3 AM. Flashlight In Windows – Banging On Door – Cops Outside

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3 AM. Flashlight In Windows – Banging On Door – Cops Outside Nothing gets the prepper juices flowing like a strong dose of reality. There is something about humans and what they see on the screen. Screens are filters and it seems that things we see on them tend to affect us much less than …

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Conflicted: Betraying Friends – What Would You Do?

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Conflicted: BEFORE the SHTF!

 

Conflicted is a Survival Card Game.  Each card in the deck has a scenario that will stretch how you would respond in an SHTF situation.  What would you do?  Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

SCENARIO – One of your friends approached you and confessed to you that he secretly plans to kill another of your friends.  He is so driven towards this, that he swears he will also take out anyone who gets in the way of his task.  You like them both equally, and to help one would be betraying the other.  When you pressed to find his reasons for murder, he remained silent.  How would you handle this situation and why?

ALSO READ – Friends in Low Places or People You Can Count On When Your SHTF!

 

Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

If you are interested in purchasing your own Conflicted deck – CLICK HERE.

 

Peace,
Todd

Pursuit of the Homesteading Dream

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Pursuit of the Homesteading Dream If you’re dreaming of homesteading but feel like that dream is too far away for you, take heart. There’s more than one way to achieve your dreams. There are lots of people with more land than they can use. Some folks are older and can’t keep up their farm or …

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Pack it Yourself Food Reserves – Facts & Myths

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By Denis Korn

Know the facts about do-it-yourself packing!

By popular demand I am posting this updated article first written 5 years ago and still timely and important, especially as more and more folks are packing their own to save money and create a diverse selection of food reserves.  This information is always available under Food Storage Packing – Do-it-yourself Articles available on the home page in the right column.

The purpose of this article is to present specific details and recommendations for food storage packing of your own shelf stable foods for food storage, including what works and what doesn’t in creating an oxygen free atmosphere for long term food storage, and the common misconceptions of how to do your own packing will be covered.  While there are many different types of dried foods that can be stored for extended periods of time, most folks are interested in how best to store grain and bean products.

Some material will be repeated in this article that has been covered in previous articles concerning the use of oxygen absorbers, storage conditions, and 25-30 year shelf life claims.  While I could write a book on every specific detail of every packing option and all the technical specifications of all available packing containers, it is not the purpose of this article.  I will cover important highlights, facts, insights, and information gained from over 40 years in the preparedness and outdoor recreation industry.  It is important to keep in mind that I have not only been a retailer of preparedness and outdoor foods, I have been a manufacturer, developer of hundreds of recipes, packaging and product  innovator, and researcher of shelf stable foods.  I also was the first to use and introduce oxygen absorbers for packing outdoor recreational foods and food reserves in 1990-91, now an industry standard and essential to reduce residual oxygen levels and help extend the shelf life of dried foods.

Some of the material presented here will contradict and challenge information available on the web or in some do-it-yourself circles.  Many people assume preparedness information to be accurate without careful consideration of the expertise of the source or the validity of the facts.  I encourage you to research on your own any of the information presented in this article – or in any article for that matter – and to use basic critical thinking skills to evaluate the evidence and data you are offered.  A little common sense goes a long way in assessing many of the claims being made about shelf life and do-it-yourself issues.  I talk about the issue of trust and reliability in my articles: Who do you Trust?, The Research and Evaluation Process, and Purchasing Food Reserves – The Essential Questions.

Basics

Before you start packing your foods, be clear about what it is you want to store and for how long.  Are the foods appropriate for your plans?  Do you know how to prepare them?  Do you have an adequate quantity?  Do you have all the equipment necessary to prepare your foods?  What is the nutritional quality?  I suggest you study the key foundational information in my article Beginning and Improving Preparedness Planning.

This is an article dealing with dry food products with a low to very low moisture content – depending upon the item usually between 2 and about 10 %.  Products can include grains, beans, seeds, dehydrated or freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, seasonings, and powders and flours.

Grains and beans can be whole or processed into numerous forms.  Keep in mind that when a whole grain or bean is processed it can compromise the integrity of a natural barrier, expose any oils, and begin a process of oxidation or rancidity leading to a shortened shelf life.  Some processed bean products, such as TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) have been defatted to insure a longer shelf life, and some grains have naturally lower oil content.  Because of the position of the germ in rice, brown rice is not appropriate for long term storage.  Also, because white flour has no wheat germ, it will last significantly longer than whole wheat flour.  Research the products you are storing to determine both the moisture and oil content.

What are the goals and expectations for your food preparedness planning?  What are you hoping to accomplish and for whom and how many?  How realistic are your plans?  How long do you want your stored foods to be palatable – edible – nutritious – agreeable?  Be honest.  I once again refer you to another very helpful article in assisting you in preparedness planning: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning.

Why oxygen free?

At the end of this article I have included information on the 6 critical conditions for storing food.  In this section we explore the need for a very reduced oxygen atmosphere when storing food for long periods.  Basically there are 2 reasons for wanting to store food in an oxygen free environment – (1) eliminate the possibility for infestation from insects and microorganisms, and (2) control oxidation, which leads to the rancidity of fats and oils, foul taste, off color, and nutritional deterioration. NOTE:  Freezing foods do not effectively kill microscopic insect eggs.  The lower the oxygen levels – the more effective in preserving the integrity of the foods stored.  Some foods are more susceptible to oxidation deterioration than others.  It is important to know how susceptible the foods you are storing are to oxidation, because as you will see the type of container you store your foods in may at some point no longer be an adequate oxygen barrier.  Research by Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, the inventors of oxygen absorbers and manufacturer of the Ageless® brand absorber, indicates that in an oxygen free atmosphere (their absorbers can reduce the residual oxygen level in the proper container to 0.1% or less) all adults, larvae, pupae, and eggs of the most prevalent dry food insects are killed within 14 days.

If oxidation and elimination of all stages in an insect’s development by eliminating available oxygen is not an issue, there are other methods that can be utilized with varying effectiveness in controlling insect infestation.  Options include:

  • Exposure to freezing temperatures for an adequate length of time (this may kill adults and larvae but not all eggs)
  • Using bay leaves and other aromatic herbs to inhibit insect reproduction
  • Using food grade diatomaceous earth to kill adults (the microscopic very sharp texture of the particles pierce the bodies of the insects and they dehydrate and die).  In this case the live adult must come into contact with the diatomaceous earth.  Some folks put the material on the bottom of a container hoping the insects will go there, while others coat all the contents of a container with a fine layer of material and wash it off when it is time to consume the food.

Methods of reducing residual oxygen levels when you pack your own

Utilize an oxygen absorber – properly (see the very informative article Using and About Oxygen Absorbers)

Pro:

  • Very effective in reducing residual oxygen levels – in my opinion it is the most effective technology available today.
  • Relatively inexpensive and easy to use if done properly.
  • Harmless components – iron oxide.
  • Easily obtainable.

Con:

  • This product was developed for use by professional food companies who understand how to properly use and store it.  There are important guidelines which must be followed for the absorber to work properly and not lose its effectiveness.  The do-it-yourself person will defeat the purpose of using this technology if the guidelines and instructions are not properly followed.  It is imperative that the absorber user obtain all necessary information from a qualified supplier on its correct use. Using and About Oxygen Absorbers
  • The absorber user needs to do their homework and make sure the correct sized absorber is being utilized for both the size of the container and food product packed.

Insert a wand into a pouch, can, bucket, or jar and attempt to replace the atmosphere by squirting it with nitrogen (the most commonly used inert gas)

Pro:

  • Fairly easy to do
  • Relatively inexpensive

Con:

  • Without the proper testing equipment there is no way for the pack your own person to know the residual oxygen levels of their containers.  If the levels are too high, you have defeated the purpose for which you intended.  How much nitrogen to use and the length of time to insert it into the container are both speculation and assumption.  Do you want to rely on guess work?
  • When removing the wand and sealing the container some amount of oxygen will be introduced into the container, which will affect the atmosphere in the container.
  • To achieve the desired effect of a very low residual oxygen level this method has many weaknesses.  (NOTE: Before the days of the oxygen absorber, companies such as mine used elaborate equipment designed to draw a vacuum and nitrogen flush in a chamber.  The goal was a residual oxygen level of 2% or lower, because this was the military specification for long term storage of foods in a #10 size metal can.  Even with the proper equipment reaching these residual levels required experience, testing, and effective methodology.  Can “wanding” by hand effectively achieve these levels?)

The dry ice method

There was a time (and there may still be) when folks would put dry ice at the bottom or top of a container, leave the lid slightly ajar, wait for the ice to evaporate, and then seal the lid.  This method has so many problems that I won’t bother to give it pros and cons.  It is not recommended.

Use a home model vacuum sealer with either a plastic pouch or available attachment to put over a jar

Pro:

  • Equipment is easily accessible
  • Can be effective for short term storage
  • Easy to use

Con:

  • Equipment and extra pouches can be costly
  • The vacuum pulled (measured in inches of mercury) may be helpful for short term use, however is neither strong enough nor effective for a long term storage requirement.  The plastic pouches and jar seams are not designed to hold a vacuum for extended periods (longer than 1-2 years).
  • Most units do not produce enough heat to seal thicker foil laminated pouches (some people call these pouches by the misnomer of “Mylar”) that are a more effective packaging option.

Go to a cannery –  You can do your own canning of your own product in #10 metal cans.  Some canneries will sell you cans and bulk foods.

Pro:

  • Very effective method for long term food storage – metal cans are the best containers
  • Depending on the cannery, costs can be low for using the equipment
  • You can easily insert an oxygen absorber into the cans for maximum shelf life

Con:

  • While metal cans are the most effective containers, they can be costly and very difficult to obtain in smaller quantities
  • Canneries are not readily available to most folks – most are sponsored by members of the Mormon Church, check on usage and membership requirements, hours of operation, and costs at each cannery
  • You’ll need the proper vehicle to transport bulk foods and cans

Use a manually operated or electric, smaller, model open top can seam sealer

Pro:

  • Very effective method for long term food storage – metal cans are the best containers
  • You have significant flexibility as to when to use the sealer, and with whom it is to be shared
  • You can easily insert an oxygen absorber into the cans for maximum shelf life
  • They are easy to use once you get the hang of it

Con:

  • They can be expensive
  • You must do your homework and determine the best manufacturer and model
  • You must make sure you are operating them correctly and that the seams are being sealed properly
  • You need access to a supply of cans

Containers

Of all the issues relating to packing your own shelf stable foods, the most effective container to use can be the most confusing and misrepresented.  As stated in the beginning of this article be clear about what you are storing, how much, and for how long.

Plastic buckets (HDPE – high density polyethylene) – 5 and 6 gallon round and square sizes with handles are very popular for packing grains, beans, and other commodities in bulk

Pro:

  • A convenient container to store larger quantities of dry foods – stores and stacks well, is compact, and can be carried easily.
  • Inexpensive new and can be obtained used from a number of sources.
  • A thick walled (90 mil) container with the proper gasket can be used effectively to control the atmosphere within for up to 1 to 5 years.
  • Can be used in conjunction with foil pouches for convenience of storage.
  • You can use multiple foil pouches stored in the bucket for convenience of use.
  • Insects don’t easily penetrate the thick walls.
  • Can withstand some rough handling.
  • Because insects at all stages are destroyed within about 14 days, the short term effectiveness of using an oxygen absorber to create an oxygen free environment is useful.

Con:

  • HDPE is a permeable (porous – albeit microscopic) material and gas transmission rates (the length of time gases such as oxygen will travel through a given material) indicate that it will take 1 to 5 years for the atmosphere within the bucket to match the atmosphere outside (our normal atmosphere is normally about 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen with a very small amount of other gases such as carbon dioxide).  This means that if you started with an oxygen free or low level to begin with, that over time the oxygen level in the bucket will continue to increase until it reaches parity or equality with the normal atmosphere.
  • If you want the atmosphere to remain constant inside your container, or be oxygen free for extended periods of time, HDPE plastic buckets are not appropriate – check with the manufacturers (as I have done) and find out their specifications and recommendations for your needs and the specific container you want to use.
  • The ability to maintain whatever atmosphere you desire within the container will depend not only on the quality of the HDPE walls and lid, but also the integrity of the gasket seal.
  • HDPE will absorb odors and they will eventually permeate into the contents of the bucket.  Direct packed foods will also absorb the odor.  Do not store plastic buckets in areas that have a strong smell. (NOTE: Foil pouches within a bucket will prolong the odor absorption)
  • Rodents and other animals can easily break into plastic buckets.
  • Not recommended for long term storage (5+ years) of directly packed foods, unless a low residual oxygen level is not needed.

Pouches – There are literally thousands of possible combinations of materials and sizes available to create a pouch that will contain food.  Normally a food manufacturer or packer goes to a company that specializes in manufacturing pouches and gives the company their specifications and requirements for the specific foods to be packed.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  It is common these days among those who sell empty pouches for food storage, or food already in pouches, to use the term “Mylar pouch.”  This is very misleading.  By itself the term can mean anything and it tells you nothing of importance so that you can make the appropriate decisions on what pouch to use.  The “Mylar” brand is the registered trademark name of a PET polyester film manufactured by DuPont Teijin Films.  They produce hundreds of variations of this polyester resin material.  It is a component used in the production of many variations of packaging material.  It can be clear or opaque such as in wrappers for food bars or Mylar balloons – that look “metalized” yet contain no foil.  Mylar by itself is not an appropriate material for long term pouched food.  Ask you supplier what they mean when they say “Mylar.”

For those reading this article the requirements needed are to pack dry foods for the long term.  If you buy stock pouches from a distributor you need to tell them what you plan to put in it and what your expectations are for the long term.  You should insist on knowing the specifications (especially the gas and vapor transmission rates) of the pouch and whether they suit your needs.

If you want a pouch that gives you the longest possible shelf life for your foods, you will need a laminated pouch consisting of multiple components and layers.  As far as pouches are concerned, one of those layers must be foil (NOTE: All plastics are gas and vapor permeable – some rates are very high – meaning that gases transmit through them very quickly – and some plastics both individually and in combination have slower rates).  Only quality foil is a non-permeable gas and moisture barrier – that is foil without microscopic holes.  NOTE: Most pouches used by today’s food storage companies have what is know as ‘pin holing’ – because of the lower quality and thickness of the pouch, especially the foil layer.  These are extremely small holes that will eventually transmit oxygen through them.  While these pouches can be still be effective for some years, to claim a 25 year shelf life is misleading and deceptive.  Also, keep in mind none of these companies claiming a 25 year pouch shelf life have been in business more than a few years.  The 25 year claim is a marketing trick.  It is interesting that many of these companies promote their foods as “survival” foods – that is to say their foods are better than starving, and after 25 years that’s the best you can hope for.

Ask the distributor the specifications of the pouch, the different components used – not only for barrier properties but also for durability, the transmission rates if not foil, if foil – its thickness, and the reliability and reputation of the manufacturer.

Pro:

  • The variety of available sizes offers flexibility in choices of quantities to store.
  • Costs are reasonable.
  • Can be effective as a short term very low oxygen level container.
  • Small pouches of food can be very useful for bartering and distributing among those in need during in an emergency.

Con:

  • Not recommended for very long term packaging of products for an oxygen free environment.  Shelf life of pouched foods is recommended for 3 to 10 years depending on type of food product, storage conditions, handling, and composition of packaging materials.
  • Excessive or rough handling, loss of seal integrity, and pressure of sharp edges on the pouch from the products within can create “pin holes” (microscopic holes in the pouch material) that eventually will cause gases to be transmitted through the pouch (NOTE: I am concerned when I see and hear some folks instructing people to cram and squeeze foil pouches into plastic buckets).
  • Rodents and other creatures can easily penetrate pouch material.

Metal cans – For food storage purposes #10 size (about 7/8 gal) and #2 ½ size (about 7/8 qt) are the most popular used with the proper can sealers.  It is possible, if you keep searching, to find 5 gallon square metal cans with a large pressure lid on the top side.  These are ideal for bulk food storage, although they may be hard to find (NOTE: I sold these cans packed with foods at AlpineAire Foods about 25 years ago).  You also may want to consider clean or new metal garbage cans as a means to store smaller size foil pouched foods.

Pro:

  • Ideal for long term food storage.  The atmosphere within the cans, with the proper sealing, can remain oxygen free indefinitely.
  • Metal is non-permeable for gas and vapor – a zero transmission rate.
  • Difficult for rodents or animals to penetrate.
  • Can withstand some rough handling.

Con:

  • Costs can be higher than other materials.
  • Extra attention must be given to proper sealing.
  • Some metal containers may be difficult to obtain.
  • Some cans may rust if exposed to moisture.

Glass

Pro:

  • Excellent for long term food storage.  The atmosphere within the jars, with the proper sealing, can remain oxygen free indefinitely.
  • Glass is non-permeable for gas and vapor – a zero transmission rate.
  • Difficult for rodents or animals to penetrate.
  • Easily obtainable and relatively inexpensive.

Con:

  • Very fragile – must be stored and handled with care.
  • Practical only in smaller size containers.

Personal recommendations and tips for long term pack your own food storage

First choice – if possible store foods in metal cans with the proper size oxygen absorber

Second choice

  • Pack foods in a heavy duty foil laminate pouch with the proper size oxygen absorber.  I prefer using a variety of smaller size pouches rather than one large pouch.
  • If you seal the pouch with an iron – as opposed to a commercial impulse sealer – make sure you know the proper method to use.  If your seal isn’t adequate you are wasting your time and money using an absorber.
  • Place the foil pouches carefully – to avoid “pin holes” and seam damage, into another larger plastic or metal container (NOTE: Sturdy cardboard boxes will do if infestation from insects, rodents, and other animals is of no concern).  This will facilitate handing and storage.
  • When you use the proper size oxygen absorber in a foil pouch it will create a slight vacuum and the pouch will tighten up somewhat (Remember you are not creating a complete vacuum that would produce a brick hard pack, you are only removing about 21% of the air volume – it will be absorbed by the iron oxide in the oxygen absorber sachet).
  • Periodically – especially in the first two weeks – check on the pouch to make sure it still looks tightened up.  If at some point it looks normal, then the integrity of the pouch has been compromised and the atmosphere in the pouch has equalized with the outside atmosphere.

I see no point in putting additional oxygen absorbers into the plastic bucket or container in which the foil pouch is placed.

Third Choice

  • If you have a smaller quantity of dry goods to store and you can protect or store foods safely – use glass jars.  Either half gallon size Ball canning jars or one gallon size jars – both need lids with a small rubber seal on the lid to create an air tight container.
  • Drop an appropriate size oxygen absorber in the jar then seal it tight.
  • Store away from light.

Tips

  • I do not recommend using the nitrogen “wand” method of atmosphere replacement in pouches, plastic, or metal containers if you want to create a truly oxygen free environment.
  • The oxygen absorber properly used is the best method for creating an oxygen free environment.
  • Certain foods packed for long term storage may not need an oxygen free atmosphere.  I have covered the reasons for creating this type of environment earlier, and your specific needs may focus only on containers and storage conditions.
  • I do not recommend storing commodities in their original paper or cloth sacks or boxes for the long term – unless you possess a very secure and unique storage facility.  The important issue here is infestation and environmental influences such as heat, moisture, and other airborne contaminants.
  • Periodically inspect your food reserves for any sign of infestation or contamination.
  • Read my article on Using and About Oxygen Absorbers.

Storage Conditions

There are six conditions to be aware of when storing food for emergency preparedness food storage, or outdoor recreation.  The foods being referred to in this post are shelf-stable freeze-dried, dehydrated, dried commodities.  Optimal storage conditions can also be applied to wet pack:  retort, MRE’s, canned goods, and other specialty longer term wet pack foods.

NOTE:  The six conditions listed are chosen because these are factors in which we have the control to optimize for the longest reliable shelf life.  TIME is the one factor that we can not control – and it does have a significant effect on the shelf life of various foods.  Nutritional value is lost with many foods over time.  To know with certainty the viable nutritional value of all food reserve items at any given time after a lengthy period of storage – is at best complex or most likely mere conjecture and guesswork.  What we can do is to apply proper planning procedures – do your research with trusted resources, rotate and consume your storage foods, and be realistic about how long you will really need the foods you choose to store.

  • Temperature– This is the primary factor affecting the storage life of foods.  The cooler the better. 40 degrees-50 degrees would be great. Room temperature (65 degrees-72 degrees) or below is generally fine.  Avoid above 90 degrees for extended periods of time. The longer food is exposed to very high temperatures the shorter the edible life and the faster the degeneration of nutritional value.  Note:  There are some “foods” available for emergency preparedness that are known as “emergency food or ration bars.”  These products are generally referred to as “life raft bars” because they were originally designed for life rafts and can withstand high heat for extended periods of time.  They primarily consist of white sugar and white flour, and were not meant to be the sole source of nutrition for a long period of time.
  • Moisture– The lower the better.  Moisture can deteriorate food value rapidly and create conditions that promote the growth of harmful organisms.  The moisture level contained in foods varies depending on the type of product it is.  Have foods in moisture barrier containers (metal, glass) in high humidity areas. Note:  Foil pouches (Mylar bags) or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 3-10 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  Note:  Be careful where you store dry foods in cans.  Very cold flooring or any condition where there is a dramatic temperature differential may cause a build up of condensation inside the container.
  • Oxygen – A high oxygen environment causes oxidation, which leads to discoloration, flavor loss, odors, rancidity and the breakdown of nutritional value in foods. It also allows insects to feed on dried food reserves. Without oxygen, insects cannot live, nor can aerobic (oxygen dependent) organisms. Whole grain and beans have natural oxygen barriers and can store for long periods of time in low humidity and if free from infestation. All other processed grains, vegetables, fruits, etc. must be in a very reduced (2% or less) oxygen environment for long term storage.  Note:  Foil pouches (Mylar bags) or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 3-10 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  The best long term storage containers are glass and metal.
  • Infestation – Examples include rodents, insects in all their stages of growth, mold, microorganisms, and any other creatures that get hungry – large or small.  The proper packaging and storage conditions are required to control infestation and not allow critters to both get into the food, or have the necessary environment for them to flourish if they are sealed into a container – such as in the form of eggs or spores.
  • Handling – Rough handling can not only damage the food itself, but it can also adversely effect and compromise the integrity of the container in which the food is stored.  Glass of course can break; any pouched item can develop pin holes, tears, or cracks.  The seams on buckets and cans can be tweaked, twisted, or damaged to allow oxygen to enter the container.
  • Light – Food should not be stored in direct sunlight.  Both for the potential of high temperature, and its affect on food value.  Sunlight directly on stored foods can destroy nutritional value and hasten the degeneration of food quality, taste, and appearance.  Foods packed in light barrier containers do not pose a problem with the affects of light.

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4 Prepping Skills You Master after Years of Camping

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Enjoying the great outdoors by yourself or together with your friends and family is an amazing experience. There is something immensely freeing about sleeping under the open skies and waking up with the smell of fresh, untamed morning air filling your nostrils. However, this experience isn’t one without its challenges. What You Need to Know It generally takes campers a long time to get accustomed to all the different situations a camping trip might involve. Fortunately, you can take some shortcuts in the learning process if you are dedicated enough. Here are the four most important prepping skills you master

The post 4 Prepping Skills You Master after Years of Camping appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Nine Navigation Steps to Take at the Trail Head.

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The following are nine quick navigation steps to take to ensure one’s navigation kit is set up to best support a hike.

Blake Miller/outdoor quest image
1.     GPS Batteries – load fresh batteries and carry extra for both the GPS and flashlight.

2.     Calibrate the GPS receiver’s compass after every battery change.

3.     Magnetic Compass adjusted for declination – Visit www.magnetic-declination.com for the most current declination value.  Declination changes over time (how old is that map?) and location.

4.     Dump the junk – How many waypoints are stored in the waypoint manager file.  Dump the old waypoints to the absolute minimum; this helps to keep navigation simple.

5.     Match the GPS receiver’s compass to the magnetic compass and the map.   .  Maps are usually set to degrees true.  Have the GPS and Magnetic compass match the topo map.

6.     Erase old track data – clean up the old the track (bread crumb trail) information.  Get rid of 

Blake Miller/outdoor quest image

the clutter.

7.     Remember to stow the maps.  I use maps from www.caltopo.com and will occasionally carry maps from a hiking guides.  Maps are stowed in a zip lock gallon bag or rugged water proof map case.

8.     Mark a waypoint – Give key waypoints a name like “trl hed” or “camp.”  Select waypoint manager to verify that the information has been saved to memory.  If “trl hed” can be viewed on the waypoint manager file or viewed from the map page the hiker is all set.

9.     

Blake Miller/outdoor quest image

Orient the map at the trail head.

Everyone in the hiking group should be on the same page in regard to navigation settings.

Winter Travel

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I recently did a search on www.sectionhiker.com, looking for some tips and recommendations for backcountry travel in the winter.

 .”Winter can be a dangerous time to hike or camp in the backcountry, but with planning and proper preparation, a winter hike can be a safe and enjoyable experience. Please keep the following in mind when planning an outing:

  • For safety, never hike alone in winter. The potential consequences are simply too high.
  • Daylight hours are short in the winter and the sun goes down quickly. Begin your trip early in the day and be prepared with a headlamp and extra batteries. Lithium batteries are more reliable in cold weather than alkaline ones.
  • Leave a trip itinerary with a friend who knows who to call if you are late in returning.”

         Sectionhiker.com, has several other recommendations that the hiker should consider..

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The Great Outdoors

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Guest Post by Lee

The Great Outdoors: Why It’s Great For the Whole Family

We all know that spending time outdoors plays an important role in living a healthy and fulfilling life. Ultimately, that’s what we want for ourselves and our children, right? As our culture has nurtured its relationship with technology, our relationship with nature has been put on the backburner. With mental and physical disease on the rise, it is time to pay more attention to the fact that our often neglected relationship with nature could be a major contributing factor. There are many ways to reconcile this relationship, and the benefits are sure to be felt by the entire family and even the community around you. Adventuring outdoors can be a learning experience that is exciting and liberating, and there are plenty of things to do! But first, let’s look at why outdoor play is important and how exactly you and your family can benefit from it.

The importance of outdoor play

Children and adults alike are spending more time indoors than outdoors on a daily basis, and it could be causing problems with their mental and physical health. According to Kenneth Wright, director of the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the University of Colorado, staying inside all day can contribute to difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, and lower energy levels. Absorbing nutrients provided by the sun such as vitamin-D, aids in our bodies ability to more effectively regulate itself.
Since most of our indoor time is spent in front of a phone, television, or computer screen, children and adults are becoming less and less active. This can lead to weight gain, lethargy, and impaired vision. Richard Ryan, a professional psychologist suggests that even 20 minutes a day can make a large difference in vitality felt by both children and adults. Studies show that wilderness therapy, or outdoor behavioral healthcare, can help to address behavioural and mental health conditions using nature as a therapeutic tool. If you or your child are particularly restless or have a hard time focusing, spending more time outside could help in a number of ways. It also helps exercise imagination in children, facilitates social skills, and provides new learning experiences.

How to incorporate outdoor play into your family’s lifestyle

There are many different ways to incorporate outdoor activity into your family’s lifestyle. Look up the parks in your immediate area and see if there are any of interest to you or your children. If you have the means to go on a big adventure, plan a trip to a National Park! You and your family can take in some incredible scenery and learn about a completely new environment. You may even have one close to you already!
If you want to embrace your creative side, come up with a scavenger hunt and get to exploring. You can even start a garden to be used as an educational tool. An added bonus is that your kids will be able to grow and eat their own food! Even indoor activities such as painting or playing an instrument can be enjoyed out in the yard or at a park. It’s also a great idea to have quiet time outside as taking the time to tune in to your surroundings can have an instant calming effect on the body.

Whether it’s building confidence, promoting creativity, or teaching responsibility, the benefits of outdoor play are many. Now more than ever it is important that we not only engage our children more in nature but ourselves as well. Spending time outdoors can bring a family closer, and there are lessons that are sure to be learned on everyone’s part.

First Ever GOLD GIVEAWAY! Plus EMP Survival Series Available as Box Set!

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My epic saga about an EMP attack in America is now available as a Complete Box Set!  EMP Survival Box Set: Seven Cows, Ugly and Gaunt is now available for Kindle!

CLICK HERE to buy your copy!

 

As always, I’m hosting a giveaway to celebrate the release. For the first time ever, I’m giving away GOLD! I’m also giving away some high-end essential survival gear!

Giveaway Details:

 

One First Prize Winner will win an Almost-Uncirculated 1930 Swiss 20 Franc Gold Coin! This coin contains almost 1/5th ounce of gold and is currently valued at around $300! The First Prize Winner will also receive an autographed copy of Behold Darkness and Sorrow, the first book in the Seven Cows, Ugly and Gaunt Series.

One Second Prize Winner will win an Individual First Aid Kit stocked with an Israeli Battle Dressing, 2 packs of QuickClot, a TK4 Tourniquet, a Combat Application Tourniquet, EMT Shears, as well as gauze and bandages. The Second Prize Winner will also receive an autographed copy of Behold Darkness and Sorrow, the first book in the Seven Cows, Ugly and Gaunt Series.

One Third Prize Winner will win a Baofeng Handheld Ham Radio, which you can use to monitor the Hams in your area, even if you’re not licensed. And my favorite EDC rescue knife, the Columbia River Knife and Tool M16! The Third Prize Winner will also receive an autographed copy of Behold Darkness and Sorrow, the first book in the Seven Cows, Ugly and Gaunt Series.

How to Win:

  1. Leave a review for EMP Survival Box Set: Seven Cows, Ugly and Gaunt on Amazon.com.

 

  1. Send an email including your Amazon screen name that you used for the review to: PrepperRecon@gmail.com. Use EMP Box Giveaway in the subject line.

 

The drawing will be held Friday, February 16. The winners’ Amazon screen name will be posted on PrepperRecon.com to announce that they’ve won. The winners will also be notified via email. Sorry, contest is open to US residents only.

Godspeed in the drawing!

Mark

The post First Ever GOLD GIVEAWAY! Plus EMP Survival Series Available as Box Set! appeared first on Prepper Recon.

WROL in Mexico: What it’s like when people self-govern

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José Santos at a checkpoint near the entrance to Tancítaro. Fed up with both the cartels and the government, the people of Tancítaro pushed out both. Credit Brett Gundlock for The New York Times

A very interesting article about how people are running their own cities and territories as the central government of Mexico fails to deal with the drug cartels and widespread corruption.

Losing Faith in the State, Some Mexican Towns Quietly Break Away

The article is well worth your time but what I take from it is how complex these situations can be. At the end of the day when the government leaves a void regarding safety people have to defend themselves any way they can. Even then, it is not the safe utopia many survivalists often envision in their fantasies:

Monterrey: ‘They Destroyed the Whole Thing’

If Tancítaro seceded with a gun, then the city of Monterrey, home to many top Mexican corporations, did it with a Rolodex and a handshake.

Rather than ejecting institutions, Monterrey’s business elite quietly took them over — all with the blessing of their friends and golf partners in public office.

But their once-remarkable progress is now collapsing. Crime is returning.

“I’m telling you, I have a long career in these matters, and the project I am more proud of than anything is this one in Monterrey,” said Jorge Tello, a security consultant and former head of the national intelligence agency.

“It’s very easy to lose it,” he warned, adding that it may already be too late.

Monterrey’s experiment began over a lunch. Mr. Tello was dining with the governor, who received a call from José Antonio Fernández, the head of Femsa, one of Mexico’s largest companies.

Femsa’s private security guards, while ferrying employees’ children to school, had been attacked by cartel gunmen, he said. Two had died repelling what was most likely a kidnapping attempt.

In many cases the already existing socio-political structures can be used at a local level, but self-governing rather than taking orders from an incompetent and corrupt central government.

It also helps if the region is economically self-sustainable.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Why you want short hair in a fight

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So I was messing around with my oldest son today. As I suppose most dads do, we do these “fights”, just to practice a bit of grappling without punching (ok, just light contact ones). I do let it get a bit rough here and there so as to make it more realistic.

Well, today I was reminded of something. As I was going for his arm he managed to grab my hair and pull me to the side, quickly moved his legs for an arm bar. I must say I’m pretty proud that he thought of that. There’s no “dirty fighting” in a street fight and when training you have to keep it as real as possible while keeping it safe.

Still, the lesson remains that hair long enough to be grabbed can work against you in a fight and its better to keep it rather short.

I’ll be dropping by the barber tomorrow to get a haircut.

When asked how do I want it I’ll just tell them I want it short enough so that it can’t be grabbed. 🙂

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Keeping Food Cool with no electricity.

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We live off grid in a forest, now we have solar power, but for over 20 years we lived with no electricity. I built a coolgardie safe to keep our foods cool.

A coolgardie safe is basically a box with open sides, back & front with a door. The front back & sides are covered in hessian made from old feed sacks. On top of this box is a tray of water. The hessian overlaps into this water tray & the water soaks down through the hessian sides & keeps the inside cool.

A spring house is a building built over or below a spring so that the water flows though this building & keeps the inside cool.

Book Review: Farnham’s Freehold

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In the science fiction world, I am pretty partial to Robert Heinlein, as a matter of fact, I use several selected quotes of his on a routine basis. Therefore, since I am doing reviews of prepper books, to include prepper fiction I had to throw Farnham’s Freehold into the stack of books. As you see from the book’s cover Heinlein knew this book would be a little controversial. It should be understood, that being fiction, the book can take some liberties with reality. The book begins with a nuclear war scenario, and Farnham and family take refuge in his bomb

The post Book Review: Farnham’s Freehold appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Free PDF: Browning Firearm Manuals

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John Moses Browning is the World’s Greatest Gun Inventor he is regarded as one of the most successful firearms designers of the 20th century, in the development of modern automatic and semi–automatic firearms, and is credited with 128 firearm patents. He made his first firearm at age 13 in his father’s gun shop, and was awarded his first patent on October 7, 1879 at the age of 24. Browning is no longer with us, but the Browning Arms Company is.  While it is now a fully owned subsidiary of FN Herstal, its firearms are all over America.  The odds of seeing a Browning firearm at a range, deer

The post Free PDF: Browning Firearm Manuals appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Free PDF: Browning Firearm Manuals

John Moses Browning is the World’s Greatest Gun Inventor he is regarded as one of the most successful firearms designers of the 20th century, in the development of modern automatic and semi–automatic firearms, and is credited with 128 firearm patents. He made his first firearm at age 13 in his father’s gun shop, and was awarded his first patent on October 7, 1879 at the age of 24. Browning is no longer with us, but the Browning Arms Company is.  While it is now a fully owned subsidiary of FN Herstal, its firearms are all over America.  The odds of seeing a Browning firearm at a range, deer

The post Free PDF: Browning Firearm Manuals appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

The Army’s Brand New Sig Sauer P320 Handguns Already have Major Safety & Reliability Issues

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According to a DOD report, the Army’s new service pistol, a military variant of the Sig Sauer P320, is having numerous reliability and safety problems, including drop test failures, ejecting live ammunition, and problems cycling rounds. […]

The post The Army’s Brand New Sig Sauer P320 Handguns Already have Major Safety & Reliability Issues appeared first on Off Grid Survival – Wilderness & Urban Survival Skills.

Does the Flu Vaccine Actually Spread the Flu More? Yes.

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stock here: we have been suspicious of vaccines for quite some time.    Another arm of “Big Pharma”.   Any arm of Big Pharma must be looked at with suspicion. 

I did a flu vaccine this year although I haven’t had flu only once in about 10 years.   The last time was 2016 but that was caused by a flight from Chicago to Honolulu, and 6 people within 10 feet sneezing up a storm like I have never seen even 2 people do on an airplane.   The plane stress and the bombardment took me down hard and wasted like 3 days of business trip. 

———————————————————————————–

Nuclear Industry is Dying, As It Should. Nuke Cheerleaders, Hopelessly Wrong

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Last year was supposed to be a good year for nuclear power ‒ the peak of a mini-renaissance resulting from a large number of reactor construction starts in the three years before the Fukushima disaster. The World Nuclear Association (WNA) anticipated 19 reactor grid connections (start-ups) in 2017 but in fact there were only four start-ups (Chasnupp-4 in Pakistan; Fuqing-4, Yangjiang-4 and Tianwan-3 in China).

The four start-ups were outnumbered by five permanent shut-downs (Kori-1 in South Korea; Oskashamn-1 in Sweden; Gundremmingen-B in Germany; Ohi 1 and 2 in Japan).

The WNA’s estimate for reactor start-ups in 2017 was hopelessly wrong but, for what it’s worth, here are the Association’s projections for start-ups in the coming years:

http://energypost.eu/nuclear-power-in-crisis-welcome-to-the-era-of-nuclear-decommissioning/

Avalanche Survival

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Avalanche!

Avalanche!

An avalanche, also called a “snowslide”, is a mass of snow, ice, and debris sliding rapidly down a mountainside, and is a risk to any winter hiker. Just as a snowball rolling down a hill picks up more snow as it goes, an avalanche can achieve significantly more volume and mass as it travels.

Although they rarely make the news, avalanches cause an average of 28 deaths a year. This event may seem like a rare occurrence, but it happens a lot more often than you’d think; certainly more than, say, shark attacks (which get a lot more press).

Snowslides are part and parcel of the winter wilderness experience, and it pays to know what to do if you’re caught in one.  If you’re not prepared to deal with issues associated with your environment, then you have made it your enemy.  This is not just good advice for skiers or backcountry hikers; anyone driving on mountain roads in winter could get in caught in an avalanche if not prepared.

Avalanches may be caused by simple gravity, a major snowfall, seismic tremors, or human activity. The speed and force of an avalanche may depend on whether the snow is “wet” or “dry powder”. Powder snow avalanches may reach speeds of 190 miles per hour. Wet slides travel slower, but with a great deal of force due to the density of the snowpack.

What Kills An Avalanche Victim?

These members of the 1912 Scott Expedition froze to death, but avalanche victims more likely succumb to trauma or suffocation.

These members of the 1912 Scott Expedition froze to death, but avalanche victims more likely succumb to trauma or suffocation.

You might assume that the main cause of death in this circumstance is freezing to death. There are other ways, however, that are more likely to end the life of an avalanche victim:

Trauma:  serious injury is not uncommon in an avalanche, and not just due to the weight of the snow. Debris, such as rocks, branches, and even entire trees, can be carried along in the cascade and cause life-ending traumatic wounds.

Suffocation:  When buried in the snow, asphyxiation is a major risk.  Densely packed snow is like concrete; many victims may find themselves immobilized and unable to dig themselves out of trouble.

Hypothermia: Hypothermia is, surprisingly, the cause of death of only a small percentage of avalanche victims. It’s much more likely that they will perish due to traumatic injury or suffocation before they freeze to death.

Factors involved in deciding your fate include:

  • The density of the snowpack
  • The presence of air pockets for breathing (or the lack of them)
  • The position of the body in the snow (if not upright, you’ll be disoriented)
  • Traumatic injuries sustained
  • The availability of rescue equipment at the scene

Important Avalanche Survival Basics and Equipment

On any wilderness outing, it makes sense to go prepared. Appropriately warm clothing for the weather is, of course, a basic concern in winter. Food, water, heat packs, spare dry clothing, and a cell phone are just some of the items you should take with you if you’re attempting a mountain hike in January.

In avalanche country, space yourselves out

In avalanche country, space yourselves out

Most backcountry expeditions are best attempted in a group. That goes for avalanche country, as well, except for one thing: Space yourselves out far enough so that there’s not too much weight on any one area of snow. If a member of your party is buried in the snow, know that you have to act quickly to find them and dig them out. It’s unlikely that going for help will end in a successful rescue. Therefore, it’s especially important to have some specialized items in avalanche country.

Recommended gear (besides warm clothing) would include:

PIEPS avalanche beacon

PIEPS avalanche beacon

An avalanche beacon:  A device that emits a pulsed radio signal.  Everyone in the group carries one. If a member gets buried in an avalanche, the rest of the party picks up the signal from under the snow. The receivers interpret the signal into a display that aids the search.

An avalanche shovel:  Lightweight short aluminum shovels that fit inside your backpack and help chop and remove snow and debris on top of a buried hiker. These shovels usually have telescoping shafts. Shovels with D-shaped grips can be used with mittens.

rescue team with avalanche probes

rescue team with avalanche probes

An avalanche probe: Essentially, a stick that helps you pinpoint the exact location of an avalanche victim and see how far down he/she is. 2 meters or more in length, you can use the probe to tell a victim under the snow from the ground; the victim will feel “softer”.

A helmet: Many fatalities occur due to head trauma from rocks and debris flung around by the snow.

Skier’s Air Bags:  Relatively new, these brightly colored air bags auto-inflate with a trigger; they work like a lifejacket to keep you buoyant and, therefore, closer to the surface and easier to find.

Ortovox Skier Air Bags

Ortovox Skier Air Bags

avalanche air bags in action

avalanche air bags in action

What To Do As The Avalanche Starts

83% of avalanches in recreational settings are triggered by the victim. To survive, quick thinking and rapid action will be needed:

Yell: Let everyone in your group know that you’re in trouble. At the very start of the slide, wave your arms and shout as loud as you can to alert as many people as possible to your location.

Move. If you started the avalanche, you may notice a crevice forming in the snow.  Jump uphill of it quickly and you might not get carried off.  If this isn’t an option, run sideways as fast as you can away from the center of the event, which is where the snow will be moving fastest and with the most force.

Get Lighter. Heavier objects sink in snow, so jettison unnecessary heavy equipment so that you’ll be closer to the surface. Throwing off something light isn’t a bad idea either: A loose glove or hat on top of the snow could signal rescuers to your general location and save precious time.  Deploy your avalanche air bag if you have one.

Hug a tree (or rock). If the avalanche is relatively small, you could grab the nearest immobile object and hold on for dear life.  In a very large avalanche, trees and rocks may not be safe anchors; trees can be uprooted by the force of the snowslide.

"Swimming" in an avalanche

“Swimming” in an avalanche

Swim!  To survive an avalanche, the key is to stay as close to the top of the snow as possible. Increase your surface area by spreading your legs (feet downhill) and raising your hands. While in this position, swing your arms while trying to stay on your back (it’s easier to breathe if face up), similar to swimming backstroke.  With any luck, this strategy will keep you towards the surface of the snow.

What To Do If You’re Buried In The Snow

You did your best, but still got completely buried in the snow.  You’ve got maybe 15-30 minutes, on average, before you suffocate.  Snow may be porous, but warm breath melts the snow which then refreezes as solid ice.  This makes breathing difficult.

As the snow slows: The larger the air pocket you have, the longer you’ll survive.  As the snowslide slows to a stop, put one arm in front of your face in such a way as to form a space that will give you the most air. If possible, raise the other arm straight up toward the avalanche surface.  Your glove might signal your location to rescuers.  Expand your chest by inhaling deeply so that you have more room to breathe once the snow has settled.

Once buried: Once you are completely buried, the snowpack may be so dense as to prevent you from moving. Stay calm, in order to use up less oxygen.  If you’re not sure which way is up, spit.  The spit will go towards the ground due to gravity.  If you can move, work to make a bigger air pocket in the direction of the surface.

You’ll only have a second or two to act to avoid most avalanches.  Rapid action, and some basic rescue equipment, may prevent you from being the harsh winter’s latest victim.

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

Find out about how to survive avalanche and just about every other kind of natural disaster, plus much more, in the 700 page Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook!

Winner of the 2017 Book Excellence Award in Medicine

Winner of the 2017 Book Excellence Award in Medicine

Bunker Gumbo

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Although most folks regard me as some sort of Firearms Guru And Resident Montana Love God, I’m slightly more faceted than that. Not much, mind you..but slightly. Some folks think that I like to cook. Not so. I like to eat, cooking is just how I get there. The side effect of that, of course, is that I’m a pretty decent cook.

Chicken Gumbo with a small ball of white rice. All it needs is a few sliced green onions on top for color.

So it’s winter in Montana and, really, who has time to cook? But sometimes you want something satisfying for those cold winter days. A few months back I was at a restaurant with a friend and they had chicken gumbo on the menu. Cool. So I ordered it up and, while good, there was an element missing. I asked the waitress to check with the kitchen and confirm my suspicion. Indeed…there was no okra in the gumbo. Without okra it is not gumbo, it is simply soup. So, I decided I’d start working on a recipe to make my own gumbo.

After a half dozen attempts, which were all pretty good actually, I settled on one recipe which I tweak a little bit here and there. I’m simmering a yuuuuuge batch of it right now. Some will get frozen, and some will get pressure canned. Here’s the recipe as I found it. The original recipe is bold, my comments are not:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening. Screw it, I use butter. Because butter.
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-2 pounds of diced chicken. I used skinless, boneless chicken breast. I like lotsa meat so I usually go with 1.5-2#. Adjust as you see fit.
  • 5 cups chicken broth or stock. I’m lazy, so I use canned.
  • 2 onions, finely chopped. I run it through my Cuisinart to get it nice and fine.
  • 2-3 ribs celery. I cut these into narrow strips and mince them as small as I can.
  • 1 green pepper. Cut up same as celery.
  • 8 tomatoes, diced. Again, lazy. I use 2 cans of diced tomatoes.
  • 1/2 pound okra cut into 1/4″ pieces. I use frozen.
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf. I use a couple more than that.
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt – Way too much salt, IMHO.I use about 1/4 and then salt later in the simmering, or, more often, at the table. Salting too early always seems work out poorly. Salt food as a final step.
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice – I’ll add rice if Im not canning it later. When I do add rice, I add about 3/4 cup. I like a thick gumbo and the rice absorbs excess liquid.
  • Cajun seasoning – not in original recipe. I cook the chicken in this and save some for seasoning during simmering.
  • Hot sauce or Tobasco – Again, not in original. Used for seasoning in the simmering process.

Take the chicken and cut it up into small pieces, kinda like you were doing a stir fry, and cook in butter with a sprinkling of cajun spices. Cook until chicken is no longer translucent. Set chicken aside.

Melt the shortening or butter, and add the flour. Stir over low/med heat until flour is browned. Don’t burn it or you’re screwed.

Add the trinity: onions, peppers, celery and cook until onion is translucent. I usually throw in some more butter.

Add broth slowly, stirring all the while.until it reaches boiling.

Add tomatoes, okra, rice, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf; bring to boil.

Take the cooked chicken and chop it up into the size pieces you want. I run it through my Cuisinart using a dough blade (plastic) instead of the sharp (metal) blade. Shreds it nicely. Add the chicken to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer.

How long? I let it go for a couple hours but its up to you.

In the simmering, I’ll add a little hot sauce or Tabasco to give it some body. Use your own discretion. You can also add more Cajun/Creole seasoning during the simmer process to really dial it in.

I don’t use the rice in the cooking process because in canning, the rice gets mushy. If I want rice I’ll cook some up and add it to the gumbo at the time I’m consuming it.

I usually add a couple more bay leaves than called for. Depending on how thick or thin you want your gumbo, simmering uncovered will reduce it or you can add some uncooked rice to suck up excess liquid. For storage, more liquid seems to work out better for reheating purposes.

And. of course, time to break out the Manhattan Project gear and can this stuff…

Looks like a SADM looking for a place to happen.

The canner is an All American #925. It should be called All Your American Money. It’s wildy expensive but it is literally built to last a lifetime. Holds 19 pints or 7 quarts. No gasket to replace. Here to stay, built to last. Pay alot, cry once. Zero recommends.

If you don’t have a good pressure canner, I highly recommend this one. It has worked flawlessly for me in the almost-ten-years I’ve had it. It lets you can a large amount of food and can double as an autoclave. (And probably as a water distillation device with the proper tubing.)

And , yes, there probably shoulda been some Andouille in there but it isn’t easy to find good sausage.

Bunker Gumbo

Although most folks regard me as some sort of Firearms Guru And Resident Montana Love God, I’m slightly more faceted than that. Not much, mind you..but slightly. Some folks think that I like to cook. Not so. I like to eat, cooking is just how I get there. The side effect of that, of course, is that I’m a pretty decent cook.

Chicken Gumbo with a small ball of white rice. All it needs is a few sliced green onions on top for color.

So it’s winter in Montana and, really, who has time to cook? But sometimes you want something satisfying for those cold winter days. A few months back I was at a restaurant with a friend and they had chicken gumbo on the menu. Cool. So I ordered it up and, while good, there was an element missing. I asked the waitress to check with the kitchen and confirm my suspicion. Indeed…there was no okra in the gumbo. Without okra it is not gumbo, it is simply soup. So, I decided I’d start working on a recipe to make my own gumbo.

After a half dozen attempts, which were all pretty good actually, I settled on one recipe which I tweak a little bit here and there. I’m simmering a yuuuuuge batch of it right now. Some will get frozen, and some will get pressure canned. Here’s the recipe as I found it. The original recipe is bold, my comments are not:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening. Screw it, I use butter. Because butter.
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-2 pounds of diced chicken. I used skinless, boneless chicken breast. I like lotsa meat so I usually go with 1.5-2#. Adjust as you see fit.
  • 5 cups chicken broth or stock. I’m lazy, so I use canned.
  • 2 onions, finely chopped. I run it through my Cuisinart to get it nice and fine.
  • 2-3 ribs celery. I cut these into narrow strips and mince them as small as I can.
  • 1 green pepper. Cut up same as celery.
  • 8 tomatoes, diced. Again, lazy. I use 2 cans of diced tomatoes.
  • 1/2 pound okra cut into 1/4″ pieces. I use frozen.
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf. I use a couple more than that.
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt – Way too much salt, IMHO.I use about 1/4 and then salt later in the simmering, or, more often, at the table. Salting too early always seems work out poorly. Salt food as a final step.
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice – I’ll add rice if Im not canning it later. When I do add rice, I add about 3/4 cup. I like a thick gumbo and the rice absorbs excess liquid.
  • Cajun seasoning – not in original recipe. I cook the chicken in this and save some for seasoning during simmering.
  • Hot sauce or Tobasco – Again, not in original. Used for seasoning in the simmering process.

Take the chicken and cut it up into small pieces, kinda like you were doing a stir fry, and cook in butter with a sprinkling of cajun spices. Cook until chicken is no longer translucent. Set chicken aside.

Melt the shortening or butter, and add the flour. Stir over low/med heat until flour is browned. Don’t burn it or you’re screwed.

Add the trinity: onions, peppers, celery and cook until onion is translucent. I usually throw in some more butter.

Add broth slowly, stirring all the while.until it reaches boiling.

Add tomatoes, okra, rice, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf; bring to boil.

Take the cooked chicken and chop it up into the size pieces you want. I run it through my Cuisinart using a dough blade (plastic) instead of the sharp (metal) blade. Shreds it nicely. Add the chicken to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer.

How long? I let it go for a couple hours but its up to you.

In the simmering, I’ll add a little hot sauce or Tabasco to give it some body. Use your own discretion. You can also add more Cajun/Creole seasoning during the simmer process to really dial it in.

I don’t use the rice in the cooking process because in canning, the rice gets mushy. If I want rice I’ll cook some up and add it to the gumbo at the time I’m consuming it.

I usually add a couple more bay leaves than called for. Depending on how thick or thin you want your gumbo, simmering uncovered will reduce it or you can add some uncooked rice to suck up excess liquid. For storage, more liquid seems to work out better for reheating purposes.

And. of course, time to break out the Manhattan Project gear and can this stuff…

Looks like a SADM looking for a place to happen.

The canner is an All American #925. It should be called All Your American Money. It’s wildy expensive but it is literally built to last a lifetime. Holds 19 pints or 7 quarts. No gasket to replace. Here to stay, built to last. Pay alot, cry once. Zero recommends.

If you don’t have a good pressure canner, I highly recommend this one. It has worked flawlessly for me in the almost-ten-years I’ve had it. It lets you can a large amount of food and can double as an autoclave. (And probably as a water distillation device with the proper tubing.)

And , yes, there probably shoulda been some Andouille in there but it isn’t easy to find good sausage.

Creeping Phlox, Mounding Phlox: Easy To Grow Perennial Plants

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The post Creeping Phlox, Mounding Phlox: Easy To Grow Perennial Plants is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

In shades of white, pink, red, purple and blue, phlox is an incredibly popular, brilliantly-flowered ornamental plant. Whether it’s creeping phlox spreading out to become a beautiful ground cover, or a mounding phlox plant in the garden, these delicate flowers are definitely a sight to behold. The term “phlox” originates with the Greek word for … Read more

The post Creeping Phlox, Mounding Phlox: Easy To Grow Perennial Plants is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Weeding Our Homeschool (and the Living Books Curriculum that Cultivates Good Soil)

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Weeding Our Homeschool (and the Living Books Curriculum that Cultivates Good Soil) When it comes to homeschooling its a choice today but in the future it could become a necessity. In our blooming economy we are still seeing schools closing. We are still a nation filled with failing schools. Imagine what education would be if …

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The post Weeding Our Homeschool (and the Living Books Curriculum that Cultivates Good Soil) appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

The Incredibly Simple Bug-Out Bag: What You Must Know

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The Incredibly Simple Bug-Out Bag: What You Must Know There will come a time when you are considering the bugout. Now you may opt to weather the storm but you will at least have a moment when the bugout sounds really appealing. Maybe its the human element encroaching on your safety or maybe its mother …

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25 DIY Weekend Preparedness Projects

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25 DIY Weekend Preparedness Projects What are you doing with your time? Huh? How much time do you spend doing the things you like and how much time do you spend doing the things you need to be doing? A lot of the reason why people waste time is because they have not set up …

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Facebook and Google Promise Congress They’ll Brainwash You With Their Own Counter Propaganda

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Facebook and Google Promise Congress They’ll Brainwash You With Their Own Counter Propaganda What is happening with social media? For many preppers social media is something they don’t even participate in. I must remind you that no man is an island and while you might be avoiding these apps and platforms. You need to understand …

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What Your Grandmother Knew…

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One evening a grandson was talking to his grandmother about current events. The grandson asked his grandmother what she thought about the computer age, and just things in general. The Grandmother replied,   Well, let me think a minute, I was born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill. There were no credit cards, laser beams or ball-point pens. Man had not yet invented pantyhose, air conditioners, dishwashers, or clothes dryers. Clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and man hadn’t yet walked on the moon. Your Grandfather and I

The post What Your Grandmother Knew… appeared first on Modern Survival Blog.

What Your Grandmother Knew…

One evening a grandson was talking to his grandmother about current events. The grandson asked his grandmother what she thought about the computer age, and just things in general. The Grandmother replied,   Well, let me think a minute, I was born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill. There were no credit cards, laser beams or ball-point pens. Man had not yet invented pantyhose, air conditioners, dishwashers, or clothes dryers. Clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and man hadn’t yet walked on the moon. Your Grandfather and I

The post What Your Grandmother Knew… appeared first on Modern Survival Blog.

Guide to Edible Bark: Using Trees for Medicine & Food

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edible bark tree medicine foodWhen people think of edible plants, trees and bark are probably not very high on the list of what comes to mind. Sure, using bark as a major food source is only something you’d do in the most desperate imaginable survival situations. However, regardless of whether you’re in a survival situation or not, bark and. . . Read More

How To Find And Use Quartz For Survival

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When the body of Otzi the Iceman was discovered frozen in the Italian Alps, a window opened, and that window gave us a glimpse of survival EDC (Every Day Carry) in 3200 BCE.

It was one more step to understanding that if we want to better master any survival skills, we must roll up our sleeves and learn the basics.

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front):

  • Even throwing smaller rocks at larger ones produces usable fragments sharp enough to prepare dinner with or scrape hides, so do not make this more complicated that necessary getting started.
  • Finding varieties of quartz is not difficult in most of the world. If you find a rock that is common and scratches glass, chances are you are holding some type of quartz.
  • Quartz crystals are like naturally occurring handle drill bits. Set one in a spindle and you are in the primitive hole drilling business.
  • The time to learn flintknapping and other first skills is before you find yourself in a survival situation.

 Quartz as a Survival Resource

Maybe Otzi was one of your ancestors. According to granddaddies of primitive survival like Larry Dean Olsen, Dave Wescott and David Holladay, even if Otzi wasn’t a relative of yours, everyone living today has ancestors who used stone tools.

They teach that primitive skills are really “first skills” and are the foundation upon which modern survival skills are built. Just as studying the origins of science gives us powerful insight into everything built on top of them, if we want to understand survival skills, we must roll up our sleeves and learn the basics.

Once you can survive with only what the earth provides, you will be that much more effective with modern tools, the resources available to you in built areas or with what others have left behind in the wilderness.

Otzi’s equipment tells us a great deal. While he carried a copper axe with a two-foot haft carved from yew and a narrow head, he also carried a knife with a flint blade mounted to an ash handle, an antler tool for flint knapping and arrows tipped with flint, so he had tools of copper and stone.

Forgotten Techniques Of The Old West

One of the most interesting pieces of gear to me was his fire kit, in which flint also played a role. The extreme hardness of flint enabled Otzi to use his knife to strike iron pyrite in much the same way flint and steel is used to start fires.

His flint knife was his ‘striker,’ iron pyrite was his ‘steel’ and charred tinder fungus was his ‘char or char cloth.’

Survival Uses for Quartz

Here comes the next question: how many uses can quarts have if used for survival?

  • Fire Striker – The extreme hardness of quartz enables it to be used to strike sparks from iron pyrite.
  • Edged Tools – Quartz-based rocks can be worked into a variety of shapes and produce serviceable cutting tools and scrapers.
  • Projectile & Spear Points – Arrows and atlatl (spear thrower) darts penetrate deeper and cause greater blood loss when tipped with projectile points which is crucial for hunting medium and big game and for use against predators or two-legged varmints.
  • Quartz Tipped Hand Drills – Drilling precise holes can be a real chore without modern tools. Hardwood drill bits can be tipped with quartz, quartz crystals or small crushed crystals can be used as an abrasive compound to polish or abrade a hole in any softer material which, in the case of quartz, is most other abundant naturally occurring materials. Hand, bow or pump drills can be used to drive the drill bit.

How to Find Quartz

Since quartz in one of the Earth’s most abundant minerals, it is not particularly hard to find. Quartz is composed of silicon dioxide and all silicates are derived from quartz, making up around 12% of the earth’s crust.

Quartz is a crystal and crystals are not much good for knapping tools such as knives since they fracture along faces, producing edges that are not sharp enough to work with effectively, but quartz crystals do make effective drill bits. Tools knapped out of quartz crystal are beautiful, but with few exceptions, they are sharp or durable enough to be very useful.

For flintknapping tools, more homogeneous rock that can be flaked into very sharp edges is needed. Two cryptocrystalline varieties of quartz that both have wonderful properties for flintknapping are flint and chert.

Flint and chert are fine-grained sedimentary rocks composed of cryptocrystalline or microcrystalline silica, so depending on its origin, it can contain microfossils and/or small macrofossils. Flint and chert have a similar, fine-grained appearance and both can vary a great deal in color and both form in nodules.

Telling them apart is more relevant to geology than survival since they are both good for the same things, but flint typically has a lighter colored crust around nodules of flint, whereas chert does not. Quartzite can also be suitable.

Strikers for Flint and Steel

I wouldn’t be caught dead without a zircon ceramic bead on my person that is a wonderful striker for ferro rods or flint and steel and can also shatter tempered glass such as the side and rear windows of cars, but even if I’m turned loose with just the skin on my back, I know I can find a rock to use as a striker.

Any rock or mineral of 7 (softer than hardened steel) or harder, on the Mohs Scale of mineral hardness, will serve in the role if striker. The Mohs scale uses a simple test to determine hardness which is that harder materials can visibly scratch softer materials, but the reverse is not true.

If you can scratch glass with a rock (which is a, you have your striker. On the Mohs Scale, iron is a 4, steel is 4-4.5, obsidian or volcanic glass is a 5 and manufactured glass is 5.5 and quartz is a 7. Since quartz is harder than steel, it can be used to flake hot sparks from steel.

Quartz is the hardest natural material that is easy to find, which gives it great utility. Flint and chert produce sparks reliably enough that they have been used as the mechanism of ignition for the many types of flintlock firearms since at least the fifteenth century.

Flint and Chert Nodules in Limestone and Sandstone

Nodules of chert can often be found embedded in limestone and sandstone. To get at them, you will need to break away the limestone or sandstone using a hammer rock or a large or by dropping the sedimentary rock containing flint or chert nodules on an anvil rock.

For flintknapping, the best rock is brittle and uniform in structure with the fewest possible flaws. Since chert and flint are so fine-grained, they are better than crystalline quartz if available. Tap rocks that you think might be suitable with a hard object. Candidates that strike a higher note are typically better material.

In a survival situation, you may have to do whatever is necessary to save lives, but if you find chert cores surrounded by flakes and chips, realize that they are part of an archeological site and should be left undisturbed if you are training.

Quartz Deposits

In the Southwest Desert, white veins of quartz are often visible in mountainsides and hills, sometimes at a considerable distance, which can save a lot of leg work, so scan hillsides. Veins of quartz may yield crystals or pieces that are more homogenous looking without grains and the fewest possible flaws.

They will be milky in color, often milky white and I have found many quartz and chert projectile points, and pressure flakes from the manufacturing process used to make them, hiking the desert Southwest. When you find a rock that produces good pressure flakes or small, controllable chips when struck, as opposed to shattering, you are in business.

Quartzite

Quartzite is a metamorphic rock formed from quartz sandstone by exposure to heat and pressure. The surface can be grainy, glassy and speckled by the grains of sand that were fused to make quartzite or may feature elongated crystals that are fused together.

Quartzite it very hard and angular. There is quartzite along the Wasatch Front of the Rockies, in the Appalachians, Idaho, Arizona, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, South Eastern California and Central Texas.

How to Make Survival Tools

It is a mistake to overly complicate the construction of stone tools when starting out. Making basic stone tools is literally as simple as striking two stones together. If you use the right type of stone, throwing smaller rocks at larger ones produces useable fragments capable of basic tasks like preparing game, processing plants and scraping hides.

video first seen on Wannabe Bushcrafter

From this humble starting point, you can begin improving your technique, but that is all you need to get started surviving.

Quartz Crystal Hand Drill

Putting an eye in a bone needle or fishhook, creating a divot in a bearing block or hearth board for a fire kit, putting a hole in a seashell, an antler button or piece of turtle shell are all examples of challenges faced in primitive tool making.

A quartz crystal-tipped hand drill is an effective tool for any of these tasks and is capable of drilling neat holes.

Constructing this tool is very simple with the right shape of quartz crystal. Just construct a suitable spindle and sand the business end flat on a rock. Drill a socket in to the flat face of the tip of the spindle by hand using the crystal.

Fire harden the spindle. Then glue the crystal in place using the best glue available. If you have hide available, hide glue will work best. If you do not have easy access to materials for hide glue, pitch will due in a pinch.

Flintknapping

Flintknapping is the art of making flaked or chipped stone tools. The key is to control the way rocks break when struck or pressure flaked.

Modern flintknapping was largely researched and revived by a man named Larry Dean Olsen back in the 60’s and 70’s. Olsen divided stonework techniques into: pressure flaking, percussion flaking, pecking or crumbling and abrading. I recommend you read Mr. Olsen’s book titled, Outdoor Survival Skills and tap into the primitive skills community before you learn pressure flaking.

Since the scope of this article is limited to quartz, percussion flaking is most effective to produce flakes and blanks from quartz which are then refined through pressure flaking. Flint, chert and quartzite are varieties of quartz that can be suitable for flintknapping.

With glassy rocks, such as jasper (a gemstone variety of a type of quartz called chalcedony with a hardness of 6.5-7) and obsidian, percussion flaking using a punch and hammerstone is effective. With flint and chert, pressure flaking is effective.

Flintknapping is dangerous and I do not recommend you take your first crack at it in a survival situation. Cutting yourself will turn an already lousy situation even more dire in a hurry. In a survival situation,

I recommend sticking to the very basics and breaking smaller rocks on larger ones to produce the few cutting tools you need to feed yourself if you are out so long it becomes necessary unless you are already an experienced flintknapper.

Flintknapping Tools and Materials

I will list flintknapping tools and their purposes, which will teach you much of what you need to get started training, but you are not going to learn what you need to know in one article.

  • Core – A nodule or rock suitable for flintknapping and too large to be suitable as a blank.
  • Flake – Flakes are smaller convex pieces of stone knocked or flaked off larger cores or blanks with a hammerstone.
  • Blank – A flake being worked into a tool.
  • Hammerstone – A hammerstone, antler baton (strike with area where the antler joined the skull) or billet (dense cylindrical stone) used in percussion flaking. A good hammerstone is a dense round stone that fits your hand.
  • Anvil Stone – A larger dense, but softer stone, upon which the stone to be worked is placed and worked.
  • Punch – The tip of an antler with a flat base that is struck with a hammerstone to produce percussion flakes.
  • Limestone or Sandstone Slab – Used for abrading and grinding stones softer than quartz.
  • Pressure Flaker – An antler tool used to pressure flake stone, typically approximately a foot in length. Alternately, a piece of bone or tooth can be socketed into a wooden handle. A pressure flaker should have a chisel-shaped point to secure purchase on the stone blank.
  • Fine-Tipped Pressure Flaker – A fine tipped pressure flaker for precise flaking such as the notches on projectile points where they will be lashed to the shaft of the projectile.
  • Pad – A pad of leather, bark, moss or similar material used in conjunction with a pressure flaker. The pad protects the palm, heel of the hand and fingers from the stone being worked.
  • Protective Equipment – Flakes can be surprisingly sharp, so gloves and hide or similar material to protect your hands and legs is needed. I also recommend wearing eye protection. You should also work in a well-ventilated area.

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

How To Find And Use Quartz For Survival

When the body of Otzi the Iceman was discovered frozen in the Italian Alps, a window opened, and that window gave us a glimpse of survival EDC (Every Day Carry) in 3200 BCE.

It was one more step to understanding that if we want to better master any survival skills, we must roll up our sleeves and learn the basics.

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front):

  • Even throwing smaller rocks at larger ones produces usable fragments sharp enough to prepare dinner with or scrape hides, so do not make this more complicated that necessary getting started.
  • Finding varieties of quartz is not difficult in most of the world. If you find a rock that is common and scratches glass, chances are you are holding some type of quartz.
  • Quartz crystals are like naturally occurring handle drill bits. Set one in a spindle and you are in the primitive hole drilling business.
  • The time to learn flintknapping and other first skills is before you find yourself in a survival situation.

 Quartz as a Survival Resource

Maybe Otzi was one of your ancestors. According to granddaddies of primitive survival like Larry Dean Olsen, Dave Wescott and David Holladay, even if Otzi wasn’t a relative of yours, everyone living today has ancestors who used stone tools.

They teach that primitive skills are really “first skills” and are the foundation upon which modern survival skills are built. Just as studying the origins of science gives us powerful insight into everything built on top of them, if we want to understand survival skills, we must roll up our sleeves and learn the basics.

Once you can survive with only what the earth provides, you will be that much more effective with modern tools, the resources available to you in built areas or with what others have left behind in the wilderness.

Otzi’s equipment tells us a great deal. While he carried a copper axe with a two-foot haft carved from yew and a narrow head, he also carried a knife with a flint blade mounted to an ash handle, an antler tool for flint knapping and arrows tipped with flint, so he had tools of copper and stone.

Forgotten Techniques Of The Old West

One of the most interesting pieces of gear to me was his fire kit, in which flint also played a role. The extreme hardness of flint enabled Otzi to use his knife to strike iron pyrite in much the same way flint and steel is used to start fires.

His flint knife was his ‘striker,’ iron pyrite was his ‘steel’ and charred tinder fungus was his ‘char or char cloth.’

Survival Uses for Quartz

Here comes the next question: how many uses can quarts have if used for survival?

  • Fire Striker – The extreme hardness of quartz enables it to be used to strike sparks from iron pyrite.
  • Edged Tools – Quartz-based rocks can be worked into a variety of shapes and produce serviceable cutting tools and scrapers.
  • Projectile & Spear Points – Arrows and atlatl (spear thrower) darts penetrate deeper and cause greater blood loss when tipped with projectile points which is crucial for hunting medium and big game and for use against predators or two-legged varmints.
  • Quartz Tipped Hand Drills – Drilling precise holes can be a real chore without modern tools. Hardwood drill bits can be tipped with quartz, quartz crystals or small crushed crystals can be used as an abrasive compound to polish or abrade a hole in any softer material which, in the case of quartz, is most other abundant naturally occurring materials. Hand, bow or pump drills can be used to drive the drill bit.

How to Find Quartz

Since quartz in one of the Earth’s most abundant minerals, it is not particularly hard to find. Quartz is composed of silicon dioxide and all silicates are derived from quartz, making up around 12% of the earth’s crust.

Quartz is a crystal and crystals are not much good for knapping tools such as knives since they fracture along faces, producing edges that are not sharp enough to work with effectively, but quartz crystals do make effective drill bits. Tools knapped out of quartz crystal are beautiful, but with few exceptions, they are sharp or durable enough to be very useful.

For flintknapping tools, more homogeneous rock that can be flaked into very sharp edges is needed. Two cryptocrystalline varieties of quartz that both have wonderful properties for flintknapping are flint and chert.

Flint and chert are fine-grained sedimentary rocks composed of cryptocrystalline or microcrystalline silica, so depending on its origin, it can contain microfossils and/or small macrofossils. Flint and chert have a similar, fine-grained appearance and both can vary a great deal in color and both form in nodules.

Telling them apart is more relevant to geology than survival since they are both good for the same things, but flint typically has a lighter colored crust around nodules of flint, whereas chert does not. Quartzite can also be suitable.

Strikers for Flint and Steel

I wouldn’t be caught dead without a zircon ceramic bead on my person that is a wonderful striker for ferro rods or flint and steel and can also shatter tempered glass such as the side and rear windows of cars, but even if I’m turned loose with just the skin on my back, I know I can find a rock to use as a striker.

Any rock or mineral of 7 (softer than hardened steel) or harder, on the Mohs Scale of mineral hardness, will serve in the role if striker. The Mohs scale uses a simple test to determine hardness which is that harder materials can visibly scratch softer materials, but the reverse is not true.

If you can scratch glass with a rock (which is a, you have your striker. On the Mohs Scale, iron is a 4, steel is 4-4.5, obsidian or volcanic glass is a 5 and manufactured glass is 5.5 and quartz is a 7. Since quartz is harder than steel, it can be used to flake hot sparks from steel.

Quartz is the hardest natural material that is easy to find, which gives it great utility. Flint and chert produce sparks reliably enough that they have been used as the mechanism of ignition for the many types of flintlock firearms since at least the fifteenth century.

Flint and Chert Nodules in Limestone and Sandstone

Nodules of chert can often be found embedded in limestone and sandstone. To get at them, you will need to break away the limestone or sandstone using a hammer rock or a large or by dropping the sedimentary rock containing flint or chert nodules on an anvil rock.

For flintknapping, the best rock is brittle and uniform in structure with the fewest possible flaws. Since chert and flint are so fine-grained, they are better than crystalline quartz if available. Tap rocks that you think might be suitable with a hard object. Candidates that strike a higher note are typically better material.

In a survival situation, you may have to do whatever is necessary to save lives, but if you find chert cores surrounded by flakes and chips, realize that they are part of an archeological site and should be left undisturbed if you are training.

Quartz Deposits

In the Southwest Desert, white veins of quartz are often visible in mountainsides and hills, sometimes at a considerable distance, which can save a lot of leg work, so scan hillsides. Veins of quartz may yield crystals or pieces that are more homogenous looking without grains and the fewest possible flaws.

They will be milky in color, often milky white and I have found many quartz and chert projectile points, and pressure flakes from the manufacturing process used to make them, hiking the desert Southwest. When you find a rock that produces good pressure flakes or small, controllable chips when struck, as opposed to shattering, you are in business.

Quartzite

Quartzite is a metamorphic rock formed from quartz sandstone by exposure to heat and pressure. The surface can be grainy, glassy and speckled by the grains of sand that were fused to make quartzite or may feature elongated crystals that are fused together.

Quartzite it very hard and angular. There is quartzite along the Wasatch Front of the Rockies, in the Appalachians, Idaho, Arizona, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, South Eastern California and Central Texas.

How to Make Survival Tools

It is a mistake to overly complicate the construction of stone tools when starting out. Making basic stone tools is literally as simple as striking two stones together. If you use the right type of stone, throwing smaller rocks at larger ones produces useable fragments capable of basic tasks like preparing game, processing plants and scraping hides.

video first seen on Wannabe Bushcrafter

From this humble starting point, you can begin improving your technique, but that is all you need to get started surviving.

Quartz Crystal Hand Drill

Putting an eye in a bone needle or fishhook, creating a divot in a bearing block or hearth board for a fire kit, putting a hole in a seashell, an antler button or piece of turtle shell are all examples of challenges faced in primitive tool making.

A quartz crystal-tipped hand drill is an effective tool for any of these tasks and is capable of drilling neat holes.

Constructing this tool is very simple with the right shape of quartz crystal. Just construct a suitable spindle and sand the business end flat on a rock. Drill a socket in to the flat face of the tip of the spindle by hand using the crystal.

Fire harden the spindle. Then glue the crystal in place using the best glue available. If you have hide available, hide glue will work best. If you do not have easy access to materials for hide glue, pitch will due in a pinch.

Flintknapping

Flintknapping is the art of making flaked or chipped stone tools. The key is to control the way rocks break when struck or pressure flaked.

Modern flintknapping was largely researched and revived by a man named Larry Dean Olsen back in the 60’s and 70’s. Olsen divided stonework techniques into: pressure flaking, percussion flaking, pecking or crumbling and abrading. I recommend you read Mr. Olsen’s book titled, Outdoor Survival Skills and tap into the primitive skills community before you learn pressure flaking.

Since the scope of this article is limited to quartz, percussion flaking is most effective to produce flakes and blanks from quartz which are then refined through pressure flaking. Flint, chert and quartzite are varieties of quartz that can be suitable for flintknapping.

With glassy rocks, such as jasper (a gemstone variety of a type of quartz called chalcedony with a hardness of 6.5-7) and obsidian, percussion flaking using a punch and hammerstone is effective. With flint and chert, pressure flaking is effective.

Flintknapping is dangerous and I do not recommend you take your first crack at it in a survival situation. Cutting yourself will turn an already lousy situation even more dire in a hurry. In a survival situation,

I recommend sticking to the very basics and breaking smaller rocks on larger ones to produce the few cutting tools you need to feed yourself if you are out so long it becomes necessary unless you are already an experienced flintknapper.

Flintknapping Tools and Materials

I will list flintknapping tools and their purposes, which will teach you much of what you need to get started training, but you are not going to learn what you need to know in one article.

  • Core – A nodule or rock suitable for flintknapping and too large to be suitable as a blank.
  • Flake – Flakes are smaller convex pieces of stone knocked or flaked off larger cores or blanks with a hammerstone.
  • Blank – A flake being worked into a tool.
  • Hammerstone – A hammerstone, antler baton (strike with area where the antler joined the skull) or billet (dense cylindrical stone) used in percussion flaking. A good hammerstone is a dense round stone that fits your hand.
  • Anvil Stone – A larger dense, but softer stone, upon which the stone to be worked is placed and worked.
  • Punch – The tip of an antler with a flat base that is struck with a hammerstone to produce percussion flakes.
  • Limestone or Sandstone Slab – Used for abrading and grinding stones softer than quartz.
  • Pressure Flaker – An antler tool used to pressure flake stone, typically approximately a foot in length. Alternately, a piece of bone or tooth can be socketed into a wooden handle. A pressure flaker should have a chisel-shaped point to secure purchase on the stone blank.
  • Fine-Tipped Pressure Flaker – A fine tipped pressure flaker for precise flaking such as the notches on projectile points where they will be lashed to the shaft of the projectile.
  • Pad – A pad of leather, bark, moss or similar material used in conjunction with a pressure flaker. The pad protects the palm, heel of the hand and fingers from the stone being worked.
  • Protective Equipment – Flakes can be surprisingly sharp, so gloves and hide or similar material to protect your hands and legs is needed. I also recommend wearing eye protection. You should also work in a well-ventilated area.

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

Extending the Growing Season (Your Answers to the Question of the Month!)

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What’s your favorite trick for extending the growing season?

In January 2018, we asked you to share your favorite tricks for extending the growing season. Read on to learn our Community’s best season-extension tips!

Use Enclosures, Covers, and Windbreaks

Lots of you use various types of plant covers to extend the season, whether you’re growing in a greenhouse or hoop house, under a floating row cover or cold frame, or even—as Emily Sandstrom does—in a wheelbarrow with holes drilled in the bottom that she then covers in plastic overnight. The real beauty of Emily’s method is that it also allows her to wheel her mini “greenhouse” into a warmer area if it’s really going to get cold, and she doesn’t have to do a lot of bending and kneeling: “Just put the wheelbarrow on something that makes it the height you want,” she says.

We got some really creative suggestions for DIY enclosures, too.

  • Vikki Blalock uses raised beds and makes her own medium hoop houses with homemade tomato cages and thick-gauge roll plastic.
  • Dee creates a warmer growing space by looping 40 feet of gutter heat tape back and forth (but without touching itself) in a 5 foot-by-8 foot space. She tops it with a foot of good soil and then builds a low hoop house over that with PVC, rebar, and 6mm clear plastic sheeting. Dee then hangs two brooder lamps inside and places a 5-gallon bucket full of water to add humidity and trap bugs. She says she “learned to do this when raising competition pumpkins” and that it lets her get a 6–8 week head start on the growing season, minimum.
  • Terri from Northeast Ohio has a wire-enclosed raised bed that gives her about 150 square feet of room. When the weather turns chilly, she wraps the whole exterior in bubble wrap, and says it “works great well into December.”
  • Greta in Kentucky saves 1-gallon water jugs all year long and cuts out the bottoms, leaving the plastic screw tops in place. When things start turning cold outside, she presses a round electric fence post into the ground at the end of each garden row and hangs jugs through their handles on the post. This keeps them from blowing around the farm. “Anything that needs warmer soil and protection against cold air and frost gets a ‘mini greenhouse’ in the evening, if needed,” she adds. “If I can’t be out first thing in the morning I pop the caps off the top to keep hot air from building up when the sun hits them. This works for vines after planting, too.”
  • John varies what he uses by time of year. To start earlier in the spring, he uses garden fabric, plus Wall O’ Waters for his early tomatoes. To extend his season into the fall and winter, he uses garden fabric combined with plastic-covered low tunnels.
  • Rick P. warms the soil in his raised beds with black plastic sheets, in addition to using a homemade cold frame.
  • Sandra Forrester in Northeast New Mexico uses tires to protect her plants. “The tire is not used as a planter to hold the soil, but simply as a plant perimeter wall. It acts as a windbreak and creates a microclimate. Plus, we can easily cover the tires with gardening cloth for added warmth.” Sandra says that, for taller plants, she inserts chicken wire (or other wire fencing) around the inside perimeter of the tire to make a cage and covers that with cloth to create a makeshift cold frame. “We stack two tires for plants that need more support. Works like a charm all year round and we’ve found a use for the tires, which are a free resource.”
  • In Northwest Central Texas, Rufus creates raised beds out of tires stacked two or three high. “They warm the ground faster in early spring. and the sidewalls hold water longer than just dirt.” He adds that the height makes weeding easier, since there’s not so much need to stoop over. Like Sandra, he also uses wire cages to “keep the West Texas wind from ripping things apart and hold a shade if need be.”

Grow Cold-Hardy Varieties

Many of you use multiple methods to cheat frost in the garden, and one that several of you mentioned was choosing cold-hardy varieties – or creating your own by letting plants self-seed and produce volunteers the following spring.

  • “I do the research!” says Elaine Kettring. “What plants are cold hardy? Collards and many green leafy vegetables—especially the ones with crinkled leaves. The more crinkled, the more cold hardy.” She adds that she’s had good cold-weather success with drumhead cabbage, the salad green Mâche, and Blue Max for collards.
  • Bunkey in Tobermory, Canada, says, “I let most of my plants self-seed. Volunteers always do better than ones I plant.”
  • Kathy Harbert in Missouri tosses lettuce seeds onto late-winter snow. She says she always gets a nice bed of early leaf lettuce that way.

Warm the Soil With Mulch

Many of you also cover the soil with deep mulch to extend the season.

  • Deep rich mulch helps my black clay soil warm up more quickly in the spring,” says Jeannie. “I can plant earlier and avoid the stress on the roots.”
  • Carol uses raked leaves as mulch on her raised bed in late fall and winter.
  • Bunkey, who has a Back to Eden garden, says, “I plant my garlic and potatoes under the mulch in the fall, making sure they are well covered. What joy, as they pop up as soon as the soil is warm enough for them in spring. I never have to break my back digging for potatoes—as long as the mulch excludes the light and frost, they are happy and productive!”
  • Kathy Harbert lays black plastic or reusable landscape cloth down in early spring to kill weeds and help warm the soil.
  • Burt Crew uses wheat straw from a local farmer for mulch. He also adds it to his chicken coop and run for use as mulch later.

Grow in Containers

Several of our Community members start seeds in pots—or grow them in containers all year long!

  • Crystal in mid-coast Maine says, “I attended Peter Burke’s talk and then read his book Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening. I now have a ready supply of shoots (not quite microgreens, but close). It is easy to do—no grow lights required. Plant seeds in the soil mix he recommends, put them in the dark for four days, then put them in natural light (even a north window) for 3–5 days. My one-year-old grandson loves picking and eating my shoots—even the spicy radish shoots.”
  • “I grow in containers and cheat the weather, so my season is 12 months,” says Charles A. Pledge. “I find I cannot extend that. I have a 900-square-foot inside growing area and am adding 256 more square feet in late winter. Plus, I am adding about 800 square feet in the form of a roof-covered shed to protect from frost and may rough part of that in and add heat to get extra freeze time eliminated. “
  • Debbie starts seeds indoors, then transplants them once the weather warms up enough. “I start seeds inside in repurposed food containers or whatever else I can find that will hold a little dirt. I find they need heat and light—lots of light to grow well. In spite of being by a double window, I shine several regular light bulbs in inexpensive, portable light fixtures on them. I know you are supposed to use grow lights, but I am just supplementing the sunlight for a couple of months to keep the plants from getting too leggy, and they seem to do okay.” Debbie then moves her plants outdoors into a PVC enclosure wrapped in clear plastic, and transplants them once the ground is warm enough.

Create Zones

Some of you contour the earth so that it works as an ally in protecting plants from frost damage.

“We extend by building multiple tiered beds,” says Marianne Cicala. “It naturally creates a variety of zones—a.k.a. morning sun with afternoon shade—which keeps the soil cooler and more moist, thus allowing cole crops to grow longer into the summer season and fall crops to  be planted earlier. The opposing portion of these beds provides hot afternoon sun, which allows summer crops to be planted earlier and last longer into the fall season.”

(By the way, you can read more about Marianne’s gardening methods in our Local Changemakers series, here.)

Finally…

If all else fails, Wayne Lyford offers a final, failproof suggestion: “Move to Florida!” 🙂

 

The post Extending the Growing Season (Your Answers to the Question of the Month!) appeared first on The Grow Network.

Extending the Growing Season (Your Answers to the Question of the Month!)

What’s your favorite trick for extending the growing season?

In January 2018, we asked you to share your favorite tricks for extending the growing season. Read on to learn our Community’s best season-extension tips!

Use Enclosures, Covers, and Windbreaks

Lots of you use various types of plant covers to extend the season, whether you’re growing in a greenhouse or hoop house, under a floating row cover or cold frame, or even—as Emily Sandstrom does—in a wheelbarrow with holes drilled in the bottom that she then covers in plastic overnight. The real beauty of Emily’s method is that it also allows her to wheel her mini “greenhouse” into a warmer area if it’s really going to get cold, and she doesn’t have to do a lot of bending and kneeling: “Just put the wheelbarrow on something that makes it the height you want,” she says.

We got some really creative suggestions for DIY enclosures, too.

  • Vikki Blalock uses raised beds and makes her own medium hoop houses with homemade tomato cages and thick-gauge roll plastic.
  • Dee creates a warmer growing space by looping 40 feet of gutter heat tape back and forth (but without touching itself) in a 5 foot-by-8 foot space. She tops it with a foot of good soil and then builds a low hoop house over that with PVC, rebar, and 6mm clear plastic sheeting. Dee then hangs two brooder lamps inside and places a 5-gallon bucket full of water to add humidity and trap bugs. She says she “learned to do this when raising competition pumpkins” and that it lets her get a 6–8 week head start on the growing season, minimum.
  • Terri from Northeast Ohio has a wire-enclosed raised bed that gives her about 150 square feet of room. When the weather turns chilly, she wraps the whole exterior in bubble wrap, and says it “works great well into December.”
  • Greta in Kentucky saves 1-gallon water jugs all year long and cuts out the bottoms, leaving the plastic screw tops in place. When things start turning cold outside, she presses a round electric fence post into the ground at the end of each garden row and hangs jugs through their handles on the post. This keeps them from blowing around the farm. “Anything that needs warmer soil and protection against cold air and frost gets a ‘mini greenhouse’ in the evening, if needed,” she adds. “If I can’t be out first thing in the morning I pop the caps off the top to keep hot air from building up when the sun hits them. This works for vines after planting, too.”
  • John varies what he uses by time of year. To start earlier in the spring, he uses garden fabric, plus Wall O’ Waters for his early tomatoes. To extend his season into the fall and winter, he uses garden fabric combined with plastic-covered low tunnels.
  • Rick P. warms the soil in his raised beds with black plastic sheets, in addition to using a homemade cold frame.
  • Sandra Forrester in Northeast New Mexico uses tires to protect her plants. “The tire is not used as a planter to hold the soil, but simply as a plant perimeter wall. It acts as a windbreak and creates a microclimate. Plus, we can easily cover the tires with gardening cloth for added warmth.” Sandra says that, for taller plants, she inserts chicken wire (or other wire fencing) around the inside perimeter of the tire to make a cage and covers that with cloth to create a makeshift cold frame. “We stack two tires for plants that need more support. Works like a charm all year round and we’ve found a use for the tires, which are a free resource.”
  • In Northwest Central Texas, Rufus creates raised beds out of tires stacked two or three high. “They warm the ground faster in early spring. and the sidewalls hold water longer than just dirt.” He adds that the height makes weeding easier, since there’s not so much need to stoop over. Like Sandra, he also uses wire cages to “keep the West Texas wind from ripping things apart and hold a shade if need be.”

Grow Cold-Hardy Varieties

Many of you use multiple methods to cheat frost in the garden, and one that several of you mentioned was choosing cold-hardy varieties – or creating your own by letting plants self-seed and produce volunteers the following spring.

  • “I do the research!” says Elaine Kettring. “What plants are cold hardy? Collards and many green leafy vegetables—especially the ones with crinkled leaves. The more crinkled, the more cold hardy.” She adds that she’s had good cold-weather success with drumhead cabbage, the salad green Mâche, and Blue Max for collards.
  • Bunkey in Tobermory, Canada, says, “I let most of my plants self-seed. Volunteers always do better than ones I plant.”
  • Kathy Harbert in Missouri tosses lettuce seeds onto late-winter snow. She says she always gets a nice bed of early leaf lettuce that way.

Warm the Soil With Mulch

Many of you also cover the soil with deep mulch to extend the season.

  • Deep rich mulch helps my black clay soil warm up more quickly in the spring,” says Jeannie. “I can plant earlier and avoid the stress on the roots.”
  • Carol uses raked leaves as mulch on her raised bed in late fall and winter.
  • Bunkey, who has a Back to Eden garden, says, “I plant my garlic and potatoes under the mulch in the fall, making sure they are well covered. What joy, as they pop up as soon as the soil is warm enough for them in spring. I never have to break my back digging for potatoes—as long as the mulch excludes the light and frost, they are happy and productive!”
  • Kathy Harbert lays black plastic or reusable landscape cloth down in early spring to kill weeds and help warm the soil.
  • Burt Crew uses wheat straw from a local farmer for mulch. He also adds it to his chicken coop and run for use as mulch later.

Grow in Containers

Several of our Community members start seeds in pots—or grow them in containers all year long!

  • Crystal in mid-coast Maine says, “I attended Peter Burke’s talk and then read his book Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening. I now have a ready supply of shoots (not quite microgreens, but close). It is easy to do—no grow lights required. Plant seeds in the soil mix he recommends, put them in the dark for four days, then put them in natural light (even a north window) for 3–5 days. My one-year-old grandson loves picking and eating my shoots—even the spicy radish shoots.”
  • “I grow in containers and cheat the weather, so my season is 12 months,” says Charles A. Pledge. “I find I cannot extend that. I have a 900-square-foot inside growing area and am adding 256 more square feet in late winter. Plus, I am adding about 800 square feet in the form of a roof-covered shed to protect from frost and may rough part of that in and add heat to get extra freeze time eliminated. “
  • Debbie starts seeds indoors, then transplants them once the weather warms up enough. “I start seeds inside in repurposed food containers or whatever else I can find that will hold a little dirt. I find they need heat and light—lots of light to grow well. In spite of being by a double window, I shine several regular light bulbs in inexpensive, portable light fixtures on them. I know you are supposed to use grow lights, but I am just supplementing the sunlight for a couple of months to keep the plants from getting too leggy, and they seem to do okay.” Debbie then moves her plants outdoors into a PVC enclosure wrapped in clear plastic, and transplants them once the ground is warm enough.

Create Zones

Some of you contour the earth so that it works as an ally in protecting plants from frost damage.

“We extend by building multiple tiered beds,” says Marianne Cicala. “It naturally creates a variety of zones—a.k.a. morning sun with afternoon shade—which keeps the soil cooler and more moist, thus allowing cole crops to grow longer into the summer season and fall crops to  be planted earlier. The opposing portion of these beds provides hot afternoon sun, which allows summer crops to be planted earlier and last longer into the fall season.”

(By the way, you can read more about Marianne’s gardening methods in our Local Changemakers series, here.)

Finally…

If all else fails, Wayne Lyford offers a final, failproof suggestion: “Move to Florida!” 🙂

 

The post Extending the Growing Season (Your Answers to the Question of the Month!) appeared first on The Grow Network.

Understanding Satan’s Role In The World

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     Mark and I recently had the opportunity to visit with a Christian couple whom we dearly love, and with whom we identify as faithful Believers. We don’t get to see them very often so when we get together, and after we have caught up on the superficial affairs of our lives, we always end up spending most of our time in deep discussion about the theological premises that guide our faith. We don’t agree on everything and that is okay. We recognize that each other loves the Lord and all of our hearts are focused on relationship with Jesus.
     That being said, our foundation of Kingdom living is a new concept for most Christians we come in contact with. The truth that the dominion God gave man over the earth was given away to Satan [by Adam and Eve in the Garden] — and the consequences of that fatal mistake — often go unrecognized by modern-day Christians. Understandably, in this fast-paced world we live in, with all of its distractions, the ramifications of that long-ago sin often get lost in the faith identity we construct for ourselves. We Christians tend to identify more with God’s nature of love, mercy, grace, and peace. But there is more to His nature, and we should be aware of how we are called to walk in a greater identity.
     For instance, during our discussion with this couple, the wife was clearly disturbed when I made the comment that because our dominion was sacrificed for the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, “Satan is god of this world”.  Her response was, “How can you say that?” (clearly feeling as if I was demoting God. I could tell my statement was offensive to her). My response was, “Because the Bible tells us so”. Our discussion continued with the citation of Scripture that pointed out this truth (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the additional one that calls him “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31). It was important that she understood these titles were in reference to unbelievers. Those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior recognize the One True God. BUT, it is important for Christians to recognize the fact that the devil is the god of this world, and it made me question how many Christians don’t recognize the major influence that he has in the everyday lives of the world’s population?
      His influence can be see in political opinions and policies (abortion; gay marriage; government-instituted welfare); education (teaching of ungodly sexual lifestyles; prayer in schools banned; acceptance of other religions while limiting Christian values); our goals and ideals (getting rich and living like Hollywood/Rock stars versus seeking to live a righteous life according to God’s standards) … everything from our thoughts to our entertainment to what we value as human beings are influenced by the devil’s lies and deception.  He rules over what is presented and promoted in this world, and it is up to each human being if they wish to follow him, or accept the invitation of their Creator.
     But there is an extra component to the devil’s ability to rule that we need to contemplate.  Satan may be “the god of this world; the ruler of this world, and the prince of the power of the air”, but he does not completely rule the world.  There is the factor of God’s sovereignty.  And this is another concept in which I probably differ from most Christians. God’s “sovereignty” is His dominion, His rule over what He has created.  I do not believe that it means He controls everything He has created.
     God is a god of order, and He has set rules and boundaries for His creation. And remember God created Satan, too. So within His Sovereignty and Dominion, He allows Satan to operate in this world within the boundaries He has set. If it makes it easier to understand, then picture, if you can, that God has Satan on a leash; there are boundaries beyond which he cannot act. And those boundaries extend only to unbelievers in Satan’s Kingdom of Darkness on earth. But when, as inhabitants of this earth, we accept Christ, we are given a new nature; are seated with Him in the heavenly realms; and we now operate under the rules of God’s Kingdom of Light, which Jesus inaugurated and brought with Him when He walked this earth. We are no longer under the rule of Satan, but until Jesus returns and defeats evil, Satan still rules the rest of the world and we are behind enemy lines.
     This does not mean that we concede God’s authority to Satan while we still live here. But it does mean that as sons and daughters of God and representatives of His Kingdom on earth, it is our responsibility to spread the truth of that Kingdom and work with the Holy Spirit [in us] to help set captives free from this domain of darkness and take back dominion of the earth for God. This dominion cannot and will not be completely restored until Jesus comes back to defeat the Enemy once and for all. But we must come to the conclusion that there is more to our duties as Christians than to speak only of God’s Love and Grace.  YES, they are part of His nature and we are to extend that to all people.  Jesus showed us that!  But He showed us so much more in this battle we are engaged in with the god of this world. 

     He showed us that disease, deceptive and demonic spirits, and death are all weapons of our adversary. And He showed us that with our new nature [empowered by the Holy Spirit] we can defeat the Enemy [just like He did] by using that Heaven-sent power to heal those the devil has afflicted; bind the deceptive voices of demons and cast them at the foot of the Cross for Jesus to deal with; and, as impossible as it sounds, even bring someone back to life whom the devil has conquered through death.  It is all part of God’s sovereign rule that He transfers the same power He gave to Jesus to us, so that He can continue His battle plan to restore dominion of the earth to His Kingdom.
     God wanted to work with Adam and Eve to establish His Kingdom here on earth when He handed over all that He had created to them.  And He wants to work with us [who have pledged our allegiance to Him] to reclaim that dominion and once again establish His Kingdom “on earth as it is in Heaven”. Until Jesus returns it is important for us Christians to take our blinders off and see this world as it truly is … under the rule of Satan, the earth’s king of Darkness. And we must see the role we are to play, beyond telling others of God’s amazing Love, Mercy and Grace. That’s a start — showing unbelievers Who it is that we serve and obey.  
     But we have another role, too, and that is as warriors. There is a spiritual battle to be won, and we must see our role as God sees it — to begin to use the power He has given us to defeat the wiles of the devil (sickness, demons, death).  Until we can do that, there are too many people still suffering and in captivity to these very schemes that keep them in darkness. Why not go that extra step? After telling someone about how much God and Jesus love them, why not show them the power of that love by healing them, or setting them free from the spirit of fear or anger? That’s what Jesus did — and because He did, we now believe. 
     It was the testimony of those He healed and set free, and the testimonies of those His followers healed and set free, that brought freedom to people around the world, and Christianity flourished. I just don’t understand how we, as 21st-Century Christians, can say we believe the Bible and believe those accounts, but because we haven’t been taught them or practice them, they no longer have any validity.  How can we say we know better than the Early Church disciples [who learned directly from Jesus]? It just seems to me this is another lie and deception from Satan, and it serves his purposes. As long as we deny our power and that role, he will continue to keep people in bondage — even Christians.  We must step into our true and complete identity. We are to be images of Christ; ALL that He was — a representative of God’s Love as well as Satan’s major opponent in the battle for men’s souls. Love and Conquer is our motto!

2 Corinthians 10:3-4   For although we live in the natural realm, we don’t wage a military campaign employing human weapons. Instead, our [spiritual] weapons are energized with divine power to effectively dismantle [demonic] strongholds.

      
      
    

What About BOB?

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: A guest post from SignalSergeant 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! 

Let’s start with the basics!
Congratulations! You made it this far, and you have decided to take the first step towards disaster preparation and, perhaps, a little peace of mind. No matter how far you decide to ultimately take your disaster preparedness, the one piece of gear that you will always keep close at hand will be your 72-hour pack, commonly known as a “Bug-Out Bag” (BOB).

Important: Each family member should have their own bag! This includes pets. Your Chihuahua or Pomeranian obviously won’t be able to carry their own pack, but you don’t want to have their kibble mixed in with your powdered eggs, so make a separate bag for your fur babies.

Build or Buy?


The first BOBs that my wife and I put together were completely DIY. We scrounged around the house and garage, looking for any serviceable backpack, and then we put together our own checklist of items. We compiled the checklist from multiple sources, using common sense as a filter. We purchased all the items at Walmart and local dollar stores. The backpacks themselves were leftovers from when our kids were in school. If a pack is tough enough to survive a few semesters with a teenager while loaded with books, it will probably survive almost anything. We still have those packs, several years later (although we check the contents and replace the food items on a regular basis). Look for backpacks made from sturdy Cordura nylon, with heavy stitching and reinforced seams. If you don’t have any backpacks lying around, and you can’t afford new high-quality packs, then look at what you do have. Most households have small travel bags or perhaps hard-sided carry-on luggage (the kind with wheels and the telescoping handle). While not ideal, anything is better than no BOB at all.

 

Recently, we purchased a couple ready-made 72-hour packs from an online retailer. We were disappointed in the materials used in the backpacks, and many of the “survival” items were of such poor quality that they would never survive the first use. While I’m certain that good quality, ready-made BOB’s are out there, buyer beware! If you go the ready-made route, look for reviews and do your homework. Remember, if you need this BOB in an emergency, your life and the lives of your loved ones may literally depend on it. Also, no matter how good a ready-made solution is, you still must flesh it out with your own personal items such as medications, specific first-aid items, socks, undergarments, etc.
Key takeaway: If you are willing to put some time and effort into it, you can build your own bag/kit with better quality items, and have it tailored to your own specific needs.
You have a pack, now what do you put in it?

I mentioned customizing your pack with items specific to you, your climate, and your medical needs. With that said, there are a few broad categories of items that are universal.

Food
I will cover food in detail in another post, but for now, look for food that has a long shelf life, sturdy packaging, won’t attract vermin or breed bacteria, and is easy to prepare. You can find suitable food items in the camping section of most stores. Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) are good, although they are heavy and take up a lot of space. Remember, you’re looking for emergency fuel for your body, not gourmet meals.

Sanitation


Don’t become ill from ingesting microbes carried on your hands. Make sure your BOB contains a small amount of toilet paper, travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer, and baby wipes. Include some basic hygiene items such as a toothbrush and toothpaste. I have spent a few weeks at a time in the field with the military, and sometimes being able to brush my teeth made me feel almost as good as a hot shower. Cleanliness is not just a good idea from a health standpoint, it can also boost your spirits. Note: A change of socks and underwear is also recommended.

Survival Items
These are the basics: Water, fire, shelter, first aid, and knives. Yes, I said “knives”, plural. Knives are incredibly versatile and useful, and they are also easily lost, sometimes broken, and often stolen by the unscrupulous. Water is first on the list for a reason: You can survive for 3 weeks without food (granted, 3 MISERABLE weeks), but only about 3 DAYS without water (depending on climate). Also, have multiple sources for starting a fire. Waterproof matches, butane lighters, or those magnesium fire-starters are all excellent choices. Shelter, at a minimum, should consist of a metallized emergency blanket. A basic first aid kit is a good starting point, but look at augmenting it with additional bandages and antibiotic ointment. Include a good quality first aid manual along with your medical supplies. Another key item is a “survival radio”. These emergency radios are powered with a hand crank and do not require batteries. A quick look on Amazon yielded several in the $20 price range. Just look at the reviews, and pick one that is both compact and durable.

Personal Protection
Your bag should include one or more self-defense items WITH WHICH YOU ARE COMFORTABLE. Pack a loaded firearm if you are: 1. Proficient in its use, 2. Know how to maintain it, and 3. Know how to keep it safe. I do not advise anyone to purchase a firearm if they are not willing to master all three of the above skills. I will go into selection of a personal defense weapon in detail in another post. If a firearm is not an option, then consider pepper spray, a machete, or whatever you are comfortable with, but don’t spend a lot as someone who has mastered all three will be taking them from you, along with anything else of yours they might want. Also, communication is an important form of security. Pack a spare cell phone, charger, solar-powered recharger and a backup copy of emergency contact numbers if possible. And a radio, a ham radio, and know how to use it.

Entertainment
We used to joke that war consists of long periods of soul-crushing boredom punctuated by brief moments of abject terror. The same could be said for survival situations. Boredom can be an even bigger issue if you have kids. It’s important to have some form of distraction for mental health purposes. Items that are easy to pack include: A deck of cards, small notebooks and pencils, a paperback book, iPod and ear buds, and a handful of Sharpie markers.

Conclusion
Consider the above to be the bare minimum. However, this is a great start! You will gain confidence and peace of mind by having supplies and a solid plan in place. Finally, there is safety in numbers! Include your friends and family in your plans, and help them with a little preparedness of their own. We all have health insurance, car insurance, and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Don’t you owe it to yourself and your family to have a little disaster insurance?

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How To Decide What Food Storage Works For You

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I keep thinking about a statement a very nice man made on my Food Storage Moms Facebook page about buying food storage. His comment has stuck in my mind for a few weeks, so today is the day I’m going to address how food storage works. He mentioned that only the rich can afford #10 cans of freeze-dried food or #10 cans of dehydrated food. He asked me to write about how a family with less money can afford to buy food storage. In case you are wondering what a #10 can is, it is a can filled with a variety of foods in a metal can that measures 7 inches (18cm) high and 6-1/4 inches (16 cm) in diameter.

First of all, I wouldn’t say only the rich can afford #10 cans, I am in no way rich. Yes, I have purchased several #10 cans because I wanted to have some food that would have a longer shelf-life. Some of my #10 containers have a shelf-life of up to 25 years. Here again, it all depends on the temperature where it is stored. Here’s the deal, that was critical to me. Now, I do not store only #10 cans. I store a variety of food storage in different sizes and containers. I would really love comments from my readers on how food storage works for you. Trust me, your comments are read by many, and I really appreciate your thoughts and ideas. That’s how I roll.

Food Storage Works With #10 Cans

I prefer buying basics like freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses. I buy a few #10 cans of dehydrated vegetables, but very few because it has a shorter shelf-life in most cases. This all depends on your brand and the product you chose to buy.food storage works

One really important thing you need to think about when buying #10 cans is comparing apples to oranges so to speak. I sign up for emails to watch for awesome sales and buy when the sales meet my needs. Please look at the ounces per can and the cost to ship it, if necessary. Don’t be surprised about the HUGE difference in cost per ounce including shipping. Money is money and we need to be careful before we push the click button to order.

I prefer #10 cans from Thrive Life and Honeyville. I have purchased a few cans from Augason Farms. I really only want fruit, vegetables, meats, and cheeses to use to prepare my own recipes. Please note, you don’t need a special cookbook to make your food storage work for you.

The food items I mentioned above just need to be hydrated and you are ready to cook any recipe from your grandma’s cookbooks. I promise. Vegetables are vegetables. Cheese is cheese. Meat is meat. Freeze-dried foods can be eaten right out of the can, so freeze-dried fruit right out of the can is perfect. Is it like freshly picked, of course not. But it tastes great. Is the cheese like freshly grated, no it is not. But it works great in casseroles. Here again, grab some cookbooks or recipes cards from relatives, that’s all you need.

Freeze-Dried

Pros: food lasts longer

Pros: the food is already washed, chopped, sliced or grated

Pros: you can eat the food right out of the can

Cons: more expensive

Dehydrated Food

Pros: costs less money

Pros: the food is already washed, chopped, sliced

Cons: shorter shelf-life, typically 6-10 years maximum

Cons: must be cooked and uses fuel to heat it

Cons: cannot eat directly from the can (it’s hard as a rock)

Food Storage Works With MRE’s

These are similar to the MRE’s that are served in the military, but some have improved a little. I’m not interested in buying them or making them myself by filing bags or jars. I have always believed to do it right the first time. This doesn’t mean those who do choose to buy these or make the items themselves is wrong. Not at all. I personally will not eat them. We are all different and have different budgets. Please read the ingredients before you purchase them. If you can’t pronounce the words, think again.

What’s nice about them is typically you open the bag and add hot water, tepid water or boiling water. I have tried many and I have to say Mountain House is one of my favorites, although I chose not to store them because of their short shelf-life.

Food Storage Works With Pantry Items

I would love this pantry:food storage works

Pantry item examples are things like flour, yeast (store in frig), sugar, honey, salt, spices, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, chocolate (I had to add that one), and everything you need to make bread, crackers, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, etc. You know what I’m saying, everything you need to cook from scratch.

Food Storage Works With Home Canned Food


food storage works

There is nothing more gratifying than seeing those freshly canned jars sitting on shelves. I don’t can food like I did when I had a large family of six. When you have six in the family you can preserve a lot of food and save money, AND teach your kids to work. I can a few dozen jars these days, but nothing like I did when I had my girls picking, blanching, peeling and filling jars. I really miss making applesauce. Growing a garden gave us an abundance of vegetables to pressure can together. I can’t even think about all the green beans we all snapped together. Life is good with good kids!

Each week my girls would eat freshly baked bread with a quart of peaches they helped preserve. Life is good working together as a family to preserve food together. Here again, food storage works.

Food Storage Works With Grocery Store Cans

Now, let’s get serious here. I have cases or bags (stored in air-tight containers) of the following foods that I can make many meals with:

Applesauce

Beets

Corn-disclaimer here: I went against everything I believe in and bought some corn that was genetically modified (it does not taste like corn, I repeat it does not taste like corn). Okay, I got that off my chest. I will never buy corn unless it says USDA NON-GMO. I was shopping with Mark, who does not know as much as I do about corn, and I caved and bought the cheap stuff. I am returning it to the store. I had to throw out the pot of soup. I thought it was the corn, I opened another can of that brand corn, it tasted like pesticides. I kid you not.

I look at corn on the cob totally different these days. It makes me sad because my girls and I used to blanch, scrape and freeze bags of corn. It was delicious, but that was back in the 70’s before Monsanto came into the picture the way they are now. How can seeds, a growing organism be patented? I just shake my head in disappointment.

Green Beans

Chilies

Salsa

Peanut butter

Jam

Crackers

Beans (every kind of bean in cans-ready to eat)

Beans in bags

Pasta

Rice

These are just a few items to help you feed your family after any natural disaster or unforeseen emergency, and if your house is still standing and you have not been evacuated. This post will give you even more ideas: Critical Pantry Items by Linda

Food Storage Works With Water

As you know water is needed every day. I recommend four-gallons per person per day. You need it to cook, to stay properly hydrated, for personal hygiene, washing clothes, or at least your underwear.

All I can say is just do it, one can at a time, a bag of rice, a jar of spaghetti sauce, etc. If you missed my free printable here it is: Where Do I Start-Planning Schedule

Emergency Food Storage by Linda

My favorite things:

Soup Pot 

Butane Stove and Butane Fuel

Copyright pictures:

Cans: AdobeStock_74796041 by Freshly

Bottles: AdobeStock_68269335 by Shelley Stuart

Grains: AdobeStock_54588440 by Marilyn Barbone

Pantry: AdobeStock_181283597 by Iriana Shiyan

The post How To Decide What Food Storage Works For You appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

This Ancient Remedy Is Still One of the Most Powerful Compounds for Health

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Herbal foods that are taken beyond just a culinary reason and are consumed for naturopathic purposes are a beautiful thing.  Why?  Because they aren’t invasive…and you are supposed to follow the least invasive path to taking care of ailments.  Curcumin is the focus of this article.  It will help with heart disease, with Alzheimer’s, with joint pain, with diabetes.  What I’ve listed there is far from exhaustive.Let’s clear up the confusion about it first.  Curcumin is not an herb but is a component of one: Turmeric, or Curcuma longa.  The herb’s root forms into a rhizome, an “L” shaped underground protuberance.  The spice Turmeric usually contains only a small amount of curcumin: anywhere from 2-5%, which is not much and is not necessarily bioavailable.  This latter term refers to the ability of the body to utilize it.

Curcumin has been used in India and the Far East for thousands of years quite effectively against dozens…I repeat, dozens…of different ailments, from Crohn’s disease to Cancer.  Curcumin is an antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory, and it is a cancer-fighter.  In previous articles, we covered oxidation (the tendency of a “free radical” to “steal” an electron from a healthy cell) and how it is a process of aging and disease.

The yellow color of curcumin is responsible for the orange color of turmeric.  It is more than 200 times more powerful than blueberries as an antioxidant.  It increases HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) in your system…the “good” cholesterol…that helps move fats and lipids out of cells and prevents blood clotting in the arteries and veins.

Its anti-inflammatory properties are extremely useful in helping digestive disorders.  More than 60 million Americans are afflicted each year with some type of bowel disorder, and curcumin is extremely effective against all of them, from ulcerative colitis to cancer of the colon.  In addition, it is effective against lower and upper respiratory infections.

The best curcumin can be found in your better health concerns.  You guys and gals know I’ve recommended Wal-Mart for many herbs for both quality and affordability, but not with this one.  The dose will be dependent upon the quality and concentration of the curcumin.  If you buy it as a powder, you can load it into gel-caps or tincture it.  For the latter, it’s good to use grain alcohol, but you can use other liquors.  Just remember that the alcohol concentration varies between them, and you want to have a minimum of about 52% alcohol or higher to preserve it longer and keep that freezing point very low (we’ve covered that topic in other articles).

One last consideration is that if you use curcumin, you also want to use black pepper.  Yes, black pepper contains piperazine that potentiates the effect and effectiveness of the curcumin.  As we know, black pepper is about as rare as glass and probably less expensive.  This is a combination that is not invasive, and you can easily blend in with your routine and meals.  Try it out: do some more homework and see how you can use this remarkable compound simply, effectively, and affordable.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

20 Pioneer Foods We’ll Be Eating A Lot After Doomsday

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Ever since I saw Little House On The Prairie as a kid, I’ve been fascinated by how the pioneers lived. How could anyone be happy without indoor plumbing, central heating, microwaves, refrigerators, and televisions with dozens of channels? Well, not only were many of them happy, they were arguably happier than most people today, but […]

The post 20 Pioneer Foods We’ll Be Eating A Lot After Doomsday appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Study Abroad: First Week Survival Kit

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Studying abroad is an enthralling experience for most students. You get to experience a new culture, meet new people, learn a foreign language and enjoy the local cuisine while in college. In addition to that, it offers a great opportunity to learn and grow academically, professionally and personally. This, however, does not mean that there … Read more…

The post Study Abroad: First Week Survival Kit was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Amazing Blue Balls The Blueberry!

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Amazing Blue Balls The Blueberry!
Host: Lynna… “A Preppers Path” Audio player provided!

The blueberry, you know that pretty little orb of blue we make muffins, smoothies and more out of. The one that is delicious all by itself with nothing added. They get their name from their deep blue color and are one of the few fruits native to North America. We all know they are tasty but do you know how beneficial they are and what a boom to a prepper based home they can be.

Continue reading Amazing Blue Balls The Blueberry! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Amazing Blue Balls The Blueberry!

Amazing Blue Balls The Blueberry!
Host: Lynna… “A Preppers Path” Audio player provided!

The blueberry, you know that pretty little orb of blue we make muffins, smoothies and more out of. The one that is delicious all by itself with nothing added. They get their name from their deep blue color and are one of the few fruits native to North America. We all know they are tasty but do you know how beneficial they are and what a boom to a prepper based home they can be.

Continue reading Amazing Blue Balls The Blueberry! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Under A Blizzard Or Ice Storm Warning? What You Need To Do To Prepare

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Under A Blizzard Or Ice Storm Warning? What You Need To Do To Prepare When you tell a population that the world is warming up and we are going to see the glaciers melt and oceans rise, it’s dangerous. When you tell the general public that the world is heating up and point to warm …

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The post Under A Blizzard Or Ice Storm Warning? What You Need To Do To Prepare appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

Video Monday: Pimping out a Mossberg 590 Shockwave

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Video Monday: Pimping out a Mossberg 590 Shockwave How about a little fun. For many in the prepping world there is just something about guns. I love looking at them, shooting them and day dreaming about them. I don’t know many preppers that aren’t up for a good mod video of a Mossberg. This video …

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The post Video Monday: Pimping out a Mossberg 590 Shockwave appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

Mini Workbench with Woodworking Vise & Clamps

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Mini Workbench with Woodworking Vise & Clamps There is a time in your life when you look over your fathers workbench. You might dream of having a work bench like that or you might dream of running from a workbench like that. Either way. I think its important that you have access to all the …

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Book Review: Teaching Women to Shoot

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvdy8zTwOjM Teaching Women to Shoot is a book I use in every firearm class I teach. Vicki Farnam’s husband is well known in the firearm world, but she is a great instructor in her own right. This book really opened my eyes as an instructor and taught me how to deal with the realities of training men and women shooters. There are psychological, physiological and sociological differences between the genders. One is not better than the other- but there are differences, and since most of the techniques of instruction, holsters, stances, grip sizes were all designed by men for men –

The post Book Review: Teaching Women to Shoot appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Free PDF: Handbook of Chemistry (1854)

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This 1854 Handbook of Chemistry is an old reference, but that does not make it useless.  In my collection of electronic reference material I have stockpiled a lot of old chemistry texts.  It was chemistry that fueled our Industrial revolution, if you know science then you can do just about anything. I have about 100 of these old Chemistry books that I will be sharing over time.  It is not a cool as the gun stuff, or as immediately usable as some of the cooking or building pdfs, but if we ever have a true TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The

The post Free PDF: Handbook of Chemistry (1854) appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

9 Must-Haves for your Glove Box

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If you were in a bind, would you have the most necessary equipment in your vehicle to survive? Whether you have a car, truck, or even a motorcycle, you’ll have a glove box, or something comparable. Although I highly recommend having a well-equipped vehicle emergency kit, glove box must-haves are next on the list. And, […]

Tablet Weaving Loom Using a Wooden Stool

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Tablet Weaving Loom Using a Wooden Stool While there are a lot of great prepping skills out there to learn, there are some that most people bristle at. Buying guns and learning how to make fire couldn’t make you feel more powerful. Then you realize that your tactical pants are going to get ripped. Once …

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The post Tablet Weaving Loom Using a Wooden Stool appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

Homesteading – What the Modern Homesteader Needs to Know

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Homesteading – What the Modern Homesteader Needs to Know For many the idea of the modern homestead is cute. Its an idea that people in cubicles fantasize about. They look at it as an escape from their normal lives. Most Americans live a life that has been grossly deformed by the way our world makes …

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The post Homesteading – What the Modern Homesteader Needs to Know appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

Prepping: Figuring Out How to Get What You Need Done

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Prepping: Figuring Out How to Get What You Need Done I have always argued that the best survivor will not be the person who has the most but the person who can adapt the best. Human survival is different because of our brains. We aren’t deer who must be the biggest and have the ability …

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Slidebelts’ Survival Belt for Everyday Carry: Useful Never Wears Off

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Slidebelts’ Survival Belt for Everyday Carry: Useful Never Wears Off EDC is one of the most popular topics in the preparedness and survival world today. If you put an article out with that in the title you are going to get some traffic. It’s just where the publics head is right now. I think it’s …

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Best Ice Cleats for Traction on Ice and Snow (2018)

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ICE CLEATS (UPDATE 1 YEAR LATER) I felt compelled to update this “Best Ice Cleats” post 1 year later. During the past several weeks we’ve been using our STABILicers quite a bit around here. We’ve had our annual ‘January thaw’ whereby some of the snow partially melts into slush and puddles, but then refreezes into a slippery mess. I can reaffirm that these cleats have been simply, AWESOME! STABILicers Ice Traction cleats for Boots and Shoes We’ve been using them for a few seasons now and they are still performing like the day we bought them! These cleats have held

The post Best Ice Cleats for Traction on Ice and Snow (2018) appeared first on Modern Survival Blog.

Three Cheese Bacon Dip – An Irresistible Appetizer For All

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Three cheese bacon dip is one of the easiest and most popular dips at any party. Most cheesy dips require a block or two of cream cheese. However, this dip uses a unique and delicious ingredient. Instead of thick and

The post Three Cheese Bacon Dip – An Irresistible Appetizer For All appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

Serial Killers Without Guns

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Everyone has heard the oft-repeated mantra of the left that “guns kill people.” Likewise, we’ve all heard the snarky responses that have been made to that, such as the ones about spoons making people fat and people having defective guns, because their guns have never killed anyone.

My personal collection of firearms falls into this category, as the only thing they’ve ever killed is a bulls-eye in a target. However, even though I’ve never fired a shot in anger, my guns have stopped two crimes, just because I showed that I was not an easy victim to take advantage of.

The reality is, killings happen and guns are often the tool that the killers use. There is no question that the modern gun is the most efficient weapon available to the average person, whether being used in the offense or the defense.

While our military forces have even more efficient weapons that pistols and rifles, these are denied to the public by their high price and laws restricting their ownership.

So, modern killers often use guns, simply because guns are efficient tools of war. But that doesn’t make guns killers. People are the killers and some percentage of our population has been killing their fellow man since Cain first realized that he could use a rock to bash in his brother Abel’s head (or however he did it). Cain didn’t have a Glock or an AR-15 to use; he probably didn’t even have a bow and arrow, so he used what he had at hand.

The problem isn’t the gun. As others have said before, guns are merely tools, no more able to commit crime than hammers are. And considering how many times I’ve hit my thumb with a hammer over the years, I’d say that hammers have a higher rate of hurting people than guns do.

But like the hammer, the gun can be used for good, just as it can be used for bad. As a weapon, it is as useful in the defense as it is in the offense. We can’t forget the neighbor who grabbed his personal AR-15 and ran to the aid of the people who were being killed in the Sutherland Springs shooting.

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

Had it not been for some judicious marksmanship on the part of that hero, many more people might have been killed. The church was apparently only the killer’s first intended target, as proven by the huge quantity of ammunition he was carrying.

Every day, criminals are thwarted by good guys carrying guns. Some of those good guys also have a badge, but many more do not.

It has been proven that most gun-related crimes involve the use of guns that are purchased illegally; either on the black market or through what are known as “straw purchases.” While this doesn’t cover all murders, simply enforcing the existing laws on the books would greatly reduce gun-related crime.

That’s not to say that it would reduce crime though. Criminals are criminals and if they don’t have guns to use, they will use whatever weapon they can find. Criminals didn’t suddenly appear when guns were invented; they practiced their “profession” long before that time.

Guns just became their weapon of choice for the same reason they did for hunters; they’re easier to use.

Mass Murder and Weapons

The very same day that the Sandy Hook shooting happened (in 2014), a knife-wielding thug entered a school in China, killing more children than Adam Lanza did. But this wasn’t the worst knife attack in China that year, on March 1, 2014, 10 men, armed with knives, entered the Kumming train station, killing 29 and wounding 130 others.

Mass murder is mass murder, regardless of the weapon used. It is a horrendous event, regardless of who does it, where they do it, who the victims are or what weapon they hold in their hand. Yet it is guns that receive all the press, not because they are more deadly, but for political reasons.

Anything can be used to kill others, especially in the hands of a skilled individual. Martial arts weapons started out as tools, not weapons. They became weaponized in China, because the Japanese didn’t allow the Chinese to own swords. So they figured out how to use what they had.

This isn’t the only historic reference we can make to the use of tools as weapons. Many of the melee weapons used in the Middle Ages were tools as well, especially the “battle axe” and the “war hammer.”

While there were versions of these tools which were crafted specifically to be used as weapons, the majority of the peasantry merely used what tools they had at hand. Both axes and large hammers make effective weapons, if you don’t have anything better to use.

Hands and Knives

The same is true of murderers. Some of the most infamous serial murderers in history didn’t use guns. Jack the Ripper, for example, used knives on his victims; cutting their throats and then mutilating their bodies.

Since the killer, who is believed to be a man, had a distinct physical advantage over his female victims, so a knife was clearly sufficient for his needs.

The Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway didn’t even need a knife in his own version of Jack the Ripper’s murder spree, he strangled them to death. Early on in his killing career he did this with his hands, but as he became more proficient, he used a ligature (a cord of some sort, used as a garrote).

Still the most prolific serial murderer in American history, Ridgway has been convicted of murdering 48 separate women, and the actual count is suspected as being over 90. His killings resemble those of Jack the Ripper in that most of his victims were sex workers and runaway teenagers, who he committed sexual acts with both before and after murdering them.

Medicines

Perhaps one of the most bizarre serial murder cases is that of Niels Hoegal, a German male nurse. While actively working in a hospital, fighting to save his patients’ lives, Hoegal was also killing them, and apparently doing so for the thrill of it. The thrill wasn’t of killing them, but of rescuing them from death; a death that he himself inflicted.

Hoegal’s weapon of choice was a heart medication called Gilurytmal. He would give patients an overdose of this medication, so that he could impress his colleagues by resuscitating them. But he was not successful in all cases, many died.

Apparently that was of no concern of his, even though he fought to save patients lives daily.

While this killer was only convicted of two murders, two attempted murders and one count of serious bodily harm, it is believed that he killed over 100 people over a six year period of time. The only reason why there are so few convictions is that most of his victims were cremated, making it impossible for forensic investigators to prove whether he killed them or not.

Cars, Trucks and Explosives

To those who think in terms of weapons, anything can be a weapon, even things that are not designed for the purpose of killing. Cars and trucks were designed for transport, yet many die from vehicle accidents. In 2016 (the last year for which complete data is available at this time) there were over 40,000 people who died in vehicular accidents.

When you take into consideration the percentage of these which were caused by drugs or alcohol, it is impossible to state those were merely “accidents.”

But vehicles can be used intentionally as weapons as well. Car bombings are not uncommon, especially in the Middle East, where terrorists have turned the car bomb into a fine art. Cars and trucks make it easy to transport the explosives, as well as providing extra shrapnel when the bomb goes off.

But vehicles can be used as weapons, even without the explosives. On December, 19, 2016 a terrorist drove a truck into a Christmas Market in Berlin. This act claimed 12 lives, including that of the driver the truck was stolen from, as well as an additional 56 others who were injured.

This violent act was clearly intended to be an act of war, motivated by ISIS and perpetrated by a failed Tunasian asylum seeker.

Another such example is Nice, France when in 2016 a cargo truck was driven in a crowd of people resulting in 86 people dead and 458 injured.

While serial killers who operate over years can claim high numbers of victims, perhaps the worst mass murders are committed not by firearms, but by explosives. This only makes sense, as explosives give the killer more bang for the buck.

They can kill more people in a single “shot” than would be even remotely possible with a firearm. This makes the actual number of victims dependent largely on the occupancy of the building at the time the bomb goes off.

The Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995 killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others. While the destructive force of the bomb was aimed at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, a total of 324 other buildings, within a 16 block radius were damaged, some to the point of destruction.

One would think that such a massive explosion would require special methods and materials, and in fact, some special materials were used. But the vast majority of the explosive force came from common materials which are readily available, using formulas which have been readily available in open-source material since long before the internet made it possible to find them in seconds.

The Bath School Massacre

Then there was the Bath School Massacre of 1927, long before mass murderers became media celebrities. At that time, it was apparently possible to buy dynamite over the counter, without the restrictions that are in place today.

The killer, Andrew Kehoe, bought these in small increments, in various locations, over several months, eliminating any suspicion that he was buying them for nefarious purposes.

Those explosives were used to create four separate explosions, one of which did not detonate. The first was at his farm, using firebombs to destroy the house and outbuildings before attacking the school. But even before that, he started his killing spree, murdering his own wife a couple of days before setting off the explosion.

The planning of the operation, purchasing the explosive and planting them in the school took months. As a member of the school board, he had ready access to the school, allowing him to carry the explosives into the basement and prepare his bomb there.

The explosion of the bomb under the north wing of the school killed 30 people, mostly children, and injuring another 58, some of whom were maimed for life.

A second explosion was triggered by the killer a short time later, exploding his truck, which he had filled with explosives and shrapnel. Kehoe, the school superintendent and a few others were killed in this explosion.

The only reason more people were not, was because there were few people near the truck at the time.

A third bomb, consisting of 500 pounds of explosive, had been prepared in the south wing basement, which for some reason failed to detonate. Had it exploded, the casualty count would have been much higher and the building would have been completely destroyed.

Conclusion

It is clear from these examples that murderers, even the mass murderers of today, don’t need guns to accomplish their purpose. When people set out to kill others, they will find a way, no matter what. Making gun ownership illegal would do nothing more than make it harder for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves from these criminals.

Even within the realm of gun-related deaths, the statistics aren’t as clear as the gun control crowd would like to make it seem. The New York Times, arguably the most liberal newspaper in the country, reported that “more than 60 percent of Americans who die from guns die by suicide; but that fact is often overlooked” in their October 8, 2015 issue. If they are able to recognize this fact, why can’t others?

Again, eliminating gun ownership won’t stop suicide. There are more suicides committed by drug overdose every year, than there are involving firearms. That’s a rather amazing statistic, when you consider that 80% of suicide attempts involving a firearm are successful, while only 3% of suicide attempts involving drugs are.

So the actual number of attempted suicides by drugs is astronomical.

Do guns make it easier for people to commit suicide? Yes, they do. But again, the problem isn’t the guns, it’s the mental health of the people who commit the suicide. If access to guns was blocked, the only ones who that would stop are the impulsive suicides.

Maybe that’s a worthwhile goal, but it’s not worth taking away everyone’s Second Amendment rights to accomplish it.

Once again, if someone really wanted to commit suicide using a firearm, they could find one, even if guns were illegal. Criminals can buy guns in any country in the world, even those with the most restrictive firearm laws. If they can’t, it doesn’t take a whole lot of skill to craft a homemade single-shot gun that shoots shotgun shells. So criminals would have guns, but law-abiding citizens wouldn’t.

What the left really wants is one of two things, neither of which is beneficial to society and severely restricts our freedom. The first is to eliminate the physical laws which allow firearms to operate. That way, there would be no more guns.

Those who wish for this are the ones who don’t want firearms around, because they are afraid of them. It is a fear-driven argument, which has no basis in logic. I know people like this and they can’t articulate their reasons beyond, “I don’t like guns.”

But it is the other group that is ultimately the more dangerous. They want to concentrate all guns in the hands of the government. This has happened in various places and various times through the history of guns.

Each and every time it has led to a totalitarian government, where the common people didn’t have any rights at all.

These people are the politicians, bureaucrats and their lackeys. They want control and they want to take our freedom away from us. That’s what makes them dangerous and that’s what the Founding Fathers gave us our Second Amendment rights to protect ourselves against.

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

The Forgotten Cheesecloth

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: A guest post from VGH 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!

When the Holidays are looming, this item is searched for with a great deal of anxiety. Not thought about the whole year long, suddenly it becomes seriously important. What is it? Cheesecloth. Poor cheesecloth, used for holiday soups as a holder of herbs. Then either thrown away or lost in that draw you never look in, until next year. (Guilty as charged). Why? It’s so much more than that. Besides being about the weight of two feathers (Real feathers, not those ones you get at the sports store. That’s just wrong). Fold it up into almost nothing. It’s reusable, and very handy to have if your fishing, hunting, camping, or running for the hills. The versatility simply never ends.


Cheese Making: Some animals produce milk that is not flavorful. In a lot of cases you can use herbs to produce a tasty cheese, for yourself or for barter. It’s easy to make small quantities at a time. All you need is:
About a gallon of milk
2 or 3 lemons, juiced
Herbs and a little Salt
Bring milk to a boil and add lemon juice, while stirring. The milk should form curds immediately. Have ready a piece of cheesecloth folded three times in a bowl, if you have one. Pour the curds over the cheesecloth to strain them. Sprinkle with you herbs and a small amount of salt if you like. Twist the cheesecloth into a tight ball, to get rid of all the liquid (Whey – it’s a yellow-greenish color). Tie off and let dry. You can crumble or slice over your preferred system of delivery. (When at home, I save the Whey to use as a substitute for water in baking, works well in bread). Yes, you can make bread in cans next to your fire. Nice.

Head and Face Covering: Yes, when folded in half, cheesecloth can and will keep bugs off your face and out of your ears. (If the bugs are big enough you have bait for fishing. It’s hilarious watching your partner trying to pull them out of the cheesecloth. I suggest you do it as you’re running away).

Jerky Covering: When you must make jerky on the fly, or just because it doesn’t weigh as much dried. (I explained that to my partner, over and over. Finally, just did it myself to prove the point. No Brownie points given) Set it out in the sun on woven sticks and put the cheesecloth over the top of it. Keeps out all those pesky flies.

Gauze: Makes a nice airy bandage that flexes with movement. Keeps out all those pesky flies and dirt (unless you fall down a lot).

Window Screens: Pretty much is self-explaining. But, if you cut strips of plastic and weave them into the cheesecloth, makes a good curtain.

Book Bindings: (It’s called Scrim, you those of you that like official stuff, like my partner, bless his soul). If you mix flour and water to a paste, you can dip your cheesecloth into it to cover. Let dry, it will reinforce most papers or broken books. (You know the one you threw across the campsite because the main character ticked you off?)

Flags: For those times when you want to get your partners attention without speaking. Like after a disagreement or just because. (My favorite).

Bathing Suit: Ok, I made this one up. It worked well when I went swimming. My partner suddenly forgave me for talking while fishing. (It was a stream, for crying out loud, it was already noisy).

Fishing Net: To catch fish swimming in a corner resting stop. (I didn’t make that one up, my partner did) Or, as a bag to carry the fish to the campfire or the bear, whichever comes first. (Yes, that did happen. I have never climbed anything so fast in my life, my partner didn’t appreciate, though. Said I was supposed to climb the tree. I figured if I climb him first, I’d have a few extra minutes).

Ornaments: If for some stupid reason you are in the woods, and it’s Halloween. (Unless of course, you have to be there because some idiot pushed the button). It makes good spider webs for that Halloween feeling. Make sure you leave it there. It’s probably already infested with spiders (they like a day off, too). Or to just freak the person out that’s been following you for three days. (They didn’t know where they were, forgot to bring a deck of cards with them. Believed that if they played solitaire, someone would come by to help move the cards around. Idiot.)

Water Filtration: Get the finest weave you can, and fold it a bunch of times anyway. (Someone at our campsite tried to use it without folding. Couldn’t figure out where all the little tiny rocks came from). Remember, to leave the campsite before laughing.

Dust/Contamination Mask: Fold it just enough to keep the dust out or you may find it hard to breath. (I asked my partner why he was breathing so hard. I thought he was dreaming again, he said no, but his face was red).

Camo-Netting: Because, you know the planes fly lower so they can see you. Please remember to dye it by rolling it in the mud. For some reason, white doesn’t work. (Also, you need large quantities for coverage, just run down to the corner store. That’ll work).

Abrasive Material: Make a bag, and stuff it with sand and sharp rocks. Works well at cleaning pans, knives, shaping arrows (If you have a bow. I think that’s a requirement), polishing the bottom of a can to make a mirror, and finally for throwing at your partner. (It works, for any reason you want, it works).


So, to wrap it up. Thank you for reading my ranting, reminder of cheesecloth. Oh, and my partner wants to put his twenty-five cents worth (It’s all I let him carry, he has holes in his pockets, we walk into a sports store and suddenly it’s all gone), in. He has asked me to tell you that it works for making tofu. I sometimes question his sanity. Well more than sometimes.

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The post The Forgotten Cheesecloth appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Most Common Plumbing Emergencies and Disasters

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Plumbing emergencies are among the most expensive sources of headaches that homeowners have to deal with. Too many homeowners have discovered, first hand, what it’s like to fork out thousands of dollars to repair the damages caused by these disasters. And in many cases, prevention could have played a huge role. Here are a few helpful tips to avoid and address the most common plumbing issues. 1. Sewer System Backup A backed-up sewer system is one of the most regular plumbing issues to deal with and is never pleasant to be around. Sewage backups are almost always related to the

The post Most Common Plumbing Emergencies and Disasters appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Most Common Plumbing Emergencies and Disasters

Plumbing emergencies are among the most expensive sources of headaches that homeowners have to deal with. Too many homeowners have discovered, first hand, what it’s like to fork out thousands of dollars to repair the damages caused by these disasters. And in many cases, prevention could have played a huge role. Here are a few helpful tips to avoid and address the most common plumbing issues. 1. Sewer System Backup A backed-up sewer system is one of the most regular plumbing issues to deal with and is never pleasant to be around. Sewage backups are almost always related to the

The post Most Common Plumbing Emergencies and Disasters appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Most Common Plumbing Emergencies and Disasters

Plumbing emergencies are among the most expensive sources of headaches that homeowners have to deal with. Too many homeowners have discovered, first hand, what it’s like to fork out thousands of dollars to repair the damages caused by these disasters. And in many cases, prevention could have played a huge role. Here are a few helpful tips to avoid and address the most common plumbing issues. 1. Sewer System Backup A backed-up sewer system is one of the most regular plumbing issues to deal with and is never pleasant to be around. Sewage backups are almost always related to the

The post Most Common Plumbing Emergencies and Disasters appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Vandana Shiva talks ‘fake cheap’ food (VIDEO)

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Just saw this video of Indian scholar and sustainable-agriculture advocate Vandana Shiva talking about the true cost of cheap food and three keys to ending what she calls “the final stages of a very deceitful system.”

(By the way, Shiva is on our list of 50 Global Changemakers, here.)

She makes some excellent points, and I thought you might enjoy the video as much as I did.

Some of my favorite quotes from the video:

  • “We are living the final stages of a very deceitful system that has made everything that is very costly for the planet, costly for the producer, look cheap for the consumer. So very high-cost production with GMOs and patents and royalties and fossil fuel is made to look like cheap food.”
  • “Every young person should recognize that working with their hands and their hearts and their minds—and they’re interconnected—is the highest evolution of our species. Working with our hands is not a degradation. It’s our real humanity.”
  • “We are not atomized producers and community. We are part of the earth family. We are part of the human family. We are part of a food community. Food connects us—everything is food.”

I also love the way she defines “true freedom” in the video: “Never be afraid of deceitful, dishonest, brutal power. That is true freedom.”

And hey, let me know what you think about her solutions to the problem of high-cost “cheap” food! What others would you add? Leave me a comment below. 🙂

 

The post Vandana Shiva talks ‘fake cheap’ food (VIDEO) appeared first on The Grow Network.

10 Prepper Uses for Safety Pins

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ReadyNutrition Readers, Skeptics, and Skeptical Readers, greetings!  Let’s explain reasoning a little bit more in detail than regards the simple subject of this article.  My intent as a writer has never been to delve into the “High-Tech” and pricey solutions to things that you may face.

Many survival magazines offer “Sales” rather than “Solutions” to your needs to prepare.  In too many articles, people have lambasted me for suggesting low-cost solutions that are both “doable” and within the budget.

If you want secure communications, go ahead and suggest a SEAL Magnaphone with built-in scrambler, or a $15,000 current-gen pair of NVG (Night Vision Goggles), then go ahead and buy it.  If your main goal with any article is to suggest something “better” than the advised thing, that’s great.  The majority of the readers, however, are looking for simplicity combined with affordability.

Anyone can buy $100K worth of gear.  Now, what does that person do when the gear is either defunct, “appropriated,” or unusable for one reason or another?

My work attempts to propose solutions that can be employed without bankrupting a person, and also some knowledge of what can be used when all of the laser sights, night vision devices, ATV’s, cameras, reticle-dot sights, and all else are just useless circuitry.  Those days are coming: mark my words.  In the meantime, we have to develop our skills and win with the tools that we have at hand.

10 Prepper Uses for Safety Pins

Safety pins.  Simple little things, yet so much can be done with them.  I highly recommend toting at least a half dozen with you of various sizes, large to small.  They cost practically nothing.  Here’s the tip: Take the safety pins: learn and practice what you can do with them.

We’re going to run a condensed, hardly-exhaustive list of uses for the safety pins.  Here we go:

  1. Temporary repair fasteners for clothing
  2. Fishhooks
  3. Probe-tool (medical use)
  4. Lockpick
  5. Suture substitute
  6. Lance
  7. Support (individual or as a chain)
  8. Bandage/dressing support
  9. Cleaning tool
  10. Toothpick/minor dental first-aid tool

The list could go on and on.  Tear open a swatch in your pants leg while you’re out in the woods?  If you don’t have time to sew it up, use the safety pins.  Fishhooks.  All you need do is notch a couple of notches for barbs (when you do, notch “upward” in the direction of the safety pin’s point) for improvised fishhooks.  Tie off your line through the top-notch of the safety pin.

For use in removing metal or wood splinters or foreign debris: make sure you sterilize the end of the safety pin prior to use as a probe.  Burn the end of it for about ten seconds with a lighter or match, and then dip in alcohol if you can.  You can also use this technique for lancing a bad wound to allow pus to escape.

As a suture substitute, you can approximate the edges of the wound if it’s a bad bleeder with the safety pins.  This is temporary!  Seek medical attention immediately to prevent infection and further complications.  You can make a chain of them to hang an IV bag if necessary, or to close up and secure bandages and dressings.

Pin them where you can get to them easily.  If you wear a hat, then pin 4 to 6 of various sizes in your hatband.  You won’t even notice they’re there.  When some kind of need arises, though, you’ll remember that you have them.  Taking common, everyday items and making more out of them than their original intent is the kind of adaptive ingenuity you’ll need when the SHTF and an emergency arises.

And (not completely knocking your high-tech gadgets) when you pick up a piece of equipment, know two things: complete mastery of its capabilities and functions, and what you will replace it with when you no longer have it to use.  Always train from low-tech to high-tech, and you won’t be caught with your pants down.  And if that happens?  You may have busted a button; therefore, a safety pin will help…if you have it.  Fight that good fight.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Keeping Your Family Alive and (Reasonably) Happy During a SHTF Winter

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Survival_cache_SHTFblog_winter_survival_fog_cabin_desolate

Well, we’ve found that Christmas has passed, and here we are again, stuck smack dab in the middle of yet another Survival_cache_SHTFblog_winter_survival_fog_cabin_desolatewinter season. If you hail from Southern latitudes, winter may not be much of an issue – just another season where you might need to keep an extra fleece on in case the temps drop into “a little chilly”. However, those of us here in the north (like my home state of Maine), have nothing to look forward to but several more months of below freezing temperatures, snow buildup, and icy driveway clearing.

By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Under normal everyday circumstances, winter sucks for most people once the thrill of Christmas and the winter holidays has passed. Even with the modern conveniences of running furnaces, humming pellet stoves, and hot water generally any time one wants, winter still isn’t much fun if you’re not a winter sports (skiing/snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, etc) person. If you have blood circulation issues (such as Reynaud’s Disease) or other health problems, weather can be downright dreadful and flat-out miserable, if not deadly. As I write this, the Northeast US has been slammed by a severe cold spell, with temps dipping to -20°F and lower – and my wife’s feet have been ICE every time she crawls into bed with me. Tragic, I know.

Also Read: Cold Weather Survival in a Blizzard

But what happens if we lose these wonderful modern conveniences because of a SHTF event? If the power grid Survival_cache_SHTFblog_winter_survival_trail_snowgoes down for a length of time, we’re not just looking at being cold and miserable – we’re looking at dying from said cold and misery. If you’re running solo, that’s bad enough – but what if you have a family with little ones to consider? That is a whole new level of problems to counter, and one I find my mind drifting to more frequently as I see the snow pile up and the temps drop below zero while my 4-year-old scampers about.

Since it’s been more in-my-face than usual this year due to the bitter cold temperatures, I’ve been considering priorities and taking actions to help prepare my family for a power-out Maine winter – here are some of my musings.

Keep it Warm (duh)

When temps drop below freezing for any length of time your immediate priority is no longer food and water – the sheer cold will kill you faster than dehydration. Therefore, we need to prioritize warmth in your shelter above all else. As I will likely be staying put in any major SHTF event that’s not locally threatening, I need to first evaluate my home for its ability to produce heat with appliances, as well as retain said heat.

My personal house was built in the 1920s, with all the innate charm and lack of insulation and efficiencies that vintage houses offer. My built-in heating appliances are a well-maintained oil-burning furnace and a pellet stove. While both of these methods are great while the power is running or generator is producing, I’m SOL once the juice goes bye-bye. I know that heat is a major shortcoming in the plans, so I need to look at maybe trading the pellet stove in for a small-to-medium-sized wood stove to mount in its place. If a full-sized wood stove isn’t practical or if you live in apartment building, perhaps a smaller wood stove like the Tiny Wood Stove Dwarf or perhaps a propane burning stove may work for a smaller house or apartment. However, consideration needs to be taken to properly vent the exhaust fumes – carbon monoxide will kill you just as dead as the cold or dehydration. If you’re creative, you could probably work up an insulated panel with a hole in it to run a small chimney through a window to keep the warm in and the fumes and smoke out.

Related: M1951 Fishtail Parka

Wood stoves have the advantage of running off a locally-obtained fuel source. They can also produce heat off paper, some types of trash, and even cloth or busted-up furniture if the desperation level is high enough. Versatility is a major selling point for a good wood stove. A wood-burning fireplace works if you have one in your house, but just be aware that most of your heat (something like 70%, I’m told) actually goes out your chimney instead of radiating out to your living space, and as such, it is vastly inefficient. A better bet is to have a wood stove  installed in your fireplace cavity – my brother did this in his 1820’s Maine farmhouse, and it works brilliantly.

Kerosene or other fuel-fired heaters are also available for inside applications, but care still needs to be taken to allow proper ventilation. Open flames (even ones somewhat contained inside heaters) still need to be carefully monitored as well. Nobody wants to be the victim of irony when you burn to death while it’s freezing outside.

First aid kits are an absolute must in general, but be sure to keep one around heaters. Train your family not only to avoid burns, but to know how to recognize levels of severity and treat burns as well. A couple years ago, my son lost his balance while running around near the running pellet stove, and just a quick brush with the glass-faced door severely burned my boy’s hand. I was able to diagnose that the burns weren’t severe, and treat them at home with first aid supplies and cool water. During a SHTF event, anything that can go wrong will, and likely with harsher consequences since professional medical attention probably isn’t readily available. Perish the thought, but what if the grid was down, and my son had put his whole arm through the glass door, getting cut AND burned? Vigilance and knowledge will keep you in good shape when having to deal with interior heating. Stove guards and/or screens – readily available at any heating shop or big box store – are a great idea, and inexpensive insurance.

I also have plenty of super-cheap wool disaster blankets and thermal curtains to hang over doorways and windowsSurvival_cache_SHTFblog_winter_survival_disaster_blankets_wool_heat to keep heat trapped in select “warm rooms” of the house as needed. No, it won’t be fun long-term, but can help keep the heat in one or two heated rooms in your house for everyone to stay in. It’s highly recommended that if you’re keeping just one or two rooms in your houses heated, to drain the water from the house’s plumbing system to keep it from freezing, expanding, and cracking if possible.

Obviously, lots of warm clothing and blankets are needed to keep the required temps down so fuel expenditures can be kept to a minimum. Winters can last a long time – make your fuel last. If feasible, during sunny days, pull blankets down off south-facing windows (if you’re in the northern hemisphere) to take advantage of the solar heat gain provided by the sun shining directly into windows. The vitamin D production from sunlight, and the morale boost from natural daylighting can be a huge help.

Keep it Dry When You Go Out

Dry clothing is a game-changer in winter. Yes, the shelter and heat is nice, but when you’re outdoors, wet clothing quickly sucks the heat right out of your body, whether you like it or not. Sweat can be a wetness-inducing culprit if you’re working hard, but in winter, snow and ice on your clothing and melting from your body heat can make you miserable and practically drenched in very little time. Temps slightly above freezing are the worst (in my opinion), because snow on tree branches, foliage, rooftops – it melts, gets heavy, and succumbs to gravity. And in my experience, that gravity seems to guide it right down my damn neck. Snow turns slushy, and your boots will soak through, up your pant legs. In no time at all, much of your body can become wet – and low temps, combined with wet clothing, is a killer.

You Should Also Read: Weather Preparedness

Solution? Wear wool when possible. Wool insulates while wet and can help keep you warm enough to get back to your fire and dry out. Hybrid moisture-wicking undergarments can keep moisture collection caused your sweating under control if there’s no snow. Knee-high insulated rubber boots (like those made by Muck or LaCrosse) are expensive, but will keep your feet dry in the wettest of conditions. Gaiters are fantastic in the snow, and waxed canvas jackets can help repel water. Carry spares of socks, gloves, long underwear if you’re outdoors for an extended period of time – these items will get wet the fastest and can make you miserable the fastest as well. Many outdoors-oriented companies offer waterproof or rainproof clothing – but just be mindful that while they often keep water OUT, they also keep water IN by not allowing your body to breathe – so sweat or other moisture in your clothes generally stays there until you can get your clothes off to dry them out.

For the kids, sweat usually isn’t as much of an issue, so make sure they have high quality outdoors clothing that will help keep them from getting wet. Snow pants, long winter jackets, and rubber insulated boots are a must. My mother used to put plastic bread bags over our feet to keep our piggies dry – and it works, very well. So if you have to go outdoors with the kids during a winter SHTF event for whatever reason, make sure they are dressed well for the weather, and keep an eye on them! Children don’t know the warning signs of hypothermia and other cold-induced maladies, and often will not recognize that there’s an issue. Stock up on hats and gloves, even handwarmers – you’ll need ‘em! Dry kids are happy kids, and they’ll be amazingly resilient as long as they’re warm and dry, and see Mommy and/or Daddy positive and happy.

When drying your clothes indoor by your heat source, remember that just because the clothes are wet, it doesn’t mean they can’t catch fire. I’ll admit to losing a couple pairs of really great boots and some expensive wool gloves by having them too close to a fire to dry out. Same can happen to your other clothing as well – get a drying rack, keep it far enough away so that sparks or ambient heat won’t catch or melt your valuable outdoors gear. As a bonus, water evaporating as steam from wet clothes can help keep a little moisture in the shelter’s air and keep you from being miserably dry.

Make sure you have the tools for moving efficiently and quickly in the snow – high quality snowshoes, cross country skis, sleds, and even snowmobiles will help minimize your time in the cold by helping you get where you need to go more quickly.

Watch Your Provisions

 If you’re going with keeping just a room or two warm and blocking off the rest of the house, you’ll probably want to bring some water reserves and any food containing water into the room with you. It would be a heartbreaker to head to your cold pantry to find your carefully stocked canned goods or water jugs have burst from freezing.

Water can be kept inside coolers to prevent freezing for periods of time, high-end coolers like what Yeti offers will suddenly be worth their weight in gold if the temps are below freezing and your survival water starts getting slushy.

Keep Your ‘Dirty Business” Separate and Clean

Going to the bathroom could be a positively miserable experience when the power is out and you’re snowed in. Survival_cache_SHTFblog_winter_survival_bug_in_trail_snowToilets won’t flush, and hopefully your toilet plumbing won’t burst (it happens). All this means that you’re going to have to evacuate your bodily wastes either in a cold-ass room, or in your warm room with everyone around. Neither option seems like much fun; we need to maintain our dignities even when in societal turmoil.

When I was maybe 5 or 6 years old, my father rented a ramshackle house with no power (that I remember) during a very cold New England winter, near a factory he was getting up and running. We didn’t have much money, which meant that he did the warm-room technique, with blankets and plastic sheeting over doorways, and a kerosene heater to keep us warm. We all stayed in one room. It wasn’t extravagant, but we were together.

What I DO clearly remember is the bathroom consisted of a  5-gallon bucket in the next room, with a trash bag liner and a liberated toilet seat perched on top. The world’s coldest craps ever recorded happened inside that sad little bathroom, and about the best thing that could be said about it is that there weren’t any flies – it was too cold. But we bit the bullet and did what we had to do. When the fun was over and the bag filled to a reasonable level (solid waste only – no peeing in the bag!) we tied it up and brought it outside to a dumpster. All urinating was done in another bucket, which was dumped outside a safe ways from the house. Glamorous as all hell, right? But it served the purpose, gave us privacy and fullfilled our needs, and we got through.

A similar setup could be run in a SHTF house with limited warmth. Bring the toilet seat with you in the warm room with you – nobody likes cold toilet seats. Leave the waste bucket elsewhere, preferably in a room where you can close the door and keep scents out of the common area. Survival food isn’t always that friendly on the gastrointestinal system – you all know what I mean. Of course, if you can bear doing your duties outdoors, do so when practical.

Stock toilet paper, trash bags, and paper towels. Keep jugs of hand sanitizer available to minimize water usage and keep hands and other areas clean. Have lotion on hand as well – hand sanitizer will dry your hands out quickly, and the cold temperatures will exacerbate that. Cracked hands will ruin your day quickly; lotion or petroleum jelly will keep them up and running. Petroleum jelly can also be used for cold-chapped lips or to start fires.

Keep it Fun

Cabin fever sucks enough when you have easy heat and power. It sucks FAR worse when your family, who is used Battle_of_Hothto warmth, good food, and instant entertainment in the palm of their hands is suddenly deprived of these conveniences. Negativity breeds further negativity, and your house will become an ugly breeding ground of angry once the communications have stopped, iPhones die and the newsfeed can’t be checked. Be prepared for this initial round of discontent, and head it off at the pass with other ways to entertain. Board games, crank-up radios, an extensive library of books, cards, constructive toys, and a stash of art supplies are good mental distractions. If an EMP or power surge didn’t smoke out your electronics, perhaps allow your kids to play tablet or phone video games once in a while – provided you have solar chargers to top off electronics as needed.

Related: Cold Weather Camping

Keep everyone engaged with everyone – maintain a team atmosphere and don’t leave any family members out of activities unless requested to do so. Keep minds occupied, sharp, and challenged – a dull mind will drift to dwell and fester on the misery. A team having fun and facing challenges together will also keep from harboring resentment or creating arguments amongst fellow dwellers. When you’re shut in a room with your family for an entire winter with everyone trying to stay warm and survive, every little bit of friendliness, fun, and love will count.

Keep Yourselves Illuminated

Light is also essential to combat your situation; the darkness outside is present for a much longer period of time during the winter and the dark will be (not can be…WILL be) overwhelming and depressing. Solar-powered lanterns like the Hybridlight PUC or PSL Personal Solar Lantern will be godsends and just one will light up a decent-sized room with aplomb for hours on a single charge. Solar-powered flashlights like the Hybridlight Journey series will be extremely useful as well, and not require stockpiles of batteries while being able to charge devices via USB ports.

Open flames (especially in old houses like mine) can lead to serious combusting problems if kids are running around, so where possible, keep candles and oil-powered hurricane lantern use minimized. Keep flames elevated on wall sconces or on shelves to minimize risk of tipping over. Definitely keep flames well away from ANYTHING flammable – even bacon grease or household cooking oils.

Don’t Give Up, HAVE A PLAN!

Look, you’re in the middle of a SHTF event. Life is gonna suck enough as-is, even without having to shelter in place in the middle of winter and fighting to beat the cold. Knowing you’re very possibly going to have to face a disaster in this most inhospitable climate and having a plan will go a long way towards keeping your morale up and your mind focused on the task at hand – keeping your family alive.

Even if you don’t live in an area that resembles the surface of Hoth in winter, you should still have an active plan in place to deal with harsher temps and the effects they have on men, material, and shelter. Have a plan in place, and if possible, incorporate your neighbors or your SHTF team to corroborate and share resources – for example: you may not have a Coleman Stove for cooking, but you might have firewood in your basement that’s cut to length to fit your neighbor’s wood stove. Maybe your friend’s stocked pantry can be used to stock food for two families, and other deals can be made for your weapons cache to be distributed for security.

Also Read: Cold Weather Shelter Practice

Once the chips are down and we’re in the middle of knee-deep snow and subzero temps, your plans, thoughtful predetermined actions, and your family will probably be all you have. Start now while you have that reliable furnace and think, “what would I do if that died RIGHT NOW?” Build from there. It may mean the difference between life and death when your life is on the line.

Of course, this dissertation doesn’t cover everything to be considered. What else would you add for your winter SHTF planning? Sound off in the comments below!

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It doesn’t feel like a sacrifice

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After finishing school, Jocelyn and Jarvis had $96,000 of debt from student loans, credit cards, and buying a small rural property. This is the story of how they paid it off in just 20 months, and then built themselves a debt-free custom tiny house for their family of 4.

After ignoring their finances for a long time, the couple finally faced reality one night when they sat down and added up all of their debts, and compared it to the revenue they had coming in.

When they realized how much they owed, they decided to make some drastic changes so they could pay it off and stop worrying about money. To start, they moved to a smaller apartment, changed jobs, shopped second-hand, froze a credit card in a block of ice, switched to using cash only, and made a budget that allowed them to chip away at their debt.

They had a white board with a list of all their debts, which they updated every time a payment was made so they’d continue to be motivated. After 20 months, they were completely debt-free. After that, they continued with their minimalist, frugal habits and were able to save up enough money to build themselves a custom tiny house on wheels.

They’ve been living in the tiny house for over two years now, with their two children, and plan to continue living in it for as long as they can. They are currently saving money to buy a small acreage where they will build a larger off grid home and keep the tiny house as an income property.

We’re very inspired by this young family’s dedication to improve their lives by paying off their debt, by their awareness of their energy consumption, by their efforts to buy less and live a low waste lifestyle. They’re trying to make positive change in every aspect of their lives, and that’s not always an easy thing to do.

Thank you, Jocelyn and Jarvis, for sharing your story with us! And for the beautiful day we spent at your place! Thanks for watching! Mat & Danielle

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Weekly Watchman & Current Events – January 30, 2018

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Current Events and Bible Prophecy – Prepped & Aware!

 

This weekly post provides you with a select section of Current Events and Prophecy Update videos from current prophecy teachers. Be prayerful and line everything up against the Word of God.

But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near!  Luke 21:28 HCSB

Disclaimer: I don’t agree with everything I post here.  However, I try to keep an open mind and definitely don’t want to be like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day that had the Son of God right in front of them, but didn’t recognize Him because He didn’t come the way they thought He would come!  Stay Alert!

In this week’s WW:

  • John Haller’s Prophecy Update “You Need to Know This: When Delusion Rules the World” – 1/28/18
  • Jacob Prasch – This Week in Prophecy-January 27, 2018
  • Calvary Melbourne Australia – EARTHQUAKE STRIKES CALIFORNIA – Jan. 28, 2018
  • JD Farag – Mid-East Prophecy Update – January 28, 2018
  • Jason A – The Meaning of Everything!

 

John Haller’s Prophecy Update “You Need to Know This: When Delusion Rules the World” – 1/28/18

 

Jacob Prasch – This Week in Prophecy-January 27, 2018

 

Calvary Melbourne Australia – EARTHQUAKE STRIKES CALIFORNIA – Jan. 28, 2018

 

JD Farag – Mid-East Prophecy Update – January 28, 2018

 

Jason A – The Meaning of Everything!

Peace,
Todd

Homemade Hamburger Buns Recipe

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Homemade Hamburger Buns Recipe Arguably one of the best foods ever created, the hamburger is a beef sandwich that you can carry and eat with one hand. You can smother that meat in any number of things but the mobility and flavor is what makes it nearly perfect in this age of constant movement. Whether …

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Preparing For Life’s Storms with Gardening!

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Preparing For Life’s Storms with Gardening!

Preparing For Life’s Storms with Gardening!
Bexar Prepper “Preparing For Life’s Storms

Have you been watching the prices in the grocery store, as the product packages shrink? What’s the answer? Grow your own produce. Tonight we welcome in mhpgardener an avid gardener, friend and gracious spirit. Bobby built both his greenhouse; I like to call them hangers cause their big enough to fit a plane in. He is learning hydroponic gardening he also gardens the traditional way, like the rest of us.

Continue reading Preparing For Life’s Storms with Gardening! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA:Triple Fuel Flashlight

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Streamlight is a company that produces some interesting high value flashlights. They are often found in use by military, police, EMT and firefighters, people that put their gear through some hard, honest use.

This isn’t some generic Made in China flashlight manufacturer. Streamlight products are well tested and they are durable, offering a ton of flashlight for the money. This is a flashlight that would do well as EDC, kept in kits for emergencies or for use in your line of work where a reliable flashlight is required.

The most interesting feature this flashlight has is that in can run on a single cell of CR123A or AA. Officially speaking it’s a “Dual Fuel” flashlight. Unofficially speaking though, this flashlight can also run on AAA batteries as well. You just place them in there, carefully screw the cap and it does work. The ability to run on the most common batteries available out there is a huge capability for a survival oriented flashlight.

The Streamlight 88061 ProTac 1L-1AA feels solid in the hand. It is made of anodized aluminium and has a tail cap clicky button which is capable of momentary on when pressing without clicking. One click turns the light on in high (350 lumens for the CR123A or 150 lumens for AA), tapping the tail button twice activates the strobe mode. This can be used for defensive use, along with the flashlight itself given that is has a strike bezel to use as an impact weapon. Tapping on the tail 3 times engages the low mode which is 40 lumens on either battery. This is the pre-set program the flashlight comes in. You can access two other settings by tapping on the button 10 times. There’s another setting that works just on High, and another that has both High-Low. This works well for people that want a simple light that just turns on an off when they click it and nothing else or for folks that want to do without the strobe mode. I do feel that a Low or even Moonlight mode is missing in this flashlight. That would have made it just about perfect in my opinion, if at least one of the three programs offered such an option.

Streamlight 88061 ProTac 1L-1AA 350 Lumen Dual Fuel Professional Tactical Light $36.02

I do like the Streamlight 88061 ProTac 1L-1AA . I think it offers a lot of flashlight for the money and I think the “Triple Fuel” capability makes it an ideal choice for any Modern Survivalist. As of right now at 36 bucks it’s a bargain. Get yourself a couple and put them in your kits. You’ll be glad you did.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Sad Day at Living Prepared

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This morning, I had to let my best little buddy go. Almost 15 years old and during the last six months she’s been rapidly losing her health with a heart murmur, multiple tumors, lost her hearing, and for the last three weeks not wanting to eat hardly anything. The vet said she’s just too old for any kind of surgery and it’s time.
Harley, 2003 – 2018


FM 31-70 Basic Cold Weather Manual

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FM 31-70 Basic Cold Weather Manual is designed to prepare the individual soldier and small unit commander to conduct military operations for extended periods of time under the most severe and varying cold weather climatic conditions. The doctrine and techniques in the manual are applicable in any area that has cold weather and snow with their accompanying operational problems. Troops properly trained in this doctrine and these techniques will be able to fight; live; and move in any cold weather area in the world. Being able to operate in cold weather is an important skill for the outdoors man and

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SHOT Show Highlights: The Mossberg 590M Shotgun

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Mossberg’s big announcement for this year’s SHOT Show was their brand new 590M Mag-Fed 12-gauge shotgun. The 590M features a double-stack, 10-round shotgun magazine; with optional 5, 10, 15 and 20-round capacity magazine addons. […]

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Year of the Dog

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Year of the Dog

 [Nyerges is the author of “Extreme Simplicity,” “How to Survive Anywhere,” and other books. He teaches survival and self-reliance at Pasadena City college and throughout the community. He can be reached at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com, or Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041]

As we are about to begin the Chinese Year of the earth Dog on February 16, it is a good time to take note of all the good things about dogs. It seems that everyone has something to say about the character of dogs.  They exhibit unconditional love, they are loyal, and they really seem to want to be a part of your life, to the extent that they are able.

Dogs are deeply loyal to their families and friends. They are regarded as honest and straightforward, and they can be deeply responsible for the welfare of those around them (remember old episodes of Lassie saving someone?).

Many of our most profound observations about human nature come from our observation of dogs.  For example, Sigmund Freud noted that “dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate.”

James Thurber observed, “If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.” 

One of my favorite episodes of the Twilight Zone was “The Hunt,” where Hyder Simpson and his dog went for a hunt one day.  Hyder’s dog jumped into a pool, and didn’t come out and Hyder looked for him, eventually finding him.  They both had died, but Hyder didn’t know it, and he strolled down a road where a man informed him he’d died and that he was now at heaven.  Hyder was about to enter but the gatekeeper said dogs were not allowed. So Hyder just kept strolling, saying he’d not go anywhere if his dog couldn’t go.  He eventually came to another gate and the gatekeeper again invited him in.  “What about my dog?” asked Hyder hesitantly.  “Oh, he’s welcome” said the gatekeeper.  It turned out that this was the real heaven, where both Hyder and his dog were welcome.  The other gatekeeper was at the entrance to hell!   It’s an excellent episode and makes you think about what is important to you in life – and after life.

Ann Landers once wrote, “Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”  And I really like the bumper sticker I once saw that read, “I wish I was half the person that my dog believes I am.”   A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself, said Josh Billings.  And Andy Rooney noted that the average dog is a nicer person than the average person. How true that often seems!

We make fun of some habits of dogs, like going in circles many times before they will lie down, or sniffing everything, because perhaps we do not understand dogs.  Dave Barry once comically noted that “dogs need to sniff the ground; it’s how they keep abreast of current events. The ground is a giant dog newspaper, containing all kinds of late-breaking dog news items, which, if they are especially urgent, are often continued in the next yard.”  Funny, but probably true. I remember walking my pit bull Cassius Clay in my Altadena neighborhood, and there were certain lines of bushes which he had to slowly sniff before we could move on. It took so long to get by that area that I would sometimes avoid it entirely or I would never get home.  What did Cassius smell? His brain was likely translating the different odors left by other dogs, just as Barry suggests, and those odors conveyed a complex picture of each dog that had passed by and probably a few things about its history.

As for the intelligence of dogs, I believe it is quite high. Much has been made of the supposed higher intelligence of pigs vs. dogs.  I don’t doubt that some scientist conducted some tests of brain activity and found that pigs were higher functioning in some areas.  Pigs certainly have incredible memories. When I had both a pig and a dog, I observed that my pig, Otis, had an incredible memory, but the memory was largely limited to food: where he once found it, whether he liked it, and whether he might find more there again.  Whereas the pig seemed to be less interested in humans and wanted to live for food and pleasure, the dog’s mentality was very much geared to the human “master,” and very much included the concepts that we humans call love and loyalty.

I have so many dog stories – stories that are uplifting, sad, hilarious,  stories of how our dog pal made our life more meaningful, and taught us to love even more. I realize that if you’re not a “dog person,” you’re not going to get this.  I remember once on the Dennis Prager radio show – not a “dog person”, by the way —  he talked about people who love dogs dearly.  In his attempt to figure this out, Prager concluded that people who love dogs morethan people have some sort of deficiency, and they are trying to make up for it by loving dogs.  Respectfully, I think you got that one wrong Dennis.  Granted, no two people are alike, but I see that people who can love dogs too are people who are big lovers, not small lovers. They are people whose hearts are big, and they see the beautiful life force and vitalistic energy within these non-human beings. 

I have spent some time attempting to master human-to-dog communication.  It is definitely not about words.  Yes, dogs will remember certain sounds and what they are intended to convey, regardless what human language you are speaking.  But they primarily pick up on your tone and intent.  They know anger, fear, uncertainty, love, respect, and many more of the so-called human emotions.  I also believe that Beatrice Lydecker got it right in her book, “What the Animals Tell Me,” where she shared her “secrets” to animal communication.  Essentially, Lydecker explains that you need to think in pictures, and to then attempt to convey those pictures to the animal, mentally.  I experimented with the Lydecker approach many times with Cassius and found that, towards the end of his life, we had some very deep and profound exchanges of ideas.

Welcome the Year of the Dog!  What an auspicious year.