Being Resourceful When Necessary – A Self-Reliant Value To Live By! Re-purposing Old Hangers!

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In choosing to live a life that is more self-reliant, one should value being a good steward of their resources and learn how to reuse or recycle items to serve other purposes.  If we are in a downward economic spiral, like many believe, we will need to learn how to do more with less, to be frugal, value DIY and become resourceful.

I tried to put some “walk to my talk” a few weekends back when I reused old hangers as landscaping staples.

After the demise of my two backyard chickens, my coop started to fall into disrepair.  Since I didn’t want to raise chickens anymore (although we all loved the eggs), I put the coop up on Craigslist and eventually gave it to a family that was homesteading.  As you would expect, the chickens tore up the ground, including ripping up the weed blocker that was WAY below their coop.  As the coop laid empty, weeds started popping up everywhere.  Since we have a pool and people come over often, I wanted to get it ready for Summertime pool parties and such.

I knew when the local Boy Scout troop came around selling bags of mulch for a fundraiser, that I was in luck.  I would have normally purchased bulk mulch, had it dropped into the bed of my truck and then spend the time carrying it from the truck bed to the backyard.  But, by supporting the local Boy Scout troop, I was able to get the mulch delivered and dropped off right in my backyard!

I had weed blocker left over from previous years, so that wasn’t an expense.  I didn’t have the landscaping staples to hold the weed blocker down in the ground, and in all honesty, my experience with them is that they are not very useful anyway.  They are usually too short and start to pop-up.

I have a ton of wire hangers from getting my clothes laundered at the cleaners.  I know it is an expense, but it is worth it to me.  I used to spend a lot of time ironing my clothes in the morning, this way, I get to spend more time in prayer and reading my Bible.  So, it’s worth it to me!

In the past, I have come across various articles that give tips on how to reuse wire hangers for various purposes.  I usually take loads of wire hangers up to the country to have them up there for whenever we might need some wire.  But, I decided to use about nine to make some super long landscape staples to hold the weed blocker down while I spread the mulch.

The only tools I used were some pliers and snips.  I really didn’t even need the pliers!

See the pics below.

I started by cutting off the hanger’s hook.

I then cut the long piece even with one of the shorter ends, and did the same to the other side. This left me a small 2″ piece to throw away.  I straightened out the “hanger” staples a little before inserting them into the weed blocker.

Weed blocker before the DIY Landscaping Staples.

Because the DIY Landscaping Staples are so much longer than regular landscaping staples, they really stuck into the ground, even when I was walking all over the weed blocker.

The Boy Scouts made this easy…

Finished area.

Conclusion

This isn’t groundbreaking, earthshattering preparedness here.  But, it does speak to reusing items to benefit your quality of life. I see many people give their hangers back to the cleaners when they pick up their clothes.  I’m ok with that.  That is their version of recycling.  However, I figure that the hangers are part of my payment for the cleaning, so I want to use them for something that I can benefit from.

This little project didn’t take me anytime.  But I know that the hanger staples will stay much better than landscaping staples I could have purchased from Home Depot or Amazon.

 

What other ways have you used hangers?

Peace,
Todd

5 Sustainable Ways to Repurpose Newspapers

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newspaper sustainableHey, all of you Readers out there in ReadyNutrition Land!

Some of the you are looking to make more sustainable choices for your home. No doubt many of you have read articles on how the trash in our homes can serve other purposes.  Learning how to get creative and make do with what you have around you is the core of being self-reliant – and what many of us are trying to achieve.

Small Changes Make Big Impacts

One way we can all minimize the amount of trash that comes into our homes is simply to reuse it. Newspapers seem to accumulate the most in homes and knowing its many uses can serve you in a more sustainable manner. Here are give interesting ways you can utilize all of those old newspapers lying around.

1. Fuel

Let’s forget about the news portion, shall we, and concentrate on some uses for that old Sunday paper.  Firstly, there’s fuel, and as we’ve been doing a lot of articles on woodstoves and winter preps, what could be more in line?  Fire starting material for your winter fires is one thing.  Another is (during the summertime) making bricks out of torn, soaked newspapers that are place into a press and then compacted.

log maker

This Single Paper Log Maker is a great investment for making paper logs. It’s a very simple design.  I have one myself.  You shred your newspaper, wet it (a plastic bin is best for this), and then form it into bricks by pressing it with the bars of the press you see above.  The water squirts out all over the place (do it in your backyard…there’s no room in the bathtub), and you come out with a “brick” that you can allow to dry by setting in the sun.  It takes several days to dry, and making these bricks is one heck of a workout!  You may be able to make about a dozen of them in a couple of hours. They are compacted, and the burn time varies, although they’ll go for at least 45 min. to an hour.

Newspaper can also be cut into 3” strips, rolled up tightly, and soaked in paraffin for fire-starting material.  These guys can be kept in small cans, akin to tuna fish cans after they’re rolled…the tuna fish cans give you about a 2” roll.  Then place a wick in them…a real wick…and use them for a candle.

2. Insulation Material

Remember that article I wrote about the importance of having a thermos in the wintertime and in the extreme cold weather?  Well, guess what?  You can take those coolers and cardboard boxes and further insulate that thermos by: 1. Rolling the thermos up in several layers of newspaper, and 2. “Balling,” or “crunching” up a whole bunch of the newspaper, and then “nesting” your thermos in the middle of your box…to provide further insulation and some “loft” in between the walls of the container and your thermos.

3. Make Your Own Paper

If you are interested in making paper, now is your time to start recycling the newspaper.  There are plenty of books and videos that show how to do it.  In addition, you can take natural materials such as leaves, grass, dried plant stalks, etc., macerate (chop) them and then add to the shredded-up newspaper.  Be careful in this case to use the black and white, and not the colored newspaper, as the colors will leach and make it more difficult for you to blend.

A good supply of newspapers can be stacked and stored within bins.  Ensure there are no dripping flammable liquids around, or anything that can potentially ignite them, and store them in a cool, dry place.  Store them as they come: flat and compressed as they are when they’re brand new.

4. Emergency Insulation

Newspaper can be used for extra insulation when it is needed, and your vehicle should have a small box/bin with a short stack.  You never know when you’ll have to have a fire such as if there’s an accident, or a breakdown that leaves you stranded in the middle of nowhere.

5. Transport Meat and Fish

You can also use it as a field-expedient way to wrap up fish or meat if you need to transport them…as I mentioned, it is not the preferred method, but it is a method.  During the winter, it can keep a layer of insulation between the cold and the meat and keep the exterior from freezing.  In the summer, it will keep flies and other pests from laying eggs in the meat.

So, these are a few for starters.  What uses have you found for newspaper?  Any ideas, “recipes,” or useful projects we would love to hear about, so drop us your comments and let us know what things you guys and gals do with yours!  Oh, and I almost forgot…what could be more quaint than taking a really-expensive or high-quality gift and wrapping it up in newspaper?  A big surprise there that will surely earn a laugh!  Keep in that good fight!

JJ

 

Here are some other great ways to use newspaper:

Learn how to simplify your life using what you have around you

Make your own seed tape

Make paper pots for growing plants

Stash some newspapers aside for pets during emergencies

 

 

 

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

MARCH9G 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

20 Practical Ways to Use Bacon Grease

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bacon greaseBacon are little strips of heaven and always makes everything better, doesn’t it? My family recently bought half of a pig from a local farmer and guess what was eaten first? That’s right, the delectable bacon. But what about the leftover bacon grease? This happens to be one of the most thrown away items, but can serve more than one purpose. There are many ways to use this healthy animal fat and in our quest to be less of a throw away generation, it’s time we learn how this useful byproduct can be used.

Fats are one of the four main food sources that should be in your food pantry. Those who are prepper-oriented know of the important role that fats have in our nutrition, especially during times of emergencies.

  1. Fats are an essential component in any diet for proper vitamin absorption. Specifically, Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning they can only be digested, absorbed, and transported in conjunction with fats.
  2. Fats also plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and hair, insulating body organs against shock, maintaining body temperature, and promoting healthy cell function.
  3. They also serve as energy stores for the body.
  4. Fats are also sources of essential fatty acids, which are an important dietary requirement and also serves as a useful buffer towards a host of diseases. (Source)
  5. Fats are one of the 4 Things You Must Eat To Avoid Malnutrition.

As a southern girl, we always had bacon on the weekends and my mother would pour the fat into a metal grease collector and put in our fridge. When my mother needed to add some extra “flavor” to dishes, she would take a spoonful or two and add it turnip greens or to use for grandma’s famous biscuits. I could go on and on about how to cook with bacon grease (I did include a few in the list), but I know that you all probably know those secrets too. Instead, I wanted to share some more practical applications you can use bacon grease for. But first, you need to know how to properly store this animal fat.

To Store Bacon Grease:

2 pounds of bacon will create 3/4 cup-1 cup of bacon grease

grease crock

Reserve an old coffee tin or bacon grease crock and pour over a paper towel or strainer while it is hot to get out the little bacon bits. Lard will keep longer if you strain it because the meat bits are the first thing that will go rancid.

If you’re using a glass container to store bacon grease, allow the grease to cool before pouring it into the container so the glass will not to break  from the extreme temperature change. Some people have used coffee mugs to avoid this problem.

When the grease is cool it will be an off white to brown color depending on how the bacon was cooked and at what temperature.

Cover your container with a lid or plastic wrap to keep outside smells from flavoring your grease.  Many people claim that it can be kept indefinitely on the countertop but I keep mine in the fridge just to be sure. You can also freeze it for longer storage.

Bacon grease will last 6-9 months in your refrigerator or freezer.

20 Uses for Bacon Lard

Leftover bacon grease has many uses including a quick splinter removal or even making a quick candle (See how easy this is below). As well, consider these other additional uses for bacon grease.

  1. Those who are interested in natural living will be happy to know that it can also be used for biofuel. One a side note, if a vehicle was run solely on bacon grease, would that make it a bacon mobile? I kid, I kid; but if you plan on using lard for this, make sure the lard or grease is filtered to remove any bits of leftover food.
  2. Did you know that lard can be used as a preservation method? Many homesteaders swear by this method. Author, Carla Emery explains how to do this in her bestselling book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living.

    “The fat seals the air out… After slaughtering a hog, the fat was rendered into lard. Those cuts of the hog that were not cured for smoking, or made into sausage, like the shoulder, were fried. While still hot, these slices of pork steak were preserved through the winter by larding. In a large crock, layer on layer of the fried steaks was covered with hot lard. This meat was then used through the winter by scraping the lard off each layer. The amount necessary for a meal was removed and reheated. The used lard was reused in pies or other baking or cooking and ultimately for soap.”

  3. Make cookies just like grandma with these bacon fat ginger snaps.
  4. Reward your dog with homemade bacon flavored dog biscuits. Along those lines, you can also drizzle a little bacon grease in your dog’s food bowl and this will encourage Fido to eat his food.
  5. Season your skillet or your cast iron cookware.
  6. Make bacon gravy. Did you mom ever make cream gravy? All you need is some milk, flour and bacon grease and this will make your meal sing! Here’s a recipe you can use.
  7. Make a candle – Pour the bacon grease in a cup or can, and place a wick inside. Give the grease a few minutes to soak into the wick, and then place it in the fridge until it solidifies. Viola! You now have the best smelling candle that money didn’t buy (at least if you like the smell of breakfast).
  8. Bacon grease is a great substitution for butter. 1 tablespoon of bacon grease can be used in place of butter or oil in just about any recipe; and don’t even get me started on how delicious bacon grease is with sauteing potatoes!
  9. Make some handy firestarters for your next camping trip by dipping a cotton ball or a piece of tinder in the fat and storing it in an unused Altoids tin can. Voila! You could even use bacon grease that has accidentally been left out and gone rancid, to make the most of what you have.
  10. Who wouldn’t want to bathe themselves with some bacon soap? You can use just about any animal fat to make soap, including bacon grease.
  11. How about some tasty pemmican? This Native American superfood is made of fat (typically deer fat but any will do), jerky made from lean meat, and dried fruits and/or berries. You just ball up the ingredients in equal parts and tuck it away. Here’s a great recipe!
  12. If you’ve run out of your leather boot protectant and need a quick alternative, animal fat is the way to go! In fact, one of the secrets that backpackers have used to waterproof boots is with animal fats.
  13. Make a bird feeder! The Girl Scouts taught me this one. Take a pine cone and cover it with bacon grease and then sprinkle wild bird seed over it. This is a great craft you can do with your kids!
  14. Fix those squeaky hinges! Add a dollop of bacon grease to a rag and grease hinges. They should quiet down without a problem. This will also work on squeaky wheels!
  15. Trap bugs. You can trap annoying bugs by placing a plastic container of bacon grease and a bit of vegetable oil in a common bug area. The oil will be too thick for bugs to fly out of, trapping them for life.
  16. Moisturize your hands and heels. Cracked hands and heels can be very painful. Instead of Vaseline, rub some bacon grease on your heels. Apply a bit before bedtime, put on your socks and get cozy. In the morning, your feet will be brand new again and soft as ever. This is because animal fat contains vitamins A, D, K, and E.
  17. Grease your muffin, pie or cake pans. This will no doubt add just a touch of bacon flavor to your baked goods, but who wouldn’t want that?
  18. Stop boiling pots from overflowing. I just learned this handy little trick. By dropping a bit of oil or bacon grease into the pan when boiling pasta will help it not boil over.
  19. Take your sandwiches to the next level with baconnaise. Here’s the recipe. You’re welcome. You could even add a spoonful of bacon grease to condiments like ketchup or barbecue sauce to give it a little extra flavor.
  20. Pour used bacon grease into a tuna or cat food can, chill until firm, and wire the can to a tree to give your feathered visitors some food. Bacon grease may be gross to some of us, but it attracts bluebirds, crows, jays, ravens, starlings, woodpeckers and Carolina wrens.

Now that you know twenty more ingenious ways to use bacon grease, it’s time to get crackin’! This healthy animal fat is one of the most popular and one that adds the most flavor to any recipe. Best of all, it’s free with your bacon; so don’t let it go to waste!

How do you use leftover bacon grease?

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

Cook Like Grandma with these Bacon Fat Gingersnaps

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 I love finding news ways of using things I would otherwise throw out. The uses for bacon grease are too many to list, but I had to share one of my favorites – bacon fat cookies!

As if cookies weren’t good enough, adding some bacon fat to them takes them to an entirely different level. The smoky and sweet flavors of this cookie really stand out when you use spices like cinnamon and ginger. Best of all, you are making the most of the items you have around you. So don’t throw that bacon grease out – try this cookie recipe that grandma used to make!

Bacon Fat Gingersnaps

  • ¾ cup rendered bacon fat (from cooking 2 pounds bacon), chilled
  • 1 cup white sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix until a stiff dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for two hours.
  2. With hands, pick up small amounts (about a tablespoon amount) of cookie dough and roll into small balls.
  3. Drop the dough into a small bowl of sugar and roll the dough balls to coat with sugar.
  4. Place on a cookie sheet and bake the batch 10 minutes at 350°.
  5. Once cool, store cookies in an airtight container.

 

Happy Baking

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

How to Make a Powerful Bow in Your Garage for $15

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arrow target wikimedia

One of the benefits of archery is that in the long run, it’s not a very expensive hobby. Unlike firearms, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on ammunition to maintain your proficiency. And since bows aren’t as loud or destructive as firearms, there’s a good chance that you won’t need to pay to visit an archery range unless you live in the city. Your backyard would be sufficient for that.

However, there can be some steep up front costs. Still not as bad as the cost of a firearm in most cases, but a really high quality bow can you set you back. If you’re just starting to get interested in archery and you’re not sure if you want to commit to those costs, check out the video below. It’ll show you how to make a very powerful and effective bow with little more than PVC, paracord, and driveway markers.

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

Post-Collapse Bartering: This Overlooked Item Will Be a High Commodity

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post collapse metalHey there, ReadyNutrition guys and gals!  Hope you’re all seeing a bit of thawing out now that spring is about to arrive.  This article is about some suggestions and reasons to start saving some metal for yourselves.  We welcome any comments and suggestions that you guys and gals have that entail the way you do this.  Some of you probably have your own anvils and a forge all built, ready to craft those broadswords and horseshoes.  This article is just to get those started on the idea who are at the other end of the spectrum.

With a complete societal collapse, the value of a simple thing such as a tin can will increase exponentially.  And why not?  The large steel plants of Pittsburgh and so forth may either be glowing radioactive craters or simply not functioning.  There are many things that we view as trash today and take for granted in our daily lives, but will have inestimable value when the SHTF.  We will outline some of the uses toward the end of the article for the different types of metals.

               JJ’s rule with metals: Save the metal in its original form

Steel food cans can be stripped of their labels, washed out, and allowed to air dry.  Put them in a bin.  Group your metal bins by type of metal.  You can further subdivide this category into form/function of the particular type of metal.  Aluminum beverage cans are another.  Try to get the can “whole,” that is, undented or uncrushed.  Keeping them in their original size and shape lends them more uses.  Aluminum beverage cans can be rinsed out and air dried as well.

How about silverware/flatware?  Imagine all of the good barter value that forks, spoons, and knives will have when they are not able to be obtained anymore.  Metal coat hangers are a keeper…they should have their own bin, all to themselves; and let’s not forget copper.  On this, it is good to save it in its original form.  Why?  You can always modify it later, but it is ready-made, for its original purpose!

Here is a chart you can use for the melting points of your metals:

Melting Points of Various Metals

 

  Melting Points
Metal Fahrenheit (f) Celsius (c)
Aluminum 1218 659
Brass 1700 927
Bronze 1675 913
Cast Iron 2200 1204
Copper 1981 1083
Gold 1945 1063
Lead 327 163
Magnesium 1204 651
Nickel 2646 1452
Silver 1761 951
Steel 2500 1371
Tungsten 6150 3399
Wrought Iron 2700 1482
Zinc 787 419

 

Try and concentrate on metals that are not painted or coated over with enamel or Teflon.  These are best left to some scrap metal dealer, not for you to deal with.  Iron and lead…. old cast iron pots and pans…. lead in the form of old curtain-corner weights, or lead from used batteries.  Make a bin for each metal and set it aside.

Some uses for what we have covered?  Take large, steel coffee cans or large food cans, for example.  You can make an excellent, small camp oven out of these, or fill them with cement and make a boat anchor out of them.  The aluminum beverage cans?  These are the early warning devices you can string up on your property with nylon line.  Punch holes in the bottom to allow for water drainage, and put a dozen pebbles in them.  They’re aluminum; therefore, they won’t rust.

Steel cans can be cleaned out well and be used for fish hooks, or coils of very-sharp, homemade/field-expedient “razor” wire for lining your windowsills with when the SHTF.  They can also be used (depending on the size) for small “cookers,” or even cooking “pots” if that is what remains to you.  You can make broad heads, spear points, or knives out of them.

  Remember:  All of these items can be used for barter, so use your imagination.

The most versatile are the coat hangers.  You can make almost anything out of them: handles and hooks for use on a campfire, skewers to roast fish, and a form of field-expedient wire, or fastener.  They can be unraveled to unclog drains, sinks, or toilets.  Their uses are only limited by the imagination.  They can even be used to hang clothes, hence their name “clothes hangers,” right?  Seriously, they are really great.

The bottom line is that all of these things that appear to not be worth much may appreciate in value.  If you can make a little space, allocate some bins and make a good metal collection.  Whether you’re going to make a new snare to trap game with or a new pot to melt shavings/pieces of soap with, you can find a use for these metals.  Long after the plants stop producing these metals, you may have a supply to work with for your needs for many years to come…after the SHTF.  Have a good one, and happy metal-gathering!

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

7 Survival Uses For Basic, Ordinary Socks (Yes, Socks)

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7 Survival Uses For Basic, Ordinary Socks (Yes, Socks)

You can re-purpose almost anything in a survival situation. Leaky roof? No problem, you can use a tarp to cover it. Caught camping in the rain? Plastic bags and trash bags will keep your head dry.

In today’s article, I want to discuss survival uses for socks. You may have a whole bunch of old socks in your attic right now and don’t even know it … but this unobtrusive garment can help you in more ways than you can imagine. Let’s take a look:

1. Improvised bandage

Though I am not a doctor, I do want to point out that you can use them to stop bleeding. For instance, the part of the sock that’s elastic can make a good ace bandage. Another way of using it is in conjunction with duct tape (or anything else that would secure the sock in place over the wound). Lastly, they can be used as a tourniquet. This could be one of the things you bring up to learn more about, if and when you decide to take a first-aid course.

2. Filter water

Before you purify water, you should first run it through a piece of cloth, such as a bandanna or a sock, to remove debris.

Restore Your Old Blades To A Razor’s Edge In Just Seconds!

You also can use socks to melt snow in order to drink the resulting water. Just like rainwater, snow is safe for human consumption, but you have to melt it first.

3. Temporary dust mask

7 Survival Uses For Basic, Ordinary Socks (Yes, Socks)A sock can protect you from dust, although it’ll do a much better job if you soak it in lemon juice first. Keep in mind this should be a last resort; you’ll only use it to get to safety in case you get hit by a sand storm.

4. Towel

This is somewhat unconventional, but it’ll work if you’ve got nothing else. Towels aren’t really high up on a survivalist bug-out bag packing list, but hygiene will be important while bugging out.

5. Pillow

As long as you can find leaves at your camp site, you can make a pillow by filling a sock, a plastic bag or a trash bag with them.

New Solar Oven Is So Fast It’s Been Dubbed “Mother Nature’s Microwave”

Unlike the last two alternatives, socks allow moisture to pass, so you need to make sure the leaves are dry. But also unlike the last two, a sock is much softer.

Of course, you can use something else besides leaves, such as drier lint or straws.

6. To tie things together

I don’t even know where to begin, here. You can tie your gardening tools, the branches you bring back to the campsite to make fire with — and on and on and on.

7. As a self-defense weapon

7 Survival Uses For Basic, Ordinary Socks (Yes, Socks)

Image source: Wikipedia

I left the best for last. Fill a sock with coins or rocks and you’ve got yourself a veritable weapon that can cause significant damage to your opponent. Now, whether you’ll actually use this in real life is debatable, but it’s good to know survival uses such as these because they open up your creativity, which will later on be useful in emergency situations.

Before we wrap this up…

Where and when should you pack and store your socks? Here’s a few ideas that apply to both bug-in and bug-out situations:

  • keep them inside your attic (you can’t store food and water there, anyway, because of the heat and temperature variations).
  • keep a couple of them in your bug-out bag.
  • keep a pair as part of your get-home bag.
  • keep them in your car’s survival kit.

One place you probably don’t want to keep a pair of socks is in your EDC kit (everyday carry). Socks just aren’t something you want to carry with you at all times. As long as you’re in the proximity of your survival bags most of the times, you should be OK.

Although socks probably won’t save your life, they can be of tremendous help. And let’s not forget the main usage — that of keeping your feet warm and dry.

Related:

10 Things You Throw Away That Can Be Used For Survival

What are other survival uses for socks? Share your tips in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Agrihoods: The Self Sufficient Alternative to Suburbia

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suburb wikimedia

Compared to rural agricultural areas and cities, suburbs are some of the most wasteful settlements in the United States. When you really break it down, suburbs are nothing more than the midpoint between rural and urban areas. They have a population density that leans more towards cities, but they take up the space of a countryside. Unfortunately, this means that suburbs, though taking on the costs of both of these extremes, wind up receiving none of the benefits. From an economic stand point, they often combine the worst of both worlds.

Here’s a few quick examples of what I mean. In the city, the cost of housing is very expensive, but fortunately there are more job opportunities. In rural areas, rent and most basic goods are cheaper, but there aren’t nearly as many jobs in most cases. But in suburbia, you often get the high rents without the same job opportunities, which means you’ll probably have to commute to the city for work. That brings me to another example.

In the city you probably don’t even need a car. Everything you need is incredibly close and public transportation and taxi cabs are everywhere. If there is somewhere that is too far to walk to, you won’t have any trouble finding a ride. In the rural areas, you’re practically doomed if you don’t have a car, or know someone who can drive you, but at least there isn’t any congestion. In the suburbs, you get the long distances and the congestion. Plus, newer suburbs aren’t built with pedestrians in mind, and they don’t have nearly as many sidewalks and trails as the suburbs that were built several decades ago.

See what I mean? Suburbs often combine the worst of both worlds. This of course, also includes sustainability and self-sufficiency. Rural areas have great potential for both of those attributes and cities do not, but at least cities have more economic opportunities. Suburbs on the other hand, take up all of the space of that is typical of rural community but without any of the self-sufficiency, especially in regards to food production. Which is a shame, because they have a great potential to capture the best of both worlds, in terms of self-sufficient food production and economic opportunities.

Case in point, all over the world there are a growing number of so-called ‘agrihoods.’ These are essentially residential neighborhoods that are built around small farms. Having this in the suburbs means you could have the benefit of fresh sustainable produce, but still live in an area that has far more job opportunities. Given the growing interest in organic, and local food, these types of neighborhoods may be the wave of the future.

This farm-to-table residential model has been sprouting up everywhere from Atlanta to Shanghai. It involves homes built within strolling distance of small working farms, where produce matures under the hungry gaze of residents, where people can venture out and pick greens for their salads.

“Real estate developers are looking for the next big thing to set them apart,” said Ed McMahon, senior resident fellow with the Urban Land Institute in Washington. “That gives them a competitive advantage.”

There are many variations of the agrihood, McMahon said. “Some developers rent acreage to farmers,” he said. “Some set up non-profit C.S.A. (community-supported agriculture) programs. Some have the residents doing it (the growing) themselves.”

Agrihoods frequently include farmer’s markets, inns and restaurants sited in communal hubs where the edibles are processed or sold.

For now, these neighborhoods are very pricey. They are often built as gated communities, and are marketed primarily to second home buyers and retirees. While the cost of food is much cheaper, that alone isn’t nearly enough to offset the cost of housing.

Like most things in this world however, the cost is always higher for the first product to fall off the assembly line, so to speak. What will really drive down the cost, is when preexisting neighborhoods start to retrofit their surroundings into small, sustainable farms. The first of these retrofits will probably coincide with golf’s lagging popularity, which is causing hundreds of golf courses to close every year. That’s a lot of open space with plenty of water access, right in the middle of suburbia, and it’s ripe for the picking. Give it a few years, and you might start to see these farms pop up in neighborhoods near you.

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

12 Off-Grid Ways Your Grandparents Re-Used Old Newspapers (That You Should Try)

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12 Off-Grid Ways Your Grandparents Re-Used Old Newspapers

Image source: Pixabay.com

Over the past couple of decades, Americans has gone crazy for recycling. Most communities have a recycling program, and we feel good about saving our cans, bottles, boxes and newspapers and putting them at our curbs for a weekly pick-up.

But long before the phrase “reduce, reuse and recycle” was ever coined, your grandparents used their old newspapers for a wide variety of tasks.

As you develop a more frugal lifestyle, it is time to think of all the many ways you can repurpose newspapers in your own home and garden. Here are 12:

1. Glass and window cleaner. Crimple up some newspaper and then dip it into a mixture of one part white vinegar and three parts water. You will get streak-free results that are much better than with any chemical-laden commercial window cleaner and cloth. Hint: Wear rubber gloves. The newsprint will not transfer to your windows, but it might get on your hands if you’re not careful.

2. Fire starter. Try tightly rolled pieces of newspaper as fire starters for your fireplace, bonfire or outdoor grill.

3. Seed pots. You can make your own seed pots by following these easy steps:

  • Cut sheets of newspaper in halves or thirds, depending on the size of seed pot you want. Avoid pages with color because the ink contains heavy metals.
  • Roll the newspaper so that it circles a glass jar or aluminum can with a few inches of paper, also extending above the opening of the container.
  • Push the paper that is above the container opening inside, so that the pieces are securely wrapped around the lip of the jar or can.
  • Turn the container over and gently remove the jar or cup.
  • Use the bottom of the jar or can to tamp down the inverted ends, so the bottom of the newspaper pot is secure.
  • Add soil and seeds, and the seed pot is ready to plant. The newspaper holds moisture so that your growing plant will not be over- or under-watered.

4. Weed barrier. Use newsprint to block weeds out of a raised bed. Simply cover the bed with layers of newspaper and water the paper before you fill the bed with dirt and other organic matter. The newsprint will help keep weeds out and moisture in.

Discover How To Make Just About Anything … From Scratch!

5. Gift wrap. Forget store-bought wrapping paper. Newsprint works great. You can even customize your gifts by using the sports sections for sports fans, the fashion section for the fashionistas on your gift list or the Sunday comics for kids. Shredded newspaper also makes for a great filling for gift baskets or gift bags.

6. Packing. You can use your newspaper to wrap your valuables when you are moving or shipping items. It is lightweight, effective and you can’t beat the cost.

12 Off-Grid Ways Your Grandparents Re-Used Old Newspapers

Image source: Pixabay.com

7. Liner paper. Use your newspaper to line drawers and shelves in your pantry or in your refrigerator. It will help absorb spills and odors.

8. Fruit ripener. Did you know you could hasten the ripening process along of certain fruits by wrapping them in newspaper? The next time you have under-ripe avocadoes, peaches or other fruit, give this trick a try.

9. Compost. Add strips of newspaper into your worm bin and mix well with your grass clippings. The paper helps absorb odors and makes a great bedding for your worms.

This Cool-To-The-Touch Lantern Provides 100,000 Hours Of Emergency Backup Lighting

10. Kitty litter box. Use newspaper to line you litter box. It is cheap and effective. You also can use layers of newspaper to housetrain your new puppy.

11. Shoe and boot shaper. Use rolls of newspaper in your shoes, boots and handbags to help them keep their shape between wearing or using.

12. Furniture and counter protector. Do you have a messy cooking or cleaning job to do? Place sheets of newspaper down on your work surface before you begin. It not only protects your floors and furniture from damage, but it makes clean-up a breeze.

Newspapers are printed on uncoated ground wood paper (called newsprint), which is made by grinding wood pulp without removing the lignin and other components of wood pulp.

By weight and volume, newspapers are the largest part of most curbside recycling program. Before you throw this Sunday’s paper in the recycling pile, why not first think about all the jobs you can do with it yourself?

What are other ways you can re-use old newspapers? Share your advice in the section below:

Learn Dozens Of All-Natural Gardening Secrets. Read More Here.

DIY Vermicomposting: The Most Efficient Way of Using Organic Material

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In an earlier article we talked about different methods for traditional composting yard and kitchen waste.  Today, we’re going to cover Vermicomposting- composting with worms!  Composting, the process of taking raw organic material like kitchen scraps, lawn trimmings, dead leaves, and chipped woody material and turning it into a useable, stable, non-offensive soil amendment can be done in any living situation.  By composting our green waste and kitchen scraps, we reduce our impact on landfills and enrich the soil in our yard and gardens.  For this discussion, we’ll be using the word “organic” to mean anything that is alive or was once alive like plants and animals or any waste produced by plants and animals.  Organic material accounts for as much as 52% of the garbage humans create.  That’s a huge amount of material ending up in our landfills that could be utilized in our yards, gardens, and even our planter boxes.

Vermicomposting Is An Efficient Way To Reduce Trash

Vermicomposting, also known as vermicasting, is the process of using worms to break down those materials and turn them into a rich, dark, humus-like substance that can be added directly to our gardens without aging it.  Like traditional composting, vermicomposting breaks down organic material, but is much easier to do on a smaller scale and is an excellent choice to compost kitchen scraps in a controlled, enclosed, odorless environment.  It’s clean, socially acceptable, requires no physical effort on your part to keep aerated (traditional compost must be turned), reduces the mass of waste by 30% or so, and even creates more worms that can be used for fishing.  It’s also faster than traditional composting.  Vermicomposting takes about 22 to 32 days to turn organic waste into castes (worm poop) whereas traditional composting can take 30 to 40 days for hot composting or even years for passive composting.

Although food waste can be added to traditional compost piles, adding kitchen scraps to compost piles comprised of dead leaves and other yard debris can also attract unwanted pests like rats and raccoons.  Rats especially love compost piles- they like to burrow into the warm pile and enjoy feasting on all the kitchen scraps you’ve provided.  Left unchecked, they breed very quickly and can spread disease.  They’ll also eat eggs from your coop and kill your poultry.  We were recently reminded of how destructive rats can be when they got into our quail coop.

Learn about how to start a quail flock

We raise our quail on the ground on a coop tall enough for them to fly.  We prefer this method as it allows the quail to behave naturally and build up their muscles, thus giving the meat a texture closer to wild quail.  We use a gravity flow water system that feeds into multiple automatic watering cups.  We had drilled small holes in the side of the coop to thread the water hoses through, but when one recently busted, we pulled it out and meant to get back to repairing that one cup when we had more time.  We soon noticed our quail had stopped laying…or so we thought!  Young rats can fit through an opening the size of a quarter!  They were feasting on the quail food, gorging on eggs, and enjoying the fresh, clean water provided daily.  Within a very short time, we had a multi-generational rat infestation.  I can tell you from experience it’s much easier to take steps to prevent the rats from wanting to set up house than it is to get rid of all of them once they do.

Vermicomposting solves this by using worms to compost kitchen waste in a controlled, closed environment.  In order to get started, you’ll need:

  • A container
  • Electric drill
  • Bedding (shredded cardboard or paper, dry leaves, wood shavings, or straw)
  • Red worms (Eisenia fetida)
  • kitchen scraps

 Many urban gardeners use vermicomposters as a way to get started with raising worms.   You can buy a worm bin like the Worm Factory or simply build your own. Arguably the easiest way to build your own is to purchase a plastic storage bin with a lid.  The size of the tub will depend on the amount of food scraps you think you’ll generate in a day.  Generally, worms can eat about 75% of their body weight in food scraps in a day, and the bin should have one square foot of bin surface area for every half-pound of food scraps.  Use the formula of width in inches divided by 12 times length in inches divided by 12 (or W/12xL/12).  A tub similar to this one would work well.  Avoid clear or see-through tubs.  Worms don’t have eyes, but they do have light sensors on the surface of their skin.  Light causes them pain and they’ll run away from it.  It’s better to use a bin that is opaque.

Building a DIY Worm Bin

The best type of earthworms to get for composing are Red Wigglers. These are heavy feeders and have been shown to thrive in worm bins. Like every other living thing, worms need three basic things for life: food, water, and air.  You’ll need to drill some holes in the bottom and sides of the tub to allow for air circulation and for water to seep out.  The number of holes you’ll need depends on your climate and how moist the food is going into the tub.  It’s better to err on the side of caution and drill too many holes than it is to not drill enough.  If you’re concerned about castings falling out of the bottom of the tub, use a liner.  An inexpensive nylon sheer curtain works well.

If you’re going to use the lid of the tub as a catch basin under the tub, don’t drill holes in it.  Place it upside down under the tub and fashion a new lid for your worms (remember, they like it dark!) our of a piece of cardboard or plywood cut to the same size as the tub so that it rests on the lip of the tub or even overlaps a little.  Avoid having the cardboard or plywood lid so small that it fits into the tub and will be resting on the bedding and worms.  Not only does this cut off some of the airflow to the surface of the material, but your worms will happily compost your lid right along with your food scraps.

Here’s a great video to follow step-by-step:

Bedding Material and Moisture Level

Once you have the holes drilled in the bottom and sides of the tub and the plastic lid flipped over and under the tub, it’s time to get your bedding material ready.  No matter what you choose – shredded paper, sawdust, straw, etc- it should be soaked in water.  Allow it to sit in water until it has soaked through and then drain it.  You might need to squeeze the water out.  The goal is to have your bedding about as damp as a well-wrung sponge.  Any water and the worms might drown.  Too dry and they’ll die from lack of water absorbed through their skin.  The ideal moisture level is about 75%.  Place handfuls of bedding in the bottom of the bin and fluff the bedding up a little.  Fluffing allows the bedding to develop little pockets of air so the worms can get enough oxygen, too.  If the bedding is too compacted, the worms will have a difficult time burrowing through it and may trap too much moisture.  It could also create an anaerobic (lack of oxygen) environment which encourages rot and foul odors.  Keep your bedding layer to 1 foot deep or less to prevent compaction.

Worms can survive temperatures ranging from around freezing to as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but their productivity will suffer at either of those extremes.  If you plan on keeping your worm tub in an area protected from temperature fluctuations, like a garage, basement, or mudroom, there’s no need to insulate the tub.

Adding Your Worms and Feeding Them

Now it’s time to add your worms.  Place about a half pound to one pound of worms for every square foot of surface area in your tub.  Red Worms are epigeic, meaning they’re surface dwellers.  More accurately, they live just under the surface of the soil, whereas other types of worms (like night crawlers) can tunnel much deeper.  Place your lid on the tub and allow the worms to settle down into the bedding for a few hours before feeding them.  It’s a good idea at this point to keep a bright light on over the lid.  This encourages the worms to burrow down into the bedding instead of trying to crawl out and away from the tub.  After about a week, the light can be removed.

Once the worms have settled into their new habitat, it’s time to feed them.  Worms will eat just about any organic matter, but you’ll get better and faster composting if you chop it in into small pieces first.  You should also avoid adding high acid or salty kitchen scraps like citrus.  Meat, bones, dairy products, greasy foods should also be avoided.  The worms won’t eat them and it encourages other pathogens to populate your worm bin.  Of course, never, ever add dog, cat, or bird poo or any feces of a meat-eating animal.  It’s better to feed once or twice a week than it is to disturb the bin daily to add more scraps.  To feed, simply pick a new spot each time, create a small hole in the bedding, and drop the scraps in.  The worms will migrate over and find the new feeding spot.

When the conditions are right, your worms will start reproducing.  Worms are hermaphroditic, meaning they have both male and female organs.  The thick band near their head is part of their reproductive system.  Each worm can produce an egg capsule (cocoon) every seven to ten days.  In fourteen to twenty-one days, two to four baby worms will emerge.  Baby worms will mature to breeding age in about two to three months and the adult worms can live as long as seven to ten years.

Maintaining a worm bin is relatively simple once the worms have been provided the right amounts of bedding, air, moisture, and food.  Fresh fruits and veggies are about 90% water, so there’s usually little need to add more moisture to the worm bin once you’ve soaked the initial bedding.  Over-feeding can be an issue and will cause odor and attract flies, so carefully measure the amount of food you’re giving your worms until you get a feel for it.  If, after the first week, you see worms trying to escape, there is something wrong in your worm bin- check their basic requirements again for water, air, and food to make sure they’re in the right balance.  Stay tuned!

Ruby is a first generation Californian who grew up in the heart of the Central San Joaquin Valley farming community. She’s been involved in agriculture for 40 years and learned to preserve food, traditional home arts, to hunt and fish, raise livestock and garden from her Ozark native mother.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition