5 Tips To Stop You From Wasting Your Budget At The Supermarket

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How self-sufficient are you? Do you grow any of your own foods, or at least cook your own meals from scratch?

If not, you’re dependent on the grocery store for survival and you’re eating foods that may be killing you.

And you’re definitely spending way more than you should be on food.

But how can you change all of that?

The following scenario probably describes many people’s day, at least part of the time:

They come home from work, drop their stuff on the couch, grab a bag of chips and a soda, and relax on the couch. Later, they have a microwaved TV dinner, then, before bed, a few Oreos and a glass of cold milk that you didn’t have to extract from the cow. As a matter of fact, they have no idea where that cow even lives.

Sounds familiar? Of course it does. I just described at least one day in many people’s life, if not an average day. None of that would have been possible before 1910, because that’s when food started being processed commercially. And they would have been healthier because of it.

I’m not saying that we have to – or even should – give up all modern foods, unless we want to, of course. But I am saying that we can save a ton of money – a hundred dollars a month or more per person – and be much healthier, even if we just make simple changes in our shopping and cooking habits.

Delicious, home-cooked food shouldn’t be a treat that you indulge in, or are lucky enough to have cooked for you sometimes. It should be a regular part of your daily diet. It should actually be the other way around – you should eat fresh, homemade food most of the time and, if you must, eat processed foods occasionally.

It’s not nearly as hard as you might think to eat tasty, chemical-free food, and you can even grow it if you want, no matter where you live!

How? Glad you asked. Let’s talk about seven ways that you save money, eat better-tasting foods, and take a few more steps toward food independence.

Discover the golden days’ practice for getting all you can eat food without buying from the supermarket

1. Don’t Buy Too Much

How many times have you thrown away an entire package of meat of box of strawberries because they went bad before you ate them? Maybe they got lost in the back of the fridge, or you just bought way too much food.

Either way, you may as well have thrown that money right out the window on the way home from the grocery store.

You can avoid this by shopping smarter.

  • Only shop for a few days at a time. Buy a week’s worth of food per trip, maximum.
  • Make a list, especially for perishable foods and stick to it.
  • Eat before you go to the store. Whatever you do, don’t go shopping when you’re hungry because everything will look delicious and you’ll over buy.
  • Don’t impulse-buy. Placing delicious-looking temptations at the ends of aisles and beside the register is a marketing ploy used to trick you into buying things that you weren’t planning on.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. There are very few good things to be found in the center aisles other than oils and maybe canned fruits and vegetables.

2. Skip the Convenience Foods

It’s great to buy shredded cheese and pre-cut veggies but it usually costs a whole lot more than if you did it yourself. This isn’t always the case because sometimes, such as in the case of broccoli bunches versus crowns, you’re paying per pound, and you can’t really eat the entire stem, so the crowns may work out to be cheaper.

However, the bagged broccoli is always going to be more expensive than either the crowns or bunches.

3. More Isn’t Always Better

Another marketing trick that grocery stores use is to reduce the price if you buy more.

For instance, something may cost 3.99, but they’ll put it on sale at two for $7. If you’ll actually use two of them, then buy them both, but if you’re only doing it to “save” money, then pass. You’re actually spending more money for food that will go bad.

Use that money to buy another item on your list.

4. Learn How to Make Food for Yourself

Did you know that you can make butter and cottage cheese from cream, or that you can a few different cheeses and yogurt at home for a fraction of the cost of what you’ll pay for it at the store?

Cheese and butter are both crazy expensive, so by learning how to make it for yourself, you’ll save money, eat a higher quality food, and be one step closer to food independence. Plus, making cheese is fun!

Rediscover the sweet, delicious taste of healthy, natural food just like we used to get in the old days!

5. Shop at the Farmers Market

We have several farmers markets around here, but only a couple of them are really worth going to. The others have gotten so commercial that you may as well buy stuff in the grocery store. You’d think that if I went to a farmers market here in Florida, then the produce would be from Florida, right? Not always.

That being said, the produce that I buy in the grocery store isn’t typically from here, either, so I’m still saving money if I pay less for it at the farmers market. Plus, I get to meet local artisans and pick up a trick or two from them.

Now that we’re done with the tips, I’d like to go the extra mile here and give you some simple, and extremely useful ideas that can help you cut processed foods out of your diet starting today.

Make Food from Scratch

This isn’t as hard as you may think it is. Delicious sauces may seem mysterious, but believe it or not, most of them are simple – and cheap – to make.

For instance, a rustic Italian sauce can be as simple as a can of tomatoes (or freshly chopped ones), some mushrooms, garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cheese sauce is just flour, milk, salt, pepper, and cheese.

See, that’s not so hard, right? And both of them are cheaper, tastier, and healthier than their processed counterparts.

Consider Growing Your Own Food

This doesn’t mean that you have to grow a 5-acre garden, but just growing a few of your own vegetables can save you an enormous amount of money.

For instance, I just started 30 bell pepper plants for about $3. That’s less than I’d pay for three peppers at the store. I’ll eat them fresh and I’ll use more to make sauces and salsas. And that’s just one vegetable!

And if you live in a small place, you can still grow at least some of your food. For instance, you can grow almost any vegetable in a container. You can vertical garden, and you can even get the most out of your space by growing food upside down.

With all that being said, how much money you should be spending on food? The answer is – only as much as you absolutely have to. If you can make it yourself, then do so. Processed foods didn’t become widely popular until the 40s or 50s, so our grandparents or great-grandparents grew to adulthood without ever eating a bite of “processed cheese food” or cheese curls.

I’m certainly not telling you to give up cheese curls (though you really should), but make processed foods a smaller part of your diet. Get back to the way our ancestors ate. Learn the skills that you’ll need to feed yourself and take control of your wallet, and of what you put into your body.

Even if cooking isn’t something that you particularly enjoy, you have to eat. And it’s entirely possible that even if you don’t like to cook, you may learn to love it once you figure out how easy it is.

If not, maybe you’ll enjoy gardening, or making cheese, or whatever else you decide to do to save grocery bucks, eat more healthfully, and gain food independence. You can find them all in a book on going back to eating the way that our ancestors did!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

5 Common Foods That Are Slowly Killing You

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It’s a confusing time to try to be a healthy eater. One government agency says that a product is heart-healthy, while another is terrible for you, but then other sites, that aren’t dictated by the whims of Big Ag say just the opposite. So who’s right?

I was raised on a farm. We had our own garden, our own fruit trees, and livestock to provide us with meat, dairy products, and eggs. We ate a reasonable portion at each meal and we exercised.

We didn’t sit inside playing video games all day. Most of the people in my family have lived well into their 80s (and many into their 90s), remaining robust and healthy until they died. Obviously, butter and meat fats must not be THAT bad for you.

Recently I wrote a book about why it’s important to go back to eating the way that our ancestors did and to describe in detail how to do that, and this is the reason why I did it. People are finally figuring out that manmade food isn’t as good for you as the natural nutrition that nature provides us.

I admit that I got away from my roots for a while and I was living on processed foods and soda. I was towing the government line and eating margarine because it was better for me than butter, and wheat bread because it was supposedly better for me than white. The problem was that I felt like crap.

Then I started really thinking for myself again and here’s what I’ve learned about these top five “healthy” foods that are actually killing you.

I’ve gone back to good old butter (it tastes better anyway), and I drink water or tea instead of sugary or fake-sugary sodas. I cook for myself most of the time and I eat real foods instead of processed junk.

In short, I’ve gone back to the ways of my ancestors, and I feel so much better for doing it! And now I’m sharing it with you, as I gathered all this knowledge in a book about how to kick unhealthy, expensive, store-bought food out of your kitchen and get healthy food for life! 

Now, let’s start with perhaps the government’s biggest “healthy” hoax – non-butter.

Margarine

Ahh, that supposedly heart-healthy option to good old-fashioned, fat-laden butter. Oleomargarine was created in 1869 but didn’t really gain footing in the US until the 40s-ish. That’s because the dairy industry pushed for so much regulation that importing it was too expensive to be worth the effort.

When saturated fats were linked to heart disease in the 50s, doctors and nutritionists pulled the dairy equivalent of Chicken Little and told people to avoid butter like the plague and make the switch to the unsaturated-fat fake version of butter – margarine.

Back when it was first becoming a household thing, it came in a bag with a yellow capsule because without dye, margarine is a whitish-gray color. The dairy industry fought for the product to be sold uncolored to make it less appealing. The dye was squeezed into it and then squished around and distributed so that the margarine more closely resembled the beautiful naturally-golden color of butter, though it was much darker.

Margarine is made from purified vegetable fats. Until very recently, it was then hydrogenated to make it solid. This means that hydrogen is pumped through the runny oil to change the carbon bonds in the oils. Not all of the molecules are hydrogenated – only enough of them to give it a firm consistency. Fully hydrogenated oil would be almost like rubber.

The original vegetable oils are non-saturated, but once it goes through the hydrogenation process, those molecules that that were hydrogenated become saturated fats. And not just any saturated fats – the bad-for-you kind that cause heart disease because they lack the good, LDL cholesterol that balances the bad cholesterol.

So, when you combine that with the fact that the natural saturated fats in real butter have been shown to have some health benefits in limited quantities, your choice comes down to butter, a completely natural, delicious product, or its lab-created ugly, weird-tasting cousin, margarine. Pass the butter, please!

Processed Foods and Flours

This is kind of an umbrella title because there are so many different types of processing. The type that we’re talking about here is the type found in boxed and frozen foods. For instance, take a look at the contents of macaroni and cheese.

It’s a kid’s favorite and most of the commercials for the name brands show chunks or real cheese or other hyperbole that implies that you’re getting the good stuff. In reality, it’s a cheese-flavored artificial flavoring at best – just take a look at the ingredients.

Another example of processed food is chicken nuggets. Take a gander at the ingredients on that box! Even the best one that advertises all-natural ingredients still has “natural flavor.” What does that mean? It’s chicken. Should that be enough? It’s also breaded in spices and different types of processed flours. I’d argue that white whole wheat flour isn’t a natural ingredient because it’s processed to the point that it lacks any real nutritional value.

Other concerns with processed foods include additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors and colors. There are hundreds of these ingredients have been shown to cause everything from digestive distress to cancer.

Finally, everybody seems to have jumped on the wheat bread bandwagon. Wheat bread that’s made from processed wheat flour is no better for you than processed white flour. If you want to eat bread, eat the kind made from sprouted wheat, or from flours made from healthier ingredients such as almond or coconut flours. That way, you boost the nutrition without getting a ton of garbage.

If it comes in a box or out of a freezer (with the exception of most frozen vegetables), take a look at the ingredients. Even many frozen fruits have added sugar and preservatives. You gotta stay on top of what you’re eating and actually look at the ingredients instead of buying the advertising on the box that says, “all-natural.” Arsenic is all natural, but do you really want to eat it?

If you can’t pronounce it, skip it. For that matter, if you can pronounce it and you know it’s bad for you, skip it.

Fruity fat-free yogurt

Nooooo … run! Though this sounds good for you, it’s not. Though there’s no fat, it’s likely still packed with sugar and artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. There are healthy yogurt options out there, but most of them aren’t. Look at your label.

You’re looking for yogurt and fruit. Period. Greek yogurt is better for you, but it has a stronger taste. Yogurt has probiotics that are good for your gut – they add healthy bacteria that aid digestion – but if you’re throwing a ton of sugar in with it, you lose a lot of that benefit. Go organic and real fruit, no sugar or other garbage added.

Refined Sugar

I feel like this one has been beaten to death to the extent that I don’t even have to mention it, but I will anyway. Refined sugar is an anti-nutrient. That means that, not only is it empty of nutrients, it actually leeches nutrients out of your body over time because your body has to bind it to other minerals in order to void it.

When consumed in excess, it also exponentially increases your risk for metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, and even cancer.

You’ll hear many people touting the benefits of “natural sugars” such as honey and maple syrup. While it’s true that they are a much better option than sugar because they’re not processed and they do have minerals, your body still breaks it down into sugar, albeit digestible sugar.

In other words, in quantity, it can still make you fat and increase your risks for the diseases listed above.

When you want a sweetener, go with organic honey or maple syrup, but consume them in moderation.

Diet Drinks and Artificial Sweeteners

Oh how the world rejoiced when our favorite soft drinks were magically converted so that they no longer added pounds. You could drink as much of it as you liked without increasing your jean size.

If I were to go into great detail about how horrible artificial sweeteners are, I’d be here all day. Suffice it to say that they’re poison, plain and simple. They’re not “natural” as some of them claim and they don’t really decrease your chance of obesity because the fake sweet taste makes your body expect sugar and when it doesn’t get it, it increases your craving.

Oh, and most of them have been shown to cause headaches and have been strongly linked to cancer and/or other diseases and illnesses.

A cool bit of trivia – in the early 1900s, saccharin, the first artificial sweetener, was declared unfit for human consumption by the FDA. Then the war came along and sugar became a rare commodity enjoyed mostly by the rich. Suddenly, saccharin, which could be imported for very little money or made here, became fit for human consumption so that working class Americans could have those sweets that they craved.

Pay attention, because artificial sweeteners are pervasive in today’s world of “fitness and health.” If it says “lite” or “low-calorie,” It’s almost a guarantee that it contains an artificial sweetener. Look on the label. If it lists saccharin, neotame, acesulfame potassium, aspartame, sucralose, Equal, Stevia, Truvia, PureVia, SweetLeaf, stevia rebaudiana, Splenda, Sweet ’N Low, Sweet Twin, Sugar Twin, Nutrasweet, Sunnett or Sweet One, then it has an artificial sweetener.

You’ll hear people argue that Stevia products are natural and have been recognized by the FDA as generally recognized as safe (GRAS), there hasn’t been enough research on it to confirm that for my comfort, anyway. Also, it’s not natural. It’s processed, chemically extracted product that’s nearly every bit as artificial as the rest of them once it’s in the packet and headed out of the factory.

There are dozens, or even hundreds, of other foods that I could have added to this list, but what it comes down to is that if it’s not fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, or meat grown without hormones and chemicals, it’s bad for you.

Now, is it realistic to expect everybody to eat 100% healthfully 100% of the time? No. But you can make an effort to do it more than you’re doing it now. Shoot for your goal to be 80% healthful and 20% treats. That’s a good ratio that most people have no problem adapting to.

Remember – the best thing you can do for yourself is read the labels!

Our ancestors didn’t depend on Monsanto, Walmart or Wendy’s to feed themselves in good times or bad and they didn’t eat food filled with disease-causing chemical, like we do.

Click the banner below to uncover their secrets!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

How to go self-sufficient at home

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The world is constantly evolving, and it’s not always for the best. Being self-sufficient within the home is like being in survival mode and it means you are always one step ahead with preparedness than the majority of people. The supermarket, the water supplier and the power grid, are you prepared if they all went … Read more…

The post How to go self-sufficient at home was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Try These Unusual Fish Baits for a Successful Catch

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Every fisherman knows that fishing success depends on finding the perfect spot and using the proper fish baits. Most of them prefer to use worms, maggots or homemade bait to bring back home a basket full of fish. However, when you lack the proper bait, you can still enjoy a good catch with these unusual … Read more…

The post Try These Unusual Fish Baits for a Successful Catch was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

6 Ways You Can Build a Water Pump

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

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

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

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

PVC Hand Pump for Wells

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

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

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

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

Reciprocating Displacement Pumps

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

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

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

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

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

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

Archimedes Screw for Surface and Underground Water

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get your own amazing device that turns air into water! 

Mini Electric Pump for Moving Small Volumes of Water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ram Pumps

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on joshuaburks

Diaphragm Pumps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

References:

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

http://explorable.com/archimedes-screw

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

Prep Blog Review: Follow These Tips To Maximize Your Harvest

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Homegrown vegetables and herbs are more delicious, nutritious, and sustainable than store-bought food. But growing your own food can be challenging sometimes especially if you are limited by space, poor soil, limited budget, or all of them.

Keeping top-quality home-grown produce on your table all year round is not so difficult if you follow the steps I’ve gathered for you for this week’s Prep Blog Review. If you have any other comments or ideas, please share them in the comment section.

  1. Succession Planting – How To Get The Most Of Your Garden This Year

“If there is one simple gardening method that can help feed your family consistently, its succession planting.

Succession planting is all about sowing the right amount of seed to have plants to feed your family for a specific period of time. As the growing season progresses, seed is planted again a few weeks later so that the harvest will be spread out accordingly.

With succession planting, you can keep fresh produce coming all season long

We have all been there. We plant a huge area of lettuce, beans or corn all at once. And then of course, it matures all at the same time. Before you know it, you become overrun by more produce than you can possibly consume. The result – a large part of the crop goes to waste.”

Read more on Old World Garden Farms.

  1. Alternative Soil Conditioners For Organic Gardening

“The soil in your garden is a very complex structure of elements and it has both advantages and disadvantages. To improve the soil and keep a successful garden you need to apply soil conditioners. The ones described in this article are alternatives to compos and manure.

Over the years I’ve experienced with various types of soil conditioners since I had to work with poor soil in my garden.

I was surprised to discover that there are other organic materials that you can dig into your soil.

You can use these soil conditioners as mulch to help improve drainage or water-holding capacities.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

  1. 7 Best Flowers For Your Vegetable Garden

“If you want a healthy garden, whether decorative, or an edible vegetable garden, you absolutely need to incorporate flowering plants. As a critical part of any healthy ecosystem, flowers provide food and/or habitat for beneficial insects (especially bees and butterflies), and humming birds, while adding natural aesthetic delight for children and adults alike.

The more nectar that your garden has available, the more balanced of an ecosystem you will have, since only a small number of insects are actually pests.

The more insects you have, the less chance your garden ecosystem has of getting out of balance and pests taking over.

Flowers have other benefits to the garden as well, including use as ground covers, nutrient accumulators, and aromatic pest deterrents, among other functions.

With this in mind, we’ll take a look at some of the best companion plant flowers for your vegetable garden.”

Read more on Homestead Survival Site.

  1. 10 Common Herbs You Should Know And Use

“Using herbs in cooking – fresh or dried – increases the flavour and taste of your food and often improves the visual appeal. Most of us want our food to look good. Have you ever looked through those recipe cards from the 1970s?

Everyone’s mother had a set, I think.

Despite what the recipe might actually have tasted like, we are turned off by mashed potatoes and steamed fish covered in white sauce or an Easter ham dressed up to look like the Easter bunny.”

Read more on Just Plain Living.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

Are You Making These Steps To Resilience?

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People strive for independence from big government for different reasons. Maybe you’re a “traditional” prepper who is worried about, and preparing for, a future disaster. Until then, you may be perfectly happy living with all of the modern conveniences. On the other hand, you may be seeking to be self-sufficient today and in the future.

Some people do this because they’re concerned about the planet. Others may do it in order to be able to feed themselves without depending on the government or grocery stores. Maybe you’re worried about all of the chemicals used in commercial farming. Or maybe it’s a combination of all of these.

I consider myself to be resilient. The old analogy “watch your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves” applies here. I’m taking care of myself and my family today in ways that will insure that we will be able to take care of ourselves in the future, even when fragile food systems may fail. Survival is built into everything I do – I just call it being self-sufficient, present, and forward-thinking.

There are many reasons you may want to be self-sufficient, or resilient, but many of the basic tools and knowledge that you need will be the same regardless of your reason. And I’m here to tell you that as long as you have a little space, you can grow enough food to survive.

Entire communities are developing around this principle. That may seem counterproductive, but it’s really not because every household is practicing home food production and is moving away from dependence on outside manufactured products.

The entire community will be relatively unaffected should commercial foods become unavailable due to cost or disaster because they’re already growing everything they need. They may even profit because at that point, they’ll basically command the market. Of course, profit is only a side benefit, not the reason that people choose to live resiliently, but it’s there.

Learn from our ancestors the old lessons of growing your own food!

Three common resilient goals

Gardening without chemicals

Find gardening methods that don’t require commercial fertilizers or chemical insecticides/pesticides. These include composting, permaculture, and growing your own food.

Growing meat at home

You’re going to need protein, as well as (possibly) furs to keep you warm and leather to make shoes, etc. One resilient solution to raising cattle, sheep, etcetera, is to raise animals that are more efficient such as rabbits and chickens.

Finding renewable energy solutions

Dependence on the power grid is probably the single most way that the government has most of us hamstrung. Finding ways to use renewable energy from the sun, wind, and water to power our homes is a clean solution to the energy crisis that we’re facing even as I write this. It’s also the one step that you’ll have to take if you’re shooting for total self-sufficiency.

Skills that you’ll need to be resilient

Just the definition of “resilient” pretty much sums up the skills that you’ll need to become self-sufficient. You’ll need to be able to adapt and find solutions to both immediate and long-term problems.

Roll with the punches and find a way to fix things over the long haul. Other synonyms, or words closely related to resiliency, include flexibility and adaptability, and they certainly apply. I’ll throw patience and consciousness in for good measure.

You also need to shift your strategy to the long game, if you haven’t already. This simply means that you’re looking to make changes today that will leave you relatively unaffected by outside changes, and self-sufficient to the greatest degree that your situation will allow.

Finally, you need to be able to recognize, and admit, that you’ve failed. This isn’t so that you can give up; you need to know so that you can start over without wasting valuable time and resources.

Those are the basic personality traits you’ll need, so now let’s talk about technical skills. This part is the easy oane because there is very little about becoming self-sufficient that you can’t learn, either from personal experience or from the experience of others. It’s not possible to know too much.

Gardening skills:

  • Learn everything you can about your plants before you even buy the seeds.
  • Make a list of plants that you’d like to grow, then find out if they grow in your zone.
  • Learn the size of the plants that you want to grow and choose wisely according to the space that you have available.
  • Know the sunlight needs of your plants. This is important, because photosynthesis is a critical part of growth.
  • If you’re planting in the ground, know at least the basics about your soil, and match that to the needs of your plants.

You can pretty much apply these rules to raising animals, too.

Start Your Resilience with Growing Food

Resiliency isn’t about just gardening, but that’s a good place to start because you can do it from anywhere and with next to no money.

Gardening is relatively simple as long as you know the needs of your plants, and can be done for next to nothing with relatively little space. If you’re growing a container garden or even a vertical garden, you can do so in small containers, or in 5-gallon buckets. There are many different articles that I’ve written about this topic and I’d recommend that you read some of them, and even print what you think may be useful to you.

Now that you’ve studied the plants and made sure that you have the space to grow them, it’s time to get started.

It’s always best to use heirloom seeds, because those are the ones that are going to give you the same plant every season. In other words, if you plant a beefsteak tomato plant from the seeds of last year’s beefsteak tomato plant, you’re going to get the same fruits. Open pollinated plants would be next choice. Hybrid plants aren’t reliable from one season to the next, so just skip them.

The next thing you’ll need is containers. You can buy 5-gallon buckets at Home Depot, but you can get them for free from restaurants and bakeries. They buy their food in bulk, then throw away their buckets. If you’re growing tomatoes or other vining plants, you’ll need stakes or trellises.

Finally, you just need your seeds and soil. The soil, of course, depends on what you’re growing, but should consist of a combination of compost and soil. Sand is often good to mix in, too, especially if you live in an area that has a clay-based soil.

These are extremely general tools, but if you have these basic components available to you, you can grow your own food.

As always, knowledge is power and when you’re working to feed yourself, it’s much better to learn from the mistakes of others than to have to learn from your own.

In summary, there are many techniques that resilient people utilize and work into their daily lives in order to be self-sufficient today, and in the future.

The goal is to live in pretty much the same manner after the disaster as we did before it, because we remain unaffected. Back in the days, our ancestors knew how to do it. It’s time to go back to our roots and uncover their secrets that helped them survive harsh times.

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Are you making these steps to self-sufficiency? Why did you chose to be resilient?

If you live a resilient, self-sufficient lifestyle, or are trying to, tell us about some of your efforts in the comment section below. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask those, too!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Going Off Grid? Here’s What To Do About Water: “Solution With Minimal Effort”

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There’s no denying that water is among your most critical assets.

But going off grid, you won’t find it automatically ready and on tap unless you’ve set up one kind of system or another.

In the most obvious of ways, you cannot survive without water – but did you think ahead about where to get it, and how to store and transport it?

Especially if you are just starting out with your off grid home or survival shelter, securing potable water for your most basic needs may be very difficult.

Water is quite heavy, and hence, any large containers will be very difficult to carry or transport if you don’t think ahead.

This couple addressed their solutions to dealing with water while living off grid in their RV for the first year:

At the time of posting this video, we’ve been living in an RV on our land for just over four months. We arrived on our property in September of 2015 and had to get to work quickly to prepare for winter. This entailed installing our septic system, getting our travel trailer protected from the elements, and finding a way to keep things from freezing as we don’t have access to power and don’t run our generator non-stop. Getting to our land and getting situated wasn’t cheap…

Needless to say, we weren’t eager to drop thousands of dollars on a well at this point in the game. We did, however, come up with a solution that works for us with minimal efforts.

We know lots of you have your own ideas on alternative solutions such as IBC tanks, cisterns, water barrels, etc. We thought through many of these things and in the blog post, covered why we didn’t use each one.

During their first year, hauling water back to their site from a water station where they filled up at 25 cents a gallon seemed to be the best, and most affordable solution.

With about 100 gallons a week to be comfortable (for two people), they cut back on extra showers and running water, and figured out how to get by. They hauled it in these very workable 6 gallon containers – the most they could comfortably carrying without feeling unnecessary strain.

Back at their RV, they set them up on a shelf one at a time, and used gravity to feed the water through a few simple tubes into their plumbing supply – and stored the others close enough to the wood stove to keep them from icing when the weather was freezing.

It isn’t glamorous or sophisticated, but this couple sees the value in simplicity.

Down the road, they will likely think about drilling a well or establishing other long-term water solutions.

Many off grid homes have successfully utilized rainwater collection for all of their water needs. It just depends upon your resources and innovation to harvest and filter it for use.

 

Source : www.shtfplan.com

 

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How Long Can You Survive Without Supplies?

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I remember taking a survival test some time back. They asked me about my preps, and based upon that, the test decided that I would be able to survive six months if everything went to pot.

While taking it was an interesting exercise, I really don’t put much stock in such online tests, especially when you consider that they are based upon the ideas of whoever created the test.

We should all take the time to analyze our family situation, our preps and our skills and take a guess on how long we will survive. Then, once we’ve done that, we should ask ourselves a very important question: “What do I need to do to make it so that I can survive longer?”

Keep reading to see how to answer this question!

The thing is, there are several different ways of surviving, not just one. So, while I might not meet all the requirements of their test, I might survive just fine. Likewise, meeting all the requirements that they laid out doesn’t guarantee my survival, as there are always unforeseen factors that affect our survival.

The basic premise of the test, that of determining how long we can survive if the brown stuff hits the rotary air movement device, is a valid one.

Nothing is promised to us. We don’t really know what sort of disaster we might find ourselves having to live though, nor do we have any real idea of how long it will take for things to return to some semblance of normal. So we have to prepare for the worst.

That means a disaster that takes out our entire infrastructure and supply chain and is bad enough that they can’t be rebuilt. In other words, a situation where we are forced to survive on our wits, our knowledge and our preps, for the rest of our lives.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

Understand Your Priorities

Survival is about meeting your body’s needs. If you succeed in meeting them, you’ll survive. If not… well, we won’t go there. So, we must be prepared to survive, no matter what. That means meeting the basic survival priorities of:

  • Maintaining body heat
  • Clean water
  • Food

In addition, we have to consider a few other areas:

  • Self-defense
  • First-aid
  • Starting a fire

We’ve all heard the “Rule of 3s” sometime or other. You know, you can only survive 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 30 days without food. Some people leave that first one off, but this is the basic rule. Why is it so important? Because it shows us what our priorities are in any survival situation.

Survival stockpiles, survival kits, survival caches and bug out bags are all developed with those needs in mind.

Countless books and articles have been written, showing the importance of fulfilling those needs and how to build a stockpile, bug out bag or whatever to meet them. I won’t dispute that list at all, because I know it to be true. But what I will dispute is depending on a stockpile to give them to you. Having a stash is not enough unless you know how to use it right.

So, What Do You Need?

There are three basic things you need to survive. No, I’m not talking about heat, water and food. I’m talking in much greater generalities. The three things I’m talking about take into account much more than just a stockpile or a short-term survival situation. They are what you need to survive for the rest of your life.

  • Skills & Knowledge
  • Tools
  • Supplies

While all three of those general areas are touched on by preppers, it is the third one that actually receives the most attention. That’s mostly due to the fact that we live in a society in which we are accustomed to buying everything we need. So we tend to look at survival the same way and buy whatever we need.

That idea works for a while, but you can’t depend on it for the rest of your life. I don’t care how big your stockpile is, eventually it will run out. When that happens, you’ll either have to have another means of keeping yourself alive, or you’ll die; plain and simple.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t stockpile supplies. What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t JUST stockpile supplies. Doing so puts you on a clock and none of us want that clock to wind down to the end.

Which One is the Most Important?

Of those three general areas, which one is the most important?

Don’t answer me just yet. For you see, how you answer that question will say a lot about your own ability to survive. It will also give a pretty good indication about how long you’ve been a prepper.

We pretty much all start out our survival journey by building a stockpile of supplies. This is the stereotypical first trip to Costco or Sam’s Club to buy 50 pounds of rice and 50 pounds of beans. Once we start along that road, we continue stockpiling, adding depth and breadth to our food supplies and even adding other needs besides food.

There’s nothing wrong with that. Having supplies on hand is a great way to get through the beginning of any disaster or disaster recovery. But how many supplies are you going to stockpile? When will you have enough? To be honest, you never will. As I already said, if your survival is dependent on those supplies, you will die shortly after eating the last of your food and drinking the last of your water.

That’s why knowledge trumps the list of priorities. Supplies can run out, but knowledge can be used over and over again.

Let me give you a simple example.

Let’s say you’re in a grid down situation and so you’re using wood to heat your home. In such a case, you’ve got the wood itself, that’s supplies. You’ve got a fireplace or wood-burning stove, that’s your tools. Finally, you know how to start a fire, that’s your skills and knowledge. Okay, how long can you survive? Once again, only till your supplies, in this case the firewood, runs out.

The obvious solution in this case is to cut some more firewood, so you can continue heating your home. But do you know how to cut firewood? Do you know how the different types of wood will burn? Do you have an axe or saw to cut it with? Do you have any idea of how long it needs to season, before you can burn it? Yes, something as simple as cutting firewood is actually quite complex, if you don’t have the necessary tools and knowledge.

On the other hand, a person who has enough skills and knowledge can usually make the necessary tools to come up with the supplies that they need. Maybe their tools won’t be the same as the tools you can buy in the store, but they will fulfill the need.

You’ve probably seen some survival show where the “expert” is dumped on a deserted beach (or other location) with nothing more than their clothes and their wits. Using nothing more than what they can find wherever they are, they are expected to not only survive, but entertain the audience with explanations and stories about how some piece of trash they find is going to save their life.

Granted, that’s television, but it’s at least based upon reality. In this case, the reality is that the survival instructor in the show is actually finding ways of using trash to make whatever they need to have in order to survive. They don’t have anything but their knowledge and wits to get by on, and they succeed.

Build Your Knowledge Base

This is where that test I took failed. It was based upon my stockpile, my vegetable garden and my chicken coop (as well as other preps); but totally failed to take into consideration my knowledge. As such, it gave me much less time to live, than what I actually could.

Knowledge trumps everything else when it comes to survival. Granted, you need the right sort of knowledge, as a PhD in marketing won’t help you survive. In fact, the things you need to know won’t be taught in any college I’ve seen.

More than anything, the knowledge you need for long-term survival breaks down into two basic categories:

  • Growing, hunting or gathering food and water
  • Making and repairing things

The first of those two will keep you fed, with plenty of water and if we extend it a little, might even keep you warm. But you won’t really advance. You’ll be stuck living as if you were in the 18th century, with a few small exceptions.

On the other hand, the ability to make and repair things will provide you with the possibility of restoring your life to something that at least vaguely resembles modern life. No, you probably won’t be able to restore the internet or cable television, but you will be able to do a lot.

More than anything, it will give you the ability to make the tools you need, in order to keep yourself warm, fed and with plenty of clean water.

Now, after reading all these, do you know how long will you survive?

Click the banner below and find out!

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia. 

Alternative soil conditioners for organic gardening

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The soil in your garden is a very complex structure of elements and it has both advantages and disadvantages. To improve the soil and keep a successful garden you need to apply soil conditioners. The ones described in this article are alternatives to compos and manure. Over the years I’ve experienced with various types of … Read more…

The post Alternative soil conditioners for organic gardening was written by Rhonda Owen and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

The Why And How Of Cooking Safe Food

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It seems like almost every time I see a picture of somebody’s stockpile, it’s full of processed foods that were on sale. And I just can’t help myself asking what kind of food bomb is hiding underneath…

Now, anybody that’s read any of my couponing articles knows that I love a good deal, but you won’t find a single box of HoHos or canned wienies in my stash. That’s because they’re garbage with zero nutritional value, and even worse. Can you guess in which way?

As a matter of fact, not only are they empty of nutrients, they’re also full of stuff that’s really bad for you. But, you may say in the case of snack cakes, sugar provides energy. It sure does. And all of the additives and preservatives that you’re eating alongside that processed sugar cause everything from migraines and sluggishness to cancer.

We stockpile food for a reason – so that we can have a ready supply of nutrient-dense food in case disaster strikes. What many of us don’t realize though is that just as food can nourish us, it can also kill us.

What’s the lesson here? Prepare your foods safely using healthy ingredients otherwise they will make you sick.

A jar of peaches that you canned yourself provides natural sugars that will provide better energy as well as fiber that will help your body process it optimally without the added garbage. Oh, and it’s natural energy – not the hyperactive side effect of many artificial colors.

Even if you can’t can your own, you can buy cans of fruit and veggies without added junk: I just picked up a can of Del Monte pineapple chunks and it has two ingredients: pineapples and pineapple juice. I can pronounce both of those and tell you exactly what they are. Oh, and it has zero fat or cholesterol and offers 17g of healthy carbs and 20% of your RDA of vitamin C.

Now, we can debate the health risks associated with the plastics used to line some cans, but surely nobody will argue that the snack cakes are better than the fruit.

My point is that most of us have limited space to stockpile foods that we will depend upon for survival, so use it wisely. 10 cans of fruit take up the same space as two boxes of snack cakes. It’s kind of a no-brainer. You can’t live on sweets and canned wienies for more than a few days without becoming sick. You can live on fruits and veggies indefinitely.

There are also ingredients that can sneak into foods that you grow and preserve yourself, so you need to watch out for those, too. Finally, you need to preserve your foods using safe methods in order to avoid botulism. We’re going to touch on all of these today.

Discover the ingenious recipes that helped our ancestors stay alive!

The Poison Hidden in Canned Foods

Even if you preserve most of your own food, there are likely still some products that you’ll buy commercially to supplement your stockpile.

That’s fine. Just read the labels. The easiest step that you can take to ensuring that you’re getting pure nutrients instead of chemicals that make you sick is to stop buying processed foods. Seriously – they offer so little nutrition that even if you get it for free, you’re getting what you pay for. Instead of tossing that can of spaghetti rings into your cart, add some fruits or veggies instead.

The best way to buy safe foods is to look at the label. If you can’t pronounce it, it’s likely linked to one disease or another. Shoot for foods that have as few ingredients as possible. Here are some ingredients to avoid:

  • Artificial colors – linked to hyperactivity and headaches – it’s why you get that “sugar rush” after eating or drinking processed sugary foods.
  • Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup – I’m not differentiating between the two. They’re both bad for you and, believe it or not, physically addictive. I’m not preaching and telling you that sugar’s evil and you should never eat it (though I guess in theory, you shouldn’t). I’m just saying everything in moderation. A piece of pie for dessert if you eat your veggies is one thing, but you shouldn’t eat it AS your dinner.
  • Partially Hydrogenated Oils and Trans fats – both of these are bad for you. They’re not natural and they cause an increase in bad cholesterol and a decrease in good cholesterol. They’re also hard for your body to dissolve. Neither has any nutritional value. You’ll find these in most vegetable oils. When you’re stockpiling, go with healthier fats such as butter (yes, I said it!), olive oil, or coconut oil.
  • MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) – this is often added to food to increase stability, add flavor, and extend shelf life. It’s also not well-tolerated by many people and cause allergic reactions such as headaches and swelling of the face. It can also make you tired.
  • Sulphites – preservatives used to maintain color and extend shelf life. They can case many of the same reactions of MSG, including headaches, flushed/puffy faces or other anaphylactic reactions.

These are just a few of the bad guys that you should look for in your food. There are, of course, people who will debate both sides, especially on more contentious ingredients such as BTH and BTA. Just do your research and read labels. If in doubt, if you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, don’t buy it.

 

Get in Control Preserving Your Own Food

Just like there are ingredients that you have to avoid when you’re buying food off the shelf, There are also things you have to watch out for when you’re growing your own food, or at least preserving fresh food that you bought from others.

You’re probably thinking about washing the produce and making sure your canning equipment is clean, right? Well, yeah, but that’s not all. The place you start here is at the beginning, when you plant the seed or feed the chickens or cows.

What goes into growing your food goes into your food. You want to be careful not to give your animals hormones, and if you have to give them antibiotics, you’ll have to throw away the milk until it clears their systems. Note I didn’t say NOT to give your cow antibiotics – personally I think it’s cruel to let them die of mastitis because I don’t want to eat “tainted” meat. That’s my opinion, thought.

Say NO to Hormones

I do believe that there’s no reason on the planet to give any of your livestock hormones. They’re already hardwired to grow big enough to eat and to make milk or eggs. Studies link all kinds of diseases and illnesses to hormones in meat.

Feed Your Livestock Right

Animals need vitamins and minerals just like we do. Your chickens will love you if you give them scratch – lettuce, melon rinds, garden scraps, grass clippings, etc. and it’ a good way to feed them healthy foods.

As long as it’s not coated in commercial pesticides and such, though! Cows and horses need quality grain and roughage that hasn’t been sprayed with chemical herbicides, insecticides, or fertilizers.

What they eat eventually transfers to what you eat.

Grow Your Garden Organically

There are many effective ways to grow your food without using chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides. You can use compost – both solid and manure –as fertilizer.

You can add Epsom salt to increase the magnesium content of the soil. Boiling water, salt water, and soap kill weeds and harmful insects. Neem oil, citrus oil, and eucalyptus oil, to name a few, all kill insects.

What you put on your plants is what you’ll eventually end up eating.

This is harder when you buy your food from local coops, etc. because you don’t really have any way of knowing for sure exactly how they grow the food. If you don’t trust the source, then wash and/or peel your produce before you process it.

I guess the lesson here is that you are what you eat, so eat healthily!

Be Paranoid about Food Safety

Now, onto other safety measures that will keep your stockpile ingredients safe and healthy.

When you’re canning, make sure that you always sterilize all of your equipment. If you’re canning low-acid foods such as meat, you have to pressure can it – if you don’t, there’s no way to know for sure that you’re reaching the temperatures, and holding them long enough, to kill foodborne pathogens like botulism.

If you are about to open a store-bought can of food and it’s bulging or damaged, toss it because it could be contaminated with botulism. By the same token, if your home-canned goods are cloudy, frothy, leaking, or make more than the standard little pop when the seal breaks, toss it. One lost jar of food – or even 20 lost jars – isn’t worth botulism.

Pay attention to appearance, smell, and texture. Those are ways that you can tell if your food is bad.

Finally, and this should be common sense, wash all of your food before you prepare it, and wash your hands, too. Cross contamination can cause a lot of problems and it’s too easy to avoid.

One other note – if you’re dehydrating food, make sure that you get as much of the moisture out as possible, and trim all of the fat from it that you can before you start drying it.

Dehydrated food is amazing, lightweight, and doesn’t take up nearly the space that canned foods do, so do it right.

Back in the days, our grandparents knew how to eat healthy and their eating habits were the key to a strong, healthy and long life.

Find how our forefathers handled their survival food, and steal their secrets for your own survival!

If you can think of other ways to keep your survival stockpile healthy, please feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

How To Revive A Dead Car Battery With Aspirin Or Epsom Salt

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Nothing ruins your day like having to deal with a dead car battery. While this may be annoying during normal days, when you are in a hurry, the situation can escalate and you will lose valuable time. There are a few tricks to revive a dead car battery that you can use during desperate times. … Read more…

The post How To Revive A Dead Car Battery With Aspirin Or Epsom Salt was written by David Andrew Brown and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Why You Can’t Grow Food In Containers

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You start by planting seeds and hope to have a small crop but they don’t even sprout. Or you buy healthy seedlings and they just come to your home to die.

Your container gardening is just not working…

Just like with flat gardening, you’ll come across some problems when you’re practicing container gardening, too.

Are you going to give up before reading how these 8 problems can be solved?

Plants grow but don’t produce fruit

There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your plant grow from a seedling into a lush, beautiful plant, then waiting for fruit that never comes.

There are a couple of different reasons that this may happen.

Plant isn’t pollinated

If you’re growing plants that require cross-pollination, they won’t bear fruit if they aren’t pollinated. Usually, bees take care of this, but not always, especially if your containers are in a protected area or you live somewhere with a small bee population. These plants include squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, and some cucumbers to name a few.

To pollinate them so that they bear fruit, simply take a small, soft paintbrush and gently run it around the inside of each flower. Don’t forget to do the first one twice!

If you still have a problem, you may not have both male and female plants. Female plants may not develop if the weather is cold or too wet. You can determine which flowers are male and which are female, by their appearances. If you do this, then you can just pick the male flowers (only females bear fruit) and pollinate the females with those.

The easiest way to tell if many plants are female or male is to look at the base of the flower. For instance, with squash, the female flower will have a little squash underneath it at the base of the stem and a raised orange structure inside. The male will just have a stem on the bottom, but there will be an anther with pollen on it inside of it.

This will vary from plant to plant, so know how to tell the difference on your individual plants. Usually, though, the presence of the pollen-covered anther will be a dead giveaway.

Video first seen on Tower Garden

High temperatures or humid/arid conditions

Another reason that your plant may get bushy but not produce fruit is because they won’t produce if the temperature is too high or if the pollen can’t spread. This is particularly applicable to tomatoes and peppers.

If the temperatures regularly reach 85-90 degrees during the day and 75 degrees at night, the plant may not set fruit. If it’s too humid, the pollen may be too sticky inside the flowers to spread from flower to flower. If it’s too arid, the pollen may be too dry.

The best solution here is to protect your plants from the heat as much as possible, and make sure that they’re fed and watered correctly. Even though most people will tell you that tomatoes and peppers prefer full sun, if you live in places such as the southern US where temperatures can be brutal, “full sun” means “full sun in the morning.”

Plant your seedlings where they’ll get full sun in the morning but shade in the afternoon.

Learn from our ancestors the old lessons of growing your own food!

Seeds Don’t Sprout

This is incredibly frustrating. You’ve taken the time to choose your seeds and plant them, then you wait … and wait … and wait. And nothing happens. No seedling pokes through. What went wrong? Well, again, it can be a couple of things.

Seeds were too old

Seeds are only good for an average of a couple of years – some seeds may be good for up to five years – but don’t count on them for more than two years. To make sure that your seeds are good, germinate a few of them before you plant the rest.

Do this by placing ten seeds, evenly spaced, in a wet paper towel. Roll it up and put it in a baggie, then put the baggie in a warm spot in the kitchen for two to seven days. Check the seeds after then and see how many of them germinated.

The number of seeds that germinated will give you a good idea of the percentage of the other seeds that will germinate, thus giving you an idea of how many to plant in order to get the yield you’re looking for.

Incorrect amount of water

This is possibly the most common reasons why seeds don’t germinate. Some seeds, such as tomato seeds, like plenty of water. Others, like peppers, germinate better when the soil is fairly dry. The only solution here is to know what conditions your particular plants require in order to germinate the best.

Planting too deeply

This is a common mistake made by new gardeners. Most seeds don’t need to be planted more than an inch or so beneath the soil. Planting them deeper will either delay the appearance of the sprout or cause the seed not to germinate at all.

Planting in cold soil

Most plants need the soil to be at least 50 degrees in order to germinate, and 65 is better. If you live in an area that gets extremely cold, start your plants inside in order to get your seeds to germinate. A combination of planting too deeply and planting in cold soil is the most common reason for seeds not to germinate.

Plants have mold

You may notice a white mold growing on the top of your soil. This in itself isn’t cause for concern, though you do need to change the environment around your seedlings. The soil is either too wet or it isn’t getting enough sun, or both.

The white mold actually helps organic matter decompose, but you don’t want it to grow in your plants. Don’t freak out, though. It doesn’t mean instant death. Scrape the mold off the surface of the soil, then don’t water your plant again until the soil dries out.

Setting up a fan to circulate air may help, too. Just put it on a setting that causes the leaves to flutter.

Your plants may also get what looks like a white film over the leaves. This is actually powdery mildew and is one of the most common and easily identifiable fungal disease in plants. Unlike mold, mildew favors dry foliage. Like mold, though, it also favors low light and high humidity.

You have a few effective natural treatments, but the best is vinegar. Combine 2-3 tablespoons of ACV with a gallon of water and spritz on the leaves a couple of times a week until the mildew disappears. Be careful though, because vinegar can burn the plant. A combination of 1 part milk and 2 parts water is strangely effective, too.

Nobody really knows why, but it works! Sulfur and lime/sulfur works, too, but can easily damage your plants, so try the vinegar or milk first.

Video first seen on ehowgarden.

Other common problems to container gardens

Plants wilt even with enough water

Cause: insufficient drainage.

Tip: increase drainage holes, use a lighter soil mix.

Plants are “leggy” (spindly and unproductive)

Cause: not enough light.

Tip: relocate the plants.

Leaf edges die

Cause: too much salt.

Tip: leach container regularly by watering until water drains from drainage holes.

Plant turns yellow at the bottom

Cause: too much water.

Tip: water less and ensure good drainage.

These are most of the problems that you’ll run into with container gardening, aside from insects and other diseases.

If your plants become covered with spots, develop dead, dried, powdery, or rusty areas, you may have a few different issues. Your plant may not be warm enough, the soil may have low phosphate levels, or you may have a variety of diseases.

Start by separating the plant from your others and setting in the sunlight. Pull off the dead or damaged leaves, if you think the plant is salvageable. Also, spray with neem oil and/or vinegar water to kill a variety of bugs and diseases.

Container gardening is typically easy and most problems are related to water, sunlight, and temperature. The best way to avoid most of these problems is to know the needs of your plants and meet them.

Back in the days, people knew how to do it. Click the banner below to discover the long forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive during harsh times!

If you have any other questions or suggestions about container gardening, please feel free to share with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Heating Using Compost? Why Not?

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I bet you never thought about using compost to generate heat, did you? Mulch and compost are basically biomass and as it decomposes naturally, biomass creates heat as a byproduct. Why wouldn’t you make use of this heat?

We already published a few articles about the numerous benefits of compost and mulch for your household. We talk about what mulch and compost is, how can you DIY, what can you use it for, what are the best kinds of materials to use and so on. Just follow the links to get the general idea.

Long story short, let’s to put the compost to work for us again!

The Magic Behind the Process

The idea behind using compost or mulch for heating is to capture as much of the generated heat as possible and use it for various purposes around the house such as reducing your electricity bill, heating bill etc.

Since any pile of compost, if big enough and healthy enough, produces a reasonable amount of heat during the decomposition process, you can use the respective heat for warming water. When I say healthy, I mean that it has a good ratio (1:1) of nitrogen and carbon.

{adinserter usf}Of course, you’ll save money on your energy bill by doing this and you’ll also reduce the amount of garbage that you send to landfills (again, saving money in the process).

It’s a win-win situation, regardless how you look at it.

Biodegradation is the process that makes the magic things happen in your compost pile and that means that the trillions of microorganisms living in your compost or mulch must be “happy” if you want to obtain the best results.

For a high rate of biodegradation (as in successful composting) you must achieve an optimum level of aeration, balance (in terms of nutrients) and moisture in your compost mound.

All these elements, working in harmony with the fungi and bacteria that “feast” on the waste matter which is part of the compost, end up turning it into humus, water and carbon dioxide. Humus is basically the “end product” of composting and heat is the highly beneficial byproduct of the process of biodegradation, i.e. the conversion of organic matter after it has been eaten by microorganisms.

It sounds a bit complicated, but actually it’s very straightforward after you begin to grasp the concept.

Now, if you want to use the heat that results from composting, you must know that a faster compost rate results in more heat generated during the process.

If you want to achieve the best results, i.e. the most heat, you’ll have to use big piles. The heaps must be at least 3 cubic feet or more while the perfect compost mound measures 4-5 feet in all directions. Only mounds this size or larger are able to generate temperatures over 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

The most heat is generated in the center of the compost mound; that’s the “hot spot”. The hottest temperatures obtained in such piles can be as high as 160 degrees Fahrenheit in “hot” setups.

This is a respectable figure if you’re taking into account that the USDE (the Department of Energy) recommends 120 degrees Fahrenheit as the ideal temperature for heating the water in your household.

 

 

Source : www.survivopedia.com

 

            Check out these related articles from our site:

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Prep Blog Review: From Garden To Pantry

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Growing your own food offers you a great feeling of self-reliance. It doesn’t matter if your have a big garden, or you are growing your food indoors, in small containers, as long as you preserve it to feed you and your loved ones through the winter and during harsh times.

With this thing in mind, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered four articles on this topic.

1. 20 Plants You Can Turn Into Flour  

“In most of the world, wheat is a staple of almost everyone’s diet. Bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, cereal, and even beer all have wheat in them. Because of this, many off gridders are trying to grow their own wheat, but unfortunately, wheat can be difficult to grow depending on the land and climate.

Thankfully there’s a plethora of other plants both wild and domesticated that can be made into flour. Some of these plants are gluten free which can be great for those with sensitivities, but keep in mind they can be quite different to bake with. Gluten is what gives dough made from wheat flour its characteristic stretchiness.”

Read more on Homestead Survival Site.

2. Stock Your Prepper Food Pantry on an Affordable Budget

“If you live in an earthquake-prone region, or one that has seen deadly hurricanes, the devastation will happen again. If you live in a floodplain or an area that has seen tornadoes, you can be sure to experience those events every few years. The densely populated east and west coasts can shut down for a week from a serious storm or mudslide. And deep snow will fall in the mountain states that can affect the infrastructure, making it impassable.

Some of these natural events are commonplace each year, some every few decades, and some may only occur every hundred years. What’s surprising is that too many people still don’t prepare for a serious event they know is likely to occur.”

Read more on Survival Common Sense.

3. How To Make Dandelion Bread 

“Nearly every part of the common dandelion, from its brilliant yellow petals, to its roots have been foraged throughout history for food, drink and medicine.

A rich source of beta-carotene, dandelions are also packed with vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.  Young dandelion leaves are fantastic to eat raw and the roots can be roasted, ground and used in place of coffee.  Dandelion extract and tincture is used all over the world to treat ailments from high blood pressure and diabetes to liver complaints. Here you can find another 78 edible flowers to forage.

Dandelions are so easy to gather and it’s worth finding out how many ways you can use them.  Pick them somewhere that hasn’t been sprayed with herbicides and is not too close to busy roads.  Your own garden is probably perfect!”

Read more on Ask a Prepper.

4. 10 Healthy Herbs You Can Grow In Water

“No garden? No Problem! You can grow your own indoor herb garden without a pinch of soil. Even if you live in an apartment with nothing more than a tiny back porch or balcony, there is still room to grow some fragrant herbs.

All you need is water, sunlight, and a place for your plants to spread their roots.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

Replacing Gasoline: 7 Homemade Alternatives For Fuel

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

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

How Easy is to Make Gasoline at Home?

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

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

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

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

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

Start Off with Building a Steam Engine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rely on Water for Hydrogen Fuels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biodiesel

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

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

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

Video first seen on Utah Biodiesel Supply

Unusual Biomass Fuels

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

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on Lucid Science

The Overlooked Power of Natural Gas

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

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

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

Video first seen on GasitalyTube Italy

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

What About Magnet Based Propulsion?

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

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

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

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

Other Engine Designs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

12 Ways Activated Carbon Will Help Your Resilience

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Not so long ago, activated carbon was a common cure for many different ailment as well as a common household staple. Old habits and remedies should be revived: they are based on natural solutions much safer for our health than anything nowadays industries are offering us.

If you know how to use activated carbon, you might revert serious health problems now as well as prevent some of the worst ones that can occur anytime in your life.

If you want a good “multi-use” item in your medicine kit, activated carbon is the one to carry.

From removing ingested poison from stomach to air and water filtration, keep reading to find out the top 12 uses for activated charcoal.

Remove Ingested Poison from Stomach

No matter how hard you try, there are going to be times when you consume something that will present a danger to your health. By the same token, if you have livestock or other animals living with you, there is also a chance they will ingest some kind of poison that needs to be absorbed by a media such as activated carbon.

Fortunately, making and using activated carbon for this purpose uses the same basic process as you would use for most other purposes.  You may also want to purchase pre-manufactured activated carbon at a local pharmacy that is made for this purpose.

Discover the survival things the Pioneers took with them when they traveled for months!

Reduce Gas Reflux and Stomach Bloating

Given the number of toxins and dangerous additives in modern foods, it should come as no surprise that acid reflux and stomach bloating are on the rise. When you factor in side effects from various drugs, this situation gets even worse.

During a major social collapse or other crisis, you may wind up consuming other foods that irritate your stomach simply because you have no choice. These and many other situations may be made even worse because you may not have any remedies on hand to deal with the situation. Activated carbon capsules can help reduce both stomach bloat and acid.

Aquarium Filtration

If you are going to grow your own food, aquariums and fish ponds are likely to be part of your plans. Even if you choose not to eat the fish, you will still need waste from them for hydroponics and other forms of fertilizer.

Large numbers of fish are hard to keep in a smaller area without the use of activated carbon.

Here are some ways activated carbon makes it easier to start and maintain a healthy aquarium or fish pond:

  • Activated carbon helps remove gas based fish waste from the water.
  • When aquarium and pond water is cleaner, there is a less chance of toxic algae buildup.
  • Water that is full of toxins increases the risk of fish disease. Given that some fish carry TB and other illnesses, you will not want to take this kind of chance, especially if you are planning to eat the fish or use the water to fertilize plants.
  • When aquarium water is full of fish waste or other toxins, the fish will be less likely to breed and produce healthy offspring. While this may not be of much concern while you can still buy fish, it will most certainly be a problem when you must replace them in a crisis situation.
  • Aquarium and pond water are notorious for pulling toxins from the air. As a result, if the area is polluted, you can rest assured that the water in the aquarium is also in bad condition.  Activated carbon will pull these toxins from the water and help ensure your fish remain as healthy as possible.

To use activated carbon for this purpose, just break bigger pieces down to about the size of a pea and add them to the air filter.

I have used bubble filters for decades in my aquariums and have never needed to buy pre-fabricated cartridges for them.

If you plan to use bigger or stronger power filters, then you may need to find some way to refill the cartridge once the activated carbon needs replacing. Some aquarists say it is possible to reuse the carbon after heating it up and letting it dry out. I have never gotten this or other variations to work properly.

Keep Your Teeth Clean

Many people are surprised to learn that activated carbon can remove all kinds of stains and hidden debris from teeth. No matter whether you want to whiten your teeth or keep them clean without using toothpaste, activated carbon will be very useful.

All you need to do is grind the activated carbon down to a powder and mix it with some water.  Let the black paste sit on your teeth for a minute or so, brush, and then rinse off as you would any other toothpaste. Since activated carbon doesn’t have a good taste or texture, you may want to follow up with a peppermint wash or something else that helps you feel more comfortable.

You can use baking soda as toothpaste and then follow up with activated carbon now as well as during a major disaster.

Modern toothpaste is filled with carcinogens and other dangerous toxins. As with the air and water, more than a few of the chronic illnesses you are dealing with right now may be made worse by toothpaste.

Give activated carbon a try and see how you feel both from a dental and physical perspective. Remember, cavities and other dental diseases don’t just come from bad dental hygiene. They also come from making bad food choices and ingesting chemicals that do harm to the enamel on your teeth.

Ask your dentist about the benefits of using activated carbon as a toothpaste replacer, as well as what you can do to make your own toothpaste so that you can avoid all the toxins in modern formulas.

If your dentist says that modern toothpaste is an absolute necessity for dental health, bring with you a list of all the ingredients in the toothpaste, and the studies that prove one or more is carcinogenic. As strange as it may sound, if you wind up needing to get a second opinion, this may be better than going on with a growing health problem that you weren’t aware of.

Video first seen on Silke Dewulf.

Remove Pesticides from Soil

If you thought air and water pollution were bad, you may not realize that soil pollution is just as bad. Runoff from commercial farms and factories as well as pollution falling from the air all lead to soil based problems miles away from the initial site of contaminant release.

Once activated carbon touches something, it will begin leaching various chemicals from it. In this case, if you mix activated carbon into the soil, it will pull out pesticides and other dangerous toxins.

Personally, I would recommend using blocks or sheets of carbon for this purpose. You can try them a the surface level, or bury them in layers in order to give the chemicals a chance to leach through to the carbon layers.

Later on, you will need to remove the carbon so that the plants don’t break it down and release the pesticides right back into the soil.

Remember, activated carbon doesn’t break chemicals down, it is simply a very porous medium that acts as a storage container. You will still have to remove the carbon from the soil to completely get rid of the pesticide and other toxins.

Air Filtration

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are a number of furnace filters available that have activated carbon in them. In most cases, these are little more than a liquid solution of activated carbon added to the filter media.

You can try experimenting with your own versions to see if you can get a filter that effectively removes odors (and therefore their cause) from the air.

DIY Respirators and Gas Masks

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

These are reasons why making and wearing a viable gas mask or respirator is very important. As with air filters, activated carbon offers the widest range of protection against a range of chemicals.

Considering the rising rate of smog and other air pollutants, activated carbon masks are also very important for improving and maintaining a reasonable level of health. For example, in many Asian countries, people don’t go outdoors or exercise without wearing an activated carbon mask.

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

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

A surgical style activated carbon mask is better than nothing, however you will need a more robust respirator design for gas attacks and other dangerous situations.

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

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

Filter Water

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on MakerBoat

Preserve Papers

If you have books, paper based maps, or other important documents in your stockpile, it is very important to keep them free of air based chemicals that will do damage to them.

While a ziploc bag can be very useful, adding some activated carbon to the bag will also ensure the paper does not break down as quickly.

Remove Odor From Fabrics

Today, many people still use moth balls and other camphor based products to store clothes away for long periods of time. Aside from making your clothes very smelly, many of these products can also be very dangerous to your health.

If you want to keep clothes in your stockpile odor free, activated carbon may be of some help. If you routinely have bad smelling clothes, adding some activated carbon to the wash will also get rid of the problem.

You can make activated carbon sachets from nylon stockings (or very thin socks) and aquarium carbon, or buy them pre-made at the pet store.

Scent Block for Hunting

More than a few hunters have lost a chance to capture dinner because the target animal got a whiff of the hunter when the breeze changed.  Since most animals are afraid of human scent, even a slight breeze can cause problems.

Today, a number of hunting supply stores sell activated carbon solutions that will absorb body odors before they can be carried to the animal. You can also grind activated carbon into a powder and mix it with water.

Next, just dip your clothes in the solution and let them dry. Even though there is some controversy over whether this actually works, there is no harm in giving it a try, especially if you know or suspect that scent related issues are interfering with the hunt.

More than a few hunters also store their clothes in activated carbon in order to prevent other odors from getting into the clothes.

Tip: if you have been using the same clothes for years, and took a lot of time making sure they absorbed the scent of the woods, this can help prevent that from being disrupted.  All you need to do is add a few sachets of activated carbon to the bag or box and store away until needed for the next season.

Video first seen on Cabela’s Hunting

Manage Stings and Insect Bites

Bee stings and insect bites can become infected as well as cause a lot of pain and irritation. While activated carbon will not stop an infection, it can pull out the venom from stings and small bites.  Just apply the activated carbon to the skin and let it absorb the venom.

If you are allergic to bees or other insects, it is still very important to use an Epi-pen or other neutralizers that have a known track record for reliably managing this problem.

Activated carbon will not work for snake bites. Insect bites have much smaller amounts of venom than a snakebite. You can try a moist chewing tobacco bandage for snakebite and a constriction band above the site of a snakebite. You will still need the proper anti-venom to treat this condition.

Now that you know how to use activated charcoal, discover more valuable survival secrets from our forefathers.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Why The Most Delicate Part Of Our Infrastructure Is The Grid

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

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

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

The Fact: 3 Blackouts in One Day

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

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

Video first seen on Fox News.

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

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

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

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

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

The Question About the Cause

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Is the Risk?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Going Off-grid is Not Your Choice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

Sustainable Survival – Making ‘Off-The-Grid’ as Green as Possible

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This article was originally published by Will Brendza on survivallife.com

So, you want to live off of the grid. The smell of civilization is starting to spoil in your nostrils, the crowds of people constantly surrounding you have jangled your sanity – the wilderness calls. And you feel the strong urge to heed its beckoning, to exercise some civil disobedience and start looking for sustainable survival options.

Sustainable Survival

I’m all for it. In fact, I believe that surviving in the natural world, off the fat of the land is a skill everyone should understand. Because those are our roots. It’s easy to get caught up in a world full of flashing lights, screens and browsers, social webs, easy access to food and energy, and to forget that at our core, we humans are animals that belong in the wild.

To this extent, everyone should try living off the grid at least once in their life – even if it’s just for a season or two. Because it teaches you a lot about yourself and your place in the world.

But here’s the rub: living off the grid can be extremely bad for the environment. If not done properly, your little home-stake in the wild might be coughing up a pretty massive carbon footprint. And for someone who escaped to nature, polluting and damaging it might conflict with your priorities. Don’t you want to take care of the environment in which you live? What’s the point of living in nature if you’re just going to kill off the magic that made your off-the-grid getaway beautiful in the first place?

Sustainable off-the-grid living is totally doable (and it can even save you money!) Unfortunately, it isn’t always simple or straight forward. And it almost always requires a little more effort. Sure, it’s way easier to overlook the fish and the birds and the grass and the trees and the air and water quality of the place you live in. But if you are just a scourge upon the land that supports you, if you don’t give anything back or make any effort to be a steward of your environment, then you might as well just spend your days in the filthy heart of some concrete jungle.

Sustainable Energy off the Grid

Last summer I was way up North, in the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge helping a filmmaker capture the annual caribou migration. The arctic tundra is a vast wilderness, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced – there is nothing up there.

The only way to get around is by bush plane or helicopter and the only camp/refueling station out there in that desolate wild, is Kavik River Camp, run by one Kavik Sue. Sue lives way off the grid. Sue is a total Alaskan badass. But Sue is incredibly unsustainable in the way she runs her river camp: she burns all her trash (which is a lot, because she hosts hunters, photographers, filmmakers, oil crews and government scientists most of the year), she dumps the contents of their outhouses into the Kavik River, and perhaps worst of all, she runs her massive diesel generator all day and all night, non-stop, constantly, rain or shine.

The point of this story? You don’t have to use a gigantic gas-burning generator to produce enough electricity to live by. Especially if it’s just you and a few family/friends. Sue needs her big diesel generator, because sometimes there are up to 75 people staying at Camp Kavik (although she certainly doesn’t need to run it as much as she does).

Even if you can rely 25% on sustainable forms of energy, that is something. Most people who use alternative sustainable forms of energy production, do so in combination with a gas burning generator.

Alternative Options

Geothermal Energy:

This is a form of sustainable energy that is growing in popularity. It harnesses heat from within the Earth and converts it into electricity that you can use in your home. The only downside to geothermal energy is it takes a lot of planning and a lot of technical installation. You have to be situated over a geothermal hotspot that you can tap into. So, many structures that use geothermal heat were built with that plan already in mind. Geothermal energy is extremely reliable, and pumps out a significant amount of energy.

Hydroelectric Energy:

If there is running water on your property, or near your off-the-grid getaway, you can harness that and create free electricity. You can build your own hydroelectric generator or have one installed professionally. Here is an extremely helpful guide to using hydroelectric generators, and understanding their survival applications.

Solar Energy:

Solar panels are widely available for purchase, and some companies even offer free installation. Obviously solar energy works best when you are in a place that get’s a lot of sun, and the Panels have to be south facing in order to maximize sun contact. Solar panels produce steady, reliable amounts of energy, and just a few small ones might be enough to produce all the energy you need at your off-the-grid getaway.

Wind Energy:

Wind is a little harder to nail down. Because big wind turbines are SUPER expensive and require teams of engineers to build and maintain. That isn’t an option for most people – but there are some smaller, personal and home sized wind on the market. Even in the last couple of years the technology has come a long way – the Micro Wind Turbine is just one of several types of portable wind turbines designed for backpackers. Wind energy is extremely sustainable, and in windy areas it is a very reliable source of electricity.

Sustainable Houses

Making sure your house is sustainable is first and foremost a matter of protecting your energy (and your wallet). If your house or cabin or hut can’t hold heat for crap, then you will constantly be wasting energy and money and polluting in the process.

So what can be done? Well, there are a lot of ways to make a structure sustainable. Here are just a few:

Earthships:

These are the most sustainable homes on the market. They are “the Ultimate green houses” and can be built anywhere on the planet. They use extremely creative recycled materials to build these homes – which function effectively to hold in heat in cold weather and keep it cool in hot weather. Earthship Biotecture is the company that invented these super-sustainable off-the-grid homes, and they can build one for you, to your specifications, with alternative electricity, potable water, and sewage systems included.

Adobe Homes:

Adobe houses are made from a mud and clay mixture, and they are extremely popular throughout the southwest US desert. The natives of that region have been using adobe for thousands of years because it is such a great building material in the desert. Its insulating properties make it perfect to handle the often drastic temperature shifts of those regions. Adobe is the perfect, natural, sustainable material for building off-the-grid getaways in the desert – but I wouldn’t recommend them anywhere else.

Hobbit Holes:

Believe it or not, Hobbits were onto something with their hole-homes. But they didn’t come up with the idea first – building residences directly into the sides of hills and mountains has been a common practice throughout Scandinavia for centuries. And (as we learned with Adobe) Earth often makes for the best insulating, sustainable building material. Hobbit holes are particularly good at retaining heat when it’s bitter cold out, and staying cool when it’s warm. Vikings commonly built homes and hunting huts like these, and the practice is just as effective today as it was back then. If you want to make a hobbit hole, just pick the right hill and make sure you build in a lot of support… it wouldn’t be good to have your hill collapse on you.

Log Cabins:

Log cabins are old school, they make for classic off-the-grid huts. Logs are readily available almost anywhere, and they insulate well. The only caveat I’ll maintain about building log cabins is this: if you are cutting down the trees to make your hut, do so sparingly. If you’re trying to be sustainable, it does no good to level an entire forest just to build yourself a personal six-bedroom hunting lodge out in the middle of nowhere.

Sustainable Food

Living off the grid requires that one either stocks, or grows/cultivates their own food. I believe in a healthy balance between the two: keeping a generous supply of canned and preserved goods in case of an emergency, while also growing as much fresh produce as possible. Putting all your eggs in one basket or the other will likely lead to issues.

If storing food is all you do, you’re spending lots of money and making lots of trips to the store, wasting gasoline to do so, and probably eating pretty unhealthily on top of all that. Growing fresh food and raising fresh livestock is important, not just for your wallet, not just for the environment, but for your health.

Aquaponic Gardening:

The first time I was introduced to this fancy type of gardening was at a Mahayana yoga ashram high in the Rocky Mountains where they exclusively cooked food for the entire community with produce grown in their greenhouse. The system is about as sustainable as gardening can get – a big tank of fish produce fish waste, which is then fed through pipes to the veggies, which use the nutrients in the water as fertilizer to flourish. Those flourishing veggies filter out the water, which is then clean and pumped back to the fish tank, where the cycle starts all over again. The fish provide the plants with nutrients and fertilizer, and the veggies provide the fish with fresh, clean water. And you get to enjoy all the fresh goodies they make.

Animals:

Animals are really good for the land. Cows and goats fertilize the earth with their waste, chickens aerate the soil as they peck through it in search of grubs and seeds, and bees pollinate the flowers and the trees… And having access to cow milk, goat milk, fresh eggs, poultry, and fresh honey is extremely beneficial for someone living off the grid. It’s a win-win situation: the land stays healthy and you stay fed.

Eventually you want to be growing and producing more food on your own than you are buying. That’s the end goal, but you don’t have to get there right away – start small with a greenhouse or a couple chickens, then work your way up to having an entire farm. Agriculture and animal rearing are essential to off the grid living, and when it comes to food, sustainable growth is the only way to go. Anything else just falls short. Your animals and gardens will be most productive when you are running them at maximum sustainability.

Managing Waste Off-Grid

Burning your garbage is a terrible idea. I saw it being done all over Thailand and Vietnam, and the smoke produced by it is absolutely toxic, and pumps so much pollution into the air. Sadly, this is how most people living off the grid choose to dispose of their waste. It might be impossible to eliminate burning garbage at your off the grid home altogether, but you can certainly minimize it by composting, reusing and recycling.

Compost:

Any and all organic material can be piled up into a compost pile. This mound of garbage will rot and decay and can eventually be used as fertilizer for gardens. This reduces a lot of what ends up getting thrown away, and repurposes it.

Reuse:

This one is pretty simple. If there is a glass jar or plastic container that you can repurpose and use somewhere else to some other end, do it. Reuse as much as you possibly can.

Recycle:

I know, it requires a lot of effort. But if you keep all cardboard, paper and tin/plastic/aluminum set aside, once a month you can make a trip to town and recycle these materials. This is the biggest reducer of garbage besides compost, and is an essential piece to sustainable living.

Sustainable Survival

There are a lot of ways to achieve sustainability. You don’t have to do them all, all at once. Nor do you have to drastically change your off-the-grid lifestyle all at once. But I can promise you that living sustainably in nature is far more rewarding, and far more enjoyable than living in nature only to destroy and pollute it.

And hell, maybe you don’t care about this “hippy-dippy BS”. Maybe you just want to run your generators, fell your trees, and burn your garbage all day long. I can’t stop you. But you live in the world you create – and if you make a toxic dump out of your off-the-grid getaway, it’s you who has to live there.

Source : survivallife.com

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Build your tiny home like a boat

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It’s a funny thing, I had always thought people who built tiny homes, especially the portable ones did build their homes like a boat, water tight, flexible, but I suppose I was wrong about that assumption.

Tiny home like a boat
There are different approaches to building, it’s like the old saying, everything looks like a nail if you are a hammer… so if you are a carpenter, you will build as a carpenter does, which is not the same way you would build for a marine environment.

Building a home that is also your vehicle, you need something that will flex without cracking or breaking, no nails were used, it is all mortised, glued and screwed. This tiny home built on a truck is a one of a kind, it’s filled with unique beautiful and useful items, I really love their stove! It does seem tight and cramped, maybe it’s the table that sticks out in the middle, I think I’d shrink that down or make it where it folds out of the way, just my personal observation, obviously they live with it just fine.

He mentions gypsies, this does have a gypsy feel and look to it. Watch and enjoy, let me know what you think below 🙂

https://youtu.be/iAusQYscQZ8

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How To DIY An Expensive Water Filter On A Budget

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Have you ever wondered which are the first items to disappear from the shelves in an emergency situation? If you did, I bet you’ve reached the same conclusion as yours truly: water, food, and guns, in no particular order.

Because water and food are essential survival items needed on a daily basis – never mind an emergency/SHTF situation – they’re among the first to make the “extinct” list at any grocery store or seven-eleven.

And while you can live for a couple of weeks sans food, the story with water is way more dramatic; you’ll croak in 2-3 days tops without water.

And what’s even worse, even if you manage to get some water from a – let’s say dubious – source, drinking impure water is almost as bad as not drinking at all. Besides the fact that you can get sick from bacteria/chemical pollutants, you may spread the disease you’ve contracted from unfiltered water to the members of your community, to your children etc. You got the idea.

You should also be aware of the fact that a community’s water supply is one of the first essential resources to be compromised/contaminated in a disaster.

This short preamble is aimed at emphasizing the fact that water filters are essential, must-have items in every respectable prepper’s paraphernalia. Some of the water filters on the market can be described as the rock star of water filters, one of those inventions which made prepping great again in North America!

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

About the Best Water Filters on the Market

For example, Berkey water filter systems are arguably the most popular brand among preppers and regular folk living in areas where water is not safe for drinking for various reasons: disaster sites, rural areas etc. Using one of these bad boys, you’ll be able to produce potable water from various sources like rain water or water from rivers, streams, lakes, or wherever.

They are so popular thanks to their high quality and their performance, and that’s due to their proprietary/state of the art cleanable micro permeable ceramic filter elements. This type of ceramic filter is long-lasting, highly effective, and if we’re talking about a gravity fed water filtering system, it requires no electricity. This type of water filter system will cost you around $250-$300 (depending on your location) and I am talking about the 2.5 gallon system. The Imperial Berkey, which is a 4.5 gallon system will easily cost you north of $350.

Now, for example, if you take a look at the Big Berkey, which in my neck of the woods will drain around $400, what you really have here is a couple of fancy-looking, stainless steel-made, big buckets, and that makes for an accurate description if there ever was one, at least in my opinion. I’m not saying that it’s not worth the price, but if you can’t afford to spend that kind of money, relax; there are ways around it.

What’s not so great about the the best water filters on the market is that it will cost you beaucop dollars. However, the good news is that you can save a lot of dough DIY-ing your own water filter in the same style. I am talking about saving approximately $200 here, which can be used for more useful things, like stockpiling food and ammo, or paying your bills.

How a Ceramic Walter Filter Works

This water filter works something like this: the top bucket contains the aforementioned state of the art ceramic filters. The water leaves the top bucket, gets filtered through the filters, and then it drains into the lower bucket. That’s all there is to it, really, simple and effective. All gravity-fed water filters work the same, regardless of the brand.

However, there’s another, less expensive way to get your own high-quality water filtering system by using just the Berkey filters and ditching the rest of the fancy-looking assembly.Yeah, you got that right: you’ll still use those top notch Berkey-made filters, but you’ll DIY the rest of the device, saving big bucks in the process.

How to DIY Your Own Expensive Water Filter on a Budget

Of course, since you’ll most likely be using plastic buckets for the DIY job, your homemade filter will lack the “wow” factor of a stainless steel-made one, but the water quality will be just the same, and that’s all that matters in final analysis. This is not a beauty contest.

What You Need

As per materials required, you’ll need a couple of 2- or 5-gallon food-grade plastic buckets (pay attention to the food grade part) with lids.

The buckets can be usually procured for free from restaurants or grocery stores. Stay away from pickle buckets if you can, as the smell is hard to wash out. If you can’t find free food-grade buckets, you can go for the out-of-pocket option and buy them new. They aren’t very expensive; 5-10 bucks. You can go for stainless steel containers (especially if you already have them) instead of plastic buckets, as stainless steel is more sanitary than plastic.

Besides the plastic/steel containers, the main component in your DIY water filtering system is the Berkey filter element. You’ll need two of those (they always come in pairs) and they’re easy to get on the Internet from places like Amazon.com.

And here comes the crux of the trick: a genuine Berkey replacement filter costs anywhere between 30% and 50% of the whole water filter; here’s where you save the big bucks. If this filter is too much for your budget, don’t worry; there are many other brands to choose from on Amazon which are cheaper. Just look for .01-.02 micron ceramic water filters and make sure you read the reviews, thus making sure you’re buying the good stuff.

Finally, you’ll need a spigot, and obviously you can get a Berkey system spigot or that kind used for water coolers from Amazon or Ebay.

As per tools, all that’s required for a basic DIY water filtering system is a power drill.

With the gear taken care of, you’ll have to drill some holes through the plastic buckets and then attach the water filtering elements and the spigots. It’s a pretty straight forward job and very simple.

Keep in mind to prime the filters prior to installing them into the pails; i.e. flush them with water at your kitchen sink. Don’t worry because there are instructions for doing this included in the package.

Another thing: after you’re finished with assembling your water filtering system, discard the first 2-3 batches of filtered water.That’s because you’ll want to flush out all the potential residue left inside the filters from the manufacturing process.

If you want to filter the fluoride from the water (regular black Berkey filters don’t do that) you’ll have to go the extra mile and buy a couple of optional fluoride filters. They’re easy to install, as they just screw on the bottom of the regular filters. There are attaching instructions in the bundle.

Black Berkey filters are good enough for providing you with 6000 gallons of crystal clear water before requiring replacement, meaning that they’re last you for at least a couple of years if not more. Fluoride filters must be renewed sooner: every 1000 gallons or so, approximately. If you’re going to use 5-gallon buckets for your DIY job, you’ll have to buy replacement filters for the Imperial Berkey system.

And here come the video tutorials.

The simplest of the bunch, this is a guy using 2 recycled plastic buckets and a screwdriver (not even a power tool!) for DIYing his own water filtering system. It’s a 15 minute job.

Video first seen on Steve Spence.

And here’s another, with the whole DIY job made by a nice lady.

Video first seen on namegatherer

Finally, a higher-end job: a water purifier built using 16-quart stainless steel stockpots with lid. This job is a little bit more difficult, as it involves cutting through steel and all that, but it’s doable.

Video first seen on thebossoftheswamp

I hope the article helped. If you have any question or comments, feel free to speak your mind in the dedicated section below.

Never worry about having safe water again.

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

How to Deal With Laundry in Survival or Primitive Situations

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Sanitation is an important aspect of survival and this topic is poorly covered in most survival books. When it comes to dealing with dirty laundry, many people rely on their washing machines to clean their clothes. They can live without these modern appliances and only few of them remember how our ancestors cleaned their laundry. … Read more…

The post How to Deal With Laundry in Survival or Primitive Situations was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Personal and Family Preparedness.

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Personal and Family Preparedness.

Personally I don’t see one thing as being more important than another. There is no point in prioritising shelter if you are unable to protect & defend. But for the purpose of this article, I will start with my home & work my way through other priorities.

We have two dwellings, a main house & an old cottage. Both are situated in a forest that we own. We do have fire breaks, but this winter we will be widening those breaks because of the new threat posed by global warming. On the main house we have two 5000 gallon cement water tanks, plus another 1000 gallons in a polly tank for the garden. We have two fire pumps, one on the lower cement tank, & one down at Cattail Pond. The Cattail Pond pump can pump water up to the main house & the cottage for gardens & fire fighting. The gardens supply us with all our vegetable needs for the house & the chooks, but we also keep on hand a good supply of dried, bottled & canned foods. The chooks are kept mainly for eggs.

The main house & the cottage are both off grid & self-sustainable with grey water systems & composting toilets. The cottage has two 1000 gallon water tanks but we will be adding another larger tank soon. Heating of both houses & hot water is provided by wood burning stoves, plus a wood heater in the main house & a large open fire in the cottage. Cooking of course is also done on the wood burning stoves & the forest supplies all our firewood. 240 volt Electricity is supplied by solar panels & batteries.

We have four 4WDs, The Lada is only used on the property, but the Hilux & Triton diesels are registered for the road, as is the X-Trail SUV. If we ever have to leave here, the whole family can just fit in the Hilux & the two Tritons with all our equipment. Every family member that is able to carry has their own pack & arms. I am a primitive skills instructor & I have passed my skills on to my three sons. Arms are a mixture of modern breech-loaders, muzzle-loaders & traditional bows. Our equipment is all 18thcentury except for medical supplies & some of the water containers. We do not expect to have to leave our forest home as we have plenty of people & arms to protect what we have, but we are prepared to leave if we consider it necessary.

Individual equipment is much the same for everyone with a few exceptions including arms, types of packs, clothing. & personal items.

Equipment List:

.62 cal/20 gauge flintlock fusil. 42 inch barrel.

.70 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol.

Gun tools and spare lock parts.

Shot pouch and contents.

Leather drawstring pouch of .60 caliber ball (in knapsack).

Powder horn.

Ball mould and swan shot mould.

5 Gunpowder wallets

Lead ladle.

Butcher/Hunting knife.

Legging knife.

Clasp knife.

Tomahawk.

Fire bag.

Tinderbox.

Belt pouch.

Fishing tackle in brass container.

Two brass snares.

Roll of brass snare wire.

Knapsack.

Scrip.

Market Wallet.

Tin Cup.

Kettle.

Water filter bags (cotton & linen bags).

Medical pouch.

Housewife.

Piece of soap and a broken ivory comb.

Dried foods in bags.

Wooden spoon.

Compass.

Whet stone.

Small metal file.

Oilcloth.

One blanket (Monmouth cap, spare wool waistcoat and wool shirt rolled inside blanket).

Two glass saddle flasks.

Length of hemp rope.

Bottle of rum.

Basic list of what I carry. This list is made up from items that we know were carried, from items that my research has shown were available, & from items that have been found, such as the brass snare wire. I am not saying every woodsrunner carried all these items, but I am saying that some woodsrunners may have carried all these items. From experimental archaeology results in historical trekking, I think the items I have chosen are a reasonable choice for any woodsrunner that is going to live in the wilderness for a year or more.

Skills: All adult male family members have these skills. The only reason the women don’t have these skills is because they have not shown any interest. Two of the women can use a gun & one of the girls has her own bow. One of our family is a trained nurse & others have skills such as cooking, clothing manufacture, weaving & gardening.

Skills List:

Fire-bow Flint & steel fire lighting

Wet weather fire lighting

fire lighting

Flintlock fire lighting

Flintlock use, service & repair

Marksmanship with either gun or bow.

Field dressing & butchering game

Blade sharpening

Tomahawk throwing

Making rawhide

Brain tanning

Primitive shelter construction

How to stay warm in winter with only one blanket

Cordage manufacture

Moccasin construction and repair

Sewing

Axe and tomahawk helve making

Fishing

Hunting

Evasion

Tracking

Reading sign

Woods lore

Navigation

Primitive trap construction & trapping

Open fire cooking

Fireplace construction

Clothing manufacture

Drying meat & other foods

Knowledge of plant tinders & preparation

Knowledge of native foods & preparation

Knowledge of native plants in the area and their uses for other than tinder and food.

Scouting/Ranging.

Basic first aid.

Finding and treating water.

General leather work.

5+1 Organic Remedies For Your Spring Garden

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It’s almost that time of year again – time to set out your plants and get that beautiful garden growing! But, one of the biggest problems that many of us face is that we grow our own food to avoid chemicals, but we need fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides to really get the most out of our labor.

Don’t worry – there are excellent organic options to help your garden grow.

Read the article below to discover them!

Seeds

You’re not going to grow anything of quality if you don’t start with good seeds. It’s easy to go the cheap route and buy seeds at the dollar store, but do your research. This isn’t the place that you want to skimp because if you do it right, you’ll only have to buy seeds once because next year, you’ll use ones that you harvest from your own crop.

Now, you’ve likely heard of GMO, which stands for “genetically modified organism.” Scientists literally modify the DNA of the plant to make it “better.” Of course, we know that actually means, “more profitable,” not “more healthy.”

Because science tinkered with the natural structure of the plant, the seeds are unreliable. You may get great results by replanting them, or none of them may grow. Besides, GMO have been linked to several different illnesses. Skip them.

You want to go with heirloom seeds because they’ve been carefully cultivated from one type of plant for generations. They’re reliable and safe. To learn more about the different types of seeds, check out this article.

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

Organic Fertilizer

In the event SHTF, you might not be able to run down to the garden center and pick up a bag of Miracle Gro. Why would you want to even when you can? You can make your own fertilizer at home that’s every bit as good as the store-bought stuff, and you know exactly what’s in it.

But what if your tomato plants grow just fine? I’ll be rude and answer a question with a question. How do you know that they’re growing fine? Sure, they may be growing and producing, but here’s the thing – our soil is depleted.

That means that what passes for a tomato today likely only has a fraction of the nutrients that it had 100 years ago. Too many seasons of constant planting without a break has sucked all the nutrients out of the soil, and if there’s none in the soil, well, there’s none in the plant.

So you need fertilizer. Your compost is going to be a huge part of that, but you can also add nutrients in other ways, such as by mixing Epsom salt around your tomatoes and peppers or by mixing a bit of diluted vinegar in if your soil isn’t acidic enough. Check out this article for more tips for fertilizer, but don’t skip it, whatever you do!

Video first seen on GrowVeg

Compost

This is probably the most proactive step you can take for a healthy garden, but to do it right, you’re going to need to do it right. You can put many things, from food scraps to paper and ash in it, but there are definitely some no-nos.

Now, before you start saying that you can’t have a compost pile because you don’t have a big enough area, let me stop you because you only need an area the size of a bin to have a compost pile … err, bin.

Oh, and you can have liquid manure compost – aka manure tea – too. It’s exceptionally good for plants that require extra nitrogen. Manure tea is exactly what it sounds like – manure that’s been steeped in water. It’s a bit involved and takes some time, but it’s well worth the end result. It’s especially good for plants with deep roots.

Herbicides

Oh, those nasty weeds. Of course, if you’re container gardening, it’s not such a hassle, but if you have a traditional garden, it’s a real pain, literally and figuratively. And if you opt to use commercial herbicides, you’re often defeating one of the purposes of growing your own garden  by using chemicals on your food.

Fortunately, you have many natural options that will work just as well as harmful chemicals. First, mulch is an excellent idea for several reasons. It helps keep the weeds to a minimum, it holds the moisture in the soil, and it acts as a natural fertilizer when it breaks down. That’s assuming you make your own mulch, which is cheap (or free), or buy organic mulch, which is NOT cheap or free.

Another option that isn’t exactly an herbicide but works as well as one is to use landscape fabric, which you can also make yourself from recycled sheets, feed sacks, etc. Or, you can buy it. It prevents weeds from growing by blocking out the sunlight. A natural result of this is that it helps hold moisture in the soil as well.

Boiling water works, too. It’ll kill a weed quick, but this isn’t particularly effective if you’re treating your entire garden.

Borax, bleach, vinegar, and salt water are also effective herbicides though you may need to repeat the process. Add a little liquid dish detergent to each for an extra boost. Be sure to spray these only on the leaves of the plants that you want to kill because none of them discriminate.

Be careful not to saturate the soil because all of them alter the pH and can have catastrophic effects on your plants.

Video first seen on Grow Your Heirlooms

Insecticides

This is the big bad of the chemicals that most people consider necessary to growing a healthy, productive garden. And it’s true – nothing will wipe out a garden faster that a horde of hungry aphids, beetles, or other flying or crawling creatures.

Fortunately, you have options here, too, and some of them, such as dish detergent, serve double duty and kill weeds, too.

Neem is probably the most effective. It’s been used for centuries and has more than 50 natural insecticides. Since it’s safe for you, your pets, and your plants, you can use it without worrying about damage. The only problem is that the bug has to actually eat the plant to die, so if you have an infestation of something, you may have some losses before you win the battle.

Himalayan salt kills spider mites. Just mix 2 Tbsp. of salt in 1 gallon of water and mist onto infested areas.

Chrysanthemum flower spray is lethal to insects because it paralyzes their nervous systems and immobilizes them. Just boil 3.5 ounces of flowers with a liter of water into a tea and spray directly on the plant. The spray stores for up to 2 months. Add some neem oil to give it an extra boost.

I call this the pizza spray – it’s made of 1 clove minced garlic, 1 medium sliced onion, and 1 tsp. cayenne pepper. Add them to a quart of water and let it soak for an hour. You don’t want to cook it; just let it soak. Add a tablespoon of liquid soap and spray directly onto the plant. This will stay potent for a week or better in the fridge.

Grind a couple of handfuls of dried chilis and add to a cup of diatomaceous Earth, then add 2 liters of water. Let it soak overnight, then shake it up and apply.

Other natural pesticides include orange oil, citrus oil. Eucalyptus oil, soap, and mineral oil. Dilute them with water and spray directly onto the plant.

Note that, with the exception of the soap, all of these concoctions are drinkable (though I don’t imagine that you’d want to) so you’re not going to poison yourself.

Critters

Bunnies and deers are really cute until you find them eating your carrots and corn. Then, not so much. As a matter of fact, so may say that they’d look delicious on  a plate side-by-side with said veggies after they’re busted dining on your labors.

I once lost an entire crop of cherries overnight because apparently the birds had been waiting for them to be perfect just as I had, but they were up earlier than I was. Two words – bird netting.

But, they do have minds of their own and aren’t easily deterred. Some good ideas that may help you keep from feeding the neighborhood wildlife instead of saving it all for yourself are as follows:

Marigolds. Rabbits, deer, and other wildlife hate the smell of them so plant them around your perimeter. You can also build chicken wire fences around your garden, or around the plants that you’re worried about.

Raccoons and some other animals hate the smell of Epsom salt – which, by the way, isn’t a salt so it won’t kill your plants. Just sprinkle it around the perimeter of the garden. It also increases the magnesium in your soil, so your plants may thank you.

Solar motion-activated lights may help scare them off, especially if you relocate them regularly so that the animals don’t get used to them.

Finally, you can cover your plants at night using tulle netting – that gauzy stuff that a bride’s veil is made of. For that matter, if you’re only covering it at night, you can use light sheets or other fabric that won’t break the plants.

We’ve covered most of the ways that you can grow a healthy, delicious garden without worrying about chemicals leeching into your foods. Plus, most of these suggestions are free or super cheap, so it’s a win in all directions!

Do you wonder what are the secrets that helped our grandparents grow their own food to survive during harsh times?

Click the banner bellow and uncover them!

If you have any more ideas about organic remedies to keep your survival garden healthy, share them in the comments section below. Happy gardening!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

DIY Projects: 4 Ways To Build An Alcohol Stove

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

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

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

Alcohol Stove – Myths Debunked

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to DIY an Alcohol Stove

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

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

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

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

Alcohol Stove Comparison

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

Video first seen on ITS Tactical / Imminent Threat Solutions

The Beverage Can Stove

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on IntenseAngler.

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

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

Video first seen on Andrew W

The Tornado Wick Jet Alcohol Stove

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

Video first seen on tetkoba’s Alcohol Stove Addict

The Tin Can Stove

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on Nick Van Leuven

The Cream Box Stove

Video first seen on Mr. Llega

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

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

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

Survival Fishing: How To Catch A Fish Without A Fishing Pole

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If you happen to get stranded near a river, creek, pond or any water body with fish, and you have at least a day before help arrives, then you’ve got to make good with the materials around you to stay alive and kicking. Chances are you may have no fishing gear with you. But if … Read more…

The post Survival Fishing: How To Catch A Fish Without A Fishing Pole was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Prep Blog Review: House Projects To Start In The Spring

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I love spring! Is the perfect time to start new projects around the house, in my garden, for my homestead, and take my prepping goals to the next level. Every new projects means learning a new survival skill or practicing an old one, and you can transform these activities into a fun family activity.

If you are having some extra time and you are looking for cool, fun and easy spring prepper projects, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered four articles on this topic.

Do you have other spring projects on the way? Share them in the comment section!

1. 50+ Things You Can Make Using Essential Oils 

“While essential oils have been used for aromatherapy for hundreds of years, these all-natural scents are seeing a spike in popularity as more people are learning about their de-stressing and energizing abilities.

Derived from plants or flowers, most often through steam distillation, essential oils can be used to make scented candles, oil diffusers, even pest repellants.

To show you all the possibilities a little bottle of essential oil holds, we rounded up some of our favorite things to make with essential oils—along with our guides to picking the right scent.”

Read more on Apartment Therapy.

2. Making Furniture and Other Structures With Sticks 

“If you’re living off the grid, chances are you are in a rustic setting and possibly/most likely have a rustic dwelling, maybe even a log cabin that you built by hand (that would be awesome).

Well, what would fit with that rustic theme better than rustic furniture?

Clearing the Land

When you make your homestead location, chances are there will be a lot of trees there that you will be cutting down to clear a spot for your home and garden areas.

Besides the heavier logs that come from cutting trees that can be used for making boards, beams, and split rails, you are also going to amass quite a pile of sticks.

No, seriously, there will be a huge pile of sticks. So why not put those sticks to good use? After all, waste not want not, right?”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

3. The Prepared Home: 5 Prepper Project to Start in the Spring 

“ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, as many of you know, planning is an important aspect of emergency preparedness.

Each year, you should make new plans and practice your new skills.

I wrote an article a little while back about planning (and possibly starting) an icehouse/root cellar during the wintertime.

As of this writing, spring is just around the corner (officially), and the cold weather is starting to retreat bit by bit.  We’re going to cover a few ideas for you to pursue during the spring months for building projects around your property.

Let’s jump right into it, with a description of the projects and the reason for building them.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

4. Smart Ways to Reuse Things 

“My grandparents never threw away a thing that could have been used later on.

They were the old time preppers: stockpiling and re-purposing almost everything.

Today we live in a throwaway society, where even our water comes in a disposable, single use bottle.

Electronics and other consumer goods are expected to last until the next, better model comes out.

Our landfills are filling up and this throwaway mentality benefits only the producer who can sell more.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

 

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

How To Build A Walipini Greenhouse

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We use cellars because they maintain a more constant temperature than structures that are built above-ground. We use greenhouses to extend the growing season because they hold in heat. Well what if you combined a greenhouse and a cellar? You’d have a greenhouse that would allow you to grow plants year-round.

This type of greenhouse is called a geothermal, pit or, Walipini greenhouse, and is common in South America. ‘Walipini’ means ‘place of warmth’ in Aymara Indian, and it’s an apt name.

Basically, the idea is that once you get below the frost line (3-5 feet below the surface, the Earth maintains a fairly constant temperature. In the US, that temperature is typically around 45-50 degrees in the northern states and 50-70 in the south. That range makes for perfect plant-growing temperatures, especially when you add a covering to one side that sun can shine through and warm it up a bit.

You’re harnessing the existing geothermal heat by digging 6-8 feet underground and capturing and storing solar radiation in order to create a near-ideal growing climate that’s resistant to surface-level temperature changes.

Benefits of a Walipini Greenhouse

There’s the most obvious benefit – you extend your growing season, or even make it so that you can grow food year-round.

Another reason that this type of greenhouse may appeal to preppers is that, depending on how you build it, it’s not obvious what’s in it so your food will be better hidden.

I’ve even seen articles about Walipinis that are built in such a way that they are a self-sustaining unit containing animals, aquaculture, and hydroponic plants. That’s a bit complicated and beyond the scope of what we’re doing today, but it can be done.

If you live in a dry climate, another advantage is that your Walipini is going to hold moisture from the ground in. You can help this along by using water along the wall to help pull the heat from the earth. That way, you’re making the air warmer and moister. Plants will love you. Actually, take condensation into consideration when you’re building.

The final advantage that a Walipini or pit greenhouse has is that you can build the whole thing for just a few hundred bucks. Less if you already have the materials.

Learn from our ancestors the old lessons of growing your own food.

How to Situate your Walipini Greenhouse

The first thing you need to do before you start gathering materials is determine where you’re going to build. You need to know a couple of things when you make this decision:

  • your local water table
  • how large you want your greenhouse to be. The larger it is, the more stable the temperature will be.

Ideally, a Walipini greenhouse is built by digging into the ground so that 3 sides and the floor are underground, and the exposed side, which is covered with windows or plastic, is built facing the winter sun – south in the northern hemisphere – and at a 90-degree angle to the sun. Think digging into a hillside, then covering the hole with plastic, which is actually a pretty good description.

Of course, what’s ideal isn’t always realistic. We don’t all live in places that even have hills to dig into. You can also dig them so that they’re just a pit and the sun is directly overhead. Of course, you’ll see that you can use the dirt that you remove from the pit to build up the rear side of the pit both for better insulation and to give you that angle for your plastic that will both help with rain run-off and position your light better.

The important things are that you dig beyond the frost-line, provide good insulation that will pull the heat in, and make sure that you don’t dig below the water line. Obviously, that would be bad. You need to make sure that the floor will be at least 4 feet above the water line.

Now, if you live in an area where the water table is measured in inches instead of feet, (many coastal areas) that doesn’t mean that you can’t build this – it just means that you need to be a bit more creative and that most  of your structure will be above ground and you’ll pile dirt around it.

Video first seen on Ben Green

What do you Need to Build a Walipini Greenhouse?

At its most basic, all that’s needed is (maybe) wooden support beams (2x4s or poles), greenhouse plastic or windows, and insulating materials – natural soil may be used for the walls if it’s structurally sound enough to hold up – such as clay or mud bricks, clay, straw bales, earth bags, concrete, cinderblocks, or stone. Of course, you’ll need nails or screws for the support beams, and a door and door frame.

Video first seen on elicia clegg

Digging out your Walipini

When you start to dig, save the topsoil to use as the soil in the floor of your Walipini because the sub-soil won’t be good for growing. You can use the remaining dirt that you remove to build up the back berm of the structure so that you have better insulation and a higher back wall.

Many people dig a drainage ditch around the Walipini to help the water flow around the greenhouse instead of into it.

Dig down at least 6 feet (8 or 10 feet is even better) as long as you’re maintaining your distance from the water line. If you’re building into a hillside, you’re literally going to scoop a section out of the hill so that the back wall is vertical and the floor is horizontal.

If you’re building a pit, pile the soil that you’re removing so that it creates a berm behind and on the north side of the hole.

Remember when you’re digging that you’re going to be insulating the walls and floor so you’ll be adding at least a foot or so back to what you’re digging out. Account for that when you’re designing it.

There are so many different ways to design your Walipini based on your needs and geography that telling you where to put the door wouldn’t be of much help; just remember not to build one into your plans when you’re designing the Walipini.

Once you have your whole dug, reinforce your north, east, and west walls with whatever you chose as your insulator. Natural stone and brick are both great choices because they naturally pull the heat (and moisture) from the ground and into the greenhouse. Some people choose to line the floors with stones and some don’t.

Now, you have to decide if you’re going to plant directly into the floor or are you going to treat this as a standard greenhouse and use containers? I also saw a few great examples of container garden-type methods.

If you’re planting straight onto the floor, it’s a good idea to put a layer of gravel 6 or 8 inches deep under the soil to help with drainage and to pull more heat up from the ground. You can use compost or manure under the topsoil because it naturally generates heat as it decomposes and will help warm things up.

After you get your walls built, it’s time to cover the pit. I’ve seen several examples where people built a vent into the roof in order to let some of the heat escape. This may sound silly, but the inside of a Walipini can be as high as 100 degrees even in its below freezing outside – that’s no exaggeration.

So, either build in a vent or be prepared to leave the door open or cracked for part of the day in case it does get too hot.

The roof (cover) doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be clear plastic stapled over a wooden frame with braces every few feet.

There you have it – the basics on how to build a Walipini greenhouse. It’s a simple yet effective method to help grow plants during the winter or even in climates that aren’t typically conducive to gardening at all.

Click the banner below to discover the long forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive during harsh times!

Do you have a Walipini or pit greenhouse? If so, please share your ideas and experiences with us in the comments section below. Also, feel free to ask questions.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

How to Make the Perfect Potting Soil Recipe in 5 Easy-to-Follow Steps

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Have you noticed how expensive potting soil can be?

I mean, truthfully, when you think about it – you are buying dirt. Why is it so expensive?

Well, a lot of it has to do with the nutrients that you are purchasing so your plants will grow better. But don’t you think there has to be a better way?

If so, then you’re in luck because I’m going to discuss how you can create your own potting soil and a few other facts that you might need to know along the way.

Here is how you create your own potting soil:

A Quick Warning:

When creating your own potting soil there are two things you need to understand.

First, there is no ‘one size fits all’ potting mix. Each plant has different requirements. So you may have to tweak any recipe for potting mix to better suit exactly the plant that you are wanting to grow.

Secondly, when creating potting soil there are dangers. Namely, you’ll want to be aware of a disease known as Legionnaire’s Disease. It is basically a severe form of pneumonia that can be contracted from bacteria which can live in potting soil mixes and compost.

So you’ll need to use safety precautions such as wearing a face mask, wear protective clothes and gloves, try not to work with soil when the wind is blowing heavily, and spritz dusty ingredients of potting mixes with water to keep them from flying in the air.

Also, be sure to always wash your hands after working in the garden or anywhere else outdoors. If you feel ill and think it could be an onset of this disease, please seek out treatment. Especially if the warning signs are spotted in those with weakened immune systems, small children, or the elderly.

Now that all of our safety notices are out there, let’s move on so you can create your own potting soil.

Why should you create your own potting soil?

Before you take on a DIY project, you need to be sure you know why you are doing it.

Otherwise, you might get frustrated half way through and quit. I’ve been there, and I totally understand. Sometimes when you are buying things to create something, you start adding up the costs.

Though the supplies you buy might make you a lot more than the store bought stuff, it still hits your wallet all at once.

And you begin to ponder why in the world you are doing what you’re doing.

Well, that is why it is important to know why you are doing the task. So in this case, you are creating your own potting soil.

Benefits of Making Your Own Potting Soil:

Here are a few of the reasons you might want to consider doing this yourself:

1. It Saves You Moola

When creating your own potting soil, you are actually saving yourself money. You may not feel like it at first, but how many times have you purchased potting soil and not used it all?

Then you put it in your garden shed, only to return to it later and it is unusable because it is all dried up. If you’ve ever done this, then you know how bad it feels to know that you wasted that money.

Well, if you mix up your own quality potting soil mix, you should save yourself money. You can store it better and easier than the store bought stuff.

Or you could actually just mix up what you need at the time and forget about having to store it, period. Either way, you’ll save yourself some money in the process, usually.

2. Convenience is a Sweet Thing

Convenience is pretty awesome. If it wasn’t then our society wouldn’t have shifted so easily to a newer more convenient way of living.

Let’s face it. We all love to have things when we want it and how we want it as well.

So when you create your own potting soil, you have this convenience. You can actually order most of your ingredients and have them shipped right to your door.

Then, as long as you have everything on hand, you can quickly and easily mix up your potting soil whenever you are ready to use it.

3. You Know All About It

The next benefit of mixing your own potting soil is the fact that you know what it is in it. Let’s face it. All potting soil is not created equal.

And we know that plants love certain things in the soil. It encourages them to grow and produce better, which is the ultimate goal.

Well, if you create your own potting soil, then you can adjust the ingredients as you see fit. You know everything that is in it, and you also can feel better knowing that all of your plants are getting what they need.

4. You Are More Self-Sufficient

So you want to plant your flowers, but it is at a time that maybe the store is closed. If you mix your own potting soil, you are practicing better self-reliance, and you don’t have to worry about when stores are open or closed.

Plus, now that you are learning how to make your own potting soil, you can also know that you are taking another step toward being more self-reliant.

5. Longevity

The final reason why you might want to consider creating your own potting soil is because quality potting soil usually lasts longer.

So if you buy potting soil from the store you might be surprised to realize how much of it is actually bark. This bark will then compost quickly and begin to decompose.

Then your potting soil struggles to retain as much moisture as your plants desire and money is wasted. But with creating your own potting soil (where you include your own quality ingredients), you shouldn’t have to worry as much about it decomposing and not being able to retain water.

In fact, since there is no bark in this potting soil mix, your potting soil should last much longer than a lot of the potting soil you purchase from the stores.

What Do I Want From My Potting Soil?

When I wanted to learn how to make my own potting soil, I found that soil actually did much more than I ever gave it credit for.

Truthfully, I didn’t think about what I actually wanted my soil to do, besides surround my plants, give them a happy home, and then I wanted to see the plants produce.

But now I know what I really want from my soil. Here are few things to consider:

1. Light and Fluffy

I knew I always loved to run my hands through the dirt before planting my flowers and veggies in it, but I never really knew what I was looking for.

But now I know that I want light and fluffy dirt. The reason is because the lighter and fluffier it is the easier it is for my plants to spread out and take root.

Also, you want the soil to be fluffy because that means it is aerated. This means that oxygen has an easier time accessing the plant.

2. Longevity

I want a soil that is going to last. I knew there were a few times I had put bagged soil in the garden shack, come back to it, and the soil didn’t do as well.

But I never knew it was because of the bark content making the soil water resistant. I want a potting soil that won’t break down easily and won’t compact. That way it will last for much longer, and I save money.

3. Retain Water

Naturally, you want your potting soil to hold water. This is great for the plants because they need water to be released to them as needed.

However, if your potting soil won’t hold water, then your plants will not get water as they need. That is something you should keep an eye on when choosing or creating your potting soil.

4. Add Nutrients to My Plants

Obviously, plants get nutrients from the soil. If you create your own potting soil, then you need to create one that will provide these necessary nutrients.

But be sure whatever soil you create or purchase, will give the nutrients your plants desire.

The Recipe

What You’ll Need:

  • Measuring cup
  • Large Mixing Container
  • Water (Jug or Water Hose)
  • A Sieve
  • Trowel
  • A Container to Presoak Peat
  • Potting Soil Ingredients

The Ingredients:

1. Coir Peat or Peat Moss

You will need 1 part of coir peat or peat moss. If you are about living a greener life, then you’ll want to go with coir peat. It is a waste by-product of coconut processing.

So it is clearly a renewable resource. However, if you just prefer peat moss it will do the same thing.

2. Vermiculite

Then you’ll need 1 part vermiculite. This is a natural volcanic mineral that has expanded because of heat. They do this because it increases its ability to contain water.

Also, vermiculite is great at providing necessary minerals for your plants. It can also hold minerals for your plants as well.

3. Compost

Next, you need 2 parts compost that has been sieved. You can make your own compost or purchase it. Whichever option works best for you.

4. Worm Castings

Finally, you’ll need ½ cup to 1 cup of worm castings. If you worm farm, then these should be readily available.

If not, then you can purchase them here. Also, you can use humus from the bottom of your compost pile.

Either way, you’ll want to include this part in your potting mix because it helps retain moisture in your potting soil. It is a great food source for plants and contains microbes that are beneficial to most plants.

Plus, it protects from toxic metals and toxic chemicals that can be found in some soil. It also helps create the desired texture for a potting soil as well.

The Process

1. Presoak the Peat

You will want to begin by placing the coir peat or peat moss in a larger container to soak. Be sure to soak it in warm water. You usually take the amount of peat you have and divide it in half to determine how much water you need to rehydrate.

But once you have loosened the rehydrated peat with your trowel and are satisfied with the consistency of it, then you are ready to move on to the next step.

2. Mix the Peat and Vermiculite

Then you’ll need to mix equal parts peat with vermiculite. If you are not able to purchase vermiculite, coarse sand could be used in its place.

3. Add Compost to the Mix

Next, you’ll need to sieve your compost. Then you’ll need to sieve your worm castings. Once you’ve completed that, you’ll need to take these items and combine them with other nutrients that you might want to add to your potting soil.

Then you’ll add it to the peat and vermiculite to round out your potting soil mix.

4. Check the Acidity

Then you’ll need a pH meter and measure the acidity of the potting mix. You’ll want the acidity to be between 6.0 and 7.0.

If you are having issues with balancing your soil, here is a link that can give you some ideas on how to deal with that.

5. Keep Moist and Store

Finally, you’ll want to insure that your potting mix is moist. Then you’ll store it with a lid to insure it stays moist.

Then you’ll want to recheck the soil’s pH within a few days. You are a looking for a soil pH that is neutral (around 7.0) or a little acidic (around 6.5). When you are ready to use your potting soil just add any last minute minerals you might want.

Plus, you’ll want to add some slow release fertilizers as well.

Finally, add water to moisten the mix and begin planting.

Well, now you are aware of how to make your own potting soil mix. You also know what you should look for in an ideal potting soil. Hopefully, this will help you with your gardening this year.

But I’d love to hear from you. Do you have your own recipe for making potting soil? What ingredients do you add to your potting mixes that you feel work really well for your plants?

We love hearing from you so please leave us your comments in the space provided below.

Saving our forefathers ways starts with people like you and me actually relearning these skills and putting them to use to live better lives through good times and bad. Our answers on these lost skills comes straight from the source, from old forgotten classic books written by past generations, and from first hand witness accounts from the past few hundred years. Aside from a precious few who have gone out of their way to learn basic survival skills, most of us today would be utterly hopeless if we were plopped in the middle of a forest or jungle and suddenly forced to fend for ourselves using only the resources around us. To our ancient ancestors, we’d appear as helpless as babies. In short, our forefathers lived more simply than most people today are willing to live and that is why they survived with no grocery store, no cheap oil, no cars, no electricity, and no running water. Just like our forefathers used to do, The Lost Ways Book teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available. It comes as a step-by-step guide accompanied by pictures and teaches you how to use basic ingredients to make super-food for your loved ones. Watch the video HERE .

Source : morningchores.com

 

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8 Tips for Choosing the Best Power Generator

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Buying a power generator is important for those who live in areas where there are frequent power outages. California, Texas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania top the list of states that experience the most outages. The power grids are old and need a huge amount of investment to function well. The aging equipment and the weather calamities … Read more…

The post 8 Tips for Choosing the Best Power Generator was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

How To Make a Powerful Marigold Extract to Keep in Your Medicine Cabinet (with pictures)

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Beautiful to look at in full bloom, the sunny orange calendula – also known as marigold – has a wealth of herbal uses that are worth learning about. With both

The post How To Make a Powerful Marigold Extract to Keep in Your Medicine Cabinet (with pictures) appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

How To Grow Tomatoes For Survival

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If I were told that I could only grow one vegetable (err…technically fruit, but that’s irrelevant) in my garden, I would pick tomatoes. Why? Because they’re delicious, nutritious, easy to grow anywhere, and you can use them in so many ways that you’d likely never get sick of them. You almost have to grow tomatoes for survival if you want your garden to be complete.

Just a single cup of tomatoes provides about half of your RDA of Vitamin C (move over orange juice), 25% of your RDA of Vitamin A, some Vitamin K just for kicks, and minerals including iron, potassium, folic acid, Lycopene and calcium. Plus, tomatoes have been linked to cancer prevention. Not too shabby for a little red, yellow, green, purple, orange, black, or pink fruit/vegetable, is it? Oh and did I mention that they come in an array of colors?

But which ones should you grow? How long do they take? Do they have particular needs? How much space do you need? There’s definitely a bit more to growing quality tomatoes than just grabbing a pack of seeds at the dollar store, but throughout the following paragraphs, you’re going to learn enough to get you started.

Different Types of Tomatoes

Many people grow several different varieties of tomatoes because there are so many uses for them. Just like anything else, most tomatoes are better for one purpose than another. For instance, if you want to grow tomatoes for juice and for eating raw, you’ll likely want two different types of tomatoes.

Of course, there are definitely good all-around tomatoes, but variety is most certainly to spice of life. And since there’s very little difference in planting and growing, why not grow different ones best suited to your individual needs?

Here are some of the reasons you may want to grow tomatoes:

  • Slicing, or eating tomatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes for salads
  • Plum tomatoes for eating or cooking
  • Juice tomatoes
  • Sauce tomatoes
  • Whole canned tomatoes
  • Tomatoes for chutneys.

Now, think about it. If you want to slice a nice, meaty tomato to put on your burger, you want plenty of “meat,” right? But if you want to can whole tomatoes, you’ll want something a bit smaller, and with a different consistency. And of course, if you want a little tomato for a salad, you need yet another type.

That’s the beauty of tomatoes; there are hundreds of options. All you have to do is find the ones you like best!

Learn from our ancestors the old lessons of growing and preserving your own food for harsh times. 

Types of Seeds

There are four main types of seeds out there: GMO, hybrid, heirloom, and open pollination.

GMO

These seeds have been genetically modified at the DNA level in a lab. They’re meant to make the seed better in some form or another. However, because the plant has been altered at the genetic level, you may find it difficult to get the next generation of seeds to grow, or to produce tomatoes that are the same as the ones in the first generation.

Hybrid

These are often mistaken for GMO, but they’re vastly different. They’re a naturally-occurring plant that occurs when one variety pollinates with another. Think of the hybrid as a family – a mother and dad get married and have a child that shares their traits – hopefully the best of each parent.

Hybrids have no problem growing but may not be consistent from one generation of seeds to another. First generation plants and fruit tend to be more consistent in size and shape and are often more disease resistant than heirlooms, but you don’t know what you’re going to get next year.

Open-Pollinated

These plants are the result of plants that are grown close together pollinating each other in a natural manner. You’ll have some genetic variability because of this, and when the seed is saved, those traits are passed onto the next generation. Open-pollination tomatoes are often regionally unique and have unusual shapes, colors and flavors.

These are the seeds that most farmers count on, because they’re reliable. You can save the seeds with a high degree of confidence that they’ll grow next year.

Heirlooms

The queen of seeds. Heirloom tomatoes come from seeds that have been carefully preserved for generations – usually 50 years or more. They’re carefully tended so that the traits are consistent from one generation to another. The one trait that heirlooms have is that the fruit can vary greatly in size and shape even on the same plant. That’s not always the case, and it’s not really a bad thing – just something to make note of when you’re growing them.

Heirlooms grow consistently from one year to the next, so you can save your seeds and have the same exact plant next year.

So What Seeds are Best?

Many people grow hybrids and love them; for that matter, I have too. But if I’m saving seeds, it’s the ones from my hybrids and open-pollinated ones because I know that they’ll grow and I know what I’ll get. 

Growing Conditions

This is yet another trait that I love about tomatoes – no matter where you live, there’s a variety that will grow for you. Well, almost. If you live in an area that has no warm weather to speak of, or an extremely short (less than 50 day) growing cycle, your choices are limited unless you want to grow them inside, or in a greenhouse.

Altitude affects every single aspect of growing – temperature, soil conditions, precipitation, and humidity. In high-altitude climates, you often have short growing seasons, soil that’s either rocky and alkaline or shaded and acidic, too much rain, not enough rain, and a ton of wildlife that’s just waiting for you to grow them some delicious food.

But don’t despair, you can grow great tomatoes just about anywhere you want as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.

What do Tomatoes Need to Grow?

I read a story about a couple who invested all of their summer into a tomato crop only to yield a single fruit. They’d gone out of town one weekend and forgotten to tell their friends to water them, and that’s what did it.

Now of course, that’s a tall tale, but it’s not far off. Tomatoes need a consistent amount of water, especially when the fruit is ripening. But if you water them too much during this period, they’ll be washed out and flavorless.

So if your tomato could pick its ideal situation (and it can because if you don’t listen, it won’t grow) what would it be? There are some variances in their needs, such as length of growing seasons, but in general, the necessary components to successfully growing tomatoes are:

  • Temperature – tomatoes need an average of 3-4 months or warm, fairly dry weather to grow and produce well. In order to “set” fruit – a gardening term that means that your plant will produce fruit after flowering and pollination. Generally, they need nighttime temperatures of 55-75 degrees F for this to happen. They won’t develop the proper color if night time temps are above 85, and most will quit growing if nighttime temps are over 95 degrees. Now, there are tomatoes that thrive in hot weather, so if this is your situation, do some research and find them. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.
  • Sunlight – Your plants need at least 6 and preferably 8 hours of sunshine per day. If you live somewhere temperate, 8 is great. If you live in the sweltering south, then 6 with a nice shady afternoon will be appreciated.
  • Consistent Watering – This part is SUPER important. You want your soil to be moist but not wet. Too much will kill the plant, too little will stop the fruit from growing, or will give it a poor texture and flavor if it does grow.
  • Proper, regular feeding – Tomatoes like nitrogen in the soil, so prepare the soil with ripe compost and a scoop of aged manure in the bottom of the hole when you plant it. Another trick is to add some Epsom salt to the soil monthly.

You can do this via just sprinkling a couple teaspoons around the plant, or by mixing a couple of tablespoons in a gallon of water and watering your plants with it. Be careful though, because too much nitrogen will give you a beautiful plant but will delay ripening. Add nitrogen when the top leaves turn yellow and the stem turns purple.

  • Loose soil that drains well – honestly, they prefer this but will grow in nearly any type of soil as long as you provide the proper nutrients. If you have plants that harvest early, sandy loamy soil is best. Plants that bear fruit late like heavier loamy clay. They also like slightly acidic soil with a pH somewhere between 6 and 7.
  • Take Care of the Roots and Leaves – tomatoes are a good plant to start inside because if you live in most zones, you want your plants to be 8-10 weeks old when you set them out 2 weeks or so after the last frost. It’s important that you wait this long because if you get an “oops” freeze, your plants are done.

You also need to protect them from wind that can break them and try to keep the vines off of the ground to help protect them from mold and bugs. Bugs love tomatoes, so be proactive in your insect prevention and check the leaves, top and underside, regularly.

Planting Your Tomatoes

Ok, not that we have that set aside, let’s talk about how to grow your plants. This is the exciting part – well, one of them anyway!

It’s best to prep your soil a week or two in advance by turning in some aged manure and compost. A bit of Epsom salt may help too, if your soil is low in nitrogen. Rest easy – though salt will kill your soil, Epsom salt isn’t actually sodium – it’s actually magnesium and sulfur. The magnesium helps your plant absorb nitrogen.

Some people just dig the hole for the plant and plop a trowel full of compost/manure in the bottom. This may be OK, but make sure that both are well-aged so that you don’t burn up your plants. I’d recommend mixing it into the soil.

If you started your plants from seeds, they should be at least 8 weeks old now, and you should harden them off for a week or so before you plan to plant them out doors. This just means that you’ll start putting them out for a couple of hours per day, protecting them at first from the sun and wind, then gradually increasing their time spent outside so that it’s not such a shock when you actually transplant them.

Now, let’s plant. You can plant them in your garden, or tomatoes make excellent container plants. 5-gallon buckets work great.

Dig a hole with your trowel about 6-8 inches deep. Remember that your soil should be loose. Pull off the bottom few leaves  of the plant, then put it in the ground so that the root ball is buried and the remaining leaves are above the surface of the ground.

Plant them about 2 feet apart.

Water well to help reduce shock to its roots.

Stake or cage immediately. This doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but trust me – in a few weeks when they’re growing like gangbusters, you won’t find it nearly so easy as you do right now.

Water your plants well for the first few days to help prevent shock and help it to acclimate. Water consistently throughout the season so that your soil stays at about the same saturation. In some growing conditions, you may be able to get away with watering once a week, but 2 or 3 times is better. They’ll need about 2 inches per week.

Just a tip here – using homemade mulch is a great idea because it helps hold moisture in AND it helps fertilize at the same time. You can put the mulch down when you plant or you can wait a few weeks to do it. Don’t forget about liquid manure compost, either.

Keeping a steady fertilization schedule is good, too, Follow the tips above about that.

When your plants begin to vine and you get them staked, it’s a good idea to pinch off sucker leaves – those leaves that don’t lead to more vine but only exist to suck the moisture from your plant.

Wait for your bumper crop of tomatoes to appear!

Video first seen on Rogers Gardens

Preservation Methods

Now comes the fun part. The best way that I like to preserve my tomatoes is in between two slices of bread – oh wait, it doesn’t last long like that! Seriously though, there are a number of ways that you can preserve your tomatoes. Each way ends up using a canning method, but there are many different ways that you can prepare them for preservation including sun-drying and adding to olive oil, or dehydrating.

Juicing and Sauce

I can’t even tell you how many tomatoes I’ve mashed through a sieve with a wooden  pestle to make juice! All you need to do is cut your tomatoes into quarters and toss them into a saucepan. Bring them to a boil for 5 minutes to soften them up and get the skins all loose. The juice will start separating out.

After they’ve simmered for that five minutes, turn off the heat and pour some of them over into your sieve or food mill (which is over a pot or bowl, of course) to separate the juice from the skins and seeds. Mash them through and pour the juice back into a pan and bring to boiling again for another 5 minutes, then can.

You should add a tablespoon of lemon juice to each pint just to boost the acidity enough to preserve it. I also add in a teaspoon of salt per quart (1/2 tsp. per pint).

Water bath can as usual or 35 minute for pints and 40 minutes for quarts. If you’re pressure canning, it’s 15 minutes for pints and 20 for quarts.

Note that your juice may “clarify”, or separate so that the bottom is dark red with the tomato pulp in it and the top is almost clear. This is perfectly normal – just shake it up before you use it.

If you want to make sauce instead of juice, it’s simply a matter of cooking it longer so that the water evaporates and the juice thickens. You can make plain tomato sauce if you want, but this is a great time to jazz it up by adding seasonings such as garlic, oregano, rosemary, etc. Think spaghetti, pizza, taco sauce, etc.

Whole, Crushed or Diced

Blanch your tomatoes for just a couple of seconds – that is, dip them in boiling water for 10 seconds then toss them into an ice bath. An old Italian guy (because nobody knew more about tomatoes than this guy) taught me that if you slice a small ‘x’ somewhere on the bottom of the tomato, it makes it easier to peel. The skin will fall right off and you can proceed to the next step.

Once you get the skins off, cut away any bad parts or green sections. If you’re canning them whole, stuff them into the jars. If you’re halving, quartering, dicing, or crushing them first, do it now. And add them to the jars and top with water so that you leave 1/2 inch headroom, at least. Add lemon juice and salt, seal, and can.

Paste

The process of making tomato paste is similar to making the juice except you cook it WAY down into a super thick sauce, then add olive oil and salt and bake it in a 200-degree oven, spread evenly in  pan, until it’s the thickness of tomato paste.

Chutney, Salsa, Etc.

This is possibly the best part! Make your favorite salsas and chutneys with tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, and other spices and can them up so that you have some of this deliciousness year round!

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into growing tomatoes, but there are so many different ways that you can use them that it barely qualifies as work. It’s like growing an entire winter’s worth of possibilities all with just a few plants.

Study what kind of tomatoes you want to grow and get started! What are some of your favorite tomatoes? Do you have a recipe or an idea you’d like to share?

Discover how our forefathers produced their own food during harsh times! Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://leitesculinaria.com/87323/recipes-homemade-tomato-paste-conserva-di-pomodori.html

The 7 Rules Of How Not To Become A Target

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There’s a military axiom which says,“The best defense is a good offense.” I have my own, modified version of this. It goes, “The best defense is not becoming a target.” What I mean by that is that if nobody has a reason for attacking you, you won’t have to worry about being attacked.

You’ve got to realize that in the aftermath of any crisis, people are going to be on the prowl. You’ve seen it on the news reports; people looting, stealing, breaking into homes, even rooting around in garbage dumpsters for the things that they need to survive.

You’re going to see it again; only this time, you’ll see it much more up close and personal. That’s why you need to learn how not to become a target.

While there are no accurate figures as to how many preppers there are in the United States, estimates put it at somewhere between two and three million people. The rest of the people out there are expecting FEMA to come to the rescue, riding on a white horse and with federal government funds (otherwise known as your tax dollars) in their hands to solve all their problems.

Since most people only have less than three days’ worth of food in their homes, it won’t take long for all those millions of people out there to get desperate. Then they’ll start hunting. They’re first stop will be the stores, which will be cleaned out of anything useful. Then, they’ll start preying on each other.

There will only be two basic ways to prevent being attacked. The first is to look so strong to the attacker that they decide to leave you alone and find somebody else to pick on. Not only is that rather expensive to accomplish, it’s just about like putting up a billboard on the roof of your home that says, “Preppers Live Here!”.

The other way is to fool people into thinking that there’s nothing to be gained by attacking you. Poor people generally don’t think of stealing from other poor people, unless they see that the other poor person has something that they want.

The general assumption is,“They’re as poor as I am, it’s not worth attacking them.” Instead, they go looking for somebody who’s going to have something worth stealing. That somebody else is you, unless of course, they don’t realize that you have anything worth grabbing. Therein lies the secret; making it look like you’re not worth bothering with.

You’re home defense problems are going to be greatly lessened if they don’t come to attack you. So, it’s important to do everything you can to make sure that they don’t know who you are, what you have, or that you are living any better than they are.

If you’re living like everything is hunky-dory, that will be like putting up that billboard again. Many of the things that you are doing to prepare for a disaster can very easily make you and your home stand out, making you into the target that you don’t want to be.

Even while you’re enjoying your stockpile of food and drinking from your well, using the light produced by your solar panels, you don’t want others to know.

Find out more on how to improve your layered home defense to survive disaster! 

How Does OPSEC Help You?

All this is called Operational Security, or OPSEC. In the military, it’s the idea of denying the enemy information about who you are, what you’re doing, what your capabilities are and what your plans are. That’s really no different than what you need to do with your prepping. You need to deny the same information to all the people around you who might want what you have.

Light Discipline

One of the easiest giveaways that you are in better shape than your neighbors is having lights shining out of your windows, when everyone else’s power is out. Most preppers have alternate sources to provide their home with power in the case of an emergency.

Even so, if people see that light shining through the windows, they’re going to be wondering where it is coming from, and why you are the only one who has electricity. To stay safe, use low wattage electric lights, that won’t be so obvious.

If you have a battery backup system, you can run wires through your house to run 12 volt automotive lights. These may not be as bright as what you’re used to, but they will provide enough light for most activities.

The best thing to do is to install blackout curtains. These are dark, heavy curtains, which are designed to prevent light from escaping through the windows. They need to be made of heavy fabric and be larger than the window, so that they cover the window and can seal the space around it.

Don’t forget about flashlights either. While there will be other people with flashlights, the longer the disaster lasts, the less batteries there will be available for them. If you have to use a flashlight, use it sparingly, and do whatever you can to hood the light and keep it from being obvious.

In the military, they use a red lens on flashlights, with a light blocker behind it. The light blocker is a solid plate, with just a pinhole in the middle. Between the two, very little light escapes, keeping it from being seen from far away.

Video first seen on SensiblePrepper.

Cooking

Unless you’re one of those fortunate people who has a propane stove or a cast-iron one, you’re probably going to be doing your cooking outdoors, which means cooking on your grille or in a fire pit. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a good alternative for when your kitchen is out of order, but there is a very high risk that your neighbors are going to know exactly what you’re cooking. If that’s a pot of beans and rice, it won’t be such a big deal, but if you’re cooking steaks every night, everybody will know about this.

The longer you go without power, the greater a problem that’s going to be. The first couple of days after the power goes out, you’re probably going to smell a lot of steaks on the grille, as people try to use up what they’ve got in the freezer before it can go bad.

But once that first few days are over, there won’t be too many people with steaks to grill.

This is one of those cases that you can cover up with a bit of subterfuge. Hopefully, you’ve got a good enough relationship with your neighbors, that you’ll be helping each other out in a crisis.

So, if you go hunting and get a deer, it would seem normal that you would pass on some meat to your neighbors. Hopefully, the next week one of them will go hunting and share with you as well. If everyone in the neighborhood is grilling meat outdoors once a week, it won’t seem all that strange. The rest of your meat can be turned into jerky, and used in soups and stew that way.

Spices are another thing that can give away your abundance of food. When people are eating the most basic of foods, their sense of smell for well-seasoned food can actually be increased. If they smell well-seasoned food coming from your back yard, that will serve as another indicator that you have food.

I firmly believe in stocking spices, and I like well-seasoned foods. However, if my spice rack is going to cause me trouble, I’ll put a padlock on it and throw away the key. My family’s survival is more important to me than having gourmet meals.

Trash

Simple things can give everything away, especially to people who are looking for them. If you have a bunch of trash piling up at the curb and somebody is going to take a look in it and find a bunch of empty food packages, they’re instantly going to know that you have food while everyone else is starving.

The easiest way to solve the problem is to burn your trash. You’ve got to be careful about that, though, as burning trash could be a give away in and of itself. However, if you’re cooking outside over a fire, there’s nothing to say that you can’t use your trash to start the fire and burn some more of it as fuel. That will serve two purposes for you; get rid of the trash, and save your stock of fuel.

The same can be done if you’re using a fireplace to heat your home. Since you’ll be burning wood in it anyway, throwing some packages in there as well won’t be a problem. Once again, this can serve to dispose of the trash, while helping provide heat to your home.

If there’s no other possibility, then hide your trash in your basement or backyard, being sure to separate edible garbage from trash. The edible garbage can go into a compost heap, eliminating it, which will also help cut down on the stench from storing so much trash.

Appearance of Your Home

If you are in an area that was hit by a hurricane, there will be a lot of damage to homes and other buildings. While there might be a few which avoid any major damage, they will be few and far between. If your home is the only one in the area which doesn’t look like it sustained any damage, then it might look suspicious to people passing by. Likewise, if you manage to get it repaired faster than anyone else.

An easy thing that you can do to make your home look more damaged and increase your physical security in other ways, at the same time, is to put plywood over your windows. Some people who live in hurricane prone areas have pre-cut pieces which they can install whenever needed. If you have these, or can make some out of plywood, it will help make your home appear abandoned.

At the same time, those pieces of plywood will prevent anyone from seeing what’s going on inside and help keep any light from your lamps indoors. Should anyone decide to attack your home, plywood is fairly hard to break, making it harder for them to come through your windows.

Any gardening for fresh vegetables or livestock you have needs to be hidden in the back yard, preferably behind a privacy fence. If people don’t see it, hopefully they won’t think it’s there.

Noise Discipline

Noise can be another dead giveaway. The average person doesn’t realize how much noise they create, just doing everyday chores. That noise will show that your home is occupied. If you want to appear like an abandoned home, you’ve got to control the noise.

Even besides that, if you’re not trying to present the image of being an abandoned home, you still want to watch your noise levels, especially any sounds made by electronic devices.

If you have music playing in your home or your kids are watching a movie on the TV, it can probably be heard from outside your home. People hearing it will wonder how it is that you have electric power, when they don’t.

It’s not too much of a leap of imagination from there to wondering what else you might have that they can use.

Kids can be a real problem when it comes to noise discipline. If you have children, especially small ones, you’ll need to watch them constantly to keep them quiet. The best way to do this is to keep them busy with tasks that don’t make a lot of noise. Get them to help you and your wife around the house as well, making them a part, rather than just leaving them to play.

Activity

You’re going to be more physically active in the aftermath of a disaster, than you are today. Just trying to survive is going to keep you and your whole family busy.

Pretty much everything you do will have to be done manually,without the benefit of modern conveniences. That’s going to be a lot of hard physical work.

Trying to hide all this activity will be virtually impossible. Even so, there are a few things that you can do to camouflage your actions. More than anything, you can try and make your actions look like those around you. They’ll be busy trying to survive as well, so your actions to look like you are trying to survive shouldn’t look all that different.

Many things, like going to collect water from a nearby stream or lake will be the same as your neighbors are doing. Here again, you have a great opportunity for cooperation. If you can work together to collect and haul water, then you’ll just be part of the group.

You’ll also make the job easier for both of you, as you can help each other out. Of course, you’ll be the one with the water filtration system, so maybe you can help them out with that, in exchange for them helping you out in other ways.

Keep as much of your survival activity in your house or backyard as you possibly can. That will limit the number of people who can see what you’re doing to your immediate family and your immediate neighbors.

Here again you can co-opt them in your plans, by helping them. If they see you working in the backyard, growing vegetables, offer to help them get their garden started too; possibly in exchange for some labor.

Personal Appearance

With food shortages all around you, there’s a good chance that people are going to be losing weight. If you’re not, this could be another sign that you’re in much better shape, supply-wise than anyone else. In a town full of malnutrition, a chubby person is going to stand out like a sore thumb.

Of course, if you’re already thin, you’re not going to have a problem with this. It’s only those who are currently a bit on the heavy side that are going to end up looking a bit strange to others. They might want to go on that diet that they were talking about for years, as part of their OPSEC routine.

In addition to weight, there are other considerations about your appearance that you should keep in mind. Clean clothing, shoes that are in good condition, shaving, haircuts, and nail polish are all things that will stand out like a sore thumb, if nobody else around you has them.

Once again, this is one of those things that’s going to get worse with time. At the beginning, everyone will look fairly normal. But as the lack of soap and water make an impact, people will wear their clothes longer, even though they’re dirty, wash their hair less frequently, and let their beards grow.

To some extent, you can get away with not looking like everyone else in this case, as long as it is easily explainable to the people around you. If they see you hauling more water than anyone else, they won’t have a problem with you wearing clean clothes.

If they see your wife cut your hair, they won’t think much of it. As long as there’s an explanation, they won’t worry about it.

Interested in keeping you and your family safe? Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia. 

How Long Does Shelf Food Really Last

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Just about any food item that you pick up is going to have a date that says something along the lines of “sell by,” “best if used by,” or “use by.” The question is, though, how important are those dates? Well, in some instances, they’re important. In others, not so much.

Baby formulas have strict dates on them – they’re about the only foods absolutely required by law to have them. Stores can’t sell them beyond that date and it’s not recommended that you use them beyond that, either.

Perishable Items

Perishable items such as milk, eggs, and meats should be used by the date on the package. Most meats have a “sell by” date, which means that the store or producer has likely figured that you’re going to keep it in your fridge for up to a week after that, so they allow a little wiggle room.

If you buy perishables that are within a couple of days of the “sell by” date, either use it or freeze it within a day or so just to be safe. It’s always a good idea, especially with meat, to eat it or freeze it within a few days of buying it even if you haven’t reached that date. (Poultry – 1-3 days, other meats, 3-5 days) It’s better to be safe than suffer food poisoning.

Now, if you’re talking about perishables that came from your farm, you may have a little more wiggle room.

Discover the ingenious recipes that helped our ancestors stay alive!

Eggs

Eggs most certainly last longer – It’s not uncommon for an egg to be a couple of weeks old by the time you buy them at the grocery store so if you’re pulling them straight from under the hen as soon as she lays it, you have some extra fridge time on those babies.

When you buy them from the store, you still have a minimum of 3-5 weeks that they’ll be good. Want to know if an egg is bad? Use the water test. If you put it in a container of water and it sinks, it’s fresh. If it sort of hover-floats with one end sticking up, but the rest trying to sink, it’s not so fresh anymore but edible. If it floats like your bobber in the middle of a choppy sea, toss it.

Milk

Milk, on the other hand, may not have any extra time, especially if you don’t pasteurize it – which we never did. The good thing about milk is that you don’t have to guess if it’s good or not. One solid swig of spoiled milk and there’s no doubt left in your mind! I’ve found that the “sell by” dates on my store-bought milk (oh how I miss the good stuff!!) usually allows me a week or so beyond it to drink it up.

Other foods, such as canned foods or shelf-stable foods, have the same tags, but this often has more to do with quality than safety.

For instance, I found a box of mac and cheese in the cabinet (I rarely cook that type of food, so it had been there awhile). The mystery cheese powder was a little dark and I found that the “best by” date was nearing. Like within a week. I mixed it up and, though I didn’t get sick, it didn’t taste that great. This is a good reason to practice the First-In-First-Out rotation method.

Food Preserved at Home

Food that you preserve at home has expiration dates, too, or at least some of them do. So, let’s talk about expiration dates, when they’re relevant, why they’re important, and how you can keep track.

The best way to determine if perishable foods are good is to look at them, feel them, and give them the sniff test. Bad meat will smell “off” and may look a little discolored and feel slimy. Especially with poultry, if you suspect it may be bad, pitch it – it’s not worth the risk.

If you ever run across a commercial can of food that’s bulging or leaking, toss it. If your home-canned goods are leaking or the seal has popped, toss it. If, when you open either commercial or home-canned goods, the food is frothy, discolored, milky, slimy, or smells off, toss it. Those are all pretty good signs that botulism is present.

After you throw it away, scrub your hands in hot, soapy water. That’s a bug that’s meaner than old Aunt Sally when she’s lost her teeth and her panty hose are twisted, and you don’t want to mess with it.

Canned Foods

I grew up on a farm and learned about food preservation early. We always canned enough to get us through for two years each season. That means that often, even when we rotated the foods out, we had foods that didn’t get eaten for several years because we may have overestimated.

Mom always said it was better to have too much put back than not enough. Of course, foods like apple pie filling didn’t usually last that long! We lived on a farm and we all hunted, which means that we had plenty of meat. We typically canned the majority of that. We’d make spaghetti sauce, canned meatballs, soups, and other meals in a jar, in addition to canning them separately.

Some we dehydrated into jerky, but that was usually just for fun – it never lasted more than a couple of days.

As far as home-canned foods are concerned, most “official” agencies will tell you that it’s good for anywhere from 5-10 years. Some even speculate that it’s good for up to 20. I loved the part in the movie “Holes” where the kid was trapped in the desert and lived off of 100-year-old canned spiced peaches that he dubbed “sploosh” because they were just mush.

I don’t know if I’d let my canned goods go quite that long, but I’d be comfortable eating them at 10 years, for sure. As a matter of fact, I have.

Dried Goods

Foods such as flour, salt, sugar, rice, and beans all have really long shelf lives. As a matter of fact, the only one in the bunch that really has an expiration date is the flour, and even it’s good for at least a year, though some say 6 months. As a baker, I can tell you that I’ve used flour that was a year old and it was fine.

That was all-purpose, though. When you get into the self-rising, it may go bad faster so do a test batch and add more salt and baking powder if you don’t get a good rise.

You can tell when flour goes bad because it gets a rancid smell to it and it may get oily or have a weird, sticky texture and off smell.

The most important step to take to getting the most mileage out of all of your dried goods is to store them properly: keep them in air-tight containers in cool, dark places.

Vacuum Sealing

I’ve taken to buying all of my cheese vacuum-sealed. The same thing goes for deli meat, if you can find it. Air is every food’s worst enemy because bacteria (except botulism) need air to grow. I even smash my packages of cheese, etc. flat and squeeze out as much air as possible, and it’s seriously increased my shelf time since doing that.

If you have a vacuum sealer at home, use it! Seriously, it can double or even triple the shelf life of food.

Dating

Sharpies are your friend. If you’re canning or preserving food at home, date everything that you make with the date that you made it. Then you know how long you’ve had it when you reach for it. For that matter, do the same thing with canned and shelf-stable foods that you buy at the store. Use either the date you bought it or the “best by” date. Then you don’t have to break out the magnifying glass to find the “best by” date.

FIFO

Organize your food so that the oldest food gets used first. This is easy to do by just putting the new food behind the older foods every time you bring in something new. Then you know for a fact that what’s in front is what you should use.

Finally, the shelf life of foods is most certainly affected by how you store it. Canned goods should always be stored in a cool, dark place. Milk, meat, and eggs should be refrigerated at about 35 degrees, and veggies should go in the crisper drawer because the temperature is different there, too.

Just as an aside, milk, butter, and other dairy products will freeze just fine, though they may separate a bit. The texture of your cheese may be a bit weird, too, but it should still taste fine. You can also home-can butter.

Knowing the shelf life of your foods is important, but what’s more important is knowing how to tell if they’re bad. If you even ask yourself, “Hmm. This looks/smells/feels weird. I wonder if it’s good?” then the answer is to toss it. Food poisoning is, at the very least, brutal until you get through it 5-8 hours later, and at its worst can be fatal.

Go forth and eat safely!

Click the banner below and discover our farfether’ survival food secrets!

If you can think of any tips or advice about food shelf life that I’ve missed here, please feel free to mention them in the comments section below!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Soaraway Sun plugs 3D printed homes

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Passivdom says it can deliver within a day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post Soaraway Sun plugs 3D printed homes appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Prep Blog Review: How To Cook From Scratch

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It isn’t as hard as it seems to cook delicious and nourishing food from scratch. Learning how to cook using natural, unprocessed ingredients is the first thing to do if you want to start homesteading, no matter where you live. Your family will love it!

Plus, cooking from scratch is super easy, as you will see in the following 4 articles I’ve gathered for you for this week’s Prep Blog Review.

  1. 35 Basic Ingredients You Need For Cooking From Scratch

“One thing anyone can do to start homesteading no matter where they live is cooking from scratch. It can help you eat healthier, save money, and reduce your dependence on the grocery store. However, it can be hard to make homemade meals all the time, especially if you don’t know what to keep on hand.

If you keep these simple ingredients stocked in your pantry, you’ll be much better prepared to cook all kinds of wholesome, simple meals with ease. Note: I included links to some brands I’ve tried myself, but for most of these, there are plenty of other great options.”

Read more on Homestead Survival Site.

  1. Mississippi Pot Roast Recipe

“The Mississippi Pot Roast craze is almost as big as the Instant Pot craze. If you haven’t heard of Mississippi Pot Roast, just take a moment on Pinterest and you will!

Mississippi Pot Roast ready to be shredded.

This recipe has gone viral and after taking one bite, I totally understand why.

This isn’t you standard pot roast. The tangy flavor of the pepperoncinis combined with the ranch dressing flavor and mouth watering buttered meat makes this a family favorite.

Serve with buttered noodles or alongside of mashed potatoes and you have a new classic comfort meal. “

Read more on Old World Farm Garden.

  1. DIY Bone Broth For Nourishment During Hard Times

 

“Bone broth has been enjoying a resurgence in popularity in the last little while, but it’s actually been around for a while.

Some people refer to it as stock, but according to culinary experts, while stock and broth are related, they are distinct liquids with different characteristics.

Functionally, though, they are so similar that I’ll be treating them as though they are the same thing in this article.

One of my favorite meals growing up was my mom’s turkey noodle soup, made from the little bits of meat and bones of our leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

My mom would make a huge pot of it every year, which we would then keep in the fridge until someone felt a little peckish.

The broth would set up like Jell-O, so if we wanted some we’d have to gouge out a portion with a measuring cup; it would melt into a liquid in the microwave.”

Read more on The Survival Mom.

  1. How to Make and Can Vienna Sausage

“I stockpile a lot of canned goods, from tomatoes to chicken, to beans and beef. But my favorite canned goods are Libby’s chicken Vienna sausages (see picture).

So I tried to make them at home and believe it or not, they are more delicious than the ones I bought.

The ones I stock have a 3 year expiration date. I have eaten lots of things that were expired. These will still be good years after that. So in the title I mentioned a 2 years shelf life for my sausages, but it can actually be much more. We’ll find out.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

How To Can Water At Home

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We’ve had some questions about canning water and to be honest, I’ve never really given it much thought because I just have bottled water stored, along with purification tablets.

I’m the first to admit that I thought the idea was a little over the top because of the expense and unwieldiness of canning jars, but after researching how to can water at home, I’ve changed my tune a bit, just like I did when I first heard about canning butter.

Don’t Waste Space

After I had a jar of spaghetti sauce fall over in the canner and break because I didn’t have a full canner, I started filling my canner with jars full of water. I’ve always just left the lid off and used it as a place holder, but then I saw the suggestion to boil the water first, then put it in a sterilized jar with a ring and seal and let it process along with whatever I was canning.

Still, I didn’t give this much thought because I didn’t want to waste a good seal on water. But – read on! Somebody suggested re-using an old seal. Obviously, I won’t do this with canned food because I have absolutely no desire to waste the food or risk botulism if the jar doesn’t seal, but if you’re only canning water, does it really matter?

I mean, you can look at it from one of two ways – if you really want it to seal, you can just dump the jar or use it to water plants, or even pop it in the fridge and have a nice cold jar of water to drink later. Nothing at all lost.

How many of us have stored tap water in soda bottles or rainwater in barrels? Storing unsealed water really isn’t any different than that, though I may suggest that you purify it before you drink it just like you would any of your other water if it’s not sealed.

I also found a suggestion that supposedly came from a Mormon lady – when you empty a jar of food, wash and sterilize the jar and seal and re-can water in it. Otherwise, you’re just going to throw away the seal and have an empty jar sitting around. When you look at it that way, it does make sense. The jar’s going to take up the same amount of space whether it’s empty or full.

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

Canning  Water by the Book

If you want to ensure that your water is just as safe to drink as your canned foods are to eat, then follow the same procedures. Boil the water for at least 3 minutes – 5 if you live at elevations above 3000 feet – and sterilize your jars and seals. Pour the water into the jars and process in a pressure canner (it’s low-acid like meat and some vegetables) for 20 minutes, leaving at least 1/2 inch headspace.

Now, that being said for safety reasons, I don’t think pressure canning is actually necessary as long as your jars were sterile and your water was boiled because you’re not canning food that can spoil.

This can still be done while you’re canning other foods if you don’t want to just can a batch of water. Or, if you’ve decided that it truly is a waste for all of those jars to be sitting empty, then do a couple of batches.

Everybody in my family loves dill pickles, so I usually buy the gallon jars of them, then turn around and use the jars for pickled eggs later. Either way, I still have extra gallon jars sitting around taking up space because it kills me to throw them away. So, I decided to be bad and re-use the commercial lid that it came with to store water that I’d boiled.

Now that jar is actually being useful instead of sitting on the shelf taking up valuable real estate. I’m seriously liking this idea; it appeals to me on several levels – I’m not wasting jars or lids and filling landfills by throwing them away, my unused jars aren’t wasting valuable space, I have even more water on hand, and it’s free. Color me converted.

Video first seen on 2leelou Preserves

Is Canned Water Sterile?

As long as you boil your water as indicated and sterilize your jars ahead of time, and then follow the processing time that we use to kill germs in everything that we can, then yes, the water will be sterile. Oh, and as long as it seals. Basically, it’s just like any other canned food.

Honestly, I think that processing it may even be a bit overkill as long as the water is boiled and the jars are sterilized, but better safe than sorry. If you’re going to do it, do it right, I guess. Still, I have water stored in well-washed Coke bottles and juice jugs (BPA-free, of course), so I’m not necessarily buying into the whole need for utter sterilization.

One instance that I can think of that would be an excellent reason to store sterilized water? For medical uses such as cleaning wounds. At that point, since infection is going to be such a huge deal if professional medical help and supplies aren’t available, sterile water would be an excellent commodity to have.

How to Revive the Flavor

After water sits in a container for a while it starts to taste flat. This is because it loses its oxygenation. There’s a simple fix – just shake it up or pour it back and forth between two jars. It still may taste a little flat, but it’s perfectly safe to drink.

As with any stored item, I highly suggest recycling it – in this case, every few months. Don’t pour it down the drain, though. Either drink it, make tea with it, or water the plants – do anything with it. It’s still good, and it would be a waste to just pour it out. Yeah, I realize it’s “only” water, but with the way things are going, it’s becoming a finite resource, so get it’s best to get in the habit of not wasting it now rather than later.

As I said, the idea of canning water sounded silly to me when I was first asked about it, but now I can see the value in it, from several different perspectives.

Next time you have extra space in the canner or empty a pickle jar that you intend to save, store some water instead of just wasting space!

Now that you know how to can water, learn how to DIY your own portable device for an endless water supply.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Best Ideas On Growing A Garden In 5 Gallon Buckets

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Container gardening – growing plants in 5-gallon buckets, for example – is usually discussed in the context of (not enough) space.

The idea is that if you don’t have a “real” garden because you live in an apartment or your backyard is too small, container gardening would make for the best option. And-5 gallon buckets are the ultimate containers both in terms of availability and shape.

Also, they’re highly mobile, meaning that you can put them in the best spots to catch the sun and so on and so forth. Due to their versatility, resilience and low cost, 5-gallon buckets are already famous in the prepper community and they’ve also captured the imaginations of home gardeners.

Now, if you have enough buckets and you’re ready to put them to good use, just keep reading folks!

Eeven if you don’t have them yet, just poke around a little bit and you’ll discover that 5-gallon buckets are the definition of “readily available,” “dirt cheap” items. Just go cruise your nearby stores and restaurants or check out Craigslist.

Getting back to business, gardeners are doing remarkable things with 5-gallon buckets, things that you can’t even imagine actually. This humble piece of plastic is a tool of a thousand uses, which makes it extremely valuable to a prepper.

However, keep in mind that you must stay away from secondhand buckets that were used to held toxic stuff, like paint or what not. The ideal 5-gallon bucket to use for gardening purposes should be made out of food grade plastic, at least in a perfect world.

Now, if you’re going to grow flowers (as in non-edible stuff), you can forget about the food grade thingy, but keep an eye on toxic materials just in case.

Speaking of bucket supply, you have 2 choices: to buy brand new 5-gallon buckets from building supply stores or hardware stores, or to go scavenging bakeries, local restaurants, grocery stores, and similar places. These buckets often come with plastic fitted lids, so remember–it never hurts to ask, alright?

Now and then, you may be asked to cough up a couple of bucks for a sturdy, clean, used 5-gallon bucket, but that’s definitely worth it if it’s the right type. Even if they smell a little weird (they are used often for storing pickles and/or frozen products), don’t worry – the smell will go away relatively easy if you clean them right.

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

With all these considerations taken care of, let’s see about some projects involving 5-gallon buckets, shall we?

Project 1 – DIY Alaska Grow Bucket

If you’re already scratching your head, an Alaska Grow Bucket is the scientific term for a bottom watering container. There’s nothing complicated, just fancy talk. These are the easiest DIY watering containers anyone can make to grow their own food at home.

The materials required are cheap and easy to acquire. Besides the famous 5-gallon bucket, you’ll need a fabric shopping bag and a plastic kitchen colander – you know, that piece of gear used for draining rice or pasta.

You’ll have to drill some ventilation holes (the more the better) and another irrigation hole for the water feed line. Ideally, you should use a power drill, but you can always improvise if you’re a meat eater. The irrigation line should be drilled as low on the bucket as possible, and then you’ll insert a plastic, T-shaped connector.

Video first seen on devineDiY

Project 2 – The Hanging Bucket Planter

If you don’t have much space, e.g. you’re living in a condo, you can DIY a hanging bucket planter for growing organic tomatoes. Obviously, you can use hanging bucket planters for growing a large variety of stuff, not only tomatoes, those are just a suggestion because tomatoes are a popular choice.

Also, if you have a small yard, this type of project will suit you like a glove. Making the best of one’s available space is next to Godliness for a true prepper, right?

For making tomato gardening great again, you’ll need:

  • a hook
  • a 5 gallon bucket
  • steel cable (galvanized utility wire)
  • a wall (the bucket will hang by the hook hammered/drilled in the wall).

The idea is that hanging a bucket planter outside your condo’s wall will provide your plants with plenty of sunshine, which is a necessary ingredient for growing big fat tomatoes (along with water and carbon dioxide).

Video first seen on Peter P.

Project 3 – The Raised Bed Bucket

Here you’ll learn how to grow veggies successfully in a raised bed garden using the famous 5-gallon bucket, thus making for a garden within a garden or something along these lines.

With this cool technique, you’ll be able to grow more food in less space and that’s the definition of efficiency and sustainability (don’t worry, I hate Agenda 21 too).

Here’s an interesting video about the reasons for growing vegetables in raised bed gardens.

Video first seen on Learn Organic Gardening at GrowingYourGreens

The concept behind this project is that plastic buckets are used for providing more soil depth for the plants thus allowing for more nutrients, more space for root growth and less frequent watering. This technique makes for a cool hack which will enable you to grow deep-rooted plants in a shallow garden.

Project 4 – The Self-watering Planter

This DIY job makes for the easiest way to build sub irrigated self-watering planters using PVC pipe, a 5 gallon bucket, and a milk jug for practically next to zero costs. You’ll have to cut some holes in the bottom of the bucket that are large enough for the water to drain through, so you’ll not flood your plants. It’s easiest to use a drill for this.

The jug must be placed inside the bucket with the PVC pipe stuck on the top of the milk jug. The jug gets filled with water (you’ll have to drill some holes in the upper part of the jug too) and then the bucket must be filled up with dirt, then you put a plant in it. Pretty simple and highly efficient.

Video first seen on Growing Little Ones for Jesus

Project 5 – The Hydroponics

Finally, here’s a cool idea about how to build a hydroponic DWC system with a trellis-type system for growing cucumbers, and obviously it involves a 5-gallon bucket. This project is a little bit more complicated, but it’s doable with a little bit of research and elbow grease.

The supply list includes a 5-gallon bucket, a 6” bucket lid net pot which can be bought online or at a local hydroponics store, a small airstone and air-pump (from Walmart), black hose for the airline, vinyl tee fittings, clear vinyl tubing, rubber grommets and wire green border fence.

Video first seen on Jksax914.

Now that you know how to grow a garden in a 5-gallon bucket, you could learn how to DIY your own portable device for an endless water supply.

Click the banner below and find out how to build your own portable device which provides fresh water 24/7!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

BECOME A BEEKEEPER: 8 STEPS TO GETTING STARTED WITH HONEYBEES

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This article was originally published by Jill Winger on theprairiehomestead.com

THEY’RE DYING BY THE MILLIONS.

Since 2006 honeybees responsible for pollinating more than 100 crops—from apples to zucchini—have been dying by the millions. Though there have been news reports of this crisis, most people still aren’t aware of it. It’s a complex problem, and experts haven’t agreed on the primary reason for it: Colony Collapse Disorder, other diseases, and two kinds of mites are killing entire colonies, but they don’t understand exactly why.

Here’s a scary fact for you: Researchers have found that a combination of common pesticides can interfere with bees’ brains. Bees that cannot learn, will not be able to find food. If bees can’t find food, they will die. Simple as that.

An estimated third of all crops worldwide would disappear, if honeybees disappeared.Think this couldn’t happen? Probably nobody believed that the passenger pigeon would ever be extinct, but the last one on earth was shot exactly a hundred years ago.

Beautiful blossoms. Waiting for the bees.

 

The point is, it could happen. But here’s the thing: we can do something about it, though we need to act quickly. There are things we can do to help the honeybees survive. Here’s one: you can get started with your own hive of honeybees.

We keep three hives going, though it has become difficult to keep the bees alive and healthy. We love the honey and I use it every day, in one delicious form or another. We lost all of our bees this winter, so my husband Bryan and our little Mack recently installed new packages of bees into our hives.

The packages of bees ordered in our area are shipped to this place all on the same day: each of these little boxes contains 10,000+ bees each!

 

I’m glad that scientists are studying this problem, and that folks are educating themselves about what flowers and plants they can grow to support the honeybees. It’s a good thing that there is increased interest in buying local honey, which helps support the local beekeepers. All the attention is good. I’ve always delighted in cheering for the underdog, and I’m cheering for the honeybees.

Little Mack has been interested in beekeeping ever since Bryan bought a bee jacket for him. It’s not his size. He doesn’t care. Here he lugs some gear out to the hives.

 

A hive of honeybees on a homestead is valuable thing these days. Not only do honeybees produce the sweet miracle that is raw honey, they also do a beautiful job of pollinating berry bushes, orchards, flowers, and vegetable gardens, and (this last reason appeals to me more and more) they do it all without much help from us.

Bees are astonishing little creatures, and the more I learn about them, the more I am in awe of them and their imaginative and wondrous Creator!

Consider:

  • Inside one hive are thousands of worker bees, drones and a queen bee, all working together to create the perfect environment for producing honey. When the moisture content of the honey is perfect, the bees seal the cells of liquid honey with wax, and the honey is ready to be harvested! Sweet!
  • There is only one Queen Bee in every colony. She lays up to 2000 eggs per day, and she can choose whether the eggs will be fertile (becoming worker bees) or infertile (becoming drones).
  • The worker bees literally work themselves to death, but during their lifetimes (about 6 weeks during summer months) they do a series of specific chores: housekeeper, nursemaid, construction worker, undertaker, guard, and finally forager.

It’s not difficult to get started with a hive of bees in your own backyard. And it is the perfect way to take a first-hand approach in saving the bees!

 ! If you are interested in making your own food then click here to find out more about this awesome survival guide on food independence.

8 STEPS TO GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR OWN HIVE

1. First, educate yourself. There are many excellent books and websites about how to keep bees. Here’s a website I really like, that goes into detail. Another invaluable way to learn is to get to know your local beekeepers. They are a generous lot, and you’ll learn lots from them.

2. Gather your hive and equipment. It’s not cheap to buy new hives and equipment, but use caution if you pick up used stuff at a yard sale. Clean it up well. Here’s a blog that explains how to do this. It’s important to do this, to lessen the chance that your bees might catch a fatal disease called foul brood.

Equipment you’ll need: a bee veil and/or jacket, leather gloves, a frame lifter, bee brush, pliars, a smoker, and hive tools.

Before opening up the hives, it’s important to have your smoker smoldering. If the bees get upset, the smoke will help keep the bees from acting in an upset manner: i.e. stinging you.

 

3. Order your bees. Order bees in the winter, and most places that sell bees will sell out. There are only so many bees to go around! Packages of bees can be ordered through local bee shops. If you don’t know where one is in your area, your state university or extension office can advise you.

Little Mack has sprayed sugar water into these boxes to feed the bees. The smoker is going in case it is needed.

 

4. Set up your hive. Once you’ve done your homework, you’ll know the best spot to set up your hive. Choose carefully, because it will stay there for a good long time! It’s not easy (or advisable!) to move a hive, once it’s full of bees.

5. Introduce the bees to their hive. Check to see that your queen is alive and healthy first, because a hive without a queen will fail. Your queen goes in first.

The queen is housed in a little box inside the package of bees. Check to make sure she is healthy before releasing her into the hive.

 

The queen’s 10,000+ friends-and-relations get dumped in next. They check on her first, before getting to work. It’s a pretty cool thing to watch.

The bees pour out like water, and immediately search out their queen.

 

6. Put the top back on the hive, and pray for the best. Now you’ll watch, and wait: if the bees are happy and healthy, you may have the pleasure of enjoying a productive hive of honeybees for years to come, providing you with the best quality, freshest raw honey you can imagine, and excellent pollination for your crops and flowers.

7. Feed the bees. Set out a sugar water solution in the first days after setting up a hive, especially if it’s early in the season and there aren’t many flowers yet. When you notice that the bees are no longer feeding on the sugar, discontinue feeding them. The bees are feeding themselves!

Sugar water solution is a quick energy source for a new hive.

 

8. Check on your bees periodically. Open up your new hive every week or two to check on the bees’ progress. One of the things Bryan looks for is new brood. If the queen is laying eggs, then he knows that she is content in her new home. And if Mama Bee is happy, everybody’s happy!

There are baby bees in these cells!

 

Pretty cool, eh? So you can see that keeping your own hive of bees is a crazy-worthwhile thing to do: it increases your local bee population, and it is a valuable component to the fruitfulness of your gardens. Plus, you’re doing your little bit to help the honeybees in this current crisis.

Source : www.theprairiehomestead.com

 

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10 Survival Uses For Epsom Salt

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I think that as preppers and homesteaders, we can all agree that three of the top things we look for in an item that we consider worthy of stockpiling is cost, versatility and utilitarianism. In other words, how many different things can we use it for, and how often will  we reach for it?

Well, using those criteria, Epsom salt goes somewhere near the top of the preparedness list, along with vinegar and duct tape. But why?

Epsom salt, sea salt, table salt, kosher salt … they’re all the same, right? Just different textures? Nope. Actually, it’s not a salt at all. Sea salt, kosher salt and table salt are at least 97.5% sodium chloride. Of course, kosher salt is, well, kosher, and sea salt also has minerals, but Epsom salt is a completely different beast – it’s actually magnesium sulfate. And it has a ton of survival and household uses.

Another big difference between Epsom salt and other salts is that it doesn’t really have culinary value – it’s bitter. It’s used more as  a chemical than a seasoning. So, don’t pull out your box of Epsom salts when you run out of kosher salt – you won’t be happy with the results!

Draw out Toxins and Impurities

This was actually the first use of Epsom salt. In the early seventeenth  century, people that would bathe or soak in the waters produced by springs in the town of Epsom, England because of the curative effects that it purportedly had. The wealthy began to travel there just to soak. A doctor began extracting the salt and the rest is history.

Though studies are contentious about the actual curative effects of soaking, there’s no denying the fact that it’s been used for that purpose to alleviate muscle soreness and fatigue, arthritis, and skin conditions ever since. It’s likely due to the magnesium.

Epsom salt dissolves well in warm water but not so well in oils or lotions, so there’s no need to complicate things. Just dissolve a cup and a half or so in a half-gallon of hot water and add it to your bath water. If you’d rather just soak a particular body part – say, your feet – just add a cup to very warm water and soak away.

Because it does have magnesium and sulfate in it, you shouldn’t soak in the tub for more than 15 minutes a day, or in a small container for more than 30 minutes. Follow the directions on the container.

Discover the health and healing secrets that helped our forefathers survive harsh times! 

Boost Magnesium in Soil

Whether you want greener, thicker grass, tastier tomatoes and peppers, or prettier flowers, Epsom salt is a good option because magnesium helps plants produce chlorophyll and allows your plants soak in nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and some plants need more of that that others. Many soils lack enough magnesium to do this. If you just want to green things up so that your yard looks great to both your neighbors and your livestock, add 2 tbsp./1 gallon of water and spray on your lawn with a garden sprayer.

To give a monthly magnesium boost to your plants, mix 1-2 tsp/gallon of water and saturate the soil around the plants so that it goes to the roots. If you’re using a mister, use 1-2 tablespoons per gallon. This recipe also works well when you’re germinating because seeds need both magnesium and sulfur. Just water your seeds with it as soon as you plant them.

To add magnesium to your soil when you plant, sprinkle 1 tbsp. around each transplant.

Video first seen on CaliKim29 Garden & Home DIY

Tan Hides

The first step to tanning a raw hide is to remove the flesh from it. Some remove the hair as well, but some would rather leave it on. With magnesium tanning, the Epsom salt is added after the flesh is removed and is used in as a “swelling agent” to soften the hide, increase durability, and decrease shrinkage. It may affect the color of the hide or leave stains on it.

Be careful using Epsom salts because magnesium can, in combination with the right chemicals, become explosive.

Deter Raccoons and Slugs

Raccoons love your garden, your garbage, and your hen house, but you’re probably no so in love with them. Good news – they hate the smell of Epsom salts. Sprinkle it around those areas and your coon problem will go away. Remember to reapply after it rains.

Of course, that won’t keep them from dropping down off a fence or finding another way in, so it’s best to use Epsom salt in conjunction with other practices such as keeping your garbage is tight-sealing containers.

To deter slugs from your garden or your planters, just sprinkle it around the perimeter. Remember that it will dissolve, so you’ll need to reapply after rain.

Splinters, Insect Bites, and Poison Ivy

I’ve used Epsom salt for splinters, bug bites and skin irritations many times! The problem with any of these conditions is that if they get infected, and they quickly can, then you can be in big trouble in a survival situation.

One such situation that could lead to this is a splinter that you leave in. Soak in Epsom salts as I described above and it’ll help draw it out.

If you have bug bites or poison ivy, you can make a paste with Epsom salt and apply it to the area and it will help draw out the itch and discomfort. Some sources say to bathe in Epsom salts for poison ivy, sumac, or oak, but that seems counter-intuitive, because hot water makes you itch more, and it’s possible that the bath may spread the rash.

There are opinions on both side of the fence on that, but when it comes to the possibility of spreading the misery, especially to tender spots, I’d rather not take a chance. Of course, that’s up to you.

To find natural anesthetics that may also help in these situations, check here.

Relieve Constipation

You need to be careful taking Epsom salt internally because of the magnesium and sulfur content. That being said, it’s long been used as a natural treatment to relieve constipation. Dissolve 2 tsp of Epsom salt in 8 ounces of water and drink it. If you don’t have a bowel movement within 4 hours, try a second dose, but don’t do it more than twice in a 24-hour period.

Reduce Inflammation

If you have swollen or sore muscles, you can either soak as I described above or you can make a compress by dissolving 2 cups of Epsom salt in a gallon of warm water, then let it get cold. Soak a towel with it, then wrap it loosely around the area and leave it there for 15 minutes.

Recharge Your Battery

This one is controversial because it can be extremely dangerous and it may not work. You’re dealing with battery acid and magnesium; a lot of bad things can happen. That being said, in an emergency survival situation, you’re left to your own devices and you can decide for yourself whether to do it or not.

Dissolve an ounce of Epsom salt in warm water to make a paste, then add a bit to each battery cell. This probably won’t help if the plates inside are worn out or if the contacts between the cells are in bad shape.

Always wear eye protection and sturdy clothes and shoes that the battery acid won’t eat through before you can get it off, just in case. This isn’t something you should try if you don’t have experience. And remember – being prepared by having  a properly maintained car is always better than trying to fix it when you need it the most.

Video first seen on Mentorcase

Scrubbing Tiles and Cookware

I’m not sure if Epsom salt works well to remove shower grunge and baked on foods because of the chemicals in them (it’s a debate), or if it’s because of the abrasive quality, but making a paste with water and dabbing it onto your shower tiles, then scrubbing will remove grunge, and for pots and pans, soak it in Epsom and hot water, or just sprinkle the salt straight in and scrub.

Great Skin

OK, this one isn’t really for survival, but even if SHTF, cosmetics are going to be important for physical and emotional reasons. Having toothpaste and a clean face can make all the difference in the world when you’re searching for a dab of normalcy. Epsom salt has been a common ingredient in beauty solutions for practically forever, or at least since the 1800s.

You can add essential oils and herbs to them to make bath salts, mix it with coconut oil or water to make an exfoliant (oils are good here, too), and some say that rinsing your face in Epsom salt water will help heal conjunctivitis and sties.

Remember that knowledge is the only thing that can save you in a survival situation.

Click the banner below to uncover more survival secrets that helped our grandfathers survive!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

How to properly (and safely) dehydrate water for long term storage

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dehydrated water

For those of us who live off grid, and others who camp or are just interested in prepping for whatever may come, having a source of clean potable water is high on the list of necessary things. You can easily go out and purchase dehydrated foods of all kinds, these are commercially available, you can also dehydrate as well as can your own foods. But it’s always been a challenge to safely store clean water for drinking, cooking and cleaning, until now.

Someone has finally come up with an easy way to dehydrate AND can water so it can always be ready for you, this takes up much less space than fully hydrated water, if stored properly, it will not go bad, it cannot leak, it weighs practically nothing in the dried state and can be quickly and readily re-hydrated with nothing more than clean pure water.

I found this video with step by step instructions, that was a lifesaver for me, I have always wanted to try this but was afraid I would make a mistake and sicken everyone in my house, possibly even causing death, but this guy really laid it out, step by step, simplifying it so that even I couldn’t mess this up. Now I need to go out and buy more mason jars.
https://youtu.be/toTdiRUC1zk

I couldn’t believe this, for those of you who don’t want to go through the trouble of dehydrating your own water, or like me were afraid of making a mistake in the process, I found a company that sells dehydrated water in #10 cans, these are large enough that several would last one person a week or more (depending on how carefully you metered it out), though probably not recommended you could always add more water to stretch it out and make it last longer.

And for those who want or need a smaller amount, try this.

Now I am wondering about the difference between dehydrated and freeze dried? I suppose you could try freezing some of the dehydrated water just to see if it would convert to freeze dried, I suspect it would store even longer then…

Let me know what you think below in the comments, have you tried this? If so, would you do it again? And do you have any tips & tricks to make this even easier?

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The post How to properly (and safely) dehydrate water for long term storage appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Prep Blog Review: Gardening With Canning In Mind

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As spring is coming, I am already thinking about my healthy and beautiful garden and I am getting ready for the new preserving and canning season. One of the best things of growing your own food is that you and your loved ones will enjoy healthy and tasty food, fresh or canned, for a long time.

With this thing in mind, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic to help you plan your garden with canning in mind.

  1. 22 Ways for Growing a Successful Vegetable Garden

“Spring is fast approaching, so are you planning to grow a healthy and beautiful vegetable garden that will help beautify your home’s outdoor and be a place of relaxation?

Growing your own fruits and vegetables in the yard lets you spend more time outside, at the same time saves your money for buying organic food.

So if you have the space to grow your own vegetables, you should definitely take advantage of that.

Even if you only have a small space, it isn’t an obstacle anymore in your effort to vegetable garden. In the following projects you will find a lot of vegetable garden designs to help you start your neat and tidy veggie garden that produces fresh and tasty food for you.

Take a look and get started!”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

  1. 7 Secrets to Successful Canning – How to Preserve This Year’s Harvest

“Now is the time to get ready for a successful canning and preserving season!

One of the best things about growing your own food is keeping it the year around for great homemade taste!

For an individual who wants to start canning for the first time, or for the seasoned veteran, here are a few secrets to help you have a successful canning season this year.

The results of our canning efforts one summer.

The most important thing to remember about canning is to simply not be afraid to try!  Maybe you have only water bathed before and never uses a pressure canner. Whatever it is, if you are feeling a little nervous, ask someone to help you or try it out with you.”

Read more on Old World Farms Garden.

  1. More Thoughts on Canned Goods and Food Storage

“Several weeks ago we established that canned goods are safe to eat far past their expiration date thus a great choice for food storage programs.

I received an email from someone saying that they felt tremendous pressure to prepare right now and due to their budget just could not afford to stock up on freeze dried food for the long term.

This motivated some additional words on the subject.

Every tragic disaster that takes place ultimately causes the question of “What now?” to be asked. More often than not “What are we going to eat?” and”How are we going to get food?” are also asked.

This doesn’t have to be in a Third World country as most anyone who has experienced the loss of a job or some other major financial personal SHTF has asked similar questions.”

Read more on 1776patriotusa.com.

  1. How to Store Food Storage In a Small House

“Have you sometimes wondered “how can I store food storage in a small home?”

Well, I have a fairly small home, it’s only 1900 square feet.

I am going to show you my home in small doses because otherwise, the post would take too long to load.

I have a three car garage, if you can call it a three car garage with the narrow one car section. You can barely fit two very small cars in the double garage and one car in the third stall.

Mark and I use the third garage section for our emergency preparedness items that can withstand the heat in the summer.

Everything else is stored inside my home.”

Read more on FoodStorageMom.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

Experimental Tech in Desert Village

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

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

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

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

Desert Village Building:

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

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

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

Energy:

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

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

Water:

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

Food:

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

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

The post Experimental Tech in Desert Village appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Why Everyone Should Use Coupons To Get Prepared Quicker

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Couponing has always received a lot of negative attention. For far too long people have felt embarrassed to use coupons, in order not to have their friends ridicule them or have sales clerks look down on them. But as you’ll see in the infographic below, coupon users had the right idea all along. Why shouldn’t … Read more…

The post Why Everyone Should Use Coupons To Get Prepared Quicker was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

How To Make A Potato Pot

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I love potatoes. Boiled, mashed, fried, baked – it doesn’t matter how they’re served, I’ll eat them. They help stretch your food supply and provide energy when you need it the most.

Unless you have a place to grow a traditional garden, you may have discarded the idea of growing them, but you can make a potato pot and grow them wherever you want – and you can even take them with you if you need to bug out.

If you’re shooting for the “potato” that offers the most health benefits, shoot for yams or sweet potatoes. Though the names are often used interchangeably, they are not the same vegetable, nor do they have the same nutrients, though they’re both high in vitamins, particularly vitamin A. Technically, neither one are even potatoes but that’s outside the scope of this article.

How to Store Your Potatoes

If you were raised in the country, you likely remember the root cellars. Ever wonder why they’re called that? Me too, and the best explanation I can come up with is that they were used to store root vegetables – traditional white, yellow, or red potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, etc. All of these will store all winter if kept at the right temperature. The important thing is to not wash them because the dirt extends their shelf lives.

Unlike other potatoes, sweet potatoes love the warmth – unlike traditional spuds, room temperature is great for them. They’ll keep up to a year! Again, don’t wash them. And if you’re growing them yourself, as you’re going to be after you make your pots, do your best to leave them somewhere warm – 80 degrees is great – for 10 days or so after you harvest them. This promotes the growth of a chemical on the skin that protects them from rot and also “cures” them to make them sweet.

Another advantage to growing sweet potatoes is that you have a tremendous yield. Believe it or not, you can yield as much as 130 pounds of sweet potatoes from just 3 potatoes.

You can grow both sweet potatoes and “regular” potatoes in pots, but the process is different. We’ll take about the easiest and fastest way first, then tell you how to grow sweet potatoes.

Now, are you ready to get your hands dirty and make a potato pot that will produce a great crop of potatoes? Good. Let’s get started.

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

Making a Standard Potato Pot

First off, I have to say that this is the perfect  idea for a prepper because once you get it going, you’ll have potatoes literally forever without even needing to add dirt or fertilizer. It’s absolutely brilliant, but so simple that anybody with 1 potato, soil, water, and access to clover can do it.

Of course, any potato crop is self-perpetuating, but with this one, you don’t need fertilizer and you won’t have to dig in the garden.

Expect to yield about 10x (perhaps just a bit less) the weight of potatoes that you plant; that’s ten pounds for every pound, so you don’t have to do math.

  • First, choose your container. You can grow them in anything from a 5-gallon bucket up. Use a bucket or container that has never been used to store any type of chemical or poison. A great place to get food-grade buckets is local restaurants and bakeries. They usually buy in bulk, and items such as pickles, lard, sugar, flour, and frosting often come in 5-gallon buckets.
  • Fill your container with a mixture of potting soil and compost. I’ve even heard of people using sand and sawdust, but for this method, use the potting soil and compost.
  • Let your potato sit long enough to start growing eyes. That way you know that it will grow because some are treated with chemicals that keep them from sprouting in order to extend shelf life. While you’re waiting, prepare your bucket and get your clover growing.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of your bucket for drainage and make sure that you have a place to put the bucket so that it’s not in direct contact with something such as dirt that can clog the holes and prevent drainage.
  • Put a few inches of gravel (and sand if you’d like) in the bottom of the bucket and fill it with soil to within several inches of the top.
  • Sprinkle white clover seeds across the top of the soil and just run your hand over them to get a bit of soil over them.
  • Once your potato sprouts eyes and you know it’s good to grow, your clover should be starting to grow, too. Dig a hole 12 inches deep or so in the center of the bucket. Don’t worry if you have to dig through the clover – it will grow back.
  • Plant your potato at the bottom and cover back up with dirt.
  • You’ll see a plant within just a couple of weeks, then all you have to do is water it once or twice a week and let it grow. After 3 months or so, the plant will die back. When it does that, your potatoes are ready to harvest.

Video first seen on Hollis & Nancy’s Homestead

Making a Sweet Potato Pot

This has several steps and takes quite a bit of advance wait time, but your yield will be awesome. Plus, sweet potatoes are delicious and nutritious just as they are. Not to say that a good old regular potato isn’t delicious, too!

Because the yield is so high, you may want to use 20 gallon buckets for this. That’s what was used here – if you’re only using 5-gallon buckets, just put one slip per bucket. You’ll know what that means in a minute.

  • Start with a single sweet potato. Unless you want to be overrun with them, or intend to sell them or trade them, you don’t need more than a couple because one potato seriously can yield forty pounds or so.
  • Find cups, jars, or containers that are wide enough and deep enough to accommodate one half of the potato, lengthwise.
  • Stick 3 toothpicks into the potato at equal distances around the middle so that you can dangle one end of the potato (half of it or so) into the glass or jar and have one end sticking out. You want to have at least a half-inch or so all around the potato between it and the inside of the container.
  • Put the potato into the container so that it’s suspended by the toothpicks.
  • Now it’s time to wait for the slips to grow. Slips are basically shoots that grow into individual plants, and one potato can yield up to 50.
  • The slips will begin to grow off of the bottom and up around the potato and will be ready to separate after a couple of months.
  • Once they are, separate them out into different jars, and you can even cut and root new slips off the first ones as they grow. Once you have the slips that you want and they’re at least 12 inches tall, it’s time to plant them.
  • You’ll want a trellis behind them because sweet potatoes vine, and they root where they touch the ground, so if you’re using containers, you don’t want them vining all over your yard.
  • Fill the buckets with equal parts potting soil, peat moss, and compost to about 6 inches of the top.
  • Ramp the dirt so that one side of the container (the one furthest away from the trellis) is 8 inches or so more shallow than the side closest to the trellis and soak it with water.
  • Place 3-6 slips in each bucket so that the tops are facing the trellis and the roots are at the side of the bucket that’s furthest away from the trellis.
  • Add soil mixture to cover the roots and make the dirt level. It’s OK if you cover up some of the leaves and only just the tops are sticking out.
  • Water it again a bit and cover with straw or mulch to keep weeds from growing.

Video first seen on OFF GRID with DOUG and STACY

They love hot weather and take about three months to mature. They’ll get super bushy, so try to encourage any long vines to grow up the trellis. The plants will also grow really pretty flowers, which makes them great for ornamentals. Since the good stuff isn’t visible, if people don’t know what they are, they’ll just think they’re bushes – hiding your garden in plain sight.

The leaves will start to turn yellow. After that, leave them for another week or so and test a part of the bucket by digging down to see if they’re ready. Or, you can just dump a bucket and see how they are. Though remember – you only get one shot if you do it that way.

Now you know how make a potato pot.

Potatoes are the ultimate survival crop and they were included almost in every meal during the Great Depression.

Discover more about how our forefathers handled their survival food.

Click the banner below and uncover their secrets!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

An easy guide to growing herbs – The 12 herbs you should have in your garden

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Growing herbs is one of the preferred activities of both beginner and experienced gardeners. The reason behind it is quite simple: you can’t go wrong with herbs. These are perhaps the best gateway plants and everyone can try growing herbs both indoors and outdoors. As a beginner you need to build up confidence to branch … Read more…

The post An easy guide to growing herbs – The 12 herbs you should have in your garden was written by Rhonda Owen and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Prep Blog Review: 100+ Gardening Secrets Revealed

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Gardening is a fun, healthy and rewarding activity, but in a survival situation, knowing how to grow your own food is a necessity. In a post-disaster world, having a resource of fresh food will make the difference between a healthy meal and starving.

For this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered four articles where you can find more than 100 gardening secrets you can start following right now whether you are an experienced gardener or you’ve just begun growing your food.

  1. 101 Gardening Secrets the Experts Never Tell You

“A well-tended 400 square foot garden will feed a family of four.

The trick is planning, planting, tending, and harvesting that garden right.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know to maximize your garden’s production, everything the experts don’t tell you!

How to Grow from Seeds

I like to use natural topsoil to start my garden seedlings in. I usually don’t use potting soil because it generally does not produce the results I want.

I fill a large, deep baking pan with top soil and bake it for thirty minutes at 350 degrees.

This sanitizes the soil and ensures that no unwanted weeds or grass will come up in your soil. I usually start on this project in the winter and I fill up a couple of large plastic barrels with lids with the sanitized soil.”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

  1. Growing and Drying Your Own Herbs

“As a new gardener, I often found the task of growing prize winning tomatoes and succulent melons very daunting. Can I say succulent melons here? Get your head out of the gutter!

Gardening has never come naturally to me. But I learn and grow each and every year.

I finally began to master tomatoes by the third year of gardening. But I’ve still never mastered the green bean.

It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re gardening, but I’ve found one thing that I can never kill.

I suppose I could if I drenched it in chemicals, but ultimately, they’re very forgiving.

What is it, you ask? Why, herbs, of course!”

Read more on The Fewell Homestead.

  1. How to Make Compost with Worms

“Vermicomposting (aka worm composting) is a great way to rapidly compost your food waste.

They are hugely efficient at breaking this waste down into high quality compost.

A worm composting system is easy to build from scratch or you can choose an excellent commercial vermicomposting system.

The heart of the system is the worm bin.

This is basically the home for the worms.

It is also where they will work their magic – turning your waste into great worm castings.

A good vermiculture bin has several important components.”

Read more on The Weekend Prepper.

  1. Unbelievable Hydrogen Peroxide Uses in Garden You Should Know

“Is it possible? Are there Hydrogen Peroxide Uses in the garden?

Well, yes, it can be useful! Read on to find out how.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has an extra oxygen atom than Water (H2O), this extra oxygen atom breaks down and the molecule of water releases from this separately.

It is this extra oxygen atom that makes the hydrogen peroxide so useful.

The Hydrogen peroxide is used in cleaning, bleaching, sterilizing, as a disinfectant etc. but it can also be used in horticulture.

In simple words, Hydrogen Peroxide acts as an oxygen supplement for plants (beneficial if used in low strength).

It works by releasing oxygen and it also aerates the soil.”

Read more on Balcony Garden Web.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

EcoSolarCool new Solar Refrigeration

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

Stay cool with the new EcoSolarCool’s refrigerator models

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

Two New Models

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

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

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

Features of Both

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

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

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

EcoSolarCool Products all have these…

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

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

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

What is a Solar Refrigerator?

Low Energy Refrigeration

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

This Is How To Make And Recycle Rubber

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You need a fully functional tire (as opposed to a donut) in the trunk of your vehicle, and you may have gone through the extra expense to get it. Many other people haven’t even thought that far ahead, even this problem alone would lead to endless traffic jams and other problems in times of distress.

And there’s more bad news: even if you take good care of your tires and have a viable spare, there will come a time when all of your existing tires will have to be discarded.

Modern tires actually need to make contact with roads on a regular basis or they will begin to crack and rot. That’s why having the skill of making or refurbishing tires would worth a lot during crisis or after a major collapse.

Rubber is Older than You Think

While Europeans are credited with spreading the use of rubber throughout the world, it was first used by the Maya. They used latex from Hevea trees to coat balls that were used in a game similar to basketball.The latex was mixed with sap from the Ipomoea alba vine to make it less sticky and more durable.

In the 1700’s, French and English explorers discovered that rubber could be used for many other things. “Vulcanization”, which also makes rubber less sticky and more durable was not invented until the 1800’s by Charles Goodyear.

Since latex bearing trees only grew in South America, a great deal of effort went into protecting this monopoly, and it didn’t change until thousands of seeds were smuggled out of Brazil in 1876 by Henry Wickam. The plants that grew from these seeds were eventually used to build enormous rubber plantations in India, Indonesia, Asia, and Africa.

As automobiles became more popular, it became harder to keep up with the demand for rubber. Eventually, scientists found a way to synthesize rubber from petroleum. During WWII, this became a vital source of rubber that was used to keep the war effort moving forward.

Today, most, if not all rubber used in automobile tires is made from petroleum sources. As different nations become more unstable, there is an increased interest in finding plant based sources of rubber.

Russian Dandelions (T. kok-sanghyz) produce a latex that makes rubber almost as good a what you would get from a rubber tree. Milk thistle, or Prickly Lettuce, also produces enough latex to be used in making rubber.

There are also several other plants in the United States and around the world that may be suitable for this purpose, however much work needs to be done to find out which ones work best and how to get the most out of them.

Where to Get the Rubber From

Many preppers feel that it is very important to store away essential building materials such as wood, metal, glass, plastic, and cardboard. How many of them did ever think about storing away rubber, which is also a very important material to have on hand?

If you are building a stockpile of materials, you may find it a bit difficult to find rubber at a place other than Grainger. Rubber that hasn’t been made into some kind of product isn’t available to consumers. Make your own research in the following places, and you may come across limited supplies as they become available:

  • Repurposed materials
  • Public Surplus – if you are interested in used tires, this site may be a good place to start. Check if your local community has abandoned properties or other places where tire dumping is a problem. If you can get ahold of these tires, then you could do something with the rubber from them.
  • Salvex
  • Skycraft Parts and Surplus
  • Surplus Record – If you are part of a large enough prepper community and have plenty of land to work with, then think about building a small rubber factory. This site will give you information about equipment used to make synthetic rubber from petroleum. If you also have land that can be drilled for petroleum, it may be worth your while to think about turning some of it into rubber.

Even if you do not need to make rubber immediately after a major crisis, it could be an important commodity as society rebuilds and regains its capacity to bring people together to achieve goals. If you can produce petroleum and rubber, you and your group will prosper as different groups of people seek to regain the technologies and conveniences that may have been lost due to social collapse.

Never forget that future generations of your family will have to compete, and that will entail having marketable skills and products. As expensive as this equipment may be, it may be a wise investment that will set you and your family further ahead than you realize.

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

Basic Guide for Making Plant Based Rubber

If the Maya could make perfectly good rubber centuries ago, then it may also be possible for preppers to do the same. Making rubber from petroleum will more than likely be a lost skill after a major social collapse occurs.

As long as you have a source of plant based latex, then you should be able to make small as well as large batches of rubber to meet a range of needs. Here are the basic steps:

Step 1

Start off by harvesting latex. While Hevea Trees have to be “tapped” with V shaped slits in the trunk, the process is a bit different for plants.

For example, if you are going to use Milk Thistle, you will need to break open the plant stems to get at the latex, which is a milky white colored substance. If you decide to use dandelions (ideally Russian dandelions), you can get latex from the roots as well as the stems.

Step 2

Once you have collected enough latex, add some water and an acid to the sap. You can use vinegar or other weak acids. The ratios of sap, water, and acid will depend on the amount of latex in the sap as well as the strength of the acid.

For example, if you are using regular or Russian dandelions, you would use 1 part sap to 8 parts water and then enough vinegar to make the latex and water stick to whatever you are using to stir the mixture.

Step 3

Even though rubber made from dandelion will finish to “cure” or dry out on its own, you may still need to add sulfur and heat it to produce a more durable form of rubber. You may also want to try using Ipomoea alba sap to vulcanize the rubber.

Remember, different applications will require different levels of flexibility and durability. You will need to study the different characteristics of each type of rubber you plan to work with, and see what will work best to make them.

Video first seen on DSCDocumentries

When making plant based rubber, remember to start off with small batches and see how the resulting compound holds up over time and across different temperature conditions. Among other things, you will need to assess if the rubber will crack, and how well it will bounce back to its original shape after heavy weights are applied.

Give yourself plenty of time to explore this fascinating topic. Since there is still a great deal of trial and error involved in making rubber from dandelions and other more common plants, it is best to see what others are doing in this field even as you develop your own recipes and methods.

How to Recycle Rubber

Overall, there is a point where you can recycle rubber easily enough, and a level where it is well beyond the technical skills and assets available to most preppers. The complexity associated with fully recycling rubber lies in the process of vulcanization.

Let’s say you want to bake a cake that requires using eggs, flour, and some sugar. Let’s say you sift together the flour and sugar. Even though the sugar and flour are well mixed together, you can still separate them using various means. Once you crack open the eggs, in theory you can still put them back into the shell. To some extent, you can also still retrieve the eggs, sugar, and flour after they are all mixed together. Up until the cake is baked (the heat from baking drives off water and also causes different molecules in the batter to break apart and from bonds with other molecules), it is actually possible to separate out all the ingredients used in it.

In a similar fashion, once latex is treated with sulfur and heat, the molecular structure changes to a point where it cannot be reversed – or at least not reversed with ease.

Over the years, a great deal of effort has been made to see if there is a way to take rubber and turn it back to the latex stage. There is one patent, held by The Goodyear Rubber and Tire Company, on a process that uses high pressure and 2-butanol to reverse vulcanization.

This process is not something that can be done easily enough at the consumer level. Therefore, if you are interested in recycling tires or other rubber materials, you will need to take the existing rubber and use it for some purpose other than simply remaking tires.

3 Tips to Know Which Tires can be Salvaged

Consider a situation where a major catastrophe has made tires unavailable. While you are searching for replacements, you find a landfill and hundreds of tires stacked up. It may take a lot of work to find salvageable tires with a little bit of patience and effort, but you can do it if you keep in mind the following:

  • Tires with cracks in the sidewall and tread area more than likely have dry rot. The tread and sidewalls cannot be restored or reused for making new tires. If the tire is of a size that you need, you could take it apart and use the belts in combination with new rubber that you make from a plant based source. As long as the tire doesn’t show signs of having more than two patches, there is a chance that the inner anatomy of the tire is still intact. Even if you have to recoat the inner structures with more rubber, at least you will have some belts to work with.
  • Avoid tires that were punctured or slashed in the sidewall. If the tire is punctured deep enough, than it might have been discarded because it would not hold air. There are some methods you can use to repair a sidewall, but the tire may fail at a critical moment and cause a very bad accident.
  • Be wary of tires that are patched, even if the patches are less than ¼ inch in diameter and located far enough away from the sidewall.

Video first seen on Tank0923.

There are several different ways to repair punctures in tires. Depending on the size and age of the tire, you may find one that is worth patching even though the former owner chose to discard it. Remember, many people throw away good tires or repairable tires because their vehicle must be inspected and they don’t want to risk it failing. On the other hand, if you really need tires, then you could get some mileage out of them so long as you repair them correctly and drive carefully.

6 Ways to Use Tires for Your Homestead

  • The rubber part of tires can be ground up into a smaller bits that can be added to paving materials.
  • Rubber from tires can be cut into pieces and shaped into everything from shoe soles to waterproofing for containers.
  • When treated with acid, rubber softens and can be shaped into different objects.
  • Rubber products such as tires can also be burned to generate heat. From campfires to operating a steam turbine, you can easily use rubber tires and other products for this purpose, but keep in mind that it might have some health impact.
  • The rubber from tires can also be separated from the steel belt; which can be used to make new tires or for other purposes.
  • Rubber tires can also be used as raised bed planters. This may be especially useful if you plan to grow a garden in an area where water supplies and good soil are limited. In fact, if you want a cheap, easy way to make a multi-level potato planter, just stack up tires as the plants grow, and then harvest in the fall when it is time. Needless to say, if you are looking to hide your plants in open sight, a stack of tires may just look so unappealing no one will bother to look there for edible plants.

Video first seen on Just Az.com productions

Anatomy of an Automobile Tire

Today, there are many different kinds of tires that can be used for the same vehicle. For example, “all weather tires” are different from snow tires, mudders, and ones used for racing. Regardless of the tire type, they all have the same basic parts, however these parts may be designed a bit differently to accommodate different driving conditions.

Even though each layer of a tire also has many parts, here are the most basic ones you need to know about:

  • Treads – this is the outermost layer of the tire. It is the part that grips the road and wears out from friction with the road. The treads may also have sipes, or smaller grooves that increase traction when the tires are moving over ice, water, sand, and snow.
  • Grooves – these are also found in the outermost layer of the tire. Grooves are the long, deep channels cut into the tire. They help the tire to shed water and moisture so that it doesn’t clog up the treads.
  • Sidewall – this is the side of the tire that covers the other inner parts. It serves to protect and keep them clean and dry.
  • Belts – even though rubber bounces back to its original shape, it is not very strong. Without belts of nylon, steel, and even fiberglass, the tire would not maintain its shape very well. Depending on the tire, it may have several belts organized into layers just under the treads. When reclaiming rubber for other purposes, you will also be separating out these belts so that they can be used to make more tires, or for some other purpose.
  • Inner liner – separates the belt layer from the plies. It is also meant to act as a barrier to air so that it cannot escape into the belts, sidewall, and treads.
  • Plies – this part is what gives the tire most of its strength, and also the layer that holds air in. Typically, this layer is made up of materials that are organized so that the fiber runs across the tire instead of around it (the plies are perpendicular to the treads).
  • Bead – this is a metal cable coated in rubber that runs all the way around the inner rim of the tire. It is meant to keep the tire from slipping once it is mounted on a rim.

Why to Make Your Own Tires from Scratch

If you look at a modern tire factory, you may feel like it is impossible to make tires on your own. The task is going to be a bit difficult, but do not give up on researching and looking into automobile history to see how tires were made before robots and large factory machines were used.

Even if the tires you make aren’t as good, or don’t last as long as ones made in a modern factory, they may still be of use for short trips or keeping a tractor up and running.

Once you know how to make rubber and feel confident in your skills, the next step will be to see if you can recognize which tires can be retreated, and then figure out how to design your own tires and build them from scratch.

Retreading Tires

Not so long ago, retreading tires was seen as something dangerous and to be avoided at all cost. In many countries, including the United States, retreads are seen as a way to keep tires out of the landfill, and also as a means of cutting costs associated with vehicle maintenance.

As a prepper, you won’t have a modern retread factory or some of the more complex tools to work with. Nevertheless, if you look at retread factories in other places in the world, you can get some ideas about substitute tools, and then also figure out how to make the safest and most durable retreads possible.

Regardless of the factory type or situation, retreading requires the following basic steps:

  • Start off by inspecting the tire to check for signs of dry rot, punctures, slashes, and anything else that might have damaged the internal structures of the tire or its sidewalls.
  • If the tire is basically sound, strip off the treads. You will still need to leave some rubber behind for new material to adhere to.
  • Make sure the new surface is perfectly clean and ready to accept new rubber. If you see signs of belts showing through, or other damage, repair these issues first.
  • Apply rubber to the ground down surface of the tire. You may need to do this in several layers.
  • Next, apply the treads. These should be pre-made from rubber. If you know how to make rubber, then you can also use basic casting methods to produce strips of rubber treads that can be used for retreading.
  • Use heat and pressure to finish binding all the tire parts together.
  • Check the tire again for signs of holes, damage, or other problems.
  • Finally, apply a coat of paint or some other sealant to complete the tire.
  • Once the tire is dry, it should be ready to use. Make sure that you test the tire out in a safe area after mounting it to the rim. Do not forget to balance the tires and make sure that they are inflated properly.

As you can see, there is more to making rubber and using it for tires than you may have realized.

At the same time, tires and many other rubber products are integrated into almost every area of life. Since it is not always possible to replace rubber items with plastic ones, knowing how to make rubber and use it for a variety of purposes will help you a lot.

From fixing your own tires to bartering these services, you will always have something of value no matter what is going on in the human world around you.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Resources:

http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Rubber_from_Dandelions#Temperate_Climate_Plants_that_Produce_Latex_and_an_Evaluation_of_their_Practical_and_Ecological_Use_in_Rubber_Making.

https://phys.org/news/2015-06-natural-rubber-dandelions.html

http://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com/den-rolled-rubber-cheap-surplus-salvage/

http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/browse/cataucs?catid=2503

http://www.scienceprojectideas.co.uk/make-rubber-band-from-dandelion.html

https://www.google.com/patents/US5891926

How To Flag And Tag Your Home For FEMA

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“We are from the government and we are here to help you!” – these words inspire distrust in many Americans. I know because I have seen peoples’ reactions as I have uttered them trying to help them in emergencies.

Don’t want FEMA to kick your door in? Want to be a good citizen and do your part in an emergency? Download this article as a .pdf, print it and put it in a sheet protector and store it with supplies to tag and flag your home. It will help you a lot.

If you have seen pictures of the aftermath of a major disaster, you probably noticed cryptic markings on homes and buildings. Some are from insurance adjusters, some are made by search and rescue personnel and others are graffiti, warnings to looters or pleas for aid.

This article will help you understand search and rescue tagging methods and symbols and teach you how to flag your own home.

Why Flagging Your Home?

There are a number of reasons you may want to learn about tagging and flagging structures:

  • Avoid duplication of effort – thereby speeding rescue and recovery efforts.
  • Speed rescue effort – thereby saving lives and property.
  • Prevent property damage – I’m not saying this is the best way to accomplish this goal under all circumstances, but if you are able to effectively communicate that there are no victims trapped in your home and it poses no danger to surrounding property, then there is less reason for honest responders to break into your home.
  • OPSEC (Operational Security) – prevent others from seeing what resources you have and possibly decide to commandeer them or return with armed officers to do so. You might think, “How selfish!” But there is a difference between voluntarily sharing and being compelled to share, especially if it creates undue hardship or endangers loved ones. Many people consider it a reasonable precaution not put all their cards on the the table.
  • Situational awareness – understanding the markings helps you understand.

Find out more on how to improve your layered home defense to survive disaster! 

In the US, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) partners with a number of both professional and volunteer emergency management organizations under a program known as the Citizen Corps. These organizations offer training and service opportunities to citizens to better prepare their communities for emergencies too large for their first response infrastructure to handle.

Hurricane Katrina exposed many obstacles to communication and joint operations between agencies and departments. All first responders at all levels of government now follow a single SOP (Standard Operations or Operating Procedure) framework called the ICS (Incident Command System) to improve communication and standardize training.

In cities that already have a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) or block captain program, groups of homes (typically 8-10) are organized into blocks with a block captain and assistant or co-captains checking on each block and reporting number of reds and greens to the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) which passes them up the chain to the municipality.

If your municipality does not have CERT yet, it will, but the pace at which the program is adopted varies with public perception of municipal risk and exposure to catastrophe. The residents of each home (or the block captains if residents do not flag their own home) flag the home Green (no assistance needed) or Red (assistance needed.) This is accomplished by placing a green or red marker (typically green or red construction paper inside a sheet protector or several feet of green or red flagging tape) to the side of the front door, as long as it is visible from the street.

If the front door is not visible from the street, the flag is placed in a conspicuous place that is visible from the street. Flagging or tagging a door right on the doors should be avoided because the marking will not be visible when the door is open.

If homes are not flagged, block captains will attempt to size up the situation without entering the home and flag it, but if they suspect (or even imagine) that someone may need help, emergency workers will likely gain entry into your home when they are available to do so.

Tools to Flag Your Home

  • Public Alert Certified All Hazard Radio – without it, you may sleep right through the all-important first hours of many types of emergencies.
  • Headlamp – the power may be out.
  • Turnout bag – a bag containing everything you need to dress quickly and don PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in an emergency.
  • Sheets of red & green construction paper – stored in a plastic sheet protector with a copy of this article. If you do not have this on hand, a piece of cloth or several feet of flagging tape or anything conspicuously so colored will do.
  • Duct tape – to affix flag.
  • Non-sparking gas wrench – large non-sparking crescent wrench or other tool to shut off gas if necessary. Steel wrenches can spark, resulting in a gas explosion. Aluminum is a more effective material for this application.
  • Water shutoff tool or key – to turn off water main if necessary.
  • First aid/trauma kit – To administer first aid if necessary.
  • Smoke/Gas/Carbon Dioxide alarm
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Non-contact voltage tick meter – An inexpensive tool to discover live electrical lines without touching them.

How To Flag Your Home

Self-assess and Don PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

Make sure you are not seriously injured. The rescuer is the most important person in an emergency. Not only will you not be able to help anyone else if you become a casualty, but you will further strain emergency response resources that are already likely overtaxed.

If you jump out of bed and onto glass without your boots on, you are not off to a good start.

Establish Situational Awareness

Hopefully you already have a Public Alert Certified All Hazards Radio. It will issue information and instructions that will aid you in making decisions that will save lives. If you do not have one, turn on a NOAA weather radio or tune AM/FM radios to stations issuing emergency information for your area.

These frequencies should be part of your communications plan. Label radios with them. Turn on 2-way radios.

See If Family Members Are Injured or Trapped

Determine whether anyone in the home needs medical attention. If yes, call for help and flag the home red by taping a piece of red construction paper in a sheet protector to the side of your door or someplace visible from the street, and render first aid.

If you are in an apartment, condo or building, tape it on the wall beside your door or entryway where it will be visible to someone walking by. Diagnose and treat the three killers first: breathing/airway, bleeding and shock. Once the patient is stable or you have done all you can do, proceed to the next step.

Rescue personnel will go to flagged homes first if communications are down or if the number of injured exceeds their capacity to treat immediately.

If no one is injured, tag your home green instead of red and proceed to the next step. If injuries are minor, treat them and proceed to the next step. If family is trapped, flag the home red and rescue the most lightly trapped individuals first so they can help extricate more heavily trapped individuals. Use cribbing to safely extricate those within your ability and know when to go get more help.

Walk-around

Walk a complete circle around your home, checking for gas, water, live electrical lines, small fires and structural damage.

  • Gas – if you smell gas, turn it off at the meter by turning the valve 1/4 turn in a clockwise direction. The gas company must run a check and turn it back on.
  • Electrical – in the event of an electrical fire, short or gas leak, turn off main breaker in fuse box.
  • Water – if a water pipe is broken, you will want to turn off water to your home until you can repair it to prevent flooding and water damage.
  • Fire – if you hear, see or smell fire, size them up before attempting to fight them. Extinguish small fires within your ability with a buddy if they are smaller than a kitchen trash can and you have the equipment to safely do so. For larger fires, evacuate and call for help.
  • Structural Damage – if there are dangerous power lines, gas lines, water lines, fires, sunken ground, impaired access, down trees or damage to the structure of the home, it may not be safe to inhabit. Tape off any hazards to prevent injury if it is safe to make repairs, but understand that emergency workers may deem your home inhabitable and ask (force if necessary) you to relocate.

This is one reason why everyone should have an evacuation or bug out plan, supplies cached off-site, financial reserves and places to stay. How will you “shelter in place” if your home is leveled?

Be able to shelter in place or evacuate as the situation dictate. It’s not the strong who survive, but the adaptable. If you cannot relocate for a time, your contingency plan is less-effective. Make it more effective.

How to Tagg Your Home

Whereas home owners or Block Captains flag their homes red or green to indicate whether or not they are in need of assistance, tagging of structures is typically done by SAR (Search and Rescue) Teams, organizing pertinent information around an “X” symbol. They will typically tag with contrasting colors.

Just as with flagging, tagging is done to side of the door, instead of on it, so the tag will be visible even if the door is closed.

Tools to Tag Your Home

  • This article – in a plastic sheet protector, for further reading and knowledge.
  • Marking instruments – choose colors that contrast with your home.
    • sidewalk chalk
    • lumber crayons
    • XL paint markers or spray paint
    • green and red flagging tape
    • yellow caution flagging tape
  • Camera or notebook & pencil – optional
  • Binoculars – optional.

Finally, let’s see what to do to rag you home properly.

Observe Markings

If other structures in your area have already been marked, take note. You may want to sketch what you see or snap a digital photo to help you duplicate the markings. Depending on why you are marking and what you are trying to accomplish, this may be helpful.

But SAR Teams do not always follow SOP. After flooding from a hurricane, the SAR Team flagged all the homes by tying Yellow Caution or Crime Scene Tape to the door knobs. This should never happen because you can’t see the flag when the door is open.

Things don’t always go as planned in emergencies. Maybe some of their gear didn’t arrive and they borrow crime scene tape form local law enforcement, who knows, but that’s why it’s important that you observe they are tagging if possible.

  • Marking Instrument(s) – What are they using to mark structures? What colors?
  • Time – Are they writing the time or time and date, and in what format?
  • Team Initials – Who is doing the marking? Take note of the initials.

Diagonal Slash

Upon entry, the SAR (Search & Rescue) Team makes a diagonal slash to communicate that searchers are inside and a search is in progress. This prevents duplication of effort and alerts others to their location, should they become trapped…

“X”

Upon completion of a search and extrication and removal of all victims, the SAR Team makes a second diagonal slash, completing an “X” communicating that the search of the structure is complete and that both the victims and searchers are safely out.

Time

The SAR Team writes the time operations cease in the structure (and possibly the date) in the 12:00 quadrant of the “X”.

Actions Taken

The 3:00 quadrant of the “X” is for actions taken that need to be communicated to the homeowner such as: “Gas Off” “Elec Off” “Water Off”

Unit/Team Initials

The 9:00 quadrant of the “X” is where the team or unit is identified by its initials.

Even if you flag with the wrong material, SAR workers will understand the markings. What they conclude upon reading it will be dependent on a host of factors. They may decide it was a local team or the residence belongs to a first responder.

Either way, they were going to gain forcible entry to your home before they saw the markings and no one answers when they knock. If they see the markings, they may pass you by, especially if they think it was done by another worker on their team.

Interested in keeping you and your family safe? Click the banner below for more!

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

Resources:

https://www.fema.gov/

https://www.dhs.gov/citizen-corps

https://www.fema.gov/incident-command-system-resources

https://www.fema.gov/community-emergency-response-teams

How To Recover Gold And Silver From Scrap

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If you’re reading this article, you’re probably a gold bug, or maybe a gold digger. Either way, you probably don’t know that in 100,000 cellphones there’s about 2.4 kilos of gold to be collected (as in recuperated) by a competent gold digger.

Yes, I know – 100,000 cellphones is quite a lot of old hardware. Besides gold, you’ll also find 25 kilos of silver and more than 900 kilos of copper (that’s almost a metric ton).

Considering the fluctuation in market prices, all that stuff combined makes for a cool quarter million dollars, give or take. The problem is, where on Earth can you get 100,000 cellphones and how can you get the gold out of those darn circuits?

How to Recover Gold from Electronics

Recycling electronics can be a lucrative business provided it’s done on an industrial scale. For regular folk, this kind of enterprise is quite difficult and time consuming, especially if not done nice and proper. Now, if you want to make your own personal scrap fortune, today’s your lucky day, so keep reading, I’m giving pearls here folks!

Besides cellphones, gold and other precious metals can be found in almost all types of electronic circuits, ranging from computer main-boards to processors and what not.

The idea is that instead of throwing your old gear in the garbage, considering that there’s a small amount of gold in all types of circuits, how about putting that gold in your pocket instead of making some scrap metal company rich?

Phones, laptops, cameras and the like are packed full of gold-plated circuit boards, due to the precious metal’s excellent conductibility. Even scanners and printers have silver, gold, copper, and sometimes platinum inside their guts.

Besides being pretty expensive, as in precious, gold is a highly conductive and pliable metal which was used for thousands of years by humans as a highly valuable commodity, as it retains its value better than almost any other commodity.

Until Nixon nixed (pun intended) the Bretton Woods system in 1971, even the US dollar was backed by gold. Since then, the dollar lost a lot of its value, i.e. $1 in 1971 had the same purchasing power as $7 today (official figures), but take a load of this: back then an ounce of gold was $35, now it’s like what, $1200 (it was almost $1900 at some point)?

So, you do the math and ask yourself if scrapping gold from old electronic gear is worth your time and effort. I am digressing – of course it is!

Let’s recap: due to its excellent properties, gold is the material of choice for manufacturing various electronic parts in computers, cellphones and what not.

Removing the gold from scrap parts requires access to various equipment and it’s a pretty complicated process. However, if you’re well-armed with the right tools and knowledge, you can extract, refine, and maybe sell scrap gold, provided you have enough raw materials to extract it from.

As a general rule of thumb, considering that you’ll have to deal with highly corrosive acids, you should perform all these operations outside and always use protective gear, such as gloves, goggles and even a respirator.

Start your own woodworking business – $9500 per month guaranteed! 

Here’s a short list for starting a gold recovery enterprise:

  • rubber gloves
  • goggles
  • a rubber apron
  • hydrogen peroxide 3% from your local pharmacy
  • muriatic acid 31% (it’s available at hardware stores)
  • methyl hydrate (this is basically 99% methyl alcohol) available at automotive supply stores or hardware stores (it’s used for fuel line antifreeze)
  • a couple of large glass-made containers (a coffee pot would do the trick.
  • a funnel filter (a drip-coffee filter)
  • a stir stick made of plastic or glass
  • a blow torch powerful enough to hard solder
  • an accurate weigh scale (at least to one tenth of a gram)
  • borax
  • clay bowls or anything that has a melting point above gold
  • a measuring cup
  • and of course, a lot of scrap electronics.

The general rule is that you should collect any type of electronic scraps which are prone to contain gold inside, including computer processors, jewellery, gold tooth crowns, and old telephone wiring with an emphasis on outdated electronics, which may contain parts with a higher level of gold than modern ones.

Video first seen on indeedItdoes

In the first step, you must sort the gold into gold-plated parts: circuits which require cleaning, gold fingers, gold plated pins and so forth and so on.

Before working with chemicals, don’t forget to put on your safety gear.

In the second step, you must put the clean circuit boards and the gold fingers  inside the coffee pot. Using a different container, mix one part hydrogen peroxide with  2 parts muriatic acid and add the mixture to the coffee pot until it just covers the gold-containing stuff inside (gold fingers for example).

You’ll have to wait for about a week for the process to complete and don’t forget to stir your concoction on a daily basis.

After 7 days have passed, it’s now time to collect your gold. You’ll see that the acid has darkened and there are flakes of gold floating around inside the coffee pot. If you pour the acid through the coffee filter, the gold flakes will be captured by the filter.

Save the acid though, don’t dump it. The remaining circuit boards/gold fingers must be checked out, the clean parts thrown away, and the uncleaned parts saved for re-dipping.

Now, pour some water through the filter and then flush using methyl hydrate to clean it.

In the next step, you’ll have to add borax to your “mined” gold. Borax works by reducing the melting point of gold from its regular 1063 Celsius. By adding some borax to your cleaned gold flakes, you’ll be able to melt your gold out of the heavy mineral concentrate to salvage it.

Next you’ll have to heat the clay bowl (don’t worry if it splits or cracks) and add borax. When the borax melts, put the gold flakes in too and add more borax, then heat it continuously until you end up with a nice bead of gold. Let it cool and weigh it. There you have it, your own gold from scrap electronics.

That’s one method, the simplest actually.

Here’s an interesting tutorial about the top 10 most valuable computer processors, as in the ones with the most gold inside for recovery by weight counted down.

Video first seen on eWaste Ben

Here’s a detailed hard drive tear-down video tutorial, teaching you how to look for precious metals (gold, silver, palladium and aluminum) inside your old hard drives.

Video first seen on Rob The Plumber

Good luck and scrap hard!

Click the banner below and find out the easy way to earn part-time income!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

Prep Blog Review: Homesteading On A Budget

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Whether you are preparing for a disaster, or you just want to be self-reliant, homesteading should be an important part of your prepping plans. And here comes the real challenge – building a sustainable homestead on a budget is everyone’s dream, right?

You don’t have to spend a fortune to start homesteading so this makes the topic for this week’s prep blog review. I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic and I hope you will enjoy them.

  1. 10 Hacks for Homesteading with Almost No Money

“Homesteading is about being self-sufficient and self-reliant. To do this, you need to figure out some hacks to make it easy and simple. This involves adopting better gardening methods, conserving electricity, minimizing wastage, and consuming locally grown food. You can also go a step further and produce your own clothing, craft-work, and other home accessories.

The following are some simple hacks you can adopt:

Leave your Clothes Out to Dry

Forget the dryer. You can still dry your clothes in the outdoors, balcony or rooftop. Light clothes dry within a few hours even in the chilly weather while heavier garments will take longer. Besides saving you high monthly energy bills, this hack leaves your clothes smelling fresh and natural.

Grow Tomatoes Vertically

Having a small space doesn’t mean you can’t farm your own tomatoes. There are some breeds that grow vertically rather than horizontally. Besides taking little space, most of the plant is off the ground and is less-likely to be affected by parasites and diseases. You also use fewer pesticides to take care of it.”

Read more on Plan and Prepared.

  1. 45 Homestead Tools for Off the Grid Living

“Laura Ingalls didn’t have a power drill, but I bet you her life would have been a lot easier if she did. Listen, your homestead isn’t going to collapse and crumble without having every single one of the tools on the list–at least not right away. But over time as weather wears on your roof and rain mucks up your roads, you are certainly going to need some reinforcement. The following list of homestead tools includes just about everything you will need.

Homesteading isn’t a process that happens overnight. Purchase these homestead tools as you need them until you have everything covered. Start taking stock now and begin gathering the essentials. To make it simpler, I broke the list into four sections: everyday tools, emergency tools, agriculture tools, and luxury tools.”

Read more on Homestead Survival Site.

  1. Homestead Geese – Easy to Care for Barnyard Protectors and Weed Eaters

“Homestead geese are not the first animals that come to mind when you consider homestead livestock. That award usually goes to backyard chickens, or dairy goats with the occasional pastured pig thrown in. But geese deserve to be fourth on that list in my opinion.

Geese are entertainment, lawn control, homestead guardians that also happen to taste pretty darn good.

Goose fat is prized among top chefs, and many a hawk or fox has been scared away from a chicken dinner by the threatening wing span of an angry goose.

You might share that opinion if you encountered an aggressive goose in childhood (or adulthood for that matter).

However, geese raised by you, from goslings (a young goose), can be as friendly as the family dog and twice as formidable when strangers or predators happen on to your homestead!”

Read more on Common Sense Homesteading.

  1. How to Raise Meat Rabbits in Small Spaces

“Whether you are planning to survive disasters or simply want to be self-sufficient and less dependent on outside resources, raising your own meat animals is a smart choice. That said, raising farm animals can be tough for those who live in urban areas, small homes or apartments, or under the rule of restrictive homeowners associations. If that sounds like you, consider raising meat rabbits.  Rabbits make it possible to produce your own meat without raising an eyebrow!

Why rabbits? Meat rabbits are an excellent way to supplement your family food supply.  Rabbit meat is tender and mild, plus rabbit meat is one of the healthiest meat sources, even beating chicken for low calories, high protein, and lower cholesterol levels. Not only that, rabbit meat is also far lower in fat and is higher in calcium and phosphorus than other meats.”

Read more on Backdoor Survival.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

The trash on trash

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    The trash on trash

The trash on trash

When we lived in the city and had city services, one of the things that was taken care of with no thought at all was the trash. Two times a week, a big closed dump truck came by and took our trash from the curb, all we had to do was have it bagged up and set out by the curb. I remember hearing the trash truck coming and running to make sure the trash was all out there. We didn’t worry about how much trash we had, or how much room it took up as long as we weren’t getting low on trash bags.

The city did provide blue totes for recyclables, hoping the neighborhood would take the trouble to separate out some of their trash, cardboard, glass, and plastic, some of the neighbors did it, some didn’t, honestly it was just easier to put everything in a bag and drop it by the curb.

I also remember, that even then PB tended to condense our trash, he was a human powered trash compactor, crushing plastic and cardboard containers, we rinsed our food containers so it didn’t stink (and attract animals), things like milk jugs and glass bottles were stuffed with cut down plastic and paper trash so they wouldn’t be large empty spaces in the trash bags. We had fewer but heavier trash bags. PB also enjoyed going out and chatting with the trash guy as he helped toss our trash bags into the truck.

Move ahead several years and we are now living on a mountain side in far west Texas. We don’t have “local” trash pickup, not even in town. There is a trash service of sorts, you can rent a small dumpster that is kept in a central location in the neighborhood, many of our neighbors do that. They go in together, several households to a dumpster because of the cost, it’s several hundred dollars per year (over $300 last I heard). Dumpsters are very coveted, you don’t want to be seen putting your trash into someone elses dumpster.

There is a trash dump in town, it’s not a landfill though, the trash is put into large dumpsters and a company comes by and takes the trash away, presumably to a landfill in some other town. There are fees for using this place, a couple of dollars per trash bag, a set fee for a truck or trailer load. We have used this place before and it’s pretty convenient, they even have recycling dumpsters that are free to use, for cardboard, plastic and glass.

Honestly though, we take care of our own trash most of the time. First of all, we generate very little trash, especially as compared to everyone else, I really notice it when we have visitors stay over or when I’m at someone else’s house. Before trash is even generated, I am considerate of what I buy, what kind of packaging it comes in. Paper and cardboard are the best, this can be burned, whether as fire starter in the wood burning stove, or outside in the burn barrel. Plastics get condensed, as well as metal cans. Again everything gets rinsed off so it doesn’t attract animals. Food leftovers that aren’t going to be eaten get composted.

We end up going to the dump about 4-5 times a year, we do have a truck load of trash, neatly condensed, clean and ready to be tossed into the appropriate container, metal into metal, plastic into plastic, glass into glass.

For those of you who live in more rural areas, how do you deal with your trash?

You might also like
https://www.off-grid.net/the-power-of-trash/
https://www.off-grid.net/cash-from-trash/

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How To Protect Your Ammo Stockpile

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Even though you may make every effort to become self sufficient, there are some things that cannot be made without a good bit of help from modern tools and equipment. Some of the best ammunition in the world will no longer be available once society collapses and the technology and skills are lost for making it.

Under these circumstances, you may feel that it is best to store away as much ammo as possible. At the very least, if you have a bigger stockpile left, there is a chance that you or your survivors can command greater resources once societies begin to form again.

In the meantime, storing ammo properly is also very important so that you will be prepared for smaller emergencies that require the use of the items in your stockpile.

Here are some basic guidelines for keeping your ammunition safe in a world where new technologies may make it a bit more complicated than expected.

Making Your Ammo Invisible

Ground penetrating radars, X-ray scanners, satellites, and other devices make it very hard to hide metallic objects even in your own home or in the ground beneath it. This, in turn, means that making ammo invisible will be harder than you may have expected. Here are some things you can try:

  • All of your ammo should be impossible to trace to you. When you buy ammo, always pay cash and only divulge your identity to people that you can trust. Never buy all your ammo in one place. If someone is watching your purchases at one location, they may not be able to gauge your stockpile as easily if you buy elsewhere.
  • Pack your ammo into smaller cans that can be harder to spot by scanners from above or at ground level. Smaller boxes can be hidden among metal pipes or other “scrap” as long as the metals in question are similar to those found in the bullets. If there is a reason why you would store away bullets with aluminum or steel casings over brass ones, this would be it!
  • If you purchase a square or rectangular shaped ammo can, it may be very easy to spot on some scanners. You may want to make unevenly shaped boxes from polymer or other materials that will keep the ammo dry, cool, and safe. When using polymer, do not forget to cover the outer surface of the container with rocks, bits of metal, or anything else that will help scramble the signature of the ammunition hidden within the can.
  • You may also be able to find paints and other materials that will absorb scanner signals or reflect them in a way that masks the presence of the ammo can. You will need to have a good idea of the technologies used to scan for ammo or metal, and then figure out which coatings will best suit your needs. While you may be tempted to try and jam scanners, the consistent failure of these devices in certain areas may draw unwanted attention. It is truly better to make the signature of your cache as small as possible so that it is overlooked or mistaken for something else.  Just remember that it can be harder to fool modern computers that do not get tired, bored, or lose focus as a human viewer would.

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Making Your Ammo Stockpile Mobile

One of the most important, but overlooked aspects of ammo stockpiling is making sure that you can move everything around with ease.  Here are some things you can do to make the task easier:

  • If you have ammo stored away from home or underground, make sure that you have pulleys, carts, and other devices to move the ammo around with ease.
  • Always make sure that you can clear pathways easily, yet cover them back up so that the presence of your ammo remains undetected.
  • Have a locus of four or five locations nearby that you can rotate each can in and out of. If you have two cans of ammo in your home, then you should have at least 10 hiding places that the cans can be moved in and out of.
  • Take the time now to practice moving ammo around so that you know what to expect. In an emergency, there is nothing worse than being pressed for time and unsure how long it will take to accomplish a task. Even if something does go wrong or the unexpected happens, these time frames will help you make better decisions about what to take along and what to leave behind.
  • Never forget that lighter weight is easier to carry around. Lighter weight cans are also less likely to break apart or puncture when jolted in transit.
  • When you practice moving ammo from one place to another, always include awareness of fires, excess heat, and water. Never put ammo near heat or flames even if you want to test your skills. It is safest to make sure that you are aware as you go through your drills. If you truly feel compelled to drill with live fire, then use ammo cans filled with sand; this will keep you safe and help you gain a sense of what must be done. Don’t forget to include a thermometer on top of the can and one that will record temperatures inside the can. If nothing else convinces you to avoid drilling with ammo in the presence of fire or excess heat, this may well do the job.

Video first seen on Patriotsurvival

Avoid Indirect Damage from EMPs and Nuclear Blasts

It is true that nuclear blasts and EMPs cannot directly cause primers to explode or gunpowder to ignite. EMPs are well known for causing fires.

If you have ammo cans stored near wires, cables, or anything else that might burn up from the EMP, then the heat from that fire may be enough to cause the ammo to explode. The thermal wave from a nuclear blast and the fires caused by it can also affect ammo in a harmful way.

There is only one real way to prevent EMPs and nuclear blasts from ruining your ammo supply. As with protecting yourself, all of your ammo will have to be stored in an underground bunker or shelter. Never hesitate to build additional tunnels or layers of tunnels so that you can move the ammo around underground.

If you cannot store ammo underground, then you can still take some steps to reduce the risk of ammo related explosions caused by an EMP. If you decide to stash ammo in the walls of your home make sure that the cans are far enough away from electrical wiring, metal pipes, or anything else that might conduct electricity. You should also avoid storing ammo in any location where only a bit of plaster or wood stands between an electrical appliance and the ammo hiding in the wall.

When storing ammo in a bug out bag, make sure that all electronic devices and conductive materials are stored away in EMP proof bags. As long as no fires start in the bug out bag, and everything stays cool and dry, then the ammo should also remain safe.

Safeguarding Your Stockpile

There are many different ways to safeguard your ammo stockpile. If you are prepping with a group, then you can always look for way to use conventional guard duty systems. That being said, no matter how much you trust the people around you, it never hurts to have a few hidden caches of ammo that only you know about.

If you have ammo stored in remote locations, the geography of the region itself should be able to deter electronic scanners and curious people. While you may not be able to actively patrol these areas, you should still be able to draw adversaries into fire zones or use traps to neutralize them.

When setting traps in areas you don’t plan on visiting very often, just make sure you remember what you did. There are few things worse in life than going to a cave where you hid some ammo, only to wind up hung up by a snare you set in front of the entrance, and then forgot about.

Depending on the location of your stockpile, some defense methods may be more feasible than others. For example, if you rent an apartment, or have very little room to hide ammo, then decoys, distractions, and diversions may offer some viable options.

Consider a situation where you have only one room suitable for storing ammo, you can still put one can in plain view. Even if it is empty, the invader may well move over to that can first. From there, you can choose any number of actions.

First, you can detonate traps that will prevent the invader from taking further action. If there is more than one person, you may want to use this diversion to grab your bug out bag and run. Should you be fortunate enough to have several minutes to make your escape, then you can always try to move one or two ammo cans to your bug out vehicle.

Without a question, if you have been drilling on moving ammo from one place to another, you will know pretty much how long it takes and then make your decision from there. If you feel that you cannot get the ammo out in time, it is truly better to escape with your life rather than lose it for the sake of a few rounds of ammo.

At its simplest, you can keep your ammo storage plans to choosing airtight and waterproof cans that will be stored away in a cool, dry location.

As a prepper, however, it is also important to be able to move, manage, and care for your stockpile even in extreme circumstances. Being able to effectively hide ammo, move it around, and use simple tools will all make it easier to have plenty of ammo on hand for years to come.

Keeping up with electronic technologies and polymers will also go a long way towards helping you keep your stockpile safe, sound, and in good condition.

No matter whether you are storing rounds or gunpowder, following some basic rules and maintaining a good level of stockpile awareness will truly be of immense benefit.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Reinventing The Wheel: How To Get Perfectly Round Shapes

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

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

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

The Importance of a Durable and Reusable Template

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Some Ways to Get a Perfectly Round Blueprint

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

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

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

Use a Compass

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

Use a String and a Pencil

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

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

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

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

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

Use a Stick and a Central Pin

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

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on Make Something

Basics of Wheel Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wheel Size

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

Wheel Width

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

Wheel Weight

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

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

Spokes vs Solid Construction

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

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

Surfaces for Traction

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

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

How to Cut Round Surfaces

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

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

Video first seen on bobdutica

Shaping Wood and Other Semi-Pliable Materials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Casting Wheels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Apocalypse Survival Tips

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

How the 99% can live thru an apocalypse

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

 

Billionaire Boltholes in New Zealand

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

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

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

 

Water Purification

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

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

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

 

Infection Prevention

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

 

Power Generation after Apocalypse

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

 

Growing Food

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

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

 

Power Cars – with trees

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

 

Learning to Relearn

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

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

The post Apocalypse Survival Tips appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

How To Improve Seed Germination

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It’s that time of the year when gardeners can’t wait to get sowing. Starting off seeds is perhaps the most critical step when starting a garden. Failing to grow seeds means you will lose valuable time and buy expensive plants instead. To make sure everything goes as planned there are a few ways to improve … Read more…

The post How To Improve Seed Germination was written by Rhonda Owen and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

How To Store Tap Water For Survival

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How To Store Tap Water For Survival

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

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

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

Use Clean Containers

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

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

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

Containers to Store Tap Water

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

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

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

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

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

Video first seen on NoBudgetHomestead

Store Your Water in a Cool Location Out of the Sunlight

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

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

Add a Few Drops of Bleach

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

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

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

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

Rotate

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

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

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

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

Make Ice

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

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

Store in Different Sizes

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

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

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

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Why Every Rural Homestead Should Have a Pig

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This article was originally published on notsomodern.com

I’ll admit, I had my reservations about raising pigs. Being a country girl from rural Ohio, I’ve grown up around hog farms. My uncle was a hog farmer for most of my life. My brother even raised a couple hogs for 4-H one year. The only things I really cared to know about pigs were that they destroyed everything and smelled horrible, even if they are rather tasty. So it really came as a surprise to me more than anyone when I agreed to raise a couple for meat. It wasn’t long before I also decided to breed them, but that’s a story for another time.

So after a lifetime of swearing off pig farming, why the sudden change of heart? It was mostly economical. We want to raise most, if not all, of our own food. We need to fill the freezer. Pigs were the easiest and most cost effective way to achieve that end. I highly recommend raising pigs for meat to anyone with the means and here’s why.

Space Requirements

While cattle require acreage, pigs can be raised in a much smaller space, which makes them ideal for homesteaders operating on smaller acreage. We live on a 5 acre wooded lot with very little grazing available. To raise a cow, we would need to spend a lot of money on hay and grain. Pigs on the other hand only require 20 square feet per finished hog (less space for weanlings and growers). Granted, I have found that more space equals less smell, so I prefer closer to 50 square feet per pig, but it’s still much less space than I would need for a cow. Many homesteaders also prefer to pasture raise their pigs. Just keep in mind that the larger the space, the more calories the pigs will burn, so they will grow at a slower rate and need to consume more feed. It’s up to you to determine the balance that’s right for you.

Initial Cost

Here in Central Florida, a weaned calf (I don’t recommend bottle babies) will cost about $600-800. A yearling will cost closer to $1,200. If you have the acreage, you can finish them on grass with very little additional investment until it’s time to take them to the butcher. If not, you also have to factor in the cost of hay and grain for at least 6 months to finish them. It adds up quickly. On the other hand, decent quality 8 week old piglets are $60-80. You’ll have to buy grain, but a well bred meat pig should be ready to butcher around 6-7 months old, so you’ll only be feeding it for 4-5 months. It will also eat considerably less than a cow. It takes approximately 650-750 lbs of commercial pig feed to get a 50 lb feeder pig to a butcher weight of 250 lbs. I pay about $12 for a 50 lb bag of 17% hog grower feed, so that equals $156 – $180 in feed costs per pig.

Healthy as a Hog

Forget horses, pigs are the true masters when it comes to health and resiliency. In my three years of raising pigs, I can count on one hand the times any of them have been sick. In fact, none of them have been sick since I’ve started vaccinating. Even those times when they have been sick, I’ve been able to treat them on my own, and they’ve made a full recovery. I did have one issue with a piglet with a hernia, but that was genetic and not much I could have done about it. Now that I know what to look for, I know not to castrate male piglets with hernias. Even with that piglet, the vet didn’t expect him to survive the next two days, and now he’s a 250+ lb hog ready to go to the butcher. Seriously, they are very resilient animals.

Rapid Growth

The average steer is butchered at 18 months old. If you’re raising a weaned calf, that means you’ll be waiting a year before you can fill your freezer. A well bred meat pig will be ready around 6-7 months old. If you buy an 8 week old piglet and free feed it (access to grain 24/7), then you can have a freezer full of pork chops, bacon, and sausage in as little as 4 months. Raise a piglet every 6 months and you’ll have more pork than you know what to do with, believe me.

Final Yield

Granted, when you butcher a cow, you’re usually getting back 400-500 pounds of beef. It’s usually more than the average person can fit in their freezer, so you end up selling some of it to friends and family members. However, all of that beef only accounts for about a third of the cow’s live weight. Cows have an average dressing ratio of 62%, that means that a 1,200 lb steer may only have a hanging weight of 744 lb. That’s just with the organs removed, much more weight is lost when the head, skin, extra bones and fat are trimmed off. That’s not to say that you can’t get those things back from the butcher (I highly recommend getting the bones and fat back), but they’re generally considered waste.

Pigs have an average dressing ratio of 74%, so a 280 lb hog may have a hanging weight of 207 lb. They have much less bone than a cow, so you don’t lose as much weight with the finished cuts. On average, you can expect to get about 50% of the live weight back in finished cuts. That’s 140 lbs of pork on a hog you may have fed for 5 months and only paid $80 for vs. the steer you paid $800, fed for a year, and got back 400 lb of beef. I’ll let you do the math.

I also like to get the extra bones and fat back from the butcher. I render my own lard and use it in almost all of my cooking. I use it to replace a lot of vegetable oils in savory dishes. I use it as the fat to saute my vegetables in. I also use it to season my cast iron pans. The bones I can use for stock and bone broth. Also, ask your butcher if they use the jowels and ham hocks. Some butchers may grind them into the sausage, or you can get them back to cure and smoke yourself for use in bean soup. In the book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, the author uses almost the entire hog, including the blood and intestine. If you’re interested in curing and smoking your own hams, sausages, and bacon, I highly recommend that book.

Little Goes to Waste

I don’t know about you, but I hate throwing away food. We survive on leftovers, and I generally try to use up all of our leftovers before they go bad, but sometimes even the best of intentions die in the back of my fridge. This is where I love having pigs. Even if the food has started to mold, I’m able to feed it to my pigs (scary science experiments excluded). There really isn’t much they can’t eat. When we had problems with a fox killing our turkeys, I threw the turkey carcasses to the pigs. We’ve also thrown them old baked goods and rotten vegetables from the local grocery store. I know some people who make their pig’s entire diet out of scraps, although I don’t really recommend it. Scraps should be treated as more than a supplement. First of all, pigs are omnivores and need a balanced diet of proteins, fats and vegetables. It’s difficult to know if they are getting that balance with scraps. Second of all, they tend to grow more slowly on scraps and may not reach their full growth potential. You’ll spend less on feed, but you’ll probably have to house them for a longer period of time and end up with less pork in return. I prefer to have a higher turn over so I can make room for the next batch of piglets. Plus, if I have to pay the butcher, I’d like to get my money’s worth.

Another unexpected benefit to feeding rotten vegetables to pigs is the volunteer vegetable plants. All of the tomato plants in my garden this year have come from pig manure. We also have a papaya tree because we fed papaya to the pigs. However, compost the manure before you try using it on your garden (I dig the volunteers out of the compost pile). Hubby tried fertilizing the onions with pig manure one year, and the onions were crowded out by volunteer tomato plants. I’ve joked that I’m going to feed my vegetable seeds to the pigs one year because they seem to get the best germination rate.

If you’re looking for a way to be more self sufficient, and you have the space for pigs, I highly recommend them. They don’t have the health issues that a lot of meat animals may experience, making them very easy for beginners to raise. One pig can provide approximately 140 lbs of pork, easily filling the freezer and providing your family with enough pork for several months. The meat also preserves well through curing and smoking, which is why they were a favorite animal of pioneers and homesteaders when our country was first founded. They can also help you with composting, turning your leftovers and rotten vegetables into valuable manure. After all, how many other animals can turn tomatoes into bacon?

Source : www.notsomodern.com

About the author : Bonnie was raised in a small farming village in central Ohio where she was active in 4-H and FFA. She grew up surrounded by a large family who taught her how to can, garden and cook from scratch. Now living in Florida and raising two outrageous kids, Bonnie is running the family farm where they raise chickens, ducks, goats, pigs and horses. She also enjoys teaching her kids how to live off of the land, appreciate God’s creation, and live a simpler life.

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Prep Blog Review: The Good & The Bad Food In Your Pantry

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You probably already have a well-stocked pantry for survival, but have you checked the foods lately? While some foods from are a bless and you can use them for several purposes in a survival situation (e.g. honey), there are other foods that you are stockpiling without knowing how dangerous they are.

Since there are good foods and bad foods in your pantry, for this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered four articles on this topic to help you check your stockpile and make sure the food you choose for a survival situation is healthy, nutritious and won’t put your life in danger.

  1. 23 Survival Uses for Honey that You Didn’t Know About

“Whether you enjoy the sticky amber manna that is honey or not, there are a ton of potential uses for it in survival situations, or simply to maintain your everyday health. It has been a popular remedy for centuries, and with good reason.

Types of Honey:

While you may be thinking solely of the little grocery store bears, there are literally thousands of different types of honey. We’ll go over some of the varieties noted for their health benefits.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. How to Avoid This Dangerous Preservative Found In Dried Fruit

“If you opened up a pantry belonging to any prepper, you’d most likely find a veritable cornucopia of dried foods within.

It’s pretty much a staple for preppers. Unfortunately, dried foods of all kinds often come packaged with preservatives that aren’t so healthy.

It can be a real challenge to find long-lasting foods that you would want to eat during an emergency, that aren’t also filled with toxic preservatives.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

  1. What Refrigerated Foods are Safe to Consume after a Power Outage

“Time is not your friend when the power goes out and your refrigerator stops cooling. Typically, if the door is not opened food should stay within a safe temperature for four hours.

What is a safe temperature for fresh meats, and other perishables?

Forty degrees Fahrenheit or below, if raw ground beef, for example, is stored for longer than two hours above 40° F it must be discarded, it is simply not safe to eat because of the growth of possibly harmful bacteria.”

Read more on Preparing For SHTF.

  1. Wise Food Storage for Long-Term Survival

“I’m certainly no stranger to dehydrated and freeze dried field rations. As a United States Marine, I lived on Meals Ready To Eat (MRE) for weeks at a time. So I understand the need for wise food storage.

The value of these MRE meals were that they provided a heavy dose of calories with very little, if any, preparation time required.

When time allotted, we would use heat tabs to warm up our meals in order to make them more comforting.

But regardless of how much tabasco sauce, salt, or pepper that we added to these MRE’s, the outcome was usually the same…the taste was horrible and our digestive system paid one hell of a price!”

Read more on Survival Life.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

Ancient Survival Medicine That We Lost To History

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Ancient Survival Medicine

Before Europeans discovered the Americas and introduced such diseases as chicken pox, the flu, smallpox, and measles, Native Americans were relatively disease-free and, for the most part, lived long, healthy lives, unless of course famine struck.

Native American remedies for existing illnesses were made of indigenous medicinal plants, many of which were highly effective.

Unlike modern medicine, sick patients weren’t just handed medicine until they either got better or died. Instead, Native Americans took care of their health holistically; it was strongly linked to spirituality.

The Native American ideal state of health and well-being was intrinsically linked to a close connection to the Earth and living in harmony with the environment.

In other words, they weren’t the “savages” that Europeans assumed that they were; I’m sure that, if they had the European desire for progress and financial gain, the Americas would have been vastly different than they were when Columbus found them. Instead, they believed that natural balance must be maintained. Life was about coexistence, not the almighty dollar.

But, if you take a look at what they actually did to maintain that balance, you may be surprised to find that their methods coincide with what modern medical practitioners preach on a daily basis.

Regular Cardio and Strength Training

Many tribes greeted the dawn with an early morning run to celebrate the arrival of a new day. How many people do you know that run in the mornings (or at some point during the day) as part of their exercise routine?

Of course, along with the physical exercise they also benefited from the release of stress-releasing hormones that we now know comes from physical exercise. Since running was, in large part, spiritual, there was also surely the clarity of mind that comes with meditation.

Oh, and we can’t forget that regularly carrying animal carcasses, curing hides, carrying water, setting up and tearing down camps, and participating in ceremonies and games that centered on acts of physical strength are all examples of strength training in its purest form.

Get this lifesaving information about surviving when doctors, pharmacies and hospitals are shut down!

Healthy Diets

The Native American concept of fast food was eating berries, fruits, and nuts as they picked them. They didn’t typically gorge themselves unless it was a celebratory feast and the only chips they had were possibly buffalo chips – depending on location – that they used to start a fire (or possibly create a home remedy).

Everybody now is preaching that free-range, organic, hormone-free meat is the only healthy option. Well guess what – the Native Americans were already following that diet. They treated sick animals in the same way that the treated sick people – herbally.

Either that or they just put them down and maybe ate them, depending on the illness or injury. Plus the animals weren’t ingesting grass poisoned with artificial pesticides and other chemicals.

Nuts and seeds were rich in Omega-3’s, high in good fats and low in bad fats, so they had that covered, and the berries that they ate, again, had no pesticides or chemicals. And lest we forget, they had to work for their food, so they were naturally exercising every day of their lives.

Until less than 100 years ago, diabetes was practically non-existent in the Native American population, until they began to adopt the eating habits of other Americans.

Mental Health

We now know that mental health is critical to physical health.

Native Americans regularly meditated and practiced acts of gratitude for everything that surrounded them.

As some modern philosophies teach, they were present and mindful. They celebrated the seasons and the bounty, and they were grateful and respectful to the animals that they killed to sustain themselves.

In a nutshell, Native Americans had a healthy outlook on life and worked regularly to maintain that. They knew, without an advanced medical degree, what it took to stay healthy.

Medicinal Herbs

For every illness, there’s a cure. At least in theory. Though Western Medicine hasn’t managed to find cures for many diseases, Native Americans had treatments for just about everything, and if you pay attention to early American writers, they often worked.

These treatments were entirely natural – no penicillin or opiates required. There are natural elements that provide the origins of these modern meds, such as soil and plants that contain natural antibiotics and plants such as willow bark that contain natural pain killers. In fact, willow bark was an original ingredient in aspirin.

Just because a cure is natural doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work as well as modern medications; in fact, the opposite is often true.

As preppers, we realize that we may not always have access to OTC and prescription meds so, considering that, we’ve put together a special report on Native American remedies that teaches you how to use the eight super-plants that treat more than thirty diseases. You’ll also learn how to help your body stay healthy and heal itself naturally, and how to preserve your food without refrigeration or electricity.

Click here to subscribe to Survivopedia’s newsletter and get this month’s FREE REPORT to find out more about our ancestors’ natural healing secrets. 

Native American Remedies

In general, their naturally healthy lifestyles prevented many diseases, but some did exist. Plus, you have to consider injuries such as broken bones, open wounds, and infections.

When treating any medical condition, the knowledge of the tribe healer often saved the day with a combination of treatments.

Throughout the generations, natural remedies were handed down from one healer to the next, and it seems pretty likely that the entire tribe knew how to use herbs, plants, seeds, and roots for healing, too.

These ingredients, alone or combined, were used to make poultices, teas, decoctions, salves, and oils that worked in conjunction with other holistic methods described above.

Sweat Lodges

Also known as medicine lodges, sweat lodges were often used for healing, prayer, introspection, and purification. Sweat sessions were required to be supervised by trained elders who were experienced with the process and could safely control the situation in case somebody became ill or uncomfortable.

Many holistic healers believe that sweating purifies the body by flushing toxins from the body and may help kill disease by raising the body temperature to a point that bacteria and viruses can’t survive. That is, of course, theoretical, but it makes a certain amount of sense.

Remember that knowledge is the only doctor that can save you when there is no medical help around you.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Bicycle power can help you maintain self-sufficiency when SHTF

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One of the persistent myths about prepping is that it requires spending lots of cash on fancy survival gear. However, much of what may prove to be extremely useful in a big disaster/SHTF scenario might already be lying around the house. Those old bicycles collecting dust in your garage are the perfect example. Not only might a bicycle represent the ultimate stealth bug-out vehicle, pedal power can also be utilized in a number of other useful ways if and when the power grid goes down.

First, let’s consider the use of bicycles in a survival situation in terms of what they were originally designed for: transportation. When you consider that gasoline can only be stored for a few years at the most and that there likely won’t be any gas stations open after a societal collapse, the lowly bicycle becomes more and more attractive as a survival transportation solution.

Add to this the fact that bicycles are virtually indestructible if maintained properly and boast a potential lifespan of several decades, and you’ll begin to see the practical potential of bicycles in a long-term survival scenario. Bicycles are easily repaired and maintained, requiring only a few tools and a bit of technical knowledge along with some spare tires, chains, chain grease and oil to keep them functioning properly.

The stealth aspect is a huge advantage as well. Bicycles produce virtually no noise, which could be a lifesaving advantage if you need to travel undetected. Silence is also crucial if you’re out hunting game, and that brings us to another great advantage of bicycles: they can go many places other vehicles cannot. A solid mountain bike is capable of traversing some of the roughest terrain imaginable at quite respectable speeds.

If you’ve got deep pockets, there are several manufacturers making bikes designed specifically with survival scenarios in mind with lots of cool attachments and features such as camouflage paint, but a decent mountain bike can be customized at home for a lot less money. It is easy enough to add a rack that can carry a fair amount of extra gear or supplies, and if you want camouflage, just grab a couple of cans of the preferred colors of spray paint.

The potential of pedal power in a survival situation goes far beyond mere transportation. Bicycles can be converted to drive all sorts of machinery in situations when there is no electricity available from the grid. In fact, bicycles can be used to generate your own electricity. With the new, longer-term storage capacity battery technology now emerging, it is conceivable that pedal power could could supply all of the electricity you will ever really need when the SHTF.

Many of the devices that require an electric motor can be driven by human pedal power. A water pump, for example, can be relatively easily modified to be powered by a belt connected to a bicycle frame and pedals. The possibilities are quite broad; sewing machines, weaving looms, grain threshers, and wood and metal lathes can all be powered by pedals.

There are plenty of DIY plans available online for these types of uses of pedal power. I have included several links below, and once you understand how to convert a bicycle to drive one machine, you’ll have the basic knowledge to come up with your own ideas for harnessing this marvelous, non-polluting, highly efficient form of power generation.

Perhaps you’d like a pedal-powered ice cream maker, for example? Since you’ll be burning all those calories while making your own delicious post-apocalyptic homemade ice cream, you’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy eating it, free of guilt!

Source : www.naturalnews.com

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Battery Farms – Legal issues and opportunities

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Collins stnading next to his lead acid batteries

Energy storage is a HUGE business

You’ve heard of Server Farms where vast numbers of computers house information served onto the internet? Well get used to Battery Farms – where huge arrays of batteries store solar or wind energy and serve it to local homes and businesses. States like Hawaii, which has to supply all its own power are investing heavily in the idea.

Federal and state government mandates and incentives, combined with technological advances, have dramatically increased renewable energy sources during the past decade. Variable renewable energy sources such as solar and wind have demonstrated great potential for meeting electric power demand but remain limited from a grid integration standpoint due to intermittency when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing.

As a result, state governments and independent system operators are placing increased emphasis on utility-scale energy storage systems and several states, including California, have adopted mandates and incentives for rapid deployment. While several different storage technologies exist or are in development – including pumped hydropower and thermal storage – increasing focus is on battery storage systems to meet energy storage needs. As with any energy project, however, utility-scale battery storage projects present land use, permitting and environmental and health and safety issues, and developers need to anticipate and address these issues to successfully meet project development timelines and goals.

Emerging Trends in Energy Storage Development

California led with government-mandated renewable energy goals, enacting AB 32 in 2006, which requires 33 percent of the state’s retail energy to be from renewable sources by the end 2020. Other states have followed suit. Hawaii, a state that is “off the grid” and entirely dependent on its own generating capabilities, has adopted the most ambitious goal to date, with 100 percent of its electricity to be supplied by renewable sources by 2045.

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind turbines have the potential to meet the demand for energy in many states and throughout our nation. These are variable energy sources, however, and electricity from fossil fuel combustion and other energy sources must be used to provide base load to balance the grid, as demonstrated by the California Independent System Operator’s well known “duck chart.” Last year’s massive leak at California’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility underscored the need for alternatives to reliance on fossil fuel generation and led to California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) Resolution E-4791, ordering the expedited procurement and development of energy storage resources in the Los Angeles Basin.

As a result of these policy and economic forces, there is increasing emphasis on developing and implementing energy storage systems, both “behind the meter” and on a utility scale. Once again, California has led the way with enactment of AB 2514, which calls for 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage capacity from the state’s three large investor-owned utilities by 2020, and adoption of legislation earlier this year accelerating and expanding deployment of energy storage systems. Oregon and Washington have similarly enacted legislation to promote energy storage capacity and, just four months ago, Massachusetts became the first East Coast state to adopt an energy storage mandate.

Energy storage technologies are not entirely new. Pumped hydroelectric storage facilities have been used for decades to supplement generating capacity during peak energy demand, and a number of evolving mechanical, chemical, and thermal technologies are in use or development. Due to its ready availability, however, the principal focus to meet current energy storage needs is on battery energy storage systems (BESS), and lithium ion-based systems in particular. These systems offer very fast response times and high cycle efficiencies, can be used for utility-scale as well as residential and commercial applications, are relatively easy to deploy, and continue to experience a dramatic drop in costs. There is little doubt that utility-scale BESS are and will in the near-future continue to be the technology of choice to meet energy storage requirements in California and other states.

Utility-scale battery farms or energy storage projects present great opportunities for developers, investor-owned utilities, and state governments to meet renewable energy goals, make better use of solar and wind resources, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. However, as with any energy project, consideration should be given to land use, permitting, and environmental and health and safety issues in formulating effective strategies for development of utility-scale battery storage projects.

California Permitting Issues and Strategies

Development-related concerns for utility-scale BESS projects include site consistency with land use and zoning laws, worker safety, security and community safety measures, hazardous waste management and disposal, potential impacts on species and habitat, visual impacts, storm water management, and coordination with generation and transmission facilities. As with any new project-based technology, the myriad of issues relating to BESS projects are still evolving. Nonetheless, below we highlight some of the key emerging considerations.

There are three distinct permitting regimes that may apply in developing BESS projects, depending upon the owner, developer, and location of the project.

For BESS projects developed or owned by the state’s investor-owned utilities, the projects are subject to CPUC jurisdiction under General Order (GO) 131-D. GO 131-D governs permitting for utility-owned infrastructure including the potential need for a Certificate of Public Necessity and Convenience (CPCN) or Permit to Construct (PTC) and related environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). For BESS projects approved to date, the utilities have invoked an exemption from GO 131-D qualifying such projects as “distribution” facilities falling below applicable 50 megawatt (MW) and 50 kilovolt (kV) thresholds, thereby avoiding CPCN and PTC compliance and associated CEQA review. While the utilities must still coordinate with local authorities regarding land use matters and obtain non-discretionary construction and operational permits, so long as the project qualifies as utility-owned and meets the applicable GO 131-D exemption thresholds, permitting can be streamlined.

For BESS projects not qualified under GO 131-D, permitting jurisdiction is dependent upon the location of the battery fatms, typically either on private, federal or state land, and governed by the applicable governmental agency with jurisdiction over that land. The majority of BESS projects falling outside CPUC jurisdiction to date are located on private land and subject to the applicable county or city zoning and land use ordinances and, if necessary, associated CEQA or National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review. The analysis of any required discretionary permits and approvals in each instance is highly fact-specific, depending upon the zoning of the relevant parcel(s) and the permitted and conditional uses under the applicable code for that zoning designation. Co-locating BESS facilities with the solar or wind generating source may streamline the process and provide economic advantages. Additionally, in some instances, BESS projects may fall within permitted uses for electrical substations and transmission and distribution facilities, thereby avoiding discretionary review; in other instances, BESS projects may be allowed as conditional uses requiring a conditional or special use permit and triggering associated CEQA or NEPA review. For those projects located on federal or state land, jurisdiction will fall under the jurisdiction of the applicable agency and its associated permitting regime (e.g., the Federal Land Policy and Management Act for BESS projects falling under Bureau of Land Management jurisdiction).

Where BESS projects trigger discretionary permitting and CEQA or NEPA review, there are a variety of means for proponents to address compliance ranging from a Negative Declaration to an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Environmental Assessment (EA), or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In instances where the project is associated with an existing power generation project, an addendum or supplement may be tiered off existing CEQA or NEPA documentation, as was the case with the Campo Verde Battery Energy Storage System project in Imperial County based on co-location with a previously-approved 140 MW solar project.

Given the relatively small footprint of typical BESS projects or any kind of battery farms, and location closer to urban load centers, the environmental and natural resource issues emerging to date tend to focus on technology-specific impacts including fire risk, noise impacts and hazardous materials transportation, use, and disposal. That said, depending on the location and scale of such projects, many of the typical environmental and natural resource impacts encountered in developing other energy projects may come into play, including potential protected species, cultural resource, and hydrological impacts.

Conclusion

Deployment of battery farms, whether they are utility-scale BESS projects or other kinds of battery farms, can be expected to rapidly increase in California and other states that have adopted renewable energy goals. These projects present great opportunities for developers, investor-owned utilities, and government to meet these energy goals and make better use of variable solar and wind resources. Developing strategies for addressing land use, permitting, and environmental and health and safety issues early and effectively will facilitate the cost-efficient and successful deployment of utility-scale BESS projects.

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Fire Away: Gasifiers for Off-Grid Living

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Product Review: Plug & Farm Tower

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I waited until I had a chance to actually grow some plants in the tower before writing this review. Because I live in a warm area of the country (zone 9b) I’m able to have a year-round growing cycle, but I don’t have a lot of space.

This seemed perfect for me, so I’m recommending it to any prepper interested to grow its own food and save some space and money.

And here’s why!

Building the Tower

The tower itself was easy to assemble and get started and came with all of the necessary tools and parts, as you can see in the unboxing video below:

The drip system was logical and was organized in such a manner that it worked with gravity.

With a standard soil-based drip system, this usually means that the bottom plants don’t get as much water as the top plants, but since this system is made in such a way that it recycles water from top to bottom and uses a planting medium that’s much less dense than dirt, the water flows freely through it so that the bottom plants get just as much water as the top ones.

All in all, with the exception of the instructions, I’ve had a good experience with the tower.

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Each section is well-constructed, as is the base, though I did mount it to a wall for stability. It’s easy to use and easy to assemble, and works with gravity.

It also uses very little water, which is, of course, a huge deal, especially in a drought or survival situation. I can even see where it would be perfectly good for indoor use if you were so inclined.

What to Plant

I chose to plant strawberries, green peppers, tomatoes, basil, and lettuce. I sprouted the seeds and grew them to seedlings, then transplanted them into the tower.

I had a mishap a few weeks after I planted my seedlings and lost the whole crop, so I had to start over. I’m now starting to see the beginnings of fruit from the new batch, so I’m excited to see what happens.

I also reevaluated the positioning of my plants the second time through. Originally, I’d place the tomatoes in the middle because I thought that it would be easier to stake them using the side of the tower and letting them grow down, but I rethought that and decided it would be better to have them on the far left so that I can use lattice to support the plants if need be.

If you’re looking for a great way to grow vertically in small spaces using very little water, this tower is a great option.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

How To Choose A Good Pressure Cooker

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Ahh  … the much revered and often feared pressure cooker.

Your mom makes delicious pot roasts in them, and you can cook food in a fraction of the time that it takes to cook it on the stove or in the oven. The problem is that you’ve heard horror stories about pressure cookers that blow up and spew hot food and liquid all over the place.

That’s a reasonable fear. I cook with a pressure cooker at least once every couple of weeks, but I have had an explosive incident when I was young and learning to use it. It was a completely user error.

I was using an old pressure cooker with the top jiggler and I didn’t put it on correctly, nor did I properly seal the lid. The jiggler blew clear through the dry wall in my ceiling, and my roast beef blew all over my kitchen.

They say there’s no better teacher than experience. Fortunately for me, I had my mother to tell me what I did wrong, after she made sure I was OK, then laughed for ten minutes when she saw my kitchen.

Don’t let this story scare you. It’s a rare thing, and if you’re buying a modern pressure cooker, much of the mysticism and dangerous flying objects have been removed so that anybody can use one without needing to patch their ceiling.

For that matter, if you’re buying an old one, you’re gonna be just fine after you read this article.

Can I Can Foods in a Regular Pressure Cooker?

The short answer? No. don’t do it. And this is coming from somebody who laughs in the face of most government-issued warnings.

And here’s why you shouldn’t use a pressure cooker to pressure can foods. Pressure cookers don’t maintain a steady heat and pressure. Both rise and fall, and you don’t have control of heat other than high, medium, or low.

It’s imperative that your pressure-canned food maintain a minimum temperature for a set amount of time in order to kill pathogens that won’t kill you in 2 months or 2 years when you get around to opening that jar. Buy pressure canners specifically meant for canning. You can find these at thrift stores and yard sales, too.

Discover the ingenious recipes that helped our ancestors stay alive!

Types of Pressure Cookers

There are two types of pressure cookers: rangetop and electric. Electric pressure cookers may be better for you if you’re especially timid because they work very much like a crock pot does; well, at least they’re more goof-proof. On the other hand, they are useless during blackout unless you have a good and steady energy source.

A stovetop pressure cooker can be a bit trickier, especially if you’re using an older one. One is no better or worse than the other and the end result is the same as long as you use them properly. Rangetops do typically cook faster, though.

Video first seen on thenewsurvivalist.

Tips to Buying a Good Used Pressure Cooker

Like most of my good kitchenware, I inherited one of my pressure cookers and picked the other two (yes, two) up at yard sales. There are five traits to consider when you’re buying a used pressure cooker.

  • First, make sure that the seal is in good condition. You’ll find this in place in a ring around the inside of the lid. Pull it out and inspect it. If it crumbles in your hand or shows signs of dry rot, skip it.
  • Next, make sure that the pot and the lid are in excellent condition. This isn’t one of those products where you can overlook a few dings. You want to make sure that the sides all feel even and that the lid seals tightly onto the pot. Most have a locking mechanism that falls into place when the lid is properly locked, so check that if there is one. Lock it down to make sure that it works. The handles should line up and stop. If they just slide right past each other, skip it.
  • Don’t forget to look at the jiggler. It’s technically called a regulator and most that you find will have at least five- and ten-pound capabilities. Make sure it’s there because the pressure cooker won’t do you a lick of good without the regulator.
  • Make sure that the rack is in it. Pressure cookers have a rack that sets in the bottom of the pot. This keeps the food suspended above the bottom so that pressure can circulate all around it, and it keeps the food from burning to the bottom of the pan.
  • Finally, look for a good brand name. Even if you buy an older one, if it’s by a well-known brand name, chances are good that you’re going to get a good product and will likely be able to buy a replacement seal if yours goes bad.

After all, a pressure cooker is something that you’ll be able to pass to your kids. One of mine is over 50 years old and is still as reliable as an April shower. Or snowstorm, depending on where you live.

Two excellent older brands that are still producing pressure cookers today are Presto and WearEver. Newer brands include Imusa, Fissler, WMF, Tramontina, and Fagor. Two of mine are Presto and the other is WearEver. I don’t have any experience with new ones.

Tips for Buying a New Pressure Cooker

First of all, you’re going to have to decide whether you want to buy an electric pressure cooker or a rangetop pressure cooker. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Rangetops typically cook faster and the pot can be used by itself as a stockpot. You’ll have to regulate the pressure via the regulator and the heat settings on your stove.

Electric models automatically pressurize and depressurize according to how you set it and most of them can be used as slow cookers and steamers. They take longer to cook, though.

Which type of pressure cooker you need is up to you. They come in different sizes and some offer only a couple of pressure settings while others offer 3 of 4. The electric ones can get pretty fancy and have many settings. It’s all a matter of what you want and need. Good Housekeeping did a review on top pressure cookers that may help.

In general, you’re going to need to pick a size based upon what you plan to cook in it, and you’ll have to decide between electric and rangetop. Look for a pressure cooker that has a good seal, and I recommend one with a locking mechanism for somebody just learning to use one. That takes away the chance of not aligning the lid and pot properly.

What’s up with the Different Pounds on the Regulator?

The pressure regulator is what determines the pressure inside of the pressure cooker. Typical pressure settings are 5, 10, and 15 though many of the electric models have ranges from just a couple of pounds up to 15 pounds. That number is how many pounds of pressure build up inside the cooker.

Different foods require different pounds of pressure. For instance, delicate vegetables like spinach may only need 5 pounds, while roasts require 10 or 15. In many new cookers, this will likely be expressed as low, medium, and high.

Now that you know how to choose your pressure cooker, you can easily go ahead with the best recipes for your family.

Find how our forefathers handled their survival food, and steal their secrets for your own survival!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

How To Feed Your Family Without Any Soil Or Space

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Growing hydroponically sounds complicated and expensive, but it’s actually neither. All that it means is that you’re growing your plants without soil. I’ve seen examples of hydroponic systems made out of our favorite tool ever – a 5-gallon bucket.

I’ve also seen systems that are exactly what you imagine – tables and tables full of fancy equipment and mysterious-looking tools and chemicals.

Just like anything else, it’s just a matter of how complicated you really want to get.

Let me give you a quick rundown of what it’s all about though, and why you should consider it, then we’ll talk about why it’s a great partner for vertical gardening.

As we already determined, you don’t use soil. The entire system is based on the concept that the roots are freely flowing in the water. They’re not packed tightly in soil. Hydroponic plants grow 30-50 percent faster than their soil-grown sisters, are generally healthier, and produce more fruit.

This is likely because the extra oxygen in the water helps the plant absorb nutrients better, and the nutrients are readily available in the water/solution and the plant doesn’t have to work to extract it from soil. It uses the extra energy to grow and produce.

Use it Inside

Hydroponic growing is also good to use inside because you don’t have the dirt mess and the plants don’t have to struggle so much to get the nutrients that they need, so it’s easier for them to grow in a semi-challenging environment. It’s a great way to grow food in small spaces.

Save Water

Vertical gardening and hydroponics also pair well because the drip-down system is an effective method of watering, and if you’re using a hydroponics system to catch the runoff, you’re saving a ton of water.

In a situation where fresh water is limited, that’s a huge benefit. As a matter of fact, in a world where soil is becoming depleted and water isn’t as plentiful as it used to be, vertical hydroponic gardening is seen by many as the method of future mass food production. Of course, their plans for world garden domination is a bit more complex, but it’s based on this theory.

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Stack it Up – The Foundation of Both Ideas

Also, and this takes us to our next point, hydroponics systems are commonly used in a stacked fashion so that the water is drawn up from  catch basin at the bottom and is released via drips onto the plants below. Then it drips from the top layer to the layer beneath, and so on until the water is back in the catch basin.

This makes hydroponics a great partner for vertical gardening.

Lighter and Portable

One problem that you often face with regular, dirt vertical gardening is that the wall is heavy and bulky, in large part because of the weight of the wet dirt.

With hydroponic vertical towers, you get rid of that.

There’s still some water weight, but unless you’re using gravel or sand to secure the roots, the weight is less.

This makes it more portable, too, especially if you use a well-contained system like Plug and Farm Towers. Portability is good for a couple of reasons.

If you need to move your vertical gardening wall or tower so that the plants are getting more or less light, or so that looters won’t know that you have food, then you want to be able to quickly and easily move the wall.

Know What You’re Eating

Another huge benefit is that you know exactly what’s going into your plant. Though you can buy bags of soil to grow your plants in, there’s no way for you to know what’s in that dirt. The same goes for using plain old yard soil. There could be residual fertilizers, pesticides, or acid rain in it and you’ll never know.

When you use hydroponics, you know exactly what your plants are coming into contact with. Enough said about that.

Best of Both Worlds

Finally, the “piece de resistance”, so to speak, about combining vertical gardening with hydroponics is that you get the benefits of the expanded growing space that comes with vertical gardening with the faster growth and higher yield of hydroponics. Bam! That’s what does it for me.

Vertical gardening and hydroponics are like peas and carrots – different, but when you bring them together, they’re a delicious combination that just works!

Start growing your own survival food without soil or space! You only need 10 minutes per day to take care of your fresh food.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

“Backyard Shack” Chickens — Prepper Survival Tricks for a Famine or Post Apocalypse

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“Backyard Shack” Chickens — Prepper Survival Tricks for a Famine or Post Apocalypse

What it takes to raise and harvest chickens following a societal collapse.

Tasty healthy, SURVIVAL eggs and chicken. Baby chicks to barter with.

Included: How to raise chickens without catching the attention of local thieves…

During the Depression, families often had to resort to creative ways to keep their food hidden from thieves, and that kind of creativity is certainly needed for raising chickens following a catastrophic disaster or apocalyptic event.

Animal predators, as well as human ones, will want your chickens and their eggs as much as you do, so being prepared is the way to keep your birds healthy and safely hidden until you are ready to harvest them.

One of the surest things about preparedness is that very few things are absolutely sure, and that applies to raising animals of any kind. Raising animals for food takes time and flexibility and the ability to go from Plan A to Plan B without losing your cool. The key to success is minimizing losses and maximizing harvest numbers. Chickens are one of the easiest animals to raise for eggs and meat, and that’s why farmers choose them as a first flock before goats, sheep, or other ruminants. If you are in a location where you can have animals, there are a few things you’ll need to get your chickens started as a renewable food source. You’ll need some place the birds can sleep at night, but the shelter doesn’t have to be fancy. Just shelter from the cold and/or heat, with food and water.

 

Chickens grow fast

If you buy chicks, they’ll grow fast and once they are old enough to identify as rooster or hen, you can sell mated pairs of birds to individuals or families you may be in contact with. Keep in mind that these birds, especially roosters, are quite noisy. If you’re trying to stay hidden, or just keep local thieves from knowing you’re raising chickens, you will need to keep your rooster apart from the hens in his own cage, with heavy blankets draped over it from dusk until lunchtime to muffle the sound of crowing.

They usually crow all day, but since they do it to establish territory over hens, keep him in his own cage (and away from the sight of the hens) most of the time and he will be more calm. When you are ready to increase the size of your flock, you can bring the hens to his cage one at a time. Once the new brood is hatched and you identify the new rooster you want to keep, you can harvest the old rooster for stew meat. For more ideas on keeping a rooster quiet, here’s a brief how-to article on stopping a rooster from crowing.

 

Chickens need daily water

Your chickens will need fresh, clean water daily just like you do. A mature chicken needs up to a full liter of water every day in warmer weather. If you have meat birds, (chickens that are raised primarily for the meat and not for the eggs they produce) they might need a little more than a liter.

One of the greatest challenges in raising animals of any kind is keeping the water containers clean. All animals, including chickens, don’t understand the need for keeping away from dirty water and if left to themselves will urinate and defecate in their water bowls if they are left on the ground. There are all kinds of inexpensive hanging DIY water container systems that solve this problem. Some of the best designs for these water containers can be made from empty two-liter soda bottles or plastic buckets. If none of these items are available, you can give the chickens water in any clean bowl you have available, but you will need to make sure the water is checked every day.

Chickens need vitamins, minerals — healthy food to eat

Chickens also need minerals such as calcium to make strong shells and ultimately make their meat and eggs healthy to eat.

Food for your chickens

Depending on the season of the year, and your bug out or emergency location, insects will provide some of the food that chickens need to eat every day. If you have a small cage with a mesh bottom that can be moved around (these are known as ‘chicken tractors’ to chicken farmers) the chickens will also be eating the green grass and other vegetation that they can reach through the wire. If you move the cage every day, the grass will always be fresh and the meat and eggs from these birds will benefit from the vegetation.

Chickens also eat scraps and will enjoy eating many leftovers such as wilted greens, vegetable stems and roots, even cleanings from a fish catch or fresh butchering of wild game. Some farmers insist that feeding chickens the butchered remains of other chickens is risky due to the potential for genetic weakness being passed down and/or latent bacterial infections; others say it is fine. My personal preference is to avoid feeding any animals the remains of the same kind of animals, but use your own judgment. Certainly you should avoid feeding them anything that has come in contact with chemicals or toxic waste. You are going to be eating those eggs and meat eventually, so don’t take any chances in making you or your family sick.

If you have more time to develop your chickens as a source of food, a compost bin in a plastic bucket with a lid can be used to grow earthworms or fly larvae to feed your chickens. This is another way to provide food for your chickens without having to feed them anything from your own table or supplies. If you only have a few chickens to feed, this will not be a problem. If you have more than six chickens, you will need to supplement their feed in winter with grain such as corn or oats or some type of layer feed.

Organic Feed for Chicks — First 8 Weeks

Scratch and Peck Feeds

For this reason, some farmers with a small flock will cull (harvest) chickens in late fall so that they only have a few to feed through the winter. Then when the weather warms in the Spring time, they will allow their flocks to build back up with new baby chicks that should be big enough and weigh enough to be ready to eat in eight or nine weeks.

Saving our forefathers ways starts with people like you and me actually relearning these skills and putting them to use to live better lives through good times and bad. Our answers on these lost skills comes straight from the source, from old forgotten classic books written by past generations, and from first hand witness accounts from the past few hundred years. Aside from a precious few who have gone out of their way to learn basic survival skills, most of us today would be utterly hopeless if we were plopped in the middle of a forest or jungle and suddenly forced to fend for ourselves using only the resources around us. To our ancient ancestors, we’d appear as helpless as babies. In short, our forefathers lived more simply than most people today are willing to live and that is why they survived with no grocery store, no cheap oil, no cars, no electricity, and no running water. Just like our forefathers used to do, The Lost Ways Book teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available. It comes as a step-by-step guide accompanied by pictures and teaches you how to use basic ingredients to make super-food for your loved ones. Watch Video HERE .

Nesting chickens

One of the best things about chickens is that they will nest on the ground with only a little encouragement in the way of a nest box. Nest boxes can be made of wood or plastic but need to be filled with some kind of clean bedding such as dry grass or leaves. Chickens will quickly develop the habit of laying in their boxes but sometimes they need help learning what the box is for, especially if they are young chickens. Some farmers place a golf ball into the nest box for this purpose. The chickens will think that the ball is an egg and will add their own egg to the clutch. Once the hen has begun to lay, a healthy, well-fed chicken will typically lay one egg per day.

You will need to gather eggs daily and either eat them immediately or refrigerate them. If you can refrigerate, or store in a root cellar kept at a cold enough temperature, the cold will stop fertilization so that the egg will not hatch. If you only have hens and not a rooster, the hens will still lay eggs but since they are not fertilized, they will not hatch.

As we mentioned before, chickens can be noisy, especially roosters. If you are hoping to lay low and go unnoticed in your location, you will need to keep your flock to just the laying hens. Unfortunately, the hens will only be good layers for a couple of years. Then you will need to replace your birds.

Harvesting chickens

When it is time to harvest your birds (eight or nine weeks) there are several methods for doing this. If you are reading this article, you obviously have internet access. You can find any number of videos on how to harvest a chicken. There are several good how-to videos that show newbies a simple process of removing the head with a sharp knife and hanging the bird upside down to clean out the guts.

Next the bird needs to be placed in a pot of hot water to loosen the feathers; then the bird is plucked. You’ll find similar videos of hunters harvesting wild turkeys, a process that involves removing the skin of the bird, which hangs loosely on the body, and the feathers come off with the skin. One hunter shares that this method saves a lot of time and and you’re able to then get the bird onto the grill quickly.

If you are off grid and have no refrigerator or freezer, of course you will want to immediately cook your bird or any meat. There are ways to preserve meat with salt and smoke and drying techniques, but that is the subject for another day and another blog.

 

Protecting your chickens

You like chicken? Lots of animals such as coyotes, raccoons, hawks, wild or domestic dogs, foxes, wolves, domestic or wild cats, etc. also like chicken. As soon as you bring chickens into your setting, plan on keeping watch over these birds because you will have predators show up. The best protections include strong, reinforced cages with doors that can be padlocked, an outside domestic dog, and your watchful eye. It’s not just if other animals will try to eat your chickens, but when, and usually that is at night. If you park your chicken tractor (the moveable ones we talked about earlier) near where you will be sleeping, you will hear the chickens if they get upset by an intruder. If you are in survival mode, these animal intruders, if healthy, become another opportunity to add to your food sources. Get ready to get creative when making stew with your wild game.

Hatching even more chickens — help your neighbors help themselves

From fertilizer for the garden, keeping the insect population down near your crops, and feathers for pillows and mattresses, the value of chickens goes further than just meat and eggs. If you have the time and the land, raising chickens might just make the difference between just surviving the storm and living well in the midst of the storm.

If you start hatching too many chickens, you may even consider giving away some chicks to other local families with the backyards or other space to raise them.

History has shown us many times that it can all fly away in a split of a second. The biggest misstep that you can take now is to think that this can never happen in America or to you! Call me old fashioned; I don’t care…but I completely believe in America and what our ancestors stood for. They all had a part in turning this land into one of the most powerful countries in the world. Many died and suffered before a creative mind found an ingenious solution to maybe a century old problem. Believe it or not, our ancestors skills are all covered in American blood. This is why these must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same for our children and our children’s children. Our ancestors laid the bricks and built the world’s strongest foundation…that we are about to -irreversibly forget! I don’t want to see our forefathers’ knowledge disappear into the darkness of time…and if you care for your family…and what America stands for…then neither should you! Watch the video HERE and learn more.

 

Source : secretsofsurvival.com

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Why Vertical Gardening Works for Preppers

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As preppers, we all share the common goal of being able to take care of ourselves and our families in worst-case scenarios.

Having a ready supply of nutritious food is most certainly at the top of that list. And since we don’t all have the acreage (or even the yard) to grow a huge, traditional garden, enter vertical gardening!

Vertical gardening is exactly what the name implies – you’re growing your plants vertically instead of on a flat surface (the ground). This is great because it allows for growing fresh produce even if you don’t have any space other than a wall or a porch. You can even grow a vertical garden inside!

Grows Anywhere

Whether you have a fence around your yard or you only have a space on the porch or even a wall inside your house, you can grow a vertical garden. Living in urban areas doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your own food – it just means that you have to get creative about it.

If you have even a little bit of a yard, you’ll be surprised how much you can grow using the vertical gardening method – the options are practically limitless. You can even grow plants out the top AND bottom of the planters!

If you only have a single closet or small wall in your apartment, you’re still in luck, though you’ll have to make sure that you have plenty of light either in the form of sunlight or grow lights. Herbs are great to grow vertically, as are tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, onions, and green leafy vegetables.

Can be Used for Privacy

If you have a porch or yard, build your vertical garden in such a way that you block vision of your house. If you use a solid back that faces out from your house, people won’t even know what you’re doing!

Of course, you may not want to advertise what you’re doing, so grow it somewhere that people can’t look over your fence.

Works Well with Hydroponics

Growing plants hydroponically is a great way to increase your produce yield while decreasing your water consumption. It also takes the guesswork out of what you’re exposing your plants to, and how many nutrients the plant is getting, because you control both of those conditions.

Plants grown hydroponically, such as in the Plug and Farm Towers we tested, and have been shown to be healthier, grow faster, and produce a bigger yield. This is likely because water is oxygen rich, which helps the plants absorb nutrients, and they don’t have to harvest the nutrients out of the soil, so they can use that energy to grow instead.

You can Grow without Sharing What You’re Doing

Because you don’t need to lay everything out in the yard, you can grow in places that your neighbors won’t know about. You can grow a ton of vegetables on vertical growing racks inside your house. If you decide to go with a hydroponics system, you won’t have a dirt mess, but you can grow them in soil just as well.

Other places that make good hiding places include old sheds or barns that back up to a place in your yard that’s out of site. Just remember that you need plenty of light no matter where you plant them.

Grow Year Round

If you decide to grow a vertical garden inside, you can have year-round fresh herbs, veggies, and fruits. They do well in greenhouses, too. This is yet another advantage you’ll have over your neighbors if stuff goes south in the winter.

You’ll have access to fresh produce right there in your guest bedroom. Don’t be shy about putting a vertical garden in your living room, either. They look beautiful and make the house smell good, especially if you’re growing herbs.

You can Grow a Variety of Produce

The good thing about growing up instead of out is that you can have 7 or 8 different types of plants in an area that’s only 8 feet long and a foot or so wide. Nearly everybody has that much space!

An advantage to this is that if you don’t have access to a good food supply, having several different types of plants growing in what space you have will allow for you to have a variety of nutrients. Go for different colors because each color has different nutrients – red, yellow, orange, green – they all provide different nutrients that will help keep you and yours well-nourished.

Easy to Care for by Anybody

It’s hard to get down on your hands and knees to root around in a garden, pulling weeds in the sun and making sure the soil stays loose. With vertical gardening, it’s all right there in front of you. You can sit on a chair to take care of your plants if you need to. And harvesting is easy, too. For that matter, if you plan it right, you can make your vertical garden portable.

Another way that vertical gardening is easier is that, especially if you’re growing hydroponically, there are minimal weeds and you don’t have to worry about squatting over to take care of your vining plants.

Less Waste

This is one of my favorite reasons to grow vertically – the plants aren’t dragging on the ground and the fruits aren’t sitting in dirt, so they aren’t as prone to disease and rot.

There’s nothing worse, in my opinion, than working hard to nurture plants all the way from seed to harvest just to lose part of it because it was tucked under leaves where we couldn’t see it, and rotted. That’s not a problem with vertical gardening.

I’m obviously a fan of vertical gardening because of where I currently live and have benefited from it myself.

Remember that every survival plan should have food at its core. With only 10 minutes per day you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family again.

Click the banner below to grab this offer and start growing your own survival food!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

5 Tips to Start Your Apartment Garden with Very Little Money

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com I’ve been seeing Facebook posts about starting up this year’s garden.  I know it is still early March and in many areas the cold is still lingering.  But it is not a bad idea to start thinking about growing a few herbs and vegetables in your apartment balcony or patio. With a little planning, you can get your apartment garden started a minimal cost.  That’s why it’s best to get started early. Set […]

The post 5 Tips to Start Your Apartment Garden with Very Little Money appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

What You Need To Know For Hunting During Winter

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Winters can be harsh and if hunting is a hobby you enjoy, it is important to be aware of the equipment requirements, hunting laws, gun certifications and proper apparel necessary to have a successful hunting trip in the winter.

Hunters aren’t required to have a degree, ACLS certification or CPR training, but they should be familiar with the basic demands of hunting.

This sport in the winter can be enjoyable, if hunters prepare by studying the different types of animals and birds, know the right clothing and equipment they should use, and understand other important techniques of hunting.

Any activity is dangerous if the participants are not aware of or do not understand rules and regulations surrounding that activity. Hunting, specifically, can be a very dangerous game if you aren’t aware of its basic guidelines and procedures.

Here are our top tips for understanding the do’s and don’ts of hunting when it comes to the winter hunting season.

Licensing and Certifications

We know it’s basic, but let’s state it again. All states require a hunting license or a tag that allows people to hunt. Whether they are using a gun or traps, all hunters need licenses in order to go out and hunt. Certain states also require licenses to set out traps for different animals.

Before leaving for a weekend trip, hunters must gain a license or certification showing they are able to own a gun and/or set a trap. Getting the correct paperwork can prevent hunters from paying hundreds of dollars in fines.

Animal and Bird Seasons

As winter continues, it’s important that hunters know the rules and regulations regarding animals and their hunting seasons. Depending on the state, specific animals and birds aren’t allowed to be hunted during certain months of the year.

Each state has different regulations when it comes to the hunting of animals, so it’s important that hunters are familiar with state regulations wherever they are.

Never leave for a hunting trip without having a hunting license and knowing which animals are in season. Before starting a weekend of living in tents and hunting food, hunters should do their homework and find out what animals and birds they are allowed to hunt to avoid paying a few hundred dollars in fines.

Fighting the Weather

Keeping warm is essential in the winter, especially for those who spend hours tracking and hunting animals. The cold can make it harder to concentrate. When it is bitterly frigid outside, the weather is often all people can think about.

Focusing on the weather instead of the gun in your hand can be dangerous to yourself and those around you. When planning hunting trips, look at the weather forecast. It is best to be flexible and adjust your plans when there are clear signs of a storm.

Think about the Donner Party and how that brutal snow storm found our forefathers trapped in the mountains. They learned the survival lesson the harsh way, but you can prepare now and don’t repeat their mistakes.

Discover the secrets that helped our forefathers survive in the wild! 

If you do need to hunt during a storm, there are three time periods that are safe for hunters: before the storm, mid-storm, and post-storm.

Hunting ahead or behind the storm will allow hunters to know if they need to stop or if it is safe to keep going. Mid-storm can be a more dangerous time to hunt in, but if you watch the storm you can track where it is going or when it starts to lighten up.

A mistake many hunters make on their winter hunting trip is thinking they need several layers. The more layers a hunter wears, the more they will perspire and the harder it will become for the hunter to move about quietly and efficiently. Adding layers will keep you warm, but the layers can often add unwanted bulk.

Mobility while operating any type of weapon is essential. If you cannot move efficiently, the risk of someone getting hurt increases. As important as dressing warm is, it is good to keep in mind the question whether you can move efficiently or not.

There are several options of clothing that keep you warm without adding bulk. Below are listed six useful pieces of clothing that provide warmth and protection while still giving hunters the mobility that they need.

Parkas

Purchasing a parka that is designed to keep in the warmth, but also cut down the bulk, will help the hunter stay warm without having to worry about cutting out mobility. Proper insulation doesn’t have to mean a bulky jacket. A simple layer of fur on the inside of the jacket can keep a hunter just as warm as if they were wearing several layers.

A parka will help keep out the cold without adding resistance to the hunter’s movements.

Elevation jacket

At any elevation, weather can change and fluctuate drastically. In addition to keeping warm, hunters often need to find ways to keep dry. An elevation jacket is a lightweight jacket that can stay that way even in the pouring rain. With water-repellent fabric, it is able to keep heat in while keeping water out.

An elevation jacket will allow the hunter to stay warm, dry and able to still move without limiting mobility.

Coldfront Bib Pants

Legs need just as much coverage as the upper body. Hunters need pants that use the same technology and fabrics as their jackets to keep them warm and dry without preventing mobility. Coldfront Bib pants are meant to do just that. With micro-grid fleece lining, these pants administer an extra layer of insulation to keep a hunter’s legs warm. This material also helps keep legs dry in snow or rain.

Not only do coldfront bib pants keep legs warm and dry, they also have the ability to shield against harsh winds.

Hunter Extreme Overalls

Hunters looking for clothing that covers their whole body and helps keep them warm should look to the 70’s trend of overalls. Hunter Extreme Overalls are built to trap body heat, keeping the hunter warm even in extreme weather conditions. They give the warmth needed and also the room needed for hunters to move properly.

Some overall designs contain removable hoods, removable hand muffs, and hand warming pockets designed to withstand rain, snow, and wind.

Wooltimate Ninja Hood

Covering the mouth and nose is important for keeping a person warm and preventing frostbite. A Wooltimate Ninja Hood covers the head, mouth, and nose. With a blend of wool and fleece, a ninja hood has the abilities to block out rain, snow, wind, or any other extreme weather condition. The hood also covers the neck so a hunter is truly covered top to bottom. Due to the eyes being left uncovered, pairing a Wooltimate Ninja Hood with goggles or glasses can provide the best results.

Infrared Scent Control Gloves

With jackets sporting extra layers, pants to keep out the wind, and a hood to cover the face, all that is left for a hunter to keep warm as they hunt is protection for their hands. Hunters need gloves that keep their hands warm without taking away mobility.

Infrared scent control gloves take it one step further. Animals can detect a human from several miles away based on their distinct human scent. Scent control gloves eliminates natural body odor which can allow hunters to sneak up on their target. These gloves also absorb body heat and radiates it back into the gloves to keep hands warm.

Tracking Tips

When tracking animals, hunters can find them by their footprints, broken twigs and places where they have slept. Another way hunters can find a group of animals is by looking for water. Wherever there is water, animals are not far from the source.

An animal’s main goal in the winter is to stay warm. This means wherever the sun is shining is where animals tend to be. They can often be found on hills or ridges facing the sun to keep warm. Hunters should try to hunt in sunny areas and avoid shady spots.

Snapping twigs in the woods is unavoidable. When it happens, hunters should wait a full minute before continuing their hunt. By waiting a full minute, it will give the animal time to forget about the noise and go back to what they were doing.

When deciding on a location, keep in mind that putting yourself in a single location and expecting animals to come to you is unrealistic. Moving about will increase your possibility of coming across an animal to hunt, especially in cold weather.

Animals don’t stay in one place and neither should you. Animals also tend to shift to different resting places every day. When deciding where to hunt or when, hunter’s should study the animals they’re tracking and take notice to how they react to the cold.

Winter causes many animals to switch into survival mode where they begin to find food more carefully. If hunters study different animals and how they behave in the winter, they can find ways to catch the animal without scaring it off.

Whether you’re hunting ground consists of green trees or snowy mountains, learning game-scouting techniques will help the hunter find animals in any type of environment.

Click the banner below and discover how to prepare traps and hunt wild animals, the old way!

This article has been written by Ryan Thompson for Survivopedia. Follow Ryan on Twitter – @ryan_thompson03

References

https://acls.com/

http://www.fieldandstream.com/node/1006033160#page-2

Start Growing Your Own Food Using Hydroponics

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Hydroponics, the process of growing plants without soil, is gaining momentum throughout the gardening community for many different reasons.

The water requirements are stupendously less than growing in soil, you don’t have to worry about what chemicals have leached into your soil, and you can grow healthier plants that yield more fruit in less space, both indoors and out.

Though many people are vaguely interested in the concept, most people write it off as being too technical, difficult, or expensive. The truth is that none of those terms apply, or at least they don’t have to.

You can start a hydroponic garden for very little money and it takes practically no effort to maintain it, at least in comparison to a soil garden.

Start Your Seeds

Regardless of whether you are planning to grow your plants in soil or in a hydroponic system, starting them from seeds is basically the same process. You need to choose a medium to start the seeds. You can use just about anything that you want – rockwool, grow cubes, or even plain dirt. The important thing is that you get your seeds to grow to seedlings.

There are also mediums that support starting your plants right in the system from seeds. In that case, don’t worry about the seedlings! The only problem that I’ve heard about from folks that do this is the same one that I’ve experienced when starting my garden using only seeds – they’re not all going to sprout, so you may have dense areas and sparse areas.

Regardless of whether you’re putting seeds or seedlings in your system, it’s a good idea to start your own seedlings.

Seeds are cheap, you can choose what you want to grow instead of depending on what plants the store has available, and your system won’t be contaminated with chemicals, pests, or diseases that may accompany commercial plants.

Choose a System

You also need to choose a system. For your first time, it’s probably a good idea to start small so that you can make your mistakes and learn the ropes on a small, manageable scale. There are several different types of systems, but the one that we’ve found to be most efficient on a small scale is a drip system.

Drip systems use a submersible pump placed in a basin on the bottom that pulls the water up to an irrigation tube above the plants. The water drips down into the pan(s) and trickles back down into the catch basin and is then recirculated. It’s efficient and simple to use.

NOTE: Very few commercial hydroponics systems (or DIY ones for that matter) operate without electricity. In the case of an EMP or a complete grid failure, your system will require manual watering, so choose carefully if those situations are a concern for you. You’ll want to choose a system such as a vertical gardening tower that makes it easy to water without an operational pump.

We tested the Plug & Farm Tower system that’s great for both beginners and experienced growers and works well indoors or out, though it does require electricity. There are many different options out there, or you can build your own.

What Can You Grow Hydroponically

Well, just about anything, in theory. After all, you’re providing everything any living plant needs to thrive – water, nutrients, light.

However, there are some plants that are more challenging than others. For instance, root vegetables are a challenge and require a system that’s deep enough to grow them. You may want to get a bit of experience before you jump off that particular log.

Vining plants and light-weight fruits grow well hydroponically, too, and did well in the tower we tested. You can even start fruit trees, then plant them into soil when they’re big enough.

Now, for the system that we tested, vining plants, herbs and green leafy vegetables worked, but not root vegetables.

Transplanting Seedlings

If you’re starting your seeds outside of your system and transplanting it as a seedling, it’s a simple process. Germinate your seeds. You can do this by placing them in a grow cube or in a paper towel or baggy.

If you use the grow cube, just keep it damp with water or your hydroponic solution until your seedling pops through – anywhere from two to four weeks.

If you’re germinating the seeds before putting them in a growing medium, put them in a damp paper towel on a plate and keep the towel damp. Your seed will germinate in just a few days.

Now that you have your seedlings, you’re ready to transplant them to your system so that they can grow into delicious plants.

This process is going to be determined by the system that you’re using but will consist of placing the seedling so the roots are in the water/solution and the plant top is not.

A Note about Growing Mediums

You can use many different mediums in your hydroponics setup including gravel, sand, coconut shells (they don’t break down easily) or just about anything else that is food-safe and won’t decompose.

If you choose to use gravel, be sure to choose stones that won’t leech minerals into the water, because then you’re affecting the nutrients available to your plants.

The entire purpose of the medium is to support the roots in a way that water can flow freely around them, so don’t use mediums such as mulch that are going to break down to, well, soil.

Growing Your Plants

Now, your plants are in your hydroponics system, so what next?

Make sure that they stay hydrated and are getting the nutrients that they need! They should be watered thoroughly several times daily to prevent the roots from drying out, and the automatic drip system is great for this.

Once your plants begin to grow in earnest, you’ll need to provide support for vining plants. Trellises are great for this.

Keep your plants from dragging the ground in order to avoid rot and exposure to disease. Prune them properly and watch them grow!

Click the banner below to grab this offer and start your own survival farm!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

8 Tips On Reusing Containers For Water Storage

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One of the things that we as preppers and homesteaders are most proud of is using what we have on hand. If everybody operated like we did, there would be a lot less waste on the planet, and a lot more creativity. We re-use and repurpose so many items that we’ve taken it to an art form, so why not do the same with our water storage containers?

Sure, you can buy the fancy water containers at your local Walmart or Target, but they’re expensive and you’re not much bang for your buck. Why not reuse something that you’ve already paid for and are just going to throw away anyway?

What NOT to reuse as water storage containers

There are some things that you just shouldn’t use as water containers either because they’re not suited for it, or they can kill you. Neither situation is ideal, and we’re talking about storing something that is non-negotiable in terms of survival. You absolutely cannot live without a ready supply of clean water regardless of the season.

Food Grade Only

So, first on the list are porous containers that held toxic materials such as oil bottles, antifreeze jugs, and kerosene oil bottles. This may seem obvious to you, but believe it or not, there are cases of people who have reused these types of containers, much to their detriment. Use only food-grade plastic that has only stored food. So, enough said. Use your common sense.

Milk Jugs

Next on the list are milk jugs. I know – many people use milk jugs to store water, and they’re great for short-term storage in the fridge or freezer, but not for long-term storage. They’re relatively flimsy and easy to puncture or damage, especially if they’re warm or frozen, and the lids aren’t particularly tight on many of them.

You may use them for a couple of years, then come to check your stockpile and notice that one was punctured by a nail head or something when you scooted it across the shelf the last time you moved something, or the lid popped loose. Now you have water on the floor or shelf and it may have ruined some of your stuff. At the very least, it made a mess.

Plastic with BPA

Don’t use plastics that have BPA in them. BPA, or bisphenol A, is an industrial chemical that has been used for decades to add strength and resilience to plastic and to line cans and packaged food containers to prevent leakage and rust.

Unfortunately, it leeches out into the food or drink and binds to estrogen receptors and interacts with other hormones. This can disrupt body functions such as cell repair, growth, energy levels, metabolism, fetal development, and body temperature regulation among many others. In other words, you may not want to drink it.

Because of the controversy, many companies, especially ones that produce bottles and jugs meant to hold liquid, are shying away from BPA. Just check to make sure that your container is BPA free. It will either say it, or the little recycle triangle will have a 1,2, 4, or 5 in it. These are free of BPA and other harmful chemicals, but avoid containers marked with a 1. We’ll discuss that in a minute.

Now that we have our list of containers NOT to use, let’s talk about ones that are good to use to store water for long-term water storage.

Our forefathers used different methods to store their water when they settled with their entire family in new areas.

This long forgotten water storage secret can save your life! 

Good containers to reuse for water storage

Thankfully, this list is long and most of them are already in your refrigerator or cabinets.

How to distinguish food-grade plastics

As long as the little recycling number has a 2 (HDPE – high-density polyethylene), a 4 (LDPE – low-density polyethylene) or a 5 (PP – polypropylene), you’re good. It’s not a good idea to reuse containers marked with 1 (PETE – polyethylene terephthalate) because detergents and heat will break it down and can cause antimony, a toxic chemical, to leech into your water. So, use only plastic containers that have a 2, 4, or 5 in the triangle.

A tip about reusing plastic for water storage: wash it in the dishwasher or in warm, soapy water, rinsing well, and allow to air-dry.

Juice jugs

These are great containers to reuse to store water because the plastic is usually thick and juice is pretty easy to wash out of the jug. The lids are usually secure, too. Since the plastic is usually sturdy, you don’t run the risk of tearing it by snagging it on a nail head or breaking it if you bump a corner when you’re moving it.

Some people will tell you that you can’t get all of the sugars out of the bottle and that can lead to a breeding ground of bacteria, but if you use chlorinated water or add a few drops (2 drops per quart) of bleach, you should be fine.

Juice jugs come in many different sizes, from small, single-serving bottles to gallon (or bigger) jugs. All of them are good for storing water, and it’s a good idea to have water stored in smaller containers so that you can take it with you if you have to flee. Also, if you have all of your water stored outside in drums, people will see them. You want to keep your water supply hidden.

5-gallon buckets

Ahhh… yet another use for 5-gallon buckets. Personally, I like the idea of storing water in these because they’re stackable, they’re typically made to contain liquids (think pickle juice), and they’re opaque. They meet all of my needs except portability, but won’t it be nice to have a few gallons of water if you need to make a huge pot of soup to feed everybody?

As with all plastics, make sure that they’re food-grade because not all of them are. Though you can buy these, there’s really no need to because you can go to restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, and just about anywhere else that sells food and get them for free.

If they happen to smell like pickle juice, wash them well and fill them with water, then add half a cup of bleach to it and let it sit overnight. Charcoal and vinegar work too, but I don’t like to add vinegar on these because then it smells like vinegar, which is suspiciously similar to pickles. You can always just take off the lid and let it air out for a few days, too. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Soda Bottles and water bottles

Soda (aka pop) bottles are great for water storage. Since they come in many different sizes from 8 ounces on up to 2-liters, you have a lot of versatility. Many water bottles are reusable, too. As with all other plastics, clean well with warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly.

55-gallon drums

If you want to store large quantities at a time, then these are a great option. Again, just make sure they’re food-grade and haven’t had any non-food products stored in them.

If you want to buy them new, just search the net for them. You may even be able to get them for free if you live near a soda distribution plant because that’s what they buy their syrups in. If they have a policy against giving them away, ask who picks them up, then contact that company. Chances are good you’ll get them for just a few bucks a piece.

Oh, and these come in both plastic and stainless steel, so you have options. I’ve never used the stainless steel ones so I’m not sure how heavy or unwieldy they are compared to their plastic counterparts. On a similar note, you can make a collection, storage, and filtration system using 55-gallon drums.

Now that you have some ideas for reusing containers for water storage, what are you waiting for? Start storing.

Remember the Law of Three: you can survive without water only three days. Click the banner below to discover our ancestor’s methods of water storage!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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

 

 

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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!

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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

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“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

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“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.

NewSMDCover

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