EMP Q&A: North Korea’s EMP Threat Explained

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The world we live in relies on electricity totally. The heating and cooling, the hospitals, and banks, the communications and transportation and even working land for food would go into chaos with only one killing EMP shot.

Humankind is working hard to make it possible, just take a look at North Korea. And before asking about Koreans’ capability to drop an EMP on US, remember the critics who mocked the Japanese before WW2.

History is prone to repeat itself. Prepare yourself in time to survive its lessons. Keep reading to discover how the North Korea’s EMP threat is explained.

This guide will help you survive more than an EMP!

A Threat Like No Other

Once people become aware of the threat posed by EMP, they naturally have questions about EMP preparedness. Actually, EMP is one of those subjects where the more you learn about it, the more questions you tend to have.

I was pleased to be invited back to PrepperCon 2017 to host EMP Survival Question & Answer Sessions again this year, on behalf of Survivopedia, and address some of these questions. Feel free to ask your own questions on EMP survival in a comment, and I’ll do my best to find the proper answer for each of them!

The types of EMP that present a threat to mankind are incredibly powerful pulses of energetic radio waves that can pass through the human body undetected, yet wreak devastation upon the systems mankind depends on to sustain life.

The electrical grid, fossil fuels, water, food, healthcare, banking, communications, internet and transportation are critical to our way of life. Even a temporary loss of any of these system is catastrophic.

When we consider how much these systems are interdependent, the loss of all of them at once would paralyze the nation to a degree which is difficult for most people to comprehend.

Why & How North Korea Can Drop an EMP On The US

Question: Is it possible that North Korea could pose a threat to the US?

I heard that they would need thermonuclear weapons, better missiles, bigger nukes or the ability to miniaturize them in order to be able to harm the USA.

Answer: Any country that has nuclear weapons and can orbit satellites has the technology and ability to carry out an EMP attack on the USA. I have noticed a great deal of ignorance on this subject in social media posts and blogs.

It does not take thermonuclear weapons, ICBMs or miniaturization to create a Nuclear High-Altitude EMP (HEMP). The USA created the first HEMP I am aware of with the Hardtack Yucca nuclear test. In that test, a small warhead was carried high enough to make use of the Compton Effect, resulting in a 1000-fold increase in EM field strength. The weapon does not have to be large, at most 10 kilotons, which is the size of tests North Korea has been carrying out.

To affect nearly the entire Lower 48 states with a single weapon, optimal height of burst would have to be 300-400 km, but still lower than the orbit of North Korean Satellites, which overfly the US. Dropping a nuclear weapon that would detonate lower in the atmosphere is certainly within the country’s capabilities.

The last two satellites have payloads sufficient to house a nuclear weapon. North Korea has committed a lot of resources to both satellite and nuclear programs. North Korea has also practiced launching missiles of cargo vessels just like Iran.

The US has few defenses to shoot down such an attack launched from international waters in the gulf coast unless we specifically station a carrier battlegroup there. Even a detonation at much lower altitude could affect a city or even an entire state.

North Korea’s latest test may have been a nearly 10 kiloton neutron bomb optimized for maximum gamma yield. This what we would refer to as a superEMP or enhanced radiation weapon. These points, taken together amount to quite a body of evidence that North Korea has been planning an EMP attack or to create the appearance of the ability of such an attack for over a decade.

Critics point to past failed launches, overlooking the fact that we also had failed launches early on and our first attempt to orbit a satellite also failed. They only need one to succeed. They also point to the fact that putting weapons in space is a breach of international law.

North Korea has a history of violating international law with abandon even when it has meant harsh sanctions so it puzzles me why anyone would see this as an obstacle. Miniaturization of nuclear weapons was not a serious obstacle to the US and was achieved within a couple of years even before we had microcomputers.

Critics mocking North Korea’s military capability sound very much like critics who mocked the Japanese before we engaged them in combat in WW2. History seems to be repeating itself.

Why Fixing the Grid Would Take Years of Survival

Questions: I heard it could take 3.5 years or longer to fix the grid. Don’t we have stockpiles of Large Power Transformers (LPT’s) that we could just swap out if they were damaged by an EMP? Why would it take so long to fix the grid?

Find out how to survive when the lights go out!

Answer: The 3.5 year number assumed that only the USA was affected, that the rest of the world was undamaged by cascading failure and that other nations would help us. In senate hearings, committees have the luxury of examining the question in a bubble.

In the real world, nations are highly interdependent and growing more so every year.  e.g. the loss of the US economy could bring down the world economy with it since the EU economy is closely tied to the US economy and without the US and EU, China would lose its consumer base.

Let’s say an EMP has knocked out the electrical grid and it is our job to fix our little part of it. We need a LPT (Large Power Transformer) to replace the one that was damaged by the EMP. An LPT at a power generating plant steps up voltage for transmission over long distances through transmission lines.

At the destination where the electrical energy will be consumed, another LPT then steps the voltage back down to a voltage that is useful to the destination city’s electrical grid, so we will suppose that our hometown needs a step-down LPT.

LPT’s are custom built, can weigh between 100 and 410 tons, can cost up to $10M each and take up to 2 years to build even in a fully functioning world. Considering the obstacles to obtaining a LPT in a post-EMP world demonstrates the difficulty of estimating how long it would take to get an EMP-ravaged grid running again with any degree of accuracy.

Ordering a New LPT After an EMP? Prepare to Wait!

Normally, we would create a request for proposals, evaluate the bids and award the contract to build our LPT. This will take longer with the phone system and computers down. The red tape would need to be sorted out somehow, and we would need to establish limited communications through radio operators.

The factory that would build our LPT would not be able to start production because they lack electric power to the run the factory, but we will imagine top priority is given to LPT factories and we are able to get power to build. Our order would normally sit in a queue, the factory would need incentive to rush our order past other orders just as urgent as ours.

The plant would want their $10M, but the world banking system could be paralyzed or even collapse. We might have to pay in gold or leaders might attempt to coerce cooperation.

The factory would have to get workers to leave their families in the middle of a protracted grid-down emergency. Even if it could, they wouldn’t work for funny money.

The workers would not be able to work without food, which could be a real problem because just-in-time inventory management virtually guarantees a food crisis. The world food system could collapse. But farmers would have no fuel to run giant tractors guided by GPS that also would not work.

Companies would likely have to pay workers in food.

A solar storm of this magnitude would also knock out satellites, meaning no satellite phones, communications satellites or GPS.

To build the needed LPTs, we would need vast stores of high grade electrical steel and copper which can account for more than half the cost of an LPT. The US produces no more than 20% of these raw materials annually.

Most LPT’s were built between 1954 and 1978. We would need to get the manufacturer copies of the schematics. While this might seem trivial with the aid of computers and telecom equipment, it would likely further delay replacement LPT’s.

Our LPT would probably be ready to ship between 6 months and 5 years after the order was placed. But even before the MHD EMP, special transport had to be arranged to ship a 410-ton After the MHD EMP there would not be enough fuel or functioning refineries. DoD would probably have to handle transport of the LPT, but most military bases are dependent on civilian power infrastructure.

The naval vessel transporting the LPT could run into bad weather or navigation problems because weather satellites would be down and GPS navigation inoperable.

With around 2,000 LPTs in service, the USA has more LPTs in service than any other nation, which also means the US grid has more major points of vulnerability than any other nation. The combined production capability of the entire world has never exceeded 600 units/year, even at its peak over 44 years ago.

The total combined LPT production of the whole planet has not exceeded 400 LPTs/year since 1973. It would take time to ramp that production back up.

Why to Fear the Power of Solar Storms Too

Question: How long could it take to recover from EMP caused by the sun?

Answer: The type of EMP that occurs due to solar activity can cause power surges in the electrical grid, overloading it and causing physical damage. This type of EMP is known as magnetohydrodynamic EMP (MHD EMP). Magnetohydrodynamics is the study of magnetic properties in electrically conductive fluids, like the hot, electrically conducting plasma the sun is comprised of.

Solar activity such as Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) can send a mass of solar energized particles toward the earth that can arrive in as little as a day, interacting with the earth’s magnetosphere and causing a geomagnetic storm. The result can be brilliant aurorae (Northern or Southern Lights), damaged satellites, disruption of radio communications and damage to the electrical grid.

Depending on the intensity and duration of the event, a MHD EMP event could affect an area as small as an Eastern state and the grid could be back up the same day. It is also possible that a severe MHD EMP could affect the entire planet.

Studies presented to the congressional EMP Commission estimated that the USA could have its grid back up in 1.5 – 3.5 years, but I am doubtful of this number. For starters, there is no manual on how to restart the grid. It has simply never been done. The electrical grid was slowly pieced together over more than 100 years. Fixing the grid will be delayed by a bit of a chicken – egg problem.

You can’t get the grid back up without Large Power Transformers (LPT’s) and you can’t build LPT’s without electricity, transportation, food, safe drinking water, security for the workers and their families and everyone who supports each of those systems, their families and so on.

Any way you look at it, recovery from a server MHD EMP event would be a process, not an event, and a long, non-linear process full of obstacles that we could not possibly predict, at that.

To Ground or not to Ground the Faraday Cage?

Question: I have heard conflicting answers. Should I ground my Faraday cage or not?

Answer: Yes … and no.

If your Faraday cage is the size of a refrigerator or smaller and is not wired with electric outlets and a breaker box like you have in your home, then, no, do not ground it. Grounding a small Faraday cage can do more harm than good.

You could think of it in terms that the ground could act like an EMP antenna, receiving the electromagnetic energy (radio waves) of the EMP, converting into power and possibly radiating into the space you are trying to shield.

If your Faraday cage is the size of a room or building or is wired for mains electricity (AC power), then yes, it should be properly grounded.

If You Still Have Questions About EMP Survival

EMP is one of the greatest threats mankind faces and I do not want you to leave your preparations on hold for lack of information. Please ask questions in the comments below or email them to us. Speak up, reach out and remember that imperfect preparations are better than none.

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

Start A Metalworking Business By Building A Forge

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Many advances in human society and culture occurred as different groups learned how to mine metal ore and turn it into useful tools.

You need farm tools, weapons, or machines to carry out various tasks, so keep on hand what you need for metal working. If you know how build and use a forge, you’ll have a valuable skill to barter, but also a good start for a business that can help you survive nowadays.

There are several ways to build a forge that will meet most of your needs. Aim to build at least one forge and learn how to use it so that you have a better chance of being able to make and repair metal items in the future.

What is a Forge?

At it’s simplest, a forge is not much more than a place where you can heat metals up in order to soften them for further working. If you define a forge as all the things that you will need to heat, shape, and temper the metal, then there are a few more parts to consider.

For the sake of this article, I am defining a forge as the equipment you use to heat metals only.

Every Forge Must Have These Parts

You need to obtain and maintain a specific temperature to make metal items that will be durable and useful. As a result, there are some parts that every forge must have in order to achieve maximum temperature without compromising safety:

  • A place to burn fuel. If the forge is going to use coal, this area might be an open pit or tub lined with fireproof material. Forges that use gas or liquid based fuels may have a cylindrical or square shaped fireproof chamber surrounded by a metal jacket. It should be noted that coal burning forges are better for situations where you need to heat large amounts of metal or produce an unusually large shape such as a sword. Since gas fired forges produce a more even heat and are easier to operate, they are usually better for knives or other small items. That being said, if you are looking to build a highly adaptable forge, coal fired ones will be more suitable for your needs.
  • Fuel Inlet – for simple coal forges, you might simply layer some coal in the bottom of the pit, and when more fuel is needed, simply drop it into the burn area. If you are going to use natural gas or propane, then the fuel might be fed into a central chamber via a pipe and nozzle. In a similar fashion, if you are going to use a liquid fuel form, you will most likely want to pipe it in and be able to control the flow via a nozzle.
  • Air Inlet or Tuyere – since burning fuel requires oxygen, the forge must also have a means for introducing larger amounts of air. This is usually done via a tube or pipe extending into the main burn area.
  • Bellows – in order to reach and maintain higher temperatures, more air needs to get into the burn area in a shorter period of time. Bellows are used to push the air into this area as quickly as possible. Coal burning forges might have the Tuyere located under the burn area, and then a pipe would lead from the bellows so that air comes up from the bottom. Gas burning forges usually have a blower or fan that is used for the same purpose.

Materials in Nature You Can Use to Build a Coal Fired Forge

No matter how experienced you may be as a prepper, there are bound to be things that don’t seem very useful right now that will turn out to be very important later on. A metal forge is one of those items that can easily be left out of your plans, or just as bad, left behind if you have to evacuate.

If you are in a situation where you absolutely need a forge, here are some natural materials you can use to build each part of a coal forge:

  • Burn Pit – a pit or even a hole in the ground can serve as a burn pit. You can line the pit with rocks and small stones so that it retains heat better.
  • Air Inlet – create something like a Dakota Firepit design so that you have an easy way to introduce air into the burn area.
  • Bellows – the simplest form of bellows will only force air into the fire when the handles are compressed. On the other hand, if you are going to forge metal, the supply of air must be steady, yet easy to adjust as your working needs change.

There are two forms of bellows that will be suitable for this task. First, the double-acting bellows is not so different from the simpler form.

You will need animal hide, leather, and other soft material to make the bag and attach the pipe, paddle, piston, valves, and handles. The pipe is a simple hollow tube that you can make from wood, bone, or even sturdy reeds or bamboo. Finally, you can make the paddle, piston, valves, and handles from wood harvested from trees.

The second form of bellows is known as a Fuigo Box Bellows. Unlike the Double Acting Bellows, this form does not require a bag. You can make everything but the sealing from wood.

Video first seen on Cut Marks

How to Make a Gas Fired Coffee Can Forge

As a prepper, I find no end to the usefulness of institution sized, or #10 food cans. From making large bins for storing devices to building stoves, there is truly no end to what these sturdy cans can be repurposed for. In this case, they serve as the beginning material for a forge that you can make knives, spear points, and many other useful items with.

Here are the basic instructions:

  • Start off by making sure the can is clean and dry.
  • Most people do not remove the bottom can lid, however having one end of the can closed limits the amount of room you have for heating metal. I recommend removing the bottom lid so that you can extend the metal past the back. While you may have to move the metal back and forth to keep it heating evenly, it is better than having a forge that is too small for anything larger than a 2 -3 inch item.
  • Next, attach a base to where the bottom of forge will be. It should be big enough and wide enough so that the can will not roll over. Be sure to use fireproof material. The base should also be sturdy enough so that it will no collapse under the weight of the can, the lining, and any other attachments you will be adding to the can. If at all possible, try to make the base wider than the size of the can opening. When you are working with metal in such a cramped area, it is all too easy to bump the metal or the tongs holding it into the sides of the can. If the base is not sturdy enough or tips easily, it can make for a disaster as well as more than a few injuries. While many videos and “how-to” guides show coffee can forges with substantially narrower bases, it is better to be on the safe side and realize that accidents can and will happen, especially when you are in a stressful situation or working with unfamiliar equipment.
  • Take a propane torch and measure the tip of it. You will need a metal pipe that is large enough so that the tip of the torch can fit through it easily.
  • Once you locate a suitable metal pipe, drill a hole in the can to accommodate it. If you removed the bottom lid of the can, it might be best to put the hole near the center of the can so that heat will radiate evenly to the front and back of the can. Attach the pipe to the can. The hole should be in an area where you can easily place the torch into the pipe and not have it or the can tip over. If necessary, add a cinder blocks or something else beneath the base of the can so that the torch tip will be at the right height in relation to to the can.
  • Even though a natural gas or propane flame produces quite a bit of heat, tin cans aren’t very good at retaining heat. Therefore, you will need to line the inside of the can with fireproof material. Plaster of Paris, cement, and even mud will work as insulators. When lining the can with an insulator, do not forget to leave the hole open for the torch inlet. Try not to get insulating material in the pipe used for this purpose.

Video first seen on Andrew W

How to Make a Gas Fired Forge From Natural Materials

It is fair to say that a coal fired forge is easier to make mainly because you don’t have to be overly concerned about constructing a viable fire pit. While you will always have to be concerned about the size of the pit in order to conserve fuel, at least you will not have to spend as much time forming a more robust enclosure.

Overall, I would most recommend using fired clay or adobe to make the enclosure for a gas fired forge. When making the enclosure, do not forget that clay shrinks well over 20% from its original size as it loses water. It is better to make the enclosure a bit bigger so that you don’t wind up starting all over again.

Here are some basic rules for making a clay enclosure that can be fired successfully without the benefits of a modern kiln and all it’s heating controls:

  • As with any other clay construction that must be fired, always avoid making air pockets in the clay. Pay extra attention to joining areas and overlaps where air pockets are likely to form.
  • Don’t forget to poke holes in the clay so that it heats evenly. Since it will be much harder to control the speed at which temperatures change in a field kiln, these holes can reduce the risk of the entire vessel cracking.
  • Always make sure the clay is as dry as possible. While moisture isn’t quite as dangerous as air to a clay object being fired, it can still lead to war page and cracking, especially if some areas are thicker than others.
  • Try to make the clay thickness as even as possible throughout the vessel.

You can also make the enclosure from slabs of stone and then join them together with mud or adobe. It will take less work than making a clay vessel, however, you must choose the rocks carefully. Porous rocks can retain water and air that will cause them to explode when heated. They may also release toxic gases that can kill you or leave you with severe health problems. Learn about which rock types can be heated safely, and make sure you know how to recognize them in any terrain.

At the same time, you can also learn more about which rocks carry metal ores or point to veins of ore. This is especially important if you wind up in a situation where you don’t have much metal to work with, or the metal is of the wrong type for your needs.

How to Find Fuel for the Forge

You can use charcoal in a coal fired forge as long as you have enough air flowing through from the bellows. Even if you do not have coal, you can still turn wood or other materials into charcoal and use them in the forge.

Insofar as natural gas fired forges, try getting natural gas from large compost piles or septic waste systems, but it can be difficult to store this type of gas and also ensure that you remain safe. You’ll also need suitable piping and a valve system so that you can control the gas flow. To make these, you will need softer metal ores, or, you can start out with a coal fired forge to make these items, and then build the gas forge.

While forges aren’t especially complicated in terms of the equipment used, they are vital for building and repairing metal items.

No matter how far back society slides, the path back up to a more modern lifestyle cannot happen without metallurgy skills. At the very least, if you have metal forging skills, you and your descendants will have a better chance of surviving and thriving after a major disaster scenario.

Grab your tools and start practicing your skills!

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Coffee-Can-Forge/

6 Ways You Can Build a Water Pump

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Most people today rely on municipal water supplies, but they are not beyond the risk of water shortages. In fact, as more areas deal with uncontrollable forest fires and droughts, you can expect the water crisis to get even worse.

Potable water supplies are more and more contaminated with dangerous drugs, commercial pollutants, and other unwanted additives that need to be filtered out.

If you have your own water pump, you take control of your water supply and also make it easier to obtain water regardless of the situation you find yourself in. But if you don’t have one, you should learn how to build it.

And here’s what you need to learn about it!

PVC Hand Pump for Wells

If you have a well that has water within 25 feet of the surface of the ground, a manual hand pump is one of the best options.

The simplest and cheapest form you can make is made of PVC pipe and shaped like a “T”. To make a “T” shaped pump from PVC you will need:

  • PVC tubing – if you must make a manual well pump in a natural setting, you could use a hollowed out tree limb. Even though it will rot out fairly quickly, this pump will still buy some time until you can find something that will not rot or corrode easily.
  • Check Valves – at its simplest, a check valve allows water to flow only in one direction. You can make a check valve by cutting a rubber sphere in half and inserting it into the main PVC tube. If you have no plastic or actual check valves available, try making them from plant based rubber.
  • O-rings – most people use rubber o-rings for preventing leaks in a manual water pump. In a time of need, you can also use leather, or make the rings from plant based rubber.

Video first seen on Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”.

Reciprocating Displacement Pumps

These are the more traditional looking manual pumps that you may be accustomed to: they have a long handle off to the side of the main shaft that you raise and lower, and there is a piston inside the pipe that fits very close to the sides.

As you move the handle, it creates a vacuum in the pipe as the piston moves upward. As long as water can get into the pipe, then it will be pulled upward until it reaches a spout for the water to flow out of. When you move the handle again, the rod attached to it sends it back down the pipe.

For the most part, you will find these pumps easier to make using natural materials. As with the PVC hand pump, you can still use a hollowed out log until you can make pipe from a more durable material. The handle and bar attached to the piston can also be made from wood.

While you can also make the piston from wood, you will need to wrap something around it that will make a tight seal. You can use plant based rubber or just about anything else that will withstand being immersed in water and will also form a tight seal with the pipe.

Remember, you may need a thicker seal layer as well as find some means to make sure the inner surface of the pipe is as smooth and even as possible.

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

Archimedes Screw for Surface and Underground Water

As its name implies, the Archimedes Screw makes use of the angle of a helix to move water from a lower level to a higher one.

Here are the basic parts you will need to build an Archimedes Screw:

  • A pipe that extends into the water. The bottom of this pipe will always have to be below the water level.
  • A screw-like structure that fits into the pipe. Unlike a screw, this form needs to have deeper blades that rise at an angle up the length of the shaft. The lowermost part of the screw must also be submerged in water.
  • You will also need a crank or something else attached to the upper part of the screw to make it turn. Historically speaking, animal labor was commonly used to turn the screw. More modern versions make use of motors.
  • A sealant that prevents water from slipping back downward while not seizing against the wall of the chamber. This is especially important if you need to use animal or human labor to keep the pump turning. While some 20 – 50% leakage may not be a problem if you have a motor and plenty of power at your disposal, it can spell disaster if your resources are more limited. Use a rubber edging on the screw itself, and then perhaps coating the wall of the surrounding pipe with food safe silicon or some other lubricant. This would give you a better seal and still enable the screw to turn with the minimal amount of resistance.

Unlike many other pump listed in this article, it can move water over large distances or from great depths. As long as you have the power to turn the screw, and the material that you’re using is durable enough, you can deliver water to just about any location.

Historically, screw designs were made from fairly weighty metals that required a lot of energy to move. Today, there are many fiberglass compounds that are almost as durable as metal, and will not be ruined by exposure to water. If you can mold these compounds into a suitable form, then you will have a light weight but durable Archimedes Screw.

You could also design a tube that will seal better so that less water drops back down to lower levels. Do not forget that you can also use rubber and other materials to form better seals than were possible in historical times.

Get your own amazing device that turns air into water! 

Mini Electric Pump for Moving Small Volumes of Water

Many Americans are concerned about the reduced safety paired with the soaring cost of municipal water supplies, while local and state governments insist on preventing people from using wells or harvesting water by other means. Consumer level water collection is still possible, and will become inevitable during a major crisis.

One of the biggest overlooked problems surrounding collecting your own water is moving it from one place to another. Consider a situation where you are collecting rainwater and intend to use it to flush your toilet. Even though you may be able to gather enough water using a simple system to reduce your municipal water usage by 20%, you must still get the water from the outside into the toilet.

Initially, you may feel that simply dipping a pail into your water cache and dumping it into the toilet may be good enough. While this system will work, there are easier and more convenient ways to achieve your goal plus utilize the stored water for other means. You can use a mini pump attached to a water barrel to pump water directly into the water tank of the toilet.

Many modern heating systems rely on a blower to move warm or cool air through access paths located in the walls and floors of your home. If you cannot generate electricity, it won’t matter if you have fuel to run the furnace, in part because the furnace may be in a basement or crawl space where it won’t deliver heat to important areas of your home.

A few inexpensive pipes and radiators can be used to move hot or cold water around your home. Aside from installing a boiler and a water tank on your heating and cooling system, you will also need one or more pumps to move the water into the pipes and radiators. If you choose models that run on battery power, it should be possible to recharge those batteries with solar capture devices or wind turbines.

You do not need a huge or very powerful pump for this purpose, many motors that you scavenge from both battery and conventionally powered appliances can be used. Once you have a working motor, all you need to do is create an impeller and an impeller chamber.

Make sure that you do not take everything you see in videos or instruction sites as matter of fact. For example, more than a few videos show plastic covering the air vents of the motor. Not only is this useless, it is dangerous and can cause the motor to overheat and catch fire. Even though there are submersible motors used in aquarium filters and other applications, you cannot expect to simply close off the vents on a regular pump and achieve the same results.

You can make your own motor using magnets and coils of wire, as long as you have these materials. Just remember you will need to practice winding motors so that you can build the best possible model.

Ram Pumps

The hydraulic ram pump is one every prepper should practice building because it does not require electricity to run and can move water from lower elevations to higher ones. As long as you have a source of moving water such as a stream or river, a ram pump will deliver a steady amount of water with very little in the way of maintenance.

It does not matter if the water is flowing above ground or below ground. In order for the ram pump to work, the inlet pipe only needs to be about 18 inches below the water level. That being said, if the underground stream or river is too low in relation to the area where you want to collect the water, you will need a stronger pump, or find a way to collect the water at a lower level.

Even though most commercial ram pumps are made from iron or other metals, you can make one from PVC pipe, a check ball, and a few fittings. It should be noted the PVC version of the ram pump is very different from the manual pump version.

To begin, in order to use the manual pump, you will need to apply steady physical force to the pump. On the other hand, the ram pump gets all of its power from the movement of water as it moves through the inlet pipe. While both pumps require a check ball, their modes of operation are truly different, and also ideal usefulness in different settings.

Video first seen on joshuaburks

Diaphragm Pumps

Your water resources are extremely low? A diaphragm pump will be less likely to fail if thin mud, grit, or grime get into it. Even though you will need to separate the best of the water out from these solutions, at least it is better than nothing.

At its simplest, a diaphragm pump relies on an empty chamber that changes shape as energy is applied to a diaphragm or membrane at one end of the chamber. While diaphragm pumps are often used for pumping air, they are also very useful for pumping water.

All you will need is some PVC pipe, a source of flexible rubber (this can be as simple as rubber gloves), two check balls, and some PVC piping for the diaphragm chamber, inlet, outlet, and main body of the pump. You will also need an electric motor or some other means to cause the membrane to vibrate. I would recommend experimenting with sound waves, which are used to make speakers vibrate.

Gravity motors and other simple non-electric motors may also be used to power the diaphragm pump. Just make sure that you try out different systems and methods now rather than wait until an emergency occurs. A mistake made now can be overcome with adjustments. Once a crisis occurs, it will be too late to obtain other materials or find needed information.

Across time, people have used many different methods to move water from one location to another. Once municipal water supplies and electric pumps are no longer operable, you will need some way to pump water on your own.

Depending on the water source available or the specific application you are interested in, one or several of these pump designs may be of interest to you.

Learn how to build and use these devices. Worst comes to worst, you will have a few extra pumps in your stockpile, or you will know exactly how to build what is needed during and after a major social collapse.

 

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/ah810e/AH810E06.htm

http://explorable.com/archimedes-screw

http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/hydraulic-ram-pump-zmaz79mjzraw

How To Hide Your Car And Stay Undetected

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Can you imagine your life without having a car? Shopping, going to work, taking kids to a game or going to the doctor without having a mean of transportation would turn into a nightmare. Your life is spinning in the rhythm of our four-wheeled companion.

In a bug out situation, your life will depend on your vehicle even more, so make sure you take good care of it and prepare it to remain unnoticed.

If you live in the city, bugging out may be less about driving on uneven terrain and more about avoiding rioters and traffic jams.

The vehicle that you are going to use must look like it belongs in the area you are traveling through. Depending on where you are and what is going on, there will be times when you can use these tips, and times when you should adjust them in order to avoid specific problems.

Why Customization is a Failure

Many preppers try to customize their vehicles with lift kits, unusual tire types, roof lights, and other items that may or may not actually expand the usefulness of the vehicle. In most cases, the benefits you may get from this customization does not equal the loss of capacity to blend on city or suburb streets.

Some also believe that a heavily armored tactical vehicle will deter rioters and troublemakers. This is a very bad mindset: mercenaries will see the vehicle as a sign of wealth, and do anything in their power to steal it or kill you to get it.

This defense system will make your home invisible to looters!

Essential Parts of a Camouflage Kit

You might travel through different neighborhoods with different wealth levels and cultural values, so a vehicle camouflage kit would be useful. If you haven’t surveyed the areas and mapped them out, then do so before you drive through. At the very least, if you need to make changes to the vehicle, you can do so before driving through.

Spray Paint

Always keep a few cans of different colored spray paint, gray primer, and other colors of primer in the vehicle. Gray primer is especially useful because rioters and looters will think the vehicle is junked out and pass it by in favor of vehicles that may have something of value to steal.

You can use these paints to make the vehicle look old and rusted out, or you can use them to spruce up the vehicle so that it looks newer.

Video first seen on mycoolkeno

Repair Kits

Fiberglass body repair kits can also be used to change the appearance of the vehicle. Make sure you have some simple body working tools to do the job right.

Different Color Duct Tape

Use dark colored duct tape to cut down on visible light that can be seen at night from the vehicle headlights, tail lights, and running lights.

Duct tape can also be used to give an illusion it is holding two broken body parts together even if they are intact. You can use this to make doors, windows, and fenders look so old, anyone looking at them would think there is nothing of value in the vehicle.

Rolls of Exhaust System Repair Tape

These rolls of tape can make a perfectly good exhaust system look like it is in very bad shape and is ready to fail at any moment.

Any other decals, stickers, or pieces of metal that can help to give the vehicle an illusion of being a junker, or conversely, like it belongs to a wealthier person that belongs in a specific neighborhood.

When using the camouflage kit, the most important thing is how well you blend into your local surroundings. You don’t want to look too affluent, too weak, or unable to protect yourself.

Find that happy medium that tells the rioters and other troublemakers that you can handle yourself without arousing suspicion of local people that can also cause problems.

Why Choosing Your Vehicle Wisely Makes Sense

It is not easy to find the perfect bug out vehicle that will address your needs and also be easy to conceal. In general, the outer aspects of the vehicle should match the times and styles of the areas you will be traveling through.

Stay away from brand new vehicles, or ones that are so old people will remember them because they look different. The outer body of the vehicle should look between 3 and 7 years old and be common looking.

The Size of the Vehicle

When it comes to hiding your bug out vehicle in plain sight, size is also an important factor to consider. By instinct, you will more than likely want a pickup truck or something large enough to carry a lot of items from one area to another.

In a time of social unrest, however, pickup trucks can easily be a target because they have a stereotype of being rough, reliable, dependable, and able to carry things of great value. On the other hand, a medium sized SUV looks as common and nondescript on a city street as it does on a small town road.

Remember, your vehicle must also disguise who and what you are. The last thing you will want is for people to realize that you are a prepper, and therefore have valuable skills, materials, and supplies. From this perspective, you can get away with a larger vehicle as long as it looks normal for the area.

You might be forced to leave the vehicle in a secure location, including an underground location, in a wooded area, or even parked in a cave. For these situations, you would be better off with a smaller vehicle simply because there are more places where you can hide it with less effort.

What About Trailers

Outside of the question of hiding your vehicle, trailers are useful for bringing along more supplies and even for living space. If you are trying to blend in or drive through a crowd of rioters, a trailer can be a huge liability.

Aside from making your vehicle easy to spot, a trailer can make the entire vehicle harder to handle. Not only will you be unable to simply unhitch the trailer and leave it behind, all avenues of escape may be cut off by masses of people.

Camouflage and Concealment: What You Need to Know

You have to take full responsibility for your own safety, and one of the best ways to do it is to stay inconspicuous. Even if you are armed and well trained, it is still better to avoid being attacked.

Camouflage and concealment are different, but related skills. Concealment is making yourself hard to see. Camouflage is changing something’s appearance so it’s harder to notice. Camouflage does not need to involve making whatever you’re camouflaging look like something else. All you need to do is make sure it doesn’t look like what it actually is.

And here are the six basic aspects of camouflage and concealment you need to learn.

Vehicle Shape

The human eye is naturally drawn to anything that looks out of place or familiar, however large numbers of the same thing can cause viewers to overlook similar items. If there are relatively few vehicles in the area, you will need to make your vehicle harder to see. Vehicles or the shape of a human being will all stand out unless they are disguised, and the most effective way to avoid this is to break up the shape by using a camouflage pattern.

A good camouflage pattern doesn’t work by mimicking the background around it. Instead, it disguises the outline of a familiar or unnatural shape by breaking it into smaller or regular ones. Contrasting colors are the best way to do this. You can borrow the idea of military camouflage patterns to match the surrounding colors.

Another way to camouflage a parked vehicle is to use a camouflage net, but never just drape the net over the vehicle. Support it with poles or cut branches to create an irregular shape. When using poles fit some kind of spreader to the end to keep the net from slipping down over them.

Shine

There are many shiny things in nature, and they do attract attention. If the vehicles around yours look shiny and bright, a dull vehicle will stick out and be noticed. Oddly enough, what you wear while you are driving can also draw unwanted attention.

No matter what neighborhood you are driving through, avoid wearing anything that will produce a flash or a shine. Remove all jewelry and your watch and put them in your pocket. Reflections of light on your skin can also be very visible. Use camouflage cream to make it harder for others to see you.

Shine is a big problem for vehicles. If you want the vehicle to look run down and useless, remove or paint any chrome work. Cover it with 100mph tape, or burlap. When the vehicle is parked, cover the windows, lights, mirrors, or anything else that might reflect light with burlap sacks, or better yet an old tarp that makes it looks like the windows might be cracked.

Shadows

Always be aware of the position of the sun when you stop to rest or shelter. It is possible to be hidden in dense vegetation enough to conceal your vehicle, but still enough light to cast a distinctive shadow on the ground. If you are moving inside of a tree line and throwing a shadow outside of it, the movement of the shadow can reveal that you are there. To hide the shadow move further into the trees.

Even if you have the vehicle parked under a camouflage net, that shadow will give everything away. To get rid of this shadow problem, hang a skirt of burlap around the bottom of the vehicle after you have parked. Another way to break up the shadow is to fill this gap area with light brush. If you can, park in vegetation that reaches a couple of inches above the bottom of the doors. Always pay attention to wheel well shadows that must also be removed.

Silhouette

A silhouette is basically a shape against a contrasting background. The classic way to reveal your position by silhouetting is to cross the skyline. Anyone at or below your level will see your outline. If you are following a ridge line do not move along the crest. Stay off to one side and far enough down so that the ridge is between you and the sky.

If you must cross the high ground, look for cover such as trees or a dip in the ridge. To reduce your silhouette as much as possible, you may have to wait until it is darker and you can drive across undetected.

The sky is not the only thing you can be silhouetted against. You must always be aware of what is behind you. It does not matter how well camouflaged you are. Try to avoid moving in front of anything that is a stronger contrast with your vehicle.

Picking the right location is a huge aid to help minimize silhouettes when picking overnight camps. Remember If your are in cover you are not silhouetted against anything so build your camp in the woods. Pick your locations surrounded by higher ground so anyone approaching will be silhouetted, but you will not.

Metallic and Heat Signature

In the modern age, all kinds of equipment can be used to spot a vehicle no matter how well you disguise it for human eyes. Try coating the vehicle in specialized paints or other materials that will prevent your vehicle from showing up on scans designed to pick up metallic objects in unusual places, or heat signatures from the engine and exhaust.

Sound

A muffler in good repair is very important for preventing others from hearing the sound of your vehicle’s engine. Don’t forget to turn off the sound system and anything else that will create too much noise.

Hiding your vehicle isn’t especially complicated if it is your sole objective. As a prepper, however, you will find there are many conflicting needs that will interfere with things that will work best insofar as hiding your vehicle.

In the end, it will be up to you to decide what balance you will draw between all of these opposing needs.

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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Replacing Gasoline: 7 Homemade Alternatives For Fuel

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Whether you commute several hundred miles per week, or only just once per month, letting go of traveling by car doesn’t feel comfortable to anyone.

While it’s possible to make automobile fuel at home, there are some other options you can, and should consider. If one method does not appeal to you, others may also work and give you better options when it is impossible to buy gasoline or other fuel types.

How Easy is to Make Gasoline at Home?

Gasoline is made from petroleum, which is essentially the remains of living things that died thousands to millions of years ago.

Be prepared to face some problems with trying to make gasoline at home that is comparable to what you would get at the gas pump:

  • Finding petroleum deposits that you can reach with drilling equipment isn’t easy, and most people lack the resources to purchase and process barrels of crude.
  • It takes a good bit of petroleum, water, and other materials to produce even a single gallon of gasoline, and the equipment is also very expensive.
  • Many of the sites online that claim you can make gasoline at home may actually be talking about biodiesel or similar fuels. You can make burnable automobile fuel based on alcohols and other “renewable” fuel sources, but it’s not the same as gasoline made from petroleum. The energy, density, burn characteristics, and effects on delicate engine seals and parts is very different.
  • Even if you have tools and equipment to refine gasoline, it can be a very dangerous process that requires a good bit of skill. Together with that, you will also need to be able to maintain the equipment and make repairs as needed.

Simply put, making gasoline at home isn’t something you can do by yourself, nor can it be done at low cost or in a residential setting. While you may be able to make small amounts of biodiesel, or even a hydrogen based fuel, gasoline is likely to be out of your reach.

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

Start Off with Building a Steam Engine

Before you try to make any kind of fuel at home, think about how you can reconfigure the engine that powers your vehicle.

Historically speaking, the rise of the internal combustion engine didn’t come about just because this engine design worked better than the steam engine. Rather, it had to do with who got bank loans and how they marketed the product.

In terms of technological simplicity, fuel choices, safety, durability, and power delivery, the steam engine outranks the internal combustion engine.

So if you are willing to change an existing vehicle in order to use homemade fuels, start off by converting to a steam engine. Making this change has its benefits, and here are just a few of them:

  • You can burn just about anything to heat up the water used to produce steam. If you are interested in liquid fuels, or even gas based fuels, you only need to install the tanks. If vehicle has the right shape, you can easily power the vehicle on five or six fuels without any problem.
  • Even solar “panels” composed of black plastic tubing with water running through them can be used to heat up the water or keep it in a pre-steam state so that it takes less of other types of fuel to produce steam.
  • Steam engines might weigh a lot less than internal combustion engines, which means the vehicle will require less fuel.
  • If you use hydrogen fuels, or fine tune a solar heating system, the vehicle will have few, if any detectable emissions. Concerned about being followed or having the vehicle stolen? With this option, you won’t need to worry about electronic surveillance equipment following conventional fuel signatures.

Today, it is virtually impossible to obtain a consumer level automobile that uses a steam engine. Researchers are still looking at steam engines and working on them, so you they might come back into style in the next few years.

Research on the patents and materials for steam engines, and start with simple ways to boil water with as little fuel as possible, if you are on a low budget. From there, you can move on to building up pressure from the steam, and then using that pressure to drive a piston.

Some people have successfully converted automobiles to run on steam engines, which is a perfect project to experiment with if you have a homestead or a farm. It may be hard to legally take your vehicle out on the roads, but things can easily change in a crisis situation.

Rely on Water for Hydrogen Fuels

Hydrogen fuels offer more promise for an alternative fuel than most other types because it can be made from water and also natural gas.

But remember that during crisis, you won’t find automobile fuel faster than water. Processing some fuels requires large volumes of water, which makes it even harder since water scarcity forces other priorities to the top of the list.

With just a few modifications to your car, you could use water (which is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen) to reduce the amount of gasoline you need to run the vehicle.

If you explore hydrogen fuels further, you might create your own fuel cell to run an electric motor. This is quite interesting if you have a hybrid vehicle.

Check these patents and devices for converting your vehicle to run on hydrogen, or for getting started to develop your own ideas.

  • Fuel Cells – it produces electrons, which can then be used to power a motor. It differs from a battery because it takes fuel and breaks it down to release energy as opposed to simply store the energy. You can also find small scale kit you can use to start with fuel cells if you don’t want to build one from scratch, and this is a great project to pursue with children or grandchildren.
  • Garrett Electrolytic Carburetor – if you have a vehicle with a carburetor, this is the perfect invention for you: this design adds electrolysis plates to the lower section of the carburetor, and the plates break down the water to release the hydrogen and oxygen. There are similar devices on the market that break water down, and release hydrogen into the engine, and they won’t eliminate all need for gasoline, but increase mileage by a good bit.
  • Denny Klein’s Aquygen– even though these vehicles are not as efficient, the technology behind them is valid and will be better than nothing in time of need.
  • Hydrogen Booster Kits – these kits allow you to “enhance” the fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines by injecting hydrogen into the fuel mix. Some kits are better than others, and results may vary.

As a note of caution, there are many people around the world trying to find a viable way to make vehicles run on water. Most systems either split water apart using hydrolysis, or they try to feed hydrogen and oxygen into the cylinder.

Before building something, check the viability of the plans you are looking at. Look or think about developing a system that pressurizes the oxygen first before attempting to use it to drive a piston.

If you need an electrical charge to drive a motor, look for ways to incorporate a joule thief or some other technology that will give you more current from what has already been produced.

Try to incorporate solar and other devices that can be used to generate power as opposed to simply relying on water or hydrogen. Generating heat to drive a steam engine would also be a viable answer.

Biodiesel

If you have a “flex fuel vehicle”, or one that runs on diesel, then homemade biodiesel may be an option for you. Depending on the recipe, making biodiesel can be dangerous, so study your options carefully and take your time when building and working with your equipment.

There are three main ingredient types you will need for making biodiesel and you can make or obtain them all from natural resources:

  • Fats or oils – this takes up the main bulk of the biodiesel, and you can obtain them from animal or plant based sources: spent cooking oil, scraps of animal fat, and many other kinds of kitchen waste. If you aren’t sure if a particular fat or oil will suit your needs, you can try visiting the Make Biodiesel website to see how different oils and fats compare to each other.
  • Alcohol – usually, methanol, or wood alcohol is recommended for beginners. Wood alcohol is not easy to make, but you can purchase some and work with it until you are ready to use grain or ethyl alcohol. Grain or ethyl alcohol is the edible form found in beer, wine, and other beverages, and you’ll have to set up a still and concentrate ethyl alcohol so that it can be used for making biodiesel.
  •  Lye – it’s not only useful for making soap and opening stuck drains, but it also acts as a key catalyst for making biodiesel. While pure lye is still available on the market, it can be hard to get, so learn how to make lye from potash. Remember there’s a difference between lye made from potash and commercial lye: you may need to tweak your biodiesel recipe a bit if it isn’t already calibrated for homemade lye.

Video first seen on Utah Biodiesel Supply

Unusual Biomass Fuels

A great deal of money and effort has been put into making fuels from corn and other crops that have a high sugar content. Typically, these crops are used to make large quantities of alcohol that can be mixed with gasoline in order to reduce the amount of petroleum used in the fuel.

While there are many problems associated with soil depletion and destruction of plant diversity (because GMO strains are used for fuel production), these fuels are, in my opinion, falsely touted as a viable alternative to petroleum products.

In the last few years, there has also been a push to develop fuels based on the extraction of oils from plants. For example, algae is seen as a viable source of fuel because a high percentage of the plant material is made up of oils. Some people claim that growing algae is hard, but actually extracting oil from algae can be a difficult and expensive process.

If you can get ahold of large amounts of algae, try and see for yourself if you can come up with a viable system.

In a collapsed world, the sheer amount of waste and chemical contamination of surface water will lead to all kinds of algae growth. Learning how to put this noxious stuff to good use for making fuel will be to your advantage.

Video first seen on Lucid Science

The Overlooked Power of Natural Gas

Natural gas from compost and garbage dumps is truly one of the most overlooked sources of fuel in our country.

It is possible (but expensive and time consuming) to convert your vehicle to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquid natural gas (LNG). Storing natural gas safely, and then compressing it enough to provide fuel for a decent driving distance are difficult too.

While there are a few cars made to burn this fuel in the United States, they are far more popular overseas. As prepper vehicles go, natural gas has more than enough power to operate the kind of engine that will be suitable for rough terrain, however refueling and storing natural gas can be a problem.

Video first seen on GasitalyTube Italy

If you want to pursue this path, start of by seeing how much natural gas you can generate from compost piles and other renewable resources. Make sure that you can use the gas for other fuel needs such as cooking and heating your home, since you can use it for other purpose if it turns out that you cannot use natural gas to power a vehicle.

What About Magnet Based Propulsion?

The basic purpose of the engine is to make it possible for the surrounding vehicle to move, which requires a certain amount of power to overcome the effects of gravity. There are different methods that can be used to achieve this goal, and magnetic fields can also be used.

There are toys on the market that rely on reversals of the electromagnetic field between the base and an object in order to make the object float. The same principles are used to power some of the fastest commuter trains in the world.

If you’re interested in this topic, your main problem would be keeping the car moving without having a nearby rail or other source of switching current to work with. If you are interested in powering a vehicle for your homestead, you can build a grid to cover the local area.

Research on advances in wireless current transmission. We are still far away from the system envisioned by Tesla, but wireless power transmission can easily be used to power vehicles levitating in a magnetic field.

Other Engine Designs

In some ways, building an engine for an automobile is not so different from building any other power generation system. At heart, both systems must generate some kind of spinning motion that will either push a vehicle forward or induce electrical current flow in a nearby coil.

Study different ways to induce current, and see if any of these devices can be used to build an automobile engine. For example, the Tesla Turbine can be run on compressed air, or even a steady stream of water.

As strange as it may sound, wind power may have far more to offer in terms of engine design than continuing with the concept of an internal combustion engine. Today, many materials can be used to make smaller and smaller wind turbines that may only require a tiny breeze or a slight shaking to produce an electrical current. Even sound or certain sound based vibrations in different media can be used to generate an electrical current that combines with other sources to run a motor, or even power a series of magnets that will enable the vehicle to break the bounds of gravity.

Remember, right now we are dealing with technologies that must overcome large amounts of weight. Simply put, the more weight you have to deal with, the more power it will take to overcome the effects of gravity. Look at lighter weight polymers and newer materials used to create both propulsion units and the surrounding vehicle.

Some situations can make traveling by automobile very expensive and complicated even on regular times. While a lack of gasoline is bound to be a problem in the post crisis world, trying to make gasoline at home is not a viable option.

There are other alternative fuel and engine design options that you can and should consider.

In most cases, coming up with something useful will take time and effort to come out with something sustainable and tangible, given the limited materials available to the average consumer in these times.

Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Resources:

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Your-Own-Gasoline

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/148416-are-steam-cars-poised-for-an-epic-comeback

http://www.stanleymotorcarriage.com/SteamEngine/SteamEngineGeneral.htm

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/fuel_cell.html

http://www.make-biodiesel.org/Ingredients/ingredients-for-biodiesel.html

Why The Most Delicate Part Of Our Infrastructure Is The Grid

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In case you hadn’t noticed, major power outages are on the upswing. During the period of 2000 to 2004, there was an average of 44 power outages per year, nationwide. That rose to 100 per year in the period from 2005 to 2009, and doubled to 200 in the years 2010 to 2013.

In 2014, 14.2 million Americans were impacted by power outages, with California topping the list. I can’t find compiled data for the years after that, but in the first six months of 2014, there were 130, which shows a continuing of this trend.

Basically, our electrical grid is old. Power plants, distribution centers, substations and transmission lines are all designed with a 50 year lifespan. But a large chunk of our electric grid is older than that and an even larger chunk is approaching the 50 year threshold. In the Northeast, there are transmission lines which have been in continuous use for over 100 years.

The Fact: 3 Blackouts in One Day

On April 23rd, three major cities in the US received blackouts on the same day – New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco; the largest, second largest and fourteenth largest cities on our country, respectably. The fact that these happened all at the same time and can’t be attributed to either hot weather (the use of air conditioning) or storms is suspicious.

While all three of these cities were hit by outages, San Francisco was hit the hardest, with business, traffic and many day-to-day activities coming to a complete standstill. We are so dependent on our electric grid, that there are few areas of activity which are not affected by a blackout.

Video first seen on Fox News.

Yet as we look into the future, we can expect more and more blackouts to occur. Government red tape and regulations are making it harder and harder to build new power plant. During the years of Obama’s presidency, the coal power industry was especially hard hit. That’s on top of the struggles that the nuclear power industry regularly has, because of the fear that the political left has of nuclear power.

Yet the left’s vision of green power is unrealistic. The only renewable (or green) power that is reliable is hydroelectric, and the United States has pretty much maxed out the use of available rivers in building hydroelectric plants. Unlike Lesotho, Bhutan and Paraguay, we can’t produce 99% plus of our energy needs from hydroelectric dams.

We need to depend on much less reliable wind and solar power, neither of which can provide power 24/7. Even geothermal power, which the United States is the world leader in, accounts for only 0.41% of our total energy needs.

Not replacing our aging power grid merely plays into the hands of our enemies, all of whom are aware of our high dependence on electrical power. We can be sure that any countries who look at the Untied States as a potential enemy, have both mapped out our electric grid (the information is readily available on the internet) and developed plans to disrupt it.

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

The Question About the Cause

The question has been raised whether the power outages on April 23rd were part of a test attack by a foreign power or not. China and Russia lead the world in cyberwarfare, especially China. But they are not the only countries pouring resources into this new battleground.

Compared to other forms of warfare, cyberwarfare is cheap, requires few “soldiers” and minimal money spent on developing or acquiring arms. A small group of brilliant programmers and hackers can do wonders, when given the freedom to experiment.

When survivalists think of the grid going down, we tend to think of an EMP attack. I wrote about that recently, in regards to North Korea. But an EMP is only one of the options available to an enemy. Cyberwarfare entails less risks and requires less expenditure of money; yet can be extremely effective.

It is a known fact that nuclear power plants have been targeted for hacking, with considerable success. Remote control of a nuclear plant by a hacker can cause a variety of effects, ranging from reducing power output all the way through causing a meltdown of the core.

I’m not sure if it is possible, but if they can hack in far enough to cause a meltdown; it seems to me that they could also cause a runaway reaction, leading to an explosion.

Then there’s the attack on the San Jose, California substation in 2013. In that attack, unknown parties shot the coolant tanks on the substation’s transformers, draining the coolant out and destroying the transformers. Had it not been for the ability designed in to the electric grid to reroute and cover a destroyed substation, the people of San Jose would have been without power for months.

Our grid can absorb the loss of a substation, power plant or transmission line. But the more that are lost, the greater the chance of the domino affect taking over, causing more and more failures. If a major substation were to be destroyed during peak usage time, the number of people who would end up being affected could easily run into the millions.

What Is the Risk?

One of the biggest tactical mistakes in the protection of our country was when some unnamed officials admitted to the Wall Street Journal that sabotage of just nine key substations would be enough to bring down the grid.

Do you want to guess which countries have engineers hard at work determining which o the country’s 55,000 substations are included in that short list? Once they figure it out, there will be a clock on our country’s electrical power use.

Potential attacks like this, and our dependence on electricity, make our country much more vulnerable than it was 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago. The more we depend on electronics in our day-to-day lives, the more easily our lives can be disrupted.

Worse than that, the disruptions that we would experience can’t be replaced by other systems, as we no longer have those systems available to us.

  • Loss of water pressure as the city water loses power
  • Loss of heating and air conditioning
  • Loss of communications, once phone companies run out of fuel for their generators
  • Loss of fresh and frozen food, without stores having refrigeration
  • Loss of transportation, without the ability to pump fuel out of underground tanks
  • Loss of our supply distribution system, which is highly dependent on computers
  • Loss of much of our medical services, which depend on electricity as well
  • Loss of jobs and the associated paycheck, as few companies can operate without electricity
  • Loss of education, when the schools shut down
  • Loss of air travel, which depends on radar and radios for communication, not to mention the fuel they need to get those planes in the air
  • Loss of the news media, which needs power to broadcast
  • Loss of the internet, which is all electronic
  • Loss of sewage systems, as soon as the sewage lines back up. Water treatment plants depend on electricity to drive their pumps. Without that, the system backs up.
  • Loss of refrigeration, so our food will spoil
  • Loss of access to our money, as we mostly depend on electronic money
  • Loss of access to money in the bank, as the computers which tell the bank how much money we have would be inoperative
  • Loss of commerce, in general, due to the inability to access money
  • Loss of defense, as the military depends heavily on electronic communications, as well as electrical power to control and run our weapons systems

I could keep going, but I’m sure you get the idea. Basically, everything we depend on, depends on electricity to operate. So, without electricity, our lives come to a standstill.

That’s a fact known to our friends and enemies alike. So is the lead time on new transformers for substations and how few manufacturers there are in the world build those custom artifacts. Maybe it wouldn’t have as major an impact on the USA as a nationwide outage caused by an EMP would, but the fact is, it wouldn’t take much to take out the grid regionally, in any part of the country.

Without electrical power, it wouldn’t take long for fear to set in and for people to turn against each other. FEMA’s recommendation of three day’s food isn’t going to help people much, when they’ll be without electrical power for weeks or even months.

Even Hurricane Katrina left some people without electrical power for six weeks, and that didn’t take even one terrorist who was willing to lay down their life in pursuit of a larger cause.

When Going Off-grid is Not Your Choice

For us here in modern-day America, the loss of the electric grid is probably the ultimate urban survival challenge. With our lives and our communities so dependent on electrical power, the loss of that power would quickly lead to a breakdown of society. As soon as people realized how close they were to starvation, they would panic; and that, in turn, would lead to them turning on each other; especially on those who they suspected had food.

Survival in such a situation has to include complete isolation from others. The old adage of “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. If people don’t see you, they won’t be asking how you are doing. Nor will they have the chance to ask you if you have any food that you can share with them. They may speculate, but that’s all it would be.

This would be an ideal time to disappear to that secret cabin in the woods, if you are fortunate enough to have one. If not, you’ll need to make your home look as abandoned as possible, while you live off of whatever food and water you have stockpiled.

Depending on how widespread the blackout is and how it happens, repairs could take months or even longer. In a case where substation transformers are destroyed, it takes a year to build new ones. That’s long enough that the loss of life could be severe enough to prevent their replacement. America, as we all know it today, could cease to exist.

This is why a three day supply of food isn’t enough. For that matter, a three month supply of food isn’t. You are going to need at least a year’s worth of food to survive this sort of attack, and possibly even more.

The year figure I just mentioned is based upon the assumption that within that year, you can get your own food production up and running. But if you can’t, then you’ll need more than a year’s worth of food in your stockpile.

Water will be at least as critical, if not more so. The idea of surviving off the water in your hot water heater or the community pond assumes that you’re only going to have to survive a short period of time. When we’re talking a year or more, you’re going to have your own means of harvesting water.

If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, you’ll be able to use rainwater capture to provide you with water. But if not, about the only truly reliable means of providing yourself with water is with a well, unless you happen to be fortunate enough to have a river flowing across the edge of your property. Any other method for getting water would require you going out in public and letting people know that you are alive, healthy and obviously eating.

The ability to defend yourself could ultimately be the most important part of your survival preparedness. Regardless of who you are, where you are, or how well you isolate yourself from society, somebody is going to realize that you are there. That realization will probably be quickly followed up by the thought that you are better fed than they are, which would mean that you have food.

Once people realize that you have food, when they don’t, you’re in trouble. While some will limit themselves to begging for food, others will try to take what you have. In either case, you’ll have to be ready to defend home, family and your stockpile as well.

That may even mean defending your chickens and vegetable garden. When people are desperate and hungry, they do desperate things. Scaling your fence to steal some food may not even seem all that desperate to them. But if you allow it, your garden will be cleaned out in a matter of days.

Sadly, survival carries with it some hard decisions. Decisions like not helping others, so that you can take care of your own.

If you can’t make that decision and then follow through on it, chances are, you won’t survive.

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Easy Guide To Make Activated Carbon At Home

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

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

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

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

How to Make Activated Carbon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 9 – Let the charcoal sit for 24 hours.

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

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

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

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

How to Use Carbon for Filtration

Air Filtration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make Respirators and Gas Masks Using Activated Carbon

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

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on BlackScoutSurvival.

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

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

Using Activated Carbon for Water Filtration

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

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

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

Video first seen on MakerBoat.

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

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

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

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

Never worry about having safe water again.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Comic Con star yearns for Bora Bora

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millie bobbie brown wide smile

Smile – you are off the grid

“Stranger Things” fans gave Millie Bobby Brown — the 13-year-old breakout star of Netflix‘s sci-fi series — pure and unmitigated rock-star treatment on closing day of this year’s Indiana Comic Con.  highlights of the session – she yearns for an off-grid life and she hates shopping.

Brown’s Q&A was peppered with bio info you might find in a teen-focused magazine from the “Stranger Things” era:

Where would you like to visit? “Bora Bora, because it’s off the grid.”

What’s your favorite color? Purple.

What’s your TV obsession? “Friday Night Lights” and “The Vampire Diaries.”

Music favorites? Gorillaz and Whitney Houston.

Give her space when she’s eating in a restaurant or trying to catch a flight.

And don’t bother sending Eggos, the breakfast treat closely identified with Eleven. Brown is wary of hidden cameras and poisoned waffles.

When doors opened to the large hall where Brown answered audience questions, the first of 500 or so attendees ran to grab prime seats as if the event were a Harry Styles concert. It took exactly one fan into the session, 13-year-old Addison Tuttle of Lexington, Ky., for Brown to field her first request for a date.

After someone said Brown’s YouTube videos are a source of encouragement when this particular fan feels unwanted or unimportant, the “Stranger Things” actress stepped down from the dais to deliver a hug. Tears fell for multiple fans when given the chance to talk to the actress who portrays telekinetic youngster Eleven.

Christy Blanch, the Q&A’s moderator and owner of Muncie’s Aw Yeah Comics store, paused to note the affection in the room.

“I have been doing this for four years, and I have never seen this amount of emotion in questions,” Blanch told Brown.”I did Carrie Fisher’s panel and nobody broke down like this.”

Brown, a native of Spain who spent early years in England and now lives in Atlanta where “Stranger Things” is made, appeared comfortable in the setting.

She agreed to pose with a Godzilla action figure supplied by a fan who asked about Brown’s role in the upcoming film “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” When asked to showcase her rapping skills, Brown said she felt like singing and belted out an a cappella minute of Emeli Sande song “Read All About It (Part III).”

Wearing black, low-cut Chuck Taylor tennis shoes, Brown told the story behind the Victoria Beckham-designed rabbit shirt she wore this Easter Sunday.

“I hate shopping,” Brown said. “My mom tricks me into going shopping. She says, ‘Oh, we’re just going to get Starbucks,’ and here we are! We were in Target the other day, and she said, ‘Just try on this. It looks really cute and you can wear it to the con.’ I said, ‘I’m not trying it on. Just buy it and we’ll see if it fits.’”

Regarding the signature pink dress with the Peter Pan collar worn by Brown’s character during the latter episodes of the first season of “Stranger Things,” Fishers High School junior Sarah Dunlap said she bought hers for $40 at Hot Topic.

Justin Hanks, a 27-year-old from Cincinnati, said it was a challenge to find the dress in his size. Of all the Indiana Comic Con attendees paying homage to Eleven, Hanks likely was the only one sporting a beard.

“When we go to a convention, I like to be something obnoxious and over the top,” he said. “As soon as we saw that Millie Bobby Brown was coming, I thought, ‘Oh, I have to do this.’”

Hanks’ friend, 23-year-old Adam Grey, combined wardrobe elements associated with the “Stranger Things” character portrayed by Winona Ryder: a Christmas-light necklace, a handheld ax and a phone receiver and cord emerging from a pocket of a khaki jacket.

Brown referred to Ryder as her “second mom” and she said David Harbour’s Sheriff Hopper may be her favorite character on the show. But most of the Q&A session focused on the show’s young actors.

Shortly after auditions, the girl and four boys — Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair) and Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson) — exchanged texts: “Did you get the job of ‘Stranger Things’?”

Brown said she’s closest to Schnapp, whose character’s disappearance triggers the story of “Stranger Things.”

“Noah is my best friend,” Brown said. “We’re the same age. We do everything together. We go to Six Flags. We have play dates. I mean, we are children.”

Brown said Wolfhard is her adviser, McLaughlin resembles a watchful older sibling and Matarazzo is her “entertainer.”

When asked what’s difficult about portraying Eleven, Brown said it’s all easy.

“She’s part of me,” Brown said. “She’s my alter ego. It’s not hard to switch back and forth. She’s just there. As soon as they say cut, I’m ‘the Millster’ again.”

Set in fictional small-town Hawkins, Ind., “Stranger Things” unfolds as a 1980s tale influenced by the work of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King.

Perhaps aware that Brown couldn’t talk about particulars on the show’s second season, which premieres on Halloween, no one asked.

The post Comic Con star yearns for Bora Bora appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

DIY Projects: 4 Ways To Build An Alcohol Stove

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

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

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

Alcohol Stove – Myths Debunked

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to DIY an Alcohol Stove

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

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

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

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

Alcohol Stove Comparison

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

Video first seen on ITS Tactical / Imminent Threat Solutions

The Beverage Can Stove

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on IntenseAngler.

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

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

Video first seen on Andrew W

The Tornado Wick Jet Alcohol Stove

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

Video first seen on tetkoba’s Alcohol Stove Addict

The Tin Can Stove

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on Nick Van Leuven

The Cream Box Stove

Video first seen on Mr. Llega

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

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

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

Soaraway Sun plugs 3D printed homes

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Passivdom says it can deliver within a day

Britain’s Sun newspaper is known as narrow minded and bigoted.  So it was a surprise to find it extolling the virtues of off-grid, 3D printed homes yesterday.

Somebody at the Sun had not got the memo – because the paper described “incredible homes of the future, which cost just £26,000 and can be 3D printed homes in a matter of hours.”

Ukranian company PassivDom offers the unique product: a completely self-contained home, designed to function anywhere in the world.

Robots 3D print the cosy homes in a matter of hours after they are specified and ordered.

“For anyone who has ever dreamed of living off the grid, the company offers an affordable solution, which cuts out the hassle of building your own home,” the paper says.

A 3D printing robot can print the walls, roof and floor which slot together. Then a human worker can add the windows, doors, plumbing and electrical systems to finish off the build.

The homes can withstand even the most hostile conditions and prices start at just $31,900 (£26,000) and are available to be pre-ordered in Ukraine and America, with the first of the houses delivered later this year.

Aside from the price tag, the most impressive thing about the homes is the fact that they can exist with no need to connect to external electrical and plumbing systems.

The self-powered properties are airy and light, with a solar panel and battery allowing residents to experience all the mod-cons without a connection to the national grid.

And the houses are also completely mobile, and designed to offer a comfortable standard of living in some of the planet’s most inhospitable environments.

A filter converts humidity in the air into water, with the manufacturers boasting that their product is built to withstand even Arctic conditions.

PassivDom offer a number of models, with the smallest measuring 380 square feet and setting you back £26,000.

Without a separate bedroom, residents in the 3D printed homes would kip on a sofa bed, although all models do come with bathrooms – as well as the necessary tech for you to control your appliances via a smartphone.

Buyers can also request bigger, or even custom-made models, which can cater to the tastes of all prospective homeowners.

The firm’s founders hope that their products can solve global housing crises, as well as giving people more freedom to live wherever they want at a reasonable price.

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IKEA Off-Grid Tiny House for $1100

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IKEA Off-Grid Tiny House for $1100   Things are getting so cool now. This house is real and its solar powered for up to 4 hours a day. It comes with the solar panels. This is an absolute amazing find. The article takes a detailed look at this option. This is about the best option …

Continue reading »

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DIY Desalination

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desalination, potable, cheap drinking water

Water desalination can be easy AND rewarding

Earth isn’t called the “Blue Planet” for nothing, but the majority is saltwater and therefore not immediately drinkable. Hence we need the desalination process which removes the salt from saline water so we can drink it.

One of the main hurdles living outside the system is having a reliable source of clean, fresh drinking water. There are plenty of desalination projects that cost into the millions of dollars, but how about cheap DIY methods you can do at home?

Desalination can take advantage of evaporation. The dirty or saline water is heated and the water turns to steam, leaving the impurities (salt) behind. All that then needs to be done is capture the steam, condense it and voila clean drinkable water.

 

Below are some videos of easy and cheap methods of making your own DIY desalination devices!

The first is based on a whistling kettle, some pipe, a coolant around said piping and a collection tin – easy peasy!

 

Here is another version of a similar system using a pressure cooker instead – who said they are only good for canning!?

 

If you want to invest in some specific desalination kit, then check out this video which uses the non-electric distiller by Water Wise.

 

No camp fire or stove to hand? No problem! Check out these solar distillers – not exactly top tech, but proves you can capture the power of evaporation really easily. (Ignore the soil eating cat!)

 

And one using a plastic bottle!

Let’s face it we have all wanted to live by a golden beach in a sunny spot at some time in our lives. But with water at a dollar a pop for a 100cl plastic bottle, desalination has a definite cash benefit.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these methods? Let us know in the comments below!

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OFFGRID Living: How many solar panels and Batteries do you need to run your home?

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Easy to follow information on how much power you consume, how many batteries you need to power your home, and how many solar panels you need to maintain those batteries. […]

The post OFFGRID Living: How many solar panels and Batteries do you need to run your home? appeared first on Off Grid Survival – Wilderness & Urban Survival Skills.

Would You Convert Your Car From Wheels To Tracks?

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

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

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

Let’s count them together in the following article!

Better Traction than Wheels

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

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

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

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

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

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

Better Weight Distribution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kits That Let You Switch Between Wheels and Tracks Are Available

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on AD Boivin.

Easier to Defend

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

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

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

Can Pull Heavier Loads

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

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

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

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

Suitable Vehicles May be Expensive or Hard to Find

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

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

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

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

Too Easy to Spot and Follow

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

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

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

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

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

Tracks Can be Hard to Maintain

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

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

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

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

Cannot Move as Fast or as Quietly as a Wheeled Vehicle

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

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

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

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

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

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

Converted Vehicles May be Difficult to Steer

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

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

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

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

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

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References:

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

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

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

Veteran Seeking a Happy Community

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Hi I’m 31 white male Army veteran, medically discharged, and have been traveling around tent camping and living off grid much as I can on free forests I run into. As a veteran,I know primitive survival skills from native Americans and know how to train people for this as well. I know how to build shelters, fences anything with wood with axes or saws. I can garden, know plants that you can eat or use for medicinal uses. Just looking to stay at a place long term like permanent and be a happy off grid community. I’m a hippie very peaceful, drama free and very loving guy. Hit me up if you want to know more about me or have a place I can help join you all out. 

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Experimental Tech in Desert Village

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off-grid village, desert, village, platform, technology, Israel,

An off-grid village in the dry desert has become the place to develop solutions for off-grid living in undeveloped communities.

An off-grid desert village in Kibbutz Ketura, Israel is being used as a platform for tech companies and entrepreneurs to develop innovative off-grid technologies. The village was set up in 2014 via a collaboration between the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative. The project is aimed at developing off-grid solutions for undeveloped areas, encouraging experimentation. It is the key step between development and implementation in areas where whole communities have no grid access.

There are four key areas for off-grid living which are currently being developed and worked on in the village.

Desert Village Building:

There are three types of structure in the village, based on existing building types within in off-grid communities. The rural structure is based on a traditional design and has a thatched roof to help with ventilation, but lacks natural light. Therefore, to adapt it, the village has added windows to the buildings to provide natural light for reading and other activities, as well as providing more ventilation.

The urban structure is based on a design most commonly seen in urban slums. The modifications to this design are the double roof structure and wall insulation. The first roof layer is made of palm leaves for ventilation purposes and the second consists of metal for protection against the rain. Plywood walls have insulator material like sheep wool within the wall to keep thermal balance in the building. The structure is mainly based on plywood which is low priced and the design is simple to construct.

Finally, the earthbag dome design was first developed in the 1980s, using soil sacks to construct huts. The bags of soil provide a rigid, stable structure with a balance of temperature. There is no need for deep foundations or a separate roof structure, due to the dome shape. These buildings are rapid to construct, simple and cheap.

Energy:

The desert village has some different energy technologies within its boundaries. The Kalipack solar suitcase can produce energy from three sources – electricity, a vehicle or solar power. Storage takes the form of a lithium ion battery and can power a small refrigerator, laptop or lighting, amongst other things. The village also has a small domestic biogas system which has efficient waste disposal whilst producing methane gas for cooking, water heating and home lighting.

LuminAID have introduced some chargeable and easy to use solar lighting. But GravityLights have also been developed at the village. These work by combining kinetic energy with potential energy. A weight of some sort is elevated and connected to a pulley system which powers a generator. The result is a light which is five times brighter than a kerosene lamp. Surveys with families using the lights have been very positive so far.

Water:

Clearly something that is very important in every community is clean water. The desert village has a solar water distillation system developed by SunDwater. This technology converts contaminated water to drinkable clean water through a process of concentrated radiation, requiring no external energy source. Plus, it’s completely green and eco-friendly. NUFiltration have also developed a water purifier unit in the desert village which provides waste water treatment. Once again, easy to use, requires no electricity and produces 500 litres of clean water per hour. There’s also no maintenance or spare parts required as it’s all done using man power! The village also has a solar powered water pumping system for agriculture and farming.

Food:

We all need fuel and that means food! The village has a hydroponics system developed called the LivingBox. These modular units are like Lego, therefore they can be fitted together and remodelled to suit different needs. They can grow a wide variety of fruit and veg and save up to 80% of water that would be used in other techniques. Solar ovens and cookers are used for cooking food. Plus, an energy generating pot has been developed which produces electricity from a heat source. The pot can then be used as a charging point for phones and other devices.

These are just some of the developed technologies that are in the village. Check out this video below to find out more about renewable energy in the Off-grid demonstration village!

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Where to drop out in the USA

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Nipton Hotel

You may never leave

Does your life ever get you to the point where you want to just drop out and leave the system behind? Here are four options for starters. There are many more – you can hook up with others using our free classified ads service or posting on our searchable map – landbuddy.com

NIPTON
In the Mojave desert town of Nipton, the spirit of the western frontier has transformed a forgotten outpost into a self-sustaining ecotopia where the dream lives on.
A former long-haul trucker with a bowie knife strapped to his hip, Jim Eslinger serves as caretaker and hotelier of Hotel Nipton, its existence marked by a wagon-mounted sandwichboard that reads:
WELCOME TO NIPTON, CA B&B HOTEL & ECO-CABIN STORE, RV PARK & CAMPING RESTAURANT
Eslinger added a cluster of tented eco-cabins, outfitted with platform beds and wood-burning stoves.
A faded settlement of about 20 permanent residents, the town consisted of an assortment of structures, some solid and occupied, some as vacant and splintered as an Old West movie set. Computer Gamers might know Nipton for its cameo in Xbox 360’s Fallout: New Vegas, where it played a post-apocalyptic wasteland infested by giant mantises. But otherwise it was your typical drive-through desert community, fixed at the crossroads of Nowhere Special and Wherever You Were Going when Eslinger arrived. There was one notable exception: Nipton, and everything in it, was for sale.
There a cluster of tented eco-cabins, outfitted with platform beds and wood-burning stoves. Popular with today’s 30-something crowd, the cabins were based on a design by Frank Lloyd Wright. There is a solar plant, which produces 40 percent of the town’s power. It sits on the outskirts behind a barbed wire fence, its rows of reflecting harvesters mirroring the sun as it moves across the sky.
There is a hydrogen system in order to store clean energy.
The town of Nipton is for sale.

KALANI HONUA
A solar-powered village tucked away on 120 acres of lush Hawaiian rain forest sounds a lot like Lost: Season 3, but it’s actually an eco-minded retreat center in one of the best areas in the state to drop out. Here in the heart of the Big Island’s Puna District, residents and volunteers are busy harvesting papaya and avocado, cooking farm-to-table meals, and taking classes in hula and tauhala weaving. Book a night in one of their cottages, pop in for a gong bath, or grab some honey produced from the on-site apiary. From $95; kalani.com.

SYNCHRONICITY
There’s no rule that says you must drop out in a rural location with hippies running nude through the woods. Case in point: Synchronicity, a creative community set in L.A.’s bustling Koreatown. Though a small group of artists calls it home, the door is always open to guests, who can stop by for weeknight dinners and a monthly art salon. There’s even a private room on hand for passersby to crash, free of charge up to a week, though payment in the form of a cooked meal, live performance, or carpentry is accepted. synchronicityla.com.

ARCOSANTI
Set on 860 acres overlooking central Arizona’s Agua Fría River valley, Arcosanti tweaks modern means to live greener. The late founder Paolo Soleri encouraged his town to live leaner-efficiently making use of labor, space, and design to create a place that’s elegant and resourceful. Drawing some 50,000 tourists each year, the sleek mini city amid the prickly pear and cottonwood trees offers guided tours, workshops, live music performances, and a gallery of intricate wind bells that are built by residents and serve as a perfect souvenir. Not so much a home for dropouts as a place to drop in. arcosanti.org.

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Spain’s Sun Tax to be axed

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Sun tax, Spain, Off-grid, solar panels, tax, grid

Is the sun finally setting on Spain’s controversial “sun tax”?

In October 2015, Spain’s Council of Ministers approved a controversial tax on those using electricity produced by their own solar installations. However, a new government says solar panel owners could soon see the back of the so called sun tax.

What is the sun tax?

This legislation causes those with self-consumptive photovoltaic systems to pay the same grid fees as those without solar panels. This covers the power contracted from an electricity company. But they also have to pay a second “sun tax” which means solar panel owners pay for the electricity they generate and use from their PV systems, even though it doesn’t come into contact with the grid.

There are other facets of the legislation which also caused more outrage. Photovoltaic systems up to 100 kW are not able to sell any excess electricity they produce. Instead, they must “donate” the extra to the grid free of charge. Systems over 100 kW must register if they wish to sell the extra electricity. Community ownership of PV systems, of all sizes, under this legislation is prohibited. Not only this, but the legislation is retroactive; meaning installations prior to the introduction of the tax must comply. If the conditions are not met, then the PV system owners are subject to a penalty fee of up to €60 million ($64 million). To put this in perspective, this is twice the penalty of a radioactive leak from a nuclear plant. Unsurprisingly, this caused outrage.

Exceptions to the tax

There are some circumstances where the tax does not apply. Fear not off-gridders, this tax is only for those connected to the grid. If you run an off-grid system then no grid tax needs to be paid at all. Installations smaller than 10 kW are also exempt from paying the second sun tax. The Canary Islands and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish territories in Africa) are also exempt from the second tax. Mallorca and Menorca pay the second sun tax at a reduced rate.

The Spanish government defended the legislation by saying the fees contribute to overall grid system costs. However, the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF) pointed out how uneconomic the new law was. Their spokesperson stated, “Each kWh imported from the grid by a self-consumer will pay double the tolls compared to a kWh imported from the gird by another consumer.”

Change on the horizon

The current legislation is an unnecessary burden placed upon solar consumers who want to be more economical and environmentally friendly. This has been recognized by opposing political parties and other unions and consumers. The political party which initially brought in the sun tax is now a minority. Therefore, there is now the opportunity for all opposing parties to remove this expensive and impractical legislation.

In January 2017 a law proposal was registered in congress, beginning the process of the sun tax removal. The urgent changes to the legislation listed in the document include the right to self-consumption of solar energy without charge. Along with this, several consumers should be able to pool their resources to share a self-consumption facility to help tackle poverty. Plus, the proposal also adapts the sanctioning regime to avoid the multi-million euro fines, becoming more realistic. Finally, the importance of renewable energy as an appropriate instrument to help reduce environmental impact of electricity production has been recognised. Alongside, the role it can play in strengthening energy independence for Spain. The President of the UNEF, Jorge Barredo, said of the proposal, “it is a very important step in defining a different and more favourable regulatory framework for self-consumption.”

The law proposal has outlined a period of 3 months for the legislation to come into action.

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ODDBALL LOOKING TO JOIN OFF GRID COMMUNITY

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Hi, my name is Olivia and I am 17 (turning 18 very soon). All my 17 years I’ve been sort of the oddball out.

Over the past few years I have learned about my true self.

Hippie at Heart

I am a hippie at heart and I dream to live a simple and enlightening life.

I do use marijuana and believe that it can help with a multitude of things. I am absolutely in love with nature and animals.

Meditation

I also practice meditation, crystal healing, and yoga. I want to find a off grid community where I can be with people like me and all are accepted for who they are. I am a hard worker! I love gardening, caring for animals, and I’d be down to learn how to do anything necessary to live sustainably! I will be turning 18 soon and when the day comes, I hope to be able to drop everything and go off grid. Please comment!

Peace

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A Microgrid Revolution – Blockchains spreading everywhere

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Microgrid, revolution, off-grid, electricity, trading, blockchain, technology, solar, renewables

Could pylons become a relic of the past with the microgrid revolution?

This is the new way to generate power, sell it to your neighbours, and cut out the middleman – the Utility company. And it uses the same Blockchain technology as Bitcoin.

In the Gowanus and Park Slope regions of Brooklyn, dozens of solar panel arrays have been hooked up to the Brooklyn Microgrid.  The project which currently has 50 participants signs residents up to a virtual trading platform. Those with solar panels are then able to sell excess electricity credits generated from their systems to buyers within the microgrid community.

Based on Blockchain

The virtual energy trading system is based on “blockchain” technology. This allows individuals to keep a secure and reliable record of transactions. It is essentially technology’s answer to a book keeping system. Giving more control to the consumer, it allows the turning of traditional relationships between utility companies and customers on its head. By bypassing the big electricity companies altogether it is allowing this community to have a sustainable, secure and cost-effective source of power. Lawrence Orsini, LO₃’s CEO, told the New York Times, “In order for transactive energy to take off as a whole, regulators have to be comfortable that markets can actually work this way and, more importantly, that people want markets like this.”

LO₃ Energy are the designers of this experiment. They used Google Earth to identify the Brooklyn neighbourhood as the first of potentially many more microgrids. By moving away from a centralized approach and creating local energy networks, should an emergency occur these systems can become grid independent. Residents approve of future project plans, which involve a microgrid located near to a hospital or other community resource. This way essential services could disconnect from the grid and operate independently during power failure. Garry Golden, a member of the Brooklyn Microgrid, said, “It’s a recognition of energy needs…you can feed the energy where it needs to go”.

Microgrids elsewhere

The Brooklyn Microgrid is hardly the first community to explore microgrid options. In Bangladesh, Me SolShare, a company founded in 2014, has been working on setting up microgrids in rural areas. Offering peer to peer sharing and pay-as-you-go solutions for low income households, the company aims to help the 65 million people without central grid access. The SolBox is the key to the trading networks they set up. Acting as a DC power meter, solar charge controller and machine to machine communicator, it is a node in the electricity network. The decentralised peer to peer microgrid networks set up let people earn income directly from the sun. In a low income household, this can make a huge difference.

Jumping continents

German based company Sonnen, have set up a community of 8,000 sonnenBatterie owners who share the energy they produce. By using the energy exclusively from the community, there is no need to go back to a utility supplier. The virtual energy pool is monitored by central software which balances supply and demand throughout the system. There is a monthly membership fee of €19.99 ($21) to join the sonnenCommunity. However, Sonnen justifies this with a number of benefits for joining the community aside from cheaper energy prices. These include: a discount on a sonnenBatterie with a 10 year guarantee; plus free remote maintenance and monitoring and weather forecast updates, amongst others.

And again

Jumping continents again, in Australia Power Ledger have used blockchain technology to set up the first residential electricity trading market. Located in Perth, the system will allow renewable energy owners to decide who they want to sell their surplus energy too and at what cost. Power Ledger is also working on a 500 site trial in Auckland, with New Zealand’s largest electricity distributor.

It’s clear that the benefits of microgrids are becoming more well-known and wide spread as technology allows its facilitation. Do you have any microgrid experiences or opinions? Let us know in the comments below!

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6 Hot Springs you must visit

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Hot Springs, off-grid, water, solar, geothermal, retreat, off the beaten track

Fancy a dip?

Hot springs offer much-needed peace, quiet and relaxation. The naturally occurring, geothermally heated bliss provided in beautiful surroundings is second to none. Plus, if you don’t want to be in a more developed hot spring spa, there are plenty of options to exploreoff-the-beaten-track . Here are 6 off-grid hot springs you definitely need to visit!

If you want off the beaten track then try:

Ringbolt Hot Springs – Arizona

Located in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, this set of pools is visited by thousands of people per year. A 6 mile round trail takes you up through a dramatic volcanic canyon, south of the Hoover Dam. Volcanic rock and granite boulders litter the landscape and lead you to a spot just downstream of the Ringbolt Rapids. After climbing a 20 foot ladder to access the best springs you can bathe to your heart’s content. Directly at the source of the springs the water is the warmest, reaching up to 110°F. The highly mineralized water spews out of the source at approximately 30 gallons per minute! The strenuous hike takes approximately 5 hours to complete (excluding time spent bathing in those beautiful springs) and is closed during the summer months due to it being hazardous because of high temperatures.

Read this couple’s experience of trekking and camping in the area. Alternatively, watch this father and son duo take the trail up through the canyon and reach their destination:

 

Steep Ravine Hot Springs – California

These hot springs are rather unique, trading mountainous vistas for a beach front! The warm water seeps up through the sand at the Steep Ravine Beach in Marin County. These springs are quite a phenomenon, only being exposed for a couple of hours a day. Therefore, it is important to consult a Californian Tide Chart and opt for a minus tide, to avoid disappointment. However, due to the very slight window in the day in which the springs can be accessed it can get rather busy! It’s worth it though, even just to paddle in these warm waters.

 

Goldbug Hot Springs – Idaho

Between the small towns of Salmon and Challis, high up in the desert, lies a chain of six waterfall fed pools. These small but perfectly formed features are accessed by a very up-hill 2 mile hike. The trail offers little shade for respite and the majority of the climb is done in the last quarter of the trek. The pools are a definite reward after that steep incline! Water temperature varies depending on the time of year, so don’t dive in (literally) until you’ve judged the temperature with a hand or foot first! Be warned clothing is optional at the pools, so don’t be surprised if you see some not entirely clothed hikers in the area.

For other hot springs in Idaho, check this out.

 

If you want a bit of luxury, then visit:

Wilbur Hot Springs – California

This is an off-grid sanctuary, providing a natural digital detox from the very on-grid, tech-loving world. The solar-powered resort is set in the heart of a 1,800 acre nature preserve, and it has its own hot mineral springs. The geothermal water contains 3 ounces of dissolved minerals per gallon and is undiluted, untreated and unheated. This is a true relaxation haven with massage treatments and yoga sessions also available. You can take a day trip, or camping grounds, cabins and a solar lodge are all available, giving the option to extend your stay.

Watch this video to get your first impressions of Wilbur Hot Springs:

 

Strawberry Park Hot Springs – Colorado

Up a winding track a few miles out of Steamboat springs, lies this beautiful off-grid retreat. No big signs point to its location and during the winter only big 4x4s are allowed up dirt road. Alternatively, the springs can be reached via a 3 mile trail through the surrounding national forest. This has a real off-the-beaten-track feel. Several large soaking pools with warm to rather hot waters are available next to a cold creek for some cooling off. During the day the springs are family friendly, however during the evening an optional clothes policy means adults only! The resort is currently working on replacing their solar panels, batteries and controllers to keep their off-grid status.

Watch the video below to get a feel of Strawberry Park Hot Springs:

 

Breitenbush Hot Springs – Oregon

Last but not least, is the remote forest sanctuary named Breitenbush. In 154 acres of beautiful landscape including a glacier fed river, an ancient forest and mountains on the horizon, sanctuary really is the right word. Three natural pools with smooth river rocks allow you to sit back and take in the beautiful landscape. Temperatures range from warm to very hot, with a cool plunge pool available to cool off. Powered by hydroelectric from the nearby Breitenbush River and heated by the geothermal water, this sanctuary is entirely off-grid. Hiking throughout the surrounding landscape, massage treatments and several “Well-Being” programs are also available.

 

Have you visited any of these places or been to other hot springs not mentioned? Let us know in the comments below!

The post 6 Hot Springs you must visit appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Calor Gas offers up to £5,000

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Bottled Gas is a gas

They want the world to love them

Bottled Gas supplier Calor Gas is offering funding of up to £5,000 for schemes that will improve life in off-grid communities.

Calor Gas spokesman Paul Blacklock said: “We provide energy to homes and businesses and understand the challenges country living can pose, especially when it comes to community facilities. Projects we support could be anything from community centres, village halls and sporting venues to youth clubs and Scout groups, or they could be initiatives to support the elderly.

“Entries open on April 3. We will be encouraging the whole community to get on board by voting for their favourite.”

Calor Gas Limited (Calor), a subsidiary of SHV Holdings N.V. is an energy service company that provides liquefied petroleum gas supply and other energy services. The company offers products and services such as home energy supply, boiler and heating services, gas bottles, Calor liquefied petroleum gas autogas, and renewable energy for residential customers. It offers LPG solutions for FLT, fork lift truck training, heating solutions, radiant heating, warm air heating, wet system heating, water heating, farming wit LPG, and servicing and maintenance, among others to business customers. The company also sells gas cylinders, outdoor living, commercial appliances, in the home, and solid fuel pallets. Calor is headquartered in Warwick, the UK.

Calor Gas Limited Competitors include

Alpha Petroleum Resources Limited

FCL Petroleum Limited

Gasrec Ltd

Linton Fuel Oils

Sonatrach Petroleum Corporation

BOC Group Limited

 

The post Calor Gas offers up to £5,000 appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

The Ultimate Offgrid Power Solution? Tesla to start selling Solar Roof Shingles

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The latest innovation in solar technology will allow you to turn your entire roof into a solar power generator while being completely invisible from the street. […]

The post The Ultimate Offgrid Power Solution? Tesla to start selling Solar Roof Shingles appeared first on Off Grid Survival – Wilderness & Urban Survival Skills.

Ten Tiny House Companies you NEED to know about

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Tiny House, off-grid, build your own, retirees, retirement, small, mini, houses, homes, self sustaining

Good things come in tiny packages

There’s no doubt about it, the tiny house movement has well and truly taken off. Please let us know your favorites (news@off-grid.net). Extreme downsizing has become very popular, with a smaller space offering easier upkeep and lower utility bills. The average tiny house is 186 square feet – truly tiny! With prices of building your own tiny home being around $23,000 on average (remember Joseph’s upcycled shipping container home?) it’s not hard to see why it’s so popular. Even having someone else build you a tiny house, prices start around the $45,000 mark. This is a great deal cheaper than the price of the average American home which runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Therefore, a good many tiny house owners do not have a mortgage, giving financial peace of mind.

A survey conducted in 2015 by TheTinyLife.com found that retirees are becoming a large proportion of tiny house owners. The results showed that 30% of just 2,000 respondents were aged between 51-70 years. Of course this makes sense, as people reach retirement age downsizing is common practice – and you can’t downsize much more than a tiny home! When looking for a tiny house when you’re not as young and nimble as you used to be, it is important to look out for certain features. These include: easy to reach storage to reduce awkward stooping and stretching; a single storey tiny house, or a main floor bedroom – avoid loft sleeping areas with ladders! Accessibility is also important; whether this be wide doorways, walk in showers, ramp access or building low to the ground.

Here are ten tiny house companies, offering retiree appropriate (and non-retiree) products which could very well seal the deal for you!

 

Zyl Vardos Inc – Washington State

Based out of the Squirrel Hut mini-office in Olympia, Washington, Zyl Vardos builds unique and customisable small structures. The tiny house products offered vary in price from $45,000 to above $96,000. Currently their website showcases 10 of the tiny houses offered, but if you fancy having one designed to your own specification, that is also possible.

Their “Little Bird” Basic option is one of build options available. Coming in at $68,000, with a  22 ft x 8 ft floor space, this home has a copper roof and cedar exterior. With a single French door, 6 windows and a kitchenette, this tiny house has everything you would need. The bed nook happily fits a queen mattress, with room to spare, and a flush or compost toilet can be fitted.

If you would like to upgrade to the “Advanced” option of the Little Bird you can – for an extra $10,000. This upgraded model includes a tiled bathroom floor, oak floors, double French doors, expanded kitchen storage amongst other features. Custom options for a retiree such as wider doorways and a raised toilet can be included at an additional feel.

Zyl Vardos have a building slot available in June 2017, so if this has piqued your interest or you want to let your imagination run free with your own design – contact them. Their YouTube Channel, also gives some great insights into their range of tiny houses!

Tumbleweed Houses – Colorado State

A variety of options await you with the ability to design your perfect tiny house in less than 10 minutes! Base model prices begin at $62,950, with the Cypress and its recess porch being the most popular. Each model can either be 20ft or 26ft in length, offering 188 square feet and 269 square feet of space respectively.  The floor plan options can be customised to your needs, so you can truly put your stamp on the build.

Designing your own tiny house involves you choosing everything from roof colour and window style to interior walls and extra features. Oak, Bamboo or Walnut flooring – the choice is yours! Cabinet colour? Which stairs to get to the loft? Warranty length? All of these choices and many more are placed directly in your hands, giving you a quote for the exact tiny house of your dreams. Off-grid options are also available.

Check out their gallery for some images of what some people have done with their amazing tiny spaces.

 

Escape Home – Wisconsin

This company offers a variety of RV model and park model RVs, which come with basic and custom packages. One of the larger park model options, the Getaway has 400 square foot of space. It comes with a full size bathroom, kitchen with all appliances and private bedroom with queen size bed. The beauty of this home is it is all on one floor, so no pesky stairs or ladders to bother with. Panoramic windows offer breath-taking views to the great outdoors, with the option of an open deck, screened porch or even a sun-room for that extra oomph. Retailing at $88,700, this is a more expensive option, but offers a larger space with plenty of storage and all the comforts of home.

Off-grid options like solar panels and composting toilets can also be added into the designs offered. Depending on the model and customisation options, your Escape can be built in as little as two months and can be delivered to you (charges variable).

To find out more, visit the FAQ section on the Escape website to get into the nitty gritty of these tiny houses.

 

Little House on the Trailer – California

Offering compact moveable, customisable housing and home care cottages from $49,500 what’s not to like? Although, technically Little House on the Trailer is not a tiny house company, the models they build are still on the small side at 400 square feet. The home care cottages are aimed at retirees, allowing parents to live in the backyards of their kids, whilst still having their independence and own space. The selling point of this company is the heavy involvement of the client with the design of the homes. The time it takes from design to delivery is on average 2-3 months. If you fancy seeing one of the models, their display yard is open Saturdays 10 am to 4 pm.

To see more of the beautiful small spaces Little House on the Trailer builds, take a look at their gallery!

 

Home Care Suites – Florida

Tiny House, tiny home, self sustaining, small, mini, retirees, retirement, off-grid

Surprisingly spacious – tiny homes offer a lot for their money.

Like Little House on the Trailer, this company specialises in building small cottages in the backyards of existing residents. Therefore, they are built on permanent foundations and the utilities are tied to the main residence. Aimed mostly at retirees, these tiny houses are also marketed as potential home offices or man caves! Ranging in size from 256 square foot to 588 square foot, there can be ample room inside these tiny houses.

Aiming for the middle ground, the single storey Floridian model comes in at a nicely sized 448 square feet. With a spacious living area, private bedroom with walk in closet, accessible bathroom with walk-in shower, this has everything you could possibly need. It is also fully customisable, so added extras are also possible. The price for this model is $85,000 – $100,000 depending on options chosen. The minimum price for their smallest tiny house is $55,000. These tiny homes typically take between 5 – 6 months to build.

Check out Home Care Suites’ floor plans to see if any are right for you, or even just for a bit of inspiration!

 

Minim Homes – Washington

Not as flexible as some of the other companies mentioned, the Minim House comes as a standard basic home unit. It does however have a few options for customisation. The 12 foot by 24 foot space has an aluminium clad door, six windows and a solid walnut floor. The kitchen area has a stainless sink with foot pedals for hot and cold water, whilst the 4 foot by 6 foot bathroom has a separate walk in shower. A low flush toilet comes as part of the build, or the customer can install a compost toilet at a reduced price. There are plenty of handy storage areas, for instance, the 5 foot sofa opens up to reveal hidden storage space.

Options to add on to the home include a trailer, extra windows and an off –grid package of solar system and refrigerator. The price for this mini home is $71,000 and can be delivered to you for an extra cost.

Check out this pdf document for more on what’s included in the Minim House and prices for optional extras.

 

Shopdog – New Mexico

This company builds tiny houses to suit any design and need and are fully customisable. However, there is one condition – it has to be fully off-grid and self-sustaining. Plus, they aim to build the whole thing out of recycled materials (or as much of it as they can). This is what they achieved with the “Steely Cottage”, a 200 square foot space built on a 24 foot by 8.5 foot trailer. With a self-contained solar system, a composting toilet and grey water drainage system, this tiny house can go absolutely anywhere. As long as there’s sunshine and water to fill the tank of course! Plus, with its full size shower and queen size mattress bed, who says good things don’t come in small packages! The Steely Cottage costs $50,000 and can be shipped for a fee.

 

Nelson Tiny Houses – British Columbia, Canada

This company offers two main styles of tiny house, the V House and the Acorn. From these the company can build something customised entirely by you. V is for versatile and that certainly suits the V House down to a T! A 120 square foot (8 foot by 15 foot) V House comes in at $35,000. However, this can be made larger – up to 250 square foot – double the size! Typically, each additional square foot is around $200.

Built to your specific needs, your tiny house can be furnished with custom built furniture. Alternatively, you can adapt the original floor plan to add rooms or multiple lofts for more storage. Really very versatile! Plus, the tiny house can be built to be fully off-grid. However the price tag does increase up to $10,000 for this. Typical building time for one of these projects is between 12 and 24 months depending on the specification.  Currently, the company only delivers to certain states in the US – Washington, Idaho and Montana.

Check out a tour of the V House, plus check out the Nelson Tiny House YouTube Channel!

Tiny Home Builders – Florida

Another company with a variety of models, which can be delivered nationwide! One model is even named “Tiny Retirement”. Designed specifically for retirees it is based on a single level – no stairs in sight! Plus, with the entryway located at one end of the building, this allows space for a bathroom at the other. This leaves plenty of room  in the rest of the space for a full size bed!

However, if you don’t want to buy a model with “retirement” in the title, the Tiny Studio model can be customised to your needs instead. Options such as slip resistant flooring and a ramp are available! This tiny house has 160 square foot of space with kitchen and dining space on a slightly raised level. Underneath this platform there is a roll-away bed which becomes seating space when put away. Plus, being built on a mobile trailer, the tiny studio can go anywhere – just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stay in one place!

 

Creative Cottages – Maine

Last but by no means least is Creative Cottages, which create custom energy efficient homes using environmentally sensitive building practices. Their Oceanside Retreat is a beautifully crafted 422 square feet which is liveable all year round. A single storey layout, with bedroom, kitchen and bathroom facilities, whilst the sliding glass doors ensure there is lots of natural light, making it bright and airy. Custom built on foundations, this is a more expensive option compared to the other choices outlined above, coming in at $238,000.

Creative Cottages also only services the Mid-coast Maine area. However, there is the option to buy plans from them (at a cost of between £1,850 and $2,300) and hire a contractor to build your very own creative cottage elsewhere.

 

These are just some of the tiny house building companies out there. It is clear there is a wide range of scope and creativity when it comes to building these mini homes. But it is easy to understand why so many people have fallen in love with them.

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EcoSolarCool new Solar Refrigeration

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EcoSolarCool, Solar Refrigeration,Refrigerator, Solar, Off-grid,

Stay cool with the new EcoSolarCool’s refrigerator models

EcoSolarCool have kick-started 2017 with the release of two new Solar Refrigeration models. The new additions to the upright product line aim to minimise the daily power consumption of cooling appliances. Refrigerators are one of the most energy consuming appliances in the home, accounting for up to 25% of household energy cost. EcoSolarCool want to change this, “providing constant, reliable and energy efficient cooling at great value.”

Two New Models

Both of EcoSolarCool’s new models are approved by UL250 and CSA to US and Canadian standards. These are the only solar refrigerators in the world to hold this approval. Plus this is for the whole unit and not just the compressor. Both models have the most up to date and advanced Danfoss DC compressor and are manufactured in Europe. The power consumption for the models is also at a record low for the solar/DC appliances industry at 201 kWh per annum! This is also amongst the lowest in the AC refrigeration appliances market.

The ESCR260GE Metallic Grey model has a total capacity of 260 litres (9.2 cubic feet). The refrigeration compartment is larger in comparison to the freezer compartment at 235 litres (8.3 cubic feet) to 25 litres (0.9 cubic feet). The freezer is located at the top of the unit and the refrigeration compartment at the bottom. This model weighs in at 121.3 lb (55kg) and is 23.7 x 25.2 x 57.1 inches.

The ESCR355GE Stainless Steel model has a total capacity of 354 litres (12.5 cubic feet). The larger refrigeration compartment (258 litres/9.1 cubic feet) is located at the top of the unit, and the freezer compartment (96 litres/3.4 cubic feet) at the bottom. This model weighs in at 163.2 lb (74kg) and is 23.7 x 25.2 x 78.8 inches in size.

Features of Both

Both models have adjustable internal temperatures and reversible doors. The temperature range for the cooling compartment is between 0°C/32°F to 10°C/50°F. Whereas, the freezing compartment temperature can reach as low as -18°C/-0.4°F. For operation, both models need a solar panel, a 12 volt AGM, lithium or deep cycle battery and a 15 amp 12/24 volt solar charge controller. The battery ensures the refrigerator will continue running through the night and on not so sunny days. Whereas, the solar charge controller regulates the electric charge from the batteries and the solar panel(s). To find out how many solar panels/batteries needed to run your solar refrigeration appliance, check out EcoSolarCool’s blog post.

The refrigerators are perfect for a wide variety of situations from RVs, to cabins to on and off-grid homes.

Both refrigerator models can be bought from a local dealer or the Solar Power estore. Prices advertised on the EcoSolarCool website are $1,299.00 for the smaller Metallic Grey model and $1,650.00 for the larger Stainless Steel model.

EcoSolarCool Products all have these…

All the solar powered refrigeration and freezer appliances sold by EcoSolarCool have a 4.4 inch thick lining of polyurethane insulation. All products also have a built in energy-saving mode feature to make sure the units don’t guzzle more energy than what it needs. Plus, they also have an automatic shut off to ensure the appliances have a long service life. All units have a two year warranty and operate at an input voltage of 12/24 volts.

If you want to find out different methods of keeping food cool then check out this post.

You may also like to find out more about how solar refrigeration works in more detail, check out these articles:

What is a Solar Refrigerator?

Low Energy Refrigeration

The post EcoSolarCool new Solar Refrigeration appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Reinventing The Wheel: How To Get Perfectly Round Shapes

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From round tires to mirrors and wheels of cheese, round shapes are a major part of our society and culture. In fact, round shapes are so common, you may feel like there is no need whatsoever to “reinvent the wheel”.

What happens when society collapses and there are no means to run the computers and factories that generate all the round things we use today? Where will you get new tires, new steering wheels, and other round items?

If you do not know how to make perfectly round shaped templates and then fashion them into working items, it will be impossible to repair damaged devices and build new ones.

The Importance of a Durable and Reusable Template

Consider a situation where you need to make a new wheel for a wagon or some other device. At the beginning of your task, you may think that you are only going to make one wheel, and then not need to worry about producing another one for some time.

For the sake of speed and utility, you may think it is best to find some way to duplicate a round shape right on the material that you plan to work with.

To begin, if you do not have a template, you will not be able to start again as easily if the material in question falls apart or does not work for your application. At the very least, if you have a template, you can simply use it to mark another piece of material without having to go through the whole measurement process again.

If another round object of the same size breaks, you can simply use the template you have on hand and save yourself a few steps.

A good quality template can also expand your material choices and options for producing the wheel. Among other things, you can use it to help with making molds, or even creating round objects that are made from layers of different materials.

The template can also be used to guide tools and help ensure that the final product is the proper size for your application.

Don’t forget to add extra material in case you need to add treads. Worst comes to worst, if the wheel is too big with the treads, you can simply sand or file it down to the right size. Just make sure that you also have a slightly smaller template to go by so that you don’t wind up with an irregular shape.

During the process of choosing a template material, it is very important to know what kinds of materials and tools you will be working with. For example, if you are planning to cut a round object from wood, it may be best to have a metal template.

This is especially important if you are going to use the template as a guide for the tools. Just make sure that the metal in question will not be damaged by the tools you are planning to use.

If you are only going to use the template as a means to draw marking guides on the material, then you can use paper, cardboard, or hard plastic.

Remember, if you do not have enough hard plastic on hand, you can try ironing together plastic bags to make a durable sheet of thicker plastic.

The template should be easy to fold up or roll up so that it does not take up much space. Just make sure that when you open the template back up, it does not have folds or creases in it that will cause spots to be less round than needed. The template should also lay perfectly flat and be easy to hold in place while you are working.

Discover the secrets that helped our forefathers survive! 

Some Ways to Get a Perfectly Round Blueprint

When a wheel or another round object spins, any deviation on roundness or weight disbursement can cause wobbling, excess wear, and possible breakage of the item. While some of these problems can be compensated for with balancing weights, it is still very important to start off with the roundest shape possible.

Simply trying to trace a round object onto a piece of paper or other template material will never work because the object in question will have been worn down from being in use.

It is much better to use the following methods for creating a round template that can be used to shape other objects.

Use a Compass

Even though a drafting compass is not very large, it will give you a perfectly round circle. I tend to prefer all metal compasses that have one pointer leg and a second one to hold a pencil. There are also extendable drafting compasses that will work just as well.

Use a String and a Pencil

To use this form of makeshift compass, you will need to set the pencil (or other narrow cylindrical object) in the center of the material you are using for the template. It should not bend in any direction or wobble.

Next, place the string around the pencil and measure a length that corresponds to where you want the outer edge of the circle to be. Use a pencil or something else that will make marks so that you have a more precise measure.

Hold the marking tool in place while you take the two ends of the string and tie them together. The marking tool should fit within the loop. You can make the loop as big or as small as you need to make a large enough round shape.

To use the compass, keep the string tight against the marking tool as you move it around the central pencil. When using this makeshift compass, make sure the string does not jump up and down on the central pencil.

You will also have to be very careful to make sure that the marking tool does not bend inward or outward, as this will throw off the roundness of the circle.

Use a Stick and a Central Pin

This method is very similar to the string and pencil compass, but it eliminates the problems associated with the string jumping and marking tool wobbling.

Basically, this makeshift compass looks a lot like an old fashioned stereo arm. Instead of the arm reaching in from outside the record, the holding place is located in the center of the circle.

You can use a stick of wood, or just about anything else as an arm. Just make sure that it can spin as freely as possible on the central holding point without wobbling or jumping up and down.

Next, drill or cut a hole in the arm that matches location that matches the edge of the circle you are planning to draw.

Set a pencil or other marking device into the hole so that it does not wobble, lean inward, or lean outward. Now all you have to do is push the marking tool so that the arm moves with it. As the arm moves around the central point, the marking tool will create a circle.

Video first seen on Make Something

Basics of Wheel Design

In a time of need, you may not be able to get the exact same materials that were used to create the device you are trying to repair. While you may be thinking that plastic or metal might have to be replaced with wood, there are many other options.

Since different materials have different strength levels and tendencies, you may need to change the internal shapes found in the wheel as well as it size and thickness.

Keep the following wheel design elements in mind as you study different materials. If you are building something completely new, you will also need to evaluate these elements in relation to the materials on hand and the application.

Even though you may be thinking mostly about vehicle wheels, there are many other places where these elements must work together for optimal performance.

If you are going to lift heavy objects with a simple machine, you will need to figure out the best ratio for pulley wheels. If you decide to advance into making gears, these elements are also very important to consider.

No matter whether you decide to create a pulley, a water wheel, or an automobile wheel, you will need to know how the following elements affect the performance of the wheel, and how that, in turn, affects the entire machine you are building or repairing.

Wheel Size

Since a wheel is designed to move in relation to a central axis, the diameter of the wheel is very important. A larger wheel will turn fewer times to cover longer distances, however, the engine or source of power will have to do more work to make the wheel turn. Smaller wheels will turn more times when compared to larger ones to cover the same distance, but it takes less work to turn the wheel.

Wheel Width

Thinner wheels can be useful for applications where you want less traction and resistance to travel. Thicker wheels are better for places where you want to reduce the risk of skidding while moving forward or making turns. Since thicker wheels also weight more, they will also absorb bumps better and with less loss of control.

Wheel Weight

More than a few people think that wheels should be as light as possible so that it takes less work to move them. On the other side of the equation, wheels need to have enough weight so that they will create enough drag as they move over surfaces beneath them.

If the wheel does not grip the surface properly, skidding will occur. Minor skidding can also be a problem because locked wheels are harder to turn than ones that grip surfaces properly.

Spokes vs Solid Construction

When you start making wheels big enough for a wagon or other vehicle, the weight of a solid wheel can cause a number of problems. On the other hand, spokes or cutouts in the wheel can reduce the weight to acceptable levels. That being said, if you are working with a material that has very little durability, you may still need to revert back to more solid shaped wheels.

You can also try using fortifications such as an independent rim that will add strength while reducing the overall weight of the wheel.

Surfaces for Traction

Weight alone is not enough to ensure that a wheel will always maintain good traction. This is why patterns or “treads” are often cut into tires. When combined with the weight of the vehicle, these treads help to grip the road without adding to the weight of the tire.

If you are going to build a brand new wheel, do not forget to choose a tread pattern that matches your application. This includes making sure that you know which patterns will work best in the mud, snow, ice, or anything else that you might be driving on.

How to Cut Round Surfaces

Once you know how big and thick the wheel is going to be, the next step will be shaping it from the base material. Here are the basic steps for a situation where you are cutting the material from a block of solid wood, plastic, metal or some other material.

  • Start off by making sure that the block is the right thickness or width for the wheel. Try to make the surface as smooth and even as possible.
  • Next, use the template to draw the round object. Be sure to note where the axis will go as well as how big it will be.
  • Use your cutting tools to take away the bulk of material from the edge of the wheel. Do not cut all the way down to the template lines. Leave at least 1/8” to ¼” so that you have enough room to sand the edges as well to create the roundest shape possible.
  • Once you have the basic wheel shape in place, go back and try to make it as even as possible all the way around before sanding. Do not cut to the point where you are at the template lines. At this stage, try to leave at least 1/16” all the way around the wheel.
  • Get rid of any excess material by sanding it away.
  • If needed, add any treads that you may need to complete the outer surface of the wheel.
  • Go ahead and drill out the area where the axle will go.
  • Complete the wheel by hollowing out any areas required to reduce overall weight.

Video first seen on bobdutica

Shaping Wood and Other Semi-Pliable Materials

Have you ever looked at wooden arched doorways and wondered how they could be made from just a single piece of wood. Surprisingly enough, this task isn’t as hard as it looks. By the same token, you can also bend metal and other materials into wheel shapes with relative ease. In order to do so you will need a solid wheel form that can be used to support the new form.

If you are planning to shape wood into a wheel, start off with a thin board that has the same width as what you need for the finished wheel. Next, you will have to soak the wood to soften it a bit.

Apply weights to the wood so that it “warps”a little, and then it it slowly dry up again. You will need to repeat this process several times to complete the wheel shape.

Once you complete a wooden wheel, do not forget that thin wood will require some form of support. You can use metal or plastic rims, as long as they are durable enough and can easily be bolted to the wood.

After you complete the outer rim of the wheel, you will need to complete the spokes and the hub. These can be fairly involved processes. As you put the spokes and hub into place, do not forget that the wheel must balance properly while in motion. If you notice that it wobbles you can attach weights on the inner surface of the wheel rim to improve balance.

In some ways, shaping metal can be a good bit easier. You can heat and hammer wood into thin enough strips that can be bent with relative ease with your hands or pliers. Just make sure that the underlying form can withstand the heat from hot metal if you decide to work with metal when is softer and more pliable.

Overall, you will find plastic one of the easiest materials to make wheels from. If you are working with a hard plastic, just apply some heat and let the plastic rest on the underlying form. Make sure that you also have the form covered with something that the plastic will not adhere to. Make sure that you can break the underlying form apart if needed.

Casting Wheels

Throughout time, many people have found out it is easier to produce consistent wheels by making a reusable mold first. Molds also open up the number of materials that you can use to make wheels.

For example, if the wheel isn’t going to be used in heavy stress and strain applications, you may even be able to get away with using glass. Wheels made from plastic, metal, or even clay are easily made when you cast them using a mold. Here is the basic process:

  • You will need to start off with an exact model of the round shape. It should match your needs in terms of width, circumference, hub design, and spokes. You can use any material that you want as long as it won’t collapse or warp while you care making the mold.
  • Next, choose the material that you will use to create the mold. The material should be heavy enough to withstand pulling and pushing without warping. It should also be strong enough so that it won’t break or be damaged by the material used to make the final shape.
  • When creating the mold, you will need to account for a place to pour in the material used to make the wheel. You will also need to decide how and in what places the mold will be opened in order to remove the finished wheel. Depending on the wheel design, you may be able to get away with a 2 part mold. If the spokes or internal shapes are more complicated, you may need a 4 part mold.
  • After you remove the model (it’s OK if it is destroyed as you won’t need it any further), go ahead and clean up the mold.
  • Put the mold back together and secure it with rope or something else that will keep the pieces all together. Try to make sure the pieces fit together as tightly and as perfectly as possible so that the material used to make the wheel won’t leak through.
  • Next, go ahead and fill the mold.
  • Once the material used to fill the mold is fully cured, go ahead and open the mold up. If you did everything right, you should have a fairly close duplicate of the original model wheel. You may need to remove mold seams and other imperfections, but the basic round shape should be just fine.

Right now, it is fair to say that most people take wheels for granted. At the same time, if we lose factories during a major social collapse, wheels, gears, pulleys, and other round objects will be very hard to produce.

Knowing how to “reinvent” a wheel may not seem very useful until you are in a situation where you must do so or face serious problems.

From bugging out to keeping your homestead running in good order, being able to make new wheels and design them from scratch is a very important, but overlooked skill.

More valuable secrets form our forefathers are still to be discovered.

CLICK the banner below and discover the lost secrets that helped our ancestors survive!

 

 

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Hawaii community begins development

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Hawaii, Development, Off-grid, Solar, batteries, minigrid

Fancy being off-grid here?

Hawaii has always been one of thebest places in America for off-grid living and now Work has begun on a hgh-end, 410-home, off-grid housing development located on Hawaii’s Gold Coast. The Hawaiian entrepreneur behind the project, Brian Anderson, believes it is set to be the first off-grid community development of such magnitude. Anderson told Bizjournals, “When considering how to power our community, I felt it was our responsibility to create something that would benefit future generations through the use of clean and safe renewable energy”.

The Ainamalu project is located in Waikoloa consisting of 350 homes and 60 condos. The buildings will have solar roofs and be hooked up to Blue Planet Energy’s Blue Ion Battery storage systems. These batteries are ferrous phosphate and so don’t contain any rare minerals. This means there is an abundant and conflict free resource available to produce them. Coming with a 15 year performance warranty, the batteries have a 100% discharge capacity. Blue Planet Energy was set up by another Hawaiian entrepreneur Henk Rogers.

Perfect for Solar


Driest in Hawaii

One of the driest places in the state, Waikoloa has less than 11 inches of rain per year, plus being located close to the equator it is perfect for solar energy. The solar and battery storage will create a micro-grid for the community. In addition, there will be a large energy storage system. Therefore, the community will have energy security. If residents use more energy that what their home produces, then they can obtain more from this supply. This would be for a fee below the average utility price. The technology for the micro-grid is called “Hee” after the Hawaiian octopus. This is due to the system’s ability to handle the distribution of energy throughout the many arms of the community.

The homes will range in size from 1,625 to 2,800 square feet on a 15,000 square foot lot. Residents of the community will have access to a private beach club, including pool, water slide and concessions on food. The layout of the community will also mean parts of the project can be used for vacation rentals. Prices for the homes are set to start at $750,000.

The post Hawaii community begins development appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Apocalypse Survival Tips

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Post-apocalypse, survival, tips, billionaire, New Zealand, Boltholes, energy, food,

How the 99% can live thru an apocalypse

Recent panic-buying of land in New Zealand has been sparked by worries of a Trumpocalypse. Concerned billionaires, headed up by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, are apparently preparing for a catastrophic Apocalypse. Which catastrophe? Well, depends who you speak to – an earthquake, societal collapse, pandemic, World War III. One thing’s for certain, they want to be prepared.

 

Billionaire Boltholes in New Zealand

New Zealand is the location of choice for these panicked moguls. Why? A developed nation, capable of being self-sufficient and conveniently located as far from potential human made catastrophes as possible.  Plus, New Zealand is a pretty politically safe country – it’s not exactly on anyone’s nuclear hit list! It seems to be these reasons that lead to Peter Thiel forking out over $10 million for a 477 acre lakeside estate.

But what about us non-billionaires? The ordinary folk who can’t afford boltholes in New Zealand? What does the common man need to know to survive and ultimately rebuild society?

In his book, “The Knowledge”, Lewis Dartnell lays out the key things you need to know for rebuilding society from scratch. Essentially a quick guide on how to reboot human civilisation. Here, are some of the key messages from the book, from short term survival to long term society building.

 

Water Purification

Purifying your drinking water is very important so as not to contract disease from lurking bacteria. Disease such as cholera could well become prevalent in more developed countries once more in a post-apocalyptic world if drinking dirty water. Boiling may seem like the obvious go to option but this uses a lot of fuel, which will become very valuable.

The method recommended by the World Health Organization for those living in developing countries is solar disinfection. UV waves and other forms of the suns radiation cause DNA damage and photo-oxidative destruction to bacteria and other disease causing organisms.  The method is simple: fill plastic bottles with water (of a low turbidity, this method won’t work with very turbid water) and leave them outside for a period of time. The length of time is dependent on the weather conditions: sunny conditions only needs six hours, compared to cloudy conditions which would require up to 2 days.

The benefits of this method are that it is cheap, easy AND it works. Using this method there is a significantly lower instance of diarrhea related disease compared to drinking untreated water. However, if water is very turbid then it will need to be filtered prior to treatment. Also only a limited volume of water can be treated at one time (i.e. the amount the bottles will hold) and a long period of time is required for treatment.

 

Infection Prevention

Things we take for granted like keeping clean help us to prevent infection. It is important to carry this forward in a post-apocalyptic earth – once again to ensure your survival. Something incredibly simple, like soap helps to protect against gastrointestinal and respiratory infection. There are many links online about how to make your own soap, like this one. Ethanol is also good for disinfection when you have a wound. This can be made from fermented food or grain.

 

Power Generation after Apocalypse

Coming from pre-apocalypse earth where we have a great reliance on power for practically everything, power generation will be very important post-apocalypse. Initially, scavenging diesel generators may provide enough power short term. But longer term power generation will be an important consideration. Renewables would be the way to go post apocalypse, generating electricity from water wheels and similar contraptions, using an alternator from abandoned cars. Excess energy could then be stored in batteries. Car batteries aren’t the best battery for energy storage, but they would be a starting point and would no doubt be in quite good supply! Check out this article for more information on the best batteries.

 

Growing Food

Food, the human energy source, is obviously a very important consideration. Sure to begin with you can scavenge from supermarkets and corner shops, but what about longer term? The store of food from pre-apocalypse earth won’t power the rebuilding of society. Luckily, there is a “back-up plan” in place for rebuilding agriculture and the variety of food as we know it today.

The Svalbard Seed Vault is a stockpile of over 880,000 samples of seed from seed vaults across 233 countries. The bank holds the staples of food security such as wheat, maize and rice. Despite being in a remote location surrounded by beautiful landscape, the Svalbard Seed Bank is anything but Bond villain-esque. It is essentially a hole in a mountain side, culminating in three chambers behind a set of five locked doors. It is built to last 1,000 years, with the permafrost and thick ice ensuring the precious seeds remain frozen without requiring any power. This mountainside storage facility essentially holds a starter pack of viable seeds to help rebuild agriculture and food security.

 

Power Cars – with trees

We have grown very accustomed to easy travel and the need for getting cars and other vehicles working will no doubt be an important factor in survival. But with a lack of fuel for diesel and petrol cars post-apocalypse, thinking back in time may help. During the Second World War millions of cars in Europe were run on fuel from wood. Modifying a car’s internal combustion engine to run on flammable gases produced by incomplete combustion of wood has been done before – it can be done again. Check out this article to find out more on gasifier engines.

 

Learning to Relearn

So we have the beginnings of initially being able to survive in post-apocalyptic earth, but surviving and rebuilding society are different things. How can we rebuild human society? Dartnell points out that “society has an immense collective capability” but alone, we are ignorant. Therefore, the preservation of the scientific method is the key to rebuild and reboot civilisation. We need society to develop and progress through generations and we do this through relearning what we know. “Science built the modern world and science will build the world from scratch again.”

To watch Lewis Dartnell explain the basics of surviving in a post-apocalyptic earth, view this TED conference video.

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How To Store Tap Water For Survival

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How To Store Tap Water For Survival

You turn on the faucet and there it is: as much water as you could possibly want. But then, as a prepper, you think, “What about the day when I turn it on and nothing comes out?”

Many people buy bottled water for their stockpile, and that’s fine, but you can also store tap water for survival and it won’t cost you a dime beyond your monthly water bill, if you have one.

There are some precautions that you need to take, but otherwise, turn on the tap, fill your containers, and store away!

Use Clean Containers

Even a few bacteria will quickly travel and multiply in room temperature water. That’s why they say to turn the sink in a public bathroom on and off with a towel. Even if you’re the only one who drank out of the bottle, the contents of the bottle can spoil and contaminate the tap water stored in it and make it undrinkable.

To avoid this, run the containers through the dishwasher using the hot water cycle, or clean them with hot soapy water just like you do your canning jars. It’s important to use containers that are easy to clean and don’t have little nooks and crannies that can harbor bacteria.

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

Containers to Store Tap Water

It’s important to choose the right container to store your water in. Some people use milk jugs but I wouldn’t recommend it for a number of reasons. They’re relatively flimsy, which makes them easy to puncture.

They’re also difficult to get clean because of the narrow handle. The lids nowadays often pop off. You don’t want a container that’s going to easily leak, and milk jugs are just a flood waiting to happen.

Some containers that are good for storing water include 1- and 2-liter soda bottles, juice jugs, and, if you want to store a larger quantity, 5-gallon food-grade buckets are great. They’re sturdy and stackable. You can also buy the sturdy camping water containers at your local superstore. They’re a bit expensive, but they’ll hold water for years.

Glass containers are always a good option too, though they’re heavy and breakable.

Make sure that all of your plastic containers are BPA-free so that no chemicals will leech into your water. Using opaque containers is good too, because direct sunlight will cause algae and the like to grow, just in case there are any spores at all in your water.

Video first seen on NoBudgetHomestead

Store Your Water in a Cool Location Out of the Sunlight

Sunlight promotes the growth of pathogens, so store your jugs out of direct sunlight. Sun also breaks down some plastic containers, which is why it’s important to use BPA-free containers. Also, hot water takes up more space than cool water, so you may have a problem with your containers swelling and leaking – especially if you’re a die-hard believer in milk jugs.

Remember that even if your containers are clean when you put the water in them, they’re not sealed so pathogens can still get in.

Add a Few Drops of Bleach

If you have city water, your water already has chlorine in it that kills pathogens and prohibits the growth of more. If you have well water, you may want to add a few drops of bleach to serve the same purpose. To be more exact, add 2 drops of bleach per quart of water to kill pathogens.

You may be thinking, “Why do I have to worry about this if my containers are clean when I put the water in it?” Well, there are a couple of reasons. Even if your containers are completely sterile when you fill them, they’re probably not completely air-tight, which means that pathogens can still find a way in.

A few drops of bleach will make it a very bad day for any germs that happen to choose your container!

That being said, if the container isn’t airtight, the chlorine will break down and leave it vulnerable to bacteria, which leads us to our next subject.

Rotate

Water doesn’t go bad, but it can get slightly acidic after a while. That’s because a minuscule percentage of it chemically changes to carbonic acid when it’s exposed to air. This makes it a prime breeding ground for bacteria. Considering that and the fact that bleach or chlorine breaks down, you should probably rotate tap water every six months or so.

This isn’t necessary for commercial water because it’s sealed, but it’s still a good idea to use the FIFO (First In, First Out) method, if for no other reason than to keep in practice.

There used to be expiration dates on commercially bottled water, but the CDC lifted the requirement due to lack of evidence that water goes bad. Remember though, that this water is sealed so that air can’t get in it, and the water and container are both sterile when the water goes in. That’s not the case with tap water.

Empty, clean, and refill your tap water containers at least every six months. Use the water that you’re dumping as grey water to water your plants or whatever.

Make Ice

If you have the room in an extra freezer, store some of your water in there. Frozen water bottles will help keep your frozen food cold longer if you lose power. They’re also great to toss in a cooler in place of messy loose ice, and if you’re heading to the gym or hiking, or anywhere really, a bottle of ice will melt so that you have nice cold water for a few hours instead of drinking it warm.

If you use the small bottles, they’re also great for ice packs.

Store in Different Sizes

You may have noticed that I’ve mentioned different size options for your bottles. Why choose just one? You can store large quantities of water (i.e. 5 gallons) for use by the entire family for a day, then store gallons to have on hand to use for cooking or personal use throughout the day, and store individual servings such as water bottles to carry with you on your person.

Having water stored in 5-gallon buckets or 55-gallon drums is great if you’re staying in, but what about if you have to bug out? That’s a danged heavy thing to tote around. Also, that many large water containers will be tough to keep inside and tough to hide outside.

Storing tap water is a perfectly reasonable, safe, cheap way to prepare for disaster. As long as you store it properly and rotate it, there’s no reason why it isn’t every bit as safe as store-bought water. Between it and rainwater, which we show you here how to collect, you can store as much water as you need to survive for at least a while.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Rising Electricity Prices cause Farmers to go Off-Grid

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Solar, Farmers, Off-grid, solar panels, bills, charges

Australian farmers face utility bill increases of 300% and US farmers face spiking charges

Australia’s farm exports have been increasing consistently for the past 6 years and agriculture contributed the most to the country’s economic growth during the last financial quarter. The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) said that a rise in the cash income of South Australia’s farms will be head and shoulders above the 10 year average for the region. But despite this, farmers are being faced with huge electricity bills which are becoming impossible to absorb.

The National Farmer’s Federation are calling for a transformation of the national electricity market. Currently farmers are facing tariff increases of up to 300%! This has been especially sobering for dairy farmers who are predicted to have a fall in cash income. This is due to falling prices for products such as milk.

Fiona Simson, president of the NFF, said, “We need affordable, secure and reliable and low emission electricity.” She spoke of how farmers are turning to off-grid solutions, dusting off diesel generators to avoid a “crippling overnight electricity bill”.

It is not just Australia’s farmers turning to off-grid energy.

US farmers are also beginning to show signs of a solar revolution, to avoid fees for electricity spiking. Even though the start-up costs for solar energy are still more than fossil fuel, with a combination of state incentives, a demand for energy and higher electricity prices in some states, the initial investment starts to pay off.

For the moment solar energy seems to be a supplement for activities such as water pumping and charging electric fences. Farmers in some states have been quicker on the uptake than others. For instance, a five year drought in California has meant farms having to use more electricity to pump ground water. When electricity intensive activities like this take place, it draws a high amount of energy from the local grid all in one go. This leads to a large “spiking” charge for the farmer.

Not only this, but some electricity companies like Pacific Gas and Electric charge more during day time summer hours. This is when there is more demand on the grid. Therefore, turning to solar during this time makes financial sense to avoid higher bills. Using batteries to store excess solar energy to avoid using grid electricity is also a good option for lowering bills. However, the main limitation for many farmers is the cost and storage size of the battery packs they would require. For a lot of farmers with solar power, its use stops when the sun goes down.

In some states like Washington, where electricity prices are low, solar panels are few and far between. However, as electricity prices continue to increase, this easily deploy-able green energy source is likely to become a popular solution.

The post Rising Electricity Prices cause Farmers to go Off-Grid appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

How To Turn Your Bike Into A Bug Out Vehicle

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The first thing that people do in the movies when there’s a catastrophic event is try to get out of town. They end up in gridlocked traffic and end up surrounded by panicking people abandoning vehicles that can’t go any further. Obviously, there was a lack of planning.

As preppers, we’re prepared to avoid these types of situations either by bugging in, or by having bug out vehicles that can navigate terrain, and will allow us to avoid major roads so that we have a better chance of getting safely away.

Though many people don’t consider a motorcycle a good choice for a bug out vehicle, don’t discount the advantages out of hand. After all, while all of those cars are gridlocked, you can ride the berm or split the lanes to continue traveling. This would, of course, come with the risk of somebody knocking you off your bike, so you’d have to be extremely cautious while also traveling quickly.

You can also travel off-road if you have the right bike and it’s properly equipped. Oh, and if you have an EMP room that’s at least 5 or 6 feet square, you can keep the bike right in there along with an extra motor and parts and still have plenty of room left for your other stuff.

Also, a motorcycle gets anywhere from 30-70 mpg. The average dual sport bike has anywhere from a 3-6 gallon tank, which means that you can make it 150-300 miles on one tank. They’re also versatile and do well both on the street and off-road assuming you choose a good bike and put knobby tires on it.

Many people like to use a 250cc for a bug out vehicle, but I like a little more speed and power – I’d recommend a 600 – it doesn’t weight that much more than a 250, though you will lose a little mpg. That’s negligible, though – 10mpg maybe. Chances are good that your bug out place is still going to be well within your tank range.

There are downsides. You can’t realistically take more than two people and will only be able to take the bare essentials with you. Ideally, you should probably use a bike to get you to a pre-stocked bug out location. Most sport bikes, enduros, motocross bikes and duel sports are light enough that 2 people can lift them up into the back of a truck.

However, there are a few modifications that you should probably make in order to optimize it for bugging out. These are just general suggestions – you’ll have to account for your individual terrain and bug out plans.

Put Headlights on Toggle Switch

Motorcycles typically have headlights that turn on as soon as you turn the key as a standard safety feature. Since you may need to hide, it’s probably a good idea to put the headlight on a toggle switch. Fortunately, the wiring on a motorcycle is fairly simple, so this is easy to do.

Paint to Match Your Terrain

I absolutely love the electric blue and neon green paintjob on my GSXR, but it doesn’t exactly lend itself to hiding.

Not only do you want to keep from being seen on it if possible, but you don’t want it to stand out for somebody to target as a potential getaway vehicle for themselves should you need to stop and be away from it. (i.e., bathroom breaks, etc.)

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much paint to cover an entire motorcycle. Choose a paint that will help you blend into your terrain. Whether it’s green or tan, or somewhere in between, camouflage that ride.

Cargo Racks

You can buy a cargo rack for behind the seat, or you can do what I did for my last bike and build it yourself. This allows you quite a bit of customization because you can add a little bit of storage here and there.

For instance, you can potentially add a rifle carrier that would ride under your thigh, or a storage rack in front of it. You can also buy or build saddle bags. We are, after all, the kings and queens of DIY.

Use Quiet Exhaust

On a standard day, I’ll preach that loud pipes save lives all day long, but not in this case. Your goal is to fly under the radar, so you want the bike to be as quiet as possible. Because of the way a motorcycle motor works, you’re not going to be able to get it whisper-quiet like a car is, but you can muffle it significantly by modifying the pipes.

Especially if you’ve opted to use a small-cc bike, don’t do too much in the way of modifying the heads to muffle the sound because you don’t want to restrict the airflow.

Have an Extra Motor and Parts in Your EMP Room

If you have an EMP room, you have room for a motorcycle motor. They’re small and fairly light – less than 150 pounds in many cases.

Discover how to assemble a simple device that will shield your electronics from the EMP!

Magnetic and Handlebar Bags

Once you start looking, you’re going to be surprised by how many places you can put a storage bag on your bike. There are handlebar bags made to sit in the triple tree. I put mine on the front between the forks when I carry it.

You can also get magnetic tank bags that will carry a surprising amount of gear and supplies.

Magnetic Holsters

These are great. The magnets are seriously strong enough to hold onto the tank even if things get rough. I had one on my last bike that I used when we went camping and I kept it on the front of my tank up by my gauges. You can, of course, always customize them or have them custom made.

Backpack

This is probably my most important piece of survival gear because it stays right with me all the time. I don’t have to worry about it falling off or catching on things, or slowing me down as long as I’m on my bike. Put what you can’t live without in here, in case somebody steals your bike.

I always keep, at a minimum:

Sounds like a lot, but actually if you think about it, the only big item is water. It all fits in the bottom of one of my pouches, and I have a nice little “just in case” kit.

I also keep a toolkit underneath my seat that holds the main 3 sockets and small wrenches that work on my bike, a pair of pliers, and zip ties.

Suspension

Depending on the bike that you have, you may need to adjust the suspension so that it’s fit to ride off-road. This is a topic best researched before you decide on a bike. I can’t really offer much advice that would be any good because everything depends on what you have to work with.

Tires

If you’re going to take your bike off-road, you need to have knobby tires on it. If you’re not, you need to keep your street tires in excellent condition because in the middle of an emergency is the worst time possible for you to have a blowout.

These are just a few tips to help you get your motorcycle ready to use as a bugout vehicle. I considered recommending armoring the tank and you can do that if you want, but truthfully, you’re using it as a vehicle that is light, nimble, and maneuverable. You want to avoid weight where you can.

Do you have any other tips to help prepare a motorcycle so that it will serve as a good bug out vehicle?

Click the banner below and discover how to survive more than an EMP!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Upcycling: Keep the old & turn it into something new

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Off-grid, Upcycling, reusing, green,

Upcycling refashions the old into something new!

We live in a throw-away society. A culture based on how much “stuff” we have. The media gears our life towards replacing things because it’s fashionable rather than because we actually need to. It is also causing us to rush headlong into a lack of natural resources.

Recycling is of course an option to help combat the use of natural resources. But that requires more energy and water to break down a product into its base materials before remaking it into something else, normally of lower quality.

Upcycling however is completely green.

It’s not about breaking things down, but simply refashioning it into something new and of the same or perhaps even better quality. The conversion process means nothing gets sent to land fill, requires no extra energy (other than a little elbow grease on your part) and allows you to be creative. By reusing and upcycling products to perform different purposes to what they were intended, you are also saving money. Instead of going out and buying a brand new product, find something you are not using and use your creativity. Voila! Upcycling magic has occurred!

The complete opposite of consumer culture, more or less anything can be upcycled, from furniture to clothing to electronics – the only thing stopping you is your imagination. The same thing doesn’t have to be upcycled in the same way. Take a plastic bottle for instance; this could become a planter for the garden, a bird feeder, a lamp or anything else you can think of.

Old electronics, something that often gives us grief when trying to dispose of, can also be upcycled. Old smartphones can become alarm clocks, or if you’re tech savvy a smartwatch! An old school computer monitor can be cleared of internal wiring and become a fish tank! Or if you remove the screen itself, how about a cat bed? The fan in your old computer can be converted into a regular desk fan with a bit of know-how. Plus, if you’re a fashion fanatic how about some quirky keyboard letter cufflinks or earrings?

Upcycling also encompasses larger projects too.

How about wood pallets becoming a stylish piece of decking or front porch? Or how about going for the ultimate upcycle – a whole home!

Shipping containers are becoming a popular option to upcycle into a tiny home. Although you’re unlikely to come across these 8ft wide by 8ft tall containers for free (expect to pay around the $3000 mark for each one), they offer a good opportunity for an upcycle project! Rylan and Brook Naylor, took two of these containers and have converted them into a home. Although not completely off-grid they are hoping that in the coming years they will be.

Canadian Joseph Dupuis bought three shipping containers and did succeed in turning them into a 355 square foot off-grid home. Located 35 miles west of Ottawa Canada, Joseph’s off-grid container cabin is powered by a two kilowatt solar system and heated by a wood fire stove. The space is completely open plan and is designed to be dismantled, so it can be moved and erected in a new location. The whole project (excluding the solar system) cost Joseph $20,000. Having lived in his container cabin for two years, Joseph is looking to sell to give someone else a taste of upcycled off-grid living.

To have a guided tour by Joseph himself, visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=njjz-xTs67M

The post Upcycling: Keep the old & turn it into something new appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Fire Away: Gasifiers for Off-Grid Living

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Off-grid, gasifiers, heating, electricity, green energy

Fire Her Up: – Gasifiers are not new technology, having been used well before the world wars

Located in Northern Finland just inside the Arctic Circle lies the village of Kempele; a small community of ten families living completely off-grid. However, their lifestyle may be somewhat different from what is considered the “conventional off-gridder”. The homes have fully equipped kitchens, an abundance of low energy lighting – some have Jacuzzis! So how do they provide enough electricity and heat to sustain them throughout the year which can include a very cold Finnish winter (-30°C kind of cold)?

The answer is a Volter Gasifier plant. Using wood chips from the local area, the gasifier burns this fuel incompletely to produce wood gas, which is then burned to provide electricity. The thermal energy produced is used to heat a huge water tank, which then pumps the warm water through a series of pipes making up an underfloor heating system for the houses. By using the thermal energy to heat water the community is reducing its electricity usage. Any excess electricity is stored in three large battery packs for later use.  The Volter is able to power and heat the ten homes for the whole year, even through the cold winter. Each family pays €1,500 ($1580) per year for both their heating and electric.

The Volter system starts at €150,000 ($158,000) which the community paid for collectively, by pooling their resources. Although a steep initial investment, it’s taken only seven years for the community to see returns. In locations where the cost of electricity and heating is higher than Finland, returns on the initial investment could be seen in as little as three years.

After the success of Volter’s initial pilot project in Kempele, the product design has been adapted and streamlined to look more aesthetically pleasing and is being rolled out across a wide range of countries, including Canada, Australia and the UK.

But what exactly is a gasifier and how does it work?

Gasification is the process of using heat to transform a solid fuel, like wood, into a flammable fuel, normally gas. Initially the solid fuel is burned without enough oxygen, a process called incomplete combustion. The output gases produced (including carbon monoxide and hydrogen) are still combustible and so can be burned as a fuel. This is basically a process which involves controlling the stages of combustion. You can find out more details on the staged combustion process here.

Gasifiers are not new technology, in fact far from it. During the Second World War over a million vehicles in Europe had on board gasifiers due to a rationing of fuel such as diesel. They have also been used in agricultural machinery such as tractors.

In more recent times however, gasifiers can be used to power whole communities, such as in the example above or can be more small scale.

For example, the BioGen Woodlog Power and Heat Unit produced by Microgen. This on or off-grid unit is a combination of wood gasification and Microgen free piston power generation, providing both a power and heating solution. Wood is placed in the primary fire box which produces wood gas by being heated in low oxygen conditions. The wood gas is then sucked into a second fire box with higher oxygen conditions where it is fully combusted. It is in this second firebox that the head of the Microgen biomass stirling power unit is located. When this reaches a certain temperature the unit starts to produce power which can be in either AC or DC. The heat of the fire boxes is absorbed by a coolant through heat exchangers on the walls of the boxes.

The thermal output is a maximum 20KW, with a water capacity for 100 litres and temperatures reaching up to 90°C. The 180cm x 60cm x 85cm unit weighs in at 450kg and has 80% efficiency.

For other suppliers of small scale domestic gasifiers, including All Power Labs and Northern Self Reliance, visit this site.

There is also the option to build your own gasifier and there are many instructions available online for various models. However, working with flammable materials and toxic gases can be very dangerous and should you decide to go down this route, it is very important to do lots of research and take all necessary precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe.

The post Fire Away: Gasifiers for Off-Grid Living appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Off grid living: Grow 25 pounds of sweet potatoes in a bucket

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Although sweet potatoes are an important staple food for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, this versatile, orange root tuber can be added to many other meals all year round. While sweet potatoes have been used for ages by many cultures around the world, until recently they weren’t a regular sight on American kitchen tables outside of the Holiday season.

In the past decade, however, the sweet potato has found its way to our hearts. According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, the root vegetable’s popularity has skyrocketed between 2000 and 2014, with its consumption increasing by nearly 80 percent. And for a good reason; sweet potatoes pack a powerful nutritional punch.

They are loaded with essential micronutrients to promote overall health and have fewer calories than ordinary potatoes. Essential nutrients found in sweet potatoes include fiber, protein, beta-carotene, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and many vitamins of the B-complex.

What’s more, you actually don’t need a big garden or a lot of space to grow your own supply of sweet potatoes. Read on to find out how to grow sweet potatoes at your home.

Easy steps to grow sweet potatoes in a bucket

  1. Select the right sweet potato – Rooted sweet potatoes will give you the best result since you can be sure that they are not treated with pesticides to stop the sprouting process.
  2. Create some heat – Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes love the heat. While sweet potatoes will still grow at a minimum temperature of 50 °F (10°C), they seem to do much better at room temperature. So, if you live in a colder climate, make sure to keep them indoors.
  3. Prepare a 5-gallon bucket – Once you have selected the right sprouted potato, fill a container that has draining holes in the bottom with moist soil. Plant one potato per 5-gallon bucket, tops exposed.
  4. Waiting for “slips” to emerge – After a while, green shoots or slips will start to grow out of the sweet potato. This step will take about 90 days.
  5. Transplant the slips – Once the slips are big enough, about 6 to 12 inches, it is time to gently remove them from the sweet potato and transplant them to a larger 20-gallon container. In each 20-gallon container, you can plant six sweet potato slips.
  6. Pick the right season – As mentioned before, sweet potatoes are a heat-loving plant. If you are planning to grown them outdoors, make sure the last frost of spring has already passed. Late spring is the ideal time of the year. Also, make sure they stay well-watered.
  7. Harvest time – After about 3 to 4 months – or when the leaves and vines start to turn yellow – you can start digging up the sweet potatoes. If you grow outdoors, this is usually just after the first frost. After digging up the sweet potatoes, shake off any excess dirt, but do not wash them with water as sweet potatoes need a curing process to create their delicious, sweet taste.
  8. Cure sweet potatoes – Next to enhancing their flavor, curing allows a second skin to form over scratches and bruises you made while digging up the potatoes. This protective layer makes it possible to store sweet potatoes at room temperature for up to a year. To cure, store the harvested tubers in a warm, humid place (80°F or 27°C) for two weeks.

As reported by Off The Grid News, bucket-grown sweet potatoes will have a yield of about 25 pounds for each 20-gallon container. (RELATED: Find more information about off-the-grid living at OffGrid.news.)

Source : www.naturalnews.com

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Want To Disappear From The Grid? Here’s What You Need To Know

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You might be thinking, “Why disappear?” There has long been speculation that the government is playing more of a role in our lives than ever. What we learned about the NSA and the inherent spying in the name freedom is that we are compromised. All Americans are compromised by the digital footprints they have created. […]

The post Want To Disappear From The Grid? Here’s What You Need To Know appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Prep Blog Review: Quick Tips To Survive A Disaster

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We never know what type of disaster will hit us next. Will it be an EMP, a tornado, a flood, a riot, a shootout at a commercial center, or an economic crisis? We never know, but there is one thing that we can all do – prepare!

Maybe you have already started stockpiling food and water for survival and you have prepared you bug-out-bag, but are you really physically and mentally prepared to survive any disaster?

For this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic.

  1. 4 Quick Tips to Survive an Emergency

“Plenty of articles talk about how to make large supplies and other preparations for various emergencies. In what follows, I want to take a different approach: I’m going to give you nothing but quick, down-to-earth tips of what to do and what not to do when these 4 disasters strike.

Keep in mind that, although the advice itself sounds simple, taking action on it when everyone around you is panicking will be a huge challenge.

Surviving a Riot

We’ve all seen numerous riots spark in the United States as well as in Europe. Here’s some quick tips on what to do should you get trapped in social unrest:

Never move in the opposite direction of the rioters. You will stand out and they might pick you as a target, possibly dragging you along. “

Read more on Plan and Prepared.

  1. 6 Totally Insane Things that Will Happen if the Power Grid Goes Down

“Imagine if you will, what would happen if you pulled an American family from the 19th century, and plopped them in the middle of downtown Los Angeles during rush hour. They’re not given a warning, they’re not given any kind of primer on what they’re about to experience, and the occurrence is completely inexplicable. How long do you suppose they would last before they cried uncle?

Would they even survive? The odds probably aren’t so good.

Of course, the reverse is probably also true. If you and your family were wrenched from the comforts of the present and hurled back into a previous era, you might not fare so well either.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

  1. How to Survive a Flood

“In the deadliest flood ever recorded, every person on the earth —  except for the first “prepper family”– died.

Thankfully, there hasn’t been a flood like that since.

However, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been some nasty and deadly floods. In fact, there have been many, and according to FEMA floods were the number-one natural disaster of the 20th-century.

If you look at the graph below (provided by the NOAA), you will see that on a ten-year average, floods account for 84 deaths each year. However, in 2015 that number was blown-out-of-the-water (pun intended) with a total of 172 deaths nationwide.”

Read more on Sheep Dog Man.

  1. How to Prepare for a Tornado

There are many natural disasters that might befall a community, but a tornado is one of the most unpredictable.

Several people were killed in the last few days as a rash of storms wreaked havoc in the South and Midwest.

Indeed, hundreds of people are killed yearly by tornadoes, but many injuries and deaths may be avoided with sound preparation.

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and the thunderstorm (sometimes called a “supercell”) that spawned it.

Read more on Doom and Bloom.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

Preppers and Survivalists Must Be Hunters and Gatherers

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empty_grocery_shelvesIt just isn’t realistic to think all of our prepping supplies will hold out forever. My family, friends, and I may have devised the best survival plan there is, even better than most of the selection of “you can make it” books at the big box book store.  But, as time dwells on, the supplies will dwindle. Maybe our Bug In survival scheme has enough food stocked for the millennium.  Good for us.  Tell me again how long that is?  Not unlike the Lord’s return if you believe in that survival book, we know not when the end comes.  So, how do you plan for it?  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Likewise, my loved ones and I had the forethought and the financial commitment to branch out to secure a designated Bug Out backup survival location.  This comes complete with a farmhouse, water well, and rural power.  A backup generator with a 1000 gallon fuel tank surely ought to last long enough until stability returns.  Well, we hope so anyway.

At the Bug Out, our panty is chocked full of long term foods, a mix of food types, and tastes.  With the available water we can mix up just about any variety of menu concoctions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a few snacks thrown in.  We are among the lucky ones to have provisioned so well for the long haul.  

Time Bears On

We’re six months into the SHTF and doubt is starting to creep in.  The food stocks have gone past the first three rows in the cabinets, and now variety selections are waning.  Everybody is getting tired of canned meats, and if they eat another helping of tuna, they may start to grow gills.  Everybody’s eyes are not green with envy, but green from all the green beans and green peas.  Sure we are fine, but we all want something more, something different.  

Our Bug In residence is only two blocks away from a wooded area, and open sage fields teeming with natural life, both plant and animal.   The Bug Out escape house is near a huge forested area.   So far, neither area seems to have been approached by anybody else in the immediate area.  Scouting hikes provides good Intel that nobody seems to be using these available resources.  It’s time to take advantage of this situation.  

Hunting Becomes Necessity

squirrel_hunting_meatThis section is not so much about how to hunt, but more emphasis on the why we should.  Apart from whatever food supplies we laid by in store, we should be mixing in available game meat to supplement our diets.  Actually this should be done from the get go.  This makes our pantry supplies extend further well into a longer period of unrest or instability, or no new food supplies at the usual outlets.  We have to learn to supply some of our own food resources. The argument here too is for the value of this supplemental food source.  I am not a nutritionist, but everything I read about food recommends that protein is a good thing.  In a SHTF survival situation, adding meat to a diet would seem to be a very wise move.  

Read Also: Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife 

What will you hunt?  If you have never hunted before and nobody in the group if there is one has never hunted, then you need to start to learn how now.  Books, videos, hunting television, seminars, and other participation activities can bring you up to speed fairly quickly.  I highly recommend a good library of hunting books, and everything to do related to the subject.  

Now, if you are an experienced hunter already, then you know what to do.  Generally this activity is initiated by on the ground scouting to inventory what game might be available to harvest.  This can be done by simple stealth hikes into prospective hunting areas.  Maintain as secret and as low a profile as you can.  Once you fire a gun to hunt, then you have given notice of your presence.  Archery is also an option to consider.   

Scouting can also be accomplished to a certain degree by observing via optics from a distance away.  You must have good binoculars and or a spotting scope to do this part well.  You are looking for obvious signs of game movement, tracks, deer rubs, and other game sign.  Visual confirmation of game in the areas is a really good start.  

hog_hunting_survivalWhat game might you expect to find?  Naturally this essentially depends on where you are in the country.  The United States is very blessed with a long list of wild game species available for pursuit via hunting.  The short list is white-tailed and mule deer, elk, antelope, goats, sheep, big bears, big cats, wild hogs and wild turkey.  Small game could be rabbits, squirrel, raccoon, and such.  Upland game will include all kinds of bird species from quail, dove, woodcock, pheasant, grouse, and the list goes on.  If water is around, you may find waterfowl in ducks and geese.  Find out what is normally available where you live and where your Bug Out site is located.  Your state wildlife agency will have a web site and likely pamphlets for this information.    

For hunting you will likely already have the necessary firearms including a decent, accurate, scoped rifle, one of at least .30 caliber, but a .223 or others can be used with the correct hunting type ammo.  Small game can be hunted with a rimfire rifle or handgun.  A shotgun will be useful for birds, waterfowl and small game.  Have a variety of shotshells on hand besides self-defense type loads. Certainly, you can add all types of hunting gear and accessories including hunting clothing, camouflage, knives, game bags, and everything else to help you secure the game meat you need.

Sport Fishing for Sustenance

fishing_survival_nutritionWhen we highlight hunting, we do not mean to slight or ignore the freshwater or saltwater fishing opportunities where you might reside during a SHTF.  As you have prepared for hunting, also prepare for fishing.  Fish are a high priority, good quality food to add to the menu. As with game animals, research what fishing opps are available to you and which types of fish can be caught.  I won’t list all the possibilities here, because the variety is so regional.  You should know your area well enough to know about fishing lakes, rivers, streams, and even small rural farm ponds, any water source that might hold edible fish.  Take the same advice on fishing as with hunting, if you do not know how.

Stock up on basic fishing tackle, rods, reels, line, lures, tackle supplies, hooks, weights, etc.  Have the whole shooting match on hand.  Again, a good book on general fishing will describe what to buy, and how to use it.  You may find also like hunting that fishing is a good recreational activity as well.  You’ll need that as well to support mental health during trying times.  

Gathering

survival_garden_forage_foodThis is my own weakness beyond knowing how to grow a garden.  By all means make plans and provisions for growing a garden of any size.  As you know Mother Nature also provides many sources of plant life that can be eaten raw, added to salads, or cooked. Again a good regional resource book will be valuable for finding greens, flowers, seeds, legumes, mushrooms, wild fruits, and other plant-vegetable life that is indigenous to your area.  This resource will be valuable so you’ll know what to gather and how to process it for food.  

Related: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

So, obviously this was a quick treatise just skimming the bare essentials of food harvesting skills you will need to acquire and practice.  Ideally, you have stored up enough food stuffs to grind it out over a long period of time.  However, it is just smart to learn to supplement these supplies with fresh foods found in your local habitats.  Learn now what these resources are in your area, how to harvest or gather them as supplemental food sources.  

Photos Courtesy of: 

John Woods
OakleyOriginals

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UNESCO Credits SOIL Course

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Off-Grid, Course, Permaculture, Eco-friendly, ecovillage, Earthaven

The Permaculture & Ecovillage Immersion experience has been recently accredited by UNESCO

Last month I outlined the Permaculture course available at the School of Integrated Living (SOIL) in the ecovillage Earthaven (see here).

Recently, this program has been certified by Gaia Education, a provider of sustainability education across the world. The Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) credential will be provided through the Permaculture Immersion program running between Jun 10 and August 11 2017 at Earthaven ecovillage in North Carolina. The program provides students with both the knowledge and practical skills needed to design a society which reaches sustainable development principles supported by the UNESCO Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development.

The program has four main dimensions which are covered. The social element involves working towards a common vision, improving communication skills and the ability to deal with conflict and diversity within a society. The economic element includes assessing the impact of the global economy on local projects and coming up with ethical economic opportunities within projects. The ecological aspect is learning about permaculture principles, as well as designing water systems for projects and learning how to apply green building principles. Finally, the worldview aspect is about maintaining a healthy lifestyle whilst incorporating regular spiritual practice.

SOIL co-founder, Lee Walker Warren, said, “The program helps passionate people understand their impact on society and forge real connections with themselves and others. People who are deeply engaged in their local and global communities make the biggest impact, both on other individuals and the planet.”

Over 4,900 students have taken part in the Ecovillage Design Education program across the world, supported by Gaia. There are various locations where these programs take place including Estonia, Italy, Canada, Chile, South Korea, Thailand, India, Scotland, Switzerland, Japan and the Netherlands. However, SOIL is only one of two organisations in the US which offer the UNESCO recognised EDE course.

On completion of the course at Earthaven, both an EDE certificate and a Permaculture Design certificate will be awarded.

There is currently a $100 discount when booking through the SOIL website for the Permaculture Immersion program by using the promotional code: SOILPEI100.

The post UNESCO Credits SOIL Course appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Basic Essentials for Cooking Fish Off the Grid

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survival_bucket_of_fishFish are a nutritional powerhouse; with lots of protein, healthy fats, and a potent cocktail of nutrients that influence human brain function, optimize hormonal production, and even prevent aging! They’re also a camper or survivalist’s dream come true. Why, you may ask?  Fish go fin-in-stream with the most important resource – water! Whether you love the outdoors, want to be a little greener, or need to eat to survive, learning to cook fish using traditional “off-the-grid” methods is a useful addition to any culinary arsenal. There are a many techniques available to catch wild fish, ranging from building your own rod to catching with your bare hands, but this article is going to discuss how to best cook up your catch.

By John S., a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog & SurvivalCache

First, let us discuss the different types of fish meat. “Oily” or “fatty” fish are fish that are over five percent fat by weight, while lean fish are under five percent. Oily fish include anchovies, carp, herring, salmon and sardines. They are generally known for their moist texture and richer flavors. Lean fish include bass, cod, catfish, and perch. They’re known for being a little tougher and a little less flavorful. Your location will be a big factor in determining what types of fish are available to you. Study up on your local species to be best prepared to feed yourself, for fun or survival.

Baking on Smoldering Coals

survival_coals_fishOne of the best, and most basic, off the grid cooking techniques is baking on smoldering coals. While this method is useful for any kind of meat, it adds a certain smoky edge to fish that’s extremely delicious. Oilier fish are especially good when cooked with this method, since the hearty fats seal in a moist texture. Salt is a staple in every kitchen, and you may often hear people talking about bringing salt on outdoor excursions. This isn’t only for the taste, but it’s also especially useful in preserving food, so you should take care to keep some with you on all outdoor cooking excursions and during your survival practice.

Read Also: Best Glide Survival Fishing Kit

As for leaner fish, they’ll bake best wrapped in foil or, in an emergency situation, large leaves will do the trick. The wrapping helps trap moisture in and steams the fish. Feel free to dress a coal-baked fish up with some lemon juice and butter if you’re cooking for leisure! It’s probably safe to say you won’t have these items handy during a survival situation, but in that situation, anything edible, and especially nutritious, will be delicious.

Pan Frying (if possible)

fish_survival_pan_fryingFrying the fresh catch in a large cast iron pan is also an option, if you came prepared with the pan and a little oil. If you’re frying for fun, a simple mix of flour, breadcrumbs and your favorite seasonings will keep well in a zip lock bag, is easy to transport, and makes for yummy treat. Even without the mix, the fish will be a great meal on it’s own; especially if you’re eating for survival. The biggest key is to make sure the oil is hot enough, a spit test should do the trick. Simply wet your fingers with some water and flick the moisture into the pan, if the oil “spits”, or jumps and bubbles, on contact, then you’re ready to cook.

You will need long tongs or a durable cooking spoon to flip and “fish” out the filets once they’ve fried to a light golden color. This method tastes great, even with only light salting, and works well for both types of fish. If no tongs or cooking spoons are in your repertoire, you can use a multi-tool or knife so long as you’re careful not to damage it, as you will need it for other important tasks as well. Worst case, there should be twigs and sticks around for you to use as cooking tools.

Building Your Own Smoker

Last, but not least, fish meat is fabulous fresh out of a smoker. Not only is it fresh, but smoking fish, or any meat for that manner, is optimal for survival-based situations because prolonged smoking results in dehydrated, well-preserved food that can be saved and stored for several days. Building, or finding, a smoker can be tricky, you just need to create a small space where a rack can hang above a fire and a ventilation system to bring the smoke up through the fish meat.

Related: Teach Them to Fish

Stacking appropriately-sized rocks is a good and, usually, convenient method of construction. Covering the vents with foliage can help trap in smoke and improve the cooking process, and burning clean, dry logs will provide the best smoky flavor for the food. While this process does take longer than the other two, the preservation effects of smoking could mean the difference between life and death, so it’s definitely worth learning about and practicing. For example, if you are in a survival situation and are having luck catching some fish, you may want to use a lot of that meat in the smoker simply for preservation, and then consume the meat at a later time when you may be running low on food.

Conclusion

survival_fish_filetLuckily, there are a lot of options when it comes to preparing fish off the grid using very little materials. Salt is perhaps one of the most underrated items in a survival situation, as it offers a convenient method of preservation. Adding other herbs, spices and extras will provide a welcome kick to your next camping meal, but of course, this may be out of the question in a survival situation. Lastly, Always make sure any fish you consume is thoroughly cleaned and cooked before consuming. This, combined with thorough cooking, will ensure you have a nice edible fish packed with nutrients to keep you going. Practice makes perfect, so next time you’re out in the backcountry or doing some camping, try cooking some fish with as little materials as possible, ideally using natural objects around you. Good luck!

 

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Surviving Off-grid: Hot Water From Your Wood Stove

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Whether we’re talking about off-grid survival or just having the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of living in the 21st century in our cabin in the woods, having hot water for taking a shower, shaving, or taking a nice long bath is one of the yardsticks of well-being.

What can be nicer than enjoying a hot shower after working all day outside in the cold? And even better, if that hot water is completely free of charge? It doesn’t sound bad, does it?

Moreover, it would be pretty nice to have hot water at your disposal without being dependent upon a utilities company, whether we’re talking about electricity or gas.

We’re Reviving Ancient Techniques

What I am trying to tell you is that nowadays, heating water is one of the most overlooked functions when it comes to the archaic wood stove.

Just a few decades ago, many wood stoves were built with a water tank (it was called a range boiler) behind/beside the respective wood stove, for producing free and virtually limitless amounts of hot water. A two for the price of one kind of a deal.

Basically, whether you’re looking to save some dollars on your utility bills or get hot water in some place remote without breaking the piggy bank, the main idea is that you can use your wood stove for more than warming your homestead, cooking and whatever else wood stoves are usually good for.

Truth be told, domestic wood stove-based water heating systems are not new; they were invented centuries ago.

The Romans constructed incredibly clever central heating systems for public buildings (and the rich also had them, because they were too expensive for plebes) in an era sans electricity, and we’re talking 2000+ years ago. I know it sounds incredible, but yes, they actually had central heating through the floors 2 millennia ago; that’s how smart Romans were.

The Roman system was called Hypocaust and it worked by producing and circulating hot air below the floors (even walls in some cases) using a network of pipes. Hot air passed through those pipes and heated the floors/walls and obviously, the air was heated via furnaces burning wood and/or coal, because there was no electricity or piped gas back in the day.

In the event of a grid-down situation, how many of you are planning on heating their home with wood?

Learn from our forefathers how to install an emergency wood-burning stove!

How the Heater Works

Hence, getting hot water using a wood stove uses the same basic principle as a Hypocaust, but with a twist: water is used in our case instead of air, because it’s difficult to take a shower without water, right? I know – there’s an invention called dry cleaning, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Joking aside, to keep it simple: a regular water heater is nothing more than a tank of sorts, sitting on top or next to your wooden stove. As water rises when heated, hot water is drawn from the top and cold water is piped at the bottom via a piping system, obviously.

How does it work, you may ask? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: the stove water heater uses heat exchangers for transferring heat from the stove to the water. Depending on the design, the heat exchangers can be mounted inside of the stove, on the outside of the stove, or in the stovepipe.

Water is circulated through the heat exchanger when a fire is burning in two ways: naturally, via the thermosiphon principle which relies on water rising when heated or by using a pump.

The heat exchanger device is available in 3 main varieties:

  • a serpentine coil made of, in most cases, copper pipe
  • a small absorber, like a solar-collector
  • a box-like mini-tank. Most heat exchangers are mini-tanks or coils mounted inside the stove.

The heat exchanger can be built using copper, stainless steel, or galvanized iron, and they’re commercially available or they can be built in local shops or DIY-ed depending on your skills. For our intents and purposes, we’ll have to rely on the thermosiphon system, because this system works wonderfully off the grid and it doesn’t require fancy stuff like pumps and all that jazz.

The Tips that Lead to Success

“Keep it simple stupid” is the name of the game in a survival situation. As things get complicated, the probability of something failing rises exponentially.

Whenever the stove is used, water must circulate through the heat exchanger in order to prevent it from boiling. The storage tank must always be located higher than the heat exchanger and as close as possible to the stove.

Thermosiphoning-based systems are better than electrical-pumped ones not only because of their simplicity and availability, but also because in the eventuality of a power outage, the pump will stop working, leading to overheating the water in the heat exchanger.

This is a DIY project that can provide you with endless hot water without requiring electricity, as it’s based on the thermosiphoning process. This one uses a therma coil – a homemade unit – which consists of a serpentine made of copper, which is put inside the wood stove and connected via plumbing to a water tank.

This is a hot water-on-demand heater which can help you in a variety of situations. And best of all, everything is made using scrap materials, more or less (except for the copper piping, I guess).

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

As a general rule of thumb, for best results, you should isolate all your hot water lines more than 3 feet away from the wood stove using slip-on foam insulation, which is designed for temperatures up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t forget to spend 10 bucks on a thermometer; it’s well worth the investment and it will help you with eliminating all guesswork with regard to determining water temperature.

Copper is one of the best piping materials out there, as it’s very easy to work with when building coils (the heat exchanger gizmo), but remember that when used with iron, the latter will corrode.

The second DIY job is made by the same guy but this time, instead of a copper serpentine placed inside the wood stove, he uses a simpler water coil made of stainless steel. The rest is basically the same, check out the video.

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

The third project also uses the thermosiphoning principle (hot water rises) and copper tubing for making the serpentines, but this is a “larger scale job” compared to the previous two, and more complex.

Video first seen on convectioncoil.com.

The fourth and last DIY project uses an interesting design, i.e. a double-walled water heater (a double-walled 6-inch pipe, basically) and between the walls there’s copper water pipe circling the inner wall, thus transferring the heat from the wood stove to the water circulating through the piping.

Video first seen on thenewsurvivalist.

That about sums it up for today folks. There are still many lessons to be learned.

Remember that knowledge is everything in a survival situation and take our ancestors’ example – they survived when there was no electricity.

Click the banner below to uncover their lost secrets!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Feeling Hot Hot Hot: Solar Cooking in Action

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Despite looking futuristic – solar cooking has been used for many years

Cooking can be challenging in itself. Following recipes, getting the right ingredients and hoping it comes out tasting delicious – unless you’re a top class chef, everyone has had a fair few burnt dinners in their time. When you’re off-grid however it’s not just worrying about what it tastes like, but how to cook the food in the first place!

Harvesting the power of the sun for cooking has been a practice conducted for many years.

Solar cookers have been on the market since the mid-80s and have become a popular option for safe and easy cooking with no fires or fuel involved. There are obvious benefits to solar cooking, after the initial investment it is a free renewable source of energy. Not only this, but it is seen as a healthier way of cooking without smoke from fires etc.

Solar cookers convert the sun’s rays to infra-red radiation producing heat. Therefore, it is not the sun’s heat itself or the ambient air temperature outside the cooker that causes the food to cook.

There are three main types of solar cooker which can vary in their design and build.

The solar box cooker is derived from a box with reflectors that funnel the sun’s rays into the chamber which contains the food to be cooked. These models can reach very high temperatures, on average between 200-350°F, which is ideal for most baking needs. With a good heat retention and little need for supervision it is perfectly safe to leave food for long periods without fear of burning. Being a box shape these cookers are less likely to tip over and when constructed will have high levels of insulation.

The solar panel cooker on the other hand doesn’t reach temperatures quite as high; between 200-250°F. Essentially the design is a pot or pan within a plastic enclosure, with a 3-5 side reflective panel surrounding it to channel the sun’s rays. This type of design is best for slower longer cooking periods, leaving food very succulent. With no adjustments needed to track the sun, little supervision is needed.

Solar Cooking, food, cooking, solar, off-grid, technology

No need to worry about the risk of fire or burning food with solar cooking

Finally, the solar parabolic cooker can maintain the highest temperatures of the three main types and so can be used for grilling or even frying food. It can cook food much quicker, however usually smaller amounts than what can be held in the box or panel solar cookers. Also more attention is needed when cooking using this model, as the angle and direction of the cooker will need to be changed more frequently to track the sun.

There are many plans and designs for you to try if you want to have a go at a DIY solar cooker. Many designs include using materials commonly found around the home or are easily obtainable. For example, cardboard boxes, aluminium foil, black paint, some form of adhesive and even umbrellas!

If you don’t want the hassle of DIY or want a larger cooker with a guarantee, then there are several options on the market.

The All American Sun Oven is a box cooker design which can cook, bake, dehydrate and boil. Reaching temperatures of up to 400°F with even heating across the entire cooking chamber, the Sun Oven can do almost anything except frying. The built in thermometer also allows you to monitor the temperature. Weighing in at 23lbs the Sun Oven folds up like a suitcase, with its reflectors easily collapsing, making it easily portable. An adjustable leg prevents toppling and a levelling tray inside the cooking chamber ensures there’s no spillage when adjusting the Sun Oven.

Manufactured in Illinois, cooking times are similar to a standard electric cooker or oven after preheating. Factors that will affect the cooking time include the quality of sunlight at the time of cooking; the type and amount of food being cooked and how often the oven is refocused or the door opened. A typical rule of thumb stated on the Sun Oven website is to add between 10 to 15 minutes on to the cooking time, every time the oven door is opened. The model has an estimated life span of 15 years and can last a lifetime if cared for and maintained properly. The Sun Oven is available on Amazon at $298.00.

If you want something a little closer to the $200 mark, then the GoSun Sport is worth checking out.
Solar cooking, solar, food, cooking, off-grid, technology,

Small and compact the GoSun Sport and GoSun Dogger are perfect for fitting comfortably in an RV

This slightly futuristic looking design features parabolic reflectors and a solar vacuum cooking tube, which absorbs light and acts as an insulator. The tube converts approximately 80% of all the sunlight captured by the reflectors into useable heat for cooking – pretty impressive. With the parabolic shape of the reflectors, the GoSun Sport rarely needs readjusting as it captures light from a variety of angles. Not only this, but this model can cook in the cold and snow due to the high levels of insulation. Although, you will have to add up to 15 minutes onto the cooking time to allow the oven to heat fully.

With the cooking tube shape, food cooks evenly and in as little as 20 minutes, with temperatures of up to 550°F being reached! Despite this, the GoSun Sport is cool to the touch, easy and low maintenance and weighing only 7.5lbs is perfect for an RV or boat.

GoSun Ambassador Patrick Sweeney lives off-grid in his tiny trailer called Patcave. He told GoSun, “I love to cook and I love to be self-reliant. I also can’t afford to eat at restaurants. Living on the road in the Patcave, the GoSun stove allows me to cook great food anywhere the sun shines.”

The GoSun Sport retails at $229.00 on Amazon.

A smaller version of the GoSun Sport, the GoSun Solar Dogger, retails at $59.00 on the GoSun website. It is lightweight at only 2.5lbs and is perfect for hotdogs. Reviews on the Solar Dogger have shown that this model can be used for a wide variety of foods from oatmeal to fish.

The post Feeling Hot Hot Hot: Solar Cooking in Action appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Breathe easier: new tech monitors urban pollution

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Pollution, Technology, Smartphone, App, Off-grid, Air Quality, Monitoring

Smartphone Apps plot “toxic areas” on maps, so you can avoid them.

One of the many appeals about living off-grid is breathing in that fresh clean air.

It’s safe to say the air quality in any city isn’t exactly top notch! High levels of pollution have been linked to serious health conditions such as asthma and emphysema. A report in the Guardian has found that in heavily polluted cities exercising can do more harm than good because of the high levels of particulate matter in the air. But for many people going off-grid and leaving city life behind tomorrow isn’t exactly feasible.

So until then, monitoring the air quality in your home and as you’re out and about in your everyday life is a good way to go. Not only will it make you more aware of the air you breathe, it will also help you take preventative measures to improve it. Whether this be through taking a different route on your way back from work, opening the windows or switching on the ventilation when you’re cooking.

If you have tried any of the technologies discussed below, please comment and give us your feedback – we’d love to know how you’re getting on with them!

Only want to monitor your air quality at home?

Sources of particulate matter include burning wood and oil, smoking tobacco products, pesticides and even some household cleaners. The indoor air quality monitor Speck detects fine particulate matter in the air and informs you about the changes you can make to improve your air quality. The 4 inch by 3 inch model comes with a touch screen and only needs to be plugged in for you to start receiving feedback straight away. The toggle feature allows you to look back over the past 12 hours of data to see how your actions, like cooking or cleaning with certain products, influences your personal air quality. Not only this, but the Speck has enough memory to collect up to two years’ worth of data without any need to connect online.

Free Speck software or the mobile app lets you upload data to your computer, tablet or smartphone to monitor the data collected. The SpeckSensor app also allows you to compare your personal air quality to the government’s air quality index stations. If you want to check out the outdoor air quality in your area, you will need to be within 40 km of a regulated particulate matter station. Currently, this service is only available for customers in the US and parts of Canada and Mexico.

This Speck model currently can’t be used outdoors, however the development of an outdoor friendly model is currently in progress. Although, this is a pricey option at $200 per unit, the Speck is easy to use with a range of features.

If you want something for on the go – try these!

Atmotube is a portable air pollution monitor which detects volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide, as well as the temperature and humidity which can also affect air quality. This small robust device is titanium coated for longevity and sends data to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Weighing in at just 40 g (1.4 ounces) this device can be clipped on to clothing or bags, with the airflow mesh allowing the air to pass through its sensors.

Air Quality, Technology, Monitoring, Pollution, Smog, off-grid, app, smartphones

The LA skyline shrouded in smog – new mobile technology can notify you when air quality becomes low

The free app which can be downloaded from the Google Play App store or ITunes has a global air quality map which is free to access by absolutely everyone. So even if you don’t own an Atmotube, you can still benefit from the data collected from these devices. But only Atmotube owners can view their air quality history and get notifications to their phone if they are in a location with low air quality. Shipping worldwide, this nifty little device retails at $89.

The Flow Device is another small scale air quality monitor, being only the size of a pack of chewing gum. The aluminium shell houses a set of sensors that detect dust, exhaust fumes, temperature and humidity, amongst others. A set of LED lights on the device indicates the air quality in the immediate location. Whilst data is sent to a mobile app which displays it on a map. This then flags high pollution zones so you know where to avoid when you’re out and about. Coming with a dock and cable the device can be charged at home whilst monitoring your indoor air quality too. Designed by Paris based company PlumeLabs, beta testing of the Flow Device is set to begin in London over the next few months. Prices are yet to be confirmed.

If you don’t want to carry your own device, then the BreezoMeter may be worth checking out. This free app is now available in 28 countries including the US, Australia and the UK. Set up in Israel in 2014, the BreezoMeter gathers air quality and weather measurements from a wide range of sources – including 7,000 official air quality monitoring stations worldwide. This data produces real-time air quality maps and gives you notifications on changes in the outdoor air quality.

Tech-savvy and fancy building your own air quality monitor, well you can!
Smog, Pollution, Air Quality, monitoring, urban, off-grid, new technology, apps, smartphone,

You don’t have to go to extremes – apps available on your smartphone can give you air quality in real time, allowing you to avoid polluted areas – and wearing a mask!

This article at electronicsforu.com outlines how you can make your own air pollution meter and connect it to your smartphone. The set up uses the Blynk platform which displays readings from your homemade meter that is connected to an Arduino board. Of course you’ll need to buy the components in order to do that. This set up requires an Arduino board costing $20 from the online Arduino store (other websites sell boards that claim to be Arduino but are actually replicas). A Nova particulate matter sensor SDS011 is also used, which retails from $36 on Amazon. You will also require a Gas sensor model MQ-135, which range in price on Amazon from $2.45 to $16. A temperature and humidity sensor model DHT11 is also needed, once again ranging in price from $4.79 to $10.99 on Amazon.

Other projects elsewhere in the world have got volunteers to build their own air quality monitors. Greenpeace Bulgaria set up their own Dustcounter project in 2016, getting members of the local community to build their own air quality counters. Designed to be easy to assemble even for the not so technically minded (that’s me then), the schematics for building your own Dustcounter can be found here. (Google Translate will be needed because the instructions are in Bulgarian!) The charity is hoping to bring out the Dustcounter 2.0 later in 2017 after successful monitoring trials.

Alternatively, if there are any teachers out there who want to bring hands on practical sensor building to the classroom, this step by step guide and lesson plan outlines everything you will need. Making children and young people aware of air quality is an important issue that should be brought into the classroom environment.

The post Breathe easier: new tech monitors urban pollution appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Going Off The Grid By Gary Collins First Thoughts Video

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Going Off The Grid By Gary Collins First Thoughts

 

 

This week I got my hands on my friend Gary Collings New book, Going Off The Grid. Unlike most of my u

Unlike most of my unboxing videos, I wasn’t sent this book. You always want to support your friends so I bought this copy as soon as It was available. 

Like many of us, Gary got the bug to live a simpler life. And luckily for us, he has documented the whole process. 

In Going Off The Grid: The How-To Book Of Simply Living and Happiness, he provides a step-by-step guide for how to find a private piece of land and build a self-sustaining home. 

This doesn’t come from research alone but from experience. Gary has been building an off-grid home in northeast Washington state. 

You can watch some of the trials and tribulations on his Youtube channel.

Learning from others troubles can save you time and money. And from honest upfront people. 

If you watch many of the DIY tv shows you will have an unrealistic view of the process. Building an off grid home takes a lot of time and effort.

The reward is worth it, though. 

So if you are thinking about living a simpler less hectic lifestyle this is the book for you. Pick it up now before you need the info in here. 

Are you off the Grid? Wanting To Be? Let me know about your plans in the comments!

 

 

 

 
 

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DIY Hot Tub For Your Off-grid Hygiene

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Survivopedia DIY Hot Tub For Your Off Grid Hygiene

When it comes to off-grid survival, personal hygiene is one of those delicate subjects preppers seldom talk about.

Ok, I know that women preppers consider personal hygiene a priority even after a plane crash, but generally speaking, surviving off-grid means that you must have a roof over your head and some chow in your belly, and eventually a cushioned place to sleep in. That about sums it up until cavalry arrives and gets you outta’ there.

However, living off-grid is slowly becoming a trend among outdoors enthusiasts and maybe student loan beneficiaries who cannot afford to pay both the rent and what’s owed to the good ol’ Feral Gummint.

Here is where the off-grid lifestyle comes into play. But living off-grid is not easy; not by a long shot. There are so many problems and challenges in a world without electricity that I don’t know where to begin.

One of them is the aforementioned issue, the personal hygiene thing – an issue that never occurred to you until now because you’re probably living the 21st century life style, with hot water pouring out of the faucet and the whole nine yards.

Basically, we all take modern hygiene conveniences for granted and that’s normal, because we’ve benefited from these cool things for almost 2 centuries now.

But, if you’re living off-grid together with your family, you’re probably aware of the fact that cleanliness is next to godliness, not to mention that keeping you and your family members squeaky clean is actually a matter of survival in its own rights.

The secret to a long and happy life is to live in a clean environment, and you can take that statement to the bank. The lack of proper personal hygiene may get you sick very easily and also you may pass the disease around and all that jazz; that’s how epidemics occur.

The good news is that there are ways to maintain adequate hygiene even if you’re living somewhere in the neck of the woods, as off-grid as it gets.

These ancient survival lessons teach you how to stay clean when there isn’t anything to buy!

There’s an old saying, about “Real men building their own [insert item here]”. In our particular case, real preppers built their own hot tubs.

Why hot tubs, you may ask? Well, the hot tub used to be regarded by many as a luxury if not a whim. Remember that old saying: that one needs only two baths in his/her lifetime – one when you’re born and the other one when you’re dead?

Especially back in the day, hot tubs were pretty rare not too long ago (circa 1700s), when  getting one was a rare experience, familiar just to kings and queens. Alright, and the rest of the infamous 1%, maybe.

One of the benefits of soaking yourself for hours in hot water is that such activity relieves pains and aches, beside getting you clean in the process.

But after reading this article, you’ll understand how hillbilly hot tubs changed the world for ever. And you’ll also understand that getting your fingers pruney is a God-given right for every American, even for those living in the back woods.

Also, let’s not forget that one of the most popular pieces of gear for outdoors survival after a hard and long day doing God-knows-what is a hot tub, right?

I am only kidding folks, but if you don’t know how to build your very own personal hot tub, well, that’s why I am here. I’ve scoured the depths of the Internet and I brought together some of the best tutorials in the world for helping you building your little piece of heaven.

Building the Tank

To begin with the basics, a DIY hot tub consists of two main things: a tank which makes for the bathtub itself and a device for heating the water inside of the tank. That’s all there is to it; it’s pretty straight forward.

As far as tanks go, you have two options: to use a prefabricated one, like an IBC container or a stock watering tank, or to build your own bathtub from scratch from wood; just imagine a big barrel of sorts.

Soaking in a wood-fired hot tub requires some planning, at least a couple of hours in advance, but the involvement in one’s bath is part of the attraction.

Here’s a video tutorial about how to build a cedar wood hot tub using planks of cedar and lots of skill and materials.

Video first seen on Heritage Craft.

The end result is a reminiscent of a big barrel, which looks pretty cool actually, but you’ll require some mad skills to get this done.

You’ll also require beaucoup gear, like cedar wood suitable for cutting and shaping, saws, chine joints, nails, a power drill, a carpenter’s level, screws and insane wood-working skills. But it’s doable, after all that guy did it and it looks pretty awesome.

However, there are other ways.

The hardest part of our first project is to build the tank itself, as it requires serious carpentry skills, but you can always go for a hillbilly hot tub that uses an IBC container using, for example, a prefabricated hot tub, then you just have to worry about the water heating device.

Here are two different projects, both involving a DIY wood-fired hot tub. The first one uses an IBC container, a steel cage, an old gas cylinder and pallets, plus some plumbing connectors. Except for the container, the rest of materials were free scrap.

Video first seen on Chris Jamieson.

The IBC container holds 1000 liters, which is more than enough for a hot tub, while the steel cage and the pallets are used for making the structure that will keep the water-filled container firmly in place. The pallet wood is used for decorating the steel frame; it makes it look better and all that.

The Heating Source

As for the heating device, here’s where the old gas cylinder comes into play. Basically, you’ll use a stove water heater. How does it work, you may ask? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: the stove water heater uses a heat exchanger for transferring heat from the stove to the water.

Water is circulated through the heat exchanger when the fire is burning (the gas cylinder makes for the stove in our case) whilst the heat exchanger is basically a copper serpentine made from copper pipe mounted inside the stove.

In this project, the hot tub is filled with water which is slowly flowing via a garden hose through the copper pipe and it’s getting hot as it fills. The process is relatively slow, but it produces very hot water.

The second DIY wood-fired hot tub system is very similar to the previous one, just that it uses a galvanized stock tank instead of an IBC container. Also, the heat exchanger system is the same serpentine made from copper pipe, but for heating the water, this project relies on the thermosiphon principle.

Video first seen on HomeMadeModern.

Think about our ancestors. They didn’t have the luxury of the modern industry but they were able to create their own hygiene products from simple, readily available stuff.

Do you wonder how our forefathers took care of their personal hygiene when they traveled for months? Click the banner below and uncover their long forgotten secrets!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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Be Our Guest – Food Preserving Part 2

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Creek, Food Preservation, Off-grid, Refrigeration, Spring House,

Want a spring house but have no spring? Diverting water from a small creek is an option

In Part I, I covered canning and smoking as food preservation methods. This aricle take a look at refrigeration and dehydration.

Freezing and refrigeration is the easy way to preserve food compared to some other methods. The only problem is, once frozen or cooled it has to stay that way until consumption.

Before the wonders of electricity and modern technology, how did people do this?

On farms and in small villages it was common to have a spring house which would provide natural refrigeration. A stone building with troughs dug into the ground on which the house stood would be built over a natural spring. Water from the spring would flow through the troughs and jugs of milk or other produce could be placed in the channels. These would then be kept cool as the water flowed around them. Ledges and hooks would also be provided in the spring house, to hang meat and vegetables in a cooler environment.

If the house wasn’t built over a natural spring, water could be redirected from a nearby creek. Initially some spring houses were made of wood, however this was prone to rotting. Stone therefore is the better material, not only does it hold the cold better but it won’t decompose or decay with time.

Fancy building your own spring house? You can find out more at Bright Hub.

Another option which was used before electricity and still used today is root cellars.

These underground rooms stay cool in the summer but above freezing in the winter – perfect for fruits, vegetables and canned goods. The cool temperatures prevent bacterial growth and the humidity prevents withering. Ideally the cellar will have temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, have low levels of sunshine, good insulation from materials such as straw or soil and be easily accessible.

Root cellars come in a variety of forms from walk in rooms to putting trash cans in the ground to create a “mini” cellar. If you’re on a tight budget, take a look at this video by the Walden Effect, who made a root cellar out of an old refrigerator.

Speaking of refrigerators, if you want to be a bit more tech-centric, then there are various options for off-grid cold food storage.
Propane fridge, RV, off-grid, food preservation, chest freezer, solar freezer

RV owners have relied on propane fridges for many years – but are they worth the cost?

Propane fridges have been a staple for many RV owners and in off-grid homes. Some models can run off propane, DC or AC, making them more flexible. Although these appliances are good for keeping food cold and frozen with ample storage, they do require some maintenance and if they break down can be expensive to repair. Not only this, propane may be unavailable or very expensive to get hold of in certain areas and some propane fridge models can be extremely “fuel hungry” – not exactly the most economical option. There is also an initial investment of over $1,000. Take the Dometic DM2652 on Amazon at $1,119.99. This model measures 24 x 23 x 53.8 inches and so is perfect size for an RV, if you’re willing to spend the money.

Solar power refrigerators are also gaining ground.

Some of which can be hooked up directly to solar panels, running off direct current. The EcoSolarCool Solar Refrigerator on Amazon operates on 12 or 24 DC volts and is reported to be the most efficient solar refrigerator when tested against two other leading brands also advertised on Amazon. Coming in at 121lb, this stand-alone 25.3 x 23.6 x 57.1 inch model is a good size with just over 9 cubic feet capacity for storage. It comes with an upper freezer compartment and a lower refrigerator compartment. With prices starting at $1299.00 though, this is also an appliance that comes with a rather large price tag.

Another alternative is investing in a chest freezer.

These range in price but can be fairly inexpensive and have good storage space. Plus they can average under 2 amps when running. However, because of its shape (it’s a chest) rummaging around for the food you want can be a pain. Chest freezers can also develop condensation and it is best to buy a separate thermostat to monitor the temperature. Some chest freezers come ready to be run by solar power such as the Sundanzer Solar-Powered Refrigerator – 1.8 Cubic Ft., “>Sundanzer Refrigerator, specifically designed for off-grid use.

If you want a more DIY approach and temporary refrigeration then a zeer pot could be the answer.

Popular in Africa, zeer pots are essentially one terracotta pot inside another. One pot must be small enough to fit inside the other pot, but large enough to hold whatever you want to keep cool. The gap between the two pots is filled with sand and then water. The process of evaporative cooling keeps the inner pot much cooler than the outside environment. Although this is not cool enough for meat storage, it is still an option for other produce such as vegetables. If you fancy making your own zeer pot, have a read of this.

From keeping things cold to heating things up! Another food preservation technique is dehydration.

Efficient with zero energy input and little hands on time required, dehydration is perhaps one of the easiest ways to preserve food. The downsides to dehydration are that even though foods weigh less and so are easier to store, there is a longer time for food preparation later when making meals. Also dehydrated food can have a different taste (and texture obviously) to fresh produce. If using a solar dehydration method then you are limited to when the sun is out. This may not be such a problem at lower latitudes, but higher latitudes can be very restricted in their “sun time”.

Dehydrator, food preservation, solar, off-grid

Dehydrating foods can be done in a variety of ways from drying in the sun to using an electric dehydrator

Herbs and greens are the easiest foods to dehydrate; they dry quickly with no slicing required. Fruits and veggies are a little trickier; they need to be sliced thinly or diced into small pieces for drying. Smaller fruits like blueberries should be punctured to allow the moisture to escape during the process. Meat and fish are the most challenging to dry safely. The cuts need to be sliced as thinly as possible and be kept in a constant supply of warm air. Salting first will help with the preservation. Meat and fish especially should be stored in a cool place after drying to ensure they last for a few months.

So what can you use for dehydrating?

Firstly, you could invest in an electric dehydrator. These are probably the most convenient option for setting up (with no babysitting) but require a power source. The Excalibur Food Dehydrator being sold on Amazon at $244.95 is one such appliance. With nine large trays boasting 15 square feet of drying space, you can hardly complain for lack of room. But despite this the whole body is not overly large at 17 x 19 x 12.5 inches. An adjustable thermostat ensures you dry at the temperature you want and a 26 hour timer means you can walk away without the fear of forgetting about your food!

If you want to go down the solar dehydrator route, there are pre-assembled options. For instance the Hanging Food Pantrie Solar Food Dehydrator has five drying trays and protects food from insects and pests whilst using the suns energy to dry the food. No noisy fans and it’s collapsible for easy storage after use. Retailing on Amazon at $59.99, this is an option if you want something that stores well but also has good drying space.

Alternatively, you can go the whole hog and build your own solar dehydrator.

There are many variations and the beauty of this option is you can adapt the design to suit your needs. The basic components are a heat collector and a drying box. The heat collector has a clear plastic top which heats the air inside causing it to rise up and into the drying box. This is typically made of plywood with trays to rest the food on top of. Strategically placed vents help to control the air flow into and out of the dehydrator box to keep a constant circulation around the food.

If you want more detailed information on building your own solar dehydrator, take a look at this guide.

The post Be Our Guest – Food Preserving Part 2 appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Off grid goes to Hollywood

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Hurwitz books are lessons in evading Big Brother

Living off grid isn’t just popular – it’s going mainstream.

New York Times bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz is achieving worldwide sales with his Orphan X series, which follows a spy living off the grid – and he’s currently writing the screen play for a film adaptation featuring Bradley Cooper, star of comedy franchise The Hangover.

Gregg, who has had 17 books on the New York Times bestseller list, is promoting his new one – The Nowhere Man, the second featuring the character Evan Smoak.

The first book in the series, Orphan X, introduces Smoak as a killer who was taken from an orphanage as a child and trained under secret government orders. He breaks free from the programme and vanishes off the grid to use his skills to help those unable to protect themselves.

The only way Smoak can be reached is through a technologically-protected phone number, each victim asked to pass the number along to one person in trouble. Lying low in a home base hidden behind layers of false internet connections and using sophisticated technology to insulate outside access, he creates his own rogue GSM site by using a yagi directional antenna, coaxial cable and omni stubble antenna mounted on a tripod – literally taking his devices off the grid by dodging all authentication between the base station and the cell tower. Smoak lives outside the boundaries of society with the freedom to travel at a moment’s notice.

In The Nowhere Man – Buy it on Amazon, released on February 1, Smoak goes from being the one who helps people, to needing help himself.

This is only the second time Gregg has stuck with a character for more than one book, and he said Smoak would be sticking around for a lot longer yet – he has signed with his publisher for at least five books about Smoak.

Gregg said when writing he always thought about the character’s point of view, and to get into the characters’ worlds he put himself in similar situations. This has seen him blow up cars and shoot weapons with navy seals.

“I spend more waking hours with my fictional characters then my wife and my kids,” he said.
“I’ve gone under cover in a mind-control cult. I will do whatever it is to be able to write about it effectively. If I don’t do it, I can’t write about it in a way that’s up close and personal.”

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Be Our Guest: Food Preservation Part I

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Canning, off-grid, cooking, food preservation, water bath, pressure canner

With the “know-how,” food preservation isn’t so daunting

Charcutier Sean Cannon is opening his first restaurant, Nape, in London this month. Born and bred in Norfolk, Sean told the Guardian how growing up in a self-sustaining community influenced his cooking. His best kept secret – preserving.

“Whether it’s killing an animal and having lots of fresh meat, or early summer and everything is ripe, knowing what to do with a glut is key.” Cannon said.

If you live off-grid you’ll know that preserving food for future use is essential. Not only does it provide food security, but also allows you to taste sweet summer berries in the winter. By doing this age old tradition, it also stops more modern thoughts and concerns of “what is actually in my food?” If you do the preparing and the preservation, you know exactly what has gone into the food you will be eating.

There are many ways to preserve food including canning, freezing, dehydrating and smoking.

Canning is a valuable and low-tech way to preserve food. There are two main methods for this, either water bath canning or pressure canning. It is worth noting that water bath canning should only be done for acidic fruits, such as berries and apples. If canning other produce such as meats and vegetables, pressure canning should be used; otherwise there is a high risk of food poisoning.

The basic process is to heat water in your canner (or large pan if water bath canning). This should not be filled to the top; 3-5 inches should be left for your jars of food. Jars should have lids secured and be placed carefully into the canner, being careful not to knock other jars, as they could crack or break under the high temperatures. The jars should be immersed in the canner with the water just covering the lids. The canner lid should be locked in place if pressure canning and the jars left for as long as needed according to the recipe. After the required time, the canner should be allowed to depressurise if using a pressure canner, before the jars are removed. Heat protection and necessary precautions should be taken to ensure you do not burn yourself. The jars should then be left to cool and seal for a minimum of 12 but ideally 24 hours. The sound of popping and pinging will mark your canning success!

Canning is so popular because of the wide variety of foods that can be preserved this way and the length of time they will remain edible for. Plus there’s no worry of keeping food frozen or cool!

Canning does however come with an initial start-up cost. If you’re only looking to preserve fruits and jams, then water bath canning in a large pan is of course an economical way to go. However, if you’re looking to preserve a wider variety of foods which includes meat and vegetables, then it would be wise to invest in a pressure canner.

The Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker comes in at a reasonable $86.44 on Amazon. This can double as a water bath canner and a pressure cooker. Made out of aluminium, the canner allows for fast and even heating and with a liquid capacity of just under 22 litres, seven quart jars fit comfortably inside. The lid has a strong lock and an over-pressure plug can relieve any build-up of steam. With a 12 year warranty and excellent reviews, this canner will certainly suit the needs of most canners.

Canning, food preservation, jars, canning, water canning, pressure canning, off-grid, storage

Good jars & lids are a must – there’s nothing like hearing the “pop” of sealing success!

The Presto’s rival is the All American Canner. This is a pricier option at $225.37 on Amazon and has many similar features, being made of aluminium and also holding 7 quart (or 19 pint) jars. This is a heavier unit though, coming in at 20lbs to the Presto’s 12lbs. A reviewer having access to both canner makes did however point out another comparison between the two. She noted that the All American Canner has a weighted gauge which needs less “babysitting” than the Presto with its dial gauge, which required her to keep adjusting the heat of her stove. However, she pointed out that when compared side by side, both the Presto and All American took the same amount of time to get to pressure, to can the produce and to bring back down ready to remove the jars.

Once the initial canner investment is made, there are a couple of other bits and pieces which you will need. Jars are a must and are reusable. However, if using second hand jars to try and save on cost, it is important not to have any that are cracked or damaged in any way – this could lead to some nasty accidents later on!

In terms of lids, these can either be replaced for around $3 per pack or you could spend a little extra and invest in some reusable Tattler lids. These are marketed at $8.88 on Amazon for a pack of 12 and are “indefinitely reusable”.

Other kit you might want to buy (and are recommended to prevent nasty burns) are a jar lifter and canning funnel. These can be bought separately or in a set with other equipment such as kitchen tongs, a jar wrench and magnetic lid lifter advertised on Amazon at $8.79.

For more detailed information on canning basics for beginners, check out Starry Hilder’s video on YouTube!

Another popular preservation method, especially for meat and fish is smoking.
Smokin' Hot! Only if you want to eat your meat straight away. If you want to preserve your meat, cold smoking is the way to go!

Smokin’ Hot! But only if you want to eat your meat straight away. If you want to preserve your meat, cold smoking is the way to go!

This involves long exposure to wood smoke at low temperatures, which is different to grilling over an open fire. Smoking preserves meat and fish by drying the produce and the smoke creates an acidic coating on the meat surface, preventing bacterial growth. The addition of a rich mouth-watering smoky flavour only adds to the appeal of this preservation method.

 

There are two types of smoking method. The first is called hot smoking and cooks the meat so it can be eaten straight away. This involves getting the temperature above 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The meat will still need to be cooked over a long time, leaving it very tender.

The second is cold smoking which doesn’t cook the meat for consumption straight away. Instead temperatures between 75 and 100 degree Fahrenheit are used to seal the meat and flavour it. The time meat or fish is left to smoke depends on the cuts and type of produce. Adding salt to the meat can help to speed up the process as it is a natural preservative. After drying the meat should be placed in an air tight container and stored at a cool temperature until consumed.

There is a wide range of smokers from electric or gas to charcoal and wood. This propane smoker from Amazon comes with a built in temperature gauge and retails at $211.40. Alternatively, instead of trying to find a smoker that suits your needs, why not build your own? That’s what this family has done!

 

Part II of “Be Our Guest – Food Preservation” will cover refrigeration and dehydrating.

The post Be Our Guest: Food Preservation Part I appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Emergency Fire-starter: Start A Fire With Bare Hands

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Starting a fire

Starting a fire with your bare hands may sound like the manliest activity you can do, doesn’t it? Bear Grylls has a couple of episodes about how to start a fire without any gear available, for cooking some crunchy worms, right?

I am kidding, of course, but knowing how to start a fire in a survival situation is a pretty useful skill to have. Without fire you can’t cook your food, you can’t get warm, you can’t dry your clothes, you don’t have light, you can’t signal your presence, you can’t disinfect water for safe drinking, and so on and so forth.

We rely on technology to survive; even when it comes to wilderness survival. We are comfortable thinking that it will be OK because we have a cool survival knife, even better than Rambo’s, not to mention our top of the line survival/emergency kit, which contains all the things we’ll ever need if SHTF, including some cool BIC lighters, impermeable matches and what not.

However, life has the unpleasant habit of ignoring our plans, and emergencies don’t seem to care about our personal inconveniences.

The question to be asked and answered is — what are you going to do if SHTF and you don’t have your survival gear on your person?  Well, you’ll have to improvise or die trying, right?

This scenario is pretty far-fetched at first glance; I mean, finding yourself alone and close to butt-naked somewhere in the woods, without any type of gear and all that jazz.

Find out how this little survival stove that fits in your pocket can save your life!

Fire is what separated the humans from the animal reign, along with the invention of the wheel and Facebook. (I’m kidding again, of course!)

But I can bet that even the invention of the wheel was somewhat related to fire, i.e. there are “cultures” in remote parts of the world who didn’t invent the wheel, but they know how to make a fire without a Zippo lighter. The idea is that if some troglodyte who still lives in the Neolithic period, technologically speaking, can make a fire using what’s naturally available, so should we.

And obviously, making a fire with minimal gear that you can do yourself will require a paleo approach, i.e. we’ll have to see how primitive cultures mitigate this problem.

As far as primitive fire starting goes, most of the methods (all of them actually, if I come to think about it) involve the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and I am talking about mechanical energy — friction in our case — which is converted into heat, another form of energy which leads to fire and a happy ending.

So, as the Greek philosopher and inventor Heraclitus said back in the day, everything changes, and so does energy. But enough with philosophy and let’s get down to business.

How To Start a Fire Using Sticks

The simplest method for making a fire via friction in dry climates is the hand drill. The concept is pretty simple: you’ll have to cut a V shaped notch into a piece of wood, or fire-board if you like, then to use a rock/knife or whatever you have at your disposal for making a small depression adjacent to the notch, where you’ll place a piece of bark which will eventually catch the ember and burst into flames.

In the next step you’ll have to put the spindle (a stick basically) in the depression and roll it vigorously between the palms of your hands. You know what I am talking about. You’ve seen endless “Wild Survival” documentaries about it.

Some tried it in real life and failed miserably, but this guy seems to have got the hang of it.

Video first seen on Videojug

It’s worth mentioning that two persons can do it better, i.e. one person will apply downward pressure to the drill constantly, while the other will use a shoelace or a piece of string to rapidly rotate the spindle.

How to Start a Fire by Friction

If you’re alone, you can use this method , which is way better than rolling the spindle in the palms of your hands, especially if you’re not used to manual labor. This method involves using a little bow for rolling the spindle and it’s order of magnitude is more efficient than doing it with your hands only.

Video first seen on AZ Film Company

How to Start a Fire Using a Cord Drill and a Pump Drill

Check out this guy who makes it all look very easy. Watching this clip, you’ll learn how to make a cord drill first, then to upgrade it to a pump drill (this can be used for making holes in things, which may prove useful). The cord drill is a spindle featuring a flywheel attached basically and it works very well for making fires and more.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

How to Start a Fire With the Fire Plow Technique

Another primitive method for making fire is the fire plow technique. The concept is pretty straightforward, as you’ll cut a groove in a soft piece of wood, which will be the fire-board for all intents and purposes, and then you’ll rub/plough the tip of a harder shaft up/down the groove.

This technique produces its own tinder as the sticks rubbed together will push out tiny particles of wood ahead of the friction.

Video first seen on Survival Lilly

How to Start a Fire With a Fire Piston

Here’s a cool method called the Fire Piston and it works under the principle that air gets very hot when compressed at high pressure.

If you’ve ever used a bicycle pump, you might have noticed the heat that is created in the cylinder. When you compress air inside a fire piston, it happens so quickly and efficiently that it can instantly ignite a piece of tinder placed at the end of the piston.

Video first seen on Discovery

Ancient methods of making fire pistons involve hardwood for the tube or even a horn. The tube must be closed at one end, accurately bored and very smooth inside. The gasket can be improvised from fiber or leather for creating a seal for the piston in order to get the compression required.

How to Start a Fire With Flint and Steel

A classic in the field of ancient fire making is flint and steel. If you strike a softer steel against flint (which is harder), you’ll produce sparks to ignite your fire. But you can also make fire with just what’s available out there, i.e. flint, marcasite, pyrite, fungus, grass/leaf and quartzite.

Video first seen on freejutube

Remember that fire provides you with a cooking flame so knowing how to start one with your bare hands will make your survival cooking easy as 1, 2, 3!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Read This Before Start Building An Utility Trailer

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Survivopedia Read This Before Start Building An Utility Trailer

Even though there are plenty of pre-built new and used utility trailers on the market, they may not meet your exact needs. If you are going to use the trailer for any kind of prepper application, it is best to make sure you have everything you want in the design.

As with so many other things, this means you will more than likely need to design and build the trailer yourself. While this may cost more in terms of time and labor, in the end it may save your life and make living in the post crisis world easier than expected.

If you are looking to expand or upgrade your DIY skills, building a utility trailer will give you plenty of practice.

Stages of Building Your Trailer

These brutal financial times make it difficult to justify building a utility trailer that may or may not be needed to address some kind of major future crisis. Surprisingly enough, you don’t need to build a utility trailer years, or even months in advance of a major social collapse.

By keeping the following points in mind, you can build a suitable trailer in just a few days, or even do so after a major crisis happens.

As you think about how long it will take to build a utility trailer, keep the following points in mind. You can divide the timeline into five main parts:

1. Planning and designing the trailer

You can plan and design a trailer at little or no cost. Make your basic plans on paper, and then do your research for free online. Look at other designs on the market, find out what materials are available, and get a good sense of how much all the parts will cost. Once you have the blueprint, parts list, and projected assembly plans, just about everything else can be done in a matter of days.

When of making up a parts list, include as many recycled or salvage parts as you can, and add at least 2 or 3 alternatives that suit your needs. This will make it easier to choose parts later. If you run out of time before acquiring all the building materials, you can use this list during and after a major crisis as a guide to viable materials.

2. Obtaining raw materials

Before you buy materials, purchase any tools that you might need. These tools can also be used for many other household and travel needs, so they won’t go to waste. The more time you spend using basic power and hand tools, the better off you will be in any situation.

The more time you have for obtaining building materials, the better. Aside from being able to budget more easily, you will see if there are reusable materials in flea markets, junk yards, or estate sales that might be of use.

Individuals that are building and maintaining comprehensive bug out plans should take the salvage and alternative material list along on test excursions. This is an excellent time to take note of what items may be available on the way to your bug out location.

3. Building the trailer

Preparing for an emergency is never easy, especially when you are concerned that all your hard work will be stolen by rioters or others. An utility trailer can be a bit hard to hide, and just about everyone that sees it will know what it is, or remember that you have one. Once a major crisis occurs,these people will be looking for you and ready to take anything of value that you might have.

This is the main reason why I don’t recommend building a utility trailer from the top down and having it all ready to go. Rather, it is better to build the trailer in units, test them out, and then be ready to assemble them at a moment’s notice. Many systems are small enough to be hidden in your home or garage, and then assembled later on when the need arises. If you make fast assembly and modular system designs part of your plans, this process may be easier than you would expect.

 4. Testing everything out

There is a definite trade off between testing out a completed trailer and keeping its existence as secret as possible. Doing your best to test specific modules may not be enough when you actually assemble the trailer.

Your best option will be to try and assemble the trailer in a quiet location where no one will know. Once you know everything works together as a unit, you can always take everything apart and then reassemble it in time of need.

5. Maintenance

As soon as you begin keeping supplies on hand, or materials to build the trailer itself, you will always need to be concerned about maintenance.

For example, if you purchased aluminum for the sides of the trailer or other parts, they may still need painting, lubrication, or other routine care to prevent them from being ruined.

Where to Get Materials From

Have you ever gone to a local hardware store, home improvement store, or automotive shop only to be disappointed by the inventory? You may find some items in these stores to get you started on a DIY product, while other items may not be available (thicker aluminum, for example).

Be careful how you shop online, and you should be able to keep your building plans secret.

Here are some other places where you might find building materials at a more reasonable price:

  • Local auctions and surplus events. Newspapers and websites dedicated to your town or city may list these venues as well as what kinds of materials are available.
  • Watch the classified ad listings in supermarkets, department stores, or other areas where estate sales, flea markets, or other private sales might be listed.
  • Military surplus outlets may also be of some use.

Check the end of the article for a list of websites that may help to salvage or find construction surplus materials.

Basic Parts

The absence of a means of propulsion doesn’t mean utility trailers are simple, or that you can build them with a lack of care and consideration. A poorly designed or constructed trailer can spell disaster. Do not cut corners or reduce quality if you want to build a reliable trailer!

Wheels, Axle, Suspension, and Braking Systems

The axle and suspension system must be able to support the entire weight of the trailer and everything in it. These parts must also have the flexibility to absorb shock as the trailer moves without bending excessively or breaking.

Many utility trailers have smaller wheels, but bear in mind that you might take the trailer off road or into areas with deep ruts, mud, or broken pavement. Spend a bit more on larger wheels with deeper and heavier treads so that the trailer passes more easily over these areas.

Basic Frame

The frame must work in conjunction with the suspension, axle, and braking system to provide a solid foundation for the rest of the trailer. No matter whether you choose an open design or a closed one, the suspension must be sturdy and durable. A frame that is built independent of the suspension will give you more options and also much better performance.

Coupler and Tongue Jack

If you do not have a good quality coupler and tongue jack on the trailer, it can lead to a number of problems including:

  • The trailer may break way from the vehicle pulling it along.
  • It may sway from side to side or be very hard to control when the pulling vehicle turns.
  • A poorly designed coupler may be difficult to connect and disconnect as needed.

Wall Frame

The wall frame must still be study enough to keep all of the items in the trailer secure no matter whether you design an open trailer or a closed one. Choose frame material that will not bend or buckle if objects inside the trailer hit it.

It is also best to choose a frame material that is sturdy enough to accommodate the weight of a roof and enclosure if you decide to make these changes later on. Even if you decide on low walls now, make sure that you can bolt on taller pieces later on without sacrificing on frame strength.

Roof Frame (optional)

Try to make the roof frame sturdy enough to accommodate the roof covering and storage for other items. It never hurts to create a roof top frame that can also be used to house solar panels, small wind turbines, or other devices used to generate electricity, gather water, or carry out other tasks.

Enclosure

If you are looking for a cheap easy way to enclose the trailer, start off with canvas, and then keep a vinyl covering for times when you need to keep the interior as dry as possible. As time and budget allow, enclose the trailer with aluminum or some other more permanent and durable material. As long as the roof is made from a solid material (polymer or resin might work), you could also generate power and still use canvas for the trailer sides.

Access Points

Most people that build low walled trailers do not worry about doors or windows. On the other hand, even if you plan to live in a canvas covered trailer, you’ll need to enter, exit, add to, and remove items from the trailer.

Ventilation and adequate air flow are also important so that you don’t wind up with moisture, mold, and mildew buildups inside the trailer. Doors and windows on solid side, enclosed trailers can also make it more comfortable to live in.

Security System

When all your worldly possessions are going to be packed in a trailer going a long distance, security systems are crucial.

You can use electronic surveillance systems as well as specialty locks and bolts. Just remember that these systems are only as good as the materials used to build the rest of the If the sides are made of canvas or vinyl, there will not be much sense in installing locks. Instead, think about what kind of weapons you can use to defend the trailer as well as any devices that can be used to deter people from approaching it.

Internal Features

Shelves, seats, tie down areas, and privacy enclosures are all important for a multi-purpose utility trailer. Keep weight down by using plastic furnishings or ones that can be packed away easily.

For example, beanbag chairs are lightweight and can be put together to make a bed. Alternatively, use plastic tubs to store your items and then put an air mattress on top of them. Just because internal features need to be light weight and simple, that does not mean you have to be uncomfortable or unable to enjoy whatever time you may need to spend in the trailer.

Electricity

Aside from running computers or other devices that store important data, electricity is important for power tools used to fix the trailer or build parts that were not complete before started using it. There are many devices that can be used to power a utility trailer, like different wind turbine designs that will lend themselves well to sitting on top of a trailer. As long as the trailer is in motion, the turbines will spin.

You can make a series of smaller turbines that are housed in other parts of the front of the trailer and then combine them into a single battery pack. This is especially important if you want your trailer to look as inconspicuous as possible. A few fans hidden behind grills will not be as noticeable as solar panels or a shell design turbine sitting on top of the trailer.

Make your home 100% immune from future power outages or blackouts with this DIY Home Energy System! 

Water and Sanitation

Many people that don’t plan on living in a utility trailer after a major crisis occurs think they can ignore water and sanitation issues.

On the other hand, you are always going to need clean water. As such, you should at least have some tools on hand so that you can purify water or pull it from other resources. Even if you store away plastic and a shovel so that you can retrieve water vapor as it evaporates from the ground, you will be ahead of the game.

Setting aside a small part of the trailer for sanitation and privacy needs is more important than you realize. At the very least, bring a few items along that you can use to meet these needs once they are assembled.

Tools and Skills You Need for the Project

You will need common tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, pliers, metal cutters, drills, and hand saws for building your trailer, but also other items. These tools require electricity to operate, but it’s not impossible to make a sturdy trailer without them.

  • Welder – you need a welder to join together steel rods used in the trailer frame. Even though welding is not especially difficult to learn, you need some practice before you weld the rods together. Remember to wear a welding hood, gloves, and an appropriate apron. No matter how fascinating welding and the sparks it makes may be, remember that you are working with very high temperatures and a light source that can blind you in a matter of seconds.
  • Circular saw, jig saw, and hand drill – these power tools make cutting boards and other materials much easier and faster. Perhaps I am a bit old fashioned in my preference for corded tools, however I have yet to find battery powered tools that lasted as long or provided as much power when I needed it most.
  • Hydraulic Jacks – you need at least 4 to support the frame while you are mounting the axles and wheels.
  • Hoists and Pulley Systems – if you start building in modules, hoists and pulleys make it possible to assemble completed parts in a matter of minutes.

Equipment and Furnishings: Buy or Make Your Own?

When you make your own racks, shelves, and other furnishings, it’s easy to create what you need and in the size that you need it. But if you don’t have the time or patience to make furniture, it can be a very tedious task. Unless you upcycle free wood palettes or other materials, you’ll find that the cost of making your own furnishings is about the same as buying pre-made models.

Research on camping and RV gear, and you’ll find all sorts of things that can be used to make the utility trailer more comfortable and convenient. In many cases, this equipment may not meet all of your needs. You may not be able to repair the items if they break down, or they may not be as durable as you would like.

If you want cutting edge designs or newer technologies, those devices may also be more expensive. For example, if you want to include a wind turbine, it may be impossible to find the best in a pre-fabricated form, so you’d better look at different bladeless turbine designs, and build something that meets your needs.

Newer polymers and other materials on the market can make this task as simple as working with a 3D printer and a few well designed templates. Aside from cost and innovative concerns, when you make your own equipment you can always add room for adaptability. If you need to scavenge parts or build systems that are easy to repair, there is nothing like developing your own designs.

DOs and DON’Ts When Building an Utility Trailer

Building an utility trailer is like many other things in life. There are some basic things you should always do, and others that you should avoid.

Here are some of the most common practices that lead to building a trailer that will be durable and useful or one that will not be worth the effort you put into it.

  • Do not cut costs on critical components such as the frame, suspension, axle, and coupler. Everything in the trailer depends on how sturdy and durable these items are. If you don’t know how to weld, or don’t have enough practice in metal working, make sure that you know what you are doing before you tackle building these parts.
  • Do seek training for everything you need to do. From wiring the trailer for electricity to installing windows and shelves, it never hurts to take a few courses on these and other building oriented topics.
  • Never work on the trailer when you are tired, angry, or sick. Most of the time, you will be working with power tools, chemicals, or something else that can cause injury or death. Exhaustion, excess emotions, and illness can make you careless and impatient. Even if you are not injured, the mistakes you may make can come back to haunt you when you put the trailer on the road and discover these “hidden features”.
  • Always observe safety precautions. Goggles, ear protection, gloves, aprons, steel toed boots, dust masks, and respirators are all necessary safety gear that should be used. While many people today recognize the need for goggles, far too many do not wear protective ear plugs and respirators. Never forget that everything you are working with will create some kind of dust, smoke, or gas. None of these fumes or dust are good for your lungs or your health.
  • Give yourself plenty of room to work. Over the years, I have seen many accidents caused by a simple lack of working space. Make sure that you have plenty of room to lay all the parts and tools out. Keep your work area neat and clean. No matter whether you are working indoors or outside, it is all to easy to take a step backwards and trip over something you forgot was back there.
  • Make sure that others working with you observe safety and good working habits. If you work with a team, it is all too easy for you, and others to put things where they can pose a risk to others. If everyone makes it a point to put things back where they belong, it will be much easier to avoid accidents.
  • Always keep detailed records of everything you did and how each system fits together. Later on, if you need to diagnose problems or make repairs, these notes will give you a valuable point of reference. Include photographs taken during the construction process, these will make it easier to orient and prepare for making any required changes. Do not forget to update your notes and photos once you are done.
  • Never use drugs or alcohol while working on the trailer. As soon as you lose any kind of control of yourself, both the tools you are using and the materials can also get out of control. This can lead to cuts, bruises, burns, and other serious injuries. If you must have a drink or take some kind of medication, stop for the day and then go back to it when your thinking and your reflexes are in better condition.

Take the time to design and build a custom utility trailer, and you’ll develop a perfect prepper solution!

While this task isn’t as difficult as it seems, you will need to put in a considerable amount of time, effort, and money. When a disaster strikes and you are able to move and live comfortably in the trailer, you will see that it is well worth the effort.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.americanbuildersurplus.com/

http://www.salvex.com/

http://www.contractoryardsale.com/

http://www.bmomn.com/

http://www.govliquidation.com/Scrap-Metal.html

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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.

Janome-712T-Sewing-Machine-Table-3-sm

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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Tech 101: All about Batteries

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Batteries, lead acid, lithium ion, saltwater, off-grid, solar, wind

Choosing the right battery can be positively overwhelming

New to off-grid living? Thinking about going off-grid? Have years of experience? Bet you’ve thought about batteries.

Having a back-up store of energy for those cloudy still days, when your renewable energy system isn’t exactly on top form, is a grand idea. But navigating through the types of battery and which is most suitable can seem like a bit of a minefield. Actually, quite a huge minefield.

Way back when…

Initially when off-grid living took off, people turned to car batteries for their storage needs. However, being designed to give out a large current in a short burst, they couldn’t take the strain of being used for longer periods. This usually ended in a burnt out battery after only a year or two of use (if you were very lucky). but a few folk DID get lucky and begged or bought old Fork-lift truck batteries – and found them to be ideal.

Enter Deep-cycle Lead Acid batteries

Designed for a steady current output over long periods and with several hundred discharge- recharge cycles over its lifetime,  these are perfect for partnering with renewable energy.

There are several different types of lead acid batteries which can be used off-grid. The most commonly used in conjunction with solar and wind power are: golf cart batteries, L16 batteries and industrial batteries. All of these are flooded with electrolyte which evaporates during charging, meaning maintenance is required. This extends to checking electrolyte level a minimum of once per month and topping up with distilled water when needed.

Golf cart batteries are good for those completely new to off-grid living, who have a small scale renewables system. The upfront cost of these units is low, meaning if first timers make any mistakes and ruin a battery, the financial loss is minimized. Lasting 4-5 years, these batteries have a reasonable lifespan. They are durable, and can withstand undercharging without too much impact on their storage capacity – reducing the chance you will be scratching our head and saying: “hmm this battery doesn’t seem to hold its charge as long as it used to”.

Batteries, lead acid, lithium ion, saltwater, off-grid, solar, wind

Car batteries for off-grid living are now a thing of the past – unlike Herbie, they weren’t exactly loveable!

Batteries can be scaled up in a bank, depending on the amount of storage required. A set of four 6 volt, 225 amp batteries in sequence can hold 4kWh, increase this number and you could potentially have a bank capable of storing up to 16kWh. With prices starting below $100 for one unit, this is by far the most economical option for those with small scale electricity needs.

 

If you want to step it up from a golf cart battery, then L16 batteries may be the way to go. Even though the units are twice as heavy at 120lbs! They can power small to medium set ups and have a lifespan of up to 8 years. There are also 2 volt models available, allowing for greater storage capacity if a lower voltage is not an issue. However, these units are between 2-3 times more expensive than your standard golf cart battery, but if you have a little extra cash to spend, this could be a good option to go for.

However, if you just want one battery rather than creating your own bank with multiple units, then an industrial battery might do the trick! At a hefty 300lbs these are not meant for RVs and boats. But with a 15-20 year lifespan and the ability to have them custom made to your specifications (including storage capacity) straight from the manufacturer, this does have its positives. But also a considerably higher price tag of between $2,000-10,000 per unit, depending on specs.

If you don’t want the hassle of maintaining a flooded battery you can always opt for a sealed lead acid one.

Instead of a fluid electrolyte, these units have gel or absorbed ones. This means the only thing they need to keep in good working order is proper charging. Alongside this, no gases are produced so you don’t have to worry about appropriate ventilation. They don’t suffer from corrosion either because there is no leakage. Models of these units such as Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) units are also easily stackable, taking up less space. However, despite all of these positives they are sensitive and can be easily overcharged. And the big whopper is they aren’t exactly a cost effective option, with prices that are double that of an industrial flooded lead acid battery, but with half the lifespan.

Alternatively, Lithium ion batteries are gaining ground, especially in light of this being the technology behind Tesla’s Powerwall.

They can deliver more discharge/recharge cycles over their lifespan (approximately 10 years), compared to lead acid batteries and can be charged at higher currents. They are lighter and take up less space also, making them easier to install and change. Due to their lightweight nature, they are also great for RVs and boats. Not only this, but when standing idle they lose only 1-3% storage capacity per month compared to up to 15% for lead acid batteries. So if you’re someone who only uses their RV or boat for vacations every few months, then this might be a better option.

However, there are some drawbacks to these types of batteries. Firstly, they need a Battery Management System (BMS) to monitor the voltage and temperature of the units. This is because even Lithium ion batteries made in the same batch can have variations in capacity. Therefore, when charging, some batteries can become full quicker than others, resulting in dangerously high voltages in some of the units. A BMS shunts the current away from full cells to still charging cells, protecting the system. It can also detect over-heating of cells and will shut off the charging pack to protect all the batteries.

Clearly, this all comes with a heftier price tag than a lead acid battery, for both the unit and associated BMS. And remember – in comparison to lead acid batteries the technology is relatively untested in terms of its longevity. Plus, Lithium ion batteries aren’t widely manufactured yet – so when it comes to replacement equipment or management systems it is not as easy to find what you need as lead acid batteries. However, when this technology becomes more widespread and the price of the units comes down, then there could well be a shift away from lead acid and towards lithium ion batteries.

Batteries, Lead Acid, Lithium ion, saltwater, off-grid, solar, wind, self-sustaining, storage

Could salt be the key to a new generation of batteries?

And just to throw a spanner in the works…

Aquion Energy have brought out a saltwater battery. Yes you read that correctly. Instead of using lithium salts or sulphuric acid for the electrolyte fluid, the Aspen battery uses a non-hazardous sodium sulphate solution. Coming in 24 volt and 48 volt models, the 260lb units are stackable and can be discharged 100% before recharging. The units can operate between -5 and 40°C. Currently, they are being tested in a pilot project in Vermont as part of an “off-grid package”, offered by utility company Green Mountain Power.

Although this is designed for long term stationary energy storage (sorry boat and RV owners) it is aimed at those living off-grid at a supposedly competitive price. The components of the battery are made from relatively cheap, abundant materials and each unit is easy to manufacture. Therefore, an inexpensive manufacturing process should pass on savings to the consumer. Aquion Energy have been given the North American Company of the Year award from the 2017 Global Clean Tech 100, and the Aspen Battery has been named in Building Green’s Top 10 products of 2017. So if you’re fancying something a little different, Aquion’s Aspen battery might be the thing for you. You can find out more about how many batteries you would need to meet your energy requirements here.

Hopefully, you haven’t been left too bamboozled by the battery minefield.

Essentially, what is going to be best for you depends greatly upon your circumstances and budget. If your budget is low and you don’t mind a bit of maintenance, then lead acid batteries are probably your best bet. However, if you have a larger budget, but only vacation in your RV or boat, then a Lithium ion battery with low rates of self-discharge might be a good option to consider. And if you want to break the mould and don’t mind being a bit of a guinea pig, perhaps give the saltwater battery a try – at least you won’t have the worry of your bank going up in flames!

The post Tech 101: All about Batteries appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

3 Steps To Start A Fire When Everything Is Wet

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Start a fire when everything is wet

Starting a fire in adverse weather, whether is rain or wind or both is a very important survival skill every outdoors aficionado must possess. The ability of igniting a fire when things are less than perfect is a fine art which must be learned and practiced until mastery is achieved.

The thing is, nature doesn’t care much about our best laid plans, mice and men alike and an emergency never comes alone. I mean, when confronted with a survival situation, you’d at least expect fine weather, cool breezes and sunshine.

In reality, your survival in an emergency situation will become much more complicated than initially thought and I would dare to say nine times out of ten, as you’ll end up not only lost in the woods or wherever, but you’ll also have to deal with rain, cold and high winds.

Emergencies almost always bring bad weather with them, it’s almost like a 2 for the price of 1 deal. And that’s fine as long you’re prepared both physically and mentally.

However, in critical times, your survival may depend on your ability to light a fire under rain and/or wind and any hardcore survivalist, even Bear Grylls will tell you that you should always carry at least 2 primary and 2 secondary tools for starting a fire.

The idea is that a regular fire starter may not always provide you with the best results, especially if it’s raining and it gets wet. Also, if it’s windy and rainy, your chances of igniting a fire with just one match are pretty slim. If it’s freezing cold, your BIC lighter (which uses butane) may not work at all.

Basically, starting a fire when it’s windy, cold and rainy is one of the worst situations imaginable, other than starting a fire under water, which is a skill only Chuck Norris masters (he uses phosphorus by the way).

I think I have already told you a dozen times in my previous articles about the holy trinity of survival, which includes fire as a means of providing you with (cooked) food, (safe) water and shelter (warmth, protection from wild animals etc), but also about the importance of location.

But do you know which survival essential is the first most important?

Find out how this little survival stove that fits in your pocket can save your life!

1. Find an Adequate Location for Making the Fire

Everything in life is location, as Van Helsing used to say back in the day, and the same mantra is true when it comes to making a fire.

The first thing to look for is an adequate location for making a fire in harsh weather conditions. The idea is to provide your fire with as much protection possible from both wind and rain if possible. And if you’re not in the middle of a frozen desert with no snow around, that’s not impossible.

Shelter means three basic things:

  • shelter from the wind
  • shelter from the rain
  • shelter from the ground water.

2. Shelter the Fire

Ideally, you should shelter your fire on more than one side (upwind).

Build a Windbreak

You can protect your fire by building a C shaped windbreak with the open side downwind. You can build a windbreak using wood, rocks, snow, dirt, just use your imagination.

To shelter your fire from the rain when outdoors is the hardest job, but it can be achieved.

Make the Fire Under a Tree

But pay attention! The easiest way is to make your fire under a tree, as evergreens can be regarded as a natural tent of sorts. All you have to do is to pick a big one and make your fire under the lowest branches.

Making a fire under a tree may not seem like the best idea, as there are inherent risks attached, like setting the tree on fire, but if you’re paying attention and keeping your fire under control, the chances of such an event happening are minor.

You can minimize the risks further by building a good fire pit with no combustible materials around the fire.

Build a Fire Pit

The third requirement is how to protect the fire from ground earth, with the previous two taken care of by now. The easiest method is to use rocks for building a fire pit on a spot where the ground is raised from the floor.

Or you can do that yourself, i.e. you can build a little mound and on top of the mound you’ll put a layer of rocks, thus preventing your fire from staying directly on the wet ground and also making sure any running water will be drained ASAP.

3. Tinder, Kindling and Fuel

So much for location folks, let’s move on to the next issue and I will start with an axiom: if you don’t have the Bear Grylls flame-thrower with you, starting a fire using wet wood is basically impossible and a no-go under any circumstances. You’ll waste your time and your gear, bet on a dead horse and the whole palaver.

Video first seen on CommonSenseOutdoors

However, there are ways, as Gandalf used to say, but ideally, you should try to find something dry for starting your fire. As a general rule of thumb, a fire gets started in 3 stages: tinder, kindling and fuel.

The tinder is a combustible material which is very easy to ignite, i.e. it will catch fire quick and easy.

The kindling can be improvised using pieces of finger-thick wood that will be lit from the kindle.

The rest is pretty straight forward, as far as your kindle gets ignited you’ll start the main fuel and you’ll have a fire burning in no time.

Two of the best survival-tinder (fire starters actually) which can be used for igniting a fire in adverse conditions (even with wet wood) are cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly and dryer lint mixed with paraffin. These will burn for at least 2-3 minutes, thus providing you with plenty of time to get your fire started. I’ve already written an article about this issue.

As an interesting factoid, even in the midst of a rainstorm, you can almost surely find dried branches under the bottom of big/old pine trees. Another great place to look for dry combustible is the underside of uprooted (or dead) trees.

Video first seen on IA Woodsman

How to Make the Best Fire Starter for Wet Wood

The best fire-starter for wet wood can be home-made using black powder (gunpowder) and nail polish remover (the one that contains acetone). The acetone will be the solvent for the gunpowder. The idea is to make something that burns slow and as hot as possible and the gunpowder/acetone mix is by far the best in this regard.

Making the mix is fairly easy, as you’ll start with a small quantity of gunpowder the size of a golf ball put inside a ceramic/glass bowl. Start adding nail polish remover so that the mound of gunpowder is totally covered then mix it together slowly and thoroughly (always wear rubber gloves).

Once the stuff inside the ball gets in a putty-state, you can pour off the extra nail polish and then start kneading the putty, just like when making bread. i.e. folding it over time and time again.

The purpose of the kneading is to create layers inside your fire-starter. In this way, the burn rate is more controlled. The more layers, the better your fire-starter will be. The finished putty can be stored in an airtight container, but keep in mind that you’ll want to use your putty when it’s still moist. If dried, it burns too fast.

This fire-starter burns at 3000 degrees Fahrenheit and a golf-ball sized piece will burn for more than 3 minutes. Basically, you can set anything on fire with this baby and even  dry out damp wood in the worst conditions imaginable.

One final thing, it would always be nice to use fire accelerants, like gasoline (or alcohol, paint thinner etc), for starting a fire in rain or wind.

If you have your car around, the better, as you can siphon out some gasoline from the tank and start a fire even with damp wood in a jiffy. Okay, you’ll not receive those extra bonus style points, but that’s okay.

You’ll always have the peace of mind knowing that no matter where you go and no matter how bad the weather is you’ll be able to start a fire and safely cook food and boil some water. Click the banner below to grab this offer!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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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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Regenerating the Eco-village

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Regen Villages, Off-grid, Sustainable, Eco-village, eco-friendly

Regen Villagers don’t need green thumb to live in greenhouse.

Self-sustaining communities that can talk to each other; sounds like something from the future doesn’t it? But Regen Villages is making this a reality – right now. The first Regen eco-village has begun building works in Almere, 25 minutes from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The 15,500m² project will house 100 families and aims to be completed by 2018.

But what is a Regen Village?

Founded by James Ehrlich, a senior technologist at Stanford University, in 2015, Regen Villages has a holistic approach. A regenerative system combining new technology and renewable energy powered homes, with organic food production right on the doorstep.

The houses vary in size and are built inside a greenhouse “envelope”, with some even having terraces. Each home has a built in water collection system, solar panels and are passively heated. The community has a seasonal garden, biogas facility and aquaponics amongst other things.

The base of the villages is that the output of one system is the input to another. Waste from the homes is sorted into different categories. Bio-waste is used in the Biogas facility, whilst compost is used as food for livestock and small flies. The flies are fed to fish and the waste from both them and the livestock fertilises the seasonal gardens. The plants in the aquaponics facility and seasonal gardens produce fruit and vegetables for food, whilst the livestock and fish provide a source of protein. Rainwater is collected and stored at the houses and water produced at the biogas facility is also stored. Grey water is separated and used to irrigate the seasonal garden, whereas clean water is put into the aquaponics. Solar cells provide the energy for homes and also to the “smart grid” which can be used for charging electric cars.

Regen Villages, who are partnered with Danish architects EFFEKT, have been termed the “Tesla of ecovillages” paving the way for new innovative developments. Plans include villages being linked up to the cloud and being able to communicate with each other through the internet. In this way communities are self-reliant and off-grid but can still learn from each other.

What about the future?

At a conference held at Sliperiet, Umeå University, Sweden James Ehrlich spoke of the future for Regen Villages. After the completion of the Almere pilot, EU funding of a proposed 300 million euros (approximately $319 million) will enable projects in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany to go ahead. These are aimed to be carried out during 2018-2022. Sights are then set on developments across Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, India, China and parts of the US, with government investments. As Ehrlich outlined, by targeting a challenging cold environment first, Regen Villages can be adapted to suit different climatic needs.

Off-grid sustainable greenhouse communities are not at all futuristic and Ehrlich is keen to make them a reality.

The post Regenerating the Eco-village appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Solar TV: Entertainment Everywhere

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Solar Power, TV, Off-grid, Africa

Even in a remote location, the Solar TV can connect to satellite channels.

Living off-grid but want to keep dumbing down?

Cello Electronics have introduced what they claim is the first LED solar powered TV. With a screen size of 22 inches, the TV is still reasonably compact and so would fit well in an RV, hut or tiny home.

A built-in rechargeable battery and patented “Smart Energy Management System” ensures up to 10 hours of running time from a single charge! A smart antenna receives signals through a DVBT2 tuner giving the viewer HD quality. But if you’re located somewhere really remote where there is little or no TV signal, the built-in satellite tuner can still pick up satellite channels. This allows for TV entertainment, wherever you may be.

This unit can also play a more central role in powering an off-grid home. A 2.0 USB port can not only charge phones, but can also act as a connection or power source for other compatible devices. Not only this by connecting a flash disk to act as storage, the personal video recorder feature can be used. That’s right; this set offers the ability to record a show or series to watch when it’s more convenient for you.

A complete out-of-the-box solution:

The Solar TV package costs $300 and includes the TV, solar panel and antenna. All that needs to be done is to set up the TV with the solar panel (in a suitable location of course) and you’re good to go. A review of an “out of the box” opening can be found here.

UK based Cello Electronics launched the Solar TV at the third Solar Africa Expo in Kenya, last year. A large proportion of the African population do not have access to reliable electricity from the grid. Therefore, a TV that works completely off-grid offers a solution. Knowing that the $300 price tag could be a big barrier for poorer regions in Africa, the company set up a pay-as-you-go scheme. PAYGOTV allows the consumer to pay only for the TV they are watching by purchasing a code entered via the remote control. This also opens up a new market for customers that don’t have their own TV but have access to one in the local community.

Brian Palmer, CEO of Cello, recalled how it all started, saying in a press release, “Could we make a TV that was capable of working off-grid?” Seems the answer is, yes they could!

The post Solar TV: Entertainment Everywhere appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

How To Build Your Best Camouflage

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Survivopedia How To Build Your Best Camouflage

When talking about camouflage, there are basically two types of gear: camouflage clothes and ghillie suits.

Camouflage gear is is a must have piece of gear  if you’re a sniper, a soldier or a hunter. Ghillie suits were originally designed for hunting purposes, but later on they were used by military forces, because they’re great at making people invisible or very close to it.

Basically, regardless of your intents and purposes, if you want to blend into your surroundings, camouflage gear is essential.

The key elements for efficient camouflage are inspired from the animal reign (think polar bears or chameleons), i.e. the color scheme is essential, together with  efficient 3D dimensional textures, which is aimed at diffusing and blending your figure/silhouette into the surroundings, thus fooling the eye.

If these two work together as a whole, the color scheme and the 3D (three dimensional) textures, you’re hitting the sweet spot in terms of good camouflage, being basically unrecognizable and virtually invisible from the distance.

It’s just like in the cool meme, with the apprentice sniper being admonished by the sergeant, something like “Smith, I haven’t seen you at camouflage practice” and Smith going like: “Thank you Sir”.

Let’s take a closer look about camouflage basics and start from there.

So, commercial or home-made regular 2D (bi-dimensional) camouflage is pretty good at helping you blending into all sorts of backgrounds, but it can’t mitigate one of the most tell-tell signs of you presence, i.e. your silhouette.

Hard core hunters and veteran hiders, such as military snipers or undercover spooks always rely on 3D camouflage, which consists of entire suits that are built using billowy materials, which help with blurring their outline, thus allowing them to become virtually invisible or to disappear in plain sight.

So, there’s regular 2D camouflage and the ultimate 3D camouflage, namely the ghillies.

Ghillie suits were first invented by Scottish folk, game keepers who probably were pretty good at tax evasion too using those suits (just kidding).

To begin with, let’s quote Sun Tzu, the Chinese general who wrote The Art of War thousands of years ago:

“Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”

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

Camouflage Clothes – the Basic Gear for Ghosts

The first step is to determine your required 3 base-colors i.e. the top three most prevalent colors which are to be found in the environment you want to blend in. Don’t worry about exact tones and hues, just choose general colors.

For example, go for dark green/dark brown/black clothes and don’t waste your time trying to find pine needle green or chestnut brown.

If you’ve already determined the color scheme required for your camouflage purposes, buy plain colored T shirts/long sleeve/whatever you need in the respective color and stay away from fancy/expensive brands, the name of the game is utility and economy, otherwise you can buy commercially available camo, right?

The same concept goes for the hat and pants. Here’s a video tutorial with a guy who made his own camo shirt and pants using just a few common items besides the clothes themselves, namely a spray paint, some spare newspapers and some foliage with leaves.

Video first seen on Random Things.

The trick is to spray paint the leaves pattern onto the clothes and that’s about it, you’ll end up with home made camo for dirt cheap prices, especially if you’ll be using old clothes. The end result is pretty convincing.

The Ghillie Suit

Ghillie suit Now, with the basics taken care of, let’s see about the really good stuff, namely the ghillie suit.

Ghillie suits are arguably the best type of camouflage one can wear, as it helps you to integrate seamlessly (if it’s proper made obviously) into your surroundings, as it uses branches, foliage and/or leaves to break up your silhouette.

You’ll start with your already-made camo clothes, i.e. normal clothing spray painted (you can also use fabric patches) to match your desired surroundings.

A ghillie suit is basically 3D camo and it’s usually built using burlap, netting, sewing needles, dental floss and glue. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive.

The thing is, there are two basic designs for ghillie suits: the simple net for fixed positions and the suit construction.

The simple net design has advantages and disadvantages. For example, it’s pretty hard to use while on the move through forests/brush and it’s also very difficult to crawl in. The bright side is that simple net ghillies are light weight, hugely adaptable to fixed positions and they roll up forming a small bundle.

You can use camouflage netting which can be bought at army surplus stores, else you can always choose shrimp net or fish net (the former is the best as it’s treated with anti rot coating).

Suit construction requires a decoy bag, raffia grass, burlap, fabric dye, rubber bands, jute twine and seam reaper. Here’s a video on how to build a ghillie suit from the ground up using readily available and dirt cheap materials.

Video first seen on Zachary Crossman.

The most important customizing option for your ghillie suit it the use of natural vegetation, but this trick comes with the disadvantage that natural vegetation will wither and brown in a couple of hours. Here raffia grass comes into play, as it’s perfectly suited for dyeing and it’s extremely effective in desert, grassland and winter environments.

Other options include using spanish moss, carpet moss or even artificial vegetation and there’s a wide selection of artificial vegetation at hobby stores. You can mitigate its glossy appearance which is common with plastic made plants by using a flat spray paint in your desired color. Plastic vegetation can be painted/repainted ad nauseam,

Don’t worry, building your own ghillie suit doesn’t require mad skills, you’ll just have to know how to tie simple knots, to recognize plant shapes and mix different colors together.

What’s important before proceeding with your DIY job is proper fieldwork research, namely taking notes and photos that will help you with color matching your ghillie suit. Yes, you’ll have to do some scouting, going out to the grasslands/woods/desert plateau or wherever you plan to use your camo and observe the coloration of the terrain with your own eyes.

Building your own ghillie suit offers you some advantages and tactical options vs the commercially available ones (which are also pretty expensive).

For example, you can add a recoil pad pocket if you’re using your suit for hunting purposes, or a hydration pack for wearing it in warm climates, not to mention waterproofing on the areas that come in contact with moisture, thus helping you stay dry in wet environments.

Another advantage of a home made ghillie suit is that it will match accurately the color of your desired environment you wish to blend into, as opposed to commercial ones which are usually available for just 2 environments.

That about sums it up for today. I hope you enjoyed reading the article. If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the dedicated section below. Good luck, and stay prepared folks!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: Are You Prepared For An EMP Attack?

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As we all know, the U.S. power grid is in danger and one thing is for sure: when the power will go out, the economy, the defense infrastructure and more than that, our own safety and health will go down. The U.S. Government

In this situation, the only thing we can do is to prepare for that moment when the lights go down rather than wait and see what happens in the aftermath.

That’s why, for this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered 5 useful articles for some off-grid scenarios.

  1. Gov’t Reports Warns: Power Grid In ‘Imminent Danger’

blackout-doe-report

“ The U.S. power grid is in constant danger of a cyberattack that could cause widespread blackouts and impact millions of citizens, according to a new 492-page report from the Department of Energy that warns if nothing is done to protect the system, the nation likely will suffer.

“The U.S. grid faces imminent danger from cyberattacks,” the report, released Jan. 6, states. “Widespread disruption of electric service because of a transmission failure initiated by a cyberattack at various points of entry could undermine U.S. lifeline networks, critical defense infrastructure, and much of the economy; it could also endanger the health and safety of millions of citizens.”

The report, titled “Transforming the Nation’s Energy System,” notes that the electric grid in the 48 contiguous states is comprised of 21,500 substations and about 700,000 miles of power lines.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

  1. How to Protect Your Power System Against an EMP

electromagnetic-pulse“Hello my friend and welcome back! I received a letter from one of my readers who goes by the name of Dan.  What he wants to know is how he can protect his wind turbine and solar panels, as well as his electronics, from an EMP or another Carrington Event CME.  He also wants to know how deep his underground shelter needs to be to protect what he has there.  WOW!  That was a mouth full.  This is the subject of today’s post, so grab a cup of coffee my friend and have a seat while we visit.”

Read more on American Preppers Online.

  1. Living Off the Grid with Solar

“The moment you go off-grid, you rely entirely on a system that generates electrical energy and utilizes the same to support all your electrical solarappliances, either at home or on a business premise. For your system to be exclusively off-grid, it must have absolutely no link to the utility grid.

Going off-grid is possible, practical and beneficial to you in many ways. You will not have to pay utility bills and in the long run, you will save money! Other motivations include: environmental concerns and endeavoring to only use renewable energy; energy independence, you won’t have to rely on the blackout-prone utility; social values, which mean taking responsibility for your energy consumption effects; costs, when the distance to the grid is too big, your decision to go off grid becomes a lot cheaper.”

Read more on Ed That Matters.

  1. 7 Ways to Generate Power After a Disaster

7-ways-you-can-generate-power-after-a-disaster-wide-2

“Whether it’s a nuclear holocaust, a deadly plague, the perfect storm, or a large-scale terrorist attack, when a cataclysmic event goes down you can guarantee one thing: the power will go out. And while you don’t need electricity to be a hunter-gatherer for the rest of your life, if you want to help return human society to its former greatness—or just be able to have a James Bond movie marathon again—you’ll have to figure out how to generate your own power.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

  1. 15 Things You Think You Know About Faraday Cages But You Don’t

EMP

“This article takes into consideration only the effects of a nuclear EMP, not a solar flare. A solar flare would only affect any electronics connected to the grid.

Will a microwave work as a Faraday cage?

No. If an EMP strikes, you will notice that all your electronic devices that you stored in a microwave oven will be rendered useless. The microwave is not a Faraday cage.

Will a refrigerator work as a Faraday cage?

No, most refrigerators do not work as a Faraday cage. I tested mine, and it’s definitely not a Faraday cage.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Wilderness Survival: 5 Self Feeding Campfires

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Self feeding fire

If you’re an outdoors aficionado and you go camping often, today’s article will tick you in all the right places, as I will present you, dear readers, with 5 ways to start a self feeding campfire.

Making a campfire is arguably one of the most fun and interesting parts of camping, as it keeps you warm and safe on cool nights, not to mention that it gives you the opportunity to make the best barbecue you’ve ever had in your life.

You know, food cooked outdoors on wood-fires tastes best. However, there’s a downside to this kind of activity. I am talking about the boring job of keeping the fire alive and kicking.

We’ve all been in this situation – sitting and chilling by the fire, trying to relax and all that, when once again, we’re forced to get up and tend the fire. That’s pretty unpleasant when your belly is full of your latest barbecue, not to mention during the night when you’re sleeping like a baby, yet you awake frostbitten and what not.

However, there’s an answer to these problems with regard to camping, and I am talking about a self feeding fire. Think about our forefathers, they were the experts of this basic skill as for them, a self feeding fire lasting all nigh long meant they could take a nap after a harsh journey.

This may sound nothing short of miraculous to you, but I’ll present you with some videos and you’ll see that I am dead serious, as usual.

So, considering that you can’t really enjoy the warm glow from your campfire if you’re forced to constantly feed it with fresh logs, let’s see about some self feeding ideas which will keep your fire going forever and ever.

1. 15+ Hours Self Feeding Fire

The next idea is about a 15 hours-plus self feeding fire, which sounds pretty awesome providing that it really works; i.e. a fire that will burn for more than half a day all by itself, requiring zero maintenance. That almost beats central heating, don’t you think?

The self feeding fire was invented by the pioneers that had to travel for months. We still have a lot to learn about their skills, as they are depicted in Claude Davis’s book “The Lost Ways”, who unearths the long forgotten ways and lifestyles of the ancestors of ancient times.

Discover the ancient secrets that helped our forefathers survive in the wild!

This type of fire will work if you’re doing it right and proper. The idea is that you’ll have to work a little bit in order for it to function, but it will be worth it. The concept is pretty simple: you’ll have to build two ramps opposing each other and load them with big logs.

The logs will self-load as the ones in the middle get consumed by the fire, but check out the video tutorial about this method depicted in “The Lost Ways” book, and see the concept in action for yourself.

Video first seen on Know More.

As you have noticed, the ramps are constructed in a very easy-to-understand way; there’s nothing fancy involved here.

In order to get the fire started, you’ll have to remember to leave a gap in-between the two logs at the bottom by putting a couple of pieces of dead wood in there to keep them open. In this way, you’ll be able to start the fire, and that’s kind of important.

You’ll also have to cut pretty big (and flat-that’s crucial) logs and the trick is to start the fire from below and make sure the logs burn completely all the way down to succeed.

2. The Upside-down Fire

The second self feeding campfire idea is called the upside down fire. The general idea is that you put the biggest stuff at the bottom, like the big logs, in layers, in a crisscrossed pattern, and as you build the logs up, the woods will get smaller, ending up with the tender pile of the top.

This is a very efficient way of building a self feeding campfire and here’s a comprehensive video tutorial.

Video first seen on NorthSouthSurvival.

The idea works and it’s pretty easy to DIY, ending up with an almost maintenance-free fire which consumes itself from the top down. This method is also known as the fall-down fire.

3. Self Feeding Fire Cigarettes

The third idea is called self-feeding fire cigarettes, just another moniker for a self feeding, long-lasting campfire. The goal of this project is to build a small scale fire as opposed to the previous idea which involves big logs for creating a heavy duty campfire.

So, what we’ll be dealing with here is a minimal campfire, ideal for cooking and lighting your cigars and, you know, keeping the lights on, so to speak.

The concept is to make a hole in the ground and stick 4-5 fire cigarettes (wooden sticks basically) inside, light them up from the bottom and as they burn slowly, the burnt parts collapse under their own weight. This is elegant, very easy to put into practice, and it really works. You must remember to dig out the ventilation tunnels required for keeping the fire alive.

Video first seen on Redfuel Bushcraft

4. 18+ Hours Self Feeding Campfire

Next on our program is how to make a long-lasting, self-feeding campfire that will stay alive by itself for approximately 18 hours, give or take (depending on the size of the logs).

First things first: you’ll have to find 2 big logs. The thicker they are, the longer your fire is going to last.

The general idea is that you’ll put these 2 thick logs on top of each other and set a fire in between them using dead/dry debris or something similar. You’ll have to use 4 stakes, 2 on each side of the logs, for keeping the logs from rolling out; something like a safety precaution. It’s best to use green wood stakes, as these don’t burn so well.

It’s important how you set up the fire; i.e. it works especially well if you set up in the direction where the wind blows, as it will fan the fire for you.

Video first seen on coydog outdoors.

5. Finnish Rakovalkea Fire

Lastly, let me present you with a clever system to build a self feeding campfire which is very popular in Northern Europe, in Finland and Sweden respectively, where it’s known as rakovalkea and/or nying.

This self feeding system uses for two notched-out short logs for its base that keep the fire lifted up off the ground for better ventilation, or more oxygen if you like.

The rest of the job is pretty similar to the previous project; i.e. you’ll have two logs on top of each other with the fire being set in the middle. Both the log on the bottom and the one on the top have a flattened edge as they’ll be facing each other, and in between you’ll have to put the combustible materials required for starting the fire.

Two poles are used to keep the logs firmly in place (via nails). But take a look at this video tutorial and you’ll see what’s up.

Video first seen on Far North Bushcraft And Survival.

Click the banner below to discover more long-forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive the long journeys in the wilderness!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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SHTF Cooking Options for Preppers

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SHTF Cooking Options for PreppersWhen it comes to SHTF cooking options for preppers there are quite a few options available. On the other side of that coin, there are many options that won’t be available to us in an off the grid situation, and many precautions we will need to take.

As preppers we need to not only think about how we are going to cook our food in a SHTF situation, but how we are going to do it without ringing the dinner bell for the entire neighborhood. We don’t give this much thought these days because when a neighbor smells us grilling outside, they don’t come running over.

In any sort of disaster situation that could be different. In a smaller situation like a power outage, it could be the inconvenience of having to turn people away. In a larger situation turning those people away will create resentment and enemies.

SPP186 SHTF Cooking Options for Preppers

This week in the show we talked about how to handle situations like these, and some cooking options we might have as preppers. We also talked about how our diet will change in an off the grid situation, and how what we do now will determine what we eat then.

Precautions & Dangers

If you look at what’s going on in Venezuela you see that when availability of food is limited, the people with it become powerful, and the people without food have no choice but to bend to their will. Criminals would be stealing food rather than televisions and cars, and drug dealers would be dealing food rather than cocaine and heroin.

Cooking Smells: I think of this like attracting the zombies. In the movies if you make any noise the zombies focus their attention on you. When you’re cooking in an off the grid situation, the real life zombies will be hungry (not just for brains) and follow that aroma back to you.

Smoke Signals: If you light a roaring camp fire, the odds are you will be giving off smoke signals to your neighbors and ringing the dinner bell. To avoid this use alternative cooking methods, or cook foods that won’t give off smoke.

Trash Removal: If you have a bunch of tin cans or long term food storage packaging laying around, people will know you have food long after you have been cooking. Burning your trash is probably not a good option, but burying it will keep it out of sight, and out of mind.

What You Cook: The different types of foods you cook, types of spices you use and how you cook it will all matter in an SHTF scenario. Boiling some Legacy food might not give off much of an aroma, but cooking it on a wood fire will. This is the main reason I love the Sun Oven so much.

The Changing Times

when good food goes badOur idea of what breakfast lunch and dinner are might (and probably will) change. If you look at what you have right now that doesn’t require refrigeration, and think about how you would cook it, you will see how your diet will change. The odds are you won’t be grilling a lot of meat, you won’t have milk or all the condiments in your refrigerator door.

When Good Food Goes Bad: I the show we talked about what you would need to do with food in your refrigerator. Most people will be having a “neighborhood BBQ” and we debated whether you should, or should not participate. You could also figure out a way to preserve that food as much as possible.

Neighborhood Cook Off: Participation in a neighborhood cook off would be a way of extending the olive branch to your neighbors. If you do this, make sure you are not giving out too much information. Make your neighbors think you are in the same boat as them.

Preserving Food: The first day or two after a disaster might be the safest time to get this done. Dehydrating, smoking or canning the meat in your freezer will extend their shelf lives… Just don’t let your neighbors see you doing it. Digging a hole and making a small root cellar could extend the shelf lives of some refrigerator foods as well.

Dinner Time? It might be a good idea to change when you cook. People are used to eating breakfast early in the morning, so think about cooking before they wake up. You could also wait until very late to cook dinner, although cooking at midnight could put you at a disadvantage because someone could sneak up to your house in the dark.

The “Inconvenient” Truth

There will be no more fast food, no more convenience stores or prepackaged frozen meals to cook. For most people this is going to be a huge adjustment, but as preppers we should be ready for this. Having food storage is one thing, knowing how to use it is another.

Below is a list of off the grid cooking options we might have available, but the most important part of this is knowing how to cook it. Knowing how to make bread, or knowing how to put together a soup is just as important as having these ingredients stored.

Off the Grid Cooking Options

Legacy Food Storage ProductLong Term Food (Dehydrated Food): The easiest solution (for several reasons) is long term food. While this isn’t a “cooking method” this can be cooked using any of the methods listed below. We sell the Legacy Food Storage products at the SHTFShop.com and they are great for cooking without alerting the neighborhood.

DIY Prepper StoveDIY Cooking Ideas: There are quite a few DIY cooking ideas like the Dakota Fire Pit, Yukon Stove, and the Rocket Stove. You can probably find a hundred ideas on YouTube and even come up with a few on your own.

Sterno LitSterno Fuel: There are very few indoor cooking options available when it comes to cooking off the grid. Sterno fuel won’t create enough heat to cook a steak, but you can heat up soups, long term food or a can of beans.

Coleman StoveCamp Stoves: There are quite a few options when it comes to camp stoves. The first that probably comes to everyone mind is the Coleman stove. There are also folding camp stoves, and small butane hiking stoves.

Blaze Grill PackageBlaze Charcoal: I recently teamed up with Expedition Research and started selling these Blaze Grills. These are a great off the grid option because they are smokeless and give off no smell. For more information on these watch this video.

Propane GrillPropane Grill: Most of us probably have a propane grill in the back yard or deck. These are great, but unless they are completely clean, they will give off that grilling smell. It’s also a good idea to get an extra tank (or 2) of propane for these.

sun oven smallAll American Sun Oven: This is by far my favorite off the grid cooking option. The only fuel you need is the sun, you can cook just about anything in a Sun Oven, and they don’t give off a cooking smell. You can even boil water in a Sun Oven. You can use this link to get $70 off.

Hot PlateHot Plates: These are another indoor cooking option, although not a very efficient one. Hot plates are high energy and would require a good solar setup, or the use of a generator. If you are trying to be “incognito” cranking on the generator is never a good idea, and I would save my solar energy for other uses.

Wood Burning StoveWood Stoves: If you happen to have a wood burning stove, or have the money to get one, they are fantastic. They can be used to heat your home and cook dinner at the same time. Keep in mind that a wood burning stove will give off a large amount of smoke.

thermal cookerThermal Cookers: From what I’ve read these seem to be a great option for cooking indoors, saving energy and even just keeping food warm. All you need to do is bring your food to a boil, and then place it in the thermal cooker to finish cooking it. I just purchased one and will be reviewing it in the near future.

tea light candlesCandles: Regular candles and even tea blight candles can be used to heat food up, but are not very hot or efficient. It would probably take quite a while to heat a can of soup with a tealight candle, but it’s better than nothing.

Lantern CookerLantern Cooker: Another indoor cooking option is a lantern cooker. This is basically an oil lantern that has a little cooking pot attached to the top. This is a great multipurpose item that will light a room while heating up some soup.

Keep the Zombies Away

There are quite a few options available for cooking off the grid, and there are quite a few precautions we need to consider as well. Understanding when we can safely cook, and how we can safely cook in a SHTF situation is critical to keeping our family safe, and keeping the zombies away.

The post SHTF Cooking Options for Preppers appeared first on Survivalist Prepper.

Off-Grid School Gets Top Marks

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Recycling, Eco-desks, Off-grid, school, South Africa

Waste for desks? Deal!

A cash-strapped performing arts school has traded a year’s worth of waste for 30 desks.

The off-grid school collected its community’s recycling, as well as its own, and bartered this for the recycled desks.

Set up in 2005, the grid wasn’t working for 65 pupil school Chistlehurst, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa so they devised a plan. Stick with their eco-friendly ethos and remain off the grid.  Unlike an on-grid school, there is no sprinkler system, no heating in the winter and strictly no technology in the classroom. So things are done a little differently, students carry buckets of water from the rain water tanks to the gardens and huddle by a bonfire to keep warm on cold mornings.

“Our kids have had to learn how to get along without certain ‘luxuries’, which is something they take a little time to adjust to, but end up loving the ‘quietness’ of it all,” said Jacyn Fanner, Headteacher.

When they moved into their current building, there were no roofs, doors or windows. Let alone functioning taps and toilets! But after a lot of hard work, the school reached their off-grid goal. Rain water tanks fill the toilet cisterns, solar lighting illuminates the classrooms and batteries, gas and a small generator provide extra energy.

The school is also home to a frog pond, vegetable garden and a recycling village with 12 bins for different materials. This allows the school to recycle a range of materials from mixed paper and cans to plastic and styrofoam. The majority of cleaning products and equipment are sourced from the local community and are as eco-friendly as possible.

Off-grid, School, Recycling, South Africa, Eco-desks, Water Tanks,

Drama Free! Water tanks & solar panels mean Chistlehurst doesn’t have to rely on the grid.

The school partnered up with the Wildlands Conservancy Trust 6 years ago, through their desire to recycle. The NGO, which operates in 6 provinces, provided the school with the recycling bins which are filled every week – even during the holidays!

Students have taken their eco-friendly lessons from school to home, encouraging their families to reduce re-use and recycle. So now recycling from the local community is brought to the school for collection. Each year the school get a rebate from Wildlands for the recycling they collect. However at the end of 2016 this rebate was traded for the eco-desks. The staff and students are very pleased with how they look in their eco-school setting and Headteacher Jacyn Fanner wants to see them fill all of the classrooms in time.

So what’s next?

“We have so many ideas and plans – which include a fully solar powered media centre – and we are so excited for what the future holds for Chistlehurst,” Jacyn Fanner said.

The desks are made from 100% previously unrecycled materials, are hard wearing and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Chistlehurst are so pleased with the outcome, they are encouraging other schools to get involved with green initiatives such as Sustainable Schools and Recycling for Life programs.

 

Images courtesy of Roger Fanner.

The post Off-Grid School Gets Top Marks appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

First Aid During Winter: Can You Handle It?

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Winter First Aid

In an emergency situation, it’s difficult to provide good first aid even in good weather, but if you must tend to sickness or injury in freezing weather, your job is going to be twice as hard.

You’ll have greater difficulty getting to a warm place to provide treatment, and snow and freezing weather will make it difficult to start a fire or find healing herbs that would be abundant in warmer weather.

You will also have to take care of yourself by wearing appropriate cold weather gear, which may impair you.

In this article we’re going to discuss how to meet these challenges and provide adequate first aid even in freezing weather.

How to Reduce the Risk of Injury

The first problem that you’re going to face is that chances for injury are going to be much greater. You’ll be facing the risk of frostbite, hypothermia, falls and hunting injuries. As a provider of first aid, the first rule is to avoid injury yourself.

In freezing weather, it will be an uphill climb to provide life-saving treatment without risking yourself as well.

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

Hypothermia

The first challenge that you’re going to face when providing first aid is avoiding hypothermia on top of treating the injury, or perhaps the injury is hypothermia. The problem is that in order to treat hypothermia, you need a way to warm up the person, which isn’t going to be easy if you’re stuck outdoors.

In severe temperatures, your core temperature can drop dangerously low when exposed to the elements in a matter of minutes even if you’re awake and active. If the patient is unconscious, their body temp drops even faster because they aren’t moving about to generate extra body heat.

When you sleep, your body temperature drops by as much as a couple of degrees, which can be critical since hypothermia, by definition, is a decrease in body temperature. When you’re in a deep sleep, you don’t shiver to maintain body temp.

Your body also pulls heat from the shell (your limbs) to maintain core temp, which puts the extremities at risk for frostbite. Loss of blood increases the chance because blood is basically the hot water in your body’s radiator – the warm blood in your vessels keeps the surrounding temperature warm.

The take-away here is to keep the person awake and warm, even if he or she is in pain and you would normally encourage sleep.

Though you may need to shed at least your gloves or mittens to provide treatment of wounds, it’s critical that you stay warm in order to prevent becoming hypothermic, too. If both of you are down, there’s a high probability that you’ll both die.

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Frostbite

If a person has an injury that requires removal of clothing, such as a gash or puncture wound, there’s a much greater risk of frostbite.

Like with hypothermia, it doesn’t take long in freezing temperatures for frostbite to set in and cause potentially permanent tissue damage that can result in loss of digits or limbs, or even gangrene.

The risk is particularly high around the wound area because it’s wet so it’s important to get it dry and keep it dry, or at least under a dry dressing so that the wet material and flesh isn’t exposed to the cold.

Ice

Ice presents many problems when traversing terrain in bad weather. The risk of broken bones, severe bruises, concussions, and just about any other injury is increased exponentially if you’re walking or traveling on ice. It will also make it much more difficult to get an injured person to safety.

If you have to provide first aid in an icy environment, don’t forget the first rule – keep yourself safe.

If a person has fallen through ice on a body of water and you’re trying to save them, do the best that you can to ensure your own safety. Tie yourself to a secure tree or fixed object before going after them, and if you have to go out onto the ice, lay flat so that your body weight is distributed over a larger area.

If you have a path that you use several times a day, use rock salt to melt the ice. You don’t have to use much, but you will need to reapply it at least once per day to keep the water from the melted ice from re-freezing.

Some ice on a shelter may act as an insulator, but if it gets too heavy for the structure to bear, you’ll find yourself without shelter. Monitor and do what needs to be done.

Inability to Travel

First aid is called that because it’s often meant to be the precursor to a higher level of medical treatment. For instance, if a person has severed a digit or limb, or has a severe injury, they’re going to need more than a bandage and some antibacterial ointment.

Tourniquets can only be used carefully and for a short amount of time without causing tissue death or damage and wounds such as gunshot wounds need surgery if the bullet or foreign object is still in the patient.

Freezing weather, especially in a SHTF scenario, makes travel much more difficult. Trying to travel in severe weather may result in further injury to the patient, or injury to you, and we already know that’s the last thing that needs to happen.

The best way to prepare for this is to know how to make snowshoes and to keep a means of transporting a patient, such as a sled, handy in case you absolutely have to get out.

Proper vehicle maintenance will go a long way here, too. It’s also good to know how to make a litter to carry somebody should they be injured away from home or camp.

How to Keep Supplies and Equipment from Freezing

All of those great balms, ointments, and elixirs that you have stored in your first aid kit are likely to freeze, and the lubrication in your equipment can freeze and make them difficult, if not impossible, to operate.

The same thing can happen to cloth bandages if they’re even remotely damp.

Any liquid treatment made with a large percentage of alcohol will likely be fine. That includes tinctures and rubbing alcohol. Peroxide will remain liquid up to -60 F or so. If you’re in temperatures that cold, you have bigger problems that a need for peroxide! Other meds such as cough syrup or saline bags will be popsicles.

One med that you really need to keep from freezing is insulin. Every package insert I researched was adamant about not freezing the product. I did some further study, thinking that this was, perhaps, Big Pharma’s way of keeping you from stockpiling product.

What I found was that “R” type insulin may survive freezing and still be viable, while “N” types don’t fare so well. That being said, I am certainly not a doctor, or even a diabetic, so if you have to use frozen insulin, do so at your own risk and monitor your levels closely. Also know that you’re going to be affected by cold weather more than your non-diabetic peers.

For your other antibacterial and special-use ointments, it seems prudent to store them in small enough packages that you can warm them just by holding them in your hands or placing them in your sock or somewhere else on your body.

Carrying MRE heaters or heat packs to warm them as well.

To keep vehicles running in freezing weather, make sure to use a lower viscosity oil in any internal combustion engine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the proper antifreeze to use in the radiator.

Working with Layers of Clothing

If it’s below freezing, providing treatment while wearing gloves will be difficult. Another problem is that the injured person may need to have protective layers of clothing removed to be treated. In both of these scenarios, the risk of hypothermia and frostbite is increased.

To protect yourself, always carry rubber gloves. This will help in two ways – it will keep you from getting your gloves and skin wet, and rubber gloves will help keep your body temperature in at least a little.

To protect your patient, provide treatment as quickly as possible and get them re-dressed immediately.

Again, carrying heat packs such as hand warmers in your medical kit can help – you can tuck them into areas such as armpits where the heat will be best utilized.

A nice down-filled jacket that was keeping a person warm ten minutes ago can quickly turn into a body-heat sponge that wicks away warmth if it gets wet. Carrying extra clothing in a water-proof pack can be a life saver.

How to Stop Bleeding and Wound Care

When your body is cold, circulation is increased, which means that your blood pressure goes up. Depending on what type of wound you’re dealing with and whether or not blood flow has been restricted in favor of keeping the core warm, it may be harder to stop bleeding.

If the cut is deep and on the trunk, you may have increased blood flow, which means you’ll have to work harder to stop the bleeding.  If it’s on an extremity, you may not have problems stopping the bleeding, but will want to make very sure that your bandage is loose enough that it’s not restricting what little circulation is getting to that area.

The bleeding may be large, medium or small, but in the vast majority of cases, (in 80% of them) the bleeding stops through compression if you press down for 3 to 5 minutes. This is one of the things that I’ve learned from dr.Radu Scurtu after reading his book “Survival MD”, but believe me that it’s only a tiny piece of the medical survival knowledge you can get from his guide.

One more thing to learn in order to properly stop the bleeding: take a good look at the color of your blood since it will tell you how bad the wound is and how likely is to stop it by yourself, without involving specialized help. Arterial bleeding has red, purple blood, venous bleeding has black, dark blood. In the first case, you might stop it by compression, but the second one is much more life threatening, and it’s very likely you will need to get the victim to the hospital as soon as possible.

Caloric Intake

We already know that your body needs more calories to properly heal, but it also needs more calories and possibly even more water, to survive in extreme temperatures. Part of this is because every chore is harder because you’re traveling in snow and bad conditions wearing a ton of clothing, and part of it is because your body burns a ton more calories just keeping warm.

Don’t be surprised if you have people experiencing light-headedness or sugar lows, especially if they’re diabetic, if you’re treating them in freezing conditions. Yes, it may be the onset of hypothermia, but it may also simply be that their body is out of gas or dehydrated.

Make sure that everybody in your party makes allowances for up to twice the caloric intake and at least half again the water requirements to avoid this problem. In a pinch, you can always melt snow and ice for water.

Providing adequate first aid in freezing weather will be challenging, but it’s not impossible. The important thing is that you educate yourself and understand the adversities that you’ll face before going in. As in all things survival-related, knowing and being prepared is half the battle.

How to Stay Dry

Aside from gushing wounds or injuries that render you unconscious, being wet is probably the quickest way to die in freezing weather. Wet clothing, including wet shoes and socks, leeches your body heat and causes your core body temp to drop at least as quickly as if you were standing there naked.

If you have a patient that’s gotten wet, the first thing that you need to do, after treating severe bleeding or more life-threatening conditions, is to get them dry. Pack extra clothes in a way that they won’t get wet.

Another point that you may not consider is that sweating makes your clothing wet. For this reason, dress in layers, with the layer next to your skin being made of a wicking material such as wool. This goes for your feet as well as the rest of your body.

If you’re wet, get dry immediately before the doctor … err, first aider … becomes the patient.

Building a Fire

First order of business when setting up camp should be to find a way to get and stay warm and cook food. Building a fire in snow isn’t nearly as easy as it is in warmer conditions but it’s definitely possible, especially if you have a good fire starter.

Carry a fire starting kit to help you kick start your fire.

Finding or Building Shelter

In warm weather, it may be just fine to sleep under the stars but in freezing conditions, you need something that’s going to hold in heat and protect you from the wind and freezing temperatures. In the end, it’s a survival situation and the rule of three is still applying.

If you’ve studied up on your bush craft, you should already know several ways to build a shelter that will sustain the conditions and hold in heat.

You can even build a snow shelter, though it’s a lot of work and takes hours to do. Ice and snow can act as insulators, though that seems counterintuitive. If for no other reason than building a wind-proof shelter, you should carry garbage bags, moon blankets, or tarps.

In addition to making the walls secure against the weather, you also need to make a floor that will protect you. Lying on cold ground will suck the heat right out of your body. You can use tree boughs, tarps, a thick sleeping bag, or even layers of clothing or newspaper to do this.

How to Avoid Detection

If you’re in a survival situation, you may need to avoid detection. That means that you won’t be able to build a fire during the day because of smoke, at least in an open area, and you’ll need to shield the light from dangerous entities at night.

Since a fire is just about a necessity in freezing weather, learn your local terrain and how to use it to build a fire that will keep you warm without giving away your location. If it’s absolutely not possible, you may have to resort to shared body heat to stay warm.

When I lived in WV and CO, there were numerous caves that could be used both as shelter and as a means to have a fire without being detected, but in many places, that’s not an option. Just know your area and work out ways to make this happen.

If you can think of other challenges to providing first aid in freezing weather, please share them with us in the comments section below. And remember that knowledge is the only doctor that can help you survive when there is no medical help around you!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Survival, Camping or Bushcraft?

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Survival, Camping or Bushcraft?

If survival is what you are interested in & preparing for, then that is what you need to concentrate on. Camping is not survival, unless it is primitive camping, in which case there are skills to be learnt there. Bushcraft in the main is not about survival, it is about inventing new so called “skills” that you can practice & share but have no real practicle survival value. Modern camping & bushcraft is about gadgetry, new gadgets & tents are being produced all the time to lure the gadget oriented person into spending more money on stuff that has no real practicle value. Camping used to be about practicle skills & basic equipment, now it is an industry.


Lost survival is different from shtf survival. Lost survival involves people who fail to notify anyone where they are going & how long they will be, or they change their plans without telling anyone. SHTF survival is about surviving a major catastrophe, surviving an event that endangers your life & your living standards. If you are in the city you will have to leave & find somewhere safer in the country. If you are living in the country already you will need to step up your security measures. In both cases you will need to know primitive skills, & you will need basic tools to help you survive long term. Modern gadgets & modern tents won’t cut it. They will not last or stand up to the rigors of primitive living conditions & once they are gone you are left with nothing.

The author’s .62 caliber flintlock smoothbore fusil.
You need to choose a period pre 19th century & equip yourself with the tools & equipment of that period. Why? Because these tools will last, these tools were designed with a specific purpose in mind, survival, & once you are equipped in this fashion you will never drop below that level of comfort. Some 20th century tools will be very useful if you are already living in the country or are intending to move to a retreat. We are talking “hand tools” here, basic hand tools that do not rely on electricity or fuel to operate. You may well be living off grid using solar power electricity, but there is no guarantee that this will last. One of our batteries now has a dead cell, the system is still holding up, but for how long we can not tell.
So, think long & hard & seriously about how you equip yourself. Think about what will be required of the tools that you choose. A short bladed bushcraft knife will not kill as quickly as a longer bladed hunting knife if used for stabbing. Modern methods of fire lighting may not be the best, get a real flint, steel & tinderbox. This will last a lifetime & using it will teach you more fire lighting skills than using a ferrocerium rod. 
12 gauge Black Powder breechloader shotgun with brass cartridges.
When it comes to guns modern firearms are best for defence at your home in the bush, but if you have to “bug-out” with no dwelling to go to, then I recommend you carry a flintlock muzzleloading gun & a bow. Modern ammunition is heavy & bulky & if a modern firearm malfunctions, you are left with a fancy club or a goat stake! People are for ever rubbishing the flintlock muzzleloading gun, in favour of a more modern firearm. Yes having a 9mm Glock on your belt would be very reassuring, IF you can obtain one! My argument is that I can have a flintlock pistol right now, & I would sooner have a flintlock pistol than no handgun at all. Besides which there are many advantages to using a flintlock that are not available to you if you are using a modern breechloader.
.32 caliber flintlock rifle. Accurate, more power than a .22 rimfire & practicle for long term wilderness living.

So make up your mind now if you are really serious about shtf survival. If you genuinely think that something major could go down in the future that could threaten you (& your family);your life & your way of living, then stop wasting your time & money on modern gadgets & tents. Learn primitive skills & equip yourselves with primitive gear that will last long term. You will find that it is less expensive in the long run anyway.
Belt axe/tomahawk. Far more practicle than a machete.
Hunting knife for skinning, butchering & self-defence.
.70 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol for defence.
Exceptions? Possibly water filters, these could be useful if you have to leave the city & go bush. Maybe not of long term use, but they may help in your escape. Medical. You can’t beat good modern medical supplies. By all means use herbal remedies, but do not rely solely on herbs for your survival.

Medical supplies are very important.

The author’s hunting sword. A good basic self-defence tool to carry after the fall.


6 Ways To DIY Emergency Firestarter Kits

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Survivopedia ^ Ways To DIY Emergency Firestarte kits

To begin with, I’d take it as an axiom that any respectable prepper should know how to start a fire in an emergency. Also, I am a firm believer in the theory that any bug out bag or survival kit should pack a fire starter, together with a couple of Bic lighters, just in case.

If you’re wondering why, well, you should contemplate the fact that fire is maybe the most important invention in the history of mankind.

For starters, fire keeps you warm and that’s quite important during the winter season, especially when confronted with a survival situation, i.e. you get lost out in the big bad wood or whatever.

I am aware of the fact that we live in a day and age when people don’t go out much, especially in the woods/in the wilderness. Getting lost is a pretty rare occurrence as we’re surrounded by high-tech GPS capable gadgets, Google Maps at our fingertips, mobile internet, offline maps and whatnot.

However, nasty things can happen at any given moment. The likes of earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks or good-old power outages may render your central heating system useless in no time.

There are also still folks out there, in flyover country, so to speak, who still go out hiking and hunting (in my time it was called having fun), even in the winter, so you may face a situation where having a fire starting kit will save your life.

So, ranting aside, besides keeping you warm and preventing frostbite from incapacitating you in an emergency, fire will allow you to cook your food, purify water for medical treatment or drinking, keep wild animals away, and signal your presence during the night or during the day via smoke signals.

Survival isn’t all that fire is about though; it’s also needed for complex things that made civilization possible, like metallurgy or pottery.

Yes indeed folks, fire is pretty important in almost all aspects of our modern life, yet we seem to take it for granted, as we got lazy due to our high-tech dominated and lavish lifestyle.

Start a fire anywhere using concealed fire-starting tools worn right on your shoes. Click here to grab these amazing fire laces!

Getting back to our story, let’s talk about a few ideas with regard to DIY-ing emergency fire starters.

To begin with, I bet you’ve already watched a dozen movies where Crocodile Dundee or that weird dude which has the improbable name of Bear Grylls is rubbing 2 sticks together and somehow a fire magically appears. Believe me folks, that’s next to impossible if you’re a regular guy who never tried that before (like 200 times).

Here, the fire starter kit comes into play because, after all, we’re living in the 21st century and we’re supposedly smarter than your average troglodyte in the Amazonian jungle (I am not sure all of those guys discovered fire yet).

An emergency fire starter kit is aimed at making your survival story more pleasant and interesting to tell to your friends, and also more probable, as in “Staying Alive”, if you know that Bee Gees song.

What I am trying to tell you is that even if lighters or matches, are the easiest way to start a fire, having an emergency survival kit is pretty cool and it will make you stand out in the prepper crowd.

Joking aside, the main purpose of a fire starter kit is to help you with making a fire in adverse weather conditions (read rain, wind, snow or any combination of 2), when a simple lighter will not suffice.

1. Mini Fire Starter Kit

The first DIY project is the Micro Fire Starter Kit and it’s my personal favorite because it involves a Bic lighter, obviously.

The genius of this DIY fire starter kit is its simplicity. All you need is an old empty Bic lighter which is cut in half with a saw/knife or whatever. This creates a very small fire starter.

The striker still works obviously, and you’ll also use the storage chamber underneath (where the lighter fluid used to be) for your fishing hook.

You’ll also use cotton and the phosphorus paper, all of which are the must-have ingredients for an old school fire starter, sealed and waterproofed with hot glue for using in survival situations. I know what you’re thinking: you’d prefer a  brand new/working Bic lighter instead of that DIY fire starter kit, but life is not always easy folks.

Video first seen on American Hacker.

2. Micro Emergency Fire Starter Kit

Here’s another idea for DIY-ing an emergency fire starting kit using another Bic lighter for creating an ultra-light and uber-tiny keychain survival tool.

This project involves some tinkering with the lighter, but you’ll end up with a very small emergency fire kit which uses the same principle, i.e. the working striker of a Bic lighter combined with cotton balls mixed with petroleum jelly as combustibles, that are stored inside the cut-down lighter’s innards.

Video first seen on MeZillch.

3. Pocket Size Fire Starter Kit

For another idea, take a look at this pocket-sized fire starter kit which is made from an old pain reliever tube and nothing much else. By nothing much else I mean old wax, a Ferro rod and a striker. But just watch the video and you’ll discover a very clever way for making a fire starter from scratch, and most importantly, one that really works well (I tried it myself).

Video first seen on supergokue1

4. Self Igniting Fire Starters

Here’s a (clumsy) compilation of some of the best DIY self-igniting fire starters and combinations – a kit of sorts – which contains cool stuff like:

  • a self-igniting pine pitch fire stick fire starter
  • self-igniting dust fire starters
  • pine pitch fireball fire starters
  • pine pitch fire bomb fire starters
  • fire crackle fire starters, fatwood fire stick fire starters

This also includes char rope, char cloth, and a fire light candle. The idea is that you can buy all these gizmos from eBay and see how they’re made, then try to reverse engineer them if you think they’re worth the stretch.

Video first seen on The Tera Farley Channel

5. Chemical Based Fire Starters

Now with the old-school fire starter kits taken care of, let’s see how a chemist would make a fire in the absence of lighters, matches, Ferro rods, sticks and stones, etc.

Truth be told, this is something resembling a chemistry class, as the video tutorial will show you some pretty cool chemical reactions – four oxidation processes respectively –  which will all result into an open flame, provided you have the materials at the ready.

Basically, you’ll learn how to make a fire without matches if you get lost in your chemistry lab or something along these lines. The idea is that you’ll require sulfuric acid, potassium permanganate (these are hard to get over the counter), potassium chlorate, zinc powder, glycerol, acetone, ammonium nitrate and several other chemicals. It’s never a bad idea to know how to make fires this way because you don’t know what situation you may find yourself in.

However, as far as chemistry experiments go, these ideas are among the best out there, being nothing short of spectacular. Just don’t let your kids see the video, okay?

Video first seen on Thoisoi2 – Chemical Experiments!

6. How to Make Fire With a Lemon

I saved the best for last, as you can imagine. Now, sit down, take a deep breath and learn how to make a fire with a lemon.

Yes, folks, you can make a fire with a lemon if you’re from Sweden and you have a thick accent. Okay, and you have lemons, obviously.

This is not a joke, as the principle behind the lemon fire starter is pretty straightforward: the lemon is an acidic fruit, the juice inside is the electrolyte, and sticking a few copper/zinc pins (think electrodes) into the lemon will make for a primitive circuit which provides you with electricity when closed. You see where this is going, right?

The battery will be used for creating basically a short circuit via a thin wire, which will go incandescent in the process, meaning that you’ll be able to use it for lighting up dry tinder, thus making for a good fire starter by any measure.

Take a look at the video and see for yourself. It’s massive fun. As far as out-of-the-box workable ideas go, this one is the best in the world. I mean, if life gives you lemons, make a fire with them.

Video first seen on NorthSurvival

And yes, it works, I’ve tried it.

If you have other ideas or comments, feel free to express them in the dedicated section below.

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Powerwall 2 takes homes off-grid

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Powering through, Tesla are expanding from cars to batteries

The sun is a huge energy source that can be taken advantage of using solar panels. But how to store the excess energy that solar panels capture has been a little tricky…until now. Tesla has come up with the solution – the Powerwall 2.

This wall or floor mounted battery pack stores excess energy captured by solar panels to be used anytime. This gives the consumer a reliable, available power source 24/7. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, cited climate change and the need to move to a sustainable energy source at the product launch, claiming the Powerwall 2 could power all the sockets, lights and fridge of a four bedroom house indefinitely with solar power. The 14kWh battery would also provide a back-up energy source if there were a power outage, allowing peace of mind.

Each pack has up to a 7kWh power output, with an average 5kWh continuous power output. A liquid thermal control (coolant) system helps to regulate the internal temperature of the battery, maximising its performance. Whilst the water resistant, dust proof casing allows for outdoor or indoor installation.

For those who do not have solar panels, the Powerwall 2 can be charged at night (when energy is in less demand and less expensive). Then it can be used as a power source during the day time. Tesla is also in the process of bringing out their range of solar tiles. These come in four styles, from Tuscan to slate glass. They are opaque from the street but transparent from above, allowing the suns rays to penetrate the tile and the solar panels within to capture energy.

The use of a Powerwall 2 pack with solar panels enables homes to become self-sufficient in providing their own energy. Musk has a clear vision of an affordable, integrated power generation and storage system which can be rolled out across whole neighbourhoods, allowing whole streets and communities to be off-grid.

One 755mm x 1150 mm x 115 mm 14kWh Powerwall 2 battery costs $5,500 (£5,400) with installation costs starting at $1,500 (£950). The first installations are due to begin in early 2017. Prices of the new Tesla solar tile range are yet to be released.

The post Powerwall 2 takes homes off-grid appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Prep Blog Review: 8+ Food Crops To Grow In Your Survival Garden

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Growing your own food makes you more independent, helps you save a lot of money and allows you to enjoy fresh ingredients any time of the year.

It may be challenging to start growing your own food, but you will thank yourself later, in a survival situation, when all the shelves will be empty and you will have fresh crops to feed the bellies of your loved ones.

Starting your own survival gardening is on your resolutions list for this year? For this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered five articles on this topic.

If you have other suggestions, please share them in the comment section.

  1. Eight Efficient Food Crops To Grow

Eight-Efficient-Food-Crops-to-grow

“Becoming self-sufficient is one of the many good reasons to want to grow your own vegetables. Nothing beats home grown food and for many people, there’s a great appeal to grow efficient food crops. The food you grow is cheaper, fresher and often better tasting than the one you get from the supermarket.

Starting your own garden may be challenging and most people give up after the first try. To boost your confidence, you should start by growing efficient food crops. After you acquire the proper experience, you can try growing more challenging crops.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

  1. Plant These Edible Flowers in Your Garden

Edible-Flowers

“The first edible flower I ever ate was a nasturtium. We had giant nasturtium plants growing in our herb garden, nearly taking over, in fact, and decided we would start consuming the orange and yellow blossoms and leaves. They have a peppery flavor with a little bit of a kick. It’s always fun to discover plants in your own backyard you can eat.

Nasturtiums aren’t the only edible flower that is commonly found in backyards and growing wild. Here is a list of some of the most common. This list is by no means complete, but is meant to be a starting point for further study of the flowers you have in your yard. Just because you see the name of a flower on this list, do not assume you can run right out and start eating them.”

Read more on Preparedness Advice.

  1. Indoor Gardening Ideas

3437003584_015070dee9_b-225x300“There are certain times of the year where, no matter your climate, you’ll have a hard time getting vegetables to grow in your outdoor garden.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go without fresh, home-grown veggies, or buy them from the grocery story.

Instead, you can grow some vegetables indoors, wherever you have space. Here’s how.”

Read more on Be Self Sufficient.

  1. Container Gardening: Grow a Fig Tree in a Pot

figs-purple

“Tight on garden space? Maybe you live in an apartment with only a balcony for growing food. Maybe you have a rental place and you can’t dig up the back yard. Or just maybe you have a postage stamp yard with no room for a garden. Fig trees grown in containers may be ideal for your limited space or limited opportunity situation.”

Read more on Attainable-Sustainable.

  1. 3 Great Ways to Stop Weeds This Year Without Using Harsh Chemicals

Weeds1

“Weeds can ruin more than the just the look of your property. By robbing the soil of vital nutrients, they also wreak havoc on yields in the garden, and can keep flowerbeds from staying healthy and vibrant.

But before all hope is lost, there are actually some great ways to reduce or even eliminate your weed woes completely. Even better, none  require the use of harsh, man-made, synthetic chemicals. Here are 3 of our favorites.”

Read more on Old World Farms Garden.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

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Surviving Off-Grid: 4 Recipes To Cook In A Haybox

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Haybox cooking

I have to admit, this was a new one for me, and I thought that I’d tried every method of outdoor cooking invented since cavemen sporked frogs and roasted them over an open fire. As it turns out, haybox cooking is a combination of two of my favorite cooking vessels – a Dutch oven and a slow cooker.

This method came about during WWII when cooking oil was rationed for the war effort. The air spaces in the hay trap the heat, as will anything similar, such as shredded newspaper or corn husks. You want the hay to be fine, though, so that you can pack it tightly. You don’t want stems and brambles.

The basic premise is that you heat the food in its own juices, or water, and then once you bring it to a boil, you put it in the haybox, which insulates it, and let it finish cooking all on its own. Of course, this is a method that requires food that is in a broth, but that’s about the only limitation that I can think of.

You can use it for roasting, boiling, simmering, or steaming; as long as there’s liquid to hold the heat.

This would serve you well if you were traveling and couldn’t cook along the way, or if you don’t want to use a ton of fuel by cooking it over heat all day. For that matter, it’s great just to help you save on your electric bill! All in all, it’s an extremely efficient way of cooking.

Learn the secrets that helped our grandparents survive the Great Depression! 

What Is a Haybox Cooker and How to Build One

HayboxA haybox cooker is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a box full of hay that you cook in.

The idea is that the hay is packed around a Dutch oven that has food in it that’s already cooked to boiling. You transfer it from the heat source immediately to the haybox, pack the hay around it, close it up as tightly as you can, and go about your business.

It’s a natural slow cooker, and just like cooking with its electric-dependent sisters, it takes several hours for food to cook. How long exactly, depends on the initial cook time of the dish, how long it’s already cooked, how tightly the hay is packed, and how air-tight the box is.

As you can imagine, it’s hard to give an exact time, but a good haybox will hold usable heat for up to 8 hours.

If you already have a trunk or old military locker/box that’s about 30 inches cubed, then you’re already good to go. If not, build one.

Start by building a sturdy wooden box that’s as airtight as you can get it – try to score some scrap tongue and groove from your local mill or home-improvement store.

Build a box with a sturdy, tight-fitting lid. Line the box with sturdy paper or cardboard to seal any cracks that remain so that the heat can’t escape.

To cook in your box, pack it with about 3/4 of the way full of hay, then form a little nest in the center for your Dutch oven and pack it as tightly as you can get it.

How to Cook With a Haybox Cooker

Bring your food to a boil or simmer, then transfer immediately to the hay box. Pack the top and remaining sides with more hay as tightly as you can pack it and shut the lid. Let it cook, and you’re good to go.

Note: You can even make you haybox in a hole in the ground – how handy is THAT for living in the woods in a survival situation? In that case, you could use dried grass and leaves, or whatever you could find lying around as insulation.

Oh, and did I mention that you can also use the haybox to make frozen treats such as ice cream?

Just make your favorite ice cream recipe and pour it into a coffee can with a lid. Find a bucket that’s 4 inches deeper and 8 inches (total) wider than your can. Put 4 inches of ice and coarse salt in the bottom of the bucket, put the can on top of the ice, and pace more ice and salt around the can. Put it in the haybox and seal it up. You’ll have ice cream in about 4 hours! 

Video first seen on Organikmechanic. 

4 Delicious Haybox Recipes

1. Hearty Beef and Cabbage Soup

This soup is especially filling and comforting. It’s a great meal-in-a-bowl for busy weeknights – just turn it on in the morning and come home to a wonderful-smelling pot of soup.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 2 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat, just until browned, breaking up with a spatula periodically until meat is crumbly. Drain all but 1 teaspoon or so of oil/drippings and return to heat.

Add the cabbages, onion, carrots, garlic, celery seed, paprika and cumin and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it reaches a rolling boil.

Add all to the Dutch oven and add bay leaf and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Transfer to hay box for 8 hours.

2. Steak Chili

Sometimes nothing hits the spot quite like a good chili!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds top sirloin steak, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 12-oz cans dark red kidney beans
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 10-ounce cans beef broth or 2 ½ cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder

In a heavy skillet, heat olive oil and then brown the steak (in batches if necessary) on all sides for about 4-5 minutes.

Add all of the vegetables to the Dutch oven, pour in the broth and add the seasonings. Stir well to mix. Add the steak, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Transfer to haybox and leave there for 8 hours.

3. Slow Cooker Beef or Venison Stew

There are few things that say “comfort food” better than a hearty beef stew. Slow cooking means the meat is always succulent and tender and you’re welcomed home with wonderful aromas.

  • 1 ½ pounds beef or venison stew meat
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut on 1-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh kale, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cups beef broth or stock, with ¼ cup reserved

Trim the stew meat of visible fat and cut into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large heavy skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat and brown the stew meat, in batches if necessary, about 4-5 minutes until browned on all sides.

Add carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, bay leaf and parsley to Dutch oven, then add meat. Pour 2 3/4 cups broth over all. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes, then transfer to haybox for 8 hours.

4. Vanilla Ice Cream

Delight your loved ones with this classic and delicious frozen treat you can make in a haybox.

You will need:

  • 1 can sweetened milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Add fruits or nuts after it’s frozen.

Have you tried haybox cooking? If so, please share your experiences with us in the comments section below!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Learn to Love Ecovillage Life

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Permaculture is a sustainable way of living – not a trending hairstyle!

Want to test out living off-grid but don’t want to do it alone? If you have $6000 to spare you can with the School of Integrated Living (SOIL).

So if you want to try living off-grid in a community of over 80 people, consider the Permaculture and Ecovillage Immersion Experience. This two month residency running from June 10th to August 11th is less of a course and more of an eco-cultural learning experience.

Located in the aspiring ecovillage Earthaven near Asheville, North Carolina, you’ll gain new skills on a wide curriculum. From learning about ecological farming to efficient irrigation techniques and eco-spirituality, there is something for everyone. Most days will begin with a meditation session before getting stuck into the day. There will be unstructured time, but most weeks will cover approximately 50 hours of learning. A Permaculture Design Certification course is also included, which will take place in mid-June.

Earthaven was founded in 1994 and sits in 329 acres of land. A completely off-grid community powered with solar panels and two small hydropower stations. The buildings are made of environmentally friendly materials, usually lumber, with metal roofs for water catchment. Most are passively solar heated and propane burners help to keep them warm during colder months. The huts and residences have either individual or shared solar systems which supply their electricity. Batteries and generators are also charged by the micro hydropower stations for back up supplies. Although most of the residents get around by foot or bike, three solar powered golf carts can also be used.

Course participants will camp on site, with the majority of spots being for two person tents. A tarp covered kitchen with propane burners and a composting toilet are all available for use. Food is also included and most is sourced from the local environment and small farms in the village.

The cost of the course is $6,800 including tuition, food, camping, field trips and the permaculture design certificate. There is a $400 discount if booked before February 10th.

If you don’t want to spend two months at Earthaven but would still like to visit – you can! Workshops and tours are open to the public. Camping is also offered for $15 per adult per night, or $20 for two adults sharing a tent. The camping season runs from March 31st to November 5th.

The post Learn to Love Ecovillage Life appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

17 Ways A Prepper Can Reuse Motor Oil

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Motor oil is commonly considered a waste material, but it may become something of value to people trying to put their lives back together in a post-crisis world. People will try to scavenge whatever may be of use, and it’s understandable since it will take some time for mechanization to re-emerge with new products.

You’ll also have to deal with what you have, so learn to speak multipurpose, and don’t skip motor oil from this equation. So here’s how to reuse motor oil regardless of whether there is a major crisis to deal with or not.

Where to Find Used Motor Oil

Right now, used motor oil is more of a nuisance than something else you might consider valuable in the post crisis world.

For the most part, mechanic shops and recycling facilities will be the first places to go for used motor oil, but you should also consider:

  • Abandoned cars – any car that has been abandoned may still have motor oil in the bottom pan. While you are scavenging, don’t forget to look for other things that may be of value such as wire, springs, and anything else that can be reused.
  • Abandoned home garages – even though many people take their car to a shop for basic maintenance, just about everyone has a quart or two of used motor oil hanging around in the garage.
  • Junk yards – no matter whether the junk yard caters to cars or other kinds of abandoned equipment, you are likely to find motor oil in many different places.  As with any other abandoned car, you are sure to find any number of useful items once you start looking around.
  • Trash piles, back yards, or rubbish storage sites – aside from looking for used motor oil stored in containers, be on the lookout for oil filters that appear to be intact.  If the filter does not have a hole punched through the top of the dome, there is a good chance that some motor oil can be found inside the filter.  To release, the oil, simply punch a hole in the top of the filter, and let the oil escape from the bottom into a clean container.

Read This BEFORE Reusing Motor Oil

While used motor oil is a common part of daily life, that does not mean it can be handled without precautions, and here are a few of them.

  • At a minimum, wear latex or rubber gloves. Aside from tiny bits of metal, reused motor oil also contains all kinds of chemicals that can cause rashes, dizziness, nausea, or other ailments if they get absorbed by your skin.  It is best to use oil resistant gloves, or ones that are rated for use with a wide range of toxic chemicals.
  • Oil resistant garments – any kind of spill can allow oil to get through your clothing and into contact with your skin. It does not matter if this contact occurs on your face, neck, hands, or other body parts. The toxins from the oil can still get past your skin and wreak havoc.
  • Oil resistant shoes or boots – make sure that the soles are also oil resistant.
  • If you don’t handle motor oil very often, it may not make much sense to wear a mask. On the other hand, if you are going to repurpose motor oil, then the amount of exposure might be enough to irritate or harm your lungs. Therefore, get a breathing mask or respirator that will filter out any harmful agents that might be found in the motor oil.

17 Uses to Keep in Mind

And finally, here’s how to use the motor oil instead of throwing it away.

1. Mix with Creosote to Weatherize Wood

Even though many people have used plain motor oil to preserve wood over the years, it is best to mix it with some creosote in order to avoid dry rot. You will also find that used motor oil can make a very slick surface.

While this may be ok for fence posts, it can pose problems for floors or other areas where you need some traction.

Video first seen on Anlex Garden Centre

2. Protect Wood From Insects and Animals

When people think about protecting wood from the elements, they are usually most concerned with water and dampness. Insects and animals can also wreak havoc on wood and cause it to be destroyed very quickly.

In particular, if you have a homestead or farm with horses or other large animals, they might want to chew on wooden posts or other objects.  Motor oil mixed into creosote will create a taste these animals do not like; and thus deter them from chewing on the wood.

3. Mix With Diesel to Make Penetrating Oil

If you are plagued by corroded or stuck bolts, screws, or other fasteners, then you may be well accustomed to using penetrating oil to try and loosen them up. While you may already have a few cans of good quality oil in your stockpile, the need for penetrating oil will never end as long as there are metal fasteners to contend with.

If you have some diesel and used motor oil, you can mix them together to make penetrating oil. Give this a try now to see how it works when compared to other formulas. Knowing when and how to use this replacement can help reduce the need to draw from your stockpile as well as enable you to innovate during an actual crisis.

4. Burn as Fuel

When you have nothing else for fuel, used motor oil can be burned to provide heat.

But used motor oil has many contaminants in it that can be toxic when burned and then released in the air. You will be better served by burning used motor oil outdoors.

Aside from reducing the smell of burning fumes in your home, tent, or other enclosure, you will also avoid deposits of toxins on the walls and ceilings.

5. Make a Torch

As plentiful as flashlights and batteries might be right now, that can all change faster than you realize. If you find yourself in a situation where you only have motor oil, some rags, and a wooden stick on hand, you can still make a torch that will produce light and heat.

Just remember to use the torch in a well ventilated area so that the fumes from it do not make you sick.

Video first seen on Jennies Garage

6. Prevent Attackers from Scaling a Wall

There is no question that many people wind up thinking about high tech or “modern” solutions when it comes to protecting their home from invaders. On the other hand, sometimes the simplest and cheapest answers may be found in items such as used motor oil.

For example, if you want to keep attackers from scaling a fence, or even climbing up to the roof of your home, just pour used motor oil on the walls.

If you are fortunate enough to have stone walls far enough away from your home, you can also set the oil on fire and make the invaders even more uncomfortable.

7. Fireballs for a Siege Engine

It is fair to say if you have a few acres of land, eventually you will become a target for roaming gangs of thugs and others that will want to take what you have. When it comes to military grade fortifications or weapons to strike attackers, you may find it difficult or impossible to get useful systems for your property.

Siege engines, on the other hand, have been used successfully for centuries as attack and perimeter defense devices. You can do some research on siege engines construction plans and make your own with relatively few problems.

If you need to stave off attackers, you can simply lob fireballs fueled by used motor oil at the attackers and have a reasonable chance of stopping them in their tracks.

Dead Simple Trick Brings Any Battery Back To Life (Never Buy Batteries Again)

8. Kill Mange, Mites, and Fleas

If you have pets, then you have probably also encountered flea infestations. Chances are, you have also felt quite helpless when your pets developed allergies to modern flea medications, or worse yet, got very sick from them.  Surprisingly enough, motor oil can be used to get rid of fleas, mites, and mange.

Just be sure to wash it off thoroughly and use with caution.  Motor oil can be used both in a crisis and in these times if you have no other remedy available for these problems.

9. Keep Hand Tools Clean and Rust Free

Hand saws, drills, and many other hand tools require cleaning and oiling in order to keep them in the best possible condition. No matter how much lubricating oil you keep on hand, chances are your stock pile will run out long before your hand tools need to be discarded.

You can always try used motor oil to keep your tools free of dirt and rust.

10. Filter and Reuse as a Lubricant

Once motor oil is too dirty for use in an auto engine, there is no point to trying to filter it and reuse it for that purpose. There are still many other devices that build up less heat or have less stringent tolerances between parts that may still benefit from used motor oil as a lubricant.

Just be sure to filter out the oil so that you remove as much debris as possible.

When using discarded motor oil as a lubricant, it is also important to bear in mind that the oil itself may have broken down a good bit from heat generated by the engine.

Even if you filter the oil, it will not alleviate this problem.

You may need to change the oil more often, or pay more attention to device operation in order to avoid the kinds of damage that would normally be avoided by using oil as a lubricant.

11. Mix With Gas to Run Tractors

Unlike motor vehicles, older style tractors can run on a surprising number of different fuels without being damaged.  In this case, you can stretch fuel reserves for your tractor by adding some motor oil. You may be well served by filtering out the oil so that stray bits of metal or other contaminants do not damage the tractor engine.

Since every tractor is a bit different, you should start off with small amounts of oil and then see how the engine performs.  The last thing you will want to do is add too much oil and wind up with a seized engine.

12. Start a  Fire

Rainy weather, damp wood, and other conditions require something a bit more than a match to ignite.  A little bit of used motor oil can help you start and maintain a fire in just about any situation.

Video first seen on sixtyfiveford

13. Kill Mosquitoes in Stagnant Water

The vast majority of preppers already suspect that insects such as mosquitoes will multiply beyond belief when a social collapse occurs. While these insects do play a role in nature, they still spread enormous amounts of disease and wreak havoc among humans.

You can use discarded motor oil to seal off stagnant water and kill off mosquito eggs before they have a chance to hatch. When using motor oil for this purpose, remember that even small amounts can contaminate large amounts of water and the ground that the water seeps into.

If you must use motor oil on stagnant water, make sure that the water is fully contained and cannot get into the ground or some other source of water.

Do not be surprised if you find that it is easier to simply dump out or drain stagnant pools of water as opposed to trying to treat them with used motor oil.

14. Use With Steel Wool to Remove Rust

If you are scavenging for all kinds of metal items, you’re also very likely to find that possible replacements for needed items have a good bit of rust on them.

Rather than discard these items on sight, you can use motor oil and steel wool to clean the items up a bit. Needless to say, if you have items in your stockpile with rust on them, you can also use this method to remove the rust and restore them to good order.

15. Soften or Clean Leather Boots

Unless you have a stockpile full of shoes and boots made from synthetic materials, it is likely that you will need to use leather conditioners to keep footwear in good condition. You will also wind up making shoes from leather that must also be kept clean and soft.

Using discarded motor oil for this purpose will work well enough now as well as in a crisis situation.

16. Temper Steel

It is fair to say that the art and science of forging metals into knives and other useful items can be very complex. If you study metallurgy carefully, however you will find that the tools and materials required are not especially difficult to build and maintain.

In this case, if you want to temper or harden steel, you can dip the item in used motor oil to cool or “quench” it from the red hot stage down to black.

17. Attract Wild Hogs

Individuals that believe they can live off the land after a social collapse occurs are apt to find they need to expand their list of edible plants and animals. In this case, you can draw wild hogs to you by leaving some used motor oil around. As may be expected, you should be well prepared to kill the hogs and remain safe while you are attempting to take them for food.

Used motor oil is one of those materials that you may believe is useless now, and probably serves no purpose in a crisis situation. If you look at the basic properties of used motor oil, you will soon realize that it can be effectively used for heat, home defense, and even keeping tools in good condition.

Rather than throw away this valuable resource, go ahead and store some away for future use, or make a list of places where you can obtain used motor oil in time of need. And keep these tips in mind, they might save you one day!

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

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Winter Survival: How To Start A Fire In The Snow

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With winter here and global warming a thing of the past (now it’s climate change or something), knowing how to start a fire in the snow may save your life someday. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but in my neck of the woods it’s been snowing for days.

If you’re asking yourself why you should learn how to start a fire in the snow, well, the simple answer is: you never know, so be prepared for any situation.

Winter time is arguably the hardest in terms of outdoor survival and if you can’t build a fire, you’re dead meat regardless of the gear you have at your disposal.

And if you’re out there, stranded in the snow in the middle of nowhere and waiting impatiently for help from above, knowing how to make a fire will make the difference between life and certain death.

As night falls, the temperature will plummet, making you feel like you’re in an icebox. If you can’t make a fire, you’ll find yourself in a life-threatening situation if there ever was one. In addition to keeping you from freezing to death, fire keeps wild animals away and it allows you to cook (or defrost) your food, and even make water by melting snow or ice.

Fire is your best friend when it comes to wilderness survival, as it takes care of all that’s important for a prepper: food, water, and shelter (warmth).

For most modern folk, especially youngsters who live their lives pecking at their smartphones, starting a fire in any type of outdoor scenario is a rare occurrence, let alone making fire in extreme weather conditions (snow, wind).

On the other hand, if you never leave your house or the city, you may think bad things will never come to you. That works for hobbits, yes indeed, but then again, there are plenty of scenarios when your bubble can burst in a matter of hours.

For example, what will you do as you get trapped in the snow during your vacation in the Rocky Mountains or wherever, with a blizzard coming out of nowhere, blocking the roads and/or your car somewhere in the middle of…well, you see where this is going, right?

How to Start a Fire in the Snow

Getting back to our “story”, starting a fire in the snow is the second hardest thing after trying to do it during a rainstorm.

Starting a fire in the snow will present you with two basic problems.

First things first – snow will definitely melt at some point and the water may quench your hard work, together with the flames.

Another thing to contemplate about fires, snow, and winter is that cold comes into play, i.e. you’ll have to raise the temperature of your combustible materials farther than in the summertime in order to ignite them. That means that making a fire during the winter is more difficult than in the summertime, as it starts slower than “normal”, provided you know what normal is.

Video first seen on The Outside Files

Choose the Right Spot

Everything in life is location, and the same principle applies to starting a fire in the snow, obviously. Selecting a proper site is the first thing to consider and is exceptionally important for your success (survival). The location should ideally be protected from wind, water, and snow.

Folks traveling outdoors during the winter prefer to make a fire under a tree most of the time, but be aware of trees carrying a lot of snow on their branches, as the snow may fall into your fire as it melts and put it out. And then you’ll be in a world of pain.

If you’re going to start your fire under a tree, make sure you knock the snow off the branches first. That eliminates the aforementioned risk and also, it will make sure you don’t have to clear your spot twice.

Start with a Clean Spot

This brings us to the next step: clearing the snow from your desired fire location. You can’t actually make a fire directly on snow, maybe on ice though, provided you can build a platform from rocks/logs.

You can clear the snow by brushing it away or you may walk on it in order to tamp it down. If you’re going for the tamping, you must realize that the snow will melt at some point, so make sure the water resulting from melted snow can drain away from your fire.

Also remember to clear the snow off the ground on a place near the fire for storing your extra wood, and, if possible, try to use rocks for raising your wood storage spot above the ground. If you don’t have enough rocks, you can use sticks laid cross-ways or make a platform using branches (the same can be used for the fireplace itself in case you can’t find rocks).

Both ways are good for keeping the wood from coming in contact with the ground, thus offering it the chance to get as dry as possible before using it.

When it comes to starting a fire in the snow, or in rainy weather for that matter, it would be ideal to use a large, flat stone as the fire-floor.

Video first seen on ExploringWithGeorge.

Prepare Your Tools

Raising the combustible materials just 1’’ or 2’’ above the ground will make all the difference in the world by offering the water the required drainage channels to run off through.

Another thing to consider and that is hugely important is the heat reflector because, after all, starting a fire in the snow is all about keeping you warm, and a good heat-reflector is aimed at accomplishing exactly that.

A cliff face makes for a good heat reflector, also a big tree or a large rock. You can always improvise one from a blanket, the silver survival types, using the silver side which will provide you with the best reflection.

Read more about these 52 ways to save your life while laughing!

Starting the Fire

Now, with the “preamble” taken care of, let’s talk a little bit about the actual fire-starting procedure. Lesson learned the hard way: along with a first aid kit, always carry something that can be used as a fire starter. A packet of waterproof matches and a couple of BIC butane lighters are a must-have item in any survival kit.

Ideally, you should also carry a dedicated fire-starter kit, which consists of a block of paraffin and sawdust mix, available just about anywhere. You can DIY a good fire starter using cotton balls soaked with Vaseline (petroleum jelly), carried inside a film canister.

The idea is to use a fire starter that doesn’t die out fast whilst providing a lot of heat at the same time.

If you don’t have a dedicated fire starter, you can always use small pieces of dry wood, which may be a problem, but these fellas are usually easy to spot near the trunk of trees. Avoid wood that was in contact with the snow, as it definitely has a high moisture content.

If you can’t find small dry pieces of wood, get your knife, find the driest dead  branch possible, and whittle down until you hit dry wood. If you don’t even have a knife, I don’t know what you’re doing outdoors, really. You’ll have to get creative.

Tips to Remember

  • Always collect enough fuel to keep the fire burning for a long time. You don’t want to stop in the middle of the “show” to get more wood, as the fire may die out while you’re hunting for combustibles and you’ll have to start again from the beginning.
  • Always remember to gather large pieces of wood if possible, along with tinder kindling and smaller pieces for the initial fire.
  • The big chunks of wood are excellent for keeping the fire burning overnight, thus keeping you warm and allowing you to go to sleep without worrying about your fire dying and all that.
  • To get the most out of your fire, you’ll have to make sure that the fire and your shelter (if any) are as close together as possible.
  • Try to build your fire right at the shelter’s entrance and to use rescue blankets on the roof and at the back of the shelter for keeping the heat inside, thus keeping you warmer.
  • Don’t set it close enough that it’s going to catch your tent or shelter on fire, though.
  • Always travel with several rescue blankets in your survival kit; they’re hugely important and you’ll always want one of them between you and the ground, right?

You can also heat rocks into the fire and use them for warming your bed before going to sleep, or wrap a heated rock using a sweater or something like that and use it as a heater (yes, sleeping with a rock, a true love story). If it gets cold enough, you’ll see what I mean.

One thing to remember: coals generate the most heat in a fire, so make sure you keep adding enough wood to your fire so it can burn and turn to charcoal.

If you have any ideas or comments, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below. Stay safe, stay warm.

If you want more tips, click the banner below and discover the survival secrets that helped our ancestors survive harsh winters!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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8 Bentonite Clay Uses For Survival

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Bentonite clay has been used for centuries for everything from treating constipation to making toothpaste. There are so many practical uses for this versatile material that it’s a must-have for any prepper or homesteader.

Let’s talk about why this wonderfully useful clay should have a place in your survival planning or homesteading daily life.

Bentonite clay, also known as Montmorillonite, is composed largely of volcanic ash. It should be light grey or cream colored and should feel silky. If the clay that you get is white, it’s unlikely that it’s pure Bentonite. It’s also odorless and won’t stain your clothes, which is one reason why it’s used in so many different personal hygiene items.

There are two main types of Bentonite clay: Sodium Bentonite and Calcium Bentonite.

The primary difference is that Sodium Bentonite swells up to six times its size and has the most electromagnetic properties. It’s the one that you want to use for your face masks and external detoxifying.

Calcium Bentonite has smaller particles that don’t particularly swell like Sodium Bentonite particles do. This makes it better for ingestion because the smaller particles can pass through the colon and into the bloodstream. There, it does pretty much what Sodium Bentonite does; it attaches to the toxins in your body and leaves minerals behind.

1. Removing Impurities

Bentonite clay is named such because of the primary, huge deposit of the clay is located at Fort Benton, Wyoming. It’s unique in that it develops an electrical charge, a negative electric charge to be specific, when it’s wet.

This is important because toxins, heavy metals have a positive charge, so Bentonite clay can bond to them and carry them out of your body.

How? Bentonite swells and opens like a sponge when it comes into contact with water. The negative charge of the clay attracts the positive charge of heavy metals and other toxins and the toxin is absorbed into the clay and carried out of the body.

During this process, the minerals in the clay are also released into the body, so it’s taking the bad parts and leaving good.

2. Deodorant

First, bentonite clay can be used as an ingredient in your personal hygiene items. It may make your toothpaste or deodorant look a little more like mud than what you’re used to seeing, but because of its absorbent properties, it’s great to use as an antiperspirant.

Commercial deodorants are packed with chemicals that stop odor and prevent your pores from perspiring. These include aluminum, phthalates, talc, parabens, diethyl alcohol, and others.

To make deodorant, simply mix bentonite clay with equal parts baking soda (neutralizes odor), arrowroot or cornstarch (absorbs moisture), and a few drops of your favorite antibacterial essential oil.

Once you combine the powdered ingredients, add enough coconut oil to make it a smooth, thick paste, then add your food-grade essential oils. Remember that coconut oil liquefies at 74 degrees, so depending upon the temperature in your house, it may be the consistency of butter or it may be liquid. If you keep it in the fridge, it will be closer to the consistency of lard.

Video first seen on Steven Parente

3. Face Masks

Many people also like to use it because of its ability to draw toxins out of the skin. This is one of the main reasons that it’s used in face masks. In addition to drawing toxins out with its negatively charged ions, the texture of the clay makes for a gentle exfoliant. This, along with the antibacterial properties of the clay, helps keep your skin free of blemishes.

Video first seen on Healthy Living on a Budget

4. Wounds, Bites, Skin Ulcers, Eczema

A study conducted by Arizona State University shows that minerals in Bentonite clay have the potential to kill many antibiotic-resistant bacteria including MRSA, e.Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and others.

It’s already been shown to effectively treat Buruli ulcers, and the only other treatment option is remove the lesion surgically and hope for the best. That’s saying something, even if it did take months of treatment with the clay to completely heal the wound.

To use it, for wound dressing or treatment of other conditions, make a poultice and apply it directly to the wound, changing it out when it dries. Remove the sting and itch of bites, burns, cuts, and scrapes by applying Bentonite clay and letting it dry.

Treat eczema in the same way daily. There are many different remedies for skin conditions that would meld well with bentonite clay.

For centuries, our ancestors survived using natural remedies to heal their wounds and other health problems. Click the banner below to discover more survival remedies for our forefathers!

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5. Baby Powder

You’ve likely read about the link between talc and cancer. If not, check in to it, because it’s a big deal. Bentonite clay is a great option because it’s absorbent and has healing properties that may help prevent infections that love warm, moist environments.

6. Toothpaste

Bentonite clay is a great additive for your toothpowder because it may help brighten and re-mineralize your teeth. Some people also like to mix it up in water and use it as a mouthwash to kill oral bacteria than can cause tooth decay and bad breath. Simply add the clay to your standard tooth powder or toothpaste recipe.

Video first seen on Live Healthy and Blessed

7. Morning Sickness and Nausea

Pregnant women who have tried taking 1/2 tsp. of Bentonite clay in a small glass of water to treat morning sickness have reported success in reducing nausea. Most doctors and midwives say this is fine, but check with you doctor before starting it, just in case.

People suffering from other digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and even parasites report positive results from simply drinking a 1/2 to 1 tsp. of Bentonite clay to water or juice daily.

Don’t use more than that, and drink a glass of plain water after you ingest the clay in order to keep the clay from settling in your stomach or digestive tract. Taking too much can also cause constipation.

8. Digestive Cleanses

Toxin buildups cause many symptoms including fatigue, allergies, headaches, skin conditions, and other conditions that apparently have no cause. Add a teaspoon of clay to your water, juice, or smoothie.

Though I couldn’t find any research supporting it (that’s pretty common with natural remedies because Big Pharma doesn’t want cheap, natural remedies to cut into their profits), it seems to me that if Bentonite clay removes heavy metals, it may be at least partially effective in removing radioactive substances. It certainly couldn’t hurt.

The most important things to remember about taking Bentonite clay are that need to follow it with plenty of fresh water so that it flushes through your system without settling, and that you shouldn’t take more than a teaspoonful a day.

Personally, I’m more interested in the external healing effects of the clay, but there are many who firmly believe in the benefits of taking it internally as well.

That decision is, of course, up to you.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2413170/

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Survival Lessons From The Old: One Pot Meals

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For eons, entire meals from stews to casseroles have been made in one pot.

The cowboys and settlers did it because they only had the luxury of one pot on the trail, and we do it today because of the convenience and simply because there are so many recipes out there that are delicious as well as fast.

We follow their example, and learn from their knowledge. Here’s what we should know about this old way of cooking!

As preppers, it’s important that we know how to cook without electricity, and though I’ve included slow cookers in this article, the rest of them don’t require anything other than fire and the vessel.

There are some rules for cooking in a single pot if you want the meal to be delicious and safe to eat, but for the most part, they’re quick and easy to prepare and clean up.

Adjust Cooking Times of Veggies

First, you want your vegetables to cook evenly, so if you’re standing over the pot, you may want to throw hard veggies like carrots in 15 minutes or so before you add the rest.

For soft veggies such as cabbage and broccoli, put them in at the last minute since they only take 10 or 15 minutes to cook in a pot. This isn’t a necessity, if you’re throwing something in the crockpot and leaving, so just know that some veggies may be a little mushy if you put them in all at once.

Sear Your Meat

Next, searing your meat adds flavor to the meal. This is especially true of large pieces of meat such as roasts, pork chops, beef tips, and other meats that are thick and solid. You don’t have to do this, but if you do, it will add an extra layer of flavor. Hamburger and Salisbury steak has a crispier texture if you sear it beforehand.

Beware of Pathogens

You must make sure that your meat cooks all the way through, especially if it’s poultry. This isn’t such a big deal with red meat as long as you don’t mind it a bit rare in the middle, but birds carry salmonella.

Trust me – one bout of food poisoning from that and you’ll make sure it never happens again! USDA guidelines say that red meat should be cooked to 145 degrees F, ground meats should cook to 160 degrees, and poultry should be 165 degrees.

When you’re finished eating, make sure that you refrigerate it. Bacteria begin to grow quickly between the temperatures of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, so too avoid the risk of food poisoning, refrigerate your food within 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees) after it comes off the heat.

Cold foods, especially ones that contain mayo or eggs, should be kept at 40 degrees, so just put them in a bowl of ice if they’re going to sit out, and stir it frequently to keep the entire dish cold.

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days as long as their stored in containers, and can be frozen almost indefinitely, but they’ll begin to lose flavor after a month or so depending upon the food.

Types of Cookers

There are several types of cookers that you can use depending upon the dish and the circumstances. Especially if you’re cooking over a fire, you’ll want to cook as efficiently as you can, and one pot meals are certainly the best way to do that.

Since our primary concern is cooking in a survival situation, we’ll start with those methods.

Dutch Ovens

This is one of my favorite ways to cook outside because you can quite literally cook anything that you want to in them. Whether you want to make stew, chopped steak, or breads, a Dutch oven will do the trick. They steam the food internally, which keeps it moist and tender. You can buy aluminum and cast iron Dutch ovens, though the cast iron, in my opinion, is far superior in nearly every way.

The history of the Dutch oven is believed to date back to Holland in the early 1700s, and was brought to America with the first settlers. They were popular with settlers and other people, such as ranch trail cooks, and were used in work camps during WW1. Paul Revere improved the design by adding a flanged lid and made some other modifications, likely to improve the strength and consistency of the cooking.

Joseph Lodge built a cast iron foundry in Tennessee that still produces arguably the highest quality Dutch ovens and iron skillets available today.

They come in different sizes and two primary designs – the bean pot or kitchen oven, best for use indoors or placing on a rack over an open fire, and the camp or outdoor oven, which has a flanged lid that can also serve as a skillet. It also has legs, a flat bottom, and a sturdy wire handle so that you can hang it or lift it from the coals.

They’re great for cooking indoors or out and can be used in the oven, over a campfire, or buried in the coals, depending upon your needs and what you’re cooking. Cooking with a Dutch oven is simple, too, once you get the hang of it.

Solar Oven

Cooking with a solar oven is a great alternative when you don’t have (or don’t want to use) electricity. Though you can convert many of your own personal favorites and use them with your solar oven, here’s a recipe written specifically for that cooking method. You will surely love this pot roast cooked on your solar oven.

Ingredients for this tasty recipe are:

  • 3 pound rump roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, cut into 2 inch chucks
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 c beef broth (or 2 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes).

Put the roast in a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the veggies around the roast and then pour the bouillon in. Place in your solar oven and bake for 3 hours or until tender.

Stop asking yourself if the solar oven works during winter, because it does, and here’s the proof!

Video first seen on jnull0.

Let’s celebrate the Winter Solstice with a special offer for Survivopedia readers!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

Iron Skillets

Thank you again, Joseph Lodge for making iron skillets of the highest quality readily available in the US. The original iron skillet dates back to 1707, when Abraham Darby invented a process to make cast iron in large quantities so that they could be produced for common use.

Iron skillets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often with lids, and are great for cooking one pot meals in smaller quantity. They’re not quite as versatile as the Dutch oven, but certainly have value, especially for cooking quick meals such as breakfast scrambles and meals that don’t require a deep pot or long cooking times, such as Salisbury steaks, cornbread, camp biscuits, and fried chicken.

Slow Cookers

Ahh, possibly one of the best cooking inventions of modern times. Just as with man, the slow cooker started as something quite a bit different than what it is today. In 1952, West Bend came out with the electric bean pot, which was just a ceramic pot that sat on top of an electric heating element. This wasn’t much different than cooking on a stove, but was perhaps the first commercial attempt at a portable cooking vessel.

Enter Irving Naxon. He had developed the idea of a portable cooker that would have a crock sitting inside a casing that contained a heating element, thus providing even heating. He applied for the patent on May 21, 1936 and received it in January of 1940.

Naxon credited the idea to his Lithuanian grandma, who told him about how she used to cook dish called cholent after hours at a local bakery. She would prepare the meal, then place it in the oven so that the fading heat would slowly cook it overnight. This provided his inspiration for “low and slow” cooking.

He brought his idea, called the beanery, to market in the 50s and in 1970, Rival manufacturing hired Naxon, rebranded his product as the Crock Pot, and put it on shelves across America for $25. Surprisingly enough, that price hasn’t increased by more than a few dollars for a standard version since then.

There are, of course, improved versions with fancier technology and higher capacity that cost more.

Slow cookers are absolutely fabulous for all sorts of meals from stews to ribs that you want to cook slow and low while you’re away from the house or busy doing other things.

Canning

As survivalists, we would be remiss to leave out this method of preparing one pot meals.

We’ve discussed in another article how to put these together and, like our other cooking methods, canning is a great way to prepare both meals and desserts. You can also dry-can meals using dry ingredients that only require that you add water.

The one benefit that makes canning stand out is that you can eat the meal right out of the jar. It is, of course, more delicious if you heat it up, but if you’re without power and don’t want to draw attention to yourself with a fire, eating straight out of the jar may be your only option.

Another benefit here is that you can prepare the meals years in advance as opposed to cooking them on the spot. In a survival situation, that’s a huge plus.

The Beauty of One Pot Meals

There are a ton of reasons why a one pot meal is so appealing, but from a survival perspective, the ease of cooking is probably the biggest one.

You can cook a pot roast complete with all the fixings in a Dutch oven and you can even cook such meals as chicken and dumplings. They’re not just for soups and stews.

Having a variety of delicious meals is a huge morale booster as well as a way to get all of your nutrition out of one pot. Though beans and cornbread are delicious and filling, it gets old after a few days and isn’t a well-rounded meal.

One Pot Cooking Ideas

A quick internet search will net you a ton of great ideas for one pot meals, but you can always just use your imagination. There are also some recipes that you should know by heart. They aren’t necessarily one pot meals, but they are essentials that will help you keep your crew full and nourished.

  • Want fried potatoes, eggs, and sausage for breakfast? Toss your potatoes in first, then add your sausage and cook both til they’re done and throw in your eggs. Scramble them all together, and you’ve got a delicious one pot meal.
  • How about beef tips with gravy and a baked potato? Toss your beef tips into your crock pot or Dutch oven, wrap your potatoes in foil and toss those in with it. When they’re done, remove the potatoes and add some flour and milk to the beef tips. Cook it for a few minutes until the gravy thickens and you’ve got dinner.
  • Soups and stews, of course, are obvious, but how about ribs with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes? Easy peasy. Cut your potatoes into cubes and toss them in your seasoning. Wrap them in foil packs. Do the same with the corn after you break the ears into halves, or cut it off the cob. Put your rub or sauce on your ribs and toss them all into your Dutch oven or crock pot and you’re good to go. You can also do the potatoes and corn in the coals.

One pot meals are, for the most part, only limited by your imagination. They’re easy to throw together, toss into your cooking vessel of choice, and forget about. Also, you’re getting many more nutrients than you would if you only cooked a single item. That makes them a great survival food.

There is a great opportunity for Survivopedia readers to prepare for cooking in the sun, so grab this offer available only for a few days!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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11 Tips On How To Survive A Polar Vortex

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The term “polar vortex” isn’t one that most people became familiar with until just recently. We had to face it last winter, and we have to face it again these days.

Now, however, it’s a serious concern and needs to be figured into your potential disaster events if you live in areas that may be affected.

Read the following article to find out what a polar vortex is, what it isn’t (if you haven’t been affected by one), and what you need to do to prepare!

What is a Polar Vortex?

We have two polar vortexes – one around each pole. It’s an area of low pressure that circulates counterclockwise in the stratosphere around the pole all the time, but weakens in the winter time.

Sometimes it wobbles a bit and throws a surge of bitter cold south into the US, and other countries in equivalent latitudes around the world.

When this happens, it can drop temperatures below zero. It’s a phenomenon that is always around, but we just don’t notice it until it puffs a blast of freezing air toward us.

scientific-american

It actually plays a big part in the weather worldwide throughout the year. Think about it – how often do you ever hear of cold fronts coming from the south?

Usually, polar vortexes force temperatures down into the single digits in areas of higher latitude such as the Dakotas and Michigan, but the temperatures go up farther down the map.

Still, even if temperatures drop into the teens or twenties, even a light wind will make that temperature seem exponentially colder.

What a Polar Vortex Isn’t

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about polar vortexes, so let’s clear some of them up. First, they’re not a sign or result of global warming. Though many weather anomalies of recent years are linked to the warming of the Earth, polar vortices aren’t. They’ve existed exactly as they are since we started tracking them and the frequency or intensity hasn’t changed.

Next, a polar vortex doesn’t bring snow with it. Weather events such as rain and snow occur in the lower level of the atmosphere and polar vortices occur right above that. They bring bitter cold that can make snowstorms much worse, but they don’t actually bring snow or freezing rain with them.

What you need to Know about a Polar Vortex

The first and most important thing that you need to know about a polar vortex is that it can be lethal.

Even if you’re in a warmer part of the area that’s affected by the vortex, temperatures combined with wind chill can easily drop to temperatures that can cause frostbite and hypothermia quickly if you’re not bundled up.

Polar vortexes also tend to set in fairly quickly and hang around for at least a few days. If you don’t have to go outside during one, don’t. Avoid driving anywhere if you can, because it’s a guarantee that the roads are going to be icy even if it does snow.

If snow or freezing rain is going to happen right before or during a polar vortex, that danger is going to be amplified because temperatures that low can cause several disasters including car crashes, hypothermia, collapsed rooves, limbs, and powerlines, and burst water pipes.

Obviously, even one of those can be horrible, but they may also occur in tandem. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that your roof can collapse while your power is out. That’s why you need to take precautions and be prepared.

How to Prepare for a Polar Vortex

There are relatively small steps that you can take in advance that will help keep you safe. Other steps will need to be taken during/after the snow, but they’re relatively minor.

Technically, to prepare for just a polar vortex, you only need to worry about the cold, but since it often coincides with a snow storm, we’re going to assume that the worst case scenario and prepare for both a polar vortex and a snow storm.

1. Stockpile Food and Water

You may have a tough time getting to the store because of ice or snow, so make sure that you have at least a week’s worth of food and water stored back.

Yes, you’ll have access to plenty of snow, but if you want to drink that, you’ll have to filter and purify it. Stockpile at least 2 gallons of water per person per day. You’ll need to drink more because, oddly enough, water needs increase with extremes in temperature.

Regarding food, figure on at around 2000 calories if you’re going to be outside for more than just a few minutes at a time because your body burns a lot of fuel just to keep warm when temperatures drop that low.

You typically have several days of warning, so there’s no excuse not to be prepared.

2. Stay Inside

Seriously. If you don’t have to be outside, don’t be. In temperatures in the single digits, it only takes 15 minutes or so for frostbite to become a possibility, and when the temperatures are below zero, that time decreases even more.

Hypothermia is also a problem and, like frostbite, increases the colder it gets. Wind plays a big factor in the onset of both conditions.

Also, it’s a guarantee that there’s ice on the road, so there’s no reason to risk it if you don’t have to. Be prepared in advance, because crashing your car for a gallon of milk is bad, but dying for it just isn’t worth it.

3. Wrap Your Pipes

If you can access them, wrap your pipes to protect them from freezing. This tape keeps your pipes warm enough that the water in your pipes won’t freeze. If you don’t know how to do it, read our article about how to insulate your heating system.

This not only saves you a ton of money if your pipes burst, but also ensures that you have access to your water and heat as long as you have city water or a generator for your pump.

4. Trim your Trees

There’s nothing cozier than sitting around a tree limb that’s fallen through your roof and into your living room. Oh wait – yes there is.

This is a relatively easy disaster to avoid – simply keep your trees trimmed back from your house. Here’s a short guide on how to prepare your garden for winter.

5. Bundle Up

If you absolutely must go outside, bundle up. Make sure that your fingers, ears, nose, and toes are particularly protected because when you get cold, your body automatically pulls the blood flow to the center of your body to preserve heat. This leaves your extremities vulnerable to frostbite.

You also naturally lose more heat through the top of your head, the bottom of your feet, and your palms, so make sure they’re covered well to preserve that heat.

Mittens are actually better than gloves because they keep your fingers together and allow the heat that emanates from your palms to warm your entire hand.

mittens

6. Your Animals

Your animals are going to need some special attention depending upon what kind they are. Regardless of their species, they’re going to need to stay warm and they’re likely going to need extra food and water to meet the caloric needs required to stay warm.

Extremes in temperature can also cause animals such as milk cows and chickens to stop producing milk and eggs, so it’s especially important to keep them comfortable.

Winterize your barn and coop by sealing it up, but leave ventilation going through in order to keep the air fresh. Know your animals and adjust to meet their needs.

7. Check your Roof

Before winter even sets in, check your roof and rafters for damage and stability. This is one of the biggest risks you have in the case of a polar vortex and snow storm clashing.

If temperatures drop enough to make building materials brittle, then heavy snow is piled on top, the odds of your roof collapsing increases quite a bit.

8. Seal Windows and Doors

Your heating system is working hard enough to keep you warm even if your house is well insulated and sealed.

Cracks around windows and doors can really dampen that effort and make it nearly impossible to keep your house warm, so take care of that before winter sets in. It will also help save you money in the summer by keeping cold air in.

Read this Survivopedia article to find out how to build your own frames for insulating windows.

9. Winterize Your Car

This may not seem like a big deal, but it can save your life. You need good tires, but not as much for traction (nothing really sticks to ice though good tread does do much better in snow and mud) as to make sure that you don’t get a flat.

Chains for your tires, adequate anti-freeze, winter-grade thinner-viscosity oil, and just a general winterizing is important. Getting stranded in freezing weather is extremely dangerous.

On that note, make sure that you have a get-home bag in your car. You need a full change of clothes, extra socks and gloves, and even extra shoes. Also, have several bottles of water, hand warmers, several protein bars or MREs, and flares.

Blankets, at least emergency blankets, should be in there, too, and a fire-starter wouldn’t hurt. Besides these essentials, you just need to know your circumstances and build the rest of the bag around your needs.

10. Have Alternate Heat

If you rely on electricity for heat, you REALLY need to have an alternative heat source. Installing a wood burner is probably your best option, but a generator or wood for your fireplace (if you have one) are good, too.

Whatever you decide on, have plenty of fuel and the equipment to start it. Be realistic and base your heating needs on your house and your family, not some ideal version of them.

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11. Include Games and Activities in your Stockpile

You’re going to get bored pretty quickly, especially if you lose cable and power. Make sure that you have several different games, books, or hobby supplies on hand to alleviate stress and boredom.

Being prepared for a polar vortex is extremely similar to preparing for a blizzard, except you need to make some modifications for the extreme temperatures that you may have to deal with.

If you have any suggestions or ideas that I’ve missed here, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Dripping Survivalism to Neophytes

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I was talking to a friend of mine this past weekend. He knows generally that I am a prepper but he does not know to what extent. He (we’ll call him Bill) said that prior to the Presidential election he was concerned about the country falling in anarchy. So much in fact that he bought a gun. Bill told me he had inherited a 12 gauge “bird hunting’ shotgun from his father, but never had plans to buy another gun until he got ‘scared’ – for his family and himself. So he went out and bought as Glock 9mm handgun. He didn’t even know what model number.

Bill is some sort of a financial planner, trust funds or something, I really don’t remember and could not give a shit less, but I could not pass up the opportunity to educate him and used that angle to get him thinking:

UrbanMan: Well Bill, having a gun, several guns in fact, are a good idea for protection especially when the security situation becomes worse, but you need training and well as have some ammunition stocked up for the time when it gets scarce. Ammunition, as well as food, batteries, water, etc., will be the first to fly off the shelves – and before it flies off the shelves the price will raise dramatically.

Bill: I guess you are right. I have a box of 50 bullets for the Glock.

UrbanMan: Bill, if I were you I would buy another 150 or 200 rounds of ammunition and continue to buy at least a box a month until he have 1,000 rounds minimum. Plus you need to have some 12 gauge bird shot and buck shot, as well as some slug shotgun shells also.

Bill: That’s a lot of ammo! Do you really think I need that much? Although you are right about the shotgun. I don’t have any ammunition for that.

UrbanMan: Yes, you need plenty of ammunition. You don’t want to wait until you need it. At that point it will be expensive, maybe very hard to find and you will expose your safety going to gun shops trying to find it. Go buy two boxes of bird shot, which would be 50 shot shells, five boxes of 00 buckshot (total of 25 rounds) and two boxes of one ounce slugs (10 rounds). Buy a couple boxes of each, every month until you have two to three hundred of each load. Get an old Army metal ammunition can and keep it in your closet. It won’t take up much room and it’ll give you peace of mind.

Bill: I don;t know. That’s a lot of money.

UrbanMan: Jesus Bill, you make a lot of money, so stop buying beer or ice cream or movie tickets of whatever else you don’t need every week and invest in your survival insurance. Also what are you going to do if the banks close or the dollar tanks or the ATM stops working or the government says you can only withdraw $100 a day and food prices go up 1000%.

Bill: Well, I think we’ll have more problems than money if that happens.

UrbanMan: That’s right, hence the guns. And the food you have stocked up in your pantry and garage. And the safe place you have a plan to get to rather than staying in the suburbs.

Bill: I am really uncomfortable planning on the world to collapse.

UrbanMan: Uncomfortable? How about not being able to protect or feed your family? That in my book would be a lot more uncomfortable. All I am suggesting is a modicum of planning and preparation. You deal in the financial world. Is diversification of investments generally a good thing?

Bill: Generally, it is. You don’t want to have all your assets in one area, say stock funds.

UrbanMan: Well, consider a little prepping as diversification of your survival portfolio. Do you track the precious metals exchange?

Bill: Yes, I have clients who own gold and silver stocks. And come to think of it, I do field questions from existing clients on adding that to their portfolios. I really don;t recommend too much resources devoted to that investment.

UrbanMan: You are talking about ‘paper’ gold and silver, which will do you no good if everything collapses. You should think about buying at least some silver each month and put it away as a hedge if the dollar collapse or hyper inflation hits. Silver is about $16.75 an ounce right now, but if you research it, you’ll see that U.S. silver production is declining significantly over the past couple of months and expected to decline further. So solely as an investment I’ll think you see silver increasingly around $3 to $5 an ounce within the next three months. Just a few months ago it was around $21 an ounce and remember it wasn’t too long ago when silver hit $48 an ounce.

Bill: You may be right, but the precious metals market changes from time to time under forces we never fully understand,…everything from price manipulation to large purchases by various countries.

UrbanMan: Exactly. That’s why you need to protect yourself. I am not advocating an 180 degree change in your financial planning or monthly spending. I am just talking about small changes, re-directional really, that plug holes in your ability to survive.

Bill: Okay. Well I’ll think about it.

UrbanMan: Ok, you think about it. In the meantime, I’m going to send you some website and recommended reading. Don’t be the dumb ass left out.

Survival Cooking: How To Use A Dutch Oven

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How To Use A Dutch Oven

Pioneers no doubt had to make some rough choices about what to take and what to leave behind when they made the voyage west. One thing that they didn’t even consider leaving behind, though, was their Dutch oven.

This marvelous piece of cookware is so versatile that it warranted a spot in the precious little space inside a covered wagon.

When you think about camping, you probably don’t think about making bread, biscuits, or cookies – other than s’mores of course! That’s because you’re not familiar with how a Dutch oven works.

In short, it’s magic.

A Dutch oven actually consists of two pieces: a pot and a lid. The lid seals over the pot when needs must, and serves as a skillet, too. You can use a Dutch oven on a stove or in an oven just like you’d use any other pan or skillet, but it’s so much more useful than that.

First, cast iron cookware in general is just fabulous to cook on. Other cookware, such as those made from aluminum or coated in Teflon, can be toxic to us over time. Teflon starts to flake off into your food after a few months or maybe a year. Then you run the risk of getting cancer. Aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Cast iron, on the other hand, has been associated with family treasures that are passed down from generation to generation.

Cookware made from cast iron can quite literally last hundreds of years – I have a skillet that’s nearly 150 years old and it’s seriously the best skillet I own. I have a square one that I bought 25 years ago, and I won’t make cornbread in anything else. I use it at home on the stove, in the oven, and on the grill. I take it camping and use it over an open fire.

So, I’m not just preaching it from the handbook, I’m drinking my own Kool-Aid. Cast iron rules.

Now that you know how I feel about the material, I want to get on to the exact piece of cast iron cookware that we’re discussing today: the Dutch oven.

Simply surviving isn’t good enough if you’re to stay happy and healthy in the long run. You need good food, companionship, and hope. A Dutch oven can’t do much about who you eat with, but it can be used to cook luxury foods that keep morale up. Cornbread, biscuits, cake, hot rolls, and desserts such as cobbler are all possible as long as you have the ingredients, a fire, and a Dutch oven.

Video first seen on Cooking With Cast Iron.

You don’t need electricity or gas, nor do you need an actual oven because a Dutch oven IS an oven. If you know the basics of cooking with one and have the ingredients, you can make anything that you want.

So, without further ado, let’s talk about how to cook with a Dutch oven.

Aluminum or Cast Iron Dutch Oven

I know, I’ve just expounded on the benefits of using cast iron, and even knocked aluminum cookware a bit. I personally don’t like to cook in it because studies have shown that the aluminum does leach into food, especially if the food is extremely basic (baking powder), or extremely acidic (tomato juice, vinegar, or fruit juices).

Studies show that anodized aluminum doesn’t pose this risk, so if you opt to go with an aluminum Dutch oven, make sure that it’s anodized. There are some benefits to cooking with an aluminum Dutch oven, primarily the weight. A cast-iron Dutch oven weighs about 7 pounds as opposed to the 18 pounds or so that you’ll be toting if you’re carrying a cast iron one.

Aluminum also doesn’t require seasoning like cast iron does, nor will it rust if you don’t care for it after you wash it. Many even come with a non-stick surface, but cast iron will become non-stick if you season it correctly.

Aluminum heats faster, but that’s not necessarily a good thing because the heat fluctuates in it, and aluminum will melt if it gets hot enough. Still, aluminum may be better for baking bread or making sauces and gravies than cast iron.

Cast iron holds heat evenly and for longer periods of time. It will actually keep cooking your foods for quite a while even if your coals cool down so you don’t need as much fuel to cook with it. The lid is heavy enough that it seals and steams your food so that it doesn’t dry out. This is why I said above that aluminum may be better for baking bread.

So, there are the differences. If you have to carry it, aluminum may be worth the downfalls to you. If you don’t, I’d say that cast iron wins hands down. I’m sure that there are those that disagree.

Types of Dutch Ovens

If you’re standing in the pot aisle at the store trying to figure out what the heck you need, or researching online before you go buy one, it can be confusing.

First, know that a camp oven and an outdoor oven are the same thing. These will usually have feet and a handle that you can use to hang the pot over the fire. The lid will also be flat and have a lip that seals the oven so that coals can’t get into it. You can use the lid as a skillet, too.

Kitchen pots and bean pots are also two names for the same sort of pot. They won’t have feet. Bean pots aren’t just for beans so don’t let the name fool you. It’s actually a cooking method that was common back in colonial days. These pots will have a flat bottom and a domed lid that may have spikes for basting inside of it. The steam rises, then drips off the spikes down onto the food.

Don’t be afraid to buy a used Dutch oven. As a matter of fact, I got mine from a yard sale for $5. Just be aware of what you’re buying.

  • First, don’t buy it if it has riveted tabs. You want the oven to be cast together, not riveted.
  • Look for inconsistencies in the thickness. That will lead to inconsistent heating and cooking
  • Don’t be scared away by a little rust. As long as it’s just surface rust, it will clean right up with steel wool.
  • Make sure that the bottom is level. It shouldn’t rock.
  • Make sure the lid fits well – not too loose, and not too tight, and it doesn’t rock.
  • Check for chips and cracks as well as imperfections in the casting.
  • If you’re buying a camp oven, make sure that the wire handle is sturdy.

Seasoning your Dutch Oven

Cast iron takes a bit of time to reach that non-stick state. This is called seasoning. Basically, the iron needs to absorb fat so that it develops a patina that keeps the iron from absorbing your food, causing it to stick. Seasoning also prevents the iron from rusting and makes cleanup much easier.

New ovens (or any cast iron) come with a protective coating from the manufacturer. The same is true with aluminum but all you need to do in that case is wash the aluminum with hot soap and water to remove the coating.

Cast iron takes a bit more work on the front end, but it will be well worth it in the end because you’ll have a piece that will be good for the rest of your life, and your children’s lives for that matter.

Before you season your skillet, wash it well. Some people use soap, others don’t. I use soap when I get a new one, or a used one that isn’t seasoned or has rust. I’m not like most people though, who only use hot water and steel wool.

Once you have your Dutch oven clean, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. You may want to turn off the smoke alarm, just in case.

  • Put the Dutch oven and the lid in the oven long enough that it’s so hot that it’s almost too hot to handle, then remove them.
  • Dribble a bit of olive oil, solid shortening, or vegetable oil. Don’t use butter, margarine, or cooking spray.
  • Use a paper towel to smear the oil over the entire surface of the pot and lid, inside and out.
  • Put the pot and lid back in the oven bake them for an hour. You should probably put a cookie sheet on the rack under them in case they drip. No need to burn the house down while you’re doing this.
  • Turn off the oven and let the pot and lid cool completely, then repeat the process.
  • Wipe down, and you’re done!

Video first seen on JRKFamilyOutdoors

Of course, the more you use your oven, the more seasoned it will become. Every time you use it, you need to clean it, then heat it to get the water out of it and wipe it down with a thin layer of oil again; just a tiny amount on a paper towel while the pan is cooling.

Avoid cooking super acidic or high-sugar foods the first few times you use your oven because these will break down your seasoning before it has time to harden.

Using a Dutch Oven in Coals

You may not know it, but the ashes under the fire are actually usually hotter than the fire itself. The ashes are compact and hold in heat. This makes for an excellent cooking environment. If you think about it, that’s exactly what happens in your oven at home, right?

Maybe you’ve cooked ears of corn or potatoes wrapped in foil in the coals of your fire, but it’s pretty tough to bake a piece of apple pie like that? Well that’s where your Dutch oven comes in. Different foods cook better depending upon how the Dutch oven is situated in the coals, and you can cook entire meals in it, too. Casseroles, desserts, stews: they’re all within your reach.

First, you need to decide if you’re cooking IN the Dutch oven, or WITH it. You can either cook your food directly in the oven or you can put the food in another container, such as a pie plate, and cook in on a trivet or rack inside of the oven. This is usually done to keep the food from burning, or to make cleaning your oven easier.

If you’re cooking a dessert and your oven is still relatively new, you may want to use this method so that the sugar and acids in the fruit don’t eat away your seasoning.

If you’re using your oven for frying, or boiling, all of the heat should come from the bottom. In other words, place the oven on top of the coals or a grill rack (or hang it over the fire).

If you’re stewing or simmering, the majority of the heat should come from the bottom. Place the pot in the ashes with most of it buried, but put some of the coals on top, about 4:1 bottom to top.

If you’re roasting food, heat should come from the top and bottom equally. Place coals under and on top.

If you’re baking, most of the heat should come from the top. The ratio should be 1 part on bottom and 3 parts on top.

If you’re wondering about specific foods, typically soups and stews should be cooked with most of the heat on the bottom (2/3 or so on the bottom, and 1/3 of the coals on top. Meats, veggies, and cobblers should have equal heat distribution, and cakes, biscuits, bread and cookies should have 2/3 of the coals on top and 1/3 on the bottom.

Dutch Oven Temperature

Bread and biscuits help you get a lot more mileage out of a meal and are comfort foods. They’re also the trail version of fast foods. You can cook extra and if you get hungry along the trail, you can pull out a roll or a biscuit and eat it on the run. Neither of these would be possible in large quantity without a Dutch oven.

You can make biscuits inside of the oven, or right on the lid – just butter or oil both sides so that they brown equally.

Bread or rolls are best if you let the final proof take place inside the oven, then bake them immediately. Some old recipes call for coating the inside of the oven with flour before you put your bread in to rise/cook. The flour will burn but your bread will be fine.

If you’d rather not use the flour, just oil the inside of the oven and the top of the lid, then let your bread proof. Put your oven in the coals, with 2/3 of them on top. When there are 5 or 6 minutes left for the bread to cook, take of the lid and butter the top of the bread. Put the lid back on and let it finish cooking. Bread is done when you peck on the top and it sounds hollow.

There are different ways to cook with your Dutch oven, but these are the basics. You can pick up a good Dutch oven for as little as $35 or so, and that’s for a Lodge, which is American-made and arguably the best brand of cast iron skillets out there.

There are, of course, gourmet chefs coming out with their own lines of cast iron cookware too, and some of them are even pre-seasoned, but you’re likely going to pay quite a bit more for them. It’s up to you, though. There are definite advantages to buying a pre-seasoned piece, but I’m old-school and take a certain pleasure in doing things for myself.

Learn how to make your own food based on survival ancient recipes from our forefathers. Click the banner below and uncover more survival secrets, and stay close for a great offer that will boost your survival cooking!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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POLITICIANS ACT AS AGENTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS TO ENFORCE AGENDA 21 UPON AUSTRALIANS

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POLITICIANS ACT AS AGENTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS TO ENFORCE AGENDA 21 UPON AUSTRALIANS Politicians Show Preference for Covert Undemocratic AG21 Policy Graham Williamson Revised edition January 2013 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This paper is about Agenda 21 and its implementation in Australia. Its primary purpose is to examine the implementation process and assess its democratic foundations and whether the public have truly been permitted to make an informed democratic choice. Its secondary purpose is to evaluate whether Agenda 21 is beneficial and necessary for Australians. Using extensive documentary evidence from experts, combined with personal correspondence documented in the Appendices, the following fundamental facts have been established. 1. Agenda 21 is a fundamentally undemocratic, sovereignty threatening, UN designed and monitored program which is being banned overseas because of the threat it poses to fundamental human rights. Agenda 21 is found to pose a serious risk to freedom and human rights and is unnecessarily foreign in its origin and control. 2. All three levels of government have been undemocratically implementing this program throughout Australia, on behalf of the UN, for 10-20 years. All the evidence indicates the consistent political refusal to publicly declare AG21 policy has been non-negotiable & bipartisan. 3. In 20 years, all major political parties have refused to openly declare their Agenda 21 policy during elections to enable citizens to make an informed democratic choice. All major parties have preferred to implement Agenda 21 as undeclared or covert policy. As a result, community ignorance about AG21 and its implications are widespread. 4. Although pervasively embedded into government (undeclared) policy at all levels, when directly questioned about AG21 our elected representatives go to extraordinary lengths to either avoid the subject or pretend it is not being implemented. From all my enquiries, not one politician or bureaucrat eagerly responded by openly detailing the many ways in which the tentacles of AG21 are being implemented through the various government departments. Implementation of Agenda 21 is based upon a failure to accurately and truthfully inform Australians. It is based upon deception and trashing of democracy. AG21 is a policy far bigger than any other policy. It is a policy of 20 years duration. It is a policy implemented by both major parties and all 3 levels of government around Australia. It has penetrated from Canberra to local communities everywhere. It shapes our legal system, our economic system, our environmental system, our political system, and even the education of our children. It is not possible to imagine a more massive political policy, yet it is excluded from the electoral agenda and the official policies of all major parties. This policy is being enforced upon us and we have been denied any democratic choice. Why? This is a massive scandal and it is why our politicians are desperately trying to shut the debate down. It is a scandal that dwarfs even the CO2 tax and climate change which form just one part of it. The past 20 years, and my correspondence detailed in the Appendix, show quite clearly that a change of government will not solve this issue. What is needed is a return to democracy, dramatically increased political accountability, strengthening of sovereignty, and a renewed political commitment of allegiance to the people rather than an allegiance to the UN. Introduction All 3 levels of government in Australia, and all major political parties, have chosen to implement a foreign United Nations designed and monitored ‘sustainability’ program called Agenda 21. Governments have been implementing this program around Australia for 10-20 years although all major parties have been unanimous in their decision not to give Australians a democratic choice on this issue at election time. Further, this foreign program has pervasively infiltrated local councils and the legal system so that property rights are being insidiously and progressively transferred from humans to plants and the environment. And our politicians, without the knowledge or permission of the overwhelming majority of Australians, have even seen fit to embed this foreign program into the school curriculum to ensure our children are indoctrinated with UN propaganda. In view of these developments I contacted various political parties in an attempt to clarify their policy regarding Agenda 21. This paper documents more than 12 months research into Agenda 21 & the response of political parties & elected representatives to simple questions regarding the implementation of this foreign UN program. It documents the difficulties involved in obtaining clear truthful answers from our elected representatives, irrespective of the party they represent. And it documents the death of democracy in Australia as political parties present one policy to the people during elections, but when elected they proceed to implement undeclared or covert policies, or policies of which they are apparently so ashamed they refuse to openly discuss them. This paper documents this disturbing abandonment of democracy. How is it possible to have a pervasive far reaching program such as Agenda 21 implemented by government departments and councils throughout Australia for 10-20 years and yet this program is omitted from official policy? And when our elected representatives are directly questioned about implementation of this UN program, why do they feel the need to go to extraordinary lengths to refuse to discuss it or even pretend it is not being implemented? It is astonishing that my exhaustive attempts to obtain simple answers from our elected representatives have met with such a solid brick wall of deception or obfuscation. In order to supply background information, and evidence from experts and from government departments, I have included the following detailed Appendices below. Most of the Appendices are self-explanatory. Appendix J documents some of the real life results of the government drive to support the ecocentric rewriting of the legal system and the erosion of property rights as proposed by Agenda 21. Appendix K documents the involvement of councils which are at the forefront of the implementation of UN AG21 restriction of land use and property rights while Appendix L documents my complaint to the NSW Ombudsman regarding council involvement. Appendix A – Introduction & Background to Agenda 21. Appendix B – Evidence of the Extent to Which Governments Having been Implementing AG21 Around Australia Without Giving Australians any Democratic Choice. Appendix C – Rewriting the Legal System to Support Ecocentrism & Transfer Property Rights from Humans to Plants & the Environment. Appendix D – Response to Correspondence from the Victorian Minister for Local Government – Jeanette Powell. Appendix E – Correspondence with the NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell Appendix F – Correspondence with the NSW Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker. Appendix G – Correspondence with the NSW Attorney General Greg Smith. Appendix H – Correspondence with the Minister for Local Government Don Page Appendix I – Correspondence with the NSW Minister for Planning & Infrastructure Brad Hazzard Appendix J – Transferring Property Rights from Humans to Plants & the Environment: Submission to the NSW Government BioBanking review Appendix K – Correspondence With Eurobodalla Shire Council Appendix L – Complaint to NSW Ombudsman Appendix M – Correspondence With Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage Witness below the extraordinary determination of politicians not to openly discuss a policy they have been enforcing upon Australians for up to 20 years. And witness their continuing determination to implement Agenda 21 covertly and prevent Australians from having any say. The Politicians Speak, or Refuse to Speak, About AG21 On 8th September 2012 I asked the following politicians or political parties to state their policy regarding Agenda 21. That correspondence, based upon the fact that the WA Greens are the only party that openly state Agenda 21 policy, typically asked as follows: Dear Sir, I notice that the WA Greens openly endorse the Agenda 21 program in their policy platform as below. Do you, and the NSW Liberal Party, agree with this policy and support Agenda 21 also? If so, why is it not included in your official policy? Since the NSW Liberal Party has been endorsing Agenda 21 or implementing it for nearly 20 years, will you be adding it to your official policies or do you prefer to continue to implement it without mentioning it in your policies? Why? If you have no intention of adding it to your official policies will you be proactively seeking to ban it as has been done in Alabama? Regards Graham Williamson http://wa.greens.org.au/policies/local-government-0 The Greens (WA) want: · the Local Government Act amended to require the principles of ecological sustainable development in Agenda 211 be the basis of local government policy This correspondence was directed to the following. NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell The NSW Liberal Party The Queensland Liberal National Party The Liberal Party of Victoria Vic Minister for Local Government – Jeanette Powell Leader of the National Party of Australia – Warren Truss The National Party of Australia The NSW National Party Deputy Premier & Leader of NSW National Party Andrew Stoner The Greens NSW Liberal Party of Australia Opposition Leader – Tony Abbott Australian Greens – Senator Christine Milne The Queensland Greens The Australian Greens Victoria In addition, detailed questions regarding Agenda 21 were addressed to NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, NSW Attorney General Greg Smith, NSW Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker, NSW Minister for Planning & Infrastructure Brad Hazzard, Minister for Local Government Don Page, & Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage. The responses & non-responses of our elected representatives to very simple questions are alarming in their consistent evasiveness & dismissiveness. These responses are documented below. NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell – See Appendix E In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the Premier on 21st July 2012, 8th September, 23rd September, 24th September, 25th November, & 2nd December, no response has yet been received. Yet, in spite of this non-response, the issues raised with the Premier were very serious, including deceit and misinformation about AG21 and the abandonment of Ministerial responsibilities by the Attorney General. NSW Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker – See Appendix F Correspondence with the NSW Minister for the Environment is documented in Appendix E. Since I received no response to my correspondence of 4th October, I sent a further reminder to the Minister on the 25th November. No attempt has been made by the Minister to answer the issues I raised and I have yet to receive any response to this correspondence. NSW Attorney General & Minister for Justice Greg Smith – See Appendix G Correspondence with the NSW Attorney General is documented in Appendix F. When I wrote to the Minister asking about the use of laws based upon foreign programs like AG21 to penalise NSW citizens, and the conversion of the NSW judicial system from its traditional anthropocentric basis to an ecocentric basis, he responded that “The matters raised do not fall under the portfolio responsibility of the NSW Attorney General and Minister for Justice.” But when I responded by asking him: “Please explain why you consider that overseeing the direction of the legal system of NSW is not your responsibility and please name the person who is responsible?”; he opted to completely avoid all the issues I raised by issuing the following evasive dismissive response. Dear Mr Williamson (final response from Minister – 30th Nov 2012) If you have concerns about Australia’s adoption of Agenda 21 you should contact the Federal Government. If you have concerns about the adoption of a particular policy associated with Agenda 21 then you should contact the Minister, Council etc responsible for that decision. Elections are regularly held at a local, state and federal level. This affords you the opportunity to vote for the candidate that you believe best reflects your policy preferences. I have referred your matter to a number of Ministers and should you send further correspondence this will be placed on file without response. Kind regards Office of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice. The Attorney General clearly seems to agree with other Ministers that Agenda 21 must continue to be implemented while pretending to the public that it is not happening and denying them any democratic choice. The NSW Minister for Local Government Don Page – see Appendix H In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the Minister on 21st July 2012, 23rd July, 25 th September & 25th November, no meaningful response has yet been received. The final response received from the Minister’s office, dated 17th Dec 2012, continued the same dismissiveness and evasiveness. In my correspondence I asked various questions of the Minister including: 1. Has the NSW government warned residents of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 plans, their UN origin, and their full agenda and final goals? If so please supply documentary evidence (notices, media releases etc). 2. Does the NSW government have a clear policy to ban all such UN derived Agenda 21 related policies to protect local residents? Please supply documentary evidence, including the time frame for implementation. 3. Has the NSW government offered local residents the choice between a locally designed, monitored and implemented environmental/sustainability plan as an alternative to plans designed and monitored by a foreign agency (the UN)? 4. Although you are overseeing the implementation of AG 21 at the local government level you not only expressed no concern whatsoever about the above matters, you even chose to pretend implementation of Agenda 21 by local government in NSW is not your responsibility. Why? In response to these questions regarding AG21 the Minister’s office replied: The government’s determination to implement AG21 without giving residents any choice, and without even discussing it, is once again made perfectly clear by the Minister’s refusal to respond. The NSW Minister for Planning & Infrastructure Brad Hazzard – see Appendix I In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the Minister on 29th June, 21st July 2012, 31st July, 9 th August, 23 rd September & 25th November, no meaningful response has yet been received. The response from the Minister’s office dated 19th Dec is also evasive and completely avoids all the issues I raised concerning AG21. The NSW Liberal Party After writing to the leader of the NSW Liberal Party on 8 th September, 23rd September, & the 25th November, I received the following response on the 26th November. Dear Graham, The Liberal Party is committed to environmental action and is why we are establishing a Green Army which will deliver real benefits to local communities. It is suggested you contact your local member to find out more about this. Kind Regards, Liberal Campaign Headquarters LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA (NSW DIVISION) T 02 8356 0300 | F 02 9331 4480 | E chq@nsw.liberal.org.au The Queensland Liberal National Party In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the Queensland Liberal National Party on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. The Liberal Party of Victoria The Liberal Party of Victoria responded on 25th September stating they had nothing to do with policy & I should contact the Minister for Local Government, Jeanette Powell. Victorian Minister for Local Government – Jeanette Powell – See Appendix D On 23rd of November I received a response from the Minister’s office, signed by Chief of Staff, James Lantry. Mr Lantry stated, on behalf of the Minister: “Please note that the Victorian Government has not adopted the Agenda 21 policy platform as part of its policies, but continues to undertake actions in accordance with sound environmental policies for the benefit of all Victorians.” Of course this is totally untrue which I point out in my response which is documented below in Appendix D, below. Government documents I cite clearly confirm that the government has in fact been implementing Agenda 21 programs in Victoria for more than 10 years. The Minister’s denial of the facts raise serious questions, as I indicate in my response: “Unless you can supply current documentation proving you have outlawed or banned UN Agenda 21 and other imported sustainability programs from Victoria, then to suggest your government is not part of the implementation of this program is at best extremely misleading, and at worst, a deliberate untruth designed to deliberately deceive the public. Which is it? Why is it apparently so important to you NOT to openly declare this program as policy? Or will you immediately ban it and all such imported programs?” To date I have received no further response from the Minister. Leader of the National Party of Australia – Warren Truss In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the leader of the National Party on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. The National Party of Australia In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the National Party on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. The NSW National Party In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the NSW National Party on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. Deputy Premier & Leader of NSW National Party Andrew Stoner After writing to the leader of the NSW National Party on 8 th September & 23rd September, I received the following response on the 24th September. Dear Mr Williamson Thank you for your emails dated 8 September 2012 and 23 September 2012. Your request is currently receiving attention and a response is forthcoming. Kind regards Office of the NSW Deputy Premier. Due to the fact that I received no further response from Mr Stoner, in spite of the promise made by his office, I sent a further reminder to him on the 25th November. No response has yet been received. The Greens NSW After writing to the NSW Greens on 8 th September, 23rd September, & 25th November, I received the following response from NSW Greens MP, Mr David Shoebridge, on the 30th November. Dear Graham, Thank you for your email. Australian Greens constituent bodies (i.e. states and territories) create policies independently of each other, within the broader framework of the Australian Greens. It would probably be incorrect to assume that simply because one state mentioned an item in their policy and another didn’t that this means the states are at loggerheads over the issue. All Greens parties in Australia develop policies based on local circumstances through grassroots processes. To my knowledge Agenda 21 has not been raised in NSW as part of our Local Government policy development process in the past. If you are interested, you can find the Greens NSW local government policy online here: http://nsw.greens.org.au/policies/local-government. The Greens NSW will be working through a process of reviewing all of our policies ahead of the next state election through our grassroots democratic processes. If you are interested in policy development in the area of local government, and supportive of the four main principles of the Greens, I recommend you join the party (if you are not already) and get involved with the grassroots discussions with other members. Thanks again for your email. David David Shoebridge Greens MP in the NSW Legislative Council P: (02) 9230 3030 |Media: 0433 753 376 |T: @ShoebridgeMLC SIGN UP TO STAY IN TOUCH at davidshoebridge.org.au/sign-up Liberal Party of Australia In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the Liberal Party of Australia on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. Opposition Leader – Tony Abbott In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from Mr Abbott on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. Australian Greens – Senator Christine Milne After writing to the leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Christine Milne, on the 8 th September, I received the following response from her office on the 23rdth of September. Dear Graham Thank you for your e-mail. Agenda 21 is an international blueprint that outlines actions that governments, international organisations, industries and the community can take to achieve sustainability. These actions recognise the impacts of human behaviours on the environment and on the sustainability of systems of production. The objective of Agenda 21 is the alleviation of poverty, hunger, sickness and illiteracy worldwide while halting the deterioration of ecosystems which sustain life. As such it provides a framework and statement of principles that you will find incorporated into many Australian Greens policies – copies of which you can find at http://greens.org.au/policies . The Australian Greens Party is a federation within which the WA Greens are entitled to establish their own policies relevant to their specific areas of interest and responsibility. They have chosen to apply one aspect of Agenda 21 – “the principles of ecological sustainable development” to underpin the operations of the Local Government Act in WA. This falls a long way short of “openly endorsing the Agenda 21 program in their policy platform” as you claim. Regards John Dodd Office of Senator Christine Milne Leader of the Australian Greens Level 1 Murray St Pier Hobart 7000 | Ph: 03 6224 8899 | Fax: 03 6224 7599 www.christinemilne.org.au | http://greens.org.au On 23rd September I sent the following response to Mr Dodd from Senator Milne’s office. Dear John, Thank you for your response. You state that “the objective of Agenda 21 is the alleviation of poverty, hunger, sickness and illiteracy worldwide while halting the deterioration of ecosystems which sustain life,” but yet you claim that the Greens (WA & National?)do not fully endorse the Agenda 21 program. Which objectives do you support and which do you find unacceptable? You failed to answer the following queries which I therefore repeat below. 1. Do you, or the Australian Greens, agree with this policy and support Agenda 21 also? 2. If so, why is it not included in your official policy? 3. Will you be adding it to your policies or do you disagree with the WA Greens? 4. If you have no intention of adding it to your official policies will you be proactively seeking to ban it? Regards Graham Williamson Due to the fact that no further response was received from the office of Senator Milne, I sent a further reminder on the 25th November. No response has yet been received. The Queensland Greens After writing to the Queensland Greens on the 8 th September & the 23rd September, I received the following response from the office of Senator Larissa Waters on the 9 th of October. Hi Graham, Apologies for the delay in getting back to you on this! Larissa had a quick through of your question and wanted to let you know that the concepts in Agenda 21 are imbued through all of the party’s policy platform, whether explicitly outlined or not. I’ve copied in a recent report which came out of our office regarding commitments which were made in Rio 20 years ago and where we’re up to now. Hope that helps Graham, Dominic DOMINIC JARVIS Office Manager Office of Senator Larissa Waters Australian Greens Senator for Queensland http://larissa-waters.greensmps.org.au/ Amazingly, It seems there are 2 fundamental types of political policies, namely, openly declared policies, or, on the other hand, concealed or embedded policies. Since Agenda 21 is an embedded policy there is apparently no need for the democratic approval of the electorate. The Australian Greens Victoria In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the Victorian Greens on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage In my correspondence with Greg Hunt I asked the following questions with his partial responses in blue below (see Appendix M for details). 1. When your government warned in their 2006 SOE report that councils around Australia were exceeding their legislative authority in implementing Agenda 21, what steps did you or the Liberal party take to prevent this? Did you lobby the state parties? Did you or the party follow this up? What action was taken? Do you still agree with this assessment? 2. So what will your Agenda 21 policy be should you win government? Will you be seeking to work with the Premiers to discipline Councils which are implementing Agenda 21? Or will you be more proactive and encourage Premiers to introduce legislation banning Agenda 21, as is occurring overseas? To summarise. Fact 1 Agenda 21 is being implemented nationwide by state governments and councils. (see encl) Do you deny this? Fact 2 Though you claim that I had never heard of it raised once during the entire period of the Howard Government in the party room or in ministerial discussions” in fact it was included in 2006 SOE report under your watch. Do you deny this? Fact 3 Since the continuing implementation of AG21 is a simple fact, this raises serious questions about who is taking political responsibility for this since the electorate has never been given a democratic choice and politicians, like yourself, deny knowledge of it even though bureaucrats under their portfolio are implementing it (as is clearly evidenced from enclosed) Do you deny this?. Part of the problem of course was the decision by successive governments that Australia needed an imported sustainability program, one that was designed by a foreign agency and was monitored by the CSD(part of UN). Of course, governments, such as the Howard government, were required to send annual implementation reports to the CSD. Response from Greg Hunt. “There is nothing to ban. It is a 20 year old non binding declaration. I can honestly tell you that I had never heard of it raised once during the entire period of the Howard Government in the party room or in ministerial discussions….. For the final time i had never heard of the issue, heard it raised by Ministers, MP’s or constituents until 19 years after the ing was apparently signed…… Given that for the first 19 years the issue appears to have escaped both of our attention can I respectfully suggest that the discovery of a dead, irrelevant declaration 19 years after the fact may cause everyone to be calm…… I will respectfully draw this engagement to a conclusion and encourage you from here to approach State based Governments as we have no powers over local Governments.” I replied to Greg by citing well documented evidence from his former government of the extensive government resources used to comply with the implementation requirements of AG21 (see Appendix M), arrangements which he claims complete ignorance about. I have as yet received no response. If we are to believe Greg’s claim of his complete ignorance of AG21 then the extreme level of incompetence that this would necessarily involve would immediately disqualify him from suitability for parliamentary office. Of course, should this be the case, then Greg, now his ignorance has been rectified, would be itching at the bit to now put things right by banning AG21. But alas, this is not the case. He refused to answer any of my questions about the Liberal Party’s AG21 policy at the next election. Conclusion It is clear that AG21 has been pervasively and undemocratically embedded into government (undeclared) policy at all levels. It is also clear that when directly questioned about AG21 our elected representatives go to extraordinary lengths to either avoid the subject or pretend it is not being implemented. From all my enquiries, not one politician or bureaucrat eagerly responded by proudly detailing the many ways in which the tentacles of AG21 are being implemented, and are benefiting Australia, by the various government departments. Implementation of Agenda 21 is based upon a failure to accurately and truthfully inform Australians. It is based upon deception and trashing of democracy. So far, the AG21 policy of both major political parties is…’more of the same’. In other words continue to implement AG21 but continue to do this covertly and refuse to give voters a choice at the next election. This of course is entirely consistent with their historical bipartisan determination NOT to give Australians a democratic choice by openly declaring their AG21 policy during the election campaigns of the past 20 years. The past 20 years, and my correspondence detailed in the Appendix, show quite clearly that a change of government will not solve this issue. What is needed is a return to democracy, dramatically increased political accountability, strengthening of sovereignty, and a renewed political commitment of allegiance to the people rather than an allegiance to the UN. It is up to you. Do you care enough? APPENDIX APPENDIX A Introduction & Background to Agenda 21 · AG21 is a foreign United Nations (UN) program aimed at controlling all aspects of people’s lives. It reduces or eliminates individual human rights such as private property rights (1, 2, 3, 4). AG21 is a UN program adopted by the Keating government in 1992, later ratified by the Howard government, & implemented by successive federal, state & local governments of all political persuasions ever since. In 20 years of implementation, neither of the two major political parties has declared AG 21 as official policy, nor given voters a democratic choice. · AG21 is an attempt to undemocratically enforce upon Australians a ‘foreign solution’ for what are termed “sustainability” issues. It is vitally important to understand that AG21 is undemocratic. It is an imported agenda that has been designed by, & its implementation monitored by, a foreign agency (the UN). Control must be increasingly surrendered to the UN & its foreign agencies with absolutely no limits being placed upon this process. · AG21 is very much a blank cheque with no clearly defined goals & no clearly defined limits regarding costs, legislative changes, loss of sovereignty, as well as loss of individual rights & democracy. · Implementation of Agenda 21 around the world has been monitored by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). Participating countries are required to report back to the UN on a regular basis (5, 5a, 5b, 6, 7, 8). The CSD, which included despotic dictators from other countries, has been overseeing Australia’s compliance! The CSD however, is now being dissolved to be replaced by a high level political forum to be established in 2013 while ECOSOC will become responsible for sustainability & Agenda 21. The Australian government approves of these changes. · The guiding principle behind AG21 is a belief in Gaia or ecocentrism (22, 23, 24), or the supremacy of the rights of plants & the environment (25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35) & an abandonment of traditional anthropocentrism (36). In other words, rights are progressively transferred from humans to plants & the environment with the result that private property rights are being surrendered, piece by piece (37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43). · Two fundamental concepts upon which AG21 is based are intragenerational equity & intergenerational equity. a) Intragenerational equity states that common goods such as nature, environment, the ecosystem & therefore private property, must be shared amongst all. No one has exclusive rights of ownership (44, 45, 46, 47). According to the principle of intragenerational equity, the rights of those who have less may be used to take from those who have more, simply because of this disparity & not because of the existence of any legal debt. b) Intergenerational equity grants equal rights to those who may exist in the future but who are not yet born (44, 45, 46, 47). With this bold new sense of ‘justice’ an assumption is made that the actions of one or more persons currently in existence will somehow reduce the quality of life of one or more persons who do not yet exist! Of course we should all be mindful of our responsibility to care for the environment, but to legally convict a perpetrator when the victim cannot be named, does not exist, & his/her degree of suffering cannot be determined, is an astonishing corruption of traditional legal & moral principles. Yet, this has now become reality. · Under Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 the UN established Local Agenda 21 or LA 21 for implementation by local councils around the world (48, 49, 50, 51,52 ,53 , 54, 55,56 , 57, 58 , 59). Though Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 suggests that “each local authority should enter into a dialogue with its citizens, local organizations & private enterprises & adopt a local Agenda 21”, in practice the public has largely been kept ignorant of AG 21 & has been denied a democratic choice by councils & governments around Australia. These concepts are currently being used by councils & state governments in Australia to tie up land use with regulations, LEP’s, zonings & green tape so that private landholders are progressively losing control of their land, with resultant loss in land value. · Implementation of LA21 is also promoted by ICLEI, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, the name now being changed to Local Governments for Sustainability. In fact, Section 7.21 of Agenda 21, specifically recommends involvement with ICLEI. According to Maurice Strong in the Local Agenda 21 Planning Guide, “The task of mobilizing & technically supporting Local Agenda 21 planning in these communities has been led by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) & national associations of local government.” ICLEI supports the “Cities for Climate Protection Campaign & the Local Agenda 21 Initiative.” · The UN Tentacles of ICLEI in Local Councils ICLEI “will continue connecting cities and local governments to the United Nations and other international bodies” and ICLEI will “serve as a global entry point for cities and local governments to engage with the United Nations and international and national policy processes” and will “pursue more radical solutions.” ICLEI will “Advocate direct access to climate finance and other funds by local governments and an inversion of climate finance mechanisms to enable the implementation of needs-driven local development.” ICLEI will promote “Management of global environmental goods” such as” Climate, Biodiversity, Water, Food.” In other words, ICLEI intends to convert them to controllable tradeable commodities. ICLEI will promote “Municipal planning and management” or, in other words, they will help councils control land use. ICLEI will promote Local Agenda 21, that is, ICLEI will continue to assist councils to undemocratically implement foreign UN monitored sustainability programs. ICLEI will “Maintain and enhance ecosystems services” and “Promote the global implementation of “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) chapter for Local and Regional Decision Makers” developed under UNEP.” Economic services are defined: “Ecosystem services are the transformation of a set of natural assets (soil, plants and animals, air and water) into things that we value. For example, when fungi, worms and bacteria transform the raw “ingredients” of sunlight, carbon and nitrogen into fertile soil this transformation is an ecosystem service.” ICLEI will also “Continue Local Government climate advocacy through the Local Government Climate Roadmap. Continue supporting and acting as Secretariat of the World Mayors Council on Climate Change.” No need for scientific evidence—no exit strategy if cooling continues. ICLEI will “Develop EcoMobility program modules” to help councils get rid of cars. ICLEI will “Support local governments in introducing a local “happiness index” drawing on the Kingdom of Bhutan’s experiences with replacing the GDP through “Gross National Happiness”. · Many authorities prefer to mislead the public by avoiding the term “Agenda 21”, using instead terms such as (60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65) “sustainability”, “smart growth”, “growth management”, “local environmental plans” or Sustainable Development 21 or SD21 (66, 66b, 67, 68, 69). Some local authorities have also changed the name of Local Agenda 21 to ‘Local Climate Strategy’ (66, 66a, 66b). The United Nations Sustainable Cities program is yet another spin off of Local Agenda 21 & the UN Habitat agenda (70, 71, 72, 73, 74). Deliberate deception or failure to fully inform the public is fundamental to the success of the program (75, 76). · Some local authorities overseas are now moving to ban Agenda 21 because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature & the threat it poses to basic human rights, not least, our property rights (9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21). According to Agenda 21 (77, 78), Australians can only have “improved living standards”, a “more prosperous future” & “managed ecosystems”, if we form a “global partnership”, a partnership of course which will ultimately be under the control of one global authority. By ourselves we are doomed to failure according to Agenda 21 (77, 78). Chapter 8.31 of Agenda 21 states that countries are required to (80 ) “incorporate environmental costs in the decisions of producers & consumers, to reverse the tendency to treat the environment as a ‘free good’ & to pass these costs on to other parts of society, other countries, or to future generations.” This is described in Agenda 21 as a (80) “fundamental objective.” Ratepayers & ordinary Australians will be increasingly required to fund local UN Agenda 21 schemes & ‘green’ programs with growing rates & taxes such as the CO2 tax. However, these funds will be diverted AWAY from local infrastructure projects to further the global ambitions of the UN, not least their stated goals of central World Governance. Agenda 21 & LA 21, inspired by Mikhail Gorbachev & Maurice Strong who formed the original Earth Charter, amounts to a global power grab & land grab to control & outlaw private land ownership (81, 82, 83, 84, 85). Agenda 21 & Local Agenda 21 aims to change our lives, that of our children & future descendants, forever. And yet the political promoters of this program have continually refused to expose this program to the light of truth during an election campaign. It is urgent that we restore democracy to our local area & insist that the voting public are permitted to make an informed democratic choice. APPENDIX B Evidence of the Extent to Which Governments Having been Implementing AG21 Around Australia Without Giving Australians any Democratic Choice · Agenda 21: The political program that has been implemented around Australia by all 3 levels of government for 20 years without giving voters a democratic choice. · Agenda 21: The program that all major political parties have decided, for the past 20 years, is best to implement without including in official party policy. · Agenda 21: The bipartisan supported program which both political parties have consistently decided to exclude from electoral campaigns. · Agenda 21: For 20 years the most universally politically popular and democratically and electorally unpopular program which has been completely ignored by the mainstream media. The undemocratic invasion of Australia by the United Nations Agenda 21 Agenda 21 is an undemocratic United Nations designed and monitored program (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) which is being banned overseas because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature and the threat it poses to basic human rights, including property rights (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19). It is absolutely disgraceful that such anti-democratic sovereignty undermining foreign designed and monitored programs such as Agenda 21 have been implemented by all three levels of government throughout Australia for 20 years. Further, during this 20 year implementation, both major political parties have consistently decided it best to exclude Agenda 21 from their official policies to prevent voters from having a democratic choice. The Australian government has paved the way for the undemocratic infiltration of Agenda 21 in Australia by the support of the United Nations Earth Summit by the Howard government followed by ratification by the Keating government and implementation by successive governments (5, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 51 ). No doubt because of the undemocratic regressive nature of Agenda 21, various experts and government officials often prefer to mislead the public by avoiding the term “Agenda 21” and using instead terms such as (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45) “sustainability”, “smart growth”, “growth management” or “local environmental plans”. Deliberate deception of the public it seems, is fundamental to the success of the program (45): “Agenda 21 is being implemented in the U.S. under various names to deceive the unsuspecting public as to the source and real purpose of the program. However identifying the programs is relatively easy. All you have to do is look for the keywords……..Everything associated with this program is deceptive. The language they use, the names they give the projects, the means by which they lure local governments into the trap and then slam the door – absolutely everything is deceptive from beginning to end.” And the deceit about the full implications and origin of AG21 is endemic throughout Australia (46): “Throughout Australia it seems that there has been widespread uncertainty about the meaning, scope and value of the term ‘Local Agenda 21’……..Some councils have chosen, for a variety of reasons, not to call their initiatives ‘LA21′ “…….”However, this is not to say that LA21 is not happening within Australia. On the contrary there is Local Agenda 21 activity in every state and territory and many councils are working on projects that have at their core the processes of LA21, although they may not necessarily be using that terminology.” Since many aspects of AG21 need to be enforced at the local level, the federal government was compelled to enlist the co-operation of state and local governments in order to satisfy the implementation requirements of the United Nations. As a result, all Australian states, including NSW (47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70 , 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93,94 ,95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 100, 101, 102, 103 ), Queensland (104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114) Victoria (115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 123, 124, 125, 126), SA (127, 128, 129, 130, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144), and WA (145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151), proceeded to implement Agenda by changes to state legislation and by enforcing local changes at the local council level. In fact, so important were local councils in the global plans of the UN that the UN specifically incorporated a section promoting so called ‘Local Agenda 21’ or’ LA 21’ into Chapter 28 of the Agenda 21 document. Local Agenda 21 has been adopted by Councils around Australia under the guidance of their respective state governments (46, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 69, 70 , 71, 73, 74, 75, 76, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 104, 110, 111, 112, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159). In Victoria, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) “has established a statewide partnership of councils involved in ecological sustainable development (ESD) /Triple Bottom Line/Local Agenda 21(LA21) initiatives. A successful first meeting of 17 member councils from around the State was held on 15th August 2001 to establish the MAV Victorian Local Sustainability Partnership.” And “By 2001, at least 20 local councils in Victoria were working towards implementing Local Agenda 21 action plans to help their communities become involved in sustainable development. “ Eric Smith draws attention to some of the regressive effects of AG 21 in Melbourne: “Has anyone noticed that the streets around Melbourne aren’t as bright as they used to be?…….. That’s because various local councils have been rolling out “energy-efficient” street lights, which cost the tax-payer a fortune, while making our streets significantly darker and hence less safe……It’s all being done under a United Nations treaty, signed and ratified by Australia in the early 1990s, known as Agenda 21, which is a manifesto for sending humanity back to the pre-industrial era, a time when you had to wash your clothes in the local river and the average life expectancy was little more than 30.” Smith cites The Municipal Association of Victoria: “Local government has a key role to play in promoting environmental sustainability and taking action that sees the concept incorporated into everyday life. Steps toward this are part of the Local Agenda 21 model and the MAV is helping to push the sustainability agenda further through various council networks, showcase forums and other initiatives.” To further disguise the true goals of Agenda 21 the name has been changed to Sustainable Development 21 or SD21 (160, 161, 162, 163, 163a), while some local authorities have changed the name of Local Agenda 21 to ‘Local Climate Strategy’ (161, 161b, 161a). The United Nations Sustainable Cities program is yet another spin off of Agenda 21 and the UN Habitat agenda (173, 174, 175, 176, 177). The United Nations has found from 20 years experience that implementation of their global agenda by local authorities has been their most effective strategy (160, 161, 162), especially given the impediments of national sovereignty. Not surprisingly, according to the United Nations Sustainable Development in the 21st Century Summary for Policymakers, the future of their global agenda depends largely upon giving more power and recognition to local councils (161): “Empowering lower levels with means to act on their own Progress towards more sustainable outcomes does not need to wait for a hypothetical consensus on what the future of the world should be, or how global affairs should be managed. Actions at lower levels can and should be taken as soon as possible……… Empower lower levels of governments to act as agents of change on their own and try new approaches to sustainability…. Local governments also have a critical role to play as agents of change, as their closeness to their constituents enable them to embark on bold experiments of different paths to sustainability…… Providing appropriate mandates and resources to all levels of governments Ultimately, the success or failure of sustainable development will largely depend on decisions and actions that are taken at the local level. This was well recognized by Agenda 21.” But the UN went further in their Review of Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Principles (Draft – Jan 2012), even suggesting that local governments should be empowered by state and federal governments to communicate directly with the United Nations (160): “All governance levels from local through global need to be vertically interconnected for bottom-up energy to meet top-down support. In order to bridge the gaps between different levels of governance well as between agenda and action, local governments need to be given a more prominent role in global UN processes. The intergovernmental level should recognize that local authorities have similar legitimacy compared to national governments, and with many local authorities governing bigger populations than the 150 smallest UN member states, it would be reasonable if they could get voting rights in the UN. New institutional arrangements for sustainability should be based on a multi-level concept of governance and include elected representatives from local, sub-national, national, regional and ultimately global levels. In the other direction, it is imperative that decentralization policies are accompanied with all the needed political, legal and financial support that local authorities need for implementing their localized strategies for sustainability.” Since the United Nations have issued their directives for governments around the world, it is hardly surprising that the current Labor government plans to conduct a referendum at the next election to constitutionally recognise and give more rights to local councils (163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168). The commitment to hold a referendum was part of an agreement signed by the Greens Party and the ALP in order to form government (166, 168, 169). Astonishingly, even though ecologically sustainable development in Australia is enforced by state law (86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93,94 ,95, 96, 170, 171, 172), the public have yet to be made aware of either its UN Agenda 21 origins or the totality of its global goals. APPENDIX C Rewriting the Legal System to Support Ecocentrism & Transfer Property Rights from Humans to Plants & the Environment Agenda 21 is firmly rooted in the Gaia philosophy of the Earth Charter and Agenda 21 architects such as Maurice Strong. The Gaians or earth worshippers support a biocentric world view or ecocentric world view where humans become of secondary importance to the environment and ecosystem. In other words, plants come first humans come last. This biocentric or ecocentric Gaian world view is pervasively infiltrating our legal and political systems and scientific facts no longer matter. As has been noted by Henry Lamb in The Rise of Global Green Religion: “The paradigm shift from anthropocentrism to biocentrism is increasingly evident in public policy and in the documents which emanate from the United Nations and from the federal government. Public policies are being formulated in response to biocentric enlightenment, rather than in response to scientific evidence.” According to Bosselmann and Taylor in their essay about the Significance of the Earth Charter in International Law, The Earth Charter “challenges the anthropocentric idea of justice”. The Earth Charter was initiated by Maurice Strong and Mikhail Gorbachev , and was adopted by the Australian government in 2005. Anthropocentrism, the traditional basis of NSW laws (32), has now been overturned and replaced by a Gaia driven (39, 40) UN Agenda 21 ecocentric world view where the environment, and animals, reign supreme and man’s place in the world is secondary (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38). This philosophy now forms the basis of new environmental laws and the flourishing NSW environmental legal system (25, 26 ). As has been noted by Pain (25, 26): “environmental legislation has moved away from being ‘anthropocentric-and-development orientated’ towards legislation that is ‘more environment-centred’.” In regard to an ecocentric view of property rights, Peter Burdon notes in his thesis, Earth jurisprudence: private property and earth community: “The central argument of this thesis is that the institution of private property reflects an anthropocentric worldview and is contributing to the current environmental crisis. ……It advocates a paradigm shift in law from anthropocentrism to the concept of Earth community. The thesis first provides an example laws anthropocentrism by exploring the legal philosophical concept of private property. ….It concludes that the dominant rights-based theory of private property is anthropocentric and facilitates environmental harm. The second component of the thesis explores contemporary scientific evidence supporting the ecocentric concept of Earth community. This concept argues that human beings are deeply connected and dependent on nature. It also describes the Earth as a community of subjects and not a collection of objects. Assuming that the social sphere is an important source for law, this thesis considers how a paradigm shift from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism can influence the development of legal concepts. To catalyse this shift, it considers the ‘new story’ proposed by cultural historian and theologian Thomas Berry. This story describes contemporary scientific insights such as interconnectedness in a narrative form Third, the thesis uses the alternative paradigm of Earth community to articulate an emerging legal philosophy called Earth Jurisprudence. It describes Earth Jurisprudence as a theory of natural law and advocates for the recognition of two kinds of law, organised in a hierarchical relationship. At the apex is the Great Law, which represents the principle of Earth community. Beneath the Great Law is Human Law, which represents rules articulated by human authorities, which are consistent with the Great Law and enacted for the common good of the comprehensive Earth Community. In regard to the interrelationship between these two legal categories, two points are crucial. Human Law derives its legal quality from the Great Law and any law in contravention of this standard is considered a corruption of law and not morally binding on a population. Finally, the thesis constructs an alternative concept of private property based on the philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence. It describes private property as a relationship between members of the Earth community, through tangible or intangible items. To be consistent with the philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence, the concept of private property must recognise human social relationships, include nonreciprocal duties and obligations; and respond to the ‘thing’ which is the subject matter of a property relationship. A theory of private property that overlooks any of these considerations is defective and deserves to be labelled such.” Supporters of this world view, who believe property rights should be transferred from humans to plants and the environment, are insidiously rewriting our laws to support their bizarre world view. According to Justice Preston, Chief Judge of the NSW Land & Environment Court, Earth should be run like a spaceship: “An increasing recognition of the first law of ecology – that everything is connected to everything else27 – and that the Earth’s ecosystem is, in a sense, a spaceship,28 may necessitate more sweeping positive obligations on landowners. Sax argues that ‘property owners must bear affirmative obligations to use their property in the service of habitable planet’. Sax recommends that: ‘We increasingly will have to employ land and other natural resources to maintain and restore the natural functioning of natural systems. More forest land will have to be left as forest, both to play a role in climate and as habitat. More water will have to be left instream to maintain marine ecosystems. More coastal wetland will have to be left as zones of biological productivity. We already recognise that there is no right to use air and water as waste sinks, and no right to contaminate the underground with toxic residue. In short there will be – there is being – imposed a servitude on our resources, a first call on them to play a role in maintaining a habitable and congenial planet … We shall have to move that way, for only when the demands of the abovementioned public servitude of habitability has been met will resources be available for private benefits. To fulfil the demands of that servitude, each owner will have to bear an affirmative responsibility, to act as a trustee insofar as the fate of the earth is entrusted to him. Each inhabitant will effectively have a right in all such property sufficient to ensure servitude is enforced. Every opportunity for private gain will have to yield to the exigencies of a life-sustaining planet.’ Sax’s call for private gain to yield to the existences of a life-sustaining planet is encapsulated in the concept of ecologically sustainable development.” Justice Preston summarises ecocentrism thus: “Ecocentrism involves taking a nature-centred rather than a human-centred approach, where the earth is valued not as a commodity belonging to us but a community to which we belong. Development of an earth jurisprudence requires the internalisation of ecocentrism in environmental law. It involves listening to the earth and adapting law to ecology. It values and gives voice to the environment. This paper surveys some ways in which environmental law can embrace ecocentrism” The NSW government has integrated Agenda 21 and Agenda 21 related biocentric/ecocentric programs into its environmental/sustainability policies, its planning policies, its local government policies, and its education policies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23). The decision of the NSW government not to utilise a democratic locally designed sustainability program, but rather to import an ecocentric sustainability policy which has been designed by a foreign agency (UN), and is monitored and supervised by a foreign agency (UN), poses a fundamental and ongoing threat to the sovereignty and democracy of NSW and all of its residents. Indeed, so entrenched has Agenda 21 become that it has even infiltrated the legal system of NSW to the extent the ecocentric principles of this imported undemocratic sustainability program are frequently used to pass judgement upon, and penalise, NSW citizens (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31,43 ,44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50). Otherwise law abiding citizens are being dragged into court as politicians and lawyers seek to enforce their ecocentric philosophy upon ordinary people. How is this possible? How can any democratic NSW government permit an undemocratic foreign agency such as the UN to attack the human rights, particularly property rights, of NSW residents by legislating to enforce the ecocentric dictates of the UN? This new environment centred ecocentric philosophy or environmental ethics (41, 42 ) has led to an explosion in both the complexity and number of new environmental laws (25 ) and these laws are increasingly being undemocratically used by State and local government to override and erode property rights of NSW landholders (50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85). According to David Farrier and Paul Stein in the Environmental Law Handbook: Planning and Land Use in NSW: “The perspective presented by the law has been quite clearly human-centred, or anthropocentric. Instead of looking at the natural environment as having value in its own right, we have looked at it from the point of view of humans. Before a 1997 amendment to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, ‘environment’ was defined in it as including ‘all aspects of the surroundings of man whether affecting him as an individual or in his social groupings’ (s.4(1)). The problem with the human-centred approach to the natural environment is that it leads to an irresistible temptation to view it simply as a resource to be used for our benefit. Decisions are made on the basis of what is good for people rather than what is good for the natural environment. The natural environment becomes a means to an end rather than an end in itself. Perhaps this is inevitable, given that it is human beings who make the law and the decisions. No matter how motivated the human decision-maker is to give some kind of equal status to the integrity of the natural environment, we cannot avoid the fact that a human interpretation of the needs of the natural world will prevail. Recently, there have been attempts to modify the anthropocentric focus of environmental law. There is a changing consciousness about the interconnectedness of all living species and systems, encapsulated in a concern for the conservation of biological diversity. This has given rise to a new definition of ‘environment’ in the Protection of the Environment Administration Act (see page 4), and the enactment of legislation such as the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, which seeks to protect ecological communities and the critical habitat of threatened species (see chapter 11). This change in emphasis, however, can also be justified in terms of the future interests of humanity. For example, restrictions on certain developments can be justified because of the need to preserve plants whose pharmacological properties have not yet been identified. And there are ecological processes, many of them still poorly understood, that provide ecosystem services such as water purification and soil fertilisation. Humans ultimately depend on, and benefit from, these processes.” The decline of anthropocentrism and the rise of modern environmentalism is creating a future where basic human rights, including the right to private property, will be challenged on environmental grounds. Not only the rights of plants and ecosystems, but also the rights of future generations will be utilised to justify removal of the human rights of the present generation. We can therefore look forward to a future where fundamental human rights will be considered secondary to the rights of the “environment” and persons who do not exist. According to Justice McClellan: “It cannot be assumed that environmental law and the role of the Land and Environment Court will be free of controversy in the future. Some of the issues which the Court must deal with raise questions of fundamental human rights. All of them affect the lives of some or a group of people in our community. Many will involve very substantial money profits or losses to individuals or corporations. The court must contribute to the task of balancing the immediate needs of the present generation with the trust we hold for those who will come after us.” Increasingly, the rights of private land owners are being eroded under the guise of environmental concerns, the UN biodiversity programme and Agenda 21, and the principles of distributive justice and intergenerational justice. According to Gerry Bates at the Conference on Rural Land Use Change: “Government has progressively moved to wrest management of natural resources away from private control and unlimited public access. It is common now for water, fish and biodiversity to be vested in and controlled by the Crown*. Legislation then creates government authorities charged with the task of managing these resources, and implementing and enforcing the statutory scheme. Environmental restrictions imposed by legislation, of course, cut across common law rights; but centuries of legal and cultural tradition that support the pre-eminence of the rights of private landowners cannot be easily overcome; and such rights still have a considerable influence on the development of environmental policy and therefore of environmental law. The governmental approach to environmental management and protection has had to be applied in the context of a social system, supported by the common law, that hitherto placed few restrictions on the exploitation of natural resources by private landowners.” *Emphasis added Agenda 21, which all levels of government continue to enthusiastically embrace, is an undemocratic biocentric/ecocentric United Nations designed and monitored program (58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64), which is being banned overseas because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature and the threat it poses to basic human rights, including property rights (65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77). It is absolutely astonishing and completely unacceptable that foreign designed and monitored biocentric/ecocentric programs such as Agenda 21 have been actively and pervasively embedded into NSW planning and legislation while residents have NEVER been given a democratic choice. APPENDIX D Response to Correspondence from the Victorian Minister for Local Government – Jeanette Powell (Please note: My response to the Minister also included the following 3 back up documents not included here: The Australian Government Agenda for the 21st Century – The Invasion of Australia by the United Nations; Local Environmental Plans & the Covert UN Agenda 21 Takeover: Councils, Property Rights & Democracy, What you Should Know) Vivien Leizer|Reception Office of the Hon Jeanette Powell MP Minister for Local Government |Aboriginal Affairs 17/8 Nicholson Street, East Melbourne VIC 3002 Phone(03) 9637 8938 | Fax(03) 9637 8920 Email vivien.e.leizer@dse.vic.gov.au Dear Vivien, Thank you for your forwarding the response on behalf of the Minister. I refer the following extremely serious matters to the Minister’s urgent attention. I refer to the following part of the Minister’s response. In spite of this claim, according to the voluminous evidence below and enclosed, your government has clearly been implementing, and permitting to be implemented, the Agenda 21 program for near 20 years, yet you have never declared it as policy. Why? Are you saying you have now banned Agenda 21 from Victoria and you now utilise a local sustainability program with no UN connections? Will you be officially declaring it as policy at the next election or do you prefer to continue implementing it without declaring it as policy? Why? Please refer me to relevant documentation. And do you now reject the Commonwealth Governments Local Agenda 21 guide? And have you now prevented Victorian Councils from importing foreign UN sustainability programs such as Agenda 21? Could you please supply documentation? Will you be taking legal action against the Municipal Association and Victorian councils (below) for implementing Agenda 21 when you have not approved it? Or will you be deregistering them? Let’s cut to the chase here. Unless you can supply current documentation proving you have outlawed or banned UN Agenda 21 and other imported sustainability programs from Victoria, then to suggest your government is not part of the implementation of this program is at best extremely misleading, and at worst, a deliberate untruth designed to deliberately deceive the public. Which is it? Why is it apparently so important to you NOT to openly declare this program as policy? Or will you immediately ban it and all such imported programs? Regards Graham Williamson http://www.regional.org.au/au/soc/2002/4/lyon.htm The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has established a statewide partnership of councils involved in ecological sustainable development (ESD) /Triple Bottom Line/Local Agenda 21(LA21) initiatives. A successful first meeting of 17 member councils from around the State was held on 15th August 2001 to establish the MAV Victorian Local Sustainability Partnership…….In Victoria over the past ten years, about 15–20 local governments have embarked on local processes to engage with their communities and develop a strategic plan to address sustainability. Much of the work of leading councils in this area has developed on the back of the Local Conservation Strategy (LCS) program of the Cain and Kirner Labour governments of the early 90s. During the 6 years of the Kennett government there was no explicit support or acknowledgment of Local Agenda 21 or environment planning initiatives at the local government level. Despite this lack of State support, leading Victorian local governments have developed innovative approaches to sustainability. However, more recently at a State level there has been an explicit focus on ‘sustainability’ with a number of approaches. The Brack’s Labour government elected almost three years ago had an election platform to create a ‘Commissioner for ESD’ and the government has undertaken extensive consultation on the proposed Commissioner. A final government response to these consultations is still being developed. Additionally the Brack’s government has highlighted the importance of triple bottom line (TBL) approaches and sustainability in the ‘Growing Victoria Together’2 policy statement. The still to be released Metro Strategy is to be a major statement by Government on the future of Melbourne, particularly focusing on the growth corridors of outer Melbourne, the urban–rural interface issues and the issues of integrated planning and transport across greater Melbourne. While these major initiatives have still to be launched, many of the programs now being developed by different Victorian government agencies to address sustainability still do not explicitly acknowledge and provide support of local government approaches to ESD such as Local Agenda 21. In fact, a number of recent initiatives could be argued to duplicate or cut across municipal approaches, and in a sense ‘re-invent’ much of the successful local sustainability work already underway through local government. The Liveable Neighbourhood approach attempts to develop a community driven local approach to environmental management, providing a planning tool that is more responsive to community and to arguments for greater local autonomy and control of planning and environment issues.3 Like Local Agenda 21, the NEIP model seeks to tackle sustainability at the local level by creating a form of local community involvement. However, as with the Victorian residential planning system where a Minister or VCAT (administrative tribunal) can override a local planning decision, the EPA is the final approver and arbiter of NEIPs. While the work in developing an NEIP is undertaken by a local council (or other ‘protection agency’) and though a community process, the plan is still at the end of the day sanctioned or ‘approved’ by the State though the EPA. http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/handle/10072/40787/73366_1.pdf?sequence=1 Examples of governments’ reluctance to devolve power and control can be found in attempts to implement the Agenda 21 at the local level. For instance, as part of the sustainability discourse, local governments were ascribed the role of promoting better public dialogue to deal with complex environmental issues (Khakee, 2001). At the centre of that rhetoric was the establishment of the Agenda 21 at the local level (Bulkeley, 2000). Khakee (2001) states that the public dialogue advocated with Agenda 21 was a community-wide learning process which could assist in the definition of objectives as well as install institutional capital that would enable the achievement of sustainability. However, a study about the implementation of the Agenda 21 in the Victorian context (Mercer & Jotkowits, 2000) suggests that the fact that local governments’ role changed from being one which governs to a more administrative entity did not result in the devolution of power and control; instead, it contributed to impede the implementation of programmes with a more structural changing character such as the one proposed by the Agenda 21. Governments, particularly at the local scale, appear to prefer to embrace less contentious initiatives such as the ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection Campaign (CCPC) (Bulkeley, 2000). While this campaign has established as one of its objectives the strengthening of local communities, its key outcomes are heavily associated with tangible results. These include targets and timetables and related economic benefits rather than more comprehensive measures which would demand better public engagement (Lindseth, 2004). Thus when faced with the challenge of implementing major structural changes and policies similar to the ones advocated by the Agenda 21, local authorities tend to buy time by implementing easier policies (Whittaker, 1997). Additionally, they also tend to do business-as-usual and repack existing programmes under new banners as observed in the case of adoption of the CCPC by American cities (Betsill, 2000). https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/common/public/documents/8cbc79e88419896- EnvironmentManagementStrategy2006-2011.pdf Council recognised the importance of sound environmental management in the late 1990’s when it adopted its first Environmental Management Strategy- Local Agenda 21 in February 1999……. In 1992 a meeting of the World Commission on Environment and Development met in Rio de Janeiro at the Earth Summit. A strategy called Agenda 21 was adopted by over 100 countries to encourage more sustainable development. A Local Agenda 21 is a strategy prepared by government and all sections of the community to establish a vision and to integrate programs for change. The City’s new Environment Management Strategy is Council’s Local Agenda 21 and represents a commitment to addressing global issues at the local level. http://www.nre.vic.gov.au/melbourne2030online/content/policies_initiatives/07h_policy78.html Melbourne 2030 – Local sustainability initiatives in Victoria Local Agenda 21 This is based on the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, which aimed to establish a global agenda for social, economic and environmental sustainability. Australia joined with 177 other member nations to adopt Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and subsequently local authorities were encouraged to prepare a ‘Local Agenda 21’ with their communities. Since then, some 100 local governments throughout Australia have made a commitment to Local Agenda 21 or ecologically sustainable development through municipal plans and strategies. By 2001, at least 20 local councils in Victoria were working towards implementing Local Agenda 21 action plans to help their communities become involved in sustainable development. http://www.gswreportcard.org/_opes/publications/IntegratingRegionalSustainabilityProgram.pdf Local governments across Australia have recognised an integrative role in community sustainability and thus traditionally address local sustainability through the Local Agenda 21 model. Local Agenda 21 encourages all local authorities to enter into dialogue with their communities on developing an action plan for sustainability that seeks to integrate social, ecological and economic sustainability. This approach was reendorsed in 2002 by local government representatives at the Johannesburg World Summit. The next step for those attempting to implement such action plans is to be able to demonstrate that such plans and strategies are making a difference. http://www.markbirrell.com/Vital.htm (Speech on the Agenda 21 infrastructure initiatives for our Capital City – outlining progress in implementing the Liberal/National policy on Melbourne first announced by Mark Birrell on 16th. August, 1991) In this address I wish to outline the aims and objectives of the Coalition Government’s agenda for our capital city. It is important for me first of all to put on record my thanks to the Institute for the work that it has done to assist us in progressing elements of the “Agenda 21″ program. http://www.la.org.au/opinion/011010/back-dark-ages-melbourne%E2%80%99s-streets Has anyone noticed that the streets around Melbourne aren’t as bright as they used to be?…….. That’s because various local councils have been rolling out “energy-efficient” street lights, which cost the tax-payer a fortune, while making our streets significantly darker and hence less safe……It’s all being done under a United Nations treaty, signed and ratified by Australia in the early 1990s, known as Agenda 21, which is a manifesto for sending humanity back to the pre-industrial era, a time when you had to wash your clothes in the local river and the average life expectancy was little more than 30. The Municipal Association of Victoria states on its website: “Local government has a key role to play in promoting environmental sustainability and taking action that sees the concept incorporated into everyday life. Steps toward this are part of the Local Agenda 21 model and the MAV is helping to push the sustainability agenda further through various council networks, showcase forums and other initiatives.” http://www.ccmaknowledgebase.vic.gov.au/resources/COGG.pdf A Local Agenda 21 is an environment strategy prepared by government and all sections of the community to establish a vision and to integrate programs for change. This EMS is therefore Council’s Local Agenda 21 and represents a commitment to addressing global issues at the local level…. The importance of ESD was highlighted in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, where agreements aimed at providing a broad framework for global sustainable development such as Agenda 21, to which Australia is a signatory, were signed. The emphasis of Agenda 21 is the achievement of the objectives of ESD at the global scale through action at the local level, which is encapsulated in the statement `think globally, act locally’. A copy of Chapter 28 from the Agenda 21 Charter is attached as Appendix One. In the Australian context, the concept of sustainable development has been incorporated into National policy documents, such as the 1992 Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment and the 1995 CommonwealthLocal Government Accord on the Environment. The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is a party to these, which place responsibilities on all local Councils to prepare strategies and policies that will foster sound environmental management and sustainable development. ALGA is also a signatory to `The Newcastle Declaration’, which was endorsed at the International Conference – Pathways to Sustainability in June 1997. A copy of this is attached as Appendix Two… This EMS is the City of Greater Geelong’s response to acting locally and will be Geelong’s Local Agenda 21 Action Plan. It is an action-oriented document outlining a range of actions that can be undertaken within the municipality to achieve ecologically sustainable development. Background – the undemocratic invasion of Australia by the United Nations Agenda 21 Graham Williamson Agenda 21 is an undemocratic United Nations designed and monitored program (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) which is being banned overseas because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature and the threat it poses to basic human rights, including property rights (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19). It is absolutely disgraceful that such anti-democratic sovereignty undermining foreign designed and monitored programs such as Agenda 21 have been implemented by all three levels of government throughout Australia for 20 years. Further, during this 20 year implementation, both major political parties have consistently decided it best to exclude Agenda 21 from their official policies to prevent voters from having a democratic choice. The Australian government has paved the way for the undemocratic infiltration of Agenda 21 in Australia by the support of the United Nations Earth Summit by the Howard government followed by ratification by the Keating government and implementation by successive governments (5, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 51 ). No doubt because of the undemocratic regressive nature of Agenda 21, various experts and government officials often prefer to mislead the public by avoiding the term “Agenda 21” and using instead terms such as (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45) “sustainability”, “smart growth”, “growth management” or “local environmental plans”. Deliberate deception of the public it seems, is fundamental to the success of the program (45): “Agenda 21 is being implemented in the U.S. under various names to deceive the unsuspecting public as to the source and real purpose of the program. However identifying the programs is relatively easy. All you have t