8 Sustainable Changes You Can Make That Will Have a Positive Impact on Earth

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It’s a cold, hard fact that Earth’s once plentiful resources are drying up. Climate change, food and water shortages, pollution, deforestation, agriculture changes are all being caused by the wasteful nature of humans. These impacts have directly altered the Earth’s surface faster than the natural process. We are at a tipping point.

One small act can have a far-reaching impact and it all starts with a single step.

Here are some interesting facts to put things into perspective.

  • An average of 230 million tons of trash that is thrown away each year in the United States, and many do not realize that the trash they are throwing away can be reused.
  • Commercial food sources have become corrupted with genetically modified foods, hormones/antibiotics, pesticides and neurotoxins.
  • On average, one household uses 350 gallons of water.
  • Running tap water for two minutes is equal to 3-5 gallons of water.
  • America uses about 15 times more energy per person than the typical developing country.
  • In the United States, more than 40 percent of municipal solid waste is paper — about 71.8 tons a year.
  • Some 4 to 5 trillion plastic bags—including large trash bags, thick shopping bags,and thin grocery bags—were produced globally in 2002. Roughly 80 percent of those bags were used in North America and Western Europe. Every year, Americans reportedly throw away 100 billion plastic grocery bags. (Worldwatch Institute)

The way we live directly impacts our environment and, let’s be honest, humans are very wasteful in regards to using up precious resources. We must begin doing our part to prolong tho negative effects we have on this planet. Earth Day is the perfect time to reflect upon what we can do to live more in tune our planet. In the past, we have suggested ways to make more earth-friendly choices such as recycling, not using chemical cleansers and re-purposing items, but it’s time to take another step forward and begin to live in a more sustainable nature.

8 Sustainable Changes You Can Make That Will Have a Positive Impact on Earth

  1. Buy localFarmers markets are a great way to buy locally and teach your family about sustainability. It is estimated that the average American meal travels about 1,500 miles to get from farm to plate. Our dependency on far away food sources leaves a region vulnerable to supply disruptions, and removes any real accountability of producer to consumer. As well, nutritional value can quickly decline as time passes after harvest. Finding local food sources can circumvent this impending issue and, because locally grown produce is freshest, it is more nutritionally complete. As well, join an organic food co-op to get more good food for less. It’s a great way to start to dip your toes into the self-sovereign movement that is sweeping the US.
  2. Cut the crap out of your diet – GMO and chemically enhanced food is no way to keep your family healthy. This is a big change to make, but will enhance your health in the long run. The easiest way to cut out foods that are full of hormones, antibiotics or considered gmo is to buy organic. A study recently noted that eating organic foods is more healthy than conventional foods. found that organics contain 18 to 69 percent higher concentrations of antioxidants. This means that an organic consumer will ingest the antioxidant equivalent of approximately two extra produce portions every day, without altering food intake. In your new diet, you should also steer clear of artificially colored or flavored food, non-organic milk and meat sources. As well, corn and soy are almost always GMO. Foods containing neurotoxins like MSG, fluoride, or aspartame (along with other artificial sweeteners) should be avoided. By switching to organic and natural foods you are letting all the commercial food sources out there that you object to chemicals being put in your foods. Think of it as a silent protest – and when they can’t get you to buy their product, they’ll take notice and make necessary changes.
  3. Support the bees – Our basic way of life is largely dependent on those little buzzing bees busily collecting food. Bees have been in sharp decline in North America and in parts of Europe over the last several years. Many believe multiple factors are to blame for colony collapses, a few being chemical-based fertilizers, climate change and invasive parasites that attack the hive. This is causing massive amounts of damage to insect-dependent agriculture. As a result, food shortages are on the rise and many experts are quickly trying to find ways to help the bees. Another way to support thriving bees is to follow in the footsteps of Oslo and help create a “bee highway” or feeding stations in urban areas to help feed the bees. “The idea is to create a route through the city with enough feeding stations for the bumblebees all the way,” Tonje Waaktaar Gamst of the Oslo Garden Society told local paper Osloby. ”Enough food will also help the bumblebees withstand man-made environmental stress better.”
  4. Start a garden – America was founded upon an agrarian lifestyle, and farmers were the driving force behind America. Currently, people are trying to find ways to move back to farming in order to grow their own food, to be more self-sufficient and less dependent on the government. In fact, by growing your own food, you cut down on trips to the grocery, thus cutting down on gasoline, carbon emissions and save some money in the process. As well, a lot of attention on yardfarming in suburbia has started becoming very popular in many parts of the United States. Yardfarmers converts unsustainable suburban developments, urban food deserts, or other neglected land into sustainable, more resilient opportunities for people while building community. How great would it be if the yardfarming movement popped up in your neck of the woods? If you can’t wait for the yardfarms, start a community garden. Community gardens encourage an urban community’s food security, allowing people to grow their own food. They bring urban gardeners closer in touch with the source of their food, and break down social isolation by encouraging community interaction.
  5. Sustainable landscaping – 60% of a person’s household water usage goes toward lawn and garden maintenance. During times of drought, our lawn and landscaping can become a bottomless pit where we are throwing away money to keep grass alive. Rather than spending exorbitant amounts of money to maintain landscaping, think outside of the box and choose a more sustainable form of landscaping. As well, consider growing native plants in your area. This will cut down on water usage and encourage native wildlife, insects, etc. to hang out in your yard.
  6. Only use organic fertilizers when gardening – Despite what some corporations want you to believe, chemicals are not good for plants. The application of glyphosate around the world has increased 15 fold since these Roundup Ready crops were first introduced in the 1990s. Roundup Ready crops have created a problem in agriculture that is similar to the problems caused by antibiotics, whose overuse has bred highly resistant strains of superbugs. The overuse of glyphosate has bred superweeds, which are resistant to the pesticide. And the more resistant they become, the more pesticides that farmers have to apply. It’s an endless cycle that farmers have no idea how to break out of. Composting organic material for the soil is a healthier alternative. With composting, you are utilizing aerobic and anaerobic decomposition processes to break down the compostable material and invite beneficial organisms to assist in the process. The end result is a full spectrum soil conditioner that has many benefits.
  • Compost contains macro and micronutrients often absent in synthetic fertilizers.
  • Compost releases nutrients slowly—over months or years, unlike synthetic fertilizers
  • Compost enriched soil retains fertilizers better. Less fertilizer runs off to pollute waterways.
  • Compost buffers the soil, neutralizing both acid & alkaline soils, bringing pH levels to the optimum range for nutrient availability to plants.
  • A compost tea can also be used as a foliar spray on the plant or poured into the soil.
  1. Some natural fertilizers can be found in your garbage and can be composted and turned into natural garden amendments. Banana peels, egg shells, coffee grounds are great for the garden! You can feed the soil with some of these soil amenders, as well: earthworm castingsphosphatepowdered oyster shell, and green sand.

7. Water conservation – Did you know that if a household started conserving water, you can reduce your in-home water use by 35%? This means the average household, which uses 130,000 gallons per year, could save 44,000 gallons of water per year. Learning ways to practice the art of conserving water now, will help you make the most of your water sources. Here are 22 ways to start!

8. Use less packaging – We are all guilty of using zip-loc bags and throwing them away after each use. It’s so wasteful! Luckily, there are lots of alternatives available to us. Some favorites are these paper sandwich baggies or this re-useable velcro sandwich bag. Both will reduce that dreaded carbon footprint. As well, purchasing re-usable lunch containers like these eco-friendly stainless steel containers are great alternatives to plastic. There are some foods like potatoes and oranges that come in their own mesh packaging and knowing how to reuse packaging can simplify your life. In addition, purchase grocery bags that can be reused. This will cut down on having an excess of plastic bags.

Find Alternative Uses For Some of Your Trash

Some of the trash we collect can serve other purposes, and changing your mindset is also an essential sustainability skill. Learning the art of using what you have around you to live is the core of being self-reliant – and what many of us are trying to achieve. Here are 50 of the most common items thrown away and ways you can reuse them. Creativity and resourcefulness can go a long way if we need to rely on what we have around us.

Whether you want to believe it or not, our current way of living is not sustainable. We over consume are wasteful and there is a better, more sustainable way to life. We can’t keep going on like this and if each of us where to make some minor changes to how we live, the earth would already be a better place to live. Let’s make Earth a better place!

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Natural First Aid: 5 Items To Put In Your Emergency Medical Kit Today

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 When the SHTF and a medical situation does occur simultaneously, things can go to absolute turmoil very quickly. Most medical situations that will arise during this time may not be considered life threatening, but can quickly become one if not appropriately treated. For instance, a simple cut that makes contact with tainted water (a very typical scenario following floods and hurricanes) can quickly become infected. That said, as preppers we need to prepare for medical emergencies and not only learn basic first aid, but also know how to use natural alternatives to care for the wounds themselves.

(Sign up for our FREE newsletter to get the latest prepping advice, gardening secrets, homesteading tips and more delivered straight to your inbox!)

5 Items To Put In Your Emergency Medical Kit Today

1. Books

One cannot become proficient at something without study and application. Going as far as to take medical courses in community colleges, local county extension offices, local fire departments, and with veterans groups, along with other civic clubs and organizations can give you a great edge on acquiring knowledge on medical emergencies and how to treat them. It should go without saying, but stock up on medical manuals like:

2. Kitchen Staples

Since most of us have limited shelf space, it is only logical to find shelf stable foods and products that will perform multiple jobs for us. And some of your kitchen staples can do just that – including medical care. For instance, did you know you can make an antiseptic (first discovered during World War I) made of a diluted solution of baking soda and bleach? It’s called Dakin’s Solution and has been proven to kill most bacteria and viruses.

3. Honey

As well, honey has become a poster child for an alternative to antibiotics. In fact, numerous studies have shown that certain kinds of honey can fight multiple species of bacteria, fungi, and superbugs, making it a viable alternative to antibiotics.

As Ready Nutrition writer, Jeremiah Johnson recently wrote, “Honey is also good for wounds/abrasions/cuts of the mouth, as it is a demulcent that soothes abraded tissues, and it also is a medium that microbes do not live in.  Who doesn’t remember the time-honored honey and lemon mixture for a sore throat?  The thing of it is: it works, and if it works it should be employed. Read more on how to use honey to treat wounds.

4. Medicinal Herbs

Having access to health-inducing herbs is another essential for wound care. Herbs such as oregano, garlic, lavender and thyme can help protect a wound from infection and promote healing. Along those lines, writer, Jeremiah Johnson recommends every prepper have the Three G’s: Ginger, Garlic and Ginseng in their natural medicine cabinet. Further, knowing which herbs can be used for natural pain killers is also paramount in your medical preparedness knowledge. Some pain reducing herbs to add to your herbal first-aid kit are:

  • Aloe (Aloe vera)
  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
  • Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
  • Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
  • Tea (Camellia sinensis)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Common pantry items can also be used to help bleeding wounds clot. Many have found that cayenne pepper is an effective alternative and natural version of QuikClot. Cayenne pepper contains an active ingredient, called capsaicin, which has analgesic (pain relieving) properties and various other medicinal uses.

5. Essential Oils

In an extended disaster, bacterial infections and viruses are likely to be one of the reasons that people will die. Historically, essential oils  have been used as a natural therapy to relieve symptoms when modern-day medicine was not available. The most amazing aspect of essential oils lies in their ability to effectively kill bad bacteria while leaving good bacteria alone! Rather than targeting one symptom, as Western medicine does, it targets multiple symptoms. There are two types of essential oils you should stock up on for SHTF planning:

Antibacterial – Due to the increase of antibacterial resistant illnesses, many are turning to essential oils such as basil, cassia, cinnamon, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, marjoram, melaleuca, myrrh, orange, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree and thyme.

Antiviral – Oils that have been studied to help control viral infections include: basil, cassia, cinnamon, eucalyptus, frankincense, lemon, lemongrass, marjoram, Melaleuca, myrrh, oregano, and thyme.

I started out with a simple beginner’s essential oil kit and have found it of great use! Some more popular ways of using essential oils are aromatherapy, herbal soaks, compresses, tinctures and salves.

Things can go awry very quickly when a medical emergency occurs during a disaster. Having resources to turn to, skills to treat wounds, along with items you have around you can be lifesaving.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Natural First Aid: 5 Items To Put In Your Emergency Medical Kit Today

 When the SHTF and a medical situation does occur simultaneously, things can go to absolute turmoil very quickly. Most medical situations that will arise during this time may not be considered life threatening, but can quickly become one if not appropriately treated. For instance, a simple cut that makes contact with tainted water (a very typical scenario following floods and hurricanes) can quickly become infected. That said, as preppers we need to prepare for medical emergencies and not only learn basic first aid, but also know how to use natural alternatives to care for the wounds themselves.

(Sign up for our FREE newsletter to get the latest prepping advice, gardening secrets, homesteading tips and more delivered straight to your inbox!)

5 Items To Put In Your Emergency Medical Kit Today

1. Books

One cannot become proficient at something without study and application. Going as far as to take medical courses in community colleges, local county extension offices, local fire departments, and with veterans groups, along with other civic clubs and organizations can give you a great edge on acquiring knowledge on medical emergencies and how to treat them. It should go without saying, but stock up on medical manuals like:

2. Kitchen Staples

Since most of us have limited shelf space, it is only logical to find shelf stable foods and products that will perform multiple jobs for us. And some of your kitchen staples can do just that – including medical care. For instance, did you know you can make an antiseptic (first discovered during World War I) made of a diluted solution of baking soda and bleach? It’s called Dakin’s Solution and has been proven to kill most bacteria and viruses.

3. Honey

As well, honey has become a poster child for an alternative to antibiotics. In fact, numerous studies have shown that certain kinds of honey can fight multiple species of bacteria, fungi, and superbugs, making it a viable alternative to antibiotics.

As Ready Nutrition writer, Jeremiah Johnson recently wrote, “Honey is also good for wounds/abrasions/cuts of the mouth, as it is a demulcent that soothes abraded tissues, and it also is a medium that microbes do not live in.  Who doesn’t remember the time-honored honey and lemon mixture for a sore throat?  The thing of it is: it works, and if it works it should be employed. Read more on how to use honey to treat wounds.

4. Medicinal Herbs

Having access to health-inducing herbs is another essential for wound care. Herbs such as oregano, garlic, lavender and thyme can help protect a wound from infection and promote healing. Along those lines, writer, Jeremiah Johnson recommends every prepper have the Three G’s: Ginger, Garlic and Ginseng in their natural medicine cabinet. Further, knowing which herbs can be used for natural pain killers is also paramount in your medical preparedness knowledge. Some pain reducing herbs to add to your herbal first-aid kit are:

  • Aloe (Aloe vera)
  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
  • Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
  • Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
  • Tea (Camellia sinensis)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Common pantry items can also be used to help bleeding wounds clot. Many have found that cayenne pepper is an effective alternative and natural version of QuikClot. Cayenne pepper contains an active ingredient, called capsaicin, which has analgesic (pain relieving) properties and various other medicinal uses.

5. Essential Oils

In an extended disaster, bacterial infections and viruses are likely to be one of the reasons that people will die. Historically, essential oils  have been used as a natural therapy to relieve symptoms when modern-day medicine was not available. The most amazing aspect of essential oils lies in their ability to effectively kill bad bacteria while leaving good bacteria alone! Rather than targeting one symptom, as Western medicine does, it targets multiple symptoms. There are two types of essential oils you should stock up on for SHTF planning:

Antibacterial – Due to the increase of antibacterial resistant illnesses, many are turning to essential oils such as basil, cassia, cinnamon, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, marjoram, melaleuca, myrrh, orange, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree and thyme.

Antiviral – Oils that have been studied to help control viral infections include: basil, cassia, cinnamon, eucalyptus, frankincense, lemon, lemongrass, marjoram, Melaleuca, myrrh, oregano, and thyme.

I started out with a simple beginner’s essential oil kit and have found it of great use! Some more popular ways of using essential oils are aromatherapy, herbal soaks, compresses, tinctures and salves.

Things can go awry very quickly when a medical emergency occurs during a disaster. Having resources to turn to, skills to treat wounds, along with items you have around you can be lifesaving.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

The Prepared Home: 50 Essential Items to Put in Your Ultimate Survival Medical Kit

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 Would you have the supplies you needed to stop a severe bleed? Do you know what household items you could use if someone was suffering from dehydration? What will you do if someone in the home has shortness of breath?

Short-term disasters can bring on a myriad of medical situations and they can occur very quickly. Because of the disaster, roads may be impassable, or in some cases, the hospitals may be at capacity and cannot take in any more patients. With that in mind, it is important to know what the most common medical emergencies are and prepare accordingly for them. In 2006, The National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) released a 2006 Emergency Department Summary that gathered statistics of emergency department use, including the most common reasons adults and children sought medical care and treatment. Having medical supplies that could assist in these common medical emergencies would be proactive on your part.

    •  Children fever
    • Childhood earache
    • Various injuries such as sprains, strains, broken bones
    • Chest pain
    • Abdominal pain
    • Back pain
    • Shortness of breath

In short-term disasters, prepare for water-related illnesses. This will be very common given the close proximity to contaminated water sources. In The Prepper’s Blueprint, it states, “The relationship between communicable diseases and disasters exist and merits special attention. When there is a short-term emergency, there is an increased number of hospital visits and admissions from common diarrhea-related  diseases, acute respiratory infections, dermatitis, and other causes. These type of medical issues are due to those coming in direct contact with flood waters contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. These contamination factors will cause irritation to skin and a host of other medical conditions.”

In longer-term disasters, burns, cuts, rashes and secondary infections will also be very common medical emergencies to prepare for. Folks, these are the disasters you will likely face and it is imperative that you prepare for this with proper medical supplies and knowledge.

I realize that there are a lot of medical conditions to think about. The best approach is to look at the basics and prepare for those. Many medical items can be used for multiple disasters, so take comfort in this and prepare accordingly.

Build the Ultimate 1 Year Medical Supply with These First Aid Basics

Experts suggest that each home have a basic medical supply that is unique to your family’s needs. Therefore, keep any preexisting conditions and allergies any family members may have, as well as the above list of the most common medical conditions that hospitals see. It is within your best interest to ensure that you have any and all necessary medications that require prescriptions before an emergency happens.We all have our fair share of band-aids and antibiotic ointment, but do you have medical supplies that can help with true medical emergencies? The following list is your basic medical preparations broken into sections of need to help in your organization.


Hygiene

  • Liquid antibacterial hand soap – 20
  • Disposable hand wipes – 20
  • Antibacterial hand sanitizer – 20
  • Feminine items – 12 packages
  • Extra baby needs (diapers, wipes, pacifiers, bottles, medicine, etc.) – in quantity
  • Exam gloves – 5 boxes

Essential Medical Tools

  • Trauma shears
  • Pen light or small flash light
  • Scalpel with extra blades
  • Stethoscope
  • Irrigation syringe
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Foam splint – 2 per family member
  • Thermometer

Over-the-Counter Products

  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever (for adults and children) – 5 bottles
  • Stool softener – 5 bottles
  • Electrolyte powder – 3 boxes
  • Cold/flu medications – 2 boxes per family member
  • Expectorant/decongestants – 3 per family member
  • Hydrocortisone – 3
  • Miconazole/anti-fungal – 3
  • Syrup of Ipecac and activated charcoal – 2
  • Eye care (e.g., contact lens case, cleansing solution, eye moisture drops) – 3 per family member

Natural Supplements

Wound Care

  • Disinfectant (Betadine, isopropyl alcohol, iodine, hydrogen peroxide, etc.) – 2 per family member
  • Band-aids – 3 large boxes in assorted sizes
  • Antibiotic ointment – 5
  • Instant cold and hot packs – 10
  • 1 week of prescription medications – as many as you are able to get with your prescription
  • Ace bandages – 10
  • Non- stick gauze pads in assorted sizes (3×3 and 4×4) – 10 boxes
  • Sterile roller bandages – 5
  • Surgical sponges – 5
  • Adhesive tape or duct tape – 5
  • Steri-strips – 5
  • Moleskin – 3
  • Respirator masks – 4
  • CPR microshield – 1 per family member
  • Suture kit – 3 per family member
  • QuikClot® compression bandages – 2 per family member
  • Tourniquet – 2
  • Thermal Mylar blanket – 1 per family member
  • Antibiotics

*These are your minimum quantities. If you are able to do so, prepare for more.


Customize Your Supplies

Many believe that a basic store-bought medical kit will provide for all of  their medical needs, but these kits tend to be overloaded with unneeded items (i.e., 500 band aids). Buying your own medical supplies allows you to customize your kit to fit your family’s unique needs and is more economical. In fact, you can purchase many of these items at your local Dollar Store to save money.  Customizing your family’s medical supply gives your family members the best chance at being cared for when a medical emergency arises. Further, take your preparedness a step further and organize your medical preps and create medical response packs for quick acting.

Storing Medical Supplies

How you store your first aid supplies is every bit as important as having the supplies in the first place.

Medicines can lose potency or spoil if they are subject to moisture, temperature fluctuations, and light.  For example, aspirin begins to break down when it is exposed to a slight amount of moisture.

Unless the instructions indicate otherwise, store medications in a cool, dark place that is out of the reach of children.   However, you still want to store the medical supplies in a place that is easily accessible to adults, who may need to respond very quickly in the event of a medical crisis.

Check expiration dates periodically to ensure the medicines are still good to use.  While most medicines lose potency once they’re past the expiration date, there are a few that will actually make a person extremely ill if taken after it spoils.  For example, tetracycline antibiotics that have spoiled can cause a severe, sometimes deadly, kidney ailment.

Signs of Expired Medicines

Although there is data that states most medicines can last longer than their expiration dates, it is important to understand that using medicine years past its expiration date can lose effectiveness and in some cases, change its chemical makeup. If you are in a survival situation where your life depended on an outdated drug, then it is wise to follow the cliché “better safe than sorry”.

Knowing the signs of expired medicine can help indicate when new items are needed.

  • Creams or ointments which are discolored or have changed in texture.
  • Creams or ointments which have cracked or separated.
  • The medicines smell has changed since it was opened.
  • Tablets are broken or chipped and have changed color.

Source – www.generalmedicine.suite101.com

Bear in mind, there are some medications that should never be used after their expiration and could have severe consequences for patients. These include:

  • Anticonvulsants – narrow therapeutic index
  • Dilantin, phenobarbital – very quickly lose potency
  • Nitroglycerin – very quickly lose potency
  • Warfarin – narrow therapeutic index
  • Procan SR – sustained release procainamide
  • Theophylline – very quickly lose potency
  • Digoxin – narrow therapeutic index
  • Thyroid preparations
  • Paraldehyde
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Epinephrine – very quickly lose potency
  • Insulin – very quickly lose potency
  • Eye drops – eyes are particularly sensitive to any bacteria that might grow in a solution once a preservative degrades.

Source

Don’t limit first aid supplies to your home

Store a first aid kit in the car (being careful with heat sensitive items) and also tuck some medical supplies into your 72-hour bag. This way, you can be ready to deal with medical emergencies wherever they happen to occur.

To conclude, there will always be the threat of completely unanticipated disasters, but your overall preparedness should enable you to effectively deal with those situations when they arise. This year supply of first aid items will enable you to prepare for medical emergencies when the hospitals aren’t an option.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

6 Lessons to Learn from the Oroville Dam Disaster

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image source: http://www.trbimg.com/

Have you ever pictured what it would be like to be ordered to immediately evacuate your home because of an impending emergency? Imagine only having enough time to grab your pets and your children and head for the hills. While many believe there is adequate advanced notice in evacuations, this isn’t always the case.

As many of you know, due to the higher than normal rain levels in California, water levels at Oroville Dam, the nation’s tallest dam, were so high that an emergency spillway was used for the first time. Initially, dam officials believed the measure worked, but were soon disappointed Sunday afternoon, as more water from record storms flowed into Lake Oroville. This is when officials detected a hole in the emergency spillway. Officials put out an evacuation order Sunday afternoon telling around 200,000 people the emergency spillway at Orville Dam could fail within an hour. With no time to lose, panicked residents quickly left the area scrambling to get out of harms way. As evacuees made the mass exodus, they sat for hours in gridlock hoping to get to their destinations in time.

While the dam break is slightly diminishing and the mandatory evacuation order has been lifted, many residents are thinking twice about going back due to another series of storms that will hit the Oroville area over the weekend and are threatening to dump 10 more inches in water. One resident states, “I don’t want to live in Oroville anymore,” said Shelly Clarke, 52, who fled her home with her husband and slept in her car overnight. “After this, I’m afraid of the dam.” Source

When I wrote The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster, I emphasized that every disaster teaches us another lesson in how to be better prepared and this one is no different. This essential survival guide stresses how important is to have plans and supplies in place in order to be better prepared for the disasters that are on the horizon.

6 Lessons to Learn from the Oroville Dam Disaster

Keep the following in mind the next time you think you don’t need to prepare or evacuate.

1. Evacuations can come at the very last minute and many may not be prepared in time.

image source: http://www.sacbee.com/

The mandatory evacuation order came Sunday afternoon and 200,000 residents were given one hour to leave. Even if you are given short notice to evacuate, it is very difficult to get your belongings in order under the stress of a mandatory evacuation. One Oroville resident recollects how most people barely had time to grab their kids and pets before leaving in all directions. Some fled on foot. Some fled without shoes. Deyan Baker, 19, Anthony Rhoads, 21, and their 2-year-old daughter, Rylee, of Oroville, had no car, so they ran into the street hoping someone would give them a lift. Source


“We were running. No one was stopping,” Baker said. “I started having a panic attack. I felt helpless.”


Preparedness experts suggest having an evacuation bag or bug out bag prepped for items for the entire family. Make sure these are easily accessible and ready to go for emergencies such as this. While a dam break may not be a disaster your area would encounter, what about a gas leak, or a refinery spill? What about a wild-fire? There are many reasons to have evacuation supplies. Here is an evacuation checklist to ensure you have everything covered. As well, consider preparing your evacuation vehicle.

2. Evacuations are dangerous.

image source: http://www.mercurynews.com/

Not only is a mass exodus arduous, but dangerous as well. During evacuations there is always some risk to danger. For instance, many are in a state of panic and do not always make the wisest of choices. One Oroville evacuee brings up the point of just how dangerous the roads are when evacuating.


“Cars were speeding by so fast, some careening on the shoulders to pass the traffic, “you could smell the engines burning,” Rhoads said. “You could smell the burnt oil, burned clutches, tires squealing.” Source


There are those who are in a mental state of its ‘every man for himself’. There are also others who are opportunists and take advantage of the situation and can cause injury as a result. One Oroville evacuee knows this lesson all too well. Cameron Asbury, 33, was packing up the truck with his family’s belongings after receiving the evacuation order Sunday afternoon when an unidentified man hijacked the vehicle, ran him over and sped away. You can read more about that here. The point here is during evacuations, it can be dangerous due to heightened emotions, desperation and opportunists taking advantage of the situation. Make sure that you have a way to protect yourself. While many do not believe in firearms, having one during these times would be advantageous.

3. No one knows when evacuation orders will be lifted. 

image source: http://www.gannett-cdn.com/

While the mandatory evac order has been lifted for Oroville, there is still an evacuation order in place and many are not sure when they will come back with the threat of the dam still fresh in their minds. When an evacuation is ordered the residents are left to the mercy of the local government in deciding when it is safe to come back. Having a short-term disaster plan in place before a disaster strikes will relieve some of the stress associated with evacuating. As well, with a solid plan (conceived while you were calm and rational) this will ensure that you won’t skip any important planning steps. Living out a disaster in an emergency shelter is not always the best choice, especially if you have pets or special health care needs. Consider how important having an emergency fund would be in a situation such as this. Having money set aside in advance to pay for hotel stays, food, etc. would prevent you from going into further debt.

4. Information is limited, imprecise and emotionally driven.

image source: http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/

Sunday’s evacuations in Oroville came after several days of state officials saying the dam itself was not in danger and that there was no serious threat to nearby communities. Authorities continued to maintain Sunday night that the dam itself was safe. But their assessment of danger to downstream communities from the spillway’s damage changed dramatically Sunday at 4:42 p.m., when DWR issued this tweet: “EMERGENCY EVACUATION: Auxiliary spillway at Oroville Dam predicted to fail within the next hour. Oroville residents evacuate northward.” Source As the mandatory evacuation was ordered, news stories were quickly published about this situation and no one really knew all the facts. Many believed the dam was under the threat of imminent failure, thus causing more panic and heightened emotions.

5. Limited resources.

image source: http://www.mercurynews.com/

During any type of emergency breakdown, there is strain on resources due to the demand of the same types of items needed: gas, water, food, for example. This causes a demand that many stores cannot keep up with and a breakdown inevitably follows. There are some stores who will take advantage of this and price gouge. Limited resources does not only occur during the evacuation route, but afterwards where the evacuees locate to. With 200,000 individuals scattered around the Northern California area, local grocery stores could find their supplies quickly exhausted.

6. The state, county and city officials were unprepared.

image source: http://www.mercurynews.com/

Although the local and state government are closely monitoring the situation, many state residents have raised questions on why the erosion of the dam wasn’t fixed 5 years ago when state officials were warned. According to one article, “Countless proposals have been floated over the past two decades to fund infrastructure out of the general fund, and prioritize critically needed upgrades to dams, roads and bridges. But Sacramento spends a pittance out of it’s $180 billion budget on infrastructure, and most of that is earmarked for the abysmal roads and a crumbling intrastate highway system.” Simply put, government officials were not prepared for encountering a damaged dam. Due to their negligence in planning and funds, a town’s livelihood is threatened – children are absent from schools, flooding of multiple communities could occur and an even more disastrous situation becomes more catastrophic.

Each time a disaster presents itself, it is important to recognize ways to better prepare so that history does not repeat itself. The Oroville dam disaster is a reminder of how important it is to be prepared and to be able to react at a moment’s notice. While many believe local and state governments have everything planned out, there are slip ups and those mistakes can be disastrous for the residents involved. The six points listed above frequently occur with disasters and it is important to recognize this. If you walk away with anything from this article, understand how important it is to plan accordingly. Emergencies happen at the drop of a hat and if you aren’t ready, if you waste precious time gathering emergency items at the last minute or have to come up with an emergency plan at the last minute, vital details will be left out.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Grandma’s Ciabatta Bread (Made With Whey)

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ciabatta breadThis ciabatta bread is a whiz to whip up and heavenly to eat!

I was telling my grandmother one day that I had almost a gallon of fresh whey leftover from a cheese making project and didn’t know what to do with all of it and she suggested that I use her family’s bread recipe. She told me that after her mother was finished making cheese, she would set aside a little whey to bake bread with and give the rest to her chickens (whey gives chickens added protein for egg production). I had no idea that she had a bread recipe that used whey. It just goes to show that our ancestors certainly have a lot to teach us still. Since she shared this recipe with me, I (of course) would like to share it with all of you.

On a side note, the whey really activates the dough, so get ready! I read that the yeast love the presence of the lactose and sugar in the whey and that is why is rises so well. I can see why this recipe has been in my recipe for so long, it’s definitely a keeper.

Happy Baking!

Grandma’s Ciabatta Bread Made From Whey

  • 2 cups of whey
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon of dry active yeast
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients together and the knead the dough for about 5 minutes.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to sit at least 8 hours or overnight.
  4. After dough has risen, sprinkle flour on a work surface and shape dough.
  5. Place the dough onto a greased baking tray. Sprinkle on a little more flour and  cut a few shallow, diagonal slashes into the top of the bread.
  6. Bake the bread in a 375 degrees F (190C) oven for 40 minutes or until it is golden brown.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

6 Rules You Need To Follow When Dehydrating Foods

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6 rules of dehydratingIn the book, The Prepper’s Cookbook, I emphasize how easy it is to bulk up your emergency food pantry by dehydrating food you have around you. With a meager $50 investment into a food dehydrator, you can:

  • dry vegetables for soup mixes
  • dry fruits for snacking
  • make jerky
  • fruit or vegetable leather
  • noodles
  • and even make crafts

Before you go crazy dehydrating, keep in mind that there are a few rules to follow to ensure food longevity, freshness and prevention of discoloration.

6 Rules You Need To Follow When Dehydrating Foods

  1. You can dehydrate any fruit or vegetable, regardless of quality or ripeness. If something is too ripe and soft, you can always puree it and dry the puree. Although using the best quality fruits and veggies will result in the best quality dried goods, remember that the goal here is preservation, not perfection. So don’t be afraid to dehydrate the bruised, overripe, and slightly damaged goods. Just make sure not to put mold in the dehydrator as it can spread and infect the rest of the foods.
  2. Some food items can be air-dried. Herbs and other green leafy food sources, in particular, do not necessarily need a dehydrator. They can be set out of the way and air-dried.
  3. Some foods need to be blanched. Blanching certain foods like onions, mushrooms and tomatoes ahead of time will limit discoloration and the risk of food-borne illnesses. This isn’t necessary, but it certainly helps in the longevity of your dried foods.
  4. Cook potatoes thoroughly for further enjoyment. Potatoes, beans and other root vegetables should be cooked thoroughly and then dehydrated. I’ve made a pot of beans and dehydrated them for soups. I have also made dehydrated potato flakes to use in my prepper pantry.
  5. Don’t dehydrate foods from different families at the same time. If you are dehydrating foods from different family groups, the flavors can cross over. For instance, if you are dehydrating tomatoes and peppers, note that the tomatoes will end up being spicy. As well, any Brassica should be dehydrated on its own, otherwise the sulfur taste will permeate into the other foods. The only exception is dehydrating fruits. Fruits can be mixed together, but mixing them with strong-tasting or smelling vegetables is not recommended.
  6. Be consistent with your cut size and spacing. Try to keep the slices of food the same thickness to encourage even drying times. As well, try not to allow the food to touch one another or overlap (green leafy vegetables are ok though). Otherwise, it can block the airflow and prevent drying.

Rehydrating Your Dried Food Sources

Rehydrating your dehydrated foods requires nothing more than the food to be introduced to a liquid. Get creative with the liquid that you use like juices, canning liquids, etc. Many preppers have found that rehydrating foods in liquids other than water gives the food a richer taste. For instance, soaking fruit in fruit juice makes rehydrated fruit taste sweeter or soaking textured vegetable protien (TVP) in meat stock helps give it a richer flavor.

Dehydrating foods is an excellent way to make use of food you have around you. Typically, at my home when the fruit bowl is overlooked, I will dehydrate fruits and create a healthy snack that the kids can’t resist. I also have made dried soups with the extra vegetables in the refrigerator.

 

For more information read, Drying Fruits and Vegetables by the University of Georgia

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

The Green Beret’s Winter Survival Training Guide

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winterprep2Have you ever considered what you will do if you have to bug out in winter? Being exposed to the elements puts you and your family at risk and it is paramount to be ready for that scenario.

It’s time to learn the basics of surviving in harsh environments. These basics will help you to inspire confidence in yourself and your skills.  Winter weather and a cold environment with snow and ice on the ground presents challenges, but they can be overcome and mastered with practice – all that is needed is equipping yourself with the knowledge to do so.

Jeremiah Johnson, our own personal Green Beret, is helping us train to be winter ready. One thing he emphasizes in a lot of his articles is that our preps aren’t the only aspect of prepping that we should focus on.


“None of us are going to be completely prepared when the bottom drops out.  Knowledge and skills should be desirous over materials, because with these you can either acquire what is needed or improvise out of what can be fabricated into something useful.”


He has been writing quite a bit about winter survival lately, and now is the time to put theory into practice. With the right gear, you can blend into your environment and survive in the harshest of environments. Here are some great articles to help you focus on winter survival!

 

Gear

What To Wear in the Harshest Conditions

Take Care of Your Feet and Your Odds of Survival Increase

How to Blend into a Winter Environment

12 Budget-Friendly Survival Essentials for the Cold Outdoors

Don’t Get Caught in the Cold Without this Essential Prep

 

Health and First-Aid

Why Drinking More Water During Winter Is Crucial to Your Survival

7 Fundamental Requirements for Cold Weather Injuries

Frostbite: How To Survive Winter’s Unrelenting Brutality

10 Must-Have First Aid Supplies for Preventing Hypothermia

 

Survival Theory

Procuring Protein Sources in Winter

Critical Training Techniques to Overcome the Elements

When You Lose Power this Winter, Here’s What You’ll Need

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Gluten-Free Blackberry Biscuits {Made with Whey}

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blackberry

This sweet berry biscuit is the perfect addition to a Sunday brunch.

 

I had a plethora of whey left over from some homemade cheese that I made and wanted to incorporate this into my baking. With my whey in hand, I decided to surprise the family with fresh blackberry biscuits for breakfast in the morning. As soon as these biscuits were out of the oven and cooling, everyone flocked into the kitchen to see what had been made. I’m not going to lie, the biscuits didn’t make it through the night.

So, here’s the warning: If you make these biscuits don’t expect them to last long. If you make a berry compote to drizzle on it – look out!

I used whey in this recipe because I had an over abundance of it from a cheese making project and have been trying to use it up. Whey can be used in lieu of liquids in baking. Sweet whey comes from cheese making where bacterial cultures have been used and the whey has been drained at a pH of 5.2 or above. This type of whey is used most for baking and can benefit your goods in two ways: it adds additional nutrition and the natural acidity makes a perfect dough conditioner. It reacts with baking soda to produce all the leavening (carbon dioxide bubbles) you need. The flavor is similar to using buttermilk and I have found it keeps the baked goods more moist (I may be wrong, but this is from my experience using it).

This gluten-free version came out delicious and it’s more nutritious compared to using wheat flours.

Gluten-Free Blackberry Biscuits

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 1/4 cups whey (if you don’t have whey, use buttermilk)
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • Course sugar to sprinkle on top
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray baking pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt and lemon zest.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the whey (or buttermilk) and melted butter.
  4. Use the spatula to fold blackberries in with the ingredients together. Mix just until all flour is moistened. Mixture should be a cake batter consistency.
  5. Brush with any remaining butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired.
  6. Bake in the preheated 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Once cooled, use a pizza cutter to cut through biscuits and serve warm.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Homesteading Basics: How To Dehydrate Herbs for Long-Term Storage

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dehydrating herbs for storageHerbs are one of the first plants we put in our garden. There is nothing like fresh culinary herbs to intensify the flavors of food. As well, herbs are hardy garden plants that don’t have to be watered as much as vegetables and can serve more than one purpose by being used as natural medicine. For instance, did you know that a sage leaf can be used instead of a band-aid because it has natural healing qualities? Some of these popular culinary herbs are oregano, thymne and sage and can grow year-round in many parts of the country.

To enjoy these herbs year round, many choose to dehydrate them when they are at the peak in freshness and combine them to make their own spices and even homemade tea blends. Can you imagine how much money you could save at the grocery store by implementing this into your pantry?

How To Dehydrate Herbs for Long-Term Storage

Dehydrating herbs and other leafy greens is one of the easiest items to dry for long-term use. All you really need is a constant stream of air. You don’t necessary have to own a dehydrator because herbs can dry naturally from the air, but it does help with even drying.

Here are some steps to get started:

  1.  Prep herbs for drying. Wash and place herbs evenly on a drying rack and ensure that enough space is make for proper air flow.
  2. Set temperature and time according to the directions on your dehydrator.
  3. Ensure that herbs are 95% dehydrated for long-term storage.

Here are some great spice mixes to start adding to your pantry!

Cajun Seasoning

  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Chili Powder

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

French Herb Mix

  • 3 tablespoons marjoram
  • 3 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons savory
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed

Chili Powder

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Storing Dehydrated Herbs

Herbs can be dehydrated to store for longer periods, but storage is important for any preserved food, and dehydrated foods are no exception. Store either in heavy duty zippered bags in a metal container, or store in dry, sterile, glass jars. For long term storage, I recommend using Mylar bags.

As I stated previously, before storing, you want to ensure that your food is 95% or more dehydrated because the more moisture your food has the more likely molds and microorganisms can grow. Like all emergency food sources, ensure that you keep your dehydrated food away from natural elements.

“Best Used By” Guidelines for Dehydrated Food 

  • Spices – 1-2 years
  • Vegetables/Fruits – Up to 12 months
  • Meats – Best at 1-2 months, but can be stored for 6 months.

We are all looking for frugal ways to bulk up our preparedness pantries. Using herbs is a great way to do that. Some of our favorite herbs we love to grow in our garden can be utilized to make long-term herbal seasonings to use year round. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start dehydrating!

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Doomsday Clock Ticks 30 seconds Closer to End Times

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doomsday clockHumans have been the cause of our own demise for centuries. Because of our self-destructive natures, scientists created a symbolic Doomsday Clock to show “how close we are to destroying our civilization.” Well Folks, on Thursday, that End Times clock jumped 30 seconds closer to midnight.

According to the experts, we now have 2.5 minutes to go before civilization ends. Those experts are comprised of a board of the nonprofit Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’  along with input from a board of sponsors which includes 15 Nobel Laureates.

According to the article, “Scientists moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight on Thursday amid increasing worries over nuclear weapons and climate change.

Each year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a nonprofit that sets the clock, decides whether the events of the previous year pushed humanity closer or further from destruction. The symbolic clock is now two-and-a-half minutes from midnight, the closest it’s been to midnight since 1953, when the hydrogen bomb was first tested.  Scientists blamed a cocktail of threats ranging from dangerous political rhetoric to the potential of nuclear threat as the catalyst for moving the clock closer towards doomsday.”

USA Today

According to the article, the Bulletin pointed to President Donald Trump’s  ‘careless rhetoric on nuclear weapons and other issues as well as his troubling stance on climate change.’ The threat of nuclear warfare also played heavily into the time on the clock, as do the dangers of climate change the threat from cyber technology, according to the group’s website.

Are We Really Living in the End Times?

Whether you see logic why scientists moved us up on clock or not, you’d have to be blind not to see how the entire world is in jeopardy. For years we have been starting down the threats of food shortages, political upheaval, an increase in crime across the board, a barrage of civil unrest around the world, economic decline – should I go on?

Perhaps the clock isn’t too far off. Many of the ultra-rich have taken notice to the turbulent times and have quietly been making preparations to “bug out” when the time comes. One thing is for sure, they are aware of what is happening in the world, the country and locally and you should be paying attention too.


Be aware of what is happening in the world, the country, and your immediate locale.


Many believe these issues are the perfect recipe for catastrophe. While we can theorize about what may or may not happen, we need to understand that we are operating on limited information. Logically speaking, the best way to prepare for the unpredictable nature of these types of scenarios is by getting ready for them and making preparations ahead of time.

The following are ways to prepare for these erratic disasters:

  •   Start preparing your home, your family and mind for more difficult times.
  • Create a food pantry. Creating a food supply is very beneficial to your budget. It is an investment into your future livelihood. One thing analysts and financial pundits agree on is that, in general, commodities will continue to rise. When others are buying foods at inflated prices, you will be consuming your investment when it was purchased at a lower price. Using a combination of shelf stable foods, you can create a well-rounded food supply to depend on when an emergency arises.
  • Simplifying your lifestyle. Before you begin investing, take steps to get out of debt. Debt only enslaves you further, and simplifying your lifestyle can help break those shackles. Learn about these 6 ways to simplify your lifestyle.
  • Preserve your wealth. Choose hard assets (dry goods, precious metals, land, livestock, skills, etc.) for long-term investments so they will hold their intrinsic value over time. Holding these types of investments will insulate you from inflation and other economic issues. Further, by tying your money up in assets it will help you avoid spending the money, thus furthering your cause of self-reliant living.
  • Become a neo-pioneer! Carve a path in your life where you are no longer dependent on consuming at stores to live. Garden and grow your own food, raise livestock, learn skills to live self-reliantly, barter for goods and services.

No one knows for certain if the Doomsday Clock is accurate or if we are any closer to doomsday than we were yesterday, but what we do know is it’s an indicator of how tumultuous the times may be. And, as we learned throughout history, sometimes even the best of intentions can have disastrous consequences.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

How To Think Like a SEAL: Training Exercises to Toughen Your Mind

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In our fast paced hustle in life, we rarely have time to sit down and really spend time doing something just for us. For many of you, prepping has either been an ongoing part of your life, or you have just joined the tribe and are voraciously reading every type of prepper material you can get your hands on.

In our haste to get our homes ready, mental preparation is usually pushed far back on the list of priorities.  Following a disaster, people experience a variety of reactions, but two emotions they experience the most are fear and panic. Without being mentally prepared for a disaster, many succumb to the traumatic event due to their emotional responses. Inevitably, if you do not mentally prepare your mind for the disaster, fear, distress, shock, indecision, panic will set in and eventually you will give up altogether. I won’t lie to you, this is something that could make or break you in a true disaster and takes lots of training. Folks, mentally preparing yourselves for disasters needs to be a priority.

It’s All Mental, Baby!

First things first, here’s the secret to survival – it’s all mental. You want to be the person who is well prepared, understands the situation and is able to react fluidly to the changes that occur. You DON’T want to be the person who mentally breakdown, stresses and emotionally reacts – this is a dangerous person to be.

Be in control of your mind, don’t let your mind control you. 

If you can understand how your mind reacts to disasters, you can learn to quiet it, slow the thinking down and learn to make more rational decisions. This puts you in a more adaptable position to survive and get through the disaster.

SEALs training focuses on this very issue. This video explains the brain’s reaction to fear and panic and how to overcome these natural reactions.

Conquering Fear and Panic with Mental Exercises

Here’s the thing, we all want to avoid getting injured, looted, attacked and left exposed in a dire emergency. These are all fear-based thoughts and although they are a stark reality that some may face, they are also situations that many want to try to avoid thinking about altogether. Stress, fear and anxiety are all considered to be negative and destructive emotions. However, they can be channeled to your advantage and are the very situations we need to think about!

We forget how healthy a little dose of fear is. From a physiological standpoint, fear gives us an edge and is designed to alert your mind and body to the fact that danger may be imminent and then is triggered the sympathetic and parasympathetic response, which is the fight or flight mechanism of your nervous system.  It physiologically has to do with epinephrine and norepinephrine produced in your body, as well as your adrenal system. If you do not have control over your mind, fear can break one’s resolve and cause indecision. Remember, it’s all in your attitude!

In order to overcome the fear, you need to gradually/incrementally condition yourself to facing it. Your key to success lies in the way you condition your mind. Don’t let your fear dictate how you live your life. Expose yourself to these fears in a controlled and safe environment. This helps you to overcome them faster. You can read more on how to face your fears to gain empowerment.

4 Ways to Push the Boundaries and Train Your Brain Like a Navy SEAL

  1. Bring structure to chaos – Making preparedness lists, breaking down emergencies and setting small achievable goals trains the mind and keeps you moving.
  2. Mental rehearsal – Visualize and practice in your mind what the stressful situation is and how you will survive. That way, when you physically face it, you will have less reaction.
  3. Self Talk – The way you talk to yourself holds a lot of power in how successful your survival will be. Positive self talk can override the fear signal and likely to overcome the situation.
  4. Arousal Control – Controlling your breath offsets panic and gets more oxygen to the brain to perform better.

As well, a community or group of like-minded people will help you keep your head in the game, teach you vital skills and help carry the load. A prepper group are more likely to thrive than the “lone wolf” doing things themselves.

Remember your mental self talk. When you start feeling mentally frazzled and more inclined to think negatively, try taking these steps to center yourself. Depending on your schedule you will want to explore ways to meditate and times to conduct your sessions.  This will enable you to train yourself to be able to go into “relaxation” mode on command, when you so decide.

As writer, Jeremiah Johnson once wrote, “We can’t win every battle and come out on top; however, we can reduce the amount of the pain and suffering by toughening ourselves mentally.  This is one of the ways the human race has survived…as individuals and as a group.  We must use that most powerful tool that we have…our mind…and couple it with our hearts and the resolve to win. ”

Ultimately, you need to give yourself time and patience to practice mental preparedness. The time involved is the very reason why so many people put it off. Our minds should constantly be stimulated and exercised. If they are not, in a crisis you could panic and make rash decisions. This is definitely not what we want for you. Over the years, the writing team at Ready Nutrition have written countless articles on how to prepare your mind to be mentally tough for a shtf event.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Natural Medicine: How to Make and Apply an Herbal Poultice

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poutlice1


“The fruit of it shall be for eating and leaf of it for healing…” (Ezekiel 47:12)


5 years ago, I came down with a bad upper respiratory infection. I was taking over the counter medicines, but none seemed to work and I was worried about secondary infections. My wife grandmother suggested I make a mustard plaster (poultice) for my chest. She told me that was what her mother did when she was a child. If it would help me with my chest congestion, I’d try anything. You know what? After a few applications, it worked!

We live in an amazing world where everything is provided for, all that is needed is to learn and understand how to use it. In our pursuit to live a more simplistic lifestyle, it is paramount to understand the vast world of herbs. Some of our favorite herbs can be lifesaving and easily grown in our backyard.

One of the easiest and fastest ways to use herbal medicine is by making a poultice. Poultices are one of the safest ways to use herbal remedies directly on the skin. The overall benefit of using this herbal remedy is the direct contact the body will receive from the herb or plant. While poultices are not as concentrated as essential oils or tinctures but they are an effective way of treating insect bites, burns, sore muscles, and sprains. They also assist is in drawing out infections and are great to help with blood poisoning, swollen glands, cysts, boils, pimples, internal injuries and even tumors. As well, poultices can be used to loosen chest congestion, aiding in expectoration of phlegm.

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What is Needed to Make an Herbal Poultice

poultice2

How To Make a Poultice

Familiarize yourself with natural herbs that grow nearby so that you can later forage for these when needed. For instance, plantain is a common green weed that is often found in lawns. If you know how to recognize it, you can use its extensive medicinal qualities. If you are foraging for herbs, make sure the area hasn’t been sprayed with any type of chemical. The most basic poultice applies the herbs to the skin, either directly or folded into a piece of cotton fabric.

In that same vein, this website states that herbal teas and extracts can also be used. “Compresses can be made using teas or extracts. A cloth dipped in arnica can be applied to unbroken skin to relieve bruising and sprains. Hot castor oils packs are unparalleled for rheumatic joints or congested muscles. Cool sage tea soothes abrasions and vinegar compresses are healing for sprains, sore throat, swollen glands, and aching muscles. Lastly, witch hazel is known to reduce the inflammation in varicose veins and hemorrhoids.”

Some popular herbs to have on hand are:

  • Aloe vera
  • Chamomile
  • Calendula
  • Comfrey 
  • Echinacea
  • Elderberry
  • Golden Seal
  • Lavender
  • Marsh mallow
  • Mullein
  • Nettle
  • Oats
  • Plantain
  • St. Johns Wort
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow

Applying a Poultice

*If you are using fresh herbs or vegetables, mash or grate them and mix with boiling water to form a paste. If you plan on using dried herbs or clay, just add enough boiling water to form a thick paste.

Using both hot and cold poultices will create different reactions from the skin:

Applying a hot herbal poultice relax spasms and relieve pain. They also draw blood to the skin’s surface and increase circulation. The heat also pull impurities to the surface and relieves congestion (like my grandmother’s mustard plaster) to affected areas. To prolong the heat of the poultice, cover with a towel to keep. You can also apply a hot water bottle or heating pad over the poultice. Replace the poultice as it cools down and repeat as needed (for up to an hour at a time). As well, herbs can be added into a large muslin bag and added to the bath.

Applying a cold poultice or compress reduces inflammation and swelling and soothes excess heat that occurs from sunburns, bruises, strains, sprains, swollen glands and mastitis.

Fomentation is an external application of alternating hot and cold poultices to help capillaries dilate and constrict. This manipulation of the blood flow is one of the best and safest mechanisms for removing congestion and obstruction out the system. Apply a cold (kept cold using ice cubes) compress and leave on for 2-3 minutes. Next, apply a hot compress for 2-3 minutes. Alternate between hot and cold for at least 20 minutes. Alternating hot and cold compresses are also particularly useful for sprains to speed healing and repair. Herbs such as elder leaf, ginger, comfrey or horsetail could be of use here.

Note: A good rule with compresses and poultices is that if it feels uncomfortable then remove it immediately. Anything that is too hot or causing irritation or itching is best removed and allowed to cool or discarded. You can also make compresses with a few drops of essential oil dispersed in warm or cold water in place of teas or tinctures.

Best Types of Herbal Poultices

  1. Wound Healing Poultice – This combination of herbs help to reduce inflammation, sooth irritation, disinfect wounds, stop bleeding and heal tissue. Adding a tablespoon each of dried plantain leaf, Calendula flowers, thyme leaf and yarrow and adding to an empty tea bag will help soothe and heal. This poultice can be made ahead of time and even used on hiking or camping trips. Simply, place the herbs into the tea bag and seal the bag by stapling the ends together. Add tea bags to a plastic container and store in a cool dark place or in first aid kit. To use as a poultice place the bag in hot or warm water and soak for 1- 2 minutes and then apply to the affected area. You can then wrap the area with either a bandage or clear plastic to keep it moist and in place. Healing Antiseptic Wash: The same herbs mentioned above can be used to make a strong antiseptic wash as well. Place the bag in boiling water  and steep for 20 – 30 minutes.  Allow the liquid to sit until it is cool enough to apply to the skin. Remove the bag and reserve the liquid. Once the liquid is cool enough to apply to the skin it can be used to wash and disinfect the affected area.
  2.  Grandma’s Mustard Plaster – Break up congestion in the sinuses or chest. Use 4 tablespoons of flour, 1 tablespoon dry mustard, lukewarm water and a hand towel to make this poultice. Make a paste with ingredients and add to one half of a hand towel. Fold in half and apply to chest area for 20 minutes. Thoroughly wash off after you are finished applying. Repeat steps to back of chest for 20 minutes and wash off when finished. Take note: mustard can burn the skin. Before using, cover the skin with olive oil and then make sure to remove and check frequently and move the compress around to prevent burning.
  3. Poultice for Muscle Strains or Broken Bones – Comfrey reduces swelling and heal wounds and is an excellent herb to use in speeding the healing process of sprains, strains and broken bones. St. John’s wort relieves nerve and muscle pain. To make poultice: crush a handful of comfrey leaves and pour enough boiling water in small bowl to cover leaves. Using a mortar and pestle, mash into a pulp and allow to cool off. Once cool, with a spoon spread the pulp directly on the affected area. Cover with gauze and bandage to hold poultice in place. Leave on for several hours.
  4. Poultice for Insect Bites – Powdered clay including red, green or white clay is an essential component of a natural first aid kit and can help draw out toxins to the surface of the skin from spider bites, mosquito bites, or bee stings. It also relieves swelling from bites. Simply fill a 2-4 ounce container of dry clay, and then moisten with small amounts of water until a paste like consistency is achieved. The paste can be applied to bites, stings, boils, or acne. This poultice can also be used to remove stubborn splinters. Chickweed and lemon balm are also good herbs to use as a poultice for insect bites.
  5. Poultice for Boils  Onions possess antiseptic properties that act as an antimicrobial and irritant to draw blood and “heat” to the boil. Cut a thick slice of onion and place it over the boil. Wrap the area with a cloth. Change the poultice every three to four hours until the boil comes to a head and drains. You can also use a slippery elm and thyme poultice to draw out boils and heal the skin. Here’s what to do: Mash a handful of thyme leaves and cover with boiling water and allow to cool. Pour off excess water and mix in 2 tablespoons of slippery elm powder. Apply directly to the boil or enclose the pulp in gauze. Leave in place for several hours.

The old ways of doing things should not be disregarded. There is a reason our ancestors used these herbs and why the herbal ingredients continue to be shared. In a time when we are becoming resistant to modern medicines due to overuse, it would be advantageous to start turning back to these old remedies.

We’d love to hear what your favorite poultices are! Share them with the Ready Nutrition Community below.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

The Ultimate Chicken Crap Composting Guide

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chicken crapThere are no two ways about it – your soil needs nutrition regularly. This isn’t just dirt that we’re talking about. We’re talking about soil and soil is alive. In order for plants to grow to their optimum capacity, they need bio-intensive nutrients present in the soil to assist with growth, root development and disease prevention. While there are other nutrients needed for perfect soil, there are three responsible for the overall health of the plant.

1. Nitrogen: Encourages green foliage by producing chlorophyll and improves leaf development.

2. Phosphorus: Phosphorus promotes good root production and helps plants withstand environmental stress and harsh winters.

3. Potassium: Potassium strengthens plants, contributes to early growth and helps retain water. It also affects the plant’s disease and insect suppression.

This Bi-Product is One of the Leading Soil Amendments and Preferred by Most Organic Farmers

While most of these elements and nutrients are naturally found in soil, sometimes they can become depleted and need to be added to help the soil get healthy again. Those of you who are working towards sustainability are well versed in the importance of composting and may even be making the most of your property by caring for backyard livestock.  If you do have livestock, you probably have a plethora of the bi-product they produce – manure. Once composted, aged manure is a great addition to create rich soil. In particular, chicken manure can be one of the best types of manure to add.


“Chicken manure has higher levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium compared to cattle, sheep or horse manure.”


Safe Handling

While chicken manure is a desirable compost to add to the garden, there are some things you need to know before you apply this soil amendment. First of all, gloves should be used when handling manure. Salmonella spp., E. coli and other human pathogens are present in chicken manure, so handle carefully. As well, because chicken manure is packed full of powerful nutrients, it is considered a “hot manure” and requires proper composting. Make no mistake, raw chicken manure applied to plants can burn, and even kill them. Moreover, since vegetables are growing in compost manured, take extra care when harvesting. Thoroughly wash any harvested vegetable or fruits that touched with compost with soapy water. As well, peel root vegetables and wash leafy greens with soap, or thoroughly cook garden vegetables before eating to kill any pathogens that may remain in the soil.

How To Compost Chicken Manure

Did you know that one hen produces 45 pounds of manure every year. This livestock is a pooping machine! Taking that 45 pounds of chicken manure and chicken litter and applying it each year to 100 square feet of soil will work wonders in your vegetable garden and increase the fertility of your soil.

There are two ways to compost chicken manure. Cold composting is a slow aged process that requires weeks for the manure and chicken bedding to age and mellow. Hot composting creates an interior heat in the center of the compost mound and the high-heat cooks the manure and considerably shortens the composting process.

Cleaning out the chicken coop is the best time to start a composting pile for your manure. When we prepare our chicken coops, we use a layer of cedar chips and them apply straw every month or so until it’s time to clean the coop again. This process naturally gives the future compost a 2:1 ratio of brown material to green material.

Cold Composting Method:

This composting process allows nature to do its business. Manure is added to a compost heap and allowed to sit and slowly decompose.

  1. Add a shovelful of already finished compost or native soil, which will be full of microorganisms to jump-start the process.
  2. Using gloves, rake, shovel and deposit the bedding and chicken droppings directly into the compost pile.
  3. Water it thoroughly and then turn the pile every few weeks to get air into the pile. Allow six to nine months for the manure to naturally age.
  4. Once compost has aged properly, it is done when originally bedding and manure is no longer recognizable and has turned into rich, dark soil.
  5. Once you have finished chicken manure composting, it is ready to use. Simply spread the chicken manure compost evenly over the garden. Work the compost into the soil with either a shovel or a tiller.
  6. Thoroughly wash any raw vegetables before eating.

*If you are uncertain how well your chicken manure has been composted, you can wait up to 12 months to use your chicken manure compost.

Hot Composting Method

This is a faster composting method that heats the composting manure up to high temperatures that will kill off weed seeds and pathogens (diseases), and break down the material into very fine compost considerably faster than the cold composting method.

  1. Add a shovelful of already finished compost or native soil, which will be full of microorganisms to jump-start the process.
  2. Using gloves, rake, shovel and deposit the bedding and chicken droppings directly into the compost pile that is 3 cubic feet (1 cubic meter) in size and no more than 5 cubic feet (1.5 cubic meters). *This size creates the best heat and moisture to speed the decomposition process.
  3. Water compost pile thoroughly (It should be as wet as a wrung sponge).
  4. Cover compost pile with a large burlap or other breathable tarp to maintain moisture.
  5. With a garden thermometer, take pile’s temperature daily to ensure the temperatures rise to 120 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. This usually takes one to five days. *Temperature trends are approximate and vary depending on the type of materials you’re composting, the size of the pieces, the level of moisture, and so on.
  6. Every four to seven days, when the temperature of the pile begin to drop below 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius), turn all of the organic matter to introduce more oxygen and heat it back up.Thoroughly mix materials from the pile’s exterior to the interior. If needed, water as you turn to maintain the “wrung-out-sponge” moisture level. *Be careful not to get material too wet, because doing so cools off the pile.
  7. After about 14 days, the ingredients of the organic matter will no longer be recognizable. Continue monitoring and recording daily temperatures and repeating the turning process.Turn every four to five days, when the temperature drops below 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius). Add moisture, if needed. Turn a total of four times throughout one month.
  8. After 1 month, the pile no longer heats up after turning, and the bulk of it is dark, crumbly compost.The temperature drops to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius) or lower.
  9. Monitor the pile and once you are satisfied that the entire contents of your bin has been heated, loosely cover and allow the compost to cure for 45-60 days before using.

More information on this process here

When your chicken manure has sufficiently turned into fertilizer, simply spread evenly over the garden. Work the compost into the soil with either a shovel or a tiller and watch how fast your plants will grow.

The use of manure is an integral part of sustainable gardening and adds necessary organic matter in soil to improve water and nutrient retention. In turn, this creates a prolific ecosystem in the soil to give your plants what they need to produce. Adding chicken manure is an excellent soil amendment and if composted properly, you will find that your vegetables will grow bigger and healthier as a result.

 

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Ask Tess: I’m Vacuum Sealing Food For the First Time

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Hi Tess,

I am a first timer and I am wondering if I need to freeze my peas, beans and lentils before I vacuum pack them in the jars and vacuum bags? Also do I need to put oxygen absorbers in the bags and jars? Thanks.

A Reader

Answer:

Hello,
Vacuum sealing is a great way to get your long-term food stores stocked up. Congrats on taking those first crucial steps!

Many people freeze there long-term food items to kill off any insects or eggs that may be inside the packaging. If you are worried about insects getting on the long-term food items, then you can freeze them for 24-48 hours and then vacuum seal them. When I vacuum seal my dried goods, I always add an oxygen absorber in with the food. This helps the food stay fresh for the long-term. Also, if you live in an area that has high humidity, you might want to consider adding a desiccant packet as well. This helps absorb any moisture that is present inside the food sealed bag.

Since you’re a first timer, here are some articles that you may find helpful:

I hope this gets you on the right path. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me.

Good Luck!
Tess

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

A Beginners Guide to Sausage Making (Recipes Included)

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 My grandfather was a large influence on my passion for homesteading. He was an avid gardener, hunter, made his own wine and sausage; and was always generous about sharing.

He made use of the plethora of meat he would get from hunting or deals he found at the grocery store. Once he was loaded up on meat, he would get his meat grinder out and carefully cut his meat for grinding and make some of the best sausage you could ever have. I grew up on his homemade sausage and could never get enough. I am a big believer in sharing family recipes and did so in my book, The Prepper’s Cookbook, so I had to share some of my favorite sausage recipes too.

Sausage making is a great way to use up an abundance of meats in the home freezer. I use an assortment of cheap meats. My grandfather’s secret was using equal amounts of brisket and pork butt.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • large mixing bowl
  • sharp knife
  • meat grinder (look for one that has multiple speeds and has a reverse capability. It helps with unclogging the grinder)
  • sausage casings (natural or non-edible casings is a personal choice)
  • assorted spices or buy a prepared spice pack
  • cure salt (I like this one) – Use 1 teaspoon of curing salt per 5 lbs. of meat.
  • meat: stew meat, roasts, briskets, pork butts, pork shoulder, etc.
  • baker’s twine

Prepping the Meat

Any meat can be used in sausage making, but typically, pork and beef are used. Pork shoulder is a great meat to use as it has 20% fat and creates a nice balance to the sausage. As well, it is sold at a low-cost. Place it on a plate or pan in the freezer, along with the grinder parts that will contact the meat. Leave it there for about 20 minutes until it is firm but do not let it freeze. This makes grinding easier.

Here’s a great video on getting the meat prepped for grinding and stuffing.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

BREAKFAST SAUSAGE

  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
  2. Form mixture into patties and place on a large dish.
  3. Over medium heat, saute the patties in a large skillet for 5 minutes per side, or until internal pork temperature reaches 160 degrees F (73 degrees C).
  4. Or, add sausage patties to a freezer bag and freeze for later. Tip: We like to freeze them on a large cookie sheet with wax paper. Once frozen, we add them to a freezer bag.

SUMMER SAUSAGE

  • 5 pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon Morton Tender Quick curing salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, for spicy (optional)
  • summer sausage casings (if you plan on smoking your summer sausage)

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef and spices until well blended.
  2. Cover mixture with foil and allow to cure in refrigerator for 48 hours. Season with garlic powder, curing mixture, liquid smoke and mustard seed, and mix thoroughly. It is best to use your hands for this – like meatloaf. Form the mixture into two rolls, and wrap with aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. If you are smoking your meat: Add meat to casing either by stuffing by hand, using a sausage stuffer or sausage stuffing attachment for an electric meat-grinder.
  4. If you plan on baking your summer sausage: Shape the mixture into five logs and wrap in foil. Set on a wire rack over a large drip pan.
  5. See cooking directions below.

Smoking Instructions:

  1. To smoke summer sausage, smoke at 140 degrees F for 1 hour, then at 180 degrees F until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F (insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the sausage). Tip: Soak your wood chips in beer to give your sausage an authentic flavor. I used Sierra Nevada IPA and it turned out delicious.
  2. Remove from smokehouse and place in ice water to cool down rapidly.

Baking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove foil from the beef, and poke holes in the bottom of the rolls. Place them on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan to catch the drippings.
  3. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven.
  4. Cool, then wrap in plastic or foil, and refrigerate until cold before slicing.

BRATWURST

  • 3 pounds pork shoulder or butt
  • 1 pound beef or pork fat or a blend
  • 4 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5 teaspoons salt

Instructions:

  1. Grind the meat using a fine grinding plate.
  2. After grinding, add the sausage seasonings to the meat and blend by hand or use a meat mixer. Be sure to mix thoroughly to ensure the ingredients are spread evenly throughout the meat.
  3. Pinch off a small piece of the sausage and cook it in a frying pan let it cool and taste to see if the seasoning is to your taste.
  4. Stuff by hand or by using a sausage stuffer or sausage stuffing attachment for an electric meat-grinder. (Note: do NOT use the blade in meat-grinder when stuffing and it is best to use a stuffing (bean) plate). If you wish, You can also form patties without casings.
  5. See cooking instructions below.

Baking or Grilling Instructions:

  1. Prick bratwurst with fork to prevent them from exploding as they cook. Place in a large stock pot with the onions, butter, and beer. Place pot over medium heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat grill for medium-high heat.
  3. Lightly oil grate. Cook bratwurst on preheated grill for 10 to 14 minutes, turning occasionally to brown evenly. 

Smoking Instructions:

  1. Preheat your smoker or grill to about 225 degrees F.
  2. Place the sausages on an indirect side away from the heat. Add wood to the heat right after the meat goes on, and smoke for only 30 to 60 minutes at the start while the meat is cold. There should be no need to turn the meat.
  3. Heat for at least 1 hour, but check the internal temp with a digital meat thermometer and make sure the internal meat temperature is at least 160°F.

It’s nice to be able to carry on a family tradition that I loved as a child. I can honestly say that my kids are big fans of homemade sausage and it is my hope these recipes will live on.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Be Prepared! 20 Must-Read Articles to Get Started Prepping

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 This last year opened my eyes to how quickly our world can turn upside down and how fast people can turn on one another. Towards the year’s end, I sat and reflected on the failures that we all witnessed: our government failures, the poisonous election season, our doomed economy and riots caused by civil unrest.

I asked the Ready Nutrition Facebook community where they felt they were in regards to their prepping endeavors and I was pleasantly surprised to see a new crop of beginners. It seems that many shared in my bleak sentiments. We see a storm on the horizon and know that it is in our best interest to take steps to stay ahead of it. This renewed my passion to get essential prepping information out there and as the saying says, “there is no better time to making changes than the start of a new year.” It’s a new year and we all want to turn over a new leaf.

We are all in the same place – a need to get ready

“This year, I’m finally going to get prepped.” Does that sound familiar? Whether you and a beginner prepper for seasoned, you may not be at the place you had hoped. You aren’t alone. I had prepping plans that I hoped to accomplish by now, but sometimes life gets in way. As well, the more I prep, the more I realize I have so much more to learn. Give yourself a break if you haven’t gotten where you wanted to be. Don’t feel pressured if others surpass you. We are all on our own journey and some may learn faster than others – the point is to stick with it.

This is the single best way to start prepping

Researching and creating a family based emergency plan is the best way to stay organized and on point with your prepping. Have multiple contingency plans too! If Plan A doesn’t work, fall upon Plan B and Plan C, and so on.

You need to understand the disaster you are planning for, how to be mentally and spiritually prepared for it and, ultimately, what supplies and skills you need to thrive. As well, I want to emphasize how important it is to reach out to the prepper community. Learn from each other and don’t be afraid to include your mistakes and failures as part of your education. This is part of the learning curve, and a necessary one at that!

There are some of you who are new to prepping and some that may want a refresher course, so today I thought I would send some links to Ready Nutrition articles that have been the most helpful in getting people on the preparedness track.

20 Must-Read Articles to Get on the Preparedness Path

Below, you’ll find some suggestions for the items you should begin to accumulate. As well, consider these 8 basic preparedness items to compliment your supplies with.

Why You Should Prepare 

5 Ways to Store Water for Short-Term Emergencies

5 Reasons You Should Be Preparing

When the Trucks Stop Delivering, ‘The System’ Will Collapse

The Prepper’s Beginners Guide Part 1 and Part 2

 

Lists of Essential Preparedness Gear and Supplies 

The One-Year Pantry, Layer by Layer

How to Save Food When You’re Off the Grid

Best Practices For Long Term Food Storage

25 Must Have Survival Foods: Put Them In Your Pantry Now

52-Weeks to Preparedness

30 Survival Items You Can Get at the Dollar Store

Short Term Emergency Checklist

Emergency Items: What Will Disappear First

How to Build a 72-Hour Kit

Urban Disasters: Have These 20 Items On You If You Want to Make It Home

What You Have to Do To Prep on the Fly

 

Long-Term Food Storage Solutions

How to Dehydrate Foods for Long Term Storage

Is Freeze-Dried Food Worth the Investment?

Vacuum Sealing for Long-Term Food Storage

Using Your Freezer as a Long Term Food Storage Solution

You can do this!

Now that you have information only a click away, there’s nothing holding you back from getting started! The only thing holding you back from realizing your prepper goals is yourself. You can do this! There is still time to get ready for disasters, but it is important not to waste time. Good luck, preppers! I’m rooting for you and will continue to get more information out to you!

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Is Freeze-Dried Food Worth the Investment?

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 Prepping and freeze-dried food are synonymous with one another. For years, the freeze-dried food industry have profited heavily on families wanting to get their pantries emergency ready. But is it worth all the hype and money?

There are many who wonder if the investment into this long-term food source is the right one for them and have asked questions like: Can you really survive the apocalypse with freeze-dried food? How long is the shelf-life when the #10 can is opened? Are these foods nutritionally complete? What other options are there for long-term food storage?

The Pros

There are many pros to having #10 cans of this long-term food source in your prepper pantry. Freeze-dried food is flash frozen and then put in a vacuum container causing the water vaporize, and leaving the food item with 98% of its water removed.Nutritionally speaking, the food retains all the nutrients that it had in its original form after the freeze-drying process and contains little to no additives. This process keeps a majority of the nutrition in tact. Gary Stoner, Ph.D., and the American Institute for Cancer Research have found that the antioxidant phytochemicals found in fresh fruits is about the same as in their freeze-dried versions. However, some ascorbic acid levels and the amount of polyphenol, a cell-protecting chemical in berries, were measurably reduced by freeze drying. Source

As well, the cook times are drastically reduced which is helpful during emergencies when energy must to be conserved. Moreover, many find that when they are in the midst of an emergencies, stress loads increase because of drastic changes and having these “just add water” meals ready to go cuts down on the stress of food preparation. It is estimated that 98% of moisture from the food is eliminated, thus reducing the weight of the food by 80%. Those who plan on evacuating will appreciate the lighter weight during transport – especially with all the other supplies they will have in their pack. Last but not least, the 25 year storage life makes this ideal for preppers who are looking for long-lasting food options. On a personal note, my family purchased freeze-dried food in 2004 and it’s still just as fresh as when we opened up the first can. Keep in mind, once your freeze-dried food can is opened, the shelf life quickly diminishes and you will need to throw it out in six months, and if you live in a humid area, the shelf life could be cut in half.

The Cons

While, the pros are great, it comes with a hefty price tag. You are paying for all of the specialized equipment and energy it takes to preserve the food for a long shelf life. One case of freeze-dried meals can set you back over a hundred dollars with shipping included. As well, having this type of food source for your long-term food needs will require extra space to store the food. An entire years supply fits into a 2 ft x 3 ft area, stacked 5 ft high. As well, food cans could be strategically hidden in the home, underneath beds, above kitchen cabinets and in the closet.

If you are going back and forth about whether or not to invest in freeze-dried food or dehydrated food, here’s a good answer. Because 98% of the water is removed from freeze-dried foods, it will take more water to reconstitute it for meals as opposed to dehydrated foods needing a fraction of the water. An article on Modern Survival Blog gives a great explanation:

“It does take more water to reconstitute freeze-dried food than dehydrated food. I randomly pulled out a few freeze-dried food packets that I have on hand here, so that I could read the directions. The average amount of water required is a bit more than 1 cup of water per serving (which you would heat up first). On the other hand, some dehydrated food can be consumed without re-constituting with water (particularly fruits or meats). My experience with re-hydrating foods that I have previously dehydrated, are that I tend to use less than 1 cup of water per equivalent serving of vegetables than a freeze-dried food.”

Also, keep in mind that many of the freeze-dried meals are high in sodium. Many outdoor enthusiasts and hikers complain that you have to drink so much water to overcome the thirst the meals create. Make sure you have extra water on hand if you plan on using this as your main food source. As well, the high sodium can cause your bowels to become sluggish. To remedy this, purchase some over the counter meds for constipation or look for low-sodium freeze-dried options. One website states that the real key is balance.

“If you are concerned about sodium content in your food storage items, keep in mind that you can balance out the higher sodium foods you consume in a day with lower sodium foods. For example, many freeze-dried vegetables contain low or no sodium. There are also many breakfast items, like granola or oatmeal, that have very little sodium, if any.

Just like with a fresh food diet, the key is balance. If the only thing you ate every day was chicken, you’d quickly find that your diet is not providing what your body needs. But when you add lots of fruits and vegetables to that chicken and you will begin to achieve a more balanced diet.”

In that same vein, I highly recommend you also investing in sprouting seeds to ensure you are getting some fresh vitamins into your daily diet.

How Much Freeze-Dried Food Do You Need?

In an emergency situation, your caloric intake will increase due to higher activity levels, thus you will be consuming more. Keep this in mind when determining what your caloric needs will be. Once you know that magic caloric number, you can begin to find out how many freeze-dried meals you need. The Ready Store has a good calculator to get an idea how the number of cans of freeze-dried food you would need to survive.

Can You Survive Solely on Freeze-Dried Food?

So, the question is can you survive an apocalypse with freeze-dried food? Yes, you can, but the real question is do you want to?

While there are pros and cons to investing in this long-term food source, above all, you are investing in food freedom and the livelihood of your family or group. My preference is to have a little bit of everything and believe in having a layered approach to emergency food sources. You can read more about it here. We plan on using our supply of freeze-dried food after we finish our perishable foods. During the time we are using up this portion of our emergency food, we plan on getting fresh food sources established.

Ultimately, when people set out on the path to preparedness they turn to freeze-dried foods for a fast approach. After all, it is the healthiest and longest lasting emergency food source. Based on the price alone, it is difficult for many of us to use this as a sole emergency food source. There are less costly food storage options such as using a dehydrator to dry out food and is completely customizable to your dietary needs. As well, the further a person journeys into preparedness, they want to attain total self-sufficiency and look for ways to growing their own food sources through gardening and livestock.

My advice to all of you is to keep your budgets in mind before you decide to purchase bulk emergency food. You don’t want to go broke getting a food pantry set up. Prep for emergencies with the layered approach mentioned above, keep your options open and keep researching better ways to get your family ready for life’s uncertainties.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Butter Pecan Biscotti

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 For a special treat, I love dipping sweet biscotti into my warm tea or coffee. In the past, I hadn’t had much luck when I attempted to make my own. In regular biscotti recipes, the cooking process dried out the biscotti so much that the end result was always “over toasty,” to say the least.

This recipe bakes the biscotti twice (see directions) and gives it the right texture that I was going for – light and crispy.

This recipe is versatile and can be jazzed up by adding toffee or chocolate chips to the batter, nuts, dried fruits or drizzling melted chocolate for a more indulgent dessert. Rest assured, this is the perfect dessert to pair with coffee or tea.

 

Butter Pecan Biscotti

(makes 20 biscotti)

1/2 cup butter, unsalted
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla extract (I make my own. Here’s the recipe.)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

*optional: add 12 ounces of mini white or regular chocolate chip morsels, or 1/2 cup cranberries or raisins, or even some sprinkled sugar, if desired.

Instructions:

  1. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter, sugar and salt and vanilla.
  3. Add baking powder and continue mixing until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  4. Beat eggs and mix until combined.
  5. At low speed of your mixer, add the flour, stirring until dough is thick and mixed thoroughly.
  6. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet and divide it in half.
  7. Shape dough to form two 9 1/2″ x 2″ logs, about 3/4″ tall. Straighten the logs, and smooth their tops and sides.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes and remove it from the oven.
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Meanwhile, allow biscotti to cool slightly and using a long serrated knife, cut the log crosswise into 1/2″ to 3/4″ slices. Or cut the biscotti on the diagonal, for fewer, longer biscotti. The biscotti should be soft and easy to cut into.
  10. Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them for 25 to 30 minutes, until they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden.

The biscotti will have a light and crunchy feel to them, but they’ll continue to dry out as they cool.

Remove the biscotti from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool. Store airtight at room temperature; they’ll stay good for weeks.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

27 Last Minute Christmas Gifts For Your Favorite Prepper

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last minute prepper giftsIt seemed like yesterday we were wishing each other a Happy Thanksgiving, and now half of December is gone. If you are stumped on what to get your favorite prepper or are shopping at the last minute, these gift ideas could be what you’ve been looking for.

I like to focus prepper gifts on striving to enhance a prepper’s skillsets or helping one acquire the equipment they need to live in a long-term off-grid environment.

10 Stocking Stuffers

  1. Crocheting Kit
  2. Mountain House Meal Assortments (Great for 72 Hour Bags)
  3. Collapsible Walking Stick
  4. Duct Tape
  5. Cyalume SnapLight Green Glow Sticks
  6. Biolite Camping Stove
  7. Gun Cleaning Coil
  8. Balaclava
  9. Quikclot
  10. SOG Key Knife

Bonus! Titanium Escape Ring

Gifts For the Ladies

  1. Leather Purse with Concealed Holster
  2. Fermenting Starter Kit
  3. Foldable Bicycle
  4. Lodge Cookware Set
  5. Excalibur Food Dehydrator

Gifts For the Guys

  1. Tactical Hammer
  2. Cross Bow (Read more about it here)
  3. Whiskey Making Kit
  4. Goal Zero 22004 Yeti 150 Solar Generator
  5. Customized CBRN Tactical Gas Mask

If none of these gift ideas strike your fancy, check out Lehman’s or Real Goods. Both of these stores cater to off-grid living and have a huge amount of products to choose from. Check out Real Goods preparedness section – you’ll love it!

As well, don’t forget about the importance of reference manuals for the prepper library! Here are some of the top books (Warning: a shameless plug is ahead).

All of these gifts are guaranteed to delivery before Christmas, but you have to order them soon.

Merry Christmas and Happy Shopping to all of you!

Tess and the Ready Nutrition Writers

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

50 Awesome Stocking Stuffers Every Prepper Will Love

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prepper-stocking-stuffersSometimes the best gifts are the ones hanging in the stocking on Christmas morning. Adding a few stocking stuffers that are preparedness centered is a great way to help the family get more prepared.

While there are a lot of prepper-inspired products out there, this modest list of prepper-inspired products are the ones that really caught my eye. These tiny treasures have the gift of practicality and deserve a place on your preparedness shelves.

50 Awesome Stocking Stuffers Every Prepper Will Love

  1. Pocket Chainsaw
  2. River Knife Eat n’ Tool
  3. Tactical Holster Shirt
  4. Tea Variety Pack
  5. QuikClot
  6. Iosat Potassium Iodide Radiation Protection
  7. Paracord Survival Kit
  8. Tanto Knife with Fire Starter
  9. Inflatable Solar Lantern
  10. Outdoor Dry Sack
  11. Tactical Flashlight
  12. Encrypted Thumb Drive
  13. Platypus Platy Bottle
  14. Doom and Bloom SURVIVAL! Board Game
  15. RFID Blocking Wallet
  16. Human Energy Concealment Facemask
  17. Windowsill Herb Kit
  18. Portable Camping Chair
  19. Essential Oils
  20. Emergency Sleeping Bag
  21. Tactical Kuba Kickz
  22. Camping Hammock
  23. High-Intensity Glow Sticks
  24. Tactical War Hammer
  25. Keychain Carabiners 
  26. Gardening Tool Set
  27. Credit Card Survival Tool
  28. Sawyer Mini Filtration System
  29. SOG Entrenching Tool
  30. Kevlar Tactical Gloves
  31. Folding Key Knife
  32. The Prepper’s Cookbook
  33. SAM Splint Fold
  34. Green Coffee Beans
  35. Wound Seal Kit
  36. Conflicted Card Game
  37. RFID Blocking Faraday Cage
  38. 10 in 1 Wild Survival Kit Briefcase
  39. Bread Dough Hand Whisk
  40. ESEE Fixed Blade Survival Knife
  41. Wild Flower Seed Kit
  42. Maple Syrup Tree Tapping Kit
  43. LED Nightlight/Flashlight
  44. Waterproof Matches with Case
  45. Pocket Blanket
  46. Firearm Protective Eyewear
  47. SOG Snarl Fixed Blade
  48. Survival Grenade Keychain
  49. Whetstone Knife Sharpener
  50. Cell Phone/Credit Card Wallet with RFID Blocking

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Survival Fuel: You Must Have This in Your Disaster Supplies

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hikingBeing well-nourished during a disaster can mean the difference between powering through the event with strength, stamina, and energy or plodding through the situation barely able to put one foot in front of the other.

Protein in Crucial For the Prepper’s Pantry

Protein is the basic necessary structure for the growth of organic life on a molecular level.  Protein can come from vegetable and animal sources.  Protein is further broken down into amino acids, the building blocks of protein.  There are 8 essential amino acids the body needs that it does not produce on its own and needs to obtain from food sources.  They are as follows:  isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Your best sources for protein and those essential amino acids are as such: dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, oats, nuts, seeds, and soy protein.  Here is a term you need to know concerning protein, and that is the thermic effect, which is the total calories burned in the course of a day to digest your food taken in (it usually equates to about 10% of your total caloric intake).  The reason it’s important to know is that 1 gram (g) of protein and 1 g of carbohydrates supply the same amount of energy, 4 calories.

Survival Fuel

The difference is that food is energy in the form of the various chemical bondings that must be broken down, and you need 2 1/2 times the energy to break down the protein as you do the carbohydrates.  Protein prevents you from overeating by giving you a feeling of satiety, as well as speeding up the metabolism.  That protein from meats gives you muscle.  It also aids you in tissue repair.  I also stress that while the intake is important, you can’t just be an “eating machine” and not exercise/live too sedentary a lifestyle.  Then again, you guys and gals are preppers and survivalists, well aware that your body is the most important personal tool you have.

There are a couple of works I wish to cite for your further study, as they are excellent in the manner they delve into this topic from a fitness standpoint.  They are as follows:

  1. The Testosterone Advantage Plan,” by Lou Schuler and Jeff Volek, ISBN: 1-57954-507-6.  This book is geared toward men, but has a wealth of health and dietary information that women can use, as well as information on exercise that will benefit both genders.  In-depth breakdowns of protein analysis and the glycemic index, as well as the different types of exercise and the muscle systems benefited by their application.
  2. Sports Supplement Review, 3rd Issue,” by Bill Phillips, ISBN: 096587320-X.  This is one of the greatest books you can find.  It goes into each different type of amino acid and tells you the chemistry and their effects on and requirements by the human body.  It details vitamins, minerals, supplements, and could be a “Bible” for exercise…strength, conditioning, and recovery exercises in your workouts.  This book gives you scientific procedures to obtain lean body mass and maximize your protein intake.

These works will more than get you started: they’ll help you finish.  As I have mentioned ad infinitum, you need to exercise to fully develop and take advantage of all your physical gifts.  That being said, you can supplement your diet with high-protein and high-amino-acid bearing dietary aids.  I already mentioned how I like the use of the whey protein powder; I need it with as much as I lift.  There’s one out there called Nutribiotic Organic Rice Protein Powder (Plain) in a 3-lb. container, organic with 80% vegan protein content.  One serving in scoop form gives you 36 grams of protein, plus I add 2 tbsp. peanut butter (another 8 grams) and the milk (8 grams) will give you a good “jolt” of protein.  Don’t use it as a meal replacement!  It is meant to complement, not replace.  I add the peanut butter and make a shake out of it because it really tastes bad.

Another goodie: All Natural Bragg Liquid Aminos, comes in a 32-oz bottle.  Just 1/2 tsp. will give you 290 mg of aminos.  It tastes akin to soy sauce.  You can throw this into your bowl of soup, stew, mashed potatoes, or dish such as casseroles.  It actually tastes pretty good, and you can use this to flavor your food a little better while adding amino acids.

You Need More Protein in Colder Months

During the winter months, you need more protein than usual.  The cold causes your body to need to break down more calories to provide more heat internally.  High protein diets take away some of that seasonal debilitation.  Needless to say, the high protein will also benefit you in the times of cold and flu by helping you to boost your resistance and (if you should get the sickness) hasten your recovery if necessary.  Protein is very important.  In our next segment, we’re going to cover survival sources of protein and explain why you can’t just live off of a diet of wild game and other niceties of wilderness living.  Until next time keep your powder dry, take care of one another, and turkey sandwiches…lots of turkey sandwiches!  JJ out!

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Thriving When It Counts: How To Use Bug Infested Food

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It is a fact that bugs in all of their life cycles can be harmful to your stored food sources. They are one of the true enemies of your food supply and can usually be avoided by properly storing food for long-term use. But there are times when they find a way to get into your food supply. While these infestations may prevent humans from consuming it, take comfort in knowing that all is not lost! But first, the facts!

Pantry pests damage food by contaminating it with their bodies and their by-products. According to an integrated pest management system, nearly all dried food products are susceptible to insect infestation, including cereal products (grains, oats, cornmeal, rice, spaghetti, crackers, and cookies); seeds such as dried beans and popcorn; nuts; chocolate; raisins and other dried fruits; spices; powdered milk; tea; and cured meats.

The Usual Suspects

  • The larval stage of the Indianmeal moth produces frass (excrement) and webbing, and some beetle larvae produce secretions that give food a disagreeable odor and taste.
  • Setae (hairs) from the warehouse beetle can irritate the mouth, throat, and stomach of people who eat infested products.
  • In addition, pantry pests might introduce microbes into the food that could produce mycotoxins (highly carcinogenic compounds), especially if the food is stored in warm, humid conditions.

In The Prepper’s Cookbook, it was emphasized that insects are most likely to infest food products that have been opened but are also capable of penetrating unopened paper, thin cardboard, and plastic, foil, or cellophane-wrapped packages. They may chew their way into packages or crawl in through folds and seams. Insects within an infested package begin multiplying and can spread to other stored foods not only in the same area but in other rooms in a home. All stages (egg, larva, pupa, and adult) may be present simultaneously in infested products. Source

That said, there are times that even though all precautions are taken at preserving your food supply, sometimes bug infestations happen. Here are some ways to reuse food that has been infested.

A Bold New Approach to Feeding Livestock

While infested food may be less palatable in certain circumstances, some dry goods can be fed to livestock. Dry grains and cereals are already given to chickens, goats, pigs and cattle as a nutritional supplement. As well, many animals naturally gravitate to ingesting bugs. Goats, chickens, pigs and even cows.

Infested dry beans can also be incorporated into livestock’s diet. Edible beans (e.g. navy, pinto, kidney) that are shrunken, broken and/or discolored will not make the grade for human consumption and may make their way into cattle rations for added protein. In an article on the subject, researchers believe that certain bug infested grains and foods can be fed to livestock for added nutrition.

A new article in the journal Animal Feed Science and Technology notes that insects literally breed like flies and are highly efficient (because they are cold-blooded) at converting their feed into body mass. Though it may need to be supplemented with calcium and other nutrients, that body mass is rich in the proteins and fats animals need. But the best part—questions of squeamishness aside—is that insects can thrive on manure and other waste.

The article reviews the state of research on livestock use of locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, black soldier fly larvae, housefly maggots, mealworms, and silkworms. Each has advantages and disadvantages in different habitats and for different species, but together they offer a battery of alternatives to conventional soybean and fishmeal feed.

Black soldier fly larvae are already commonly sold as pet food and fish bait. Studies suggest that pigs and poultry could do as well or better on a larvae-based feed as on soybean and fishmeal feeds. The larvae could also be a practical alternative on fish farms, particularly where customers object to feeding fish other fish. For some fish and for poultry, eating insects may also be a lot closer to their natural diet than are conventional livestock feeds.

Source

Note: this is not to be confused with feeding livestock moldy food. Doing so can introduce toxins to the livestock that can make them ill and possibly die. Moreover, molded feed contains fungal spores that, if inhaled, can cause a myriad of health issues such as respiratory allergies, or a type of pneumonia that prevents oxygen from getting into the bloodstream.

Why This Approach is Brilliant!

Farmers raising livestock for meat have been on the look out for ways to introduce for nturiets to the animals diets and cut down on feed costs. This sustainable approach could be the answer they have been looking for. A meal ground from infested grains and cereals can be fed to livestock and will drastically cut down on feed costs. As well, one can consider growing fodder to further supplement the livestock diet.

Using this “insect meal” is also beneficial in an organic garden and add needed nutrients to the soil. This promotes a more sustainable gardening method.

To ensure a healthy transition into this alternative food source, research what types of food pests could be added to your livestock’s diet beforehand. This could be a great way to add additional nutrition to the livestock’s diet and make better use of the food you would otherwise throw away.

According to Science Magazine, “regulatory agencies are beginning to weigh the benefits against potential safety risks, including the possibility that insects might accumulate environmental toxins or even transmit diseases to the farm animals that eat them. On 8 October, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Parma, Italy, released its first report on the risks of using insects as food and animal feed. It concluded that the risks depend on the insect species used—and that more studies like PROteINSECT are needed before livestock or fish are switched to this new diet. But in other countries, the brave new world of industrial-scale insect farming is already on view.”

 

Recommended Reading:

http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/insect-pests-of-stored-food/

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7452.html

http://www.chowhound.com/post/bugs-rice-edible-301992

 

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

2016 Ultimate Christmas Shopping Guide For Preppers

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 Who’s ready for Cyber Monday? I know that many of you are starting to make wishlists for some favorite products to add to your prepping supplies and we’d love to help you out with that. Each year, Ready Nutrition puts out an extensive list on some of the most popular prepping gear out there. Here are some Prepper Christmas ideas from recent years: 201320142015. These online deals may inspire you to snag some for yourself and bulk up your own preps!

Check out these prepper gifts for 2016

Gifts under $20

Daisy Slingshot

Slingshots have long been used for hunting small game, such as rabbits, doves, and squirrels. An advantage of this is that it does not require ammunition, making it ideal for teaching kids about self-reliance. In a shtf situation where you have run out of ammunition, this modest weapon could be converted into a more powerful tool. You can read more about the effectiveness of this silent weapon here.

The Prepper’s Blueprint

blueprint

This 462 page best-seller is a must-have for your prepper library. Each chapter uses real-life scenarios to help the reader prepare for any disaster and provides lists of supply suggestions. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Prepper’s Blueprint coaches the reader to make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and essential supply lists.

Sawyer Mini

The Mini Water Filter is the lightest and most versatile personal filtration system from Sawyer. It weighs 2 ounces and fits in the palm of your hand and allows you to drink from virtually any body of water. It may be small is size, but it allows you to drink up to 100,000 gallons of water without changing the filter! For less than $20 dollars, this is the gift that keeps on giving!

Gifts Under $50

Eco Handwasher Machine

Another great off-grid appliance to consider is mobile washing machine. We all know how dirty things can get in an emergency and having a way to keep clean will be paramount. Can also be used for small loads for single people and can wash 7 to 8 dress shirts, 10 T-shirts, 30 pairs of socks or 2 pairs of blue jeans per load. After finishing your washing cycle just attach the drain spout and it will automatically drain into the sink or bathtub. Then fill again with clean water for the rinse cycle.

GoTenna

Turn your cellular phone into an off-grid communication tool. This state-of-the-art cognitive digital radio creates its own 100% off-grid signal and coordinates with other units within range so you can text privately — 1-to-1 or with a group — or broadcast openly to any nearby goTenna. It even has apps included with detailed offline maps — free to download for any region in the world — so you can locate yourself and others while enjoying the outdoors, travel, and crowded events or even during emergencies.

Colt S.P.E.A.R. Tactical Arrowheads

Colt products are an American tradition built upon a lifetime of quality products. These arrowheads are the perfect addition to your survival kit and can be used for hunting, trapping, cutting, and even skinning.

Gifts Over $75

Tactical Gasmask

One SGE 400/3 BB Tactical Gas Mask + Two Multipurpose A2B2E2K2P3 FiltersThis tactical gas mask was originally developed for military and law enforcement use and is now available to civilians. This advanced breathing protection device is rated to protect against all CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear)-level threats and would make a great addition to your preps. The greatest sell point for Top Tier Gear USA is they take into account the family aspect of preparedness and have deals for families!

Outdoor Cast Iron Stove

There’s no doubt about it, this outdoor wood stove is built to last. With heating and cooking capability, it’s the ultimate “dual threat.” Perfect for camp, outbuildings and more. This well build outdoor stove keeps coffee and sauce pans hot, brings water to a boil and cooks bacon and eggs! The top selling point of this product is its portable and make from high quality galvanized steel.

Leatherman

Multi-tools are just plain awesome aren’t they? They let you save a ton of space by wrapping multiple functions into a single item. And since most little problems don’t need super specialized solutions, a few multitools can fix pretty much any problem around the house. The Oht Black Molle multi-tool is stainless steel leatherman and truly has it all. Black oxide is a powder-based metal coating and is ideal for situations where giving away a position would be costly. This it is widely used by the military for its effectiveness in reducing glare and reflection. Also, don’t forget to add a tool holster for easy carry.

VSSL Supplies

VSSL supplies contain the outdoor gear you need for short-term excursions. Whether you plan to be out for a few days or a few hours, having critical supplies in a compact weather-resistant case is an essential part of preparation. This is a great product to keep in your bug out supplies or in your vehicle preparedness kit. I love this product because everything is labeled so you stay organized when you’re on the go!

Wonderbag

Wonderbag Non-Electric Portable Slow Cooker with Recipe Cookbook, Blue BatikOff-gridders are going to love this product! The Wonderbag is a simple but revolutionary non-electric, portable slow cooker. Wonderbag’s clever insulation allows food that has been brought to the boil to continue slow cooking or warm while in the bag. No plugs. No Fuss. No electricity required, so it’s worry-free. This is a great addition for those wanting alternative ways to cook when there is an off-grid emergency.

Looking for a more personal gift?

Homemade gifts also make wonderful presents to put under the tree. There is still time to make a homemade gift for loved ones. Here are some that I or the writers at Ready Nutrition have written about in the past.

Merry Christmas and Happy Shopping to all of you!

Tess and the Ready Nutrition Writers

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

5 Lifesaving Security Measures to Secure Your Home From Intruders

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home-securityMany believe burglaries are crimes that occur out of desperation, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, the motivation that drives many criminals is simply opportunity. Such is the case for why home break-ins occur around Christmas time while homeowners are away at work. All a criminal needs to do is make a quick entry, grab all the gifts perfectly surrounded by a Christmas tree and they are out the door faster than you can blink. Here are some facts to gain a better perspective on what you are facing:

  • According to the U.S. Department of Justice, every 15 seconds a home in America is burglarized and the homeowner typically suffers a loss of nearly $2,000 in stolen goods or property damage.
  • Most burglaries take place between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • The majority of break-ins are committed by burglars who live nearby.
  • Burglars tend to avoid homes with security systems.
  • Most criminals can burglarize a home in less than ten minutes.
  • Almost 30% of burglars enter a home through an unlocked door or window.
  • An astonishing 34% of burglars enter through the front door.
  • Burglars usually go to the master bedroom first.
  • The average property dollar loss per burglary is a staggering $2,251.
  • Someone is home during nearly three out of every ten burglaries.
  • Only 13.6% of burglaries in 2014 resulted in arrests.

Given these startling statistics, break-ins can be avoided altogether by using common sense and mindfulness. Here are some simple security measures to take to ensure your home stays out of the watchful eye of an intruder.

1. Keep security layers in mind

Having security layers in place is the best possible preventative measures to deter possible criminals from marking your home as an easy target. These security layers will advertise to intruders that they should avoid your home altogether. Designing a home defense system that includes multiple security layers is a proactive way to protect your home, family, and belongings. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools at your disposal for keeping your property safe. Most of them cost significantly less than an alarm system, and all together can provide several layers of security to your home. Below are seven awesome tools for keeping your place safe during the holiday season. These affordable items are a great start to beefing up your home security.

  1. Door club
  2. Wireless LED spotlight
  3. Fake TV burglar deterrent
  4. Digital lamp timers
  5. Sentry security bolt safe
  6. Hidden safes
  7. Security system
  8. Curtains and/or blinds on windows
  9. Use a wooden dowel on sliding doors and windows

Read more about these

2. Keep security supplies near vulnerable areas

Those that are preparedness-minded are always vigilant about ensuring the safety of their family members. In that same vein, children should know the basics of the family emergency plan and safety rules like not opening the door to strangers.

As well, having some basic safety/security supplies near the most vulnerable areas of the home (key entry points, garages, etc.) would be advantageous if you find yourself face to face with someone attempting to break-in. For examples, near the entry points in my home, we have a decorative basket that blends into the decor but has items such as flashlights, an emergency whistle, multi-tools and/or a knife. As well, if you do not have children in the home, you can also strategically place a handgun, clips or a non-lethal weapon if you choose. You can strategically place these items near vulnerable spots of the home.

  • The front door
  • The backdoor
  • The bedroom
  • Living room

Another vulnerable part of the home is windows. Burglars love to “window shop”. If you keep your curtains or blinds open, this will give them an opportunity to take a peek into the home. Moreover, if you have picturesque bistro tables and chairs, they can easily be used against you. Criminals will throw them against windows for fast entry. Installing shatter-proof window film on windows will help prevent this.

While we love a beautifully landscaped yard with shrubs and bushes cut low, this can also make for easy entry into the home. You can add bushes and landscaping to help deter criminals from marking your home. Plants with thorns such as roses, bougainvillea or blackberry bushes are great choices for securing the outer perimeter of the home. At the very least, secure the windows from becoming entry points with window alarms to alert you or your neighbors to a break in.

Speaking of yard and landscaping, how many of you have a ladder that you forgot to bring in? Criminals will look around for tools they can use to gain entry. The second story of a home is typically more lax when it comes to security. If you are guilty of this one, lock up your ladder in your garage.

3. Focus on the entry points

The most common way for an intruder to get into your home is through the door. Make this your first priority in reinforcing your security. The best method is to install door frame and hinge reinforcements on the front and back doors. This security solution is made of galvanized steel and can prevent single entry door kick-ins and stop intruders before they are inside. Moreover, you might also want to consider installing a deadbolt. Even the strongest reinforced steel door can be neutralized by one swift kick if your lock does not extend deep enough into the door frame.

As well, gaining entry into a garage is another essential entry point to secure. It takes less than six seconds to break into a garage if the criminal knows how. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to prevent this.

3. Be aware and know thy neighbors

Having a pleasant relationship with neighbors who stay at home is a beneficial relationship to have. They can keep an eye on your home while you are at work and you can reciprocate in a way that helps them out. Knowing who your neighbors are, what type of cars they drive and usually the time they are home, creates a neighborhood that is actively practicing OPSEC and awareness.

4. Don’t draw unwelcome attention to your home

We typically assume those living around us are respectful of property, but this isn’t always the case. Those living in residential areas bring unwanted attention to themselves when they rid their home of the large boxes marked with brand names or pictures of products. This happens frequently during Christmastime. That new flatscreen television box or video game system packaging will scream, “Come steal me!” to criminals. Be mindful and load up boxes and drop them off at a recycling center. This will reduce the eyes on the prize. As well, boxes are one the easiest items to repurpose. On a personal note, I have broken down boxes and used them to create a lasagna-style garden. This cut down on my trash load and helped me create a more sustainable lifestyle.

5. Let there be light!

Illuminating the perimeter is single-handedly one of the easiest security measures to take. Simply put, dark or poorly lit areas make it easier for burglars to go unseen. Motion sensing security measures will quickly signal you to trouble if it’s out there. As well, indoor timers for lamps and indoor lighting can help to fool anyone creeping around where they shouldn’t be. Remember, the main goal of burglars is to get in and get out unseen. If they think someone is home, they will think twice before entering.

Everyone wants to believe that they are safe and sound when they latch the windows and lock the doors. With the increase in crime, jobless rates, and increased food prices, home break-ins are likely to be on the rise. Take some incentive to review your family preparedness plans and beef up your home security measures! The investment in your home security will pay off for years to come.

 

Additional Resources:

Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

Home Security: Securing the Doors

Home Security: Securing the Windows

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Americans Risking Financial Disaster: New Survey Reports 7 in 10 Americans Have Less Than $1,000 in Savings

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The over consumerism of this country has created an obsession with an unaffordable lifestyle. Households are going further into debt in order to keep up with luxurious living, rather than saving it. A recent survey shows just how abysmal Americans’ savings habits are, reporting that 7 out of 10 Americans only have less than $1,000 in their savings account.

Last year, GoBankingRates surveyed more than 5,000 Americans only to uncover that 62% of them had less than $1,000 in savings. Last month GoBankingRates again posed the question to Americans of how much they had in their savings account, only this time it asked 7,052 people. The result? Nearly seven in 10 Americans (69%) had less than $1,000 in their savings account.

Breaking the survey data down a bit further, we find that 34% of Americans don’t have a dime in their savings account, while another 35% have less than $1,000. Of the remaining survey-takers, 11% have between $1,000 and $4,999, 4% have between $5,000 and $9,999, and 15% have more than $10,000.

Furthermore, even though lower-income adults struggle with saving money more than middle- and upper-income folks, no income group did particularly well. Some 29% of adults earning more than $150,000 a year, and 44% making between $100,000 and $149,999, had less than $1,000 in savings. Comparatively, 73% of the lowest income adults (those earnings $24,999 or less annually) had less than $1,000 in their savings account.

Source

Americans’ Risking Financial Disaster

With the unpredictability of the economy, unemployment, medical emergencies and other unforeseen emergencies, millions of Americans are risking a financial disaster without any savings to fall back on. The best way to circumvent this from happening is to start saving a modest amount of money each month, over time this can accrue to a healthy savings account.

Simply put, the goal any emergency fund or savings is to carry us when plans don’t work out. Unemployment is always something to plan ahead for and recent unemployment rates, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is at 5% of the U.S. population. Many believe each household should have six months of salary saved up and/or an emergency fund to fall back on in case of job joss. Moreover, experts recommend saving 15% of your income to put towards savings. If you save and additional %5 of your income, it can be used as an emergency fund to keep you from using savings. This can be achieved by breaking down your monthly budget:

85% – monthly bills

10% – savings/retirement

5% – emergency fund

As with all budgets, sometimes this figure fluctuates, so if you are able to put more or less into savings, then adjust as necessary. One could even break the budget down further and have a savings for vacations or family centered activities.

Build your Savings in 5 Easy Steps

1. Get out of debt. Your primary goal is financial freedom. Paying off your debt is first step toward freeing up money. Only paying the suggested amount on your credit card debt will not make a dent in the overall debt due to the interest. Organize and list your debts from the smallest to the largest and start paying the smallest debts first. Using a budgeting tool can help. Once the small debts are paid off, move on to the next largest debts on this list and snowball the payments. Essentially, you are creating a snowball effect with your payments and freeing up additional money in your budget for other uses – like an emergency fund.

2. Have an achievable monetary goal set. Starting small and build upon your initial investments for your savings is an easy way to start and not get overwhelmed. (i.e., I want to have $1,000 in savings by Christmas). Some people start with saving $1,000 and many can find this amount hiding in their budgets. We all know that many emergencies can be very expensive (i.e., medical emergencies). Therefore, once you reach your $1,000 goal, move on to saving an additional $1,000 and so on. Read more below on how to slash the budget.

3. Make it easy on yourself. One way to easily begin building your savings is to create a separate account in your bank and set up automatic monthly transfers to easily move money into your account. There are some who prefer to have multiple accounts in order to organize their income better. Some have accounts strictly for emergency funds, savings, vacations, etc. This will help you organize your budget and steadily build your savings.

On the other hand, there are some who do not prefer to keep their money in the bank due to concerns of economic uncertainty. In that case, you can hold your money in a safe or, consider taking your saved money and investing into precious metals. This ties the money up into a tangible investment and keeps you from spending it. It also makes it a little more difficult to cash in and spend it. That said, if the day came and you needed your money, all you needed to do is run down to the precious metals store in your area. Who knows, you could be getting more money than you started out with! As well, by using this method of saving, you could easily begin a very lucrative long-term savings method.

4. Start slashing the budget. Start eliminating the budget busters and nonessentials. Do you really have to get a four-dollar coffee at the high-end coffee house on your way to work? By cutting this small indulgence, you will save over a thousand dollars a year! In an article by The Organic Prepper, she explains how cutting the budget down to the essentials can save you lots of cash.

Now, let’s look at a bigger example. Let’s take the average 10 hour workday (including commute, lunch breaks, etc.)  Now spend that day productively at home.  Here are some things you might do that other people pay for:

  • Growing food $20
  • Yard work $40
  • Cleaning house $50
  • Preparing food from scratch $30
  • Mending clothes and doing laundry $20
  • Childcare – all day, simultaneous with other tasks $75 for 2 kids
  • Bathing and grooming the dog $65
  • Walk the dog at lunchtime $10
  • Make your own cleaning products and health and beauty aids $20

If you add all of those things up, you are talking about a LOT of money.  I based my totals on the prices of those services and goods in my area,  and on an average day, I could “earn” $330.  Tax free.  On an annual basis of a 5 day work week, that is the equivalent of just over $85,000 per year. Again, let me reiterate: tax-free, which can save you another 15-30%.

As well, you can research more gas efficient ways to drive to work or run errand and make goals to cut your gas budget by $50 a month. Moreover, finding a co-worker that lives in the area and carpooling to work can also save you lots of money. If you live close to work consider riding your bike to work or public transportation.

5. Don’t stop saving! What happens when you meet your financial goal? Keep going! Don’t take the extra money out and splurge. Start saving for another type of emergency. There are some who get hit with double whammies and have multiple emergencies at once. Let’s say you saved money for the car repairs example listed in the second tip. When you hit your goal, move on to another one. You could start saving for an even loftier goal like saving six months worth of salary for a job loss.

Life happens and sometimes it doesn’t work out in our favor. Organizing your finances and finding ways to free up some of your money for an emergency will help you create a personal safety net. These are steps that anyone can do. When you have amassed enough money to make your financial goal, you will sleep better at night knowing that you can take care of life’s unexpected events.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

This is What Panic Looks Like: Thousands Stuck in Gridlock After Failing to Prepare

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Traffic as far as the eye can see: Thousands of families have been caught in gridlock across the state and up the East Coast into the Carolinas and Georgia, as they flee their homes ahead of the storm - while the National Guard trucks drive towards the evacuation zones to assist Courtesy of http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ 

  • Hurricane Matthew is expected to hit southern Florida late this evening and move up the East Coast 
  • Powerful storm claimed at least 140 lives after it ripped through the Dominican Republic and Haiti Tuesday causing mudslides and flooding in the latter yesterday 
  • President Barack Obama has declared a federal state of emergency in Florida as the hurricane approaches
  • The storm intensified to a ‘catastrophic’ Category Four this morning with sustained winds of 140mph 
  • There are fears Matthew could combine with Tropical Storm Nicole, forming further east over the Atlantic  
  • National Weather Service has advised ‘loss of life’ and ‘immense human suffering’ is possible 
  • Seven million people could be left without power and some areas left ‘uninhabitable’ for months
  • Two million people in the US have been urged to evacuate their homes in preparation for a ‘direct hit’
  • Gov. Scott warned Florida warns that the storm ‘is going to kill people’ after declaring a state emergency 
  • South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said only 175,000 have evacuated so far, warning ‘that’s not enough’ 
  • Disney has now confirmed that all theme parks will be closed at 5pm and won’t reopen until Saturday

By late morning, Hurricane Matthew had grown from a possibly devastating Category 3 storm to a potentially catastrophic Category 4. The eye of the storm is already more organized since it hit Haiti, thus becoming stronger. Forecasters are suggesting that West Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral areas farther north could get the brunt of the storm.

094542w5 nl sm FIRST WARNING WX: Hurricane Matthew Gains New Fury As It Hurtles to Florida, But Some Residents Staying Put

This is the latest report for the fast-moving hurricane.

Some Residents are Not Taking Hurricane Matthew Seriously

Florida Governor Rick Scott has urged all Florida residents to take the storm seriously and earnestly prepare and/or evacuate to a safer area, but for some, his pleas have fallen on deaf ears. With 200 million evacuating the roads are gridlocked because many waited too long to leave the area.

One way traffic: Cars can be seen on just one side of the road stretching back for miles along the Florida highway on Thursday

Courtesy of http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

While many are taking the hurricane warning seriously and preparing or evacuating, some are not taking the fury of this storm seriously. In fact, one Florida resident shrugged it off and said, “The hype is going to be worse than the actual storm. I feel I can do quite well,” said Long, who owns a bike shop and plans to ride out the storm with his cat in his 32-foot recreational vehicle a half-mile from the ocean. He has lived in the Space Coast area for three decades. “There’s always tremendous buildup and then it’s no stronger than an afternoon thunderstorm. I’m not anticipating that much damage,” he said Wednesday. Source

Overconfidence Can Kill

One of most common mistakes in disaster preparedness is overconfidence. You cannot put a gauge on Mother Nature. Storms like Matthew can quickly get out of hand, especially due to storm surges that forecasters are estimating to be between 3-6 feet and some residents believe this hurricane could give some residents a wake up call.

Those left in the wake of disasters and have not prepared adequately tend to take matters in their own hands if they feel desperate enough. This is the perfect storm for a breakdown if the state of Florida is not prepared. Residents who have stayed behind will face gas shortages, supply delivery stalls , looting, lack of water and essentially, will be left to fend for themselves until help can arrive.

One can only surmise how far-reaching this storm will be, but rest assured, there will be massive amounts of damage and not preparing for this storm could get you killed. These are essentials you need to prepare for and understand how devastating these types of disasters are.

Preparation

Supplies

Medical Needs

Communication

Sanitation

Evacuation

Don’t Be Another Statistic

Now that you understand what we’re dealing with, there are ways you can use this information to prepare for the next event so that you will be a part of the population that is ready for what may come.

Ultimately, you are the only one who can best care for your family. Having a stash of your family’s favorite canned or dry goods, a supply of water and a simple medical kit can maintain your basic needs for a short-lived disaster. This simple preparedness supply could set you apart from the unprepared.

If you live in a highly populated area, understand that resources will diminish quickly, so preparing beforehand can circumvent this. You can always start out with these basic preparedness items to get through a disaster:

  1. Food and alternative ways to cook food
  2. Water – 1 gallon per person/per day for consuming only. Plan more for sanitary needs.
  3. Fuel for generators. Also consider charcoal for outdoor grills
  4. Batteries and battery charger
  5. Flashlights and lanterns
  6. Generator
  7. Emergency lighting
  8. Ice
  9. Medical supply
  10. Items for baby needs
  11. Sanitation supplies

 

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Bartering to Eat: How People on the Streets of Venezuela are Surviving

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vflagVenezuela truly has become a nightmare come to life. What has taken place over the last three years has been nothing short of a total destabilization of the entire country. The water system, the roads, the electrical grid, the hospital, and especially the food distribution system. Venezuelans became so desperate that they were forced to scrounge for food in dumpsters and hunt down cats and dogs. Crime became rampant as well, and the capital city of Caracas now has the highest murder rate in the world. Mobs of vigilantes are frequently seen picking up the slack of the corrupt police; that is, when they’re not busy looting grocery stores. Venezuela is practically a war zone now.

Here’s a breakdown of the last three years for Venezuela:

  • In 2013 a major oil crash hurt the Venezuela economy the most and prompted the butterfly effect.
  • In 2015 – The Venezuelan currency, the bolivar, was worth less than a penny, prompting a monetary breakdown of the banking industry.
  • March of 2015 – The food crisis begins. The government can’t pay to import basic food items like milk, flour and eggs, leaving many supermarkets with empty shelves. Venezuelans were doing everything they could to stockpile food in order to insulate themselves from the coming economic and monetary implosion.
  • January 2016 – New power struggles emerged as many Venezuelans had enough of Maduro. In January, the opposition party, Democratic Unity, took 109 seats in Congress, far more than the 55 seats Maduro’s socialist party won. During this time, the government declares 60-day economic emergency.
  • 2016 February – President Maduro announces measures aimed at fighting economic crisis, including currency devaluation and first petrol price rise in 20 years.
  • 2016 April – Government imposes two-day week for public sector workers in bid to overcome serious energy crisis after severe drought dramatically reduces water levels in the country’s main hydroelectric dam.
  • May 2016 – Venezuela considers defaulting on foreign debt in order to negotiate more favorable terms. 
  • 2016 September – Hundreds of thousands of people take part in a protest in Caracas calling for the removal of President Maduro, blaming him for the economic crisis and accusing the electoral commission of delaying a referendum which could shorten him term in office.

Prepare for collapse: A step-by-step guide

Surviving the Streets of Venezuela

As you can see, the country of Venezuela is experiencing a slow, agonizing death and the citizens of this once prominent country are the one’s who are suffering. The country was once considered an oil giant and jobs at the state-run oil company PDVSA were coveted for above average salaries, generous benefits and cheap credit that brought home ownership and vacationing abroad within reach for many workers. Now, the employees and citizens alike are pawning goods, maxing out credit cards, taking side jobs, and even selling PDVSA uniforms to buy food, according to Reuters’ interviews with two dozen workers, family members, and union leaders.

“Every day a PDVSA worker comes to sell his overall,” said Elmer, a hawker at the biggest market in the oil city of Maracaibo, as shoppers eyed pricey rice and flour imported from neighboring Colombia.

“They also sell boots, trousers, gloves and masks.”

“Sometimes we let the kids sleep in until noon to save on breakfast,” said a maintenance worker who works on the shores of Maracaibo Lake, Venezuela’s traditional oil-producing area near the Colombian border. He said he has lost five kilos (11 lb) this year because of scrimping on food.

Source

How to Survive an Economic Collapse

Make no mistake, to survive hyperinflation and economic collapse you need to think in terms of survival. You need to have the right skills.

You need to plan ahead. When you start seeing signs at the beginning. Many Venezuelans fled the country the moment the saw something was awry. As well, you need the kind of skills that will make you money no matter how bad things get. Jobs such as ones found in the medical field, farming, private security, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, or repairmen of any kind; as well as, teachers and tutors, especially if they can impart money-making skills.

  1. Get prepared. At the very least, buy food, products, and supplies in bulk to help you prepare for price inflation. If you have the means to do so, invest in 30-60 days worth of supplies so that you have everything you need. Having these on hand will help you if times become more difficult. You can use this free online series to begin creating a personal step-by-step preparedness plan for your family; or, buy the best-selling book, The Prepper’s Blueprint to use as a reference in your preparations. As well, if you can manage, get out of debt, organize your finances and find ways to free up some of your income for an emergency fund to help you create a personal safety net.
  2. Preserve wealth. Choose hard assets (dry goods, precious metals, land, livestock, skills, etc.) for long-term investments so they will hold their intrinsic value over time. Holding these types of investments will insulate you from inflation and other economic issues. Further, tying your money up in assets will help you avoid the inflating prices of food sources in the future, thus furthering your cause of self-reliant living.
  3. Invest in food. One thing analysts and financial pundits agree on is that, in general, commodities will continue to rise. When others are buying foods at inflated prices, you will be consuming your investment when it was purchased at a lower price. Using a combination of shelf stable foods, you can create a well-rounded food supply to depend on when an emergency arises. Further, these foods last a lifetime and would make sound investments for future planning. Ideally, you want to store shelf-stable foods that your family normally consumes, as well as find foods that are multi-dynamic and serve many purposes. Dry goods like rice, wheat, beans, salt, honey, and dry milk will provide you with an investment that will grow in value as prices rise, and also offer you peace of mind in case the economy further degrades. This  food storage calculator can show you how much food should you need to store. As well, read Emergency Items: What Will Disappear First for more ideas.
  4. Learn how to grow your own food. In a homestead environment, a person wants the land to work for them as much as possible. Invest in fruit trees, seeds, and garden supplies. If you really want these peak foods, find a way to grow them yourself. Further, if you live in a rural area, consider investing in trees and bushes that will lure wild game. The trees and bushes can provide you with added sustenance and help you stock meat in your freezer. Here is a how-to guide for creating a garden quickly.
  5. Raise your own food. Rather than paying hard-earned money at the store for eggs, poultry and dairy—raise them yourself. Chickens are very easy to care for and can provide you with meat and eggs throughout the year. Additionally, you can find substitutions for these peak foods with a little research and ingenuity. For example, rabbits would be a suitable protein replacement and can even be raised in more urban areas. Similar to chickens, they don’t require much care and with some effort can be fed from the homestead’s garden or you can grow fodder. They are also great breeders and will provide you with ample amounts of meat. These are the 10 best meat rabbit breeds. As well, for the modest price of purchasing a fishing license, you can stock your freezer with fresh-caught fish.
  6. It all adds up. Again, do what you can to pay off debts ahead of time and work to restructure your outgoing funds to lower your expenses as much as possible. Debt only enslaves you further, and finding ways to detach from the system will break those shackles. As well, look into finding additional income streams. The more income you can set aside, the better off you will be. That way, if your main income dries up, you have a fall back income and won’t have to go into default.

Be prepared to lose most of the money you’ve spent your whole life saving, because even before the collapse occurs, the government will likely have laws in place that will prevent you from taking money out of the country. However, that may be a small price to pay in exchange for not living in hell hole where you have to eat trash to survive.

The people of Venezuela are in a survival situation. The key to them surviving is dependent of them. Those who took heed and planned early will have better success at surviving. As well, being able to change to the current environments you find yourself in and being able to cut your losses in order to survive your present reality will play a role in how one survives these economic death throes. You’ll pat yourself on the back when your homeland collapses, because it is always better to be a poor man in a rich country, than a dead man in a poor country.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Multimillion Dollar Heist: The 4 Security Mistakes Kim Kardashian’s Team Made

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Make no mistake, anyone held at gunpoint is living through one of their worst nightmares. That nightmare came true for Kim Kardashian West when she was recently held at gunpoint and robbed by criminals pretending to be masked police officers. While the criminals spoke mostly French when they broke into the private apartment, they also screamed, “Ring!” “Ring!”, referring to the 20 carat diamond ring estimated at 5 million dollars that her husband, Kanye West had given to her and one they most likely saw on her Twitter feed. In addition to her ring, the robbers stole other jewels in the heist estimating to be over $10 million dollars in stolen jewels and other belongings.

Courtesy of Instagram/kimkardashian

“[Kim] was tied up, and gagged with duct tape wrapped around her head. They put plastic ties around her wrists but she managed to squeeze her hands out of the wrist ties by wriggling her hands,” a source says.

4 Security Mistakes Kim Kardashian’s Team Made that were Costly

While many are scrutinizing Kardashian for her lapse in judgement on posting images of her wealth and always revealing her whereabouts on social media, we can all learn a few lessons from this experience and how to better protect our personal security and be more prepared when we find ourselves in unforeseen circumstances.

1. Social media is the devil. Kardashian created a social media empire based on giving the public access to intimate parts of her life and what happened in Paris on Monday was no different. Where she went wrong was posting images of her jewels on her Snapchat account, as well as the location of where she was staying. In addition, she also took pictures inside the private residence she was staying at. This made it increasingly more difficult to protect her. As well, her bodyguard was not present when he should have (something we will touch on later).

Social media has quickly become a way for criminals to stalk a victim and get an inside perspective of someone’s daily schedules, favorite spots and other intimate details that strangers shouldn’t be privy to. Kardashian isn’t the first person to post private images of her life. We all do it, but we should be careful. In fact, many post vacation pictures while away from their homes making it very easy for criminals to get the green light for a break in.

While Mrs. Kardashian made her name from her open access through social media, this situation she found herself in certainly begs the question of could this have been avoided? Thankfully, this ordeal ended without anyone getting seriously injured, but we should all take a step back and ensure that we are all doing our best to protect ourselves on social media.

2. Don’t flaunt what you have. When you put on expensive clothes and jewelry, wear brand name purses, drive high end cars, etc., you draw attention to yourself. In this day and time, there are many who have fallen on hard times and may see your wealth as an opportunity to better their situation. I get that in Kardashian’s case being a celebrity makes it difficult, but if we are trying to learn from her situation, when we are out in public areas perhaps we can leave the expensive hand bag or flashy jewelry at home and try to blend in more. I’ve seen countless women dressed to the nines with expensive bags in shopping centers during the holiday season. Folks, when you are in a highly populated area, do not bring the expensive fashion items. Save it for another time!

3. Security layers are the key. It must be said that Mrs. West always has a highly trained security detail around her, but perhaps enough security layers were not met in this case. The night of the robbery, her bodyguard was not present and this helped the criminals gain an advantage. Or, perhaps Kardashian fell victim to a classic case of cognitive dissonance. Sure she had a security detail, but perhaps they handled the situation a little too relaxed, thus giving the criminals an opportunity. As well, there probably were not enough security layers insulating her from harm’s way.

To learn from this, we know that home breakins have increased throughout the years. Having multiple security layers present can better protect homeowners from danger. Here’s a few ways you can add to layers to secure your home.

Layer 1: The Outside Layer

  • Reinforced doors and locks.  There is only 1 ” of wood protecting you in normal door locks.
  • Invest in heavy duty door hinges and secure door frames with 3 ” screws.
  • Barred windows or European-style security/storm shutters.

Layer 2: The Inside Layer

  • Consider investing in an alarm and advertise that you have one by placing stickers in windows and signs in the yard.
  • Consider adding a 2-way voice feature to the existing alarm system.  This feature enables your security system to communicate directly through the control panel.  This feature also allows you to call into your system and be able to listen to any activity or speak to your child or other family members who are home.
  • Position web cams strategically in hidden areas.  Place the computer that is monitoring the locations in a hidden spot so the criminals do not walk off with the computer.

Layer 3: The Personal Layer

This is the most critical layer.

  • Teach family members to be observant of their surroundings when coming home and be aware of suspicious activity.
  • Never open the door to strangers.  Teach children not to be easily persuaded by strangers who look professional or have badges.
  • Teach chidren to call “safe” adults, such as neighbors for help in cases where parents are not home.
  • Get to know your neighbors and have their phone numbers on hand in case the child needs help from a nearby adult.

Read more about security layers here.

4. Operational security is a top priority. OPSEC or operational security maintains essential secrecy for effective operations. Many preppers use this as one of the principles for staying prepared. This helps them protect the investments they’ve made in food, supplies, ammunition, etc. Therefore, if a person wants to have better security, using OPSEC is the way to do it. You can read more here about this security component. OPSEC is another term for being aware of your surroundings and this is where Kardashian went wrong. Perhaps she become complacent and comfortable thinking she was well protected (as aspect I’m sure she is beefing up now.)

This article is not intended to shame Kardashian. She didn’t want this. She didn’t deserve this. But, perhaps this situation can be something we can learn from. Use the above examples and tips to better reinforce your home security layers to ensure the safety of your family.

Has this celebrity learned her lesson? Only time will tell.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Beefing Up Your Prepper Pantry with Jerky

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 Beef jerky is the epitome of homesteading. Our pioneer ancestors dried beef as a way to help them make it through the harsh winters and when food was scarce. Native Americans dried meat and enhanced the flavor by using dried fruits and berries by making pemmican.

With meat prices steadily increasing at the grocery store, many are turning to purchasing bulk beef to save their budgets. On a side note, my family bought half a side of beef last year and we have currently been living off this. Not only was it a great way to save money and curb against price inflation, but it provided us with peace of mind knowing we had an ample amount of protein sources in case of an emergency. While placing my order, I asked that they cut some meat for making jerky and it turned out delicious!

This high protein snack is a go-to food for those who are health conscious and hikers alike, but beef can also be dried and stored for later use, such as during an emergency. In my cookbook, The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals, I outlined how dehydrating or drying meat is the minimalistic way of extending the shelf life of your meats. In an emergency, you want to have shelf stable protein sources available. From a health standpoint, when meat is broken down in the intestines, it becomes amino acids that your body uses to build tissues and enzymes which are involved in the functioning of all body systems. It also has fat present to assist in additional body functioning and insulation of the major organs.

While the lifespan of homemade jerky is significantly shorter compared to store bought jerky, there are ways to preserve the jerky for longer. Typically, homemade jerky lasts 3 months in a pantry. If refrigerated or frozen, it can last six months to a year.

Part 1: Preparing Meat for Making Jerky

Which type of beef to use? The best type of meat to use for jerky are lean cuts of meat such as, sirloin, London broil, flank steak, top round, or eye round. You can use poultry, but I like to err on the side of caution and avoid using poultry due to food-borne diseases.

Make precise cuts. Freezing meat for 5 hours will partially freeze the meat thus creating more precise slices for jerky. This also makes slicing more safe.

Trim off fat. Because the presence of fat can cause meat to spoil more quickly, make sure you trim off any excess fat to prevent the meat from going rancid. Remember: you want your jerky to last as long as possible.

Slice meat thin to ensure efficient drying time. Typically, people opt for cutting meat into 1/4 inch strips.

Jerky Making Tip:

For tougher jerky, slice the meat with the grain.

For tender jerky, slice across the grain

Part 2: Marinating

In my cookbook, I discussed how you can re-use the syrups and liquids from some of your canned goods and add them to marinades. This helps you make use of everything you have in your pantry!

This is my all-time favorite marinade:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of lean meat (beef, pork or venison)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon each of black pepper and garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon hickory smoke-flavored salt
  • dash of Tabasco

Other popular marinating combinations are:

  • Dark Belgian ale (yes, you read that right!), honey, soy sauce, mustard seeds, garlic, and lime.
  • Add some kick to your jerky with peppers! Habanero, jalapeno, or Anaheim peppers made a great addition (in moderation) to most jerky recipes.
  • Add some unusual flavors to your jerky by adding some pineapple juice (Hawaiian jerky); some ginger (Asian jerky); or some curry powder (Indian jerky). Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Source

Allow the meat to marinate up to 24 hours before drying.

*Realistically, you don’t need any additional seasonings or special cures to make jerky (although they really do add to the flavor). If you choose not to marinate, simply season the meat with preferred spices and seasonings, add to a bowl and cover. Refrigerate it for 15-24 hours.

Part 3: Dehydrating and Making Jerky

Once the marinating process is complete, drain the marinade completely and discard. Now comes the fun part- drying it out!

You don’t have to have a food dehydrator to make jerky, although it certainly helps. This is dehydrator that I use and it has made many pounds of jerky throughout the years.

Here are some other ways to make jerky:

Dehydrate jerky on a fire pit

Make a jerky in a smoker

Make jerky in the oven

For simplicity sake, I’m going to discuss the drying method I use: dehydrating. If you want to experiment using different drying methods, try one of the three listed above.

Set up the dehydrator. Get your dehydrator set up and place meat strips on the dehydrator trays. Leave enough room between pieces to allow air to flow around the meat. This creates a more even dehydrating environment.

Add any additional spices. If you want to dust the marinated meat with any spices like black pepper, red pepper flakes, etc., now is the time!

Set it and forget it! Set your temperature to 250 degrees F and dehydrate until meat is completely dried out, up to 6 hours.

Part 4: Storing Your Jerky

Now that your jerky is ready to be stored, ensure that it has completely cooled off. Adding warm jerky into storage bags welcomes moist heat with is an enemy of your food stores. Once your jerky is cooled off and ready to be stored away, you need to determine whether you are storing for short-term or for long-term.

Short-Term Storage for Jerky – Leave enough room between pieces to allow air to flow around the meat. If you plan on storing your jerky for a few weeks or up to a month, a ziploc bag will work.  I usually use the ziploc bag for storing jerky and set it in the refrigerator so that it is preserved for longer. Add a desiccant to the bag to absorb any additional moisture.

Storage Tip: One website claims that if your jerky is still too moist, a way to fix this is to store it in a paper bag for a short while before transferring it to a jar or ziploc. The paper bag will create a wick affect that will pull the extra moisture out of the jerky.

Long-Term Storage for Jerky – If you are planning on storing your jerky for longer, there are a few other storage methods to consider.

  1. Dry Canning: Dry canning your beef jerky in mason jars is an economical way to preserve jerky for months at a time. Use larger mason jars like a pint, half gallon or a gallon size to preserve larger quantities. Here’s how to dry can your jerky:

1. Set your oven to 350 degrees F
2. Remove the lids from your mason jars and set them on a cookie sheet.
3. Put the jars in the oven for around 10 minutes.
4. Remove the jars from the oven using mitts and then quickly set your jerky strips inside of them.
5. Screw on the lids of the jars and let them cool to room temperature. As the jars cool they will create a vacuum seal. You will know when they are beginning to create a vacuum because you will hear a popping sound coming from them.

2. Food Sealer: You can use your food sealer to seal meat for longer-term storage. They allow you to keep the moisture in and the air out which is great because your jerky will still be somewhat soft but will have no oxygen to spoil.

3. Freezer: Your freezer is a great way to preserve your dehydrated meats. I prefer using food sealer bags as they have a more durable material and do a better job preventing freezer burn.

Now you know everything there is to know about making the ultimate survival food. Next time you see some lean meats or roasts on sale at the grocery store, grab some up and do your ancestors proud by making some jerky for your pantry.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Head’s Up: 65 Tons of Tyson Chicken Nuggets Recalled Due to ‘Foreign Material’

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Tyson Foods Inc., makes some of America’s favorite foods. In fact, Tyson chicken nuggets are a regular staple in many families’ freezers. As popular as this food brand is, it has been tainted with more than one recall of its products, and today is no different. On September 27, 2016, the USDA issued a new food recall for the food conglomerate warning the public of the possibility of “foreign material” that could be present in 65 tons of their Panko Chicken Nuggets that were produced on July 18, 2016.

This isn’t Tyson Foods Incorporated’s first recall. In fact, in 2014, the food company recalled 33,840 pounds of mechanically separated chicken products that may be contaminated with Salmonella (Source: USDA)

Most Recent Recall Information

To see the back of the retail packages under recall and the labels on recalled cases sent to instituonal kitchens, please click on the image.

According to the USDA:

“Tyson Foods Inc., a Sedalia, Mo. establishment, is recalling approximately 132,520 pounds of fully cooked chicken nugget products that may be contaminated with hard plastic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.”

The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF Only)]

  • 5-lb. bag containing “Tyson FULLY COOKED PANKO CHICKEN NUGGETS” with a “Best If Used By” date of July 18, 2017 and case code 2006SDL03 and 2006SDL33.
  • 20-lb. bulk packages containing “SPARE TIME Fully Cooked, Panko Chicken Nuggets, Nugget Shaped Chicken Breast Pattie Fritters with Rib Meat” with a production date of July 18, 2016 and case code 2006SDL03.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 13556” printed adjacent to the “Best If Used By” date on the back of the package. The 20-pound cases were shipped for institutional use in Pennsylvania and the five-pound bags were shipped to retail locations nationally. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

Officials are concerned consumers may have the recalled chicken nuggets in their homes due to the long shelf life of the product. Although there have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions from consumption, anyone concerned with injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

What is this Foreign Material?

The problem was discovered after the firm received consumer complaints regarding foreign material contamination of chicken nugget products. According to Tyson Foods, the plastic material ranged in size from 21mm in length and 6.5mm in diameter and may have come from a round, hard plastic rod used to connect a plastic transfer belt. The firm said the products pass through a metal detector, but the plastic is not detectable to this technology.

What Has This Taught Us?

As discussed in previous articles, the FDA guidelines for food safety are somewhat skewed. In a handbook by the FDA titled “The Food Defect Action Levels,” the government agency writes that “it is economically impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects.” These unavoidable contaminations range from feces, rodent hairs, insects and even machinery mold. Although the FDA only allows a minute amount of these defects, nevertheless, they can still be present in food sources.

If this present recall can teach us anything, it is to second guess food sources that come from factories and warehouses. Recalls are occurring more frequently and are too many to count at this point. If you want to ensure that the food sources your family consumes are as pure and healthy as possible, consider growing your own food sources.

 

Visit these websites to find the latest on safety recalls:

  • Recalls.gov lists government-initiated recalls from federal agencies. You can sign up for free e-mail notifications on recalls.
  • Safercar.gov publishes safety information on vehicles and equipment such as children’s car seats.
  • FSIS.USDA.gov lists recalls that involve meat, sausage, poultry, and processed egg products.
  • FDA.gov lists recalls that involve food (non-meat products; fruits; vegetables; seafood; shelled eggs; infant formulas), medicines, medical devices, cosmetics, biologics, radiation emitting products, veterinary drugs, and pet food.
  • Foodsafety.gov publishes notices of food recalls and alerts from both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • SaferProducts.gov allows you to report incidents and safety concerns with consumer products, and search for incidents reported by other consumers.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

5 Surprising Benefits to Letting Your Kid Play Video Games

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kids gamingWe’re heading into the hottest part of the summer and suddenly my plan to get the kids outside and keep them there is becoming more challenging. We definitely have to stay hydrated and regularly come in for breaks, but there have also been a few days where we simply give up and come home after only an hour or so in the heat. On those days, my resistance against screen time starts to waver and I’ve even given in and let my older son play video games a few times. It turns out that this may not be so bad for him after all. In fact, there are many benefits that playing video games has over passively watching television.

  1. Making new friends: People sometimes imagine kids who game as isolated, sitting alone in a dim room with a controller in their hand. In fact, multi-player online games provide intense connections and teamwork via strategy. Besides that, a friendship that emerges because of a video game will likely lead children to discuss interests outside of video games.
  1. Video games can be physical: Pokemon Go is sweeping the nation, getting people of all ages off of their couches and outside to catch these adorable creatures. Wii Fit has people losing weight and tracking their progress and Dance Dance Revolution is a fun way to get some exercise and learn some new moves. These examples have obvious physical links, but studies show that even games that only require a handheld remote provide full-body interaction. Kids who play sports games are also more likely to try those same sports outdoors.
  1. Video games encourage quick decision making: It’s well known that games stimulate hand-eye coordination, but they also encourage kids to make rapid choices. They learn to scan a situation for possible options and to arrive at a plan of action quickly. Kids who play video games also adapt faster and learn instantaneously from their mistakes. These same traits can be very beneficial when applied to everyday situations (and maybe even emergencies) in real life.
  1. Video games encourage empathy: Reading works of fiction is perhaps the most beneficial activity when it comes to building empathy—to really get inside someone’s head and see the world from their perspective, it helps to immerse in their internal dialogue. People who read fiction are often kinder, more open-minded, and less likely to fear people who are dissimilar to them. But narrative video games may do the same thing. Playing the role of both the hero and the villain and/or switching avatars regularly gives a good dose of “walking a mile in somebody else’s shoes.” Kids who get deep into a narrative video game will begin to grasp concepts like plot, flashback, and foreshadowing—all things that they can apply in their interpretation of other forms of fiction in their lives.
  1. Gaming may slow aging: like puzzles or other brain teasers, video games that require memory, reaction time, problem-solving, and/or strategy (and that’s pretty much all of them) can improve cognitive function and stimulate synapses.

Like everything, moderation may be key when it comes to how much you let your kids play video games. It also might help you to observe them as they play, ask questions, and try to get involved with your kids at their level. Anything that lets you engage can be a good thing if you let it!

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Zucchini Carrot Chickpea Patty

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veg pattiesWith summer, comes the bounties of the garden… and sometimes, those bounties are never ending. We had a huge zucchini harvest this year and I’ve had to find creative ways of adding it to our meals. My kids loved these veggie bean patties and it’s a great way to add healthy protein sources to the summer diet.

I try and keep the recipe as healthy as possible and opt out on frying them, but you can do that too. Dip these yummy patties in Ranch dressing and it’s amazing! Also, they make great patties for veggie burgers. Enjoy!

Zucchini Carrot Chickpea Patties

Makes about 9

  • 1 can garbanzo beans (or 2 cups prepared)
  • 2 carrots, finely grated
  • 1 zucchini, finely grated
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce (You can find a recipe for sriracha sauce here.)
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  1. Preheat cast iron griddle on medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a blender, add garbanzo beans and oil and mix until smooth.
  3. Add grated vegetables and mix until incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.
  4. Form patties and place on hot griddle.
  5. Cook 3-4 minutes on eat side or until a crust forms. Flip patty and cook an additional 3-5 minutes.
  6. Serve warm.

 

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Lemon Icebox Pie

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ICEBOX PIEAs a southern girl, we love our icebox desserts. My grandmother introduced me to these yummy desserts and I since the first time I tried them I was a forever fan. Now that I have kids of my own, life gets pretty hectic and when I want to make a dessert, I always turn to these easy icebox pies. Here’s my grandmother’s go-to dessert to make for us.

Enjoy!

Lemon Icebox Pie

For graham cracker crust:

  • 14 whole graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm

For the filling:

  • 2 (14-ounce) cans condensed milk
  • 1 1/4 cups strained lemon juice (from the 2 zested lemons below plus an additional 4–6)
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 8 large egg yolks
  1. For crust: Preheat oven to 325°F. While oven is heating, break the graham crackers into small pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor along with the sugar and salt. Pulse until the cracker crumbs are semi-fine and the sugar is combined. Pour in the butter and pulse until the butter is blended in and the mixture isn’t crumbly and holds its shape when you squeeze it. Transfer mixture to a pie pan and press the crumb mixture into the bottom and two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crust into place. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the condensed milk with the lemon juice and set aside. Whisk the zest with the egg yolks in a medium bowl until pale, 30 to 60 seconds, and then whisk in the lemon juice-condensed milk mixture.
  3. Pour the mixture into the graham cracker pie crust, and transfer pie pan to a baking sheet and place in the oven.
  4. Bake 25 minutes or until the center jiggles slightly.
  5. Allow to cool 1 hour. Carefully cover with plastic wrap (ensuring it wrap doesn’t touch the pie) and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  6. Dust with powdered sugar or top with whipped topping.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

How to Ferment Feed for Healthier Chickens

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fermented feedNo doubt that many of you have heard the buzz about keeping your gut healthy with probiotics and fermented foods. Well, a chicken’s health is no different. In fact, the health of a chicken is directly related to how healthy their gut is. If their gut it out of whack, then they can develop illnesses. So taking extra measures to ensure this part of their body is in good shape will go a long ways in terms of the chicken providing you continually with healthy meat and eggs.

Fermenting a chicken’s feed is an inexpensive and easy way to promoting a good gut health and also has some other positive effects..

  • increased absorption of nutrients in feed
  • probiotics in feed will promote overall health of chicken
  • creation of b vitamins like niacin, thiamin and folate
  • naturally increases egg weight and shell thickness
  • stronger immunity

It is said that because the chickens will be receiving more nutrients and vitamins brought on by the fermenting process, they will eat 1/3 to 1/2 less feed! You can go a step further and supplement this with some home grown fodder and will drastically cut down on your livestock feed bill.

Fermenting chicken feed is easy-peasy, here’s what you need:

  • 1 gallon sized glass jar
  • distilled water
  • chicken feed, crumble, and/or oats
  • cheese cloth
  • rubber band

Simply, add the feed and enough water to cover the feed by a few inches and wait a few days. There should be a fermented grain smell (similar to sourdough starter), by the second or third day.

I have used fermented chicken feed with my recent batch of chicks and they prefered the fermented food over the dry feed. It’s a good feeling when you know you are giving your chicks the best start at a healthy life.

Using the process described in the video, you can keep this a small project or make it more large scale by using 5 gallon buckets to ferment the feed. All it takes is three days to start your chickens on a healthier path. As well, other livestock will benefit from this fermentation process, so start experimenting! Best of all, with the extra money you will be saving, you can start some more homesteading projects.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

10 Delicious Zoodle Recipes You Can Make From Your Summer Harvest!

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 For the better part of a year I haven’t felt like myself. I was lethargic, depressed and always on the verge of catching the latest virus circulating around, even though I was taking supplements and eating a healthy diet. After having enough of feeling crappy all the time, I took a food allergy test and found out I had a food intolerance to dairy, gluten and a few other food types.

For years I had heard of people talking about the Wheat Belly book and thought it was impossible to live that healthy of a lifestyle. Well folks, my time had come. Long story short, after eliminating gluten out for 30 days, I felt so much better and even lost 15 pounds! While losing weight wasn’t the objective of my elimination diet, I felt so much healthier simply by removing this food types.

A New Way to Eat Garden Fresh Salads

During that journey, I found news ways of eating some of my favorite dishes and some new tools in preparing these foods. One of my favorite tools I found was the Zoodle slicer. I know it’s a wonky name, but it’s a great way of creating gluten-free and paleo meals.  Basically, the tool cuts vegetables into long, spiralized shapes and makes healthy versions for pasta dishes. I have used this handy little contraption to make “vegetti” and veggie ravioli and lasagna, and also used it to dehydrate zoodles for future meals. It also makes fresh yummy salads and even jazzes up some of my favorite healthy salads like carrot apple salad. What’s great is many of the zoodle slicers have different tools so you can change up your zoodle sizes into wider ribbons of zoodles. Also, you can find spiralizing attachments that go on your Kitchenaid mixer!  There are different types of zoodles makers and each have different features that make them appealing. Here are the top five spiralizers:

  1. iPerfect Kitchen Vegetable Slicer Bundle – $12.95
  2. Premium Vegetable Spiralizer Bundle – $14.47
  3. Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer – $30.48
  4. Spiralizer Tri-Blade Vegetable Spiral Slicer – $30.99
  5. Müeller Spiral-Ultra 4-Blade Spiralizer – $27.99

By far, the easiest vegetable to use when making these healthy “noodles” is the zucchini, but other vegetables can be used too. Here are some that I have tried.

  • squash
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • beets
  • jicama

I love this cooking tool and it’s perfect for summer salads. I recommend it for anyone looking for new ways to get more vegetables into their diets and this is the perfect time to take advantage of all the wonderful vegetables out in the garden! Try some of my favorite zoodle recipes using some of the garden ripe veggies. If these recipes aren’t enough for you to get started, there are spiralizing cookbooks loaded with more recipes.

10 Delicious, Nutritious Zoodle Recipes

1. Zoodle Lasagna

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 4 zucchini
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 container of ricotta cheese/cottage cheese or make your own with this recipe.
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a skillet, add ground beef and brown until cooked. Season, if necessary. Set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, add parsley, cottage cheese and egg and mix until incorporated. Set aside
  3. Take zoodle slicer and cut zucchini into wide ribbons to resemble lasagna noodles. Wipe zoodles with paper towel to remove any additional moisture.
  4. In a casserole dish, spoon some of the meat mixture into the bottom of the prepared casserole dish (just enough to cover).
  5. Add a layer of zoodles directly on top of the meat.
  6. Add 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over zoodles and top with a layer of spinach.
  7. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of mozzarella over zoodles.
  8. Repeat layering process.
  9. Top the finished lasagna with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  10. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is gooey and golden.

Note: You can also make a “one pot” meal with these ingredients if you decide not to go through the layering process.

2. Loaded Zoodle Ramen Soup

  • 1 cup bone broth (I use this recipe)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced (This microplane grater is amazing)
  • 1/2 cup spinach, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin
  • 3 mushrooms, sliced
  1. In a soup bowl, add all ingredients and enjoy.

3. Pad Thai Zoodles

For Pad Thai:

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound chicken, beef or shrimp
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 large egg
  • about 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • Few lime wedges for serving (optional)

For sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  1. In a small bowl whisk all the ingredients together for the sauce and set aside.
  2. Next, make your zoodles using your spiralizer. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the peanut oil to a wok and heat over high heat. Add meat and cook until fully cooked.
  4. Add garlic to the wok and toss everything together, continue cooking for another minute, if heat is too high, turn to medium high.
  5. Push ingredients off to one side of the wok, and crack the eggs in the other side. Using a spatula break the eggs and scramble eggs.
  6. Add half the bean sprouts, half the peanuts and half the green onions to the wok then pour the sauce over everything. Toss everything together and continue cooking for a 2 more minutes on low heat.
  7. Add the zoodles to the wok, toss everything together and turn off the heat.
  8. Serve while warm and add remaining bean sprouts, green onions and peanuts. Garnish with a lime wedge.

 4. Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Ravioli

One of my very dear friends introduced me to veggie ravioli and I have been experimenting ever since! This is a wonderfully light meal your entire family will enjoy!

  • 3 large zucchini
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 container of ricotta cheese/cottage cheese or make your own with this recipe.
  • 1 cup tomato sauce of choice
  • cheese, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Take zoodle slicer and cut zucchini into wide ribbons to resemble lasagna noodles. Wipe zoodles with paper towel to remove any additional moisture. Set aside.
  3. In a large pan, add spinach and basil and top with olive oil. Cook on medium-high heat until wilted.
  4. Add in garlic and saute for one more minute. Allow to cool.
  5. Add cooked basil/spinach mixture and add to a small bowl along with ricotta cheese. Stir to mix.
  6. Assemble the ravioli by placing two pieces of zucchini strips down. Add a spoonful of ricotta mixture and roll.
  7. Take two more pieces of zucchini and roll the opposite direction to hold the ricotta mixture in place.
  8. Repeat until all zucchini, ricotta and spinach has been used.
  9. Place zucchini in a large oven-proof pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and top with tomato sauce and cheese, if desired.

5. Mediterranean Zoodle Salad

  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 carrot
  • 6 green onion
  • 1 small jar of marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 small can of black olives
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon basil, chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons of artichoke marinade, reserved
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • juice of one lemon
  • crumbled feta cheese, optional
  1. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of artichoke marinade with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, spiralize zucchini and carrots and add remaining ingredients. Add dressing and stir until incorporated.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

6. Thai Cucumber Salad

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 carrot
  • 6 green onions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted cashews, coarsely chopped
  • dash of red peppers
  • dash of sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

For peanut sauce:

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  1. In a mixing bowl, add ingredients to make peanut sauce. Set aside.
  2. Using a knife, cut out seeds of cucumber and slice into half (long ways).
  3. With your spiralizer, make noodles from cucumbers.
  4. In a large bowl, add cucumber noodles and remaining ingredients.
  5. Top with sauce and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

7. Greek Style Cucumber Salad

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 carrot
  • 6 green onions
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled feta
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • fresh herbs like basil, thyme and oregano
  1. Using a knife, cut out seeds of cucumber and slice into half (long ways).
  2. With your spiralizer, make noodles from cucumbers.
  3. In a large bowl, add cucumber noodles and remaining ingredients.
  4. Top with vinaigrette and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

8. Zesty Jicama Salad with Cilantro Cream Sauce

  • jicama
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 3 green onions
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup cooked corn kernels
  • handful fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • salt and pepper

For cilantro cream sauce:

  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves (stems removed)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. In a food processor, add all the ingredients together for the sauce and blend until combined. Set aside.
  2. Next, spiralize the jicama. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to salad bowl and top with desired amount of dressing.
  4. Chill salad for an hour and serve cold.

9. Zoodles and Peas in a Lemon Cream Sauce

  • 2 zucchini
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 3/4 cups slices asparagus (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Coarsely ground black pepper (optional)
  • Lemon slices (optional)
  1. Make your zoodles using your spiralizer. Place in a bowl and set aside.In a pot of boiling water, cook spiralized zucchini for 3 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic to pan and sauté 1 minute.
  3. Stir in vegetable broth and cream, juice, salt and black pepper to taste.
  4. Meanwhile, Add pasta mixture to broth mixture; toss gently to coat. Garnish with coarsely ground black pepper and lemon slices, if desired.
  5. Serve immediately.

10. Bacon and Shrimp Zoodle Pasta Dish

  • 2-3 medium zucchini
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup green onions, minced
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4-6 chopped basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  1. In a pot of boiling water, cook spiralized zucchini for 3 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook bacon and drain on paper towel lined plate. Remove bacon fat leaving one teaspoon in skillet. Add garlic and green onions cooking for 1 minute. Add red pepper flakes, and shrimp. Cook shrimp until it turns pink. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Turn the shrimp and add lemon juice and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon.
  4. Add the zucchini noodles and toss to combine. Return shrimp to skillet, along with basil and crumble in the bacon. Toss to combine. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

So there you have it. 10 easy, delicious recipes to get your started using your spiralizer! Happy zoodle maker!

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Garden Hack: Make Your Own Seed Tape

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 Those perfectly uniformed rows of vegetables are next to impossible when you are sowing seeds directly to the soil – until now. This simple garden hack is the most efficient way to make the most of your garden space. As well, it uses biodegradable paper that will add nutrients to the soil when composted.

Gardening couldn’t get any simpler than when I stumbled upon this garden trick. Now I never have to wonder if my seeds have germinated! An added benefit is that I don’t waste as many seeds. This easy, inexpensive way to get your seeds right where you want them is a great project to get the kids involved in gardening too!

Tips to the Perfect Seed Tape:

  • Soak your larger seeds. I have also found that larger seeds like beans or peas can be soaked overnight before being added to the seed tape. This will cut down on the waiting time.
  • Check spacing on the back of the seed packet. Some seeds like a little more room to roam, so make sure you have the right spacing.
  • Use the right paper when making your strips. Make sure you use black and white newspaper as these are less harmful to earthworms and will decompose faster. Paper towels can also be used, but may be a more expensive alternative.
  • Label your seed bags. It’s easy to forget which seeds are which, so pre-label your bags to stay organized.
  • Don’t go crazy on the water. When you are spritzing your seeds, water just enough to thoroughly wet the seed tape. If you over water, you risk the newspaper disintegrating.

Make Your Own Seed Tape

Try this easy diy seed tape and watch how quickly your seeds will sprout!

Here’s what you need:

  • newspaper strips (you can also use paper towels)
  • water spritzing bottle
  • seeds
  • plastic sandwich bag
  • marker to label seeds
  1. Cut strips of newspapers. Cut the newspaper from top to bottom into 1-inch-wide strips and set aside.
  2. Lay the strips on a table and place a single row of seeds along each one. For correct spacing, read the back of the seed packet for specifics. Usually spacing vegetables like peas, radishes, and spring onions need to only be 1 inch apart, but there are other vegetable types will need to be spaced further.
  3. Add another 1 inch strip of newspaper and spritz with a water bottle and saturate the newspaper.
  4. Roll up and gently place in a pre-labeled plastic sandwich bag.
  5. Store in a cool dry place until planting time. You should see germination in as little as a few days or up to a week.
  6. Continue spritzing with water as needed.

Planting your seed tape

When your seed tape has thoroughly sprouted, it’s time to get them planted in the soil. Plant by laying tapes in rows and covering with a fine soil to the recommended depth.


Keep seedlings moist until they have established. In a few weeks, douse them with compost tea or fertilizer.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

6 Organic Mulches That Will Keep Plants Cool This Summer

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mulchMulching your gardens during the warmest summer months will do wonders for growing plants and will encourage a healthier soil environment for your plants to grow. Over time, this creates a biodiverse growing platform that will be the envy of the neighbors. In fact, this is one of the 7 laws of gardening. By doing this crucial step, it reduces evaporation from the soil surface by 25%-50%. This will drastically reduce how often you water and save you money in the process. As well, mulching controls the temperature of soil, shades the roots so they can branch out and grow, controls weeds and prevents soil compaction.

There are two types of mulches: organic and inorganic. In this article I will concentrate on the most popular types of organic mulches and ones that are easily found around the yard. I prefer organic mulches because they improve the soil quality as they decompose; which, in turn, encourages more microscopic activity in the soil. This makes it a more inviting environment for beneficial insects.

Here are some things to keep in mind when using organic mulches:

  • Weed first. By doing all the dirty work ahead of time, you will be less likely to do this during the hottest parts of the summer.
  • Add your soil amendments and fertilizers before you mulch. When you add your soil amendments like powdered oyster shell, compost, manure or green sand to the soil before mulching, you allow it to really penetrate into the soil and give the roots exactly what they need.
  • Don’t by stingy with the mulch. The more mulch you put down, the less likely weeds will grow. Most organic gardeners will put down 4-6 inches of mulch.

You don’t have to run to your garden center and spend a small fortune on these organic mulches, many of these you may have around your yard. Here are seven excellent mulches that will keep your garden thriving!

  1. Grass clippings – Rather than throwing away your grass clippings after you have mowed this lawn, use them to your advantage. This natural mulch will also return nitrogen back to the soil, thus feeding your soil an essential nutrient to keep plants growing. This is also a great addition for lasagna gardens.
  2.  Pine needles – Many of us having a plethora of pine needles and may not realize these make a great mulch. Despite what you may have heard, pine needles will not change the acidity of the soil. They are an ideal mulch because they provide uniformity to the beds, easily allows water to pass through and create air pockets which is beneficial for the soil.
  3. Straw – Straw is an ideal mulch that really does everything an organic mulch should do: retains moisture, reduces weeds and adds organic matter to the soil when it breaks down. Make sure you purchase straw that is weed free.
  4. Shredded leaves – Leaf mulch is a great way to utilize fallen leaves. Read more about which leaves are best for mulch. These make wonderful mulches and have a slow decomposition process. An electric leaf mulcher will chop leaves to a suitable length and cut down on time. Note: Leaves of the black walnut tree (Juglans nigra) are an exception due to the presence of juglone, a chemical that inhibits growth of many plants. While walnut roots and hulls cause most of the problems, the leaves also contain smaller quantities.
  5. Wood chips – By far, wood chips are one of the most popular types of natural mulches. These are readily available at your local garden center, but if you happen to have a downed tree from a storm, make the most of it and retain some of the bark for wood chips. Also, contact local tree-care companies to see if they would be willing to sell you a trunkload of chips at a nominal price.
  6. Newspaper – This is a frugal mulch choice for your garden and a great way to reduce weeds. Using 2 to 4 layers of newspaper strips is great for use in pathways and around newly set strawberry plants. It’s best to use another organic mulch in addition to newspapers, such as sawdust or hay, to hold paper in place.
  7. Living mulches – A living mulch a low-growing plant used in the vegetable garden as a mulch. It is often a companion plant. Some of the most favorite types of living mulches are clovers, hairy vetch, alfalfa and rye grass. Once the garden is put to rest, the living mulch can either be tilled into the soil or harvest and fed to livestock like rabbits or chickens as a treat.

Mulched gardens are healthier, contain fewer weeds, and are more drought-resistant compared to gardens that are not mulched. Done properly, this will make for a more efficient gardening experience and keep you from fighting weeds and pests. Make the most use of the items you have around you and utilize them in garden beds and landscaping rather than throwing them away.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Strawberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

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bbq sauceSweet. Smoky. Spicy. Is there anything better than these flavor combinations? This recipe happened purely by chance when I accidently let a pot of strawberry preserves go too long on the stove. I’m not about to let a pot of preserves go to waste, so I decided to make a barbecue sauce out of it. My mistake ended up being one of the best recipes I have ever come up with!

The chipotles will balance out the sweetness of the strawberries and really give some oomph to this sauce and is amazing on all meat types. My family loved it on ribs, chicken and pork tenderloin.

Now that barbecue season is quickly approaching, I thought I’d share this new take on the traditional bbq sauce and kick things up a notch. Happy grilling!

Strawberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

  • 4 cups strawberries, hulled (if they are large cut them in half)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  1. In a large pot, sterilize pint size canning jars, lids and rims.
  2. In a large sauce pan, add strawberries, lemon and sugar and cook over medium heat until they start to caramelize, about 15-20 minutes. Skim off any foam that may develop from the cooking process.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to blender and blend until pureed. Add ingredients to strawberries and simmer for 2o minutes.
  4. Ladle bbq sauce into canning jars, remove air bubbles and wipe rims before sealing.
  5. Process in hot water bath for 20 minutes.

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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

10 Brilliant Ways to Keep Chickens Cool in Summer

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 Chickens can withstand a lot weather extremes, but heat is not one of them. Did you know that a sudden increase in temperature is more dangerous for chicken’s than a gradual temperature climb? Chickens can become very stressed with sudden increases in temperatures and it stimulates additional blood flow to move away from vital organs and toward of areas of their body, such as, their combs, wattles and skin, thus making them more susceptible to heat stroke.

What Happens When a Chicken Gets Overheated

Since chickens don’t sweat, you must be very watchful over them when the warmer months begin creeping up. In fact, chickens pant to cool off. As they pant, moisture within the chickens’ lungs evaporates and is moved out of their bodies. Our feathered friends prefer temperatures staying between 65 F and 75 F. That’s easier said than done in some parts of the country!

It is important to understand the dynamics of how chickens react to heat.  First of all, the body temperature of a chicken is 107° F. When hens get too hot or stay hot for too long, they can die from heat stress. Typically, their body’s first reaction to heat is panting which helps them keep cool, but increases their respiratory and heart rate, as a result. This leads to expelling carbon dioxide at a much faster rate than normal which upsets the pH balance in their bodies and can lead to acidosis, a potentially fatal condition. Another common sign is the egg laying production will slow or suddenly stop. Here are some other common signs to look for:

  • Are they panting or walking around with their beaks open?
  • Are they hanging their wings out a little distance away from their bodies?
  • Have they become listless or their breathing has become labored?
  • Lying on the ground with their wings spread.
  • Eating little to no food.

If you see any of these signs, one “quick fix” is to make them some homemade electrolytes and set it out for them. This will help restore minerals lost from heat stress and normalize essential body functions for the heart, nerve and muscles.

Homemade Electrolyte Recipe

  • 8 ounces warm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Add electrolyte mixture to one gallon of water. Use full strength on severely ailing chickens, otherwise mix into their drinking water as needed.

10 Ways to Keep Your Chickens Cool

It should go without saying, but always make fresh water available to your flock of chickens. Water will decrease their internal temperature and cool them off. In addition to this, here are some other ways to help minimize any stress caused from heat.

    1. Offer frozen treats. One of my favorite ways to help my girls cool off and treat them at the same time is to freeze some of their favorite foods in ice. Foods such as kitchen scraps, berries, frozen vegetables, etc. If you have a plethora of veggie and/or fruit peels, freeze them in some water, along with some homemade electrolytes and set it outside on a hot day. They will love you for it! Alternatively, you could just freeze the food on its own and offer it to them. They will have fun pecking at it.
    2. Make sure their coop has enough space. Putting too many chickens in too small of an area, can cause the coop to heat up quickly due to excessive body heat and moisture and prevents them from staying cool. It is recommended that the coop have 4 square feet per bird. Also consider adding a thermometer to see what the temperature is.
    3. Ventilate the coop. Ventilating the coop will create good air flow and this will help to move out both the moisture and the heat put off by the birds. Getting good cross ventilation is ideal. One way to do this is by adding vent windows on the sides and in the front and back. This creates good airflow. If you’re not able to get enough airflow with natural ventilation, consider creating a breeze with a fan.
    4. Spray around the coop with cold water. Spraying around the coop and the roof can cause evaporative cooling for your chickens.  You can also create small pools of water for the chickens to wade in and keep themselves cool or provide a mister.
    5. Add some apple cider vinegar to their water. That’s right folks, our favorite natural remedy can be your livestock’s favorite too. By adding ACV to your livestock’s water several times a week, it has health benefits and also increases calcium absorption, which is especially important during the summer months, when the hens’ feed intake goes down and they aren’t ingesting as much calcium as they normally do.
    6. Make some mud. Spray a shaded area of dirt with the water hose and break it up with a shovel. Your chickens will scratch at the mud and lose some a bit of heat through their feet that way. As well, they may enjoy a luxurious mud bathe!
    7. Freeze some water bottles. Freezing gallon jugs of water is great for your chickens to lean against. Just bury it in their favorite dusting space. This is also great for rabbits too!
    8. Offer some shade. If your coop does not have adequate shade, hang some shade cloth or a tarp and create a “shade zone.” This would be an ideal area to add some misters to for extra hydration and also allow the breeze to come through.
    9. Did a hole. Soil temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year, so digging a hole in a shady area may be just what your chickens are looking for. You can also dig a hole next to the one for your chickens and add a frozen gallon sized water bottle and bury it.
    10. Give them more fruit. Foods such as scratch and corn require longer digestive process, which can heat the chicken’s temperature. Offering more fresh vegetables and fruits like watermelon will give them more hydration. Make it fun for them by stringing up the fruit and vegetables on strings and hanging it.

    Although chickens are very adaptable, they still need a little extra TLC during extreme weather. Ensuring that your chickens always have a source of water and some of the suggestions listed above will help them better adjust during the warmer months.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Grow the Heartiest Tomatoes with These Organic Tips

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    heirloom tomatoesTomatoes are summer’s gift to the gardener. I simply cannot grow enough tomatoes in one season, so I’ve started growing enough for second, and sometimes third crops. The secret to growing an endless crop of tomatoes during the summer is easy! Follow these organic natural tips and enjoy a juicy crop, perfect for summer salads and fresh sauces.

    1. Choose the right location. Tomatoes love bright locations where they receive 10 hours or more of sunlight. Full morning sun is always the best location, but tomatoes will do well with some afternoon sun too. As well, ensure that you have properly spaced your plants.

    • Dwarf varieties should be spaced about 12 inches apart in a row.
    • If you are staking your plants, space them about 24 inches apart.
    • Indeterminate tomatoes should be spaced about 36 to 48 inches apart.

    2. Plant tomatoes in multiple locations. When you alternate where you plant your tomatoes, it helps to diminish the risk of soil-borne diseases such as bacterial spot and early blight. One of my favorite gardening resources, Carrots Love Tomatoes: The Secrets to Companion Planting taught me that when you plant companion plants near each other, it also helps to reduce soil-borne diseases, as well as, encourage beneficial bugs to hang around. Here is a list of companion plants for your tomatoes:

    • Asparagus
    • Basil
    • Beans
    • Borage
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Dill
    • Lettuce
    • Melons
    • Onions
    • Parsley
    • Peppers
    • Radishes
    • Spinach
    • Thyme

    3. Plant them deep! When you plant your tomato seedlings deep, it helps the plant develop a better root system. The extra roots will strengthen the plant so that it can support more fruit and survive hot weather. Gardeners recommend you planting your seedlings up to the first true leaves. If you have heavy soil and cannot dig your hole deeply, you can lay the plant on its side, and cover with dirt (ensure that the hole is at least 5 or 6 inches deep when buried).

    4. Prune your tomatoes. I realize that many feel this step is optional, but it really helps. By pruning off any non-fruiting branches, it directs the tomato plant’s energy into growing more tomatoes. Every three weeks, I will prune my tomato plants in the early morning. Doing this step in the morning will help reduce any plant stress.

    5. Fertilize! Tomatoes are heavy feeders and require lots of nutrients to produce all of those lovely tomatoes. Adding a layer of balanced organic fertilizer like 8-8-8 during the transplanting process will help shield plants from stress and encourage root growth. When plants begin to put out fruit, fertilize every two or three weeks with fertilizer and then water it in.

    As well, consider giving your plants some compost tea. Compost tea takes the beneficial bacteria and fungus present in compost and exponentially increases them through aeration and sugars. These bacteria and fungus are critical in root establishment – and the more bacteria you have in your soil, the better. This all around plant booster helps foliage, increases root development, feeds the soil – you can’t go wrong! I usually make some compost tea once a month to help my plants.

    6. Give them some support. Certain tomato varieties can grow over 6 feet high and will require a trellis, staking or tomato cage. The trellis system keeps ripe fruit off the ground, so it’s less susceptible to disease and is easier to harvest. Any garden center will have tomato cages and trellises. The best time to add stakes is during the time you are transplanting. This cuts down on damaging root systems later on.

    7. Water them correctly. Last, but not least, is the most important tip of all – correct watering. Tomatoes need deep, yet infrequent watering. This helps cut down on tomato blight. As well, do your best to keep leaves dry.

    8. Plant more! Succession planting in three-week intervals will keep you loaded with tomatoes throughout the growing season. As soon as you plant your seedlings, start a new batch of seeds. I usually plant tomatoes two or three times during the summer months.

    9. Harvest as soon as they show their colors. Keep an eye on your growing tomatoes and harvest as soon as they color up fully. Birds and other wildlife love tomatoes as much as we do, so pick them as soon as their color comes. You can also pick your tomatoes a little early and allow it to ripen on your kitchen windowsill.

    These tips will ensure that your tomato crop will be the best crop yet. Happy gardening!

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Get Prepped: The Hurricane Primer + Giveaway

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     Over 80% of people on this planet live within 100 miles of a coastline. Despite attempts at getting the population better prepared, according to FEMA, only 40% of the U.S. population actively prepares. It only takes one hurricane for victims to see how quickly their lives can change.

    Hurricanes are nightmarish in terms of the damage they cause and have the capacity to level homes, flood neighborhoods and cause massive amounts of damage to communities. Those that choose the unpreparedness route gamble with the chance of going head to head with severe flooding, tornadoes, wind and storm damage and gamble with their families lives. This may sound alarmist, but it’s a fact. On a personal note, I have witnessed first hand how unprepared families flock to the stores for last-minute preparations and how grocery markets, super stores and home depots are quickly overwhelmed and supplies exhausted within hours of restocking. Inevitably, there will be people who walk away from these storms unprepared. Do you want to be a part of this statistic?

    Everything You Ever Needed to Know to Prepare for Hurricanes

    The time to prepare for this natural disaster is now before any storms are on the horizon. Using this approach is also easier on the pocket-book and will help you prepare with a clear head rather than a panicked one. The best place to start is to find resources, checklists and advice from experienced professionals. Even asking friends and family what their personal stories of surviving hurricanes are can better prepare you. One of Ready Nutrition’s writers, Jeremiah Johnson wrote about his personal survival story about going through Hurricane Katrina. You can read his words here.

    hurricane preparedness

    Make sure you sign up for the Hurricane Preparedness Giveaway below!

    These are essentials you need to prepare for and understand how devastating these types of disasters are.

    Preparation

    Supplies

    Medical Needs

    Communication

    Sanitation

    Evacuation

    Don’t Be Another Statistic

    Now that you understand what we’re dealing with, there are ways you can use this information to prepare for the next event so that you will be a part of the population that is ready for what may come.

    Ultimately, you are the only one who can best care for your family. Having a stash of your family’s favorite canned or dry goods, a supply of water and a simple medical kit can maintain your basic needs for a short-lived disaster. This simple preparedness supply could set you apart from the unprepared.

    If you live in a highly populated area, understand that resources will diminish quickly, so preparing beforehand can circumvent this. You can always start out with these basic preparedness items to get through a disaster:

    1. Food and alternative ways to cook food
    2. Water – 1 gallon per person/per day for consuming only. Plan more for sanitary needs.
    3. Fuel for generators. Also consider charcoal for outdoor grills
    4. Batteries and battery charger
    5. Flashlights and lanterns
    6. Generator
    7. Emergency lighting
    8. Ice
    9. Medical supply
    10. Items for baby needs
    11. Sanitation supplies

    Sign-Up For Our Giveaway!

    To encourage you further, we are offering a giveaway to help get you ready for the upcoming hurricane season. All you have to do is sign up for our newsletter and you will be entered to win this hurricane preparedness kit worth $130!

    You guys are going to love the prizes!

    backpack72-hour Kit for a Family of 4 – This is a great compact kit from ReadyAmerica that has everything you need for 72 hours time. This is great for a grab and go evac pack or is a great addition to your vehicle.

    250x250-PreppersBluePrintThe Prepper’s Blueprint – We can all agree that the subject of preparedness is a lot to digest. The Prepper’s Blueprint is a best-selling resource that will help readers see the value in adding preps slowly and steadily to fully insulate themselves from the worst-case scenario.

    lifestrawLifeStraw – This handy, lightweight water filtration system removes minimum 99.9% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction) and surpasses EPA standards for water filters, removes a minimum 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites (>LOG 3 reduction) and filters to an amazing 0.2 microns. Lifestraw will ensure you have drinking water in the harshest of conditions.

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    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Mail Order Chicks: Caring for Chicks After Transport

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     This week, we had a few additions join our happy little ranch by mail order. This was the first time that I ordered poultry online, and decided to give it a go. Each year, I like to try raising a different small animal breeds to challenge myself in producing my own food. Last year, it was rabbits; and this year, I decided to add some turkeys to the mix. Since my local feed store didn’t carry turkeys, I decided to order them online along with some baby chickens. When you order poultry online, you have a great variety to choose from. Here are some popular hatcheries that are online:

    McMurray Hatchery

    Cackle Hatchery

    Hoover Hatchery

    Meyer Hatchery

    The downside to this choice, is the day old chicks can get stressed from long transport and could become ill or die. To circumvent this, it is imperative that you get everything in order ahead of time and anticipate what your chicks will need when you open the shipping container.

    baby chicks

    1. Make sure you have your brooder set up before they arrive. Get the brooder set up and make sure you have these eight items in the chick nursery. As well, test all of your equipment to make sure it’s in working order.

    2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! As soon as your chicks arrive, you need to get them hydrated. After long transports, chicks can be a little lethargic and possibly on the verge of becoming dehydrated. I like to give my chicks homemade electrolytes as soon I they get into the chicken brooder. Within 30 minutes of the chicks drinking the electrolytes, they pep up and seem more alert. Here’s a recipe you can use:

    Homemade Electrolyte Recipe

    • 8 ounces warm water
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

    I usually dilute this with more water for my chicks, but this recipe is great for all livestock. Use full strength on severely ailing chickens, otherwise mix into their drinking water as needed, a cup per gallon of water. Use this electrolyte drink for the first few days and then switch to regular drinking water.

    3. Make sure they have food available. Right before a chick hatches, it consumes the nutrient rich yolk from the egg. This gives the hatched chicks the most essential nutrients they’ll need to live off of for approximately two days. Therefore, during transport, they usually do not require feeding; however, by the time they make it to your door, they will probably be wanting some chick crumble. One way to revive your mail order chicks is to mix the electrolyte drink recipe (listed above) in with some of the chick starter to create a mush.  Give your birds this special feed and water mix for 3 to 4 days to help get their energy up.

    In addition to the “chick mush,” on Day 1, I also scramble an egg for the chicks and let them snack on this for the first day. Scrambled eggs is nutrient dense and the perfect food to give them needed vitamins.

    4. Extra chick tip! Did you know that a chicken’s gut is directly related to their health? Keep this in mind when trying to boost their health. Here are six natural remedies you can give your chicks so they develop strong guts and good health.

    5. Monitor their progress. Chickens really are one the easiest livestock breeds to care for. As long as you give them what they need to survive, they will take care of themselves. For the first few days, I like to be nearby to check the thermometer inside their brooder to make sure they aren’t too hot or too cold. After day 3, I stop giving them electrolytes and instead, add a probiotic to their water to help them begin developing a healthy gut.

    After the first week, I will start sprinkling grit on their food and begin introducing them to fresh herbs and grasses for them to nibble on.

    Listen to their cues

    Like all babies, you can usually tell if your chicks need something. If they are panting, have shrill peeps, seem lethargic or are piling up and smothering each other, these are all indicators that something is wrong in the brooder. Perhaps the temperature needs to be adjusted, or they are out of water or food.

    Time to move them outdoors

    After six weeks, start paying attention to see if your chicks are ready to be moved outside. They should have a full set of feathers grown and be able to withstand temperatures up to 70 degrees F. Usually, when the chicks no longer need a heat lamp, it’s time to start getting them ready for their coop. Start transitioning them by moving their brooder or nursery to a colder part of your house. During warm days, chickens that have most of their feathers (sometime between 2 and 4 weeks old) can spend the afternoon outside and return to the brooder at night. At six weeks, you can add them to the coop with their heat lamp on at night to ensure they will be warm enough.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    5 Natural Remedies to Soothe Poison Ivy Rashes

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    dreamstime_xs_14785335If you spend any time outdoors, you know that poison ivy can grow just about anywhere and is the bane of all outdoor enthusiasts. 85% of the population has some sort of allergic reaction to poison. In all truthfulness, it is not the plant people are allergic to, but the oil in poison ivy, poison oak and sumac. All parts of the plant contain the oil, urushiol, which causes the bubbly, itchy rash. Once the oil makes contact with your skin through direct or indirect exposure (from clothing, shoes, or your pet), a rash can occur within 12 to 72 hours. Within that time, you will quickly regret that innocent brush with nature.

    Unfortunately, there is no cure for the poison ivy rash. You’re only recourse is to wait it out and try to minimize the symptoms. While doctors can prescribe steroidal creams, these can be costly. Here are some natural remedies to try instead.

    Tea tree oil

    This essential oil is a great all around natural skin remedy. Once the rash has stopped oozing, tea tree oil can be applied to skin every two hours to stop itching and dry the blisters and rash. Tea tree is generally safe to apply undiluted to skin, but only a few drops are needed.

    Aloe vera

    Aloe Vera has been used for thousands of years and is one of the few natural wonders that has been shown to reduce inflammation, swelling, and itching on the skin. This natural remedy is great for soothing poison ivy or poison oak rashes, and has been shown to reduce itching, pain, and irritation. Aloe helps retain moisture in e skin and protect it especially when the rash becomes dry and inflamed. Refrigerating the aloe vera before use will give more of a cooling effect.

    You can even make this soothing itch cream with some aloe vera.

    Jewelweed 

    If nature created it, there is a remedy for it and jewelweed is the counteracting weed usually found alongside poison ivy. It is a succulent, a member of the impatien family. Crush it and apply to the rash. This alone is by far the best help of any of these treatments.

    Witch hazel

    Made from the bark of the witch hazel tree, this astringent is soothing and relieves the itch of poison ivy. Wherever you have a rash, apply witch hazel. The cooling, soothing extract will calm the rash down and promote healing. Apply with a cotton ball and discard when done.

    Oatmeal bath

    Adding a cup of oatmeal to a tepid bath is a wonderful way to relieve irritated skin. Ensure that the water is not too hot. Hot water can cause the blisters of the rash to burst and spread the infection. If you do not feel up for a bath, once a day, you can make a paste of cooled cooked oatmeal and leave it on the skin.

    If you happen to come in contact with poison ivy, wash the area as soon as you can and hope for the best. If a rash occurs, start using some of these natural remedies to soothe the rash.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    No-Bake Strawberries n’ Cream Icebox Cake

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    ICEBOX CAKEMy grandmother’s favorite dessert to make was icebox cakes and pies. They were a breeze to whip and didn’t require any baking so it didn’t heat up the kitchen. Her favorite was lemon icebox pie, but every now and then, she’d venture out and try different versions. Now that strawberries are at the peak of their season, I had to try this delicious strawberries n’ cream icebox cake and pay homage to my sweet grandma.

    Strawberries n’ Cream Icebox Cake

    Serves 6 to 8
    • 1 pounds fresh strawberries, washed and patted dry
    • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
    • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 2 sleeves graham crackers (I used cinnamon grahams for extra flavor)
    • chocolate syrup, optional
    1. Reserve 6 strawberries and set aside for garnish. Slice remaining strawberries into thin slices and place in a bowl.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, whip cream until it peaks. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla and whip until combined.
    3. Spread a small spoonful of whipped cream on the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan. Lay down 6 graham crackers and lightly cover the top of the graham crackers with more whipped cream, and then a single layer of strawberries. Repeat 3 times, until you have 4 layers of graham crackers. Spread the last of the whipped cream and add any remaining sliced strawberries.
    4. Garnish with whole berries and lightly drizzle with chocolate sauce.
    5. Refrigerate for 6 hours, or until the crackers have softened.

     

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Straw Bale Gardening: Everything You Wanted to Know for the Best Bounty Ever

    Click here to view the original post.

    Two years ago, we moved into a house that had an abandoned garden; and to put it bluntly, the garden was in pretty bad shape. The soil was dry, rocky and compacted and there were weeds growing, but I was able to turn it around by conditioning the soil and experimented using a cardboard box gardening theory I was trying out. Since that time, I have added rabbits to our mini homestead and their nutrient-rich poo has turned my garden’s soil into that crumbly, rich dirt we all desperately want. Even though this garden is primed and ready to go, it just isn’t large enough for what I am trying to achieve.

    9

    This old garden bed has seen better days. Not only is it falling apart, but it doesn’t give me the right space for what I want to achieve.

    For years, I have been working on backyard strategies that anyone can use to achieve food freedom to finally break away from the system and my family’s dependence on grocery stores. We have been able to find local meat sources, now it’s time to get enough produce to put away.

    Why Straw Bale Gardening Works!

    I decided to try my hand at straw bale gardening. It sounded practical enough. In fact, author, Joel Karsten of Straw Bale Gardens Complete, wrote on his website that this gardening method is a game changer. “Minimal maintenance resulting in maximum production, through Straw Bale Gardening.  It will completely change everything you thought you already knew about gardening.”

    As well, this raised bed gardening method is very economical. For under $100, we were able to purchase 12 straw bales and extended our garden area by over 20 feet! We also purchased about $30 in organic fertilizers to condition the bales, but if you have the gift of time on your hands, you can bypass this step completely. I’ll get to that a little later.

    Not only was I was drawn to this gardening method because it was cheaper, but it was easy for those with physical limitations and took poor soil quality out of the gardening equation. As well, I love natural gardening methods and liked the idea of the bales decomposing as the plants were growing, thus giving them essential nutrients in the process.

    How it works

    In short, as the bale of straw decomposes, it creates a nutrient-rich medium for the plants to grow. As well, the space between the straw creates tiny air pockets that are beneficial to the roots.

    The bales need to be “conditioned” at least two weeks before planting. This will create the right growing environment for your plants. Once the bales are conditioned, you plant your garden and sit back and enjoy the view. It’s that easy, folks!

    What you’ll need

    • straw bales
    • cardboard, newspapers or landscaping cloth
    • soaker hoses
    • garden stakes for trellises for tomatoes
    • 2 boxes each of organic blood meal and bone meal
    1. Getting started is easy! All you need to do is choose the area where you want to start your straw bale garden project. Make sure the location will get ample sunlight – up to 6 to 8 hours a day. Next, set down landscaping fabric, newspaper or cardboard boxes to prevent weeds from growing through the bales. Don’t skip this step – it’s important!
    2. Position your bales. Once you have set down the landscaping fabric into an outline you want the bales to go in, start positioning your bales so that the strings that bind the bales should run across the sides, not across the planting surface. By positioning them this way, it will keep the shape of the bales as they start to soften and decompose.
    3. Water your bales and get them ready for conditioning.
    4. Condition bales.
    5. Plant garden and fertilize as needed.
    6

    After positioning the straw bales into the shape I wanted, I was surprised at how much extra space I had in the garden.

    How to conditioning straw bales

    Like all gardens, before you plant your plants, you need to make sure they will have the right environment to grow in. Conditioning will help activate bacteria inside the bale to begin digesting the straw. It will make nitrogen and other nutrients available to the seedlings and create a productive, warm, moist and nutrient-rich rooting environment for young seedlings.  This is an ideal environment for beneficial insects including earthworms. As well, the bales will last you for up to two garden seasons because it slowly breaks down. Once it is completely broken down, you can throw it in your compost pile and turn it into rich compost.

    You will see a difference in the bales overall appearance after it has been conditioned. It begins to slump and the color of the straw will start to “pepper.” In addition, the internal temperature of the straw bale increased too. If you insert a thermometer, it may rise to 120 degrees or even higher. I knew when my bales were properly conditioned when I saw earthworms living in the bales when I was planting the plants.

    There are two processes for getting the straw bales conditioned and which one you use is dependent on how much time you have. Conditioning the bales will take two weeks or more to get the decomposition process started.

    If you’ve got plenty of time, use this method:

    After you have added the landscaping cloth and positioned your bales, simply add some top soil, fresh manure and all-purpose fertilizer to the tops of the straw bales, water thoroughly and allow this to sit uncovered for a few months. Many people who use this method will position their bales in the fall and allow them to decompose over the winter so they are ready for spring gardening.

    If you are short on time, use this method:

    This is a quick way to get your bales decomposition process going. For ten days, you will be watering and fertilizing your bales to get the inner straw composting.

    Days 1-6: For the first six days, you will be adding 3 cups of organic fertilizer per bale every other day. Then, thoroughly saturate the bales with water so that the fertilizer is pushed down through the straw. I used an organic fertilizer that was high in nitrogen like a 12-0-0 blood meal. On the off days, simply water the bales. To make the fertilizer more available to the bacteria more quickly, I use a tent stake and hammered holes in the straw bales before adding the fertilizer. This really seemed to speed up the process.

    Avoid using manures for the “quick cook” method because most manures do not have enough concentration of active nitrogen. The only exception to this is pure chicken manure that has been composted for 6-12 weeks and does not have any bedding or wood shavings mixed in. Read more about why manures won’t work with conditioning.

    Days 7-9:  For two days, I added 1 cup of an all-purpose organic fertilizer and thoroughly watered the bales. By now, you should start seeing some significant changes to your bales.

    Day 10: On the last day, I added 3 cups of bone meal. This fertilizer is high in phosphorus and potassium and is great for making sure there are nutrients present for essential root development.

     Planting time

    After your bales have properly cooked down, now is the fun part and what you have been waiting so patiently for – planting time! Use a gardening trowel to remove the straw in the shape of a hole. You can also help any exposed roots, by adding some sterile planting mix to the hole.

    If you’re planting seeds, then cover the bales with a one to two-inch layer of planting mix and sow the seeds directly into the planting mix. As the seeds germinate, they’ll grow roots down into the bale itself.

    Suggested number of plants per bale

    • 2-3 tomatoes
    • 4-6 cucumbers
    • 2 pumpkins
    • 2-3 zucchini
    • 2-4 squash
    • 4 peppers
    • 2 winter squash

    Tomatoes and cucumbers are very thirsty plants, so make sure you have a way deeply irrigate these plants. I added soaker hoses to my bales and also added these ceramic water irrigation stakes.

    Don’t limit your straw bale garden to just vegetables. You can use every inch of free space and plant flowers and herbs in the bale to attract bees and other pollinators. I even added strawberry plants to the sides of the bales that were going unused.

    Continue to fertilize

    Straw bales do not offer all the essential nutrients like soil does and plants may need extra fertilizing. Here are some indicators to look for:

    • yellowing leaves – nitrogen deficiency
    • leaves are browning on edges – potassium deficiency.
    • leaves turning purple – potassium deficiency

    I am very hopeful that this garden method will be a good fit for me and I am pleased with how easily this addition to my garden was. I will keep you all updated on the progress and hopefully, I can give a good report back with a great summer bounty.

    Happy gardening!

    straw bale

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    15 Household Items Dirtier Than Your Toilet

    Click here to view the original post.

    dirty bathroom Prepare to be disgusted. Some of the household items you touch everyday are 1,000 times dirtier than the place you do your business in. For instance, let’s just be honest and admit that your remote control has been found everywhere but where it belongs. It’s been found in between seat cushions, on the floor, in your hand after you’ve had a coughing fit. And you wonder why you caught a nasty flu. What about your ipad? According the MSNBC, cellular phones and ipads carry 500 times more bacteria than your toilet.

    Because many household cleaners can cause long-term health issues, many are turning to more natural means of cleaning products. After all, the FDA doesn’t mandate ingredient disclosure to household products which means what may be deemed “safe” for one person may be harmful to another. I have found you can make your own household products using natural ingredients and it does the same thorough cleaning job as the hardcore chemicals do. Here’s what you need:

    {Shopping List}

    Click on this link to get the recipes for making your own household products.

    We can all stand for a wake up call on our cleaning skills and this video will do it! Watch as you discover 15 items dirtier than your toilet!

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Baby Chicks Need Love Too: 6 Natural Treatments for Common Chick Ailments

    Click here to view the original post.

    baby chickSo, you took the plunge and bought some chicks. Let’s say you did everything by the book and researched the breeds you wanted, set up all the equipment beforehand, and gave your chicks everything they needed to thrive; but for some reason they aren’t. While there could be a myriad of reasons why this could be, my guess would be on one of the following reasons.

    An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

    Like many babies, when chicks have hatched, they do not have a strong immune system. As well, because their intestines are directly related to their immune system, it is important to build and strengthen their immunity from the start so that a supply of good gut bacteria can develop to fight off unhealthy parasites and diseases. Here are six natural remedies you can give your chicks to give them a fighting start.

    • Add probiotics – Many keepers of chickens swear by adding probiotics to their chickens diets in order to keep them healthy. You can provide a spoonful of yogurt or a probiotic drink in their food, or purchase probiotics from a feed store.
    • Feed chicks scrambled eggs – Adding some scrambled eggs to their diet is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can offer them. Right before a chick hatches, it consumed the nutrient rich yolk from the egg. This gives the hatched chicks the most essential nutrients they’ll need to live off of for approximately two days. Lacking only Vitamin C, the yolk is basically a chick’s life line until they take their first peck at their starter feed.
    • Keep the brooder clean – A clean living environment  is your best prevention, as is helping chicks build a strong immunity. Keep bedding clean and waterers and feeders free of droppings.
    • Add some apple cider vinegar to their water– That’s right, folks. Our go-to health remedy can help them too. You can quickly boost your chick’s immunity by adding a few drops of ACV to your chick’s waterer several times per week. Not only does this improve immunity, but it promotes good digestion and respiratory health, as well as helps to eliminate unhealthy parasites.
    • Add some fresh herbs to their feeder –  Herbs are another way to naturally boost your chicks health. Specifically herbs that contain essential antioxidants, vitamins, minerals like bay leaves, Echinacea, dandelions, oregano leaves. These will add additional protein and are well known for their antiviral properties. In addition, herbs like oregano and dandelion will improve their digestion too.
    • Add antioxidant rich foods to their diet – Introducing fresh greens and berries that are high in antioxidants can do your chick’s body good. Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, lettuce and cabbage are ideal immunity boosters. As well, consider adding baby spinach leaves and berries to their feeders. Another excellent way to promote a healthier immune function is garlic. Add a clove of garlic to their water to help them stay healthy.

    The best way to prevent a chick from developing an illness is prevention. Simply by paying attention to the health of your chick by monitoring its progress and keeping it in a stress-free environment can tell you a lot about its health. The following ailments are seven of the most common illnesses that surround chicks and a few can be avoidable with the tips listed above.

    Most Common Ailments Surrounding Chicks

    chickies

    1. Coccidiosis

    Let’s start with the #1 killer of baby chicks. Coccidiosis is a disease of the intestinal tract caused by the microscopic parasites called coccidia. This condition is often spread by bringing infected hens into your flock, or by wild birds, it is then picked up by your chickens through contact with the infected feces or through drinking water with droppings in it. Since, coccidia multiplies best in warm, wet, dirty conditions, it is essential to keep your chick nursery/brooder clean and remove any wet or caked feed, as well as provide fresh water as needed.

    Some symptoms to look out for are:

    • Diarrhea or bloody droppings
    • Ruffled feathers
    • Poor appetite and lethargy

    If you catch this in time, isolate the sick chick and start feeding it medicated chick feed until symptoms disappear. As well, making a mash of equal parts chick feed and milk mixed a tiny amount of plain yogurt. This will stimulate the chick’s digestive tract by causing diarrhea. Diarrhea is a body’s natural way to begin flushing out undesirable pathogens. Follow the mash with probiotic powder in the feed to help rebuild the good bacteria. Water is essential here, so be sure to provide plenty of fresh water with electrolytes (see recipe below) to help the chick regain its strength.

    Full disclosure: this condition has a very high mortality rate and once the symptoms start, it results in the chick to have an inability to absorb nutrients in food and the chick usually dies within a week; but there is always a chance, so don’t give up on the chick!

    One way to help baby chicks build an immunity to coccidiosis is to add small clumps of grass with the dirt attached into the brooder. This early exposure to small amounts of pathogens that exist outside will help them slowly build their natural immunity. As well, when they are a few weeks old, add some fresh or dried oregano to their feeder. You can also add one crushed clove of garlic and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to one gallon of the chicks water. These natural remedies will help the baby chicks develop the good bacteria they need and protect their fragile intestines.

    2. Temperature

    Baby chicks must have warm heat or else their fragile bodies could go into shock from the cold. We keep a heat lamp on them until they are 4 to 5 weeks old. Because the temperature needs to consistently stay around 90-95 degrees F (for the first week, then slowly decrease the temperature by 5 degrees each week), make sure you have a thermometer in the nursery at all times. Conversely, they also need an area where they can cool off, if they get too hot. Therefore, I have another thermometer set up in a corner so I can monitor the temperature there, as well. Here are some signs to look for if your temperatures need to be adjusted in the brooder:

    • Seem dehydrated
    • Panting
    • Peeps shrilly
    • Sticky bottoms or pasty butt
    • Diarrhea
    • Chicks will pile up and smother each other near the heat source

    If you see any of these signs, adjust the temperature accordingly. If they are huddled or climbing on one another, increase the temperature, or if they move away from their heat source, reduce the temperature a few degrees. As well, if you have a brooder lamp stand, it will help you better adjust your temperatures more quickly, but this is optional.

    As well, try to minimize any drafts that the chicks may be experiencing. This can also cause chicks body temperature to plunge. One way to circumvent this is to create a draft shield out of cardboard to circle around your structure that is about 12 inches high. You can buy one already made, but I had my kids make one as a weekend project with some excess boxes we had lying around.

    Picking can often be a sign of baby birds that are too hot, too crowded, or without fresh air. Occasionally, bright light also causes them to pick, or they pick for no apparent reason. To stop it, try putting in fresh green grass clippings several times a day and darken the room.

    3. Dehydration

    One of the most important issues when caring for livestock is to always provide them with fresh drinking water. Dehydration caused by stress, heat or rough transport can quickly create life-threatening issues with baby chicks.

    signs of dehydration

    • panting
    • opening wings
    • paleness to face
    • labored breathing
    • diarrhea
    • listlessness or not reactive to touch
    • convulsions or twitching

    If your chick is experiencing any of these issues, you must get fluids in them immediately. Making a homemade electrolyte drink for your birds may help to perk them up. Also consider moving their location. Perhaps, the area you have their brooder/nursery in has too much traffic or is drafty. As well, try and limit the handling of chicks for the first day or two so they can get accustomed to their new environment. Adding some electrolytes to their water may help them combat this issue too.

    Homemade Electrolyte Recipe

    • 8 ounces warm water
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

    I usually dilute this with more water for my chicks, but this recipe is great for all livestock. Use full strength on severely ailing adult chickens, otherwise mix into their drinking water as needed, a cup per gallon of water. Use this electrolyte drink for the first few days and then switch to regular drinking water.

    As well, if your chick is only exhibiting the beginning signs of dehydration, try reviving your chick with a mixture of the electrolyte drink mixed with some chick starter. This will make a soupy mush that they can easily consume. Give your bird this special feed for 3 to 4 days to help pep them.

    4. Lack of Gut Bacteria

    Simply put, when chicks are hatched, they don’t have strong populations of good bacteria present in their gut yet. This can be detrimental when they are exposed to potent sources of bad bacteria. This could be from contaminated food or water dishes or chick feed that has been contaminated by rodent droppings. We recommend providing a probiotic to chicks for the first week of life. You can feed them food that contains good bacteria, like yogurt or kefir, or purchase probiotics at a local feed store. But when they develop a healthy gut bacteria, they are less likely to get stressed or develop ailments like pasty butt.

    As well, consider growing fodder for your baby chicks after they are a week old and are ready to introduce more food sources to them. When you sprout essential grasses and grains, it gives the chicks a higher enzyme content. This provides 40-50% more digestible food sources to the bird, so the chick gets more nutrition in the process. As well, it is extremely economical. You could grow some fodder in half of an eggshell. The fodder could give them a healthy snack and the shell could help them with supplementing them with calcium (Help them out by crumbling the egg shell and putting it in their feeder).

    5. Pasty Butt

    Sometimes chicks can get stressed out. Usually the stress occurs temperature fluctuations, transport, too much handling, etc., and it causes manure to stick to the back of the bird’s vent. If this is left on their butt, they can get sick and die. Therefore, remove this daily by washing it off with a cloth and warm water. Gently dry the area and apply a small layer of petroleum jelly. This will prevent the droppings from sticking. As well, one natural way to remedy pasty butt is to add scrambled eggs to the chick feed. If symptoms persist, it could be the brand of chick feed and is recommended you switch feed sources. If diligent, this issue will disappear in a few days as the bird starts to grow.

    6. Spraddle Leg

    This is a common leg deformity that cause the chick’s legs to point to the side instead of the front. If left untreated, this deformity could have lasting effects on how the chick will walk in the future. One way to correct this is to change the lining of your brooder floor with rubber shelf liner. Next, bind the chick’s legs with vet wrap to stabilize the chick. Keep the chick’s legs bound for a few days to help them strengthen and correct the deformity. Be sure the chick isn’t being trampled by the other chicks. If you notice this, separate the chick.

    7. Marek’s Disease

    This ailment is a collective name for several highly contagious viral diseases that cause tumors and paralysis in sick chicks and spread bird-to-bird or via infected dust and dander. Marek’s usually occurs in large-scale breeding operations, and many professional hatcheries. While breeders offer vaccinations, it is not 100% effective. Some level of immunity is achieved by healthy chicks exposed to small amounts who are able to fight the virus.

    The best way to prevent Marek’s is by having chicks in a clean environment and keeping the brooder clean so the chicks can build a strong immune system. However, if your chick comes down with this disease, separate it immediately. There is no treatment for Marek’s disease, so monitor the chick to ensure it will continue to eat and drink. As well, do what you can to build the chick’s immune system with the suggestions above and it will have a better chance at surviving.

    To conclude, raising chicks can be a rewarding experience, but they do require some extra TLC and attention. The best way to prevent a chick from developing any unforeseen illnesses is through prevention. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Start adding the listed natural remedies to your chicks (and adult chickens too) diet to help them develop a strong immune system.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Guilt-Free Chocolate Fudge Brownies {gluten free and paleo)

    Click here to view the original post.

    browniesI recently changed up the way that I cook to reflect a healthier lifestyle. Sad to say, that the life of a paleo and gluten-free eater is a lonely one. It seems that no one in my family is on board with this choice and typically turn their nose up at my paleo meals. That is, until I tricked them with this brownie recipe.

    Unbeknownst to them, when they got home from school, I had a plate of brownies waiting for them – gluten-free+paleo, of course. They ate the whole plate of brownies and told me it was the best they ever ate.

    So there you have it, folks. If my kids loved them, your family will too. Best of all, they are guilt-free! These fudgy treats are made with coconut flour and coconut sugar and taste phenomenal.

    You could also make gluten-free fudge topping (see below), but they are delicious with it.

    Happy Baking!

    Gluten-Free Brownies

    • ½ cup coconut oil
    • 1 cups coconut sugar
    • ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup coconut flour
    • 1/4 cup almond milk
    • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks (optional)

    Fudge Topping:

    • ⅓ cup coconut oil
    • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan or line with parchment paper and spray. Once done, set pan aside.
    2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine coconut oil, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and heat on high power to melt, about 45 seconds. Stop to stir, and heat in 10-second bursts until mixture has melted and can be stirred smooth (mine took 45 seconds + 15 seconds). Batter will be granular.
    3. Add the vanilla, eggs, and stir until batter is well blended. Add the flour and milk and stir until combined. Add dark chocolate chunks as an optional ingredient and stir until blended.
    4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
    5. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out with moist crumbs attached. Don’t over bake!
    6. Let brownies cool completely.
    7. Optional: When brownies are cooled, in a small mixing bowl add ingredients for fudge topping and smooth over the top. Refrigerate immediately to set topping.
    8. Store in airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Shocking Photos: This is the Chicken That You Feed Your Family With… Abuse, Deformity and Disease

    Click here to view the original post.

    Pilgrim’s Pride, one of America’s top leading poultry providers is under fire after leaked videos and gruesome images of the deplorable conditions from some of their contract farms. Gangrenous dermatitis, enteritis, coccidiosis are only a few of the vile conditions chickens are dying from, but it gets worse.

    Disease, Deformity and Deplorable Conditions Spell a Recipe For Disaster

    Two farmers along with Leah Garces, the director of Compassion in World Farming USA, felt it necessary to expose the truth and let the people know about the chickens that America feeds their families with.

    Equipped with secret cameras the brave men filmed inside the chicken houses – revealing the horrifying reality of chicken farming.

    The gruesome footage shows close-ups of the dying, abandoned birds – some discolored dark red, purple and green and others a bloody mess of rotting flesh and feathers.

    ‘About a year and a half ago we started getting gangrenous dermatitis, Hedrick explains to Garces – just one of the many problems facing chickens and their farmers.

    ‘It’s almost like the bird is eaten from the inside out, like its rotten from the inside out… alive,’ he says.

    Source

    Undercover: Equipped with secret cameras two farmers filmed inside the chicken houses - revealing the horrifying reality of chicken farming.

    The gruesome footage shows close-ups of the dying, abandoned birdsSome are discolored dark red, purple and green and others a bloody mess of rotting flesh and feathersSee more of the horrendous pictures here

    According to the article source, the chickens chosen for meat production are “fast-growing chicken breeds who often have poor immune function, making them more susceptible to disease. This fast growth (by genetic modification) is unsustainable and can have other dire consequences for the birds, such as leg deformities, heart attacks, foot pad dermatitis, hock burns, and more. With an already crowded, dirty, and warm environments they are kept in are perfect for such bacterial disease to thrive.” When asked why the farmers haven’t done anything to rectify the situation, Hedrick says, ‘We’re not allowed to do anything with the birds unless it’s approved by the company,’ The farmers decided to speak out about the treatment at the poultry contract farm after the company sent a mysterious letter explaining that no one apart from ‘essential people’, should be allowed into their chicken houses.

    This is a Dirty Industry

    Many of you may be wondering why the FDA or USDA has not intervened? What is almost rarely mentioned about these government-run groups is how little the highly industrialized American food supply is actually inspected. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) doesn’t inspect as many plants as one might think, thus leading to constant chicken recalls due to food-borne diseases. In 2014, Tyson chicken factories came under fire when they had to recall 60,000 chicken products due to staph infections on meat. As well, because of our regular consumption of meat and dairy products that were given antibiotics, bacteria are growing resistant and causing many of the “last resort” antibiotics to be less powerful than in years past. So, I ask you, how healthy do you think our commercialized food sources really are? Look at these gruesome images and ask yourself if you really want to continue feeding your family this food.

    What Can Be Done?

    With constant food increases, one would surmise this is because our food sources are of higher quality than most in the world. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It’s time that we begin to question our commercial food sources. You do not want to feed your family tainted or questionable food and the only way to ensure you have the best food sources available is to research and understand how they are raised. As well, stop buying commercial chicken products. If industry standard is equivalent to the way Pilgrim’s Pride is allowing their farms to be run, then we are all in for a world of hurt.

    One of the most simple recourses for better meat and egg quality is to raise your own chickens. This animal breed is one of the easiest to raise and aside from meat and eggs, the bug population in your yard will be cut down, as well as providing you with natural fertilizer for gardening. Here are some backyard food strategies you can try today.

     

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    20 Practical Ways to Use Bacon Grease

    Click here to view the original post.

    bacon greaseBacon are little strips of heaven and always makes everything better, doesn’t it? My family recently bought half of a pig from a local farmer and guess what was eaten first? That’s right, the delectable bacon. But what about the leftover bacon grease? This happens to be one of the most thrown away items, but can serve more than one purpose. There are many ways to use this healthy animal fat and in our quest to be less of a throw away generation, it’s time we learn how this useful byproduct can be used.

    Fats are one of the four main food sources that should be in your food pantry. Those who are prepper-oriented know of the important role that fats have in our nutrition, especially during times of emergencies.

    1. Fats are an essential component in any diet for proper vitamin absorption. Specifically, Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning they can only be digested, absorbed, and transported in conjunction with fats.
    2. Fats also plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and hair, insulating body organs against shock, maintaining body temperature, and promoting healthy cell function.
    3. They also serve as energy stores for the body.
    4. Fats are also sources of essential fatty acids, which are an important dietary requirement and also serves as a useful buffer towards a host of diseases. (Source)
    5. Fats are one of the 4 Things You Must Eat To Avoid Malnutrition.

    As a southern girl, we always had bacon on the weekends and my mother would pour the fat into a metal grease collector and put in our fridge. When my mother needed to add some extra “flavor” to dishes, she would take a spoonful or two and add it turnip greens or to use for grandma’s famous biscuits. I could go on and on about how to cook with bacon grease (I did include a few in the list), but I know that you all probably know those secrets too. Instead, I wanted to share some more practical applications you can use bacon grease for. But first, you need to know how to properly store this animal fat.

    To Store Bacon Grease:

    2 pounds of bacon will create 3/4 cup-1 cup of bacon grease

    grease crock

    Reserve an old coffee tin or bacon grease crock and pour over a paper towel or strainer while it is hot to get out the little bacon bits. Lard will keep longer if you strain it because the meat bits are the first thing that will go rancid.

    If you’re using a glass container to store bacon grease, allow the grease to cool before pouring it into the container so the glass will not to break  from the extreme temperature change. Some people have used coffee mugs to avoid this problem.

    When the grease is cool it will be an off white to brown color depending on how the bacon was cooked and at what temperature.

    Cover your container with a lid or plastic wrap to keep outside smells from flavoring your grease.  Many people claim that it can be kept indefinitely on the countertop but I keep mine in the fridge just to be sure. You can also freeze it for longer storage.

    Bacon grease will last 6-9 months in your refrigerator or freezer.

    20 Uses for Bacon Lard

    Leftover bacon grease has many uses including a quick splinter removal or even making a quick candle (See how easy this is below). As well, consider these other additional uses for bacon grease.

    1. Those who are interested in natural living will be happy to know that it can also be used for biofuel. One a side note, if a vehicle was run solely on bacon grease, would that make it a bacon mobile? I kid, I kid; but if you plan on using lard for this, make sure the lard or grease is filtered to remove any bits of leftover food.
    2. Did you know that lard can be used as a preservation method? Many homesteaders swear by this method. Author, Carla Emery explains how to do this in her bestselling book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living.

      “The fat seals the air out… After slaughtering a hog, the fat was rendered into lard. Those cuts of the hog that were not cured for smoking, or made into sausage, like the shoulder, were fried. While still hot, these slices of pork steak were preserved through the winter by larding. In a large crock, layer on layer of the fried steaks was covered with hot lard. This meat was then used through the winter by scraping the lard off each layer. The amount necessary for a meal was removed and reheated. The used lard was reused in pies or other baking or cooking and ultimately for soap.”

    3. Make cookies just like grandma with these bacon fat ginger snaps.
    4. Reward your dog with homemade bacon flavored dog biscuits. Along those lines, you can also drizzle a little bacon grease in your dog’s food bowl and this will encourage Fido to eat his food.
    5. Season your skillet or your cast iron cookware.
    6. Make bacon gravy. Did you mom ever make cream gravy? All you need is some milk, flour and bacon grease and this will make your meal sing! Here’s a recipe you can use.
    7. Make a candle – Pour the bacon grease in a cup or can, and place a wick inside. Give the grease a few minutes to soak into the wick, and then place it in the fridge until it solidifies. Viola! You now have the best smelling candle that money didn’t buy (at least if you like the smell of breakfast).
    8. Bacon grease is a great substitution for butter. 1 tablespoon of bacon grease can be used in place of butter or oil in just about any recipe; and don’t even get me started on how delicious bacon grease is with sauteing potatoes!
    9. Make some handy firestarters for your next camping trip by dipping a cotton ball or a piece of tinder in the fat and storing it in an unused Altoids tin can. Voila! You could even use bacon grease that has accidentally been left out and gone rancid, to make the most of what you have.
    10. Who wouldn’t want to bathe themselves with some bacon soap? You can use just about any animal fat to make soap, including bacon grease.
    11. How about some tasty pemmican? This Native American superfood is made of fat (typically deer fat but any will do), jerky made from lean meat, and dried fruits and/or berries. You just ball up the ingredients in equal parts and tuck it away. Here’s a great recipe!
    12. If you’ve run out of your leather boot protectant and need a quick alternative, animal fat is the way to go! In fact, one of the secrets that backpackers have used to waterproof boots is with animal fats.
    13. Make a bird feeder! The Girl Scouts taught me this one. Take a pine cone and cover it with bacon grease and then sprinkle wild bird seed over it. This is a great craft you can do with your kids!
    14. Fix those squeaky hinges! Add a dollop of bacon grease to a rag and grease hinges. They should quiet down without a problem. This will also work on squeaky wheels!
    15. Trap bugs. You can trap annoying bugs by placing a plastic container of bacon grease and a bit of vegetable oil in a common bug area. The oil will be too thick for bugs to fly out of, trapping them for life.
    16. Moisturize your hands and heels. Cracked hands and heels can be very painful. Instead of Vaseline, rub some bacon grease on your heels. Apply a bit before bedtime, put on your socks and get cozy. In the morning, your feet will be brand new again and soft as ever. This is because animal fat contains vitamins A, D, K, and E.
    17. Grease your muffin, pie or cake pans. This will no doubt add just a touch of bacon flavor to your baked goods, but who wouldn’t want that?
    18. Stop boiling pots from overflowing. I just learned this handy little trick. By dropping a bit of oil or bacon grease into the pan when boiling pasta will help it not boil over.
    19. Take your sandwiches to the next level with baconnaise. Here’s the recipe. You’re welcome. You could even add a spoonful of bacon grease to condiments like ketchup or barbecue sauce to give it a little extra flavor.
    20. Pour used bacon grease into a tuna or cat food can, chill until firm, and wire the can to a tree to give your feathered visitors some food. Bacon grease may be gross to some of us, but it attracts bluebirds, crows, jays, ravens, starlings, woodpeckers and Carolina wrens.

    Now that you know twenty more ingenious ways to use bacon grease, it’s time to get crackin’! This healthy animal fat is one of the most popular and one that adds the most flavor to any recipe. Best of all, it’s free with your bacon; so don’t let it go to waste!

    How do you use leftover bacon grease?

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Cook Like Grandma with these Bacon Fat Gingersnaps

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     I love finding news ways of using things I would otherwise throw out. The uses for bacon grease are too many to list, but I had to share one of my favorites – bacon fat cookies!

    As if cookies weren’t good enough, adding some bacon fat to them takes them to an entirely different level. The smoky and sweet flavors of this cookie really stand out when you use spices like cinnamon and ginger. Best of all, you are making the most of the items you have around you. So don’t throw that bacon grease out – try this cookie recipe that grandma used to make!

    Bacon Fat Gingersnaps

    • ¾ cup rendered bacon fat (from cooking 2 pounds bacon), chilled
    • 1 cup white sugar, plus extra for rolling
    • ¼ cup molasses
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 egg
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
    • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix until a stiff dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for two hours.
    2. With hands, pick up small amounts (about a tablespoon amount) of cookie dough and roll into small balls.
    3. Drop the dough into a small bowl of sugar and roll the dough balls to coat with sugar.
    4. Place on a cookie sheet and bake the batch 10 minutes at 350°.
    5. Once cool, store cookies in an airtight container.

     

    Happy Baking

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Raspberry Vanilla Jam (Pectin-Free)

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     There is nothing like freshly picked sun-kissed berries. We have a plethora of wild growing berries where I live and I love to preserve them. I tend to draw on more natural based recipes that have been passed down from my pioneer ancestors, like the ones found in my prepper cookbook. After all, past generations didn’t have packets of pectin in their pantries and still their preserves always came out delicious; so this is me paying homage to my people.

    This recipe for raspberry jam is delicious and has a touch of vanilla to intensify the flavors and doing have added ingredients like corn syrup that you find in store bought preserves. As I was making this recipe the other night, my daughters flocked into the kitchen to “taste test” the jam bubbling away on the stove. What I love most about this recipe is it is so easy and always cooks up with just the right thickness.

    Raspberry Vanilla Jam

    Makes 5 – 1 pint jars

    1. Wash and sterilize canning jars. Boil the flat parts of the lids in a small pot and keep at a low simmer.
    2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add fruit, sugar, and lemon juice. Allow mixture to come to a boil. Mash the fruit with a potato masher and skim off any foam that may form and discard.
    3. When mixture has come to a boil, lower the heat to medium and allow the mixture to continue to softly boil for 5 minutes. Tip: Stir regularly to prevent scorching. You will know that the jam is done with a gel forms on a spoon.
    4. Remove jam from heat and let sit for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. It will thicken slightly.
    5. Ladle jam into hot jars, clean rims, then place flat lid on jars, and add screw bands.
    6. Immerse jars in hot water bath, and boil rapidly for 15 minutes (check your elevation areas and adjust the cooking time accordingly).
    7. Remove from bath and place on a towel on the counter to cool. If jars aren’t sealed within 12 hours then move them to the fridge and eat within 2 weeks.

    Happy Jammin’!

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Urban Survival: When the Cities Fall Apart, These Strategies Will Keep You Alive

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     Collectively speaking, there are many of us who have been preparing for emergencies for a while and have read our fair share of prepper fiction and watched enough apocalyptic thrillers to know that the higher the population density, the more dangerous it is. As well, when resources like food and fuel have to be transported from outside the city limits, then your survivability rate lessens. So what about those who have to live in the city? Should they just stop prepping all together? Would they stand a fighting chance at surviving?

    According to the last census, 80.7 percent of the U.S. population lives in urban areas. In fact, many choose to live the higher populated areas because of better paying jobs and better schools located in the city. So the probability of a shtf event happening while you are in the city is likely. As well, because many commuters spend a large majority of their time away from their homes, I recommend having these 20 items on hand to get you back home.

    In an interview by Rory from The Daily Coin, he asked me in an interview if it is possible to live out a shtf scenario in an urban setting. The answer is yes, but for a majority of us, we must ask ourselves if we are up to the challenge. Because while I do believe someone could get by in an urban setting, it could prove to be more challenging for the Average Joe.

    Urban Survival – Is It Even Possible?

    If you are forced to stay in the city after a disaster occurs, all is not lost. I do believe urban survival is possible, but you may need to get creative. Ultimately, being able to survive in an urban setting during a major ordeal depends on multiple factors: specifically, the type of disaster, if basic infrastructure is still up, where you are located, what you have with you and your skill sets. Moreover, I believe that whether you are surviving in an urban setting or a rural one, you need the same things for survival: food, water, shelter, protection (sound familiar?). The difference is you will need to rely more on your skills and ingenuity in finding opportunities to use to your advantage in a post-disaster city. In both scenarios, rural and urban survivors will also have to find a way to carry on for long durations. That is, when your short-term reserves are tapped out, what’s your long-term plan?

    Above all, the population density will be your greatest threat and your resources will quickly be depleted. If you are not familiar with Selco’s story from SHTFSchool.com, he survived in an urban setting and tells his story and shares ways that he and others survived on his website. Some of the critical needs he outlines are:

    Food – No city can feed it’s people on its own and when the supply trucks stop running, supplies will quickly be depleted. It is wise to have food on hand. I outlined 25 must-have versatile foods for your pantry.

    As well, I highly recommend storing a variety of heirloom seeds. These can be to grow sprouts for emergency nutrition and for gardens for long-term food sources. You could also plant edible flowers. Not only will they be lovely to look at, but they will provide sustenance when you need it the most. Alternatively, if you can locate food packing plants or warehouses in your city, that may be a good place to allocate additional food reserves if yours runs out. This article can provide information on foraging for weeds.

    Water – Municipal water sources can become tainted and it will be up to you to locate water sources. Water could look crystal clear and still contain very dangerous contaminants. – so avoid this all together and make sure you have some water stored away. Your skills will come in handy here if you are actively practicing how to survive. Here are five different ways to find water when there is none to be had. As well, consider having a map on hand of water sources in close proximity to you.

    Fuel – Due to so many who are getting out of dodge and leaving the city, the fuel stores will quickly be depleted. As well, this could be problematic for running your generators. Many preppers prefer to have some alternative fuel on hand, or even biomass briquettes. Make sure you follow the proper safety guidelines for storing fuel, especially those who live in apartments.

    Many suggest solar panels as a good power alternative. While I like this idea, I think it can also draw unwanted attention, so further security measures should be put in place to hide the solar panels from view.

    Power – The failure of the power grid will prevent things from getting back to normal. When the majority of the population realize things aren’t going to change any time soon, and the above listed items aren’t available, there will be breakdowns to the level of social collapse. Many feel this very reason is why it’s important to be ready to bug out on a moment’s notice. If you are caught in this, it could be very dangerous.

    What You Will Be Up Against

    While it is entirely possible to survive in the city, you need to know what you will be up against. I realize that I am painting a very bleak picture, but those who stay behind and choose not to bug out are either under prepared, trapped in the city or have enough skills and know-how to make it on very little stored resources. The latter will not be the majority. Therefore, be prepared for roaming gangs, thugs and desperate individuals who have resorted to a more primal version of themselves. They will do what they need to in order for their needs to be met. If they haven’t eaten in days, they will smell your food from miles away, so you need to know how to mask the smells of your food or you could be welcoming unwanted visitors whose primary focus is to take what you have.

    Security will be crucial in surviving in an urban setting and having a group you can depend on will make it all the more secure. Many neighbors and friends living in close proximity will band together and help to fortify the homes or find a suitable location in a higher location so you can get a bird’s-eye view of the scenery.  One aspect that the city offers is a plethora of building materials to use for fortifying a home. If you start looking for fortifying plans now, you will have a better idea on what materials you will need. I also cannot stress how important it is to have a means of protecting yourself. If someone kicks in your door, they aren’t only looking for a cup of sugar. Having a firearm and knowing how to use it could make all the difference in the world.

    As well, having a keen grasp on communication skills with your group to ensure your perimeter is safe and make sure you will have alerts to possible threats. Communication is key and you should have multiple forms of communication, especially if a family or group member ends up being separated. One of the greatest threats we all face in cities are terrorist attacks. They target highly populated cities with dirty bombs and chemical weapons, and what we saw in Brussels that is can happen in peaceful cities, as well. Today it was Brussels. Where will it be the next time they hit America? Protecting yourself is the only option to ensuring your family has what it needs, including gas masks to gauge against chemical and biological attacks.

    Start Finding Ways to Think Outside of the Box:

    As I mentioned previously, to survive in a post-disaster urban setting, you will need to get creative in the way you work problems. Nothing should be wasted and everything could be used. Trash lying around can be repurposed and fashioned into something more useful. As well, start reading resources that can help you in your future preparations. The following books have great information on this type of survival.

    SAS Urban Survival Handbook

    The Prepper’s Blueprint

    Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

    The human species has always found way to survive and times aren’t all that different. In order to thrive in an urban environment, you need to be aware of what’s stacked against you: the lack of resources, possible threats, roaming gangs and violence. If you can change your line of thinking, utilize key skill sets and become more fluid with the problem, your odds improve.

     

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    The Walking Dead: Here’s the Recipe for Carol’s Apocalypse Cookies

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    carol-cookiesFor those of you eagerly watching The Walking Dead series on AMC, in the last episode, you may have been wondering what Carol’s acorn and beet cookies would have tasted like. As you know, the residents of Alexandria are dealing with a dwindling food supply and during those long-term disasters, you need to get creative with your food sources. Luckily for them, Carol has got them covered and used items laying around in nature and in the pantry to whip up a special treat. As many preppers know, being able to make a special treat will help to improve morale among group members.

    Why Did She Use Acorns and Beets?

    Carol may be one of the most badass zombie killers of all times but gauging by the response from the residents of Alexandria, she apparently makes a pretty good cookie, as well. All she needed was some acorns, some beets and a dash of imagination.

    Carol’s use of acorns and beets in her cookie recipes are brilliant. Beets are a natural source of sugar and can easily be grown in survival gardens. Acorns are readily available in many parts of the country and can serve many uses in a long-term disaster. As well, they are an efficient way of pulling together a large amount of food. In fact, many indigenous tribes and groups from around the world have utilized the acorn for its ability to give us nutrition and sustenance. It is estimated that in some regions of California, where the natives used them, fifty percent of their yearly caloric intake came from the humble acorn. By having these natural ingredients on hand and with just a few extra ingredients, you can also make Carol’s Apocalypse Cookies.

    For anyone looking for recipes for when all hell breaks, check out the best-selling book, “The Prepper’s Cookbook“. In The Prepper’s Cookbook is a list of 25 must-have foods to have in your emergency food pantry and also tips and tricks to prolonging those precious food stores.

    Carol’s Apocalypse Cookies

    Ingredients

    1 cup of acorn flour (you can probably buy some OR make them how Carol likely did)
    1/3 cup of date sugar (palm and coconut blossom sugar are good substitutes)
    1/4 cup beet puree
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon of orange juice
    1 teaspoon of coconut oil
    1/4 teaspoon of ginger powder
    1/4 teaspoon of vanilla essence
    1/8 teaspoon of salt

    Instructions

    1. Peel as much beets as you want to use. Cut into chunks. Steam or cook for about 20 minutes until soft. Let it cool off a little, put it in a blender or food processor and blend into a puree. You might want to add a little water while blending. I used 1/4 cup of water for 800 grams of steamed beets.
    2. Add all cookie ingredients to a food processor and process into a dough. This can also be done with a mixer or just by hand and spoon. You choose.
    3. Preheat oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper.
    4. Form 10-12 balls from the dough by using your hands.
    5. Put the balls on the baking tray and make them flat by patting on them with your fingers.
    6. Put the tray in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes.

    Recipe Source

     

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Hobby Homesteading: 3 Backyard Livestock Breeds Every Home Should Have

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    backyardhomesteadGiven the state of our economy, many suburbanites and rural homeowners are resorting to raising their own small livestock in order to slash their budgets and provide food essentials for their family. Because of this increase in suburban homes keeping livestock, many are taking a stand against HOAs to change their intolerant policies on no livestock in the neighborhood. Regardless, if prices continue to escalate on basic food necessities like eggs, meat and dairy, we will be left with no choice but to raise our own.

    Getting Started

    Purchasing livestock for the first time, whether you are in suburbia or are a rural homeowner is both a nerve-wracking and an exciting adventure. I prefer to start with “trouble-free” breeds that are hearty and can, for the most part, take care of themselves. Of course, when you first start raising livestock, it can be overwhelming and dare I say nerve-wrecking to say this least. When I first started caring for my chickens and rabbits, I was afraid that I would make detrimental mistakes. But, like everything in life, there is a slight learning curve, good people to help and eventually the confidence to continue on. I recommend doing ample amounts of research. Find out about shelter sizes, how many animals would be best for providing for your family, how to care of them and what supplies you will need. I highly recommend “The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!” It’s a great primer for getting started and using the most of the space you have.

    Favorite Breeds for Hobby Homesteaders

    It goes without saying, but finding livestock that are relatively quiet and will not disturb neighbors is ideal when living in close proximity with others. Quiet livestock choices like quail, guinea pigs and rabbits are ideal in this case. As well, many backyard homesteaders choose small breeds that are easy to care for and require minimal upkeep. Micro-livestock, such as chickens, quail, guinea pigs, ducks and rabbits are, by far, the most popular livestock breeds amongst new homesteaders simply because they are the easiest to care for and require less space, and less food. In exchange, the animals provide your family with meat, eggs and rich manure for the garden.

    Here are some excellent points on the great exchange small livestock provide:

    • More nutritionally dense food.
    • Better feed conversion (amount of feed it takes to make one pound of animal).
    • Small breeds are less expensive to purchase and produce much more per pound of animal.
    • Small backyards are not an issue with small breed animals.
    • Your livestock can also help you to prevent things from going to waste that would normally be thrown out, such as vegetable peels and scraps, leftovers, and stale bread.
    • If you plan on butchering your livestock for food, the butchering time is minimal and the blood and bones of the animals make blood and bone meal which are excellent soil amendments.

    There are many homesteaders who recommend goats as a beginner livestock choice, but there are some challenges you will face and goats are not suited to live in smaller yards like those found in suburbia. As well, many neighborhoods frown upon pigs, even the smaller breeds like the American Guinea Hog because they destroy the yards. So I prefer to stick with the breeds below. Here are some ideal small breed choices and some future reading you can do to familiarize yourself with the breed before purchasing.

     Chickens:

    Which Kind of Chicken Breed Is Best For Your Backyard Flock?

    Homemade Chicken Treats

    10 Foods You Should Not Feed Your Chickens

    Quail:

    Why You Should Consider Quail For the Urban Homestead

    Sustainable Farming: Starting a Quail Flock

    Raising Quail

     Rabbits:

    The Complete Guide to Raising Rabbits

    Expert Advice for Breeding Rabbits

    Raising Kits to Harvest

    Recently, I suggested some easy strategies to get you motivated to start a small homestead in your backyard. Hobby homesteading can easily be transitioned into sprawling suburban neighborhoods provided you find livestock that are small and relatively quiet. While chickens may not conform to certain noise ordinances in neighborhoods, rabbits and quail would be a wonderful alternative.

    What to Feed Livestock

    To live in a self-reliant manner, you want to look at this project as a big cycle: You want to grow food to feed your animals, who in turn will provide eggs and/or meat for your family, as well as, manure for your garden. Many backyard homesteaders prefer growing their own feed so they know the animals are consuming high-quality nutrients and avoiding chemicals, pesticides, and antibiotics. Knowing some natural sources to feed your livestock will need to be researched, but can drastically cut down on the animal feed bill. If you plan on growing your livestock’s food sources, look at this article for more direction. As well, you’d be surprised that seeds like sunflowers are feed favorites for small livestock that chickens and goats.

    I had a lot of success with a small flock of chickens and three rabbits. I have had a few issues with predators, but once I understood how the predators got into the cage, the issue was resolved. I have an overflowing amount of organic manure composting in my yard and should be able to use it for my spring garden. As well, when spring time comes, the eggs will be overflowing and will be able to make some foods made with eggs. I even plan on expanding these homesteading products (at the hesitancy of my husband). I love that we have livestock and feel better knowing we have fresh food sources if the economy continues to decline.

    If you already have some livestock in your backyard, leave some helpful advice or tips you have learned along the way for the beginners!

     

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Food Freedom: Backyard Strategies You Can Try Today

    Click here to view the original post.

     

    Food freedom – now that’s a loaded statement. Is there such a thing? How many of you go to the store every week to get produce and meat? I would venture to guess almost all of us. Over the last several years, a substantial amount of our wealth has gone into purchasing food staples like meat, eggs and dairy. Even though we were “technically” making our way out of the recession of 2008, prices still continued to steadily rise. I was even more frustrated when country of origin labels were removed and serious health-related superbugs were present in packaged meat.

    food-inflation-since-2010 

    For years, I have placed a lot of focuson finding ways to be more sustainable. I was tired of living a life in a dependency-driven system and wanted to make more sustainable choices. Admittedly, I still go to the grocery store, but I have taken significant strides to break away from it. I no longer purchase meat, eggs and most produce. I either raise my own food sources or find them locally. This has saved us from the ever volatile price increases of grocery stores that many are dealing with.

    I also made some drastic changes around the house. While many believe the first steps toward food freedom are the most difficult to take, I found them to be the most rewarding and only encouraged me to be bolder in my pursuits. In a long-term emergency scenario, I knew that I needed the land I have to work for me. Therefore, I started raising my own food sources. The following are four of the easiest steps to take to become more sustainable in raising one’s own food and can be done in the convenience of a backyard.

    Four Ways to Start Achieving Food Freedom

    1. Start a garden. It makes no difference if your backyard is big or small, you can grow vegetables. Growing your own vegetables is a fast way to take the necessary steps toward breaking up with the grocery stores. Think about it – you will know exactly where your food comes from and how it was raised. Here are some great seeds to consider planting for your garden. You could even regrow food from food scraps! There are a few things you need to do before you plant your garden, but for the most part, this is a great weekend activity. These tips can help your garden thrive.
    2. Have a water source. I understand that many of us are dependent on municipal water sources, but those sources of water can easily become contaminated and shut off altogether; especially during an emergency. Just look at the water crisis occurring in Flint, Michigan. If you are not lucky enough to have a year-round creek or be walking distance from a natural water source, consider installing water catchment barrels around your home. I have two creeks on my property, but they dry out in the summertime, so I purchased four catchment systems like these to collect the rainwater we get in the spring. For under $300, you can start collecting water; and trust me, the water will collect quickly. If apartment dwellers have access to rooftops, they can even take advantage of this. Here’s a great primer on how to get started harvesting your own water. As well, Daisy Luther wrote a book about everything you need to know about water.
    3. Get some chickens. Chickens are the gateway livestock that leads to homesteading. Aside from the initial investment of purchasing a brooder lampfeeders, waterers and feed, they are relatively inexpensive. As well, they provide meat, eggs and nitrogen-rich fertilizer (make sure you compost the fertilizer before using). These are some of the most popular breeds to start with. As well, I like that I can give chickens kitchen scraps instead of throwing them away. They are, by far, the easiest livestock choice to start out with. As long as you give them a place to roost at night and bugs and grass to eat, they basically take care of themselves. There are lots of diy plans out there for coops, or if you are short on time, you can purchase a chicken coop like this one at feed stores. I also raise rabbits and because they make no noise, this could be a viable option for those living in close quarters of other families. As well, the manure makes great fertilizer!
    4. Buy some fruit trees.  I realize that there are some who do not have enough backyard space for a fruit orchard, but if you get the right type of fruit tree, you won’t need a lot of space. Self-fertile dwarf variety fruit trees can easily become prolific producers of fresh fruit and can also lure wild game for hunting into your neck of the woods. Also, if you have a sunny area of the home, consider adding some fruit trees that can be grown indoors. Because I live in a more northern climate, I have two pomegranate trees that I keep indoors and will hand-pollinate the blossoms myself. I also have a lemon and orange tree that are in containers that can easily be brought indoors if need be. Look around locally to find quality dwarf variety fruit trees that are self-fertile and you can train them to be small but abundant.

    Anyone Can Do It

    With these four steps, you are essentially creating your own microfarm. If you have a yard, then you can take these steps. In fact, Jules Dervaes proved years ago that you can raise your own food sources on 1/5th of an acre. He says that “growing your own food is recession proof.  You don’t have to worry about the prices.”

    While I live on acreage, the amount of land I use for these sustainable pursuits are very small. Moreover, I found the steps listed above to be the most rewarding and cost efficient ways to get started. Once your endeavors take off, consider how much additional food you will have. This could be great additional income sources or bartering tools that could be used.

    Farms. Food. Freedom. It’s That Simple, Folks

    To conclude, I ask again, is there such a thing as food freedom? The answer is yes; but you must be ready to work for it. The four steps outlined above are the most efficient course of action towards sustainability and if you have a small plot of land, you can make this happen.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    No Bones About It – Gourmet Broth is Sweeping the Nation

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    broth1 

    It looks like Grandma really did know best. Over the last ten years, there’s been an awakening to the importance of the old ways where natural health has become a huge part of how we live our lives. Ultimately, it has led to natural living trends and movements, like the local foods movement, farmer’s markets, farm to table eating and even the paleo diet. At the epicenter of this natural food renaissance has been a man with lofty dreams of sustainable local food sources in every grocery store in America: Chef Gabriel Claycamp.

    Claycamp, a chef from some of the best restaurants in the Seattle area, wholeheartedly believes in being a part of the sustainable agriculture locavore movement which involves utilizing the whole animal in our day-to-day lives. Image that, nothing goes to waste!

    A Sustainable Artisanal Broth Company

    brothCurrently, he has his hands busy with another trend sweeping the nation – bone broth. In fact, Chef Gabriel Claycamp, owner of Cauldron Broths jokes, “It is funny though, this is like our ‘Ancestral Health Inheritance’, this is some old magic.” How right he is! Broth is something we all turn to as a first line of defense when we are beginning to feel under the weather. That slow simmering of bones, herbs and vegetables is just what the body needs to be invigorated with health.

    But Claycamp has taken it a step further. His locally sustained business is making artisanal broth using certified organic produce and spices and is using carefully curated grass-fed beef bones, GMO-free certified humane pork bones, certified organic chicken bones, and pastured lamb bones, all from local farms in the state of Washington. In his words, “This is the stuff that culinary dreams are made of.”

     

    Chef Gabriel wants to make the most delicious broth you’ve ever tasted. He says that most restaurants use a ratio of 1 pound of bones to yield one gallon of broth, but Cauldron Broths uses five pounds of bones! This will make the broth more rich and as nutritionally complete as possible. He has started a Kickstarter campaign with dreams of producing rich broths in a USDA approved kitchen by early summer in Bellingham, WA. Ideally, he plans on selling his gourmet broths to local grocery stores and restaurants, as well as have the broths made available to local hospitals so patients can have a more natural diet that improves their health. How awesome is that?!

    Check out his Kickstarter page and Facebook page and help get the word out about Cauldron Broths. Chef Gabriel and his wonderful wife, Kathy are taking the local sustainable movement by storm and you can be a part of their success. Who knows, maybe a Cauldron Broths storefront will open in your neck of the woods.

     

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    How to Stock a Prepper Pantry

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     The overall goal of our emergency food pantry is to have a wide array of nutritious foods stored away in order to carry us through an emergency. In my book, The Prepper’s Cookbook, I wrote how firmly I believe in each household having an emergency food pantry. Whether those emergencies are from Mother Nature or if we have hit a rough patch in our lives, having food on hand will be less burdensome and will help free up money for other living expenses. The key is to a well-stocked pantry is to have lots of nutritious shelf stable foods at your disposal. Foods filled with lots of nutrition will carry you farther in an emergency than lots of junk foods.

    The Meat and Potatoes of a Prepper Pantry

    Over the years, I have made recommendations for the best types of foods to put in your pantry, how to save on emergency food stores by learning how to can and dehydrate your own food sources, as well as provided the best rules to go by when creating an emergency food pantry. Ideally, you want the food you put in those coveted pantry spots to be versatile and serve many uses.

    I like to start with shelf stable basics like wheat berries, rice, an assortment of beans, dry milk powder, peanut butter, drink mixes, etc., and then add-on to my pantry with home canned and dehydrated foods. This creates layers of different types of short and long-term food stores and gives me more functionality in my pantry. Having layers of different food sources as coincides with the prepper rule of having back-ups for your back-ups. Here is a shopping list that first-timers can use to get a pantry started. Keep in mind this is for one person. If you have additional family members, use this calculator to add-on appropriately. Another way to add essential vitamins and nutrients to your food supply is to stock up on sprouting seeds. Inside these small biogenic (living) foods lies essential nutrients and vitamins that can assist in providing a good portion one’s daily requirement of nutrients. Sprouts can grow anywhere, during any season, and requires minimal work.

    Where To Get Bulk Pantry Foods

    As many of you know, preparedness is an investment and doesn’t always come cheap. One of the best places to buy bulk shelf stable foodstuffs that I have found is at the LDS food storage warehouses. I am not Mormon, but this church has opened its doors to non-members in order to create a more prepared community; and I am very thankful for this. I am able to purchase cases of canned beans, rice, dry milk, etc. and it’s already packed and ready for long-term storage. This frees up so much time! Here’s a link to their locations. As well, purchasing the larger, bulkier bags at Sam’s or Walmart is also very economical, but make sure you transfer your food items into long-term storage containers to protect your food investment. As well, don’t forget about storing water or having a way to treat it – this is crucial to survival.

    Other Food Pantry Items

    As I mentioned earlier, we like to layer our preparedness pantry. I buy meat on sale and freeze or can it for a later date. As well, we stock up on freeze-dried foods. For my family, freeze-dried foods are our last resort. If we run out of our pantry items, and our garden fails, only then do we turn to our freeze-dried food supply. My purpose in this is that I don’t want to solely rely on this type of emergency food source. I’m thankful it has a 25-year shelf life, but there are a lot of preservatives in freeze-dried foods that can cause constipation and stomach upsets. Therefore, I want to have enough of the natural foods my family normally eats before I turn to my freeze-dried foods. In addition, I also have garden seeds on standby so that we can grow a garden immediately if there is a widespread event.

    Hopefully, this primer will get you started on your food pantry endeavors. As well, here are some additional articles to help you create a long-lasting and dependable food pantry.

    11 Emergency Foods That Last Forever

    Five Family Friendly Food Pantry Organizing Tips Anyone Can Do

    Prepping With Wheat Allergies

    5 Ways to Stretch Your Meals SHTF Style

    Food Pantry: Take Care of Your Basic Needs

    72 Hours Without This Will Kill You: Survival Water Fundamentals

    Those of you who plan to take the first steps toward preparing for emergencies may feel a bit overwhelmed at first. After all, there is a lot of food to choose from at the grocery stores. We all know how confusing it can be getting started and luckily, there are lots of articles from Ready Nutrition and other great prepping websites to help with that.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Crock Pot Soap – An Easy Recipe For Beginners

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    crockpot soapDuring the cold, wet winter months there are times when I have to move my homesteading activities inside until the weather improves. Last weekend, during a bout of bad weather in my neck of the woods, I decided to make a quick batch of soap in my crock pot.

    I love making homemade soaps with ingredients I have around my home. To me, it just adds to the experience. A few years ago, I found a recipe for hot processed soap and fell in love with the simplicity of it and now use it all the time. I had an abundance of coconut and olive oil from some homemade lotion projects I had done a few months back so I decided to use these as the basis for my soap.

    Hot Process vs. Cold Process Soaps

    There are two different processes with soap making: cold process soap and hot process soap. Here is a basic tutorial on the soap making process. I prefer using the hot process method because, in my opinion, it’s faster! Hot processed soap is essentially the same as cold processed, except the soap is heated and cooked longer, and as a result, will cut down on the curing time. With the hot process method, the extra heat speeds up the saponification process, which cuts down on cure time. Hot process soap only requires 1-2 days in the mold, and 1-2 weeks to cure, while the cold process takes 3-6 weeks cure time. Another reason why I love this process is that in cold processing, you have to wait until the lye solution and oils are at the same temperature before mixing, but with the hot process it really doesn’t matter about the temperatures because the oils are hot and the lye will be too and you’re going to cook it together longer.

    A quick note about lye:

    Mixing the lye is the scariest part because of the chemical reaction and quick temperature changes. Pay attention to some of these tips:

    • Use gloves and protective eyewear when mixing the lye and water.
    • Usually in the soap making process, you use a scale to weigh out your oils and  lye so that everything is accurate. (The recipe below is different in that respect, but is a tried and true recipe that I always use.)
    • A cautionary note about lye – this is a caustic, corrosive, and volatile chemical that can be dangerous. Follow instructions for soap making implicitly. NEVER add water to lye – only add lye to water.
    • As well, when you are mixing the lye and water, fumes will be present. If you open a window or door to ventilate, the fumes should not be overpowering.
    • If lye gets on the skin, flush immediately with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Seek medical attention. If it comes in contact with eyes, flush immediately with water for at least 15 minutes and get medical attention. Many soapers keep vinegar on hand, believing it neutralizes lye burns. If inhaled, move to fresh air. As well, if lye gets on clothing, if your skin comes in contact with lye, remove any contaminated clothing.Here is a great article on how to safely work with lye .

    I realize there are those who are just beginning to get interested in soap making, so trust me, if you follow these basic instruction step by step and have all the equipment prepped and ready to go, your soap will turn out perfectly.

    Equipment you will need:

    • 6 quart crockpot *designated for soap making only.
    • Stick blender
    • Soap mold
    • Rubber gloves
    • Protective eyewear
    • Stainless steel spoon
    • 4 cup glass measuring cup for oils
    • 1 quart glass Mason jar to mix lye in (the lye will break down the integrity of
    • assorted oils (olive oil, coconut oil, etc.)
    • lye
    • essential oils, fragrances, etc.

    *I would advise not to double this recipe. Hot process soap tends to expand, and could easily overflow the crockpot. You do not want a soap volcano!

    Usually, you would use a scale to determine the correct amount of oils and lye to use, but the woman who created the recipe says that she already weighed out the oils and lye properly and converted them into easy measurements. That’s good news for us!

    Basic Recipe for Hot Processed Soap:

    Makes 12 bars of soap

    • ¾ cup cool water – use distilled or filtered water
    • ¼ cup lye – also called 100% sodium hydroxide
    • ⅔ cup olive oil
    • ⅔ cup coconut oil
    • ⅔ cup other liquid oil such as grapeseed, almond, sunflower, or safflower oil (here’s a great chart of oils that you can use)
    • Optional: dried herbs, essential oils, fragrances

    The Process:

    1. Put on gloves and protective eyewear to mix lye. Pour the filtered water into a quart canning jar. Slowly add the lye and stir with stainless steel spoon until dissolved. The fumes that come from the lye will stop in a minute or so. When the lye solution has gone from a cloudy mixture to a clear mixture again, it’s ready. Set aside and allow to cool.
    2. Next, in a double broiler, melt oils. Before adding them to the crock pot, measure them a liquid state, not solid to be as accurate as possible.
    3. Set crockpot to high heat and add oils and make sure they are warmed thoroughly. Note: When you can add the lye solution, you will set the crockpot to the low temperature setting.
    4. Slowly add lye to melted oils and stir by hand for 5 minutes. This will bring all the lye in contact with the oil and thoroughly mix it together. As well, it will keep your electric blender from overheating.
    5. After 5 minutes, then use a stick blender to bring it to a light trace. A light trace is similar to the consistency of pancake batter. Thick, but not like pudding.
    6. Once it gets to a light trace, cover it and walk away. DON’T stir it! After about 20 minutes, sometimes sooner, you’ll see some bubbling on the sides. Then it will start to boil (sort of) and turn translucent, almost like petroleum jelly.
    7. After approximately another 20 minutes, it will expand more and start to curl in on itself. You still don’t want to stir it yet. When it’s all translucent and has folded in enough to fill in the middle, then it’s done for now.
    8. Turn the heat off and ¼ cup of filtered water and mix it in. Stirring may be somewhat difficult, but continue stirring the mixture and it will start to smooth out. You can add up to ½ cup water per batch and still have it come out ok. If you add more than that, your soap will not set up properly. Trust the process!
    9. After the soap is smoothed out, then you can add dried herbs and essential oils to the mixture. I added rosemary and mint essential oils and cut up some rosemary leaves to add to the soap for a nice look.
    10. Pour it into molds, cover with wax paper and let it sit for 24 hours. Don’t worry about retaining the heat. You just cooked it all out!
    11. After 24 hours, take it out of the molds. Set it on some parchment or wax paper to cure for a week. With a knife or soap cutting tool to cut soap and allow to cure for another week or two.

    Here’s a great trick! To clean your crock pot, add warm water to the crock and add all soap making instruments and allow to soak overnight. In the morning, use the soapy water in lieu of laundry detergent.

    The End Result

    soapThis is a wonderful beginner soap recipe that always has a great outcome for me. I couldn’t be more happy with the way my soap turned out. It had a nice creamy color to it and lathered up nicely. As usual, this recipe works like a champ!

    Learning to make soap is a fun diy skill. If you follow the directions in this article, your soap experience will be great. This soap is a great gateway recipe to getting comfortable with the soap making process so that you can move on to more difficult processes. I personally like it because it’s fast and reliable.

    My next soap project will be making soap from bacon lard. We bought a butchered pig from a local farm and they gave me a quart of lard. So, stay tuned, there will be more soapmaking to come!

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    The Whole Thing is About To Come Unhinged: 6 Ways To Prepare For the Next Collapse

    Click here to view the original post.

    collapse1Since the last great recession of 2008, economic forecasters and preppers alike have warned of the bottom dropping out of the economy. The proverbial doom prediction of “it’s not if, but when” was used for years as a call to action to get ready for a much larger economic disaster. Well folks, it seems that history is repeating itself. This week, George Soros cautioned the public of an impending economic crisis.

    Speaking at an economic forum in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, he told an audience that China is struggling to find a new growth model and its currency devaluation is transferring problems to the rest of the world, according to media. He added that a return to rising interest rates was proving difficult for the developing world.

    The current environment reminded him of the “crisis we had in 2008,”The Sunday Times in Sri Lanka reported on Thursday morning. “China has a major adjustment problem,” he added, according to Bloomberg. “I would say it amounts to a crisis.”

    The Reality is Stark and the Consequences are Clear

    For years, Mac Slavo of SHTFPlan fervently warned his readers to stock up on physical assets and to prepare. His weekly economic posts proved of economic strife, but many believed he was all hype. It seems the day is finally here and we are looking at the possibility of this crisis being more unforgiving than its predecessor.

    Mac states, “All you have to do is look around. The signs are everywhere. There is an industrial recession in China, lackluster holiday sales prove there is a consumer recession in the United States, real estate is stalled and is re-collapsing and stock markets around the world are set to buckle. If you’ve yet to prepare, the time is now because the whole thing is about to come unhinged.

    What is about to occur is mirroring what happened in 2008. In fact, given the many national and world events that has plagued us in the past, it seems that this looming crisis on the horizon is the perfect storm for disaster.

    Mac goes on to warn us. What to expect is to expect the unexpected because uncertainty is the name of the game. We don’t know how far markets will crash, what will happen with the U.S. dollar or what will happen with geopolitical tensions; and our way of life could change literally overnight. In the last 15 years, we’ve seen what systemic breakdown does in countries like Greece, Cyprus, Venezuela and Argentina.

    The lessons learned are clear – you better have supplies on hand. In Venezuela, for example, they couldn’t even get toilet paper or condoms. In Greece, people were lining up in droves to get expired food that grocery stores were throwing away, and perhaps just as significantly, access to lifesaving medicine was lost when Greek credit markets were locked up.

    The reality is stark and the consequences are clear – there will be panic, confusion and violence. Are you ready for that?

    If You’ve Yet to Prepare, the Time is Now

    Unlike the recession of 2008, this economic beast will not be held off. There will be extensive amounts of wealth lost leading to drastic cutbacks by consumers. Moreover, you can expect massive  job loss. In 2008 and 2009, the U.S. labor market lost 8.4 million jobs, or 6.1% of all payroll employment. This was the most dramatic employment contraction (by far) of any recession since the Great Depression (Source). As well, you can anticipate food prices to increase even more than they have over the last few years. In fact, price for food has drastically risen since the last recession; and according to this chart, prices are set to steadily increase with this next crisis.

    food-inflation-since-2010As Slavo points out, now is the time to invest in your future so that you can limit your exposure to this potential game changer.

    1. Get prepared. At the very least, buy food, products, and supplies in bulk to help you prepare for price inflation. If you have the means to do so, invest in 30-60 days worth of supplies so that you have everything you need. Having these on hand will help you if times become more difficult. You can use this free online series to begin creating a personal step-by-step preparedness plan for your family; or, buy the best-selling book, The Prepper’s Blueprint to use as a reference in your preparations. As well, if you can manage, get out of debt, organize your finances and find ways to free up some of your income for an emergency fund to help you create a personal safety net.
    2. Preserve wealth. Choose hard assets (dry goods, precious metals, land, livestock, skills, etc.) for long-term investments so they will hold their intrinsic value over time. Holding these types of investments will insulate you from inflation and other economic issues. Further, tying your money up in assets will help you avoid the inflating prices of food sources in the future, thus furthering your cause of self-reliant living.
    3. Invest in food. One thing analysts and financial pundits agree on is that, in general, commodities will continue to rise. When others are buying foods at inflated prices, you will be consuming your investment when it was purchased at a lower price. Using a combination of shelf stable foods, you can create a well-rounded food supply to depend on when an emergency arises. Further, these foods last a lifetime and would make sound investments for future planning. Ideally, you want to store shelf-stable foods that your family normally consumes, as well as find foods that are multi-dynamic and serve many purposes. Dry goods like rice, wheat, beans, salt, honey, and dry milk will provide you with an investment that will grow in value as prices rise, and also offer you peace of mind in case the economy further degrades. This  food storage calculator can show you how much food should you need to store. As well, read Emergency Items: What Will Disappear First for more ideas.
    4. Learn how to grow your own food. In a homestead environment, a person wants the land to work for them as much as possible. Invest in fruit trees, seeds, and garden supplies. If you really want these peak foods, find a way to grow them yourself. Further, if you live in a rural area, consider investing in trees and bushes that will lure wild game. The trees and bushes can provide you with added sustenance and help you stock meat in your freezer. Here is a how-to guide for creating a garden quickly.
    5. Raise your own food. Rather than paying hard-earned money at the store for eggs, poultry and dairy—raise them yourself. Chickens are very easy to care for and can provide you with meat and eggs throughout the year. Additionally, you can find substitutions for these peak foods with a little research and ingenuity. For example, rabbits would be a suitable protein replacement and can even be raised in more urban areas. Similar to chickens, they don’t require much care and with some effort can be fed from the homestead’s garden or you can grow fodder. They are also great breeders and will provide you with ample amounts of meat. These are the 10 best meat rabbit breeds. As well, for the modest price of purchasing a fishing license, you can stock your freezer with fresh-caught fish.
    6. It all adds up. Again, do what you can to pay off debts ahead of time and work to restructure your outgoing funds to lower your expenses as much as possible. Debt only enslaves you further, and finding ways to detach from the system will break those shackles. As well, look into finding additional income streams. The more income you can set aside, the better off you will be. That way, if your main income dries up, you have a fall back income and won’t have to go into default.

     We Have a Choice

    This economic crisis is projected to hit much harder than the 2008 recession and will last longer. The truth of the matter is that we stand at the brink of a precipice and the choice is yours to make: you can ignore the tell-tale signs or get ready and brace yourselves for it. It’s time to get ready because it’s about to get real.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Top 20 Prepping and Survival Sites

    Click here to view the original post.

     Looking back on 2015, I feel very fortunate; with all the insane events that transpired, we were still given more time to prep and get ready. It gave me a chance to remember some of my earlier lessons I learned when I began prepping and ultimately, helped me remember how important it is to stay alert and hopeful in dire circumstances. It seems that each year brings new emergencies and events that cause many of us to go into panic mode (Need I bring up the Ebola scare of 2014 or the buckling economy in September of this year?).

    All the while these events were evoking fear and trepidation, there were prepping and survival websites weighing the information and providing solutions to help their common man better prepare. This is why I love the prepping and survival community so very much. Rather than going about their daily lives, the editors of these websites are tirelessly putting forth effort to provide the much needed answers to help the layman get through these harder times. As Mike Snyder from The Economic Collapse blog points out, the general public needs all the help they can get.

    And sadly, the truth of the matter is that most Americans are not prepared for much of anything at this point.  The following statistics come from a survey conducted by the Adelphi Center for Health Innovation.  As you can see, a substantial portion of the population is not even prepared for a basic emergency that would last for just a few days…

    • 44 percent don’t have first-aid kits
    • 48 percent lack emergency supplies
    • 53 percent do not have a minimum three-day supply of nonperishable food and water at home
    • 55 percent believe local authorities will come to their rescue if disaster strikes
    • 52 percent have not designated a family meeting place if they are separated during an emergency
    • 42 percent do not know the phone numbers of all of their immediate family members
    • 21 percent don’t know if their workplace has an emergency preparedness plan
    • 37 percent do not have a list of the drugs they are taking
    • 52 percent do not have copies of health insurance documents

    Survival and prepping have come a long way since I first started Ready Nutrition. In that time a lot of websites have been created, but there are some who stand out. I wanted to take the time to showcase some of my favorite prepper and survival sites that I go to regularly. I respect these sites because, as I said earlier, writing about preparedness and survival takes a lot of time and effort and they set the bar high when it comes to quality content. As well, this list is also my way of thanking these websites for their hard work. As many of them know the thank you’s for all they do are few and far between in this line of work. In no particular order, these are some of my top picks for the best prepper sites out there.

    1. Graywolf Survival 
    2. The Survivalist Blog
    3. Survival Blog 
    4. Prepper Website 
    5. The Organic Prepper 
    6. The Economic Collapse Blog
    7. Natural News
    8. The Daily Sheeple
    9. SHTF Plan
    10. Backdoor Survival
    11. Survival Sherpa
    12. Survival Mom
    13. SHTF School
    14. The Prepper Journal
    15. Off the Grid News
    16. Survival Life
    17. Doom and Bloom
    18. Offgrid Survival
    19. Survival At Home
    20. Survivopedia

    What are some of your favorite prepper sites?

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Review: The Best Cargo Pants For Preppers

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    pantsReady Nutrition Readers, this segment provides a recommendation for you to help you “fly by the seat of your pants,” so to speak, from a survival/wilderness perspective.  What’s in a pair of pants?  Paraphrasing Shakespeare as such, plenty can be in a pair of pants, if you look at them not just as clothing but actually as a part of your equipment.  I’m going to recommend to you what I use in the area of cargo pants, and tell you what I carry with mine.

    Now some may point out that because of the nature of your work (uniform, business suit, etc.), that it is neither permitted nor convenient to have cargo pants every day.  Not so.  You may not be able to wear them every day, but remember going back to those segments I did on bug-out bags?  Even if you have to wear a set of scrubs in a hospital or a suit for your trial (hopefully as a lawyer, not as a defendant), you can pack your cargo pants of choice…ready to go…in your bug out bag (I prefer “go” bag).

    Along with that pair of pants, it must be able to carry a variety of gear therefore – it’s got to have pockets. As well, a good belt is a must.  So, without further ado, here is what JJ totes in and on his cargo pants (the important stuff besides keys and wallet):

    • Left Cargo Pocket: Military cravat (aka “drive-on rag”) OG green; black Polartech hat; Djeep lighter; additional “sensitive” items.
    • Right Cargo Pocket: Leather shooting gloves, 1 pair triple-flanged earplugs in a case; balaclava (for the neck and face).  Flashlight (Coast-brand: uses 1 AA battery, with a clip for pocket and reverse-clip for hat visor).  Buck knife folder with clip.
    • Belt: 1 pouch to hold a mag; Gerber multi-tool; loop-lanyard Cordura clip for a thigh holster to attach to; Kydex clip-in holster.  The belt is a good leather belt, nice and thick, not bonded leather or woven, but solid…those deliver the best performance value in JJ’s experience.
    • Miscellaneous Items:  Salve (I use Carmex); 1 other “sensitive” item.

    Looking For Durable Pants With a Lifetime Warranty? Look No Further

    The cargo pants I prefer are a little more expensive than most and some may be skeptical about paying such a price until they actually see how they’re made: pure quality, plain and simple.  I use and love Wrangler Riggs Workwear, my model of preference being the Ranger Relaxed Fit type.  I prefer them in OG/olive green, although they have them in black and light tan.  The latter are a little thinner; the OG and the black are really thick, fantastic material.  They will run you $44.95 per pair.  They have a lifetime warranty on them.  In JJ’s experience, they are the finest pairs of cargo pants ever made, pound for pound and dollar for dollar.

    The closest that I have seen to them is the US Army issue BDU trousers, and next are the ones by Carharrt; however, they are not that close.  The Army trousers are tough, but the two cargo pockets are not as nice.  The Carharrts (although well-made) are nowhere near these Wrangler Riggs when you feel the material for each side by side, and the latter has them beat across the board with the pockets.

    The back pockets are edged and lined with Cordura nylon.  The pants themselves are 100% rip-stop cotton, an extremely tight weave, with a double layer in the front and heavily reinforced with seams and double stitching.  If you prefer a lock blade with a clip, the right front pocket has a leather reinforced semicircle stitched upon the edge of the pocket’s opening.

    The cargo pockets have two snaps on each flap, left and right.  The female portion of the snap (the part you press to close the snap) is within the pocket’s flap: this keeps it from being scraped or knocked off.  On the exterior of the right cargo pocket are two small pouch-pockets that are perfect for a flashlight, knife, or other tool.  They are extremely tough, durable, and convenient to use.  During the winter months you can augment them with good thermal underwear, and during the summer months they’ll breathe because they’re cotton.

    As I write this article, I am wearing a pair I have had for three years with hardly any signs of wear at all.  My advice is to buy them at least one size large (mine are two) because it is better to have them a little loose to accommodate layers underneath, and having them loose in the summer prevents constriction and chafing.  They carry all of my gear that I mentioned comfortably, and that is the kicker in addition to how durable they are.

    I wear them all the time.  Boring?  Perhaps.  But at any given moment, I know where each and every item that I carry is located.  This in itself is worth the price to pay for them.  I have seen some that are name brands that are more expensive, but they don’t perform the same.  I buy my size periodically, and store them up in sealable garment bags with some desiccant in a place with low humidity or moisture.  Buy one every month to two months and in no time you’ll be able to build up a steady supply.

    Their value to carry equipment at the ready is not able to be easily estimated.  I like to buy my cargoes a little long.  During the warm months, I cuff them up, and the bottoms sit upon the instep of my boots.  During the winter, I can unroll them and cuff them on the inside of my boots.  In Montana it is not looked at with any askance, as even businessmen in suits cuff their pants inside of high leather boots with rubber bottoms.  Sorel’s, Kamik’s, or Rocky Gore-Tex with a ton (800 – 1000 grams on average…I’m in the Rockies, after all) of Thinsulate are the equivalent of wing-tips or loafers in the cities, and the norm in Montana.

    If you need to keep them in your “go” bag, set them up first: put a belt on them with your Leatherman/Gerber tool attached, and whatever “goodies” you prefer in the manner that I set mine up.  Then all you have to do is roll them up from the waist down to the bottom of the pants legs to make sure that things don’t fall out of the pockets, and voila!  You’re good to go!  Then stick them in your bag and you can make the change as soon as the SHTF, no matter where you are.  I’m sure someone out there is going to mention other things in addition to my stuff.  This is how I do it, and anything else is in my bag, never more than a few feet away from me.

    The main focus was to recommend something that I use and love, something that I consider a piece of my equipment/gear, and completely necessary both for the area I live and for time of trouble.  I believe you’ll find them comfortable and exceptional in quality: a good investment for your needs.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Spice Up the Holidays With Pomegranate Jelly

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    pomegranate jelly
    Who doesn’t love homemade gifts?  I decided to make some homemade jellies, but wanted to do something a little different. Rather than giving them the regular jams that I make in the summer, I wanted to bring a little winter variety into the mix and try my hand at making pomegranate jelly.

    Everyone I know loves pomegranates and the color is so gorgeous. So, why not make this into a jelly?

    The results were great! It was tangy, sweet and has a variety of purposes.  It can replace cranberry jelly with turkey for the holidays or to top hors d’ oeuvres (my favorite is topped over baked brie). As well, it is a lovely accompaniment to breakfast toast, scones, and biscuits.

    There is still time to make this delicious jelly as gifts for friends and family.

    Pomegranate Jelly

    • 5 cups pomegranate juice (10 pomegranates) or 5 cups bottled pure pomegranate juice
    • 6 cups sugar
    • 2 lemons, juiced
    • 1 (1.75 ounce) powdered pectin
    1. Wash and sterilize canning jars. Boil the flat parts of the lids in a small pot and keep at a low simmer.
    2. If you are using fresh pomegranates, peel pomegranates and extract juice. Strain juice through cheesecloth. Tip: If you juice your own pomegranates be sure to let the juice rest for 12 to 24 hours so the sediment will go to the bottom. Only use the clear liquid if you want your jelly crystal clear.
    3. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add juice, lemon juice and pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
    4. Stir in sugar to mixture and stir regularly to prevent scorching. Bring to a rolling boil  and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
    5. Remove jam from heat and let sit for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. It will thicken slightly. Remove any foam that has occurred.
    6. Ladle jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch space at top of jars. Clean rims, then place flat lid on jars, and add screw bands.
    7. Immerse jars in hot water bath, and boil rapidly for 15 minutes (check your elevation areas and adjust the cooking time accordingly).
    8. Remove from bath and place on a towel on the counter to cool. If jars aren’t sealed within 12 hours then move them to the fridge and eat within 2 weeks.

     

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    When You Lose Power this Winter, Here’s What You’ll Need

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    winterHey there, ReadyNutrition Readers!  Hope your winter season is kicking off smoothly and productively!  Here in Montana, I’ve been “battening down the hatches,” and dealing with all kinds of kooky weather and problems that are normal for this time of year, but can be very daunting, nonetheless.  I wanted to share with you how we’ve been dealing with these problems in the Johnson cabin, and some things we’ve learned may benefit you guys and gals as well.

    Firstly, we’ve been having a tremendous amount of windstorms, and less than two weeks ago, a fifty-foot pine came down and missed the house, while grazing the rain gutter and taking out one of my downspouts.  Not much that can be done there.  When that tree falls, there’s nothing that’s going to stop it.  That being said, the time to remove trees is (of course) long past.  The past two weeks we have been losing power for one to two days at a time.

    Heat

    The wood stove (wood burner, if you prefer) is the answer to keeping the abode heated when the temperature falls.  This is crucial to keep your pipes from freezing.  The problem being when you heat the place up too much (you should see mine…it’s only about 3’x2’x2’ but can heat the place up to 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit in nothing flat).  Too much heat, and your food in your refrigerator is going to go bad faster.

    I have learned in this case to just put one or two logs in to start, and then feed it with one log at a time.  This will enable you to keep the temperature about 70 degrees and not throw so much heat on the refrigerator.  For lighting, the best thing you can shake a stick at is the tea light.  You can pick up inexpensive tea-light lanterns, and position them throughout the house.  Get the ones that have a little hinged door, and a base that’s about 1” thick.  Such will keep anything it rests on from heating up.  One of these in each room, and you’ll be good to go.  The good news is the tea light candle will burn for about 3-4 hours.

    You can pick up 50 of them in Wal-Mart (unscented) for about $2.75 a bag.  Put a fresh candle in each one of your lanterns, and preposition them in your rooms judiciously.  When the lights go out, it’ll make it a lot easier for you.  I also found a really nice deal on a flashlight.  It’s made by Coast, and has about 126 lumens (not a big light), but it has a nice wide beam and can be adjusted for a spotlight. This flashlight is very similar and comes with a two-way clip that works well on a baseball cap visor.  The best part is that it runs on just one (1) AA battery.  Runs you about $20 and will fit right in your pocket, as it’s about 4” in length.

    Food

    Now with food: after a couple of days, you’re either going to need to hook up your fridge to a generator.  The other option is to seal up your most durable food that can take a freeze in plastic bags and place them outside in plastic bins.  You’ll have to gauge according to your geographic location.  You can use your frozen foods in the freezer to help keep your unfrozen foods cold for about another additional 24 hours.  Here in Montana, it gets cold enough that everything will freeze in general.  This works well with foods that are already cooked, and leftovers. As well, have these shelf stable foods on standby to have in your survival pantry for these types of emergencies.

    Remember, with a wood stove, you can heat up your stuff in foil on a baking sheet on the top of the stove.  These actions can be taken after 48 hours, if you keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible.  Now, keep in mind: you must wrap the food in plastic and put it in bins, especially if you have either wolves or bears in your locale.  These winter scavengers (black bear…as the grizzlies are “snoozing”) are opportunistic by nature, and will come for a ready meal that is not “camouflaged” from giving off aromas.

    Water

    Water is an issue that needs to be dealt with before the power cuts off.  I highly recommend purchasing at least two 5-gallon water jugs for each member of the family. Yes, that’s a lot of water, but each person needs about a gallon per day.  My family uses the Water Bricks for emergencies just like these.  Stock it up before the power cuts off.  A lot of people say that you can’t use snow, but that’s malarkey: put the snow in a large pot (5 gallon) and place it on top of the wood stove.  You’ll need that anyway to keep the wood stove’s heat from drying out all of the heat in the house, as the vapors from the steam act as a humidifier.  Plus, you’ll always have hot water available, another bonus.

    I also highly recommend a “porta-potty” type sitting toilet, a chair-type with a bucket.  You can line that bucket with 5-gallon plastic bags, and with the use of baking soda on each visit, you can use a bag for 5 to 7 days per person.  It’ll save you water, big time, and in a long-term outage (such as forever, with an EMP), you can burn the waste or dispose of it in a pit outside.  This of course if you don’t live in Happyville, USA with ten thousand neighbors per square mile.  If you do, and it’s grid down, then the rules “change,” so to speak.

    So, stay warm, and follow some of these tips to help you with your power outages.  You can turn it into a training exercise and have a few laughs along the way as you refine your skills.  It is good training for a disaster and for the days to come in the future, should the SHTF.  Have a great day, and keep your powder dry!  JJ out.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Ready Nutrition’s Top 2015 Picks for a Very Prepper Christmas

    Click here to view the original post.

    prepperxmasMerry Christmas, my dear friends. It’s that  time of year again where we put up our favorite prepper gift suggestions. As many of you know all too well, prepping is an investment. As we move toward more longer-term preparedness needs, the items can get more expensive. That said, Christmas is an excellent opportunity to make these investments.

    I have always been one that leans toward the more practical gifts, rather than the extravagant. While there are some great online deals to take advantage of, I wanted to share the prepper gifts that I have bought in the last few weeks for my friends and family. Some of these would make excellent stocking stuffers, as well.

    I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas full of joy, peace and love!

     

    Tess’s Top 10 Christmas Gifts for 2015

    bricks1

    Water Bricks $166

    I bought this gift for my family. In my opinion, you can never have enough ways to store water and these Water Bricks will be a lifesaver when the time comes. We all need long-term storage options for a sustainable water supply, and while I recommend every home have water catchment systems hooked up, not all homes have this capability. Water bricks make an excellent alternative.
    Water Bricks are BPA free and FDA approved. As well, if you have plenty of water stored, these containers can also be used for water or foods like rice, beans, or anything you want to keep safe and dry from the elements. As well, if an eight pack of water bricks is too much for you, there are also single containers for $24 you can purchase.

    wise food1 Wise Food 5-Day Survival Backpack $70

    I bought a few pre-made survival backpacks for family members to have in their vehicles this year. While I am more apt to making my own survival pack, Wise Foods has a nifty emergency bag that seemed close to perfect. I added some extra Mountain House food and a LifeStraw water filter to it – and add a bow; and viola!

    This survival pack gives an individual everything they need in order to survive for five days. From survival food to a deck of playing cards to pass the time, this kit has it all. With a shelf life of up to 25 years, this survival kit will be there when you need it.

    loader

    Ammunition Loader $33

    Loading bullets into magazines is time-consuming and can be pain after a while. This ammunition loader will be well received for a Christmas gift and will help make better use of your time. This loader is great because it loads all 9mm Luger, 10mm, .357 Sig, 10mm, .40, and .45ACP cal. single and double stack magazines.

    jacket

    Concealed Carry Jacket $45

    Speaking of firearms, if my husband asks, don’t tell him that he’s getting this for Christmas! This fleece jacket keeps you warm and hides your firearm with a built-in conceal plate. The holster fits a variety of firearms. Note: This jacket is designed for right-handed cross-draw only. It is waterproof, windproof and has an integrated shoulder harness to distribute the weight of the firearm at the shoulder. Isn’t it awesome!  

    stungun

    Stun Gun Tactical Flashlight $30

    I’m not going to lie; I bought this for me. I love self-defense gadgets and couldn’t resist having this one on stand by. It charges quickly and will deliver a big shock to someone who ventures too close to me. The tactical flashlight has a rechargeable battery, and provides ample light for added security. For those of you who have loved ones in college or work late hours, this would make a great gift!

    snares

    Snare Kit $30

    If you have game trails nearby, these snares can help you catch wild game. In a long-term emergency, using snares to catch food is one of the easiest ways to trap. Keep in mind that not all snares will catch the same types of animals; that’s why I like this snare kit. It has snares to trap large animals like hogs, medium snares for raccoons or coyotes and smaller snares for rabbits and squirrel.

     

    essee

    ESEE 6P Black Fixed Blade Knife $115

    Enough cannot be said about this amazing fixed blade. If you want to learn more about this, I wrote an article recommending this knife. This is not your average “survival” knife found in the camping section of a department store. This knife is made from high quality products and has been field tested. I have a lot of knives, but this is, by far, my favorite.

    car hammer

    Car Hammer $10

    Every car needs a car hammer. This survival tool features two lifesaving abilities when your car is sinking: it can cut through a seat belt and break windows to make an escape. In this type of emergency, you do not want to get out as fast as possible and when you are in a situation where your car is sinking, seconds matter! Because the windows are made of strong, tempered glass, it is important to have an accessible tool, like a car safety hammer.

    charger

    Portable Cell Phone Charger $15

    I purchased this portable charger for my son. His cell phone is always running low on battery strength, so I decided to get his this to put in his backpack for school. This is a compatible charger that fits most phones and iPads. As well, it has a good price tag to go along with it.

    Looking for a more personal gift?

    Homemade gifts also make wonderful presents to put under the tree. There is still time to make a homemade gift for loved ones. Here are some that I or the writers at Ready Nutrition have written about in the past.

    Not matter what type of prepper you are shopping for or what stage they are into with prepping, there are plenty of options available. To gather even more ideas, check out the best-selling Prepper’s Blueprint which has 52 different lists of prep items you can gather ideas for. It is also featured on websites like SHTF Plan, The Economic Collapse Blog, and The Survivalist Blog.

    I hope these Top Picks will help you find the perfect gift for your special prepper. Happy Shopping!

     

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    The Beginning of the End: Newly Discovered Superbug In Imported Meat Resistant to All Antibiotics

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     Many of you reading this are alive today because of antibiotics. It’s a marvel of the modern world that has given us so much life. But because of our abuse of antibiotics and regularly consuming dairy products and eat meat that were given antibiotics, bacteria are growing resistant and causing many of the “last resort” antibiotics to be less powerful than in years past. Inevitably, infections we used to easily treat will evolve and become resistant them. These “superbugs” now threaten to derail decades of medical progress – and no one will be safe in a post-antibiotic world.

    The Beginning of the End

    Perhaps, the not-so-distant future is already upon us. Last month, a scientist discovered a gene resistant to colistin, an antibiotic of last resort. The mcr-1 gene has been found in coli bacteria among pigs, broiler meat and humans in China.  The researchers from South China also found this resistance gene in E. coli and Klebsiella pneumonia isolates from 16 hospitalized patients’ blood, urine or other sites. The isolates were all very resistant ESBL bacteria to begin with, so now were resistant to all antibiotics.

    Sadly, there’s more. According to a team from the Danish National Food Institute, they reported “that they also searched their collection of bacteria, looking for this new gene. They found the mcr-1 gene in the blood of a patient and in 5 poultry samples that originated in Germany between 2012-14. The patient had not left the country and was believed to have become infected by eating contaminated meat. The genes found in the poultry were identical to those from the Danish patient and from China.”

    Why is this important?

    The mcr-1 gene transfers resistance to E. coli, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas—common bacteria—by plasmids, small bits of DNA that can be transferred to different types of bacteria. Previously, colistin resistance was transferred on chromosomes, and therefore affected only those bacteria and their descendants. Plasmid-borne resistance genes are more likely to be rapidly spread widely, and can spread between species of bacteria. According to George Washington University’s Dr. Lance Price, it’s a bit less likely to be a problem with Salmonella for now, as “we don’t have those bordering on pan-resistance like E. coli.”

    One of the problems is that colistin is widely used in China’s agriculture industry. Co-author Professor Jianzhong Shen explains, “The selective pressure imposed by increasingly heavy use of colistin in agriculture in China could have led to the acquisition of mcr-1 by E. coli.

    Source

    This new antibiotic resistant superbug could cause worldwide issues with massive health implications. Perhaps the House will reconsider adding the country of origin labels back on meat so this pressing issue will not create an endemic in other countries. To add insult to injury, the USDA has a rather controversial chicken arrangement with China. Even though China has appalling food safety standards, the USDA allows chicken and seafood to be sent to China for processing before being shipped back to the states for human consumption. This has sparked outrage considering many foodborne diseases in China were caused by human error. Could this be another large-scale health crisis waiting to happen?

    To circumvent this pressing matter, perhaps we should consider seeking out locally grown food sources. For the last ten years, the number of farmers markets have more than doubled and this could be the answer to preventing superbugs from taking over. When you eat locally, you know things about your food that people who shop at the grocery store do not, as well, you are contributing to your community. As well, supplementing with garden fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs would also be beneficial and teach you a time-honored skill.

    Modern day antibiotics are failing us and we must open our eyes to the fact we are in the beginnings of a post-antibiotic world. The signs are there, the superbugs are raging on and we are losing the fight.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Six Must-Have Blades for Off-Grid Living

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    multitool
    When it comes to survival, there is nothing more important than a dependable knife. This tool, in my humble opinion, is indispensable. It will cut down branches for a survival shelter, used to cut down branches to make a fire, make traps or skin animals. It can also be used for cooking and defense, if need be. Because of the many uses this survival tool has, I highly recommend having a knife in your bug out bag, your vehicle and anywhere you feel you could be if the SHTF and you aren’t at home. Because so much emphasis is being placed on a knife, you want to ensure that it is of good quality. Many have learned that not all knives are the same and understanding this before investing in one will help you make the most of your investment.

    I carry a knife with me everywhere I go. If I’m not carrying my multitool, I’m carrying my ESEE. That said, be careful about where you walk into with your everyday carry blade. Once, I went into a museum and had forgotten to take BOTH of these knives out of my bag and the security guards kept scanning my purse and looked suspicious at me. I grew more and more impatient and started asking them what the hold-up was. When asked if I was carrying any weapons, I emphatically denied it because I thought they were removed. Turns out, I had both of them in a secret compartment in my bag. Luckily, they allowed me to go through, but the point is, there are some knife-free zones such as airports, government buildings and some museums, etc., that do not allow knives – so make sure you don’t have them on you when you are near these locations.

    Tier of Blades

    If you are anything like me, knives are badass. I love them all and am an avid collector. I have bought different types of knives for family members in the hopes that they will also see how awesome knives are. There are so many to choose from and there are times I have to refrain myself from going overboard.

    knivesThat said, I want to emphasize that in a survival situation, having any type of blade on you will be good and perhaps, lifesaving, but there are some that will serve you better than others. These seven tools vary in accordance to their uses and practicality, but have been found to be essentials in a grid down TEOTWAWKI environment. They are all useful in both urban and bush survival, as well as essential to carry in your bug out bags and even your vehicle. The following are blades you should consider for your preparedness endeavors. Starting with the most basic everyday carry to the tools used for daily living and moving on to tools used for outdoor or primitive survival.

    1. Multitool – This is probably the most used of my knife collection. I purchased a Leatherman Wave and use it every time I am camping outdoors, doing my outdoor chores and even to unscrew a broken windshield wiper while traveling (long story). This has many uses, and the blade itself has remained sharp for many years. It is a bit bulky, so I do not carry it in my pocket.
    2. Pocket Knife – Pocket knives also deserve high marks as an everyday carry. These handy little knives fit easily in a pocket and can be used for almost anything. I personally love having my pocket knife available to cut boxes and to use it while working outdoors. Living on a ranch, I use it almost daily!  In an outdoor situation, carrying a pocket knife, like a good old fashioned Buck knife can be used to cut small branches to make a fire, to cut away clothing in an emergency situation, used when hunting.
    3. Skinning Game Blade – If you are a hunter and want to cleanly remove the hide of a big-game animal, you need a skinning knife. This type of knife is relatively short and has a curved blade to keep the tip from puncturing the hide or spearing the meat. Also, these knives should have a sturdy handle to give you a good grip even in wet conditions. The SwingBlaze is a favorite amongst many hunters. Personally, I have a Ka-Bar Game Hook Knife that works really well too. I have used to clean out animals and because of its small size, it’s great when working inside of a cavity.
    4. Hunting Knife – If things go wrong in the outdoors, you want a high quality hunting knife with you. Their usefulness in the field is immeasurable. I hate to break it to all the Rambo die-hard fans out there, but  knives with huge blades really have no practical use for hunters. They make pretty good substitutes for hatchets or machetes but aren’t useful for skinning game or other common hunting tasks – so keep the blade between 4-8 inches. Here is a good article on the considerations of a good survival knife.
    5. Filet Knife – My grandfather was an avid outdoorsman and fisherman and always had a filet knife around. Filet knives like the Rapala Filet Knife are very useful at filleting fish or removing and trimming fat and silver skin from tenderloin.
    6. Axe – Having an axe is paramount in a survival situation and should be one of first investments you make in survival tools. While there are smaller axes that you can take with you while camping or outdoors, you will also want the full size axe at your home to chop wood for fires. Like with all of these knives, you want to ensure that these are high quality. These tools could be a lifesaver if you find yourself in an outdoor emergency situation, so make the necessary investment.

    As mentioned, having any blade on you is better than none at all in a survival situation. But I also want to emphasize how important it is to know what your knife is capable of. Can it cut cordage? Could you depend on it to assist you in building a shelter? Is it sharp enough to cut branches? The point is: Know your tools and how to use them. As well, keep in mind that if you plan on using your knife or axe outdoors, you want it very, very sharp. Make sure that you have proper knife sharpening supplies on hand.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Winter Survival: 3 Ways to Survive Outdoors

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     Wilderness survival in the bitter cold is not for the faint of heart. Record low temperatures following this snowstorm could create the need for emergency shelters, especially if you find yourself outdoors and fear exposure.

    Your Top Priorities In a Cold Environment

    Your primary concerns in such an unforgiving environment is shelter and water. You want to ensure that you can maintain your body heat. One small mistake like accidently losing  glove or eye protection can cause detrimental issues like hypothermia, frostbite and even snow blindness. In addition, the clothing layers you wear outdoors could make all the difference in the world. Proper layers insulate and prevent heat loss. In an emergency situation, you can use dry leaves as an emergency layer of insulation if you are concerned with hypothermia.

    A trick that many outdoor enthusiasts use to making a shelter in cold temperatures, is having a thermal barrier to trap heat in the shelter. This one item can make all the difference in the world! An example of this type of barrier is Mylar blankets. This lightweight prepper item is one of the most multipurpose items you can take with you and a must-have for your outdoor gear! Ever wonder about all the ways you can use Mylar? Check this article out.

    Water is another top priority. Dehydration is a major risk when outdoors. Cold weather studies at the University of New Hampshire show increased risk for dehydration, a condition many associate with hot weather emergencies. “People just don’t feel as thirsty when the weather is cold,” says Robert Kenefick, UNH associate professor of kinesiology. “When they don’t feel thirsty, they don’t drink as much, and this can cause dehydration.” Moreover, excessive perspiration, heavy clothing and increased respiratory fluid loss are other factors that contribute to dehydration in cold climates. For example, when you can see your own breath, that’s actually water vapor that your body is losing. The colder the temperature and the more intense the exercise, the more vapor you lose when you breathe.

    As well, you want to put careful thought into the tools you carry with you. Not only should the tools be helpful, but some should serve a double purpose of preventing hypothermia. Some other tools to consider are:

    Tools:

    Keep These Shelter Tips in Mind

    • If you can face your shelter towards the east you will be able to prevent heat loss from prevailing winds and storms coming into your shelter.
    • Protect yourself from the elements by using branches, sticks, tarps or whatever you have available. Pine branches are great for wind-proofing your shelter and preventing heat loss from the ground.
    • Body heat can quickly escape if you do not have a ground insulator. If you can make your bedding area off the ground, you will be able to conserve more body heat. Consider pine needles, leaves, spruce boughs and/or branches, or even building up the snow around your primitive shelter.
    • Take into consideration your energy output on building the shelter versus the protection of the shelter.

    Basic Outdoor Survival Shelter

    Taking It To The Next Level With a Debris Hut

    Your Last Effort: Building a Quinzee or Snow Hut

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    When The Meds Run Out, These are The Natural Alternatives That Could Save Your Life

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    herbsOne of the perks of Ready Nutrition is to read books on prepping and natural living and share which ones I like with all of you. Like many of you, I have a natural curiosity about natural medicine and practiced using essential oils and herbs to make my own salves and teas. I am by no means a master herbalist but love learning about the subject. I envy author Cat Ellis’s herbal background and believe it will serve her well during a time when there is no doctor. I was so excited when she decided to do a book on the subject and she was kind enough to let me interview her about her book, the Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor.

    1. Tell us a little bit about your book, Prepper’s Natural Medicine. 

    51ieolyMzzLPrepper’s Natural Medicine is the book I wish I had when I first started learning about herbal medicine. It is written for the total beginner, with no assumptions of prior experience with herbs. However, I have a few tips and tricks that even experienced herbalists would find interesting.This book covers all of the basic skills necessary to make herbal medicine, the therapeutic properties of 50 herbs that will grow almost anywhere in the United States, plus provides formulas for how to create your own medicine. Instructions are provided in an easy to read, conversational style, much as I would speak if the reader were taking one of my classes in person. While this book would be of use to any budding herbalist, it specifically addresses concerns that preppers have, especially long term disasters where the option of getting professional medical care is off the table. For example, how would you treat a snake or spider bite? What about anaphylaxis? Hypothermia?There’s a trend to sanitize herbal medicine with claims that “herbs work gently”. And to a point that’s true. Chamomile is a gentle herb that helps with stress and winding down at the end of the day. On the other hand, some herbs are potent analgesics, antispasmodics, and antimicrobials. Some herbs can help stop bleeding both internally and externally. Others help with seizures.This book is primarily a medicine-making book using herbs for one’s primary source of medicine. It is not a gardening, foraging, or a plant ID book. If your survival plan is to stay mobile, this may not be for you. I do have thoughts for a future book to address those needs, though. If you are stocking up on food, water, ammo, silver, and other supplies, then this is the herbal book for you.

    In your book, Prepper’s Natural Medicine, you emphasize the importance of having herbs as part of your preparedness plan. What would you recommend as a starting point for beginners?

    I would start off with easy to grow herbs, such as comfrey and peppermint- just try getting either of those two not to grow, and herbs that do dual duty as culinary and medicinal herbs, such as cayenne, garlic, ginger, thyme, and sage. These are familiar to most people, which makes learning how to make herbal medicines less intimidating.

    In the book, you mentioned that ingesting essential oils has its place. When is that?

    Very rarely, and almost never. There are oils which have GRAS status, which means, “General Recognized As Safe” by the FDA as a food additive. The most common use of this is as a flavoring, whether that be in food or in cosmetics, such as lip balm or lip stick. What this normally means is a drop or two of, say, lemon essential oil in a batch of lemon squares. It is diluted across the entire recipe, and most people don’t sit down to eat the entire batch in one sitting.

    However, from a therapeutic standpoint, essential oils are best inhaled or applied topically in some type of carrier, like a salve or lotion, as many are irritating to the skin to apply directly. Regular ingestion of essential oils over time leads to complications, like liver damage, and really misses the mark on how essential oil work best.

    That being said, a drop of clove oil applied to a painful tooth, or peppermint oil in an enteric coated capsule for intestinal infections and cramping, or a drop of cinnamon oil added to herbal cough drops or an herbal sore throat spray, are good examples of when ingestion has its place. And, of course, in that batch of lemon squares.

    My favorite chapter in the book is the herbal first aid kit. What herbs would you consider the most important and why?

    It was tough to narrow it down to just the 50 herbs in the book! But, if I had to pick just 10, my choices would be:

    1. Peppermint: This one herb does so many things. Peppermint can settle the stomach, relieve congestion, soothe away a headache, help cool a person’s temperature, it has a pleasant taste, and kids readily take it.
    2. Comfrey: Two of this herb’s folknames are “knitbone” and “bruisewort”. Comfrey helps to knit tissues back together. This goes in my burn care salve, is excellent in a poultice for a sprained ankle, helps the skin to heal quickly and with minimal (if any) scarring. It works so well, that it should not be used on deep wounds, healing the upper tissue layers and trapping bacteria inside. Short term use only as a tea, though. But could be very useful for someone healing from a serious sprain or broken limb.
    3. Thyme: This is your respiratory system’s best friend. Use in teas, syrups, and most importantly, in herbal steams for any respiratory infection, either bacterial or viral. Add to bath water when you feel sick, to benefit from the steam and sooth the entire body, or use thyme’s antimicrobial properties in herbal cleaning products. Blends well with lavender for the same purposes. Thyme can be taken as a tea or syrup for sore throats and general respiratory relief.
    4. Yarrow: Easy to find growing wild, yarrow is known for its ability to stop bleeding. It is taken both internally and applied externally for this purpose. It can also help reduce fever through sweating, and is an anti-inflammatory, making it a wonderful flu herb, chasing away the aches and pains and fever associated with the flu.
    5. White willow: This tree’s bark contains a chemical called salicin. Salicin is metabolized into salicylic acid, which is the origin of aspirin. The active ingredient in aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid, a synthesized version of salicylic acid. White willow is much less irritating to the stomach than aspirin, and in my experience, is more effective and lasts longer. If you don’t have a white willow nearby, meadowsweet is a good alternative for your herbal garden.
    6. Cayenne: Cayenne contains capsaicin, which is well known for pain relief by blocking the signaling of pain from the source to the brain. Cayenne is a vasodilator, primarily of the small blood vessels and improves circulation. This is really important for people who are sedentary or diabetic. Cayenne is also anti-inflammatory, and analgesic. It is a primary ingredient in one of my oxymel (herbal vinegar sweetened with honey) recipes, which I use as an herbal decongestant.
    7. Berberine: This is actually a chemical found in various herbs, not an herb itself. Berberine has more uses than can be listed here. It’s top uses are as a local antibiotic, for blood glucose management, to strengthen the gut wall, lowering liver inflammation, and promoting healthy cholesterol and triglycerides levels. A berberine-containing herb can be used for wound powders. Berberine is excellent for throat infections as a spray, though it does have a very bitter taste. It must come in contact with the infected tissue to have an effect, so sweeten it up with honey or glycerin, then thin with water to work in a spray bottle. Some people taking berberine for its blood glucose and metabolic benefits prefer to take theirs encapsulated. Wherever you live in the United States, there is at least one herb that contains berberine that grows in your area naturally. These might include the Amur cork tree (an invasive on the east coast), Oregon grape root (Northwest), chaparral (Southwest), algerita (Texas and southwest), barberry (not a native plant, but can be grown almost anywhere), and goldenseal (endangered, but was native to east coast and midwest).
    8. Echinacea: This herb has been pigeonholed as a cold and flu herb, but it offers so much more. Echinacea is excellent for wound care, and makes a great addition to wound powders. The tincture is slightly warming and numbing, making it perfect in a spray for sore throat spray, or dental infection or wound. Echinacea is an immuno-stimulant, and it can act as a systemic antibiotic at the right dosage. Dosage is usually far more frequent than people expect, all the way up to once every hour. My preference is for Echincea angustafolia root.
    9. Garlic: Everyone needs lots and lots of garlic. This is the posterchild herb for food being medicine. Have your garlic raw, fermented in honey, or cooked, it’s all beneficial. Garlic supports immune function, is antibacterial, antifungal, and is well known for it’s heart health benefits.  If you want to stay healthy, eat a lot of garlic.
    10. Valerian: In about 10% of the population, it can have the opposite effect, but valerian helps almost everyone sleep. Valerian also helps with pain, spasms, coughing, and can be used topically for sore muscles.  Something to be aware of with valerian is that the dose is really dependent upon the individual. A very small dose may be fine for one person, and the next may need three times that amount.
    11. Mullein: This list needs a good expectorant to round out the list, and mullein is one of the best. The soft leaves from the first year plant are excellent for helping break up stuck phlegm. In the second year, the plant sends up a large stalk with yellow flowers. Pick the flowers and infuse them in olive oil for earaches.

    What three points of the book do you want readers to walk away with? What tools would you recommend?

    First, herbal medicine works, and works very well, even in serious cases. Herbs aren’t just for gently falling asleep after a stressful day. They can help . Second, while there is a lot to learn in order to use herbal medicine safely and effectively, it is fun learning. This process is enjoyable and empowering, and my book gets you started off on the right foot. And thirdly, the time to learn how to use herbal medicine is right now, while things are still relatively good.

    In a long-term emergency, what natural medicines do you think will be needed most?

    In a long term emergency without access to a doctor, pharmacy, or a hospital, we will still need to have the ability to treat both acute and chronic conditions. Acute injuries and infections are obvious, and require antimicrobials and analgesics. According to the CDC, however, 1 out of every 2 adults in the United States have a chronic illness, and that’s just based on people who actually go to the doctor for a proper diagnosis.While a lot of preppers are concerned with how to treat a bullet wound, and that’s a valid concern, far more people will require a sustainable source of medicine for heart conditions, diabetes, arthritis, mood disorders, and so on.

    We will need:

    Antimicrobial herbs: wounds, respiratory infections, and intestinal infections. Several I mentioned above, but I would add clove, black walnut hull, and artemesia for parasitical infections. I would also put special attention toward herbal antibiotics in the face of every-increasing antibiotic resistance. We would need both local and systemic herbal antibiotic alternatives to drugs. Herbs that come to mind as local antibiotics would be berberine herbs, garlic, juniper, burdock, and sage. Systemics are a little more scarce, but sida, bidens, and artemesias such as sweet Annie, cover a lot of ground.
    Cardiovascular herbs: In addition to the cayenne, garlic, and berberine I mentioned above, as well as the yarrow to stop bleeding, I would also add bilberry, hawthorne, and motherwort.
    Analgesics: In addition to the pain-relieving white willow bark, we will need additional pain relievers. Arnica is great for join pain, especially from arthritis, sprains, and repetitive motion injuries. Corydalis, California poppy, and Jamaican dogwood is a combination used for severe pain. Black cohosh and lobelia can be infused into an oil and a salve or lotion made from it for muscle spasms.
    Anti-diabetics: Diabetes is one of our most common chronic illnesses in the United States. For type two, goat’s rue is the origin of the active ingredients for metformin. A three month study found berberine as effective as metformin.[1] There is some hope for type one diabetics with Gymnema sylvestre and fenugreek, as both help to regenerate the beta cells in the pancreas to help the body start to make its own insulin again. Gymnema is not available in plant or seed form in the United States, so one would have to stock up on the dried herb, and tincture it for both dosage and longer term storage.

    You have a new book coming out. Can you tell us about it?

    pandemicMy new book is called Prepping for a Pandemic: Life-Saving Supplies, Skills, and Plans for Surviving an Outbreak, and is available for preorder on Amazon. This book covers a whole range of issues related to pandemics, and is in direct response to emails I received from readers of my blog and my live internet radio show audience.We have had this unique opportunity to observe and learn from the Ebola crisis in West Africa. We have been witness to individuals attack clinics, what happens when medical facilities reach surge capacity, curfews and quarantines, martial law leaving people without food, had the specter of bio-terrorism lingering, and how our government and media control what the public know. The goals of individuals, staying healthy and not dying, are not the same as government concerns, which are maintaining order and suppressing panic. And, of course, we had the tragic case of Thomas Eric Duncan who brought Ebola to the United States by plane, and spread the disease to hospital staff. There is so much to learn from all this that helps us make better plans in case of an outbreak. If there is any positive side to the horrific loss of life in this unprecedented Ebola outbreak, it would be how to better prepare for pandemic threats.

    In the book, I cover seven illnesses I believe are the most significant threats to trigger the next great pandemic. This includes drug-resistant bacteria, viruses which have a demonstrated history of causing pandemics, the human involvement of both terrorism and human error, and the conventional and herbal treatment approaches, if any, are provided. The book wraps up with a pro-active section on how to establish a Self Imposed Reverse Quarantine (SIRQ), with resources to learn more about pandemic preparedness.

    My Thoughts on Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor

    Have you ever wondered what you would do if there were no pharmacy? In the early onset of my prepping endeavors this question plagued me. Dying from illness or infection is one of the most likely ways one can die in a long-term emergency and without the knowledge of medicinal herbs and natural medicine, you could be a world of trouble. This very question was the first sentence that Cat wrote in her book and what I loved so much about the book. From the very beginning, she cuts to the chase and gets to the heart of topic. Throughout the book (and something she mentioned in her interview with me) she listed fifty of the most useful herbs, medicinal uses and recipes to practice. She holds nothing back in this book and uses a layered medical approach to assembling a natural medicine kit.

    This book teaches you the how’s, what’s and why’s about creating a natural medicinal pantry. Because Cat comes from a prepping background she uses a common sense approach to emphasize the vulnerabilities of solely storing western medicine supplies including how supplies will expire, run out and the ever-looming antibiotic resistance bacteria in the near future.

    The book is easy to read, written in a friendly manner and is packed with information. If I could give this book 10 stars, I would. From start to finish, I absolutely loved it! Cat is a wealth of knowledge and I will recommend this book for years to come. As well, Cat has an equally informative website, Herbal Prepper that all of you should check out!

     

    [1]    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2410097/

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Cook Like Grandma: Nothing Goes to Waste

    Click here to view the original post.

    Cooking utensils on a dark grey background.You’ve raised your livestock with care, fed them well, and thoughtfully attended to their needs.  Eventually, they have one bad day when they are dispatched quickly and humanely.  As you set about to the butchering, you may be wondering what to do with all the parts that aren’t muscle meat.

    Many Americans have become unaccustomed to eating offal and other parts of animals that aren’t normally found in your average grocery store.  But this wasn’t always the case, and many fine recipes can be found in American vintage cookbooks and amongst the traditional recipes of other countries.

    Pig’s Feet

     Smoked ham hocks, the part of the pig between the foot and the leg bone can still be found in most grocery stores.  They’re often used to make bean dishes, but did you know pig’s feet are just as delicious?  To properly clean them and prepare them for cooking, do the following:

    Scald, scrape, and clean the feet very thoroughly, then sprinkle lightly with salt and let feet soak for four to eight hours.  Wash the feet well in clean water.

    When carefully cleaned, they can be prepared several ways.

    Broiled: Split feet, dredge with salt, pepper, flour, and broil for ten minutes. Season with butter, salt, and pepper.

    Fried: Split feet and season salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Dip into beaten egg, then into bread crumbs, and fry in hot deep fat (350 degrees F) 5 minutes.

    Pickled Pig’s Feet (Souse)

    • 4 good-sized boiled pig’s feet with uppers
    • 1 qt strong vinegar
    • 4 bay leaves
    • 1 T whole cloves
    • 1 T broken cinnamon
    • ¼ C salt
    • 2 t pepper
    • ½ onion, cut into eighths
    • 1 blade mace

    Instructions:

    1. Clean feet carefully and cover with hot water.  Simmer until meat will separate from bones, then remove carefully with a skimmer.
    2. Place in stone jar, taking out the largest bones.  Save water for later use.
    3. Heat vinegar with bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, salt, pepper, onion, and mace.  Simmer slowly for 45 minutes, but do not boil at any time.
    4. Remove cake of fat from top of cooking water from feet.
    5. Add about 1 quart of the water to the vinegar; if vinegar is not very strong, use less water.  Strain liquid through a sieve and pour over meat in jar.
    6. Chill 2 days.

    Tongue

     The tongue of a cow is most commonly used for these dishes, though the tongue of any animal can be eaten.

    Braised Tongue

    • 1 cow tongue
    • 2 carrot, diced
    • 1/2 onion, diced
    • 1 celery stalk, diced
    • 1 parsley sprig

    Instructions:

    1. Add tongue to a kettle, cover with boiling water, and cook slowly for two hours.
    2. Take tongue from water and remove skin and roots.
    3. Place in deep pan and surround with 1/3 cup each carrot, onion, and celery, cut in dice, and one sprig of parsley; then pour over four cups sauce (see recipe below).
    4. Cover closely, bake two hours, turning after the first hour.  Serve on platter and serve around the sauce.

    * Sauce for Tongue

    1. Brown one-fourth cup butter, add one-fourth cup flour and stir together until well browned.
    2. Add gradually four cups of water in which tongue was cooked.  Season with salt and pepper and add one teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.
    3. One and one-half cups stewed and strained tomatoes may be used in place of some of the water.

    Recipe Source: The Original Fannie Farmer Cook Book 1896.

    Tripe

     Tripe is the culinary term for the stomach of ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep, and deer.  The United States Department of Agriculture only recognizes (and therefore approves of) two types of tripe, both of which must be prepared under strict guidelines.  However, other countries have a much broader definition of acceptable preparation and uses.  To learn more about tripe and how different countries address it, go here.

    Lyonnaise Tripe

    Cut honeycomb tripe in pieces two inches long by one-half inch wide, having three cupfuls.  Put on a pan and place in oven that water may be drawn out.  Cook one tablespoon finely chopped onion in two tablespoons butter until slightly browned, add tripe drained from water, and cook five minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and finely chopped parsley.

    Recipe Source: The Original Fannie Farmer Cook Book 1896.

    Menudo Soup

    Makes 6-8 generous servings

    For the broth:

    • 3 pounds of clean tripe cut into small bite size pieces
    • 1 cow’s feet (It’s usually sold already cut up in pieces)
    • 1 pound narrow bones
    • 4 large garlic cloves
    • 1 medium onion cut into thick slices
    • 1 ½ teaspoon salt to taste
    • 2 teaspoons dry oregano

    For the sauce:

    • 6 guajillo peppers cleaned, seeded, open flat, and deveined
    • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground cumin (optional)
    • 3 garlic cloves

    For the garnishing:

    • 1 Tbsp. Piquin peppers crushed to add when serving if you like hot food.
    • Lemons cut into wedges
    • Dry Mexican oregano
    • ¾ cup white onion, chopped
    • Serve with warm corn tortillas

    Instructions

    1. Simmer the cow feet and marrow bones in a large pot with 6 quarts of water, 5 garlic cloves and an onion for about 15 minutes at medium heat without covering. During this time, skim off the foam that forms.
    2. Add the tripe and oregano and cook for about 2 – 2 ½ hours approximately until tripe is tender but firm (make sure you do not overcook). You could also use a crock pot and set it in low for 6 hrs.
    3. Remove the cow feet and marrow bones from the pot. Skim the fat that forms on top of the broth. Once the cow foot cools a little, remove the bones and chop the meaty parts of to be returned to the pot.
    4. While the meat is cooking, prepare the guajillo sauce. Toast the Guajillo peppers in a griddle over medium heat. Press them down with a spatula slightly toasting them without burning them.
    5. Place the toasted peppers in a bowl and cover with water. Let them soak for about 25 minutes until soft. After that, drain the peppers and place them in your blender with the rest of the garlic, ½ cup of the broth, and cumin if using. Blend until very smooth. Strain the sauce using a sieve and pour into the pot. Simmer the broth for another 30 minutes, partially covered. Taste to season with more salt if needed. Note: Some people add Hominy to the soup. If you can buy Hominy in a can, drain it and add it to the soup in the final simmering.
    6. Serve the soup in large bowls and place the garnishes in a dish in order for everyone to add to their liking. Do not forget warm corn tortillas to soak in the broth.

    Recipe Source

     Kidney

     Kidneys can be found in all vertebrates and serve an essential function of filtering waste from the body.  They filter the blood and produce urine.  Sounds appetizing, right?  Properly prepared, kidneys are a favorite dish around the world.

    Lamb’s Kidney I

    Pare and cut in slices six kidneys, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Melt two tablespoons butter in hot frying pan, put in kidneys, and cook five minutes; dredge thoroughly with flour, and add two-thirds cup boiling water or hot Brown Stock.  Cook five minutes, add more salt and pepper if needed.  Lemon juice, onion juice, or Madeira wine may be used for additional flavor.  Kidneys must be cooked a short time, or for several hours; they are tender after a few minutes cooking, but soon toughen, and need hours of cooking again to make them tender.

    Recipe Source: The Original Fannie Farmer Cook Book 1896.

    Lungs

     According to the US Department of Agriculture regulation 310.16 a: “Livestock lungs shall not be saved for use as human food.”  However, they remain a popular dish in other countries and are regularly consumed.  In vintage cookbooks they’re often referred to as “lights” because they’re so light in weight that they’re the only organ that will float in water.

    Beuschl

    Serves 4

    • 600 g (about 1 1/2 lbs) veal lungs
    • 1 veal heart
    • 1 root vegetables (parsley, carrots, celery stalk)
    • 6 peppercorns
    • 3 allspice corns
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 spring thyme (small)
    • 1 onion (small)
    • Salt

    Final stage:

    • 40 g (1/8 cup) butter
    • 30 g (1/4 cup) flour
    • 1 cooking spoon capers 
    • 1 onion (small), halved
    • 1 anchovy fillet (finely chopped)
    • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
    • Lemon rind (grated)
    • 1 tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
    • Dash of vinegar
    • Sugar
    • Pinch of ground marjoram
    • Smidgen of mustard
    • 2 T sour cream
    • 2 T cream
    • Dash of lemon juice
    • Salt
    • Ground pepper
    • 4 T goulash sauce (for serving)

    Instructions

    1. Separate the veal lung from the windpipe and gullet. Soak well, piercing several holes in the lung so that water can get into the cavity.
    2. Fry the onion, cut surfaces down, in a pan until golden brown. Fill a large pot with cold water, add lungs and heart and bring to boil. Add root vegetables to the pot, as well as, peppercorns, allspice corns, bay leaf, thyme, salt and onion. Simmer until meat is tender.
    3. Remove the lung after about 1 hour and rinse with cold water to cool. Leave the heart in the stock for at least another 30 minutes, until very tender, then remove. Heat some of the stock in another saucepan and bring to boil. Meanwhile, cut the lung and heart finely, removing any cartilage.

    For the final stage:

    1. Heat some butter in a casserole dish. Sprinkle in the flour and sauté until light brown.
    2. Add the finely chopped ‘innards seasoning’: capers, onion, anchovy fillet, garlic, lemon rind, and parsley. Let draw on low heat for a few minutes.
    3. Add the reduced stock, stir well and cook for 15-20 minutes until thick. Add the innards and season with salt, pepper, vinegar, sugar, marjoram and mustard.
    4. As soon as the ragout is thick, stir in the sour cream and cream. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Add lemon juice to taste and serve with a few drops of hot goulash juice and serve with bread dumplings (Semmelknödel).

    Recipe Source

    Semmelknödel is another delicious recipe to consider when cooking lungs. The recipe can be found here.

    Vintage cookbooks and recipes from around the world can open up possibilities for delicious recipes that allow one to use every part of the animal for human consumption and to reduce waste.  So, before tossing these bits to the dogs, spend some time exploring these lesser-known or forgotten recipes.  Stay tuned!

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Make Your Own Pumpkin Pie Infused Moonshine

    Click here to view the original post.

    Gear up, I’m about to take the whole PSL (pumpkin spice latte) fad to a whole new level! Many of you are getting ready to Halloween festivities and may be looking for a yummy adult beverage to serve at the parties. With all the flavors of fall, pumpkin spice moonshine is a fun drink that has a great kick! Here’s my favorite pumpkin spice blend:

    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

     Whether you have made your own moonshine from scratch and want to kick it up a little or go the easy route and purchase some high proof alcohol, this is a great drink to serve at all the adult-centered Halloween parties.

    Pumpkin Spiced Moonshine

    Ingredients

    • 1 large can 100% pumpkin puree
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice mix
    • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) of thawed frozen apple juice concentrate.
    • 2 pints of high proof alcohol (vodka, everclear, “moonshine.”)*
    • Whip cream *optional

    Directions

    1. In a blender combine pumpkin puree, brown sugar, 1 can of thawed frozen apple juice concentrate.
    2. Add mixture to a large pot and add two 2 pints of alcohol. (You won’t be cooking with the pot, I just found it to help mix the contents up better).
    3. Stir mixture until smooth and then ladle into into Mason jars, seal and refrigerate. When you are ready for beverage drink to mix the spices up and, if preferred, add a dollop of whipped cream for the full effect. (We made a sugar rim on the glass and served it as is, and it was amazing!)

    Recipe source

    Remember to drink responsibly and make good choices!

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    This Do-It-Yourself Garden Hack Is The Secret to an Abundant Garden

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    My grandfather always had a robust garden filled with vegetables. His secret was rich, nutrient dense soil. He taught me that the plants we grow and soil have a symbiotic relationship. If the soil has nutrients, the plants will thrive. That said, many gardeners forget this vital tip and tend to lean towards chemical fertilizers as a way to quickly replenish their soil and grow their plants. Overtime, this can can cause the soil to become depleted of vital nutrients because the fertilizers kill or leaches out the nutritional aspects of the soil. As well, chemical fertilizers are not welcoming to microorganisms that live in the soil. You want to ensure the fertilizer method you use is biodynamic and efficient in the amount of materials used versus the amount of coverage area.

    Why is Soil So Important?

    Foremost, it is important to understand what soil actually is. According to the Soil Science Society of America, “Soil is not dirt.  It is a complex mix of ingredients: minerals, air, water, and organic matter – countless organisms and the decaying remains of once living things.  Soil is made of life.  Soil makes life.  And soil is life.” In order for plants to grow to their optimum capacity, they need nine different nutrients present in the soil.  While most of these elements and nutrients are naturally found in soil, sometimes they can become depleted and need to be added to keep the soil healthy.

    • Carbon – found in air and water
    • Hydrogen – found in air and water
    • Oxygen – found in air and water
    • Nitrogen – blood meal, fish emulsion, manure
    • Phosphorus – bone meal, rock phosphate, superphosphate
    • Potassium – greensand, mutriate or sulfate of potash, seaweed, wood ashes
    • Calcium – gypsum, limestone, oyster shells, slag
    • Magnesium – dolomite, magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt)
    • Sulfur – sulfur, superphosphate

    Creating a no-till garden or utilizing the sheet mulching method can add these vital elements and nutrients back to the soil. This is a type of whole-system approach to gardening that helps feed the soil while vegetables and crops are growing. Another way to do so is by using an old-fashioned compost tea will help restore many of these essential nutrients, microorganisms and vital minerals naturally.

    It should be stated that the elements listed above are not the only things that should be present in the soil. Microbes such as protozoa, fungi, algae and bacterias should also be present, as they affect soil structure and fertility. In fact, millions upon millions of microbes are present in healthy soil and it is important to ensure they make your soil their home. Ensuring that you have a lot of biomass present in your soil will keep them thriving.

    Compost Tea

    Compost tea takes the beneficial bacteria and fungus present in compost and exponentially increases them through aeration and sugars. These bacteria and fungus are critical in root establishment – and the more bacteria you have in your soil, the better. In fact, if you diversify your bacterias, you will make a healthier soil and compost tea is one of the easiest ways to do this.

    Benefits of Compost Tea

    • Increases root development
    • Suppresses plant diseases
    • Creates a biodiverse soil food web
    • Encourages plant growth and vitality
    • Increases plant yield

    The equipment you will need to make compost tea is as follows:

    • 5-gallon bucket
    • An aquarium pump large enough to run three bubblers or air stones
    • Several feet of tubing
    • A stick to stir the mixture
    • Something to strain the tea, like an old pillowcase or nylon stocking

    Tess’s Compost Tea

    Note: I will also add some earthworm tea that I have from my earthworms and this adds even more nutrients to the brew!

    1. Add water to a 5-gallon plastic bucket. If you are using tap water, allow water to sit for 24 hours in order for chlorine and other chemicals to dissipate.
    2. Add liqui ingredients to water in 5-gallon bucket and stir until incorporated.
    3. In pillowcase or nylon stocking, add dry ingredients (rock dust, inoculant, manure, worm castings, etc.) and tie onto stick and add to bucket.
    4. Turn on aquarium pump with hose attached and oxygenate water for 18-24 hours. This will help the beneficial bacterias, minerals and sugars activate.
    5. Periodically check on brew. There should be a nice foam at the top.
    6. After 24 hours, turn off pump and remove dry ingredients (add to compost pile). Use compost tea as a foliar spray or root drench.

    Note: Do not over-brew your compost tea. Twenty four hours is all it needs to get the protozoa and fungi kickstarted into reproduction. 

    You can use the tea as often as you wish. I used this tea once a month on my garden, or when I thought the plants needed a little extra TLC. In fact, you can also use compost tea to prevent plant shock by soaking new plants in compost tea to add beneficial soil microorganisms right before it gets planted. used it as a foliar spray and as a root drench and my plants thrived. After a three month period, I was very impressed with the soil. It was fluffy, retained moisture and I noticed more beneficial insects coming around more. Another highlight of using compost tea was when harvest time came, the vegetables tasted sweeter than usual. I’m not sure if this was a result for the compost tea or just a fluke, but I felt that it had to be mentioned. As well, I had no issues with molds or diseases this year and believe it to be a result of the compost tea I used. This is by far the easiest way to get essential nutrients quickly into the soil, and I love that it can also be used as a foliar spray. As well, the initial investment of compost tea ingredients will provide for many uses; so I can make compost tea all year with the ingredients that I purchased in May!

    Once again, my grandfather was right about giving the soil what it needs to thrive and proved it by the bountiful harvests he had year after year. I highly recommend using this in preparation for your upcoming gardens. I have had nothing but success with this natural fertilizer method and look forward to my next harvest.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Fight Like Jason Bourne: 7 Key Points to Surviving a Serious Fight

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     I think we can all agree that Jason Bourne is one of the greatest action characters of all time. Anyone who has taken a self-defense class channels Jason Bourne when practicing. So, how do you fight like Jason Bourne?

    One of the reasons we love watching Bourne fight is the close combat defense sequences he does in the films. His lightning fast moves are efficient, powerful and (as we all know) deliver a well deserved ass whoopin’ to his opponent. To prepare for the part of Jason Bourne, actor, Matt Damon studied Krav Maga, an Israeli Defense System. This martial art form is extremely efficient and quickly neutralizes the opponent making it an ideal line of defense in a SHTF scenario.

    Many believe that Krav Maga is the easiest martial art form to learn because it is based on instinctive natural reactions to events. Moreover, it utilizes a lot of lock and counter moves that are used at the same time. In other words, you aren’t waiting for the guy to throw the next punch, you are blocking and counter striking at the time same time as he is throwing a swing. This “all-in-one-move” fighting gives you a key advantage in a fight and will make your opponent second guess messing with you.

    Learning these close combat defensive techniques take time to master, but will serve you well if you find yourself being attacked. Krav Maga classes are offered in many communities; as well, you can become a Krav Maga beast from the convenience of your own home with these videos and books. SHTF situations occur in different situations. It’s not just an end of the world scenario you should be prepared for, but those everyday emergencies too like when you are walking down the street or going to your parked car.

    Effective preemptive striking can save your life when a violent confrontation is imminent. This is the premise of Krav Maga – be preemptive! Be the first of hit, the first to lead the fight, the first to choke. Because Krav Maga is based on instinctual movements, regularly practicing these movements will create muscle memory and you can react faster when attacks.

    In this Krav Maga tutorial video, Ryan Hoover from Fit-To-Fight Krav Maga explores the seven key points to surviving a serious fight by throwing the first punch.

    As well, check out these Krav Maga videos:

    9 Essential Handgun Disarming Tips

    What To Do When Everything Goes Wrong

    The Ultimate Choke Defense

    Your ability to get out of a hairy situation rests with you. Learning these kick ass Jason Bourne moves will give you the advantage when faced with close combat fighting and will give you a great probability of getting out alive.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Sustainable Farming: Starting a Quail Flock

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    quail1
    Getting started raising quail requires a little more effort than raising chickens, but they’re well worth it.  Domesticated quail has a delicious, mild flavor that’s not gamey and they’re prolific layers.  If you’d like to learn more about the different breeds and their requirements, go here.

    Chicks or Eggs

    quail2Day old chickens, ducks, and turkeys are a common site at most feed stores and it’s easy to find a wide selection to start your flock.  This is not so with quail.  Most feed stores don’t carry quail chicks, so you’ll have to source them locally from someone in your area or order them online.  The most commonly raised, and therefore most readily available, breed of quail is the Japanese Coturnix quail (also known as “Cots”).  They come in a variety of color patterns, including white.  Some people feel the white feathering encourages cannibalistic pecking.

    If you decide to start with eggs instead of chicks, you’ll need an incubator.  There are two types of incubators- thermal air flow and forced air flow.  Thermal air flow incubators move the air flow by using convection vents built into the top of the incubator.  As the air in the incubator is warmed, the heat rises to the top and out of the vents.  Forced air incubators work by moving the warm air around inside the incubator.  The advantage of forced air over thermal air incubators is that the forced air reduces hot and cold spots in the incubator.  Eggs incubate best when they’re kept at a constant, controlled temperature.

    Unless you intend to turn all your eggs by hand, you’ll also need to buy egg rails.  Most incubators sell them separately.  There are special egg rails designed for the smaller quail eggs.  Of course, if you decide to start with chicks instead of eggs, you won’t need an incubator right away.  However, since domesticated quail no longer have the “broody” instinct, they will not brood their own eggs.  If you intend to keep some of your newly acquired eggs/chicks and use them as breeders for future generations, you’ll either need to purchase an incubator or have a broody chicken do it for you.  The smaller bantam breed chickens are best for this job.  Regular sized chickens are too big and their weight will crush the small quail eggs.

    Brooders

    quail3All chicks need an enclosure that mimics the environment they would have if they were reared by their mother.  This enclosure is called a brooder.  There are several brooder choices available, from this top of the line commercial brooder to building your own.

    There are three basic brooding methods:

    1. A heat source warms only one area of the brooder and the chicks are able to move in and out of the spot, depending on their needs (known as spot brooding).
    2. The entire brooder is heated t the same temperature and the chicks are allowed to move about freely utilizing the entire area (known as whole house brooding).
    3. A portion of the brooder is heated and the chicks are contained to the heated area with panels called brooder guards which are removed as the chicks grow and need more space (known as partial house brooding).

    Prepare your brooder at least 24 hours before your chicks arrive.  This is important to insure everything is the right temperature before placing them in the brooder.  Quail chicks are very small and fragile.  They’ll become susceptible to disease and possibly die when they lose body heat.  Use a thermometer to insure the temperature is between 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit one inch above the bedding.  If your chicks show signs of stress upon arrival, raise the temperature of the brooder up to five degrees to give them some added warmth and comfort until they recover (it usually takes a couple of hours for them to recover).

    For the first few days, cover the mesh floor of the brooder with burlap, cloth, or paper towels.  No matter which material you decide to use, be sure to secure the edges so the chicks can’t burrow under it and smother.

    Chicks lack the ability to regulate body temperature and don’t develop it until they’re about two to four weeks old as the downy fluff is replaced with feathers.  You’ll need to adjust the temperature of the brooder as they mature and are able to regulate their own body heat.  The recommended time/temperatures (in Fahrenheit) are listed below:

    1. 1-7 days old; 90 to 95 degrees
    2. 8-14 days old; 85-90 degrees
    3. 5-21 days old; 80-85 degrees
    4. 22-28 days old; 75 to 80 degrees
    5. 29-35 days old; 70-75 degrees

    Once the chicks have reached 76 days old, they can be kept at 70 degrees.  Mature birds can withstand colder temperatures provided they have adequate shelter from wind and rain and deep litter to snuggle down into.  We’ve successfully raised quail in colony-style enclosures on the ground in temperatures below freezing by giving them fresh, clean shavings four to six inches deep.  When the quail get cold, they burrow down in to the shavings in a manner similar to a dust bath until nothing can be seen but their little heads poking out.

    Check the comfort of your chicks several times a day, especially toward evening when temperatures drop.  If your chicks are piling up or chirping excessively, there’s either a draft or the heating element isn’t working properly.  Clean their bedding frequently- soiled or damp bedding requires additional energy to evaporate the moisture and the temperature of your brooder will drop.  Soiled bedding also increases the likelihood of parasites.

    Food and Water

    As discussed in the previous article on quail, this livestock needs a high protein game bird feed.  Newly hatched quail are very small and can’t reach inside the holes of most feeders.  The food crumbles are also too big for them to handle.  Plastic lids with shallow lips, like the kind found to cover cans of pet food or on cardboard oatmeal containers, make excellent and inexpensive feeders.  Grind the game bird crumbles in a blender until it is a soft poder and sprinkle a pile of the powdered feed on the lid.  Place the lid in the brooder, slightly away from the heat source, for the first week or so.  After that, conventional feeders, like the one shown here and here can be used.  If you chose the rectangular style feeder, be sure to place them like spokes on a wagon wheel pointing back to the feed source.  Young chicks will sometimes get confused if the feeder is placed parallel to the heat source and won’t be able to figure out they need to go around it in order to get back to the warmth.

    Clean, fresh water should always be available.  You may need to check the waterer several times a day in the first week or so to make sure the chicks haven’t fouled it with feed or manure.  Regular-sized waterers, designed for larger birds like chickens, can easily drown a chick.  This can be mitigated by placing small, smooth stones or glass marbles in the water well of the waterer.  Chicks can still get sips of water between the rocks or marbles but are unable to get their full bodies in the water well.  Leave these stones/marbles in for about two weeks.

    quail4Once your quail have reached about a month old they can be moved to their permanent housing where they’ll either be grown out for butcher or kept as breeders.  If you already have adult quail, move the adolescent quail to their own enclosure to let them grow out more before introducing them to your adult flock.  Otherwise, adult quail may peck your youngsters to death.  Quail can be butchered between eight to ten weeks of age, or if you decide to keep them as breeders, when egg laying tapers off (usually around one year of age).  Unlike chickens, quail meat doesn’t get tougher as the birds get older, so if you decide to keep your flock and butcher as needed for dinner that works, too.

    Some varieties of quail can be sexed as soon as they get feathers, but if you’re in doubt, every variety can be sexed as soon as the males start crowing.  If you intend to breed your quail, it’s important to keep the male to female ratio to about one rooster to every five hens.  Anymore than that and the roosters will become over-aggressive with each other and will bothers the hens too much.  As soon as I hear more than a few beginning to crow, I use the dauber that comes in a bottle of Blu-Kote to mark their backs or heads (or whichever part of their body I can dab as they run by!).  It stays on for days until I have time to butcher a group of them at once.

    Whether you choose to get started with chicks or eggs, quail are an easy way to provide sustainable meat even in small spaces.  They’re prolific layers, can be eaten without the meat becoming tough at any time during their lives, and are a great way to get into poultry for the small scale homesteader.

    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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition