Heritage vs. Hybrid Chicken Breeds: Which Is Sustainable?

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Heritage vs. Hybrid Chicken Breeds: Which Is Sustainable? Before you even decide to get a chicken coop and buy chicken supplies, it is important to have a reason to raise chickens. Do you want them as pets? Are you capable of providing their basic needs? Which breeds suit your requirements best? Do you think egg …

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10 Car Problems You Can Easily Fix Yourself

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10 Car Problems You Can Easily Fix Yourself While modern cars are getting harder to repair and fix without the aid of mechanic (and a computer), there are still some car problems that you can easily fix and diagnose yourself. Simple things, like changing light bulbs are straightforward to do; others take a little more …

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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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How To Make A Rash Treatment Salve

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How To Make A Rash Treatment Salve If SHTF or you are trying to be more natural and you suffer with skin ailments this is a great treatment for you. When making salve, it’s always best to first consider what you are attempting to treat. Always get the ingredients from a trusted shop or even …

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A Canoe That Can Fit Inside a Backpack

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A Canoe That Can Fit Inside a Backpack Ori Levin designed a full sized canoe that’s completely collapsible and can be stored in a bag that’s only 5 x 9 x 28 inches big. Basically, you can have a boat in your backpack. This amazing product Called the Adhoc Canoe, only weighs 9 pounds and …

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DIY Miracle Healing Salve

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DIY Miracle Healing Salve Healing Salves have been used to treat wounds and promote healing on every continent and by every culture for thousands of years. Even in modern medicine, different types of salves are used to treat burns (aloe based gels), keep infection down and promote healing (antibacterial ointments), and correct skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis). …

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A Guide to Veterinary Drugs for Human Consumption

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A Guide to Veterinary Drugs for Human Consumption In times of uncertainty, we humans like to stockpile and hoard.  We seek information that will keep us safe and provide for our well-being. It’s not a big secret that veterinary antibiotics and drugs do not require a prescription. I personally have the fish-MOX stockpiled. I know a …

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7 Reasons To Stockpile Baby Powder

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7 Reasons To Stockpile Baby Powder In a SHTF situation we all will come to realize that probably everything you think of now as useless or very little use can be a great lifesaver or get you out of a sticky wicket, Baby powder, is one. This product does the hard work of protecting little …

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The Prepper’s Guide to Non-Dairy Milk

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The Prepper’s Guide to Non-Dairy Milk Most preppers stock a significant amount of dry milk because it’s so highly perishable that it tends to be one of the first things that people run out of when a disaster strikes. But for someone who has difficulty digesting lactose, adding that kind of milk to their coffee …

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Solar Gadgets for the Homestead

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Written by Alexis Griffee on Survival at Home.

Often times solar power is viewed as a highly desired, yet unaffordable option to the farmer and homesteader. While a full solar system may not be in the budget for everyone, there are still numerous ways that solar can be an asset to your farm, without breaking a budget! Due to the huge interest in […]

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Lessons from History – Staying Warm in Winter

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Whether bedding down in a sturdy home, on the move, or making a temporary camp for the snowy season, there are a lot of lessons we can take from history to keep us safer and more comfortable.

The post Lessons from History – Staying Warm in Winter appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

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.

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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.

A good knife is the most important tool you can have with you. Click the banner below to grab this offer!

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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Sew Your Own Dog Pack

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Sew Your Own Dog Pack If none of the commercially available dog packs strikes your fancy (or if they’re too expensive), try putting together your own using the pattern and directions provided below click here to get all the info and the pattern you will need

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Insta-Fire Lights On Water, Works As Tinder, Kindling And Fuel

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InstaFire Lights On Water, Works As Tinder, Kindling, And Fuel Insta-Fire is a safe, simple, and versatile new Charcoal briquette lighting and fire starting product. It has water-repellent properties, 1/2 cup of Insta-Fire has a minimum of 10 minute burn time, and is super light weight – weighing 1.8 oz. Use it to light campfires …

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The Wavebox Portable Microwave Oven

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The Wavebox Portable Microwave Oven The impact of the microwave oven on human grazing habits has been extreme. It can reheat frozen food or cook raw food in a fraction of the time required of a conventional oven and has brought the convenience of preparing food to new levels. Now a portable microwave oven offers …

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List of ‘Collapse’ Medical Supplies

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List of ‘Collapse’ Medical Supplies Over at modernsurvivalblog.com  Dr.Bones has a list of Collapse medical supplies with natural remedies included (we should have these as back-ups or for first use supplies to save commercially made items!). Dr.Bones  spend a lot of time and energy researching “back-up” plans for traditional medicine. They want YOU to have the …

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Straw Bale Homes

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 Straw Bale Homes You may look at this post and say this is ridiculous, and that is the very thing I thought before researching into this concept more. You may think that you can huff and puff and blow this house down, but unless your name is Superman, think again.  The Straw Bale hasn’t been around nearly …

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The 4-in-1 Woodsman Axe

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The 4-in-1 Woodsman Axe The 4-in-1 Woodsman is like a Swiss Army knife for the bushy-bearded, flannel-clad set. Instead of the usual set of blades and implements, the Woodsman gives you a bigger set of tools that can turn a tree into kindling and a barren piece of woods into a campsite. click here to …

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Useful Machines Made From Bicycles That Could Be Very Handy

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Useful Machines Made From Bicycles That Could Be Very Handy Bicycles will be a much-needed commodity if SHTF. Fuel will have run out after a couple of days and bikes will probably be the only form of transport easily available.I Would even suggest investing in cheap older bikes just for this post! I couldn’t believe how …

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Large Heat-Powered Wood Stove Fan

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Large Heat-Powered Wood Stove Fan This amazing large Heat-Powered Wood Stove Fan. Increase your stove’s efficiency, move more warm air around the room Starts automatically & adjusts its speed with stove temperature. The fan costs nothing to operate, no cords, plugs or batteries needed, this is great if you want to try and get as …

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How to Make a Power Outage Bearable

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How to Make a Power Outage Bearable Power outages are actually a common occurrence, especially if you get a lot of snow in the winter or a lot of storms in the spring. The refrigerator stops running and everything starts to defrost. If you live in the tropical climate, the air conditioning is the first …

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25 Reasons To Go and Pick Dandelions Right Now

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25 Reasons To Go & Pick Dandelions Right Now Dandelion, officially classed as a weed, is also a fantastically useful herbal remedy that contains a wide number of pharmacologically active compounds. Dandelion can treat infections, bile and liver problems and acts as a diuretic – which is probably where the popular myth that dandelion causes …

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10 Essential Skills Every Prepper Should Master

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10 Essential Skills Every Prepper Should Master Many people concentrate on stockpiling necessary supplies, without taking the corresponding time to stockpile the essential skills to go with them. Without the skills, those supplies may not do you any good. Those who don’t want to study say, I have all the information in books. Would you …

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Tactical Pens for Survival and Self-Defense

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Tactical Pens for Survival and Self-Defense   Although many people rely on guns for self defense even when they’re away from home, others cannot for a number of reasons. It could be that firearms are illegal where they live, or that they’re afraid of owning them, maybe even against it. In such circumstances, you’re left with …

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How To Make Your Own Flea Repellent

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How To Make Your Own Flea Repellent Making your own flea repellent will not kill those pesky fleas, but it does a dandy job of keeping her less full of them after we bathe her and apply that awful toxic vet-obtained goo. I know its winter but they are still lurking around, this is a …

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Most Common Seedlings Problems and How To Fix Them

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Most Common Seedlings Problems and How To Fix Them To become self-sufficient, gardening becomes a necessary task. Seed starting is one of the most exciting activities of every gardener. However, it can also be the most critical one and failing to care for your seeds and seedlings can spell disaster. If your sustenance is directly …

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Things To Make With 55 Gallon Plastic Barrels

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10 Awesome Things To Make With 55 Gallon Plastic Barrels With Spring just around the corner I wanted to go hunting for some fun upcycling projects for my self. I came across a lot of new and interesting projects, but non as awesome as this one I am sharing with you all today. Because I …

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Why You May Need To Stockpile Supplements For SHTF

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Why You Need To Stockpile Supplements For SHTF I am not a doctor or a medical professional this is for information purposes only. Please consult with a medical professional if you have any questions or you start to take any supplements. Even in healthy people, multivitamins and other supplements may help to prevent vitamin and …

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Do It Yourself Sweet Cream Butter

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DIY Sweet Cream Butter Making butter is really easy, I make it all the time when I am home over the summer! I personally LOVE sweet cream butter over any other butters. I love the rich flavor it gives and again it’s so easy to make. Knowing how to make butter if SHTF is a …

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How To Make Hot Ice Using Homemade Sodium Acetate

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How To Make Hot Ice Using Homemade Sodium Acetate Before you attempt this please do it with safety glasses on and be careful, as with any chemicals. You do this at your own risk please take the time to read our disclaimer Sodium acetate or hot ice is an amazing chemical you can prepare yourself from …

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5 Ways to Take Your Coffee Off the Grid

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5 Ways to Take Your Coffee Off the Grid Imagine that you wake up one morning and you find out SHTF…. I know coffee would be the last thing on your mind but what if you had to give up real brewed coffee – cold turkey. When the lights go out one day in the …

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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

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“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

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“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

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“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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This article has been written by Drew Stratton For Survivopedia. 

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Emergency Lighting Under 9 Bucks

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Emergency Lighting Under 9 Bucks Affordable emergency lighting is now at your fingertips! The Luna LED Light is an awesome, very cheap prepping item I would highly recommend to have not only for the home, in case of a power cut, but to keep in a bug out bag and for camping! As you can see …

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How to Make Stone Blades for Wilderness Survival

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How to Make Stone Blades for Wilderness Survival Knowing how to make a sharp edge or a knife in a survival situation is paramount when studying wilderness survival. I think I have just found the best website on the internet  that explains and shows you how to make a stone knife. The information on the …

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5 Ways To Heat Your Home For Free

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5 Ways To Heat Your Home For Free Staying warm for free… I love these projects! With all things that involve flame, please remember to be responsible and do not leave these burning with no supervision. The last thing I would want is you to burn your house down. That being said, in a SHTF …

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How To Make Honey Moonshine

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How To Make Honey Moonshine Okay, before you start to do anything with regards to making moonshine, please check your local, state, federal and national statutes to make sure you won’t be breaking any laws by building a still to prepare your blend of moonshine. Most states have certain laws in place against making alcoholic beverages that exceed …

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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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What Is A Rocket Stove? Why Do I Need One?

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What Is A Rocket Stove? Why Do I Need One? Rocket stoves are fabulous! Easily built but capable of producing a hot flame that you can cook, I suppose, everything over. You can even bake bread with a little modification. Knowing how to build one from bricks or stones is practical knowledge, that if held …

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6 Ways to Avoid Being Herded into a FEMA Camp

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6 Ways to Avoid Being Herded into a FEMA Camp Having everything you own reduced to a numbered cot in a FEMA camp is not how you want to find yourself in an emergency. It is not only a terrible position to find yourself in, but it could also be a dangerous one. The camps are meant …

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Grow Your Own: Winter Lettuce and Microgreens

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Grow Your Own: Winter Lettuce and Microgreens Winter is a tough time to grow food, we all know that. This article shows us how to grow winter lettuce and micro greens inside over the winter months. If SHTF this may be all we can gather, especially if you get a lot of snow and freezing …

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Comfrey The Knit Bone Herb

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Comfrey The Knit Bone Herb If you have no access to a doctor or in a SHTF situation, Comfrey has been known to heal bones and double cell regeneration. I have been asked a few times over the past year to find a great article about Comfrey, Comfrey is a common name for plants in …

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The 4 Levels Of Preparedness You Should Know

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The 4 Levels Of Preparedness You Should Know Back in the 90s, general preparedness was a normal activity. People were stockpiling food and water in order to be prepared for whatever reason. Nowadays, preparedness is seen as something extreme by the mainstream society. Many people have no idea what it means to be prepared and …

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Cooking With Mud Like In The Old Days

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Cooking With Mud Like In The Old Days Improvised cooking was part of everyday life during the time of the pioneers. Most families were lacking even the most basic cooking utensils. In order to prepare a hot meal, they had to improvise and look for alternative cooking methods. Cooking with mud was one of the …

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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.
  • Resist the temptation to connect all the caches via underground tunnel. If someone does invade and gets to one of the caches, it will only be a matter of time before they find all of them.

Practice Making Your Own Fuel and Secure Provisions

Regardless of how many ways you modify your tractor to accept different fuels, you need to know how to make them. Make sure that you can produce and store the materials until you are ready to turn them into fuel. For example, if you went ahead and installed a steam engine or a wood burner in the tractor, then make sure you have plenty of trees.

Also if you are going to make biodiesel or some other fuel from natural resources, make sure you can carry out the task for decades or more. Many biodiesel manufacturers today rely on GMO corn.

If you purchase these seeds, it is likely that they will not produce viable seeds for the next season, and the plants that grow from these seeds won’t release pollen that reaches crops earmarked for food. Not only will you lose the capacity to grow corn for biodiesel, but you may also wipe out safe corn for food.

Rather than use GMO seeds, learn how to make biodiesel from sugar beets. There are many heritage strains of this particular plant that can be used for food and biodiesel. As an added bonus, sugar beets usually yield more fuel per acre than you would get from GMO corn.

Once you have all the materials for making fuel in place, make sure that you can store the fuel safely. If you are lucky, you will have one or two crops to harvest per year, and then you will need to make the fuel and store it until more can be made. As with storing the tractor, store fuel tanks underground and in multiple locations.

Know and Practice Making Lubricants

Motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and other maintenance products may become unavailable before conventional fuel stores run out. No matter how many bottles of these materials you store away, they may decay over time or be used up before you were expecting a problem. If your tractor develops oil ring wear and burns more oil, and you cannot replace the ring, your oil stores will go faster than expected.

At least, learn how to strain oil to remove the worst of the debris. Look for oil blends that will not break down as fast as older types. Remember, no matter how much you filter the oil, that does not mean the molecules in the oil have the same capacity to lubricate and remove heat from moving parts.

Overall, you will find it very hard to make a motor oil that will match the characteristics of modern oils. You can still do some research on this topic, as well as the main ingredients found in modern lubricants.

Experiment with different materials to see if you can make something that will last for at least a short time. Look for the best quality oils that last the longest and storing them away for future use. If you can’t find what you need, then mix different products to see if you get something that works better.

Some aspects of preparing your tractor for a major crisis will be easier than others. Set tangible goals for yourself so that you have a functional tractor on hand when you need it, and even if you only accomplish some objectives, it is better than not doing anything at all.

No matter whether you work with a group to divvy up the tasks, or it takes you several years to complete them, you will be taking action that leaves you better prepared for anything that may happen to disrupt your way of life.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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How To Build Your One Year Supply Of Food

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How To Build Your One Year Supply Of Food   Everyone’s storage plan should include bulk food storage items, for example, oats, rice, salt, etc. These basics are needed in everyone’s home storage. Long-term food storage is cheap and healthy and very do-able. Having enough food for one whole year is every preppers dream. A lot …

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Survival Basics: 12 Tips for Families with Children

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Survival Basics: 12 Tips for Families with Children No matter how old you are, going through a disaster or emergency situation is scary. As adults, it is our duty to introduce children to preparedness activities at a young age. Doing so helps them to build critical thinking skills, practice survival techniques, and gain the confidence …

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Winter Prepper Project Ideas – Outdoors

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

There’s a lot that winter (or early spring) can tell us about our properties, both for planting decisions, siting various things around our property, and for mitigating some of the weather that comes with winter and spring.

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Easy DIY Forge Out Of An Old Sink

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Easy DIY Forge Out Of An Old Sink Easy DIY project we all could at least try and get some sort of blacksmithing skills before SHTF. I love the simplicity of this forge set up.I think having a little knowledge of this old skill could come in very handy if SHTF. Not only is this …

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How To Make Cheeseburger Beef Jerky

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How To Make Cheeseburger Beef Jerky You read the title right! How to make cheeseburger beef jerky. I thought I saw just about every jerky there was… that’s why I love doing this, I learn something new everyday. Jerky is tasty and comes in all variety of flavors from spicy to sweet. I was trying …

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Diseases to Fear in the Aftermath of SHTF

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Diseases to Fear in the Aftermath of SHTF This topic is very important and mostly gets overlooked. Prepare now because there will be no hospitals if SHTF. Sorry if that sounded to harsh, but it’s true! If SHTF today, in a week or so people will be going crazy, they will be trying to get …

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How To Make Soap With Fat and Ashes

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How To Make Soap With Fat and Ashes Sanitation is one of the most overlooked aspects of survival and people are more concerned about stockpiling large quantities of food and water. While gathering the essentials to survive an emergency situation is highly recommended we shouldn’t ignore the other necessary items that make survival tolerable. Maintaining …

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DIY Mini Bio-Gas Plant Using Decomposable Organic Material

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DIY Mini Bio-Gas Plant Using Decomposable Organic Material Did you know you can produce your own gas to cook with from decomposable organic material and kitchen waste? Well, you can 🙂 The bio-gas produced from food waste, decomposable organic material, and kitchen waste consists of methane and a little amount of carbon dioxide. It is a …

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Backyard Chicken Eggonomics: How Much Does it Really Cost to Raise Chickens?

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Backyard Chicken Eggonomics: How Much Does it Really Cost to Raise Chickens? I think generally we all would like to raise chickens, either for the eggs or just as pets. Lets be honest tho, do you really know what keeping chickens costs to raise? I know I didn’t until I read the amazing article from …

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10 Reasons To Have A Sewing Machine

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Survivopedia Resons to have a sewing machine

If you visit any department store or second hand store, you are bound to find more clothes than you know what to do with. No matter where you look, it seems like there is no end to cheap clothes that can be used for every occasion.

As a result, most people see sewing as a “hobby” or a skill that they don’t really need to learn. But many clothes will vanish very quickly after a disaster, so you might have a reason to buy a sewing machine and learn how to use it.

Here are ten things that may just change your mind on this matter.

What Kind of Sewing Machine is Best?

If you sew on a regular basis, choose a good quality, heavy duty sewing machine. Personally, I have always preferred Singer over any other brand. Modern sewing machines can be programmed for embroidery as well as many other complicated tasks. Do your research to make sure that the internal parts are sturdy enough to meet the challenges of stiff, bulky, or very thick material.

There are also many vintage models that still have metal gears and motors powerful enough to last for decades more. Just make sure that you have a finger guard installed if the machine doesn’t already have one.

It can be very dangerous if you don’t pay attention to where your fingers are in relation to the needle. As dainty as the sewing machine and needle may look, the motor is strong enough to push the needle right through your finger.

In addition, sewing by machine can also be a very hypnotic task. It seems simple enough to keep your fingers away from the needle, but it is all too easy to loose track and wind up with a serious, and very painful injury.

As a prepper, think about what you will do with devices that require electricity. It does not matter whether this loss comes from an EMP or a hurricane. The fact remains that modern sewing machines require electricity in order to run. If you are not confident in generators or DIY power generation methods, then look for foot or treadle powered sewing machines.

Today, you can choose from antique machines as well as newer ones. For example, the Janome 712T does not have a motor and runs without electricity. It is more expensive than motor powered machines, however the expense may be worth it if you want to be sure you can sew regardless of the electricity situation.

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As Clothes Wear Out You can Remake Them

Not so long ago, you could buy a sweater or pair of jeans and expect them to last for several years. Today, even more “rugged” garments wear out in just a year or two.

Since you will not find new garments in the post collapse world, you will have to find some way to make your clothes last a bit longer. In this case, you can take apart old clothes and use a sewing machine to piece together parts that are in better condition.

Here are some things you can do with a sewing machine that are difficult, if not impossible to do by hand:

  • Many fabrics today have a good bit of stretch to them. When these fabrics are sewn by machine, it is much easier to create sturdy overcast stitches (a stitch commonly used to prevent fabric from raveling) that will not come apart. Even though it is possible to make overcast stitches by hand, it is hard to control the spacing and tightness of each stitch when dealing with stretchy fabric. No matter whether you are trying to sew together pieces of jersey knit, spandex, or some other stretchy material, a sewing machine makes the job much easier.
  • When people make garments with elastic in them, they usually fold the fabric over and then sew the seam so that a column is left to draw the elastic through. If you look carefully at commercial garments, you will often see the elastic is sewn directly onto the fabric. Since there is no margin or extra material to work, it will be impossible make a column for the elastic to go through. This, in turn, means that you would have to try and resew the elastic onto the garment by hand if you did not have a sewing machine. I can tell you from personal experience that there is no pin in the world and no elastic stretching device that makes this a comfortable, let alone feasible task. On the other hand, when you have a sewing machine, the weight of the foot and the tractors beneath the fabric easily keep the fabric in position while you manually pull the elastic so that it fits properly on the material.

Easier to Darn Socks and Other Items That Develop Holes

Have you ever just tossed a sock in the trash because it developed a hole? If so, then you may also be very unhappy with the fact that modern socks really do seem to wear out a lot faster than ones made just a few years ago. While it is not especially difficult to darn sock holes by hand, this task is also much easier to accomplish with a sewing machine.

You will also find that it is much easier to use a sewing machine to patch small holes in other kinds of garments without using additional material to make a patch.

When you use a sewing machine to stitch across a flat piece of fabric, you don’t worry about the fabric bunching up or becoming uneven. If you have never done embroidery on thinner fabrics by hand, you won’t realize just how hard it can be to repair holes on garments without a sewing machine.

Even if you try to put the fabric in an embroidery hoop to keep it from bunching, you will have a hard time getting good quality stitches that don’t rub at your skin when wearing the garment.

Sew Heavier and Coarser Fabrics

Before sewing machines were invented, our ancestors routinely sewed together furs and other thick, heavy materials. If you have denim garments, or clothes made from other heavy, coarse materials, you will find it very hard to make, let alone repair them without a sewing machine.

You will face problems associated with manufacturers that compensate for using less fabric by using stronger stitches or patterns of stitches to make a durable garment.

During crisis, you’ll face constraints on the nature and amount of fabric that you have on hand to work with. If you’ll be using old garments as a pattern for new ones, then you can also use smaller margins and come out with a functional garment.

If you try to duplicate these stitches by hand, you will find that it takes more fabric. Since sewing machines also use two threads (one under the fabric from the bobbin, and one from above on thread spool), the stitches will always be stronger and tighter than ones done by people who have limited experience with sewing.

Many people feel they can sew heavy fabrics by hand as long as they take their time and focus on making even stitches. In most cases, it will take 2 – 3 times longer by hand, and leave you with both eye and hand strain.

You won’t have time to spare in a survival situation. If you don’t have time to mend clothes or make them by hand now, don’t expect to do it then. A sewing machine would solve this issue and leave time for other tasks.

Make Money as a Seamstress or Tailor

There is no question that people are becoming more frustrated with commercial garments that do not fit right (since when does a petite woman of 5’3” have an inseam of 32 – 36”?!), look hideous, cost a lot, and do not last for very long.

The cost of fabric, patterns, and notions aren’t as cheap as they used to be, but many people are taking up sewing in order to have nicer clothes. If you become proficient as a seamstress, you can make money now as well as after a social collapse.

Custom Design Clothes that Meet Your Needs

When you go on a shopping expedition for prepper clothes, you are bound to be overwhelmed by all the coveralls, heavy jackets, Thinsulate gear, and camouflage prints. What happens when you are in an actual disaster and find out that you need to move to a warmer climate, or that most of the clothes in your stockpile won’t meet your needs?

A sewing machine can be used to make any kind of garment, including camouflage. Store away patterns in different sizes as well as a range of fabrics to meet all your needs, rather than completed clothes. From waterproof fabrics to denim and fleece, it is easy enough to add these items to your stockpile and then use them as needed.

Being able to design clothes is also very important if you have children or expect to have a baby after a major crisis. Given how many growth spurts children go through, you’ll need clothes that can be let out at the seams, or adjusted as needed.

When you buy modern clothes, there is no extra fabric let alone a way to modify larger garments for smaller sizes. And if you look at modern patterns, you will find many places where you can cut the pieces a bit larger, and then simply leave more fabric at the seams.

As a prepper, you know that your body is going to change a lot after a major crisis occurs. If food is scare, or you get very sick and lose a lot of weight; or you may wind up putting on a lot of water or edema.

Either way, all those clothes you stocked away may not fit properly, and worse yet, may restrict your movement. It is very important to have a sewing machine and fabric on hand so that you can make new clothes that fit properly.

Make Blankets and Quilts for Many Purposes

Do you have blankets and quilts hanging around that have been part of your life for decades? If so, then you may not give much thought to the availability of these items during crisis. Both novice and advanced preppers have been known to only keep a foil emergency blanket in their bug out bag.

But what happens when disaster strikes, you are on the road, and need something a bit warmer and sturdier? Even if you can find fabric and some kind of filler to make the blanket warmer, it can take days or even weeks to sew a quilt or blanket by hand.

In most cases, however, you can sew the exact same blanket or quilt using a sewing machine in just a few hours. You can use anything from worn clothes to fabric set aside in your stockpile to make blankets and quilts with ease using a sewing machine.

Here are just a few situations where you might wind up needing more blankets than you have on hand:

  • If you are trying to shelter animals that no longer have a building to live in. Blanket can offer warmth and comfort to stressed animal. They can also be used to temporarily restrain the movement of animals that need medical care, or for other reasons.
  • As a temporary shelter when there are no materials available for a tent.
  • To cover supplies or anything else that needs to be protected from dirt and dust.
  • All the blankets in your stockpile were stolen, burned in a fire, or ruined in a flood involving municipal sewage or other contaminants. At the very least, if you had a few clothes or some fabric that escaped the destruction, you can still sew them into blankets or quilts with a sewing machine.

Get More Out of any Fabric You Come Across

Surviving a social collapse is going to involve a lot of innovative thinking and action. Regardless of how much you have in your stockpile, or how well run your homestead is, just about anything can come out of the blue and send you into a tailspin.

Once you are in the situation, the things you underestimated are apt to stick out like sore thumbs and hurt just as badly. In this case, not having a sewing machine can make it difficult or impossible to make use of any fabric that may be available.

Consider a situation where you are moving through an area with very little vegetation. You have a sewing machine with you and a portable power system that can be used to run the motor. As you pass through an abandoned junk pile, you find a stack of clothes that cannot be worn; but not the rope that you so desperately need.

To resolve this situation, all you have to do is cut the garments up into strips and sew them together into longer pieces to make a rope. When you have a sewing machine, you can make use of pieces that are only a few inches long and about 2 inches wide.

If you tried this same task with hand sewing, you would not be able to consistently make strong enough seams in a reasonable period of time.

Make Or Repair Furniture Covers

Do you have an old couch or recliner that either needs to be thrown out or reupholstered? As trivial as this problem may seem when compared to others, it will only get worse after society collapses.

In particular, if you are bugging in, there is a chance that floods or other disasters may ruin your furniture to the point where you can no longer use it. For example, if you have a couch, the cushions and any other soft parts will have to be discarded.

Rather than throw the entire piece of furniture out, you can at least try to salvage the wood or metal frame that supported all the soft parts. Once the frame is repaired and safe to use, just about any fabric and soft stuffing can be used to “reupholster” the furniture. If you have a sewing machine, you can also sew much heavier fabrics or layers of fabric in order to make something more durable.

Similar to many other things, there will be a time in the post crisis world when people will do as much as they can to make pre-existing items last for as long as possible.

This, in turn, means that you can barter or trade your furniture repair skills for other things that you might need. As time goes on, you can also shift your furniture repair trade to actively making furniture from raw materials that others begin putting together in larger quantities.

This is the only ultra-precise machine that can spit-out personalized pieces of woodwork!

Build Shelter Covers and Carrying Aides

One of the worst things you can do as a prepper is think that bugging in means you will have shelter and that you won’t need to bug out for some reason or other. It is very important to understand that a crisis can come from where you least expect in.

For example, while the vast majority of preppers focus on problems that will affect the entire society, something may come along that affects only you or your family. This may include job loss, illness, or the sudden passing of a family member that enabled you to have shelter and security.

Even if you do a minimal amount of research on homeless people, you will find that it became impossible for them to afford shelter and the basics of life. No matter whether these people suffer from illness, addiction, or just plain bad luck, the fact remains they were not prepared for personal financial collapse.

Given the angst in our society these days against our incoming president, sabotage by those who dissent is entirely possible. Under these circumstances, you may find that one disaster after another will arise that leaves you without shelter.

Let me be clear in saying that a sewing machine won’t solve all your problems. However, you can use it to your advantage while you still have some assets to work with.

You can take old garments and sew them into blankets, carrying aides, and anything else that will make it easier for you to travel. If you can find a safe place to store the machine, then you may also be able to make some money with it and get back on your feet.

There is also no question that many homeless people today live in cars and trucks. While this may not seem like a good place to have a sewing machine, you can still use it to make shelters outside of the vehicle. If society does collapse further because of internal or external pressures, you will still have a viable trade and an important tool to work with.

Make Toys and Other Items for Children

When I was a little girl, the battery powered toy craze was just getting started. I remember my parents being unhappy about all the “plastic battery powered junk” that cost a lot and didn’t seem to last.

lot-of-8-original-vintage-cabbage-patch-kTo this day, some of my fondest memories are of my mother sewing little stuffed toys for me.

From iron on appliques to furry teddy bears, I spent hours watching these creations unfold on my mother’s sewing machine.

Later on, we did these projects together and had far more quality time than we would have had if she just bought me a bunch of plastic toys.

During illness or great distress, it is normal to look back on safer and more peaceful times. These days, it often seems like our children will have no such peaceful times to look back on. Even if they do remember their childhood, it is likely to be filled with violent video games, nonstop social pressure, and all sorts of other worries.

Sewing toys with your children is a simple, inexpensive way to give them, and you, peaceful times to look back on. While that may not seem important right now, just think back to the times when you were in crisis and what memories like this meant to in terms of helping you get through the situation.

Making toys for children isn’t just something that works well in a time of social collapse. It is something you can start doing now that will build bonds and give you and your children a chance to enjoy time together. Building custom toys can also give you a chance to innovate and perhaps come up with something marketable that other children might like to have.
Perhaps off topic, but never doubt the possibility that you can make a fortune with a sewing machine and a good idea for a toy. Anyone that remembers the Cabbage Patch Doll craze can certainly relate to the fact that sewn toys can easily become very popular in a short period of time.

As you will recall, the Cabbage Patch Kids were invented by Martha Nelson Thomas, a woman who learned quilting from her mother. Just remember, if you do come up with something that becomes popular, you will need to copyright patent, and trademark the design so that no one else can steal it and profit from theft of the design.

In the arena of prepping, there is always a sense that time is limited. When you don’t know what will happen, or what challenges must be overcome, it is very tempting to cut corners. For example, when it comes to clothes and other fabric based items, you will more than likely buy what you need or hope that you can make do with what you have.

Even though sewing by machine is often relegated to a “craft” or a “hobby” it is a vital survival skill that you may wind up needing. Today, you can increase the chances of surviving long after a major catastrophe by learning how to use a sewing machine and having one in your stockpile.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Updated Top Barter List You May Want To Consider Stockpiling

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Updated Top Barter List You May Want To Consider Stockpiling Having extra supplies for bartering should be on every prepper’s plan. This enables you to barter for goods or services that you otherwise would be without! You don’t have to have a set list per-say, but think about what you would need if SHTF and …

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It’s Time To Build Your Raised Beds

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 It’s Time To Build Your Raised Beds! It’s nearly that time of year when you have to start building your raised beds and planning your garden. This is my favorite time of the year! Spring and gardening = Awesome. For space efficiency and high yields, it’s hard to beat a vegetable garden grown in raised …

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Expiration Date Cheat Sheet: The Best Time to Replace Just About Everything

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Expiration Date Cheat Sheet: The Best Time to Replace Just About Everything How long can you rely on these everyday household goods? Stockpiling food, tools and other resources is a futile act if you don’t pay close attention to the potential longevity – or otherwise – of your goods. When times are good, we don’t …

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Pizza-Stuffed Bell Peppers are the Best Reason to Eat Your Vegetables

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Pizza-Stuffed Bell Peppers are the Best Reason to Eat Your Vegetables Nothing beats fresh veggies from the garden, but getting the kids to eat them can be quite a challenge. Casseroles and pasta dishes are great ways to incorporate vegetables into the menu, but they can get old after a while. If you’ve exhausted all …

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The ‘Easy Empty’ Composting Toilet Project

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The ‘Easy Empty’ Composting Toilet Project If you’re living off the grid or are looking into building your own homestead, sewage management is a big issue. Some people have septic tanks and these work fine, but need maintenance from time to time and you still lose a lot of valuable water. Wouldn’t it be great …

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Prep Blog Review: Best Practices For Storing Survival Food

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Disasters can happen to anyone, anytime and hence you can’t prevent them, you can prepare for them. I want you to answer to one question: if disaster strikes tomorrow, do you have the basics covered? And when I say basics I mean food and water.

Water and food are at the top of the list when it comes to storing for survival if you want to have a healthy, ever-lasting, super-diversified diet when SHTF. But storing food for survival becomes overwhelming when you keep buying, and buying without a plan in mind.

That is why, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered 4 articles that sum up the best practices for storing survival food.

  1. Top 10 food Storage Myths

TOP-10“The internet is full of websites that give information on survival topics, including food storage. There are dozens and dozens of books that will teach you “the right way” to store food and YouTube videos galore. Most contain valid, trustworthy information, but mixed in with that are a number of food storage myths that many people accept without question. Here are 10 that I take issue with, and I explain why.

Myth #1:  You should stock up on lots of wheat.

When I was researching foods typically eaten during the Great Depression, I noticed that many of them included sandwiches of every variety. So it makes sense to stock up on wheat, which, when ground, becomes flour, the main ingredient to every bread recipe.”

Read more on The Survival Mom.

  1. The Best ORAC Foods to Stockpile

“ORAC stands for ‘oxygen radical absorbance capacity.’ It is a unit of measure to determine the antioxidant capacity of a particular food. The higher the ORAC unit value, the more antioxidants a food will have.food Storage

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and therefore play a role in overall long-term health. Of course, you may think: why should I care about my long-term health when SHTF? No, you probably shouldn’t. But, if you are like me, you’re probably rotating your food stockpile. So when your cans are about to expire… instead of throwing them away you can eat a healthy balanced meal.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. 50 Food Items To Keep Stocked for Emergencies

food-storage“Emergencies happen every day. We are faced with everything from a broken-down car on the freeway, medical emergencies, financial difficulties and natural disasters on a pretty consistent basis. Over the last 16 years, our country has been faced with some major events. We were attacked on 9/11 and many other terror attacks followed, we were faced with the devastating effects of Katrina, school shootings, our officers being shot, economic difficulties, and even rioting in our streets. All of these things are red flags that remind us to be prepared for just about anything.”

Read more on The Well Prepared Mama.

  1. How To Dehydrate Herbs for Long-Term Storage

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

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.  

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Brighten Up Your Home Making DIY Luminaries Using Water Balloons

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Brighten Up Your Home Making DIY Luminaries Using Water Balloons Ambient light is nice and cozy, not to mention pretty resourceful in a time of need. In the event that you’re in an emergency situation where you don’t have power, lanterns and candles are handy but they both either burn out or require fuel. It …

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Home Security : Steps That Keep You Safe When SHTF

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Home Security: Steps That Keep You Safe When SHTF If your family had to rely on your survival and combat skills during an emergency, when the wolves are at your door, both the four-legged, and the two-legged kind – would you know what to do? You only have to look at recent headlines to understand …

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Books To Help Newbies Prepare

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Books To Help Newbies Prepare There are thousands of articles, posts, stories, and how-to books out there on just about any subject you could ever want to learn about. When it comes to being prepared though, the pool of information to pull from gets smaller. Even with a smaller pool, it can be hard to …

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Best Practices For Long Term Food Storage

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Best Practices For Long Term Food Storage When it comes to food preservation, this article is one of the best… It goes over some of the main ways to preserve foods and goes into detail about it. If SHTF we will need to have enough food stockpiled to survive, that’s the plan anyway. So any …

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50 Items You Forgot To Put In Your Bug Out Bag

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50 Items You Forgot To Put In Your Bug Out Bag A bug out bag is never really complete. Not only do you have to rotate the food and batteries and make sure everything is still in working order, you also have to ask yourself two questions: 1. Is there an item that would be …

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Ax Chopping Platform: Speed Up Firewood Cutting Safely

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by Todd Walker

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On a modern homestead wood lot, one cranks a chain saw, cuts logs to the length, and splits the rounds to season. The motorized saw makes quick work of large and small wood. But in an operational base camp, lugging a chainsaw, bar oil and fuel, on a regular basis is not practical. A good ax weighs less but can get the job done. However, there are challenges to cutting firewood (not splitting) to length with an ax.

Here’s a simple solution which not only saves your ax bit from grit and rocks in the ground, but allows you to use a powerful vertical chopping stroke safely – described in our last ax work article. To cut a winter supply of firewood with an ax only, take the time to build this speedy chopping platform.

The Ax Chopping Platform

Adapted from The Ax Book (D. Cook)

Here’s what you’ll need to build your own…

  • 2 Base Logs – six to seven-foot hardwood logs about 10-12 inches diameter
  • Stop Stick – 5 inches diameter by one foot
  • Sturdy, heavy gauge wire
  • Ax, of course
  • Saw – chainsaw will speed up your project
  • Pliers for twisting and cutting wire
  • Hardware – 4 nails, 3 feet of cable or chain
  • 5 pound weight

Step 1: Cut Base Logs

For axmen, chop down a hardwood tree with your felling ax. Buck it twice to get two 7 foot lengths. Or crank your chainsaw for the task. Either way works.

The Authentic Lumber Sexual Guide to Ax Work ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The opposite, or back cut separates the log

I chose a half-broken Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua). City folk hate them in their yards due to their pesky, prickly fruit, a scourge on bare feet and medieval projectiles when mowed. Trash trees in the view of many. But very resilient.

Now for the fun part… getting them back to camp. My good friend, Cokey, pork-butt-smoker extraordinaire, speaking in full southern drawl, always has this to say about any hard work,

“It’s like haulin’ logs. Ya gotta really wanna do it.”

Ax Chopping Platform: Speed Up Firewood Cutting Safely ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

This size log would normally be split lengthwise, then quartered to haul back to camp.

And I did. I flopped and rolled my two sticks, dodging trees and obstacles, back to camp. My peavy was a fine companion to have along the journey.

Step 2: Secure Base Logs

For the sake of clarity, the end of the platform where the chopping happens we’ll call the “Head“. The opposite end of the platform will be, you guessed it, the “Tail.

Position the two logs side-by-side so the fat end of one mates up with the skinny end of the other. This will form the trough to hold the long wood you plan to chop into smaller wood. It’s a good idea to lay two length of cedar, or other rot resistant wood, perpendicular at the ends of the logs to keep them off the ground. This also makes the wiring job you’re about to do much easier, i.e. – passing wire under two real heavy logs.

Your choice in wire matters. In my video, the electric fence wire couldn’t stand the pressure. I cut lengths of rusty, but still strong enough, barbed wire from a fallen hog wire fence line near base camp. Be resourceful.

Wrap the wire around the Head of the platform and twist tight with pliers. You could also use a stout stick as a windlass. Beat the exposed barbs down if you use wire in the barbed variety.

Mr. Cook illustrates three wooden dowels driven through the two logs horizontally. If you’re building this project at your homestead, that may be feasible. Or, just drill and run all-thread rods through and secure with nuts and bolts. In the woods, I used the simple method, wire.

Step 3: Secure the Stop Stick

Butt the stop stick against the newly installed wire crossing the trough. Twist it down until taut. Too much twisting and you’ll sheer the wire and have to start over. Fencing pliers come in handy but other pliers work. Another option would be to use a Spanish windlass to tighten the wires. Ted, a member of our Doing the Stuff Network, pointed me to the Cobb & Co Hitch method.

Ax Chopping Platform: Speed Up Firewood Cutting Safely ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Stop Stick secured with front kickback guard installed

Step 4: Attach Front Kickback Guard

If you’ve ever had a wooden missile fly at your face while chopping through a horizontal stick, you’ll appreciate the importance of this step. A whole lot of pain accompanies a stick in the eye. To prevent this stick-to-the-face event, install a piece of domed wire 6 to 8 inches past the stop stick.

I cut a section of that old hog wire long enough to arch over the platform creating a two-square wide hood of sorts. It hugs the top of the stop stick with about 6 inches overhanging the platform logs. I used two 16d nails and washers to secure the four ends to the sides of the platform logs. This gives me enough room to chop firewood lengths while safeguarding my noggin from flying firewood.

Step 5: Install Rear Kickback Guard

As experienced wood lot choppers know, as the stick you’re chopping to size shortens, especially the final two short lengths, the butt end is free to fly, and often does. Another kickback guard will hold the last length in the trough. However, this rear guard can’t be secured permanently over the trough or the stock your chopping won’t rest flat between the platform logs.

Ax Chopping Platform: Speed Up Firewood Cutting Safely ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

A wired rock works for an improvised backcountry weight

Screw or nail a section of chain or wire to the chopping side of the platform with a weight attached to the end of the chain. This will allow you to toss the restrain over the stock in the trough as it shortens.

The distance between the front and rear kickback guards depends on the length of firewood you need. For instance, at base camp, 18 to 20 inches is about right. Mark the trough at your desired length. From that mark, attach the rear guard about the same distance as the front guard towards the Tail end of the platform.

On a homestead, any metal 5 pound weight can be located to hold the rear guard in place. In the forest, not so much. I stole a jagged-edged rock from my fire pit, wrapped it with wire, and attached it to the end of my chain restraint. When engaged (flopped over the logs), the weight rests about midway down the opposite side of the platform.

Step 6: Wire and Notch the Tail

To wire the Tail, cut a 90 degree notch in the end of both logs. The depth of the vertical cut should be slightly past the depth of the trough. Now cut horizontally to meet the vertical cut and remove the notch and create a ledge. Wrap wire around the log ledge and twist taut. If you run the wire tight in the corner, you’ll have a small, horizontal “table top” to sit your hot cocoa while sitting on the platform around the campfire. Flat horizontal surfaces are a luxury at base camp.

Ax Chopping Platform: Speed Up Firewood Cutting Safely ~ TheSurvivalSherpa.com

A view of the wired Tail end of the platform

Step 7: Get to Chopping

Green wood is easier to chop than seasoned. Both are easier to separate when chopped at a 45 degree angle to the grain. Feed your stock into the trough up to the stop stick. Position yourself at a 45 degree angle where you can make a full vertical, backed-up stroke in the trough on your marked chopping spot. The stock is easily separated with a single, well placed stroke. On thicker stock that doesn’t, rotate the stick in the trough and chop it once more. That ought to do it.

Remember to “engage” the rear guard as the butt end of the stock shortens and gets itchy to jump off the platform.

The Axe Cordwood Challenge

In our Ax Chopping Platform video, I mentioned Steven Edholm’s “Axe Cordwood Challenge” on his YouTube channel, Skill Cult. Some may be wondering, why in the world would a person chop a cord of firewood, a stack measuring 4’x4’x8′, with an ax only?! They’re still manufacturing chainsaws, ya know! They do indeed. I own a couple of these modern marvels.

But, the ax, a simple machine, unlike the chainsaw, requires minimal field maintenance. Granted, the chainsaw cuts firewood to length quicker than an ax. To accommodate modern cutting, you’ll need to haul the gas-oil-mix can, bar/chain oil, an extra bar and chain for saws stuck in a log, and other field maintenance tools. You’ll probably carry an ax alongside the motor saw as a backup anyway. But with modern means of travel, four-wheelers and trucks, that’s not a huge deal.

Here’s the thing, for me at least…

In my mind, more significant is the fact that ax-manship is an old-soul skill which few moderns wish to re-kindle, never seeing the possibility of a future dependent on axes to stay warm. It is neither convenient nor easy. However, ax work is my most personally rewarding, satisfying, and warming undertaking I’ve done over the years.

You find an axman, one who turns a tree into firewood by felling, limbing, bucking, splitting lenght-wise for hauling, and then, chopping wood to length, and he’ll confirm that the most challenging job of staying warm with his ax is chopping to final burning size. This chopping platform greatly increases the speed, safety, and efficiency of making long logs short.

So, Steven, I’m taking you up on your challenge. Updates will be posted on my progress. If nothing else, I’ll be in great shape from swinging steel and hauling logs.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at our Doing the Stuff Network.

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The Road Less Traveled!

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The Road Less Traveled! Host: Noreen “The Homestead Honey Hour” Some of you may know the popular poem of the same name, penned by American Icon Robert Frost. It is a beautiful piece of prose that always makes me think. It really is a fine prescription for how to live your life. On this episode … Continue reading The Road Less Traveled!

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80 Uses for Paracord: What Did I Miss?

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80 Uses for Paracord: What Did I Miss? Paracord has so many uses. I have come up with 80 uses for paracord. If you know any more uses please, please, please comment and let me know. 1: Tie tarp to trees 2: Lanyard to hold items (knife, keys etc) 3: Emergency para cord wrist band, …

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How To Make Your Own Sugar From Beets

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How To Make Your Own Sugar From Beets With this homesteading project you will learn how to make your own sugar. This project is really easy to do and could save you money on your groceries throughout the year. Sugar would be a great bartering item to have stored too. YES! Make your own sugar! …

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How to Purify Pine Resin and Make Pine Pitch

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How to Purify Pine Resin and Make Pine Pitch Purifying pine resin is the key to make some great wilderness glue also known as pine pitch. Make some today and get some classic wilderness skills down! Well, I have to share this topic with you as my mind has been blown. Let me first start by …

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5 Things You Didn’t Want to Know About Gardening

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5 Things You Didn’t Want to Know About Gardening No one mentions the darker stuff about gardening. Gardening has been romanticized by the media so badly that the reality is lost in the message. Gardening is a lot of work that will cause you to sweat, bleed, want to rip your hair out, and just …

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How To Keep Bees: A Beginner’s Guide

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How To Keep Bees: A Beginner’s Guide Beekeeping can be a fun and rewarding past time. It also has a few benefits, honey, wax and the knowledge that you are helping the bee population survive. It is great in so many of the foods and beverages we consume on a daily basis. Honey actually has …

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How To Build A Semi-Permanent Family Shelter

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How To Build A Semi-Permanent Family Shelter Shelter is one of the most important things you need to know how to make in an emergency situation. This awesome, family size shelter is just a large “debris shelter” for all intense and purposes but with the added protection from the rain because of the tarp or …

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Stacking Functions: Increasing Efficiency with Multi-Function Spaces

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Analyzing homestead elements for multi-functionality and redundancy were covered in the first article. This time we’ll look at combining them into multi-function spaces.

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The Importance Of A Get Home Bag And A Great Starting List

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The Importance Of A Get Home Bag And A Great Starting List I am sharing this article as I know a lot of you are new to prepping or just looking if it’s something you could do. This artcle is actually from a new prepper who shares her get home bag with us all and …

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Birch Essential Oil for Arthritis, Muscle and Joint Pain

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Birch Essential Oil for Arthritis, Muscle and Joint Pain & Survival The use of essential oils, extracts, and all parts of various plants and trees is an ancient practice for healing and easing ailments. Even the drinking of certain kinds of teas provide well established medicinal benefits that our bodies are made to work with. …

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5 Challenges All Homesteaders Face

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5 Challenges All Homesteaders Face Though the definition of homesteading has changed drastically from what it was in the pioneering days of old, there are certain challenges that every homesteader will face. Regardless of what kind of ‘modern’ homestead you have, even if you rent, you will have to learn how to accept, adapt, and …

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How To Make Your Own Vanilla Extract From Scratch

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How To Make Your Own Vanilla Extract From Scratch Making your own vanilla extract from scratch is so easy. This is Perfect to keep stockpiled for when SHTF. Yummy vanilla… It’s easy to imagine that a lot of the kitchen items we now take for granted will be scarce if SHTF and since I like …

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28 Innovative Ways To Upcycle Old T-Shirts

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28 Innovative Ways To Upcycle Old T-shirts I don’t know about you guys, but I have probably a good 30 old T-shirts laying around the house that i tell my wife to keep and not throw away because we could use them if the power goes out to keep warm. After seeing this tutorial I …

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How To Make An Awesome Shirt From A Wool Blanket

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How To Make An Awesome Shirt From A Wool Blanket Have you ever heard anyone say invest in wool? Well I would, It’s getting more and more expensive and it has so much potential when SHTF. Wool is just fantastic… There are several kinds of blends of wool you need to watch out for! There …

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Eight Efficient Food Crops to Grow

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Eight Efficient Food Crops to Grow Many families grow their own food in order to become self-sufficient. There is nothing better than home grown food. It’s cheaper, fresher and often better tasting than the one you buy from the supermarket. However, starting your own garden can be challenging. Things complicate even more if you decide …

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Growing Rice 101 – Free PDF

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Growing Rice 101 – Free PDF Knowing how to grow rice could mean the difference of surviving or dying … Rice is full of carbohydrates and Rice cultivation is well-suited to countries and regions with low labor costs and high rainfall, as it is labor-intensive to cultivate and requires ample water. However, rice can be grown …

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How To Make Soap On A Rope For Survival

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How To Make Soap On A Rope For Survival

I can remember as a kid, my dad would get soap on a rope as a gift and it never made much sense to me. I thought, hmm, what a weird thing to do to soap. That’s life as a modern kid in a civilized world.

Soap on a rope was a novelty item, and now it’s practically unheard of. So, what was its purpose, and why do you need it as a survival item?

Originally, soap on a rope was invented by the English Leather Company in 1969 to keep their soap from getting soggy and dissolving. Yep, tricked me, too; I would have guessed that it’s much older than that, but apparently not. Still, I’d be amazed if at least one enterprising pioneer didn’t think to make this novelty, because it’s truly ingenious if you think about it.

Since soap can be made mostly with ingredients that you already have around the house, let’s make some soap on a rope.

Why would you want your soap on a rope?

Think about it. Many good soaps take months to cure properly, so wasting even one bar is foolish in a survival scenario because good hygiene is going to be what saves you from disease. Since it’s also going to be a huge trade commodity, you’ve literally lost what will equate to money if you lose a bar or soap or let it sit in a puddle and dissolve.

Enter soap on a rope. You can take it to the river with you and hang it around your neck or your wrist – a wrist rope seems more functional to me – so that you don’t lose it in the stream or drop it in the dirt. You can also hang it up to dry so that it’s not sitting in dirt or a puddle of water that will cause it to dissolve.

Soap on a rope is one of the most simply frugal ideas I can think of.

But, how do you make it?

The short answer: just like you make any other soap, except you put a rope in it.

The long answer? Well, OK. Let’s have a quick soap-making tutorial.

Can I make soap without lye?

In order to make a solid soap, you’re going to need wood ash, because of the lye (sodium hydroxide) in it. Of course, right now you can just buy lye, or buy melt-and-pour soap that’s already been saponified (the process that lye instigates that causes the liquids and fats to mix and gives soap it’s cleansing properties), but that won’t be the case if SHTF, so it’s good to know how to make it yourself. You’ll be surprised how simple the process is.

And 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 ingredients.

These survival lessons from our ancestors will teach you how to take care of your hygiene when there isn’t anything to buy. 

The number one thing that you need to know about soap making is that you need to follow the number one rule in chemistry class – use safety equipment and precautions. Lye is extremely caustic, but if that worries you, just remember that fire is lethal too, but that doesn’t stop you from cooking and camping. Just be careful.

And no. You can’t make soap without lye. If you try to, you’ll just have a bucket full of fat and water. The lye causes the saponification process that allows them to mix and gives soap its cleansing properties.

If made correctly, there is not unreacted lye in the soap, but it’s important to use the right ratio of lye to water in order to make sure that this is the case. There are many soap calculators that you can find to help you with this process until you have it down.

A couple of safety tricks to remember – always add the lye to the water, not the water to the lye. As soon as you add the lye, the chemical reaction will start and the mixture will heat up ad steam for 30 seconds or so. Keep a bottle of white vinegar on hand to neutralize the lye if it splashes on something. It will eat a hole in cloth or burn your skin.

Stir immediately so that the lye doesn’t settle in the bottom and possibly cause an explosion (don’t be a baby – you can do this. Granny Clampett did and look how long she lived). Seriously, though, don’t worry about it overly much; just be careful and do it right and you’ll be fine.

Making the Soap

The only ingredients you actually NEED to make soap are water, lye, and fat. That’s it. Of course, smell-good agents, essential oils, and colors make it smell nice, add therapeutic properties, and make it look pretty, but they’re not necessary to make soap that will get you clean.

Now, to make soap on a rope, you obviously need the soap to be solid, so if you’re making your own lye, use wood ash from hardwoods. Otherwise, your soap will be soft.

There are a variety of fats that you can use, including tallow, lard, olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, or any of the “butters” – cocoa, shea, or mango butter. You’ll want to use a combination of fats and oils in order to have the right consistency.

There are two ways to make soap: hot processing and cold processing. As the names suggest, one method requires heat and the other doesn’t.

The main difference is that the heat in hot pressing speeds up the saponification process so that your soap is ready in days instead of weeks, like it would be with cold-processing.

Here’s a cold processing recipe from DIYNatural.com. She’s been a soap maker for many years, and actually teaches university classes on the subject.

Ingredients

The notes after the ingredients are hers, not mine, and I’m paraphrasing her directions. I’ve also added in the rope, and the rope instructions.

Soap on a rope ingredients

Process

First is the chemical reaction, so use gloves and goggles if you so choose. Measure out the water into a quart-sized canning jar and slowly add in the exact amount of lye, stirring as you add it. Stand back a bit so that you’re not breathing the fumes caused by the chemical reaction. Stir until the water starts to clear, then move to the next step.

In a smaller container, combine the oils. You should have almost exactly a pint. Heat them up for just a minute either in the microwave or by placing them in a glass jar and placing them in hot water. You want the temperature of the oils to be about 120 degrees.

By now, the lye mixture should have cooled to about the same temperature. Let the oils and the lye cool until they’re between 95 and 105 degrees F. This is an important stage because if it cools too much it’ll combine quickly but it’ll be crumbly.

When they’re both at the right temperature, pour the oils into a glass mixing bowl and slowly stir in the lye until it’s all mixed, and keep stirring for 5 minutes. The soap mixture will thicken and become lighter in color. Keep stirring either with by hand or with an immersion blender until it looks like vanilla pudding. When it does, add your colors, oils, or herbs.

Pour your soap into 4 molds, or one loaf pan or cardboard box lined with parchment paper that will make 1 solid piece that you can cut into smaller bars. Pour the soap into the molds or pan. Double the rope over into a loop and press the ends down into what will be the center of each bar of soap that will extend from one end of the bar to the other.

Wrap the mold in plastic wrap and then in a towel so that the saponification process can start.

Check it after 24 hours and if it’s still warm or soft, let it sit for an addition 12-24 hours. When it’s finally cold and firm, turn it out onto a piece of parchment paper.

If you made one solid piece, cut it into bars now, making sure to cut it so that the rope runs down the center of each bar.

Since this was a cold process, the soap will need to cure for 4 weeks or so. Turn it every week or so to expose all sides to air. You can also cure it on a rack and won’t have to turn it. Once your soap is completely dry, wrap it in wax paper or store in an airtight container because homemade soap makes its own glycerin, which attracts water.

Now you know how to make quick and easy soap on a rope!

Do you wonder how our forefathers took care of their personal hygiene when they traveled for months?

Click the banner below and uncover their secrets!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

References:

http://soapcalc.net/calc/soapcalcwp.asp

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How to Remove Rusted Nuts and Bolts

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How to Remove Rusted Nuts and Bolts You may just thank us one day for sharing this little secret, If SHTF and you need to remove rusted nuts or bolts, remember this! This is an old secret that a lot of us don’t know or forget! There are hundreds and hundreds of lotions and potions …

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5 Prepping Mistakes to Avoid

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5 Prepping Mistakes to Avoid I found a great article over at prepforshtf.com that goes over 5 prepping mistakes to avoid. We all make mistakes and I will be the first one to admit I have made many in my prepping journey. By making mistakes you learn from them and become a better prepper! The article …

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How to Make a Healing Poultice

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How to Make a Healing Poultice Before you read this please not I am not a medical professional and I would always seek advice from one before trying anything medical on this site please read our disclaimer.   A poultice, also called cataplasm, is a soft moist mass, often heated and medicated, that is spread on cloth …

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