Installed solar lights, shopping and Tucker is getting though the garden fence

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I added a couple of small motion activated solar lights around my back door.  It seems that I got the position just about perfect for the lights to activate as a person walks up but the lights don’t go off when my pekes go outside.  It took me a long time to install these lights because you should not drill into vinyl siding as it might deform plus you provide water and insects access to the under lying wood. One of the biggest reasons I added new siding was to protect the ‘bones’ of my house and make the upkeep easier for me to manage. If I start making holes in that siding I’m defeating the original purpose of  installing the siding.

Since I have been watching so many boat refits and sailing videos I have become more knowledgeable about keeping water from getting to wood.  If I can seal against water, the house frame should be safe from insects.  I have the solar lights ‘wedged’ along the roof line cap and the metal part of the siding just to make sure I got the placement correct and the lights charge plus light up the back door entrance.  After a couple of weeks of testing that the lights are placed correctly.  I’ll screw the lights in place and add a sealant to keep out water.

I stocked up a lot last paycheck because there were a lot of great buys on meat and gardening/landscaping items I wanted.  I got a pretty great deal on mulch but I could not afford all the mulch I wanted for filling in the garden and the front yard beds.  The main garden area is mostly done around the raised beds but there is one section I want to build my green house that is bare ground and morning glory that needs to be dealt with this year.  My idea is to layout the greenhouse foundation with concrete piers and build up a layer of small stone for good drainage.  For food shopping I got a lot of meat stocked up and frozen.  Now that I have the new pressure cooker I want to try out a quick ‘bone broth’ recipe. one of the nice things this cooker can be use as a slow cooker for that recipe.

Arrgh! Tucker the peke is getting under my little garden fence.  Actually I may pull down the fence because he is digging into the mulch and not the garden beds.  He is a smart little dog and thrives on praise.  I have scolded him on digging in the garden beds, but let him go on digging in the mulch. Once I finish the install of the ‘frost cloth’ Tucker should have all his digging areas marked out.  Hopefully it won’t be in the garden beds!   Tucker is a great little digger. I need to find a a way for him to dig and turn the compost pile!

12 Survival Smartphone Apps | Preparedness

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One of the more interesting things about a survival scenario is how quickly people decide to drop back to the stone age. If you talk to many preppers you will find that they are going to escape to the woods and start making fires with sticks and friction. What a strange way to look at …

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The Return of Patriots’ Prayers

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I did a weekly segment on this website for two years called “Patriots’ Prayers,” to encourage folks to pray for our country. This segment was extremely successful for awhile, but eventually interest waned and I put the segment on hiatus last year. Well, I feel that the time is right to bring Patriots’ Prayers back – at least for awhile. Please join me each Sunday this summer in praying for America. 

Patriots Prayers for 6-3-2018

 Pray For America(Original Version)

What is wrong with America goes well beyond politics & economics. It is a spiritual sickness which infects the USA. No politician, no election, no piece of legislation, will cure spiritual sickness. We must appeal to a Higher Authority for that kind of healing. Please join me in praying for America.

Supporting Verse:If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” –2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

 Prayer For America 

Our Father in heaven, have mercy upon these United States of America, according to Your lovingkindness and tender mercies. Blot out our transgressions, cleanse us of our sins. We acknowledge our transgressions, our many sins against You: We have allowed our God-given liberties to be taken away by our politicians and leaders. We have allowed Your Word and commandments to be banned from our public squares. We have allowed prayer to be eliminated from our schools. We have allowed Your place in our nation’s history to be erased from our textbooks and our minds. We have allowed the epidemics of abortion, pornography, and sexual immorality to fester out of control. We have allowed perversion, decadence, and depravity of all sorts to become public and commonplace.

As a nation, we have replaced the authority and perfection of Your Word with the whim of our own opinions for our standards of right and wrong. We no longer keep Your commandments, or follow Your teachings.

We confess these and all our sins to You and ask forgiveness for ourselves and our nation. Bring us to a state of true repentance – a returning to You – as both individuals and as a nation. We confess Your lordship over every aspect of our lives and our nation. Help us to follow You once again. Restore your mercy and blessings to these United States of America, and re-establish a hedge of protection around us. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

How To Go Off The Grid With No Money

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Is there anything more alluring than doing something fun that costs no money? What in the world actually costs no money? Well, there are millions of Americans all over the country who are looking to break the mold with how they live. They are considering things like tiny homes and a number of other options …

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Your Stockpile Of Antibiotics Could Save Your Life When The SHTF

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While natural healing and herbal remedies can go a great distance in fighting disease, illness and injury, there comes a time when antibiotics become your only hope. While people who peddle highly effective essential oils may fight that idea, we have all seen it work. Now, essential oils are brilliant and work in an array …

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English Muffin Recipe

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I like baking a lot, do it almost every weekend and have tried to make English Muffins for a long time. I’ve tried at least a dozen recipes from the web including big-name chefs but they never turned out right like Thomas’. Its been very frustrating for me to continuously fail at such a simple thing!
In my sidebar I have a link to the “The Mobile Home Gourmet”. Dennis Viau, (and yes he does live in a trailer) is the home cook/baker, videographer and writer. He does very nice video work and perfect recipe writing. Last week he posted the recipe and a video of how to make the English Muffins. So yesterday, I made another attempt following his recipe and steps on the video. They turned out great, as close to commercially made muffins as you can get at home. Thank you Dennis for getting this monkey off my back!

One of the tricks to making these muffins is very, very long kneading and rising times, about 6 hours total! They are simply time-consuming to make. Never heard of his procedure before and probably is the reason mine always failed.

Link to the instructional video and recipe:

The photos below are from my first attempt of yesterdays baking the muffins. They turned out great, I’m now happy and will continue using his recipe.

A fork split muffin.

Selling Burgers Is A Crime In This Wisconsin Town

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selling burgers is a crime

When Hadraba tried grilling burgers and barbecuing in a trailer on a parking lot he owns next to his shop, the city said no.

A family has had to go to court for the right to sell burgers and barbecue on their own property. Selling burgers is a crime in Gibraltar, Wisconsin, since it’s only legal to grill and sell burgers in a brick and mortar kitchen.

When Hadraba tried grilling burgers and barbecuing in a trailer on a parking lot he owns next to his shop; the White Cottage Red Door, the town board, said no. Hadraba was forced to file a lawsuit against the town in order to operate a legal business on his property.

“White Cottage Red Door just wants to sell burgers and barbecue on its own property from a state and county-approved food truck,” crusading attorney Milad Emam said. Emam contends the town is trying to protect the monopoly of local brick and mortar restaurants by enforcing county zoning regulations.

Man Faces $500 a Day Fine for Selling Burgers from Licensed Food Truck

Even though Hadraba paid for a Wisconsin state mobile restaurant license and a county zoning permit, he faces a $500 a dollar fine every time he fires up the grill because for him… selling burgers is a crime.
On the first day, Hadraba tried selling burgers the town constable shut him down -even though he had the licenses. When the Gibraltar Town Board found out that Hadraba was not violating zoning regulations, it passed an ordinance banning all food truck sales.

“The ordinance has one purpose: economic protectionism,” Andrew Wimer, the Assistant Director of Communications at the Institute for Justice wrote. “The board’s chairman; who voted for the ordinance, owns a restaurant just 2 miles down the road. Also, the former board member who pushed the county to revoke White Cottage – Red Door’s zoning permit last fall works at another local restaurant in town.”
The Institute is a non-profit legal group that has taken Hadraba’s case. Emam works for the Institute.

Selling Burgers Is A Crime If Your Competition Is On The Town Board

“The only real thing stopping it is the Gibraltar town board, whose members passed an ordinance to protect special interests,” Emam said. “That’s not just wrong, it’s also unconstitutional. The Wisconsin Constitution clearly prohibits governments from picking winners and losers, which is why we’re putting the board officially on notice: either repeal this unjust law or face a lawsuit.”
The Institute has filed a lawsuit on Hadraba’s behalf. The organization has filed similar litigation against anti-food truck ordinances in Chicago, San Antonio, El Paso, Louisville (Kentucky), and Baltimore. The Institute for Justice has launched a National Street Vending Initiative to protect entrepreneurs from local government overreach.

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Do You Really Want to Tell People Your a Prepper

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The stigma is real. Being a prepper or being labled as such can have implications in today’s world. While joining other groups like vegans or Buddhists will get you general applause, claming that you are preparing for widespread disaster will get you some raised eyebrows. It’s very interesting when you think about it. If you …

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Understanding Silver and Gold Content for Collapse Investing

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Silver, is not silver, is not silver. The same can be said about gold. If you are going to invest in precious metals you need to know where you stand. You need to be 100% sure about where you stand on the value of your silver. One of the big purposes of your gold and …

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Pricing my BEGINNERS Blacksmithing Workshop

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There are several skills out there that take a little more than others. Depending on your survival outlook, you probably hold some skills above others. That just makes sense. We have to prioritize some things over others because of time and resources. America and much of the developed world is filled with metal and that …

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Survival Trees – 5 Great Ones That Can Heal, Feed And Keep You Alive In A Crisis

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life-saving survival trees

It becomes clear that at certain seasons, trees can provide a wide variety of food supplies.

Survival Trees 

When we think of trees in survival situations, we tend to gravitate to the obvious. Trees give us wood for our campfires. They provide structure for shelters, materials from which shelters can be built. These are all accurate perceptions, but survival trees, if you recognize and utilize them correctly, can contribute much more to our chances of survival than just firewood and construction materials.

Consider for a moment the varieties of nut trees that grow on the North American continent. There are hickories, walnuts, buckeyes, pecans, and hazelnuts to name just a few. Then consider the wild fruit trees, from plums to persimmons crab apples to mulberries. I hope it will become clear that at certain seasons, many trees can literally become “survival trees” and provide a wide variety of edible opportunities.

1. Oak Tree

Even the oak tree produces acorns which can be turned into meal or flour; the trick is to leach out all the tannins using a lot of fresh water. After gathering acorns, they must be dried so that the kernels can be removed from the husks. Once this is done, the kernels are ground into meal. After grinding, the meal is repeatedly soaked and drained for up to 6 days. The tannins must be removed from the meal before use, or they can cause stomach problems, kidney problems or inhibition of nutrient uptake. Once properly prepared, however, acorn meal makes fine bread, pancakes, and other baked goods.

Obviously, it is a very good idea to become accustomed to the trees in your area from a food gathering standpoint. But the utility of trees does not stop at fire, shelter, fruits and nuts. If you take a bit more time to learn about your local trees, they can provide other foods, medicines and become survival trees.

2. Willow Tree

One of my favorites is the willow tree. Willow bark is known to be an analgesic, an anti-inflammatory, and a fever reducer. It has been used since ancient time to relieve a headache, lower back pain, Osteoarthritis, fever, Flu, tendonitis, and Bursitis. In the 1800s one of the active compounds in willow bark, salicin, was used to develop aspirin. It has been suggested that willow bark has more pain relieving benefits at lower dosages, and with less chance of side effects, than aspirin.

The Essential Survival Secrets of The Most Vigilant…Most Skilled…Most Savvy Survivalists in the World!

To use willow bark you will need to boil 1-2 teaspoons of dried bark in 8 ounces of water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and then allow it to steep for 30 minutes. Drink 3-4 cups daily. This bark can also be used to make tinctures, but the tea I have just described is the best method in a survival setting. It is critical to note that just like aspirin, willow bark should not be administered to those under the age of 16 due to the risk of Rye’s Syndrome. Chewing on Birch twigs, according to folk medicine and modern chemistry should yield similar results for pain relief.

3. Juniper

The juniper is another example of a fine medicinal survival tree. Here in the states, many of our junipers are known as cedars. Red cedars, both Western and Eastern, produce juniper berries. Juniper berries are actually very small, tightly compacted cones; more specifically, they are the seed-bearing female cones. The “berries” from this survival tree take 2-3 years to mature, and are ripe when they achieve a purple color. Dried berries have been used for centuries as a seasoning, and are reportedly excellent in conjunction with a variety of wild game. Juniper berries are even responsible for the unique flavor of gin.

4. Eastern Red Cedar

Medicinally, the leaves of the eastern red cedar have been used to treat rashes and skin irritations. Smoke from the leaves can be inhaled to treat colds, bronchitis, and rheumatism. The berries can be chewed to relieve canker sores and toothaches. A tea brewed from the berries can be used to treat colds, worms, rheumatism and coughs.

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Fruits can be chewed to treat canker sores. It has been suggested that red cedar has calmative and anti-spasmodic properties as well, and that it may be used as a nerve tonic, and that it may contain a cancer-fighting agent as well.  Now for the disclaimer: It has also been suggested by some that all parts of this survival tree may be considered toxic. As with any alternative medicine, do your homework on this one before trying it. The long history of medicinal use makes me confident, but weigh all the evidence for yourself! No matter what you decide, it is widely accepted that red cedar should not be given to pregnant women as it may cause spontaneous abortions.

5. Sassafras

Sassafras is another great little survival tree. For starters, it is excellent as a fire starter due to the very high concentrations of volatile oils in both the leaves and the wood, and this alone could save your bacon on a wet day when you need a fire in a hurry. Next up, the dried leaves of the sassafras make an excellent seasoning. Known as file powder it was a prime ingredient in the original gumbo. The root of the sassafras was the main ingredient of the original root beer. This little survival tree has had an undeniably huge impact on the culinary arts! It goes even further, though. This amazing tree also has medicinal qualities. It has been hailed as a treatment for Rheumatism, hypertension, scurvy, skin sores, kidney problems, toothaches, swelling and dysentery, to name a few.

Teas brewed from the bark have long been considered an excellent spring tonic to cleanse the system and the blood, and are a fine diuretic. Sassafras, too, comes with a disclaimer. Modern medicine sometimes seems bent on destroying the reputations of traditional or folk remedies, but do your research on this one as well before you make up your mind about it. Regardless, you should not use sassafras “survival tree” tea for more than a week at a time. Infusions should be made by boiling and steeping a tablespoon of root bark in a cup of water and taking not more than a cup a day.

Trees are a wonderful gift in so many ways. Take the time to get to know the trees in your area and their uses so what seems at first glance to be ordinary, can truly become survival trees in a time of crisis. Knowledge is never wasted, and a little survival tree knowledge could help to save your life one day.

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Air Conditioning Usage Creates Huge Power-Grid Concerns This Summer

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air conditioning

Record air conditioning usage could create major power grid issues this summer.

Air Conditioning Related Power Usage Set To Create Power Shortages In Many States

Air conditioning related electricity usage will break records and may cause blackouts in Texas this summer. Power grid operators are forecasting that electricity supplies will exceed demands during the summer months.

Most of Texas will face severe electricity shortages because of hot temperatures, air conditioning, and a strong economy, Bill Magness the president of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) told the Associated Press. Magness thinks the large numbers people moving to Texas for retirement will increase the demand for air conditioning and electricity use. Retired people are more likely to be home during the day when temperatures are high – so they are more likely to turn up the air conditioner.

Around 50% of all electricity in Texas is used for air conditioning and 100% of homes in Texas have air conditioners, Forbes reported. That means just a few hot days can strain the grid and a heatwave can trigger brownouts and blackouts.

The situation was made worse by Vistra Energy’s decision to close more coal-fired power plants last year, The Austin American Statesman reported. The closed plants; Big Brown, Sadow, and Monticello, generated around 4,100 megawatts (4.1 million watts) of electricity, enough generation capacity to power two million homes, The Waco Herald-Tribune reported.

Texas Electric Grid Might Not Meet Demand

Texas’s grid has never operated without those plants will make this summer a test of its capacity. Texas only has a 6% reserve of electricity that might fall will because of problems like downed lines or a power plant going offline.

A Vistra subsidiary called Luminant has added around 8,000 megawatts of generation capacity from natural-gas burning plants, The Herald-Tribune reported. Luminant also plans to open a giant solar power plant in Texas to increase grid capacity.

The Texas grid already reached peak capacity in May because of unexpectedly high demand and technical problems, Houston Public Media reported. Grid capacity fell because portions of the system were offline for maintenance.

Electricity Reserves are Tight in Texas

Electricity reserves will be very tight on hot summer days in Texas this summer, Magness predicted. When the thermometer rises, people crank up the air conditioner which burns more electricity.

The grid operator ERCOT anticipates that Texas will need an additional 1,600 megawatts of electricity this summer, but record-high temperatures can significantly increase the demand. If everything is running correctly, Texas’s grid can produce up to 78,184 megawatts of electricity.

“The margin between absolute peak power usage and available peak supply is tighter than in years past,” Andrew Barlow, a spokesman for Texas’s Public Utility Commission admitted.

Around 90% of Texas’s grid has enough generating capacity, ERCOT estimated. That means 10% of Texas’s power grid lacks sufficient generating capacity which increases the possibility of blackouts.

Even if the electricity supply is adequate electricity prices can go up in Texas because of higher natural gas prices, Forbes reported. Natural gas prices might go up over the summer because of increased electricity demands. Texas uses between 8% and 9% of America’s natural gas supply to generate electricity for air conditioning in the summer.

Be Prepared For Blackouts This Summer.

Texas’s problems might affect other regions including neighboring states such as Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico and parts of Mexico because those areas are connected to the same grid. Electricity from states like Colorado might be diverted to Texas in case of power shortages there.

Home and business owners can avoid summer blackouts by tapping sources of Off-Grid electricity. The two best sources are backup battery storage and solar panels which can run your home or business if the grid runs dry.

If you have family members with health problems who need air conditioning, or you rely on a business or freelance work that requires electricity for income, backup power is vital. Those who need backup electricity for their business should be able to use the expense of installing it as a tax deduction.

Having backup electricity available might be the only way for Texans to keep cool this summer.



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What Are Pathogens?

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What Are Pathogens?


An infection is defined as the invasion of the body by microscopic organisms. A pathogen is any agent that can cause a disease, but the term is usually used to describe a microbe. Microscopic germs cause injury to tissues in a number of ways, often by producing toxic substances that damage the cells.

Before we give every micro-organism a bad name, it’s important to know that they are not all pathogenic. In fact, some are beneficial or even necessary for human life, such as many intestinal bacteria.

Pathogens are often carried by “vectors”, from the Latin word vectus, “one who carries”. These are humans, animals, or microbes that carry and transmit a pathogen to others. A vector does not have to be ill to carry a disease: A mosquito, for example, carries the organism that causes malaria in humans but doesn’t experience the disease.

Another example of a disease vector was a domestic servant known as “Typhoid Mary”. She carried Typhoid fever to many people at homes where she worked without feeling sick herself. The elimination of a vector from the environment (terminating Mary’s employment, for example) usually ends the outbreak of disease.


There are a number of different pathogens that cause infectious disease. Perhaps the one we hear most about is bacteria.  By the way, the word bacteria is the plural form. A single one is called a bacterium.

Bacteria were among the first life forms on Earth and are present everywhere from the soil to the bottom of the ocean to the inside of your body. They may even exist on Mars. If you took the entire population of bacteria on the planet, they would probably have a mass about equal to the entire plant and animal population combined. 

Bacteria have a number of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods to spirals. When bacteria reach a certain size, they reproduce by splitting in two, a process called binary fission.

Many bacteria are good guys. Some, however, are pathogens and cause infectious diseases, including cholera, syphilis, anthrax, leprosy, and bubonic plague. The most common fatal bacterial diseases affect the lungs, with tuberculosis alone killing about 2 million people a year, mostly in underdeveloped countries.

There are many different types of bacteria. Most bacteria don’t need to enter the host’s cells to reproduce, they do just fine in, for example, your blood. A subgroup of bacteria called Rickettsia, however, does depend on entry, growth, and reproduction within a host cell.

Rickettsiae are the cause of typhus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and a number of other infectious diseases. Rickettsia do not, however, cause rickets, a deformity of long bones in young children which is a result of vitamin D deficiency.

Although many bacteria have become resistant, they can usually be killed with antibiotics. Different bacteria are sensitive to different antibiotics.


Viruses are microscopic pathogens that, unlike most bacteria, can reproduce only inside the living cells of other organisms. Viral particles without a host are known as “virions”, and only act as a living organism when they enter a host cell. Indeed, they stretch the definition of life itself. Viruses can infect all types of hosts, from animals and plants all the way down to bacteria.

Examples of common human diseases caused by viruses include the common cold, influenza, chickenpox, rabies, hepatitis, herpes, Ebola, and Zika.

Viruses can be spread by:

•            Mosquitoes and other vectors

•            Airborne droplets in coughs or sneezes

•            Contact with blood or other bodily fluids

•            Ingestion of contaminated food or water

A normal immune system can often kill the infecting virus. However, some viruses evade these immune responses and result in chronic infections, such as HIV or Hepatitis C. There are antiviral drugs, but it’s important to know that antibiotics have no effect.


Protozoa are one-celled microbes, a step up on the scale as they exhibit animal-like behavior, such as the ability to move. Many have a tail-like appendage called a flagella that they whip around for locomotion. They are restricted to moist or aquatic environments. Therefore, transmission is mostly by drinking contaminated water, although some are transmitted by animal vectors.

Protozoa cause infectious diseases in humans such as malaria, giardia, some dysenteries, sleeping sickness, and amoebiasis. A common vaginal infection is caused by a protozoan called trichomonas.

Protozoa are usually susceptible to treatment with certain antibiotics, such as metronidazole (also known as Fish-Zole in its veterinary equivalent).


A fungus (plural form: fungi) is a microorganism family that consists of such yeasts and molds. Fungal infections most commonly affect skin and mucous membranes like the oral cavity and vagina, but can invade other areas. Fungus affecting the toes is known as tinea pedis, or “athlete’s foot”. “Ringworm” is another type of fungal infection. Severe internal fungal infections can occur in individuals with weakened immune systems. Anti-fungal medications exist in topical or oral form, like miconazole or clotrimazole.

These are just some of the hazards that you’ll face if you take responsibility for the medical well-being of others in times of trouble. Learn about them, get some training and skills, and you’ll keep it together, even if everything else falls apart.

Joe Alton MD

Vermiculture – Fish Candy and Garden Gold

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There is no doubt that the garden and the bluegills love some worms. You know who else loves worms, that little egg factory outback. Chickens go crazy for worms. I am always impressed at those birds ability to navigate and hunt worms that are unseen by the human eye. With all the benefits of worms …

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The Lay of Land Navigation

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Probably one of the most underrated of prepping skills. Land navigation is vital. We live in  communities and get around with cars, signs and google maps, its hard to believe it can get harder than that, right? Its hard to believe we could be standing in the middle of the woods and not know which …

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What did you do for your preparedness this week? (2018-06-02)

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  This weekly post is an open-forum, though preferably focusing on what we all did this week for our prepping & preparedness. Comment and voice your thoughts, opinions, accomplishments, concerns, or questions for others on any general topic of preparedness. This weekly open-forum is for any off-topic conversation during the week. Keep up to date with recent comments from ALL articles (here).     SUPPORT MODERN SURVIVAL BLOG Important: To help assure that we stay on-the-air: 1. If you’re running an ad blocker, add to your whitelist. Revenue from our non-intrusive ads help bring you this free premium content.

Original source: What did you do for your preparedness this week? (2018-06-02)

June Question of the Month

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TGN Community members:

Do you have any favorite tools that you use around the homestead or garden that you just couldn’t live without?

Please leave your reply in the comments below, or in the Forums by clicking here:

We’ll compile your answers into an article soon!


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Horsepower For Preppers – Quickfire Intro

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Periodically preppers and prepper fiction bring up hoof stock as options for A Bad Thing that removes electric and combustion engines. It’s really only been 100-150 years since equines and bovines were the go-to, and in some less-developed nations, they still are. There are also still plenty of areas worldwide where we can find bovines and equines laboring alongside tractors and transport vehicles. Even here in the U.S., we use livestock to access remote areas, help us haul big game out of back country, and periodically tow somebody’s 4×4 out of mud or off a frozen rut. So it’s not all that unreasonable.

However, things have changed with livestock, and there are an awful lot of people who maybe romanticize it, and who don’t really understand livestock’s’ needs or consider the options we have. I’ll come back and detail some hoof stock horsepower aspects in greater detail, but I want to start by thumb-nailing some of the basics and vox populi.

Workhorse Basics

There are generally three equines in the horsepower conversation, horses, donkeys and mules. Horses are mares (female) and stallions (male). In donkeys, it’s jenny and jack, and in mules it’s molly and john (johns are also “horse mules”). Babies are foals, colt (male) or filly (female)

Jennet – Some still use jennet for a specific size and gaited horse (of any breed; a descriptive like “bay” or “goer”). Usually when we hear it, it’s just a different way to say “jenny”. Some use jennet instead of filly for immature female mules.

Sometimes it’s jargon referring to dedicated-nanny livestock guardian donkeys that mother their adopted herds, more than just chasing threats, or to a mule or donkey that cottons to her human and nuzzles or defends them like she would a foal.

Ponies – They’re technically the same species as horses, but they have different conformations. Ponies and mini horses also seem to have … uhm, character … more often than other equines. (Not all ponies are Demon Goats. Mini horses, now….)

Geld Often & Early – Multiple stallions/jacks are like having too many roosters: it causes problems. Geldings are also far easier to handle than un-cut males, and since spaying is a non-starter for equines and bovines, it’s the only method of population control.

Oxen (and yaks) – Oxen are mature gelded cattle, with dairy breeds generally preferred. For significant chunks of American history, they – not equines – were the go-to engine. They were so favored during wester expansion heydays that start-point towns ran out of them, even after their prices tripled. (They defaulted down to mules.) They’re still the most-used draft animal worldwide due to their economy, durability, and power.

Yaks are bovines, too, but like Asian and African cattle, they have some differences due to our specific breeding trends.

Cattle really rate their own article. I’ll mostly talk equines here, but I wanted to toss in oxen because they’re so often minimized or absent when preppers talk livestock farm labor or backup labor for long-term, widespread disasters.

Bursting Bubbles

Nutrition The days of domestic hoofstock eating solely off pasture is largely gone, due both to the graze areas we usually have available and modern livestock’s needs. If realistic sustainable feed isn’t part of the prepper plan, working hoofstock needs to be left off, too (all livestock, really).

Feed is the largest expense in ownership, and it’s greatest for horses. Horses require higher-quality nutrition, more highly digestible nutrition, and more protein per bodyweight and work. Donkeys are darn-near goats. They need less total by bodyweight and much lower-quality feeds. Too much feed and too much protein will actually make them sick and in very short time, they’ll get fussy, cantankerous, and hard to handle.

Training Takes Time – It starts with handling from birth, ideally, and exposure to what we want. I’m not saying to work an immature animal, but to have it ready to work once it’s mature. Most equines and bovines also require refreshers and continuing work to remain steady on lead and under rein, and animals require the same ramp-up exercises and maintenance conditioning as human athletes.

Training to task isn’t automatic or as easy as dogs. Many owners and even large-animal vets have no idea how to train working stock from scratch. Don’t count on either for next-gen working livestock in widespread disasters; find a trainer.

Mules Are InfertileMules are crosses between horse mares and jack donkeys. The parents have different numbers of chromosomes, which leads to mules’ infertility. (Hinnys get lumped in as mules, but their parents are swapped. Chromosome counts and preferences make them relatively rare.)

Male mules are always infertile. Female mules are fertile and viable so rarely it makes national news if one carries to term. Ours will not be the exception. If repeatable next-generation hoofstock is part of your goal, starting with mules is not going to get you there. You need parent stock or to pick a species.

Gun Shy – Horses, longears, and cattle are not automatically chill about gunfire, especially shots going off right behind their heads. Train up for a gun horse, or prepare to outrun the bad guys or haul that elk home yourself.

It also takes a good seat and practice to get even center-mass shots from a moving vehicle, to include wagons and saddles. Just sayin’.

Bonus add-on: You can get earplugs for horses to save their hearing (kid ya’ not). Gun dogs, too.


“Healthy as a Horse” – Is a lie these days. See…

Horses Are Delicate – They always have been, comparatively, but along with the way we’ve tailored other domestic animals (and crops) in modern times, there are tradeoffs. Horses have developed fragilities from their guts to their feet, as well as increasingly demanding feed needs, especially performance breeds. We also breed in injury and illness-inducing stuff for the sake of looks (oversizing, undersizing, dish-face Arabians).

Bare-Bones Basics

Size Matters – Breeding lineage leads to wildly different shapes and sizes between equines and within breeds. All tack (even bits) varies to fit differing conformation, and is not automatically transferable between animals, even moving between horses and near-sized long ears. Tack is also purpose-driven, especially harnesses.

Hoofstock has hooves – Hooves are just big ol’ thick toenails. They grow, continually. Most domestic hoofstock needs help with their toenails these days, typically every 4-6-8 weeks. Many owners/groomers call in a specialist. Some handle their own hoof care, but many of those still want their work checked several times a year.

Vets are not farriers – Even if there’s a hoof problem (or a problem we’re going to address by changing the hoof and thus how weight is carried), a large-animal vet will typically tell the farrier what they’re after. Very few do it themselves (or know how).

Shoes – Shoes are not automatically necessary (excellent article & images: Of note to preppers who do shoe, in recent decades we’ve gained more availability of temp and short-term special-purpose shoes, which increases our at-home, non-specialist prepper-stocking capabilities.

Filing – Instead of pincher trims for hooves, we can file as part of regular grooming. Equines also sometimes need tooth work, for many reasons, typically accomplished with a file (and sometimes a chisel, drill, and pliers). That is a specialist skill. It’s one that needs learned if we’re after complete equine sustainability.

LGDs – Livestock guardians is a big topic, one with lots of “if” that I’ll detail in a future article if nobody beats me to it (donkeys+dogs considerations, too). The quickfire is: Standard jenny or gelded donkeys, not jacks, not minis, not horses or mules.

Also remember that donkeys will regularly ignore other species if there are enough equines to satisfy their herd needs (usually at 3+).

Shy-Stand – In fight-flight-freeze reactions, horses generally flee. They shy, and when they bolt, they go. They’re also more prone to making big shows, throwing hooves around and slinging heads.

When longears see something hinky, they stop and study it until they decide how they’re handling *it*. That “stubborn” freeze is a fear, precaution or confusion manifestation, not meanness. They’re also pretty conservative with energy, and if you progress past ear cues and warning brays, they aim those feet and make sure their hit counts. (Teeth, too.)

Donkeys & mules are hard to bully – They also don’t fall for our pitiful “treat” coercions as often as dogs and horses, and they’ll call bluffs. When they “nope” but they must move, now, stop pulling the head. Push with a blanket or strap – not rope – behind its thighs.

Smart, not StubbornHad Geronimo been riding a donkey or mule, he’d have gone over that cliff by himself.

Donkeys and their mule/hinny offspring are too intelligent to put up with as much nonsense as horses and dogs. If they see stupid taking place or prior humans have taught them we’re mean/idiots, they’re even more inclined to dig in their heels. And just like the really smart dog breeds are not typically in the “easy to train” category, longears require creativity and patience.

Treat it with respect, earn its faith, and train with clear, sensible steps. They’ll be an affectionate puppy willing to cross hells for us, too.

Conventional Wisdoms

Donkeys/Mules don’t founder – Myth. Founder is laminitis – swelling of the tissue that connects equine hooves to their skeletons – but it’s sometimes used for any stock animal dropping from exhaustion. Longears founder, but it’s usually from overfeeding and too much protein, not physical faults, heat, exertion, or overwork. (Psst … Oxen are troopers, too.)

A safer mount/draftWelllll… Donkeys tend to be sure-footed. That, their “stop and look” reaction to unknowns and threats, and their unwillingness to endanger themselves all contribute to longears’ reputations as safer animals under rein or on lines.

They’re also savvy and attentive, possibly because they still have more “wild” blood and inclinations, have smaller offspring, and aren’t fast enough to get away from as many things as horses can. Mules inherit that. So they do seem to startle less frequently.

I will grant that pack horses are more prone to boredom issues. But I’m still not willing to make a blanket assertion that horses (or specifically geldings) drift/zone/doze and stumble more often on trail.

For draft safety, don’t forget about oxen. Next time a Western shows a runaway stagecoach or stirrup-hung cowboy, check out what’s pulling them. Hollywood, sure, but I’ll betcha those runaways aren’t oxen.

Pound for pound, longears out-work horsesWellllll… This argument gets made using both feed weight and carry-haul weights ratios of animal weight. Breaking down the numbers (and the problems with animal-weight percentages) needs its own article. But … okay, yeah, mostly.

Donkey/mule economy and strength ratios fit more potentials, but they’re not always the best fit. There is work that speedsters or cobbs/drafts and oxen are better suited to, if we can handle horses’ expense or oxen’s one-gear speeds (admittedly, it’s a low gear). There are also donkey/mule tradeoffs – training style, human-behavior tolerances, that noise.

Marish – Oh, REALLY real – Mares tend to have a little more attitude than non-breeding stallions or geldings. (Personal opinion: Mares are sneakier, too. And smug about it.) Longears can be opinionated, but jennies no more than geldings or jacks. Jennies are also less likely to exhibit any special stubbornness or PMS-like symptoms when they come into season.

Prepper Horsepower

Few working animals actually pay for themselves in modern nations, and many are ill suited to a subsistence lifestyle due to our commonly limited land. Still, their prevalence as labor in low-income areas worldwide should keep anybody from just immediately scoffing off hoofstock as a long-term grid-down preparation to make – when we’re educated and financially secure enough to provide for them.

Replacing our electric and combustion horsepower with livestock is full of factors to consider. A lot goes into maintenance, and there’s a lot to weigh between each’s needs and abilities and our own. If there’s interest, I’ll revisit the horsepower topic in the future with some details for comparison on the options, uses, working lifespan, load weights, and team synergy.

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How To Build Survival Traps For Emergency Situations

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Say you’re in a survival scenario, and you’ve already accomplished the tasks of finding water, building a shelter, and starting a fire. Your next priority will be to gather food. You’ve found plenty of edible berries and roots, but you are going to need more calories than they can provide if you want to survive: you’re going to need meat. Knowing how to build survival traps can greatly assist you in your quest for extra food in the wilderness.

You can’t exhaust yourself walking through the woods with a sharp stick, and you probably wouldn’t have any luck anyway. You need to conserve energy and still have an efficient means to gather food. Snares are the answer; a dozen snares allow you to hunt in a dozen different areas at the same time. While you’re sleeping or working, the snares are hunting.

Before you start to build survival traps, you’ll have to take some basic considerations. Knowing your game is important: where they eat, when they move, and what water source they use. Try to leave as little scent as possible. Cover your hands if you can when you handle the snare, and avoid getting sweat or saliva anywhere in the area.

Setting up random snares will not be the most effective means of catching game. When you build survival traps, you need to look for animal signs, such as paths, droppings, and dens. If you set up snares along game paths and in front of dens, then it will be a surefire way to increase your odds. In addition, you can add some kind of bait to nearly guarantee that you’ll eat tonight.

An Outdoorsman’s Guide to Shelters, Tools, Weapons, Tracking, Survival, and More!

You can also use sticks and twigs to funnel your game to your snare. A knowledgeable hunter can do this easily using fallen branches, and it looks more natural than planting twigs in the ground.

Also, I mentioned adding bait; this will likely double your chances for game. For bait, you can use things like MRE peanut butter or even sugar or salt packets. You want to lure the animal to the snare, so drop little bits along a small path to your trap, letting the animal get a taste for your bait and let its guard down. Then, you should leave the majority with your trap. After you catch your first animal, you’ll have a whole new source of bait as you continue to build survival traps.

build survival traps

The first trap to learn is the basic snare.

Basic Snare

The first snare you can learn is a very basic snare. It requires a length of cordage, preferably wire, but paracord works well and is likely to be in your bug-out bag anyway. You should use a split stick to support the snare and allow the animal to walk into it. Lastly, you’ll need a tree or something else heavy so that the animal can’t pull it away.

Tie the noose and attach the other end to a tree. Next, make sure that you place the split stick into the ground and ensure it’s deep enough so that it will not fall over or be easily pulled out. Set the noose over the split stick to prop it up. The noose needs to be strong enough to support a five-to-ten-pound animal. The length for the cord needs to be eighteen to twenty-four inches for animals this size.

The goal is for the animal to walk through the trap at about chest height, the noose tightening as they pull it. Any struggling and fighting the animal does will only tighten the noose. It’s best for you to set the trap at the base of a den, catching the animal coming or going. You should be prepared to encounter an angry animal when you check the trap and have a weapon (like a heavy stick or knife) to finish it off.

Trigger Spring Trap

build survival traps

You’ll need a two-piece trigger system for this trap.

The second option you can employ to build survival traps is to construct a trigger spring trap. This is more complicated than your basic snare.

You’ll need a small but strong sapling to act as your engine. You’ll also need a two-piece trigger system for this trap. There are a few different ways to do this. In the first you have two pieces of wood, each with a hook carved into it, one at the top of your base stake and one at the bottom of your hook stake. The second is the catch method, where your base is something heavy enough that it will hold your hook stake. The third is the primitive Y-stick method, which is just two Y-shaped sticks holding each other in place.

You will tie your noose and the line from your sapling to your hook stake. Sharpen the bottom of your base stake and drive it into the ground. Make sure it’s tight enough in the ground that the sapling won’t pull it out. Next, tie your line from your sapling to your hook stake. I suggest carving a notch into the hook stake to make sure your line doesn’t slip off. You need to carve a similar notch for the noose as well.

After this, you will then bend the sapling down and connect the hook stake to the base stake, making sure the noose is open and at chest height for the animal you’re trying to capture. You should use twigs if necessary to open the noose.

build survival traps

This is an easy trap that requires no cordage, although a pocketknife may be needed to carve the notches and sharpen a few ends.

Figure-Four Deadfall Trap

This is an easy trap that requires no cordage, although you may need a pocketknife to carve the notches and sharpen a few ends. The figure-four trap relies on a heavy object such as a log or rock to smash your prey.

The heavy weight of the log or rock rests on a stick running diagonal. The diagonal stick rests on the base stick, using a notch carved in the middle of the diagonal stick to hold it in place. You want the top of the base stick to be carved into a thin, flat end. You will have to carve the end of the diagonal stick into the same flat end, and it rests in a notch carved into your bait stick.

Now, you must lay these on the ground and see where the base stick and the bait stick meet. Mark the place where they meet on each stick. Next, you’ll need to carve a notch on both sticks where you marked. The notches need to be big enough to hold the sticks together.

Now, you’ll have to put it together and slowly rest the log or rock on the diagonal stick. (It is usually easiest to apply your bait before it is fully assembled.) When the animal trips the bait stick, the entire thing will collapse, killing or disabling it.

These are just a few of the most basic techniques that you can use to build survival traps in an emergency situation. Make sure that you use these as a starting point, and once you have mastered making them, you can move on to more advanced designs.

You may also be interested in How To Build A Box Rabbit Trap!

Editor’s note: This article is for informational purposes only. Please follow all local and state ordinances regarding the snaring and trapping of animals.

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The post How To Build Survival Traps For Emergency Situations appeared first on Off The Grid News.