How To Make Pancake Syrup … From Birch Trees

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How To Make Pancake Syrup … From Birch Trees

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Birch syrup is an alternative to maple syrup that is commonly grown across the northern United States, Canada and in northern Europe. While other birch products such as birch beer might seem more commonplace, birch syrup is a hot commodity, fetching over $30 per 250ml bottle in some locations. It is high in vitamins and minerals, and even can be used as a tonic.

Best yet? Birch syrup can be easily produced on any homestead with an abundance of birch trees, and if you’re already tapping maples, you don’t need to give that up. The two can be tapped concurrently, and the equipment needed is identical for both.

Tapping

Birch tapping generally follows the maple sugar season, in mid-March to mid-April. This depends, of course, on the weather, as sap begins to run before the buds on the trees change to leaves. Nights must be below freezing while days must rise well above freezing, usually around 40 or 50 degrees. Although this freeze-thaw cycle is the same as what is required for maple trees, maples don’t require daytime temperatures to rise quite as much.

The best birch trees are ones that live in an isolated area. Try not to tap trees that have been exposed to pesticides or other contaminants, such as those that are growing alongside the road. These trees can carry unwanted toxins in their sap.

There is little equipment you need to get started making birch syrup, although, as with maple products, you can purchase more expensive and sophisticated materials as you gain experience. You will need some sort of spile, either handmade or commercial. Spiles used for maple sugaring can also be used on birch trees.

You will also need a cordless drill and a bit that matches the end of the spile. Additionally, you will need a collection container if you aren’t planning on setting up a more sophisticated tubing and vacuum system (again, not recommended until you gain experience after a few seasons). Make sure whatever you use for collection is sterile and has some sort of cover. If not covered, the sweet-smelling sap can attract unwanted insects and collect debris.

Place one tap per tree, ignoring trees that are less than eight inches but larger than 14 inches in diameter. One tap per tree ensures that the tree has adequate resources to heal. In addition, don’t plug the holes after the season has ended, as this can impede healing. If you want your trees to produce year after year, you must take good care of them and not overtax their resources!

The tap should be placed slightly below eye level, around four feet up from the base of the tree. Don’t tap an old tap hole on the tree, and try to stay six or seven inches away from old taps if possible. The best spot to tap is in a shady spot on the south side of the tree.

Make sure all of your surfaces and materials are sanitized before beginning to tap. Using a sharp drill bit, drill upwards into the tree at a 25 degree angle, about one inch into the tree. This will allow the sap to utilize gravity as it moves into your container.

Place your spile into the hole and tap gentle with a mallet or hammer. Sap should begin running from the sap in a light drip once it is placed. If you don’t see any sap, you might want to tap a different tree. Situate your collection container or bucket beneath the tap.

Generally, a birch tree will produce around a gallon of sap per day. Make sure your container has at least a one-gallon capacity, or you risk losing valuable sap as it seeps from an overfilled bucket. Don’t place your bucket on the ground, as this will be easily spilled.

While it may be tempting to collect sap only every few days when your spring chores get the better of you, you need to make this item a fixture on your daily to-do list. If left too long, sap begins to ferment and adopts a strange flavor.

Making Syrup

When you have about 25 gallons of sap, you’re ready to make syrup. This sap is less sweet than maple syrup, so it takes over twice the amount of sap to produce a gallon of birch syrup as it does maple syrup. Twenty-five gallons of birch sap will produce roughly one quart. Therefore, each tree will produce about one quart over a season.

Although sap accumulates somewhat slowly, you must evaporate sap as you collect it. Sugar in birch sap can be easily caramelized if you evaporate it too quickly. As a result, you must evaporate slowly, unlike maple sap which is boiled more intensely.

Unless you have a sugar shack — which you likely don’t, unless you’re already actively involved in making maple syrup — you can make birch syrup right on your stove top. Ten gallons of sap will process down to about two cups. Use a stock pot, and keep the sap cold until it’s ready to be processed (generally within 24 hours).

Filter the sap through a coffee filter before pouring it into a stock pot. Boil the syrup rapidly, but keep a watchful eye on it to prevent scorching. Once it’s reduced by about half, slow the evaporation to a simmer. Keep the temperature just below boiling, and when the sap has been reduced to about a quarter of its original volume, move it to a slow cooker. Leave it overnight on low to complete evaporation.

A hydrometer will help you determine the density of the syrup. While it won’t be quite as thick as maple syrup, it will register a 66 or 67 on the brix scale. If you are slightly off, that’s okay — it might have a slightly odd flavor but is still safe to eat. Filter the syrup through a coffee filter again, then bottle in sterilized mason jars. This can be stored at room temperature, but opened jars must be refrigerated.

Birch syrup is highly versatile and can be used in multiple recipes. It makes an excellent glaze or as an addition to coffee or dessert. You’ll quickly find yourself wishing that you had more birch trees on your property, because once your friends and family get a taste of this delicious nectar, you won’t have much left over for yourself!

What advice would you add? Have you ever tapped a tree? Leave your tips in the section below:

How To Make Pancake Syrup … From Birch Trees

How To Make Pancake Syrup … From Birch Trees

Image source: Pixabay.com

Birch syrup is an alternative to maple syrup that is commonly grown across the northern United States, Canada and in northern Europe. While other birch products such as birch beer might seem more commonplace, birch syrup is a hot commodity, fetching over $30 per 250ml bottle in some locations. It is high in vitamins and minerals, and even can be used as a tonic.

Best yet? Birch syrup can be easily produced on any homestead with an abundance of birch trees, and if you’re already tapping maples, you don’t need to give that up. The two can be tapped concurrently, and the equipment needed is identical for both.

Tapping

Birch tapping generally follows the maple sugar season, in mid-March to mid-April. This depends, of course, on the weather, as sap begins to run before the buds on the trees change to leaves. Nights must be below freezing while days must rise well above freezing, usually around 40 or 50 degrees. Although this freeze-thaw cycle is the same as what is required for maple trees, maples don’t require daytime temperatures to rise quite as much.

The best birch trees are ones that live in an isolated area. Try not to tap trees that have been exposed to pesticides or other contaminants, such as those that are growing alongside the road. These trees can carry unwanted toxins in their sap.

There is little equipment you need to get started making birch syrup, although, as with maple products, you can purchase more expensive and sophisticated materials as you gain experience. You will need some sort of spile, either handmade or commercial. Spiles used for maple sugaring can also be used on birch trees.

You will also need a cordless drill and a bit that matches the end of the spile. Additionally, you will need a collection container if you aren’t planning on setting up a more sophisticated tubing and vacuum system (again, not recommended until you gain experience after a few seasons). Make sure whatever you use for collection is sterile and has some sort of cover. If not covered, the sweet-smelling sap can attract unwanted insects and collect debris.

Place one tap per tree, ignoring trees that are less than eight inches but larger than 14 inches in diameter. One tap per tree ensures that the tree has adequate resources to heal. In addition, don’t plug the holes after the season has ended, as this can impede healing. If you want your trees to produce year after year, you must take good care of them and not overtax their resources!

The tap should be placed slightly below eye level, around four feet up from the base of the tree. Don’t tap an old tap hole on the tree, and try to stay six or seven inches away from old taps if possible. The best spot to tap is in a shady spot on the south side of the tree.

Make sure all of your surfaces and materials are sanitized before beginning to tap. Using a sharp drill bit, drill upwards into the tree at a 25 degree angle, about one inch into the tree. This will allow the sap to utilize gravity as it moves into your container.

Place your spile into the hole and tap gentle with a mallet or hammer. Sap should begin running from the sap in a light drip once it is placed. If you don’t see any sap, you might want to tap a different tree. Situate your collection container or bucket beneath the tap.

Generally, a birch tree will produce around a gallon of sap per day. Make sure your container has at least a one-gallon capacity, or you risk losing valuable sap as it seeps from an overfilled bucket. Don’t place your bucket on the ground, as this will be easily spilled.

While it may be tempting to collect sap only every few days when your spring chores get the better of you, you need to make this item a fixture on your daily to-do list. If left too long, sap begins to ferment and adopts a strange flavor.

Making Syrup

When you have about 25 gallons of sap, you’re ready to make syrup. This sap is less sweet than maple syrup, so it takes over twice the amount of sap to produce a gallon of birch syrup as it does maple syrup. Twenty-five gallons of birch sap will produce roughly one quart. Therefore, each tree will produce about one quart over a season.

Although sap accumulates somewhat slowly, you must evaporate sap as you collect it. Sugar in birch sap can be easily caramelized if you evaporate it too quickly. As a result, you must evaporate slowly, unlike maple sap which is boiled more intensely.

Unless you have a sugar shack — which you likely don’t, unless you’re already actively involved in making maple syrup — you can make birch syrup right on your stove top. Ten gallons of sap will process down to about two cups. Use a stock pot, and keep the sap cold until it’s ready to be processed (generally within 24 hours).

Filter the sap through a coffee filter before pouring it into a stock pot. Boil the syrup rapidly, but keep a watchful eye on it to prevent scorching. Once it’s reduced by about half, slow the evaporation to a simmer. Keep the temperature just below boiling, and when the sap has been reduced to about a quarter of its original volume, move it to a slow cooker. Leave it overnight on low to complete evaporation.

A hydrometer will help you determine the density of the syrup. While it won’t be quite as thick as maple syrup, it will register a 66 or 67 on the brix scale. If you are slightly off, that’s okay — it might have a slightly odd flavor but is still safe to eat. Filter the syrup through a coffee filter again, then bottle in sterilized mason jars. This can be stored at room temperature, but opened jars must be refrigerated.

Birch syrup is highly versatile and can be used in multiple recipes. It makes an excellent glaze or as an addition to coffee or dessert. You’ll quickly find yourself wishing that you had more birch trees on your property, because once your friends and family get a taste of this delicious nectar, you won’t have much left over for yourself!

What advice would you add? Have you ever tapped a tree? Leave your tips in the section below:

7 Off-Grid Uses For Beeswax (No. 4 Is Our Favorite!)

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7 Off-Grid Uses For Beeswax (No. 4 Is Our Favorite!)

Image source: Pixabay.com

If you raise bees, you no doubt are aware of the delicious elixir they produce as the byproducts of their daily toils: honey. However, many beekeepers neglect another significant product produced by these hardworking insects — the wax!

Beeswax isn’t just for candles anymore. It has a number of uses around the house and around the homestead, and should be saved (and treasured) by every beekeeper. Don’t discard your wax next season. Instead, recycle it in one or more of these easy steps.

1. Salves and cosmetics

Beeswax is already used in a variety of common skin care products, including lip balms (Burt’s Bees, anyone?), moisturizers and body creams. It acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral agent. It can serve as an emollient to soften and soothe skin, as well as a humectant to attract water and hold in moisture.

You can make your own cosmetics or slaves by combining with common household ingredients such as olive oil, vitamin E oil and cocoa butter.

Finally, beeswax can be used for your locks, as well. It helps to remedy dry, brittle hair and can be used as a wax for a man’s facial hair. Make sure you add equal parts coconut oil to prevent it from becoming too thick, and only use small portions at a time so that you don’t wind up with overly greasy hair.

2. Arts and crafts

Beeswax can be used decoratively in several creative ways. Batiking is a method of fabric dyeing that requires covering portions that aren’t meant to be dyed with a thin layer of removable wax. You can use paraffin, but if you have extra beeswax kicking around, consider using this, as it will be more natural and set up better than a paraffin-only solution.

You also can use beeswax, when melted, to decorate materials such as Easter eggs. Simply dip a brush into the melted wax, and then paint onto the surface you wish to cover. Easy peasy!

3. Cheese waxing

Beeswax is a great option for DIY cheesemakers. If you own goats or dairy cows, consider saving your beeswax to seal and cover your cheeses. This will help them last longer and also preserve their natural flavors.

4. Prevent rust and provide lubrication

Beeswax can often be used as a substitute for greasy oils used for polishing wood or preventing rust. Coat old hand tools, cast iron pans, doors or wood furniture joints. This will help restore range of motion and prevent premature aging.

5. Crayons and candles

You likely already know the beauty of beeswax for DIY candle making, but did you know they also can be used to make crayons? If you have children, this is a great Saturday project to keep them entertained. Beeswax crayons are harder and less crumbly than store-bought crayons, allowing finer precision and detailing for young fingers.

And if you choose to embark on the traditional route of candle making, you’re in good company. Beeswax is a popular choice of wax for candles because it burns brighter and cleaner than artificial waxes. It also helps to remove toxins from the air and gives off a fresh scent when mixed with essential oils.

6. Shoe repair

When mixed with oil, beeswax can be used to restore luster to faded boots and shoes. It stores for a remarkably long period of time, and even can be used to help waterproof shoes and boots — just make sure you let it dry before wearing!

7. In the kitchen

Beeswax can be used as a substitute for butter or oil when greasing a pan. It is edible, and won’t leave a hard residue on the surface of your pans. To use it, warm your cookie sheets or pans first. Then rub a chunk of wax on the pan’s surface. Keep in mind that a thin layer of wax will remain on the surface of the pan permanently, so you won’t need to grease every time.

You also can use beeswax to polish your delicate granite countertops. Use warm beeswax and be sure to allow it to dry before wiping down. The fine remaining sheen will prevent future staining.

Beeswax is easy to extract from honey and loose comb. Make sure you always use a double-boiler system when extracting wax, as it is highly flammable and can flash at any moment. A double-boiler will prevent you from overheating the wax and causing a fire.

To save time, separate your wax and honey at the end of your beekeeping season — do it all at once. It can be a messy process, but it’s easy to finish once you’ve started. Finding new ways to recycle your beeswax can be a fun way to spend those cloistered winter months.

What other uses for beeswax have you tried?

7 Reasons Rural Life Beats City Life Every Single Time

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6 Reasons Rural Life Beats City Life Every Single Time

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What is better, country life or city life?  I’ve spent time in a variety of places over my lifetime, from a remote northern mountain cabin to a southern coastal town to a small Midwestern city, and I found things to love about every locale, as well as things I didn’t much care for.

But right now, I live on an 80-acre homestead in rural Maine, and it’s the place I love best.  Let me tell you about some of my favorite things about where I live.

1. I can ski off my back deck.  Literally. When the conditions are right — a few inches of fresh unshoveled snow — I snap into my skis and away I go, across the deck and over a slight snowbank, onto the lawn and out to the forest trails beyond. It can be tricky to get the toe bar into ski bindings on slippery or uneven ground, and I love being able to stand inside the woodshed to do it. Even after the deck is shoveled and I have to carry my skis a few yards before snapping in, it’s still an amazing luxury to ski from my backyard at all.

Conditions are not always right for cross-country skiing. When it’s too icy, or there is too much snow to navigate easily on ungroomed trails, I opt for snowshoes instead.  I choose my small aluminum models with aggressive crampons for crust, and my larger locally hand-made pair for deep fluffy snow. But either pair allows me back-deck access to the field and forest, which is awesome.

2. I can tap trees and boil sap in my back yard. A serious maple syrup maker could probably tap a hundred or more trees on my property, but I’m not that serious. Instead, I tap a dozen or so healthy trees, all just a stone’s throw from my woodshed door, and get all the sap I need for my own household use and a little extra for gifts.

My lawn has plenty of room on which to set up a wood-fired evaporator made from a 55-gallon drum, with plenty of clearance between it and the house, garage, outbuildings, other structures and trees. It poses no potential danger to anyone.

I have an abundance of available low-quality wood that I wouldn’t want to burn inside my house, but that works perfect as free fuel for an outdoor evaporator. It smokes sometimes, but nobody is close enough to be bothered by it.

All in all, it’s hard to beat. Large healthy sugar maples in close proximity, room to boil, and free fuel. In a world where the message seems to be “go big or go home,” I am able to keep it small and still have it be worthwhile.

3. I have my own gun range. Only, it’s not really a “gun range,” per se. The truth is, I’m not that big into guns. But my husband and I do like to do a little target shooting now and then, and we are able to do so without much ado. Our general method is to tape a paper target onto the back of a cardboard pizza box and wedge it between the branches of a downed tree in our “rifle range.” The reason I put quotes around “rifle range” is because it is really nothing more than an area we have identified as a safe and convenient place to shoot, with respect to location, direction, topography and accessibility.

The truth is, we could shoot from our back deck or lawn if we wanted to. Out here in the country, it’s legal. But aside from taking a shot every once in a great while in order to discourage predators threatening our livestock, we don’t.

It’s nice to be able to shoot as much or as little as we like, keeping it casual and low-key, without causing any worry to anyone.

4. My dog can bark all she wants. I’m not one of those people who ties the dog outside where it barks all day. In fact, she is almost never outside without a person. And she isn’t the kind of dog that barks just to hear her own voice. The only time she makes much noise at all is when there is snow flying through the air. But when that happens, it’s loud! Chasing snow — whether it’s snowballs or shovelfuls — sends her into paroxysms of glee. She runs, leaps, pirouettes, yips, growls and barks nonstop. She’s a big dog, and makes a big sound.

I sometimes wince at the thought of how much my neighbors would hate all that noise, if I had neighbors. I like to be considerate of others, so I check in every now and then with the people who live in the only house I can see in any direction, to see if my dog barking bothers them. No, they tell me. They are far enough away that they rarely even hear her.

If I’m being honest, I have to say it is not only the dog who frequently gives voice to joy. Despite being a terrible singer, I do a lot of it, usually at the top of my voice. If I had neighbors to hear us both and cast a vote, I’m sure they’d prefer the dog.

Of all the perks of country living, being able to make a lot of noise — and let the dog vocalize her love of snow any way she wants — is a really nice one.

5. The blinds and curtains at the back of the house stay open. Even at night. Nobody is going to see in, because nobody’s out there. It’s my land, and it’s too far out in the country for anyone to bother skulking around in the darkness out back.

In summer, we keep the windows open overnight, as well. There are a lot of zip codes where I might not feel comfortable doing that, and I count the fact that I can as one of the many advantages of living where I do.

6. I can go out for a morning walk in my pajamas if I want to. Winter isn’t the only time I step off my back deck into the woods. In fact, I spend time on my forest trails nearly every day, year-round. On a cool summer morning, it’s pretty easy to pull on a hoodie and slide into barn boots — without bothering to change into daytime clothes first — and head out.

Sure, passersby on the might get a quick glimpse of something that looks more like pink flannel than public attire as I make my way across open space between my house and the trees, but nobody’s the worse for it.

7. There’s plenty of room for growing food. Many people must judiciously manage their vegetable gardens or fruit trees or berry bushes due to space limitations. When I want to grow more food than I did last year, I simply build more raised beds or till the in-ground garden a little wider. When I run out of room for berry bushes, I start a new plot of them elsewhere in the yard. When I want to plant another apple or pear tree, I evaluate the sun and drainage and soil, and plant a tree.

Mind you, this is only my fenced-in so-called “back yard,” where I grow plants and mow lawn and boil sap and contain a barking dog — not including the chicken pen, goat yard, pasture and beyond. Having all this space is a fantastic way to live.

There are downsides to my location, too. There are disadvantages to everywhere. But for now, living in the kind of place where people still run to the window to look out when they hear a siren pass by on the road, I’m embracing all that the rural life has to offer.

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

Why Mexico May Be The Best ‘Bug-Out Location’ You’ve Never Considered

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Why Mexico May Be The Best ‘Bug-Out Location’ You’ve Never Considered

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A bug-out plan is something that every seasoned prepper has, but developing a good bug-out plan is another thing entirely. For most of us, the hardest part of that is coming up with a place to go, in the case of an emergency. If you don’t have enough money to build a cabin in the woods, you might have some trouble coming up with a good destination.

This is right where many of us are. We know we need a place to bug out to, but we don’t have the money to “do it right” (however you may define that). So, unless we have family living in the country, we are either left with the idea of bugging out to the woods or having to just move down the road and hope we can find a place good to stop. Neither of those solutions are very good, as they don’t guarantee us a safe refuge where we can wait out the disaster.

What we all need is a place affordable that we can go to, in the event that circumstances demand that we leave our homes. At the same time, it would be nice if that were a place where the government wasn’t likely to be able to find us, just in case that’s an issue. While it won’t work for everyone, Mexico is a good potential destination for many to bug out to.

During the Vietnam War, many draft dodgers headed north to Canada, where they sat out the war. If they could do that, we can head south just as well. While Mexico may not be as much like the United States as Canada is, it is also a considerably cheaper place to live. Besides, who doesn’t like Mexican food?

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Mexico through the years, including a trip that I just got back from. While Mexico isn’t my only potential bug-out destination, it has been part of our planning for years. For us, it is ideal for a number of reasons, especially considering how close we live to the border.

What’s so Good About Mexico?

Situated directly south of our border, Mexico is a close location to bug out to, for at least part of the country. It is also cheaper to live in Mexico, than it is in the United States. Depending on what level of comfort you want, you can actually live extremely inexpensively in Mexico (like $400 per month), if you are willing to forgo a lot of the comforts and technology that we are accustomed to.

That’s not to say that those aren’t available in Mexico — they are. But unlike things here at home, that level of comfort is not a requirement for life. You can find people living in Mexico in homemade shacks which look much like some of the survival shelters that people talk about making out of pallet wood in a post-apocalyptic world. You also can find the highest forms of luxury, if you can afford it.

What’s Wrong with Bugging Out to Mexico?

On the flip side of the coin, if you’re going to bug out to Mexico, you’d better start learning Spanish now. While Mexican schools teach English as part of their curriculum, most people won’t admit to understanding it, even if they do. That’s not to insult us, but rather to avoid being insulted by us, if they say something wrong. They don’t want to speak English, unless they are sure they can do it right.

Mexico is not perfect. There is a fair amount of drug-related violence and crime in the country. So you need to be cautious about where you choose to go. You’re actually better off going deeper into Mexico than staying near the border. Most of the violence is in the northern part of the country.

The other problem of going to Mexico is the difficulty of buying property. Foreigners are only allowed to buy property that is more than 25 miles from any border, as well as 25 miles from any body of water. You can get around this, by the simple expedient of hiring a Mexican lawyer to establish a trust and have the trust buy the land or buildings. That trust can exist for 99 years, holding that property longer than you’re going to need it.

The other important thing you need to be aware of in Mexico is that it is illegal to import firearms. While people do it all the time, if you get caught, it’s a 20-year jail sentence. So you may want to limit yourself to other weapons, rather than guns.

How to Make Bugging Out to Mexico Practical

Before seriously considering Mexico as a bug-out destination, I’d recommend traveling to Mexico at least once, to see what it is like. Don’t go to the tourist destinations, as that’s not where you’re going to want to bug out to, unless you have a lot of money. Pick a city and visit it, looking around to see where the cheaper places to live are.

You’ll want to establish yourself in Mexico, either buying or renting property there to be used as a bug-out retreat. Just like anywhere you would want to use, you need to establish a location, build a cache and make sure that you have the right equipment and supplies in place.

Make several trips down there, getting to know the people, the area and what resources are available. If you move down to the southern part of the country, you’ll find a lot of fruit trees growing, which can be a source of food. It’s not unusual for people to have avocado, coconut and mango trees growing on their property.

Things left alone and unsecured in Mexico tend to get stolen. So, you’ll need to have someone watching your property down there. This can easily be accomplished by building a relationship with neighbors, who are used to looking out for each other. The Mexican people are warm and friendly and once you know them, ready to do what they can to help.

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

I deconstructed Mom’s bird shed.

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This was not a chicken house but it is a very very heavy, make do for a chicken house.  I’m  no carpenter but even I can see this “big box” was not built to last long term.  Some of the framing is rotted but the plywood seems to be solid so we have materials to make a new chicken isolation/ large box for Mom’s chickens.  I guess in a way,  I’m scavenging used materials in order to make a new chicken “shed” at Mom’s place.  We have a small chicken house to move built with really crappy laminated wood that costs a lot of money to buy but does not last long.  With some luck we might be able to move this house but I’m not hopeful as ripped off some of the structural base boards because of wood rot just moving the house.  I’m not all that impressed with most pre-fab chicken houses.

Right now we have to get both the tarp up and the chicken wire on top of the chicken run/kennel as Mom is seeing hawks circling her chicken pen.  I don’t blame the hawks as predators they are looking for an easy meal.  I just don’t want Mom’s birds to provide that easy meal to hawks.  The hawks can get the little birds, doves and pigeons attracted by the grain and free meals those birds get.  We just want to make sure the chickens are happy and protected.

At this point in the Mom move process I think we will have most of the furniture moved to her place.  Placing the furniture is a bit more difficult. Most of Mom’s prep supplies can be moved to her Bunker once we clean it out, add a new door and see how to protect the food from critters.  Like many people that buy a house/home there are many challenges and you have to prioritize what you can get done.

Update on replacing the storm door hardware.  Overall it has worked out great but I noticed the new hardware does not have a positive click when the door closes.  This is a very minor issue but has been noticed by me.  One thing I really like is the new storm door hardware is much more substantial compare to the old storm door hardware.  While I have no illusions about added security, I know the wind is not going to rip off the door and hardware when facing a stiff breeze.

The plan of attack for Monday is move the chicken “boxes” the green house garden shelf and place the chicken wire and tarp over the chicken pen along with adding the smaller boxes for introducing new birds to the flock.  Well at least get up the tarp and protective chicken wire.  Re-building the boxes might not happen right away.   LOL

 

Self defense weapons

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Let’s get honest here, the world is a pretty unsafe place. While we all want to think that our homes are safe unlike being outdoors, we all know better than to put our safety and the safety of our families into the hands of fate. This isn’t an apocalyptic world where it is all about kill or be killed, but sometimes there are times where a person can choose to harm a person or rob them or both. So, it is best to have a plan for those situations and carry personal defense weapons than to be completely unprepared if it does happen to you.

Why carry a self defense weapon?

Also, no one wants to be a victim of an attack. It isn’t like we are walking back from night class, or to our cars after work hoping that we get mugged, or raped in a dark place that you have to cross to get to safety. Unfortunately, many of us have been constantly hearing that we are very much in danger of becoming a victim, especially women. Have you ever stopped to think about what you would do if you found yourself in one of those situations? Will you be able to defend yourself? Everyone needs to have plan in place for self defense and that includes carrying a self defense weapon that will be effective in your personal protection and also a weapon that you’re comfortable in using.

being attacked
You don’t want to be on the end of this

There are many ways that you can protect yourself. When it comes to many cases, people will take a conceal & carry weapons class to train and earn legal permits to carry any gun on them at all times but guns aren’t always legal self defense weapons. Can you blame those people in the world that we live in? Based on statistics, in the United States alone, there will be over 900 thefts, 190 violent crimes, 130 assaults, 70 robberies, 25 sexual assaults, 13 rapes, and 3 murders committed within an hour – https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/latest-crime-statistics-released. That is a lot of crime to be committed in the time that it takes to have a lunch break. In order to keep from being a statistic, it is best that you have a self-defense plan and have a self-defense weapon on you at all times, especially if you are going to be going somewhere after dark.

Guns

Hand gun
Gun in action

It pretty much goes without saying that your best option is a gun.  However, we are not saying that you should not have a gun especially when it comes to home security, but there will be situations when pulling a shotgun or handgun out that may not be warranted, necessary, or just not available depending on where you live. Also, not everyone will be ready or even willing to potentially wound or kill another person. But, just because someone doesn’t want to own or cannot own a gun, doesn’t always mean that they do not want to be able to defend themselves, their homes and their families if there is a bad situation. It is for those situations that we have gathered up some of the best yet non-lethal self defense tools and weapons that you can get without a permit. These tools will leave your attacker in pain, helpless and ready to be picked up by the local police.

Self defense weapon options

Below I’ll go over the best self defense weapons.

Stun Gun

stun gun
Vipertek VTS-989 Stun Gun

If you do not like all the risks or mess that may come with pepper spray or a gun and you have no hesitation to get pretty close to your attacker, then this stun gun is going to be an inexpensive but very effective option. The flash and crackle alone are going to be enough to keep yourself from being attacked, but in the event that you do get close, use those 53 million volts to drop your attacker. The electrodes are spiked and sharp to cut through the thickest clothing and the side shock plates are going to keep your attacker from trying to take it from you. Plus, as an added bonus, there is an LED flashlight on it and it does come with an internal rechargeable battery. If that doesn’t keep you safe, I don’t know what will.

Pepper Gel

Pepper Gel
Sabre Red Pepper Gel

Red pepper gel isn’t a delicacy, in fact it is actually one of the most painful and innovative self defense tools that is on the market right now. The main issue with regular pepper spray is that it can blow back onto you if it is quite windy outside and that can get it into your eyes if the wind is just right during an attack. More than that is that it doesn’t do full effect on the attacker. By using a pepper gel, you are able to spray up to 18 feet away, hit your attacker, and not worry about any of the runoff fumes getting into your eyes and blinding you. Every part of this pepper gel has been enhanced with a UV dye which helps the police to identify the attackers easier and get them off the street quicker. This particular pepper gel is packaged so that it won’t go off while in the holster, so you can rest much easier without having to worry about your gel going off without meaning to.

Pepper Spray Gun

Pepper-Spray-Gun
Salt Supply Pepper Spray Gun

When you mix all the intimidation of a pistol with the force of mace, you end up with this Pepper Spray Gun. This tool will fire rounds of pepper spray that is powdered 10 times further the average distance of your traditional pepper spray that often create a giant chemical cloud when hit with it. So, not only will the rounds from this pepper spray gun hit your target at 320 ft. per second, with all the kinetic energy of fastball pitching, but it will immediately coat your attacker in chemical pepper spray. You are going to check on the legality of ownership where you live, because some of the laws of some areas will be quite strict and there are some restrictions on this type of gun in some areas.

Tactical Pen

tactical pen
SWAT Tactical Pen

It is not that easy to make a really effective tactical pen. Many models will often break and are pretty flimsy, and they cannot get the job done at all. Many tactical pens out there are not that effective when it comes to trying to defend yourself from any type of attacker. Atomic Bear created the SWAT Tactical Pen, and this pen has taken and ripped all the stigma from a tactical pen that has been around for years. The chassis is made from an aluminum alloy, so you can crack and even shatter glass using this pen, but it is not a one hit wonder, or you can use the sheathed, and concealed razor-sharp tip to be able to defend yourself if you happen to be in a pinch. You will also be provided with 2 ink refills for your tactical pen. However, even though the main focus is on the tactical areas, it has a really nice clip and it is an amazing ball point pen that is on the market. When you compare this pen to those high grade, super expensive ballpoint pens, you will see that this tactical pen is in the top 3.

Tactical Flashlight

Tactical Flashlight
Olight M1X Striker Flashlight

Providing a little bit of physical damage on your attacker is maybe not something that you want to do or you are just looking for something that will let you get away as quick as possible. If that is the case, then the M1X Striker Flashlight is going to be a really solid option. It works great as an everyday type of flashlight, but the Striker does have some pretty nifty features that actually make it better as a self-defense option and tactical tool. The biggest feature is the burst mode which provides over 1000 lumens, that is plenty enough light to temporarily blind anyone who is not wearing eye protection. It even has a strobe feature that helps to provide consistent disorientation. And in the event that you have to protect yourself, you can use the flashlight to swing at your attacker as it has a toothed bezel that was made just for those types of circumstances.

Air Pistols

Air Pistol
Umarex 19-Shot Air Pistol

Air pistols are nothing to laugh at, especially if you have been shot with one. It is a very painful type of experience. People around you may be laughing, but let them volunteer to be shot with one. Umarex makes a really fantastic and compact air pistol, which is perfect for just about any type of use. You can hand it to your wife or daughter when they go out, you can carry it in a holster, and it is versatile on just how you are able to store it. It has 19 shots and a drop free magazine, so you can pack serious power. The CO2 capsules are within the grip on the hilt, and they are really easy to push in and pop out. The sights are iron, and they are very similar to those on an actual handgun. When push comes to shove, 19 shots is plenty to scare off multiple assailants.

In the end, these are great self-defense weapons that you can use to protect yourself and they are quite easy to obtain.

Plant Your Own Medicinal Herb Garden

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The Origin of Pills When did modern medicine replace herbal remedies in mass consciousness? When is it that the majority began seeking wellness from a bottle instead of food an medicinal herb garden or a walk in the woods? Well it turns out that “pills” have been around since ancient Egypt, where herbal concoctions would be …

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Solar Controller Discussion

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Below is a video with a Blue Sky Representative talking about his product, the “Blue Sky SB3000i Solar Boost MPPT Solar Charge Controller”. It is a good review of the product for anyone who is thinking about adding solar to your Van, RV or Home. He covers just about everything in simple English, and all the facts are from the horse’s mouth, the manufacturer!
The video is by Jamie, of Enigmatic Nomadics:

Side Note:

Many You-Tube producers when discussing a product, direct you to their own Amazon link, stating that if you use his Amazon link to buy the product, the link will take you directly to the product and also say they make a few pennies off the sale (at no cost to the buyer) to support their video making. That sounds reasonable and it is convenient.

Well, I find few things ever cost me nothing when using a third party to purchase something. I did use Jamie’s Amazon link to take me to the product to check the price of the controller and here’s what I found. (I do not know if this is common for all You-Tube producers).

Pricing of the Blue Sky Controller using three sources:

$313 using Jamie’s Amazon link:

$282 Blue Sky factory direct:

$250 using Amazon direct:

It always pays to shop around:



Solar Controller Discussion


Below is a video with a Blue Sky Representative talking about his product, the “Blue Sky SB3000i Solar Boost MPPT Solar Charge Controller”. It is a good review of the product for anyone who is thinking about adding solar to your Van, RV or Home. He covers just about everything in simple English, and all the facts are from the horse’s mouth, the manufacturer!
The video is by Jamie, of Enigmatic Nomadics:

Side Note:

Many You-Tube producers when discussing a product, direct you to their own Amazon link, stating that if you use his Amazon link to buy the product, the link will take you directly to the product and also say they make a few pennies off the sale (at no cost to the buyer) to support their video making. That sounds reasonable and it is convenient.

Well, I find few things ever cost me nothing when using a third party to purchase something. I did use Jamie’s Amazon link to take me to the product to check the price of the controller and here’s what I found. (I do not know if this is common for all You-Tube producers).

Pricing of the Blue Sky Controller using three sources:

$313 using Jamie’s Amazon link:

$282 Blue Sky factory direct:

$250 using Amazon direct:

It always pays to shop around:



Survival Medicine Hour: All about Arthritis, Mass Recall, Anosmia

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Survival Medicine Hour #379

Rheumatoid is just one kind of arthritis

Rheumatoid is just one kind of arthritis

 

What if you had to function with joint pain in the aftermath of a major disaster? In the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton MD, aka Dr. Bones, and Amy Alton ARNP, aka Nurse Amy, our hosts tell you all about arthritis: The different types, signs and symptoms, how to tell one type from another, treatment both natural and conventional, plus much more.

mass fire extinguisher recall includes ours!

mass fire extinguisher recall includes ours!

A mass recall of fire extinguishers going all the way back to 1973 is in the news after a fire rescue team couldn’t save a victim due to the failure of the all-important device. Is your device affected? Listen to Nurse Amy give an account of the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s report.

Plus, a listener who has lost his sense of smell; could it be allergies? could it be a chronic medical condition. Listen to his story and Dr. Alton’s thoughts.

To listen in, click here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2018/03/09/survival-medicine-hour-arthritis-mass-recall-anosmia

All this and more on the Survival Medicine Hour with Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy!

The Altons

The Altons

 

Don’t forget to check out the Survival Medicine Handbook Third Edition on Amazon!

Follow Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy on twitter @preppershow, facebook at Doom and Bloom, and YouTube at drbones nurseamy channel!

Survival Medicine Hour: All about Arthritis, Mass Recall, Anosmia

Survival Medicine Hour #379

Rheumatoid is just one kind of arthritis

Rheumatoid is just one kind of arthritis

 

What if you had to function with joint pain in the aftermath of a major disaster? In the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton MD, aka Dr. Bones, and Amy Alton ARNP, aka Nurse Amy, our hosts tell you all about arthritis: The different types, signs and symptoms, how to tell one type from another, treatment both natural and conventional, plus much more.

mass fire extinguisher recall includes ours!

mass fire extinguisher recall includes ours!

A mass recall of fire extinguishers going all the way back to 1973 is in the news after a fire rescue team couldn’t save a victim due to the failure of the all-important device. Is your device affected? Listen to Nurse Amy give an account of the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s report.

Plus, a listener who has lost his sense of smell; could it be allergies? could it be a chronic medical condition. Listen to his story and Dr. Alton’s thoughts.

To listen in, click here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2018/03/09/survival-medicine-hour-arthritis-mass-recall-anosmia

All this and more on the Survival Medicine Hour with Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy!

The Altons

The Altons

 

Don’t forget to check out the Survival Medicine Handbook Third Edition on Amazon!

Follow Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy on twitter @preppershow, facebook at Doom and Bloom, and YouTube at drbones nurseamy channel!

How to Start a Fire Using Flint and Steel

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Now, there are many articles out there that will show you how to use a flint and steel to make fire.  There are bush craft sites, survival and prepping sites but never before have we had an instructable on the matter. This takes the use of a flint and steel from a different angle. The …

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The post How to Start a Fire Using Flint and Steel appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

Goji Berries in your Garden

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Ahh the powerful goji berry. These little, often dried, morsels are powerful fruits that I thought for a long time could only be grown in exotic places. These little monsters come packed with 18 amino acids and 8 of those are essential to your body, which means your body will not produce them on its …

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An ATM Skimmer Almost Stole My Credit Card! This is How to Spot Them and How They Work

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This is every ATM users worst nightmare. This idea that there is some clever fox out there who is collecting your data each time you use the ATM. You probably really feel the twinge when you get to a ATM in gas station that is standalone and has to dial out to get your money! …

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The post An ATM Skimmer Almost Stole My Credit Card! This is How to Spot Them and How They Work appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

An ATM Skimmer Almost Stole My Credit Card! This is How to Spot Them and How They Work

This is every ATM users worst nightmare. This idea that there is some clever fox out there who is collecting your data each time you use the ATM. You probably really feel the twinge when you get to a ATM in gas station that is standalone and has to dial out to get your money! …

Continue reading

The post An ATM Skimmer Almost Stole My Credit Card! This is How to Spot Them and How They Work appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

Prepper Gear You Can Afford [Best Prepper Products on Amazon Under $20]

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Sometimes you have to fill some holes. There are  gear needs that must be addressed. While there are tons of high quality products that will help you fill those holes. Sometimes you are just in the market for a thermal blanket. Who is spending outrageous  money on a thermal blanket? Its just not necessary. Now, …

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The post Prepper Gear You Can Afford [Best Prepper Products on Amazon Under $20] appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

Prepper Gear You Can Afford [Best Prepper Products on Amazon Under $20]

Sometimes you have to fill some holes. There are  gear needs that must be addressed. While there are tons of high quality products that will help you fill those holes. Sometimes you are just in the market for a thermal blanket. Who is spending outrageous  money on a thermal blanket? Its just not necessary. Now, …

Continue reading

The post Prepper Gear You Can Afford [Best Prepper Products on Amazon Under $20] appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

White Sage Plant: Growing Guide, Smudging, and Seeds (2018 Update)

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The post White Sage Plant: Growing Guide, Smudging, and Seeds (2018 Update) is by Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

If there’s any herb that has a long and storied history, it’s the white sage plant, also called salvia apiana. Used heavily amongst California tribal people for centuries, this plant has many names given by the tribes who used it. The Tongva, also called the Gabrielino tribe, called it kasiile and found it on hills around … Read more

The post White Sage Plant: Growing Guide, Smudging, and Seeds (2018 Update) is by Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Superfood: 30 Great Food Items That Make You Healthy

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We all know that when a person suffers from bad health, he can’t enjoy the pleasure of everything. In order to achieve the optimum health, nutrition experts and health practitioners suggest loading up on superfoods. Believe me, no single food can improve or upkeep someone’s health. It is a combination of several foods definitely about fruits and vegetables. Superfoods are considered full-packed nutritious foods that will sweep your illnesses away. What are superfoods and why are they called as super-foods? What are Superfoods? Certain foods do provide greater health benefits than most. We refer to them as “superfoods.” Superfood does’t

The post Superfood: 30 Great Food Items That Make You Healthy appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Division Over Gun Rights Pushing America Closer to Civil War

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I had the honor of being on the Prepping Academy Podcast with Forrest Garvin recently. We talked about the growing divide in America over gun rights and other polarizing issues.

 

 

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.

tpitw

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!

Fish_300x250_A

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 Division Over Gun Rights Pushing America Closer to Civil War appeared first on Prepper Recon.

Stop Thieves from Stealing Gates without Welding

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When I set up my farm gate, the idea was to deter thieves, I knew I needed to weld a washer over the gate pin so the gate could not be lifted off the hinges, but I am not a good welder so I decided to wait. That was a bad decision, as thieves lifted the gate and stole a 16 foot trailer from my land.  They did this after taking the time to load full with construction materials and tools from my shipping container.  Tools that included two welders…. When I discovered it I had to figure out a

The post Stop Thieves from Stealing Gates without Welding appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Paintcrete Rabbit Hutch Part 1

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With the outhouse roof coming out well, I decided to jump into a larger paintcrete project.  I have wanted to get back into rabbit breeding, and have planned a paintcrete rabbit hutch for a few years, I just never go the gumption to actually do it. This project is a little different than my outhouse.  I am using better paint, less mortar mix, and sheets instead of window screen. I already had the nails and the mortar mix, but the wood and paint cost me $53.00 at Lowe’s.  The sheets were a few dollars at the good will, so this

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Update on Latex Cement Roof

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I wanted to give a quick update on the latex cement for my Outhouse roof.  It has dried and is in good shape.  It can’t quite hold my weight, but it does hold the kid’s weight well. There is some flexibility with the strength, which was expected.  It is light enough that two people can easily place it on the outhouse structure. Using thick mortar mix worked well.  It did not drip through the screen like my wife expected it to.  I did use a lot of mortar and a fair bit of paint.  However, it was not so much

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Update on Latex Cement Roof

I wanted to give a quick update on the latex cement for my Outhouse roof.  It has dried and is in good shape.  It can’t quite hold my weight, but it does hold the kid’s weight well. There is some flexibility with the strength, which was expected.  It is light enough that two people can easily place it on the outhouse structure. Using thick mortar mix worked well.  It did not drip through the screen like my wife expected it to.  I did use a lot of mortar and a fair bit of paint.  However, it was not so much

The post Update on Latex Cement Roof appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Searching For The Peace of God

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     It was another one of those nights … I woke up between 3 and 4 in the morning, and couldn’t go back to sleep. There wasn’t anything big pressing on my soul or spirit, but it was clear that I wasn’t going back to sleep soon. I know that this is the time the Enemy likes to sow his lies into my sleepy brain, so I was on guard to take every thought captive. Since this is a regular occurrence for me, and I know that Jesus talks about being prepared in “the night watches” (Luke 12:35-40), I instinctively know that this is a time that God may be calling me to seek Him.
     So, instead of trying harder to go back to sleep, I chose to spend time with Jesus and see what we had to say to each other. Realizing that I was restless and just a little anxious, a spontaneous thought quickly came to my mind in the form of a question … Did Jesus model for us what “being at peace” looked like? In my natural mind I tried to run that rabbit and see if I could think of any Scripture in the Gospels that spoke of Jesus being at peace or enjoying peaceful respite. I know the Bible talks about the “peace that surpasses all understanding”, but did Jesus, Himself, show us what that looks like for us in our Christian walk?
     When I couldn’t really think of any example in the Bible, I decided to spend these waking moments visiting with Jesus in the garden of my heart. I got still and quieted my mind. In my spirit, I entered through my garden gate and headed down the path to the bench under the big oak tree where we always meet to sit and talk. But He wasn’t there! I had a moment of slight panic, but remembered another time when my soul and spirit were dry and I felt emptied of any divine energy.  At that time, Jesus had instructed me to immerse myself in the river of Living Water, and while floating there, I felt myself getting filled up; the Living Water from the throne of God seeped through my pores and I was restored and ready to serve Him again.
     So, when I didn’t find Jesus at our meeting place this time, I immediately thought, “I’ll just go to the river of Living Water and see if I can be filled with His peace there”. I knelt down by the river and scooped the water up, drinking in its sweet flavor, both physically and spiritually. I couldn’t get enough! All of a sudden, I was aware of Jesus sitting on the bank, watching me and smiling. He said, “You’ve instinctively thirsted for the Living Water, which is the source of your spiritual life. But there’s more I want you to understand. You are seeking My peace, but I’m not sure you get the big picture. Let me show you more…”.  At that moment, I drifted off to sleep, but in the morning when I woke up, every inch of my flesh and spirit was eager to go to the Word to see if I could find what He wanted to show me.

     I instinctively knew that there was a connection between the peace I was seeking and the Living Waters I had consumed in my garden. So, I started in Galatians, Chapter 5, where I knew peace was mentioned in conjunction with the fruits of the Spirit. It read, But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue,faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit.

     All of a sudden, the picture was coming into view … Peace in my life is a fruit of the presence of the Holy Spirit. I knew that, but I was beginning to understand that peace was not something I could get or produce on my own, APART from the Holy Spirit. On the contrary — the fruit was the evidence of the power producing it. In other words, it was the power of the Holy Spirit in me, bringing me into union with Christ that produces the peace. My peace is always found when I am filled to overflowing with the Living Waters!
     Now, I was eager to see if I could confirm that understanding through Scripture.  First of all, I found conviction [in the Psalms] that I was awakened in the middle of the night so that I might meet with Jesus. Psalm 119:147-148 says, Before the day dawns, I’ll be crying out for help and wrapping Your words into my life.I lie awake every night pondering Your promises to me. Psalm 4:4 says, Tremble in awe before the Lord, and do not sin against Him. Be still upon your bed and search your heart before Him. Pause in His presence. And Psalm 16:7 says, The way You counsel and correct me makes me praise You more, for Your whispers in the night give me wisdom, showing me what to do next.
     Now, could I find the connection between thirsting for the Living Water, it’s overflowing from my heart, and the peace that I desired? Romans 15:13 spoke directly to me! Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! There it was! The picture of the Living Water coming directly from God as my source of joy and peace! And that peace comes directly to me by the power of the Holy Spirit to reproduce the character of Christ in me!
     You know, sometimes, it is easy to say we understand the Biblical concepts that we’ve learned in Church. But to really understand is a heart knowledge, not a head or analytical knowledge. I knew peace came from God. And I knew that the Living Water was the Holy Spirit overflowing from my heart. But when I tried to see Jesus displaying that peace as a man, I was chasing after the peace of God in my flesh. Jesus always talked about the Living Water as a spiritual concept, not something that we could accomplish in the flesh. So, it was important that I understand that I can only know true peace when I am functioning out of the overflow of the Holy Spirit in my life. 
     So, now I understood what had taken place in the garden of my heart. In my search for Jesus’ peace, I was led to drink of the Living Waters, flowing from the throne of God. Jesus wasn’t at our meeting place under the shade of the big oak tree because I wasn’t going to get instructions for peace from how He modeled life as a human man. I could only get the peace He knew by being filled with the overflowing joy and peace coming by way of the Holy Spirit, and straight from the fountain of hope, Himself, which is God, the Father. That’s why Jesus was waiting for me on the banks that provided the peace I was looking for!
     In summary, I now understand that true peace is not something I can achieve through earthly measures. I can’t do enough, have enough, or know enough [in the flesh] to set my soul or spirit at perfect peace. It is only through the presence and overflowing of the Holy Spirit, that I can know the peace that exists in the Kingdom of God. If I may be so bold, I don’t believe you can find real peace in the realm of this earth. The key for us, who are living here until called Home, is the discernment that God’s peace only exists in God’s Kingdom realm. The only way we can experience His Kingdom while still on this planet is in the realm of the Holy Spirit. It all comes down to this … Divine Peace exists in the realm where God is. God’s realm is available to us through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. The power of the Holy Spirit is experienced as the overflowing of the river of Living Water in our hearts. Divine peace — God’s peace — comes when we submit our hearts to Him and allow Him to fill us with Himself. Instead of looking for outward manifestations of peace, I will now look inward — because I know that the peace of God, which surpasses all [human] understanding, will guard my heart and my mind because His realm lives inside me. Hallelujah!

Romans 14:17    Because the Kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking [as a human does]. When God reigns, the order of the day is redeeming justice, true peace, and joy made possible by the Holy Spirit. 
     

 
      
      
    

Searching For The Peace of God

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     It was another one of those nights … I woke up between 3 and 4 in the morning, and couldn’t go back to sleep. There wasn’t anything big pressing on my soul or spirit, but it was clear that I wasn’t going back to sleep soon. I know that this is the time the Enemy likes to sow his lies into my sleepy brain, so I was on guard to take every thought captive. Since this is a regular occurrence for me, and I know that Jesus talks about being prepared in “the night watches” (Luke 12:35-40), I instinctively know that this is a time that God may be calling me to seek Him.
     So, instead of trying harder to go back to sleep, I chose to spend time with Jesus and see what we had to say to each other. Realizing that I was restless and just a little anxious, a spontaneous thought quickly came to my mind in the form of a question … Did Jesus model for us what “being at peace” looked like? In my natural mind I tried to run that rabbit and see if I could think of any Scripture in the Gospels that spoke of Jesus being at peace or enjoying peaceful respite. I know the Bible talks about the “peace that surpasses all understanding”, but did Jesus, Himself, show us what that looks like for us in our Christian walk?
     When I couldn’t really think of any example in the Bible, I decided to spend these waking moments visiting with Jesus in the garden of my heart. I got still and quieted my mind. In my spirit, I entered through my garden gate and headed down the path to the bench under the big oak tree where we always meet to sit and talk. But He wasn’t there! I had a moment of slight panic, but remembered another time when my soul and spirit were dry and I felt emptied of any divine energy.  At that time, Jesus had instructed me to immerse myself in the river of Living Water, and while floating there, I felt myself getting filled up; the Living Water from the throne of God seeped through my pores and I was restored and ready to serve Him again.
     So, when I didn’t find Jesus at our meeting place this time, I immediately thought, “I’ll just go to the river of Living Water and see if I can be filled with His peace there”. I knelt down by the river and scooped the water up, drinking in its sweet flavor, both physically and spiritually. I couldn’t get enough! All of a sudden, I was aware of Jesus sitting on the bank, watching me and smiling. He said, “You’ve instinctively thirsted for the Living Water, which is the source of your spiritual life. But there’s more I want you to understand. You are seeking My peace, but I’m not sure you get the big picture. Let me show you more…”.  At that moment, I drifted off to sleep, but in the morning when I woke up, every inch of my flesh and spirit was eager to go to the Word to see if I could find what He wanted to show me.

     I instinctively knew that there was a connection between the peace I was seeking and the Living Waters I had consumed in my garden. So, I started in Galatians, Chapter 5, where I knew peace was mentioned in conjunction with the fruits of the Spirit. It read, But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue,faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit.

     All of a sudden, the picture was coming into view … Peace in my life is a fruit of the presence of the Holy Spirit. I knew that, but I was beginning to understand that peace was not something I could get or produce on my own, APART from the Holy Spirit. On the contrary — the fruit was the evidence of the power producing it. In other words, it was the power of the Holy Spirit in me, bringing me into union with Christ that produces the peace. My peace is always found when I am filled to overflowing with the Living Waters!
     Now, I was eager to see if I could confirm that understanding through Scripture.  First of all, I found conviction [in the Psalms] that I was awakened in the middle of the night so that I might meet with Jesus. Psalm 119:147-148 says, Before the day dawns, I’ll be crying out for help and wrapping Your words into my life.I lie awake every night pondering Your promises to me. Psalm 4:4 says, Tremble in awe before the Lord, and do not sin against Him. Be still upon your bed and search your heart before Him. Pause in His presence. And Psalm 16:7 says, The way You counsel and correct me makes me praise You more, for Your whispers in the night give me wisdom, showing me what to do next.
     Now, could I find the connection between thirsting for the Living Water, it’s overflowing from my heart, and the peace that I desired? Romans 15:13 spoke directly to me! Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! There it was! The picture of the Living Water coming directly from God as my source of joy and peace! And that peace comes directly to me by the power of the Holy Spirit to reproduce the character of Christ in me!
     You know, sometimes, it is easy to say we understand the Biblical concepts that we’ve learned in Church. But to really understand is a heart knowledge, not a head or analytical knowledge. I knew peace came from God. And I knew that the Living Water was the Holy Spirit overflowing from my heart. But when I tried to see Jesus displaying that peace as a man, I was chasing after the peace of God in my flesh. Jesus always talked about the Living Water as a spiritual concept, not something that we could accomplish in the flesh. So, it was important that I understand that I can only know true peace when I am functioning out of the overflow of the Holy Spirit in my life. 
     So, now I understood what had taken place in the garden of my heart. In my search for Jesus’ peace, I was led to drink of the Living Waters, flowing from the throne of God. Jesus wasn’t at our meeting place under the shade of the big oak tree because I wasn’t going to get instructions for peace from how He modeled life as a human man. I could only get the peace He knew by being filled with the overflowing joy and peace coming by way of the Holy Spirit, and straight from the fountain of hope, Himself, which is God, the Father. That’s why Jesus was waiting for me on the banks that provided the peace I was looking for!
     In summary, I now understand that true peace is not something I can achieve through earthly measures. I can’t do enough, have enough, or know enough [in the flesh] to set my soul or spirit at perfect peace. It is only through the presence and overflowing of the Holy Spirit, that I can know the peace that exists in the Kingdom of God. If I may be so bold, I don’t believe you can find real peace in the realm of this earth. The key for us, who are living here until called Home, is the discernment that God’s peace only exists in God’s Kingdom realm. The only way we can experience His Kingdom while still on this planet is in the realm of the Holy Spirit. It all comes down to this … Divine Peace exists in the realm where God is. God’s realm is available to us through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. The power of the Holy Spirit is experienced as the overflowing of the river of Living Water in our hearts. Divine peace — God’s peace — comes when we submit our hearts to Him and allow Him to fill us with Himself. Instead of looking for outward manifestations of peace, I will now look inward — because I know that the peace of God, which surpasses all [human] understanding, will guard my heart and my mind because His realm lives inside me. Hallelujah!

Romans 14:17    Because the Kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking [as a human does]. When God reigns, the order of the day is redeeming justice, true peace, and joy made possible by the Holy Spirit. 
     

 
      
      
    

Searching For The Peace of God

     It was another one of those nights … I woke up between 3 and 4 in the morning, and couldn’t go back to sleep. There wasn’t anything big pressing on my soul or spirit, but it was clear that I wasn’t going back to sleep soon. I know that this is the time the Enemy likes to sow his lies into my sleepy brain, so I was on guard to take every thought captive. Since this is a regular occurrence for me, and I know that Jesus talks about being prepared in “the night watches” (Luke 12:35-40), I instinctively know that this is a time that God may be calling me to seek Him.
     So, instead of trying harder to go back to sleep, I chose to spend time with Jesus and see what we had to say to each other. Realizing that I was restless and just a little anxious, a spontaneous thought quickly came to my mind in the form of a question … Did Jesus model for us what “being at peace” looked like? In my natural mind I tried to run that rabbit and see if I could think of any Scripture in the Gospels that spoke of Jesus being at peace or enjoying peaceful respite. I know the Bible talks about the “peace that surpasses all understanding”, but did Jesus, Himself, show us what that looks like for us in our Christian walk?
     When I couldn’t really think of any example in the Bible, I decided to spend these waking moments visiting with Jesus in the garden of my heart. I got still and quieted my mind. In my spirit, I entered through my garden gate and headed down the path to the bench under the big oak tree where we always meet to sit and talk. But He wasn’t there! I had a moment of slight panic, but remembered another time when my soul and spirit were dry and I felt emptied of any divine energy.  At that time, Jesus had instructed me to immerse myself in the river of Living Water, and while floating there, I felt myself getting filled up; the Living Water from the throne of God seeped through my pores and I was restored and ready to serve Him again.
     So, when I didn’t find Jesus at our meeting place this time, I immediately thought, “I’ll just go to the river of Living Water and see if I can be filled with His peace there”. I knelt down by the river and scooped the water up, drinking in its sweet flavor, both physically and spiritually. I couldn’t get enough! All of a sudden, I was aware of Jesus sitting on the bank, watching me and smiling. He said, “You’ve instinctively thirsted for the Living Water, which is the source of your spiritual life. But there’s more I want you to understand. You are seeking My peace, but I’m not sure you get the big picture. Let me show you more…”.  At that moment, I drifted off to sleep, but in the morning when I woke up, every inch of my flesh and spirit was eager to go to the Word to see if I could find what He wanted to show me.

     I instinctively knew that there was a connection between the peace I was seeking and the Living Waters I had consumed in my garden. So, I started in Galatians, Chapter 5, where I knew peace was mentioned in conjunction with the fruits of the Spirit. It read, But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue,faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit.

     All of a sudden, the picture was coming into view … Peace in my life is a fruit of the presence of the Holy Spirit. I knew that, but I was beginning to understand that peace was not something I could get or produce on my own, APART from the Holy Spirit. On the contrary — the fruit was the evidence of the power producing it. In other words, it was the power of the Holy Spirit in me, bringing me into union with Christ that produces the peace. My peace is always found when I am filled to overflowing with the Living Waters!
     Now, I was eager to see if I could confirm that understanding through Scripture.  First of all, I found conviction [in the Psalms] that I was awakened in the middle of the night so that I might meet with Jesus. Psalm 119:147-148 says, Before the day dawns, I’ll be crying out for help and wrapping Your words into my life.I lie awake every night pondering Your promises to me. Psalm 4:4 says, Tremble in awe before the Lord, and do not sin against Him. Be still upon your bed and search your heart before Him. Pause in His presence. And Psalm 16:7 says, The way You counsel and correct me makes me praise You more, for Your whispers in the night give me wisdom, showing me what to do next.
     Now, could I find the connection between thirsting for the Living Water, it’s overflowing from my heart, and the peace that I desired? Romans 15:13 spoke directly to me! Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! There it was! The picture of the Living Water coming directly from God as my source of joy and peace! And that peace comes directly to me by the power of the Holy Spirit to reproduce the character of Christ in me!
     You know, sometimes, it is easy to say we understand the Biblical concepts that we’ve learned in Church. But to really understand is a heart knowledge, not a head or analytical knowledge. I knew peace came from God. And I knew that the Living Water was the Holy Spirit overflowing from my heart. But when I tried to see Jesus displaying that peace as a man, I was chasing after the peace of God in my flesh. Jesus always talked about the Living Water as a spiritual concept, not something that we could accomplish in the flesh. So, it was important that I understand that I can only know true peace when I am functioning out of the overflow of the Holy Spirit in my life. 
     So, now I understood what had taken place in the garden of my heart. In my search for Jesus’ peace, I was led to drink of the Living Waters, flowing from the throne of God. Jesus wasn’t at our meeting place under the shade of the big oak tree because I wasn’t going to get instructions for peace from how He modeled life as a human man. I could only get the peace He knew by being filled with the overflowing joy and peace coming by way of the Holy Spirit, and straight from the fountain of hope, Himself, which is God, the Father. That’s why Jesus was waiting for me on the banks that provided the peace I was looking for!
     In summary, I now understand that true peace is not something I can achieve through earthly measures. I can’t do enough, have enough, or know enough [in the flesh] to set my soul or spirit at perfect peace. It is only through the presence and overflowing of the Holy Spirit, that I can know the peace that exists in the Kingdom of God. If I may be so bold, I don’t believe you can find real peace in the realm of this earth. The key for us, who are living here until called Home, is the discernment that God’s peace only exists in God’s Kingdom realm. The only way we can experience His Kingdom while still on this planet is in the realm of the Holy Spirit. It all comes down to this … Divine Peace exists in the realm where God is. God’s realm is available to us through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. The power of the Holy Spirit is experienced as the overflowing of the river of Living Water in our hearts. Divine peace — God’s peace — comes when we submit our hearts to Him and allow Him to fill us with Himself. Instead of looking for outward manifestations of peace, I will now look inward — because I know that the peace of God, which surpasses all [human] understanding, will guard my heart and my mind because His realm lives inside me. Hallelujah!

Romans 14:17    Because the Kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking [as a human does]. When God reigns, the order of the day is redeeming justice, true peace, and joy made possible by the Holy Spirit. 
     

 
      
      
    

“Extreme” Weather Conditions: Snowflakes, Hysteria, & the UK

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“Extreme” Weather Conditions: Snowflakes, Hysteria, & the UK

If you are a Brit, you will undoubtedly be aware that we faced a seemingly apocalyptic event over the past week or so. In case you’re unaware and need to be brought up to speed with regards to the cataclysmic event that struck old Blighty, be forewarned: the following photograph will strike fear into your […]

This is just the start of the post “Extreme” Weather Conditions: Snowflakes, Hysteria, & the UK. Continue reading and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!


“Extreme” Weather Conditions: Snowflakes, Hysteria, & the UK, written by Thomas Xavier, was created exclusively for readers of the survival blog More Than Just Surviving.

What Vegetable Seeds Do I Plant In March

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These are the vegetable seeds I plant in March in my raised garden boxes because they can handle the cool temperatures where I live. We are hopefully past the freeze temperatures, but Southern Utah has been known to have snow in April. I recently added some fresh soil and some Earthworm Castings Organic Fertilizer I’m so grateful I had a strong young man in the neighborhood to haul the 23 HEAVY bags to the backyard. I had to make two trips with my Honda CRV, but the people at Home Depot rock for loading the bags in the back of my car. Who needs a truck, right?

I bought Miracle Grow vegetable soil in bags that filled all seven raised garden beds. It’s such a great feeling knowing I have the soil and it’s prepped ready to plant seeds. I only buy Non-GMO Heirloom seeds. I was hoping to support some of our local nurseries here, but they do not sell them so I ordered them online.

plant in march

The potato seeds to purchase online are not available yet, but they sell out fast so I will be checking every day for my favorite ones. I purchased my seeds from this company: SeedsNow I’m in Zone 8a for planting temperatures. They have a lot of information on zones so you can check to see which zone you are located in to plant safely. The average last frost for my zone is March 15th, this is why I needed to get my soil prepped this week. Yes, I prepped it last Fall as well.

Plant In March

Basil

Basil will grow just about anywhere. Plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep and about 12 inches apart. These plants can grow very tall, so keep that in mind when planting. Basil grows like a weed so keep on top of clipping the leaves. No worries if you see the top of the plants go to seed, clip them down. I promise they will grow back if the weather is still warm.

Make sure there is no danger of frost before sowing the seeds into the ground. Basil thrives in warmer weather. Basil can be grown indoors year round if desired. Once the plants reach about 6 inches tall start cutting back the tops so they will branch out and produce more leaves.

Beets

You will plant your beet seeds 1/2 inch deep and about 4-6 inches apart with rows 12-18 inches apart. The seeds will germinate in 7-21 days. The temperature required for germination is 50-70 degrees. The plants will grow about 12 inches tall. Once they grow about 4-6 inches high, you will need to thin them to about 1-1/2 inches apart. Beets love cool weather and grow best when the weather is 65 degrees.

Once you see the roots of the beet pop through the ground be sure and mulch around the bases to keep the beets from becoming tough. The greens are ready to eat in about 35 days with the beets themselves take about 60 days to grow from the date of planting.

Bush Green Beans

I buy bush green beans because they are easier for me to handle when I pick them. I plant the seeds directly into the ground when the weather is about 75 degrees. Beans do not do well in wet cold weather. They are subject to mold, just giving you the heads up here. I plant the beans 1-1/2 inches deep, two inches apart and rows at about two feet apart.

I stagger the bean planting because typically bush beans have a good two-week harvest when fully mature. This way I can have green beans all summer. I “thin” the plants so they produce more beans. They are ready to pick after about 50 days when the pods are strong and snap in half when picked and “snapped.”  It’s so fun to sit around and “snap” green beans before you pressure can them. Of course, fresh green beans rock!

Carrots

I love love love freshly picked carrots. They are easy to grow in the ground by sowing the seeds in a very shallow row about 1/4 inch deep, and they germinate quickly when you keep the seeds moist for a few days. I space my carrot rows about 12 inches apart and thin the plants as needed to about 2-4 inches apart. I try really hard to space them so I don’t waste any seeds, but they are so tiny!! Here again, I stagger the planting so I have carrots all summer, or until it gets too hot here in Southern Utah.

Carrots mature in about 60 days, or when the “crown” of the carrot shows up in the dirt. You can pick them earlier than 60 days if you desire. I like young thin sweet carrots.

Cilantro (aka Coriander)

Oh my gosh, my mouth is watering for fresh Cilantro. Here’s the deal with Cilantro, you have one harvest so be sure and stagger your plantings. In late winter we can plant Cilantro about 1/2 inch deep every 30 days so you have a continuous crop all summer. The seeds can germinate at 60 degrees, which is awesome for Southern Utah. Space the seeds about 8 inches apart and they will germinate in 10 days. I love seeing the little sprouts!

You can pick the leaves as soon as you see the plants are large enough to harvest. Please remember that some Cilantro will grow to be about 2 feet tall. Once it goes to seed, replant after harvesting the leaves. You can harvest the entire plant. I like to break off or cut the leaves as they grow. Once the weather gets too hot, the Cilantro will not do well.

Cucumbers

I decided to plant seeds this year directly into the ground rather than transplanting some seedlings. The weather is pretty good right now so I planted the seeds 1/2 inch deep and 24 inches apart. They will germinate in about 7-21 days depending on the weather. We need the temperatures to be 75-85 degrees.

One plant per square foot works really well. Here again, I buy bush cucumber bushes because they are easier to handle in my raised beds. This is crazy, but cucumbers can double in size in just one day. Pick daily when you see they are ready to eat. They get bitter when they become too large and pithy. One plant will typically produce 10-20 cucumbers each, depending on the kind you buy.

Lettuce

I plant my lettuce seeds about 1/4 inch deep, and I’m here to tell you it’s hard because they are so tiny, and I mean tiny. The seeds will germinate in about 7-14 days if the temperatures are 40-80 degrees. Here again, stagger the plantings so you will have never ending lettuce. Cut the leaves and most will grow back. Make rows about 12-18 inches apart. Clip the lettuce leaves before they get too large and become bitter.

Lettuce does poorly in hot weather so enjoy it while you can when the weather is cooler. If you plant the “heads” closer they will be smaller but are great for small families.

Spinach

I buy so much spinach throughout the year and freeze it whenever I can for my breakfast smoothies. So when I can plant some seeds, I love it! I plant the spinach leaves about 1/4 inch deep and they are very tiny as well. Spinach is a cool weather vegetable. Space the plants about 3-8 inches apart and thin the seedlings when they start to sprout. The seeds will germinate in a range of 50-85 degrees. Keep the seeds in the rows moist and fertilize with a high-nitrogen product.

Spinach will not grow back like lettuce, so keep that in mind. Stagger your plantings so you will have continuous harvests.

Let me know what you plant in March, I would love to hear from you. Here’s to being self-reliant. May God bless you and your family to grow a huge harvest!

Growing Basil by Linda

Copyright pictures:

Garden with water can: AdobeStock_64327107 by Coco

The post What Vegetable Seeds Do I Plant In March appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

Eve Gonzales of “Trading Post” visits Prepping up!

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Eve Gonzales of “Trading Post” visits Prepping up!
David Jones “Prepping Up with the Jones “Audio player provided!

Dave follows up last week’s Smallpox show with the greatly anticipated return of Eve Gonzales. The last time Eve was on we learned that she has been to every major disaster for the past 14 years and has firsthand knowledge of what works and what don’t work when the gird is down.

Continue reading Eve Gonzales of “Trading Post” visits Prepping up! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.