Best Power Washer: Finding The Right Pressure Washer For You

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The post Best Power Washer: Finding The Right Pressure Washer For You is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Stubborn oil slick on the driveway? Or maybe the birds congregating around the feeder have made a mess of your deck? You need a good cleaning solution, and you’ll want …

Read moreBest Power Washer: Finding The Right Pressure Washer For You

The post Best Power Washer: Finding The Right Pressure Washer For You is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Summer Kitchen In A Suitcase?

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During last year’s Home Grown Food Summit, the president of SUN OVENS International, Paul Munsen, very kindly donated not one, but two SUN OVENS for us to give away as prizes.

But it was a bit crazy: Nikki, who manages all of our incoming e-mail, was bombarded with inquiries about this particular prize.

Easy outdoor kitchen: cook with the sun using a sun oven!

(And about the Survival Still . . . but I’ll come back to that in another post.)

Anyway, people were asking Nikki so many questions about how the SUN OVEN works, that I contacted Paul and asked him to ship me one so I could create my own video review of it!

You can watch me unbox a SUN OVEN and cook with it for the first time here:

Once I tried it, I could immediately appreciate why SUN OVENS have been on the market for more than 30 years now.

This is a quality product.

And in the middle of a Texas summer, I gotta tell you, I really appreciate being able to cook outdoors with it.

Easy outdoor kitchen: cook with the sun using a sun oven!
Easy outdoor kitchen: cook with the sun using a sun oven!

If you’re interested in learning more about the SUN OVEN and how it can benefit your family, Paul will be hosting a really great workshop for our TGN Community next week:

Review of the Sun Oven

Spring Into Summer: Harness the Sun to Save Money & Live Naturally

Thursday, June 21, 2018

6:00 p.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. MDT / 8:00 p.m. CST / 9:00 p.m. EST

A 60-minute online class with live Q&A

FREE TO ATTEND . . . but you must register here:

https://www.sunoven.com/grow-network-registration

Hope you can make it!

Easy outdoor kitchen: cook with the sun using a sun oven!

P.S. Don’t forget . . . . Paul has spoken at the last two Home Grown Food Summits, so if you’d like to geek out and prepare some questions IN ADVANCE for him, you can always rewatch the presentations if you purchased lifetime access to these events (Lifetime access is no longer available, but if you already own them, you can rewatch them!):

  1. “Harnessing Solar Energy on the Homestead” was his presentation at the 2017 Home Grown Food Summit.
  2. And “Cooking With the Power of the Sun” was his presentation at the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit.

P.P.S. You won’t want to miss this webinar. Paul has promised to cover topics that will include how to:

  • Use a SUN OVEN in ways that go beyond just cooking, like pasteurizing water, dehydrating, and sterilizing potting soil.
  • Bake, boil, steam, and roast complete meals (that’ll never burn!).
  • Naturally dehydrate fruits and vegetables, or make jerky.
  • Reduce your utility bills (and keep your kitchen cooler!) while enjoying baked roasts and breads all summer long.
  • Naturally kill bug infestations in grains or dried foods.

And so much more.

Again, you can register for this FREE class here: https://www.sunoven.com/grow-network-registration

Plus, you’ll see on the registration page that Paul is giving everyone who registers a FREE COPY of his e-Book “Emerging from the Emergency,” a 120-page disaster preparedness guide that helps you plan to survive any tragedy or disaster.

So make sure you download a copy of that, too!

(This review of the SUN OVEN was originally published on July 17, 2017—but the 2018 workshop really is happening next week! 🙂

 

The post Summer Kitchen In A Suitcase? appeared first on The Grow Network.

Best Food Dehydrator: Picking The Right One For Your Needs

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The post Best Food Dehydrator: Picking The Right One For Your Needs is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

I remember my delight when I found a roadside fruit stand that was just overloaded with fresh, rich peaches. All of them were perfectly ripe and ready to eat right now. But peaches spoil quickly, and that’s why you need the best food dehydrator you can get. We all love fruit and vegetables in season!  … Read more

The post Best Food Dehydrator: Picking The Right One For Your Needs is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Prism Ceramic Science 315w Light Kit Review

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The post Prism Ceramic Science 315w Light Kit Review is by Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Today, we’re taking a look at a complete lighting kit from my friends over at GrowersHouse. I’ve talked about ceramic metal halide lights in-depth before, but realize that they might be a bit expensive for most growers to get started with. On top of that, the form factor of the bulbs isn’t friendly for those … Read more

The post Prism Ceramic Science 315w Light Kit Review is by Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Prism Ceramic Science 315w CMH Kit Review

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The post Prism Ceramic Science 315w CMH Kit Review is by Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Today, we’re taking a look at a complete lighting kit from my friends over at GrowersHouse. I’ve talked about ceramic metal halide lights in-depth before, but realize that they might be a bit expensive for most growers to get started with. On top of that, the form factor of the bulbs isn’t friendly for those … Read more

The post Prism Ceramic Science 315w CMH Kit Review is by Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

The Best TSA-Approved Multi-Tools For Survival Or Self-Defense

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Traveling can be fun, but going through the Transportation Security Administrations checkpoints can leave you feeling exploited and defenseless.  The TSA’s rules are constantly changing, and it can be difficult to know what you are allowed to have on a plane.  Because of this, we’ve broken down the best survival and self-defense tools TSA will allow in this handy guide.

All of the tools shown below are 100% TSA approved, meaning they will allow you to carry them in your carry-on bag on a flight without hassle. Unless things change again. (I had half plastic, half metal baby fingernail clippers seized from me once.)

Just in case the TSA gets overzealous, you can prevent your multitool from being stolen from you. One travel hack that works for some is to open up all the tools and place it in the change tray. If that doesn’t do the trick, another quick tip is to pack an envelope with pre-paid postage. That way, if you run into any problems, you can avoid confiscation by mailing it home or to a friend instead.

*All images courtesy of Amazon

1. Gerber Shard Keychain Tool

Backed by a titanium nitride coating to help prevent corrosion, this shard keychain includes a wire stripper, bottle opener, lanyard hole and more. It also comes with flat and Phillips head screwdrivers. It’s small and easy to carry. The Shard, made with a unique keyhole, can easily attach to a split ring or key ring, which lets you keep the multi-tool handy at all times.

Size: 3.1 x 1.3 x 0.6 inches and weighs .0.32 oz., with lightweight easy to grab-and-go functionality you should imagine from a great keychain multi-tool.

The best news is that this little tool won’t break the bank either.  You grab this one for $6.95 on Amazon.

2. Gerber Dime Multi-Tool Travel, Bladeless

This handy multi-tool includes needle nose pliers, wire cutters, scissors, a zipper hook, small and medium flat screwdrivers, tweezers, a bottle opener and much, much more. Built by Gerber again, it’s definitely one heck of a quality carry-on tool. This tool is bladeless for travel-friendly use, features a butterfly open design, with comfortable ergonomic handles, stainless steel construction, and a convenient keychain ring.

Size: 0.7 x 5.5 x 6 inches

This handy tool will cost you $14.95 on Amazon.

3. TREAD Wearable Tool

Made in the United States, this multitool is “ready for anything. With the functionality of a Leatherman, all in one stylish package, The Tread’s modular design is fully customizable to fit your needs and your wrist. The Tread is fully adjustable to fit your wrist. Simply add or remove links in quarter-inch and half-inch increments to fit.  It also has a variety of box wrenches, hex drives, flat and Phillips screwdrivers, oxygen tank wrench, carbide glass breaker, sim card pick, cutting hook, socket drive adapter, and bottle opener. This one is meant to be worn everywhere, not just on the airplane. 

Size: 3.9 x 5.9 x 9.4 inches

This one will set you back a bit coming in at $174.95 on Amazon.  However, it comes with a 25-year limited warranty.

4. Piranha 2 Multi-Purpose Pocket Tool

The Piranha 2 multi-purpose pocket tool features  7 tools, which include a scraper, bottle opener, 1/4″ hex bit driver, medium screwdriver, open wrench (English), box wrench (Metric), and box opener.

Size: 4.9 x 2 x 1.1 inches

This one is not as pricey as the wearable tool.  Amazon has it listed for $14.99.

5. Leatherman Style PS Multi-Tool

The Style PS is the ultimate pocket-sized multitool. Put it in your pocket, clip it on your bag, and even take it when you travel right in your carry on bag. It’s lightweight and compact size makes it easy to take with you anywhere. The Style PS features spring-action needlenose and regular pliers, spring-action wire cutters and scissors, flat and Phillips screwdriver, tweezers, nail file, and combination carabiner and bottle opener. Style PS also only requires one hand to open and use all the tools.

Size: 3.1 x 2 x 1.3 inches

The Style PS is selling for $29.95 on Amazon

6. NiteIze DooHicKey

This keychain multitool is inexpensive and can tighten bolts and screws or open a bottle. It features a box Cutter, a bottle opener, wrench (.25”, .3125”, and .375”), ruler (inches and centimeters), carabiner, and flathead screwdriver.

Size: 2.6” x .7” x .1”

You can snag one of these on Amazon for only $3.98!

7. Zootility Tools Wildcard

This folding credit card knife is TSA-approved. Made entirely of heat treated stainless steel, it features a replaceable blade, built-in screwdrivers, a pry-bar, and a bottle opener.  Since it’s the size of credit card, it also easily slides into your wallet.  Zootility WildCard™  knife is TSA compliant, however, if you get in a confiscation situation, you can just surrender the blade, and keep the handle, which features built-in screwdrivers, a pry-bar, and bottle opener, making it the ultimate tool for everyday carry and replace the blade later. 

Size: 2.2 x 3.2 x 0.1 inches

This multi-tool is available on Amazon for $35.00

*All Amazon prices are current to when this article was written and may change after publication.

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Best Hummingbird Feeder: Enticing Hummingbirds To Stay In Your Garden

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The post Best Hummingbird Feeder: Enticing Hummingbirds To Stay In Your Garden is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Hummingbirds are wonderful garden-dwellers. Not only are they adorably cute with their super-fast blur of wings and tiny bodies, but they can be great pollinators. Often, we want to encourage them to stay by buying the best hummingbird feeder we can find and providing extra food. But what really works to draw hummingbirds? Do you … Read more

The post Best Hummingbird Feeder: Enticing Hummingbirds To Stay In Your Garden is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Heated Bird Bath: Give Wildlife Access To Water All Winter Long

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The post Heated Bird Bath: Give Wildlife Access To Water All Winter Long is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

It’s never too early to think about upcoming needs, and for many of us, a heated bird bath is on that list. Some are stylish and have tons of visual appeal. Others are a bit more sedate and merely do exactly as advertised: they keep the water from freezing. Let’s explore all of the important … Read more

The post Heated Bird Bath: Give Wildlife Access To Water All Winter Long is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

55 Gallon Drum Drinking Water Barrels For Emergency Storage

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water barrels

Storing drinking water is one of the most responsible elements of preparing for a potential disaster. Make sure your family has enough water to survive by choosing 55-gallon water barrels for your storage. Read on to learn what to look for in these products. Clean drinking water is readily available for almost everyone in the continental […]

The post 55 Gallon Drum Drinking Water Barrels For Emergency Storage appeared first on PreparednessMama.

Best Dandelion Killer: Destroying Weeds Quickly And Painlessly

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The post Best Dandelion Killer: Destroying Weeds Quickly And Painlessly is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Dandelions may be delightful when they’re no more than pretty yellow flowers, but once the flowers mature, the seeds fly everywhere. We all get them on occasion, but eventually you need to find the best dandelion killer to take care of the job. Determining what that is, though, is a bit more complex. Those of … Read more

The post Best Dandelion Killer: Destroying Weeds Quickly And Painlessly is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Roach Killer: The Complete Guide To Eliminating Cockroaches

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The post Best Roach Killer: The Complete Guide To Eliminating Cockroaches is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

What is the best roach killer on the market? We’re going to take on that question today, and I know it’s a difficult one! Nobody wants to discover cockroaches have infested their home. They’re everywhere in the urban sprawl. Garages, pantries, cupboards, behind kitchen equipment… nowhere is safe. And they’re disgusting. Whether you use the … Read more

The post Best Roach Killer: The Complete Guide To Eliminating Cockroaches is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Prep of the Month: The Survival Kit That Fits Anywhere! (GIVEAWAY)

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Over the years, I’ve purchased different survival kits and most of them were made with cheap items that wouldn’t last through the duration of an emergency. In fact, one kit I purchased had a “survival knife” that was so dull it wouldn’t cut through a sheet of paper. What am I supposed to do with this is an emergency?

I know that many of you have made this prepper mistake.

In an emergency, when you are only left with your tools to survive, you want them to be dependable.

With that in mind, the folks over at Global Tactical Gear created a survival kit only using “high-quality, reliable gear for emergency preparedness and survival situations,” and I have to say I’m impressed.

Everything you need in an emergency

When I opened the package I was immediately pleased with the water-resistant case the kit came in and the attention to detail in every item. All items in the kit are good quality and can serve multiple purposes in an emergency. For example, the survival pen not only writes, but can also be used to break glass if you need to escape from a car, and the saber card has a can opener, bottle opener, 4 and 2-position wrench, butterfly, and direction ancillary wrench, screwdriver, knife edge, saw blade, and ruler. And that’s just one item!

As well, I love the size of this kit. It is small enough to fit in a glove compartment of a vehicle, a bug out bag or even in a medium to large size purse.

Here’s what is inside:

  • 3.5″ Survival Knife with Seat Belt Cutter
  • Large Ferro Flint & Steel Fire Starter
  • Tactical Pen
  • Emergency Thermal Blanket
  • 350 Lumen Flashlight (all metal)
  • Compass
  • Multi-Function Saber Card
  • Aluminum Alloy Whistle with 120db
  • Shockproof and Water-Resistant Case
  • How-To User Guide eBook
  • “10 Tips for Wilderness Survival” eBook

If this kit isn’t enough, they also include a FREE survival eBook that you can download. Hands down, this is the best survival kit I have seen and will be purchasing another for my vehicle. Another plus is the regular price is $27.99 – which is very affordable!

The only suggestion I would make to this kit would be to add some iodine tablets for water purification and some paracord but this could easily be added to the kit after purchasing.

Do you want one of these amazing survival kits?

Global Tactical Gear are giving 2 of these multipurpose survival kits away to a couple of lucky Ready Nutrition readers.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Go to your Twitter page, and like and follow @TessPennington
  2. RT & Send
  3. Tag a Friend

It’s that simple! We’re going to let this giveaway run for the month of May to give you all plenty of time to enter and will choose two winners on May 31st!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find out more about Global Tactical Gear and be sure to like and follow them!

Website

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

Whether you are looking for a lightweight preparedness kit for the car, your family preparedness supplies, or your bug out bag that will have multipurpose tools to use in an emergency, this would be the kit I would recommend. As well, it would make a great gift for your favorite prepper.

 

Full Disclosure: I received the Global Tactical Gear Survival Kit with Knife as a product to review, but liked it so much that I will be purchasing one for each of my family’s bug out bags. 

 

 

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Best Mouse Trap: The Most Effective Ones Available Right Now

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The post Best Mouse Trap: The Most Effective Ones Available Right Now is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Do you have a mouse in your house? Many of us do. But excepting the ones that are famous and found at theme parks, or the cute ones that outsmart cartoon cats, nobody wants these little rodentiae to live with them. That’s when you search for the best mouse trap you can find. From humane … Read more

The post Best Mouse Trap: The Most Effective Ones Available Right Now is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Pruning Shears: Different Snips For Your Pruning Needs

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The post Best Pruning Shears: Different Snips For Your Pruning Needs is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Getting the best pruning shears is a necessity. Your pruning shears are one of your best tools as a gardener. How else do you get rid of excess growth or keep your plants trimmed to an appropriate size? But choosing the best pruning shears for your task can be a matter of personal preference, or … Read more

The post Best Pruning Shears: Different Snips For Your Pruning Needs is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

TGN Team Favorites: Hori-Hori Knife

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‘Tis the season—the gardening season, that is! Well, at least here in Texas, spring has officially sprung! As we’ve mentioned before, every member of The Grow Network team shares our Community’s values and produces some of our own food and medicine.

As we experiment, learn, and “grow” in gardening and homesteading wisdom,  we often come across some of the best gardening gems (besides our hands, of course!). The tool we’re featuring today is no exception: the hori-hori garden knife!

HORI-HORI GARDEN KNIFE

There are several brands that manufacture the hori-hori knife, and they all appear to be pretty comparable in quality and price.

KEY FEATURES

  • Double-edged blade—one side serrated, the other extra sharp
  • Embedded graded ruler
  • Replaces tools like trowels, weeds pullers, digging tools, bulb planters, and more! 
  • Ships with a premium leather sheath

Anthony Says: The hori-hori is my all-time favorite gardening tool. Pretty much anything from grafting fruit trees to starting spring seedlings, the hori-hori knife makes the job a little bit easier!

Marjory Says: I absolutely love the hori-hori gardening knife!  Stainless steel, planting depth measurements, tooth edges for cutting through roots (but also cuts irrigation, so be careful – ha, ha), full tang with three rivets in the handle so it doesn’t break under the typical abuse I tend to give tools. I just got one as a gift, and I love it! This is by far the most solid tool I have used!

Here are a few hori-hori knife options we found available on Amazon:

Hey, one more thing … Did you know Marjory does a Facebook Live every Thursday at 5:00 p.m. CST? A few weeks ago, Marjory did a Facebook Live where she announced some HUGE news and showed you the hori-hori knife she received as a gift. Check it out!

If you haven’t attended an airing of one of Marjory’s live videos, you totally should! You can interact with her during the live video by commenting and asking questions.

Again, you can catch these awesome live videos on the TGN Facebook page every Thursday at 5:00 p.m. CST. If you have a topic you want to hear her talk about, just let us know and we’ll do our best to fit it into the schedule!

Leave us a comment and let us know: What’s your favorite gardening tool, and why? 


TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter


The Grow Network is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for our team to earn fees for recommending our favorite products! We may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase an item after clicking one of our links. Thanks for supporting TGN!


 

The post TGN Team Favorites: Hori-Hori Knife appeared first on The Grow Network.

Flameless Cooking System

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Have you tried a flameless cooking system? Several years ago they were practically unheard of. Now they can be found at most sporting goods stores. It’s not surprising that this innovative gear is becoming more popular. Many emergency cooking systems are unsafe to use indoors because when fuel is burned […]

The post Flameless Cooking System appeared first on Preppers Survive.

Best String Trimmer: Finding The Right Weed Whacker For You

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The post Best String Trimmer: Finding The Right Weed Whacker For You is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

You’ve gotten the lawn mowed wherever the mower would fit. You’ve used your lawn edger to clean up along the sidewalk and driveway. But you still need to get around the garden beds, and then there’s a narrow path where the lawn mower just wouldn’t fit. Now you need the best string trimmer you can … Read more

The post Best String Trimmer: Finding The Right Weed Whacker For You is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Grass Shears: Easy Solutions For Your Edging Dilemma

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The post Best Grass Shears: Easy Solutions For Your Edging Dilemma is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Have you ever been using your string trimmer to trim your edging and nicked your prize peach tree? Found yourself in a position where you just didn’t have the right mower or trimmer to get into a tight spot? Then you need the best grass shears you can find, and you need them quickly. Thankfully, … Read more

The post Best Grass Shears: Easy Solutions For Your Edging Dilemma is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Gardening Shoes: Which Are The Best For You? (2018 Edition)

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The post Gardening Shoes: Which Are The Best For You? (2018 Edition) is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

When you’re working in the garden this spring, you’re going to want the highest quality gardening shoes you can find. After all, you’ll be spending long hours out there preparing for spring planting, dividing your perennials, and more. You’ll want comfortable shoes that can be easily cleaned off! Here’s my checklist of some of the … Read more

The post Gardening Shoes: Which Are The Best For You? (2018 Edition) is by Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

TGN Team Favorites: Chick Brooding Supplies

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If you have never brooded chicks before, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are quite a few supplies needed to get started the first time, and you are probably wondering where to start. There is a lot of knowledge required to successfully brood chicks..They need proper housing, light, temperature, ventilation, feed, water, bedding … and so much more! If you are looking for that information, this article is not for you. 😉

In past TGN team favorite articles, I surveyed the entire TGN team. In this article, I am going to focus on the best chick brooding supplies I have personally used and why I recommend them. Let’s just say … I’ve learned some lessons the hard way!

However, if you want a detailed article about the nitty-gritty how-to of brooding chicks, leave us a comment and let us know!


TGN Team Favorites: Chick Brooding Supplies

Chick Brooder

The number one thing you need is obviously a brooder. Like I mentioned above, this article is not going to be about how to build the perfect chick brooder. Is there even such a thing? There are a huge variety of chick brooders available and they all have their pros and cons. With that said, the best, most affordable brooder I have used is honestly so simple. A kiddie pool! No, seriously—a kiddie pool!

Cheap, Simple,, and Effective Chick Brooding Alternatives

Here are just a few reasons why I recommend a kiddie pool. Kiddie pools are cheap, light, and easily portable; they can be easily cleaned (literally hose them out); they are reusable; and you can secure the sides using fencing.

Below is a photograph of our first kiddie pool chick brooder. We’ve since improved upon some things. But, overall I have found this type of brooder to be a huge success!

Kiddie Pool Chicken Brooder


Bedding

The best bedding for your chicken brooder

My favorite type of bedding is flake pine shavings. I prefer the flake—as opposed to the fine—pine shavings because I feel like they create less dust and are easier to work with when changing out bedding. With that said, the downside to the flakes is that they take longer to break down in the compost than the fine shavings.


Heat Lamp vs. Heating Plate

I like both of these products for very different reasons. As shown above, we started out with the heat lamp and bulb. My favorite thing about this setup is the price! It’s very inexpensive and a great place to start. The con—and this is a big one—is that they can be dangerous and have started many fires.

Chicken Brooder Heat Lamp

On the other hand, the heating plate is much more expensive, but definitely a lot safer than the lamp. They are available in multiple sizes to suit your needs. In addition to being safer, they make it really easy for chicks to escape the heat if they are not needing as much as the others.

Chicken Brooder Heating Plate


Waterer

Chick Waterer

Oh, the chick waterer! This is a tough one. The first time I brooded chicks I got so stressed out because I was using the waterer above. The chicks kept kicking pine shavings into the water dish—the pine shavings would absorb all the water and the chicks would be left with sloppy pine shavings and no water! UGH! It had me so stressed out! Then I got wise … to the chicken nipple!

Chicken Nipples

Let me clarify. I totally recommend starting off with the mason jar chick waterer when the chicks first arrive home. It makes it easy for them to drink, and there isn’t much of a learning curve for them.

With that said, now I put both types of waterers in from the get-go. It’s relatively simple to make a waterer using the nipples shown above combined with a milk jug or mason jar. Doing a quick Google search will yield hundreds of results. The reason I recommend making your own is that you can reuse the nipples in the coop later on.

But, if DIY isn’t your thing, then try one of these simple fountain brooder bottle cap attachments. Simple and extremely effective!

chick brooder simple bottle cap nipple attachment


Feeder

The chick feeder. Oh boy, it has just as many problems as the waterer! The chicks love to scratch their food out and throw it all over the brooder! And that’s okaythat’s what chickens do. But, it really caused me a lot of stress the first time around. Therefore, I do not like to use any type of open trough feeder for this reason. It is vital to have a lid atop the feeder with a hole for the chicks to stick their little beaks in. This greatly reduces the waste!

Different types of chick feeders

I use both the mason jar chick feeder and the trough with sliding lid feeders shown above. I started off using the plastic products. But, I’ve grown to prefer the glass and galvanized steel products because they are more durable and easier to clean.

I use two feeders because, well … chicks are just mean. The need for the pecking order is instilled in them from day one and I always have a chick who tries to prevent the runt from eating. Having multiple feeders provides said chick a better opportunity for survival!


Chick Starter

Chick Starter Feed

You’ll obviously need food for your chicks and it does matter the type of feed you provide. It must be chick starter. It has the proper nutrition to support healthy growth in your babies. I prefer to feed Texas Natural Feeds to my flock, and the type of feed you choose is entirely up to you. Just know that you’ll need chick starter, pullet grower, and laying hen blends as they grow (which happens so fast!).

I like Texas Natural Feeds because they are non-soy, non-gmo, and non-medicated. Yes, I know. It’s not organic. I pick and choose my battles. I save heaps of money not paying for the organic label, and the feed comes from local farmers. To me, it’s a win-win! So, do your research on this one!


Chick Supplements

Chick Grit

Best Chick Grit

You’ll need to provide your chicks with some chick grit so they can digest their food. Like other birds, chickens have gizzards and need grit to digest their food. I prefer the DuMor brand grit because it’s inexpensive, granite-based, and insoluble.

There are also all kinds of electrolyte, vitamin, and probiotic supplements you can provide your babies to help them through the first couple of weeks. You can also make a DIY version of some of these products yourself.


Chick Toys

Try using parakeet toys to keep your baby chicks busy!

Your chicks will need something to do all day! I have found that it is best to keep the chicks busy so they don’t bully each other. I have had the most success with turning sticks into roosts, creating mazes with small cardboard boxes, and even using parakeet toys. All of these options work really well to provide healthy activities for chicks! You can get super creative with this, and it’s a lot of fun!


I hope this guide has helped you to feel confident in purchasing your chick brooding supplies and has maybe even shed some insight as to why some products work better than others. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave me a comment! Cheers _ Ruth Reyes-Loiacano (TGN Social Media Manager)


Please note that the Tractor Supply links above are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission if you should make a purchase after clicking one of the links. Thanks for supporting TGN! 


 

 

The post TGN Team Favorites: Chick Brooding Supplies appeared first on The Grow Network.

Best Work Gloves: Getting The Right Gloves For Your Job

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The post Best Work Gloves: Getting The Right Gloves For Your Job is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

No matter what kind of work you’re doing, you’re going to need work gloves. And of course, you want the best work gloves for your specific task. But it can be difficult to determine what kinds of gloves you need to get, because there’s thousands of variations out there depending on the job that needs … Read more

The post Best Work Gloves: Getting The Right Gloves For Your Job is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

TGN Team Favorites: Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts

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Gifting can be hard—am I right? Especially with the high-pressure, romantic holidays like Valentines Day! Not to worry, we’re here to help….

The TGN team thought it would be fun to look beyond the cliché of teddy bears and a dozen roses and really think outside of the chocolate box. We came up with a few unique Valentine’s Day gifts that keep on giving, all year long! 


Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts

What better way to show your Valentine how much you love them than with a thoughtful gift—that keeps on giving? Let’s take a closer look at some truly unique Valentine’s Day gift ideas.

Dry Farm Wines

Dry Farm Wine | http://dryfarmwines.com/thegrownetwork

Dry Farm Wines curates only the highest quality natural wines from small, organic family farms, which is quite the contrast to today’s commercialized and processed wines. Dry Farm Wines is just real wine like you’ve never tasted before!

These wines are not only organic, but also sugar free—making them perfect for the waistline! If you follow a paleo or keto lifestyle, then this is the wine for you. 

We don’t just love that these wines are organic and sugar freewe love the monthly (or bi-monthly) subscription. You can sign up for the Friends of the Farm Wine & Social Club and choose whether you want to receive your delivery monthly or every other month. And shipping is always free! 

Dry Farm Wines originate with natural farming and traditional winemaking practices, including:

  • Natural, organic or bio-dynamic viticulture/farming
  • Dry farming (no use of irrigation)
  • Old-growth vines, generally 35-100 years
  • Hand-harvested fruit from low yields
  • Minimal intervention in the vinification and aging
  • Wild native yeast in fermentation
  • No commercial yeast for flavor alteration
  • No or minimal filtering/fining
  • No or minimal use of new oak
  • No or minimal addition of sulfites
  • No chaptalization (adding sugar to the grape to aid fermentation)
  • No chemical additives for aroma, color, flavor, or texture enhancement

Sharon Says: “I love Dry Farm Wines because they taste fantastic, with deep, rich flavor profiles.  And they don’t wreck my blood sugar because they are certified ketogenic … meaning the have essentially no sugar content. I also feel really good about how they demonstrate environmental stewardship because they are farmed using old-world, sustainable farming techniques.  And, every batch is tested and certified to be free of any glyphosate, pesticides, herbicides, etc.  I LOVE Dry Farm Wines!”

Dry Farm Wines | http://dryfarmwines.com/thegrownetwork


Butcher Box

Butcher Box - Monthly Meat Delivery

Butcher Box provides monthly or bi-monthly delivery of thoughtfully sourced and ethically raised meat directly to your door! Grass-fed and -finished beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage-breed pork are humanely raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones, ever.

Here’s how it works: You simply choose a curated box or build your own, and it’s shipped directly to your door! Easy! You can choose a large or small shipment depending on the size of your family, as well as choose a monthly or bi-monthly subscription. And the best part is that you can update the contents each month to spice things up! 

We love Butcher Box not only because of the quality of the humanely raised meat it provides, but also because the subscription makes putting highly nutritious meats on the table easy and convenient.

Ruth Says: “I love Butcher Box because not everyone has access to local grass-fed ranches. They make it accessible to everyone and deliver it right to your doorstep. This is meat that you can truly feel good about feeding to your family.”Butcher Box


Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh | http://amzn.to/2Fj8POn

Amazon Fresh is an unlimited grocery delivery service provided by Amazon that you can add to your Prime membership. While this may not be for everyone, it could be a great alternative to weekly grocery runs if you have a large family or a busy schedule. It’s like giving the gift of time for Valentine’s Day!

Amazon Fresh will add an additional $14.99 per month on top of the cost of your annual Prime membership—but you will get unlimited delivery. Each order must total at least $50, however many of us already spend more than that on our weekly grocery trips.

The service offers a really impressive array (thousands!) of fresh and boxed organic, non-gmo options. And now that Amazon owns Whole Foods, you can even have their house brand, 365, delivered right to your door!

Amazon Fresh | http://amzn.to/2Fj8POn


Thrive Market

Thrive Market | Organic, Non-Gmo brands you love - for less!

Thrive Market is an online shopping club that offers organic and non-gmo products at 25% to 50% below retail prices! There is $59.95 annual membership fee, and all orders of $49 or more ship free. Thrive says their members usually make back the cost of membership in the first two orders. 

The best part about this company is that for every new paid member, they donate a free membership to a family in need! 

We love Thrive Market because they provide easy and affordable access to a large variety of organic non-gmo groceries, nontoxic cleaning products, organic beauty products, and so much more!

Thrive Market


Raw Spice Bar

RawSpiceBar | Monthly Spice Subscription

Raw Spice Bar is an inexpensive monthly subscription that delivers fresh and flavorful ready-to-use spice kits to your door. What better way to supplement your Butcher Box and Amazon Fresh service than with clean, healthy spices?

Raw Spice BAR


Well, what do you think? Will you be thinking outside the chocolate box this Valentine’s Day and giving a gift (or two) that keeps on giving?



Please note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. The Grow Network is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for TGN to earn fees for recommending our favorite products! We may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase an item after clicking one of our links. Thanks for supporting TGN!


 

 

The post TGN Team Favorites: Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts appeared first on The Grow Network.

Lawn Edger List: 2018’s Top Rated Manual, Electric, And Gas Edgers

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The post Lawn Edger List: 2018’s Top Rated Manual, Electric, And Gas Edgers is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

The quest for the perfect lawn is endless. We invest in high-quality lawn mowers, in new grass seed, aerators, and lawn sprinklers. But there’s something that many people new to lawn maintenance forget: a lawn edger. Lawn edgers can produce clean lines of separation between your grass and the driveway, sidewalk, or garden beds. They … Read more

The post Lawn Edger List: 2018’s Top Rated Manual, Electric, And Gas Edgers is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Mosquito Killer: Which Is Best For Your Yard In 2018?

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The post Best Mosquito Killer: Which Is Best For Your Yard In 2018? is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Nobody likes mosquitos. Not only are they carriers of disease, but they’re little bloodsucking pests that leave behind itchy bumps that drive you nuts. But what’s the best mosquito killer, and how do you get rid of these irritating, flying menaces? Let’s discuss all the many options of environmental mosquito killers today. We’ll talk about … Read more

The post Best Mosquito Killer: Which Is Best For Your Yard In 2018? is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Bug Zapper List 2018: How They Work & Which To Get

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The post Best Bug Zapper List 2018: How They Work & Which To Get is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

While you might not need a bug zapper year-round, it’s a necessary device in most areas. Flying pests such as mosquitos and flies become irritating as the days grow longer and the weather gets warmer. But which is the best bug zapper to buy? Today, we’ll examine how a bug zapper works, and discuss the … Read more

The post Best Bug Zapper List 2018: How They Work & Which To Get is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

7 Ways to Prevent Livestock Water Tanks from Freezing

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Winter. It’s that time of year when the livestock water freezes! Really, is there anything worse?

Members of The Grow Network Community, Jeff and Tracy, wrote to me looking for suggestions about how they can keep animal watering systems from freezing. And as always, our community provided quality advice—everything from tried-and-true products to creative brainstorming! Below is a sampling of some of the amazing responses The Grow Network received. (And be sure to check out the comments for some more great ideas!)


7 Ways to Prevent Livestock Water from Freezing

#1Cow Balls, wait … what?

Cow Balls Water Trough

Heidi knows of one solution that has worked well for her in the pastcow balls. That’s right: cow balls! They are large plastic balls that are used to cover the surface of the water tank. The balls decrease the amount of water on the surface that is exposed to the external cold temperatures. When ice does form, cows are able to break through the ice by pressing down on the balls with their noses. Genius!

#2Insulated Plastic Bucket Holders

Insulated Bucket Livestock Water

Patrick says that he has had success using insulated plastic bucket holders. These plastic holders are fastened to the wall and have an opening on the top that is the right size for a plastic 5-gallon bucket. Some of them even come with a food-grade 5-gallon bucket!

Foam insulation helps to keep the water from freezing! Patrick likes this solution, but he said that he does have some trouble when temperatures get very coldbelow about 15F.  When temperatures get below 15F, he said that he then resorts to using a submersible electric warmer.

#3Fish Tank Heater

Lyn wrote in and suggested that using a fish-tank heater in the bottom of a livestock tank might work.  She suggested using solar power, if possible, and also pointed out that cattle can be destructive, so it would be important to make sure that any cables are either buried or placed inside metal conduit and anchored to a 4″ x 4″ post. What a clever suggestion!

#4Creating Movement

Livestock Water Tank Deicer

DJ suggested that creating movement in the watering system would be a good way to prevent freezing. Basically, the idea is to copy nature and create a simulated brook. This idea should work in areas where the nighttime lows aren’t too terribly cold.

A small pump could also be used, or perhaps a simple water wheel device. There are a few products available online that do this, like the one below. You can also find these products available from any farm supply stores, like Tractor Supply. Usually, they are sold under the title of ‘water circulators.’


Protecting Smaller Water Troughs Using Innovation

Below are a few great ideas from the community that seem like good solutions for those of you trying to protect smaller watering troughs. Let’s take a closer look:

#5A Tire

Old Car Tire to Prevent Livestock Water from Freezing

Gerry knows of a tried-and-true trick that works to keep water thawed out in a 5-gallon bucket. Find an old tire that fits securely around the bucket, and fill the inside of the tire with rocks. Then, place the bucket inside the tire. Voilà!

Leave the tire and bucket outside in the sun so that they are able to warm up all afternoon. The black of the tire will absorb warmth from the sunshine and the rocks will help to retain some of that warmth. When night falls, the warmth of the tire and rocks will help to keep the water from icing over, and it should remain thawed until morning. Awesome idea, Gerry!

#6Olive Oil

Olive Oil

Lyn had an idea to experiment with—and she admits that while she hasn’t tried this yet, she is certain that the olive oil could work to protect a small watering trough from freezing.

Since the olive oil will not freeze, pouring a thin layer on top of the water’s surface could help to protect the water from developing a layer of ice. Olive oil should be safe for the cattle, and it just might be an inexpensive and simple solution!

#7Pure Innovation: Thinking Outside the Box!

Last but not least, DJ has an experimental idea that may help a small water trough. His idea is to submerge some sort of a grid into the waterpreferably something with a handle attached so that this device can be easily moved around to break up any ice near the top.

This idea, of course, would have to be done as the ice forms. DJ pictures something like an old ice cube tray or perhaps using black plastic to create a waffle grid. This sounds like an interesting idea … and I think it just might work! Might be a million dollar product for any of you aspiring inventors out there!


Well, I know there are a lot of other ways to prevent livestock watering systems from freezing that we did not cover here. But, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know of your favorite product or a tried-and-true method you use to prevent your livestock’s water from freezing! 

(This article was originally published March 26, 2015.)

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The Grow Network is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for our team to earn fees for recommending our favorite products! We may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase an item after clicking one of our links. Thanks for supporting TGN!


 

 

The post 7 Ways to Prevent Livestock Water Tanks from Freezing appeared first on The Grow Network.

TGN Team Favorites: Seed Starting

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As the growing season approaches, there is a lot of flipping through seed catalogs, browsing the internet for the perfect grow light, and garden planning going on. We thought it would be fun to poll our TGN team members about their favorite seed starting products and tools.

Every member of The Grow Network team shares our Community’s values and produces at least some of our food and medicine—more and more as we experiment, learn, and “grow” in gardening and homesteading wisdom! And since it’s not always easy to decide which product is the best, we thought we’d share our favorites to make your seed-starting adventure a little simpler!


TGN Team Favorites: Seed Starting Tools and Product Recommendations

Please note this page contains Amazon Affiliate links. The Grow Network is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for our team to earn fees for recommending our favorite products to you! We may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase an item after clicking one of our links. We really appreciate the support!


VIVERO HOME JAPANESE HORI-HORI GARDEN KNIFE

Anthony Says: The Hori-Hori is my all-time favorite gardening tool. Pretty much anything from grafting fruit trees to starting spring seedlings, the Hori-Hori knife makes the job a little bit easier! 

KEY FEATURES

  • Double-edged blade—one side serrated, the other extra sharp
  • Embedded graded ruler
  • Replaces tools like trowels, weeds pullers, digging tools, bulb planters, and more! 
  • Ships with a premium leather sheath and garden gloves

Secret Garden Burgon and Ball Stainless Steel Widger/ TransplanterMarjory Wildcraft's favorite Transplanting Widger

Marjory Says: I love using this transplanting widger when I am tiny rows to start seeds. It works so great for moving small amounts of soil! 😊

KEY FEATURES

  • Ergonomic Hardwood Handle
  • Tempered and Hardened Stainless Steel
  • Rust Resistant
  • Ideal for plug plants and transplanting

Jiffy 36mm Windowsill Greenhouse 12- Plant Starter Kit

Jiffy Seed Starting Greenhouse

Marjory Says: The little Jiffy Greenhouses make it really easy to start seeds indoors. Plus, they fit nicely into a windowsill if you don’t have any grow lights!  I know, I know – it’s a lot of plastic. But, you can resue the greenhouse and purchase replacement peat pellets.

KEY FEATURES

  • Slender Design, making it easy to store and use on a windowsill
  • Clear Plastic Dome retains heat, creating an optimal seed starting environment
  • Starts 12 plants from seeds or cuttings
  • Pellets expand to form pot and soil all in one


EARLYGROW DOMED PROPAGATOREarlyGrow Domed Seed Propogator

Ruth Says: I already own several of these EarlyGrow propagators, and I use them all the time to start all of my seeds indoors. I like to use them in conjunction with reusable plastic pots and Jiffy Organic Seed Starting Mix. The reason I LOVE these propagators is that they have little vents on the top that allow oxygen in and help prevent molding of the soil. And they’re reusable!

KEY FEATURES

  • Made of High Quality, Sturdy Plastic
  • Shatterproof
  • Reusable
  • Vented dome to control humidity levels


Smart Pot Soft-Sided Container, BlackSmart Pot

Jimerson Says: Smart Pots are great because they let in oxygen in from all sides for increased growth! I found them to be great for newbies because it helps to prevent overwatering. They also help to prevent mold growth, root rot, and root ball formation prevention by air pruning on sides. Great for use indoor and outdoor use. I really can’t recommend these enough!

KEY FEATURES

      • Soft-Sided Fabric Aeration Container
      • Retains Shape
      • Provides Aeration to enhance root structure
      • Allows excess heat to escape

Maxicrop 1001 Liquid Seaweed

Maxicrop Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer

Marjory Says: When I just don’t have time to make my own fertilizers, I like to use a liquid seaweed fertilizer to help boost up the mineral content available to the seedlings!

KEY FEATURES

  • Pure Seaweed Extract
  • Promotes Vigorous Root and Stem Growth
  • Contains Trace Elements 


HM Digital TDS-EZ Water Quality TDS Tester

Water Quality Tester

Jimerson Says: With this handy tool, you can test the pH of your water before giving it to your plants (if you’ve got plants that are sensitive about this, or if you are just a super gardening nerd, like me 😊). Also, this is good for testing water runoff of potted plants to get more info on your soil’s pH.

KEY FEATURES

  • 100% Durable Plastic
  • Highly Efficient and Accurate with Advanced Microprocessor Technology
  • Hold Function to save measurements for convenient reading/recording
  • Auto-Off Function
  • Measurement Range – 0-9999 ppm 

MarsHydro 300W LED Full Spectrum Grow LightMars Hydro Full Spectrum Grow Light

Jimerson Says: For those of us who grow indoors or live in apartments, this full spectrum LED grow light is top notch and not overly expensive (relative to others).

KEY FEATURES:

  • Full Spectrum 300W LED Grow Light
  • Emits Wavelengths which are fully absorbed by seedlings
  • Works for both Vegetables and Flowers
  • Easy to Assemble
  • Energy Saving and Eco-Friendly


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The Grow Network is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for our team to earn fees for recommending our favorite products! We may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase an item after clicking one of our links. Thanks for supporting TGN!


 

 

The post TGN Team Favorites: Seed Starting appeared first on The Grow Network.

Best Electric Screwdriver For 2018: What To Look For & Which To Buy

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The post Best Electric Screwdriver For 2018: What To Look For & Which To Buy is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Looking around for the best electric screwdriver for your tool chest? Perhaps you want the best cordless screwdriver, or maybe you want something that’s simply got a lot more torque than your arm does. Or maybe you need something that will get into an awkward angle, which your standard non-electric might have problems doing? No … Read more

The post Best Electric Screwdriver For 2018: What To Look For & Which To Buy is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Soil Test Kit For 2018: Which To Get And What To Know

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The post Best Soil Test Kit For 2018: Which To Get And What To Know is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Most people know what their plants need to thrive. But how will you know if your garden has everything it really needs? Test the soil, of course! And yet there’s so many test types available. How should you choose? I’ll help you sort through the different types of soil test kits that are on the … Read more

The post Best Soil Test Kit For 2018: Which To Get And What To Know is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Hose Timer: Top Mechanical and Digital Timer Picks For 2018

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The post Best Hose Timer: Top Mechanical and Digital Timer Picks For 2018 is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Timing is everything, or so the old phrase goes. Are you a business person who’s constantly on the go? Or are you a mom who’s juggling housework and kids and a job, and you just want a time saver? Either way, you need a hose timer. We’re going to go over the top choices in … Read more

The post Best Hose Timer: Top Mechanical and Digital Timer Picks For 2018 is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

GalaxyHydro & Roleadro Review: Are These LEDs Worth It?

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Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Have you been wondering what kind of grow light you need for that indoor growing adventure you want to start so bad? With the recent explosion of hydroponics, indoor growing, and the LED grow light industry, it’s no surprise that there are a ton of companies in the market right now.  And with so many options, … Read more

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Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Battle of the Mini Survival Kits: Which one is best?

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best mini survival kitEarlier this year I was intrigued when asked the question, “Which is the best mini survival kit?” I had never purchased a store-bought kit, so I ventured over to Amazon and ordered several, just out of curiosity. Here is my review of those kits and, at the end, the #1 mini survival kit that is, by far, the best of all those tested.

If you’re interested in any of the first 4 kits, they are available on Amazon.

Teaker Professional Outdoor Survival Kit

mini survival kit reviewThis kit contains 9 items, plus a sturdy plastic case. You can see the contents above. They include a tactical pen, compass, flashlight, a flintstone and scraper, a very small keychain mini-light, multi-function knife, a Swiss Card, and a whistle. I consider this to be just a collection of EDC gear.

My son was excited to see the tactical pen, but within 5 minutes, the pen broke. Assessing the tools included in this kit, you could probably start a fire, open a bottle of beer or soda, head North using the compass, blow the whistle if need be, and use the blade/multi-tool for miscellaneous tasks. As far as a “mini survival kit” goes, this one is pretty standard. I wouldn’t want to bet my survival on these 9 items and at $21.99, current price, it’s not a bargain. Because of the knife and Swiss Card, this wouldn’t be an appropriate gift for anyone under the age of 12 or 13. NOTE: The photo shows something that might be an emergency blanket, but I did not receive that in the kit I ordered from Amazon. Don’t be fooled by the 5-star ratings. Those appear to be written by paid reviewers.

Eachway Professional 10 in 1 Emergency Survival Gear Kit

mini survival kit reviewHey! What do you know! This kit is identical to the Teaker kit but you save a whole penny if you buy the Eachway!

No kidding. I was disappointed to see virtually no difference between the Teaker and the Eachway. The flashlights are identical, except the “UltraFire” branding on the Eachway light. Every tool is identical, and my assessment is the same as for the Teaker. For $21.98, you can do better at Walmart.

Survival Kit EMDMAK Outdoor Emergency Kit

mini survival kit reviewI suppose if you were on your last leg and had nothing else for survival, maybe you could survive for a few more hours if you had this kit. But I wouldn’t bet on it. The emergency blanket, made in China, is like every other emergency blanket. It has some uses, for sure, but most survival experts agree that the typical thin, mylar blanket will do very little in a survival situation. I was disappointed by the keychain compass — I’m pretty sure I’ve seen similar compasses in Oriental Trading Company catalogs, and the one I got looks nothing like the one in the photo. The whistle, fire starter, and wire saw are also of poor quality. There isn’t anything in this kit that is well-made, except maybe the Swiss Card, and those are probably mass produced for a penny each. This kit is priced at just under $15 on Amazon. Save your money.

Emergency Survival Kit Grenade

mini survival kit reviewI bought this kit because it looked pretty cool. I knew when I was finished with the review, my son would want it. For the review to be fair, though, I decided to unwrap the paracord to check out the tools inside, and now we’re left with a pile of paracord, foil, and a bunch of little tiny things.

The 26 feet of paracord is very good quality, as is the small caribiner. You can easily connect this grenade to a backpack or another larger piece of gear. It takes a few minutes to unwrap the grenade to reach the aluminum foil-wrapped contents. This kit might be useful for someone who already has some pretty good survival skills, because the contents can be useful, you just have to know what to do with them. Examples: the fishing hooks, line, and weights. You could use the paracord strands and some know-how to set a snare, but again, that relies on prior knowledge and training. Bottom line: the best feature of this kit is its unique packaging. The gear inside the paracord grenade would be of little use to most people, and the pieces small enough to make this a gift only appropriate for kids ages 12 and up. At $10.99, it’s not a bad end-of-the-line survival kit.

The Tact Mini Survival Kit

At this point, I kind of gave up on buying additional mini survival kits. I was browsing on Amazon, and mostly saw kits that were virtually identical to the ones I purchased and reviewed here.  Then I received the Tact Mini Survival Kit to review from Survival Frog. (This is the only kit I didn’t personally pay for.)

The concept behind this kit is different from the other minis. Its focus is less on giving you little gadgets that may or may not help you survive and more on covering the most important survival bases: shelter, warmth, light/signal, a whistle, and a small spork with multi-tool capabilities.

The Tact kit is quite a bit larger than the other kits reviewed here and comes in a drawstring bag, rather than a hard plastic case. In the world of survival kits, it still qualifies as “mini”. I prefer the bag over the plastic case because it can be useful in dozens of other ways in a survival scenario. Of everything included, the Bivvy is the largest piece. It’s a lightweight waterproof and windproof emergency sleeping bag made of space-age material that reflects your body heat and keeps you warm. Similar bags sell for close to $20 in sporting goods stores.

Next to the Bivvy, I was impressed with the stainless steel, 16 ounce camp cup. I like the way it looks and feels (very solid), but with its larger size, it can be used as a drinking cup or, over a fire, used to make a small cup of soup or oatmeal. It really is a handy size and is what I based my own Winter Survival Food Kit on. You can read details of that here. The heavy duty spork is more than just an eating utensil. It’s also a multi-tool, with a bottle opener, 3 sizes hex wrench, and a flathead screwdriver.

With the sleeping bag for warmth and shelter from the elements and a quality cup/cooking pot, the Tact Mini  Survival Kit adds a smokeless pocket stove, a few fuel tablets, and waterproof matches in a case. Now you’re ready to purify water, melt snow, cook, or just keep warm. With a few packets of dried soup mix, oatmeal, or packs of coffee, you would have the makings of a Winter Survival Food Kit, as detailed in this article. The stove could also be used as an emergency signal if you weren’t able to start a small fire using materials around you.

With the flashlight and whistle, you’re ready to signal for help, and the small flashlight is another source of light.

The Tact Mini Survival Kit is more expensive, as you might expect — $49.97 — click on this Survival Frog page. Pick up more than one and Survival Frog throws in some bonuses and free shipping.

If you don’t have time to thoughtfully and carefully put your own mini survival kit together, then the Tact Mini Survival Kit is the way to go. There’s enough room in the drawstring bag for your pocketknife and a few other EDC items, so you can get the best of both worlds — a high quality kit that is ready to go and then customized with your own favorite gear before you pack up and head out.

So, there you have it. Five reviews of mini survival kits. When I first set out to do this, my curiosity level was high and I was optimistic. As the kits began arriving and I had time to check them out, overall it was disappointing. The potential is there for a company to produce a well-thought-out kit, truly designed to help people survive in an emergency, and with very high quality gear. Only the Tact Mini Survival Kit delivered and is one reason I’ve selected Survival Frog as a Survival Mom affiliate. If you buy the Tact for yourself or as a gift, let me know what you think.

Apollo Grow Tent Review: How Solid Are These Tents?

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The post Apollo Grow Tent Review: How Solid Are These Tents? is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

When it comes to buying a grow tent it can be a little overwhelming indoor gardeners because of how many different manufacturers, sizes, features are available. So I’ve taken the time to write this review in order to present one of the best built and low cost tents on the market and help you figure … Read more

The post Apollo Grow Tent Review: How Solid Are These Tents? is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Greenhouse Plastic: What You Need To Buy To Build Your Greenhouse

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The post Greenhouse Plastic: What You Need To Buy To Build Your Greenhouse is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

When building a greenhouse, you need to have greenhouse plastic unless you’re building a permanent structure with solid-sheet panels of glass, acrylic, or polyethylene. So what should you use? How do you figure out how much you need, and what’s the best greenhouse plastic for your needs? Today we’ll dive into the world of greenhouse … Read more

The post Greenhouse Plastic: What You Need To Buy To Build Your Greenhouse is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Digging Fork Decisions: Which One And What’s Best For Your Wallet

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The post Digging Fork Decisions: Which One And What’s Best For Your Wallet is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

If you’ve ever discovered that your soil is simply too tough to penetrate with a shovel, you’ll need a digging fork. These tools are a great way to loosen the soil in preparation to digging. They’re also great for working organic material, fertilizer, or compost into your garden beds. They’re amazing for getting root vegetables … Read more

The post Digging Fork Decisions: Which One And What’s Best For Your Wallet is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Post Hole Digger: How To Pick One And Which To Buy

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The post Best Post Hole Digger: How To Pick One And Which To Buy is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

The best post hole digger, you say? Why would you ever need that? Well, let me give you some reasons. You’re about to install the deck of your dreams, but you just realized that to do it, you need to have 6″ wide by 30″ deep holes that can accommodate your deck posts as well … Read more

The post Best Post Hole Digger: How To Pick One And Which To Buy is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Electric Snow Blower or Thrower? Best Picks For 2017

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The post Electric Snow Blower or Thrower? Best Picks For 2017 is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

The first storm of the season has come and gone, and now it’s the season of snow blowing. Unless you’re excited about a snow shovel exercise program, nobody really wants to do the backbreaking job of shoveling the driveway! And yet, you might be asking what snow blower to buy, or even if you need … Read more

The post Electric Snow Blower or Thrower? Best Picks For 2017 is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Electric Snow Blower or Thrower? Top Picks For 2017

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The post Best Electric Snow Blower or Thrower? Top Picks For 2017 is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

The first storm of the season has come and gone, and now it’s the season of snow blowing. Unless you’re excited about a snow shovel exercise program, nobody really wants to do the backbreaking job of shoveling the driveway! And yet, you might be asking what snow blower to buy, or even if you need … Read more

The post Best Electric Snow Blower or Thrower? Top Picks For 2017 is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Product Review: Marjory Unboxes the UrBin Grower (a.k.a. Metro-Grower Elite)

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My family loves it when I do product reviews—but not for the reason you think. While I get excited about unboxing new equipment to garden with, they get excited because I have to clean off the porch for filming!

Anyway, today’s product review is for one of my absolute favorite products—the UrBin Grower (currently in the middle of being re-branded as the Metro-Grower Elite, but don’t let the name confuse you, it’s the same product).

One of the neat things about this product is that it comes with almost everything you need to start growing immediately. I say “almost,” because you will have to provide three gallons of high-quality compost per Metro-Grower Elite and a couple of gallons of water each.

Other than that, it’s a pretty turnkey growing solution.

In this video, I unbox my new Metro-Grower Elite, read the instructions for you, and show you everything you need to know to get started.

Plus I show you the surprising benefit of the water barrier — a plant protection advantage that you might not expect!

Want to get your Metro-Grower Elite?   I’ve worked out a wholesale price with the supplier.  You can click here now to get complete details.

The post Product Review: Marjory Unboxes the UrBin Grower (a.k.a. Metro-Grower Elite) appeared first on The Grow Network.

Best Lawn Sprinkler: Oscillating, Rotary, Stationary, or Traveling Types

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The post Best Lawn Sprinkler: Oscillating, Rotary, Stationary, or Traveling Types is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

If you have a yard, you need to water it! While you certainly could stand out there with a hose multiple times per week, there’s always the option of getting a sprinkler. It’s a time saver as well as a way to reduce the effort required to maintain your lawn. And of course, you’ll want … Read more

The post Best Lawn Sprinkler: Oscillating, Rotary, Stationary, or Traveling Types is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Kind LED Review: Are These LEDs Worth the Money?

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The post Kind LED Review: Are These LEDs Worth the Money? is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

In order to make your job of choosing the right LED grow light for your garden easier, I’ve decided to make it my job to review the most popular LED grow light companies on the market. You see, there are a lot of different lighting companies out there, all with different claims and technology…it’s all a … Read more

The post Kind LED Review: Are These LEDs Worth the Money? is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Greenhouses: Cold-Weather Solutions For Your Plants

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The post Best Greenhouses: Cold-Weather Solutions For Your Plants is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Glasshouses, conservatories, nurseries… there are many different terms used to refer to greenhouses. They serve an equally wide range of purposes, too. Whether you’re looking for the perfect environment in which to start out seedling plants, or somewhere that you can maintain the optimal temperature for your succulents throughout the winter, or even something that … Read more

The post Best Greenhouses: Cold-Weather Solutions For Your Plants is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Winter Weather Preparation: The Best Ice Melts For 2017

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Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

For at least a short time each year, we all like having a winter wonderland. But snow and ice tend to cause major problems on our driveways or walkways. The snow can be shoveled out of the way with a good snow shovel, but the ice is a bit more complicated to remove. So what’s … Read more

The post Winter Weather Preparation: The Best Ice Melts For 2017 is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Wood-Splitting Axes: Top Chops For Your Firewood

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Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

While many people love the convenience of their log splitter, not everyone has the money or space for one. And yet, those of us with fireplaces know that the best way to get firewood is to buy large rounds. So what do you do if you don’t have a log splitter? You get a splitting … Read more

The post Best Wood-Splitting Axes: Top Chops For Your Firewood is by
Lorin Nielsen and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Top Survival Gear From The Pros

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Top Survival Gear From The Pros via The Survival Mom

Have you ever wondered what survival gear the pros have and recommend? I have put together a list of items from some of the top survival pros. Their recommendations are a great place start if you are new to prepping. If you have been long time prepper, check if you have these items as part of your survival gear. Many of these may be “new and improved” compared to what you currently have stored.

Jim Cobb
Author and Disaster Readiness Consultant

Author of Prepper’s Home Defense,
Urban Emergency Survival Plan,
and Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide http://www.SurvivalWeekly.com
http://www.DisasterPrepConsultants.com

Streamlight ProTac 1AAA Flashlight
This is my favorite flashlight and is at the top of every list I make for
recommended gear and equipment. I’ve carried this flashlight for over a year now and I use it quite literally every single day for one thing or another. From checking out a noise in the backyard to looking for a dropped toy under the seat in our van, this little light has been quite handy. My wife liked it so much I had to get her one, too. It is small enough to ride in a pants pocket without discomfort or you can use the pen clip to keep it secure in a shirt pocket. The battery is even included!

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System
In many disasters or emergencies, ready access to clean water is often one of the first things to disappear. Having a good water filter is just common sense. The Sawyer Mini is easy to use, portable, and just plain works! This system comes with everything you’ll need to turn questionable water clean and potable. While it isn’t an ideal filter for cleaning large quantities of water at once, at about $20 each you might consider buying one for each member of the family.

CRKT Ignitor Knife
CRKT has a long-standing and well-deserved reputation for providing extremely well-made knives at affordable prices. The Ignitor is a relatively new offering from CRKT. It is an assisted-open pocket knife with a built-in safety feature. The thumb stud must be depressed and then the blade rotated open about 30°. Only then will the patented OutBurst assisted opening feature engage and swing the blade fully open. The blade simply will not move without the thumb stud being pressed. Closed, the knife is 4.25″ long and it has a 3.38″ blade, so when fully open it runs about 7.5″. It is robust enough to handle any daily chore and small enough not to scare coworkers. At about $30, it is a lot of knife for a very reasonable price.

Gerber Dime Multi-Tool
A good multi-tool is one of those things every prepper should have, right? Here’s the thing, though. They can get really expensive really quickly and, honestly, most people aren’t going to use a multi-tool every single day. The Gerber Dime will do most of the same jobs a larger and pricier multi-tool will do, at a fraction of the price. At 2.75″ closed and only 2.2oz, it is small enough to fit in a pocket or purse without adding weight or bulk. You won’t be performing extensive engine repairs with a Gerber Dime, of course, but few multi-tools would be any better on that score. At far less than $20, this is a great prepper-related gift idea, too.

InstaFire Granulated Fire Starter
There are dozens of different fire starters available on the market today, not to mention homemade versions like dryer lint stuffed into egg cartons and covered in wax. For my money, nothing beats InstaFire. It is a granulated substance that looks sort of like kitty litter with small sticks scattered about. One pouch is enough to start 3-4 fires. You pour out the amount you wish to use and light it with a match, lighter, or spark. It lights fast and easy and will burn long and hot enough to get the rest of your tinder and kindling going. InstaFire lights in any weather conditions and will even burn while floating on water!

Dr. Joe & Amy Alton, ARNP

Joe and Amy Alton are the authors of the 3 category #1 Amazon Bestseller “The Survival Medicine Handbook”.  See their articles in Backwoods Home, Survival Quarterly, and other great magazines. For over 900 articles on medical preparedness in wilderness, disaster, or other austere settings, go to their website at www.doomandbloom.net. The opinions voiced by Joe Alton, M.D., and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P. are their own and are not meant to take the place of seeking medical help from a qualified healthcare provider.

Twitter:  @preppershow
Facebook:  drbonesand nurseamy                                              Facebook Group: Survival Medicine Group                                Youtube: DrBonesNurseAmy channel                                    iTunes:Survival Medicine Hour iTunes Link
American Survival Radio on GCNLive.com, KPJC 1220 AM

Solar Cooking Product: All American Sun Oven Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package

In our early days of prepping we made lists of critical areas to cover and non-electric or solar cooking products were near the top of our list. The first, and turns out to be the best, solar oven we bought is called The Sun Oven. Learning how to cook all kinds of food with only the sun is not only cost saving, it’s fun! Let your family help you set it up, which is super easy, and have the kids help check on it with you. They will be amazed and excited about dinner.

The full package comes complete with lots of extras like an amazing cookbook with 600 recipes, pots and pans, and even a baking rack. It is easy to open up and get cooking when you are ready, no complicated bolts or screws for assembly. I’m so happy we own this Sun Oven full package and I think you can’t go wrong filling your preparation needs with this excellent solar oven.

Solar Powered Lighting:

MPOWERD Luci EMRG – 3-in-1 Emergency Inflatable Solar Light 

MPOWERD Luci Original – Inflatable Solar Light

Who doesn’t worry about being in the dark without any lighting options? As a Mom and a prepper, this has been something that is not only on my mind for the future, but a need everyone should solve asap. Just yesterday our lights went out for a couple of hours because a tropical storm came through South Florida. It had gone out the day before several times also. Instead of having to look for our batteries and flashlights, we had a quick action LED solar light, called Luci Original. Thankfully, we also have the sister light, the Luci Emrg.

These inflatable, lightweight solar lanterns are small enough to store in many locations around your home and in cars. I actually left mine outside in the hot South Florida sun for 6 months to see how the plastic tolerated the rain and searing heat. Wow! After I cleaned them up, they look like new and the lights were as bright and long lasting as the day we got them. They really are 100% water-proof.

I have to say I was totally blown away. The Luci Original and Luci Emrg both turned on quickly and lasted hours, and all three settings worked. They both have bright, super bright and 1 second flashing for emergencies. The Luci Original lasts 12 hours, and the Luci Emrg up to 7 hours. To charge, just place the built in solar panel in the sun for a few hours. The Luci Original is clear and larger, and the Luci Emrg is frosted and slightly smaller, but both provide strong lighting.

Dehydrator and Jerky Maker:

Excalibur 3526TB 5 Tray Dehydrator with Timer Black

5 Premium 14″ X 14″ Non-stick Dehydrator Sheets

Mary Bell’s Complete Dehydrator Cookbook by Mary Bell Hardcover

I never thought I would be excited about dehydrating food and even making beef jerky, but here I am. When I thought about how I could store food longer and make nutritious snacks for my family, an Excalibur Dehydrator was my first choice after extensive research and reviews. I made a great decision, and you should too.

So what have I made with my awesome Excalibur dehydrator? My most recent recipe was Honey-dipped Banana Chips. Since I live in South Florida we get a harvest of fresh bananas from our backyard on a fairly regular basis. When the full stalk ripens we have about 50 bananas that are all ready to eat at about the same time. We don’t own a monkey zoo, so I needed to create something that lasts.

The Honey-dipped Banana Chips were made by first creating a honey, sugar and warm water solution. I sliced the peeled bananas thinly and used a strainer to dip the slices in the honey solution then strained them (some recipes recommend washing off this dip, I did not) and patted them dry. The slices were placed on the non-stick tray liners with a little space between each. The temperature was 145 for 24 hours (my slices were thicker than you should cut them, lesson learned). Rotate the trays every few hours for even drying.

I have used The Excalibur Dehydrator 5 Tray unit to dry strawberries, blueberries, candied orange slices, peas, carrots and a few tasty beef jerkies. The list of what you can dehydrate is nearly endless. The 26 hour timer makes it great for the busy person and I suggest Mary Bell’s Complete Dehydrator Cookbook for creative ideas.

The Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guide for when medical help is NOT on the way Paperback (June 7, 2016)

If you had to deal with an injury or illness in a disaster, would you know what to do? My husband and I had to put this handbook together so others would have the answers. We spent day and night for months putting together strategies for the average family. It is a 670 page detailed guide for those who want to be medically prepared for any disaster where help is NOT on the way.

The expanded third edition is geared to enable the non-medical professional to deal with all the likely issues they will encounter in catastrophic short or long-term scenarios. It is not your standard first aid book: Unlike other, it assumes that a disaster, natural or man-made, has removed all access to hospitals or doctors for the foreseeable future; you, the average person, are now the highest medical resource left to your family.

The Survival Medicine Handbook will give you the tools, in plain English, to competently handle injuries and illness for any situation that leaves you as the end of the line with regards to your family’s medical wellbeing.

Water Filtration System: Big Berkey BK4X2 Countertop Water Filter System with 2 Black Berkey Elements

Who knew the very first article my husband, Dr. Joe Alton wrote in 2010 for SurvivalBlog.com (about Fish Antibiotics and Expiration Dates for emergency and disaster storage) would win us prizes, which included a Big Berkey water filtration system. I admit, that many years ago, I had no idea what qualities a good water filter should possess. Since then I have researched and tested many filters, and I am even happier we ended up with our first Big Berkey.

Living in South Florida means we live with the possibility of power outages from summer afternoon thunderstorms, hurricanes, and flooding. Too many scenes have played out in real life after disasters leaving people without water simply because they were not prepared. Commercial water filtration is usually fairly simple to perform, but without a system, people could get sick if they are unaware of proper water purification.

The Big Berkey purifies water from many sources, including water that looks contaminated. It removes bacteria, parasites and cysts 100%. I know I’m concerned about my daily drinking water containing fluoride, herbicides, pesticides and other contaminates, which Big Berkey extracts. It makes water clean without removing the beneficial minerals that are good for us. A Big Berkey can filter 7 gallons an hour, so a family will have plenty of water during emergencies. Be prepared.

Linda Loosli

Author of Prepare Your Family for Survival & blogger at Food Storage Moms

My favorite 5 survival products I highly recommend are the following:

Sports Berkey Bottle– purifies water whether you are camping, traveling or a disaster hits your community. I gave one of these to every member of my family for Christmas a few years ago.

A few years back, I had to wait three months for a gas line to be installed in my kitchen for a new gas stove

I used this Butane Stove with one butane canister because I did not have a stove or oven in my house for three months.

In that same period of three months waiting for the gas line, I used a Sun Oven to bake meals outside.

I am a big survival fan and therefore every Christmas I give my four daughters something that is needed for survival. I gave each family a Lodge Dutch Oven they are able to boil water, bake bread, or make just about every meal they want to make outside with the charcoal they have stored.

My son-in-law requires a CPAP for sleep apnea nightly, and if the power goes out he needs a backup plan. I purchased a Goal Zero Yeti 400 complete with solar panels to save his life if the power goes out.

Daisy Luther

The Organic Prepper & author of 6 books for preppers

EverBrite Headlamp: We keep several of these headlamps on hand. They’re useful for any kind of hands-free nighttime activities, from wrangling chickens to walking outside in the dark, or reading. Don’t let the low price fool you. We’ve had our for 2 years and never needed a replacement.

RAVPower Pocket Knife: I love the screwdriver bits that come with this knife. It’s a bit lighter than my Leatherman multi-tool so it doesn’t further weigh down my bag that also has a gun and extra magazines in it.

Sawyer Mini: This is probably on everyone’s list and for very good reason. It’s simple to use, filters a LOT of water, and is quite compact.

SAS Survival Manual: Even though this is isn’t gear, it is knowledge. It isn’t in-depth but it has a little bit of information about a lot of different topics. You can use it as a reference in almost any situation.

Swedish Fire Steel: This is a no-fail method for starting a fire. It’s rated for 12,000 starts.

Lisa Bedford- The Survival Mom

Author of Survival Mom How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios

An ETON emergency radio — I like this radio because it’s easy to operate, has emergency channels pre-set, so I didn’t have to track down the frequencies myself, and has multiple ways to keep it charged.

I own many flashlights, but when we were in Iceland this fall, my handy Pelican LED flashight outshone them all. I couldn’t believe the broad spread of light from this tiny unit. It’s solid, sturdy and small. One of my very favorites out of my large flashlight collection. (I’m a flashlight hoarder.)

Mini Leatherman Tool — I slip this into an inner pocket in my purse or backpack, forget about it because it’s so small and lightweight, but it’s there when I need it.

AeroGarden — I was so skeptical of this but it has been such a handy source of fresh herbs that I have to recommend it. Easy to set up, it monitors its own water and fertilizer and provides just the right amount of herbs I usually need.

Battery Powered Fans. We have 4 of these and they were battery’d up and ready for Hurricane Harvey. My worst fear was that our power would be out for an extended period during some very hot weather. These small fans can be taken anywhere, and are lightweight.

Top Survival Gear From The Pros via The Survival Mom

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Viparspectra Review: Are These LEDs Worth It?

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The post Viparspectra Review: Are These LEDs Worth It? is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

With the explosion of hydroponics, indoor growing, and the LED grow light industry, it’s no surprise that there are a ton of companies in the market right now. A few years ago, LEDs were all the rage and companies were touting incredible yields with low energy costs… It wasn’t completely false, but the marketing claims were far … Read more

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Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Expandable Hoses You Can Buy Today

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The post Best Expandable Hoses You Can Buy Today is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

It’s impossible to have a garden without water. Plants need it, lawns need it. We all have to have a way of conveying that water to where it needs to be. And we all have old, heavyweight hoses lying about, as they’re a requirement in the yard. But in recent years, expandable garden hoses have … Read more

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Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Preparedness = 2 Sets of Binoculars

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I’m going to make a suggestion: own two sets of quality binos, keep one set in your home and the other in your vehicle.  Quite often the focus is on weapons in vehicles, survival bags and various other items but binos are often overlooked.  Unless you were born with the eyes of an actual eagle, here are a few reasons why I suggest owning some decent binos and keeping them within arm’s reach.

In the Home

  • I live in the mountains, can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone out on my deck and done a quick survey of the surrounding area.  Sometimes it’s general observation or because I thought I heard something during daylight hours.
  • Wife has come home before and notified me of a few vehicles or personnel not local to our area, pull the binos out and scan.
  • Threats in my area include fires, binos allow me to reach out beyond standard visual range in order to look for smoke signatures.

In the Vehicle

  • There have been a few times where I thought I was being followed, one turned out to be a reality.  In both instances i performed some standard procedures, made my way to a vantage point and was able to observe who I believed to be following me with detail because of the binos.
  • Overwatch.  There are several vantage points which allow me to overlook my property prior to entering the AO, sometimes I’ll pull off and scan with my binos just to make sure everything is good to go before driving down into the area.

Recommended Binos

I currently use the Nikon Trailblazer 10×25 variants from REI, I own 2 pair.  These are fantastic and allow you to be a little more low key than pulling out a giant rifle with a scope on it in order to glass something.  REI also has a great return policy, in case something goes wrong with them.

Bottom Line

I really hate the term combat multiplier, but binoculars are just that.  They are relatively cheap and compact and allow one to see far beyond normal eyesight range in order to assist with situational awareness.  I highly recommend picking up a pair or even two and keeping them in the home and vehicle.

 

 

Prepper Blades: Which is Better the Blade vs. Tomahawk?

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ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, the stores are flooded with the types of knives and axes you can pick up.  So, what to buy, and why?  A simple question, fair enough.  One of the problems that people face is that they like an “all-around” tool with multiple functions, when there are different, specialty tools and weapons for diverse functions. Let’s compare tomahawks and knives, and see where we go to, alright?

Firstly, whether it is a knife or a tomahawk, the first essential is to know your tool and train with it to maximum capacity.  You should follow this principle in all you do with weapons, tools, or gear.

Here’s a rule to follow.  You need to be able to use your tool or weapon: 1. specifically, and then 2. generally

I will explain.  When you have an OSS Fairbairn-Sykes stiletto dagger, this blade is primarily a combat knife.  That is its specific function: to fight with, plain and simple.  In addition to this, you need to know the other capabilities the knife possesses and how to employ them.  An example is a “thrower,” or throwing knife.  The Fairbairn-Sykes can be thrown; however, this takes practice and it is not the knife’s primary function.  Its primary function is close-quarters combat and for stealth (such as sentry takedown, etc.).  I mentioned that you should always buy such tools and weapons in pairs: one to practice with, and the other to have in mint condition for use in the “real” world and when the SHTF.

Same for a tomahawk.  Oh, there are some that are really high-end, such as those made by Hibben, Schrade, Kel-Tec, etc., that can run you into the hundreds of dollars.  This is a combat weapon, and needs to be trained with as such: buy two and use one to train with and the other for when the SHTF.  That is the specific purpose of a tomahawk: not to cut sector stakes or firewood.  The tomahawk is not to be used for pounding in tent poles and then making kindling for your campfire.

And yet it can be used as such, as a general use if called for.  When would that be called for?  When you’re freezing to death and need to build a fire, and that’s all you have to cut dead fallen timber.  The need outweighs the original specialty use.  Tomahawks take a lot of practice to use.  Personally, I prefer throwing knives over tomahawks.  They cannot be used the same to cut wood and kindling or to chop, but as fighting implements, they are (for me) more accurate and reliable.  Also, you can mount one on the end of a staff and turn it into a spear either for defense or hunting (a secondary, general function).

As I mentioned in another article, Hibben makes (in my opinion) the finest throwing knives that money can buy.  Another factor about throwing knives that I like is the fact that they can be mounted on your vest and employed more easily and quickly than the tomahawk can be drawn.  On the other side of the coin, the tomahawk generally provides you with more reach on your opponent if you swing it rather than throwing it.  The decision is one of preference, but the point of effectiveness is the same for each weapon: training.


You need to be as one with your weapon and know it inside and out…all of its capabilities primarily as a weapon and secondly as a tool.  Your life may one day depend on mastery of the weapon.  It may be all you have.  There is no substitute for proper training.  You can have the best equipment in the world but without the ability to employ it?


When the SHTF, you may just have gathered up those supplies for someone who knows how to use them…and will take them away from you.

My preference is to have a tomahawk strapped to the outside of my rucksack…a backup weapon that could be turned into a tool if needed, and my primary is a set (no less than 3) throwing knives…Hibbens being my blades of choice, nd on my person.  Whatever your choice…tomahawk or knife…become and expert with it.  There is no substitute for training to expert standards.  You must set the standard for yourself, and the life you save first may well be your own.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

The Best Brush Cutter: Gas and Electric Options

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The post The Best Brush Cutter: Gas and Electric Options is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

If you’re at war with overgrown grasses and shrubbery on your property, you already know that a cheap low-powered weed whacker isn’t going to cut it. You need something more powerful. But how do you choose a brush cutter that will handle the bushy undergrowth you have? Do you want something that multitasks, or just … Read more

The post The Best Brush Cutter: Gas and Electric Options is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Shovels: Choosing the Right Shovel For Your Specific Needs

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The post Best Shovels: Choosing the Right Shovel For Your Specific Needs is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

If you have a garden, you have a shovel. In fact, it’s very likely you have more than one shovel. You might have one with a curved blade and a pointed tip. You may have a narrow one with flat sides, or a gigantic one that’s almost more of a giant spoon-like conveyance device. You … Read more

The post Best Shovels: Choosing the Right Shovel For Your Specific Needs is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Log Splitters: Slide-Hammer, Manual, Electric, Gas-Powered, Large Hydraulic or Kinetic

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The post Best Log Splitters: Slide-Hammer, Manual, Electric, Gas-Powered, Large Hydraulic or Kinetic is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Anyone who has a fireplace or wood stove knows the difficulty of preparing their firewood for winter use. But there’s a wealth of options out there for turning stumps into logs or kindling. I’ll delve into the details of log splitters and see what option may be the best for your home! Best Slide-Hammer Splitter: … Read more

The post Best Log Splitters: Slide-Hammer, Manual, Electric, Gas-Powered, Large Hydraulic or Kinetic is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Loppers: Bypass, Anvil, Compound, and More

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The post Best Loppers: Bypass, Anvil, Compound, and More is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

So you have a tree that needs to be trimmed, and your handheld pruners just won’t cut it – both figuratively and literally. What should you do? Invest in a quality pair of loppers, of course! But how do you decide what you need, and is there really any differences between them? Let’s discover all … Read more

The post Best Loppers: Bypass, Anvil, Compound, and More is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

How to Recharge Batteries Using Saltwater

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Did you know you could recharge batteries without electricity?  That’s right, no electricity needed, a completely off-grid battery charger.  This is a cool product!  A fellow reader of this blog recommended I look into a prepper product that recharge batteries using salt-water created by Greenivative.  The company agreed to let […]

The post How to Recharge Batteries Using Saltwater appeared first on Preppers Survive.

Grain Mill Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Best Countertop Grain Mill

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The post Grain Mill Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Best Countertop Grain Mill is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Do you like the idea of being able to grind your own wheat or making your very own peanut butter at home? Are you searching for a way to become more self-sufficient? If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, then you may have considered purchasing a grain mill in the past. While grain … Read more

The post Grain Mill Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Best Countertop Grain Mill is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Garden Hoses: Picking The Right Hose For You

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The post Best Garden Hoses: Picking The Right Hose For You is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

With such a wide array of options to choose from, and only small differences in how they look, it’s tempting to just purchase the cheapest garden hose you can find. However, garden hoses have many small differences that have a huge impact on how easy the hose will be to use and how long it … Read more

The post Best Garden Hoses: Picking The Right Hose For You is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Sawyer Mini Alternatives – Why Does Everyone Love the Sawyer Mini?

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When you first hit the survivalist and prepper scene you’re looking to secure your basics: shelter, water, and food. Looking for advice online will quickly lead you to the Sawyer Mini as your solution for water, at least in your bug-out-bag or hiking bag. People are downright obsessive over this simple, hand-held water filter, and. . . Read More

The post Sawyer Mini Alternatives – Why Does Everyone Love the Sawyer Mini? first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Firearm Training: How Draw Drills Will Sharpening your Handgun Combat Skills

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This article is going to give you some time-honored practical pointers to use regarding your handgun.  Besides just going to the range, there are some things you can do to perfect your speed, coordination, and muscle memory.  Draw drills are an inexpensive and simple way to accomplish this.  You can carry them out in the privacy of your own home.  Here’s how they work!

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I am not worried about the guy with the $3,000.00 rig…holster, weapon, and laser-sight with state-of-the-art attachments in a brand-new crisp outfit without a speck of dust and the ICP (International Combat Pistol)/NRA certification.  I worry about the man with a worn holster and a weapon with the bluing rubbed off with a determined look in his eye.  This man has used the weapon and has trained with it.  The other guy can be a threat and (if approaching you) may be considered as such, but in all likelihood, he’s probably a Cabela’s model or a firearms salesman.

Why You Need to Train

Draw drills are a way of training your hands and eyes to be coordinated and act in one fluid movement.  I do not ascribe to any philosophy of not aiming your weapon, or one of just “pointing it in a general direction.”  The first time you have a target shooting back at you, you will realize just how important it is to aim at your target and hit it accurately and effectively.  Paper targets don’t shoot back, so you have leeway with them.  All the certifications in the world are no substitute for the basic fundamentals of marksmanship and the ability to employ them.


The objective of marksmanship: clean, well-placed shots.  Anyone who served will tell you this and the importance of the fundamentals: aiming, breathing, and (proper) trigger squeeze.


Draw drills will help you to focus your point of aim, your proper hand positioning, and the fluid dynamics of drawing, aiming, firing, and reloading/changing your magazines.  First, take some index cards, and mark them with a magic marker, 1 through 10.  Laminate them.  When this is done, they won’t wear down or become grimy with use.  A few pieces of duct tape on each one, folded/rolled in on itself will allow them to affix.  Then place them about the room you intend to train in.

You will then practice drawing your weapon from your holster, taking a proper stance and grip (modified Weaver, etc.) and then aligning your weapon on that numbered, laminated “paster” target.  Use your imagination.  You can place them on anything: lamps, closet doors, pieces of furniture.  You can set them low or high.  You don’t have to go in order of 1 to 10.  In order to keep from being repetitive, go “even”, then “odd” numbers.

Magazine Changes

Next, you have to simulate changing your magazines.  If you fire (just for example) a 1911 model .45 ACP, you’ll (generally) have a seven-round magazine.  This means that after engaging target number “7” you’ll have to drop the mag, and reload another one.  Obviously, you’re not firing rounds: but after each “draw” upon a target…reholster the weapon and draw on the subsequent number.  Do a minimum of 100 of these per day.  Your hand and eye coordination will improve, as well as your “muscle memory” of movements you’ll need for firing and also to change mags/speed loaders.

You need to be able to do these tasks regarding mag changes:

  1. Don’t take your eyes off the next target…you have to simulate that it’s a “real” one and can “gank” you if you let it.
  2. Drop that mag in your palm and place it (the “empty”) in a cargo pocket [Note: I hate these Hollywood movies that show everyone dropping the mags on the ground and just forgetting about them or abandoning them completely… don’t you do it!]
  3. Take the new mag from your pouch/belt, and seat it in the magazine well without ever looking at it. Simulate loading a fresh round, and engage your target.
  4. If you are doing a 1 through 10 series, at the end of it? With a 7-round magazine, you will then have 4 rounds left…you must keep track of how many rounds you’ve fired!  This is as real-life as it gets in terms of training.

How you train in peace is how you’ll fight in war.

Keep a record of your training.  You can (with time) substitute actual pictures/photos in place of your numbered targets.  You want to move fluidly: with fluid dynamics, and being able to carry out your actions without needing to take your eyes off your targets.  There are more advanced ways to draw drill that we’ll cover in future articles, but this one will get you started.

 

JJ

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Best Backpack Sprayers For Your Yard and Garden

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The post Best Backpack Sprayers For Your Yard and Garden is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

There is no question that gardening can be an enjoyable experience. Carefully planting and caring for your lawn, plants, trees and even vegetables can be rewarding. However, to ensure your plants and lawn remain healthy, you have to maintain the space. Without the right tools, this can be quite time-consuming. With a quality backpack sprayer, … Read more

The post Best Backpack Sprayers For Your Yard and Garden is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Putting A Gluten Free Meal Pouch to the Taste Test

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Putting A Gluten Free Meal Pouch to the Taste Test | Backdoor Survival

One of the more frequent issues with food storage is the lack of viable options for those that must, for health reasons, maintain a gluten-free diet. I am not talking about individuals who do so by choice, but those who have Celiac disease or are seriously gluten intolerant.

Since I do not have any issues in that area, I have been hesitant to write about gluten free food storage. On the other hand, a number of readers have asked, no begged, for recommendations. While I am still not in a position to make recommendations, I am thrilled to be able to share the experience of one reader and her family. This is an impartial review, where you can read about the good things (pros) and the bad (cons). Does one outweigh the other? You be the judge.

The post Putting A Gluten Free Meal Pouch to the Taste Test by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Fertilizer Spreader Buyer’s Guide: Broadcast, Drop, Hand Held, and Tow Behind Explained

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The post Fertilizer Spreader Buyer’s Guide: Broadcast, Drop, Hand Held, and Tow Behind Explained is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

If you’re lucky enough to have a large yard or garden, you’ll probably need a fertilizer spreader to take some work off of your plate. Also known as lawn or seed spreaders, these handy tools make seeding or fertilizing your yard an absolute breeze…but choosing one can be a pain. There three different types of … Read more

The post Fertilizer Spreader Buyer’s Guide: Broadcast, Drop, Hand Held, and Tow Behind Explained is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Review: The Fantastic EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove + Giveaway

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Fantastic EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove | Backdoor Survival

When I first got an EcoZoom Versa rocket stove back in 2011, I barely knew how to start a fire, let alone keep one going. These days, I am pretty darn good at starting fires using my own DIY fire starter plus gathered biomass and kindling. I have even been known to chop a log or two. But most of all, I have become proficient at using the EcoZoom Versa, not so much because I had to, but because it is fun to use. Yes, I know. Preppers can be strange sometimes.

A couple of weeks ago, longtime sponsor EarthEasy.com asked if I would like to review the EcoZoom Versa and to share my experience with Backdoor Survival readers. After explaining that I already owned two EcoZooms, and was a big fan, they offered one up as a giveaway. How could I refuse?

Read a review of the EcoZoom and see how it is used to prepare chicken chili from food storage. Recipe included! Plus enter the giveaway to win one for free thanks to www.eartheasy.com.

The post Review: The Fantastic EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove + Giveaway by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Hardcore Prepper Blades: Gerber Mark II a Must-Have

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ReadyNutrition Readers, I recently penned a piece about the Fairbairn-Sykes/OSS model fighting knife, my personal first-choice for fighting blades.  An offshoot of that style is available and it deserves mention of its own.  The Gerber Mark II is built along those lines and is both well-made and affordable.  It was designed and first manufactured in 1966 and has been famed for its reliability and outstanding durability.

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It was used in Vietnam by American soldiers, originally without the saw-teeth in the portion of the blade closest to the hilt.  The reason this was done: the military PX’s (Post Exchanges) stopped carrying it as they said it was “too brutal” a design.  This was the time that Vietnam was drawing down and all of the peaceniks were coming out of the woodwork.  Al Mar knives helped Gerber out by redesigning it with the saw teeth to market as a “survival knife,” and mollifying the liberals, it was once again stocked in the PX.

A Must-Have Survival Knife For the Prepper Collection

The double-edged blade measures 6 ½” in length with the saw tooth serrations taking up about 1/3 of the blade’s length.  It is well-balanced and the pommel is a blunted conical shape with the tip sliced off that makes an effective striker when needed.  The blade is 1 ½” shy of optimal minimum length for combat; nevertheless, it is well worth it.  The knife comes in a Cordura Nylon sheath, and the blade itself seats inside of a heavy-gauge plastic scabbard that is mounted within the nylon. You can order it at www.Amazon.com.

This last feature is a big “plus” as many times knives will tend to wear or abrade the sheath from the inside.  Another “biggie” for me is that it can be mounted vertically or horizontally.  Now I prefer a blade to be horizontal and attached on my belt in the back, interwoven between the beltloops.  The Mark II has two snap catches: One on the hilt at an angle, and the other one straight around the handle.

If you pick this baby up and then carry it the way I do, then you’ll have to make a couple of adjustments.  Firstly, pick up some black Gorilla tape and close up that top loop of the scabbard that would allow it to be a vertical carry.  Be careful to go around the handle’s snap catch strap.  Next, after it’s mounted to your belt, you’ll have to practice disengaging the two snap catches and then drawing your blade out of the sheath.

Your toughest challenge will be to guide the blade back into the sheath accurately.  This takes some practice.  The way I do it is with two hands: one to hold the handle and move the knife back into the sheath, while my other hand takes (carefully!) the tip of the blade and guides it into the sheath’s opening.  After you’ve done this about fifty to one-hundred times, it’s pretty simple.  Then practice re-snapping the straps so the blade is secured.

Also, the saw teeth don’t have extreme points as a shark’s tooth.  They’re sharp, but they’re flat-tipped and broad, akin to a tool.  They will go in and out of a ribcage smoothly, without becoming hung up.  Just remember: whatever you’re going to purpose the knife for is the purpose it needs to be used for.  If you want it as a survival knife (although I don’t advise it) then use it as such.  If it’s a combat knife for you, then only let it be used in the art of combat.

The Mark II has great balance and the handle feels really good in the hand.  It’s a really nice piece, and somewhat affordable (prices vary) as opposed to having a custom knife made.  Try it out, and don’t forget: find someone reliable to train you in its use.  Pay good money and receive good instruction.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Review: Mountain House Emergency Food Supply Kit + Giveaway

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Review Mountain House Emergency Food Supply Kit | Backdoor Survival

Over the years, I have not been shy about stating my personal preferences when it comes to food storage. It is not that I want you to emulate exactly what I do, but rather that you consider the pros and cons of my decisions as you develop your own food storage strategy.

It is because of those preferences that most of you may already be familiar with Mountain House meal pouches. Even if you are not, I want to give you an update on why I prefer Mountain House. Read an honest review of MH entree meal pouches including six reasons to consider making them a cornerstone of your food storage strategy. Plus, in my usual style, I offer up a free 4-Day Emergency Supply Kit worth $84 in a giveaway.

The post Review: Mountain House Emergency Food Supply Kit + Giveaway by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Hose Reel Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know

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The post Hose Reel Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

I remember the days when I watered my garden with a can.Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that watering your garden with a can is bad, but when you have a large raised bed garden like I do, it’s useful to have a hose as well. When I switched to a garden hose, […]

The post Hose Reel Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Best Wheelbarrows: A Complete Wheelbarrow Buyer’s Guide

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The post Best Wheelbarrows: A Complete Wheelbarrow Buyer’s Guide is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

When I first started gardening, I did everything by hand.Big mistake!It got tiresome after just a few months, so I decided to invest in some garden tools. The first thing I bought myself was a high-quality wheelbarrow. If you haven’t yet invested in a wheelbarrow, it’s the most efficient way to transport your soil, mulch, […]

The post Best Wheelbarrows: A Complete Wheelbarrow Buyer’s Guide is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

The Best Garden Carts: Choosing the Right Cart For You

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The post The Best Garden Carts: Choosing the Right Cart For You is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Garden carts are an essential part of every gardener’s toolkit. So why don’t you have one yet?If you’re a fan of efficiency like me, you know that loading up all of your garden tools, supplies, and soil in a garden cart and then hauling them out to the garden makes a lot more sense than […]

The post The Best Garden Carts: Choosing the Right Cart For You is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Hose Nozzles and Sprayers: A Complete Buyer’s Guide

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The post Hose Nozzles and Sprayers: A Complete Buyer’s Guide is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a lazy gardener.I want my tools to do most of the work.This is even more true when it comes to watering my garden. When I first started gardening, I worked with what I had on hand…a good hose reel and a high-quality garden hose. But neither of those […]

The post Hose Nozzles and Sprayers: A Complete Buyer’s Guide is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Rooting Hormones Explained and Reviewed

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The post Rooting Hormones Explained and Reviewed is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Have you tried to propagate plants but not had much success?Have you excitedly taken cuttings from your garden and placed them lovingly in your nursery, only to see them wilting and drooping?Well, you might be missing out on a key element of propagating cuttings successfully – using rooting hormone. If you’ve never experimented with rooting […]

The post Rooting Hormones Explained and Reviewed is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Review: How to Filter Water With a Lifestraw Mission + Giveaway

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How to Filter Water LifeStraw Mission | Backdoor Survival

We need water for drinking, cooking, bathing, cleaning, and overall hygiene. Without good water, we will suffer and could even die. That said, a struggle for many is not how to source water but rather how to make bad water good. After all, the last thing we want to find a source of water, use it, and end up married to the toilet god or worse.

Over the years, I have learned to trust Lifestraw products for their ease of use and portability.Learn how and why the LifeStraw Mission is the perfect water purifier for those times when portability, affordability, and ease of use are important.

Learn how and why the LifeStraw Mission is the perfect water purifier for those times when portability, affordability, and ease of use are important. Plus enter the giveaway to win one for free.

The post Review: How to Filter Water With a Lifestraw Mission + Giveaway by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

The Best Plant Humidifiers For Your Indoor Garden

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The post The Best Plant Humidifiers For Your Indoor Garden is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

If you’ve ever walked into a botanical garden or been fortunate enough to travel to a tropical area, you’ve been blasted by warm, humid air. When I first got into houseplants and tropical plants, I was shocked at how much humidity some of them needed to thrive. Taking care of my new plants seemed simple […]

The post The Best Plant Humidifiers For Your Indoor Garden is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

The Best Potting Soils: How to Choose The Right Potting Mix For Your Plants

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The post The Best Potting Soils: How to Choose The Right Potting Mix For Your Plants is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

If you’re growing in containers, chances are good you’re using some kind of potting soil for your precious plants.But what if I told you that the “soil” in your pot isn’t technically “soil” at all? What if I told you that it’s a mix made of composted tree materials, peat moss, and a myriad of […]

The post The Best Potting Soils: How to Choose The Right Potting Mix For Your Plants is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

5 Best Seed Starting Mixes For Explosive Plant Growth

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The post 5 Best Seed Starting Mixes For Explosive Plant Growth is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Whether you’re planning for spring or just getting a head start on your gardening tasks in general, starting seeds can be one of the trickiest parts of being a gardener. If you’re used to buying seedlings from your local nursery and haven’t ever started seeds before, it can be daunting to figure out exactly what […]

The post 5 Best Seed Starting Mixes For Explosive Plant Growth is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Your Choetech Flashlight Does What? A Backdoor Survival Giveaway

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Review Choetech Flashlight& Powerbank | Backdoor Survival

This Choetech Emergency Flashlight includes a power bank to charge your mobile devices. It is also rechargeable and has a built-in seat belt cutter and window breaker. It is value priced at only $7.99 but you can enter the giveaway to win one for free. There will be five winners.

The post Your Choetech Flashlight Does What? A Backdoor Survival Giveaway by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Could This Be the Most Versatile Firearm to Use in a SHTF Scenario?

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Well, ReadyNutrition firearms enthusiasts, we are following up our .45 ACP article with another piece on a superb cartridge…the .357 magnum round.  Invented by Phil Sharpe and Elmer Keith, the .357 magnum (hereafter referred to in this piece as the “.357”) is a very versatile and highly-dependable cartridge that has been around for almost one hundred years.  Introduced in 1935, it is an “evolution,” so to speak from the .38 caliber round.  It has an interesting history that should raise more than a few eyebrows.

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During the Depression Days and the Bootlegging Era, the .357 magnum was developed (one of the reasons) because of the gangsters and gang wars that were rampant during the days of Prohibition.  The round was needed to be able to “puncture” both bulletproof vests and automobiles during these skirmishes of cops and robbers.  The vests were defeating any bullets (at the time) of under 1,000 feet per second (fps), and the only round that was overcoming them was the Colt’s .38 Super Automatic.

Smith and Wesson came along and jumped on the bandwagon.  They wanted to expand the .38 cartridge that was in use by law enforcement.  After many failures, the .357 finally came about.  For those of you guys and gals that mentioned in e-mails and comments about the recoil (“kick”) of the .45 ACP, the .357 magnum has less recoil, and yet does not sacrifice stopping power to attain it.  Your bullet weights range (generally) from 125 grains (gr) to 158 gr.

The .357 is an excellent cartridge for home defense, as well as for hunting and for target-shooting.  It is the smallest size magnum cartridge that will have effect against large game, and if firing +P rounds (with a brand such as Buffalo Bore), can be used in self-defense against large predators.  Mind you, in Grizzly country you prefer the .44 Magnum round, but the .357 +P round has been effective in stopping these monsters.

There are plenty of handguns and rifles to choose from for your cartridge.  I highly recommend Ruger’s SP-101 series revolver, with a barrel length to your choosing.  Although a five-shot revolver, that .357 is a serious round…a magnum round…and will more than serve your needs if your marksmanship fundamentals are followed.  You can find lever-action rifles chambered in .357 magnum, such as the Marlin lever-action carbine.  One that I am interested in is the Rossi Ranch Hand, that boasts a greatly-enlarged finger-loop for use by cattlemen and cowboys.

The Ranch Hand can be kept in a side sheath on a horse and then withdrawn to fire from a moving gallop and reloaded (re-levered) with the enlarged finger loop.  My interest is to remove the loop and replace it with a more standard-sized finger loop such as is found in the Winnie ’94.  The reason is because it is really a short carbine.  I was thinking of doing this to stick in a sheath atop of my rucksack.  I’m still deliberating, because the Ranch Hand also comes in a .44 Magnum cartridge.  I like both rounds for bear and mountain lion country.

The .357 cartridge is easily acquired and simple to reload.  You are getting the accuracy of a 9mm cartridge with a stopping power on a level with a .45 ACP.  Your velocity of the rounds is approximately 1,300 fps.  Want another “Bennie” for this equation?  No, not Benzedrine…a Benefit!  If you have a firearm that will fire a .357 magnum round, you are (99% of the time) also able to fire a .38 round through it, such as a standard .38 Special round!  There’s a plus for you…as you’ll have a weapon that can fire multiple calibers without a barrel change.


Caution!  It doesn’t work in reverse: your .38 is NOT able to handle the extra chamber pressure from the .357 magnum round! 


I’m highlighting, underlining, and isolating that sentence just so that you keep it in mind for your safety.  The ammo is very reasonably-priced and can be obtained in your friendly Wal-Mart quite availably and affordably.  It’s a good piece for men or women and the round will serve your needs well.  The .357 magnum round is quite reliable and has been dependable for a long time.  Happy and safe shooting, and we’d love any questions or comments you may send us.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Prepper Book Festival: The Preppers Canning Guide + Giveaway

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Preppers Canning Guide | Backdoor Survival

Canning is a blessing and a curse. For seasoned canners, preserving the local bounty not only saves money but is a relaxing and stress-free experience. These same canners giddily prepare fully cooked meals in jars, to be opened and reheated at a moment’s notice.

And everyone else? They suffer a fear of the canning process, botulism, and of blowing themselves up along with their kitchen. Don’t let this canning curse prevent you from learning and benefiting from this important skill. With The Prepper’s Canning Guide, my good friend Daisy Luther teaches you how to can without fear! Enter the giveaway to win a copy for free. There will be three winners!

The post Prepper Book Festival: The Preppers Canning Guide + Giveaway by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Duct Tape EDC

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Duct tape is an EDC (every day carry) for me.  I’ve been carrying it since high school.  A skater friend gave me the idea when I saw his shoes all duct taped up.  He told me  he gets holes in his shoes from skateboarding.  It’s apparently hard to do jumps […]

The post Duct Tape EDC appeared first on Preppers Survive.

SHTF Gear Box Unvieled: $154 worth of stuff for $89

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Two bladed instruments which were in the box

I finally got around to opening the gear box from SHTFClub.com and was pleasantly surprised at the contents contained within.  Remember, this is a subscription program and there are three tiers:

  • Basic Plan: $19.99/mo
  • Pro Plan: $49.99
  • Elite Plan: $89.99

Originally I was a bit skeptical because after all, why would I pay to receive a box of unknown items when I could simply go to the store and do it myself.  The reason I believe is threefold.

1- Convenience.  Every month you’ll have a box arrive on your doorstep of items which adds to your stash, many of these items you probably would not get for yourself in the first place.  Additionally since you can cancel at any time, let’s say you don’t want to continue after 3 months it’s no problem.

2- It’s like Christmas, every time.  I’ll admit there was a part of me that enjoyed opening the box and then being surprised at what was contained within,  the crossbow pistol had the little boy inside of me ready to plink at trees all around the house.

3- You get more than you pay for.  I added up the individual retail cost for all items contained in the Elite ($89) box and came up with $154.  That’s a pretty decent savings if you ask me.

Full Contents of SHTFClub Box

Pictured above are all the contents of the box, what follows is a list of each and the retail price which I found online.

Cobra Crossbow: $32
S&W Field Watch: $22
M48 Sling Bag: $29
Survivor Knife: $14
Tomahawk Axe: $17
Splint: $10
UV Glostick: $6
Keychain: $5
FM 5-31: $13
Kale Seeds: $2
Wise Foods: $5

Total: $154

Some general thoughts about the contents of the kit are that while not  the most highspeed ever, almost all of it could be useful.  I’ll admit the crossbow is sort of a novelty item but the watch would make a great backup and the Sling Bag is already in my wife’s car as a replacement trauma kit bag.  Both blades are backup and not primary tools but the UV Glostick is something that I have used successfully in the past on backpacking trips, I’ll definitely strap it to the outside of my wife’s pack.

Over the shoulder bag

The real question is, do I think there is value in this program and would i continue to participate in it going forward?  The answer is yes, but I would have to see what the second and third box contained before deciding to move forward with the subscription, or maybe scale back to the Pro ($49) program.  If you are on a tight budget this might not be for you, but if you have a little bit to spend knowing that you will get more than you pay for I’d say give in a shot for a month or two.  I was pleasantly surprised at the contents of the box and I think you would be too.

 

Review: Learn About Wiebe Specialty Skinning Knives + Giveaway

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Wiebe Specialty Skinning Knives | Backdoor Survival

If there is one piece of gear that is universal in any bug out bag or survival kit, it is a knife. Simply put, in situations of self-reliance, there is no shortage of work to be done with a knife. Having the right knife is simply a must.

One company that is doing their best to put out a lineup of quality knives is Wiebe Knives. In this review, learn about the Wiebe line of specialty knives plus enter to win a set of two knives in a giveaway. There will be two winners.

The post Review: Learn About Wiebe Specialty Skinning Knives + Giveaway by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Why “This War of Mine” Is the Perfect Video Game for Preppers

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this war of mineTo my knowledge, the video game industry has never really catered to preppers. Though they do create games that contain survival situations, they are generally steeped in glorified violence. Likewise, their attempts to create games with post-apocalyptic story lines are almost always based in pure fantasy.

If they did create a game that tackled survival situations or the collapse of society in a realistic way, the realism would probably suck all of the fun out of the game. Or at least that’s what you’d think. However, there is one video game that tackles both of those subjects brilliantly, without sacrificing fun or realism. It’s called “This War of Mine,” and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

As that trailer suggests, this is a war game unlike any other, in that you experience war through the eyes of a handful of civilians who aren’t taking part in the combat. They are merely trying to survive the terrible conditions that war creates. For that reason, I’m actually a bit surprised that the prepper community hasn’t latched onto this game, despite the fact that it’s has been out since 2014. This War of Mine captures the gut wrenching experience of survival in ways that don’t compare to most games.

And like I said, it’s fun. However, it’s not fun in the traditional sense. It’s not glorious and epic and bombastic. It’s subdued. You don’t experience fun by vanquishing waves of faceless enemies. You experience the satisfaction of surviving another day.

The game takes place in the fictional war-torn city of Pogoren. The conditions found in this city are inspired by the real world Siege of Sarajevo, which took place between 1992 and 1996. You command three or four civilians with no military experience. Each character has unique skills and attributes such as cooking, scavenging, bartering, strength, and speed.

You’re hunkered down in a dilapidated house, and you’re responsible for building barricades, stoves, workbenches, rain collectors, water filters, weapons, tools, alcohol stills, and traps, and more. You have to keep these folks alive in this house until a cease-fire is signed and the siege is lifted, which occurs at a random point in the game. You’re responsible for keeping them well-fed, well-rested, warm, and protected from looters and thieves.

So what makes this game so realistic? For starters, there is a degree of luck and randomness in the game that makes it unpredictable. Certain resources and events are generated randomly each time you play. You can’t just play through it once and master it. Strategies that will help you survive one play-through might not help you in another, so you’re always flying by the seat of your pants.

Also, you don’t get to save your game whenever you want. The game will only save at the beginning of each day, and you can’t go back to previous days. So if you make a mistake, there are often no do-overs. So say you send one of your characters out to go scavenging for supplies and that character dies, you can’t go back and try again. And when that happens, the remaining characters have to take a larger share of the daily tasks that are needed to keep everyone alive.

Because of these conditions, you can’t fight your way through the game. Unlike most video games, you can’t just go around killing people and taking their supplies. In fact, most combat encounters will kill you. And even if you survive an encounter like that, you’re almost definitely going to have an injury that requires rest and medical supplies to recover from. To survive this game, you have to be smart, stealthy, and diplomatic. Just like the real world, you’re much better off engaging in trade than you are by engaging in combat, which should be treated as a last resort.

And finally, This War of Mine will really challenge your altruism and morality. You will be faced with situations that will give you the opportunity to be charitable, and you don’t really know if you’ll be rewarded or screwed over. There are times in this game when you will run out of supplies, and you’ll be faced with the choice of going hungry and cold, or stealing from your neighbors.

For sure, This War of Mine is a grim and unforgiving game, but that’s what makes it so perfect for preppers. It will definitely put you in the headspace of someone who is just trying to survive.

 

Don’t forget to join us March 9th 7 p.m. (CST) for a FREE interactive webinar about solar cooking. Click here for more details!

MARCH9G

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

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

EveryDay Carry (EDC) Long Term Review

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Everyday carry is a popular subject, often interlaced with the two is one and one is none concept.  There are multiple ends of the spectrum as with anything, folks who go bare essentials and others who have 2 or 3 of everything they carry (read: redundancy) complete with stuff loaded into cargo pockets and strapped to their ankles – or in the pockets of their super incognito fisherman’s vest.   I must admit that my EDC loadout changes sometimes as I tweak things or change out kit, what follows is a long term review of the items I have carried on my person for at least the last year.  I should add one note in that I do not believe my personal loadout is the be all end all, everyone has their preferences which align with their comfort level and training.

EDC Loadout

You’ll see in the above picture my basic loadout, I’ve included my belt because I think that is a very important and often overlooked item.  After all almost everything pictured hangs off of my belt, that leather braided belt from 1991 won’t cut it in 2017 if one is serious about stability and comfort.

Glock 19 / Surefire XC1 / G Code XC1 Inside the Waistband (IWB) Holster

Glock 19 with Surefire XC1

I won’t spend much time here as everyone has their personal preference with respect to weapons but I totally dig the Glock 19.  I’ve carried many other weapons and I think the Glock 19 offers the best combination of concealment and performance.  The Surefire XC1 is a great light which isn’t too bulky, I’ve seen folks run a Streamlight TLR IWB and it’s just too much for me.  Granted the XC1 doesn’t put out as much light but it does the trick.  All this fits nicely into the G Code holster, a nice sturdy holster which is also very comfortable and functional.  I’ve run many holsters in the past and my current favorite and go to is the G Code (I have two of them).;

Benchmade Mini Barrage (Serrated)

Benchmade Pocket Knife

This has been a fantastic pocket knife which I use almost on a daily basis.  I’ve done everything from start fires with it to cut gouda cheese on the countertop.  I have carried a few knives in the past and for me this size (2.91 inch blade) is perfect, I’ve yet to encounter a situation where I wished I had a larger blade.  The blade does keep its edge very well, I use a Spyderco Tri Angle sharpener to tighten it up occasionally.

Casio Pro Trek Watch

Casio Pro Trek

I’ve worn this watch just about every day for over 2 years and have found it to be a key addition to my EDC.  Although it has a boatload of features I primarily use it for: current time and date, stopwatch, altitude check, compass (occasionally).  The fact that it keeps a charge via the sun is a bonus, no batteries to worry about changing out.  I’ve worn it on long hikes and jumped out of airplanes with it, it’s a great watch at a decent price point.

KA-BAR TDI Law Enforcement Knife

KA BAR TDI Self Defense Knife

I run this knife on my left side, pretty much centered between my spare mag holder and belt buckle.  Good placement for a quick grab with my non-dominant hand but still accessible with my other hand.  Fortunately I’ve never had to use this knife but it is there in case I need it.  The small kydex holster with clip work well and slide in and out nicely.

Bravo Concealment Spare Mag Carrier

Bravo Concealment Mag Carrier

Lots of options out there for spare mag carriers, all of which pretty much do the same thing.  I will say that I prefer to run a single mag carrier, OWB, on my left hip.  It’s what is comfortable for me and even though I carry my Glock 19 IWB (Appendix) I still prefer my spare mag to be in the traditional location.

5.11 1.75 inch TDU Duty Belt

5.11 Duty Belt

Simple, sturdy, effective.  This belt really doesn’t have any of the fancy features of many other duty belts but at $15 who is going to complain?  These can be picked up just about anywhere and are reversible for all of those who need to color coordinate.  Great belt which I highly recommend.

The Bottom Line

There is no one right answer to EDC, what I run and you run may be completely different.  What I run today I might not be using in 6 months or a year as I try out new gear or make adjustments in what I carry.  I do believe the most important thing is that the gear you carry is tested, ready to use and comfortable in an all day (wearing it) setting.  On a final note I should mention that I sometimes run a CAT-TQ and Quikclot Combat Gauze on my person but when I do not it’s always within reach.  Since I do not carry those items 100% of the time I intentionally left them out.  Good luck with your own EDC and remember to train with it!

 

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Review: Power in a Pinch

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Behold, the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus in all its glory, but is it really all folks state that it is cracked up to be….?

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus

Before we get into this, straight from the Goal Zero website.

With the Guide 10 Plus Recharger and Nomad 7 Solar Panel you have a portable, rugged charging kit as adventurous as you are. Charge AAs from the sun or any USB port, then power your phone, MP3, GPS, or perk up your tablet in a pinch.

Let’s cut to the chase here before I get into my detailed review.  This thing is indeed great for power in a pinch but can be a chore, might not even be necessary for the simple weekend trip.  Obviously we are not talking SHTF here because if that were the case, are we truly concerned about charging cell phones when the entire grid is down.  Overall I’d have to say at this price point (around $100) it’s affordable, if you spend more than a few days out in remote areas it can be a nice to have item but don’t go out of your way to snag one up.

I spend a good amount of time out in the wilderness but never for more than a few days at a time (for the most part).  In those instances I usually leave my electronic devices off because…there is no cell phone signal.  I do carry a Delorme InReach Explorer on my person but the battery life of that device is more than sufficient for a 2-3 day trek.  For me and what I do the Goal Zero is a nice to have but also not a necessity.  I could hang it off my pack as an insurance plan knowing that power would always be there, no outlet needed, but again I’ve yet to run into an instance where I NEEDED power.

The Experiment

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Hooked Up

I charged up the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus to full power (indicated by the green LED on the device) and connected it to my cell phone which was sitting at 17% charge.  16 mins into this the battery pack was showing red, no more charge and my phone was up to 24%.  Interesting.  I then plugged my phone into the wall and 1 hour and 2 mins later it was at 76% (I had to leave).  I set the Goal Zero back out on the deck to recharge.

Indicating Red Quickly

Round Number 2

I decided to give the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus a second chance later in the day after letting my phone battery drain and the GZ battery pack charge.  My iPhone was at 15% when I hooked up the GZ device, it only took 15 mins for the green light on the battery pack to turn amber (30% charge on my phone).  It did last significantly longer this time, running a full 1 hour and 25 mins before turning red (no more charge) and bringing my phone up to 87% charge.  Decent but not exactly earth shattering.

Final Thoughts

As previously stated I suppose one would benefit from having this device versus not having it for longer periods out in the wilderness.  It will limp your small mobile devices along but isn’t exactly a power plant, nor was it probably designed to be.  If you are the type to take a weekend trip I suggest making sure you have a full charge on your phone and bringing along a small power pack which will probably give you 1-2 full charges, less space than the solar panels and more effective.  If you are the type to spend more than a few days out there, you probably already have this and have figured out a way to make it work.  Personally I was a bit underwhelmed but hey, solar is…solar.

 

Review: Be Prepared with the Archeer Jump Starter + Giveaway

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Be Prepared with the Archeer Jump Starter | Backdoor Survival

Most of the time when a vehicle will not start, it is due to a dead battery. This can happen at any time and it seems that the newer the car, the more likely this can happen. I know this from experience. We have a fairly new Subaru and unbeknownst to us, the battery stayed “hot” with the key in the ignition but turned to the off position. Until we figured this out, we had a vehicle that would not start at the most inopportune times.

As annoying as this situation can be, it is even more so in the winter months, when being stranded in a cold vehicle while waiting for help to arrive can be miserable. Today I present a solution, the Archeer Car Jump Starter & External Battery Emergency Kit. The compact device will not only jump start your battery but will also serve as a battery pack to charge your phone or tablet while on the go. This great little unit is compact and portable and I have one up for grabs in the latest Backdoor Survival giveaway.

The post Review: Be Prepared with the Archeer Jump Starter + Giveaway by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

The Best Rain Barrels Right Now [2017 Update]

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The post The Best Rain Barrels Right Now [2017 Update] is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

If you’re a gardener, you’ve probably wondered how you can collect natural rain to water your garden. If you don’t know much about gardening, you still might love having a rain barrel. It can make you more self-sufficient, help you save money and let you water your yard even during a drought.Before I bought my […]

The post The Best Rain Barrels Right Now [2017 Update] is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

Review: Be Medically Prepared with a Gunshot & Bleeding Wound Kit + Giveaway

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Be Medically Prepared with a Gunshot & Bleeding Wound Kit | Backdoor Survival

Accidents do happen and we all need to be prepared for a medical emergency when help may not be on the way. It is my belief that everyone should have a kit that can control severe bleeding and my top choice is the Gunshot Wound Kit from Joe and Amy Alton’s Doom and Bloom Store. Today I will tell you about the kit and also, in a fantastic giveaway, offer both the kit and a copy of the book, The Survival Medicine Handbook, Third Edition, to one lucky reader of this article.

The post Review: Be Medically Prepared with a Gunshot & Bleeding Wound Kit + Giveaway by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

How to Make Coffee Using a French Press + Giveaway

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How to Make Coffee Using a French Press | Backdoor Survival

If you are anything like me, you have a tough time facing the day without first imbibing on a robust cup of hot coffee. Can you imagine being in a survival situation, faced with the stress of a disruptive event, and not having your morning fix of java?
Although I say this somewhat tongue in cheek, the reality is that drinking coffee is a simple comfort that can bring pleasure when things are not going well.

With that in mind, over the past few months, I have been on a mission to create an excellent cup of coffee while using minimal effort and as little fuel from a heat source as possible. What I settled on was a French Press. Today I will show you how they work plus, in my usual style, offer one up for grabs in the first product giveaway of the year.

The post How to Make Coffee Using a French Press + Giveaway by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.