51 Items Most Preppers Forget to Add to Their BOBS

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51 Items Most Preppers Forget to Add to Their BOBS If you’re relatively new to prepping and starting to gather supplies, you may be feeling somewhat overwhelmed. Don’t worry you are not alone. For the first two years that I was prepping, I felt like I really didn’t know what I was doing either. Other … Continue reading 51 Items Most Preppers Forget to Add to Their BOBS

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Emergency Preparedness in the Big City

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Emergency Preparedness in the Big City It always pays to be prepared for an emergency situation, but sometimes being prepared for an emergency in the city can be different than being prepared for an emergency in more rural areas. Terrain is a huge factor with big cities, let alone the fact that you are in … Continue reading Emergency Preparedness in the Big City

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Survival Life Article – SIG P320

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I’ve started writing over at Survival Life and they published my first post. It’s a review of the SIG P320 so hop on over there and give it a read. More articles and reviews are on the way so stay tuned. Go ahead and bookmark that site too, lots of good articles written by thoughtful […]

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A Beginners Guide to Prepping!

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A Beginners Guide to Prepping! If you’re just starting off in the world of prepping, welcome to the team! If you’re still contemplating whether to get on board, hopefully this will persuade you to the light. It may seem a like a daunting task to begin preparing for the worst, but if you know where … Continue reading A Beginners Guide to Prepping!

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4 Things to Do For Your Survival in 2017

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4 Things to Do For Your Survival in 2017 Another year has passed and, thankfully, we’re all still alive and well. Most of us, at least, because people die every day and there’s nothing we can do about it. What we can do is make sure we increase our chances of survival even further by … Continue reading 4 Things to Do For Your Survival in 2017

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2017 New Year’s Eve Illuminati Symbolism

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Every New Year, we find the elite occultists slip some type of illuminati symbolism into their ritual.  This year is of no exception, albeit much more subtle.  This…

Pope Francis False Prophet – “Faith is Fighting with God”

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Out of all the things the False Prophet Pope Francis has said, this goes down as one of the worst.  With all the end times symbolism going on,…

70,000 Witness Ancient Demonic Apparition in the Sky

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The Sun Miracle of Fatima, otherwise known as the Miracle of Fatima, The Miracle of the Sun, or The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima is revered by…

Before Purchasing Your First Firearm!

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What You Need To Know Before Purchasing Your First Firearm Purchasing your first handgun is an exciting and sometimes scary experience. Walking into a gun shop for the first time can be a little overwhelming. There are so many different handguns to choose from, it can be difficult to find the one that is right … Continue reading Before Purchasing Your First Firearm!

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20 Quick and Cheap Ways to Prep for an EMP

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20 Quick and Cheap Ways to Prep for an EMP If you haven’t experienced the effects of an EMP, it’s hard to believe that it could be a real threat to our way of life. Our planet has made extremely rapid progress in technology and thus, we have generations of people who have become truly … Continue reading 20 Quick and Cheap Ways to Prep for an EMP

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How Another REPUBLICAN Can Steal Donald Trump’s Presidency

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Right now, there is a change.org petition asking for the electoral college to vote for Hillary Clinton on December 19th.  In addition to that petition, two electors from…

Is Donald Trump a Christian?

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All across the internet, there are multiple articles with Donald Trump on full display with Christian believers praying over him.  He claims to be a protestant Christian, but…

Occult Message Spoken from Empire State Building on Election Night

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Below is an image of the Empire State Building lit up for election night by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.  When I saw the ESB lit up, I knew that…

Wilderness Survival Course, Are They Worth It?

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Wilderness Survival Course, Are They Worth It? A friend of mine recently took a short wilderness survival course. I was both impressed and amused. Still happy to see that my years of talk had finally paid off, but still concerned that the course wouldn’t teach her the skills she needs to really survive. I was worried … Continue reading Wilderness Survival Course, Are They Worth It?

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21 Situations Where Paracord Can Save Your Life!

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21 Situations Where Paracord Can Save Your Life There are simply hundreds of little things that can go awry on any given day. This is especially true following a SHTF event when resources are scarce and things are chaotic. When you begin to understand this, you realize that you cannot possibly carry every piece of … Continue reading 21 Situations Where Paracord Can Save Your Life!

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BOMBSHELL! Pope Francis Protestant Ceremony Unveils CERN and Child Sacrifice Symbolism

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I’ve been saying this for awhile now, that Pope Francis is indeed the False Prophet ushering in the One World Religion prior to the tribulation period.  He has…

Pope Francis “Ties the Knot” on a One World Religion

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If you don’t already know, there is an enormous amount of evidence to suggest that we are living in the terminal generation spoken about in the prophetic end…

In Plain Site – Satanic / Illuminati Symbolism in Disney Films

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Many do not know that Disney films are filled with more than just princesses and rainbows.  In fact, Disney films have a history of containing very strange and…

Nature’s Calling: Preparing For The Worst

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Nature’s Calling Preparing For The Worst By H.D. Imagine yourself at home in the living room, relaxing while listening to the news. During the broadcast, you hear one of the anchors say, “The state has officially issued a tornado watch and warns all residents to be prepared in case they have to evacuate.” You glance … Continue reading Nature’s Calling: Preparing For The Worst

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17 Things to Do or Check before Bugging Out!

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17 Things to Do or Check before Bugging Out The Internet is filled with various lists of what to pack in your bug out bag, what kind of bug out bag to buy, how to pick a bug out location, how to choose a bug out vehicle, and what to pack in that vehicle. It … Continue reading 17 Things to Do or Check before Bugging Out!

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4 Preps You Can Do Right Now for an Economic Collapse!

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4 Preps You Can Do Right Now for an Economic Collapse Many experts agree that an economic collapse for the U.S. is not a question of “if” but a question of “when” with perhaps some disagreement over exactly “how” it will happen. Some believe it will involve a stock market crash. Regardless of when or … Continue reading 4 Preps You Can Do Right Now for an Economic Collapse!

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The Washington Post American Redoubt

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The Washington Post American Redoubt A few weeks ago I was asked for an interview by the Washington Post. I eventually excepted but not without thinking; why the hell would I give such a liberal paper the opportunity, a chance to twist and lay their own spin on my words? To my surprise I thought the … Continue reading The Washington Post American Redoubt

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5 Survival Recipes You Can Make from Your Stockpile

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5 Survival Recipes You Can Make from Your Stockpile If you’ve been prepping for any length of time, you’ve started to build up your pantry stockpile to draw from when SHTF or when times get lean. There are many different survival pantry lists out there that list out what types of food to stockpile and … Continue reading 5 Survival Recipes You Can Make from Your Stockpile

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Emergency Preparedness for You and Your Family

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Emergency Preparedness for You and Your Family It would take an ambulance or emergency workers to help take care of any harmful or havoc situation which may happen on a street or in a community. What will you do if God forbid anything happens in your own home? Should you be prepared for any emergency … Continue reading Emergency Preparedness for You and Your Family

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Together 2016 Christian Event Hijacked with 9/23 Satanic Agenda

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Right now, Christians see the apparent persecution of them in the United States.  Whether it is threats from our own government, ISIS, other religions, etc., Christians feel like…

10 Lightweight Items for Your Bug Out Bag

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10 Lightweight Items for Your Bug Out Bag Every prepper knows that a well-equipped bug out bag can mean the difference between life and death during a natural disaster or SHTF scenario. The tendency is to want to stuff as much equipment as you can into your bug out bag just in case you need … Continue reading 10 Lightweight Items for Your Bug Out Bag

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The Tundra and Super Duty as a BOV

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Tundra and 2004 Ford 350 FXL Super duty as BOV Barney Whistance Every prepper knows the importance of having a good Bug Out Vehicle (BOV). Not everyone can afford to take out a new car, but fret not there are plenty of good options available in the second-hand market. One of the best options is … Continue reading The Tundra and Super Duty as a BOV

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You’re Bug-Out Vehicle Preparing and Packing!

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You’re Bug-Out Vehicle Preparing and Packing Most preppers know that even if a full-fledged bug out from their home location is not called for today, there will be plenty of times in the near future when they could be stranded in their car or will be in an emergency situation while driving or within reach … Continue reading You’re Bug-Out Vehicle Preparing and Packing!

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Pope Francis Responds to Critics Calling Him The Anti-Christ

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I’m back temporarily from a short blogging leave as I’m overwhelmed with home improvement projects!  I should be back full steam within the next 2 weeks or so,…

Spotting scopes and why you need them!

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What are spotting scopes and why you need them! Any prepper worth his salt knows the value of hunting when SHTF. Maybe you need to supplement your diet with protein. Maybe you need to ward of predators. Maybe you just think it’s cool. Regardless you need to know all about scopes or “glass” as seasoned … Continue reading Spotting scopes and why you need them!

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How to Find a Prepper Group in Your Area or Online!

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How to Find a Prepper Group in Your Area or Online! Prepping is similar to “Fight Club” in that the main rules about prepping is “you don’t talk about your preps”. Talking about your preps to other people in your local area, like neighbors, cashiers, or co-workers can actually come back to bite you when … Continue reading How to Find a Prepper Group in Your Area or Online!

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Growing Fruits All Year Long!

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Growing Fruits All Year Long There is no denying when it comes to the fact that fruits are good for our body. Some fruits have their health benefit “specialties” but regularly including them in one’s diet will ensure an all around health boost. But, even better than just consuming fruits would be growing them in … Continue reading Growing Fruits All Year Long!

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Tin Cans & Survival!

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Tin Cans & Survival One thing most preppers will have on hand is a lot of tin cans leftover from the food they have stockpiled. Before you simply dispose of these, here are a few survival tips and that you may not have thought about. Candle Holder Take a tin can and remove the lid … Continue reading Tin Cans & Survival!

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Donald Trump’s False “Christianity” Influenced by a 33° Freemason

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For anyone who is holding out hope for either Ted Cruz and Donald Trump as president, you should really take a look at this video.  Both of these…

PROOF You Are Living in The End Times

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The prophecy of Saint John in Revelation is becoming startling true!  One can simply not deny how current events are aligning perfectly with what he had envisioned!  Watch…

End Times – Will “Christians” Turn on The Remnant Church?

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Don’t think that it won’t happen in the future.  History teaches us it has happened at least two major times in the past…

Berenstain Bears 666 Satanism – Circa 1984 :(

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History just bit me in the arse…. Funny how the Berenstein or “Berestain” books all the way from my childhood had such prominent acts of Satanism weaved through…

Bottled Water-Is It Really Safe for Your Family?

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Bottled Water-Is It Really Safe for Your Family?

3-26-16 Bottled water production lineWater is everywhere, right? It’s a natural resource. As a smart prepper you know that water is one of those basic necessities you need to have stockpiled when SHTF. The most convenient way to stockpile water for a lot of preppers, especially those who urban dwellers, planning to bug in, is to stockpile lots of bottled water. In fact, you may have already made the switch from municipal tap water to bottled water. But is bottled water actually safe for your family?

Sources of Bottled Water:

Regardless of the form in which it comes to you, all water originates in two places, ground water, such as aquifers or springs, or surface water such as lakes and streams. In fact, if you check your state water rights, you will find laws may be different for ground water than for surface water.

The EPA reports that over 90% of public water systems originate from ground water. And yet, over 60% of all people use water systems that rely on surface water. This is because in the densely populated large cities, public water systems tend to rely on surface water from lakes and streams, whereas in the more rural and less densely populated areas, ground water, aquifers or springs, is more likely to feed water systems.

So, no matter what water you use, it comes from two sources originally, either the ground or the surface. Tap water which is monitored by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Regardless of where it originates, bottled water is regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). This matters because EPA regulations are actually stricter than FDA guidelines as far as treatment and filtering procedures.

This means that your tap water could actually be safer for your family than the bottled water you are buying.

How to Tell Where My Bottled Water Comes From

Check with your State Department of Health to see if they maintain a list of certified bottling facilities. Some states, like New York, do keep a list on their website that is easily accessible. You can check brand name against the list of certified facilities. New York State also requires water bottling facilities to include their certification number right on the label. If the bottler is listed on the label, you can contact them and ask what their water source is.

3-26-16 walmart-water.jpg.650x0_q70_crop-smartTrying to identify whether that bottled water you are paying for is really just tap water, isn’t always easy. Check the label or even the bottle cap for the words from “a community water system” or “a municipal source”. If you see either of these, you are buying water that originally was “tap water”. If there is nothing on the label or cap, call the bottler directly or contact the health department in the state where the water was bottled for more information.

Potential Water Contaminants

Bottled water is generally considered relatively safe for you to drink, especially if you can determine that it was bottled by a state certified bottling facility. Because contamination is always possible, it is safer to boil water before drinking, especially if used for children, the elderly, or those with immune system deficiencies.

State inspected bottling facilities and their sources are checked regularly. If a problem is discovered during inspection, a recall will be issued. But it is possible a water source could be contaminated for several months prior to the next inspection. A Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) review over four years, found that most bottles tested were relatively contaminant free and high quality. Just over 20% of brands tested, did contain, in at least one bottle, chemical contaminants higher than state limits.

You are probably most familiar with contaminants such as phthalates, which have been said to leach from plastic bottles and containers, over time, into the water inside. It is worthwhile to note that there are currently no legal limits on phthalates in bottled water. Tap water, regulated by the EPA, does have a legal limit on phthalates. In that way, tap water is actually safer.

3-26-16Parasites can find their way into water sources. One of the more common ones is Cryptosporidium or Crypto. This parasite is microscopic, it lives in the intestine of is host, and is shed in bowel movements. It can cause cryptosporidiosis, a diarrheal disease. There are a multitude of Crypto species, many of which infect animals. Humans are also susceptible to some of these. It can be found in food, soil, or contaminated surfaces, but recreational (pools and lakes) water and drinking water is one of the most common ways Crypto is spread.

Crypto symptoms begin within ten days of infection. The most common symptom is watery diarrhea but individuals may experience stomach pain or cramps, nausea or vomiting, fever, dehydration, and weight loss. Symptoms typically last a few days to two weeks in individuals with normal immune systems but can reoccur sporadically over thirty days. Medications may be necessary for those with weakened immune systems but most people recover without medical treatment.

To prevent reduce likelihood of Crypto infection, water should be heated at a full boil for a minimum of 1 minute at low altitude and for 3 full minutes at altitudes higher than 6,562 feet. Crypto can be removed using reverse osmosis filtering, an NSF International Standard certified filter for “cyst reduction” or “cyst removal”, or an “absolute one micron” filter.

Filtering doesn’t eliminate all bacteria and viruses. Filtered water must be boiled or distilled for safety. EPA guidelines are designed to filter Cryptosporidium from public water systems so again, tap water is less likely to be contaminated.

So, is bottled water safe for your family? All you can do is to know as much as possible about where your bottled water originated and how it was treated during the bottling process. Make a decision about whether it’s safe to drink. If necessary, use filtering and boiling or distillation combined to increase safety.

 

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The Ultimate Survival Kit!

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The Ultimate Survival Kit

The Ultimate Survival Kit prepared-school safety“Be prepared for the worst,” this is what we hear every day but look around- are you really prepared? If tomorrow a disaster strikes or a war breaks out, is your survival plan set? Most of us do not even know where to begin with! Preparing for the worst is very scary. Start with the basics then; make your own survival kit. You never know how seconds can change your life, hence start preparing.

Survival is only possible when you know you can handle yourself in such consequences. When you believe in yourself. This belief comes from the mental and physical preparation. How to mentally prepare yourself, start with the following:

  • To make sure you are capable enough start with some form of physical exercise and build it up to strength training. Jog and run so that your stamina can be built for such instances.
  • Self-defense is very important! Join martial arts classes where you can learn to fight. This will ensure that you can take care of yourself when things go wrong.
  • Moreover, learn to use a weapon. You may have to kill in order to protect yourself, thus master the art of using pocket knives and guns so that you do not feel weak in the moment.
  • Learn basics such as how to light a fire, how to set tents, how to hunt, how to fish, how to swim etc. These basics will give you confidence to survive what is coming forth towards you.
  • ­Survival also requires a calm mind, rationale thinking and quick decision making. Meditation helps a person to stay calm and composed and to think clearly. Try meditating twice or thrice a week so that you can practice the same when things get stressful. ­

While you are preparing yourself, start making a survival kit too! Survival pushes a person out of their comfort zone thus you cannot carry everything you own. Focus on what you need rather than what you want. The basic human needs to survive are food, water, clothing, shelter, weapons and medicine, this is how you will categorize the items that will make it to your survival kit.

Food: Make a food storage where food can be stored. Your survival kit should also have basic food supplies, and seasonings so that you can survive at least two weeks. Make sure that the food being stored has time to expire. Items such as vegetable powders, fruit powders, and dried food are available in the market. These products offer to be essentials during a survival situation. Moreover, carry match sticks to light fire, lighters, fishing rods and knives. You might have to hunt, set traps or learn about gathering, hence your survival kit should include products such as knives, wires, guns, that can help you with these acts.

3-18-16 2Water: Water is the basis of human survival. Human beings cannot survive three days without water. Your survival kit should include empty vessels and bottles that can store water for you. Keep extra water stored in your home fridges that can be picked and tossed in the kit when time comes. Also, keep water purification tablets in your survival kit as they can be helpful when you do not have a source of clean water around you.

Clothing: Having proper clothing on you is very essential. You cannot survive a cold winter night in a basic tee shirt! For your survival kit, your clothing has to be comfortable yet protective. Do not pack everything in your survival kit. Study the general climate of the region you reside in and pack clothes accordingly. For nights, keep some warm clothing because you never know how temperatures can change. Moreover, your shoes are very important! The right shoes can take you towards surviving. Shoes should be easy to walk in, protect you from the rain and sun and survive rough walks, wear and tear and different terrains. A good pair of sneakers and socks can do the trick.

3-4-16 fireShelter: Where would you survive is a question worth pondering over. Planning a shelter is very important. Mark out places where you can head to when things go wrong. If you think your home is your shelter place then you have an advantage- added space for more storage. Assign areas in your neighborhood that can serve as a shelter. However, for survival kit purposes, carry maps, compass, tents and sleeping bags so that you can seek shelter anywhere!

First Aid Kit: A survival kit without a first aid box? That is just incomplete. Make sure your survival gear has a first aid kit that includes your everyday medication, band aids, gauze, cotton, antiseptics, antibiotics, pain killers, anti-allergies and other such over the counter drugs that you would need.

Other Essentials: When you carry that survival kit and walk out of your house, your home, to survive you would be filled with mixed emotions. There are loads of memories and mixed emotions that would be over whelming you. Furthermore, the question that you will keep asking yourself, “will I come back to all of this again.” When these feelings take over, one feels the need to carry everything with them. Do not make that mistake. Essentials in your survival kit should include sanitizers, tooth brush, tooth paste, toilet paper, extra cash, batteries and torch.

Throughout centuries we as humans have survived. Survival is what has evolved mankind and put us where we are. Survival is only possible if you are prepared. Hence do not take that lightly and start your survival preparation before it is too late!

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McDonald’s Happy Goggles – Plugging Children into the All Seeing Eye

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Hold your children close. This world of lies and distraction is eagerly looking to consume our children.  McDonald’s is now beta testing cardboard virtual reality headsets and integrating…

The Pope Cartoon – Indoctrinating our Children

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The NWO religion is now down to indoctrinating the pre-school and elementary children in this series of Catholic cartoons that is already in school curriculum across several nations….

Nature Is an EXTREME Composter – You Can Be Too!

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Learning from Nature

I admit it: I get a kick out of shaking things up. For years I listened to the rules on composting… then I shrugged, threw away the rule book, and decided to watch what happened in nature and copy the design I found there.

Basically everything organic can be returned to the soil. Paper, sewage, logs, animal carcasses, chicken soup… you name it.

And isn’t it much better to return these items to the soil than it is to dump them in a landfill? It’s a no-brainer!

In 2015, my years of experimentation and the knowledge I have gained were distilled down into the book Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting. The response was excellent, and the sales still continue to amaze me. It is transforming the way gardeners think about composting. Just throwing things away isn’t good enough anymore.

david-the-good-doing-some-extreme-composting

Unlearning the “Rules”

When I wrote the book I had no idea so many people would be willing to come along for the ride. It’s thrilling.

For years, we’ve been told not to compost meat… and then we’re told to use blood meal as a great organic source of nitrogen for our gardens.

We’re told to turn our compost piles regularly… but when we walk through the woods the leaves have created rich humus everywhere, no turning required.

We’re warned that human waste is incredibly dangerous… but every other creature on the planet fails to use a flush toilet with no ill effect.

People love recycling because it’s easy and feels like a good deed… yet those same people will often throw away a banana peel or a ham bone because composting is “too hard.”

It’s not hard when you do it like nature does. Composting is recycling “trash” into soil — and we should all be doing it.

Extreme Composting

Some of the ideas in Compost Everything are certainly extreme compared to the nice, safe restrictions foisted on us by well-meaning agricultural extensions and fuddy-duddy garden writers, yet nature itself is an EXTREME composter!

Why not see what she does and do the same?

Though I couldn’t cover all the methods I explain in my book for the safe and simple recycling of even the most “extreme” items, I did manage to pack a lot of exciting and practical composting demonstrations into the movie I created for the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit. My talk is going live in just a couple of days—I hope you’re signed up! If not, sign up here Now!

Here’s the trailer in case you haven’t seen it yet:

See you all there. It’s been a great event so far… don’t miss another minute!

 

Pre-Summit Live Chat with Marjory Wildcraft and David the Good

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Marjory Wildcraft and David The Good will be live on Facebook this weekend to answer any questions you have about growing food, making your own medicine, or simply living off grid.

Or just come by to say “hi”.

david-the-good-facebook-guru

This afternoon, Saturday March 5th, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM CST, David the Good, author and founder of the TheSurvivalGardener.com, will be hosting an “Ask a Guru” session on the Facebook Homesteading/Survivalism Page.

And on Sunday March 6th, from 10:00 to 11:00 AM CST, Marjory Wildcraft, founder of the Grow Network, will be hosting a session on the Facebook Homesteading/Survivalism Page.

SHARE this with your friends so they can participate too!

To participate, follow these instructions:

  1. Today, head over to Facebook.com/Homesteading any time from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
  2. Tomorrow, on March 6th, head over to Facebook.com/Homesteading any time from 10:00 to 11:00 am.
  3. Find the post at the top of the page where we will be hosting the session.
  4. Ask any homesteading, survival, or gardening question you may have – or just send a ‘high five’.
  5. David or Marjory will then reply to your comment and take it from there.

Brought to you by: Homesteading / Survivalism, The Homestead Guru, and the 2016 Homegrown Food Summit starting March 7th.

 

Stranded, Survival Without Supplies!

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How to Survive if Stranded in the Woods Without Supplies

Stranded Survival Without Supplies lostinwoods1One of the most dangerous situations for anyone is stranded in the woods without any supplies. Perhaps you intended to take a short walk and a storm rolled in and you can’t make it back home, your car broke down in the middle of nowhere, or maybe SHTF on that one day that you were at work without your EDC or Get Home Bag. Regardless of the circumstances that got you there, you find yourself forced to spend the night.

Stranded Survival Without Supplies forestRemember the law of 3’s if you are caught out in the weather without supplies. If you are stranded in the woods in an area where the weather is extreme (very hot or very wet or cold), you need to make building a temporary shelter your first priority. Most people can only survive 3 hours in extreme weather without shelter. And, although not having something to drink will be uncomfortable to say the least, most people can go about 3 days without water and about 3 weeks without food before trouble sets in.

So here’s what you need to focus on:

Land Navigation

Stranded Survival Without SuppliesIf you are stranded in the woods but you are certain of your location, then it may be just a matter of waiting for weather to clear so you can hike out. If you have somehow gotten lost in the woods, try to determine your location before the sun goes down. Climb to the top of a hill or other elevated piece of ground to look for landmarks.

Make note of the direction of any major landmarks or roads you can see in the distance so that you can travel that way once morning arrives. Pay attention to the direction the sun travels to help you get your bearing and figure out which way to travel.

Build a Temporary Shelter

stranded -seeking-shelter-in-shepherds-cave-670The quickest and easiest way to make a temporary shelter is to scout out a ledge, cave, or fallen tree that you can use for part of the shelter. A tree trunk with at least one lower branch or a dense stand of bushes will work also. This cuts down on the amount of work you need to do in order to have a secure shelter.

Collect as much brush, pine needles, vines, and branches of varying sizes as you can find. You will use the branches and vines to create a wall up against the ledge, fallen tree, or lower tree branch. Use the brush to fill in the wall to keep out the wind. Layer the pine needles on the ground inside to protect you from the cold ground when you sleep.

Find Fresh Water

5-4 strandedThe next order of business after building your temporary shelter is to locate fresh water. Scout nearby for a creek or stream. Moving water is easier to convert to drinkable water than stagnant water such as in a pond. Collect water from a creek or stream as far upstream as you dare to travel without getting lost or too far from camp. It’s best to filter it using charcoal pieces from your fire and boil it before drinking.

You will need to collect a fair amount of pebbles, fine sand, and some charcoal pieces from your fire. Tear 2 pieces of cloth from the bottom of your clothing. Layer pebbles some sand and then one piece of cloth and some charcoal into any kind of container. Add the second piece of cloth, more sand, and more pebbles. Pour the water through the top of the container and wait for it to drip from the bottom into a smaller container. It will take some time. You will then need to boil the water before drinking it.

Collect Materials and Start a Fire

3-4-16 fireThe ability to start and maintain a fire is a crucial skill to have if you are stranded overnight in the woods. Temperatures typically drop in the evening once the sun goes down and warmth will be important for preventing hypothermia. This is especially true if you accidentally got wet collecting your water or were caught out in a rain storm. Fire is also important for cooking and for warding off insects and predators.

Build your fire near the opening of your lean-to shelter but not close enough to catch the roof on fire. If weather is extremely cold, you can heat rocks in the fire and then place them carefully inside around the edge of your shelter to provide extra warmth.

Find or Gather Food

3-4-16 1252The average person can go up to 2-3 weeks without food before beginning to see serious symptoms. This is not true if you have a medical condition such as diabetes that requires you to eat at regular intervals. Once you have built a shelter, collected water, and have gathered enough material for your fire, spend some time searching for food.

Collect any edible plants, berries, and weeds you find nearby. If you are able to identify a small game trail, set several basic animal traps along it using vines. You can use a rock to sharpen a stick so you can use it as a spear if the opportunity presents itself.

Collect any food that you find along the way, even if you aren’t sure you will need it before morning. Keep in mind that some bugs and insects are edible as well. If you are able to find a small game trail, set several traps along it.

The more skills you know and practice around building a shelter, finding and filtering water, starting and maintaining a fire, and how to find edible food, the better you will be able to survive. Supplies are great and always nice if you have them with you, but the smartest prepper knows how to survive off the land. To do this effectively when your life is in peril, you must learn and practice in advance.

Are you prepared?

 

The post Stranded, Survival Without Supplies! appeared first on The Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Learning to Homestead as a Beginner

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The Buffet is Closed!

Five years ago, when we decided we needed to get really serious about gardening and raising more of our own food, we didn’t realize how much of a hurdle we were facing. Both our lack of knowledge and skills, plus where we planned on doing this, have turned out to make us a bit of a cautionary tale for any one else.

The first questionable decision we made was deciding that our lake home property, located in northern Minnesota, was where we should dig in, so to speak. We owned the land. It sloped to the south, what else did we need to consider, right?

Choose Your Site Carefully

Maybe we should have considered the fact that we are over half way to the North Pole, and that 10,000 years ago the entire area was under 2000 feet of glacial ice. Maybe we should have considered that in Texas you can start planting around Valentines Day, and where we live we are not safe until Mothers Day. Or that our short growing season is coupled with some pretty lousy top soil, which is underlaid with sand and rocks which can often be as big as your head.

Ah, but we were old and stupid, a potentially lethal combination, so we forged ahead. Our county has 100s of failed farms from the 1920s and beyond, but our 8000 square feet would be special. Did I forget to mention that we actually live 150 miles south of our plot in paradise, and that we often have to travel for work; sometimes leaving for several weeks at a time?

A Weedy Beginning

One advantage we did have was that we had the resources to invest in this utopia, to make it possible. We hired a bulldozer to shape the land. And we ordered 3 dump truck loads of locally produced compost, 1 of black dirt, and 1 of manure.

This gave us about 4-6 inches of good topsoil to go with our sand and rocks, and probably ten trillion quack grass and weed seeds that would happily spring to life as soon as they got the chance. Some of the weeds turned out to be rather toxic to our skin and can cause nasty rashes to break out days later on exposed flesh.

I suppose most of us growing stuff have to face many of the same challenges. But our being gone for weeks at a time has meant that when we are there, we spend our two or three days weeding.

“Oh, you poor fools,” you say, “why don’t you mulch?” Ah, but we do. Bales of straw, leaves from the neighbor’s yard, cardboard, and a dump truck load of wood chips for the pathways all contribute to our constant competition between the desired and not-so-desired plant life. The problem, of course, is that they all biodegrade, making new soil, but no longer stopping the unwanted weeds, trees, and invasive species from rising once again.

Read More: Straw vs Hay – Which Makes a Better Mulch?

Learning Which Crops to Grow

In June and July, patches that look weed-free when we leave are overgrown when we get back. This makes it particularly tough on the peas and carrots. My adaptive strategy has been to raise a lot of squash and pumpkins. They have such big leaves and take up so much space that success is almost possible. I give the local food shelf (and anyone else who wants some) at least 100 of them every fall.

spaghetti-squash

Keeping Critters out of the Crops

The other challenge is the critters. Putting a buffet in the middle of the forest is kinda crazy. They want to eat everything. We dealt with this by having a fence erected right when we started. It’s chest-high and does keep out the rabbits.

It has a solar powered battery running a current through a wire which is 18 inches above the fence, and that actually does keep the deer out. I know they aren’t getting in because we turn it off for the winter, and the deer break the wire when they climb in during the off season. During the summer, they are often seen loitering nearby, and we’ve heard them asking each other, “What time does the salad bar open?”

Learn More About Electric Fencing: Electrified Fence for Predators (Solar Available)

Raccoons – A Worthy Adversary

Another big problem we had starting in our third year was the raccoons. Nasty, voracious, clever, not-so-little invaders, who like to eat fresh young plants as well as many veggies during their struggling attempts to become our food.

The pea pods just disappear by the hundreds. I attempted to solve this predation by adding a second wire to the electric fence, this time just above the non-electrified fence. This sorta works, but they are persistent buggers, and losses are now just part of the equation. We will never grow sunflowers again; the birds got all of them.

Learn More About Raccoons in the Garden and Homestead: A Whole Litter of Raccoon Solutions

The Tiny Pests are as Bad as the Big Ones

Speaking of bugs, we have lots of them. They too know it is a short growing season, and they make the most of it. We have lots of swampy marsh areas nearby and uncountable swarms of mosquitoes and other blood-sucking vampires that feel it is their god-given right to torment us when we foolishly overstay our welcome in their domain (which is to say, every time we go outside). All I can add is that our prayers for a steady breeze to blow the bloodsuckers away are not always answered.

With all of these problems, you might wonder why we keep turning the soil every spring. We ask this same question as well. Perhaps we bit off more than we can chew. The farmers market sure has great stuff at reasonable prices, and all we have to do is bring our grocery bags home and eat.

But the fact is, we have learned a lot about feeding ourselves, and I’ll be damned if I will let this garden just return to a weed-infested patch in the woods. When I retire next year, I will finally have enough time to really do this right. Maybe even go fishing and hiking… maybe take up hunting… who knows? The immediate question is, “Does anybody need some squashes?”


Thanks to “Northern Dirt Digger” for participating in the [Grow] Network Writing Contest.

We’re still getting the list of prizes lined up for the Spring 2016 Writing Contest. We awarded over $2,097 in prizes for the Fall Writing Contest, including all of the following:

– A 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $382 value
– A Survival Still emergency water purification still, a $288 value
– 1 free 1 year membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, a $239 value
– A Worm Factory 360 vermicomposting system from Nature’s Footprint, a $128 value
– 2 large heirloom seed collections from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, valued at $103 each
– A Metro-Grower Elite sub-irrigation growing container from Nature’s Footprint, a $69 value
– 2 copies of the complete Home Grown Food Summit, valued at $67 each
– 3 free 3 month memberships in the [Grow] Network Core Community, valued at $59 each
– 4 copies of the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD video set, valued at $43 each
– A Bug Out Seed Kit from the Sustainable Seed Company, a $46 value
– 4 copies of the Alternatives To Dentists DVD video, valued at $33 each
– 4 copies of the Greenhouse of the Future DVD and eBook, valued at $31 each

 

A Good Solution for Pastured Poultry Predators

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Stop Dogs, Raccoons, Coyotes, and More

So, the verdict is in, and pastured poultry is the preferred method for raising healthy chickens… and eggs. So if you can pasture your chickens, you should! Your chickens (and your pasture) will probably thank you for it.

One thing that stops many people from unlocking the coop or run is the threat of predators. It can be intimidating to release your chickens from their little fortress if you’ve never let them roam before.

Dogs, raccoons, coyotes – there are chicken predators everywhere! I’ve heard many people say, “just get dogs.” Livestock guardian dogs are a great choice for some – but they’re not an option for many people.

This electric poultry netting is Marjory’s favorite fix for a flock without guardians. It only takes one person to move it around, and you can run it on solar power – simple and effective. In this video, Marjory chats with Joe Putnam from Premier 1 about how the netting works and some of the options:

Win a Free Roll of Electric Poultry Netting

There’s obviously a big demand for chicken protection, based on the discussion we had about raccoons last summer here at the [Grow] Network. If you recall, people from all over the U.S. (and all over the world) chimed in with their favorite solutions for raccoons. If you missed it, you can find an overview of the whole thing here: A Whole Litter of Raccoon Solutions.

Electrifying the perimeter was a popular solution that people talked about. Premier 1 lets you do it at an affordable cost. You can electrify a small perimeter and move it around within a bigger field or pasture. So it’s a nice option for people who don’t want to protect the entire property.

Premier 1 is a sponsor for our upcoming Home Grown Food Summit. And one lucky customer is going to get a complimentary roll of Premier 1 poultry netting to try out in their own yard or pasture.

Read More: Is this really the best way to raise a small flock of chickens?


You can learn more about Premier 1’s product line here: Premier 1 Electric Fencing

 

The 2016 Home Grown Food Summit is Right Around the Corner!

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30+ Free Presentations On Growing Your Own Food & Medicine Sustainably In Your Back Yard

The 2016 Home Grown Food Summit is right around the corner!

In case you missed last year’s summit, let me give you a little background info… This is an online event featuring more than 30 expert speakers on important topics about growing your own food and medicine.

home-grown-food-summit

We only do this once a year.

Expert Speakers on Important Homesteading and Gardening Topics

And this year’s lineup features some great experts that you won’t want to miss:

Ira Wallace – Author of Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast, and member of the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Ira will teach you all of her tricks for growing great garlic and onions.
Sam Coffman – The herbal medicine expert who taught survival skills to U.S. Special Forces for 10+ years. Sam will teach you how to increase the potency of your backyard herbs.
David the Good – Author of Survival Gardening Secrets and Compost Everything. David will teach you about “extreme composting” techniques for gardens and food forests.
Geoff Lawton – The Director of the Permaculture Research Institute in Australia. Geoff will walk you through a checklist of important things to consider before you buy a new property.
John Dromgoole – Host of Gardening Naturally, America’s longest running organic gardening radio show. John will teach you the best practices for organic gardening and share lots of the tricks he uses in his own gardens.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg – there are more than 30 experts whose names aren’t listed here. It’s the Home Grown Food Summit, and it’s going to be a full week of educational awesomeness.

Free Presentations for One Week

Because you’re a member of the [Grow] Network, we already saved a spot for you at this year’s summit. You can watch each presentation for free for one whole day, beginning on March 7th. Just keep an eye on your inbox, and the invitations will be sent straight to you.

If you want to purchase a copy of the entire summit, now’s the time. We’re running a special pre-sale offer for members of the [Grow] Network.

Right now, for the next 8 days, you can buy it at a 20% discount.

There’s going to be a lot of information to absorb in one short week. Especially if you have other obligations like a job or a family. Here’s what you get when you purchase:

• All 30+ video presentations, to watch anytime
• Printable PDF transcripts for all presentations
• Audio-only recordings for all presentations
• USB Flash drive is available for offline viewing
• 2 free bonus eBooks

Special Pre-Sale Discount Offer

As soon as the summit starts, this special pre-sale offer ends. So you only have until 10 a.m. PST March 7th to take advantage of the 20% discount we’re offering.

When you purchase the Home Grown Food Summit, we’ll also enter you in a drawing with 9 chances to win over $4,078.00 in amazing prizes. We’re giving away a Garden Tower 2 vertical gardening tower, an All-American pressure canner, and lots more. The grand prize is the complete signature heirloom seed collection from Jere Gettle at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, worth over $1,295.00!

Right now you can get the summit for only $59 (online access), or $79 (USB flash drive). This offer is intended for members of the [Grow] Network and our affiliates, and the cost of the summit will go up as soon as the summit starts on March 7th.

Click Here to Purchase the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit at the 20% Pre-Sale Discount

We’re really proud of this year’s summit, and we know you’re going to love it.

If you don’t already receive our newsletters, you can sign up for the summit, for free, by registering here: 2016 Home Grown Food Summit

 

5 Dehydrator Recipes for Home Grown Fruits and Vegetables

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Is Buying a Dehydrator Worth the Cost?

Buying a dehydrator can be an investment, although they do come in several different sizes. The smallest dehydrators are typically the cheapest. Often times, the only difference between a “big” dehydrator and a “small” dehydrator is the number of stacking trays that are included – and some brands are modular, so that you can buy more stacking trays as you need them.

Sure a dehydrator is used to dry food, but what about using an oven? And what kinds of things can you dry exactly? While you can dry food on a silicone non-stick baking mat (or parchment paper) at the lowest temperature in an oven, usually around 170F, it takes a long time for the food to dry and there is often a risk of burning. That’s because the function of an oven is to bake, broil and roast food, not to dry it. In comparison, a dehydrator comes equipped with a fan for ventilation and has a temperature range of 95F to 160F. It uses very little electricity and makes about the same amount of noise as a stove. As for what kinds of uses a dehydrator can have, check out the following ideas and recipes. It may just be worth your while to own one if you fancy making these tasty dehydrated treats.

Dried Herbs & Wild Edibles

Growing your own herbs just makes sense: they’re cheap and easy; they make your garden look beautiful and attract pollinators to the garden; and most importantly they enrich your body with local, organic, and sustainable goodness. Leaves such as rosemary, parsley, and oregano; seeds such as celery, dill, and coriander; edible flowers like rose, chamomile, and calendula; and medicinal herbs like lemon balm, feverfew, and mint – all can be easily dried on mesh or solid sheets in your dehydrator.

While you can dry at the lowest recommended setting of 95F, you can also let them air dry before storing them in paper bags or glass containers. If you happen to be growing a lot of herbs, a larger model of dehydrator will come in mighty handy, especially if you also enjoy foraging for wild edibles and wildcrafting with medicinal herbs. Dandelions, violets, plantains, and yarrow come lilting and dancing in spritely spring; wood sorrels, sow thistles, mallows and day lilies beckon forth enticingly in the passionate euphoria of summer; while dandy burdock roots, plantain seeds, rose hips and elderberries lie still waiting in the cool cornucopia of fall. All of these, and so many others, can be made useful by being dried on the many stacked trays of your trusty dehydrator, whatever the season! Drying red clover blossoms is a really great example of how handy a dehydrator can be: since each flower shouldn’t to touch another, a dehydrator with multiple trays is an excellent way to dry a bunch at once, instead of having them spread out all over your kitchen table. Indeed, instead of spreading things out on your table and having your kitchen look a little bit more homely than usual, a dehydrator keeps things looking nice and tidy!

If you want to get started right away, but you don’t own a dehydrator yet – check out this simple trick to dry your herbs with nothing other than a mesh bag: Drying Herbs the Easy Way

Fruit Leathers

You know those fruit leathers, or “roll ups” they sell at the supermarket? They are simply fruits that have been pureed and then dried. You can DIY for cheap, they are easy-peasy to make and oh-so healthy. How to? Blend fresh fruits in a blender to a puree and spread to 1/4 inch thick on a solid sheet. Dehydrate ’til dry, flip the other side, peel off the solid sheet, then continue drying until completely dry. That’s it. You can use just one fruit, like only raspberries, only blueberries, only apples; or do a mix of fruit, such as apples and berries together. Any combination will do, they all pretty much tasty. You can also mix veggies and fruits together, like half carrots and half apples, or half carrots and half peaches.

The bonus is that you can make your own flavors that aren’t sold in stores, like kiwi, plum and strawberry-beet. Don’t care for the seeds? Simply use a food mill after pureeing, then spread thinly on a solid sheet. Not sweet enough? Add in a bit of stevia and dehydrate away! Not only do fruit leathers make healthy snacks, but they make great trail food too. And did I mention that making fruit leathers is a great way to use up fruits and veggies that are starting to rot? Or that your favorite green smoothie can be turned into a fruit leather? While there are plenty of recipes out there, here’s an easy one to get you inspired right away:

Berry Green Fruit Leather Recipe

• 2 cups berries (any kind)
• 1 cup peeled and chopped beets
• 1-2 handfuls chopped greens (e.g. kale, spinach, lettuce, etc.)
• Stevia, to sweeten
• 1/2 cup water, for consistency

Instructions: Puree berries, beets, and greens with enough water to make a smooth puree. Add in stevia to sweeten. Pour onto solid sheets and use a spoon or spatula to spread evenly to 1/4 inch thick. Dehydrate at 115F until dry. Flip, carefully peel away solid sheets and continue drying on mesh sheets, about 6-8 hours total. Using clean scissors, cut fruit leather into long strips or squares.

Notes: 1) You can use 1 cup leftover cooked beets instead. 2) You can pass the puree through a food mill first to remove any seeds, then pour and spread onto solid sheets. 3) Note that the type of green used and how much will affect the taste. 4) You can use 1-2 cups steamed or cooked greens instead. 5) Feel free to double or triple this recipe!

Variation: Apple ‘n’ Cinnamon Fruit Leather: Replace berries with 4-5 peeled, cored and chopped apples. Puree with the rest of the ingredients and add in 1-2 tsp cinnamon to taste. Add in 1-2 bananas for extra sweetness, if desired.

Dried Fruit, Fruit Powders & Chips

If you’re growing your own fruit trees, then besides making jellies, jams and fruit leathers, drying your own fruits is an excellent way to preserve them. Simply slice the fruit 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick and place on mesh sheets to dry. How long it will take for the fruit to dry will depend on moisture content of the fruit and humidity in the air. Once dried, wait 20-30 minutes and evaluate their crispness: can you break them in half? If yes, you can then store the dried pieces in vacuum sealed bags or in glass containers with tight fitting lids. If you are worried about mold, however, you can go one step further and fill a mason jar 3/4 of the way with the dried fruit. Put on the lid and shake twice a day for one week. If you see any condensation, the fruit isn’t dry enough and you should put it back in the dehydrator to dry for longer. If there isn’t any condensation, then you can keep the fruit in the mason jar or store it any way you like.

Interested in growing your own fruit trees? Check out these helpful articles: Create an Inexpensive Orchard with Bare Root Fruit Trees and Prune Your Fruit Trees Now for a Great Harvest Later

Sometimes these dried fruit slices are called chips, and they fetch a high price in health food stores. DIY couldn’t be easier. Sprinkle on your fave spices and sweeteners – for instance, rub apple slices in lemon juice and cinnamon, or top strawberry slices with powdered stevia. You can even dip blueberries in melted chocolate before drying them! In fact, making your own is not only cheaper, it also means you can make fruit chips that you can’t find in stores, like carambola and prickly pear.

dehydrated-apple-chips

Dehydrated apple chips

After your fruit is dried, you can use a high speed blender to grind it into a powder, and you will have made your own smoothie powder! You can use 1/2 – 1 tsp arrowroot powder to help with clumping, if you like. The fruit powder you make can be added to smoothies, sprinkled over porridge and cereal; reconstituted with juice to make popsicles; whisked with vinegar and oil to make fruity salad dressings; added to baked goods like cookies, muffins, waffles, and pancakes; and used to add flavoring to meringues, yogurt, and sorbets.

Here are 2 fun recipes using powdered strawberries for you to try:

Simple Strawberry Dressing Recipe

• 3 TBsp olive oil
• 1 TBsp apple cider vinegar (or your fave herbal vinegar)
• 1 tsp strawberry powder
• Stevia to sweeten

Instructions: Blend all ingredients together, adding additional strawberry powder for flavor, and additional stevia for sweetness, if desired. Feel free to add as much strawberry powder as you like.

Simple Strawberry Popsicles Recipe

• 1/2 cup apple juice
• 3-4 TBsp hot water
• 2 tsp or more strawberry powder
• Stevia to sweeten

Instructions: In a bowl, dissolve the strawberry powder in the hot water. Stir in the apple juice and sweeten with stevia. You can add in more powder, dissolved with hot water, for a stronger taste. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze. Enjoy!

Veggie Leathers as “Bread”

Instead of going the carb (e.g. grain) or fat (e.g. flax or chia) route to make breads, buns, and wraps; why not make “bread” using just veggies? Veggie leathers have the same texture as fruit leathers and you can add tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, herbs like Italian seasoning, and spices like curry to make them taste savory. The secret to making veggie leathers? Psyllium husk! Psyllium husk has a mucilaginous quality that acts as a binder to keep the veggie puree sticking together and then drying into a nice leather. You can also use ground chia or flax seed instead, and, if you want your leather to have more texture, you can always up the amount of flax or chia, or add in other seeds and nuts. Think of the possibilities: carrot leather, beet leather, or a red cabbage and chard “bread”! No more worrying about going for another slice of bread, plus you’ll be sure to be getting in your RDA of veggies! Here’s a recipe to help you out with this idea, using psyllium as a binder:

Carrot Leather “Bread” Recipe

• 5 lbs carrots, peeled, chopped & cooked
• 1 1/2 – 2 TBsp psyllium husk powder

Instructions: After cooking or steaming carrots until tender, puree carrots with just enough water for consistency in a high speed blender. Add in the psyllium and whip to blend. Spread onto 2 solid sheets to 1/4 inch thick, ensuring the batter is uniform. Dehydrate at 115F until dry. Flip the sheets over and peel off the solid sheets. Continue drying on mesh sheets until dry. Using clean scissors, cut each leather into 9 medium or 6 large squares. Use as buns for burgers or as sandwich “bread.”

Variation: You can also puree the carrots in a food processor, transfer to a bowl and add in psyllium husk flakes. Add in 4-6 TBsp, let sit 5 minutes to gel, then spread onto solid sheets.

Variation: Don’t care for the leathery texture? Instead of using the psyllium, do this: soak 1 cup flax seed in 2 cups water for 4-8 hours. Puree the flax seed with 1 cup additional water in a high speed blender ’til smooth. Puree the carrots in a food processor, then add them to the blender with the flax puree and blend ’til smooth. Spread onto solid sheets to 1/4 inch thick, then dry. You can also use 1 cup ground flax seed instead of the soaked whole flax.

If you like this, there are some other ways to substitute vegetables for bread in my article, 8 Ways to Replace Carbs with Home Grown Veggies.

Dried Veggies, Veggie Flours & Chips

Just as with fruit, slicing veggies thinly (or dicing them small) and then dehydrating them on mesh sheets is a great way to preserve them for future use. As with fruit, let cool for 30 minutes before snapping a piece in half to check for dryness, then store in vacuum sealed bags or in glass containers with tightly fitting lids. Nothing could be easier than to rehydrate these dried veggies by adding them to the soup or stew pot!

Again, as with dried fruit, you can grind these dried veggies into a powder and add them to smoothies, baked goods and pasta sauce (e.g. tomato powder) for extra nutrition. Indeed, some folks have gotten the idea to use veggie powders as flour, and you can purchase parsnip, beet and carrot flours for a pretty penny. Is it cheaper to DIY? Absolutely!

It’s cheaper to make your own veggie chips too. Just like those root veggie chips sold in health food stores, which are oh-so tasty, but liberally baked in oil and salt. While there are recipes to make root veggie chips on the lowest setting in your oven, they seem more baked than dried and there’s always that risk of burning. It’s much easier to use that good ol’ dehydrator, and there’s no need for oil at all!

Instructions: Slice root veggies such as carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas and squash very thinly (3/16 of an inch thick) using a mandoline or peeler, place on mesh sheets and dehydrate away! If you like, you can marinate the slices in your fave marinade overnight or toss the slices with some lemon or lime juice and some herbs or spices to taste before drying. Be sure to fill up all the sheets you have, because once these chips are ready, they’re gone!

Here’s a sweet recipe using zucchini and cinnamon:

Simple Cinnamon Zucchini Chips Recipe

• 4-6 large zucchini
• Cinnamon
• Powdered stevia or a stevia blend

Instructions: Peel the zucchini if you like, then use a mandoline to slice zucchini thinly crosswise. Place slices on a mesh tray and sprinkle stevia and cinnamon on top. If you’d like, you can brush the slices with water or a bit of lemon juice to help the powders to stick. Dry at 115F for several hours and devour! Note that you can apply cinnamon and stevia to both sides of the chips, if you like.

Variation: To make these chips savory, you can brush both sides with a thin layer of
• pasta sauce, then sprinkle on Italian seasoning
• BBQ sauce, then sprinkle on cumin and smoked paprika
• lemon juice, then sprinkle on ground dill leaf (ground parsley or coriander leaf are nice too)
• lime juice or water, then sprinkle on rosemary and thyme

Oh, and speaking of zucchini, if you ever find yourself with a surplus of zucchini or squash, be sure to read my article 12 Ways to Make a Zucchini Surplus Disappear.

Believe it or not, these 5 recipes are just the beginning of the great uses I’ve found for my dehydrator. I’m working on another list of 5 more easy dehydrator recipes, and I’ll share it with you soon.

 

Why Go Barefoot?

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The Best Minimalist Shoes are Homemade

Marjory loves to go barefoot. And she’s not alone. In this video, she talks to master herbalist Doug Simons about some of the reasons why they both prefer to go without shoes most of the time.

They also show some of the “running shoes” used by the Tarahumara in their long-distance ball game, rarajipari. Called huaraches de tres puntos, they look more like sandals than running shoes to me. I can’t imagine running through a canyon in those… but Doug explains why the thin soles are actually better for your feet…

Learn More at the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit

Marjory and Doug both agree that they wouldn’t want to go barefoot in public places like gas stations and public bathrooms. And Doug says he puts on shoes any time he goes into town.

Marjory’s definitely not afraid to do a little work without her shoes on, as you might have noticed in this post 4 Uses of a Lawn Mower, or this one How to Use Squash Pits for Bigger Garden Yields.

If you want to learn how to make a pair of your own sandals, be sure to tune in to the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit. Doug will be giving a full demonstration during the summit, and you can watch it for free by registering here: Register for the Home Grown Food Summit.

Note: If you already receive our newsletters, then you’re already signed up!

 

DIY Awesomeness – The World’s Best Ultra-Athletes Grow Their Own Energy Drinks

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Pinole – The Preferred Drink of the Tarahumara

If you’ve been following along with Marjory’s adventure to visit the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico, you’ve probably already heard about pinole. This is an ancient drink made of ground corn that originated with the Aztecs and spread throughout Central and South America.

The Tarahumara use this drink as an energy drink – it fuels their epic long runs across the jagged terrain of the Copper Canyon. The drink also makes you feel full, even if you haven’t eaten, which is convenient when you’re running for 12 hours straight without stopping to eat.

Marjory brought this video back from her trip to Mexico, and you can see a 71 year old man demonstrating rarájipari, the traditional Tarahumara game of kicking a rock ball down a trail. One week before this was filmed, this man completed a 72 kilometer race, overnight. Check it out:

Traveling to Meet the Tarahumara

Marjory kept a journal of her entire trip to Mexico and she’s sharing the story here. You can see lots of beautiful photographs, and read all about the Tarahumara way of life, including how they grow their own food and medicine, in her story Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarahumara Indians.

There will be more information about pinole during this year’s Home Grown Food Summit. The summit will be hosted online next month from March 7th to March 13th. If you receive the [Grow] Network’s free email newsletter, then you’re already registered for this free event! If you still need to register, you can sign up here: 2016 Home Grown Food Summit.

 

DIY Awesomeness – The World’s Best Ultra-Athletes Grow Their Own Energy Drinks

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Pinole – The Preferred Drink of the Tarahumara

If you’ve been following along with Marjory’s adventure to visit the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico, you’ve probably already heard about pinole. This is an ancient drink made of ground corn that originated with the Aztecs and spread throughout Central and South America.

The Tarahumara use this drink as an energy drink – it fuels their epic long runs across the jagged terrain of the Copper Canyon. The drink also makes you feel full, even if you haven’t eaten, which is convenient when you’re running for 12 hours straight without stopping to eat.

Marjory brought this video back from her trip to Mexico, and you can see a 71 year old man demonstrating rarájipari, the traditional Tarahumara game of kicking a rock ball down a trail. One week before this was filmed, this man completed a 72 kilometer race, overnight. Check it out:

Traveling to Meet the Tarahumara

Marjory kept a journal of her entire trip to Mexico and she’s sharing the story here. You can see lots of beautiful photographs, and read all about the Tarahumara way of life, including how they grow their own food and medicine, in her story Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarahumara Indians.

There will be more information about pinole during this year’s Home Grown Food Summit. The summit will be hosted online next month from March 7th to March 13th. If you receive the [Grow] Network’s free email newsletter, then you’re already registered for this free event! If you still need to register, you can sign up here: 2016 Home Grown Food Summit.

 

Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarahumara Indians, Chapter 12

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Sleeping with Rats is Better than Freezing (or Getting Covered with Chicken Shit)

Dave was the first to move and he strode out to greet the Tarahumara in the field. I admit I held back out of embarrassment. But in the next moments we watched Dave excitedly shaking hands and hugging the Tarahumara and calling us to come over.

“What good luck!” Dave yelled back to us, “come on over.” It turns out that the people here working the field were the ones whose home we were headed towards. Juancensio, his wife Margarita, and the rest of his family.

juancensio-and-margarita-in-front-of-their-home

Juancensio and Margarita in front of their home

A Friendly Greeting from New Tarahumara Friends

“But this is not your field,” Dave exclaimed. Juancensio explained that so many of the Tarahumara had abandoned their lands to move into town, he had started taking over the fields and planting them. He did not mind us eating the apples one bit, especially since he too was a sort of trespasser. They waved us over to a rest area they had setup, and Margarita offered us cups of pinole.

We chatted for a bit, but the sun was high and we had caught them near the end of the bean harvest, and they needed to get back to work. “Can we help?” asked Dave. Juancensio said “no,” the weeds had prickles and we would get scratched.

Harvesting Beans in Tarahumara Country

Dave, Anthony, and I looked at each other and fully understood that was an attempt at politeness. So we went out into the field and began to mimic what they were doing.

marjory-harvesting-beans

Marjory harvesting beans

It looked like the main harvest had already been done and they were gleaning the last remaining beans that could be gotten. So we went around and searched for whatever pods of beans we could find. It was true that the weeds were a little prickly, but a few scratches are par for the course in most agricultural work.

cleaning-the-beans

Cleaning the beans

We collected the bean pods in buckets or on cloths, and took them to an area with an almost flat stone. To shell the beans, we took turns beating the pile with long sticks. The heavy beans would fall to the bottom and the lighter chaff, leaves, and stems would be taken off the top, shaken, and put to the side. The beans at the bottom were collected and then poured from one bucket to another for further winnowing.

lucia-and-her-brother-beat-the-beans

Lucia and her brother beat the beans

The beans were large multi-colored beauties. Later, I asked Juancensio where he had gotten the bean seeds, and he said they had been with the Tarahumara forever.

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Closeup of two hands with colorful beans – note the blisters forming

A Tricky Walk Back to Juancensio’s Homestead

The earth had kept turning while we worked and now the sun was low in the sky. Dave said we still had about an hour or so of hiking to do. We watched Juancensio load up his donkey with two heavy bags of beans that had been harvested. We picked up our packs, and everyone headed across the field towards a trail that would take us to their homestead.

The trail was crazy steep and at times imperceptible. When I wasn’t worried where my next step would be, I was swept away by the beauty of the land. We hiked for about an hour or so and then came to the edge of Juancensio’s homestead. He and his family live in a breathtakingly beautiful valley.

Their home was so picturesque, tucked so far away from any roads.

beautiful-scene-of-juancensios-valley-with-small-cabins

Beautiful scene of Juancensio’s valley with small cabins

Burros – The Tarahumara Workhorse

Anthony noticed that their home was made concrete. Later he asked “Juancensio, how did you ever get concrete up here?” The family laughed and pointed to the burro. Countless bags had been painstakingly brought up from town by burro and mixed by hand. It was a lot of work. The home was approximately 20′ x 20′ with two doors and no windows.

Those little burros did so much work. Earlier I had been teasing Pedro that he was our “burro rojo” since he always took the heaviest pack and he only wore the one red shirt he had brought on the trip. Pedro considered this nickname a great compliment and it was starting to dawn on me why. Burros are awesome.

These Kids Can Work

Upon arriving at his homestead, Juancensio dropped the lead rope for the burro and his 10 year old daughter Lucia began to unpack the bags of beans. Dave told me that by the age of about 12, young girls had all the skills to run a homestead and were often thinking of getting married.

Anthony whipped out his camera and caught Lucia working on video. I am a little embarrassed that I was standing around while she worked, but arriving in this new setting and unsure of the order of things, I just didn’t know what to do. Fortunately, Dave came to his senses and helped her out at the end. Those bags were heavy!

Check out this short video clip of Lucia that I uploaded to YouTube. Can you get your kids to work like that?

Things Get Chilly

Juancensio’s homestead was at about 7,000 feet and the air was starting to chill in a way I suspected was going to turn into downright cold. I looked up and the crystal clear sky overhead confirmed it would get much colder.

When packing for the trip I knew it would be cool at night, but somehow in my subconscious I was thinking, “Hey I am going to Mexico,” and images of people on beaches in Cancun flickered in the back recesses of my mind. Somehow it didn’t occur to me that I would be up high in the mountains and November was a cold month. So the bottom line is I knew that I didn’t have good enough gear to keep me warm sleeping out under the stars at this altitude.

marjory-holding-cup-she-underestimated-the-cold

Marjory holding cup – she underestimated the cold

I thought of how wonderful the heat was from the old 55 gallon drum they had cut into a crude stove inside their home. And I suspected (correctly) that we would not be invited in the house to sleep.

Dave and Anthony had apparently prepared better than I had, and they began to lay out their gear on the ground near the house.

So I looked around. From past experiences sleeping outside, I knew there were two things I would need. The most important thing I already had: excellent ground isolation with a blow up pad that my sweet husband had gotten for me. Number two would be to find some overhead cover. I knew that even just sleeping under a tree would be warmer than out in the open. But the only tree nearby was on a steep slope and was filled with a flock of free range chickens. Sleeping underneath a big flock of birds is never a good idea. Waking up covered in splotches… nope, not good.

Would You Rather Freeze or Sleep with Rats?

There was a storage cabin right near the house and I asked if I could sleep in there. “No” was the initial response. And then they explained that it had a store of corn and there were many rats living inside. Juancensio hated cats and his attempt to control vermin with snap traps wasn’t working.

The colder air nipped at me and I told them I didn’t mind sleeping with rats. Actually, I am totally fine sleeping with rats. It beats the heck out of freezing or getting covered with chicken shit. Apparently Pedro also wasn’t prepared for the cold and he didn’t mind sleeping with rats either. He asked again on both of our behalf. Margarita and Juancensio shrugged their shoulders and left us to do what we wanted.

So we found places on the ground between the corn crib and other piled up goods.

My New Rat Roommates

And yes, that cabin was definitely filled with rats. I know there are a lot of people who have some deep-seated phobias about vermin; will they run up your leg? Or bite you and infect you with some disease? And it is true that in some cases their feces contains the dreaded hantavirus.

But while I am not exactly super fond of rats and mice, I do try to stay in good relationship with their nation. And I correctly figured that there was more than enough corn to eat, so they would not bother me. Although during the three nights we spent there, Pedro said he got nibbled once.

Now it so happened that while moving things out of the way, we put a guitar on top of the corn crib. And during the night, while the rats were doing their thing, occasionally one would run across the strings of the guitar and make it “bbrrriiinnngg.”

marjorys-sleeping-bag-on-the-floor-next-to-the-corn-bin-and-guitar

Marjory’s sleeping bag on the floor next to the corn bin and guitar

The next morning at breakfast Margarita was curious as to how I had fared in the cabin. I think they were really wondering if I was OK sleeping in there or not. You know, how would this rich American woman deal with rats running around her at night? And would they be perceived as bad hosts? I smiled and reassured her that I was fine. I told her, “Oh yes, you definitely have rats, and they are having a very good time. They played the guitar and had a fiesta with your corn.” Everyone laughed at that.

Seeing an Old Friend for the First Time

The day was going to be beautiful. Margarita and Lucia were going to show me how they make tamales. I would spend a lot of time with Juancensio discussing planting, harvesting, and livestock. And as it turns out, I was inadvertently going to rock Dave’s world.

Dave and I had known each other for about eight years or so… Twice a year this crazy group of about 300 people show up in a wilderness area to spend a week together trading skills and knowledge from the Paleolithic era. We do things like make pottery by digging up clay from the earth and then firing it in a pit. Or tanning deerskins using just the brains of the animal. Chipping stones to make blades. Or my personal favorite, making fire by rubbing sticks together. When you can get fire like that, something really changes in you. It’s hard to describe.

It makes total sense that Dave would always attend these gatherings; he is one of the world’s foremost experts in Stone Age living skills. But me? I don’t have any particular reason, except that my daughter and I love it. It is a special time for us to be together, and we have a ton of fun playing cave women for the week.

So Dave and I have spent many days and nights around the campfire, out in the bush, or learning new skills in small groups; and you would think that we know each other well. But apparently there was something fundamental about me that he never knew. And he was about to find out.

margarita-marjory-and-lucia-making-tamales

Margarita, Marjory, and Lucia making tamales


This article is Chapter 12 in the series “Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarhumara Indians.” You can read the rest of the series here:

Chapter 1: Extreme Agri-Tourism
Chapter 2: Hard Traveling
Chapter 3: The Tarhumara Girls School
Chapter 4: How To Lose 30 Pounds In 10 Seconds
Chapter 5: Gunfights Don’t Usually Last That Long…
Chapter 6: The Vomit Comet Through Tarahumara Country
Chapter 7: Don’t Ever Do This When Traveling In Strange Territory
Chapter 8: Nice Legs Really Scare Tarahumara Men
Chapter 9: Living Sustainably Is An Everyday Thing Here
Chapter 10: The Biggest Surprise of the Trip
Chapter 11: Another Tarahumara Myth Busted
Chapter 12: Sleeping with Rats is Better than Freezing
• Chapter 13: COMING SOON

 

Mother Earth News Fair Recap

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Big Crowds in Belton

The first ever Mother Earth News Fair in Texas was a big success this past weekend. The whole [Grow] Network team came out to Belton, TX for the fair, and we all had a great time. The people were amazing – it’s so exciting to see a diverse crowd of thousands of people, all gathered together to learn about sustainability and self-reliance. And I know all of us, especially Marjory, really enjoyed getting to meet so many new people.

There were too many great booths and exhibitions to list. The place was buzzing with alternative energy vehicles, traditional folk arts and crafts, heritage and landrace livestock, homestead-scale saw mills, and so much more.

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Marjory with Ira Wallace from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Expert Speakers

The speaker lineup was awesome, and I’m sure everyone who attended will agree that there wasn’t enough time to take in all of the information that was flying around. There were great talks on sustainability, herbal medicine, vegetable gardening, raising and processing livestock, alternative energy… you name it. Out of the few talks that I really had time to watch, there were a couple of standouts:

Ira Wallace: Ira gave a nice talk called Year-Round Bounty for the Home Garden. I missed her presentation on growing garlic, but I know I’ll get a second chance to see it at the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit.

Tradd Cotter: Tradd’s talk on medicinal mushrooms was great. He’s doing some really cool research about the antibiotic and antiviral properties of different mushrooms. I missed his talk on mycoremediation of contaminated soils, but I am definitely going to pick up his book to learn what he has to say on that topic.

Pat Foreman: Pat did a few presentations, and one of them was on home poultry processing. I wasn’t able to watch this one, but I heard that it was pretty impressive. Pat’s going to do a presentation on eggs at this year’s Home Grown Food Summit – follow our free newsletter for more information – sign up here.

Cody from Wranglerstar: Cody’s talk on old hand tools was really good. He shared some helpful tips about how to buy old hand tools for cheap, and how to restore them to ‘like new’ condition.

Marjory Wildcraft: Without a doubt, the biggest and most energetic crowd of the weekend was Marjory’s crowd for her talk about how to grow half of your own food in less than an hour a day, in your own backyard. It was so cool to see so many people from the [Grow] Network coming together in the same place – rather than online. You all are awesome.

marjory-speaking-to-a-packed-house-at-the-mother-earth-news-fair

Marjory speaking to a packed house at the Mother Earth News Fair

How to Grow Half Your Own Food

Marjory rocked her presentation! It was a quick talk where she did some basic math about how many calories you need, and then walked through several different crops and livestock that anyone can grow/raise in a small space – like a backyard. The crowd was really great, and I know that Marjory loved the opportunity to speak to so many people in person – she was super excited for the rest of the day!

marjory-wildcraft-during-her-talk-how-to-grow-half-your-own-food

Marjory Wildcraft during her talk “How to Grow Half Your Own Food”

We don’t want to leave out everyone who couldn’t make it to Texas for the weekend. So, if you missed Marjory’s live talk, but you want to hear what she had to say, you can watch a recorded version of her presentation by entering your name and email address here: Watch Marjory’s “How to Grow Half of Your Own Food” Presentation Online.

Don’t Despair if You Missed the Fair

Our video man Anthony was on hand for the weekend, and he got lots of great pictures and video to capture the event and share it with you. Keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks – we’re going to share some videos and short interviews as soon as they’re ready.

marjory-talking-to-some-people-after-her-presentation

Marjory answers questions from the audience after her presentation

And, based on the turnout, I expect that Mother Earth News will hold another fair in Texas next year. Stay tuned to our free newsletter, and we’ll let you know about it when they announce the dates.

If you couldn’t make it to Texas, but you want to check out another Mother Earth News Fair in a different state, you’re in luck. There are five more fairs happening in 2016, and you can see the full schedule for the year here: Mother Earth News Fair.


Many thanks to Mother Earth News Fair for all of the hard work that went into this event. And thanks to all of the fair’s sponsors who made the whole thing possible. Please support these sponsors. You can see a full list here: Mother Earth News Fair.

 

Experience the Art of Fire – Flint & Steel Primitive Fire Review

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Physical preparedness is so much more than acquiring hard assets, cramming knowledge, and getting the latest survival gadgets.  While these things can be important, physical preparedness provides an…

How Much Food Can You Grow on 1/4 Acre?

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An Organic Mini-Farm on a Small Suburban Lot

How much food can you grow on a 1/4 acre lot? Not much, right… Maybe a small garden in the back yard… Think again!

A group of roommates in Austin decided to stretch their small suburban lot as far as they could. And you won’t believe how much food they’re producing…

In addition to replacing the lawn with garden beds, they worked in a couple of greenhouses with aquaponic systems, and a huge composting operation. They didn’t neglect the visual appeal of the yard, either. They worked in some evergreens and perennial landscaping to keep the yard looking nice for the neighbors. As you’ll see, they actually won their neighborhood association’s Yard of the Month award in 2014.

My favorite part of the video is when Michael says, “Our way of dealing with the squash vine borer… is to just replant.” That’s great! We hear so much about this particular pest and I’ve seen some pretty intricate attempts to control it. Some people insist on bringing in fresh soil. Others build physical barriers to keep the moths out. Still others inject Bt insecticide into their squash stems using hypodermic needles. Or, you could “just replant.” I love it when there’s a simple, natural solution for a complicated problem.

Micro-Farming as a Side Income

It looks like these folks are eating very well, and they’re generating a big surplus. They’re selling some of the produce they grow in a mini-CSA arrangement. And they sell their aquaponic herbs and greens directly to local restaurants.

This group had to be pretty resourceful to come up with the funds to bring this whole plan together. Between crowd-funding, grants, and partnerships with other local organizations, they were able to find all of the money they needed.

No doubt, some neighborhoods would not be as supportive as this one has been. In some places, you might attract some unwanted attention by building a farm in your front yard. But even if you have to keep your garden in the back yard, these guys might lend you a little inspiration about just how much food you can grow on a small plot of land.

You can learn more about Ten Acre Organics and co-founders Lloyd Minick and Michael Hanan here: Ten Acre Organics.

 

How to Use Squash Pits for Bigger Garden Yields

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What is a Squash Pit?

If you’ve already read David the Good’s book Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting, then you might already be familiar with his ideas about “melon pit composting.” In this video, Marjory adapts his idea to create a rich planting bed for squash this spring.

You can learn more about this simple method for increasing your veggie production, and lots of other cool, innovative ideas from David the Good, during the upcoming Home Grown Food Summit. During the summit, David is presenting his new “feature film” Extreme Composting – The Movie.

If you’re already a member of the [Grow] Network, then you’re already signed up for the event! So keep an eye on our newsletter each Tuesday and Friday for upcoming announcements. If you don’t receive our newsletters, you can sign up for the Home Grown Food Summit here: Register Now

 

Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarahumara Indians, Chapter 11

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Another Tarahumara Myth Busted; They Would Love to Eat More Meat

I asked Juan (the 71 year old Tarahumara runner) and the assembled group, “Do you like to eat meat?”

“Oh yes,” Juan answered with an added tone of appreciation I hadn’t heard before. “What kinds of meat?” I asked, hoping for some more specifics. And you’ll get a sense of his lifestyle by the order in which he answered: “Squirrel, chicken, lizard, snake…” Then Juan said another creature and there was a general discussion of how to translate that into English, but no one knew. I think the closest translation is “something like a pack rat.”

Thinking of the goat and cows I had seen, I asked about beef and goat. “Oh yes,” Juan and everyone agreed they were good to eat. But rarely do they eat their herd animals. They are too valuable. The herds are needed for fertility to grow the crops, and as a form of cash. They trade goat meat with Mexicans for needed items such as tools and cloth.

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Tarahumara cattle herd

I got the sense the Tarahuamara would love to eat more meat in general, but it is too expensive.

The Fat of the Land

You know what they love the most? Fat. Fat is one of the most difficult things to grow or produce and it is highly, highly prized. Most of the homesteads we saw had at least one pig sty with two or three pigs. The pigs were being raised primarily for the fat, and the flavor that fat would impart.

pig-in-pen

Pig in pen

Have you ever heard the phrase “the fat of the land”? Living off the largess of grocery stores, modern Americans don’t realize how difficult fats are to produce. Now when I say “fat” I mean the real stuff – either the fats taken from healthy pasture raised animals, or the oils pressed from olives or coconuts.

In Texas it is quite common to buy a half or whole steer once a year and keep it in the freezer. One year I decided to make pemmican, which is a traditional food of the Native Americans. I had heard that pemmican was like old-time energy bars; it was loaded with lots of calories and nutrition, had a long storage life without refrigeration, and yet was compact. I wanted to experience this food.

Pemmican – The Native American Energy Bar

Pemmican only has two basic ingredients: dried meat (that you grind to a powder consistency), and rendered fat. Sometimes people add dried berries or spices for flavor.

I wanted to try and make this ancient protein energy bar. So when I ordered the annual steer from Buddy the grass-fed rancher, I naively asked if he could also arrange to give me the fat (there is usually big gobs of it surrounding the organs).

This happened to be in a year of severe drought for Texas. “Marjory,” Buddy said in his long Texas drawl, “there ain’t no fat on any cows in Texas this year. We’ve had a hard enough time just keeping them alive.”

I looked around me and saw with new eyes the yellows and browns of dead and dormant plant life everywhere in the landscape. For the earth to create fat, she needs rains, good soil, and moderate temperatures. Fat is a product of abundance and good times.

Of all the gifts we had brought on the trip to Mexico, I think the most appreciated were the jars of coconut oil.

Want to know what was the least appreciated gift?

Tarahumara Energy and Health Come from Home Grown Food

You know how much the Tarahumara love that drink made of corn called pinole? Well Dave had thought to bring a couple bags of pinole that he had purchased in the US. Dave knew how much the Tarahumara loved pinole and thought this would be the perfect gift. Dave offered these bags to all of the Tarahumara we visited. The response was pretty much the same everywhere. They would politely decline the gift. When Dave insisted, they took the bag but it seemed more out of courtesy than desire. I noticed that the bags lay unopened and untouched for the duration of our stay.

In private moments, I asked if it was because they didn’t like the taste of the store-bought pinole. But the taste wasn’t really the issue; it was because that corn did not fuel them like their own homegrown corn. The commercial stuff just doesn’t have the mana that their own food has.

lola-chopping-firewood

Lola chopping firewood

And how could commercial food even begin to compete? The Tarahumara food was either wild-caught or home grown on lands that had been tended by their families for all of their history. The seeds were saved and blessed before planting. Every step of the process was tended by love from a family member. The power and nourishment in their own food was tremendous.

I suspected Dave’s gifts of store-bought pinole would end up in the chicken coop or pig pen once we left.

I am not sure if Dave had brought the bags of pinole and given them as gifts to prove a point to me, or if he is just naturally a generous guy and he had forgotten that the whole reason I was intrigued to come on this adventure was because he had told me the main reason for the Tarahuma’s incredible athleticism and health was because they grow their own food.

But in any case, it was very obvious that a critical key to the Tarahumara vibrancy was that they produced their own nourishment.

tarahumara-grow-their-own-food-because-it-fuels-them-better

Tarahumara grow their own food because it fuels them better.

Back on the Bus

Now I don’t want to get all idealistic and uptopian here. Dave was intentionally taking us to visit people he knew who were living as closely as possible to their traditional roots. There were certainly many Tarahumara who were in towns, strung out on alcohol or drugs, or working for the narcotics trade. I suppose one way to look at this is as if we were getting to meet the ‘Amish’ of the Tarahumara; these Indians recognized the values of their traditions, were living as closely as possible to those, and yet they were embracing some of the new technology and ideas.

After finishing up with the filming of the runners in this valley, Dave had another group he wanted us to go meet. The next stop would be far deeper into the Canyons and much further off grid. So the next morning, we loaded our packs, regretting that we didn’t have more time, and we said goodbye.

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Laundry line with teddy bears

We got back onto the “vomit comet” (the red bus that was the main transportation system) and rode for about an hour until Dave went up to the driver and requested a stop. This time there was no observable reason for stopping. It wasn’t a village or anything. There were no houses or homesteads around. There were certainly no signs. But Dave seemed to know where he was going, so we shouldered our packs and started following him down a trail through the woods.

marjory-and-dave-hiking-towards-juancensios

Marjory and Dave hiking towards Juancensios

Backpacking Deeper into Tarahumara Country

The terrain was very rough, steep, and ever changing. Occasionally, the trail was very narrow with deadly consequences for a misstep. At some points we were walking through forested woods, and at other times we were climbing over craggy peaks with spectacular views. This is the part of the trip that my family would have loved and I felt deep pangs of regret they weren’t here to share this. My kids love rock climbing and they would have been scrambling all over the mountains with youthful joy.

Occasionally, the trail would open up to reveal a wide plateau. It was at the edge of one of these open areas that Pedro suddenly stopped. There was a big pile of rocks and he picked up a nearby stone and tossed it onto the top of the heap. He told us this was a Tarahumara custom that anyone who passes here must add a rock to the pile.

pedro-throws-a-rock-on-the-pile

Pedro throws a rock on the pile

An Ancient Tarahumara Tradition

I marveled at the sight. There must be tens, no maybe hundreds of thousands, of rocks in the pile. Each rock had been held in a human hand and placed here. In this wild country, at least two hours by foot from the nearest empty road. I stood in wonder at the evidence of centuries of people who paused here and honored this point in their journey.

Surprisingly, there were still many, many, rocks lying around to be picked up. So each of us offered a short prayer to the land and added to the pile.

prickly-pear-grows-pretty-big-here

Prickly pear grows pretty big here

We continued on for at least another hour or two of hiking and it began to dawn on me that I was getting hungry. We hadn’t packed any lunches. And other than a few snacks, I hadn’t thought at all about meals. I really didn’t mind. Being hungry for a day or so wasn’t really a problem, and I was sure we would get where we were going by nightfall at least.

anthony-hiking-in-tarahumara-land

Anthony hiking in Tarahumara land

And then just after crossing an impossibly high and breathtakingly beautiful peak, we came to the edge of another plateau and there in front of us was an apple tree, loaded with fruit.

I wasn’t the only one who was hungry and we all dropped our packs and bit into the sweet and tangy fruit. They were good apples. Everyone we had met so far commented on how good a year it was for apples, and this tree was loaded. In the back of my mind I was thinking “these are so sweet, I doubt it could be a wild apple.”

apples-on-a-tree

Apples on a tree

Forbidden Fruit?

I had quickly polished off two, and I was reaching for a third when Anthony pointed out that there were people staring at us. Off in the field stood a motionless group of Tarahumara who were clearly trying to figure out what we were doing.

I almost choked on the apple in my mouth. Was this considered stealing? The fruit was sweet and delicious, which meant it must have been a grafted tree that had been planted by someone. Was the ‘someone’ who had planted the tree in the group looking at us now? If a stranger came onto my land and started eating my apples, I would probably be upset.

This was no way to behave as a visitor in a foreign land, and I felt ashamed of myself. We would certainly have to apologize and make amends.

In trigger-happy Texas, you could be in a world of hurt for doing something like this. Were we in any danger?

We all fell silent wondering what would happen next.


This article is Chapter 11 in the series “Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarhumara Indians.” You can read the rest of the series here:

Chapter 1: Extreme Agri-Tourism
Chapter 2: Hard Traveling
Chapter 3: The Tarhumara Girls School
Chapter 4: How To Lose 30 Pounds In 10 Seconds
Chapter 5: Gunfights Don’t Usually Last That Long…
Chapter 6: The Vomit Comet Through Tarahumara Country
Chapter 7: Don’t Ever Do This When Traveling In Strange Territory
Chapter 8: Nice Legs Really Scare Tarahumara Men
Chapter 9: Living Sustainably Is An Everyday Thing Here
Chapter 10: The Biggest Surprise of the Trip
Chapter 11: Another Tarahumara Myth Busted
• Chapter 12: COMING SOON

 

Justice Scalia’s Death Relates to Justice Roberts and Obamacare

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  What we are witnessing is a true enemy of the state moment with Justice Scalia being downright assassinated.  Right now, tons of high profile people are questioning…

5 Homestead Probiotics You Can Make at Home!

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Making Your Own Low Cost Probiotics

Well the science is in folks, and has been for some time! Probiotics are essential to maintaining a healthy gut, and a strong immune system. A properly functioning digestive system is the key to good health. You can grow, purchase, and eat all of the organic, mineral dense, beyond awesome food you want, but if you are not digesting and absorbing those nutrients then it is all for naught.

The same can be said for all of the fancy vitamin supplements, and even many of the probiotic supplements that are out there. There’s an old saying that goes something like: “garbage in, garbage out.” Anyway, there’s good news. You can grow your own probiotic nutritional supplements right in your homestead kitchen, or barn, or hallway closet… The point is you can be in control of your health and not have to depend on high dollar supplements grown in some lab someplace hundreds of miles away!

The Top 5 Probiotic Foods on Our Homestead

I put together a list of the top five probiotic-rich foods that we are currently or have in the past made and consumed here on the Traditional Catholic Homestead (www.traditionalcatholichomestead.com):

#1 – Kefir: We make both dairy and water kefir at home. It’s super simple, and easy to keep the process going perpetually. We usually go through about a gallon and a half of kefir per week in our household.

#2 – Kombucha: Another super simple and easily propagated probiotic beverage. The Traditional Catholic Homestead family consumes anywhere from 3 to 6 gallons of continuously brewed kombucha per week. Here’s how we brew ours: Brewing Kombucha. I really like experimenting with different herbs and teas in our brews. I’ve even heard of someone making Mountain Dew-flavored kombucha (though I wouldn’t recommend it)!

Note: Kefir grains and kombucha SCOBY will grow and reproduce so you can propagate the cultures and give away or sell the surplus.

#3 – Sauerkraut: The old homestead standby! There are a million different recipes for fermented kraut that you can make at home. As long as you don’t can the finished product it will be a probiotic-rich powerhouse. The beauty of sauerkraut is that it doesn’t require any fancy inoculants or cultures to get going. A true kraut is like a sourdough bread starter… made from wild cultures that occur all around us! Other than cabbage (or seed), no start up costs!

home-made-sauerkraut

Home made sauerkraut

#4 – Other Fermented Veggies: The same process and bacteria used to make sauerkraut can be used to ferment any number of other veggies. Just use what you like or what you have in abundance. We’ve fermented carrot sticks, salsa, shredded beets with carrots, garlic… you name it. The possibilities are literally limited by your imagination and tastes!

#5 – Homebrew!!! Most people wouldn’t think of homemade beer, hard ciders, mead, or wine as a probiotic food, but if you think about it, they are. Any of your homebrews will have living yeasts present throughout the beverage (as long as you don’t pasteurize it, but who does that, right!). I know there is a big push in some circles to eliminate yeast from our diets, but they are an essential part of our digestive process. They just need to be kept in balance. Plus, homebrew is awesome!!!

Honorable mention goes to homemade vinegars. These are the living vinegars with the “mother” culture still in them. We haven’t made any yet, so I didn’t include them in this list, but homemade apple cider vinegar is coming soon to the repertoire of fermented foods on The Traditional Catholic Homestead.


Thanks to Dave Dahlsrud for participating in the [Grow] Network Writing Contest.

We’re still getting the list of prizes lined up for the Spring 2016 Writing Contest. We awarded over $2,097 in prizes for the Fall Writing Contest, including all of the following:

– A 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $382 value
– A Survival Still emergency water purification still, a $288 value
– 1 free 1 year membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, a $239 value
– A Worm Factory 360 vermicomposting system from Nature’s Footprint, a $128 value
– 2 large heirloom seed collections from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, valued at $103 each
– A Metro-Grower Elite sub-irrigation growing container from Nature’s Footprint, a $69 value
– 2 copies of the complete Home Grown Food Summit, valued at $67 each
– 3 free 3 month memberships in the [Grow] Network Core Community, valued at $59 each
– 4 copies of the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD video set, valued at $43 each
– A Bug Out Seed Kit from the Sustainable Seed Company, a $46 value
– 4 copies of the Alternatives To Dentists DVD video, valued at $33 each
– 4 copies of the Greenhouse of the Future DVD and eBook, valued at $31 each

 

Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarahumara Indians, Chapter 10

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The Biggest Surprise Of The Trip? The Tarahumara Hate To Run

I was still having trouble sleeping and didn’t get much rest during the night. But during the days I was energized without any of the afternoon “lag.” Was it the never-ending mugs of pinole that I was drinking? It didn’t make sense to me that just a drink made from corn could be so filling and so energizing, but the Tarahumara swear by it and I had to admit I felt unusually good with very little sleep.

After breakfast (beans and tortillas as usual) the first of the more wild runners arrived. Everyone did a round of those gentle handshakes to welcome him. Any concerns I had about authenticity evaporated; just one look at him and I realized he was the real deal.

Meeting the Tarahumara Race Runners

Juan Lerio looked half wild. He shyly engaged with us and yet also seemed to be keenly aware of what was going on in the mountains of our periphery. He was 71 years old. Like the other Tarahumara he had a small compact body, clearly hardened by a life spent mostly outdoors.

tarahumara-runner-juan-lerio-71-years-old

Tarahumara runner Juan Lerio – 71 years old

He was wearing a flowing white shirt and white cloth wrapped around his groin in the fashion of shorts. The Mexicans have been known to tease these guys, saying that they wear diapers. But it looked very loose, practical, and comfortable to me. I’m not sure how they tied or pinned it together, and it seemed inappropriate to ask.

And like Pedro, Bernadino, and most of the other Tarahumara we have met, Juan wore the sandals for which they’re famous. Look at his feet in this photograph – wow.

the-sandals-and-feet-of-a-tarahumara-runner

The sandals and feet of a Tarahumara runner

Others from the surrounding area started arriving. Afren began to play producer and he moved us all to a nearby area for the filming. As Anthony worked with Afren on the logistics, I sat on the hillside talking with the growing crowd of Tarahumara runners and observers.

A Stranger in a Strange Land

Initially, I found myself feeling really out of place with these people. Standing next to them, or sitting together chatting, I felt huge and bloated. We really are bigger, slower, weaker, and almost gluttonous compared to them. Normally I have an inner sense of femininity – but that completely disappeared now that I was so much ‘bigger.’

sitting-on-the-hillside-talking-with-tarahumara-while-anthony-sets-up

Sitting on the hillside talking with Tarahumara while Anthony sets up

But everyone was congenial enough, so I got over myself. Although shy, the wilder Tarahumara didn’t mind my questions.

I was fascinated by Juan (the 71 year old). I asked him when was the last time he had raced? “Last week,” he told me. He had finished a 72km race. They like to start at night when it is cooler, and it took him until noon the next day to complete.

marjory-with-tarahumara-runners

Marjory with Tarahumara runners

The Biggest Surprise of the Trip

“That is quite a run,” I said, awed by his abilities. But almost immediately I was corrected, “No, I didn’t run. I actually don’t like running.”

Huh? I did a double take. Did he just say – the Tarahumara don’t like to run?

Isn’t that what they are famous for? Weren’t the Trahumara were the ones who had so easily beaten America’s top ultra-athletes at the Leadville 100? Weren’t the Tarahumara runners the main feature of the NY Times best-seller Born To Run? Weren’t the Tarahumara the ones whose running talent prompted Mexican Government officials to try to get a 100 mile race added to the Olympics?

And if Juan wasn’t running last weekend, just what was he doing for those 72 km?

Rarajípari – The Tarahumara Game of Choice

The group laughed and then patiently explained the mystery to me. It turns out they find simple straight running to be very boring. Instead, they love a game they call rarajípari where they kick and chase a ball across the mountainsides. They maneuver this ball as quickly as they can along the narrow winding paths of their steep country side. It is much more interesting, and challenging. And indeed it requires constant shifts and adjustments and much more agility and overall athleticism than the more simplistic repetitive movements of running down a path. They said the only reason they went to those races in the US – like the famous Leadville 100 – was for the money.

So we came all this way to find out the Tarahumara hate to run!

And it is because just running 50 or 100 miles at a stretch is not challenging enough.

It took me a moment to let that sink in.

“What happens if the ball goes over the side of the path, deep into the canyon?” I asked.

Well, apparently, you have to go get it. And you can’t touch it with your hands. You have to somehow bring it up with your feet only. I thought that must be a very bad thing. But no, the Tarahumara assured me, the same thing could happen to any of your opponents at any time. So you never knew what would happen until the game was over.

Elder Athletes and Ultra Athletes

I was so amazed that Juan could run so far and be in such great shape for his age. Later I would meet an 80 year old man of equal abilities. And I was stunned at one runner named Daniel Perez who looked so youthful at the age of 60.

tarahumara-runner-daniel-perez-60-years-old

Tarahumara runner Daniel Perez – 60 years old

I was thinking that when I got back home I would start running and increasing my athleticism. I had improved so much in the last several years already, but my gains seemed tiny now that I could see what was possible. I would definitely be expanding my garden to grow more corn, beans, and squash. That pinole drink was amazing and I absolutely wanted to start making that. What these people had was immeasurably good.

80-year-old-tarahumara-man

An 80 year old Tarahumara man

Wow, just running 100 miles was so boring they had to increase the athleticism of the game by a magnitude to keep themselves interested.

Have you gone back to your high school reunions every so often? I’ve found it quite fascinating. In your twenties and thirties everyone was eyeing the attractiveness of your spouse, how much money you were making, or what splashes you had made in the media. As the years and decades roll by, the focus shifts to who is most independent of the medical system and who is the healthiest.

Health. You can’t buy it. And living without it sucks.

The Inspiring Health of the Tarahumara People

I was inspired at seeing what is possible for a human body. These people who had almost no money, had a recipe for health and vitality, and everything that is really meaningful in life. And it was a pretty simple recipe that could be done anywhere; grow your own food, with as much family involvement as possible, and play hard.

“I hope that I will be in the great shape you’re in when I am 71 years old,” I told Juan earnestly.

Everyone laughed at me. “You won’t be,” they chorused in merry agreement.

OK, so they were probably right about that. But I promised myself I would be in a lot better shape than I was right then. The fact that I could do this trip now was a testament to how much more vitality and strength I had gained in the last few years.

Capturing an Authentic Tarahumara Race on Film

Both Anthony and I were delighted at the Tarahumara’s insistence that we film things as authentically as possible. They had initially asked us if we could do the filming at night because that is when most of the races are run. Anthony explained that we didn’t have the video equipment for that. Since they do also run during the daytime, they agreed to filming during the day.

They felt it was very important for us to film a pinole stop. If you recall, pinole is that corn drink that I was pretty sure was keeping me so jazzed all the time. During a game, each runner has a support team. Since a lot of the games are played at night, about every 10 km a spouse, child, or friend would build a big fire and be ready to give the runner a cup of pinole. Unlike the ‘aid stations’ for American races, a runner only gets pinole from his own support team. Support teams generally do not offer aid to competitors.

tarahumara-runner-gets-a-drink-of-pinole-from-family-during-a-race

A Tarahumara runner gets a drink of pinole from a family member during a race.

The games were played by everyone; men, women, and children. The women used a stick to move their balls along, and the men just used their feet.

diego-and-lola-grandmother-and-grandson-playing-rarajipari

Diego and Lola – grandmother and grandson playing rarajipari

Stone Age Skills and Ancient Games

While I had been chatting with the runners, Dave had been pecking away at some task. If you recall, Dave is an expert in Stone Age living skills. And now he stood up and handed me a stone that he had shaped into a perfect ball about 4 inches in diameter. I passed the ball around and the Tarahumara looked appreciatively at Dave’s skill. They played with balls made of stone like this, or out of wood. Dave had probably learned from them in earlier years how to make the balls, and he had learned well.

I wondered how it works out trying to kick a stone ball while wearing sandals. But as I would soon see, it works out just fine. In fact, later on in the trip I would have the luxury of being on a mountain trail with no pack and lots of distance to go. I started kicking rocks down the trail playing a very rough version of their game. I did modify it a bit though; when my rocks went over the edge, I simply waved goodbye and found another rock. No way in hell was I scrambling down the canyon after a rock.

kicking-the-stone-ball-with-sandals-somehow-it-works-out

Kicking the stone ball with sandals – somehow it works out

I suppose it is the Stone Age version of ‘kick the can.’ It was really fun. I suppose classics are classics, huh? I was wearing my sandals and I found that I could simply use the edge of my sandals, and it was easy. I rarely hurt my toes.

Anthony almost had his gear setup, and soon we would be capturing the graceful movements of these people as they played their game across the rough landscape.

anthony-records-two-tarahumara-runners

Anthony records two Tarahumara runners

But first, there was one more fascinating conversation I would have with my new Tarahumara friends.

Do the Tarahumara Eat Meat?

So far, we had mostly been served a vegetarian diet (beans and tortillas, or tortillas and beans). Were the Tarahumara vegetarians? Did they like meat? Was cutting out meat a requirement for this healthy lifestyle?

Becoming vegetarian is a big trend in the US. Plenty of the rich and famous are cutting out animal products. Former President Bill Clinton, for example. He used to proudly say he never met a hamburger he didn’t like, but now he is on the vegetable road. Other celebs who reportedly chose the diet include Ozzy Osbourne, Ellen DeGeneres, Alicia Silverstone and Dennis Kucinich.

There is also quite an impressive list of great athletes, such as the ultra runners Scott Jurek and Rich Roll that are vegans and swear by their diet.

Do you need to be a vegetarian to be so healthy?

And did the Tarahumara like to eat meat?


This article is Chapter 10 in the series “Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarhumara Indians.” You can read the rest of the series here:

Chapter 1: Extreme Agri-Tourism
Chapter 2: Hard Traveling
Chapter 3: The Tarhumara Girls School
Chapter 4: How To Lose 30 Pounds In 10 Seconds
Chapter 5: Gunfights Don’t Usually Last That Long…
Chapter 6: The Vomit Comet Through Tarahumara Country
Chapter 7: Don’t Ever Do This When Traveling In Strange Territory
Chapter 8: Nice Legs Really Scare Tarahumara Men
Chapter 9: Living Sustainably Is An Everyday Thing Here
Chapter 10: The Biggest Surprise of the Trip
• Chapter 11: COMING SOON

 

Sustainable Apple Trees – Self-watering and Self-fertilizing

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The Tarahumara Apple Tree Growing System

Do you hate dragging hoses around the yard? Are you tired of lugging compost around in bags, buckets, and wheelbarrows? Check out this super simple system that is used by the Tarahumara Indians to grow wonderful and delicious apples with almost no work!

The Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyon are known around the world for their exceptional health and their outstanding running abilities. The region where the Tarahumara live has been labeled as a “cold spot” because of the very low occurrence of modern chronic diseases, including diabetes. In talking with the Tarahumara, Marjory found that they largely attribute their health and athleticism to the fact that they grow almost all of their own food.

Marjory kept a journal of her entire trip to Mexico and she’s sharing the story here. You can see lots of beautiful photographs, and read all about the Tarahumara way of life, including how they grow their own food and medicine, in her story Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarahumara Indians.

 

Night Time Visitors!

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What to do if Someone Knocks at your Door in the Middle of the Night

NightImagine waking to a loud banging on your door in the middle of the night. Chances are it would be someone who just needs your help. But it could also be someone intent on causing trouble for you and your family. Do you know how to tell the difference? If it is trouble, have you talked to your family about this and do you all know what to do?

  1. Look First

Get out of bed quickly and quietly. Check that other doors are locked to prevent ambush from behind. Flip on a light in an empty room. If trouble is at the door, you may scare them off without alerting them to your location in the house. Depending on your comfort level, take your weapon with you to the door but don’t open it.

Set the chain lock on your door and quietly make sure locks are engaged. Without turning on the light, peek out a nearby window to see who is at the door. Don’t disturb blinds or curtains and alert anyone to your presence.

  1. Is it Trouble or Not?

Make a decision to either ignore the person or ask what they want. If you decide to call out, flip on the porch light first. Verify what you hear via the peephole in the door. It is possible to be shot through the door so stand to one side.

The best protection is to remain doors locked, with them on the outside. They can’t hurt you if they can’t get to you. Ask for identification from a repairman or police and then look up the number yourself and call to verify.

  1. Take Action

If you verify the person is safe, then open the door.  If not, continue to talk through the door or intercom speaker. Call help for them from inside your home. If at any time you feel unsafe, stop talking, and phone for help.

Physical Home Security Preventative Measures

Night Time Visitors!

Prevention is the most important part of home security. Before trouble comes knocking, take some preventative steps:

  • Re-install a door chain lock with LONG screws. Screws in standard door chain packages are way too short for a secure hold. Longer screws make it harder for an intruder to just push-in the door.
  • Use a one-way peephole and keep entrances visually clear. Make sure all doors have a one-way peephole. Install motion-sensor lights. Prune back bushes from entrances. Change outside light bulbs regularly so if one is out you know it’s intentional.
  • Consider installing security cameras and a speaker system. It’s never a good idea to open your door to a potential intruder. To determine intent, install a security camera so you visually see who is at the door and an intercom speaker so you can talk and hear clearly.
  • Replace your standard screen door with a heavier, security focused door with steel bars. This lets you open your main door but prevents someone pushing inside your home.
  • Store some kind of deterrent near your doors. This does not need to be your firearm but if it is, it should be in a biometric safe. Alternative deterrents could be pepper spray, a fireplace poker, or the trusty baseball bat. Make sure all family members know how to use these in the event that an intruder pushes through the door.
  • Fortify sliding glass doors. Position a solid piece of wood in the track each night. An intruder can still break the glass door but the noise will quickly alert you to trouble.
Additional Preventative Security Measures

Never make it known that you are or will be home alone. This applies to talking on the phone, to someone at the door, or even in casual daytime conversations with neighbors or sales people. If you come home alone and notice an open door or window in your home, retreat and notify authorities.

Get to Know your Neighbors. Identify neighbors you can contact when in trouble. Make sure your kids know which houses are “safe” houses. Agree to call each other if anyone in the neighborhood is alerted to an intruder outside.

Avoid being alone in common area. Schedule routine tasks like laundry so you are not alone at night in an area outside of your house.

Routinely lock all windows and doors. Check all locks each night before you go to bed. Strangers will not be able to enter as quietly if doors and windows are locked. Noise will alert you to trouble.

Develop a safety code word. Don’t use something a stranger could guess or find out by stalking you, such as your dog’s name, or street name. All family members should know how to use the code safely. Don’t give any clues. Simply ask “what is the code word or password?”

Avoid going outside. Don’t go to “check out a strange noise or person.” If you see someone breaking into a car or damaging property, report it to the police. Hit the car alarm button on your key fob. The sound will alert neighbors and may scare off an intruder.

Know how to contact help. Make sure you know the phone numbers to call for help in an emergency. Have non-emergency and phone numbers of neighbors and relatives on hand, just in case.

Know How and When to Hide or Flee. When there’s trouble, you may panic and be unable to think clearly. Identify a secure hiding place, out of sight, before trouble occurs. Keep a phone and your dog nearby, lock and barricade the door. Plan two escape routes, only flee if someone gets inside your home.

Criminals are getting smarter and more resourceful and in today’s day and age, no one can be prepared for every nighttime security issue. The tips and measures we’ve provided here can help increase the chances you come out unscathed. What other measures do you take to keep your home safe at night?

The post Night Time Visitors! appeared first on The Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Overhaul Your Medicine Cabinet with Herbal Remedies

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Herbal Alternatives to Over-the-Counter Drugs

As you more than likely know, some over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs consist of synthetic chemicals that damage the body and only mask the symptoms of the underlying problem or disease. But there’s a great alternative that is simple to do and much less expensive. Making herbal remedies like tinctures and salves is one of the easiest crafts to learn, in my opinion.

The most difficult part is acquiring the knowledge about which herbs are used to remedy different conditions, and then learning to identify each of those herbs. There is a plant available in nature to heal every ailment that man has.

glass-bottle-and-herbal-flower-petals

Glass bottle and flower petals

Learning about Herbal Remedies

I personally have been learning this art for years for my own family. So I decided to replace my family’s over-the-counter medications with herbal remedies. I was able to find a good substitute for each medicine, and I got them all ready in only about a year.

Tincturing herbs is not hard but it does take some time. Soaking takes about six weeks for leaf and at least eight weeks for seeds, roots, and barks. Soaking time may vary from person to person, and from plant to plant. These are just the general guidelines that I use. Topical salves for wounds are also very easy to make.

Herbs for the Immune System and Stomach

I have become an avid maker of elderberry products for my family – kids love it! Elderberry is a great immune stimulant. If someone in your family has a cold, elderberry syrup can be used every few hours to shorten the duration of the cold.

Ginger syrup is also easy to make, and it’s great to have on hand for tummy troubles. I like to use it in cooking as well, in stir fries and Indian dishes when I want that sweet ginger flavor enhanced and intensified.

Herbs for Pain Relief

Acetaminophen (Tylenol™, Anacin™, etc.) is overused in this country, and it can be very harmful to the body – especially the liver. I make an anti-inflammatory tincture using turmeric and wild yam that is an excellent alternative to acetaminophen. With this combination, you can even just encapsulate the dried herbs, and swallow the capsule to relieve your pain.

For bruises, aches, and pains, arnica is a great anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. You just apply it topically as an ointment, cream, or salve. Arnica is especially good for muscle pain.

Making An Herbal Tincture at Home

When tincturing herbs, I recommend using potato vodka – unless someone in the family has issues with alcohol, or you are going to give the tinctures to children on a regular basis. In those cases, I would recommend using glycerin. Generally, I feel that alcohol-based tinctures are more effective than glycerin-based tinctures.

To make a tincture, fill any size mason jar half way full with your desired herb or a combination of herbs. Fill the jar the rest of the way with vodka or glycerin. Allow the jar to sit for the appropriate length of time (can vary depending on the herbs and solvent used, and by application). As I mentioned, my rule of thumb is 6 weeks for leaf, 8 weeks or longer for roots or barks. I use a cool, dark cabinet; and I give them a turn over to mix the herbs at least once a week – more if I remember.

Remember to label each bottle with the contents and the date you started it, otherwise it is easy to forget – especially when you have multiple batches tincturing at once.

After soaking time has elapsed I strain the herb from the liquid, placing the herbs in my compost and placing the tincture in amber bottles with droppers. Again, remember to label each bottle with the contents and date.

Here are some examples of herbs that my family uses in this way on a regular basis, meaning daily:

Astragulus/Ashwaghanda: This is a great adaptogenic herb combination, helping the body cope with everyday stresses.
Nettle: Great for inflammation, building red blood cells, and allergies.
Hawthorne: Great for the heart, by regulating blood pressure; both high and low.
Hops: Sleep
Kava Kava: Anxiety
Valerian Root: Anxiety
Horsetail: Strengthens hair and teeth
Black Walnut, Wormwood and Cloves: This is used for parasites.

Making an Herbal Salve at Home

Salves are also necessary remedies that are easy to make. Goldenseal is an excellent alternative to Neosporin™ and I find it is a superior product as well. Calendula is great for dry skin, wounds and rashes. Arnica, mentioned above, is great for pain. St. John’s wort is good for minor injuries and burns. And Sassafras for poison ivy. The possibilities are endless.

Making salves is very simple. Start by constructing a double boiler on the stove top. Place coconut oil, sesame oil – or some oil that benefits the skin and is a good carrier oil for the desired herbs – into the double boiler, and add the herbs. Simmer slowly for 30-60 minutes; the longer the better, but do not burn or scorch the oil or the herbs. When this is complete, strain the herbs through a cheese cloth, retaining the oil infusion and discarding the herbs for compost.

Using the double boiler once again, shave beeswax into the bowl and place over low heat. Add your herbal oil infusion to the beeswax and stir to combine completely as the beeswax is melting. Once combined, you are ready to pour your salve into storage containers. I prefer glass jars to metal tins; it is just too messy for me to attempt to get salve in such a shallow dish.

There are many YouTube videos explaining how to make salves in a myriad of ways. This is just the easiest for me and it works well too. Creating new types of salves is fun and allows you to get your creative juices flowing. This type of procedure works well for lip balms too.

Herbs and Over-the-Counter Medicines

Herbs are a gift that should be cherished, respected, and utilized by all of us. Every herb has a use, and learning what those uses are has been a beautiful experience for me. It is empowering to be able to heal oneself.

I have found alternatives to every over-the-counter medicine my family used, and I believe that the natural herbal remedies are far safer for me and my family. Herbs are a gift from Nature, and we can feel as if we are being gifted everyday of our lives if we choose to see this fact. I choose to, and I hope that you do too. Stay Healthy Friends!


Thanks to Bonnie Spiker for participating in the [Grow] Network Writing Contest.

We’re still getting the list of prizes lined up for the Spring 2016 Writing Contest. We awarded over $2,097 in prizes for the Fall Writing Contest, including all of the following:

– A 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $382 value
– A Survival Still emergency water purification still, a $288 value
– 1 free 1 year membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, a $239 value
– A Worm Factory 360 vermicomposting system from Nature’s Footprint, a $128 value
– 2 large heirloom seed collections from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, valued at $103 each
– A Metro-Grower Elite sub-irrigation growing container from Nature’s Footprint, a $69 value
– 2 copies of the complete Home Grown Food Summit, valued at $67 each
– 3 free 3 month memberships in the [Grow] Network Core Community, valued at $59 each
– 4 copies of the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD video set, valued at $43 each
– A Bug Out Seed Kit from the Sustainable Seed Company, a $46 value
– 4 copies of the Alternatives To Dentists DVD video, valued at $33 each
– 4 copies of the Greenhouse of the Future DVD and eBook, valued at $31 each

 

The Perfect Survival Knife!

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How to Pick the Perfect Survival Knife

By Tim Martinez of “The Knife Depot

Survival KnifeWhether you’re picking up a survival knife to put in your bug-out bag or need a knife to carry out with you on outdoor adventures through the wilderness, it’s vital to pick out the perfect knife.

Even though a survival knife is a matter of preference, there are some general guidelines to picking the perfect survival knife.

Fixed Blade vs. Folding Blade

2-12-16 9_520839A few knife novices will debate whether a fixed blade or folding blade is more useful as a survival knife. Fixed blades offer more strength, but folders are more convenient. I’m here to declare the fixed blade the final and conclusive winner of the debate.

If your life depends on a tool, you want something that will not fail. While folders can be strong and dependable, the simple fact that there are more moving parts means there’s more possibility of failure. If you can only have one survival knife, make it a fixed blade. But I do recommend carrying a folder for less strenuous tasks.

Blade Edge

Take a look through some of the survival knives on that market and you’re bound to notice a few with massive serrations along the length of the blade. These serrations look intimidating and cool, but they will hinder the usefulness of your knife. If you’re insistent, a partially serrated blade is fine, but I highly recommend a plain edge on your survival knife.

The most obvious reason is that it’s easier to sharpen. Sharpening a serrated knife when you’re in the middle of nowhere is nearly impossible. With a plain edge, you can get a keen edge with the aid of some rocks. Not only that but plain edges are more versatile. The main use of a serrated blade is for cutting thicker, more fibrous materials. With a little more effort a plain edge will cut that type of material, but a serrated edge will falter at doing push cuts or gutting an animal.

Blade Steel

In its most simplistic form, you can boil the blade steel debate down to one thing: carbon steel vs. stainless steel. The problem is that all steels are technically carbon steels and stainless steels aren’t truly stainless (unless you’re talking about the newer H1 steel). The reality is that there are tons of steels on each side of the spectrum with tons of variation in performance and maintenance.

If you’re curious about learning more, I recommend reading a longer guide to blade steel. These days, there are not really any junk steels, so any steel that is within your budget will work as long as you understand its properties and what you need to maintain it.

Tang

The tang is the piece of metal from the blade that extends into the handle. Knives can have full tangs, partial tangs, push tangs, hidden tangs, rat-tail tangs, and others. For a survival knife, you should focus mainly on full tangs. This is when the steel extends the entire length of the handle to the butt. A full tang offers the greatest strength and is the least likely of all to break under duress.

Blade Length

You’ll often see survival knives with blade lengths of 10 inches or more. That’s overkill. A reasonable blade length on a survival knife is somewhere around 5 or 6 inches. That’s the sweet spot. Any larger and the knife becomes unwieldy when doing woodwork. Any smaller and the knife will underperform at tasks like cutting branches.

Handle Material

Like a blade’s steel, a knife’s handle material is mostly a matter of preference. Some enjoy Grivory handle scales while others prefer Zytel. Your best bet is to try out different materials and see which ones are the most comfortable in your hand. After you’ve made your purchase, it’s important to look up how to take care of it.

Weight

Heaviness doesn’t always mean quality and it’s certainly not always better. A survival knife should ideally weigh somewhere around 11 inches, give or take. You’re less likely to carry a knife if it’s too heavy, and the best survival knife is the one you actually carry.

Sheath

knife-sheathesSpeaking of carrying the knife, the sheath is another important factor to consider. Sheaths come in different materials, from leather and nylon to Zytel and Kydex. Each material has its own pros and cons, but comfort is the main thing you should look for. A knife that moves around or rattles when you’re navigating the root-ridden forest floor will impact your movement and survival.

The Perfect Survival Knife

I just laid out a laundry list of things you should look for in a good survival knife. But do any knives actually meet all these criteria? Yes! Just some of the knives that fit these seemingly narrow specifications include the Schrade SCHF42D, Fallkniven A1, ESEE 5, KA-BAR BK2 Becker, Ontario Bushcraft Field Knife, Buck Selkirk, and many more. In the end, you should pick the survival knife that you’re the most comfortable with, even if it only meets a few of the things I listed above. But since this is something your life may depend on in survival situations, you’d better make sure it’s a darn good knife.

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3 Types of Tarahumara Indian Corn and How They Are Used

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3 Indian Corns with 3 Different Uses

Marjory brought this video back from Mexico. Look at these 3 different corns – they’re beautiful! These are grown by the Tarahumara, off-grid, with goat manure fertilizer. Corn is super important to the Tarahumara – it’s one of their key staples.

The Tarahumara are known as exceptional runners, and they enjoy exceptional health. The area where the Tarahumara live has been called a “cold spot” because of unusually low rates of modern chronic diseases (including diabetes). A big part of the reason for their good health is because they grow almost all of their own food.

Marjory chronicled her entire trip to Mexico and she’s sharing the story here. You can read all about the way the Tarahumara tribe lives, including how they grow their own food and medicine, in her story Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarahumara Indians

 

A Perennial Food Guild for the Arid American Southwest

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Edible Permaculture Plants You Can Grow in Arid Regions

If you live in an arid region, at some point you have probably felt envy when looking at pictures of food forests from other climates. You see countless varieties of plump fruits as far as the eye can see, with beautiful flowers, herbs, and annual vegetables growing from every nook and cranny.

It doesn’t seem fair. The idea that you could just go out and plant apples, blueberries, and strawberries in the middle of your yard is laughable. You might pull it off, but it will be a full-time job and your water bill will go through the roof. Many of us just shrug and say, “Well, you can’t do that here.” And that’s partially true – you can’t easily grow blueberries in your yard in Texas, New Mexico, or Arizona. But if you are willing to open your mind to wolfberries and other lesser-known plants, you can grow an edible guild just as useful, and beautiful, as those you see in wetter climates. There are some great perennial edibles that are well suited to the high temperatures and dry conditions of the southwest. They may not be as glamorous or as well-known as the fruits that you see in pictures from Florida or Oregon, but there are some good candidates that deserve a place in a perennial desert food guild.

In the list that follows, I have omitted many more desirable edibles – like citrus, stone fruits, and blackberries – that might fare well on your property, depending on the amount of water and shade that you have available. For the moment, we’re going to focus on native and well-adapted edibles that can survive harsh summer conditions with little supplemental water, and that also enable function stacking in tough spots.

The Maligned Mesquite Tree

Frequently regarded as a “trash tree,” the mesquite is perhaps the most important plant in this list. Infamously long thorns make it unwelcome in many yards and gardens, but it provides several valuable services to the soil and its neighbors, and it has many practical uses for the permaculturist.

spring-mesquite-blooms

Spring mesquite blooms

Mesquite is renowned for its status as a pioneer plant. In dry, poor soil, mesquite is often the first sizable plant to repopulate clear cut or overgrazed dry land. And its presence is sorely needed. As a legume, mesquite is a nitrogen fixer. There is an old saying in Texas, known to be true by ranchers and cattle alike, that during times of prolonged drought, the last green grass will be found underneath the mesquite trees. The free nitrogen around mesquites is only part of the reason why this grass is still green. Thousands of tiny deciduous leaves make the shade cast by mesquite trees much like that of a commercial shade cloth. It casts a light, evenly distributed shade that protects the ground underneath from intense sunlight, while allowing enough light through to sustain most sun-loving plants. Each autumn, the tree sheds its tiny leaves, allowing winter sun through and blanketing the surrounding ground with a speedy layer of natural compost. These factors make mesquite an ideal nursery tree for establishing edible perennials in arid environments.

With a little work to collect and process its beans, mesquite can also be a valuable source of food. By some accounts, mesquite beans were the single most important food for the Native Americans of the Sonora Desert; more important than any grain, including corn. These beans are a great source of plant-based protein. Gruel made from ground mesquite beans sustained desert tribes through the winter, in between harvests of cultivated crops. In addition to gruel, mesquite flour was used in broth, gravy, pudding, bread, and even a slightly alcoholic punch (1). Today, adventurous home brewers and distillers are rediscovering the potential of the sugar-laden mesquite bean for fermentation in wine, beer, and liquor.

Mesquite can also provide a nice supplemental income stream for those with enough land to grow it as a production crop. Mesquite wood fetches a high price for its use in cooking meats. It can also be sold as a raw material for furniture, flooring, and various crafted and carved wood products. Any wood that cannot be sold is useful at home as firewood, fence posts, tool handles, and mulch. Beans that are not used make great fodder for cattle and other livestock.

If the pesky thorns are a deal breaker for you, one good alternative to mesquite is the leucaena (lew-SEE-nuh; Leucaena leucocephala). This tropical import fixes more nitrogen than mesquite, but its seeds must be cooked before being eaten, and are poisonous to some animals. There is a wealth of information available on mesquite, leucaena and other desert legumes from The University of Arizona’s Desert Legume Program (2).

Using Wolfberry in the Perennial Food Garden

Wolfberry is a native shrub that grows naturally throughout the United States. There are many edible varieties of wolfberry, a few of which do well in the arid southwest. Our native wolfberries are close relatives of the Asian goji berry, which is famed as a “superfood” for its nutritional density and high concentration of antioxidants.

wolfberries-closeup

Wolfberries closeup (By Paul144. Own work. Public Domain, via Wikipedia Commons)

Torrey’s wolfberry (Lycium torreyi) is a native species that grows naturally among mesquite trees in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. It grows in dense thickets, regularly reaching 6 feet in height, occasionally growing up to 12 feet. It grows well in poor, dry soils, and benefits from the presence of the mesquite. In addition to providing a nutritional boost in your diet, the berries are favored by birds and the bush provides habitat for birds and small creatures.

Agarita for the Arid Food Guild

Filling in underneath the mesquite in our desert food guild is the agarita (Mahonia trifoliata). This wonderful shrub is native to Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. It regularly grows to 6 feet, and can reach 8 feet in good conditions. Agarita is evergreen, and its holly-like leaves are tipped with sharp spines. Agarita is a true survivor, able to withstand punishing summer heat with minimal water. It grows wild in full sun to partial shade, and it thrives along edges, often flourishing naturally under the canopy of mesquite trees.

agarita-leaves-closeup

Agarita leaves closeup (By Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia Commons)

The sweet and tart berries of the agarita are edible for humans and wildlife. These berries earned it another common name, the wild currant. The berries can be eaten raw, but they are most commonly used to make jelly and pies (3). In a crunch, the berry’s seeds can be roasted and ground to be used as a coffee substitute.

Agarita is especially effective for drawing wildlife in to the guild. Birds and mammals relish the sweet berries. Bees are drawn to its fragrant yellow flowers, and many beekeepers use agarita as an early season honey plant.

Rounding out its usefulness in this guild, the roots of harvested agarita can be used to make a yellow dye which was popular with Native Americans and early settlers. Agarita also has many medicinal qualities. The berries are useful for making a tea to treat mouth sores and sore throats. The flowers can be used to prevent infection in fresh wounds. The root is used as a laxative, a fever reducer, and an eye wash (4).

Prickly Pears as a Perennial Food Source

Prickly pears are cacti in the genus Opuntia, easily identifiable by their flat, oval-shaped pads (cladodes). The USDA classifies at least 71 species in the US, and many more exist in Central and South America. Prickly pears are known to hybridize in nature, making identification notoriously difficult. The pads and fruit of all opuntia are edible. The most common culinary variety is the Opuntia ficus-indica – the Indian fig. Like most prickly pears, the growing requirements for the Indian fig are simple. It makes due with very little water, in any well-drained soil. This plant spreads so readily in dry conditions that it is has naturalized around the world and is considered invasive in parts of the Mediterranean, Africa, and Australia. It needs plenty of sunlight, but fares just fine in along the outer edges of a mesquite canopy.

The pads and the fruit are edible, though care must be taken to ensure that none of the spines are eaten. Spineless varieties are available to make preparation easier. These varieties are “spineless” in the same sense that seedless watermelons are “seedless.” The spines are fewer and smaller, but the plant must be prepared carefully to ensure that no spines are ingested. In Mexican cuisine, the pads – or nopales – are often diced or cut into long slices, and prepared fresh as a salad called nopalitos. The dietary fiber of opuntia pads is reputed to be especially beneficial, and is widely marketed as a health supplement. After the cactus flowers, sweet fruits are left behind, called tunas. The tunas turn red as they ripen, and when ripe are a sweet treat that can be eaten fresh, used as a garnish, or used in any number of deserts, candies, and drinks. There are countless recipes and variations for the pads and the fruits – too many to list here.

ripe-prickly-pear-fruits

Ripe prickly pear fruits

Prickly pears are increasingly grown as a fodder crop for cattle and other livestock. They require much less water per kilogram of dry fodder than most other fodder plants. Luther Burbank selected nutritious, spineless opuntias for this purpose – and descendants of his selections are used widely today as drought-resistant fodder sources in South Africa and Namibia (5).

Ripe opuntia tunas can be juiced to make a red dye or fermented to make a tan color. Opuntia also boast many medicinal uses. The flowers of Indian fig are used as an astringent, a diuretic, and to treat irritable bowel syndrome. The pads are used as an anti-inflammatory and as an anti-infective agent (6).

The Edible Common Mallow

Everything you need to know about the growing conditions for this perennial food source is revealed by its botanical name, Malva neglecta. Common mallow grows naturally throughout the US without supplemental water or care, including in the arid southwest.

Common mallow doesn’t taste like much, but its leaves are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. The young leaves, flowers, green fruits (called peas), and ripened seeds are edible. Tender leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked, and mallow is often dried and added to smoothies for its nutritional value.

malva-neglecta-edible-weed

“Malva-neglecta-20070428” by Luis Fernández García – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 es via Wikimedia Commons

The mucilage from its peas is used as a thickening agent for soups, stews, gumbo, and confections including whipped cream, meringue, and marshmallows (7). Mallow is also good fodder for your livestock. As a medicinal, mallow is useful as an antibacterial, an anti-inflammatory, an astringent, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a laxative (8).

Purslane as an Edible Groundcover in the Desert Food Forest

As a groundcover, no edible is better suited to the intense heat of southwestern summers than purslane (Portulaca oleracea). This small succulent grows throughout the US as an annual, but some species can overwinter in warmer climates.

purslane-an-edible-ground-cover

Purslane, an edible ground cover

Purslane packs high levels of vitamin C, enzymes, and omega-3 fatty acids, and it can be stored for months after harvesting by fermentation. One cup of purslane can contain 400 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, more than fish and far safer to eat. A study at the University of Texas at San Antonio found purslane to contain 10 to 20 times more of the antioxidant melatonin than any other fruit or vegetable their lab tested (8). Add to this the fact that purslane will grow on its own in dry climates in full sun to part shade, with no special care, and you have the perfect edible groundcover. In addition to providing a zesty addition in your fresh salads, purslane makes great fodder for chickens and larger livestock.

Choose Your Own Adventure

These plants are a framework for a perennial food guild in the arid southwest. Be creative, and look around your area for other useful and edible plants that can thrive in hot, dry conditions. You might consider using mullein, yuccas, and grapevines to diversify the guild and to add beauty to its appearance.

Even these tough native and well-adapted plants require a little care to get through the punishing summer season, especially during extended periods of drought. You can keep additional watering to a minimum by harvesting as much rainwater as possible, using effective earthworks like berms and swales, mulching well, and making use of household greywater. Methods like hugelkultur and sunken beds can also help you to stretch your water budget.

Just keep an eye on your plants, especially when they’re young, and give them a little extra water if they’re suffering. Depending on your conditions, you might be able to work in some thirstier plants that require more water than those listed above. And, as you build your soil, more and more plants will be likely to thrive underneath the mesquite tree that you used to anchor this desert guild. With some time, you just might build a desert food forest to rival any that you’ve seen in Florida or Oregon.


Reprinted with permission from Permaculture Design Magazine, Volume #99, Spring 2016


Resources

1. Niethammer, Carolyn. American Indian Cooking: Recipes from the Southwest. Lincoln: Bison Books, 1999. Print.
2. http://cals.arizona.edu/desertlegumeprogram/index.html
3. Harelik, Tiffany. The Big Bend Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of West Texas. Charleston: American Palate, 2014. Print.
4. Heatherley, Ana Nez. Healing Plants: A Medicinal Guide to Native North American Plants and Herbs. Guilford: The Lyons Press, 1998. Print.
5. Mondragón-Jacobo, Candelario and Pérez-González, Salvador. Cactus (Opuntia spp.) as Forage. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2001. Print.
6. Khare, C.P. Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary. New York: Springer Science + Business Media, LLC, 2007. Print.
7. Kallas, John. Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate. Layton: Gibbs Smith, 2010. Print.
8. Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction: Chelsea Green, 2014. Print.

 

Surviving a blizzard!

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Surviving a blizzard

2-10-16 blizzardA blizzard can happen within minutes and turn a perfectly calm day into the North Pole. So whether you’re in the car or camping or in your house always refrain from getting on the road again till the sun comes up.A blizzard is most commonly undercooked because they only occur in winter season and it’s a common occurrence for people to experience snowfall. It’s a daily routine for them to go to work, clearing out the snow and playing in the snow. However Snowstorms can be quite brutal at times and cause severe injuries and complications if they aren’t treated with precautionary measures. The problem with people is that they are easily fooled into a false sense of security when something is a normal day occurrence. Now tsunamis for example are something people may fear because that’s a natural disaster that doesn’t happen every day. But in winters it snows consecutively for weeks so people think that this isn’t something harmful.

No matter how advanced technology may have become there still always room for error. You can’t control the weather nor can you predict it with absolute surety. Hence Always be prepared for the worst to happen. In my article below I have mentioned a few tips to help your prepare and get through a snowstorm or blizzard if it catches you if guard.

Food and water

blizzardIn winters always make sure you have extra food supplies that can last a few days. You don’t know when the storm is going to end and how long you’re going to be trapped in your house. If you’re going to wait till the last moment and head out right before the storm or during the storm then might as well take clothes and a blanket with you because you’re not coming back.

Heat source

If your home has fireplaces ensure you know how to utilize it securely. At the point when a winter storm warning is issued keep enough firewood inside to keep going for a couple of days.  If you have generators make certain to have enough fuel to keep it running for a couple of days. Keep the generator totally outside, not indoors. Running a generator inside can bring about carbon monoxide poisoning and death.

Think everything through

blizzardOne thing you’ll need if a snowstorm or blizzard hits is running water. Water channels tend to freeze in temperatures beneath 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Prevent this by wrapping your pipes with foam protection. In the event that the temperature is dropping leave your taps running just a bit, enough for minimal drops of water to fall so not a lot of water is wasted.

Avoid leaving the house

Do not attempt to leave your home in any condition. If you need to check up on a neighbor or a friend that’s nearby maybe 5 minutes away then that’s sort of okay. But don’t attempt to be Rambo and start searching for everyone making sure their good because it’s a waste of time. You won’t find them and chances are that you may get lost to.

Stay hydrated

Drink loads of water in the event you don’t have electricity and no access to heat for a long period

Shoveling

blizzardRecent studies and surveys have shown that people die from heart attacks every year while shoveling the snow out of their driveways. The reason being people may not realize it but snow is pretty heavy specially when you’re just lifting up heaps of it at once and chucking it out of the way. For people who are over 40 or not physically active and do not visit the gym it’s unhealthy when you start lifting up 50 pounds of snow at once. Your heart isn’t used to that much load being out on it. It’s recommended you take help from neighbors or take it slowly and steadily.

However these tips for when your safely surrounded by the walls of your house and your right next to the comfort of your family. However many people often get stranded during a storm and have no clue what to do. So here are a few things you should follow when you’re out on the road during winters.

Wait out the storm

If you have gone camping or you’re on the road and massive chunks of snow start falling on you than it’s a waste of time trying to get away. Do not send a person out for help and don’t try to be Sherlock and think of cheeky ways to get home. Simply stay in your car and wait for the storm to pass. Make sure you keep starting your engine every few minutes. Don’t turn your car of for a long time, because it won’t start because of the extreme cold. Your engine won’t get the heat it needs to start up.

Never leave your house empty handed

In winters never leave your house empty handed, even if you just have to make a quick run to the grocery store which is 5 minutes away.  What if the storm hits, you don’t want to be stranded out there with no food, water or emergency supplies now do you? Carry a first aid kit and a bug out bag with you even if you don’t use it. Keep one separately just for the car. You don’t know how long or for how many days you’re going to be stuck, and in that severe temperature you have very minimal chances of surviving without food and fluids.

Make sure your exhaust pipe is clear

Check to make sure your exhaust pipe does not have any snow accumulated around it or inside of it. A sealed car can cause carbon monoxide to build up and cause poisoning and death.

Change out wet clothing

If you have a bit of snow on yourself and your clothes are wet, then its urgent you change. This is because frostbites can happen easily and you need to keep your body warm.

Author Bio:

Barney Whistance is a passionate Finance, Heavy Machinery and Lifestyle blogger who loves to write about prevailing trends. You can find him using Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Banning the Bag

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What are the Impacts of Single Use Plastic Shopping Bags?

Single use plastic shopping bags are everywhere. They’re in every store you go into, right up front by the cash register, stacked by the thousands. They’re in every household, wadded up and stuffed into a container or another plastic bag – hidden under the sink or in a cupboard. They’re blowing around on the roadside – discarded by careless walkers and drivers. And if you look carefully, you’ll see that they’re even up in the tree tops, carried there by the wind.

discarded-plastic-bags-along-a-roadside

Discarded plastic bags along a roadside

And more and more, they’re in the ocean. According to a study published in 2015 in the journal Science, we’re currently depositing between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic waste in to the ocean each year.

You might think, “Well, I live in Kansas. My trash isn’t going into the ocean.” But you’d probably be wrong. Single use plastic bags don’t stay intact on their trips to the ocean, so you can’t really see them with your naked eye. Sunlight, wind, and water break the bags into tiny pieces that blow into waterways and make their way to the sea. A study of two rivers in California showed anywhere from 125 to 819 pieces of plastic waste in each square meter of water… and they only counted pieces larger than 4.75mm. Los Angeles and Baltimore have both created trash containment measures on their rivers, to catch as much of this tiny plastic as they can.

Banning the Bag

More and more cities around the U.S. are taking action, to ban plastic bags and limit their communities’ contributions to the bigger issue of plastic in the ocean. The trend is most popular along the coasts, where people routinely see the reality of plastic in the water. California has 67 local ordinances banning single use bags, covering 88 different municipalities. The entire state of Hawaii has adopted bag bans.

And several inland cities are doing their part as well. As an example, 5 different cities in Colorado have adopted ordinances to charge a fee for any disposable shopping bags – and 3 of those cities also banned single use plastic bags.

You can see a full list of local plastic bag ordinances at this link from the Surfrider Foundation: Plastic Bag Bans and Fees

Austin banned all disposable shopping bags back in 2013 – and it was cool to watch the change play out. The bags were gone from stores overnight, and for a short while it was common to see people shuffling out of the grocery store with arms full of loose groceries. The city launched a public service campaign called Bring it Austin to remind people to bring their own reusable bags when they go shopping. It didn’t take long before everyone got the hang of it, and now it’s perfectly commonplace to see families walking into grocery stores and big box stores with their own bags already in hand.

It’s a simple change, with a huge impact.

The Great Plastic Bag Debate

Of course, not everyone’s in agreement on this one. Who would be opposed to cutting down the amount of plastic that goes into our waterways? You guessed it – the plastic industry. They don’t like this change one bit.

They have plenty of information out there about why single use plastic bags are more environmentally responsible than reusable bags. And I’ve heard some information trying to discourage people from using reusable bags because they can contain bacteria.

Personally, I feel like it’s a no-brainer. The single use plastic bags are made from natural gas – a fossil fuel. Many reusable bags are made from cotton – a renewable resource. Of course it’s not quite that simple. A broader discussion would lead us through the ins and outs of GMO cotton, the different chemical compositions of different types of plastics, and the relative toxicity of them all.

But it really is that simple for me. It boils down to this: I’ve never seen a reusable cotton bag suspended up in a tree along the side of the highway, whereas I’ve seen literally hundreds of single use plastic bags in just that place.

What Can You Do to Get Involved?

What can you do to get involved? For starters, grow your own groceries! Food from the grocery store leaves a long trail of fossil fuel exhaust – from international shipping vessels, airplanes, 18-wheelers, and local distribution trucks. The natural gas that goes into the single use plastic bags is just the icing on the cake.

Grow as much of your own food as you can, and you’ll be doing a lot to cut down on the systemic waste.

Purchase some reusable shopping bags, and be a trend-setter. It’s simple to do and it’s an easy adjustment to make in your daily routine. Each time you arrive at a store with reusable bags in hand, someone else might take notice and put some thought into their own “bag habits.” We keep a few bags inside our car so that there is always a spare bag available if we decide to make an impromptu stop for groceries or home goods.

Ten Ways To Rise Above Plastics

This list is borrowed from the Surfrider Foundation’s Plastic Pollution campaign. Here are 10 easy ways to do your part:

#1: Choose to reuse when it comes to shopping bags and bottled water. Cloth bags and metal or glass reusable bottles are available locally at great prices.
#2: Refuse single-serving packaging, excess packaging, straws and other ‘disposable’ plastics. Carry reusable utensils in your purse, backpack or car to use at bbq’s, potlucks or take-out restaurants.
#3: Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box that includes a thermos.
#4: Bring your to-go mug with you to the coffee shop, smoothie shop or restaurants that let you use them. A great way to reduce lids, plastic cups and/or plastic-lined cups.
#5: Go digital! No need for plastic cds, dvds and jewel cases when you can buy your music and videos online.
#6: Seek out alternatives to the plastic items that you rely on.
#7: Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
#8: Volunteer at a beach cleanup. Surfrider Foundation Chapters often hold cleanups monthly or more frequently.
#9: Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling bills.
#10: Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to Rise Above Plastics!


Sources:

Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean, Jenna R. Jambeck, et al, Science (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768)
How Does Your Plastic Bag Get Into the Ocean?, Patrick J. Kiger, Discovery News (http://news.discovery.com/earth/oceans/how-does-your-plastic-bag-get-into-the-ocean-151102.htm)
Plastic Bags Bans and Fees, Surfrider Foundation (http://www.surfrider.org/pages/plastic-bag-bans-fees)
The Truth About Plastic Bags, Novolex™ (http://www.bagtheban.com/multimedia/item/the-truth-about-plastic-bags)

 

Why Sound Financial Planning?

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Why  Sound Financial Planning?

Financial PlanningThe number one lesson we have been taught by the economic crisis of 2008, is to be very careful with where we invest or what we do with our cash. It has likewise taught us that in times of uncertainty, consulting your counselor could be the best step to take. The economic collapse in 2008 likewise opened open doors for master financial planners and beginners who are looking for individuals and organizations to multiply their assets.

On the off chance that you are wondering why you or your business needs financial planning, here are some of the major advantages.

Minimizes Risks

Financial planning empowers organizations or people to assign the appropriate amount to the right area that needs change or more investment in a convenient way. This minimizes risks and wrong investment. Productive financial planning would then in the long run lead to better income and effective cost administration.

Enables You To Make Effective Decisions

Financial planning exhibits the expenses and revenues of an organization or individual in numbers, giving them a clearer perspective of what they will be putting resources into. This makes it easier for business leaders to go and stop an agreement or undertaking.

You Can Forecast Profits And Losses

A financial plan is made on a yearly basis. This financial conjecture clarifies how much expense and revenue the business or individual ought to anticipate and when to expect it. This not just shows to what extent the wait will be, additionally it also forecasts the amount of profit that can be expected. Each month, a financial plan is likewise made to contrast with the yearly plan and check whether the objective is being met, surpassed or something else. This cautions the entrepreneur or individual of potential outcomes and postured dangers in the speculation, and on the off chance that it’s an ideal opportunity to give up or not. In spite of the fact that it is not generally right, as there are such a variety of things that could influence the business’ financial status, financial planning and administration makes it simpler to see what is and what can be.

While a few individuals or entrepreneurs wouldn’t want or need a financial planner as they can do this all alone, there are some who might require a planner’s help to get the heap off their backs. In any case, when searching for a financial arranging organization to handle this task, here are the things you need to consider.

License

Locate an authorized or certified financial planner, which signifies their capacities and validity. Don’t simply bounce on the first firm that comes your way in an edgy move to discover one.

Pay structure

There are two noteworthy pay structures your planner might be using: expense based and commission-based. Nothing of the two is superior to the next; it is truly up to the organization or individual what he/she inclines toward. There are likewise planners who, similar to free-lancers, can be paid by the hour or when you just need them.

Advice Over Promises

Search for financial planners who can give you sound guidance about your endeavors and the issues it faces. Planners who over-guarantee productivity and profitability might just disappoint as a considerable measure of things can happen in the financial world that can influence its execution at whatever time.

Personal financial planning can help you in several ways. If you make a monthly budget and adhere to it strictly, you will know what exactly you’re spending where. This will give you greater decision making power, in turn helping you cut down unnecessary costs. If you’re one of those drowning in student loan repayments and credit card payments, you definitely need to try financial planning and budgeting.

The post Why Sound Financial Planning? appeared first on The Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Is Your Emergency Information Ready for an Emergency?

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Notebooks and Binders Full of Emergency Information

I have been reading about preparedness online for several years. I love all of the information I have collected over years of searching and reading. I have so many binders and notebooks full of information!

binders-full-of-emergency-information

Binders Full of Emergency Information

At first, I wasn’t keeping paper records of the important information I found online. I had so much information saved on my computer. Then the thought came to me… What if the power goes out? What if my laptop dies? What if both of these things happen! The information I have been collecting would not be available to me when I really need it.

What Happens When the Power Goes Out?

In today’s world, we tend to forget that our phones, laptops, and tablets run out of power… until they die! Then we are scrambling to find the chargers and plug them back in.

Well, in a real emergency situation that’s probably not going to work. We all know it, but for one reason or another we delay, and we just keep doing things the same way. So what can we do?

The other day, I was reading another entry from the [Grow] Network Writing Contest. I realized that in all the years I have been following along, not much has been said about different ways to save the information that I have collected.

5 Steps to Get Your Emergency Information Ready for an Emergency

Here are five steps you can take to prepare your emergency information, so that it is ready to go when an actual emergency happens:

Step #1: Get an “Emergency Note Tote”
Any tote from your favorite store will do. The size of your tote depends on the amount of information you need to save – you might want a binder, or you might want a plastic file box. My tote is my favorite color – this helps me to remember it when I come across something new I want to add to it.

Step #2: Weed Out Your Electronic Info
Select only the most important information on your computer that you want to save. You won’t be able to take your entire library of information with you if you need to leave quickly. So narrow it down to the things you really need to have with you during an emergency. Print them out!

Step #3: Review Your Notebooks
You took the course, and you took good notes. Don’t forget to go through your hand-written notes and find the most important information that you want to take with you in an emergency. If your notes are clearly written in ink, you can just throw them right in. If your notes aren’t clear, or you wrote them in pencil, you might choose to type them up and print them out instead.

Step #4: Build Your Emergency Note Tote
Take the most important information from your computer print outs, and the most important pages from your notebooks, and add them to your emergency note tote. Organization is key. Separate information into useful categories like medical, water, gardening, etc. Color coding is a good way to find what you need quickly.

Step #5: Store Your Emergency Note Tote
Find an easy access spot to store your emergency note tote. If you have bugout bags, you should keep your tote in the same place. Keeping your tote in a designated spot will help you get to it quickly in any emergency situation – whether it’s Lights Out or Bugout!

Prepare for the Future

We place much importance on education in our society today. The biggest “What If” situations may seem improbable, but they are not impossible! The books, binders, and notebooks we collect today might be a large part of the education of our children tomorrow. In an extreme situation, they might be the only education!

Preparing food, water, and gear is very important. But let us not forget that we had to learn all of our skills from somewhere. Prepare your information so that your children and grandchildren can learn the same skills that you have now!


Thanks to Crystal Moore for participating in the [Grow] Network Writing Contest.

We’re still getting the list of prizes lined up for the Spring 2016 Writing Contest. We awarded over $2,097 in prizes for the Fall Writing Contest, including all of the following:

– A 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $382 value
– A Survival Still emergency water purification still, a $288 value
– 1 free 1 year membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, a $239 value
– A Worm Factory 360 vermicomposting system from Nature’s Footprint, a $128 value
– 2 large heirloom seed collections from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, valued at $103 each
– A Metro-Grower Elite sub-irrigation growing container from Nature’s Footprint, a $69 value
– 2 copies of the complete Home Grown Food Summit, valued at $67 each
– 3 free 3 month memberships in the [Grow] Network Core Community, valued at $59 each
– 4 copies of the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD video set, valued at $43 each
– A Bug Out Seed Kit from the Sustainable Seed Company, a $46 value
– 4 copies of the Alternatives To Dentists DVD video, valued at $33 each
– 4 copies of the Greenhouse of the Future DVD and eBook, valued at $31 each

 

Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarahumara Indians, Chapter 9

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Living Sustainably Is An Everyday Thing Here

Bernadino and his family are a group of about ten. They grow all of their own food and they live completely off grid, as do most of the Tarahumara that we met on this trip. They wear a combination of both western clothing and their own traditional styles. Their primary worldly possessions consist of a selection of hand tools, some pots and bowls, the ubiquitous hand crank grain grinder, and the Gov’t issued solar panel and light.

While Bernadino doesn’t have a lot of worldly possessions, he is a very wealthy man when it comes to the things that matter most.

bernadinos-family-group-photo-note-the-grain-grinder-at-the-right

Bernadino’s family group photo – note the grain grinder at the right

Bernadino grew up living in caves, although now they lived in a small two room house. Bernadino was a teenager before he saw his first “chuboche” (a non-Tarahumara person). Unlike most of his tribe, Bernadino was very curious and wanted to learn more about these strangers. David Holladay tells a wonderful story of how he first met Bernadino in a free presentation available at the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit. Be sure to check it out here: 2016 Home Grown Food Summit.

bernadino-dave-and-marjory-in-the-cave-where-bernadino-grew-up

Bernadino, Dave, and Marjory in the cave where Bernadino grew up

For a bit of income, Bernadino does some logging and occasionally sells some goat meat. The girls occasionally make baskets or other handicrafts for sale. But they really don’t need, or seem to want, much.

one-of-bernadinos-daughters-making-a-pine-needle-basket-the-tarahumara-women-are-famous-for-these

One of Bernadino’s daughters making a pine needle basket – the Tarahumara women are famous for these

The Harsh Nature of Tarahumara Life in the Copper Canyon

The family was still in a bit of a grieving process as Bernadino’s wife had mysteriously disappeared about nine months ago. She had gone hiking up into the mountains to gather… I’m not sure what. But she had never returned and the body was never found. Did she accidentally fall and kill herself? Did a pack of wild dogs get her? Or did she have a fatal run-in with the narcotraficantes? No one knew, and at this point, they presumed her dead.

When talking about Bernadino, his neighbors say, “He will find another good wife very soon. He is a kind man, a hard worker, and he has a fine family.” I agree. That’s what women want, in any culture, and he will surely have a new wife as soon as he is ready.

marjory-and-bernadino-enjoy-exchanging-info-on-growing-corn

Marjory and Bernadino enjoy exchanging info on growing corn

The main staples Bernadino’s family grow are the traditional ones for most of the Americas; corn, beans, and squash. Although, the bio region at the bottom of the canyon (an area we didn’t get to) is quite different – more subtropical – and the Tarahumara in those regions rely on other staples.

dave-looks-out-over-bernadinos-corn-field

Dave looks out over Bernadino’s corn field

Traditional Methods for Farming and Fertilizing

The big field where Bernadino grows his corn has a soil that is fairly rich, loamy sand. “How deep is the soil before you hit rock or hard pan?” I asked. But no one knew, and apparently it is more than deep enough. Fields are plowed in the spring using horses, and simply left fallow in the wintertime. There is no cover cropping, and of course there are no chemicals. Bernadino said that field had been farmed by the Tarahumara for hundreds of years.

two-of-bernadinos-horses-used-for-both-transportation-and-for-plowing

Two of Bernadino’s horses – used for both transportation and for plowing.

The secret to Tarahumara crop productivity is in the goat herd. Each day the goats are herded into the surrounding mountainsides to forage. They are brought back every evening to a pen. The fertility dropped in the goat pen is piled up and saved throughout the year. The manure is applied to the field and lightly tilled in with the spring plowing. When the corn is about knee high, another handful or so of manure is applied. About 70 goats is the right number for this size field.

bernadino-holding-a-handful-of-black-gold-in-front-of-his-pile-of-goat-manure-fertilizer

Bernadino holding a handful of black gold in front of his pile of goat manure fertilizer.

The responsibility for the goat herding and care is shared between the eldest daughter and son.

the-eldest-son-and-daughter-had-responsibility-for-the-goat-herd

The eldest son and daughter had responsibility for the goat herd.

Baby Goats!

berndinos-small-child-holding-a-baby-goat

Berndino’s small child holding a baby goat

Anthony especially lit up when he saw all the baby goats. So of course, we have a lot of really cute baby goat photos. Actually, we probably have too many cute baby goat photos. “My wife just loves goats,” Anthony mused. “I wonder if I show her these photos, if I can make her slightly jealous for not coming on this trip.” We both laughed at that one, knowing full well that neither of our spouses would’ve really been up for this kind of an adventure.

anthony-has-a-new-goat-friend-although-I-am-not-sure-he-really-wanted-to-be-kissed-on-the-first-date

Anthony has a new goat friend – although I am not sure he really wanted to be kissed on the first date.

Anthony is the one who coined the phrase “extreme agri-tourism” to describe this trip.

billy-goat-white

Billy goat white

Hmm, looking through the footage, we have a zillion photos of cute baby goats. I just can’t begin to get them all posted.

cute-baby-goat-photo

Cute baby goat photo

They really are sooo cute!

two-baby-goats-cuteness

Two baby goats – cuteness!

OK, these stills just aren’t showing how much fun it is to watch these baby goats playing around… So here is a short video clip.

Interestingly, nobody seemed to know how many inches or centimeters of rain they got in a year. Nor did they know how many acres the field was. Measurements like that just aren’t something they do. Bernadino told me that he generally plants toward the end of May. And they typically have some good wet months in June and July. They leave the corn in the field to dry on the stalks, and usually harvest in late September or October.

dave-marjory-and-pedro-in-corn-field-discussing-planting-and-harvesting

Dave, Marjory, and Pedro in corn field, discussing planting and harvesting

Vermin Control the Tarahumara Way

Our arrival coincided with the end of the season, and most of the harvesting had already been done. It’d been a good year and the homemade corncribs were bursting. The grain is protected from rodents by a few scraggly cats. The cats seem to be doing a good job here.

marjory-in-corn-crib-this-year-there-was-a-big-harvest

Marjory in corn crib – this year there was a big harvest.

We visited another homestead where the owner didn’t like cats. He depended on snap traps, and the vermin were everywhere. But at Bernadino’s place there are a few cats that make a good living, even if they don’t have much fat on them.

this-little-kitten-had-a-very-important-job-keeping-the-rodents-from-the-stored-grain-and-playing-with-kids

This little kitten had a very important job – keeping the rodents from the stored grain and playing with kids.

Preparing Traditional Tarahumara Corn Drinks

In addition to the wonderful conversations about growing crops, we filmed two of Bernadino’s daughters as they taught us how to make “esquite” and “pinole,” two very popular corn-based drinks. After they made each beverage they passed the big mug around for the whole family to have a drink. The cup came to me, and Anthony grinned at me wondering if I would drink it or not. Dave had already taken a big appreciative gulp. But Anthony had declined; the water had not been boiled, and it was a communal cup.

“Risky” was the unspoken word in the glance that Anthony shot me. I closed my eyes, briefly feeling the curve of the mug in my hands. I went inward and asked my body what direction I should take. I sensed it would be OK, and took some sips.

should-marjory-have-taken-a-drink-from-the-cup-of-esquite-she-will-know-in-a-few-hours

Should Marjory have taken a drink from the cup of esquite? She will know in a few hours.

If those sips were a mistake, well, I would know in a few hours.

By the way, Anthony and I put together a really good video of the girls teaching us how to make these drinks in a presentation that will be aired for free at the 2016 Homegrown Food Summit, which you can access here: 2016 Home Grown Food Summit.

anthony-films-the-making-of-special-corn-drinks

Anthony films the making of special corn drinks.

Bridging the Language Gap

The evening was so pleasant we all just stayed together talking and laughing. Some of the more amusing things were our attempts to learn each other’s languages. Pronunciations by new learners are always funny – on both sides. I pulled out of my daypack a short Tarahumara/Spanish/English translation guide that I had printed out for the trip. The eldest boy loved the document so much I gave it to him. I had a few Tarahumara words down at that point and realized I probably wasn’t going to progress much further.

bernadinos-son-loved-the-small-printed-dictionary-of-words

Bernadino’s son loved the small printed dictionary of words.

It turned out that boy was also a bit of a missionary and regularly traveled to visit the more remote Tarahumara. We realized this boy would have much greater need for our second tent than we did, so we gave it to him. His smile of delight upon receiving it was so beautiful.

We knew we had some hiking ahead of us and lightening the load in this way felt right. Although I admit, just as when we gave away the first tent to the Tarahumara girl in Creel, I had that nagging feeling about just how useful that untested (and inexpensive) equipment would be.

I suppose a better question might have been, would we be in need of that tent? But you know, that just didn’t cross my mind at the time. (I know my husband will cringe when he reads how easily and thoughtlessly I let go of the equipment he insisted I take for our protection. Sigh… sorry Hon.)

As we headed back across the cornfields to Afren’s home where we were sleeping, our thoughts turned to tomorrow’s activities. Afren had been successful in arranging for some of the more wild Tarahumara runners to come for an interview with us. And they would give a demonstration run for us to film. Would these men be the real deal, or just some guys from town dressed up in traditional clothing?

And how would we know the difference?


This article is Chapter 9 in the series “Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarhumara Indians.” You can read the rest of the series here:

Chapter 1: Extreme Agri-Tourism
Chapter 2: Hard Traveling
Chapter 3: The Tarhumara Girls School
Chapter 4: How To Lose 30 Pounds In 10 Seconds
Chapter 5: Gunfights Don’t Usually Last That Long…
Chapter 6: The Vomit Comet Through Tarahumara Country
Chapter 7: Don’t Ever Do This When Traveling In Strange Territory
Chapter 8: Nice Legs Really Scare Tarahumara Men
Chapter 9: Living Sustainably Is An Everyday Thing Here
• Chapter 10: COMING SOON

 

Strike Black Gold with the Worm Inn

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Worm Castings as Organic Fertilizer

Worm castings are one of the finest organic fertilizers you could hope for. They’re great for adding to planting holes and potting soil. They’re great for starting seeds. They’re great for making compost tea. And if you keep your own worms – you know right where your vermicompost comes from. The only things that goes into your worm castings are your own kitchen scraps, and the bedding of your choice (I use shredded paper and corrugated cardboard).

It’s so simple… Put worms, bedding, and scraps in the worm bin – wait a few months – and voila! You and your worms have created a fresh, organic, homemade fertilizer – as good as any you could buy in a store. And you’ve kept a big heap of kitchen scraps, shipping boxes, and junk mail out of the landfill; creating something useful in the process.

This is why worm bins are so popular among gardeners.

Common Problems with Homemade Worm Bins

The most common problem with homemade worm bins is a lack of ventilation. Without air flow, worm bins get wet quickly, and potentially become anaerobic (you don’t want this). When a worm bin becomes anaerobic, it stinks – literally. The worms die off, and you probably have to start over from scratch. I’ve seen many attempts at solving this ventilation problem. Most involve drilling many holes in the bin itself, or installing a custom screen or louver in the wall of the bin. Sometimes these “quick fixes” work, but sometimes they don’t.

Jerry Gach is the guy who solved this problem once and for all. Jerry is better known as “The Worm Dude,” and he designed a new worm bin called the Worm Inn.

the-worm-inn

The Worm Inn

The Worm Inn is designed specifically to maximize the amount of air that is available inside the worm bin. It is made of breathable material, suspended up off the ground, and the “lid” is made of a screen material. The result is the most breathable, well-ventilated worm bin ever.

The Worm Inn is also designed as a “continuous flow” system, meaning you put your scraps in the top, and you harvest castings from the bottom. This design partially eliminates the time consuming task of separating worms from castings when you harvest your vermicompost.

These features make the Worm Inn more functional, and easier to use, than any other worm bin I’ve tested. And this is why the Worm Inn has quickly become the vessel of choice for worm composters – online and around the world.

[Click Here to Download the Worm Inn Product Brochure]

Order Your Worm Inn From the [Grow] Network

We got in touch with Jerry and worked out a deal to offer the Worm Inn to members of the [Grow] Network at a discount. You can pick one up today for $64.99 + shipping. If you shop around, you’ll find these advertised on Amazon and other sites for $90 or more.

There is an optional stand kit, which consists of 8 PVC fittings, and 8 large zip ties. You will need to supply 3 lengths of 3/4″ PVC pipe (8 foot length) to build the stand kit. If you prefer to build your own stand from wood, PVC, or some other material – just don’t add the optional stand kit when you order.

Click Here to Order the Worm Inn

International shipping costs will depend on the destination. Select international shipping when you check out, and we will contact you to confirm shipping rates before your order is processed. A percentage of any sales made through this promotion will go to the [Grow] Network.

 

Hand Washing vs the Dishwasher – Which is Better?

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Is it Better to Hand Wash or Use the Dishwasher?

Cooking from scratch is an integral part of preparing meals from your home food pantry. Unfortunately, cooking from scratch also means extra dirty dishes, pots and pans! Recently I read an article on the U.S. Government’s ENERGY STAR web site that claimed, “If you wash dishes by hand you are wasting more then just time…” (https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=dishwash.pr_handwash_dishwash; January 31, 2016)

I thought I would double-check this claim, which is based on the ideas that using the dishwasher saves money and time, provides better cleaning results, saves energy and water, and so helps to save the environment. This caught my attention because while today’s dishwashers use less water than older models, they also run longer to make up for using less water. For example, our new dishwasher uses 2.5 – 6.4 gallons of water to run a load instead of the 7.0 gallons our old dishwasher used. However, our new dishwasher runs nearly an hour longer at 130 – 135 minutes per load instead of 76 minutes! What’s more, run time estimates assume that the hot water arrives in the dishwasher already heated to 120 degrees F. If the water arrives at a cooler temperature, our new dishwasher runs even longer to heat the water before washing.

The Cost of Running the Dishwasher

The yellow energy tag that came with our dishwasher states that we can expect to spend $25 a year on electricity and/or natural gas if we run four normal loads of dishes per week. This works out to around $0.12 per load for electricity and/or natural gas, assuming that our hot water supply consistently delivers water at the required 120 degrees F. For our calculations, we assume that normal loads use around 5 gallons of water since we only run full loads. A quick look at our utility rates shows that the cost for 5 gallons of water and sewer is currently $0.03 in our region. This means that we can reasonably estimate a cost of around $0.15 per load to run the new dishwasher.

If conserving water is the most important thing, washing dishes by hand can conserve heated water as effectively as a dishwasher if about the same amount of heated water is used for either approach. When this condition is met, washing dishes by hand will always save energy over running the dishwasher for two reasons; (1) washing dishes by hand eliminates the use of electricity to run the dishwasher and (2) hardly anyone will hand wash dishes in water as hot as 120 degrees F! Most people like dish washing temperatures to be similar to the temperature of a hot bath, around 100 degrees F. This second reason is often overlooked.

The Cost of Hand Washing Dishes

If the groundwater is at 60 degrees F, this means we heat the water by 40 degrees F to hand wash dishes instead of heating it 60 degrees F to wash dishes in the dishwasher. Using the calculations at the “Ask Mr Electricity” web site, we estimate that it takes us around $0.06 to heat 5 gallons of water 40 degrees. This, plus the costs of water and sewer adds up to around $0.09 per load to hand wash dishes. (http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/waterheaters-figures.html; January 31, 2016)

Following the process outlined below, we have found that we can meet the lower water consumption goal. We use dishpans to limit water use and rarely rinse dishes under a running faucet. Sometimes we use heated tap water, but an even better option is to use water from our rain barrels that is heated in our solar ovens.

dishpans-for-hand-washing-dishes

Dishpans for hand washing dishes

Comparing Hand Washing vs the Dishwasher

Are the dishes washed in the dishwasher cleaner than those washed by hand, as the web site claims? Well, we don’t leave bits of food behind when washing dishes by hand. That is the reason why so many people rinse dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. We use vinegar in the rinse water to help get dishes squeaky clean. We use bleach if needed to sanitize the dishes, whereas it takes extra energy to run a dishwasher’s sanitize cycle.

Are there any hidden costs that the web site does not account for? Last I checked, cheap white vinegar, bleach and dish washing liquid cost much less than dishwasher detergent and rinse aides. The government website also fails to mention that a dishwasher is an expensive appliance to purchase! It could take decades to recoup the cost of a new dishwasher, and I doubt if a new model will last that long. Dishpans are cheap!

Will using the dishwasher save time? Not if we have to wait 2 hours to run the last load of the day before turning in! We can hand wash a large load of dishes in close to the time it takes to rinse and load them into a dishwasher, and have a nice chat with family or friends while doing it.

And so, contrary to the ENERGY STAR web site, we have concluded that washing dishes by hand is still much preferred to running the dishwasher, as long as a little attention is paid to the process. My simple cost comparison below assumes that one load of dishes is washed each day. However, when you are processing and preserving food, you may need to do several loads in a day – further adding to the savings. And even better savings can be had if you are able to use harvested rain water and heat that water in a solar oven!

Estimated Yearly Cost for Washing Dishes (7 Loads Per Week)

1. Dishwasher, Normal Cycle, Heated Rinse, No Dry Cycle
(Not including the cost of detergent, rinse aide, or the dishwasher for that matter!)
$55.00

2. Washing Dishes by Hand using Tap Water
(Not including the cost of dishwashing liquid and vinegar, dishpans or water heaters.)
$33.00

3. Washing Dishes by Hand using Rain Barrel Water and Solar Ovens
(Not including the cost of dishwashing liquid and vinegar, dishpans or solar ovens.)
$0.00

Instructions to Hand Wash Dishes using Tap Water

Materials
• 2 dishpans (15 quart capacity rectangular plastic pans)
• Dishcloth
• 2 tablespoons dish washing liquid
• ½ cup cheap white vinegar (bought by the gallon)
• 5 gallons comfortably hot water

Instructions
1. Fill one dishpan with 2 gallons of comfortably hot water and add the dish soap.
2. Fill the second dishpan with 3 gallons of comfortably hot water and add the vinegar.
3. Wash the dishes in the first dishpan; rinse in the second.
4. Use the dishwasher racks as a dish drainer and let dishes air dry.
5. When finished, hang the dishcloth to dry on the faucet or some other convenient place. Then rinse the dishpans and set them aside out of the sink to dry.

Instructions to Hand Wash Dishes using Rain Barrel Water and Solar Ovens

Materials
• 2 dishpans (15 quart capacity rectangular plastic pans)
• Dishcloth
• 2 tablespoons dish washing liquid
• ½ cup cheap white vinegar (bought by the gallon)
• 2 large pots to heat water
• 2 solar ovens

Instructions
1. Heat a large pan of rain water in each solar oven until the water is uncomfortably hot but not boiling. This can take some time. Be very careful when carrying the pots of heated water into the kitchen.
2. Fill one dishpan with the first pot of hot water. Add the dish soap and cool tap water as needed to make the water temperature comfortable.
3. Fill the second dishpan with the remaining hot water. Add the vinegar and cool tap water as needed to make the water temperature comfortable.
4. Wash the dishes in the first dishpan; rinse in the second. Wash the least dirty dishes first.
5. Use the dishwasher racks as a dish drainer and let dishes air dry.
6. When finished, hang the dishcloth to dry on the faucet or some other convenient place. Then rinse the dishpans and set them aside out of the sink to dry.

Below is pictured a load of hand washed dishes from breakfast and canning 10 pints of broth.

a-full-load-of-hand-washed-dishes

A full load of hand-washed dishes


Thanks to Lois Harper for participating in the [Grow] Network Writing Contest.

We’re still getting the list of prizes lined up for the Spring 2016 Writing Contest. We awarded over $2,097 in prizes for the Fall Writing Contest, including all of the following:

– A 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $382 value
– A Survival Still emergency water purification still, a $288 value
– 1 free 1 year membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, a $239 value
– A Worm Factory 360 vermicomposting system from Nature’s Footprint, a $128 value
– 2 large heirloom seed collections from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, valued at $103 each
– A Metro-Grower Elite sub-irrigation growing container from Nature’s Footprint, a $69 value
– 2 copies of the complete Home Grown Food Summit, valued at $67 each
– 3 free 3 month memberships in the [Grow] Network Core Community, valued at $59 each
– 4 copies of the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD video set, valued at $43 each
– A Bug Out Seed Kit from the Sustainable Seed Company, a $46 value
– 4 copies of the Alternatives To Dentists DVD video, valued at $33 each
– 4 copies of the Greenhouse of the Future DVD and eBook, valued at $31 each

 

Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarahumara Indians, Chapter 8

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Nice Legs Really Scare Tarahumara Men

“Outdoor women who do a lot of exercise and really use their muscles have such a nice shape. And you really have good legs,” Dave continued.

I was completely freaking out at this point.

Speechless.

My mind raced, “is Dave hitting on me?” Anthony was within earshot; although he was far enough away I couldn’t see the expression on his face. My vision was getting blurry. But I did see that Anthony was completely still and no longer working his camera or lenses, so I was pretty sure he was listening. Surely Dave could not be so bold, or stupid, with Anthony so close.

in-spare-moments-anthony-was-frequently-backing-up-data-the-batteries-for-this-trip-were-a-big-chunk-of-the-weight-we-carried

In spare moments Anthony was frequently backing up data. The batteries for this trip were a big chunk of the weight we carried.

All of us were happily married – to other people.

It couldn’t be that. But what?

“With the warm weather we are having, what you are wearing is probably just fine where you live…” Dave continued.

Respecting Cultural Boundaries When Traveling

I almost started breathing again with relief. Thankfully – I think I could now see where we were going with this conversation. My clothing was inappropriate for the situation. I didn’t need to look down at my cutoffs, which were not that short, but they definitely weren’t like the Tarahumara women with their long skirts. (Check out the photo where we are shelling corn in the previous post, Chapter 7 of this series; do the shorts look inappropriate to you? – ouch!)

How could I have been so thoughtless?

I flashed back to the television show in the hotel in Los Mochis with the women in short shorts (back in Chapter 1 of this series I saw something in Los Mochis that would cause me great embarrassment). And the big Corona beer poster in my home town with the sexy models with their short shorts… But those were Mexican women who lived in big cities.

I wasn’t like either of those women. But what did I look like compared to full-blooded Tarahumara Indians who lived rurally and didn’t even own television sets?

Of course Dave was right. He was probably embarrassed too. He probably didn’t want to have this conversation any more than I did.

“These Tarahumara live near the road and they have seen everything. So you are probably not offending them.” I picked up where Dave had been continuing to talk.

Well, that helped a little.

But Dave went on, “But you really do look good, and even if you don’t notice it, the men are looking at your legs. And the women see their men sneaking looks at you and it is going to cause problems in marriages…”

I screamed inside my head “Dear God, please make this man stop!”

“I’ll change clothes as soon as I get back,” I said abruptly, and probably a little too loud.

Even as I am writing this weeks later, I am freaking out emotionally. So I am going to go have a glass of my home-made elderberry wine and I’ll be back in a minute. BTW drinking a glass of red wine every day is one of the habits of the healthiest people in the world. Although I did’t see the Tarahumara with wine, they do make a home made beer.

[Check Out this Article: The Healthiest People in the World and How They Got That Way]

Fortunately at this point in the story, Lola was done filling up the jug and Pedro was shouldering the bottle to take back to the house. They seemed oblivious to our conversation.

There was a tacit agreement that when they were speaking in the Tarahumara language, we knew they were talking about us. And when we were speaking English, they knew we were talking about them. We politely ignored each other during these times. The common language was Spanish, and everybody participated in speaking Spanish as best they could. So Pedro and Lola ignoring us was par for the course.

As we walked back, Dave was saying soothing things trying and make the situation less awkward. But I couldn’t hear him. I was fighting back tears. When we got back to the house I immediately went to my room, got into long pants, and then climbed into my sleeping bag and scrunched down to the bottom so my head was covered. Then I had a good session of deep breathing and calming myself down.

Learning to Nixtamalize Corn

I eventually climbed out of my bag because the nixtamalization process was almost done and it was time for the next step. Focusing on work is always a good remedy in these situations. And I was going to have to get on with life. Nobody said anything to me and soon enough everything was back to normal. I was very careful from that point on to be aware of which culture I was in, and that I stayed within appropriate boundaries.

back-to-work-marjory-spent-quite-a-bit-of-time-on-a-grinder-milling-corn

Back to work – Marjory spent quite a bit of time on a grinder milling corn.

I am very intrigued by this nixtamalization process. And I’ve got to tell you a fascinating background story. In the 1800s many white settlers and homesteaders moved into the southeastern part of United States. They grew and used corn as their primary staple crop as had the indigenous people of that same area. But the white settlers became afflicted with the disease known as pellagra.

anthony-getting-the-video-of-lola-washing-nixtamalized-corn-in-the-stream

Anthony getting the video of Lola washing nixtamalized corn in the stream

Pellagra: Vitamin Deficiency in the Southeastern United States

Pellagra has the symptoms known as “the four Ds”: dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and death. While settlers had copied the indigenous peoples and grown corn as a staple crop, they did not copy the process by which the corn was prepared. The indigenous people did not suffer from the disease, yet the settlers did. Pellagra reached epidemic proportions in the southern United States in the early 1900s. Between 1906 and 1940 more than 3 million Americans were affected by pellagra, resulting in more than 100,000 deaths.

although-most-of-the-cooking-is-done-by-women-all-the-men-know-how-and-here-is-young-diego-learning-from-his-grandmother

Although most of the cooking is done by women, all the men know how and here is young Diego learning from his grandmother.

It turns out that the special indigenous “nixtamalization” process releases vitamins from the corn. Especially niacin (vitamin B3) and tryptophan, which were later identified to be the nutrient deficiencies that caused pellagra.

a-pot-of-corn-with-lime-simmers-on-the-wood-burning-stove

A pot of corn with lime simmers on the wood burning stove.

How did these so-called “primitive” people know to nixtamalize their corn? Where did they learn the process? Who told them how to do it? No one knows. It is quite a mystery.

The key part of the nixtamalization process is boiling the corn in a lye solution. The lye can be made from the ashes of hardwood trees, as is often done in the southeastern part of United States. Or, as in Mexico and the southwestern US, (where hardwood trees are not as easy to come by) a lye solution is made using lime.

I asked Lola where she got her lime, and she showed me a big bag of it she bought in town. Not that long ago, they used to dig special rocks and then bake them in the ground to make their lime. I really wanted to film that process too, but it took a while and we didn’t think we would be able to fit it into this trip. If I ever go back that’s one thing I definitely want to record.

Nopalitos and Nixtamalization

I believe that the nixtamalization process with lime is very important for another reason. Lime is basically calcium and because of this process the Tarahumara have a very calcium-rich diet. The Tarahumara also love to eat nopalitos, which are the pads of prickly pear. The Tarahumara were very aware that eating nopalitos was beneficial in preventing and curing diabetes. But I am not sure they knew that nopalitos also are high in oxalates. Oxalates bind up calcium in the body. I am willing to bet that eating the calcium-rich tortillas from nixtamalized corn helped offset any damage the oxalates in the nopalitos might have done. It is quite amazing how these indigenous diets that have been developed and tested over hundreds of years really have a lot of wisdom behind them.

lola-harvesting-prickly-pear

Lola harvesting prickly pear

We got some fantastic footage of Lola harvesting and cooking prickly pear pads, a.k.a. nopalitos. Note: if you want to see a detailed video of the process of making tortillas, tamales, pinole, and nopalitos, check out the presentation at the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit. In that free presentation you can see for yourself how the nixtamalization is done – it isn’t oblivious how they could have discovered this, is it?

And while Dave had given me quite a shock that morning when he revealed how upsetting my bare legs were to Tarahumara men, within the next two days, I would inadvertently have as big a shock for him.


This article is Chapter 8 in the series “Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarhumara Indians.” You can read the rest of the series here:

Chapter 1: Extreme Agri-Tourism
Chapter 2: Hard Traveling
Chapter 3: The Tarhumara Girls School
Chapter 4: How To Lose 30 Pounds In 10 Seconds
Chapter 5: Gunfights Don’t Usually Last That Long…
Chapter 6: The Vomit Comet Through Tarahumara Country
Chapter 7: Don’t Ever Do This When Traveling In Strange Territory
Chapter 8: Nice Legs Really Scare Tarahumara Men
• Chapter 9: COMING SOON

 

Everything That’s Right with the World Today

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Bad news is everywhere you look. On your television, on your radio, and on your computer screen. Frankly, it can be overwhelming sometimes.

But nobody told that to the folks over at Rodale. They just announced the honorees of the first ever Rodale 100. These are 100 inspiring people, projects, and organizations that created positive change in 2015 with unique accomplishments and innovative ideas.

If you read one of these stories each day, you’ll have a positive pick-me-up that lasts 100 days!

The Rodale 100 – Inspiring Good News from Around the World

So take a break from the negative news and read about these people who are doing something positive to improve their local, national, and global communities. There are many inspiring stories here…

The honorees are divided into 5 categories:

Social Outreach
Fitness
Health
Food
Environment

You can see all 100 of the honorees here: The Rodale 100.

Selecting the Honorees for the Rodale 100

To build this list, Rodale put together a panel of journalists, activists, and experts. Each honoree has been vetted by an expert panel, with an emphasis on these 3 factors:

• groundbreaking innovations that revolutionize how we see the world while driving others in the industry to embrace creativity;
• a positive impact that affects changes on a local, national and/or global scale;
• a displayed commitment to the welfare of human beings, animals, and the environment.

Who Made the List

There are many familiar names on the list, including some Hollywood actors and actresses who have taken on meaningful pet projects, like Matt Damon’s water.org. And there are some big companies who are sponsoring various projects, like Subaru, who in 2015 became the first car manufacturer in U.S. history to achieve zero landfill status. And there are some really great looking nonprofit projects on this list that I hadn’t seen before.

There’s even a U.S. Politician. No kidding. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio is a foodie, and he made the list because of his book, The Real Food Revolution: Healthy Eating, Green Groceries and the Return of the American Family Farm.

I was especially happy to see that Perry Alagappan made the list in the Health category. If you missed the story about Perry’s new water filter, see this article – One Young Man Tackles a Huge Global Problem. Go, Perry!

And there’s another notable youth on the list, as well – Olivia Hallisey is a 17 year old from Connecticut who invented a new way to test for ebola virus. You can see a short video with Olivia below. These kids are making me feel like a serious slacker!

I hope you enjoy looking over all the different projects on this uplifting list, and I hope it helps distract you from the negative news for a short while.

 

Growing Cole Crops – Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and More

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Everything You Need to Know About Growing Cole Crops (or Brassicas)

We’ve had good luck with Brassicas this year, for the most part. At this time of year they’re one of the few things we can harvest. This is especially true in my garden this year. We’re just getting back into the swing of things after taking a few months off. So, every little thing we can harvest is much appreciated right now.

We haven’t put much effort into any of the Brassicas. We sprayed Bt once (a couple of ounces in a handheld spray bottle), applied a little fertilizer, and applied seaweed twice when the temperature got very low.

And we covered/uncovered the plants a few times. The recommended time window for transplanting Brassicas in our region just opened, but we got an early start. Which meant we had to cover the plants with floating row cover a few times on very cold nights. No big deal.

We’re glad we started early because broccoli, cauliflower, and kale have been finding their way to the table – and a few cabbages are close behind. We stagger the planting dates for Brassicas for a slow but steady harvest, so we’ve started a few rounds already, and we’ll do one or two more plantings before it gets too hot and the harlequin bugs arrive to wipe them out.

Strong Seedlings – Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Cabbage

We had taken a few months off from actively gardening, while we focused on a more important project. During the downtime, I made some changes to the beds and pathways, and revitalized the soil with compost tea and some other goodies.

Then, as soon as we finished planting in the fall, our little garden got hit with a torrential downpour and most of the direct-seeded seedlings were drowned. I was out of town but my wife described it to me over the phone like this, “There’s a waterfall in the garden! Oh no, there are many waterfalls in the garden!”

Calendula, lettuce, spinach, and beets all disappeared. But the Brassicas hung in there and they ended up doing just fine. Plants really win me over when they overcome adversity and/or neglect and then go on to flourish – especially when they feed my family. I love tough plants!

fresh-broccoli-growing-in-the-garden

Fresh Broccoli Growing in the Garden

Easy Gardening with Cole Crops

While I was reading through some information about Brassicas, I came across this helpful PDF from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service at Texas A&M:

Read and/or Download the Original PDF File here: Easy Gardening – Cole Crops

This document contains some good information about all the basics you need to know for growing Brassicas. And it’s oriented toward the home grower. Some of you may be thinking, “It’s crazy to be talking about cabbage right now – there’s snow on the ground.”

Of course, the varieties mentioned, the planting dates recommended, and some of the pests mentioned are all very region-specific. You should seek out planting dates and recommended varieties from your local extension service.

A Fresh Market Grower’s Guide to Growing Cole Crops

This guide is from the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. This document is oriented to the market grower, rather than the small-scale home gardener.

Read and/or Download the Original PDF File here: Growing Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, and Other Cole Crops in Wisconsin – A Guide for Fresh-Market Growers

Now, here we’re on the other end of the spectrum in terms of planting dates. Just as it would be crazy to transplant broccoli in Wisconsin on February 1st, it would also be crazy to transplant broccoli in Texas on June 1st. Talk to your local extension service about planting dates – or use historical average temperatures for your area to make an educated guess.

This publication is definitely oriented towards a larger growing operation – it’s meant for farms instead of gardens. But there’s some great information here about growing conditions, and some in-depth information about pests and diseases. And there’s an extensive “Additional Reading” list at the end.

Controlling Pest and Disease in Brassicas (or Cole Crops)

When it comes to dealing with pests and diseases, you have to “pick your poison,” so to speak. According to the Texas A&M publication, for example, you can deal with aphids by using pyrethrins – or garlic juice. In the Wisconsin publication you can deal with black rot by using calcium hypochlorite – or hot water.

Generally, try to choose the mildest solution you can find, unless your situation calls for something more drastic. In a small garden, you can probably control an aphid infestation with nothing more than a pressurized stream of water. Do some searching and you’ll likely find good solutions that are natural and sustainable.

And finally, when you’ve got pests or disease, your best course of action is usually to contact your local extension office. The specific pests and diseases you’re likely to have are much different depending on where you live. And the solutions that worked for someone in another area might not work well in your area. Your local extension service should be able to point you in the right direction – and then if you don’t like their recommendations, you can research more natural options on your own.

There is one thing that every source I checked agrees on – definitely use crop rotation when growing Brassicas. Brassicas are heavy feeders, and many of their pests and diseases are soil-borne. So rotate your Brassicas around the garden, and try not to use the same planting space again for several years.


Many thanks to Joseph Masabni, Assistant Professor and Extension Horticulturist; and Patrick Lillard, Extension Assistant, The Texas A&M System of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Many thanks to K.A. Delahaut, Horticulture Outreach Specialist for the Integrated Pest Management Program and A.C. Newenhouse, Horticulture Outreach Specialist for the Wisconsin Healthy Farmers, Healthy Profits Project of the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension.

 

A Simple Deterrent for Deer

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An Inexpensive and Easy Solution for Browsing Deer

About 10 years ago, we had a big vegetable garden that was about 40’x 40′. I planted several rows of bush beans in the garden that year and I got a bit obsessive, every day watering and waiting for those first sprouts of green to appear.

One morning I went to the garden, and there they were! I am always enthralled to see plants come up from seed! It’s such a beautiful and miraculous thing to watch.

The next morning, I went out to my garden and what did I see? Every single bean sprout was nipped to the ground. And there were deer tracks leading to and from those rows of beans! I was about fit to be tied!

a-family-of-deer-browsing-for-breakfast

A family of deer browsing for breakfast

We were headed to church that morning, so I steamed off! Once I got to church, I was talking to some of the ladies about the deer that had destroyed my young garden. One of the ladies told me about a secret trick she used to keep the deer out of her garden…

Using Rubber Snakes in the Garden

She told me to buy rubber snakes and place them out on the ground in the garden. I’d never heard of such a thing, but after church I went straight out and found them at the dollar store. They were inexpensive, and I bought several of them.

I went home and replanted those beans, in the same rows where I had planted them the first time. And I placed the snakes all around on the ground in the garden.

As soon as I saw the new beans sprout up, I made sure to place a few rubber snakes nearby on those rows.

The next morning, I went out and I was shocked by what I saw. The beans were still growing. There were fresh deer tracks heading toward the bean plants, but they turned away a few feet from my rows of beans and exited the garden!

I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least! From that day on, I have used rubber snakes in my garden every year.


Thanks to Linda Bacon for participating in the [Grow] Network Writing Contest.

We’re still getting the list of prizes lined up for the Spring 2016 Writing Contest. We awarded over $2,097 in prizes for the Fall Writing Contest, including all of the following:

– A 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $382 value
– A Survival Still emergency water purification still, a $288 value
– 1 free 1 year membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, a $239 value
– A Worm Factory 360 vermicomposting system from Nature’s Footprint, a $128 value
– 2 large heirloom seed collections from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, valued at $103 each
– A Metro-Grower Elite sub-irrigation growing container from Nature’s Footprint, a $69 value
– 2 copies of the complete Home Grown Food Summit, valued at $67 each
– 3 free 3 month memberships in the [Grow] Network Core Community, valued at $59 each
– 4 copies of the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD video set, valued at $43 each
– A Bug Out Seed Kit from the Sustainable Seed Company, a $46 value
– 4 copies of the Alternatives To Dentists DVD video, valued at $33 each
– 4 copies of the Greenhouse of the Future DVD and eBook, valued at $31 each