School Bans Kids From Touching Snow Because They Might Get Hurt

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School Bans Kids From Touching Snow Because They Might Get Hurt

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Children at a British school are no longer allowed to touch snow in the name of safety.

“The rules are don’t touch the snow,” head teacher (principal) Ges Smith told the TV show Good Morning Britain. “If you don’t touch the snow you’re not going to throw it.”

Smith is afraid that kids who touch snow might start making snowballs and tossing them at each other, The Telegraph reported.

Smith, of Jo Richardson Community School in Dagenham, East London, became an object of scorn in the UK after the media learned about the ban.

“It only takes one student, one piece of grit, one stone in a snowball in an eye, with an injury and we change our view,” Smith said.

Smith is standing firm on the ban. He called the snow touching ban a “duty of care issue.”

Snow makes kids wet and “unfit for school,” Smith complained. He also claimed to be protecting the school from a lawsuit.

Even Piers Morgan thought Smith went too far with the ban. The outspoken host complained that Smith’s “duty of care” would leave kids “unprepared for life,” The Telegraph noted.

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Underground Greenhouse Produces Tomatoes Year-round (VIDEO)

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An underground greenhouse makes a lot of sense in the arid climate of New Mexico. I came across a super-effective and simple Walipini-inspired greenhouse that was homemade by Mark Irwin.

Check out this video where Mark shows you what he has been doing and how he is making a small side income by selling tomatoes to the Albuquerque market year-round.

I am a big proponent of lots of little side-income businesses. Diversity ensures there is always something coming in.

Note that I’ve put the reference Mark mentions down below the video.

Enjoy—and comment! We love to hear from you.

Here is the link to download the excellently written PDF on “Constructing A Walipini Pit Underground Greenhouse”


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(This post was originally published on August 4, 2017.)



The post Underground Greenhouse Produces Tomatoes Year-round (VIDEO) appeared first on The Grow Network.

5 Reasons To Apply Mulch Before The Snow Flies

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5 Reasons To Apply Mulch Before The Snow Flies

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Mulch? In the winter? You betcha.

Mulches — particularly organic ones — are gardening stars. But when mulches are touted, we usually hear about benefits that are specific to the growing season. Mulches, Wikipedia tells us, “retain moisture in the soil [which is particularly helpful during droughts], suppress weeds, keep the soil cool, and make the garden bed look more attractive.” Right. So what’s the point of mulching in the winter? There are actually five very worthwhile reasons to spread some mulch before the snow flies.

1. Extending the Growing Season

Mulching before the ground freezes helps keep the soil warmer, which prolongs your growing season. This is especially valuable for cool-weather root crops. When mulched, veggies like beets, parsnips, carrots, kohlrabi, radishes and turnips can survive hard frosts.

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You can certainly fork up all your root vegetables before any frost, but it pays to leave them in the ground. These vegetables increase their sugar production as a natural response to the cold. Since sugar freezes at a lower temperature than water, the sugars act as a kind of natural antifreeze. As might be expected, the sugars also increase the sweetness and flavor of these vegetables, making a late harvest extremely worth your while. However, a word of caution: If you live in a cold zone where the ground freezes through, you should fork up your root vegetables before a serious cold spell. Otherwise, you’ll need a pickaxe out there!

2. Protecting Perennials

When I think about mulching perennials for the winter, my mind goes to flowers. But, of course, there are perennial herbs and vegetables, too. Artichokes, asparagus, horseradish, rhubarb and sunchokes would appreciate a toasty layer of mulch, as would any herbs that function as perennials in your hardiness zone. And don’t forget about your berries, especially the low-growing strawberries.

3. Minimizing Frost Heave Damage

While mulch protects perennials against extreme weather, it can also prevent root damage caused by frost heave. As unprotected soil goes through freeze/thaw cycles, it expands when its moisture freezes. This expansion can push the soil upwards and may push plant roots up at the same time. If the exposed root freezes, it can be damaged. Mulch moderates soil temperature so that the freeze/thaw cycles aren’t as marked or as frequent, minimizing heave.

4. Improving the soil

Any type of mulch can help protect soil from the heavy winter rains and excessive snowmelt that can cause soil erosion and compaction. And, of course, organic mulches improve the soil by releasing nutrients and organic matter as they break down. This is true regardless of whether the mulch is applied in late fall or during the growing season.

That said, certain types of mulches are more beneficial to both soil and plants if they’re applied in late fall or winter. As this article points out, woody mulches (wood chips, bark, or sawdust) need nitrogen in order to break down. When applied in the summer, woody mulches can tie up the soil’s nitrogen resources as they decompose, making that nitrogen unavailable to plants in the area. But if woody mulch is applied in late fall or winter, it will begin breaking down before plants need the soil’s nitrogen resources.

5. Suppressing weeds

One of the best things about mulch is its ability to suppress weeds. It may seem pointless to apply mulch in the winter for weed control. But come spring, that mulch will be covering the last season’s weed seeds, preventing them from sprouting.

Choosing Winter Mulch

The nifty thing about mulching for winter is that there’s plenty of free mulch for the taking. Leaves, of course, are naturally abundant at this time of year, but you can use other yard and garden debris too including grass clippings, pine needles, evergreen branches and boughs, and pulled vegetable plants that are destined for the compost bin. As an added benefit, garden debris provides a cozy habitat for crickets, which enjoy chowing down on weed seeds.

In addition to free mulches in your own yard, check with stores and businesses that use straw bales for fall decor. Once the cardboard turkey and maple leaf displays get the heave-ho, the straw bales will need to go somewhere, too. Why not pop them into your garden instead of into the trash? (Be wary of hay bales, though, which contain more weed seeds than straw bales.)

Applying Winter Mulch

As stated above, applying mulch before the ground freezes can extend your growing season and contribute to better tasting root vegetables. On the flip side, applying winter mulch before winter is here to stay can attract nesting rodents. When you apply winter mulch in your own garden comes down to personal choice. Consider what type of mulch you’re applying and what your primary reason is for mulching. If you mainly want to extend the growing season, then it makes sense to mulch before the ground freezes. But if you’re mulching to suppress weed growth in the spring, then waiting for the ground to freeze is the better option.

Once you actually start mulching, aim for a depth of about 6-12 inches. If you live in a blustery, wintry zone and you’re using lightweight mulch like shredded leaves or straw, it’s a good idea to cover that mulch to prevent it from blowing away. Use an old bed sheet or, if you use them, a fabric row cover, and anchor that fabric with bricks, logs, or ground staples.

Have you ever used mulch during winter? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:


Top 5 Creative Uses for Snow

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Top 5 Creative Uses for Snow Those of us who live in the North or in high altitudes are all too familiar with the abundance of snow that comes along during the winter months. Snow can prove to be a bit of an annoyance, especially for those of us who are generally isolated, or have …

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Surviving Iceland: My #1 Survival Concern

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surviving iceland

When my family spent 2 weeks in Iceland this past fall, surviving cold weather was my top concern. Coming from Arizona and now Texas, I tend to go overboard when it comes to preparing for cold weather and packing for this trip was no exception. I knew that our first and most important prep was our bodies — packing the right type of shoes and clothing to keep us warm from the skin out.

Start with your skin

No matter what the temperature and weather conditions are, get ready at the skin, or base, layer. My favorite base layer is made of silk — my ancient “silkies” from REI. They’ve been in my dresser drawer for about 30 years and still get the job done. Silk is an excellent fabric for a base layer and when used as long underwear, they’re comfy. I like the fact that the next layer of clothing glides over the silk fabric. The one downside to silk is that it’s best for moderately cold temperatures, as I learned in Iceland. There, I layered my silkies with fleece lined tights and kept pretty warm.

If you opt for a different fabric, consider synthetic fibers or Merino wool. Of the 2, I greatly prefer wool. As I learned with my wool socks, you can wear them again and again and again without much worry about body odor, a feature you won’t find with synthetic fibers or silk. However, Merino wool can be very expensive. I bought my Merino base layer top on clearance at REI, and even then, it was about $50. If you tend to get and stay cold or spend a lot of time in cold weather, it would be a worthy purchase.

Caps, scarves, jackets, and longjohns!

One final consideration with this base layer, or layers, depending on the weather, is your own tendency to be cold or on the hot side. My poor daughter had a tougher time in the chilly Iceland outdoors than I did because she is pretty much permanently cold! In her case, a heavyweight base layer would be best. Just read the labels and look for the words “heavyweight” or a “midweight”, if you’d like something slightly lighter.

I mentioned fleece lined tights and these are a wonder! From the moment I put them on, I knew my world was permanently rocked. Not only did they feel great, but I could wear them under jeans, my silkies, ski pants, or anything else. They even look good worn with a skirt, and, if worn as leggings, they’re suitable for cool weather just about anywhere. No need to hoard them for Arctic blasts!

Not all brands are the same, so try one brand first before buying additional pairs. We started with an and actually prefer those to the Muk-luk brand we purchased later.

Your feet are next

If your base layers are keeping your body warm, socks and shoes are the next most important consideration. If you were to splurge on any one thing for cold weather survival, it would be socks and shoes. You can trudge an awful long way if your feet are warm and comfortable, and you can pick up good quality coats and jackets at second hand stores, but that isn’t nearly so easy when it comes to shoes.

surviving icelandI highly recommend getting waterproof boots, even if you aren’t anticipating being in wet weather. If you buy a great pair of boots or heavy walking shoes, they’ll last for years, if not decades. You never know what weather conditions you’ll encounter in that time, so you might as well plan for protection from wet weather.

When I bought my most recent pair of boots, I knew I was making an investment. I went to 2 different stores, tried on maybe half a dozen different pairs and settled on a pair of KEENs. I love them. Now that I’m back in civilization and far from fjords and glaciers, I still wear them every chance I get. I paid right around $165 for them and expect them to last until I die. Seriously. My daughter’s Vasque boots are as beloved to her.

Shopping for these boots, I asked the salesperson to point out which boots were waterproof and we based our decisions on those. You’ll also need to decide if you want low or high tops. I wanted a little more ankle support, so I went with high tops.

If you already have boots but they aren’t waterproof, pack a tube of multi-purpose Shoe Goo, or spray them with a waterproofing spray. I recommend keeping these in your emergency kit or glove box, since you’ll most likely encounter wet conditions away from home.

Add 2 or 3 pairs of wool blend socks, and you’re set. Personally, that’s my first and only choice. They are soft and cushy, incredibly comfortable, and I can wear them for days without them stinking. That’s pretty remarkable. Smartwool is an excellent brand, but on the expensive side, and as you’re shopping for them, you’ll find some pretty cute vintage designs. Wool blends usually include some spandex, a little nylon, but steer away from blends that include cotton.

Now for the rest of you

If your feed are solidly shod in wool socks and comfortable, waterproof boots, you are well on your way to comfortably endurng chilly, winter weather. Now it’s time for layers of clothing.

Around my house, jeans are #1 for every single season. Right now as I type this, I’m wearing jeans and without looking, I’ll be at least one other family member is, too. For cold weather, though, we had to change our tune. My husband and daughter packed one pair of jeans and wore them with base layers, Propper longjohns for him, but most of the time was spent wearing lighter, quick-dry pants.

surviving icelandThose lightweight pants over our base layers did very well for this particular autumn trip, and on the coldest days and nights, we wore 2 base layers each! The lighter weight pants allowed for freer movement. Since we weren’t in full winter weather yet, we didn’t need anything heavier, but if we did, I’d opt for wool pants and a pair of waterproof pants. Iceland has thousands of waterfalls around the entire island and hiking to them can be a wet adventure. Another popular activity is glacier hiking which, again, brings the opportunity to be cold and wet!

Those wool pants should be maybe one size bigger to allow for some shrinkage as well as the layers you may wear underneath. Here’s some more excellent advice for choosing cold-weather pants.

Surviving Iceland from the waist up!

Looking back, it’s funny that I never tired of gearing up every morning for cold weather. I naturally like chilly days, but growing up in the Southwest and most days wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and flip-flops, you might think all the layering would grow tiresome, but it didn’t. It was just a part of our day, getting ready to enjoy something new in the gorgeous Iceland countryside.

surviving icelandPrior to our trip, my final investment piece was a water-resistant softshell jacket lined with a very thin fleece. Made by Marmot, it has numerous features that helped me adapt to wet weather and super chilly nights. It even has an inner band that snaps around my hips to prevent cold air from traveling up through the bottom of the jacket. Bright raspberry red insured that I couldn’t get lost from my family, at least not easily!

A softshell jacket is breathable, wick sweat away from your skin, and are comfortable in all kinds of temperatures. My son’s Marmot jacket was pricey but it built to last, even with growth spurts. The fact that it was a bright tomato red helped identify his location on so many occasions. He was entranced with being outside in a gorgeous environment and tended to wander away, down the sides of cliffs, up mountainsides, enjoying some solitude.

surviving iceland

As far as other layers went, we wore combinations of t-shirts (both long sleeve and short sleeve), wool tops, and anything else we happened to have. I knew that our base layers, socks, boots, and jackets would do most of the work in keeping us warm, so we were more casual with our shirts.

Finishing off our daily ensembles were warm gloves, knitted caps and scarves. As a souvenir, I purchased an Icelandic wool scarf and wore it constantly. I was amazed by how warm it kept my neck. This is that exact scarf! Caps kept our heads warm — a necessity, and was the final piece of clothing I put on every day. Since we were sleeping in a camper van, I often went to sleep at night with it on my head! Here’s a pick of the inside of that van. GoCampers was the company we selected, and they were terrific to work with.

surviving iceland

If you can stay warm in Iceland…

…you can stay warm anywhere! If we ever really want a cold weather challenge, we’ll head over there during the winter where icy winds are powerful enough to knock cars off the roads! In fact, on our first night in our camper van, the winds howled so loudly that I was convinced we were in the middle of a hurricane.

surviving icelandThe payoff for all this cold weather preparation? Incomparable beauty. Again and again and again we commented to each other how no photograph could ever capture the beauty that we discovered every mile along the way. On 3 special occasions, we were treated to the indescribable experience of the Northern Lights, once from our airplane flying in to Keflavik. Yes, we got to see endless miles of the lights. What a great memory.

surviving iceland

Life is about making memories with the people you love, and what made this trip so special was not only the beauty and being with family, but the fact that we were equipped and prepared to fully ENJOY the experience and not huddled in front of a tiny space heater!

On to the next adventure…

Prepping Guide for Winter Survival

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Even the most prepared of families can fall on hard times when winter comes. Depending on where you live in the world, winter can mean extreme cold temperatures, harsh winter storms, and complete lack of food resources. This can add up to life-threatening situations, which is why prepping for winter should be at the top of everyone’s list. Here are some of the best tips to keep in mind for making the most of winter survival.


This is possibly the most important factor in preparing for the winter. The cold can totally incapacitate, and even kill a person, in a matter of a few hours. Preventing yourself from exposure to the cold is the first step in winter survival. Cold can make a person’s immune system more vulnerable to pathogens, so keeping warm enough will keep you healthy.

Make sure that you and your family have the right kind of winter clothing. The best possible option combines both price and utility, and wool fits the bill for both of those categories. Wool is an incredible material all around. Naturally resistant to bacterial growth, it can be worn consecutively for days, even weeks, at a time and will not be hazardous to your health or hygiene. It is the most effective fiber at keeping skin warm, especially when acting as a base layer.

To stay warm – have multiple layers available. Wool base layers, followed by a clothing layer, then a core warmer (like a vest), and an outer sweater. A jacket on top of that, along with a hat, gloves, and warm socks, and any human can stay warm in even the harshest cold weather. Additionally, warming packets can be added to pockets, gloves, and socks. Clothing should fit well to prevent heat loss. If you live around rain and/or snow, then a waterproof layer is a must. None of the warmest clothing will work if you can’t keep it from getting wet. And wet + cold is a recipe for serious trouble. Stay warm and dry!

Additional Heat

Most likely, if you live in a place with deep, dark winters, clothing won’t cut it by itself. You will need a way to generate heat to stay warm, especially in the night when temperatures drop to their lowest. Look into purchasing a gas stove, along with extra gas containers. A generator is a basic prepping piece of equipment, and can also be used to power heating devices like space heaters.

The other option is to have a good old-fashioned wood fire. The problem with this is that you might not always have dry wood to burn, and it can also attract attention if you are trying to keep a low profile.

Food and Water

Without these two items you will be hurting in no time, so it is important to ensure that you and your family have clean water to drink, and enough food to eat. Water is more of an immediate need, so make sure that you have several options for gathering it. If you live near a stream or river, have multiple filters to use in case one breaks or is lost. Mechanical filters with ceramic filters work the best, and are very price-effective. Have a way to contain water – purchase several jugs that you can store enough water in for a few weeks at least.

Canned food keeps the longest and can be kept for years on end. Make sure that the cans are not dented, which can be a sign of botulism. Have a diverse set of canned foods, from beans to vegetables to canned meats. This way your nutrition will not falter and you will be in the best possible state of health to tackle other survival concerns.

Be sure to stock up on some treats here and there, as this is the best way to boost moral. Candies, chocolate, vape juices can all provide something to create a good mood in the dark and cold of the winter.

Prepping for the winter is a serious task and should take a lot of forethought on your part to make sure you have everything you could possibly need. You know best what your winter conditions are like where you live, so think about possible circumstances that might arise and what you can do to mitigate winter threats. With adequate prepping, you can survive winter in relative comfort and stability.

The post Prepping Guide for Winter Survival appeared first on American Preppers Network.

VIDEO: A Major City Just Got Its First Snowfall, And People Forget How To Drive In It

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The first major snowfall of the year in Montreal last week led to an ultra-slow-motion pileup involving buses, cars and a police cruiser. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured. Let this be your warning: Stay inside when it gets bad out there.

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How To Grow Tomatoes, Outdoors, During Winter

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Winter weather is here, which means it’s time to put away your garden tools and daydream about spring and warmer weather … right? Well, not really. Winter is a great time to continue gardening, as you can grow and harvest dozens of types of vegetables – including certain varieties of tomatoes – outdoors. But you have to know what you’re doing.

Winter gardening is the topic of this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio, as we talk to Caleb Warnock, one of the nation’s foremost experts on the subject and whose Backyard Winter Gardening book is among the best resources on the subject.

After listening to him for five minutes, you’ll understand why people pay to hear him teach.

Caleb shares with us his three favorite wintering gardening methods, and he also tells us:

  • How any homesteader, no matter the location, can grow vegetables during winter.
  • Which vegetable varieties can deliver a harvest within one month.
  • How to grow tomatoes outside during winter – without a greenhouse — and which varieties work best.
  • Which popular winter gardening method he doesn’t

Caleb lives in the foothills of Utah’s mountains; when we spoke with him he had a foot of snow on the ground. In other words, if he can grow food within his frigid climate, then pretty much anyone can … anywhere.

If you have a green thumb and want to try something new this winter, then this week’s show is for you!

Will a Snow Cave Keep You Alive?

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First, let’s define the difference between a snow cave and a Quinzee. A Quinzee is made by shaping snow into a dome-like structure and then hollowing out sleeping quarters inside. The word Quinzee comes from the indigenous peoples of Alaska and Northern Canada.

A snow cave, on the other hand, is typically a hole dug into a large snowdrift or into deep snow. The snow is displaced from its location, in other words. To construct, you simply dig into deep snow to create a sleeping chamber. There are advantages and disadvantages, however to either one. The snow cover and geographic location may determine which one you construct.

If there is not snow deep enough to dig into so you can create space, you would gather the snow up and construct a Quinzee. Whereas, if the ground is well covered in deep snow, then gathering snow to create a dome would not be practical, so instead you would simply excavate the deep snow to make your shelter.

Will Snow Keep You Warm

Snow will keep you warmer, but this does not necessarily mean it will keep you warm enough to survive. Snow is nothing more than frozen ice crystals that can sustain their shape on the ground if the air temperature is below freezing. Snow is also full of air pockets, which will benefit you because air pockets do act as an insulator.

Back to the question, will snow keep you alive? If the air temperature is, for example, -15° F then you would have a very difficult time surviving unprotected, but what if you could increase the air temperature to let’s say 32° F. You would have a much easier time surviving right, of course, you would.

A snow cave or Quinzee if done correctly can maintain an inside temperature of 32° F or even warmer, and this even if the air temperature outside is minus 30° F. Your world just became much warmer, but you can easily succumb to hypothermia at this temperature without the proper protection.

It is assumed you would have cold weather clothing, sleeping materials, and a ground cloth or ground insulators to raise you off or to protect you from the cold ground. You would also need a way to block cold air from entering the entrance.

You need ventilation holes as well and possibly a chamber dug lower than the one you plan to sleep in. A lower chamber would allow the colder air in your chamber to settle away from your body.

Anytime you burrow into the snow, you stand the chance of becoming trapped and dying. A snow dome or Quinzee can collapse as well, but the volume of snow would be likely less than if, you dug 4 or 5 feet into a snow bank. Having your snow shelter collapse is a very real possibility. Ensure you have a shovel inside, poles long enough to poke air holes up through the snow with, and a personal beacon to alert others as to your location.

Having a shelter that protects against cold winds, rain or snow will dramatically increase your chances of survival.

You need insulation between your body and the cold ground or snow cover. Pine boughs, leaves, sticks, and/or ground insulators you brought with you will be needed. The heat generated by your body would conduct to the colder ground as you slept.

Hot food and liquids will be needed as well as clean drinking water. Dehydration is a problem regardless of the air temperature, and your body may not signal that it is thirsty, so it is important you drink water throughout the day, and especially during meals to help the digestive process. Empty your bladder before going to sleep and always eat before going to bed. The digestive process helps maintain your body’s core temperature.

Ground insulation is important, so you must pay particular attention to it. A sleeping bag is not enough between you and the cold ground.

The post Will a Snow Cave Keep You Alive? appeared first on Preparing for shtf.

Winter Survival

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Winter Survival Josh “7 P’s of survival” Listen in player below! In this episode of the 7 P’s of Survival Radio Show we will be talking all things winter survival and preparedness. While we are all most likely a few weeks away from out first major winter storm now is the time to stock up. Get … Continue reading Winter Survival

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Disaster Preparedness for Your Family

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No matter where you live, your home is at risk for some kind of natural disaster. Whether you’re on the earthquake-prone west coast or right in the heart of tornado alley, it’s crucial to learn how to prepare your home and family for possible disaster. Disaster preparedness is crucial when it comes to taking care of your family. Here are a few ways to ensure your entire family stays safe in the event of a weather emergency:


  1. Make a family emergency preparedness plan.

Not only is it important to sit your family down and discuss exactly what to do in the event of an emergency, it never hurts to have a tangible copy to refer to in the moment. Natural disasters are hectic and panic has a way of making you forget what you’re supposed to do, so having a reference is always a good idea. Create an emergency preparedness plan with your family that covers all the potential disasters for your area. Where should your kids take cover in the event of an earthquake? Does your spouse know where the emergency flashlights are? Do you have a designated emergency contact your children can reach out to if you’re unavailable when disaster strikes? Keep hard copies for emergency reference, but make it a constant conversation to refresh everyone’s memories.


  1. Take special considerations for children.

You’ll want to make sure your kids understand the gravity of a true emergency and the importance of acting quickly and appropriately. If you live in the country, your kids should know that the second they hear tornado sirens while in the backyard playing, they can’t waste a single second in dashing to the basement. If you live in the city, talk about “safety spots” near their school — like a trusted friend or family member’s house — they can go in case getting home amid the chaos simply isn’t possible. Make sure they understand that their safety should never be compromised under any circumstances; not even to save your garden from ferocious hurricane winds.


  1. Buy a few medical books.

You never know what injuries may occur, so stock up on some emergency medical books — don’t rely on a smartphone’s access to the internet or a tablet having enough charge to pull up the information. A few books on basic first aid, sterilization, and emergency care, as well as any applicable pet emergency care literature should be enough to keep you prepared. This is especially important if you live in a secluded, rural area and rescue crews may take longer to reach you in an emergency. One of the best medical books you can add to your household is “The Survival Medicine Handbook” by Dr Joe Alton and Nurse Amy Alton. Also known as Dr.Bones and Nurse Amy they focus on teaching people how to deal with emergencies in laymen terms so we all get it.


  1. Prepare your pets.

Ideally, your pet is micro-chipped with up-to-date information, but never underestimate the power of his collar and ID tags; these items can be a major help to getting him back if he runs away or becomes lost in a crisis. Keep in mind that even if you live in a residential suburb where most people know your pet, he could wander farther than you expect and without tags, a rescuer may assume he’s a stray. You should also make sure his leash and carrier are somewhere easily accessible should you need to evacuate the house in a hurry.


  1. Practice, practice, practice.

Practice safety drills in your home on a regular basis. Switch up the times of day and situations in which you alert your family to a practice emergency, including during meals and smack dab in the middle of game night. Go over what to do in situations away from home so that even if you’re somewhere unfamiliar on vacation, everyone will know what to do should emergency strike.


When it comes to floods, hurricanes, blizzards, and all of their havoc-wreaking cousins, there’s no such thing as “too prepared”!

The post Disaster Preparedness for Your Family appeared first on American Preppers Network.

The Tougher-Than-Nails Cold-Weather Vegetable That Can Survive SNOW

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The Tougher-Than-Nails Cold-Weather Vegetable That Can Survive SNOW

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Kale is a tough, cold-hardy member of the cabbage family, but kale grown in cool, frosty weather is amazingly sweet. If you already harvested a crop of kale you planted during spring (or even if you didn’t!), you can plant a fresh crop in late summer or early autumn. If you live in a warm climate, you can plant kale as late as October.

Although kale tolerates frosty weather, it grows best where temperatures don’t drop into the teens. If this is a possibility, then plant kale in a cold frame, or protect the plants with row covers. Consider planting fast-growing cultivars such as Red Russian or White Russian, cold-hardy varieties ready as soon as 40 days. The plants may stall if days are hot, but the kale will take off and grow like crazy when the temperatures drop.

Looking For Non-GMO Kale Seeds? Get Them From A Company You Can Trust!

Seeds are slow to germinate outdoors when days are still warm, so pick up a few seedlings at your local garden center, or start seeds indoors four to six weeks ahead of planting time.

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Kale isn’t difficult to grow. Here’s a few tips to get started.

  • Although kale prefers at least six hours of sun, the plant will tolerate partial shade, especially in hot climates.
  • Soil for kale should be moist and well-drained but never soggy.
  • Enrich the soil with an inch or two or compost, well-rotted manure or other organic material.
  • Plant the seedlings at about the same depth they’re situated in the nursery container, but definitely no higher than the lowest set of leaves.
  • Allow 12 to 15 inches between each plant and 18 to 24 inches between rows. You can also stagger the plants, which saves space in a small garden
  • Mulch the kale plants lightly when the plants are about 6 inches tall to keep the soil moist and maintain an even soil temperature. Mulch also keeps weeds in check and prevents mud from sticking to the leaves.
  • Provide 1 to 1 ½ inches of water per week, unless it rains.
  • Feed the plants about halfway through the growing season, using a balanced commercial fertilizer, diluted solution of fish emulsion, or manure tea.
  • Control aphids or flea beetles with an insecticidal soap spray. Never spray plants on hot, sunny days, or if you notice bees, ladybugs or other beneficial insects on the plant.
  • Hand-pick larger pests such as cabbage worms, cutworms or cabbage loopers. You can also spray the pests with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), a natural, bacterial pesticide that kills pests without harming beneficial insects.
  • Harvest kale after one or two light frosts, as kale needs frosty nights to convert the starches into natural sugar. You can even harvest kale when the plants are covered with snow!
  • Pick leaves around the outer edge of the plant. Leave the terminal bud at the top, center of the plant if you intend to continue harvesting. Be sure to pick kale before the leaves get old and tough. If this happens, toss them on the compost heap.

Kale is a vegetable that gardeners even in the harshest climates enjoy. Get planting!

What advice would you add for growing kale? Share it in the section below:

Bust Inflation With A Low-Cost, High-Production Garden. Read More Here.

Start Prepping For ‘Downright Frigid Weather’ This Winter, Says The Farmers’ Almanac (Which Is About 80 Percent Accurate)

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Start Prepping For ‘Downright Frigid Weather’ This Winter, Says The Farmers’ Almanac (Which Is About 80 Percent Accurate)

WASHINGTON – If you hate winter, then you might want to avoid the newest Farmers’ Almanac long-range forecast.

The 2017 Farmers’ Almanac, released Monday, predicts that the upcoming winter will be far worse than last year’s winter for much of the country. Although such long-range forecasts are sometimes ridiculed by modern-day scientists, many Farmers’ Almanac readers say the forecasts are 80-85 percent accurate, according to officials with the publication.

The long-range forecast uses a nearly 200-year-old formula that is based on math and astronomy.

“While last winter was a reprieve from shoveling and high fuel bills, the party is over,” the Farmers’ Almanac website says. “According to the 2017 Farmers’ Almanac, ‘winter is back!’’”

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A strong El Niño that made last year’s winter rather mild is now gone, says Farmers’ Almanac editor Peter Geiger.

The newest forecast predicts that “exceptionally cold, if not downright frigid weather will predominate over parts of the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, Midwest, Ohio Valley, the Middle Atlantic, Northeast, and New England this winter,” according to the website. Also, “shots of very cold weather will periodically reach as far south as Florida and the Gulf Coast.”

It also predicts “some snow and cold conditions in mid-November in the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Midwest” – although the “frigidly cold temperatures really won’t take hold until much later in the season.”

December and January will bring a “mixed bag of wintry weather.”

“It’s really February when the frigid temperatures take hold (northern tier states could see ambient air temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero!),” the almanac website says. “This is the month you want to make sure your heat works, your long johns are washed, and your slippers are nearby.”

The Farmers’ Almanac says its weather forecast is based on a “specific and reliable set of rules that were developed back in 1818 by David Young, the Almanac’s first editor.”

“These rules have been altered slightly and turned into a formula that is both mathematical and astronomical,” the website says. ‘The formula takes things like sunspot activity, tidal action of the Moon, position of the planets, and a variety of other factors into consideration.”

Are You Prepared For A Downed Grid? Read More Here.

The Best Footwear For TEOTWAWKI

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Footwear For TEOTWAWKII have wanted to write an article on boots and shoes for some time now, but I see and hear so many different opinions that I have not been sure of exactly what to say. After thinking about it for a while, I have come to the conclusion that there is no one brand or type of boot that I can recommend over every other. There are many good shoes and boots for TEOTWAWKI, so I am going to give you some general guidelines.

Because of where I live, I have good military style boots, but also snow boots and several pairs of running/hiking shoes. My wife has a good selection of boots, snow boots and running/hiking shoes.

boots for TEOTWAWKI

The pair of boots on the left are the only one that I paid full price for.

In addition, we both have our everyday shoes.

When it comes to boots, I look for several things:

  • Good ankle support. I like at least an 8-inch boot that will keep me from twisting an ankle when in the mountains.
  • Comfort. A boot needs to fit you well; they should not cause blisters or hot spots. They need to be well broken in. Put some miles on them and learn what type of socks work best for you in different types of weather. Generally, wool socks will be best, although nowadays, even athletic socks are hi-tech, with breathability and wicking technology. Smartwool is one brand that is highly recommended.
  • Warm and dry. You should have boots that are suitable for the weather and terrain in which you live. I have not yet found one pair of boots that will work for winter and summer in the mountains. The best compromise that I have found is a good pair of insulated leather boots similar to my Danners. They are comfortable most of the year, although in the middle of summer they can be a bit warm and in the deep snow not as warm as I’d like. When shopping for boots, buying a waterproof pair is generally the best way to go, regardless of the season.
  • Long lasting.  First, buy good quality leather boots, and avoid boots from China and the cheaper discount houses. Second, you have to take care of them. Here is a link to a post I wrote on Preserving your Leather Boots.

I keep several pairs of boots for different weather, terrain, and comfort. I have four pairs of leather boots and a couple of pairs of snow boots. Three pairs of my leather boots came from garage sales, which are a great source for finding prepping treasures.

The only ones I bought new were the Danners. The other three pair cost a couple of bucks each.  One is a pair of Wellco lightweight boots, a second pair came from a returning serviceman and are good, well-insulated boots that were brand new when I got them. The third pair is older non-insulated military issue boots. This lets me wear boots that are appropriate to the weather and to rotate them.

If you live in snow country, get boots that are suitable for where you live and travel. I always take a good pair of snow boots when going up into the mountains in the winter.

Beyond boots, you should have several pairs of good serviceable running/hiking shoes, what we used to call “tennis shoes”. For everyday use around your home, these are comfortable. If you have to travel cross county you can carry a lightweight pair of these for extra shoes. These are good for sneaking around in the brush; they make less noise than heavy leather boots.

If you are thinking about picking up inexpensive shoes in garage sales for future trade stock, concentrate on women’s shoes. Most men have at least one pair of boots and tennis shoes. When I look in a women’s closet all I see are high heels and little light shoes that would wear out very fast.

Buy the best shoes and boots for TEOTWAWKI that you can afford and wear them enough to know that they are comfortable and are well broken in. A few extra accessories to have on hand are Shoe-Goo, inserts to help with arch support and overall comfort, extra shoelaces in the necessary lengths, and, always, a few extra pairs of good quality socks.


UPDATED July 28, 2016

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5 Things to Include in Your Evacuation Plan

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5 Things to Include in Your Evacuation Plan

While it may seem unlikely that something like a flood, hurricane, tornado, or wildfire would impact your neighborhood, the rate of natural disasters is actually increasing. While you can’t prevent a disaster from impacting your region, you can plan your response and evacuation plan in advance.

Your Family Needs a Plan

It doesn’t matter if you live on the East Coast, West Coast, or smack dab in the middle of the country, disaster can strike anywhere. From earthquakes on the West Coast and hurricanes on the East Coast to tornadoes in the Midwest, a natural disaster is always a possibility. Throw in things like floods and wildfires and your life very well may depend on how prepared you are.

Specifically, your family needs a disaster preparedness plan. To help keep your family safe and prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way, let’s highlight some of the things that need to be included in this plan.

  1. Have an Evacuation Plan

The first key to any disaster preparedness plan involves having a specific and clear evacuation plan. This is especially true when it comes to flooding.

“Know your neighborhoods safe routes and the surrounding area,” says Lani Testa of My Plumber CA, an industry leading company with more than 25 years of experience. “Draw or write up an emergency evacuation plan and go over it with your family. Don’t forget to include your pets in your plan!”

The best way to find evacuation routes is to walk around your neighborhood and make note of elevation changes, pathways, and key intersections. If your property is located in a low area, knowing the quickest way to higher ground can literally save your life.

  1. Give Everyone Responsibilities

Every member of the family needs to have specific responsibilities during a disaster. For example, one parent may be responsible for getting the children ready, while another may be tasked with packing a bag and gathering the pets. Children can have responsibilities, too. When everyone has a role, the evacuation goes much smoother.

  1. Know Where to Go

Evacuating your home in the event of a natural disaster is one thing, but where will you go? The most irresponsible thing you can do is leave home without a plan for finding shelter and safety.

In your evacuation and preparedness plan, identify locations of nearby shelters, safe houses, and hotels. And don’t rely on GPS to get you there. Since cell phone towers and data networks may be down during a disaster, you’ll need physical maps and addresses.

  1. Take Special Needs Into Account

Sometimes evacuating your home isn’t straightforward. “Kids, infants, people with disabilities and seniors may all need special considerations while planning for an emergency,” says Katherine Boehrer of The Huffington Post. “If you or a family member need medication or special equipment, make sure you have a plan to bring it with you. Talk to your neighbors about how you can help one another in a disaster, and check on each other in case of an emergency.”

  1. Contact Information

As mentioned, your cell phone and internet-powered devices may not work during an emergency. As such, it’s important that you know the contact information of friends and relatives – both locally and out of town – so that you can reach out to them if need be.

Keep Your Family Safe

It’s your responsibility to protect your family, even in the wake of an unforeseen emergency or natural disaster. While you can’t stop a disaster, you can control how you respond. By developing a disaster plan and teaching your family how to respond, you can ensure your family is prepared for whatever happens.

The post 5 Things to Include in Your Evacuation Plan appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Snow Igloo

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Since this was the first time in a LONG time that I had a job that did not find it essential to be in during disasters my family decided to have fun in the snow. The easiest way to do that and still secretly teach WT some skills was to build an igloo. It did not take much to build besides a shovel, a 5 gallon bucket, and a lot of snow.  Basically all we did was shovel snow into a bucket and lightly tamp it down just like making a sandcastle. We then upended the bucket and let the

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April Snow to Resurge Across the Midwest, Eastern US this Weekend

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Survival World News

By Alex SosnowskiAccuWeather

Another shot of cold air lunging across the midwestern and eastern United States by this weekend will cause the chance for another round of spring snow to increase in both regions.

Rounds of snow have been frequent visitors to the Great Lakes and Northeast in recent days.

Additional snow will not only fall on parts of the Great Lakes and Northeast but also reach into the southern Appalachians around the second weekend of April.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: April Snow to Resurge Across the Midwest, Eastern US this Weekend

Northeastern US: Cold to dominate over spring warmth until late April
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Snowstorm to Eye Northeastern US Coast for Start of Spring

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By Alex SosnowskiAccuWeather

Colder air will return to the northeastern United States by this weekend and will set the stage for snow showers in some locations and a brush with a snowstorm in others.

“We cannot rule out a track that would make it snow in some of the Northeast I-95 cities from Sunday to Monday,” according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

Spring officially starts on Sunday, March 20, hours before the storm is set to arrive.

Continue reading ta AccuWeather: Snowstorm to Eye Northeastern US Coast for Start of Spring

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Cold Air May Set Stage for Snow in Northeastern US This Weekend

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By Alex SosnowskiAccuWeather

Following a mild St. Patrick’s Day, colder air will settle over the northeastern United States this weekend.

The cold air will set the stage for spotty flurries or perhaps a period of heavy snow, depending upon the track of a storm.

Air to turn cold enough for snow

As a result, temperatures from this weekend into much of next week will range from near to slightly below average.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Cold Air May Set Stage for Snow in Northeastern US This Weekend

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Rounds Of Snow Into Weekend May Signal Last Gasp Of Winter In Mid-Atlantic

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By Alex SosnowskiAccuWeather

Cold air will linger into this weekend will contribute to two rounds of snow and slippery conditions along the Interstate 81 and 95 corridors in the mid-Atlantic.

The track, strength and timing of snow of both systems will determine which areas pick up an accumulation on non-paved surfaces, as well as which locations experience slippery travel.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Rounds Of Snow Into Weekend May Signal Last Gasp Of Winter In Mid-Atlantic

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Snow To Linger Across Midwestern, Northeastern US Through Thursday

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By Alex SosnowskiAccuWeather

A multi-faceted storm will continue to deliver snow and a change from rain to snow bringing disruptions to travel and daily activities over part of the midwestern and northeastern United States through Thursday.

Gusty winds accompanied the rain and snow from the storm. Winds gusted between 50 and 60 mph across parts of Illinois and Indiana on Wednesday.

The heaviest snow extended from eastern Illinois to western Indiana and much of Michigan with most areas receiving between 6 and 12 inches of snow.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Snow To Linger Across Midwestern, Northeastern US Through Thursday

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Snowstorm In The Offing For Eastern US Next Week As Cold Air Funnels Into Region

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By Alex SosnowskiAccuWeather

A storm from the Gulf of Mexico will turn northward along the Atlantic Seaboard next week, potentially resulting in a snowstorm for parts of the East.

As colder air returns to the region next week, highs in the 30s and 40s F will replace 50- and 60-degree temperatures.

Just enough cold air may seep in at a key time to allow snow to fall during all or part of the storm from the Appalachians to portions of the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Snowstorm In The Offing For Eastern US Next Week As Cold Air Funnels Into Region

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Hunting 101: How To Track And Find Animals In The Snow

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How To Track Animals In The Snow

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For those of us who live in the North, winter snows bring an unexpected benefit: It is much easier to find and follow animal tracks. If you are a novice tracker, or if you would like an opportunity to deepen your skills, winter is an excellent time. It is possible to find very clear tracks and trails, distinguish regular runs, and even detect how recently an animal traveled by, as determined by the snowfall.

The best tracks are found after a new snowfall, early in the morning as the sun is rising. If you are in a populated area, dogs and people will spoil most trails quite soon after sunrise. In the country, tracks can remain pristine all winter if conditions permit it. You will have to take note of how recently snow and other precipitation falls and learn to read the snow, in order to determine the age of a track. For example: Imagine your region has a powdery snowfall, and then an ice storm, and then a powdery snowfall again. Fresh tracks would be in powdery snow on top of ice. Any frozen tracks would be older than the storm, and probably useless except as a curiosity. Keeping a log of the weather is useful for trackers.

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Image source: NY State Parks

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If you are an absolute beginner, you must first learn which animals make which tracks. Even near your homestead you should see patterns of prints leading in various directions. You may notice animals near tracks, as well. Keep a logbook of tracks, sketching them and noting which animals were nearby, the conditions, and if you could find a trail. You also can purchase a guidebook picturing local animals and their tracks, but you will still need to learn to recognize them in the wild; tracks look differently in snow and mud than on paper.

A hike in the snowy woods should yield many examples of tracks. This, in itself, is excellent fun, and no opportunity to look for prints in the woods should be wasted. Challenge yourself and your family to identify as many of the local animals by track alone as possible. However, identifying animals is only part of tracking; you need more information before you’ll catch anything. After you find an animal track, you must also locate its trail and establish the age of the trail.

Hunting 101: How To Track And Find Animals In The Snow

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In winter, there are many clues offered by following an animal’s trail. In this case, you will be leaving established walking paths and moving into the woods, so exercise caution. It is very easy to become disoriented when you are following tracks. Begin in country in which you are familiar and know the surrounding topography, and travel with at least a basic understanding of orienteering. Never venture into the winter wilderness without proper survival gear. Don’t track bears, wolves, moose, cougars or other large animals without proper training and a firearm. Knowledge of weather won’t hurt, either; suffice it to say it’s better to watch the storm hit from indoors.

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On a fair winter day after snowfall, find a clear track on your normal route, identify it, and begin to follow in its direction of travel. Don’t walk on the tracks, but nearby, marking them in the snow or with blazes on nearby trees. If you plan to hunt, it is valuable to know the behavior of your intended catch. Many animals will travel similar routes, seeking food and especially water. If you find one of these routes, called a run, you likely will be able to find the animal. In the case of small game, you could set traps along a run to catch animals for food; with larger game, you would likely set up a blind for hunting nearby. The real objective of tracking is determining where the animal is, or will be, not where they were.

Another destination that trails may take you is a den or cover. You will know you have found an animal’s home when you see many tracks leading into it — food scraps, droppings, or the den itself. Try not to despoil the area; you don’t want to make your presence felt. It is better to know more about the animal’s whereabouts than it knows about yours. If you find an animal’s home, you can watch the area to find a good location for hunting. Consider hunting a distance away from a den or cover; other animals may use it, and if you hunt there you may drive them away, but if you hunt nearby you may catch more.

With practice and regular travel into the winter woods, you will be able to identify tracks and know the patterns of your animal neighbors – a skill that could prove invaluable one day.

What advice would you add on tracking animals? Share your advice in the section below:

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LIVE: Dozens of crashes reported on icy roads in Pennsylvania, New York

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Survival World News

By Mark Leberfinger AccuWeather

Snow and rain will continue to create hazardous travel across the northeastern U.S. on Tuesday.

Snow will turn to a wintry mix in central Pennsylvania and central New York where icy roads caused multiple accidents early Tuesday morning. Tens of thousands are without power in North Carolina after ice downed trees and power lines.

As rain continues to fall throughout the day, urban flooding may occur from Washington, D.C., to Boston, AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Zapolski said. Any standing water could freeze up on roadways as temperatures drop back to near freezing into Tuesday night.

As the Northeast continues to deal with ice and slipper travel, severe storms blasted parts of the south Tuesday morning. Possible tornadoes were reported in Florida and North Carolina.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: LIVE: Dozens of crashes reported on icy roads in Pennsylvania, New York

Presidents Day snow and…

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LIVE: Snow, Ice Storm Cancels Hundreds Of Flights From North Carolina To DC

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By Katy Galimberti – AccuWeather

A snow and ice storm will spread from Tennessee to Maine and will continue to create dangerous travel conditions on Presidents Day.

The storm led to more than 400 canceled flights at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Ronald Reagan National Airport as of 7:30 a.m. EST Monday morning.

Snow and ice will accumulate in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City before changing over to rain, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Krissy Pydynowski said.

“Several inches of snow will make for slow and slippery travel and disruptions from the Appalachians to portions of western and northern New York,” she said.

Continued coverage at AccuWeather: LIVE: Snow, Ice Storm Cancels Hundreds Of Flights From North Carolina To DC

Presidents Day snow and ice storm to administer wintry travel in much of eastern US
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Late Week Rain, Mountain Snow To End California’s Dry And Unseasonably Warm Stretch

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By Renee Duff – AccuWeather

Following a dry and warm first half of February in California, a shift in the weather pattern will bring the return of rain, mountain snow and cooler conditions Wednesday into Thursday.

“The long stretch of dry and unseasonably warm weather California has been experiencing will change [this week],” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said.

Southern California has experienced the highest temperatures during this stretch. San Diego and Los Angeles have both reached high temperatures of 5-20 degrees above normal for most of the month.

So far this month, the storm track has focused on the Pacific Northwest, allowing California to bask under sunshine and warmth.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Late Week Rain, Mountain Snow To End California’s Dry And Unseasonably Warm Stretch

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Sudden Snow To Quickly Slick Roads, Create Whiteouts From Ohio To New York And Maine

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By Alex SosnowskiAccuWeather

A blast of arctic air will be accompanied by flurries and even a localized wall of snow in some communities in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest at the start of the Valentine’s Day weekend.

Motorists on area highways such as interstates 70, 79, 80, 81 and 90 should be on the lookout for rapidly changing weather conditions from Friday afternoon into Saturday morning. The combination of a weak Alberta Clipper storm and an arctic cold front will cause the snow showers to erupt well away from the Great Lakes.

According to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, while some communities may receive little or no accumulation from the event, a small number of places hundreds of miles from the Great Lakes can be hit by a heavy snow squall.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Sudden Snow To Quickly Slick Roads, Create Whiteouts From Ohio…

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8 Survival Foods You Can Forage For In The Dead Of Winter

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8 'Foods' You Can Find In The Dead Of Winter

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I’ve instructed a number of field classes on foraging for wild foods and have written about it quite a bit, too. The classes always took place in the spring, summer or fall and the articles focused on plants, berries and other wild edibles that were easy to find on a sunny, summer day. But what about winter? Well, I’ve done that, too — and it’s tough.

For the record, we’re talking about serious winter. Not a cold night in the desert or a brisk wind in the southeast. This is below-zero stuff.

It is possible to find food in the winter, but let’s first look at four factors that will complicate your winter foraging:

1. It’s cold. This not only affects what you’re trying to find and gather, but it’ll eventually affect you. Cold also can freeze the ground, which will limit your access to some roots and tubers.

2. There’s snow. Snow covers and obscures many of the things you’ll be looking for. You need to look for clues above the snow. An oak tree is a good indication that acorns may be on the ground under the snow. Some oak trees hold their leaves on their branches over the winter. That helps. We’ll cover some other clues for those snowy days.

3. It’s wet. A lot of us like to harvest cattails in the winter. But sloshing through a foot or two of water and reaching deep into water and mud is going to take its toll on you quickly, if you’re not prepared.

4. Less than 10 percent is still available. If you’re in a winter climate, most stuff is dead or not growing. Your options are limited for any harvest at around 10 percent, depending on where you live.

In winter, we lose some of the indicators that help us find food — especially the prolific appearance of leaves. However, some indicators are still out there.

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8 'Foods' You Can Find In The Dead Of Winter

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I found a grove of wild plums two days ago in late January. I recognized the shape and concentration of the trees, but the real giveaway was the frozen little plums still on their branches. They made a great jelly. Fruits visible on a tree or plant also could include rose-hips, cranberries and crabapples.

Take note of the shape and appearance of bark on trees, especially nut-bearing trees like oak, horse chestnut and black walnut. Take the time to learn and recognize the bark and the physical characteristics of nut-bearing trees. One clue is a squirrel’s nest in a tree — although the squirrel may have gotten too many of the acorns before you arrive.

Some plants continue to photosynthesize under the snow. Scraping the snow might reveal some of this winter treasure, including dandelion, wild onion and chickweed.

Go in the water, but carefully. Water sources have an abundance of food in the winter. If you live by the ocean, tide-pools at low-tide can provide shellfish and plants like kelp or seaweed. Freshwater springs, creeks and ponds often will have stands of cattails, fresh water mussels under the mud and muck, and the occasional crayfish. But you have to be dressed for any water foraging, so let’s get into how to dress and equip for winter foraging.

Here’s what you should look for:

8 Survival Foods You Can Forage For In The Dead Of Winter

Cattails. Image source:

1. Cattails. The roots, when washed and peeled, are an excellent starch source with a potato-like flavor and can be prepared like potatoes. They also can be dried and made into a flour.

2. Acorns, black walnuts and horse chestnuts. These are found on the ground under nut-bearing trees. You should soak them for three days with three changes of water to remove tannins and then either roast them, or boil and dry and grind into flour.

3. Rose hips. Usually bright red and about one-quarter-inch to a half-inch in diameter. Make into a jelly or infuse in a tea. One of the highest sources of vitamin C in the wild.

4. Fresh water mussels. I often encounter these while foraging for cattail roots. They usually grow in beds. Where you find one, you’ll find others. Scrape them up from the mud with your small, hand rake. Wash and scrub carefully and boil until shells open and then boil some more. If they are from a suspected polluted water source, then don’t eat them. In fact, don’t eat anything from a water source that is suspect.

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5. Mushrooms. Curiously resilient even in winter and will sometimes appear after a brief thaw. Look for them on rotting deadfalls. Check out some pictures so you know what you’re eating. Even in winter, some mushrooms are toxic.

6. Wild greens. Dandelion roots and crowns, wild onions, chickweed, wild garlic. They’ll betray themselves with a showing of green under the snow or poking through the leaf litter. Rinse and boil with salt and eat like greens.

7. Watercress. Evident as a large bloom of green flowing in springs and creeks. Easy to harvest in bulk and can be eaten raw as a salad.

8 Survival Foods You Can Forage For In The Dead Of Winter

Crabapples. Image source:

8. Wild fruits like plums and crabapples. Usually apparent still hanging from their trees. Mash into a jelly or strain as a juice blended with water, sugar and boiled.

It goes without saying that you should dress warmly and dress in layers when foraging. There are going to be varying degrees of exertion and rest, and you want to be able to manage your perspiration.

Here are a few more tips that have benefited me when winter foraging:

If I’m going to harvest cattails, that’s usually all I’ll do. I’ll wear water-proof boots and have even donned insulated hip-waders. I also wear heavy-duty rubber gloves that go up to my bicep with a layer of insulated gloves underneath. Rooting around in the mud with your bare hands is going to be a short-term effort in the winter. You also need to harvest a good amount of things like cattails if you’re seriously thinking about making a meal.

The same equipment and preparation applies for looking for mussels, although I’ll bring along my little three-pronged hand rake like I do for wild nuts. I’ll also bring along a five-gallon plastic bucket if I’m foraging in water. It does a better job of containing the residual water, mud and muck.

If I’m going to pursue wild nuts like acorns or black walnuts, I’ll leave the rubber boots and rubber gloves at home, but I’ll make sure I have the small, three-pronged hand rake. Scratching your gloved hand through the snow and leaf-litter will get your gloves wet and not be as efficient as scraping the surface with a small rake and picking out the nuts.

If my goal is to find frozen fruits or berries like rose-hips, wild plums, crab-apples or other frozen fruits, I’ll make sure I have a supply of plastic bags in one-gallon, one-quart and sandwich sizes to contain the fruits. It’ll be a lot easier when you get home to sort and wash the berries or fruits rather than tossing all of them in a side-pack or sack.

If I’m looking for wild, winter-greens, I’ll have some kitchen shears and my little hand rake.  I’ll also have plenty of one-gallon plastic bags. The rake helps to separate the matted greens from the leaf litter and some of the stems can be tough, so the kitchen shears help.

Collecting your foraged foods requires the ability to potentially carry a few pounds or more in a way that keeps them separate and any water or snow contained. I usually have two, canvas side-satchels or even a small backpack. Sometimes I’ll insert a plastic, kitchen-sized garbage bag into the satchels or the backpack, or use the smaller plastic bags to keep things organized and dry. Sometimes, the five-gallon plastic bucket comes along for the hike.

Don’t forget to bring along a bottle of water or two and if you’re going far afield and a small, waterproof survival kit. If you trip and fall into water when it’s 10 below and you’re four miles from anywhere, you’ll need to be able to build a fire fast.

Winter foraging is slim-pickings. I’ve seen too many articles that seem to make this all so easy. It’s tough, it’s cold, and it’s hard work, especially if you’re trying to find any wild plants in winter. But if you know what you’re doing, you can find food … and survive.

Have you foraged during winter? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

Lake-Effect Snow To Blast Great Lakes Snow Belt Into The Weekend

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Survival World News

By Courtney Spamer – AccuWeather

Conditions in the Great Lakes area will bring the chance for lake-effect snow through the end of the week, threatening low visibility and dangerous travel conditions.

On Wednesday night, a storm exiting New England will bring cool winds over the Great Lakes, sparking the start of several days of lake-effect snow.

Later in the week, arctic air will sweep from Canada over the Great Lakes, sending single-digit temperatures into the Midwest and Northeast in time for Valentine’s Day weekend.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Lake-Effect Snow To Blast Great Lakes Snow Belt Into The Weekend

US spring forecast: March snow to threaten Northeast
Waves of arctic air to freeze the eastern US through second weekend of February
Frigid air lands in the Northeast in time for Valentine’s Day weekend

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Filed under: Weather

Snow To Make Roads Slushy, Icy From DC To Philadelphia, NYC Into Tuesday Night

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Survival World News

By Alex SosnowskiAccuWeather

Episodes of snow and slippery travel will affect the mid-Atlantic states and parts of New England through Thursday.

A series of weak storms moving in from the Midwest will spread rounds of snow across the Northeast.

Enough snow will fall to cause slippery roads, airline delays and disruptions to some daily school and work activities.

While the snow through Thursday will be light and intermittent much of the time, there will be a couple of episodes when it can snow hard, almost like a summertime thunderstorm regime.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Snow To Make Roads Slushy, Icy From DC To Philadelphia, NYC Into Tuesday Night

US spring forecast: March snow to threaten Northeast
Waves of arctic air to freeze the eastern US through second weekend of February
New Hampshire Primary 2016: Snow to cause minor issues as voters head to polls on Tuesday

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Filed under: News/ Current Events, Weather

Rounds Of Snow To Create Slick Travel In Northeastern US This Week

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Survival World News

By Alex SosnowskiAccuWeather

While the upcoming weather pattern will not bring 2-3 feet of snow from a single giant storm, rounds of snow from multiple storms will create travel delays in the northeastern United States during the first part of this week.

The episodes of snow will cause slippery roads, airline delays and disruptions to some daily school and work activities, even in the absence of a single major snowstorm.

Snowstorm to blast southeastern New England with heavy snow on Monday

The storm which produced a cold rain and even some wet snow and sleet in the Carolinas on Sunday will swing out to sea, but still catch southeastern New England with snow and wind on Monday.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Rounds Of Snow To Create Slick Travel In Northeastern US This Week

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A Few Tips for Surviving a Blizzard in a Stranded Car

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snowed in carWhen Winter Storm Jonas rolled into the East Coast, everyone knew it was coming, but that didn’t prevent some people from getting caught in the cold. For instance, 500 vehicles on a Pennsylvania turnpike got stuck in traffic during the storm, after several trailer trucks jackknifed on the road. It took 24 hours to clear the turnpike before stranded passengers could go on their way.

Fortunately, this wasn’t in the middle of nowhere, and National Guardsmen could still reach the drivers to deliver essential supplies. But even with their help it was no picnic, and it was still a dangerous situation for all involved. It just goes to show that when a storm is in your path, no matter where you live, you should prepare yourself and your vehicle for the possibility of being stranded in snowy weather. Obviously, the worst case scenario would involve being stranded in a remote area, where you don’t have the benefit of reaching help. Here’s a few of the most important things you should remember if that ever happens to you:

Should You Stay or Go?

Say your car malfunctions, gets stuck, or crashes in a remote area during a blizzard. If there’s nothing you can do to get the vehicle moving again, you have to make the tough decision of whether to stay in the vehicle or to leave and find help (it should go without saying that in this hypothetical scenario, you don’t have a cell phone signal). In most cases, you’ll want to err on the side of staying, unless you know for a fact that you can reach help by foot within an hour or two.

Don’t overestimate your abilities though. Nobody wants to face the possibility of staying in their car for several days or weeks, but many a stranded driver has died over the years, because they left to get help and succumbed to the elements. But before you even consider leaving the house, there’s a few things you should have stocked up in your vehicle.

Basic Supplies

There are some basic, common sense supplies you should have in the trunk or backseat and ways to prime your vehicle for bouts of cold weather. To prepare for being stranded in a vehicle, you need to think about all the things you would take if you were going camping, but minus the tent. Non-perishable food, water bottles, wool and polypro clothing, sleeping bag, hand warmers, tools, first aid kit, etc. The food you take should consist of really high calorie substances, loaded with fats, carbs, and proteins. Just make sure to keep your food and water inside a cooler to prevent them from freezing and swelling (canned foods may not be the best idea).

You’ll also want a bring portable camping stove of some kind, so you can melt snow into drinking water and warm up your food. It’s not uncommon for people to get stranded in their vehicles for more than a few days, and you may not have the space to store enough water for that time frame. Just remember that you can’t use the stove for warmth. Using stoves inside your vehicle could be very dangerous and could cause carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s best to use the camping stove outside and have hand and foot warmers to maintain body heat.

Tools and Signaling

There are a few more items you should keep in your vehicle that you probably wouldn’t take on a camping trip. In all likelihood you won’t be inside your car for every moment of the day, so rubber boots are a must. You should always have road flares on hand, but in this case, you’ll need them to signal any search and rescue teams that might be looking for you. If you keep reflective emergency triangles in your car, those would also be useful for advertising your presence. And finally, you should consider a small or collapsible shovel for digging out your tires, as well as sand or kitty litter to give them traction.


If you decide to hunker down for the night, the first thing you’ll need to do is insulate your vehicle. If you have any newspaper, books you can tear up, or extra blankets, it would be wise to tape them to the windows. However, glass is already a decent insulator, so your highest priority should be to insulate the edges of the doors and windows, or wherever cold air might get in. You could also cut out the stuffing in the seat cushions or use the floor mats.

Alternatively, you can use the snow to your advantage. In 2012, a Swedish man survived alone in his car for two months, despite the temperature falling to -30C . Experts attributed his survival to the fact that his car was buried in snow, which created an igloo effect and kept him warm. It wouldn’t be bad idea to build up a wall of snow around the edges of the car. There is a catch however. If your car is completely walled off then nobody will see you. It would be crazy to completely bury your car, and don’t attempt this unless you have something colorful or reflective to let people know where you are.

Keeping Warm

If your engine is still running, it would be a good idea to turn it on periodically so you can build up some heat in your vehicle. If your car is properly insulated, you may only need to keep the engine idling for 15 minutes at a time, every hour or so. You’ll have to keep it up however, if you want to prevent the fuel lines from freezing over. Just remember to go outside every now and then and clear any snow out of your exhaust pipe. Failure to do so could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

On a final note, it’s best to avoid this kind of situation in the first place. None of us want bad weather to ruin our plans, but when a snowstorm arrives, you should really just hunker down at home and stay off the roads. Keep your vehicle in tip-top shape and make sure your gas tank is full, just in case you absolutely have to drive. Snowstorms aren’t just inconvenient. Any attempt to brave them could prove deadly.

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

El Nino-Driven Storm To Blast California, Southwestern US With Rain And Snow

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Survival World News

By Brett RathbunAccuWeather

Stormy conditions, common of a strong El Niño weather pattern, will make a brief return to Southern California and the southwestern United States this weekend.

This storm will also end the warmth across the region through Saturday by sending temperatures below normal into early February.

How intense this storm will be once it arrives across the Southwest remains in question.

“How heavy the rain, snow and wind get in Southern California will depend on how quickly the storm strengthens as it approaches the coast,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

Showers will make an appearance to San Francisco, Phoenix and Las Vegas. The heaviest rain may fall from Los Angeles to San Diego.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: El Nino-Driven Storm To Blast California, Southwestern US With Rain And Snow

Southwest interactive radar
Ken Clark’s western US blog
Los Angeles steps up efforts to…

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Filed under: News/ Current Events, Weather

Could The Eastern US Face More Snow Later This Week?

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By  – AccuWeather

In the wake of the historic Blizzard of 2016, many in the East may be wondering how long until another snowstorm strikes. It is possible that another targets the Northeast later this week.

Communities still digging out from the blizzard in the mid-Atlantic and far southern New England will welcome a break from powerful snowstorms through at least midweek.

It is not out of the question for cold air to catch up with a band of rain and allow nuisance snow to return to the I-95 corridor late Tuesday night into Wednesday, but the potential for more substantial snow may come later in the week.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Could The Eastern US Face More Snow Later This Week?

Northeast Regional Radar
Brief warmup to aid blizzard recovery across northeastern US
RECAP: Record-breaking blizzard buries mid-Atlantic with over 2 feet of snow

Filed under: News/ Current Events, Weather

6 Recipes You Can Make With Snow (Not Just Snow Cones!)

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6 Recipes You Can Make With Snow (Not Just Snow Cones!) Often when it snows, we are not too happy about it. We have to shovel the driveway and don’t even mention digging your car out of the mountain of snow that has accumulated after a long day at work! It’s always so darn cold. It …

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Think Outside The Shack: Designing A Homemade Ice-Fishing Shelter

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Think Outside The Shack: Design A Homemade Ice-Fishing Shelter

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If you live far enough north that lakes or rivers freeze over winter, it makes sense to fish all winter long when the bounty is available through the ice. While you can go out on the ice without a shelter and fish on a fair day, you will get more fishing days in and be more comfortable while doing it if you have an ice-fishing shelter.

It’s true that you can purchase many ice huts and tents intended for ice-fishing, but for real flexibility you should consider designing a custom shelter that precisely meets your needs.

In reality, you can use almost anything as an ice-fishing shelter if it keeps you warm and meets local building codes. Innovative sportsmen have used recycled trailers, sheds, plastic outbuildings, large crates, and their own construction to create a variety of shelters that do the trick. You don’t need to overthink your ice-fishing shelter. Look around at local classifieds or in your own backyard to find a structure or trailer that you can repurpose. If you can use some repurposed materials, you can quickly and easily construct something that will keep you very comfortable.

New 4-Ounce Solar Survival Lantern Never Needs Batteries!

There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding what will work best for you:


You will want to have room in the walls of your shelter to add some kind of insulation, maybe foam, and to properly insulate any doors or openings. Most ice-fishing shelters also have a stove or other heat source; if you have room in yours, you may want to consider installing a chimney and stove to keep the shelter toasty and provide you with a cooking surface. Wood stoves are common, since propane can create more hazards if not properly ventilated. However, either stove type will need to be used with caution.  Locate your heat source away from your exit, in case of fire.


There are many tiny fishing houses out there, and indeed there is some appeal to the solitude of fishing alone in the peace and stillness of winter. Still, most shelters will accommodate at least one guest. Fold-up benches and tables are nice if you can build them in to your shelter. When you’re alone, you can just fold them away.


If you’re building your shelter, the sky is the limit with how much you can spend on materials, with everything from expensive finishings to gadgetry available on the market. At the lowest end of the cost spectrum, vinyl on a PVC frame will keep you from the wind, but it won’t keep you very warm. For something middle-of-the-road, try plywood sheets, 2x4s, foam insulation and shrink wrap: snug and cheap.


Think Outside The Shack: Design A Homemade Ice-Fishing Shelter

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How will you move your shelter on to the ice? If you are repurposing a trailer, you’re ahead of the game because you’ve got wheels. This gives you a lot of flexibility, since you can easily tow your shelter from place to place to find fish or try a new lake. If your structure doesn’t have wheels, you can build a skid for it, or else mount it with wheels or skis to move it around the ice.  You can even construct a shelter with very light materials and move it from place to place; this is much more labor-intensive, but might be more affordable if you have the materials on hand. No matter what, you will need to consider what will fit in your vehicle and plan accordingly; as a last resort, you can build on the ice, but make sure you pick a good spot, because you’ll be stuck there.

World’s Smallest Solar Generator … Priced So Low Anyone Can Afford It!

You can even construct a shelter with very light materials and move it from place to place; this is much more labor-intensive, but might be more affordable if you have the materials on hand. No matter what, you will need to consider what will fit in your vehicle and plan accordingly; as a last resort, you can build on the ice, but make sure you pick a good spot, because you’ll be stuck there.

Fishing Holes and Fittings

Don’t neglect to consider the logistics of how you are going to fish in your shelter. You’re not just going out on the ice to sit comfortably with a book! Depending on the size of your floor, you may have 1 – 10 holes cut into it and through the ice. Ensure that you have secure covers for these holes to make sure no one steps through them when you’re not fishing.

Other matters to plan for include shelves for drying wet gear, hooks for storing rods when not in use, coolers for fish, and possibly even a cleaning station. Some anglers install entertainment in their ice-fishing huts, such as televisions or games tables; don’t do it at the cost of your fishing.

Once you’ve got something practical and workable, don’t be afraid to add a little flair. There is real creativity out on the ice, with everything from whale-shaped ice shelters to geodesic domes to mural painting expressing the wit and personality of the designer. You may even catch more fish!

No matter what, an alert angler is better at noticing his catches, so it’s worth the effort to make a place where you won’t be fighting the cold.

What advice would you add on making an ice-fishing shelter? Share your tips in the section below:

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

El Nino to drive flooding rain, mountain snow into California this week

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By AccuWeather

A series of El Niño-enhanced storms will continue to bring more beneficial rain and snow along with hazards to California and the southwestern U.S. in absence of a pineapple express.

The above-average temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, known as El Niño, tend to strengthen the storm track into the West Coast and occasionally California during the winter.

The current El Niño has tied the strength of the El Niño during 1997, which was the strongest on record.

The storms which initially brought rain, snow and ice to much of the Pacific coast of the United States to start the week will spiral progressively farther south into Friday.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: El Nino to drive flooding rain, mountain snow into California this week

US El Nino Forecast: California to bear brunt of impacts this winter
Late-week winter storm to spread snow, ice and rain across central US
Polar vortex to usher widespread cold, snow chances into eastern US during mid-January

Filed under: News/ Current Events, Weather

All Time #1 Winter Driving Tip

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Today I am going to share with you the #1 tip for driving safely in winter (snow/ ice/ etc) conditions. SLOW DOWN!!!

This weekend I had the displeasure of driving through Portland Oregon when it was in cold, snowy, icy conditions. Vehicles were wrecked all over the place. Most were minor one vehicle slides off the road and or bumps the barrier but there were a couple of not good looking roll overs. Interestingly about half the wrecked vehicles were really good winter rigs like Subaru wagons and Toyota 4×4 trucks. The issue was that while increased traction via AWB/4WD does help you go it does not help you turn or stop. So these folks got overconfident and wrecked. Another good example that all the hardware in the world will not fix a lack of skill.

Slow down on bad winter roads. Either leave in enough time or tell folks you will make it when you make it. If the roads are really bad and beyond your comfort zone consider if you even have to make the trip at all. Better to miss an event or even lose a days wages then wreck your vehicle or God forbid get someone hurt.


Freezing week

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Snow in the Mountains

A great deal of the USA went through a major deep freeze, we were not spared here in far west Texas. We got dumped on with snow, it snowed as far south as Presidio, an area where one rarely needs more than a light jacket in winter. There were road closures from highway 10 all the way down to Presdio. Fortunately it happened over a weekend, and a holiday weekend as well. We had plenty of notice, and for me it was a payday weekend, I was able to stock up on some comfort food (soups, chili and the such), we were also able to stock up on some extra fire wood, we went through a LOT of firewood over those icy, snowy days and nights.

It’s funny because the Friday and Saturday before, the temps were getting up into the 70s F, T-shirt weather, but halfway through the day on Saturday, the wind changed direction and the temps dropped like a rock. PB and I were out by the road talking to a friend when the first few snow drops fell, yes I said drops, not flakes. These were marble sized, rounded snow drops, heavy, wet and hitting hard. The rest of the night and the following day, it snowed pretty much non-stop, we ended up with 6-8 inches of heavy, wet snow.

Normally our snow out here is powdery, dry and light, not this time. But all in all, it wasn’t a bad long weekend. My boss, who lives in Lubbock and got nearly a foot of snow, emailed everyone in the district to let us know we shouldn’t try to go out on the roads if it wasn’t safe, I didn’t even try to venture out until Tuesday afternoon. By then, the snow had pretty much melted off the roads and our dirt roads were dry enough to drive on without slipping and sliding.

Today, over a week later, there are still some patches of snow in the protected nooks and crannies out here, I am a little disappointed that I didn’t venture out and snap some pictures, but it was just too cold for me, too cold and too wet, I much prefer the powdery stuff that doesn’t stick to you and taps off of your boots. Yes, I’m getting to be a bit of a wimp, but with PB keeping the SkyCastle warm, the good food I cooked and warm dogs to snuggle with, I really had no interest in going outside during this snow event.

Fortunately, PB snapped a few pix.


Snow on the solar panels

Depth of the snow in a chair


Lots of snow

SkyCastle in snow

View from the bedroom

Break time


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A Brief Summary of This Week’s Incredibly Freaky Weather

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storm wikimediaIn case you didn’t notice, this week has seen some of the strangest weather in recent memory. All over the world there have been countless records broken and no shortage of unseasonable climate events. In some regions, things just seem upside down with rain, snow, and heat showing up in places where they typically aren’t seen this time of year. By themselves, each of these events appear to be nothing more than odd anomalies. When considered together however, there’s seems to be an epidemic of unusual weather.

Experts and layman alike have been blaming these events on the arrival of El Niño, though it’s not clear if that weather pattern can explain everything. If El Niño really is to blame, then we may be in for some downright freaky weather for the next few years.  Here’s what’s been reported so far:

  • The Mississippi River has seen some of the worst flooding in 25 years, between Missouri and Illinois. In some parts, there have been 3 day rainfalls of 9-11 inches, which usually only happen every 100 to 300 years. Nine levees have failed to contain the water, and at least 20 people have been killed.
  • Los Angeles, which is notorious for its perpetually sunny weather, has experienced “real weather” for the first time in years. For those of you who live in states that experience blistering cold weather in the winter, you can laugh all you want, but the weather station at the USC campus reported a low of 36 degrees on December 27th. That was a tie for the station’s all time record low, which was set in 1916. Also, California is finally getting the rain it so desperately needs. Sierra snow pack levels are 136% higher than they usually are this time of year.
  • The Dallas area experienced a tremendous tornado over the weekend that had 166mph winds. It killed 11 people and destroyed over a thousand homes and businesses. While Texas is no stranger to tornadoes, this was the first time in 15 years that an EF-4 tornado occurred on American soil in December. It’s also the furthest west that a tornado of that size has been seen in December.
  • Canada has also been hit with a storm that experts believe is related to the weather conditions in Texas. But the storm itself isn’t that strange. It’s the fact that it was the first major winter storm to hit the region this season, and it arrived a month later than usual.
  • South America is also seeing some crazy floods this week, which have been blamed on El Niño. Over 150,000 people have been displaced in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil.
  • And finally, the craziest weather in the world is happening where there aren’t any people. The same weather pattern that caused flooding and tornadoes in the US, is making its way towards the North Pole. It has brought with it, some unseasonably warm weather for the region. The temperature around the North Pole rose to 32 degrees, which is 50 degrees warmer than it would normally be this time of year.

So what do you think? Is El Niño responsible for all this wicked weather, or is there another good explanation?

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

First winter storm of season brings ice, snow to northeastern US in final days of 2015

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By AccuWeather

A quick shot of cold air will lead the first widespread ice and snow event of the season across the northeastern U.S. into Tuesday night.

The storm that unleashed severe weather, ice and blizzard conditions across the south-central United States this past weekend will impact the Northeast into Tuesday night.

Fresh cold air will set the stage for more widespread snow and ice to fall than with recent storms in the Northeast from New York state and New England northward to Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

“The worst travel conditions in the Northeast will continue through Tuesday morning across northern and eastern New York and New England,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said. “Roads that are not treated will become treacherous and people may not be aware of the hazardous situation.”

Continue reading at AccuWeather: First winter storm of season brings ice, snow to northeastern US in final days of 2015

AccuWeather winter center
Northeast interactive radar
Midwestern, eastern US to shiver at start of new year as more persistent cold air dominates

Filed under: News/ Current Events, Weather

Coastal rain, wind to batter western US; Feet of mountain snow to disrupt travel

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By Jordan Root – AccuWeather

Windswept rain and snow will slam the western U.S leading to treacherous travel during the holiday week.

Those taking to the road during one of the busiest times of the year will likely face slow travel and delays each day.

“Every day through Wednesday, a storm will barrel into the Northwest with rain and interior snow,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

Rain will soak the western coast through the middle of the week while heavy snow will bury mountainous inland areas. In addition, strong wind gusts will sweep through the area.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Coastal rain, wind to batter western US; Feet of mountain snow to disrupt travel

US interactive radar
White Christmas forecast: El Nino to dash hopes of snowy holiday for two-thirds of US
Eastern US to remain mild as El Nino keeps the Polar Vortex at bay this winter

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Everything You Wanted To Know About Cold Frames (But Were Embarrassed To Ask)

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Everything You Wanted To Know About Cold Frames (But Were Embarrassed To Ask)

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There is a rhythm to the year-round garden. At no point are we without fresh food from the garden, though it changes quite a bit through the seasons. Here in Zone 5 and where potential frost days are six months out of the year, cold frames are more than a novel method; they are an absolute necessity. Consequently, managing your cold frames is as important as planning for the garden as a whole.

Most people who live where it snows for four or more months of the year believe they must give up gardening once the hard frosts set in, because it is too cold for plants to survive. While it is true that frosts will kill tender plants left exposed, and only cold-hardy crops can be maintained through extreme conditions, in reality it isn’t the cold that makes growing so difficult; it is the lack of sunlight. There are multiple plants that can overwinter in the frozen soil and grow in the spring, and a few that can be harvested frozen, and then thawed and eaten fresh.

However, in mid-winter plant growth will slow to a near standstill as photosynthesis slows. Your cold frames will protect your garden from the most severe conditions, and can maintain temperatures warmer than the surrounding area, but there is little that can be done about the sunlight. Therefore, don’t expect miracles.

Cold-Frame Gardening: Get The Best Deals On Non-GMO Heirloom Seeds Right Here!

Most especially, don’t expect that your cold frame is equivalent to a greenhouse. Because you will likely not be installing heaters, irrigators and artificial lighting in your cold frames, you cannot expect to be growing plants that are not winter crops. You will not get peppers or tomatoes harvested in winter from a cold frame unless you are in a more tropical growing zone (in which case you probably wouldn’t need a cold frame.) Rest assured, however, that forcing crops out of season rarely yields satisfying results; the more flavorful and nutritious choice is always to grow what would more naturally grow in your climate at the particular time of year you are growing.

In the northern part of the country, the best crops for cold frames will be greens such as lettuce, spinach, kale, and cress. Chard, bok choy, carrots, beets, and cabbage can also be harvested late into fall and through winter in some areas. As you harvest through the season, space will open up in the cold frame. Consider continuous sowing of sprouts and herbs if the soil remains soft.  Mache and scallions can both be harvested frozen.

Manage Daily Conditions

Everything You Wanted To Know About Cold Frames (But Were Embarrassed To Ask)

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Even in the north, there are warmer days and colder days in the winter. An essential part of successful winter gardening is attention to daily conditions – no different than in summer. On mild, sunny winter days early and later in the season, it will be necessary to vent your cold frames in order to avoid burning the delicate greens within. Install a thermometer on the outside of your cold frames and vent when it shows an outdoor temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius), especially if it is sunny.

Additionally, be prepared for winter storms, and cover your cold frames with insulation or a snow shield in preparation for harsh or icy conditions. After the storm has ended, clear snow and ice from the tops of the frames and the surrounding space. Even better, construct a snow fence on the least-sheltered side of your frames to protect them all winter long.

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Lastly, monitor soil conditions within the frames for moisture content. Too much moisture within cold frames can promote fungal growth, killing off your plants.

Other Uses for the Cold Frame

Once spring is approaching and the cold frame crops are nearing the end of their season, it will be time to repurpose your cold frames. Consider dedicating space to promote successful spring growth through the following:

  • starting seeds outdoors, earlier than you would be able to in the garden proper, but more hardy than those started indoors.
  • protect and harden seedlings started indoors.
  • starting bulbs such as garlic and onions, left to overwinter in the cold frames.

Whatever you choose to eat from your winter garden, there is little to match the joy of a fresh harvest on a cold day, and there is little doubt that planning a year-long garden will enhance your family’s well-being and improve your harvests.

What advice about cold frames would you add? Share it in the section below:

Every Year Gardeners Make This Avoidable Mistake — But You Don’t Have To. Read More Here.

Heavy rain, snow to renew travel woes in Northwest through next week

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By Brett Rathbun AccuWeather

Storms will affect the Northwest at the end of this week and continue to roll in from the Pacific through next week.

Storms hit the Northwest almost daily for the first two weeks of December.

While the storms into next week will move across the region every two or three days, they will still pack quite a punch in terms of impact.

Wet commutes to and from work will be in store across Interstate 5 from the Canadian border to northern California.

“A storm in the Gulf of Alaska will continue the trend of pulling moisture into the northwestern United States,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey said.

Drenching rain focused on coastal Washington and Oregon Thursday and Thursday night. These areas received between 1-3 inches of rain during the storm. Astoria, Oregon, received over 3 inches of rain.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Heavy rain, snow to renew travel woes in Northwest through next week

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U.S. White Christmas Forecast

Filed under: News/ Current Events, Weather

Heavy Rain, Snow to Renew Travel Woes in Northwest Through Next Week

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By Brett Rathbun AccuWeather

Storms will return to the Northwest on Thursday and continue to roll in from the Pacific through next week.

Storms hit the Northwest almost daily for the first two weeks of December.

While the storms into next week will move across the region every two or three days, they will still pack quite a punch in terms of impact.

Wet commutes to and from work will be in store across Interstate 5 from the Canadian border to northern California.

“A storm in the Gulf of Alaska will continue the trend of pulling moisture into the northwestern United States,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey said.

Drenching rain will focus on coastal Washington and Oregon into Thursday night. These areas can receive 3-5 inches of rain during the first storm with the potential for renewed flooding and mudslides.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Heavy Rain, Snow to Renew Travel Woes in Northwest Through Next Week

Check AccuWeather Minutecast® for Your Precise Location
Northwest Interactive Radar
U.S. White Christmas Forecast

Filed under: News/ Current Events, Weather

The Crop-Killing, Snow-In-June American Disaster You’ve Never Heard Of

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The Crop-Killing, Snow-In-June Natural Disaster You've Never Heard Of

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The Germans called it “The Year of the Beggar.”

The New Englanders called it “Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death.”

From his home in Monticello, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Never were such hard times.”

Writer Mary Shelley described a June outing that year to Lake Geneva this way: “An almost perpetual rain confines us principally to the house.” She ended up using some of the descriptions of that dreary summer in her novel Frankenstein.

It was the year 1816, often called “The Year Without a Summer,” and it just might be the most important meteorological event you have never heard of. Spring arrived on time, but then the weather went into reverse, with cold temperatures and continually overcast skies. Dim sunlight and frigid temperatures became so severe and widespread that major crop failures were reported across the United States, the rest of North America and Europe for a period of three years. New York state and Maine experienced snow in June.

While some scientists blamed sunspots for the weather problems of 1816, and some theologians blamed the wrath of God, it has only been within the last few decades that modern technology has enabled us to understand what really happened. And the implications are significant for our world today.

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Scientists now believe that this three-year period of severe climate change was set off by a volcanic eruption. On April 15, 1815, Mount Tambora on the island of Sumbawa in what is now Indonesia erupted, spewing lava and dust for a week and then continuing to rumble for three months.

With a plume of gases and ash that extended more than 18 miles into the atmosphere, the massive Mount Tambora eruption is the most explosive volcanic event in recorded history. The 1815 eruption threw millions of tons of sulfur-dioxide gas into the stratosphere, and the gas then formed 100 million tons of sulfuric acid, which became dispersed by wind throughout the planet in the form of tiny droplets, clouding the skies and partially blocking the sun.

The Tambora explosion was far greater than the better-known Mount Krakatoa volcanic eruption in 1883. We know more about that natural disaster because the news was quickly spread by telegraph and then by newspaper. Most Europeans and North Americans did not hear about Mount Tambora for several months or even longer.

The explosion initially killed more than 10,000 people on the island, but it is estimated that another 80,000 people eventually died from starvation and diseases related to the cataclysmic event. In fact, the energy created by Mount Tambora was equivalent to 2.2 million atomic bombs.

The volcanic dust and ash that spread throughout the world blocked sunlight and disrupted natural weather patterns.

The Easiest Way To Store A Month’s Worth Of Emergency Food!

Mount Tambora, today.

Mount Tambora, today.

What are some of the far-reaching results of the ravaged weather of 1816?

  • Many New England farmers, with their crops and their entire livelihood devastated, ventured west with their families. The state of Vermont, for example, experienced a population drop of an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 people.
  • The cold, rainy summer led to a sweeping potato famine in Ireland.
  • In Europe, the wheat crop was ruined, causing widespread bread shortages.
  • Food prices rose sharply across Europe, with riots, arson and looting frequently taking place.
  • In Switzerland, an ice dam formed below part of the Giétro Glacier. Despite efforts to drain the lake that formed, the ice dam collapsed in June 1818, killing an estimated 45 people.
  • In Asia, unseasonably cold temperatures killed rice crops, trees and water buffalo. The eruption disrupted China’s monsoon season, resulting in severe flooding in the Yangtze Valley. In India, the summer monsoon season was delayed, resulting in late torrential rains.
  • Outbreaks of cholera spread from a region near the River Ganges to as far away as Moscow.
  • Because of all the volcanic ash in the atmosphere, brown snow fell in Hungary. Red snow fell throughout the year in Italy’s northern and north-central region.

Floods, drought, disease, famine – all caused by a volcanic eruption half a world away. With the world’s population so much greater than it was in 1816, the effects of another eruption on the scale of Mount Tambora would be unthinkable.

Today, the year 1816 stands as a startling reminder of how one world event — even a volcano in Southeast Asia — can have dire consequences on our food supply.

Poet Eileen Marguet (1918-2012) wrote a poem that sums up the year of 1816 for many Americans.

It didn’t matter whether your farm was large or small.

It didn’t matter if you had a farm at all.

Cause everyone was affected when water didn’t run.

The snow and frost continued without the warming sun.

One day in June it got real hot and leaves began to show.

But after that it snowed again and wind and cold did blow.

The cows and horses had no grass, no grain to feed the chicks.

No hay to put aside that time, just dry and shriveled sticks.

The sheep were cold and hungry and many starved to death,

Still waiting for the warming sun to save their labored breath.

The kids were disappointed, no swimming, such a shame.

It was in 1816 that summer never came.

Do you believe America is ready for another such natural disaster? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Discover The Secret To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.

Persistent Northwest US Storms to Unleash Feet of Rain, Snow Into Next Week

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By AccuWeather

As the train of storms associated with El Niño continues to track into the Northwest, colder air will again press across the interior West with more opportunities for snow later next week.

There is no end in sight to the freight train of storms on track for the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada.

Storms are lined up for thousands of miles over the northern Pacific.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, “The pattern over the Pacific Ocean is beginning to take on the look of El Niño.”

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Persistent Northwest US Storms to Unleash Feet of Rain, Snow Into Next Week

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El Nino-Driven Weather Pattern to Shape White Christmas Likelihood Across US

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Six Steps for Protecting Your Home from Snow

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As your family prepares for the upcoming winter season, you might be excited about the prospect of the first snows. The cold white flakes can be a beautiful sight, and a promise of the holidays and activities to come. Although snow provides an opportunity to spend more time in front of a warm fireplace, it can pose hazards to your home. Snow storms can damage your home’s roof, gutters, and siding in extreme conditions. Here are a six tips to help you protect your home from harsh snow this winter.

Wrap Your Pipes

During the winter season, pipes have the tendency to freeze. When this happens, there can be serious financial consequences since frozen pipes can burst and cause significant water damage. Protect your pipes from freezing by wrapping them in insulated wrap. Another thing you can do is to keep water flowing through them. If you know you won’t be using that downstairs bathroom much, consider wrapping those pipes or cutting off the water supply temporarily.

Remove Snow from Your Roof

Depending on the condition of your roof, accumulated snow can cause damage over time. The heavy snow can burden struts if the roof isn’t slanted and allows for melting. If you notice a large amount of snow on your roof, call a company for help with removal.

Purchase New Windows

Most windows have a life expectancy of 10 to 20 years. If you have older windows, protect your home from snow damage by installing new ones when possible. This will be an airtight solution to keep winter snow and drafts from coming into your home and zapping the heat you try to keep inside. Companies like Gilkey Windows can often help install new ones on many different window frame types.

Seal Cracks and Holes

Homes that have cracks and holes in the walls or floors have the potential to be damaged by snow, not to mention bothered by pests. The water from melted snow often leaks through these holes and can cause structural damage. Protect your home by sealing all cracks and holes.

Check Your Windows

The frozen icicles that form on the window can provide the setting for a perfect winter portrait. However, icicles can accumulate quickly and become large and heavy. Make sure you knock down big icicles when you can, and if they aren’t melting fast enough.

Secure Roof Shingles

Winter preparation begins months before the first snowfall. If you have shingles that are loose, call for repairs as soon as possible. Make sure everything is secured and ready for the first storms.

If you follow these tips, you and your family can enjoy the snow without any problems this year.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer, recent graduate from the University of New Mexico, and avid runner. She loves to blog about fitness, health, home and family. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Thanksgiving Travel Outlook: Rain, Ice and Snow to Cause Hazards in Central US

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By AccuWeather

Travel hazards, delays and disruptions associated with rain, ice and snow will continue over the Central states through the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend.

Rain, ice and snow will force motorists to slow down and will lead to airline delays over thousands of square miles from the Rockies to the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley.

The weather will have little impact on travel along the Atlantic Seaboard, Appalachians and Pacific coast for much of the long weekend.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Thanksgiving Travel Outlook: Rain, Ice and Snow to Cause Hazards in Central US

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Black Friday: Will Wintry Weather Put a Dent in Sales This Year?

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Onslaught of Snow, Ice and Rain to Slick Central US on Thanksgiving Day

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By AccuWeather

A major Thanksgiving Day storm threatens to ruin holiday events across the Central states with flooding rain, snow, a glaze of ice and fog.

The storm will continue to push through a large portion of the West through Wednesday.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Bowers, “People traveling either a short or long distance from the eastern slopes of the Rockies to the Plains, Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes region are likely to encounter delays into Friday.”

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Onslaught of Snow, Ice and Rain to Slick Central US on Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day Football: Cold Rain to Soak Fans as Green Bay Packers Take on Chicago Bears
Black Friday Forecast: Storm May Pester Shoppers From Texas to Michigan
Warmth to Surge Across Northeast US for Thanksgiving, Black Friday

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The Latest Winter Weather Forecast Is Out — And Has TONS Of Surprises

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The Latest Winter Weather Forecast Has TONS Of SurprisesWeather this winter will be turned upside down, with the southern half of the country becoming colder and wetter and northern regions experiencing higher temperatures and less snow, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts.

“A strong El Niño is in place and should exert a strong influence over our weather this winter,” Mike Halpert, the deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, told

NOAA’s forecast for the South is in line with the Farmer’s Almanac forecast, although its forecast for the North differs from the Farmer’s Almanac, which is predicting a cold and snowy season for that region.

El Nino is a large patch of warm water that appears in the central Pacific, and NOAA’s researchers think this winter’s El Nino will be the strongest since 1997 and last until spring. El Nino impacts weather by changing the movement of warm and cold air across the United States.

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The most visible impacts from El Nino are destructive storms. During the 1997-1998 El Nino, storms caused $550 million in damage and killed 17 people in California. Most of the damage was caused by excessive rainfall.

The Latest Winter Weather Forecast Has TONS Of Surprises

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The main impacts that El Nino will have on this winter’s weather according to NOAA will include:

  • The southern part of the nation, including southern California, the Southwest, Texas, and the Deep South, will be wetter this winter. Meanwhile, Texas, parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico, and the Deep South, will experience below-average temperatures. This means we could see more damaging ice storms in the Southern states and flooding in California and the Southwest.
  • The northern tier of the United States, from the Pacific Norwest to the Great Lakes region to the Northeast, will be drier and warmer. This means that the drought in Washington State will probably get worse next year, leading to more destructive forest fires. Currently, 68 percent of Washington is experiencing extreme drought.

“This historic drought is not over,” Maia Bellon, the director of Washington State’s Department of Ecology, told The Bellingham Herald. “We face winter with a huge water deficit.”

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The Latest Winter Weather Forecast Has TONS Of SurprisesBellon predicted that reservoirs in the state will remain empty and water rationing will have to be implemented because of a dismal snowpack.

The increased precipitation will not be sufficient to ease the mega-drought currently afflicting California and the Southwest. The result: The wet weather could have little impact on food prices.

“California would need close to twice its normal rainfall to get out of the drought and that’s unlikely,” Halpert noted.

The Farmer’s Almanac annual forecast is predicting a repeat winter of last year for the Midwest, Northeast and Great Plains.

“It’s like Winter Déjà vu,” said editor Peter Geiger, adding that “last year our bitterly cold, shivery forecasts came true in many states including the 23 eastern states that experienced one of their top-ten coldest Februarys on record. This year many of these same states may want to get a jump start now and stock up on lots of winter survival gear: sweaters, long johns, and plenty of firewood.”

It looks like it is going to be a very interesting winter.

How do you prepare for winter? What do you stockpile? Share your tips in the section below:

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

Winter Survival Finale – 17 Ideas for your Get Home Bag

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Hey guys, in Part 5, we’re going to wrap up the Winter Survival series.  If you missed any of the previous posts, here are the links to them: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.  In this post, I’m going to go over a complete list of items we’ll be using to build a BASIC Get Home … Continue reading Winter Survival Finale – 17 Ideas for your Get Home Bag

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Winter Survival Part 4 – “Survival Vehicle” Prep

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I hope everyone is enjoying the Winter Survival series!  If you need to catch up, here are the links for Part 1,  Part 2, and Part 3.  In Part 4, I talk about preparing your vehicle for the winter weather ahead. You don’t have to be extreme and build a “hardcore SHTF survival vehicle”, but if you … Continue reading Winter Survival Part 4 – “Survival Vehicle” Prep

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8 Snow-Hardy Vegetables You (Really) Can Grow During Winter

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8 Snow-Hardy Vegetables You (Really) Can Grow During Winter

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Do you ever feel like having some garden fresh vegetables, but then realize it is November? It may cheer you to know there are some vegetables that can survive winter’s grasp. You can’t just leave the crops open to the elements, however, and you do need to plan and understand a little about winter gardening.

During the winter, organic gardening is still the best option for healthy crops. Plants are under a lot of stress in these cold months. Of course, they will still need good soil and good compost.

If you live in a cold climate, winter vegetables need to be planted by mid-August so a root system can be developed before everything gets cold and frozen, but if you live in a warmer region, you can plant later. Hoop houses or cold frames help protect the crops from the deep freezes. Guard and insulate your crops with mulch, frames, hoops, tunnels or even loose straw or leaves.

Snow can even insulate crops from extreme temperatures. Frost and deep freezing, on the other hand, will do more damage. Remember: If the soil freezes and becomes solid, plant cells will burst and the crops will die.

Looking For Snow-Hardy Non-GMO Heirloom Seeds?

Let’s take a look at a few snow-hardy vegetable that can last through the winter.

1. Spinach. This plant’s leaves may die during the winter, but the plant, itself, can survive and grow new leaves in spring. Spinach grows slowly throughout the winter. Although it can make it through the cold temperatures, spinach will look pretty beat up, so keep it covered by mulch or cold frames. A good variety to try is Savoy, or any kind with wrinkled leaves.

2. Leeks. Here is a hardy vegetable that isn’t bothered by winter’s short days. Leeks can grow well during the cold months. Bandit and Bleu de Solaise varieties are favorable for winter leeks, as well as “blue-green” kinds that can survive down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -18 Celsius.

8 Snow-Hardy Vegetables You (Really) Can Grow During Winter

Kale. Image source:

3. Kale and collards. Both of these vegetables are rich in flavor. Collards are actually more freeze-tolerate than kale. Blue Max is a favored variety, and has high yields and can survive in winter temperatures down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -18 degrees Celsius. Other hardy types are Red and White Russian Kale, which do best when covered in the winter.

4. Parsnips. Sugars accumulate in parsnips when there is a frost, and snow can actually make parsnips sweeter. They keep well in the winter ground. They take 130 days to grow. Parsnips should still be covered in freezing temperatures to ensure success, and the lowest temperatures parsnips do well in are 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -18 degrees Celsius.

5. Lettuce. Young lettuce plants tend to tolerate cold temperatures better than mature plants. Keep lettuce plants protected, either by cold frames, hoops or tunnels. Lettuce can survive in temperatures down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit or -12 degrees Celsius.

Don’t Ever Plant Anything But Heirloom Seeds

If you cover the plants with multiple layers, lettuce can survive down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -18 degrees Celsius.

8 Snow-Hardy Vegetables You (Really) Can Grow During Winter

Cabbage. Image source:

6. Cabbage. This vegetable has frost-improved flavor, but can still be damaged by deep freezes. There are varieties that can stand winter unprotected. Crinkled leaf varieties do better than flat leaves, just like spinach. January King and Marabel are successful cabbage varieties. Cabbage needs to be planted in the late summer in order to feed you during the winter.

7. Turnips. Winter weather causes turnips to gain sugar and decrease in their spicy flavor. Turnips need some sort of protection from extreme temperatures, so cold frames or something similar is suggested. Turnips can survive in temperatures down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit or -2 Celsius. You can also use heavy mulch, and make sure roots are covered. If you are looking for a good winter hardy variety, try the Hakurei kind.

8. Chard. Chard is a very tolerant plant. It doesn’t need protection until temperatures go down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit or -10 Celsius. Green or white varieties are best, including the hardy Verde de Taglio. When deep winter comes with extreme temperatures, it’s still best to cover the plant to protect it. Harvest the leaves and cover the rest with mulch. Chard will live through the winter and regrow in the spring.

Other vegetables you can research for winter crops are the following: Surrey, arugula, rhubarb, beets, rutabaga, Brussels sprouts and scallions. It is known that scallions, onions and leeks can survive under the snow if mulch has been used to create a layer of protection.

The best time to harvest your winter produce is when temperatures are between a high 20 degrees Fahrenheit and low 30 degrees.

Hopefully, you will feel inspired to put on your coat and gather some fresh produce this winter, without driving to the grocery store. What a great way to continue to eat healthy fresh vegetables all year long.

Have you had success with winter vegetables? Share your advice in the section below:

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

Winter Survival Part 2 – Emergency Shelter

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Hey guys, I hope you enjoyed the first part of the winter survival series.  In part 2, we’re going to cover some emergency shelter options for you to fall back on, just in case you find yourself stuck in the elements.  I’d like to thank you for coming by and if you have any comments … Continue reading Winter Survival Part 2 – Emergency Shelter

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Kids and Winter Survival Skills!

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Kids and Winter Survival Skills!

Winter Survival winter kidsMy kids have had their sleds lined up by the garage door since Thanksgiving. They’ve been trying on their snow clothes and eyeing new ski jackets in the L.L. Bean catalog and are ready to get out in the snow and burn some serious calories! I love to watch them play in the snow and ski down a (slightly elevated) hill, but the SurvivalMom in me wants to make sure they also have some winter survival skills. Combining the fun of winter sports and outdoor activities with a few survival lessons is my sneaky way of making sure they know what to do if ever they find themselves in trouble.

Above all, I want my kids to know how to make it easy for rescuers to find them. When there’s a chance they’ll be out of my sight, say, when they’re skiing or tramping through the woods, I want them to have a small survival kit with them. Just in case.

Winter Survival kids -911-survival-kit-children-12-and-younger-3Once kids are on their December break, putting together individual Winter Survival Kits is a sure-fire activity to keep them occupied. These are small enough to be carried in backpacks or fanny packs, and kids love having something important that is all their own. It’s important to keep in mind that the most essential piece of survival equipment is knowledge. Make sure your kids know what to do with each item if they’re ever in an emergency situation. Here is what you’ll need to make up these kits.

  • a bright colored bandana or similar size cloth
  • a whistle
  • a small, powerful flashlight
  • 2 hand-warmers and 2 toe-warmers
  • 2 high calorie energy bars
  • a small bottle of water (Once it’s empty, it can be filled with snow for more drinking water.)
  • a large black trash bag (use as an emergency blanket or shelter)
  • a pocketknife
  • small packet of tissues (emergency toilet paper, runny noses, etc.)

Winter Survival Kids eagle bluff 2012 170Put all these items in a large zip-loc bag or small nylon sack, and it’s finished. In no way is this meant to be provisions for long-term survival! It’s filled with just enough essential items to help a youngster signal for help and stay occupied until rescue arrives. For older kids, you might add a firestarter, a few tablets of over-the-counter pain medication (in case there’s been an injury), and additional food and water.

Winter Survival 50db744ff1f3f.imageBesides having some tools for survival, specific skills and knowledge are just as important. In addition to what you can teach them from your own training and experience, there is a vast resource of survival tips online. Older kids will enjoy this video of how to make a small survival stove using a couple of cans, toilet paper, and alcohol, and this video from Shiloh Productions has multiple survival tips designed to help kids survive the wilderness.

Bob Mayne’s most recent Today’s Survival podcast features numerous practical tips for surviving in the wilderness. Much of what he says is just great survival advice for any age, anywhere. My son was most impressed with Bob’s comment on the need to avoid boredom in emergency situations. “See, Mom! I told you I need a DS! I can keep it in my emergency bag!”

Winter Survival winterkidsWildwood Survival, a fabulous site with over 500 pages of wilderness survival advice, has this page devoted to winter survival including directions for building a snow coffin! There’s even a section devoted to teaching survival skills to children.

Sometimes parents have to be sneaky in order to teach our kids what they must know. Now that winter is in full swing, take advantage of the colder weather to teach important survival skills your kids will never forget.

Originally posted on APN

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So Ready For Spring

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Like everyone else here in Ontario, I’m so over winter, I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrated we are.
It’s been a season of inconsistent firewood, a smoky house, beyond bone-numbing cold temperatures, a chimney fire, and now a broken chimney tile.
Last year, we had more snow than this winter but this is absolutely the winter of cold.
An acquaintance shared a theory with me yesterday at breakfast that Northern Ontario is on it’s way to becoming a miniature Arctic, and apparently there is historical evidence to back it up.
While you ponder that, I leave you with this shot after the road-grader went by our house yesterday.
Yeah, I’d say he pushed the snowbanks back fairly successfully.
Right up to our house.

In fact, if they go by again, that snowbank will end up on my side of the bed.

Spring is coming, right?

Caught By The Christmas Build-Up

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Christmas is just around the corner, and of course I’m not ready.
Every year, I swear I’ll be more organized next year…and the next Christmas season still sneaks up on me and catches me flatfooted.
We always hear that Christmas isn’t about gifts, it’s supposed to be about friends, family…those we hold dear to us.
After nearly losing Mom earlier this year…I can finally say I understand it better than ever.

This week, I’ll be digging out the decorations, the miniature village, the wreath and all the stuff for the tree. And the snowshoes.
This year, we get to trek through the snowy woods for a real tree.
I better borrow the neighbour’s saw.

Speaking of Christmas trees, here’s a cool little article about a family owned and operated tree farm.
Gotta love when a family turns convention on it’s head.