Prep Blog Review: Food Lessons For Survival

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It’s survival food time again! From how to grow your own vegetables, to how to stockpile correctly, this topic never gets old, and it’s one of my favorites, too.

Starting with a few food lessons from the Great Depressions, and continuing with some emergency food preparedness basic, for this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered five useful articles on this topic.

  1. 10 Food Lessons From the Great Depression

“A time wracked with suicide and fear the great depression was a holly terror on the nation.

Many people exclaim that the crash of 2008 cost them everything. The truth is that the “everything” of 2008 was very different than the everything of 1930. Mothers left alone by their husbands to feed children while living in doorways. Losing children to disease or hunger and not having a dime to help them, nor a way to procure one.

All that terror aside the emulsification of cultures and despair in America during the depression created everlasting practices in the management and creation of food. The type of meals that remind you of your grandmother and her dinner table. Many of these meals are still popular today. Many of the methods are used widely as well.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. Emergency Food Preparedness Basics Every Prepper Should Know

“Emergency Food Preparedness is essential for every prepper to have. In this video we will be talking about the 3 different types of emergency food preps that essential for survival.”

Video first seen on Smart Prepper Gear.

  1. 13 Direct Vegetables to Direct Sow

“To direct sow your seeds just means to plant your seed outdoors in the garden where it will grow instead of starting the seeds indoors in containers under lights.

If you live in a warm climate, you can direct sow almost any crop. Those of you who garden in colder areas either begin sowing seeds indoors under lights or purchase seedlings form a green house that can be transplanted into the garden after all danger of frost is past. If we don’t start some crops ahead og time, there isn’t enough time to produce a harvest before our first fall frost.”

Read more on Grow A Good Life.

  1. How to get Your Chicken to Lay More Eggs

“Does it seem that your egg collection is decreased or that your hens aren’t laying as they once did? Or the yolks are pale and lackluster, lacking the nutrients they should provide? When the chickens are part of a plan for independent living or as a structured food supply, this can put a damper on things and thwart being able to rely on them as a nutritional resource.

It can be a catastrophic event in a survival situation to have your chickens stop producing a crucial food source.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

  1. Perennial Plants that Produce Food Year After Year

“A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. Perennials, especially small flowering plants, grow and bloom over the spring and summer, then die back every autumn and winter, and then return in the spring from their rootstock, are known as herbaceous perennials”.

Below are a few of the more common food plants that are known to live and produce for over two years, and some like asparagus, for example, can produce for literally decades if the asparagus bed is well taken care of.”

Read more on Prep for SHTF.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

Take The Advantage Of Growing Hydroponic Plants!

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Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably heard of hydroponic planting. Even if you did live in a cave, you probably saw an example of it when you saw that little plant growing in a puddle of water in the rock. That’s what hydroponic growing is – it’s simply growing plants without soil.

But why should you try it? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

When you think about hydroponically growing plants, you probably get this vision of complicated systems and expensive grow lights, but that’s not the case. Growing plants using a hydroponic system is actually easier that using a soil-based system, as you’ll see in a bit.

You can use water alone, gravel, sand, coconut husks, or even artificial materials to secure the roots of your plants, but the idea is to choose a medium that allows the water to flow freely around the roots of the plant.

Here are just a few advantages of growing hydroponic plants.

Plants Grow Faster and Yield More Fruit

Studies show that plants grown hydroponically grow 30-50 percent faster than soil-grown plants and also yield more fruit. This is probably because there is a constant supply of water and the nutrients are delivered straight to the roots throughout the day.

Since the plant doesn’t have to search through the soil and break the nutrients down in order to absorb them, it’s free to use that extra energy to grow and produce.

Also, there is generally more oxygen in water than there is in soil. This helps the plant absorb nutrients faster and it also promotes root growth.

No Weeding

Since you’re controlling the medium and you only plant what you want in it, you’re not going to be dealing with weeds, and if you do manage to get a couple weed seeds blown or carried in, they’re easy to pluck out, roots and all.

This saves you time, and prevents the plant from fighting with weeds for nutrients and water.

You Control the Nutrients and pH

One of the biggest problems that we face when we grow plants in dirt is that we’re often at the mercy of the quality of the soil. Without sending it off to be tested, it’s tough to tell what nutrients are in your soil and how acidic it is.

Since some plants prefer a more acidic soil and others prefer neutral or base soil, you’ll find that some plants grow better in your soil than others.

With a hydroponics system, you take all of the guesswork out of the growing process because you control the amount and type of nutrients as well as the pH. This is another reason that plants are healthier and more productive.

You Know What you’re Eating

You really don’t know what’s in your soil even if you’ve lived there for 20 years because pesticides, chemicals, and even acid rain can contaminate it with all sorts of harmful materials. When you grow your plants using the hydroponics method, you know exactly what’s in the food that you eat.

Year-Round Fruit

Because there’s no dirt to mess with, hydroponic systems are exceptionally easy to manage indoors or in a greenhouse, which means that you can have fresh produce year-round.

If you get sick of growing tomatoes, just switch them out and grow some basil to go with them. Since your plants will also yield more fruit, you’ll really ramp up your production.

Indoor/Outdoor Options

We just mentioned that hydroponic systems are easily adapted to indoor growth, and there is more than one reason why that’s a good thing. First, you don’t have to go out in the rain or heat to tend your plants, or look at a snow-covered, barren garden in the winter.

That’s great, but what about security? If you’re growing plants inside, nobody will know what you’re doing. In hard times, when you’re trying to survive, this can be a deal-changer. And you don’t necessarily need much room for an indoor hydroponics system, either.

As a matter of fact, we’ve tried on, the Plug & Farm Towers can be mounted against a wall and only extends about 6 inches from the wall. It’s only a few feet wide and tall, but is designed so that you maximize your growing space. You can use it in an apartment or even a slightly large closet as long as you have the necessary lighting.

Less Space

Unlike traditional soil growing techniques, hydroponic systems lend themselves nicely to growing in stacked trays. I’ve seen many setups that range in size from the Plug & Farm Towers to ones that consist of 5 or 6 layers of trays that are several feet wide with a couple of feet between each layer.

If you use a gravity system, you can get quite clever with your angles so that each layer trickles down to the next, then is fed back up to the top again. Even using a hydroponics system that large, you’ll still be using very little water in the scheme of things.

Vertical crops

Soil Quality Doesn’t Matter

This one sort of goes without saying since you’re not using soil. To drive home the point, though, I live in Florida and the soil is extremely sandy, with just a bit of loam on the top. Tomatoes grow OK here in that, but they’re merely compared to ones that I grew in the rich soil of West Virginia.

However, if I use a hydroponics system, I don’t have to worry about soil quality. If you pair this with an indoor growing system, you can grow pretty much anything.

Lower Water Requirements

Any plant needs water because that’s how it absorbs nutrients.

Now, of course we can’t give an exact number here because the US has such a wide variety of soils and rainfall amounts, but in soil that’s not too wet or too dry, and grown in conditions that aren’t miserably hot with low humidity, it will take about 20 gallons of water per week to water a 32 square foot garden. That’s a garden that’s roughly 5 feet x 6 feet.

Now, if you have to water an area that large using a hydroponics system, you’re going to use as little as 1/4 of that. Maybe less if you’re filtering and oxygenating the water, because it’s a re-usable source.

In other words, with a soil garden, you’re going to be using 80 gallons per week, but in a hydroponics garden, you’re going to be using that initial watering (5 – 7 gallons) over and over again.

When you’re in a survival situation, that’s a huge difference in the amount of something that you need to live! In essence, that saves you an extra 15 gallons just in the first week, and, even assuming you lose a couple of gallons to evaporation weekly, you’ve still saved at least 40 gallons. That’s enough water for almost two people over a month!

Diseases and Pests are Easier to Get Rid Of

The way that many diseases and pests attack your plants to begin with is via soil. So, since you’re eliminating soil, you’re also eliminating much of the risk of your plants becoming infected. And one of the main reasons that pests and diseases are so hard to get rid of if you DO get them in soil-grown plants is because they hide in the soil and keep reinfecting your plants.

With a hydroponics system, there is no dirt to hold the pest or disease, so they’re easier to get rid of if you are unfortunate enough to contract them in the first place.

Greater Variety

Since you’re no longer dependent on soil quality or large land areas, and you can easily use a hydroponics system to grow year-round in a greenhouse or indoors, you can grow basically whatever you want.

You can also experience three or even four growth cycles (depending on what you’re growing), so even if you have a smaller growing area, you can grow one plant this cycle, and another plant the next cycle.

Physically Easier to Grow and Harvest

You can grow your plants at whatever height is comfortable to you – just build your system accordingly. That means that you don’t have to bend over on your hands and knees like you do when growing a traditional garden.

You don’t have to weed the garden, either, at least not on any serious level. If you do need to pick out a few, they pull out easily because their roots aren’t buried in dirt.

Now that you have a few really good reasons to try a hydroponics system to grow your fruits and vegetables, get started! We’ve provided a link to one that we’ve personally tested. It’s efficient, easy to assemble, and simple to use.

It’s also big enough to make a nice wall garden outside, but small enough to use inside even a small apartment. And with only 10 minutes a day you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family again.

Click the banner below to grab your own survival farm!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Preserve your chicken eggs safely (for over 9 months)

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Preserve your chicken eggs safely (for over 9 months)

Whether you buy your eggs from a grocery store, local farmers market or the hen house in your back yard, you can learn a lot about preserving eggs simply by observing nature. You see when chickens lay eggs they have a protective coating called the bloom. This protective layer does an amazing job of keeping out harmful bacteria, germs and oxygen.

By recreating this “bloom” process on our own we can safely preserve our eggs for 9 months (or more) with out the need of even a refrigerator. 9 months! As absurd as this notion sounds to many not only is this proven and possible but you can do so with no negative drawbacks to the eggs taste or even health.

Mineral oil

There are several methods to preserving eggs for the long haul but one method is hands down the easiest and that involves using mineral oil. To safely preserve your eggs simply warm up a quarter cup of mineral oil. 10 to 15 seconds in the microwave should do it. Before starting the process have all of the eggs you wish to preserve outside of the carton. They may be hard to retrieve while inside the carton with slick, mineral covered fingers.

The mineral oil goes quite the distance too.A quarter cup usually covers 6 dozen eggs. You can often find mineral oil in the pharmaceutical section near the laxatives as it is commonly used among those with bowel issues. Something else to keep in mind is that you can also use baby oil in the mineral oils stead if you can not locate any mineral oil. These two products are identical other than the added fragrance found in baby oil.

Now we scoop up a few drops of warm mineral oil while running our fingers and the oil over the eggs completely with out exception. With out worrying too much about consistently only coverage, place the eggs back in the carton with the narrow side facing down. That’s it. Optionally you can use a food handling glove (or medical latex glove) if you do not feel like getting your hands a little messy.

Finally we want to store our freshly preserved eggs in a cool and dry place. Storing them in a room at room temperature a few weeks is acceptable but ultimately 68 degrees the ideal temperature for long term storage.

The maintenance at this point is minimal. To keep the egg yolk intact and looking well flip the egg carton upside down. If you are gathering eggs from your backyard the process is not much different. Wash your eggs first if need be and then start the process.

Shelf Life

Next lets dispel the myth that eggs need to be refrigerated to remain healthy. This is simply not true. Eggs and the preservation of them has been around much longer than refrigeration its self. Also note worthy most nations do not put their eggs in a refrigerated area.

Author note: I personally keep the eggs gathered from my backyard on a counter or windowsill until I am ready to use them. I just wash them prior to use, stripping the bloom and any possible germ or bacteria. Any longer than a weeks time (or in hot weather) I personally move them to a carton and then refrigeration, but this is not needed. And to prove it just follow a few fail-safe methods to determine exactly when your eggs go bad and under what environment. After some trial and error you can create a system that works for you.

Determining when your eggs have spoiled.

You can always follow your sniffer as long as you can smell from it. Rotten eggs smell terrible. This tell take sign is because hydrogen sulfide is created while the protein is being broken down by bacteria. This putrid smell can not hide itself. One whiff and you know when your eggs have expired.

If you do not trust your nose you can always rely on your eyes. Stick an eggs in cold water. Make sure the container is at least 2x as wide and 2x as deep as the egg. As long as the egg does not float it is fresh and safe to consume. Floating eggs have not been compromised. As oxygen finds its wat into the egg, air bubbles start to form, eroding the health of the egg, while also causing it to float.

This strategy creates a 9 to 12 month window for keeping edible eggs. This simple method lost to time itself, is quite incredible once you realize the typical shelf life when buying eggs at the supermarket it so short.

An amazing discovery in an abandoned house in Austin, Texas: A lost book of amazing survival knowledge, believed to have been long vanished to history, has been found in a dusty drawer in the house which belonged to a guy named Claude Davis.

 

Remember… back in those days, there was no electricity… no refrigerators… no law enforcement… and certainly no grocery store or supermarkets… Some of these exceptional skills are hundreds of years of old and they were learned the hard way by the early pioneers.  WATCH VIDEO BELOW!

 

Source : surviveourcollapse.com

 

 

                 WHAT TO READ NEXT !

 

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This Is The Smart Way To Invest In Food!

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The Smart Way To Invest In Food

Remember when Mom or Grandma would send you to the pantry or down to the basement to grab another jar of pickles or peanut butter? There were probably at least a couple of extra jars behind the one that you grabbed.

That’s because they lived through times when having backup food meant the difference between eating and going hungry. They had it “just in case.” Do you practice this? If not, you should.

We live in unsure times. The United States economy is by far the largest in the world; more than twice that of China, the world’s second largest economy. US money and goods support the global economy to the point that if we suffer an economic collapse, we take the rest of the world down with us.

But there’s one solid way to hedge your future – a basic commodity that everybody will always need: food.

Considering the state of the nation right now, an economic collapse is just as likely as not – maybe even more likely. The crazy explosion in the US monetary system and the instability of our government doesn’t just make it possible that we’ll face hyperinflation in the near future – it practically guarantees it.

Food costs are going to keep increasing and in the case of an economic collapse, will quickly increase to the point that foods that are barely affordable to many households now, such as meat, will be completely out of reach. The price of many “affordable” foods such as sauces, pasta, rice, sugar and flour will likely increase to the point that they’ll barely be affordable, assuming they’re available.

Until recently, the primary concern for most of us was economic collapse, with governmental collapse being a peripheral concern. Now, in these uncertain times, either – or both – is increasingly likely. Both would bring about life-altering circumstances that would dethrone the current money-based system in favor of a barter system.

Guess what that does to all those stocks, bonds, and savings accounts (and for that matter, cash) when that happens: they become worthless. But do you know what gains value exponentially? Food. And to a lesser extent, hygiene products. Investing in both will give you the tools you need to barter, survive, and even thrive.

No matter how poor somebody is, they’ll always need to eat. That doesn’t mean that you should gouge them. It just means that you’ll have a commodity that will be of value to everybody.

So, investing in food is the way to go. Even if you only invest in it passively, without ever selling a single noodle of it, you’ll still be saving much more by buying food for tomorrow at today’s prices than many investments that most of us can afford would yield. The longer you eat food bought at today’s prices, the more money you’ll save.

Food costs, with the exception of fresh fruit, decreased for the first time in years from December of 2015 – December of 2016, but that isn’t anticipated to continue. The USDA anticipated a hike in 2017 based on stable conditions – in other words, before the political climate changed so radically. Essentially, you have the chance right now to buy at bargain basement prices and put off buying when the prices go up.

So, how do you invest in food? Well, there are several different ways, and you can do it, at least to a certain degree, no matter where you live or how much money you have.

Considerations to the Return on Your Investment

Unless you have a huge farm with numerous gardens and storage spaces, and a lot of money to feed livestock and grow fresh produce, you have some challenges. That’s OK. You just need to work with what you have and find a proper way to secure your future.

Save Yourself $24,000 Instantly Using This One Easy Prepper Hack!

Space

This is probably the biggest limitation that you may face. If you live in a 1-bedroom apartment in an urban environment, the only space you may have is a closet and some cabinets. That’s fine. Make the most of what space you have by stockpiling a variety of staple foods and hygiene items.

Even the cabinet under your bathroom sink will hold more hygiene products than you might think. The more you can buy now at a lower price, the more you’ll save. Utilize your space well, buying products that you’ll use, and that will last.

Shelf Life

No matter how much space you have, shelf life is always a consideration. If you buy enough food to meet your needs for five years but it expires in two, you’ve wasted your resources.

Allocate your money responsibly and with forethought. Know how much you and your household eat monthly/annually. Use the FIFO (First In, First Out) method and store food in a way that will preserve it for as long as possible.

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What Types of Food You Can Store

While you can save a ton of money on buying extra boxes of cereal and jars of peanut butter, there are some types of foods that will save you more than others.

For instance, meat, eggs, and dairy prices are anticipated to increase significantly more than cabinet foods but they don’t have much of a shelf-life. Consider your resources and storage capabilities when you plan your shopping.

Methods to Help You Invest in Food

Now that you know what you need to consider when you’re investing in food, let’s talk about ways to help you invest better so that you get the most bang for your buck.

1. Buy a Freezer

Milk, meat, and eggs just aren’t shelf-stable as-is, but they’re the top foods that increase quickly in cost. You do have some options. All of these products have canned or powdered options that have excellent shelf lives.

You can also can your own meat and butter, and you can buy a freezer to store up to a year’s worth of food. Believe it or not, all dairy is freezable.

Many people are worried about lack of electricity in the event of a collapse and avoid freezers, but the odds of complete electric failure are pretty slim if you have an alternative power source. Most meats and dairy store frozen for up to six months, or even a year. Also the cost of a freezer, if you have a proper place where you can put one, will be covered by the savings in a short time.

2. Build a Food Storage Space

If you have the space, build or buy an extra food/supply shed. The money that you save in food and necessaries will pay for it in very little time.

3. Use Coupons and Sales

If you combine coupons and sales, you’ll be amazed how quickly you can build a stockpile for next to nothing. It’s a matter of paying attention to what’s on sale.

For instance, today I bought 6 bottles each of ketchup, shampoo, and laundry detergent for $13 total. My total savings was $24. And that doesn’t even count what I’ll save by not buying later when the price is higher.

All three are products that I use and that would be valuable if something happens and I need to barter, so there’s no way I can lose.

4. Buy Popular, Necessary Products

There are some foods and products that everybody just has to have. Examples: flour, green beans, tampons, deodorant, etc. Don’t buy a ton of lima beans if they’re on sale unless you really love them because they’re not a popular food. Sometimes there’s a reason things are on clearance – nobody else wanted to buy it!

Also, if you’re preparing for a bartering situation, alcohol and tobacco are going to be premium, in-demand products. Cigarettes are brutally expensive, but loose tobacco and rolling papers are fairly inexpensive and, as long as they’re sealed in air-tight containers, have a long shelf-life.

Regarding alcohol, remember that it’s not just for drinking – you can make tinctures and clean wounds and first-aid tools with it, too. Having extra vodka or bourbon is never a bad thing.

5. Buy Healthy Products

For some reason, people seem to want to pile in the boxes of cookies and cans of spaghetti-o’s because they’re cheap and delicious, but have no (or little) dried eggs, milk, canned meats, or meal stretchers such as flour and rice.

Think healthy. It’s important that you buy foods that you like – and cheap is good, too – but remember that you may be depending on your stockpile for survival. Stock up with healthy foods, too.

Also, canned milk, eggs, flour, rice, and other similar products are extremely versatile. You can eat or drink them as-is, or you can use them in recipes to make other products such as bread, cakes, side dishes, etc.

6. Buy in Bulk

This is our final point today, and it’s a big one because you may not need 20 pounds of flour or sugar now, but will you use it eventually? Of course you will, and it really doesn’t go bad as long as it’s stored properly.

A 20-pound bag of sugar often costs only a few bucks more than a 5-pound bag. Same with sugar. Compare cost per unit instead of just thinking of one being more expensive than the other. Dollars to donuts, bulk is almost guaranteed to be cheaper than smaller portions.

Now that you have some ideas about how to invest in food, start planning, then start buying. You can have a great stockpile built up in no time even if you just buy stuff that’s on sale buy-one-get-one-free and put back the extra. It adds up quickly, and you’ll have a nice nest egg sitting in your pantry or basement!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Reunion in Rhode Island

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Drivin’ on up!

Eunice and I went on our very first weekend road trip last week! We went up to visit my Godfather, David who I reconnected with via the power of Facebook. I haven’t seen him since I was a very young child. He and his brother moved out to the west coast to pursue a career in bodybuilding. David has been back in the east coast for an artistic endeavor that’s nearing completion.

As a child, I would occasionally see him in magazines or on television and be so proud to be connected to him in some way even though he was never in my life the way Godfathers were supposed to be. He was a free-spirited young man living out his dream in L.A. and wasn’t very concerned at that point with fulfilling such a role for a little girl. It was a great disappointment growing up.

I’m no longer eight years old and since then, had suffered much deeper blows at the hands of family, thus making it easier to put past hurts behind me and reach out to him. After all, I was still so very intrigued and curious about this distant, mysterious figure that lingered in the background of my life.

I was nervous (something that rarely happens to me anymore), but when I finally saw him, he gave me a warm hug and that feeling quickly went away. David is definitely what someone would describe as “a character”… charismatic, light-hearted and somewhat eccentric. People around Providence call him “The Cowboy” because in a sea of conservatively dressed New Englanders, he stands out where ever he goes.

We took his Great Dane out for a long walk and had a good talk about his photography, my plans to venture west, and about the mechanics of life. He opened his home to me, made me awesome vegan dishes, baked for me, took me out to dinner, took me to the movies… and even made me the subject of an impromptu photo shoot! David spoiled me rotten the entire weekend. It was the first time in a very long time that I felt like the center of someone’s attention… almost like a kid! It was very well needed.

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David and his dog Cowboy

After my weekender, I couldn’t help but feel that some sort of karma had been released from this experience, as I felt so much “lighter and brighter”. It was a rewarding first trip in which a connection was reestablished. It makes me wonder what other connections will be made in the time to come…

Side note: David may seem familiar to many of you (especially those of you who came of age during the 80’s & 90’s). That’s because he’s one half of The Barbarian Brothers!

The post Reunion in Rhode Island appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Surviving Off-grid: Hot Water From Your Wood Stove

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Survivopedia_Hot_Water_From_Your_Wood_Stove

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

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

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

We’re Reviving Ancient Techniques

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the event of a grid-down situation, how many of you are planning on heating their home with wood?

Learn from our forefathers how to install an emergency wood-burning stove!

How the Heater Works

Hence, getting hot water using a wood stove uses the same basic principle as a Hypocaust, but with a twist: water is used in our case instead of air, because it’s difficult to take a shower without water, right? I know – there’s an invention called dry cleaning, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Joking aside, to keep it simple: a regular water heater is nothing more than a tank of sorts, sitting on top or next to your wooden stove. As water rises when heated, hot water is drawn from the top and cold water is piped at the bottom via a piping system, obviously.

How does it work, you may ask? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: the stove water heater uses heat exchangers for transferring heat from the stove to the water. Depending on the design, the heat exchangers can be mounted inside of the stove, on the outside of the stove, or in the stovepipe.

Water is circulated through the heat exchanger when a fire is burning in two ways: naturally, via the thermosiphon principle which relies on water rising when heated or by using a pump.

The heat exchanger device is available in 3 main varieties:

  • a serpentine coil made of, in most cases, copper pipe
  • a small absorber, like a solar-collector
  • a box-like mini-tank. Most heat exchangers are mini-tanks or coils mounted inside the stove.

The heat exchanger can be built using copper, stainless steel, or galvanized iron, and they’re commercially available or they can be built in local shops or DIY-ed depending on your skills. For our intents and purposes, we’ll have to rely on the thermosiphon system, because this system works wonderfully off the grid and it doesn’t require fancy stuff like pumps and all that jazz.

The Tips that Lead to Success

“Keep it simple stupid” is the name of the game in a survival situation. As things get complicated, the probability of something failing rises exponentially.

Whenever the stove is used, water must circulate through the heat exchanger in order to prevent it from boiling. The storage tank must always be located higher than the heat exchanger and as close as possible to the stove.

Thermosiphoning-based systems are better than electrical-pumped ones not only because of their simplicity and availability, but also because in the eventuality of a power outage, the pump will stop working, leading to overheating the water in the heat exchanger.

This is a DIY project that can provide you with endless hot water without requiring electricity, as it’s based on the thermosiphoning process. This one uses a therma coil – a homemade unit – which consists of a serpentine made of copper, which is put inside the wood stove and connected via plumbing to a water tank.

This is a hot water-on-demand heater which can help you in a variety of situations. And best of all, everything is made using scrap materials, more or less (except for the copper piping, I guess).

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

As a general rule of thumb, for best results, you should isolate all your hot water lines more than 3 feet away from the wood stove using slip-on foam insulation, which is designed for temperatures up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t forget to spend 10 bucks on a thermometer; it’s well worth the investment and it will help you with eliminating all guesswork with regard to determining water temperature.

Copper is one of the best piping materials out there, as it’s very easy to work with when building coils (the heat exchanger gizmo), but remember that when used with iron, the latter will corrode.

The second DIY job is made by the same guy but this time, instead of a copper serpentine placed inside the wood stove, he uses a simpler water coil made of stainless steel. The rest is basically the same, check out the video.

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

The third project also uses the thermosiphoning principle (hot water rises) and copper tubing for making the serpentines, but this is a “larger scale job” compared to the previous two, and more complex.

Video first seen on convectioncoil.com.

The fourth and last DIY project uses an interesting design, i.e. a double-walled water heater (a double-walled 6-inch pipe, basically) and between the walls there’s copper water pipe circling the inner wall, thus transferring the heat from the wood stove to the water circulating through the piping.

Video first seen on thenewsurvivalist.

That about sums it up for today folks. There are still many lessons to be learned.

Remember that knowledge is everything in a survival situation and take our ancestors’ example – they survived when there was no electricity.

Click the banner below to uncover their lost secrets!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Survival Kitchen: How To Revive Cast Iron Cookware

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SVP cast iron skillet final

Want to know the best thing about cast iron skillets and pots? They’re practically indestructible and will last literally hundreds of years.

I used to have a couple that were well over a hundred years old. When they were stolen, I was heartbroken. Yes, that’s right. Somebody stole them. And that, my friends, is about the only circumstance from which you can’t revive your cast iron cookware.

Another great thing about cast iron is that, unlike most other kitchenware, you can use it on an open camp fire without damaging it. As a matter of fact, Dutch ovens were designed for just that use. They’re suitable to bury in the coals and use them as an outdoor oven.

Since you can use them outdoors, they’re excellent for making one-dish meals in and come in sizes that can accommodate a meal for one or a meal for ten depending on your needs.

How to Find Quality Cast Iron

I absolutely love this part – I have 6 different pieces of cast-iron cookware and I only bought one of them new. I found each of the other pieces at yard sales and junk stores.

Actually, I found the two skillets that were stolen at an old “antiques” store (translate junk shop) that sat along the highway leading into Mt. Airy, NC. I bought each of them for $5. Best 10 bucks I’ve ever spent.

This is the most important investment you can make to your well prepared survival kitchen!

I live in Florida now, and I still see them at about a quarter of the yard sales that I go to, and probably three quarters of the estate sales, and most of the time they’re listed at less than $5. The salvation army and Goodwill frequently have them, too.

You can, of course, also find them used online from places like eBay, Craigslist, Freecycle, and Letgo, and you can buy them new at any home goods or super store. Basically, cast iron cookware is about as easy to find as toilet paper. Well, almost.

What to Look For

The good thing about cast iron is that even if it’s got some surface rust, it’s usually redeemable. What you want to watch for, though, are integrity issues.

Check to make sure that there are no cracks, and rub your fingers along the sides and bottom to check for uniform thickness. Set it flat and make sure that it doesn’t rock. Test the handle and make sure it’s sturdy.

Make sure that there aren’t too many cooked-on rough spots because, though you CAN get usually get them out, it’s a lot of work considering how easy common pieces like skillets and griddles are to find. If it’s a good one and you’re willing to invest the elbow grease and the time it will take to re-season it, then use the rough spots as a means to talk them down on the price.

Just make sure that it’s actually a cooked-on rough spot, though, and not rust that’s been painted over. I’ve seen it, believe it or not.

If you flip the cast iron skillet or pot over and there’s a lipped ridge or rim around the bottom of it, it’s an old one. That lip was used to keep it steady on top of a wood burning cook stove, so you can figure it’s a good 100 years old, at least, and likely older.

There will also likely be a seam visible across the bottom. Don’t let on like you know what you have because, if it’s in good shape, you’ve found a gem!

How to Revive Old Cast Iron

Now that you’ve got your gem at home, it’s time to bring it back to life! What I’m about to tell you may earn me some frowns from “those who say so,” but I’m speaking from 30 years of experience finding, reviving, and using cast iron cookware.

  • If it has rust that won’t just rinse off, sticky stuff, or baked-on crusties, use a steel wool pad to scrub all of the rust off. All of it. Inside and out. Yes, I’m aware that they say not to do this, but who are ‘they’?
  • Now that you have a clean, rust-free surface, it’s time to re-season it. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and bake the piece until it’s almost too hot to handle.
  • Remove it and apply a thin layer of vegetable oil, olive oil, or solid shortening inside and out. No butter or cooking spray. You may want to put a cookie sheet under it in the oven in case it drips, but you really shouldn’t have that much on it.
  • Put it back in the oven and bake for an hour, then allow it to cool completely and repeat the process. I like to repeat twice, at least, so that the seasoning really has a chance to set.

Remember that this is just the beginning of the seasoning part and unless you were fortunate enough to get one that already had a nice seasoning to it, it may take a few uses for the seasoning to completely cure and build a hard, non-stick coating on the inside of the pot or skillet.

Video first seen on Tasty.

The first few times I use a new skillet, I like to cook fatty foods such as bacon, sausage, or other meats in them so that they can absorb the fat and really get a nice non-stick coating going. Before you know it, it will be the best egg skillet you have. Seriously.

People differ in how they like to clean their cast iron. Some say not to use any soap, ever – just wash it out with water and call it good. I have a bit of a problem with that because of silly little things like salmonella and other creepy crawlies that make people sick. I use soap, but make sure that I rinse it WELL.

I definitely do not use steel wool on any of my skillets or pots after they’re seasoned. You shouldn’t have to. If food becomes cooked on, I just put a bit of water in the skillet and if it won’t soak off in the sink after a few minutes, I place it on the stove with about a half-inch of water in it and bring the water to a boil. That usually works to get off any stuck-on food.

Once you’ve washed it, place it on the stove on low heat so that it dries completely, then add a thin layer of oil (I just put a drop in the middle of the skillet and wipe it around with a paper towel) and let it cool. Done.

I really can’t emphasize enough how important it is not to let your cast iron air dry. It promotes rust, plus each time you heat it and add oil, it helps keep it non-stick so that your great-grandkids can enjoy it long after you’re gone. They will appreciate it as much as we appreciate the knowledge that we’ve inherited from our forefathers.

We still have a lot to learn from our ancestors. Click the banner below to discover more of the secrets that kept them alive!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Prep Blog Review: 50+ Natural Heal-Anything Cures

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Heal Anything

Without access to modern pharmaceuticals and medical care, your own life and the lives of your loved ones will be at risk in the aftermath of a disaster.

Your health should be number one priority in a survival situation, and when it comes to medical preparation for a post-disaster scenario, natural remedies are the safest way to go.

For this week’s Prep blog Review I’ve gathered five articles on this topic. From plants and herbs you can grow in your own garden, or even indoors, to natural ingredients you stockpile in your pantry I present you 50+ natural heal-anything remedies.

1. 7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

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“There is absolutely nothing like having fresh medicinal plants that you can pick and use right on the spot, when you need them.

Plus, you can dry them, and then use a mortise and pestle to grind them and encapsulate your own medicinal plants. You know they were never sprayed with pesticides. And you know all about the nutrients that were fed to them.

You can grow them in decorative planters in the kitchen if you have the lighting for it.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

2. 5 More Useful Plants for Herbal First Aid

“Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) – Mullein is well known as an ingredient in topical oils meant for the ears, but it’s a good plant to have on hand for a number of other things. For respiratory support, it’s traditionally used for dry, irritated coughs where there may be a feeling of tightness in the lungs. It’s also very useful as a muscular and skeletal support herb! Part of this is because mullein has a reputation for being very lubricating for joints and tissues, and it was traditionally thought of as a pain relief herb especially suited for cramps, spasms, and physical injuries. It’s a lymphatic herb that supports the immune system.
Herbal Actions: expectorant, demulcent, antispasmodic, vulnerary, lymphatic”

Read more on Indie Herbalist.

3. 5 Emergency Toothache Remedies From Wild Plants

oregon_grape_forage“The crippling pain of a toothache can occur at inconvenient times – perhaps when far from your dentist or even your emergency first aid kit.

Because of the potentially intense pain and potentially critical health concerns associated with a tooth infection, wild herbs to treat toothache is an important category of medicinals to become familiar with in preparation for emergencies in the bush.”

Read more on Survival Cache.

4. 46 Effective Home Remedies and Natural Cures for UTI

UTI-Featured-Image-1

“Here’s a sad health fact: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is the 2nd most common infection in the body. According to NIDDK, there are at least 8 MILLION cases of UTI every year!

This inspired me to come up with this MASSIVE and IN-DEPTH article about Urinary Tract Infection which includes a visual how-to guide about 46+ home remedies for UTI.

I encourage you to learn about UTI, know its causes and symptoms, then dive right into the comprehensive and informative list of remedies that you can definitely apply at home!”

Read more on Ultimate Home Remedies.

5. Emergency Wound Care: When All You Have Is In Your Pantry

herbal-medicine

“Without access to hospitals and emergency medical care during off-grid emergencies, a simply infection from wounds can become life-threatening. Having knowledge of alternative medical treatments using natural wound therapies could save a life.

Years ago, the Mrs. and I made a major move.  We had a specific timetable to adhere to, and as we were moving ourselves, efficiency was the word that exemplified our overall goals.

About an hour before we were going to batten down the hatches and hit the road, she slipped and slammed her shin on the edge of the moving van’s bumper: a combination of a laceration and abrasion, as well as potential for a broken bone.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Trail Cameras for Hunters or Animal Lovers

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Someone is messing with my head

Whether you are an avid hunter or just love watching animals behaving normally in their natural habitat, you will want to read this.

A trail camera is a relatively low cost way to improve the efficiency of hunting as well as being the only way you can watch animals in their every day situations without disturbing them by your presence.

Trail cameras have huge possibilities for hunters. You can carry out a survey of the animal population in your chosen location, study the habits of your prey and even catch poachers and trespassers who have no right to be in the area. This last benefit is also one for animal lovers and vegans who wish to protect their local fauna from invasive hunting.

One thing to worry about is your beautiful new camera being stolen by other humans – whether they be hunters or just ramblers. That is why camouflage is an important consideration.
At around $150, one of the best buys is the Bushnell Trophy Cam Aggressor No Glow with Xtra Camo. As well as having excellent battery life and great night vision, it is also extremely hard to spot (other than when it actually goes off and uses the built in flash).

Choosing the best camera for your needs though leads you to consider the correct criteria. Features that matter most include portability, image resolution, night vision and storage space. To guide you in selecting the best option, have a look at this buyers’ guide .

The post Trail Cameras for Hunters or Animal Lovers appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

New To Prepping? Here’s Where To Start From

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New To Prepping

Bit by bit, the ranks of preppers are growing all the time. More and more people are waking up to the fact that the government can’t protect them and doesn’t even do a very good job of providing support in the aftermath of a disaster. Oh, they throw money at it, but money isn’t the answer to everything.

Every new prepper is faced with the same problems and the same questions they have to answer for themselves. It’s not that there’s no information available for new preppers to use, it’s that there’s too much information.

Check online for prepping or survival and you’ll find an enormous amount of information, not all of which agrees with other sources. Wading through all that and finding the information that one needs can be a daunting task.

You might very well be one of those newbies; someone who has just decided to look at prepping for the first time. If so, welcome to one of the most important movements in our country today.

Prepping is an individual journey that each of us take, with no two walking exactly the same path. Yet we are preppers together, part of a fellowship of like-minded people who have decided that it’s time to do something for themselves.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already decided that just looking at information isn’t enough. Being a prepper means taking action; preparing yourself and your family for whatever problem or disaster might come your way. Preppers believe in self-sufficiency; trusting in themselves in an emergency, not in the government.

But where does one begin? Of all the things that one can do to become more prepared, which one or ones are the most important? What does one have to do, in order to truly be prepared?

These questions are complicated by the fact that each person’s situation is unique. Oh, we all have things in common, but we also have our own needs, our own family, our own skills, our own resources and our own risks that we face. So cookie cutter prepping doesn’t work. Each person has to determine what their own needs are and how to best meet them.

Even so, there are some things we should all do at the beginning; things to get us on the road to becoming better prepared. The first steps we need to take on this journey may not be what you’re thinking. In fact, I’d be surprised if many preppers thought about these steps, before walking along the path for a ways.

Educate Yourself

It’s easy to think of prepping as just stockpiling supplies for a rainy day. That’s actually where most of us start off. Whether we just buy a couple of bags of beans and rice or go hog wild buying prepackaged survival food, squirreling food away for a rainy day seems like an almost instinctive act; something we easily gravitate towards, as a starting point for our prepping.

There’s nothing wrong with stockpiling food and in fact you need to do so; but before you start stockpiling, it’s a good idea to know what to stockpile. Not all foods keep well, nor do all of them provide the right nutrition to get you through an emergency. Take some time to research, before running off to the grocery store.

While you’re at it, you need to research much more than just what foods to stockpile. Our modern society doesn’t prepare us well for survival. If anything, it prepares us to die blaming others. But you can’t count on those others to help you survive. They don’t know how to either.

Our ancestors of 200 years ago were much better suited for survival than we are. For them, every year was about survival. They either stockpiled enough preserved food and cut enough firewood to make it through winter or they died. There weren’t too many other options available. Their lives were simpler, their needs and wants more closely associated with surviving and they had the skills they needed to take care of themselves.

There are a wide range of skills that you need to learn, some of which you might actually already know. If you like to go camping and spend time in the outdoors, you’re off to a good start, as the skills associated with those activities are closely related to survival skills.

Remember that a knife is a must have tool for outdoor survival as it helps you hunt, make shelter, start a fire and defend yourself.

Get your FREE easy to use and safely concealable Smith and Wesson Tactical Folding knife! 

Hunting, fishing, and starting a fire are all good survival skills. But you’ll also need to know how to grow food in your garden, purify water and defend your home as well.

For preppers, learning isn’t something that begins or ends, it’s just something that is. We start out learning about survival when we get into prepping, and we keep on learning for the rest of our lives. There’s always some new skill or information to learn; all of which is ultimately useful.

Develop a Survival Mentality

Most people tend to look at survival as a physical activity; but it’s as much mental as it is physical. You have to have the right attitude to survive or no matter what you do, you’ll fail.

What do I mean by the right attitude? I mean the attitude of a survivor. You have to be convinced that you’ll survive. You have to be convinced that you’ll overcome. You need to be convinced that you can do whatever is necessary to keep yourself and your family alive.

Here in America we’re protected from many of the harsher realities of life. Few Americans have had to kill and prepare their own food. Unless you’re a hunter; you probably don’t have the slightest idea of how to kill and clean a chicken for dinner, let alone how to properly field dress and butcher a deer or other large animal. But if it’s not done properly, the meat from that animal can be tainted in the process.

But you know the hardest part of killing and preparing that animal? It’s getting over the idea of having to do it. Most of us are squeamish when it comes to things like that; squeamish to the point that we’d die before killing that chicken.

Family food

Yet for millennia our ancestors hunted, killed and ate their own game, without the slightest bit of squeamishness. Men would bring the game home from their hunt, and their wives would clean and cook the animals. They didn’t throw up; they didn’t feel funny about it; they did it, and they enjoyed the meal that they prepared.

For us, here in America, overcoming the imprint of our society and accepting the needs of survival is paramount to being able to survive. Most have to do so at a moment’s notice, when they are faced with their first disaster. But those who develop a survival mentality learn to make the adjustment at their leisure, when it’s easier to do so.

Interestingly enough, attitude is so important to survival, that every military manual on survival starts off with a section on attitude. When you consider the amount of money and effort that goes into the preparation of those manuals, that one single fact is rather telling. Attitude is key to survival.

Analyze Your Family’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Each of us has a different family, with different strengths and weaknesses. Some family members might have skills or abilities which easily translate to a survival setting. Others have special needs that have to be considered when making our survival planning. Typically, we find a bit of each in our families.

Surviving as a lone wolf is much harder than surviving as part of a team. In a team, each individual is able to take part of the load, helping each other. With each one learning the necessary skills and doing part of the necessary tasks, not only does the work become easier; but more importantly, the chances of the team’s survival becomes greater.

Your family is your first survival team. Even if you join with others, in a larger survival team, your family is still the core of your personal team. As such, it’s important that you understand what your family is capable of doing, what it is capable of learning, and even more importantly, what you might need others to do for you, because you are incapable of learning to do it for yourself.

As part of this, you also need to analyze the assets you have at your disposal.

Do you have a vacation home somewhere, that you could use as a survival retreat if you needed to? Do you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle? Do you have enough land to turn your home into a homestead? Do you have camping equipment? How much money do you have available to use for prepping? What tools do you have, which will help you survive? Does your home have a fireplace? All of this, and more, will ultimately affect your ability to survive.

This process of analyzing your family will ultimately tell you what you need to do, in order to get from where you are today, to where you need to be. But don’t just do it once; from time to time you should reanalyze the situation and make any necessary adjustments.

Decide What Risks You Face

Prepping is ultimately about being ready to face a disaster, whether that’s a personal disaster, a regional disaster or a nationwide disaster. The problem is, none of us know the disaster that we are going to face. That makes prepping a little bit difficult.

But not knowing doesn’t mean that we can’t prepare. It just means that we prepare for likelihoods, rather than certainties. In other words, while it’s safe to say with certainty that we’ll all face some sort of disaster, sometime in our lives, what exact disaster we might face is nothing more than a likelihood.

So, the thing you need to do is figure out what the most likely disasters are, that you are going to face. That stats with figuring out what possible disasters you could face, ranging all the way from loss of a job to a zombie apocalypse, with natural disasters and the loss of the electrical grid in between. Don’t leave anything out at this point, as all you’re really doing is brainstorming possibilities.

Once you have your list of possible disasters, you need to give each of them two scores, say on a scale of one to five. The first scale is how likely you feel it is that you’ll actually face that disaster. The second scale is how much of an impact that disaster would have on your life. Some disasters, such as a zombie apocalypse might have an extremely low likelihood, earning it a one on that scale, but an extremely high impact, should it actually happen, earning it a five on that scale.

SVP prepping

(Note: The term TEOTWAWKI is commonly used by preppers to stand for “The end of the world as we know it.” This does not mean the literal end of the world, but rather, the end of our  modern lifestyle that we are accustomed to.)

Combining the two scores gives you a number from 2 to 10. That number is the one you use to prioritize considering that particular disaster in your planning. The way that usually works out, is that we concentrate on the highest ones and ignore the lower ones.

But in preparing for the highest ones, we are probably going to be prepared for whatever happens with the lower ones.

Begin Planning

Now that you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you have to work with and what you’re likely to face, you can start your survival planning. Once again, this is a process that will continue throughout the rest of your life. Everything you learn has the potential to change and improve your plans.

Your plan needs to define what you will do in each of the potential disaster situations you are likely to encounter, especially the high likelihood, high impact ones. You will find that there will be some overlap between different scenarios, but there will also be things that are unique to each one.

From this, you can determine how much you need to stockpile, whether it’s for a month, six months, a year or the rest of your life. You’ll also be able to determine the best place for your family to survive, in a variety of different situations. In many of those scenarios, you’ll be better off sheltering in place, or “bugging in.” But there might also be some which require you to bug out and go to a survival retreat somewhere.

Don’t expect that you’ll get everything right the first time around. You will most likely forget some items, because of being focused on other needs. That’s okay. As you continue to study, you’ll find the places you need to fill in, to make your survival plans and your stockpile more complete.

Prepping is a process, not a destination. You’ll probably never reach that point of perfection, where you sit back and say to yourself: “Self, I’ve arrived. I’m ready for anything.”

But rather, you’ll gain more and more confidence that you can take care of yourself and your family, no matter what comes your way. Each little step will give you and your family more security, and ultimately, that’s what prepping is all about.

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

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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Using Leftover Fruit Peels in the Kitchen

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The essence of emergency preparedness teaches us to get by with what we have. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the woods or in the kitchen. Being able to improvise with scarce resources is perhaps the most useful skills you could develop. Today we will discuss about the use of leftover fruit peels in the … Read more…

The post Using Leftover Fruit Peels in the Kitchen was written by Rhonda Owen and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Going Off The Grid By Gary Collins First Thoughts Video

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Going Off The Grid By Gary Collins First Thoughts

 

 

This week I got my hands on my friend Gary Collings New book, Going Off The Grid. Unlike most of my u

Unlike most of my unboxing videos, I wasn’t sent this book. You always want to support your friends so I bought this copy as soon as It was available. 

Like many of us, Gary got the bug to live a simpler life. And luckily for us, he has documented the whole process. 

In Going Off The Grid: The How-To Book Of Simply Living and Happiness, he provides a step-by-step guide for how to find a private piece of land and build a self-sustaining home. 

This doesn’t come from research alone but from experience. Gary has been building an off-grid home in northeast Washington state. 

You can watch some of the trials and tribulations on his Youtube channel.

Learning from others troubles can save you time and money. And from honest upfront people. 

If you watch many of the DIY tv shows you will have an unrealistic view of the process. Building an off grid home takes a lot of time and effort.

The reward is worth it, though. 

So if you are thinking about living a simpler less hectic lifestyle this is the book for you. Pick it up now before you need the info in here. 

Are you off the Grid? Wanting To Be? Let me know about your plans in the comments!

 

 

 

 
 

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DIY Hot Tub For Your Off-grid Hygiene

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Survivopedia DIY Hot Tub For Your Off Grid Hygiene

When it comes to off-grid survival, personal hygiene is one of those delicate subjects preppers seldom talk about.

Ok, I know that women preppers consider personal hygiene a priority even after a plane crash, but generally speaking, surviving off-grid means that you must have a roof over your head and some chow in your belly, and eventually a cushioned place to sleep in. That about sums it up until cavalry arrives and gets you outta’ there.

However, living off-grid is slowly becoming a trend among outdoors enthusiasts and maybe student loan beneficiaries who cannot afford to pay both the rent and what’s owed to the good ol’ Feral Gummint.

Here is where the off-grid lifestyle comes into play. But living off-grid is not easy; not by a long shot. There are so many problems and challenges in a world without electricity that I don’t know where to begin.

One of them is the aforementioned issue, the personal hygiene thing – an issue that never occurred to you until now because you’re probably living the 21st century life style, with hot water pouring out of the faucet and the whole nine yards.

Basically, we all take modern hygiene conveniences for granted and that’s normal, because we’ve benefited from these cool things for almost 2 centuries now.

But, if you’re living off-grid together with your family, you’re probably aware of the fact that cleanliness is next to godliness, not to mention that keeping you and your family members squeaky clean is actually a matter of survival in its own rights.

The secret to a long and happy life is to live in a clean environment, and you can take that statement to the bank. The lack of proper personal hygiene may get you sick very easily and also you may pass the disease around and all that jazz; that’s how epidemics occur.

The good news is that there are ways to maintain adequate hygiene even if you’re living somewhere in the neck of the woods, as off-grid as it gets.

These ancient survival lessons teach you how to stay clean when there isn’t anything to buy!

There’s an old saying, about “Real men building their own [insert item here]”. In our particular case, real preppers built their own hot tubs.

Why hot tubs, you may ask? Well, the hot tub used to be regarded by many as a luxury if not a whim. Remember that old saying: that one needs only two baths in his/her lifetime – one when you’re born and the other one when you’re dead?

Especially back in the day, hot tubs were pretty rare not too long ago (circa 1700s), when  getting one was a rare experience, familiar just to kings and queens. Alright, and the rest of the infamous 1%, maybe.

One of the benefits of soaking yourself for hours in hot water is that such activity relieves pains and aches, beside getting you clean in the process.

But after reading this article, you’ll understand how hillbilly hot tubs changed the world for ever. And you’ll also understand that getting your fingers pruney is a God-given right for every American, even for those living in the back woods.

Also, let’s not forget that one of the most popular pieces of gear for outdoors survival after a hard and long day doing God-knows-what is a hot tub, right?

I am only kidding folks, but if you don’t know how to build your very own personal hot tub, well, that’s why I am here. I’ve scoured the depths of the Internet and I brought together some of the best tutorials in the world for helping you building your little piece of heaven.

Building the Tank

To begin with the basics, a DIY hot tub consists of two main things: a tank which makes for the bathtub itself and a device for heating the water inside of the tank. That’s all there is to it; it’s pretty straight forward.

As far as tanks go, you have two options: to use a prefabricated one, like an IBC container or a stock watering tank, or to build your own bathtub from scratch from wood; just imagine a big barrel of sorts.

Soaking in a wood-fired hot tub requires some planning, at least a couple of hours in advance, but the involvement in one’s bath is part of the attraction.

Here’s a video tutorial about how to build a cedar wood hot tub using planks of cedar and lots of skill and materials.

Video first seen on Heritage Craft.

The end result is a reminiscent of a big barrel, which looks pretty cool actually, but you’ll require some mad skills to get this done.

You’ll also require beaucoup gear, like cedar wood suitable for cutting and shaping, saws, chine joints, nails, a power drill, a carpenter’s level, screws and insane wood-working skills. But it’s doable, after all that guy did it and it looks pretty awesome.

However, there are other ways.

The hardest part of our first project is to build the tank itself, as it requires serious carpentry skills, but you can always go for a hillbilly hot tub that uses an IBC container using, for example, a prefabricated hot tub, then you just have to worry about the water heating device.

Here are two different projects, both involving a DIY wood-fired hot tub. The first one uses an IBC container, a steel cage, an old gas cylinder and pallets, plus some plumbing connectors. Except for the container, the rest of materials were free scrap.

Video first seen on Chris Jamieson.

The IBC container holds 1000 liters, which is more than enough for a hot tub, while the steel cage and the pallets are used for making the structure that will keep the water-filled container firmly in place. The pallet wood is used for decorating the steel frame; it makes it look better and all that.

The Heating Source

As for the heating device, here’s where the old gas cylinder comes into play. Basically, you’ll use a stove water heater. How does it work, you may ask? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: the stove water heater uses a heat exchanger for transferring heat from the stove to the water.

Water is circulated through the heat exchanger when the fire is burning (the gas cylinder makes for the stove in our case) whilst the heat exchanger is basically a copper serpentine made from copper pipe mounted inside the stove.

In this project, the hot tub is filled with water which is slowly flowing via a garden hose through the copper pipe and it’s getting hot as it fills. The process is relatively slow, but it produces very hot water.

The second DIY wood-fired hot tub system is very similar to the previous one, just that it uses a galvanized stock tank instead of an IBC container. Also, the heat exchanger system is the same serpentine made from copper pipe, but for heating the water, this project relies on the thermosiphon principle.

Video first seen on HomeMadeModern.

Think about our ancestors. They didn’t have the luxury of the modern industry but they were able to create their own hygiene products from simple, readily available stuff.

Do you wonder how our forefathers took care of their personal hygiene when they traveled for months? Click the banner below and uncover their long forgotten secrets!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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Storing Ammo: A Guide For Preppers

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Storing Ammo

When most people think about organizing their ammo stockpiles, they do so based on cartridge or shell type. For example, if you have four or five different types of ammo, you may be inclined to store them all in separate containers.

While this method seems practical at first glance, you may find that other methods will work better. In particular, you should not keep all ammo of the same type together in the same location.

Let’s say you have five different ammo types, and ten boxes of each one. You also have five ammo cans that you can use to store the ammo. Instead of putting all of one type in each can; put only two boxes of each type per can. In this way, you will have five cans of diversified ammo.

Here’s why this arrangement has a few advantages:

  • If you have to move quickly, grabbing even one can will ensure that you have at least some ammo for any gun that you are able to bring along.
  • It will be much easier to store your ammo in different locations without having to worry about which one holds the ammo you need at some point in the future. As long as you are able to retrieve one can, you will know that you have at least some usable ammo on hand.
  • You will find it much easier to practice with all of your weapons on a regular basis. Just make it a point to use all of the ammo in each can and you will never have a gun laying around that hasn’t been fired in years because you put the ammo in some place that isn’t easy to get to, or worse yet, you forgot the location.

What a Good Storage Location Is

Good storage locations for ammo aren’t as easy to find as you might think. Many people try to bury ammo stockpiles under their home, stash boxes behind closet walls, and even put ammo cans under their bed. While these places may be safe, dry, and cool, they are also the first places thieves, rioters, and others will look if they invade your home.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide to combat shooting mastery & active shooter defense!

When hiding ammo, you should make it your business to find locations that:

  • Are easy to defend. It is very important to make sure that you can arrange zones of fire around your stockpile. Always consider that people may stumble onto your stockpile by accident, or they may even be watching you as you put items in the stockpile or remove them. It is always best to choose a place where you have an advantage in terms of defending the area if needed.
  • Choose a location where you can make more than one entry point. If someone does find your stockpile, you should be able to enter through another location and neutralize the invaders
  • Look for an area where it is safe to destroy the ammo if needed. When you know all is lost, there is no point to letting thieves and rioters steal all you worked so hard for. It is better to have the stockpile in a place where you can destroy it rather than see it be stolen.
  • It should be easy to move the ammunition out of the area and into another one with ease.
  • There should be enough room to expand if needed.
  • You should be able to keep surveillance on the area from a distance without being detected.
  • The area should be hard to spot by satellite or other overhead scanning systems that might be used to locate the stockpile. In addition, you should also be able to get to the location without being easily spotted.
  • High temperatures and moisture are extremely damaging to ammo. Try to pick a place that is as cool and dry as possible. If you have to choose between cool and dry, choose the area that is cool, and then make sure that the ammo itself is packed carefully away in moisture and water proof containers.

Choosing the Right Containers

Today, there are many different kinds of containers that you can use to store ammo.

If you are budget conscious, then go for the metal ammo cans or boxes. You can purchase them new or used at surplus stores as well as at gun shops and gun shows. Before you buy an ammo can, make sure it is free of rust, holes, and other signs of corrosion.

ammunitionThe lid should fit properly and create a waterproof seal.

It may also help to have some extra room in each box, especially if you haven’t purchased all of the guns yet that will be part of your permanent stockpile.

When choosing containers for ammo, think about what will happen in those first hours after a major crisis occurs.

To be fair, if you aren’t on a heavily guarded estate with plenty of supplies and acreage, you might have to leave your home and the majority of your stockpile behind. This is why your ammo storage plans must also include ensuring you can bug out with enough supplies to meet your needs.

Have a dedicated backpack or ammo pouch with at least five boxes of ammunition for the one gun you will absolutely take with you no matter where you go.

If this is your everyday carry gun (a.k.a. EDC), then by all means, go ahead and carry the bug out ammo with you as well. The backpack or pouch should be comfortable to wear and not be noticeable to others. Make sure that the internal pockets are waterproof, yet breathable so that moisture does not collect in the bag.

You will also need to inspect the pack on a regular basis to make sure that the constant weight of heavy ammo rubbing against the fabric does not lead to wear that will let water get into the ammo.

Storing Gunpowder

Many mid to advanced level preppers store away gunpowder in the hopes that they will be able to reload ammo in a time of need.

Storing gunpowder is not as easy or as safe as storing away cartridges and shells. Because gunpowder releases gases upon ignition, you should never store it away in an ammo can.

If the building the can is stored in catches fire, or the temperature reaches a critical point for some other reason, the ammo can will explode and cause major damage.

Also avoid storing gunpowder in the house or in a building for the same reason.

It is best to store gunpowder in a dedicated and well built outdoor magazine where it will be heavily guarded and safe to be around.

Supplies and Equipment to Have Onhand

Overall, there aren’t many supplies that you need to keep on hand to store ammo and keep it in good condition for years on end.

Desiccant

Regardless of where or how long you are storing the ammo away for, each container should have a few packets of desiccant in it. This will help reduce moisture and condensation.

Waterproof Ziploc Bags

Every can should also have a few extra waterproof Ziploc bags and a permanent marker. If a box happens to break or is damaged, then you can always put the cartridges or shells in the bag to keep them safe.

Clean Rags

It is also important to store away clean rags so that you can clean ammo off if needed.

Pull Cart

When you first buy an ammo can, you may not think it is very heavy. By the same token, lifting one or two boxes of ammo may not seem like much. Once you start adding a few dozen boxes to the can, you will find it very hard to push the can from one place to another let alone pick it up to move it.

This is why you will need to have a pull cart or some other kind of wheeled bed that you can use to move ammo cans from one place to another.

The cart should have some kind of pole or extension that you can raise up and use as a post for a pulley system. All you have to do from there is store some rope in the can and a pulley that can be attached to the pole.

At the very least, if you have to lift the ammo can into the back of a truck, you will be able to do so faster and with less risk of injury to yourself or others.

Video first seen on AnalyticalSurvival.

Why Storing Multiple Ammo Caches Is Important

Let’s say you are a homeowner, but you don’t have much property; or you rent an apartment and also don’t have access to much land. Let’s also say that you have decided you are going to bug in regardless of what happens in your local area and in the rest of the country.

Many people that decided to sit it out through a hurricane or other natural disaster can tell you that one bad situation was enough to last them a lifetime.

While some people may have been lucky and got through several storms with no problems, a major social collapse is a very different and far longer lasting scenario. As a result, it is best to try and make at least some bug out plans and factor ammo storage needs into those plans.

Most people that plan to bug out after a major crisis actually have five or six locations that are located at different distances from their current position. These places may be the homes of family members or friends, or even areas where they have visited and feel they can live comfortably.

No matter where people are planning to bug out to, they will usually set up caches of supplies that can be accessed along the way.

When it comes to ammo, small caches like this in multiple and diverse places is just as important as food, water, and medicine. Just make sure that the areas you choose are safe and hard to find by others. If you do leave ammo with friends or family members, make sure that these are people you can trust regardless of what is going on.

Even if you are absolutely certain that you aren’t going to bug out, it will be to your advantage to store away ammo in several different locations.

If you are storing ammo in your own home, make sure that you have five or six locations that are hard to find, and one that is somewhat more visible.

You can use the more visible cache as a means to lure invaders into a zone of fire, or allow it to be taken in the hopes that invaders won’t go looking for the more important items in your stockpile. You can also set up snares and other booby traps that will neutralize invaders.

Never use explosives or anything that will start a fire near the ammo cans or you can wind up making the situation even worse.

Rotate Your Ammo

No matter how carefully you store ammo away, some condensation will always build up, temperatures will change, and the ammo itself will begin to deteriorate. This, in turn, means that you should be using ammo even while you are building up your stockpile.

Always use the oldest ammo first and make sure that you replace it with the same or better quality rounds. For example, if you have about half your stockpile dedicated to rounds with steel casings, do not backtrack and buy more aluminum rounds to replace the used ones. Instead, go for more steel casings or see if you can afford rounds with brass casings.

Keeping your ammo stockpile in a steady state of rotation also helps ensure that you will actually practice shooting. From developing muscle memory to gaining confidence with cleaning and caring for weapons, just about everything starts with shooting on a regular basis.

If you can’t find a reason to go to the range other than rotating your ammo, at least it’s better than not doing any shooting at all.

Inspect the rounds on a regular basis. There are few things worse than having ammo cans sitting in the attic for decades without paying any attention to them. During this time, you may not know about rust that may have developed on jackets and casings.

If you wind up needing decayed rounds, you won’t be able to use them safely. If you rotate ammunition on a regular basis, you will isolate problems quickly and replace ruined ammo with something that you can use in time of need.

Gain as much experience as possible with different kinds of ammo. Once you know what kind of rounds your gun can take, try ammo from different manufacturers.

When you routinely rotate and use part of your stockpile, test out different products and see how they work for you. Later on, if your stockpile is gone or inaccessible, you will know how any ammo you find will work to suit your needs in a self-defense situation.

Learn from the experts the secret of self-defense. Click the banner below to grab your guide!

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Be Our Guest – Food Preserving Part 2

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Creek, Food Preservation, Off-grid, Refrigeration, Spring House,

Want a spring house but have no spring? Diverting water from a small creek is an option

In Part I, I covered canning and smoking as food preservation methods. This aricle take a look at refrigeration and dehydration.

Freezing and refrigeration is the easy way to preserve food compared to some other methods. The only problem is, once frozen or cooled it has to stay that way until consumption.

Before the wonders of electricity and modern technology, how did people do this?

On farms and in small villages it was common to have a spring house which would provide natural refrigeration. A stone building with troughs dug into the ground on which the house stood would be built over a natural spring. Water from the spring would flow through the troughs and jugs of milk or other produce could be placed in the channels. These would then be kept cool as the water flowed around them. Ledges and hooks would also be provided in the spring house, to hang meat and vegetables in a cooler environment.

If the house wasn’t built over a natural spring, water could be redirected from a nearby creek. Initially some spring houses were made of wood, however this was prone to rotting. Stone therefore is the better material, not only does it hold the cold better but it won’t decompose or decay with time.

Fancy building your own spring house? You can find out more at Bright Hub.

Another option which was used before electricity and still used today is root cellars.

These underground rooms stay cool in the summer but above freezing in the winter – perfect for fruits, vegetables and canned goods. The cool temperatures prevent bacterial growth and the humidity prevents withering. Ideally the cellar will have temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, have low levels of sunshine, good insulation from materials such as straw or soil and be easily accessible.

Root cellars come in a variety of forms from walk in rooms to putting trash cans in the ground to create a “mini” cellar. If you’re on a tight budget, take a look at this video by the Walden Effect, who made a root cellar out of an old refrigerator.

Speaking of refrigerators, if you want to be a bit more tech-centric, then there are various options for off-grid cold food storage.
Propane fridge, RV, off-grid, food preservation, chest freezer, solar freezer

RV owners have relied on propane fridges for many years – but are they worth the cost?

Propane fridges have been a staple for many RV owners and in off-grid homes. Some models can run off propane, DC or AC, making them more flexible. Although these appliances are good for keeping food cold and frozen with ample storage, they do require some maintenance and if they break down can be expensive to repair. Not only this, propane may be unavailable or very expensive to get hold of in certain areas and some propane fridge models can be extremely “fuel hungry” – not exactly the most economical option. There is also an initial investment of over $1,000. Take the Dometic DM2652 on Amazon at $1,119.99. This model measures 24 x 23 x 53.8 inches and so is perfect size for an RV, if you’re willing to spend the money.

Solar power refrigerators are also gaining ground.

Some of which can be hooked up directly to solar panels, running off direct current. The EcoSolarCool Solar Refrigerator on Amazon operates on 12 or 24 DC volts and is reported to be the most efficient solar refrigerator when tested against two other leading brands also advertised on Amazon. Coming in at 121lb, this stand-alone 25.3 x 23.6 x 57.1 inch model is a good size with just over 9 cubic feet capacity for storage. It comes with an upper freezer compartment and a lower refrigerator compartment. With prices starting at $1299.00 though, this is also an appliance that comes with a rather large price tag.

Another alternative is investing in a chest freezer.

These range in price but can be fairly inexpensive and have good storage space. Plus they can average under 2 amps when running. However, because of its shape (it’s a chest) rummaging around for the food you want can be a pain. Chest freezers can also develop condensation and it is best to buy a separate thermostat to monitor the temperature. Some chest freezers come ready to be run by solar power such as the Sundanzer Solar-Powered Refrigerator – 1.8 Cubic Ft., “>Sundanzer Refrigerator, specifically designed for off-grid use.

If you want a more DIY approach and temporary refrigeration then a zeer pot could be the answer.

Popular in Africa, zeer pots are essentially one terracotta pot inside another. One pot must be small enough to fit inside the other pot, but large enough to hold whatever you want to keep cool. The gap between the two pots is filled with sand and then water. The process of evaporative cooling keeps the inner pot much cooler than the outside environment. Although this is not cool enough for meat storage, it is still an option for other produce such as vegetables. If you fancy making your own zeer pot, have a read of this.

From keeping things cold to heating things up! Another food preservation technique is dehydration.

Efficient with zero energy input and little hands on time required, dehydration is perhaps one of the easiest ways to preserve food. The downsides to dehydration are that even though foods weigh less and so are easier to store, there is a longer time for food preparation later when making meals. Also dehydrated food can have a different taste (and texture obviously) to fresh produce. If using a solar dehydration method then you are limited to when the sun is out. This may not be such a problem at lower latitudes, but higher latitudes can be very restricted in their “sun time”.

Dehydrator, food preservation, solar, off-grid

Dehydrating foods can be done in a variety of ways from drying in the sun to using an electric dehydrator

Herbs and greens are the easiest foods to dehydrate; they dry quickly with no slicing required. Fruits and veggies are a little trickier; they need to be sliced thinly or diced into small pieces for drying. Smaller fruits like blueberries should be punctured to allow the moisture to escape during the process. Meat and fish are the most challenging to dry safely. The cuts need to be sliced as thinly as possible and be kept in a constant supply of warm air. Salting first will help with the preservation. Meat and fish especially should be stored in a cool place after drying to ensure they last for a few months.

So what can you use for dehydrating?

Firstly, you could invest in an electric dehydrator. These are probably the most convenient option for setting up (with no babysitting) but require a power source. The Excalibur Food Dehydrator being sold on Amazon at $244.95 is one such appliance. With nine large trays boasting 15 square feet of drying space, you can hardly complain for lack of room. But despite this the whole body is not overly large at 17 x 19 x 12.5 inches. An adjustable thermostat ensures you dry at the temperature you want and a 26 hour timer means you can walk away without the fear of forgetting about your food!

If you want to go down the solar dehydrator route, there are pre-assembled options. For instance the Hanging Food Pantrie Solar Food Dehydrator has five drying trays and protects food from insects and pests whilst using the suns energy to dry the food. No noisy fans and it’s collapsible for easy storage after use. Retailing on Amazon at $59.99, this is an option if you want something that stores well but also has good drying space.

Alternatively, you can go the whole hog and build your own solar dehydrator.

There are many variations and the beauty of this option is you can adapt the design to suit your needs. The basic components are a heat collector and a drying box. The heat collector has a clear plastic top which heats the air inside causing it to rise up and into the drying box. This is typically made of plywood with trays to rest the food on top of. Strategically placed vents help to control the air flow into and out of the dehydrator box to keep a constant circulation around the food.

If you want more detailed information on building your own solar dehydrator, take a look at this guide.

The post Be Our Guest – Food Preserving Part 2 appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Things You Can Do To Be More Self-Sufficient

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Things You Can Do To Be More Self-Sufficient

We are now three to five generations removed from the rural life that helped make America great. We have migrated to big cities and left our self-sustained lives behind. These mega-cities have caused our general well-being to decline, with suicide rates increasing across the world. Crowded conditions and economic problems have led to rampant crime, pollution, and a dog-eat-dog mentality.

You will find that most of these tips will save you money and some will even save you time.  The closer you get to true self-sufficiency you will save more and more money. Many find that the money saved alows them to cut down on overtime or even quit work altogether, allowing them to truely be free from the system and to become a homesteader. Saving money comes hand in hand with self-sufficiency and homesteading. Your labor is much cheaper than someone else’s and the money you save from gas and utility bills will go a long way towards paying down debts or buying more equipment for your homestead.

Here’s a list of 52 things you can do to become more self-sufficient. You would be one busy beaver, but you could even try doing one a week and in a year you will be closer to self-sufficiency than you ever thought possible. I recommend you learn the basics of your current project before moving on to the next.

  1. Plant your own vegetable garden.
  2. Change your own oil on your car or truck.
  3. Cut your own firewood.
  4. Collect and use rain water instead of municiple or well water.
  5. Supplement your house’s heating system with solar heating panels.
  6. Supplement your hot water needs with a solar water heater.
  7. Mulch your garden with local organic mulch instead of store bought products.
  8. Raise your own rabbits with worm beds underneath.
  9. Use home-made compost and free manure to enrich your garden’s soil.
  10. Grow non-hybrid vegetables and save the seeds for next year’s planting.
  11. Grow potatoes and save the fingerlings for next years planting.
  12. Use biointensive gardening techniques to grow lots of vegetables in small places.
  13. Build a greenhouse to extend your growing season.
  14. Build a root cellar (above or below ground) to store your harvest.
  15. Start a small orchard for a variety of fruits.
  16. Learn how to preserve food by canning.
  17. Raise bees to help pollination and for honey.
  18. Raise chickens for meat and eggs.
  19. Raise sheep for wool and meat.
  20. Raise goats or a dairy cow for dairy products.
  21. Preserve vegetables by sun drying them.
  22. Spin wool into yarn for making clothes.
  23. Make your own furniture out of tree branches.
  24. Preserve vegetables by freezing them.
  25. Grow herbs for cooking and medicinal purposes.
  26. Use edible wild plants to supplement one’s diet (Find a guide for your area first!).
  27. Use containers to grow vegetables in small places.
  28. Use chicken manure (composted) to help fertilize your garden.
  29. Use, use and reuse as much as possible before throwing away.
  30. Conserve electricity whenever possible.
  31. Tune-up your own car or truck.
  32. Sharpen your own tools.
  33. Build your own home or shed.
  34. Grow grapes for preserves or raisins or make your own wine.
  35. Build a pond and raise fish for food.
  36. Use solar and wind power to supplement your energy needs.
  37. Learn how to use a welder.
  38. Use clothes lines to dry clothes instead of a mechanical dryer.
  39. Grow grains to feed your own livestock.
  40. Grow alfalfa to return nitrogen to the soil.
  41. Use a generator for emergency and supplemental power.
  42. Dig or drive your own well.
  43. Bake your own bread.
  44. Do your own plumbing.
  45. Do your own electrical work.
  46. Run a small business from your home.
  47. Barter goods and services with your neighbors.
  48. Use a push mower instead of a gas or electric mower, or let the goats handle it.
  49. Use a bicycle (whenever possible) instead of a motorized vehicle.
  50. Make vegetables a large part of your diet.
  51. Make your own syrup from Maple trees as a sugar substitute.
  52. Supplement your diet by hunting game.

Source : besurvival.com

 

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7 DIY Ways To Remove Odors From Your Pantry

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Ugh! You open the door to your pantry and your nose is assaulted with the vile smell of rotten produce, spoiled broth that spilled on the back of a shelf, or just plain mustiness. It smells as if it’s seeped into the walls, so how do you remove odors from your pantry without repainting the whole thing?

Surprisingly, you have several options. The first thing you need to do is clean up the mess. Thoroughly.

Until you do that, you’re not going to be able to get the smell out. If it ran down the walls behind the shelf, you may need to clean the wall clear down to the baseboard. Do whatever you need to do to clean it up completely.

Now, you’ve got the mess cleaned up, so how do you make it smell better?

Vinegar

You can always use a bit of vinegar to wipe down the walls and shelves. Just blurp a half-cup of white vinegar into a half-gallon of water and start wiping. This will likely make your pantry smell like vinegar for a bit, but it’s better than rotten potatoes.

Cleaning and wiping with vinegar is also good to get that musty smell out. Dust off the tops of your less-often used containers and just tidy up in general. Most of the time, it’s mildew or dust that gives your pantry that musty smell.

Vinegar can be used to get rid of cooking smells. Leave a small bowl of vinegar in the kitchen or in the pantry overnight to absorb the odors and you can enjoy cooking for your loved ones.

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

Bleach

We all know that bleach kills almost anything, including bacteria that cause odors. Use 10 parts water to one part bleach to wipe down your entire pantry, shelves, floors, and walls, and you’ll soon notice that your pantry smells much cleaner.

If the mold and mildew have settled into rough wood, simply put your bleach solution in a spray bottle and spray it over the wood.

Baking Soda

OK, this one is actually best to use as a preventative measure, but placing a couple of boxes of open baking soda around your pantry will help prevent and eliminate most odors. You may want to use this in conjunction with other methods if you’re in a hurry or the odor is particularly offensive.

Change the boxes of baking soda out every few months to keep them working. This also works wonderfully in the fridge and freezer. Just pop the top and set it on a shelf. Baking soda is one of those must-have, multi-use survival items that you just have to have.

odor elim

Essential Oils

Many essential oils have antibacterial properties, and it’s not hard to find one that smells good. Mix several drops (how much depends on how strong you want it to smell. Use the sniff test til you find a ratio that works for you) into a half-gallon or so of water and wash down your entire pantry.

Some good suggestions are orange oil, rose oil, lavender oil, or even tea tree oil or eucalyptus if you like that piney, astringent smell. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to your vinegar to really get some bang for your buck and knock out nasty odors.

Charcoal

Charcoal is an excellent odor absorber and one that I particularly like because all you have to do is rip the bag open a bit and set it in your pantry. If you’re like me, you go through charcoal pretty regularly because you grill, so the bag doesn’t have time to lose its odor-absorbing qualities.

You can use charcoal in your cabinets, too. Just place a piece of two inside in the back and change it out every few months. Cool trick – if you have a plastic container that smells like onions or garlic, pop a piece of charcoal in it overnight with the lid on it and it will smell tremendously better by morning. The smell will likely be completely gone.

Mineral Oil and Alcohol

To remove stubborn odors from your pantry and condition and seal wood so that it won’t absorb more odors, mix 1 pint of mineral oil with a half-cup of rubbing alcohol and wipe all surfaces with it. Again, feel free to add a few drops of essential oil to make it smell good.

Lysol

Odors in pantries are typically caused by bacteria or fungi that are feeding of food or moisture and causing rot, mold, or mildew. Lysol, as well as bleach and vinegar, kills 99 percent of these pathogens and will therefore get rid of the odor. The distinct advantage that Lysol has is that it now comes in a variety of pleasant scents.

Lysol comes in mist and spray solution. Use the mist if your pantry just smells a bit musty (it’s handy to keep in the bathroom, too!). Use the cleaning solution if you’re cleaning up rotten produce or if the odor is so pervasive that you have to clean your shelves. Lysol cleaners are great to use when you’re spring cleaning.

Just a word of common sense caution: don’t spray Lysol on your food, especially produce that you’ll be ingesting directly.

Odors in your pantry can spread to your whole kitchen. If nothing else, they’ll assault your olfactory senses every time you open your door. Since the odor can be absorbed by boxed goods and even pastas and other foods, this is a case where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Do you wonder what are the secrets that helped our grandparent survive during harsh times?

Click the banner bellow and uncover them!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Pellet Power: Fossil-Fuel-Free Heating

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Pellet Boiler, Wood, Heating, Renewable, Self Sustaining, Carbon neutral, cheaper,

Pellet boilers beat oil for price and efficiency

A clean, cheap and carbon neutral way to heat your home – sounds good. Its a reality for thousands of families and businesses in Europe and North America.

Pellet boilers are growing in popularity; with grants and incentives offered by various states and governments – often in the form of financial assistance towards equipment and installation, depending on location. Ecoheat Solutions, a pellet boiler provider, have put together a summary of incentives for US based consumers here.

Why a pellet boiler?

Pellet boilers function exactly like an oil or propane burner with fully automatic operation. The only difference being instead of oil, wood pellets are being used as the fuel. Pellets are a cleaner source of fuel, being completely carbon neutral. The reason for this is that for every tree burned as pellets, another tree is planted to take up the carbon released. Not only this but wood pellets are readily available in North America and Europe – a local renewable fuel source. This not only bolsters the local economy but pellets are also much less volatile than oil or propane. Pellets are also much cheaper than fossil fuels – try 60% cheaper. One pellet boiler owner cited a saving of upwards of $1,500 per year on fuel – you can watch the full video of their boiler experience here.

There are a couple of downsides to pellet boilers. Fuel tends to be a little bulkier to store than oil and the ash bin(s) from the boiler need to be emptied every month or so. However, due to this ash by-product containing natural minerals, it can be spread on lawns, gardens or back into the woods; acting as a mineral fertiliser. Some pellet boilers also have motors, just like a pellet stove, and so some noise can be heard. However if the boiler is housed in a boiler room or basement, the noise levels can be much reduced.

The upfront cost of a pellet boiler is also higher than an oil fuelled counterpart. Depending on the model chosen; average prices for a pellet boiler come in at around $15,000 compared to a more conservative $10,000-12,000 for a fossil fuel boiler. However, with the pellet fuel being much cheaper in comparison (and don’t forget those state grants), the long run savings will more than make up for the initial investment.

What’s the difference between a pellet boiler and a pellet stove?

These two terms can sometimes be used interchangeably because they use the same fuel, but there is a fundamental difference between the two. Pellet stoves are room appliances, meaning they heat the room they are in. Of course, depending on the size of the house, this could be an ample heat source (tiny houses I’m looking at you).  A pellet boiler however, replaces an oil boiler and is connected to a heating system and so is more suitable for larger houses and commercial properties.

The post Pellet Power: Fossil-Fuel-Free Heating appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Growing Potatoes in Straw for Easy Gardening

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A few years ago, a close friend told me that I should try growing potatoes in straw. He pointed out that growing potatoes in straw or hay is much easier that planting them in dirt. Since I’m always trying to work smart, easier sounded just about right for me. Growing potatoes in straw is a … Read more…

The post Growing Potatoes in Straw for Easy Gardening was written by Rhonda Owen and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

The Road to Self-Reliance

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Installing solar panels

Solar tied to the grid can be unreliable

American families have been going off-grid for more than forty years, but for most it’s a gradual process, involving a lot of learning by trial and error. In a recent article published in Reason, J.D Tuccille wrote about how his experience going “semi-off-grid” in 2008 led him to reconsider his attachment to the mains, and begin a journey towards self-reliance that is still ongoing today.

Dipping into off-grid waters

In 2008 a power failure lasted a week at J.D’s former home in remote Arizona. While he had his own well, it was controlled by a pump that required electricity, and the surface of the water was too low to dip some out by hand. Then there was the issue of modern plumbing without electricity, and the requirements of coffee pots to consider. However, outages were common – so J.D had come prepared. He and his wife Wendy Wendy had stored water, cut firewood, and fueled up the camping stove and lanterns. They remained hydrated, warm and fed through that and every other experience with the electric grid’s unreliability.
“All in all, it was a bit Little House on the Prairie for our tastes, though with a better wine selection – but ultimately more of an inconvenience than a disaster,” he wrote. “But tolerance for inconvenience can decline with the years.”

When they moved to a new house in the foothills, Wendy had a strict requirement – a climate-controlled environment in the house at all times. This required some research into the best off-grid power systems to use for the climate, so J.D had to get serious.
“This being Arizona, where everything bakes for much of the year under the fireball in the sky, my first thought was solar,” J.D writes. “But I quickly discovered that all of those panels adorning people’s roofs were nothing more than expensive shingles during a power outage. Most solar installations are designed to feed the grid, not keep you independent of it. I priced adding batteries to the mix to gain some autonomy, but they more than doubled the cost. And batteries couldn’t handle the power demands of an air conditioner anyway. So we settled, if that’s the right word, for a 22 kW standby generator, which can handle the well pump and keep the air conditioning running.”

He said they were “especially pleased” with the decision when the European Union completed a coordinated cyber-attack simulation and found it leading to a “very dark scenario,” including crashed power grids.
J.D also beefed up the water storage capabilities at the house with rain barrels hooked to the gutters, which are conveniently located near the garden where he now grows tomatoes, olive and fig trees.

“Wendy and I have stumbled down our path incrementally over the years out of a combination of necessity and curiosity,” he writes. “We also keep tweaking our set-up. In addition to the generator, I’m putting together a smaller-scale solar power system. That fireball in the sky isn’t going anywhere, and I want to get some use from the thing. I’m picking up a few panels, a few batteries. I doubt I’ll manage to put together a system that can handle the well pump, let alone the air conditioner, but maybe we’ll be able to power a refrigerator. We can always stick our heads in there to cool off in a pinch.”

DIY learning

In a similar long-term learning curve, Eartheasy founder and blogger Greg Seaman has been documenting his many “hits and misses” with off-grid issues such as lighting, electricity and solar panels since 2000. A seasoned off-gridder – he first moved to a rural island in the Pacific Northwest when he was 30 – he has spent more than 30 years learning the art of living off the grid, and writes that it’s a constantly changing and upgrading process. With the added necessity of internet connectivity to maintain his Eartheasy website, and provide access for his family as they grew, he had to develop alternative ways of powering his home.

“Bringing some of the benefits of electrical power to our off-grid home has been a hit-or-miss affair,” he wrote in 2012. “Over the years, we’ve tried some very simple approaches to lighting and small battery recharging for our flashlights, such as hauling a 12 volt car battery to a small rural school about a half mile away every time it needed to be topped up. This was time consuming and inefficient. But we didn’t want to lose the feel of our simple home by bringing in a large generator and the jugs of gas needed to run it, and the prospect of setting up a wind turbine or solar array seemed expensive and a technological eyesore in a natural setting.”

Greg said that for many years the family got along without electricity, but when wireless broadband was introduced into the area, the family decided to build its own “reliable, affordable and do-it-yourself alternative energy system.”
“Today, with the help of a local expert on off-grid home solar power and alternative energy systems, we have the best of both worlds,” he wrote.

Greg, who today runs a successful family business devoted to creating sustainable products for low-impact living, acknowledges that off-grid living isn’t for everyone – the reality of living through the winter, the isolation, physical work, school or community character doesn’t always fit for some people – but if you’re willing to keep learning and trying things yourself, independent homesteading can be a dream come true.

The post The Road to Self-Reliance appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Be Our Guest: Food Preservation Part I

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Canning, off-grid, cooking, food preservation, water bath, pressure canner

With the “know-how,” food preservation isn’t so daunting

Charcutier Sean Cannon is opening his first restaurant, Nape, in London this month. Born and bred in Norfolk, Sean told the Guardian how growing up in a self-sustaining community influenced his cooking. His best kept secret – preserving.

“Whether it’s killing an animal and having lots of fresh meat, or early summer and everything is ripe, knowing what to do with a glut is key.” Cannon said.

If you live off-grid you’ll know that preserving food for future use is essential. Not only does it provide food security, but also allows you to taste sweet summer berries in the winter. By doing this age old tradition, it also stops more modern thoughts and concerns of “what is actually in my food?” If you do the preparing and the preservation, you know exactly what has gone into the food you will be eating.

There are many ways to preserve food including canning, freezing, dehydrating and smoking.

Canning is a valuable and low-tech way to preserve food. There are two main methods for this, either water bath canning or pressure canning. It is worth noting that water bath canning should only be done for acidic fruits, such as berries and apples. If canning other produce such as meats and vegetables, pressure canning should be used; otherwise there is a high risk of food poisoning.

The basic process is to heat water in your canner (or large pan if water bath canning). This should not be filled to the top; 3-5 inches should be left for your jars of food. Jars should have lids secured and be placed carefully into the canner, being careful not to knock other jars, as they could crack or break under the high temperatures. The jars should be immersed in the canner with the water just covering the lids. The canner lid should be locked in place if pressure canning and the jars left for as long as needed according to the recipe. After the required time, the canner should be allowed to depressurise if using a pressure canner, before the jars are removed. Heat protection and necessary precautions should be taken to ensure you do not burn yourself. The jars should then be left to cool and seal for a minimum of 12 but ideally 24 hours. The sound of popping and pinging will mark your canning success!

Canning is so popular because of the wide variety of foods that can be preserved this way and the length of time they will remain edible for. Plus there’s no worry of keeping food frozen or cool!

Canning does however come with an initial start-up cost. If you’re only looking to preserve fruits and jams, then water bath canning in a large pan is of course an economical way to go. However, if you’re looking to preserve a wider variety of foods which includes meat and vegetables, then it would be wise to invest in a pressure canner.

The Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker comes in at a reasonable $86.44 on Amazon. This can double as a water bath canner and a pressure cooker. Made out of aluminium, the canner allows for fast and even heating and with a liquid capacity of just under 22 litres, seven quart jars fit comfortably inside. The lid has a strong lock and an over-pressure plug can relieve any build-up of steam. With a 12 year warranty and excellent reviews, this canner will certainly suit the needs of most canners.

Canning, food preservation, jars, canning, water canning, pressure canning, off-grid, storage

Good jars & lids are a must – there’s nothing like hearing the “pop” of sealing success!

The Presto’s rival is the All American Canner. This is a pricier option at $225.37 on Amazon and has many similar features, being made of aluminium and also holding 7 quart (or 19 pint) jars. This is a heavier unit though, coming in at 20lbs to the Presto’s 12lbs. A reviewer having access to both canner makes did however point out another comparison between the two. She noted that the All American Canner has a weighted gauge which needs less “babysitting” than the Presto with its dial gauge, which required her to keep adjusting the heat of her stove. However, she pointed out that when compared side by side, both the Presto and All American took the same amount of time to get to pressure, to can the produce and to bring back down ready to remove the jars.

Once the initial canner investment is made, there are a couple of other bits and pieces which you will need. Jars are a must and are reusable. However, if using second hand jars to try and save on cost, it is important not to have any that are cracked or damaged in any way – this could lead to some nasty accidents later on!

In terms of lids, these can either be replaced for around $3 per pack or you could spend a little extra and invest in some reusable Tattler lids. These are marketed at $8.88 on Amazon for a pack of 12 and are “indefinitely reusable”.

Other kit you might want to buy (and are recommended to prevent nasty burns) are a jar lifter and canning funnel. These can be bought separately or in a set with other equipment such as kitchen tongs, a jar wrench and magnetic lid lifter advertised on Amazon at $8.79.

For more detailed information on canning basics for beginners, check out Starry Hilder’s video on YouTube!

Another popular preservation method, especially for meat and fish is smoking.
Smokin' Hot! Only if you want to eat your meat straight away. If you want to preserve your meat, cold smoking is the way to go!

Smokin’ Hot! But only if you want to eat your meat straight away. If you want to preserve your meat, cold smoking is the way to go!

This involves long exposure to wood smoke at low temperatures, which is different to grilling over an open fire. Smoking preserves meat and fish by drying the produce and the smoke creates an acidic coating on the meat surface, preventing bacterial growth. The addition of a rich mouth-watering smoky flavour only adds to the appeal of this preservation method.

 

There are two types of smoking method. The first is called hot smoking and cooks the meat so it can be eaten straight away. This involves getting the temperature above 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The meat will still need to be cooked over a long time, leaving it very tender.

The second is cold smoking which doesn’t cook the meat for consumption straight away. Instead temperatures between 75 and 100 degree Fahrenheit are used to seal the meat and flavour it. The time meat or fish is left to smoke depends on the cuts and type of produce. Adding salt to the meat can help to speed up the process as it is a natural preservative. After drying the meat should be placed in an air tight container and stored at a cool temperature until consumed.

There is a wide range of smokers from electric or gas to charcoal and wood. This propane smoker from Amazon comes with a built in temperature gauge and retails at $211.40. Alternatively, instead of trying to find a smoker that suits your needs, why not build your own? That’s what this family has done!

 

Part II of “Be Our Guest – Food Preservation” will cover refrigeration and dehydrating.

The post Be Our Guest: Food Preservation Part I appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

10 Ways To Prepare Your Tractor For Survival

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Prepare Your Tractor For Survival
Homesteaders and farmers recognize the importance of tractors in daily life. These vehicles tend to be very durable, but it’s important to make sure you can still use them in a post-crisis world.

Aside from increasing the number of things you can use the tractor for, taking these steps will also help your tractor last longer and perform better during its lifespan.

Know What the Tractor Can Do

Over the years, I’ve purchased all kinds of gadgets in my quest to find devices that use less electricity or power while delivering at or near the same level of usefulness as more conventional devices.

For example, when I was still learning how to use power tools, I thought battery powered tools would be better or safer than conventional ones. It wasn’t long before I found out that “under powered” means nothing more than slow and virtually useless.

To this day, my very first battery powered jigsaw sits in its original box somewhere in the attic, with a battery that I haven’t charged more than once every few years to see if it still works. At the same time, my conventional powered jigsaw sits right next to my desk and is always ready to use.

When it comes to preparing a tractor, it is very important to know just how much work they can do. Simply put, you cannot get an engine rated for 5 – 10 horsepower and expect it to do the work of a 25 horsepower engine.

If you are going to add accessories to the tractor, or in any other way expand what you use the tractor for, it is very important to know if the engine, drive train, and transmission can truly take the added wear and tear. The last thing you will want to do is purchase attachments or make plans only to find out that the tractor won’t suit your needs. Get a good sense of what your current tractor can do so that you can purchase something better or look for alternatives before it is too late.

Take control of your home’s energy with this step-by-step System to Energy Independence! 

Buy Adapters that Expand their Usability

Did you know that you can purchase an adapter for a tractor that can be used to plow snow?

While many preppers think of tractors as farm and homestead equipment, they may also be useful to conventional homeowners and apartment dwellers. The sheer number of attachments and accessories for tractors make them as versatile as they are powerful.

Here are just a few attachments that you may find of use for homesteading as well as some others that can be used by just about any person that is concerned about having a versatile travel vehicle in time of need:

Forklift Attachment

It’s ideal for people that have large stockpiles stored in boxes or crates. The fork lift can be used to lift all kinds of heavy items at one time. Depending on size and power of the main tractor, a forklift may also be useful for lifting and pushing small vehicles out of the roadway.

Steel Tracks

No matter how big or sturdy tractor tires may be, muddy terrain or complex areas can be more easily navigated with steel tracks that give you advantages similar to what you would have with a tank.

Log Dragger

If you are planning to cut down large trees, you can easily haul the lumber with this tractor attachment.

Spade and Bucket Attachments

These devices will give you a chance to use the tractor as you would a backhoe.

Steel Enclosure

This should be one of the first things you buy, especially if you plan to use the tractor like a forklift or backhoe. The steel cage will keep you safe and may also make it easier to use the tractor in a wider range of weather situations.

Harrows, Scrapers, and Pipe Layers

There are all kinds of attachments for tractors that can be used for planting crops, or digging into the ground for some other purpose.

Get All Shop Manuals for the Tractor and Accessories

As with any other motor vehicle, you need as much information as possible about the parts and functionality of every system in your tractor. A shop manual will give you far more information than just how to exchange old parts for new ones. You may get a better look at what is inside each part so that you can refurbish the parts if needed.

These schematics will also help you gain a sense of additional skills and tools that might be of use to have on hand. For example, if a specific part has a rubber diaphragm, then you know that this part may be something that wears out faster than others. This information will show you what things are best to have in your stockpile. In this case, you will store away materials that can be used to make a new diaphragm as well as extra parts that can be changed out as needed.

When it comes to sourcing replacement materials for parts refurbishing, new polymer and resin technologies may offer better replacement materials. Once you get a look at the shop manual and study it carefully, you will know more about what kind of newer materials may work as well, if not better. Considering you may have to keep the tractor running for decades or even pass it along to future generations, you need as many suitable materials on hand as possible.

A shop manual will also give you a complete listing of every part used in the tractor. Did you know that it may be possible to scavenge parts from vehicles that aren’t the same make and model?

Usually, the key to achieving this goal is to know exactly where the mounting points are and if they can be adapted to your vehicle. Once again, the schematics for the parts used for your tractor will give you some good ideas about how the insides are arranged. This, in turn, makes it easier to estimate what can and cannot be done with scavenged parts.

Setup and Maintain a Maintenance Schedule

It is very easy to be inspired by all the power you wield when you have a tractor at your fingertips. On the other side of the equation, a tractor is still a machine that requires good quality routine maintenance to keep it working for as long as possible.

It’s all too easy to forget when the last oil change was, or when you carried out some other maintenance task. As with your car, setup and maintain a maintenance schedule for your tractor, based on the following:

  • Consult the shop and owner’s manual so that you know what should be done at each maintenance interval.
  • Include a listing of all materials and tools that you will need.
  • Identify any areas where you feel that you do not have the knowledge or skills to do the job yourself. Even if you cannot do the job at the nearest time interval, make it your business to get the necessary training to do the job the next time it is needed.
  • Set aside enough time so that you can do the job yourself and be sure that you are doing it well.

When it comes to prepping, there are some additional things you should add to your maintenance plans. Consider a situation where you have been doing routine maintenance, but haven’t done any tests to check on the engine compression. Even though the tractor is operating just fine, wear and tear is going to add up over time.

It is best to have some advance warning of parts that may fail so that you can be ready to repair or replace as needed. You will need to consult the shop manual and research each part of the tractor. The more you learn about the risks, the better chance you have of developing tests that will help you diagnose and repair in time.

Convert for Multiple Fuel Use

Just about every prepper is aware about the lack of fuel for motor vehicles in the post crisis world; this topic comes up as often, if not more than EMP proofing. Even though many tractors run on diesel, make sure that you have systems in place that can take advantage of biodiesel, wood burning and methane.

One of the most fascinating emerging technologies involves using hydrogen to partially or fully power motor vehicles. While kits designed to inject hydrogen into cars and trucks are still controversial, there is far more progress being made with tractors. There are already kits on the market that covert water to hydrogen through a hydrolysis process without having to involve a commercial electricity supplier.

Video first seen on Daniel HHO Hydrogen Donatelli.

Consider changing out the tractor’s engine entirely and using a steam engine instead. This is the best way to incorporate the largest number of fuels because you can burn just about anything to generate steam.

If you decide to keep the internal combustion engine running in your tractor, it doesn’t harm to keep a steam engine, boiler system, and transmission connections on hand. If you do run into a situation where the main engine is of no use, then you can try installing the steam engine instead.

When considering alternative fuel types, remember that any system you use must also have a good chance of surviving an EMP. If you experiment with hydrogen fuel, eliminate solid state technologies as much as possible. Instead, look for ways to use gears and other simple machines to replace of electric motors and controls. In a worst case scenario, you can still try shielding these and other vulnerable parts of the tractor with EMP proof paints and coverings.

Have the Right Tools and Spare Parts

More than a few preppers think that if they find an second hand tractor that matches their own, they will have more than enough spare parts to get through a major crisis.

Tractors and their parts are made in largely automated factories just like cars and trucks. This means if there is a problem on the production line that impacts one part, it is likely that it will impact every reproduction of that part until the error is discovered. In most cases, that error is not discovered until hundreds, and perhaps even thousands of consumers wind up having the same kinds of problems.

So even if you do buy a spare tractor, the parts in it may be just as inclined to wear out or break down in the same order as the ones in the tractor you plan to use on a regular basis. In fact, if you buy a tractor that doesn’t run, the part that you need most may be the very one that you already know isn’t working on the spare!

From this perspective, choosing the best parts and tools comes down to researching before you actually buy anything. Once you go through the shop manual, research on consumer forums dedicated to the tractor model that you own. If you see that several people have the same problem, then make sure that you have extra spares for that part, or that you can refurbish what you have.

Be Able to Maintain and Repair On Your Own

Have you ever kept the same vehicle for so long that friends and family members joke that you must have replaced everything but the gas cap?

If so, then you have an idea about what it will be like in the post crisis world where you will have no choice but to patch things, bypass them, or make something new to replace something that fails. You may view this as an educational hobby right now, but these skills will become important.

Here’s what to learn if you plan to maintain and repair your tractor at the highest possible level:

  • Know how to salvage and repurpose any metal that you happen to come across.
  • Know how to recognize sources of metal ore and extract it from natural sources.
  • Know how to mix different ores and minerals to produce a metal suitable for making tractor parts.
  • Be able to heat, forge, and anneal metals so that you can shape them into usable parts. This includes extruding wire and making precision cuts and holes in any given piece of metal.
  • Find out more about polymers and other materials that can be stockpiled and used to make prototypes or actual tractor parts. You’ll also find useful to have a 3D printer on hand.
  • Be able to weld, solder, and manage every other aspect of metal working.
  • Find ways to melt down plastics or other non-metallic parts so that you can make new items or repair old ones as needed.

Overall, I recommend getting rid of as many computer based or electronic controls in tractors and other vehicles for the sake of EMP proofing and also long term durability. Even though computer chips and solid state devices can go for decades and work perfectly, there will come a day when they stop working.

Unlike purely mechanical devices, there is simply no way to repair a blow IC chip or other solid state part, and all of your efforts will go to waste if you cannot replace these parts with functional new ones. Use your time to make changes that eliminate these devices instead of trying to store them away or figure out how to diagnose them.

Have at Least 3 Safe Storage Locations

No matter how many people die or are wounded when a crisis begin, those left behind will also die off or be injured in large numbers. Before that happens, desperation will drive people to do all kinds of things: joining together to pillage and loot any place that might have food or other important resources.

If you have a tractor and land, sooner or later some kind of rouge element will find its way to your door. From EMP blasts to hostile invaders, you need at least three safe storage locations for your tractors, accessories, and spare parts.

When planning your storage locations:

  • Try to divide up the items into caches so that anything found at one site is useless unless it is combined with items from 2 or three other locations. For example, if you are storing away engine parts, do not store the tools in the same cache.
  • It’s best to have underground storage locations since these will be easiest to protect from nuclear radiation. If you are already building a shelter for yourself, you can add on to that shelter more easily than building a structure above ground for the tractor.
  • The shelters should all be EMP proof.
  • The shelters should be hard to find from the ground or by land. Learn more about ground penetrating radars as well as how to disguise the tractor signatures as much as possible.
  • Make sure that all of your caches are easy to defend. Choose areas where you can quickly arm traps as well as areas where you have enough room to lure invaders into fields of fire.
  • The caches should be far enough apart so that you can get the tractor into them as quickly as possible no matter where you happen to be on the homestead.
  • Resist the temptation to connect all the caches via underground tunnel. If someone does invade and gets to one of the caches, it will only be a matter of time before they find all of them.

Practice Making Your Own Fuel and Secure Provisions

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

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

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

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

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

Know and Practice Making Lubricants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Read This Before Start Building An Utility Trailer

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Survivopedia Read This Before Start Building An Utility Trailer

Even though there are plenty of pre-built new and used utility trailers on the market, they may not meet your exact needs. If you are going to use the trailer for any kind of prepper application, it is best to make sure you have everything you want in the design.

As with so many other things, this means you will more than likely need to design and build the trailer yourself. While this may cost more in terms of time and labor, in the end it may save your life and make living in the post crisis world easier than expected.

If you are looking to expand or upgrade your DIY skills, building a utility trailer will give you plenty of practice.

Stages of Building Your Trailer

These brutal financial times make it difficult to justify building a utility trailer that may or may not be needed to address some kind of major future crisis. Surprisingly enough, you don’t need to build a utility trailer years, or even months in advance of a major social collapse.

By keeping the following points in mind, you can build a suitable trailer in just a few days, or even do so after a major crisis happens.

As you think about how long it will take to build a utility trailer, keep the following points in mind. You can divide the timeline into five main parts:

1. Planning and designing the trailer

You can plan and design a trailer at little or no cost. Make your basic plans on paper, and then do your research for free online. Look at other designs on the market, find out what materials are available, and get a good sense of how much all the parts will cost. Once you have the blueprint, parts list, and projected assembly plans, just about everything else can be done in a matter of days.

When of making up a parts list, include as many recycled or salvage parts as you can, and add at least 2 or 3 alternatives that suit your needs. This will make it easier to choose parts later. If you run out of time before acquiring all the building materials, you can use this list during and after a major crisis as a guide to viable materials.

2. Obtaining raw materials

Before you buy materials, purchase any tools that you might need. These tools can also be used for many other household and travel needs, so they won’t go to waste. The more time you spend using basic power and hand tools, the better off you will be in any situation.

The more time you have for obtaining building materials, the better. Aside from being able to budget more easily, you will see if there are reusable materials in flea markets, junk yards, or estate sales that might be of use.

Individuals that are building and maintaining comprehensive bug out plans should take the salvage and alternative material list along on test excursions. This is an excellent time to take note of what items may be available on the way to your bug out location.

3. Building the trailer

Preparing for an emergency is never easy, especially when you are concerned that all your hard work will be stolen by rioters or others. An utility trailer can be a bit hard to hide, and just about everyone that sees it will know what it is, or remember that you have one. Once a major crisis occurs,these people will be looking for you and ready to take anything of value that you might have.

This is the main reason why I don’t recommend building a utility trailer from the top down and having it all ready to go. Rather, it is better to build the trailer in units, test them out, and then be ready to assemble them at a moment’s notice. Many systems are small enough to be hidden in your home or garage, and then assembled later on when the need arises. If you make fast assembly and modular system designs part of your plans, this process may be easier than you would expect.

 4. Testing everything out

There is a definite trade off between testing out a completed trailer and keeping its existence as secret as possible. Doing your best to test specific modules may not be enough when you actually assemble the trailer.

Your best option will be to try and assemble the trailer in a quiet location where no one will know. Once you know everything works together as a unit, you can always take everything apart and then reassemble it in time of need.

5. Maintenance

As soon as you begin keeping supplies on hand, or materials to build the trailer itself, you will always need to be concerned about maintenance.

For example, if you purchased aluminum for the sides of the trailer or other parts, they may still need painting, lubrication, or other routine care to prevent them from being ruined.

Where to Get Materials From

Have you ever gone to a local hardware store, home improvement store, or automotive shop only to be disappointed by the inventory? You may find some items in these stores to get you started on a DIY product, while other items may not be available (thicker aluminum, for example).

Be careful how you shop online, and you should be able to keep your building plans secret.

Here are some other places where you might find building materials at a more reasonable price:

  • Local auctions and surplus events. Newspapers and websites dedicated to your town or city may list these venues as well as what kinds of materials are available.
  • Watch the classified ad listings in supermarkets, department stores, or other areas where estate sales, flea markets, or other private sales might be listed.
  • Military surplus outlets may also be of some use.

Check the end of the article for a list of websites that may help to salvage or find construction surplus materials.

Basic Parts

The absence of a means of propulsion doesn’t mean utility trailers are simple, or that you can build them with a lack of care and consideration. A poorly designed or constructed trailer can spell disaster. Do not cut corners or reduce quality if you want to build a reliable trailer!

Wheels, Axle, Suspension, and Braking Systems

The axle and suspension system must be able to support the entire weight of the trailer and everything in it. These parts must also have the flexibility to absorb shock as the trailer moves without bending excessively or breaking.

Many utility trailers have smaller wheels, but bear in mind that you might take the trailer off road or into areas with deep ruts, mud, or broken pavement. Spend a bit more on larger wheels with deeper and heavier treads so that the trailer passes more easily over these areas.

Basic Frame

The frame must work in conjunction with the suspension, axle, and braking system to provide a solid foundation for the rest of the trailer. No matter whether you choose an open design or a closed one, the suspension must be sturdy and durable. A frame that is built independent of the suspension will give you more options and also much better performance.

Coupler and Tongue Jack

If you do not have a good quality coupler and tongue jack on the trailer, it can lead to a number of problems including:

  • The trailer may break way from the vehicle pulling it along.
  • It may sway from side to side or be very hard to control when the pulling vehicle turns.
  • A poorly designed coupler may be difficult to connect and disconnect as needed.

Wall Frame

The wall frame must still be study enough to keep all of the items in the trailer secure no matter whether you design an open trailer or a closed one. Choose frame material that will not bend or buckle if objects inside the trailer hit it.

It is also best to choose a frame material that is sturdy enough to accommodate the weight of a roof and enclosure if you decide to make these changes later on. Even if you decide on low walls now, make sure that you can bolt on taller pieces later on without sacrificing on frame strength.

Roof Frame (optional)

Try to make the roof frame sturdy enough to accommodate the roof covering and storage for other items. It never hurts to create a roof top frame that can also be used to house solar panels, small wind turbines, or other devices used to generate electricity, gather water, or carry out other tasks.

Enclosure

If you are looking for a cheap easy way to enclose the trailer, start off with canvas, and then keep a vinyl covering for times when you need to keep the interior as dry as possible. As time and budget allow, enclose the trailer with aluminum or some other more permanent and durable material. As long as the roof is made from a solid material (polymer or resin might work), you could also generate power and still use canvas for the trailer sides.

Access Points

Most people that build low walled trailers do not worry about doors or windows. On the other hand, even if you plan to live in a canvas covered trailer, you’ll need to enter, exit, add to, and remove items from the trailer.

Ventilation and adequate air flow are also important so that you don’t wind up with moisture, mold, and mildew buildups inside the trailer. Doors and windows on solid side, enclosed trailers can also make it more comfortable to live in.

Security System

When all your worldly possessions are going to be packed in a trailer going a long distance, security systems are crucial.

You can use electronic surveillance systems as well as specialty locks and bolts. Just remember that these systems are only as good as the materials used to build the rest of the If the sides are made of canvas or vinyl, there will not be much sense in installing locks. Instead, think about what kind of weapons you can use to defend the trailer as well as any devices that can be used to deter people from approaching it.

Internal Features

Shelves, seats, tie down areas, and privacy enclosures are all important for a multi-purpose utility trailer. Keep weight down by using plastic furnishings or ones that can be packed away easily.

For example, beanbag chairs are lightweight and can be put together to make a bed. Alternatively, use plastic tubs to store your items and then put an air mattress on top of them. Just because internal features need to be light weight and simple, that does not mean you have to be uncomfortable or unable to enjoy whatever time you may need to spend in the trailer.

Electricity

Aside from running computers or other devices that store important data, electricity is important for power tools used to fix the trailer or build parts that were not complete before started using it. There are many devices that can be used to power a utility trailer, like different wind turbine designs that will lend themselves well to sitting on top of a trailer. As long as the trailer is in motion, the turbines will spin.

You can make a series of smaller turbines that are housed in other parts of the front of the trailer and then combine them into a single battery pack. This is especially important if you want your trailer to look as inconspicuous as possible. A few fans hidden behind grills will not be as noticeable as solar panels or a shell design turbine sitting on top of the trailer.

Make your home 100% immune from future power outages or blackouts with this DIY Home Energy System! 

Water and Sanitation

Many people that don’t plan on living in a utility trailer after a major crisis occurs think they can ignore water and sanitation issues.

On the other hand, you are always going to need clean water. As such, you should at least have some tools on hand so that you can purify water or pull it from other resources. Even if you store away plastic and a shovel so that you can retrieve water vapor as it evaporates from the ground, you will be ahead of the game.

Setting aside a small part of the trailer for sanitation and privacy needs is more important than you realize. At the very least, bring a few items along that you can use to meet these needs once they are assembled.

Tools and Skills You Need for the Project

You will need common tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, pliers, metal cutters, drills, and hand saws for building your trailer, but also other items. These tools require electricity to operate, but it’s not impossible to make a sturdy trailer without them.

  • Welder – you need a welder to join together steel rods used in the trailer frame. Even though welding is not especially difficult to learn, you need some practice before you weld the rods together. Remember to wear a welding hood, gloves, and an appropriate apron. No matter how fascinating welding and the sparks it makes may be, remember that you are working with very high temperatures and a light source that can blind you in a matter of seconds.
  • Circular saw, jig saw, and hand drill – these power tools make cutting boards and other materials much easier and faster. Perhaps I am a bit old fashioned in my preference for corded tools, however I have yet to find battery powered tools that lasted as long or provided as much power when I needed it most.
  • Hydraulic Jacks – you need at least 4 to support the frame while you are mounting the axles and wheels.
  • Hoists and Pulley Systems – if you start building in modules, hoists and pulleys make it possible to assemble completed parts in a matter of minutes.

Equipment and Furnishings: Buy or Make Your Own?

When you make your own racks, shelves, and other furnishings, it’s easy to create what you need and in the size that you need it. But if you don’t have the time or patience to make furniture, it can be a very tedious task. Unless you upcycle free wood palettes or other materials, you’ll find that the cost of making your own furnishings is about the same as buying pre-made models.

Research on camping and RV gear, and you’ll find all sorts of things that can be used to make the utility trailer more comfortable and convenient. In many cases, this equipment may not meet all of your needs. You may not be able to repair the items if they break down, or they may not be as durable as you would like.

If you want cutting edge designs or newer technologies, those devices may also be more expensive. For example, if you want to include a wind turbine, it may be impossible to find the best in a pre-fabricated form, so you’d better look at different bladeless turbine designs, and build something that meets your needs.

Newer polymers and other materials on the market can make this task as simple as working with a 3D printer and a few well designed templates. Aside from cost and innovative concerns, when you make your own equipment you can always add room for adaptability. If you need to scavenge parts or build systems that are easy to repair, there is nothing like developing your own designs.

DOs and DON’Ts When Building an Utility Trailer

Building an utility trailer is like many other things in life. There are some basic things you should always do, and others that you should avoid.

Here are some of the most common practices that lead to building a trailer that will be durable and useful or one that will not be worth the effort you put into it.

  • Do not cut costs on critical components such as the frame, suspension, axle, and coupler. Everything in the trailer depends on how sturdy and durable these items are. If you don’t know how to weld, or don’t have enough practice in metal working, make sure that you know what you are doing before you tackle building these parts.
  • Do seek training for everything you need to do. From wiring the trailer for electricity to installing windows and shelves, it never hurts to take a few courses on these and other building oriented topics.
  • Never work on the trailer when you are tired, angry, or sick. Most of the time, you will be working with power tools, chemicals, or something else that can cause injury or death. Exhaustion, excess emotions, and illness can make you careless and impatient. Even if you are not injured, the mistakes you may make can come back to haunt you when you put the trailer on the road and discover these “hidden features”.
  • Always observe safety precautions. Goggles, ear protection, gloves, aprons, steel toed boots, dust masks, and respirators are all necessary safety gear that should be used. While many people today recognize the need for goggles, far too many do not wear protective ear plugs and respirators. Never forget that everything you are working with will create some kind of dust, smoke, or gas. None of these fumes or dust are good for your lungs or your health.
  • Give yourself plenty of room to work. Over the years, I have seen many accidents caused by a simple lack of working space. Make sure that you have plenty of room to lay all the parts and tools out. Keep your work area neat and clean. No matter whether you are working indoors or outside, it is all to easy to take a step backwards and trip over something you forgot was back there.
  • Make sure that others working with you observe safety and good working habits. If you work with a team, it is all too easy for you, and others to put things where they can pose a risk to others. If everyone makes it a point to put things back where they belong, it will be much easier to avoid accidents.
  • Always keep detailed records of everything you did and how each system fits together. Later on, if you need to diagnose problems or make repairs, these notes will give you a valuable point of reference. Include photographs taken during the construction process, these will make it easier to orient and prepare for making any required changes. Do not forget to update your notes and photos once you are done.
  • Never use drugs or alcohol while working on the trailer. As soon as you lose any kind of control of yourself, both the tools you are using and the materials can also get out of control. This can lead to cuts, bruises, burns, and other serious injuries. If you must have a drink or take some kind of medication, stop for the day and then go back to it when your thinking and your reflexes are in better condition.

Take the time to design and build a custom utility trailer, and you’ll develop a perfect prepper solution!

While this task isn’t as difficult as it seems, you will need to put in a considerable amount of time, effort, and money. When a disaster strikes and you are able to move and live comfortably in the trailer, you will see that it is well worth the effort.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.americanbuildersurplus.com/

http://www.salvex.com/

http://www.contractoryardsale.com/

http://www.bmomn.com/

http://www.govliquidation.com/Scrap-Metal.html

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Preserving fish for long-term survival

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Living in a world where supermarkets are out of business is certainly no easy task. In order to survive in such world, you will be forced to hunt or fish for your food. Fishing for long-term sustenance requires for you to know various methods of preserving fish. Of all flesh foods, fish is the most … Read more…

The post Preserving fish for long-term survival was written by David Andrew Brown and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

10 Reasons To Have A Sewing Machine

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Survivopedia Resons to have a sewing machine

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

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

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

What Kind of Sewing Machine is Best?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janome-712T-Sewing-Machine-Table-3-sm

As Clothes Wear Out You can Remake Them

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

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

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

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

Easier to Darn Socks and Other Items That Develop Holes

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

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

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

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

Sew Heavier and Coarser Fabrics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make Money as a Seamstress or Tailor

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

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

Custom Design Clothes that Meet Your Needs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make Blankets and Quilts for Many Purposes

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

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

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

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

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

Get More Out of any Fabric You Come Across

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

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

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

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

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

Make Or Repair Furniture Covers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Build Shelter Covers and Carrying Aides

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make Toys and Other Items for Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Prep Blog Review: Best Practices For Storing Survival Food

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

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

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

  1. Top 10 food Storage Myths

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

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

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

Read more on The Survival Mom.

  1. The Best ORAC Foods to Stockpile

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

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

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. 50 Food Items To Keep Stocked for Emergencies

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

Read more on The Well Prepared Mama.

  1. How To Dehydrate Herbs for Long-Term Storage

dehydrating-herbs-for-storage

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

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.  

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Tech 101: All about Batteries

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Batteries, lead acid, lithium ion, saltwater, off-grid, solar, wind

Choosing the right battery can be positively overwhelming

New to off-grid living? Thinking about going off-grid? Have years of experience? Bet you’ve thought about batteries.

Having a back-up store of energy for those cloudy still days, when your renewable energy system isn’t exactly on top form, is a grand idea. But navigating through the types of battery and which is most suitable can seem like a bit of a minefield. Actually, quite a huge minefield.

Way back when…

Initially when off-grid living took off, people turned to car batteries for their storage needs. However, being designed to give out a large current in a short burst, they couldn’t take the strain of being used for longer periods. This usually ended in a burnt out battery after only a year or two of use (if you were very lucky). but a few folk DID get lucky and begged or bought old Fork-lift truck batteries – and found them to be ideal.

Enter Deep-cycle Lead Acid batteries

Designed for a steady current output over long periods and with several hundred discharge- recharge cycles over its lifetime,  these are perfect for partnering with renewable energy.

There are several different types of lead acid batteries which can be used off-grid. The most commonly used in conjunction with solar and wind power are: golf cart batteries, L16 batteries and industrial batteries. All of these are flooded with electrolyte which evaporates during charging, meaning maintenance is required. This extends to checking electrolyte level a minimum of once per month and topping up with distilled water when needed.

Golf cart batteries are good for those completely new to off-grid living, who have a small scale renewables system. The upfront cost of these units is low, meaning if first timers make any mistakes and ruin a battery, the financial loss is minimized. Lasting 4-5 years, these batteries have a reasonable lifespan. They are durable, and can withstand undercharging without too much impact on their storage capacity – reducing the chance you will be scratching our head and saying: “hmm this battery doesn’t seem to hold its charge as long as it used to”.

Batteries, lead acid, lithium ion, saltwater, off-grid, solar, wind

Car batteries for off-grid living are now a thing of the past – unlike Herbie, they weren’t exactly loveable!

Batteries can be scaled up in a bank, depending on the amount of storage required. A set of four 6 volt, 225 amp batteries in sequence can hold 4kWh, increase this number and you could potentially have a bank capable of storing up to 16kWh. With prices starting below $100 for one unit, this is by far the most economical option for those with small scale electricity needs.

 

If you want to step it up from a golf cart battery, then L16 batteries may be the way to go. Even though the units are twice as heavy at 120lbs! They can power small to medium set ups and have a lifespan of up to 8 years. There are also 2 volt models available, allowing for greater storage capacity if a lower voltage is not an issue. However, these units are between 2-3 times more expensive than your standard golf cart battery, but if you have a little extra cash to spend, this could be a good option to go for.

However, if you just want one battery rather than creating your own bank with multiple units, then an industrial battery might do the trick! At a hefty 300lbs these are not meant for RVs and boats. But with a 15-20 year lifespan and the ability to have them custom made to your specifications (including storage capacity) straight from the manufacturer, this does have its positives. But also a considerably higher price tag of between $2,000-10,000 per unit, depending on specs.

If you don’t want the hassle of maintaining a flooded battery you can always opt for a sealed lead acid one.

Instead of a fluid electrolyte, these units have gel or absorbed ones. This means the only thing they need to keep in good working order is proper charging. Alongside this, no gases are produced so you don’t have to worry about appropriate ventilation. They don’t suffer from corrosion either because there is no leakage. Models of these units such as Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) units are also easily stackable, taking up less space. However, despite all of these positives they are sensitive and can be easily overcharged. And the big whopper is they aren’t exactly a cost effective option, with prices that are double that of an industrial flooded lead acid battery, but with half the lifespan.

Alternatively, Lithium ion batteries are gaining ground, especially in light of this being the technology behind Tesla’s Powerwall.

They can deliver more discharge/recharge cycles over their lifespan (approximately 10 years), compared to lead acid batteries and can be charged at higher currents. They are lighter and take up less space also, making them easier to install and change. Due to their lightweight nature, they are also great for RVs and boats. Not only this, but when standing idle they lose only 1-3% storage capacity per month compared to up to 15% for lead acid batteries. So if you’re someone who only uses their RV or boat for vacations every few months, then this might be a better option.

However, there are some drawbacks to these types of batteries. Firstly, they need a Battery Management System (BMS) to monitor the voltage and temperature of the units. This is because even Lithium ion batteries made in the same batch can have variations in capacity. Therefore, when charging, some batteries can become full quicker than others, resulting in dangerously high voltages in some of the units. A BMS shunts the current away from full cells to still charging cells, protecting the system. It can also detect over-heating of cells and will shut off the charging pack to protect all the batteries.

Clearly, this all comes with a heftier price tag than a lead acid battery, for both the unit and associated BMS. And remember – in comparison to lead acid batteries the technology is relatively untested in terms of its longevity. Plus, Lithium ion batteries aren’t widely manufactured yet – so when it comes to replacement equipment or management systems it is not as easy to find what you need as lead acid batteries. However, when this technology becomes more widespread and the price of the units comes down, then there could well be a shift away from lead acid and towards lithium ion batteries.

Batteries, Lead Acid, Lithium ion, saltwater, off-grid, solar, wind, self-sustaining, storage

Could salt be the key to a new generation of batteries?

And just to throw a spanner in the works…

Aquion Energy have brought out a saltwater battery. Yes you read that correctly. Instead of using lithium salts or sulphuric acid for the electrolyte fluid, the Aspen battery uses a non-hazardous sodium sulphate solution. Coming in 24 volt and 48 volt models, the 260lb units are stackable and can be discharged 100% before recharging. The units can operate between -5 and 40°C. Currently, they are being tested in a pilot project in Vermont as part of an “off-grid package”, offered by utility company Green Mountain Power.

Although this is designed for long term stationary energy storage (sorry boat and RV owners) it is aimed at those living off-grid at a supposedly competitive price. The components of the battery are made from relatively cheap, abundant materials and each unit is easy to manufacture. Therefore, an inexpensive manufacturing process should pass on savings to the consumer. Aquion Energy have been given the North American Company of the Year award from the 2017 Global Clean Tech 100, and the Aspen Battery has been named in Building Green’s Top 10 products of 2017. So if you’re fancying something a little different, Aquion’s Aspen battery might be the thing for you. You can find out more about how many batteries you would need to meet your energy requirements here.

Hopefully, you haven’t been left too bamboozled by the battery minefield.

Essentially, what is going to be best for you depends greatly upon your circumstances and budget. If your budget is low and you don’t mind a bit of maintenance, then lead acid batteries are probably your best bet. However, if you have a larger budget, but only vacation in your RV or boat, then a Lithium ion battery with low rates of self-discharge might be a good option to consider. And if you want to break the mould and don’t mind being a bit of a guinea pig, perhaps give the saltwater battery a try – at least you won’t have the worry of your bank going up in flames!

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9+ Essential Items For Your Bedroom Survival Kit

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Survivopedia 9+ Essential Items For Your Bedroom Survival Kit

We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, so there is a good chance that you will awake to some sort of emergency at some point, if you haven’t already.

There you are, sound asleep until you are jolted awake by a bump in the night, a deafening siren, the rumbling of an earthquake or the shouts of a loved one. How prepared are you?

The purpose of the gear you have bedside should be to get you oriented and situationally aware and then get you to a safe room (often the master bedroom closet). This will delay attackers and provides hard cover as well as structural support against disaster to keep you safe and give you time to communicate and ready an appropriate response whatever emergency you are facing.

Situational Awareness

As you start awake, the first order of business is whether this is like a thousand other times you have awakened and gone back to sleep or whether this time is different.

Since you may be making that determination in a state of sleep drunkenness, it is to your benefit to make use of tools that can improve your situational awareness.

1. Worn Equipment

I make a habit of wearing an ordinary-looking necklace that has a small LED on it and some restraint escape tools inside it. This way I can always find my way in the dark, start a fire and have a shot at escape should I be unlawfully detained, even if I am hauled out of bed in the middle of the night in my underwear or otherwise caught at a disadvantage.

I started wearing it because I travel to places where the kidnapping of US citizens is a significant threat, but I found it so useful to always have an LED handy that I just kept wearing it. I vary its configuration depending on where I am and what I am doing.

The Survival Necklace

You can purchase a basic necklace pre-tied from Oscar Delta or contact them and ask if they’ll build you a custom model that meets your needs and level of training, which may require that you email them from a DOD or Department email, depending on what you want, since they are in the UK.

I suggest that you learn to tie and build your own so you can customize it as your environment and needs change and because survival is the king of all DIY pursuits. If you need help, just ask.

Survival Necklace

I’ll list the contents of mine as it is today, but I change it as needed and tie new ones as old ones get worn out in life or used in training.

  • Technora 200 Friction Saw – Cut zip ties, flex cuffs, rope.
  • Zirferrotech Zircon Ceramic Microstriker Bead – Great ferro rod striker and breaks tempered glass (side & rear car windows) with surprisingly little force both due to its extreme hardness. Your car door could be jammed in a crash, you could need to exit the rear of a vehicle when the locks have been disabled or you could need to safely break auto glass to rescue someone else. Non-ferrous.
  • Tungsten Carbide Microstriker Bead – Like the wheel on a lighter. Breaks tempered glass.
  • Large Fishing Swivel – I could have used any number of snap hooks but wanted mine to be able to pull double duty as fishing gear if needed. I just smooth any sharp edges.
  • SO LED – Red or White light models made by CountyComm. Availability is spotty but very inexpensive so buy a bunch if you find them. The slide switch is easy to actuate with one hand. Positive on/off. Simple design. MOLLE/snap clip accessory for bags and gear.
  • Silicone Tubing – Fuel line tubing conceals handcuff key and bobby pin.
  • Advanced Handcuff Key 3 – Matches the tooth spacing for TOOOL’s ultimate handcuff key. SnakeDr removed some metal from the barrel on this model so it works with the maximum number of high security handcuff models possible and still opens standard handcuffs.
  • Bobby Pin – “Reach around” tool for the handcuff key in case you get illegally detained in handcuffs with your fingers away from the keyways. Handcuff shim, lock pick, lock tension tool, sharp bit of metal to work knots or duct tape, etc.
  • Ferro/Magnesium Toggle – I use firesteel.com. Availability is hit and miss, but they are the best performing ferro rods I have tested to date and I have tested dozens. The bond between the magnesium and ferro rod is probably as strong as either and this combination gives magnesium to use as tinder which is a big plus in the Rocky Mountains in winter or in 99% humidity in the Brazilian jungle.

2. Light and Footwear

If you are jarred awake by an earthquake or similarly destructive event, your bedroom windows may be all over your bedroom floor, making footwear necessary to prevent injury.

When you wake, your eyes are adjusted to the dark, but you need enough light to orient yourself and grab what you need without making racket.

I prefer an LED with a low red setting work setting to save my night vision while I get my bearings when I wake up in the night. I tried the Streamlight Sidewinder Compact Military IR but it turned out to have a design flaw.

Boots

The switch takes a lot of force to turn and is just soldered to the circuit board without any load bearing support to the housing so they end up breaking after a year or so of moderate use.

I replaced it with the Petzl Strix IR, which has been rock solid to date. It has an IR IFF strobe, but lacks a visible strobe. I guess Petzl decided that was outside the scope of use for this type of light.

3. Cell Phone & Charging Cradle

Your smart phone can be a powerful tool for situational awareness, but the problem is that mobile voice service is often the first thing to stop working in a major emergency, so be sure to choose emergency notification services that notify you via text messaging.

If you haven’t yet, check out the National Weather Service page if you are in the USA or the equivalent in other countries and choose SMS notification services that are the best fit for the risks you face based on your location, climate, employment, etc.

Most of the notification services are free, but you can always pay for more features. Get the FEMA app if you are in the US (I haven’t had any black helicopters come for me yet) and any other notification services that apply to you.

Just keep in mind that these notification services are third party and are no substitute for All Hazards Weather Radio. The technology necessary to run the cellular phone network makes it inherently fragile. Because the All Hazards Weather Radio system is much simpler, it is much less fragile.

4. Public Alert Certified All Hazards Radio

Midland WR-120 Public Alert Certified RadioEvery survivalist should have one of these radios!

They can notify you of severe weather alerts, large scale disasters alerts such as earthquakes or any event warranting notification of the public and has saved my bacon more than once.

Given that most of us spend a third of our lives sleeping, without something to wake us up in an emergency, we very well may sleep right through the first crucial hours of an emergency. In an emergency where it is necessary to bug out to survive, you very well may miss your window.

As I consult with survivalists, I often find that they have spent thousands of dollars on 4-wheel drive vehicles and bug out bags and made elaborate preparations to bug out, but don’t have a $30-$60 Public Alert Certified radio that close a chink in their armor that leaves them exposed 33% of the time.

It’s good to have that warning the other 67% of the time that you are not sleeping as well.

There are two types of All Hazards Weather Radio:

  • NOAA Certified
  • NOAA Public Alert Certified.

Here, we are focused on the later. Many radios are NOAA certified, but not Public Alert Certified. They will receive NOAA alerts and can listen to weather radio channels but lack many of the features of Public Alert Certified radios, which are programmable with codes for each county to only receive alerts for the counties you specify.

They are programmable by severity, have a “wake up” feature that allows alerts to turn on the radio, display information important about the threat as a banner in their LED display, and have ports to attach external notification devices such as strobe lights, sirens or pillow shakers to help notify the hearing impaired and talk to other equipment.

To clarify, the words “Public Alert Certified” only appear on the programmable radios with external notification and auto wake up. If possible, you want a radio that is not programmable to your county, type of threat and threat level. Otherwise, your radio will constantly alert you to events that will not affect you.

By telling the radio what you are and are not concerned about (programming it) you can eliminate false alarms.

5. Security System Reporting Mechanisms

If you have a home security system, make sure that you have reporting mechanisms at your bedside. Many older alarm panels will tell you which zone was breached, but this will not be of any help unless you have a panel installed beside your bed so you can see it.

Many newer systems can send notifications and even real-time video to your cell phone, but may need Internet access to do so. Make sure that all alarm sensor and reporting has battery backup all the way from every sensor to the panel to your hub, switch or router to your cell phone.

If your system includes Dakota Alert MURS sensors, you will want a MURS radio receiver on your nightstand.

History has many survival lessons to teach on the subject of situational awareness sans electrical grid.

In the 1800’s in Utah Territory, there lived a man named Orrin Porter Rockwell.

Depending on who’s account you read, Porter Rockwell was an outlaw, a lawman, a bodyguard, a tracker and a scout in the Nauvoo Legion that waged a guerrilla campaign of harassment, robbing and burning supply trains, and preventing resupply of the US Army in the Utah War.

Porter was as famous as famous a gunfighter as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holladay, Bat Masterson or Tom Horn in his time and killed more men than all of them combined.

Between the friends and family of those he killed, upstart gunfighters looking to make a name, the men he jailed and those he fought against in the Utah War and other skirmishes, he certainly had to watch his back.

His employment had him on the trail tracking outlaws and guiding parties West to California during the gold rush which had him returning to the Salt Lake Valley alone and sometimes sleeping off a night of drinking on the trail, so Porter developed a strategy to give him some warning.

You might expect a man like Porter to have a large ferocious dog, but as many miles as he made horseback in a day would have killed most domestic breeds. Instead, he chose a little white dog that could ride with him horseback, behind his saddle.

He trained the dog to lick his face to wake him instead of barking when someone approached his camp. Porter’s portable biological alarm system helped him to die of old age instead of a bullet and is easily duplicated today and even easier if you don’t travel on horseback.

6. Smoke, Flammable Gas and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It is easy to plan for the spectacular but improbable (based on history) threats and neglect threats that cause a lot of death and suffering. Make sure you have detectors throughout your home and in your bedroom.

Action

Situational Awareness Is Key Gear Can't Help You If You Are Asleep

So, you are now awake at bedside with your headlamp and footwear, have identified a threat or possible threat and it’s time to act. For most threats, you will sound an alarm (if necessary, to alert other members of the household) strap on your home defense waist pack and make for your safe room.

7. Home Defense Pouch

A standard preparation that I recommend is to seek professional self-defense, firearms and legal training and then put together His & Hers’ home defense waist packs as-long-as it is legal for you and your spouse to carry concealed weapons in your home.

If you carry openly, a belt can serve the same purpose. The idea behind this approach is that you can grab a single piece of gear, buckle it on and have the basic tools of self-defense at your disposal. I recommend keeping this in a hidden and locked safe that can be accessed quickly and in the dark.

I am not alone amongst firearms instructors in recommending this approach. Should you come out on top in defending your life, a second battle begins, one that will determine your liberty.

Consider your jurisdiction, the laws and how officers, prosecutors and judges may apply them. Depending on their dispositions, you may have a better chance of not going prison if you use ordinary-looking equipment and firearms than if you sleep with full battle rattle at the side of your bed.

Self Defense Pouch Contents & Training Gear for Drill with Hand to Hand

The main purpose of the home defense pouch is to give you the tools you need to fight your way to the cover of a safe room.

Click here to get your Green Beret’s Guide To Combat Shooting Mastery & Active Shooter Defense!

8. Home Defense Waist Pack

  • Centerfire Pistol with tritium sights – You need to be able to see your sights. You can keep a sidearm in the waist pack or place your sidearm in the waist pack when you take it off at the end of the day.
  • Spare Magazine or Speed Loader
  • Tactical Flashlight – You need to clearly identify intent, ability and opportunity and see what is behind your attacker.
  • Knife – Will never experience a stoppage and won’t run out of ammunition until you stop swinging.
  • Less-lethal Option – Lethal force is not always the best solution.
  • Compact GSW Kit – Any time you strap on a firearm you should also strap on a trauma kit.
  • Cell Phone – You are not going to want to have to go looking for a cell phone if you need to use this waist pack.

9. Turnout Bag

You may have seen firefighters using turnout bags to get ready quickly without forgetting anything. Under the stress of a life and death emergency, we are more likely than normal to forget things.

Checklists and turnout bags help mitigate this risk. It is important for survivalists to include checklists in turnout bags because we need to include ID, passports and other items that we can often only have one copy of. I keep these items in an EDC valet and check them off as I turnout.

The turnout bag concept lends itself handily to the Modular Survival Kit Model as turnout bags and specific ensembles can be layered on top of turnout gear as needed based on threat, mission, environment, climate, mode of transport and other relevant factors. You can read more about turnout bags and checklists here.

Common Types of Turnout Bags and Ensembles

  • Covert (Everyday) TOB – Normal “gray” concealed carry clothing in earth tones.
  • Overt TOB – Minuteman bag with overt camouflage.
  • First Responder – If you work or volunteer as a first responder (or plan to) you will need a dedicated turnout bag for that.
  • CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) Ensemble – These threats require specific personal protective equipment and training.
  • Extreme Cold Weather Ensemble, Covert
  • Extreme Cold Weather, Overt

Safe Room

A safe room provides a protected area to shelter in place or to get ready out of your turnout bag before grabbing your bug out bag and proceeding to an assembly area in the event that your home becomes unsafe.

Many families decide to locate safe rooms in master bedroom closets or adjacent to them. Locating it at ground level or above gives heavier-than-air gases someplace else to go, but requires more shielding to protect against radiation if it is planned to also serve as a fallout shelter.

Safe Room Features

  • Turnout Bags
  • Hard Cover – Protection against small arms. If you lack the funds, you can measure between studs and pour steel-reinforced concrete panels to install between them.
  • Structural Reinforcement – Protection against earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes.
  • Reinforced Locking Steel Door – To slow down aggressors.
  • Alarm Panel
  • Monitor – For cameras so you can monitor the situation outside. Lacking money for this for my first safe room, I installed a framed one-way mirror which worked well and didn’t require power.
  • Long Guns with Lights – Don’t forget spare ammunition and a PC way to carry. Carrying it in a satchel instead of a plate carrier may avoid the appearance that you were hoping to need it.
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Escape & Utility Shutoff Tools – The rubble you escape from may not resemble the home you live in today. Windows and doors may jamb or be blocked.
  • First Aid & Trauma Kit – Include gear based on your family medical needs and risks such as Epi-pens, inhalers, insulin or Naloxone which can save lives.
  • Concealed Emergency Exit
  • Water & Food
  • Blankets & Pillows
  • Portable Toilet
  • Bug Out Bags
  • Materials to Flag Your Home – Flagging your own home can save time and may keep Search and Rescue personnel from breaking into your home to search it if you decide to evacuate. I will write an article describing how to do this.

Training

Independent of what preparations you decide to implement, training will help iron out the kinks.

Start the drill in bed, dressed as you normally sleep. Don’t cheat and think you have it down because small details matter here and differentiate your precise situation, equipment and body from everyone else’s.

Note the time and kill the lights. Choose a few different emergency scenarios based on the types of emergencies you believe to be most probable. Run through the most probable. Note the time when you finish.

Debrief afterwards nothing what worked smoothly and effectively and was less effective than you would like and make changes. Running the most probable scenarios in sets of three times each will give the best return on your skill training.

When you are comfortable with the drill, work it in as the first step in a timed bug out drill. There is no substitute for experience, but stressed, timed training is about as close as you can get without responding to real emergencies.

spec_ops_shooting_cover

 

This article was written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.weather.gov/subscribe

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

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Most common seedlings problems and how to fix them

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Seed starting is the most anticipated task of every gardener. However, it is also the most critical one. If you fail to grow your seedlings and nurture them, you can lose your entire crop. There are a few common seedlings problems and we all need to know how to handle them. If you are self-sufficient, … Read more…

The post Most common seedlings problems and how to fix them was written by Rhonda Owen and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

3 Steps To Start A Fire When Everything Is Wet

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Start a fire when everything is wet

Starting a fire in adverse weather, whether is rain or wind or both is a very important survival skill every outdoors aficionado must possess. The ability of igniting a fire when things are less than perfect is a fine art which must be learned and practiced until mastery is achieved.

The thing is, nature doesn’t care much about our best laid plans, mice and men alike and an emergency never comes alone. I mean, when confronted with a survival situation, you’d at least expect fine weather, cool breezes and sunshine.

In reality, your survival in an emergency situation will become much more complicated than initially thought and I would dare to say nine times out of ten, as you’ll end up not only lost in the woods or wherever, but you’ll also have to deal with rain, cold and high winds.

Emergencies almost always bring bad weather with them, it’s almost like a 2 for the price of 1 deal. And that’s fine as long you’re prepared both physically and mentally.

However, in critical times, your survival may depend on your ability to light a fire under rain and/or wind and any hardcore survivalist, even Bear Grylls will tell you that you should always carry at least 2 primary and 2 secondary tools for starting a fire.

The idea is that a regular fire starter may not always provide you with the best results, especially if it’s raining and it gets wet. Also, if it’s windy and rainy, your chances of igniting a fire with just one match are pretty slim. If it’s freezing cold, your BIC lighter (which uses butane) may not work at all.

Basically, starting a fire when it’s windy, cold and rainy is one of the worst situations imaginable, other than starting a fire under water, which is a skill only Chuck Norris masters (he uses phosphorus by the way).

I think I have already told you a dozen times in my previous articles about the holy trinity of survival, which includes fire as a means of providing you with (cooked) food, (safe) water and shelter (warmth, protection from wild animals etc), but also about the importance of location.

But do you know which survival essential is the first most important?

Find out how this little survival stove that fits in your pocket can save your life!

1. Find an Adequate Location for Making the Fire

Everything in life is location, as Van Helsing used to say back in the day, and the same mantra is true when it comes to making a fire.

The first thing to look for is an adequate location for making a fire in harsh weather conditions. The idea is to provide your fire with as much protection possible from both wind and rain if possible. And if you’re not in the middle of a frozen desert with no snow around, that’s not impossible.

Shelter means three basic things:

  • shelter from the wind
  • shelter from the rain
  • shelter from the ground water.

2. Shelter the Fire

Ideally, you should shelter your fire on more than one side (upwind).

Build a Windbreak

You can protect your fire by building a C shaped windbreak with the open side downwind. You can build a windbreak using wood, rocks, snow, dirt, just use your imagination.

To shelter your fire from the rain when outdoors is the hardest job, but it can be achieved.

Make the Fire Under a Tree

But pay attention! The easiest way is to make your fire under a tree, as evergreens can be regarded as a natural tent of sorts. All you have to do is to pick a big one and make your fire under the lowest branches.

Making a fire under a tree may not seem like the best idea, as there are inherent risks attached, like setting the tree on fire, but if you’re paying attention and keeping your fire under control, the chances of such an event happening are minor.

You can minimize the risks further by building a good fire pit with no combustible materials around the fire.

Build a Fire Pit

The third requirement is how to protect the fire from ground earth, with the previous two taken care of by now. The easiest method is to use rocks for building a fire pit on a spot where the ground is raised from the floor.

Or you can do that yourself, i.e. you can build a little mound and on top of the mound you’ll put a layer of rocks, thus preventing your fire from staying directly on the wet ground and also making sure any running water will be drained ASAP.

3. Tinder, Kindling and Fuel

So much for location folks, let’s move on to the next issue and I will start with an axiom: if you don’t have the Bear Grylls flame-thrower with you, starting a fire using wet wood is basically impossible and a no-go under any circumstances. You’ll waste your time and your gear, bet on a dead horse and the whole palaver.

Video first seen on CommonSenseOutdoors

However, there are ways, as Gandalf used to say, but ideally, you should try to find something dry for starting your fire. As a general rule of thumb, a fire gets started in 3 stages: tinder, kindling and fuel.

The tinder is a combustible material which is very easy to ignite, i.e. it will catch fire quick and easy.

The kindling can be improvised using pieces of finger-thick wood that will be lit from the kindle.

The rest is pretty straight forward, as far as your kindle gets ignited you’ll start the main fuel and you’ll have a fire burning in no time.

Two of the best survival-tinder (fire starters actually) which can be used for igniting a fire in adverse conditions (even with wet wood) are cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly and dryer lint mixed with paraffin. These will burn for at least 2-3 minutes, thus providing you with plenty of time to get your fire started. I’ve already written an article about this issue.

As an interesting factoid, even in the midst of a rainstorm, you can almost surely find dried branches under the bottom of big/old pine trees. Another great place to look for dry combustible is the underside of uprooted (or dead) trees.

Video first seen on IA Woodsman

How to Make the Best Fire Starter for Wet Wood

The best fire-starter for wet wood can be home-made using black powder (gunpowder) and nail polish remover (the one that contains acetone). The acetone will be the solvent for the gunpowder. The idea is to make something that burns slow and as hot as possible and the gunpowder/acetone mix is by far the best in this regard.

Making the mix is fairly easy, as you’ll start with a small quantity of gunpowder the size of a golf ball put inside a ceramic/glass bowl. Start adding nail polish remover so that the mound of gunpowder is totally covered then mix it together slowly and thoroughly (always wear rubber gloves).

Once the stuff inside the ball gets in a putty-state, you can pour off the extra nail polish and then start kneading the putty, just like when making bread. i.e. folding it over time and time again.

The purpose of the kneading is to create layers inside your fire-starter. In this way, the burn rate is more controlled. The more layers, the better your fire-starter will be. The finished putty can be stored in an airtight container, but keep in mind that you’ll want to use your putty when it’s still moist. If dried, it burns too fast.

This fire-starter burns at 3000 degrees Fahrenheit and a golf-ball sized piece will burn for more than 3 minutes. Basically, you can set anything on fire with this baby and even  dry out damp wood in the worst conditions imaginable.

One final thing, it would always be nice to use fire accelerants, like gasoline (or alcohol, paint thinner etc), for starting a fire in rain or wind.

If you have your car around, the better, as you can siphon out some gasoline from the tank and start a fire even with damp wood in a jiffy. Okay, you’ll not receive those extra bonus style points, but that’s okay.

You’ll always have the peace of mind knowing that no matter where you go and no matter how bad the weather is you’ll be able to start a fire and safely cook food and boil some water. Click the banner below to grab this offer!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Ultimate Off Grid Survival Trailer For Full Time Living

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Ultimate Off Grid Survival Trailer For Full Time Living

Whether you’re looking to return to paradise or escape the collapse of society, more and more people are looking to get away from it all and rediscover their inner-rugged individual self.

The off-grid, self-sustaining bug-out lifestyle has a growing appeal and is an important part of most preppers’ strategy… in some ways it is the ultimate security investment, especially if it is set up for power, water and raising your own food.

Living unconventionally calls for unconventional solutions. It is geared towards the DIY prepper, and often involves making good use of re-purposed items. The suburban home mortgage is neither secure, nor affordable, nor resilient in a crisis.

But the modified shipping container, or tiny home or cabin structure, along with many other options, offers many aspects that are. They can be built debt free, and depending upon your environment, can be made to withstand the elements – and perhaps more importantly, maintain lights, water and shelter regardless of whether or not bills are paid, or the grid remains up and running.

Planning for the rest is up to you.

Check out this custom-built off-grid home – double trailer design that has afforded freedom for this bold couple in Australia:

Here’s what Kirsten Dirksen wrote about it on her great off-grid YT channel:

Paul Chambers had began building a home out of two shipping containers as a project, but when his wife got tired of suburbia and put their four-bedroom home on the market, his project became the couple’s full-time home (Paul’s ebook: www.buildshippingcontainerhous­e.com)

Paul and Sarah Chambers were living in rural Scotland when Paul received a job offer in Australia. They packed their belongings and moved to a large home with a pool in an Australian suburb. After only a few months, they began to tire of spending so much of their income on their home. They also felt they’d lost touch with nature and a more active lifestyle (“there weren’t even any trails for walking”, explains Sarah).

 

So they sold their home and moved with Paul’s “project”: two shipping containers he’d been transforming into a kitchen/bathroom + bedroom/living room. They found someone willing to let them park their new home on their rural property in exchange for making improvements to the land.When the couple first moved onto the property, the home was a very simple shelter and over the following three years, they built the containers into a proper home.

Their home is completely off the electric and water grids. When they first moved to the bush they used a 3kw Honda generator, but they’ve since installed 2Kw of photovoltaic panels and a bank of batteries and phased out the generator. They have enough energy to power their home with all its conventional appliances, including a standard fridge/freezer. For heating, they rely on firewood (collected from fallen trees on the property; they have “not cut down a single tree”). For air conditioning, they use fans and AC “during really hot days”.

In the beginning they had to rely on water deliveries, but Paul has since installed an extensive rainwater capture setup- both on the roof and gutters beneath the home- which provides for all their water needs: 65 square metres of rain water collection in 10,000 liters of storage. The indoor bathroom includes a shower, but Paul built an outdoor, open air bathtub which they heat with solar in the summertime.

They’ve also created an extensive vegetable garden inside a netted garden cage (after the animals and hot sun destroyed their first attempts). For eggs, they have two hen houses.

To be sure, this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but the important thing is that it is possible.

Discover how to survive: Most complete survival tactics, tips, skills and ideas like how to make pemmican, snow shoes, knives, soap, beer, smoke houses, bullets, survival bread, water wheels, herbal poultices, Indian round houses, root cellars, primitive navigation, and much more at: The Lost Ways

The Lost Ways is a far-reaching book with chapters ranging from simple things like making tasty bark-bread-like people did when there was no food-to building a traditional backyard smokehouse… and many, many, many more!

If you liked our video tutorial on how to make Pemmican, then you’ll love this: I will show you how to make another superfood that our troops were using in the Independence war, and even George Washington ate on several occasions. This food never goes bad. And I’m not talking about honey or vinegar. I’m talking about real food! The awesome part is that you can make this food in just 10 minutes and I’m pretty sure that you already have the ingredients in your house right now.

 

Source : www.activistpost.com

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How To Make Soap On A Rope For Survival

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How To Make Soap On A Rope For Survival

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

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

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

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

Why would you want your soap on a rope?

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

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

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

But, how do you make it?

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

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

Can I make soap without lye?

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

And think about our ancestors. They didn’t have the luxury of the modern industry but they were able to create their own hygiene products from simple, readily available ingredients.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making the Soap

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ingredients

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

Soap on a rope ingredients

Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click the banner below and uncover their secrets!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

References:

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

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Regenerating the Eco-village

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Regen Villages, Off-grid, Sustainable, Eco-village, eco-friendly

Regen Villagers don’t need green thumb to live in greenhouse.

Self-sustaining communities that can talk to each other; sounds like something from the future doesn’t it? But Regen Villages is making this a reality – right now. The first Regen eco-village has begun building works in Almere, 25 minutes from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The 15,500m² project will house 100 families and aims to be completed by 2018.

But what is a Regen Village?

Founded by James Ehrlich, a senior technologist at Stanford University, in 2015, Regen Villages has a holistic approach. A regenerative system combining new technology and renewable energy powered homes, with organic food production right on the doorstep.

The houses vary in size and are built inside a greenhouse “envelope”, with some even having terraces. Each home has a built in water collection system, solar panels and are passively heated. The community has a seasonal garden, biogas facility and aquaponics amongst other things.

The base of the villages is that the output of one system is the input to another. Waste from the homes is sorted into different categories. Bio-waste is used in the Biogas facility, whilst compost is used as food for livestock and small flies. The flies are fed to fish and the waste from both them and the livestock fertilises the seasonal gardens. The plants in the aquaponics facility and seasonal gardens produce fruit and vegetables for food, whilst the livestock and fish provide a source of protein. Rainwater is collected and stored at the houses and water produced at the biogas facility is also stored. Grey water is separated and used to irrigate the seasonal garden, whereas clean water is put into the aquaponics. Solar cells provide the energy for homes and also to the “smart grid” which can be used for charging electric cars.

Regen Villages, who are partnered with Danish architects EFFEKT, have been termed the “Tesla of ecovillages” paving the way for new innovative developments. Plans include villages being linked up to the cloud and being able to communicate with each other through the internet. In this way communities are self-reliant and off-grid but can still learn from each other.

What about the future?

At a conference held at Sliperiet, Umeå University, Sweden James Ehrlich spoke of the future for Regen Villages. After the completion of the Almere pilot, EU funding of a proposed 300 million euros (approximately $319 million) will enable projects in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany to go ahead. These are aimed to be carried out during 2018-2022. Sights are then set on developments across Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, India, China and parts of the US, with government investments. As Ehrlich outlined, by targeting a challenging cold environment first, Regen Villages can be adapted to suit different climatic needs.

Off-grid sustainable greenhouse communities are not at all futuristic and Ehrlich is keen to make them a reality.

The post Regenerating the Eco-village appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

How To Make Your Own Aspirin For Survival

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How To Make Aspirin

Knowing how to make a natural pain reliever if you’re stuck in the wild can be a life-saver. Because aspirin is a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, blood thinner, and fever reducer, it has many uses. Fortunately, most of the United States hosts a tree or three that has salicylic acid – the active ingredient in aspirin. We’re going to tell you how to make your own, sort of!

First, remember the rule – “natural” doesn’t equal “safe.” Arsenic is natural but you wouldn’t eat it. Well, you might, but the results would be less than desirable! Anyway, now that you’ve been warned, apply the rule to aspirin.

Some people are allergic, so it’s important, especially in a survival situation, to know whether or not you can safely take it.

Side Effects of Aspirin

Aside from the results of being allergic, there are some common side effects that you may experience even if you can take it. These include:

  • nausea
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • drop in blood pressure
  • excess bleeding from wounds
  • kidney irritation
  • respiratory depression.

Consuming too much can be fatal, so take only what you need to do the trick.

Plants that Contain Salicylic Acid

Willow barkThough willow tree bark is by far the most common source of salicylic acid because it’s so rich in it, there are several other plants that contain the acid, or its base, salicin.

For instance, birch trees and poplar trees contain salicylic acid in their barks, and berries are a decent source of it, too.

Medicinal use of willow bark dates back to the days of Hippocrates, when it was used to reduce fever and treat inflammation.

It’s been used throughout the centuries across the world, and is still used today, to treat pain (particularly back pain and arthritis pain), menstrual cramps, headaches, stroke prevention, high blood pressure, and inflammatory conditions such as tendonitis and bursitis.

Topically, white willow bark tincture or birch bark tincture is good for treating skin conditions such as acne, warts, psoriasis, or eczema. Though all willow trees contain salicin, the bark of the white willow has the most.

Other good sources are the purple willow, black or pussy willow, and the crack willow. You should research your area so that you know which, of any, of these trees are local to you.

If you don’t live in an area that has willow trees, birch trees, particularly white and yellow birch trees, contain methyl salicylate, the forerunner to synthetic aspirin. The white birch is also called canoe birch, sweet birch, silver birch, or lady of the woods.

Cottonwoods, poplars, meadowsweet, and black haw also contain salicosides. In all of these trees, the inner bark is the medicinal part. That’s the papery part of the bark that you find when you peel the bark away from the tree.

If you don’t have any of those trees around (which would be rare in the US), many fruits and vegetables, including blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes, dates, kiwis, guavas, apricots, olives, green peppers, radishes, tomatoes, chicory and mushrooms, also contain significant amounts of salicin.

For today, we’re going to focus on how to make aspirin from willow bark and birch bark. Both white birch and willow trees grow in zones 2-9, which includes almost the entire US except for the southernmost part of Florida, and maybe a few southern parts of California, Texas, and Arizona.

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

Both trees like moisture and are typically found growing wild in forests and around a water source. Look up your area, determine which types of trees you have around you, then scout them out. For that matter, it won’t hurt to have some willow or birch bark on hand at all times if you prefer natural treatments.

How to Make Aspirin from Willow Bark or Birch Bark

Remember that dosage is important because willow bark, in too high a dose, can make you really sick. Same thing with birch or any other source. If you’re new to the game, it’s probably best to start with a smaller dose and take a bit more if you don’t see results in 45 minutes or so.

A white willow has a rough, furrowed, grayish bark, smaller branches that are golden brown, slender, and flexible, and long, slender, finely serrated leaves. The tops of the leaves are shiny and green, and the undersides are silky and white. They alternate instead of being opposite each other on the branch.

To find physical descriptions of other willows, check your local guides. A good test, though, is to look at the leaves. Willow tree leaves share the same characteristics regardless of species.

After you’ve found the tree, it’s time to harvest the bark. This is easy – just peel away a piece of the bark, making sure to get the papery part between the hard bark and the meat of the tree. It’s much easier to peel the bark from smaller branches than from the trunk of the tree.

At this point, the bark can actually be chewed to achieve local anesthetic benefits as well as systemic ones, especially if you have a toothache. You can also make a tea, tincture, or powder from it.

Video first seen on Howcast.

Willow Bark or Birch Bark Tea

To make the tea, let the bark dry for a few hours if you can. You don’t have to, but it’s recommended for best results.

Bring about 3 cups of water to a boil, if you have that much to spare. If not, use what you have. Put the bark in and continue to simmer. This serves two purposes – you’re making the tea and purifying the water at the same time.

If you’re using heat to purify the water, make sure to boil it for at least 10 minutes, with or without the bark. Use about 1 tablespoon of bark for each cup of water. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes and remove from the fire.

After removing your tea from the fire, let it steep for 10-20 minutes. By that time, it will have cooled enough to drink. Drink a cup of the tea every few hours. Watch out for side effects and adjust the dose accordingly.

You can also make a decoction by boiling for a bit longer – 15-20 min – and letting it steep as directed for the tea.

Making Willow Bark or Birch Bark Powder

Without a doubt, the powder form of willow bark is the easiest to carry with you. If you have it on hand, you can quickly make a tea. To dry the willow or birch bark, simply separate out the paper parts and allow them to dry completely. Grind. Add a teaspoon to a cup of boiling water and make your tea as described above. Store excess in a dry, airtight container.

Make Willow Bark or Birch Bark Tincture

As we’ve described in another article, tinctures are great for long-term storage, or for use with plants that don’t have a high degree of solubility. It’s easy to make a tincture from willow bark or birch bark as long as you have some alcohol. Vodka will do nicely as long as it’s at least 80 proof. Simply add 1 tablespoon of bark per cup of vodka, cover, shake, and let it steep for at least 2-4 days. Take 1 tsp of tincture 2-3 times daily.

Now you know how to make aspirin tea from a willow tree or a birch tree. The upside to these treatments is that you know exactly what’s in it, but make sure that you know what you’re doing and remember that it’s better to start with too little that too much.

The dosage amounts that I’ve listed here are for adults. You can also use aspirin for kids and pets, but the dosage needs to be adjusted accordingly. Just as with all natural remedies, don’t use them if you don’t know what you’re doing.

If you’ve ever made your own aspirin or used willow bark or birch bark for natural pain relief or to reduce a fever, please tell us about your experience in the comments section below. And remember that knowledge is the only doctor that can save you when there is no medical help around you.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: Are You Prepared For An EMP Attack?

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As we all know, the U.S. power grid is in danger and one thing is for sure: when the power will go out, the economy, the defense infrastructure and more than that, our own safety and health will go down. The U.S. Government

In this situation, the only thing we can do is to prepare for that moment when the lights go down rather than wait and see what happens in the aftermath.

That’s why, for this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered 5 useful articles for some off-grid scenarios.

  1. Gov’t Reports Warns: Power Grid In ‘Imminent Danger’

blackout-doe-report

“ The U.S. power grid is in constant danger of a cyberattack that could cause widespread blackouts and impact millions of citizens, according to a new 492-page report from the Department of Energy that warns if nothing is done to protect the system, the nation likely will suffer.

“The U.S. grid faces imminent danger from cyberattacks,” the report, released Jan. 6, states. “Widespread disruption of electric service because of a transmission failure initiated by a cyberattack at various points of entry could undermine U.S. lifeline networks, critical defense infrastructure, and much of the economy; it could also endanger the health and safety of millions of citizens.”

The report, titled “Transforming the Nation’s Energy System,” notes that the electric grid in the 48 contiguous states is comprised of 21,500 substations and about 700,000 miles of power lines.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

  1. How to Protect Your Power System Against an EMP

electromagnetic-pulse“Hello my friend and welcome back! I received a letter from one of my readers who goes by the name of Dan.  What he wants to know is how he can protect his wind turbine and solar panels, as well as his electronics, from an EMP or another Carrington Event CME.  He also wants to know how deep his underground shelter needs to be to protect what he has there.  WOW!  That was a mouth full.  This is the subject of today’s post, so grab a cup of coffee my friend and have a seat while we visit.”

Read more on American Preppers Online.

  1. Living Off the Grid with Solar

“The moment you go off-grid, you rely entirely on a system that generates electrical energy and utilizes the same to support all your electrical solarappliances, either at home or on a business premise. For your system to be exclusively off-grid, it must have absolutely no link to the utility grid.

Going off-grid is possible, practical and beneficial to you in many ways. You will not have to pay utility bills and in the long run, you will save money! Other motivations include: environmental concerns and endeavoring to only use renewable energy; energy independence, you won’t have to rely on the blackout-prone utility; social values, which mean taking responsibility for your energy consumption effects; costs, when the distance to the grid is too big, your decision to go off grid becomes a lot cheaper.”

Read more on Ed That Matters.

  1. 7 Ways to Generate Power After a Disaster

7-ways-you-can-generate-power-after-a-disaster-wide-2

“Whether it’s a nuclear holocaust, a deadly plague, the perfect storm, or a large-scale terrorist attack, when a cataclysmic event goes down you can guarantee one thing: the power will go out. And while you don’t need electricity to be a hunter-gatherer for the rest of your life, if you want to help return human society to its former greatness—or just be able to have a James Bond movie marathon again—you’ll have to figure out how to generate your own power.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

  1. 15 Things You Think You Know About Faraday Cages But You Don’t

EMP

“This article takes into consideration only the effects of a nuclear EMP, not a solar flare. A solar flare would only affect any electronics connected to the grid.

Will a microwave work as a Faraday cage?

No. If an EMP strikes, you will notice that all your electronic devices that you stored in a microwave oven will be rendered useless. The microwave is not a Faraday cage.

Will a refrigerator work as a Faraday cage?

No, most refrigerators do not work as a Faraday cage. I tested mine, and it’s definitely not a Faraday cage.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Interested in Living Off-Grid? This Book will Tell You How

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    Living in an apartment in a big city, I wondered what it would be like to make a complete change and live off grid in a nice piece of land somewhere.  That’s why I was excited to read Tammy’s Trayer’s new book, How to Embrace an Off-Grid Lifestyle. Who is the author? The author of the book, Tammy Trayer, blogs  at TrayerWilderness.com.  She is also a radio show host at Mountain Woman Radio. Tammy and her family live […]

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Off-Grid School Gets Top Marks

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Recycling, Eco-desks, Off-grid, school, South Africa

Waste for desks? Deal!

A cash-strapped performing arts school has traded a year’s worth of waste for 30 desks.

The off-grid school collected its community’s recycling, as well as its own, and bartered this for the recycled desks.

Set up in 2005, the grid wasn’t working for 65 pupil school Chistlehurst, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa so they devised a plan. Stick with their eco-friendly ethos and remain off the grid.  Unlike an on-grid school, there is no sprinkler system, no heating in the winter and strictly no technology in the classroom. So things are done a little differently, students carry buckets of water from the rain water tanks to the gardens and huddle by a bonfire to keep warm on cold mornings.

“Our kids have had to learn how to get along without certain ‘luxuries’, which is something they take a little time to adjust to, but end up loving the ‘quietness’ of it all,” said Jacyn Fanner, Headteacher.

When they moved into their current building, there were no roofs, doors or windows. Let alone functioning taps and toilets! But after a lot of hard work, the school reached their off-grid goal. Rain water tanks fill the toilet cisterns, solar lighting illuminates the classrooms and batteries, gas and a small generator provide extra energy.

The school is also home to a frog pond, vegetable garden and a recycling village with 12 bins for different materials. This allows the school to recycle a range of materials from mixed paper and cans to plastic and styrofoam. The majority of cleaning products and equipment are sourced from the local community and are as eco-friendly as possible.

Off-grid, School, Recycling, South Africa, Eco-desks, Water Tanks,

Drama Free! Water tanks & solar panels mean Chistlehurst doesn’t have to rely on the grid.

The school partnered up with the Wildlands Conservancy Trust 6 years ago, through their desire to recycle. The NGO, which operates in 6 provinces, provided the school with the recycling bins which are filled every week – even during the holidays!

Students have taken their eco-friendly lessons from school to home, encouraging their families to reduce re-use and recycle. So now recycling from the local community is brought to the school for collection. Each year the school get a rebate from Wildlands for the recycling they collect. However at the end of 2016 this rebate was traded for the eco-desks. The staff and students are very pleased with how they look in their eco-school setting and Headteacher Jacyn Fanner wants to see them fill all of the classrooms in time.

So what’s next?

“We have so many ideas and plans – which include a fully solar powered media centre – and we are so excited for what the future holds for Chistlehurst,” Jacyn Fanner said.

The desks are made from 100% previously unrecycled materials, are hard wearing and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Chistlehurst are so pleased with the outcome, they are encouraging other schools to get involved with green initiatives such as Sustainable Schools and Recycling for Life programs.

 

Images courtesy of Roger Fanner.

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Survival Food: 5 Hearty Soup In A Jar Recipes

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Soup in a jar

We’ve already discussed how to preserve many foods, and even entire meals, by canning them using either pressure canning or water bath canning. Canning entire meals in a jar provides both convenience and nutrition; both of which will be to your advantage in a survival situation.

The difference between the two types of canning is that any food that is low acid, which is most vegetables and all meats, needs to be pressure canned in order for the food in the jars to reach a temperature that will kill all microorganisms such as botulism that will make you sick.

The general rule of thumb is that you process pint jars for 60 minutes and quart jars for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure for vegetable soups, and 75 minutes for pints/90 minutes for quarts for meats. Leave 1 inch of headspace in the jars.

If you’re canning something with dried beans, put them in a pan and cover them with a couple inches of water. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let them soak in the hot water for at least an hour. Bring back to a boil, remove from heat, drain, and add to the soup.

The general rule for canning soups is that you have half small cubed solids and half liquid. This may sound like a lot of liquid, but by the time the other ingredients absorb the water and swell, it will be nice and hearty.

You want that much liquid in the beginning so that heat can circulate evenly, but when it’s finished, you’ll find that it’s about 3/4 solids to 1/2 liquid. Just enough to soak some bread in!

Don’t Overcook

The main thing to remember when canning soups is that you don’t want to cook it until it’s mush. You lose both flavor and nutrients at that point. This means that you’ll likely pack everything into the jars nearly raw. You can make soup and then can it, but if you do that, just know that many of your veggies will be pretty soft, and some will cook away altogether.

Bring everything to a rolling boil for 5 minutes or so, just long enough to get everything good and hot, then pack it into your jars and process. Let it cook in the jars.

With the long cooking times, you may find that rice (not instant) is better in your recipes than pasta, which cooks to goo.

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

Sterilize and Clean Everything

This is the key to successful canning. Your jars need to be sterilized before you put food in them.

Do this by washing them in hot, soapy water. The same thing goes for all of the equipment that you use, including lids, rings, spatulas and anything else that will come into contact with the inside of the jar, or the food.

Video first seen on Marjorie Vangenewitt

Now, without further ado, let’s get to the recipes!

And remember – you can adapt any of your favorite recipes so that you may can them and have your favorite meals anytime that you want.

Canning isn’t just about planning for the apocalypse. In fact, that’s just an added bonus. Canning is a means to preserve healthy food that you’ve grown yourself, so that you know what you’re putting in your body. If you have some left over, then even better!

5 Delicious Soups in a Jar

1. Italian Rustica

  • 2 gallons tomato juice
  • 3 cups cubed carrots
  • 2 cups chopped green beans
  • 2 pint canned tomatoes, rough chopped, not drained
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons chopped or dried oregano
  • 2 cups dried rice

Combine all ingredients except the rice in a soup pot. Bring to a rolling boil, then add the rice. Pack into jars and process. Yields about 12 quarts.

2. Ham and Bean Soup

  • 2 gallons water
  • 4 cups dried northern or cannelloni beans
  • 4 cups chopped ham
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Soak your dried beans as discussed above. Bring them to a boil, along with the salt, pepper and ham. Pack in jars and process accordingly. Yields about 12 quarts.

3. Beef Stew

  • 4 pounds beef tips
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 1 pint canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 gallons beef stock

Braise beef tips with the onions and celery in a skillet just until rare but browned on all sides. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Pack and process accordingly. Yields about 16 quarts.

4. Cabbage Stew

  • 4 pounds ground meat, your choice
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 1 pint canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 3 gallons water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste

Brown your meat in a skillet and drain. Add it along with all other ingredients to your stockpot and bring to a boil. Process accordingly. Yields about 12 quarts.

5. Southwest Stew

  • 3 cups white rice, not instant
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 quart diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 pounds chicken breast, chopped
  • 3 cups corn
  • 3 15 oz. cans black beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoon dried cilantro
  • 2 packs taco seasoning
  • 1 small can green chilis, diced
  • 2 gallon chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Pack and process accordingly. Yields about 12 quarts.

All of these soups are both delicious and healthy, and fairly easy to prepare.

Do you wonder what where the cooking secrets that helped our grandfathers survive the Great Depression? Click the banner below to uncover them!

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If you have any recipes that you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Cooking with mud like in the old days

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In my youth, I was extremely fortunate to be raised by my great-grandmother. She lived to be 96 years old and she managed to share some of her survival knowledge with us. Cooking with mud was her way of remembering the struggles she faced while settling down.   She and her family came to America … Read more…

The post Cooking with mud like in the old days was written by Dan Mowinski and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Prep Blog Review: 8+ Food Crops To Grow In Your Survival Garden

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articol_10

Growing your own food makes you more independent, helps you save a lot of money and allows you to enjoy fresh ingredients any time of the year.

It may be challenging to start growing your own food, but you will thank yourself later, in a survival situation, when all the shelves will be empty and you will have fresh crops to feed the bellies of your loved ones.

Starting your own survival gardening is on your resolutions list for this year? For this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered five articles on this topic.

If you have other suggestions, please share them in the comment section.

  1. Eight Efficient Food Crops To Grow

Eight-Efficient-Food-Crops-to-grow

“Becoming self-sufficient is one of the many good reasons to want to grow your own vegetables. Nothing beats home grown food and for many people, there’s a great appeal to grow efficient food crops. The food you grow is cheaper, fresher and often better tasting than the one you get from the supermarket.

Starting your own garden may be challenging and most people give up after the first try. To boost your confidence, you should start by growing efficient food crops. After you acquire the proper experience, you can try growing more challenging crops.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

  1. Plant These Edible Flowers in Your Garden

Edible-Flowers

“The first edible flower I ever ate was a nasturtium. We had giant nasturtium plants growing in our herb garden, nearly taking over, in fact, and decided we would start consuming the orange and yellow blossoms and leaves. They have a peppery flavor with a little bit of a kick. It’s always fun to discover plants in your own backyard you can eat.

Nasturtiums aren’t the only edible flower that is commonly found in backyards and growing wild. Here is a list of some of the most common. This list is by no means complete, but is meant to be a starting point for further study of the flowers you have in your yard. Just because you see the name of a flower on this list, do not assume you can run right out and start eating them.”

Read more on Preparedness Advice.

  1. Indoor Gardening Ideas

3437003584_015070dee9_b-225x300“There are certain times of the year where, no matter your climate, you’ll have a hard time getting vegetables to grow in your outdoor garden.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go without fresh, home-grown veggies, or buy them from the grocery story.

Instead, you can grow some vegetables indoors, wherever you have space. Here’s how.”

Read more on Be Self Sufficient.

  1. Container Gardening: Grow a Fig Tree in a Pot

figs-purple

“Tight on garden space? Maybe you live in an apartment with only a balcony for growing food. Maybe you have a rental place and you can’t dig up the back yard. Or just maybe you have a postage stamp yard with no room for a garden. Fig trees grown in containers may be ideal for your limited space or limited opportunity situation.”

Read more on Attainable-Sustainable.

  1. 3 Great Ways to Stop Weeds This Year Without Using Harsh Chemicals

Weeds1

“Weeds can ruin more than the just the look of your property. By robbing the soil of vital nutrients, they also wreak havoc on yields in the garden, and can keep flowerbeds from staying healthy and vibrant.

But before all hope is lost, there are actually some great ways to reduce or even eliminate your weed woes completely. Even better, none  require the use of harsh, man-made, synthetic chemicals. Here are 3 of our favorites.”

Read more on Old World Farms Garden.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

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Surviving Off-Grid: 4 Recipes To Cook In A Haybox

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Haybox cooking

I have to admit, this was a new one for me, and I thought that I’d tried every method of outdoor cooking invented since cavemen sporked frogs and roasted them over an open fire. As it turns out, haybox cooking is a combination of two of my favorite cooking vessels – a Dutch oven and a slow cooker.

This method came about during WWII when cooking oil was rationed for the war effort. The air spaces in the hay trap the heat, as will anything similar, such as shredded newspaper or corn husks. You want the hay to be fine, though, so that you can pack it tightly. You don’t want stems and brambles.

The basic premise is that you heat the food in its own juices, or water, and then once you bring it to a boil, you put it in the haybox, which insulates it, and let it finish cooking all on its own. Of course, this is a method that requires food that is in a broth, but that’s about the only limitation that I can think of.

You can use it for roasting, boiling, simmering, or steaming; as long as there’s liquid to hold the heat.

This would serve you well if you were traveling and couldn’t cook along the way, or if you don’t want to use a ton of fuel by cooking it over heat all day. For that matter, it’s great just to help you save on your electric bill! All in all, it’s an extremely efficient way of cooking.

Learn the secrets that helped our grandparents survive the Great Depression! 

What Is a Haybox Cooker and How to Build One

HayboxA haybox cooker is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a box full of hay that you cook in.

The idea is that the hay is packed around a Dutch oven that has food in it that’s already cooked to boiling. You transfer it from the heat source immediately to the haybox, pack the hay around it, close it up as tightly as you can, and go about your business.

It’s a natural slow cooker, and just like cooking with its electric-dependent sisters, it takes several hours for food to cook. How long exactly, depends on the initial cook time of the dish, how long it’s already cooked, how tightly the hay is packed, and how air-tight the box is.

As you can imagine, it’s hard to give an exact time, but a good haybox will hold usable heat for up to 8 hours.

If you already have a trunk or old military locker/box that’s about 30 inches cubed, then you’re already good to go. If not, build one.

Start by building a sturdy wooden box that’s as airtight as you can get it – try to score some scrap tongue and groove from your local mill or home-improvement store.

Build a box with a sturdy, tight-fitting lid. Line the box with sturdy paper or cardboard to seal any cracks that remain so that the heat can’t escape.

To cook in your box, pack it with about 3/4 of the way full of hay, then form a little nest in the center for your Dutch oven and pack it as tightly as you can get it.

How to Cook With a Haybox Cooker

Bring your food to a boil or simmer, then transfer immediately to the hay box. Pack the top and remaining sides with more hay as tightly as you can pack it and shut the lid. Let it cook, and you’re good to go.

Note: You can even make you haybox in a hole in the ground – how handy is THAT for living in the woods in a survival situation? In that case, you could use dried grass and leaves, or whatever you could find lying around as insulation.

Oh, and did I mention that you can also use the haybox to make frozen treats such as ice cream?

Just make your favorite ice cream recipe and pour it into a coffee can with a lid. Find a bucket that’s 4 inches deeper and 8 inches (total) wider than your can. Put 4 inches of ice and coarse salt in the bottom of the bucket, put the can on top of the ice, and pace more ice and salt around the can. Put it in the haybox and seal it up. You’ll have ice cream in about 4 hours! 

Video first seen on Organikmechanic. 

4 Delicious Haybox Recipes

1. Hearty Beef and Cabbage Soup

This soup is especially filling and comforting. It’s a great meal-in-a-bowl for busy weeknights – just turn it on in the morning and come home to a wonderful-smelling pot of soup.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 2 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat, just until browned, breaking up with a spatula periodically until meat is crumbly. Drain all but 1 teaspoon or so of oil/drippings and return to heat.

Add the cabbages, onion, carrots, garlic, celery seed, paprika and cumin and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it reaches a rolling boil.

Add all to the Dutch oven and add bay leaf and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Transfer to hay box for 8 hours.

2. Steak Chili

Sometimes nothing hits the spot quite like a good chili!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds top sirloin steak, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 12-oz cans dark red kidney beans
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 10-ounce cans beef broth or 2 ½ cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder

In a heavy skillet, heat olive oil and then brown the steak (in batches if necessary) on all sides for about 4-5 minutes.

Add all of the vegetables to the Dutch oven, pour in the broth and add the seasonings. Stir well to mix. Add the steak, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Transfer to haybox and leave there for 8 hours.

3. Slow Cooker Beef or Venison Stew

There are few things that say “comfort food” better than a hearty beef stew. Slow cooking means the meat is always succulent and tender and you’re welcomed home with wonderful aromas.

  • 1 ½ pounds beef or venison stew meat
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut on 1-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh kale, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cups beef broth or stock, with ¼ cup reserved

Trim the stew meat of visible fat and cut into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large heavy skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat and brown the stew meat, in batches if necessary, about 4-5 minutes until browned on all sides.

Add carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, bay leaf and parsley to Dutch oven, then add meat. Pour 2 3/4 cups broth over all. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes, then transfer to haybox for 8 hours.

4. Vanilla Ice Cream

Delight your loved ones with this classic and delicious frozen treat you can make in a haybox.

You will need:

  • 1 can sweetened milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Add fruits or nuts after it’s frozen.

Have you tried haybox cooking? If so, please share your experiences with us in the comments section below!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Learn to Love Ecovillage Life

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

Permaculture is a sustainable way of living – not a trending hairstyle!

Want to test out living off-grid but don’t want to do it alone? If you have $6000 to spare you can with the School of Integrated Living (SOIL).

So if you want to try living off-grid in a community of over 80 people, consider the Permaculture and Ecovillage Immersion Experience. This two month residency running from June 10th to August 11th is less of a course and more of an eco-cultural learning experience.

Located in the aspiring ecovillage Earthaven near Asheville, North Carolina, you’ll gain new skills on a wide curriculum. From learning about ecological farming to efficient irrigation techniques and eco-spirituality, there is something for everyone. Most days will begin with a meditation session before getting stuck into the day. There will be unstructured time, but most weeks will cover approximately 50 hours of learning. A Permaculture Design Certification course is also included, which will take place in mid-June.

Earthaven was founded in 1994 and sits in 329 acres of land. A completely off-grid community powered with solar panels and two small hydropower stations. The buildings are made of environmentally friendly materials, usually lumber, with metal roofs for water catchment. Most are passively solar heated and propane burners help to keep them warm during colder months. The huts and residences have either individual or shared solar systems which supply their electricity. Batteries and generators are also charged by the micro hydropower stations for back up supplies. Although most of the residents get around by foot or bike, three solar powered golf carts can also be used.

Course participants will camp on site, with the majority of spots being for two person tents. A tarp covered kitchen with propane burners and a composting toilet are all available for use. Food is also included and most is sourced from the local environment and small farms in the village.

The cost of the course is $6,800 including tuition, food, camping, field trips and the permaculture design certificate. There is a $400 discount if booked before February 10th.

If you don’t want to spend two months at Earthaven but would still like to visit – you can! Workshops and tours are open to the public. Camping is also offered for $15 per adult per night, or $20 for two adults sharing a tent. The camping season runs from March 31st to November 5th.

The post Learn to Love Ecovillage Life appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Eight efficient food crops to grow

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Becoming self-sufficient is one of the many good reasons to want to grow your own vegetables. Nothing beats home grown food and for many people, there’s a great appeal to grow efficient food crops. The food you grow is cheaper, fresher and often better tasting than the one you get from the supermarket. Starting your … Read more…

The post Eight efficient food crops to grow was written by Rhonda Owen and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Make Hibiscus Tea from Dried Flowers

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com   I never knew flowers were edible until my mother in law told me about edible zucchini flowers and hibiscus flower tea. At first I thought it would be gross to eat a flower, but now that I am interested in self sufficiency skills, it actually makes sense. I thought it would be a good skill to learn how to make tea from dried flowers. I think it’s great to be able to […]

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Return of the Scottish Hut

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Hut, Scotland, Building Regulations, Bothies, Off Grid

Huts or bothies were part of Scotland’s culture since early C20th.

If you fancy buying an inexpensive off-grid getaway in Europe – try Scotland.

The government announced changes to their building regulations early this year. This will include huts of up to 30m² becoming exempt from regulations, specifically aimed at making it simple for people to achieve a life off the grid.

In a few months, you could be gazing out from a building like the one in the picture for less than $25,000 inclusive.

Scotland has a strong hutting culture dating back to the early 20th century; it was only 60 years ago that this began to dwindle. The largest remaining hut community in Carbeth, near Glasgow, managed to weather this decline. The community bought the land on which their 140 huts stand in 2013. But now resurgence is happening, thanks mainly to the campaign A Thousand Huts championed by the environment organisation Reforesting Scotland.

This organisation recognises the benefits of hut life, offering a retreat for rest, recreation, enjoying nature and making memories with family. Alongside use as a base for outdoor activities, huts contribute to sustainable development and encourage learning new skills. Reforesting Scotland have been lobbying for changes to the law for some time and are keen to encourage more people to adopt the hut lifestyle. Now changes to building regulations are being finalised this year, more people can benefit from having their own off-grid getaway.

Scottish planning (zoning) policy requires all developments to get planning permission for a new build from their local authority. This involves providing a description of plans on the chosen location. This part of the process will not change and will still have to take place.

However, single storey huts will no longer need a building warrant or have to comply with strict building regulations. This gives hut builders more freedom in how they build their huts and can significantly reduce building costs. There are still some rules which will have to be met.

Firstly, the build must fit the description of a hut as given in Scottish Planning Policy documents, which is as follows:

“A simple building used intermittently as recreational accommodation, having an internal floor area of no more than 30m²; constructed from low impact materials; generally not connected to mains water, electricity or sewage; and built in such a way that it is removable with little or no trace at the end of its life.”

By restricting size, the risk of structural instability of the hut is reduced but its energy efficiency is maximised.

Secondly, some health and safety regulations will have to be met, for example relating to fire risk and spread. A guidance document outlining these will be published by Reforesting Scotland later this year.

The Scottish Government has also allowed provision for a sleeping platform and amenities such as composting toilets within the hut. In terms of energy use and production, off-grid solutions such as solar panels and micro wind turbines are most desirable, however these are location dependent.

There are hutting cultures in other locations, such as the Scandinavian countries. However, these seem to be growing in size and elaborateness. The aim of this policy development in Scotland is to take people back to basics and off the grid.

 

 

More information can be found here:

www.thousandhuts.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/160215-Huts-Guidance-FINAL-screen-res.pdf

A Guide to the Planning System in Scotland can be found here:

www.gov.scot/resource/doc/281542/0084999.pdf

The post Return of the Scottish Hut appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

How to make antibiotic garlic tincture

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In the old days, the home medicine chest of the pioneers was comprised of locally grown herbs and plants. Garlic has been proven to be a powerful natural remedy for many generations and antibiotic garlic tincture is highly appreciated even today. The pioneers knew how important self-healing is when you live miles away from civilization … Read more…

The post How to make antibiotic garlic tincture was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Plant These Edible Flowers in Your Garden Now

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Plant These Edible Flowers in Your Garden Now via Preparedness Advice

The first edible flower I ever ate was a nasturtium. We had giant nasturtium plants growing in our herb garden, nearly taking over, in fact, and decided we would start consuming the orange and yellow blossoms and leaves. They have a peppery flavor with a little bit of a kick. It’s always fun to discover plants in your own backyard you can eat.

Nasturtiums aren’t the only edible flower that is commonly found in backyards and growing wild. Here is a list of some of the most common. This list is by no means complete, but is meant to be a starting point for further study of the flowers you have in your yard. Just because you see the name of a flower on this list, do not assume you can run right out and start eating them.

First, do a bit of research on the flower, make sure you have it correctly identified. This foraging book is one of my favorites and the author is a well-known foraging expert. Second, make sure you know which parts can be eaten. If you are interested in learning to identify edible plants like the ones on this list or growing a garden with all the herbs, vegetables, and edible flowers you could possibly want, check out this book and this book.

Interestingly, as you learn more about foraging in your backyard and elsewhere, you’ll find that not every part of a plant is edible. It’s important to have some fundamental foraging knowledge before you start picking random plants and eating them!

Angelica Anise Hyssop
Apple blossom Artichoke
Arugula Bachelor Buttons/Cornflower
Banana Basil
Borage Calendula
Carnation Chamomile
Chicory Chives
Chrysanthemum Cilantro/Coriander
Citrus Clover
Dandelion Daylily
Dianthus Dill
Elderberry English daisy
Fennel Freesia
Fuschia Geraniums
Gladiolas Hibiscus
Honeysuckle Hollyhock
Hyssop Jasmine
Johnny Jump Up Lavender
Lemon verbena Lilac
Linden Mallow
Marigold Marjoram
Mint Mustard
Nasturtium Oregano
Okra Onion
Orange blossom Pansy
Passionflower Pineapple sage
Primrose Radish
Red clover Redbud
Rose Rosemary
Rose of Sharon Runner bean
Safflower Sage
Savory Scented Geranium
Snapdragon Society garlic
Squash blossom Sunflower
Sweet Marigold Sweet William
Thyme Tuberous Begonia
Tulip Viola
Violet Winter Savory
Yucca

It’s good to know that the flowers of these plants are edible because they’re a source of nutrition and flavor that would otherwise go to waste. Sample a single petal, or small piece of a petal, before assuming you’re going to like the flavor. Get a good foraging book or two, preferably one with a few recipes to get you started. Try drying the petals and seeping them in hot water to make teas or chopping up the edible blossoms, leaves, too, if edible, and adding them to biscuit batter or on sandwiches and in salads.

The beauty of this very long list is that there is something to be found in every growing region, from deserts to the coldest climate areas. Many of these flowers will be found in the wild, such as wild violets. I’ve made a printable checklist of these flowers so you can have a copy on hand to keep with you as you forage.

In the future, I plan to write posts on some of the flowers on this list along with pictures and identifying information, as well as a few edible weeds. However if you have these in your yard you don’t need to wait for me.  Learn about the plants in your yard or area today.

Updated by Noah, January 14, 2017.

The post Plant These Edible Flowers in Your Garden Now appeared first on Preparedness Advice.

State Governments Passing Laws to Abolish Private Property Rights

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The level of encroachment of government into our lives correlates very closely to the amount of freedom a person enjoys.  It should come as no surprise that the more the

What happened to PB?

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There are some things that can be (or look) fun about living off grid, but there are many things that are less attractive, but still have to be done. One of those for us is truck maintenance. I rely on my truck for work and getting to town and back. We live some 20+ miles from the nearest town, what I tend to go through the most is tires and oil. Driving on the rough, unpaved, rocky, mountainous roads is very hard on tires as well as suspension. I drive slow to keep the damage at a minimum, but it still wears my tires out, I have to be prepared at any time to change a flat tire, and on occasion I have had to buy tires earlier than I wanted to because of having my spare on (in use) and getting another flat. I will need to look at buying tires once work starts building up again. Being in merchandising, our work slows down during the holidays, it’s about to pick up again and I can’t wait.

The other part of maintenance is oil changes, I have 2 choices, I can go in and pay to have it done in a garage, around here that is expensive, we’re talking about $60 or more, that’s just for a standard oil change and new filter, regular grade oil, nothing special. Or we can do it ourselves, like how I snuck in the “we”? Actually PB did it.

I ordered the oil and filter from Amazon, and I purchase an extra 2 quarts at a local store because my truck takes 7 quarts. It’s handy to be able to order most of what I need from Amazon, with the Prime service I have, I can get most things (including the oil and filter) here in 2 business days.

Yesterday, PB crawled under my truck and proceeded to change the oil, being able to do that ourselves saved us at least half what it would have cost to do it in town. I put a lot of miles on my truck so I need to get more regular oil changes, that will help keep my truck going for many years. One thing PB wants to do is incorporate a remote oil filter, that would allow me to use a larger filter, which would ultimately be safer for my truck, it’s something we will be looking into soon.

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The other thing I did while the hood was up, I anointed the engine compartment with peppermint oil, it’s for the mice, out here in the country there is a terrible problem with rodents, they have a tendency to chew on things, and those things become expensive to repair, not to mention potentially being stranded somewhere because of an electrical problem. The mint is a rodent repellent, they don’t like it. Now my truck smells minty fresh!

What have you done to your vehicles lately to improve or maintain them?

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Survival Gardening: How To Plan Your Low Water Garden

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Low Water Gardening Droughts are becoming more common. The impact of droughts on food production is very real. After all, plants need water to grow. But, you don’t always need a ton of water to grow food. That’s where low-water crops come in. They can produce food for your family to eat without taking nearly as much water.

If you don’t have a large water stockpile, or you are concerned about a coming drought, it might be time for you to switch to a low-water garden.

Low-water gardens are designed to receive significantly less water than a traditional one. The soil, coverings, and seeds are all meant to work together to minimize your water needs.

Also known as dry farming, this method is a return to the roots of agriculture for many locations. Before dams and irrigation innovations, farmers didn’t have the access to water. They planted, gave an initial soaking, and then let the plants tend to fetching water for themselves.

Winter is a great time to plan your low-water garden. But, no matter the season, here are some essentials to consider when working on this type of garden.

The Soil Is Essential

The quality of soil in your garden will help stretch the length of time between watering sessions. You’ll want plenty of compost and organic material in your soil.

This will help absorb water and slowly release it. You’ll also want some coarse sand in your soil. Sand helps draw in any moisture that does fall, so you’ll maximize the benefit of rain.

Clay is another component of low-water garden soil. The clay will hold the water, and slowly give it to the plants’ root systems.

You’ll want to thoroughly mix your soil, incorporating all the elements evenly. That way all your plants will grow well. Loose soil is recommended for this type of gardening, so tilling your soil to a depth of four to six inches will help.

Unfortunately, making the exact soil combination that you need for your climate will take time. There isn’t one perfect formula that’ll work everywhere.

Set up highly nutritious soil for your plants! Get your A to Z guide on survival gardening!

You Can’t Skip the Mulch

In a low-water garden, mulch isn’t just a suggestion. It’s essential. You need this soil covering to ensure the water stays where it belongs.

Without mulch, you’ll lose precious water to run-off. Evaporation will also be a problem.

A good layer of organic mulch prevents both of those from occurring. It’ll keep the water around the plants longer, and allow it to soak deeply into the soil.

Mulch

What Plants to Choose

When picking plants, be sure to check out the hardiness zone recommendations so you don’t plant something that won’t grow well in your area. There are a variety of crops to pick from that don’t take as much water.

You can also have a long-term vision when creating a low-water garden. If you have plenty of water now, you can plant some perennials that will take water initially. Once those plants are established, their water needs drop substantially.

For both long and short term planning, here are some crops to consider:

Grains

If a drought happens, you won’t be able to depend on large grain producers to keep on growing. Even if you don’t regularly plant grains, you’ll want to have some low-water seeds stored on hand. That way you have them when you need them.

A bonus with these grains is they’re easier to harvest than wheat. Many take minimal processing before being ready to eat. These grains would be a good addition to your low-water garden crops:

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Field Corn

Vegetables

Vegetables are a great way to add variety and nutrients to your diet. Here are some excellent options for a low-water garden.

  • Jerusalem artichoke (this takes more water the first year, but once it’s established it needs very little.)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • Peppers
  • Asparagus (another long-term crop)
  • Drought tolerant zucchini

Fruits

To add some natural sweetness to your diet, be sure to include some fruits in your low-water garden. Here are some plants that grow well with little water.

  • Watermelon
  • Figs
  • Pomegranates
  • Most pit fruit trees (once established)
  • Rhubarb (once established)

Legumes

Many legumes don’t require much water. Consider adding these to your garden:

  • Black eyed peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Tepary beans

Think Native

If you head to a natural area nearby, what plants are you going to see thriving? Chances are many of those are wild edibles. Take time to learn about plants native to your region.

Some of the plants considered weeds by many will be the perfect purposeful addition to your low-water garden. After all, no one is out in the woods irrigating the weeds. They just grow.

If you can’t find any seeds for these plants, try to dig up some established ones and transplant them. That way you’ll get a variety that grows well in your area.

You might even have a separate area where you encourage these plants to grow. That way they don’t take over your dedicated garden space. That will also help spread out your gardening efforts and minimize your risk of losing everything from theft. Hidden food sources are wonderful!

  • Burdock
  • Dandelions
  • Lamb’s quarter
  • Stinging nettles
  • Plantain

Shopping for Seeds

When selecting varieties, you’ll want to go with heirloom seeds. Many modern versions of these plants have been altered and turned into very needy seeds. This is especially true with corn.

Back in the day, irrigation options were very limited. Plants often didn’t get much water unless it rained. You want plants that survived then—not the needy variations humans have turned those plants into.

The one exception would be plants that have been selectively bred for dry-land planting. You can often find drought-resistant varieties of many of your favorites.

Another tip is to plant mini-varieties of the plants you most want to grow. For instance, it takes much less water to grow a cherry tomato than it does a beefsteak. Planting a few of your favorite water-loving plants in the mini-form will help you keep from feeling deprived with your garden.

Save Your Seeds

By saving your own seeds each year, you’ll be selecting varieties that did the best in your soil. Over time, your seeds will be essential to increasing your yield. They are locally adapted plants that thrive in your garden.

Get your step-by-step instructions on how to plant over 125 plants inside your garden!

Companion Planting

The Native Americans knew much about growing food. One method they used is known as the three sisters. This method of companion planting grouped plants together to maximize their yield.

Corn, beans, and squash were the original three sisters. These crops work together in harmony. The beans give nitrogen to the soil, which the corn and squash need. The beans grow up on the tall corn stalks, reducing the need for additional scaffolding.

Finally, the low-lying squash leaves protect the soil from the sun’s rays and help ensure water doesn’t run-off.

Planting companion crops will also help you plant more in a smaller space. This is essential if you’re just getting your low-water garden established and don’t have much soil built up.

Companion planting

 

Give Plants Space

Because your dry land plants will need to establish a deep root system, you can’t plant individual plants or companion groupings as closely together as you do in a traditional garden. That means your yield won’t be the same.

When to Plant

Your soil needs to accumulate the winter moisture. This built-in reserve is what will get your plants through until harvest.

If you wait too long to plant, your soil will be too dry. Conversely, if you plant too early you risk a killing frost freezing your garden.

When you plant your seeds, you want the soil to be nice and moist. Keep an eye on both the weather and the soil. You’ll want to plant after the last killing frost, but before the daytime temperatures get so high that they dry up your soil.

Once planted, you need to seal in the moisture in the ground by applying a good layer of mulch. Have your mulch on hand and ready to go before you plant.

Caring for Your Low-Water Garden

Low-water gardens are easy to care for once they’re planted.  You don’t want to water most of them, because you’ll risk cracking the dry soil. Cracked soil loses moisture much faster than soil that isn’t cracked.

Any watering that you do for your long-term plants that are just getting established needs to be done gently. You can’t turn a hose on full-blast. Rather, gently water the soil around the plant instead of the plant itself.

You don’t want to overwater any of the low-water varieties you are planting. Plants that don’t get watered will grow a deeper root system than ones that are frequently watered. You want to start your plants off trying to seek water from the ground.

Besides doing less watering, low-moisture gardens bring a couple of other benefits. They take much less time than a traditional garden.

For instance, you’ll notice that you won’t get as many weeds in a low-water situation once your plants are up. There just won’t be enough water for them to grow.

But, you’ll want to pluck out any weeds that do creep in. You’ll also want to be diligent about weeding as your plants are just sprouting. That way weeds aren’t competing with your plants for resources.

Many garden pests thrive in moist environments. They’ll often leave your dry land crops alone. So you’ll have fewer to deal with.

You might notice your plants starting to shrivel up before harvest. The leaves may turn brown and you might see spots. These are typical signs in a low-water garden, and they don’t necessarily mean you’re going to lose your harvest.

Are you a dry farmer?

What tips can you add to help others get started in this style of gardening? It’s a different approach to growing food, and everyone can benefit from you sharing your knowledge.

Start growing your survival garden that will keep you and your family fed for life!  

This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia. 

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How to make soap with fat and ashes

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Sanitation is an important aspect of everyday life and it will become a critical one during a crisis when common resources are low. No matter how you look at it, you will need to find ways to stay clean and maintain a good hygiene. When commercial detergents will no longer be available you will have … Read more…

The post How to make soap with fat and ashes was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Unity of Effort in Patriot Movement

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If there is something to be learned from this last election it is you seek or swim politically as a team.  The groups that are able to put differences aside

DIY Hand and Foot Warmer

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com Although winter 2017 officially started on Dec. 21st, thousands of people have been experiencing the bitter cold for several weeks.  I thought I’d post a season appropriate project anyone can do. Some days I have really cold hands and feet and cannot seem to get warm no matter what I do.   So I decided to try making my own foot warmer. I originally saw this project in Surviving and Thriving a while back […]

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22 TREES THAT CAN BE TAPPED FOR SAP AND SYRUP

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22 TREES THAT CAN BE TAPPED FOR SAP AND SYRUP

When winter wanes and spring approaches, wild foodists all across North America tap into the time-honored tradition of sugar production – mainly, the transformation of M sap into maple syrup and sugar.  This process, passed on from the Native Americans to the early settlers, is still quite popular today, and is responsible for one of the few wild foods that can be purchased commercially in most supermarkets.

Most people associate syrup with the maple tree, and although much of today’s syrup does originate from the sugar maple, all species of maple can be tapped.  Even better, many other trees from other genera can be tapped to extract sap, which ultimately can be turned into delicious syrup.

In this post, I won’t be discussing the methods involved in tapping for sugar production.  If you are unfamiliar with the process, there are a variety of great websites, videos, and books to guide you.  Rather, I would like to provide a list of various trees (maples, birches, walnuts, etc.) that you can tap successfully to yield wonderful, sugary products.

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
The sugar maple yields the highest volume and concentration of sap, making it a superior candidate for tapping.  Its sugar content is approximately 2.0%.

Black maple (Acer nigrum)
Black maples produce as much sweet sap as sugar maples.  The trees closely resemble sugar maples and can be distinguished by their leaves.  Black maples tend to have leaves with three major lobes, while leaves from sugar maples have five lobes.

Red maple (Acer rubrum)
Sap yields from red maples are generally lower than those from sugar maples, although some tapping operations utilize only red maples.  The trees bud out earlier in the spring, which may reduce syrup quality near the end of sugaring season.

Silver maple (Acer saccharinum)
Like red maples, silver maples bud out earlier in the spring and have a lower sugar content than sugar maples (1.7% compared to 2.0%).

Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
Native to Europe, Norway maples are now considered invasive throughout much of the United Sates.  They are not as sweet as sugar maples, yet can be tapped regardless.

Boxelder (Acer negundo)
Also known as Manitoba maple, boxelders can be found growing in urban areas and along roadsides.  They’re not recommended as a first choice for sugar production, although maple producers in the Canadian prairies rely almost exclusively on boxelders for their sap.  Research suggests that boxelders may yield only half the syrup of typical sugar maples.

Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum)
Bigleaf maple is the main species of maple growing between central California and British Columbia.  Native Americans have tapped these trees for centuries, and although the sugar content and sap flow are less than those from sugar maples, these trees can still provide a commercially viable source of syrup for the Pacific Coast.


RELATED : 52 Plants In The Wild You Can Eat


Canyon maple, big tooth maple (Acer grandidentatum)
These trees are found primarily throughout the Rocky Mountain states.  They also grow in Texas, where they are referred to as Uvalde bigtooth maples.  The sugar content is comparable to that of sugar maples, but the volume produced is much less.

Rocky Mountain maple (Acer glabrum)
Rocky Mountain maples are native to western North America, and have been used traditionally by various groups, including the Plateau Natives.

Gorosoe (Acer mono)
Gorosoe, which translates to “The tree that is good for the bones,” is the most commonly tapped maple tree in Korea.  The sap is usually consumed fresh as a beverage, and not boiled down to a syrup.

Butternut, white walnut (Juglans cinerea)
The butternut produces a sap that yields roughly 2% sugar – similar to sugar maples.  The timing and total volume of sap are also comparable to sugar maples.

Black walnut (Juglans nigra)
The black walnut tree is a valuable timber species, whose sap flows in autumn, winter, and spring.  It is more common in the Midwest than in the Northeastern United States.

Heartnut (Juglans ailantifolia)
A cultivar of Japanese walnuts, heartnuts have sugar contents comparable to sugar maples, but produce much less sap.

English walnut (Juglans regia)
These are the walnuts commonly eaten and purchased from supermarkets.  They are not typically found in the Eastern United States, but rather are grown most abundantly in California.  English walnut trees can be tapped successfully, especially when subjected to a freezing winter and spring.

Paper birch (Betula papyrifera)
The paper birch has a lower sugar content than sugar maple (less than 1%), but is the sweetest of the birch trees.

Yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis)
The yellow birch tree has been found to have a higher mineral composition, lower sugar content, and a higher ORAC value (measure of antioxidant capacity) than sugar maple.

Black birch (Betula lenta)
Native to eastern North America, black birch is most popular for its use in making birch beer.  And, as this list suggests, the black birch can be tapped.

River birch (Betula nigra)
Found growing abundantly in the southeastern United States, and planted as an ornamental in the Northeast, the river birch can successfully be tapped.

Gray birch (Betula populifolia)
Gray birch is more of a shrub than a tree, but may be tapped if it grows large enough.

European white birch (Betula pendula)
Native to Europe, and grown as an ornamental in urban and suburban areas of the United States, European white birch can be tapped.

Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
Native to North America, the sycamore tree has a lower sugar content than sugar maple, yet is reported to produce a syrup that exudes a butterscotch flavor.

Ironwood, hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)
These trees produce a sap later in the spring, although the sugar content and volume are much less than those from birch trees.

And there you have it – a list of 22 trees that can be tapped.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, as other trees surely produce a sap that can be extracted through tapping.  It is, however, a good representation of the most commonly tapped trees, including those that have been used traditionally for centuries, and some that are just recently gaining in popularity.

If you are fortunate to have access to any of the aforementioned trees – and the trees are healthy – explore the traditional art of sugar production by learning and participating in this beautiful craft.

 

Source : wildfoodism.com

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Survival Lessons From The Old: One Pot Meals

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For eons, entire meals from stews to casseroles have been made in one pot.

The cowboys and settlers did it because they only had the luxury of one pot on the trail, and we do it today because of the convenience and simply because there are so many recipes out there that are delicious as well as fast.

We follow their example, and learn from their knowledge. Here’s what we should know about this old way of cooking!

As preppers, it’s important that we know how to cook without electricity, and though I’ve included slow cookers in this article, the rest of them don’t require anything other than fire and the vessel.

There are some rules for cooking in a single pot if you want the meal to be delicious and safe to eat, but for the most part, they’re quick and easy to prepare and clean up.

Adjust Cooking Times of Veggies

First, you want your vegetables to cook evenly, so if you’re standing over the pot, you may want to throw hard veggies like carrots in 15 minutes or so before you add the rest.

For soft veggies such as cabbage and broccoli, put them in at the last minute since they only take 10 or 15 minutes to cook in a pot. This isn’t a necessity, if you’re throwing something in the crockpot and leaving, so just know that some veggies may be a little mushy if you put them in all at once.

Sear Your Meat

Next, searing your meat adds flavor to the meal. This is especially true of large pieces of meat such as roasts, pork chops, beef tips, and other meats that are thick and solid. You don’t have to do this, but if you do, it will add an extra layer of flavor. Hamburger and Salisbury steak has a crispier texture if you sear it beforehand.

Beware of Pathogens

You must make sure that your meat cooks all the way through, especially if it’s poultry. This isn’t such a big deal with red meat as long as you don’t mind it a bit rare in the middle, but birds carry salmonella.

Trust me – one bout of food poisoning from that and you’ll make sure it never happens again! USDA guidelines say that red meat should be cooked to 145 degrees F, ground meats should cook to 160 degrees, and poultry should be 165 degrees.

When you’re finished eating, make sure that you refrigerate it. Bacteria begin to grow quickly between the temperatures of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, so too avoid the risk of food poisoning, refrigerate your food within 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees) after it comes off the heat.

Cold foods, especially ones that contain mayo or eggs, should be kept at 40 degrees, so just put them in a bowl of ice if they’re going to sit out, and stir it frequently to keep the entire dish cold.

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days as long as their stored in containers, and can be frozen almost indefinitely, but they’ll begin to lose flavor after a month or so depending upon the food.

Types of Cookers

There are several types of cookers that you can use depending upon the dish and the circumstances. Especially if you’re cooking over a fire, you’ll want to cook as efficiently as you can, and one pot meals are certainly the best way to do that.

Since our primary concern is cooking in a survival situation, we’ll start with those methods.

Dutch Ovens

This is one of my favorite ways to cook outside because you can quite literally cook anything that you want to in them. Whether you want to make stew, chopped steak, or breads, a Dutch oven will do the trick. They steam the food internally, which keeps it moist and tender. You can buy aluminum and cast iron Dutch ovens, though the cast iron, in my opinion, is far superior in nearly every way.

The history of the Dutch oven is believed to date back to Holland in the early 1700s, and was brought to America with the first settlers. They were popular with settlers and other people, such as ranch trail cooks, and were used in work camps during WW1. Paul Revere improved the design by adding a flanged lid and made some other modifications, likely to improve the strength and consistency of the cooking.

Joseph Lodge built a cast iron foundry in Tennessee that still produces arguably the highest quality Dutch ovens and iron skillets available today.

They come in different sizes and two primary designs – the bean pot or kitchen oven, best for use indoors or placing on a rack over an open fire, and the camp or outdoor oven, which has a flanged lid that can also serve as a skillet. It also has legs, a flat bottom, and a sturdy wire handle so that you can hang it or lift it from the coals.

They’re great for cooking indoors or out and can be used in the oven, over a campfire, or buried in the coals, depending upon your needs and what you’re cooking. Cooking with a Dutch oven is simple, too, once you get the hang of it.

Solar Oven

Cooking with a solar oven is a great alternative when you don’t have (or don’t want to use) electricity. Though you can convert many of your own personal favorites and use them with your solar oven, here’s a recipe written specifically for that cooking method. You will surely love this pot roast cooked on your solar oven.

Ingredients for this tasty recipe are:

  • 3 pound rump roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, cut into 2 inch chucks
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 c beef broth (or 2 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes).

Put the roast in a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the veggies around the roast and then pour the bouillon in. Place in your solar oven and bake for 3 hours or until tender.

Stop asking yourself if the solar oven works during winter, because it does, and here’s the proof!

Video first seen on jnull0.

Let’s celebrate the Winter Solstice with a special offer for Survivopedia readers!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

Iron Skillets

Thank you again, Joseph Lodge for making iron skillets of the highest quality readily available in the US. The original iron skillet dates back to 1707, when Abraham Darby invented a process to make cast iron in large quantities so that they could be produced for common use.

Iron skillets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often with lids, and are great for cooking one pot meals in smaller quantity. They’re not quite as versatile as the Dutch oven, but certainly have value, especially for cooking quick meals such as breakfast scrambles and meals that don’t require a deep pot or long cooking times, such as Salisbury steaks, cornbread, camp biscuits, and fried chicken.

Slow Cookers

Ahh, possibly one of the best cooking inventions of modern times. Just as with man, the slow cooker started as something quite a bit different than what it is today. In 1952, West Bend came out with the electric bean pot, which was just a ceramic pot that sat on top of an electric heating element. This wasn’t much different than cooking on a stove, but was perhaps the first commercial attempt at a portable cooking vessel.

Enter Irving Naxon. He had developed the idea of a portable cooker that would have a crock sitting inside a casing that contained a heating element, thus providing even heating. He applied for the patent on May 21, 1936 and received it in January of 1940.

Naxon credited the idea to his Lithuanian grandma, who told him about how she used to cook dish called cholent after hours at a local bakery. She would prepare the meal, then place it in the oven so that the fading heat would slowly cook it overnight. This provided his inspiration for “low and slow” cooking.

He brought his idea, called the beanery, to market in the 50s and in 1970, Rival manufacturing hired Naxon, rebranded his product as the Crock Pot, and put it on shelves across America for $25. Surprisingly enough, that price hasn’t increased by more than a few dollars for a standard version since then.

There are, of course, improved versions with fancier technology and higher capacity that cost more.

Slow cookers are absolutely fabulous for all sorts of meals from stews to ribs that you want to cook slow and low while you’re away from the house or busy doing other things.

Canning

As survivalists, we would be remiss to leave out this method of preparing one pot meals.

We’ve discussed in another article how to put these together and, like our other cooking methods, canning is a great way to prepare both meals and desserts. You can also dry-can meals using dry ingredients that only require that you add water.

The one benefit that makes canning stand out is that you can eat the meal right out of the jar. It is, of course, more delicious if you heat it up, but if you’re without power and don’t want to draw attention to yourself with a fire, eating straight out of the jar may be your only option.

Another benefit here is that you can prepare the meals years in advance as opposed to cooking them on the spot. In a survival situation, that’s a huge plus.

The Beauty of One Pot Meals

There are a ton of reasons why a one pot meal is so appealing, but from a survival perspective, the ease of cooking is probably the biggest one.

You can cook a pot roast complete with all the fixings in a Dutch oven and you can even cook such meals as chicken and dumplings. They’re not just for soups and stews.

Having a variety of delicious meals is a huge morale booster as well as a way to get all of your nutrition out of one pot. Though beans and cornbread are delicious and filling, it gets old after a few days and isn’t a well-rounded meal.

One Pot Cooking Ideas

A quick internet search will net you a ton of great ideas for one pot meals, but you can always just use your imagination. There are also some recipes that you should know by heart. They aren’t necessarily one pot meals, but they are essentials that will help you keep your crew full and nourished.

  • Want fried potatoes, eggs, and sausage for breakfast? Toss your potatoes in first, then add your sausage and cook both til they’re done and throw in your eggs. Scramble them all together, and you’ve got a delicious one pot meal.
  • How about beef tips with gravy and a baked potato? Toss your beef tips into your crock pot or Dutch oven, wrap your potatoes in foil and toss those in with it. When they’re done, remove the potatoes and add some flour and milk to the beef tips. Cook it for a few minutes until the gravy thickens and you’ve got dinner.
  • Soups and stews, of course, are obvious, but how about ribs with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes? Easy peasy. Cut your potatoes into cubes and toss them in your seasoning. Wrap them in foil packs. Do the same with the corn after you break the ears into halves, or cut it off the cob. Put your rub or sauce on your ribs and toss them all into your Dutch oven or crock pot and you’re good to go. You can also do the potatoes and corn in the coals.

One pot meals are, for the most part, only limited by your imagination. They’re easy to throw together, toss into your cooking vessel of choice, and forget about. Also, you’re getting many more nutrients than you would if you only cooked a single item. That makes them a great survival food.

There is a great opportunity for Survivopedia readers to prepare for cooking in the sun, so grab this offer available only for a few days!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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James Wesley Rawles followers grow in NW USA

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Believe a grid collapse is most likely

Believe grid collapse is most likely reason for mass exodus

The Economist newspaper ran the foilowing report on the growth of survivalism in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana:

A movement of staunch conservatives and doomsday-watchers to the inland north-west is quietly gaining steam

ASKED by an out-of-stater where the nearest shooting range is, Patrick Leavitt, an affable gunsmith at Riverman Gun Works in Coeur d’Alene, says: “This is Idaho–you can shoot pretty much anywhere away from buildings.” That is one reason why the sparsely populated state is attracting a growing number of “political refugees” keen to slip free from bureaucrats in America’s liberal states, says James Wesley, Rawles (yes, with a comma), an author of bestselling survivalist novels. In a widely read manifesto posted in 2011 on his survivalblog.com, Mr Rawles, a former army intelligence officer, urged libertarian-leaning Christians and Jews to move to Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and a strip of eastern Oregon and Washington states, a haven he called the “American Redoubt”.

Thousands of families have answered the call, moving to what Mr Rawles calls America’s last big frontier and most easily defendable terrain. Were hordes of thirsty, hungry, panicked Americans to stream out of cities after, say, the collapse of the national grid, few looters would reach the mostly mountainous, forested and, in winter, bitterly cold Redoubt. Big cities are too far away. But the movement is driven by more than doomsday “redoubters”, eager to homestead on land with lots of water, fish, and big game nearby. The idea is also to bring in enough strongly conservative voters to keep out the regulatory creep smothering liberty in places like California, a state many redoubters disdainfully refer to as “the C-word”.

Estimates of the numbers moving into the Redoubt are sketchy, partly because many seek a low profile. Mr Rawles himself will not reveal which state he chose, not wanting to be overrun when “everything hits the fan”. But Chris Walsh of Revolutionary Realty says growing demand has turned into such a “massive upwelling” that he now sells about 140 properties a year in the north-western part of the Redoubt, its heart. To manage, Mr Walsh, a pilot, keeps several vehicles at landing strips to which he flies clients from his base near Coeur d’Alene.

Many seek properties served not with municipal water but with a well or stream, ideally both, just in case. More than nine out of every ten Revolutionary Realty clients either buy a home off the grid or plan to sever the connection and instead use firewood, propane and solar panels, often storing the photovoltaic power in big forklift batteries bought second-hand. They also plan to educate their children at home. The remoter land preferred by lots of “off-the-gridders” is often cheap. Revolutionary Realty sells sizeable plots for as little as $30,000. After that, settlers can mostly build as they please.

Lance Etche, a Floridian, recently moved his family into the Redoubt after the writings of Mr Rawles stirred in him “the old mountain-man independence spirit–take care of yourself and don’t complain.” He chose a plot near Canada outside Bonners Ferry, Idaho, cleared an area with a view, put down gravel, “and they dropped the thing [a so-called “skid house”, transported by lorry] right on top of it”, he says–no permit required.

Some newcomers are Democrats keen to get back to nature, grow organic food or, in Oregon and Washington, benefit from permissive marijuana laws. Not all conservatives dislike this as much as Bonny Dolly, a Bonners Ferry woman in her 60s who says: “We don’t want liberals, that’s for sure,” and carries a .45-calibre handgun “because they don’t make a .46”. But lefties who move in and hope to finance tighter regulations with higher taxes often get the cold shoulder. Mr Walsh weeds out lefties from the start, politely declining to show them property, noting that they wouldn’t fit in anyway. This discrimination is legal, he says, because political factions, unlike race or sexual orientation, are not legally protected classes.

A red dawn

Todd Savage, who runs Survival Retreat Consulting in Sandpoint, Idaho, works with the more usual sort of client: political migrants who rail against “morally corrupt” nanny government elsewhere. He does a brisk business helping them set up their food-producing fortress-homesteads. Staff train clients in defensive landscaping, how to repel an assault on their property with firearms, and the erection of structures “hardened” to withstand forced entry and chemical, biological, radiological or explosive attack.

Very few redoubters, however, wish to secede from the United States. The Confederacy’s attempt fared badly, notes Mr Rawles. He did, however, exclude the politically conservative but mostly flat Dakotas from the Redoubt because mechanised units could manoeuvre easily there. The same went for swathes of Utah, a state also left out because it has little water.

Purists have criticised him for including eastern Oregon and Washington in the Redoubt, since their larger liberal populations near the west coast dominate state politics. But he believes that the designation will quicken efforts in the eastern reaches to form new, freedom-minded states within a generation. As Mr Walsh puts it, easterners’ taxes get them “nothing back except for a bunch more rules” from socialist bureaucrats.

As for doomsday itself, redoubters differ. Mr Rawles considers the most likely cause to be a geomagnetic solar storm like the Carrington Event in 1859, when a coronal mass ejection from the sun generated sparks in telegraph lines, setting some buildings on fire. Had the nearly 3,000 transformers that underpin America’s grid existed then, a quarter of them would have burned up, according to Storm Analysis Consultants in Duluth, Minnesota. Some redoubters have signed up to receive a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration alert of any approaching solar storm like the big one that blew across Earth’s path on July 23rd 2012, missing the planet by days.

Alternatively, a nuclear explosion 450km above the central United States would produce enough high-energy free electrons in the atmosphere below to fry the grid and unshielded electronics in all states except Alaska and Hawaii. Conceivably, and unpredictably, North Korea or Iran might dare to launch such a missile.

A more likely catastrophe, Mr Rawles believes, would be a pandemic virulent enough to cause the breakdown of the national sewerage system as well as the grid. Mr Savage, for his part, worries most about a “slow slide into socialism” akin to “death by a thousand cuts, right, you just keep whittling away at liberty” by, for example, restricting gun sales. Some of his firm’s clients fear that bankers may deliberately collapse the financial system in order to introduce a single global currency.

The dominant view is simply that institutions and infrastructure are more fragile than most believe, says Dave Westbrook, an American Redoubt consultant homesteading north-west of Sandpoint. Videos sold by his firm, Country Lifestyle Solutions, show redoubters how to assess the viability of off-grid properties, plant orchards and tend crops. But paranoia is out there, says Ben Ortize, the pastor of Grace Sandpoint Church. Terrorism, and the widespread belief that President Barack Obama’s progressive agenda is naive, have fuelled strong support for Donald Trump in the Redoubt, which has a disproportionately large population of former policemen, firemen and soldiers. To calm them down, he tells his flock that the Bible advises them to trust in the Lord, rather than in shotguns and Tasers.

The area’s bad rap is sometimes undeserved. “Hate in America: A Town on Fire”, a recent Discovery Channel broadcast about Kalispell, Montana, attempted to conflate gun-lovers who recoil at big government with the few white supremacists shown at the start. In fact, there is much less racism in the inland north-west than in the South, says Alex Barron, founder of the libertarian Charles Carroll Society blog and self-proclaimed “Bard of the American Redoubt”. Some are quick to label ideological opponents as white supremacists, he says. Liberal bloggers have called him one; but Mr Barron is black.

The Redoubt does give refuge to more than its fair share of outlaws, whether ageing draft-dodgers or crooks on the lam. So says Mike “Animal” Zook, a bounty hunter in Spirit Lake, Idaho with a gunslinger image enhanced by his sidearm’s faux-scrimshaw handle. Pointing east from the Riverman Gun Works car park, he notes that a man can trek that way for nearly 150 miles and see nothing but majestic forest and game. Turn south, and the wilderness extends more than double that.

Wanted men can and do disappear here, Mr Zook says. Some pan for gold, hunt, trap game and quietly slip into a town once a year or so for supplies. Nationwide, perhaps only one in 1,000 indicted felons skip bail and run for it, he says, but the percentage is higher in the Redoubt and especially in Lincoln County, in nearby north-western Montana. That provides enough work, he says, for more than 2,000 fugitive-recovery agents–as bounty hunters are also known–who, like himself, operate at least part-time, typically as private contractors for bondsmen in the Redoubt. All in all, the frontier spirit of America’s Old West is still alive and well.

The post James Wesley Rawles followers grow in NW USA appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

11 Tips On How To Survive A Polar Vortex

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The term “polar vortex” isn’t one that most people became familiar with until just recently. We had to face it last winter, and we have to face it again these days.

Now, however, it’s a serious concern and needs to be figured into your potential disaster events if you live in areas that may be affected.

Read the following article to find out what a polar vortex is, what it isn’t (if you haven’t been affected by one), and what you need to do to prepare!

What is a Polar Vortex?

We have two polar vortexes – one around each pole. It’s an area of low pressure that circulates counterclockwise in the stratosphere around the pole all the time, but weakens in the winter time.

Sometimes it wobbles a bit and throws a surge of bitter cold south into the US, and other countries in equivalent latitudes around the world.

When this happens, it can drop temperatures below zero. It’s a phenomenon that is always around, but we just don’t notice it until it puffs a blast of freezing air toward us.

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It actually plays a big part in the weather worldwide throughout the year. Think about it – how often do you ever hear of cold fronts coming from the south?

Usually, polar vortexes force temperatures down into the single digits in areas of higher latitude such as the Dakotas and Michigan, but the temperatures go up farther down the map.

Still, even if temperatures drop into the teens or twenties, even a light wind will make that temperature seem exponentially colder.

What a Polar Vortex Isn’t

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about polar vortexes, so let’s clear some of them up. First, they’re not a sign or result of global warming. Though many weather anomalies of recent years are linked to the warming of the Earth, polar vortices aren’t. They’ve existed exactly as they are since we started tracking them and the frequency or intensity hasn’t changed.

Next, a polar vortex doesn’t bring snow with it. Weather events such as rain and snow occur in the lower level of the atmosphere and polar vortices occur right above that. They bring bitter cold that can make snowstorms much worse, but they don’t actually bring snow or freezing rain with them.

What you need to Know about a Polar Vortex

The first and most important thing that you need to know about a polar vortex is that it can be lethal.

Even if you’re in a warmer part of the area that’s affected by the vortex, temperatures combined with wind chill can easily drop to temperatures that can cause frostbite and hypothermia quickly if you’re not bundled up.

Polar vortexes also tend to set in fairly quickly and hang around for at least a few days. If you don’t have to go outside during one, don’t. Avoid driving anywhere if you can, because it’s a guarantee that the roads are going to be icy even if it does snow.

If snow or freezing rain is going to happen right before or during a polar vortex, that danger is going to be amplified because temperatures that low can cause several disasters including car crashes, hypothermia, collapsed rooves, limbs, and powerlines, and burst water pipes.

Obviously, even one of those can be horrible, but they may also occur in tandem. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that your roof can collapse while your power is out. That’s why you need to take precautions and be prepared.

How to Prepare for a Polar Vortex

There are relatively small steps that you can take in advance that will help keep you safe. Other steps will need to be taken during/after the snow, but they’re relatively minor.

Technically, to prepare for just a polar vortex, you only need to worry about the cold, but since it often coincides with a snow storm, we’re going to assume that the worst case scenario and prepare for both a polar vortex and a snow storm.

1. Stockpile Food and Water

You may have a tough time getting to the store because of ice or snow, so make sure that you have at least a week’s worth of food and water stored back.

Yes, you’ll have access to plenty of snow, but if you want to drink that, you’ll have to filter and purify it. Stockpile at least 2 gallons of water per person per day. You’ll need to drink more because, oddly enough, water needs increase with extremes in temperature.

Regarding food, figure on at around 2000 calories if you’re going to be outside for more than just a few minutes at a time because your body burns a lot of fuel just to keep warm when temperatures drop that low.

You typically have several days of warning, so there’s no excuse not to be prepared.

2. Stay Inside

Seriously. If you don’t have to be outside, don’t be. In temperatures in the single digits, it only takes 15 minutes or so for frostbite to become a possibility, and when the temperatures are below zero, that time decreases even more.

Hypothermia is also a problem and, like frostbite, increases the colder it gets. Wind plays a big factor in the onset of both conditions.

Also, it’s a guarantee that there’s ice on the road, so there’s no reason to risk it if you don’t have to. Be prepared in advance, because crashing your car for a gallon of milk is bad, but dying for it just isn’t worth it.

3. Wrap Your Pipes

If you can access them, wrap your pipes to protect them from freezing. This tape keeps your pipes warm enough that the water in your pipes won’t freeze. If you don’t know how to do it, read our article about how to insulate your heating system.

This not only saves you a ton of money if your pipes burst, but also ensures that you have access to your water and heat as long as you have city water or a generator for your pump.

4. Trim your Trees

There’s nothing cozier than sitting around a tree limb that’s fallen through your roof and into your living room. Oh wait – yes there is.

This is a relatively easy disaster to avoid – simply keep your trees trimmed back from your house. Here’s a short guide on how to prepare your garden for winter.

5. Bundle Up

If you absolutely must go outside, bundle up. Make sure that your fingers, ears, nose, and toes are particularly protected because when you get cold, your body automatically pulls the blood flow to the center of your body to preserve heat. This leaves your extremities vulnerable to frostbite.

You also naturally lose more heat through the top of your head, the bottom of your feet, and your palms, so make sure they’re covered well to preserve that heat.

Mittens are actually better than gloves because they keep your fingers together and allow the heat that emanates from your palms to warm your entire hand.

mittens

6. Your Animals

Your animals are going to need some special attention depending upon what kind they are. Regardless of their species, they’re going to need to stay warm and they’re likely going to need extra food and water to meet the caloric needs required to stay warm.

Extremes in temperature can also cause animals such as milk cows and chickens to stop producing milk and eggs, so it’s especially important to keep them comfortable.

Winterize your barn and coop by sealing it up, but leave ventilation going through in order to keep the air fresh. Know your animals and adjust to meet their needs.

7. Check your Roof

Before winter even sets in, check your roof and rafters for damage and stability. This is one of the biggest risks you have in the case of a polar vortex and snow storm clashing.

If temperatures drop enough to make building materials brittle, then heavy snow is piled on top, the odds of your roof collapsing increases quite a bit.

8. Seal Windows and Doors

Your heating system is working hard enough to keep you warm even if your house is well insulated and sealed.

Cracks around windows and doors can really dampen that effort and make it nearly impossible to keep your house warm, so take care of that before winter sets in. It will also help save you money in the summer by keeping cold air in.

Read this Survivopedia article to find out how to build your own frames for insulating windows.

9. Winterize Your Car

This may not seem like a big deal, but it can save your life. You need good tires, but not as much for traction (nothing really sticks to ice though good tread does do much better in snow and mud) as to make sure that you don’t get a flat.

Chains for your tires, adequate anti-freeze, winter-grade thinner-viscosity oil, and just a general winterizing is important. Getting stranded in freezing weather is extremely dangerous.

On that note, make sure that you have a get-home bag in your car. You need a full change of clothes, extra socks and gloves, and even extra shoes. Also, have several bottles of water, hand warmers, several protein bars or MREs, and flares.

Blankets, at least emergency blankets, should be in there, too, and a fire-starter wouldn’t hurt. Besides these essentials, you just need to know your circumstances and build the rest of the bag around your needs.

10. Have Alternate Heat

If you rely on electricity for heat, you REALLY need to have an alternative heat source. Installing a wood burner is probably your best option, but a generator or wood for your fireplace (if you have one) are good, too.

Whatever you decide on, have plenty of fuel and the equipment to start it. Be realistic and base your heating needs on your house and your family, not some ideal version of them.

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11. Include Games and Activities in your Stockpile

You’re going to get bored pretty quickly, especially if you lose cable and power. Make sure that you have several different games, books, or hobby supplies on hand to alleviate stress and boredom.

Being prepared for a polar vortex is extremely similar to preparing for a blizzard, except you need to make some modifications for the extreme temperatures that you may have to deal with.

If you have any suggestions or ideas that I’ve missed here, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Survival Cooking: How To Use A Dutch Oven

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How To Use A Dutch Oven

Pioneers no doubt had to make some rough choices about what to take and what to leave behind when they made the voyage west. One thing that they didn’t even consider leaving behind, though, was their Dutch oven.

This marvelous piece of cookware is so versatile that it warranted a spot in the precious little space inside a covered wagon.

When you think about camping, you probably don’t think about making bread, biscuits, or cookies – other than s’mores of course! That’s because you’re not familiar with how a Dutch oven works.

In short, it’s magic.

A Dutch oven actually consists of two pieces: a pot and a lid. The lid seals over the pot when needs must, and serves as a skillet, too. You can use a Dutch oven on a stove or in an oven just like you’d use any other pan or skillet, but it’s so much more useful than that.

First, cast iron cookware in general is just fabulous to cook on. Other cookware, such as those made from aluminum or coated in Teflon, can be toxic to us over time. Teflon starts to flake off into your food after a few months or maybe a year. Then you run the risk of getting cancer. Aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Cast iron, on the other hand, has been associated with family treasures that are passed down from generation to generation.

Cookware made from cast iron can quite literally last hundreds of years – I have a skillet that’s nearly 150 years old and it’s seriously the best skillet I own. I have a square one that I bought 25 years ago, and I won’t make cornbread in anything else. I use it at home on the stove, in the oven, and on the grill. I take it camping and use it over an open fire.

So, I’m not just preaching it from the handbook, I’m drinking my own Kool-Aid. Cast iron rules.

Now that you know how I feel about the material, I want to get on to the exact piece of cast iron cookware that we’re discussing today: the Dutch oven.

Simply surviving isn’t good enough if you’re to stay happy and healthy in the long run. You need good food, companionship, and hope. A Dutch oven can’t do much about who you eat with, but it can be used to cook luxury foods that keep morale up. Cornbread, biscuits, cake, hot rolls, and desserts such as cobbler are all possible as long as you have the ingredients, a fire, and a Dutch oven.

Video first seen on Cooking With Cast Iron.

You don’t need electricity or gas, nor do you need an actual oven because a Dutch oven IS an oven. If you know the basics of cooking with one and have the ingredients, you can make anything that you want.

So, without further ado, let’s talk about how to cook with a Dutch oven.

Aluminum or Cast Iron Dutch Oven

I know, I’ve just expounded on the benefits of using cast iron, and even knocked aluminum cookware a bit. I personally don’t like to cook in it because studies have shown that the aluminum does leach into food, especially if the food is extremely basic (baking powder), or extremely acidic (tomato juice, vinegar, or fruit juices).

Studies show that anodized aluminum doesn’t pose this risk, so if you opt to go with an aluminum Dutch oven, make sure that it’s anodized. There are some benefits to cooking with an aluminum Dutch oven, primarily the weight. A cast-iron Dutch oven weighs about 7 pounds as opposed to the 18 pounds or so that you’ll be toting if you’re carrying a cast iron one.

Aluminum also doesn’t require seasoning like cast iron does, nor will it rust if you don’t care for it after you wash it. Many even come with a non-stick surface, but cast iron will become non-stick if you season it correctly.

Aluminum heats faster, but that’s not necessarily a good thing because the heat fluctuates in it, and aluminum will melt if it gets hot enough. Still, aluminum may be better for baking bread or making sauces and gravies than cast iron.

Cast iron holds heat evenly and for longer periods of time. It will actually keep cooking your foods for quite a while even if your coals cool down so you don’t need as much fuel to cook with it. The lid is heavy enough that it seals and steams your food so that it doesn’t dry out. This is why I said above that aluminum may be better for baking bread.

So, there are the differences. If you have to carry it, aluminum may be worth the downfalls to you. If you don’t, I’d say that cast iron wins hands down. I’m sure that there are those that disagree.

Types of Dutch Ovens

If you’re standing in the pot aisle at the store trying to figure out what the heck you need, or researching online before you go buy one, it can be confusing.

First, know that a camp oven and an outdoor oven are the same thing. These will usually have feet and a handle that you can use to hang the pot over the fire. The lid will also be flat and have a lip that seals the oven so that coals can’t get into it. You can use the lid as a skillet, too.

Kitchen pots and bean pots are also two names for the same sort of pot. They won’t have feet. Bean pots aren’t just for beans so don’t let the name fool you. It’s actually a cooking method that was common back in colonial days. These pots will have a flat bottom and a domed lid that may have spikes for basting inside of it. The steam rises, then drips off the spikes down onto the food.

Don’t be afraid to buy a used Dutch oven. As a matter of fact, I got mine from a yard sale for $5. Just be aware of what you’re buying.

  • First, don’t buy it if it has riveted tabs. You want the oven to be cast together, not riveted.
  • Look for inconsistencies in the thickness. That will lead to inconsistent heating and cooking
  • Don’t be scared away by a little rust. As long as it’s just surface rust, it will clean right up with steel wool.
  • Make sure that the bottom is level. It shouldn’t rock.
  • Make sure the lid fits well – not too loose, and not too tight, and it doesn’t rock.
  • Check for chips and cracks as well as imperfections in the casting.
  • If you’re buying a camp oven, make sure that the wire handle is sturdy.

Seasoning your Dutch Oven

Cast iron takes a bit of time to reach that non-stick state. This is called seasoning. Basically, the iron needs to absorb fat so that it develops a patina that keeps the iron from absorbing your food, causing it to stick. Seasoning also prevents the iron from rusting and makes cleanup much easier.

New ovens (or any cast iron) come with a protective coating from the manufacturer. The same is true with aluminum but all you need to do in that case is wash the aluminum with hot soap and water to remove the coating.

Cast iron takes a bit more work on the front end, but it will be well worth it in the end because you’ll have a piece that will be good for the rest of your life, and your children’s lives for that matter.

Before you season your skillet, wash it well. Some people use soap, others don’t. I use soap when I get a new one, or a used one that isn’t seasoned or has rust. I’m not like most people though, who only use hot water and steel wool.

Once you have your Dutch oven clean, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. You may want to turn off the smoke alarm, just in case.

  • Put the Dutch oven and the lid in the oven long enough that it’s so hot that it’s almost too hot to handle, then remove them.
  • Dribble a bit of olive oil, solid shortening, or vegetable oil. Don’t use butter, margarine, or cooking spray.
  • Use a paper towel to smear the oil over the entire surface of the pot and lid, inside and out.
  • Put the pot and lid back in the oven bake them for an hour. You should probably put a cookie sheet on the rack under them in case they drip. No need to burn the house down while you’re doing this.
  • Turn off the oven and let the pot and lid cool completely, then repeat the process.
  • Wipe down, and you’re done!

Video first seen on JRKFamilyOutdoors

Of course, the more you use your oven, the more seasoned it will become. Every time you use it, you need to clean it, then heat it to get the water out of it and wipe it down with a thin layer of oil again; just a tiny amount on a paper towel while the pan is cooling.

Avoid cooking super acidic or high-sugar foods the first few times you use your oven because these will break down your seasoning before it has time to harden.

Using a Dutch Oven in Coals

You may not know it, but the ashes under the fire are actually usually hotter than the fire itself. The ashes are compact and hold in heat. This makes for an excellent cooking environment. If you think about it, that’s exactly what happens in your oven at home, right?

Maybe you’ve cooked ears of corn or potatoes wrapped in foil in the coals of your fire, but it’s pretty tough to bake a piece of apple pie like that? Well that’s where your Dutch oven comes in. Different foods cook better depending upon how the Dutch oven is situated in the coals, and you can cook entire meals in it, too. Casseroles, desserts, stews: they’re all within your reach.

First, you need to decide if you’re cooking IN the Dutch oven, or WITH it. You can either cook your food directly in the oven or you can put the food in another container, such as a pie plate, and cook in on a trivet or rack inside of the oven. This is usually done to keep the food from burning, or to make cleaning your oven easier.

If you’re cooking a dessert and your oven is still relatively new, you may want to use this method so that the sugar and acids in the fruit don’t eat away your seasoning.

If you’re using your oven for frying, or boiling, all of the heat should come from the bottom. In other words, place the oven on top of the coals or a grill rack (or hang it over the fire).

If you’re stewing or simmering, the majority of the heat should come from the bottom. Place the pot in the ashes with most of it buried, but put some of the coals on top, about 4:1 bottom to top.

If you’re roasting food, heat should come from the top and bottom equally. Place coals under and on top.

If you’re baking, most of the heat should come from the top. The ratio should be 1 part on bottom and 3 parts on top.

If you’re wondering about specific foods, typically soups and stews should be cooked with most of the heat on the bottom (2/3 or so on the bottom, and 1/3 of the coals on top. Meats, veggies, and cobblers should have equal heat distribution, and cakes, biscuits, bread and cookies should have 2/3 of the coals on top and 1/3 on the bottom.

Dutch Oven Temperature

Bread and biscuits help you get a lot more mileage out of a meal and are comfort foods. They’re also the trail version of fast foods. You can cook extra and if you get hungry along the trail, you can pull out a roll or a biscuit and eat it on the run. Neither of these would be possible in large quantity without a Dutch oven.

You can make biscuits inside of the oven, or right on the lid – just butter or oil both sides so that they brown equally.

Bread or rolls are best if you let the final proof take place inside the oven, then bake them immediately. Some old recipes call for coating the inside of the oven with flour before you put your bread in to rise/cook. The flour will burn but your bread will be fine.

If you’d rather not use the flour, just oil the inside of the oven and the top of the lid, then let your bread proof. Put your oven in the coals, with 2/3 of them on top. When there are 5 or 6 minutes left for the bread to cook, take of the lid and butter the top of the bread. Put the lid back on and let it finish cooking. Bread is done when you peck on the top and it sounds hollow.

There are different ways to cook with your Dutch oven, but these are the basics. You can pick up a good Dutch oven for as little as $35 or so, and that’s for a Lodge, which is American-made and arguably the best brand of cast iron skillets out there.

There are, of course, gourmet chefs coming out with their own lines of cast iron cookware too, and some of them are even pre-seasoned, but you’re likely going to pay quite a bit more for them. It’s up to you, though. There are definite advantages to buying a pre-seasoned piece, but I’m old-school and take a certain pleasure in doing things for myself.

Learn how to make your own food based on survival ancient recipes from our forefathers. Click the banner below and uncover more survival secrets, and stay close for a great offer that will boost your survival cooking!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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6 Pioneer Dessert Recipes you should try today

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Being able to procure your own meat, to grow your own vegetables, to organize a pantry with all the essentials and to work with your hands are all activities worth knowing and mastering. But how about your own comfort, how about satisfying your sweet tooth when times are harsh? The following pioneer dessert recipes stood … Read more…

The post 6 Pioneer Dessert Recipes you should try today was written by Rhonda Owen and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Urban Survival: 9 Tips For Living Small In The City

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Living Small In The City

When you live in the country, it’s easy to live small. But what does living small really mean?

The concept is pretty fluid and has different meanings for different people, but the general idea is that you cut the fat and learn to live simply. That’s all.

Unclutter your life, physically and figuratively, so that you can open up other, better possibilities for yourself. It’s about freedom.

Here are the steps to take for living small in a big city. Read the article and look for more: a collection of survival tips can be yours easily!

We’ve surrounded ourselves with so much stuff that we don’t know what to do without it. We don’t know where our food comes from, and most of the people don’t care. We buy things, then throw them away when they break and buy new. We do the same thing with relationships.

We order huge portions of food, then throw half of it away. We buy cars we can’t afford and clothes we won’t wear. Our lives are based upon consumption and waste.

Well what would happen if all of those sources of consumption were no longer there? What if you had to grow your own food, or fix your shoe instead of throwing it away?

What if you had to get to know your neighbors, and work with them to survive? What if you were forced to give up your large living and live small?

It’s not such a horrible concept, and it’s completely possible, even if you live in an urban area that’s built entirely on the precept of living big.

As a matter of fact, learning to live small will teach you to appreciate the truly big things in life.

How to Start Living Small

Living small is a process. You can’t just go from being $50k in debt to living small. Your journey to living small will begin with tiny, fettered baby steps, but can end in long, free strides.

1. Make a List

The first thing you have to do to heal the wound is stop the bleeding. Sit down and make a list of ways that you’re living above your means. Next, figure out what steps you can take right now to live smaller.

Nobody needs a new pair of shoes once a week. Seriously, find out where you’re spending frivolously and decide if having all of those shoes is really worth being tethered to a credit card payment. If it is, then living small isn’t for you. Stop reading.

Now, make a plan to get rid of the debt. Can you really afford your apartment or would you be better off with a smaller place that costs less?

Don’t sacrifice your safety by moving into a bad neighborhood, but don’t put yourself in the poorhouse paying $2k/month in rent when you only make $3k. The big stuff will take a while to pare down. The important thing right now is to NOT make it worse.

Make a list of 5 things that you’re going to change today to live cheaper, because adaptability is one of the key attributes of a survivor. All of the things that we’re going to talk about from here on out are all about adapting a new, simpler lifestyle.

Living small isn’t about giving things up. It’s about living life on your own terms, in pursuit of your own happiness.

2. Fix Things!

Oh no – your jeans have a tear or the leg on your chair is loose? Well grab what you need and fix it! Don’t know how? Well thankfully you have the internet at your fingertips. What happens if you find out that you enjoy sewing?

You may just end up with a new hobby. Even if you don’t you’ll end up with a new skill. And you won’t be in debt any deeper. You just took your first step toward living small.

3. Learn Something

There’s something to be said for the power of learning to do things for yourself. Pick three skills that you’re interested in learning, then learn them.

Be open-minded and flexible. Try something that you may not have thought about doing up until now.

Having skills if SHTF will put you head-and-shoulders above 99 percent of your neighbors. Besides, this country was built by people who knew how to do things for themselves.

You can learn something new anywhere, anytime, even when playing cards with your loved ones.

However, if you want to take it to the next level, we also recommend these Urban Survival Playing Cards, featuring 52 more life-saving lessons, you can learn through play, that also act as a quick-reference ‘cheat sheet’ in times of emergency.

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4. Learn How to Barter

There are flea markets and thrift shops in every city – it’s just a matter of finding them. Learn how to barter, or at least how to haggle. It’s a trait that will serve you well, and you may just find some great stuff that you can use instead of allowing it to go to a landfill.

5. Downsize Your Life

This is, after all, about living small. Go through your closets, drawers, and cabinets and if it isn’t something you’ve used in the last year, get rid of it. I’m not talking about your wedding video, but do you really need those shorts that are two sizes too small or that ugly shirt that your great aunt Sally got you for Christmas?

Don’t throw it away – have a yard sale or give it to charity. Better yet, do you know somebody that could use it? If so, give them first pickings before you take it to charity. This is all about learning to live. Nothing feels better than to do something good for somebody else.

6. Start a garden

So what if you live in a tiny apartment. That doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your own food. There are all kinds of ways that you can garden indoors.

You can live in a city and grow plenty of things. You just have to be creative. Terrariums are great and vertical gardening is good, too.

Indoor Herbs

7. Teach your kids to live small

The path to a better world starts with our kids. Teach your children how to garden, and how to fix things. Raise them with the “living small to be happy” mentality.

Life isn’t about stuff, and now is the perfect time to teach them that life is about embracing what they have and what they can do, not about collecting material things and drowning in debt to get it.

8. Slow down

Take time to smell the roses. Literally. Don’t get so trapped in the rat race that life passes you by. Look at the clouds.

Take time to go for a walk or take a bike ride. Eat lunch in the park. Take the kids with you, but sometimes go by yourself. You only get one go-round so make it worth it. Make memories, not worries.

9. Learn about your resources before disaster strikes

You’re going to need to know where to find water and food if things go on beyond what you prep for, so learn about your local co-ops and resources. Network and find like-minded people. Holing up and making it through on your own may sound like the thing to do, but it’s not.

Build relationships. Since you’re living in an urban environment, it’s going to be next to impossible to live independently because you won’t have the resources to do so.

Know how to get out of the city if you need to. Know what’s around the city, including water sources and escape routes and maybe even hiding spots, just in case.

Living small isn’t about living less. It’s about living life in a way that makes you happy and safe. Nobody is happy living in debt and struggling just to make it from payday to payday.

Also, you won’t be safe and able to survive since you rely and depend totally on the wealth around you. Start practicing your survival skills by turning to living small!

Get more 52 survival secrets to help you thrive after disasters and breakdowns in urban areas!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Three Often Forgotten but Necessary Survival Essentials

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With everything that has been going on in the world around us lately I’ve noticed the always popular trend of survival prepping surge to unparalleled heights. The need to hoard and to stock survival essentials and keep our families safe from danger and starvation is a very strong and an almost urgent need for most … Read more…

The post Three Often Forgotten but Necessary Survival Essentials was written by David Andrew Brown and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

10 Ice Fishing Fundamentals

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As the winter season grows stronger a lot of people will try their luck with a session or two of ice fishing. Although ice fishing is quite a popular activity, it also poses some risks for the fisherman and no one should venture out onto the ice without knowing these 10 ice fishing fundamentals. If … Read more…

The post 10 Ice Fishing Fundamentals was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

5 Strategies To Survive In The City When SHTF

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When we think of survival and disaster preparedness the images most people conjure up are basically rural. Preparedness is all about being ready to harvest the essentials from the land,

The post 5 Strategies To Survive In The City When SHTF appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

How To Identify A Presumptive Shooter

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Shooter

Actual shooting scenarios are nothing like what you see on TV or in the movies.

In most cases, the shooter will be known to you, or perhaps know you better than you realize. Burglars, stalkers, and even serial killers may be in the background for months on end before they strike.

Many times, there will be warning signs weeks, or even months before the shooting. If someone would read them signs, innocent lives would be saved. Think about the mass shootings where one or more people dedicate themselves to killing and destruction!

Every second counts, and if you want to survive, you need to identify the killer before the shooting happens. Read this article to know how to do it!

How Do I Know It’s a Shooter?

Contrary to popular belief and erroneous stereotypes, clothing style, gun ownership, ethnic background, age, or religious affiliation are not necessarily good indicators that someone will become an active shooter.

If you can always bear in mind that almost every criminal or terror based shooting is pre-planned, then it becomes much easier to spot the following signs (PAINS – Pre-Attack IndicatorS) in people around you, in different stages of their acting.

Fantasy Stage

Many shooters start off with a violent fantasy based in revenge or something else that evokes strong feelings. These individuals may use violent computer games, novels (example school shooters that got their start reading gun grabber Stephen King’s novel “Rage”), or even apps with subliminal messages that encourage more robust or increasingly graphic fantasies.

There is a subtle, but discernible difference between someone that keeps these thoughts in the realm of pure fantasy and someone that develops a sincere wish to be at the center of such horrific acts.

In general, if you talk to people in this stage of progression, you may feel very uncomfortable when they talk about violent movies, or you may even find that they have made drawings or created lists of actions to enable them to become an active shooter.

Even though you may still believe the person is harmless, they are beginning on a slippery slope and may need psychiatric care.

The Decision and Active Planning

At some point, the prospective active shooter will make a decision to move from fantasy to tangible reality.

This stage may involve more serious planning such as figuring out which weapons to use, obtaining plans for building bombs, or finding ways to train for their “big day”.

Individuals in the planning stage may also begin talking more actively about their beliefs, and perhaps even seek to draw others into their increasingly sick and chaotic world.

They will also seek out “heroic” figures that match some aspect of their ideology.

Acquiring Weapons

The next stage is an escalation and outgrowth of the previous stage. During this phase, the potential shooter will actively begin to acquire weapons, build bombs, and increase training intensity.

They may no longer be interested in activities that would pull their attention away from preparing to become an active shooter.

It is thought that this stage is the easiest to spot because the person is actively amassing weapons and building things needed for the main event.

That being said, any one of these prospective shooters is just a movie or subliminal app away from adding ways to hide weapons caches or even indoctrinate others so that the element of surprise is preserved.

It should also be noted that gun control is like the emperor with no clothes because those who intend to do harm will simply look for other weapons or seek other means.

Countdown

At some point, the individual will decide that they are done preparing, and that there is nothing left but to carry out their plans.

This stage may also include leaving behind a will, putting up public warnings about their intentions, giving away valued possessions, and otherwise preparing for death.

No matter whether they drive to the location, walk, or ride a bike, it will be up to random observers to notice unusual activity and report it to the police.

From there, it is truly anybody’s guess as to whether or not the event will be halted or go through as planned.

Active Shooting

Once the individual reaches his/her chosen location, the shooting sequence will go forward pretty much as planned until someone with a gun stops them.

Despite what gun grabbers try to say, it is only armed citizens at the scene that can stop an active shooter before one or more lives is taken.

Without armed citizens at the scene, the active shooter will simply kill as many people as possible until the police get there.

A well-organized shooter working with others may even move to blockade roads, use drones, or take other steps to prevent police, or even the military from responding.

Active shooting

Other Symptoms to Look For

  • Threat of harm to self or others. This may also include a history of violence or insensitivity to humans or animals. There may also be an increased interest in watching violence, an interest in violent actions, and looking to violent role models. In later stages, the person may indicate that they feel they will not survive their agenda.
  • A sudden interest in firearms, bombs, or other items that may be used as part of killing others. Gun grabbers focus almost exclusively on gun ownership as a “warning sign” even though millions of gun owners have never gone on a shooting spree let alone attempted a suicide bombing.

The key here is that the vast majority of people that make up the US gun culture are honest, law abiding people that come from all walks of life.

These people take great pride in their weapons and seek to defend themselves and others against a range of risks. By all accounts, if an “interest in guns” was a true litmus test for increased risk, the number of active shooting scenarios would be much higher than it is.

As the records stands, the vast majority of shootings in the United States are either self-inflicted suicide or shooting at a criminal.

That being said, if someone shows a sudden interest in learning how to make bombs or other explosive devices, it might be a reliable indicator of risk because this behavior is not normal and is not part of any legitimate culture.

  • Decline in work or academic performance, and also decreased social interactions with friends and family. In place of usual contacts, the individual may focus more on radical ideas that encourage violence.
  • Beginning or increasing use of drugs.
  • Personality, mood, hygiene, and social changes.

What Should We Do?

Most resources will say that you should report these signs immediately to the police, work supervisors, or others that may be able to redirect the person or help them choose a different path.

While this is good advice, do not forget we are living in a society where supervisors may not agree with your assessment and the police may not be able to get involved for one reason or another, or might arrive too late to stop the shooting.

At the same time, you may be living in a community or forced to work in a location where you cannot carry a gun. But you still need to defend yourself, so you could find an alternate mean of protection. There are a lot of article on our website about self-defense, but the answer depends pretty much on your ability to act and the skills you have trained for survival.

Click the banner below and get your own self-defense tactical flashlight you can carry no matter where you go!

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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References: 

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28300-how-to-spot-the-warning-signs-and-prevent-mass-shootings/

http://www.campussecurityreport.com/m-article-detail/educate-members-of-the-public-about-how-to-spot-report-potentially-dangerous-individuals.aspx

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Staying warm in the cold weather

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weather

As I sit here next to the wood burning stove, I am cozy warm inside of the SkyCastle. The temps are dropping and we just might have our first real cold snap of this winter later on today, at least that’s what the weather wizards keep saying. I have been watching the radar and there is wintry precipitation just north of us (that blue and pink stuff in the picture), but so far it hasn’t dropped south, maybe it will snow a bit in the morning, I don’t mind if it does, I have finished working for the week (it’s slow for merchandisers during the holidays), for me a nice snowy day means I’ll get to take some interesting pictures.

The SkyCastle is really simple to deal with in the cold, the wood burning stove keeps things warm enough inside, though we don’t try to keep things very warm, we dress warmly for the most part. Sleeping means bundling up in layers, I typically have thermals on (top and bottom) as well as thick PJs and regular socks & thick fuzzy socks. My blankets are also double duty, having a regular blanket that I sleep under year round, in winter I add a wool blanket, sometimes 2 of them, that is the real secret for me to keep warm in bed. I also utilize a hot water bottle. I know they are old fashioned, but by golly they work! I’ll usually put it next to my pillow with the blanket over it until I’m ready to get in bed, then I kick it down to the end of the bed to keep my feet warm. Having a warm dog is also another nice warm spot in the bed.

I found a couple of videos on how RV’ers keep warm in the winter. Honestly I don’t think I’d like living in a RV or camper in the winter if I had to be in a cold area, I think I understand why they move to warmer places in winter, those vehicles just aren’t meant for the cold IMHO.

https://youtu.be/ZVP4lYRF2t4

https://youtu.be/Tb7i71nVui4

I saw this video, thought it was interesting and decided to add it for you.

https://youtu.be/kcGzjIx1QX4

What about you? How do you keep warm in the winter?

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Prep Blog Review: Ultimate Winter Survival Tips

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Winter tips

Winter is here! The winter season and the holidays bring a lot of joy but the cold weather adds significant challenges to your prepping, such as health problems, home heating issues and even extreme situations when you have to survive a winter storm.

But you can overcome any challenge with the proper knowledge, with practice and experience, right?

Have you ever imagined how our ancestors survived during harsh winters? Well, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered four articles with winter survival tips, many of them inspired by the lessons of our great forefathers.

1. 15 Live Saving Tips for a Winter Bugout

Winter Bugout

“In 1939 the Soviet Union invaded Finland in what was called The Winter War.  This war caused about 70,000 Finnish causalities with most of them being innocent civilians.  As a result of this invasion many Finnish civilians were forced into a winter bug out in order to avoid death or being captured.

At the beginning of this invasion Finnish military went through towns and villages letting them know that they had 15 minutes to leave and burn down their own houses so that the Soviet army couldn’t use them for cover.  They had to leave all of their belongings.

The Finnish people didn’t have time to sit down and put together a bug out bag list or even given the wealth of knowledge that we have in the preparedness community.”

Read more on Smart Prepper Gear.

2. Winter Storm Warning! Surviving a Winter Storm Trapped Outside

winter storm

“Winter weather can go from beautiful to deadly in a matter of hours. Whether you’re on the road or in the wilderness on a winter camping trip, it’s important to know how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe when a winter storm warning is in effect and until the storm passes.

According to Farmers’ Almanac, the winter season for 2016-17 is expected to be much colder this year as opposed to last year.”

Read more on Survival Life.

3. 20 Herbal Remedies for the Winter Season

Herbal Remedies

“While the winter season brings joy to both the young and the old as families come together, it also brings some health problems we shouldn’t ignore.  We are all familiar with the common cold and the flu and we know they can strike when we are stressed or run down. The following herbal remedies will help you deal with all the problems the cold season may bring.

In this polluted world we have to be careful of what medicine we take as we are bombarded with chemicals every day, from every direction.  I’ve been using herbal remedies ever since I can remember and I learned their secrets from my mother and grandmother. “

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

4. 7 Things Our Ancestors Stockpiled To Survive The Winter

Ancestors

“Life was hard for our ancestors — much harder than it is for us today. Most of them didn’t have running water and electricity to make their lives easier. These modern conveniences have changed our way of life, to the point where we often forget what people had to do throughout history in order to survive.

We look at survival today as something needed in a time of emergency, but to many of them, survival stared them in the face every day of their lives. That was especially true in the wintertime, when it wasn’t possible to glean what you needed from nature. Basically, if you weren’t ready for winter, you didn’t survive.

So our ancestors all became experts in stockpiling. They’d spend the warmer months preparing, so that when the cold winter months came around, they’d be ready. You could tell a lot about a family’s wealth and industry by that, as there were those who struggled through the winter and those who didn’t.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Clever everyday uses for nail polish

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The other day I was making fun of my wife for her extreme fingernail polish collection and I never taught I was going to say this, but now I’m thinking of using some of it as well. No, I’m not painting my own nails. Instead, I’ve found many survival uses for nail polish. After a … Read more…

The post Clever everyday uses for nail polish was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

8 Survival Hacks Using Plastic Wrap

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Survival Hacks Using Plastic Wrap

You’ve probably battled with your fair share of plastic wrap while trying to cover a bowl of leftovers, but that stickiness is one of its biggest assets when it comes to using it for survival.

That’s right – you can use plastic wrap for many different things if SHTF, so keep several rolls of it in your stockpile!

When I say plastic wrap, you can use the kitchen plastic wrap in a pinch, but you can also buy an entire roll of clear or green translucent plastic wrap at the hardware store that they use to wrap pallets. This type is much more durable than the plastic wrap meant for use in the kitchen. It’s dirt cheap, too.

1. Staying Warm and Dry

Possibly the best thing about plastic wrap is that it’s pretty much impermeable. That means that air and water can’t pass through it, so if you’re stuck in a storm or have to venture out in the cold, plastic wrap can be one of your best friends.

Not only does it keep air and moisture out, it keeps body heat in, so if you wrap your torso, limbs, and feet in it, you  can preserve a ton of body heat and stay dry at the same time, which will also help you stay warm.

The only thing to remember when you’re using it this way is that your skin needs to breathe. That means that as soon as you get someplace warm and dry, you need to take it off.

2. Collecting Rain Water

There are a couple of different  ways that you can use plastic wrap to collect water. The first way is the obvious way –hang a sheet of it so that it’s horizontal to the ground and let it collect either rainwater or dew.

If you have a bucket or container, even better – set the bucket underneath the plastic and use a stone to tilt it to one side, so that the water pours off of the plastic into the bucket.

If you just set the bucket out when it rains, you’ll only catch the water that directly drops into the bucket, but the plastic wrap will give you a larger area for the rain to hit, thus collecting much more water.

3. Create a Solar Still

The second way that you can use plastic to collect water is to build a solar still. This sounds a lot fancier than it actually is.

Dig a hole in soil that is in direct sunlight – this is important because you’re using the sun to dehydrate the moisture from the damp soil.

Solar Still

As the soil dehydrates, the water evaporates and rises, creating condensation on the plastic. Here’s how to do it:

  • Dig a hole in direct sunlight, preferably early in the morning. Make the hole a foot or two deep – the more damp soil you have exposed, the more water you’ll get.
  • Place a mug, bowl, or some other vessel to collect the water in the center of the hole.
  • Fill around the cup with any damp vegetation that you can find. The more moisture, the better.
  • Cover the hole completely with plastic wrap.
  • Place sand, dirt, and rocks around the outside perimeter of the hole to seal the plastic wrap to the ground.
  • Place a small stone or some dirt on the plastic directly over the center of the cup so that it forms a V into the cup. The plastic can’t touch the cup, though.
  • Leave the still there as long as possible – either until the dirt dries up or the sun goes down, whichever comes first.
  • If the hole dries up, either dig it deeper to reach more damp soil, or dig another hole and start over.
  • Enjoy the water. You won’t collect much this way, but in a survival situation, some is better than none!

You can also use plastic wrap to make a solar still to distill dirty water or salt water into drinking water. For a better visual for this purpose, check out this video.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

4. Build a Shelter or a Greenhouse

Yup, you read that right. You can build a shelter using plastic wrap. As a matter of fact, we just built one to use as a make-shift paint booth. We used the skeleton from a picnic tarp for the frame, but trees would do just as well.

Simply wrap the plastic wrap around the trees, or poles that you cut, then cover the top of it, too. We used a piece of cardboard to fashion a door, but you could just as easily cut a small, 3-sided entrance in the hole then wrap a stick around the vertical side and stick it in the ground to “close” the door.

Seal it up from the inside with another piece of plastic. You’re creative – I’m sure you can figure out an entrance.

It also collected dew on the top, so your plastic wrap house serves double duty as a water collector. This will make a wind-proof, waterproof shelter that is actually fairly durable and will hold heat inside.

This trait would also make it excellent material for building a greenhouse.

5. Start a Fire

You can use plastic wrap to start a fire. I didn’t really believe this was possible until I found a video that proved it. The idea is that water in a piece of plastic wrap acts as a magnifying glass.

Video first seen on The Outdoor Adventure.

The paper actually caught fire fairly quickly – within a couple of minutes, so it’s not something that I would discount.

Actually, starting the fire with the plastic and water seemed easier than using a bow, so if those were my only two options, I’d probably try the plastic wrap and water first. We have other great ideas for staring fires.

6. Waterproofing Your Gear

There’s nothing worse than trekking through a downpour and stopping for the night only to find that everything in your pack is soaked, too.

Maybe you’ve dropped it in a stream that you were crossing, or had to swim at some point. In any of these scenarios, plastic wrap would have kept your gear dry.

It’s not a total waterproofer, but I have used it when I’m out on a long distance ride – I don’t have saddlebags – to keep my pack dry. I just have a piece folded up in the bottom of my bag and when I need it, I unfold it and wrap my bag in it.

It probably wouldn’t do a lot of good if my bag was submerged, but it would give me a few extra seconds to catch it if I dropped it in the lake. You could also use it to cover things such as your firewood in camp to protect it from a downpour.

7. Rope or Lashing Material

Yes, rope is always good to have on hand. There’s no doubt about it. Plastic wrap used for shrink wrap is extremely strong and if you twist a piece into a rope (you have to twist it), it will stretch to about three times its original length then hold there. We tested it and it held 115 pounds without threatening to give.

That’s pretty solid for some plastic, especially when you consider that you can untwist it and use it for other things.

8. First Aid

There are several ways you can use plastic wrap for first aid.

First, a sucking chest would needs to be covered with plastic. You could also use it as a non-stick covering to keep water and debris out of a wound. It would work as a sling, or you could wrap it around as a binding. Throw some in your first aid kit.

In a survival situation think of what you can do with what you have. This is what our ancestors used to do.

Click the banner below and discover their most valuable survival secrets!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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DIY Fuel: How To Turn Wood Into Briquettes 

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DIY Fuel

Let me start today’s article with an axiom: despite the fact that DIY-ing briquettes is a hard and messy job, if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, you can make a reasonable income by selling (your extra) charcoal/wood briquettes.

The idea is that you can make DIY briquettes for your homestead provided you’re fine with “dirty jobs” whilst making an extra buck by selling some of them to your neighbors.

The demand for these babies is pretty high, so there’s definitely money to be made from briquettes.

Just remember that the coal industry in the US is expected to boom under Donald Trump‘s administration after it was eviscerated by the global warming cabal. Let that sink in real good folks.

So, not only you can save a lot of money on your heating bill by DIY-ing briquettes for your homestead, but you’ll be able to supplement your income by selling what’s extra. I don’t know about you, but to me this sounds like a definite win-win situation.

Now, as per the dirty part of the job, the hardest and dirtiest part of DIY-ing briquettes is represented by the charcoal dust, which must be crushed and mixed.

To begin with, briquettes are blocks made from compressed charcoal dust, coal dust, wood chips, sawdust, biomass etc, which are used as a fuel in boilers, stoves and what not.

Basically anything that burns can be used in making briquettes, but some materials are better than others with regard to their caloric output. In other words, some burn better and give more heat than others.

Today we will concentrate on the best stuff around for DIY-ing briquettes, which is wood and its derivative (charcoal).

How to Transform Wood into Briquettes in Three Easy Steps

Of course, I am not talking about getting out in the forest and chopping wood like an old school lumberjack. The idea is to use wood shavings, wood chips or sawdust which are byproducts of wood processing factories. Also, these materials are almost the ideal stuff for making fuel briquettes.

Actually, many of these factories (furniture/woodworking businesses) are buying wood briquette machines for processing the wood residues and making a few bucks from what others may consider waste.

Now, if you’ve got what it takes, i.e. the will power, skill, the briquette-machine, and the aforementioned raw materials, let’s talk about the specifics of DIY-ing briquettes from wood residues.

1.Prepare the Raw Material

First things first: you’ll have to take your wood raw material and get it ready for the manufacturing process. You’ll have to transform the big chunks of wood chips and/or wood shavings into sawdust, which is much smaller and thus more malleable. If you’re already in the possession of sawdust, you’re all set.

Generally speaking, sawdust can be more or less humid, depending upon how it was transported, stored and so on.

If there’s too much moisture trapped inside, you’ll have to dry it with a the dryer or whatever means you have at your disposal, as moist sawdust is not suitable for making briquettes. You’ll have to do this if the moisture level is over 16 percent. The lower the moisture, the better.

Truth be told, dryers are regularly used in large scale briquetting operations, but you can always air-dry your sawdust by spreading it out on the ground and letting it dry.

Obviously, the weather is key in this endeavor, so you’ll have to choose a sunny period that’s as close to dry as the Sahara desert as you can get. Just find a piece of smooth, clean ground and have patience. Drying your sawdust indoors would be the best idea, provided you have the means.

2. Put the Raw Material Inside the Briquetting Machine

Now, for the second part, you’ll have to put your nice and clean sawdust inside a briquetting machine. Usually, the feeding mechanism is an elevator, but you can feed the machine yourself, though you’ll have to be cautious and take care about the feeding-speed, so you don’t block the machine.

Video first seen on Rajkumar Agro Engineers Pvt Ltd.

There are basically two main types of wood briquetting machines: the screw briquette machine and the mechanical stamping wood briquette machine.

The latter can be used for making both thick briquettes and thin pellets while the former is regularly used for charcoal briquettes and/or barbecue briquettes. These are the droids you’re looking for. More about charcoal in a moment, right after the break.

3. Prepare the Briquettes for Storage

In the last step, after you’ve already made sawdust-briquettes, they must be cooled for storage and stored or sold, or whatever.

The idea is that if you have plenty of wood residues available, spending some money  on a wood briquette machine would be a clever investment, as you will become more energy/fuel efficient, get off the grid in small incremental steps.

Also, you’ll be able to make some extra money selling your excess briquettes to your friends and neighbors. Go in together with a friend on a second-hand piece of gear if you need to. Ideally, you should go for a briquetting machine which can build both wood and charcoal briquettes.

How to Make Briquettes from Charcoal

If you were wondering what’s up with the charcoal briquettes, well, charcoal is made of wood, alright folks? Hence, charcoal briquettes are basically the same thing as wood ones, just better.

The only messy thing about making charcoal briquettes is the crushing and the mixing of the charcoal dust itself, which is a dirty job by any measure.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

Transforming the charcoal dust into fuel briquettes will require a binder – something like the Force, which binds the universe together. I am talking about an agglomerating material which must be added to the charcoal dust to keep it together after enough pressure is applied to transform that dust into a solid and stable briquette.

Video first seen on roonymanfo.

Charcoal briquettes have higher caloric power than wood briquettes; they burn for longer and they produce more heat and less (almost zero) smoke. Also, they’re lighter.

In order to DIY charcoal/char, you’ll require wood scraps. The best material for making charcoal is hardwood such as birch, beech, hickory, maple and oak.

Charcoal briquettes are basically 90% charcoal/char dust and 10 percent “minor” ingredients, including the binding agent I already told you about above, which is typically starch made from wheat or corn, an accelerant (sawdust or nitrite for hard-core chemists), and lime as an ash whitening agent.

Here are some recipes for making your own charcoal briquettes:

  • 10 kilos of charcoal/dust fines and 0.3 kilos of starch or
  • 40 kilos of charcoal/dust fines, 4 kilos of sawdust, 2.5 kilos of starch, 1 kilos of lime (or calcium carbonate) or
  • 100 kilos of charcoal/dust fines, 3 kilos sodium nitrate, 7 kilos starch, 2 kilos of lime.

Video first seen on fireman7753.

The accelerant is important because charcoal briquettes need the stuff to burn faster because, due to the compacting process, the briquette cannot absorb enough oxygen for a proper combustion, unlike a lump of charcoal for example. Here the accelerant comes into play.

You’ll require 3-4% of sodium nitrate (this is an oxidant which releases oxygen when heated and accelerates the burning process)  in your charcoal briquette or 10-20 percent sawdust.

Keep in mind that if you’re using uncarbonized sawdust, your briquettes will be smoky; hence if you’ll be going for sawdust as an accelerant, it would be ideal to ferment it for 4-5 days by keeping the sawdust in water in order to reduce the smoke.

The ash whitening agent is an indicator in charcoal briquettes. When the briquette are burning inside your stove turn white, it means that they’re ready. The white ashes are very appealing in briquettes especially if you’re going to sell them.

To use starch as a binding agent, you’ll have to gelatinize it first, which in laymen’s terms means that you’ll have to make a porridge from your starch and then use the porridge to bind the charcoal dust together. You can also use mashed waste paper pulp as a binder if you don’t have starch or it’s too expensive.

Now that you have enough info to start making your own briquettes, it only takes some will to proceed with this project. Or maybe you already have any experience in making this type of fuel? This is a great skill that you would need for surviving an energy crisis or even an EMP.

Click the banner below to find out more about surviving this disaster, and even much more than that!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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How To Keep Your Winter Stockpile Safe

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Winter Stockpile

Building your stockpiles is only part of the equation for survival. Once you have items stored up, you also must protect them all year long.

This winter, your reserves can be threatened in numerous ways. Are yours going to make it through until spring comes?

Here are five common threats that winter can bring. So you can adequately prepare, you’ll also find tips on how to avoid these threats. That way you can make it through the cold season with your supply stores intact.

1.      Threats from Extreme Cold

Have you ever put a can of pop in the freeze to cool off and forgotten about it? I did once in high-school, and it’s not a fun mess to clean up!

When liquids freeze, they expand. This can lead to containers breaking, loss of supplies, and a mess.

Similarly, canned goods can bulge when frozen, breaking the seal. Water stored improperly can freeze and burst.

Additionally, any items you’ve stockpiled with a high liquid content can suffer changes in texture and may separate into different layers. This includes things like:

  • Toothpaste
  • Hand soap
  • Shampoo
  • Shaving cream
  • Paint
  • Chemicals
  • Foods with a lot of liquid like: condiments, evaporated milk, canned soup

To prevent damage and loss from extremely cold weather, make sure your supplies aren’t in an unheated area. If you must keep them where it’s cold, like in a garage or other outbuilding, take precautionary steps.

Run a small heater to keep the temperature above the freezing point. Or, add an extra layer of insulation to the area. You can even use straw bales to create a barrier around your stockpiles.

Here you can read more about protecting your water stores this winter. Do what you need to do to keep any items that could be damaged from freezing temperatures.

2.      Threats from Flooding

Are your stockpiles in a room with water pipes running through? If your pipes freeze, they’re going to get soaked. Water can ruin many supplies quickly.

Mold is also a concern where there’s water damage. You definitely don’t want mold to get into your stockpiles.

To avoid any damage, ensure your pipes are ready for freezing weather. Insulate them. Run heat in the room. Keep some water flowing at night.

Video first seen on This Old House.

Patch any leaks before the dripping water freezes and causes problems. If you need a short-term solution, use plastic bottles to help.

You can also move your stores into containers that are more waterproof. For instance, large plastic totes can hold a lot, and will keep most of the moisture out if a pipe bursts.

Water pipes bursting aren’t the only threat water threat to your supplies. Check your storage areas. Be aware of other sources of water such as leaky cement walls, condensation and runoff from the thaw.

3.      Threats from Pests

Do you know what the insects, mice, and other pests do when it gets cold outside? They typically try to find someplace warm to stay before winter sets in. That could be inside your home, outbuildings, or garage.

Stinkbugs and mice are more common to see indoors in the winter where I live. They start trying to get indoors in late fall, typically before the first snow. You might have different critters in your region.

No matter what pests are trying to get inside, you need to make sure your stockpiles are protected. Because it’s not fun to find a mouse nest inside your emergency go bag. Or mouse droppings on top of your food stores.

Those rodents can gnaw through so many things! You must store your stockpile properly to avoid spoilage.

Your stockpile should be pest proof year-round, but now is the perfect time to double check. Make sure the lids are tight on your containers. Ensure they are rodent and insect proof.

You might consider setting out traps for mice or other rodents as a prevention measure. Here is how to make a simple mouse trap.

Video first seen on Chris Notap

If flying insects are a problem, hang up some fly strips to help eliminate them. That way you can stop the problem before it escalates.

After all, these emergency stores are for you and your family. Not to keep pests alive all winter long.

4.      Threats from Loss of Service

Blackouts happen no matter where you live, especially in the winter. Entire cities have been left in the dark after damage to the grid caused by high winds. Damage from an EMP would be even more severe.

You must be prepared for loss of service. It’s a definite threat to your reserves.

Freezers Going Out

Are you relying on freezers to store most of your long-term food stores that you’ve prepared? In a power outage, your freezer won’t maintain the right temperature for more than a few days.

A generator can help. So can the great outdoors if your temperatures are below freezing. But you must have a plan in place to know where to move everything when the time comes.

A longer-term solution would be to move your stores to the pantry through canning or dehydration. Canned goods are shelf-stable and aren’t threatened by loss of power, if they don’t freeze.

Water Freezing

When there’s no power, there’s no way to pump water. If you live in the city, you might not always lose your water for a short power outage, but those out in the country will. Regardless, you need water on hand.

Water freezes when it the temperature drops. But, you’ll still need liquid drinking water each day, along with enough water to take care of hygiene and everything else.

If you have a woodstove with a cooktop, you can melt your stored ice until it turns back into a liquid. But, that adds time and energy exertion to your day.

Keep at least a few days’ worth of water stored in your house where it won’t freeze. That’ll give you a few days to figure out your long-term plan. If you have animals, remember you’ll also need a way to keep them hydrated for the duration of the outage.

Heat Source

What’s your backup plan for heat? When services go out, you’ll need to make sure you and your stockpiles don’t freeze.

Ice buildup can cause problems even with your backup energy, so be sure to think through a winter plan.

Light

Will you be able to find what you need in your stores if you’re working in the dark? You don’t want to knock over and break something while you’re pawing around.

To prepare, make sure you have a couple of flashlights or oil lanterns easily accessible. Along with those should be batteries or the fuel you need. Check on these a few times throughout winter and ensure everything is in good working order.

Then when the power goes out, you’ll know exactly where to go for light. You’ll be able to see your reserves clearly and avoid damaging anything.

5.      Threats from Thieves

Not everyone believes in the necessity of building a stockpile. When times get tough, like they can over a long, hard winter, those unprepared people can quickly run out of needed items. If they know that you have plenty, or can see your supplies while driving by, you’re at bigger risk for thievery.

Thievery isn’t only limited to harsh weather, so take time now to secure your stores and make them harder to access. Here are some tips for keeping possession of your goods:

  • Build your woodpile out of sight of the main road, along with any other items stored outdoors.
  • Learn how to make your stores blend in naturally to their surroundings, hiding them in plain sight.
  • Hide your valuables in unusual locations instead of places thieves commonly look
  • Don’t tell your neighbors or anyone details about your stockpile. Stay silent.
  • Stay under the radar when the power goes out. Don’t flash your powerful generator, your ability to prepare food, or anything else.

You don’t want everything you worked hard to prepare to be snatched. It can happen when you least expect it.

Also, make sure you check on your stores frequently. My family once had several cords of wood stolen out of our barn during the daytime, while we were out. We noticed it right away because we accessed the wood daily, and the thieves knocked over a good chunk of our woodpile.

It looked different, and we went over to investigate. A lot of wood was missing, and there were tire tracks all over the fresh snow.

Instead of just lamenting over the loss, we acted. We realized that our woodpile was visible to anyone who drove up the driveway. So we jumped in and moved it right away.

Learn from my mistake, and do your analyzing before a thief does. Keep your goods out of sight and safe, and check on them throughout the winter.

Click the banner below for a great offer for completing your stockpile!

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This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia. 

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Diatomaceous Earth? Here’s How To Use It For Your Homestead

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Diatomaceous Earth Uses

Diatomaceous earth, aka DE, is a completely natural product derived from fossilized diatoms, which are hard-shelled algae from bodies of water. You’ll usually buy it in the form of a light-colored powder, and it’s not expensive. It does meet one of our biggest needs as preppers – it’s multi-purpose.

However, you should learn how to use it right. We’ll help you solve this problem starting from the questions one of our readers asked.

“Are there any potential health risks when using diatomaceous earth? I heard it could cause some problems despite the uses it has… By the way, can I use it to treat my animals?”

Diane K., Missouri.

Is DE Harmful?

Let’s start with a couple of words of caution: there are different types of DE and you want to make sure that you buy food grade so that it doesn’t have any chemicals in it.

If your skin is exposed to DE for too long, it could dry more than usual, so take care how long you keep it on you, then gently wash it with warm water.

Basically, if inhaled, DE it’s not more harmful than the dust in your home, but even the dust can cause problems if you are asthmatic. DE it’s fine as it sticks to surfaces, so if you don’t want to breathe it or get it into your eyes, use a simple mask to prevent it.

As for the internal risks, eating too much DE can cause constipation, so lower the DE intake and grow your water consumption to prevent it from happening. You will need to drink more water anyway when using DE internally, as it also could cause bloating if you body lacks a proper level of fluids.

Also, there were rumors that DE can cause cancer, but there is not study yet to expose a link between the exposure to food grade DE and cancer. Still, you need to be careful about prolonged interaction with pool grade and industrial DE, as it has been proven as being risky to your health.

de

Leaving apart the precautions, DE still has a lot of uses that no prepper should ignore. Let’s see a few of them!

1. Detoxifying

Many people take DE because it may remove toxins such as mercury, endotoxins, pesticides and drug residues, and E. coli. It may be a natural colon cleanser and detoxifier, which can have a massive positive effect on your health.

The reason that it works like this is because it retains its traits even when suspended in liquid for long amounts of time. It breaks down into a colloidal form, which means it has a negative charge.

This attracts free radicals, then they bond to the DE and are carried out of the body. This slows oxidative damage, which causes many different diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer as well as the physical signs of aging.

2. Deodorizing

Just like baking soda, diatomaceous earth absorbs odors. It’s great to put a satchel or container of it in your fridge, freezer, or coolers and it’s also a good ingredient to add to your homemade deodorant.

Sprinkle some in your garbage cans, too. It serves double duty by absorbing both moisture and odor in all of these instances.

3.Purifying Water

Many water filters contain DE, though not the food-grade kind. Its shown to filter out fine particles that pass through other types of filters. It’s often used to purify the water in fish tanks and for making wine, beer, syrups, and sugar without altering flavor, taste, color or nutritional value.

A study published in the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology found that it helps kill viruses in drinking water.

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4. Use for Packing Wounds

Since DE is so absorbent, it’s great to use to use as a base for a poultice because it can help draw out infection and toxins.

Not only does diatomaceous earth have numerous uses around the house and farm, it also has healing properties because its ions have a negative charge. It’s also affordable and easy to use, as long as you’re careful not to breathe it.

5. Reduce Cholesterol

As bad as Big Pharma hates to admit it, this claim has actually been backed up by scientific study. Taking just 250 mg per day lowered cholesterol levels and they stayed low, even six weeks after the subjects quit taking it.

The weight is tough to translate into teaspoons but most people take ‘2 teaspoons per day. You can always weigh it when you buy it.

6. Whitening Teeth

In a survival situation, or even if you just don’t want to use store-bought toothpaste, you can add DE to your homemade toothpaste as a whitening agent. Don’t use it every day though because it can damage your enamel. Baking soda is also an option for this, or combine them!

Video first seen on mylittlehomestead

7. Hair, Nail and Skin Care

Just as DE may draw toxins out of your body, it can also draw them out of your skin, plus it acts as a natural exfoliant, removing dead skin cells and clearing pores. Since it doesn’t have a bunch of chemicals, it’s less likely to irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction, though the possibility is always there.

It also supports collagen production, which is great for your nails, skin and hair. Add a teaspoon or two to your morning juice or smoothie to reap the health benefits. Just make sure that it’s food grade!

8. Healthy Scalp

Adding DE into your daily shampoo can help strengthen your hair and promote growth. It also kills and prevents lice.

9. Healthy Bones, Joints, and Tendons

Dietary silicon is good for bone and connective tissue and it can also help prevent the bone loss that leads to osteoporosis. If SHTF, this is going to be a big deal because there won’t be medication around to treat arthritis or osteoporosis.

Though the connection is solid, those in the know aren’t exactly sure exactly how DE helps with this, but it’s suspected that it has something to do with the fact that silicon helps your body make collagen and also helps mineralize your bones. This helps keep your bones and joints healthy.

10. Deworming

To those who use it, they’ll swear that DE is better at deworming and preventing worm infestation in pets than commercial chemical dewormers. Just sprinkle a quarter teaspoon on Fido’s food daily.

11. Kills Pests, Including Fleas, Roaches and Bedbugs

Individual diatomaceous earth grains are ragged and crack the exoskeletons of these pests, dehydrating and eventually killing them. Since it’s non-toxic, you can put it on your carpets, furniture, and even directly on your pets, with no fear of illness.

To kill fleas, sprinkle DE in your carpet – it doesn’t need to be much, a light sprinkling will do – then leave it in overnight and vacuum it up. Repeat every couple of days for a month. The lifecycle of a flea from egg to adulthood is 12-22 days, so this should kill all of them.

You can give your pets so quick relief by rubbing the DE right into their fur. As a matter of fact, they’ll probably enjoy it. Just rub it in well so that it reaches the skin.  You don’t need to do this daily. Every few days would work, or after a bath.

To get rid of bedbugs, sprinkle on your mattress, making sure to get in the seams of any stitching and around the edge because that’s where they like to hide. Repeat every couple of days for three weeks.

Video first seen on ZappBug.

It takes two weeks for the eggs to hatch, so three weeks should be enough to kill them all. It may not hurt to repeat again in a few weeks because bedbugs can live up to a year even without food (blood), though their typical lifespan is four to six months.

To keep your house free of ants, cockroaches, silverfish, spiders and other creepy-crawlies, sprinkle DE around the outside of your house and in dark, tucked-away spots where they’re likely to hide.

To keep your garden free of slugs, snails, and beetles, sprinkle in the dirt around your plants and the perimeter of the garden.

12. Help Your Livestock Produce More and Be Happy

Many farmers have found that a daily dose of DE helps keep their farm animals healthy and can increase production.

For instance, your cows may produce more milk and have glossier coats. Your chickens will lay stronger, better eggs. DE is also good to put in your chicken coop so that they can roll in it. They love to do that, and the DE will help keep the mites and other bugs off of their skin.

There are also studies that show that hens that were fed DE had significantly lower incidents of parasite infection. In the same study, hens in the DE group laid eggs that had bigger yolks, which means they had more nutrients.

13. Food Storage

You know those little packets that come in many products to keep the moisture out? Well those are packets of silica, which is in DE. You can wrap little satchels of DE and put it in your food, especially your dried foods, to absorb moisture and thus help keep your food dry so that it won’t mold.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

References: 

http://mmbr.asm.org/content/64/1/69.abstract

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9533930/

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20 Herbal Remedies for the Winter Season

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While the winter season brings joy to both the young and the old as families come together, it also brings some health problems we shouldn’t ignore.  We are all familiar with the common cold and the flu and we know they can strike when we are stressed or run down. The following herbal remedies will … Read more…

The post 20 Herbal Remedies for the Winter Season was written by Rhonda Owen and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Why Vertical Gardening Is The Way To Go For Survival

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Vertical Garden Survival

One of the biggest problems for many of us when it comes to gardening is space. Not everybody has a few acres to spare to grow a full, standard garden.

Another problem for many people is physical limitations. A regular garden requires a lot of labor that some people just can’t handle.

Many of us also worry that people will find our food source if SHTF.

An open garden planted on flat earth is painfully obvious to just about anybody passing by, but if you can build a vertical garden that is out of sight or even portable so that you can move it out of sight if you need to.

Vertical gardening solves many problems.

4 Benefits of Vertical Gardening

We just touched on a few of the benefits of vertical gardening but let’s get into it a bit further, because this is seriously great way for just about anybody to grow food.

Demands Much Less Physical Labor

When you’re growing a garden, you already know that it’s going to be a ton of work. You’re going to need to till the space, then plant the seeds or plants. You have to weed the gardens so that your plants thrive, and you have to keep the soil loose around them. Then, of course, you have to harvest your crops.

Nearly all of this requires a lot of bending, kneeling, and twisting. That’s great if you’re 25, fully healthy, and WANT to do that much work.

However for many of you, that level of physical labor is difficult or even impossible. Growing a vertical garden eliminates all of these issues.

It’s Easier to Hide

Another benefit is that, even if somebody happens to glance at your back yard, they’re not necessarily going to pay attention to something growing on a wall, especially if you’ve planted flowers among your vegetables.

Looters won’t be prone to look too hard because they’re in a hurry looking for an easy mark.

Vertical gardens are a bit easier to camouflage than an acre-wide garden. Also, you can make your garden so that it faces the back of your house, which would make it virtually impossible to see.

Finally, you can always make your vertical gardens portable so that you can move them out of the line of sight of looters.

Covers Plain Walls with Beautiful Plants

There’s nothing particularly pretty about a blank wall, so cover it up with a beautiful, and possibly edible, wall of plants! Don’t want to look at that privacy fence between you and your neighbors? Cover them in plants.

There’s just something cozy about a backyard with vine-and-flower covered fences and walls. It gives the whole place a homey feeling.

Easier Quality Control

When your plants are growing in pots or planters that you’re managing, you know exactly what’s in the dirt and you’ve possibly made your own fertilizer so chemicals aren’t an issue.

There’s no need to worry about the quality of the nutrients in your dirt; you put them there. You also control the amount of moisture and can feel when the plant needs more or less because all you need to do is stick your fingers into the dirt.

Plants that are off the ground are easier to inspect for insects and fungi that can wipe out all of your plants before you get to taste even one morsel of them.

You can also nip the sucker leaves off and provide all the care that your plants need from a much more comfortable position. When you’re comfortable, you can take your time and care for your plants properly.

Different Types of Vertical Gardens

A vertical garden is exactly what it sounds like – a garden planted vertically instead of on the ground. There are many different ways that you can do this depending upon your space, what you want to grow, and how you want to do it. Your garden, your decision!

Aquaponics System

Aquaponics is the art of growing plants and fish together. The plants provide the fish with nutrients that they need and the fish byproducts provide nutrient-rich fertilizer for the plants.

The system can be as simple or as complex as you’d like to build it. You can use dirt or start an aquaponics system. As a matter of fact, you can build an aquaponics system that’s very nearly a vertical garden itself, and it gives you fish AND plants.

Latticework with Baskets or Boxes

Another way to build a vertical garden is to use hanging baskets and latticework. This type of garden is good for plants that don’t grow out or get too tall.

Plants such as peppers, strawberries, onions, garlic, lettuce, and spinach are great for  the baskets. To help your space do double duty, use the lattice work to grow vining plants such beans or tomatoes.

An alternative to baskets is to hang planters from the latticework. This will allow you to grow plants that vine out a bit or need more room to grow, such as potatoes, carrots, or squash.

You can stagger the boxes as needed to accommodate the space requirements of the plant. Again, you can grow vining or heavy plants on or at the base of, the latticework.

Gardening Walls

If you have an empty wall – it could be the side of your house, an outbuilding, or a garden wall – then you have a place to put a vertical garden. Plus, you’ll be covering up a plain wall with beautiful plants.

Be sure when you use a wall that you allow space for the extra moisture so that you don’t damage your wall.

You can use just about any construction material that you want. Chicken wire, lattice work, and trellises are all good choices.

You can also use gardening bags, which are made from a variety materials including burlap and canvas. One of the good things about using bags is that the extra moisture drains right out the bottom. You can use this system to water the plants below if you’d like.

Gutter System

I saw this in a magazine and fully plan on making it my next project. The problem is that I don’t have access to old gutters. It’s a simple yet brilliant design.

Just drill drainage holes in the bottom of old gutters and hang them on a wall of some sort. The holes will keep the moisture content at a good level and will even allow for trickle-down watering.

Vertical Towers or Walls

I love these systems. I’m currently using one right now and even though I’ve just started, I absolutely love it. It’s easy to use and has an aquaponics watering system that makes my life much easier while keeping my plants happy, too.

Usually I build my own stuff, but this one looked too good to pass up, so I bought it. It’s a tower farm wall and the short video above was made while unboxing the package.

Possibly the best thing about  the wall is that it’s easy to put together regardless of your skill level, and it’s easy to take care of.

The trays are set at heights that are easy to reach regardless of how tall you are and if you were to anchor it, it would be free-standing with very little modification. Low maintenance is always a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

Towers are always a fun way to go. For instance, you can cut out holes from a length of PVC, fill the pipe with dirt, then plant strawberries or other similar plants in the holes. You can also make a tower using round planters.

Use a large one on the bottom, then use two mediums – 1 turned upside down inside the big one for support, and the other one upright to hold dirt. Repeat this step with 2 smaller pots. Fill with dirt and you have a 3-tier plant tower. You can add to the levels if you like.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Though making your own vertical gardening structures is awesome, it’s not always practical. If not, then consider the Tower Farm Wall that I discussed above. I really am having a good time with it and the customer support is great.

Start growing your own food right now and you will not have to worry if SHTF. Click the banner below to discover how to provide as much food as your family needs in a crisis, with only 10 minutes a day.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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4 Easy Solutions For Lighting Your Indoor Plants

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Lighting Your Indoor Plants

Whether you’re trying to start your seeds so that you have healthy seedlings or young plants to set out when the weather warms or you’re growing all of your plants inside, lighting is an integral part of growing.

Finding the best indoor lighting options for your plants can be a challenge, though.

It would be ideal if you could place all of your plants by windows so that they can get their natural source of light: sunshine. However, that’s not always possible, especially if you’re growing a lot of plants and you want to keep them under the radar.

There are plenty of great options and, thanks to technology, they won’t all cost a fortune. We’ll discuss that as we go.

Choosing the Type of Light

Before we start discussing bulbs, you need to understand a bit about growing plants and what type of light they need. Many newcomers to the scene think that, like owning a guinea pig or a snake, the light is used to keep the plant warm, but that’s not the case.

light

Plants require light to grow and flower, but not all light is equal. For that matter, not all light is necessary and the types of light that plants need are actually dim to human eyes.

The sun offers a full spectrum of light colors that range from blue to red. It’s actually those two colors that plants need the most. Blue light enables the plant to grow bushy and full. Red light causes the plant to produce a hormone that makes it flower. As you’ve probably already figured, you want both for your edibles.

The colors in between, particularly green, are completely unnecessary; green light is purely for aesthetic purposes. It just makes your plants appear green and glossy because the plant reflects it back. That may be useful information if you want your plants to look pretty as they grow.

Another factor that you need to consider is heat. Unless you’re growing your plants in a cold room, standard room temperatures are more than enough heat to grow most plants. You really don’t need heat from your bulbs. Too much heat will burn your plants and many high-heat bulbs burn out fairly quickly, too.

You’ll see watts, which is how much energy the bulb produces, and you’ll also see Kelvins. Kelvins are the basic unit of color temperature that’s used to measure that whiteness of a bulb’s output. In other words, it’s the best description of the visual warmth or coolness of the bulb.

The higher the degree of Kelvin, the bluer the light. The lower the Kelvin, the warmer, or redder, the light looks. Shoot for 4000-6000 Kelvin because that level of light borrows from all parts of the spectrum including the blues and reds that you need for growth and flowering.

Some plants, such as peppers and lettuce, may not need as much red light because they don’t flower quite as much.

Now that you understand the basics of what you need to make your plants grow, let’s talk about the different types of light and whether they’re best for your needs.

1. Incandescent Lights

These are the types of bulbs you probably already have in your fixtures. They’re pretty much standard bulbs. Incandescent bulbs put off a ton of heat and don’t really produce the type of light that your plants need to grow.

Only about 10 percent of the energy that they produce goes toward light; the rest is heat. They’re OK for growing low-light plants such as vines, but they’re not much good for growing anything seriously.

2. Fluorescent Lights

These lights put off mostly blue light, which means that you’ll have bushy plants. These are OK for growing plants that you don’t need to flower such as lettuce or cabbage. They’re also good for starting your plants inside. Fluorescents come in different lengths and are shaped like tubes.

One of the biggest downsides here is that you have to hang them is special ballasts. Regular fluorescents are great for at least starting your seeds, and they’re good for plants that don’t need so much of the red light such as herbs.

If you opt to go with fluorescent lights, you should know that the narrower the bulb, the more efficient the light is. They also use 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent lights.

Now there’s a new fluorescent system out called the T5 system. They put out double the amount of light per tube as regular fluorescent tubes and they’re full-spectrum. That means that instead of just having the blue light like regular fluorescent lights have.

If you’re using a T5 system adjust the proximity of the light to the plant as it grows. Since the bulb isn’t insanely hot, you don’t have to worry about burning the plant.

Video first seen on katie phibbs.

3. High Intensity Discharge Solutions

These are great options for growing your plants but they’re expensive. High-intensity discharge lights are extremely efficient and produce a lot of light. There are a couple of types that emit different spectrums of light.

The Metal Halide, of MH, light emits the blue light that will encourage the leafiness, and the High Pressure Sodium, or HPS, lights produce the reds that you need to make it flower.

You could use the MH light to get it started and full, then swap it out for the HPS to get it to flower, or you could use them in tandem. These bulbs are expensive but one 1000-watt lamp can produce the same amount of light as fifty 40-watt fluorescent bulbs. They come in different sizes.

Just to give you an idea, one 400-watt bulb can produce enough light to cover a 15sf growing area, or a 4’x4’ garden. The 1000-watt bulb covers about a 7’x7’ area. Figure that each 25 watts covers 1 square foot of garden.

4. LED Lights

We’ve been using them for Christmas lights for years but LEDs are relatively new to the agriculture scene. They produce practically no heat and don’t use hardly any power, either. Remember how we discussed the Kelvin measurements? Well LEDs can be programmed to 5700K to mimic the light spectrum of the sun.

Right now, LED grow lights are expensive but they’ll likely become cheaper as they develop the technology and the method becomes more popular.

Figuring Costs

Remember that you’re going to be in this for the long run. If you’re only growing a few plants, it’s probably fine to go with a cheaper bulb or system but if you’re going to grow a significant amount of plants and plan to do it for the foreseeable future, you’ll probably be better off to invest a bit of money in the beginning and let it pay off in the long run.

To figure the cost of your system, add up the combined wattage of all of your lights and divide that by 1000. That will give you the kilowatts used. Multiply that by how much your power company charges you per kilowatt hour. Multiply that by the number of hours the lights will be on per month and you have your monthly energy cost that you can compare to the original cost of the system.

If you’re fortunate enough to live completely off the grid and you are powering your house by solar or some other sustainable method, then you can go with the best system for your situation that’s within your price range. If you notice, though, the more expensive systems use relatively little energy.

Every survival plan must have food at its core. Click the banner below and discover how you can grow your own food with just 10 minutes a day!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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How To Meet The Challenges Of Urban Farming

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Urban farming

Urban gardening and, to a smaller extent urban farming, started as a way for people who live in urban environments to grow healthy food untainted by chemicals. For some, it was a way to grow food that was healthy; for others, it was a way to be able to afford to eat good food. People wanted to grow their own food even though they lived in a city.

Regardless of why or how it started, urban gardening has grown to epic proportions and is now a movement committed to producing healthy, sustainable, locally-sourced food.

Urban farming is coming along, but it’s harder to keep animals in many urban areas.

It’s not easy to grow food in a city, so people got creative. They went from growing a couple of plants in a pot or a window box to having a full garden in the middle of the city.

There are several different methods of urban farming that range from a few plants and maybe a couple of chickens grown by one family to entire city lots grown and managed by co-ops of people with the same end goal.

  • Indoor Gardening is great for somebody who has no porch, patio, yard, or roof where they can grow food. All plants are grown inside in containers or even small, indoor greenhouses. Some people are even lucky enough to have a solarium.
  • Container Gardening works well for people who have small yards, porches, patios, decks, or balconies where they can grow food in containers. Window boxes, small raised beds, barrels, pots, and even kiddie pools serve as containers that plants can grow in.
  • Community Gardening is becoming a big deal in a lot of areas. Neighbors or community members are coming together and planting edible plants in community places such as parks or other outdoor public areas. Some communities are now actually encouraging people to grow gardens on empty, abandoned lots because it makes the neighborhood look better and raises property values.
  • Guerilla Gardening is actually one of the most interesting urban gardening methods that I’ve heard about. People subversively grow plants in public places or spaces that don’t belong to them such as vacant lots, road medians, or even strips of dirt beside sidewalks.
  • Green roofs are a relatively new development, at least on a wide-scale basis. Roofs are designed specifically with a growing medium so that plants and trees can be grown to eat, clean the air, or make the area beautiful.

There’s no doubt that urban gardening is a good thing. It brings people together and adds green space to concrete while providing locally sourced food and plants that help clean the air.

Urban gardens can also help mitigate soil erosion and the urban heat island effect. Finally, it teaches inner city kids the value of growing things and even provides green recreational and leisure space.

The problem is that some people don’t see the benefit of it. That wouldn’t be so bad if those people weren’t complaining neighbors and members of local governments who want to put a stop to it. This was a huge issue when urban gardening was just something “troublemaking hippies” were doing.

Thankfully, it’s now becoming the vogue thing to do – thanks in large part to popular restaurants and TV shows that promote locally-sourced foods and environmental sustainability.

Because of the growing popularity and the improvements in property values due to turning a vacant lot into a garden, local governments are coming around.

However, for many of us, the struggle is still real because the problem still exists: you have no space to grow the garden that you dream of so that your family can eat healthfully and maybe even grow some of your own stockpile.

You have plenty of options, though. You can grow a small garden indoors, or if you have a small yard you can do some raised beds. You can even grow a portable garden!

Indoor gardening

Talk to the Local Farmers

But say you want to do more than grow a few plants in your house or yard – what then? How do you get involved in the bigger scene?

Well, if you have a local farmers market, then that would be a great place to start. Go down and talk to some of them.

You’ll be surprised how friendly most farmers are, and how willing they are to share information. Though cities can be huge, the farming community is probably relatively close-knit, so if you can’t find anybody who is directly involved in the local urban gardening projects, somebody can almost surely point you in the right direction.

Start Your Own Urban Farming Movement

Have you and the neighbors been talking about how nice it would be to start growing your own food? If so, you may have found some resources that you didn’t realize that you had. Hold a neighborhood meeting and see what others are willing to do.

It could be that the big empty lot between you and your neighbor is actually owned by that guy so that he didn’t have somebody move in right next to him. If so, they may be open to making it useful, and you will have a place to start your garden. Organize it!

Most municipalities don’t care as much about urban gardening as they do about urban farming. Pepper plants and apple trees don’t seem to cause as many problems as goats and chickens do.

While laws often support (or at least don’t forbid) urban gardening, most cities do not support the presence of animals within the city limits. That’s a fight you can pick, if you want, at the local level.

Personally, it may be better to talk to your neighbors to see how they feel about seeing or hearing chickens in your back yard. If you can work with them from the beginning, you may not have as many problems as you would have if you had bought some critters without speaking with them first. Even if they say no, at least you know they’re going to complain.

You can also talk to some of the local co-ops about keeping animals on a farm outside the city or participating in a meat-share or produce-share with them. You have so many options; you just need to find them.

Start growing your own food even though you live in the city. With just 10 minutes a day, you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family again. Click the banner below to discover a great option to start your urban farming!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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How to quiet a noisy generator

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A generator is crucial to every household, more so for those in regions experiencing frequent power blackouts. The only demerit of most generators is the high level of noise they produce. Is there any solution to this disturbing problem? Yes! While reducing noise coming from the engine is not possible, you can reduce significantly the … Read more…

The post How to quiet a noisy generator was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

How To Make Briquettes From Daily Waste

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Briquettes

Do you remember that old saying that one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure? The same principle applies to our daily wastes.

In case you did not know it, Americans are among the most wasteful civilization in history. Actually, I would dare to say that we are the champions, my friends, and that’s nothing to be proud of.

We waste at an incredible rate: absolutely anything, including food, where we lead the world by a wide margin. Also, as a nation, the United States generates more municipal solid-waste per person/per day than any other developed/industrial country in the world, boasting 7.1 pounds of solid waste a day, per person.

If you crunch these numbers– 365 days a year x 330 million people x 7.1 pounds of solid waste – you’ll come up with astonishing numbers.

Putting Waste to Work for Energy

It was a Greek philosopher who once said 2000 years ago that nothing gets wasted – everything gets transformed, or something along these lines. To follow this guy’s axiom, we can transform waste into an excellent and basically perpetual source of energy.

We, the preppers, can help mitigate the “disaster” and put that amount of waste to good use, by making briquettes using daily wastes.

Briquettes are traditionally defined as compressed blocks of combustible material – usually coal dust, wood chips, paper, peat or sawdust – that are used to start a fire. The terms derives from the French language and it means “brick.”

Biomass briquettes are starting to become all the rage nowadays and daily waste is basically biomass. Traditionally, biomass briquettes are built from agricultural waste and they’re used as a “green” replacement for hydrocarbons (coal, oil etc) in all sorts of applications, including industrial stuff like heating boilers and whatnot.

Currently, almost half of the world’s population is using charcoal and/or wood for heating and cooking purposes.

Cutting the forest for subsistence farming or for cooking your food or heating your home is not a great idea if you have better alternatives, and that’s the whole purpose of technology: making the world a better place and improving the quality of life for humans, right?

Any household can reduce their need for charcoal and wood by creating their own fuel so to speak, by making “fuel briquettes” using waste plant material which is readily available in their own environment.

How to Make the Briquettes

So, what type of wastes can be re-used for making fuel briquettes?

  • Paper
  • Sawdust
  • Leaves
  • Husks
  • Charcoal fines
  • Any other type of agricultural waste.

It’s important to realize that not all waste is created equal, and this is where the calorific value of each type of waste comes into play.

As a general rule of thumb, the aforementioned materials are the best when it comes to DIY fuel briquettes (sawdust, paper etc), but you’ll have to use a home-made press for achieving legendary status, i.e becoming energy self-sufficient as much as humanly possible.

There are also commercially available presses. You’ll just have to look for them on the internet or in your local hardware store.

The fuel briquettes are being made around the world using mini Bryant and Peterson presses. You can also make them by hand or using a plastic mold.

Video first seen on The Do It Yourself World.

You can also use a plastic mold.

Video first seen on The Do It Yourself World.

Basically, you can use a plastic bottle or any other type of plastic container in order to shape the briquette. You’ll also need something that you can use as a piston that fits into the respective container to press it, in order to get the water out of the mix. You can use something like a tin can or a piece of wood as the piston along with a plastic bag, a knife and some wire.

Here’s a cool idea about DIY-ing a mold-press biomass fuel briquette using an old DVD container. The possibilities are basically endless.

Video first seen on nobodyprepper.

How to Make Briquettes in Easy Steps 

Step 1 – preparing the briquette mix

For example, if you’re going to use waste paper and sawdust (the simplest to DIY and very efficient and cost effective), you’ll have to soak the paper in water for a couple of days in order to soften it and to allow the fibers to be released, as these fibers will later bind the materials together.

In the next step, you’ll have to thoroughly homogenize the soaked paper using your hands until the stuff reaches the consistency of porridge or mashed potatoes, i.e. no pieces are evident in the “soup”. This step is very important but it takes some time and you’ll have to do it well.

To speed up the process, you can use tools such as a mortar and pestle or a dedicated pounding tool for processing the paper mix quickly and more efficiently.

The simplest mix for homemade briquettes consists of one part soaked paper and 3/4 parts sawdust. You can also add pine needles, rice husks, chopped leaves/grass, charcoal fines and any other flammable materials you can think of into the mix, as they’ll add to the flavor. You’ll have to use roughly 20% paper though – that’s the lesson to be taken home.

You can alternatively swap paper for cassava peels/flour, which can replace the paper’s binding properties into the sawdust-mix. You’ll have to boil the cassava until it gets very soft, but in sufficient amounts, the cassava paste will successfully replace the paper for the purpose of binding the sawdust together.

In the next step, you’ll have to mix the paper or cassava mixture with the sawdust along with enough water. The mix must hold together if squeezed; that’s how you determine the ideal consistency.

Step 2 – prepare the press

This step depends on whether you’re using a cool home press or an improvised device. Let’s say you’re on the low-tech side and you’re using a plastic bottle mold as an improvised briquette-making device.

You’ll have to cut the upper quarter of the plastic bottle (a soda bottle will do) and perforate the bottom, making 10-12 drainage holes. You can use a hot wire to burn the holes.

Then you’ll require a thin plastic bag to be used as a liner to help you remove the finished briquette from bottle. Don’t forget to punch drainage holes in the plastic bag too, both on the sides and in the bottom, so the water can be expelled during the pressing process.

Obviously, you can use something bigger than a plastic bottle, like a plastic bucket or a plastic flower pot. Ideally you’ll have two of each: one for playing the role of the mold and the second to act as a piston.  Don’t forget to put drainage holes in the plastic liner though – otherwise, the water won’t drain and you’re wasting your time.

Step 3 – press the mix

In this step, you’ll have to put a quantity of briquette-mix inside the plastic liner (bag) and then insert the bag into the mold. Then you’ll have to add more mix to the bag and press it with the improvised piston (a can, the other bucket/another bottle or whatever fits into the mold) so the water gets pushed out of the mix.

Push as hard as you can – the harder the better. Then you’ll have to pull the bag out of the mold and here’s your first briquette, folks.

Step 4 – dry your briquettes

But it’s not over yet. You’ll have to dry your briquettes for about a week outside in the sun. If they’re not properly dried, the briquettes will smoke when burned and that’s unpleasant to say the least.

If you can’t improvise a mold and/or a press, you can always make fuel-briquettes with just your hands, squeezing the mix in your bare hands and building fuel balls and you’ll have to dry these out too, obviously.

There are so many survival things you can do by yourself. Click the banner below to discover how to make your own wood creations.

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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5 DIY Survival Tools To Make From Scratch

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DIY survival tools

Let’s begin today’s article with a question: do you know what homo sapiens means? Well, I bet you do. But then again, how about homo faber? What’s the relation between homo sapiens and homo faber?

Translated literally, homo faber means “man, the maker.”

To put it simply, let’s assume that dolphins are very intelligent creatures since that’s what I hear constantly on National Geo and the Discovery Channel.

But that intelligence doesn’t help them much; they’re just the same as they were 500,000 years ago. Cute, intelligent creatures that constantly get caught in our fishing nets (by mistake) and they can’t get out. They often end up in tuna cans (that’s why I never eat tuna, but I’m digressing).

Are you starting to get the picture?

Homo faber is a peculiar creature, and I mean us, the people, the only “animals” on the planet which are able to control their environment through the use of – you guessed it – tools. Okay, tools and a juicy brain-to-body ratio. Some say that we control our fate too with those same tools, but I have my doubts about that.

Regardless of what you’re thinking about your fate or the lack thereof, tools are pretty cool to have, especially in a survival situation. But then again, tools aren’t necessarily defined by what you can buy for $3.99 in your local hardware store.

Actually, some while ago, I saw an octopus on TV that was using a small rock to break a clam’s shell. By most accounts, octopuses are pretty stupid compared to humans.

The idea is that when confronted with an outdoors survival scenario, you can improvise tools from scratch, thus living to fight another day. If an octopus can do it, so can you, right?

So, if early humans were able to manufacture tools using first animal bones, then stones, then metal and then via 3D printing, what’s there to stop you from learning from your ancestors?

Now that you have the general idea, let’s see about a few primitive-technology ideas which may very well save your life someday, or at least improve the quality of life for you and your family in a survival scenario, which is the next best thing.

1. How to build a fresh water prawn trap from scratch

The idea is very simple and straightforward: one must eat in order to stay alive. So, with the prawn trap you can catch prawns and eat them. The trap is very easy to build using lawyer cane, vine, and sticks. Prawn/fish traps are very easy DIY traps which can successfully be used to catch aquatic life thanks to their peculiar shape.

Basically, you’ll have to build a simple basket with an entrance designed in a funnel-like fashion so that the prawn will get funneled in, but it will not be able to get out. Here’s the detailed video tutorial about the DIY-ing job itself.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

The trap must be placed under some tree roots or something similar in the water and it doesn’t require bait, as curiosity kills the cat … err, prawns. You’ll require a little bit of basketry practice but if you’re into outdoor survival, learning this skill may prove very useful some day for many different tasks.

2. How to make a survival spear from scratch

Spears were among the first hunting/self defense weapons used by mankind and this video tutorial will teach you how to make your own survival spear  from (almost) scratch.

Video first seen on Animal Man Survivor.

All that’s required is a cutting tool, which may very well be a knife or a stone with a sharp edge. and a piece of wood of the desired length. Watching the video will also teach you how to make a fire using what’s available in the woods, i.e. almost nothing.

Oh, I almost forgot – here’s how to make a rock knife if you don’t carry a survival blade on your person 24/7 (not good).

Video first seen on Captain Quinn.

3. How to build a grass hut from scratch

You do remember the holy trinity of survival, right? Food, water and shelter. I know that a grass hut made from scratch is not a tool per se, but it’s a shelter by any definition and it can be built basically anywhere on Earth, provided there’s grass available. Which means, almost anywhere.

This project is easy to build, with a simple yet effective design and you’ll only require a sharp stone (or a knife) and a digging tool (stick, shovel, whatever). Here’s the video tutorial.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

4. How to DIY a Bow and Arrow from scratch

While hunting with a spear requires some mad skills, bows and arrows are the ideal hunting tools for long-term wilderness survival.

This video tutorial will teach you how to DIY a bow and arrow outdoors, using primitive “technology” – natural materials and tools made from scratch, i.e. a stone chisel, a stone hatchet, fire sticks and various stone blades.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

5. How to DIY a cord drill from scratch

Check out this video tutorial and you’ll learn how to make a cord drill from scratch. This baby consists of a fly wheel, a shaft, and a piece of cord and it can be used for making a fire without getting blisters on your (soft) hands or for drilling holes.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

Now, with the “survival stuff” taken care of, let’s see about a few life-hacks, i.e. some “more benign” tools made from recycled materials.

Next time you destroy a tape measure, you can improvise a depth gauge using a piece from the broken tape-measure by cutting out a twelve inch section using a pair of tin snips. To get an usable zero to twelve inch scale, start cutting at the beginning of a one footmarker and then use the ultra-thin, elastic material for measuring stuff in small/confined places

You can use scrap wood from the shop for improvising a table saw push stick for keeping your hands and fingers on the safe side when feeding wood to the saw at a consistent rate.

Video first seen on Adam Gabbert.

Here’s how to make a scratch stock cutter from an old hand saw which can be used for scraping/scratching a decorative profile into a piece of wood, a method used by furniture manufacturers on historic pieces for creating a hand-made appearance.

Video first seen on Wood By Wright

You can improvise an adjustable marking gauge by driving a dry-wall screw into a piece of wood.

Video first seen on Paul Sellers.

You can use an empty bottle as a glue dispenser, thus saving money by buying glue in bulk. You’ll require an empty bottle that features an extendable cap, which allows you to distribute a consistent amount of adhesive for, let’s say edge-gluing boards.

When closing the cap, you’ll prevent the glue from drying out. The best bottles to use are bottles with sports caps, such as water bottles,, Gatorade bottles, or dish soap bottles. An expired credit card is excellent as a glue spreader.

If you want to drill perfectly perpendicular deep holes without a drill-press, just use an old piece of mirror and position it against the drill bit.

You’ll have to fine-tune the position of the drill until the reflection and the bit are combined in such a way that they look perfectly aligned. That’s all!

Or you can make your own smart saw at home. Click the banner below to find out how to transform your ideas into real projects.

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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8 Things To Keep Under The Radar During A Blackout

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Things To Keep Under The Radar

Major blackouts are becoming more and more common, according to data from the National Energy Administration.

Our aging power grid, along with ever-increasing demands for electric power are taking their toll on the electrical industry’s ability to keep us all supplied with power.

Currently, the number of major blackouts per year doubles every five years. At that rate, we will soon find ourselves catching up with some third-world countries. We have an answer to help you out with this challenge.

While the major reason for this is our aging power grid, the problem is much more complex than that. Replacement of aging equipment is extremely expensive and the process filled with red tape. Energy companies find themselves bogged down for years in the quagmire of conflicting government requirements, on both a state and national level.

This problem is becoming worse, with the massive amount of regulations that the Obama Administration has promulgated through his presidency.

The EPA especially, has attacked the energy sector ruthlessly, especially the coal industry and coal power plants.

But even this isn’t really our biggest issue with the grid, although it is an important issue. The biggest issue is that the grid is highly vulnerable.

As a large, decentralized network, spanning the country, it is virtually impossible to protect. Even the minimal protections that are in place, have been proven to be ineffective.

The fact is, our electrical grid is highly susceptible to damage, and it’s common knowledge that it is.

Any number of enemies could take out the grid, or larger portions of it, either through direct, kinetic terrorist attacks, cyber-warfare or a high-altitude EMP. Even the sun could take it out, with a Coronal Mass Ejection. We had a near miss on that as recently as last year.

With so much risk to our aging power grid, it’s not a matter of if we’re going to be faced by a major blackout or even a semi-permanent one, but when we will be faced with it. Odds are catching up with us, bringing us to a place where we can all count on that happening to us sometime in our lives.

Clearly, preparing for such an event, regardless of how it happens, has to be part and parcel of our disaster preparation.

Anyone who chooses to ignore this possibility is merely putting themselves and their families in the massive group of people who don’t prepare, because they expect the government to take care of them. In other words, they are planning on becoming victims of the blackout, rather than becoming ones who overcome the blackout.

Blackout

Blackouts instill fear in people, as we all have a little bit of natural fear of the dark. Mankind was created to live and function in the daylight, not the night.

While we have learned and adapted to doing many things in the dark, a lot of that has been by overcoming the dark with artificial light. We simply function best, when we can see what we are doing.

But what if you’re the only one in your neighborhood who can see what you’re doing? What if the lights go out, in a major blackout, and they stay out long enough that batteries in your neighbors’ flashlights go dead?

When they are sitting in the dark, cold and hungry, how are you going to protect yourself?

When the lights go out, so does everything else too. We depend on electricity for so many different things, that without it, society comes grinding to a standstill.

Not only do we lose the ability to do things at night, but we also lose our entire supply chain, because it depends on electricity for the flow of information, control, and even pumping the gas into the trucks and airplanes that make the deliveries.

So losing power means losing pretty much everything we depend on in our modern, technology-based lives.

We must always keep in the back of our minds that desperate people do desperate things. When the lights go out and the heat goes off, that feeling of desperation will begin to take root in their hearts. Bit by bit it will grow, fed by each and every thing that they find missing from their lives.

When they can’t get gas for their car, the desperation will grow a bit more. When they can’t buy food, because the grocery store shelves are empty, the desperation will increase. And when they turn on the faucet and nothing comes out, because there isn’t any electricity for the pumps, their cups of desperation may very well overflow.

The best thing that any of us can do in such a situation is ensure that we don’t let anyone around us know that we’re better off than they are.

OPSEC will have to become our byword, as we quietly try to survive in the midst of them. Specifically, there are a number of things we will want to hide from those around us.

1. The Means to Create Light

The first thing that people will notice is also one of the hardest to hide… light. That’s the first thing that anyone is going to turn on, when the power goes out. Whether it is flashlights, candles or oil-burning lamps, they’re all going to turn on some light.

The problem is, their light will go out after a short time, perhaps a day or two. After that, any light you have will be extremely conspicuous.

If the windows of every house on your street are dark and even a little light is coming out of yours, your house will seem like a lighthouse to those around. Their lack of light will make yours seem even greater.

Extreme light discipline will have to be the order of the day. You’re going to have to hide your light, and avoid using it in places where they can see. One key component of this will have to be blackout curtains on over all your windows.

Regular curtains won’t be enough, because they will look like they are lit up to people on the outside. You need curtains that are dark enough and heavy enough to block the light, so that your windows appear  dark, like theirs.

2. Power Generation

Power Whisperer

Many of us have invested in either solar power or wind power, both to augment the electrical power we buy from our local utility company and as a means of producing power in a blackout.

But a roof full of solar panels or a wind turbine sticking 30 feet up in the air in your backyard are easy to see, letting everyone know that you have power, when they don’t.

That’s going to attract people like moths to an open flame. About the only thing that could be worse is a gas powered generator.

Even those who aren’t looking for your solar panels will hear that, especially considering how quiet it will be without cars running down the roads and entertainment systems blaring out music.

While I wouldn’t want to dissuade you from investing in solar or wind power, in the midst of a blackout you’ll actually be better off with something stealthy. A portable system, with the solar panels at ground level would fit that bill, as a fenced backyard would hide it pretty well.

You can quietly provide power and keep your family safe during an outage with the right power generator. Hurry up and grab this offer right now to pay in monthly installments!

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3. Solar Powered Anything

Speaking of solar power, pretty much anything that is solar powered is going to be in high demand. Even if all you have is a solar charger for your phone, you can count on everyone around you wanting to use it. More major solar powered devices, such as a solar oven, will become very high on the list of things that people will want to steal.

Of course, the longer the blackout lasts, the more people there will be who will be willing to turn to stealing. So the threat for your solar oven being stolen will actually increase as time goes on, requiring more and more diligence to protect it.

4. Food and the Ability to Cook that Food

FoodAs I already mentioned, the supermarket shelves will be bare, which will force people to use up whatever food they have stored within their homes. But what will they do when they’ve eaten the last of the popcorn and scraped the peanut butter jar dry?

Most preppers believe that people will turn to attacking one another and raiding other’s homes in search of food at this time. Small gangs will form, either neighbors working together or people who are friends who decide they can help one another.

In either case, these gangs will be looking for food, more than anything else, and they won’t be reluctant to break into homes and hit the residents over the head to get it.

Not only will they be searching for food, but for the ability to cook that food. A large portion of the things we eat need to be cooked in order to be edible.

But cooking in modern times is done with electricity or natural gas, both of which will be conspicuous by their absence. Barbecue grills will become the number one means of cooking… at least until people run out of propane or charcoal.

That’s when the solar oven is going to become popular. Even without knowing how to use one, people will be quick to steal an unattended solar oven, thinking that they can figure it out.

One of the problems with hiding your food is that cooking creates odors which will attract attention.

You’ll need to be careful about this, avoiding cooking in ways that create odors. Meats are the worst for this, as they produce the most odor when cooking. But by cooking them in soups, you reduce the odor that passes through the air.

5. Water and the Means to Pump it Out of the Ground

We really can’t talk about food, without talking about water as well. Water is a higher survival priority than food is, so people will be desperate for it much quicker.

If you’ve got a river, lake or canal near enough to draw water out of, you’ll probably be safe. But if not, and people find out you have a well, they’ll be knocking on your door.

At that time, you’ll have to make a decision. Will you provide water to your neighbors or not. A lot of that will depend on how good your well is and how effective a pump you have.

Sharing water might be great for public relations, but there’s a danger there too. Some will thank you, while others might see it as an opportunity to take over your well.

6. Heat for Your Home

One of the worst times to have the lights go out is in the wintertime. Then, light isn’t people’s biggest concern, heat is.

Every year people die during the cold northern winters, either because there is no power to heat their homes or because they can’t afford to pay for heat. Sadly, this mostly happens to the elderly, who are the most vulnerable people in society.

When the power is out and people get cold, there’s a natural tendency to gather together, seeking to share whatever heat they have, even if it’s only body heat. That means that they’ll come knocking on your door, if they think you have heat.

Depending on how you are heating your home, doing so might be difficult to hide.

Burning wood, which is what most of us are planning to do, produces smoke, as well as the smell of burning wood. Just like the steak cooking on the barbecue grill, that smell will attract attention.

One thing you can do to help alleviate this is to buy firewood that produces little smoke and odor. Different woods burn differently, producing different amounts of heat, as well as smelling differently.

You’ll need to experiment a bit, but if you can find a low-odor wood, it will help.

7. Fuel for Your Car

As the blackout progresses, one thing you can be sure of is that people will begin to migrate. The lack of news about what is happening elsewhere will cause people to wonder if things would be better, if they could just get out of the area where the blackout is. So, some will leave, trying to find a better place.

Of course, that means leaving in their cars and trucks. But without the gas pumps working, that’s going to be hard to do. Even so, they’ll try… mostly by stealing gas from others.

Some will siphon it out of gas tanks and others will try to pump it out of the gas station’s tanks with a manual pump.

The best thing you can do to keep from losing your gas and even your car is to hide them. If you don’t have room in your garage, then put them in the backyard.

If you can’t do that, then drain out the gas yourself and disable the car. Removing a tire and the battery, as well as allowing the car to get covered with a layer of dust, will go a long way towards making it look unusable.

8. Guns & Ammo

Finally, it would be a good idea to keep your guns and ammo out of sight. Some might think that being obviously armed would be a deterrent to attack.

While that might be true for the more timid in society, it would be just as likely to make others think that you must have something in your home worth protecting. For those people, your guns would be an advertisement, not a deterrent.

That doesn’t mean that you should be unarmed, merely that you shouldn’t advertise the fact. Those will be dangerous times and you may very well need your guns to protect yourself. So, keep them close at hand, but keep them hidden at the same time.

Most people who carry concealed are actually against open carry of firearms. That’s not because they don’t agree with the implied right under the Second Amendment, but rather that they want the element of surprise.

If someone doesn’t know what you’re carrying, they can’t prepare effectively to counter it. That gives you a huge tactical advantage, when the time comes and you bring your guns out of hiding.

 

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: About Living Off-grid

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Living Off grid

People today have become overly dependent on energy and this is the main reason why starting living off-grid seems difficult. But it is not. Think about the fact that people lived before the grid even existed.

As we all know, an EMP attack is a disaster most of us are preparing for. When our electricity driven society will suddenly fall, how long will you survive?

From today’s Prep Blog Review you will find out how it is like to live off-grid for 37 years, how to build a faraday cage or how to build your off-grid cooking stove.

  1. Confessions Off A Man Who Lived 37 Years Off-grid

Living Off Grid

“Imagine if you can, a homestead nestled deep in the forest, fronting a beautiful lake. Oh sure… that sounds dreamy and might be reality for a lucky few.

But now let’s take it a step further. The homestead sits on the shore of a remote, pristine lake which is located 100 miles in the wilderness.

No roads, no trails, no neighbors. Only forest, water, animals and silence. Float plane is the only way in and out. When the float plane drops you off, accelerates down the lake, lifts off the surface and becomes a speck on the horizon, you then realize your last physical connection with humanity just left.

Standing on the dock, you have the overwhelming sense you are the only person left on the planet. Exciting!”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. The Smokeless & Easy-To-Build Off-Grid Cooking Stove

Off grid stove

“Outdoor cooking is a major part of my off-grid experience, and so a reliable outdoor stove was a must-have. And with many options of wood-burning stoves out there, fuel-efficiency and minimal smoke were at the top of my list.

After much research, the rocket stove because our outdoor stove of choice. In this article, I will share with you the concept of the rocket stove, how we built two of them, and its advantages and disadvantages.

A wood-burning smokeless stove sounds impossible, right? Let me explain it this way. Smoke is un-burned fuel. The rocket stove makes use of all the fuel. Everything gets burned in the combustion chamber before leaving the chimney. This concept is also seen in the Dakota fire pit.

The rocket stove, when fired up, sounds similar to that of a rocket taking off – hence, its name.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

  1. How To Build A Faraday Cage To Protect Your Electronics

Faraday cage “One of the things that gives us the most troubled sleep of all is the risk of, and outcomes from, an EMP attack on the US.  In case you’re not fully up to speed on this draconian danger, we discuss EMP attacks – what they are, how fearsome their impacts would be, and how easy they are to stage – in several articles here.

Our sense is that the danger of an EMP event is steadily increasing.  To be blunt, the world is becoming an increasingly unfriendly place, and with growing sophistication of both nuclear weapons and their associated delivery systems (ie missiles) by both North Korea and Iran (as well as other countries that aren’t being quite so public about their actions) and some threats that translate quite clearly to ‘if we need to, we’ll use an EMP device to bring your country to its knees’, the thought of an EMP attack is far from impossible to countenance.

At the same time, our lives continue to become more and more dependent on electronics for everything we do.”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

  1. 10 Widespread Disaster That Could Happen At Any Time

Disasters

“When preparing for a widespread disaster, it’s helpful to have a specific type of disaster in mind. Envisioning a particular survival scenario helps you to be more focused and think of preparations that might not have occurred to you otherwise.

How would a pandemic play out in your town? Or a terrorist attack? Or an economic collapse? What specifically would happen to your community, and how would it affect you and your family? And based on that, are there any other preparations you could make to ensure your family’s safety?

As you can see, mentally walking yourself through various types of disasters will help you to be more prepared. With that in mind, here is a list of the 10 most likely widespread disasters. You should seriously consider the possibility of experiencing these events. I’m not saying you should obsess over them–don’t spend your life in fear–but you should do your best to be ready for them.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

  1. Starting Your Off-grid Living With Solar Power

starting-your-off-grid-living-with-solar-power

“Harnessing the sun’s power has become a popular trend in the last ten years and we now have a large array of options for powering our homes using solar power.

Living off the grid requires a lot of work and innovation in order to reach a certain level of self-sufficiency. Things get easier if you are able to harness the power of the sun and use it for all your needs.

From passive cooling to batch solar water heaters, everything is now available when it comes to DIY solar power projects.

People are beginning to understand that solar power is not as complicated as certain individuals would want you to believe.

This is a technology that has become extremely accessible in our modern times and you just need a few basic skills in order to make your own project.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

You can generate power and keep your loved ones safe with the right power generator. You can choose your right now.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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How To Live Off the Grid

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How To Live Off the Grid Living off the grid basically means living without the supply of gas, electricity and even water provided by local authorities. Living off the grid is becoming one of the popular long-term lifestyles that people embrace. In the survival community, most are more concern with short-term ways to live off …

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The post How To Live Off the Grid appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Product Review: Power Whisperer Pro Version

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survivopedia-power-whisperer-pro

The folks at Independent Living have done it again. They’ve taken their popular Power Whisperer emergency power generator and done a second upgrade, making it even better than before.

This new upgrade essentially doubles the capacity of the original unit, meaning that it will provide power to meet even more of a family’s needs, for an even longer period of time.

I’ll tell you more about this update so keep reading the article below!

One of the biggest risks we face today is that of an EMP attack. As a nation, we have enemies who are working hard to develop the technology necessary to allow them to hit the United States with such an attack. If they ever get to that point, a successful attack will set this country back over 100 years. Most electronic devices will be destroyed, but worse than that, the electrical power grid that we all depend on will be out of commission; probably for the rest of our lives.

The only electronics which will survive such an attack are those which are shielded from EMP. Outside of the military, there is little that is made, which is shielded in such a manner. Yet the Power Whisperer has been designed with this possibility in mind, and is encased in 5052 aluminum. That’s more than enough to stop the EMP from touching the unit, ensuring that you’ll have electrical power, when everyone else’s lights are out.

I was impressed with the quality of the original Power Whisperer and the M model. These are well-built, rugged units, designed to, as Timex says, “Take a licking and keep on ticking.” But I don’t think even the designer of the Power Whisperer realized how rugged a unit he built.

See below a video of a Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) that had a disagreement with a truck. Apparently the unit was being shipped when this happened. I don’t know if the truck was trying to take the unit to the wrong address and it refused to be shipped there or the two of them got into a political argument.

All I know is that the truck and the Power Whisperer tried to break a law of physics and occupy the same place at the same time. To be fair, the Power Whisperer was there first, and I really can’t say that the truck had any excuse, like not seeing the unit, after all, it hit it head on.

Well, the results of that altercation left the Power Whisperer looking like a pile of scrap. In the video, someone in the Independent Living warehouse decided to unwrap the pile of scrap and test it out. Amazingly enough, it still provided power. That’s after being hit by a truck, all but torn limb from limb and then sitting in the warehouse, being ignored for a couple of months.

I hope my Power Whisperer never has to be tried by fire like that, but it’s nice to know that the one that was survived its trial. Granted, it doesn’t look too good now, but at least it works. In an emergency situation, that’s what’s important.

So now they’ve decided to go ahead and upgrade this rugged beast. That intrigued me when I heard about it, because I really wasn’t sure what they’d upgrade. But I’ll have to say, they did it right. They didn’t add whistles and bells that you don’t need, they increased the capacity.

Let’s Upgrade!

As far as I’m concerned, electrical power in a grid-down situation is like memory in a computer… you’ve never got enough. While the Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) had enough power to make it through an emergency caused by a power outage, the new one – PowerWhisperer PRO, has double that capacity but also some other features that I’m going to address in seconds.

The Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) comes with a 100 amp-hour capacity. That means that it can run an electronic device that requires 100 amps of 12 volt power for 1 hour or that it can run a device that requires 1 amp of 12 volt power for 100 hours, or anything in between. There’s also a Power Whisperer M-Plus model that comes with an extra solar panel and battery that literally double your power, while all the specifications are the same.

The Power Whisperer PRO model comes with the same voltage inverter, so you still have 2000 watts of 120 volt power available at any one time. In addition, there is a 12 volt outlet, so that you can power devices which are intended to run off of 12 volts.

pwpro

Do you have any camping equipment, tools or electronics which are intended for running off your car’s cigarette lighter/accessory connector? They’ll all plug into either the M model or the new Pro model as well.

To help with recharging the larger storage capacity, Lee Bellinger, the designer of the Power Whisperer has also added a second, 100 watt solar panel, increasing the charge capacity as well. You can either recharge the Model M in half the time or recharge both the M model and the extra power pack at the same time. With this extra solar panel, you can charge both in the time that it used to take to charge the Model M alone.

And the unit is expandable beyond that as well. The M model generator has enough connectors to attach up to four solar panels, increasing the recharge rate and total power available from the unit. You can also add another auxiliary power pack if you desire, increasing the overall power you have available in an emergency situation even more.

These units are totally safe, using proven battery and battery charging technology which avoids “thermal runaway.” I’m sure you’ve heard of the problems that people have been having with the Samsung phones, well the charge technology used in the Power Whisperer prevent the possibility of that happening. The unit is not only safe from being hit by a truck, but from exploding as well.

Seeing as the Power Whisperer was inspired by military technology and intended for survival use, it even comes complete with a camouflage net system, so that you can keep your unit away from prying eyes, whether you are using it for a bug in or you’re providing power to your survival retreat in a bug out.

This is a well thought out unit, which will provide the electrical power your family needs, when you are faced by the next disaster. Built in America and built to withstand whatever is thrown at it, the Power Whisperer Pro gives your family a level of security you won’t find just anywhere.

Now is the moment to get your power generator and solve your energy problem for years. You’ll also get 3 exclusive Survivopedia bonuses worth $150 when you invest in your Power Whisperer.

Click the banner below and grab the opportunity of paying in monthly installments instead of paying for it all at once!

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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