Frickin’ lasers!

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Some people like them for the ‘intimidation factor’…the idea that the bad guy sees the little red dot sitting on his sternum and he suddenly decides it’s time for a career change. Others say its a crutch for poor marksmanship. And some day it’s just another gimmicky geegaw that’ll go Tango uniform when you need it most.

Assuming we are talking about daytime visible lasers (‘Red dot”) rather than IR lasers that are used with night vision.

What say you, hive mind?

Weapons mounted lasers (as opposed to mounted laser weapons):
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    Started on the Spring jobs/projects

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    Since  SW Idaho had a couple of mostly dry days this weekend I started the Spring projects.  I roto-tilled the area for two of the new raised beds.  I raked up the soil areas and sort of mounded up the soil  where the new beds will be located. I need to add some more soil and compost but it looks like I will have plenty of additional soil from my last Home Depot shopping run.

    One of the things I wanted with the new raised beds is mulched walk ways between the beds to make the garden easier to work. I have about 2 feet between the beds filled with wood mulch so I have a pathway wide enough for my wagon and room to work beside the garden beds.   This year’s focus will be ease of use and food production.  I have proven I can grow plants now I need garden beds that are easy to work and maximize food production in a limited space.  I will have less total garden sq. footage but I hope my production will be the same or higher.  Mom will give me a hand with the construction of the new garden beds.  We will load up some of the planters for her place so she can start growing a few veggies and herbs for her new place.

    I finally got the first spring mowing of the front lawn finished up.  It is supposed to be rainy and cool so I’ll get the lawn food, fertilizer added between breaks in the rain over the next couple of days. Next weekend is looking like it will be warming up so I want to to give the lawn a good clean up with the rake then lay down some grass seed and compost to start filling in some bad spots.  It looks like I have to wait a few more days to get the front yard beds tilled and planted with early crops.

    Next week will be busy. I have 2 cords of wood to be delivered. Finish up the garden beds and till the old beds.  Finish up the new compost bin.  Top off the shopping needs odds and ends.

    Update on the dog food test:  I’m not sure I’m saving any money so far but the dogs and even the cat like the new home made “wet” dog food. It is early days on this test but so far I think it is going well.  The dogs seem to take a bit of time to eat the brown rice and  barley as carbs.  I’m going to try out some mixes adding green beans, white rice and some chicken thigh meat rather than chicken breasts.  I will be making more bone broth of all types.  I don’t have garden fresh veggies so I’m using Frozen veggies at this time.  Peas and carrot mix is a win, chopped broccoli seems a good veggie.  Next is trying out green beans.  From what I have been reading yams/sweet potato or even potatoes may be a good carb mix for a dog.

    I’m cooking up a mix of 1/3 veggies, 1/3 carbs and 1/3 protein and about 10% fats.  That is a bit rich in protein as most recipes say about 20-25%  protein for dogs.  Overall I see the dogs eating better and not hungry.  I have less waste compare to canned dog food. This week I’m buying raw bones for bone broth and for the dogs to chew on. Bones should add some minerals to the doggy diet.  After this week I may add in a bit of salmon so the dogs get those healthy fats and Omega-3 oils.  I’m staying away from adding any onion or garlic in the next bone broth batch but the little bit of onion or garlic I added to the last bone broth did not hurt the dogs. While dogs may not complain about the diet, the more variety in a diet the better the dogs get all the nutrition that they need.

    Am I ready?  I don’t know,  because I have no idea what will happen in the future.   Do I think you have time to prepare?  Yes,  how much time for prep I have no idea.  Keep on building on your preps and get those soft spots filled in.  If you have been around this website you should have at least a couple of weeks of food and water stored.  A sanitation plan, a bug out bag and tent.  You have learned to bake bread, grow a garden and stored seeds. You have a couple of rain barrels or at least a tarp and buckets to capture rain water.  You have a water filter or 2 and propane or rocket stove and your grill has fuel for cooking. Going a couple of days without water or power is easy because you are ready and have practiced.  You know how turn off the power to your home and turned off all the gas.  You aren’t freaked out by not having city utilities. You have back ups to your back ups.

    Heck we saw the Donald tomahawk Syria in 2017, this is another practice run not a time to panic.  I’m putting the last touches on my survival plan.  Trying to max out my cash on hand, topping off my gas tanks and replacing a propane tank.  Plus build food garden beds. Not time to panic but a time to practice.

    Grid Down: How to Get Water From Your Well When There is No Power

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    One of the problems faced with an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) is that your well will not be pumping water into your home.  For those living in urban areas and are relying on municipal water, your water could also be short-lived and it’s important to have a backup plan.

    Well water is a different matter entirely because it is your well and you are responsible for getting the water. There are several solutions to this problem, and we’re going to close the article with a “quick fix” to enable you to get to the water.  First, let’s cover Operational Security (or OPSEC) regarding your well.

    Protect and Conceal Your Water

    For starters, you’re not going to be the only one who is hungry or thirsty when it strikes.  You need to camouflage, hide, or protect your well.  A structure such as a small shed could come in handy in that regard, as well as providing a little bit of relief from the elements when you need to obtain the water.  Cut a hole in the floor of the shed, and then drop it down on top of the well.  Then it’s a simple matter to insulate the edges of where the ground and the hole meet with blow-in foam or such.

    There are plenty of kits out on the market for you to be able to pump your own water out of the well by hand.  Most of them have a special pneumatic part that will enable the suction to occur through PVC pipes that you join up.  There are plenty of companies to offer such.  Another way is to pick up a small generator (especially a quiet one, such as a Honda that features maintaining silence).  Have a good electrician wire you up a connection on your electrical panel, so that you can just plug in the generator and run the pump.

    If you pursue this option, ensure that the intake and the exhaust for your generator are sufficient to keep carbon monoxide and exhaust from going into the home.  This is why the good electrician is worth his weight in gold.  It will vary from state to state.  In Montana, you can get away with just about everything, whereas in other states, you need to deal with permits, inspections, and even certifications to accomplish a simple task.

    An Affordable Option For Getting Well Water

    Here is the last suggestion, the “affordable” one.  Measure the inside diameter of your well, and take a reading to find how deep it runs.  Next, you’ll need to cut a section of heavy PVC pipe and make it so there’s an inch on all sides when you place it into the well.  Drill two holes in the top of it and attach a line to it running across on both sides and then connecting as a triangle to provide support…I prefer aluminum cable-wire on this one if you can get it.  Next, run another stretch of aluminum wire through the center of your pipe-section.

    The pipe should be cut to about 2 feet in length.  A rubber ball that does not float is necessary for this one.  The ball needs to completely cover one end of the pipe.  Thread the second cable through the top part of the ball and secure it so that if you pull up on it, the ball will rest.  You want the line to parallel the lifting line that you affixed to the top of the pipe.

    You’ll lower the whole apparatus, and when the pipe fills with water, pull up the ball, “seating” it at the bottom, and then lift up the whole apparatus.  The ball will hold the water in at the bottom of the pipe, and then you just drain off the water you pull up.  I’m sure there are plenty of readers out there with good engineering experience, so your comments on improved design will be most welcome.  JJ out!


    Additional Reading:

    These articles are worth the time to read and will catch you up on pertinent information and essential preps.

    The Prepper's Blueprint

    Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

    Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

    Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Is Hell Real?

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    Dr. Mike Spaulding of Soaring Eagle Radio is on the show today. We discuss Pope Francis’ claim that there is no hell, despite multiple passages of the Holy Scriptures which contradict his statement. Pastor Mike tells us that this trend of being mislead by our spiritual leaders is becoming increasingly more common. To learn more, check out his latest book Make the Pulpit Great Again.



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

    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.


    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

    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!

    Fish_300x250_A 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 Is Hell Real? appeared first on Prepper Recon.

    JimBob Got A Raise At Work

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    JimBob got a raise at work. Not much, just $100 per month, but it’s a huge deal because JimBob and his family have been living paycheck to paycheck and have no money for anything extraneous. What does Jim-Bob do? (guest article by MSB contributor, ‘Lauren’)   As JimBob is a normal member of our society he dithers back and forth between paying off some of his credit card debt or buying that new bike he’s been wanting. He already pays for a gym membership, but he’s been wanting the bike, and staying in shape is important. At the bike store

    Original source: JimBob Got A Raise At Work

    Violent Home Invasion! Home invasion victims left defenceless by Australian government anti-self defence laws!

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    Home invasion victims left defenceless by Australian government anti-self defence laws! Surely protecting one’s self & family from harm should be a human right ???!!!

    How (Not) to Fight Proxy Wars

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    We are currently living through the age of the proxy war.  These wars are less about freedom and liberation and more about selling missiles. We all can agree that there is something just a little bit off about all of the wars we have been in over the past 30 years or more. In WWII …

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    The post How (Not) to Fight Proxy Wars appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

    Electronic Knife Sharpening Angle Coach

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    Technology can be of assistance. There is no getting around that fact. I think if we shy from tech altogether we will negatively affect our ability to be prepared for a time without tech. This little creation is the perfect example of what I mean. Tech can teach skills in a way that generations of …

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    DIY Fertilizer: The Complete Guide

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    by Joseph

    Fertilizer is a key component of successful gardening, and using it appropriately will result in better quality crops.  When we think of fertilizer, most of us think store-bought; rarely do we think to make it ourselves.

    While it’s true that the most “effective” fertilizers are manufactured using complicated chemical processes, it is interesting to note that some homemade fertilizers, if made and applied correctly, can be just as effective, and they won’t poison your soil.

    In this article, we will explore some simple ingredients, formulas, preparation and application techniques to help you harness the power of DIY fertilizer on your homestead.


    There’s a big difference between organic and inorganic fertilizer. Inorganic or chemical fertilizers are made of synthetic ingredients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium by complex manufacturing and chemical processes. These fertilizers are usually highly concentrated and made mostly for commercial use.

    Organic fertilizers (also available in stores) are made of natural ingredients like animal feed and food scraps, and are less concentrated than inorganic ones. Organic fertilizer usually contains nitrogen but also has other elements that are beneficial to the soil and the organisms that live in it.

    Since chemical fertilizer is mass produced using synthetic ingredients, it’s cheaper than organic fertilizer. Cost is often a big factor when considering what fertilizer to use however, one should assess carefully the effect chemical fertilizer has on their soil. It could be costly and time consuming in the end to correct the secondary effects of prolonged use of chemical fertilizers.

    Using store-bought organic fertilizer could be the solution, but even though the packaging says organic, the true “organic nature” of the ingredients could sometimes be called into question. In an aim to remain competitive, some manufacturers of organic fertilizer may opt to purchase cheap raw materials that could be contaminated with chemicals. While the ingredients are organic, they are adulterated with inorganic and sometimes toxic matter, defeating the purpose of using organic fertilizer in the first place!

    Organic fertilizers release nutrients slowly to the plants, and therefore their use should be carefully timed to benefit from them.  Using them too early or too late in the season could result in nutrients releasing at the wrong time, rending it useless to the plant.

    The choice between organic and inorganic can be tricky, and working knowledge of DIY fertilizer as an alternative could help you find the best solution for your homestead.



    Making your own fertilizer is an appealing solution when you consider that it can be made quite cheaply. In most cases, your main ingredients are either free or cost very little, since they’re common household items and kitchen scraps.

    Easy to make and use

    DIY fertilizer requires very little technical knowledge. A good example of basic DIY fertilizer is the process of simply cutting up and burying banana peels into a planting hole.


    Being free from having to depend on commercial solutions is a worthy goal for any homesteader. While it is not easily achieved, one may decide to use a combination of DIY and commercial fertilizer until they get the hang of it.

    Easy disposal of leftovers

    This is a great way to get rid of leftovers. Kitchen scraps are thrown away anyway, so why not put them to work in your garden?


    I do believe that the advantages of DIY fertilizer outweigh the disadvantages, but knowing what they are will help you make an informed decision.

    Quality control

    Since DIY fertilizer is made from very simple ingredients and techniques, the quality and nutritive values may be variable. Your ingredients could contain harmful bacteria and since there is no way for you to check if they do, you could  possibly do more harm to your plants than good. Testing out your fertilizer on a few plants will help you verify its quality and effectiveness before using it on your whole garden.

    Slower acting

    It may take some time for the nutrients in your DIY fertilizer to be broken down by the soil and used by  your plants. Commercial fertilizer, especially in a chemical form, is already broken down into nutrients and ready to be absorbed by plants. Using some of the recipes in this guide to process your ingredients into a form that can be used by plants more easily will be helpful.


    Getting enough DIY fertilizer could be a challenge. For example, it may be impractical to supplement your crops with banana peels alone, as there are only so many of them lying around; how many bananas do you eat? It is therefore easy to run out of DIY fertilizer if it is relied upon as the sole provider of additional food for your plants. Trying to ration your DIY fertilizer will only lead to stunted growth and poor results.


    Fertilizer comprises of two main types of nutrients, macro and micro. Essential nutrients for your plants are macronutrients and therefore most fertilizer is made from these. Commercially produced fertilizer that is macronutrient based contains little or no micronutrients.  Macronutrients can also be called primary nutrients.

    On the packaging of macronutrient fertilizer, you will normally notice the letters NPK. This stands for

    N- Nitrogen, responsible for the quick growth of foliage and leaves.

    P- Phosphorus, responsible for the development of the plant’s roots.

    K- Potassium, plays an important role in blossoming and the growth of fruits.

    Several mineral micronutrients, namely calcium, magnesium, and copper are also essential to plant growth even though they are required in far lesser quantities. This does not mean that they are any less important. The terms secondary nutrients and micronutrients can be used interchangeably.

    Non-mineral nutrients like hydrogen, oxygen and carbon are also essential to plant growth and are obtained by the plant through the leaves to aid in photosynthesis. Trace minerals like boron, copper, chloride, manganese, zinc and molybdenum are taken up by the plant from the soil through their roots.

    Once you have tested your soil you will be able to determine what minerals are lacking and therefore what is required of your fertilizer to improve the soil.


    Soil testing is an important preliminary step that will help make the decision of which DIY fertilizers to use and in what quantities. Without knowing what your soil lacks you will not be able to supplement it correctly.

    An excellent soil test kit can be found here. Not only will it tell you your soil pH level but provide information on sunlight levels and moisture, too.

    ALKALINE SOILS (High pH, above 6.5)

    Alkaline soils are normally lacking in all the macronutrients as well as calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Look out for solutions in this guide that have these nutrients to improve or reduce the alkalinity of your soil if your soil test sample comes back with a value higher than 6.5.

    ACIDIC SOILS (Low pH, below 6)

    Acidic soils normally lack micronutrients and therefore their pH needs to be increased. Look out for the following microelements in this guide if your soil pH comes back with a figure lower than six: calcium, boron, copper, chloride, manganese, zinc and molybdenum.

    NEUTRAL SOIL (pH between 6-6.5)

    Neutral soil is normally preferred by most plants. In this state, it will require the least amount of fertilizer. Depending on the plant, adding some fertilizer in moderate amounts to neutral soil will result in excellent plants and yield.


    In this section, we will look at ssome of the things that can be added to your fertilizer. We will look at preparation methods, processing techniques and application.


    Banana peels are rich in potassium and therefore good for potassium loving plants like camellias, azaleas, and tomatoes. Bananas are also rich in phosphorus, calcium and other micronutrients.

    Application (Raw form)

    You can add bananas to your compost heap or bury them underneath your plants. For example, adding a banana peel to the bottom of your tomato-planting hole will allow it enough time to decompose when its nutrients are needed during the flowering and fruiting stage.

    A good tip here is to chop them up into small pieces before adding them to your soil or compost pile. This will help them decompose faster.

    Banana Tea fertilizer

    You can make a more concentrated liquid form of this fertilizer. Your plants will love it as its nutrients are easily absorbed. The following recipe will make a perfect liquid banana-based fertilizer.

    1. Chop 5 or 6 banana peels per 1 liter of fertilizer.
    2. Boil them in a pot for about 15 minutes and use a strainer to separate the peels from the liquid. Use peels directly in your garden or add them to your compost heap.
    3. Mix 2 liters of water with 1 liter of banana tea solution. Diluting your solution will reduce its potency. An undiluted solution can cause damage to your plant.

    Alternatively, simply chop your banana peels, place them in a jar and fill the jar with water. Leave them to sit for 48 hours before straining them and using your leftover banana peels in the garden or on your compost pile. The link below will explain this process in detail.

    A good-sized steel strainer can be purchased here.

    Dehydrated Powdered Banana fertilizer

    If you have many banana peels, then making powder is a good idea. When made into powder banana peel fertilizer will store for a longer period and will not lose its nutritional value or ferment.

    To make this fertilizer, chop up 15 to 20 banana peels and place them in a dehydrator or on dehydration sheets. If you do not have a dehydrator, simply place them in the oven on the lowest heat setting. Leave the door open while you do this. You will need to be patient as the oven method can take a very long time. You can also dry them in the microwave. Once your bananas are dry simply grind them to make a fine powder and store in an airtight container for future use.

    You can purchase an inexpensive dehydrator here. Dehydrating sheets can also be purchased here.

    Application (Processed Form)

    1. Use the banana liquid fertilizer to water your plants. Simply place the solution into your watering can and fill with water and water over your plants.
    2. Mix one tablespoon into a 32 oz (1 liter) spray bottle and use as a foliage spray. Make sure to use it in the late afternoon. If applied when the sun is at full strength it could burn your plants.

    Banana powder fertilizer can also be used on the surface by placing 1 tablespoon a few inches away from your plant stem. You can also place the same amount in a planting hole. Cover the powder with a few inches of soil before placing your seedling in the hole to avoid it being burned.

    Since banana peel fertilizer contains a high amount of potassium, too much of it can be harmful to your plants. It can deplete magnesium form the soil if over applied. To reduce the possibility of this, mix your powder with Epson salts. This is discussed later in the recipes section.


    Getting high-quality fruit or flowers is possible with this fertilizer. Banana peels will also promote the development of strong roots.

    Blackstrap Molasses

    This sugary addition to your garden will make your plants healthier by feeding the microorganisms that live in the soil. It provides the tiny microbes with the required energy to improve the quality of your soil.  Microbes in your soil, like bacteria, will thrive on the sugar that is contained in molasses. This is a good source of carbohydrates for these microbes.


    Remember to use only unsulfured molasses. The sulfur in molasses is meant to kill microbes while the aim of using this as a fertilizer is to feed them. Simply add 3 tablespoons of molasses to 1 gallon of water and stir well to make this fertilizer.


    Water your plants with this mix using 2 cups for small plants, 4 for medium ones and 6 for large plants.


    Molasses is good for the microbes in your soil. It will increase the bacteria that microbes feed on and this, in turn, creates more food for your plants to grow. Molasses is a good chelating agent, meaning it helps to turn other minerals in the soil into a state that is more usable by the plant.

    You can use molasses in combination with other ingredients that are listed in this guide.


    You might never think to use matches as a fertilizer, but lo and behold, you can.  While it may be deemed impractical, as it is hard to get enough matches to fertilize a whole garden, one never knows when this info may come in handy.


    Bury matchbox next to plant, or place box in water and leave overnight to dissolve the nutrients into the water, making a solution.


    All you need to do is to bury a matchbox next to your plant or if you decide to soak it overnight, you can then pour the solution around your plant.

    If you would like to save on matchsticks, bury 10 sticks around each plant headfirst approximately 2 to 3 inches from the stem. Ensure that your match does not come into direct contact with your stem and remember to water the plants well.


    Matches contain phosphorus, sulfur, and magnesium. It will help increase the acidity of the soil and is very good for plants like tomatoes and peppers.


    A surprising addition to this list is weeds. They’re packed with important nutrients for your plants and turning them into fertilizer is a great way to get rid of them (and get revenge for having to pull them)! Varieties of weeds to consider are burdock, horsetail, and chickweed.


    You can either work your weeds into a compost heap or make a liquid solution.

    To make a liquid solution:

    1. Place weeds into a 5-gallon bucket. Place a brick over them to ensure that they remain submerged when you add water. For every 1 pound of weeds, add 8 cups of water.
    2. Stir the mix weekly, once a week for 5 weeks. Make sure during the process that your bucket is covered with an airtight lid. During the course of the 5 weeks, be prepared for a strong odor when you crack the seal on the lid.
    3. To separate the liquid from the weeds, strain into another bucket using cheesecloth.

    Be cautious not to get any of it on your clothes, as it will stain. One must also be cautious not to use toxic plants like poison ivy or poison oak. Another simple method is to simply place your weeds inside a sack that is permeable. Cover the sack with enough water so that it is submerged. Let it sit in the water for 4 weeks and use the solution as instructed above.


    Dilute with fresh water to ensure that it does not burn your plants. For every cup of fertilizer, dilute with 10 cups of water. This can be used both as a foliage spray and in a watering can. Start making this liquid fertilizer early in the season to ensure you have enough supply of this super fertilizer for all your plants.


    Most weeds have long taproots that take-up many beneficial minerals from the soil. Weeds like dandelion are high in potassium and other trace minerals, while other varieties contain nitrogen and phosphorus. You have the added advantage of removing weeds from where you do not want them and using them to make fertilizer.

    Human Urine

    Human urine is packed with so many beneficial nutrients that a debate on whether it can replace chemical fertilizer has ensued. The composition of urine is 11-2-1 meaning it is very rich in nitrogen.

    The only exception to using this method is the body this urine is coming from must be free from disease and viruses. This makes human urine a controversial fertilizer unless you are applying on your own plants solely for your own consumption!


    By only using mid-flow urine, you can lessen the chance of harvesting contaminated urine. Mid-flow urine is collected by peeing the first few seconds into the toilet and then the remaining urine into your collection jar.

    Be sure to use gloves and wash your hands before and after collection and use of your urine.

    If one is on any medication, they should desist from using urine as a fertilizer. An extra precaution of testing the urine may be taken. Since there are so many things to test for, a comprehensive laboratory test would be the only worthwhile route here. Mix one cup of urine with 6 to 8 cups of water.


    For small plants, use 2 cups of the urine solution for medium plants, and for large plants 6 cups.


    Urine surprisingly has an extremely high amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, often rivaling some commercial fertilizers that cost an arm and a leg. There are also potential savings in the amount of freshwater used to flush the toilet as well as well as the cost of treating urine water for re-use. The risk of bacteria and diseases from it sometimes outweighs the benefits of urine, as it is very hard to know whose urine is free from viruses and disease.

    Even if tests are carried out on the urine samples, this could be costly and time consuming. The effectiveness of good urine fertilizer also depends on the notion that the body it comes from remains disease free throughout the fertilization process lasting several weeks.

    Grass Clippings

    Grass clippings are in abundance all year round and therefore there is rarely a shortage of them. Ensuring that you keep your blades sharp will help you collect high-quality grass clippings and cause less damage to your lawn.


    Collect a 5-gallon bucket full of clippings and add water to it. Let it sit for 2 days. Sieve the solution to separate fertilizer from residue clippings. Mix the fertilizer to the ratio of between 1:8 and 1:10 with water.

    You can also add your grass clipping to your compost pile. The following rules will help you make better compost.

    1. Dry your clippings for a couple of days before adding them to the compost heap. This will help them decompose faster.
    2. Using a compost aerator tool will improve the quality of the grass clipping compost pile.
    3. Ensure you use thin layers of grass clippings to help with aeration. Start with a layer of dried material at the bottom of your compost pile to aid in this.


    Apply 2 cups to small plants, 4 to medium and 6 to the base of large plants. You can also work few handfuls of grass clipping directly into your soil. If your area is not very windy, you can use grass clippings as mulch. As you water your plants, it will begin to decompose and infuse nitrogen into your garden.


    High in nitrogen and other trace elements, grass clippings will give your nitrogen loving plants a good boost. If used properly they can provide up to 40% of your solid nutrient requirements every year. This amounts to big savings on your fertilizer budget.

    This short video will help you understand the concept:

    Bone Meal

    Like its name, bone meal is simply ground animal bones and can be made quite easily. Bone meal should never be added to soil with a pH of more than 7 as it will be useless.


    Collect bones from your food leftovers.

    1. Make sure your bones are brittle. Cook them in a crockpot for a few days to soften them. Boiling your bones on the stove will also work.
    2. Dry the bones in the microwave on high for 5 minutes or by roasting them for 30 minutes at 425°F. When your bones are ready, they should be brittle. You should be able to break them with your bare hands if they are ready to be crushed.
    3. Placing them inside a sack and hammering them will crush them into powder.
    4. Sieve your bones to get rid of particles that have not been crushed. Put these back in the sack and crush them until most of your bones are turned into powder.


    For every 100 square feet of garden use 8-10 pounds of bone meal. Collecting bones over a long period will help you provide sufficient bone meal for your whole garden. Placing 2 to 3 tablespoons at the bottom of the planting hole will give your plants a good start. Since it is a slow releasing fertilizer, the benefits will be spread over a period of 10 to 12 weeks. Applying bone meal once every 16 weeks will provide sufficient phosphorus for your plants.

    Comparing your homemade bone meal to the one you would purchase will give you an idea of how well you have done. You can purchase some organic bone meal in the link below. Mark the plants that you fertilize with your homemade bone meal and the one your purchase and compare results.


    Your average bone meal will be a 3-15-0 mix meaning it is high in phosphorus. This phosphorus will aid in a well-developed root system, flowering and fruit development. Beware that unprocessed bones added to your garden or compost pile will attract pests like dogs and rodents where bonemeal does not. Using bone meal with other fertilizers mentioned in this guide high in nitrogen like grass clippings and urine will give you a well-balanced fertilizer for your plants. Bone meal also increases the microbes in the soil that help in plant development and growth.



    Seaweed can be used fresh or dry and does not need to be washed to rid it of its salt content. One needs to ensure they harvest in areas where they judge the least amount of contamination of seawater could have taken place. If you can get seaweed easily, making this fertilizer yourself will save you up to $20 per 1-liter bottle of organic seaweed from the store.


    Take about 1 bucket of seaweed and chop it up. Add water to this and let it sit for 3 weeks leaving the container cover partially open.  In colder months you may need to let your seaweed sit in water for up to 12 weeks.

    You can also place seaweed into an onion sack and submerge this into a bucket of water for the same amount of time. You can throw the remaining seaweed onto your compost pile.

    Ensure you check beforehand if there are laws in your state on the harvesting of seaweed. Ascorbic acid is added to commercial seaweed fertilizer to help it store better. You can store yours in glass jars with the lids slightly open. Use it as soon as you can to make the most of its high nutritional value.


    Experiment by applying a varying amount of seaweed to different sections of your garden. Pour two 300ml cups for small plants, and 4 to 6 cup for medium to large plants, respectively.

    You can also apply seaweed directly to your garden without turning it into tea.

    1. Place a handful into each planting hole or for plants such as potatoes bury some before planting.
    2. Simply spread seaweed over your garden and work it into the soil with a garden hoe. You can also place it over your garden in the winter and let it naturally break down.


    1. The trace and secondary nutrients found in seaweed will benefit most of your plants.
    2. It contains 60 trace elements and this definitely makes up for is lack of macronutrients.
    3. Seaweed will correct soil imbalances by aiding bacteria that produce nitrogen to return to your soil.
    4. It also contains properties that help fight fungal diseases in your plants.
    5. It is a deterrent to animals in the garden. Most do not like the smell and they often are tangled in it when wet or scratched when dry.

    Powdered Milk

    Powdered milk is an excellent calcium-based fertilizer. Calcium helps in building strong cell walls, which in turn help in the further transportation of other essential nutrients. Calcium loving plants like tomatoes will benefit from this fertilizer.


    No preparation is needed. Since it’s already powder, it’s easily absorbed by plants. Sprinkle half a cup of powdered milk per plant every two weeks. If you decide to apply your milk to the plants using a spray bottle, ensure that it has been well dissolved as it will otherwise easily clog your sprayer.


    Calcium loving plants will benefit from powdered milk.

    1. Powdered milk is a cheap source of calcium.
    2. Powdered milk has the advantage of being a fungicide as well as a fertilizer.
    3. It can correct an acid imbalance in the soil.

    Here is a video on how to use powdered milk as fertilizer as well as other functions it plays for your plants

    Corn Gluten Meal

    Corn gluten meal is a by-product of cornstarch production. It can be used as both fertilizer and herbicide to prevent weeds. It is excellent for your plants as well as your lawn.


    Besides buying corn gluten, no preparation is needed. Simply spread a thin layer of the meal over your garden and work into the soil with a hoe or rake if the soil has already been tilled. Spread 30-40lbs per 1000 square feet of garden. Do this twice a year for best results. The first application should be early in the spring and the second late in the summer when temperatures have fallen.



    Apart from the fact that corn gluten meal helps in the control of weeds, it also contains nitrogen, which will give your plants a steady supply of this important macro element. Take note that since corn gluten is also animal feed it may be a little expensive. It could also potentially attract pests to your garden.

    Egg Shells

    Eggshells are packed with calcium and are 93% calcium carbonate. They play the same role as lime in the soil, which neutralizes acidic soil. Cell walls are the equivalent of bones in plants and calcium will help to strengthen these.


    Wash your eggshells with water and place them in the sun until they are dry. Crush them into fine pieces using a hammer or mortar and pestle. You can also make eggshell powder by blending them well.


    Work your eggshells into the soil around your plants or mix them with potting soil. You can also add these eggshells to the bottom of your planting holes. Since it takes several months for your shells to break down it is recommended to apply them to your soil in early fall.  You can also add eggshells to your compost pile together with dry material like old leaves.

    Fertilized planting trays

    You can also use eggshells, as planting trays that will give your seedlings the added benefit of calcium from germination. Simply sterilize your eggshells by boiling them or placing them in the oven at 200°F for a few minutes. Add potting soil to the eggshells and plant your seeds in them. When your seedlings sprout, plant your eggshells directly in the soil and bury them with the plant above the surface of the soil. As the plant grows and the eggshell breaks down it will release the much-needed calcium into the soil and make it readily available for your plant.

    Liquid eggshell fertilizer

    Simply place your eggshells in a glass jar for 4 weeks to allow the calcium to leach into the water. Dilute 1 cup of this solution to 1 gallon of water and apply either using a watering can or spray bottle.



    The calcium in eggshells will help fight off diseases like late blight and is exceptionally helpful in plants that are affected by this ailment, like spinach and tomatoes. They encourage a strong cellular structure and aid in the transportation of other vital nutrients to the whole of your plant. Eggshells will also keep slimy bugs like snails and slugs from your plants.

    Coffee Grounds

    Coffee grounds are said to have some nitrogen and therefore be beneficial to your soil.  One thing most people do not know is that you can get them in abundance free at a coffee shop like star bucks if you ask for them. Store your coffee grounds in a countertop composter like this one. 


    Either you can apply the coffee directly to your plants or you can make a liquid solution, which is absorbed faster by the plant. To do this, take 6-8 cups of ground coffee and add to 5 gallons of water to it. Let this sit for 3 days, sieve with cheesecloth and then pour this around your plants.

    If you decide to add coffee grounds as they are, place them on a newspaper and leave them out in the sun to dry. Ensure they are completely dry before sprinkling them around your plants.

    Since coffee grounds are acidic, adding them to a compost pile before application can neutralize the acid content. You can also add generous amounts of coffee grounds to your worm bin. Worms love coffee grounds and investing in a bin like this one is beneficial.


    Either scatter your grounds around the plant before watering or pour the liquid solution around the desired plants. Apply 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds per plant in your garden every week until your plants show visible signs of improvement.


    Your roses, tomatoes, and blueberries will benefit from the nitrogen that coffee grounds offer. Coffee grounds help raise the acidity of the soil and will help improve alkaline soil. Further benefits to plants will be the absence of snails and slugs when coffee grounds are used.

    Epsom Salts

    Epsom salt is a salt made up of sulfate and magnesium. It is another DIY fertilizer you can certainly make use of without much hassle.


    Simply mix 1 tablespoon of Epson salt per 1 gallon of water


    Water your plants with this solution once every 2 to 4 weeks. Apply the solution with a watering can or spray bottle. Vegetable seedlings will benefit from a tablespoon of Epson salt placed next to them. For roses spray when your first leaves appear in the spring and later on when they begin to blossom.  Use a tablespoon of salt for every foot of height for your plants.


    Houseplants, tomatoes, and peppers will benefit from the magnesium that Epson salts contain. Epson salt is also very good for your lawn. Magnesium in the Epson salt helps to give germinating seeds a good kick-start while the sulfur aids in the creation of chlorophyll and will promote the efficient use of other macronutrients by plants like nitrogen.

    Here is a video explaining this in detail:

    Wood Ash 

    A great way to dispose of ash from your fireplace is by using it in your garden. Since it is rich in potash, it will help maintain the plant’s water balance as well as aid in the transportation of other nutrients around the plant.


    An important point to note is not to use any lighter fluid as this will adversely affect your plants.

    Hardwood ashes are ideal and avoid putting charcoal into your soil.

    1. Store your wood ash in an airtight metal container. This will prevent any ash that is still hot from
    2. Sift your wood ash to get rid of any wood particles that are still left in it.

    You can add wood ash to your compost heap. Make sure not to add too much as it will raise the pH of the compost pile and affect the worms that live in it. Working with wood ash is a dirty, dusty job. Covering your mouth and nose with a dust mask and wear gloves.



    Apply your wood ash to the soil at the end of the summer for it to have enough to time to decompose. Warning – Never combine the use of wood ash with nitrogen fertilizers, as this will create ammonia gas!

    For every 100 square feet of garden, you can use 5lb of ashes. Mix this into your soil with a hoe or with a rake if the soil is already tilled.

    Be careful not to use wood ash on acid loving plants or potatoes as this could lead to the disease potato scab. There really is no point in using potassium in soils that have a PH of over 7.5 as these are highly alkaline and potassium will only raise it further.  If you use lime in conjunction with wood ash ensure that your application does not exceed a combined weight of 20 pounds per 1000 square feet of garden.


    Wood ash has potassium and calcium that helps raise the pH of your soil. Be sure not to use it for plants that thrive in acidic soils like blueberries. Plants like peas and beans will generally benefit very well from potassium.


    Vinegar is very good for helping to lower the pH of your soil from being alkaline to neutral. Use vinegar on your plants in the late afternoon as the hot sun on the leaves could burn them.


    Simply mix one gallon of water per tablespoon of vinegar. Alternatively, you can add sugar to the mix by adding one tablespoon of sugar and vinegar per gallon of water. The glucose will give your plants extra energy and vigor.


    Apply this to your plants every 3 months. For potted plants add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and water your plants with this mixture using a watering can or spray bottle.


    Your plants that benefit from acid like tomatoes and houseplants will thrive using this solution. Azaleas, blueberries, and gardenias will also benefit. One should be careful when using a fertilizer like vinegar because it can easily harm your plants, as it is easy to lower your pH beyond what is needed.


    Aquarium Water

    Aquarium water is easily had by people with freshwater fish tanks. It should be noted that saltwater should not be used as fertilizer.  The decaying food and fish waste make an excellent source of many macro and micronutrients. Fish like goldfish generally produce a lot of waste so if you are debating whether to buy a fish tank consider that it can also do wonders for your plants!


    No preparation needed. Avoid using aquarium water if you have added any medication or chemicals to it as this could be damaging to your plants.


    Use the water from your tank for routine watering. Using 2 cups for small plants, 4 for medium-sized plants and 6 for large plants.  For water that has been in your tank for a long time and considered dirty slightly dilute it with water as it may be too concentrated for your plants.


    Your soil and in turn plants will certainly get a boost from the excretion of the fish concentrated in the water found in freshwater fish tanks.

    Fish Emulsion

    Fish emulsion is not only a great fertilizer but has many other added benefits to your soil. The composition of fertilizer is 5-1-1 making it a good source of nitrogen. Be warned, the odor is terrible.


    Keep all your leftover fish heads, bones, blood and scales for as long a period as possible. To prevent spoilage freeze it in readiness for your spring gardening.

    You can either blend your frozen fish or use as is, but remember to add 2 parts of water for every 1 part of fish. Place the mix in a sunny area in an airtight container. Keep the mix far from your house, as the smell will be positively ferocious. Hold your nose and stir the mix every 2 days for the next 2 weeks.


    In the same way, you would make bone meal; make sure your leftover fish heads and bones are completely dry before crushing or blending them into a fine powder.


    For every square foot of garden apply 3 gallons of your fish emulsion mix. Half a gallon of this diluted mix can be applied to each plant depending on the size. You can also spray fish emulsion onto the leaves of your plants. One tablespoon into a gallon of water will suffice. Spray this on your plant’s leaves and water well after application.

    I recommend comparing your homemade emulsion to a bottle from the store to determine how effective your fertilizer is. Since fish emulsion is a mild fertilizer, you can apply it to your plants as frequent as twice per week


    Plants like broccoli and beetroot will benefit from this fertilizer that is rich in all three macro elements. The homemade fish emulsion also contains microorganisms that are beneficial to the soil.

    It has the benefit of being very mild acting and therefore you are unlikely to damage your plants.


    Gelatin is a good source of nitrogen for your plants, cheap and readily available in bulk. 


    Start by dissolving gelatin in water. You can do this by preferably adding 2 ½ to 3 cups water per packet. Make sure you use unflavored gelatin.  To help it mix and better dissolve pour the contents into a cup of hot water before adding additional cups.


    Water your plants with this mix using 2 cups for small plants, 4 for medium, and 6 for large plants respectively.


    Unlike other natural sources of nitrogen, it is hard for you to feed your plants too much nitrogen through gelatin. You also do not run the risk of burning your plants with it. Gelatin has the benefit of infusing nitrogen into your soil slowly over a longer period of time that commercial fertilizers do not.



    Any list of DIY fertilizers can never be complete without talking about compost. Compost is the most commonly used DIY fertilizer as it combines many of the individual items mentioned above into one powerful combo.

    To make good compost you need to have the following elements:

    1. Nitrogen- Found in green fresh matter like leaves and other waste like banana peels.
    2. Carbon- Found in dried and dead leaves and branches.
    3. Air and Water- Instrumental in activating your compost. It also ensures that the bacteria and organisms responsible for decomposition are able to survive.

    Your compost pile needs to be hot enough to kill weed, seeds and other unwanted bacteria, but should not stay so long so as that it begins to rot and lose its nutrients.

    Create your compost pile by the following steps:

    1. Take green leaves, grass clippings, and other green matter and place them at the bottom of your compost heap. Other methods will recommend starting with dry matter to improve aeration.
    2. Add a layer of manure or food scraps to your pile.
    3. Spread another layer of green material and sprinkle some water over it. Make sure not to make your pile too wet as it will not decompose.
    4. Check on your compost pile every few days and ensure that it is kept moist by sprinkling water over it. To check if your compost is decomposing, feel the layers beneath, they should be warm to hot.
    5. Good compost is a rich dark color.

    By making compost, you can make good use of food scraps like meat, without It attracting pests to your garden.

    For a more concentrated solution, you can turn your compost into tea. This tea can be applied to your plants as either a foliage spray or simply watering the ground with it.

    To make your liquid compost fertilizer fill a 5-gallon bucket ¾ full and add water leaving only enough room to stir.  Stir this every day for 4 days. Use a porous cloth to strain the liquid and separate it from the remaining compost. Return that compost to the pile or spread it in your garden.

    It should be noted that the concentrated liquid mix is quite strong and you should therefore, mix one part of this liquid fertilizer base with 10 parts of water.


    Animal manure is a great source of fertilizer especially considering that if you live near farms it is readily available. It is both organic and cheap. Using manure from plant-eating animals like cows, goats, sheep, and fish is always the best.

    A word of caution when using animal manure: it needs to be either dry or composted well because it could contain seeds from the plants the animal was eating. This could result in an enormous amount of weeds in your garden.

    Use manure that is at least 6 months old if you do not wish to compost it.  Avoid using manure from flesh-eating animals like dogs and cats as it could contain harmful parasites that are unwanted in your garden.

    Using manure is quite simple, as all you have to do is work about ½ an inch worth of it into your soil. You need to be careful when using it on plants because too much of it could burn your them in a similar way to what commercial fertilizer would do if too much were applied too close to the stem.

    Add manure to your garden late in the winter or the beginning of fall so that it would have decomposed well in time for your spring planting. Allowing your manure to sit in your garden for several weeks will allow its nutrients to be released into the soil.

    A concentrated liquid fertilizer can also be made from animal manure by following the steps explained below.

    1. Put one shovel of manure into a burlap sack or pillow. Put this in a 5-gallon bucket and fill it with water.
    2. Leave the mixture in water for about 14 days and then remove the manure. You can simply throw the leftover manure into your garden.

    Before application, ensure that your tea is diluted with an equal amount of water. Apply this to the soil around your plants by pouring 2 cups for small plants, 4 for medium and 6 for large.

    Banana, Eggshell and Coffee Ground Blend

    Combining all the benefits of coffee grounds, eggshells and banana peels can give you an amazing DIY fertilizer. Using your banana peels in this way is easier than using them on in the compost heap, as they take considerably longer to decompose.

    All you really need to do is blend the three in a blender until it a well-mixed slurry.

    The potassium from bananas, calcium from eggshells and nitrogen from the coffee blend certainly makes a great fertilizer for plants that are acid-loving like tomatoes. Dilute your mix with water so it can easily be absorbed by the soil and applied to your garden.

    Here is a great practical video on how to do the above. It includes avocado peels, but you can omit them if you want.

    Molasses, Alfalfa Meal and Epsom Salt

    Another nutrient packed DIY fertilizer that will give you the benefit of both micro and micronutrients in your soil is a combination of molasses, alfalfa meal, and Epsom salt. To make this fertilizer dissolve one cup of alfalfa meal and Epsom salts each into 4 to 5 gallons of water. Add a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses to this.

    Not only will this fertilizer feed beneficial bacteria and organisms that live in the soil, it will also give your plants extra growing strength.

    Simple Tea Fertilizer

    This is a simple recipe certain to give you amazing benefits for your plants. This is one of the simplest yet most effective DIY fertilizers as it uses simple easily accessible ingredients.  The use of urine though may limit its use unless you grow strictly for personal consumption and even then, caution should be taken.

    Mix ¼ cup of Epson salts, 2 cups of woods ash and 2 cups of urine in a 5-gallon bucket. Fill your bucket to about half way with grass clippings and other green matter like leaves or fresh corn stalks. Fill your bucket with water and let the mix sit for 2 to 3 days. Any more than this will cause nutrients to begin degrading.

    Strain the content by using cheesecloth and before application mix the fertilizer base with an equal amount of water. Make sure you use this solution within 2 days.

    A more nutrient-packed version of this that rivals commercial fertilizer can be made easily. Follow the recipe below to make this quick tea fertilizer. You will need the following ingredients:

    1 teaspoon of ammonia, (Nitrogen)

    2 ½ teaspoons of iced tea, (Nutrient absorption)

    1 teaspoon of baking powder,(Nitrogen)

    3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide (Oxidizer)

    3 teaspoons of molasses (Feed for soil bacteria)

    ¼ cup of crushed fish bones (Phosphorus, Any other bones will also suffice)

    1 Crushed egg shell (Calcium)

    ½-banana peel or 1 eggshell (Calcium and potassium)

    Put all these ingredients into a milk jar and fill with water. Let the solution sit for about 2 hours.

    Apply this to your plants using one cup for small plants, 2 for medium ones and 4 for large plants.

    Advanced 1-2-1 Fertilizer

    Caution should be taken when working with some of the ingredients found in the recipe below. Most of the material we have dealt with has been natural, mostly harmless ingredients, but the recipe below will require you to work with some chemicals. Proper protective clothing must be used while working with this recipe.

    This DIY recipe may also require you to do some extra shopping for the ingredients but by the end, you will have a highly nutritive fertilizer. The composition of this fertilizer is a 1-2-1 mix meaning it is high in phosphorus and contains nitrogen and potassium. This mix rivals or even exceeds the value that you would gain from a commercial fertilizer you would buy from the store

    For this, you will the following:

    Rock phosphate – 6 parts

    Blood meal – 2 Parts

    Fish meal – 2 Parts

    Bone meal – 3 Parts

    Kelp meal – 1 Part

    Greensand – 6 parts

    Mix all of the above ingredients well and apply a between 1 to 2 tablespoons to your plants that require a good helping of fertilizer.

    You will enjoy all the benefits of a commercial fertilizer and the added micronutrients that the natural ingredients possess.


    DIY fertilizer not only makes for a great homestead project but also promotes the general well-being of the environment. It is important to remember that DIY fertilizer is not always easy to get right on the first attempt. Making sure that your ingredients, especially the natural ones, are free from any unwanted chemicals and contaminants will guarantee success.

    A true homesteader is only as good as his ability to thrive without the use of commercial products. While some DIY fertilizers may not be easy for you to create at, it is best to give a few of the recommendations above a try and see what Works best for your plants and soil.

    Share some of your thoughts, and maybe some fertilizer recipes you may know below!

    Egg Bound Chicken~What It Is And How to Help

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    For those Americans lucky enough to have a little yard and coop of chickens, they enjoy things that go way beyond just having fresh eggs. The reality of their being on the property is that you get to watch them do their chicken thing and you also get the sense that you are providing yourself …

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    The post Egg Bound Chicken~What It Is And How to Help appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

    Five Things To Get Before North Korea Goes South!

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    When you are dealing with a brutal dictator that is half a world away its hard to really understand what is going on. There are people who know exactly what is going on but for the average American, its quite a struggle. What are we dealing with in the chubby dictator from North Korea? Is …

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    Georgia Democrat Rep: We Don’t Want To Confiscate Guns, We Want To Seize Them

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    The attacks on the 2nd Amendment are not going away. These school shootings could be the catalyst for another generation to go after guns as well. The same generation that marched will eventually vote and hold positions in office. Its not hard to imagine a future where the tightening vice of gun laws continues to …

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    Get your intel here!

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    Get your intel here!
    David Jones “Prepping Up with the Jones “Audio player provided!

    This week’s show has two great guests on one great show. We start off the show with Mark Budro, one of the founders of Sentinel Intel Group. These are the subscription-based information agency that analyzes open source information and writes easy to read articles explaining how this information will affect you and yours. Sentinel Intel Group is a Veteran Owned Business that you can count on for the information you need before you need it.

    Continue reading Get your intel here! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

    Desperate to go off grid, but need help!

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    I am a single 44 year old guy with an SUV, 6 man tent, 15X15 foot screen enclosure, grill, cooler, and some minor misc. items I need to tent camp. I am being drowned by this rat race, and desperately want to go off grid living. I have a very small income from online college classes, and can’t afford to buy a piece of property to get started. I am desperately looking for some help. I wouldn’t mind traveling to get where I need to go as long as it doesn’t cost me too much to get there. I can’t seem to get ahead and get any money saved until I can get off the grid, so if you can help, please contact me at Thanks

    The post Desperate to go off grid, but need help! appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

    Getting Started With Wood Turning

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    To maximize your ability to survive in a collapsed world, you will need to know how to manipulate raw materials. You will want to be come a master of metal and wood. If you can conquer these two things you will be able to repair, create and maintain all of the tools of survival. This …

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    Climbed Pikes Peak: Lesson’s Learned

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    Around 13,500 ft, close to the summit

    Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs and the Barr Trail to the summit: 13 miles, 7500 ft elevation gain (to over 14k ft) and the last few thousand feet fighting snow and ice.  Many folks who do this trek take 2 days choosing to overnight at the Barr camp about 7 miles in from the trailhead.  Why make it easy, we decided to do it all in one day stepping off promptly at 6 am.  10 hours later (including breaks) we made the summit which was no small miracle.  I have often said that a cornerstone to preparedness is mental toughness because when the chips are down and all the cool gear purchased at REI is lost and the realization that nobody is coming to save you sets in, the mental game begins.  Only those who can steel their mind and push through the suck will persevere, and the older I get the more of a reality that becomes.

    The Plan

    We would step off at 6 am, take a 5 to 10 min rest stop at each mile marker and a 20-30 min stop at Barr camp to refuel on ramen noodles and hot cocoa.  We had our small backpacks with the essentials and crampons for the snow and ice that awaited.  Everything going as planned the summit would be hit before the road closed at the top and we would catch a ride down around 3:30-4pm.  Back in town for dinner, no big deal.

    Tossed these on around 12,000 ft

    Murphy’s Law

    I knew there would be struggles with the altitude, especially above 10,000 feet and admittedly I’m not as  young as I once was but I’ve made it through worse in my military career.  What could go wrong?

    Mile 6 is when I started to feel the ache in my knee, an ache I hadn’t felt in many years and originally developed at a rather rigorous military school I had attended in my younger days (torn meniscus was the end result).  I could push through I told myself, discomfort and “hurt” are different than “injured”, I had to keep going.  By the time I reached 13,000 feet I was almost dragging my right leg and trying not to get caught in the snow or move laterally, otherwise stabbing pain would hit.  I resorted to walking in a peg leg fashion, more hips and almost no knee bend.  The go was slow and the pain, if I slipped or stumbled into deep snow, was terrible.  All this time my hiking buddy was stopping to throw up every few hundred yards between bouts of dizzyness (he had flown in from sea level), we were a hot mess.

    Someone to Lean On

    If you haven’t done work at altitude I’m here to tell you there are very few folks, probably sans olympic type altheletes, who are immune to the thin air.  Physical prowess and how “in shape” one is usually doesn’t matter, your body just has to work super hard to complete the most basic functions.  It’s exhausting and some do throw up, fight dizzyness and have other debilitating symptoms.

    As previously stated I was fighting knee pain and my buddy was hurling his lunch at every opportunity, we suffered and persevered together.  It was surreal, for a few hundred feet I would be motivating him as we moved along.  Another 50 feet, let’s get to that next bend in the switchback.  We can do it.  Then seemingly the tables would turn and I would be in pain struggling to walk, he would take the role of motivator despite stopping to hug a rock.  Heck, we both would stop to lean on big rocks every 50 feet or so to catch our breath, especially the last 1500 feet up which took us almost 2 hours to complete.

    In Retrospect

    There was very little celebration when we got the top, we were just glad it was over.  Bear in mind this isn’t something we typically do, and other mountains in CO over 14k have trail heads that start at much higher elevations, so a much quicker hike.  Pikes Peak made us earn that one but I did have some thoughts on the whole experience.

    • Age is just a number: FALSE.  Broadly speaking I tend to disagree with the whole age is just a number.  If that’s the case why don’t we see any 75 year old NFL players, or 3 year old stock brokers, or issue driver’s licenses at 8 years old.  You get what I’m saying.  As we get older the body is capable but not quite as capable, my 40 year old self is definitely not my 20 year old self.   Like Toby Keith said, I’m not as good as I once was…but I’m as good once as I ever was.
    • No such thing as a one man army.  I made that climb because my buddy was with me, I have no doubt about that.  I have often said that the whole one many army is a fallacy, after all you have to sleep sometime (think security).  In addition when the times get tough having someone to help motivate is absolutely critical.  Buddy team for the win.
    • The Bugout on foot fantasy.  “When the SHTF I’ll leave my suburban home, toss my BOB on my back (that I’ve rarely worn) and hike into the woods – live off the land and cover 20 miles a day.”  Right.  I don’t care if you are a hardcore Infantryman who has done countless roadmarches in a controlled environment the reality of the wilderness would no doubt be different.  Combine that with other factors like altitude and injury and all of a sudden that sweet plan just turned sour.
    • Mental Toughness.  I cannot emphasize this enough and I believe that as I have gotten older and my body has worn down my capacity to push through mentally has indeed enhanced.  Those of us who have been around for a bit have experience to call upon and a mental toughness that has been forged in the fire, it really is an asset that can be called upon.

    The Bottom Line

    Get out there and challenge yourself once in a while physically and by that I don’t mean going for a PR on the bench at the gym.  Do something that pushes your personal limits for an extended period of time, understanding  each of us are at different places in our lives.  I climbed Pikes Peak which wasn’t exactly easy but others might scoff at that and need to do something much harder.  Or maybe you are that guy who has 40 lbs of beer gut hanging off the front end who carries a gun because hey, a 1911 solves everything (or so one might believe).  Maybe a walk around the block is in order.  In any event I think soley relying on supplies as a preparedness strategy without giving thought to the physical and mental is a massive miscalcuation.  Take care and stay safe.


    Building A Classic Arbor – Adding DIY Beauty To The Landscape

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    Creating a classic arbor for the entrance to the garden has been on our to-do for a long time. In fact, ever since we first fenced in the garden back in 2013, we knew it wouldn’t truly be complete without

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    7 Scrap Leather Projects

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    In a collapse situation we need to go for the low hanging fruit. We need to look at the resources of today and discern what will be left after the collapse. There is a good chance that wild animals will be around. This is why some of the most prominent minds in survival swear by …

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    How To Be Prepared For An Unforeseen Disaster

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    Are you prepared for an unforeseen disaster? Our country, our whole world for that matter is in an interesting situation, to say the least. I’m not a doomsday prepper, but if you listen to the radio or watch the news on TV, it’s pretty obvious, life may be very different sooner than later. This may seem like I’m on a soapbox, which occasionally I admit to standing on, but when I receive over 100 emails from readers after our President spoke on “Breaking News” about Syria and the recent action to try and eliminate that country’s ability to manufacture chemical weapons, how can any of us think we are safe from the effects of events throughout the world. I stay away from religion and politics on my blog, but I try to teach people to be prepared for the unexpected.

    If you don’t have water stored, why not? If you don’t have some food stored for at least 30 days at the very least, why not? Please remember, the government will not step in and deliver water, food, over the counter pharmacy needs, first aid supplies for days, weeks or months, if at all, where you are.

    If you think that grocery store right around the corner will be open, it will not be after an unforeseen disaster. The shelves will be empty and you will not be able to buy anything even with cash, OR the 20-ounce water bottle may be $20.00 CASH ONLY. I think you understand what I’m saying.

    Unforeseen Disaster

    Unforeseen Disaster

    Let me be clear today, you cannot depend on the government, your church, the food bank or your neighbors to take care of you. You are responsible for your family, yes YOU. You MUST be prepared for an unforeseen disaster today, not next month. I have people say to me, “now Linda, how could you turn away a small child after a disaster that needs water or food?” My reply is this, it would be very hard, but it’s been very hard for me to save money to prepare for myself and Mark.

    I’m not saying I will be ruthless, I want that to be very clear. I have written almost 1200 posts trying to teach people to be prepared. I have taught classes for many years showing people how to make bread, being self-reliant, food storage and emergency preparedness.


    You know the drill, 4 gallons per person per day.


    I do not count calories, I fill a pantry with staples in order to cook and bake from scratch. I store #10 cans of freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, and a few #10 cans of dehydrated foods. I store cans and packages of beans, rice, quinoa and so much more.

    Gas Tank

    I highly recommend you keep you keep your gas tanks 3/4 to nearly full at all times. Please keep your car, truck or vehicles maintained properly.

    Hand Crank Radio

    Please purchase an emergency radio with a crank or with batteries or some way to recharge it. We need to know what’s going on in the world. If you know someone who has a ham radio they may be your new best friend.

    Phone Chargers

    Please make sure you turn your cell phones off at least once a week so when it is turned back on it will locate any new cell towers located new your current location. Keep those phones charged according to your manufacturer instructions. If you can afford a solar phone charger that would be awesome.


    Yard lights are affordable, you can charge them during the day and bring them in your home when needed. If you choose battery-operated flashlights, please stash appropriate batteries to use with them as a backup. I prefer a solar-powered flashlight and several lanterns that can be recharged without batteries.

    First Aid Kit

    Here is my post on first aid kits: Linda’s First Aid Kit

    Essential Oils

    This may be controversial but I love love love essential oils. I prefer the brand DoTerra. I do not sell them. You must decide what is right for you. They work for me and can possibly make you feel better during the tough times.

    OTC Drug Needs/Prescriptions

    I want you to think of the (OTC) over the counter drugs you use often, or those prescriptions you need on a consistent basis. Some may be on my first aid kit list above. If the pharmacies are closed and you need a fever or cough reducer, do you have some? Do you have some Gatorade with electrolytes? Influenza may hit, please be prepared to keep your family hydrated.

    Dog/Cat/Pet Supplies

    Don’t forget about our furry friends, they need water, food, and items that will comfort them. Keep in mind, you may want a 72-hour kit for your pet in your car as well as your own 72-hour kits.

    Pantry Supplies

    Here is a post I wrote about how to fill your pantry with some necessary items: Pantry Supplies

    Butane Stove and Fuel

    This is a great Mother’s Day, birthday, or any holiday gift, or just a love gift for those you care about. Check the links below for stove and fuel.

    Outdoor Cooking Devices

    I have written many posts on outdoor cooking devices. Here is one: Stoves by Linda

    Outdoor Fuel

    Fuel is critical: Fuel by Linda


    Please store one dollar and five dollar bills in a safe secure place, you may need cash when the banks are closed. It’s possible no pension, social security, or paychecks will be mailed or deposited if the issuing agent or government is shut down for a while. Trust me on this, it can and will happen. You can count on it.

    Anxiety-Learning To Breathe

    This is something I had a friend send me about anxiety:

    Breathing to the square:
    • breathe in & count to 4
    • hold and count to 4
    • breathe out & count to 4
    • hold and count to 4


    I hope today’s post helps those getting started prepping to start, baby steps, just start, it’s easy. You don’t have to be a millionaire and have a pallet of food delivered to your home. Start with one can at a time. You can do it. Please do not be overwhelmed, get my book and get going. Please read Ted Koppel’s book “Lights Out” and my book “Prepare Your Family For Survival”. May God bless this world.

    Cooking with a Dutch Oven

    Dutch Ovens, Butane Stove, Butane Fuel, Fire Starter, Matches, Cast Iron Cookware, Charcoal

    Copyright pictures:

    Are You Ready: AdobeStock_97688910 by Tashatuvango

    The post How To Be Prepared For An Unforeseen Disaster appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

    Ask Tess: How do I protect my animals from radiation?

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    So if I’m all protected with gas masks etc. how do I protect my animals?

    A Reader




    Thank you for sending your question in. One of our Ready Nutrition writers, Jeremiah Johnson wrote about the very subject you are asking about. In the article, he provides an excellent excerpt from the government regarding livestock and poultry.  The source is PubMed, and here’s the link:

    Farm livestock shows no measurable effects from being exposed to ionizing radiation unless the level is greatly in excess of the natural background radiation. Possible sources of ionizing radiation which might affect livestock or contribute to radioactivity in the food chain to humans are reactor accidents, fuel reprocessing plant accidents and thermonuclear explosions. Most data on ionizing radiation effects on livestock are from whole body gamma doses near the LD 50/60 level. However, grazing livestock would be subjected to added beta exposure from ingested and skin retained radioactive particles. Results of attempts to simulate exposure of the Hereford cattle at Alamogordo, NM show that cattle are more sensitive to ingested fallout radiation than other species. Poultry LD 50/60 for gamma exposure is about twice the level for mammals, and swine appear to have the most efficient repair system being able to withstand the most chronic gamma exposure. The productivity of most livestock surviving an LD 50/60 exposure is temporarily reduced and long-term effects are small. Livestock are good screeners against undesirables in our diet and with the exception of radioisotopes of iodine in milk, very little fission product radioactivity would be expected to be transferred through the food chain in livestock products for humans. Feeding of stored feed or moving livestock to uncontaminated pastures would be the best protective action to follow.

    Livestock faces the same challenges that we do

    Here is what needs to be done:

    • Suitable shelter needs to be prepared for them with some type of air-filtration system and enclosed with heat
    • All food and water need to be pre-stored for them and protected from the radiation, as well. This is a true challenge because a correct estimate of consumption needs to be prepared.  They need at least one year’s supply of food and water and must remain indoors under protective shelter for at least one month until most of the radiation decays.
    • Decontamination: supplies need to be pre-positioned, and there is also manure/offal to be disposed of regularly…perhaps in a location that is also secured if you’re to turn it into compost.
    • Existing structures need to be modified: Most barns will (depending on the roof type) at the minimum protect from Alpha particles. The windows need to be closed off and sealed, and the challenge will be to provide air that is filtered and circulating in their living quarters.  Henhouses and chicken houses need to be assessed for the ability to keep fallout from reaching the poultry.
    • Minimum subsistence and breeding stock: Your biggest challenge will be to support the minimum amount of a population of livestock to be used for breeding to replenish the herds and flocks. Your hens will still lay eggs that can be used for food, and unexposed/safe cattle for milk (watching out for U-238 and Strontium-90 that can go into milk).  This is a long-term goal of protection for you to undertake for them.
    • Mines, caves, and other possible shelters: You could use these if nothing else, should you not have the type of protection available on your property. Just a suggestion, but the last resort.

    “The Earth Still Turns,” meaning: you still have to take into consideration the seasons and all of the related problems with them, such as frozen drinking water and extreme cold with (grid down following EMP or war) no electric heat.

    Geiger Counters and Dosimeters: to be used to monitor radiation for them.

    If you haven’t already done so, I strongly recommend getting a copy of Cresson Kearney’s “Nuclear War Survival Skills.”  Even though this piece discusses livestock, the principles of a nuclear war and the scientific breakdown of shelter construction and radiation hazards still applies to them.  Most of the country still has some time before winter sets in to obtain extra supplies for the livestock and take extra measures to protect them.  It is better to do something than just sit around behind a keyboard and skeptically inform others of how nothing can be done.  It can be done: you are the ones who can do it if you resolve yourselves to take action.


    The Prepper's Blueprint

    Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

    Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

    Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    NETTLES: all about this valuable herb

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    An excellent food, medicine, and fibre source

    [Nyerges is the author of “Guide to Wild Foods,” “How to Survive Anywhere,” “Foraging California” and others.  He has led Wild Food Outings since 1974, and he lectures and writes on natural sciences and ethno-botany widely. His website is, or he can be reached at School of Self-Reliance, Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041]

    This year, our rains came late, and many of the early spring natives and exotics hardly grew up at all. There was an abundance of chickweed, various mustards, mallow, and nettles this year, all non-natives and all very nutritious.

    At one of my hiking spots, I noticed last week that there were contract city workers around our parks with their weed whackers beginning their annual decimation of the useful foods and herbs that have sustained millennia of people, just for the picking.  This is part of our culture’s current schitzophrenia – we talk “green” and how we want to be healthy and save ourselves and save the earth, yet, the very plants that can save us are weed-whacked, sprayed with Roundup, and tossed into the trashcans.  I can’t change the world, but I did tell my friends to collect all the herbs they are able to get before they are all cut down. 
    city workers weed-whacking chickweed and nettle

    Of course, I understand the other side – city officials don’t want nettles growing around parks where children might sting themselves.  Never mind that the sting can actually be a benefit to offset future arthritis — the city doesn’t want the liability.  So, at this time of the year, vast acreages of nettles and other useful wild plants are cut down and unceremoniously poisoned and killed. Did I also mention that these very plants can be purchased in decorative boxes in the herb section of Whole Foods and other such markets?

    This year, I have collected large volumes of chickweed, mallow, hedge mustard, and nettle.  Most of it I dry.  I used the powdered chickweed in an insect repellent, the mallow for a mild cough remedy, and the hedge mustard makes a spicey powder to add to other dishes.  But the nettle is the one that I can never get enough of.
    nettle in the field
    washing the nettle
    drying racks

    some chickweed too!

    Often during this time of the year, I get an allergic reaction when I’ve been under and around the trees that produces lots of pollen and cottony-fluff, like willows, and cottonwoods, and cattail, and oak.  I’ve tried numerous remedies over the  years to combat the allergy, but all with limited success. It just won’t work to stay out of the woods.

    Here are some of the many ways I used the nettle greens:   I make an infusion of the nettle leaves (dried or fresh) for allergy, and I drink it pretty regularly in the evenings.  It has helped to relieve congestion and improve my ability to breathe.  It seems to work even better than my old standby, Mormon tea.

    I also add the fresh, dried, or frozen nettle greens into my evening soup.   The soup is  enjoyable and tasty.  In fact, nettle is one of the tastiest wild greens out there, and widely under-rated.

    Sometimes I just cook nettle greens like spinach, and I even drink the water because it is so flavorful. I add it to various soups and stews, egg dishes and omelettes, and even burritos.

    Sometimes, if I want a quick meal, I’ll make a package of ramen noodles, and add lots of nettle and onion greens.  I’ve also added the dried or fresh leaves of nettle to spaghetti sauce.  Powdered, I’ve added nettles to pancake batter to increase the protein content and improve the flavor or the pancakes.  I’ve not yet tried making pasta with nettles, but a friend of mine routinely dries and powders various wild greens, mixes it 50/50 with flour, and runs it through a pasta machine to make some unique pastas.

    Years ago, I would periodically meet people who survived the hardships of World War II, and among other things, they spoke of how nettles saved their lives.  Usually, they would say that nettles and cattails, two widespread common plants, had enabled them to make meals. Until recently, I thought they were exaggerating because I hadn’t been aware of the versatility of nettles, and how it’s really a nutritional powerhouse.



    Stinging nettle (Urtica dioeca) is a fairly common plant throughout most of North America, as well most of the rest of the world.  It is one of the plants that you always see on the charts of “noxious weeds” published by companies such as Ortho and others, letting you know that their product will effectively wipe out these “worthless plants” in your gardens.

    The reason why so many people dislike stinging nettles is because when you brush up against it, you break off the tips of tiny hollow needles that are filled with formic acid, and you get a stinging reaction. This reaction is short-lived, and can be remedied by rubbing the skin  with chickweed or curly dock, or even wild grasses.

    Nutritionally, nettles is a good source of Vitamin C and A.  According to the USDA’s Composition of Foods, 100 grams of nettle contains 6,500 I.U. of Vitamin A, and 76 mg. of Vitamin C.  This amount contains 481 mg. of calcium, 71 mg. of phosphorus, and 334 mg. of potassium. This amount also contains 5.5 grams of protein, a lot for greens, though not complete protein.

    Herbalist Michael Moore, author of Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West, describes nettles as a diuretic and astringent, and he advices the tea for use in cases of internal bleeding. 

    In general, nettles are found growing in the wild near streams, in moist soil, in rich soil, and often near raspberries and blackberry vines.  And in the urban areas, it seems to grow everywhere: along roads, in fields, backyards, gardens, and at the Highland Park Farmers Market, I’ve found it growing in the cracks of the sidewalk.

    If you cannot yet recognize the wild nettle plant, most gardeners or landscapers should be able to show you one. Or go to a nursery, where nettles are often growing in their pots and soil.