Camping is more than just equipment – Here is a list of skills you need to have

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Have you decided to take the Survival Mom Family Camping Challenge?  If so, you might find this list interesting and helpful. How many of these skills do you already have? Which do other family members have and which will you need to learn? Keep in mind that these skills aren’t just limited to camping. They […]

Camping is more than just equipment – Here is a list of skills you need to have

Click here to view the original post.

Have you decided to take the Survival Mom Family Camping Challenge?  If so, you might find this list interesting and helpful. How many of these skills do you already have? Which do other family members have and which will you need to learn? Keep in mind that these skills aren’t just limited to camping. They […]

Planning and Building a Bee-Friendly Backyard

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Like most of you, I have a love/hate relationship with bees. I hate their stings, and thank goodness, no one in my family is allergic to them, but I love their role in nature, acting as the major pollinator. Without them, many different species of plants and animals wouldn’t survive and one way to support them […]

9 Improvised Hunting Weapons for Fish and Game in the Wild

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We always assume we’ll have a rifle when hunting, but in a survival situation, we may be lucky to have a pocket knife. A rifle is the standard, contemporary tool or weapon for almost any hunting situation. It’s a highly sophisticated weapon customized with scopes and by caliber for a variety of game species and […]

The post 9 Improvised Hunting Weapons for Fish and Game in the Wild appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Should You Plant on Mounds in Sandy Soil?

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Calen asks about planting on mounds in fast-draining, sandy soil:

“I’m a native Cracker from [coastal Florida]. I’ve been homesteading on ancestral farmland with a survivalist and traditionalist mindset for three years now. All heirloom and organic, etc. I own all of your books, and they, along with your blog and videos, have been the most helpful gardening advice that I’ve ever found anywhere. Last year I grew tons of Seminole pumpkins with great success using your “melon pits.” I passed that along to many friends who did likewise. I also plant the pumpkins in many “guerrilla gardens” in the swamp and backwoods on public land, and that’s worked out great as well. I never revisit them until harvest time, and they normally do better than my tended ones. Anyways, this year I want to give the three sisters a try. My plan is to use Jimmy Red corn, Cherokee black pole beans, and Seminole pumpkins. Pretty much everything I read says to plant on mounds. However, my place is high, dry, east-bank-of-Lake George sugar sand. Is mounding the way I should go? We didn’t even have standing water during the past two hurricanes. My thought was to maybe do these in slight pits like the melons and pumpkins but wanted to see if you had any advice on the subject? Thanks for your time.”

Fantastic. It’s good to hear from a fellow Floridian.

Mounds are what you always hear about. It’s even on the back of the seed packets. Calen is right to question the practice in his soil conditions.

For people who haven’t planted in “sugar sand,” it’s hard to explain how very hot, dry, and fast-draining the stuff is. It contains almost no humus and needier crops planted in sugar sand need almost constant watering.

Scrubland Sandy Soil

My old homestead in North Florida had large patches of almost sandy loam with smaller granules which would hold water for longer. There, I would double-dig and loosen the ground to plant, which would mound it up somewhat.

GardensFebruary2015-5

Those loose raised beds did very well, so it would be easy to say, “Oh yes, Calen, go ahead and plant in mounds—it works in Florida!”

But sugar sand isn’t the same as the soil above. Just because something works in one area of a state doesn’t mean it will work in another. And in his area, I would try to stay as flat as possible.

When you raise the height of the soil in one area, the water will drain out of it faster as it finds its level. You really can’t afford to let that happen. If he’s not holding onto water even after a hurricane, raised beds and mounds, unless amended with extra compost before every planting, are not the way to go.

You might want to go even further and grow in sunken beds, as is sometimes done in the Southwestern U.S.

Even across my old homestead, the backyard was loamy and the front yard was sandier.

This is how I used to plant melons and pumpkins in my fast-draining front yard:

Melon Pit

Those are sprouting legumes, by the way. In the winter I would plant melon pits with cool-season legumes like lentils, chickpeas, peas, and fava beans to feed the soil and pave the way for the curcurbits I planted in the spring.

Read More: “No Bare Soil! Vegetable Garden Cover Crops”

I would try planting in sunken beds, Calen, and see how it works. If you really want to see if it makes a difference, plant one area flat, one area in sunken beds, and one area on mounds, then compare how they did over the season. That would be a really good way to gain a bunch of data from one growing season.

I planted corn in flat ground when I had a sandy area:

Corn in Sandy Soil

And on mounds in clay:

Planting-on-mounds-1

You’re right to think outside the mound, and you get serious extra points for guerilla gardening Seminole pumpkins. The melon pit method is one of my favorite discoveries.

If you’re reading this and don’t know what Calen is talking about, here’s how to make a melon pit:

In sand, dig deeper and go for an indentation instead of a mound.

What about you? Have you had success planting on mounds in sandy soil? What about with using melon pits? Let me know in the comments below!

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The post Should You Plant on Mounds in Sandy Soil? appeared first on The Grow Network.

8 Basic Survival Skills to Teach Your Children

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As parents, we want to protect our children from harm. It’s in our DNA. So we diligently prepare for possible emergencies, and we educate ourselves on how to survive them. Teaching your children to rely on you is a good thing, but we can’t possibly be with them at all times. Would your kids know […]

The post 8 Basic Survival Skills to Teach Your Children appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Amish People And Amish Life: Six Great “Life Lessons” We Should Learn

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amish people

Amish people

Visitors to my neighborhood in central Maine are often startled by the presence of Amish people.  Locals, though, are accustomed to the yellow road signs with black silhouettes of horse-drawn buggies, tracks of bicycle tires and horse hooves in the snow on the shoulder, and the sight of women in bonnets and long dresses in line at the local grocery store. The handful of families that arrived eight years ago have grown into a sizeable and thriving group which coexists well within the greater community.

As neighbors, friends, vendors and customers, the Amish provide an integral niche in the lives of other residents.  Sharing a region with the Amish is rewarding. They are my go-to for organic livestock grain, barn boots, fresh vegetables and kitchen gadgets, as well as the source for my full-sized wood cook stove.

I am a regular customer at an Amish dairy farm, as well. I drive out to the milk room every Saturday to pick up rich raw Jersey milk, leave off clean jars to be filled for next week, and drop my money into an open plastic bucket on the shelf.

Customers for ready-made buildings, bicycle repair, and charcuterie also seek out Amish businesses. But commerce goes both ways. The Amish buy from local merchants, hire drivers for transportation, provide education at agricultural events, and contribute to municipal building projects.

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Living in close proximity to Amish people as I do, it is easy to observe the way they live. I often admire the large homes with tidy no-nonsense yards as I pass by, or smile at the sight of school-aged children helping parents hang laundry on the line or hauling firewood. While they are certainly human and by no means perfect, they do portray a highly venerable lifestyle.

My experiences with Amish people have led me to believe that there are many positive things to be said for the way they live their lives. Following are six ways that I think they are doing it right.

1. The community is everything. A friend told me a story of how, when she first arrived from out-of-state for the purpose of living sustainably, she told an Amish woman she encountered of her plans. “Oh my dear,” the Amish woman said gently, touching my friend’s arm, “you need community in order to do that.”

As a homesteader, I cannot agree more with that statement. Living on the land is a tough row to hoe for a single household. The sense of isolation and the feeling of being overwhelmed are two of the most common reasons people consider giving up homesteading.

6 Ways Amish Life Is Just Plain Better

Technology is a tool, not a master.

Amish people band together for building homes and barns, tending animals and gardens, supporting one another’s economic endeavors, completing household and culinary tasks, and spiritual solidarity. They buy land and build homes in clusters that support their sense of collective cooperation in a way that much of mainstream society no longer does.

2. Technology is a tool, not a master. Contrary to popular belief, Amish people do use modern technology. They have very localized rules, enabling some groups to use technology more or differently than do other groups. I have seen Amish people ride buses, hire cars, keep telephones in outside buildings, operate chainsaws, and shop at big box stores. The line in the sand might be defined at that which keeps them adequately separated from those who do not share their beliefs.

I wonder if it is also a question of what serves whom—they seek to use that which will serve their needs and reject that which may come to control them.

3. Comfort and value trump trendy and superficial. When I see Amish people, they appear neat and put-together, in clothes that fit well and do not have holes or missing buttons. But while they do take pride in their appearance in that way—and I assume that most individuals try to look their best—they do not embrace mainstream trends.

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I see fun holey rubber clogs on their feet, but no designer bags on their arms. It seems that value is measured by actual pragmatic use instead of by what is perceived as valuable to others.

6 Ways Amish Life Is Just Plain Better

Community is at the center of Amish life.

4. They are not slaves to society’s expectations. Many Americans hate to let society control them, but most do not reject the insidious pressure to do so as well as the Amish. No big screen TVs. No fancy cars. No cruises. Nobody waxing or tanning beds. No political correctness. No four-star restaurants. No smartphones. No social media. All those things that mainstream culture tries to tell us we cannot live without? The Amish live without them.

At first glance, the Amish lifestyle seems restrictive. But when the absence of having to keep up with the Joneses is taken into account, maybe their lives are ones of freedom, not restriction.

5. They do not expect anything for free. Amish people work hard and expect to be paid accordingly, but do not ask to be paid extra. They ask nothing of the greater public and nothing of the government. They pay taxes like everyone does, and occasionally grumble about them like everyone does. But I would be surprised to see many Amish people applying for state benefits.

6. They do not lose sleep over politics. Without television or social media in their lives, many issues that flood mainstream airwaves can be lost on the Amish. Whether or not Sarah Palin knows about foreign affairs or whether Hillary Clinton used a specific email account to send sensitive documents—none of that matters to those solely focused on home and family. Amish people do hold strong opinions on many subjects, but do not get caught up into distant controversies.

It is true that no one culture has all the answers, and no single way of doing things is right for everyone. But the Amish do practice a lifestyle admired by many, and I count myself as fortunate to share my neighborhood with them. I appreciate the value they bring to the community, and I love the ways they do things right.

Do you agree or disagree? What would you add to this story? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Blackouts This Winter? Read More Here.

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

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

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

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

*All images courtesy of Amazon

1. Gerber Shard Keychain Tool

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

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

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

2. Gerber Dime Multi-Tool Travel, Bladeless

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

Size: 0.7 x 5.5 x 6 inches

This handy tool will cost you $14.95 on Amazon.

3. TREAD Wearable Tool

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

Size: 3.9 x 5.9 x 9.4 inches

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

4. Piranha 2 Multi-Purpose Pocket Tool

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

Size: 4.9 x 2 x 1.1 inches

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

5. Leatherman Style PS Multi-Tool

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

Size: 3.1 x 2 x 1.3 inches

The Style PS is selling for $29.95 on Amazon

6. NiteIze DooHicKey

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

Size: 2.6” x .7” x .1”

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

7. Zootility Tools Wildcard

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

Size: 2.2 x 3.2 x 0.1 inches

This multi-tool is available on Amazon for $35.00

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

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

7 Ways To Stay Alive in a Post-Collapse Society

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There have always been times where we inadvertently put ourselves in precarious situations. In this case, your best bet is to trust your gut. If you don’t feel the situation is right, find the nearest exit and leave the area. We covered some of these times in our most recent article regarding attackers and how to handle them individually or en-masse.  In the article, we covered a lot of ground for scenarios that may occur during these “Good Times” prior to a societal collapse or nuclear war.  This article is taking those suggestions and applying them in a collapse environment. Before we begin, you must understand that the biggest difference is that in a post-SHTF scenario there are no rules.

In a SHTF world, it’s a different story.

The sad thing with laws and rules is that they only help protect the citizen from the law-abiding citizen: the system focuses on self-discipline and restraint.

7 Ways To Stay Alive in a Post-Collapse Society

Life will definitely be different when the SHTF. You will not be able to rely on the law to protect you; however, you will also not be prosecuted under the law for some superficial or superfluous reason: your life and your family’s lives take precedence.  That being said, what do you do?  How do you handle these attackers…people that are intent on taking you down and taking what you have?  Let’s outline some basics that you can use post-SHTF.

  1. Never travel anywhere alone: always go in pairs with one to guard and watch over the other one.
  2. Never go anywhere unarmed: preferably with a rifle or shotgun, a main sidearm (pistol), a backup sidearm/piece, plenty of ammo for all of them, a fixed-blade knife, and a folding (lock-blade) knife at a minimum. Read more about SHTF firearms in this article. Yes, that is a lot of stuff.  Let’s make some further suggestions on these.  Mossberg 500 series 12 gauge shotgun.  .45 ACP main pistol.  .22 cal lr revolver or pistol…suppressor is optional but highly recommended.  Gerber Mark II fixed-blade knife.  Spyderco police model folding knife.
  3. Never travel anywhere without the rest of the family/group knowing where you’re heading: Don’t mess around with this one. If trouble arises, you cannot go off wandering on your own and expect anyone to come to your aid.
  4. Consider all strangers armed and potentially dangerous: If you wish to be the “Good Samaritan/Mister Rogers,” this is your choice. After the SHTF, however, the rules are off, and it is (paraphrasing Jack London) back to the Law of Club and Fang.
  5. Keep your distance when talking to strangers: As President Reagan phrased it so eloquently, “Peace through superior firepower.” Watch their eyes, watch their hands, and conclude your discussion in a businesslike manner.  Don’t waste time: get to the point and then get going. Along those lines, pay attention to the way you carry yourself in public. Your body language can be very telling. Predators normally watch their victims before they strike and look for key indicators.
  6. Meeting strangers: You may wish to have a couple extra people roaming around at a distance to watch for the approach of an ambushing force. Many attacks begin by placing people at ease and using a larger force held in reserve to swoop in when the parlay has begun, and everyone’s guard is down.
  7. Territory: You need to stake it out, post it (warn others), and enforce the fact that it is your territory. Many times, attackers will be “persuaded” to find a softer target: one that is less organized with people not in a readiness stance at all times.

Related: 10 Ways To Avoid Marauders and Looters After the Collapse

These Post-Collapse Rules Will Keep You Alive

There are some rules to follow that are hard rules, but will serve you in good stead.  They apply in a wartime situation, and they will apply equally in a disaster such as an apocalyptic event with societal collapse.

  1. Everybody Wants Something: they aren’t traveling toward your home turf for nothing.  They want something: food, water, clothing, shelter, tools, or interest in the opposite sex.  This last we’ll cover as an “individual item.”  You need to find out what they want, and if they’re willing to trade something for it or if they’re just out scouting to raid (the more likely of the two choices).
  2. Discretion is the Better Part of Valor: Keep a cool head, a steady hand, an unflinching eye, and the ability to go into fighting mode in an instant.  An aggressor will notice these things.  He will want to assess your abilities.  This also means keeping your cool.  It doesn’t mean shutting up and allowing yourself to be verbally bullied into a corner.  The enemy can sense weakness, as well.  Mr. and Mrs. Hallmark?  You’re going to have to step up and do your own dirty work…your own fighting for once.  Better be smart and don’t bite off something that is bigger than you can chew.
  3. Interest in the Opposite Sex:  This is a fact of life.  The primary groups will be groups of men that are correlated directly with ancient hunting parties of old.  These groups of men will no longer have rules they have to follow and they will want your wife, your daughter, or your sister.  They will adhere to no rules or propriety.  They will want children as well: girls or young boys.  Let me be perfectly clear: you will have to kill them when they come for such.
  4. Cannibalism: Yes, cannibalism is always something you may have labeled as a “fluke” event, such as “Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors,” but it is not.  There was an Army study years back that found that 1 human out of 1,000 will actively hunt other humans for food.  I’m here to tell you, that number is grossly underestimated.  Cannibalism begins almost immediately, at least within the first 1 to 2 weeks following a disaster.  There is plenty of history out there to document it, such as the Donner Party, as well as a presentation done by the Discovery Channel.  Be aware of it: they’ll be out there, and you need to be ready for them.

You need to continuously assess your fighting skills and training.  Assess these realistically, and take into account your shortcomings.  Learn to “pair” your preference with what is most effective.  Although I can more than handle myself in a knife fight, I prefer to meet an attacker carrying a blade with a nice 24” Aluminum T-Ball bat.  I’m here to tell you, when the bat is swinging?  The bat is singing, and the song it’s playing is all mine.  You have to find your own personal weapon of choice for “close encounters” where a firearm may not be able to be used.

In the end, taking care of yourself is a stance, and when the “S” hits the fan, the rules will disappear: they are as fragile as society itself, as fragile as cobwebs drenched with dew in the summer sun.  A strong wind will blow them away, just as an event will blow down the Hallmark houses made of straw and blow away the thin veneer of civilization masking the underlying, atavistic barbarism along with it.  Now is the time to assess yourself, make your plans, and execute those plans to strengthen your body, mind, and spirit to prepare for the times to come.  JJ out!

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

4 Children’s Organizations that Introduce Survival Basics

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Family vacations, lazy days at the pool and barbecues are what summertime is all about. Like many moms, you want to keep your kids busy. Consider involving them in an organization or club.  Many youth organizations are excellent introductions to basic survival and homesteading techniques. Some opportunities presented to your child could also teach them […]

Conquer The Frontier Like An American Pioneer

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There is something to be said about the pioneers of old. Well, there is a lot to be said about them. Maybe the most important thing is to say that they figured it out. They figured out how to live off the land like very few people had. They did so under some of the …

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7 Basic Survival Skills Every Man Should Know!

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7 Basic Survival Skills Every Man Should Know!

7 Basic Survival Skills Every Man Should Know!

The modern convenience can blind us to the truth of a disaster striking. But once in a while, we have to contend with one of the many disasters that can test our will to survive. Think of a horrendous storm or bushfire that knocks out power. Even more common is getting lost wondering too far away from the trails. You can successfully mitigate these and similar situations if you learned and honed a few basic survival skills.

Continue reading 7 Basic Survival Skills Every Man Should Know! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

7 Brute Ways To Protect Yourself From Barbarian Hoards in a Collapse

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ReadyNutrition Readers, we did a segment on some positive actions and strategies of the Roman Army to incorporate into your SHTF battle plans.  But what about the barbarians?  Yes, the Roman war machine was the penultimate fighting unit down to the individual level.  It was after the Republic (and then Empire) decayed through overextension, greed, corruption, and moral turpitude that the Legions lost their effectiveness.  By the early 5th century C.E., the Legions were a shadow of their past.

This brings us to the barbarians.  The term was an all-encompassing one that meant “foreigners,” more than anything else…specifically to non-Romans.   Those who were not Roman citizens, is the most accurate rendition.  By the middle of the 4th century, the Legions depended heavily on conscripts from Gaul (now France), the Germanic tribes, and many nations such as Greece and Spain.  With service, Roman citizenship was obtained, along with grants of land.  This became a two-edged sword, however: the discharged auxiliaries of the foreign nations returned to their homelands.

The Barbarians and Their Effective Fighting Skills

They brought back to their tribes and clans the knowledge of the fighting ways of the Legions, incorporating many of their tactics into their own ways of fighting.  To a point.  These barbarian tribes had many effective ways of fighting peculiar to themselves that proved of great merit…lessons we can incorporate into what we do today.

Let’s list some of these ancient tribesmen and some of the tactics that enabled them to succeed, and we’ll draw a correlation as to how we may emulate some of these tactics.

  1. The Saxons: They are the ancestors of the Germans today. Indeed, Saxony is a famous geographical area in Germany between the Elbe and Rhine rivers.   The most common weapons of these people were spears: a lighter one for throwing a long distance, and a heavier one for close-in combat.  In Saxon poetry the spear was referred to as the aesc (which is derived from the make of the shaft, fashioned from ash wood.  The aesc-berend was the “spear-bearer,” the term given to a Saxon fighting man.  Saxon warriors (contrary to Hollywood portrayal) did not all have chain mail: they had thick embossed leather armor, as well as hides.  They did have helmets of iron and plates of horn with nose-guards.  Their infantry traveled lightly, and swords were not as widespread as commonly portrayed.  The Saxons gathered about warrior chiefs and kings, giving him their loyalty and in return they received a share of what was taken in conquest in the form of arms, monies, and livestock.
  2. The Vikings: the term coming from the word vikingr, an ancient Norse word that means “sea rover” and the Scandinavian nations such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark were the points of origin of these warriors. They relied on their raids on narrow, sturdily built, and swift long ships.  These Northmen interacted with the Romans by trading and occasionally by mutual visitation.  It was not until after the Empire had fallen that the Northmen assumed the “Viking” mantle and began their raids throughout Europe that lasted for several centuries.  A warrior culture, they had the Jomsvikings…the elite of their warrior tribes who trained incessantly for the raiding seasons and lived for battle.  These Jomsvikings were supported by the communities they lived near within compounds.  They were without wives for the period they served in this manner and concentrated their focus upon hand-to-hand combat in preparation for raids.
  3. The Britons: The peoples of the British Isles were conquered and occupied for several centuries by the Romans, but eventually Roman rule disintegrated as the Legions departed in 406 C.E., leaving all their forts, edifices, and infrastructure intact. The Britons were masters of the chariot and proficient with spear and lasso.  Often their chariots would act as a “shock unit” and ride into closely packed formations of infantry to disorganize the ranks and then create gaps through which their own infantry could penetrate.
  4. The Huns: the ancestors of the modern-day inhabitants of Hungary and the steppes and plains of western and central Asia, the Huns were the consummate horsemen of their day. They rode, ate, slept, and lived (among other things) on the back of a horse.  They were excellent archers and spearmen, and their ferocity was so great as to cause entire nations of Germanic tribes in the area of what is now known as the Black Sea to come stampeding onto Roman territory to escape the Huns.  These Huns had a habit of killing just about everyone who did not submit to them, and many of those who did.  They could ride great distances and appear seemingly out of nowhere to battle with vigor and endurance.  It took the combined efforts of the Romans and the Visigoths to stop them from conquering all of Europe.

7 Brute Ways To Protect Yourself From Barbarian Hoards in a Collapse

So, what can we learn from all of this?  Let’s go over it, then.

  1. It is better to be lightly armed and completely proficient in the use of weapons than be encumbered by a bunch of gear that may just slow you down [Saxons].
  2. A lightning raid executed perfectly will shock, demoralize, and defeat an opponent who is unprepared for it [Vikings].
  3. Train without ceasing, and train to the peak of your proficiency [Vikings].
  4. Vehicles have a distinct advantage over infantry if employed properly [Britons].
  5. Find a good leader whose aims exemplify those of the group…a leader with ability, humility, and humanity…who is not afraid to lead by example [Saxons, Vikings].
  6. Speed and timing in an engagement are very difficult to counter by your enemy if you have mastered them and mastered their employment in an unpredictable manner [Huns].
  7. Violence of action in an engagement often carries the day: 100% commitment with vigor. [Vikings, Huns]

Although appearing outwardly disorganized, these people had structure to their societies, and their cultures have contributed much to the mindset and makeup of the world today.  They supplanted the Roman Empire with their vigor and tenacity.  We can learn much by studying them: their seriousness, their stern demeanor and taciturn ways.  Chances are these are some qualities that have been passed on to you, their descendants that you might never have been aware of unless you studied them.  They have much to teach us, if we pay attention to what they did and some of the positive aspects of their lives.  So, raise those drinking horns high, and take a step back in time to study their history…your own family’s history, in many cases…and translate it into a tool for today…as it is also the history of all of us.  JJ out!

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Tracking for Survival Part 2

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Tracking for Survival Part 2

Tracking for Survival Part 2
Dane… “The Gunmetal Armory” Audio player provided!

What’s up Team Gunmetal!! Dont forget, coming up soon… We are going to have the next installment of the Single Mom Survival Series with the Mistress of Metal. She’s gonna break down the next steps to mixing prepping and single motherhood. AND we will be giving away the Single Mom Starter Survival Kit…. Which is even starting to surprise me at how extensive it is.

Continue reading Tracking for Survival Part 2 at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

15 Ways You Can Prep for SHTF Without Spending a Dime

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If you’ve recently started prepping, one of the first things you’ve probably noticed is how expensive it is. From stockpiling ammo to food to gear to medicine to water and so on, the cost of getting ready for a disaster can add up really fast. This is why budget prepping has become such a popular […]

The post 15 Ways You Can Prep for SHTF Without Spending a Dime appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

PrepperCon and Training Opportunities!

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PrepperCon and Training Opportunities
James Walton “I Am Liberty ” Audio player below!

How does a prepper get better? Some would say it happens through rigorous practice and for those who are very dedicated, maybe that’s an option. For the rest of us, we really don’t have a ton of time to devote to constantly working on skills and procedures. So what is the answer for the 9-5er and the person who is struggling to stay on the highest level of emergency preparedness?

Continue reading PrepperCon and Training Opportunities! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

15 Survival Uses for Triangular Bandages

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A triangular bandage is one of the most common types of bandages, and for good reason. Basically, it’s a large piece of cloth in the shape of a triangle with a right angle, like this. It can then be folded into a long narrow band called a cravat. One of the most popular ways to […]

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10 Lost Skills We Can Learn From The Amish

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The Amish (about 300,000 of them) quietly live among us throughout the United States. They do not live on the grid, not in a conventional manner of speaking, at least. American Amish communities function from a power grid far superior to our antiquated electrical system – “God’s Grid.” We preppers can learn a whole lot […]

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Budget Friendly Survival Kit

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A popular new trend in the prepper community–which I really like–is using gadget pouches and tool rolls to make survival kits and bug out bags. It makes perfect sense because, rather than digging through a bag and struggling to find what you’re looking for, you can just unroll the pouch or roll and immediately see […]

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Tracking for Survival

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Tracking for Survival

Tracking for Survival
Dane… “The Gunmetal Armory” Audio player provided!

What’s up Team Gunmetal? This time around, in player below, we are gonna be talking about the principles of Tracking, How its done, Tracking game animals, Tracking humans, and why you might need to track some one or some thing. If we have the time, we may also get into the basics of anti-tracking techniques, avoiding active tracking dogs and trained tracker teams, navigating in a hostile environment, the basics of individual camo, and more.

Continue reading Tracking for Survival at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

25 Survival Uses for Rubber Bands

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Everyone has a few rubber bands somewhere in their home, probably in the bottom of their junk drawer. When I was a kid, my brother and I shot them at each other. I even had a rubber band gun (until he stole it from me). You might be surprised to learn that rubber bands aren’t […]

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How To Tie Shoes So They STAY Tied

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You know how much I love to walk around barefoot, so this probably won’t come as any surprise … but it took me 55 years to learn how to tie shoes so they’ll stay tied!

I want to share this method with you today, because it really is awesome:

  • It uses a simple knot that’s just a slight variation on the knot you probably already use to tie your shoes.
  • Your shoes will stay tied all day long (no more tripping over untied shoelaces or having to stop constantly to retie them!).
  • And, when you’re ready to kick off your shoes at the end of the day, untying your laces will be as simple as pulling on a string. (Really!)

I made a video of the process. I really think you’re going to love knowing how to tie shoes like this:

After you watch, give it a try and let me know how it works for you in the comments section below!

(Oh, and be sure to make your life easier by checking out my other time-saving Homesteading Basics tips here!)

 

The post How To Tie Shoes So They STAY Tied appeared first on The Grow Network.

How to Skin, Butcher, and Cook Wild Game

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Are you one of the many preppers who plan on bugging out to the woods after the SHTF? I’ve heard many people say they plan on doing this (both in person and online), and most of them think they will hunt for food while they’re at it. This always makes me cringe. First of all, […]

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Survival Uses for Pine Tree Resin You Haven’t Thought Of

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There are many uses for the resin that can be collected from pine trees.  Just what is the resin and how does the pine tree use it?  Well, it’s a substance that helps protect the tree from funguses and disease, as it is antimicrobial in nature.  Resin (commonly referred to as “sap”) also enables the tree to hold in water and protect it in times of drought.  It is used by the tree as a sort of natural “self-patching” kit to help it close a wound within it, such as a deep gouge in the bark.

People have been using resin for a long time.  It can be used to make wood stain and varnish.  Yeah, I know, that’s really exciting.  So, let’s cut to the chase and list what it can do.

  1. First Aid: The sap is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.  A hardened piece can be softened with heat and applied to a wound to help stop bleeding.  If you chew it (softer pieces), it can treat sore throats and help with a cold.
  2. For fire and light: the resin burns, and can be used to make torches, fire starters, and makeshift candles. Read more on how to acquire a supply of fat wood for lighting fires in a snap.
  3. Glue: for patching holes and tears…also in skin, akin to super-glue on a cut (double use as first-aid there). You can mount heads on blowgun-darts, spears, and arrows with it.

There’s plenty to go around.  You can gather it in the woods both hardened and soft.  Be sure and use a container, preferably glass and not plastic to carry your resin.  People harvest it by cutting v-shaped notches into the bark in rows parallel to one another.  The resin then collects in the lowest one…a bucket or vessel is needed to catch it.  Don’t go out and destroy or hurt live trees unless it’s a genuine survival situation.  If it kills you to think about it, know that those who harvest it do so for 20 years or more with no overall ill effects on the tree.

Fossilized resin is known as amber and has been fashioned into jewelry.  Many times, the amber trapped animals in it when it was still soft resin, such as bees, ants, and spiders…and they ended up being perfectly preserved…of great historical and scientific value.  Pine tar, pitch, rosin, and turpentine can be made from pine tree resin, and although they are beyond the scope of this article, they are worth mentioning for your further research.

I’ve written articles on pine pollen and pine needle tea in the past.  As you can see, the pine trees have many uses besides just building cabins and as fuel for fires that don’t immediately jump out at you.  Learn to find and gather the resin and try to practice using it in the ways we covered here.  This is good for your ongoing survival training and further sustaining yourself when the going gets tough and the only resources you have are what information you carry in your head and the skills to make it happen.  JJ out!

 

Additional Reading:

Top 13 Uses for Pine Trees in Woodcraft and Self-Reliance

Did you know pine trees can be used as food, medicine and survival equipment?

16 Uses of Sticky Pine Sap for Wilderness Survival and Self-Reliance

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

How to Make It Back Safe from the Woods

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How to Make It Back Safe from the Woods

How to Make It Back Safe from the Woods

Hiking is lots of fun, but most people spend very little time thinking about the things that can go wrong. We’re so used to being safe in our day-to-day lives that we cannot conceive anything bad happening to us. The fact that most us of have never experienced extreme survival situations has a lot to do with our reluctance to take precaution measures when going to toe woods.

Continue reading How to Make It Back Safe from the Woods at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

How to Read a Map and Contour Lines

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Countless times, I’ve recommended buying detailed paper maps of your local area and all the areas along the path to your bug out location. During a major disaster, satellites might be down and GPS might not be working. If that happens, you need to know how to find your way with paper maps. They will […]

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Fortitude Ranch: A Survival Community For The Rest Of Us

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Do you have a place to go in case of an apocalyptic disaster? Most of us don’t. Now what if I told you that for a $1,000 a year, you could have a bug out location that is built to withstand doomsday, loaded with plenty of supplies, and populated by dozens of survival experts? It […]

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Survival Groups: Who’s In Who’s Out

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Survival Groups: Who’s In Who’s Out
Micheal Kline “Reality Check” Audio player below!

On this episode of Reality Check we discuss what skills and trades you might want in your group. Every survival group always thinks there are a few people with skills that are shoo-ins. Everyone says they want a blacksmith, a doctor, an herbalist, and usually someone who can reload ammunition. Those are great skills to have, but what about a veterinarian, a pharmacist, or a dental assistant?

Continue reading Survival Groups: Who’s In Who’s Out at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

These 14 Urban Survival Skills are Critical

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by Megan

When SHTF, the most important thing for you to understand is that everything you know about how the world works can change very quickly. Most new preppers do their planning as if they will all be at home when SHTF. But the truth is you and your family members could be anywhere when things go bad. Even if you don’t live in a city or urban area, it’s quite possible you will be in or near an urban area when SHTF. If that happens, these urban skills will help you survive in any city.

#1. Navigation

If you’re caught out away from home when SHTF, one of the key urban skills to help you survive in the city will be your ability to navigate your way through the city to either get home, reach your agreed rendezvous point, or get safely out of the city to your bug out location. The ability to find and make use of detailed maps of the area, alternate routes to/from work or school, and shortcuts will be vital to your survival.

#2. Locating and Purifying Water

It’s impossible for humans to survive without drinking water. This is a critical survival skill whether in an urban or rural situation. But in an urban situation, the large fresh water sources such as lakes and ponds may be less prevalent than in rural situations. This means you need to know where to find water in the city and how to then purify the water you find so it is safe to drink.

#3. Make Something from Nothing

The knowledge and ability to make something from nothing in an urban skill that will help you survive in any city. Most people will look for the obvious things to help them such as lighters.

Flashlights, canned food, bottled water, blankets, etc. A city has so many people that these obvious supplies will be gone very quickly. If you are able to look at the things other people passed up and know that you can make those work for something you need, you’ll be ahead of the game. Examples might be using a magnifying glass or steel wood and battery to start a fire or using a solar powered light next to a sidewalk as a flashlight.

#4. Knot Tying

No matter how well prepared you think you are, something is bound to go awry at some point. Your knot tying skills will help you survive in any city, whether you need to lash extra gear to your bag or vehicle, make your own snare, tie hand and footholds in a rope, or build a ladder for climbing. Even if it’s just to secure a makeshift shelter or tie a hook or sinker on a fishing line, knot tying will come in handy again and again in an urban survival situation.

#5. Climbing Skills

When you’re in an urban environment, climbing skills come in handy so that you can use an alternate rooftop route which will be less exposed or get into or out of a building without being discovered or followed. You may need to climb in order to cross a river to get to your bug out location or meeting area. If the bridge you would normally take across the river is clogged, monitored, or overrun with dangerous people, you need to climb to go around.

#6. Choose Shelter Strategically

One of the most critical skills you can have in an urban survival situation is the ability to strategically choose your shelter. Your shelter needs to be secure from intruders. It needs to be secluded so you don’t attract attention of passersby. It also needs to be a location where you can easily defend yourself and one that has an alternate way out so you can retreat if things get bad.

#7. Fire-Making

Like any survival situation, a key skill is knowing many different ways to make fire, cook food, and stay warm. It’s critical that you know several different ways to make fire so that no matter what resources you have at your disposal, you can stay warm and cook food. One method not many new preppers may know about is joule heating.

This is the ability to create fire by sending electric current through a conductor. A standard toaster uses joule heat. One way to do this in an urban grid down situation is to use an old piece of steel wool and a power source, such as a 9-volt battery.

#8. Evade and Hide

In the cities, one of the biggest threats you will face in a grid down situation will likely be other people. Your ability to evade and stay hidden from those who intend to do you harm or who are desperate and want what you have, can go a long way toward your survival. Map out alternate routes using rooftops and/or underground subway tunnels or sewer systems, so you can travel without being seen. Learn how to hide your fire from view so you can stay warm without revealing your location to others.

#9. Scavenge

Knowing where and what to scavenge is one of the urban skills that will help you survive in any city. When looking for supplies skip the retail stores and go for warehouses, distribution centers, or even supply trucks. Abandoned public buildings such as schools or office buildings and construction sites can be good sources for the following items:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Tools
  • Shelter materials
  • Diesel Vehicles
  • Generators

#10. Foraging

While scavenging is a term used more for the skill of finding materials and other items you might need, foraging usually refers to the skill of collecting or harvesting things that grow wild. For example, many weeds that you pass every day in the city are useful for medicinal purposes or are edible. If you are able to identify these weeds when other people don’t have that skill, you will be able to find food and medicine even when others cannot.

#11. Thinking Outside the Box

The ability to think outside the box is an urban skill that will help you survive in any city. People in cities will be desperate and the obvious places for supplies will be quickly overrun. To increase your odds of finding supplies that haven’t already been grabbed by others, you need to think outside the box.

As an example, look for diesel from underground tanks at gas stations and use something like an old bike pump and hose to make a syringe pump. Seek out working communication equipment or components to piece together from a taxi cab dispatch office or take advantage of small solar panels that normally power road construction signs to charge your batteries.

#12. Self-Defense

Self-defense is one of the urban skills that will help you survive in any city because sooner or later you will need to defend yourself at some point. The more ways to defend yourself you are experienced with, the better your chances of being able to defend yourself against whatever enemy might show up.

It could be criminals who are intent on violence, looters motivated by getting what you have, or desperate families just trying to survive. It doesn’t matter who the enemy is because if you can’t properly defend yourself, they win, and you lose.

#13. Negotiation and Bartering

Another urban skill to help you survive in any city is bartering and negotiation. While experts will recommend you try to avoid other people whenever possible, this won’t always work. There will be times when you need to barter and/or negotiate with others to get the supplies you need. Being prepared to do this and having proper bartering supplies stockpiled will go a long way toward your survival.

#14. First Aid Skills

When things go wrong and in a survival situation it’s almost certain that at some point things will go wrong, you have to be prepared for the worst. In an urban situation, your level of first aid skills and medical knowledge may be the difference between life and death.

Many people may falsely believe that in the city medical help will be more available, but this is far from the case. Most emergency services personnel will be overrun with desperate people very quickly. To survive injury or illness in an urban survival situation, you need to master first aid skills, so you can handle whatever may come up.

Wrap Up

The more of these urban skills you can master, the better your chances of survival in any city. There will always be other skills you can learn which is why prepping is a lifestyle change and not something you can ever be “done” learning. And when it comes to survival, there are no absolute guarantees.

Even the most skilled survivalist can make a mistake when fatigued or distracted. In the same vein, the least skilled among us can luck out and make it through a nearly impossible situation. But these urban skills will help you survive in any city because they can help tip the odds in your favor. And when it comes to a survival scenario, having the odds in your favor is the best position you can be in.

Nature Is an EXTREME Composter—You Can Be Too!

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Learning From Nature

I admit it: I get a kick out of shaking things up. For years I listened to the rules on composting … then I shrugged, threw away the rule book, and decided to watch what happened in nature and copy the design I found there.

Basically everything organic can be returned to the soil. Paper, sewage, logs, animal carcasses, chicken soup … you name it.

And isn’t it much better to return these items to the soil than it is to dump them in a landfill? It’s a no-brainer!

In 2015, my years of experimentation and the knowledge I have gained were distilled down into the book Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting. The response was excellent, and the sales still continue to amaze me. It is transforming the way gardeners think about composting. Just throwing things away isn’t good enough anymore.

david-the-good-doing-some-extreme-composting

Unlearning the ‘Rules’

When I wrote the book I had no idea so many people would be willing to come along for the ride. It’s thrilling.

For years, we’ve been told not to compost meat … and then we’re told to use blood meal as a great organic source of nitrogen for our gardens.

We’re told to turn our compost piles regularly … but when we walk through the woods the leaves have created rich humus everywhere, no turning required.

We’re warned that human waste is incredibly dangerous … but every other creature on the planet fails to use a flush toilet with no ill effect.

People love recycling because it’s easy and feels like a good deed … yet those same people will often throw away a banana peel or a ham bone because composting is “too hard.”

It’s not hard when you do it like nature does. Composting is recycling “trash” into soil—and we should all be doing it.

Extreme Composting

Some of the ideas in Compost Everything are certainly extreme compared to the nice, safe restrictions foisted on us by well-meaning agricultural extensions and fuddy-duddy garden writers, yet nature itself is an EXTREME composter!

Why not see what she does and do the same?

TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter

(This article was originally published on March 9, 2016.)

 

The post Nature Is an EXTREME Composter—You Can Be Too! appeared first on The Grow Network.

Aerobic Compost Tea, Worm Tea, and Leachate—A Clarification

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In the course of preparing for our Texas Master Gardener Worm Bin Workshop, I came across a lot of inconsistent information. Among the most confusing issues was that many sources both online and in print seem to confuse the terms referring to leachate and worm tea. The same sources also seem to blow it again when talking about worm tea versus aerobic compost tea. It’s easy to find yourself hopelessly confused!

In this article, I hope to demystify the subject a bit and provide clarity on a confusing topic.

 

Myh Worm bin

 

Let’s start with leachate, the liquid that comes off the worm bin.

What is Leachate?

One of the most contentious issues in worm composting is what to do with the leachate. The most common definition of leachate is any liquid that, in the course of passing through matter, extracts soluble or suspended solids, or any other component of the material through which it has passed.

Leachate is a widely used term in the environmental sciences industries, where it has the specific negative meaning of a liquid that has dissolved environmentally harmful substances that may come to enter the environment. But for the purposes of this article, we are defining leachate as the raw liquid runoff (or seepage) that settles in or below the vermicompost or worm castings in a worm bin.

The controversy stems, in large part, from the debate over aerated compost tea versus non-aerated compost tea. Fans of aerated compost tea do not like the fact that worm bin leachate is anaerobic, which they believe encourages the growth of microorganisms unfavorable to plants. They like to point out that worm bin leachate is not aerated compost tea.

This is completely true, but I am not so convinced that this is a big problem. Those critical of using this “worm juice” do make valid points, and I, too, recommend using leachate with care, but I did find two peer-reviewed studies showing the benefits of unaerated worm compost leachate: “Vermicomposting Leachate (Worm Tea) as Liquid Fertilizer for Maize” and “Vermicompost Leachate Alleviates Deficiency of Phosphorus and Potassium in Tomato Seedlings.” I also found several Extension Service publications that tout the use of worm bin leachate.

It is not at all unusual for folks to be a little hazy on what to do with their “worm juice.” One lady I spoke with the other day said, “We just changed our bins to add a drainage system. I just pulled the cork out and got nearly two cups of worm juice. My husband is trying to convince me that I should go ahead and feed it to my house plants, but I’m worried that adding this cocktail to my basically inert potting soil might stir up problems. Is it safe to use this stuff as a fertilizer?”

Another person said, “I get this dark liquid from my worm bins. I’m thinking most of the juice came from the castings and might have some great stuff in it, and not a lot of rotten stuff, and that’s why I kind of want to give it to the plants. Is that a bad idea? I just want to know what the heck to do with it. It’s winter here, so I can’t put it on my garden beds outside. I really don’t want to waste it, though! What do people do with it? Do you put it on your house plants, and have you gotten a good reaction from it?”

These are excellent questions. I’ve talked and written about this topic a number of times, but it’s definitely one that continues to confuse people and deserves to be revisited from time to time.

Unfortunately, there seems to be misleading information provided by some worm bin manufacturers (and website owners). The terms “worm tea,” “worm compost tea,” “castings tea,” or “vermicompost tea” should actually refer to the liquid fertilizer created by steeping (soaking) quality castings/compost in water (often aerated) for a period of time.

The problem is that many people refer to the liquid that drains out from a worm bin as “worm tea.” This is incorrect. The proper term for this is actually “leachate.”

Obviously, we’re only talking about semantics here, so it may seem that I’m splitting hairs, but keeping the distinction between these terms is actually quite important.

While leachate can certainly have value as a liquid fertilizer (especially when drained from a mature worm bin and diluted), it should be treated with a lot more caution than good-quality worm tea.

As water passes down through a worm bin, it can pick up all sorts of unstable metabolites (various products/intermediates of the decomposition process). If, for example, you have some fairly anaerobic zones in your worm bin, you can end up with various phytotoxins (toxins that can harm plants and humans). Some of these toxins are created by bacteria.

Every worm bin has good and bad microbes. This is perfectly fine and is even expected—provided, of course, that the good ones outnumber the bad ones.

Some leachate can contain harmful pathogens because it has not been processed through the worms’ intestinal tracts. It is often recommended that it should not be used on garden plants you plan to serve to your friends and family.

During decomposition, waste releases liquid from its cell structures as it breaks down. This leachate seeps down through the worm composter into the collection area. The leachate should be drained regularly, and if you are getting more than 2-4 ounces of liquid in a week, the worm composter is probably too wet!

If your composter has a spigot attached, I would recommend leaving the spigot open with a container underneath to catch the leachate. This will prevent it from building up in your system. Just keep an eye on it to make sure your container doesn’t overflow!

If, like me, you have a homemade worm bin, you can keep a drip pan underneath to catch the leachate.

 

worm castings

 

Finished composts are much better to use for brewing worm tea because they are much more uniform in composition, and the vast majority (if not all) the potentially harmful compounds have been converted into something more stabilized.

The microbial community present in these materials tends to be more beneficial, as well.

I’m not trying to scare you here, and I am not implying that leachate is “poison” and should never be used. I’m simply saying that while leachate can have value as a liquid fertilizer, it should be treated with caution. For every story extolling the benefits of using leachate, there is one lamenting problems from having used it.

If you decide you want to use leachate, I recommend taking some extra steps:

1. Do not use it if it smells bad! It should smell like earth (and not gross) when it comes out of the worm composter. If it smells bad, pour it out on an area like a roadway or driveway where it cannot harm living plants or animals.
2. Dilute it at a ratio of 10 parts water to 1 part leachate (10:1).
3. Aerate it with an air pump if available.
4. Use it outdoors on shrubs, ornamentals, or flowering plants only. Do not use on plants you intend to eat.

What Is Worm Tea?

Now let’s move on to the next confusing liquid: worm tea. Worm tea is about what it sounds like—worm castings steeped in water for a certain amount of time.

“Fresh earthworm castings contain more organic material—nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium—than soil itself,” according to Texas Agrilife Extension Service. Worm castings and the tea you make from them also ward off root-knot nematodes—a parasitic creature that causes deformed roots and drains nutrients out of plants. Plants like strawberries that tend to attract fungal spores will also benefit. Castings contain anti-fungal chemicals that help kill the spores of black spot and powdery mildew.

 

Worm tea

 

Making simple worm tea is really nothing more than steeping—much like making any other tea you would drink yourself. It is very easy, and it is good for your plants, too.

In the process of steeping, water is added to the earthworm castings to simply extract the microbes from the castings into the water. The resulting liquid solution is then applied to plants or soil in various ways.

Many bottled teas you see on the shelf use this method.

To make your own, just take a bunch of worm castings and put them in the bottom third of a bucket. Fill the rest of the bucket with rainwater or non-chlorinated water (or tap water left out in the sunlight for 24 hours if you must). Let the mixture steep for 24 hours. Strain out the solids, dilute with water at a 1:1 ratio, and apply directly to your plants or soil.

What is Aerobic Compost Tea?

 

aerobic worm tea

 

Aerobic compost tea is also known as aerobic worm tea, and it is known mostly for its ability to boost microbiological activity in soil by adding beneficial bacteria, fungi, acinomycetes, and protozoa to the soil. It is brewed either by soaking a porous bag full of worm castings in water or by simply dumping the castings into a container of clean, chemical-free water. Molasses, corn syrup, or another microbial food source is then added to the water as a catalyst to stimulate growth of the microbes. And finally, an air-pumping system is installed to create an aerobic (or oxygenated) environment for the multiplying microorganisms.

Aerobic compost tea is beneficial in many ways. The microbes delivered in aerobic compost tea help plants by out-competing anaerobic and other pathogenic organisms within the soil. These beneficial microorganisms can also move in to occupy infected sites on plants’ root and leaf surfaces. Brewing aerobic compost tea speeds up the growth rate of microbes such as bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes, and multiplies their numbers exponentially. As a result, this method populates your garden with beneficial microbes more rapidly than applying worm castings alone.

When you spray or pour the tea on the soil, you are not only feeding the plant, but also increasing the number of beneficial microbes in the soil, thus crowding out the bad ones. It has been proven that the tea, along with the castings, can significantly increase plant growth, as well as crop yields, in the short term (a season) and especially in the long term over a period of several seasons.

Along with these great benefits come a boost in the plant’s own immune system, enabling it to resist parasites like the infamous aphid, tomato cyst eelworms, and root-knot nematodes. Plants produce certain hormones that insects find distasteful, so they are repelled. Aerobic compost tea also helps a plant to resist diseases such as Pythium and Rhizoctonia.

When either worm tea or the more effective aerobic compost tea is sprayed on leaves and foliage, detrimental and disease-causing microbes are again outnumbered and cannot grow their numbers to dominate any single plant. The teas also aid the plant in creating the “cuticle,” a waxy layer on top of the epidermis, or plant skin. This waxy surface protects the leaves from severe elements and reduces attacks by certain harmful microorganisms and insects.

Making Your Own Compost Tea

Making any type of organic compost tea involves a few key steps:

  1. Choosing the right compost
  2. Choosing the right nutrients
  3. Brewing and applying the tea correctly

Please note that the instructions below are only meant to give you some background about tea making, not a step-by-step guide on how to make the teas. We provide information on that elsewhere on the site, such as in this article by David the Good:

Read More: “Compost Tea: An Easy Way to Stretch Compost”

The compost used in making tea is like the starter you use in making yogurt. The compost inoculates the tea with organisms. Thus, you want the compost you begin with to have a good diversity of beneficial organisms. Worm castings are super for this purpose!

Keep in mind that different plants differ in their soil preferences. Some need a bacteria-dominated soil, others want a fungi-dominated soil, and still others like a soil that’s somewhere in between.

When making an organic compost with more fungi, mix in larger amounts of cardboard, paper, sawdust, wood shavings, and heavy stalk plant material as you prepare the compost. For bacterial dominance, use food waste and green plant waste. Whatever compost you use, be sure it is finished, well-stabilized compost, and that it’s fairly fresh. Again, worm castings are ideal for this.

As I mentioned above, I really like to use rainwater whenever I can, but you can always use dechlorinated water. One old-timer I talked to said he only ever uses pond water to make his compost teas. I have seen his garden, and I can tell you it looks to me like using pond water is a good way to go!

The nutrients you introduce while brewing also influence the finished tea.

To encourage the development of fungi in the tea, you can mix two parts humic acid; two parts yucca, saponin, or aloe vera; and one part fish hydrolyzate or other proteins into the water.

For bacterial dominance, you can feed one liquid ounce blackstrap molasses per gallon of tea and and an equal amount of cold-water kelp. For the molasses, you can also substitute brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup if you like.

 

Raised bed results

 

Go to the library or search online for information on leachate, worm tea, and aerobic compost tea and you will find many sources of conflicting information, mainly over the terminology involved in determining what is actually leachate and what is a worm tea (be it aerobic or simple tea). The main thing to remember is that while any form of worm tea may not sound too appetizing to you and me, our plants will really love it.

Worm tea lets you fertilize without adding bulk to your soil, and water your garden with something really healthy for your plants. Trust me here, your garden will practically jump up and shout “Hallelujah!” when fertilized with either worm tea or aerobic compost tea, and you will be amazed at the growth, flowering, and fruiting that results.

Spray your plants liberally on the leaves, stems, and surrounding soil. Use teas on clay soil to begin its transformation to humus. Use them on your flowers indoors and out, and on your other house plants to feed and nourish both the plants and the soil.

Read More: “Fertilizing Container Gardens: A Beginner’s Guide”

Use teas on your compost pile to introduce the microbial activity and hasten the compost pile’s beneficial breaking-down process. Inoculate the ground surrounding your fruit trees. Use them on manure piles that stink and marvel at how fast the stink and flies go away! A properly brewed worm tea is child, pet, and wildlife friendly.

A few things to keep in mind:

Foliar Spray/Wash: It’s best to spray all surfaces of your plants in the early morning or late afternoon when the suns angle is low and less intense. When possible, do your foliar spraying on clear days, since rain may wash away some of the microbial activity.
Soil Inoculant/Drenching: Always apply teas out of direct, intense sunlight. Use them pure or dilute them (10:1 is a suggested maximum dilution rate). Dilution ratios vary for different application techniques and equipment. An ideal time to apply is during periods of mist or fog, but not heavy rain. Alternately, irrigate a little before your application to ensure the microbes will survive and can travel more quickly and safely to their new job locations. Always use nonchlorinated water.
Smell: If a tea stinks, do not use it on your vegetables, as it is demonstrating anaerobic properties and may contain pathogens. Some suggest you use this stinky mix on an undesirable weed bed!

In Summary

Leachate–The correct word for the dark liquid that comes out of the bottom of your worm bin. If your bin is maintained correctly, you should have very little leachate and what you do have can be used safely (in 1:10 diluted form) on your ornamental plants. Sometimes leachate is incorrectly referred to as “worm tea.” Some sites refer to it as “worm wee,” but even that is technically incorrect.

Simple Worm Tea–A mix of worm castings and water. Useful if you don’t have an air pump but still want some liquid fertilizer from your worm bin.

Aerobic Compost Tea–An aerated mixture of worm castings, nonchlorinated water, and molasses or another microbial food source. It contains an active culture of microorganisms and should be used immediately, otherwise the benefit of aeration is all but lost.

I really hope that this article helps clear things up. I know that many of you may not agree with the terminology I have used in this article, but I think that using the above will help to demystify an area of gardening that can be of great benefit to all of us!

(This article was originally published October 2, 2015.)

 

The post Aerobic Compost Tea, Worm Tea, and Leachate—A Clarification appeared first on The Grow Network.

Top 20 Prepping Mistakes to Avoid

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With the abundance of bad information out there and the overwhelming amount you need to learn, it’s easy for new preppers to make a lot of mistakes. I’ve made many mistakes myself and I’m sure I’ll make more, but that’s part of the learning process. To help you speed up this process, here are some […]

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Book Review: Storey’s Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance

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I am partial to Storey’s books, they are great all around reference books.  While it is not as complete as a book dedicated to a single topic, Basic Country Skills gives basic information on a variety of topics.  Which is great if either your knowledge is limited, and you need to know basics, or you space is limited.  Either way, this is a great book to have in your prepper library. Inside Storey’s Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance you will find illustrated instructions on topics such as: Finding country land Buying, building, and renovating a home Developing water

The post Book Review: Storey’s Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

50 Prepper Terms and Acronyms You Should Learn

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The world of prepping, survivalism, and homesteading is basically one huge subculture. And as with every subculture, it has its own terms, acronyms, and concepts that the rest of society isn’t familiar with. If you’re new to this world, you’re going to come across most of these terms eventually. In fact, you’ve probably already seen […]

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Ambidextrous Shooting: How to Train Your Weaker Hand for a Gunfight

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Image result for ready nutrition shooting gunReadyNutrition Readers, you are all well-aware of charity…where your left hand should not know what your right does.  In survival, it is the opposite: you need to train yourself bilaterally…that is, to be ambidextrous to a certain degree.  In the manner that you lift weights and exercise, should you train in survival skills. When you do bicep curls, do you perform them with only your dominant hand?  No, of course not.  You train with both hands and both arms and develop yourself symmetrically and equally.

Active Shooter Body Armor – Serious Stopping Power

How about things that require you to perform to survive?  Firing a rifle or pistol, for one.  If you’re right-handed and (God forbid) you are wounded in the hand, or suffer from a broken finger, then what?  Then you must follow after Gunny Highway’s advice (Clint Eastwood’s Marine Gunnery Sergeant in the movie “Heartbreak Ridge”).

Training for Ambidextrous Shooting Abilities

We’re going to talk through it for a right-handed firer (since most people are right-handed).  Lefties, just do the same thing as I’m instructing here with the opposite hand.  Pistol first.  You are going to fire your pistol with the left hand, as your right hand is badly broken.  With a revolver, this is simpler, but with a semiautomatic handgun?  Well, your spent brass ejects from the right.  Therefore, your point of aim has to be the same…from your right eye…but you’re firing with your left hand.

This is going to take some practice for you.  You’re going to be firing the semiautomatic pistol with your left hand, but “crossing over” to use your right eye…and fire from your right-hand side.  Your sight picture is the same as it would be if you were firing with your right hand…but it will feel a bit different, as it is with your left, now, and your arm still needs to be outstretched and straight.

Aiming at Your Target

Your target needs to be in alignment with the muzzle of your weapon, and your arm needs to be straight out, and aligned with your firing eye (in this case, the right eye).  This is going to take some practice on your part, and practice makes perfect.  It has to be such that you can shift at a second’s notice and fire just as true with your left hand as your right.

Now to develop your other eye: use the revolver.  Yes, you can practice a good sight picture and proper aim with your left eye with a revolver, as you don’t have to worry about a hot piece of brass in your face.  You must train to be ambidextrous.  With many years of practice, you should be able to take on a target with both eyes, and both hands.

The rifle is a bit different.  Remember a long time ago how I said that all rifles should have a bipod?  Well, you’ve just been injured with a broken right wrist, and you’re a right-handed firer.  Now what?  Well, with the bipod…you have support.  Then it’s just a matter of positioning yourself behind the weapon.  You can seat the weapon on your right shoulder and fire with the left hand.  This, too, takes practice.  Same thing as before.  Semiautomatic rifles will kick brass in your face if you fire with the left shoulder.  You can pick up a brass deflector for an AR-15 that will help in this department.

Bolt-actions and lever-actions are good-to-go in this regard.  Practice firing with the left hand with these, so as not to distract your progress with brass flying in your face.  Same thing here.  Your point of aim must be developed on the left-hand side.  This will take time, practice, and patience, with emphasis on that third factor.  You aren’t going to master it overnight.  You can start out with an air rifle.  The air rifle fundamentals of marksmanship…Aiming, Breathing, and Trigger-Squeeze…are the same as with a firearm.  It is less costly, however, and easier to manage in a home-indoor range.  You can develop the skills with air rifle or air pistol to become an “ambidextrous” firer.

Practice this concept for all things…the use of hand tools, the use of cooking utensils and implements, and other weapons, such as the bow and arrow and the knife.  It is a form of preparation that will improve you overall.  Don’t be limited by an injury.  Don’t allow an injury to keep you from defending yourself or performing a task necessary to stay alive or save life and limb.  It is all part of your training, and let the training never stop!  Stay in that fight!  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

4 Prepping Skills You Master after Years of Camping

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Enjoying the great outdoors by yourself or together with your friends and family is an amazing experience. There is something immensely freeing about sleeping under the open skies and waking up with the smell of fresh, untamed morning air filling your nostrils. However, this experience isn’t one without its challenges. What You Need to Know It generally takes campers a long time to get accustomed to all the different situations a camping trip might involve. Fortunately, you can take some shortcuts in the learning process if you are dedicated enough. Here are the four most important prepping skills you master

The post 4 Prepping Skills You Master after Years of Camping appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

10 Prepper Uses for Safety Pins

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ReadyNutrition Readers, Skeptics, and Skeptical Readers, greetings!  Let’s explain reasoning a little bit more in detail than regards the simple subject of this article.  My intent as a writer has never been to delve into the “High-Tech” and pricey solutions to things that you may face.

Many survival magazines offer “Sales” rather than “Solutions” to your needs to prepare.  In too many articles, people have lambasted me for suggesting low-cost solutions that are both “doable” and within the budget.

If you want secure communications, go ahead and suggest a SEAL Magnaphone with built-in scrambler, or a $15,000 current-gen pair of NVG (Night Vision Goggles), then go ahead and buy it.  If your main goal with any article is to suggest something “better” than the advised thing, that’s great.  The majority of the readers, however, are looking for simplicity combined with affordability.

Anyone can buy $100K worth of gear.  Now, what does that person do when the gear is either defunct, “appropriated,” or unusable for one reason or another?

My work attempts to propose solutions that can be employed without bankrupting a person, and also some knowledge of what can be used when all of the laser sights, night vision devices, ATV’s, cameras, reticle-dot sights, and all else are just useless circuitry.  Those days are coming: mark my words.  In the meantime, we have to develop our skills and win with the tools that we have at hand.

10 Prepper Uses for Safety Pins

Safety pins.  Simple little things, yet so much can be done with them.  I highly recommend toting at least a half dozen with you of various sizes, large to small.  They cost practically nothing.  Here’s the tip: Take the safety pins: learn and practice what you can do with them.

We’re going to run a condensed, hardly-exhaustive list of uses for the safety pins.  Here we go:

  1. Temporary repair fasteners for clothing
  2. Fishhooks
  3. Probe-tool (medical use)
  4. Lockpick
  5. Suture substitute
  6. Lance
  7. Support (individual or as a chain)
  8. Bandage/dressing support
  9. Cleaning tool
  10. Toothpick/minor dental first-aid tool

The list could go on and on.  Tear open a swatch in your pants leg while you’re out in the woods?  If you don’t have time to sew it up, use the safety pins.  Fishhooks.  All you need do is notch a couple of notches for barbs (when you do, notch “upward” in the direction of the safety pin’s point) for improvised fishhooks.  Tie off your line through the top-notch of the safety pin.

For use in removing metal or wood splinters or foreign debris: make sure you sterilize the end of the safety pin prior to use as a probe.  Burn the end of it for about ten seconds with a lighter or match, and then dip in alcohol if you can.  You can also use this technique for lancing a bad wound to allow pus to escape.

As a suture substitute, you can approximate the edges of the wound if it’s a bad bleeder with the safety pins.  This is temporary!  Seek medical attention immediately to prevent infection and further complications.  You can make a chain of them to hang an IV bag if necessary, or to close up and secure bandages and dressings.

Pin them where you can get to them easily.  If you wear a hat, then pin 4 to 6 of various sizes in your hatband.  You won’t even notice they’re there.  When some kind of need arises, though, you’ll remember that you have them.  Taking common, everyday items and making more out of them than their original intent is the kind of adaptive ingenuity you’ll need when the SHTF and an emergency arises.

And (not completely knocking your high-tech gadgets) when you pick up a piece of equipment, know two things: complete mastery of its capabilities and functions, and what you will replace it with when you no longer have it to use.  Always train from low-tech to high-tech, and you won’t be caught with your pants down.  And if that happens?  You may have busted a button; therefore, a safety pin will help…if you have it.  Fight that good fight.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

What the Prepper Needs to Know about Emergency Caches and How to Protect Them From the Hordes

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What to do when the world comes apart?  Well, you’re going to do as well as you prepared for it.  One of the things that should be taken into consideration is either a BO (Bug-Out) location or a temporary hide site.  Either way, for the winter months there are some preparations that need to be taken, and in a certain way.

Combine Cache Points for the SHTF Retreat

The most important point that the reader must understand is DO NOT CACHE ALL OF THIS IN ONE PLACE! Everybody wants that “central location,” because everything is “there,” and it takes less time than making three or four different points.  No, belay that thought, helmsman!  Staggering it makes it more likely that some creeps will not get the whole treasure-trove.  Same with all of the cached stuff such as food, medicine, etc.  Bust it up into “thirds” and put it in three different places that you can find, but are not equidistant from one another.  If you place all three in an equilateral triangle configuration, the way man’s mind thinks when he’s searching is to look along those “organized” lines.

Protect Your Caches from the Hordes with These 8 Considerations

Whatever your BO location is (a cabin, shack, or semi-permanent structure) there are some factors that need to be considered, especially for these winter months.  Be it a cabin, tepee, or permanent lean-to on someone’s land with permission…whatever the scenario, here’s what you need:

  1. The Perfect Spot: Because caches are the ultimate backup plan, you want to find an ideal location before you begin hiding your gear. Keep OPSEC in mind when you are finding your cache sight.
  2. Wood: A good supply of wood, that is not in the structure…off the ground (palletized), covered, and camouflaged. There are reasons for all of this, and we’re going to go with a cabin, just to simplify things.  Have a wood supply in there already?  You can bank on the fact that anyone who may get there before you will burn it…and fight to keep it.
  3. Hide the essentials: “Disable” the woodstove or remove it. Remove a section of the chimney pipe and close the hole in the ceiling.  Wrap the pipe up in plastic and stash it where it can be accessed without being covered with ice and frozen over.  Then (if you can) remove that woodstove and/or camouflage it.  Make it inaccessible and disguise it.  Those that find the cabin and think there’s no woodstove will probably leave.
  4. Food: Floorboard cache is the best way here, as it can’t be frozen over by the ground.  It’s hard to “thaw out” an underground cache during the wintertime that has no fixed hatch to enter. Consider these must-have survival foods.
  5. Keep it bare: Keep that cabin “stripped” in terms of any creature-comforts…only a modicum of cooking utensils and supplies. You want it to “appear” as threadbare and uninviting as possible.
  6. “Secret Squirrel” cache: This is going to take some planning, some effort, and some funds.  Remember the “bunker” the father and son found in the movie “The Road” in that backyard?  You want something maybe not quite as large, but an excavated area with walls, a floor, and a roof/top/door to be able to enter during the wintertime after you dig away the snow and a few inches of dirt.  Load it up with anything that can take a freeze…perhaps some MRE’s, dried foods, sturdier canned goods, ammo, medical supplies and medicines, and a weapon or two….and make sure it’s away from the cabin.
  7. Lean-To’s: all the items can be cached, including a “rocket” stove or a portable wood-burner. The lean-to (more akin to a shack) you can preposition pressure treated plywood and 4” x 4” s as well as 2” x 4” s with pre-marked and pre-drilled holes that you put it all together with lag screws and bolts.  Make sure you keep a wrench and socket set on the site!  Stick with pressure-treated only, as it will take the elements and the changes in temperature and moisture better.  Make sure you have all the pieces clearly marked, a “blueprint” on a laminated sheet of paper, and that you have put it together.  Practice makes perfect and can save you a lot of time and cut the stress down.  These supplies you want to palletize and keep covered up and protected from moisture, bugs, thieves, etc.
  8. Tools: This may seem small, but it’s not. You want to preposition a chainsaw with extra chains, fuel, and oil, and a chain sharpener (yeah, after the SHTF, you’ll have time to sharpen those chains!).  Pack up a good ax, a bowsaw and extra blades, a hammer, extra nails, a good hatchet, and digging tools (shovel, pickaxe, digging bar).  It’s an extra expense, yes, but you won’t have to tote a set of all of these up there with you if you have to run.  Have a set with you?  So what?  They’ll be worth their weight in gold when it all comes apart, and you’ll always have a use for a backup, as nothing lasts forever. As well, consider adding these items to your caches.

The only limits here are those set by your own imagination and desire to succeed.

Make no mistake: those who prepare this kind of thing beforehand are going to have it a lot easier than those who wait until the last minute or try to do it “post-collapse.”  Having a place you can run to…and not just one, but several…follows the Army’s “PACE” concept…. Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency.  Multiple layers of backup in everything you do…a “forced” redundancy…will carry you over and prevent losses, mistakes, and leave you with something if it all goes down.  Don’t be left holding the bag…have a bag of “something” you stock up with before it all goes down the drain.  JJ out!

 

Additional Reading:

How To Build A Survival Cache

What’s Missing From Your Survival Cache Could Be Your Greatest Mistake

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Blunt Force: Take an Attacker Down in Seconds

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Yeah, ReadyNutrition Readers, this article is about the bat.  Not that flying mammal, or the derisive term used for a mother-in-law in anger…the All-American baseball bat.  This wonderful piece of sporting equipment is very effective in defending yourself in addition to hitting one over the fence in center field.  I know, I know, naysayers, you surely can’t carry a bat around with you wherever you travel….yada, yada.  Seriously, there are several reasons to “tote” this everyday self-defense item around with you.  Let’s cover them.

Batter Up!

For those of you who wish to know, my baseball bat of choice is an aluminum “T-ball” bat, a 24” job that sits directly next to my leg and within the groove of my vehicle’s front seat.  I recommend aluminum over wood for several reasons.  Firstly, there’s no danger of the bat splitting at the handle or breaking apart: it is sturdily-constructed.  Secondly, it will not rot or deteriorate…and the aluminum bat will not rust.  Thirdly, they’re pretty cheap: you can lay your hands on one in a used sporting goods store or thrift store for between $5 to $10.

It is not just for beating someone up.  The bat can also be used to bust out of the vehicle if it’s trapped and you can’t open the door.  Just bust out the window with the bat, and get out.  How about hiking around?  You can use that bat to keep an animal at bay if need be.  The point is, you may also have to protect yourself without a signature, such as the sound of a gunshot.  The bat is a lot quieter in this regard.

It is also a weapon that gives you some defensive distance.  Muggers coming in, a pair of them armed with switchblades?  If they are after me, I’ll show them how to dance with that bat in a manner they never viewed on “Star Search.”  That bat gives you the distance to strike without exposing yourself to some goon who wishes to come in close.

In the following video, the demonstrators use a baton, but the same defense movements can be used with a bat.

5 Ways You Can Practice With the Bat For Self-Defense

Once again, if you don’t train with it, there’s no point in toting it with you.  Another thing: even if you’re trained, it won’t do you any good unless you act.  The finest equipment in the world won’t do you a bit of good if you can’t employ it.  You need to practice a few things.  Here are a few tips:

  1. Find the perfect length and weight for you: I prefer that 24-incher, because I can swing it with one hand or with both. I prefer both, as I can mete out more punishment with both.  Heft it and swing it.  Once again, it will take some getting used to.
  2. Old tires: Perfect to practice on with your strokes using an aluminum bat. You can hang the tire from a rope, or suspend it on a post.  Whatever way is best.  I recommend this because the tire can take a good beating.  Your heavy bag is for your hands and feet, not for the baseball bat.
  3. Your vital areas on an opponent (really everything, but your points of focus) are the lower legs, the arms, the neck, and of course, the head. Practice striking these areas.
  4. Learn to “butt stroke” with the bat: holding the pommel/handle as a “pivot” point, choke up from the “fat” end, and strike with this “fat” part…akin to the “butt stroke” of a rifle butt. Targets here include the groin, the neck (calling for a “side” stroke of sorts), and the face or the side of the head.  Keep this point clearly in mind: this will mean you will have to sacrifice your safe distance to get inside.  USE THIS ONE TO FINISH HIM OFF!  When you’re pretty sure you have him, this should be a finishing move.  Either that or a “coup de grace,” such as under the “family jewels” in a stroke designed to end the fight immediately.
  5. Use strokes to enable you to keep your distance and keep your attacker at bay. The bat works great on a pack of dogs or a pack of hoodlums.

Learn this Krav-Maga Technique to Defend Against a Bat Attack

Practice and training will be your keys on this.  You must know that bat as if it is a part of you to maximize your effectiveness.  I briefly mentioned the bat in an article on improvised weapons, and I return to a point I made there.  Throw a baseball glove and ball in the back seat with you when you’re in a very “legally unfriendly” state or area, such as New York City or in California.  This way you can cover if they give you a hard time.

Want practice?  You can also go to a batting cage.  Yes, that’s right!  Hitting baseballs is fun, and it helps you to develop good hand-eye coordination.  Do that for an hour or two and it’s also a good workout.  You need every advantage you can give yourself.  Fight that good fight, and try out that bat.  Remember, if you’re being mugged, it’s one strike and you’re out.  You want to get a “hit” your first time at bat, so practice up and turn a sporting good into a tool that you may be able to use to save your life.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Stay Inspired for Sustainability: How to Find Your Own #Sustainability Crew

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In the last eight articles of the Apartment Homesteader series, we’ve discovered dozens of ways to live sustainably in our apartments and condos as apartment homesteaders.

But what about when the road to sustainability gets rough?

When your hours get cut at work and you have trouble affording organic food….

When you’re running low on time and it would be easier to simply run to Wal-Mart for shampoo and deodorant than make your own with natural ingredients….

Read More: “Homemade Shampoo Disaster”

When you just want to throw your food scraps in the garbage instead of taking them out to your compost pile or reusing them….

When it’s raining and it would be so much easier to drive your own car to work than to wait for the bus….

When you’re living as sustainably as possible but see on the news that 200,000 gallons of oil leaked into the groundwater in South Dakota and wonder if anything you’re doing is actually making any difference at all….

You’ll have your moments of, “Is this all worth it?” We all have those moments on our journey to sustainable living.

That’s where your homesteading community comes in.

Your #Tribe, your #Gang, your #Group….

Your #SustainabilityCrew can help keep you inspired to live your most sustainable life. They can inspire you to go that extra step when you lack resolve. They can inspire you to implement new projects in your apartment homestead and keep going when the going gets rough.

And best of all, your #SustainabilityCrew can help you see that what you do to conserve, reuse, and live sustainably in your apartment or condo can actually make a real difference in the world.

Here are some ways to find your #SustainabilityCrew as an apartment homesteader.

Your Online Crew

Congrats! If you’re reading this, that means you’ve already found The Grow Network, an incredible community of like-minded individuals to add to your #SustainabilityCrew!

Have you joined the Honors Lab yet? The Grow Network Honors Lab is where you become an insider in The Grow Network world. Join a group of homestead enthusiasts from around the world and get new publications and blog updates in your inbox.

Also, participate in discussions on The Grow Network’s Facebook page! Thousands of people with homesteads of their own or homestead dreams flock to The Grow Network Facebook page every day to participate in discussions, find projects to implement, or learn from the experts. Be sure to like and follow the page to get updates and be part of the #SustainabilityCrew online.

You can also head over to HungryHomesteaders.com, my personal homesteading website. I ask the question, “What defines YOUR most sustainable life?” I blog about homesteading projects, toxin-free living, travel, food, essential oils, herbal medicine, and all the ways in which we seek to live our most sustainable lives. Also, like my Hungry Homesteaders Facebook page!

Go where the homesteaders hang out online to find your online #SustainabilityCrew.

Your Local Apartment-Dwelling Crew

After a little searching around to find your online crew, go local to find some fellow apartment dwellers who are interested in joining the #SustainabilityCrew movement as apartment homesteaders.

Check for local Meetup groups on homesteading and green living topics. You might be surprised to learn that there is already a local group of green-living lovers who can help inspire you to keep up with your apartment homesteading dreams!

Another place to find your local apartment crew is to attend block party events or other neighborhood events and talk to your neighbors about apartment homesteading. More of your neighbors than you realize might have their own countertop or patio gardens! Swap tips and ideas to live more sustainably in your apartments.

Connect with your neighbors by inviting them to attend area farmers’ markets and conservation events around town. Besides gaining a new #SustainabilityCrew member, reaching out to your neighbors may also give you some new pals!

Your Local Homestead Crew

Get inspired to save for your own homestead land or to expand your apartment homestead operation by finding local homesteaders to learn from.

Not sure where to find the homesteaders in your area? Start by shopping local farmers’ markets. Many area farmers will attend and sell their produce or products at the local markets. Some may even have visit days already scheduled when you and the apartment homesteading pals in your local crew can go visit the farm and check out their operations.

Read More: “Build a Community in 9 Easy Steps”

Another great way to find your local homesteaders is to join a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) group or produce-box delivery service and contact the farms where the produce comes from.

Local conservation groups may also host events where you can meet like-minded homesteaders to add to your #SustainabilityCrew.

Be Your Own Crew Leader

Having trouble filling out your #SustainabilityCrew with local apartment-dwellers or established homesteaders? Be your own #Crew leader!

Start your own Meetup group to find people in the area who are interested in conservation and sustainability projects. Meet at your local public library or in an area park. Find an area homesteader who would like to host a “get inspired” rally for sustainable living initiatives!

Host Apartment Homestead Planning sessions in your apartment or in a central location of your apartment complex for residents like you who want to live sustainably but need a little help moving in the right direction.

Host “make & takes” for personal care products or cleaning supplies and help your friends live toxin-free lives like yours.

Whatever direction you choose, be your own crew leader and inspire other apartment dwellers to live more sustainably. You did it; now spark the fire of change in the people around you. 

Your Expert Mentors

Finally, cap off your #SustainabilityCrew with a dose of expert advice.

Learn from the experts to live your most sustainable life in your apartment.

You’re already in the right place. Marjory and other experts with The Grow Network know their stuff and can help you learn to live even more sustainably!

Have you attended a Home Grown Food Summit yet? If not, sign up for the Honors Lab and make sure you’re on The Grow Network e-mail list to get alerts when registration opens for the next online Summit in 2018!

Your #SustainabilityCrew will help keep you motivated to live your MOST sustainable life in your apartment homestead. Join the Apartment Homesteader Facebook group—and invite your friends!—and together let’s inspire the urban world to live sustainably as apartment homesteaders and #SustainabilityCrew members!

 

Subscribe to TGN's bi-weekly newsletter

 

The post Stay Inspired for Sustainability: How to Find Your Own #Sustainability Crew appeared first on The Grow Network.

9 Most Overlooked (But Important) Survival Skills

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There are many different survival skills that could prove invaluable in a disaster scenario. Some of these skills–such as marksmanship or the ability to preserve food–receive a lot of attention, while others often fly under the radar. Nevertheless, these skills are each incredibly valuable in their own right, and some of them may prove just […]

The post 9 Most Overlooked (But Important) Survival Skills appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Surviving A Cold Night With Nothing But The Clothes On Our Backs

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We greedily drank water, our cupped hands gathering it up from the little spigot on the “water buffalo”—which was an old army water tank mounted on a trailer. It held the main supply of water for the entire camp.

“No water bottles, no ChapStick, no flashlights—nothing but the clothes on your back” had been the directions. So we were all wisely filling up and carrying water the old-fashioned way: in our guts.

It was just after dark and already cold. I zipped up my jacket the last few inches and wished there was a hoodie on it. The clear sky told me it would get much, much colder before it was all over. The full moon was going to be helpful. There was nothing around for miles except chaparral bushes. Well, OK, there were some saguaros or barrel cactus, scorpions, and kangaroo rats, too.

Most of the plant and animal life here had the attitude of stabbing you first and asking questions later. So the bright moonlight would at least help keep the kids from getting punctured.

(Twice a year my daughter and I attend primitive skills gatherings, where we join other adults and kids to learn, practice, and trade skills from the Paleolithic era.)

The real guide of this group was David Holladay. Like many of the others from camp, David had been picked up and featured in some crazy reality show (for David, it was The History Channel’s No Man’s Land). Cody Lundin of Dual Survivor, George Michaud of Mountain Men, and Jason Hawk of No Man’s Land are all regulars at these gatherings.

The thing about these guys is they are the genuine real deal.

Sonoran desert

So when word got around camp that we needed a leader to take the teens out for an adventure, David jumped in.

I would have been quite content to sleep in my comfy tent and double-thick sleeping bag, but when teens go out overnight, you need to have separate boys and girls camps.

And you really need a woman.

While all the other moms thought this was a fantastic project, uh, apparently I was the only one who was up for the whole enchilada.

“Thousands of people are doing what we are doing tonight,” David said, setting the tone for the evening as we circled together before leaving the main camp. “Thousands of people have been suddenly awakened out of bed, grabbed what they could carry on their backs, and are getting away into the night as fast as they can. Their homes behind them are being destroyed by civil war, by fire, by oppressive governments, by any number of things. Like us, they are going to walk for a ways and then they will try to find a place to sleep. Unlike us, they will not be able to return back to camp in the morning for breakfast.”

“You will be miserable tonight. It’s a cold night, and we are taking nothing with us into a harsh desert environment. You’ll experience tonight a small piece of what is a very hard reality for many people all over the world.  But you are really lucky; we are not that far from the main camp with your parents who love you. And we will be back after sunrise.”

We walked out into the desert. We played games in the moonlight, picking out buddies for a buddy system. We ran some foot races. We talked about what makes a good camping spot. We set up systems so everyone would stay safe.

David had brought the materials for a hand-drill fire and showed us as a group how to make a fire, even though none of us could do it alone.  We spoke in circle around the fire, sharing our deepest fears and hopes.

Teens can stay awake so long into the night!

Then we tried to sleep. In the girls’ camp, we readily snuggled up into a big puppy pile to keep warm, which helped. The boys roughed it out in their own ways around a huge bonfire, roasting on one side and freezing on the other.

The cold, hard ground sucked warmth out of everyone, and no one was really comfortable.

How much longer could these kids bear this? Most of them had only minimal experience camping.

The warm afternoon with its enthusiasm for adventure seemed so far away now.

But the thought of the homeless in other parts of the world kept haunting us and no one complained. And not a single kid left camp. They all hung in there.

“You have deep survival in your genes,” David told us. “All of your ancestors were survivors or you wouldn’t be here now. Humanity has faced plagues, famine, wars, floods, and every other form of disaster you can imagine. In your lineage are people who fled, or fought, or learned, or adapted. The people who didn’t make it, died. You are direct descendants of all those who survived. You have it in you even if you don’t know it.”

In the morning, way before dawn (well, this is one way to get teens to rise early!), we got up to watch the moon set. And then turned around to see a spectacular sunrise.

It was so beautiful. And empowering. Each of us knew we would never be afraid of walking out into a cold night if we had to. It really helps to be prepared.

We felt like champions.

And we were.

(This is an updated version of an article that was originally published in April 2014.) 

 

The post Surviving A Cold Night With Nothing But The Clothes On Our Backs appeared first on The Grow Network.

6 Critical Tips You Need to Know In Order To Survive Being Stranded in Your Car in Freezing Temperatures

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With the unusual winter weather that many parts of the country are experiencing, driving conditions will be harsh and potentially dangerous. Moreover, getting stranded in your vehicle could become a very real threat, especially if you are traveling in isolated parts of the country. If this happens, you have a potentially dangerous survival situation on your hands.

Most people’s instinct will tell them to leave the car and go for help. If you are in a desolate area, you may not know how far help is and leaving your car will expose you and could get you lost in the wilderness if you don’t know where you are going.

6 Critical Tips You Need to Know In Order To Survive Being Stranded in Your Car in Freezing Temperatures


OK, let’s put your survival know-how to the test. Here’s the scenario:

At 3 p.m., a last minute work order has requested you to deliver some equipment but you must drive through a remote area where the road’s elevation is between 4,000 and 4,500 feet. The road is infamous for people who don’t know the area to take in the wintertime and get stuck, but you’ve driven it a few times and feel confident you can make it before dark. Before you set out, you turn on your GPS on your cell phone just in case. You’ve also checked the weather station, which turns out is calling for unexpected snow flurries in the area, but you’re on a deadline and will drive very carefully. 

Not a lot of people are driving on the road and you wish you could be at home too. The snow has been coming down for most of the trip making the roads slick. An hour into driving, you unknowingly make a wrong turn and end up on a remote logging road. The snow is really coming down making it difficult to see and you are losing daylight fast.

You curse your GPS for not telling you where to turn but realize you’ve lost signal and have no idea where you are. You decide to turn the car around and go out the way you came. As you get to the edge of the road, you lose traction and slide into a snow bank. 

As you try to free the car from the snow bank, the car won’t budge. You feel yourself panicking as you weigh all the problems – you’ve taken a wrong turn and are on a remote logging road, no one is in sight, you’re stuck in a snow bank and it’s dark outside. 


How to Survive Being Stranded in Your Car in Winter

So, what would you do if you were in this situation? Do you have the skills to get out alive?

Let’s look at some considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Keep calm. In this type of situation, you could be stranded for hours or in some cases, days. Mental preparedness is key and you must think rationally and logically. This is easier said than done when you’re in a survival situation.
  2. Stay in your car. Above all, exposure will be your greatest threat. Survival experts stress that it is easier for authorities to find you in your car than find you wandering in unknown territory.
  3. Have a vehicle preparedness kit. This emergency kit should reflect the season your area is experiencing and the terrain you are driving through. In winter, you want to have preps on hand to keep the core body warm. Items like a whistle, brightly colored rag or ribbon, thermos, hand warmers, emergency blankets, emergency beacon, a first aid kit, and flashlight. For a more in-depth article on critical items to carry in your vehicle, click here.
  4. Have survival food and water in the car at all times. Keep the basics in mind for food and water. Snow can be melted for water (have a portable water filter in your preparedness car kit. Protein bars, MRE’s or easy survival foods can be utilized for this emergency situation.
  5. Make your car visible. Have a bright colored rag or ribbon and tie it onto your car so that search parties can find you. Even using a reflective sun shade could help alert authorities to your whereabouts.
  6. Run your vehicle every 10 minutes. If your gasoline amount allows, run your vehicle to stay warm. You can bring heat to the interior of the car and charge your cell phone at the same time. Note: Make sure the exhaust pipe of the car is unobstructed from snow. If snow is covering the pipe, this could cause exhaust fumes to enter your car and cause health issues.

To survive this type of emergency, you must fight your instinct to leave. Staying with the vehicle will provide you shelter, warmth and if you have emergency supplies, you could have all you need to survive. No doubt that these life-saving tips will help you keep calm, think rationally and, ultimately, survive.

The Prepper's Blueprint

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

What the Prepper Needs to Know About the Usefulness of Chainsaws

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As I’ve told you in previous articles, most of my woodcutting I do with a bowsaw and my ax.  They give me a great workout, as well as being economical on fuel.  Well, for the most part, as Mrs. JJ would tell you, I eat like a horse at the end of a day!  I keep a couple of chainsaws handy, though, because you never know when you might need one.  Not just for cutting wood, but in an emergency.

The situation I’m describing is nothing “covert” or where noise discipline is required post SHTF.  The times I’m referring to are such as when a tree falls on your house or vehicle, or you have a bunch of downed trees blocking the road that you can’t drive by.  A chainsaw can be a great tool that will save you time and maybe bail you out.

On a personal note, I’m using mine this season, because we had wildfires in Montana and for the better part of a month, everyone had to stay indoors most of the time and when we were outdoors we needed to wear masks.  Yes, that is one of the disadvantages to living in Montana during fire season.  The other disadvantage is that you’re not allowed to use a chainsaw when the fire danger is either high or extreme.

Buy the Best Equipment You Can Afford

Naturally, this placed a damper on my woodcutting, so I’ve been a little bit behind.  Time to break out the chainsaw.  Firstly, allow me to say that I don’t receive any money from any companies (chainsaw or otherwise) for my recommendations.  I believe that the two best types of saw are Stihl and Husqvarna, bar none.  In the case of chainsaws, the old adage “Cheap you buy, cheap you get,” although grammatically heinous is wisdom wrapped in brevity.

If you don’t have a saw, it would be good to pick one up.  Firstly, they won’t be affected by the EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) if they’re not any new-fangled electronic-start type.  If it’s a standard pull-cord model?  You’ll be good to go.  Remember to store enough fuel for them, and depending on the type of engine (mine is a Stihl 2-stroke), you’ll have to mix in oil with your gasoline.  Do this in a one-gallon gas tank especially reserved for your mix.

They have different types of oils that you can squeeze the bottom portion of the container and have a precise “dosage” of oil to just pour into the mixed-gas container.  Save that bottle:  You can then do a “cool” trick: drill a small hole in the top of the lower chamber of your squeeze bottle.  Pick up a kid’s squirt-gun for a buck or so.  Take off the little plug that closes the squirt-gun, and plug the hole with your oil “dosage-squeezer” bottle.  In this manner, you’ll be able to buy oil on the cheap and then pour it into your little squeezer to take the guesswork out of the estimate.

My personal rule is for each chainsaw, you should have at least 5 spare chains.  What this does is when you’re at the halfway point of 3 chains that need re-sharpening?  You can drop these off and still be able to work for a few more days before they come back.  Invest in a good rat-tail file, so that when the “S” hits the fan, you can sharpen your chains on your own by hand.  The main thing is to keep plenty of oil inside of the saw in the reservoir, and oil the chain by hand as well.  Every time you top off with fuel, you should oil the saw.

Take Care of Your Equipment: Cleaning is Key

Cleaning the saw is really important, too.  I have a friend of mine that never cleans his, and they last about two seasons.  Clean the inlet for air, clean around where your oil and fuel reservoir covers are, and wipe all the debris and filth off on the outside.  Wipe it all off when you’re changing a chain.  Another thing: anything that services that saw should be kept in a box that is just for the saws…nothing else.  Try fabricating one of those “T” tool wrenches to adjust chain tension.

Keep the saw in a case with a blade cover.  Remember, after you cut wood, you’ll have to allow the saw about 45 minutes to an hour to cool down.  You don’t want to burn yourself or melt your cover.  Keep your saw inside of the house.  Sound dumb?  It’s not.  Keep the changes in temperature and humidity from affecting the saw.  If you take good care of it, a saw can last you about ten years or more.  Another thing is servicing.  If you’re a good small engine mechanic, then you can do it on your own, but if not?  Then turn it over to one who specializes in chainsaws.  Tune it up, keep it clean, and don’t overwork it.

If you’re like me, then if you take a drive over twenty miles, you automatically throw it in the back of your vehicle…topped off and ready to roll.  Also: some types allow you the use of ethanol in your fuel.  Even if this is so, just burn the premium in it without any ethanol.  One of the by-products of ethanol is water, and you don’t need anything to foul up your saw.  For info on that, see some of these engine reviews that recommend using only gasoline in older vehicles to prevent just such.

The chainsaw is a valuable tool that enables you to cut a lot of wood in a fairly short amount of time.  Get one that is not too big to manage, and buy the best kind you can.  The dealer will help match you with one you can handle and that will suit your needs.

And as the old joke runs: If you’ve only cut down one tree with a whole day’s work?  You might want to remember to turn the engine on the next day!  Fight that good fight, and don’t let up for an instant!

 

JJ out!

The Prepper's Blueprint

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

E&E, SERE, & Covert Gear: Part 1

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E&E, SERE, & Covert Gear: Part 1

E&E, SERE, & Covert Gear: Part 1
Host: Dane… “The Gunmetal Armory” Audio player provided

When we talk about covert gear, covert weaponry, and covert action… the intent has to be the main focus. E&E and SERE are just easier to use to describe the entire scope of tactics that go into those categories… Though we won’t be able to cover every aspect of each one.

The various types of covert action depend on what type of action you are referring to, and what parts of History you look back into.

Continue reading E&E, SERE, & Covert Gear: Part 1 at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

9 Overlooked, Vital Skills For A Post-EMP World

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While having the right equipment and supplies is normally considered essential to survival, having the right skills trumps them both. You can make up for an equipment or supply shortage by having enough skills, but it’s much harder to do the reverse. Eventually, your supplies will run out. Then what will you do?

Typically, we break most of these skills down into two basic categories: wilderness survival skills and homesteading skills. The general idea behind homesteading skills is that if we aren’t trying to survive in the wilderness, then we need to convert our homes into homesteads in order to survive. There are a few other skills, such as medicine, which don’t fall into either of these categories, but most of the survival skills we all work to learn can really be put in one or the other.

But I’d like to propose a third category of skills — one that will be highly necessary if we are ever attacked by an EMP. Those skills are the ones which will be necessary so that we can rebuild society. Our ability to survive long-term, especially our ability to survive as the United States of America, will depend largely on our ability to rebuild our society and the technology that makes it possible.

Make no mistake about this: If we are unable to rebuild our society, there are others who will be glad to move in and take over. For millennia, countries that became weak were conquered and absorbed by those who were strong. Technology was a large part of this, as military technology had a lot to do with determining a country’s strength.

Get Free Backup Electricity — And Never Be Without Power!

In our weakened, post-EMP state, with millions of people dying off, the United States would be prime pickings for anyone who would want to attack. That is, unless we were able to rebuild our country, before the military ran out of beans, bullets and fuel to defend us.

So here are the skills which I see as the most important, in order to make the United States of America survive as a country, which will hopefully help us to survive as individuals as well.

1. Medicine

One of the first things we will be forced to confront as a society is the massive number of people who will die due to the lack of proper medical attention. A fair percentage of our society is dependent upon regular doses of medicines to treat chronic conditions. Without those medicines, these people will begin to die off, causing the first wave of people dying after the attack.

Alternative medicine will be especially important during this time; when local stocks of medicines run out, there will be little that can be done to replenish them. Doctors will find themselves scrambling to find the natural remedies that were used 100 years ago, before the pharmaceutical industry grew so large. Those with this knowledge will suddenly find themselves sought after and respected by the medical industry.

2. Chemistry

Without the ability to mass-manufacture medicines and transport them across country, the only medicines that will be produced will be simpler medicines that are produced locally. While much of this will probably be natural medicine, the ability to produce chloroform and other simple medicines will be invaluable.

3. Agriculture

Food production will have to be localized, ignoring the massive agricultural industry that we have today, as well as the massive food production industry. According to the report of the EMP Commission, the largest number of people who will die during the first year after the EMP will be of starvation. The only chance those people have is for local farmers to pick up the slack and produce food locally.

This does not just mean growing produce and grain, although that is an extremely important component. It also means animal husbandry, breeding and growing animals for meat.

4. Practical Engineering

We are, to a large part, a nation of things. Without electrical power, many of those things will no longer work, even though they will still exist. Engineering will be extremely important in a post-EMP world; not from the point of view of designing new things, as finding ways of making the old things work. This will most likely require extensive modifications.

While our country has thousands of engineers, few are good at this type of engineering. An engineer who is only used to designing integrated circuit chips isn’t going to have much to do in a post-EMP world. But one who is used to working hands-on, finding ways of doing things, will be in high demand.

When you consider that we will need to figure out how to draw our own wire and build out own generators on a local level, in order to have electricity back in our cities, you can see how important this will be. These same engineers will probably be working out modifications for farm equipment, to run off of steam or animal power and modifying vehicles, so that the engines will run off of alternate fuels and without computers.

5. Telephony

The oldest form of electronic communications we had was the telegraph. That was quickly replaced by telephones. If we are going to restore communications, these skills will be needed. But I’m not talking about the telephony of today, which is largely dependent on computers; rather, I’m talking about the telephony of yesteryear, with an operator connecting your call.

6. Electrical Power Production

Restoring society will require the ability to produce electrical power on a local level, more than anything else. This will mean building and rebuilding small power production plants, including hydroelectric plants and coal plants.

More than that, there will be the problem of rebuilding the distribution grid. Once again, that will have to start on a local level, which will then begin to be connected together, as transformers can be built and new power lines can be made.

7. Electronics

There will be warehouses full of electronic equipment that will survive the EMP, even if there isn’t much equipment in use that survives it. Some will be able to be used as is, but much will probably need to be modified, in order to use it for purposes other than its original intent. There will be a lot of local modification going on, requiring people who know how to read a schematic and solder a connection.

8. Blacksmithing & Machining

Manufacturing the equipment to draw wire and wind transformers on a local level will be a huge challenge. First, an engineer will have to design the equipment, then it will have to be built. Since we won’t have the factories available that we do today, that’s going to mean going back to the old methods, with blacksmiths forming things out of metal and machinists who can modify those metal parts.

Of course, this will all have to be done with manpower or animal power, as there won’t be any electricity to run motors. That means that the first job these people will have to do is modify modern equipment, so that it can be run off of animal power or water power.

9. Mechanics

I mentioned modifying cars to run off of alternate fuels and without computers to control the engines. While we will need engineers working on this, we will also need the practical knowledge of mechanics, who know the engines better than anyone. These mechanics may very well need the services of the blacksmiths and machinists, in order to modify parts to meet the need.

What would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Think Before You Speak: Daily Situational Training

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Survival and preparedness entail a lot more than just acquiring a whole bunch of supplies.  You need to be in good physical condition, have some training under your belt, and be ready to use all your training, education, and experience at a moment’s notice when the balloon goes up.  One of the things we take for granted, however, is that daily situations can be used to our advantage and test how we respond.  Let’s start with this:

  1. Situations arise that require tact, diplomacy, and the ability to keep a cool head, and
  2. It is more than just a “test,” as it can train you to better respond to people and situations that arise.
  3. The situation can also let you assess how you did, and give you the basis to make an improvement in the future.
  4. There is an art of camouflage daily to be used prior to the “S” hitting the fan.

Let’s get started!  I want to give you an illustration of something that happened to yours truly.

I have an “out of the way” place in one of the local towns that I frequent to write.  On this day (no different than any other), I set up my laptop and materials in a quiet area.  I went out to my vehicle to grab my coffee.  As I came back, the person who owned this facility motioned me to come over.

“I just wanted to talk to you.  We have tenants who just took an office in this facility.  They see you writing and they’re afraid of you.  They think you’re homeless, and they’re scared of you.”

Shocked, I said, “Did I do anything that upset any of these people?”

“No, not at all,” said the facility owner, “it’s just that they see you sitting close to the entrance and they feel nervous.  We know you here, and I’m not asking you to leave: just to sit in that area over there where most of the other people sit,” the person said, indicating a common area with tables and chairs.

I was pretty ticked off, but I smiled on the outside and took in a deep breath on the inside.

“So, you just want me to sit over there?  Sure.  Anything else I can do?”

“Well,” said the owner, “we all know here that you’re a writer, but these people don’t know that, so in a few days when you’re set up, I’ll bring some of the supervisors around to meet you…you know, and then they’ll know that everything is all right.”

I smiled, and said, “No problem.”  I mentioned a thing I had done a week before to help this owner, and the owner acknowledged it.  “I’ll always be part of the solution, not the problem.  I’ll be more than happy to allay their fears.”

The owner beamed, thanking me and assuring me that it was nothing that I had done and nothing personal or against me.  The owner then mentioned a few other tenants in the facility that had spoken up on my behalf (since they had known me for quite some time), and then the owner thanked me once more.

As yet, I haven’t met any of these people, but it is business as usual, with me not making a big deal out of it (even though some of the people who had spoken on my behalf were mortified at what the owner had said…all of that in front of them.

Here is this for you as well:

“If you have overcome your inclination and not been overcome by it, you have reason to rejoice.” – Titus Maccius Plautus, Roman playwright

My initial reaction was one of anger.  Once again, a prime example of the superficial nature of our society manifested itself.  Not only that, but I am clean-cut, dress neatly and conservatively, and am quieter than quiet in my public endeavors.  I am not ever a “stand-out” in a crowd.  There was no reason for anyone to feel any “angst” with my presence, as the only thing I do when I’m writing is drinking coffee and pound the keys.  Yet they did.  Chalk it up to another stultifying experience that leaves one feeling as if they are shell-shocked when they did absolutely nothing.  Chalk one up to the way the “herd” mentality is of humanity.

What I did that kept the anger under control was that I thought of the situation, and I thought of the other people in the area.  I did not want to make them look bad because I was not in control of my anger.  As it stands, by listening to the owner, keeping my mouth shut, and agreeing to do what it took to make the situation right…. these were the elements that saw me through.

Camouflage yourself in your everyday life: anything “different” can be perceived as a threat against the herd, and the herd is not a herd of cattle but a pack of wolves.

There are not many places to work undisturbed if you come into any town for the day to do some work here in Montana…they’re few and far in between.  What’s more: why make an enemy or a malcontent?  I could stand up and protest, use the “First Amendment” clause, and still lose the battle.  But a little bit of diplomacy, tact, and discretion enabled me to not go around the problem, but work through it.

What we do in situations determines the shape of things that happen to us in the future.  I wished to share this example not to present myself as the “apex” of control, but to show that control of oneself can be maintained with effort, and it’s good training.  It is far better to be disciplined in this regard than allow things to fall apart in between the ears.  I leave you with this last thing, and bid you “good luck” in situations you face that are as mine.  Make them training events, and you’ll benefit from the challenge.  JJ out!

“Say not always what you know, but always know what you say.” – Roman Emperor Claudius

 

 

Additional Reading:

8 Prepper Principles For a Prepared Mind

How Do People Really Behave When Disaster Strikes?

Never Drop Your Guard: 7 Tips To Improve Your Situational Awareness

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Homesteaders, Here’s How to Get the Skills You Need

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Homesteaders who grew up on a farm, or whose family lived in a rural area, are very likely to have many survival skills in their arsenal.

If that’s you, things like milking a cow; butchering a pig; fixing a tractor; repairing a chicken coop; sewing, mending, and washing clothes by hand; and many others could have been part of your education growing up. Parents and grandparents were likely your teachers, as they wanted help with these chores and an extra pair of hands comes in handy.

If you did not have this opportunity because you lived in urban or suburban areas or your parents were busy working outside of the home, you can still get the skills you need to homestead.

Homesteaders, Start Here

The first place to start is the Internet. Search for any skill in which you have an interest, and there is likely a video online of someone doing that. Even if this is not “hands-on” learning, it will still give you an idea about what you may be getting yourself into.

Some videos are better than others, so you may have to watch a few to find one that features a good teacher.

This will usually take you to that person’s website and other written resources that may be available on that skill.

Gaining Skills Through Hands-On Learning

While online tutorials can be a great way to learn the basics about a particular skill, there’s no doubt that the very best way to learn a new skill is “hands on.”

Connecting With Locals

When I started researching resources for our property, I found people in the area who were already doing some of the things I wanted to do: raising goats, raising ducks, and growing vegetables and fruit trees.

You can always ask someone questions about how to do what they are doing, so that’s exactly what my husband and I did. One woman gave us free goat-milking experience. A local fruit tree grower gave us useful hints on how to successfully raise fruit trees and bushes in our area.

Taking a Class

A more intensive way to connect with people who already have the skills you want to learn is to take a class in a specific skill.

Recently, my husband and I attended a weekend at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. He took a class in beginner wood turning and I took a beginner class in weaving on a loom.

We both had a great time and enjoyed working with the instructors in our respective classes.

Weaving New Skills

Our classes started on Friday evening, right after dinner, so that we could get as much done as possible over the weekend.

In my class, the instructor helped us to pick out the yarns we would use from an extensive collection they had in stock. Every color of the rainbow was represented in a few different fibers, and each person was allowed to choose a palette.

 

Homesteaders Weaving Loom 1 KT

 

I was amazed at the number of technical terms that are used in loom weaving and asked the teacher for a glossary, which she provided to all of us. We learned how to measure the threads and get them set up on the loom so that by the second afternoon we could all start weaving.

Preparing the loom is the most time-consuming part of weaving, and proper preparation makes all the difference in the final product.

Learning to Turn

For my husband, the first night included basic instruction on the tools and a demonstration of safe wood-turning technique. The teacher made sure that students had proper tools at the work stations before they made some practice pieces on the lathe.

By the end of the weekend, my husband had made a honey dipper from apple wood, plus a pen and a pizza cutter handle with different colors of wood.

Sunday, after breakfast, everyone was given an opportunity to show off what they had learned. It was incredible to see all the end results.

 

Homesteaders Weaving Scarf KT

 

The other classes for that weekend included beekeeping, making a kaleidoscope, basket weaving, iron forging, playing a native flute, three-dimensional paper folding, wood carving, felting, and journaling with watercolors. Amazingly, that is only a tiny sample of the various classes that they make available throughout the year.

Only the Beginning

When we returned home, my husband researched local classes with an eye toward improving his wood-turning skills. I also located a local weaving guild that I can join.

Taking the class was just a beginning. Lots of practice will still be needed to hone our skills, but now we know how to start and can add to our knowledge as we go.

The post Homesteaders, Here’s How to Get the Skills You Need appeared first on The Grow Network.

Make Homemade Potting Soil With 3 Simple Ingredients

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Today you’ll learn how to create homemade potting soil using only three simple ingredients. I’ll also give you alternate recipes for potting soil in case you don’t have those three readily available.

My Homemade Potting Soil Recipe

If you’d like to see me make my homemade potting soil, here’s a video I created illustrating the process:

First, you’ll need a place to work.

I like to spread a tarp on the grass and use that as my mixing area, but you can work on any solid surface. A tarp is easy to roll back and forth to help you mix, but making potting soil isn’t rocket science and you can really do it anywhere.

Second, gather your materials. My potting soil recipe has three main ingredients:

1. Rotten Wood

Fresh wood chips will eat up a lot of the nitrogen in your potting soil mix and can cause your plants to struggle. Rotten wood doesn’t cause that issue, plus it holds moisture and provides a loose and airy texture to the mix.

homemade potting soil recipe ingredient rotten wood

As you know if you’ve read my popular book Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting, I don’t throw away or burn the logs and sticks that fall in my yard. Instead, I use them to feed the soil.

Leaving a pile of brush and logs in a corner of your property to rot over time will give you a ready source of rotten wood.

If you haven’t started doing that yet, just go for a walk in the woods and get a nice sack of fluffy, crumbly wood and drag it home.

2. Aged Cow Manure

I gather manure from my neighbor’s cows and leave it on a piece of metal in the sun to age and dry for a few months.

Homemade potting soil recipe aged manure

Fresh cow manure is too “hot.”

If my home-baked manure sounds too weird, just pile it up in a compost heap somewhere and let it go for a few months. That will leave you with a nutritious, organic-matter-rich pile of good stuff for your homemade potting soil.

NOTE: Manure in the United States is often contaminated with long-term herbicides that will destroy your garden and your potted plants. Read Karen’s story and learn more about that danger here.

3. Sifted Soil/Grit

I let my chickens do a lot of composting for me, like this:

I go into the coop or chicken run, sift out the grit, soil and compost, then use it in my homemade potting soil.

Homemade potting soil recipe sifted chicken run soil

You don’t need to do that, though. No chickens? No problem.

I sift grit from the local creek bed and add that sometimes. I’ve also just added good garden soil, old potting soil mix from expired plants and even regular old sand.

Mix It All Up

Now all you need to do is get mixing.

Smash the rotten wood into smaller chunks, break up the cow patties, and pour in the grit. I use one part rotten wood, one part aged manure and one part grit/soil in my potting soil recipe, but don’t overthink it. If it looks loose and feels good, the plants will be happy.

As you’ll notice in my video, I often leave pretty big chunks of wood in my homemade potting soil. The potted plants seem to like them and they act as moisture reservoirs and soil looseners.

If you need a finer homemade potting soil for starting seeds, just crush the mix finer or run a coarser mix through some hardware cloth to sift it.

Alternate Ingredients for Homemade Potting Soil

If you don’t have cow manure, try goat or rabbit manure. Both work quite well. Homemade compost is also excellent, though I never seem to have enough for everything I want to do. It’s often full of seeds, so watch out for that unless you want pumpkins growing out of your potted begonias.

Don’t have grit/sand available? Vermiculite or perlite both work nicely, though you have to buy them.

Rotten wood can be replaced with peat moss or coconut coir. I prefer the coir. It seems to repel water less. You can also use leaf mould. Sift it out in the local forest – it’s wonderful. As a bonus, it contains beneficial bacteria and fungi.

Along with these ingredients, I’ve also added some ashes, crushed charcoal, coffee grounds, old potting soil, peanut shells and even moldy cocoa nibs.

When I ran my nursery business I often stretched my potting soil budget by mixing purchased soil with rotten wood chips I got from a local tree company and set aside for years to break down.

Just keep your homemade potting soil loose and fluffy with a good mix of ingredients and your plants will do great.

 

TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter

The post Make Homemade Potting Soil With 3 Simple Ingredients appeared first on The Grow Network.

These Prepper Essentials Are What You Need to Continue Training After the SHTF

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Here’s the bottom line – never stop the training.  Even after the world comes to a screeching halt, do not stop.  That may sound inane but there are several reasons behind it and several purposes in front of it.  There needs (as in all things) some structure to provide an organizational framework, so first let us define training after the “S” hits the fan.

You’ll have more time, and you’ll have less time.  You will not be held by specific time constraints, such as the 9-5 “rat-race” from Monday to Friday; however, you will still need to budget your time.  Necessities such as food (obtaining it, growing it, storing/preserving it), water, protection from the elements (wood for heat, for example), and protection from disaster-related factors (ex: radiation from a nuclear exchange, or tektites from an asteroid/comet impact) will occupy a great deal of time.

For a step-by-step guide to planning for short and long-term emergencies, click here.

You will need to train and study more than ever.

  1. First-Line Materials: These would be your books and physical archives set in paper and in notebooks.  All your printouts and information…you will be relying on these for all subjects from farming to defensive tactics. Here are some basics for creating a preparedness binder.
  2. Videos (Instructional): These DVD’s and films will be invaluable for refresher training, as well as introducing the youth to things they might have to have a “crash course” in a video to learn. The portable battery-powered DVD player is a must…ensure it works, has extra batteries and a charging system, and stick it in a Faraday cage until it is needed.
  3. SME (the Subject-Matter Expert): individuals who are experts in a field who are willing to teach the basics to students, whether adult or youth. Becoming a member of local groups in your area and even attending local classes before a SHTF event will help you find these invaluable people to learn from.
  4. Downloaded Material and a Computer in a Faraday Cage: scan everything you can possibly cover, and store the information on jump drives, external hard drives or pick up a computer with enough hard drive and wherewithal to handle it and the “strain” of periodically being used.

There are many categories to train upon, and the training isn’t ever complete: you’ll always need a refresher.  Physical training is paramount.  This includes exercise, such as weightlifting and calisthenics, as well as combat training and instruction with weapons and their employ.  Understand: when I was in the Army, we conducted PT (physical training) in the field.  You need it.

Exercise reduces the triglycerides in the bloodstream, and it also is responsible for a good portion of osteogenesis.  This last term is a formation of healthy bone tissue.  I’m not going to cover the subject entirely: the physical training stimulates the formation of new bone tissue and the “recirculation” of “recycled” material at the end of the cycle of ossification.  Exercise prevents the muscles from atrophying, and it is an excellent way to relieve stress.

Hand-in-hand is recovery, and this is a critical component of physical training that is mostly overlooked.  The importance of it cannot be understated and it must be instructed as part of a course.  After it hits, should our society (whoever has survived the initial destruction and shocks) revert and return to what made our society weak and ineffective, or should we chart a new course?

Many will take a “devil may care” attitude, and this is not what is needed to survive.  Freedom from the constraints imposed by a superficial “phony” society based on the material and superficial instead of value and substance may have been granted…but self-awareness and self-discipline must be followed at the individual and group level.  Many are the communities that emerge from a tyranny to merely replace it with another, or leave a failed society to continue it elsewhere and fail subsequently.

Training needs to incorporate history, science, and self-sustaining arts (farming, metallurgy, construction), as well as training to address the immediate and pressing issues faced by the family and/or community.  Why would anyone halt what they’ve already begun?  A training program doesn’t need (and shouldn’t!) come to a halt because the wheels of society do so.  The training serves a purpose:

Ongoing training in critical subjects sustains individuals and groups for continuity and it enables people to thrive.

That last word: thrive – is an important word, indeed.  It means more than just survival.  It means going beyond the bare needs of the physical and continuing in the quality of life…to build a future.  Many civilizations have built upon the ruins of an older society.  Look at the fall of the Roman Empire for a prime example…and the Dark Ages that ensued.  Eventually, our adaptive species began to adapt and “rewire” itself into formats that enabled progress and continuity.

Your challenge as part of a family or a group is to determine the critical areas and train in them without ceasing.  Train each available moment, taking the failures and experiences of the past to formulate something new that may work for the future.  Stay in that good fight.  How you train in peace is how you fight in war.  Do not stop the training, and keep with it fervently even after the SHTF.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Operational Essential Task Lists for When the “S” Hits the Fan

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ReadyNutrition Readers, this is “Part 2” of our METL series.  To refresh, METL is a military acronym that translates into “Mission Essential Task List.”  Part 1 covered a METL for training and how to prepare yourself and your family in terms of what to study and practice.  This second part gives the tasks you will all need to be proficient in when the “S” hits the fan and everything comes unglued.

Try and understand that this list can be changed and modified to fit the needs of a family and their idiosyncrasies.  Each family is different and unique in terms of physical conditioning, skill-sets, geographic location, and family demographics, there will be different challenges facing each family even in the same disaster.

These are tasks that all the family members…the ones able physically, mentally, and chronologically…should be proficient in.  Let’s do it!

  1. First Aid: Everyone in the family should learn about bandaging and splinting (termed “sticks and rags” in the Army). How to dress a wound, run a simple set of sutures, clear and maintain an airway, perform CPR, treat for heat and cold weather injuries.  About a year ago, we did a series on Field First Aid that you may wish to refer to for a refresher on these tasks.  Also: if you have any family members who have special medical needs…all the rest of your family needs to know how to take care of them…from injections to the administration of oxygen.
  2. Essential Outdoor Survival Skills: Building a Fire, Disinfecting/Treating Water, Construct a Lean-to or Erecting a Tent, Cleaning and Cooking Wild game, fowl, or fish. These are some of the tasks.  Depending on your geographic locale and the season of the year, there may be a substantial number of tasks added that require proficiency.
  3. NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical): training for each member of the family of how to properly seat and use a protective (gas) mask, how to decontaminate skin, clothing, and vehicles, how to read a dosimeter, how to construct and use a Kearney Fallout meter, how to use and read a Radiological Survey Meter (aka: Geiger Counter), how to find and take shelter from fallout, how to protect your equipment from an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse).
  4. Defensive Measures: Complete proficiency with firearms (field stripping, cleaning, zeroing, and marksmanship), how to patrol your property (we just covered that in a recent article), how to perform guard duty, radio watch, and gather local intelligence. How to work as a team with your family members in a defensive perimeter, with clearing a room or building, and how to make an orderly retreat/withdrawal while covering one another.  Emphasis needs to be placed on communications (both radio and visual, such as hand and arm signals).
  5. Map Reading and Land Navigation: Everyone who is able needs to learn to use a compass and read a map. Short and long land navigation exercises (on foot and vehicular) need to be trained.  Day and night land navigation need to be studied and practiced.  The field expedient methods of direction need to be known to all family members, such as finding north with the sun and the shadow-tip method and using the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia at night to find the North Star.  We have covered this information in previous articles at ReadyNutrition.  Everyone needs to know their pace count with and without gear.
  6. Physical Training: The family needs to be physically fit and healthy. Emphasis needs to be placed on calisthenics and/or weightlifting.  A family that is fit is a family that can fight.  Martial skills such as boxing or the oriental fighting arts need to be pursued.  Proper diet, nutrition, and study of both subjects need to be undertaken regularly.
  7. Specialty Skills: include (but aren’t limited to) how to hotwire a vehicle, how to drive a semi/motorcycle/snowmobile/pilot a boat, how to move cross-country in the snow with snowshoes/skis/sleds/toboggans, etc. The specialty skill can pertain to a peculiarity of your geographical region, or it can be a common task you all agree that it would behoove you to learn.

These are your tasks for starters.  These are tasks that everyone needs to know how to do when everything comes apart…to be able to operate as a family and as individuals working for the good of your family.  It is up to you to examine these tasks and build on them as you see fit.  Once they are identified, you can incorporate these tasks that need to be worked on into your Training METL given in the last article.  Keep fighting that good fight, and stay organized with a METL for yourself and your family!  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Thanksgiving off grid workshop making candles!

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Thanksgiving off grid workshop making candles!

Thanksgiving off grid workshop making candles!

Living off grid for most means solar power for light to see when darkness falls and solar means sun. But when living in norther or southern latitudes the sun does not visit long and is often obscured by snow, rain, or a few clouds. We can not rely totally on solar and so we become creative to stay out of the dark. On this Thanksgiving day we went to the office/workshop to make candles.

Continue reading Thanksgiving off grid workshop making candles! at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Essential Skills, Tasks, and Training for Preppers and Survivalists: Part 1

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For this article, we’re going to go into “basic focus” mode: you start out with the basics and build upon them.  This is the type of mindset and foundation that work for everything in life (basically).  You use it as a format in everything you do, such as building a home or when you begin an exercise program.  In this vein, we’re going to create a Training METL: A Mission-Essential Task List for your Training as a basis for well-rounding yourself.  This is Part 1 of a 2-part series.

What is your focus?  What type of work do you do?  How do you allocate your time?  A short time ago, I wrote a piece on the importance of self-analysis: creating a true picture of yourself, your strengths, and areas that you need to improve in.  This holds true here, as you identify and prioritize your goals, with an overall objective in mind.  Here is an overall objective for you:

To survive and thrive as you and your family develop physically, mentally, and spiritually to well-round yourselves and prepare for any disaster that arises.

Simple enough.  The Mission-Essential Task List for Training can become a big part in actually realizing that objective and maintaining it.  This METL (called “Metal” in the Army) for your use will use broad categories to train and prepare that you can refine as your needs change and your skills improve.  Let’s start it off!

  1. Physical Training: It all starts here, with whatever you do to be able to “hang with the big dogs!”  Whether you’re a Triathlete, a weightlifter, a boxer, or a swimmer, you need to take your personal forte and tailor it to the maximum productive capacity.  Outline your training schedule, plan short and long-term goals for improvement, and take copious notes!  If you’re a swimmer, do you want to swim the English Channel?  If you’re a marathon runner, do you want to set a personal record for yourself?  Want to “up your max” on the bench press by 50 lbs.?  Part of your training is to identify your goals, and work up to them.  Tie in what you can do with the tasks you will need to accomplish as a survivor.  This also has to do with your overall body fat content (what is your goal?) and your measurements of weight, and tape.  Physical training is not an accessory: it is a priority!
  2. Martial/Fighting Arts Training: this is in the form of self-defense, such as Karate or the Martial Arts, or Boxing.  This also takes the form of skill with weapons and firearms.  We’re talking about combat with knives, with a staff, with PR-24’s or batons.  We’re mentioning rifle and pistol marksmanship and proficiency with every aspect of them…field stripping and cleaning, small repairs, maintenance, zeroing those weapons and scopes…the whole picture.  Your gym should also have a heavy bag (as mentioned in past articles).  You should have a definitive training plan with goals to meet.  An example could be to go a whole 3-round “bout” against your heavy bag, with 3-minute rounds and 30 seconds of rest in between.  An example with firearms could be to pick up any weapon…disassemble it blindfolded, identify the component parts and parts groups, reassemble it, perform functions check, and then drop the blindfold and put three rounds in the bull at 25 meters (75 feet) with iron sights at a one-inch shot group.  Sound tough?  High goals will yield high performance.  You can do it.
  3. New Skills: Work on one per 2 weeks or one per month.  Whatever you can handle.  Electricity, mechanics, home canning, medicine.  Take your pick.  Give yourself courses of instruction both on your own and with someone if possible.  You can never study enough, and as mentioned earlier, a good training calendar will really help you iron out the rough spots.
  4. Cross-Training the Family: Many people concentrate so much on individual tasks and studies that they neglect the group.  The training for a group and preparation can be just as important to you as an individual.  If you are the leader of your group and/or family, it will make your job that much easier if you know that your family members know what to do in an emergency and can help you.
  5. Book Learnin’!  Yes indeed, Study:  You need to well-round yourself and also to concentrate on the specifics of your specialties.  Know those ballistic tables for your reloading of your firearms…and know them cold.  Attention to detail.  Get the rest of the family involved.  Study to show yourself approved, a workman worthy of his craft.  Your goal is to survive.  You need to study and become a professional in all of these areas.
  6. Tying in the tasks and Practicum: Yes, outlining all of the functions of the family’s training and preparation…and then you need to come up with a realistic and safe training exercise for yourself.  Regularly.  This doesn’t necessarily mean under “ideal” or “Holly Hobby” conditions…but when it’s raining outside, and 40 degrees, and getting dark.  The more realistic you make your training, the more effective you’ll be when the time comes to do it for “real.”
  7. Meditation and Faith: whatever it is that you follow after, make it a core of your activities.  Learn to develop inner peace and strength by rooting yourself in whatever you follow after.  Be the best that you can be, and face life without fear in your heart and the courage to face it head-on.

These are general categories for you to follow: essential skills, essential tasks, and essential training.  You can refine them with time and practice.  Weigh your priorities, and honestly assess yourself and your abilities.  You will see improvement in areas only if you take action in those areas.  Part 2 will cover the actual “tasks” that you need to focus on (METL) when the “S” hits the fan.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

4 Military Skills Every Prepper Should Master

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4 Military Skills Every Prepper Should Master

U.S. military personnel operate all over the world, often in extremely challenging conditions. In order to accomplish difficult missions, they have amassed a wealth of critical skills. Many of these skills are applicable to preppers, homesteaders and survivalists. If you want to survive, or even thrive in periods of uncertainty, here are four military skills you need to master today.

1. Land Navigation

At one time, using a map, protractor, and compass to navigate were basic and essential military tasks. However, even the military relies heavily on GPS to navigate these days, just like you probably do. But what happens if you cannot power your handheld devices, or the GPS satellites overhead are dismantled? That’s when basic navigation skills become critical.

Every prepper should be able to determine their location on a map, and navigate using a map and compass. These skills will help you move from one place to another as expediently as possible, saving time and energy. They will also help you do other tasks as well, such as place a garden to achieve optimal sun exposure. So study the basic principles of land navigation, and start practicing as soon as you can.

2. Starting Fires

Whether you’re isolated and exposed to the elements, or in a situation where electrical power and fuel are unavailable, you’ll likely need to build a fire sooner or later. Fire can sterilize your water or medical equipment, cook your food, and keep you alive when temperatures plummet. It can even help you signal to others for help or as a warning.

Good preppers should be able to start a fire and boil a cup of water in 15 minutes or less. You should also maintain a fire kit on hand at all times. When traveling, keep your fire kit on your body; it should be one of the last pieces of gear you discard in an emergency, like when you’re evading people who want to hurt you. Practice building fires with your fire kit, until you’re proficient. Also, study different types of survival fires, so you can have a heat source regardless of the situation you’re in.

3. Apply a Tourniquet

For today’s military, blood loss due to traumatic injury is a major cause of combat fatalities. Most military units preparing to go to a war zone focus a great deal of time on how to stop the bleeding as rapidly as possible. For traumatic injuries where a simple bandage dressing won’t work, one of the best ways to do so is with a tourniquet.

A tourniquet normally consists of a wrapped bandage strip and a device, such as a piece of wood, that can compress a wrapped bandage to the point that it stops all arterial bleeding on a wounded extremity. Applying a tourniquet properly on a wound can often mean the difference between life and death for an injured person. Preppers should learn how to apply tourniquets effectively. They should also keep ready-made tourniquets on hand in their homes, survival kits and vehicles at all times.

4. Find and Purify Water

You also won’t fare very well in a survival situation if you drink contaminated water. Learning how to find and safely purify water is a military skill that every prepper needs to master if they want to be ready.

Preppers should learn how to find water in any type of environment. In some cases, that may require them to build solar stills, and trap water condensation. At other times, knowing where to dig on a dry riverbed may be critical to getting access to a water source. All preppers should know how to purify water, as well, especially if they are unsure of the water’s quality. Survivalists and preppers should keep water purification gear on hand at all times as well.

Parting Thoughts

Don’t wait until you’re in dire straits before you practice these skills. Find someone who can teach you the right way to become proficient. Then practice these skills often – until they’re perfected.

What military skills would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:

 

Back To Basics – Basic Preparedness!

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Back To Basics – Basic Preparedness. Forrest Garvin “The Prepping Academy” Audio player below! On this episode of the “The Prepping Academy” Forrest and Tenderfoot are going to be discussing getting back to preparedness basics. What are you getting prepared for? What skills do you need? What do you need to purchase? Listen to this … Continue reading Back To Basics – Basic Preparedness!

The post Back To Basics – Basic Preparedness! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

The Best Ways To Remove Rust From Your Firearms

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Few things in life are more infuriating than realizing that a firearm you spent a fortune on is beginning to rust. What makes it so painful, is that you know it’s probably your fault. You can spend many hours over the course of many years keeping your firearms in immaculate condition. You can thoroughly clean them after every use. But if you slip up once after a hunting trip or a long day at the range, there’s a good chance that you’ll see some rust emerge the next time you use your firearm.

But fortunately, not all is lost. Don’t start pulling your hair out if you see a little surface rust on your firearm because as this video shows, it’s pretty easy to clean up.

And if you’re really worried about scratching up your gun while cleaning out rust, it turns out that an old copper penny can work wonders on an aging firearm.

But obviously, it’s best to keep rust from showing up in the first place. If you’re a new firearm owner, here are the basics that you need to know.

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

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

The Warrior Mentality: Controlled and Purposed Action in a Post Collapse Combat Situation

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This article is not for the faint of heart, but there is an important point to it that needs to be the central focus.  The focus is simple: We are a nation founded by citizen-soldiers who did not win freedom or liberty playing Yahtzee.  They won it by fighting.  When the time comes, the citizens of this country will need to fight again.  If you don’t believe that, then you don’t believe that there is nothing new under the sun…and you don’t believe that what happened before will happen again.

I have written many articles on a wide variety of subjects from woodcutting to weightlifting, from herbal remedies to first aid.  Many times, I wished to go into greater detail regarding subjects of a military nature or pertinent to combat, but I am limited by the amount I can write: books can be written on the subjects, and we’re trying to introduce readers to concepts.  These will get you started…if you do something with them after reading them.

It is what you do with these concepts and articles that will determine how successful they will be in your employ. 

That being said, there will be a time to fight.  I want to emphasize a concept known in the Army as “Violence of Action.”  This covers precise, measured action…not a berserk, uncontrolled frenzy…but a purposed delivering of the most hurtful response you can muster in a home defense.

Your culture…our culture…is based on authoritarian rules of conformity that (at times) instigate complacency during an emergency.  “Wait on the authorities,” or “call the police,” or that ambiguous “someone will take care of it.”  No.  That “someone,” when the SHTF, will be you.  Successful actions depend on a good follow-through.

All of the articles I have written on physical conditioning, weight training and basics on combat both with a weapon and unarmed…. all of these are your “basics” to build off.  I have suggested different works to read to learn about the warrior mentality and ethos.  Why?  Why all of this preparation and development of the warrior mentality?

Because it is the warrior mentality that you will need to make it through, and protect you and yours.

Let’s cover a few concepts that can further your preparations…thoughts to consider.

  1. You are going to be faced with a deliberate decision: to act or not to act when it hits the fan. This may take several forms: escape from a large city or suburb and fleeing to somewhere out of a target zone…with dangers along the way.
  2. In a SHTF situation, the resultant frenzy that begins 24-48 hours later (or even sooner) may force you to fight…and “Marquis of Queensbury Rules” will not be honored by those storming your house and front lawn.
  3. Fight or Flight: you must weigh the threats and see which are viable…that you will have to confront immediately, or that it is best to withdraw from. Discretion is the better part of valor.
  4. Are you “finger-drilling it,” or is it for real? Are you ready…really prepared physically, mentally, and yes, spiritually…to act?  On behalf of you and your family?  There: it’s the next door neighbor trying to jimmy your back door open with a crowbar, and his two sons with rifles behind him.  Are you ready for them?  Or are you going to “offer some of them your canned jellies, preserves, and fruity treats” from your larder?

“Finger Drilling” is a term we had in the Special Forces Medical Course.  One of the instructors was a skinny black guy who had served in Vietnam named Mr. R.V. Johnson.  He was a stickler for taking real pulses and really assessing the patient in a primary survey…not just playing the scenario with taking a “fake” pulse or seeing clear breathing when the patient was told to simulate sonorous breath sounds.  “Finger Drilling” was just going through the motions.

Are you going through the motions, or are you really preparing for what you’ll have to do…fight to protect your home and family?

  1. Take action on your training program…of marksmanship, of hand-to-hand combat, of physical conditioning. Take the action now.  Train with the heavy bag, train with family members.  Resolve yourself to carry out the defense of your family…in a controlled, purposed manner…with the violence of action and follow-through.  No finger drilling.  Resolve yourself to prepare.

Resolve yourself to fight, and when you do?  Resolve yourself to win.  Mentally preparing yourself to face the challenge is just as big a part of it as the actual engagement is.  Review all of your materials, find a good instructor or training partner and get to work.  We’re getting “long in the tooth,” and winter is getting ready to arrive in a short time.  Utilize every task of physical labor to prepare you physically and mentally.  We have a fight coming in the United States.  It won’t be in a foreign land on CNN.  It will be in our backyards and at our front doors.  Now is the time to prepare…so that you can fight that good fight well…and win.

“Winning isn’t everything…it’s the only thing.” – Vince Lombardi

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

No skills when SHTF? What’s your worth?

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No skills when SHTF? What’s your worth? Forrest Garvin “The Prepping Academy” Audio player below! On this episode of the “The Prepping Academy” Forrest and Tenderfoot are  discussing if you have or have not the skills during a SHTF scenario. Are you  worthless to others? This will be hard for some to take but it’s … Continue reading No skills when SHTF? What’s your worth?

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Patrol Skills: Using Tactical Hand Signals to Communicate in Silence

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Law enforcement, corrections, probation, and military Special Operations teams worldwide use hand signals to communicate in the field to lessen their risk and to avoid compromising their position. Good security requires efficient forms of communication and when audible communication like speech and radio comms cannot be used, hand signals are a good alternative.

So, why signals?

  1. Helps teams communicate over near and far distances when they have to observe noise discipline.
  2. Helps small or large teams travel over terrain or through structures in a more organized manner.
  3. Helps to keep track of team members.
  4. Helps teams to move stealthily when noise discipline must be maintained.
  5. Helps teams move as a group even when noise discipline is no longer an issue, such as moving units over the sound of battle or when machinery noise is deafening.

As with any communication form, there are pros and cons. While natural elements like weather and terrain restrict your ability to effectively use this form of communication, the best time to use hand signals is if your group is nearby and in need of masking their presence from an enemy.  Keep in mind that hand signals can be misunderstood because you or group members may be at a distance or maybe in a confusing situation with lots of noise, therefore use clear, concise and exaggerated movements to help people understand what the next move is. Moreover, when you are making these signals, face your body directly at the person you are giving signals to so they can see them clearly. When you receive the signals always acknowledge with either “Yes” “No,” or “I don’t understand”

Learning hand signals is simpler than one would think, and at times, common sense. Keep in mind that hand signals can be misunderstood because you or group members may be at a distance or maybe in a confusing situation with lots of noise, therefore use clear, concise and exaggerated movements to help people understand what the next move is. Moreover, when you are making these signals, face your body directly at the person you are giving signals to so they can see them clearly. When you receive the signals always acknowledge with either “Yes” “No,” or “I don’t understand”

Some of the most common signals you will use in the field are:

    • Yes
    • No
    • I understand
    • Stop
    • Freeze
    • Get down
    • Stand up and move out
    • Enemy
    • I see the enemy
    • I hear the enemy
    • Cover me
    • Move to another observation point

*Click on image for larger version. Then click on full-size option

What you will find in the following videos are the basic tactical hand signals used by law enforcement and military personnel.  For more information, this Army Field Guide provides a more in-depth look at visual signals.

Tactical Hand Signals, Part 1

Tactical Hand Signals, Part 2

Practice Makes Perfect

As with everything, the more you practice this essential skill, the better and more effective you will be at communicating in silence. To move effectively, a group should consistently practice tactical hand signals. In fact, the more you use hand signals with a group, chances are you will come up with your own signaling moves.

Printing out the hand signals and keeping it stashed in your pack is another way to review the signals and correctly use them.

The Prepper's Blueprint

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Let’s Go To The Fair! The Mother Earth News Fair

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Let’s go to the fair!

Remember the excitement of going to the State Fair? This is no different! At the Mother Earth News Fair, you’ll find amazing workshops and lectures to help you on your path to independence and self-reliance.  

So many things to do and see

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build a root cellar, create a green dream homestead, or see what new products are on the market, this is the fair for you. 

There is a whole selection of vendors and a bunch of hands-on workshops. There were too many great booths and exhibitions to list. The place was buzzing with alternative energy vehicles, traditional folk arts and crafts, heritage and landrace livestock, homestead-scale saw mills, and so much more.

Would you like to test drive a tractor? I think I could do some damage with the front-end loader.

Sawmill? If you want to fell trees from you land, the sawmill area is the place for you!

Livestock area

In the livestock area, you’ll find heritage breeds, like Rosie and her calf. They are Dexter cows, which are miniature cattle. I love this breed!

Inside there were hundreds of vendors with all kinds of things to see and do. It’s a great place to do a lot of shopping!

Expert Speakers

The speaker lineup is awesome, and I’m sure everyone who attended will agree that there wasn’t enough time to take in all of the information that was flying around. There were great talks on sustainability, herbal medicine, vegetable gardening, raising and processing livestock, alternative energy… you name it.

Joel Salatin was there talking about chickens, pigs, and cattle and how to create the deepest and best soil by choreographing the movement of ancient herds.

You even get to talk with these experts!

There is so much going on at these amazing events. I really encourage you to visit one.

These fairs are all over the U.S., so there should be one near you. If not, it is well worth the drive.

See you at a Mother Earth News Fair.

Did you see this Homesteading Basics? Keep your special plants close!

Have you been to a Mother Earth News Fair? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

 

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Small-Space Vermiculture, Step-by-Step

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According to the EPA, 20 to 30 percent of what is thrown away should be composted. If you’re the type of person who hates to throw out kitchen scraps, but don’t have room for a compost pile in your small apartment, small-space vermiculture is for you!

What is vermiculture?

Vermiculture, or Vermicomposting is the breakdown of organic material by vermis, which is the Latin word for “Worms.” The worms take that waste and turn it into nutrient-rich “castings” or worm poo that helps build the soil. It is the most efficient way to compost most of your household waste.

Steps to your Vermicomposting happiness

Let’s bypass the trash collector and have your worms “eat” your garbage!

Make your worm bin

Start out with a cheap bin to get started. A $10 system works just as well. A 5-gallon bucket, large kitty litter bucket, or 16 in. X 24 in. X 8 in. (or 10-gallon) plastic bin will work just fine.

Next prepare the bedding

Shred about 50 sheets of newspaper into 1/2 in. to 1 in. strips. Avoid color print. It is toxic to worms.

Place the shredded newspaper into the bin. Add water to the newspaper until the bedding feels moist like a damp sponge. Add more dry strips if it gets too wet.

Sprinkle two to four cups of potting soil or soil from your yard into the bin. This introduces the beneficial microorganisms.

Get Your worms

Red Wigglers, or Eisenia fetida, are the worms you want for your worm bin. You don’t want Earthworms because they are large soil movers, and don’t do well in worm bins.

Get worms from a local source (if possible), because they are acclimatized to conditions in your area. Ask around, look on Craigslist, aquaponics or hydroponic stores, or ask other vermicomposters in your area.

How many worms do you need?

Say you bought a pound of worms. A pound of worms will eat half to their full eight every day. They are the best recyclers in the world! Think about how much waste you have.

Feed your new friends

Worms are vegan, but they can eat quite a bit. You’ll want to feed them a balanced diet, not just coffee grounds! As your bin gets going, you’ll feed those worms about half-a-pound to a pound of food in 24 hours.

Fun Fact: The worms don’t actually eat the scraps. They eat the bacteria that is breaking down the food scraps.

What to feed?

Feed your worms veggie and fruit scraps, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, tea and tea bags (the ones that aren’t shiny), such as peels, rinds, cores, etc. Cut or break the food up into smaller pieces. If you run it through a blender, that would be even better! For instance, juicing pulp is fantastic!

What not to feed?

Limit or eliminate citrus fruits and onion peels in your worm bin. Also, do not add meats, bones, oils or dairy products.

How to feed your worms?

  1. Feed your 1 lbs. of worms about three times their weight each week. So, for one pound of worms, you’ll feed 3-lbs of food each week, or slightly less than half-a-pound.
  2. Bury the food in the bin.
  3. Lift up the bedding. Add the food scraps. Then, cover the food with the bedding again.

Check the bin every week to make sure the worms are eating all of the food. Adjust the amount accordingly.

Harvesting the black gold

There are many methods to harvest the worm castings. These two techniques  work great.

  1. Try a melon. Place a piece of melon in one area of your bin. The worms really love musk melon or watermelon, because they don’t get it very often. Put that little piece of melon in the corner of the bin, and the worms will herd over there. Then, scoop out the castings from the other side of the bin.
  2. Vertical migration system. The whole point of a vertical migration system is to let a layer finish out and put a new layer on top with new paper and new food. The worms migrate up into a new layer where the food is. They don’t want to live in the lower layers that is filled with their poop. Essentially the system separates the casting for you, but in a much slower way. The lower bins still may have a few worms, but you can hand pick them. It’s not bad to get worms in your finished compost either. They’re going to end up living in the soil in your garden.

Tips for success

  • Place a full sheet of dry newspaper on top of the bedding. This will help maintain the moisture of the bin. It also keeps odor problems in the bin and prevents fruit flies.
  • If you find fruit flies or the bin is too wet, replace that top layer of dry newspaper.
  • Cover your bin and choose a place for your worms. Worms like it dark and between 55°F and 75°F. Under a sink, in a closet, or wherever is convenient for you, so you remember to feed and check on them.
  • Castings are high in nutrients and micronutrients, so make worm tea in a 5-gallon bucket. Or add it to your potted plants for a healthy boost.
  • We don’t always produce a pound of kitchen scraps in a day, or we’re on vacation or busy. You don’t need to micromanage your worms. You don’t have to feed them a pound of food every day.
  • Sometimes we produce more than a pound of kitchen scraps, or your worms aren’t eating as fast. If this happens, simple put the scraps in a container or baggie and put that in the refrigerator until it’s time for a feeding.
  • Worms don’t like light, so be sure to keep your bin in a quiet out-of-the-way place. They like warm, dark places.
  • If your bedding dries up, spray it with a bit of water. Fluff the bedding once-a-week to give the worms some air.
  • If you live in a cold climate and have your bin outside, be sure to bring it inside.
  • Rotting food will produce a strong odor. Stop adding food until your worms have caught up. Adding air by stirring the contents will help.
  • If the worms are crawling out of the bedding or onto the sides or lid, they may need more air, the bedding is too wet, or the bin is too acidic. Did you put too many orange peels in there?

Need other ways to compost in a small space? Check out this article!

Now we want to hear your wormy stories! Do you practice small-space vermiculture? Tell us in the comment below.

Resources:

EPA. Composting At Home.

 

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5 Inexpensive And Homemade Natural Cleaning Products

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We live in a toxic world, but we can choose to step out of that world and create our own natural cleaning products that work just as well. Going completely chemical-free has been a goal of mine for a while now.

Going Chemical-free

I moved into an apartment (insert your sympathetic groan here). I’m working hard to establish my potted plants in my patio garden and implement my chemical-free lifestyle as quickly as possible in the transition.

Commercial products

There is a lot to like about chemical-free cleaning products on the market, but holy-moly, that stuff is expensive. Did you hear the whole, “I had to move into an apartment,” thing? I’m not exactly raking in the dough.

D.I.Y. cleaning products

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars to get every single chemical-free cleaning product on the market, I decided to find natural recipes for making them myself, or developing my own recipes.

Adding therapeutic-grade essential oils (EOs) in my cleaning supplies gives an extra-boost of bacteria-killing and cleaning-oomph to my cleaners.

Essential Oils for cleaning products

Before we get to the recipes, let’s talk about how EOs add to the power of cleaning supplies without the chemical yuck.

EOs are distilled from plants (woo, natural). Think of it as “plant blood”—they oxygenate and move nutrients through the plant, so it can grow and flourish.

When EOs enter your body through inhalation, absorption, or digestion, the essential oils oxygenate your blood and move nutrients through your body. The oils improve your immunity and help support every system in your body, from muscular to endocrine.

They keep our families and ourselves healthy!

Chemical Cleaning Supply Hazards

We know the dangers of inhaling bleach.

We have heard the horror stories of harsh chemicals that get splashed and irritate or burn the skin or cause rashes.

You probably have the local poison control number posted on your refrigerator. It’s in case you know someone who accidentally ingests poison in the form of laundry detergent or all-purpose cleaner.

Typical cleaning supplies …

… like bleach or laundry detergent, contain chemicals that fall into three categories:

  • carcinogens
  • endocrine disruptors
  • neurotoxins

Look at the label to see if the cleaning product has a warning.

If the label says:

  1. Protective clothing should be worn while using this product
  2. Says “proprietary blend of” anything as an ingredient, but doesn’t list the actual ingredients in that blend
  3. Warnings against major skin irritation
  4. Contact poison control in any occasion of use other than the intended use

The product probably has a nasty chemical that may be shown to cause cancer, mimic human hormones in the body, or disrupt brain activity.

Let’s stay away from those.

Stick with natural cleaning supplies that are cheap, easy-to-make, easy-to-use, and reasonably inexpensive.

Benefits of Natural Cleaning Supplies

With EOs, you get cleaning power and peace-of-mind, without having poison control on speed dial.

Not all EOs are created equally. Most essential oils on the market fall into one of three categories:

  • Aromatic
  • Perfume
  • Food Grade

Only the pure form of essential oil—the only one without chemical fillers or carrier oils added—is Therapeutic Grade.

How can you tell that an essential oil company sells only therapeutic grade essential oils?

Find out if the company owns and operates their own farm and has a promise of purity. If their standards are high, they grow their own plants, build their own distilleries, and are open about their processes and systems, you can bet that they are honest about the purity of their essential oils.

Using Essential Oils

I use essential oils in my cleaning supplies, but also in my food, in my fitness supplements, and in my personal care products. A lot of the same oils blend across the board, so cleaning with the same substances that I put on my skin is not a problem.

I won’t break out in hives from a laundry detergent I made with lemon, citronella, rosemary, and lavender essential oils. When I make my all-purpose surface cleaner with cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils, I know my skin isn’t going to burn when I touch residue left behind from cleaning the counters.

5 Inexpensive and natural cleaning products

Here are my recipes, equipment, and methods for making and using chemical-free cleaning supplies!

Chemical-free, Laundry detergent

Supplies: Glass Jar, Food Processor or Cheese Grater, Measuring Cups, Mixing Utensil

  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing soda
  • 1 Natural Bar Soap (Dr. Bronner’s, Lavender is great), grated into fine shavings
  • 15 drops EO, 3-4 drops each of Lemon, Citronella, Rosemary, and Lavender (whatever smells best to you will work!)

How to make and use:

  1. Grate the natural bar soap of your choice (bonus points if you make your own!) with a cheese grater or food processor.
  2. Stir in Borax and Washing Soda.
  3. As you stir, add drops of EOs to distribute the oil in the mixture evenly. Store in an air-tight glass jar. A large canning jar works great.
  4. Add 1 TBSP of the mixture to your laundry. Use warm or hot water—especially if you don’t grate the bar soap small enough. If the soap pieces are too big, cold water doesn’t dissolve the soap very well. Also, add a couple of drops of EOs directly to your laundry for added freshness (Extra drops of lavender when you wash bedding is heavenly).

Note: I’ve had great results using Lemon EO for stain remover in the laundry. Apply a couple of drops and rub it into a stain (common stains like dirty knee stains from garden) before washing it with the laundry detergent above.

Chemical-free, All-purpose cleaner

Supplies: Amber Glass Spray Bottle, Measuring Cups, Funnel

  • 1 cup Distilled water
  • 1 cup Hydrogen peroxide
  • 15 Drops of EO, 3 drops each of Cinnamon, Clove, Lemon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary

How to make and use:

  1. Use a funnel to pour all ingredients into an amber or brown glass spray bottle.
  2. Shake gently to combine.
  3. Spray to clean counters, appliances, and other surfaces. Wipe down with a rag.

Degreaser Variation

Add extra-lemon EO and a little lemon juice to the all-purpose cleaner above.

Window and Glass Cleaner Variation

Use less EO, and cut the Hydrogen peroxide amount in half for window or glass cleaner. Try white vinegar as another window and glass cleaner alternative.

Chemical Free, EO Dishwasher Detergent

The ingredient amounts are in “parts,” so you can make large batches. It’s easier to measure the ingredients into a large container in general amounts.

Supplies: Glass Container, Funnel

  • 2 parts Borax
  • 2 parts Washing soda
  • 1 part Kosher salt
  • 20 drops or so Lemon EO

How to make and use:

  1. Fill the container with equal parts Borax and Washing soda.
  2. Add half of that amount of Kosher Salt.
  3. Add the EO, so it smells the way you want it to. It will depend on how much detergent you make.
  4. Combine all dry ingredients in a large canning jar. Stir while adding drops of the EO to distribute it equally.
  5. Scoop 1 TBSP of this mixture into the soap chamber of your dishwasher, and add 1 tsp of Citric Acid to each load. (I use LemiShine, but you can find citric acid at natural grocery stores in bulk, or on Amazon).

Note: For hard water, add more citric acid in each load and increase the Lemon EO amount in the recipe.

These are just a few of the natural cleaning products that you can make for your healthy home.

Do you make your own cleaning products? Share your ideas below.

 

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Important survival tips and tricks for beginner hunters

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Important Survival Tips and Tricks for Beginner Hunters

Hunting is one of the most intimate ways to get your food on the table, it connects you with nature in a way that’s hard to be described in words. But it’s not an easy job either, it doesn’t just come naturally so you need to learn a few tips and tricks so you can become a better hunter.

Choose your weapon

You can’t hunt well – or at all for that matter – if you don’t choose a weapon that fits your needs and preferences. You might like a rifle for long range shooting, especially if you’re after smaller game. Or you might be more tempted to choose a crossbow or a compound bow, even if these are better at smaller ranges than rifles.

Some people boast that their firearms make more merciful kills, but the truth is you can get the same results with the fastest compound bow on the market, as long as you shoot it right and in the proper setting. That’s why you should do your research first and get the weapon you need for the hunting style you want to practice.

You should also ensure you get something that fits your dominant eye and hand, so it won’t make you feel clumsy. Besides, if you’re wearing eyeglasses and want a rifle, don’t forget to choose one with a generous eye relief.

Exercise

After getting your weapon, it’s important to take it out for a test run or two. That will help you learn how to use it, and really get the feel of it before going out on the field. You’ll find out if there is additional gear you need for it to work better, like a magnifier or a night vision scope.

You’ll learn other things too, like how to adjust it for windage and elevation, you’ll know how much ammunition or arrows to bring, how long the batteries last, etc. And apart from taking your weapon out to exercise, we recommend a prep hunting trip too, so you can actually see what it’s like to go hunting.

Don’t go alone

The best advice you can give a beginner hunter is to choose a mentor, someone they trust completely with both their skills and safety. This should be someone likeminded, that understands what you’re good at, what your style is, if you’re more aggressive and interested in fast shots, or if you’re more careful when shooting.

You can go on trial hunting trips with this person, even if you ultimately choose to go solo on more extended hunts. But it’s a good idea to have the support of a knowledgeable hunter, to begin with since there are tons of accidents that happen in the wild.

You can even shoot someone by mistake or go the wrong way and become the prey to your game. We’re not making this up, beginner hunters are exposed to all sorts of dangers. And even after you become an expert yourself, it’s always wise to let people know your hunting itinerary and schedule.

Get the right gear

There are hundreds of hunters that get lost each year, so you should bring a GPS along, perhaps even an old-fashioned map and compass to ensure you can find your way back. An emergency whistle, a water purifier, waterproof matches, flashlight and plenty of rope are essential, apart from your tent and sleeping bag.

Besides, you should always wear proper-fitting, insulating clothes, made from breathable and moisture-wicking materials. Don’t forget to dress in layers, always pack a rainproof jacket and wear supportive shoes.

You can consider getting a tripod too, a camouflaged shelter, or an odor-masking spray. It’s important to get items that don’t attract the gaze of wild animals, so you should choose camouflage patterns that mimic the way trees and brush look.

You also need a good animal call, like a deer or coyote call, depending on what your game is. These imitate the sounds made by game animals, for instance when they’re in distress or when they’re trying to mate, so they’ll be sure to come your way.

Stay upwind

Apart from hiding your position with camouflage patterns and odor-masking products, you need to know and respect the territory of your game. Say you’re after wild boars, but you’re also navigating through Bear County: don’t start your adventure without making sure you’re safe.

So if you don’t want to be discovered by your game, you should stay upwind, to reduce the chance of being smelled. That said, you need to understand scents the way animals do. Your smell can travel through the air as far as a mile, which can give out your position if you’re not careful.

Play the patience game

Prepare to be disappointed at first, because hunting even with the best equipment that money can buy doesn’t guarantee you absolute success.

That’s why you should scout the environment, familiarizing yourself with the area so you can understand more tell-tale signs that your game is nearby. Knowing the habits of the animals is the first step towards a better hunt, plus you’ll minimize and chances of getting lost.

And after you inflict the fatal shot, you have to be prepared to move your game away, especially if it’s a bigger-sized animal. So you need additional equipment to carry it safely.

First and last minute preparations

Of course, you should begin organizing your hunting trip by researching the hunting laws in place. You don’t want to get an unnecessary ticket, so make sure you respect the hunting season, the game, the weapon and ammunition you’re allowed to use.

But there are other details you need to take into account before leaving, like checking the weather and making sure your equipment is fully functional.

That said, we hope you have a good hunt, but let us know how it went. And after a few more hunting trips, you can come back here and tell us if there’s anything we’ve missed. The comment section awaits below.

 

Author Bio

Rebecca lives in USA, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favourite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another of her passion is the ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy. She also writes for hikingmastery.com.

Guest Author’s Website

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6 Homesteading Skills You Need To Know—And Where To Get Them

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In this edition of Homesteading Basics, let’s talk about learning homesteading skills you need if you’re going to be a modern-homesteader, and where the best place is to get those skills.

Watch the video here: (video length: 2:38 minutes)

A True Story

My son was using the mower the other day and ran out of gas. 

He left it in the south pasture with the key turned on, and the battery died.

Now he’s off on a trip, and I’m stuck with a dead battery.

This got me thinking about all of the skills you need to be a modern-day homesteader.

Do you have the skills you need?

Here are some basic skills that you’re definitely going to need on your homestead:

  • Basic electrical knowledge
  • Carpentry skills
  • Plumbing knowledge
  • Animal husbandry
  • Gardening methods and techniques
  • Home Medicine

If you don’t already possess this knowledge, these skills can take a while to acquire.

Where to gain homesteading knowledge

One of the best places to get the knowledge you need is to attend a Mother Earth News Fair. They are held all over the U.S. There are a lot of different workshops in a two-to-three-day period. They offer the basic skills you’ll need for your homestead.

Here are a few other suggestions to help you improve your homesteading skills:

Your local farmer
See if he or she will give you a few tips or pointers on something specific, like animal husbandry. Offer to pay him or trade him something that he needs, maybe even your labor.

Big Box Stores
A lot of the big box supply stores offer Saturday morning classes in home improvement skills, including basic plumbing, electrical, and carpentry.

Local Community College
Many community colleges offer nighttime and weekend classes in auto repair, small engine repair, carpentry, basic plumbing, and electrical.

Online Classes
There are thousands of online classes from home medicine to gardening. Choose the one that gives you the knowledge you need and works with your schedule.

County Extension Master Gardeners
Master Gardeners are a community of volunteers trained in horticulture by the County Extension Office. You can become a Master Gardener by learning valuable plant and soil information. Then volunteer 40 hours during the year and give your knowledge back to your community. Check your local or state extension office for more information, or call your local Master Gardener hotline for more information on the public classes they offer.

Local Master Classes
In many places, there are local classes offered by specialty groups. For instance, Master beekeepers, Master composters, and others often offer classes for free or a small fee to attend. Look online for groups near you.

YouTube videos
There are hundreds of thousands of videos online to help you gain the skills you need in just about any area of homesteading.

Let’s improve our skills together.

Where are you getting the homesteading skills you need? In the comments below, let us know what skills you have and which ones you need.

The post 6 Homesteading Skills You Need To Know—And Where To Get Them appeared first on The Grow Network.

Urban Survivors: A Post-SHTF Water Supply

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ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, we’re going to cover some quick, down-and-dirty techniques for throwing a water supply together before the SHTF for our urban-dwelling readers.  Too often urbanites are ignored, and there are surely many more of you as readers than the comments reveal.

Many of you may be wondering about this, as I’ve written extensively about a rain-catchment system for your home, underground cisterns, methods of water storage in the home, and the like.  I have also written on how to locate water from “unlikely” sources.  So why this?

Because we’re a hair’s breadth away from a war and/or an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) Strike against the U.S., and many have not initiated any of these plans for water storage.

On another note, naysayers and trolls have been posting without hiatus.  Their methods are simple: Deny, Discredit, and Denounce.  Do not pay any attention to these “nonproductive” comments, in which everything written is attacked without any viable solution being proposed.  The information presented here is not as “perfect” as the credentials of the trolls, however, if you take the initiative…research it yourself and then act upon it…the information gives you both options and ideas to enable you to succeed.

If you’re in an urban environment, especially living in an apartment or condo, your options regarding water storage are going to be severely limited.  Tell you what.  If you’re not thinking outside of the box, nobody will do so for you when the time is needed.  My advice is if you have a storage unit in the building or complex?  See if you can rent an extra one.  If not, then allocate the one that you have for storing emergency supplies, one of them being water.

You can store 5-gallon containers with water in that storage unit.  A good idea for you would be two 5-gallon containers for each member of the family.  That would give you a minimum of a five-day supply per family member, as each person needs about 2 gallons per day.  Cases of bottled water would be your next option, followed by the 2-liter bottle storage method.  Ensure that if you’re in an apartment, that you have at least 1 of those 5-gallon containers per person.  I’m trying to suggest it so that you don’t have too much “water weight” in one given area…although 1 container per person is certainly on the “conservative” side.  Use your best judgment.

In an apartment: allocate water for use for the toilet.  You want a couple of 5-gallon containers for the toilet.  When the emergency either occurs or looms “danger close,” you need to fill up the bathtub and all the sinks in the house completely.  Fill up every large container that can’t be easily knocked over, and preferably those with lids.  Fill up containers with lids, lining and stacking them up all over the house, if need be.

You may plan on bugging out, but you may be trapped there for a while, and it’s better safe than sorry: load up now and store it to see you through until you can leave.

Here’s an idea for you that may work should your city or town be suffering from the effects of an EMP but not a nuke or nuclear radiation.  Tap into the downspout nearest to your unit.  With the aid of a square and a sturdy but flexible sheet of plastic (such as a disposable plastic baking sheet, for instance), make a “funnel” and run the end of this into a length of 1” or comparable PVC pipe, securing your funnel with strong duct tape.  You’ll then need to “punch” into the downspout, and then position your funnel to catch the water and run it into your PVC pipe, then to a container that you preposition.

To answer your question: if you just place a container at the bottom of the downspout and there’s a water shortage, how long will it be until a “Planet of the Apes” scenario unfolds, and another 100 people want the water that’s in that container?

Not to mention that you’ll have to expose yourself to the outside.  High rise apartment-dwellers will have a hard time with this one, and if you don’t have a balcony facing the downspout, you’ll have to figure an alternative method to pipe it in or collect it.  For apartment dwellers with balconies, you can stretch sheets of plastic in an “open” funnel, and channel the water into collecting containers.  Preposition open containers all over your balcony.

Here’s a good idea for you.  Pick up a large metal or plastic outdoor garbage can.  Line the inside of it with two layers of thick contractor strength trash bags.  Leave that out on your balcony or on your porch.  Be smart: after the SHTF, place a bunch of trash around the base of it, maybe kick a dent or two into it, and go at it with a can of spray paint all over.  Make it appear to be a trash can.

But it’ll be your “urban cistern,” hidden from the IHM (Incredible Human Mob).

You can fill that with water you collect, from the rain-gutter tap I just mentioned, to the smaller containers and plastic sheets you use to gather rainwater.  With the plastic bag overlapped it will look just as an ordinary trash can.

Make sure you also have plenty of water purification gear: filters, chemical additives such as bleach, iodine, or HTH (calcium hypochlorite) to treat the water you collect, and pitchers with filtration systems, such as Brita’s, etc.  You also need to find a building or storage facility that is not going to hold anything particularly useful.  Use the spouts from this location to collect rainwater.  Just remember, chances are unless you visit it or watch over it, the water you collect will be taken.

Now, about others in your building: if you’re fortunate enough to have a laundry room in your building, you can organize a “building water supply” with the washing machines.  Run the machines to fill and use them as a storage reservoir.  You can (after it has hit) disconnect the hoses and see if you might be able to take some water from them.  Don’t forget that utility sink: stopper it up, plug it up, or whatever.  But fill that bad boy up, and keep it topped off.

The reason: if you’re working on some kind of “community/building/public good project” to save water for the rest of the building’s residents, it will deflect the attentions of the neighbors from water you’re storing in your own unit.  In addition, a “neighborhood watch” mentality may be just what you need to protect you and yours.  We’ll get into that more deeply in the next segment.  You’ll need that “watch” mentality, especially for the water supply, because you’ll have to rotate a guard on it.

Let us not forget other essential areas that will most likely be able to supply you with water: outdoor community pools, fire hydrants, and the like.  Water will be where you will find it.  Let us not forget those hot water heaters.  Use your own judgment…verify that an EMP has struck before you scavenge from ultra-critical/necessary infrastructure.

The nature of your water-gathering operations will be directly affected by the type of structure you live in and the population density.

I’m going to open this up to you and field you a questionI am especially interested in any readers who live in New York City who went through the blackouts of the 1970’s.  Please write to us and tell us how it was…especially those of you who may have lived on the 40th floor of a 100-story apartment building.  Let us know what you did, and the measures you took.  This is an experience that is valuable and would be greatly appreciated by myself as well as the other readers of ReadyNutrition.

Lastly, when all is said and done, and you’re able, unless you are “The Omega Man,” as Charlton Heston played in the movie, you need to get out of Dodge.  The challenge to find water after an EMP strike is a big one in an urban environment.  It can be done with the proper amount of desire, dedication, and planning.  The next segment we’re going to cover defensive postures in an urban environment for yourself and your family, as well as your building for a post SHTF scenario.  Until then, stay frosty and keep fighting that good fight each day.  JJ out!

(Sign up for our FREE newsletter to get the latest prepping advice, gardening secrets, homesteading tips and more delivered straight to your inbox!)

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Smart Food Storage!

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Smart Food Storage! Host: Katzcradul “The Homestead Honey Hour” Since all the Honeys of The Homestead Honey hour believe it’s important to formulate shows based on what our subscribers and listeners want, Katzcradul is devoting this upcoming show to the discussion of “Smarter Food Storage”, how to get the most: for your food storage dollar, … Continue reading Smart Food Storage!

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How To Choose A Generator For Your Homestead

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Why you need a generator

In 2011, when U.S. economy looked bleak, I stocked up on food that would keep long-term, and figured out ways to filter water, wash clothes, and cook food without electricity for an extended situation. I had to figure out how to choose a homestead generator as part of an overall emergency survival plan.

Better prepared, than sorry

We used the generator for intermittent power:  a few fans and the refrigerator. These were what I thought would be the minimum appliances needed to make life bearable in Florida.

Also, in a deed-restricted community, our HOA had rules about fuel storage, so we were limited to small tanks of propane to run our generator. Luckily, our worst fears of what the economy did not materialize.

If we had been hit with a hurricane or some other disaster…

…the generator would have been  put to use immediately.

Choosing our homestead generator

On the homestead, the generator was convenient for running power tools and charging battery packs. My husband made good use of it in building a tool shed.

Now that we are building our house, our generator needs have changed. We have a well that requires more power than our first generator. The little generator can’t produce as much as we need.

Generator needs change

Our new home will be much more energy-efficient, because of the materials used in the building. We plan to have mostly propane appliances, which can also be converted to run on natural gas. Most people aren’t aware that you can have a regular-sized refrigerator-freezer that uses propane, but they are available.

Take your electricity needs into account

With most of the major electric energy hogs handled, it will be interesting to see how much electricity we will use on a daily basis. Once the house is built, we will monitor our usage. Then, we’ll move a lot of our electricity needs to solar panels on our south-facing roof. Unfortunately, Florida won’t let you live completely off-grid, but that doesn’t mean that you have to use grid power. You just have to have a connection to it.

Have you seen this article on Off-grid AC and survival cooling?

8 types of generators

There are seven types of electric generators:

1. Gasoline generators are the most common and readily available. They come in small portable sizes to larger whole-house generators.

Cons:

  • The fuel is highly flammable and cannot be stored for more than one year.
  • Produces high emissions.
  • Doesn’t start well in cold weather.

2. Diesel fuel generators has the least flammable fuel source, and are almost as available as gasoline-powered generators. The perform better and more efficiently, and starts better in cold climates.

Cons:

  • Fuel can only be stored for 24 months.
  • Diesel emissions are high, some areas limit how long they can be used in a day.
  • Does not do well in wet conditions.
  • Requires regular maintenance by a qualified mechanic.
  • Less portable.

3. Bio diesel fuel generators are starting to come on the market. They use less non-renewable sources. It is more environmentally friendly.

Cons:

  • The engines are noisy.
  • Fuel can only be stored for 24 months.
  • Sometimes not available during power outages.
  • More difficult to find in some regions.
  • Mixture must be kept at an 80:20 ratio, making it difficult to work with.

4. Emulsified diesel generators is a mix of diesel and water blended with a mixing agent. It has the same pros and cons of diesel and biodiesel.

5. Propane generators burn clean and can be stored a lot longer. It produces relativity low emissions. These types of generators are available and last a long time if properly maintained by a qualified technician. Propane generators start well in cold climates and are fairly quiet.

Cons:

  • Propane is kept under pressure, which makes it highly flammable, even explosive.
  • The fuel systems are complex and subject to failure.
  • Installation is costly.
  • More expensive to buy and operate.

6. Natural gas generators are available just about everywhere. The fuel lines are run directly to where the generator will be kept, so it never runs out of fuel or need refilling. These generators burn clean with little waste. The fuel is available even if the power goes out. The units are affordable in comparison to other choices. The system is fairly quiet and starts in cold climates.

Cons:

  • The installation cost is expensive.
  • The systems don’t last as long as diesel generators.
  • Dangerous leaks are possible with the gas lines.
  • Fracking is causing many unforeseen problems with water supplies and earthquakes.

7. Hydrogen generators are starting to become available. Hydrogen is everywhere. It is nontoxic, clean, cheap, and produces more energy than other fuel sources. These generators are portable and can be used just about anywhere.

Cons:

  • Currently expensive compared to other generators.
  • Not available everywhere.

8. Biogas Generators are also coming to the market, which produces a biogas from food waste and manures. You can make it yourself. The fuel can replace diesel, natural gas, and propane for running your stove, lights, and refrigerator.

Cons:

  • You have to know what you’re doing.
  • Gas is highly flammable, even explosive.

How to choose which generator is right for you?

Our second generator was purchased mainly to handle the well.  The well was pretty deep and has a one-horsepower pump that exclusively operates it. We are looking into a way to get the water out without electricity, but as a stopgap, the generator was quite a bit cheaper, especially since we got it on sale. I also like the fact that it will run on gasoline, propane, or natural gas; even though the last two don’t create as much power as gasoline.

Questions to ask yourself

  • Does it need to be portable or permanent?
  • What are your electrical needs? Appliances or equipment do you need to run on a generator?
  • Where do you live? Your climate may determine which is best for you.
  • What total watts do you need? This will determine the generator size.
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want a system that comes on automatically, even if you’re not home?
  • How to do feel about these fuel’s affects on the environment?

With everything we are doing to produce energy on-site and reduce our energy needs, this may be the last generator we buy. Time will tell. There are many available that will automatically start if the power goes out and can power an entire house. I don’t think we are ready for that just yet.

Do you have a generator for your home or homestead? Which one did you decide on? Tell us in the comments below.

 

 

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My Views On Carrying Modern Gadgets.

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Something I posted on a UK survival forum recently after receiving so much negative feed back & comments. 
Keith.
My Views On Carrying Modern Gadgets.

Okay, this is my take on the carry situation, or your Bug Out bag contents for long term wilderness/country living.

People are for ever saying that they will rely of modern gear because it is easier to use & when it is used up or broken they will simply discard it. Many state that they carry multiple items for making fire. Maybe they do the same with other gear as well, I don’t know.

Personally I have gone to a lot of research & experimentation to arrive at the best kit I can possibly carry that will last me a lifetime in the wilderness. This equipment is backed up with the skills needed to use this gear.

Now if I were to take advice from many people who advocate the carrying of modern gear & extras for insurance, then some of the items I already have in my pack would have to be taken out to (a) make room, & (b) lighten the load.

Putting it another way, when one has to discard a modern gadget, there is nothing to replace it unless you can make a primitive item to replace it. You were carrying this gadget at the expense of carrying something more suitable. You have compromised your safety & security by leaving important items out of your pack to make room for your gadgets. Does this make any sense to you?

Okay so you do know how to use a flint, steel & tinderbox & you carry one with you. You know all about plant & fungi tinders & where to find dry kindling in the pouring rain & snow. But you still want to carry a cigarette lighter, a ferocerium rod & magnesium block because? I can probably make fire faster with a tinderbox than many people can with a lighter, so why would I want to carry a lighter? I would sooner carry that extra weight & bulk in gunpowder, water, food, modern medical supplies. These items are far more important than carrying battery operated torches, magnesium blocks, ferocerium rods, cigarette lighters, plastic or tin plates, fold away solar panels, eating utensils, fuel stove, multi-tool, or the myriad of other modern gadgets that are on the market today.

A ferocerium rod is NOT a good substitute for a tinderbox. So why have one? Why are you not practicing with a real flint steel & tinderbox? If this is just a hobby for you, just a game or something you like to do when camping out, fine, I am not saying that is NOT a legitimate thing to do, but do NOT try to convince me or anyone else that this is what you should do if you seriously want to survive should it all hit the fan.

I have been doing this stuff since before it became known as prepping, I have been doing this for most of my life in all weathers. I have survived attacks from people & wild animals, I survived cyclone Tracey in 74. I have lived off grid in the bush for most of my life. I try to pass on my findings, my knowledge & my experience because I am an old man & the things that I know are rarely practiced these days. And yet I am for ever finding people getting upset by what I say & am immediately put on someone’s hit list. Is it jealousy? Is it because these people were used to being top dog on the forum until I came along & upset their ratings? Or is it because I no longer live in the UK & therefore can’t be considered a reliable source of information?

Yes I am out of touch with matters in the UK, I would imagine things are far worse there now than they were when I was living there. I saw my old forest & field haunts being cut down, leveled & built on. I was running out of room to “play”. So I got out, came here & bought myself a forest that no one can destroy. But that does not mean that you can’t take what is of use to you & discard the rest. Basic survival needs are still the same no matter where you are in the world. Even some of the plants here are the same as in the UK & other countries. Before climate change took a hold it was the same weather conditions here in New England NSW as it was in parts of the UK.

There is different equipment to suit the individual, & there is the WRONG equipment to carry. No matter how big & strong you are, no matter that you can carry a child plus your backpack, it still comes down to carrying the right gear & NOT compromising your safety. There will already be a need for some compromise when packing for a trip between two principles : minimum weight & maximum self-reliance.
Keith.

14 Things Your Great-Grandparents Knew That You Should, Too

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14 Things Your Great-Grandparents Knew That You Should, Too

Our ancestors grew up in a very different world than the one we inhabit today. More and more, our world is built around the Internet — an electronic world where we have instant access to entertainment, information and communications. But their world was built more around things that had physical reality, rather than just a virtual reality.

Their world wasn’t one in which things were just thrown away and replaced when they started getting old. Rather, they would repair things and reuse them, even re-purposing them when needed. I can still remember my grandmother’s kitchen, with its stacks of margarine, Cool Whip containers — her “Tupperware” — and a host of other re-purposed items.

What are these skills? The list is long. But some are more important than others. Let’s look at a few of them.

1. Patience

Patience really isn’t a skill so much as it is an attribute. But it can be learned and improved upon with practice. It is also something that modern society lacks. From fast food to microwave ovens, we are used to immediate gratification. But if we ever have to grind the grain in order to bake our own bread, we’re going to need lots of patience.

2. Thriftiness

This is another important attribute that has been largely lost on the modern world. The reason my grandmother used Cool Whip containers was because she had grown up during the Great Depression. She couldn’t waste money if her life depended on it. Yet today we think nothing of paying $5 for a cup of coffee. When all we have is what we’ve stockpiled, we’re going to have to be parsimonious in its use.

3. Sewing and mending

Hardly anyone sews on a button or repairs a ripped seam anymore — much less alter clothes when they don’t fit. Sewing isn’t that hard a skill to learn, but few know it.

4. Skinning and butchering animals

About the only people in the country who have any idea how to prepare a freshly killed animal for eating are hunters. Even there, their knowledge is usually limited to cleaning and skinning the animal.

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Butchering is something done by a professional. Improperly prepared game can be dangerous, especially if the intestines are punctured while cleaning it.

5. Curing hides

Our ancestors used the hides off of any animals they killed, whether rabbits or ‘coons or dear.

6. Canning, smoking and curing meats

Fortunately, canning is one skill that most preppers seem to learn. But what about meat? While dehydrating meat is a simple process, smoking and curing meats is much more complicated. They also require having the right equipment and supplies on hand.

7. Saddling a horse or hitching up a team

I’m going to take a chance here and assume you know how to ride a horse. If you don’t, might I suggest you take a few riding lessons? After all, if we ever encounter a time when there’s no gas, we’ll probably have to start breeding horses like crazy, so that we have some form of transportation.

14 Things Your Great-Grandparents Knew That You Should, TooOf course, there’s more to this than just riding horses. You’ll need to know how to saddle and bridle a horse, as well. If you are fortunate enough to have a wagon or buggy or can make one, you’ll need to know how to hitch a team to them, as well as how to drive the team. There’s really quite a bit here to learn — skills that most people don’t think of anymore.

8. Saddle and harness-making

Speaking of horses, where are you going to find a saddle, bridle and harness, anyway? Riding a horse bareback is a guaranteed way of giving the horse back problems, besides being extremely uncomfortable. Worse, you’re going to be stuck pulling that plow through the earth by yourself if you can’t harness a horse to it. But how do you make a harness? While there were saddle and harness makers in times of old, there wasn’t a farmer or cowboy that didn’t have a fair grasp of these skills, too.

9. Shoeing horses

My dad was actually an old-time ferrier, the kind who didn’t just use ready-made horse shoes, but made them out of bar stock. He was also a blacksmith. This is another skill that every farmer and cowboy knew, but few have the foggiest idea about anymore. But if you don’t keep a horse properly shod and its hooves properly trimmed, the horse can go lame.

10. Gardening

This one may seem a bit simplistic, as it’s probably something you’ve already thought of; but it is essential. Some of us (like me) are not natural gardeners and need to get better at this. That takes time, especially since it can be months before our errors bear fruit (or don’t bear fruit) and many more months before we get another planting season to try again.

11. Raising chickens

In olden times, pretty much everyone, except city dwellers, had chickens running around the house. You can still see this in many third-world and emerging countries. Those chickens are really free-range, running around the yard and eating whatever they find (and chickens will eat everything).

12. Starting a fire

The most common method of fire-starting in the past was flint and steel. Today, we have much easier methods — along with the reality that those will run out eventually. Learning to start a fire by flint and steel is a worthwhile skill to learn, even though I strongly prefer using a butane lighter.

Probably the most important part of this skill is recognizing and gathering good tinder. In olden times, people kept a tinder box, which held their flint, often sewn into a leather wrapping to improve grip, as well as whatever tinder they found and gathered along the way. That way, they always had the basic necessities for starting a fire.

13. Telling time by the sun

The modern concept of the importance of time is largely because of the railroads. Once railroad time schedules came out, people needed to know what time it was, so that they wouldn’t be late. In fact, the first group of people who commonly carried a watch (pocket watches) was train conductors. As the boss of the train, it was they who were responsible for meeting that schedule. So, the railroad would issue them a watch as part of their uniform.

14. The activity of wild animals

Few people really study nature anymore, not even the activities of animals they regularly see. But if we are going to hunt those animals for food, it helps to know their habits. Hunting in a post-disaster world won’t mean spreading some feed corn on the ground and waiting in a blind; you’ll have to find the animals where they are.

Wild animals can tell us a lot about what is going on around us. They instinctively recognize danger that we don’t. They also see the changes in the seasons before we do, starting their migrations or preparations. When we become attuned to their activities, they can become the best weathermen there are.

What would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below: 

5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Survival Skills!

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5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Survival Skills With everything that is going on in the world today, and the fact that many children are addicted to technology, these 5 ways to teach your kids survival skills can really help to make a difference in their lives. From identifying plants to building a shelter, to … Continue reading 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Survival Skills!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

What Primitive Hunting Requires?

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What Primitive Hunting Requires? 1. Weapon To be successful with hunting, you must have the right weapons and be skillful in using them. This is the biggest challenge with primitive hunting. Your prey is usually very fast and its senses are stronger than yours. Your defense must allow you to hit your prey at a … Continue reading What Primitive Hunting Requires?

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Wise Preppers Don’t Just Stockpile Food. They Do This, Too.

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Wise Preppers Don’t Just Stockpile Food. They Do This, Too.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Most people are familiar with the old proverb, but not everyone has considered how its wisdom can be applied to disaster preparedness.

Food procurement and processing skills are more valuable than food stockpiles in the long term. I will not deny that a well-filled pantry is vital, for myriad reasons. Hurricanes, blizzards, job loss, interrupted supply chains, and dozens of other scenarios are perfect examples of why people always should keep plenty of food stored. Emergency management guidelines advise that every household keep at least three days’ worth of food, water and necessities on hand.

I admit that my own food storage room contains more like three months’ worth, and likely even more. The shelves are chocked full of jars of food, everything from green beans to tomato sauce to applesauce to chutney to barbecue sauce to chicken stock. There also are containers of dehydrated produce, jars of homemade maple syrup, and root cellar foods such as onions and garlic and pumpkins. The freezers contain berries and vegetables and meats.

If a short-term crisis occurred which prevented me from purchasing food, my household will not go hungry. At worst, we’ll be inconvenienced, or end up growing weary of certain foods and yearning for others.

The Problem With Stockpiles

But here’s the thing. If food suddenly became scarce for a long period of time, the food I have stockpiled would be nothing more than a good start. The same is probably true for many — if not most — people who store any volume of food.

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In the end, however, no matter how much is stored, food supplies will run out. And long before the stocks are depleted by consumption, other losses can occur. Food can be stolen. Containers can break. The storage facility can become inaccessible. Floods, earthquakes, fire, insect or varmint infestation, mold and general spoilage can destroy stockpiles. Unexpected events happen — which is, of course, the entire premise for storing food in the first place.

Much of my food stockpile is comprised of food which I made myself. I planted, tended and harvested the vegetables and fruits and berries on my homestead, and then preserved enough of it to last my household through the winter. The meats come from animals I raised myself or bartered for with other homestead products, and the cheeses are homemade from my own goats’ milk.

Wise Preppers Don’t Just Stockpile Food. They Do This, Too.

Image source: Flickr / Creative Commons

I keep a good supply of whole food staples on hand, as well, which I use for making homemade items. A variety of flours and grains, bought in bulk and stored long-term in smaller bags in the freezer, keep my household supplied with bread. There are other store-bought goods I cannot make for myself, such as cooking oils and nuts and sugar and leavening. Like all stored food, it would eventually run out, but being able to generate as much of my own food as I do still serves me well, both now and later.

The Solution Is Simple: Skills & Knowledge

The ability to rely on one’s own skills and knowledge is of real value in any situation, and certainly no less so when it comes to putting food on the table. Being at the mercy of whatever can be bought at the grocery store when our own supplies run dry is not a good position to be in — ever. Not in normal life today, not in a short-term crisis, and certainly not in the case of a serious catastrophe.

Having the ability to produce our own sustenance is a distinct advantage. Knowing how to raise a wide variety of both plant-based and animal-based food, having the skills to process and preserve those ingredients, and being able to create palatable nutrition from the basics are crucial components to feeding oneself.

Foraging skills are also useful. Depending upon the season and geography, the natural world often provides a buffet of edibles. Knowing how to safely locate, harvest and prepare wild plants and fungus could be crucial in a wide variety of situations, from getting lost overnight while out hiking or hunting to being completely destitute.

These skills will not be depleted, stolen, lost or destroyed. They will last forever and can be used not only to feed oneself and one’s own household, but can help serve communities or can be used to barter for other goods and services. Anyone who has invested time in learning how to do things like plant a garden, milk a goat, make cheese, can green beans, keep pigs from escaping their pen, keep pests out of the berry patch, boil down sap into syrup, churn butter, knead bread, identify edible mushrooms, dig up wild roots, and other food-related skills will always have that experience to fall back on.

Armed with know-how and practice, we are all better prepared for whatever comes along, whether it is everyday life now, a minor weather-related emergency or personal crisis later, or an earth-shattering event sometime in the future.

Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:

5 Basic Military Survival Skills

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Nobody knows survival better than military forces, which is why it’s always a good idea to turn to them for advice on this matter. However, we don’t all need to be professionals when it comes to life in the wilderness, but essential skillset is important if you want […]

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5 Most Important Survival Skills To Have After SHTF

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If you could only learn five survival skills, which ones would you learn? That’s the question I’m going to answer in this article. It’s a tricky question, though, because it depends on the scenario. For example, surviving in the wilderness requires a different set of skills than surviving in an urban area after an EMP […]

The post 5 Most Important Survival Skills To Have After SHTF appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Your Ancestors Had Some Hard Core Survival Instincts… This is How You Can Get Back to Your Roots

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One of the biggest drawbacks we suffer from as a species is our lack of focus on our immediate environment utilizing all of our senses.  I just recently penned a piece on the importance of “reconnecting” with the olfactory sense.  When we were hunter-gatherers and even after human settlements such as towns and villages were established thousands of years ago…our ancestors used all of their senses.  All of them.

We can still do it now.  It only takes practice.  This doesn’t mean that you have to dive down into the prone and sniff a trail out.  Although you can!  Yes, you can!  Your nose has that capability if you train it, as I pointed out in the other article.  But take a look at the title for a second.  Do you know that precept of maintaining things in balance?  You need to train all of your senses, and allow each of them to complement and supplement one another.  Let’s discuss it!

Increase Your Survival Instincts With These Tips

  1. Eyes:  You already know how to see things.  Now think of components of sight that you may have either been unaware of or not really given much thought to.  How about peripheral vision?  That is the type of vision where you see things from the corners of your eyes.  You have oculomotor muscles that you need to train and condition to see in such a manner.  How about in levels of low light?  Train your eyes to adjust to the conditions around you.  Motion?  Our eyes key in motion before anything else.  Right behind that comes contrast in color. There are two types of targets: point and area.  Point targets involve one individual thing, and area a group of things/multiple items conglomerated in one location.  Train your eyes to see these things and differentiate between them.
  2. Ears: Most of us have selective hearing.  We hear what we want to hear and “drown out” the background sounds/noise.  What we need to do is differentiate between things and allow the range of our hearing to be utilized.  Watch a young cat.  Their ears are always moving, at the slightest sound.  The older cat is different: he hears more selectively and doesn’t lurch or flinch at every car engine or step outside the house.  Train yourself to identify as a “matter of fact” and correlate what needs to be reacted to or to be acted upon.  The best training you can receive is to go into the woods by yourself, take a seat, stay still, and shut up.  You will be amazed by what you will hear, and what you will learn.  What you thought was quiet?  There’s a great cacophony of sounds…all you need to do is listen to them.
  3. Smell: I covered this in the other article, but in a nutshell, you need to train your nose to do what it can do.  Studies show that dogs do not possess olfactory powers much greater than man.  The difference is that dogs use their sense of smell, and we have a “mental block” about using it to do anything other than smell perfume on our significant other or smell dinner as we come home.  Develop by being aware and using it…compare and contrast, and experiment with different aromas.
  4. Touch: Be able to differentiate between things…light touch and firm touch.  Be able to do tasks, such as disassemble your firearm blindfolded or in the dark, group the different parts, reassemble it, and perform a “functions” check.  Touch and rote memory are the keys.  Feel different plant in the woods, and know what they are by feel.  Yes, complement this with smell, when applicable.  It takes practice.
  5. Taste: This one you must take greater care than with most of the other senses, as taste can lead to poisoning or a “hurt” tongue if the surface of something (such as a plant) is rough.  Be advised: something with botulism or another foodborne illness does not necessarily reveal the presence of microbes by taste!  It is the least relied on sense because it is something that does not necessarily decide a choice…it is a sense that usually is affected as the result of a choice.

So, what is all of this good for?  It’s good for a lot of different things.  You will be able to move through your environment with more and deeper awareness of your surroundings and things in them.  You will alert yourself to dangers more readily.  It is an art that all of us have the ability to perform.  We’re “hard-wired” for it.  We just need to reconnect with those abilities.  Just takes practice, and practice may not make perfect but it helps to perfectUse your senses and train not just to use them…but to listen to the information they are conveying to you!  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Outdoor Kitchens For Sustainability

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Summer Kitchen Revival

Before the days of electricity in the house or the air conditioner cooling off the living spaces from the heat of summer and cooking, there were outdoor kitchens.

It was an effort to keep the house as cool as possible. They are also known as Summer Kitchens.

The summer kitchen’s purpose was for putting up food for the year, canning, preserving, pickling, and processing. It all took place on a wood-fired stove, which created enough heat to chase everyone out of the house.

Outdoor Kitchens Still in Use Today

When I lived on a small island in the Caribbean, our tiny beach cottage had a kitchen on the porch. Why? So cooking a meal wouldn’t heat up the entire 400 sq. ft. house. Unlike summer kitchens of North America, this little work space was our main kitchen year-round rather than seasonally.

In the past, the food was often prepped in the kitchen, but it wasn’t stored there. Herbs would dry in the attic, flour and vegetables were kept in a cool cellar. You would walk all over the house to gather the ingredients for a meal.

When electricity started making its way into homes, the summer kitchen was abandoned.

However, these outdoor kitchens are starting to make a comeback because people want to get closer to their food supply. There is no better way to get closer to nature and the food we eat than having a summer or outdoor kitchen.

What do you need for an outdoor kitchen?

When planning your outdoor/summer kitchen, think about function, efficiency, and comfort. What do you need and what can come later?

An efficient summer kitchen space could be as simple as you want it to be or as elaborate. Oh and that pizza oven you want, is it necessary or is it a luxury?

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your Summer Kitchen:

  1. Do you want it to be seasonal or permanent?
  2. Does it need to be enclosed, partially enclosed, or open to the elements?
  3. Does it need shade?
  4. Do you need seating? A table?
  5. What will you need to store? Food? Spices? Cutting boards? Silverware? Plates & Bowls? Cookware?
  6. Is there a nearby herb or veggie garden?
  7. Do you need running water?
  8. What about a greywater catchment system?
  9. Is a compost pile nearby?
  10. What will you cook on?
  11. Do you need an oven? A Sun Oven? A dehydrator?
  12. Is the ground level where you want to put the kitchen?
  13. Do you need refrigeration?
  14. What will you do when it rains? When it’s windy? When it’s blistering hot?
  15. Who will be using the kitchen?
  16. Who will be in the kitchen, particularly at the same time?
  17. How do you spend your time in the kitchen? Cooking or baking? Entertaining? Dishes? 

Think triangular work space

The triangle is a great shape when designing an efficient kitchen workflow. No matter the location of the kitchen.

How do you work in the kitchen when you prepare a meal?

You take the food out of the fridge. Then it is taken either to the sink or the stove area, cleanup goes from the stove and prep areas to the sink, and leftovers get put in the fridge.

Have a plan before you create your outdoor kitchen. Take a good look at what will fit in the space that you’ve allowed for your summer kitchen. Two ways into and out of the space will help with flow.

Start with the Sink. That’s where you’re going to spend a lot of your time, cleaning, prepping, and doing dishes. You’ll also want a beautiful view while you’re doing your work, right?

In the Cooking Area, you’ll want to be able to socialize with family and friends.

You’ll probably want between 18 in. to 36 in. for a comfortable prep area. There’s nothing worse than not having enough prep area. Am I right?

Think about walkways and flow into and through your summer kitchen, too.

Set the kitchen up into 5 zones:

  • Food storage (fridge, cabinets, or pantry)
  • Dishes
  • Clean up (sink area)
  • Prep area
  • Cooking

Store items as close to their zone as possible. For example, knives, mixing bowls, cutting boards, and wooden spoons should be in the prep area. Cooking and baking pans should be in the cooking area.

Store your dishes close to the sink. Having a cabinet above the sink where your dishes dry and store all in one place is amazing.

outdoor-kitchen

Food preservation in your summer kitchen

When my grandmother canned her summer vegetables, outdoor kitchens were the norm, not a luxury. She’d set up her outdoor kitchen under a giant poplar with the chickens running all around the yard. If grandma did it, so can you!

Preserving your harvest is wonderful in the cold, winter months. It may take time and effort right now, but it is well worth it.

Life slows down a little bit, so you can enjoy family and friends.

There are three ways of preserving food that can be done in your summer kitchen: storage, canning, and drying.

The important thing is to start where you are. Check out this video for more tip.

Storage

A handful of vegetables can be stored, but only for a limited amount of time. Here is a great article about storing fruits and vegetables from the University of Missouri Extension Office.

You can store:

  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • beets
  • turnips
  • parsnips
  • carrots
  • leeks
  • radishes
  • horseradish
  • rutabagas
  • garlic
  • onions

Make sure veggies are firm. Remove any dirt, but do not wash the veg. Place the veggies in a box or bin. Air should circulate around the veggies. Slatted wooden boxes and wire baskets work great for this.

Canning

If you’re going to be canning, make sure you have all of your supplies handy.

  • Canning jars and lids
  • Water bath canner
  • Pressure canner
  • Funnels
  • Ladles
  • Pectin
  • Spices
  • Salts
  • Jar Lifter

Here’s a recipe for “Canned corn that’s sweet every time.”

Know which fruits and vegetables need to be pressure canned versus water-bath canned. The book, Stocking Up is invaluable for this purpose.

Drying

It’s super-easy to dry fruits and vegetables. You can even do it in a Sun Oven! Dried foods can be stored indefinitely, as long as they are kept dry.

You can dry:

  • root vegetables
  • beans of all kinds
  • cereal and grains
  • celery
  • herbs
  • peas
  • peppers
  • berries
  • fruits with high sugar and low moisture

Here is a great article with dehydrator recipes.

If you’ve ever thought of having a summer or outdoor kitchen, perhaps now is the time. Share your thoughts on how you would set it up. We’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below!

 

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9 Tips to Avoid the Summertime Prepping Slump

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It’s so easy for the hot, lazy days of summer to just sort of run into each other in a haze of heat and laziness. Then the day arrives when it’s time once again to get the kids ready for school, and we ask, where did the summer go?

If your prepping goals have taken a break right along with your pledge to have the kids do daily math drills and read for at least 30 minutes every day, then here are a few prepping activities and tips to avoid the summertime prepping slump.

1.  Get the kids involved in prepping activities

If they’re sitting around the house doing nothing, then they can help you prep! Children can fill canning jars, mylar bags, and buckets with dry goods and oxygen absorbers. They can help weed the garden and pick ripe fruits and vegetables. They can wash and prepare produce for canning and dehydration. Kids can go through their closets and drawers and pull out toys they no longer play with and clothing that no longer fits.

Hey, every time they say they’re bored, give them a prepping related task, like the ones on this list! They’ll have something productive to do and you’ll accomplish your prepping goals more quickly.

2.  Learn something as a family

Check out online calendars for craft stores, REI, Cabela’s, gyms, and your city’s summertime offerings. Many of these are survival and/or prepping related, such as learning how to read a compass, learning how to crochet or sew, etc. and very often these classes are free.

If these resources aren’t readily available to you, then check out a how-to book or watch some how-to YouTube videos on something your family would like to learn and do it yourselves!

TIP: Browse through my Skill of the Month page for dozens of ideas that will appeal to all members of your family!

Or, ask around and see if there is someone in your circle of friends and acquaintances who has a skill you would like to learn and is a willing teacher.

3.  Turn a family outing or vacation into survival training!

Camping, hiking, fishing — those are all survival related, fun, and everyone can be involved. Check out these articles with more information about enjoying the great outdoors, as a prepper:

7 Summer Children’s Activities for Sowing Survivalist Seeds

25 Things I Learned From Long-Term Camping

A Camping Skill Basic: Safe Fire Building

Camping is More than Just Equipment — Here is a list of skills you need to have

Make This Summer a Family Camping Summer

Survival Mom Camping-Survival Secrets

And then there’s my series on family road trips. As a veteran of some 16,000 highway miles, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert in this area!

Eating On the Road: A Family Road Trip Survival Plan

Survive the Family Road Trip With These 13 Tips

Surviving the Family Road Trip

4.  Check into summer day camps related to prepping

Two summers ago my kids learned rifle skills in a 2-day camp at a local gun range. Lots of towns and cities start the summer with directories of these day camps.  If your kids are in a day camp or have gone away to camp, learning some sort of practical skill, then you’ll have time to either take a nap, read a relaxing book (just for fun!), or do anything else you like! Free time for mom is necessary!

5.  Amass produce in quantities and begin canning and dehydrating

Summer is prime produce time. Even if your garden was a flop or you didn’t get certain items planted, there are probably local gardeners and farmers who would love to share their bounty. Some might even be willing to trade a portion of their harvest for a portion of yours.

Bountiful Baskets is a large produce co-op that operates in many states. Do an internet search for “produce co-ops” in your area and you may end up finding a source of delicious, fresh product that you can then preserve for later.

Here are a few resources I’ve accumulated here to help you with canning different foods;

Once you have a good amount of green beans or tomatoes or whatever, make a simple plan for canning, dehydrating, and/or pickling. If your kids are whining about being bored, then you know who your helpers will be!

6.  Get away from the electronics!

Nothing zaps energy faster than sitting in front of a TV or computer screen hour after hour. Not only is time wasted but our minds and bodies become accustomed to inaction and it becomes even hard to get up and start doing something!

Allow yourself and the kids only a certain number of minutes per day in front of a screen.

7.  Take a few minutes to make lists to organize your prepping activities

A lot of time we find ourselves in a slump because we’re unfocused and are not sure what to do next. I’ve found that when I have all my scattered goals written down, it helps immensely.

Three lists that have helped me stay organized and focused on my preps are To Learn, To Do, and To Buy. From my book, Survival Mom:

List #1: To Learn
On this list you’ll keep track of skills and knowledge you realize will be important. A few examples on my own list are: Learn to tie various knots and know when to use them; work on creating recipes from my food-storage ingredients; and push my knitting skills to a higher level and knit a pair of socks.

Interestingly, many items on this list won’t cost a dime. If your budget is already strained, and buying even a few extra cans of tuna is a stretch, put more time and energy into learning skills, gaining knowledge, and seeking out other Survival Moms as resources.

List #2: To Do
Here’s another list that doesn’t have to empty out your bank account. Have you been meaning to compile all your important documents or inventory a garage filled with tools? Do you need to prepare your garden for the spring season?

There are simply dozens of things we intend to do, but they flicker in and out of our minds and are then . . . gone! As you read this book, start adding tasks to a To Do list and keep track of what you accomplish. It’s very empowering to see progress, although you will likely never have an empty To Do list!

List #3: To Buy
Although Lists 1 and 2 will keep you busy, there’s really no way around List 3. Stocking up on food, extra toiletries, good quality tools, and other supplies requires money. However, the good news is that a master To Buy list will help set priorities, keep you on budget, and even provide a shopping list when hitting the garage sale circuit.

Without a To Buy list, you may very well find yourself (a) spending money on things you later discover tucked away in a back cupboard or (b) snatching up purchases in a panic. This list helps save money as well as time.

8.  Assess whether or not the emotions that started your prepper journey have changed

If we begin a project or set a goal based mostly on emotion, when that emotion fades, and it will, very often our motivation fades as well. If you began preparing out of fear or panic, it’s likely that you’re not as motivated as you once were.

That’s all perfectly normal. However, if the logical part of your brain is convinced that prepping is important to the well-being of your family. You’ve just entered a new level of motivation based on rational conclusions. This is where lists come in handy: To Do, To Learn, To Buy. They’ll help you stay focused on what is most important regardless of the current state of your emotions.

9.  Start making plans and goals for when the kids are back in school

Summers are wonderful but let’s face it. When the kids return to school, so do routines. Having a predictable schedule once again will help you set priorities, focus on achieving small prepping goals, continue with prepping activities, and become the Super Survival Mom of your dreams!

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The Solo Prepper Resource Run

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The Solo Prepper Resource Run James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio player below! To build a home of self-sufficiency and preparedness one of the most important things you can do is to include all of those involved in the technology, skills and procsses that allow you to live that lifestyle. In other words, you want … Continue reading The Solo Prepper Resource Run

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Stress Management: When Wildfires Threaten … Do This First

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The horizon around me was choked with dark smoke.

We were literally surrounded by five separate wildfires. I needed stress management and fast!

One of the longest, most respected scientific studies has shown that there is a STRONG correlation between proper breathing, stress management, and a long life.

According to that study, the No. 1 indicator of life expectancy is…

…well, you’d probably be better off just watching the latest video chapter of Grow: All True Wealth Comes From the Ground.  In it, I explain all that, give detailed how-tos on various breathing techniques—and a whole lot more.

Watch the video for more on my story and how I overcame the stress of the situation. (Length: 21:22 minutes)

And, as I sat on the roof of my barn, I knew we were one wind shift away from having our property engulfed in flames.

We were ready to evacuate if the fires started coming our way. But until then, I focused on the one thing that could help me maintain a clear head, stay calm, and avoid stressing out…stress management!

I breathed. Deeply. In through my nose, filling my belly, then my chest, counting strategically, and then exhaling through my mouth.

Despite the circumstances, I could feel the increased oxygen jump-starting my brain. Whatever came next, I was ready.

Thankfully, that wind never shifted. The wildfires didn’t destroy our homestead. Our family and livestock were safe.

But I still remember that rooftop moment as a great (maybe extreme?!) example of a time when deep breathing helped me manage stress in a healthy way.

Proper breathing really can save your life.

  • What do you think? 
  • What’s your go-to in times of stress?
  • What are your favorite breathing tips?

Have you seen the other Grow Book videos?

I’m talking it out as I write it, and I’d love to get your feedback. You can see them here:

Grow Book Overview

Be Wealthy – Even If You’re Not Rich

Can You Be Healthy Eating From The Grocery Store?

What Toxins Are Hiding In Your Home?

Staying Healthy and Free—Even into Old Age!

How I Almost Lost My Leg!

I so appreciate you watching these videos and giving your feedback. So, please leave a comment below.

The post Stress Management: When Wildfires Threaten … Do This First appeared first on The Grow Network.

29 Once-Common Survival Skills We’ve Lost To Technology

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iphone-500291_640

No doubt, all of us benefit greatly from technology. Unfortunately, though, there is a payoff for all this convenience: the loss of common skills.

Although I love being able to Google almost any question and click an icon to call home, the fact is that there are some skills we might want to consider keeping.

Imagine life after a societal collapse. How many of us would survive?

Here are 29 skills virtually lost to technology:

Home and farm skills

These would include skills such as:

1. Darning socks and mending clothes.

2. Tying specific knots such as sheepshanks, bowlines and clove hitch knots.

3. Identifying trees, edible plants, flowers and berries

4. Baking from scratch.

5. Knitting or crocheting.

Simple memorization skills

We used to rely on memorization for many things, including:

6. Phone numbers and even complete addresses of family members.

7. Highway names or numbers (Route 2, Highway 101).

8. Recipes and measurements.

9. Personal information, such as driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers, employee numbers, locker combinations, etc.

10. Birthdays and anniversaries of relatives and close friends.

11. Simple math, such as simple division.

Writing skills

Although some people still manage to hunt and peck on their phone or computer, imagine getting most people to:

12. Write a proper letter.

13. Use handwriting or cursive that is legible.

14. Fill out forms or applications by hand.

15. Write a check.

16. Write anything and have most of the words and grammar correct.

Direction skills

Both giving and taking. If you didn’t have your cell phone, would you be able to:

17. Understand directions, such as “wait on the Southeast corner.”

18. Know where north or south is from where you are standing.

19. Tell someone, on the phone, the street names and directions they need to use to find you.

20. Read a paper map.

21. Read a compass.

Everyday life skills

The list is endless, but here are a few:

22. How to change a tire and/or check the oil and water in a car.

23. Understand pounds and ounces.

24. Look up something in a book or dictionary.

25. Read a recipe or a thermometer (non-digital).

26. Write shorthand.

27. Start a fire.

28. Make small talk with strangers

29. Wait patiently for someone – without looking at a smart phone.

What would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

 

These Are the Jobs That Will Survive the Next Wave of Automation

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Every time our country enters a recession, it seems like another piece of the middle class is eroded away, and never returns. There are widespread layoffs and pay cuts, but when the economy recovers, we don’t have as many well-paying jobs as we had before. There are probably multiple reasons for this, most notably the outsourcing of jobs. However, there’s one reason that most people don’t want to consider because there’s no one to blame for it.

Many jobs don’t come back after a recession, because of automation. When money is tight during a recession, there’s more incentive for companies to automate parts of their workforce. Every economic calamity sows the seeds for a new wave of computer automation and labor-saving inventions; and after the recession has passed, a certain percentage of the population gets left behind. For whatever reason, they fail to learn new skills that will help them adapt to the new economy, so they are either left jobless or are stuck working low paying jobs that may not survive the next recession.

And make no mistake, this is going to keep happening at a rapid pace for at least the next generation or two. By some estimates, half of the jobs we have now may be automated over the next few decades, and it’s not exactly clear how many of those jobs will be replaced.

There’s only one thing you can do to guarantee that you’ll thrive in this future. You have to learn skills that can’t be automated. And when you look at the kinds of careers that are difficult to automate, you’ll find that most of them fall into a handful of categories.

Advanced STEM Careers

These are the biologists, the physicists, the statisticians, the engineers, etc. Just about anyone who attains anything higher than a bachelor’s degree in a STEM related field, is probably going to have a job for the foreseeable future. Though computers will certainly have some impact on these fields, the people who are in them are among the smartest in the world. Unless someone builds a computer that is more intelligent than any human (which isn’t guaranteed), these jobs aren’t going anywhere.

Careers That Guide Automation

If you can’t beat em, you can always join em. One of the best ways insulate yourself from automation, is to find a job that involves creating, running, or maintaining the machines. Think mechanics, computer programmers, and mechanical engineers. While the smartest people in our society are going to occupy the advanced STEM fields, the average Joe’s are going to dominate these jobs, because they don’t require nearly as much education. These are jobs that usually either require a 4-year degree or lengthy on-the-job training. They will probably be the last bastion of high-paying middle-class jobs.

Careers That Revolve Around Human Behavior

One of the biggest obstacles for a computer is interpreting human behavior, and making use of that information. Computers are really just glorified calculators, so despite how advanced they’ve become, they’re about as good at comprehending humans as we are at comprehending God.

So any job that involves sophisticated interaction with humans is probably safe from automation. And fortunately, there are a ton of jobs like this. It includes doctors, nurses, teachers, physical and mental therapists, salesman and marketers, public relations experts, clergymen, etc. Wherever there are people with uniquely human problems and aspirations, there are jobs that a computer can’t touch.

Craftsmen and Artisans

I’m using these terms loosely to describe more than just people who make products with their hands. What I’m about to describe is a unique category of jobs that survive every labor-saving invention, long after they’ve been technically rendered obsolete.

Think about everyone who runs a successful store on Etsy. Most of the stuff they sell aren’t crucial to the modern economy, but there’s still a demand for them. People don’t need highly ornate, handcrafted products. They could probably buy a far cheaper equivalent on Amazon, but they choose to buy handcrafted products because they’re special. Things that come off of an assembly line are practical, but humans have a need for products and services that have a human touch. We have a love of things that are well crafted, but imperfect. And since automation tends to introduce more wealth into society, there will be more demand for these luxuries.

And like I said, it’s not just jobs that involve making things. Any field that can be automated, will have a few holdouts that never die. How much do you want to bet that many years after driverless cars eliminate all of the truck drivers, cab drivers, and delivery jobs, there will still be people you can pay to drive you around town. If you don’t believe me, then consider the companies that still offer horse-drawn carriage rides in New York City, a century after cars made these carriages obsolete.

There is only one caveat with these kinds of jobs. If you decide to enter an obsolete field, you have to be the best at it. The only people who make money with these jobs are the people who offer the highest quality products and services. The runner-ups make a pittance, and everyone else is taking a loss. But if you do put in the effort to be among the best, you can make a lot of money in these jobs.

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

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

How To Find Water: The Most Valuable Survival Skill

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You probably already know that water is essential to your survival…

…and a huge problem if you’re stuck without.

(In fact, just 3 days without can be fatal)

Imagine you’re stranded outdoors with no water, desperate to stay alive.

What would you do? How would you get water?

Today I’m going to show you the ins and outs of finding water for survival.

You’ll learn:

  • Where To Look For Water
  • How To Know If Water Is Safe To Drink?
  • How To Extract Clean Drinking Water (In the Desert, In the Forest, In the Ice).
  • Methods Of Purifying Water

Finding water has been an age old undertaking of mankind.

Living in the third world, it still is a struggle every day to access clean water even when it is available.

Statistics show 1 in 10 people living with no access to safe water worldwide.

who stats

Source: World Health Organization

The body needs 2 quarts of water daily to survive (just to drink). But, remember this is survival.

If your supply of water is limited make sure you:

  • Rest! Physical movements must be limited.
  • Do not over exert yourself. Exposure to the elements must also be avoided. Keep out of the sun.
  • Do not drink your own urine!!!!
  • Wear clothing appropriate to the climate
  • Talking is kept to a minimum
  • Breath through the nose and not the mouth
  • Do not smoke or have big meals.
  • Absolutely do not drink alcohol

These lessons can be transferred to survival situations and can increase the chances of survival by over 80%.

And of course, it goes without saying, it’s always better to be prepared. Ensure your bug out bag is well equipped. Having access to water filters, a GPS, and containers to capture and store water will always increase your chances of survival.

llama in the desert may indicate water

Where To Look For Water

Where To Look For Water In Arid and Desert areas

Desert foliage and animals can indicate the presence of water

One major advantage of the Desert is visibility as there are no obstructions on the landscape. Unless there is a sandstorm, one can see the comings and goings of any form of life clearly. It is, therefore, possible to spot some telltale signs that can lead you to a water body.

Animal life:

Most people in a survival situation tend to keep away from animals. There is wisdom in this but animals can turn out to be a lifeline. Predators almost always have a watering hole in the vicinity of their territory and prey is always looking for a watering hole. Look out for a place where animals congregate and the animal population is widespread or a general direction which shows a considerable amount of animal traffic.

Bird and insect populations:

Mosquitoes abound where there is stagnant water, bees cannot live more than 1000 meters away from a water source and ants have a keen sense of smell which sniffs out water near their settlements. With any of these insects around you, it is a sure sign that there is a water body nearby.

Plant life:

A clump of vegetation in the middle of an arid area or near a rock formation can indicate water underneath the ground surface or within the rock veins. The greener and leafier it is the more water there is.

Where To Look For Water In Forests

forest

Forests can offer more options to find water

Even though there may be abundant water in a forest setting finding safe water may pose a greater challenge. However, chances of finding clean water are greater when you look out for

Animal life:

Grazing animals are never far from water sources in a forest and are a sure sign that clean safe water is nearby. Unlike the Desert where the animals only trek to and from the water source when they need water, in the jungle animals are ever present near a water body.

Roots and tubers

Jungles have a lot of tubers and roots that are filled with water. These come in handy when foraging for clean and safe water to drink. It is best to find larger, thicker ones that have enough water instead of looking for smaller ones. That way you can minimize your movements, exerting yourself less.

Bird and insects:

Flies tend to stay within 100 meters of water. Look out for the iridescent green colored European mason fly because they are always to be found near water bodies. Pigeons are also lovers of water and a good indicator that water is nearby.

Where To Look For Water In Icy Terrain

icy terrain

Bare ice landscape can have limited options

The ice found on Earth is softer and less cold than that found on other planets in our solar system. Our ice is made of numerous grains packed together with a thin film of water running through them and this water can support life. It must however not be fresh sea ice.

Fresh sea ice is saltier because of the concentrated salt droplets are known as brine. This makes it’s undrinkable. Multi-layer ice otherwise known as old sea ice, on the other hand, has lost it’s brine and is safer to drink as it produces potable fresh water. The two can be easily distinguished apart as the old ice has a blue tinge while the new one does not.

You can find portable sea ice from icebergs, river ice and multi-layer ice. However, eating ice and snow is not recommended as it will lower your temperature which is not ideal when you are in survival mode.

How To Know If Water Is Safe To Drink?

The discovery of water can be invigorating but you must refrain from being led by your thirst. You must inspect the water to ensure it is safe to drink before drinking it otherwise you may ingest harmful bacteria and other organisms.

  • It should not be green in color
  • It should not have an odor
  • No carcases in it
  • It must be coming from a source like an underground spring

How To Extract Clean Drinking Water

Even in cases where you find a fountain of clean water or a puddle that is seemingly uncontaminated when in a survival situation it is best to err on the side of caution. You can do this by employing safe water extraction methods. Although, each terrain has its own challenges some methods cut across all the survival scenarios. Let us look at each landscape and the specific methods that work for each.

Extracting Water In the Desert

Condensation:

As you are looking for water in the Desert you will probably come across several dried river beds. These dried up beds of water are actually the best places to find moisture amid the aridity. Through condensation, you can harness a good quantity of clean, safe water from them.

The process

  1. Begin by digging curved holes into the bed. The holes should be over 40 meters in order to reach the subsoil that has the water. Make sure the holes are directly in the sun.
  2. Put green leafy plants into the hole and your container in the centre. The green plants also transpire adding to the water collected.
  3. Spread a taut plastic paper (or raincoat) over the container without covering it. To ensure no gaps are left unsealed use sand to hold the plastic cover in place on the edges. Any holes or gaps mean no water will be collected.
  4. As the water evaporates out of the moist soil and the green plants transpire within the soil, the water produced will condense on the plastic cover and drip into the container.

How effective is this method?

You can survive off this water for as long as you harness the water trapped underneath the river bed. It is clean and safe water although you will need multiple setups to harness an adequate amount of water. This process is also effective in a dune valley where rainwater collects and seeps into the ground.

Extracting water from plants, roots and tubers

In the Desert one of the most popular plants that stores water is the cacti. This prolific plant can hold up to 2000 gallons of water as in the case of the Sahuaro cactus. Although the water is acidic because of the photosynthesis process in the Desert, it can be made drinkable when one boils it. Boiling destroys the malic acid found in some succulent plants like cactus.

The process:

  1. Chooses a thick and turgid limb or part of the stem.
  2. Nick the chosen part with a knife and allow the water to drain into a container.
  3. In case the cacti are low on water cut of a limb and wring the water out. This may be difficult to do because of the prickly nature of the cacti exterior.

How effective is the method?

Cacti are able to store water for prolonged periods of time. The water is safe as with water extracted from the plant as long as it is adequately heated to make it drinkable. In fact, with the cacti, you will have a constant supply of water but you must be careful not to cut it too deep and leave it “bleeding”. It can be like a leaky faucet.

Extracting Water In the Forest

Transpiration

Transpiration on a leaf

This method requires a paper bag for collecting the water as it runs off the plant leaves. However, since you may not have a paper bag or raincoat or any other bag would do just fine.

The process:

  • Choose a green large leafed plant or berry bushes that receive plenty of sunlight. This is because the heat from the sun facilitates more transpiration.
  • Pick a branch with numerous leaves and place the plastic bag or raincoat over it. Secure the either of them very tightly onto the branch to prevent the moisture from escaping.
  • With the covering hanging off the branch the water collected onto the leaves will drain into it providing you with fresh, clean drinking water.

How effective is the method?

Within 4 hours you may have harnessed 1/3 of a cup. However, in order to reap the most benefits from this method, you may need to have paper bags or other coverings over several plants simultaneously.

Water extracted from barks, stems, roots and shoots

Stems, barks, roots and shoots from vines and other plants can store water within them. However, with the exception of the bark, the rest should be at least 5cm thick to have enough water.

The process:

  1. Select a vine with limbs measuring at least 5 cm in thickness.
  2. Make an incision to see the color of sap that the plant produces. Milky white sap indicates the plant is poisonous while clear fluid means it is safe to drink from.
  3. Place your container and collect the fluid for drinking or you can suck the water directly with your mouth.

How effective is the method?

This method can produce enough water to last you an entire day. Almost all water extracted from plants is safe to drink with the exception of water from poisonous plants. Because the water is contained within the plant it has no contact with contaminants.

Extracting Water In the Ice

Old ice like ice-bergs and multi-layered ice are sources of water in cold wildernesses because they have lost most of their brine and are able to produce fresh drinking water.

Desalination:

blue ice

Blue tinged ice

Drinking salty water will quickly dehydrate you and leads to death. However, not all ice is useless. Find old ice that has a blue tinge to it and through the process of distillation, you can produce fresh water for drinking.

The process:

  • Find two metallic containers of varying sizes: one large and the other smaller
  • Put salty water into the larger one and drop the smaller container into it ensuring it does not float.
  • Cover both with a lid that sits well onto the larger container but has a low point that drops directly into the top of the smaller container.
  • Begin to gently heat the salt water in the large container so that it can form steam on the lid. Make sure the heat is not too much to boil the water and splash it onto the lid.
  • As the steam forms on the lid, it will run down into the smaller container as fresh water that is drinkable.

How effective is the method?

This is a tried and tested method that produces clean drinking water time and time again. The water that is found within the ice is sufficient to form dense droplets of condensation when heated. Once the items needed are in place it is a highly effective method of extracting water from ice.

Methods Of Purifying Water

When you find yourself working with very limited options of water you can still get water from these sources and purify it for consumption. The key to producing pure water lies in having prior knowledge of the processes and materials you would need.

Water Treatment

It is imperative to treat water that has been found from any source. While you cannot be expected to treat water using modern technology in the wilderness, you can find barks and seeds that can treat water and make it safe to drink. Experimental trials have revealed bark of horseradish or Ben oil tree (Moringa Oleifera), the Barbados nut (Jatropha curcas) and the Guar or cluster bean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba) can treat water.

Water Filtration

It can be hard to distinguish lethal bacteria in water just by looking at it. The pine tree has been proven in studies to trap bacteria found in water when water is filtered through sticks derived from the tree. According to a team of MIT scientists, this filtration method can produce up to 4 litres of fresh, uncontaminated water daily. The small sized pores in the sapwood can prevent over 99% of the bacteria E. coli from passing through.

Boiling

Heat is a great way to kill bacteria and other microorganisms in water. You must, however, ensure the water boils properly and is not just heated up.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed our guide to finding water in a survival situation.

Understanding the need for basic survival skills is the beginning of preparing yourself for a survival situation.

Our point? Survival skills are not complicated, but being informed and prepared is essential.

What did you think of the guide? Or maybe you have a question. Either way, us know in the comments below.