message, are we making sure that we know the full extent of that Good News?  That it is not limited to eternal life in Heaven, but extends to daily healing and deliverance in the here and now?  We are called to proclaim that Gospel to the ends of the earth and until Jesus returns. But can we truly say we are fully proclaiming that Gospel if it does not include the signs and miracles that Jesus modeled during His preaching?  
     I know that this is probably outside the purview of mainstream Christianity, but it is precisely because this message has been neglected that the Church is powerless today against the forces coming against our families, the culture, and our government.  It is time that the Body of Christ quit trying to come to terms with the Enemy and go back to the fundamentals of Jesus’s message… He clearly tells us that He came down from heaven, not to do His own will, but the will of the Father who sent Him.  All we have to do is read the Scripture through spiritual eyes and see what He did.  That is the true Gospel and the full sense of how the Father views salvation.  That is the power Paul is talking about; it is the length and width and height and depth of God’s power and love to deliver us all from every kind of evil. That is the picture of His Kingdom and Power and Glory that He wants us to see and to do!