DIY Survival Gear Class with Jim Cobb

Come out to our store and see all the exciting things Author Jim Cobb will be showing all of us. It is going to so much fun and very educational.

Saturday August 5th 2017. 10am -12pm

Store location: 940 S Pine St, Burlington, WI 53105

You can sign up online, email, phone, or stop in.

In DIY Survival Gear, Jim will show you how to craft your own gear using common household materials and even items that we might otherwise just throw away. Some of these will include:

  • Fire Starters
  • Seed Tape
  • Rocket Stove
  • Various uses for Altoids tins
  • Buddy Burner
  • And More!

Cost $10.00 includes gift.

website: www.shtfandgo.com

email: shtfandgo@gmail.com

Sun Drying Fruits and Other Foods

The ability to preserve your own food without refrigeration is an important preparedness skill, it’s also something that’s fun to do and can help cut down on your grocery bills.

Sun Drying Foods

Sun drying is one of mankind’s oldest and most reliable ways to preserve food. Archeological sites in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia show this method of food preservation has been used since 4,000 B.C.

Sun drying is actually pretty simple; it relies on the sun and airflow – that’s pretty much it. While newer methods like electronic dehydrators speed up the process, sun drying is a slow gentle process that can really bring out the flavor of your food. It’s also a reliable method of preserving food during an emergency.

What can you Sun Dry?

You can actually sun dry just about any type of food; that being said, fruits are the safest thing to start with and are preferable because of their high sugar and acid content – something that helps prevent spoilage during the drying process. During an emergency you could use this method to dry meats and vegetables, but during normal conditions I would advise using indoor methods unless you really know what you’re doing.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Hot, dry, breezy days are best. A humidity level below 60 percent is best.
  • A minimum temperature of 85ºF is required, but the higher the temperature goes the easier it will be to dry the food.
  • It takes several days to dry foods out-of-doors, so before undertaking this method make sure you keep an eye on weather reports.
  • At night, fruits must be covered or brought inside to prevent moisture from seeping back into the food.

How to Preserve Fruit by Sun Drying

The first things you’re going to need are some good drying racks.

Small wood slats, bamboo, grill grates, and stainless steel screen mesh are all good material to use for the racks. You can also use cake racks or build small wooden frames covered with cheesecloth. Just remember that your racks cannot be solid, as you need air to circulate around the drying food.

Avoid any grates coated with cadmium or zinc. These metals can oxidize, leaving dangerous residues on the food.

Pretreating Fruit: Most fruits need some type of preparation before the drying process can begin.

  • Fruits with pits should be halved and pitted
  • Light-colored fruit like apples, pears and apricots should be soaked in lemon juice or an ascorbic acid wash to prevent browning. Soak the fruit in the solution for 3-5 minutes
  • Cutting your fruit into uniform pieces will help them dry more evenly, and at the same speed.

It’s time to start drying some food.

Place the pretreated fruit in a single layer on the drying racks. Then place your racks in an area that receives direct sunlight, and a good breeze. Try to pick an area away from animals, traffic exhaust, insects and dust. Once the food is placed on the racks in direct sunlight, place cheesecloth or netting around the racks to keep off dust and keep out insects.

  • At night, make sure you bring your food indoors or cover it to prevent moisture from seeping back into the food.
  • Turn food once a day, or flip the racks if you have dual layer racks.
  • If possible, place a small fan near the drying tray to promote air circulation.

Fruits and vegetables take anywhere from 3 to 7 days to dry in the sun, depending on your local conditions. When the food is just about two-thirds dry, move it into a semi-shady but airy area to prevent the food from getting scorched by the sun.

Pasteurization & Conditioning

Before storing Sun dried foods, you should condition and pasteurize the food.

Conditioning Dried Fruits

To improve storage times and to ensure the safety of your food dried fruits should be conditioned before storage. Conditioning evenly distributes moisture present in the dried fruit to prevent mold growth.

  • Cool the foods on the trays.
  • Place cooled dried fruit in a plastic or glass container two-thirds full; seal and store for 7 days to 10 days.
  • Shake the containers daily to distribute moisture. If condensation occurs, place the fruit in the oven for more drying and then repeat the conditioning process.
  • Check for any signs of spoilage.

Pasteurizing Sun-Dried Fruits

Pasteurization is especially important because it will destroy any insects and their eggs. It can be done using either a freezer, or an oven.

  • To pasteurize using an oven, place the food in a single layer on a tray and then place in an oven preheated to 160°F for 30 minutes.
  • Maybe consider a solar oven to dry and to pasteurize product for long term storage. It would be off the grid sustainable and adjustable for low heat and ventilation to dry.
  • To pasteurize using a freezer, simply seal the dried food in freezer plastic bags and place them in a freezer set at 0°F for 48 hours.

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15 Desert Survival Tips That Could Save Your Life

15 Desert Survival Tips That Could Save Your Life

15 Desert Survival Tips That Could Save Your Life

As someone who grew up in Arizona, I can assure you that survival in the desert is a very different beast. The dry air sucks the moisture out of you so quickly, it can be difficult to stay hydrated even while working in your own backyard. Without water, you won’t survive in the desert for nearly as long as you would in a humid climate.

In a place where water is scarce and even the plants and animals struggle to stay alive, getting by without modern conveniences can be a real challenge. Whether you find yourself lost in a desert or living in a desert when disaster strikes, survival is going to require some hard work and a lot of ingenuity.

To help, here are 15 desert survival tips that could save your life.

1. Don’t Eat Too Much

The more food you eat, the more water you will require to survive. If water is scarce (as it most likely will be), you’ll want to only eat as much as you need to keep your energy up. Any more than that and you risk using too much of your precious water supply. In fact, if you have little to no water available and are just holding out for rescue then it is better if you do not eat at all.

2. Prepare for the Cold

If you’ve spend any time in the desert, you know the nights are every bit as cold as the days are hot. At first, this can be a welcome relief, but as the night wears on you may find yourself freezing cold. It’s important, therefore, to prepare for both the cold and the heat by having clothes that work for both extremes as well as a good shelter and the ability to build a fire. Another option is to…

3. Move at Night

It’s better to rest during the day and move at night. Not only does moving during the heat of the day increase your chances of becoming overheated, it also causes you to sweat, hastening dehydration. Try to find a shady area and sleep during the day so that you will be rested and ready to travel when night falls.

4. Wear Sunglasses

The desert sun reflecting off the sand can be extremely hard on your eyes. Not only will it spoil your night vision for hours into the night, it can also cause severe headaches and blurry vision. To avoid this, you will want to wear sunglasses if you have them. If you don’t, do your best to make a sun shield using your hat, cardboard, or whatever else you have available.

5. Keep Your Clothes on

It may be tempting to start shedding your clothes when the temperature climbs, but it’s better if you don’t. Exposing your bare skin to the sun hastens dehydration and puts you at risk of severe sunburns.

6. Cover Your Head

This might seem counterintuitive as most people cover their head to keep it warm, but if your head and it’s possibly dark hair is exposed to the sun all day, it is going to absorb a lot of heat and make it difficult for your body to stay cool. Ideally, you’ll want to cover your head with a light-colored hat or shirt. Speaking of which…

7. Wear Light Colors

Light colors reflect sunlight while dark colors absorb it. When keeping cool is a priority, the former is far more desirable than the latter.

8. Cover Your Mouth

The body loses a lot of moisture when you exhale, especially through the mouth. Try to breathe through your nose, or better yet, cover your mouth with a bandana or another article of clothing.

9. Watch for Floods

Floods may seem like the last thing you have to worry about in a desert, and 99% of the time this is true. However, when it does rain in the desert it rains hard, and flash floods are the norm. If you see thunderheads approaching, avoid dry washes (arroyos).

10. Wear Chapstick

Time spent in the desert without chapstick is certainly not going to be enjoyable. If you have chapstick available, you will definitely want to apply it frequently. If you do not have chapstick available, avoid licking your lips. The temporary relief will not be worth the long-term misery.

11. Find Water

Being stuck in the desert without an ample water supply is an incredibly dangerous situation. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can collect water in the desert. If it’s summertime, keep your eyes peeled for cactus fruit. Eating cactus fruits will help keep you hydrated, however, you’ll want to be very careful because too much of it could make you sick, dehydrating you even faster. So even if you find some cactus fruit, keep searching for water. Some ways to find water sources in the desert include:

1. Following animals to a water source. Watch for instances where multiple trails seem to converge in the same direction, especially downhill. Also, if you see lots of bees, mosquitoes, and other flying insects, there may be water nearby.

2. Search the shady side of canyons. If you live in the Northern hemisphere, search the Northern side of canyons for areas that are shaded through most of the day. (If you’re in the Southern hemisphere, search the Southern side.) You’re far more likely to find standing water here.

3. Look just beneath the surface of dried up creek beds. Obviously, this has a much better chance of working if it has rained recently (perhaps during Monsoon season). Find the lowest point of the creek bed where plants are growing, and dig. If you don’t find water within a foot of the surface, move on.

Or you could…

12. Build a Water Still

If you are unable to find a sufficient water source, you can collect some water by building a water still. To build a water still, you will want to dig a hole, fill it with vegetation, place a container in the middle of the hole, and cover the hole with plastic sheeting. Place rocks around the perimeter of the sheeting to hold it in place and put one small rock in the center of the sheeting directly above the container. As water evaporates from the vegetation, it will condense on the plastic sheeting and drip down into your container.

However, a single solar still will only get you a little bit of water, so I would only do this if you’re staying put and waiting for rescue. If you’re on the move, there are much better ways to gather water (see the previous tip). You should also only do this during twilight or nighttime, as you might lose more water through sweat while digging than you would collect from the still.

13. Don’t Sit Down

Lying down on the rocks or in the sand may seem like an intuitive way to conserve energy. However, the rocks and the sands in the desert are often upwards of 30 degrees warmer than the air, causing you to overheat much faster than you would if you were standing. In addition to this, poisonous snakes and scorpions can hide underneath rocks and beneath the sand. If you do need to stop for a rest, try to find a shaded area and carefully make sure no dangerous critters are already using it.

14. Travel in One Direction

Common wilderness survival advice is to go downhill until you find a creek or river, and then follow that until you find a road where you can flag down someone for help. But what if you’re in a large flat desert and there is no up, down, or creek (not even a dried up one)?

In that case, your best bet is to find North and then choose whichever direction is most likely to lead to civilization and stick with that direction. Avoid straying from that one direction or you’ll likely end up going in circles. Take breaks and find North again to make sure you’re still heading in the right direction. If you are able to survive long enough, you are bound to eventually find a road, a town, or some other means of rescue.

If you’re in an area with lots of hills and valleys, on the other hand, you’re better off staying put and waiting for rescue. The last thing you want to do is slip and break your leg.

15. Drink the Dew

Mountain Dew isn’t a good drink to survive in the desert, but morning dew is. In the early morning hours before the sun has risen, you should be able to collect dew that has gathered on nearby plants. Use a cloth or your shirt to soak up dew from plants, then squeeze it into your mouth or a container.

Drinking dew won’t provide much water, and it will only be available in the early morning hours before the blazing sun evaporates it, but in a situation where every drop counts, drinking the morning dew could be the difference between survival and dehydration.

Hopefully, you won’t ever find yourself stranded in the middle of the desert, but in case you do, these desert survival tips will mean the difference between life and death.

7 Reasons to Stock Up On Canned Beans

7 Reasons to Stock Up On Canned Beans

stock up on canned beans

Beans, bullets, and band-aids. A classic combination for survival. The beans most people store are dried beans, usually stored in big buckets. I have a few of those buckets myself, but over the years, I have also stocked up on plenty of canned beans. I use them in my chili to make the recipe come together faster, but it’s a smart idea to stock up on canned beans.

  1. Long shelf life — Canned beans have a long shelf-life and can be stored at room temperature. I’ve had canned beans on the shelf for at least 5 years, and they were plenty edible when it came time to use them. You want to make sure that all your stored food is in the coolest part of the house, if you want to maximize the shelf life. Old beans won’t suddenly become poisonous, but they will lose their color, nutrients, flavor, and texture. Still edible, just not as appetizing.
  2. High nutrition level — Beans provide plenty of complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, potassium, and various trace nutrients, such as magnesium. During the canning process, a small amount of nutrients may be lost due to the added heat, but overall canned beans remain a nutritious food for storage. Add a tablespoon or two of oil and a bean meal will stick to your ribs for several hours.
  3. Pre-cooked — This is a biggie, to me. In a crisis, I may not have time to cook a meal or even heat up water for a Mountain House dinner, but for sure, I’ll be able to open a can of beans. They’re already cooked, so I don’t have to use up my fuel and won’t have to soak them overnight and then cook them for a several hours as I do with dried beans.
  4. Eat cold or hot — I’d rather eat canned beans heated up with some chopped onion and sliced jalapeno, but if I had to, cold canned beans aren’t a bad way to get a good dose of nutrition. It would also be a way to eat a quick meal without giving away your location due to the scent of food cooking.
  5. Variety — I’ve stocked up on canned beans of almost every color and size: lima, navy, pinto, black, garbanzo, kidney, red, and if I ever see any different varieties on the grocery store shelf, I’ll buy those, too! Not all beans contain the exact same nutrients and calorie amounts, so I figure that with a variety, I’ll have all our nutritional bases covered.
  6. Inexpensive — Usually I wait until I see beans on sale, but I also look for coupons to make them even cheaper. Canning dried beans is another very inexpensive way to get canned, cooked beans, and if you have beans you’ve been storing for 5 years or so, start canning them because sometimes dried beans reach a point at which they will never fully soften when cooked — no matter how long you cook or what kind of trick you use to get them to soften up. If you think that in an emergency, one can of beans would be a “meal”, then you really are getting a bargain when you stock up. I’ve also noticed that bean-based meals tend to be very economical — Cajun beans and rice, for example, or a bean burrito.
  7. Versatile — We put canned beans in my chili (I usually use 2 or 3 different kinds of beans at a time), add them cold to taco salad, and years ago, my wife even made some cookies that called for mashed pinto beans. We use garbanzos in stew and once my son learned how to make hummus, we’ve been going through a lot of cans of those beans.

A final reminder to keep your food storage in a dark, dry, and cool location. Fortunately, with canned beans, you don’t have to worry about insects chewing their way through the metal — or, at least I’ve never seen that happen. But you do need to worry about rust if you live where it’s humid.

35 Emergency Foods You Should Stockpile

35 Emergency Foods You Should Stockpile

35 Emergency Foods You Should Stockpile

Modern life has led people away from their backyard gardens and well-stocked root cellars. These once farmhouse staples helped ensure that families could feed themselves no matter how long the road to town was, what the weather was like, or their economic situation.

While access to grocery stores makes it seem like there’s no need to worry about keeping food on the table, there are many potential emergencies that could happen: losing your job, blizzards, or even economic collapse. These things could leave your family without a secure food source. Even if you don’t live in a farmhouse it’s easy and wise to stockpile emergency foods.

Below you’ll find a list of 35 emergency foods you should be stockpiling. With all of these foods on hand, you’ll be eating well no matter what happens.

1. Flour/Wheat Berries

Obviously, flour is a staple of the modern diet, but there are a few things to consider before running out and buying big bags of it. First, whole wheat flour doesn’t store well. The oils have been released from the wheat berries and it can go rancid quickly. Second white flour offers little nutritional value. For these reasons, the best option may be to purchase whole wheat berries which store well while retaining their nutrition, especially those in #10 cans. Whole wheat berries can be easily turned into flour with a hand crank mill, they can be cooked whole as hot cereal, or they can be added to soups and stews. Wheat berries can also be planted.

2. Salt

Salt is so much more than a seasoning. In a survival situation it is essential to preserving food. It can be used to salt meats and pickle or can garden produce.

3. Sugar

This is another essential preservative. With sugar, it’s easy to put up fruit and jam for winter.

4. Honey

Honey is more than just a tasty treat! It’s natural preservative, immune system booster, antibacterial, and anti fungal. Make sure you get real honey and not the fake stuff.

5. Baking Soda 

It’s cheap and absolutely worth stocking up on. It’s an important leavening agent in many recipes and can be combined with a little vinegar and used in place of eggs in quick breads and cake recipes. It also makes a good, natural cleaner and deodorizer. It’s just over a dollar a pound.

6. Baking Powder

Another leavening agent, baking powder is an important part of many recipes. It’s also cheap and easy to store.

7. Dry Yeast

It may be advisable to store both bread yeast as well as yeast for brewing beer or wine. Even if you have these on hand, it’s also important to learn how to make sourdough or wild yeast starters so that you could make your own bread even if your supply ran out.

8. Dehydrated Milk

It may not be as tasty as fresh milk, but dehydrated milk can add essential fats and proteins to your diet in a survival situation. It’s also important for many recipes that just wouldn’t be the same with water, plus it lasts a long time.

9. Rendered Lard

Modern recommendations are to freeze lard, but not that long in the past it was commonly just kept in canning jars or crocks and even used to preserve meat. If you’re making lard at home, make sure you render it, removing all the perishable parts.

10. Vegetable Oil (olive, coconut, etc.)

Vegetable oil can add important fats to a survival diet and is important for many dressings and sauces. It’s also great for many herbal preparations and soaps. Oil doesn’t last forever so it’s a good idea to rotate your stock or at least regularly check and make sure your oils haven’t gone rancid. I’m a big fan of Nature’s Way Coconut Oil.

11. Dried Flint/Dent Corn

Flint or dent corn are varieties that are grown to be dried, ground, and used as a grain not sweet corn. They last virtually forever and are easy to grind to make cornbread, tortillas, grits, etc. Plus you can plant some to grow more as needed.

12. Pasta

While you can always make your own pasta, having some on hand is convenient in an emergency. It offers a quick and filling meal, plus it’s fairly lightweight and easy to store.

13. Cereal

Many families are accustomed to eating cereals, but they’re also important because they’re fortified. Most cereals contain a large part of your daily vitamin requirements.

14. Popcorn

Plain popping kernels are easy to store and great for keeping spirits high. For the amount of space they take up, they offer a lot of snacks.

15. Instant Potatoes

Instant potatoes offer a lot of benefits for little cost. They’re filling, cheap, last practically forever, and are lightweight and small in storage. They also only require boiling water, so you won’t use much fuel making them.

16. Crackers

Crackers can help create a sense of normalcy in a survival situation. They are also great for stretching meals. Things like soup are much more filling with a handful of crackers.

17. Canned Meat/Fish (chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon)

Canned meat and fish are convenient and require no cooking or extra water. They can be added to any meal or eaten as is.

18. Dried Meat/Pemmican

Canned meat and fish are healthy and tasty, but they’re much heavier and bulkier than their dried or smoked counterparts. Consider adding beef jerky or pemmican to your home food storage at the bare minimum. Both are shelf stable and easy to make at home.

19. Dried Bone Broth (aka portable soup)

It may sound weird, but people have been making this portable soup for centuries. It was a favorite among woodsmen, travelers, soldiers, and even housewives. It’s super convenient, but unlike modern bouillon, it’s incredibly nutrient dense and easy to make at home.

20. Bouillon Cubes

While not as nutritionally dense as bone broth, bouillon may still be worth storing. For little cost and space, it adds a lot of flavor to meals. It can be tossed in with rice, used to make gravy or sauce, or even cooked with instant potatoes. Be sure to get chicken and beef cubes.

21. Seasonings

Seasonings are important to both everyday meals and food preservation. Everyone will be sick and tired of the food stores very quickly if there’s no seasonings for different meals. Keep what your family loves and regularly uses on hand, plus ones for canning, like pickling spices.

22. Beans

While they take quite a bit of time to cook, they’re easy to store, very cheap, and full of protein. Another consideration is that in a long term survival situation, they can easily be planted to replenish food stores.

23. Lentils

While often overlooked, lentils are an excellent, versatile source of protein. They’re also light and cook much faster than beans.

24. Textured Vegetable Protein

TVP is sometimes thought of as being just for vegetarians, but in an emergency it’s great to have around. TVP is full of protein, super lightweight, and has almost no flavor. It can easily be seasoned on its own or mixed with a traditional dish to stretch more valuable foods. If you can’t find it at the store, you can find it on Amazon.

25. Rice

It’s great for filling side dishes or as the base for a simple meal. When stocking up on rice, consider that while brown rice is much more nutritious, its shelf life is much shorter–about a year. This is because white rice has been processed to remove much of the natural oils and proteins found in brown rice.

26. Oatmeal

Oats are another great option for stretching other foods. For examplem they can be mixed with meat or beans to make burgers or tossed in bread recipes. Obviously, they also make a great hearty, cold weather breakfast combined with some dried fruit and nuts or seeds.

27. Seeds (pumpkin, flax, chia, sunflower)

Many seeds offer tons of nutrition and are light, easily stored, and tasty with a little salt or seasoning. Chia and flax seeds are notable for their Omega-3s.

28. Nuts

Storing nuts and/or trail mix can be an excellent choice for a quick, protein-packed snack without the need to cook.

29. Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)

Especially if you have kids, peanut butter can offer a sense of normalcy and quick protein. Note that the dehydrated peanut butters on the market are nice and light but offer less fat than traditional peanut butter. If you have a grinder, you could also store peanuts and process them as needed.

30. Dehydrated Fruit

Store bought dried fruit can be quite expensive, but it’s easy to make at home. Simply cut up your fruit of choice into fairly small pieces and place the in a dehydrator. You can also experiment with fruit leathers. All you need is fruit puree spread in a thin layer on a dehydrator tray. Great combinations include applesauce and blackberries, strawberries and bananas, and peaches and raspberries.

31. Dehydrated Vegetables

While canned vegetables certainly have their place, dehydrated vegetables are often an awesome choice because they’re lightweight and take up much less space. Corn, sweet peppers, and tomatoes are all good options. Just like with fruit, these will be cheaper to make at home.

32. Canned Fruits & Vegetables

They’re full of important vitamins and will last for extended time periods. They also usually have quite a bit of liquid as another small source of clean water to keep you hydrated. Tomatoes are especially important, either diced or whole, as they can be used to make a variety of meals, condiments, and sauces.

33. Pasta Sauce

Pasta sauce and a box of pasta are one of the quickest, easiest meals to make in an emergency. It can also be used in a variety of other meals.

34. Coffee

Many people would have a hard time giving up their morning coffee, even in an emergency situation. Having at least some coffee on hand can make a rough time a little bit easier. Coffee grounds can then be re-used in the garden or to scrub things for cleaning. You can even put them in homemade soap for a built in scrubber.

35. Tea

Even if you don’t typically drink tea, it’s a good idea to store some. Tea takes up very little space and offers a flavorful caffeine boost. Plus, tea is antibacterial and can be used to clean small cuts. Herbal teas are also a good idea for their many medicinal uses. I really like this black tea.

These basic pantry staples are truly valuable emergency foods. No matter where you live or what your situation is, it’s important to be prepared for disaster. Keeping nutrient-dense foods on hand can help keep your family healthy and happy no matter what’s going on in the world around you.

Basic Wilderness Navigation Skills for City Folk

If you live in an apartment in the city you’ll have limited supplies and resources will be scarce in the event of a natural disaster or civil unrest. You can do your best efforts in prepping but if you live in an apartment you’ve only got so much space that you can use. In the event that you run out of resources or things just get too dangerous in the city, you’ll most likely want to bug out. Most of you will have a bug out location and chances are that you will be getting to that bug out location, at least part of the way, on foot. If that’s the case, you’ll need some basic wilderness navigation skills because even if you’ve trekked to your bug out location many times, in the heat of the moment when you’re stressed and fatigued or it’s a bit dark or the weather is bad or for whatever reason you have to take a different route, it’s very easy to get lost so I’ve put together these basic guidelines which you can master very quickly.

It’s important to note that in the woods, anybody can get lost, even the most experienced survivalist. In such situations where you can’t be helped by anybody, you will have to find your own way. I know many stories of people doing something like picking berries and getting lost because they see a patch of berries just a bit further that they want to pick, and then there’s another batch just a little further and then all of a sudden they’re turned around and lost. Then panic can set in which can even make people with good navigation skills make silly navigational errors.

The first thing you need to know is which direction you have to go in. Sounds simple but it’s not as simple as it sounds when you’re in a forest and there’s no land marks that you can see. That’s why you have to know your bearings. Secondly, you have to ensure that you remain on the right path.

GETTING YOUR BEARINGS

Knowing your bearings (North, South, East, and West) is absolutely vital to wilderness navigation. Using a compass, you can determine your bearings easily however what if you lose your compass or you accidentally break it? In most cases when in the wilderness, you will have some clues about your current location, e.g. you might know the position of the creek or coast which might either be to the east or west. Therefore, once you determine the location of the creek or coast you can get back home. Ultimately, knowing the direction of north, east, south and west is important to survival in a situation like this.

So how do you get your bearings if you don’t have a compass?

Stick in the Ground: Get a straight stick thick enough to cast a visible shadow. Drive it into the ground and note where the shadow ends on the ground. Then, after about 15-20 minutes, mark another sport at exactly where the shadow finishes. With two points on the ground, connect them by drawing a line between them. The first point represents the west direction and the second point indicates east.

 

Branches of a tree: You can get your way around in the woods by reading trees. A tree with its branches thicker on one side simply shows that they got more sunlight. The other side of the tree with thinner and more vertical branches is because it is not facing the sun, so they have to grow tall to get enough sun light. Don’t just jump to conclusions, make sure you use several trees for confirmation.

Moss: Moss generally grows on tree sides not facing the sun or on rocks not facing the sun so you know that the sun is in the south if you live in the northern hemisphere so that way you can get some basic bearings. To reduce error and increase accuracy, you don’t rely on just one tree or rock, take an average of several.
Stars: Knowing how to find the North Star is one of the basic skills for survival.
Use a watch: On an analog watch, point the hour hand towards the sun. Note this as your first reference point. The 12 hour point on the watch is your second reference. From the middle of the two reference points, draw a straight line across the watch face, the line drawn represents your north-south line.

HOW TO STAY ON COURSE

It might sound easy, but staying on course is a big problem. Many people who get lost go round and round in circles. It sounds ridiculous that someone will continue to go around in a big circle for days but it does happen and the reason it’s so easy to get off course is because there can be obstructions in your way or the woods might just be too dense to get around. If you’re in an open, flat field it’s hard to get lost if you have a compass but if you’re in thick forest and come across an impassable cliff and have to go around it’s very easy to get lost.

Use a big stick: It’s not the most sophisticated method on the planet but it actually works very well. You can apply any of the methods above to get your bearings. Next, with a very long stick, place it in the right direction in the dense area you can’t physically pass. Locate the end of the big stick by walking around the dense area, then follow the direction the stick is pointing. The Scandinavians have been using this technique since the Viking age.

Boxing: When obstructed by an obstacle e.g. a mountain or a dense forest etc. and you are in possession of a compass, you can get around it using the boxing method.

Below are steps to follow.

Step 1: With your compass, turn 90 degrees to the right, then in that direction walk a suitable distance so that you get around the obstruction. Note the number of steps you are taking.

Step 2: Still with the compass in your hand after going far enough around the obstacle, turn left 90 degrees. Then walk far enough to clear the obstacle.

Step 3: Again holding your compass, turn 90 degree left and then walk in that direction a the same amount of distance you took in step one.

Step 4: finally you are at the exact location you intend to be, turn 90 degrees right and walk in that direction. That’s the right direction you needed to go and you’ve safely got around the obstruction.

Aiming off: Are you trying to get to a location that is on a creek or a road? Don’t set off going directly to the location, aim off in one direction. It’s a good idea to aim off because there is a possibility that you won’t exactly get to your intended location and once you reach the road or creek, then the question will be, which way should I go, left or right up the creek or road. If you aim off to the left of your desired location which is on the road or creek, once you reach the road or creek, you know that you have to go right to reach your desired location. Using this method, you might add a bit more distance to your journey, but you will definitely reach your destination.

How to Keep the Hot Sun from Harming Your Plants

How to Keep the Hot Sun from Harming Your Plants

Sometimes you need to find a balance between sun and shade, depending on the conditions in your backyard, as well as the crops that you are growing. However, even if you have plants that require full sun, they may be getting too much light, particularly in the summer months when the weather is very hot. This harmful light can bleach out leaves, and disrupt the growing process, even in plants that supposedly thrive in very hot weather. Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to prevent this from occurring.

1) Know what to look for.

White leaves that look like all of the color has been bleached out of them is the most obvious sign that your plants are being harmed. By the time that you see this, it may be too late. The sun can harm the inner structures of the leaves in ways that are undetectable to the naked eye. You may end up with stunted growth, fewer vegetables than normal, or even plants that do not grow at all. Unfortunately, there is no true way of knowing that your crops have been harmed until the bleached or discolored leaves pop up. Once they do, be sure to spring into action.

2) Cover your plants with a sunshade or other material.

There are special sunshades that you can purchase to cover your plants, and as long as they are made of organic materials, they will work nicely. You do need to steer clear of plastic and other man-made materials, as they can actually keep the heat in, causing additional damage to your plants. (This is why plastic makes a good winter cover.) If you don’t feel like purchasing a sunshade, you can use burlap or bolts of cotton that can be loosely wrapped around each plant. These will allow air in, while keeping most of the heat out. Just be sure to remove them as soon as the weather cools down.

3) Keep the soil moist.

Water is incredibly important, even more so when the weather is hot. Check your soil daily to make sure that your plants have enough moisture. If it gets too dry, the damage caused by the sun’s heat will get even worse. You also need to be careful about the time of day that you water them. If water ends up on the leaves during the hottest part of the day (usually mid-afternoon) their “sunburns” will get even worse. This is why it is recommended that you water your plants either in the early morning hours, or in the evening once the sun has begun to set.

4) Use mulch.

Place mulch around the base of your plants. This will protect the root systems and keep moisture in. The mulch will also absorb some of the heat from the sun, preventing it from harming the stems and roots. Without this mulch, the soil will get very warm and the roots might begin to “cook,” further harming the plant from the inside out. You don’t want to place too much mulch on the ground however, a layer that is around two inches thick will work nicely.

7 Mistakes to Avoid when Harvesting Rain Water

7 Mistakes to Avoid when Harvesting Rain Water

Rainwater is an excellent source of drinking water whether you’re living on a homestead or surviving after a disaster. However, it’s not as simple as setting out buckets when it rains. You need to set up a proper rainwater harvesting system. And even then, you have to be careful not to make any serious mistakes.

Look over this list of mistakes and make sure you’re not making them or you’ll live to regret it.

Here they are:

  1. Forgetting to make sure it’s legal in your area.
  2. Using the wrong kind of barrel (the wrong kind will leach dangerous chemicals into your water).
  3. Buying expensive barrels. If you’re search hard enough, you can find them used.
  4. Not setting up a system for getting your water out (such as a spigot or pump).
  5. Not keeping your barrels covered (with sheets, screens, or even cooking oil).
  6. Forgetting to let rain rinse your roof for 10 minutes before collecting rainwater.
  7. Using a small system. It takes a lot of water to live.

9 Guns You Can Count On After the SHTF

9 Guns You Can Count On After The SHTF

9 Guns You Can Count On After The SHTF

As the post-civil war slogan famously said, “Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, but Sam Colt made them equal”. Firearms themselves, however, are not all created equal. This is especially true when you put them under the pressures and strains that a post-disaster weapon would have to live up to.

When the SHTF, you want a gun that you can count on. Whether you’re hunting for food or fighting for your life, you need an accurate, reliable weapon that goes bang each and every time you pull the trigger. Listed below are nine guns you can bet your life on.

1. Mossberg 500

One of the best-selling shotguns of all time, the Mossberg 500 has been used by the US military since the 1960s. It’s super reliable, easy to disassemble and work on, and just at home in the woods as it is the middle of a firefight. Best of all, a wide range of shotgun ammunition gives you a lot of versatility, allowing you to hunt cottontail rabbits and breach doorways with the same weapon.

2. Remington 700

Few rifles can compare to the accuracy and reliability of this classic. The Remington 700 is still used by military and SWAT snipers to this day, and this rifle fits perfectly in the narrow class of rifles that are light enough to take hunting yet accurate enough to use as a sniper rifle. If you are wanting a mobile weapon that can still send lead a long ways down range, the Remington 700 is the perfect choice.

3. Glock 19

Glock has made an incredible name for themselves producing near indestructible pistols that function flawlessly. This particular pistol is a compact model that is chambered in 9mm. Though most any Glock is arguably as good as the other (Glock just about always delivers with every weapon they make), the Glock 19 made the list because it is small enough to be concealed, large enough to be accurate, and is chambered in what is arguably the most popular pistol round of all time.

4. Colt AR-15

Few weapons platforms are more popular than the AR-15, and a large number of brands make their own version of this weapon. You’ve got a lot of choices when choosing which AR-15 to buy, but the version that Colt makes is as good as any of them.

The Colt AR-15 is one best weapons you could hope to have in your hands if you ever find yourself in the middle of a full-blown firefight. It’s reliable, can hold 30 or more rounds depending on the clip you have in it, shoots as fast as you can pull the trigger, and is extremely easy to customize in a wide variety of ways. All said, owning a Colt AR-15 is as close as you can get to being a one-man army.

5. Springfield M1A

The M1A is the civilian version of the popular M14, though really there isn’t a lot of difference between the two models. This ultra-reliable rifle functions both as a long-range weapon and a fast-firing semi-automatic weapon for sending out lots of lead in mid to close quarter combat. It doesn’t have the capacity of the AR-15, but it does have better accuracy for long range shots and a 308 round that packs a punch.

6. Smith & Wesson 500

If you want a pistol with the knockdown power of a howitzer, the S&W 500 is the choice for you. This beast of a handgun is chambered in the massive .500 S&W cartridge, and it packs a wallop.

Why, though, is the S&W 500 a gun that you can count on if the SHTF? For one, it brings the accuracy of some rifles into the size of a pistol (though, admittedly, a rather large pistol). It’s also a revolver, which means it’s as reliable and durable as a gun can get. Lastly, the S&W 500 is essentially the pistol version of a 50 cal. It’s a weapon you carry on your hip that’s still powerful enough to shoot through small obstructions and light cover. You’d be hard pressed to find another concealable weapon that has that much power.

7. Ruger 10/22

Ruger describes the 10/22 as “America’s favorite .22 rifle”, and that’s a statement that would be hard to argue with. The 10/22 is a classic, and for good reason. It’s reliable, accurate, and as customizable as a .22 rifle can be.

While you won’t be taking a .22 into any shootouts if you have the choice, a .22 rifle is still a gun that is priceless in a disaster situation. The ammunition is cheap and light enough to carry thousands of rounds all day without breaking a sweat. The gun itself is quiet enough to avoid detection and is perfect for taking down small game. Few weapons have put more meat on the table than the .22, and the Ruger 10/22 is among the best .22 rifles available today.

8. Kel-Tec KSG

If you want a truly elite home defense weapon, the Kel-Tec KSG is the firearm of choice. This shotgun is as compact as is legally allowed in the United States, yet despite its size, it still holds an unbelievable total of 12 3-inch 12 gauge rounds.

Its dual magazines allow you switch between various projectiles with ease, which could come in handy in a variety of ways (such as giving you the ability to switch between lethal and nonlethal rounds) and the KSG’s largely composite construction is as reliable as it gets. Put a Kel-Tec KSG in the corner by your bedside and rest easy at night.

9. Kalashnikov AK-47 (Semi-auto Variant)

The AK-47 is a fighting machine, and even the semi-auto variations of it (which can be legally purchased without any kind of special licensing) are one of the most effective weapons you could have in a mid-range fight.

The Kalashnikov is just one brand that produces semi-auto AKs, and there several other good ones available. Whichever brand you go with, know that you are getting a reliable weapon that has stood the test of time.

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Bowfishing for Survival

Bowfishing for Survival

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Planning to bug out along the waterways, rivers, or coastal areas?

Great! You’re in the right hands.

In this post, I’ll teach you a new skill (and an effective way of gathering food while out there) – bowfishing for survival.

Also referred to as archery fishing, this practice involves using your bow to catch the fish. And you can easily do it in shallow water or from your little boat- making it one of the most flexible adventures on planet Earth.

Sounds interesting, right?

You’ll discover even more exciting details as you read our full bowfishing guide which I’ll walk you through in a few moments…

 

WAIT…if you think that archery fishing isn’t practical or you can’t do it, just think of the Indians who reside by the Amazon River and rely on bowfishing to catch their daily bread.

 

Bowfishing for Survival – How To Catch Fish With Your Bow:

 

Arm Yourself With the Right Bowfishing Equipment

Just like any other job, bowfishing requires you to equip yourself with the right equipment.

If you’re a serious hunter, I believe that you have most of these tools, so you’ll just need to pack them into your backpack and head to the waters.

If you don’t have them, don’t worry. You can get them anytime you want…they’re readily available on the market at reasonable prices.

These equipment include:

– A bow: yes, this is bowfishing, and you’ll need a bow to make it work. But which bow should you use? I’d suggest that you go for the compound or recurve bows. Clearly, these will give you the best results.

Both bows share a number of aspects and will offer sufficient drive force to send an arrow right into the heart of the fish…plus they consume less space in your boat.

– You’ll need a set of arrows in your bowfishing endeavors. But don’t make the mistake of picking just any other type of arrow. The perfect set should comprise of arrow made using light wood or fiberglass material. They should also have a sharp pointer that easily pierces through the fish.

– Hey, you’ll also need some bowfishing reel…and I mean the best bowfishing reel, not any reel.

(Optional, depending on the fishing situation) bowfishing gear includes gloves, rubber hip waders, and sunglasses with polarized lenses.

 

I assume you’ve the above “tools of work” with you right now, right?

Let the fun begin!!

 

#1. Pick a suitable water body

Choose a water body that will enable you to catch fish and give you the desired results easily. If you prefer a shallow after body, be sure to fish around your target fish- particularly close to the grasses and weeds that provide cover. And, of course, make sure the environment is clean so that you can see beneath the water surface.

Typically, you should be within a range of 3-4.6 meters (10-15feet) from the fish you wish to bow down. Ensure you don’t cast a shadow over the fish as this might spook and frustrate your bowfishing efforts.

Also, consider approaching your target from the upwind location.

 

#2. AIM your Target fish

Get ready for the most important step of bowfishing- aiming your target.

“How exactly do I do that?”

Are you wondering already?

Well, all you have to do is point your bow at the target fish and shoot it…nothing new

But there’s one trick you need to learn to correctly shoot that fish you’re targeting:

That is, how to point your bow at the fish you wish to catch. See, the light traveling from one medium to next (air to water in this case) results in refractions. Thus, you’ll see the refracted image (the apparent fish) of the fish you’re targeting more clearly on the water surface.

And if you point at the apparent fish, your arrow might go high, and you’ll perfectly miss your target!

Many bow fishers have learned this lesson the hard way, and if you ask them, they’ll all give you this piece of advice:

Point your bow as low as possible!

 

#3. Don’t Forget this Important Bowfishing RULE:

What if the fish appears in a different location? For instance, let’s say the fish appears about 6m (20 feet) away and 60cm (2feet) underneath the water surface. In such scenario, it means the location has doubled…If it appears about 3m (10 feet) away and 30cm (1foot) underneath the water surface, then you MUST point your bow 10cm (4 inches) low.

…and you’ll have to double the 10cm as well. In other words, you’ll have to point 20cm (8inches) low.

It’s that simple!

If you utilize this 10-4 rule in all your bowfishing practices, I can guarantee you that you’ll bag more fish than you can imagine.

 

#4. Time To Make That Shot!

Congrats! You’re on the last step to catching your target fish with your bow.

But there’s a real problem here:

You have to hit your target such that it dies right away…and that means that you’ve to target the first half part of the body of the fish. Needless to explain, this section contains many vital organs such as the brain, meaning you’ll kill it on the spot.

We all know that fish can swim really FAST in water. So, you don’t have much time between pointing and shooting. I believe that your archery experience has taught you speed and accuracy which you’ll need to apply here.

What if you’re targeting the bigger fish- like alligator?

You’ll need to shoot them at least twice so that you can strike them down.

After a lucky shot, pull in the line quickly. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to catch fishes at a single stroke with bowfishing!

 

Wrap UP

I told you bowfishing isn’t that hard! After reading through the above guide, I believe you can catch some fish with only your bow and arrows.

This is a fun-filled practice that does take you no time to perfect it. With the right archery equipment and our expert guide above, you’ll be awed by how easy it is to catch fish!

Your Food Storage Might Not Last 25 Years!

Your Food Storage Might Not Last 25 Years! Extending Food Storage Life in Hot Climates!

Everyone who buys emergency food would like to think that it would last “up to 25 years,” as it says on the side of the can. As we all know, “up to” can technically mean anytime from the moment the product is bought to, well, 25 years.

In the last few years, a number of articles have been published that have questioned the probability that food would actually stay viable and nutritious for 25 years, or 30, as some claim. Recently we’ve finally seen some packaging labels change from “up to 25 years” to “up to 25 years if stored between 50 and 70 degrees” or “if stored under ideal conditions,” whatever that means. The addition of such a phrase injects a higher degree of honesty into the food-storage picture.

Emergency Essentials used to include in its sales catalog a helpful chart that shows how long stored food would last at different temperatures. The chart showed that if food is stored in the summer in a garage in a place like Phoenix where I live, I should just walk over to the trash bin, dump the food, and wheel the bin out to the sidewalk on trash pick-up day. At such high temperatures, the shelf life of stored food is months, not years.

When stored food is kept at high temperatures, the food is damaged. Proteins break down, and some vitamins are destroyed. Color, flavor, and odor of some foods may also be affected. Therefore, food should NEVER be stored in a garage or attic in hot weather.

So, where should we keep food in hot climates? If no underground bunker is available, which is the case for most of us, inside the house is the only answer. But, are there places in the house that are better than others? If I store my food in a closet, is it safe? Is there anything I can do to ensure that the food is kept in the coolest conditions possible?

Summer electric bills in Phoenix and other places like Las Vegas, Bakersfield, El Paso, and Tucson can be nauseating. Setting the thermostat is a matter of personal choice. If you can afford to run your air conditioning at 68 degrees, that would really help to extend the life of stored food. If you can’t afford that and don’t want to replace your AC compressor every few years, even a few degrees below the usual setting to which you’ve been accustomed would be helpful. It’s a personal decision. Do I protect my stored food, worth perhaps thousands of dollars, and thereby extending its viability, or do I lower my electric bills and extend the life of the compressor? It’s a tough choice, either of which will cost money.

IDEAS TO LOWER FOOD STORAGE AREA TEMPS

There are a couple of things that will help to lower the temperature of food-storage areas by a few to several degrees. First, in the summertime, keep the closet doors open a few inches where food is stored. That will allow the refrigerated air to reach the interior of the closets. Keeping the doors closed, while it looks neater, blocks off a closet from the cooler air. Conversely, in the wintertime, keep the closet doors closed to block the heated air from reaching the interior of the closet. I was quite surprised to open one of my food storage closets last winter to find how much cooler it was inside. Every few degrees make a difference.

Second, be mindful of how high up in closets or on shelving units you place stored food. Everyone who was paying attention in 5th grade Science class knows that heat rises. Climb up on a tall ladder in the summer inside your house, stick your arm up as high as you can, and see how hot it is up there. I was painting my family room one summer and climbed the ladder to paint the tallest wall in my house, which has a 12-foot vaulted ceiling. It was unpleasantly and surprisingly hot up there. Store food in the lowest parts of your house. The floors of closets and under beds are cooler places than the top shelves of closets or shelving units. Put the toilet paper and extra camping equipment on the top shelves, and bring the food down. Toilet paper doesn’t mind being warm; dehydrated chicken does. Better yet, put the toilet paper in the garage, and save your indoor shelf space for food.

Adjusting the temperature just a few degrees, whether by lowering the thermostat, opening or closing closet doors, or preferential shelf placement, will undoubtedly help to prolong the life of your expensive stored food. Then, maybe we’ll be closer to that 25-year-shelf-life ideal.

 

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Something To Think About on this Independence Day.

There are but a few times a year that family and friends get together to both celebrate life and the great founding of our Nation. July 4th, our day of Independence, represents a profound set of actions, planning, and courage.

The founding fathers risked everything by declaring independence from England’s control.  One of my favorite quotes from one of Benjamin Franklin’s letters, during the Continental Congress. “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

From the courage the founders derived such an eloquently written and beautiful document that is universal in nature to all that are governed by its organization.  In these trying times, political discourse, the inability of our current leaders to lead, plan, organize, and commit to the common good for all americans, we are failing.

Take some time to reflect on where we came from to get to this point.  Educate yourself on what the founders originally believed, and how we should treat one another.  We are all Americans.  We all have dreams to be better and provide for our families.

 

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

 

Have a happy Independence Day.

From the SHTFandGO Team.