Easy Guide To Make Activated Carbon At Home

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When the air smells bad, and the water tastes awkward, you know something is wrong with them, and most probably they are polluted.

While many people have traded the safety and cleansing power of activated charcoal for all kinds of poisonous air sprays and dangerous municipal water supplies, activated carbon can save your life now as well as in the future.

You can make activated carbon at home, if you have proper tools and materials. This substance has a lot of uses, and air and water filtration is on top of them as it offers the widest range of protection against a range of chemicals.

Read the following article and learn how to deal with it!

How to Make Activated Carbon

Even though activated carbon is not especially difficult to make, you will still need the right tools and materials. Here are the basic steps:

Step 1 – You will need wood or some other dense plant fiber to burn. Hardwood, coconuts, or just about anything else that is porous and will burn well can be used for this purpose. Make sure the material is as dry as possible before burning it.

Step 2 – Put the material in a pot and cover it. The pot should have some ventilation holes in it, however the flow of oxygen should remain limited.  If you know how to make tinder cloth, then you can use a similar process for making charcoal.

Step 3 – If you have a campfire going, set the pot on the fire. The temperature will have to be hot enough to cause the material within the pot to burn. Your goal is to burn off everything but the carbon. It may take several hours for this process to complete. During that time, you should see smoke and gas escaping from the pot.

Step 4 – Let the charcoal cool, and then rinse it to remove any ash or other debris.

Step 5 – Grind the charcoal into a powder. As you get better at making activated carbon, you can try leaving it in small chunks.  Remember that later on, the charcoal will need to be saturated with a chemical that will increase pore size.

If the chunks are too large, you may not achieve this goal, and the resulting activated carbon will not be as efficient or as effective. Make sure the charcoal from Step 5 (this step)  is completely dry before mixing it with anything else.

Step 6 – Next, you will either need bleach, calcium chloride, or lemon juice to turn the charcoal into activated carbon. Of the three materials, calcium chloride can be made from natural resources as long as you observe some basic safety precautions.

To make calcium chloride, work outdoors or in some other well ventilated area, and wear goggles, safety gloves that are resistant to acids and other chemicals, and other protective gear. Start off with hydrochloric acid (you can obtain this from the stomach of any animal you have hunted and refine it from there) and limestone (your main source of calcium carbonate).

Put the hydrochloric into a glass beaker, but don’t fill more than ¼ of the vessel (some people go as high as half. It is best to start with small amounts until you are more sure of how the chemicals will react to each other). 

Carefully pour calcium carbonate powder into the hydrochloric acid until the solution stops bubbling. Once the reaction is complete, pour the solution through a strainer so that any lumps are removed. Next, you can heat the solution to remove any excess water.  The powder left behind is calcium chloride.

Step 7 – Next, mix the material you choose from step 5, and combine it with 75% water.

Step 8 – Pour enough of the mix from Step 7 into the charcoal so that the charcoal is completely covered.

Step 9 – Let the charcoal sit for 24 hours.

Step 10 – Drain all liquid from the carbon and rinse it to remove any stray chemical left behind.

Step 11 – Remove as much water as possible. The charcoal should be wet without being completely saturated.

Step 12 – Place the charcoal back in the metal pot and let it cook for about 3 hours. If the fire is hot enough to boil water, it will be just the right temperature to finish converting charcoal into activated carbon.

Contaminated water after an emergency can put your family at risk. Protect them now!

How to Use Carbon for Filtration

Air Filtration

Do you ever notice that when you travel to certain areas, the air smells really bad? Do you also notice that this sensation seems to fade after a few days? The air around you is so dirty it is probably making you and your family members very sick even though your nose had adapted to it.

From higher volumes of cars passing to garbage dumps and industrial smokestacks, there are actually very few places left where there is safe, clean air to breathe. Here are just a few contaminants that trigger everything from asthma to increased risk of panic attacks, heart problems, and other diseases:

  • Aside from carbon monoxide, automobiles also release other dangerous chemicals into the air, and some of them are known to trigger asthma and other breathing disorders.
  • Medical waste and rubbish dumps release dangerous chemicals into the air. If you smell something bad in the air when downwind of a dump, then this is the natural gas released by the piles of garbage. The dump may also be releasing all kinds of chemicals created when trash mixes together and new substances begin to form. You can’t tell just how many of these substances cause cancer or other health problems simply because you inhaled the disgusting odor of rotting trash.
  • Factories and power plants also release volatile organic compounds and other chemicals into the air. You may be able to smell some of them, while others are odorless.

If you spend the money and time to build an air quality sensor capable of detecting specific chemicals, you’ll be amazed at how dangerous the air around you really is. It will get much worse after a crisis because of increased numbers of fires and a lack of tools, labor, and resources required to manage dangerous chemicals.

Activated carbon can be used to remove most volatile organic compounds, and many other chemical based contaminants from the air. In fact, if you suffer from chronic medical problems, you might need a pre-fabricated carbon filter attached to a fan or some other source of air flow. Aside from cleaner smelling air, it will ease your health problems.

If you are concerned about gas attacks or other social collapse related scenarios – these kinds of filters will be essential if you plan to stay in your home. While there is much more to prepping for an air quality related disaster, activated carbon filters are a good place to start.

There are a number of furnace filters available that have activated carbon in them. In most cases, these are little more than a liquid solution of activated carbon added to the filter media. You can try experimenting with your own versions to see if you can get a filter that effectively removes odors (and therefore their cause) from the air.

Make Respirators and Gas Masks Using Activated Carbon

Even if you could seal off your home entirely from the outside world, it would not be a feasible option. Gases and bio weapons will easily seep through even the tiniest crack and can be devastating, and there will also be times when you have to leave your location. And if you are away from your bug out location, you’ll need to protect your lungs as much as possible.

These are reasons why making and wearing a viable gas mask or respirator is very important. As with air filters, activated carbon offers the widest range of protection against a range of chemicals.  Considering the rising rate of smog and other air pollutants, activated carbon masks are also very important for improving and maintaining a reasonable level of health. In fact, in many Asian countries, people don’t go outdoors or exercise without wearing an activated carbon mask.

While this is a fairly rare sight in the United States, those who know the truth are doing the exact same thing. If you have asthma or other chronic breathing problems, even a surgical style mask with activated carbon in it can make a big difference.

I have personally noticed a 50% reduction in noxious odors from insecticides, smog, and other fumes when wearing this kind of mask. Others that have tried them notice a 70% or better reduction. While I have not tried the wrap-around designs more common in Asian countries, I suspect they would be more effective because they would seal off the areas where I tend to get the most air leaks.

A surgical style activated carbon mask is better than nothing, however you will need a more robust respirator design for gas attacks and other dangerous situations. You can try making them from soda bottles or purchase one made for this purpose, as you see in the video below.

Video first seen on BlackScoutSurvival.

Just remember to practice breathing with these masks, and they can and do restrict air flow. Also make sure you keep the mask clean and change the cartridges on a regular basis. As good as activated carbon is at filtering out many kinds of chemicals, the pores in it still fill up quickly, hence the need to replace the cartridges often.

You can and should try taking used cartridges apart to see if you can find a way to refill the activated carbon part. Even if you cannot obtain or make the other filter media, at least you may be able to keep this vital part of the mask working for a longer period of time.

Using Activated Carbon for Water Filtration

As a prepper, you may already be giving a lot more thought to water quality than air quality, but activated carbon isn’t only useful for removing the bad taste from water after it has been boiled. That bad taste is an indicator that the water isn’t as clean as you think it is.

Boiling water will kill off bacteria, however it will actually cause an increase in the concentration of heavy metals, pesticides, and even dangerous drugs that have leached into just about every potable water supply at the surface level. While activated carbon will not remove all heavy metals, it is excellent for removing most other dangerous chemicals and drugs.

Typically, filtering water with activated carbon is a lot easier than filtering air. At the simplest, just add some activated carbon to a clean sock and pour the water through it. You can also make your own cartridges and add a pump for larger volumes of water.

Video first seen on MakerBoat.

When designing your own system, don’t forget to make it easy to change the cartridge as well as detect when it needs to be changed. Since many water quality issues reflect in changes in pH, you may want to try building a pH sensor into your system so that you know when to change the filter.

As you can see, making activated carbon isn’t especially difficult.  No matter whether you are concerned about improving your health and lifestyle now, or want to do as well as possible during and after a social collapse, activated carbon should be a household staple.

Even if you get started by simply buying products with activated carbon, it will give you a chance to see how useful it is before you delve into making your own activated carbon exclusively from natural resources. Once you acquire this skill, you will be well on your way to managing a number of emergencies that may not be as high on your priority list as others.

Nevertheless, when the situation demands, at least you will have something on hand to deal with it.

Never worry about having safe water again.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Prep Blog Review: How To Stay Healthy When SHTF

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No one knows what the future is going to throw at us, but one thing is for sure: we need to stay prepared. Next to shelter, water, food and hygiene, medical supplies are the most important in a survival situation, when we lose all the luxuries of modern medical facilities. Without the proper medical supplies, wounds and diseases that are normally not considered life threatening, can become the real threat.

I’ve gathered five articles on this topic for this week’s Prep Blog Review. If you have any questions or tips, address them in the comment section below.

1. 11 First Aid Supplies You Can’t Have Too Much Of

“Next to food, water, and shelter, nothing is more important in a survival situation than medical supplies.

Without the right supplies, diseases and injuries that would normally be completely treatable could be a death sentence.

Unfortunately, many first aid supplies such as medication and bandages are not reusable, meaning you will want to have ample stocks of these crucial items.

In preparing for the worst, here are the top 11 first aid supplies you should have in abundance.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

2. 5 Natural Items to Put in Your Emergency Kit Today

“When the SHTF and a medical situation does occur simultaneously, things can go to absolute turmoil very quickly.

Most medical situations that will arise during this time may not be considered life threatening, but can quickly become one if not appropriately treated.

For instance, a simple cut that makes contact with tainted water (a very typical scenario following floods and hurricanes) can quickly become infected.

That said, as preppers we need to prepare for medical emergencies and not only learn basic first aid, but also know how to use natural alternatives to care for the wounds themselves.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

3. Coping with Life-Threatening Allergies in a Post-SHTF World

“We have lived in our home for nearly a decade and I love it. I truly love my yard, but the feeling is not mutual. My yard is trying to kill me. After a lifetime of thinking of myself as allergy free, I have been proven wrong. As it turns out, oak trees, along with other things, cause me to have an extreme allergic reaction.

Care to guess where I live? Yes, in the middle of 150 acres of forest.

I had no idea that this could be a life-ending allergy for me. Huge portions of this country have primarily hickory and oak forests.  I would need to drive at least twelve hours to be somewhere that doesn’t have oak trees.

If you or someone in your family struggles with seasonal allergies, first, go to an allergist to find out what they are.

In a truly catastrophic event, it is critical that you know the type of environment you can live in.”

Read more on The Survival Mom.

4. How to Prepare Dialysis Patients for Emergencies: Five Easy Steps

“If you are on dialysis, emergency situations are especially worrisome.

Perhaps even life threatening.

Although dialysis technology has progressed dramatically from when my grandfather was on it and afraid to lose his spot, we are still not at that point where portable/travel dialysis units are common. That time is coming but it is not quite here yet.

Therefore it is critical for those on dialysis and their families to develop an emergency plan to ensure proper medical treatment of the condition.

This five step guide will give you the information you need to create a robust plan for your family.”

Read more on The Weekend Prepper.

5. Setting Up A Survival Sick Room

“In normal times, we have the luxury of modern medical facilities that can isolate a sick patient from healthy people. In a survival scenario, however, most organized medical care will no longer exist, placing the average citizen into the position of medic for his/her family or community.

Although we may be thrown back to the 19th century medically by a disaster, we have the benefit of knowing about infections and hygiene.

The knowledge of how contagious diseases are spread and how to sterilize supplies give us a major advantage over medical personnel of bygone eras.”

Read more on Doom and Bloom.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

What It Takes To Have A Survival Mindset

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Your mind can be the most powerful survival tool that you have at your disposal when used properly. A survival mindset will help you survive even when you have no tools, equipment, or other supplies.

Some refer to this as a will to live but a survival mindset is much more than just this single factor. Read the following article to find out!

You will need to overcome fear and panic, deal with boredom and high levels of physical and mental stress, be mentally flexible and ready to adapt no matter what is thrown at you, learn to be a predator instead of prey, recognize danger instantly, and have a can do attitude that will keep you going no matter how bad things get.

  • Practice dissociation when you perform long sets of exercises that involve monotonous repetition, such as sit ups, push, ups, and other simple exercises that can be grueling over the long haul. Try to do 100 sit ups in a single setting, and when you start to get uncomfortable use dissociation to focus your mind elsewhere while your body continues to push on. This will help you train for dealing with fear and panic when these negative responses occur.
  • Try sitting in cold water for as long as possible. Cold water is uncomfortable and it can cause your mind to try and cave if you let it. After a few minutes all you want to do is get out and get warm. Instead of giving in to this impulse stay in the water as long as possible and try to refocus or distance your mind from the physical cold sensations. Over time you should notice that your time keeps increasing as your dissociation skills improve.
  • When you experience fear or panic try to focus on people who depend on you instead of these emotions, whether this is your family, your team, or your co-workers. These people are relying on you to keep going and not give up, and this can be the mental focus that you need to push fear and panic responses into the background or keep fighting to overcome any obstacles in the way of survival.
  • Find your happy place. This is a place in your mind which causes you to experience positive emotions and releases pent up stress that we all carry around. Your own happy place could be a beach, your childhood home, a favorite event, or even Buckingham Palace if that is a place or event that makes you feel happy and at peace.
  • Step outside of your comfort zone and set goals that challenge you in new ways. When you put yourself in uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations you will experience some of the stress reactions that survival will entail. This gives you an opportunity to learn how to deal with these reactions in a positive way before your life depends on it, and experience first hand what fear, panic, and other stress responses feel like.
  • Counter negative thoughts with positive ones. Fear, panic, and other negative emotions can lead to negative thoughts, and these can become contagious. When you have a negative thought immediately replace it with something positive instead.
  • Use visualization and guided imagery in order to practice for a real life survival scenario. If you go over situations in your mind in full detail then you will be better prepared when they play out in real life and less likely to react out of fear and panic. Your brain defines reality, and research studies have shown that there was little difference between real life situations and realistic visualizations of the same scenario.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

Are You Flexible Enough?

In order to survive any type of situation you will need mental flexibility, and you must be able to adapt to changing situations and circumstances. If you can not do this then you will perish fairly soon after society collapses.

There will be different situations that must be handled in different ways, with a range of new and complex problems popping up that will need to be addressed and solved in order to stay alive.

When you have mental flexibility you are like a willow compared to a large old oak tree in a strong wind. The oak may break from the strength of the wind but the willow will just bend and
will not break.

Mental flexibility allows you to bend so that you do not break, to adapt so that you do not become extinct. When you are mentally flexible you will be able to:

  • See your current situation from a variety of different perspectives.
  • Adapt to change when your first plan is no longer possible or the situation and circumstances change.
  • Learn from your mistakes and do better in the future.
  • Use creative and innovative ways to solve problems when traditional solutions do not apply.
  • Willingly take risks when this is necessary.
  • Tolerate the uncertainty that comes with any chaotic situation.

When things turn sideways and there is no rhyme or reason anymore you need to understand and accept that there is no safe place, and that the government is not going to swoop in and save you. It is up to you.

Holding out an unrealistic hope that there is a safe place or that others will take care of you will cause you to perish. Crowded areas and military outposts, if these even exist, will be fraught with danger and could become high interest targets.

No matter where you are or where you go in any type of chaotic situation where your life is on the line safety is just an illusion while everything is out of control, and feeling safe causes you to let your guard down. This makes you vulnerable and could leave you open to attack or lower your defenses so that you could be victimized in another way.

Don’t become a victim or put your survival at risk with a false sense of security.

Attitude Raises You Up and Breaks You Down to Pieces

Attribute even the most grueling physical training and truckloads of supplies will not be enough when things go sideways and the civilized society that we know doesn’t exist anymore. Negativity will quickly wear you down and harm your mental health.

The will to survive and a degree of stubbornness is just one part of the survival attitude that will get you through almost anything. You also need to be realistic about your situation while still maintaining some hope for the future, something that can be difficult to do in this type of setting and circumstances.

Mental toughness allows you to keep going even when it seems like all is lost, and looking at the positive aspects of any situation will help you avoid dwelling on the negatives,

Recognize negative emotions and thought patterns when these occur, and address them immediately before they can take hold and grow.

Replace each negative thought or emotion with one that is more positive. If you think “I can’t do this” then flip the script and tell yourself “I can do this, I am strong, and I will be a survivor.”

Don’t let guilt or anger get the best of you. It is easy to blame yourself or to get angry when the world seems to turn upside down or it seems like everything has gone haywire, but these negative emotions have no place in your mental toolbox and they need to be banished as soon as they start.

Keep telling yourself that you are not to blame, and that getting angry will not help you but it could work against you and keep you from surviving. Remember that things happen, and we all have a bad day or experience unpleasant situations.

Keep a positive mental outlook on any situation and you are more likely to stay alive. One way you can do this is to imagine a bad situation, and then try to find a silver lining.

Even the worst catastrophic events will have something positive that can be associated with them, and you need to look for the bright ray of light in even the darkest situations and most dire circumstances.

A survival mindset is key if you want to stay alive in any life or death situation, whether this is a zombie apocalypse, a natural disaster, or government gone wrong.

Work on yourself to get yours!

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This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia. 

PrepperCon 2017: Why You Can’t Afford To Miss It

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When I am asked by preppers if it should be worth the time and price of admission to attend PrepperCon 2017, based on the standard of change effected due to attending past PrepperCon Expos, my answer is, “You can’t afford not to go.”

So don’t make any other plans, but prepare to attend this big preparedness event on April 21-22, in Salt Lake City, Utah. There is a lot to learn and discover at this preparedness event. You’ll find me there too, with a special Q&A session and you’ll have the opportunity to get your EMP survival question answered.

Read the article below to discover the promotional code you can use for getting discount tickets for the show!

ROI for the Survival Consumer

Just like most of you reading this article, I am a consumer of survival/self-reliance products and services, and my experience as a survival consumer is vast. Over the years, I have developed a simple rule of thumb to judge survival ROI (Return On Investment) for my hard-earned money and time:  Change Effected

Based on my investment, what change was effected? If I read a magazine and make a change or two to my personal survival/self-recovery kit as a result, then it was well worth the price of the magazine and the time it took to read it. If I made more than a couple of changes, then it was a great issue! If I read a magazine and no change is effected, it was a bust.

Whether the investment is a magazine or book, video or TV show, time engaged in social media or attending training, classes or an expo, the same formula holds true. Scaling the model up, as a result of the investment, did my gear, vision, relationships, situational awareness, habits, SOP, knowledge, ability or skills change?

Scaling it up some more, when major changes in vision, philosophy or relationships or trust occur, they can be life-changing. One of my most influential mentors used to say that, “trust is the one thing that changes everything.” I try to use this rule, when I write and provide services too. I ask myself how likely it is that what I am writing or teaching will effect change for my readers or clients in their emergency preparations, and I’m glad that so many of you appreciate it.

Click here to get your discount tickets at PrepperCon 2017!

Use survivopedia promotional code!

Celebrities, Guests & Speakers

A neat thing about this event is that you can just walk right up to celebrities you have seen on TV and strike up a conversation. I have found that the celebrities have been surprisingly accessible. If you are shy, don’t be.

Celebrities are just people, just like you and they share your same interests. You may find that you have more in common that you imagined. If you would like to get to speak to a particular celebrity, author or expert, your best chance is early on Friday while many people will still be at work!

  • Salvador Alvarenga – This remarkable man survived an incredible 438 days at sea. You could read the book or you could meet him, hear his story and ask him questions is person! For those of you who cannot make it, I will be interviewing him for you!
  • Alan Kay – Meet the man you watched win Season 1 of Alone on the History Channel! He is also a long time survival, preparedness and self-defense instructor.
  • Nicole Apelian – Nicole is a favorite of Alone Season 2 fans and completed her doctorate in Sustainability Education with a focus on Cultural Anthropology. Nicole continues to visit the San Bushmen of Southern Africa whom she has worked with for many years to the end of preserving their culture and teaches primitive skills and herbal medicine based on her experiences.
  • David Holladay – For many city dwellers, most of their understanding of primitive survival comes from watching survival reality TV. David is an Expert Survival Instructor who has trained many of the most knowledgeable survival instructors on TV and countless others who are not. He’s also a very down to earth all-around great guy and an immensely talented educator.
  • Dave Wescott – Dave is an Expert Survival Instructor who owned the Boulder Outdoor Survival School and has hosted the nation’s premier primitive skills events for over 30 years. In the primitive skills world, David Holladay and Dave Wescott are living legends, both having worked with best selling author Larry Dean Olsen (Outdoor Survival Skills) based on primitive skills of the Paiute Tribe of Native Americans and helped to preserve these valuable skills.
  • Jeff Anderson – Survival & Modern Combat Instructor
  • Che Bodhi – Survival & Barter Expert
  • Chris Weatherman – Survival Author known as Angery American (Survivalist series of books), Alone
  • Yours Truly – I will be hosting Q&A classes on EMP Survival and covering the event for all of you who can’t make it.
  • A.R. Shaw – Author (The China Pandemic)
  • Kate Morris – Author (The McClane Apocalypse series of books)
  • Annie Berdel – Author (Alpha Farm, The Beginning)
  • Boyd Craven – Author (The World Burns series of books)

For Survivopedia Readers

I am excited to be hosting 2 question and answer sessions on EMP survival for Survivopedia at PrepperCon 2017!

Please come see me and get your EMP survival questions answered at the EMP Q&A with Cache Valley Prepper at PrepperCon 2017 at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah. Class times will be 4:30-5:20pm on Friday the 21st and 12:30-1:20pm on Saturday the 22nd in Room 300C.

If you miss the class, stop by my table and say, “Hi!” if I’m there or flag me down if I’m running around covering the event and you’ll be among the few who get to put a face with the name : )

Classes/Education

PrepperCon 2017 boasts well over 120 classes, many of them taught by some of the very best instructors on the planet. Don’t confuse them with so many folks to whom survival is largely theoretical. These are typically vetted subject matter experts have actually been there and done that.

So many topics are being covered at this show that whatever your interest and skill level are, you sure to find classes or workshops that you will benefit from. As Expo’s go, this one is very interactive, education-heavy and focused on actually helping you to prepare for emergencies. Here are a few other highlights I find particularly interesting:

  • Record Castaway Survivor on Ocean 438 Days – Ben Hansen & Jose Salvador Alvarenga
  • Celebrity Panel: “Why Learn Primitive Survival Skills to Survive Modern Society?” – Alan Kay, David Holladay, David Wescott, Dr Nicole Apelian
  • Psychology of Survival – Alan Kay, Dr Nicole Apelian
  • Top 10 Lessons Learned from a Real World Disaster – Jeff Anderson
  • EDC/BOB for Individuals and Families – Alan Kay & Dr Nicole Apelian
  • Celebrity Panel: SHTF Talkin’ – Apocalypse Fiction Authors
  • Surviving Catastrophic Events – Simplified Severe Injury Treatment – Ed Hendershot
  • Emergency Childbirth – Raili Bjarnsen
  • Family Survival the Earthquake Tomorrow – Scott Thomas
  • Suturing – Dr David Pruett
  • Emergency Water Storage & Disinfection – Max Gyllensog – Aqua Mira (Max is a water quality engineer with too many certifications to list who has traveled to other countries to set up water treatment in major disasters)
  • Self-Protection – Unarmed, Hand, No Weapon, No Knife with Alan Kay

Products/Vendors

Vendors are the driving force behind any expo and legions of survival vendors competing against each other under the same roof creates a great environment for survival consumers to score show specials. PrepperCon 2017 will showcase some exciting new inventions and product offerings. While it can be fun to window shop online, it is nice to be able to see products with your own eyes, feel the quality, understand the dimensions without a ruler, heft them and have the ability to take them home if you choose. Some of the highlights, innovation and deals I am looking forward to are:

  • Scavenger Six – Multi-caliber Repeating Firearm Unveiled to the World – Tim Ralston
  • Tech Protect – Faraday Bags
  • Survival Medical – Exactly what it sounds like
  • 5.11 Tactical – Tactical Apparel
  • AMP-3 – Amateur Radio Gear & Medical
  • Aquamira Technologies
  • Backwoods Home Magazine – Amazing writers!
  • Zeus Lighters – USB-rechargeable Lighters that don’t use any fuel. Recharge from portable solar/USB battery pack
  • Plan B – Custom Surplus Trucks
  • Dillon Precision – Reloading Equipment

Entertainment Value

PrepperCon 2017 includes attractions for kids and even family members who maybe are not that into the whole survivalist scene. Creativity, entertainment value and fun are areas where PrepperCon stands apart from other survival expos.

The team of preppers who put on the event are enthusiastic about preparedness and have a healthy sense of humor about prepping which gives the event it’s unique personality and some fun family-oriented attractions:

  • PrepperFash Fashion Show
  • Hurricane Simulator – This is really cool!
  • Do You Dare Eat This – with prizes – David & Jill Holladay
  • Utah Search Dogs
  • Food Storage Cook-off with Wise Foods

I expect a lot from this event considering, and you shouldn’t miss it. Did you get your tickets yet?

Remember that knowledge is the only thing that can save you! Will you survive?

Click the banner below to find out!

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia. 

5+1 Organic Remedies For Your Spring Garden

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It’s almost that time of year again – time to set out your plants and get that beautiful garden growing! But, one of the biggest problems that many of us face is that we grow our own food to avoid chemicals, but we need fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides to really get the most out of our labor.

Don’t worry – there are excellent organic options to help your garden grow.

Read the article below to discover them!

Seeds

You’re not going to grow anything of quality if you don’t start with good seeds. It’s easy to go the cheap route and buy seeds at the dollar store, but do your research. This isn’t the place that you want to skimp because if you do it right, you’ll only have to buy seeds once because next year, you’ll use ones that you harvest from your own crop.

Now, you’ve likely heard of GMO, which stands for “genetically modified organism.” Scientists literally modify the DNA of the plant to make it “better.” Of course, we know that actually means, “more profitable,” not “more healthy.”

Because science tinkered with the natural structure of the plant, the seeds are unreliable. You may get great results by replanting them, or none of them may grow. Besides, GMO have been linked to several different illnesses. Skip them.

You want to go with heirloom seeds because they’ve been carefully cultivated from one type of plant for generations. They’re reliable and safe. To learn more about the different types of seeds, check out this article.

These lessons of yesterday will teach you the basic skills for survival cooking! 

Organic Fertilizer

In the event SHTF, you might not be able to run down to the garden center and pick up a bag of Miracle Gro. Why would you want to even when you can? You can make your own fertilizer at home that’s every bit as good as the store-bought stuff, and you know exactly what’s in it.

But what if your tomato plants grow just fine? I’ll be rude and answer a question with a question. How do you know that they’re growing fine? Sure, they may be growing and producing, but here’s the thing – our soil is depleted.

That means that what passes for a tomato today likely only has a fraction of the nutrients that it had 100 years ago. Too many seasons of constant planting without a break has sucked all the nutrients out of the soil, and if there’s none in the soil, well, there’s none in the plant.

So you need fertilizer. Your compost is going to be a huge part of that, but you can also add nutrients in other ways, such as by mixing Epsom salt around your tomatoes and peppers or by mixing a bit of diluted vinegar in if your soil isn’t acidic enough. Check out this article for more tips for fertilizer, but don’t skip it, whatever you do!

Video first seen on GrowVeg

Compost

This is probably the most proactive step you can take for a healthy garden, but to do it right, you’re going to need to do it right. You can put many things, from food scraps to paper and ash in it, but there are definitely some no-nos.

Now, before you start saying that you can’t have a compost pile because you don’t have a big enough area, let me stop you because you only need an area the size of a bin to have a compost pile … err, bin.

Oh, and you can have liquid manure compost – aka manure tea – too. It’s exceptionally good for plants that require extra nitrogen. Manure tea is exactly what it sounds like – manure that’s been steeped in water. It’s a bit involved and takes some time, but it’s well worth the end result. It’s especially good for plants with deep roots.

Herbicides

Oh, those nasty weeds. Of course, if you’re container gardening, it’s not such a hassle, but if you have a traditional garden, it’s a real pain, literally and figuratively. And if you opt to use commercial herbicides, you’re often defeating one of the purposes of growing your own garden  by using chemicals on your food.

Fortunately, you have many natural options that will work just as well as harmful chemicals. First, mulch is an excellent idea for several reasons. It helps keep the weeds to a minimum, it holds the moisture in the soil, and it acts as a natural fertilizer when it breaks down. That’s assuming you make your own mulch, which is cheap (or free), or buy organic mulch, which is NOT cheap or free.

Another option that isn’t exactly an herbicide but works as well as one is to use landscape fabric, which you can also make yourself from recycled sheets, feed sacks, etc. Or, you can buy it. It prevents weeds from growing by blocking out the sunlight. A natural result of this is that it helps hold moisture in the soil as well.

Boiling water works, too. It’ll kill a weed quick, but this isn’t particularly effective if you’re treating your entire garden.

Borax, bleach, vinegar, and salt water are also effective herbicides though you may need to repeat the process. Add a little liquid dish detergent to each for an extra boost. Be sure to spray these only on the leaves of the plants that you want to kill because none of them discriminate.

Be careful not to saturate the soil because all of them alter the pH and can have catastrophic effects on your plants.

Video first seen on Grow Your Heirlooms

Insecticides

This is the big bad of the chemicals that most people consider necessary to growing a healthy, productive garden. And it’s true – nothing will wipe out a garden faster that a horde of hungry aphids, beetles, or other flying or crawling creatures.

Fortunately, you have options here, too, and some of them, such as dish detergent, serve double duty and kill weeds, too.

Neem is probably the most effective. It’s been used for centuries and has more than 50 natural insecticides. Since it’s safe for you, your pets, and your plants, you can use it without worrying about damage. The only problem is that the bug has to actually eat the plant to die, so if you have an infestation of something, you may have some losses before you win the battle.

Himalayan salt kills spider mites. Just mix 2 Tbsp. of salt in 1 gallon of water and mist onto infested areas.

Chrysanthemum flower spray is lethal to insects because it paralyzes their nervous systems and immobilizes them. Just boil 3.5 ounces of flowers with a liter of water into a tea and spray directly on the plant. The spray stores for up to 2 months. Add some neem oil to give it an extra boost.

I call this the pizza spray – it’s made of 1 clove minced garlic, 1 medium sliced onion, and 1 tsp. cayenne pepper. Add them to a quart of water and let it soak for an hour. You don’t want to cook it; just let it soak. Add a tablespoon of liquid soap and spray directly onto the plant. This will stay potent for a week or better in the fridge.

Grind a couple of handfuls of dried chilis and add to a cup of diatomaceous Earth, then add 2 liters of water. Let it soak overnight, then shake it up and apply.

Other natural pesticides include orange oil, citrus oil. Eucalyptus oil, soap, and mineral oil. Dilute them with water and spray directly onto the plant.

Note that, with the exception of the soap, all of these concoctions are drinkable (though I don’t imagine that you’d want to) so you’re not going to poison yourself.

Critters

Bunnies and deers are really cute until you find them eating your carrots and corn. Then, not so much. As a matter of fact, so may say that they’d look delicious on  a plate side-by-side with said veggies after they’re busted dining on your labors.

I once lost an entire crop of cherries overnight because apparently the birds had been waiting for them to be perfect just as I had, but they were up earlier than I was. Two words – bird netting.

But, they do have minds of their own and aren’t easily deterred. Some good ideas that may help you keep from feeding the neighborhood wildlife instead of saving it all for yourself are as follows:

Marigolds. Rabbits, deer, and other wildlife hate the smell of them so plant them around your perimeter. You can also build chicken wire fences around your garden, or around the plants that you’re worried about.

Raccoons and some other animals hate the smell of Epsom salt – which, by the way, isn’t a salt so it won’t kill your plants. Just sprinkle it around the perimeter of the garden. It also increases the magnesium in your soil, so your plants may thank you.

Solar motion-activated lights may help scare them off, especially if you relocate them regularly so that the animals don’t get used to them.

Finally, you can cover your plants at night using tulle netting – that gauzy stuff that a bride’s veil is made of. For that matter, if you’re only covering it at night, you can use light sheets or other fabric that won’t break the plants.

We’ve covered most of the ways that you can grow a healthy, delicious garden without worrying about chemicals leeching into your foods. Plus, most of these suggestions are free or super cheap, so it’s a win in all directions!

Do you wonder what are the secrets that helped our grandparents grow their own food to survive during harsh times?

Click the banner bellow and uncover them!

If you have any more ideas about organic remedies to keep your survival garden healthy, share them in the comments section below. Happy gardening!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

DIY Projects: 4 Ways To Build An Alcohol Stove

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If you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just well versed in the fine arts of prepping, I bet you already know about alcohol stoves, either DIY or commercially available ones. The thing is, if you’re looking for the lightest, cheapest and most reliable stove possible, the alcohol stove is the one for you.

There are plenty of companies out there who manufacture and sell alcohol stoves, but the good news is that you can build your own for next to nothing while using basic tools and skills.

There are a few myths and lies out there about DIY alcohol stoves. For example, some say that they don’t really work and they’re not reliable. Yes, they actually do work in real life, just ask old school hikers or your local bum.

Alcohol Stove – Myths Debunked

An alcohol stove is not suited for just any situation, as it has obvious limitations.  For example, a small DIY alcohol stove is not the ideal tool for melting large amounts of snow or for cooking food for a family of ten.

A homemade, lightweight and compact alcohol stove makes for the perfect companion while camping, hiking or backpacking solo. Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts have been using them regularly for decades now with zero complaints, so yes, alcohol stoves do work admirably in their niche.

Another myth about alcohol stoves is that they’re not reliable. Very fake news folks. A well-built alcohol stove will last you forever, as it has no moving parts, i.e. it’s that kind of “Russian design”, simple and sturdy. Also there are no filters to get clogged and so on and so forth.

The most common type of DIY project is a soda-can alcohol stove; the point is, even if it “breaks”, you can build another one on the spot with readily available materials (back to that in a jiffy), so the reliability issue is pure nonsense.

Some say that alcohol stoves are dangerous. Again, very fake news, considering that playing with fire is always dangerous, hence in that regard all stoves are “dangerous” if you’re not paying attention.

The problem with alcohol stoves is that if you knock them over while cooking, the fuel inside can easily spill.

Just remember a few simple rules while cooking with these bad boys and you’ll be fine: don’t cook on flammable surfaces, keep flammable materials away from your lit stove, always keep a bottle of water nearby when cooking (or a fire extinguisher, whatever), be careful when cooking during the day as the alcohol flame is almost invisible (don’t get burned), avoid cooking in windy weather as it makes controlling the flame difficult, don’t add fuel if your stove is already burning, never cook inside your tent, and avoid using your alcohol stove in enclosed areas which lack proper ventilation (think carbon monoxide poisoning).

Also, never leave the burning stove unattended and, after using it, let it to cool down for 10 minutes before handling  it.

Another thing about DIY alcohol stoves is that they have a bad rep for crushing easily. That’s somewhat true, considering that they’re often built using soda cans, which are basically thin sheets of aluminum.

Even the ones manufactured from (tougher) tin cans can get crushed if you step on them, but that’s a feature, not a bug! I am only kidding; however, the simple solution to the issue is not to step on them. Store them inside a hard sided box/container like your cook pot when you’re not using’em.

Finally, there’s another myth about alcohol stoves not working at high altitudes and/or in low temperatures. I can tell you from firsthand experience that a DIY alcohol stove works just fine at 6,000 feet above sea level, so for all practical purposes, assuming that you’re not climbing Everest using DIY alcohol stoves, you’ll be just fine.

The thing is, given the fact that the oxygen content in the atmosphere decreases with altitude,  an alcohol stove (or any other open-flame type of stove) will not be as efficient at 5000 feet as it is at sea level, but then again, that holds true for any type of fire.

Also, I’ve used soda can stoves in temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit and without noticing a degrading in terms of performance. Just to give you a picture about how efficient these babies are, I’ve read that the Finnish and Swedish army uses alcohol stoves all year round, and it gets pretty cold out there in northern Europe (think -10 Fahrenheit winters).

ENERGY SAVING PLAN – Find out how you can save energy following two simple steps! 

How to DIY an Alcohol Stove

Now with the misconceptions taken care of, let’s concentrate on the DIY part.

Why DIY instead of buying one? Well, first, it’s lots of fun doing things on your own, especially if you’re into prepping. Secondly, you’ll save money in the process and third, you may end up caught in a hairy situation someday with no hardware store around, so you’ll be forced to improvise your own gear.

And yes, a DIY alcohol stove can be improvised with ease almost anywhere in the world, provided you have the fuel available. The simplest alcohol stove can be built using nothing more than 2 empty cans of soda, a nail for puncturing holes, a razor blade, a penny and a thumbtack. Yes indeed, it’s that simple folks.

As per the fuel, you can buy large amounts of (at least 70%) methanol/methyl alcohol/rubbing alcohol at any hardware store for a few pennies.

Alcohol Stove Comparison

If you’re the picky type of person, take a look at this alcohol stove comparison and make up your own mind about what type of “design” you want to concentrate on.

Video first seen on ITS Tactical / Imminent Threat Solutions

The Beverage Can Stove

The easiest DIY project is the beverage can stove. There are other ideas, usually more complicated, but the beverage can stove is the hikers all-time favorite. Its beauty is its simplicity, like a Swiss watch, if you know what I mean.

In the first step, you’ll have to cut the bases of the 2 cans approximately 1.5 inches from the bottoms.

Next, drill the burner holes in the top can, including the fuel drainage hole, then there’s the cutting of the top can. The base of the bottom should be filled with a material that will soak up the alcohol (acts like a wick); for example, fine sand or even more fancy stuff, like perlite (a siliceous rock, easy to find at gardening centers).

In the next step, you’ll fit the 2 parts of the stove together; just take a look at the next video tutorial and you’ll see about the fine details.

Video first seen on IntenseAngler.

Just remember to prime the stove before use, i.e. you’ll have to pour a tsp. of fuel in the dimple of the stove (on top) and light it up. In this way, you’ll heat the fuel inside, which will evaporate, and your oven will magically start working.

Here’s another video about how to make a soda can/beer can stove, which compares 2 types of designs.

Video first seen on Andrew W

The Tornado Wick Jet Alcohol Stove

Here’s a Tornado Wick Jet Alcohol Stove, a fancy DIY project by all means and a more elaborate one, which is more of an exercise in cool design and mad skills.

Video first seen on tetkoba’s Alcohol Stove Addict

The Tin Can Stove

An alternative to this relatively flimsy (yet very easy to DIY) beverage can stove is the tin can stove. This baby is not made of aluminum but from tin, which makes it more stable, hence more difficult to knock over.

Also it’s stronger and less prone to accidental crushing. Finally, steel retains heat better than aluminum.  Soup/baked bean cans are made of tin for example.

The problem with this type of DIY alcohol stove is that tin is harder to cut/process than aluminum.

Here’s an idea (this guy doesn’t use tin cans but that’s not the point) and you’ll see what type of tools are required for processing stronger tin.

Video first seen on Nick Van Leuven

The Cream Box Stove

Video first seen on Mr. Llega

Here’s an idea for an alcohol stove improvised from a Nivea cream box (made of tin) and it makes for the best of both worlds, i.e. it’s not aluminum made (it’s stronger) and it doesn’t require too much effort to build it (all you have to do is to drill a few holes).

If you have any question or comments, feel free to speak your mind in the dedicated section below. Good luck, have fun!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

ROM Pack – Review

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Recently I have been learning more and more about multi-use items. Food Network’s Alton Brown decidedly is against any “unitasker” and I have to agree. This is what differentiates the ROM Pack from other normal backpacks Read More …

The post ROM Pack – Review appeared first on Use Your Instincts To Survive.

14 Survival Uses For Lip Balm

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I already know what you’re thinking: what does lip balm and survival have in common?

Also known as chapstick, this inconspicuous piece of gear which is to be found in almost every woman’s purse has quite a lot of survival uses.

Ideally speaking, when it comes to DIY EDC kits, survival kits and bug out bags, the best thing would be to pack those with items which have multiple uses, for space saving reasons obviously. And lip balm definitely qualifies.

Lip balm is not just for protecting one’s lips, though this was its initial purpose. It can also be used as a survival tool. Just as many preppers never leave the house without duct tape, after finishing reading this article you’ll probably carry lip balm on your EDC from now on.

Another great feature of lip balm is that it’s available pretty much everywhere. You can find the stuff in gas stations and drugstores, on the Internet, in big box stores and so on and so forth.

Also, there are many brands and different varieties of lip balm, which are all making wild claims about their magical properties and what not, including the level of awesomeness they’ll deliver.

Regardless of the marketing, you should always go for the tube lip balm, this is the best option as it has multiple survival uses.

Discover what survival things the Pioneers took with them when they traveled for months!

Start a Fire

Lip balm can be lit up and used for starting a fire! Yeah, you got that right. Lip balm is a petroleum based product and that makes it flammable, hence if you’re out there in the wild and you need to start a fire real quick, just smear a small quantity of lip balm on any flammable object, like a cotton ball, cloth, lint, dry bark, gauze or whatever (they all work well) and they’ll ignite very quickly.

Lip balm is awesome for igniting tinder without wasting precious fuel or matches.

Make a Candle

Here’s a neat trick for maximizing your chances of survival in the dark: if you stuff a matchstick vertically down into the lip balm tube, a half inch or maybe more, thus creating a balm-coating, you’ll end up with an improvised/emergency candle that burns slowly and also makes for a pretty good fire starter.

You can also melt the lip balm and insert a wick in the container, hence ending up with an emergency candle.

Video first seen on SensiblePrepper.

Treat Small Cuts

Lip balm can be used for a variety of medical emergencies. To begin with, you can protect abrasions with the stuff, treat small cuts (thus preventing them from infecting), ameliorate scrapes from grime or dirt just by smearing some lip balm on the affected area.

Keep in mind that you’ll only require a light coating.

Stop Minor Bleeding

Lip balm also stops minor bleeding. If you’re going to hike long distances, you can prevent your heels and other areas on your feet from getting blisters by rubbing a little lip balm on them.

Protect Your Skin

Lip balm will provide you with some sort of lubrication and thus it will prevent you from getting blisters.

Another thing to remember: if you’re outdoors in extreme weather conditions, you can use lip balm to protect the skin on your exposed body parts from cracking and drying, think fingertips or your nose.

Also, you can reduce glare from extremely bright places (like in the desert or snowfields) by making a mixture from lip balm and ash, which must be rubbed under one’s eyes.

You can use lip balm as sunscreen in an emergency, as most of them include a sun protection factor of 15 to keep your lips from getting burned by the sun.

Camouflage Your Face

Another cool thing about lip balm: if you mix it with a little bit of dirt, you can use it for camouflage.

Video first seen on Erkin

Reduce Irritations

A soothe and irritated nose can be a pest, especially in a survival situation. However, you can get fast relief from that irritated skin around or inside your nose by applying some lip balm with your finger over the respective areas.

Protect Pet’s Paws

Lip balm is great for protecting a pet’s paws from ice in wintry conditions. You’ll have to coat the paw pads with lip balm before walking on snow or ice, as the lip balm will work as a barrier to protect sensitive paws.

Lubricate Your Gear

Lip balm is great in emergencies for its lubrication properties. For example, you can use it for unlocking a zipper, to prevent nails from splitting wood (you’ll have to rub some over the hardware before hammering in nails) or to rust proof gear. You can also use lip balm for sealing up a leaky seam in your jacket or your tent, or to wax a bowstring.

Keep Blades from Rusting

Lips balm also makes for a great blade protector for your survival knife. Keeping your knife well oiled when you’re not using it will prevent it from rusting.

Protect Leather Gear

Speaking of protection, lip balm is an excellent leather conditioner, whether we’re talking about your skin or the leather on your shoes and boots or the sheath of your survival knife.

Remove Stuck Rings

Lip balm is great for removing stuck rings pr other items. For example, if your ring gets stuck on your fat finger, whether we’re talking about a wrong fit or from swelling, a little lip balm will save the day.

Defog Glasses

If you’re wearing glasses, you can use lip balm as a defogger. Just rub some lip balm on the lenses then polish them thoroughly with a clean cloth. In this way, you’ll leave an invisible film of lip balm on your lenses that will prevent them from fogging (works with goggles and binoculars too).

Hide Small Survival Items

Even the empty container can be used for storage purposes. Once you’ve used all your lip balm, the plastic tube will make for the ideal place to store things like basic survival gear, i.e. matches, a fishing hook and fishing line etc.

Next time you’re cruising your local convenient store, don’t forget to grab some tubes of  lip balm. Is dirt cheap, easy to carry and an essential item to have in your EDC/BOB or survival kit.

Now that you know how to use lip balm in an emergency situation, discover more valuable survival secrets from our forefathers.

Click the banner below for more!

If you have questions or additional ideas, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

This article has been writen by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

Prep Blog Review: House Projects To Start In The Spring

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I love spring! Is the perfect time to start new projects around the house, in my garden, for my homestead, and take my prepping goals to the next level. Every new projects means learning a new survival skill or practicing an old one, and you can transform these activities into a fun family activity.

If you are having some extra time and you are looking for cool, fun and easy spring prepper projects, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered four articles on this topic.

Do you have other spring projects on the way? Share them in the comment section!

1. 50+ Things You Can Make Using Essential Oils 

“While essential oils have been used for aromatherapy for hundreds of years, these all-natural scents are seeing a spike in popularity as more people are learning about their de-stressing and energizing abilities.

Derived from plants or flowers, most often through steam distillation, essential oils can be used to make scented candles, oil diffusers, even pest repellants.

To show you all the possibilities a little bottle of essential oil holds, we rounded up some of our favorite things to make with essential oils—along with our guides to picking the right scent.”

Read more on Apartment Therapy.

2. Making Furniture and Other Structures With Sticks 

“If you’re living off the grid, chances are you are in a rustic setting and possibly/most likely have a rustic dwelling, maybe even a log cabin that you built by hand (that would be awesome).

Well, what would fit with that rustic theme better than rustic furniture?

Clearing the Land

When you make your homestead location, chances are there will be a lot of trees there that you will be cutting down to clear a spot for your home and garden areas.

Besides the heavier logs that come from cutting trees that can be used for making boards, beams, and split rails, you are also going to amass quite a pile of sticks.

No, seriously, there will be a huge pile of sticks. So why not put those sticks to good use? After all, waste not want not, right?”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

3. The Prepared Home: 5 Prepper Project to Start in the Spring 

“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.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

4. Smart Ways to Reuse Things 

“My grandparents never threw away a thing that could have been used later on.

They were the old time preppers: stockpiling and re-purposing almost everything.

Today we live in a throwaway society, where even our water comes in a disposable, single use bottle.

Electronics and other consumer goods are expected to last until the next, better model comes out.

Our landfills are filling up and this throwaway mentality benefits only the producer who can sell more.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

 

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

How To DIY An Emergency Water Bag

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When it comes to survival, water is of utmost importance. The problem with water is that it’s pretty hard (as in heavy and voluminous) to carry it on your person, especially when you’re on the move.

That makes the problem even more difficult: if you don’t have water with you when you’re hiking, walking, riding your bike, or whatever, chances are you’ll get dehydrated, and then you’ll be in a world of hurt. Dehydration is a very serious problem, especially in extreme climates (very hot and very cold), as it sets in quickly and makes your life miserable.

That’s why hydration packs were invented in the first place –keeping your body hydrated at all times is absolutely crucial for staying healthy, especially for elderly folk.

As you get older, your body literally dries out, causing your ligaments and tendons to lose their resistance and flexibility. Staying hydrated if you’re a senior citizen is critical to maintaining optimal health.

Regardless of one’s age, poor hydration leads to dry/itchy skin, which is a pest for women, not to mention constipation, nose bleeds, fatigue, headaches, sinus pressure, sneezing/coughs, urinary tract infections (the body can’t wash out the germs accumulating in the bladder if you don’t drink enough water).

All of these conditions result of toxins accumulating in your body. Also, poor hydration is the main enemy of your immune system and it leads to all sorts of imbalances: pH, nutritional, and chemical.

Chronic dehydration is the main cause of daytime fatigue, which seems to be endemic in our modern society, especially among teenagers who rarely drink water nowadays. They have Gatorade, right?

Overall, we lose 3 quarts of water per day and half of that is through breathing alone. If you have a dynamic/active lifestyle, i.e. you walk a lot or you’re into physical labor. If you jog or you’re a workout aficionado or whatever, you’re playing in a different league.

The simplest way to determine if you’re properly hydrated is to check out the color of your urine. If it’s light yellow, you’re okay; if not, chances are you’re not drinking enough water.

Keep in mind that eating certain foods like carrots, beets, fava beans, or asparagus may turn your urine orange, green, red, or brown and the same goes for certain types of medication.

This preamble brings us to the camelbak idea, an interesting piece of gear that is currently used in various scenarios by both civilians and military forces, basically in every type of strenuous outdoors activity.

Now, the question is: do you want to spend (at least) 40-50 bucks on a water bag or would you rather DIY? I bet you fall in the latter category; that’s why you’re reading this article.

The good news is that you can DIY your own water bag with minimal costs and you’ll end up with a very convenient way to carry half a gallon of water on your person – a nice trick which comes handy during camping trips and what not.

This proven-to-work portable device provides clean fresh water 24/7! 

How to DIY a Water Bag

A CamelBak water bag is basically a fancy looking plastic bladder/reservoir with a straw. That about sums it up.

The hydration capacity ranges from 1.5 to 3 liters (50-100 oz) and it comes with all sorts of bells and whistles you’d expect from a professional piece of gear.

But simply put, what we’re dealing with here is a bladder filled with water with a straw which can cost up to 150 bucks. Paying that kind of money for a plastic bladder is a little bit rich for my taste.

So, the main thing to do to make a DIY water bag is to get yourself a dirt-cheap/free-of-charge bladder, and that’s not very hard if you know where to look for it.

To begin with, there’s a school of thought that says something along these lines: DIY-ing your water bag (the bladder respectively) is not very smart, as most plastics and glues are not food-safe and, after all, you’ll be filling them with water and all that jazz (think BPA).

However, you can still buy a food-grade bladder from a local camping store, but the price may be a deal breaker now and then. The best things in life are free, right?

Project 1

That brings us to the first DIY water bag project. This guy recycles the innards of a Dunkin Donuts Box of Joe. The bladder inside these bad boys is not made of plastic, hence it doesn’t leave that unpleasant taste of plastic, water-hose like, in your water supply. And that’ s because the bladder inside that box is made from Mylar.

In order to prevent the bladder from getting punctured and what not, you may use a dry-bag for protection.

Video first seen on Don Yackel

Project 2

Here is another guy with a pretty cool idea about how to protect the Mylar/plastic bladder from getting punctured.

Spoiler alert: he uses 12 feet of duct tape for creating some sort of armor/outer shell for his water bag.

Video first seen on Snowalker13

Project 3

The second idea is to use  the bladder that can be found in certain types of boxed wine. The bladder can be removed and re-used as a water container.

The bag inside the boxed wine is just as good as the more expensive platypus, not to mention that you’ll end up with 2 liters of wine in the process (if you don’t pick up the box wine from the garbage, like our guy).

Video first seen on 123Homefree

Another interesting idea about how to make a sleeve for your water bag (regardless of what type of bladder you end up with) is to use a large envelope. Just think about those 3M bubble mailers cushioned with plastic.

Now that you know how to make your own water bag, discover how to DIY your own portable device for an endless water supply.

Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Camelbak-Unbottle-DIY/

How To Build A Walipini Greenhouse

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We use cellars because they maintain a more constant temperature than structures that are built above-ground. We use greenhouses to extend the growing season because they hold in heat. Well what if you combined a greenhouse and a cellar? You’d have a greenhouse that would allow you to grow plants year-round.

This type of greenhouse is called a geothermal, pit or, Walipini greenhouse, and is common in South America. ‘Walipini’ means ‘place of warmth’ in Aymara Indian, and it’s an apt name.

Basically, the idea is that once you get below the frost line (3-5 feet below the surface, the Earth maintains a fairly constant temperature. In the US, that temperature is typically around 45-50 degrees in the northern states and 50-70 in the south. That range makes for perfect plant-growing temperatures, especially when you add a covering to one side that sun can shine through and warm it up a bit.

You’re harnessing the existing geothermal heat by digging 6-8 feet underground and capturing and storing solar radiation in order to create a near-ideal growing climate that’s resistant to surface-level temperature changes.

Benefits of a Walipini Greenhouse

There’s the most obvious benefit – you extend your growing season, or even make it so that you can grow food year-round.

Another reason that this type of greenhouse may appeal to preppers is that, depending on how you build it, it’s not obvious what’s in it so your food will be better hidden.

I’ve even seen articles about Walipinis that are built in such a way that they are a self-sustaining unit containing animals, aquaculture, and hydroponic plants. That’s a bit complicated and beyond the scope of what we’re doing today, but it can be done.

If you live in a dry climate, another advantage is that your Walipini is going to hold moisture from the ground in. You can help this along by using water along the wall to help pull the heat from the earth. That way, you’re making the air warmer and moister. Plants will love you. Actually, take condensation into consideration when you’re building.

The final advantage that a Walipini or pit greenhouse has is that you can build the whole thing for just a few hundred bucks. Less if you already have the materials.

Learn from our ancestors the old lessons of growing your own food.

How to Situate your Walipini Greenhouse

The first thing you need to do before you start gathering materials is determine where you’re going to build. You need to know a couple of things when you make this decision:

  • your local water table
  • how large you want your greenhouse to be. The larger it is, the more stable the temperature will be.

Ideally, a Walipini greenhouse is built by digging into the ground so that 3 sides and the floor are underground, and the exposed side, which is covered with windows or plastic, is built facing the winter sun – south in the northern hemisphere – and at a 90-degree angle to the sun. Think digging into a hillside, then covering the hole with plastic, which is actually a pretty good description.

Of course, what’s ideal isn’t always realistic. We don’t all live in places that even have hills to dig into. You can also dig them so that they’re just a pit and the sun is directly overhead. Of course, you’ll see that you can use the dirt that you remove from the pit to build up the rear side of the pit both for better insulation and to give you that angle for your plastic that will both help with rain run-off and position your light better.

The important things are that you dig beyond the frost-line, provide good insulation that will pull the heat in, and make sure that you don’t dig below the water line. Obviously, that would be bad. You need to make sure that the floor will be at least 4 feet above the water line.

Now, if you live in an area where the water table is measured in inches instead of feet, (many coastal areas) that doesn’t mean that you can’t build this – it just means that you need to be a bit more creative and that most  of your structure will be above ground and you’ll pile dirt around it.

Video first seen on Ben Green

What do you Need to Build a Walipini Greenhouse?

At its most basic, all that’s needed is (maybe) wooden support beams (2x4s or poles), greenhouse plastic or windows, and insulating materials – natural soil may be used for the walls if it’s structurally sound enough to hold up – such as clay or mud bricks, clay, straw bales, earth bags, concrete, cinderblocks, or stone. Of course, you’ll need nails or screws for the support beams, and a door and door frame.

Video first seen on elicia clegg

Digging out your Walipini

When you start to dig, save the topsoil to use as the soil in the floor of your Walipini because the sub-soil won’t be good for growing. You can use the remaining dirt that you remove to build up the back berm of the structure so that you have better insulation and a higher back wall.

Many people dig a drainage ditch around the Walipini to help the water flow around the greenhouse instead of into it.

Dig down at least 6 feet (8 or 10 feet is even better) as long as you’re maintaining your distance from the water line. If you’re building into a hillside, you’re literally going to scoop a section out of the hill so that the back wall is vertical and the floor is horizontal.

If you’re building a pit, pile the soil that you’re removing so that it creates a berm behind and on the north side of the hole.

Remember when you’re digging that you’re going to be insulating the walls and floor so you’ll be adding at least a foot or so back to what you’re digging out. Account for that when you’re designing it.

There are so many different ways to design your Walipini based on your needs and geography that telling you where to put the door wouldn’t be of much help; just remember not to build one into your plans when you’re designing the Walipini.

Once you have your whole dug, reinforce your north, east, and west walls with whatever you chose as your insulator. Natural stone and brick are both great choices because they naturally pull the heat (and moisture) from the ground and into the greenhouse. Some people choose to line the floors with stones and some don’t.

Now, you have to decide if you’re going to plant directly into the floor or are you going to treat this as a standard greenhouse and use containers? I also saw a few great examples of container garden-type methods.

If you’re planting straight onto the floor, it’s a good idea to put a layer of gravel 6 or 8 inches deep under the soil to help with drainage and to pull more heat up from the ground. You can use compost or manure under the topsoil because it naturally generates heat as it decomposes and will help warm things up.

After you get your walls built, it’s time to cover the pit. I’ve seen several examples where people built a vent into the roof in order to let some of the heat escape. This may sound silly, but the inside of a Walipini can be as high as 100 degrees even in its below freezing outside – that’s no exaggeration.

So, either build in a vent or be prepared to leave the door open or cracked for part of the day in case it does get too hot.

The roof (cover) doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be clear plastic stapled over a wooden frame with braces every few feet.

There you have it – the basics on how to build a Walipini greenhouse. It’s a simple yet effective method to help grow plants during the winter or even in climates that aren’t typically conducive to gardening at all.

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Do you have a Walipini or pit greenhouse? If so, please share your ideas and experiences with us in the comments section below. Also, feel free to ask questions.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

The 7 Rules Of How Not To Become A Target

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There’s a military axiom which says,“The best defense is a good offense.” I have my own, modified version of this. It goes, “The best defense is not becoming a target.” What I mean by that is that if nobody has a reason for attacking you, you won’t have to worry about being attacked.

You’ve got to realize that in the aftermath of any crisis, people are going to be on the prowl. You’ve seen it on the news reports; people looting, stealing, breaking into homes, even rooting around in garbage dumpsters for the things that they need to survive.

You’re going to see it again; only this time, you’ll see it much more up close and personal. That’s why you need to learn how not to become a target.

While there are no accurate figures as to how many preppers there are in the United States, estimates put it at somewhere between two and three million people. The rest of the people out there are expecting FEMA to come to the rescue, riding on a white horse and with federal government funds (otherwise known as your tax dollars) in their hands to solve all their problems.

Since most people only have less than three days’ worth of food in their homes, it won’t take long for all those millions of people out there to get desperate. Then they’ll start hunting. They’re first stop will be the stores, which will be cleaned out of anything useful. Then, they’ll start preying on each other.

There will only be two basic ways to prevent being attacked. The first is to look so strong to the attacker that they decide to leave you alone and find somebody else to pick on. Not only is that rather expensive to accomplish, it’s just about like putting up a billboard on the roof of your home that says, “Preppers Live Here!”.

The other way is to fool people into thinking that there’s nothing to be gained by attacking you. Poor people generally don’t think of stealing from other poor people, unless they see that the other poor person has something that they want.

The general assumption is,“They’re as poor as I am, it’s not worth attacking them.” Instead, they go looking for somebody who’s going to have something worth stealing. That somebody else is you, unless of course, they don’t realize that you have anything worth grabbing. Therein lies the secret; making it look like you’re not worth bothering with.

You’re home defense problems are going to be greatly lessened if they don’t come to attack you. So, it’s important to do everything you can to make sure that they don’t know who you are, what you have, or that you are living any better than they are.

If you’re living like everything is hunky-dory, that will be like putting up that billboard again. Many of the things that you are doing to prepare for a disaster can very easily make you and your home stand out, making you into the target that you don’t want to be.

Even while you’re enjoying your stockpile of food and drinking from your well, using the light produced by your solar panels, you don’t want others to know.

Find out more on how to improve your layered home defense to survive disaster! 

How Does OPSEC Help You?

All this is called Operational Security, or OPSEC. In the military, it’s the idea of denying the enemy information about who you are, what you’re doing, what your capabilities are and what your plans are. That’s really no different than what you need to do with your prepping. You need to deny the same information to all the people around you who might want what you have.

Light Discipline

One of the easiest giveaways that you are in better shape than your neighbors is having lights shining out of your windows, when everyone else’s power is out. Most preppers have alternate sources to provide their home with power in the case of an emergency.

Even so, if people see that light shining through the windows, they’re going to be wondering where it is coming from, and why you are the only one who has electricity. To stay safe, use low wattage electric lights, that won’t be so obvious.

If you have a battery backup system, you can run wires through your house to run 12 volt automotive lights. These may not be as bright as what you’re used to, but they will provide enough light for most activities.

The best thing to do is to install blackout curtains. These are dark, heavy curtains, which are designed to prevent light from escaping through the windows. They need to be made of heavy fabric and be larger than the window, so that they cover the window and can seal the space around it.

Don’t forget about flashlights either. While there will be other people with flashlights, the longer the disaster lasts, the less batteries there will be available for them. If you have to use a flashlight, use it sparingly, and do whatever you can to hood the light and keep it from being obvious.

In the military, they use a red lens on flashlights, with a light blocker behind it. The light blocker is a solid plate, with just a pinhole in the middle. Between the two, very little light escapes, keeping it from being seen from far away.

Video first seen on SensiblePrepper.

Cooking

Unless you’re one of those fortunate people who has a propane stove or a cast-iron one, you’re probably going to be doing your cooking outdoors, which means cooking on your grille or in a fire pit. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a good alternative for when your kitchen is out of order, but there is a very high risk that your neighbors are going to know exactly what you’re cooking. If that’s a pot of beans and rice, it won’t be such a big deal, but if you’re cooking steaks every night, everybody will know about this.

The longer you go without power, the greater a problem that’s going to be. The first couple of days after the power goes out, you’re probably going to smell a lot of steaks on the grille, as people try to use up what they’ve got in the freezer before it can go bad.

But once that first few days are over, there won’t be too many people with steaks to grill.

This is one of those cases that you can cover up with a bit of subterfuge. Hopefully, you’ve got a good enough relationship with your neighbors, that you’ll be helping each other out in a crisis.

So, if you go hunting and get a deer, it would seem normal that you would pass on some meat to your neighbors. Hopefully, the next week one of them will go hunting and share with you as well. If everyone in the neighborhood is grilling meat outdoors once a week, it won’t seem all that strange. The rest of your meat can be turned into jerky, and used in soups and stew that way.

Spices are another thing that can give away your abundance of food. When people are eating the most basic of foods, their sense of smell for well-seasoned food can actually be increased. If they smell well-seasoned food coming from your back yard, that will serve as another indicator that you have food.

I firmly believe in stocking spices, and I like well-seasoned foods. However, if my spice rack is going to cause me trouble, I’ll put a padlock on it and throw away the key. My family’s survival is more important to me than having gourmet meals.

Trash

Simple things can give everything away, especially to people who are looking for them. If you have a bunch of trash piling up at the curb and somebody is going to take a look in it and find a bunch of empty food packages, they’re instantly going to know that you have food while everyone else is starving.

The easiest way to solve the problem is to burn your trash. You’ve got to be careful about that, though, as burning trash could be a give away in and of itself. However, if you’re cooking outside over a fire, there’s nothing to say that you can’t use your trash to start the fire and burn some more of it as fuel. That will serve two purposes for you; get rid of the trash, and save your stock of fuel.

The same can be done if you’re using a fireplace to heat your home. Since you’ll be burning wood in it anyway, throwing some packages in there as well won’t be a problem. Once again, this can serve to dispose of the trash, while helping provide heat to your home.

If there’s no other possibility, then hide your trash in your basement or backyard, being sure to separate edible garbage from trash. The edible garbage can go into a compost heap, eliminating it, which will also help cut down on the stench from storing so much trash.

Appearance of Your Home

If you are in an area that was hit by a hurricane, there will be a lot of damage to homes and other buildings. While there might be a few which avoid any major damage, they will be few and far between. If your home is the only one in the area which doesn’t look like it sustained any damage, then it might look suspicious to people passing by. Likewise, if you manage to get it repaired faster than anyone else.

An easy thing that you can do to make your home look more damaged and increase your physical security in other ways, at the same time, is to put plywood over your windows. Some people who live in hurricane prone areas have pre-cut pieces which they can install whenever needed. If you have these, or can make some out of plywood, it will help make your home appear abandoned.

At the same time, those pieces of plywood will prevent anyone from seeing what’s going on inside and help keep any light from your lamps indoors. Should anyone decide to attack your home, plywood is fairly hard to break, making it harder for them to come through your windows.

Any gardening for fresh vegetables or livestock you have needs to be hidden in the back yard, preferably behind a privacy fence. If people don’t see it, hopefully they won’t think it’s there.

Noise Discipline

Noise can be another dead giveaway. The average person doesn’t realize how much noise they create, just doing everyday chores. That noise will show that your home is occupied. If you want to appear like an abandoned home, you’ve got to control the noise.

Even besides that, if you’re not trying to present the image of being an abandoned home, you still want to watch your noise levels, especially any sounds made by electronic devices.

If you have music playing in your home or your kids are watching a movie on the TV, it can probably be heard from outside your home. People hearing it will wonder how it is that you have electric power, when they don’t.

It’s not too much of a leap of imagination from there to wondering what else you might have that they can use.

Kids can be a real problem when it comes to noise discipline. If you have children, especially small ones, you’ll need to watch them constantly to keep them quiet. The best way to do this is to keep them busy with tasks that don’t make a lot of noise. Get them to help you and your wife around the house as well, making them a part, rather than just leaving them to play.

Activity

You’re going to be more physically active in the aftermath of a disaster, than you are today. Just trying to survive is going to keep you and your whole family busy.

Pretty much everything you do will have to be done manually,without the benefit of modern conveniences. That’s going to be a lot of hard physical work.

Trying to hide all this activity will be virtually impossible. Even so, there are a few things that you can do to camouflage your actions. More than anything, you can try and make your actions look like those around you. They’ll be busy trying to survive as well, so your actions to look like you are trying to survive shouldn’t look all that different.

Many things, like going to collect water from a nearby stream or lake will be the same as your neighbors are doing. Here again, you have a great opportunity for cooperation. If you can work together to collect and haul water, then you’ll just be part of the group.

You’ll also make the job easier for both of you, as you can help each other out. Of course, you’ll be the one with the water filtration system, so maybe you can help them out with that, in exchange for them helping you out in other ways.

Keep as much of your survival activity in your house or backyard as you possibly can. That will limit the number of people who can see what you’re doing to your immediate family and your immediate neighbors.

Here again you can co-opt them in your plans, by helping them. If they see you working in the backyard, growing vegetables, offer to help them get their garden started too; possibly in exchange for some labor.

Personal Appearance

With food shortages all around you, there’s a good chance that people are going to be losing weight. If you’re not, this could be another sign that you’re in much better shape, supply-wise than anyone else. In a town full of malnutrition, a chubby person is going to stand out like a sore thumb.

Of course, if you’re already thin, you’re not going to have a problem with this. It’s only those who are currently a bit on the heavy side that are going to end up looking a bit strange to others. They might want to go on that diet that they were talking about for years, as part of their OPSEC routine.

In addition to weight, there are other considerations about your appearance that you should keep in mind. Clean clothing, shoes that are in good condition, shaving, haircuts, and nail polish are all things that will stand out like a sore thumb, if nobody else around you has them.

Once again, this is one of those things that’s going to get worse with time. At the beginning, everyone will look fairly normal. But as the lack of soap and water make an impact, people will wear their clothes longer, even though they’re dirty, wash their hair less frequently, and let their beards grow.

To some extent, you can get away with not looking like everyone else in this case, as long as it is easily explainable to the people around you. If they see you hauling more water than anyone else, they won’t have a problem with you wearing clean clothes.

If they see your wife cut your hair, they won’t think much of it. As long as there’s an explanation, they won’t worry about it.

Interested in keeping you and your family safe? Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia. 

How Long Does Shelf Food Really Last

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Just about any food item that you pick up is going to have a date that says something along the lines of “sell by,” “best if used by,” or “use by.” The question is, though, how important are those dates? Well, in some instances, they’re important. In others, not so much.

Baby formulas have strict dates on them – they’re about the only foods absolutely required by law to have them. Stores can’t sell them beyond that date and it’s not recommended that you use them beyond that, either.

Perishable Items

Perishable items such as milk, eggs, and meats should be used by the date on the package. Most meats have a “sell by” date, which means that the store or producer has likely figured that you’re going to keep it in your fridge for up to a week after that, so they allow a little wiggle room.

If you buy perishables that are within a couple of days of the “sell by” date, either use it or freeze it within a day or so just to be safe. It’s always a good idea, especially with meat, to eat it or freeze it within a few days of buying it even if you haven’t reached that date. (Poultry – 1-3 days, other meats, 3-5 days) It’s better to be safe than suffer food poisoning.

Now, if you’re talking about perishables that came from your farm, you may have a little more wiggle room.

Discover the ingenious recipes that helped our ancestors stay alive!

Eggs

Eggs most certainly last longer – It’s not uncommon for an egg to be a couple of weeks old by the time you buy them at the grocery store so if you’re pulling them straight from under the hen as soon as she lays it, you have some extra fridge time on those babies.

When you buy them from the store, you still have a minimum of 3-5 weeks that they’ll be good. Want to know if an egg is bad? Use the water test. If you put it in a container of water and it sinks, it’s fresh. If it sort of hover-floats with one end sticking up, but the rest trying to sink, it’s not so fresh anymore but edible. If it floats like your bobber in the middle of a choppy sea, toss it.

Milk

Milk, on the other hand, may not have any extra time, especially if you don’t pasteurize it – which we never did. The good thing about milk is that you don’t have to guess if it’s good or not. One solid swig of spoiled milk and there’s no doubt left in your mind! I’ve found that the “sell by” dates on my store-bought milk (oh how I miss the good stuff!!) usually allows me a week or so beyond it to drink it up.

Other foods, such as canned foods or shelf-stable foods, have the same tags, but this often has more to do with quality than safety.

For instance, I found a box of mac and cheese in the cabinet (I rarely cook that type of food, so it had been there awhile). The mystery cheese powder was a little dark and I found that the “best by” date was nearing. Like within a week. I mixed it up and, though I didn’t get sick, it didn’t taste that great. This is a good reason to practice the First-In-First-Out rotation method.

Food Preserved at Home

Food that you preserve at home has expiration dates, too, or at least some of them do. So, let’s talk about expiration dates, when they’re relevant, why they’re important, and how you can keep track.

The best way to determine if perishable foods are good is to look at them, feel them, and give them the sniff test. Bad meat will smell “off” and may look a little discolored and feel slimy. Especially with poultry, if you suspect it may be bad, pitch it – it’s not worth the risk.

If you ever run across a commercial can of food that’s bulging or leaking, toss it. If your home-canned goods are leaking or the seal has popped, toss it. If, when you open either commercial or home-canned goods, the food is frothy, discolored, milky, slimy, or smells off, toss it. Those are all pretty good signs that botulism is present.

After you throw it away, scrub your hands in hot, soapy water. That’s a bug that’s meaner than old Aunt Sally when she’s lost her teeth and her panty hose are twisted, and you don’t want to mess with it.

Canned Foods

I grew up on a farm and learned about food preservation early. We always canned enough to get us through for two years each season. That means that often, even when we rotated the foods out, we had foods that didn’t get eaten for several years because we may have overestimated.

Mom always said it was better to have too much put back than not enough. Of course, foods like apple pie filling didn’t usually last that long! We lived on a farm and we all hunted, which means that we had plenty of meat. We typically canned the majority of that. We’d make spaghetti sauce, canned meatballs, soups, and other meals in a jar, in addition to canning them separately.

Some we dehydrated into jerky, but that was usually just for fun – it never lasted more than a couple of days.

As far as home-canned foods are concerned, most “official” agencies will tell you that it’s good for anywhere from 5-10 years. Some even speculate that it’s good for up to 20. I loved the part in the movie “Holes” where the kid was trapped in the desert and lived off of 100-year-old canned spiced peaches that he dubbed “sploosh” because they were just mush.

I don’t know if I’d let my canned goods go quite that long, but I’d be comfortable eating them at 10 years, for sure. As a matter of fact, I have.

Dried Goods

Foods such as flour, salt, sugar, rice, and beans all have really long shelf lives. As a matter of fact, the only one in the bunch that really has an expiration date is the flour, and even it’s good for at least a year, though some say 6 months. As a baker, I can tell you that I’ve used flour that was a year old and it was fine.

That was all-purpose, though. When you get into the self-rising, it may go bad faster so do a test batch and add more salt and baking powder if you don’t get a good rise.

You can tell when flour goes bad because it gets a rancid smell to it and it may get oily or have a weird, sticky texture and off smell.

The most important step to take to getting the most mileage out of all of your dried goods is to store them properly: keep them in air-tight containers in cool, dark places.

Vacuum Sealing

I’ve taken to buying all of my cheese vacuum-sealed. The same thing goes for deli meat, if you can find it. Air is every food’s worst enemy because bacteria (except botulism) need air to grow. I even smash my packages of cheese, etc. flat and squeeze out as much air as possible, and it’s seriously increased my shelf time since doing that.

If you have a vacuum sealer at home, use it! Seriously, it can double or even triple the shelf life of food.

Dating

Sharpies are your friend. If you’re canning or preserving food at home, date everything that you make with the date that you made it. Then you know how long you’ve had it when you reach for it. For that matter, do the same thing with canned and shelf-stable foods that you buy at the store. Use either the date you bought it or the “best by” date. Then you don’t have to break out the magnifying glass to find the “best by” date.

FIFO

Organize your food so that the oldest food gets used first. This is easy to do by just putting the new food behind the older foods every time you bring in something new. Then you know for a fact that what’s in front is what you should use.

Finally, the shelf life of foods is most certainly affected by how you store it. Canned goods should always be stored in a cool, dark place. Milk, meat, and eggs should be refrigerated at about 35 degrees, and veggies should go in the crisper drawer because the temperature is different there, too.

Just as an aside, milk, butter, and other dairy products will freeze just fine, though they may separate a bit. The texture of your cheese may be a bit weird, too, but it should still taste fine. You can also home-can butter.

Knowing the shelf life of your foods is important, but what’s more important is knowing how to tell if they’re bad. If you even ask yourself, “Hmm. This looks/smells/feels weird. I wonder if it’s good?” then the answer is to toss it. Food poisoning is, at the very least, brutal until you get through it 5-8 hours later, and at its worst can be fatal.

Go forth and eat safely!

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If you can think of any tips or advice about food shelf life that I’ve missed here, please feel free to mention them in the comments section below!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Prep Blog Review: How To Cook From Scratch

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It isn’t as hard as it seems to cook delicious and nourishing food from scratch. Learning how to cook using natural, unprocessed ingredients is the first thing to do if you want to start homesteading, no matter where you live. Your family will love it!

Plus, cooking from scratch is super easy, as you will see in the following 4 articles I’ve gathered for you for this week’s Prep Blog Review.

  1. 35 Basic Ingredients You Need For Cooking From Scratch

“One thing anyone can do to start homesteading no matter where they live is cooking from scratch. It can help you eat healthier, save money, and reduce your dependence on the grocery store. However, it can be hard to make homemade meals all the time, especially if you don’t know what to keep on hand.

If you keep these simple ingredients stocked in your pantry, you’ll be much better prepared to cook all kinds of wholesome, simple meals with ease. Note: I included links to some brands I’ve tried myself, but for most of these, there are plenty of other great options.”

Read more on Homestead Survival Site.

  1. Mississippi Pot Roast Recipe

“The Mississippi Pot Roast craze is almost as big as the Instant Pot craze. If you haven’t heard of Mississippi Pot Roast, just take a moment on Pinterest and you will!

Mississippi Pot Roast ready to be shredded.

This recipe has gone viral and after taking one bite, I totally understand why.

This isn’t you standard pot roast. The tangy flavor of the pepperoncinis combined with the ranch dressing flavor and mouth watering buttered meat makes this a family favorite.

Serve with buttered noodles or alongside of mashed potatoes and you have a new classic comfort meal. “

Read more on Old World Farm Garden.

  1. DIY Bone Broth For Nourishment During Hard Times

 

“Bone broth has been enjoying a resurgence in popularity in the last little while, but it’s actually been around for a while.

Some people refer to it as stock, but according to culinary experts, while stock and broth are related, they are distinct liquids with different characteristics.

Functionally, though, they are so similar that I’ll be treating them as though they are the same thing in this article.

One of my favorite meals growing up was my mom’s turkey noodle soup, made from the little bits of meat and bones of our leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

My mom would make a huge pot of it every year, which we would then keep in the fridge until someone felt a little peckish.

The broth would set up like Jell-O, so if we wanted some we’d have to gouge out a portion with a measuring cup; it would melt into a liquid in the microwave.”

Read more on The Survival Mom.

  1. How to Make and Can Vienna Sausage

“I stockpile a lot of canned goods, from tomatoes to chicken, to beans and beef. But my favorite canned goods are Libby’s chicken Vienna sausages (see picture).

So I tried to make them at home and believe it or not, they are more delicious than the ones I bought.

The ones I stock have a 3 year expiration date. I have eaten lots of things that were expired. These will still be good years after that. So in the title I mentioned a 2 years shelf life for my sausages, but it can actually be much more. We’ll find out.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

To Grow Or Not To Grow Marijuana For Medical Survival?

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OK, so this is a huge topic that seems to divide people.

Within the year prior to this post, Florida became one of the 28 states to legalize medical marijuana.

Do I think that’s a good thing? Yes, but this is an article about whether or not you should grow medical marijuana, not about what my (or anybody’s) political views are. Good thing, right? Lately, that’s a powder keg that will blow up any family reunion.

We’ll simply discuss whether or not marijuana is a good crop to grow for medicinal purposes in your survival garden. And to that end, I’m going to discuss it just like I do any other medicinal herb – does it have enough benefits to merit a spot in your garden?

Finally, it’s on you to decide what suits you!

7 Medical Conditions Medical Marijuana Can Address

Like many herbs, marijuana has been used as an alternative treatment for many different illnesses and diseases for centuries. It’s active biologically active components are called cannabinoids and perform several different functions in your body. The two that are the most highly studied are delta-9-tetrahydrocnniabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), though others are being studied, as well.

Nausea and Vomiting

This is the big one that most people think of when they think of medical marijuana from a serious perspective. Chemotherapy – and cancer in general – robs a person of their appetite and causes nausea.

The FDA has actually approved a drug called Dronabinol to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemo and weight loss and poor appetite in AIDS patients. It’s a gel-cap that contains THC.

Get this lifesaving information about surviving when doctors and hospitals are shut down!

Cancer Treatment

You don’t often hear about marijuana being used to treat cancer – only the side effects of chemo. However, according to the American Cancer Society website, some studies have shown that THC, CBD and other cannabinoids slows growth and/or kill certain types of cancer cells and may slow or prevent the spread of the disease.

Of course, these studies are preliminary and research is ongoing, but it’s significant because so far, there’s not much out there that we could grow naturally that can claim this. That being said, it shouldn’t be used now, when more effective treatments are available, as your primary treatment. Does this make it worth growing in your survival garden? Maybe so.

Still, though cancer is a big thing, it may not be an issue that you have to deal with, so what else is medical marijuana good for?

Pain Management

Also according to the ACS and many other studies, patients with cancer, MS, fibromyalgia, and many other painful diseases often need less pharmaceutical pain medications when marijuana or cannabinoids are incorporated into their treatment plans. It’s been shown to relieve pain related to both muscles and nerves.

This is actually one of the primary uses for marijuana as an herbal treatment and it was widely used up until the 1800’s as a treatment for chronic pain. Studies have now shown that chemically, it does have a substantial analgesic effect.

As a matter of fact, there’s a cannabinoid drug being tested now for use as a pain treatment for people with cancer and multiple sclerosis. That’s likely to spread to other diseases if the drug continues to show results.

Anti-Inflammatory and Nervous System

Cannabinoids have also been clinically shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect. To get all scientific, our bodies actually have two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 is mostly expressed in the brain and, to a lesser extent, the cells in our immune system, and CB2 is primarily found on cells in the immune system.

This is where scientists are really studying cannabinoids right now because of the immune response that happens when THC is introduced. It gets a bit complicated, but basically what it does is cause an immune response that kills bad cells and results in decreased inflammation.

That’s why it’s being used as an alternative treatment (and now sometimes as an active part of many treatment plans) for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Video first seen on Ride with Larry

Glaucoma

Yeah, this is the one that’s joked about the most – when somebody’s busted with pot, they protest – “But it’s for my glaucoma!” Well, that’s actually a thing. THC can lower the pressure on the optic nerve, which is what causes glaucoma, but as a warning, it can also lower blood pressure, which can make glaucoma worse, or increase your chances of getting it.

Once again, risks versus benefits according to your situation.

Epilepsy

This is actually one of the areas where medical marijuana really struts its stuff. In early studies, medical marijuana extracts have shown that they can cause a 50% reduction in certain types of seizures. That’s pretty darned significant when you figure that epilepsy is one of those diseases where medication is absolutely required.

Personally, if I or a family member were a med-dependent epileptic, I’d be studying which strain of marijuana was the best to grow for my survival garden.

Anxiety and PTSD

Anxiety relief is another historical use of marijuana, and studies are now showing that it has positive effects on one of the hardest diseases on the planet to treat – PTSD. How did we discover this? Because doctors started noticing that patients who were tired of taking 5 or 6 or 10 drugs to sleep and function as they dealt with PTSD were starting to feel better as they gave up on the meds that were causing them to feel like zombies.

When a handful of doctors bothered to ask what was causing the positive changes, large numbers of patients reported that they were self-medicating with marijuana. It turns out that, according to studies, they were on the right track.

About Growing Medical Marijuana

Actually growing marijuana isn’t hard and if you give the plants some love, you can get quite a yield in just a little bit of space. And it’s a great container plant. The problem, just like when choosing tomatoes or beans, is that you want to grow the right strain for what you need it for.

There are thousands of strains of marijuana. Some strains have higher amounts of THC (the chemical that causes the high as well as provides health benefits), but lower amounts of other beneficial cannabinoids such as CBD. Some are better at relieving pain than others, and some are so strong that they may actually make your nausea worse just because you’re not used to the drug.

My word of advice here to you is this: do your own research. Maybe talk to your doctor. If he doesn’t agree with the concept, and many old-school Western practitioners won’t, then find another doctor or an alternative healthcare professional who will advise you.

One final disclaimer here – you need to know your state laws because the government is serious about this. If it’s illegal, they will take you to jail – sometimes for a LONG time – if they catch you growing it. There are some states, such as Oregon and Arizona, where you can grow a small number of plants as long as you have the proper medical documentation, but as with everything we preppers do, know your laws and be smart  about them.

This is a huge topic and I know that many of you have questions or can offer advice. Let’s avoid the politics of it and share your thoughts and experience about the benefits/risks of growing medical marijuana for survival purposes.

Remember that knowledge is the only doctor that can save you when there is no medical help around.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/

http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881

http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html

How To Can Water At Home

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We’ve had some questions about canning water and to be honest, I’ve never really given it much thought because I just have bottled water stored, along with purification tablets.

I’m the first to admit that I thought the idea was a little over the top because of the expense and unwieldiness of canning jars, but after researching how to can water at home, I’ve changed my tune a bit, just like I did when I first heard about canning butter.

Don’t Waste Space

After I had a jar of spaghetti sauce fall over in the canner and break because I didn’t have a full canner, I started filling my canner with jars full of water. I’ve always just left the lid off and used it as a place holder, but then I saw the suggestion to boil the water first, then put it in a sterilized jar with a ring and seal and let it process along with whatever I was canning.

Still, I didn’t give this much thought because I didn’t want to waste a good seal on water. But – read on! Somebody suggested re-using an old seal. Obviously, I won’t do this with canned food because I have absolutely no desire to waste the food or risk botulism if the jar doesn’t seal, but if you’re only canning water, does it really matter?

I mean, you can look at it from one of two ways – if you really want it to seal, you can just dump the jar or use it to water plants, or even pop it in the fridge and have a nice cold jar of water to drink later. Nothing at all lost.

How many of us have stored tap water in soda bottles or rainwater in barrels? Storing unsealed water really isn’t any different than that, though I may suggest that you purify it before you drink it just like you would any of your other water if it’s not sealed.

I also found a suggestion that supposedly came from a Mormon lady – when you empty a jar of food, wash and sterilize the jar and seal and re-can water in it. Otherwise, you’re just going to throw away the seal and have an empty jar sitting around. When you look at it that way, it does make sense. The jar’s going to take up the same amount of space whether it’s empty or full.

This proven-to-work portable device provides clean fresh water 24/7! 

Canning  Water by the Book

If you want to ensure that your water is just as safe to drink as your canned foods are to eat, then follow the same procedures. Boil the water for at least 3 minutes – 5 if you live at elevations above 3000 feet – and sterilize your jars and seals. Pour the water into the jars and process in a pressure canner (it’s low-acid like meat and some vegetables) for 20 minutes, leaving at least 1/2 inch headspace.

Now, that being said for safety reasons, I don’t think pressure canning is actually necessary as long as your jars were sterile and your water was boiled because you’re not canning food that can spoil.

This can still be done while you’re canning other foods if you don’t want to just can a batch of water. Or, if you’ve decided that it truly is a waste for all of those jars to be sitting empty, then do a couple of batches.

Everybody in my family loves dill pickles, so I usually buy the gallon jars of them, then turn around and use the jars for pickled eggs later. Either way, I still have extra gallon jars sitting around taking up space because it kills me to throw them away. So, I decided to be bad and re-use the commercial lid that it came with to store water that I’d boiled.

Now that jar is actually being useful instead of sitting on the shelf taking up valuable real estate. I’m seriously liking this idea; it appeals to me on several levels – I’m not wasting jars or lids and filling landfills by throwing them away, my unused jars aren’t wasting valuable space, I have even more water on hand, and it’s free. Color me converted.

Video first seen on 2leelou Preserves

Is Canned Water Sterile?

As long as you boil your water as indicated and sterilize your jars ahead of time, and then follow the processing time that we use to kill germs in everything that we can, then yes, the water will be sterile. Oh, and as long as it seals. Basically, it’s just like any other canned food.

Honestly, I think that processing it may even be a bit overkill as long as the water is boiled and the jars are sterilized, but better safe than sorry. If you’re going to do it, do it right, I guess. Still, I have water stored in well-washed Coke bottles and juice jugs (BPA-free, of course), so I’m not necessarily buying into the whole need for utter sterilization.

One instance that I can think of that would be an excellent reason to store sterilized water? For medical uses such as cleaning wounds. At that point, since infection is going to be such a huge deal if professional medical help and supplies aren’t available, sterile water would be an excellent commodity to have.

How to Revive the Flavor

After water sits in a container for a while it starts to taste flat. This is because it loses its oxygenation. There’s a simple fix – just shake it up or pour it back and forth between two jars. It still may taste a little flat, but it’s perfectly safe to drink.

As with any stored item, I highly suggest recycling it – in this case, every few months. Don’t pour it down the drain, though. Either drink it, make tea with it, or water the plants – do anything with it. It’s still good, and it would be a waste to just pour it out. Yeah, I realize it’s “only” water, but with the way things are going, it’s becoming a finite resource, so get it’s best to get in the habit of not wasting it now rather than later.

As I said, the idea of canning water sounded silly to me when I was first asked about it, but now I can see the value in it, from several different perspectives.

Next time you have extra space in the canner or empty a pickle jar that you intend to save, store some water instead of just wasting space!

Now that you know how to can water, learn how to DIY your own portable device for an endless water supply.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Best Ideas On Growing A Garden In 5 Gallon Buckets

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Container gardening – growing plants in 5-gallon buckets, for example – is usually discussed in the context of (not enough) space.

The idea is that if you don’t have a “real” garden because you live in an apartment or your backyard is too small, container gardening would make for the best option. And-5 gallon buckets are the ultimate containers both in terms of availability and shape.

Also, they’re highly mobile, meaning that you can put them in the best spots to catch the sun and so on and so forth. Due to their versatility, resilience and low cost, 5-gallon buckets are already famous in the prepper community and they’ve also captured the imaginations of home gardeners.

Now, if you have enough buckets and you’re ready to put them to good use, just keep reading folks!

Eeven if you don’t have them yet, just poke around a little bit and you’ll discover that 5-gallon buckets are the definition of “readily available,” “dirt cheap” items. Just go cruise your nearby stores and restaurants or check out Craigslist.

Getting back to business, gardeners are doing remarkable things with 5-gallon buckets, things that you can’t even imagine actually. This humble piece of plastic is a tool of a thousand uses, which makes it extremely valuable to a prepper.

However, keep in mind that you must stay away from secondhand buckets that were used to held toxic stuff, like paint or what not. The ideal 5-gallon bucket to use for gardening purposes should be made out of food grade plastic, at least in a perfect world.

Now, if you’re going to grow flowers (as in non-edible stuff), you can forget about the food grade thingy, but keep an eye on toxic materials just in case.

Speaking of bucket supply, you have 2 choices: to buy brand new 5-gallon buckets from building supply stores or hardware stores, or to go scavenging bakeries, local restaurants, grocery stores, and similar places. These buckets often come with plastic fitted lids, so remember–it never hurts to ask, alright?

Now and then, you may be asked to cough up a couple of bucks for a sturdy, clean, used 5-gallon bucket, but that’s definitely worth it if it’s the right type. Even if they smell a little weird (they are used often for storing pickles and/or frozen products), don’t worry – the smell will go away relatively easy if you clean them right.

This proven-to-work portable device provides clean fresh water 24/7! 

With all these considerations taken care of, let’s see about some projects involving 5-gallon buckets, shall we?

Project 1 – DIY Alaska Grow Bucket

If you’re already scratching your head, an Alaska Grow Bucket is the scientific term for a bottom watering container. There’s nothing complicated, just fancy talk. These are the easiest DIY watering containers anyone can make to grow their own food at home.

The materials required are cheap and easy to acquire. Besides the famous 5-gallon bucket, you’ll need a fabric shopping bag and a plastic kitchen colander – you know, that piece of gear used for draining rice or pasta.

You’ll have to drill some ventilation holes (the more the better) and another irrigation hole for the water feed line. Ideally, you should use a power drill, but you can always improvise if you’re a meat eater. The irrigation line should be drilled as low on the bucket as possible, and then you’ll insert a plastic, T-shaped connector.

Video first seen on devineDiY

Project 2 – The Hanging Bucket Planter

If you don’t have much space, e.g. you’re living in a condo, you can DIY a hanging bucket planter for growing organic tomatoes. Obviously, you can use hanging bucket planters for growing a large variety of stuff, not only tomatoes, those are just a suggestion because tomatoes are a popular choice.

Also, if you have a small yard, this type of project will suit you like a glove. Making the best of one’s available space is next to Godliness for a true prepper, right?

For making tomato gardening great again, you’ll need:

  • a hook
  • a 5 gallon bucket
  • steel cable (galvanized utility wire)
  • a wall (the bucket will hang by the hook hammered/drilled in the wall).

The idea is that hanging a bucket planter outside your condo’s wall will provide your plants with plenty of sunshine, which is a necessary ingredient for growing big fat tomatoes (along with water and carbon dioxide).

Video first seen on Peter P.

Project 3 – The Raised Bed Bucket

Here you’ll learn how to grow veggies successfully in a raised bed garden using the famous 5-gallon bucket, thus making for a garden within a garden or something along these lines.

With this cool technique, you’ll be able to grow more food in less space and that’s the definition of efficiency and sustainability (don’t worry, I hate Agenda 21 too).

Here’s an interesting video about the reasons for growing vegetables in raised bed gardens.

Video first seen on Learn Organic Gardening at GrowingYourGreens

The concept behind this project is that plastic buckets are used for providing more soil depth for the plants thus allowing for more nutrients, more space for root growth and less frequent watering. This technique makes for a cool hack which will enable you to grow deep-rooted plants in a shallow garden.

Project 4 – The Self-watering Planter

This DIY job makes for the easiest way to build sub irrigated self-watering planters using PVC pipe, a 5 gallon bucket, and a milk jug for practically next to zero costs. You’ll have to cut some holes in the bottom of the bucket that are large enough for the water to drain through, so you’ll not flood your plants. It’s easiest to use a drill for this.

The jug must be placed inside the bucket with the PVC pipe stuck on the top of the milk jug. The jug gets filled with water (you’ll have to drill some holes in the upper part of the jug too) and then the bucket must be filled up with dirt, then you put a plant in it. Pretty simple and highly efficient.

Video first seen on Growing Little Ones for Jesus

Project 5 – The Hydroponics

Finally, here’s a cool idea about how to build a hydroponic DWC system with a trellis-type system for growing cucumbers, and obviously it involves a 5-gallon bucket. This project is a little bit more complicated, but it’s doable with a little bit of research and elbow grease.

The supply list includes a 5-gallon bucket, a 6” bucket lid net pot which can be bought online or at a local hydroponics store, a small airstone and air-pump (from Walmart), black hose for the airline, vinyl tee fittings, clear vinyl tubing, rubber grommets and wire green border fence.

Video first seen on Jksax914.

Now that you know how to grow a garden in a 5-gallon bucket, you could learn how to DIY your own portable device for an endless water supply.

Click the banner below and find out how to build your own portable device which provides fresh water 24/7!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

Would You Convert Your Car From Wheels To Tracks?

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Many people that haven’t given up on automated transportation during crisis find themselves wondering if their vehicle will be able to navigate over rough terrain. As roads fall into worse disrepair, or are destroyed completely, wheeled vehicles may not work very well, even if there is enough fuel and spare parts to keep them running.

Rubber tires can be a weak point in prepper transport plans, so it may be worthwhile to consider converting the vehicle to one that runs on tracks.

Before spending money on conversion parts and tools, think about the advantages and disadvantages first!

Let’s count them together in the following article!

Better Traction than Wheels

If you have ever tried to drive a vehicle in mud, ice, snow, or even a few inches of water, then you know that navigating can be very difficult. Just about anything that decreases traction between the road and the tires can lead to skidding, sliding, and absolute disaster.

Vehicles with tracks on them have much better traction. Aside from increased surface area for gripping complex surfaces, the tracks are also wider, which increases stability.

Even a fairly small track vehicle can move more easily over large potholes or other surfaces that would ruin the drive train of a wheeled vehicle. Larger track vehicles can find their way across just about any surface as long as the rearward track has something to grip onto while the front moving ones grab onto something else.

For example, if you want to go off road and encounter a sewage ditch, most cars and trucks would get stuck in it. A track vehicle can slide right over the ditch and move on almost as if it had been on steady ground the entire time.

While the vehicle itself may shift around a lot, it will still keep moving forward because the tracks will be able to grip just about any surface and use it for traction. Even if you do get stuck in a track vehicle, it may be easier to back out because moving the tracks in reverse will give more traction along surfaces that worked before.

Discover the secrets that helped our forefathers survive when they traveled for months! 

Better Weight Distribution

To understand how weight distribution works, think about swimming and suspension bridges.

The surface of water has something called “surface tension”, a very thin film of atoms and molecules at the surface of the liquid that are positioned closer together than they are deeper into the liquid. Now think about a paper clip. If it is all folded up, it will sink no matter how carefully you try to rest it in a bowl of water. But if you open up the paper clip (which doesn’t change it’s weight, but causes the weight to be distributed over a greater area) and gently place it on top of the water, it will float.

By the same token, if you are unable to swim, you can still float by laying face up, spreading your arms and legs out and arching your back so that you have as much surface area as possible.

In a similar fashion, suspension bridges work because the weight of the upper support structures serves to redistribute the weight of the pavement below them in relation to the pilings that reach into the water.

Most people will be trying to drive cars with just four wheels on them. All of the weight of the vehicle plus anything it is carrying must be supported by these wheels. This, in turn means that if you are trying to drive through mud or something else that gives way easily, the vehicle will sink, in part, because there is too much weight concentrated in a small area.

Now consider a situation where you have an extra large pickup truck, or some other truck that has tires arranged so that they are doubled up on each axle. Even though this increases the amount of surface area to distribute weight across, there may still be too much weight in a small area.

Even if you go up to sixteen wheels, the weight distribution will be higher than what you would get with a track vehicle. This is one of the reasons why track vehicles can get past muddy areas while wheeled vehicles with the best traction systems will still get stuck.

Always remember that when you have a belt moving across a surface, large weights get distributed across the entire track instead of just resting the focal point created by tires.

Kits That Let You Switch Between Wheels and Tracks Are Available

Realistically speaking, there is no such thing as being able to take an under powered or small vehicle and turn it into something that has the durability and power of a military tank. If you have a conventional four wheeled vehicle, it may be possible to add a track system to the axles on an “as needed basis”. Basically, all you need to do is take the tires off, and then mount the additional wheels and tracks onto the hubs.

Even though these systems won’t give you as much weight redistribution as a track that runs from front to back, they will still work better than the tires you are using now. Right now, on average, a small passenger car exerts 30 psi on the pavement, while a track system would only put around 3 psi. If you are moving through mud or snow, this will give you a very clear advantage.

When purchasing a track kit for your vehicle, bear in mind that your vehicle will handle very differently once the kit is installed. You will need to practice a good bit in different terrains so that you know what can and can’t be done using this kit. This practice should include at least some off-road muddy conditions as well as snow, ice, and city driving.

If you find that there are areas better handled with tires, be sure to include when and where to change the tracks for tires so that you can have the best of both systems.

Video first seen on AD Boivin.

Easier to Defend

If you happen to believe in the ability of guns to stop bad people from doing bad things, then you probably know that wheeled vehicles can be stopped by shooting out the tires. Since track systems don’t require air filling, the tracks should not be damaged by most types of bullets. As long as you use metal tracks made from durable material, your vehicle should keep right on moving no matter how many bullets hit the tracks.

You already know that military tanks weigh much more than a conventional vehicle. When it comes to adding more weight, nothing takes up more than armor plating that will stop bullets, grenades, and other ammo. As a result, if you are interested in a bug out vehicle that will be easy to defend, you will need to consider the ability to add a good bit of weight in armor.

In many cases, adding a track system will enable you to customize even relatively small vehicles without having to worry about the weight problems commonly associated with wheels. Needless to say, these customizations can also include mounting different kinds of weapons inside or on top of the vehicle.

Can Pull Heavier Loads

If you are accustomed to the sight of tractor trailers, then you may think they are the best for pulling heavy freight. As a wheeled vehicle pulls something along, the tires actually dig in a bit, which causes the vehicle to move closer to the ground. If the weight is heavy enough, and the ground soft enough, a wheeled vehicle will literally dig itself into the ground as the wheels continue to spin.

By contrast, a track vehicle has much more ground surface to grip, and will use it to actually pull the weight forward without the tendency to dig into the ground.

Remember, that as the track advances, a whole new surface area comes into contact with the road as other tracks maintain the forward motion. This increase in surface area can be many times larger than the relatively small spot gripped by each tire.

If you do decide to convert your vehicle to run using tracks, you might pull heavier weights with it. Just make sure that the drive train, suspension, and other parts of the vehicle are strong enough to pull the added weight. As efficient as tracks may be, they cannot make up for weaker metal in parts of the vehicle that might give way under heavier weights.

Suitable Vehicles May be Expensive or Hard to Find

Vehicles that run on tracks come in all shapes and sizes. There are also thousands of people that have taken passenger cars, trucks, school buses, and other vehicles and converted them to run on tracks.

Some of them will never make suitable vehicles for preppers because they are either too under powered, too cheaply made (in terms of vital parts like the drive train, suspension, and transmission), or can’t be reworked to meet a variety of prepper goals.

While adding tracks to these vehicles may give you a bit better traction, the tracks cannot compensate for all the shortfalls that are found in most vehicles on the road these days. The ideal vehicle, regardless of whether you add tracks, should have the following features:

  • You should be able to live and sleep in the vehicle, or tow a trailer that you can live in. Most passenger sized vehicles that have a large enough back seat are also fuel hogs that will be hard to convert to alternate fuels. While adding tracks may mean you can put a bit more weight on the vehicle, it isn’t likely that you will be able to make the inside of the vehicle bigger without spending a lot of money. A larger sized pickup truck might work well enough along with a removable track kit.
  • Speaking of fuel – you should be able to convert the vehicle from gasoline to biodiesel and other fuels.
  • The under body of the car should be strong enough to take on extra weight for armor and other defense measures. Most passenger cars simply don’t have strong enough suspension and drive trains to do this kind of job. If you want something at or near military grade armor for your prepper vehicle, you would probably be best served by adding tracks to a Mack truck or an old full sized bus. Needless to say – these vehicles can cost a lot of money even in the used market.
  • The engine and transmission must be fast, strong and durable. Did you read about how easy it is for Tesla vehicles to catch fire in an accident because of the batteries? If so, then you may also be aware of the fact that hybrid vehicles have under powered engines because they are expected to run on an electrical motor at least half the time. Even if you could put a track system on a hybrid, it won’t deliver more power or speed. If anything, the vehicle will run a good bit slower and deliver even worse performance in this arena. I would not buy anything less than 6 cylinder engines for a prepper vehicle, and nothing under a 6 (8 cylinders and up would be better) for a track vehicle because of the reduced speed problem.

Too Easy to Spot and Follow

Even though tracked vehicles may not put much pressure on the ground, they do leave distinctive markings. For example, if a track vehicle moves on a lawn, it will tear up all the areas encountered by the edge of the track. If you are the only person in the area with a track vehicle, it will make it very easy to figure out where you passed through.

Once you have a distinctive track pattern, it will be very easy for others to follow you. Here are just a few things that a good tracker may be able to figure out as they follow your trail:

  • If you stop to repair tracks or put them back online, it will show in the trails left behind. Depending on how many times you stop, anyone following you may be able to figure out when you and your vehicle are most vulnerable, and for how long.
  • Depending on how many times you stop for fuel, someone following you may be able to calculate fuel efficiency. If these people want to surround you or catch up to you – they may look for a time when you are low on fuel and cannot afford to waste it trying to get away from them. Remember, even if there are hundreds of other vehicles on the road, the tracks left by your vehicle may still be on the shoulder or other areas where they can be easily spotted and read.

Unless track vehicles become far more popular, your bug out vehicle will also stand out in a crowd and be memorable. Anyone that sees your vehicle may conclude that you have a lot of supplies in the vehicle, or that you have other things of value.

No matter whether you drive down a city street or pass through a small town, your vehicle will draw more attention than you may be comfortable with.

Tracks Can be Hard to Maintain

If you think getting a flat after a tire has been in service for several years is a nuisance, then you will be very unhappy with the way track vehicles perform. While it is true that metal tracks cannot be stopped by bullets, they can develop problems during normal driving. In fact, tracks are far less durable than tires, and more inclined to need replacing.

Even if the tracks remain in good condition, that does not mean the track will stay in place while you are traveling. Depending on the track system, it may take several hours to re-align the track on its sprockets. You also need to carry around a good bit of equipment to do the job properly. While you may not need a jack to lift the vehicle up, there are many places where repairing a track system can be difficult.

When it comes to maintenance, also consider the cost of buying new parts. Today, there are only a handful of manufacturers that actually make track systems. Whether you need to buy just a single new plate, a new sprocket, or rubber gear to lessen impact on pavement, all these parts can be very expensive.

Unless you are planning to use the vehicle over rough terrain and know how to handle all the needed repairs, you may be better off sticking with conventional tires. If you do decide to buy a conversion kit that can be removed and installed easily, you may find that it will only get you so far in your journey before you have to switch back to tires.

Cannot Move as Fast or as Quietly as a Wheeled Vehicle

Consider a situation where an earthquake, hurricane, or military invasion has led to some kind of localized or larger scale social collapse. There may still be a chance for you to escape from a city or town, provided you do it as quickly as possible. You probably won’t have any “off road” places to drive through until you reach areas near or parallel to larger stretches of main highways or the thruway system.

Until you reach those locations, you will need to move as quickly and inconspicuously as possible. When it comes right down to it, no matter how much you lubricate the tracks and wheel system, they are going to squeak, squeal, and make a lot of noise. Sadly, even if rioters or others looking to steal don’t see your vehicle, they will most certainly hear it coming.

Today, many people claim that there is a psychological advantage to using a track vehicle during a crisis. According to these people, tracks are threatening looking, and people may avoid you because they think you can defend yourself with ease.

Now let’s say you converted a passenger car to run on tracks. After people stop laughing at the spectacle of something like a hatchback crossed with “Number Five” (remember the movie Short Circuit), their next thought will be to see what you are carrying. While they may be more hesitant to approach a Mack Truck or a bus, rest assured that smaller vehicles will be a target.

Your vehicle will not be able to move fast enough on tracks if others decide to follow you in wheeled vehicles. Unless you can get to a swamp, off the road, or to some other area where wheels do not work well, the lack of speed alone will present a huge problem.

While you may have thought ahead and added armor, it will only be a matter of time before a slow or stopped track vehicle can be breached. Even if you can get to an area where tracks work better, the sound of your vehicle moving along may still make it possible for thieves to follow you at their leisure. They will be guided both by the sound and the tracks that you leave behind.

Converted Vehicles May be Difficult to Steer

No matter whether you are going through a city, trying to turn onto a different road off the highway, or merging onto the thruway, accurate and easy steering is very important. Typically, this is much easier to accomplish with tires because they can be easily moved in the direction that you want to go. By contrast, when you want to move a track system, the entire length of it must shift along and adjust.

When it comes to creating the perfect bug out vehicle, there is no question that changing wheels for tracks has some advantages. Once you look more into the cost of this conversion, however, you may conclude that it is best to buy a vehicle that already runs on tracks.

If you have an interest in the kits that convert conventional vehicles to run on tracks, bear in mind that these kits also have some strong and weak points.

Test these kits out to see how well they work, and keep them on-hand for a time of need. You won’t be spending thousands of dollars on converting to tracks that cannot be used for routine travel, or buying something that will be more useless than expected in an actual crisis.

Would you convert your car from wheels to tracks? Share your thoughts and experience in a comment below!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://www.jcitracks.com/eShopMore.asp?id=10

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_pressure

http://www.jcitracks.com/eshownews.asp?/66.html

10 Survival Uses For Epsom Salt

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I think that as preppers and homesteaders, we can all agree that three of the top things we look for in an item that we consider worthy of stockpiling is cost, versatility and utilitarianism. In other words, how many different things can we use it for, and how often will  we reach for it?

Well, using those criteria, Epsom salt goes somewhere near the top of the preparedness list, along with vinegar and duct tape. But why?

Epsom salt, sea salt, table salt, kosher salt … they’re all the same, right? Just different textures? Nope. Actually, it’s not a salt at all. Sea salt, kosher salt and table salt are at least 97.5% sodium chloride. Of course, kosher salt is, well, kosher, and sea salt also has minerals, but Epsom salt is a completely different beast – it’s actually magnesium sulfate. And it has a ton of survival and household uses.

Another big difference between Epsom salt and other salts is that it doesn’t really have culinary value – it’s bitter. It’s used more as  a chemical than a seasoning. So, don’t pull out your box of Epsom salts when you run out of kosher salt – you won’t be happy with the results!

Draw out Toxins and Impurities

This was actually the first use of Epsom salt. In the early seventeenth  century, people that would bathe or soak in the waters produced by springs in the town of Epsom, England because of the curative effects that it purportedly had. The wealthy began to travel there just to soak. A doctor began extracting the salt and the rest is history.

Though studies are contentious about the actual curative effects of soaking, there’s no denying the fact that it’s been used for that purpose to alleviate muscle soreness and fatigue, arthritis, and skin conditions ever since. It’s likely due to the magnesium.

Epsom salt dissolves well in warm water but not so well in oils or lotions, so there’s no need to complicate things. Just dissolve a cup and a half or so in a half-gallon of hot water and add it to your bath water. If you’d rather just soak a particular body part – say, your feet – just add a cup to very warm water and soak away.

Because it does have magnesium and sulfate in it, you shouldn’t soak in the tub for more than 15 minutes a day, or in a small container for more than 30 minutes. Follow the directions on the container.

Discover the health and healing secrets that helped our forefathers survive harsh times! 

Boost Magnesium in Soil

Whether you want greener, thicker grass, tastier tomatoes and peppers, or prettier flowers, Epsom salt is a good option because magnesium helps plants produce chlorophyll and allows your plants soak in nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and some plants need more of that that others. Many soils lack enough magnesium to do this. If you just want to green things up so that your yard looks great to both your neighbors and your livestock, add 2 tbsp./1 gallon of water and spray on your lawn with a garden sprayer.

To give a monthly magnesium boost to your plants, mix 1-2 tsp/gallon of water and saturate the soil around the plants so that it goes to the roots. If you’re using a mister, use 1-2 tablespoons per gallon. This recipe also works well when you’re germinating because seeds need both magnesium and sulfur. Just water your seeds with it as soon as you plant them.

To add magnesium to your soil when you plant, sprinkle 1 tbsp. around each transplant.

Video first seen on CaliKim29 Garden & Home DIY

Tan Hides

The first step to tanning a raw hide is to remove the flesh from it. Some remove the hair as well, but some would rather leave it on. With magnesium tanning, the Epsom salt is added after the flesh is removed and is used in as a “swelling agent” to soften the hide, increase durability, and decrease shrinkage. It may affect the color of the hide or leave stains on it.

Be careful using Epsom salts because magnesium can, in combination with the right chemicals, become explosive.

Deter Raccoons and Slugs

Raccoons love your garden, your garbage, and your hen house, but you’re probably no so in love with them. Good news – they hate the smell of Epsom salts. Sprinkle it around those areas and your coon problem will go away. Remember to reapply after it rains.

Of course, that won’t keep them from dropping down off a fence or finding another way in, so it’s best to use Epsom salt in conjunction with other practices such as keeping your garbage is tight-sealing containers.

To deter slugs from your garden or your planters, just sprinkle it around the perimeter. Remember that it will dissolve, so you’ll need to reapply after rain.

Splinters, Insect Bites, and Poison Ivy

I’ve used Epsom salt for splinters, bug bites and skin irritations many times! The problem with any of these conditions is that if they get infected, and they quickly can, then you can be in big trouble in a survival situation.

One such situation that could lead to this is a splinter that you leave in. Soak in Epsom salts as I described above and it’ll help draw it out.

If you have bug bites or poison ivy, you can make a paste with Epsom salt and apply it to the area and it will help draw out the itch and discomfort. Some sources say to bathe in Epsom salts for poison ivy, sumac, or oak, but that seems counter-intuitive, because hot water makes you itch more, and it’s possible that the bath may spread the rash.

There are opinions on both side of the fence on that, but when it comes to the possibility of spreading the misery, especially to tender spots, I’d rather not take a chance. Of course, that’s up to you.

To find natural anesthetics that may also help in these situations, check here.

Relieve Constipation

You need to be careful taking Epsom salt internally because of the magnesium and sulfur content. That being said, it’s long been used as a natural treatment to relieve constipation. Dissolve 2 tsp of Epsom salt in 8 ounces of water and drink it. If you don’t have a bowel movement within 4 hours, try a second dose, but don’t do it more than twice in a 24-hour period.

Reduce Inflammation

If you have swollen or sore muscles, you can either soak as I described above or you can make a compress by dissolving 2 cups of Epsom salt in a gallon of warm water, then let it get cold. Soak a towel with it, then wrap it loosely around the area and leave it there for 15 minutes.

Recharge Your Battery

This one is controversial because it can be extremely dangerous and it may not work. You’re dealing with battery acid and magnesium; a lot of bad things can happen. That being said, in an emergency survival situation, you’re left to your own devices and you can decide for yourself whether to do it or not.

Dissolve an ounce of Epsom salt in warm water to make a paste, then add a bit to each battery cell. This probably won’t help if the plates inside are worn out or if the contacts between the cells are in bad shape.

Always wear eye protection and sturdy clothes and shoes that the battery acid won’t eat through before you can get it off, just in case. This isn’t something you should try if you don’t have experience. And remember – being prepared by having  a properly maintained car is always better than trying to fix it when you need it the most.

Video first seen on Mentorcase

Scrubbing Tiles and Cookware

I’m not sure if Epsom salt works well to remove shower grunge and baked on foods because of the chemicals in them (it’s a debate), or if it’s because of the abrasive quality, but making a paste with water and dabbing it onto your shower tiles, then scrubbing will remove grunge, and for pots and pans, soak it in Epsom and hot water, or just sprinkle the salt straight in and scrub.

Great Skin

OK, this one isn’t really for survival, but even if SHTF, cosmetics are going to be important for physical and emotional reasons. Having toothpaste and a clean face can make all the difference in the world when you’re searching for a dab of normalcy. Epsom salt has been a common ingredient in beauty solutions for practically forever, or at least since the 1800s.

You can add essential oils and herbs to them to make bath salts, mix it with coconut oil or water to make an exfoliant (oils are good here, too), and some say that rinsing your face in Epsom salt water will help heal conjunctivitis and sties.

Remember that knowledge is the only thing that can save you in a survival situation.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Prep Blog Review: Gardening With Canning In Mind

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As spring is coming, I am already thinking about my healthy and beautiful garden and I am getting ready for the new preserving and canning season. One of the best things of growing your own food is that you and your loved ones will enjoy healthy and tasty food, fresh or canned, for a long time.

With this thing in mind, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic to help you plan your garden with canning in mind.

  1. 22 Ways for Growing a Successful Vegetable Garden

“Spring is fast approaching, so are you planning to grow a healthy and beautiful vegetable garden that will help beautify your home’s outdoor and be a place of relaxation?

Growing your own fruits and vegetables in the yard lets you spend more time outside, at the same time saves your money for buying organic food.

So if you have the space to grow your own vegetables, you should definitely take advantage of that.

Even if you only have a small space, it isn’t an obstacle anymore in your effort to vegetable garden. In the following projects you will find a lot of vegetable garden designs to help you start your neat and tidy veggie garden that produces fresh and tasty food for you.

Take a look and get started!”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

  1. 7 Secrets to Successful Canning – How to Preserve This Year’s Harvest

“Now is the time to get ready for a successful canning and preserving season!

One of the best things about growing your own food is keeping it the year around for great homemade taste!

For an individual who wants to start canning for the first time, or for the seasoned veteran, here are a few secrets to help you have a successful canning season this year.

The results of our canning efforts one summer.

The most important thing to remember about canning is to simply not be afraid to try!  Maybe you have only water bathed before and never uses a pressure canner. Whatever it is, if you are feeling a little nervous, ask someone to help you or try it out with you.”

Read more on Old World Farms Garden.

  1. More Thoughts on Canned Goods and Food Storage

“Several weeks ago we established that canned goods are safe to eat far past their expiration date thus a great choice for food storage programs.

I received an email from someone saying that they felt tremendous pressure to prepare right now and due to their budget just could not afford to stock up on freeze dried food for the long term.

This motivated some additional words on the subject.

Every tragic disaster that takes place ultimately causes the question of “What now?” to be asked. More often than not “What are we going to eat?” and”How are we going to get food?” are also asked.

This doesn’t have to be in a Third World country as most anyone who has experienced the loss of a job or some other major financial personal SHTF has asked similar questions.”

Read more on 1776patriotusa.com.

  1. How to Store Food Storage In a Small House

“Have you sometimes wondered “how can I store food storage in a small home?”

Well, I have a fairly small home, it’s only 1900 square feet.

I am going to show you my home in small doses because otherwise, the post would take too long to load.

I have a three car garage, if you can call it a three car garage with the narrow one car section. You can barely fit two very small cars in the double garage and one car in the third stall.

Mark and I use the third garage section for our emergency preparedness items that can withstand the heat in the summer.

Everything else is stored inside my home.”

Read more on FoodStorageMom.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

How To Make A 5 Gallon Bucket Survival Kit

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If you love buckets and survival, you’ve landed in the right place, as today’s article is about 5-gallon buckets and survival, or how to use an already-legendary item in the prepper community for building a survival kit.

And yes, I am talking about the famous 5-gallon bucket, which seems to be at the top of the list when it comes to survival and sustainable development.

Besides gardening, building pyramids, and putting a man on the moon, this inconspicuous item can be used for improvising an emergency/survival kit as it’s large enough to hold quite a few items of survival gear, it’s tough and water resistant, and it’s pretty easy to carry around depending on what’s in it.

These DIY emergency kits are easy and cheap to made, and in a crisis situation they’ll prove to be highly valuable.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

The idea is to have as many as possible placed in strategic places, i.e. one in your car, one in your basement, one in your vacation home, one in your office – you know what I’m talking about.

To begin with, let’s concentrate a bit on the bucket itself. Not all buckets are created equal; you need to get a good one that hasn’t been used to store toxic chemicals.

How to Choose a High-quality Bucket

Here are a few places where you can get a high-quality (as in solid) 5-gallon bucket for free:

  • Wendy’s
  • Tim Hortons
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Sam’s Club
  • Chick Fill A.

You can also try Mc Donald’s, Walmart and Subway but these guys are so environmentally conscious that they usually recycle their plastic buckets. It’s worth a try anyway.

Also, you should go for food grade buckets at all times, because you never know what you’ll be storing inside after all, besides your emergency survival kit, alright?

Another important factor to consider is that your bucket is strong enough to withstand pressure and comes with a plastic lid – that’s quite important.

If cruising the multinational corporations proves to be unsuccessful in terms of acquiring free 5-gallon buckets, you can always go for the unthinkable option and buy some from Home Depot, Foodland, McHappy’s, Lowes or FireHouse Subs. A brand new bucket from these guys will cost you anywhere from 2 to 5 bucks, lid included (the lid may cost extra).

These are just a few ideas, so don’t start throwing rocks; I’m only a messenger. If you’re not happy with my tips and tricks, just use your imagination.

If you end up with free but stinky plastic buckets (the ones which were used for storing pickles are the smelliest) don’t worry, they can be cleansed in a jiffy with a solution made of 1 gallon of hot water and 1/3 cup of bleach. The same stuff can be used for cleaning your bathroom by the way, but don’t tell anybody.

Another interesting factoid to consider: the best food-grade buckets are marked with a 2 on the bottom. The number represents the type of plastic used in its construction and 2 is the least toxic variety. However, if you put Mylar bags inside, you can forget about the food grade status of your bucket.

If you’re definitely never going to store food inside the bucket, it doesn’t really matter what you use.

With the “how to choose the ideal-5 gallon bucket for my prepping endeavor”  science taken care of, let’s move on to the most important part of the story.

What to Put in Your 5 Gallon Bucket Survival Kit?

Well, there are various schools of taught about the actual content of a proper emergency kit, but let’s play it safe and follow the golden rule of survival, or the holy trinity.

The trinity of survival goes something like this: regardless of what you’re thinking about, whether it’s an alien invasion or a natural disaster, you’ll have to take care of 3 main things if you want to stay alive and tell the story to your kids, friends, or favorite pets: food, water and shelter, that about sums it up.

With all these simple things considered, your survival emergency kit must be able to provide you with the necessary items/gear/stuff or whatchamacallits for allowing you to eat, drink and stay safe for at least 3 days (the more the better).

Video first seen on Robert Martin

With water being a crucial survival item, you should pack 3-4 water bottles in your survival bucket, along with a quality water filter. The problem with water is that it’s voluminous and heavy to carry around, so you’ll have to figure that out for yourself (I am talking about how many bottles of water to store in your emergency kit depending on your geo-location).

Freeze dried meals are also must-have items in a survival emergency kit, together with a few protein bars, chocolate, and other long shelve life, easy to carry, light, compact, and high-calories foods. A rip stop tarp is essential, as it can be used for a number of purposes, including as a makeshift shelter (a 6×8 would be enough, and grommet holes are a must).

Tip: disguise your 5-gallon bucket survival kit into an Ottoman and hide it in plain view (think along the lines of easy to grab if SHTF).

Video first seen on Emma Catherine

These are the most basic items to store inside your 5 gallon bucket survival kit, i.e. food, water and shelter. But there’s plenty of room left, so let’s go a little bit more high tech: a gun would be nice, also a quality survival knife, which is essentially a multi-tool. Being able to protect yourself and your family, especially in a crisis, is crucial. A few extra rounds of ammo wouldn’t hurt either. 

A fire starter kit/BIC lighters, some weatherproof matches, duct tape, a mini multi tool (I’d go for a Leatherman), a whistle, and some wet wipes would be nice to have in any emergency situation I can think of, so keep those in mind too. A compass, an LED lighter with some spare batteries, a couple of N 95 dust masks and a small sliding saw would be also advisable to add to your survival stash.

A shortwave radio is essential in a catastrophe as it gives you the possibility to gather essential intel from local authorities, so throw one in just in case – the smaller the better.

Paracord! Need I say more? Check out my articles about paracord if you have any doubts. 25’x2 would do.

A cool addition for your survival kit would be several 30-gallon trash bags, as they can be used for various purposes, including as a makeshift rain poncho.

A first aid kit is a must, together with some over the counter/prescribed medicine, depending on one’s health condition.

A couple of Mylar thermal blankets would be nice as they’ re awesome if you have to camp outdoors and they take up so little room it really doesn’t matter.

If you still have room left, you can consider split leather gloves, extra batteries (for your radio/flashlight, remember?), glow sticks, safety goggles, a can opener, a sewing kit, a bar of soap and even some toothpaste/toothbrushes.

Another handy item to have in your emergency survival kit provided you have enough room for it would be a solar charger for your cellphone (I’d go for an old-school feature phone with long-lasting battery and all that). You can find those on the Internet (Amazon etc).

A 5 gallon bucket survival kit is a life saving equipment to grab in a crisis situation when panic is the greatest killer.

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

How To Make A Potato Pot

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I love potatoes. Boiled, mashed, fried, baked – it doesn’t matter how they’re served, I’ll eat them. They help stretch your food supply and provide energy when you need it the most.

Unless you have a place to grow a traditional garden, you may have discarded the idea of growing them, but you can make a potato pot and grow them wherever you want – and you can even take them with you if you need to bug out.

If you’re shooting for the “potato” that offers the most health benefits, shoot for yams or sweet potatoes. Though the names are often used interchangeably, they are not the same vegetable, nor do they have the same nutrients, though they’re both high in vitamins, particularly vitamin A. Technically, neither one are even potatoes but that’s outside the scope of this article.

How to Store Your Potatoes

If you were raised in the country, you likely remember the root cellars. Ever wonder why they’re called that? Me too, and the best explanation I can come up with is that they were used to store root vegetables – traditional white, yellow, or red potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, etc. All of these will store all winter if kept at the right temperature. The important thing is to not wash them because the dirt extends their shelf lives.

Unlike other potatoes, sweet potatoes love the warmth – unlike traditional spuds, room temperature is great for them. They’ll keep up to a year! Again, don’t wash them. And if you’re growing them yourself, as you’re going to be after you make your pots, do your best to leave them somewhere warm – 80 degrees is great – for 10 days or so after you harvest them. This promotes the growth of a chemical on the skin that protects them from rot and also “cures” them to make them sweet.

Another advantage to growing sweet potatoes is that you have a tremendous yield. Believe it or not, you can yield as much as 130 pounds of sweet potatoes from just 3 potatoes.

You can grow both sweet potatoes and “regular” potatoes in pots, but the process is different. We’ll take about the easiest and fastest way first, then tell you how to grow sweet potatoes.

Now, are you ready to get your hands dirty and make a potato pot that will produce a great crop of potatoes? Good. Let’s get started.

These lessons of yesterday will teach you the basic skills for survival cooking! 

Making a Standard Potato Pot

First off, I have to say that this is the perfect  idea for a prepper because once you get it going, you’ll have potatoes literally forever without even needing to add dirt or fertilizer. It’s absolutely brilliant, but so simple that anybody with 1 potato, soil, water, and access to clover can do it.

Of course, any potato crop is self-perpetuating, but with this one, you don’t need fertilizer and you won’t have to dig in the garden.

Expect to yield about 10x (perhaps just a bit less) the weight of potatoes that you plant; that’s ten pounds for every pound, so you don’t have to do math.

  • First, choose your container. You can grow them in anything from a 5-gallon bucket up. Use a bucket or container that has never been used to store any type of chemical or poison. A great place to get food-grade buckets is local restaurants and bakeries. They usually buy in bulk, and items such as pickles, lard, sugar, flour, and frosting often come in 5-gallon buckets.
  • Fill your container with a mixture of potting soil and compost. I’ve even heard of people using sand and sawdust, but for this method, use the potting soil and compost.
  • Let your potato sit long enough to start growing eyes. That way you know that it will grow because some are treated with chemicals that keep them from sprouting in order to extend shelf life. While you’re waiting, prepare your bucket and get your clover growing.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of your bucket for drainage and make sure that you have a place to put the bucket so that it’s not in direct contact with something such as dirt that can clog the holes and prevent drainage.
  • Put a few inches of gravel (and sand if you’d like) in the bottom of the bucket and fill it with soil to within several inches of the top.
  • Sprinkle white clover seeds across the top of the soil and just run your hand over them to get a bit of soil over them.
  • Once your potato sprouts eyes and you know it’s good to grow, your clover should be starting to grow, too. Dig a hole 12 inches deep or so in the center of the bucket. Don’t worry if you have to dig through the clover – it will grow back.
  • Plant your potato at the bottom and cover back up with dirt.
  • You’ll see a plant within just a couple of weeks, then all you have to do is water it once or twice a week and let it grow. After 3 months or so, the plant will die back. When it does that, your potatoes are ready to harvest.

Video first seen on Hollis & Nancy’s Homestead

Making a Sweet Potato Pot

This has several steps and takes quite a bit of advance wait time, but your yield will be awesome. Plus, sweet potatoes are delicious and nutritious just as they are. Not to say that a good old regular potato isn’t delicious, too!

Because the yield is so high, you may want to use 20 gallon buckets for this. That’s what was used here – if you’re only using 5-gallon buckets, just put one slip per bucket. You’ll know what that means in a minute.

  • Start with a single sweet potato. Unless you want to be overrun with them, or intend to sell them or trade them, you don’t need more than a couple because one potato seriously can yield forty pounds or so.
  • Find cups, jars, or containers that are wide enough and deep enough to accommodate one half of the potato, lengthwise.
  • Stick 3 toothpicks into the potato at equal distances around the middle so that you can dangle one end of the potato (half of it or so) into the glass or jar and have one end sticking out. You want to have at least a half-inch or so all around the potato between it and the inside of the container.
  • Put the potato into the container so that it’s suspended by the toothpicks.
  • Now it’s time to wait for the slips to grow. Slips are basically shoots that grow into individual plants, and one potato can yield up to 50.
  • The slips will begin to grow off of the bottom and up around the potato and will be ready to separate after a couple of months.
  • Once they are, separate them out into different jars, and you can even cut and root new slips off the first ones as they grow. Once you have the slips that you want and they’re at least 12 inches tall, it’s time to plant them.
  • You’ll want a trellis behind them because sweet potatoes vine, and they root where they touch the ground, so if you’re using containers, you don’t want them vining all over your yard.
  • Fill the buckets with equal parts potting soil, peat moss, and compost to about 6 inches of the top.
  • Ramp the dirt so that one side of the container (the one furthest away from the trellis) is 8 inches or so more shallow than the side closest to the trellis and soak it with water.
  • Place 3-6 slips in each bucket so that the tops are facing the trellis and the roots are at the side of the bucket that’s furthest away from the trellis.
  • Add soil mixture to cover the roots and make the dirt level. It’s OK if you cover up some of the leaves and only just the tops are sticking out.
  • Water it again a bit and cover with straw or mulch to keep weeds from growing.

Video first seen on OFF GRID with DOUG and STACY

They love hot weather and take about three months to mature. They’ll get super bushy, so try to encourage any long vines to grow up the trellis. The plants will also grow really pretty flowers, which makes them great for ornamentals. Since the good stuff isn’t visible, if people don’t know what they are, they’ll just think they’re bushes – hiding your garden in plain sight.

The leaves will start to turn yellow. After that, leave them for another week or so and test a part of the bucket by digging down to see if they’re ready. Or, you can just dump a bucket and see how they are. Though remember – you only get one shot if you do it that way.

Now you know how make a potato pot.

Potatoes are the ultimate survival crop and they were included almost in every meal during the Great Depression.

Discover more about how our forefathers handled their survival food.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

14 Best Vegetables To Grow In A Bucket

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There’s nothing better for you than fresh, homegrown fruits, herbs, and vegetables, but not all of us have the luxury of being able to plant a traditional garden. But did you know that you can get great yields on many types of produce?

Today we’re going to take a look at the best vegetables to grow in buckets, so that no matter where you live, you can eat well.

Growing in buckets enables people with limited space to grow their own food. Even if you have the land, buckets still make growing easier if you have a hard time getting up and down to weed the garden, take care of the plants, and pick the veggies. Or, if you’re simply too busy to dedicate the time it takes to care for a traditional garden.

If you’re using buckets, don’t forget to poke a few drainage holes in the bottom. After you’ve poked the holes, use some natural filters so you won’t lose the dirt. Put a layer of rocks, then a layer of sand if you want, then your soil. Don’t use regular dirt because it will likely compact and impair growth. Instead, use an equal mix of ripe compost, potting soil, and peat moss.

Do a little research on what your plants need so that you know to make the soil more or less acidic.

If you live in a cold climate, it’s a good idea to plant seedlings for plants that require extra time. This includes just about every plant except for green onions, shallots, carrots, potatoes, and radishes, and plants that are grown from bulbs. Of course, you always have the option of moving the buckets inside if it gets too cold too early.

Finally, you may look at the yield you’re getting per bucket and think, “Wow. That doesn’t sound like much for the amount of space I’m using. There’s a lot of soil left underneath that plant that isn’t being used.” You’re absolutely right. If you want to maximize that space instead of wasting it, consider growing plants out the bottom, too. Many plants grow well upside down.

These lessons of yesterday will teach you the basic skills you need for survival cooking! 

Potatoes

Whether you like plain old spuds or prefer sweet potatoes or yams (yes, there is a huge nutritional difference), potatoes are a great bucket crop. Potatoes are hardy, grow in virtually any soil, and are grown underground, so they’re tolerant to weather changes. They’re also simple to prepare.

The key to getting a good potato yield is to grow them in a nitrogen-rich environment. Potatoes also self-perpetuate, so you’ll never run out.

Hint – grow clover on top of your potato bucket, or on the topsoil of any plant that needs lots of nitrogen, because clover pulls nitrogen out of the air and distributes it through its root system and down into the soil.

All you have to do to plant regular potatoes in a bucket is let the “eyes” or little roots grow from it, cut the potato into sections so that each section has an eye, and plant it. Plant the equivalent of one whole, large potato per 3-gallon of bucket, and 2 potatoes to a 5-gallon bucket.

You don’t even really HAVE to cut it into pieces. I just do because it’s how I was raised with a traditional garden. Old habits.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes grow fabulously in buckets; just remember that you’ll still have to stake them to something. This can be as easy as sticking a stake right in the bucket with it. No problem.

Cherry or bush tomatoes work the best and you shouldn’t plant more than one per bucket. You can pull tomatoes off in a 3-gallon bucket as long as you’ve got something besides just a stake in the bucket to stake them to, so that the weight will be supported.

Video first seen on ROCKNTV1

Cucumbers/Squash

Any type of cucumbers or squash grow well in buckets. As a matter of fact, I have a little better luck with the buckets because it’s easier for me to find the vegetable. Often when I planted them in a regular garden, I’d lose a few in the foliage.

Plant one plant per bucket.

Peppers

These are nice to grow right on the porch as ornamentals. For that matter, so are cucumbers and squash because of the nice flowers. If you’re growing colorful peppers such as banana peppers or chilies, they brighten up the porch, too.

Interesting pepper fact that many people don’t know:

The only difference between green, red, orange, and yellow sweet peppers is the time they spend on the vine. Green ones are picked first, then if they’re left alone, they turn yellow, orange, then red. Nutritional values vary widely among the colors, though.

Plant two peppers per 5-gallon bucket.

Video first seen on Gary Pilarchik

Beans

Bush beans grow best. Plant 1 bush per bucket.

Carrots/Radishes

Plant 10 per bucket. You can get away with using a smaller bucket or planter for these. Just make sure that the soil is at least a foot deep.

Onions/Garlic

Green onions, shallots, and any type of larger onion all grow wonderfully in buckets. For green onions and shallots, you can use a shallow bucket or window box as long as the soil is at least 6 inches deep. Just sprinkle a tablespoon or so of seeds evenly across the top of the bucket and cover with 1/4-1/2 inch of soil. For large onions and garlic, plant 4-5 per 5-gallon bucket.

Beets

Plant 4-5 per bucket.

Eggplant

Plant 2 plants per bucket because each plant requires 12-14 inches of growing space. You may be able to get away with 3. They’re good as ornamentals, too. Eggplants can be a bit finicky to grow because they require adequate water, good drainage, and pollination. Nothing is more frustrating than growing a plant then watching the flowers fall off without bearing fruit.

For your soil, use half sand and half soil/compost. Make sure they get at least two inches of water per week – more if you live in a hot climate. It’s a good idea to give them all of this water at once so that the water reaches the roots. Test your soil between waterings to make sure that it doesn’t dry out. You don’t want it too wet, but it should be moist.

Since they’re wind-pollinated, you may have a problem with adequate pollination. If you’re worried about this, it’s easy to pollinate them yourself. Just take a little paintbrush and run it around the inside of each flower.

They’ll also need a support system just like tomatoes do.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage

These are great vegetables to plant in a bucket and you can grow 2-3 plants per bucket. Broccoli and red cabbage in particular are packed with nutrients.

Herbs

All herbs grow well in buckets, and you don’t need to use a full five-gallon bucket, either – they only need about 6 inches of soil to grow well. How many you can plant per container depends upon the herb, so pay attention to planting directions. You can even easily and successfully grow herbs inside.

Growing plants in buckets is a great method for several different reasons. From a prepper’s perspective, perhaps one of the biggest advantages is portability. If you have to bug out, you can take your food with you.

Since nearly all plants have seeds, you’re basically leaving with a food supply that will self-perpetuate, so it’s best to use heirloom seeds to ensure consistent growth and quality. I can’t overstate how important it is to choose the correct seeds for your needs.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Grand Canyon Survival Story: Student Stayed Alive. Could You?

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On March 12, 2017, Amber Van Hecke ran out of gas in the Havasupai Reservation while leaving the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. The twenty-four year old college student was there hiking for spring break when her vacation turned deadly. Thanks to her own resourcefulness and preparedness, she lived to tell the tale.

So, what can we learn from Amber’s experience? We found 8 survival lessons to learn from her adventure, and we’ll take them one by one in the following article.

When Hiking Goes Bad

First, I’ll bring you up to speed on what happened, then we’ll get to that part.

Video first seen on ABC News.

Amber’s problem started when she plugged Havasu Falls Trail Head into Google Maps and followed the directions, just like the rest of us probably would. She only had 70 miles of fuel left until empty, not counting the reserves (so she thought) in her tank and decided to roll the dice because, according to Maps, it was only a 40-mile drive to the next main road.

She took a right turn when it told her to, even though her gut told her that it was too early. She found herself on what she calls a “ratchet dirt road” and followed it for 35 miles before her GPS told her to take a right onto a road that didn’t exist. Being a person fairly experienced with backroads, and considering the horrible road she was already on, she thought that maybe part of the road had eroded, so she took the turn, hoping to run into the remaining section of the road shortly.

Instead of finding a road, she ran straight into a fence. Amber admits she panicked a bit and drove around trying to find the road when she should have just stayed put. By then it was getting dark and she was down to zero miles to empty, and her reserves were empty, too. She found the nearest man-made structure and decided to wait til morning to decide what to do.

She certainly didn’t lack creativity or motivation, and she had food and water because she was planning a hike. She actually had extra, as any good prepper or trail-savvy person does.

This is when her 5-day period of waiting began. She had no cell signal, so she made an SOS sign from rocks that were about 4’x10’. That didn’t work, so she spelled out “HELP,” again using rocks, but this time she went big – her letters were 20-30 feet tall. She tried getting help using a signal fire, but because she was stuck in an extremely dry area, the wood burned too clean to create smoke.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

After a truck drove right by her before she could flag him down, she barricaded the road (which was brilliant, actually, just in case). She had a flashing headlamp in her truck that she turned on at night, to no avail. Finally, after 5 days, she decided to take matters into her own hands and took off walking in an attempt to find a cell signal. Fortunately, she didn’t kill the battery in her car, so she was able to charge her phone.

She was smart about it, though. She left a detailed note with her vehicle, and she marked her trail. It said: “I started following the road EAST to see if I can get a cellphone signal. I am marking my way with white sports tape. If you read this, please come help me!”

After she’d walked 11 miles east of her vehicle and tried a whopping 76 times to get a call out she did manage to find a weak signal and contacted the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. Her call dropped 49 seconds into the call and she couldn’t get another call out, so she just had to hope that they’d managed to locate her before the call dropped.

She walked almost all the way back to her car, but the helicopter did find her after searching with the limited information that they had. They spotted the glint off of her car and the help sign that she’d made. They also found her note and followed the direction that she said she’d gone in order to find her, and they succeeded.

Because she’d had a stockpile of water and food, she was in good shape when they found her. She rationed it because she didn’t know how long it would take, and she made ramen noodles on her dashboard.

8 Survival Lessons to Learn from Amber’s Story

With little to no injury, Amber survived because she was prepared and knew what to do in an emergency. Did she make mistakes? Yes, but don’t we all?

Just for those of you who need to know it:

Stranded with no way out =/= camping regardless of how well I prepared with my supplies.
I had a compass and I am fantastic at reading maps but I made the mistake of not bringing one this time.
Almost everyone has run out of gas at some point, mine just happened to be supremely inconvenient.
It was not a matter of simply turning around since I wasn’t aware how to get out and I was legitimately lost.

So, yes, I made silly mistakes. However, I also maintained composure when I found myself in an unfortunate situation…

Amber Van Hecke Facebook Page

Let’s look at what we can learn from her experience.

Don’t Depend Solely on Technology

Her gut told her she was turning too soon, and had she heeded that instead of doing what many of us are trained to do – trust that technology knows more than we do – she may have found her way and her story wouldn’t have been more than another leg of her travel plans.

Don’t Cut it Close on Fuel

Only having 70 miles left in your tank is just fine if you’re tooling around town or heading between one major town and another, where there are many opportunities to refuel. However, the US – especially the US West – still has many roads where there are at least 70 miles between gas stations.

As a woman who rides a bike, I have a standing rule – never turn down the opportunity to pee or get gas. It’s a good policy to follow, especially when you’re in a remote area.

Stock That Vehicle Bag

Let’s see … what did she use that many people wouldn’t have necessarily had in their vehicles? A flashing headlamp. The materials to make a fire. White sports tape. Oh yeah, she had books that kept her occupied. Pen and paper. Food and water. A mobile cellphone charger.

Did they all work? No, but she had options and tools, and some of them – the charger, the food and water, and the pen and paper saved her life. Any one of them could have worked had the right person flown over or driven by at the right time.

Don’t Risk Getting Lost

She makes a comment at one point in an interview that she got bored and tooted her horn to make the coyotes leave the prairie dogs alone. What if she’d panicked and taken off walking in the dark? What if she’d made a wrong turn on her way back to her vehicle after she made the call because she didn’t mark her trail?

She did everything right when it came to this part of her experience. She stayed where she had shelter – there wasn’t anybody there to honk the horn to keep the coyotes off HER – and she marked her trail when she did leave so that she could find her way back.

Pack Energy Dense Food

She purportedly had sunflower seeds and an apple left when they found her. Those are foods that are high in sustained energy – the apple because it has fiber that slows down the digestion process, and the seeds because they have both fiber to slow down the processing of the sugar, and fat that your body will use after it uses the sugar.

Packing food isn’t enough – pack the RIGHT foods.

Be Proactive

Nobody wants you to get saved more than you do. She communicated: she made signs, she built a signal fire, and, when none of that worked, she got tired of waiting and took her fate into her own hands and decided to walk til she was able to help people help her. Don’t just sit around waiting for the cavalry when they may not even know you’re missing.

However, don’t screw up your chances by not communicating – in this case, had she not left the note, the rescuers may have missed her.

Keep Your Vehicle in Good Repair

Yes, she ran out of gas, but the rest of her car was in good repair and ready for a trip. Had her battery failed, she may still be sitting there, out of water and out of hope.

Don’t Panic

Yes, I realize that it’s easier said than done, but she admitted that she ran the last of her gas out because she panicked. Would it have made much difference in her case? Probably not. But what if it was the middle of winter, when temperatures can drop to the single digits in the desert? What if she’d been in Maine or North Dakota instead of in Arizona?

By panicking, she didn’t just run out her source of transportation, she exhausted a major heat source, too. True, she could have started a campfire, but that would have left her to the animals, that likely didn’t have granola bars, seeds, and apples stocked back. Keep your head and think before you act.

Amber survived this situation because she was prepared. Of course, she also got herself into it because, when it came to fuel, she made a mistake and went in unprepared. Her story offers dual lessons of what to do and what not to do. Thankfully, she did way more right than she did wrong, and that – along with a bit of luck – ensured that she lived to tell the tale!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

References:

University Of North Texas Student Survives For Five Days Stranded In Grand Canyon

Here Are The Survival Maps You Should Be Using

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Mankind is at greater risk from both natural hazards and many manmade hazards than at any other time in history. Think about that statement for a moment. I know I do. This is why I try to write about what I am working on in my personal emergency preparedness and survival efforts, or to work on my preparedness related to topics, to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

One of my long-term projects is my own personal Modular Survival Kit which is one of the primary frameworks for my personal emergency preparedness efforts. From that framework hangs a smaller project which is called the Digital Survival Library and my personal digital map collection is part of that project.

I have been working on it and thought I’d document some bits and pieces to share with my friends who read Surviopedia. Make a list and check them one by one as you get them, you will later make good use of these survival resources!

12 Strategic Planning Maps Sources for Location Selection

I have listed some resources for the USA and a few for maps abroad, but if you live or own property outside the US, you may need to look up the equivalent entity in that country. I wouldn’t buy paper copies of the maps here unless they are in books since you only need them to plan.

1. USGS Natural Hazards Maps

This is probably most all-encompassing natural hazards map site I know of and includes tsunami, earthquake, geomagnetism, landslide, volcano, astrogeology, flood, drought and wildfire hazards. It even includes quite a bit of information for foreign nations.

2. FEMA Earthquake Hazard Maps 

This one will show you  how earthquake hazards vary across the United States.

3. FEMA Flood Map Service Centergov

They can help you understand flood insurance rate maps.

4. National Geospatial Intelligence Maps

They are good for studying all kinds of things from nuclear power plants to polar ice and climate change.

5. US Nuclear Reactors, Nuclear Power Plants & Seismic Hazard

It wouldn’t take a tsunami to cause a severe nuclear accident in the US. Note where the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors are and note 10 & 50 mile zones around plant and take prevailing winds into consideration.

6. Nuclear Target Maps

You won’t find any current nuclear target maps on-line, as any current information is going to be secret compartmented. That said, there is plenty of outdated, declassified material available in on-line archives.

One of the greatest nuclear risks today is that a single nuclear weapon or small number of them will be detonated in major cities. New York and Washington DC are major targets as are many significant and/or populous cities, but it’s largely speculation so I won’t include nuclear target maps on this topic for planning purposes, but do observe likely fallout patterns from major cities.

7. Nukemap

In case you want to simulate weapons effects in nearby cities. Helpful for creating realistic training scenarios and choosing locations of fixed sites.

8. EarthExplorer

Think of it as the USGS version of Google Earth … only you can go back in time. Some of the first generation of US satellite imagery taken between 1960 & 1972 has been declassified, so it you want imagery of areas unlikely to change since then you have a free resource now.

9. Google Earth

As every criminal casing your home and retreat knows, Google has invested crazy resources to make Google Earth a fairly-up-to-date tool for ever-increasing swaths of the planet … especially most places most folks reading this live, own property or plan to hole up. If that’s not OK with you, get your place blacked out by telling them you run a child day care, but save some images before you do for your own use.

For survival use, I recommend the Offline Installer for Google Earth. Zoom in areas of interest and snap and print what you need, mark them with the scale, indicate magnetic declination, label and print them and you have useful maps.

10. Books

There are many fine books on the subject containing a number of maps and guidelines – Rawles on Retreats by JW Rawles and Strategic Relocation by Joel Skousen are a couple of good ones.

11. Threat-specific Online Searches

Search for hazard maps for threats you are concerned about, they will help you a lot.

12. Digital Survival Library

Use technology, but don’t become dependent on it. To this end, I curate a very useful collection of data that is my personal Digital Survival Library and as you probably guessed, it contains a ton of maps. I store it on pairs of volumes on ruggedized media.

 

The first volume is not encrypted and contains information necessary to treat me in an emergency and some selections from my library that I would like anyone who happens up on to have access to.

The other volume is encrypted and contains a vast library of books, maps, emergency communications plan, emergency plans, insurance information, medical records, photos, genealogy, music, scans of documents, software, driver and a backup of all my important data that I never want to be without. I scan and shred anything that can be, so it’s a lot of data.

It also includes all the software necessary to make any phone of computer I come across read every file type of maps and other files in the library, drivers to print, program amateur radios and everything else I could anticipate that a survivalist would need.

It is comforting to know that if my plane drops out of the sky and I find myself on some island in the Caribbean or in South America I have a map and access to my library … maybe I won’t have a map in the level of detail I would like, but chances are good that it would be useful.

13 Essential survival items are included inside this kit. Grab this offer now!

How to Make Your Own Digital Survival Library

If you make one for yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Stash portions of your DSL on an encrypted server outside the US to make sure you can hop on line an access it from anywhere … as long as the internet is still up.

Cache copies in separate sites. Info caches can be very small so it’s no big deal to stash encrypted copies in places you could find yourself stranded.

It you have need, you can stash a copy on a rugged MicroSD card concealed in a hollowed-out coin, under a band-aid or any imaginable object of sufficient dimensions.

Carry a copy on your keychain in a flash drive or adapter that can connect to both cell phones and computers.

Be careful about using cellphones. Most people carry a powerful computer in their pocket, but haven’t configured it for use as a standalone computer, they are very portable and common. Sufficiently small cell phones are likely to survive EMP as a standalone tool even though they contain a lot of vulnerable circuitry because they lack the conductor length to pick up sufficient charge from an incident of typical (50kVA/m) field strength at a distance.

Their small size and low cost make it a simple matter to shield them against more intense super-EMP field strengths and to cache backup phones in Faraday cages. Make sure your phones have the all the software and drivers to get the most of out of your phone in an emergency. If you root a phone and remove all the balloon-ware and tracking software cell providers pre-load phones with, even old phones are plenty powerful to be very useful.

As with all digital maps, GPS’s make it possible to carry more maps, greater detail and more current information as long as you are willing to shell out the dough. They are great tools. Use them, but don’t become dependent on GPS’s, cellphones, PLB’s or anything else that runs on batteries.

Get proficient in orienteering with map and compass first and then add GPS’s and a DSL on top of a strong foundation of map and compass land navigation. Every year, I read about hikers dying from injuries and/or exposure when gizmo’s fail, leaving them stranded.

SERE Maps

Keep copies of a couple small maps in your PSSRK (Pocket Survival and Self-recovery Kit) so you will always have a map on your person. Update them as you move around. Even if you know the area like the back of your hand, not everyone will and maps have a number of other uses besides finding your way.

Phone Book Maps

If you find yourself without a map in a populated area, a decent map for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (aka SERE) purpose can be had for free from any phonebook. You can often find old phonebooks in or near dumpsters or at recycling centers.

Make sure you have the social engineering skills to get your hands on one from any business or residence without putting yourself at risk stealing. Hotels and churches often print small maps on fliers and the latter have aided in prison escapes.

Tyvek

Tyvek is a waterproof, tear-resistant ultralight material that can aid in the construction of a shelter in a pinch … great for SERE maps. The Federal Publications Inc website in Canada prints maps of Canada on Tyvek as do US companies that change so frequently I won’t waste your time with a link … or you can DIY.

Fabric

There is a storied history of blood chits and E&E maps silkscreened or traced onto fabric and sewn into the lining of jackets.

Silk is durable and fire resistant. Polyester taffeta burns thoroughly and quickly without producing hardly any smoke upon exposure to a lighter or other flame. Choose material based on need. Both fabrics pack great in pocket kits.

Light Source

Make sure you can read your maps in the dark. Less-overt colors of low brightness are more covert and preserve night vision, also tend to make ink of the same wavelength disappear, making them less-effective for use with maps that use those colors.

Because of this, I use the Petzl STRIX IR a lot which is a headlamp that can produce red, green, blue white or IR light of low intensity or more intense white light depending on the situation.

UV Light & Marker

A small UV LED can be used to read notes written with UV ink that are normally invisible to the naked eye. UV LEDs and pens can also useful for marking and signaling dead drops, for visual communications and the LEDs for finding biomatter, and scorpions.

General Direction SERE Compass

If you do manage to survive with only the contents of your pockets in unfamiliar terrain, your map won’t be effective unless you orient it.

Maps for Travel, Recreation and Emergency Preparedness

You will want paper copies of these where possible. Digital copies can often be had for free, so get those either way. Store digital copies of your paper maps for use on your cell phones and computers. Scan maps that you only have on paper.

Neighborhood Maps for Emergency Response

I keep these in an emergency-response binder.

By collecting and updating maps, I have accurate maps showing every home and who lives in it, not only my neighborhood but also in surrounding neighborhoods. This information greatly simplifies the process of Block Captains and Co-Captains should keep maps of the neighborhood to mark off which homes need assistance in the event of a disaster incident.

Each neighborhood gets checked off house by house in each block with blocks reporting to neighborhood EOC’s (Emergency Operations Centers) and Neighborhood EOC’s reporting to Area or Municipality EOC’s. You can find out more about how the program works from your local CERT Program. Find a CERT Program Near You

US Geological Survey

You can download all the maps you want for free or order printed maps at reasonable cost.

Another option with the USGS is that you can send them media and they will send you the maps you request or even a copy of the entire inventory, but you had better send a big drive since that would be several TB of data at this writing. That would take quite a while to download over most connections, so perhaps that’s why they provide the service.

  • 1:24K Topo Maps – High level of detail when on foot.
  • 1:100K Topo Maps – A little larger scale for traveling by vehicle.

USDA Forest Service Maps

They typically cost $12-$14 for printed copies.

US National Park Maps

Download for free or buy paper copies for typically $9-$12ea. Set the page to the maximum number of products per page so you don’t have to scroll through as many pages.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Map

Similar to EarthExplorer. Save digital copies and print paper ones.

Maps for Your Vehicle

City Maps

City maps are a must. I make it a point to pick them up wherever I travel, in advance when possible.

Topo Maps of the Entire State

These atlases and gazetteers by DeLorme and possibly competitive products are useful for traveling back roads and forest service roads by vehicle. This is important because you never know when an unforeseen emergency may force you to flee in an unplanned direction over back roads.

The scale isn’t large enough to be of much use on foot unless you have a lot of ground to cover, but pages or parts of pages could serve as E&E maps while traveling and is great for long drives. Invest in plastic covers and cases for these if you want them to last banging around in a vehicle.

Cost is about $15-$20 for most states and a little more for larger states or states with a lot of detail. I make sure I carry atlases for all of the states I am traveling and the adjacent states out West. Back in the Northeast where sizes of states are smaller I would make sure I had atlases for 2-4 states away from planned routes.

US Road Atlas

They are long distance backup to the above atlases.

Compact Phone Book

Maps and direction finding are more effective with a destination in mind. As soon as your cell tower, the grid or the internet go down, google and online maps will no longer work and you will find yourself reaching for something your probably don’t use much any more … a phone book … provided you are old enough to know what they are and how to use one, that is.

Custom Maps

Custom Maps Printed by University Libraries

Cheapest source of custom maps I have found. I had a university library print some color topographical maps on water-resistant paper in the same detail a the USGS topo maps. They are very large, about the size of 2 USGS topo maps high x 3 wide centered on areas of my choice.

They cost about $6 each which is an outstanding value! USGS topos would have cost me 6x as much, not come on water-resistant paper and aren’t centered where you like so you always seem to end up hiking through 2-4 maps per day, which means you have to line up the edges multiple maps.

DIY

Print maps at home. Depending on how many maps you print, what software you use and what you print them on, this can range from very inexpensive to expensive.

In addition to the USGS, there are several private websites which also offer free, printable maps online. I have printed some useful ones using Google Earth.

Custom Maps

mytopo and a few other companies have websites with easy to use interfaces that enable you to order custom maps of every sort imaginable. They have useful hunting products as they can display public vs private land, land owners and hunting areas. They are more expensive, but not ridiculously, so. Price varies by size and type.

Also check out their Backpacker Magazine Pro Maps if you are a backpacker.

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

Prep Blog Review: 100+ Gardening Secrets Revealed

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Gardening is a fun, healthy and rewarding activity, but in a survival situation, knowing how to grow your own food is a necessity. In a post-disaster world, having a resource of fresh food will make the difference between a healthy meal and starving.

For this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered four articles where you can find more than 100 gardening secrets you can start following right now whether you are an experienced gardener or you’ve just begun growing your food.

  1. 101 Gardening Secrets the Experts Never Tell You

“A well-tended 400 square foot garden will feed a family of four.

The trick is planning, planting, tending, and harvesting that garden right.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know to maximize your garden’s production, everything the experts don’t tell you!

How to Grow from Seeds

I like to use natural topsoil to start my garden seedlings in. I usually don’t use potting soil because it generally does not produce the results I want.

I fill a large, deep baking pan with top soil and bake it for thirty minutes at 350 degrees.

This sanitizes the soil and ensures that no unwanted weeds or grass will come up in your soil. I usually start on this project in the winter and I fill up a couple of large plastic barrels with lids with the sanitized soil.”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

  1. Growing and Drying Your Own Herbs

“As a new gardener, I often found the task of growing prize winning tomatoes and succulent melons very daunting. Can I say succulent melons here? Get your head out of the gutter!

Gardening has never come naturally to me. But I learn and grow each and every year.

I finally began to master tomatoes by the third year of gardening. But I’ve still never mastered the green bean.

It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re gardening, but I’ve found one thing that I can never kill.

I suppose I could if I drenched it in chemicals, but ultimately, they’re very forgiving.

What is it, you ask? Why, herbs, of course!”

Read more on The Fewell Homestead.

  1. How to Make Compost with Worms

“Vermicomposting (aka worm composting) is a great way to rapidly compost your food waste.

They are hugely efficient at breaking this waste down into high quality compost.

A worm composting system is easy to build from scratch or you can choose an excellent commercial vermicomposting system.

The heart of the system is the worm bin.

This is basically the home for the worms.

It is also where they will work their magic – turning your waste into great worm castings.

A good vermiculture bin has several important components.”

Read more on The Weekend Prepper.

  1. Unbelievable Hydrogen Peroxide Uses in Garden You Should Know

“Is it possible? Are there Hydrogen Peroxide Uses in the garden?

Well, yes, it can be useful! Read on to find out how.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has an extra oxygen atom than Water (H2O), this extra oxygen atom breaks down and the molecule of water releases from this separately.

It is this extra oxygen atom that makes the hydrogen peroxide so useful.

The Hydrogen peroxide is used in cleaning, bleaching, sterilizing, as a disinfectant etc. but it can also be used in horticulture.

In simple words, Hydrogen Peroxide acts as an oxygen supplement for plants (beneficial if used in low strength).

It works by releasing oxygen and it also aerates the soil.”

Read more on Balcony Garden Web.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

9 Ways To Disinfect Wounds In A Survival Situation

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Getting wounded when you have no access to professional medical care and equipment can turn ugly quickly, so it’s important that you take care if it immediately and continue wound care until it’s healed well enough that infection is no longer a danger.

The most critical part after you stop the bleeding is getting the wound clean of debris and bacteria. That’s probably the crummiest part of it, especially for the person who has the wound, but it’s essential to get it clean right away so that your body can start repairing itself.

Keeping it clean throughout the healing process is critical, too, but it’s this first cleaning that will set the tone for your healing. Do it right. In order to make sure that your wound is clean, you’ll need some form of antiseptic, bandages, poultice or salve, clean cloths, and possibly tweezers to remove debris.

The antiseptic is probably the most important ingredient after debris removal because it’s going to kill any bacteria and other bugs that will hinder the healing process, or worse – cause infection. It doesn’t take long for infections to go septic – enter your bloodstream – and if that happens, you’re in serious trouble. That will literally kill you if you don’t have antibiotics.

So. Get it clean. Here are some different antiseptics, how they work, and how to use them.

Water

If you have absolutely nothing else, water will have to do. For that matter, clean water is what you should use to initially clean the wound before using antiseptic. The problem is that if the water isn’t sterile, it can add bacteria to the wound and hurt you way worse than it will help. Simply using water from a lake or pond – or for that matter, rainwater – is a terrible idea.

To prepare water that isn’t straight from a sealed bottle to be clean enough to clean a wound, you need to:

  • Filter it if it has any type of debris in it at all
  • Sterilize it by boiling or by adding 1 part bleach to ten parts water. It wouldn’t hurt to do both. As a matter of fact, bleach kills 99.9 percent of germs. That’s about as close as you can get to perfect.
  • If you’re going to boil it, keep it at a rolling boil for at least a minute, or 3 minutes if you’re above 1000 feet above sea level.
  • Let it cool, but use it or bottle it in sterile bottles immediately after to prevent bacterial invasion.

You can clean a wound with water by pouring it over the wound and allowing the water to wash away the debris. If you couldn’t care for the wound immediately, you can soak the wound for a few minutes to loosen the dried blood and debris, then irrigate with water. If necessary, use a clean, sterile cloth to gently wipe away debris, and irrigate again after. Repeat until the wound is clean.

If you have absolutely no antibacterial agent to use, be extra vigilant about washing with water then bandage according to the wound type.

Gunpowder

In the 19th century, the doctors used to pour gunpowder into the wound and set it on fire. Burning gunpowder destroys impurities, and stops the bleeding. You probably know what I mean if you watched Rambo 3, where John Rambo has to find a way to heal his shrapnel wound.

Video first seen on Christian Sansone

But you have to be aware we’re talking about an extreme solution: if you use this method, you will cause a lot of pain and ugly scarring.

Also, as dr. Radu Scurtu says in his medical guide “Survival M.D.” you don’t just close off the blood vessel but also the muscle, causing an extra burn which can become infected.

Antiseptics

Now that you have it clean, it’s time to apply the antiseptic. There are many different types that are effective, but you need to have at least one kind on hand at all times. We’re going to talk about some standard ones, but also some that you may not think of.

Sugar

Have you heard of this? Most people haven’t, but it’s been a practice for centuries. I checked the NCBI thinking that it was possibly a snake oil situation. It’s not. Sugar helps lower the pH of the wound, which inhibits bacterial growth. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, pulls microphages (your body’s natural little bacteria eaters) to the surface, and promotes the growth of new tissue. Go figure. Carry a sugar packet.

Povidone Iodine (brand name Betadine)

The bottom line is that it may sting like crazy, but betadine is the bomb when it comes to killing what may ail ya in a wound. It’s an antibiotic, antiviral, and antiseptic and kills on contact. Since some of you may possibly consider using it to purify your water, you’re getting more bang for your buck since you can use it to clean wounds and surfaces, too. That’s right. Hospitals use it to sterilize surfaces because it’s so effective.

Sugardine

If you’ve been around farm animals, you’ve likely heard of sugardine. It’s a mixture of 1 part povidone iodine to 3 parts sugar mixed to make a paste to use on a wound. It’s one of the most effective antiseptics around and promotes healing, too. Sugar and iodine work well because sugar is obviously too dry to adhere to the wound effectively and iodine is too runny. Mix them together to make a paste, and you’ve got a good recipe that combines all of the benefits of both ingredients.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Ouch. You’ve heard about using this for wound care as a kid. As a matter of fact, you’ve probably run screaming from the house when you saw the bottle. Alcohol is a decent antiseptic because it kills bacteria, viruses and fungi by denaturing their proteins, rendering them useless.

However, alcohol can’t kill bacterial spores. That means it’s not an effective method of sterilization but it still works well as a skin and hard surface antiseptic. It needs to be at a concentration of between 60 and 90 percent.

Liquor

You see it all the time in westerns – the wounded cowboy is biting down on a piece of leather and somebody is pouring his whiskey or moonshine (yowza) into his wound to clean it. But does it work. Actually, the answer is yes. It needs to be between 120 and 180 proof to be most effective.

You should know though, that many studies show that ethyl alcohol, the alcohol in liquor, doesn’t kill some bacteria, including Clostridium, the bacteria responsible for tetanus, botulism, and gas gangrene. Still it kills most others, though it works slower than isopropyl alcohol.

So, if you’ve got the vodka or the whiskey and a wound that needs cleaning, bite down on the strop and pour it on. Since it has other uses such as making tinctures and drinking, it’s a good thing to have around.

Mouthwash

That antiseptic mouthwash that you have in the cabinet is acceptable for use as an antiseptic because of the high concentrations of alcohol and chlorhexidine. The latter, unlike alcohol, does kill spores and is considered both a germicidal and a disinfectant, so it’s a good combination.

Honey

For centuries honey has been used as an antiseptic and research backs it up. Honey is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. Make sure your wound is clean and you will definitely need to cover the it after putting honey on it. Otherwise, you’re a walking debris magnet.

Honey is also one of the items on this list that you can “grow” yourself, so you’d never have to worry about running out.

Peroxide – NOT

We all have it in our medicine cabinets. My mom was a nurse (a very smart one), so I was taught growing up that peroxide wasn’t any good as an antibacterial but was helpful in bubbling up and helping get rid of debris in the wound. That’s a fact. Research shows that it doesn’t retard growth, but it doesn’t kill bacteria, either.

So, it’s good to keep on hand to “bubble out the dirt” as Mom used to say, but you need to follow it up with a good antiseptic.

Disinfecting a wound as soon as possible and keeping it disinfected while it’s healing is the best way to prevent infection and promote healing. Especially in a survival situation where you may not have access to hospitals or antibiotics, preventing infection is critical to staying alive. Also, know your first aid!

Remember that knowledge is the only doctor that can save you when there is no medical help around you.

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Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2956799/

The Five Best Places To Bug Out In The USA

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I don’t care who you are or where you live, bugging out is one of the most complex scenarios for any prepper.

The huge number of factors that you have to consider, prepare for and execute in an effective bug out make bugging out a logistical and organizational nightmare.

More, these factors tend to change as times goes by, due to social and political issues that impact the natural resources and landscape in different areas of our country. 

Nevertheless, anyone who knows survival and preparedness will tell you that you need a good bug out plan in place, even if your Plan A is to bug in, sheltering in place in your home.

The first and possibly biggest problem that has to be considered is where to bug out to. You really can’t do any of the other parts of your plan, until you decide where you’re going. Nor can you build a shelter, stockpile supplies or even make an accurate list of what equipment you’ll need, without having that one detail figured out.

Finding a good bug out location isn’t easy. A lot depends on the type of disaster you’re going to have to face. Another huge factor is where you live. Your bug out location needs to be far enough away from your home, so as to not get caught in the same disaster your home is caught in, while being close enough that you actually have a chance of getting there.

This is easier in some parts of the country, than it is in others. Generally speaking, it’s going to be easier to find a bug out location and develop a bug out plan, if you live in one of the less populated states.

The closer you are to the big cities, especially in the high population areas of the country, the harder you will find it to build yourself a bug out plan, with a survival shelter that is isolated enough to protect you from any marauders sweeping the countryside, looking for food and anything else they can get.

Those marauders are the biggest reason to have a bug out plan, with an isolated survival shelter. You can survive many things by sheltering in place, but when it comes down to it, the worst thing you could possibly face is a concerted attack on your home. That is the biggest trigger for bugging out.

Click here to discover how our ancestors survived during harsh times!

Requirements for a Bug Out Shelter

Regardless of what you’re bugging out from or where you’re bugging out to, there are some requirements that any bug out shelter needs. While there may be many different ways of meeting these requirements, finding the ideal location will be narrowed down by your personal situation. Where you live and how well you can get out of Dodge will be the biggest considerations.

Distance

As I’ve just mentioned, you want to be far enough away from home, that whatever disaster causes you to bug out, won’t hit your survival retreat. At the same time, you don’t want your retreat to be so far away, that you can’t get there. A retreat that’s 500 miles away from your home might be great, if you can get there. But if you can’t, all it’s going to do is give you reason to bemoan your choice.

You’ll want to be able to get there on one tank of gas. But you’ve got to consider that in any bug out situation, you’re likely to have traffic problems to contend with. So, you won’t get as far as you normally would on a tank of gas. Therefore, you should keep extra gas on hand, ready to take with you when you bug out.

Just recently Oroville, in Northern California was evacuated due to the risk of the dam’s emergency spillway failing. Since most of the people weren’t preppers, the bug out went just like everyone has said they will, with long lines of traffic creeping along the highway, gas stations out of gas, and people abandoning their cars when their tanks ran dry. You’ve got to make sure you’re not one of those people.

Defensibility

If you’re bugging out because of the aforementioned marauders, you need to take into consideration that you might have to defend your survival retreat. The more difficult the retreat is to access, with the more obstacles in any invader’s way, the better.

At the same time, you’ll need good defensive positions for your family or survival team, with good routes of escape, should that become necessary. While you probably won’t want to abandon your survival retreat unless absolutely necessary, it’s better to do that when needed, than it is to die defending it.

Concealability

An important factor in defending your retreat is keeping people from finding it. A log cabin sitting on the open prairie isn’t very well hidden; but one in the woods can be. Does the location you’re looking at give you the ability to hide your retreat, so that people aren’t likely to find it?

You need to look at this from both short and long distance. Some locations may be hard to see up close, but highly visible from the opposite mountainside. Others will be invisible from a distance, but once you get close, they are obvious. Proper planning and a good location will help you with this.

Of course, a lot has to do with how you build your shelter. If you’re going to build a big fancy log cabin on the side of a lake, with its own dock and an entire wall of glass, you’re going to have trouble hiding it. Going underground helps, as an underground shelter or bunker is harder to see. Even building an underground home, cut into the hillside, makes it hard for others to find you.

Resources

This is probably the single, most important item on the list. If you’re bugging out from home, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to need to be away for a while, maybe even permanently. No matter how much you stockpile, eventually you’ll need to live off the land. Does the location give you that possibility.

More than anything, this means having access to a good water source, fuel for the fire and game that you can hunt. But the soil matters too, as you’ll probably end up planting a garden to augment your food. Building materials may be important as well, especially if you can’t build your long-term shelter ahead of time.

Population

By definition, a survival shelter just about has to be in a low population area. That’s necessary for concealability, defensibility and resources. The more isolated the location, the better.

So a good way to start your search is to look at maps and define low population areas that are reasonably close to your home. Go and visit those areas, to see how well they meet the other needs for survival. When you find those that do, you can start looking for property that might be available.

Nuclear Risk

While the Cold War is long gone, with the thousands of nuclear-tipped missiles that the United States and Soviet Union had ready to launch, the nuclear threat has not gone away. Actually, it’s increased in recent times, with unstable nations joining the club of the nuclear capable. The risk of a nuclear strike, especially by EMP, is higher than it has been in decades, and it looks like it’s going to continue going up.

But a country doesn’t even need to own nuclear weapons in order to create a nuclear strike, all they need are good hackers. Every nuclear power plant in the world is controlled by computers, and most of those are tied into the internet in some way. Regardless of how good the security is, someone can hack it.

Our nuclear power plants have already been “tickled” by hackers, searching out their defenses. There have even been cases where one power plant or another was taken over and controlled remotely. This is extremely dangerous, as all it would take to create a nuclear disaster is for someone who hacked in to bypass the safeguards and let the reactor go wild.

Then there’s the risk of reactors being damaged by natural disasters. We’ve all head of Japan’s Fukushima reactor and how it’s spilling tons of contaminated waste into the Pacific Ocean per day. That sort of thing can happen anywhere, especially with aged reactors, which we’ve got our share of.

Affordability

Finally, you’ve got to look at what your budget will allow you to do. It won’t do you the least bit of good to buy a piece of property to use as a survival shelter, and then lose it, because you can’t make the payments. Don’t assume that whatever disaster you face that causes you to bug out will also make it possible for you to stop making payments. Some disasters might cause that, but others won’t.

Perhaps the worst thing that could happen to any prepper is to have their home or survival shelter foreclosed upon. Yet, if you do something that’s beyond your budget, that’s a very real possibility.

On to the Best Areas

The criteria I just listed actually narrow down the possible places where you or I can have a survival retreat considerably. There are large parts of the country which are just not going to work. While they might be good in one regard, they would be totally ineffective in others.

Take the Southwest, for example. There are many places in West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada which are isolated and defendable, with very little nuclear risk. But those areas don’t have much water either. Unless you can find a place in the Southwest and can put in a solar powered well, your chances of effectively creating a survival retreat are minimal.

Other parts of the country just have too much population. Much of the Northeast and the West Coast fall into this category, although there are some areas that are more isolated. Even the most populated states have places you can hide, you just need to find them.

1.      The Rocky Mountains

Whenever I think of bugging out or even owning a cabin in the woods, I think of the Rocky Mountains.

The fact that I grew up at the foot of the Rockies, in Colorado, may have something to do with that.

There’s a rugged romanticism associated with the Rockies, which were the home of Jim Bridger, Kit Carson and many other mountain men, long before ranchers and miners moved in and took over.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the Colorado Rockies through the years.

Today, much of the property is owned by somebody or other and what isn’t privately owned is owned by the government.

Nevertheless, there are many places where you can go and not see another person for miles around. Game is plentiful, there’s water in abundance and plenty of wood for building and a fire.

For that matter, many of the mountain communities would make good places to bug out to, especially if you owned a “cabin” or vacation home in one of them. If you could spend enough time there to become a familiar face, then when the time came to bug out, the community would accept you readily.

The nuclear threat in the mountains would be negligent, although Denver has been a big target for years. But then, if you were going to hide out in the mountains, it probably wouldn’t be near Denver anyway.

The only problem with the Rockies is price. Land in the mountains is expensive. But there’s always the possibility of using public land, bugging out to a state park or national forest. While you couldn’t build a cabin there ahead of time, you could probably cache some supplies by burying them.

2.      The Appalachian Mountains

Not as isolated as the Rockies, the Appalachian Mountains are an excellent place to bug out to, especially in West Virginia, Kentucky and the western part of Tennessee.

Many of the people who live in those mountains are survivalist types anyway, who hunt, fish and keep their long guns in the back window of their pickup trucks.

There are actually areas in the Appalachians which are being developed as survival communities.

By developed, I mean that someone has broken up a large tract of land into ten acre lots and is selling it to people who want to build a survival retreat.

Since the area would be populated by like-minded people, there’s a good chance that they would band together to help each other out.

Resources shouldn’t be a problem, with these mountainous areas being just about as good as the Rockies.

Being closer to populated areas will also make it easier to buy the supplies and materials that you need for establishing your survival retreat.

For those who live in the eastern part of the United States, going into the Appalachians is the easiest way to get to an isolated area.

There aren’t too many other areas east of the Mississippi which will offer you as much privacy in a wooded mountain area.

3.      The Northwest

When I’m saying the Northwest, I’m not talking about the Pacific Northwest. While Washington and Oregon are beautiful states, they’re also blue states.

That means that you’re more likely to run into government interference and restrictive gun laws. Rather, I’m referring to the states of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and the Dakotas. These are some of the least populated parts of our country, making them ideal places to survive any social unrest.

There are very few nuclear sites in these states, although there were a fair number of nuclear silos dug into the countryside during the Cold War. Some of those are available and are being converted to survival bunkers. While you might not want to build million dollar survival condos for the wealthy, a silo or control bunker still makes a great survival retreat.

The low population of these states means that you’re unlikely to have problems with marauders or other two-legged vermin. Hunting and fishing are common, with game being plentiful. Actually, this area is one of the few places in the country where I’d say that living off the land is a very real possibility.

4.      The Gulf Coast

The Gulf Coast states, especially Louisiana and Mississippi are another part of the county where the gun culture is strong, with many people who hunt and fish on a regular basis.

If nothing else, you could always hunt alligator to eat. They’re a bit hard to skin, but the meat is good, especially when cooked Cajun style.

Getting close to the Gulf Coast has other advantages in the food department as well. Much of the world feeds itself from the world’s oceans.

That’s another important source of food to consider as part of your survival plans.

Adding a boat to your gear could make it very easy for you to survive.

For that matter, why not bug out onto a boat and live in the Gulf?

While salt water is not drinkable, it can be made drinkable by distillation.

All you’d need to do is build a still or even a solar still. Distilled water is the purest water you can find.

So, you could get both your food and your water from the Gulf.

5.      Parts of Texas

While Texas poses its own challenges for survival, the fierce independence of Texans make it an attractive state to bug out to. There’s lots of open country available and the state is known for not putting up with any nonsense from troublemakers.

Remember the attempted Muslim attack on the Mohammed art show in Garland, Texas, shortly after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France? Those attackers didn’t get more than a few feet from their car, before they were cut down. Had the people in France been Texans, things would have gone differently.

The big problem with Texas is water. Unless you happen to be fortunate enough to buy property with water on it, you’d better plan on putting in a well, and it might have to be a rather deep one at that. But if you can get a well in, the land is good for survival, with a lot of game. You could live for years on the feral hogs in some parts of the state. They breed so quickly that ranchers can’t keep their numbers down.

The other problem is building material. You’re probably not going to find enough tall trees to build a log cabin. That’s why our ancestors built with adobe in the Old West times. But don’t worry, homes made of adobe can last for over 100 years, much longer than the typical log cabin.

From building a shelter to orientation, there are so many survival skills you can learn from our ancestors who wandered the American lands hundreds of years ago.

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia. 

Six Things Every Prepper Should Do With Arduino

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Over the years, I’ve given a lot of thought to just how much I should try to avoid modern electronic devices when it comes to prepping. I have also sought, wherever possible, to end or reduce reliance on electricity and anything else that requires a major social or commercial effort.

There are some devices that I feel cannot be done away with, at least in the final stages of a major social collapse and during the first few years after.

In this case, I refer to Arduino computer controllers. These small devices are very easy to customize and can be used to increase your odds of survival.

Arduino is a combination of mini, solid state computers housed on a circuit board, and the programming required to make them work

For preppers looking for low cost and easy methods to achieve certain goals, Arduino can be an ideal means until you are able to build systems that do not rely on solid state electronics.

Modern Challenges That Complicate Disaster Scenarios

Smog, weird colors in waterways and horrible smells coming from the ground all point to high pollution levels – you go deep into the woods, and still won’t be aware that upstream or upwind pollution has found its way into the plants and animals living there.

If a major disaster occurs, you will wind up coming into contact with even more dangerous forms and levels of pollution.

Here are some sources of toxins that are somewhat contained now and may increase the problems in the aftermath of a disaster:

  • You may not want anything to do with modern electronics, but thieves and other rouges might take advantage of your lack of interest in this area. From radar surveillance to RFID bugs and other devices, criminals can easily figure out where you are, what supplies you have on hand, and how best to get everything of value from you.
  • Once sewage systems aren’t maintained anymore, clogs and pipe collapses, which will make every city street a disaster zone as the sewage backs up into the streets. It will be impossible to live in any home attached to the community sewer system because backups will occur through the pipes.
  • Right now there are thousand to millions of barrels of toxic waste sitting in dumps, underground, and in the oceans. These barrels are leaking and causing massive problems that require millions of dollars to clean up. When nobody will control or limit these problems, there will be no such thing as a safe location to live free of these poisons.
  • Factories, commercial farms and other large scale operations also work with extremely hazardous toxins on a routine basis. These toxins require careful storage and monitoring so the people wouldn’t be exposed to them, but the chemicals may escape their containment, and no one will be available to stop the situation or remedy it. In fact, even if you come across a toxic spill, you won’t have the gear or the skills to restore order.
  • As different chemicals merge together, there will be an increased risk of fires that push smoke filled with toxins into the air, affecting people for miles around at a moment’s notice. While these explosions do happen right now, they are the exception, not the norm that you will see in a major collapse scenario.
  • Given the number of nuclear reactors and the number of people required to keep them safe, it is a given that exposure to nuclear radiation will happen in a large scale after disaster. If you don’t have the means to detect the presence of nuclear radiation, you won’t figure out what is going on, let alone get to a safe location underground.

GREEN ENERGY – Click Here to find out how you can build your own energy generator.

What is Arduino?

Basically, Arduino is a combination of mini, solid state computers housed on a circuit board, and the programming required to make them work. The IC chips used to power Arduino are not as complicated as the ones that control your computer, however they can keep up with some tablets and smart phones on the market today.

Arduino systems are also very easy to customize in the sense that you can buy all kinds of add-ons and accessories that are controlled by the main board.

Here are just a few things you can use Arduino for.

Building Robots

Even though these robots may not be very big, they can be used for all kinds of things. For example, if you need to probe an underground tunnel, you can always send in a wireless camera on wheels.

The Arduino controller will act as an interface between the vehicle and the controller that you use to steer it. The Arduino main board can also receive information sent back from the camera so that you see it onscreen.

Chances are you would be truly amazed at how useful small, wheeled vehicles can be in a survival situation.

From mobile cameras used for scoping out an area to testing for land mines and traps, these robots can be true life savers. You can also use these robots to detect unsafe radiation levels, or to help you avoid toxic ground, air, and water.

Hazardous Air Indicators

Have you ever gone out of your local area, only to discover that other locations smell very different? When you returned home, did you notice that smells that bothered you early on have returned? If so, then you can readily understand why hazardous air indicators are so important.

No matter whether you have become accustomed to the smell of smog, waste dumps, natural gas, or other odors, they indicate the presence of gasses that can be dangerous to your health.

During and after crisis, these air toxins are bound to reach levels that will make you much sicker, or even kill you.

Since you can buy several different kinds of air quality sensors to use with an Arduino controller, you could to detect the presence of, or increase in toxic gas levels. From there, you can take appropriate steps such as wear a respirator mask, or employ other means to clean the air circulating in your home.

Detect Electronic Surveillance

As a prepper, you are always going to be concerned about your privacy or the number of people that know about your stockpile, it’s contents, and where it is. More than a few products you are storing away may have hidden RFID chips in them.

While these may be referred to as innocent inventory tags, there is no telling what those chips can do when activated. If you try to buy a pre-manufactured RFID sniffer, it can cost hundreds of dollars and still miss out on some of the more stealthy chips.

There are many frequency detector accessories that can be purchased to use with Arduino controller boards. Not only will you save money on the RFID detector, you will also be able to customize it to detect both older and newer sensor types.

This can also come in very handy if you need to find out if these kinds of chips are hiding around your property, in your vehicle, or in other areas.

Tools and Knowledge You Need for Building

To build complex systems using Arduino, you need very little in the way of tools and skills. The basic tools you will need include:

  •  a computer (even a tablet or smart phone can be used to transfer programming to the Arduino controller);
  • the actual Arduino controller and accessories (kits that include the main board and accessories run around $30.00 USD);
  • access to Open Source code for the controller and Add-Ons (this is free and accessed through your computer);
  • a solder iron (used very rarely);
  • any attachments that you may want to add to the controller.

For example, if you want to build a robotic camera system, then you might purchase a kit that includes these parts, plus others that can be used to expand on your main application.

Insofar as knowledge required to use and build Arduino systems, you should have at least a basic understanding of electronics.

Even if you don’t know the difference from a resistor or capacitor, however, there are plenty of instruction guides filled with pictures that will tell you exactly what needs to be done.

At the beginning, you will not need to know anything about computer programming because there are many excellent sources of code that can be used with the main controller and any accessories you want to attach to it.

That being said, as you expand into more personalized applications, you may want to learn how to write your own code.

Video first seen on I Like To Make Stuff.

A Caution About Videos and Tutorials

Over the years, I have searched through thousands of videos and tutorials as I worked my way through different DIY tasks. In many cases, I have seen hundreds of videos showing the exact same mistake, yet the “results” shown on the video were astounding.

For me, the most memorable occasion for this is when I decided to build a pen gun. Just about every video and tutorial on this subject showed using a wad of paper to push the spring into position.

What I quickly found out is this would never work for two reasons:

  1. If the wad is big enough and adheres to the walls of the pen enough to hold the spring in place, then the spring will never have enough power to eject it, let alone propel the payload forward.
  2. If you use a wad that is too small, the spring and everything else will come out and fly all over the place. Let’s just say that the vast majority of videos on this topic lead to creating something completely useless.

In other cases, I have found videos that offered contradictory, and often dangerous advice. Unless you actually take the time to build something yourself and test each stage out with care, there is every chance that the advice in these videos will do more harm than good in a time of need.

Now, if you go online and look for videos on Arduino, you will find thousands. While they may give you the basics on how to insert wires and parts into a breadboard, do not assume that the actual wiring details are correct. It is truly best to explore on your own and take the time to check your work carefully.

Even if hundreds of videos show the exact same thing and the exact same results, remember what I learned from the pen gun explorations – no matter how many times something wrong is repeated – it is still wrong and can never be made right.

What to Beware Of

As someone that has worked with building electronic gadgets and programming computers, I tend to be a bit cautious about an interface that combines both.

In particular, I’d hate to plug in my Arduino controller to the USB port on my computer, and not realize that there is a short somewhere in the breadboard attached to the Arduino.

For this reason, I advise taking the following precautions as a beginner, and even later as you become more confident of your skills:

  • Load programs onto the controller without other accessories attached. This will help reduce the risk of shorts and other mistakes being in an electrical connection with the rest of your computer.
  • Use an old tablet or old computer for programming. Try to avoid using anything expensive until you are sure it is safe to do so. Today, there are plenty of tablets that cost less than $100.00 that you can add Arduino related apps to.
  • Never rely on the computer or tablet for powering the Arduino while accessories are attached. Unless you built your own computer and know that the power supply can take the added load, never assume that the computer can handle even a small additional load. After programming, it is best to power the Arduino board with a dedicated power supply. In many cases, this may be as simple as a AAA or 9V battery pack. You can also purchase regulated power supplies that are designed to attach to the Arduino controller board.
  • Follow Basic Safety Precautions – in most cases, you can do more damage to the Arduino controller and accessories than they can do to you. Never handle the controller or accessories without wearing an anti-static grounding strap. It is also important to avoid touching the circuit board itself or any metal parts. Always handle the controller from around the edges. When you set the controller or other parts down, make sure they are not on a surface that can conduct electricity. Finally, always store the controller and parts in a case that will keep it safe and free of moisture and dust.
  • Never combine the controller with parts it isn’t designed to work with. During the process of selecting an Arduino controller, you will find several variations on the market. While most sensors and accessories will work with all boards on the market, others will not. Study the data sheets for the accessories carefully so that you know which boards they will and will not work with.

Six Things Every Prepper Should do With Arduino

When it comes to meeting a wide range of survival needs, Arduino can fit into just about any scenario and make things easier.

Here are six things that you should know how to build and operate.

1. Environmental Pollution Detector System

As mentioned earlier, being able to detect air pollutants and toxins is and will be crucial after crisis. If you suffer from breathing problems, you may be amazed at what a few simple sensors will reveal about why you are sick and how best to get on the road to being well again.

Arduino controllers can also be used to power water pH and and other aspects of water quality. Since water is usually at neutral pH (7.0), levels significantly higher or lower can point to the presence of dangerous toxins.

If you find water that has an unusually acidic or alkaline pH, you can use that information to determine how to clean the water.

This meter can also tell you how effective your methods were. Without a question, if you thought boiling water is the “end all” cure all for water quality problems, seeing the pH skew even more in the unwanted direction will reveal problems with that idea; and may just save your life.

In a similar way, you can use other sensors to test soil quality. This will help you choose the best areas to grow food crops as well as help you figure out which additives will make the soil more suitable for your plants.

Video first seen on The Suburban Hippie Experimentalist

2. Mobile Surveillance Systems

Also mentioned above, there are truly endless ways to use Arduino wheeled robots, cameras, and recording systems for surveillance.

No matter whether you want to know what is happening near a distant fence or even some location within your home these wheeled systems can meet all your needs with ease.

3. RFID Detectors

RFID detectors are absolutely necessary since chips are planted in everything from razor blade packages to children and pets. Knowing where RFIDs are can help you understand all the possible locations where spies can find out where you are and what you are doing.

You can always upgrade the Arduino sensor system for a fairly low price instead of spend hundreds of dollars on pre-fabricated systems that come out in response to newer stealthier RFID technologies.

4. Radios and Receivers

You can build everything from Foxhole radios to transmitter systems, but they may not be as strong as what you can make using an Arduino controller. If you take advantage of the wireless sender and receiver kits, you can also communicate more easily over short distances using much lighter equipment.

Video first seen on David Watts

5. Alarm and Safety Systems

Why should you sit up day and night worry about if thieves are going to get into your campsite? Have you been hoping a deer was going to come your way? There are literally hundred to thousands of ways that alarm systems can be used to enhance safety and survival goals.

With Arduino, you can build all kinds of systems that will generate invisible beams that will alert you to the presence of something you should know about. When combined with wireless signal systems and cameras, you can have real time intelligence about everything going on around you.

6. Nuclear Radiation Detection System

Although often overlooked, nuclear radiation risks are truly going to be much higher regardless of whether nuclear bombs are deployed. While you can always use a Kierney Fallout meter, it never hurts to have a Geiger counter onhand.

You can purchase an add-on for Arduino controllers that will do this job with ease. Remember, if you don’t want to dedicate a controller just to this task, just unplug the sensor from the Arduino controller and use it for some other task!

In fact, you may even decide to use one board for all your prepping tasks until you decide which ones you want to build as permanent applications.

Even though most of your prepping must involve tangibles like food, water, defense, and transport, it may not be a good idea to ignore all forms of electronic devices.

Arduino controllers and their accessories are highly customizable and can be used to help you navigate through a crisis more easily than expected. As you think about each area of your survival plans, consider that these systems may be of far more value than you realized.

Feel free to share other ways your prepping efforts might benefit from using an Arduino interface. I have built several for my own current and prepper based needs and would love to discuss them with those who are interested in learning.

If you are looking for low budget options to bridge the gap to more expensive devices, or ones that don’t rely on electronic devices, Arduino can fill that gap, and may you didn’t even realize existed in your current plans.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

This Is How To Make And Recycle Rubber

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You need a fully functional tire (as opposed to a donut) in the trunk of your vehicle, and you may have gone through the extra expense to get it. Many other people haven’t even thought that far ahead, even this problem alone would lead to endless traffic jams and other problems in times of distress.

And there’s more bad news: even if you take good care of your tires and have a viable spare, there will come a time when all of your existing tires will have to be discarded.

Modern tires actually need to make contact with roads on a regular basis or they will begin to crack and rot. That’s why having the skill of making or refurbishing tires would worth a lot during crisis or after a major collapse.

Rubber is Older than You Think

While Europeans are credited with spreading the use of rubber throughout the world, it was first used by the Maya. They used latex from Hevea trees to coat balls that were used in a game similar to basketball.The latex was mixed with sap from the Ipomoea alba vine to make it less sticky and more durable.

In the 1700’s, French and English explorers discovered that rubber could be used for many other things. “Vulcanization”, which also makes rubber less sticky and more durable was not invented until the 1800’s by Charles Goodyear.

Since latex bearing trees only grew in South America, a great deal of effort went into protecting this monopoly, and it didn’t change until thousands of seeds were smuggled out of Brazil in 1876 by Henry Wickam. The plants that grew from these seeds were eventually used to build enormous rubber plantations in India, Indonesia, Asia, and Africa.

As automobiles became more popular, it became harder to keep up with the demand for rubber. Eventually, scientists found a way to synthesize rubber from petroleum. During WWII, this became a vital source of rubber that was used to keep the war effort moving forward.

Today, most, if not all rubber used in automobile tires is made from petroleum sources. As different nations become more unstable, there is an increased interest in finding plant based sources of rubber.

Russian Dandelions (T. kok-sanghyz) produce a latex that makes rubber almost as good a what you would get from a rubber tree. Milk thistle, or Prickly Lettuce, also produces enough latex to be used in making rubber.

There are also several other plants in the United States and around the world that may be suitable for this purpose, however much work needs to be done to find out which ones work best and how to get the most out of them.

Where to Get the Rubber From

Many preppers feel that it is very important to store away essential building materials such as wood, metal, glass, plastic, and cardboard. How many of them did ever think about storing away rubber, which is also a very important material to have on hand?

If you are building a stockpile of materials, you may find it a bit difficult to find rubber at a place other than Grainger. Rubber that hasn’t been made into some kind of product isn’t available to consumers. Make your own research in the following places, and you may come across limited supplies as they become available:

  • Repurposed materials
  • Public Surplus – if you are interested in used tires, this site may be a good place to start. Check if your local community has abandoned properties or other places where tire dumping is a problem. If you can get ahold of these tires, then you could do something with the rubber from them.
  • Salvex
  • Skycraft Parts and Surplus
  • Surplus Record – If you are part of a large enough prepper community and have plenty of land to work with, then think about building a small rubber factory. This site will give you information about equipment used to make synthetic rubber from petroleum. If you also have land that can be drilled for petroleum, it may be worth your while to think about turning some of it into rubber.

Even if you do not need to make rubber immediately after a major crisis, it could be an important commodity as society rebuilds and regains its capacity to bring people together to achieve goals. If you can produce petroleum and rubber, you and your group will prosper as different groups of people seek to regain the technologies and conveniences that may have been lost due to social collapse.

Never forget that future generations of your family will have to compete, and that will entail having marketable skills and products. As expensive as this equipment may be, it may be a wise investment that will set you and your family further ahead than you realize.

ENERGY SAVING PLAN – Find out how you can save energy following two simple steps! 

Basic Guide for Making Plant Based Rubber

If the Maya could make perfectly good rubber centuries ago, then it may also be possible for preppers to do the same. Making rubber from petroleum will more than likely be a lost skill after a major social collapse occurs.

As long as you have a source of plant based latex, then you should be able to make small as well as large batches of rubber to meet a range of needs. Here are the basic steps:

Step 1

Start off by harvesting latex. While Hevea Trees have to be “tapped” with V shaped slits in the trunk, the process is a bit different for plants.

For example, if you are going to use Milk Thistle, you will need to break open the plant stems to get at the latex, which is a milky white colored substance. If you decide to use dandelions (ideally Russian dandelions), you can get latex from the roots as well as the stems.

Step 2

Once you have collected enough latex, add some water and an acid to the sap. You can use vinegar or other weak acids. The ratios of sap, water, and acid will depend on the amount of latex in the sap as well as the strength of the acid.

For example, if you are using regular or Russian dandelions, you would use 1 part sap to 8 parts water and then enough vinegar to make the latex and water stick to whatever you are using to stir the mixture.

Step 3

Even though rubber made from dandelion will finish to “cure” or dry out on its own, you may still need to add sulfur and heat it to produce a more durable form of rubber. You may also want to try using Ipomoea alba sap to vulcanize the rubber.

Remember, different applications will require different levels of flexibility and durability. You will need to study the different characteristics of each type of rubber you plan to work with, and see what will work best to make them.

Video first seen on DSCDocumentries

When making plant based rubber, remember to start off with small batches and see how the resulting compound holds up over time and across different temperature conditions. Among other things, you will need to assess if the rubber will crack, and how well it will bounce back to its original shape after heavy weights are applied.

Give yourself plenty of time to explore this fascinating topic. Since there is still a great deal of trial and error involved in making rubber from dandelions and other more common plants, it is best to see what others are doing in this field even as you develop your own recipes and methods.

How to Recycle Rubber

Overall, there is a point where you can recycle rubber easily enough, and a level where it is well beyond the technical skills and assets available to most preppers. The complexity associated with fully recycling rubber lies in the process of vulcanization.

Let’s say you want to bake a cake that requires using eggs, flour, and some sugar. Let’s say you sift together the flour and sugar. Even though the sugar and flour are well mixed together, you can still separate them using various means. Once you crack open the eggs, in theory you can still put them back into the shell. To some extent, you can also still retrieve the eggs, sugar, and flour after they are all mixed together. Up until the cake is baked (the heat from baking drives off water and also causes different molecules in the batter to break apart and from bonds with other molecules), it is actually possible to separate out all the ingredients used in it.

In a similar fashion, once latex is treated with sulfur and heat, the molecular structure changes to a point where it cannot be reversed – or at least not reversed with ease.

Over the years, a great deal of effort has been made to see if there is a way to take rubber and turn it back to the latex stage. There is one patent, held by The Goodyear Rubber and Tire Company, on a process that uses high pressure and 2-butanol to reverse vulcanization.

This process is not something that can be done easily enough at the consumer level. Therefore, if you are interested in recycling tires or other rubber materials, you will need to take the existing rubber and use it for some purpose other than simply remaking tires.

3 Tips to Know Which Tires can be Salvaged

Consider a situation where a major catastrophe has made tires unavailable. While you are searching for replacements, you find a landfill and hundreds of tires stacked up. It may take a lot of work to find salvageable tires with a little bit of patience and effort, but you can do it if you keep in mind the following:

  • Tires with cracks in the sidewall and tread area more than likely have dry rot. The tread and sidewalls cannot be restored or reused for making new tires. If the tire is of a size that you need, you could take it apart and use the belts in combination with new rubber that you make from a plant based source. As long as the tire doesn’t show signs of having more than two patches, there is a chance that the inner anatomy of the tire is still intact. Even if you have to recoat the inner structures with more rubber, at least you will have some belts to work with.
  • Avoid tires that were punctured or slashed in the sidewall. If the tire is punctured deep enough, than it might have been discarded because it would not hold air. There are some methods you can use to repair a sidewall, but the tire may fail at a critical moment and cause a very bad accident.
  • Be wary of tires that are patched, even if the patches are less than ¼ inch in diameter and located far enough away from the sidewall.

Video first seen on Tank0923.

There are several different ways to repair punctures in tires. Depending on the size and age of the tire, you may find one that is worth patching even though the former owner chose to discard it. Remember, many people throw away good tires or repairable tires because their vehicle must be inspected and they don’t want to risk it failing. On the other hand, if you really need tires, then you could get some mileage out of them so long as you repair them correctly and drive carefully.

6 Ways to Use Tires for Your Homestead

  • The rubber part of tires can be ground up into a smaller bits that can be added to paving materials.
  • Rubber from tires can be cut into pieces and shaped into everything from shoe soles to waterproofing for containers.
  • When treated with acid, rubber softens and can be shaped into different objects.
  • Rubber products such as tires can also be burned to generate heat. From campfires to operating a steam turbine, you can easily use rubber tires and other products for this purpose, but keep in mind that it might have some health impact.
  • The rubber from tires can also be separated from the steel belt; which can be used to make new tires or for other purposes.
  • Rubber tires can also be used as raised bed planters. This may be especially useful if you plan to grow a garden in an area where water supplies and good soil are limited. In fact, if you want a cheap, easy way to make a multi-level potato planter, just stack up tires as the plants grow, and then harvest in the fall when it is time. Needless to say, if you are looking to hide your plants in open sight, a stack of tires may just look so unappealing no one will bother to look there for edible plants.

Video first seen on Just Az.com productions

Anatomy of an Automobile Tire

Today, there are many different kinds of tires that can be used for the same vehicle. For example, “all weather tires” are different from snow tires, mudders, and ones used for racing. Regardless of the tire type, they all have the same basic parts, however these parts may be designed a bit differently to accommodate different driving conditions.

Even though each layer of a tire also has many parts, here are the most basic ones you need to know about:

  • Treads – this is the outermost layer of the tire. It is the part that grips the road and wears out from friction with the road. The treads may also have sipes, or smaller grooves that increase traction when the tires are moving over ice, water, sand, and snow.
  • Grooves – these are also found in the outermost layer of the tire. Grooves are the long, deep channels cut into the tire. They help the tire to shed water and moisture so that it doesn’t clog up the treads.
  • Sidewall – this is the side of the tire that covers the other inner parts. It serves to protect and keep them clean and dry.
  • Belts – even though rubber bounces back to its original shape, it is not very strong. Without belts of nylon, steel, and even fiberglass, the tire would not maintain its shape very well. Depending on the tire, it may have several belts organized into layers just under the treads. When reclaiming rubber for other purposes, you will also be separating out these belts so that they can be used to make more tires, or for some other purpose.
  • Inner liner – separates the belt layer from the plies. It is also meant to act as a barrier to air so that it cannot escape into the belts, sidewall, and treads.
  • Plies – this part is what gives the tire most of its strength, and also the layer that holds air in. Typically, this layer is made up of materials that are organized so that the fiber runs across the tire instead of around it (the plies are perpendicular to the treads).
  • Bead – this is a metal cable coated in rubber that runs all the way around the inner rim of the tire. It is meant to keep the tire from slipping once it is mounted on a rim.

Why to Make Your Own Tires from Scratch

If you look at a modern tire factory, you may feel like it is impossible to make tires on your own. The task is going to be a bit difficult, but do not give up on researching and looking into automobile history to see how tires were made before robots and large factory machines were used.

Even if the tires you make aren’t as good, or don’t last as long as ones made in a modern factory, they may still be of use for short trips or keeping a tractor up and running.

Once you know how to make rubber and feel confident in your skills, the next step will be to see if you can recognize which tires can be retreated, and then figure out how to design your own tires and build them from scratch.

Retreading Tires

Not so long ago, retreading tires was seen as something dangerous and to be avoided at all cost. In many countries, including the United States, retreads are seen as a way to keep tires out of the landfill, and also as a means of cutting costs associated with vehicle maintenance.

As a prepper, you won’t have a modern retread factory or some of the more complex tools to work with. Nevertheless, if you look at retread factories in other places in the world, you can get some ideas about substitute tools, and then also figure out how to make the safest and most durable retreads possible.

Regardless of the factory type or situation, retreading requires the following basic steps:

  • Start off by inspecting the tire to check for signs of dry rot, punctures, slashes, and anything else that might have damaged the internal structures of the tire or its sidewalls.
  • If the tire is basically sound, strip off the treads. You will still need to leave some rubber behind for new material to adhere to.
  • Make sure the new surface is perfectly clean and ready to accept new rubber. If you see signs of belts showing through, or other damage, repair these issues first.
  • Apply rubber to the ground down surface of the tire. You may need to do this in several layers.
  • Next, apply the treads. These should be pre-made from rubber. If you know how to make rubber, then you can also use basic casting methods to produce strips of rubber treads that can be used for retreading.
  • Use heat and pressure to finish binding all the tire parts together.
  • Check the tire again for signs of holes, damage, or other problems.
  • Finally, apply a coat of paint or some other sealant to complete the tire.
  • Once the tire is dry, it should be ready to use. Make sure that you test the tire out in a safe area after mounting it to the rim. Do not forget to balance the tires and make sure that they are inflated properly.

As you can see, there is more to making rubber and using it for tires than you may have realized.

At the same time, tires and many other rubber products are integrated into almost every area of life. Since it is not always possible to replace rubber items with plastic ones, knowing how to make rubber and use it for a variety of purposes will help you a lot.

From fixing your own tires to bartering these services, you will always have something of value no matter what is going on in the human world around you.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Resources:

http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Rubber_from_Dandelions#Temperate_Climate_Plants_that_Produce_Latex_and_an_Evaluation_of_their_Practical_and_Ecological_Use_in_Rubber_Making.

https://phys.org/news/2015-06-natural-rubber-dandelions.html

http://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com/den-rolled-rubber-cheap-surplus-salvage/

http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/browse/cataucs?catid=2503

http://www.scienceprojectideas.co.uk/make-rubber-band-from-dandelion.html

https://www.google.com/patents/US5891926

How To Flag And Tag Your Home For FEMA

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“We are from the government and we are here to help you!” – these words inspire distrust in many Americans. I know because I have seen peoples’ reactions as I have uttered them trying to help them in emergencies.

Don’t want FEMA to kick your door in? Want to be a good citizen and do your part in an emergency? Download this article as a .pdf, print it and put it in a sheet protector and store it with supplies to tag and flag your home. It will help you a lot.

If you have seen pictures of the aftermath of a major disaster, you probably noticed cryptic markings on homes and buildings. Some are from insurance adjusters, some are made by search and rescue personnel and others are graffiti, warnings to looters or pleas for aid.

This article will help you understand search and rescue tagging methods and symbols and teach you how to flag your own home.

Why Flagging Your Home?

There are a number of reasons you may want to learn about tagging and flagging structures:

  • Avoid duplication of effort – thereby speeding rescue and recovery efforts.
  • Speed rescue effort – thereby saving lives and property.
  • Prevent property damage – I’m not saying this is the best way to accomplish this goal under all circumstances, but if you are able to effectively communicate that there are no victims trapped in your home and it poses no danger to surrounding property, then there is less reason for honest responders to break into your home.
  • OPSEC (Operational Security) – prevent others from seeing what resources you have and possibly decide to commandeer them or return with armed officers to do so. You might think, “How selfish!” But there is a difference between voluntarily sharing and being compelled to share, especially if it creates undue hardship or endangers loved ones. Many people consider it a reasonable precaution not put all their cards on the the table.
  • Situational awareness – understanding the markings helps you understand.

Find out more on how to improve your layered home defense to survive disaster! 

In the US, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) partners with a number of both professional and volunteer emergency management organizations under a program known as the Citizen Corps. These organizations offer training and service opportunities to citizens to better prepare their communities for emergencies too large for their first response infrastructure to handle.

Hurricane Katrina exposed many obstacles to communication and joint operations between agencies and departments. All first responders at all levels of government now follow a single SOP (Standard Operations or Operating Procedure) framework called the ICS (Incident Command System) to improve communication and standardize training.

In cities that already have a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) or block captain program, groups of homes (typically 8-10) are organized into blocks with a block captain and assistant or co-captains checking on each block and reporting number of reds and greens to the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) which passes them up the chain to the municipality.

If your municipality does not have CERT yet, it will, but the pace at which the program is adopted varies with public perception of municipal risk and exposure to catastrophe. The residents of each home (or the block captains if residents do not flag their own home) flag the home Green (no assistance needed) or Red (assistance needed.) This is accomplished by placing a green or red marker (typically green or red construction paper inside a sheet protector or several feet of green or red flagging tape) to the side of the front door, as long as it is visible from the street.

If the front door is not visible from the street, the flag is placed in a conspicuous place that is visible from the street. Flagging or tagging a door right on the doors should be avoided because the marking will not be visible when the door is open.

If homes are not flagged, block captains will attempt to size up the situation without entering the home and flag it, but if they suspect (or even imagine) that someone may need help, emergency workers will likely gain entry into your home when they are available to do so.

Tools to Flag Your Home

  • Public Alert Certified All Hazard Radio – without it, you may sleep right through the all-important first hours of many types of emergencies.
  • Headlamp – the power may be out.
  • Turnout bag – a bag containing everything you need to dress quickly and don PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in an emergency.
  • Sheets of red & green construction paper – stored in a plastic sheet protector with a copy of this article. If you do not have this on hand, a piece of cloth or several feet of flagging tape or anything conspicuously so colored will do.
  • Duct tape – to affix flag.
  • Non-sparking gas wrench – large non-sparking crescent wrench or other tool to shut off gas if necessary. Steel wrenches can spark, resulting in a gas explosion. Aluminum is a more effective material for this application.
  • Water shutoff tool or key – to turn off water main if necessary.
  • First aid/trauma kit – To administer first aid if necessary.
  • Smoke/Gas/Carbon Dioxide alarm
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Non-contact voltage tick meter – An inexpensive tool to discover live electrical lines without touching them.

How To Flag Your Home

Self-assess and Don PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

Make sure you are not seriously injured. The rescuer is the most important person in an emergency. Not only will you not be able to help anyone else if you become a casualty, but you will further strain emergency response resources that are already likely overtaxed.

If you jump out of bed and onto glass without your boots on, you are not off to a good start.

Establish Situational Awareness

Hopefully you already have a Public Alert Certified All Hazards Radio. It will issue information and instructions that will aid you in making decisions that will save lives. If you do not have one, turn on a NOAA weather radio or tune AM/FM radios to stations issuing emergency information for your area.

These frequencies should be part of your communications plan. Label radios with them. Turn on 2-way radios.

See If Family Members Are Injured or Trapped

Determine whether anyone in the home needs medical attention. If yes, call for help and flag the home red by taping a piece of red construction paper in a sheet protector to the side of your door or someplace visible from the street, and render first aid.

If you are in an apartment, condo or building, tape it on the wall beside your door or entryway where it will be visible to someone walking by. Diagnose and treat the three killers first: breathing/airway, bleeding and shock. Once the patient is stable or you have done all you can do, proceed to the next step.

Rescue personnel will go to flagged homes first if communications are down or if the number of injured exceeds their capacity to treat immediately.

If no one is injured, tag your home green instead of red and proceed to the next step. If injuries are minor, treat them and proceed to the next step. If family is trapped, flag the home red and rescue the most lightly trapped individuals first so they can help extricate more heavily trapped individuals. Use cribbing to safely extricate those within your ability and know when to go get more help.

Walk-around

Walk a complete circle around your home, checking for gas, water, live electrical lines, small fires and structural damage.

  • Gas – if you smell gas, turn it off at the meter by turning the valve 1/4 turn in a clockwise direction. The gas company must run a check and turn it back on.
  • Electrical – in the event of an electrical fire, short or gas leak, turn off main breaker in fuse box.
  • Water – if a water pipe is broken, you will want to turn off water to your home until you can repair it to prevent flooding and water damage.
  • Fire – if you hear, see or smell fire, size them up before attempting to fight them. Extinguish small fires within your ability with a buddy if they are smaller than a kitchen trash can and you have the equipment to safely do so. For larger fires, evacuate and call for help.
  • Structural Damage – if there are dangerous power lines, gas lines, water lines, fires, sunken ground, impaired access, down trees or damage to the structure of the home, it may not be safe to inhabit. Tape off any hazards to prevent injury if it is safe to make repairs, but understand that emergency workers may deem your home inhabitable and ask (force if necessary) you to relocate.

This is one reason why everyone should have an evacuation or bug out plan, supplies cached off-site, financial reserves and places to stay. How will you “shelter in place” if your home is leveled?

Be able to shelter in place or evacuate as the situation dictate. It’s not the strong who survive, but the adaptable. If you cannot relocate for a time, your contingency plan is less-effective. Make it more effective.

How to Tagg Your Home

Whereas home owners or Block Captains flag their homes red or green to indicate whether or not they are in need of assistance, tagging of structures is typically done by SAR (Search and Rescue) Teams, organizing pertinent information around an “X” symbol. They will typically tag with contrasting colors.

Just as with flagging, tagging is done to side of the door, instead of on it, so the tag will be visible even if the door is closed.

Tools to Tag Your Home

  • This article – in a plastic sheet protector, for further reading and knowledge.
  • Marking instruments – choose colors that contrast with your home.
    • sidewalk chalk
    • lumber crayons
    • XL paint markers or spray paint
    • green and red flagging tape
    • yellow caution flagging tape
  • Camera or notebook & pencil – optional
  • Binoculars – optional.

Finally, let’s see what to do to rag you home properly.

Observe Markings

If other structures in your area have already been marked, take note. You may want to sketch what you see or snap a digital photo to help you duplicate the markings. Depending on why you are marking and what you are trying to accomplish, this may be helpful.

But SAR Teams do not always follow SOP. After flooding from a hurricane, the SAR Team flagged all the homes by tying Yellow Caution or Crime Scene Tape to the door knobs. This should never happen because you can’t see the flag when the door is open.

Things don’t always go as planned in emergencies. Maybe some of their gear didn’t arrive and they borrow crime scene tape form local law enforcement, who knows, but that’s why it’s important that you observe they are tagging if possible.

  • Marking Instrument(s) – What are they using to mark structures? What colors?
  • Time – Are they writing the time or time and date, and in what format?
  • Team Initials – Who is doing the marking? Take note of the initials.

Diagonal Slash

Upon entry, the SAR (Search & Rescue) Team makes a diagonal slash to communicate that searchers are inside and a search is in progress. This prevents duplication of effort and alerts others to their location, should they become trapped…

“X”

Upon completion of a search and extrication and removal of all victims, the SAR Team makes a second diagonal slash, completing an “X” communicating that the search of the structure is complete and that both the victims and searchers are safely out.

Time

The SAR Team writes the time operations cease in the structure (and possibly the date) in the 12:00 quadrant of the “X”.

Actions Taken

The 3:00 quadrant of the “X” is for actions taken that need to be communicated to the homeowner such as: “Gas Off” “Elec Off” “Water Off”

Unit/Team Initials

The 9:00 quadrant of the “X” is where the team or unit is identified by its initials.

Even if you flag with the wrong material, SAR workers will understand the markings. What they conclude upon reading it will be dependent on a host of factors. They may decide it was a local team or the residence belongs to a first responder.

Either way, they were going to gain forcible entry to your home before they saw the markings and no one answers when they knock. If they see the markings, they may pass you by, especially if they think it was done by another worker on their team.

Interested in keeping you and your family safe? Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

Resources:

https://www.fema.gov/

https://www.dhs.gov/citizen-corps

https://www.fema.gov/incident-command-system-resources

https://www.fema.gov/community-emergency-response-teams

How To Recover Gold And Silver From Scrap

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If you’re reading this article, you’re probably a gold bug, or maybe a gold digger. Either way, you probably don’t know that in 100,000 cellphones there’s about 2.4 kilos of gold to be collected (as in recuperated) by a competent gold digger.

Yes, I know – 100,000 cellphones is quite a lot of old hardware. Besides gold, you’ll also find 25 kilos of silver and more than 900 kilos of copper (that’s almost a metric ton).

Considering the fluctuation in market prices, all that stuff combined makes for a cool quarter million dollars, give or take. The problem is, where on Earth can you get 100,000 cellphones and how can you get the gold out of those darn circuits?

How to Recover Gold from Electronics

Recycling electronics can be a lucrative business provided it’s done on an industrial scale. For regular folk, this kind of enterprise is quite difficult and time consuming, especially if not done nice and proper. Now, if you want to make your own personal scrap fortune, today’s your lucky day, so keep reading, I’m giving pearls here folks!

Besides cellphones, gold and other precious metals can be found in almost all types of electronic circuits, ranging from computer main-boards to processors and what not.

The idea is that instead of throwing your old gear in the garbage, considering that there’s a small amount of gold in all types of circuits, how about putting that gold in your pocket instead of making some scrap metal company rich?

Phones, laptops, cameras and the like are packed full of gold-plated circuit boards, due to the precious metal’s excellent conductibility. Even scanners and printers have silver, gold, copper, and sometimes platinum inside their guts.

Besides being pretty expensive, as in precious, gold is a highly conductive and pliable metal which was used for thousands of years by humans as a highly valuable commodity, as it retains its value better than almost any other commodity.

Until Nixon nixed (pun intended) the Bretton Woods system in 1971, even the US dollar was backed by gold. Since then, the dollar lost a lot of its value, i.e. $1 in 1971 had the same purchasing power as $7 today (official figures), but take a load of this: back then an ounce of gold was $35, now it’s like what, $1200 (it was almost $1900 at some point)?

So, you do the math and ask yourself if scrapping gold from old electronic gear is worth your time and effort. I am digressing – of course it is!

Let’s recap: due to its excellent properties, gold is the material of choice for manufacturing various electronic parts in computers, cellphones and what not.

Removing the gold from scrap parts requires access to various equipment and it’s a pretty complicated process. However, if you’re well-armed with the right tools and knowledge, you can extract, refine, and maybe sell scrap gold, provided you have enough raw materials to extract it from.

As a general rule of thumb, considering that you’ll have to deal with highly corrosive acids, you should perform all these operations outside and always use protective gear, such as gloves, goggles and even a respirator.

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Here’s a short list for starting a gold recovery enterprise:

  • rubber gloves
  • goggles
  • a rubber apron
  • hydrogen peroxide 3% from your local pharmacy
  • muriatic acid 31% (it’s available at hardware stores)
  • methyl hydrate (this is basically 99% methyl alcohol) available at automotive supply stores or hardware stores (it’s used for fuel line antifreeze)
  • a couple of large glass-made containers (a coffee pot would do the trick.
  • a funnel filter (a drip-coffee filter)
  • a stir stick made of plastic or glass
  • a blow torch powerful enough to hard solder
  • an accurate weigh scale (at least to one tenth of a gram)
  • borax
  • clay bowls or anything that has a melting point above gold
  • a measuring cup
  • and of course, a lot of scrap electronics.

The general rule is that you should collect any type of electronic scraps which are prone to contain gold inside, including computer processors, jewellery, gold tooth crowns, and old telephone wiring with an emphasis on outdated electronics, which may contain parts with a higher level of gold than modern ones.

Video first seen on indeedItdoes

In the first step, you must sort the gold into gold-plated parts: circuits which require cleaning, gold fingers, gold plated pins and so forth and so on.

Before working with chemicals, don’t forget to put on your safety gear.

In the second step, you must put the clean circuit boards and the gold fingers  inside the coffee pot. Using a different container, mix one part hydrogen peroxide with  2 parts muriatic acid and add the mixture to the coffee pot until it just covers the gold-containing stuff inside (gold fingers for example).

You’ll have to wait for about a week for the process to complete and don’t forget to stir your concoction on a daily basis.

After 7 days have passed, it’s now time to collect your gold. You’ll see that the acid has darkened and there are flakes of gold floating around inside the coffee pot. If you pour the acid through the coffee filter, the gold flakes will be captured by the filter.

Save the acid though, don’t dump it. The remaining circuit boards/gold fingers must be checked out, the clean parts thrown away, and the uncleaned parts saved for re-dipping.

Now, pour some water through the filter and then flush using methyl hydrate to clean it.

In the next step, you’ll have to add borax to your “mined” gold. Borax works by reducing the melting point of gold from its regular 1063 Celsius. By adding some borax to your cleaned gold flakes, you’ll be able to melt your gold out of the heavy mineral concentrate to salvage it.

Next you’ll have to heat the clay bowl (don’t worry if it splits or cracks) and add borax. When the borax melts, put the gold flakes in too and add more borax, then heat it continuously until you end up with a nice bead of gold. Let it cool and weigh it. There you have it, your own gold from scrap electronics.

That’s one method, the simplest actually.

Here’s an interesting tutorial about the top 10 most valuable computer processors, as in the ones with the most gold inside for recovery by weight counted down.

Video first seen on eWaste Ben

Here’s a detailed hard drive tear-down video tutorial, teaching you how to look for precious metals (gold, silver, palladium and aluminum) inside your old hard drives.

Video first seen on Rob The Plumber

Good luck and scrap hard!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

How to Financially Prepare for Economic Calamity

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We have another guest post. This time from Brittany at Cyberactive Consulting about Financial Preparation. Enjoy! How to Financially Prepare for Economic Calamity Survivalists must prepare for all sorts of situations. One of the most Read More …

The post How to Financially Prepare for Economic Calamity appeared first on Use Your Instincts To Survive.

Prep Blog Review: Homesteading On A Budget

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Whether you are preparing for a disaster, or you just want to be self-reliant, homesteading should be an important part of your prepping plans. And here comes the real challenge – building a sustainable homestead on a budget is everyone’s dream, right?

You don’t have to spend a fortune to start homesteading so this makes the topic for this week’s prep blog review. I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic and I hope you will enjoy them.

  1. 10 Hacks for Homesteading with Almost No Money

“Homesteading is about being self-sufficient and self-reliant. To do this, you need to figure out some hacks to make it easy and simple. This involves adopting better gardening methods, conserving electricity, minimizing wastage, and consuming locally grown food. You can also go a step further and produce your own clothing, craft-work, and other home accessories.

The following are some simple hacks you can adopt:

Leave your Clothes Out to Dry

Forget the dryer. You can still dry your clothes in the outdoors, balcony or rooftop. Light clothes dry within a few hours even in the chilly weather while heavier garments will take longer. Besides saving you high monthly energy bills, this hack leaves your clothes smelling fresh and natural.

Grow Tomatoes Vertically

Having a small space doesn’t mean you can’t farm your own tomatoes. There are some breeds that grow vertically rather than horizontally. Besides taking little space, most of the plant is off the ground and is less-likely to be affected by parasites and diseases. You also use fewer pesticides to take care of it.”

Read more on Plan and Prepared.

  1. 45 Homestead Tools for Off the Grid Living

“Laura Ingalls didn’t have a power drill, but I bet you her life would have been a lot easier if she did. Listen, your homestead isn’t going to collapse and crumble without having every single one of the tools on the list–at least not right away. But over time as weather wears on your roof and rain mucks up your roads, you are certainly going to need some reinforcement. The following list of homestead tools includes just about everything you will need.

Homesteading isn’t a process that happens overnight. Purchase these homestead tools as you need them until you have everything covered. Start taking stock now and begin gathering the essentials. To make it simpler, I broke the list into four sections: everyday tools, emergency tools, agriculture tools, and luxury tools.”

Read more on Homestead Survival Site.

  1. Homestead Geese – Easy to Care for Barnyard Protectors and Weed Eaters

“Homestead geese are not the first animals that come to mind when you consider homestead livestock. That award usually goes to backyard chickens, or dairy goats with the occasional pastured pig thrown in. But geese deserve to be fourth on that list in my opinion.

Geese are entertainment, lawn control, homestead guardians that also happen to taste pretty darn good.

Goose fat is prized among top chefs, and many a hawk or fox has been scared away from a chicken dinner by the threatening wing span of an angry goose.

You might share that opinion if you encountered an aggressive goose in childhood (or adulthood for that matter).

However, geese raised by you, from goslings (a young goose), can be as friendly as the family dog and twice as formidable when strangers or predators happen on to your homestead!”

Read more on Common Sense Homesteading.

  1. How to Raise Meat Rabbits in Small Spaces

“Whether you are planning to survive disasters or simply want to be self-sufficient and less dependent on outside resources, raising your own meat animals is a smart choice. That said, raising farm animals can be tough for those who live in urban areas, small homes or apartments, or under the rule of restrictive homeowners associations. If that sounds like you, consider raising meat rabbits.  Rabbits make it possible to produce your own meat without raising an eyebrow!

Why rabbits? Meat rabbits are an excellent way to supplement your family food supply.  Rabbit meat is tender and mild, plus rabbit meat is one of the healthiest meat sources, even beating chicken for low calories, high protein, and lower cholesterol levels. Not only that, rabbit meat is also far lower in fat and is higher in calcium and phosphorus than other meats.”

Read more on Backdoor Survival.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

How To Protect Your Ammo Stockpile

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Even though you may make every effort to become self sufficient, there are some things that cannot be made without a good bit of help from modern tools and equipment. Some of the best ammunition in the world will no longer be available once society collapses and the technology and skills are lost for making it.

Under these circumstances, you may feel that it is best to store away as much ammo as possible. At the very least, if you have a bigger stockpile left, there is a chance that you or your survivors can command greater resources once societies begin to form again.

In the meantime, storing ammo properly is also very important so that you will be prepared for smaller emergencies that require the use of the items in your stockpile.

Here are some basic guidelines for keeping your ammunition safe in a world where new technologies may make it a bit more complicated than expected.

Making Your Ammo Invisible

Ground penetrating radars, X-ray scanners, satellites, and other devices make it very hard to hide metallic objects even in your own home or in the ground beneath it. This, in turn, means that making ammo invisible will be harder than you may have expected. Here are some things you can try:

  • All of your ammo should be impossible to trace to you. When you buy ammo, always pay cash and only divulge your identity to people that you can trust. Never buy all your ammo in one place. If someone is watching your purchases at one location, they may not be able to gauge your stockpile as easily if you buy elsewhere.
  • Pack your ammo into smaller cans that can be harder to spot by scanners from above or at ground level. Smaller boxes can be hidden among metal pipes or other “scrap” as long as the metals in question are similar to those found in the bullets. If there is a reason why you would store away bullets with aluminum or steel casings over brass ones, this would be it!
  • If you purchase a square or rectangular shaped ammo can, it may be very easy to spot on some scanners. You may want to make unevenly shaped boxes from polymer or other materials that will keep the ammo dry, cool, and safe. When using polymer, do not forget to cover the outer surface of the container with rocks, bits of metal, or anything else that will help scramble the signature of the ammunition hidden within the can.
  • You may also be able to find paints and other materials that will absorb scanner signals or reflect them in a way that masks the presence of the ammo can. You will need to have a good idea of the technologies used to scan for ammo or metal, and then figure out which coatings will best suit your needs. While you may be tempted to try and jam scanners, the consistent failure of these devices in certain areas may draw unwanted attention. It is truly better to make the signature of your cache as small as possible so that it is overlooked or mistaken for something else.  Just remember that it can be harder to fool modern computers that do not get tired, bored, or lose focus as a human viewer would.

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Making Your Ammo Stockpile Mobile

One of the most important, but overlooked aspects of ammo stockpiling is making sure that you can move everything around with ease.  Here are some things you can do to make the task easier:

  • If you have ammo stored away from home or underground, make sure that you have pulleys, carts, and other devices to move the ammo around with ease.
  • Always make sure that you can clear pathways easily, yet cover them back up so that the presence of your ammo remains undetected.
  • Have a locus of four or five locations nearby that you can rotate each can in and out of. If you have two cans of ammo in your home, then you should have at least 10 hiding places that the cans can be moved in and out of.
  • Take the time now to practice moving ammo around so that you know what to expect. In an emergency, there is nothing worse than being pressed for time and unsure how long it will take to accomplish a task. Even if something does go wrong or the unexpected happens, these time frames will help you make better decisions about what to take along and what to leave behind.
  • Never forget that lighter weight is easier to carry around. Lighter weight cans are also less likely to break apart or puncture when jolted in transit.
  • When you practice moving ammo from one place to another, always include awareness of fires, excess heat, and water. Never put ammo near heat or flames even if you want to test your skills. It is safest to make sure that you are aware as you go through your drills. If you truly feel compelled to drill with live fire, then use ammo cans filled with sand; this will keep you safe and help you gain a sense of what must be done. Don’t forget to include a thermometer on top of the can and one that will record temperatures inside the can. If nothing else convinces you to avoid drilling with ammo in the presence of fire or excess heat, this may well do the job.

Video first seen on Patriotsurvival

Avoid Indirect Damage from EMPs and Nuclear Blasts

It is true that nuclear blasts and EMPs cannot directly cause primers to explode or gunpowder to ignite. EMPs are well known for causing fires.

If you have ammo cans stored near wires, cables, or anything else that might burn up from the EMP, then the heat from that fire may be enough to cause the ammo to explode. The thermal wave from a nuclear blast and the fires caused by it can also affect ammo in a harmful way.

There is only one real way to prevent EMPs and nuclear blasts from ruining your ammo supply. As with protecting yourself, all of your ammo will have to be stored in an underground bunker or shelter. Never hesitate to build additional tunnels or layers of tunnels so that you can move the ammo around underground.

If you cannot store ammo underground, then you can still take some steps to reduce the risk of ammo related explosions caused by an EMP. If you decide to stash ammo in the walls of your home make sure that the cans are far enough away from electrical wiring, metal pipes, or anything else that might conduct electricity. You should also avoid storing ammo in any location where only a bit of plaster or wood stands between an electrical appliance and the ammo hiding in the wall.

When storing ammo in a bug out bag, make sure that all electronic devices and conductive materials are stored away in EMP proof bags. As long as no fires start in the bug out bag, and everything stays cool and dry, then the ammo should also remain safe.

Safeguarding Your Stockpile

There are many different ways to safeguard your ammo stockpile. If you are prepping with a group, then you can always look for way to use conventional guard duty systems. That being said, no matter how much you trust the people around you, it never hurts to have a few hidden caches of ammo that only you know about.

If you have ammo stored in remote locations, the geography of the region itself should be able to deter electronic scanners and curious people. While you may not be able to actively patrol these areas, you should still be able to draw adversaries into fire zones or use traps to neutralize them.

When setting traps in areas you don’t plan on visiting very often, just make sure you remember what you did. There are few things worse in life than going to a cave where you hid some ammo, only to wind up hung up by a snare you set in front of the entrance, and then forgot about.

Depending on the location of your stockpile, some defense methods may be more feasible than others. For example, if you rent an apartment, or have very little room to hide ammo, then decoys, distractions, and diversions may offer some viable options.

Consider a situation where you have only one room suitable for storing ammo, you can still put one can in plain view. Even if it is empty, the invader may well move over to that can first. From there, you can choose any number of actions.

First, you can detonate traps that will prevent the invader from taking further action. If there is more than one person, you may want to use this diversion to grab your bug out bag and run. Should you be fortunate enough to have several minutes to make your escape, then you can always try to move one or two ammo cans to your bug out vehicle.

Without a question, if you have been drilling on moving ammo from one place to another, you will know pretty much how long it takes and then make your decision from there. If you feel that you cannot get the ammo out in time, it is truly better to escape with your life rather than lose it for the sake of a few rounds of ammo.

At its simplest, you can keep your ammo storage plans to choosing airtight and waterproof cans that will be stored away in a cool, dry location.

As a prepper, however, it is also important to be able to move, manage, and care for your stockpile even in extreme circumstances. Being able to effectively hide ammo, move it around, and use simple tools will all make it easier to have plenty of ammo on hand for years to come.

Keeping up with electronic technologies and polymers will also go a long way towards helping you keep your stockpile safe, sound, and in good condition.

No matter whether you are storing rounds or gunpowder, following some basic rules and maintaining a good level of stockpile awareness will truly be of immense benefit.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Reinventing The Wheel: How To Get Perfectly Round Shapes

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From round tires to mirrors and wheels of cheese, round shapes are a major part of our society and culture. In fact, round shapes are so common, you may feel like there is no need whatsoever to “reinvent the wheel”.

What happens when society collapses and there are no means to run the computers and factories that generate all the round things we use today? Where will you get new tires, new steering wheels, and other round items?

If you do not know how to make perfectly round shaped templates and then fashion them into working items, it will be impossible to repair damaged devices and build new ones.

The Importance of a Durable and Reusable Template

Consider a situation where you need to make a new wheel for a wagon or some other device. At the beginning of your task, you may think that you are only going to make one wheel, and then not need to worry about producing another one for some time.

For the sake of speed and utility, you may think it is best to find some way to duplicate a round shape right on the material that you plan to work with.

To begin, if you do not have a template, you will not be able to start again as easily if the material in question falls apart or does not work for your application. At the very least, if you have a template, you can simply use it to mark another piece of material without having to go through the whole measurement process again.

If another round object of the same size breaks, you can simply use the template you have on hand and save yourself a few steps.

A good quality template can also expand your material choices and options for producing the wheel. Among other things, you can use it to help with making molds, or even creating round objects that are made from layers of different materials.

The template can also be used to guide tools and help ensure that the final product is the proper size for your application.

Don’t forget to add extra material in case you need to add treads. Worst comes to worst, if the wheel is too big with the treads, you can simply sand or file it down to the right size. Just make sure that you also have a slightly smaller template to go by so that you don’t wind up with an irregular shape.

During the process of choosing a template material, it is very important to know what kinds of materials and tools you will be working with. For example, if you are planning to cut a round object from wood, it may be best to have a metal template.

This is especially important if you are going to use the template as a guide for the tools. Just make sure that the metal in question will not be damaged by the tools you are planning to use.

If you are only going to use the template as a means to draw marking guides on the material, then you can use paper, cardboard, or hard plastic.

Remember, if you do not have enough hard plastic on hand, you can try ironing together plastic bags to make a durable sheet of thicker plastic.

The template should be easy to fold up or roll up so that it does not take up much space. Just make sure that when you open the template back up, it does not have folds or creases in it that will cause spots to be less round than needed. The template should also lay perfectly flat and be easy to hold in place while you are working.

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Some Ways to Get a Perfectly Round Blueprint

When a wheel or another round object spins, any deviation on roundness or weight disbursement can cause wobbling, excess wear, and possible breakage of the item. While some of these problems can be compensated for with balancing weights, it is still very important to start off with the roundest shape possible.

Simply trying to trace a round object onto a piece of paper or other template material will never work because the object in question will have been worn down from being in use.

It is much better to use the following methods for creating a round template that can be used to shape other objects.

Use a Compass

Even though a drafting compass is not very large, it will give you a perfectly round circle. I tend to prefer all metal compasses that have one pointer leg and a second one to hold a pencil. There are also extendable drafting compasses that will work just as well.

Use a String and a Pencil

To use this form of makeshift compass, you will need to set the pencil (or other narrow cylindrical object) in the center of the material you are using for the template. It should not bend in any direction or wobble.

Next, place the string around the pencil and measure a length that corresponds to where you want the outer edge of the circle to be. Use a pencil or something else that will make marks so that you have a more precise measure.

Hold the marking tool in place while you take the two ends of the string and tie them together. The marking tool should fit within the loop. You can make the loop as big or as small as you need to make a large enough round shape.

To use the compass, keep the string tight against the marking tool as you move it around the central pencil. When using this makeshift compass, make sure the string does not jump up and down on the central pencil.

You will also have to be very careful to make sure that the marking tool does not bend inward or outward, as this will throw off the roundness of the circle.

Use a Stick and a Central Pin

This method is very similar to the string and pencil compass, but it eliminates the problems associated with the string jumping and marking tool wobbling.

Basically, this makeshift compass looks a lot like an old fashioned stereo arm. Instead of the arm reaching in from outside the record, the holding place is located in the center of the circle.

You can use a stick of wood, or just about anything else as an arm. Just make sure that it can spin as freely as possible on the central holding point without wobbling or jumping up and down.

Next, drill or cut a hole in the arm that matches location that matches the edge of the circle you are planning to draw.

Set a pencil or other marking device into the hole so that it does not wobble, lean inward, or lean outward. Now all you have to do is push the marking tool so that the arm moves with it. As the arm moves around the central point, the marking tool will create a circle.

Video first seen on Make Something

Basics of Wheel Design

In a time of need, you may not be able to get the exact same materials that were used to create the device you are trying to repair. While you may be thinking that plastic or metal might have to be replaced with wood, there are many other options.

Since different materials have different strength levels and tendencies, you may need to change the internal shapes found in the wheel as well as it size and thickness.

Keep the following wheel design elements in mind as you study different materials. If you are building something completely new, you will also need to evaluate these elements in relation to the materials on hand and the application.

Even though you may be thinking mostly about vehicle wheels, there are many other places where these elements must work together for optimal performance.

If you are going to lift heavy objects with a simple machine, you will need to figure out the best ratio for pulley wheels. If you decide to advance into making gears, these elements are also very important to consider.

No matter whether you decide to create a pulley, a water wheel, or an automobile wheel, you will need to know how the following elements affect the performance of the wheel, and how that, in turn, affects the entire machine you are building or repairing.

Wheel Size

Since a wheel is designed to move in relation to a central axis, the diameter of the wheel is very important. A larger wheel will turn fewer times to cover longer distances, however, the engine or source of power will have to do more work to make the wheel turn. Smaller wheels will turn more times when compared to larger ones to cover the same distance, but it takes less work to turn the wheel.

Wheel Width

Thinner wheels can be useful for applications where you want less traction and resistance to travel. Thicker wheels are better for places where you want to reduce the risk of skidding while moving forward or making turns. Since thicker wheels also weight more, they will also absorb bumps better and with less loss of control.

Wheel Weight

More than a few people think that wheels should be as light as possible so that it takes less work to move them. On the other side of the equation, wheels need to have enough weight so that they will create enough drag as they move over surfaces beneath them.

If the wheel does not grip the surface properly, skidding will occur. Minor skidding can also be a problem because locked wheels are harder to turn than ones that grip surfaces properly.

Spokes vs Solid Construction

When you start making wheels big enough for a wagon or other vehicle, the weight of a solid wheel can cause a number of problems. On the other hand, spokes or cutouts in the wheel can reduce the weight to acceptable levels. That being said, if you are working with a material that has very little durability, you may still need to revert back to more solid shaped wheels.

You can also try using fortifications such as an independent rim that will add strength while reducing the overall weight of the wheel.

Surfaces for Traction

Weight alone is not enough to ensure that a wheel will always maintain good traction. This is why patterns or “treads” are often cut into tires. When combined with the weight of the vehicle, these treads help to grip the road without adding to the weight of the tire.

If you are going to build a brand new wheel, do not forget to choose a tread pattern that matches your application. This includes making sure that you know which patterns will work best in the mud, snow, ice, or anything else that you might be driving on.

How to Cut Round Surfaces

Once you know how big and thick the wheel is going to be, the next step will be shaping it from the base material. Here are the basic steps for a situation where you are cutting the material from a block of solid wood, plastic, metal or some other material.

  • Start off by making sure that the block is the right thickness or width for the wheel. Try to make the surface as smooth and even as possible.
  • Next, use the template to draw the round object. Be sure to note where the axis will go as well as how big it will be.
  • Use your cutting tools to take away the bulk of material from the edge of the wheel. Do not cut all the way down to the template lines. Leave at least 1/8” to ¼” so that you have enough room to sand the edges as well to create the roundest shape possible.
  • Once you have the basic wheel shape in place, go back and try to make it as even as possible all the way around before sanding. Do not cut to the point where you are at the template lines. At this stage, try to leave at least 1/16” all the way around the wheel.
  • Get rid of any excess material by sanding it away.
  • If needed, add any treads that you may need to complete the outer surface of the wheel.
  • Go ahead and drill out the area where the axle will go.
  • Complete the wheel by hollowing out any areas required to reduce overall weight.

Video first seen on bobdutica

Shaping Wood and Other Semi-Pliable Materials

Have you ever looked at wooden arched doorways and wondered how they could be made from just a single piece of wood. Surprisingly enough, this task isn’t as hard as it looks. By the same token, you can also bend metal and other materials into wheel shapes with relative ease. In order to do so you will need a solid wheel form that can be used to support the new form.

If you are planning to shape wood into a wheel, start off with a thin board that has the same width as what you need for the finished wheel. Next, you will have to soak the wood to soften it a bit.

Apply weights to the wood so that it “warps”a little, and then it it slowly dry up again. You will need to repeat this process several times to complete the wheel shape.

Once you complete a wooden wheel, do not forget that thin wood will require some form of support. You can use metal or plastic rims, as long as they are durable enough and can easily be bolted to the wood.

After you complete the outer rim of the wheel, you will need to complete the spokes and the hub. These can be fairly involved processes. As you put the spokes and hub into place, do not forget that the wheel must balance properly while in motion. If you notice that it wobbles you can attach weights on the inner surface of the wheel rim to improve balance.

In some ways, shaping metal can be a good bit easier. You can heat and hammer wood into thin enough strips that can be bent with relative ease with your hands or pliers. Just make sure that the underlying form can withstand the heat from hot metal if you decide to work with metal when is softer and more pliable.

Overall, you will find plastic one of the easiest materials to make wheels from. If you are working with a hard plastic, just apply some heat and let the plastic rest on the underlying form. Make sure that you also have the form covered with something that the plastic will not adhere to. Make sure that you can break the underlying form apart if needed.

Casting Wheels

Throughout time, many people have found out it is easier to produce consistent wheels by making a reusable mold first. Molds also open up the number of materials that you can use to make wheels.

For example, if the wheel isn’t going to be used in heavy stress and strain applications, you may even be able to get away with using glass. Wheels made from plastic, metal, or even clay are easily made when you cast them using a mold. Here is the basic process:

  • You will need to start off with an exact model of the round shape. It should match your needs in terms of width, circumference, hub design, and spokes. You can use any material that you want as long as it won’t collapse or warp while you care making the mold.
  • Next, choose the material that you will use to create the mold. The material should be heavy enough to withstand pulling and pushing without warping. It should also be strong enough so that it won’t break or be damaged by the material used to make the final shape.
  • When creating the mold, you will need to account for a place to pour in the material used to make the wheel. You will also need to decide how and in what places the mold will be opened in order to remove the finished wheel. Depending on the wheel design, you may be able to get away with a 2 part mold. If the spokes or internal shapes are more complicated, you may need a 4 part mold.
  • After you remove the model (it’s OK if it is destroyed as you won’t need it any further), go ahead and clean up the mold.
  • Put the mold back together and secure it with rope or something else that will keep the pieces all together. Try to make sure the pieces fit together as tightly and as perfectly as possible so that the material used to make the wheel won’t leak through.
  • Next, go ahead and fill the mold.
  • Once the material used to fill the mold is fully cured, go ahead and open the mold up. If you did everything right, you should have a fairly close duplicate of the original model wheel. You may need to remove mold seams and other imperfections, but the basic round shape should be just fine.

Right now, it is fair to say that most people take wheels for granted. At the same time, if we lose factories during a major social collapse, wheels, gears, pulleys, and other round objects will be very hard to produce.

Knowing how to “reinvent” a wheel may not seem very useful until you are in a situation where you must do so or face serious problems.

From bugging out to keeping your homestead running in good order, being able to make new wheels and design them from scratch is a very important, but overlooked skill.

More valuable secrets form our forefathers are still to be discovered.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

How To Build A Privacy Fence

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There’s an old saying about good fences making good neighbors.

Until Donald Trump entered the White House, borders, which can be described as the ultimate fence of sorts, were not regarded as very important for our nation’s well-being by the progressive Obama administration. Now that old saying makes sense again.

So in today’s article, I’ll tell you a thing or two about how to build the perfect privacy fence.

Just like a nation’s border, building a privacy fence on your property is useful for a number of reasons. The most important one, which depends very much on where you live, is the fact that a properly built fence will increase your safety, security and privacy.

Of course, I am not talking about those nice white picket fences; those are mostly about aesthetics. A privacy fence will keep your children and pets safely enclosed and it will eliminate sight lines beyond your property.

According to various statistics, security and privacy are among the most common reasons for which Americans go home shopping.

The type of fence you have installed around your property limits plays a key role in both privacy and security, together with improving your home’s exterior design. Whether you’re using wood, wrought iron, or chain link, a properly installed fence will provide you with the true sense of home security and ownership we all desire.

Find out more on how to improve your layered home defense to survive disaster! 

And once you understand the basics of installation techniques and the materials required, you’ll see that DIY-ing a privacy fence can be a fun activity and fairly easy to accomplish.

Here are some important issues to consider before starting building your fence.

Why are You Building a Fence?

Decide on the height before getting knee-deep into the project.

A normal privacy fence is ~6 feet high (or more). Determining the fence height in the early stages of the project is pretty important, as it will influence various other things like post-hole depth and things of that matter.

What Type/Style of Fence are You Looking For?

Prior to DIYing your fence, make sure you have an accurate understanding of the whereabouts of your property lines. Talk to your neighbors and check your property file to make absolutely sure the fence is on your property.

Check with your local utility companies before you start excavating (if that’s the case) for underground utility mains which may be located on your property. Also check zoning laws and, if required, apply for a building permit before proceeding with the job.

Then what materials/design will blend best with the architecture/landscaping of your home?

There are different fence styles and different fence panels to choose from, which may differ in the fine details, but basically there are 3 main prefabricated fence panel styles available:

  • Solid – mostly used for containment fencing as they provide complete privacy and they’re mostly used between property lines and for surrounding swimming pools and the like. These fences are usually 5-6 feet tall and they use closely spaced pickets.
  • Spaced Picket – popular for keeping pets or children (some may argue that’s the same thing) in, and/or for defining boundaries.
  • Shadowbox – a mix of the two

For our intents and purposes, we’ll concentrate on the solid variety, because the name of the game in today’s article is privacy.

The PVC Fence

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to fence in your property, PVC is hands down the best option.

Even if PVC is not as sturdy as wood, it will last you forever without requiring any type of “servicing” and as far as privacy goes, PVC fences are just as impenetrable as wood fences.

The Vinyl Fence

A more high-tech option is vinyl fencing. According to some manufacturers, vinyl fences are 5 times stronger than comparable wood fences and 4 times more flexible.

The caveat is that vinyl  is kind of elite price-wise, but it will resist indefinitely to elements and even paint (read graffiti). All you have to do is to soap it up and put the hose to it and it will look as good as new in a jiffy.

The Bamboo Fence

And there’s bamboo, which is another type of wooden fence but with a more sophisticated touch, as bamboo is a relatively exotic type of wood. Other than being exotic, a bamboo fence is just like any other wooden fence; it just looks more interesting.

However, considering “regular” wood’s versatility and availability, most folks will go for an old-school wooden fence, due to its low-cost maintenance and building. You can also buy prefabricated wood fence panels, which will provide you with more flexibility and greater control in terms of quality (material wise), not to mention that wood is way more aesthetically pleasing compared to PVC for example.

The Wooden Fence

The most popular fencing material across America is wood. Wood fences are not very expensive compared to, let’s say, aluminum fencing. Also, wood gives you a welcoming and warm feeling, together with the sense of privacy wood fencing provides.

A wooden fence can easily be built to last forever, depending on what type of wood you choose. The quality of your fence can be compared with hardwood floors. There’s cheap stuff and more expensive stuff, woods that are better than others, and so on and so forth.

Video first seen on MyFixitUpLife show

The most common species of wood used in privacy fences are fir, spruce, cedar, pine, cypress and redwood (always go for heartwood  instead of sapwood, the former is older, has fewer knots and it will last for longer).

Keep in mind that if you’re choosing the wrong wood, your fence might only last you for 5 years before rot sets in. If you’re going for a high quality wood and you treat it well, a wood fence will last you for more than 20 years. Chemically treated woods are arguably the best option.

How to Build a Privacy Fence

First of all, you’ll have to stake the corner locations and place stakes at the corners, approximately where you wish your fence to go. In the next step, you’ll have to square the corners by tying a string around the stakes then running it between the respective stakes.

Once you’ve squared your corners, stake the middle posts, then dig the holes (step 4) at the locations you’ve staked.

As a general rule of thumb, keep in mind you’ll have to bury the posts at least 33 percent as deep as they’re tall. Then place your posts, get them aligned, then use a post leveler to make sure they’re straight and the corners are still square.

Remember to put 3-4’’ of gravel at the bottom of each hole then pour the concrete footing (instant concrete is best).  Then fill in with dirt once the concrete bed has set.

You can add a mason’s line at the top of the post from one post to another at equal height above the ground, thus keeping the height of your fence equal along the way.

Now it’s time to add your support boards and, in the final step, the privacy boards. Remember to treat the boards for increasing the longevity of your fence by painting them or applying a weatherproof finish.

Video first seen on Brandon & Meredith

If you’ll have to build a wooden fence on a slope, check out this video.

Video first seen on DIY Landscaping

And here’s a wooden fence with metal posts that will last you forever. You may have to change the privacy boards after a number of years, but the skeleton will last you indefinitely.

Video first seen on CAmericaProjects.com

Tips and Tricks on Building Fences

  • Let your wooden fence set before you seal it, as it’s very important that you allow it to dry out. If you try to preserve the wood by staining/painting it ahead of time, the substance will probably not be absorbed by the wood if it’s not dried properly. Remember that painting is required every few years if you care about the longevity of your fence.
  • A common mistake when building fences is failing to anchor down posts. A fence is only as strong as its posts – that’s an axiom – hence posts are essential for a solid fence and also pretty expensive. You must take your time and install the fence posts nice and properly.
  • Another mistake is improper gate placement or size. Gates must be placed out of the path of erosion, in well drained areas. Traffic must be taken into consideration, obviously. Proper gate size is equally important. The gate gets the most wear and tear, so remember to build it using high quality materials, including solid and properly sized hinges. Also the posts supporting the gate must be set much deeper than regular ones and you must add more cement around them.

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8 Ways Big Pharma Is Robbing You Blind

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If you require medical prescriptions to gain or maintain good health, then you may be very concerned about a major social collapse that prevents you from obtaining those drugs.

As the cost of these drugs continue to rise in the pre-crisis world, you’ll also be concerned about the way big pharma and the insurance companies appear to be holding people financial hostage.

From this perspective, let’s have a look at how big pharma, in particular, may be reaching into your wallet and reducing your chances of enjoying good health through the influence of your doctor.

They Sell Patented Products Only

At first, you may not think much about the fact that major pharmaceutical manufacturers only sell items that they have patents on. After all, the way modern laws go, no company wants to be accused of, or sued for stealing the ideas or research conducted by another company.

The problem is patent law does not cover items that exist in nature. Therefore, even if an herb works better than something manufactured by a pharmaceutical company, they will never sell the herb as a medicinal option because they cannot get the patent.

In the end, this causes harm to consumers and patients in many ways. First, researchers in big pharma are strongly motivated to disregard centuries of documentation from around the world regarding the use of common herbs.

For example, conventional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine have some of the best cures on Earth, yet big pharma does not research them because they cannot get a patent. Instead, they move ahead with the development of dangerous drugs and seek to make a profit on them because that is how the system works.

It stands to reason that part of protecting one’s market revolves around making sure that better, or in this case, safer products, never come to be used by the mainstream.

When combined with the lack of fair and non-biased testing of alternative medical options (including reiki and meditation), it become impossible for doctors to recommend these options to consumers. To make matters worse, consumers that want to pursue these remedies have very few reliable resources to work with.

Get this lifesaving information about surviving when doctors, pharmacies and hospitals are shut down!

Sidelines Selling Herbal Blends and Extractions

If you visit any pharmacy, supermarket, or department store, you are likely to find shelves filled with “nutritional support” herbal blends and extractions. No matter whether you are looking for cinnamon pills for diabetes or garlic pills to get rid of a cold, there are many brands and strengths to choose from.

In the end, these are still pharmaceutical companies that manufacture these products. Perhaps this is why the “nutritional support” products bear more resemblance to cradle-to-grave pill popping than to the way herbs have been used for centuries.

Did you know that Chinese, Ayurvedic, and even Native American folk medicines are little more than dried herbs taken as teas several times a day? It is my contention that the herbs you see in pill form today are formulated based on “scientific experiments” that lead to the exact same kind of dangerous side effects as you see in conventional drugs.

On the other hand, using dried herbs and teas gives the body more time to absorb the necessary therapeutic agents without doing as much damage. In the end, all we come away with is the idea that there is no real difference between herbs and modern drugs; so patients might just as well go with what the doctor wants; which in the end, is what big pharma wants them to push.

Once you decide that you no longer what to subscribe to big pharma’s cradle-to-grave view of their products, herbs are usually the next place to go.

Remember, at this point, your doctor has already led you to believe that you have a medical condition that requires relying on pills for life. This is reinforced by the fact that you may have failed in lifestyle change efforts caused by lack of awareness about what is actually in foods and the environment that may be preventing you from succeeding.

For example, if you have asthma and know that you need to exercise more, walking outdoors can make the situation worse because you don’t know how to protect yourself from smog and air pollution caused by body care products.

When you go to a doctor, very rarely do you come out of the visit without a prescription for something or other. In many cases, these prescriptions are meant to be taken for a few weeks, which stretches to months and then years.

For example, high blood pressure, diabetes, and many other “chronic diseases” caused by lifestyle and diet choices are treated with pills that must be taken for life. Even though the doctor may start off with good intentions and a diet sheet, that quickly falls by the wayside.

Once you become tired of the pill routine and its side effects, it is still very easy to transfer that pill popping behavior to the herb aisle. At that point you are right back to relying on big pharma instead of learning how to grow and make herbal teas the way they were meant to be used.

Video first seen on The Truth About Cancer

Pumping Doctors Full of Fake and Sub-par Statistics

If you visit medical offices on a regular basis, you are bound to see pharmaceutical representatives stopping by from time to time. When these people stop by, they also bring along all kinds of charts and statistics (based on research conducted by the manufacturer) that show how their product works better than anything else on the market. These results may have been fudged, or completely false.

To understand how this works, you must understand how doctors are educated in the United States. Essentially, unless you have an undergraduate degree in a “legitimate” science such as biology, chemistry, or biochemistry, you will not have the “coursework” required to enter medical school.

If you have ever attended undergraduate “legitimate science” classes, then you will quickly see that the textbooks and teaching methods look like a form of brainwashing that discourages students from thinking outside of scientific method and theories that have come to be accepted by dogmatics that shape this field.

Students are practically forbidden from having anything to do with things that “cannot be scientifically tested” at this time – or rather, anything that they don’t want to test unless the flaws in the test design create the desired conclusion. This means that meditation, reiki, and many other techniques that may work to heal or cure disease are already drummed out of existence in the prospective doctor’s mind.

By the time these people get out of medical college and into the field, most of them are prime picking for any pharmaceutical representative that waves a few numbers and charts under their nose. To add insult to injury, if a patient does mention alternative methods, the doctor either knows nothing on the subject or cannot absorb the information because of prior “educational” experience. Perhaps we can say this one is simple psychology.

Wooing Doctors With Gifts and CME Credits

There is no question that running a medical office or practice is very expensive. Malpractice premiums can cost several thousand dollars per year alone, while staff, supplies, and book keeping, and billing can cost even more on a monthly basis. Doctors emerging from medical college may be saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debts plus a plethora of expensive social and community obligations.

All of these financial situations can make doctors of all ages highly susceptible to lavish gifts from pharmaceutical companies.

Pharmaceutical companies may give “free” CME courses (Continuing Medical Education credits are required to keep a license to practice medicine) in all kinds of beautiful locations, or make expensive gifts in private. Anything from a lavish dinner to insider stock tips can make it very easy for the receiving doctor to look more favorably on products sold by the pharmaceutical company.

Consider how you feel about someone that gives you a gift versus someone that doesn’t. Even though the non-gift giver may have a better product or more honest intentions, glamour and glitter still sell better. But today you can find out just how much money your doctor is getting from pharmaceutical companies from here.

While these payments may seem small, remember they are still more than the doctor is getting from companies that sell dried herbs, herbal teas, or meditation products. No matter how small the gift may seem, remember that it may have a subtle impact on decision making by your doctor.

While doctors may immediately claim they cannot be bought, the fact of the matter is there is no such thing as a business that doesn’t need money or help with financial matters.

A medical office is still a business and even if the doctor doesn’t want to follow the money, there are others in the practice that will force them to kowtow or see that their license or ability to practice is severely curtailed.

The Licensing and Mandatory Insurance Scams

Today, we take it for granted that doctors know what they are doing because they must get a license from the government to practice. This license, in turn, is based on how well a doctor performs on a variety of tests designed to determine the person’s level of scientific and medical knowledge.

As you saw earlier, this “knowledge” they are being tested on may not be reliable or accurate because the scientists doing the research may have fudged the results. From that perspective, the entire licensing system isn’t a “better than nothing” scenario. Rather, it becomes a sham and an excuse to push big pharma’s expensive and dangerous “cradle-to-grave” drugs down everyone’s throat.

If you happen to be a political conservative, then you may be waiting as patiently as possible for the complete dismantling of Obamacare‘s mandate that everyone must carry health insurance. As you wait for this change, stop and take a look at how drug prices have changed since Obamacare came into effect. From Epi-pen to common antibiotics that used to cost less than 10.00, the costs are skyrocketing and going higher every day.

When it comes right down to it, the rising costs suggest some very unsettling things about the effects of the mandatory coverage mandate (along with it’s adjusted federal standards of care guidelines that may one day include outright death panels).

This mandate has become nothing more than another tool big pharma uses in its quest to shove dangerous and expensive drugs down your throat via your doctor’s prescription pad. Now that everyone “covered” with insurance and, in reality pays for very little, big pharma can raise the cost of drugs with relative impunity.

Since the insurance company gets money from the government to cover “additional” costs associated with Obamacare, there is little, if any incentive for them to try and reign in the cost. As long as big pharma can keep doctors writing prescriptions, this entire mess of mandatory insurance coverage will ensure they get richer while patients get sicker.

Stock and Financial Incentives

Medical providers are like everyone else in the sense that they would like to retire some day, pay off their homes, and enjoy all the best that life has to offer. As with most other people that work for a living, they aren’t about to reach that goal without having some kind of investment portfolio.

If you do some research on stock and industry trends, you will see that big pharma has been growing steadily for some time. This, in turn, means that pharmaceutical representatives will turn to doctors and larger sized practices for stock investments.

If you have ever invested in a business, then you already know that you are going to think more favorably of its products. By the same token, if you want to make some money, then you will also encourage others to buy from that company.

Once big pharma is able to encourage doctors to invest in their businesses, it stands to reason the doctor will become a de facto salesman. The person being led by the doctor to buy these drugs happens to be a patient that may be emotionally and physically vulnerable to suggestions that may or may not be good.

Inclusion in Research Studies

In the arena of keeping insurance costs down and maintaining a license, doctors have to obtain a certain number of CME credits each year. Depending on the state and the insurance carrier, doctors may also be required to publish something in a peer reviewed journal.

If you have never conducted a scientific experiment or dealt with peer review standards, then you may not realize just how hard it can be to get published. Flawed system or not, any doctor that wants to take advantage of the credits and prestige of being published will wind up relying on big pharma for assistance.

At first, the whole issue of research and peer review may not seem like it has much impact on patients. After all, the doctor isn’t about to force you to be part of the research project, let alone use drugs or procedures that haven’t been fully tested.

The more doctors and researchers learn about medical conditions, the better chance they have of finding cures and better treatments. As hypothesis goes, those are good ones, however it may not turn out that way in day to day impact on patients.

Among other things, people enrolled in clinical trials may not actually get the medication depending on the research design. While clinical trials can offer access to “cutting edge” drugs, there is also a risk of being exposed to very dangerous chemicals because test results done on animals may have been fudged. Perhaps it can be said that fake or slightly fudged test results may be an even bigger problem than the money basis for big pharma.

The sad reality is that patents on prescription drugs only last for so long. Once that patent expires, other companies can manufacture the drug and undercut the market. As a result, the pharmaceutical company must have another proprietary drug on hand to take its place. This cannot happen without more research and more input from doctors that have access to patients that can be enrolled in clinical trials.

No matter how much or little money a doctor gets from big pharma, he or she is going to write more prescriptions. It does not matter how that money comes in, only that it comes in. Today, it is possible to find out if the doctor you are seeing takes money for big pharma research efforts. Pay as careful attention to these incentives as you would any other.

Faked Data Goes Further Than the Lab

Every now and then, there’s something on the news about how the vast majority of herbal supplements on the market are nothing more than placebos. While there is very little regulation of these supplements, it is impossible to tell the impact of big pharma on these operations.

Here are just a few things that may be happening:

  • Even though the labs that do the testing are supposed to be non-biased, they may be getting adulterated samples to test. If illegal aliens can work under the table in food production industries with ease, rest assured that people from big pharma can probably get into nutritional supplement companies and adulterate samples. When it comes to money, never underestimate what people will do. In my opinion, as long as people can do it and deny it, there is at least an increased chance they will do so.
  • Big pharma may own or have hidden ties to any number of supplement companies. They can use this position to generate all kinds of fake test results and data that guide doctors and patients right back to more expensive products manufactured by big pharma.
  • Big pharma may also have financial or other ties to people working in government sponsored research projects. If big pharma doesn’t want you to know about an herb’s benefits, or the proper amount to use, rest assured the results can be fudged with ease. Not only does this throw off the entire herbal supplement system, it also makes it much easier to “prove” to doctors that only big pharma has the answers to their patient’s problems.
  • Together with faked data, there is also data that can be used to justify irrational and dangerous conclusions. The data itself may be true, however the conclusions are faulty at best. Today, irrational conclusions arrived at by big pharma can even make the doctor ignore previously learned information about how the body works. For example, if you are a diabetic, you may have been told ad nauseum that it is a bad thing for glucose to be eliminated through the kidneys. In fact, you may even think no doctor in his her right mind would recommend a product that causes glucose to be eliminated through the kidneys! Some newer drugs approved for diabetes do just that, and doctors are prescribing them left and right. As they prescribe these drugs, more people wind up with kidney failure even as the pharmaceutical representatives continue to wave their charts that show fasting blood sugar and Hemo A1C levels are lowered using these drugs.

Big pharma is an integral part of every doctor’s practice and perhaps even their personal lives. While big pharma may be able to produce some good results, recent trends in class action lawsuits for dangerous drugs reveal that they may be more concerned about money than tangibly helping people to get well or remain in good health.

Perhaps the saddest thing in all this is patients rarely, if ever understand the role big pharma is playing in how the doctor chooses to treat any given condition. When you put your trust in someone that is supposed to help you make good health decisions, it is truly disheartening to see that this trust may be misplaced.

At the very least, if you are also a prepper, this should serve as an incentive to investigate your doctor far more carefully as well as any health records and tests he/she may have in your files.

If you are going to thrive in a situation were medicines and medical care may not be available, this will be one step of many that you will need to take in order to succeed.

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References:

https://www.propublica.org/article/doctors-who-take-company-cash-tend-to-prescribe-more-brand-name-drugs

http://www.medico-legalsociety.org.uk/articles/dishonesty_in_medical_research.pdf

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

How To Store Tap Water For Survival

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How To Store Tap Water For Survival

You turn on the faucet and there it is: as much water as you could possibly want. But then, as a prepper, you think, “What about the day when I turn it on and nothing comes out?”

Many people buy bottled water for their stockpile, and that’s fine, but you can also store tap water for survival and it won’t cost you a dime beyond your monthly water bill, if you have one.

There are some precautions that you need to take, but otherwise, turn on the tap, fill your containers, and store away!

Use Clean Containers

Even a few bacteria will quickly travel and multiply in room temperature water. That’s why they say to turn the sink in a public bathroom on and off with a towel. Even if you’re the only one who drank out of the bottle, the contents of the bottle can spoil and contaminate the tap water stored in it and make it undrinkable.

To avoid this, run the containers through the dishwasher using the hot water cycle, or clean them with hot soapy water just like you do your canning jars. It’s important to use containers that are easy to clean and don’t have little nooks and crannies that can harbor bacteria.

This proven-to-work portable device which provides clean fresh water 24/7! 

Containers to Store Tap Water

It’s important to choose the right container to store your water in. Some people use milk jugs but I wouldn’t recommend it for a number of reasons. They’re relatively flimsy, which makes them easy to puncture.

They’re also difficult to get clean because of the narrow handle. The lids nowadays often pop off. You don’t want a container that’s going to easily leak, and milk jugs are just a flood waiting to happen.

Some containers that are good for storing water include 1- and 2-liter soda bottles, juice jugs, and, if you want to store a larger quantity, 5-gallon food-grade buckets are great. They’re sturdy and stackable. You can also buy the sturdy camping water containers at your local superstore. They’re a bit expensive, but they’ll hold water for years.

Glass containers are always a good option too, though they’re heavy and breakable.

Make sure that all of your plastic containers are BPA-free so that no chemicals will leech into your water. Using opaque containers is good too, because direct sunlight will cause algae and the like to grow, just in case there are any spores at all in your water.

Video first seen on NoBudgetHomestead

Store Your Water in a Cool Location Out of the Sunlight

Sunlight promotes the growth of pathogens, so store your jugs out of direct sunlight. Sun also breaks down some plastic containers, which is why it’s important to use BPA-free containers. Also, hot water takes up more space than cool water, so you may have a problem with your containers swelling and leaking – especially if you’re a die-hard believer in milk jugs.

Remember that even if your containers are clean when you put the water in them, they’re not sealed so pathogens can still get in.

Add a Few Drops of Bleach

If you have city water, your water already has chlorine in it that kills pathogens and prohibits the growth of more. If you have well water, you may want to add a few drops of bleach to serve the same purpose. To be more exact, add 2 drops of bleach per quart of water to kill pathogens.

You may be thinking, “Why do I have to worry about this if my containers are clean when I put the water in it?” Well, there are a couple of reasons. Even if your containers are completely sterile when you fill them, they’re probably not completely air-tight, which means that pathogens can still find a way in.

A few drops of bleach will make it a very bad day for any germs that happen to choose your container!

That being said, if the container isn’t airtight, the chlorine will break down and leave it vulnerable to bacteria, which leads us to our next subject.

Rotate

Water doesn’t go bad, but it can get slightly acidic after a while. That’s because a minuscule percentage of it chemically changes to carbonic acid when it’s exposed to air. This makes it a prime breeding ground for bacteria. Considering that and the fact that bleach or chlorine breaks down, you should probably rotate tap water every six months or so.

This isn’t necessary for commercial water because it’s sealed, but it’s still a good idea to use the FIFO (First In, First Out) method, if for no other reason than to keep in practice.

There used to be expiration dates on commercially bottled water, but the CDC lifted the requirement due to lack of evidence that water goes bad. Remember though, that this water is sealed so that air can’t get in it, and the water and container are both sterile when the water goes in. That’s not the case with tap water.

Empty, clean, and refill your tap water containers at least every six months. Use the water that you’re dumping as grey water to water your plants or whatever.

Make Ice

If you have the room in an extra freezer, store some of your water in there. Frozen water bottles will help keep your frozen food cold longer if you lose power. They’re also great to toss in a cooler in place of messy loose ice, and if you’re heading to the gym or hiking, or anywhere really, a bottle of ice will melt so that you have nice cold water for a few hours instead of drinking it warm.

If you use the small bottles, they’re also great for ice packs.

Store in Different Sizes

You may have noticed that I’ve mentioned different size options for your bottles. Why choose just one? You can store large quantities of water (i.e. 5 gallons) for use by the entire family for a day, then store gallons to have on hand to use for cooking or personal use throughout the day, and store individual servings such as water bottles to carry with you on your person.

Having water stored in 5-gallon buckets or 55-gallon drums is great if you’re staying in, but what about if you have to bug out? That’s a danged heavy thing to tote around. Also, that many large water containers will be tough to keep inside and tough to hide outside.

Storing tap water is a perfectly reasonable, safe, cheap way to prepare for disaster. As long as you store it properly and rotate it, there’s no reason why it isn’t every bit as safe as store-bought water. Between it and rainwater, which we show you here how to collect, you can store as much water as you need to survive for at least a while.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Prep Blog Review: The Good & The Bad Food In Your Pantry

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You probably already have a well-stocked pantry for survival, but have you checked the foods lately? While some foods from are a bless and you can use them for several purposes in a survival situation (e.g. honey), there are other foods that you are stockpiling without knowing how dangerous they are.

Since there are good foods and bad foods in your pantry, for this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered four articles on this topic to help you check your stockpile and make sure the food you choose for a survival situation is healthy, nutritious and won’t put your life in danger.

  1. 23 Survival Uses for Honey that You Didn’t Know About

“Whether you enjoy the sticky amber manna that is honey or not, there are a ton of potential uses for it in survival situations, or simply to maintain your everyday health. It has been a popular remedy for centuries, and with good reason.

Types of Honey:

While you may be thinking solely of the little grocery store bears, there are literally thousands of different types of honey. We’ll go over some of the varieties noted for their health benefits.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. How to Avoid This Dangerous Preservative Found In Dried Fruit

“If you opened up a pantry belonging to any prepper, you’d most likely find a veritable cornucopia of dried foods within.

It’s pretty much a staple for preppers. Unfortunately, dried foods of all kinds often come packaged with preservatives that aren’t so healthy.

It can be a real challenge to find long-lasting foods that you would want to eat during an emergency, that aren’t also filled with toxic preservatives.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

  1. What Refrigerated Foods are Safe to Consume after a Power Outage

“Time is not your friend when the power goes out and your refrigerator stops cooling. Typically, if the door is not opened food should stay within a safe temperature for four hours.

What is a safe temperature for fresh meats, and other perishables?

Forty degrees Fahrenheit or below, if raw ground beef, for example, is stored for longer than two hours above 40° F it must be discarded, it is simply not safe to eat because of the growth of possibly harmful bacteria.”

Read more on Preparing For SHTF.

  1. Wise Food Storage for Long-Term Survival

“I’m certainly no stranger to dehydrated and freeze dried field rations. As a United States Marine, I lived on Meals Ready To Eat (MRE) for weeks at a time. So I understand the need for wise food storage.

The value of these MRE meals were that they provided a heavy dose of calories with very little, if any, preparation time required.

When time allotted, we would use heat tabs to warm up our meals in order to make them more comforting.

But regardless of how much tabasco sauce, salt, or pepper that we added to these MRE’s, the outcome was usually the same…the taste was horrible and our digestive system paid one hell of a price!”

Read more on Survival Life.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

Ancient Survival Medicine That We Lost To History

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Ancient Survival Medicine

Before Europeans discovered the Americas and introduced such diseases as chicken pox, the flu, smallpox, and measles, Native Americans were relatively disease-free and, for the most part, lived long, healthy lives, unless of course famine struck.

Native American remedies for existing illnesses were made of indigenous medicinal plants, many of which were highly effective.

Unlike modern medicine, sick patients weren’t just handed medicine until they either got better or died. Instead, Native Americans took care of their health holistically; it was strongly linked to spirituality.

The Native American ideal state of health and well-being was intrinsically linked to a close connection to the Earth and living in harmony with the environment.

In other words, they weren’t the “savages” that Europeans assumed that they were; I’m sure that, if they had the European desire for progress and financial gain, the Americas would have been vastly different than they were when Columbus found them. Instead, they believed that natural balance must be maintained. Life was about coexistence, not the almighty dollar.

But, if you take a look at what they actually did to maintain that balance, you may be surprised to find that their methods coincide with what modern medical practitioners preach on a daily basis.

Regular Cardio and Strength Training

Many tribes greeted the dawn with an early morning run to celebrate the arrival of a new day. How many people do you know that run in the mornings (or at some point during the day) as part of their exercise routine?

Of course, along with the physical exercise they also benefited from the release of stress-releasing hormones that we now know comes from physical exercise. Since running was, in large part, spiritual, there was also surely the clarity of mind that comes with meditation.

Oh, and we can’t forget that regularly carrying animal carcasses, curing hides, carrying water, setting up and tearing down camps, and participating in ceremonies and games that centered on acts of physical strength are all examples of strength training in its purest form.

Get this lifesaving information about surviving when doctors, pharmacies and hospitals are shut down!

Healthy Diets

The Native American concept of fast food was eating berries, fruits, and nuts as they picked them. They didn’t typically gorge themselves unless it was a celebratory feast and the only chips they had were possibly buffalo chips – depending on location – that they used to start a fire (or possibly create a home remedy).

Everybody now is preaching that free-range, organic, hormone-free meat is the only healthy option. Well guess what – the Native Americans were already following that diet. They treated sick animals in the same way that the treated sick people – herbally.

Either that or they just put them down and maybe ate them, depending on the illness or injury. Plus the animals weren’t ingesting grass poisoned with artificial pesticides and other chemicals.

Nuts and seeds were rich in Omega-3’s, high in good fats and low in bad fats, so they had that covered, and the berries that they ate, again, had no pesticides or chemicals. And lest we forget, they had to work for their food, so they were naturally exercising every day of their lives.

Until less than 100 years ago, diabetes was practically non-existent in the Native American population, until they began to adopt the eating habits of other Americans.

Mental Health

We now know that mental health is critical to physical health.

Native Americans regularly meditated and practiced acts of gratitude for everything that surrounded them.

As some modern philosophies teach, they were present and mindful. They celebrated the seasons and the bounty, and they were grateful and respectful to the animals that they killed to sustain themselves.

In a nutshell, Native Americans had a healthy outlook on life and worked regularly to maintain that. They knew, without an advanced medical degree, what it took to stay healthy.

Medicinal Herbs

For every illness, there’s a cure. At least in theory. Though Western Medicine hasn’t managed to find cures for many diseases, Native Americans had treatments for just about everything, and if you pay attention to early American writers, they often worked.

These treatments were entirely natural – no penicillin or opiates required. There are natural elements that provide the origins of these modern meds, such as soil and plants that contain natural antibiotics and plants such as willow bark that contain natural pain killers. In fact, willow bark was an original ingredient in aspirin.

Just because a cure is natural doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work as well as modern medications; in fact, the opposite is often true.

As preppers, we realize that we may not always have access to OTC and prescription meds so, considering that, we’ve put together a special report on Native American remedies that teaches you how to use the eight super-plants that treat more than thirty diseases. You’ll also learn how to help your body stay healthy and heal itself naturally, and how to preserve your food without refrigeration or electricity.

Click here to subscribe to Survivopedia’s newsletter and get this month’s FREE REPORT to find out more about our ancestors’ natural healing secrets. 

Native American Remedies

In general, their naturally healthy lifestyles prevented many diseases, but some did exist. Plus, you have to consider injuries such as broken bones, open wounds, and infections.

When treating any medical condition, the knowledge of the tribe healer often saved the day with a combination of treatments.

Throughout the generations, natural remedies were handed down from one healer to the next, and it seems pretty likely that the entire tribe knew how to use herbs, plants, seeds, and roots for healing, too.

These ingredients, alone or combined, were used to make poultices, teas, decoctions, salves, and oils that worked in conjunction with other holistic methods described above.

Sweat Lodges

Also known as medicine lodges, sweat lodges were often used for healing, prayer, introspection, and purification. Sweat sessions were required to be supervised by trained elders who were experienced with the process and could safely control the situation in case somebody became ill or uncomfortable.

Many holistic healers believe that sweating purifies the body by flushing toxins from the body and may help kill disease by raising the body temperature to a point that bacteria and viruses can’t survive. That is, of course, theoretical, but it makes a certain amount of sense.

Remember that knowledge is the only doctor that can save you when there is no medical help around you.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

How To Turn Your Bike Into A Bug Out Vehicle

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The first thing that people do in the movies when there’s a catastrophic event is try to get out of town. They end up in gridlocked traffic and end up surrounded by panicking people abandoning vehicles that can’t go any further. Obviously, there was a lack of planning.

As preppers, we’re prepared to avoid these types of situations either by bugging in, or by having bug out vehicles that can navigate terrain, and will allow us to avoid major roads so that we have a better chance of getting safely away.

Though many people don’t consider a motorcycle a good choice for a bug out vehicle, don’t discount the advantages out of hand. After all, while all of those cars are gridlocked, you can ride the berm or split the lanes to continue traveling. This would, of course, come with the risk of somebody knocking you off your bike, so you’d have to be extremely cautious while also traveling quickly.

You can also travel off-road if you have the right bike and it’s properly equipped. Oh, and if you have an EMP room that’s at least 5 or 6 feet square, you can keep the bike right in there along with an extra motor and parts and still have plenty of room left for your other stuff.

Also, a motorcycle gets anywhere from 30-70 mpg. The average dual sport bike has anywhere from a 3-6 gallon tank, which means that you can make it 150-300 miles on one tank. They’re also versatile and do well both on the street and off-road assuming you choose a good bike and put knobby tires on it.

Many people like to use a 250cc for a bug out vehicle, but I like a little more speed and power – I’d recommend a 600 – it doesn’t weight that much more than a 250, though you will lose a little mpg. That’s negligible, though – 10mpg maybe. Chances are good that your bug out place is still going to be well within your tank range.

There are downsides. You can’t realistically take more than two people and will only be able to take the bare essentials with you. Ideally, you should probably use a bike to get you to a pre-stocked bug out location. Most sport bikes, enduros, motocross bikes and duel sports are light enough that 2 people can lift them up into the back of a truck.

However, there are a few modifications that you should probably make in order to optimize it for bugging out. These are just general suggestions – you’ll have to account for your individual terrain and bug out plans.

Put Headlights on Toggle Switch

Motorcycles typically have headlights that turn on as soon as you turn the key as a standard safety feature. Since you may need to hide, it’s probably a good idea to put the headlight on a toggle switch. Fortunately, the wiring on a motorcycle is fairly simple, so this is easy to do.

Paint to Match Your Terrain

I absolutely love the electric blue and neon green paintjob on my GSXR, but it doesn’t exactly lend itself to hiding.

Not only do you want to keep from being seen on it if possible, but you don’t want it to stand out for somebody to target as a potential getaway vehicle for themselves should you need to stop and be away from it. (i.e., bathroom breaks, etc.)

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much paint to cover an entire motorcycle. Choose a paint that will help you blend into your terrain. Whether it’s green or tan, or somewhere in between, camouflage that ride.

Cargo Racks

You can buy a cargo rack for behind the seat, or you can do what I did for my last bike and build it yourself. This allows you quite a bit of customization because you can add a little bit of storage here and there.

For instance, you can potentially add a rifle carrier that would ride under your thigh, or a storage rack in front of it. You can also buy or build saddle bags. We are, after all, the kings and queens of DIY.

Use Quiet Exhaust

On a standard day, I’ll preach that loud pipes save lives all day long, but not in this case. Your goal is to fly under the radar, so you want the bike to be as quiet as possible. Because of the way a motorcycle motor works, you’re not going to be able to get it whisper-quiet like a car is, but you can muffle it significantly by modifying the pipes.

Especially if you’ve opted to use a small-cc bike, don’t do too much in the way of modifying the heads to muffle the sound because you don’t want to restrict the airflow.

Have an Extra Motor and Parts in Your EMP Room

If you have an EMP room, you have room for a motorcycle motor. They’re small and fairly light – less than 150 pounds in many cases.

Discover how to assemble a simple device that will shield your electronics from the EMP!

Magnetic and Handlebar Bags

Once you start looking, you’re going to be surprised by how many places you can put a storage bag on your bike. There are handlebar bags made to sit in the triple tree. I put mine on the front between the forks when I carry it.

You can also get magnetic tank bags that will carry a surprising amount of gear and supplies.

Magnetic Holsters

These are great. The magnets are seriously strong enough to hold onto the tank even if things get rough. I had one on my last bike that I used when we went camping and I kept it on the front of my tank up by my gauges. You can, of course, always customize them or have them custom made.

Backpack

This is probably my most important piece of survival gear because it stays right with me all the time. I don’t have to worry about it falling off or catching on things, or slowing me down as long as I’m on my bike. Put what you can’t live without in here, in case somebody steals your bike.

I always keep, at a minimum:

Sounds like a lot, but actually if you think about it, the only big item is water. It all fits in the bottom of one of my pouches, and I have a nice little “just in case” kit.

I also keep a toolkit underneath my seat that holds the main 3 sockets and small wrenches that work on my bike, a pair of pliers, and zip ties.

Suspension

Depending on the bike that you have, you may need to adjust the suspension so that it’s fit to ride off-road. This is a topic best researched before you decide on a bike. I can’t really offer much advice that would be any good because everything depends on what you have to work with.

Tires

If you’re going to take your bike off-road, you need to have knobby tires on it. If you’re not, you need to keep your street tires in excellent condition because in the middle of an emergency is the worst time possible for you to have a blowout.

These are just a few tips to help you get your motorcycle ready to use as a bugout vehicle. I considered recommending armoring the tank and you can do that if you want, but truthfully, you’re using it as a vehicle that is light, nimble, and maneuverable. You want to avoid weight where you can.

Do you have any other tips to help prepare a motorcycle so that it will serve as a good bug out vehicle?

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

These Survival Guns Are Immortal

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Many working handguns, rifles, and shotguns are also classics. Although they are old, even those that aren’t in working condition can be repaired and used for shooting.

Being able to recognize which classic guns can be restored is an important skill for preppers. Even though you may have confidence in the guns you own now, it never hurts to know how to use and repair older guns that rely on simpler technologies.

How Old is Too Old?

For serviceable and dependable weapons, I would go no earlier than WW I. Most of these weapons are still in use by collectors and shooters alike. Some of these weapons are classics and set design standards.

Since these weapons have been popular for a long time, spare parts and other accessories are easier to obtain.

Advantages of Military Surplus Weapons

Military surplus is one of the best places to get good quality firearms. All of these weapons were designed for heavy military service and should be dependable under all shooting conditions. Most of these firearms are well over 75 years old or more.

In addition, many of these weapons can be reworked into good to excellent hunting rifles for less cost than a newer model.

Since millions of military grade weapons were produced along with large quantities of ammunition, you can find them in many surplus stores. In the past you could buy these weapons at a cheaper price, but with today’s higher supply and demand, they are more expensive.

Law Enforcement Surplus “Turn-in” Revolvers

Over the last 20 years or so, law enforcement agencies have changed from revolvers to semi-automatic pistols. These revolvers are usually in good to excellent conditions with good grips and little or no holster wear. Mechanically, many of these revolvers also tend to have very little use.

As with any other second hand gun, you will still need to check it over for signs of internal wear. Surplus law enforcement revolvers are usually low cost and an excellent deal for the collector or shooter.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide To Combat Shooting Mastery & Active Shooter Defense!

A Few Classic Guns to Consider

Revolvers and Pistols

Revolvers

S&W Model 10 revolver DA/SA in .38 Special is made of blued steel, with either a 4 inch heavy or standard barrel, and black finger groove rubber or wood grips.

S&W Model 64 revolver DA/SA is a .38 Special made in stainless steel, with a 4 inch heavy barrel, and black finger groove rubber grips.

Pistols

CZ-52

In the 1950s this pistol was produced in Czechoslovakia for their military. The CZ-52 fires the very fast and devastating 7.62x25mm Tokarev round. This pistol was finally replaced by the CZ-82 in the 1980s which fires the 9x18mm Russian service round. As a result of this change in pistols there was a large surplus of CZ-52s and a large quantity of 7.62x25mm ammunition at very cheap prices.

The CZ-52 is of interest, in part because of its unusual recoil system. Instead of having a fully gas operated system that’s prone to failure, this gun is the only one that has a pure roller-locked system.

The roller lock on this Czech pistol is composed simply of the barrel, two rollers, and a locking cam. When not firing, the recoil spring compresses the cam which pushes the rollers outwards into the slide.

When the round is fired, the recoil opens the cam and the pressure further extends the rollers out of the detent and allows the slide to travel. At the end of the arc, the recoil spring snaps the slide forward again and the rollers are cammed back out to hold it locked.

Even in a 33-ounce gun, the fast little bottle necked round still produces a good bit of felt recoil and a muzzle blast that is sure to scare away bystanders on both ends of the gun. If you don’t mind the trade-off of heavy recoil for reduced risk of failure, this gun will work for you.

Video first seen on Gunnut357mag

TT-33 Tokarev

This pistol was a replacement for the old Russian Nagant M1895 revolvers.

It is a semi-automatic pistol that fires the 7.62x25mm Tokarev cartridge.

This cartridge was based on the 7.63x25mm Mauser cartridge that was used in the Mauser C96 Broom Handle Pistol.

The 7.62x25mm cartridge is very powerful with a very flat trajectory. This round will penetrate thick clothing or soft body armor.

Externally, the TT-33 Tokarev is similar to John Browning’s 1903 semi-automatic pistol. Internally it uses the Browning’s short recoil tilting barrel system of the 1911 pistol.

This pistol uses a much simpler hammer sear assembly than the 1911. The assembly can be removed as a modular unit. This unit also included machined magazine feed lips to prevent ammunition misfeeds due to broken magazines loaded into the gun.

The Russians were always looking for ways to make production easier. Their most notable was the simplifications on the barrel locking lugs which allowed for fewer machining steps.

Some TT-33 Tokarevs used a captive recoil spring secured to the guide rod which depended on the barrel bushing to hold it under tension.

These pistols are very heavy duty and will give you years of good service. The ammunition is cheap and plentiful. Like most Russian firearms they were designed for simplicity and to be used by poorly educated individuals.

1911 or 1911-A1 Semi-automatic Pistols

The 1911 or 1911-A1 semi-automatic pistol is the gold standard that all others semi-automatic pistols are judged by. It was designed by John Browning, who is best known for his designs featuring the short recoil principle; which he added to the 1911 basic design.

The pistol was widely copied and the short recoil system was used in nearly all centerfire pistols designs thereafter. The 1911 was a modern handgun replacement for the older revolver handguns carried by the US Armed Forces.

Since this pistol design has been in use for over 100 years, it has withstood the test of time. This pistol has always been, large, heavy framed, rugged, and built to last.

The 1911 is a single action semi-automatic that is magazine fed. This pistol was originally chambered in the .45 ACP cartridge. The US produced over 2.7 million M1911 and 1911-A1 pistols in military contracts during its service life.

In October 1986 the M1911 and M1911-A1 were replaced with the 9mm Beretta M9 pistol as the US Armed Forces sidearm.

During the 1980s and 1990s a lot of surplus 1911-A1 .45 caliber semi-automatic pistols were imported back into the US. Most of these pistols were given to our allies under the Lend-Lease Treaties that started in World War II.

The pistols are in good shape and bought by collectors and shooters. The pistols are a good bargain with their low prices, plenty of spare parts, and cheap surplus ammunition. As a cheap platform to build your own custom .45 pistol, it can’t be beat.

Rifles

There are two types of rifles in surplus rifle marketplace. The fist is the bolt action and the other is the semi-automatic.

Bolt action

Mauser 1898

When the Mauser 1898 was introduced it was the most advanced bolt action rifle ever produced. This is the bolt action rifle that set the standards that all other bolt action rifles must be measured against.

There have been many variants of this rifle with the best known as the Mauser 98k used in World War I and World War II.

The early 1898 Mauser rifles shot the 7x57mm cartridge. This cartridge is a good hunting round for medium sized game like deer, hogs, and small bear. With the 98k, the ammunition was upgraded to 8x57mm. This is a more powerful cartridge for hunting medium sized game than the 7x57mm.

Many of the old 98k rifles have been reworked to different calibers such as the .30-06. They have also been reworked to accommodate big game cartridges like the .416 Rigby; which is used to hunt elephants and Rhinos.

Surplus FMJ bullet loads in 7x57mm and 8x57mm are usually corrosive primed and cheaper than commercial ammunition. This surplus ammunition can usually shoot 3 inch to 4 inch groups at 100 yards. This is not match accuracy, but it is good enough for plinking or training.

1903 Springfield

The 1903 Springfield used so many of the 1898 Mauser new design features that the American government had to pay Mauser for royalties for patent infringement.

The 1903 Springfield, like the Mausers, were very successful rifles used in time of war. The Springfield rifle was very accurate with the .30-06 Springfield cartridge and could hit targets at long ranges. This is the reason they were still used as sniper weapons in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

The 1903 Springfield’s long history of great accuracy makes it popular with hunters and target shooters alike. It is ideal for hunting all of the medium to large game animals in America. The biggest problem you will face is obtaining a surplus 1903 rifle because the cost is high due to demand.

Mosin-Nagant

This rifle is the most reasonably priced bolt action rifles you can buy in military surplus. The rifle was used by the Russian soldiers during WWI and WWII, and other communist forces in Third World Countries during the Cold War.

The Mosin-Nagant is chambered in the 7.62x54mmR cartridge. This round is known for it’s hard kicking recoil and cheap price.

Buyer beware! Most of this surplus ammunition is corrosive and the rifle must be thoroughly cleaned after each use. Good hunting ammunition is available in the US, making this rifle a good budget hunting weapon.

Video first seen on hickok45

.303 Lee-Enfield

The .303 Lee-Enfield rifle saw military service from 1895 to 1957. It was one of the most successful bolt action rifles of all times. This rifle was commonly used by the British Empire around the world in British conflicts.

The .303 Lee-Enfield is a great military surplus rifle and a budget friendly for those in need of a hunting gun. It has good accuracy when chambered in the .303 British cartridge. You can hunt deer, moose, bear, and other big game animals in the US and Canada with this gun.

Semi-automatic

M1 Carbine

The M1 Carbine was manufactured by the millions in World War II. Later on, it found it’s way into the surplus marketplace where they were bought by shooters and gun collectors.

Although it shoots the under powered .30 Caliber Carbine cartridges, it is still a good personal defense weapon.

This carbine is very popular because it’s lightweight, easy to shoot, and has a mild recoil. Overall, it is a good weapon for small framed individuals to shoot and carry.

For deer hunting I feel that the M1 Carbine is too under-powered to kill deer humanely, even at close range with HP or SP ammunition. It would be better to use it to hunt hogs, small game, or varmints.

SKS

The SKS was originally a Russian semi-automatic rifle that fired the 7.62x39mm cartridge. It was there first line battle rifle until it was replaced by the select fire AK-47. The SKS was manufactured by several Russian allied countries or sold to Russian allies throughout the world.

The SKS is very dependable, reliable, and shoots more accurately than the AK-47, but is not as rugged. The price on an SKS depends on country of origin, condition of the SKS, type of receiver (milled or stamped), and the number of rifles produced there.

Although I would not choose the SKS as a deer rifle, it does have it’s uses as a varmint, plinking, or self-defense rifle.

As a surplus self-defense rifle, it would also be a good choice. It is light, rugged, quick shooting, and fires a cartridge that will stop a man quickly and easily. Surplus ammunition is cheap and plentiful.

The M1 Garand

The M1 Garand was the best semi-automatic battle rifle in World War II. Its 8 round en bloc clip was way ahead of the standard bolt action rifles used by enemy forces in World War II and Korean War. This rifle gave the US soldiers a strong advantage on the battlefield.

Aside from being able to lay down a large amount of fire power it is a very accurate rifle. This rifle has good sights, and an outstanding trigger. This enables a good shooter to accurately shoot at ranges of 100 to 1000 yards.

Though some say the M1 Garand has a heavy recoil., it is still one of the most popular military surplus rifles used by shooters and hunters alike in the US. The Civilian Marksmanship Program still sells shootable M1 Garands at a fair price to US citizens that meet the CMP requirements.

Shotguns

12 Ga. shotguns were used by the US Military from World War I to present day. These weapons can lay down a lot of buckshot quickly and effectively. They are excellent weapons for close quarter fighting, fighting in trenches, and jungle warfare.

The following are excellent shotguns to buy in the surplus marketplace. They are wanted by shooters and collectors alike. They are a good value, and if you take care of these guns, they will last a life time.

Winchester Model 1897 Trench Gun

Is a 12 Ga. pump action exposed hammer shotgun with a 18 inch heat shielded barrel. It was in military service starting in World War I through the Korean War.

Winchester Model 1912 Trench Gun

Was a 12 Ga. pump action hammerless shotgun with a 18 inch heat shielded barrel. It was in military service from World war I through Vietnam.

When it comes to old, classic, and immortal guns, there are some that have already withstood the test of time and are worthy of consideration. As a prepper, you can save some money by focusing on these weapons without sacrificing utility and durability.

Remember that a personal defense weapon should be something you feel comfortable carrying at all times.

Learn from the experts the secrets of self-defense! Click the banner below to grab your guide!

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Further reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combat_shotgun

http://thegca.org/history-of-the-m1-garand-rifle/

https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2016/7/1/lee-enfield-rifle-workhorse-of-the-british-empire/#

Product Review: Plug & Farm Tower

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I waited until I had a chance to actually grow some plants in the tower before writing this review. Because I live in a warm area of the country (zone 9b) I’m able to have a year-round growing cycle, but I don’t have a lot of space.

This seemed perfect for me, so I’m recommending it to any prepper interested to grow its own food and save some space and money.

And here’s why!

Building the Tower

The tower itself was easy to assemble and get started and came with all of the necessary tools and parts, as you can see in the unboxing video below:

The drip system was logical and was organized in such a manner that it worked with gravity.

With a standard soil-based drip system, this usually means that the bottom plants don’t get as much water as the top plants, but since this system is made in such a way that it recycles water from top to bottom and uses a planting medium that’s much less dense than dirt, the water flows freely through it so that the bottom plants get just as much water as the top ones.

All in all, with the exception of the instructions, I’ve had a good experience with the tower.

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Each section is well-constructed, as is the base, though I did mount it to a wall for stability. It’s easy to use and easy to assemble, and works with gravity.

It also uses very little water, which is, of course, a huge deal, especially in a drought or survival situation. I can even see where it would be perfectly good for indoor use if you were so inclined.

What to Plant

I chose to plant strawberries, green peppers, tomatoes, basil, and lettuce. I sprouted the seeds and grew them to seedlings, then transplanted them into the tower.

I had a mishap a few weeks after I planted my seedlings and lost the whole crop, so I had to start over. I’m now starting to see the beginnings of fruit from the new batch, so I’m excited to see what happens.

I also reevaluated the positioning of my plants the second time through. Originally, I’d place the tomatoes in the middle because I thought that it would be easier to stake them using the side of the tower and letting them grow down, but I rethought that and decided it would be better to have them on the far left so that I can use lattice to support the plants if need be.

If you’re looking for a great way to grow vertically in small spaces using very little water, this tower is a great option.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

How To Choose A Good Pressure Cooker

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Ahh  … the much revered and often feared pressure cooker.

Your mom makes delicious pot roasts in them, and you can cook food in a fraction of the time that it takes to cook it on the stove or in the oven. The problem is that you’ve heard horror stories about pressure cookers that blow up and spew hot food and liquid all over the place.

That’s a reasonable fear. I cook with a pressure cooker at least once every couple of weeks, but I have had an explosive incident when I was young and learning to use it. It was a completely user error.

I was using an old pressure cooker with the top jiggler and I didn’t put it on correctly, nor did I properly seal the lid. The jiggler blew clear through the dry wall in my ceiling, and my roast beef blew all over my kitchen.

They say there’s no better teacher than experience. Fortunately for me, I had my mother to tell me what I did wrong, after she made sure I was OK, then laughed for ten minutes when she saw my kitchen.

Don’t let this story scare you. It’s a rare thing, and if you’re buying a modern pressure cooker, much of the mysticism and dangerous flying objects have been removed so that anybody can use one without needing to patch their ceiling.

For that matter, if you’re buying an old one, you’re gonna be just fine after you read this article.

Can I Can Foods in a Regular Pressure Cooker?

The short answer? No. don’t do it. And this is coming from somebody who laughs in the face of most government-issued warnings.

And here’s why you shouldn’t use a pressure cooker to pressure can foods. Pressure cookers don’t maintain a steady heat and pressure. Both rise and fall, and you don’t have control of heat other than high, medium, or low.

It’s imperative that your pressure-canned food maintain a minimum temperature for a set amount of time in order to kill pathogens that won’t kill you in 2 months or 2 years when you get around to opening that jar. Buy pressure canners specifically meant for canning. You can find these at thrift stores and yard sales, too.

Discover the ingenious recipes that helped our ancestors stay alive!

Types of Pressure Cookers

There are two types of pressure cookers: rangetop and electric. Electric pressure cookers may be better for you if you’re especially timid because they work very much like a crock pot does; well, at least they’re more goof-proof. On the other hand, they are useless during blackout unless you have a good and steady energy source.

A stovetop pressure cooker can be a bit trickier, especially if you’re using an older one. One is no better or worse than the other and the end result is the same as long as you use them properly. Rangetops do typically cook faster, though.

Video first seen on thenewsurvivalist.

Tips to Buying a Good Used Pressure Cooker

Like most of my good kitchenware, I inherited one of my pressure cookers and picked the other two (yes, two) up at yard sales. There are five traits to consider when you’re buying a used pressure cooker.

  • First, make sure that the seal is in good condition. You’ll find this in place in a ring around the inside of the lid. Pull it out and inspect it. If it crumbles in your hand or shows signs of dry rot, skip it.
  • Next, make sure that the pot and the lid are in excellent condition. This isn’t one of those products where you can overlook a few dings. You want to make sure that the sides all feel even and that the lid seals tightly onto the pot. Most have a locking mechanism that falls into place when the lid is properly locked, so check that if there is one. Lock it down to make sure that it works. The handles should line up and stop. If they just slide right past each other, skip it.
  • Don’t forget to look at the jiggler. It’s technically called a regulator and most that you find will have at least five- and ten-pound capabilities. Make sure it’s there because the pressure cooker won’t do you a lick of good without the regulator.
  • Make sure that the rack is in it. Pressure cookers have a rack that sets in the bottom of the pot. This keeps the food suspended above the bottom so that pressure can circulate all around it, and it keeps the food from burning to the bottom of the pan.
  • Finally, look for a good brand name. Even if you buy an older one, if it’s by a well-known brand name, chances are good that you’re going to get a good product and will likely be able to buy a replacement seal if yours goes bad.

After all, a pressure cooker is something that you’ll be able to pass to your kids. One of mine is over 50 years old and is still as reliable as an April shower. Or snowstorm, depending on where you live.

Two excellent older brands that are still producing pressure cookers today are Presto and WearEver. Newer brands include Imusa, Fissler, WMF, Tramontina, and Fagor. Two of mine are Presto and the other is WearEver. I don’t have any experience with new ones.

Tips for Buying a New Pressure Cooker

First of all, you’re going to have to decide whether you want to buy an electric pressure cooker or a rangetop pressure cooker. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Rangetops typically cook faster and the pot can be used by itself as a stockpot. You’ll have to regulate the pressure via the regulator and the heat settings on your stove.

Electric models automatically pressurize and depressurize according to how you set it and most of them can be used as slow cookers and steamers. They take longer to cook, though.

Which type of pressure cooker you need is up to you. They come in different sizes and some offer only a couple of pressure settings while others offer 3 of 4. The electric ones can get pretty fancy and have many settings. It’s all a matter of what you want and need. Good Housekeeping did a review on top pressure cookers that may help.

In general, you’re going to need to pick a size based upon what you plan to cook in it, and you’ll have to decide between electric and rangetop. Look for a pressure cooker that has a good seal, and I recommend one with a locking mechanism for somebody just learning to use one. That takes away the chance of not aligning the lid and pot properly.

What’s up with the Different Pounds on the Regulator?

The pressure regulator is what determines the pressure inside of the pressure cooker. Typical pressure settings are 5, 10, and 15 though many of the electric models have ranges from just a couple of pounds up to 15 pounds. That number is how many pounds of pressure build up inside the cooker.

Different foods require different pounds of pressure. For instance, delicate vegetables like spinach may only need 5 pounds, while roasts require 10 or 15. In many new cookers, this will likely be expressed as low, medium, and high.

Now that you know how to choose your pressure cooker, you can easily go ahead with the best recipes for your family.

Find how our forefathers handled their survival food, and steal their secrets for your own survival!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Prep Blog Review: Quick Tips To Survive A Disaster

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We never know what type of disaster will hit us next. Will it be an EMP, a tornado, a flood, a riot, a shootout at a commercial center, or an economic crisis? We never know, but there is one thing that we can all do – prepare!

Maybe you have already started stockpiling food and water for survival and you have prepared you bug-out-bag, but are you really physically and mentally prepared to survive any disaster?

For this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic.

  1. 4 Quick Tips to Survive an Emergency

“Plenty of articles talk about how to make large supplies and other preparations for various emergencies. In what follows, I want to take a different approach: I’m going to give you nothing but quick, down-to-earth tips of what to do and what not to do when these 4 disasters strike.

Keep in mind that, although the advice itself sounds simple, taking action on it when everyone around you is panicking will be a huge challenge.

Surviving a Riot

We’ve all seen numerous riots spark in the United States as well as in Europe. Here’s some quick tips on what to do should you get trapped in social unrest:

Never move in the opposite direction of the rioters. You will stand out and they might pick you as a target, possibly dragging you along. “

Read more on Plan and Prepared.

  1. 6 Totally Insane Things that Will Happen if the Power Grid Goes Down

“Imagine if you will, what would happen if you pulled an American family from the 19th century, and plopped them in the middle of downtown Los Angeles during rush hour. They’re not given a warning, they’re not given any kind of primer on what they’re about to experience, and the occurrence is completely inexplicable. How long do you suppose they would last before they cried uncle?

Would they even survive? The odds probably aren’t so good.

Of course, the reverse is probably also true. If you and your family were wrenched from the comforts of the present and hurled back into a previous era, you might not fare so well either.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

  1. How to Survive a Flood

“In the deadliest flood ever recorded, every person on the earth —  except for the first “prepper family”– died.

Thankfully, there hasn’t been a flood like that since.

However, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been some nasty and deadly floods. In fact, there have been many, and according to FEMA floods were the number-one natural disaster of the 20th-century.

If you look at the graph below (provided by the NOAA), you will see that on a ten-year average, floods account for 84 deaths each year. However, in 2015 that number was blown-out-of-the-water (pun intended) with a total of 172 deaths nationwide.”

Read more on Sheep Dog Man.

  1. How to Prepare for a Tornado

There are many natural disasters that might befall a community, but a tornado is one of the most unpredictable.

Several people were killed in the last few days as a rash of storms wreaked havoc in the South and Midwest.

Indeed, hundreds of people are killed yearly by tornadoes, but many injuries and deaths may be avoided with sound preparation.

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and the thunderstorm (sometimes called a “supercell”) that spawned it.

Read more on Doom and Bloom.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

How To Feed Your Family Without Any Soil Or Space

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Growing hydroponically sounds complicated and expensive, but it’s actually neither. All that it means is that you’re growing your plants without soil. I’ve seen examples of hydroponic systems made out of our favorite tool ever – a 5-gallon bucket.

I’ve also seen systems that are exactly what you imagine – tables and tables full of fancy equipment and mysterious-looking tools and chemicals.

Just like anything else, it’s just a matter of how complicated you really want to get.

Let me give you a quick rundown of what it’s all about though, and why you should consider it, then we’ll talk about why it’s a great partner for vertical gardening.

As we already determined, you don’t use soil. The entire system is based on the concept that the roots are freely flowing in the water. They’re not packed tightly in soil. Hydroponic plants grow 30-50 percent faster than their soil-grown sisters, are generally healthier, and produce more fruit.

This is likely because the extra oxygen in the water helps the plant absorb nutrients better, and the nutrients are readily available in the water/solution and the plant doesn’t have to work to extract it from soil. It uses the extra energy to grow and produce.

Use it Inside

Hydroponic growing is also good to use inside because you don’t have the dirt mess and the plants don’t have to struggle so much to get the nutrients that they need, so it’s easier for them to grow in a semi-challenging environment. It’s a great way to grow food in small spaces.

Save Water

Vertical gardening and hydroponics also pair well because the drip-down system is an effective method of watering, and if you’re using a hydroponics system to catch the runoff, you’re saving a ton of water.

In a situation where fresh water is limited, that’s a huge benefit. As a matter of fact, in a world where soil is becoming depleted and water isn’t as plentiful as it used to be, vertical hydroponic gardening is seen by many as the method of future mass food production. Of course, their plans for world garden domination is a bit more complex, but it’s based on this theory.

Save Yourself $24,000 Instantly Using This One Easy Prepper Hack!

Stack it Up – The Foundation of Both Ideas

Also, and this takes us to our next point, hydroponics systems are commonly used in a stacked fashion so that the water is drawn up from  catch basin at the bottom and is released via drips onto the plants below. Then it drips from the top layer to the layer beneath, and so on until the water is back in the catch basin.

This makes hydroponics a great partner for vertical gardening.

Lighter and Portable

One problem that you often face with regular, dirt vertical gardening is that the wall is heavy and bulky, in large part because of the weight of the wet dirt.

With hydroponic vertical towers, you get rid of that.

There’s still some water weight, but unless you’re using gravel or sand to secure the roots, the weight is less.

This makes it more portable, too, especially if you use a well-contained system like Plug and Farm Towers. Portability is good for a couple of reasons.

If you need to move your vertical gardening wall or tower so that the plants are getting more or less light, or so that looters won’t know that you have food, then you want to be able to quickly and easily move the wall.

Know What You’re Eating

Another huge benefit is that you know exactly what’s going into your plant. Though you can buy bags of soil to grow your plants in, there’s no way for you to know what’s in that dirt. The same goes for using plain old yard soil. There could be residual fertilizers, pesticides, or acid rain in it and you’ll never know.

When you use hydroponics, you know exactly what your plants are coming into contact with. Enough said about that.

Best of Both Worlds

Finally, the “piece de resistance”, so to speak, about combining vertical gardening with hydroponics is that you get the benefits of the expanded growing space that comes with vertical gardening with the faster growth and higher yield of hydroponics. Bam! That’s what does it for me.

Vertical gardening and hydroponics are like peas and carrots – different, but when you bring them together, they’re a delicious combination that just works!

Start growing your own survival food without soil or space! You only need 10 minutes per day to take care of your fresh food.

Click the banner below and grab this special offer!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Why Vertical Gardening Works for Preppers

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As preppers, we all share the common goal of being able to take care of ourselves and our families in worst-case scenarios.

Having a ready supply of nutritious food is most certainly at the top of that list. And since we don’t all have the acreage (or even the yard) to grow a huge, traditional garden, enter vertical gardening!

Vertical gardening is exactly what the name implies – you’re growing your plants vertically instead of on a flat surface (the ground). This is great because it allows for growing fresh produce even if you don’t have any space other than a wall or a porch. You can even grow a vertical garden inside!

Grows Anywhere

Whether you have a fence around your yard or you only have a space on the porch or even a wall inside your house, you can grow a vertical garden. Living in urban areas doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your own food – it just means that you have to get creative about it.

If you have even a little bit of a yard, you’ll be surprised how much you can grow using the vertical gardening method – the options are practically limitless. You can even grow plants out the top AND bottom of the planters!

If you only have a single closet or small wall in your apartment, you’re still in luck, though you’ll have to make sure that you have plenty of light either in the form of sunlight or grow lights. Herbs are great to grow vertically, as are tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, onions, and green leafy vegetables.

Can be Used for Privacy

If you have a porch or yard, build your vertical garden in such a way that you block vision of your house. If you use a solid back that faces out from your house, people won’t even know what you’re doing!

Of course, you may not want to advertise what you’re doing, so grow it somewhere that people can’t look over your fence.

Works Well with Hydroponics

Growing plants hydroponically is a great way to increase your produce yield while decreasing your water consumption. It also takes the guesswork out of what you’re exposing your plants to, and how many nutrients the plant is getting, because you control both of those conditions.

Plants grown hydroponically, such as in the Plug and Farm Towers we tested, and have been shown to be healthier, grow faster, and produce a bigger yield. This is likely because water is oxygen rich, which helps the plants absorb nutrients, and they don’t have to harvest the nutrients out of the soil, so they can use that energy to grow instead.

You can Grow without Sharing What You’re Doing

Because you don’t need to lay everything out in the yard, you can grow in places that your neighbors won’t know about. You can grow a ton of vegetables on vertical growing racks inside your house. If you decide to go with a hydroponics system, you won’t have a dirt mess, but you can grow them in soil just as well.

Other places that make good hiding places include old sheds or barns that back up to a place in your yard that’s out of site. Just remember that you need plenty of light no matter where you plant them.

Grow Year Round

If you decide to grow a vertical garden inside, you can have year-round fresh herbs, veggies, and fruits. They do well in greenhouses, too. This is yet another advantage you’ll have over your neighbors if stuff goes south in the winter.

You’ll have access to fresh produce right there in your guest bedroom. Don’t be shy about putting a vertical garden in your living room, either. They look beautiful and make the house smell good, especially if you’re growing herbs.

You can Grow a Variety of Produce

The good thing about growing up instead of out is that you can have 7 or 8 different types of plants in an area that’s only 8 feet long and a foot or so wide. Nearly everybody has that much space!

An advantage to this is that if you don’t have access to a good food supply, having several different types of plants growing in what space you have will allow for you to have a variety of nutrients. Go for different colors because each color has different nutrients – red, yellow, orange, green – they all provide different nutrients that will help keep you and yours well-nourished.

Easy to Care for by Anybody

It’s hard to get down on your hands and knees to root around in a garden, pulling weeds in the sun and making sure the soil stays loose. With vertical gardening, it’s all right there in front of you. You can sit on a chair to take care of your plants if you need to. And harvesting is easy, too. For that matter, if you plan it right, you can make your vertical garden portable.

Another way that vertical gardening is easier is that, especially if you’re growing hydroponically, there are minimal weeds and you don’t have to worry about squatting over to take care of your vining plants.

Less Waste

This is one of my favorite reasons to grow vertically – the plants aren’t dragging on the ground and the fruits aren’t sitting in dirt, so they aren’t as prone to disease and rot.

There’s nothing worse, in my opinion, than working hard to nurture plants all the way from seed to harvest just to lose part of it because it was tucked under leaves where we couldn’t see it, and rotted. That’s not a problem with vertical gardening.

I’m obviously a fan of vertical gardening because of where I currently live and have benefited from it myself.

Remember that every survival plan should have food at its core. With only 10 minutes per day you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family again.

Click the banner below to grab this offer and start growing your own survival food!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

What You Need To Know For Hunting During Winter

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Winters can be harsh and if hunting is a hobby you enjoy, it is important to be aware of the equipment requirements, hunting laws, gun certifications and proper apparel necessary to have a successful hunting trip in the winter.

Hunters aren’t required to have a degree, ACLS certification or CPR training, but they should be familiar with the basic demands of hunting.

This sport in the winter can be enjoyable, if hunters prepare by studying the different types of animals and birds, know the right clothing and equipment they should use, and understand other important techniques of hunting.

Any activity is dangerous if the participants are not aware of or do not understand rules and regulations surrounding that activity. Hunting, specifically, can be a very dangerous game if you aren’t aware of its basic guidelines and procedures.

Here are our top tips for understanding the do’s and don’ts of hunting when it comes to the winter hunting season.

Licensing and Certifications

We know it’s basic, but let’s state it again. All states require a hunting license or a tag that allows people to hunt. Whether they are using a gun or traps, all hunters need licenses in order to go out and hunt. Certain states also require licenses to set out traps for different animals.

Before leaving for a weekend trip, hunters must gain a license or certification showing they are able to own a gun and/or set a trap. Getting the correct paperwork can prevent hunters from paying hundreds of dollars in fines.

Animal and Bird Seasons

As winter continues, it’s important that hunters know the rules and regulations regarding animals and their hunting seasons. Depending on the state, specific animals and birds aren’t allowed to be hunted during certain months of the year.

Each state has different regulations when it comes to the hunting of animals, so it’s important that hunters are familiar with state regulations wherever they are.

Never leave for a hunting trip without having a hunting license and knowing which animals are in season. Before starting a weekend of living in tents and hunting food, hunters should do their homework and find out what animals and birds they are allowed to hunt to avoid paying a few hundred dollars in fines.

Fighting the Weather

Keeping warm is essential in the winter, especially for those who spend hours tracking and hunting animals. The cold can make it harder to concentrate. When it is bitterly frigid outside, the weather is often all people can think about.

Focusing on the weather instead of the gun in your hand can be dangerous to yourself and those around you. When planning hunting trips, look at the weather forecast. It is best to be flexible and adjust your plans when there are clear signs of a storm.

Think about the Donner Party and how that brutal snow storm found our forefathers trapped in the mountains. They learned the survival lesson the harsh way, but you can prepare now and don’t repeat their mistakes.

Discover the secrets that helped our forefathers survive in the wild! 

If you do need to hunt during a storm, there are three time periods that are safe for hunters: before the storm, mid-storm, and post-storm.

Hunting ahead or behind the storm will allow hunters to know if they need to stop or if it is safe to keep going. Mid-storm can be a more dangerous time to hunt in, but if you watch the storm you can track where it is going or when it starts to lighten up.

A mistake many hunters make on their winter hunting trip is thinking they need several layers. The more layers a hunter wears, the more they will perspire and the harder it will become for the hunter to move about quietly and efficiently. Adding layers will keep you warm, but the layers can often add unwanted bulk.

Mobility while operating any type of weapon is essential. If you cannot move efficiently, the risk of someone getting hurt increases. As important as dressing warm is, it is good to keep in mind the question whether you can move efficiently or not.

There are several options of clothing that keep you warm without adding bulk. Below are listed six useful pieces of clothing that provide warmth and protection while still giving hunters the mobility that they need.

Parkas

Purchasing a parka that is designed to keep in the warmth, but also cut down the bulk, will help the hunter stay warm without having to worry about cutting out mobility. Proper insulation doesn’t have to mean a bulky jacket. A simple layer of fur on the inside of the jacket can keep a hunter just as warm as if they were wearing several layers.

A parka will help keep out the cold without adding resistance to the hunter’s movements.

Elevation jacket

At any elevation, weather can change and fluctuate drastically. In addition to keeping warm, hunters often need to find ways to keep dry. An elevation jacket is a lightweight jacket that can stay that way even in the pouring rain. With water-repellent fabric, it is able to keep heat in while keeping water out.

An elevation jacket will allow the hunter to stay warm, dry and able to still move without limiting mobility.

Coldfront Bib Pants

Legs need just as much coverage as the upper body. Hunters need pants that use the same technology and fabrics as their jackets to keep them warm and dry without preventing mobility. Coldfront Bib pants are meant to do just that. With micro-grid fleece lining, these pants administer an extra layer of insulation to keep a hunter’s legs warm. This material also helps keep legs dry in snow or rain.

Not only do coldfront bib pants keep legs warm and dry, they also have the ability to shield against harsh winds.

Hunter Extreme Overalls

Hunters looking for clothing that covers their whole body and helps keep them warm should look to the 70’s trend of overalls. Hunter Extreme Overalls are built to trap body heat, keeping the hunter warm even in extreme weather conditions. They give the warmth needed and also the room needed for hunters to move properly.

Some overall designs contain removable hoods, removable hand muffs, and hand warming pockets designed to withstand rain, snow, and wind.

Wooltimate Ninja Hood

Covering the mouth and nose is important for keeping a person warm and preventing frostbite. A Wooltimate Ninja Hood covers the head, mouth, and nose. With a blend of wool and fleece, a ninja hood has the abilities to block out rain, snow, wind, or any other extreme weather condition. The hood also covers the neck so a hunter is truly covered top to bottom. Due to the eyes being left uncovered, pairing a Wooltimate Ninja Hood with goggles or glasses can provide the best results.

Infrared Scent Control Gloves

With jackets sporting extra layers, pants to keep out the wind, and a hood to cover the face, all that is left for a hunter to keep warm as they hunt is protection for their hands. Hunters need gloves that keep their hands warm without taking away mobility.

Infrared scent control gloves take it one step further. Animals can detect a human from several miles away based on their distinct human scent. Scent control gloves eliminates natural body odor which can allow hunters to sneak up on their target. These gloves also absorb body heat and radiates it back into the gloves to keep hands warm.

Tracking Tips

When tracking animals, hunters can find them by their footprints, broken twigs and places where they have slept. Another way hunters can find a group of animals is by looking for water. Wherever there is water, animals are not far from the source.

An animal’s main goal in the winter is to stay warm. This means wherever the sun is shining is where animals tend to be. They can often be found on hills or ridges facing the sun to keep warm. Hunters should try to hunt in sunny areas and avoid shady spots.

Snapping twigs in the woods is unavoidable. When it happens, hunters should wait a full minute before continuing their hunt. By waiting a full minute, it will give the animal time to forget about the noise and go back to what they were doing.

When deciding on a location, keep in mind that putting yourself in a single location and expecting animals to come to you is unrealistic. Moving about will increase your possibility of coming across an animal to hunt, especially in cold weather.

Animals don’t stay in one place and neither should you. Animals also tend to shift to different resting places every day. When deciding where to hunt or when, hunter’s should study the animals they’re tracking and take notice to how they react to the cold.

Winter causes many animals to switch into survival mode where they begin to find food more carefully. If hunters study different animals and how they behave in the winter, they can find ways to catch the animal without scaring it off.

Whether you’re hunting ground consists of green trees or snowy mountains, learning game-scouting techniques will help the hunter find animals in any type of environment.

Click the banner below and discover how to prepare traps and hunt wild animals, the old way!

This article has been written by Ryan Thompson for Survivopedia. Follow Ryan on Twitter – @ryan_thompson03

References

https://acls.com/

http://www.fieldandstream.com/node/1006033160#page-2

Start Growing Your Own Food Using Hydroponics

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Hydroponics, the process of growing plants without soil, is gaining momentum throughout the gardening community for many different reasons.

The water requirements are stupendously less than growing in soil, you don’t have to worry about what chemicals have leached into your soil, and you can grow healthier plants that yield more fruit in less space, both indoors and out.

Though many people are vaguely interested in the concept, most people write it off as being too technical, difficult, or expensive. The truth is that none of those terms apply, or at least they don’t have to.

You can start a hydroponic garden for very little money and it takes practically no effort to maintain it, at least in comparison to a soil garden.

Start Your Seeds

Regardless of whether you are planning to grow your plants in soil or in a hydroponic system, starting them from seeds is basically the same process. You need to choose a medium to start the seeds. You can use just about anything that you want – rockwool, grow cubes, or even plain dirt. The important thing is that you get your seeds to grow to seedlings.

There are also mediums that support starting your plants right in the system from seeds. In that case, don’t worry about the seedlings! The only problem that I’ve heard about from folks that do this is the same one that I’ve experienced when starting my garden using only seeds – they’re not all going to sprout, so you may have dense areas and sparse areas.

Regardless of whether you’re putting seeds or seedlings in your system, it’s a good idea to start your own seedlings.

Seeds are cheap, you can choose what you want to grow instead of depending on what plants the store has available, and your system won’t be contaminated with chemicals, pests, or diseases that may accompany commercial plants.

Choose a System

You also need to choose a system. For your first time, it’s probably a good idea to start small so that you can make your mistakes and learn the ropes on a small, manageable scale. There are several different types of systems, but the one that we’ve found to be most efficient on a small scale is a drip system.

Drip systems use a submersible pump placed in a basin on the bottom that pulls the water up to an irrigation tube above the plants. The water drips down into the pan(s) and trickles back down into the catch basin and is then recirculated. It’s efficient and simple to use.

NOTE: Very few commercial hydroponics systems (or DIY ones for that matter) operate without electricity. In the case of an EMP or a complete grid failure, your system will require manual watering, so choose carefully if those situations are a concern for you. You’ll want to choose a system such as a vertical gardening tower that makes it easy to water without an operational pump.

We tested the Plug & Farm Tower system that’s great for both beginners and experienced growers and works well indoors or out, though it does require electricity. There are many different options out there, or you can build your own.

What Can You Grow Hydroponically

Well, just about anything, in theory. After all, you’re providing everything any living plant needs to thrive – water, nutrients, light.

However, there are some plants that are more challenging than others. For instance, root vegetables are a challenge and require a system that’s deep enough to grow them. You may want to get a bit of experience before you jump off that particular log.

Vining plants and light-weight fruits grow well hydroponically, too, and did well in the tower we tested. You can even start fruit trees, then plant them into soil when they’re big enough.

Now, for the system that we tested, vining plants, herbs and green leafy vegetables worked, but not root vegetables.

Transplanting Seedlings

If you’re starting your seeds outside of your system and transplanting it as a seedling, it’s a simple process. Germinate your seeds. You can do this by placing them in a grow cube or in a paper towel or baggy.

If you use the grow cube, just keep it damp with water or your hydroponic solution until your seedling pops through – anywhere from two to four weeks.

If you’re germinating the seeds before putting them in a growing medium, put them in a damp paper towel on a plate and keep the towel damp. Your seed will germinate in just a few days.

Now that you have your seedlings, you’re ready to transplant them to your system so that they can grow into delicious plants.

This process is going to be determined by the system that you’re using but will consist of placing the seedling so the roots are in the water/solution and the plant top is not.

A Note about Growing Mediums

You can use many different mediums in your hydroponics setup including gravel, sand, coconut shells (they don’t break down easily) or just about anything else that is food-safe and won’t decompose.

If you choose to use gravel, be sure to choose stones that won’t leech minerals into the water, because then you’re affecting the nutrients available to your plants.

The entire purpose of the medium is to support the roots in a way that water can flow freely around them, so don’t use mediums such as mulch that are going to break down to, well, soil.

Growing Your Plants

Now, your plants are in your hydroponics system, so what next?

Make sure that they stay hydrated and are getting the nutrients that they need! They should be watered thoroughly several times daily to prevent the roots from drying out, and the automatic drip system is great for this.

Once your plants begin to grow in earnest, you’ll need to provide support for vining plants. Trellises are great for this.

Keep your plants from dragging the ground in order to avoid rot and exposure to disease. Prune them properly and watch them grow!

Click the banner below to grab this offer and start your own survival farm!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

8 Tips On Reusing Containers For Water Storage

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One of the things that we as preppers and homesteaders are most proud of is using what we have on hand. If everybody operated like we did, there would be a lot less waste on the planet, and a lot more creativity. We re-use and repurpose so many items that we’ve taken it to an art form, so why not do the same with our water storage containers?

Sure, you can buy the fancy water containers at your local Walmart or Target, but they’re expensive and you’re not much bang for your buck. Why not reuse something that you’ve already paid for and are just going to throw away anyway?

What NOT to reuse as water storage containers

There are some things that you just shouldn’t use as water containers either because they’re not suited for it, or they can kill you. Neither situation is ideal, and we’re talking about storing something that is non-negotiable in terms of survival. You absolutely cannot live without a ready supply of clean water regardless of the season.

Food Grade Only

So, first on the list are porous containers that held toxic materials such as oil bottles, antifreeze jugs, and kerosene oil bottles. This may seem obvious to you, but believe it or not, there are cases of people who have reused these types of containers, much to their detriment. Use only food-grade plastic that has only stored food. So, enough said. Use your common sense.

Milk Jugs

Next on the list are milk jugs. I know – many people use milk jugs to store water, and they’re great for short-term storage in the fridge or freezer, but not for long-term storage. They’re relatively flimsy and easy to puncture or damage, especially if they’re warm or frozen, and the lids aren’t particularly tight on many of them.

You may use them for a couple of years, then come to check your stockpile and notice that one was punctured by a nail head or something when you scooted it across the shelf the last time you moved something, or the lid popped loose. Now you have water on the floor or shelf and it may have ruined some of your stuff. At the very least, it made a mess.

Plastic with BPA

Don’t use plastics that have BPA in them. BPA, or bisphenol A, is an industrial chemical that has been used for decades to add strength and resilience to plastic and to line cans and packaged food containers to prevent leakage and rust.

Unfortunately, it leeches out into the food or drink and binds to estrogen receptors and interacts with other hormones. This can disrupt body functions such as cell repair, growth, energy levels, metabolism, fetal development, and body temperature regulation among many others. In other words, you may not want to drink it.

Because of the controversy, many companies, especially ones that produce bottles and jugs meant to hold liquid, are shying away from BPA. Just check to make sure that your container is BPA free. It will either say it, or the little recycle triangle will have a 1,2, 4, or 5 in it. These are free of BPA and other harmful chemicals, but avoid containers marked with a 1. We’ll discuss that in a minute.

Now that we have our list of containers NOT to use, let’s talk about ones that are good to use to store water for long-term water storage.

Our forefathers used different methods to store their water when they settled with their entire family in new areas.

This long forgotten water storage secret can save your life! 

Good containers to reuse for water storage

Thankfully, this list is long and most of them are already in your refrigerator or cabinets.

How to distinguish food-grade plastics

As long as the little recycling number has a 2 (HDPE – high-density polyethylene), a 4 (LDPE – low-density polyethylene) or a 5 (PP – polypropylene), you’re good. It’s not a good idea to reuse containers marked with 1 (PETE – polyethylene terephthalate) because detergents and heat will break it down and can cause antimony, a toxic chemical, to leech into your water. So, use only plastic containers that have a 2, 4, or 5 in the triangle.

A tip about reusing plastic for water storage: wash it in the dishwasher or in warm, soapy water, rinsing well, and allow to air-dry.

Juice jugs

These are great containers to reuse to store water because the plastic is usually thick and juice is pretty easy to wash out of the jug. The lids are usually secure, too. Since the plastic is usually sturdy, you don’t run the risk of tearing it by snagging it on a nail head or breaking it if you bump a corner when you’re moving it.

Some people will tell you that you can’t get all of the sugars out of the bottle and that can lead to a breeding ground of bacteria, but if you use chlorinated water or add a few drops (2 drops per quart) of bleach, you should be fine.

Juice jugs come in many different sizes, from small, single-serving bottles to gallon (or bigger) jugs. All of them are good for storing water, and it’s a good idea to have water stored in smaller containers so that you can take it with you if you have to flee. Also, if you have all of your water stored outside in drums, people will see them. You want to keep your water supply hidden.

5-gallon buckets

Ahhh… yet another use for 5-gallon buckets. Personally, I like the idea of storing water in these because they’re stackable, they’re typically made to contain liquids (think pickle juice), and they’re opaque. They meet all of my needs except portability, but won’t it be nice to have a few gallons of water if you need to make a huge pot of soup to feed everybody?

As with all plastics, make sure that they’re food-grade because not all of them are. Though you can buy these, there’s really no need to because you can go to restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, and just about anywhere else that sells food and get them for free.

If they happen to smell like pickle juice, wash them well and fill them with water, then add half a cup of bleach to it and let it sit overnight. Charcoal and vinegar work too, but I don’t like to add vinegar on these because then it smells like vinegar, which is suspiciously similar to pickles. You can always just take off the lid and let it air out for a few days, too. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Soda Bottles and water bottles

Soda (aka pop) bottles are great for water storage. Since they come in many different sizes from 8 ounces on up to 2-liters, you have a lot of versatility. Many water bottles are reusable, too. As with all other plastics, clean well with warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly.

55-gallon drums

If you want to store large quantities at a time, then these are a great option. Again, just make sure they’re food-grade and haven’t had any non-food products stored in them.

If you want to buy them new, just search the net for them. You may even be able to get them for free if you live near a soda distribution plant because that’s what they buy their syrups in. If they have a policy against giving them away, ask who picks them up, then contact that company. Chances are good you’ll get them for just a few bucks a piece.

Oh, and these come in both plastic and stainless steel, so you have options. I’ve never used the stainless steel ones so I’m not sure how heavy or unwieldy they are compared to their plastic counterparts. On a similar note, you can make a collection, storage, and filtration system using 55-gallon drums.

Now that you have some ideas for reusing containers for water storage, what are you waiting for? Start storing.

Remember the Law of Three: you can survive without water only three days. Click the banner below to discover our ancestor’s methods of water storage!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Prep Blog Review: Food Lessons For Survival

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It’s survival food time again! From how to grow your own vegetables, to how to stockpile correctly, this topic never gets old, and it’s one of my favorites, too.

Starting with a few food lessons from the Great Depressions, and continuing with some emergency food preparedness basic, for this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered five useful articles on this topic.

  1. 10 Food Lessons From the Great Depression

“A time wracked with suicide and fear the great depression was a holly terror on the nation.

Many people exclaim that the crash of 2008 cost them everything. The truth is that the “everything” of 2008 was very different than the everything of 1930. Mothers left alone by their husbands to feed children while living in doorways. Losing children to disease or hunger and not having a dime to help them, nor a way to procure one.

All that terror aside the emulsification of cultures and despair in America during the depression created everlasting practices in the management and creation of food. The type of meals that remind you of your grandmother and her dinner table. Many of these meals are still popular today. Many of the methods are used widely as well.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. Emergency Food Preparedness Basics Every Prepper Should Know

“Emergency Food Preparedness is essential for every prepper to have. In this video we will be talking about the 3 different types of emergency food preps that essential for survival.”

Video first seen on Smart Prepper Gear.

  1. 13 Direct Vegetables to Direct Sow

“To direct sow your seeds just means to plant your seed outdoors in the garden where it will grow instead of starting the seeds indoors in containers under lights.

If you live in a warm climate, you can direct sow almost any crop. Those of you who garden in colder areas either begin sowing seeds indoors under lights or purchase seedlings form a green house that can be transplanted into the garden after all danger of frost is past. If we don’t start some crops ahead og time, there isn’t enough time to produce a harvest before our first fall frost.”

Read more on Grow A Good Life.

  1. How to get Your Chicken to Lay More Eggs

“Does it seem that your egg collection is decreased or that your hens aren’t laying as they once did? Or the yolks are pale and lackluster, lacking the nutrients they should provide? When the chickens are part of a plan for independent living or as a structured food supply, this can put a damper on things and thwart being able to rely on them as a nutritional resource.

It can be a catastrophic event in a survival situation to have your chickens stop producing a crucial food source.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

  1. Perennial Plants that Produce Food Year After Year

“A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. Perennials, especially small flowering plants, grow and bloom over the spring and summer, then die back every autumn and winter, and then return in the spring from their rootstock, are known as herbaceous perennials”.

Below are a few of the more common food plants that are known to live and produce for over two years, and some like asparagus, for example, can produce for literally decades if the asparagus bed is well taken care of.”

Read more on Prep for SHTF.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

Take The Advantage Of Growing Hydroponic Plants!

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Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably heard of hydroponic planting. Even if you did live in a cave, you probably saw an example of it when you saw that little plant growing in a puddle of water in the rock. That’s what hydroponic growing is – it’s simply growing plants without soil.

But why should you try it? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

When you think about hydroponically growing plants, you probably get this vision of complicated systems and expensive grow lights, but that’s not the case. Growing plants using a hydroponic system is actually easier that using a soil-based system, as you’ll see in a bit.

You can use water alone, gravel, sand, coconut husks, or even artificial materials to secure the roots of your plants, but the idea is to choose a medium that allows the water to flow freely around the roots of the plant.

Here are just a few advantages of growing hydroponic plants.

Plants Grow Faster and Yield More Fruit

Studies show that plants grown hydroponically grow 30-50 percent faster than soil-grown plants and also yield more fruit. This is probably because there is a constant supply of water and the nutrients are delivered straight to the roots throughout the day.

Since the plant doesn’t have to search through the soil and break the nutrients down in order to absorb them, it’s free to use that extra energy to grow and produce.

Also, there is generally more oxygen in water than there is in soil. This helps the plant absorb nutrients faster and it also promotes root growth.

No Weeding

Since you’re controlling the medium and you only plant what you want in it, you’re not going to be dealing with weeds, and if you do manage to get a couple weed seeds blown or carried in, they’re easy to pluck out, roots and all.

This saves you time, and prevents the plant from fighting with weeds for nutrients and water.

You Control the Nutrients and pH

One of the biggest problems that we face when we grow plants in dirt is that we’re often at the mercy of the quality of the soil. Without sending it off to be tested, it’s tough to tell what nutrients are in your soil and how acidic it is.

Since some plants prefer a more acidic soil and others prefer neutral or base soil, you’ll find that some plants grow better in your soil than others.

With a hydroponics system, you take all of the guesswork out of the growing process because you control the amount and type of nutrients as well as the pH. This is another reason that plants are healthier and more productive.

You Know What you’re Eating

You really don’t know what’s in your soil even if you’ve lived there for 20 years because pesticides, chemicals, and even acid rain can contaminate it with all sorts of harmful materials. When you grow your plants using the hydroponics method, you know exactly what’s in the food that you eat.

Year-Round Fruit

Because there’s no dirt to mess with, hydroponic systems are exceptionally easy to manage indoors or in a greenhouse, which means that you can have fresh produce year-round.

If you get sick of growing tomatoes, just switch them out and grow some basil to go with them. Since your plants will also yield more fruit, you’ll really ramp up your production.

Indoor/Outdoor Options

We just mentioned that hydroponic systems are easily adapted to indoor growth, and there is more than one reason why that’s a good thing. First, you don’t have to go out in the rain or heat to tend your plants, or look at a snow-covered, barren garden in the winter.

That’s great, but what about security? If you’re growing plants inside, nobody will know what you’re doing. In hard times, when you’re trying to survive, this can be a deal-changer. And you don’t necessarily need much room for an indoor hydroponics system, either.

As a matter of fact, we’ve tried on, the Plug & Farm Towers can be mounted against a wall and only extends about 6 inches from the wall. It’s only a few feet wide and tall, but is designed so that you maximize your growing space. You can use it in an apartment or even a slightly large closet as long as you have the necessary lighting.

Less Space

Unlike traditional soil growing techniques, hydroponic systems lend themselves nicely to growing in stacked trays. I’ve seen many setups that range in size from the Plug & Farm Towers to ones that consist of 5 or 6 layers of trays that are several feet wide with a couple of feet between each layer.

If you use a gravity system, you can get quite clever with your angles so that each layer trickles down to the next, then is fed back up to the top again. Even using a hydroponics system that large, you’ll still be using very little water in the scheme of things.

Vertical crops

Soil Quality Doesn’t Matter

This one sort of goes without saying since you’re not using soil. To drive home the point, though, I live in Florida and the soil is extremely sandy, with just a bit of loam on the top. Tomatoes grow OK here in that, but they’re merely compared to ones that I grew in the rich soil of West Virginia.

However, if I use a hydroponics system, I don’t have to worry about soil quality. If you pair this with an indoor growing system, you can grow pretty much anything.

Lower Water Requirements

Any plant needs water because that’s how it absorbs nutrients.

Now, of course we can’t give an exact number here because the US has such a wide variety of soils and rainfall amounts, but in soil that’s not too wet or too dry, and grown in conditions that aren’t miserably hot with low humidity, it will take about 20 gallons of water per week to water a 32 square foot garden. That’s a garden that’s roughly 5 feet x 6 feet.

Now, if you have to water an area that large using a hydroponics system, you’re going to use as little as 1/4 of that. Maybe less if you’re filtering and oxygenating the water, because it’s a re-usable source.

In other words, with a soil garden, you’re going to be using 80 gallons per week, but in a hydroponics garden, you’re going to be using that initial watering (5 – 7 gallons) over and over again.

When you’re in a survival situation, that’s a huge difference in the amount of something that you need to live! In essence, that saves you an extra 15 gallons just in the first week, and, even assuming you lose a couple of gallons to evaporation weekly, you’ve still saved at least 40 gallons. That’s enough water for almost two people over a month!

Diseases and Pests are Easier to Get Rid Of

The way that many diseases and pests attack your plants to begin with is via soil. So, since you’re eliminating soil, you’re also eliminating much of the risk of your plants becoming infected. And one of the main reasons that pests and diseases are so hard to get rid of if you DO get them in soil-grown plants is because they hide in the soil and keep reinfecting your plants.

With a hydroponics system, there is no dirt to hold the pest or disease, so they’re easier to get rid of if you are unfortunate enough to contract them in the first place.

Greater Variety

Since you’re no longer dependent on soil quality or large land areas, and you can easily use a hydroponics system to grow year-round in a greenhouse or indoors, you can grow basically whatever you want.

You can also experience three or even four growth cycles (depending on what you’re growing), so even if you have a smaller growing area, you can grow one plant this cycle, and another plant the next cycle.

Physically Easier to Grow and Harvest

You can grow your plants at whatever height is comfortable to you – just build your system accordingly. That means that you don’t have to bend over on your hands and knees like you do when growing a traditional garden.

You don’t have to weed the garden, either, at least not on any serious level. If you do need to pick out a few, they pull out easily because their roots aren’t buried in dirt.

Now that you have a few really good reasons to try a hydroponics system to grow your fruits and vegetables, get started! We’ve provided a link to one that we’ve personally tested. It’s efficient, easy to assemble, and simple to use.

It’s also big enough to make a nice wall garden outside, but small enough to use inside even a small apartment. And with only 10 minutes a day you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family again.

Click the banner below to grab your own survival farm!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

This Is The Smart Way To Invest In Food!

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The Smart Way To Invest In Food

Remember when Mom or Grandma would send you to the pantry or down to the basement to grab another jar of pickles or peanut butter? There were probably at least a couple of extra jars behind the one that you grabbed.

That’s because they lived through times when having backup food meant the difference between eating and going hungry. They had it “just in case.” Do you practice this? If not, you should.

We live in unsure times. The United States economy is by far the largest in the world; more than twice that of China, the world’s second largest economy. US money and goods support the global economy to the point that if we suffer an economic collapse, we take the rest of the world down with us.

But there’s one solid way to hedge your future – a basic commodity that everybody will always need: food.

Considering the state of the nation right now, an economic collapse is just as likely as not – maybe even more likely. The crazy explosion in the US monetary system and the instability of our government doesn’t just make it possible that we’ll face hyperinflation in the near future – it practically guarantees it.

Food costs are going to keep increasing and in the case of an economic collapse, will quickly increase to the point that foods that are barely affordable to many households now, such as meat, will be completely out of reach. The price of many “affordable” foods such as sauces, pasta, rice, sugar and flour will likely increase to the point that they’ll barely be affordable, assuming they’re available.

Until recently, the primary concern for most of us was economic collapse, with governmental collapse being a peripheral concern. Now, in these uncertain times, either – or both – is increasingly likely. Both would bring about life-altering circumstances that would dethrone the current money-based system in favor of a barter system.

Guess what that does to all those stocks, bonds, and savings accounts (and for that matter, cash) when that happens: they become worthless. But do you know what gains value exponentially? Food. And to a lesser extent, hygiene products. Investing in both will give you the tools you need to barter, survive, and even thrive.

No matter how poor somebody is, they’ll always need to eat. That doesn’t mean that you should gouge them. It just means that you’ll have a commodity that will be of value to everybody.

So, investing in food is the way to go. Even if you only invest in it passively, without ever selling a single noodle of it, you’ll still be saving much more by buying food for tomorrow at today’s prices than many investments that most of us can afford would yield. The longer you eat food bought at today’s prices, the more money you’ll save.

Food costs, with the exception of fresh fruit, decreased for the first time in years from December of 2015 – December of 2016, but that isn’t anticipated to continue. The USDA anticipated a hike in 2017 based on stable conditions – in other words, before the political climate changed so radically. Essentially, you have the chance right now to buy at bargain basement prices and put off buying when the prices go up.

So, how do you invest in food? Well, there are several different ways, and you can do it, at least to a certain degree, no matter where you live or how much money you have.

Considerations to the Return on Your Investment

Unless you have a huge farm with numerous gardens and storage spaces, and a lot of money to feed livestock and grow fresh produce, you have some challenges. That’s OK. You just need to work with what you have and find a proper way to secure your future.

Save Yourself $24,000 Instantly Using This One Easy Prepper Hack!

Space

This is probably the biggest limitation that you may face. If you live in a 1-bedroom apartment in an urban environment, the only space you may have is a closet and some cabinets. That’s fine. Make the most of what space you have by stockpiling a variety of staple foods and hygiene items.

Even the cabinet under your bathroom sink will hold more hygiene products than you might think. The more you can buy now at a lower price, the more you’ll save. Utilize your space well, buying products that you’ll use, and that will last.

Shelf Life

No matter how much space you have, shelf life is always a consideration. If you buy enough food to meet your needs for five years but it expires in two, you’ve wasted your resources.

Allocate your money responsibly and with forethought. Know how much you and your household eat monthly/annually. Use the FIFO (First In, First Out) method and store food in a way that will preserve it for as long as possible.

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What Types of Food You Can Store

While you can save a ton of money on buying extra boxes of cereal and jars of peanut butter, there are some types of foods that will save you more than others.

For instance, meat, eggs, and dairy prices are anticipated to increase significantly more than cabinet foods but they don’t have much of a shelf-life. Consider your resources and storage capabilities when you plan your shopping.

Methods to Help You Invest in Food

Now that you know what you need to consider when you’re investing in food, let’s talk about ways to help you invest better so that you get the most bang for your buck.

1. Buy a Freezer

Milk, meat, and eggs just aren’t shelf-stable as-is, but they’re the top foods that increase quickly in cost. You do have some options. All of these products have canned or powdered options that have excellent shelf lives.

You can also can your own meat and butter, and you can buy a freezer to store up to a year’s worth of food. Believe it or not, all dairy is freezable.

Many people are worried about lack of electricity in the event of a collapse and avoid freezers, but the odds of complete electric failure are pretty slim if you have an alternative power source. Most meats and dairy store frozen for up to six months, or even a year. Also the cost of a freezer, if you have a proper place where you can put one, will be covered by the savings in a short time.

2. Build a Food Storage Space

If you have the space, build or buy an extra food/supply shed. The money that you save in food and necessaries will pay for it in very little time.

3. Use Coupons and Sales

If you combine coupons and sales, you’ll be amazed how quickly you can build a stockpile for next to nothing. It’s a matter of paying attention to what’s on sale.

For instance, today I bought 6 bottles each of ketchup, shampoo, and laundry detergent for $13 total. My total savings was $24. And that doesn’t even count what I’ll save by not buying later when the price is higher.

All three are products that I use and that would be valuable if something happens and I need to barter, so there’s no way I can lose.

4. Buy Popular, Necessary Products

There are some foods and products that everybody just has to have. Examples: flour, green beans, tampons, deodorant, etc. Don’t buy a ton of lima beans if they’re on sale unless you really love them because they’re not a popular food. Sometimes there’s a reason things are on clearance – nobody else wanted to buy it!

Also, if you’re preparing for a bartering situation, alcohol and tobacco are going to be premium, in-demand products. Cigarettes are brutally expensive, but loose tobacco and rolling papers are fairly inexpensive and, as long as they’re sealed in air-tight containers, have a long shelf-life.

Regarding alcohol, remember that it’s not just for drinking – you can make tinctures and clean wounds and first-aid tools with it, too. Having extra vodka or bourbon is never a bad thing.

5. Buy Healthy Products

For some reason, people seem to want to pile in the boxes of cookies and cans of spaghetti-o’s because they’re cheap and delicious, but have no (or little) dried eggs, milk, canned meats, or meal stretchers such as flour and rice.

Think healthy. It’s important that you buy foods that you like – and cheap is good, too – but remember that you may be depending on your stockpile for survival. Stock up with healthy foods, too.

Also, canned milk, eggs, flour, rice, and other similar products are extremely versatile. You can eat or drink them as-is, or you can use them in recipes to make other products such as bread, cakes, side dishes, etc.

6. Buy in Bulk

This is our final point today, and it’s a big one because you may not need 20 pounds of flour or sugar now, but will you use it eventually? Of course you will, and it really doesn’t go bad as long as it’s stored properly.

A 20-pound bag of sugar often costs only a few bucks more than a 5-pound bag. Same with sugar. Compare cost per unit instead of just thinking of one being more expensive than the other. Dollars to donuts, bulk is almost guaranteed to be cheaper than smaller portions.

Now that you have some ideas about how to invest in food, start planning, then start buying. You can have a great stockpile built up in no time even if you just buy stuff that’s on sale buy-one-get-one-free and put back the extra. It adds up quickly, and you’ll have a nice nest egg sitting in your pantry or basement!

Plug_and_farm_600x137

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

11 Tips For Riding A Motorcycle In Bad Weather

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Survivopedia 11 Tips For Riding A Motorcycle In Bad WeatherYou’re out on a ride on a lonely backroad, thirty miles from home, and it starts pouring rain. Ideally, the best option would be to pull over and wait it out.

Realistically, you may have to pick up the kids, be riding to work, or be bugging out. At that point, pulling over is not an option.

Rain changes the game, but with the proper skills you can make the ride much safer when the roads are slippery and you can hardly see. Here’s what to do!

Wear a Full-Face Helmet

Wearing a full-face helmet, at least during inclement weather, is the first step toward making your ride safer. Broken legs heal. Broken skulls or brains usually do not.

As an additional bonus, a helmet serves to keep your head dry and warm and keeps the rain from beating in your face and eyes, thus preventing distraction and improving vision.

If you’ve never ridden in the rain, even a light drizzle feels like you’re getting hit with gravel when you’re going 40 or 50 mph. It’s hard to focus on the road and other drivers when it feels like you’re getting exfoliated with a sandblaster.

Adding a layer of Rain-x to your face shield will help repel the rain so that your visibility is improved even more.

Have Good Boots

There are all kinds of fancy boots out there that look great but remember that their primary purpose is protection.

For riding in bad weather, it’s good to have tall boots that cover your shins. This helps keep you warm and dry (if they’re waterproofed) as well as protect you from losing your footing when you put your feet down.

Especially in inclement weather, it’s important to have boots that have non-skid bottoms. You can find non-skids in every design – cruising and racing. The most important factors are comfort and grip, so try several pairs on to see which ones fit the best. Scoot a little to see if they truly are “grippy.”

Wear a Sturdy Coat Designed for Riding

I’ve been down twice – once while wearing a T-shirt and once while wearing full race gear, which included high-quality racing leathers. Fortunately, I was going slow – about 20 mph when I went down wearing the T-shirt, but I still have the scar on my arm from the road rash, and it was difficult and painful to clean out the dirt and gravel, and care for it while it healed.

When I was wearing the leather, I was on the track and went down at 65 mph. I had no skin injuries whatsoever, and I slid for over 20 feet. The leather made all the difference. I also have both a leather motorcycle jacket and a nylon/Kevlar jacket that’s more in line with the sportbike that I ride. The leather is waterproof and offers supreme protection in cold, rainy weather.

I specifically recommend jackets/coats designed for motorcycles because they have three features developed just for riding

  • the tail is longer in the back so that it doesn’t ride up,
  • there are zippers on the sleeves that zip so that they’re snug around your wrists to keep out cold air and rain/snow,
  • the zippers have pull tags on them so that you can zip/unzip with gloves on.

Also, the pockets zip up instead of down to prevent the zipper from opening while you’re riding.

Keep in mind that safety is number one priority when riding a bike and you have to be prepared for anything and to assume full responsibility for your personal safety.

Carry Survival Tools

I never leave the house without my backpack (saddle bags are nice, but don’t really come with sport bikes). I carry various survival/emergency items that include:

  • The common sockets/wrenches that fit my bike
  • Zip ties
  • Faro stick/striker
  • Fire starter – Vaseline-soaked cotton balls in a baggie
  • A Bracelet made of 550 paracord
  • A bottle of water
  • OTC pain killer
  • A knife
  • A baggie to put my phone and gadgets in so they stay dry
  • A couple of granola bars
  • A hand mirror
  • A whistle
  • A sweatshirt/extra T-shirt – wet shirts are miserable when you reach your destination, and it tends to get chilly once the sun goes down.
  • A small flashlight

Yes, that may sound like overkill and some of my rider friends tease me about it, but only until their bike breaks down or it starts raining and they want to put their phone in my baggie. Then I’m not so silly.

Get your FREE easy to use and safely concealable Smith and Wesson Tactical Folding knife! 

Wear Gloves

Wearing gloves serves two purposes – they protect your hands and keep the oils in your hands from degrading the rubber in your grips.

Choose gloves that are reinforced on the top of the knuckles and palms in case you go down. Those are the two areas that are most likely to come into contact with the pavement.

Wear Chaps

You’d be surprised how much a pair of chaps protects your legs from the cold and rain/snow. Of course, they also provide an extra layer of protection in case you go down.

Avoid Road Paint and Other Road Debris

Now that we’ve covered gear, let’s talk about some road hazards. Road paint – you know, those white lines used at stop lights/signs or to designate parking spots – is like stepping on ice when it’s wet. Even in non-skid boots, it’s slick. Avoid it.

The same thing goes for sand, leaves, oil, and other materials that gather on the road. Watch where you put your feet.

Also, when it first starts raining, the oils, grease, and other slick material on the road is washed to the surface and distributed all over the road, so the pavement is going to be extra slick.

Look Ahead

In good weather, leave yourself plenty of room to see what’s on the road at least 30 feet in front of you. Double or even triple that if the roads are wet or icy.

Remember, you’re on two wheels, so you don’t have the ability to lock up the brakes, and if you run over something such as large stones, animal carcasses, puddles, or small limbs, it’s hard to stay in control.

Also, it tends to hurt when you rear-end them and you need more road to stop than you would in a car. Pay attention.

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Ride Staggered

I know that riding what’s called 2-up (side-by-side) seems nice, but it’s not safe for a wide variety of reasons, especially in bad weather.

You (and other riders) need room to dodge road debris, standing water or ice, loose sand or gravel, and cars that may not see you and come into your lane. You also need room in case you take turns a bit too wide or have a tire blow-out.

For all of the same reasons, you need to ride on the opposite side of the lane as the rider in front of you, with your front wheel no closer than several feet behind and to the side of him/her. In addition to being safer in case something happens, this also keeps you from getting a face full of road water coming off the spray of the rear tire in front of you.

Keep Bike in Good Repair

This is the safety tip that you can’t afford to ignore. If your bike breaks down in inclement weather on a back road, you may just find yourself stuck for hours or even overnight., a flat is tough to recover from when road conditions are perfect, but if they’re wet or icy, the chances of an accident increase exponentially.

Slow Down

It’s tempting to want to hurry to get somewhere warm and dry, but when you combine decreased visibility with poor road conditions, you’re asking for trouble. You’re likely already soaked to the bone, so another few minutes or so isn’t going to make much of a difference.

Riding a motorcycle in bad weather is hazardous to say the least. Following all of these tips will help to make it safer for you, but when it comes right down to it, you need to watch the weather, ride within your abilities, and use your common sense to determine what’s best for you in your individual situation.

Ride safe, and keep the shiny side up!

Stay safe and prepared! Click the banner below to grab this offer TODAY!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Surviving Off-grid: Hot Water From Your Wood Stove

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Survivopedia_Hot_Water_From_Your_Wood_Stove

Whether we’re talking about off-grid survival or just having the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of living in the 21st century in our cabin in the woods, having hot water for taking a shower, shaving, or taking a nice long bath is one of the yardsticks of well-being.

What can be nicer than enjoying a hot shower after working all day outside in the cold? And even better, if that hot water is completely free of charge? It doesn’t sound bad, does it?

Moreover, it would be pretty nice to have hot water at your disposal without being dependent upon a utilities company, whether we’re talking about electricity or gas.

We’re Reviving Ancient Techniques

What I am trying to tell you is that nowadays, heating water is one of the most overlooked functions when it comes to the archaic wood stove.

Just a few decades ago, many wood stoves were built with a water tank (it was called a range boiler) behind/beside the respective wood stove, for producing free and virtually limitless amounts of hot water. A two for the price of one kind of a deal.

Basically, whether you’re looking to save some dollars on your utility bills or get hot water in some place remote without breaking the piggy bank, the main idea is that you can use your wood stove for more than warming your homestead, cooking and whatever else wood stoves are usually good for.

Truth be told, domestic wood stove-based water heating systems are not new; they were invented centuries ago.

The Romans constructed incredibly clever central heating systems for public buildings (and the rich also had them, because they were too expensive for plebes) in an era sans electricity, and we’re talking 2000+ years ago. I know it sounds incredible, but yes, they actually had central heating through the floors 2 millennia ago; that’s how smart Romans were.

The Roman system was called Hypocaust and it worked by producing and circulating hot air below the floors (even walls in some cases) using a network of pipes. Hot air passed through those pipes and heated the floors/walls and obviously, the air was heated via furnaces burning wood and/or coal, because there was no electricity or piped gas back in the day.

In the event of a grid-down situation, how many of you are planning on heating their home with wood?

Learn from our forefathers how to install an emergency wood-burning stove!

How the Heater Works

Hence, getting hot water using a wood stove uses the same basic principle as a Hypocaust, but with a twist: water is used in our case instead of air, because it’s difficult to take a shower without water, right? I know – there’s an invention called dry cleaning, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Joking aside, to keep it simple: a regular water heater is nothing more than a tank of sorts, sitting on top or next to your wooden stove. As water rises when heated, hot water is drawn from the top and cold water is piped at the bottom via a piping system, obviously.

How does it work, you may ask? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: the stove water heater uses heat exchangers for transferring heat from the stove to the water. Depending on the design, the heat exchangers can be mounted inside of the stove, on the outside of the stove, or in the stovepipe.

Water is circulated through the heat exchanger when a fire is burning in two ways: naturally, via the thermosiphon principle which relies on water rising when heated or by using a pump.

The heat exchanger device is available in 3 main varieties:

  • a serpentine coil made of, in most cases, copper pipe
  • a small absorber, like a solar-collector
  • a box-like mini-tank. Most heat exchangers are mini-tanks or coils mounted inside the stove.

The heat exchanger can be built using copper, stainless steel, or galvanized iron, and they’re commercially available or they can be built in local shops or DIY-ed depending on your skills. For our intents and purposes, we’ll have to rely on the thermosiphon system, because this system works wonderfully off the grid and it doesn’t require fancy stuff like pumps and all that jazz.

The Tips that Lead to Success

“Keep it simple stupid” is the name of the game in a survival situation. As things get complicated, the probability of something failing rises exponentially.

Whenever the stove is used, water must circulate through the heat exchanger in order to prevent it from boiling. The storage tank must always be located higher than the heat exchanger and as close as possible to the stove.

Thermosiphoning-based systems are better than electrical-pumped ones not only because of their simplicity and availability, but also because in the eventuality of a power outage, the pump will stop working, leading to overheating the water in the heat exchanger.

This is a DIY project that can provide you with endless hot water without requiring electricity, as it’s based on the thermosiphoning process. This one uses a therma coil – a homemade unit – which consists of a serpentine made of copper, which is put inside the wood stove and connected via plumbing to a water tank.

This is a hot water-on-demand heater which can help you in a variety of situations. And best of all, everything is made using scrap materials, more or less (except for the copper piping, I guess).

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

As a general rule of thumb, for best results, you should isolate all your hot water lines more than 3 feet away from the wood stove using slip-on foam insulation, which is designed for temperatures up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t forget to spend 10 bucks on a thermometer; it’s well worth the investment and it will help you with eliminating all guesswork with regard to determining water temperature.

Copper is one of the best piping materials out there, as it’s very easy to work with when building coils (the heat exchanger gizmo), but remember that when used with iron, the latter will corrode.

The second DIY job is made by the same guy but this time, instead of a copper serpentine placed inside the wood stove, he uses a simpler water coil made of stainless steel. The rest is basically the same, check out the video.

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

The third project also uses the thermosiphoning principle (hot water rises) and copper tubing for making the serpentines, but this is a “larger scale job” compared to the previous two, and more complex.

Video first seen on convectioncoil.com.

The fourth and last DIY project uses an interesting design, i.e. a double-walled water heater (a double-walled 6-inch pipe, basically) and between the walls there’s copper water pipe circling the inner wall, thus transferring the heat from the wood stove to the water circulating through the piping.

Video first seen on thenewsurvivalist.

That about sums it up for today folks. There are still many lessons to be learned.

Remember that knowledge is everything in a survival situation and take our ancestors’ example – they survived when there was no electricity.

Click the banner below to uncover their lost secrets!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Survival Kitchen: How To Revive Cast Iron Cookware

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SVP cast iron skillet final

Want to know the best thing about cast iron skillets and pots? They’re practically indestructible and will last literally hundreds of years.

I used to have a couple that were well over a hundred years old. When they were stolen, I was heartbroken. Yes, that’s right. Somebody stole them. And that, my friends, is about the only circumstance from which you can’t revive your cast iron cookware.

Another great thing about cast iron is that, unlike most other kitchenware, you can use it on an open camp fire without damaging it. As a matter of fact, Dutch ovens were designed for just that use. They’re suitable to bury in the coals and use them as an outdoor oven.

Since you can use them outdoors, they’re excellent for making one-dish meals in and come in sizes that can accommodate a meal for one or a meal for ten depending on your needs.

How to Find Quality Cast Iron

I absolutely love this part – I have 6 different pieces of cast-iron cookware and I only bought one of them new. I found each of the other pieces at yard sales and junk stores.

Actually, I found the two skillets that were stolen at an old “antiques” store (translate junk shop) that sat along the highway leading into Mt. Airy, NC. I bought each of them for $5. Best 10 bucks I’ve ever spent.

This is the most important investment you can make to your well prepared survival kitchen!

I live in Florida now, and I still see them at about a quarter of the yard sales that I go to, and probably three quarters of the estate sales, and most of the time they’re listed at less than $5. The salvation army and Goodwill frequently have them, too.

You can, of course, also find them used online from places like eBay, Craigslist, Freecycle, and Letgo, and you can buy them new at any home goods or super store. Basically, cast iron cookware is about as easy to find as toilet paper. Well, almost.

What to Look For

The good thing about cast iron is that even if it’s got some surface rust, it’s usually redeemable. What you want to watch for, though, are integrity issues.

Check to make sure that there are no cracks, and rub your fingers along the sides and bottom to check for uniform thickness. Set it flat and make sure that it doesn’t rock. Test the handle and make sure it’s sturdy.

Make sure that there aren’t too many cooked-on rough spots because, though you CAN get usually get them out, it’s a lot of work considering how easy common pieces like skillets and griddles are to find. If it’s a good one and you’re willing to invest the elbow grease and the time it will take to re-season it, then use the rough spots as a means to talk them down on the price.

Just make sure that it’s actually a cooked-on rough spot, though, and not rust that’s been painted over. I’ve seen it, believe it or not.

If you flip the cast iron skillet or pot over and there’s a lipped ridge or rim around the bottom of it, it’s an old one. That lip was used to keep it steady on top of a wood burning cook stove, so you can figure it’s a good 100 years old, at least, and likely older.

There will also likely be a seam visible across the bottom. Don’t let on like you know what you have because, if it’s in good shape, you’ve found a gem!

How to Revive Old Cast Iron

Now that you’ve got your gem at home, it’s time to bring it back to life! What I’m about to tell you may earn me some frowns from “those who say so,” but I’m speaking from 30 years of experience finding, reviving, and using cast iron cookware.

  • If it has rust that won’t just rinse off, sticky stuff, or baked-on crusties, use a steel wool pad to scrub all of the rust off. All of it. Inside and out. Yes, I’m aware that they say not to do this, but who are ‘they’?
  • Now that you have a clean, rust-free surface, it’s time to re-season it. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and bake the piece until it’s almost too hot to handle.
  • Remove it and apply a thin layer of vegetable oil, olive oil, or solid shortening inside and out. No butter or cooking spray. You may want to put a cookie sheet under it in the oven in case it drips, but you really shouldn’t have that much on it.
  • Put it back in the oven and bake for an hour, then allow it to cool completely and repeat the process. I like to repeat twice, at least, so that the seasoning really has a chance to set.

Remember that this is just the beginning of the seasoning part and unless you were fortunate enough to get one that already had a nice seasoning to it, it may take a few uses for the seasoning to completely cure and build a hard, non-stick coating on the inside of the pot or skillet.

Video first seen on Tasty.

The first few times I use a new skillet, I like to cook fatty foods such as bacon, sausage, or other meats in them so that they can absorb the fat and really get a nice non-stick coating going. Before you know it, it will be the best egg skillet you have. Seriously.

People differ in how they like to clean their cast iron. Some say not to use any soap, ever – just wash it out with water and call it good. I have a bit of a problem with that because of silly little things like salmonella and other creepy crawlies that make people sick. I use soap, but make sure that I rinse it WELL.

I definitely do not use steel wool on any of my skillets or pots after they’re seasoned. You shouldn’t have to. If food becomes cooked on, I just put a bit of water in the skillet and if it won’t soak off in the sink after a few minutes, I place it on the stove with about a half-inch of water in it and bring the water to a boil. That usually works to get off any stuck-on food.

Once you’ve washed it, place it on the stove on low heat so that it dries completely, then add a thin layer of oil (I just put a drop in the middle of the skillet and wipe it around with a paper towel) and let it cool. Done.

I really can’t emphasize enough how important it is not to let your cast iron air dry. It promotes rust, plus each time you heat it and add oil, it helps keep it non-stick so that your great-grandkids can enjoy it long after you’re gone. They will appreciate it as much as we appreciate the knowledge that we’ve inherited from our forefathers.

We still have a lot to learn from our ancestors. Click the banner below to discover more of the secrets that kept them alive!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Prep Blog Review: 50+ Natural Heal-Anything Cures

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Heal Anything

Without access to modern pharmaceuticals and medical care, your own life and the lives of your loved ones will be at risk in the aftermath of a disaster.

Your health should be number one priority in a survival situation, and when it comes to medical preparation for a post-disaster scenario, natural remedies are the safest way to go.

For this week’s Prep blog Review I’ve gathered five articles on this topic. From plants and herbs you can grow in your own garden, or even indoors, to natural ingredients you stockpile in your pantry I present you 50+ natural heal-anything remedies.

1. 7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

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“There is absolutely nothing like having fresh medicinal plants that you can pick and use right on the spot, when you need them.

Plus, you can dry them, and then use a mortise and pestle to grind them and encapsulate your own medicinal plants. You know they were never sprayed with pesticides. And you know all about the nutrients that were fed to them.

You can grow them in decorative planters in the kitchen if you have the lighting for it.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

2. 5 More Useful Plants for Herbal First Aid

“Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) – Mullein is well known as an ingredient in topical oils meant for the ears, but it’s a good plant to have on hand for a number of other things. For respiratory support, it’s traditionally used for dry, irritated coughs where there may be a feeling of tightness in the lungs. It’s also very useful as a muscular and skeletal support herb! Part of this is because mullein has a reputation for being very lubricating for joints and tissues, and it was traditionally thought of as a pain relief herb especially suited for cramps, spasms, and physical injuries. It’s a lymphatic herb that supports the immune system.
Herbal Actions: expectorant, demulcent, antispasmodic, vulnerary, lymphatic”

Read more on Indie Herbalist.

3. 5 Emergency Toothache Remedies From Wild Plants

oregon_grape_forage“The crippling pain of a toothache can occur at inconvenient times – perhaps when far from your dentist or even your emergency first aid kit.

Because of the potentially intense pain and potentially critical health concerns associated with a tooth infection, wild herbs to treat toothache is an important category of medicinals to become familiar with in preparation for emergencies in the bush.”

Read more on Survival Cache.

4. 46 Effective Home Remedies and Natural Cures for UTI

UTI-Featured-Image-1

“Here’s a sad health fact: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is the 2nd most common infection in the body. According to NIDDK, there are at least 8 MILLION cases of UTI every year!

This inspired me to come up with this MASSIVE and IN-DEPTH article about Urinary Tract Infection which includes a visual how-to guide about 46+ home remedies for UTI.

I encourage you to learn about UTI, know its causes and symptoms, then dive right into the comprehensive and informative list of remedies that you can definitely apply at home!”

Read more on Ultimate Home Remedies.

5. Emergency Wound Care: When All You Have Is In Your Pantry

herbal-medicine

“Without access to hospitals and emergency medical care during off-grid emergencies, a simply infection from wounds can become life-threatening. Having knowledge of alternative medical treatments using natural wound therapies could save a life.

Years ago, the Mrs. and I made a major move.  We had a specific timetable to adhere to, and as we were moving ourselves, efficiency was the word that exemplified our overall goals.

About an hour before we were going to batten down the hatches and hit the road, she slipped and slammed her shin on the edge of the moving van’s bumper: a combination of a laceration and abrasion, as well as potential for a broken bone.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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New To Prepping? Here’s Where To Start From

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New To Prepping

Bit by bit, the ranks of preppers are growing all the time. More and more people are waking up to the fact that the government can’t protect them and doesn’t even do a very good job of providing support in the aftermath of a disaster. Oh, they throw money at it, but money isn’t the answer to everything.

Every new prepper is faced with the same problems and the same questions they have to answer for themselves. It’s not that there’s no information available for new preppers to use, it’s that there’s too much information.

Check online for prepping or survival and you’ll find an enormous amount of information, not all of which agrees with other sources. Wading through all that and finding the information that one needs can be a daunting task.

You might very well be one of those newbies; someone who has just decided to look at prepping for the first time. If so, welcome to one of the most important movements in our country today.

Prepping is an individual journey that each of us take, with no two walking exactly the same path. Yet we are preppers together, part of a fellowship of like-minded people who have decided that it’s time to do something for themselves.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already decided that just looking at information isn’t enough. Being a prepper means taking action; preparing yourself and your family for whatever problem or disaster might come your way. Preppers believe in self-sufficiency; trusting in themselves in an emergency, not in the government.

But where does one begin? Of all the things that one can do to become more prepared, which one or ones are the most important? What does one have to do, in order to truly be prepared?

These questions are complicated by the fact that each person’s situation is unique. Oh, we all have things in common, but we also have our own needs, our own family, our own skills, our own resources and our own risks that we face. So cookie cutter prepping doesn’t work. Each person has to determine what their own needs are and how to best meet them.

Even so, there are some things we should all do at the beginning; things to get us on the road to becoming better prepared. The first steps we need to take on this journey may not be what you’re thinking. In fact, I’d be surprised if many preppers thought about these steps, before walking along the path for a ways.

Educate Yourself

It’s easy to think of prepping as just stockpiling supplies for a rainy day. That’s actually where most of us start off. Whether we just buy a couple of bags of beans and rice or go hog wild buying prepackaged survival food, squirreling food away for a rainy day seems like an almost instinctive act; something we easily gravitate towards, as a starting point for our prepping.

There’s nothing wrong with stockpiling food and in fact you need to do so; but before you start stockpiling, it’s a good idea to know what to stockpile. Not all foods keep well, nor do all of them provide the right nutrition to get you through an emergency. Take some time to research, before running off to the grocery store.

While you’re at it, you need to research much more than just what foods to stockpile. Our modern society doesn’t prepare us well for survival. If anything, it prepares us to die blaming others. But you can’t count on those others to help you survive. They don’t know how to either.

Our ancestors of 200 years ago were much better suited for survival than we are. For them, every year was about survival. They either stockpiled enough preserved food and cut enough firewood to make it through winter or they died. There weren’t too many other options available. Their lives were simpler, their needs and wants more closely associated with surviving and they had the skills they needed to take care of themselves.

There are a wide range of skills that you need to learn, some of which you might actually already know. If you like to go camping and spend time in the outdoors, you’re off to a good start, as the skills associated with those activities are closely related to survival skills.

Remember that a knife is a must have tool for outdoor survival as it helps you hunt, make shelter, start a fire and defend yourself.

Get your FREE easy to use and safely concealable Smith and Wesson Tactical Folding knife! 

Hunting, fishing, and starting a fire are all good survival skills. But you’ll also need to know how to grow food in your garden, purify water and defend your home as well.

For preppers, learning isn’t something that begins or ends, it’s just something that is. We start out learning about survival when we get into prepping, and we keep on learning for the rest of our lives. There’s always some new skill or information to learn; all of which is ultimately useful.

Develop a Survival Mentality

Most people tend to look at survival as a physical activity; but it’s as much mental as it is physical. You have to have the right attitude to survive or no matter what you do, you’ll fail.

What do I mean by the right attitude? I mean the attitude of a survivor. You have to be convinced that you’ll survive. You have to be convinced that you’ll overcome. You need to be convinced that you can do whatever is necessary to keep yourself and your family alive.

Here in America we’re protected from many of the harsher realities of life. Few Americans have had to kill and prepare their own food. Unless you’re a hunter; you probably don’t have the slightest idea of how to kill and clean a chicken for dinner, let alone how to properly field dress and butcher a deer or other large animal. But if it’s not done properly, the meat from that animal can be tainted in the process.

But you know the hardest part of killing and preparing that animal? It’s getting over the idea of having to do it. Most of us are squeamish when it comes to things like that; squeamish to the point that we’d die before killing that chicken.

Family food

Yet for millennia our ancestors hunted, killed and ate their own game, without the slightest bit of squeamishness. Men would bring the game home from their hunt, and their wives would clean and cook the animals. They didn’t throw up; they didn’t feel funny about it; they did it, and they enjoyed the meal that they prepared.

For us, here in America, overcoming the imprint of our society and accepting the needs of survival is paramount to being able to survive. Most have to do so at a moment’s notice, when they are faced with their first disaster. But those who develop a survival mentality learn to make the adjustment at their leisure, when it’s easier to do so.

Interestingly enough, attitude is so important to survival, that every military manual on survival starts off with a section on attitude. When you consider the amount of money and effort that goes into the preparation of those manuals, that one single fact is rather telling. Attitude is key to survival.

Analyze Your Family’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Each of us has a different family, with different strengths and weaknesses. Some family members might have skills or abilities which easily translate to a survival setting. Others have special needs that have to be considered when making our survival planning. Typically, we find a bit of each in our families.

Surviving as a lone wolf is much harder than surviving as part of a team. In a team, each individual is able to take part of the load, helping each other. With each one learning the necessary skills and doing part of the necessary tasks, not only does the work become easier; but more importantly, the chances of the team’s survival becomes greater.

Your family is your first survival team. Even if you join with others, in a larger survival team, your family is still the core of your personal team. As such, it’s important that you understand what your family is capable of doing, what it is capable of learning, and even more importantly, what you might need others to do for you, because you are incapable of learning to do it for yourself.

As part of this, you also need to analyze the assets you have at your disposal.

Do you have a vacation home somewhere, that you could use as a survival retreat if you needed to? Do you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle? Do you have enough land to turn your home into a homestead? Do you have camping equipment? How much money do you have available to use for prepping? What tools do you have, which will help you survive? Does your home have a fireplace? All of this, and more, will ultimately affect your ability to survive.

This process of analyzing your family will ultimately tell you what you need to do, in order to get from where you are today, to where you need to be. But don’t just do it once; from time to time you should reanalyze the situation and make any necessary adjustments.

Decide What Risks You Face

Prepping is ultimately about being ready to face a disaster, whether that’s a personal disaster, a regional disaster or a nationwide disaster. The problem is, none of us know the disaster that we are going to face. That makes prepping a little bit difficult.

But not knowing doesn’t mean that we can’t prepare. It just means that we prepare for likelihoods, rather than certainties. In other words, while it’s safe to say with certainty that we’ll all face some sort of disaster, sometime in our lives, what exact disaster we might face is nothing more than a likelihood.

So, the thing you need to do is figure out what the most likely disasters are, that you are going to face. That stats with figuring out what possible disasters you could face, ranging all the way from loss of a job to a zombie apocalypse, with natural disasters and the loss of the electrical grid in between. Don’t leave anything out at this point, as all you’re really doing is brainstorming possibilities.

Once you have your list of possible disasters, you need to give each of them two scores, say on a scale of one to five. The first scale is how likely you feel it is that you’ll actually face that disaster. The second scale is how much of an impact that disaster would have on your life. Some disasters, such as a zombie apocalypse might have an extremely low likelihood, earning it a one on that scale, but an extremely high impact, should it actually happen, earning it a five on that scale.

SVP prepping

(Note: The term TEOTWAWKI is commonly used by preppers to stand for “The end of the world as we know it.” This does not mean the literal end of the world, but rather, the end of our  modern lifestyle that we are accustomed to.)

Combining the two scores gives you a number from 2 to 10. That number is the one you use to prioritize considering that particular disaster in your planning. The way that usually works out, is that we concentrate on the highest ones and ignore the lower ones.

But in preparing for the highest ones, we are probably going to be prepared for whatever happens with the lower ones.

Begin Planning

Now that you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you have to work with and what you’re likely to face, you can start your survival planning. Once again, this is a process that will continue throughout the rest of your life. Everything you learn has the potential to change and improve your plans.

Your plan needs to define what you will do in each of the potential disaster situations you are likely to encounter, especially the high likelihood, high impact ones. You will find that there will be some overlap between different scenarios, but there will also be things that are unique to each one.

From this, you can determine how much you need to stockpile, whether it’s for a month, six months, a year or the rest of your life. You’ll also be able to determine the best place for your family to survive, in a variety of different situations. In many of those scenarios, you’ll be better off sheltering in place, or “bugging in.” But there might also be some which require you to bug out and go to a survival retreat somewhere.

Don’t expect that you’ll get everything right the first time around. You will most likely forget some items, because of being focused on other needs. That’s okay. As you continue to study, you’ll find the places you need to fill in, to make your survival plans and your stockpile more complete.

Prepping is a process, not a destination. You’ll probably never reach that point of perfection, where you sit back and say to yourself: “Self, I’ve arrived. I’m ready for anything.”

But rather, you’ll gain more and more confidence that you can take care of yourself and your family, no matter what comes your way. Each little step will give you and your family more security, and ultimately, that’s what prepping is all about.

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DIY Hot Tub For Your Off-grid Hygiene

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Survivopedia DIY Hot Tub For Your Off Grid Hygiene

When it comes to off-grid survival, personal hygiene is one of those delicate subjects preppers seldom talk about.

Ok, I know that women preppers consider personal hygiene a priority even after a plane crash, but generally speaking, surviving off-grid means that you must have a roof over your head and some chow in your belly, and eventually a cushioned place to sleep in. That about sums it up until cavalry arrives and gets you outta’ there.

However, living off-grid is slowly becoming a trend among outdoors enthusiasts and maybe student loan beneficiaries who cannot afford to pay both the rent and what’s owed to the good ol’ Feral Gummint.

Here is where the off-grid lifestyle comes into play. But living off-grid is not easy; not by a long shot. There are so many problems and challenges in a world without electricity that I don’t know where to begin.

One of them is the aforementioned issue, the personal hygiene thing – an issue that never occurred to you until now because you’re probably living the 21st century life style, with hot water pouring out of the faucet and the whole nine yards.

Basically, we all take modern hygiene conveniences for granted and that’s normal, because we’ve benefited from these cool things for almost 2 centuries now.

But, if you’re living off-grid together with your family, you’re probably aware of the fact that cleanliness is next to godliness, not to mention that keeping you and your family members squeaky clean is actually a matter of survival in its own rights.

The secret to a long and happy life is to live in a clean environment, and you can take that statement to the bank. The lack of proper personal hygiene may get you sick very easily and also you may pass the disease around and all that jazz; that’s how epidemics occur.

The good news is that there are ways to maintain adequate hygiene even if you’re living somewhere in the neck of the woods, as off-grid as it gets.

These ancient survival lessons teach you how to stay clean when there isn’t anything to buy!

There’s an old saying, about “Real men building their own [insert item here]”. In our particular case, real preppers built their own hot tubs.

Why hot tubs, you may ask? Well, the hot tub used to be regarded by many as a luxury if not a whim. Remember that old saying: that one needs only two baths in his/her lifetime – one when you’re born and the other one when you’re dead?

Especially back in the day, hot tubs were pretty rare not too long ago (circa 1700s), when  getting one was a rare experience, familiar just to kings and queens. Alright, and the rest of the infamous 1%, maybe.

One of the benefits of soaking yourself for hours in hot water is that such activity relieves pains and aches, beside getting you clean in the process.

But after reading this article, you’ll understand how hillbilly hot tubs changed the world for ever. And you’ll also understand that getting your fingers pruney is a God-given right for every American, even for those living in the back woods.

Also, let’s not forget that one of the most popular pieces of gear for outdoors survival after a hard and long day doing God-knows-what is a hot tub, right?

I am only kidding folks, but if you don’t know how to build your very own personal hot tub, well, that’s why I am here. I’ve scoured the depths of the Internet and I brought together some of the best tutorials in the world for helping you building your little piece of heaven.

Building the Tank

To begin with the basics, a DIY hot tub consists of two main things: a tank which makes for the bathtub itself and a device for heating the water inside of the tank. That’s all there is to it; it’s pretty straight forward.

As far as tanks go, you have two options: to use a prefabricated one, like an IBC container or a stock watering tank, or to build your own bathtub from scratch from wood; just imagine a big barrel of sorts.

Soaking in a wood-fired hot tub requires some planning, at least a couple of hours in advance, but the involvement in one’s bath is part of the attraction.

Here’s a video tutorial about how to build a cedar wood hot tub using planks of cedar and lots of skill and materials.

Video first seen on Heritage Craft.

The end result is a reminiscent of a big barrel, which looks pretty cool actually, but you’ll require some mad skills to get this done.

You’ll also require beaucoup gear, like cedar wood suitable for cutting and shaping, saws, chine joints, nails, a power drill, a carpenter’s level, screws and insane wood-working skills. But it’s doable, after all that guy did it and it looks pretty awesome.

However, there are other ways.

The hardest part of our first project is to build the tank itself, as it requires serious carpentry skills, but you can always go for a hillbilly hot tub that uses an IBC container using, for example, a prefabricated hot tub, then you just have to worry about the water heating device.

Here are two different projects, both involving a DIY wood-fired hot tub. The first one uses an IBC container, a steel cage, an old gas cylinder and pallets, plus some plumbing connectors. Except for the container, the rest of materials were free scrap.

Video first seen on Chris Jamieson.

The IBC container holds 1000 liters, which is more than enough for a hot tub, while the steel cage and the pallets are used for making the structure that will keep the water-filled container firmly in place. The pallet wood is used for decorating the steel frame; it makes it look better and all that.

The Heating Source

As for the heating device, here’s where the old gas cylinder comes into play. Basically, you’ll use a stove water heater. How does it work, you may ask? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: the stove water heater uses a heat exchanger for transferring heat from the stove to the water.

Water is circulated through the heat exchanger when the fire is burning (the gas cylinder makes for the stove in our case) whilst the heat exchanger is basically a copper serpentine made from copper pipe mounted inside the stove.

In this project, the hot tub is filled with water which is slowly flowing via a garden hose through the copper pipe and it’s getting hot as it fills. The process is relatively slow, but it produces very hot water.

The second DIY wood-fired hot tub system is very similar to the previous one, just that it uses a galvanized stock tank instead of an IBC container. Also, the heat exchanger system is the same serpentine made from copper pipe, but for heating the water, this project relies on the thermosiphon principle.

Video first seen on HomeMadeModern.

Think about our ancestors. They didn’t have the luxury of the modern industry but they were able to create their own hygiene products from simple, readily available stuff.

Do you wonder how our forefathers took care of their personal hygiene when they traveled for months? Click the banner below and uncover their long forgotten secrets!

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Storing Ammo: A Guide For Preppers

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Storing Ammo

When most people think about organizing their ammo stockpiles, they do so based on cartridge or shell type. For example, if you have four or five different types of ammo, you may be inclined to store them all in separate containers.

While this method seems practical at first glance, you may find that other methods will work better. In particular, you should not keep all ammo of the same type together in the same location.

Let’s say you have five different ammo types, and ten boxes of each one. You also have five ammo cans that you can use to store the ammo. Instead of putting all of one type in each can; put only two boxes of each type per can. In this way, you will have five cans of diversified ammo.

Here’s why this arrangement has a few advantages:

  • If you have to move quickly, grabbing even one can will ensure that you have at least some ammo for any gun that you are able to bring along.
  • It will be much easier to store your ammo in different locations without having to worry about which one holds the ammo you need at some point in the future. As long as you are able to retrieve one can, you will know that you have at least some usable ammo on hand.
  • You will find it much easier to practice with all of your weapons on a regular basis. Just make it a point to use all of the ammo in each can and you will never have a gun laying around that hasn’t been fired in years because you put the ammo in some place that isn’t easy to get to, or worse yet, you forgot the location.

What a Good Storage Location Is

Good storage locations for ammo aren’t as easy to find as you might think. Many people try to bury ammo stockpiles under their home, stash boxes behind closet walls, and even put ammo cans under their bed. While these places may be safe, dry, and cool, they are also the first places thieves, rioters, and others will look if they invade your home.

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When hiding ammo, you should make it your business to find locations that:

  • Are easy to defend. It is very important to make sure that you can arrange zones of fire around your stockpile. Always consider that people may stumble onto your stockpile by accident, or they may even be watching you as you put items in the stockpile or remove them. It is always best to choose a place where you have an advantage in terms of defending the area if needed.
  • Choose a location where you can make more than one entry point. If someone does find your stockpile, you should be able to enter through another location and neutralize the invaders
  • Look for an area where it is safe to destroy the ammo if needed. When you know all is lost, there is no point to letting thieves and rioters steal all you worked so hard for. It is better to have the stockpile in a place where you can destroy it rather than see it be stolen.
  • It should be easy to move the ammunition out of the area and into another one with ease.
  • There should be enough room to expand if needed.
  • You should be able to keep surveillance on the area from a distance without being detected.
  • The area should be hard to spot by satellite or other overhead scanning systems that might be used to locate the stockpile. In addition, you should also be able to get to the location without being easily spotted.
  • High temperatures and moisture are extremely damaging to ammo. Try to pick a place that is as cool and dry as possible. If you have to choose between cool and dry, choose the area that is cool, and then make sure that the ammo itself is packed carefully away in moisture and water proof containers.

Choosing the Right Containers

Today, there are many different kinds of containers that you can use to store ammo.

If you are budget conscious, then go for the metal ammo cans or boxes. You can purchase them new or used at surplus stores as well as at gun shops and gun shows. Before you buy an ammo can, make sure it is free of rust, holes, and other signs of corrosion.

ammunitionThe lid should fit properly and create a waterproof seal.

It may also help to have some extra room in each box, especially if you haven’t purchased all of the guns yet that will be part of your permanent stockpile.

When choosing containers for ammo, think about what will happen in those first hours after a major crisis occurs.

To be fair, if you aren’t on a heavily guarded estate with plenty of supplies and acreage, you might have to leave your home and the majority of your stockpile behind. This is why your ammo storage plans must also include ensuring you can bug out with enough supplies to meet your needs.

Have a dedicated backpack or ammo pouch with at least five boxes of ammunition for the one gun you will absolutely take with you no matter where you go.

If this is your everyday carry gun (a.k.a. EDC), then by all means, go ahead and carry the bug out ammo with you as well. The backpack or pouch should be comfortable to wear and not be noticeable to others. Make sure that the internal pockets are waterproof, yet breathable so that moisture does not collect in the bag.

You will also need to inspect the pack on a regular basis to make sure that the constant weight of heavy ammo rubbing against the fabric does not lead to wear that will let water get into the ammo.

Storing Gunpowder

Many mid to advanced level preppers store away gunpowder in the hopes that they will be able to reload ammo in a time of need.

Storing gunpowder is not as easy or as safe as storing away cartridges and shells. Because gunpowder releases gases upon ignition, you should never store it away in an ammo can.

If the building the can is stored in catches fire, or the temperature reaches a critical point for some other reason, the ammo can will explode and cause major damage.

Also avoid storing gunpowder in the house or in a building for the same reason.

It is best to store gunpowder in a dedicated and well built outdoor magazine where it will be heavily guarded and safe to be around.

Supplies and Equipment to Have Onhand

Overall, there aren’t many supplies that you need to keep on hand to store ammo and keep it in good condition for years on end.

Desiccant

Regardless of where or how long you are storing the ammo away for, each container should have a few packets of desiccant in it. This will help reduce moisture and condensation.

Waterproof Ziploc Bags

Every can should also have a few extra waterproof Ziploc bags and a permanent marker. If a box happens to break or is damaged, then you can always put the cartridges or shells in the bag to keep them safe.

Clean Rags

It is also important to store away clean rags so that you can clean ammo off if needed.

Pull Cart

When you first buy an ammo can, you may not think it is very heavy. By the same token, lifting one or two boxes of ammo may not seem like much. Once you start adding a few dozen boxes to the can, you will find it very hard to push the can from one place to another let alone pick it up to move it.

This is why you will need to have a pull cart or some other kind of wheeled bed that you can use to move ammo cans from one place to another.

The cart should have some kind of pole or extension that you can raise up and use as a post for a pulley system. All you have to do from there is store some rope in the can and a pulley that can be attached to the pole.

At the very least, if you have to lift the ammo can into the back of a truck, you will be able to do so faster and with less risk of injury to yourself or others.

Video first seen on AnalyticalSurvival.

Why Storing Multiple Ammo Caches Is Important

Let’s say you are a homeowner, but you don’t have much property; or you rent an apartment and also don’t have access to much land. Let’s also say that you have decided you are going to bug in regardless of what happens in your local area and in the rest of the country.

Many people that decided to sit it out through a hurricane or other natural disaster can tell you that one bad situation was enough to last them a lifetime.

While some people may have been lucky and got through several storms with no problems, a major social collapse is a very different and far longer lasting scenario. As a result, it is best to try and make at least some bug out plans and factor ammo storage needs into those plans.

Most people that plan to bug out after a major crisis actually have five or six locations that are located at different distances from their current position. These places may be the homes of family members or friends, or even areas where they have visited and feel they can live comfortably.

No matter where people are planning to bug out to, they will usually set up caches of supplies that can be accessed along the way.

When it comes to ammo, small caches like this in multiple and diverse places is just as important as food, water, and medicine. Just make sure that the areas you choose are safe and hard to find by others. If you do leave ammo with friends or family members, make sure that these are people you can trust regardless of what is going on.

Even if you are absolutely certain that you aren’t going to bug out, it will be to your advantage to store away ammo in several different locations.

If you are storing ammo in your own home, make sure that you have five or six locations that are hard to find, and one that is somewhat more visible.

You can use the more visible cache as a means to lure invaders into a zone of fire, or allow it to be taken in the hopes that invaders won’t go looking for the more important items in your stockpile. You can also set up snares and other booby traps that will neutralize invaders.

Never use explosives or anything that will start a fire near the ammo cans or you can wind up making the situation even worse.

Rotate Your Ammo

No matter how carefully you store ammo away, some condensation will always build up, temperatures will change, and the ammo itself will begin to deteriorate. This, in turn, means that you should be using ammo even while you are building up your stockpile.

Always use the oldest ammo first and make sure that you replace it with the same or better quality rounds. For example, if you have about half your stockpile dedicated to rounds with steel casings, do not backtrack and buy more aluminum rounds to replace the used ones. Instead, go for more steel casings or see if you can afford rounds with brass casings.

Keeping your ammo stockpile in a steady state of rotation also helps ensure that you will actually practice shooting. From developing muscle memory to gaining confidence with cleaning and caring for weapons, just about everything starts with shooting on a regular basis.

If you can’t find a reason to go to the range other than rotating your ammo, at least it’s better than not doing any shooting at all.

Inspect the rounds on a regular basis. There are few things worse than having ammo cans sitting in the attic for decades without paying any attention to them. During this time, you may not know about rust that may have developed on jackets and casings.

If you wind up needing decayed rounds, you won’t be able to use them safely. If you rotate ammunition on a regular basis, you will isolate problems quickly and replace ruined ammo with something that you can use in time of need.

Gain as much experience as possible with different kinds of ammo. Once you know what kind of rounds your gun can take, try ammo from different manufacturers.

When you routinely rotate and use part of your stockpile, test out different products and see how they work for you. Later on, if your stockpile is gone or inaccessible, you will know how any ammo you find will work to suit your needs in a self-defense situation.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

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7 DIY Ways To Remove Odors From Your Pantry

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Ugh! You open the door to your pantry and your nose is assaulted with the vile smell of rotten produce, spoiled broth that spilled on the back of a shelf, or just plain mustiness. It smells as if it’s seeped into the walls, so how do you remove odors from your pantry without repainting the whole thing?

Surprisingly, you have several options. The first thing you need to do is clean up the mess. Thoroughly.

Until you do that, you’re not going to be able to get the smell out. If it ran down the walls behind the shelf, you may need to clean the wall clear down to the baseboard. Do whatever you need to do to clean it up completely.

Now, you’ve got the mess cleaned up, so how do you make it smell better?

Vinegar

You can always use a bit of vinegar to wipe down the walls and shelves. Just blurp a half-cup of white vinegar into a half-gallon of water and start wiping. This will likely make your pantry smell like vinegar for a bit, but it’s better than rotten potatoes.

Cleaning and wiping with vinegar is also good to get that musty smell out. Dust off the tops of your less-often used containers and just tidy up in general. Most of the time, it’s mildew or dust that gives your pantry that musty smell.

Vinegar can be used to get rid of cooking smells. Leave a small bowl of vinegar in the kitchen or in the pantry overnight to absorb the odors and you can enjoy cooking for your loved ones.

These lessons of yesterday will teach you the basic skills you need for survival cooking! 

Bleach

We all know that bleach kills almost anything, including bacteria that cause odors. Use 10 parts water to one part bleach to wipe down your entire pantry, shelves, floors, and walls, and you’ll soon notice that your pantry smells much cleaner.

If the mold and mildew have settled into rough wood, simply put your bleach solution in a spray bottle and spray it over the wood.

Baking Soda

OK, this one is actually best to use as a preventative measure, but placing a couple of boxes of open baking soda around your pantry will help prevent and eliminate most odors. You may want to use this in conjunction with other methods if you’re in a hurry or the odor is particularly offensive.

Change the boxes of baking soda out every few months to keep them working. This also works wonderfully in the fridge and freezer. Just pop the top and set it on a shelf. Baking soda is one of those must-have, multi-use survival items that you just have to have.

odor elim

Essential Oils

Many essential oils have antibacterial properties, and it’s not hard to find one that smells good. Mix several drops (how much depends on how strong you want it to smell. Use the sniff test til you find a ratio that works for you) into a half-gallon or so of water and wash down your entire pantry.

Some good suggestions are orange oil, rose oil, lavender oil, or even tea tree oil or eucalyptus if you like that piney, astringent smell. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to your vinegar to really get some bang for your buck and knock out nasty odors.

Charcoal

Charcoal is an excellent odor absorber and one that I particularly like because all you have to do is rip the bag open a bit and set it in your pantry. If you’re like me, you go through charcoal pretty regularly because you grill, so the bag doesn’t have time to lose its odor-absorbing qualities.

You can use charcoal in your cabinets, too. Just place a piece of two inside in the back and change it out every few months. Cool trick – if you have a plastic container that smells like onions or garlic, pop a piece of charcoal in it overnight with the lid on it and it will smell tremendously better by morning. The smell will likely be completely gone.

Mineral Oil and Alcohol

To remove stubborn odors from your pantry and condition and seal wood so that it won’t absorb more odors, mix 1 pint of mineral oil with a half-cup of rubbing alcohol and wipe all surfaces with it. Again, feel free to add a few drops of essential oil to make it smell good.

Lysol

Odors in pantries are typically caused by bacteria or fungi that are feeding of food or moisture and causing rot, mold, or mildew. Lysol, as well as bleach and vinegar, kills 99 percent of these pathogens and will therefore get rid of the odor. The distinct advantage that Lysol has is that it now comes in a variety of pleasant scents.

Lysol comes in mist and spray solution. Use the mist if your pantry just smells a bit musty (it’s handy to keep in the bathroom, too!). Use the cleaning solution if you’re cleaning up rotten produce or if the odor is so pervasive that you have to clean your shelves. Lysol cleaners are great to use when you’re spring cleaning.

Just a word of common sense caution: don’t spray Lysol on your food, especially produce that you’ll be ingesting directly.

Odors in your pantry can spread to your whole kitchen. If nothing else, they’ll assault your olfactory senses every time you open your door. Since the odor can be absorbed by boxed goods and even pastas and other foods, this is a case where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Do you wonder what are the secrets that helped our grandparent survive during harsh times?

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Prep Blog Review: Freeze Drying Or Dehydrating?

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When it comes to food preservation for survival, I am always trying to find the best technique. I want to preserve not only the taste of the, but also the nutrients. Freeze drying and dehydrating are easy techniques that you can do at home.

Are you curious to discover the differences between freeze drying and dehydrating food for survival? In this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic.

  1. How To Freeze Dry Food, With And Without A Machine

how-to-freeze-dry-food-with-and-without-a-machine

“Learning how to freeze dry food is something that’s gaining popularity.

It doesn’t come as a surprise to us, because many preppers are now simply discovering the “long forgotten” art of freeze drying their foods at home.

In truth, freeze drying has been in constant commercial use for generations. Applying it in your home is quit easy, with or without a special machine.”

Read more on BeSurvival.

  1. How To Freeze Dry Your Food In Your Home

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“Learning about the common methods of food preservation is important. When we find ourselves in a situation where food scarcity is on a large scale and the number of people dying because of starvation is rising at an alarming rate, having stocked or preserved food is definitely a life saver.

There are food preservation methods and one of them is through the process of freeze drying. Through vaporization, this process removes the moisture from the food. One of the awesome things about this method is you can save freeze dried food for a lot of years.”

Read more on Survival Life.

  1. How To Freeze Fish For Long-Term Survival

Preserving-fish-for-long-term-survival

“Living in a world where supermarkets are out of business is certainly no easy task. In order to survive in such world, you will be forced to hunt or fish for your food. Fishing for long-term sustenance requires for you to know various methods of preserving fish.

Of all flesh foods, fish is the most susceptible to tissue decomposition, rancidity and microbial spoilage. To prevent your fish from going bad there are some popular solutions that people have been using with great success. Preserving fish can be done through freezing, canning, pickling and smoking.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

  1. 6 Rules To Follow When Dehydrating Foods

6-rules-of-dehydrating

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

You can dehydrate any fruit or vegetable, regardless of quality or ripeness. If something is too ripe and soft, you can always puree it and dry the puree. Although using the best quality fruits and veggies will result in the best quality dried goods, remember that the goal here is preservation, not perfection. So don’t be afraid to dehydrate the bruised, overripe, and slightly damaged goods. Just make sure not to put mold in the dehydrator as it can spread and infect the rest of the foods.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

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How To Make Lye At Home

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Making Lye At Home

Knowing how to use what you have on hand to make what you need is one of the hallmarks of a true prepper or homesteader. So is repurposing items and avoiding as much waste as possible.

So, in that frame of mind, what do you do with all the ash left after you build a fire, or dozens of them throughout a winter? Make lye!

There are many uses for lye, chemically named potassium hydroxide. You may also hear it called caustic soda or caustic potash. There are two different chemicals referred to as lye – the type that we’re talking about today that’s made from wood ash, and sodium hydroxide, which is made from salt.

The reason that we’re focusing on the type made from ash is that all of the ingredients that you need to make it are already right there in your house. Actually, you only need two ingredients – water and ash.

That’s it. To make sodium hydroxide, which is a common ingredient in industrial cleaners and caustic products such as drain cleaner, you need carbon electrodes and a power source. Not exactly prepper-friendly.

What’s Lye Used For?

So what, you may ask, is lye used for? Well, several things. First, it’s a necessary ingredient in soap.

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You also need lye to make biodiesel and can use it to adjust the pH of your soil. There are also cooking uses for lye, such as making chocolate and preserving processed foods, but that’s pretty delicate and it’s completely outside my wheelhouse.

Oh, and lye also degrades soft tissues and, given enough time, will soften and break down bone. This was actually a trick used by a famous mobster to dispose of bodies. So on that note, let’s talk about how to safely handle lye.

Handling Lye

You need to exercise extreme caution when using lye because if it comes into contact with your skin, it will almost instantly start interacting with the fatty tissue to turn you into a bar of soap!

Seriously, that’s kinda what happens. Wear goggles because it can – and will – put you blind. It’s a good idea to use gloves and wear long sleeves, too. If you happen to get lye on your skin, pour vinegar on it to neutralize it.

Lye will also erode some metals – specifically aluminum – so be careful what you make it in.

Ingredients Needed to Make Lye

We’ve already discussed that you only need two ingredients to make lye: water and ash. Sounds easy, right? Yes it is, but you can’t use any water and ash or else the lye won’t leech properly out of the ash and it will be too weak to be effective.

Rainwater is the best and cheapest water to use. You don’t want to use tap water regardless of whether it’s city or well because of the minerals and chemicals in it. You can use water distilled using a steam process, but that can get expensive quickly. So, get a nice rainwater catcher and you’re in business.

It’s always a good idea to have rainwater collection vessels anyway, because it can be used as a backup water source or as a source of gray water to wash clothes and water plants. Well now you have yet another use for it.

You can’t use just any ash, either. Well, technically you can, but the soap that’s made from this type of lye made from softwoods and coniferous trees will be soft soap instead of hard soap. Good woods include ash, apple, hickory, beech, cherry, birch, elm, oak, walnut and maple.

You want to use hardwoods for your fires anyway because it burns longer, and we all know that you can’t use pine in your woodburners or fireplaces unless you want the resin to accumulate and burn you out at some point, likely in the middle of the night.

Lye Making Methods

So now that we know what woods and water to use to make the best lye, let’s talk about a couple of methods.

There are three basic ways to make lye at home:

  • the ash bucket method
  • the barrel method
  • the cooking method.

They all three work; it’s just a matter of personal preference and how much effort you’re willing to invest.

We’ll discuss them in the order that I just listed but again, a reminder not to use aluminum containers. Use glass, wood, enamel, stainless steel, or heavy-duty plastic.

One final tip: some of the old timers would add 2 percent or so lime to the ash mixture to make sure it produces a good hard soap. Salt works too, but you add it to the fat during the soap-making process instead of at the lye phase. Use about 2 ½ pints salt to 5 gallons of fat.

The Ash Bucket Method

This is pretty much exactly what the name implies. It’s kind of the lazy prepper’s way of making lye. Add a few cups of hot water directly to your full ash bucket and stir. Make sure you have a second ash bucket to hold your dry ashes! Let it sit for a few hours, stirring every thirty minutes or so.

Use a ratio of about 2 parts water to one part ash. Equal amounts work, too, but don’t exceed a ratio of around 3:1 water to ash if you want your lye to make quickly.

Once you’ve stirred it several times throughout the afternoon, do the egg test. This is a great way to test the alkalinity of your lye water. If you drop the egg in and it sinks, the lye is too weak and you need to let it sit for a while longer. Stirring more frequently may be helpful, too.

The lye has the perfect pH when the egg floats with about a quarter-sized part of it sticking out of the water. If your lye accidentally gets too strong, just add a bit more water. Throw the egg away when you’re done because it’s not edible after coming into contact with the lye.

Once your lye is perfect, pour it slowly and carefully from the ash bucket into another bucket making sure that you don’t pour any of the ashes into the mix.

Video first seen on Eddie Borges.

The Barrel Method

To make lye using the barrel method, you’ll need a water-tight wooden (or stainless steel) barrel and three catch receptacles. Drill several small holes in the bottom of the barrel, then set it up on bricks or blocks that you can get your catch basin underneath of it to collect the lye. Make sure it’s stable – the last thing you want to do is spill lye everywhere.

Line the bottom with a layer of clean stones so that the straw that you’re using in the next step doesn’t clog the holes. Put a thick layer of straw over in the bottom of the barrel, then fill it almost all the way with ash. Pour hot water over it, then remove the container underneath that’s now full of weak lye water.

You’ll have to repeat this process several times, just pouring the used, filtered water over the ash and straw until the lye becomes strong enough. Just so you know, the lye is perfectly fine, but the straw may discolor it a bit by turning it yellow.

After you’ve repeated this process five or six times, do the egg test and continue accordingly.

Alternatively, you can use a barrel with a spigot instead of the holes and just let the water sit in it for several hours and test. When it’s done, just drain the lye out the spigot, leaving the ash residue behind.

The Cooking Method

This method is perfectly acceptable but you need to make sure that the room is well-ventilated just to be on the safe side. We’re going to start the process by adding the ashes and the water to your pot. Bring it to a slow boil or simmer and cook it for a half hour or so, then allow it to cool and do the egg test.

If it’s not strong enough, pour the water over a fresh batch of ashes and repeat until your lye is as alkaline as it needs to be. And be careful that none of it splashes on you as you boil it.

See, now that you know that lye isn’t so hard to make, you can do it yourself whenever you need it as long as you have ashes and rain water, just like our ancestors used to make it.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Emergency Fire-starter: Start A Fire With Bare Hands

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Starting a fire

Starting a fire with your bare hands may sound like the manliest activity you can do, doesn’t it? Bear Grylls has a couple of episodes about how to start a fire without any gear available, for cooking some crunchy worms, right?

I am kidding, of course, but knowing how to start a fire in a survival situation is a pretty useful skill to have. Without fire you can’t cook your food, you can’t get warm, you can’t dry your clothes, you don’t have light, you can’t signal your presence, you can’t disinfect water for safe drinking, and so on and so forth.

We rely on technology to survive; even when it comes to wilderness survival. We are comfortable thinking that it will be OK because we have a cool survival knife, even better than Rambo’s, not to mention our top of the line survival/emergency kit, which contains all the things we’ll ever need if SHTF, including some cool BIC lighters, impermeable matches and what not.

However, life has the unpleasant habit of ignoring our plans, and emergencies don’t seem to care about our personal inconveniences.

The question to be asked and answered is — what are you going to do if SHTF and you don’t have your survival gear on your person?  Well, you’ll have to improvise or die trying, right?

This scenario is pretty far-fetched at first glance; I mean, finding yourself alone and close to butt-naked somewhere in the woods, without any type of gear and all that jazz.

Find out how this little survival stove that fits in your pocket can save your life!

Fire is what separated the humans from the animal reign, along with the invention of the wheel and Facebook. (I’m kidding again, of course!)

But I can bet that even the invention of the wheel was somewhat related to fire, i.e. there are “cultures” in remote parts of the world who didn’t invent the wheel, but they know how to make a fire without a Zippo lighter. The idea is that if some troglodyte who still lives in the Neolithic period, technologically speaking, can make a fire using what’s naturally available, so should we.

And obviously, making a fire with minimal gear that you can do yourself will require a paleo approach, i.e. we’ll have to see how primitive cultures mitigate this problem.

As far as primitive fire starting goes, most of the methods (all of them actually, if I come to think about it) involve the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and I am talking about mechanical energy — friction in our case — which is converted into heat, another form of energy which leads to fire and a happy ending.

So, as the Greek philosopher and inventor Heraclitus said back in the day, everything changes, and so does energy. But enough with philosophy and let’s get down to business.

How To Start a Fire Using Sticks

The simplest method for making a fire via friction in dry climates is the hand drill. The concept is pretty simple: you’ll have to cut a V shaped notch into a piece of wood, or fire-board if you like, then to use a rock/knife or whatever you have at your disposal for making a small depression adjacent to the notch, where you’ll place a piece of bark which will eventually catch the ember and burst into flames.

In the next step you’ll have to put the spindle (a stick basically) in the depression and roll it vigorously between the palms of your hands. You know what I am talking about. You’ve seen endless “Wild Survival” documentaries about it.

Some tried it in real life and failed miserably, but this guy seems to have got the hang of it.

Video first seen on Videojug

It’s worth mentioning that two persons can do it better, i.e. one person will apply downward pressure to the drill constantly, while the other will use a shoelace or a piece of string to rapidly rotate the spindle.

How to Start a Fire by Friction

If you’re alone, you can use this method , which is way better than rolling the spindle in the palms of your hands, especially if you’re not used to manual labor. This method involves using a little bow for rolling the spindle and it’s order of magnitude is more efficient than doing it with your hands only.

Video first seen on AZ Film Company

How to Start a Fire Using a Cord Drill and a Pump Drill

Check out this guy who makes it all look very easy. Watching this clip, you’ll learn how to make a cord drill first, then to upgrade it to a pump drill (this can be used for making holes in things, which may prove useful). The cord drill is a spindle featuring a flywheel attached basically and it works very well for making fires and more.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

How to Start a Fire With the Fire Plow Technique

Another primitive method for making fire is the fire plow technique. The concept is pretty straightforward, as you’ll cut a groove in a soft piece of wood, which will be the fire-board for all intents and purposes, and then you’ll rub/plough the tip of a harder shaft up/down the groove.

This technique produces its own tinder as the sticks rubbed together will push out tiny particles of wood ahead of the friction.

Video first seen on Survival Lilly

How to Start a Fire With a Fire Piston

Here’s a cool method called the Fire Piston and it works under the principle that air gets very hot when compressed at high pressure.

If you’ve ever used a bicycle pump, you might have noticed the heat that is created in the cylinder. When you compress air inside a fire piston, it happens so quickly and efficiently that it can instantly ignite a piece of tinder placed at the end of the piston.

Video first seen on Discovery

Ancient methods of making fire pistons involve hardwood for the tube or even a horn. The tube must be closed at one end, accurately bored and very smooth inside. The gasket can be improvised from fiber or leather for creating a seal for the piston in order to get the compression required.

How to Start a Fire With Flint and Steel

A classic in the field of ancient fire making is flint and steel. If you strike a softer steel against flint (which is harder), you’ll produce sparks to ignite your fire. But you can also make fire with just what’s available out there, i.e. flint, marcasite, pyrite, fungus, grass/leaf and quartzite.

Video first seen on freejutube

Remember that fire provides you with a cooking flame so knowing how to start one with your bare hands will make your survival cooking easy as 1, 2, 3!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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10 Ways To Prepare Your Tractor For Survival

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Prepare Your Tractor For Survival
Homesteaders and farmers recognize the importance of tractors in daily life. These vehicles tend to be very durable, but it’s important to make sure you can still use them in a post-crisis world.

Aside from increasing the number of things you can use the tractor for, taking these steps will also help your tractor last longer and perform better during its lifespan.

Know What the Tractor Can Do

Over the years, I’ve purchased all kinds of gadgets in my quest to find devices that use less electricity or power while delivering at or near the same level of usefulness as more conventional devices.

For example, when I was still learning how to use power tools, I thought battery powered tools would be better or safer than conventional ones. It wasn’t long before I found out that “under powered” means nothing more than slow and virtually useless.

To this day, my very first battery powered jigsaw sits in its original box somewhere in the attic, with a battery that I haven’t charged more than once every few years to see if it still works. At the same time, my conventional powered jigsaw sits right next to my desk and is always ready to use.

When it comes to preparing a tractor, it is very important to know just how much work they can do. Simply put, you cannot get an engine rated for 5 – 10 horsepower and expect it to do the work of a 25 horsepower engine.

If you are going to add accessories to the tractor, or in any other way expand what you use the tractor for, it is very important to know if the engine, drive train, and transmission can truly take the added wear and tear. The last thing you will want to do is purchase attachments or make plans only to find out that the tractor won’t suit your needs. Get a good sense of what your current tractor can do so that you can purchase something better or look for alternatives before it is too late.

Take control of your home’s energy with this step-by-step System to Energy Independence! 

Buy Adapters that Expand their Usability

Did you know that you can purchase an adapter for a tractor that can be used to plow snow?

While many preppers think of tractors as farm and homestead equipment, they may also be useful to conventional homeowners and apartment dwellers. The sheer number of attachments and accessories for tractors make them as versatile as they are powerful.

Here are just a few attachments that you may find of use for homesteading as well as some others that can be used by just about any person that is concerned about having a versatile travel vehicle in time of need:

Forklift Attachment

It’s ideal for people that have large stockpiles stored in boxes or crates. The fork lift can be used to lift all kinds of heavy items at one time. Depending on size and power of the main tractor, a forklift may also be useful for lifting and pushing small vehicles out of the roadway.

Steel Tracks

No matter how big or sturdy tractor tires may be, muddy terrain or complex areas can be more easily navigated with steel tracks that give you advantages similar to what you would have with a tank.

Log Dragger

If you are planning to cut down large trees, you can easily haul the lumber with this tractor attachment.

Spade and Bucket Attachments

These devices will give you a chance to use the tractor as you would a backhoe.

Steel Enclosure

This should be one of the first things you buy, especially if you plan to use the tractor like a forklift or backhoe. The steel cage will keep you safe and may also make it easier to use the tractor in a wider range of weather situations.

Harrows, Scrapers, and Pipe Layers

There are all kinds of attachments for tractors that can be used for planting crops, or digging into the ground for some other purpose.

Get All Shop Manuals for the Tractor and Accessories

As with any other motor vehicle, you need as much information as possible about the parts and functionality of every system in your tractor. A shop manual will give you far more information than just how to exchange old parts for new ones. You may get a better look at what is inside each part so that you can refurbish the parts if needed.

These schematics will also help you gain a sense of additional skills and tools that might be of use to have on hand. For example, if a specific part has a rubber diaphragm, then you know that this part may be something that wears out faster than others. This information will show you what things are best to have in your stockpile. In this case, you will store away materials that can be used to make a new diaphragm as well as extra parts that can be changed out as needed.

When it comes to sourcing replacement materials for parts refurbishing, new polymer and resin technologies may offer better replacement materials. Once you get a look at the shop manual and study it carefully, you will know more about what kind of newer materials may work as well, if not better. Considering you may have to keep the tractor running for decades or even pass it along to future generations, you need as many suitable materials on hand as possible.

A shop manual will also give you a complete listing of every part used in the tractor. Did you know that it may be possible to scavenge parts from vehicles that aren’t the same make and model?

Usually, the key to achieving this goal is to know exactly where the mounting points are and if they can be adapted to your vehicle. Once again, the schematics for the parts used for your tractor will give you some good ideas about how the insides are arranged. This, in turn, makes it easier to estimate what can and cannot be done with scavenged parts.

Setup and Maintain a Maintenance Schedule

It is very easy to be inspired by all the power you wield when you have a tractor at your fingertips. On the other side of the equation, a tractor is still a machine that requires good quality routine maintenance to keep it working for as long as possible.

It’s all too easy to forget when the last oil change was, or when you carried out some other maintenance task. As with your car, setup and maintain a maintenance schedule for your tractor, based on the following:

  • Consult the shop and owner’s manual so that you know what should be done at each maintenance interval.
  • Include a listing of all materials and tools that you will need.
  • Identify any areas where you feel that you do not have the knowledge or skills to do the job yourself. Even if you cannot do the job at the nearest time interval, make it your business to get the necessary training to do the job the next time it is needed.
  • Set aside enough time so that you can do the job yourself and be sure that you are doing it well.

When it comes to prepping, there are some additional things you should add to your maintenance plans. Consider a situation where you have been doing routine maintenance, but haven’t done any tests to check on the engine compression. Even though the tractor is operating just fine, wear and tear is going to add up over time.

It is best to have some advance warning of parts that may fail so that you can be ready to repair or replace as needed. You will need to consult the shop manual and research each part of the tractor. The more you learn about the risks, the better chance you have of developing tests that will help you diagnose and repair in time.

Convert for Multiple Fuel Use

Just about every prepper is aware about the lack of fuel for motor vehicles in the post crisis world; this topic comes up as often, if not more than EMP proofing. Even though many tractors run on diesel, make sure that you have systems in place that can take advantage of biodiesel, wood burning and methane.

One of the most fascinating emerging technologies involves using hydrogen to partially or fully power motor vehicles. While kits designed to inject hydrogen into cars and trucks are still controversial, there is far more progress being made with tractors. There are already kits on the market that covert water to hydrogen through a hydrolysis process without having to involve a commercial electricity supplier.

Video first seen on Daniel HHO Hydrogen Donatelli.

Consider changing out the tractor’s engine entirely and using a steam engine instead. This is the best way to incorporate the largest number of fuels because you can burn just about anything to generate steam.

If you decide to keep the internal combustion engine running in your tractor, it doesn’t harm to keep a steam engine, boiler system, and transmission connections on hand. If you do run into a situation where the main engine is of no use, then you can try installing the steam engine instead.

When considering alternative fuel types, remember that any system you use must also have a good chance of surviving an EMP. If you experiment with hydrogen fuel, eliminate solid state technologies as much as possible. Instead, look for ways to use gears and other simple machines to replace of electric motors and controls. In a worst case scenario, you can still try shielding these and other vulnerable parts of the tractor with EMP proof paints and coverings.

Have the Right Tools and Spare Parts

More than a few preppers think that if they find an second hand tractor that matches their own, they will have more than enough spare parts to get through a major crisis.

Tractors and their parts are made in largely automated factories just like cars and trucks. This means if there is a problem on the production line that impacts one part, it is likely that it will impact every reproduction of that part until the error is discovered. In most cases, that error is not discovered until hundreds, and perhaps even thousands of consumers wind up having the same kinds of problems.

So even if you do buy a spare tractor, the parts in it may be just as inclined to wear out or break down in the same order as the ones in the tractor you plan to use on a regular basis. In fact, if you buy a tractor that doesn’t run, the part that you need most may be the very one that you already know isn’t working on the spare!

From this perspective, choosing the best parts and tools comes down to researching before you actually buy anything. Once you go through the shop manual, research on consumer forums dedicated to the tractor model that you own. If you see that several people have the same problem, then make sure that you have extra spares for that part, or that you can refurbish what you have.

Be Able to Maintain and Repair On Your Own

Have you ever kept the same vehicle for so long that friends and family members joke that you must have replaced everything but the gas cap?

If so, then you have an idea about what it will be like in the post crisis world where you will have no choice but to patch things, bypass them, or make something new to replace something that fails. You may view this as an educational hobby right now, but these skills will become important.

Here’s what to learn if you plan to maintain and repair your tractor at the highest possible level:

  • Know how to salvage and repurpose any metal that you happen to come across.
  • Know how to recognize sources of metal ore and extract it from natural sources.
  • Know how to mix different ores and minerals to produce a metal suitable for making tractor parts.
  • Be able to heat, forge, and anneal metals so that you can shape them into usable parts. This includes extruding wire and making precision cuts and holes in any given piece of metal.
  • Find out more about polymers and other materials that can be stockpiled and used to make prototypes or actual tractor parts. You’ll also find useful to have a 3D printer on hand.
  • Be able to weld, solder, and manage every other aspect of metal working.
  • Find ways to melt down plastics or other non-metallic parts so that you can make new items or repair old ones as needed.

Overall, I recommend getting rid of as many computer based or electronic controls in tractors and other vehicles for the sake of EMP proofing and also long term durability. Even though computer chips and solid state devices can go for decades and work perfectly, there will come a day when they stop working.

Unlike purely mechanical devices, there is simply no way to repair a blow IC chip or other solid state part, and all of your efforts will go to waste if you cannot replace these parts with functional new ones. Use your time to make changes that eliminate these devices instead of trying to store them away or figure out how to diagnose them.

Have at Least 3 Safe Storage Locations

No matter how many people die or are wounded when a crisis begin, those left behind will also die off or be injured in large numbers. Before that happens, desperation will drive people to do all kinds of things: joining together to pillage and loot any place that might have food or other important resources.

If you have a tractor and land, sooner or later some kind of rouge element will find its way to your door. From EMP blasts to hostile invaders, you need at least three safe storage locations for your tractors, accessories, and spare parts.

When planning your storage locations:

  • Try to divide up the items into caches so that anything found at one site is useless unless it is combined with items from 2 or three other locations. For example, if you are storing away engine parts, do not store the tools in the same cache.
  • It’s best to have underground storage locations since these will be easiest to protect from nuclear radiation. If you are already building a shelter for yourself, you can add on to that shelter more easily than building a structure above ground for the tractor.
  • The shelters should all be EMP proof.
  • The shelters should be hard to find from the ground or by land. Learn more about ground penetrating radars as well as how to disguise the tractor signatures as much as possible.
  • Make sure that all of your caches are easy to defend. Choose areas where you can quickly arm traps as well as areas where you have enough room to lure invaders into fields of fire.
  • The caches should be far enough apart so that you can get the tractor into them as quickly as possible no matter where you happen to be on the homestead.
  • Resi