This State Just Banned Carrying A Gun While Drinking A Single Can Of Beer

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Utah Bans Carrying A Gun While Drinking A Single Can Of Beer

Simply carrying a gun after drinking one beer or one glass of wine soon will be a crime in one American state.

That’s because a new law in Utah cracking down on drunk driving also might, by extension, restrict gun rights in the state.

A new law, HB 155, lowers the blood alcohol limit for driving in Utah from .08 percent to .05 percent,  making it the toughest such law in the nation, The Washington Post reported. The lowest threshold in other states is .08.

Governor Gary R. Herbert signed the measure into law on March 23 despite opposition from the restaurant, alcohol and tourism industries, as well as from some gun rights groups.

The new law, combined with another part of Utah criminal code, has a major impact on gun owners.

The Self-Defense And Hunting Weapon That Doesn’t Require A Firearms License!

Section 528 of Title 76 and Chapter 10 of the Utah Criminal Code states: “Any person who carries a dangerous weapon while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance … is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.”

“Under the influence” is now defined as .05 percent.

“To understand how low this limit is, consider that a 100-pound woman would most likely reach this level after one beer and as such would be unable to carry a hunting knife, firearm, or even a stun gun,” a statement from the Utah Shooting Sports Council (USSC) reads. The USSC urged Herbert to veto the law. “… The restrictions on carrying a dangerous weapon would apply at all times and everywhere including your home.”

USCC emphasized that it “is not good practice to be shooting while drinking, nor do we believe that one should be allowed to carry a firearm while drunk.”

“However, there is a big difference between actively shooting a firearm while drunk and simply carrying a firearm or hunting knife when one has had a beer,” USCC said. “We believe that a person should not lose the ability to exercise their right of self-defense for having a small amount of alcohol in their system.”

The American Beverage Institute ran an ad in some newspapers reading, “Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation.”

Similar laws eventually may spread. The Post reported that bills lowering the blood alcohol level to .05 percent were proposed in Washington state and Hawaii but failed.

Herbert did not address the gun issue but pointed to a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism that found, “A large body of creditable research over many years has clearly shown that impairment of tasks necessary for safe driving begins at levels as low as 0.05 percent.”

France, Italy, Russia and Australia all have .05 limits.

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If You Run Out Of Ammo, What Would You Do? Learn How To Make Your Own! Read More Here.

8 Overlooked Ways To Make Thousands Of Extra Dollars Homesteading

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8 Overlooked Ways To Make Thousands Of Extra Dollars Off-Grid

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Any homesteading off-gridder knows that income from selling produce isn’t always sufficient. Costs for the building and repair of farm structures, purchasing additional livestock, veterinary expenses, real estate taxes — and everything else in between – can leave a homesteader struggling to keep afloat.

If making extra money is in your bucket list right now, then here’s a few things you could consider. The key is to think outside the box. Look for new or unusual needs in your community, and find ways to meet them. Keep an eye out for opportunities that may come up. If you start thinking like an entrepreneur and marketing like a pro – and of course, delivering extraordinary goods – customers will soon be knocking at your door.

And with a little hard work, you can be making thousands of extra dollars.

8 Overlooked Ways To Make Thousands Of Extra Dollars Off-Grid

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1. Conduct farm demos and nature tours. Give talks and workshops. Share farming and bushcraft skills with schools, scout clubs, youth and church groups. Gather all your pets and farm animals for a weekend petting zoo. Hold a fall festival, complete with a pumpkin patch, games and bounce houses. Train large goats to pull a cart, and offer kids goat-drawn buggy rides! Do hiking, horse-riding, ATV, mountain-biking and snowmobile tours – complete with a picnic of your family’s specialty meal. If you have wooded acreage, consider building platforms on treetops with hanging bridges or ziplines between them. Offer paintball games. The amount of money people are willing to pay for unique outdoor experiences can be astonishing, especially in areas where there are scenic spots.

2. Rent your land. Depending on the size, features and proximity of your land to towns, industry and tourist attractions, you could rent a portion of it for different uses. Camping. Firing range. Outdoor team-building workshops. Location for film and photo shoots.

“The Big Book Of Off The Grid Secrets” — Every Homesteader Needs A Copy!

Parking or storage for trailers, ATVs, snowmobiles or boats. Billboard space, if it’s near a freeway. Solar farms and wind turbines. Airstrips or heliports. If you live next to other farms, consider leasing portions of your property as extra cropland or grazing area, seasonally or annually.

8 Overlooked Ways To Make Thousands Of Extra Dollars Off-Grid

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3. Rent your structures. Rent your barn for special events like workshops, parties, Thanksgiving banquets and wedding receptions. There’s also good money to be made in leasing a room or cottage for a bed-and-breakfast stay or a winter holiday retreat. Depending on where you live, the attractions in your area and the recreation that can be done, you could lease a small cabin for a good fee. Potential clients are individuals or couples looking to get away from the city on weekends; a writer, theologian or doctorate student wanting peace and solitude to write and meditate; a young family looking to familiarize their children with the outdoors. If you have a camper, an old shipping container or a yurt that you had used before moving into your current home, you could use that for starters. Then if business grows, you can start thinking of building a bigger cottage that can host bigger families. Marketing is key — register with your local tourism board and with AirBnB.com.

4. Offer specialized services. Carpentry, welding, plumbing, car maintenance and farm equipment repair are trades that are always needed in rural areas. So are trucking and hauling goods like hay, lumber, livestock and all kinds of produce. Don’t think it’s too late for you to acquire any new skills, too. If there’s an opportunity, learn new trades that can be marketable in your area: butchery, tanning, brick-making, weaving, blacksmithing, shoeing horses. Even simple things like tree-pruning and brush-clearing are chores people are either too busy or lazy to do, and would rather others do for them.

5. Teach art, sports or a special skill. Do you have a unique talent others might want to learn? Even with this age of You Tube tutorials, there may be students in your area looking for teachers that can offer specialized, on-the-spot demonstration — without having to be licensed instructors.

Want Out Of The Rat-Race But Need A Steady Stream Of Income?

They may just want mentoring or coaching. If you’re great with people and are passionate about your craft, consider teaching it. Photography. Martial arts. Piano. Massage therapy. Herbalism. Home-brewing. Permaculture. The list goes on and on.

8 Overlooked Ways To Make Thousands Of Extra Dollars Off-Grid

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6. Do professional service online. There are dozens of websites where you could sign up for part or full-time contracts: Flexjobs, Upwork, Fiverr, People per Hour, and Guru. These are location-independent jobs you can do whenever and wherever, if you have fast, reliable Internet. Most of these sites allow you to create a personal profile where you can outline your credentials and provide samples of your work. Once you clinch a few good, loyal clients, you’ll be good:

  • Any design work: graphics arts, photo/video editing, animation, architecture, website design, apps, furniture, clothes.
  • Writing: blogs, e-books, product reviews, newsletters, technical reports.
  • Translating.
  • Virtual assistant: data entry, online research, making reservations. (Check FancyHands.com for jobs like this.)
  • Transcribing.
  • Web maintenance or managing someone’s social media account.
  • Affiliate marketing.
  • Bookkeeping, accounting.
  • Legal and financial consulting.
  • You don’t need a teaching degree to help young or beginning students to learn a new subject you’ve already mastered. You can even teach English to new migrants or overseas students.
  • Music composition.

7. Make and sell crafts. Do you fancy refurbishing furniture? Repurposing old doors, windows and used pallets into unique new home decor? How about making scented candles, hand-spun yarn, pottery and faux jewelry? You can supply these to your local craft store or sell online, through Etsy and eBay. Or, you can start your own online store – it’s a lot cheaper and easier than buying or renting commercial space.

8. Sell non-edible farm produce. Sell goods that are off-shoots of what you already grow and do in your homestead. Timber. Firewood. Medicinal herbs. Fresh or dried flowers. Exotic ornamental plants. Vermicompost as potting soil. Worms for worm bins. Soaps and essential oils. Rabbits, dogs or birds that others can keep as pets.

It’s Easy To Make Extra Money With Your Truck!

8 Overlooked Ways To Make Thousands Of Extra Dollars Off-GridWith some of the above, you’ll have to check local and federal laws for restrictions that may apply. And particularly for those that involve some level of risk, you’d do best to include a liability insurance.

Go the extra mile on advertising. Capitalize on social media, telling everyone in your life that you’re in business. Inform your neighbors and the local chamber of commerce. Network with affiliate industries. Leave posters at the community center, church bulletin board, local college, library, grocery store, pet stores, veterinary supply outlets, even on your vehicle.

Focus on one business first, grow it, and then move on to another as time and capacity permit. Each small venture potentially could have a snowball effect. If you have a spouse or older children that you could recruit, ask them to pitch in. You’ll be establishing a successful family enterprise sooner than you think.

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

References:

Prepper Hack: How Harvesting Snow Creates a Long-Term Water Supply

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ReadyNutrition Readers, I have written a few articles about water catchment systems for your home (via rainfall), and also how to purify water/set up a disinfecting station.  One of the problems faced by many over the last several years is that a number of states have put into place laws that forbid you to take the very rainwater from off of your roof.  So how to put into place a water catchment system with that kind of nonsense in place?  Well, that’s a tough call.

They didn’t say anything about the water that has already fallen, now, have they?

Run for the nearest feed store and/or hardware store to secure a few of those 45-55-gallon plastic drums that can be closed off at the top.  The kind that I have found that are really good are a brown barrel with a gasketed lid and an “O” ring that screws the lid in place, almost akin to a gigantic mason jar.  They’re brown, a dark color that will absorb the sun’s light.  You load these guys up with snow and let the warm weather do the rest.  As the snow melts, you periodically add more snow to the barrels.

Here, this is the age of techno-wizardry.  Most of the readers have cell-phones with cameras and other do-dads to record virtually everything that happens in life, no matter how truly insignificant.  Well, here’s a function that actually bears significance.  Take pictures of yourself loading up the barrels with snow.  They don’t have any laws in place that say anything about harvesting snow off of the ground: after all, look how much they spend of your money every winter for snow removal.

How to Assist the Snow to Melt

You can also help the melting process out by positioning these barrels in an area optimal to catching the sun.  You can use ice as well…gathering ice is actually even more productive than the snow in terms of yield.  It will be “shaky” for a little while, as the nighttime temperatures have not come up above freezing in much of the country; however, you’ll be able to get a jumpstart on things and have full containers long before that precious government-controlled rain starts to fall regularly in the spring.

Camouflage Your Water Supply

It is an “outside of the box” idea.  Sure, if you have a well, there is no problem with your water supply…as of yet.  It couldn’t hurt, though, to prep by storing about 150 to 200 gallons, courtesy of Frosty the Snowman if you’re able.  The big thing you want to do with a water point is to camouflage it.  This will protect you from incredible, snooping, malicious neighbors who may want to turn you in.  Remember: the same neighbor that would blow the whistle on you for having a water point against “neighborhood regulations” is the same one who would beg and cry at your door for water when the EMP strikes and takes out those electric water pumps.

Best thing to do is hide or shield them behind something, while yet figuring out how to do it without blocking the sun that enables them to melt.  You may not be able to fill up a whole barrel, but if you even get 4 barrels half full, then you can consolidate them into 2, and keep the remaining 2 in reserve for tough times to come.  You have to think outside of the box, and you have to protect your water supply from the snoopy Scooby’s in the ‘hood.  It’s part of your preps: you need to have a water supply that is not threatened with inability to use it because of loss of power.  You keep that powder dry, melt that snow for a water supply, and let G-men and neighbors just walk on by!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Masked Vigilantes Are Repairing A City’s Potholes – And Officials Are Upset

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Masked Vigilantes Are Repairing A City’s Potholes – And Officials Are Upset

Residents of one American city can thank an unlikely group of “masked superheroes” for road repairs.

The masked, self-described anarchists in Portland, Ore., are dressed as ninjas and filling potholes while winning popular gratitude, KGW-TV reported. Their efforts have earned the praise of residents and opposition from the Oregon city’s government.

“Successful preliminary action today. We patched five potholes on SE Salmon, between 37th and 39th,” the group, known as Portland Anarchist Road Care, posted on its Facebook page recently.

Goofy Gadget Can Jump-Start Your Car — And Charge Your Smartphone!

Masked Vigilantes Are Repairing A City’s Potholes – And Officials Are Upset But city officials want the group to stop.

“It’s not safe for them because there is traffic on the streets and they can potentially put themselves at risk and the public at risk if the repair isn’t done properly,” Dylan Rivera of the Portland Bureau of Transportation said of the anarchists.

Some citizens, though, love what the vigilantes are doing. The anarchists post pictures of themselves, masked, repairing potholes.

“They don’t need to be masked,” resident Tom Satchell said of the anarchists. “They’re doing a great job.”

Rivera said the city has fixed more than 900 potholes so far this year and has crews out working on the problem on every sunny day. It is not clear how many potholes the anarchists have repaired.

Looking For A Safer Country? Read More Here.

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Post-Disaster Wellness: Why Drinking Alcohol in High Stress Environments Should Be Avoided

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Hey there, ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals!  We are going to discuss how alcohol affects your physical training, and what physiological effects you must take into consideration.  Please understand: I am not “demonizing” alcohol or alcoholic beverages, and am not scoffing or scorning anyone who partakes in them in a normal, healthy manner.  Indeed, the scope of this article is not “moralistic,” nor am I a spokesperson for abstinence.  The intent is to explain how alcohol diminishes your recovery time and performance regarding your physical training.

You, the readers are a very demographically-diverse group from all walks of life and all ages, some with special health care needs.  I implore all of you to analyze your status and with your doctor come up with an exercise program for yourself.


Physical training and exercise are your best tools for preparation, along with proper study, diet, and rest.


Why You Should Avoid Drinking Alcohol in High Stress Environments

That being said, why am I writing about alcohol affecting training?  I do so because the proverbial “two drinks,” as well as the “after dinner drink,” and the “after work drink” are pervasive in our society and culture.  The Super Bowl just finished up, with hardly anything in the ads for your physical training, but a barrage from Budweiser to drink beer.  Consider me a quiet voice on the sideline, little more than a whisper in your ear recommending the physical training.

Alcohol deposits fat in your midsection, and also has a wasting effect on the thigh and gluteal muscles.  There was a study in 2000 done published in the Journal of Applied Physiology that found cortisol (a hormone we discussed in previous articles) rose 61% when alcohol was consumed after strenuous physical activity.  The reason for this significance: many people have physically-demanding jobs and wish to “wind down” with a beer or two, or a shot after work.

The cortisol (usually produced with stress) has an adverse effect on muscle maintenance and muscle growth.  See, alcohol has an effect that has gravitated man toward it throughout history: it holds similar effects to the drug Valium (or Diazepam, if you prefer) with calming, anxiety-relieving effects.  It also releases dopamine and endorphins within the first 20 minutes of consumption, substances that enhance pleasure when released by the brain…and in this effect, alcohol is almost akin to opium.

With low doses, alcohol increases stimulation in certain brain areas and the central nervous system, leading to feelings of euphoria.  So, with all of this, you may be thinking…shouldn’t I be taking an occasional drink of alcohol in conjunction with training?  The answer is an unequivocal “No!” on all counts.

Alcohol has the ability to severely depress brain function by interfering with the ion channels needed to fire neurons…that is, allow your brain to communicate to and with other important parts of your body…such as respiration, heart, motor control, and so forth.  Far from being a “sleep aid,” it can rob you of REM.  No, not the band from the late 80’s to early 90’s…but Rapid-Eye Movement sleep.  Alcohol can hurt your sleeping habits.  To say nothing of your love life.

Chronic consumption of alcohol is a libido-killer in both men and women.  It seriously lowers testosterone levels in men, and causes the testicles to shrink, as well as promoting impotence.  If you read the article I recently wrote for men on the importance of maintaining healthy levels of testosterone with weight and physical training, you’ll understand just how negative these alcohol-induced reductions are.

Alcohol increases the amount of recovery time that you need to heal and restore your muscles after hard physical labor or exercise.  Your liver works hard to excrete the alcohol and the toxins associated with it.  A substantial amount of energy is also needed to break down the molecules and process them.  If you work out for an hour in the gym and then go and have a beer or a glass of wine, you have just ruined or severely cramped the gains you may have experienced.

Tissue repair and the uptake of amino acids are also severely hampered by alcohol consumption.  Studies in the past have shown that a glass of wine will lower the triglycerides in the bloodstream and help prevent blood clotting.  This is true, but guess what?  So will a regular exercise program!  You can lower those triglycerides and build yourself up!  Alcohol also tends to reduce the uptake of essential vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin C and calcium with long-term consumption.

Will it kill you or cripple you to have a drink every now and then, such as once a month?  Consult with your doctor first, but it probably will not harm you.  I still stand by the fact that you don’t really need it, and it can cause your training and physical fitness regimen to suffer.  I haven’t even mentioned the other negative effects that heavy drinking can cause, but you can figure them out if you haven’t experienced them yourself.

To summarize, alcohol has its uses and is not a “villain,” and neither are people who consume it responsibly villains.  Just keep in mind that this piece is not designed to “excoriate” alcohol, but to keep you informed of the negative effects it can have on your physical fitness training when it is consumed.  Feel stressed?  Put on the bag gloves and beat up the heavy bag for ten or fifteen minutes.  If you still feel that you need a drink, well, then down a big shake full of amino acids…that’ll serve you better!  Stay healthy, make gains, and keep in that good fight!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Explorers Ate It. It Stored For 50 Years. Here’s Their Recipe.

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Explorers Ate It. It Stored For 50 Years. Here’s The Recipe.

It was a food invented by the Native Americans, who depended on it when traveling on long and adventurous journeys when food was scarce, or when there simply wasn’t time to hunt and gather enough to eat. That was a lesson well-learned by many early European settlers, explorers and fur traders in North America.

It was pemmican, which was the ultimate survival food for centuries and quickly became a staple food for fur traders, voyageurs and Arctic and Antarctic explorers. The reason was simple. It was high in protein and calories, and high in fat. Fat offers the best calories for cold weather and the most calories for people who were subject to brutally physical work, temperatures and conditions.

The word “pemmican” is a derivative of a Cree Indian word “pimihkan.” Curiously, the word “pimi” is the Cree word for “greasy fat.” On a fundamental level, pemmican is a mixture of dried and powdered meat, animal fat, wild berries and salt. The fat to meat ratio was typically 1:1, or 50 percent powdered meat and 50 percent fat. Some recipes vary that ratio, and typically less fat was used in warmer climates.

Prepared properly, pemmican can last for years and years, although adding anything to it besides meat and fat will reduce the shelf life. There are reports of some pemmican lasting 50 or more years. According to a popular social studies book used in Canadian schools, “Pemmican was high in calories and protein, and could be stored in leather bags for years at a time. It was also portable, much like protein bars available today.”

A curious side note on animal fat is that it has food preservative properties. Pioneer women would pack a crock with cooked meats and pour a layer of fat over the top, allowing it to cool and congeal to preserve the meat.

The recipe by the old Hudson Bay Company – which was founded in 1670 and was key to the fur trade — used buffalo meat and buffalo fat in addition to the marrow from the buffalo bones. We’ll get into the specifics of that type of recipe in a bit. I’ve experimented with various pemmican recipes and ways to prepare and enjoy this very rustic and primitive food.

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At the outset, the recipe used game animals from moose to elk and venison as the primary ingredients. Eventually, beef emerged as the primary meat ingredient and it was most commonly used by Arctic and Antarctic explorers including Admiral Peary, Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott, Fridtjof Nansen, and Sir Ernest Shackleton. In many cases both the men and their sled dogs subsisted on pemmican.

An important consideration for any recipe in the last century up to today is the type of fat used in pemmican recipes. Beef tallow and beef marrow are the fats of choice, in addition to suet. Suet is the hard, beef fat found around the kidneys and loins of cattle. Avoid lard in your pemmican recipes. Lard is pork fat and I have found few recipes that recommend it going back 200 years.

The meat is just as important and should be trimmed of all fat and sliced into thin strips. Reserve the fat for rendering, but you don’t want any fat on the meat because of a critical step in the recipe process. That step involves drying the meat.

There are varying drying approaches that we’ll cover, but the critical success factor is that the strips of meat are hard and brittle. The goal is to dry the strips of meat to a hardness that will allow you to break it and crush it into something approaching a dust.

As time went on, varying dried fruits were added to the recipe. Native Americans used dried choke cherries and cranberries. Later recipes used by adventurers and explorers added dried cherries, blueberries and currants, all of which were also pounded into bits.

The dried berries add a vitamin component, including vitamin C. The amounts vary by recipe, but you always can adjust to your taste.

Classic Pemmican Recipe

The following recipe was used during the 1700s.

Hudson Bay pemmican was made from buffalo meat. The lean meat was cut into strips and dried in the sun for two to three days or over a fire until it was hard and brittle. The strips of hardened meat were then pounded into a powder, either with a wooden mallet on a stump or between two stones.

The fat and marrow of the buffalo was then melted and mixed into the powdered meat to make a paste (using a 50/50 mixture). This was then allowed to harden and was wrapped and rolled into a rectangular piece of buffalo hide. The cold temperatures of the Arctic and far north kept it from spoiling, although pemmican stores very well.

Admiral Peary’s expedition to the North Pole subsisted on a pemmican made from dried beef ground into a powder, beef tallow or beef fat and dried fruit.

Meat-Pulverizing Tips

You don’t have to crush the meat between two stones; you can use more contemporary approaches. These include:

  • A hand-turned meat grinder. This gets the dried meat into small bits and you can continue to run it through in a series of batches to get it as fine as you want.
  • A blender. Just make sure to do it in batches until you get the consistency you want.
  • A food processor. But if there is any moisture at all, the speed of the processor will turn the meat into a paste, so grind the dried meat in bursts.

The size and consistency of your pulverized, dried beef can range from small bits to the dusty powder used by pioneers. That’s up to you. I prefer the small bits, but make sure they’re very small or you’ll spend the rest of the day trying to get bits of dried beef out of your teeth.

Beef-Trying Tips

Explorers Ate It. It Stored For 50 Years. Here’s Their Recipe. I use a food dehydrator. It’s the same one I use to make jerky; I just extend the drying time. To test a piece, take it out of the dehydrator and tape it on the counter. It should make a hard sound rather than the dull thud you’d get from a piece of jerky. Next, snap a piece. If it breaks like peanut brittle, you’re done. If it bends, it needs more time.

You also could hang the strips over a fire for two or three days. I tend to prefer the dehydrator but in the field, I’d use the fire method in a heartbeat.

Fat-Rendering Tips

This is a slow process. You should start by cutting the tallow and/or suet into chunks. If you’re also adding marrow, slice that up into one-inch pieces. Add all to a cast-iron frying pan over low to medium heat and toss often. Eventually, the fat will pool into the bottom of the pan, leaving some brown chunks behind. Filter the fat to remove the chunks. If there are smaller bits and pieces of brown bits left in the pan, I’ll even run it through some cheese cloth to clarify the fat. Don’t let it smoke or burn. That will give the fat and the resulting pemmican an off taste.

Dried Fruit Tips

Whether I’m using fresh fruit or dried fruit bought at the store, I’ll put the fruits into a dehydrator. Even dried, packaged fruit has some residual moisture. Once the fruit is dried, I’ll pulverize it in the food processor or the blender to break it into bits.

Putting it All Together

I like a 1:1 mix of beef and fat. It’s easier to measure that way. For every cup of dried, pulverized beef, add a cup of fat. The fat should be warm, not hot and not congealed. Mix the fat and meat together with your hands or two spoons. I put it into a tabletop mix-master and use the dough hook to blend everything. If you’re off the grid you may have to use your hands.

Add the dried berries to your taste. I usually add a half-cup and mix it all together again. If you want, you can add some salt to suit your taste. For a cup of meat and a cup of fat plus a half-cup of fruit, I’ll add a half teaspoon of salt when I add the fruit so the salt gets blended into the mixture, as well.

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If you want to make more, just double or triple the amounts. That’s the other thing I like about a 50/50 ratio of meat to fat. It makes the multiplication easier.

When done, I’ll spoon the pemmican into a cupcake pan and flatten the tops with the back of a knife. I then refrigerate it for about three hours and turn the tray over onto the counter. Each pemmican cake will be greasy to the touch, so place each one in a plastic sandwich bag unless you want to wrap it in a piece of rawhide. I tend to favor the plastic bags. You can store them in a cool, dark place, but mine usually ends up in the fridge.

Tips on Eating Pemmican

Three recipes for eating pemmican have emerged over the years. The first is my favorite.

  1. Fried pemmican rechaud. This recipe involves frying the pemmican in its own fat. Wild onions like ramps and potatoes were often added until browned, followed by two or three tablespoons of flour and salt to taste. This can be spread on bread or crackers and eaten like a sandwich. I offered some to my wife at the counter once and she walked away shaking her head with disgust. I guess pemmican is kind of a guy thing.
  2. Rubaboo. This recipe was a favorite of fur traders. A chunk of pemmican about the size of your fist was dropped into a quart of boiling water. Flour is supposed to be added next, and I usually mix the flour with a little pemmican first so I don’t get lumps. Onions, potatoes and carrots can be added and some salt for seasoning. Fur traders also would add a little sugar and chopped salt pork. It will have a soup-like consistency and was eaten that way. I like it with sourdough bread.
  3. Raw. This was the eating method of choice for Arctic and Antarctic explorers and Canadian voyageurs. A chunk of pemmican was held in one hand and sliced with a knife and chewed. I’ve tried it and it’s not bad. In France, there is a delicacy known as “lardo.” It’s sliced lard and is eaten like a slice of cheese. Suffice it to say, I tried it once and that was enough. Maybe I’ll appreciate it more if I ever go to the Arctic.

Give it a Try

This is a good survival food as a last resort and it has been shown to have a good shelf-life if prepared properly. You can use any game animal, but I would start with beef and make a small batch to start. Five pounds of raw beef will give you one pound of dried beef, and that should be enough for a trial run. Grab some suet while you’re at it so you have enough fat for a 50/50 mix. Enjoy!

How do you make pemmican? Share your tips in the section below:

 

Should You Clip Your Chickens’ Wings? (The Answer May Surprise You)

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Should You Clip Your Chickens’ Wings? (The Answer May Surprise You)

Image source: Pixabay.com

There are a lot of decisions to be made when keeping poultry, and whether or not to clip chickens’ wings to prevent the birds from flying is one of the choices that must be made.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Although clipping chicken wings does not cause harm or pain to the bird, it is always my last resort. I believe in allowing animals to retain as much of their natural state as practicable, but chicken wings do sometimes need to be clipped. Whatever your philosophy, here are some points to be considered as you make the decision that works best for you and your flock.

The reason this is a consideration at all is because chickens, of course, fly. They don’t fly very high or well or for more than short bursts at a time, but they do fly. They can clear fences, and that is where they can get into trouble. For many homesteaders, the reason for fencing is as much to keep predators and other dangers out as it is to keep chickens and livestock in. And if the chickens fly over the fence and out of their safe enclosure, the fence cannot do its job to protect them.

There are certain chicken housing methods that make it unnecessary to clip wings.

For example, some enclosures are covered. This not only prevents avian predation and discourages nimble ground predators from climbing up and over the fence but also keeps domestic birds from escaping. If your chickens live in a covered pen, there is no need to consider clipping their wings.

Another reason chickens would not need to have their wings clipped is if they do not have an enclosure at all. If they are truly free-range — let out of the chicken coop at dawn and allowed to spend their days roaming wherever strikes them — there is no practical reason to restrict them from flying. In fact, free-range homestead chickens are better off with both wings completely intact, allowing them to fly up out of danger to tree branches and other high places when threatened.

And, of course, chickens that are kept indoors except for when under direct supervision by humans or trained guard animals do not need to have their wings clipped.

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It is significant to note that all chickens do not fly over fences. It is more difficult for some breeds and individuals than it is for others, and some chickens simply choose not to fly.  Therefore, if your chickens have not flown out already and are making no attempts to do so, it may not be essential to clip their wings.

Should You Clip Your Chickens’ Wings? (The Answer May Surprise You)

Image source: Pixabay.com

In many instances, chickens can be trained not to fly over the fence by simply putting them back in when they get out. Chickens tend to follow the leader, so if one bird flies out, the rest are likely to try it. The earlier you can catch the first few fence-flyers and retrain them, the better.

If your chickens do not fall into any of the above categories — completely enclosed including a roof, not enclosed at all, unable to or uninterested in flying, or trained to stay in the pen — then you may need to consider clipping their wings. If it is critical that your birds do not get out of their pen, because of possible predation, proximity to vehicle traffic, or other potential issues. In those scenarios, clipping is probably the best choice for your flock.

When wings must be clipped, it is crucial to do it correctly. Similar to trimming human fingernails, cutting the outer edges is harmless but cutting into the part where blood is flowing causes pain.

Most sources say to clip only one wing, causing an uneven dynamic which prevents the bird from achieving liftoff. This works well on my homestead.

The key components to clipping chicken wings are to stay calm, be sure to clip only the flight feathers, and don’t remove any more than necessary.

The flight feathers are the ones at the ends of the wings, visible when the wing is spread open.  The quills (the rigid tubes down the center) of wing feathers are white or clear. This is an important distinction from other feathers which have dark-colored quills and can bleed heavily if you cut them. It is a good idea to have blood-stop powder on hand in case you accidentally cut a blood feather, but it is a better idea to take great care and be deliberate in cutting one feather at a time to avoid mistakes. Some chicken literature includes instructions to have pliers on hand and pull a feather that starts bleeding, but I have never had that experience with my chickens.

It is important to use sharp scissors, and helpful to have an assistant on hand to assist with handling the chicken is a real bonus. Make minimal conservative cuts when clipping feathers. You always can cut more off more if needed.

I have read that wing-clipping needs to be done every year as they molt and grow in new feathers. That makes sense, but I have not found it to be true with my flock. The habit of staying in the pen having been developed, it tends to stick with them. I toss the occasional outliers back over the fence in the spring when they first consider straying, and they seem to get over the idea.

By carefully evaluating the needs and habits of your poultry when making the choice about clipping their wings, the birds can stay on the right side of the fence and live long healthy lives.

What is your opinion about clipping wings? What do you do? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Discover The Secret To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.

How To Build A Survival Gun Cache On A $500 Budget

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How To Build A Survival Gun Cache On A $500 Budget

Image source: MossbergOwners.com

 

Survivalists who find themselves on serious budgets always will be faced with the problem of accumulating the gear they want within a price point that they can afford. Putting together a survival armory of guns is no exception.

Let’s say that you only have $500 to spend on guns. Many would say that with this budget, it’s A) impossible to build a complete armory that covers your bases, and, B) the guns that you do buy for your armory will be cheaply made or of low quality.

Both of these are absolute nonsense. While $500 is certainly not going to buy you as many guns as a $2,000 or $3,000 budget will, it’s still not impossible to gather the guns you need for this amount.

In fact, you will be able to acquire the three most important guns that you need for just $500.  The specific models that you can buy may not be the fanciest examples on the market, but they are still reliable and will work well enough.

Let’s outline what the three most important categories of guns to have are, and then list an example of a make and model of gun that you can have in that category.

12 GA SHOTGUN – MAVERICK 88 ($180)

It’s hard to say no to a 12-gauge shotgun being the first gun that you own. The 12-gauge round is highly versatile. You can use buckshot for home defense, birdshot for target shooting and bird/small game hunting, and slugs for hunting bigger game such as deer or wild boar.

You also should ideally make your shotgun be a pump-action model over a single shot or semi-automatic, the reason being that you have more capacity than a single and greater reliability with feeding different types of rounds over the semi.

We’re going to cap off the price of a budget shotgun at $180, and the best model that you can buy for this price is going to be the Maverick 88 shotgun, which is the budget model of the world-renowned and highly popular Mossberg 500. While the Maverick doesn’t come with a lot of the same features as the 500, it is still highly reliable and more than adequate for defensive or hunting use.

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Although the Maverick 88 usually costs around $200 for a new model, you can very easily find used ones for $180 or even a little less on online auction sites such as Gunbroker.com.

.22 RIFLE – MOSSBERG 702 PLINKSTER ($100)

No gun collection of personal battery of arms is complete without a .22 rifle, even if you only have $500 in total to spend. .22 ammunition is very small, meaning you can store and carry lots of it on you. It’s also a perfect round for small game hunting, plinking, general homestead use, and for introducing new people to the sport of shooting. If necessary, it could be used for self-defense, as well.

Normally, the three .22 rifles that I would recommend first would be the Ruger 10/22, Marlin Model 60, or Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22. Unfortunately, none of these options is going to work, since I’m capping off the price for a .22 rifle at $100.

At this price point, your best option will be the Mossberg 702 Plinkster, which can be found used for even $80 or $90 if you look hard enough online. The Mossberg 702 is available in a wide variety of configurations and comes standard with a 10-round magazine, although higher capacity 25-round magazines also are available.

9MM PISTOL – TAURUS PT111 G2 ($220)

We’re now left with $220 to spend on our final firearm, which absolutely must be a pistol. The pistol is the gun you will have strapped to your side at all times during a disaster scenario. You want it to be easily concealed. I also recommend in this case that your pistol be a 9mm, simply because it’s the cheapest and most plentiful pistol caliber there is.

The specific pistol that I am going to recommend at this price point is going to be a pistol I wrote about recently, the Taurus PT111 G2. While it normally sells for around $250 new at most sporting goods stores, a quick perusal on Gunbroker shows that it can be purchased new or used in good condition for the $200-$220 range.

The PT111 G2 is a compact firearm, which makes concealment easy, but is also large enough so that you can get a full grip on the weapon. It holds 12 rounds in the magazine plus an additional round in the chamber, which is plenty of firepower for defending yourself against multiple attackers. Reviews of the PT111 G2 have been mostly very positive, and owners applaud its reliability, ergonomics and overall value. And besides, it looks much better than a Hi-Point.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. For $500, give or take a few dollars, you should easily be able to acquire a solid survival armory. And they cover your bases: target shooting, home defense/personal protection, and small-game or big-game hunting.

What do you think? What would be in your $500 survival gun armory? Share your thoughts in the section below:

If You Run Out Of Ammo, What Would You Do? Learn How To Make Your Own! Read More Here.

The Peruvian ‘Miracle’ Vegetable You Can Grow In Your Own Backyard

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The Peruvian ‘Miracle’ Vegetable You Can Grow In Your Own Backyard

If you’ve never heard of the magical Peruvian plant called maca, you’re not alone. A little-known plant from the Brassicacea family, maca is primarily known for increasing libido and fertility, but offers so much more.

Sometimes called the “Peruvian ginseng,” maca’s root is a superfood offering a myriad of health benefits beyond the known aphrodisiac effects.

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a staple in diets of people in the mountains of Peru. A root vegetable similar to turnips, this bulb vegetable is ground into a powder. There are yellow, red and black varieties of maca. Most maca is sold as a combination of the red, black and yellow type, but single-color varieties are also available.

Maca grows best in a very high altitude that’s unfriendly to other types of agriculture. This plant also can be grown in a home garden with plenty of water and enough space to grow on its own. After drying the roots, you can harvest the seeds and plant it yourself, ensuring your own supply. Maca can survive dry conditions, flooding, bad soil and very cold temperatures.

Why should you grow maca? Some of maca’s documented benefits include:

  1. Improved menstrual issues, including pain, cycle regulation and flow.
  2. Decreased hot flashes and other symptoms in menopausal women.
  3. A boost in iodine for proper thyroid function.
  4. Corrected hormone balance for both men and women.
  5. Reduced depression and anxiety.
  6. Controlling stress.
  7. Improved immunity.
  8. Improved sleep.
  9. Better skin health.
  10. Helping hair grow.
  11. A boost in iron for red blood cells.
  12. Increased energy, stamina, focus and mental clarity without caffeine.
  13. More lean muscle.
  14. Antioxidants, including glutathione and superoxide dismutase (SOD).

Maca has been cultivated for more than 3,000 years in the Andes. It’s rich in most of the amino acids, free fatty acids, carbohydrates, plant protein, fiber, sugars, minerals and other important nutrients that improve health and well-being beyond the standard multivitamin.

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It’s important to note that maca is a food, not a supplement. Maca is available in bulk as a powder, or in capsules. Taste can vary by brand and variety; some will have a mild taste, but others may have a “dirt” taste. Maca is best taken in capsules, although some fans like the taste. Devotees of this root plant don’t care what it tastes like once they’ve experienced the incredible benefits. Mixing maca into smoothies, coffee, tea, chai or other drinks makes it easier to take and kills the “dirt” taste, if there is one.

Gelatinized maca is available for those with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues. The harvested maca root is heated above 160 degrees Fahrenheit, dissolving the starch molecules and making digestion easier. The downside is that maca’s enzymes and glucosinolates are dissolved, but its remaining nutrients become concentrated. The result is called a “4:1 product,” meaning that it takes 4 kilograms of raw maca to create 1 kilogram of powdered gelatinized maca. While raw maca is considered best, gelatinized maca is a better choice for some who may experience side effects from the raw form.

Start with a low dose to find out how your body reacts to maca, and increase slowly to get your body used to taking it.

Maca just may be the health boost you’ve been wanting.

Have you ever tried maca or grown it? Share your tips in the section below:

Sources:

What is Maca? TheMacaTeam.com

Maca Nutrition Facts, TheMacaTeam.com

http://www.offthegridnews.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=75198&action=edit#

Maca Is Good for More Than Your Mojo, Mercola.com, 03/13/2017

Maca May Help Improve Your Reproductive Health, Mercola.com

Top 5 Maca Root Benefits & Nutrition, DrAxe.com

Maca Root Buttocks, TheMacaTeam.com

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

The Kingdom Of Heaven

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The Kingdom Of Heaven

Truly answer me… In judgment and in dream.

Nebuchadnezzar, “Ancient Babylonian inscription” (6th century BC)

 

Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princess shall rule in judgment.

Isaiah the prophet (8th century BC)

 

The Terror of Dreams

An image, great and terrible, bright in glistening metals.  A head of gold, breast of silver, belly of brass, and legs of iron.  Stuff worthy of a nightmare, and that’s exactly where the king of Babylon met it.  But there was more.  As the king watched, a stone, untouched by human hands, was cut from a mountain and hurled at the image’s feet.  The image shattered and became as “the chaff of the summer threshing floors,” and the winds carried the residue away.  Then the stone grew and grew until it became a great mountain that filled the whole earth.  Quite a big dream, even for a king.

King Nebuchadnezzar knew that what he had seen in his nightmare was a revelation, a divine message, of immense importance.  He had to know what it all meant.  So he called the wise men of Babylon … the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers … and demanded of them the meaning of the dream (Dan. 2:2).  They gladly agreed to supply answers. They just needed to hear the details of the dream first.  And there Nebuchadnezzar balked.  “The thing is gone from me,” he said.  As wise men and “diviners,” surely they could supply the details.  And if they could, the king could trust their interpretation.

The wise men were horrified.  It wasn’t possible.  Only the gods could do such a thing.  If only the king would. . . .  But the king wouldn’t budge.  Instead, he ordered all the wise men of Babylon destroyed.  Ouch!  If they couldn’t help at such a cosmically critical moment, what good were they?

The king’s soldiers began to collect all of Babylon’s diviners and astrologers for execution.  And then they came to Daniel (v. 13).

The Interpreter of Dreams

Daniel was a young man, barely 20.  He was a Jewish captive, ripped away from his home and family by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar.  Here, in Babylon, he had undergone a thorough program of indoctrination in the magic, idolatry, Statism, and the ethnocentrism that was the Babylonian world and life view.  But from the beginning of his training, Daniel had purposed that his loyalty to and fellowship with the God of Israel would take absolute precedence over every advantage, program, or lure that the golden city might offer (Dan. 1).

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And so, Daniel had listened to the lectures, memorized the information, and passed all the tests.  But he abhorred the magic of Babylon and despised her idols of silver and gold.  His wisdom came from faithful obedience to the word of God.  He knew Scripture thoroughly, and when soldiers came with news of the king’s dream, the whole thing started to sound very familiar (Gen. 41).  So, Daniel went before the king and asked for time.  The king, desperate for answers, was willing to grant it.

That night God showed Daniel the dream and revealed its meaning.  Daniel gave thanks.

The Kingdom Of HeavenThe next day, Daniel went before the most powerful man on the planet and told him God’s plan for the history of the world.  The four metals that made up the image were four kingdoms.  Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar in particular, was the head of gold.  But an inferior, silver kingdom would succeed Babylon.  There would follow a still “baser” brass kingdom.  And, finally, a fourth kingdom, strong and brutal like iron.

“In the days of these kings,” Daniel said, “shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed . . . it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever” (v. 44).

The Kingdom of Heaven Is at Hand!

“The kingdom of the God of heaven” or for short, the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven.  This is the kingdom that John the Baptist proclaimed in the wilderness.  It is the same kingdom that Jesus spoke of in sermon and parable throughout the whole of His ministry.  Both John and Jesus said the kingdom was at hand, and that proclamation, to many, stirred excitement and speculation.  Anyone who really knew Israel’s history could see in it the unfolding of the Babylonian dream.  Golden Babylon, argent Persia, brazen Greece, and finally iron Rome.  The fourth kingdom now held center stage in God’s drama of history.  The final kingdom, God’s kingdom, couldn’t be far off.

What did surprise many was the “sudden” nature of this coming kingdom.  Probably because both John and Jesus were warning men to repent … here and now.  The King was coming with fire and judgment.  Those who would not repent of their sins would face His wrath.  The curse of fire or the blessing of God’s Spirit were Israel’s only choices.

A King Shall Reign in Righteousness

The laws of every kingdom are an expression of that kingdom’s religious priorities and practices.  And, of course, they’re based in its ultimate concerns.  All cultures walk in the name of some god, something they consider “ultimate.” (Mic. 4:5).  The effective reach of a culture’s laws then defines that culture’s laws and boundaries.  A king reigns only as far as he can enforce his laws.  Enemies and rebels have always rejected these various jurisdictions.  “We will not have this man to reign over us!” they cry (Luke 19:14).  Rebellion and civil wars always follow.  Human kingdoms rise and fall in terms of the king’s ability to enforce his laws effectively.  But since human kingdoms have no way to reach men’s hearts, no way to re-write the nature of hearts and no way to compel their inward loyalty … human kingdoms regularly fail.

The kingdom that John and Jesus announced is the righteous rule of God over earth and within history through His Messiah.  It differs markedly from the kingdoms of this world.  The kingdom of heaven has its origin in divine grace, working in and through the hearts of men.  It is characterized by true righteousness.  Its power is that of God’s own Spirit and it’s destined to overthrow and supplant all its rivals.

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First, God’s kingdom comes from outside man’s history.  It originates in divine grace.  God has come to us in the Person of the King, Jesus Christ.  Jesus established the kingdom in and through His atoning blood.  The glory of God is the kingdom’s chief end, but its historical goal is the salvation of the world (John 3:16-17).

Second, the kingdom is very clearly an earthly affair.  It operates in the hearts and lives of men and women on earth and within history.  The grace that God works in the hearts of His people they in turn work out in their commitments and choices every day (Phil. 2:12).  This reign of God in Christ is centralized in its heavenly King but decentralized in its earthly administration.  This kingdom has no room for tyrants and no room for anarchy.  Every citizen of the kingdom is both a king and priest in Christ.  Individual freedom, responsibility, and self-government are hallmarks of the kingdom.

Third, God’s kingdom is characterized by righteousness, judgment, and justice.  Unlike the politicians of our world, the heavenly King is just and righteous.  He loves righteousness and hates iniquity.  His integrity is beyond question.  He executes “judgment and righteousness in the earth” (Ps. 45:7; Zech. 9:9; Jer. 23:5; 33:15; Isa. 9:7).  He will not ignore rebellion, but because of His own sacrifice, He can forgive it.  But He demands unconditional surrender from His enemies (Matt. 3:7-12).  Those who fear Him, those who trust Him, lay down their rebellion and embrace His mercy and salvation.  They receive pardon and forgiveness.

Fourth, the kingdom of heaven comes in the power of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2).  By virtue of His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has poured out the Holy Spirit into our world and history.  The Spirit transforms hearts and lives through the preaching of the Gospel.  He brings men to faith and repentance.  He grants the King’s people power for faithful obedience, and joy and peace within that obedience (Ezek. 36:25-27).

Fifth, God’s kingdom will destroy and supplant all its rivals.  The psalms promise that Messiah will reign from God’s right hand until all His enemies are His footstool and that He “shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath” (Ps. 110:1, 5; I Cor 15:25; Heb. 10:12-13).  He will dash His enemies in pieces (Ps. 2; Rev. 2:26-27).  Isaiah says that “of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end” (Isa. 9:7; cf. Matt. 28:18-20).  As Nebuchadnezzar saw, the kingdom of heaven is destined to grow until it fills the whole earth.  The New Testament says nothing less of Christ’s redemptive kingdom.

Pagan Righteousness and Royalty

An ancient inscription shows us how Nebuchadnezzar understood the relationship between righteousness and royal authority. He wrote:

Adorn my kingdom

Forever

With a righteous sceptre,

With goodly rule, and

With a staff of justice,

For the welfare of my people!

Nebuchadnezzar wanted to rule righteously for the sake of his people.  He addressed this prayer to Shamash, the Babylonian sun god.

Even the pagans, at times, desired the State to be a tool to establish justice and even “righteousness.”  The problem lies in the definition of these ethically oriented nouns.  For Nebuchadnezzar, righteousness meant the establishment of a pluralistic world order mediated through his own person and office and powered by ritual magic and military power.  Today, righteousness often means legalized plunder in the name of social justice accompanied by a happy acceptance of degeneracy and pre-natal murder.  Politicians who best market this agenda dominate and win many elections.  Asking what moral standards are used to justify their agenda, is of course, off limits.

The kingdom of God, however, calls for a righteousness defined by God’s holy character and described in His holy law.  Because all of us, in our natural, unbelieving state, hate God and His law, God in Christ calls all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).  And He works through His Spirit to grant that repentance and with it … forgiveness through the blood of Christ.  We – through God’s grace — are given both justification and sanctification.  This is the good news of the kingdom of God and our present hope.

The Simple, 7-Ingredient Compost Tea That Will Revolutionize Your Garden

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The Simple, 7-Ingredient Compost Tea That Will Revolutionize Your Garden

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Earth, by its very nature, is in a partnership with microbes of all kinds. From the deepest seas, to the highest mountains, microbes such as bacteria, yeast and fungi are a key part of our planet’s ecosystems, performing vital functions like making nutrients bio-available to plants and animals, and helping our soils maintain structure and moisture.

It turns out that we can take advantage of these symbiotic soil allies to great effect, and one of the easiest ways we can do this is by creating our own aerated compost tea. We’ll get into the how of compost tea, along with a recipe, in a moment, but first, let’s look at the why.

The main purpose of compost tea, besides adding a nice dose of pre-digested fertilizer to your garden, is to increase the number and diversity of beneficial microbes in the soil. How are they beneficial? Fungi, for example, help plants take up phosphorus, manganese, zinc, iron and copper, secreting digestive enzymes that dissolve and break down compounds so that plants can absorb them. They also dramatically increase the amount of water plants can take up, and act like a huge extension of their root systems. Other microbes predigest different compounds and help plants take up different nutrients.

In addition to the aid they give us below-ground, microbes on the leaves of plants also may be important allies, helping in the fight against disease by both filling an ecosystem niche that would otherwise be open to pathogens, and creating conditions that make it difficult for existing pathogens to live or reproduce.

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Many beneficial bacteria, for example, produce acids that make it difficult for pathogenic yeasts and fungus to thrive. Although there is less scientific study in this area, the theory that aerated compost teas help with above-ground diseases is borne out by my own experience. Last year, some haskap bushes on my farm had a nasty fungus infection on their leaves, so I mixed up an aerated compost tea and sprayed it on them. Within days the fungus had completely disappeared.

So, now that you know why it’s good to use compost teas, let’s get into how you can make your own. I’m going to go over making aerated and aerobic (oxygenated) compost tea specifically, but you can also make anaerobic (lacking oxygen) compost tea by simply putting a bunch of (ideally, deep-rooted) plants like comfrey into a bucket or barrel with non-chlorinated water, letting it sit for about a week until it gets really nasty smelling, and then putting it on your soil. (I would avoid plant leaves with this stuff). Another anaerobic mixture known as effective microorganisms is also incredibly useful and can be purchased online and then mixed up at home.

Aerated Compost Tea

The Simple, 7-Ingredient Compost Tea That Will Revolutionize Your Garden

Image source: Pixabay.com

Materials Needed

  1. Bucket or barrel. At least 25 gallons is ideal for anything but the smallest garden.
  2. Air pump sufficient for the amount of water. You can get good ones at hydroponic shops. Tiny fish tank aerators are not the best ones, although they may be sufficient for a 5-gallon bucket.

Recipe: Ingredients 

  1. Non-chlorinated water. Chlorine in the water will kill microorganisms.
  2. Vermacompost and well-aerated compost are best. The more diversity of compost, the better. It should smell good, like forest soil, and not stinky. 5 pounds per 25 gallons.
  3. Unsulphured molasses. Food for bacteria, etc. 1 ¼ cup per 25 gallons.
  4. Liquid kelp. Fertilizer and microbe food. ½ cup mixed into 5 cups of water before adding to the mixture.
  5. Humic acid. Microbe food and soil conditioner: 1-2 tablespoons per 25 gallons, mixed into 2 cups of water before adding to the mixture.
  6. Rotten wood chips, straw or hay (optional). Decomposing high carbon materials encourage fungal inoculation. 1-2 cups per 25 gallons will do.
  7. Steel cut oats. Food for fungus. 1 cup per 25 gallons.

Directions

First, put the water in, then the molasses, and then add everything else. Some people like to put all of the solid materials into a pillowcase or similar (like a tea bag), but I prefer to mix them directly into the water. If you’re a little off in the amounts, it doesn’t matter, as long as you have enough molasses to sustain the microbe populations for the amount of time you will be bubbling your brew. I should also note here that a compost tea recipe can be as simple as compost and molasses. The other things will take it to the next level.

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Next, stir the container well, and put in your air pump bubbler. It’s good to stir the mixture from time to time. Let it sit for 24 to 48 hours (the full 48 is better).

Once you’re done bubbling, remove the air pump and give it another good stir. Now it’s time to apply it to your plants. If you’re going to create a foliar spray for leaves (definitely recommended), let it settle and skim the liquid off the top so that it contains fewer solids and won’t clog your sprayer. To spray it, simply evenly cover the leaves on the top and bottom. For soil application, use buckets or other manageable vessels and dunk them into the stirred up mixture in order to get the solids as well as the liquid. Then, apply to the soil around the plants, ideally covering up to or beyond the drip line.

That’s all there is to it. You should notice a significant kick to your plant growth, especially if you do this every couple of weeks during the growing season. Just make sure not to fertilize beyond the first two weeks of summer in temperate climates, as this could prevent new growth from hardening off in time and you may lose it to frost.

Have you made compost tea? What recipe did you use? Share your compost tea tips in the section below:

The New, Super-Low-Maintenance Ruger 9mm That Conceals Easily

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The Super-Low-Maintenance Ruger 9mm That Conceals Easily

Image source: Ruger.com

 

Ruger caught up with the times in 2015 when the company released a full-size polymer frame, striker-fired, easy-maintenance 9mm. In late 2016, the compact version of the Ruger American was unveiled, and it does everything its big brother can do — while doubling as a concealable handgun.

Last fall, I got to handle and fire the new Ruger American Compact 9mm at the Blue August gun writers’ conference. Factory reps explained the method behind Ruger’s seeming madness of delaying their foray into the striker-fired pistol market: customers who use modern pistols now know exactly what they want, and Ruger sought to provide it on the first try.

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Ruger American pistols incorporate common requests the company collected in its extensive pre-design market research. Here are ways in which the company says design is wrapped around customer demand:

  • Modular grip system. Three choices of grip panel that wrap around the rear and sides come with every gun. Grip can thus be customized for different hand sizes.
  • Quality trigger with clear reset. The trigger features a safety lever, a common feature on many mass-market, striker-fired handguns. It has moderate travel, about 4.5 pounds of pull, and a clear reset that’s comparable to triggers in the Springfield XD series. I think it’s a great trigger for both defensive use and range practice.
  • A prominent magazine release. The mag release is easy to feel and operate. Operation is ambidextrous with no changes required. This is my only criticism of the firearm. Too many people have reported that an exposed mag release caused the magazine to unseat as a result of pressure from a seatbelt or an attacker.
  • A no-cost optional slide safety. The Pro model of the Ruger American Compact Pistol has no safety lever other than the passively operated one on the trigger. The standard model has a sizeable safety lever on both sides. People feel strongly one way or another about having a safety. With the Ruger American, folks on both sides of that argument can have it their way.
  • Easy racking. The recoil spring is tensioned to ensure both dependable operation and light racking action. Although this is mostly an appeal to folks who haven’t learned good technique, it is a common complaint among novice gun owners, and Ruger is to be commended for aiming to encourage entry-level shooters.
  • Recoil reduction. Slide and frame design increases the time from striker hit to return of the slide. Though there is no perceivable delay while shooting, this reduces muzzle rise, ultimately making fast follow-up shots easier.
  • Accessory-friendly. A Picatinny rail allows installation of a light or light/laser combo.
  • +P-rated. Use +P ammo if you want, and the Ruger American Compact will handle it.
  • Easy takedown. The gun breaks down quickly with no trigger activation, and is easy to clean and reassemble.
  • Tough. Ruger reps swear the company didn’t design the American platform with the intent of competing for the coveted U.S. Army contract. Nevertheless, the gun meets or exceed U.S. Army modular handgun standards.
  • User-friendly sights. Ruger was wise to choose Novak’s Lo-mount sights. This snag-resistant, highly visible, durable sight set adds real value. Ruger’s custom shop allows buyers to upgrade to tritium sights if they want.
  • Pinky rests. The shorter magazine has a pinky rest, which some shooters feel is necessary for comfortable firing.
  • Big capacity. The Compact’s mag holds 12 rounds. It accommodates the standard Ruger American 17-round magazine. One of each is included with a new 9mm pistol.
  • Caliber choices. The popular, affordable 9mm was the first to roll out in 2016. It’s also available in 45 ACP.

Here are the specs:

Barrel length: 3.25 inches.

Slide: 1.05 inches of stainless steel with black Nitride finish.

Overall length: 6.65 inches.

Height: 4.48 inches.

Weight, unloaded: 28.7 ounces.

MSRP: $579. Real prices are in the mid-$400s.

The Ruger American Compact is a superb choice for anyone seeking low-maintenance, dependable mileage from their carry gun. It fits just about anyone and is easy to operate, but has none of the oddball features some other “easy” guns have. Those features often punish the muscle memory of experienced shooters. It’s great for families who share a pistol for home defense. For the money, it’s as good or better than similar choices on the market.

What do you think about the Ruger American Compact? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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‘Little Doubt’ North Korea Is Prepping For First-Strike Nuclear War, Expert Says

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‘Little Doubt’ North Korea Is Prepping For First-Strike Nuclear War, Expert Says

SEOUL — An expert on Asian politics says he has “little doubt” that North Korea is preparing for a first-strike nuclear attack against America and its allies in light of recent activity within the Communist country.

“North Korea’s military exercises leave little doubt that Pyongyang plans to use large numbers of nuclear weapons against U.S. forces throughout Japan and South Korea to blunt an invasion,” Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, wrote in Foreign Policy. “North Korean defectors have claimed that the country’s leaders hope that by inflicting mass casualties and destruction in the early days of a conflict, they can force the United States and South Korea to recoil from their invasion.”

Lewis was referencing a test this month in which North Korea launched four missiles from the northwest corner of the nation. They traveled more than 600 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan.

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North Korean then released a map that “showed all four missiles landing on an arc that stretched down to the [U.S.] Marine Corps Air Station near Iwakuni, Japan,” Lewis wrote.

Just as significant, North Korea previously tested its missiles from a central location but has been changing launch sites recently.

“These aren’t missile tests, they are military exercises,” Lewis wrote. “North Korea knows the missiles work. What the military units are doing now is practicing — practicing for a nuclear war.”

North Korea is conducting the missile tests at the same time that U.S. and South Korean forces are taking part in exercises in the region involving tens of thousands of personnel, as well as an aircraft carrier, bombers and F-35 aircraft out of Iwakuni – the same base North Korea could target.

The U.S.-South Korean drills are a “rehearsal” and part of a war plan known as OPLAN 5015, which “has been described as a pre-emptive strike against North Korea,” Lewis wrote.

All sides have plans to strike first, Lewis added.

“That means, in a crisis, the pressure will be to escalate,” he wrote. “Whatever restraint Kim [Jong un] or [Donald] Trump might show — and let’s be honest, our expectations here are not high — each will face enormous pressure to start the attack lest his opponent beat him to the punch.”

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

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5 Things Made Better In Your Grandparents’ Time You STILL Can Find In Thrift Stores

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5 Things Made Better In Your Grandparents' Time You STILL Can Find In Thrift Stores

The trope of “things were better in the good old days” is often just that. An empty trope of viewing the past through rose-colored glasses of idealism and bias, which clouds our judgment of the future and present day.

We can certainly agree that great strides have been made in science, medicine, technology and social matters, and as pleasant as it may seem to go back to a so-called simpler time, I for one would not care to live in, say, even the 1930s without at least some modern medical and labor-saving advancements.

However, even if you take off the rose-colored glasses, there are some things that were, in fact, better in our grandparents’ day – and we often can find these things in a local thrift store.

Let’s take a look at a few.

1. Pyrex dishes

Made of thermal shock resisting borosilicate glass (a mix of boron, silica and a few other ingredients depending on the formula) Pyrex ovenware was a boon to housewives of the 1920s and forward. Offering a lightweight, transparent and easy cooking dish that also was attractive, it was a near instant hit. Unfortunately, today’s Pyrex may not even be the glass our grandparents used. Corning sold the brand name in 1998, and subsequently, the cookware was made from cheaper (and less resistant to thermal shock) tempered soda-lime glass (the same kind of glass jars are made out of).

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Now, if you’ve canned food, you are already familiar with tempered soda-lime glass, and the importance of temperature curves when canning. Well, Pyrex cookware is made out of that same kind of stuff now. While it is true that modern tempered soda-lime glass is extremely strong (certainly better than it was a century ago), if you buy brand new Pyrex dishes, you aren’t getting the same stuff your grandparents used.

It appears, though, that if you find a dish with PYREX in all caps, you are good to go. Shop carefully and make sure you get the good stuff.

2. Cast iron cookware

Now, granted, modern cast iron cookware is every bit as good as the stuff your grandparents used. Except for one niggling, cost-saving thing. Namely, nearly all modern cast iron cookware I’ve seen has been rough cast inside, and not polished smooth like back in the day. Some folks might not be bothered by this, but I absolutely hate it. I’d rather pay a couple dollars more for a pan that has been polished, than still retain its rough cast finish. I’ve never been able to peg when this trend started, but my gut says sometime around the 70s or 80s. Watch for this nicer, more finished cast iron in your local thrift shop or second-hand store, and enjoy a bit of refinement that seems to have fallen by the wayside in the name of profit and price point.

3. Woolen blankets and clothing

Knitted Woolen Yarn Wool Woollen KnittingModern synthetics are, quite frankly, amazing. Lightweight, warm and often water-resistant, there is a lot to be said for them. I, for one, would rather be out in the woods with Gore-Tex than wool. However, there is no denying the usefulness of the old standby of woolen clothing and blankets. Because market preferences have moved on, it is harder and harder to find quality wool clothing and bedding, and when you do it is pricey. The careful thrift store shopper often can snag everything from old army blankets to old hunting shirts. Heck, I’ve even found Korean War-era wool uniforms! Bottom line, if you want wool, see what has been donated. Many estates don’t waste time with out-of-date clothing and bedding and simply pass it along.

4. Furniture

Is yesteryear’s furniture better than today’s? Well, that all depends. High-end furniture is high-end furniture, regardless of when it is made. What we are looking at is low-end and mid-range furniture, because 50-60 years ago, even cheap stuff wasn’t being build out of particleboard and synthetics the way it is now.

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As an added benefit, buying quality used furniture is good for the wallet and environment. Look for older solid wood or laminate furniture in good condition. A little elbow grease with refinishing can save you big. Sometimes out-of-fashion furniture can be had cheap, and searching economically depressed areas can land you real bargains on durable goods.

5. Computer keyboards

Don’t laugh. If you are handy with upgrading connection cables, some 1980s keyboards are vastly superior to the modern thing. Keyboards are often a very cheap item bundled with a PC, and better-quality ones tended to be upgrades or packaged with premium systems. The IBM Model M is perhaps the holy grail of old school keyboards, but there are other nice ones running about. Who knows, you might get lucky and find a few. If you do a lot of typing, or simply enjoy a high-end keyboard, your fingers will thank you.

Conclusion

As I said earlier, it is something of a fallacy that things were made better in the “good old days.” After all, as cool as they are, a 1930s car is nowhere near as safe and fuel-efficient as a modern automobile, but on the other hand, you couldn’t pay me to use modern Pyrex dishware.

Understanding the limitations of past technology and modern progress can put you in a unique position to cherry pick the surviving goods of past generations to equip yourself with high quality merchandise for pennies on the dollar. Sometimes things go out of style but are still quite functional, and sometimes things were just made better back then. No matter what, there are quality bargains to be had if you look!

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

The Signs You Need to Know When Your Dog Is About to Bite!

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4.5 million people are bitten by their dogs each year, and I’m willing to bet that each of those individuals was caught completely off guard. When someone is bitten, they tend to act so surprised as if the bite was totally unprovoked, when in reality it rarely is.

There’s a simple explanation for most dog bite incidents. People desperately want their dogs to understand them, but they aren’t always willing meet their dogs half way by understanding their language. Dog bites only seem unprovoked to people who haven’t bothered to learn what provokes their dogs, and how dogs warn you to back off.

If you want to know the warning signs that dogs display before they bite, then you should really take a look at this video, which was created by a professional trainer.

And those are just a few of the signs that you should look out for. We’re all aware that dogs will also often growl and gnash their teeth, but you should also back off if you see their hair stand up, or if you see the whites of their eyes (also known as “whale eye”). And it’s often the case that in the moment before they bite, (especially if it’s a serious bite, unlike what you see in that video), a dog’s body will become perfectly rigid.

So the next time you encounter a dog, or perhaps play with your own pet, look for these signs. You may have seen them before without being bitten, but that doesn’t mean that your dog isn’t expressing his or her stress, agitation, and fear. The sooner you learn these signs, the sooner you’ll develop a much better relationship with your pet.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

6 Vital Items You Can Never Stockpile Enough Of

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6 Vital Items You Can Never Stockpile Enough Of

When stockpiling supplies in your home for survival and disaster preparedness, there are certain items that may run out quicker than you realize.

Think about it: A large-scale economic collapse is going to last for months, if not years. An EMP attack will knock the power grid down on a national scale for an equal amount of time, if not longer.

Here are six items to consider buying more of:

1. Baking soda

This is truly one of the most overlooked survival items on the planet. It is one of the best all-around cleaning and personal hygiene product that you can buy – and it’s cheap. With baking soda, you can make soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, dishwashing soap, and a cleaning agent for floors and furniture.

2. Batteries

Without batteries, how are you to power your electronic items and your flashlights? The best kinds of batteries to buy in bulk are common types such as AA or AAA, but you also will want to store plenty of more unique types, for any special devices. For example, many heavy-duty flashlights will require D batteries.

3. Fire-starters

Fire is imperative in any survival situation, because it can provide you with warmth, light, comfort, security and a way to cook food or boil water.

Your best move will be to focus on purchasing a variety of fire-starters — lighters, matches and magnesium flint strikers — rather than just one type, so that you can have options.

4. Ammo

Gone are the days of bows and arrows. Sure, you can build or use those kinds of more primitive weapons if firearms are not available, but you simply cannot call yourself truly protected in this society without guns.

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Most prepping experts seem to agree that a minimum of 1,000 rounds stored per caliber is a good baseline. Nonetheless, even that much ammo may not last as long as you think it will. Consider storing more.

5. Food

There’s a good chance that food was the first item you thought of when you started reading this article. Of course, it’s best to be self-sufficient, but the best kinds of foods to store for survival are ones that are both nutritious and long-lasting. Examples include white rice (avoid brown rice because it spoils), beans of virtually any kind, MREs (not the most tasty, but they still last a long time), canned meats and vegetables, sugar and honey.

6. Water

Even though water is all around us in various forms, having access to clean and purified water for both drinking and personal hygiene purposes is an absolute must. Additionally, have plenty of emergency water filters. Store water in clean containers of various sizes and be sure to rotate it out at least once every six months to ensure it remains in good condition.

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

Boy Takes Bullet CASING To Preschool. Officials Suspend Him …. And Call Child Services

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Boy Takes Bullet CASING To Preschool. Officials Suspend Him …. And Call Child Services

Source: Kristy Jackson / Facebook

 

TROY, Ill. — Anti-gun hysteria hit a disturbing new low this week in one Illinois town, when 4-year-old Hunter Jackson was suspended from preschool for bringing a harmless object — an empty shell casing — to school.

The boy had put it in his pocket without his mother knowing.

“He’s cried about it and he doesn’t understand why his school hates him,” Hunter’s mom, Kristy Jackson, told Fox 2. “It’s paranoia, and it’s something that’s become quite an epidemic where guns are automatically assumed that they’re bad.”

Hunter was suspended from A Place to Grow Preschool for seven days because he brought a spent .22 caliber bullet casing to school. The preschool had previously given Jackson a letter saying her son would be disciplined for pretending he was shooting things on the playground. The preschool also called the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

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“I’m not sure how a seven-day suspension teaches my son anything about tolerance, anything about why he was wrong,” Jackson said. “It just means his school doesn’t want him there because of things he enjoys.”

Hunter apparently found the bullet in a field while visiting his grandfather, a police officer. The grandfather was teaching the boy about gun safety and hunting.

“I was handed a piece of paper,” Jackson wrote on Facebook. “No words, just eyebrows raised in disgust at my son, explaining that his behavior warranted a seven school day suspension. Which I still was expected to pay tuition for, of course. And a threat that if his enthusiasm for guns continued, he’d be permanently expelled.”

Officials at the school were unable to tell a bullet from a shotgun shell.

“I was met with a stone-faced teacher who said that my son had a shotgun bullet,” Jackson said. “I was horrified thinking, ‘Where could he have gotten this?’”

Hunter has been attending the daycare for about a year.

“This could literally happen to ANY CHILD who happened to find one on the ground and thought it was cool,” she wrote.

What is your reaction? Should the boy have been suspended? Share your thoughts in the section below:

12 Edible & Beneficial Weeds Hiding In Your Yard

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merriweather

Spring is here, which means homeowners and homesteaders across the country are checking the blades and changing the oil on their mowers.

But before you cut the grass for the first time, make sure you aren’t mowing over beneficial weeds – that is, plants you can eat and even use for medicine.

That’s the subject of this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio, as we talk to Mark “Merriwether” Vorderbruggen, a foraging expert and the author of Idiot’s Guide: Foraging.

He shares with us 12 weeds we never should kill.

He also tells us:

  • The nine most common weeds that are edible.
  • The three well-known weeds that can be used as medicine.
  • The one non-edible weed you always want to destroy.

Finally, Merriwether gives us tips on how to find the weeds, and he shares precautions to ensure we don’t eat the wrong plant. He even tells us a few recipes! If you’re a resourceful homesteader or off-gridder who is ready for spring, then this is one show you don’t want to miss!

 

DA Drops Case … But STILL Refuses To Return $100,000 It Seized From Family

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Image source: Institute for Justice

Image source: Institute for Justice

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County district attorney’s office is refusing to give a family back their life savings of more than $100,000, even though it has dropped a civil forfeiture case against them.

The DA dropped the case against James and Annette Slatic and their two daughters this month, more than a year after San Diego police and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency raided the Slatics’ business — Med-West Distribution – and seized everything, although no one was charged. Med-West, a medical marijuana business, paid federal and state taxes and was licensed by San Diego County to distribute marijuana and cannabis products, which is legal in California. The company even had a website.

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On March 13, the DA announced it was dropping a civil forfeiture case but then, a day later, claimed the seized money was the result of money laundering.

The Institute for Justice is representing the family and had filed two dismissal motions – one to get the money returned and the other to have the civil forfeiture case dropped.

“This money remains in the District Attorney’s bank account in open violation of California law,” Wesley Hottot, an attorney for the Institute for Justice, said. “Faced with having to answer for this unlawful seizure in court, the DA has invented an entirely new theory for why it seized the money in the first place. The story keeps changing to avoid admitting the obvious: that this is an abuse of power to take more than $100,000 from the family of an innocent small business owner.”

Police raided the business after one police officer alleged it was participating in unlawful chemical extraction. Apparently, the DA believes that allegation was false or could not be proven.

“In the 13 months since the seizure, no one associated with Med-West has been charged with unlawful extraction (or any other crime), the police appear not to have conducted any additional investigations, and no criminal allegations of any kind have been made against James’ family,” the Institute for Justice said in a news release.

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Following last year’s seizure, James Slatic had to close his business and lay off 35 employees.

“We feel newly violated,” James Slatic said. “These legal tactics are having a real and devastating effect on my family. First, we lost our money for more than a year, even though no one did anything wrong. Now the government won’t give the money back, even though there is no basis for keeping it.”

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

Mental Preparedness: These Mental Gymnastics Will Sharpen the Mind

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ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, this segment has to do with some simple things that you can do on a daily basis to keep your mind fresh and avoid the ravages of aging much better.  Naturally there is a lot to do with heredity and genes that go into such ailments as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease that you cannot control.  You can do some things that will help to prevent these ailments from affecting you, and they are simple remedies that take up little time and cost almost nothing.

Numerous (almost innumerable) medical studies throughout the decades have revealed that the more active you keep your mind, the greater your mind will function in the years to come.  The mind isn’t a “muscle,” however, it is an organ that can be developed, conditioned, and exercised in order to carry out preventative maintenance.  Your risk factors for decreased cognitive function are improper diet, consumption of alcohol and/or legal or illegal drugs, inadequate sleep, overwork, and high stressors.

Meditation (as outlined in numerous articles at ReadyNutrition) is a way to help your mind overcome the stressors, and I had recommended it at least twice per day: once in the morning, and once in the evening.  Meditation can be in complete silence, or listening to quiet, soothing, relaxing music.  I may not have mentioned it before, so I will add regarding music that it should be instrumental in nature.  The music should be of a type that is soothing and relaxing without any words.  The reason for this is that lyrics and words tend to steer your mind toward something and make it think in a manner that is not necessarily relaxing.

When you listen to light or soft classical music, or musical instruments with soft tones and no singing, you free your mind from the human “word,” so to speak: you don’t introduce into your mind something that will cause it to focus upon or associate it with a concept embodied within the word or words.  Meditation is a time for your mind to escape from the confines of day-to-day activity and to relax, not be channeled into some form that limits it and perhaps even adds more stress by associating thoughts that are negative with a word that may happen to pop up in the song with lyrics.

So, that is what can be done to relax your mind.  Now let us discuss what you can do to strengthen it.  Some things may interest you, and some may not.  You’ll have to decide for yourself.  Reading is very beneficial to mental acumen.  When you get up in the morning, it can be a very productive stimulus toward beginning the day.  When you go to bed, reading just before going to sleep can help you to fall asleep more quickly and smoothly.  Before I go to sleep, I try not to read anything that can be classified as “current event” oriented, or day-to-day news/problematic.  I try to read short stories and light fare that enable my mind to rest.  Perhaps this will work for you.  Short stories by Jack London, or Ray Bradbury, or such are some ideas.

Next, we have exercises that we can perform mentally.  Crossword puzzles, word quiz books, mathematics problems, and word trivia books are excellent tools to use to fine-hone your mental “gymnastics” and practice “exercising” your brain.  Research this on your own, but it is proven that such things help to strengthen your thought processes and “work” your brain productively.  They stimulate mental activity.  The brain has billions of cells and neurons that in many ways “atrophy” from lack of use, misuse, or abuse, the latter especially when drugs or alcohol are introduced into your system.

It is part of your preparedness for your later years…not just right now, while you’re young and either resemble Payton Manning or Emily Blunt in youth and strength.  You’re doing these things to prepare for later, to keep your mind healthy later in life.  When you do these word challenges, keep a dictionary beside you and look up any word that you don’t know or understand.  In addition to strengthening your mind, you will be increasing your vocabulary and learning new things.

Just as a “matter of fact,” I tend to pick up the dictionary each day and look up words…either to confirm what I already know, or to find a new one that I haven’t heard or one that I’ve forgotten about.  Inadvertently, I always end up looking at multiple definitions and cross-referencing what I was originally searching for with other words in the dictionary.  A good dictionary has a wealth of information right at your fingertips.

Word games such as “Boggle” or “Scrabble” are games you can play with your family to work on the concept as a team.  It is a cheap but productive way to spend an evening, and translates into true quality family time.  In addition, you are all going to benefit from the increased vocabulary use (especially the kids), and the fun of challenging one another with the words.  In this last case, a “weird” word is attempted and you find out whether it is really a legitimate word or not by using the dictionary.  I stress it is not a way to “kill” time, but a way to invest your time in something that is worthwhile.

So, present challenges to yourself each day that are beneficial challenges with the development of your mental acumen.  Sharpen each other’s “iron,” and you’ll find that your mind will work better and more efficiently.  It is something that will benefit you both in the short term, and in the long run.  Take care of one another!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Bartering Basics: What To Do When Money Has No Value

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Bartering Basics: What To Do When Money Has No Value

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Money can quickly lose its value in the event of a catastrophic event. In 1998 in Quebec and Ottawa, an ice storm crippled the power grid in those two provinces, forcing people to learn to live without electricity for several weeks. Credit cards and other forms of electronic commerce simply ceased to function.

In such a situation, bartering can replace cash and credit cards. Bartering is the simple act of exchanging one thing for something else. But it’s rarely simple.

Bartering begins when you need something you don’t have. The key is to find someone who has it and who is willing to trade for something you have and that they want. It could be goods, or it could be services or a unique skill.

Stockpile items that will have value if the manufacturing infrastructure breaks down. Items to think about include:

As you can see from the above list, these are items that are difficult to produce or create on your own. All can be bought in stores or online.

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But there’s a certain skill set you can learn that will allow you to produce items of value for barter. They include:

  • Eggs.
  • Vinegar
  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Smoked fish and game.
  • Fresh fish and game.
  • Baked bread and other baked goods.
  • Knitted items.
  • Firewood.
  • Honey, maple syrup and molasses.
  • Herbs and herbal remedies.
  • Rustic furniture.
  • Basic tools, from brooms to rope.

You also can barter your own skills. Someone who has the tools and the expertise to perform timber-frame construction easily could barter their labor for goods and services. The same is true for someone who is an expert at herbal remedies or who can construct and build cabins or furniture from rustic resources. You even could barter your help and assistance with simple labor for fundamental tasks. The critical thing is to have the ability to anticipate what others may need when times are tough.

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Bartering Basics: What To Do When Money Has No Value

Image source: Pixabay.com

To a large degree any barter transaction is a negotiation, much like at a flea market. That gets to a fundamental rule of barter. Only bring a small portion of what you have of any item, and don’t advertise the fact that you have more of anything. In a barter economy, you might encounter desperate people who will take desperate measures to get what they need.

Let’s look at the basics of bartering …

The 5 Steps of Bartering

1. What you want versus what you have. Try to assess the current value of what you need from a barter standpoint and assess what you can offer in exchange.

2. Identify potential trading partners. This might be neighbors or individuals at a barter market. Sometimes networking can help by simply getting the word out to your friends and neighbors that you are looking for a certain item or set of items. There’s also the remote possibility that the Internet may still be functioning, to some degree. After all, it was fundamentally designed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to survive total thermo-nuclear war.

3. Negotiate. Sometimes a barter exchange is a mixed bag of items. If someone has something of particular value like an ax, and you don’t have a comparable tool to exchange, you could combine items for trade such as nails, seeds, a gallon of vinegar and an assortment of first-aid supplies you can spare. You also could offer services in exchange for the item.

4. Agree on a time and place to make the exchange. If you’re at a barter market, you may have these items with you. Otherwise, you need to determine a place to meet and complete the transaction. Make sure you inspect the item or items before agreeing to the final exchange. Refunds are rare and failing to live up to the bargain is not a good idea on either side of the transaction.

5. Build your barter network. If you are satisfied with the transaction, you have the opportunity to build a relationship with this trading partner. Chances are you will be able to continue to make exchanges in the future and it’s always best to do it with someone you trust and have come to know.

There are online websites and various locations already established for the barter of goods and services. You may not need to barter for something right now, but it’s good practice. It’s particularly valuable at some of the barter markets that have popped up. This recreates the environment that you will encounter in a pure, barter economy. It also will give you a chance to see what people offer or create so you have new ideas as you expand your barter inventory and hone your barter experience.

What advice would you add about bartering? Share your thoughts in the section below:           

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Judge Orders Mom To Stop Homeschooling After Smart Girl Falsely Labeled Illiterate

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Judge Orders Mom To Stop Homeschooling After Smart Girl Falsely Labeled Illiterate

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

A judge ordered a homeschooler placed in school and even scheduled a trial after an official falsely reported that the girl was illiterate.

To make matters worse, the judge refused to examine the girl’s test scores, which indicated she was reading and writing at the level of her grade, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) reported. The scores were from an independent agency.

The controversy started when the mom, named Vanessa, moved to a different county in Kentucky and enrolled her daughter in a private school. But she soon realized that homeschooling was a better option, so she pulled the girl, who until that short time had been homeschooled her entire life.

That’s when things went wrong.

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“The private school … contacted the local director of pupil personnel (DPP), who called Vanessa at night and told her that she needed to file her notice of intent [to homeschool] immediately,” HSLDA’s Darren Jones wrote. “But the very next day, the DPP filed charges in court, accusing her of neglecting her daughter’s education. He claimed that the daughter had only attended school 20 days in her entire life and that she could not say or write the alphabet.”

Directors of pupil personnel are employees of the public schools.

The judge ordered Vanessa to enroll her daughter in a school, and he scheduled a trial for six weeks later. HSLDA then hired an independent consultant, who evaluated the girl and found she was working above her capacity. The consultant reported he had “no idea why someone at the school would have said that the girl didn’t know the alphabet. She’s a good reader (with very good phonetic skills).” The consultant even added in an email, “The mom does a great job!”

Once that report was made public, the prosecutor dropped the case and the judge agreed that the mom could go back to homeschooling.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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DIY Seed Tape: The Fast, Easy Project That Saves Time And Money

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DIY Seed Tape: The Fast, Easy Project That Saves Time And Money

Photo: Jacki Andre

I don’t know who invented seed tape, but that person deserves a gold star. If you’re not familiar with it, seed tape is tissue-thin biodegradable paper, usually about an inch wide, that has seeds embedded in it.

There are several benefits to using seed tape:

  • The seeds are optimally spaced for plant growth so that you don’t need to thin.
  • No thinning means less waste.
  • No thinning means less work.
  • It’s easier to plant tiny dark seeds since you won’t accidentally pinch extras out of the package, nor lose them in the soil, being unsure how many you actually sowed.

There are two downsides to using seed tape (or wanting to use it). There is a limited selection of vegetables — and varieties — that are available. Commonly, carrots, radishes, beets, and some salad greens (like lettuce and spinach) can be purchased in seed tape.

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DIY Seed Tape: The Fast, Easy Project That Saves Time And Money

Photo: Jacki Andre

The other downside is cost. Naturally, since additional materials and work are needed to create seed tape, it’s pricier than loose seeds. For example, a well-known seed company has radish seeds listed for $5. But the tape with the radish seeds is $7 for roughly 22 inches of tape; and you’re getting only one-fourth the number of seeds!

But you can make your own seed tape for pennies. And you can use any seeds that you want. It’s a super-fast, easy, cheap and practical project.

There are lots of websites with directions on how to make seed tape. I relied heavily on the tutorial at learningandyearning.com.

Start by gathering your supplies together. You need:

  • Seeds.
  • Toilet paper (unbleached is best).
  • Flour & water to make a paste.
  • Measuring tape or ruler.
  • Toothpicks.
  • Marker or pen (optional).

Make the flour paste by mixing flour and warm water together in approximately equal parts. The paste should be thick and goopy. Adjust the flour or water if needed to achieve the right consistency.

DIY Seed Tape: The Fast, Easy Project That Saves Time And Money

Photo: Jacki Andre

Tear off strips of toilet paper. My kitchen table is about three feet across, so that’s how long I made my strips. Your own strips can be as long as you like. Keep in mind the row length in your own garden. I have raised beds with eight-foot rows. It would have made more sense to make seed tape in four-foot lengths, but I worked with what I had.

Fold the toilet paper in half lengthwise. The purpose is to make a straight seam down the middle to use as a guide, so press the seam firmly and then reopen the toilet paper.

Read the directions on the seed packet to find out the optimal distance between plants. Ignore the part where it suggests seed spacing, as this is often considerably smaller than plant spacing.

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You can use a pen or marker to indicate where the seeds should be placed. Marking dots is a good idea if you’re using a small ruler that you need to frequently move. If you’re using a yardstick or measuring tape, though, it’s faster and easier to just leave the measuring device on top of the toilet paper and plop the seeds down in their appropriate spots. Note: The seeds should be placed in the center of one side of the toilet paper.

DIY Seed Tape: The Fast, Easy Project That Saves Time And Money

Photo: Jacki Andre

Dump your seeds onto a light-colored surface. The tutorial I read suggested using a sheet of paper, but you don’t have to worry about seeds rolling away if you use something with a lipped edge, like a dinner plate.

Dip a toothpick into the flour paste and then use the gluey tip to pick up one seed. Transfer the seed to its spot on the toilet paper. Once your length of toilet paper has the correct number of seeds, put small goops of paste here and there on the toilet paper to act as a sealant. Then fold the toilet paper together and press. That’s it. Voilà. You have seed tape.

Once the glue is well-dried, roll or fold the tape and store it in a Ziploc bag. Whether you label the bag or not, I suggest sticking the seed packet in there for future reference.

I made about 24 feet of seed tape in less than half an hour, and that included gathering together all my supplies and taking photos. Once you get set up, you should be able to churn out the seed tape quickly.

When it’s time to plant, just make a neat furrow to the depth indicated on the seed packet and place the seed tape into the furrow. After you cover it with soil, all you have left to do is wait for your perfectly spaced plants to pop up.

Have you ever made or used seed tape? Share your tips in the section below:

The Prepared Home: 5 Prepper Projects to Start in the Spring

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ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, as many of you know, planning is an important aspect of emergency preparedness. Each year, you should make new plans and practice your new skills. I wrote an article a little while back about planning (and possibly starting) an icehouse/root cellar during the wintertime.  As of this writing, spring is just around the corner (officially), and the cold weather is starting to retreat bit by bit.  We’re going to cover a few ideas for you to pursue during the spring months for building projects around your property.  Let’s jump right into it, with a description of the projects and the reason for building them.

Here are 5 Prepper Projects You Can Start in the Spring

  1. The Icehouse: As mentioned in the earlier article.  If you plan on doing it, you may just have at least 2-3 weeks where you can obtain some freezing temperatures.  This would behoove you to act, if you rent out a small backhoe and dig your cellar/icehouse.  Remember to go below the frost-line!  Fill up bins with water and let them freeze.  When the icehouse is finished, fill it up with these huge blocks of ice.  Sawdust is an excellent insulator, as is pine mulch (brown needles, not green, if you use needles).
  2. The Greenhouse: If you don’t have one, well, now’s the time to put one into place just before it’s time to plant and sprout your seedlings. There are almost innumerable styles and sizes to choose from.  Once again, you have about a month to get that baby up and running. Here is one greenhouse project you can do for less than $300. As well, consider the convenience of cold frames to get a head start on your garden.
  3. Underground (hidden) vault/cache point: Now this one will take a little bit of explaining. Once again, going below the frost-line, the key here will be to make a little “room,” so to speak, under the ground.  Make a foundation of gravel after you’ve dug out a cubicle/rectangular chamber.  Position this away from the house, where some government clown with a metal detector will not tread.  All the same, you can pick up a precast concrete module, or make it out of a culvert pipe.  You want to cover it up in the end with about 6” of earth, so that it’s not too much that you can’t get through it in the wintertime.  If you’re interested and indicate so in the comments, I can give you a good plan that I know works in a future article.
  4. Storage shed: Yes, build your own, if you have the time and resources.  Those pre-made sheds for sale in the building supply big-box stores cost a fortune.  You can do better by stick-building it out of 4” x 4” s and 6” x 6” s with pressure-treated plywood.  Make sure all your lumber is pressure-treated.  When you’re done, make your roof out of corrugated steel instead of shingles…it’ll save you time and energy during the winter with snow removal.
  5. Smokehouse: Now’s the time to prep that smokehouse for meat…months (or many moons, if you prefer!) before hunting season comes around again. This will involve perhaps the emplacement of a wood stove or the creation of a barbecue pit-type structure.  There are plenty of plans and diagrams on the Internet that you can weigh and balance against your needs.

This is the time to lay out all of your plans and figure out what materials you will be using and the costs for all of them.  In our rigidly-controlled social structures, there may even be a friendly government permit man or inspection man to meet…to find out how much they will take out of you before you start building.  Factor all of this into consideration prior to actually building, as it will alleviate headaches later.  You may want to do some smaller projects, such as a place to store firewood, or a small toolshed or such.  Do not allow the 5 mentioned in this article to dissuade you from some kind of project in the good weather for building.

Hopefully the weather will warm up soon, but this is an excellent time to lay the groundwork for what you have been thinking of building during the winter months.  The only limit is your imagination and to actually take action on the project.  The best plans in the world are only plans until they’re executed.  Here’s hoping you have some good weather and start the ball rolling on whatever project you decide.  Let me know about that item #3 above, and you keep fighting that good fight!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

6 Things You Better Know About North Korea & Potential War

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6 Things You Better Know About North Korea & Potential War

The United States and North Korea are far closer to war than most people realize. The two nations even might be on the verge of a conflict that would involve nuclear weapons.

Americans should be concerned because North Korea is believed to have several dozen nuclear weapons, according to Chinese estimates. (The U.S. count has it closer to 15.) North Korea has staged two dozen missile tests and might develop within the next year an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which could have the capacity to reach Hawaii.

If that was not bad enough, North Korea might have up to 12,000 tons of chemical weapons stored for the possibility of war, The New York Times reported.

Here are six reasons you should be concerned about a potential war:

1. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Trump are considering a preemptive strike to shut down North Korea’s nuclear program.

“If they elevate the threat of their weapons programs to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table,” Tillerson said in a press conference. Trump tweeted that North Korea has been “behaving badly.”

Yet such a strike might not be able to destroy every missile, such as ones hidden on mobile launchers or in the mountains.

2. North Korea has threatened nuclear retaliation if even a “single shot” is fired against it.

“The Korean People’s Army will reduce the bases of aggression and provocation to ashes with its invincible Hwasong rockets tipped with nuclear warheads and reliably defend the security of the country and its people’s happiness in case the U.S. and the south Korean puppet forces fire even a single bullet at the territory of the DPRK,” a press release stated.

3. The United States and South Korea currently are conducting a massive military exercise, called Foal Eagle, involving 15,000 American and 290,000 South Korean troops, The Diplomat reported.

Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, labeled Foal Eagle as a dress rehearsal for an attack on North Korea.

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This year’s exercise included mock attacks on nuclear facilities by U.S. and South Korea forces.

4. The U.S. is deploying high-tech weapons in the region.

These include the MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone, which is capable of destroying targets on the ground with Hellfire missiles and precision bombs. One use for the Gray Eagle would be to destroy missiles. Another potential threat is the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THADD), which has the capacity to shoot down ballistic missiles. It arrived at Osan Air Base in South Korea this month, CNBC reported.

5. North Korea is developing means of evading U.S. attacks and defenses.

This includes firing multiple missiles to get through THADD. It also includes the use of mobile missile launchers on all-terrain vehicles, which can be moved around to evade U.S. air attacks, Fitzpatrick reported.

6. Kim Jong-un is homicidal and potentially insane.

The North Korean leader’s estranged half-brother was murdered at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with VX nerve agent (a chemical weapon), Malaysian police told the press. Many experts believe the murder was committed by North Korean agents. Kim John-un, 33, may have feared that his brother would try and take control.

What do you think? Is North Korea a legitimate threat? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Victory: Court Says Creamery Can Label Its Skim Milk … ‘Skim Milk’ (Huh?)

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Victory: Court Says Creamery Can Label Its Skim Milk … ‘Skim Milk’ (Huh?)

Image source: Institute for Justice

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In what some are calling a victory for common sense and liberty, a U.S. federal appeals court Monday handed a creamery a major victory by ruling that all-natural skim milk can be labeled “skim milk” even if it is not injected with state-mandated Vitamin A.

The unanimous 3-0 decision overturned a decision from earlier this year by a federal judge.

At the heart of the controversy is Ocheesee Creamery, which has an all-natural philosophy and clams that injecting the vitamin would make its skim milk anything but all-natural. The state had ordered the creamery to label the skim milk “imitation skim milk” if it didn’t have Vitamin A.

The creamery sells cream, skimmed from whole milk, to families and coffee shops; skim milk is the byproduct. The creamery currently dumps about 400 gallons of skim milk each day because it refuses to label its product “imitation.”

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The creamery’s use of “skim milk” to describe its product “is not inherently misleading,” the judges ruled.

Story continues below video

“As the Creamery’s label does not concern unlawful activity and is not inherently misleading, the Creamery’s commercial speech merits First Amendment protection,” read the ruling, which vacated the lower court’s decision.

The judges remanded the case to the lower court.

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“This decision is a total vindication for Ocheesee Creamery and a complete rejection of the Florida Department of Agriculture’s suppression of speech,” said Justin Pearson, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, which is representing the creamery. “All Mary Lou wants to do is sell skim milk that contains literally one ingredient — pasteurized skim milk — and label it as pasteurized skim milk.”

The Florida Department of Agriculture had ruled the milk could be labeled “skim milk” only if it was injected with artificial Vitamin A.

“I simply want to tell the truth about what is in the products I sell, and I did not like that the government wanted me to lie,” Mary Lou Wesselhoeft said. “Today’s good news is proof that it is important to stand up for your rights when the government wants you to do something that is wrong.”

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

They Converted A 1991 Cheap School Bus Into An Off-Grid Home. And They Love It.

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They Converted A 1991 Cheap School Bus Into A Home. And They Love It.

Take an interest in tiny home living, add in a bit of wanderlust and combine with a tight budget and you have school bus living.

On their “We Got Schooled” blog, Justine and Ryan share their story of converting a 1991 International school bus into their home on wheels.

The conversion process took about two years of part-time work while the couple maintained their full-time jobs. The entire project cost about $15,000, one-third of which went to the purchase of the bus — which they found on craigslist — and some initial engine repairs.

They earned money to pay for the project as they went along, and they had to research many of the steps before they actually performed them.

One of the most striking things about the young couple’s bus is its color. They painted over the traditional school bus yellow with a specialty marine & industrial-grade blue paint from Sherwin-Williams. “It’s bright, hard to miss, and makes us happy,” Justine writes.

Let’s examine the details of this converted school bus:

Power. The bus is equipped for both off-grid and on-grid living, with a 30-amp AC power inlet under the carriage and two 6-volt deep-cycle batteries on board that provide an alternative source of DC power. They also installed solar panels on the roof, and they have two gasoline-powered Honda generators as a back-up power source.

The bus has a 15,000 BTU air conditioner designed for RVs mounted on the roof, and Ryan and Justine use space heaters for heating in the winter.

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“Despite these systems, we’ve found that the best way to regulate the temperature inside our bus is to use its wheels,” Justine writes. “To avoid extreme summer temperatures, head north, or barring that as an option, head for higher elevation. … Likewise, when it gets cold, head south.”

Meals. The couple uses a standard mini-refrigerator, and when they are off-grid, they tend to go low-tech with ice and a cooler. They cook their meals on a propane camp stove and oven.

Plumbing. Ryan and Janine have an in-line water heater that uses propane to heat the water as it flows through the unit. A ventilation pipe in the roof allows exhaust to exit the bus.

They have a 40-gallon tank that holds water for drinking, cooking, showering and flushing the toilet. They also have a 20-gallon tank for holding grey water and a 20-gallon for holding black water.

Storage. In a video tour of the refurbished bus, Janine admits that she and Ryan had to downsize and simplify their lives to embrace the tiny house lifestyle. “It was an interesting process,” she says. “So far, the results have been good.”

Story continues below video

 

 

The couple shares a closet, and they store their books in hand-made shelves that feature removable bars that keep books from falling off when the bus is moving.

Additional storage is located under the couch and under the bed. Stringed instruments hang on the walls. In the bedroom, Janine and Ryan have other shelving, and they use magnets to hang some belongings from the walls and the celling.

Ryan rigged up a pulley system to hoist large heavy items, such as their bikes and their kayak, up onto the roof of the bus.

Driving regulations. Although specific bus driving requirements can vary, most states require school bus drivers to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and/or a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) based on the weight of your vehicle.

“As part of the conversion process we each upgraded our licenses from a class C to a class B license,” Janine writes. “To do so, we both had to take written and practical exams demonstrating we could safely drive the bus. We typically take shifts behind the wheel and swap out whenever the driver becomes tired.”

Ryan and Janine have logged more than 11,000 miles in their converted bus.

The bus, they write, “represents countless hours of hard work, a whole lot of head-scratching, and yes, even a few spilled tears along the way.

“In its completed state,” they write, “it serves as a reminder of all the reasons we began this endeavor – letting us confidently say that home is wherever you park it.”

Would you want to live on a converted school bus? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Here’s Everything You Need to Know About First Aid for Your Eyes

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There probably isn’t any part of your body that is more sensitive, exposed, or crucial to your survival than your eyeballs. You use these soft, delicate organs during every waking moment and for just about every task, but unfortunately the only thing that protects them are a few eyelashes and 1mm thick eyelids. Evolution is cruel like that.

So given the vulnerability of our eyes, it would be wise to brush up on the first aid measures that should be taken in an emergency to protect them. Below are the most common eye injures and the protective procedures that you need to take to prevent further damage, at least until you can see a doctor:

Chemical Exposure

If a caustic chemical ever gets splashed into your eyes, your first knee jerk response will probably be to close them. In this instance however, that’s a bad idea. You want to keep your eyes open so that the chemical doesn’t get trapped under your eyelids. Find a source of water and rinse them out for 15-20 minutes while keeping your eyes open the whole time, and seek medical attention.

Foreign Debris

We’ve all had some kind of debris in our eyes at one point or another. It’s a situation that your eyes are normally capable of correcting themselves by tearing up and washing the debris away. But if the condition persists, refrain from rubbing your eyes. It’ll only irritate them more. Pull your upper lid down and blink repeatedly. If that doesn’t work, you need to pull open both eyelids and roll your eye around before rinsing it out. You can repeat that process a few times if it doesn’t work right away.

Embedded Foreign Object

If you have a foreign object embedded in your eye, the measures you need to take aren’t what you might expect. Unlike the previously mentioned first aid procedures, you’re not supposed to wash out your eyes (this also applies to any cut or puncture wounds to the eye). You’re also not supposed to remove the object. Find something that you can place over the eye without applying too mush pressure to it, such as large, loose-fitting goggles or a plastic cup; then seek medical attention.

Blunt Force Trauma

The most important thing to do if you suffer a blow to the eye, is to reduce the swelling. Apply a cold compress or ice to the eye for 5 or 10 minute intervals. You can also take ibuprofen for the pain and swelling. After a 24 hour period, begin using a warm compress instead. You need to look out for any bleeding or vision problems. Or if it hurts to move your eyes, there may be damage to the eye socket. In those cases, you need to find a doctor.

Welder’s Flash

You probably already know that the light from a welding arc can hurt your eyes. This is called “welder’s flash”, and it’s why every welder has to wear a mask with tinted glass. However, there’s a good reason why this condition goes by many names, including “snow blindness” and “corneal flash burn.” It can be caused by any overexposure to ultraviolet light. Sunlight that reflects off of snow, sand, or water can also cause the condition.

The symptoms may include eye pain, severe light sensitivity, bloodshot eyes, blurry vision, and a gritty sensation under the eyelids. To treat the condition, you need to stay indoors in a dark room and wear sunglasses as much as possible for 1 or 2 days. You should also be applying artificial tears on a regular basis. If you wear contact lenses, remove them until your eyes heal. Most victim’s of welder’s flash find that a cold compress helps alleviate the symptoms. If your symptoms continue for more than a couple of days or worsen after 1 day, then you should see a doctor.

 

References:

http://www.healthline.com/health/first-aid/eye-care#blows-to-the-eye

http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/eye-injuries-treatment

http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/snowblind.htm

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Police Falsely Told A Driver It Was Illegal To Record Them. He Was An Attorney.

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Police Told A Driver It Was Illegal To Record Them. He Was An Attorney ... Who Knew The Law

An attorney who moonlights as an Uber driver caught a police sergeant and a sheriff’s deputy lying about videoing law — on video.

The cops told Jesse Bright it was illegal to record them him, but a few days later the police chief admitted it was legal for Bright to tape law enforcement officers.

“Taking photographs and videos of people that are in plain sight including the police is your legal right,” Wilmington, N.C., Police Chief Ralph Evangelous told the media. “As a matter of fact we invite citizens to do so when they believe it is necessary. We believe that public videos help to protect the police as well as our citizens and provide critical information during police and citizen interaction.”

Evangelous’s officers did not get the memo. A few days earlier, Wilmington Police Sergeant Kenneth Becker stopped Bright’s car and asked to search the passenger. Bright decided to record the incident, and he then turned the tape over to WECT TV.

“Hey bud, turn that off, OK,” Becker said.

“No, I’ll keep recording,” Bright responded. “Thank you. It’s my right.”

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“Don’t record me,” Becker said. “You got me? Be careful because there is a new law. Turn it off or I’ll take you to jail.”

“For recording you?” Bright asked. “What is the law?”

Unable to give Bright a specific law, Becker then began arresting him.

“Step out of the car,” Becker responded.

“What are you arresting me for?” Bright asked. “I’m sitting here in my car. I’m just recording in case anything happens. I’m surrounded by five police officers.”  

“You’re being a jerk,” Becker said.

Seconds later he said: “I know the law. I’m an attorney, so I would hope I know what the law is.”

Bright had picked up the passenger from a spot near a “drug house,” police said. Eventually, both men were let go without being charged.

Laws in 38 states allow citizens to record cops as long as they do not interfere with police operations, Gizmodo reported.

Bright said the police he encountered have a self-interest in not wanting anything recorded.

“It’s definitely in their best interest to have the only copy of the video, but it’s not within their rights to have the only copy in an incident,” Bright said of police. “If the only recording of an incident is on their camera, they kind of control if that gets released or sometimes there can be a malfunction with it.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has posted a list of rights for filming and photographing police.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

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North Korea Warns Of Nuclear Strikes On U.S. If ‘Even A Single Bullet’ Is Fired

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North Korea Warns Of Nuclear Strikes On U.S. If ‘Even A Single Bullet’ Is Fired

 

LOS ANGELES — North Korea will launch a nuclear strike against U.S. forces and allies if even a “single bullet” is fired against it, the rogue state is warning in a press release.

“The Korean People’s Army will reduce the bases of aggression and provocation to ashes with its invincible Hwasong rockets tipped with nuclear warheads and reliably defend the security of the country and its people’s happiness in case the U.S. and the south Korean puppet forces fire even a single bullet at the territory of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea),” the statement, released this month, reads.

North Korea has carried out five successful nuclear tests and is believed to have 10 nuclear warheads, Yahoo News reported. The country has missiles capable of hitting U.S. bases in Japan and potentially Hawaii.

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The DPRK is trying to develop ballistic missiles that can hit North America. North Korea carried out 24 missile tests and two nuclear tests in 2016.

Military action against North Korea is on the table, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters.

“Certainly we do not want for things to get to a military conflict,” Tillerson said. “But obviously if North Korea takes actions that threaten the South Korean forces or our own forces, then that would be met with an appropriate response.”

The U.S. and South Korea are conducting a massive war game called Foal Eagle which some view as practice for an attack on North Korea.

Do you believe North Korea is a threat to the U.S.? What is your reaction to the nation’s latest threat? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Prepping For Survival: Your Life May Depend on This Post-SHTF Skill

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 ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, this piece is to introduce you to the importance of reloading, and how it can be a critical skill necessary to your survival in the times to come.  Before I continue, understand that you must have an FFL (Federal Firearms License) to be able to reload for anyone other than yourself.  That caveat being mentioned, why would you want to reload?  There are several good reasons besides just a post-SHTF skill that we will cover.  Let’s cover a few basics, now.

Most rifle and pistol cartridges and shotgun shells can be reloaded

primer

Your primer types for rifle and pistol are mainly “Boxer” type primers.  The primer is the small circle on the non-business end of your round that contains an explosive charge…a primer charge…to set off the powder in the cartridge and propel your bullet or pellets along the barrel.  Simple, huh?  The only cartridges you will have trouble with are “Berdan” primed cartridges.  These are mostly former Soviet and Com-bloc nations’ ammunitions (such as 7.62 x 39, or 7.62 x 54R for AK-47’s or M1894 Mosin-Nagants, respectively) with Berdan primings.  The primer has two holes that enter into the cartridge, and reloading is a challenge needing special tools and primers.

You will be able to save money on ammunition if you save your brass and/or acquire your brass to be cleaned, polished, and reloaded.  RCBS has the famous “Rock Chucker” reloading press good on rifles or pistols.  You also need a die and a decapping tool for each caliber.  You can order all of this stuff online at www.amazon.com, and outfit yourself a piece at a time.  Bullets can be bought, along with good guidebooks by Lyman and also by RCBS that give step-by-step instructions on how to reload each caliber.  The reloading manuals come with critical data, such as the amount of grains of powder you will use as per size and type of bullet, as well as chamber pressures and maximum loads.

Down the road, you’ll want to get into casting your own bullets and other “specialty skills” that go with gunsmithing.  You can really improve all of your knowledge by taking a course, either at one of the local colleges or online for gunsmithing.  Another good tool to have is the Lee Handloader, a small (tiny) handloading press that you can shove right into your backpack.  This little press comes in different calibers for what you would need, and it is also orderable online.

Major George C. Nonte put out an obscure but venerable work entitled, “The Homemade Guide to Cartridge Conversions,” for your advanced studies.  The more you reload, the more you will learn about firearms and their capabilities.  And if the SHTF?  You can bet that you will want the ability to reload!

One of the most frightening scenarios was in “The Road,” the novel by Cormac McCarthy.  The novel differed from the movie in this regard.  The father found boxes of .45 ACP cartridges in an underground bomb shelter/bunker, but could not use them in his pistol. If he had a knowledge of reloading, it would have been a simple task to take his spent shell casings and take the time to reload them using the .45 ACP cartridges he had found.

The acquisition of supplies is secondary to skills, especially in the areas of fabricating different pieces of equipment and tools.  Making things is what I’m referring to.  Reloading will teach you skills that you will be able to more readily adapt ammunition and supplies and tailor make it for your survival needs.  You don’t have enough ammo now: none of us do, myself included.  If not now, then how about the Day after Doomsday?  If it’s short now, what about then?  Every bullet will be worth many times its weight in gold.

Consider a good gunsmithing program with a worthwhile course/section in reloading.  If that option isn’t available, then study up and align yourself with others who reload. Offer to help them out if they will teach you their trade.  It is a skill you will be able to use for the rest of your life, and may even prolong it!  Study hard and gain a skill that will pay for itself.  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

23 Items (Besides Food & Water) FEMA Says You Should Stockpile

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23 Items (Besides Food & Water) FEMA Says You Should Stockpile

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Editor’s note: This is the second story in a two-part series about what the federal government says should be stockpiled. Read part 1 here.

Perhaps surprisingly, the federal government has been part of what has driven the prepping movement.

FEMA’s “ready.gov” website was developed with the idea of helping people to prepare for a natural disaster so that they would have a better chance of surviving it. While FEMA isn’t the definitive source for survival information, a number of things that are widely accepted in the prepping community trace their roots right back to Ready.gov.

The most glaring example of this is the three-day food rule, which defines that bugout bags, otherwise known as 72-hour bags, have three days of food in them. Just about everyone talks about having three days of food in their bug-out bag, without anyone taking about the “why” behind that figure. But here’s the why: because the government said so.

Personally, I carry five days of food in my bug-out bag, and have another couple of weeks worth in a secondary bag, with even more food in other portable containers. The idea is to take as much food with me as I can, and use the food from the other containers first, leaving what’s in my bug-out bag for last. That way, if I have to abandon my vehicle and the other food, I’ll at least have that five days’ worth.

So, where did FEMA’s idea of three days’ worth of food originate? It came from their master plan, which states that they will have relief services in place in three days. Forget that they haven’t been overly successful in accomplishing that in the past, but it’s still their plan.

We can extrapolate a very important point from this. That is: everything that the government says about disaster preparedness is based upon the assumption that the Nanny State government will be there to help you. If you trust the government, that’s fine; but if you don’t, then it’s not a good idea to put too much stock in what they offer as survival advice.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at FEMA’s list of “Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit.” This printable list is what FEMA recommends having on hand, mostly with the idea of surviving a natural disaster.

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In addition to food and water, the list includes:

  1. Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
  2. Flashlight and extra batteries.
  3. First-aid kit.
  4. Whistle to signal for help.
  5. Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air, and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place (better to use a medical grade mask to keep out pathogens, too).
  6. 23 Items (Besides Food & Water) FEMA Says You Should StockpileMoist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
  7. Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
  8. Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food).
  9. Local maps.
  10. Prescription medications and glasses.
  11. Infant formula and diapers.
  12. Pet food and extra water for your pet.
  13. Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
  14. Cash or traveler’s checks and change.
  15. Emergency reference material such as a first-aid book or information from ready.gov.
  16. Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  17. Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper. When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color-safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  18. Fire extinguisher.
  19. Matches in a waterproof container.
  20. Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.
  21. Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels.
  22. Paper and pencil.
  23. Books, games puzzles or other activities for children.

Before going any farther with this, we need to understand exactly what this list is. By looking at it, it is immediately clear that the items listed are for sheltering in place, in your home, while waiting for government relief. That, in turn, assumes that the government will be able to bring relief, that they will be able to do it in three days, and that they will physically be able to get to you. Those are some pretty big assumptions.

When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, one of the many problems that delayed the arrival of relief into the New Orleans area was the trees and other debris scattered on the roads. There were many places where the roads had to be cleared before the trucks carrying the relief supplies could make it to those who needed it.

FEMA’s inability to deal with the situation in a timely manner was obvious and examined in great detail. So, it would be natural to think that they would have been ready seven years later when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. But they didn’t even put out requests for quote (RFQs) for the supplies they needed until the day after Sandy hit. It doesn’t look like they learned a whole lot.

While there are many other examples we could use, I’ll just mention one other. In 2016 there was a massive flood in Louisiana, affecting about 30 parishes (what the rest of us call counties). In that case, it wasn’t FEMA that rescued people and brought relief, but rather the people of Louisiana helping each other. Some used their boats to rescue people stranded on their roofs, while others set up emergency shelters and cooked meals for those who were displaced by the flood. It was a great demonstration of community outpouring to help one another out.

23 Items (Besides Food & Water) FEMA Says You Should StockpileSince it’s clear that there are many cases where the government can’t get in place fast enough to truly make a difference, accepting the idea that three days’ worth of food and water is enough, is ludicrous. But even if they could, that three-day figure doesn’t take into account any long-term or national disaster scenarios.

Long-term disasters are those that last anywhere from a few months to more than a year. In such a case, it’s clear that we’d need a whole lot more food than the three days mentioned in FEMA’s list; or, we need to grow our own food.

Situations like terrorism taking out the grid or bio-warfare would mean that we’d all have to be self-sufficient for months.

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Many writers have undertaken to write complete lists of what you’ll need in these sorts of situations, myself included. Take a look at the article on “22 Things Besides Food and Water That You Should Stockpile” or “21 Surprising Items You’ll Need when the Grid Is Down.” The truth is, there is no way of knowing for sure everything we’ll need, so we need to plan for everything and hope that we didn’t miss anything.

But let me take a moment to make a quick case for what’s missing from the government’s list. To determine what we need, we always have to start out with the basics for survival. Those are:

  • Ability to keep warm.
  • Clean water.
  • Nutritious, high-energy food.

To support that, we need to add:

  • The ability to defend ourselves.
  • First-aid supplies.
  • The ability to start a fire.
  • Tools.

Just looking at those seven areas, it’s clear that the FEMA list is missing a lot of things. They mention matches to start a fire, but they don’t talk about fuel for the fire. Their list assumes that everyone has a stock of firewood sitting behind their homes, as well as a government-approved wood-burning stove to burn it in? Incomplete answers to survival problems, like this one, get people killed.

They do mention the ability to purify water with bleach, but that’s the only water purification method they mention, and they missed the part about shaking up the water once you put the bleach in it to make the bleach dissipate, and then allowing it to sit for 20 minutes to kill the pathogens. But why not mention some other methods of water purification? Water is such an important part of survival, that depending on only one method is not safe.

Two of the “supportive” areas that I mentioned above are totally missed by FEMA: the ability to defend yourself, and tools. One of the things you can count on in the aftermath of any disaster is the criminal element coming out of the woodwork to take advantage of the situation.

The fact that they missed tools can be forgiven, if we assume that the plan is to shelter in place, in your home, awaiting the arrival of government aid. But then, if you were one of those people, you wouldn’t be reading this website. The fact is that many survival tasks, from building or repairing shelter to preserving food, are going to require tools of some sort. Of anything that FEMA has left off their list, this is probably the biggest omission. Yes, you can make it three days without those tools, but not a whole lot longer.

All in all, the only true value that the FEMA list has is as a starting point. For someone who hasn’t done anything about emergency preparedness, this list is an eye-opener. But the sad thing is that many will take this list as being the definitive word on survival and not go any farther.

Simply put, it is not wise to put our survival in the not-so-capable hands of the government.

What is your reaction to the FEMA list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

How To Turn Ordinary Garden Soil Into Organic Potting Mix

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How To Turn Ordinary Garden Soil Into Organic Potting Mix

Image source: Jacki Andre

If you’ve been gardening for a while, you’ve likely heard that you shouldn’t use garden soil in containers or as a seed-starting medium.

But garden soil is free and it’s right there for the taking. So, what’s wrong with using it? The short answer is that soil used in any kind or size of container should be light, fluffy and specially formulated to provide optimal growing conditions. Specifically:

  • Garden soil, particularly if there is clay in it, may not drain well. Seeds and young delicate roots are prone to rot in excessively wet soil. Further, when soil is wet all the time, its oxygen gets used up, and microorganisms that require oxygen die. The lack of beneficial microorganisms opens the door for anaerobic bacteria and pathogenic fungi to move in and kill off your plants.
  • At the same time, soil in containers needs to retain some moisture since plants can’t grow without it. If your garden soil is sandy, it may have difficulty retaining moisture.
  • Loose soil provides good aeration, so that roots have room to breathe and grow. When packed into a pot, garden soil may hinder air flow.
  • Garden soil can contain weed seeds, which will be annoying to deal with; it also may contain pathogens, which are more serious as they are potentially lethal to your plants.

Still, garden soil is free, right? And sometimes it’s fun to experiment and try something you’ve never done.

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If you’re up for it, you can make your own organic potting mix out of garden soil. To do it, you will need to sterilize the soil and gather some things to amend it with.

Sterilizing Garden Soil

How To Turn Ordinary Garden Soil Into Organic Potting Mix

Image source: Jacki Andre

There are three ways to sterilize soil . The fastest way, especially during early spring, is by baking it in your microwave or conventional oven. (In the hot summer months, you can sterilize it by spreading it on a plastic sheet in the sun, and letting it cure for 4-8 weeks.)

Microwave Method

I have not used the microwave method, so I can’t speak to it, but this is what you do:

  • Moisten up to two pounds of garden soil. Aim for a mud pie consistency; it should be thick and moldable, but not soupy.
  • Put the moistened soil into a heavy plastic bag and leave the top of the bag open.
  • Place the bag in the center of the microwave.
  • Run the microwave on high, and plan to do so for 2-5 minutes.
  • Periodically, stop the microwave and stick a meat thermometer into the soil.
  • Once the soil reaches a temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the bag of soil from the microwave and place it in a cooler or other insulated container. The insulation will hold the heat in so that the sterilization process can complete.
  • Leave the bag in the cooler until the soil has completely cooled off. It is then ready to be amended.
How To Turn Ordinary Garden Soil Into Organic Potting Mix

Image source: Jacki Andre

Conventional Oven Method

I have sterilized soil in my oven. This is what I can tell you: It takes a long time and it doesn’t smell all that lovely. It’s best to do this on a nice day when you can open some windows. And maybe light some candles.

  • Fill an oven-proof container with garden soil to a depth of about three inches. I used a foil roasting pan.
  • Moisten the soil thoroughly. Again, aim for a mud pie consistency.
  • Cover the pan with foil and stick it in an oven that’s been preheated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bake the soil until a meat thermometer indicates that it has reached a temperature of 180 degrees. This likely will take 6-8 hours.
  • Once the soil reaches 180 degrees, let it bake for an additional half hour. Do not over bake.
  • Once it cools, it’s ready to be amended.

Amending Garden Soil Into Potting Mix

How To Turn Ordinary Garden Soil Into Organic Potting Mix

Image source: Jacki Andre

The University of Illinois recommends that garden soil be amended by mixing together one part sterilized soil, one part peat moss, and one part perlite or coarse builders’ sand. Peat moss is used to help your potting mix retain moisture, and it also creates the air space that roots need. Perlite also provides air space, and helps keep the potting mix light and fluffy, as it should be.

To mix my soil, peat moss, and perlite together, I lined a cardboard box with a heavy plastic bag and scooped the ingredients in. Once everything was in, I pulled the bag out of the box and gave it a good shake to mix everything together. And voilà! A healthy, well-balanced potting mix awaits seeds and plants.

What about you? Have you ever made potting mix at home? What method did you use, and what tips would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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The Rifle That Makes 1,000-Yard Hits Seem Super-Easy

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The Rifle That Makes 1,000-Yard Hits Seem Super-Easy

Image source: Terry Nelson

The 6.5 Creedmoor centerfire rifle cartridge was introduced by Hornady in 2007. It has taken a few years to catch on, but it has taken off like wildfire.

Earlier in 2016, I had the distinct privilege of being able to test one of Savage Arms’ offerings in the 6.5 Creedmoor — the Model 10 BA Stealth. While hitting a mark at 1,000 yards and beyond is often a sought-after benchmark for rifle shooters, today it has become almost commonplace.

I will have to admit, though, that the 6.5 Creedmoor has made that distance and beyond seem almost too easy. Don’t get me wrong; you have to do your part, especially if you have those nasty crosswinds. With relatively high sectional density and ballistic coefficient, 6.5 mm bullets, in general, are known for their success in rifle competitions. For some loads, the 6.5 mm Creedmoor is capable of duplicating the muzzle velocity or trajectory of the 300 Winchester Magnum with only minimal felt recoil. Along with its success as a competition and target cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor is exploding in popularity in the hunting and tactical markets.

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The primary features of the Savage 10 BA Stealth in 6.5 are:

  • The Rifle That Makes 1,000-Yard Hits Seem Super-Easy

    Image source: Terry Nelson

    Factory blue-printed Savage Action.

  • Monolithic aluminum chassis machined from solid billet.
  • M-LOK forend.
  • One-piece EGW scope rail.
  • Fab Defense GLR-SHOCK six-position buttstock with adjustable cheek piece.
  • A 5/8 x 24 threaded muzzle with protector.
  • Detachable 10-round box magazine.
  • Savage AccuTrigger.

The first day I had the Savage 10 BA Stealth on a long-distance range, I was hitting steel out to 1,000 yards. Admittedly I had the use of good ammo, American Eagle 140gr OTM (open tip match), a great optic — a Bushnell Elite Tactical LRS 6-24x first focal plane scope — and I made use of a good ballistics table. There seems to be quite the discussion on the gun blogs of the effective range of this cartridge, from as little as 400 yards and out to 1,200-plus yards. Suffice it to say with the right ammo, 400 yards is child’s play with 6.5, and in the hands of a good rifleman, 1,000 yards-plus is attainable for many.

There is a wide selection of good factory ammo and volumes of data for reloaders. Muzzle velocities for the 6.5 are in the 2700 to 3200 fps range, depending on bullet weight and load.

With the aforementioned Savage Stealth in 6.5 Creedmoor (Savage offers the Stealth in 308 Winchester, also) I personally took a mule deer in New Mexico this past November during legal deer season. Using Federal Fusion 140 grain soft point, I made a 327-yard uphill, one-shot kill and the deer never moved. I say this while holding the greatest respect to the animal and only to point out that the 6.5 Creedmoor is, in fact, a very suitable cartridge for the hunting environment.

If you’re looking for an ultra-flat shooting cartridge with mild recoil and want to challenge yourself at the 1,000-plus yard mark, the 6.5 Creedmoor is worthy of consideration. And I’m still enjoying the venison sausage in case anyone is wondering!

Have you ever shot anything – even a target — from 1,000 yards? What were you using? Share your tips in the section below:

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Cancer-Fighting Superfoods You Should Eat EVERY DAY

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Cancer-Fighting Superfoods You Should Eat EVERY DAY

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Not all health conditions are avoidable, but certain lifestyle choices can increase your risk of illness, including diseases such as cancer. These lifestyle choices include smoking, lack of exercise, drinking too much alcohol, and eating an unhealthy diet.

Certain foods, often called “superfoods,” have cancer-fighting properties. These superfoods are comprised of antioxidants, healthy fats, a high content of vitamins and minerals, and fiber – elements that are known to have cancer-fighting properties:

There is no single food that will fight cancer alone. The key is to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

So, are you ready to discover foods that can help prevent cancer? Here is what your doctor would tell you:

1. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables can help lower your risk for many types of cancer. This is true because plant-based foods are rich in nutrients which boost your immune system.

  • Fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and beta-carotene. These powerful vitamins can defend against cancer and aid the cells in your body with functioning optimally.
  • Diets high in fruit may lessen the risk of lung cancer and stomach cancer, among others.
  • Veggies high in carotenoids, such as Brussels sprouts, carrots and squash, may decrease the risk of mouth, lung, larynx and pharynx cancers.
  • Berries, oranges, bell peppers, dark leafy greens and peas — along with other foods high in vitamin C, such as broccoli and papaya — can fight cancer cells due to their high level of antioxidants.
  • Foods high in lycopene, such as guava, watermelon and tomatoes can lessen the risk of prostate cancer.

2. Eat foods high in fiber

Foods high in fiber keep your digestive tract clean and healthy.

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Cancer-Fighting Superfoods You Should Eat EVERY DAY

Image source: Pixabay.com

Fiber aids in keeping foods moving through your digestive tract, and clears out cancer-causing toxins before they can cause much harm. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

  • There is no fiber in dairy, sugar, meat or “white” foods such as pastries, white rice and white bread.
  • As you eat more fiber, drink plenty of water because fiber absorbs water.
  • Eat whole grains such as whole wheat bread and brown rice, instead of white breads and rice.
  • If you need a snack, popcorn has more fiber and is healthier than chips.
  • Bananas, pears and apples are high in fiber, as well as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Baked potatoes, including the skin, are high in fiber.
  • Substitute beans, soy and legumes for meat, which are high in fiber.

3. Eat foods with cancer-fighting fats

Eating a diet high in “bad fats” can increase your risk of cancer. However, there are healthy fats that can fight cancer cells. The trick is to choose foods with the healthy fats.

Healthy fats that can help fight cancer

Healthy fats are unsaturated fats that are found naturally from sources such as fish, olive oil, avocados and nuts. Furthermore, focus on omega-3 fatty acids that support brain health and heart health, and that battle inflammation. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include tuna, flaxseeds and salmon.

  • Eat fish at least two times per week. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids include black cod, herring, sardines and salmon.
  • Cook with high-quality olive oil (but don’t let it smoke, which can decrease its nutritional value).
  • Add nuts, seeds and avocados to your meals as much as possible.
  • Eat more flaxseed, or try flaxseed oil, as well.

Unhealthy fats that can raise cancer risk

The most destructive type of fats are saturated fat and trans fat. While some saturated fats — from eggs and dairy — may have health benefits, unhealthy saturated fats from processed foods, fried foods and fast foods might escalate cancer risk.

  • Avoid fast foods that are high in trans fats and saturated fats.
  • Limit consumption of packaged and processed foods.
  • Avoid vegetable oils that are made with the use of high heat and toxins.
  • Watch sweets. Not only can they contain unhealthy fats, but are mostly full of empty calories with no nutritional value.

Final Thoughts

Remember to exercise to keep your body and mind healthy! A healthier body is a natural immune system boost, and can fight off illnesses and diseases much better than a fatigued, out-of-shape body. A healthy mind supports good mental health and a positive outlook that also can aid in fighting off illnesses and diseases.

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

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Water Into Wine

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Water Into WineI left the empty life behind. He turned the water into wine.

—Dave Stearman, “He Turned the Water into Wine” (1973)

 

He comes to make His blessings flow  Far as the curse is found.

— Isaac Watts, “Joy to the World” (1719)

 

A Jewish Wedding

They were getting married.  A young couple.  A simple celebration.  Their families weren’t rich.  Even scraping together enough money to pay for the food and wine had been difficult, but family and friends chipped in.

Organization was a headache, too, but the young couple had found a family friend to serve as coordinator.  Her name was Mary.  She was a widow from nearby Nazareth.  She was known for her godliness and good sense.  She had raised a large family and had lots of practical experience.  Perfect for a planner. There was more, though, something unusual.  Rumors had it that strange things happened when her first Son was born.  Angels.  Stars.  Prophecies. She and her family had spent time in Egypt, too, in Alexandria perhaps.  No doubt she had stories to tell, if only she would.

There was one more thing about the wedding.  Mary’s Son Jesus had recently taken up the calling of Rabbi, a teacher of the Law.  The desert prophet John had introduced Him to Israel, and thus He had already begun to attract a small following.  The families had invited Jesus to join the celebration and to bring His disciples.  More mouths to feed.  But rabbis were always well-received at Jewish weddings.

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The bridal procession itself had begun at dusk.  Covered with a veil and surrounded by her childhood friends, the young bride had left her father’s house and set out for her new home.  Before her went pipers.  Then came those who passed out oil and wine to the grownups, and nuts to the children.  Some carried torches or lamps on poles.  Those nearest the bride had myrtle branches or wore garlands of flowers.  Everyone rose to greet the procession and to pronounce blessings and praise.

Once the bride reached her new home, she was taken to her espoused husband.  Then came the official pronouncement:  “Take her according to the Law of Moses and of Israel.”  The groom signed the contract, the written vows in which he promised to care, keep, and provide for his wife.  Next came the ceremonial washings and their accompanying benediction.  Finally, there was the bridal cup and one more blessing.

Then came feasting.  There were many guests.  Perhaps more than the young groom had thought would come.  The wine began to run low.  In Jewish life and for a Jewish festival, this meant disaster.  Mary, always watchful, saw the problem.  There was no backup plan for wine.  But Mary had something else in mind.

Mary went to Jesus and said simply, “They have no wine.”

Mary and the Wine

We aren’t told exactly what Mary was thinking. We’re not sure if Mary completely understand who her Son really was.  Certainly, He had always been responsible and reliable as a young man.  And with Joseph gone, she had learned to trust Jesus with the ordinary affairs of money and family.  But given Jesus’ response, she may have actually been looking for a miracle.

John had baptized Jesus and hailed Him as the Lamb of God and as the One who would pour out the Holy Spirit.  And, in fact, the Spirit had descended upon Jesus, and a heavenly voice had pronounced Him the Son of God.  Surely Mary had heard of all this.  And just as surely it would have resonated with the old memories and meditations she had locked up in her heart.  What was in Mary’s heart?

Well, what had the angel said?  “He shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David. … He shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:32, 35).  “Messiah the Lord.”  That’s what the angels had called Him to the shepherds.  “Born, King of the Jews,” the wise men had said.

Water Into WineHad the time finally come?  Was everything about to come together?  Did she need to give one little nudge?  Or maybe she simply needed help, and her observation veiled a motherly hint for action.

“They have no wine,” she said.

Jesus said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?  My hour is not yet come.”

Whatever Mary may have had in mind, Jesus was now on His Father’s timetable.  His final revelation as Messiah lay three and half years in the future.  In the meantime, it wasn’t for Mary to dictate, however gently, how He should pursue His course to the cross and the throne.

In confidence, humility and meekness, Mary simply turned the matter over to Jesus and trusted Him for whatever resolution pleased God.  She told the servants, “Whatever He tells you to do, do it.”

Water Into Wine

Jesus directed the servants to six large stone water pots.  These contained the water that the faithful used for ritual purifications.  Each could hold 20 to 25 gallons.  But the crowd had already used up a lot of the water.  So Jesus told the servants to fill the water pots.  They did… up to the brim.  Jesus told them to carry some of what was in the jars to the table master, the one who oversaw the banquet.  They obeyed.

When the table master tasted what the servants brought him, he immediately called for the groom.  He said, “Every man sets out his good wine at the beginning of the feast; then, when everyone’s had plenty to drink, he puts out the worse.  But you’ve kept the best until now!”  The groom, unaware of the miracle, didn’t know what to say.

This was the beginning of Jesus’ miracles, His first manifestation of His power and glory (John 2:11).  Scripture simply says, “and His disciples believed on Him.”

A Feast of Wines

The prophets had described the coming of Messiah through a great many figures and metaphors:  water, wind, and fire were among their favorites.  But another prominent, recurring image was that of festival, of banqueting, and every good feast involved lots of good wine.  Here are a few of the prophecies that connect Messiah with the free gift of celebratory wine:

And in this mountain, shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined (Isa. 25:6).

Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price (Isa. 55:1).

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt (Amos 9:13; cf. Joel 3:18).

It was no accident that Jesus began His ministry by providing an abundance of wine for a wedding.  The miracle was an open declaration that He was the Messiah and the divine Bridegroom. But not just that … also that the kingdom of God had come in power and that God was about to make all things new.  The sacrament He established just before His death said the same thing …  new and eternal life through the blood of the new covenant (Matt. 26:27-29).  But Jesus ordained wine for the sacrament (instead of blood) — wine for the celebration of victory.

As our Priest, Jesus has completed and perfected our atonement.  As our warrior King, He has defeated sin and death.  His work is done.  He has taken His throne (Heb. 10:11-14).  It is time to celebrate and rejoice.  He summons us to eat and drink with Him at His table in His kingdom (Luke 22:28-30; cf. Matt. 8:11).

The Lessons of the Miracle

Jesus’ first miracle displayed His power as Creator.  We aren’t told whether He called new carbon molecules into existence or merely restructured the protons of the existing hydrogen and oxygen molecules to make the water into wine.  It doesn’t matter.  This was a creative miracle.  Jesus is God.  Period.

Entertain Your Kids For HOURS On The Road — Without A DVD Player! Read More Here.

Jesus performed the miracle at a simple wedding, as the traditional wedding ceremonies remind us, saying of human marriage: “which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee.”  At the beginning of the world He ordained marriage and gave away the bride (Gen. 2:18-25).  Now as the Divine Bridegroom, He blessed marriage anew and revealed Himself in and through it.

Water Into WineIn the wine miracle, Jesus displayed the stark contrast between His own ministry and that of John the Baptist.  “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine” (Luke 7:33).  John majored in austerity and abstinence, traits appropriate for a nation that stood on the verge of destruction (Matt. 3).  But Jesus came to establish a kingdom whose marks are “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).

To perform the miracle, Jesus used waters set aside for ritual purifications.  These were not washings that God had ordained, but ritual cleansings established by tradition (Mark 7:3-4).  Apparently unimpressed with Jewish tradition, Jesus swept it aside to rescue an ordinary wedding and ensure the happiness of two young lovers and their guests.

In this miracle, Jesus turned the ordinary into the extraordinary.  He could have left the wedding guests with water.  Certainly, water is life-sustaining.  He could have given them grape juice.  But He gave them wine.  He replaced the mundane with the extraordinary, the bland with celebration.  The good news is, He still does it with human lives today.

In the miracle, Jesus showed Himself the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and announced the advent of His kingdom.  He chose to work with images of joy, celebration, prosperity, and renewal.  This is not a Neo-Platonic kingdom locked up in our hearts, but a kingdom with real consequences in the real world.  “He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.”

Conclusion

It has been nearly 2,000 years since Jesus turned the water into wine.  Very few of the wedding guests knew or understood what He had done.  Jesus wasn’t trying to prove His identity or start an advertising campaign.  Jesus Christ is the living God who does wonders.  He is Life:  He makes all things new.  Those with faith and “eyes to see” will take comfort in the water into wine miracle.  Those without faith will see nothing but myth and superstition.  But then againv… such will not believe “though one rose from the dead.”

Dedicated To Jared Brewer, Who Makes Great Wine

For Further Reading:

Alfred Edersheim, “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” (New York:  Longmans, Green, and Co., 1904).

It’s The Pain-Free (And Overlooked) Technique To A Bigger Garden Yield

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Succession Planting: The Pain-Free Path To A Bigger Garden Yield

Image source: The Pixabay.com

Succession planting is a great technique to use in your garden that will provide you with delicious benefits for little extra work. The primary goal of succession planting is to produce more food from your garden by continuously planting crops throughout the growing season.

If you’re like many of us fellow food growers, maximizing your garden’s production is a yearly goal. The idea behind succession planting — an often-overlooked technique — is to replant another crop immediately after you harvest, sometimes repeating more than once, depending on your climate and ability to utilize season extension methods.

To prepare yourself for a full season of succession planting, it is helpful to sit down in the spring and map out what crops you are planting where, and when. This will serve as a reminder when to start new seeds indoors so you always have strong and hardy seedlings on hand.

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There are different types of succession planting, and you can use one of these methods or all of them in your garden simultaneously.

Same Crop Succession Planting

“Same crop succession planting” refers to re-sowing the same crop at regular intervals throughout the season to ensure that you always have some of this crop to harvest. This is used most often for lettuces, radishes or scallions. By planting a smaller quantity every 1-3 weeks, you will harvest smaller amounts continuously, rather than a large amount all at once. Not only will you enjoy fresher produce from your garden, but you will surely reduce the amount of food waste your household generates, as well.

Different Crop Succession Planting

Another type of succession planting incorporates different crops in succession, and is very effective in accommodating the changing climate throughout the year. Follow the first cold-weather crop with a different species of plant that thrives in the hot summer sun. You can then follow this up again with another cold weather crop that will hold up to overwintering. If you plan accordingly, you can plant the same spot multiple times throughout the year, using many different scenarios. For example: Plant cold-weather crops in the spring (such as spinach, cold-hardy lettuces, peas) under row covers, hoops or cold frames; followed by quick-maturing, heat-loving crops (beans, radishes, carrots, scallions, summer squash); followed again by cooler-weather crops that you can overwinter (kale, leeks).

Intercrop Succession Planting

A less commonly used method is called “intercropping” and involves planting more than one species of plant in the same spot at the same time. Each crop matures at a different time, usually in succession, and allows you to maximize your production by growing a harvest of more than one crop in one space.

Succession Planting: The Pain-Free Path To A Bigger Garden Yield

Image source: The Pixabay.com

There are a few things to keep in mind to facilitate greater success with this type of a succession-planting schedule.

Seamazing: The Low-Cost Way To Re-mineralize Your Soil

By starting the seeds of your second and third plantings inside, you will have strong and hardy seedlings ready to go, increasing your garden’s efficiency.

Each time you harvest and replant, be prepared with soil amendments to feed your soil. Organic compost, manure, glacial rock dust, Epsom salts or your favorite organic fertilizer will help to ensure that your soil remains as nutrient-dense as possible to support a lush and vibrant garden. The more nutrition you feed your soil, the healthier your plants will be and the more nutrient-dense your food will be.

Utilizing nutritious mulch throughout the year will help retain moisture and nutrients in the soil, while greatly reducing those pesky weeds.

Lastly, intensively planting a space in your garden with multiple crops in one growing season can take its toll on your soil. Follow an intensive season with a nutritious green-manure cover crop; that will help regenerate the soil and prepare it for the next round of edible production. Rotate your bed of intensive succession plantings to a new place in your garden each year to reduce stress on the soil and the risk of pests and disease.

By simultaneously utilizing a few tried-and-true techniques in your garden – succession planting, mulching, and crop rotation with green manure cover crops — you can increase your production potential to a whole new level.

Do you use succession planting? Share your tips in the section below:

Bust Inflation With A Low-Cost, High-Production Garden. Read More Here.

One knot every survivalist should know – The Trucker Hitch

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TRUCKER HITCH:  Step-by-Step Tutorial + Video!

The Trucker Hitch is an impressive knot that is comprised of two very basic knots.  The name comes from its use in the transportation industry when tying and securing heavy loads.  It can be used to tie down a load using rope with crushing force.  It is the ratcheting strap of the knot world.  I use the Trucker Hitch to secure my kayak to the roof rack on my truck.  In survival, I primarily use it when setting a rope shelter ridgeline or when sleeping in a hammock.  However, it is extremely useful, whenever the need may arise, to stretch a rope very tightly between or across two anchor points.  While the Taut Line Hitch is also a tensioning knot, the Trucker Hitch allows the user to tighten a rope with considerably more force (if that is necessary or desired).

To tie it, start with forming an overhand loop on the standing part of the rope.

 

Then, pull a bight from the working end up through the loop.  This creates a slippery overhand loop.

 

Next, run the working end around an anchor point, such as a tree.  Note that pulling the working end too hard during this step will result in undoing the slippery overhand loop, so care must be taken here.  This is why it’s called “slippery”.  The working end should then be run through the slippery loop, pulled tight, and then secured with two Half Hitches.

Pinching the line on each side of the slippery overhand loop will allow for easier tying of the Half Hitches.

In a frictionless world, the design of the Trucker hitch allows for a 3 to 1 advantage when pulling a line tight.  As can be seen in the labeled diagram, every unit of force pulled on the working end results in three times that unit on the standing line.  The physics of this mechanical advantage is what allows the user to pull the standing line so tight between two objects.  Due to friction through the loop and around the anchor point, the mechanical advantage isn’t a true 3 to 1, but it’s still enough to tighten with impressive force that will rival even modern ratcheting straps.

I’ve also filmed a video about how to tie the Trucker Hitch.  You can watch it here:  http://www.creekstewart.com/trucker-hitch/

If you liked this tutorial and would like to earn 18 more of my favorite survival knots, consider my POCKET FIELD GUIDE: Survival Knots – VOL I.  It can be purchased anywhere books are sold for $6.99.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

CR///EK

 

Creek’s “Anyone, Anywhere, Anycondition, Anytime” Fire Kit now available at CreekStewart.com

 

 

 

Societal Collapse: They’re Now Jailing Bakers In This South American Country

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Societal Collapse: They’re Now Jailing Bakers In This South American Country

Operating a privately owned bakery at a profit is now a crime in one South American country. The nation’s government is seizing bakeries and jailing bakers who make anything but loaves of bread.

At least two bakeries in Venezuela have been seized and four people jailed as part of the “bread war” declared by President Nicolas Maduro, The Miami Herald reported. It is part of Maduro’s effort to end bread lines and shortages of baked goods in the country.

Maduro sent soldiers to more than 700 bakeries to enforce a rule that 90 percent of their production must be bread, not pastries or cakes, Reuters reported. A least one bakery will be run by the government for three months.

Bakeries in Venezuela can only produce French bread or white bread, with government supplied flour, under Maduro’s orders. They then must sell the bread at prices set by the government. It is also illegal to make items like brownies, sweet rolls and croissants.

Flour Shortage and Bread Shortage

The problem is that the government is not supplying the bakeries with any flour because it cannot pay for flour or wheat, said Juan Crespo of the Industrial Flour Union, a group that represents Venezuela’s bakers.

Be Prepared! Store An ‘Emergency Seed Bank’ For A Crisis Garden

“The government isn’t importing enough wheat,” Crespo said. “If you don’t have wheat, you don’t have flour, and if you don’t have flour, you don’t have bread.”

Around 80 percent of Venezuela’s bakeries are out of flour, Reuters reported.

“The bakeries are showing the authorities that they have no bread inventory,” Crespo said. “The government has to see the reality.”

Venezuela has to import 120 tons of wheat a month to supply demand, but that is not happening, Crespo said. Venezuela’s government has had trouble paying many of its bills. Some news reports indicate the country has not even been able to pay the company that prints its currency.

One result of the currency crunch is food lines in Venezuelan cities, where people stand in line for hours just to buy bread. Another is food rationing, food riots and empty supermarket shelves.

“Those behind the ‘bread war’ are going to pay, and don’t let them say later it is political persecution,” Maduro said in a statement.

Many of the bakeries will have to close if they are unable to sell pastries and other high priced products, Crespo said. That means the situation might soon get far worse because of Maduro’s “solution.”

What is your reaction? Do you think something like this every could happen in America? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Discover The Secret To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.

The 6 Best Ways To Predator-Proof Your Chicken Coop (You Are Doing No. 4 … Right?)

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The 6 Best Ways To Predator-Proof Your Chicken Coop (You Are Doing No. 4 … Right?)

Image source: Pixabay.com

My headlights showed that no one had closed the pop door on the coop even though the sunlight had vanished a half hour prior. I had just returned from picking up pizzas for supper and noticed a hen sitting outside in the snow.

Putting the van in park, I glanced at the coop again. There he was — an opossum standing just inside the building. I honked the horn to warn the other hens. The pop door seemed as if it were exploding as my hens flew out and scattered. Some ran for the safety of the back steps to the house, a few scurried into the garage, and one flew up to the roof to roost. Fortunately, all of my hens returned to the coop unharmed. On this night, pizza saved my flock, but by utilizing a few tips, I hope to prevent this from ever happening again.

Predators are a fact of life on the homestead. Raccoons, opossums, weasels, foxes and snakes are common threats to any chicken coop. In addition to these ground-level predators, air attacks from hawks and owls occur in some rural areas. Of course, completely eliminating the threat to hens is impossible, but managing the threat is doable.

Diatomaceous Earth: The All-Natural Livestock De-Wormer!

Here are a few tips to tighten the security of your coop and increase the level of safety enjoyed by your flock.

1. Install an automatic pop door

A sliding pop door is a DIY project that can be made with the help of an electric motor and timer, or it can be purchased and installed rather easily. Using a timer to regulate the door opening and closing can be tricky if your birds free-range, as the length of each day changes dramatically and a bird closed out of the coop certainly will draw predators. If constructing your own door, including a bottom rail will hinder some types of predators from lifting the door and helping themselves to your flock.

2. Upgrade your locks

A few predators, raccoons in particular, are skilled at opening doors and lifting latches. This could pose a problem for the inhabitants of your coop. Upgrade the latches and locks on your coop by including multistep latches and even padlocks to deter the most-skilled predators.

The 6 Best Ways To Predator-Proof Your Chicken Coop (You Are Doing No. 4 … Right?)

Image source: Pixabay.com

3. Replace chicken wire

Chicken wire is fine for some projects, but it is not the best option for protecting your flock. Replace the chicken wire in windows, screen doors and the run with hardware cloth. This cloth is a sturdy mesh that allows air to flow through easily while making it difficult for predators to tear. It also can be used as a covering for a run to deter hawks and owls from sampling your chickens.

4. Bury the fencing

Bury at least 12 inches of fencing below the surface to prevent burrowing animals from entering the run, but do it with the proper materials.

“The Big Book Of Off The Grid Secrets” — Every Homesteader Needs A Copy!

Uncoated metal, such as chicken wire, deteriorates quickly. When burying fencing for a chicken run, or as a protective measure around the coop, use coated metal below the surface. Chicken wire can deteriorate in as little as three years when exposed to the constant moisture typically found in the soil.

5. Keep it clean

Cleaning the coop is certainly necessary to maintain healthy chickens, but keeping the area surrounding the coop clean is just as important to their safety. At dusk, remove uneaten food and treats from the run and coop. This will discourage predators looking for an easy meal — and rodents that can spread disease — from entering the coop. Remove tall grasses, vines and other debris from around the coop, as well. Predators will be less inclined to stroll out to the coop when they will be in full view.

6. Perform regular maintenance

Small creatures, such as weasels, snakes and young opossums, can squeeze through very small holes. Replace worn or rotten boards promptly, including floor boards. Also, take care that the seams are properly fitted together, using a sealant to ensure there are no gaps for predators to slide through. Mend or replace fencing or hardware cloth that has been damaged.

How do you keep predators out of your flock? Share your tips in the section below:

Discover The Secret To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.

This U.S. City May Issue $1,000 Fines For ‘Bad Smells’

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This U.S. City May Issue $1,000 Fines For ‘Bad Smells’Property owners in one major American city soon might face a $1,000 fine for foul odors. The city is even planning to equip code inspectors with a smell measuring device called the Nasal Ranger to enforce the measure.

Officials in Las Vegas would use the device to test the air in neighborhoods, The Las Vegas Review Journal reported. If bad smells were detected, property owners would have the choice of clearing the air or paying a fine.

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No smell ordinance is on the books, but the city council is scheduled to discuss one. The main targets of the ordinance will be recreational marijuana growers.

The ‘Nasal Ranger’

“It comes up with a scientific reading, so if we had to go to court, we’re not standing there and going, ‘Yeah, it’s stinky,’” code enforcement supervisor Vicki Ozuna said of the Nasal Ranger.

The $2,000 device looks like a hair dryer. Officers would put the device up to their noise and take a reading. If the reading was high, property owners might face a fine. The officers also would get special training in detecting smells.

The city decided to crack down on odors because of a cat hoarder’s home that was so smelly the walls had to be ripped out to end the stink. City officials found they were powerless to do anything about the cathouse, even though residents could smell it from across the street.

What do you think? Should cities crack down on foul smells? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Looking For A Second Country? Read More Here.

Preppers – If You Aren’t Doing This Annually, You Won’t Be Disaster Ready

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Well, it may seem cliché to say that spring is right around the corner, as in most of the U.S. there’s still plenty of snow on the ground.  Winter still seems “deep” to some (especially Yours Truly, as I have almost 3’ of snow on the ground), and the cold weather has not broken.  Nevertheless, everyone out there in ReadyNutrition Land, the early bird gets the worm.  I’m referring to all your gear that you’ll be breaking out soon when the cold weather breaks.

Stay on top of your prepper gear 

Maintenance

Your gear can best be maintained according to a maintenance schedule and you can get a start on it now.  Some preppers do it twice a year when Daylight Savings Time hits. But it’s more than giving it a glance and it doesn’t just mean cleaning it.  It also means inspecting it for serviceability and function.  It means making sure that it’s well organized and that you can pick it up at a moment’s notice to “rock and roll” with it…be out the door and on the moor!  You can’t do that unless it’s ready.  Let’s discuss it, shall we?

How’s that rucksack?  If you’re the way I am, you absolutely hate anything that can detract from your load-carrying capabilities.  Inspect that rucksack!  Has it been sitting out in the garage or in the basement, on the cement floor?  I hope not.  Are your straps in order, and are there any signs of dry-rot, mildew, or water damage?  You need to find that out now, and even more:


Preppers – The time to find out about deficiencies was yesterday, and there should be a “zero defects” policy regarding them.


What does this mean?  If you’re serious about survival and prepping, and you really want to survive a disaster/SHTF scenario when it happens (notice I wrote “when” and not “if”), then you’ll be on top of this…all the time.  The conditions for the rucksack I mentioned should never occur.  They won’t occur if you follow a regular schedule of checking it and correcting anything that surfaces.  For the nylon on your rucksack you can use a shoeshine brush or a medium to stiff bristle brush to clean off any dirt and dust.  Maintain the straps in the same way.

Dirt or mud, clean it off…if it’s not easy with the brush, then take some warm water on a clean towel or rag and “damp scrub” it off.  The nylon of the straps and the pack clean up well, but you don’t want to leave it too damp.  Always place the rucksack off the floor.  Don’t allow it to contact the floor surface.  Inspect the connecting points of the ruck, and inspect every piece that snaps or buckles.  Everything should be clean and working.  Canteens should be emptied and dried to prevent funk from going inside of them, or (as JJ does) if you’re going to store water in them the water needs to be changed periodically (say every month) to keep the “grand Funk railroad” from slipping in.

Familiarization

This may seem an oxymoron, however, unless you have a photographic memory you’re going to have a hard time remembering how you packed your gear…what is where.  One way to solve this (as I mentioned in other articles) is to keep an inventory sheet of everything, listed on an actual diagram of your rucksack.  This enables you to look at the diagram of the ruck and see how it’s made…where the pouches are, etc. …and know exactly what is in it.  Guess what?  It won’t be enough, because when you change seasons (in this case, Winter to Spring) you should have a full layout of all of your equipment you will tote.

Why?  For accountability (know that everything you think you have you actually have), and for serviceability (to know it is all in working order).  Along with that rucksack is that jungle hammock, that one-man tent and all of its accoutrements, flashlights, radios (don’t open that tube and find leaking batteries!), and all of your other gear and gadgets.

If it all comes to a halt, you don’t have the time to do all of this…and it’s on you…nobody else.

Tents have those “friction rods.”  How would you like to find out when you’re in the middle of a torrential downpour and setting up the dome that the friction rods are “ganked,” or broken?  Or you want to open up that poncho and string the bungees at the corners and top…a temporary shelter…and find that the vinyl is all eaten up from some kind of acid or rot, and there’s a giant hole in it?


Ben Franklin: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”


If you follow a regular schedule of inspection and maintenance, you won’t have a “can of snakes” spring open on you.  This seems overly simplistic, but it is the way of mankind to procrastinate…to move toward the path of least resistance.  It is the way of all of us…and what makes us win?  The ability to be able to fight that part of our natures and discipline ourselves…make ourselves do what it is that is right to do, although we don’t feel like doing it.  Your gear should be clean, serviceable, well-organized, and accounted for…in its place and you know exactly where it is.

I’ll fill you in on one of my techniques.  When I come across someone, I can assess them in an instant if they carry.  If I ask them to look at their weapon and it is rusted or dirty, or it has carbon on it, and is un-lubed?  Then I need know no more.  But if the bluing is worn-down where points of contact meet the holster…and it’s cleaned and oiled…and the holster appears a little worn, but clean and serviceable…I know that one “draws,” cleans the weapon…is one with it.  That individual I remember.

It’s a standard that I hold myself to every day.

In the 82nd Airborne, we had a saying (a mantra, if you prefer): “My weapon, my equipment, and me.”

Sound overly simplistic?  No, it’s ordered…I kept it with me in Special Forces…I keep it with me now.  My weapon’s continuity ensures that I can continue if under fire.  My equipment and gear enables me to live, to be sheltered, to carry food, medicine, and supplies.  These two taken care of, then I must take care of myself…eating, rest, and hygiene, along with physical conditioning.

See how much is in it when you take a really good look?  But I’m not trying to berate you, the Readers in any way.  I’m trying to give you of myself…in lessons paid for with time, experience, and much grief to learn them correctly.

Because iron sharpens iron, and in order to survive, you must be made of steel…you and your family.  Yes, President Trump is in, and we’re “riding the crest” of an upswing.  Remember: all is fleeting, and it can all change in the blink of an eye. Don’t blink for too long, or the moment will have passed.  You must prioritize.  Prep your equipment now, before the Spring hits, and follow a regular program of maintenance and inspection.  Be steel.  You can do it.  Fight that good fight, and fight it to win.  JJ out!

 

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

5 Forgotten Things Your Grandma Did With Apple Cider Vinegar

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5 Forgotten Things Your Grandma Did With Apple Cider Vinegar

Image source: Flickr / Creative Commons

 

While in today’s world apple cider vinegar is mostly overlooked, to my grandmother, it was more of that “good old-fashioned medicine.”

She raised children during the Great Depression, which made her not only tough as heck, but a bit strange about some things. She saw little use for doctors most of the time and thought just about everything could be cured with folk remedies like apple cider vinegar.

I remember on most mornings my grandmother would drink hot water with a good dose of ACV in it before she had her morning coffee. Honestly, I don’t know how she managed it, but I suppose she had become accustomed to it. She claimed that it cured her stomach problems, although I’m not sure if she actually had any or if the ACV prevented her from having any!

I bet many of you remember your grandmother using ACV in various ways, too.

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Let’s take a look at the top 5 ways that our ancestors put apple cider vinegar to work.

1. Dandruff cure

Many people believed that mixing equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water would stop dandruff. While I was unable to find any studies to back up this claim, there are thousands of testimonials online which say that it works. When you consider that the main compound in ACV is acetic acid, which can kill bacteria and fungus, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched that rinsing your hair with ACV after shampooing could work to eliminate, or at least reduce, dandruff.

2. Toenail fungus

5 Forgotten Things Your Grandma Did With Apple Cider Vinegar

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The story is that, if you soak your feet every single night in ACV, then it will kill toenail fungus in “a few weeks.” Again, I could find no studies proving this is true, but the amounts of online testimonials is overwhelming. The length of time is questionable (how long is a “few” weeks?) However, there is no denying that this has worked for thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people.

3. Mother nature’s skin conditioner

While I don’t remember my grandmother doing this, I know my mother did. She wouldn’t dream of paying for an expensive astringent or cleaning product for her face, but she used a diluted mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. She used it just like an astringent, applying it with a cotton ball, and then she used her favorite face cream — every night. I have to admit that my mother had beautiful clear skin and did not suffer from age spots or an excessive amount of wrinkles. Whether it was due to the ACV or good genes, I’m not sure, but I do know that she recommended it whenever someone complimented her skin.

4. “Good for what ails you”

I was fortunate that my mother never forced me to drink ACV, although she often encouraged me to drink it every time I caught a cold or had a fever. As I got older, I remember telling her that ACV would not work against a cold because it was caused by a virus. Her reply was always the same: “It’s good for what ails you. And if nothing ails you, it’s good for you anyway!” My mother always drank some with hot water, just like my grandmother, every time she got sick.

5. Heartburn and other digestive issues

ACV has long been a recommendation for digestive problems. As I mentioned, my grandmother drank it for this purpose. My husband tells me that his father used it on salads or vegetables at dinner to help prevent heartburn, and if that was insufficient, he took a swig right from the bottle. Wow! I don’t know how he could manage that, but men were tough in the olden days! I could not find any data to back up this very old and trusted folk remedy; however, hundreds of thousands of people can’t be wrong, can they?

Did your grandmother or other relative use ACV? Tell us how in the section below:  

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

Supreme Court Will Decide If Family Can Sell ITS OWN PROPERTY

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Supreme Court Will Decide If Family Can Sell ITS OWN PROPERTY

Image sourc: Flickr / Creative Commons

 

HUDSON, Wisc. — The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if a family can sell a piece of property that’s been in the family for 57 years.

The decision in a case called Murr v. Wisconsin could impact the rights of property owners all over the country.

William and Margaret Murr purchased a 1 ¼ acre lot in 1960 and built a cabin, and then three years later bought a similar-sized property adjacent to them, the Leader Telegram reported. Three decades later, the couple gave the land to their children. The family subsequently asked the county about selling the vacant lot, but the county blocked the sale because of a rule requiring lots to have one acre of buildable land. Even though the vacant lot is about 1 ¼ acres, its buildable space is much smaller – less than one acre — after deducting the slope and wetlands area, the newspaper reported.

The family had hoped to use the funds from the sale to pay for renovations to the cabin.

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“All along we were receiving a property tax statement for that land, land that the county assessed as buildable property,” their daughter, Donna Murr, told the newspaper. “It was assessed at $400,000 and we paid $4,000 to $6,000 a year on it and didn’t think twice about it, because that’s what we were told it was worth.”

The problem: When her parents bought the land, the vacant lot was considered acceptable for building, but county ordinances later changed.

“An assessor told us then that the extra land was basically worth about $40,000, meaning we lost $360,000 in value because of the ordinance change,” Murr said. “If you do the math, since we owned the property, we paid $78,000 more in taxes than we should have. It just seems so unfair. If we hadn’t gone in, they’d still be assessing us. They told us it was our job to know about the ordinance.”

A group called the Pacific Legal Foundation sued the county and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on the Murr’s behalf, claiming the government had violated the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by taking the Murrs’ property without offering reasonable compensation. Lower courts rejected that argument, prompting an appeal to the Supremes.

“We aren’t going to be allowed to sell the second parcel, unless we tore down the cabin next door,” Murr said on a conference call with reporters. “We were stunned. We couldn’t believe that the government would happily take our property tax dollars for 50 years, and then deny us the basic property rights here.”

If the Supreme Court rules in the favor of the Murrs, it could clear the way for hundreds of similar suits across the country.

“This case has broad implications, because the Murrs are far from alone in confronting this issue,” John Groen, an attorney for the Foundation, told Reason. “The problem of bureaucrats and courts defining the parcel as a whole to include adjoining lots in common ownership presents itself throughout the country.”

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School Bans Kids From Playing Tag – ‘They Touch Too Hard’

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School Bans Kids From Playing Tag – ‘They Touch Too Hard’

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FOLSOM, Calif. — Tag, touch football and any sort of physical contact are now prohibited at California’s Gold Ridge Elementary School.

Principal David Frankel banned such activities to protect children from getting hurt.

“Today we implemented new procedures at school aimed at reducing physical contact and related problem behaviors,” Frankel wrote in a note to parents. “Student(s) were instructed that physical contact, including tag games, touch football, etc. were not allowed in the yard.”

Frankel emailed four parents with a warning and a description of the discipline their children will face for playing too rough, The Sacramento Bee reported.

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“Today your child received a warning for unsafe/physical play (i.e tag/pushing),” Frankel wrote. “They walked with the yard supervisor for the remainder of recess.”

One child interviewed by the CBS affiliate in Sacramento said some kids were playing too rough.

“My principal, he doesn’t want us to have tag at school because people, they touch too hard,” fourth-grader Mallory Giddens said. “I don’t really like it. I mean, I don’t really play tag but I don’t think it’s fair to everyone else that plays tag”

Students at the school in Folsom, a Sacramento suburb, face three levels of punishment for playing too hard, The Bee reported. The levels are:

  1. Warning and walk with yard supervisors.
  2. Referral to the principal’s office and removal from yard for a day.
  3. A “parent-teacher-principal disciplinary conference.”

The ban is only at Gold Ridge and not throughout the entire Folsom Cordova Unified School District.

What do you think? Should tag be banned if some kids are playing too rough? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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She Went An Entire Year Without The Internet. Here’s What She Learned.

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small farm

Imagine going an entire year without using the Internet – no Facebook, no Twitter, no YouTube, no email. Not even Google or Amazon.

Sound impossible?

Perhaps it is for some, but this week’s guest on Off The Grid Radio did just that – and she learned a lot from the experiment. Her name is Esther Emery, a modern-day homesteader who spent 365 ways away from the World Wide Web. She even got rid of her smartphone!

Emery discovered things that nearly all of us – those who spend regular time on the Internet — miss each day of the week.

Emery, whose book What Falls From The Sky details those 12 months, tells us:

  • Why she decided to spend a year away from the Internet.
  • How long it took before she no longer craved it.
  • What traditional old-time activities she learned to love during those months.
  • How the experiment dramatically changed how she views the Internet.

Finally, Emery shares with us what she discovered – lessons that can’t be learned while staring at a bright screen.

We were inspired by her story … and we think you will be, too!

Here’s the Absolute Best Way to Tell If a Wild Plant is Edible

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You have to give a lot of respect to people who practice foraging. It’s definitely one of the most underrated skills in the modern world, and it’s also quite difficult to learn. If you want to eat plants that are found in the wild, you must have an encyclopedic knowledge of wild plants, both where you live and abroad. And not just because there are thousands of plants in the world that are poisonous, but also because many of them look a lot like edible plants.

For most people however, it can be difficult to justify learning this skill. We live in an era that provides an abundance of cheap food (relative to previous eras of course). If you want to learn how to safely forage for food in the wild, you have to spend a lot of time and energy on a skill that may not ever come in handy for you.

But if you want to better your odds of surviving in the wilderness, and you don’t have time to gain such an impressive skill, there is a shortcut you can learn. Like most things in life that take less effort, it’s not as comprehensive or effective, but it’s a lot better than nothing. It’s called the Universal Edibility Test, and it’s a method of safely testing wild plants that you’re not familiar with to see if you can actually eat them. Here’s how it works:

  1. Say you find a tasty looking plant in the wilderness. To see if it’s safe, the first thing you need to do is separate its parts, such as stems, leaves, flowers, buds, and roots. That’s because in many cases, only certain parts of a plant are poisonous.
  2. Next you need to take one of those parts and smell it. Certain plants have evolved to avoid being consumed, and they often have a terrible smell. So if it smells something awful, throw it out.
  3. But if it passes the smell test, the next thing you need to do is rub or place the plant on your skin, preferably on your inner elbow or wrist. Keep it there for a few minutes, then wait eight hours. If that spot starts to feel itchy, numb, or develops a rash, then clearly that plant doesn’t want to be eaten.
  4. If the plant passes that test, then the next thing you need to do is cook it if you can, since that often neutralizes poisons. Then you need to rub it on your lips for about three minutes. If you don’t encounter any kind of burning or tingling sensation after 15 minutes, then you can move on to the next step.
  5. Now you need to put the plant in your mouth. However, don’t swallow just yet. Just let the plant material rest on your tongue for 15 minutes. If the plant tastes bitter, or just gag-worthy in general; or if you experience burning or tingling in your mouth, then it’s probably not safe to eat. If it passes this test, then try swishing it around in your mouth for 15 minutes and look for the same signs. If you do experience any of these negative reactions, then not only should you spit the plant out, but you should also clean your mouth out with water.
  6. Finally, if you don’t receive any negative reactions from that previous step, then you can swallow the plant. Wait till the next day, and don’t eat anything else while you’re waiting. If you’re still feeling alright after that, then you can be reasonably sure that the plant is safe to eat. You can repeat this process for the other parts of the plant.

Now you can try eating a more substantial amount of the plant. If you still feel fine after another eight hours or so, then it’s definitely safe to eat.

Given the time-consuming nature of this test, you’ll want to try this out first on plants that are more abundant in your environment. It’s also important to note that there are certain things that are not worth your time with this test. Most notably, mushrooms usually can’t be tested with this method, so don’t even bother with them unless you’re well versed in spotting edible mushrooms.

Obviously the Universal Edibility Test isn’t perfect, and conducting it in the wild is going to use up a lot of precious time. Nothing beats having actual skills, and genuinely learning how to forage for wild plants. But if you don’t know what is and isn’t edible in your environment and you’re in a survival situation, then this is the absolute best way to find edible food in the wild.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Is This The Most Comfortable & Secure Concealed Carry Method?

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Is This The Most Comfortable & Secure Concealed Carry Method?

Image source: Dara Holsters

Renowned firearms trainer and the founder of Gunsite Academy, the late Col. Jeff Cooper, is credited with having said, “If you don’t have a gun within arm’s reach, you’re unarmed.” It’s a sound observation, considering that most criminal attacks transpire in five seconds or less.

As a concealed carry instructor, it’s no longer a surprise to hear more than half of the licensed carriers I encounter say they never, or rarely, carry a firearm on their person. Most have groomed a sense of satisfaction based on their handgun being a permanent resident of a car door pocket or nightstand. Unless a threat to their lives occurs when they are in the car or near the bedroom, however, they likely will be defenseless if that critical moment comes to pass.

Why do most folks who’ve gone to the trouble of receiving training and purchasing a handgun not carry? Most haven’t found a method of carry that is comfortable and secure for their typical day.

My own carry habits and methods have evolved over the 12-plus years since I made the decision not to outsource my personal safety. Purses, pockets, ankle rigs, “four o’clock” inside-waistbands, and various belly bands all had their turn. Now, and for the past few years, my everyday carry (EDC) gun has occupied either the right or left quadrant of the front of my waistband — commonly called appendix inside waistband (AIWB) position. Of course, it’s not the only way to carry; everyone needs to find what works for them. For purposes of this article, a working assumption is that any gun, carried in any manner, is inside a sheath of some sort that prevents penetration of the trigger guard.

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Here’s why AIWB works for me:

1. Accessibility

There is no fuss associated with drawing the gun. Simply lift the shirt hem with the support hand and draw. It’s simple and fast, and works regardless of whether I’m standing or strapped inside a car seatbelt.

2. Security

Is This The Most Comfortable & Secure Concealed Carry Method?

Image source: Monderno

AIWB and front pocket carry are the only positions about which I’ve not encountered a news story in which a concealed carrier was relieved of their gun by a common thief or mugger. Of course, there’s probably a story about that somewhere, but compared to other methods, AIWB makes the would-be thief’s job nearly impossible. It also makes the gun inaccessible to children, unlike off-body methods. Compared to otherwise equally secure methods, AIWB prevails due to factor No. 1 in this article — ready access.

3. Comfort

With a compact firearm, AIWB carry allows me to move from attending a meeting, to going for a run, to doing outdoor chores, and even driving long distances with the gun on my person. No need to take the gun off every time I get in the car. No more digestive issues from a belly band that feels like a boa constrictor when adjusted so the gun won’t pull it down. No more blistering from the seam of an ankle holster — you get the picture. It just works. There is no concealment system that offers zero discomfort, but AIWB has been the least bothersome for me.

4. Discreet carry

While I’ve had to abandon tucked-in dress shirts worn without a sweater or jacket, as well as giving up proper dresses in favor of shirt/skirt ensembles for dress-up occasions, AIWB offers one of the least obtrusive methods of carry. I thought the purse was discreet, too, until a co-worker asked why I carried it with me even for minor tasks.

5. Least disruption to my mornings

Sticking a holstered gun into my waistband every morning is fast and easy — which makes it easier to be a habit, and thus easier to be prepared. Systems that entail fiddling with straps, clips and the like are not likely to become a part of an already full routine.

Every method of carry requires compromise, and AIWB is no exception. The holster I use must be set aside when using the restroom — an act that requires one to be extra-present, mentally speaking, in public facilities. This isn’t true of all AIWB holsters. The slightly looser shirts this method requires hide the waistline that is a benefit of exercise. As a female, the biggest compromise has been the kind of pants or shorts I wear. An adjustable drawstring or substantial belt loops are a must.

There are some holsters, like the magnetic Quick Click & Carry (QCC) made by JM4 Tactical of Abilene, Texas, that even overcome some of these minor drawbacks. Holstered AIWB carry isn’t for everyone, but it’s been a panacea for me after having tried numerous other methods. What’s your favorite method?

Do you use AIWB carry? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Monsanto Finally Admits What We All Suspected About Roundup & Cancer

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Monsanto Finally Admits What We All Suspected About Roundup & Cancer

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An EPA official bragged about helping Monsanto cover up cancer risks associated with Roundup, a new lawsuit is alleging.

Roundup is one of the best-selling herbicides in the world.

“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” former EPA official Jess Rowland allegedly said in a phone call, discussing a federal investigation into glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

At the time, Rowland was a deputy division director in the Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide division.

The phone call was entered as evidence in a federal lawsuit alleging that glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup cause Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a deadly form of cancer, Bloomberg reported.

Just as significant, Monsanto’s Donna Farmer wrote in a now-public email that “you cannot say that Roundup does not cause cancer … we have not done carcinogenicity studies with Roundup.” The email is now part of the lawsuit.

Monsanto Finally Admits What We All Suspected About Roundup & CancerThe plaintiffs’ attorneys are alleging that Monsanto knew Roundup caused cancer but sold the herbicide anyway.

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Rowland’s relationship with Monsanto was suspicious, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said at a hearing in San Francisco. Plaintiffs’ attorneys want Rowland to testify and explain his actions.

The attorneys are charging that Rowland leaked a report to the media that claimed there was insufficient evidence to say glyphosate caused cancer. It was written by a committee he chaired. Rowland quit his job at the EPA days after the study was leaked.

“My reaction is when you consider the relevance of the EPA’s reports, and you consider their relevance to this litigation, it seems appropriate to take Jess Rowland’s deposition,” U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said, according to Reuters.

Monsanto employees were the ghost writers for two reports on Roundup that the committee headed by Rowland relied on for its findings, plaintiffs’ attorneys charged. The reports concluded that glyphosate was not carcinogenic.

“I think it’s important that people hold Monsanto accountable when they say one thing and it’s completely contradicted by very frank internal documents,” plaintiffs’ attorney, Timothy Litzenburg, told The New York Times.

Around 220 million pounds of glyphosate were used in the United States in 2015, The Times reported. Monsanto makes much of its money from selling corn, cotton and soybean seeds that are genetically engineered to resist glyphosate.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

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15 Survival Adventures Every Prepper Should Read

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survival adventure books

If you’ve been a prepper for very long, no doubt your bookshelf is full of non-fiction survival manuals and recent prepper fiction. All that is well and good, and I do hope my own family survival manual and evacuation book is among your collection, but there are many important lessons to be found in an entirely different genre: non-fiction survival adventures.

These books tell real-life survival narratives that are rich in detail. They grab your attention and hold it while teaching lessons about nature, historical events, and, yes, survival. Some of my favorites are listed below, all linked to their Amazon pages where you can read summaries and reviews. Do you have any similar books to add?

             

         

           

       

 

North Korea Warns Of ‘Merciless’ Strikes As U.S. Conducts Drills In Region

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North Korea Warns Of ‘Merciless’ Strikes If U.S. Conducts Drills In Region

WASHINGTON — North Korea’s government is warning of “merciless” attacks ahead of the American aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson participating in wargames with South Korean forces.

“If they infringe on the DPRK’s sovereignty and dignity even a bit, its army will launch merciless ultra-precision strikes from ground, air, sea and underwater,” a press release from the North Korea state news agency stated. DPRK (Democratic Republic of Korea) is the country’s official name.

The press release added: “On March 11 alone, many enemy carrier-based aircraft flew along a course near territorial air and waters of the DPRK to stage drills of dropping bombs and making surprise attacks on the ground targets of its army.”

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The specific nature of the threatened attack is not clear, but North Korea possesses short-range and medium-range missiles, torpedoes and submarines that might be capable of sinking or damaging an aircraft carrier. Such an attack could provoke a devastating response from the U.S. and South Korea – and a war.

More than 300,000 South Korean soldiers and 17,000 U.S. military personnel participated in massive drills last year designed to repel a North Korean attack, and a similar number are expected this year, CNBC reported.

U.S. firepower deployed to Korea includes America’s newest attack drone, the MQ-1C Gray Eagle. The Gray Eagle’s mission would be to knock out North Korea’s ballistic missiles, which might include rockets capable of hitting U.S. territory, The Drive reported. The Gray Eagle is capable of staying in the air for 24 hours.

Do you believe the U.S. should participate in drills near North Korea? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Cyber-warfare Has Just Moved Into The Realm Of Reality

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Ever since computers became popular, there have been those who wanted to hack their way in and find their secrets. For most of those early hackers, the thrill was in the chase, and the victory was in breaking in.

Most of their work was benign, with hackers being content to have succeeded in doing what they weren’t supposed to be able to do.

As computer use grew, so did hacking. But it changed as well.

With the massive connectivity and easy access that the internet offers, more and more hackers found their niche in life. These newer hackers weren’t content with merely breaching security for the sake of breaching security, they had nefarious intent in their work.

Whether that was the spread of viruses, identity theft or simply data mining for profit, it looked at the millions of computers connected to the internet as targets for attack, not just for play.

Malware has become a major threat on the Internet today, with countless hackers and even companies creating and distributing it across the world. While some is merely created for commercial purposes, placing ads on people’s computers, there is much more that spells real danger to individuals and companies worldwide.

It couldn’t stay that way though. Governments everywhere hold with the idea that only they can pursue illegal activities. While they work to keep their citizens from committing those acts, they are quick to adopt them themselves, and use them covertly to further their country or political party’s agenda.

Such has been the case of hacking and malware in general. The first to see the value of it were the Chinese, who created a cyber-warfare branch in their army. They immediately started working to find ways into other countries computers, especially those of opposing governments and their military branches.

They didn’t limit it to that. They sought out ways to attack critical infrastructure, such as disabling power plants or bypassing the failsafes on nuclear power plants.

While China got a head start on the rest of the world, other countries have been working to catch up, including the United States of America.

Rather than making cyber-warfare a branch of the military, it seems that we’ve left it up to our intelligence organs, most especially the CIA and the NSA.

Once it moved behind the walls of intelligence operations, any efforts towards U.S. development of cyber-warfare became very hush-hush. Few knew about it, and even fewer admitted it was happening.

The vast majority of Congress was left in the dark, as they had no oversight of intelligence operations. And with Congress in the dark, the American people were totally cut out of what was happening.

Vault 7, the US Government and Cyber-warfare

The most recent Wikileaks dump, cryptically called Vault 7, has breached the secrecy of US government involvement in cyber-warfare for the very first time.

Specifically, the first 8,761 documents demonstrate the CIA’s involvement in creating millions of lines of malware code, including viruses, Trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, remote control systems and other forms of malware.

In total, there were over 1,000 different hacking systems, Trojans, viruses and other “weaponized” malware. While the actual code does not seem to be part of the data dump (and that’s a good thing), documentation about its existence and descriptions of its capability have been released.

All of this was produced by the Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), a sub-agency of the CIA’s Directorate for Digital Innovation (DDI). This directorate, the most recent addition to the CIA’s organization chart, comprises over 5,000 registered users, many of whom are programmers and expert hackers.

The release of this information is a major blow against American cyber-warfare; but apparently it’s one that needed to happen. I say that, even though I’m not entirely comfortable about it, because according to Wikileaks, the CIA has recently lost control of the majority of their digital arsenal.

This extremely dangerous code has been circulated amongst former U.S. government hackers and contactors in an unauthorized manner.

Notice that I said “former,” not current. That’s the information that Wikileaks has, and also the means by which they were given access to this amazing data. Apparently one of those former workers felt the public needed to know what was going on behind closed doors.

A CIA spy secret that anyone can use to keep him or herself safe – straight from an ex-CIA officer!

The Malware Market

Should this code make it out into the dark Internet, the results could be disastrous. Apparently there is quite a market for all sorts of malware, with customers willing to pay large sums, even into the millions for programs which will permit them access to things they shouldn’t have access too.

But that’s not the biggest problem. The big one is that once out in the open, this malware could spread around the globe in mere minutes, used and targeted by an army of individual hackers.

Unlike other weapons systems, electronic weapons don’t explode and disappear. If anything, their “explosion” causes them to multiply across computers and networks, infecting more and more as they go.

While it may be possible to take them off a particular computer, usually by scrubbing the hard drive and doing a global reinstall, they never really go away. The same electronic weapons can be used over and over again.

This code got out into the open, we can’t count on the good graces of the people who have it. While some of those CIA contractors and employees will act responsibly with what they have, invariably there will be those who will see an opportunity to use it for nefarious ends or perhaps for personal gain.

There’s another aspect of this, which is even scarier than what hackers will do with the CIA’s digital arsenal. That’s what the CIA themselves have done with it.

In 2013, Edward Snowden came forth as a whistleblower, informing the country that the NSA was spying on American citizens, in contrary to the law. This new batch of information tells us that the NSA aren’t the only ones doing that. The CIA is doing so as well.

There have always been rivalries between the various intelligence agencies. FDR created the OSS during World War II to combat this problem. Yet the OSS and later the CIA haven’t managed to eliminate that rivalry. Rather, they’ve become part of it.

One of the results of these rivalries is overlaps in areas of responsibility and multiple departments performing the same task. Such seems to be the case here, with the CIA performing its own version of the NSA’s work. Yet without knowing who ordered the CIA to do this or when it was ordered, there’s no real way of knowing whether this is an authorized operation or not.

Video first seen on Fox News

But there’s more than just the CIA spying on our communications, like the NSA does. Apparently they’ve developed malware that targets iPhones, Android phones, smart TVs and even Microsoft Windows. This malware invokes thoughts of Orwell’s 1984, if anything does. With it, the CIA can turn on these devices and use them to spy on their owners.

For some reason, Samsung TVs in particular have been targeted by the CIA. Their malware, called “Weeping Angel,” which was developed in conjunction with the United Kingdom’s MI5, allows the television to operate in a “fake off” mode, where it appears to be off to the owner, but a microphone in the unit is recording everything said in the room and forwarding it to the CIA, via the internet.

This is just one example of the types of “back door” malware programs which the CIA has developed. Similar malware can be used to hack in to smartphones allowing the CIA to determine the owner’s location, read their e-mail, their text messages, search the phone’s memory and activate both the camera and microphone.

Quite literally, they can spy on anyone, anywhere, anytime they choose, and we can’t do a thing about it.

Even encryption won’t help, as the CIA has means of accessing the data, before it is encrypted. So much for the various communications platforms out there, which claim to encrypt your communications. If the CIA can access the information before it is encrypted, the encryption is useless. The government will know what’s in your communications, perhaps even before you do.

Before We Panic

All of this capability was probably developed with the best of intentions. The CIA, like other intelligence agencies, is involved in the war on terror. As terrorists tend to hide in the population and use the same communications that many of us do, it is necessary to develop the means of penetrating those communications to investigate the actions of those terrorists.

But where does it stop? What’s to say that they aren’t amassing files on each one of us? It’s already been reveled that the NSA is doing that, storing all of our communications in their massive data storage facilities. Snowden told us how that information is misused by analysts breaking the rules.

Those analysts aren’t the real issue though; the real issue is the government that is stealing our privacy. Spying on American citizens is a clear betrayal of our Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure.

Yet we, the American people, are routinely subjected to a level of surveillance that the Founding Fathers couldn’t have imagined. Even those of us who are not doing anything illegal have things in our lives, which we would rather not have known.

Even if the CIA can demonstrate that they haven’t broken our Fourth Amendment rights, how can we trust them? There is literally nobody who has access to their files. So there is no way to prove that they are telling the truth.

The only information we would have access to, is that which they release, with the intention of demonstrating their innocence. Not exactly something you could take to a court of law.

There is only one solution for those of us who want privacy. That’s to foreswear the use of all modern means of communications. While not exactly practical, there may come a day when we need to; especially if the government starts misusing our information.

I just know one thing. I’m going to be careful about what I put out over the Internet, over my phone and through any other electronic means of communications I find myself using. There’s no reason to give anyone ammunition, which might find its way back, being used against me on some future date.

Click here to discover your part in this important “undercover operation” to protect the lives and privacy of thousands of Americans!

This article has been written by Bill White For Survivopedia. 

References:

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/03/08/cia-cyber-spying-toolkit-now-in-hands-hackers-worldwide-wikileaks.html

https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/cia-files-wikileaks-vault-7

6 Reasons Raised Beds Beat Traditional Gardening Nearly Every Time

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6 Reasons Raised Beds Beat Traditional Gardening Nearly Every Time

Image source: Flickr / Creative Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As winter gives its last hurrah, my thoughts are turning toward the promise of spring.

Maybe you’re like me, and you love the idea of having a bountiful garden, but the idea of dragging soil additives to the backyard, dealing with weeds and pests, and trying to coax a few tiny tomatoes from their vine seems like more work than it’s worth. Instead of trying to force a garden into the ground, I’ve begun using raised beds. It works better in my suburban yard, and gives me more flexibility in how I garden.

What makes a raised bed garden better than a traditional garden? Glad you asked.

1. Improved soil quality.

One of the key components of a successful garden is good soil. Depending on where you live, this may be one of your biggest challenges. Your soil may be too acidic, too hard, too sandy, too chalky. Skip the headache of trying to figure out what to add to correct the soil by using a raised bed. In your raised bed garden, you can create the perfect soil. Add compost, fertilizer or whatever else is needed to create the ideal growing environment for what you’re planting.

2. Pest management.

Few things are as disheartening as finding your garden ravished by pests. Trying to keep critters, bugs and parasites out of your plants is time consuming and frustrating. A raised bed, however, makes it easier. The frames of the raised beds will help keep out pests and other critters that crawl along the ground out of your garden.

The All-Natural Fertilizer That Can Double Your Garden Yield!

Soil parasites and nematodes can be thwarted with the use of plastic liners. Wire netting can prevent rodents and other burrowing creatures from invading the garden. Raised beds can be secured with fencing. Physical pest control management is easier and faster, thanks to the size of the raised bed. With easy access to all sides of the garden, you can remove interlopers by hand, or apply localized pesticides.

3. Increased production.

Using staggered rows, you can maximize your crop production. Rich soils allow for more plant nutrients, and compact planting areas prevent weeds from invading the garden. This creates an ideal growing situation that gives you more food in less space. In addition, you can extend your growing season by planting earlier and continuing your garden later in the year thanks to your raised bed.

4. Improved drainage.

Plants don’t like to have wet feet. A raised bed allows for rain to seep into the garden, and prevents the runoff that would typically wash away topsoil. Water is able to soak down into the lower level of the bed, giving the plants all the moisture they need, without the stagnating puddles of water they don’t.

5. Improved aeration.

Plant roots need aeration to breathe and to absorb nutrients. By mixing the soil for your raised bed, you are giving the plants loose soil to grow. This provides for circulation to keep the soil (and the plants) healthy.

6. Improved weed control.

Raised beds give you the ability to control weeds by using soil that is free of dormant seeds. In addition, you can use liners, such as newspaper or other bed liners, to prevent weeds from growing up through the raised bed. Close planting of crops prevents weeds from taking root, and the loose soil makes it easier to pull any errant weeds that may make their way into the garden.

This spring, skip the digging. Try a raised bed garden and see what a difference it can make in your homesteading. Your back (and your garden) will thank you.

Do you use raised beds? What are your favorite benefits from them? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Bust Inflation With A Low-Cost, High-Production Garden. Read More Here.

He Built A Family-Of-Five Home For … $5,000

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The Family-Of-Five Home That Cost … $5,000

If you daydream about living the tiny house lifestyle but think that building your own tiny house would be either too difficult or too expensive, then you need to hear the story we found.

In a new video, a young father of three shares how he designed and built a tiny house for his family of five, with little to no building experience – all for under $5,000.

First, he did all the work himself over the course of a year. Then, he also saved money by repurposing free or low-cost items, such as returned wood at his local Lowe’s store, which he purchased at a deep discount, and free solid oak kitchen cabinets he found advertised on Craigslist.

This tiny house builder started with the flatbed of a 1960s Layton camper that he purchased for $200. Hoping to get back his purchase price in scrap metal, he dismantled and destroyed the camper in order to get down to its bed.

Story continues below video

He did recoup his $200, but he admits, “For the labor, it definitely wasn’t worth it. It was a lot of work.”

The tiny homebuilder bought all his framing materials at Lowe’s, explaining that after befriending the store manager, he was able to score great deals on returned or slightly damaged wood. As a result, the entire framing of the house, including the siding and the roof, cost only about $500.

He next tackled all the electric wiring himself, calling the job “very messy” but “pretty easy.”

Are You Prepared For A Lengthy Blackout? Get Backup Electricity Today!

The family began their tiny home project in August 2012, and by August 2013, they decided to move the under-construction house to a new location 30 miles away by towing it with their Dodge Ram pickup truck. “It handled it with no problem,” says the builder.

In the new location, they set back to work, staining the home’s exterior red, putting in cedar paneling and window molding, installing hardwood and slate flooring, creating walk-in lofts for sleeping and creating bannisters.

The finishing details were time consuming, the father admits, but his photos show how much character they add to the home.

He made a second video several months after the completion of the home, and those photos reveal a warm and attractive – albeit small — family home both inside and out.

Story continues below video

“We use every single inch of space,” he says. “We have lots of storage nooks and places to hang things like our three guitars, our four guns, our four bows and all our books.”

He says organization is the key to living in a tiny house, but that “after two months, you enjoy the things you like even more than you did previously.

“You get rid of the things that clutter your life and keep the things you want the most.”

The young family is not without modern conveniences. For instance, they have a 42-inch high-definition TV, Internet and a PlayStation for video games. In order to play board games with friends, a table made from reclaimed church pews can slide out from its tucked away location inside a kitchen cabinet.

The couple has enough clothes for one week. “If you get something new, you get rid of something else,” he explains. Out-of-season, clothing and bedding are stored in space bags in cabinets under the couch. Homeschooling books for the kids are under a multi-purpose desk.

“You don’t sacrifice the quality of life (in a tiny house),” he says. “Our quality of life has improved. We have more money, more time and more freedom.

“It has been an awesome journey.”

Would you want to live in a tiny house? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Be Prepared For A Downed Grid. Learn More Here.

Winter storms: What to do when the power goes off and it’s icy cold outside

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The power goes out and you’re sheltering inside the house. Outside, the temperature plummets, the wind picks up and it starts to snow. You don’t know when the power will be restored. It might be hours or days. How will you stay warm and safe? How do you get started?

The Heal-Everything Herb That Doubles As Bandages … And Toilet Paper

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The Heal-Everything Herb That Also Doubles As Toilet Paper

Image source: Wikimedia

It was brought to the Americas by European settlers and is now considered to be naturalized to North America. The settlers, in fact, had good reason to carry it with them: It has a long list of medicinal qualities.

It is mullein, which grows all over the forests of North America and is also known by several other names: flannel leaf, bunny ears, beggar’s blanket, Quaker rouge, hag’s taper, donkey ears and tinder plant.

Traditional folk medicine praised mullein as a remedy for asthma, bronchitis and tuberculosis. The plant is also said to be a natural painkiller and a cure for earaches and headaches. It also can act as an expectorant and decongestant. As a result, for centuries the plant’s leaves and its flowers have been made into teas and tinctures, and ingested. They even smoked it (which isn’t ideal for health).

Need All-Natural Pain Relief With No Nasty Side Effect?

Mullein is known to affect the respiratory and lymphatic systems. A study performed at Clemson University in 2002 found that the plant also has strong antibacterial properties.[1] Its high mucilage content is likely responsible for its medicinal properties. Astringent tannins and saponins, which help protect the plant when it is injured in nature, give the plant its soothing effect on the respiratory system. It also contains high levels of iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C.[2]

The Heal-Everything Herb That Also Doubles As Toilet Paper

Image source: Wikimedia

Even though mullein has been used for centuries, the Western medical community disputes the actual effectiveness of this plant, claiming “a lack of therapeutic validation.”[3] However, the herb has been evaluated and approved by the German (and government-funded) Commission E, which was established to evaluate and approve of substances that were traditionally used in folk medicine — such as mullein.

Mullein is a biennial plant, meaning that it takes two years for it to reach maturity. It is preferable to harvest the flowers and leaves in the plant’s second year of growth.[4] Both the honey-scented flowers of the plant and its soft, fuzzy leaves are used to treat ailments. The flowers are usually extracted in oil and also used to make tea, while, the dried leaves are typically reserved for making steam tents, poultice application and smoking. [5]

Across the centuries, people have used mullein as toilet paper, bandages, torches and to pad in the soles of their shoes. It should be a staple herb in every herbal medicine cabinet.

Mullein is a relatively safe herb to consume, its primary side-effect being it can cause contact dermatitis or irritate the throat when consumed, due to the fine velvety hairs that cover its leaves. It also has been known to interact with antidiabetic drugs and prescription diuretics in a negative way.[6] The seeds of some species of mullein contain high amounts of coumarin and rotenone, which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. The seeds of the mullein plant should never be consumed under any circumstance.[7]

Have you ever foraged for or eaten mullein? Do you use it for health? Share your tips in the section below:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12241986

[2] Nutritional Herbology by Mark Pedersen (pg. 124)

[3] Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs (pg. 270)

[4] Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West by Michael Moore (pg. 112)

[5] Rodale’s 21st Century Herbal by Michael J. Balick (pg. 300)

[6] http://www.encyclopedia.com/plants-and-animals/plants/plants/mullein

[7] Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West by Gregory L. Tilford (pg. 102)

hydrogen peroxide report

This Might Just Be the Coolest and Most Convenient Way to Extinguish a Fire

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Regardless of whether or not you’re a prepper, arguably one of the most important safety devices you should have in your home is a fire extinguisher. Fire presents a possible danger no matter where we live, and having a handy device to put out the flames is a must. And it doesn’t just make sense from a safety perspective. It makes a lot of financial sense too. Most fire extinguishers cost less than a hundred dollars, but can prevent thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

However, most people aren’t aware that there is an alternative to the classic red fire extinguisher that we’re all familiar with. Since the fire extinguisher design hasn’t changed much in decades, you might think that there isn’t room for improvement, but there is. Behold, the Elide fire extinguishing ball:

As you can see, the Elide Ball has a distinct advantage over an ordinary fire extinguisher, in that you can put the flames out from a further distance. The ball is designed to automatically burst after being exposed to flames for 3-5 seconds, and won’t go off without the presence of fire. It’s always ready to go, and doesn’t require any training or specific techniques. It uses a fire-retardant chemical called mono ammonium phosphate, which is typically used in ordinary fire extinguishers since it’s non-toxic. Also, the ball only weighs around 3 pounds, so it’s not difficult to throw.

The Elide Ball costs about $120, and is supposed to last 5 years. Since that costs more than a regular extinguisher, that’s really the only disadvantage with the device. So far there aren’t any well-known distributors for the Elide Ball in the United States, but it can be purchased on Ebay. Alternatively, there is a knockoff called the AFO Fire Ball, which can be bought on Amazon and costs half as much. But being a knockoff, it isn’t clear yet if that brand is as effective as Elide, so buyer beware.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Rich Discover New Ways To Escape Societal Collapse

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Rich Discover New Ways To Escape Societal Collapse

Image source: YouTube

Escape plans and bugout bags are the latest fad for wealthy New Yorkers. Some Wall Street types even are paying $7,500 a month for an evacuation service to get them out of town fast during an emergency.

“It’s a marine evacuation service based in New York City,” co-owner Chris Dowhie said of Plan B Marine. “A boat is the fastest possible way out of Manhattan. A lot of people don’t wait in line to get on a ferry. They don’t want to worry about walking off of Manhattan as people had to do in the past. They know that a boat is the fastest way off.”

Evacuation for the Rich

Dowhie’s company, The New York Post reported, has a number of Coast Guard surplus Defender boats stashed around Manhattan Island. Wealthy customers pay between $4,500 and $7,500 per month for access to the boats, which would take them away from the city during, say, a terrorist attack.

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The rich, though, would have to pilot the boats themselves.

“It’s a sealed hull, unsinkable, and it provides rollover protection,” Dowhie said of the boats. “As long as your doors are shut, if the boat rolls over, the boat will right itself. So it’s about the safest boat you can find right now.”

“We plan out your evacuation route,” Dowhie told the newspaper, “and we plan for every customer differently depending on your needs.”

Getting out of Manhattan in an emergency can be nearly impossible. If the subways stop running, the only way to get off is by boat or walking over one of the bridges. Cars clog the bridges.

Dowhie and his time will train the customers to sail the craft themselves.

Survival Bunkers on Park Avenue?

But escape boats are not the only precaution that hedge fund managers, investment bankers and executives are taking. At least 25 New Yorkers spent between $25,000 and $30,000 to install bunkers with air-filtration systems in their homes to protect them from dirty bombs, Tom Gaffney told The Post.

Gaffney is CEO of Gaffco Ballistics, a company that installs bunkers and air-filtration systems for wealthy New Yorkers. Business has boomed since a bombing last year in Manhattan.

Another company, called Preppi, is selling $5,000 72-hour monogrammed bugout bags to the rich. Customers include Steven Spielberg and Modern Family star Julie Bowen. The bag contains night-vision scopes and a GPS satellite communicator.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

Be Prepared For A Downed Grid. Learn More Here.

These Are the Diseases That Will Run Rampant When the SHTF

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Most people like to think that if society collapsed, the most common cause of death would be at the hands of other people. They like to imagine that the apocalypse will be filled with action packed shootouts and marauding gangs of looters. Obviously there would be a lot of violence if society collapsed, but the truth of the matter is that violence would be a secondary concern.

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Mother Nature Has Plans of Her Own

This is evident if you only take a quick look throughout history. During the most tumultuous times in human history, it wasn’t violence that killed the most people, but disease and starvation. Even during war, when violence reached its apex, most of the soldiers didn’t die from violence, and that remained the case until the 20th century. During the American Civil War for instance, for every three soldiers who died on the battlefield, five died of disease.

It’s important to remember that if society were to collapse, it would be tantamount to traveling back in time to when modern amenities didn’t exist. And without those amenities, there are a ton of pathogens that can kill you. So before you blow your entire prepping budget on guns and body armor, consider some of the many unglorified ways that the collapse of society could cut you down.

These are the Seven Likely Causes of Death When the SHTF

1. Superbugs

The world was a hell of a scary place before the invention of antibiotic medications. Any nick or scratch could lead to an untreatable infection, and communicable diseases often ran rampant. Nowadays our antibiotics can treat these diseases, but just barely. As various strains of bacteria become immune to these treatments, we’re rapidly approaching a post-antibiotic world that looks an awful lot like the old world. If society collapses then these souped up diseases are going to be unleashed without any inhibitions. Tuberculosis, staph, typhoid, strep throat, MRSA, and E. Coli will become all too common.

2. Water-Related Illness

If society collapses, people are going to suddenly find themselves reliant on local water sources, and unfortunately those water sources are going to be contaminated. It’s often the case that natural ponds and stream are already unsafe to drink, but the same disaster that cuts off your tap is going to make that water even more dangerous.

Without running water, people will be forces to leave their waste in their immediate environment, where it will likely mingle with local water sources. This among other unsanitary conditions can cause a whole host of water-borne diseases including gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A, intestinal parasites, Diphtheria, cholera, typhoid, and even polio. Here are 9 common water-borne illnesses to prepare for in a disaster scenario.

3. Mosquitoes and Rats

It takes all the might of modern civilization just to keep certain pests in check. But when the garbage trucks stop showing up and the swimming pools turn green, you can bet that the rats and mosquitoes will proliferate like crazy. And they’ll be carrying diseases that are the stuff of nightmares. Rats will carry the hantavirus, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, and the plague; and in North America, mosquitoes will most likely be carrying dengue fever. Here are some tips to rat-proof your preparedness supply closet.

4. Cold Weather

A lot of people will be forced to go without adequate shelter after the collapse. So when winter arrives, you’re going to see a lot more weather related ailments. We’re all very familiar with flu season, but most people don’t realize that cold weather conditions can spawn numerous diseases, most of them respiratory related. Between the lack of sunlight, people crowding indoors, and the poor circulation caused by cold weather, there will be more cases of strep throat, pneumonia, croup, bronchiolitis, ear infections, and the stomach flu. To prepare for this, understand that hospitals and medical care may not be available (or too dangerous to get to). You may want to consider storing natural remedies, herbal poultices and tinctures to assist in these cold weather ailments.

5. Malnutrition

In a roundabout way, malnutrition would probably be the leading cause of disease after the SHTF. That’s because your diet is tightly linked to the quality of your immune system, so if you’re not getting enough calories, protein, vitamins or minerals, you’re more susceptible to every ailment under the sun. However, malnutrition is most associated with conditions like scurvy, rickets, pellagra, goiters, and beriberi.

6. Cadavers

The collapse of society would destroy every kind abundance that the modern world provides us, and in return, the only thing that would be in abundance are the dead. Dead bodies, especially the kind that were infected with disease to begin with, pose a serious health threat. Without a functioning society, and with bodies piling up faster than they can be buried or cremated, these cadavers would litter our towns and cities, and would most likely pose a serious threat to local water supplies.

7. Disease

Overshadowing many of these medical ailments will be disease. In fact, many believe that disease would be the real killer if the world fell apart and would dwarf the number of casualties caused by violence. Diseases are opportunists and tend to surface at a time the conditions are right for them to flourish. A long-term emergency would be just the right time, wouldn’t you say? These 10 diseases could become common medical emergencies. Make sure you have a well supplied medical closet and a sick room prepared for these issues.

There is a Silver Lining

As bleak as that sounds however, there is a silver lining. Prepping to prevent disease and infection is a lost less intimidating, and a lot more affordable than preparing to face-off against your fellow-man.

In fact, it’s as simple as stocking up on very general supplies that you should be accumulating anyway. Having plenty of food, toiletries, basic medical supplies, and water purification tools, will go a long way toward keeping you safe from the ravages of disease.

Resources:

The Prepper’s Blueprint: A Step-by-Step Preparedness Guide to Get Through Any Disaster

The One-Year Pantry, Layer by Layer

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

52 Weeks to Preparedness: An Emergency Preparedness Plan For Surviving Virtually Any Disaster

The 4 Most Likely Ways You Can Die If the SHTF

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

10 Strange (And Common) Vegetables Your Ancestors Planted

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10 Strange (And Common) Vegetables Your Ancestors Planted

No matter how small a person’s yard was during the 1700s, there always was a need to plant at least some vegetables to help feed the family. Grocery stores were virtually unheard of, and seedlings or even packaged seed were not available until much later.

This is why almost everyone had some sort of vegetable garden outside the kitchen or back door. The family ate most of it, of course, the extras were canned or dried, and if you were fortunate, you had still more that you could sell at the market.

In the 1700s, almost everyone used seeds from the previous year — heirloom seeds — which were passed down from generation to generation, or seeds were sometimes traded within the community. Many seeds planted in “the new world” came from the native people who lived there.

This is why most gardens contained plants that gave you the most bang for your basket, if you will. High-yield plants that took little space were highly prized, although some people planted their favorites because, let’s face it, no one wants to eat squash all year long.

What kind of plants would you expect to find in an 18th century garden? Frankly, I was a bit shocked. I was certain I would see tomatoes and sweet strawberries, but I was mistaken.

Need Non-GMO Heirloom Seeds? Get Them From A Company You Can Trust!

Let’s look at the top 10 plants that were commonly found in an 18th century garden,

1. Cardoon

These are related to the artichoke, but are not nearly as common today. Cardoon is native to Europe and was said to have been brought to the Americas by the Quakers. I must admit that this is a vegetable I’ve never even heard of. Speaking of artichoke …

2. Artichokes

I never imagined this one! But did you know that Thomas Jefferson loved them and grew a great many in his own gardens? Artichokes have been cultivated since at least the 1500s, but I never imagined them in the everyday garden.

3. Fava beans

Fava beans. Image source: Pixabay.com

Fava beans. Image source: Pixabay.com

I was certain that green beans would have been a favorite, but fava beans, sometimes called broad beans, beat out green beans by a mile. These were popular right into the 19th century. The most popular variety was Broad Windsor. Fava bean seeds are hard to find in today’s world, but they were an 18th century staple.

4. Pumpkins

A certain variety called Connecticut Field was the popular seed. These were grown for both human and animal consumption. Thomas Jefferson, again, had these in his garden after acquiring seeds from the native tribes.

5. Lettuce

That old gardener Thomas Jefferson loved lettuce, and he grew several different types. The most popular was at that time called Parris Island. Today, we call it Romaine lettuce. This is still as popular today as it was in the 1700s.

6. Cucumber

During this time period, it was white cucumbers that were favored over other varieties. One named White Wonder is listed in a 1727 book about gardening. Cucumbers are so versatile that it’s no wonder they are still used in gardens today.

7. Lemon balm

This herb has been cultivated since at least the 1500s. It’s a natural calming agent that was probably used often by the women of those times. The leaves can be used dried or fresh, and it has a delightful lemon taste when made into tea.

8. Leeks

You may have seen these in your local grocery store and wondered how they were cooked and who ate them. Leeks are something like a cross between a potato and an onion. They have a mild onion taste, but look like potatoes. Even the leaves can be chopped and used in salads. These were probably popular because leeks can be left in the ground over the winter and dug up in the coldest of months. Or, wait until they sprout again in the spring.

9. Cabbage

This is another staple that has stood the test of time. Cabbage is popular due to its ability to be stored for long periods of time. Even if the outside leaves should become moldy, they can be removed, with fresher leaves available underneath. Cabbage is also a cool-weather vegetable, so you can grow it late in the fall or start it very early in the spring.

10. Salsify

This is another vegetable that I have never heard of, but was very popular in 18th century gardens. Salsify is related to parsnip and was used about the same way. Salsify was easy to store and can be boiled, mashed or fried. Even the leaves are edible! This is another cool-weather vegetable that usually was harvested between October and January. In the dead of winter, some fresh leaves and roots must have tasted mighty good.

How many of these seeds have you planted? What are your favorite old-time seeds? Share your gardening tips in the section below:

Bust Inflation With A Low-Cost, High-Production Garden. Read More Here.

5 Nifty Multi-Caliber Guns That Will Save You Big Money On Ammo

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5 Nifty Multi-Caliber Guns That Will Save You Money On Ammo

Taurus Judge. Image source: Taurus

Multi-caliber firearms have great appeal. Here’s a look at five choices of revolvers and long guns that add versatility to your gun collection while making your ammunition dollars stretch further.

1. Any .357 Magnum revolver

The 357 Magnum load boasts a fast-moving, heavy round. Although I don’t subscribe to the notion of stopping power, at least as it compares in importance to shot placement, there’s no denying that this caliber delivers tremendous impact, and commensurate recoil. Ammo isn’t terribly pricey for self-defense at approximately 50 cents per hollow-point round, but for practice, it can be both uncomfortable and costly.

Pick up some 38 Special full metal jacket (FMJ) for practice and plinking, and your 357 Mag revolver will serve as both a range and self-protection gun. This cartridge is the same diameter, but shorter, with a smaller powder charge than 357. Using 38 Special is also a great adaptation to make shooting more comfortable for arthritic or injured hands.

The Ruger GP100 is a popular and proven full-size 357 Magnum revolver that most people find pleasurable to shoot, even using the bigger cartridge. Prices are typically in the $600 range for plain models. Ruger’s carry-friendly LCR (lightweight compact revolver) is also available in 357. Expect snappy recoil from that one using 357. The LCR is priced in the $400 range, with many bargains available.

Safety and shopping notes: The 38 Special cartridge can be loaded into a 357 Magnum firearm, but the 38 Special handgun cannot be loaded with 357 Magnum ammunition. Similarly named 357 Sig and 380 are calibers designed primarily for semi-auto firearms, and are NOT cross-gun compatible to 357 Mag/38 Spl.

2. Taurus Judge revolver

This hefty Brazilian revolver can shoot 45 Long Colt or 2.5-inch 410 shotshell loads, or a mixture thereof, from its five-chamber cylinder. It’s available in barrel lengths starting at two inches, up to 6.5 inches — and there may even be a few in circulation that are even longer; these are just the lengths I’ve seen students bring to class. There’s no getting around the big recoil with the big cartridge. Suffice to say, the two-inch barrel model should be avoided by people with achy hands.

Be Prepared. Learn The Best Ways To Hide Your Guns.

The Judge is very popular as a home-defense weapon. Its weight makes it impractical for daily carry, though there are surely some folks who manage to do so. The 45 Long Colt is expensive to purchase; defensive loads often cost in excess of $1 per round. On the other hand, 410 gauge shells, popular for use with the Judge as a defense against venomous snakes, can be picked up for less than 50 cents per round.

Usually found in the mid-$400 range, prices vary widely with the Judge depending on features and finish. In my experience, they require more frequent repairs and maintenance when fired regularly, thanks to the stresses of high-pressure rounds cycling through a comparatively small weapon. Nonetheless, Judge owners who embrace the “bigger is better” philosophy seem to glean a sense of security from having this model in the nightstand.

Safety note: Responsible self-protection includes proper target identification. None of the models mentioned thus far include an auxiliary light rail. A flashlight is therefore a needed accessory for dim-light defense. For most people, handling and flashlight and a 40-ounce loaded revolver are mutually exclusive activities.

3. Bond Arms derringers

Moving to the physically smaller end of the spectrum, Bond Arms of Granbury, Texas, makes a line of derringers with barrels ranging from 2.5 to 4.25 inches. Not only do the barrels range in length, but they range in caliber, as well. The same firearm that fires 22LR also can fire 45 Long Colt, as well as most popular handgun calibers in between, regardless of whether the case is rimmed or not. Quite an innovative design!

Bond Arms derringers have a two-round capacity, and are extremely compact. They’re big on Texas style — easy to conceal but lovely to behold. Firing them does require some familiarization, even for experienced shooters, as their single-action operation with cross-bolt safety and downward-favoring trigger press are out of the ordinary. Recoil from Bond’s short barrels and larger calibers is severe, but smaller calibers are easily managed, so a range of barrels will allow the entire family to enjoy one gun. A Bond Arms derringer will cost from $450 to over $1,000 depending on model. While extra barrels are priced between $100 and $200, the company runs half-off specials on barrels around the holidays.

4. Savage Model 42 over-and-under rifle

This old standby by Savage Arms of Massachusetts is versatile, and although it’s a classic platform, its looks have been updated with a modern synthetic stock. In addition to being ideal for small game, the 42 is a good snake/varmint control tool. Some will consider it their choice for home defense, too. It weighs just over six pounds, and is a modest 36 inches long including the 20-inch barrel. It’s therefore easy to handle for everyone, including the elderly and young shooters. People in both of these groups have made good use of “squirrel guns” in necessary home defense encounters.

The break-open action allows the user to load 22 Long Rifle, or 22 Winchester Magnum, depending on model, in the top barrel, and a 410 gauge shotshell in the lower barrel. A lever allows the user to choose which barrel fires. Add a scope for longer-range action on small game or coyotes. There’s no magazine, so extra ammunition must be stowed or carried.

MSRP on the Model 42 is $500, but expect real prices to be lower. Used models can be found for less than $200, and the high $300s can net a full-featured new Model 42 with a synthetic stock that will last a lifetime.

5. Frontier Tactical War Lock Multiple Caliber System and Rifles

Frontier Tactical is by far the youngest manufacturer on this list. Based in Florida, this veteran owned and operated business invented a new system that brings multi-caliber ease to the AR sporting rifle platform. The AR platform is already highly customizable, but the War Lock eliminates the time-consuming process of replacing complete upper receivers, or the removal/disassembly of the barrel requiring a shop and tools. With their $600 Multi-Caliber System 2-barrel kit, your AR15 can quickly switch calibers, to load and fire your choice of over 90 common or not-so-common calibers: 17 Remington, 17-223, 20 Practical, 204 Ruger, 223 Remington, 25-45 Sharps, 300 AAC Blackout, 5.56mm NATO, 6.8, 6.8 SPC, 6.8mm Remington SPC II, 6x45mm, and American 30 BHW. The War Lock even allows adaptation of the AR to pistol calibers, a way to save money on practice and perhaps make your handgun ammunition double as rifle fodder.

Frontier Tactical’s system is offered for regular and free-float barrels, but some firearms may still not be compatible due to manufacturing differences. Check with them before purchasing a conversion system for your own AR15.

Just starting as an AR owner or just want a whole new multi-caliber rifle? Frontier Tactical’s FT-15 War Lock Entry Carbine comes with War Lock components. It’s priced at $1,300, chambered in NATO 5.56/.223 Remington for starters.

Conclusion

Whether your choice is a model that’s been around for decades, or a newer platform that milks more mileage from your existing gun or ammunition supply, multi-caliber capability can increase the usefulness and economy of your trigger time. Options listed here are some, but not all, on the market today. More choices will likely crop up in the coming year.

Safety first! Always be sure you’re loading compatible ammunition into your firearm.

What is your favorite multi-caliber firearm? Share your advice in the section below:

Ammunition prices, where provided, were sampled from national retailer Lucky Gunner.

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns For Home Defense. Read More Here.

Dirt-Cheap, Non-GMO Livestock Feed? Yes!

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Dirt-Cheap, Non-GMO Livestock Feed? Yes!

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According to many recent books on animal husbandry, livestock feeding has become much easier and better with the advent of commercially prepared feed mixes. These mixes are scientifically formulated to provide everything your animal needs, and you don’t have to bother with thinking about them.

I followed this advice for my first few years of farming, and then I began to think and to see some of the disadvantages that come with this convenience.

One is freshness. Commercial mixes have been finely ground, blended and reformulated. They decay faster than whole grains. It can be hard to tell just how long your bag of feed has been sitting around or whether it’s still safe to feed. Back when I gave our goats commercial premix, I occasionally got bags that the goats absolutely refused to eat. I couldn’t see or smell anything wrong, but apparently they could. By the time we started raising rabbits I had stopped using commercial feeds for most of our animals, but I heard from other rabbit growers who lost many animals to bags of spoiled feed.

Another concern is provenance. Some feed bag tags tell you how much fat, protein and fiber are in the feed but aren’t specific about the ingredients. Sometimes when ingredients are listed, they seem inappropriate for the animals in question. For instance, feeds for rabbits and goats, which are naturally vegetarian, sometimes contain animal fats.

The factor which first got my attention was genetic modification. Many experts tell us that there is no health risk in GMO foods, but some of us have doubts. And most commercial feeds are based on soybeans, corn and alfalfa — commercial production of which is dominated by GM varieties.

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You can buy certified non-GM feed with appropriate ingredients listed. This feed is often prohibitively expensive, and freshness still may be a concern.

There is another option, and it’s more health-conscious than buying standard commercial feed, cheaper than buying certified GMO-free feed, and more shelf-stable, too. This is mixing your own ration from recognizable, whole, non-GMO ingredients. This approach requires more attention and flexibility than buying prepackaged rations, but in the long run it may be better for your health and your pocketbook.

Feed Components: Grain and Seeds

Most of the calories in concentrate rations come from grains and seeds. While corn and soy are likely to be GM unless certified otherwise, many grains have not yet had GM varieties approved for commercial production. You can buy these fairly cheap and be sure that they’re GMO-free.

Non-GMO grains include wheat, oats, barley, millet and triticale. (Rye is also GM-free, but it’s highly susceptible to a fungus called ergot which can sicken or kill animals, so most resources I’ve read recommend avoiding it.) These are a little less energy-dense than corn, but also a little higher in protein. Some studies say that beef cattle fed on these grains instead of corn eat less and gain weight a bit more slowly and show greater feed conversion efficiency. In place of soybeans you can use such non-GMO legumes as peas, lentils and broad beans or fava beans. Sunflower seeds are rich in protein and vitamins and also high in fats; a little fat in your ration is helpful, but too much may not be healthy for your animals.

There are plenty of online information sources that describe the energy, protein and fat content, as well as the palatability and other relevant information about different grains. Feedipedia.org has detailed crop-by-crop information. GMO-Compass.org has information on which crops are genetically modified. Brief introductions to different feed grains are available here and here.

Dirt-Cheap, Non-GMO Livestock Feed? Yes!

Image source: Pixabay.com

You’ll also want to read up on the livestock species you have. Find out what they need in terms of energy, protein, fat and vitamins or minerals. Also find out how readily they can digest whole grains and what their particular food intolerances might be.

Also, learn which seeds are available locally. Our local feed mill only offers wheat, oats and sunflower seeds from the list above, so we feed our chickens, rabbits and goats with those grains. Each type of animal gets a somewhat different mix. The chickens thrive on a higher percentage of fats than the goats, so they get a higher proportion of sunflower seed (and would get even more if it was less expensive.) The rabbits do better on a low-fat diet and only get sunflower seeds when they are lactating. Our mix is lower in protein than I would like, so we supplement protein in other ways. There’s more about that in the next section.

Feed Components: Supplements

Whole grain-based feed rations may need to be supplemented with extra protein, vitamins and minerals. There are several ways to approach this.

Pigs and chickens can thrive on animal-based protein. Ours get extra milk, broken eggs, whey, and cheeses that don’t turn out right. The chickens also get bugs picked from our garden and scraps from our rabbit butchering. (We don’t give raw meat to our pigs, lest it should give them ideas, as they are large and have powerful jaws.)

Herbivores, of course, need plant-based protein. That’s easy during the growing season. Most new green growth is reasonably high in protein, and you can collect and feed them especially high-protein plants. In our area, these include willow, mulberry, clover, dandelions, comfrey, redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus; some other plants commonly called pigweed have poor feed value), chicory and purslane. Ask your local extension about high-protein weeds in your area. Some of these weeds dry well for winter feeding. You also can increase the protein content of grains by sprouting them. (Read more about that here.)

Vitamins and minerals can be provided through commercial salt-mineral mixes or through feeding a wide variety of foods. Our goats and rabbits have free-choice access to mineral and salt mixes. We also see that they have access to a wide variety of grasses, forbs and woody plants, which tend to concentrate different vitamins and minerals.

Our chickens get oyster shell as a calcium supplement; the rest of their vitamin and mineral intake comes from the wide variety of animal and vegetable foods they eat. We’re still feeding our pigs a commercial ration now, trying to figure out how to transition.

The Ongoing Experiment

Statistics about the nutritional content of weeds or grains can be a useful jumping-off point, but they don’t provide the last word. The nutritional content of plants depends somewhat on the content of the soils in which they grow, the time at which they’re harvested, and many other factors.

You can try to formulate a ration that seems, on paper, to meet the needs of your livestock. The next step is to feed it and see how your animals respond. Do they eat what you offer? Do they keep producing well? Do they lose or gain weight? What do you notice about their overall health? Keep paying attention and making adjustments. You are the expert on what works for your animals, in your circumstances.

How do you keep your animal feed prices low? Share your tips in the section below:

Discover The Secret To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.

The First 10 Foods That Disappear From Store Shelves During Disasters

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The First 10 Foods That Disappear From Store Shelves During Disasters

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I live in a hurricane zone. While we don’t get a lot of hurricanes that actually hit us, we do get a lot of threats from them.

So, I’ve seen how people react to them, time and time again. The funny thing is, the same people go to the store and buy the same things each time one is heading for us. They never seem to prepare or even improve upon their last-minute preparations.

Setting aside the lack of wisdom that goes with their decisions, there’s a huge problem with how they are approaching disaster preparedness. That is, they aren’t thinking ahead.

Their lack of planning explains, at least a little, the poor decisions that they make. When you’re in a hurry to make a decision, the natural tendency is to fall back on the things you know the best. That can be rather problematic, especially when you consider that the things which we would normally use when everything is going fine are not likely to be all that useful when the power is out. As we all know, whenever there is a disaster, especially a natural disaster, one of the things you can count on is for the lights to go out.

Knowing how people react, the local stores have made their own provisions. When a hurricane warning comes, you can see the local Walmart stores rolling out pallets of flashlights and batteries. Extra shipments of some food items come in, and emergency items are “stocked to the roof” in anticipation of extra sales. Even so, they still sell out of the same things every time.

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Of course, the biggest thing that people are stocking up on is food. But, since they haven’t planned it out, they usually buy the wrong things. I’ve seen it over and over.

Here are the first 10 foods that tend to sell out in the stores when a disaster is imminent:

  1. Water
  2. Bread
  3. Beer & alcohol
  4. Canned fruits & vegetables
  5. Canned soups
  6. Peanut butter
  7. Eggs
  8. Meat
  9. Coffee
  10. Frozen prepared foods

If you look at that list, you can spot a number of very important errors. First of all, the meat and frozen prepared foods require refrigeration. Likewise, bread won’t usually keep more than a few days without going bad. Yet, the one thing we can always count on is the power going out. So, what they are doing in buying those foods is either preparing for a feast or preparing to throw the food away.

On the other end of the scale, there are some things on that list that really make sense. Water is going to be the number one “food” need for most people, so stocking up on it is always a good idea. Unfortunately, the stores never have enough water and sell out of it quickly. Only the first 100 or so people to get there manage to buy water.

Soup, peanut butter and other canned goods are always good survival food — the types of things that most preppers stock up on. However, most last-minute shoppers don’t buy enough of them, so it won’t be long before they’re scrounging for food.

Finally, we find beer and alcohol rather high up on that list. Contrary to Maslow’s Hierarchy, most people put their vices before the basic needs for survival. This is especially true in times of crisis. Many people drink to forget their problems, and a disaster definitely qualifies as a problem. So, they’ll stock up on beer (and cigarettes too, but we’re talking about food here) to make sure that they have enough to keep themselves distracted from the destruction all around them.

Do you agree with our list of 10 foods that disappear from shelves first? Share your observations in the section below:

Discover The Secret To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.

Two-Story A-Frame Cabin

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Two-Story A-Frame Cabin This tiny house could change your life if more ways than you can imagine! If you are like me and can’t afford a big fancy cabin for a retreat or even a bug out shelter, this 2 story, half A frame tiny house may just be your saving grace. Yes it’s small …

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5 Questions You Better Ask Before Buying Garden Seeds

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5 Questions You Better Ask Before Buying Garden Seeds

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Those of us who raise our own vegetables know it involves more than simply sowing spring seeds and reaping the delicious rewards at harvesttime. One of the many gardening tasks which requires thoughtful research and attention is purchasing seeds. If you are contemplating your garden for this season, following are six questions worth consideration.

1. How long do seeds last?

The reason this question should be asked first is because you need to know if last year’s leftover seeds will suffice. The answer varies greatly, depending upon the particular vegetable. Overall, seed longevity is improved by storage in a cool dry place, out of direct light.

Some seeds can be expected to germinate well after having been stored for up to 10 years, most notably those of wheat, sorghum, rice and other grains.

Other types of long-lasting seeds include those in the brassica family—broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts—which can last about five years. More types of seeds with a longevity of four to five years include cucurbits—cucumbers, pumpkins, squash and some melons—as well as radishes, turnips, celery, Swiss chard, beets and lettuce.

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Depending upon the source of information and the specific cultivar, spinach may be among the longer-lived seeds or among those which last just a year or two, but it has lasted quite well in my personal experience.

The seeds in the nightshade family vary. Eggplant can last up to five years, tomatoes four, and peppers only two.

The midrange seeds—those which last about three years—include beans, peas and carrots.

Some sources say leeks can last up to three years, as well, and other sources place it in the shorter-lived category with its allium relatives such as onions.

In addition to onions and possibly leeks, other short-lived vegetable seeds which can be expected to last only one or two years include corn, okra, parsley, peanuts, salsify and parsnips.

Keep in mind that there are few hard and fast rules about how long each seed might last. The best thing to do is to give them a try, bearing in mind that the older the seeds and the shorter the general viability, the less likely they are to germinate. But there is no harm in trying.

The ideal way to try questionable seeds is to start them indoors well ahead of time and be prepared to replace them with new ones if they do not germinate. If your situation does not allow you that much wiggle room, buy new seeds.

2. How early should they be started indoors?

The type of seeds, your climate, and your growing conditions all play huge roles in figuring out how early to start them.

The absolute best advice here is to follow the directions on the seed packet, in the seed catalog from which you purchased the seeds, or from the greenhouse or retailer who marketed them.

Some seeds allow a great deal of timing latitude. Others do not. One of the most important things to consider is the needs of the plant as it grows and fruits. For example, does it need intense sun to thrive, or will heat cause it to bolt? Does it need long day lengths, or a long-growing season, or warm overnights, or plenty of rain? The timing of what your plant needs should dictate the timing of your seed starting.

5 Questions You Better Ask Before Buying Garden Seeds

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Long-day onions, for example, will form proper bulbs only when there are 15 or more hours of daylight. Since summer day length increases further from the equator, these types of onions are best grown in northern climates. And since the days are longest in late June, onions need to be ready to set bulbs by then. Onions need to be started before most other seeds—as early as March in some regions.

Other vegetables are typically started indoors in order to make sure they fruit before frost. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are sensitive even to a light frost, and are usually started indoors well ahead of time. Many types of squashes, cucumbers and melons need to reach their growing peak during the height of summer sun, as well.

With other vegetables, the key factor is growing them early to avoid the heat of summer. Lettuce, spinach, peas and broccoli thrive best in cool conditions, which is why they are planted very early—either started indoors or directly sowed in cold soil—ensuring they will have served their purpose before succumbing to heat.

3. Start them at home or buy seedlings?

Many gardeners do some of both. Economy of scale is a primary factor. The cost per seedling is certainly higher from a greenhouse than starting one’s own, but buying them already started can sometimes be a better value. If a gardener is planning just a tiny plot with a few vegetables, it hardly seems worth the trouble and expense of buying potting materials and running heat lamps, or even buying the packets of seeds. (Then again, it is more fun to plant them indoors.)

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On the other hand, the cost of buying flats of seedlings adds up quickly, and paying someone else to start an entire garden full of vegetables can be an expensive proposition.

Another thing to consider is whether you will be able to find the cultivar you want already started. You may not be able to find specialty items at a commercial greenhouse.

It makes sense to start some of the seeds you’ll use the most of and the specialty varieties you want, and plan to purchase a few flats of additional seedlings when planting time comes.

4. How much is enough?

It is way too easy to get carried away when buying seeds! Perusing the pages of seed catalogs during winter makes gardeners want to buy more seeds than can realistically be managed, in the same way that people load up their buffet plates with more food than they can possibly eat.

5 Questions You Better Ask Before Buying Garden Seeds

Image source: Pixabay.com

One way to control the temptation to buy one of everything is to choose one or two areas in which to splurge. Pick a couple of favorite vegetables and go wild with cultivars—six kinds of eggplants or four varieties of butternut squash, for example—and commit to restraint with everything else.

Another idea is to allow one new cultivar in each category each season in exchange for discontinuing one from last year, thereby keeping the total volume within reason while still enjoying new items and replacing choices that proved less successful.

Good record-keeping is an excellent way to determine how much is enough and rein in overspending. Annotating seed purchases, garden yields, and the preserved food volumes enables a gardener to figure out whether increases or cutbacks are in order. If most of last year’s pumpkins landed on the compost heap and there are still canned green beans from three years ago, consider planting less of those vegetables and delegate the space to something else this year.

5. Open-pollinated versus hybrid?

Open-pollinated seeds are those which can be replicated at home. In other words, the seeds produced by your open-pollinated vegetables can be dried, saved and planted next year, and the result will be the same vegetable as this year.

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Hybrid seeds are genetic mutations. They very often produce a higher quality vegetable out of the seed packet, having been developed for specific purposes such as disease-resistance or drought tolerance or higher sugar content or better productivity. But the seeds from this year’s vegetables will not produce identical offspring next year.

If you are a seed-saver, open-pollinated is a must.  If you are not, then it is OK to choose your seeds based upon other factors.

Lest it seem that the act of buying seeds for the upcoming season is too overwhelming, do not be discouraged. Most gardeners miss the mark on at least one of these questions some of the time, and many gardeners spend a lifetime striving for perfection. The important thing to remember are the reasons for gardening in the first place: the opportunity to be self-sustaining, the reward of choosing your own food—and more than anything, the enjoyment of it all.

What are your most important questions when purchasing seeds? Share your advice in the section below:

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Is Christianity Essentially A Jail?

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Is Christianity Essentially A Jail?

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For many, living under the auspice of the Bible is not only seemingly impossible, but, perhaps, a ridiculous idea.

You know the story, don’t you? A young Christian at college gets invited to a party and says, “I just can’t go.” The organizer says, “Why not?” The Christian responds, “It’s not what I believe or follow.” It’s enough to make some believe that Christianity is too restrictive, rules-minded, and life-altering.

They may say, “Why should I follow something that will limit me?” Of course, the catch for our culture is that freedom is defined as having no restrictions — to shed all authority and discover what works best for you.

Ironically, that is exactly what biblical Christianity is all about – allowing you to discover what’s best for you. Following the risen Christ allows you to really thrive in the purpose God created you for (to glorify His name).

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In John 8:31-38, Jesus unpacks two truths that help answer the question, “Is Christianity a jail?”

First, Jesus—God in the flesh—teaches that true, authentic freedom is found only in serving the living God.Serving” seemingly reeks with the chains of non-freedom. But freedom isn’t just throwing off any man-made restraints. It also comes from within:

“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.’” (John 8:34)

In other words, we all work hard for something – success, romance, acceptance, achievement, materialism — that we think will fulfill us. And, instead, of us controlling whatever that is, that thing ends up controlling us.

But notice what Jesus says in John 8:35-36:

“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Is Christianity Essentially A Jail?

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The son has real freedom. But why is that? Because the son knows he is in union with the Father. No matter what we may chase in this life, nothing can replace the fact that we are created for God and His purposes. Moreover, the son also knows that the Father best recognizes the way he should live. The world claims that true freedom is experienced by whatever we want. Yet, Jesus Christ says that His freedom is doing what you were created to do—following Him.

Real freedom is found only in serving the living God. Freedom isn’t just living independently. We all long and cling to something—known or unspoken. That thing becomes our master and lord. The world says freedom isn’t having a boss or master. Jesus says that true freedom comes with acknowledging and having the right Master.

Secondly, the biblical Gospel alone sets you free. Let’s be honest—when you don’t live in the Father’s house mentioned above, then yes, the Father’s house is going to be like and feel like slavery. We become resentful of being in such a home and look for “greener pastures” and a chance to get away.

Notice Jesus’ words in John 8:37-38:

“I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

Jesus wants to give us back the heart of the son in this passage. A son who trusts, loves and follows his Father. One that is like the Father in all respects and loves what his Father loves. You need the Holy Spirit of God to change your heart, not more resolutions or plans to “do better.” You need to be absolutely overcome by Jesus’ love for you and what He did for you in the Gospel.

For many who are reading this, going to church and trying to live the Christian life does feel like drag. They reason many believe that Christianity is restrictive is because they’ve never accepted Jesus’ free offer of forgiveness by repenting and believing the Gospel.

Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Life isn’t a “cake walk” with Jesus. But He will sustain you and satisfy you under any burden.

So, make a choice today: Would you rather have a burden or the right master? I don’t know about you, but the biblical Jesus is my desire, not a burden. Only is Him can true, non-restrictive freedom found.

What is your choice today?

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The Hidden Worm That Can Kill Your Goats & Sheep

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The Hidden Worm That Can Kill Your Goats & Sheep

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I lived in ignorant bliss for years. Like many keepers of small ruminants up north, I was more complacent than I should have been about the possibility of parasites. As a general rule of thumb, these organisms have been more of a problem in southern locations for longer than they have in the north, but are gradually making their way to all regions of the country.

About six months after I purchased two doelings and integrated them into my herd, a visiting animal health expert noticed some worrisome symptoms in one of the young goats and took fecal samples back to her office to examine under a microscope. The next day, she called me with the results: the animal was loaded with barber pole worm.

I had never even heard of barber pole worms, and I set about learning all I could about it by asking other goat owners, seeking information from animal health experts, and searching online.

What Are They?  

Barber pole worm, or Haemonchus contortus, is a parasitic organism which thrives in the abomasum—or last stomach—of ruminants. It is highly contagious, often deadly, and once contracted is nearly impossible to eradicate.

Research revealed that my first order of business was saving the life of my goat. How-to’s varied widely among all the sources I consulted, many of them directly contradicting one another on everything from types of medications to frequency and dosage. It was scary and confusing, to say the least.

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A person in my goat network took the time to tell me the story of what worked for her, and I believe her help is the reason my goat survived. She recommended I use a specific type of anthelmintic—the scientific term for a chemical de-wormer—called levamisole hydrochloride.   The information I found online supported her advice. Levamisole is available only via mail order in my state, but the lady happened to have some on hand and offered it to me at her cost.

Lest the treatment described above sounds like a panacea, it most assuredly is not. Different drugs are more or less effective by region, by farm, by animal, and by a whole host of other factors. But if a treatment worked at a farm nearby, that is a good place to start.

Before continuing with information about barber pole worm, it is worth noting that I am not a veterinarian. Any knowledge I have of animal health and parasites is gained through my own research and experience as a goat owner, and should never be taken as advice in lieu of consulting an expert.

First, a few barber pole basics. It is the adult worms, striped like a barber pole, which take hold in the stomachs of ruminants. From there, they lay eggs which are passed out of the animal’s body through its feces. Once on the ground, the eggs develop into larvae and are ingested by ruminants as they graze. Back inside the digestive system, the larvae become adults and the life cycle continues.

Symptoms of Barber Pole Worm

The Hidden Worm That Can Kill Your Goats & Sheep

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Visible symptoms of the possible presence of barber pole worms include diarrhea, hanging tail, dull coat, lethargy and depression. It is important to remember that these signs can be indicative of other maladies, as well, so while these symptoms indicate that something is wrong, it is not always barber pole worm.

If barber pole worm progresses, edema—fluid buildup in body tissues—sometimes becomes visible, particularly in the face and jaw.

An excellent way to diagnose the presence of stomach worms—of which barber pole worm is a likely candidate—is by determining whether the animal is anemic. This can be achieved using a diagnostic tool called “FAMACHA.” This is basically a chart showing how to compare the colors of the tissue under the lower eyelids of the animal—pink tissue means there is plenty of healthy blood flow and white means anemic—and providing guidelines of when to treat.

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Another excellent diagnostic method is a fecal exam. Veterinarians typically offer this service, but it can be costly and cumbersome for multiple animals and follow-ups. For this reason, many people learn to do it themselves. Examining fecal content is not nearly as off-putting as it sounds.  Training can be attained for little or no money, often from another ruminant owner. My own microscope training was provided to me by the professor who first diagnosed my sick goat, but since that time my state cooperative extension has begun to offer quarterly microscope training workshops.

The expense of owning a good quality microscope can seem daunting, but groups and clubs can potentially share ownership in equipment, giving each member easy access without being solely responsible for cost or storage.

It is important to be aware that fecal exams do not always tell the full story. The presence of parasite eggs in fecal matter does not necessarily correspond exactly with the presence of adult stomach worms. When in doubt, always consult a veterinarian.

It is critical to catch barber pole early. Unchecked, it can be deadly. In late stages it is even possible for the treatment itself to be dangerous because the sudden die-off of parasites can render an animal too compromised to recover.

As with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is wise to screen new animals for parasites before putting them in with your existing herd, even when buying high quality stock from a reputable dealer. Once barber pole was present on my farm, the only option from that point forward was to manage it.

Some livestock owners get desirable results by routinely administering anthelmintics to the entire herd or flock. However, current school of thought recommends treating only sick animals. The reason for this is to avoid the risk of creating a medication-resistant super-organism.

Hot to Prevent Barber Pole Worm

When my goat was first diagnosed, I treated my entire herd. It was important at that time to make a complete break in the life cycle of the parasite. I carefully monitored the fecal egg counts after the first dose and treated only sick animals from there on.

Parasite activity is minimal in winter in cold climates. It flares up most in spring and fall, so diligence is most crucial during those seasons. Some individual animals and certain breeds are naturally more resilient, and young stock is generally far more susceptible than are adults. Resilience—the innate ability to thrive in the presence of barber pole worm or avoid getting it at all—is an excellent trait to keep in mind when culling a herd.

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The Hidden Worm That Can Kill Your Goats & Sheep

Image source: Pixabay.com

Some of the best ways to manage barber pole worm are really more about managing the livestock, pasture and infrastructure. Parasite eggs and larvae thrive best in warm humid conditions, multiply most easily in crowded conditions, are most plentiful close to the ground, and have a more profound effect on less healthy animals. With those facts in mind, good parasite management includes:

  • Keeping indoor quarters clean.
  • Allowing ample space in the most-used paddocks.
  • Rotating pastures and sticking to the highest and driest during damp seasons.
  • Keeping hay and feed up off the ground by using hay and grain feeders.
  • Hanging water buckets on walls to minimize spills and feces contamination.
  • Keeping feed and water containers clean.
  • Providing mid-level browse. Sheep tend to graze and goats prefer browse, but both will eat vegetation higher off the ground if browse is provided. This will help limit the likelihood of the larvae being ingested.
  • Maintaining overall herd health.
  • Staying abreast of any health changes in individual animals and within the overall herd, particularly during seasons when parasites are most prevalent.
  • Doing fecal exams often.
  • Being responsible regarding biosecurity: Use due diligence to prevent yourself and visitors from carrying barber pole worms to other farms.

Two other preventative treatments being increasingly recommended by veterinarians and farmers are copper and tannin. Many sheep and goat owners use copper boluses—capsules filled with copper pellets—as effective treatment. The drawback to these is that they can be challenging to administer, because they need to be shot with a special gun down the animal’s gullet in order to remain intact and not chewed. An easier yet arguably less effective method is to offer free-choice tannin. This is easily found in the bark of softwood trees, but comes with a warning: certain pine trees are toxic to goats and sheep. Pine trees native to my region pose no danger, but that is not the case in all areas of the country. The bark of other trees, most notably cherry, can be toxic, as well. If you are not certain, consult your veterinarian.

No small ruminant farmer wants to have barber pole worm show up in his or her herd, but it is becoming increasingly common in most areas. But with attention to self-education and adoption of careful practices, barber pole worm can be monitored, managed and mitigated.

Have your sheep or goats ever had barber pole worm? Share your advice in the section below:

Discover The Secret To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.

3 Reasons Heritage Hogs Are Just Plain Better Than Commercial Hogs

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3 Reasons Heritage Hogs Are Just Plain Better Than Commercial Hogs

Guinea Hog. Image source: USDA

If you’re thinking about raising a couple of hogs for your family’s freezer, the first place to start is by deciding on the type of pig you want.

Heritage hogs and commercial meat hogs are distinctly different in many ways. Depending upon your space constraints, budget, timeline and individual beliefs you may find one better than the other. Heritage hogs are more self-sufficient but slower to grow. Meat hogs are fast growers but require more maintenance. And when it comes to the quality of the meat, it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

Heritage animals were bred by our colonial forefathers to adapt well to the local environment with little maintenance. In America, common breeds include Choctaw, Guinea Hog, Mulefood, Ossabaw Island and Gloucester Old Spot. These breeds were developed to exhibit better foraging abilities, longevity, maternal instincts, and resistance to disease and parasites when compared to selectively bred commercial breeds.

Here’s four traits of heritage hogs you need to know:

1. Heritage hogs are cheaper to feed (but need more space). You can set a heritage hog loose on acres of pasture and allow it to forage for the bulk of its diet, saving you tons in feed costs. But this means it must have permanent access to pasture. This is the first, and largest, discrepancy between the two types of hogs. How much space are you willing to dedicate as “hog land?” Heritage hogs were developed to fend for themselves on open land.

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For a small farm without an acre to spare for hog pasture, heritage breeds may not be the right choice. Commercial hogs that were developed to thrive in very small spaces get by perfectly well on as little as 20 square feet of space per hog. These breeds include Duroc, Hampshire, Yorkshire and Landraces. They will do just fine on dirt; however, these types of hogs need access to commercial hog feed 24/7 to meet their growing potential.

2. Heritage hogs are heartier. Not only are heritage breeds raised more humanely than your standard commercial CAFO pig, but they are also much more hearty. Thanks to their DNA, heritage breeds are naturally resistant to a variety of diseases and parasites. They are able to adapt to their environment without any help from you. You won’t ever have to juice up your Old Spots with antibiotics or growth hormones. Nor will you have to give them regular de-wormer. While commercial-breed hogs may not specifically require antibiotics or other medications, they are more susceptible to disease and parasites than heritage hogs. They also don’t deal as well with extreme weather conditions.

3 Reasons Heritage Hogs Are Just Plain Better Than Commercial Hogs

Guinea Hog. Image source: USDA

3. Heritage pork is more flavorful. When you think about the pork you will get as a reward in the end, a big factor is the taste you want. Commercial-type hogs have a leaner carcass, producing a light pink meat and little lard. This is the classic “supermarket” pork taste that so many people are accustomed to and may prefer. However, darker heritage pork has a more full, complex flavor; it is well-marbled with fat, meaning it is more juicy and tender. Like all grass-fed meat, heritage pork is also healthier for you. It is higher in good fatty acids, beta carotene, and vitamins D and E.

Learn How To Make Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

Of course, not everything about heritage hogs is great. Let’s examine the one negative.

Caveat: They’re Slow Growers

Though the cost of feeding commercial hogs might seem daunting, remember that you will only be feeding them for a matter of months. Commercial hogs are bred for fast growth and good feed efficiency. A 50-pound feeder hog can reach market weight in as little as 100 days. If you are looking for some farm-raised meat and needing it fast, commercial hogs are the way to go. This is especially beneficial if you don’t like having hogs around full-time. Raise a couple of Hampshire-Durocs from August to November and have a pork-filled freezer and pig-free yard until next summer.

Though some heritage breeds mature faster, most take over a year to reach a weight worth taking to the butcher, some even longer. This is due in part to their genetics makeup and in part to their diet. If you are supplementing your heritage hogs with commercial feed, you may be feeding them more than a commercial hog in the long run.

As far as temperament goes, it can be a toss-up. Both types have more docile and more aggressive breeds. If you are looking for a pig with personality, Guinea Hogs can be real sweethearts. However, you may find raising pigs you’ve bonded with a big drawback when it’s time to hit the butcher’s block. Ultimately, if you want some quick, low-cost pork you raised yourself, then crossbreed commercial hogs are the way to go. If you want to preserve an environmentally sustainable breed that practically cares for itself, get a heritage hog.

What is your favorite type of hog? Share your advice in the section below:

Discover The Secret To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.

China Official Warns: U.S. & North Korea On ‘Collision’ Course For War

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China Official Warns: U.S. & North Korea On ‘Collision’ Course For War

BEIJING — China’s foreign minister says war between the United States and North Korea may be inevitable.

“The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming towards each other,” Wang Yi said at a news conference this week. “The question is, are the two sides really ready for a head-on collision?”

Wang’s remarks were prompted by North Korean ballistic missile tests and the U.S. beginning deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea. Once functional, THAAD will be able to shoot down North Korean missiles. The Chinese government is afraid THAAD’s deployment will kick off an arms race in Asia.

Xinhua, China’s state media, warned of an “arms race.”

“More missile shields of one side inevitably bring more nuclear missiles of the opposing side that can break through the missile shield,” the Xinhua article said, according to CNN.

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Wang warned South Korea, a key U.S. ally, to cease and desist the deployment of THAAD because it undermines China’s security. China also believes the system could be used to spy on the country.

Wang’s frankness was unusual for a Chinese leader.

“They don’t usually use this kind of language but it’s not completely surprising given that they are not really effectively able to constrain or restrain what the North Koreans do and they’re deeply unhappy about the U.S. deployment of THAAD to South Korea,” Professor Steve Tsang of the SOAS China Institute told CNN.

U.S. Causing North Korean Missiles to Explode?

The US already is conducting cyberwarfare and electronic warfare against North Korea, and hacking may have caused a number of its missiles to explode, The New York Times reported. The effort was apparently so successful that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un ordered an investigation and may have had security officials executed.

Still, North Korea has managed three successful medium-range missile tests and Kim claims his military is in the final stage of preparation for the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could hit the United States.

“Senior [American] national security leaders have stated that the U.S. needs to work off the assumption that North Korea will have ICBM capabilities soon, and in this business ‘soon’ could mean five to 10 years, or earlier,” Ariel Cohen of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security told the Washington Free Beacon.

Cohen thinks North Korea soon may be able to launch an attack on U.S. military bases in Hawaii. The U.S. would have little defense against an attack because 56 percent of the anti-missiles deployed in Alaska and California failed in tests, The Times reported.

What is your reaction? Do you believe North Korea is a legitimate threat? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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7 Things Your Doctor’s Not Telling You About Coconut Oil

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7 Things Your Doctor’s Not Telling You About Coconut Oil

Image source: Pixabay.com

Do you notice more coconut oil in your grocery, discount or health food store? Coconut oil is everywhere, and in everything, from food to beauty products, as more people discover its benefits.

Health-conscious people have known about coconut oil for many years. As its popularity increases, so has its availability. Common in the Philippines, where it’s grown and produced, this simple oil is nothing short of miraculous because of the many things it can do. After harvesting, the white coconut “meat” is removed, dried and pressed to remove the oil.

Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA), which has long been thought to clog arteries, although newer studies are showing just the opposite. MCFA digests differently than long-chain fatty acids, starting in the digestive system. They’re sent directly to the liver, where they are turned into ketone bodies (water-soluble molecules) used for energy in your kidneys, brain and muscles. But you likely won’t hear this from your doctor.

Just 30 Grams Of This Survival Superfood Provides More Nutrition Than An Entire Meal!

If you’ve never tried coconut oil, (and you’re not allergic) here are seven reasons why you should:

Coconut oil. . .

1. Is better for cooking. Hydrogen molecules are added to soy or other “vegetable” oils to extend shelf life. This type of oil can turn trans-fat when you cook with it. Coconut oil has a naturally long shelf life without preservatives, withstands higher cooking temperatures and can be used in place of butter or olive oil. It’s liquid above 76 degrees Fahrenheit, and solidifies at lower temperatures.

2. Has natural anti-fungal properties. If you suffer with heartburn, acid reflux, bloating or other digestive issues, you may have an overgrowth of Candida albicans, or yeast overgrowth in your gut. Coconut oil’s lauric acid fights back. Taken daily, the oil’s acids help reduce and eliminate “bad” bacteria in the gut and allow healing.

3. Helps with weight loss and energy. Coconut oil’s MCFA helps the body metabolize fat, which is used for energy. These acids also keep your blood sugar stabilized and prevent cravings for salty or sweet junk food. Fat also provides better satiety longer, which keeps you from eating what you shouldn’t.

7 Things Your Doctor’s Not Telling You About Coconut Oil

Image source: Pixabay.com

4. Can help with hair repair and re-growth. The small molecules of the medium-chain fatty acid are able to penetrate the hair shaft better than other oils.

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Coconut oil prevents frizzing much better than silicone- or alcohol-based products, which can dry your hair. A very small amount hand-rubbed onto towel-dried hair before drying and styling works well to stop frizz and give a healthy shine.

5. Has been shown to improve cognitive functioning in Alzheimer’s patients. Ketones supply the brain with energy, and coconut oils create an alternate source. There are numerous stories of diagnosed Alzheimer’s patients who started taking coconut oil daily and saw improvements.

6. Is a natural moisturizer. Your skin is your biggest organ and will absorb anything you put on it—including chemicals in your toiletries. Coconut oil is easily absorbed into your skin with no toxic chemicals. Use a small amount on your hands, feet, or any place you need a little extra moisture.

7. Can help improve dental care. Oil-pulling,” or simply swishing coconut oil around in your mouth, coats your teeth and helps remove plaque, stains and odor. It’s primarily an Ayurvedic medicine practice, but is gaining attention (and fans) here in the US. Oil-pulling also helps with bleeding gums and heart health by helping to remove oral bacteria that can migrate into the heart.

Do you need any more reasons to try coconut oil?

*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please consult with a qualified health professional first about this method.

Are you a fan of coconut oil? Share your uses for it in the section below:

Sources:

https://draxe.com/coconut-oil-benefits/

https://draxe.com/oil-pulling-coconut-oil/

http://coconutoil.com/coconut-oil-reverses-alzheimers-in-45-year-old-woman/

http://www.well-beingsecrets.com/health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/

http://www.well-beingsecrets.com/how-to-use-coconut-oil-for-hair/

http://www.well-beingsecrets.com/coconut-oil-for-weight-loss/

http://coconutoil.com/study-coconut-oil-improves-memory-and-brain-function/

http://articles.mercola.com/health-benefits-coconut-oil.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/22/coconut-oil-and-saturated-fats-can-make-you-healthy.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/09/26/coconut-oil-benefits.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/08/22/mct-oil-health-benefits.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/coconut-oil-for-hair.aspx

‘Home School Check. Please Give Us A Call’

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‘Home School Check. Please Give Us A Call’

PARIS, Ky. – Homeschooling families in one Kentucky school district were surprised to discover recently that school officials were conducting unannounced visits to homes – and if no one was there, leaving door hangers.

The February visits within the Paris Independent School District apparently violate a state-wide agreement, which is designed to protect a family’s constitutional right to privacy, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association, which reported on the incident.

“I got the impression that district staff could become more difficult if I didn’t cooperate in answering their questions or bring out my child to meet them,” one parent, Jenny Griffith, reported. “I tried to handle the situation as civilly as possible, without adding any threat to them.”

Griffith said the two officials who visited her home said the district has plans to visit every homeschool family three times a year.

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“As part of their plan to help families, the school officials asked about attendance records and curriculum,” HSLDA attorney T.J. Schmidt wrote at the organization’s website. “Before leaving, one official asked Jenny about meeting her child.”

Families who were not at home got a doorhanger, reading, “Home school check. Please give us a call.” It was signed by the principal.

But the visits go against Kentucky state law, Schmidt said.

“Under Kentucky law, a homeschool program operates as a private school,” he wrote. “While private schools are required to keep attendance and scholarship records (i.e. report cards) in the same manner as the local public school, homeschooling parents do not need to open their homes and present these documents simply because a school official comes knocking.”

An agreement was reached more than 20 years ago between the homeschool organizations and the state that “unless school officials receive some report or have some evidence that the parents are not educating their children, no further inquiry should be made,’ Schmidt added.

HSLDA has contacted the school district about the law.

What is your reaction? Do you believe school districts should do “checkups” on homeschoolers? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Entertain Your Kids For HOURS On The Road — Without A DVD Player! Read More Here.

The Companion Plant You ALWAYS Should Grow Around Tomatoes

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small farmWinter is nearly gone and gardening season is just around the corner, which means it’s time to consider what you might do similar and different from last year.

Author and expert gardener Sally Jean Cunningham has a suggestion: Try companion planting.

By planting unique combinations of vegetables, herbs and flowers, you can minimize pests and diseases – while boosting your garden’s yield!

Cunningham, author of “Great Garden Companions,” is the guest on this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio.

She says the Native Americans’ “three sisters” method is just scratching the surface in companion planting.

Cunningham also tells us:

  • What always should be planted around tomatoes, potatoes and beans.
  • Why she doesn’t use traditional gardening methods when companion planting.
  • Which vegetables, flowers and herbs should not be planted close to one another.
  • Why she believes most bugs in the garden are actually good for vegetables.

Finally, Cunningham tells us about her favorite types of mulch — and most of them are dirt-cheap.

If you’re a gardener who can’t wait to get your hands dirty this spring, then this is one show you don’t want to miss!

U.S. Military Prepping For Migrant Crisis In Month-Long Drill

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U.S. Military Prepping For Migrant Crisis In Month-Long Drill

Stock photo. Image source: Wikimedia

MIAMI, Fla. — The U.S. military is preparing for a massive wave of migrants from the Caribbean as part of a multi-million dollar training drill at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The exercise this month, called Operation Integrated Advance, is scheduled to last all of March, cost around $2.5 million and involve 400 troops as well as personnel from the State Department and Department of Homeland Security, The Miami Herald reported. The military is keeping the operation secret and denying the media access to it.

The idea is to prep for a migrant crisis in which hundreds or thousands of Cubans or people from other nations cross the ocean to the United States.

“This year’s exercise scenario focuses on a potential mass migration in the Caribbean,” a statement from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reads. “The primary objective is to protect the safety of life at sea and to deter mass migration using organic DHS forces reinforced by other federal, state, and local assets and capabilities.”

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During the operation, troops will practice rescuing, capturing, processing, housing and taking care of migrants.

US Expecting Refugee Crisis?

Guantanamo Bay is a U.S. Navy base that is technically on Cuban soil. In 1994 the Clinton administration interned hundreds of Cuban refugees at Guantanamo Bay, and more recently captured terrorists have been imprisoned there.

It is not known if the drill is tied to a potential increase in deportation of illegal immigrants during the Trump administration.

Another possibility is that the Pentagon expects a complete collapse in Venezuela.

Venezuela’s government is almost out of money, CNN reported. The South American nation has only $10.5 billion in foreign reserves, which are used to buy food and medicine. Venezuelans are already dealing with 800 percent hyperinflation, empty grocery shelves and food riots. Last year some Venezuelans got so desperate they started butchering zoo animals for meat. Earlier reports indicated that people in Caracas were eating cats and dogs.

Terrorists From Venezuela?

That might drive thousands of Venezuelans to get on boats and head to Florida. Caracas is on the northern coast of the country and just south of the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

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There is a good reason why the military wants to intercept such migrants. The Venezuelan government may have issued passports to people with ties to terrorism, CNN reported.

Venezuelan diplomats in Iraq sold large numbers of passports for cash, Misael Lopez – the former legal adviser to the Venezuelan Embassy in Iraq — told CNN. Lopez is now living in Toledo, Spain, because he’s afraid for his family’s safety.

Lopez said that Venezuela’s Ambassador to Iraq, Jonathan Velasco, was one of those selling passports.

“He gave me an envelope full of visas and passports,” Lopez said of the ambassador. “He told me, ‘Get this, this is one million U.S. dollars.’ I thought it was like a joke. Then he told me here [in Iraq] people pay a lot of money to get a visa or a passport to leave this country.”

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Why “This War of Mine” Is the Perfect Video Game for Preppers

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this war of mineTo my knowledge, the video game industry has never really catered to preppers. Though they do create games that contain survival situations, they are generally steeped in glorified violence. Likewise, their attempts to create games with post-apocalyptic story lines are almost always based in pure fantasy.

If they did create a game that tackled survival situations or the collapse of society in a realistic way, the realism would probably suck all of the fun out of the game. Or at least that’s what you’d think. However, there is one video game that tackles both of those subjects brilliantly, without sacrificing fun or realism. It’s called “This War of Mine,” and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

As that trailer suggests, this is a war game unlike any other, in that you experience war through the eyes of a handful of civilians who aren’t taking part in the combat. They are merely trying to survive the terrible conditions that war creates. For that reason, I’m actually a bit surprised that the prepper community hasn’t latched onto this game, despite the fact that it’s has been out since 2014. This War of Mine captures the gut wrenching experience of survival in ways that don’t compare to most games.

And like I said, it’s fun. However, it’s not fun in the traditional sense. It’s not glorious and epic and bombastic. It’s subdued. You don’t experience fun by vanquishing waves of faceless enemies. You experience the satisfaction of surviving another day.

The game takes place in the fictional war-torn city of Pogoren. The conditions found in this city are inspired by the real world Siege of Sarajevo, which took place between 1992 and 1996. You command three or four civilians with no military experience. Each character has unique skills and attributes such as cooking, scavenging, bartering, strength, and speed.

You’re hunkered down in a dilapidated house, and you’re responsible for building barricades, stoves, workbenches, rain collectors, water filters, weapons, tools, alcohol stills, and traps, and more. You have to keep these folks alive in this house until a cease-fire is signed and the siege is lifted, which occurs at a random point in the game. You’re responsible for keeping them well-fed, well-rested, warm, and protected from looters and thieves.

So what makes this game so realistic? For starters, there is a degree of luck and randomness in the game that makes it unpredictable. Certain resources and events are generated randomly each time you play. You can’t just play through it once and master it. Strategies that will help you survive one play-through might not help you in another, so you’re always flying by the seat of your pants.

Also, you don’t get to save your game whenever you want. The game will only save at the beginning of each day, and you can’t go back to previous days. So if you make a mistake, there are often no do-overs. So say you send one of your characters out to go scavenging for supplies and that character dies, you can’t go back and try again. And when that happens, the remaining characters have to take a larger share of the daily tasks that are needed to keep everyone alive.

Because of these conditions, you can’t fight your way through the game. Unlike most video games, you can’t just go around killing people and taking their supplies. In fact, most combat encounters will kill you. And even if you survive an encounter like that, you’re almost definitely going to have an injury that requires rest and medical supplies to recover from. To survive this game, you have to be smart, stealthy, and diplomatic. Just like the real world, you’re much better off engaging in trade than you are by engaging in combat, which should be treated as a last resort.

And finally, This War of Mine will really challenge your altruism and morality. You will be faced with situations that will give you the opportunity to be charitable, and you don’t really know if you’ll be rewarded or screwed over. There are times in this game when you will run out of supplies, and you’ll be faced with the choice of going hungry and cold, or stealing from your neighbors.

For sure, This War of Mine is a grim and unforgiving game, but that’s what makes it so perfect for preppers. It will definitely put you in the headspace of someone who is just trying to survive.

 

Don’t forget to join us March 9th 7 p.m. (CST) for a FREE interactive webinar about solar cooking. Click here for more details!

MARCH9G

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Alert: Your Cell Phone is Spying on You! 4 Ways to Block Your Cell Phone and Prevent Being Monitored

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“We are all just prisoners here…of our own device…” – “Hotel California,” by The Eagles

 

ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, this piece is on the heels of an article released by RT News on 3/8/17, entitled “85% of World’s Smart Phones ‘Weaponized’ by CIA.”  The article is a very disturbing report; however, it isn’t something that just “surfaced” out of the zone of unpredictability.  The basis for the report stems from the recent WikiLeaks release of the CIA-documents and information that just occurred.  Here is an excerpt from that article:

 “Google’s Android operating system, used in 85 percent of the world’s smart phones, including Samsung and Sony, was found to have 24 ‘zero days’ – the code name used by the CIA to identify and exploit vulnerabilities for the purpose of secretly collecting data on individuals.  The techniques allow the CIA to access data from social messaging platforms, including WhatsApp, Weibo and Clockman before encryption, according to WikiLeaks.  Both audio and message data were vulnerable to the exploit through the CIA’s exploitation of gaps in the OS.”

Now mind you, Readers, this piece is not a “news article,” although this event was just reported on 3/8/17.  The purpose of this article is to serve as a “wake-up” call, in case you haven’t taken the measures already outlined in previous articles to protect yourself from your own devices tracking, recording, and (essentially) “spying” upon you.  You may research past articles on electronic security that you can do, and this piece is a “refresher” that will enable you to secure yourself…. from your own equipment.

4 Ways to Block Your Cell Phone and Prevent Being Monitored

As mentioned in times past, Mylar can be your best ally.  Mylar is simple to use, affordable, and it works at blocking the signals going to and from your happy cell-phone tracking and recording device.  Here are some inexpensive sources for the Mylar:

  1. Chip/Snack bags: An infinite variety of sizes are available, and you will have to gauge what size you use after taking the size of your phone/device into account.
  2. Mylar in the form of “ponchos” or “space blankets”: these are a little more expensive than the chips, but only slightly so. You will end up with more Mylar to use, and the pieces you cut will not need to be cleaned off of salt and other detritus as with the chip bags.
  3. Freezer bags: Also in a variety of sizes, such as ones that hold up to 30 lbs. of food/ice (for a laptop-sized device) or just a small 1’ x 1’ bag, such as a lunchbag-cooler size.
  4. Another thing to do is to place your device inside of an ammo can (military issue). In doing so, make sure the rubber gasket around the mouth seals efficiently for a tight seal.  There are other containers that can be used; however, you may have to reinforce the seams with something such as Aluminum HVAC duct tape (available for about $15 per roll from your local Home Depot), and cover them over.  With the ammo cans, the container is contiguous with only the lid needing that rubber gasket that works.

How to Test for Protection

There is a way to test it out with your phone to see if you have the protection.  Take your chip bag or bags.  If they’re small, be advised that you will need about three complete layers around the cell phone.  Also, place your phone in a plastic Ziploc bag before putting them into the chip bags.  This will keep them clean just in case you missed wiping all of the stuff out of them.  Wiping out the bags can best be accomplished with a dry paper towel: the oils, salts, and other filth will be caught up by the towel.  Just remember to cover/swipe the entire inside surface of the bag.

Then turn your phone on, and turn up the volume of its ring all the way.  Next, roll/wrap up your phone and fold it over in at least three complete layers of Mylar.  Then use your house phone/landline/etc. to dial your wrapped-up cell phone’s number, and hold the wrapped-up phone close to your ear.

If you did the job correctly, you will not hear a thing.  Also, make sure you only ring it 3 times.  Any more than that and it may go to a voice-mail/other function, that will send it stored to your cell phone after you unwrap it as a missed call.  This way it will not ring it, and the call will have been cancelled.

Remember what General David Petraeus mentioned about the “Internet of things?”  Well, those days are upon us.  So, what else?  You’ll have to figure out the best method for making your layers work and last a long time.  You can take the chip bags, cut them open with scissors, and make three premeasured layers.  Form a pouch, and cover them inside and out with duct tape.  Then you just slip in your phone, and secure the top (fold it over) with whatever type of clamp or clip works for you.

The continuous signal your cell phone sends out (every 4 seconds) will be interrupted.  Inconvenient?  No.  Coordinate with your family members when you will call and talk to them beforehand.  Emergency?  Pull the phone out of the pouch and use it.


Bottom line: It is a discipline that will have to be followed to enable your privacy…from your own device.


99% of all people carry that thing around with them everywhere.  They’re hooked to it more closely than a fetus to the umbilicus: they can’t function without it.  But the point I’m making is this: Do you own the phone, or does it own you?

You can accomplish the same thing with your laptops and other “smart” toys…your palm-pilots, blackberries, cameras, and all of the other damnable devices that have made you an unwitting prisoner to the powers and systems that set them in place…not for your “technological convenience,” but for the very purposes of control, dominion, and surveillance over you.

Ammo cans work.  The Mylar (when cleaned and fashioned properly) will work.  Now you just received confirmation that it is happening, and I’ve given you methods to use to stop it from happening to you.  The methods work.  I have tested and used them myself.  So, without further ado, figure out how much material you need and make one of these pouches for yourself.  Your privacy is guaranteed under the 4th Amendment from illegal searches and seizures by the government.  That right, however, needs to be exercised by action.  So, finish those Doritos, clean out that bag, and wrap that phone up!  We’d love to hear of any tips or improvements you have come to trust.  Keep fighting that good fight, and send us your comments!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

The One Shotgun That Passed The U.S. Military’s Torture Test

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The One Shotgun That Passed The U.S. Military’s Torture Test

Image source: MossbergOwners.com

If the average gun owner is asked what the most important weapon to own for home defense is, the answer often is the 12-gauge shotgun. Yes, some will say go with a pistol and others will prefer a semi-automatic rifle, but the 12 gauge is probably the most commonly recommended firearm for home defense.

There’s good reason for that. Twelve gauge 00 buckshot or any other kind of defensive load is devastating at close range and will incapacitate the attacker, likely with only a single shot. The pump-action shotgun itself is a very rugged, reliable and simple weapon that practically anybody can pick up and quickly learn how to use.

Many will claim that the pump-action design is now outdated in the age of automatic rifles such as the AR-15 or AK-47, and indeed, there are some very high-quality semi-automatic shotguns out there. That said, semi-auto shotguns (at least the quality ones) almost always tend to be more expensive than pump actions, and they also can be just a little more finicky with certain types of ammo. For those reasons, the pump action is still an excellent defensive weapon even in the 21st century and likely will continue to be for many years to come.

Be Prepared. Learn The Best Ways To Hide Your Guns.

The next question then is: What is the absolute best 12-gauge pump-action shotgun for home defense? Well, if you knew that there was only one pump shotgun that has passed the U.S. military’s brutal and unforgiving torture test, you would probably agree that that shotgun would be a top contender, right?

The specific shotgun is the Mossberg 590A1, a further development of the hugely successful Mossberg 500 and 590 series of shotguns. The 590A1 incorporates all of the same features of the 590 and then makes several improvements of its own. The overall weapon itself is insanely rugged and durable.

Why It’s So Rugged

First of all, let’s become familiar with how the Mossberg 500 series of shotguns work. The 500/590 is a very basic pump shotgun that features a polymer safety, trigger guard, and blued barrels (that are easily interchangeable). The safeties of Mossberg 500s are ambidextrous and located behind the receiver, while the slide release lever is located behind the trigger guard for convenience.

Right off the bat, the 590A1 uses more durable materials than the 500 and 590. All of the parts of the gun are constructed out of aluminum (trigger guard, safety, slide release lever, etc.). Furthermore, the 590A1 also uses a heavier durable barrel that is intended to better take abuse, as well.

The overall finish of the 590A1 is parkerized, which is rust- and corrosion-resistant in contrast to the standard bluing of the 500 or 590 that will require constant care and attention. In other words, the 590A1 is a shotgun you can take out in wet environments and not have to worry as much about.

Granted, 500 and 590 models called the Mariner are made in a corrosion-resistant stainless steel finish (called Marinecote), but these specific models tend to be significantly more expensive.

Additional notable features of the 590A1 includes a bayonet lug on the front for mounting an M7 bayonet. The 590A1 also incorporates a swivel mount on the stock for easily adding a sling. In contrast to this, you generally have to add the swivels yourself to the 500 or 590, which, of course, increases the amount of money you have to spend. The 590A1 will have a 6+1, 7+1, or 8+1 capacity, depending on the model that you get.

All in all, the 590A1 is essentially the ultimate pump-action combat shotgun and a superb choice for home defense or personal protection. The Remington 870 is also a great shotgun, no doubt, but keep in mind it was the 590A1 that passed the military’s torture test, which says a lot about its capabilities and quality.

Do you own a 590A1? What is your favorite pump-action shotgun? Share your tips in the section below:

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns For Home Defense. Read More Here.

7 Survival Uses For Alcohol You May Not Have Considered

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7 Survival Uses For Alcohol You May Not Have Considered

Image source: Pixabay.com

A critical part of preparing for survival is learning about everyday items that are present in most homes, and then repurposing those items into a variety of uses.

One such item is alcohol. Here are seven uses for it:

1. Fire-starter

In the event that you find yourself in a cold and wet survival situation with no dry tinder, alcohol just may be what saves your day. Simply soaking a piece of cloth in alcohol and then lighting it up with a match or lighter will get a fire started quickly. Of course, you’ll want to have extra fuel on hand to keep the fire going, but for transforming that initial spark into a flame, alcohol will work wonders.

2. Wound disinfectant

When you sustain an open wound, it’s essential to clean it with a disinfectant before bandaging in order to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.

Get The Essential Secrets Of The Most Savvy Survivalists In The World!

Alcohol is a very effective wound disinfectant because it can kill bacteria instantly. The only downside to this is that it also can kill or damage tissue around an open wound, so you’ll want to be very conservative in how you apply it.

3. Surface disinfectant

This would come in handy for disinfecting knife blades, thermometers, medical equipment and cooking utensils.

4. Bartering commodity

In the event of an economic collapse where paper money becomes worthless, the new currency will be necessities: food, water, personal hygiene items, fire-starters, first-aid equipment, toilet paper, and so on.

While alcohol may not be a “necessity,” it is definitely something that will be in high demand during a disaster scenario. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, it may still be wise to set aside some beverages that you can use for bartering and trading when the time comes.

5. Bug repellent

Repelling bugs needs to be a bigger survival priority than most people realize. In any kind of a long-term disaster, sanitation standards are going to plummet, and diseases can spread quickly via mosquitoes, flies or other pests. Blend alcohol together with olive oil and then apply it directly to your skin. It will keep mosquitoes and other bugs at bay.

6. Mouthwash

Sip some alcohol into your mouth and then swish it around for about a minute. It will kill the bacteria on your teeth and gums. Spit it out and then rinse with water.

7. Firearm cleaner

When your usual gun-cleaning oils are no longer available during a survival situation, you can use alcohol as an alternative. Simply clean your gun like you would with cleaning oils, and then rub it down with a rag.

Do you know of other survival uses for alcohol? Share your tips in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

America Now Ranks Behind These 16 Countries In Economic Freedom, New Study Says

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America Now Ranks Behind These 16 Countries In Economic Freedom, New Study Says

Image source: Wikimedia

WASHINGTON – The United States has less economic freedom than New Zealand, Australia, Estonia, Ireland, Chile, the United Kingdom and Lithuania. That’s the conclusion of the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom for 2017, which saw the United States rank 17th.

The total score of 75.1 for the U.S. was its lowest total ever.

The index ranks countries using a scoring system of one to 100. The freest place on the planet was Hong Kong, which had a score of 89.8. The least free was the Communist country of North Korea with a score of 4.9, which put it last at 180.

“The substantial expansion in the size and scope of the U.S. government, increased regulatory and tax burdens in many sectors, and the loss of trust and confidence that has accompanied a growing perception of cronyism have severely undermined America’s global competitiveness,” the report said.

The score is based on the Heritage Foundation’s “four pillars” of economic freedom: rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency and open markets. It also examines other factors such as fiscal health, judicial effectiveness and government integrity.

Looking For A Second Country? Read More Here.

Some of the highlights of this year’s Index include:

  • Only five nations — Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia — are considered “truly free” by Heritage’s experts. That means they have an economic freedom score of more than 80.
  • The U.S. ranked better in economic freedom than some other major powers including Germany (26), Japan (40) and China (111).
  • The U.S. still has less economic freedom than Canada, which was ranked seventh. Mexico was No. 70.
  • Venezuela (179) now has less economic freedom than Cuba, which was ranked 178. Only North Koreans enjoy less economic freedom than Venezuelans.
  • Only one Islamic country – the United Arab Emirates — enjoyed a high level of economic freedom. The UAE was ranked No. 8.
America Now Ranks Behind These 16 Countries In Economic Freedom, New Study Says

Image source: Pixabay.com

All total, 73 countries fell in their rankings this year.

“Sixteen of these 73 countries, including notably the Bahamas, Bahrain, El Salvador, Pakistan, Venezuela, and the United States, recorded their lowest economic freedom scores ever,” the Index said.

It was the 23rd Index of Economic Freedom.

Following is the Top 20, including the 16 countries ranked ahead of the U.S.:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. New Zealand
  4. Switzerland
  5. Australia
  6. Estonia
  7. Canada
  8. Unite Arab Emirates
  9. Ireland
  10. Chile
  11. Taiwan
  12. United Kingdom
  13. Georgia
  14. Luxembourg
  15. Netherlands
  16. Lithuania
  17. United States
  18. Denmark
  19. Sweden
  20. Latvia

Despite the ranking of the U.S., economic freedom has “advanced in a majority of the world’s countries over the past year,” with 103 nations showing advances, according to the report. It looks as if economic freedom is increasing around the world, even as it declines in America. There is still a great deal of work to be done.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

Goofy Gadget Can Jump-Start Your Car — And Charge Your Smartphone!

10 Awesome Tips You Never Knew About Using Wood Stoves That May Change Your Life

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 ReadyNutrition Readers, we’re having a heatwave out here in Montana…it’s 9 degrees Fahrenheit while I’m writing this.  I hope you guys and gals are nice and warm and you have a good wood stove in front of you keeping it so.  You recall I wrote one on wood stoves not too long ago, and I wanted to supplement this for a few more things you can do with yours.  Aside from using wood stoves to stay warm and cook food on, here are a few tips you never knew on how to get the most out of your wood stove.

10 Ways to Make the Most of a Wood Stove

Ashes

One of the things you should consider is the potash that comes from your stove.  Yes, all that wood turns into ashes that can be recycled and used.  One of the things that you can do is to store them in a container (preferably a metal one that has a tightly-fitting lid) and use them later for producing your own soap.  The ashes are boiled down in water (yes, this too can be done on your wood stove!), and combined with lye and other ingredients.

Your ashes can also be used for metal polishing, for the likes of metals such as brass and silver.  It works really well straight up, or mixed with just a few drops of water.  The ashes can also be combined with your compost piles and used as a form of fertilizer to replace many valuable minerals and nutrients that comes from carboniferous materials being burned.  Why do you suppose a new forest sprouts up in a few years after a forest fire?   All of that burned wood goes into the soil and enriches it.  You can turn it into your gardens when you’re planting in the springtime for the same effect.

Charcoal

Charcoal is another product that you can take from your wood stove.  Used for a variety of things besides just cooking, charcoal can also be finely-crushed and added to your ash supply to make soap.  It can be set aside for use as cooking material or a fire-starting ingredient and even used to clean teeth.  Charcoal can also be used to filter water (see previous articles on water purification).

Soot

There’s also soot from the chimney (although you’ll probably have to wait until springtime to obtain it when you brush your chimney pipe).  Soot is the black substance formed by the combustion of your wood in the stove.  This is fine particulate matter that adheres to your pipe walls, and is blackened, consisting mainly of carbon that has not been completely burned. Soot is responsible for many chimney fires.  Soot can be mixed (in small quantities as needed) with a little bit of vegetable oil and some water to make your own ink.  A type of soot is called lampblack, and is used in enamels, paints, and inks from a commercial perspective.

That soot also has a great deal of unburned oils and resins in it (especially if you burn a lot of pine…don’t scoff…if you live in the Rockies, you will burn pine unless your last name is Rockefeller, believe me).  The oils, resins, and unburned carbon are excellent to mix with things such as sawdust and lint, with some wax for fire starters for the wood stove or camping and backpacking.

Dehydrate Food

The top of the stove is great for dehydrating food as well.  You have recipes from ReadyNutrition for pemmican and jerky.  You can make your own on top of the stove with small-aperture wire racks…of the type to cool off hot sandwiches and the like.  Lay your meat on top of the wood stove top on the racks and allow that heat to dry them right out.

We’d love to hear any suggestions of things that you have found to do with your wood stoves (along with heating your home and cooking, of course).  It is all part of your preps and homesteading and learning to economize and obtain the maximum use for all of the materials you have at your disposal.  Explore some of these and let us know what you think, as well as things you have discovered on your own.  Keep up that good fight, drink a good cup of coffee, and stay warm!

 

JJ

 

Don’t forget to join us March 9th 7 p.m. (CST) for a FREE interactive webinar about solar cooking. Click here for more details!

MARCH9G

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

5 Dumb Seed-Starting Mistakes That Nearly Everyone Makes

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5 Dumb Seed-Starting Mistakes That Nearly Everyone Makes

Image source: Pixabay.com

I’ve been gardening since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I grew up on a farm and we kids were expected to help in my mom’s large vegetable garden. Many of the gardening maxims that I still adhere to were picked up while working alongside Mom. But just because I’ve been doing things the same way for 40-odd years, it doesn’t mean those are the right — or best — things to do.

I was surprised last spring when a local friend mentioned that he had directly sowed peas in April. April?! Really?! Where I live, our last frost date is May 15, and most local people get their seeds in during the first weekend following that date. This guy, however, was totally new to gardening and, unfamiliar with conventional wisdom, he followed the directions on the seed package. Go figure. Since the package said to sow the seeds as soon as the ground was workable, that’s what he did. He got a terrific pea harvest, too.

Whether you’re just starting out as a gardener, or you’ve been working the soil your whole life, you might be making some of these common mistakes.

Need Non-GMO Heirloom Seeds? Get Them From A Company You Can Trust!

Here are five dumb-but-common seed-starting mistakes:

1. Not reading seed packages

If you’ve been gardening for a long time, chances are you’re like me: just doing things the same way you always have instead of reading the seed packages. As my story above illustrates, that’s not always the best idea. Maybe you’ve been sowing seeds directly — seeds that would really benefit from being started earlier indoors (like broccoli, which needs to mature before the hottest days of summer or it will bolt). Or maybe you’ve been planting your seeds a little too deeply and as a result, your germination rate is low. Reading seed packages can save time and money. It’s worth it.

2. Forgetting to label

Many of us who are old hands at gardening can identify our vegetable plants even before they set their true leaves. But can we identify the different varieties? That’s unlikely. Keeping track of how different varieties perform can help us decide whether to grow the same ones next year; and if so, if there is anything that we can change that might optimize their growth.

Don’t forget to label!

3. Not watering properly

It can be hard getting the moisture levels right for those tiny pots. A slip of the wrist, and they’re flooded. A busy day where you forget to water, and they turn into little Saharas, complete with wilted seedlings. It happens to the best of us. But we should try neither to underwater or overwater.

5 Dumb Seed-Starting Mistakes That Nearly Everyone Makes

Image source: Pixabay.com

Start by making sure your potting mix is thoroughly wet, but not soaking, before you even plant. Purchased potting mix is often quite dry. Put some in a container, add water, stir, and let it sit for a little while to absorb moisture before you start planting.

Once planted, it’s best to water by misting the pots, rather than using a watering can, as a heavier stream of water can disturb the soil and dislodge seeds. Let the soil dry out just a little between waterings. If the soil is too moist, the seeds and seedlings will be more susceptible to mold, fungus, disease, and rot.

4. Starting seeds too early

In our eagerness to start gardening again, we might start our seeds too early. What could possibly be wrong with growing bigger, sturdier plants over a longer period of time? Well, particularly if you use seed flats or peat pots, you may need to repot large seedlings before the ground is warm enough for transplanting. Repotting means an increased cost to purchase more potting mix and larger pots; it also means more work. Also, some plants fare better if they are transplanted when they are smaller or less mature. For instance,   if they are transplanted before they start flowering.

The All-Natural Fertilizer That Doubles Your Garden Yield!

A general guideline is to start seeds 4-6 weeks prior to your local last frost date; however, some herbs and vegetables can be started 8-10 weeks prior. Refer to   at Off The Grid News for more information about when to start seeds indoors.

5. Not cleaning and sterilizing equipment

We gardeners are a thrifty lot, and we tend to adhere to the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra. However, when it comes to “reuse,” make sure your materials are clean and sterile. A quick rinse with the garden hose last summer was not adequate to ready your supplies for this spring.

It’s about more than just cleanliness; disease and fungi can lurk on dirty equipment.   is one fungal-borne disease that can kill off your seedlings. If you’re reusing any equipment this spring, start by sterilizing everything in one part bleach to 10 parts water.

Gardening is truly a lifelong learning process. There are often different and better ways of doing things. Always keep an open mind. You might learn better methods through trial and error, neighborly advice, written articles, or even seed packages. Go figure.

What seed-starting mistakes have you made? What did you learn? Share your tips with others in the section below:

Seamazing: The Low-Cost Way To Re-mineralize Your Soil

The Backwoods Hunting Weapon You Can Make In 1 Hour (No, It’s Not A Bow)

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The Backwoods Hunting Weapon You Can Make In 1 Hour (No, It’s Not A Bow)

Image source: YouTube/Nat Geo screen grab

 

When suddenly confronted with a wilderness survival situation, finding or building shelter from the elements should be your first priority. However, once you have either located or constructed suitable shelter and found a source of fresh water, obtaining enough food to maintain your heath is of paramount importance — and obtaining sufficient protein is essential. Thus, knowing how to construct and use primitive hunting tools, such as a sling or an atlatl and darts, is extremely beneficial, since they require very little construction time and can be easily made from the materials at hand.

Many if not most survivalists would say a self-bow — any simple bow made from a single piece of wood – should be constructed first. But this requires a significant amount of time to make, because you first have to find a straight sapling of an appropriate species and cut it down, and then you have to remove the bark and wait for the wood to dry before carving it to shape. Also, there is the issue of finding appropriate material from which to construct a bow string that does not stretch.

Consequently, constructing an atlatl (a “spear thrower”) and darts is often a far better strategy, because an atlatl can be built with as little as an hour’s work, and atlatl darts need not be nearly as sophisticated as arrows for a bow; atlatl darts are not subjected to the same stresses that firing an arrow from a bow produces. This is the weapon used by our ancestors to kill small animals, long before there were bows.

Let’s Get Started

In order to make an atlatl, start by finding a straight sapling, approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter and preferably one that is of a very lightweight species of wood, such as poplar. Cut a section from it, approximately 24-28 inches in length. Use your camp knife and a baton to split the sapling down the middle, into two halves. You will need to choose the thicker of the two halves and proceed to use your bushcraft knife to flatten and smooth the split surface while leaving the other side half-round. Next, find an appropriate tree limb with a symmetrical fork, and then cut the fork from the limb, leaving approximately two inches below the fork and then cut each fork to a length of approximately one inch. Then cut a peg, approximately two inches in length.

Story continues below video

Next, drill one hole in the end of the flattened section of sapling using an auger or bow drill with sand for an abrasive and, once the hole is drilled, insert the peg firmly into the hole so that it extends approximately one inch above the flattened surface. Carve a handle on the other end of the sapling section by first rounding the edges and then carving shallow groves in either side for your index finger and thumb to help you retain your grasp on the atlatl when using it to launch a dart. Once you have the grip and finger grooves carved, drill a second hole in the flattened side, approximately one inch above the point where your thumb and index fingers meet when grasping the handle section of the atlatl, and then firmly insert the fork into that hole and you will have a completed (although very primitive), fully functional, atlatl.

Ultimate Tactical Self-Defense And Hunting Weapon That Doesn’t Require A Firearms License!

Now you need to make atlatl darts. They can be made as simple as cutting a reasonably straight section of sapling to approximately 36 inches in length, removing the bark, sharpening one end, and then cutting a nock in the other end that will mate with the peg on your atlatl. Then, to launch your dart at a prospective target, all you have to do is place the dart’s nock against the atlatl’s peg and then lay the shaft into the fork and hold it in place by positioning your thumb and index fingers over the dart’s shaft. Raise the atlatl over your shoulder, point the dart at your intended target, and then move the atlatl forward in an arc while releasing the dart’s shaft from your fingers. This will cause the dart to launch with great speed and momentum. If you’re confused, then watch the video below.

Story continues below video

With more time to work with, you can make much finer atlatl darts by cutting an appropriate sized sapling to length, removing the bark, and then straightening the shaft by suspending the dart over a fire for a short period in order to cause the moisture contained within the wood to heat. Also, you can harden the tip of the shaft by placing it in the coals of a fire for a short period and removing it. Then, sharpen it with your bushcraft knife.

So, although an atlatl and darts may not be as sophisticated a hunting tool as a bow, it requires significantly less time and effort to make it – and yet is every bit as effective at harvesting both small and large game animals. The range over which they can be cast is mainly dependent on the strength of the hunter, but the average person can easily cast a dart 50 yards using an atlatl and, with a little more effort, 100 yards.

What advice would you add on making an atlatl and darts? Share your tips in the section below:

If You Run Out Of Ammo, What Would You Do? Learn How To Make Your Own! Read More Here.

Can Non-Maple Trees Be Tapped For Syrup? Yes!

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Can Non-Maple Trees Be Tapped For Syrup? Yes!

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Tapping trees for sap and making homemade syrup is an easy and delicious component of being a homesteader and raising one’s own food. The three issues that often stymy beginners, however, revolve around the trees themselves.

People new to tapping often struggle with being able to tell sugar maples from other maples, discerning which trees are maples as opposed to other deciduous trees, and wondering what to do even when they can differentiate between trees but do not have access to maples.

It’s Not Just Sugar Maples … And Not Just Maples!

So, what if there are no sugar maples? The good news: It might not matter.  Trees vary greatly by region and even by individual trees. This means that the red maple in your yard might produce better quality sap with a higher sugar content than your neighbor’s sugar maple, in the same way that your yellow Labrador dog might outrun your neighbor’s greyhound.

The best way to know is to try it. When in doubt, tap it and taste the sap. I happen to have a big old sugar maple that gives sap with a bitter taste, and a red maple which is excellent for syruping. Pretty much any maple can be used for syrup. If the sap tastes good, try boiling it down. And if it turns out to be worth the effort, put a marker on the tree so that you can identify it for future use.

“The Big Book Of Off The Grid Secrets” — Every Homesteader Needs A Copy!

Even better news is that trees other than maples can be used to make delicious syrup. Birches, particularly yellow and gray species, make an excellent syrup, even though the sap has a lower sugar content and must be boiled down for longer than that of most maples. Many sources say walnut and hornbeam trees also make good choices for syrup.

As with any endeavor, remember to keep safe and avoid trying the sap of trees that contain any toxic components.

How to Tell the Difference

Telling the difference between trees, especially, during winter, is admittedly tricky at tapping time. The best way to know whether a maple tree is a sugar maple or a red maple or some other species of maple is often by the shape of their leaves or the color of their flowers. Unfortunately, when it’s time to tap for syrup, the leaves and flowers are long gone. It is possible that the leaves are on the ground under the tree, and it is even slightly possible that there is adequate distance between trees that it can be determined which tree the leaves fell from. But it is also likely that whatever leaves are present are buried under a foot or more of snow and ice. If you can tell by the leaves which kind of tree you have, using Internet photos or a field guide, do that.

Otherwise, try examining the bark. Mature red maples and silver maples tend to have a scalier texture than sugar maples, and do not have the light-colored splotches that sugar maples sometimes can.

Can Non-Maple Trees Be Tapped For Syrup? Yes!

Walnut tree. Image source: Pixabay.com

The best way for small homestead syruping operations to ensure they are using sugar maples for spring tapping is to identify them ahead of time. The flowers and fruit — often called “spinners” or “wings” — are distinctive among maple species, as well as the leaves. Anyone considering tapping trees would do well to do their research in advance and mark the trees, using colored survey tape or marker flags, or even a hand-drawn map if there are enough trees.

Distinguishing Maples From Other Deciduous Trees

As with differentiating between species of maples, telling one genus of deciduous tree — often called hardwoods — from another can be challenging, as well, and for most of the same reasons.  However, there is generally a more easily discernable difference between the bark textures and colors, sizes and basic growing habits between one tree genus and another.

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Using the process of elimination can help. Paper birches are easy to discern by their bark. Other birch species and many ash trees hang onto their leaves long into the winter and sometimes even until the spring buds start pushing, so it is very likely that they would still have a leaf or two attached to the tree or on top of the snow beneath it.  American beech trees often have a beech bark disease that makes their trunks covered with distinctive cankers.

Other trees sometimes have particular shapes or growing habits which make them discernable from sugar maples. For example, bear in mind that the branches of willows droop, and cherry trees are often twisted and gnarly. Red maples and silver maples are more likely to be found in swampy areas than are sugar maples.

While these points do not result in a definitive identification, they can at least narrow the pool of possibilities and thereby decrease time spent poring over field manuals and online guidebooks.

Tapping trees for sap need not be complicated. As with anything, it makes sense to start with the basics, continue to learn through a combination of trial and error and research with each season, and enjoy the tasty results.

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Iranian Attack Boats Block U.S. Ship, Come Within 600 Yards

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Iranian Attack Boats Block U.S. Ship, Brush Within 600 Yards

Image source: Wikimedia

WASHINGTON — The Iranian government continues to take provocative actions aimed at the United States and its allies.

The Iranian military tested ballistic missiles and sent four fast attack boats close to American and British warships over the weekend.

Four attack boats from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps intentionally blocked the path of the U.S. and British ships, coming within 600 words of them and forcing them to change their course, Fox News and CBS reported. The American ship was the USNS Invincible, a tracking ship which uses sonar to monitor submarines and missile tests. The incident took place in the Strait of Hormuz.

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The U.S. military labeled it “unsafe” and “unprofessional.”

This was the second time Iranian ships approached the Invincible; two days earlier a frigate from the Iranian Navy came within 150 yards of the surveillance vessel, CBS News reported. The Invincible was in the Gulf of Oman, south of Iran, when that incident occurred.

Missile Test

The Iranians also test fired two Fateh-110 Mod 3 short-range ballistic missiles, U.S. officials told Fox News. One the missiles destroyed a barge moored at sea 155 miles away.

“Between North Korea’s saber-rattling and Iran’s willful defiance, we certainly don’t lack for evidence of these rogue regime’s intentions,” U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, said in a statement. “This is why we need to develop a strong missile-defense system and to take a harder line toward these regimes. No amount of words, however clear or forceful, will prevent this kind of aggression; only firm action to defend America and our allies will stop them in their tracks.”

Do you think Iran or North Korea are a threat to the U.S.? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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