Why I Became A Goat Person

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Why I Became A Goat Person Another great homesteading article that offers info on livestock. For many of us the only thing that keeps us from keeping livestock are state regulations. It’s hard to argue with them in some cases because of how we live on top of each other now. We also know at …

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Be a Part of Incredible Live Prepper Broadcasts

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Be a Part of Incredible Live Prepper Broadcasts Are you looking for prepper content? There are lots of podcasts out there. I am gonna be honest. Some are a little hard on the ears. I like to get up to date information and witty banter about the issues that we face as a nation. This …

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Medicinal Herbs You Better Stockpile For Winter

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Old Man Winter is still several weeks away, but for smart homesteaders, the preparation already has begun. And that includes prepping for sickness.

This week on Off The Grid Radio we’re joined by Rosemary Gladstar, an author and one of the nation’s foremost experts on medicinal herbs. Rosemary has written 11 books on herbs, including the bestseller, “Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide.”

Rosemary tells us:

  • Which herbs every homesteader should stockpile for winter.
  • How to make a simple tonic that fights off sickness – if taken daily.
  • Which natural remedy she recommends for people who get the common cold.
  • Why every homestead should stockpile elderberry.

Rosemary is the founding president of United Plant Savers, and the director of the Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center, the International Herb Symposium and the Women’s Herbal Conference.

If you prefer all-natural remedies, then this is one show you don’t want to miss!

 

How to get your friends and family involved in preparedness

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One of the questions I am often asked is: “How can I get my friends and family more involved in preparedness?” I mean, they just don’t “get it” and I’m worried about them They think I’m nuts I don’t want to scare them While there are a LOT of answers to this and some people […]

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Top Tips for Winter-Proofing Your Pipes

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Top Tips for Winter-Proofing Your Pipes

With the winter months quickly creeping up, many homeowners would have noticed the changing weather and the cold spells starting to set in. It is important when temperatures fall to prepare the home for the inevitable change in seasons and ensure the home’s plumbing is protected from the cold.

The following top tips have been put together for homeowners to help them avoid a burst or frozen pipe this winter.

As the temperature drops, many people go away to the southern hemisphere for a bit of winter sun which results in homes being left for long periods of time during the holiday period. Unfortunately for homeowners, this is often the period of time that the elements can do the most extensive damage to your home.

Why are pipes more prone to damage during the winter?

Pipes are more prone to damage during winter due to sudden severe drops in temperature along with having to battle the changing weather. This puts the home’s drainage and heating systems under extreme levels of pressure, especially any systems which are full of water such as pipes, water tanks and valves. This water turns to ice when temperatures fall suddenly and expands within whatever it is contained in.

If for any reason water starts to leak out of these containers, it can cause serious damage to that area within the home. Furthermore, if this leak occurred whilst the home was inhabited and the leak was allowed to continue, imagine the level of extensive damage that would happen.

How can I winter-proof my home’s pipes?

By taking these simple precautions homeowners can rest assured that they have done as much as they can to protect their home during the colder seasons.

1. If you are going away for any period of time during the winter months then it is probably best to guarantee your home is protected by asking a friend, relative or neighbor to pop in and ensure everything is running OK.

2. Make sure whilst away from your home that you set your central heating system to come on at regular intervals during the day (usually two) for at least 15 minutes per session. This will certify that you have a steady water flow throughout; stopping the water freezing and avoiding any damage to your pipes.

It is tempting to keep your heating off to save money and resources but throughout the colder months, even when you’re not away, you should try to have your heating on for short periods on a low temperature setting.

3. If you are lucky enough to be going away for a long period of time, it is probably best to completely drain your system so there is nothing in your pipes to cause any damage.

4. It is a good idea to check all of your taps regularly; if you have any taps that are dripping then repair them as quickly as possible to avoid them getting blocked by frozen water. However, some of your taps may already be blocked; you will be able to identify this by simply turning them on and seeing no water or very little water flow.

To thaw out your pipes you need to turn off the water at the mains and then use a hot water bottle or a hairdryer on a low setting to unfreeze the water in the pipe. Note that if you use too much heat too quickly it may cause the pipe or tap in question to react by cracking.

5. Lastly, ensure your pipes and water systems are lagged which (in layman’s terms) means ensuring they are thermally insulated during the cold spells.

Make sure you put these useful tips into place for your own peace of mind as well as keeping your home safe. If you would like any more information about [http://www.home-cure.com]plumbing services in London and help with plumbing emergencies please visit [http://www.home-cure.com]http://www.home-cure.com.

Electric Sky LEDs: The Next Generation of Grow Technology?

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The post Electric Sky LEDs: The Next Generation of Grow Technology? is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Today we’re profiling a new type of LED light to come on the market from The Green Sunshine Company. The owner, Dan, reached out to me and we got on the phone to talk about the tech. He actually helped me understand plant biology and lighting at a deeper level, which prompted me to write … Read more

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Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

ANCIENT WRITING ON ROCK

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a view of the first inscribed rock found — see transliteration below

 [Nyerges is the former editor of  Wilderness Way magazine and American Survival Guide. He is  the author of How to Survive Anywhere, Enter the Forest, and other books. He has led wilderness trips into the Angeles National Forest for over 40 years.  He can be reached at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or www.ChristopherNyerges.com.]
[An extract from Nyerges’ Kindle book “Ancient Writing on Rock,” also available from the Store at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com, which goes into much more detail about the site and various opinions about it.]
On Halloween day in 2001, I was leading a birthday outing for a 10 year old boy and his friends at the 3000 foot level of the Angeles National Forest.  We were getting late, so I led them down into the stream so we could make soap from the yucca leaves. It was a spot where I would never ordinarily go.  As the boys and I made our yucca soap, my gaze was drawn to the back side of a large, 10 foot wide boulder with unusual markings on it.  There were two large horizontal cleavages and numerous markings across the cleavage that bore an uncanny resemblance to ogam. 
I pointed it out to every one and explained ogam to the adults, who seemed underwhelmed at what such a rock might mean.
I returned a week later with Dude McLean to take photographs and sketches.  McLean had also been there when I first noted the rock.  After carefully comparing my sketches with the ogam alphabet, I was amazed to see that all the marks were consistent with ogam.  So I then sent photos and sketches to perhaps 50 “experts” in ogam, linguistics, archaelogy, and other fields and eagerly awaited their response about my exciting discovery.
Ogam is not to be confused with the more ornate runic writing. Ogam employs straight lines across what is called a stem line. The stem line can be a natural horizontal fracture in a rock, or the corner of a standing stone.  The 15 consonants are expressed by from one to five lines above the stem line, one to five lines below the stem line, or one to five lines across the stem lines. The vowels, where present, can be a series of dots or other symbols.  It is certainly possible to see natural fractures in rock and think you are looking at ogam, especially if you have not studied rock sufficiently to see the difference between what nature does and what man does.
Gloria Farley, author of “In Plain Sight,”  responded, saying it certainly looked like ogam, but that she had no idea what it might say since she had all her discoveries translated by Barry Fell, who had passed away.  One expert from England responded, saying that since the rock inscription was in California, there was no chance that it was bonafide ogam.  Another told me that it was clearly a significant find, but he felt it was more likely some sort of tally system, not ogam.  But most of the various world experts ignored me.
So I laid out what I felt was a fairly reasonable scientific method for ascertaining if the inscription I found was, or was not, of some significance.
1.      Were the markings consistent with the ogam alphabet.  If so, I would proceed to the other steps.
2.      Did the ogam letters actually spell anything.
3.      Could the inscription could actually be dated.
4.      Was  there was anything else significant about the site.
5.      The final step – if I got that far – was to determine who may have actually inscribed the rock, and under what circumstances. I also reasoned that if I got this far, others could jump in and attempt to answer this question.
Since all the markings were consistent with the ogam characters, I then proceeded to determine the actual sequence of letters.  It took me approximately 6 visits in different lighting conditions until I arrived at what I felt was the correct letter sequence.  I attempted to confirm my deductions by carefully feeling the indentations in the rock. 
Next, with my sequence of letters, I tried to determine if it spelled anything.  Ogam was used primarily to express Gaelic, but had also been used in some known instances to represent both Saharan and Basque.  I needed experts or dictionaries. 
One night, while staring at my photos of the rock and the letter sequence, the two letters MC jumped out at me, and I realized that the rock inscription was most likely written in the most common language of usage for ogam, Gaelic.  MC is a very common abbreviation for “son of,” as in McDonald, MacAllister, et al.
I obtained a copy of  Dwelley’s “Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary” (copyright 1902-12) and one rainy day about two months after finding the rock, I spent about five hours going through Dwelley’s page by page, looking for letter combinations that might mean something. All the letters I had to work with were consonants. There were no vowells, suggestive of an older or earlier linguistic form, akin to several of the Middle Eastern alphabets written without vowels.
Based on the manner in which the markings were made on the rock, I broke the letter sequence into the following groupings: B- MMH- BL- ?MG-MC-MM-DH-B.   I then tried to find words for which those letter groupings would represent.  Part of this search was to see what was commonly written on other such stones.
After a few months, I came up with the following possible transliteration:  To-memory-Bel- Thy Young Hero- Son of – Mother – Deep/depth/ darken- stone. “Bel” was actually written above the main line of the inscription.  So my translation reads: To Bel, in the memory of the young hero, son of the mother (prince?), laid to rest with this stone.”  I found at least one stone in which scholars translated “DH” as “laid to rest.” Thus, I had achieved Step Two in my process, and proceeded to the next Step.

Two different geologists, one a PhD, told me that such inscriptions could not be definitely dated.  The PhD said that based on his educated guess, the inscription was made between 1500 and 2500 years ago, and he’d say it was 95% certain that it was made by man, not natural forces.
I proceeded to Step Four with various informal surveys of the surrounding area. First, IF the rock inscription was formed by natural forces, it would be logical that there would  be many or more such carvings in the  vicinity.   Within a quarter mile of the stone, I found one possible standing stone, one triangular pointing stone (pointed up a side canyon), and a nearby site that had all the appearances of being an ancient graveyard based on the placement of stones – though I did no digging.  A few years after the initial discovery I found another rock near the standing stone with an ogam inscription of B-EA-N-EA, which I eventually concluded must be in reference to Byanu. In time, other features were identified at this site, such as two dolmens, acorn leaching rocks, and other enigmatic features.

Thus, amazingly, everything suggested that this was a foreign inscription, probably someone from Western Europe who came up the canyon and died, or was killed. I shared  my work with my friend who was the editor of the local paper, and he sent a reporter to write a story about it.  The ensuing newspaper story accurately represented my work on the rock and inscription, and also included interviews with others who said I was making fanciful claims, though none of them had ever gone to see the site.
Though the final chapter of this rock has not been written, it has enforced the belief that our history is not as we’ve been taught in school. Indeed, the schools are often the official gurgitators of  the best that academia has been able to collectively come up with.  They get a lot of it right, but they fail to see their own blindnesses and prejudices. 
My rewards for taking all this time on this multi-faceted research:  I have been called a fraud numerous times.  I have been listed on a college web-site as an example of “fringe archaeology” and explained away as a fraud. 
On the other hand, I was made a life member in the Epigraphic Society.  According to Wayne Kenaston, Jr., who bestowed that membership upon me, “Welcome to the frustrations that come with dealing with rock –writing, or epigraphy.  You did a very good and scholarly job of deciphering, transliterating, and translating the Angeles Forest Mystery Rock inscriptions.  I congratulate you and encourage you to pursue your efforts to learn more about the provenance of the ‘young hero’ whose grave is probably marked by the inscription.” 
               

They Seized His Truck Because He Had 5 Bullets

They Seized His Truck Because He Had 5 Bullets

Driving with bullets apparently is now a crime in America. That’s what one U.S. citizen discovered.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized Gerardo Serrano’s truck and kept it for two years because he had five rounds in his center console.

The truck was stopped by CBP at a border crossing in Eagle Pass, Texas, because Serrano was taking pictures of the border crossing to share with his family, the Institute for Justice alleges. That caused agents to search his truck.

Discover How To Become Invisible In Today’s Surveillance State!

When they found five low-caliber bullets, the agents alleged Serrano with transporting “munitions of war” and instituted civil forfeiture proceedings against him. That enabled them to take the Ford F-250 without even charging Serrano with a crime. He had to rent a car to get home to Kentucky.

Detained for Taking Pictures

“Gerardo was never convicted of a crime, let alone charged with one,” the Institute alleges. “Indeed, forgetting a few bullets in your car is not a crime. For taking pictures, Gerardo’s truck was seized under a law designed to punish international arms smugglers, not innocent Americans visiting family in Mexico.”

The Institute added, “No court has ever approved the seizure of Gerardo’s truck, and Gerardo has never had an opportunity to argue that he should get the truck back.”

To get the truck back, the Institute had to sue the CPB on Serrano’s behalf. Finally, it was returned in late October.

“The government cannot illegally seize and keep someone’s property for two years, and then give it back and pretend like no harm was done,” said Institute attorney Robert Everett Johnson. “We will continue to fight to see that Gerardo is made whole, and to make sure this never happens again.”

Under civil forfeiture law, prosecutors sue a piece of property in civil court instead of filing criminal charges. That enables them to take property, or money without filing charges or going to criminal court.

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When People Sick At Work Get You Sick

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How many times has this happened at your place of work? You notice that one of your coworkers is sick. Maybe not terribly sick, but definitely sick with something. Maybe it’s a cold, or maybe it’s something worse. The thing is, they’re at work potentially (highly likely) spreading their ‘sick’ to others instead of staying at home until they’re better. Why do we see people who are sick at work? One guess is that they are either saving their “sick time” for vacation days or they’ve used them all up already. Another guess is that they feel the need to

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Finding and Using Fire Starting Materials in the Wilderness

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by Matthew

In the wilderness, fire is your best friend. It cooks food and sterilizes water. It dries wet socks and lifts sunken spirits. Fire is comfort in the dark when every night sound beyond camp is something lurking. But when you’re out of cotton balls and esbit tablets fire won’t cut you a break. And if you intend to survive, no matter the odds, you need to know how to find and use the fire starting tools available all around you. We’re talking wild-foraged tinder and kindling – the bushcrafters’ bread and butter.

Tinder vs Kindling

Before you trundle off into the brush to practice the timeless task of producing fire, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. When it comes to producing fire with nothing but natural materials and a ferrocerium rod (ferro rod) you’ll need two main things: tinder and kindling. Without one, the other is just about useless and you’re in the dark. So, let’s define.

Tinder is dry and fluffy – the stuff of any good fire. It’s where the first flicker of flame or white smoldering wisp comes into play. Tinder can be simple dead, dried grass and leaves or processed fungi. Finding tinder is the first step to making fire.

Kindling is step two. It’s what catches the flame or coal produced from tinder. Pine needles, twigs, or torn up bark can all be kindling. It’s the material that’s too big for a spark to light and too small to efficiently sustain a fire. Kindling brings your fire from a little flicker of heat to big licking flames so essential to survival.

Wet or dry there are common materials in your neck of the woods that, with a little knowhow and a few simple tools, can produce all the heat you need to stoke a fire. All materials covered will light with nothing more than sparks. But if you have a lighter or matches – all the better.

Tinder

hay

Dried Plants

Let’s start off simple with one you probably already know. If the weather’s been dry lately you’re sure to find more than enough dead and dried plant matter to start a fire. Dry grass, ferns, and leaves can make great, easy to find tinder with just a little processing.

Collect about twice what you think you’ll need and tear your tinder into thin strips and bits. Once broken down, collect a hefty handful, and rub vigorously between your palms over your intended fireplace. The intent here is to break the dead plant matter down as fine as possible. You’re looking to make a palm-sized pile of torn strips, bits, and even dust. Now, bunch this pile together and form a little divot in the center. Place the end of your farro rod in the divot and rain down a generous shower of sparks. With a little persistence, the sparks should catch and flame will spring up.

Additionally, dried plant material can be used in combination with tinder that, instead of bursting into flame, smoulders. In a situation where you have a smouldering type of tinder such as tinder fungus, chaga, or milkweed ovum (included later in this article) you will make what is called a bird’s nest. A bird’s nest is a simple and easy way to produce fire from the smallest smouldering ember – even the gray remains of a long-extinguished campfire.

To make a bird’s nest, gather two generous handfuls of dried plant matter as if you were going to use it as the tinder itself. Separate the pile and loosely sandwich your ember within the pile. Now, with patient, constant breath, blow into the bird’s nest. Keep blowing until you see smoke. At this point, you need to be ready to put the bird’s nest gently down and introduce kindling. Keep blowing until the smoke thickens and flame springs up.

drop of sap

Sap, Pitch, and Resin

There are technical differences between sap, pitch, and resin but there’s no need to get into it here. They are common terms we all understand. And they burn no matter what you call them.

Unlike many of the sources on this list, there is no sure-fire way to find sap. This tacky tinder is produced when a tree is damaged or cut. You’re most likely to spot sap while searching for some other tinder –  so keep your eyes open.

Freshly fallen or damaged conifer trees are your best bet. Look for cloudy yellowish sap dried to the outside of the tree near a broken branch or damaged bark. It should be hard or even tacky to the touch. Like dried plant material (and all fire-related materials), gather more than you think you’ll need. Any sap seeping from the tree is already lost, so don’t worry about harming the tree. For the purposes of starting a single fire, a quarter-sized dollop should do. Touch the sap with some sparks or a flame and watch the fire spread.

Sap burns hot and slow, so it’s a great tinder to use if you’re working with wet materials. Damp pine needles or pine cones will dry out enough to light when used in combination with sap. And unlike many tinder sources, sap is easy to store. Just roll it into a ball and wrap a leaf around it. But remember, once you light a bit of sap there’s no going back. It will turn to liquid as it burns so only light what you need and save the rest.

reed

Common Reeds

The feathery seed heads of common reed plants are dry, fluffy, and eager for a spark. You’ll find them growing tall in and on the borders of wetlands, swamps, and other soggy terrains. Common reeds like to grow in large beds of shallow water.

Like many of the other types of wild-available tinder on this list, you don’t need to worry too much about finding the exact type of plant. Just look for tall stocks (around six feet tall) with flat, pointed leaves that, along with the feathery seed heads, are so light that they follow the direction of the wind.

When it comes to fire starting, this one’s easy. Just lay a seed head down where you’re making a fire and throw some sparks into it. The seed head will catch flame and burn at a medium rate giving you plenty of time to add small kindling.

Unless you have quite a bit of it on hand, the common reed is not ideal when used with wet kindling.

cattail

Cattail

This is one plant that just about anyone can identify. Cattails grow aggressively in marshes, swamps, and other wetland environments. Their unique solid brown sausage-like head on top of a pinky-finger-thick stock is easy to spot for even the most green of bushcrafters.

The stuff you’re looking for is the fluffy seed material inside the plant head. You’ve no doubt seen this drifting through the air on a windy day near a swamp. But once you’ve spotted your cattail, don’t rush over and start picking the plant apart straight away.

The dry, white, and fluffy material you’re after is tightly compressed within the firm seed head. When the seed head is broken the tinder inside doesn’t come peacefully. It bursts out in a fluffy bloom that, if you aren’t careful, will fly away with your chances of starting a fire.

Instead of pulling out the tinder there at the swamp’s edge, collect two or three seed heads and bring them back to camp. Cattail is especially portable and an extremely competitive grower, so don’t worry about damaging the ecosystem by taking too much back to camp.

Cattails are one of the many forms of flash tinder. Flash tinder, unlike heavier, more hearty tinders, burns in the blink of an eye. So, you will need something to catch that fast flame. Torn up birch bark, dead leaves, pine needles, or some other dry and easily-lit material is the best.

When you’re ready to start your fire, break open the cattail and spread a wide, thin layer over your fireplace. Sprinkle the supplementary tinder all over the cattail and shower down some sparks. You’re going to need to be quick here. The cattail will combust, flare into flame, and go out. One or more pieces of the scattered heavier tinder will catch and hold a flame. If you’re quick, you can snatch up the remaining unlit pieces of tinder and feed this newborn flame. Additionally, you can prepare a small pile of dry plant matter and add it to the small flame.

Cattail can be a bit stressful to use as it is quick and unforgiving. However, it is both abundant and virtually impervious to whatever the weather has in store. The tight-packed fluffy seeds stay bone dry so long as you pull them from an unbroken part of the head. With a little practice, cattails will do the job every time.

milkweed

Milkweed

This extremely common perennial can be a fantastic late-season tinder source. Milkweed grows in disturbed areas like roadsides, railroad tracks, and agricultural fields so locating its natural habitat is no trouble. Additionally, identifying this plant is also quite easy. Milkweed can grow to over eight feet tall and its thick green stock is lined with opposite rows of broad, flat leaves. If you’re not sure that you’ve found a milkweed plant, just snap a piece of the stem and look for the white milky sap that gives the plant its name.

Unlike many of the tinders on this list, the usefulness of milkweed depends largely on the season. The teardrop-shaped seedpod, while still green in August and throughout the summer, is no good for tinder. However, once fall/winter rolls around, the milkweed seed pod will have dried up. Now it’s ready to use.

Milkweed can be used in two different ways. The feathery white filaments within the seed pod can be used as a flash tinder just like cattails, while the dried seed pod ovum (the walls or casing which make up the pod) can be showered with sparks and set to smoulder. So don’t worry if you manage to locate a milkweed plant only to find all the seeds scattered to the wind. Just build yourself a bird’s nest and use the smoldering milkweed ovum to blow a fire to life.

As a note of caution, be careful when searching for and harvesting milkweed. Their colorful and complex flowers are a main sources of food for wasps and bees. And keep your eye out for the beautiful monarch butterfly that flocks to feed on milkweed every year.

pine

Fatwood

This tinder is both one of the best to use and the most challenging to prepare. It is a very technical tinder, but once you know how to find it, you’ll be on the look out on every hike.

Fatwood is the product of a dead conifer tree. In a fruitless effort to sustain itself as long as possible, the evergreen will pull all of its life-giving sap deep within itself. This processes creates inner areas of supersaturated material, full of wonderful smelling sap.

To find and retrieve fatwood, first locate a fallen evergreen tree. The older the better. Even wet, punky wood so rotten that it crumbles in your hand. The longer the tree has been down and decomposing, the more concentrated the fatwood.

Now that you’ve found your downed conifer tree, look for a good thick limb – the thicker the better. The highest concentration of fatwood is found in the very center at the base of a limb where it connects to the trunk. If you can break the limb off with your hands, great. But don’t risk injuring yourself and making matters worse in a survival situation if you don’t have to. Use a saw, axe, or batton with your favorite bushcraft knife to cut the limb away as close to the trunk as possible.

Now, cut away the outside bark and wood of the limb – or crumble it in your hands if it’s rotten enough. You’re looking to expose the center of the limb. You’ll know you’ve found fatwood when you see deep-crimson wood and smell the strong odor of pine pitch. Continue working with the limb – cutting away all of the bark and rotten punky wood.

Once you have your fatwood exposed you’re ready to process it. Use an axe or batton with your bushcrafting knife to split the wood. Quartered is best because you are looking to produce a clean sharp edge along the length of the fatwood. Now that you have a sharp corner on the wood, scrape the point with the back of your knife to produce thin curls of fatwood. Once you have a golf-ball-or-smaller sized pile of fatwood, send a few sparks down on top and watch the fire spring to life.

Fatwood will burn hot and slow no matter the weather. So if it’s been raining for a week and you can find a downed conifer tree, feel confident that you can start a fire with a bit of hard work. And don’t worry if the tree looks too long gone. The more wet, rotten, and falling apart the better. Inside is a vein of one of your best fire starting friends.

birch tree

Birch Bark

Of all the wild-foraged tinders on this list, birch is the easiest to identify, process and use. If it’s dry, you really can’t go wrong.

Birch trees grow just about everywhere but you should avoid harvesting bark from live trees. Just keep your eyes open as you walk through the woods and you’re sure to spot a fallen tree or a sheet of the distinct white and papery bark.

There are two main ways to use birch bark as a tinder: curls and dust. To use birch bark in curl form, simply tear some bark into pinky-fingernail-width (or smaller) strips. Now, take each strip and wrap it tightly around your index finger, using your thumb to hold it tight for a few seconds. This isn’t anything terribly technical. All you’re trying to do is make little curls instead of straight strips. Strips of bark curling up on themselves and tangling with other birch curls simple give the fire a better chance to spread. There is plenty of air amidst the pile of torn bark and one lit piece is more prone to spread to the others curled together.

A generous showering of sparks from your farro rod or a quick touch of a match with quickly light your birch bark tinder alight. This process is the most simple way to use birch bark, but it is also the least economical as it burns up all the bark in the process. To make your birch bark tinder last for a dozen or more fires, make some dust.

To make birch bark dust, take a piece of birch bark and lay it flat on a hard, safe surface. White side up or down – it doesn’t much matter. Next, secure the bark with your thumb and fingers, leaving an open area of bark between. Carefully, and with gentle pressure, scrape the blade of your knife back and forth on the surface of the bark. After a few seconds of scraping you will see light brown dust begin to collect on the surface.

This is where you need to be very careful. Yes, watch out for your fingers with a knife working so close. But with such gentle pressure, you should have no trouble controlling the blade. The care you need to take is in not disturbing the dust. Birch dust is extremely light. Even the most gentle breath can blow it away. A jostle of the hand or slip of the knife could scatter your pile. But if you’re careful you will have a nice penny-sized pile in 30 second to a minute.

Scrape the dust into a pile with your knife and get your farro rod. Be careful that the bark doesn’t curl up and scatter the dust – birch bark like to curl. Now, being careful not to scatter your pile, place the end of your farro rod against the bark right at the edge of your dust pile. This is the bit that takes a bit of practice. Without driving your striker down into the dust pile and scattering it, scrape sparks down onto the dust. It will smolder and light into a small flame.

Catch the candle-sized flame on the end of a curled strip of birch bark or other tinder, add it to your other tinder and kindling on standby and extinguish the rest of the burning dust. If you’re quick, you can put out the burning dust before it burns through the piece of birch bark. With a little practice you’ll be able to go through this process several times with the same piece of bark. And once you’re sure it’s totally extinguished, just pack the bark away for the next fire.

Fungi

There are two main types of fungi common to the U.S. that can be used as tinder. While both work best after a fairly lengthy processing, it is possible to find usable-as-is specimens in the wild. The two type of fungi most commonly used as tinder are chaga (inonotus obliquus or true tinder fungus) and tinder fungus (fomes fomentarius, false tinder fungus, or hoof fungus). Both are used and processed in the same way. However, tinder fungus can be processed even more extensively to produce amadou – a fascinating and highly flammable material. But let’s discuss them one at a time.

tree fungus

Chaga is an ugly-looking black parasitic fungus that grows on birch trees. It’s easy to spot on the birch’s normally white bark and you can feel good about ridding the tree of its parasite. The best way to know if a chaga fungus is mature enough to be useful is to give it a few knocks with the back of your knife. A mature chaga fungus is dark, hard, and woody – giving off a dull almost hollow knock. Once you’ve found a good piece, use your knife to pry or a stick to knock the fungus off the tree.

Normally, the fungus is not yet ready to use. But the ideal conditions you’re looking for are dry and dusty on the inside. You should be able to dig the crumbly inside of the chaga out with your knife and set it to smoulder with your ferro rod.

Inonotus obliquus. Karmėlava forest, Lithuania.
Photo: Inonotus obliquus. Karmėlava forest, Lithuania thanks to Tomas Čekanavičius

Tinder fungus is used and inspected for usefulness exactly the same way as chaga, only it looks a little different. This gray or dark brown fungus clings to the sides of trees and goes on living its parasitic life even after the tree has died and fallen. It is easily identifiable by its hoof-like appearance. Additionally, if you want to start a fun project, you could attempt to process tinder fungus into a spongy orange material called amadou. Amadou has been used for thousands of years as a tinder and to make clothing.

It is always good to be on the lookout for chaga and tinder fungus in the woods. However, chances aren’t great that you’ll find a specimen that is ready to use as is. While the process is lengthy – two or more weeks – it is easy. Just let it dry. Take your fingi home and just leave it out for a few weeks. Slowly but surely, it will dry out and be ready to use.

When fully dried, both fungi are a wonderful form of tinder. You can dig out a fluffy pile as stated before or set your farro rod directly on the inside of the fungus and set it to smouldering. Either way, these fungi work perfectly dozens of times when used with a bird’s nest. And what’s even better, if you get a bit of the fungus smouldering you can actually carry it around with you. A speck of smoldering cole within a fungus will stay hot all day. When you’re ready to pack up camp and move on, just get a little bit of the fungus smoldering, and forget it. Next time you make camp and get ready to start a fire just blow a little life back into your ember.

KINDLING

If we attempted to list all the best kinds of kindling to be found in the wild you’d be reading a novel instead of an article. So, instead of exploring different kinds of kindling, let’s discuss the details of what makes good kindling and how to process it in both fair and foul weather conditions. Beyond these details, your judgment will guide you to choose the right kind of materials.

Type of Wood

While some types of resin or oil-filled woods like pine, cedar, fir, and birch are some of the best for kindling, any kind of wood will do. The practicality of kindling has less to do with the species of tree and more to do with the condition and properties of the wood.

Ideally, you are looking for dry, dead wood, ranging in size from your pinky to your thumb. Smaller is OK, but any bigger and you’ll have to do some processing. Kindling should not bend or crumble, but rather snap when broken. When cut or broken, you should see no green, as this means the woods is still alive and full of moisture.

Look for downed trees with intact limbs or broken branches caught on trees or bushes. Any fallen dead wood that is up off the ground will not soak up the moisture from the weather-saturated ground. Even in heavy precipitation standing dead wood will remain dry on the inside.

Processing Kindling

Processing dry kindling is the easiest thing in the world. If it’s the ideal size (smaller than your pinky and up to the width of your thumb) you can easily snap kindling into forearm-or-shorter pieces with your bare hands. However, if you find yourself in a situation in which the only available wood is wrist-thick or larger you’ll need to put in a little extra work.

You can break down larger pieces of wood easily with a saw, axe, or hatchet. Just about anyone with basic survival skills can use these tools. But you don’t always carry a folding saw or axe with you into the wilderness. You do most likely, however, carry a solid bushcrafting knife. And a knife is really all you need.

As a baseline example, let’s say we’re working with an eight-foot-long, wrist-thick branch. The piece of wood could be larger or smaller – it doesn’t much matter. But it’s helpful to have a clear picture in your head. For some reason there’s no smaller wood available so you need to break this piece down into pencil-thin pieces.

Start by breaking the branch into shorter pieces. The easiest way to do this is to find a forked tree, two trees very close together, slim wedge of rock, or some such sturdy V-shaped situation. Stick the branch into the V where you want to make the break. Now, hold fast with your hands, press your chest against the branch, and push the branch perpendicular to the V. You’re using your whole body to put strain on a single point of the limb. So with just a little effort, the limb will snap and your perfectly proportioned piece will fall harmlessly on the other side of the V.

There’s no need to risk injuring yourself by smaking the branch against a hard surface or trying to break it under your foot or over your knee. Just use a little clever leverage and save yourself the sweat.

If the limb is too big to break in this manner, fret not, there is another way. Find a thick, solid, forearm-length piece of wood (for the purposes of batoning, let’s call it a baton), place the blade of your bushcrafting knife where you want to make a cut and hit the back of your knife with the baton. Cut in at an angle, pull the knife out, then cut again at an intersecting angle. Think of it like using an axe. But instead of having all the heavy force of an axe, you’re providing the power with the strike of your baton. This is most definitely a sweat-inducing task but it will get the job done.

Now that you’ve broken down your large branch into shorter pieces, it’s time to split it into kindling. Using the same batoning method as described above, stand the piece of wood up on end (preferably on a hard, safe surface) and place the blade of your knife on the end of the wood. Let the blade hang over the edge of the wood as much as possible. The longer the knife, the better. With a secure grip on the knife, strike the back of the blade. It will bite into the wood. Once the spine of the blade as sunk into the wood, continue striking the part of the blade sticking out the other side of the wood. Continue striking and the knife will split the wood all the way down. Repeat this process, breaking down the wood into smaller and smaller pieces.

Once you have your growing pile of kindling, there is one final step that will make fire starting a breeze. Create a fire feather. To do this, run your knife at a steep angle down the length of a piece of wood. Using a cut face is best. With a little practice and control, this will produce thin curls of wood. It’s OK if you accidentally cut the curls fully away from the piece of wood, but your true aim is to stop before that happens. An ideal fire feather has these thin curls still attached. When completed your fire feather will have thin curls all around the wood. Creating this fire starting tool will make taking your fire from a small tinder flame to a roaring fire easy.

These method are important to practice not only for a situation in which you can only find large pieces of wood. Being able to efficiently and confidently break down large pieces of wood with just a knife is the best way to produce fire in wet conditions. It doesn’t matter if the rain’s been falling for a week or if a wet and heavy snow covers everything in sight. Wrist-thick and larger pieces of wood will remain dry in the center. Breaking down wood in this method will give you all the fuel you need for a fire. Then, once the fire is going, you can stack the smaller wet pieces of kindling and firewood around to dry.

Fire at Your Fingertips

With a little knowhow, a good bushcraft knife, and a farro rod you can make a fire in just about any situation. The skill of minimalistic fire starting is one that every person should have.

So go out and try a few of these methods. They sound easy. And that’s because the are. Knowing them could save your life.

And of course, this exploration into wild-foraged tinder and kindling is by no means exhaustive. This knowledge is a culmination of one person’s decade of research and practice, but there is always someone out there who knows a trick you don’t. So if you’ve come to the end of this piece and you have a nugget of fire starting wisdom that hasn’t been covered, please leave it in the comments. Survival isn’t just about fending for yourself. Passing down this knowledge is what makes us survivors.

Finding and Using Fire Starting Materials in the Wilderness

by Matthew

In the wilderness, fire is your best friend. It cooks food and sterilizes water. It dries wet socks and lifts sunken spirits. Fire is comfort in the dark when every night sound beyond camp is something lurking. But when you’re out of cotton balls and esbit tablets fire won’t cut you a break. And if you intend to survive, no matter the odds, you need to know how to find and use the fire starting tools available all around you. We’re talking wild-foraged tinder and kindling – the bushcrafters’ bread and butter.

Tinder vs Kindling

Before you trundle off into the brush to practice the timeless task of producing fire, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. When it comes to producing fire with nothing but natural materials and a ferrocerium rod (ferro rod) you’ll need two main things: tinder and kindling. Without one, the other is just about useless and you’re in the dark. So, let’s define.

Tinder is dry and fluffy – the stuff of any good fire. It’s where the first flicker of flame or white smoldering wisp comes into play. Tinder can be simple dead, dried grass and leaves or processed fungi. Finding tinder is the first step to making fire.

Kindling is step two. It’s what catches the flame or coal produced from tinder. Pine needles, twigs, or torn up bark can all be kindling. It’s the material that’s too big for a spark to light and too small to efficiently sustain a fire. Kindling brings your fire from a little flicker of heat to big licking flames so essential to survival.

Wet or dry there are common materials in your neck of the woods that, with a little knowhow and a few simple tools, can produce all the heat you need to stoke a fire. All materials covered will light with nothing more than sparks. But if you have a lighter or matches – all the better.

Tinder

hay

Dried Plants

Let’s start off simple with one you probably already know. If the weather’s been dry lately you’re sure to find more than enough dead and dried plant matter to start a fire. Dry grass, ferns, and leaves can make great, easy to find tinder with just a little processing.

Collect about twice what you think you’ll need and tear your tinder into thin strips and bits. Once broken down, collect a hefty handful, and rub vigorously between your palms over your intended fireplace. The intent here is to break the dead plant matter down as fine as possible. You’re looking to make a palm-sized pile of torn strips, bits, and even dust. Now, bunch this pile together and form a little divot in the center. Place the end of your farro rod in the divot and rain down a generous shower of sparks. With a little persistence, the sparks should catch and flame will spring up.

Additionally, dried plant material can be used in combination with tinder that, instead of bursting into flame, smoulders. In a situation where you have a smouldering type of tinder such as tinder fungus, chaga, or milkweed ovum (included later in this article) you will make what is called a bird’s nest. A bird’s nest is a simple and easy way to produce fire from the smallest smouldering ember – even the gray remains of a long-extinguished campfire.

To make a bird’s nest, gather two generous handfuls of dried plant matter as if you were going to use it as the tinder itself. Separate the pile and loosely sandwich your ember within the pile. Now, with patient, constant breath, blow into the bird’s nest. Keep blowing until you see smoke. At this point, you need to be ready to put the bird’s nest gently down and introduce kindling. Keep blowing until the smoke thickens and flame springs up.

drop of sap

Sap, Pitch, and Resin

There are technical differences between sap, pitch, and resin but there’s no need to get into it here. They are common terms we all understand. And they burn no matter what you call them.

Unlike many of the sources on this list, there is no sure-fire way to find sap. This tacky tinder is produced when a tree is damaged or cut. You’re most likely to spot sap while searching for some other tinder –  so keep your eyes open.

Freshly fallen or damaged conifer trees are your best bet. Look for cloudy yellowish sap dried to the outside of the tree near a broken branch or damaged bark. It should be hard or even tacky to the touch. Like dried plant material (and all fire-related materials), gather more than you think you’ll need. Any sap seeping from the tree is already lost, so don’t worry about harming the tree. For the purposes of starting a single fire, a quarter-sized dollop should do. Touch the sap with some sparks or a flame and watch the fire spread.

Sap burns hot and slow, so it’s a great tinder to use if you’re working with wet materials. Damp pine needles or pine cones will dry out enough to light when used in combination with sap. And unlike many tinder sources, sap is easy to store. Just roll it into a ball and wrap a leaf around it. But remember, once you light a bit of sap there’s no going back. It will turn to liquid as it burns so only light what you need and save the rest.

reed

Common Reeds

The feathery seed heads of common reed plants are dry, fluffy, and eager for a spark. You’ll find them growing tall in and on the borders of wetlands, swamps, and other soggy terrains. Common reeds like to grow in large beds of shallow water.

Like many of the other types of wild-available tinder on this list, you don’t need to worry too much about finding the exact type of plant. Just look for tall stocks (around six feet tall) with flat, pointed leaves that, along with the feathery seed heads, are so light that they follow the direction of the wind.

When it comes to fire starting, this one’s easy. Just lay a seed head down where you’re making a fire and throw some sparks into it. The seed head will catch flame and burn at a medium rate giving you plenty of time to add small kindling.

Unless you have quite a bit of it on hand, the common reed is not ideal when used with wet kindling.

cattail

Cattail

This is one plant that just about anyone can identify. Cattails grow aggressively in marshes, swamps, and other wetland environments. Their unique solid brown sausage-like head on top of a pinky-finger-thick stock is easy to spot for even the most green of bushcrafters.

The stuff you’re looking for is the fluffy seed material inside the plant head. You’ve no doubt seen this drifting through the air on a windy day near a swamp. But once you’ve spotted your cattail, don’t rush over and start picking the plant apart straight away.

The dry, white, and fluffy material you’re after is tightly compressed within the firm seed head. When the seed head is broken the tinder inside doesn’t come peacefully. It bursts out in a fluffy bloom that, if you aren’t careful, will fly away with your chances of starting a fire.

Instead of pulling out the tinder there at the swamp’s edge, collect two or three seed heads and bring them back to camp. Cattail is especially portable and an extremely competitive grower, so don’t worry about damaging the ecosystem by taking too much back to camp.

Cattails are one of the many forms of flash tinder. Flash tinder, unlike heavier, more hearty tinders, burns in the blink of an eye. So, you will need something to catch that fast flame. Torn up birch bark, dead leaves, pine needles, or some other dry and easily-lit material is the best.

When you’re ready to start your fire, break open the cattail and spread a wide, thin layer over your fireplace. Sprinkle the supplementary tinder all over the cattail and shower down some sparks. You’re going to need to be quick here. The cattail will combust, flare into flame, and go out. One or more pieces of the scattered heavier tinder will catch and hold a flame. If you’re quick, you can snatch up the remaining unlit pieces of tinder and feed this newborn flame. Additionally, you can prepare a small pile of dry plant matter and add it to the small flame.

Cattail can be a bit stressful to use as it is quick and unforgiving. However, it is both abundant and virtually impervious to whatever the weather has in store. The tight-packed fluffy seeds stay bone dry so long as you pull them from an unbroken part of the head. With a little practice, cattails will do the job every time.

milkweed

Milkweed

This extremely common perennial can be a fantastic late-season tinder source. Milkweed grows in disturbed areas like roadsides, railroad tracks, and agricultural fields so locating its natural habitat is no trouble. Additionally, identifying this plant is also quite easy. Milkweed can grow to over eight feet tall and its thick green stock is lined with opposite rows of broad, flat leaves. If you’re not sure that you’ve found a milkweed plant, just snap a piece of the stem and look for the white milky sap that gives the plant its name.

Unlike many of the tinders on this list, the usefulness of milkweed depends largely on the season. The teardrop-shaped seedpod, while still green in August and throughout the summer, is no good for tinder. However, once fall/winter rolls around, the milkweed seed pod will have dried up. Now it’s ready to use.

Milkweed can be used in two different ways. The feathery white filaments within the seed pod can be used as a flash tinder just like cattails, while the dried seed pod ovum (the walls or casing which make up the pod) can be showered with sparks and set to smoulder. So don’t worry if you manage to locate a milkweed plant only to find all the seeds scattered to the wind. Just build yourself a bird’s nest and use the smoldering milkweed ovum to blow a fire to life.

As a note of caution, be careful when searching for and harvesting milkweed. Their colorful and complex flowers are a main sources of food for wasps and bees. And keep your eye out for the beautiful monarch butterfly that flocks to feed on milkweed every year.

pine

Fatwood

This tinder is both one of the best to use and the most challenging to prepare. It is a very technical tinder, but once you know how to find it, you’ll be on the look out on every hike.

Fatwood is the product of a dead conifer tree. In a fruitless effort to sustain itself as long as possible, the evergreen will pull all of its life-giving sap deep within itself. This processes creates inner areas of supersaturated material, full of wonderful smelling sap.

To find and retrieve fatwood, first locate a fallen evergreen tree. The older the better. Even wet, punky wood so rotten that it crumbles in your hand. The longer the tree has been down and decomposing, the more concentrated the fatwood.

Now that you’ve found your downed conifer tree, look for a good thick limb – the thicker the better. The highest concentration of fatwood is found in the very center at the base of a limb where it connects to the trunk. If you can break the limb off with your hands, great. But don’t risk injuring yourself and making matters worse in a survival situation if you don’t have to. Use a saw, axe, or batton with your favorite bushcraft knife to cut the limb away as close to the trunk as possible.

Now, cut away the outside bark and wood of the limb – or crumble it in your hands if it’s rotten enough. You’re looking to expose the center of the limb. You’ll know you’ve found fatwood when you see deep-crimson wood and smell the strong odor of pine pitch. Continue working with the limb – cutting away all of the bark and rotten punky wood.

Once you have your fatwood exposed you’re ready to process it. Use an axe or batton with your bushcrafting knife to split the wood. Quartered is best because you are looking to produce a clean sharp edge along the length of the fatwood. Now that you have a sharp corner on the wood, scrape the point with the back of your knife to produce thin curls of fatwood. Once you have a golf-ball-or-smaller sized pile of fatwood, send a few sparks down on top and watch the fire spring to life.

Fatwood will burn hot and slow no matter the weather. So if it’s been raining for a week and you can find a downed conifer tree, feel confident that you can start a fire with a bit of hard work. And don’t worry if the tree looks too long gone. The more wet, rotten, and falling apart the better. Inside is a vein of one of your best fire starting friends.

birch tree

Birch Bark

Of all the wild-foraged tinders on this list, birch is the easiest to identify, process and use. If it’s dry, you really can’t go wrong.

Birch trees grow just about everywhere but you should avoid harvesting bark from live trees. Just keep your eyes open as you walk through the woods and you’re sure to spot a fallen tree or a sheet of the distinct white and papery bark.

There are two main ways to use birch bark as a tinder: curls and dust. To use birch bark in curl form, simply tear some bark into pinky-fingernail-width (or smaller) strips. Now, take each strip and wrap it tightly around your index finger, using your thumb to hold it tight for a few seconds. This isn’t anything terribly technical. All you’re trying to do is make little curls instead of straight strips. Strips of bark curling up on themselves and tangling with other birch curls simple give the fire a better chance to spread. There is plenty of air amidst the pile of torn bark and one lit piece is more prone to spread to the others curled together.

A generous showering of sparks from your farro rod or a quick touch of a match with quickly light your birch bark tinder alight. This process is the most simple way to use birch bark, but it is also the least economical as it burns up all the bark in the process. To make your birch bark tinder last for a dozen or more fires, make some dust.

To make birch bark dust, take a piece of birch bark and lay it flat on a hard, safe surface. White side up or down – it doesn’t much matter. Next, secure the bark with your thumb and fingers, leaving an open area of bark between. Carefully, and with gentle pressure, scrape the blade of your knife back and forth on the surface of the bark. After a few seconds of scraping you will see light brown dust begin to collect on the surface.

This is where you need to be very careful. Yes, watch out for your fingers with a knife working so close. But with such gentle pressure, you should have no trouble controlling the blade. The care you need to take is in not disturbing the dust. Birch dust is extremely light. Even the most gentle breath can blow it away. A jostle of the hand or slip of the knife could scatter your pile. But if you’re careful you will have a nice penny-sized pile in 30 second to a minute.

Scrape the dust into a pile with your knife and get your farro rod. Be careful that the bark doesn’t curl up and scatter the dust – birch bark like to curl. Now, being careful not to scatter your pile, place the end of your farro rod against the bark right at the edge of your dust pile. This is the bit that takes a bit of practice. Without driving your striker down into the dust pile and scattering it, scrape sparks down onto the dust. It will smolder and light into a small flame.

Catch the candle-sized flame on the end of a curled strip of birch bark or other tinder, add it to your other tinder and kindling on standby and extinguish the rest of the burning dust. If you’re quick, you can put out the burning dust before it burns through the piece of birch bark. With a little practice you’ll be able to go through this process several times with the same piece of bark. And once you’re sure it’s totally extinguished, just pack the bark away for the next fire.

Fungi

There are two main types of fungi common to the U.S. that can be used as tinder. While both work best after a fairly lengthy processing, it is possible to find usable-as-is specimens in the wild. The two type of fungi most commonly used as tinder are chaga (inonotus obliquus or true tinder fungus) and tinder fungus (fomes fomentarius, false tinder fungus, or hoof fungus). Both are used and processed in the same way. However, tinder fungus can be processed even more extensively to produce amadou – a fascinating and highly flammable material. But let’s discuss them one at a time.

tree fungus

Chaga is an ugly-looking black parasitic fungus that grows on birch trees. It’s easy to spot on the birch’s normally white bark and you can feel good about ridding the tree of its parasite. The best way to know if a chaga fungus is mature enough to be useful is to give it a few knocks with the back of your knife. A mature chaga fungus is dark, hard, and woody – giving off a dull almost hollow knock. Once you’ve found a good piece, use your knife to pry or a stick to knock the fungus off the tree.

Normally, the fungus is not yet ready to use. But the ideal conditions you’re looking for are dry and dusty on the inside. You should be able to dig the crumbly inside of the chaga out with your knife and set it to smoulder with your ferro rod.

Inonotus obliquus. Karmėlava forest, Lithuania.
Photo: Inonotus obliquus. Karmėlava forest, Lithuania thanks to Tomas Čekanavičius

Tinder fungus is used and inspected for usefulness exactly the same way as chaga, only it looks a little different. This gray or dark brown fungus clings to the sides of trees and goes on living its parasitic life even after the tree has died and fallen. It is easily identifiable by its hoof-like appearance. Additionally, if you want to start a fun project, you could attempt to process tinder fungus into a spongy orange material called amadou. Amadou has been used for thousands of years as a tinder and to make clothing.

It is always good to be on the lookout for chaga and tinder fungus in the woods. However, chances aren’t great that you’ll find a specimen that is ready to use as is. While the process is lengthy – two or more weeks – it is easy. Just let it dry. Take your fingi home and just leave it out for a few weeks. Slowly but surely, it will dry out and be ready to use.

When fully dried, both fungi are a wonderful form of tinder. You can dig out a fluffy pile as stated before or set your farro rod directly on the inside of the fungus and set it to smouldering. Either way, these fungi work perfectly dozens of times when used with a bird’s nest. And what’s even better, if you get a bit of the fungus smouldering you can actually carry it around with you. A speck of smoldering cole within a fungus will stay hot all day. When you’re ready to pack up camp and move on, just get a little bit of the fungus smoldering, and forget it. Next time you make camp and get ready to start a fire just blow a little life back into your ember.

KINDLING

If we attempted to list all the best kinds of kindling to be found in the wild you’d be reading a novel instead of an article. So, instead of exploring different kinds of kindling, let’s discuss the details of what makes good kindling and how to process it in both fair and foul weather conditions. Beyond these details, your judgment will guide you to choose the right kind of materials.

Type of Wood

While some types of resin or oil-filled woods like pine, cedar, fir, and birch are some of the best for kindling, any kind of wood will do. The practicality of kindling has less to do with the species of tree and more to do with the condition and properties of the wood.

Ideally, you are looking for dry, dead wood, ranging in size from your pinky to your thumb. Smaller is OK, but any bigger and you’ll have to do some processing. Kindling should not bend or crumble, but rather snap when broken. When cut or broken, you should see no green, as this means the woods is still alive and full of moisture.

Look for downed trees with intact limbs or broken branches caught on trees or bushes. Any fallen dead wood that is up off the ground will not soak up the moisture from the weather-saturated ground. Even in heavy precipitation standing dead wood will remain dry on the inside.

Processing Kindling

Processing dry kindling is the easiest thing in the world. If it’s the ideal size (smaller than your pinky and up to the width of your thumb) you can easily snap kindling into forearm-or-shorter pieces with your bare hands. However, if you find yourself in a situation in which the only available wood is wrist-thick or larger you’ll need to put in a little extra work.

You can break down larger pieces of wood easily with a saw, axe, or hatchet. Just about anyone with basic survival skills can use these tools. But you don’t always carry a folding saw or axe with you into the wilderness. You do most likely, however, carry a solid bushcrafting knife. And a knife is really all you need.

As a baseline example, let’s say we’re working with an eight-foot-long, wrist-thick branch. The piece of wood could be larger or smaller – it doesn’t much matter. But it’s helpful to have a clear picture in your head. For some reason there’s no smaller wood available so you need to break this piece down into pencil-thin pieces.

Start by breaking the branch into shorter pieces. The easiest way to do this is to find a forked tree, two trees very close together, slim wedge of rock, or some such sturdy V-shaped situation. Stick the branch into the V where you want to make the break. Now, hold fast with your hands, press your chest against the branch, and push the branch perpendicular to the V. You’re using your whole body to put strain on a single point of the limb. So with just a little effort, the limb will snap and your perfectly proportioned piece will fall harmlessly on the other side of the V.

There’s no need to risk injuring yourself by smaking the branch against a hard surface or trying to break it under your foot or over your knee. Just use a little clever leverage and save yourself the sweat.

If the limb is too big to break in this manner, fret not, there is another way. Find a thick, solid, forearm-length piece of wood (for the purposes of batoning, let’s call it a baton), place the blade of your bushcrafting knife where you want to make a cut and hit the back of your knife with the baton. Cut in at an angle, pull the knife out, then cut again at an intersecting angle. Think of it like using an axe. But instead of having all the heavy force of an axe, you’re providing the power with the strike of your baton. This is most definitely a sweat-inducing task but it will get the job done.

Now that you’ve broken down your large branch into shorter pieces, it’s time to split it into kindling. Using the same batoning method as described above, stand the piece of wood up on end (preferably on a hard, safe surface) and place the blade of your knife on the end of the wood. Let the blade hang over the edge of the wood as much as possible. The longer the knife, the better. With a secure grip on the knife, strike the back of the blade. It will bite into the wood. Once the spine of the blade as sunk into the wood, continue striking the part of the blade sticking out the other side of the wood. Continue striking and the knife will split the wood all the way down. Repeat this process, breaking down the wood into smaller and smaller pieces.

Once you have your growing pile of kindling, there is one final step that will make fire starting a breeze. Create a fire feather. To do this, run your knife at a steep angle down the length of a piece of wood. Using a cut face is best. With a little practice and control, this will produce thin curls of wood. It’s OK if you accidentally cut the curls fully away from the piece of wood, but your true aim is to stop before that happens. An ideal fire feather has these thin curls still attached. When completed your fire feather will have thin curls all around the wood. Creating this fire starting tool will make taking your fire from a small tinder flame to a roaring fire easy.

These method are important to practice not only for a situation in which you can only find large pieces of wood. Being able to efficiently and confidently break down large pieces of wood with just a knife is the best way to produce fire in wet conditions. It doesn’t matter if the rain’s been falling for a week or if a wet and heavy snow covers everything in sight. Wrist-thick and larger pieces of wood will remain dry in the center. Breaking down wood in this method will give you all the fuel you need for a fire. Then, once the fire is going, you can stack the smaller wet pieces of kindling and firewood around to dry.

Fire at Your Fingertips

With a little knowhow, a good bushcraft knife, and a farro rod you can make a fire in just about any situation. The skill of minimalistic fire starting is one that every person should have.

So go out and try a few of these methods. They sound easy. And that’s because the are. Knowing them could save your life.

And of course, this exploration into wild-foraged tinder and kindling is by no means exhaustive. This knowledge is a culmination of one person’s decade of research and practice, but there is always someone out there who knows a trick you don’t. So if you’ve come to the end of this piece and you have a nugget of fire starting wisdom that hasn’t been covered, please leave it in the comments. Survival isn’t just about fending for yourself. Passing down this knowledge is what makes us survivors.

The I Am Liberty chatroom takeover!

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The I Am Liberty chatroom takeover!
Host: James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio player below!

The time has come for the fans of the I AM Liberty to gather their power. You are getting exactly the voice you deserve this week on the show. We will govern our show on Wednesday November 8th on the whims of the chatroom. This week’s show will be all about the organic conversations that crop up in the chatroom.

Continue reading The I Am Liberty chatroom takeover! at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

The I Am Liberty chatroom takeover!

The I Am Liberty chatroom takeover!
Host: James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio player below!

The time has come for the fans of the I AM Liberty to gather their power. You are getting exactly the voice you deserve this week on the show. We will govern our show on Wednesday November 8th on the whims of the chatroom. This week’s show will be all about the organic conversations that crop up in the chatroom.

Continue reading The I Am Liberty chatroom takeover! at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

The I Am Liberty chatroom takeover!

The I Am Liberty chatroom takeover!
Host: James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio player below!

The time has come for the fans of the I AM Liberty to gather their power. You are getting exactly the voice you deserve this week on the show. We will govern our show on Wednesday November 8th on the whims of the chatroom. This week’s show will be all about the organic conversations that crop up in the chatroom.

Continue reading The I Am Liberty chatroom takeover! at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Survival On A Budget: Prepping When You Live On Social Security

Click here to view the original post.

Let’s face it, prepping can get expensive. I don’t care who you are, unless you have a rather sizeable income, trying to be prepared to survive a disaster is going to take e sizeable chunk out of your budget; that is, unless you are extremely careful with your money and know how to make the most of it.

Most of us who call ourselves preppers aren’t wealthy. Oh, there are wealthy preppers; but for the most part, they’re the ones who are buying their survival retreats in New Zeeland or buying a private island.

While they may read some of the same materials you and I read, their idea of prepping is a whole lot different, simply because they can afford to do things that you and I can’t afford to do.

“I would like to see a web page or series  on “the Poor Prepper”.  I am on social security and have very limited funds.  I would like to know what to begin with and where I should put my priorities.  I would also be interested in what gives the greatest reward for the money.”

Survivopedia reader

What if you are on a limited income; what do you do then? Is it still possible to be a prepper, even if you’re living on Social Security or some other form of fixed income?

What do You Need?

To start with, we’ve got to understand what we need to have, in order to survive. Otherwise, it’s real easy to get caught up in thinking we have to have the latest survival gadget.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

Granted, some of those gadgets are nice, but you don’t necessarily need to have them, in order to survive.

The basic survival needs are:

  • Maintaining your body heat – You can die from hypothermia (loss of body heat) in less than 30 minutes.
  • Drink enough clean water – The human body uses water for a lot of things; so you can only go about 3 days without water. It has to be clean water too, as many harmful bacteria and other microorganisms can be found in unpurified water.
  • Have enough food – You can live about 30 days without food; longer if you’re overweight. But survival is going to tax your energy, meaning that you’ll burn more calories than you’re accustomed to.

To provide yourself with these three basic needs, as well as taking care of some other basics, you’ll also need:

  • To be able to start and maintain a fire – We use fire to keep warm, provide light, cook our food and can even use it to purify water.
  • Take care of our health – This means treating injuries, treating sickness and personal hygiene, which is necessary to prevent disease.
  • Defend ourselves – There are two-legged predators out there, who would like nothing more than to steal what you have, especially in a post-disaster situation.

These six areas are your priorities, so when you make decisions on what to stockpile and how to spend your money, keep them in mind. Your first priority should be to make sure that you can keep warm in the winter. Then that you have a means of purifying water, and then that you have food to eat. The other things come after that.

The Big Challenge, Stockpiling

While you can spend a whole lot of money on survival equipment, you don’t really have to. I’ll talk more about that in a minute. Your real area of expense is going to be in stockpiling supplies; especially food. But with some judicious buying, you can even do that on a tight budget.

The first thing we have to take into consideration is that this is survival, not normal living. That means that we have to be ready to give up a lot of things that we enjoy, for the sake of surviving. Many of the things we enjoy in life are actually luxuries, not necessities. We might convince ourselves they are necessities, but they are not.

When it comes to building any stockpile, it’s difficult to do it all at once. Rather, try to build a small stockpile and then make it grow gradually. In other words, start out by building a one-month stockpile. Once you have that, work on increasing it to two months. That two months can then be expanded to three; and on and on, until you get to a year, or whatever end point you have picked.

Working on a stockpile slowly allows you to make it a part of your budget, spending whatever you feel like you can afford on prepping. Even if this is only $5 a week, that’s probably more than your neighbors are investing in their future. Five dollars can go a long way, if you use it judiciously.

Building a stockpile slowly allows you to spread the expense over a longer period of time. While you may feel an imperative to do everything right now, that’s really not possible. Rather, work on making your prepping a part of your life, where you are doing it little by little. Remember, everything you do improves your chances of survival a little bit more. So even if you don’t reach all your goals this month, you should be better off at the end of the month, than you were at the beginning.

Stockpiling water shouldn’t cost you anything. You don’t have to buy bottled water to build a stockpile of water. Rather, use the tap water from your home, storing it in whatever containers you can find. Plastic milk jugs work extremely well; but if you don’t buy milk in plastic jugs, you can use just about any sort of closable container, jars, bottles and jugs.

There are many ways you can save on food. Start by taking advantage of sales and coupons, buying whatever you can use that you can get at a discounted rate. Buying in bulk helps with this too, as part of what you are paying for is always the packaging.  Just make sure that it is food which will keep for a prolonged period of time.

The most expensive part of building any food stockpile is protein, specifically animal protein. This is the big challenge for most of us. You can start by using other sources of protein, rather than animal protein. Beans are an excellent source of protein and are very inexpensive. So, beans need to become a part of your stockpile.

For the rest, your best deals are going to be buying canned meats. I’ve found some excellent deals on canned chicken, more than any other meat. You can also do extremely well with Spam, potted meat and Vienna sausage. While these may not be your favorites, they will provide you with the nutrition you need.

Make Your Own

One of the best ways of saving money is by doing things yourself, rather than paying someone else to do it for you. I’ve made a lot of my own survival gear, from solar panels to knives, even firearms. This has saved me a lot of money, freeing up that money for other needs. If you’re on Social Security, you obviously have time, so why not use some of that time to make your own survival gear.

Probably the best way of using that time to help you with prepping is to grow a huge vegetable garden and can the produce you grow. I imagine that once a major disaster hits and society breaks down, we’re all going to be doing a lot of gardening. Better to get a head-start on it and preserve some of that food for a time of need.

Make Use of Garage Sales

You can actually find a variety of different survival supplies at local garage sales, if you take the time to look. While you won’t be able to find everything, there are some key items that you are probably going to be able to get a great deal on, at one garage sale or another.

  • Candles – Candles are a time-honored source of light, which people have used for centuries. But buying candles in the store today can be a bit expensive. So instead, buy them at garage sales. I find candles there all the time. They can either be used as-is or melted down and remade into more practical survival candles.
  • Rugged Clothing – When you’re in survival mode, you’re going to be much harder on your clothes than you normally are. Make sure that you have a good supply of rugged “work clothes,” including some good hiking or work boots.
  • Canning Supplies – Canning is one of the easiest forms of food preservation to learn; and it’s extremely secure. If you are going to try your hand at gardening for food, something we all should do, then you’re going to need canning jars. Don’t pay full price for them; you can always find canning jars at garage sales.
  • Blankets – If you’re going to be heating with wood, then you may find that you have trouble getting your home as warm as you would like. The way our ancestors handled that was to pile lots of blankets on the bed. Extra blankets can also be put over windows, to act as insulation and help keep your home warmer.
  • Food – Yes, you can actually find food at garage sales, believe it or not. Often, this will be bulk food, which is ideal for your prepping needs.
  • Gardening Supplies – From pots to plants to tools, you can find all sorts of gardening supplies at garage sales, usually from people who have given up.
  • Hunting and Fishing Gear – It’s not uncommon to find camouflage gear or fishing poles at garage sales; ones that people either outgrew or replace with newer ones. That’s fine, you can use them.

For much of my life I was way down there on the income curve. Working as a missionary doesn’t exactly bring in a huge income. Yet even though we didn’t have much, we still managed to prepare for Y2K and other disasters. How did we do it? Following the steps that I’ve just mentioned.

Take them one by one and be ready to make the most out of anything. This is what real survival is all about!

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Survival On A Budget: Prepping When You Live On Social Security

Let’s face it, prepping can get expensive. I don’t care who you are, unless you have a rather sizeable income, trying to be prepared to survive a disaster is going to take e sizeable chunk out of your budget; that is, unless you are extremely careful with your money and know how to make the most of it.

Most of us who call ourselves preppers aren’t wealthy. Oh, there are wealthy preppers; but for the most part, they’re the ones who are buying their survival retreats in New Zeeland or buying a private island.

While they may read some of the same materials you and I read, their idea of prepping is a whole lot different, simply because they can afford to do things that you and I can’t afford to do.

“I would like to see a web page or series  on “the Poor Prepper”.  I am on social security and have very limited funds.  I would like to know what to begin with and where I should put my priorities.  I would also be interested in what gives the greatest reward for the money.”

Survivopedia reader

What if you are on a limited income; what do you do then? Is it still possible to be a prepper, even if you’re living on Social Security or some other form of fixed income?

What do You Need?

To start with, we’ve got to understand what we need to have, in order to survive. Otherwise, it’s real easy to get caught up in thinking we have to have the latest survival gadget.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

Granted, some of those gadgets are nice, but you don’t necessarily need to have them, in order to survive.

The basic survival needs are:

  • Maintaining your body heat – You can die from hypothermia (loss of body heat) in less than 30 minutes.
  • Drink enough clean water – The human body uses water for a lot of things; so you can only go about 3 days without water. It has to be clean water too, as many harmful bacteria and other microorganisms can be found in unpurified water.
  • Have enough food – You can live about 30 days without food; longer if you’re overweight. But survival is going to tax your energy, meaning that you’ll burn more calories than you’re accustomed to.

To provide yourself with these three basic needs, as well as taking care of some other basics, you’ll also need:

  • To be able to start and maintain a fire – We use fire to keep warm, provide light, cook our food and can even use it to purify water.
  • Take care of our health – This means treating injuries, treating sickness and personal hygiene, which is necessary to prevent disease.
  • Defend ourselves – There are two-legged predators out there, who would like nothing more than to steal what you have, especially in a post-disaster situation.

These six areas are your priorities, so when you make decisions on what to stockpile and how to spend your money, keep them in mind. Your first priority should be to make sure that you can keep warm in the winter. Then that you have a means of purifying water, and then that you have food to eat. The other things come after that.

The Big Challenge, Stockpiling

While you can spend a whole lot of money on survival equipment, you don’t really have to. I’ll talk more about that in a minute. Your real area of expense is going to be in stockpiling supplies; especially food. But with some judicious buying, you can even do that on a tight budget.

The first thing we have to take into consideration is that this is survival, not normal living. That means that we have to be ready to give up a lot of things that we enjoy, for the sake of surviving. Many of the things we enjoy in life are actually luxuries, not necessities. We might convince ourselves they are necessities, but they are not.

When it comes to building any stockpile, it’s difficult to do it all at once. Rather, try to build a small stockpile and then make it grow gradually. In other words, start out by building a one-month stockpile. Once you have that, work on increasing it to two months. That two months can then be expanded to three; and on and on, until you get to a year, or whatever end point you have picked.

Working on a stockpile slowly allows you to make it a part of your budget, spending whatever you feel like you can afford on prepping. Even if this is only $5 a week, that’s probably more than your neighbors are investing in their future. Five dollars can go a long way, if you use it judiciously.

Building a stockpile slowly allows you to spread the expense over a longer period of time. While you may feel an imperative to do everything right now, that’s really not possible. Rather, work on making your prepping a part of your life, where you are doing it little by little. Remember, everything you do improves your chances of survival a little bit more. So even if you don’t reach all your goals this month, you should be better off at the end of the month, than you were at the beginning.

Stockpiling water shouldn’t cost you anything. You don’t have to buy bottled water to build a stockpile of water. Rather, use the tap water from your home, storing it in whatever containers you can find. Plastic milk jugs work extremely well; but if you don’t buy milk in plastic jugs, you can use just about any sort of closable container, jars, bottles and jugs.

There are many ways you can save on food. Start by taking advantage of sales and coupons, buying whatever you can use that you can get at a discounted rate. Buying in bulk helps with this too, as part of what you are paying for is always the packaging.  Just make sure that it is food which will keep for a prolonged period of time.

The most expensive part of building any food stockpile is protein, specifically animal protein. This is the big challenge for most of us. You can start by using other sources of protein, rather than animal protein. Beans are an excellent source of protein and are very inexpensive. So, beans need to become a part of your stockpile.

For the rest, your best deals are going to be buying canned meats. I’ve found some excellent deals on canned chicken, more than any other meat. You can also do extremely well with Spam, potted meat and Vienna sausage. While these may not be your favorites, they will provide you with the nutrition you need.

Make Your Own

One of the best ways of saving money is by doing things yourself, rather than paying someone else to do it for you. I’ve made a lot of my own survival gear, from solar panels to knives, even firearms. This has saved me a lot of money, freeing up that money for other needs. If you’re on Social Security, you obviously have time, so why not use some of that time to make your own survival gear.

Probably the best way of using that time to help you with prepping is to grow a huge vegetable garden and can the produce you grow. I imagine that once a major disaster hits and society breaks down, we’re all going to be doing a lot of gardening. Better to get a head-start on it and preserve some of that food for a time of need.

Make Use of Garage Sales

You can actually find a variety of different survival supplies at local garage sales, if you take the time to look. While you won’t be able to find everything, there are some key items that you are probably going to be able to get a great deal on, at one garage sale or another.

  • Candles – Candles are a time-honored source of light, which people have used for centuries. But buying candles in the store today can be a bit expensive. So instead, buy them at garage sales. I find candles there all the time. They can either be used as-is or melted down and remade into more practical survival candles.
  • Rugged Clothing – When you’re in survival mode, you’re going to be much harder on your clothes than you normally are. Make sure that you have a good supply of rugged “work clothes,” including some good hiking or work boots.
  • Canning Supplies – Canning is one of the easiest forms of food preservation to learn; and it’s extremely secure. If you are going to try your hand at gardening for food, something we all should do, then you’re going to need canning jars. Don’t pay full price for them; you can always find canning jars at garage sales.
  • Blankets – If you’re going to be heating with wood, then you may find that you have trouble getting your home as warm as you would like. The way our ancestors handled that was to pile lots of blankets on the bed. Extra blankets can also be put over windows, to act as insulation and help keep your home warmer.
  • Food – Yes, you can actually find food at garage sales, believe it or not. Often, this will be bulk food, which is ideal for your prepping needs.
  • Gardening Supplies – From pots to plants to tools, you can find all sorts of gardening supplies at garage sales, usually from people who have given up.
  • Hunting and Fishing Gear – It’s not uncommon to find camouflage gear or fishing poles at garage sales; ones that people either outgrew or replace with newer ones. That’s fine, you can use them.

For much of my life I was way down there on the income curve. Working as a missionary doesn’t exactly bring in a huge income. Yet even though we didn’t have much, we still managed to prepare for Y2K and other disasters. How did we do it? Following the steps that I’ve just mentioned.

Take them one by one and be ready to make the most out of anything. This is what real survival is all about!

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Go Time Gear Fire Escape Kit Review and Giveaway

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com I am always aware of the threat of fire, especially in an apartment complex.  And you already know about the close call we had last week.  With the recent wildfires in Northern California, fire danger is something we all must consider our emergency preparedness efforts.    With this in mind, I thought it would be a good opportunity to review a Fire Escape Kit from Go-Time Gear. The Fire Escape Kit (pictured above) comes […]

The post Go Time Gear Fire Escape Kit Review and Giveaway appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

Will You Line Up for This Year’s Lethal Injection? 25 Safe Natural Alternatives to the Flu Shot

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By Daisy Luther Want $10 off your bill at the grocery store?  Stop by our pharmacy and let us jab a needle full of toxins into your arm! Want to avoid

The post Will You Line Up for This Year’s Lethal Injection? 25 Safe Natural Alternatives to the Flu Shot appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

Thanksgiving Trimmings And Love In The Family

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I can hardly wait for the all the Thanksgiving trimmings this year. I love the recipes in my family that have been handed down for generations. Here’s the deal, I now live away from all my kids and grandkids, but as my girls moved out of the nest we learned to compromise on holidays. You know, it’s our family or the in-laws turn this year. Then we had a few divorces and that broadened the spectrum, but it also brought us more grandchildren. So, life is good for our family.

I realize some people don’t celebrate some holidays, but my family does and we love getting together whenever it’s feasible for all involved. I’m hoping some of my recipes will make it to your table someday. Our family is notorious for appetizers, and sometimes I wonder why we even buy a ham or a turkey. But, my husband always wants to see the “wishbone.”

Plus the Thanksgiving trimmings must include a turkey, or a ham, right?

Mark likes the dark meat from the turkey, like the drumsticks and the heart you find stuffed inside the turkey. We toss the giblets and add some celery, chopped onions and a cube of butter to the inside of the washed out turkey. It’s a tradition, we don’t eat that stuff, but my mom did that, so I do the same thing to the fresh turkey. I should say defrosted turkey. I would love to hear what your family serves on Thanksgiving. There is something really special about looking at the decorated tables and the loved one sitting around the table and eating together. Family brings us joy, what else can I say.

My entire family makes different dishes the day before so we can all enjoy the day together.

Thanksgiving Trimmings

Turkey or Ham

My daughter, Heidi started using an electric roaster to cook the turkey a few years ago and it makes the turkey really moist and tender. I never put stuffing inside my turkey when it’s baking. I heard it was unsafe to eat, and so that’s how I roll.

We pick up a ham at Costco that is sliced in a spiral shape and make sandwiches later with turkey or ham. I love to make ham salad with the leftover ham as well. You grind it, add mayo or Miracle Whip, and pickle relish! Love it!

Turkey Stuffing

I cook my turkey stuffing in a slow cooker because we have so many appetizers, rolls, and casseroles baking.  This is Mark’s mother’s dressing recipe and we still make it to this day. I cut the original recipe in half because we could never eat the original recipe amount.

Thanksgiving Turkey Dressing

Ingredients:

1 cup butter

3/4 cups chopped onions

1-1/2 cups chopped celery, leaves and all

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1-1/2 teaspoons GROUND sage (not rubbed)

12 cups of dried bread cubes

3 cans (14-ounces each) chicken broth, add water if needed for a moister dressing

Instructions:

Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the celery, onions, and spices and cook until tender.  Grab a large stainless steel bowl and combine all of the ingredients, add water if you like your stuffing a little moister. Bake at 350 degrees in a greased covered casserole dish until heated thoroughly. I put mine in a large greased slow cooker and put it on low to heat it through.

Printable recipe: Turkey Dressing Recipe by Food Storage Moms

Mashed Potatoes

Here’s the deal, I have to have real mashed potatoes, sometimes I peel them and sometimes I don’t. This year I will probably peel them, cut them into chunks and use my pressure cooker to cook them. I add butter, sour cream, and a little milk. I use my hand masher because I love a few chunks. Oh, I can hardly wait for T day. Sometimes I do use my hand mixer, either way, they are yummy. Cooking Potatoes In A Pressure Cooker by Linda

Green Beans or Green Bean Casserole

This recipe is right off the French’s Crispy Fried Onions. You know you grab 2-3 cans of green beans, drained. Add some milk to some cream of mushroom soup, stir in the beans and sprinkle on the crispy onions after putting the green beans in a greased casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the onions look a little crispy. Yummy!

No Sweet Potatoes

I grew up on sweet potatoes with butter, brown sugar and marshmallows on top. I have never fixed these because Mark calls them Ipecac. I know my daughters love plain sweet potatoes, but we have never made them for Thanksgiving.

Frozen Peas

We buy one bag of frozen petite peas and microwave it. I think I’m the only one at the table that eats them. It’s a tradition.

Gravy-Lots of It

I bring the drippings from the turkey pan to a boil and add flour that I have mixed together with water and I slowly pour the mixture into the hot drippings. I lower the heat and use a hand mixer to keep the lumps away.  I add some pepper, a little sugar and it’s good to go.

Homemade Dinner Rolls

My no-fail recipe is at the bottom of the post. Please use fresh yeast, fresh bread flour, other fresh ingredients and they will always turn out awesome, I promise.

Cranberry Sauce

I buy the fresh cranberries and follow the recipe on the bag from the produce department, or I just buy ready made cranberry sauce. I make it the day before so I can pull it out of the refrigerator right before we sit down and enjoy our meal.

Pies

I buy the following pies: pumpkin, pecan. I wish I could say I make pies from scratch, nope. I own it. I love those huge pies at Costco, they rock! They are cheap and yummy!

Appetizers

My favorite post that includes my Appetizers by Food Storage Moms

Miscellaneous

Olives

Whipping  Cream

Butter

Jam

Honey

I hope my Thanksgiving trimmings post today gives you some new recipe ideas. Please tell us what you fix on Thanksgiving, I love to hear from you. I realize we have a lot of turmoil in this crazy world right now, but we must continue to prepare for the unexpected and be thankful for what we have. May God bless you all.

My favorite things:

Large Stainless Steel Bowl

Turkey Roaster

Gravy Ladle

Whole Dinner Rolls by Linda

White Dinner Rolls by Linda

The post Thanksgiving Trimmings And Love In The Family appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

15 Best Selling Bushcraft Books: Most Popular Wilderness Survival Guides

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15 Best Selling Bushcraft Books: Most Popular Wilderness Survival Guides

A long while back, close to when we originally started penning this blog, I published an article about the most popular/best selling survival books in existence. While I know there will be plenty of overlap (what kind of a survival book list wouldn’t make mention of popular bushcraft books?), I now think it’s important to break […]

This is just the start of the post 15 Best Selling Bushcraft Books: Most Popular Wilderness Survival Guides. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!


15 Best Selling Bushcraft Books: Most Popular Wilderness Survival Guides, written by Elise Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

How Important Is an Air Mattress in Your Survival Gear?

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: A guest contribution from Elizabeth to The Prepper Journal. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly receive a $25 cash award as well as be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards  with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

An Editors Story: Once, while dove hunting near Porterville California, by Success Lake, only one of our group of 6 hunters brought an air mattress. It wasn’t me. The ground in this area is very rocky and while we all complained about that, Darren, who had the air mattress, woke up fresh and rested, after teasing us endlessly about it before going to bed. Sadly, mistakenly, Daren chose to keep up the joviality through out that day’s hunt. Alas, that second night, not unexpectedly, his air mattress failed. I will now, years later, admit to just one of the knife inflicted holes that occurred just prior to our all turning in that night – I suspect there were 4 others.

Smart preparation means to think in advance and to make strategies for all possible scenarios. Having a good plan for any situation is the wisest thing to do whether we’re getting ready for an outdoor adventure or the ultimate survival experience. One essential part of the plan that we need to conceive involves sleeping arrangements. I can’t underline enough how important is to get a good rest when we are in a critical situation. Sleep deprivation is one of the worst enemies we could have, especially when we are not in the familiar comfort of our daily life.

Whether you have a shelter prepared for a severe crisis or you’re just going camping in a tent or under the clear sky, you need a satisfying bed. Since you can’t take an actual bed with you, an air mattress is the next best choice. I always have one packed in my survival gear, and it has proven to be extremely valuable in various contexts. Let me tell you why:

Comfort

Air mattresses came into our lives as beach props meant to help us have fun and get tanned while floating. It didn’t take too long for these items to find their way into our houses as permanent beds. One of the main reasons for this is that you can choose the level of firmness for an air mattress. This option comes in handy outdoors as well. But there’s another big plus for airbeds: the modern models have air chambers to imitate the springs of a regular mattress. This feature addresses an older issue of air mattresses – the lack of support. But nowadays, due to leading-edge design and technology, this matter is no longer a problem. My advice is to look for a bigger number of chambers when choosing your air mattress: the higher the number, the better the support. Any 30+ chambers will do just fine. And since you may sleep for extended periods of time on this type of bed, consider the fact that they are not only comfortable but also resistant and reliable.

Power source

You should ponder the fact that out there you may not have an electric power source at your disposal or, even if you do have one, it might get cut off at some point. That’s why the best option is to have a versatile air mattress, the kind that can be inflated by using electric power, batteries or a manual leg pump. Such a self-sufficient product will undoubtedly serve its purpose even if the power is out. So when shopping for the perfect air mattress for survival, check the features “battery” or “manually operated.”

   

Size and space

It’s a no-brainer: air mattresses pack small. And this is what you need: a light item which is easy to carry and will not take a lot of space in your backpack. Also, you can move this kind of airbed quickly in a shelter, for instance; and if it’s a twin size, it can accommodate more people, when necessary.

Multiple functions 

What’s great about an air mattress is that it can be used in several situations. The primary function is to provide support for sleeping (in a shelter, a tent or on the ground) and I’ve already explained the advantages for this one. But you can find yourself wanting (or having to) cross over a water spread. The air mattress may be a suitable floating device in such circumstances. You could improvise wooden pads and steer it into the desired direction. I should point out, though, that this isn’t recommended in the case of a fast running river or very deep waters. Another way to profit from such an item is to use it as a cover if somehow it gets perforated and you can’t inflate it anymore. You can fill it with natural elements, like grass, moss, dry leaves or straw and still have a warm bed to sleep on it.

Safety

The manufacturers use fumes-free materials nowadays for making air mattresses, and studies have shown that these products have the lowest off-gassing of all. Why is this important? Well, think that you might be in a place which is not well ventilated: you don’t want harmful chemicals in your mattress. Try Mattress counsels us to check if the description of the product says BPS-free or phthalates-free. Or to look for a completely PVC-free, entirely textile-made mattress: some buyers have indicated them as more durable and less predisposed to punctures. The downside is that there aren’t many models like that on the market, so finding the one to meet all the other criteria might be a tough challenge.

I want to emphasize that choosing smart is essential when it comes to airbeds because this item can make a difference in a survival situation. Proper sleep is vital in critical times: sleep deprivation increases our irritability and decreases our cognitive functions. We wouldn’t be as vigilant as usual, our energy level will diminish drastically, and our physical and mental health will suffer. Thus, we need a reliable air mattress to use as our bed so we could enjoy a stimulating rest.

One more VERY important benefit – insurance against sleeping on the cold ground and losing core body temperature, a recurring theme here at The Prepper Journal.

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Make Your Fuel Storage Last As Long As Possible

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During a disaster, fuel is an invaluable resource. The problem is that everyone else needs it as badly as you do, and supplies are limited. That’s why any time a natural disaster strikes, the lines at gas stations seem to stretch on forever. Even if you do have the time and patience to sit in […]

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Prepping Supplies You Can’t Skimp On…And Some You Can

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When it comes to prepping supplies that will “save your life” there is literally no end to what we can buy. While we all know that skills will be more valuable than gear in a disaster situation, there are some supplies that we shouldn’t skimp on. When it comes to buying supplies that help you […]

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