Puttering around the house SNOW DAYS!

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Actually the little bit of snow we got both days melted by the afternoon, but it was great for recovery and getting some of the house cleaned up. I’m still getting used to the fact of how many jobs Mom did around the house from bringing in wood to cleaning the big bathroom and washing down the kitchen every week or two.  I miss having a couple of extra hands available when I needed them on getting jobs done.

Mom usually carried in the wood by hand when filling the wood rack. Basically Mom did smaller loads daily and I do larger loads every 2-3 days. I got in a couple loads of wood on the porch wood rack before the snow hit.  Hauling a wagon load of wood through even a couple of inches of snow sucks.  I have a small toboggan but I did not test how it hauled wood in light snow.  One thing I like about using the wagon as I can get a better mix of wood because I can fill the wagon with one section from the wood rack and get to the lower layer of older hardwoods from last year.  Stacking next year’s wood pile I will fill the racks by type of wood so I’ll have a rack of all hard wood or all soft wood.

Other than that I just got the house cleaned up and started baking bread again.  Money got a little tight so I had to stop buying the day old bagels on sale.  The first batch of bread did not get mixed completely and I ended up with a couple of salty areas in the loaves and just a little bit doughy from not being baked all the way through but I always figure it takes a a couple of tries when baking bread after not doing it for awhile.  The second batch turned out almost perfect so I’m get the feel for how to bake bread again.

The great thing about having a fully stocked pantry is when money get a little tight you always have the pantry to fall back on. I still hope I can recover in one month from Tucker’s $700.00 vet bill in a month but if it takes a couple of months I’m good with that happening.  I want to get my Kia a trailer hitch and buy a small cargo trailer as a cheap alternative to buying a pickup. I want to build at least one raised bed using the plans from the garden class I am taking.  Last but not least I want to start building some raised beds for Mom at her place. I’m not sure we can get the beds done this year but I know for sure we can start and the beds will be ready for next year’s garden.

Like most people we have many plans of what we want to do and a limited amount of physical energy and money to try and get those jobs done.  One thing Mom and I agree on is physically killing ourselves trying to get all her stuff move to her house via a deadline is a bad idea.  We are slowing down moving stuff and since we have no storage fees to worry about, we can take our time.  The priorities are getting the chickens secured from predators and getting curtains and blinds up in the house so Mom does not feel like she is living in a fish bowl.

6 Causes For Sudden Chicken Death (And How To Prevent It)

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6 Causes For Sudden Chicken Death (And How To Prevent It)

Image source: Pixabay.com

A few weeks ago, I went out to the chicken coop to feed and water my birds. I was shocked to find one lying lifeless on the floor, with no obvious sign of illness or injury.

With a population of about a dozen hens and two roosters, all of which are New Hampshire Reds, I was familiar with all the common chicken diseases. Fortunately, none of them have ever affected my flock, largely because most poultry-borne illnesses are spread by the introduction of new members to the flock from outside the farm. We had lost chickens due to aggressive roosters, weasels and infected legs due to some unintelligently placed bands. Yet we had never had a chicken drop dead without experiencing any symptoms or signs of trauma.

However, despite the basic knowledge I had in all the reasons a chicken could die, I had no idea what would cause a seemingly healthy bird to just drop dead out of nowhere. This led me to conduct a mini-research project, in which I found a variety of causes for “sudden chicken death syndrome.”

1. Heart attack

This is most common in fast-growing breeds like Cornish crosses. This is usually due to overstress on their fragile systems, and can happen if these birds grow too largely, too quickly. Certain breeds of chickens are more predisposed to heart attacks based on their bone structure and the origin of genetic, microscopic lesions in their heart muscles.

Heart attack can be prevented by butchering broiler birds as soon as they are large enough to do so. Overweight birds are just as unhealthy as overweight humans, and will suffer a myriad of health problems as a result. You should also provide your chickens with plenty of space to roam about. This will help ensure that they get enough exercise to remain healthy.

2. Invisible diseases and parasites

This killer can easily be determined if you “autopsy” your chickens once they have died. Common parasites include worms, mites, lice and other organisms. One disease, coccidiosis, spreads through the feces of the birds and is common in closely confined flocks.

Another common disease is mycoplasma. This illness isn’t without symptoms; birds will often experience sneezing and eye inflammation. However, although it prevents signs, these are easily missed in a large flock. Maintaining a clean coop and other living spaces can help prevent this disease.

3. Accidental poisoning

Chickens can easily become poisoned by common foods they pick up while free-ranging. From small pieces of plastic to bits of tomato plants, there are so many materials that can prove to be toxic to chickens. This toxicity comes on rapidly, and often, the chicken shows no sign of digestive upset or distress before it dies.

4. Trauma

This cause of death doesn’t usually present without signs of injury on a chicken’s body, but it can happen if a chicken has internal damage to its organs. Chickens fight, and can end up accidentally killing each other. Chickens can run into things, damaging their heads, or even fall from a deadly height. Chickens can also be trampled or squashed by larger birds if they are living in close confinement.

There’s not much you can do to prevent this besides making sure you have enough space for your chickens to coexist in peace. If your chickens are free-ranging, four square feet per bird is enough space. However, those that are inside all the time need about 10 square feet each.

5. Impacted crop

An impacted crop is caused by a piece of material, such as straw or dried grass, getting stuck in a tangled mess (kind of like a hairball in cats) inside the crop. This prevents the material from moving to the stomach and can cause symptoms such as lethargy, refusal of food, and excessive drinking. If left untreated, it can lead to conditions such as sour crop and pendulous crop, and, ultimately, death, as the chicken will not willingly eat.

This can be prevented by feeding lots of grit, as well as providing access to free-range acreage so that they can access natural grit-like materials on their own. Pay attention to your birds for signs of fatigue and a refusal to eat, and you will hopefully catch any signs of impacted crops before they become lethal.

6. Egg bound

Because none of our other birds became sick, we ultimately determined our chicken’s cause of death to be the impaction of an egg between her shell gland and vent. At the time, our chickens were laying massive eggs, and we believe this particular hen just so happened to be so unlucky that she could not lay the stuck egg.

Preventing chickens from becoming egg bound can be difficult, but common causes include calcium deficiency and excess weight. Again, providing your chickens with a healthy diet, plenty of room to room, and a clean, living space help to prevent this unfortunate occurrence. Also, make sure you have enough nesting space (such as nest boxes) for all your laying hens. If they must wait too long to lay, this can result in a stuck egg.

While there’s not much you can do to prevent all chicken deaths, maintaining a clean, spacious coop is a good step to ensuring the health of your flock. Give your birds access to plenty of high-quality, nutritious feed and clean water, and you’ll significantly reduce the likelihood of sudden chicken death.

What would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Prep of the Week: The Ultimate Toboggan for Winter Bug-Outs

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It’s important to keep an ever-vigilant eye out for great prepper deals. You should never go broke trying to get prepped. Right now, you might be able to find some great winter related preps.

ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, I recently wrote about bugging-out in winter and how having a toboggan would come in handy. Well, I found a good one!  Yes, I had an older, junky, dark-green toboggan/sled that I kept in my vehicle.  I was in Target this past week, as we’ve been really getting hammered in Montana with the snow…and what to my wondrous eyes should appear?  The toboggan.  I knew it existed, but had never found it until now.

Yes, it ran me $19.99 (no sales tax in Montana) out the door, and here’s a picture of it:

Is that not a beauty?  You’ll have to fight your kids off for it, seriously!  Now, see that red piece in the middle?  That is a “seat” made out of some kind of rigid plastic foam…and it’s glued in place so loosely that you can just grab an edge or corner and peel it right off the bottom…and good riddance!  It is made of a high-density polyethylene, and I’m here to tell you, it’s sturdier than any kid’s sled I’ve ever seen.  Right up there with strength and rigidity with the bigger ones used to haul wood and game in Wal-Mart that I’ve mentioned before.

It’s 48” in length, 24” wide, and about 8” in depth and lists to hold up to 200 lbs.  The way these things stack?  If you have a spouse and two kids, you can pick up four of them and they’ll nest neatly within one another.  They only weigh 5 lbs. apiece.  I’m going to modify mine and drill 4 holes on each long edge and 2 on the short edges to enable me to put bungee cords or a net over the top.  Probably the cords, as they have more use for other things.

You will have to check your local Target for availability because it’s no longer available for online purchases. The store item # for this guy is 091050553, and you can find it in the kid’s toy section.  Besides just gear, remember: this thing can have a secondary use as a litter for a wounded patient.  Just make sure to pull it over a smooth path if you can, but you never know when a patient is ambulatory and needs to be transported.  The tow rope is pictured as black/dark, but actually, it’s white with thin red “pinstripes.”  Although it looks kind of stupid up close, it’s barely noticeable, and you can always switch it out.  I’ll keep mine as it is.  I found the last one, and if they had more I would have picked up two.

It’s a really good quality, and it doesn’t take up much room at all.  In addition, if you needed to hunker down for the night, you could reverse it, put it up on poles or bungees, and have a makeshift “roof” for yourself.  I put the old green dinosaur in the woodshed, and this new sled is riding with me.  I highly recommend it…for gear, or if you need to transport someone, or for an expedient shelter-roof, this sled is inexpensive, and it foots the bill.  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

Prep of the Week: The Ultimate Toboggan for Winter Bug-Outs

It’s important to keep an ever-vigilant eye out for great prepper deals. You should never go broke trying to get prepped. Right now, you might be able to find some great winter related preps.

ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, I recently wrote about bugging-out in winter and how having a toboggan would come in handy. Well, I found a good one!  Yes, I had an older, junky, dark-green toboggan/sled that I kept in my vehicle.  I was in Target this past week, as we’ve been really getting hammered in Montana with the snow…and what to my wondrous eyes should appear?  The toboggan.  I knew it existed, but had never found it until now.

Yes, it ran me $19.99 (no sales tax in Montana) out the door, and here’s a picture of it:

Is that not a beauty?  You’ll have to fight your kids off for it, seriously!  Now, see that red piece in the middle?  That is a “seat” made out of some kind of rigid plastic foam…and it’s glued in place so loosely that you can just grab an edge or corner and peel it right off the bottom…and good riddance!  It is made of a high-density polyethylene, and I’m here to tell you, it’s sturdier than any kid’s sled I’ve ever seen.  Right up there with strength and rigidity with the bigger ones used to haul wood and game in Wal-Mart that I’ve mentioned before.

It’s 48” in length, 24” wide, and about 8” in depth and lists to hold up to 200 lbs.  The way these things stack?  If you have a spouse and two kids, you can pick up four of them and they’ll nest neatly within one another.  They only weigh 5 lbs. apiece.  I’m going to modify mine and drill 4 holes on each long edge and 2 on the short edges to enable me to put bungee cords or a net over the top.  Probably the cords, as they have more use for other things.

You will have to check your local Target for availability because it’s no longer available for online purchases. The store item # for this guy is 091050553, and you can find it in the kid’s toy section.  Besides just gear, remember: this thing can have a secondary use as a litter for a wounded patient.  Just make sure to pull it over a smooth path if you can, but you never know when a patient is ambulatory and needs to be transported.  The tow rope is pictured as black/dark, but actually, it’s white with thin red “pinstripes.”  Although it looks kind of stupid up close, it’s barely noticeable, and you can always switch it out.  I’ll keep mine as it is.  I found the last one, and if they had more I would have picked up two.

It’s a really good quality, and it doesn’t take up much room at all.  In addition, if you needed to hunker down for the night, you could reverse it, put it up on poles or bungees, and have a makeshift “roof” for yourself.  I put the old green dinosaur in the woodshed, and this new sled is riding with me.  I highly recommend it…for gear, or if you need to transport someone, or for an expedient shelter-roof, this sled is inexpensive, and it foots the bill.  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

5 Herbs Every Homesteader Needs In Their First-Aid Kit

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5 Herbs Every Homesteader Needs In Their First-Aid Kit

Image source: Pixabay.com

I have a long history with conventional medicine and allergies. More than a handful of times, I ended up in the hospital due to a reaction from the treatment for an illness. Should the cure be worse than the illness? Well, my mother didn’t think so. She turned to nature for my herbal first aid — and I’ve been using herbs ever since.

One of the best parts about herbal medicine is that it is generally free and can be found right outside your door!

Herbs and weeds have been used as medicine since the beginning of mankind. As a matter of fact, herbs are still the building blocks for many conventional medicines.

According to the University of Minnesota, “It is likely that humans have used plants as medicine for as long as we have existed. Archeological excavations dated as early as 60,000 years ago have found remains of medicinal plant.”

Let’s examine five specific herbs.

Minor Burns and Scrapes: Aloe

Aloe is the only plant that I seem to have a green thumb for. Incidentally, it is the first herb I ever recall using as a child.

Often seen in many homes as a decorative plant, aloe Vera is effective in treating minor burns, sunburns and scrapes.

Aloe Vera is an evergreen succulent that grows wild in tropical climates around the world. In colder climates, aloe Vera can be grown indoors as potted plants.

Aloe contains active compounds that help reduce inflammation and pain. These active compounds help stimulate skin growth and repair, in addition to acting as a moisturizing agent. Medical studies have shown that burns treated with aloe heal quicker than burns treated with silver sulfadiazine.

Bleeding and Cuts: Yarrow

According to mythology, the Greek hero Achilles used yarrow to stop the bleeding in his soldiers’ wounds.

Recently after a construction accident, my husband had a wound on his foot that nearly reached the bone. Unable to get to the doctors, I applied a yarrow compress to get the bleeding under control until he could receive medical attention. We have successfully used yarrow several times through the years to treat wounds and to stop bleeding.

Yarrow is a common weed that often can be found growing on the sides of the road. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) tends to grow best in sunny and warm climates. However, I’ve had success growing it in my shaded garden, as well.

Through numerous devices – clotting, unclotting, neurovascular control, flavonoids, etc. – yarrow regulates the flow of blood to and from the surface, in and out of the capillaries and venules, thickening and thinning. Through this, it cures all manner of wounds, bruises, hemorrhaging and clotting.

Stings/Bites: Plantain

I bet you’ve walked by this herb thousands of times without even realizing it, but plantain is the perfect treatment for bites and stings. Plantain has astringent properties that help reduce swelling and draw out the toxins from the bite.

When our daughter was just a couple of years old, she was playing with some wind-chimes. Little did I know that hornets had made a nest in them. She ran screaming to me with tears running down her cheeks from the pain. We instantly rushed outside to where I knew plantain was growing, mashed it up, and applied it to the stings. Within just a couple of minutes, the swelling was gone — and so were her tears.

Sickness: Usnea

I often laugh when I think of this herb, because for years I was told it was a sign of disease in a tree. Little did I know that usnea wasn’t a disease, but a cure!

Usnea is a pale grayish-green lichen that grows like leafless mini-shrubs or tassels anchored on bark or twigs. It grows all over the world and can usually be found on sick or dying trees.

Usnea is known to help staph infections, heal wounds, respiratory issues, allergy symptoms, sore throat, fungal infections, urinary infections and sinus infections. Usnea is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal, making it the perfect herb to treat sickness.

Headache: Willow Bark

Back in the 1980s, I watched a movie where they treated a headache with eating tree bark. That was my first introduction to the medicinal properties found in willow bark. 

From the University of Maryland Medical Center:

“The bark of white willow contains salicin, which is a chemical similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). In combination, with the herb’s powerful anti-inflammatory plant compounds (called flavonoids), salicin is thought to be responsible for the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of the herb. In fact, in the 1800s, salicin was used to develop aspirin. White willow appears to bring pain relief more slowly than aspirin, but its effects may last longer.”

If we take the time to study, learn and observe nature, we will realize that it offers us everything that we need to live. From food to medicine, the answer is often right outside our door.

What herbs would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Picking The Best Handgun Night Sight: 5 You Should Consider

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Picking The Best Handgun Night Sight: 5 You Should Consider

Let’s be honest. Handgun night sights are all pretty similar. What really are the differentiating features? In this article, we will get down into the nitty gritty and compare some similar night sights.

The sights that we will be reviewing are made by XS, Truglo, Night Fision, Trijicon and AmeriGlo. When it’s all said and done, we will give a winner for each category, and then make some buying recommendations at the end.

We will focus on sights that are made for a Glock, but all these brands make sights for multiple weapons. In terms of what we are looking for, we will talk about brightness, target acquisition, size, durability and price.

Before talking about specifics, we will give a brief introduction on each sight.

XS Sights

XS is most commonly known for their DXW Big Dot sight. This sight features a very large painted white dot with tritium inside of the painted ring. The rear sight is a white painted stripe, but a tritium rear sight is available at an added cost.

While they are much less common, XS also makes a more traditional set of sights, which they call the F8. This sight changes up the norm. While most handgun sights utilize three dots, the F8 uses two dots. The rear sight has one dot, which is located below the notch in the sight. Essentially, you place the front dot on top of the rear dot, as opposed to in between two rear dots.

Truglo

Truglo has a pretty wide variety of handgun sights. They have sights that use only fiber optics and only tritium, but they also have their TFO sights which combines the two. These sights are bulkier, as there must be enough space to contain the fiber optic element.

Their TFX sights are similar to the TFO, but they utilize a painted ring around the front dot. The Tritium Pro sights are the same as the standard tritium sights, but with an added painted ring as well. The TFX Pro are their most expensive, and they utilize an orange painted ring for maximum brightness.

Night Fision

Night Fision is relatively new on the scene, and focus on strictly three dot tritium sights. Their sights utilize a tritium front sight with a painted ring. For the paint color, you are able to choose between white, orange and yellow.

For the rear sight, you can choose either square or U-notch. You can choose white paint around the dots, no paint, and you can even choose no tritium at all, and just have a simple U shape.

Trijicon

While they are very popular for their ACOG riflescopes, Trijicon is also well respected for their pistol night sights. These are also simple three dot style tritium sights, and you can choose between a yellow or orange front ring. The rear sights are a U shape, similar to the previously mentioned Night Fision sights.

AmeriGlo

AmeriGlo has a few different options for pistol sights. They have their Cap series, which utilizes a square front sight. You have the choice between a two dot rear sight or a rear sight that utilizes one line below the notch.

Their Classic sights are simple tritium three dot sights with painted rings. There really isn’t much else to them. They’ve also got their sights without any dots at all, which won’t be discussed in this article, as they serve a completely different purpose.

Lastly, they’ve got their Ghost Ring rear sight. This is a much different concept than any other sight on this list, as the rear sight is a large ring with two dots as a guide. Essentially, you put the front tritium dot within the rear circle.

Brightness

Our first comparison category is brightness. While there are a few different sights that appear pretty bright, there is one pretty clear winner.

The AmeriGlo Cap sight appears very bright due to the amount of high visibility paint that is utilized in the front sight. Similarly, the TFX Pro from Truglo appears bright as well due to the combination of tritium and fiber optics.

However, when using these sights at night, the Night Fision sights are by far the brightest out there. They apparently use more tritium in the lamps, because these sights are noticeably brighter than the competition.

Target Acquisition

The XS Big Dot sights allow for quick target acquisition due to the large front sight. However, this is somewhat of a double-edged sword, because at longer distance the Big Dot sight becomes much less accurate.

Other sights with quick target acquisition that will be more accurate at distance are the AmeriGlo Classic, Truglo Tritium Pro and TFX Pro, and the Night Fision sights.

One other factor to keep in mind is target acquisition at night. When it is dark out, the painted rings that many of these sights rely upon will not be as useful. In this situation, the sights with brighter tritium will be your best bet.

Size

If you are just looking at sights for your range gun, size won’t be much of an issue for you. However, if you are looking for sights for a carry weapon, smaller sights will be important, because you need them to fit in a holster. This almost immediately rules out any fiber optic sights.

With the exception of the AmeriGlo Ghost Ring and any of the Truglo fiber optic sights, any of the aforementioned sights will be suitable.

Durability

It may not seem like a huge thing, but durability is an important aspect to consider with pistol sights, especially if you are going to be carrying the weapon in a holster.

Trijicon prides itself on the durability of their ACOG riflescopes. However, their HD pistol sights utilize paint to circle the dot on the front sight. As time goes on, this paint is likely to chip. Similarly, the XS sights utilize paint, as well.

In comparison, Night Fision sights utilize a ballistic polymer material for the front ring. This allows for significantly increased durability. These sights are also made from quality steel and given a nitride coating.

Newer Truglo product sights have been known to have some durability concerns. While the lamps are protected, there have been some issues with lamps coming loose.

In terms of durability, your best bet is the Night Fision sights.

Price

These sights vary significantly in price, dependent on the features.

Truglo sights can get very expensive, and their less expensive models don’t have the features that you want. They won’t have anything to increase your speed of target acquisition, and will not be as bright as some of the competition.

Trijicon sights are comfortably overpriced, and will be easily outperformed by the competition.

The Big Dot sights are affordably priced, but adding in the tritium rear sight makes them pretty expensive. Similarly, the XS F8 sights are also on the expensive side.

The AmeriGlo classic tritium sights are affordably priced, but aren’t the brightest or most durable option out there.

While I could write a whole separate article just comparing this, we will keep it simple for you.

The Night Fision sights offer the best value.

Overall Winner

Some will be surprised to hear this, but the Night Fision sights are some of the best on the market. They offer an unreal combination of affordability, customizing options, and overall quality.

In terms of brightness, these are the brightest sights we looked at. The custom-chosen front ring will increase your target acquisition, and the fact that they aren’t painted will ensure that they will last for years. Similarly, the high-quality construction ensures they will last.

While these aren’t the cheapest sights on the list, they aren’t far off. They are extremely competitively priced, especially when considering the high value. In my opinion, I would stray away from the Trijicons and Truglos in favor of these Night Fision sights.

Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:

The Chemical-Free Secret To Fighting Homestead Pests

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The Chemical-Free Secret To Fighting Homestead Pests

Image source: Pixabay.com

Unfortunately, pests are a fact of life. Actually, they’re a necessary part of the ecologic chain, but it’s hard to remember that when they’re invading your home and garden. Ever since buying our home in the country, we’ve been battling various types of pests. Adding a vegetable garden in our backyard just gave us one more battleground for that fight.

Granted, insects and rodents must eat, but why do they have to think it’s my job to feed them? Like many people, I’ve got enough trouble feeding my family, and once pests have been into my food, it’s pretty much spoiled for use by my family. But even without that, hearing my wife scream every time she sees a cockroach or ants invade the house is tiring. Fortunately, she doesn’t scream about mice.

Of course, if a major disaster occurs, problems with these pests will only increase. As scavengers, insect and rodent populations tend to grow in the wake of disasters, living off the abundance of food available to them.

Unlike some people, I am not really in favor of using chemicals to control pests. First of all, I have pets that I want to protect. Insect repellents are nerve agents and rat poison is, well, poison. So they can both harm my pets. They also pose a risk for the grandchildren that will soon be visiting my home. Besides, in that post-disaster world that I just mentioned, those means of controlling pests may not be available to me.

Storing Foods

The first real step in gaining victory over these pests came when we started making changes in our food-storage techniques. From the very beginning, we had problems with ant infestations, maybe because our home had sat vacant for over two years before we bought it. When they got into the pantry and spoiled a bunch of food, we realized that we had to store it better.

Now, just about everything in the pantry that’s not canned is stored in rectangular food storage containers. We have a variety of different sizes and shapes, allowing us to fit the container to the item. Most of the foods that ants can get into are repackaged as soon as they come home from the store.

Another of our favorite storage containers is five-gallon buckets. As preppers, we are accustomed to buying in bulk, so we extend that to our normal purchases, as well. I also like galvanized trash cans. Although hard to find, they are ideal for dog food and feed for the chickens.

This also does a fairly good job of protecting them from rodents. Although I have a few buckets where rats have gnawed at the lids, they have yet to get inside one of them. Lids are replaceable anyway, so no problem.

Rodents

We have mice, rats and possums living in the field behind our home and in our backyard. So, it’s inevitable that they’ll get into our home. Proper storage has stopped them from getting into our food, but that hasn’t kept them out of our home. A mouse can squeeze through a space as small as six millimeters, so it’s virtually impossible to seal a house from them.

The oldest, and probably best solution for rodents is having a cat or two. Don’t overfeed them, as that can dull their hunting instinct. I really can’t see any reason why anyone who doesn’t have allergies to cats, wouldn’t have one. Just consider it part of your prepping tools.

Unfortunately, I am allergic to cats, so we can’t have one. But we do have dogs. One of them, a black lab, is a great hunter. If there are any mice or rats around, she finds them. If she can’t get to them (most of the time), she’ll let me know they are there. Then I can dispatch them with a pellet gun I keep for that purpose. So far, we’ve only had one rat manage to get away from us.

Unless you’re far, far out in the country, I’d recommend against using even a .22 pistol for shooting rodents, even with “rat rounds.” Discharging a firearm is illegal in most municipalities. While a .22 is fairly quiet, if the neighbors hear it and call the police, they have to respond. If there is any evidence that you discharged a firearm, like a hole in the wall, you’ll be in trouble. The mice and rats aren’t worth a night in jail.

We don’t kill the possums, although I have a hard time convincing my dog of that. Even though the possums like to eat my grapefruit, they also eat ticks. We have a problem with ticks in our area, so I’m glad to have them around.

We use urine to help keep rodents out of the garden. While not a perfect solution, animals mark their territories with urine. Other animals, smelling this, understand the signal and will be wary. While some may still find their way in, many will avoid it. If you can train your dogs to pee around your garden, it marks it as their territory. Since that is a bit difficult to do, you might consider collecting human urine and pouring it around the perimeter of the garden. It will even act as a fertilizer, putting useful minerals in the soil.

Another good rodent repellent is a mixture of:

  • 1 cup diatomaceous earth
  • 2-3 drops peppermint or lemon citrus essential oil
  • 1/8 cup water

Mix the liquids together first and then mix in the earth until it is totally moist. Set in a container near entrances where rodents enter or in their holes. The smell will drive them away.

Insects

When we talk insects, we’re talking about a huge variety of life. In the home, cockroaches and ants are the big problems. But in the garden, there are many more to worry about.

A lot can be done to keep ants and cockroaches out of the home by using diatomaceous earth. A thin line around your home and garden will keep most insects out. While totally safe for humans and animals, this amazing substance is deadly for insects, cutting them like a series of knives.

There are a number of different natural solutions which work well for controlling insects. A spray made with garlic oil, peppermint extract or hot peppers, combined with dishwashing soap works to keep many insects at bay. These both act as repellents for bugs and destroy their skin, killing them if they come into contact with too much of it.

But my favorite means of pest control in the garden is to use good bugs to control the bad ones. I’ve had incredible results in using these, without creating any risk for my family. The food I grow in my garden is natural and chemical free. While I am sure that there are many more types of insects than what I am currently using, here is at least a partial list of the most common good bugs and what they kill:

  • Praying mantis (one of the best) against anything smaller than it.
  • Ladybugs against aphids & soft-bodied pests.
  • Trichogramma against moth & caterpillar eggs.
  • Fly exterminators (I don’t know what their actual name is, but you can buy them by this name) against flies
  • Nematodes against grubs and many other soil pests

One nice thing about using these good insects against the pests in your garden is that once you have a good population of them living there, you shouldn’t have to replace it for several years, unless they run out of insects to eat or something happens to kill them off. They’ll stay on duty, generation after generation, protecting your garden and harvest.

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

What.If … There Was No More Oil (A What.If video)

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In this video, the posited question is what if there was no more oil?  What would happen if the world ran out of oil?  Well, here’s some good news.  The world will NEVER run out of oil.  However, the concept of peak oil is very real, as are the end of the world as we know it type consequences that would certainly follow on from peak oil.  The threat of terrorism that would create a “manufactured” peak oil scenario is also very real.  If there were an attack that took millions of barrels of oil out of the global market, due to supply interruption like a sunken tanker in the Strait of Hormuz (shorter term), or due to a disruption in production like an attack on the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia (very long term), or on US refining capabilities (very long term), an $8 overnight price jump would be the least of our worries. At that point, the real question would be how long the hyper-complex systems that make the ‘American way of life’ possible could hold together before the whole thing came spinning apart and we were facing an actual cascading collapse scenario…failure of the just in time delivery system, failure of the municipal water treatment plants, economic collapse due to a crashing stock market, depression due to job lay offs and business closures, failure of the electric grid due to a collapse of coal deliveries, disintegration of the mega farms due to a lack of fuel to run the large machinery and a halt in feed deliveries. I could go on. Depending on the type of interruption of the liquid fuel supplies, it could very well mean ‘game over’ for our complex society. This is an absolutely, clear and present threat for every one of us that enjoys our current way of life.  With all of that in mind, here is What.If’s look at what that world without access to oil might look like.  Enjoy.

 

Start a Mushroom Farming Business at Home

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If you like mushrooms and you’re interested in earning money from growing things, you might consider a mushroom farming business. Specialty mushroom growers are sprouting up all over, and can be a great home based business to start as a side hustle. If you’re already a market gardener, growing mushrooms are a great addition to …

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Now is Not the Time to Get Complacent-Part 2

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Jan Sterrett of Heritage Life Skills joins me for the second half of our interview. We talk about the real problem behind school shootings and it’s not guns. Jan also talks about the upcoming Heritage Life Skills conference in Waynesville, NC.

 

Seven Cows, Ugly and Gaunt is now available as a complete box set for Kindle!

Danny and Alisa’s lives are turned upside down when Danny begins having prophetic dreams about the judgment coming upon America. Through one of Danny’s dreams, they learn about the imminent threat of an EMP attack which will wipe out America’s electric grid, sending the country into a technological dark age. If they want to live through the most catastrophic period in American history, Danny and Alisa will have to race against time to get prepared, before the lights go out.

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Trading Post in the Woods is ran by veteran crisis responders who know how important it is to be prepared. They specialize in comprehensive natural survival remedy kits, preparedness and homesteading supplies as well as skills training. Visit them online today at TradingPostInTheWoods.com.

Ready Made Resources is a trusted name in the prepper community, because they’ve been around for 18 years. They offer great prices on Night Vision, water filtration, long term storage food, solar energy components and provide free technical service. Get ready for an uncertain future at ReadyMadeResources.com!

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CampingSurvival.com has all of your preparedness needs including; bug out bags, long term food storage, water filters, gas masks, and first aid kits. Use coupon code PREPPERRECON to get 5% off your entire order at Camping Survival.

The post Now is Not the Time to Get Complacent-Part 2 appeared first on Prepper Recon.

Are You Overlooking Any of These Seven Important Areas of Prepping?

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Here’s a quick look at seven areas of prepping I feel are often overlooked or ignored by many preppers and survivalists. They are presented in no particular order. Are you overlooking any of these?

1) An Emergency Fund – Many preppers and most survivalists believe that the dollar is going to collapse at some point, and that paper money will be worthless. That may be true, but until then we do need money to pay bills and buy stuff. It is a good idea to have an emergency fund set aside for when you need it. Besides,even in an economic crash, the dollar will likely still have some value for a period of time. For more on money in an economic collapse, please read Fernando Aguirre’s The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse. It explains in great detail what happened during and after the 2001 economic collapse in Argentina. It will open your eyes as to what might happen in America.  

Idea: If you are one of those folks getting a large bonus check from your company thanks to tax reform (over 300 large companies have announced such bonuses), don’t spend it on a large-screen TV or a trip to Disneyland. Instead, use it to create your emergency fund instead. 

2) Getting out of Debt –  I’ve been around the prepper/survivalist community for about 15 years now. I’ve become convinced that a surprising number of folks are actually looking forward to an economic collapse, believing that it will give them a clean slate – wiping away their debt and bad credit.  With the sudden collapse of banks, mortgage companies, and other financial institutions, all their credit card debt, student loans, car loans, and even mortgage payments will vanish overnight. That’s not reality. Study history (Aguirre’s book, mentioned above, is a good starting point). When economic collapses happen, it is not a boon to the poor and indebted.

I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating:  I was the owner/moderator of a Yahoo group, Surviving the End, many years ago. One group member offered his plan to prepare: He was going to rack up as much credit card debt as possible buying supplies to survive an economic collapse caused by peak oil. He believed such a collapse would happen “within the next 2 or 3 years,” and that banks and other lenders would be unable to collect on debt. He also planned to stop paying his mortgage “about 6 months before the collapse.” I’m not sure how he planned to time the event so precisely. This was in 2006. It is now twelve years later, and banks are still collecting on debt. If he truly carried out his plan, he and his family suffered absolute financial devastation years ago. Don’t be like him. Make getting debt-free a major prepping goal.

3) Spirituality – Yes, I know a number of people will roll their eyes at this category. Being dismissive of religion is a very “in” thing to do these days (one or the reasons our civilization is in the mess its in, but that’s a different article for another day). Yet, I believe that our mental attitude is an extremely important part of prepping (see my article Prepper’s Guide to Mental Health and Emotional Preparedness ), and that our spirituality, our relationship with God, is a vwery important part of our mental attitude. My own spirituality (I am an imperfect follower of Jesus) gives me great peace and comfort, especially in difficult times, as well as a sense of purpose, focus, and an understanding of what my priorities should be. Besides, I really do believe God answers prayers and can work miracles. Check out the Peace with God website of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. Or visit the website The Roman Road.

4) Building Community – I get the sense that there are a lot of “lone wolves” in the prepping and survivalist community. Folks that just want to hide with their families at some mountain retreat far from civilization. This is a mistake, especially over the long-term. Instead, we should work on building community – a network of like-minded folks willing to help each other. Yes, this is difficult. Start small, get to know your neighbors, make friends in the prepper/survivalist community, and work your way up from there. (Personally, I think living near a small town in a rural area, far way from any mega-city, is the best option – but wherever you choose to live, you will need other people at some point.)

5) Health and Fitness – This is a category most people acknowledge is important, but many folks still don’t do anything about it. I am constantly amazed by the number of preppers and survivalists I know who are smokers, or who are very overweight, badly out-of-shape, or who have chronic health conditions like Type II diabetes and high blood pressure that are largely self-inflicted (including me!). We all know the excuses – I don’t have enough time, I’m too busy, eating healthy costs too much, its too hard, I’ve got bad knees, I’m too old, I’m too set in my ways to change… But in the end they are just excuses. Make health and fitness a priority.

Idea: Walking is a great way to exercise for free. It can be done around your neighborhood, at a local park or greenway, or inside the local mall (many have “mall walkers” clubs).  You could even takes laps inside a nearby Wal-mart, Target, or other big-box store. The best part of walking is that you can start small (maybe 10 minutes) and slowly work your way up (maybe to an hour a day).

6) Sleep – Another category that may make some eyes roll. After all, we live in a 24/7 world in which most people like to proudly proclaim about how little sleep they need to “get by.” Sleep is much more important to good health, mental sharpness, and physical reflexes than most people realize. Making sure you get enough sleep on a consistent basis is one of the best ways to prepare. This is another reason we need community. No one can pull guard duty 24 hours a day. 

7) High Visibility Colors – Although black, camouflage, and khaki are all the rage, there are times when high visibility is preferred. You need some clothes, bandannas, cordage and other gear in bright, highly visible colors like Blaze Red, Safety Orange, Neon Yellow, and Hot Pink. See yesterday’s post for more on this idea.

Day in the Life of a Backyard Homesteader

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Of all the articles that you read about homesteading you rarely get a schedule. If you are taking on the life of a homesteader or thinking about changing your lifestyle , you will find tons of information. You can find articles about every piece of the homesteaders life and skills. What I rarely see is …

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What’s the Best Cartridge for Personal Protection and Concealed Carry?

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Never talk about religion or politics. That used to be an old adage. Of course, since then people have had amazing careers doing just that and berating both subjects.  A similar train of thought could be had for people in the firearms industry or gun enthusiasts. If you really wanna fire some people up talk …

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Affordable Disaster Protection

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We rarely talk about disaster insurance in all of the talk about our preps. Now disaster insurance will not protect us in a full scale collapse because these sorts of services will collapse as well. Still, we have to look at disaster preparedness as an odds game. What are the odds that you are going …

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PrepperMed 101: Say No to Bleeding, Part 2 – Compression Bandages

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If you can keep the blood in, you can live. Tim Kennedy is often quoted, in regards to his job as a special forces soldier, “Take the blood out of the bad guys and keep the blood in the good guys.” It makes it all sound very simple. Well, it can be if you know …

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Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger (SIRT) Training Pistols: Dry Fire Done Right

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Firearms training is an area we can all use a boost in. It is not just a skill that has its benefits in the end of the world scenario. Rather, we are looking to protect ourselves from the scum that walks the streets in this day and age. Each day makes us more and more …

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SPRING GARDEN FESTIVAL: Day 1 “Get ready to garden”

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This week kicks off my Spring Garden Festival with activities, tips, and inspiration you’ll love! Here’s what’s happening today: Everlasting Garden Seeds Bucket giveaway! “5 Common Sense Steps to Grow What You Eat” VIDEO: “Master Gardener Tips” — Facebook, 3 p.m. CST Festival Recipe: Simple Kale Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette — Also on Facebook at 11 a.m. […]

Smallpox and other biological agents

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Smallpox and other biological agents
David Jones “Prepping Up with the Jones “Audio player provided!

On this episode in Dave shares information he has learned about Smallpox and other Biological Agents that could be usd in a terror attack. H ex[lains the ways you can protect your selves and your family members if a Bio attack occurs. He will also cover things to look for in the news as trigger points to implement your emergency plans.

Continue reading Smallpox and other biological agents at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

SPRING GARDEN FESTIVAL: Everlasting Garden Seeds!

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Only the least informed prepper and/or gardener believes they will somehow magically be able to force the earth to produce massive amounts of life-sustaining food without having an actual garden in place. Don’t you be that person! This bucket of Everlasting Garden Seeds contains an astonishing number of seeds that are non-hybrid and non-GMO. Take […]

4 Must-Try Heirloom Tomato Plants To Rock Your Garden This Year!

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It’s time to liven up your vegetable garden this year by growing some amazing heirloom tomato plants! Tired of harvesting the same old basic tomato varieties year after year? Then break the mold and grow a few incredibly unique, productive,

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How To Make Emergency Washing Machines

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Do you know how to make emergency washing machines? I have talked about them before, but I received an email from a sponsor to see if I would review the new handles for the Ball Breathing Mobile Washer. They are my favorite new handle styles! I have pushed the mobile washer for years, but now they have new handles! And they rock! I’m sharing my honest opinion of these babies! Let’s get real here, I won’t share anything on my website that I won’t use myself and then endorse. Thank you, Robert, for contacting me to check these out. I have been eyeing the new style for a few months, so I’m dying to show it to you!

We all want clean underwear for sure after a disaster, at the very least. The nice thing about this Ball Clothes Mobile Washer is the fact that you can use it year-round. You know when you just want to wash a few items and you don’t want to wait until the next laundry day?

Make Emergency Washing Machines

You will use less water, electricity and keep the planet a little greener by using just a bucket and a mobile washer. My design of the two five-gallon buckets with a Gamma Lid stores easily in your camping gear or RV. I have even washed sleeping bags in my large 17-gallon wash buckets with my mobile washers. It’s easy to put together as shown below.

Emergency Washing Machines

Emergency Washing Machines

This picture above shows the two styles available, the Ball Mobile Washer with a straight handle and the one with the “T” handle.

Make Emergency Washing Machines

The handle stores easily inside the 5-gallon buckets with the Gamma Lid, (Mark drilled a 2-inch hole in the top lid).

Make Emergency Washing Machines

You tap the “lip” of the Gamma Lid on the top bucket that will sit inside the other bucket.

Emergency Washing Machines

The units have four pieces that come together easily by screwing them together to make them ready to use.

Emergency Washing Machines

In the “top” bucket, Mark used a drill to make a few one-inch holes for the water to flow through when swishing the water. I have a “wash” bucket set and a “rinse” bucket set.

Emergency Washing Machines

I use a few paper towels between the buckets when storing because sometimes they are hard to get apart. You can also use wash buckets such as these with the same mobile washers. Galvanized wash buckets.

Make Emergency Washing Machines

Emergency Washing Machines:

These are just a few of the things that you can wash by hand. I know heavy jeans would be a problem, but it could be done. I told Mark, “please no jeans if we have a power outage for a very long time.”

  1. Hand towels
  2. Wash towels
  3. Wash rags
  4. Cloth diapers
  5. Underwear
  6. Socks
  7. Cloth Menstrual Pads
  8. Cloth towels from the kitchen
  9. Sheets and pillowcases
  10. Shirts
  11. Blouses
  12. Skirts
  13. Pants

These are just a few items to think about washing by hand. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this country.

Be Prepared For Laundry by Linda

YouTube by Food Storage Moms

My favorite things:

Kevins Clothespins

Clothesline

Copyright pictures: Children with hanging clothes, AdobeStock_73890537 by Alexandr Vasilyev

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How To Defend Your Apartment From Looters After The SHTF

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While there are many preparedness articles about home defense, most of them are about defense for someone living in a house. Very few articles explain how to defend an apartment or condo, but it’s an important topic for the many preppers who live in them. While you obviously can’t survive in your apartment forever, you […]

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