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.

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.

 

http://www.prepperwebsite.com/

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.

10 Survival Tricks You Did Not Think Of

10 Survival Tricks You Did Not Think Of

10 Survival Tricks You Did Not Think Of

#1. Hide valuables

You may want to bury valuables somewhere on your property. You obviously want to remember exactly where the spot is but of course you do not want to write it down or leave any marks or clues. You can create a reminder so that only you and your companions know the exact location easily. Take a photo of your companions standing on the spot where you’re supposed to dig. Make copies of the photo and have everyone keep it in their wallets and bug out bags. No one will ever know or be able to guess the true purpose of those photos. Unless they just read this article.

#2. Get Fit

Bad situations always bring out the worst in people. You will probably need to fight one or more attackers one on one eventually. To save your life you must be able to outperform others. You never know if you may need to carry an injured loved one to safety. All of these tasks will require strength, flexibility, speed, and stamina. It’s very easy to improve all of them. The hardest part is simply getting started. I am used to walking far distances, thanks Army, but I always try to find excuses to disappear and spend an hour or two a day in the gym. Jogging, hiking, and going to the gym will all improve your physical fitness. I suggest, if starting, that you focus on body-weight exercises such as sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups.

#3. Move Out Of The City

What always happens during riots is that the cities downtown area turns into a war zone. That’s why it’s the last place you want to live. You won’t be able to get in and you won’t be able to get out meaning you might get stuck inside for days, maybe even weeks. Even worse, you could get attacked and injured trying to get home.

You can find cheaper housing in the suburbs. You definitely have to be careful about the location so you can avoid high-crime neighborhoods. You want to be safe before and after a riot, not only during, when rioters who also live in the suburbs decide to take justice into their own hands. You will also want to plan a quick way out of the city if you need to go.

#4. Smart Way To Rotate Your Food Stockpile

If you stockpile some of your food under your bed, there’s an easy little trick to keep it rotating. Always deposit cans on one side of the bed and remove them from the other side. This process will push older cans through and cause you to take the oldest can when you want to use one. This way your food will most likely never go bad and end up sitting in the same spot for years. You can rearrange your shelves for this process as well.

#5. Clean Your Teeth With Baking Soda

After a disaster maintaining good personal hygiene is going to be tough. This tip is for the most basic: dental hygiene. Keeping your teeth healthy is fortunately going to be easy. The simple solution is baking soda and water. Just mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with half a teaspoon of water until they start to form a paste. That’s literally all you have to do. Now dip your toothbrush inside and get to work!

#6. Trees/Plants

Most vegetation can be useful in some way, whether it is edible or you can make something from it. Just be careful and start learning about your local plant life to be able to recognize what is safe and what is poisonous.

White birch is one example of a useful tree:

  • Drinkable sap that does not require purification
  • Bark is great at starting fires
  • Tar can be extracted from the bark which makes a excellent adhesive

American Basswood:

  • Fibers can be used to make very strong rope
  • Edible leaves and inner bark

#7. Escaping

You never know what can happen so you should learn and teach those around you some basic military SERE skills. SERE stands for survival, evasion, resistance, escape. If you are escaping or evading remember that it is best to rest and hide during the day to avoid detection and to stay out the heat. You need to save your energy! So observe, eat, hydrate, and plan your next move during the day and start moving at sunset. You can learn more by reading the Army Ranger Handbook.

#8. Security

Western nations following a collapse will be looking at a life a lot like current day third world countries. Several of these countries are crawling with armed gangs, militants, and citizens fed up with crime. Some start forming community watch groups and security forces in an effort to fight back and protect their communities and children. Purchase security items that will help protect you and your companions. Bulletproof vests are currently legal to purchase and will enhance your ability to survive if there is a gun fight. Razor wire can be very useful for protecting your bunker or compound from threats. You can’t set it up now because if someone gets hurt you will be responsible. Just have it ready for whenever SHTF.

Purchase the equipment you need to be able to refill your ammo. Practice and teach everyone around you how to be proficient at this. Eventually when everyone runs out of bullets you will still have the upper hand. Or you can trade for other supplies you may need. So, make sure to stockpile weapons, ammo, and the necessary to reload bullets. It probably will save your life.

#9. Opsec

In the military, we are regularly briefed about anything and everything, whether it is stupid or of utmost importance. Well one topic that always stuck with me is Opsec, it stands for operations security. You can look up the long definition but I will give you the basic meaning. Don’t say where, who, when, or why. Do not tell anyone anything that they do not need to know including friends or family members. You never know who will let something slip that could compromise your plans and security.

#10. Plan/Backup Plan

This maybe last on my list but it might just be the most important advice I can give you. Do all of you reading this have a plan to reach your family or companions in case disaster strikes? What if you’re at work? When SHTF it won’t wait for you; make sure everyone knows where to meet, how to get in contact, and the approximate time it will take. Don’t store all of your supplies in one location, even if you have a super secure bunker. What happens if someone finds it and you need to escape? All the years of prepping fall into someone else’s hands and you are left with nothing. You never know what might happen so come up with a backup plan to your plan. And then another backup plan to your backup plan.

http://www.prepperwebsite.com/

4 Keys To Keep A Newly Planted Garden Growing Strong And Healthy

newly planted garden
Newly planted tomatoes off to a good start

The first few weeks after planting is a critical time for vegetable plants. It is when tender seedlings and transplants are at their most vulnerable stage.

Up to this point, most vegetable plants have spent the majority of their life inside. They were watered regularly, and kept sheltered from wild temperature swings and the burning hot sun. And now, they have been planted outside to deal with the harsh realities of Mother Nature. Talk about tough love!

But with a few simple things in mind, you can get your newly planted garden off to a great start. And that of course, means a great harvest later!

Here’s a look at 4 of our biggest and best tips to get your garden growing into a lush, vegetable producing machine.

4 Tips To Keep A Newly Planted Garden Growing Strong

#1 Keep Foot Traffic Away From Root Zones

Whether you have a traditional garden, raised rows, or raised beds, keeping foot traffic away from your plant’s root zones is critical to their long-term success.

In the first few weeks of a newly planted garden, vegetable plants are desperately trying to establish a healthy root system underground.

newly planted garden
Mulching around each plant with compost is a great way to feed them too!

Those roots are crucial in soaking up much-needed water and nutrients all summer long. They also hold the plants strong against wind, rain, and the heavy load of veggies in mid-summer.

If the area 12″ around each plant is left undisturbed, it allows roots to more easily grow and expand. Compacted soil from heavy foot traffic in this zone can leave roots shallow and small. Be careful as you walk through the garden to stay in the walkways, and off of the root zones.

It’s one reason raised rows, raised beds and container gardens are so effective. By nature, they are designed to keep the root zones out of harms way.

#2 Mulch Those Plants!

More than anything else, be sure to apply a healthy dose of mulch around the base of each plant!

Mulching helps retain valuable moisture in the soil. That keeps young plants from drying out too quickly, and you from having to water too much. Mulch also aids in keeping the soil temperature regulated from the burning hot sun and cooler nights. Consistent soil temperature goes a long way in keeping plants growing strong.

Last but certainly not least, mulching plants helps keep weeds out. Those weeds steal valuable nutrients from the soil needed by young plants. So keeping them out is more than just keeping the garden looking pretty.

What are the best garden mulches?  Grass clippings, finished compost, straw and shredded leaves all work wonders.

#3 Watering Smart

When and how much to water a newly planted garden can be a tough chore to size up.

Too little water and plants shrivel up.  Too much water can keep them from developing a deep root structure needed to grow strong.

A good rule of thumb is that plants need about an inch, to an inch and a half of water per week. That equates to about 1/4 of a gallon of water to each plant’s root zone 3 times a week. If it’s not falling from the sky, then you need to supplement.It is best not to water every day unless you are having extremely hot weather. If you water every day, the plants will never send roots deeper. That results in less hardy and underdeveloped roots and plants.

#4 Boost With A Little Natural Fertilizer

The best time to fertilize a vegetable garden is when it first starts growing. A little boost of all-natural nutrients when plants are young can help them power up for the season.

We like to apply a little compost or worm casting tea to each plant about every 14 days, for the first 45 days after planing. After that, it’s best to stop fertilizing. Fertilizing too late in the season, or applying too much will keep plants growing leaf and root structure, and not vegetables.

http://www.prepperwebsite.com/

The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar: skin tonic, digestive aid, cancer fighter, and now hangover cure? Did that last one get your attention? As a kid, I only knew apple cider vinegar was used as a cleaning agent by the neighbor kid’s hippie mom. But oh, there’s more. Much more. Research is now revealing that apple cider vinegar has dozens of uses, not only around the home but also in our bodies!

Apple cider vinegar is a great nontoxic cleaner. Let’s start there. Also known as ACV, apple cider vinegar can be used to clean counters and floors, but it is not just a surface cleaner. It is fantastic as a fabric softener, laundry whitener, and toilet bowl cleaner. Beyond cleaning, it has more uses around the home. It will keep ants away and can be used as a weed killer, jewelry cleaner, or homemade dog shampoo! I guarantee there are uses in there you have never thought of.

Apple Cider Vinegar Uses - The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Plus a Recipe for Switchel

The cleaning functions of ACV are impressive. But the most powerful benefits of ACV have to do with improving and maintaining our health. Apple cider vinegar has a wealth of enzymes and helpful bacteria that can be put to multiple uses inside our bodies. But you need to be aware of a very important ACV fact. There are two types of apple cider vinegar you can buy. You might be tempted by the one that looks clear and pristine. This lovely looking refined ACV is great for cleaning, but not for health applications. The apple cider vinegar that is most beneficial to our insides is the raw, unfiltered version. This opaque version undergoes a double fermentation process that results in the production of boatloads of enzymes. So why is this fermented, unfiltered one better than the clearer filtered versions?

It is all about the mother. The “mother” is the beneficial complex structure of acids that makes the vinegar appear cloudy. Once removed, the vinegar is still a tremendous cleaning agent, but it unfortunately loses many of the highly coveted health benefits during the processing to make it clear.

What is in apple cider vinegar in addition to all those enzymes? Inside that murky maple-colored liquid are iron, potassium, magnesium, malic acid, acetic acid, calcium, pectin, and ash. All of these minerals and nutrients combine to make a deeply potent healing agent. But there are mixed reviews on the content of all these nutrients in ACV. More recent studies suggest that powerful phytonutrients – powerful plant qualities that scientists are only beginning to comprehend – may be responsible for the powerful effects of ACV. Whatever the secret ingredient, raw, unfiltered, mother-filled ACV is worth its weight in gold.

What are all the health benefits of apple cider vinegar? There are dozens and dozens in the literature, but some are more convincing as they are backed by peer-reviewed scientific research.

One of the most convincing studies involving apple cider vinegar has to do with blood sugar regulation. The research revealed that taking 1 to 2 tablespoons of ACV before bed with a small amount of fat resulted in lower morning fasting blood sugar measurements. These studies also showed that those who participated also experienced a weight loss of several pounds over the four-week study. That was a nice bonus!

Another surprising health benefit of ACV is its ability to boost immune function. Researchers have found that the antioxidants found in ACV can reduce damage done by free radicals. Apple cider vinegar is also a strong antimicrobial agent and has been shown to work in some situations where medication would not.

I can’t step away from the health benefits of this wonder elixir until I talk a little about the gut-healing powers of ACV. Having suffered digestive issues for years, and being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, I take special interest in the fact that ACV has been shown to calm the digestive tract. Remember I mentioned above that ACV seemed to have some power over weight loss? Theorists believe that ACV, perhaps the acetic acid content, allows food to be more effectively broken down and absorbed in the intestinal tract. This proved key for the blood sugar study participants’ unexpected weight loss, but also means that ACV can reduce stress on the digestive tract.

Apple Cider Vinegar Can Improve Your Health - The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Plus a Recipe for Switchel

Anything that helps you break down and absorb that piece of broccoli means less stagnation and fermentation in the tract. If apple cider vinegar aids in this process the result is a more highly functioning food processing machine. Also, because of the plethora of enzymes, ACV starts acting on your digestion the minute it hits your lips. Finally, ACV is considered a prebiotic. Prebiotics are “food” for your probiotics. This is very important in keeping your probiotic number high and robust. All of these attributes translate into easier digestion and elimination.

Recently a new benefit of apple cider vinegar has been discovered. Who knew that after one happy hour cocktail turned into three, apple cider vinegar would be a welcome friend? You see, a recently discovered benefit of apple cider vinegar is “recovery.” When we “play” too hard we suffer dehydration and mineral loss. An apple cider-based beverage called switchel has been found to be an efficient and effective replacement beverage.

Switchel Recipe - The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Plus a Recipe for Switchel

Variations on switchel recipes have been around for years, but now you can find switchel bottled at natural grocers everywhere. But guess what? You don’t have to buy it. You can make it at home for pennies.

The recipe is a simple combination of apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, lemon, and a little water or seltzer to top it up. Combine these ingredients from the recipe below, and you have your very own recovery tonic.

You might know that pure maple syrup, ginger, and lemon have hundreds of benefits between them. Maple syrup is highly anti-inflammatory and loaded with antioxidants. Lemon is excellent for digestion and is rich with vitamin C. Finally, ginger adds the benefits of digestive relief, decreased inflammation, and immune support. I think this switchel tonic has superpowers.

Apple cider vinegar has a litany of uses for health and home. But now, move over kombucha – we can use apple cider vinegar to create a state of hydration and mineral balance perfect for after a night out, a heavy workout, or your workweek.

 

http://www.prepperwebsite.com/

How to Heat a Survival Shelter Without an Indoor Fire

How to Heat a Survival Shelter Without an Indoor Fire

Staying warm without fear of burning up

Building Fires

A fire lay is excellent at warming you up… So long as it’s not inside your survival shelter

Nothing in the backcountry gives off heat like a roaring fire. That’s why our recent ancestors built fireplaces in their log cabins – and more remote forebears burned fires in whatever structure they called home. And since it’s not wise to have a fire in a primitive hut made of sticks and dry vegetation (or a cave, for that matter), it’s good to know of other ways to heat your living and sleeping area. By digging a hot rock heating pit in the dirt floor of a shelter, you can enjoy the heat of a fire – with far less danger to yourself and your shelter. Here’s how.

Start by digging a small pit in the floor of your shelter, a little bigger than the bowling ball sized rock that you will be using to transfer heat. Dig the hole to match the rock’s size and shape, and find a flat rock to cover the pit. Make sure that you get your two rocks from a dry location (water-logged rocks tend to explode when heated, so do not use rocks pulled from rivers, streams, and ponds). Ensure that everything fits together well before you heat up the stone, since a 1200 degree F rock isn’t a fun thing to juggle. You could even recess the hole of the pit surrounding the cover, so the flat rock sits flush with the dirt floor (not a trip hazard). When it’s time to use your set-up, heat up your pit stone in a fire for about an hour (but don’t heat the lid stone), carry the stone to the pit (a shovel works well), and drop it in. Seal the pit with your flat stone lid, and bask in the radiant heat that will last for several hours.

For sustained heat, you could always have another rock of a similar shape and size to your first rock at the ready, so that when the first rock is done cooling off, the second rock can be swapped in its place to keep the heat going. This trick works best in very dry soil and with a red hot rock. Just clear all flammables out of the way as you move the near-molten stone toward the waiting pit!

Ever used hot rocks as a heat source for survival? Please let us know by leaving a comment.

http://www.prepperwebsite.com/

11 Toxic Plants That You Should Learn to Identify

11 Toxic Plants That You Should Learn to Identify

11 Toxic Plants That You Should Learn to Identify

Whether you’re going camping for the weekend, exploring the land around your homestead, or learning about edible plants and medicinal herbs, knowing which plants are highly toxic is essential. Never, ever, consume a plant you have not positively identified as safe, OR that is a look-alike for one of the poisonous plants. For example, wild carrot is not poisonous, but its look-alike Water Hemlock is the most toxic plant in the US – a single drop of ingested sap can kill a child or adult.

Some plants are safe to handle as long as they are not ingested. Other plants can cause severe burns, rashes, and more just by brushing against the plant or getting sap on your skin. If you suspect you have had physical contact with one of the irritating toxic plants, immediately wash the area with warm water and soap, and seek proper treatment (like calamine lotion for Poison Ivy).

If you have children, one of the best things you can do is teach them to identify and avoid poisonous plants. Even a toddler can get interested in learning plants, and remember characteristics of toxic plants (like the “leaves of three, let it be” to identify and avoid poison sumac, poison ivy, and poison oak).

Here are 11 common toxic plants to beware of.

1. Water Hemlock – Cicuta

Water Hemlock

Water hemlock is a lacy plant with broad umbrellas of white flowers. Its leaves resemble those of carrot, and also elderberry. Unlike carrot and elderberry, however, it thrives in wet and marshy areas like stream banks and lakeshores, or marshes. To avoid water hemlock, avoid all carrot-looking plants growing in or close to water.

2. Giant Hogweed – Heracleum mantegazzianum

Giant Hogweed

This large plant prefers pasture, and the sunny edges of forests. Contact with the sap causes blisters, swelling, and sever photosensitivity that can cause second and third degree burns with sun exposure. This plant should be avoided, or reported. One should not attempt to chop (or burn) it on one’s own, it would require a hazmat suit.

3. Poison Hemlock – Conium maculatum

Poison Hemlock

Not quite as poisonous as water hemlock, poison hemlock has only slightly different characteristics.  It is a showy white-flowered plant with purple-spotted hollow stems, and leaves resembling parsley or carrot in their growing habit. The danger with poison hemlock is confusing it with wild carrot, or Queen Ann’s lace, which are not toxic.

4. Poison Ivy – Toxicodendron radicans

Poison Ivy

Possibly the most common plant to cause painful irritation and rashes, poison ivy is found throughout North America. Its growing characteristics include leaves in groupings of three, pointed leaf tips, green leaves in spring, and yellow leaves in fall, with white berries. Any contact with poison ivy can cause a rash, including if it is on your clothing and you touch the contaminated spot. If you come in contact with poison ivy (or poison oak and poison sumac), do not touch any other part of your body with the contaminated part, and do not touch your clothing. Wash clothing as soon as possible, and wash any skin area the plant touched with soap and warm water before applying soothing lotions or other treatments.

5. Poison Oak – Toxicodendron diversilobum

Poison Oak

From the same family as poison ivy, poison oak also has similar characteristics. Poison oak has leaves in sets of three, is a low-growing plant that has green leaves in summer, and rich orangy red leaves in the autumn. The irritant in poison oak is the same as that in poison ivy, and the treatment would be the same.

6. Poison Sumac – Toxicodendron vernix

Poison Sumac

The foundation of the family, along with poison ivy and poison oak, this plant has very similar characteristics as well. Namely the leaves of this plant also growing in groups of three. This little group of three plants is why the “leave of three, let it be” is good to remember, then you’ll never go tramping through a growth of them accidentally.

Since the irritation from the Toxicodendron species is caused by an irritating oil, the most effective way to prevent it is washing the oil off your skin as soon as you realize you have come in contact with it.

7. Oleander – Nerium Oleander

Oleander

A showy and sweet-smelling ornamental in the dogbane family, this plant is toxic if ingested. There is no part of this plant that is not toxic. It bears a slight resemblance to an olive, and also to the also-poisonous rhododendron. The flowers grow in showy clusters, and can range from white to red with shades of pink in between, with dark green lance-shaped leaves in alternating pairs, sometimes whirls of three instead of pairs.

8. Deadly Nightshade – Atropa Belladonna

Deadly Nightshade

While nightshade has a history of cosmetic use, its foliage and fruit are all highly toxic. It bears a resemblance to the potato, with similarly shapped leaves. Its flowers are tubular with five petal-points, usually purple in tone. The fruit is dark purple black, and is the most toxic part of the plant.

9. English Yew – Taxus Baccata

English Yew

The yew is one of the few evergreens that grows flat needles. The needles appear flat, and are paired, giving the branches a flat feathered look. Unlike most conifers, the yew tree has a bright red, fleshy, berry/cone which holds the highly-toxic seed. Both the foliage and the seed of the Yew tree are poisonous, and during some European wars, there were reports of soldiers dying after drinking from yew-wood canteens. Caution should be observed when working with yew for any reason due to this toxicity.

10. Wolfsbane – Aconitum napellus

Wolfsbane

This is a very pretty purple flower which vaguely resembles a hooded monk. Traditionally, the Aconitum spp. were used for poisoning wolves, by farmers, hence it’s other common name of “wolfsbane.” All parts of Monkshood are poisonous to humans and animals.

As a quick rule of thumb, any flower that has a deep tube or trumpet shape (fox glove, petunia, lilac), is likely to be poisonous, no matter how good it smells. Also, bulb flowers that are trumpet shaped, like Easter lilies, daffodils, and narcissists, are also poisonous and should be avoided. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but if a plant has these characteristics you should only consume it after positively identifying it as safe, by 3 different people and/or sources.

11. Castor Bean – Ricinus communis

Castor Bean

The castor bean plant is from the spurge family, and is highly toxic. Even though edible castor-oil is produced from it, the oil is only safe because the process is designed to remove the water soluble toxin, ricin, from the oil. The castor bean specifically is the most poisonous part of the plant, and a single ingested bean can kill an adult. The castor plant is a common ornamental due to its showy feathery red flowers, and multi-fingered green-purple leaves.

Conclusion

As I said at the beginning of the article, you should only touch plants that you are positive are safe AND don’t look like any toxic plants. Remember, even if you’re sure a plant is safe, if it has a toxic lookalike, then you risk making a deadly mistake by handling it. Better safe than sorry.

http://www.prepperwebsite.com/

How to Make an Improvised Gas Mask

How to Make an Improvised Gas Mask

Last week I took part in the GoRuck Constellation here in Tulsa. Unlike the GoRuck Challenge with its hefting of heavy logs and doing lots of push-ups and squats, Constellation is a scenario-based event in which you learn urban survival skills and the techniques of escape and evasion from former U.S. military special operators. The emphasis is on skill acquisition instead of beating you down.

I had a great time and learned a lot during the event. One of the most interesting skills I learned was how to make an improvised gas mask from a 2-liter bottle and dust mask in the event tear gas or pepper spray is being used during civil unrest. After making it, we actually had to put it to the test by getting pepper sprayed in the face by our cadres.

And it worked. At least for me. Some folks still got some spray in their eyes. It looked really unpleasant. When creating an apparatus like this, you’ve got to be sure you put it together just right!

I thought it was fun skill to have and it could actually come in handy one day. So below I walk you through how to make an improvised gas mask in under 10 minutes.

Now is this thing anywhere close to a perfect gas mask? Far from it. But if you ever need it, it’s better than nothing.

How to Make an Improvised Gas Mask

Gas masks work by intaking “polluted” air through the “snout” of the mask, and then allowing that gas to pass through a filter before you inhale it. Professional gas masks have filters that can absorb and neutralize very fine particulate.

This jerry-rigged version is only designed to protect your eyes, mouth, and nose, while creating a physical barrier between larger particles in the air and your face. It’s obviously not going to protect you from truly toxic chemicals.

Materials

  • 2-liter soda bottle
  • Dust mask
  • Duct tape
  • Knife

1. Cut Off the Bottom of the 2-Liter Bottle

At the bottom of the bottle, you’ll find a seam. Using your knife, cut along the seam until you completely cut off the bottom of the bottle.

2. Cut a U-Shape on the Side of the Bottle

Remember to remove the plastic label that surrounds the bottle. Some of it will still be left on the bottle after you’ve taken it off. Cut your U-shape so it removes that remaining label. The U’s bottom should be about 2 inches above the bottle cap. The width of your U should be just large enough to fit your face into it. You don’t want to make it too big, as that would allow gas or pepper spray to enter your mask more easily.

3. Remove Bands From Dust Mask

Grab your dust mask and remove the bands from it. Put them in a safe place; we’ll be using them here in a bit.

4. Place Dust Mask Inside the Bottom of the U

Place your mask inside the bottom of the U-shape you just cut. You want the mask to tilt a bit downwards towards the bottle cap. As you see, this creates a small chamber between the bottle cap and the mask.

5. Duct Tape Mask to Bottle

Get your duct tape and secure the mask to the bottle. You want to make sure you have a solid seal around the mask area and no gaps where bad air can sneak in. Err on the side of too much duct tape.

Another view of the taped dust mask.

6. Duct Tape the Edges of Your Mask

You’ll likely have some jagged edges where you’ve cut the bottle. To make the mask a bit more comfortable, place some duct tape along those edges. The added benefit of the duct taped edges is that it allows you to get a better seal around your face — which is crucial in its effectiveness.

7. Cut Four Slits Near the Sides

We need to cut some slits into which to place our mask’s bands. Cut two slits near the top of the mask — one on each side — and another two four inches below — again, one on each side.

8. Thread Bands Through Slits and Tie Off

Thread your bands through the slits. Start from inside the bottle and thread out. Tie off the ends with an overhand knot so they don’t come out.

9. Duct Tape the Slits

To prevent air from entering your mask and as added security for your bands, place some duct tape over the slits.

10. Punch Some Holes in the Bottle Cap

Use your knife and punch a few holes or slits into your bottle cap. This will allow you get a bit of air when you have the gas mask on. Based on my experience from Constellation, the slits weren’t enough to get adequate air intake. I’d recommend cutting a small square to let in a bit more air.

Cap screwed back on after slitting holes.

You’re Ready to Face a Post-Apocalyptic World

There you go. How to make an improvised gas mask in under 10 minutes. Now you’re ready to face a Cormac McCarthy-esque post-apocalyptic world in which the fabric of society is torn apart and all hell has broken loose.

http://www.prepperwebsite.com/

Seven 15 Minute Preps to Get Ready for Hurricane Season

Seven 15 Minute Preps to Get Ready for Hurricane Season

Seven 15 Minute Preps for Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane preparedness is key for anyone who lives within a few hundred miles of the coast.  Hurricanes and tropical storms can form and make landfall in less than 24 hours.  Impacts are felt far inland, not just the coastal areas.  Here are a few steps to get you started when preparing for the hurricane season.  Each prep takes 15 minutes or less to complete and will put you on the right track to be better prepared.

Keep Your Vehicle Gas Tank At Least Half Full Throughout the Season

When tropical storm or hurricanes threaten, one of the first commodities to go is gasoline.  Always try to keep your tanks half full.  This can keep you out of long lines at the pump, allow you to get a jump on an evacuation, or even prepare you for rationing if it occurs.

Check Flashlights, Lanterns, Radios, and Other Communications Gear

Home Emergency Supply KitPull those flashlights and lanterns out of the cabinet and light up the room!  Be sure the batteries are good and the light is functional before you need it.  Turn on your AM/FM radio and turn to a couple different channels to be sure it is functional.  This is a great time to check and see if you can tune in to your local emergency station from your homestead, work, or other location.  If you can not tune in to the emergency station, identify a secondary alternative.  This is also a good opportunity to test two way communications gear or family communications plans with the family.  And don’t forget to keep a few extra sets of batteries on hand.

Validate Your Insurance and Secure Important Documents

The worst time to find out you forgot to pay your insurance bill is after you lost a roof or got flooded because of a storm.  Take the opportunity at the beginning of the season to Validate Insurancelocate the latest copies of your insurance documents (flood, windstorm, home, renters, etc.) and store them in a waterproof container (a freezer bag works great).

Flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires a 30 day waiting period after payment of premium before the policy goes into effect. If you are on the fence about whether or not to get it, make the decision now so your policy is active before the season ramps up.

Keep your documents in a readily accessible location in case you have to quickly grab them to evacuate.  This is also a great time to identify and store your policy number and phone number used to file a claim.  If your policy documents get lost or destroyed due to storm damage, not knowing those numbers can  delay the claims process.  Having this information can help streamline your filing and keep your claim on the top of the insurance company’s claims pile.

Load Test Your Generator

Most people never test their generator until they need it.  Of those that do test it, the majority just start it up and let it run.  Take the few minutes to start up your generator and plug in a load.  Include anything you plan to run during or after the storm.  Let it run for 10-15 minutes, but if you have more time, the longer the better.  This will allow you to confirm the generator can handle the expected load after a storm.  It will also allow you to approximate the rate of fuel consumption.  As a follow-up, calculate the amount of fuel you have and how much runtime it will provide.  Get more fuel to store if required.  Also, don’t forget the oil!

Plan Your EvacuationPlan Your Evacuation

If you plan to evacuate, review your evacuation route and potential alternates.  Identify potential food and fuel stops along the routes.  Be sure to account for the fact that you will probably be dealing with traffic so you will travel less distance on a tank than usual.  Ensure you have a place to go that is outside of the impact area.  Relatives or friends are great, but confirm with them ahead of time.  If that isn’t an option, identify a lodging location and check it out before you need it.  Hotel and motel rooms fill up fast once an evacuation is triggered.  Make reservations ahead of time and pay attention to the cancellation policy.  For many major chains you can cancel with no charge up to 24 hours prior to check in. So you can cancel if the storm changes course.  You don’t want to be stuck at the run down place that charges by the hour!

Start Building Your Home Emergency Supply Kit

One of the easiest and most important supply kits to develop is your Home Emergency Supply Kit.  It is already started with the non-perishable food in your pantry and water in your water heater.  Add on a little from there each time you shop online or go to the grocery store.  Since your home is your storage bin, it provides ample space for storage and organization of supplies when compared to bag based go kits.

Keep Cash on Hand in Small Denominations

Cash is KingWhen the power goes out, electronic payment methods and ATM machines don’t work.  Don’t expect to pay with credit on your next run to refill your gas cans.  Keep cash on hand and in a secure location.  Small denominations are important unless you want to use that crisp $100 Benjamin to pay for $20 worth of wood and tarps at your local hardware store.  Many retailers quickly run out of the ability to make change, so small denominations allow you to keep more of that money in your pocket.

The List Goes On

When it comes to preparing for a Hurricane there is a number of items that need to be considered and many decisions that must be made.  These are just a few items that are quick and easy to get out of the way at the beginning of the season while also preparing you for a number of other hazards.

The more time you devote to pre-planning these matters before hand, the less stress they will bring when the incident occurs.  For kids and adults alike, having a plan provides a small sense of comfort and control during the chaos of a disaster.

 

http://www.prepperwebsite.com/

12 First Aid Tricks That Really Work

12 First Aid Tricks That Really Work

12 First Aid Tricks That Really Work

In today’s age, we’ve grown pretty accustomed to 21st century medicine and all of the convenient solutions that it offers. However, there could come a day when the medicines, technologies, and medical professionals that comprise modern medicine are no longer so easily accessible. When and if that time comes, you can rely on these first aid tricks that really work:

1. Run a Burn Under Warm Water

It may sound counterintuitive to run a burn under warm water, but it turns out that this is one of the best ways to stop the pain. Even minor burns can be agonizing, but warm water works to relieve the pain and increase circulation to damaged tissue by expanding your blood vessels – as opposed to cold water which restricts them.

2. Treat a Nosebleed

Severe nosebleeds can lead to a serious amount of blood loss. To treat a nosebleed, most people lean their heads back. But instead, you should start by leaning forward so that the blood doesn’t run down your throat. Next, use a tissue or cloth to gently squeeze your nostrils shut. Continue leaning forward and applying pressure until the bleeding has stopped.

3. Remove an Insect Stinger with a Credit Card

Some insects such as bees will leave their stinger inside your skin when they sting you. It needs to be removed, but you have to be careful doing so. Squeezing the stinger with tweezers can cause more of the insect’s venom to be injected into your skin. Instead, use the edge of a credit card or a dull knife to gently scrape out the stinger. Just be careful to ensure that you are pushing it in the right direction; you don’t want to be pushing it further into your skin.

4. Soothe a Sore Throat with Salt Water

Without any kind of medicinal treatment, sore throats can be a real annoyance. One easy, medicine-free method of soothing a sore throat, though, is to gargle salt water. I highly recommend you try this before taking medicine or sore throat lozenges. You’ll be surprised at how well it works.

5. Use Baking Soda to Stop the Itching from Insect Bites

Bites from mosquitos, chiggers, and other pesky insects often itch so bad it’s almost unbearable. This is especially a problem if the situation requires you to spend a lot more time in the woods than you might have before. In lieu of anti-itch cream, though, you can use a paste made from baking soda and water to stop the itching from insect bites. Just put one tablespoon of baking soda in a bowl and slowly add a little bit of water while stirring until a paste is formed.

6. Elevate a Sprain or Strain to Reduce Swelling

If you have suffered a sprained or strained ankle, it’s important to elevate it above your heart. Elevating a sprain above your heart reduces blood flow to the injury, which in turn prevents swelling. This is part of the RICE method.  Which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

7. Splint a Snake Bite

There are a lot of first aid myths centered around treating snake bites. One of the most persistent ones is the idea that shocking a snake bite will neutralize the venom. Before you hook yourself up to a car battery, though, you should know that this has been proven false.

Even slicing open the fang marks and sucking out the venom – once standard procedure for treating snake bites – is now thought to do more harm than good. The unfortunate truth is that venomous snakes are efficient killers, and short of antivenom, there is no proven way to neutralize the venom they inject.

One thing you can do, though, is to splint the limb that was bitten to restrict movement. Moving can cause the venom to spread further into the body. From there, though, you should always seek medical treatment if it is available. In a world where medical treatment is not available, avoid venomous snakes like the plague.

8. Treat a Heart Attack with Aspirin

If you find yourself suffering from a heart attack, one of the best things you can do short of seeking immediate medical help is to chew up an aspirin tablet. Taking aspirin within thirty minutes of the initial symptoms of a heart attack has been shown to greatly reduce the damage to the heart, prevent future problems that often develop after a heart attack, and, in many cases, actually save the patient’s life. If you have a history of heart problems, it’s a good idea to carry some aspirin with you everywhere you go.

9. Roll a Seizure Victim onto their Side

One of the dangers of seizures is the risk that the victim will choke to death on their vomit. To prevent this, standard procedure is to always roll a seizure victim onto their side and hold them there for the duration of the seizure. Here is some more information on how to help someone having a seizure.

10. Avoid Removing a Foreign Object that has Punctured Your Body

If you’ve seen all of the action movies where the unphased hero nonchalantly jerks an arrow or a knife from their body, you may think that removing the object from the puncture wound is the best course of action. In reality, though, it only speeds up blood loss.

It’s important to wait to remove a knife (or another penetrating object) from the body until you are ready to immediately commence other procedures that will stop the bleeding. It’s equally important though, that they remain still while the object is still inside them. In the case of knives, arrows, and other objects with sharp edges, moving can cause the blade to rub against tissue and blood vessels, leading to further damage.

11. Ease Nausea With Peppermint Tea

Nausea can come from a wide variety of causes, but no matter the source it is rarely ever enjoyable. One great and easy way to treat nausea, though, is with peppermint tea. To make peppermint tea, simply take peppermint leaves and boil them in water. Drink the tea warm and it will help ease nausea, sometimes making it go away entirely.

12. Treat Frostbite with Warm Water

If you or someone you know is suffering from the symptoms of frostbite – tingling, numbness, swelling, and blisters – it’s important to treat it right away by running the affected area under warm water.

It’s a natural reaction for people to try and rub their hands together to warm them up from the friction, but this should be avoided in the case of frostbite, where rubbing can damage sensitive skin and tissue.

http://www.prepperwebsite.com/

Prepping for Beginners – plan, checklist, tips

low budget prepping - Prepping for Beginners

Preppers Survive gets quite a few emails each month.  My favorite emails are from newbie Preppers because they have an intensity and an urgency in their comments and questions.  This intense urgency is how I felt when I first started prepping.  I laboriously looked for articles on prepping for beginners.  It felt like it haunted my every waking thought for months.  I have been prepping for eight years and have learned many lessons over the years.  Perhaps the most universal lesson I’ve learned is that there is no magic formula!

Why There is No Magic Formula for Prepping 

  • Each person and/or family’s eating and living habits vary widely.
  • We live in different locations with varying environmental hazards, climate concerns, and population density.
  •  We each have different skills and areas that we are both strong and weak in. Our lack of talent or skill in a particular area plays a factor on what preps are important to us.

Although there is no magic formula for prepping there are still many ways we can learn from each other.  I may not be able to tell you what’s the fastest and cheapest way to get every prep you’ll need but I can tell you how I started and the things I learned along the way.

The Story of a Newbie Prepper

I had one of those terrifying END OF THE WORLD dreams, three months in a row, each a different dream.  After the first I started getting really serious about prepping.  After the third I had an intense urgency to get my preps in order.  My prepping began by stocking up on the things we frequently used.  We had five meals that we regularly ate so we stocked up on those food items when I first started prepping which was a couple of years before the dreams.  After the dreams, I realized that having some food wasn’t enough.  I needed at least a year supply of food, water, light/heat, first aid/hygiene supplies, protection supplies, communication supplies, and a financial plan.  I also wanted to become self reliant in all of these categories.

Prepping for Beginners – Food Storage Cheap

  1. Decide what preps are important and create a checklist of essential preps.  Here is a link to a 17 page PDF Preppers Supply Checklist that helps me to stay organized, set goals, and see areas in which I need to improve.  ScreenHunter_254 Jan. 12 23.59
  2. Set a budget.  I was able to scrape together $500 with the help of a tax return.  We also turned off our cell phones and got a Vonage home phone which saved us $70 a month to spend on preps.
  3. Find a place to store your preps.  My husband and I lived in a two bedroom apartment and space was limited.  As you can see in the featured picture we used one of the walk in closets to store our preps.  Having a designated space for your preps is very important.  I know some preppers that store preps randomly all over their house.  In many cases they forget where they stored it or even that they have it so they keep buying the same preps over and over again.  I know this is hard to believe but I have seen it numerous times.  Keep your preps in one place so that inventory and bugging out are easy.
  4. Food Storage Cheap – Shop around.  Since I had a meager budget, I wanted to maximize every dollar that I spent.  This is where urgency can get you into trouble.  The more patient you can be the better the deals you can find.  First, investigate the stores in your area.  I was amazed the stores that I had shopped at for years had bulk items I never noticed before.  Second, check local store prices against online prices.  Third, get creative.  If you are working on getting cheese and powdered milk for your food storage see where the closest cheese factory or dairy is and how their prices compare.  I lived 35 mins away from a ConAgra Food Company (they make my favorite spaghetti sauce) and didn’t even know it.  I learned about it after moving to Idaho.  The more you research food storage items you want the better the price you will get for it.

I spent most of the $500 on food storage items:  brown rice, white rice, pasta noodles, pinto beans, black beans, potato flakes, popcorn, buckwheat hot cereal, oats, cornmeal, flour, salt, and sugar.  The rest of the money I used on freeze dried meat & veggies.  I also used some of the money to buy 5 gallon buckets to store the food in and 5 gallon water containers.

Prepper How To – Helpful Tips 

  1. Prepping is not a sprint (or even a marathon) it is a continuous journey.  Even after spending $500 on food I only had a four month supply of food.  So enjoy the journey, as you continue to use and add to your preps you will go through a learning curve and develop prepping skills.  Prepping for Beginners
  2. Use mylar bags when storing bulk items.  After about four years the pinto beans started growing mold.  It was hard to get the stink out of the bucket even after using bleach.  I didn’t have a mold  problem with my black beans or other food just the pinto beans.  I trashed them and bought more storing them in the same bucket.  After two years they became moldy again.  I now use one gallon mylar bags to help:
    1. protect the buckets from lingering smells.food storage cheap - Preppers Survive
    2. protect the food – by separating the food into sealed smaller bags it protects them from the air and contaminates each time I open the bucket to get food out.  I’ve noticed that the bulk popcorn gets less fluffy and a little crunchier over the years as there is more air in the bucket as the popcorn gets lower.  When I buy new popcorn I will seal it in smaller bags to keep it fresher longer.
    3. convenience – I label each mylar bag with how many cups are in it, I can fit 10 cups of flour in a one gallon mylar bag which is the exact amount that fits in the Tupperware container I keep in my kitchen for easy access to flour for recipes.Prepping for Beginners - Preppers Survive
  3. Don’t store food in containers that are not food grade containers. Plastic buckets and plastic bags that are not food grade are made with different plastics which contaminates the food.  My mother threw out flour and beans because they tasted like plastic.  It not only tastes bad but some plastics have health hazard warnings.
  4. Only buy preps that you use on a regular basis.  I have heard of people throwing away their old out-dated food storage because they can’t give it away to the food bank since it has expired.  There is a psychological factor if it looks old and not as appetizing as the new stuff then most of us won’t eat it.  I have a friend that was diagnosed with a terminal illness.  After the diagnosis, she was very particular about what she would put in her body.  All expired foods were given away and who can blame her.  Rotating your short-term food storage and not buying extras of the things you don’t eat regularly can keep you from wasting money.
  5. Don’t put oxygen absorbers in with sugar or salt!  It clumps together and gets hard as a rock.
  6. Get started today.  The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time…today.  It is easy to get overwhelmed and get paralyzed because there is so much to do.  There is a peace that comes from just getting started and once you get some momentum you will find better and easier ways to continue this journey.

Have You Trained Your Kids To Work? What Will They Do When A SHTF Happens?

Kids are natural helpers. Especially when they are younger and they want to “help” with everything. Many parents take advantage of that help and let the kids help them. That is the start of training your kids to be good helpers and workers around the house and the yard.

Doing chores and being expected to help inside and outside the house helps develop skills. Kids become contributing members of the household which helps lighten the load for the parents. Kids who are expected to help and do chores learn a better work ethic and become valuable members of the workforce and society after they leave home. They also learn responsibility and manage their home and work lives better.

However, there are parents who believe “that kids should be kids”. They have no chores, no responsibilities beyond school, and no expectations besides getting good grades and being a good person. They are coddled and spoiled. They do not learn responsibility beyond school. They do not learn skills or accountability. The parents do everything for them.

What is going to happen to those households when the SHTF happens?

They are going to self-implode. The parents will be doing everything they can to survive and their dependent children will not know what to do. Instead of pitching in and helping to clean the mess or secure food and water, they will want to know why they can’t eat right now! Instead of working to make the situation better or at least tolerable, they will be in a tizzy because their cellphones and smart devices are not entertaining them!

We would all like to believe that kids will naturally just step in and help because the need has arose. We would like to believe that they will just instinctively know that they are needed and will rise to the occasion. Some kids will do this, I am sure. However, in this day and age, I do not believe that most will do anything. That would be work and they know nothing of work.

We are seeing a rise in an entitled, selfish culture that is being fostered by parents who believe that their precious darlings should have and do whatever they want. They are overly involved at school, not involved at all, or they are considered special because they are really smart. They go to college and think they are special because they are enlightened with their college education. They get degrees in areas that will not really transfer into a career that will actually support them. And, for some reason, they get some really crazy ideas about life while they are in college.

Can you imagine what will happen when a SHTF happens to them?

I am not saying all kids and young adults are like this, but I am seeing a really disturbing trend. This trend that says this kids do not know any life skills, were taught very little responsibility, and would not survive at all when a SHTF happens. They will expect and demand that someone else takes care of them and this situation. They will be crazy when they find out no help may be coming.

That is why kids need to be trained to work. This training starts early when they want to “help”. You are teaching them early that their help is a valuable contribution to the household. When they get a little older, daily and weekly chores teaches them responsibility and accountability. When they are preteens, they should be expected to help whenever asked in addition to their regular chores. By the time they are teenagers, they know what needs to be done inside and outside the home.

You are teaching your kids to work. You are teaching them to be valuable, contributing members of the family. Kids are not perfect. They may need reminders and lists about what needs to be done. You will have to teach them what to do and how to do it. There is always going to be a right way and a wrong way to do things. You will have to teach them safety. You will have to teach them the skills they need to know like cooking, gardening, keeping a home, and taking care of animals.

However, when a SHTF happens, the kids will know that they are expected to help you. They may not know exactly what to do, but they know to listen to you and to take your direction. When you ask them to grab a broom or shovel to clean up the mess, they will do it. When you tell them to cook supper, they will do it.

Should kids still have fun? You bet, but you are teaching them that life is about getting the necessary things done so they can have fun. Parents should not be shouldering the burden by themselves. Kids need to learn that they are living under the roof provided by the parents and can help to take care of the house. Sometimes they will argue and whine, but you as parents need to be firm, insist on the chore being done right, and not to be afraid to give consequences if not done.

You are raising adults. They may be kids now, but they will be adults that the rest of the world will have to deal with later. Just like they need to be trained to work now, they will be ready to work later as an adult because they know that is expected of them. So whether they are living at home or on their own, when a SHTF hits, they will be ready to help in anyway they can and they can take care of themselves.

Medical Aspects of Camping and Other Tips You Need to Know About

As the weather begins to warm up, it is time to think about outdoor activities we can pursue not only for pleasure but to hone and practice our outdoor survival skills.  Speaking for myself, camping is high on my list of summer activities, including a first-time adventure using a tent.

Most of us plan to hunker down and shelter in place in the event of a disruptive event. That said, if our homes are no longer safe, either due to location or to physical destruction, we must have a plan to evacuate.  In some cases, the answer will be short term camping.

Dr. Joe Alton is here to today to weigh in on what we need to know about the medical aspect of camping plus some other tips to make the overall experience both pleasurable and educational.

Medical Aspects of Camping | Backdoor Survival

Safe Camping Tips for Preppers

School will be out soon and a great way to teach your family survival basics is by taking them camping. The skills needed for successful camping are akin to those required for the activities of daily survival. Once learned, these lessons last a lifetime. There’s no greater gift that you can give young people than the ability to be self-reliant.

Camping trips create bonds and memories that will last a lifetime.  A poorly planned campout, however, can become memorable in a way you don’t want, especially if someone gets injured. Luckily, a few preparations and an evaluation of your party’s limitations will help you enjoy a terrific outing with the people you care about, and maybe impart some skills that would serve them well in dark times.

Start Small

If you haven’t been camping much, don’t start by attempting to hike the Donner Trail. Begin by taking day trips to National Parks or a nearby lake.   Set up your tent and campfire, and see how it goes when you don’t have to stay in the woods overnight.  Once you have that under your belt, start planning your overnight outings.

Whatever type of camping you do, always assess the capabilities and general health of the people in your party. Children and elderly family members will determine the limits of your activities. The more ambitious you are, the more likely the kids and oldsters won’t be able to handle it.  Disappointment and injuries are the end result.

Important Considerations

An important first step to a safe camping trip is knowledge about the weather and terrain you’ll be encountering. Talk with park rangers, consult guidebooks, and check out online sources. Some specific issues you’ll want to know about:

· Temperature Ranges
· Rain or Snowfall
· Trails and Campsite Facilities
· Plant, Insect, or Animal Issues
· Availability of Clean Water
· How to Get Help in an Emergency

Medical Aspects of Camping

A very common error campers (and survivalists) make is not bringing the right clothing and equipment for the weather and terrain. If you haven’t planned for the environment you’ll be camping in, you have made it your enemy, and believe me, it’s a formidable one.

Although Spring and Fall have the most uncertainty with regards to temperatures and weather, you could encounter storms in any season. Always take enough clothing to allow layering to deal with the unpredictability of the season.

Conditions in high elevations lead to wind chill factors that could cause hypothermia. If the temperature is 50 degrees, but the windchill factor is 30 degrees, you lose heat from your body as if it were below freezing. Be aware that temperatures at night may be surprisingly cold.

In cold weather, you’ll want your family clothed in tightly woven, water-repellent material for protection against the wind. Wool holds body heat better than cotton does. Some synthetic materials work well, also, such as Gore-Tex. Add or remove layers as needed.

If you’re at the seashore or lakefront in summer, your main problem will be heat exhaustion and burns. Have your family members wear sunscreen, as well as hats and light cotton fabrics. Plan your strenuous activities for mornings, when it’s cooler. In any type of weather, keep everyone well-hydrated.  Dehydration causes more rapid deterioration in physical condition in any type of stressful circumstance. Allow a pint of fluids an hour for strenuous activities.

The most important item of clothing is, perhaps, your shoes. If you’ve got the wrong shoes for the outing, you will most likely regret it. If you’re in the woods, high tops that you can fit your pant legs into are most appropriate. If you go with a lighter shoe in hot weather, Vibram soles are your best bet.

Special Tips: Choosing the right clothing isn’t just for weather protection.  If you have the kids wear bright colors, you’ll have an easier time keeping track of their whereabouts. Long sleeves and pants offer added protection against insect bites that can transmit disease, such as Lyme disease caused by ticks.

Location, Location, Location

A real estate agent’s motto is “location, location, location” and it’s also true when it comes to camping.   Scout prospective campsites by looking for broken glass and other garbage that can pose a hazard.  Sadly, you can’t depend on other campers to pick up after themselves.

Look for evidence of animals/insects nearby, such as large droppings or wasp nests/bee hives.    Advise the children to stay away from any animals, even the cute little fuzzy ones. If there are berry bushes nearby, you can bet it’s on the menu for bears. Despite this, things that birds and animals can eat aren’t always safe for humans.

Learn to identify the plants in your environment that should be avoided. This especially includes poison ivy, oak, and sumac.  Show your kids pictures of the plants so that they can steer clear of them. The old adage is “leaves of three, let it be”. Fels-Naptha soap is especially effective in removing toxic resin from skin and clothes if you suspect exposure.

Build your fire in established fire pits and away from dry brush. In drought conditions, consider using a portable stove instead.  Children are fascinated by fires, so watch them closely or you’ll be dealing with burn injuries. Food (especially cooked food) should be hung in trees in such a way that animals can’t access it. Animals are drawn to food odors, so use resealable plastic containers.

If you camp near a water source, realize that even the clearest mountain stream may harbor parasites that cause diarrheal disease and dehydration.  Water sterilization is basic to any outdoor outing.  There are iodine tablets that serve this purpose, and portable filters like the “Lifestraw™” which are light and effective.  Although time-consuming, boiling local water is a good idea to avoid trouble.

Get Your Bearings

Few people can look back to their childhood and not remember a time when they lost their bearings. Your kids should always be aware of landmarks near the camp or on trails.  A great skill to teach the youngsters is how to use a compass; make sure they have one on them at all times.

A great item to give each child (and adult) is a loud whistle that they can blow if you get separated.  Three blasts are the universal signal for “help!” If lost, kids should stay put in a secure spot.  Of course, if you have cell phone service where you are, consider that option as well.

Bug Bites

Even kids in protective clothing can still wind up with insect bites.  Important supplies to carry are antihistamines like Benadryl, sting relief pads, and calamine lotion to deal with allergic reactions.  Asking your doctor for a prescription “Epi-Pen” is a good idea, as they’re meant to be used by the average person. They’re effective for severe reactions to toxins from insect bites or poison ivy.

Citronella-based products are helpful to repel insects; put it on clothing instead of skin (absorbs too easily) whenever possible. Repellents containing DEET also can be used, but not on children less than 2 years old.

Don’t forget to inspect daily for ticks or the bulls-eye pattern rash you might see in Lyme disease. I mean it when I say daily: If you remove the tick in the first 24 hours, you will rarely contract the disease.

Of course, you’ll need a medical kit as part of your supplies. Consider some of the items in our compact, lightweight personal IFAK kit, specifically meant to deal with mishaps on the trail. You might have your own favorite items to bring with you; if so, feel free to post them in the comments section below.

The Final Word

Now that I live adjacent to the forest, I want to get a tent.  The plan is to get something easy to set up because, after all, I am not a young as I used to be and want to save my energy for things like hiking and doing a bit of wood chopping.  Then, as Joe suggests, I plan to camp in my own one-acre backyard before venturing further.

One thing is certain, it is a lot more fun to practice survival skills when you couple the experience with a family adventure!

 

Backdoor Survival Featured Articles

Are You Ready For The Next Influenza Epidemic? How Will You Survive The Next Pandemic?

In doing some research about influenza, I came across the great Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919. This happened during World War I and affected everyone on both sides of the ocean as well as across the world. It affected soldiers as well as citizens. It is estimated that 50 million people died during this epidemic. That is compared to the 16 million people who died during World War I.

One of the things that was missing from this epidemic was antibiotics. They simply did not exist as a medicine during this time. Antibiotics in an usable form was discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming. However, antibiotics are rarely used for any influenza viruses. We do have some medications now that will treat influenza.

It is unlikely though that antibiotics would have been effective anyway during the epidemic of 1918. The influenza epidemic came in two phases. The first phase was less severe and most people recovered from it. It came in back a few months later and killed people within hours to a few days. Most people died from the fever and fluid filling their lungs which suffocated them. The disease affected people ages 20-40 the most.

Doctors and scientists were at a loss at how to treat this influenza. They could not control or stop the disease. Remember, there was no Center for Disease Control at the time. That was not established until 1946.

Don’t remember learning this in history class? I didn’t remember learning it either. However, what can we take away from this?

1. It was not treatable. They believe the strain during this epidemic was the H1N1. Influenza strains can be mild or develop a variant that can make them deadly. Since very little was known about influenza then, it was almost impossible to treat. Today’s influenza strains are proving harder to treat. Flu shots do not cover all strains of influenza. A strain or a variant in the strain of influenza could be strong enough to not be treatable or controllable.

2. It affected strong, healthy adults the most. The age group that was affected the most was 20-40 years old. This is a group of people who are at the peak of life in terms of health and vitality. The problem with that is this is also the group of people who would be the most social group especially in 1918. Even today, people in that age range rarely stay home. The disease would be able to spread very quickly because people are constantly going. They go to work, kids’ activities, social gatherings, and college.

3. It was not controllable. This influenza strain spread very, very quickly. People were given poor advice on how to not catch the disease and how to treat the disease. We now have the Center for Disease Control who would hopefully be on top of the disease. We also now know the best way to treat the symptoms of influenza. We also know that we need rest and to stay home to keep influenza from other people.

Do you think this could happen again? Many people do. Are you ready for the next influenza epidemic? An influenza epidemic of the proportions that occurred in 1918 would be considered a pandemic now.  We hear threats of pandemics now that could happen. How would you survive the next pandemic? What do you need to do to get ready?

1. Get a sick room ready. You should have a room, preferably a bedroom, ready to be a sick room. You should have some medical supplies ready in that room like a thermometer, ibuprofen, hot water bottle, instant cold packs, face tissues, disinfectant spray cleaner, trash bags, face masks, and disposable gloves. You may also want a pandemic flu kit in that room for the people treating the sick.

2. Have white towels, wash cloths, and white bedding ready to use. You want linens you can wash in very hot water or even put in boiling water to disinfect. You can also use bleach on white linens without issues. You want to have extra linens so you can change the sick beds quickly and wash the infected bodies without worry.

3. Have rolls of heavy plastic to cover surfaces like the bed, the floor, the windows,and the doorways. You have to think about disease control going in and out of the house. You are trying just as hard to keep the disease out as well as keeping it controlled in your home.

4. Keep some chem suits on hand. You may want to completely cover up to deal with a sick patient or having to go into infected areas. A chem suit with boots and gloves would be the ideal solution. You will also want a face mask and eye protection to keep safe.

5. Have one person who would be dedicated to taking care of the sick. The less people exposed to the sick person, the better the chances for everyone to stay healthy. Having one person designated to taking of the sick will keep everyone healthier. Having a designated respite person for the caretaker would be a good idea too.

6. Have a plan in place for death. In a pandemic, death is inevitable. What will you do if someone dies? As morbid as it seems, you may want to have a body bag on hand. You also want to have a plan for disposal of the body. Where will it be buried? Will you bury the body? Those are your decisions alone, but having a plan will make those decisions easier.

7. Do not go anywhere if you don’t have to. During a pandemic, being a homebody is your best bet for not catching the disease. Having a good food storage, water storage, and a disinfected home will be wise.

No one wants to think about getting sick much less think about a lot of people getting sick. We like to think with all the technological and medical advances we have now, another influenza pandemic will not happen again. However, new strains of diseases are being developed all the time in nature and in labs. We can not be sure this will not happen again. In fact, it is likely to happen again.

What will you do to protect yourself during a pandemic? Do you think we could have another influenza pandemic?

 

http://www.livinglifeinruraliowa.com

Garden Hacks – Repurpose Everyday Items

Print Friendly

When it comes to preparedness – or life in general – there’s a ton to buy. When we can reuse something, it helps. One, there’s the direct cost application. Two, looking at something and seeing its ability to be something completely different has enormous benefits in opening the mind in general.

If we’re preparing for a crisis, gardening and the ability to provide fresh foods in the gulf of winter and spring take on a far greater importance than just a hobby or a passion. Happily, there are some things that can be salvaged for free or found at very low-cost that make a world’s worth of difference. Channel your inner Julie Andrews with me as we look at a few of my favorite things. There’s some non-gardening uses for each listed as well.

DVD Racks

Years ago I picked up a free DVD rack to be a bean trellis for a Rubbermaid tote garden. I have since been in love, and it’s one of the things I consistently watch for at yard sales, curbside pickup listings, and foreclosure cleanup sites.

I got lucky, and mine have a rounded top at the sides. If you find some that don’t, just glue on a milk jug cap for some of its applications.

They go way beyond trellising.

They work for the far ends and sometimes central support “poles” of low poly tunnels or low hoops for garden beds and rows. A little free bamboo or PVC to span distances, some binder clips (Dollar Tree) to clamp the plastic on, and you’re in business.

They can also be set up long-wise down the middle of a bed to form an A-frame style “camping tent” poly cover if desired, which works really well for peas, with roots and salads to the outer verges, and converts well to later tomato beds.

They also form plant racks for inside near windows, against pale walls, or outdoors to keep salads conveniently close or make use of vertical height.

Mine all hold square plastic coffee tubs (they need a length of string along the front unless it’s a really well-protected area), #2.5 cans (the large tomato or peaches can), and V8 bottles without any modification at all. They’ll hold 2L bottles on their sides for longer, shallow containers, or Lipton and Arizona tea jugs of both types and sizes either cut off vertically or horizontally.

I can do square juice jugs as well, but they overhang enough to make the dog tails an issue on their sides, and I’m more comfortable with some twine or wire looping them to the back bar.

I prefer the open-dowel construction type, just because it leaves me options. I can add thin saplings, bamboo or thin sheathing to convert them if needed, but the open frame allows more light and nestles the rounded-bottom containers well.

Outside Gardening the DVD racks have the ability to hold larger canned goods and bottles of water, be used to dry clothes as-is or be half of a frame of dowels or saplings to create a larger drying space, and the poor kid used to have a pair that were hung with a curtain, topped with a chunk of (free) plywood, and outfitted with $2 in hooks to hang her uniform shirts and pants, like a mini closet that was also the mirror and vanity.

Storm Doors & Windows

These guys don’t multipurpose to the same degree as the DVD racks. They’re really handy to run across, though. One, having a backup is never a bad thing. Two, they are ready-made cold frames and pest exclusion frames.

I like a 3’ width for garden beds, permanent or bounded, and they fit pretty perfectly as-is. I can tighten up and use straw bales to create a different kind of cold frame with them laid across the top. I can run them in series or as individual structures.

An A-frame can be pretty quickly mocked up and is one of the easiest builds for getting your feet wet. It’s also handy in that it sluices ice and snow build-up and is more resistant to winds. The doors and windows get hinged at the tops, any stick or tool props them so they don’t flip the frame or ka-bong off your noggin, and cats, dogs and goats are less likely to stand on them.

Just the mesh from storm doors and windows is useful. So is mesh that comes off when you repair those.

It’s going in the garden, so some stitching or a little duct tape on both sides to repair a rip isn’t an issue. All it’s doing is protecting seed-stock squash from cross-pollination or keeping creepy-crawlies from eating the brassicas, lettuce, and beans before you can.

The advantage to taking out the mesh is that it’s an even easier build yet. There’s no hinges (unless you hinge the whole frame) and there’s less weight. That means more materials become potentials for the frame itself. You can tie some loops to go around a brick or post, or add some eye hooks to keep it in place.

Do keep the builds small enough that you can lift or flip by yourself once plants are in there. Some posts to the inside of the bed or rows can create a pivot point for flipping.

Painter’s/Construction Drop Cloth

My first set of drop cloth came from a part-time job in high school. I have been in love ever since.

It’s not super expensive, and it’s a toss-up whether the construction poly or the garden poly is cheaper to buy new, but it’s usually the totally clear construction drop cloth in our area. The 5+ mil I use is fairly durable in Southern wind storms, sun rot, ice and freezing rain, and Mid-Atlantic snow.

Contact handyman type businesses and painting businesses – for these as well as the windows and storm doors, and the mesh from those. Usually they’ll only use them for so long and as with the mesh, a few duct tape patches and the paint stains won’t impede too much structurally or light-wise.

Should you see them pop up cheap or free somewhere, don’t neglect those fancy-people outdoor grill, furniture and sofa covers, or any clear, thick, translucent vehicle covers.

Like the totally clear and colorless painter’s plastic, they all make for great garden hoop houses. Some of them can also be outfitted with sturdier construction to form a more permanent greenhouse.

Outside Gardening drop “cloth” or storm doors and windows can also be assembled into wind and snow-blocking shields around exposed doors at the home, or can enclose part or all of a porch to turn into a mudroom in an emergency or during snowy weather. Doing so creates a buffer chamber so there will be less polar vortex entering the house with every human and pet.

Plastic can also be used to cover windows and doors inside or out to decrease drafts and increase insulation value.

The painter’s plastic has the same value for livestock in extreme environments, especially if a normally warm climate is experiencing sudden return-to-winter weather after flocks or rabbits have adjusted to 60s-70s-80s, or if it’s so rare to have severe weather, coops and hutches were never built for extreme cold.

Drop cloths and poly covers can also be used to line bedding for the young, ill and elderly, so that every sneeze and cough or “mommy, I feel- blech” does not lead to disinfecting a mattress as well as changing bedding.

Wire Shelving

Really, do you ever have enough shelving? I particularly like seeing the simple-frame, open-weave, metal-wire shelving for bathrooms, laundry rooms and closets pop up in junk piles, yard sales, and Craigslist, because it’s super handy, super versatile stuff.

Like the DVD racks, it’s indoor-outdoor tiered plant stands, either year-round or during seed-starting and transplant season(s).

It can also be wrapped in our reclaimed plastic sheets or form part or all of the structure for salvaged windows or poly covers to make a mini greenhouse on a porch, beside a house or garage, for growing later and earlier in the season.

Then it gets even more useful.

Even if the whole is a little rickety, the shelves themselves can be removed and then turned into trellises. They can be rearranged around their original legs-stand or affixed to bamboo or the legs from old tables or chairs to form short garden fences to discourage turtles and rabbits, and limit dogs running through beds.

As an added bonus, if you have a senior gardener or an injury, sinking some of those sturdy table legs or a bundle of 3-4 larger bamboo canes 18” deep and up to hip or rib level can be a major aid in keeping them gardening.

The sturdy supports can then be covered with netting or sections of storm door mesh to act as a further bird and pest exclusions.

Outside Gardening there are endless uses for shelving, from water collection to organizing anything at all. Wire shelves also offer a lot of airflow for drying clothes.

The shelf “planks” of wire units can be used to patch and shore up fences and coops, especially somewhere something dug. They can be used to cover vehicle and house windows to limit damage from thrown bricks or if a storm window is damaged during a crisis.

They can also be reconfigured into a cage or crate for rabbits or small birds, to expand flocks or because they happened to be stacked from Craigslist and Freecycle runs ahead of time and now there’s a puppy to crate train or weather has shifted and we’re worried about the next generation of layers.

The shelves can be used to sift the largest chunks out of compost or soil in some cases, help form a gabion to slow water and keep it from increasing erosion, or can be lined with mesh or cloth for drying foods or seeds.

The shelves can usually be easily reconfigured with larger or smaller gaps than originally intended to facilitate buckets, larger boxes, or drying seeds and grains.

They don’t pop up as much as they used to, but some can still be found on the freebie sites as curbside pickup, or for <$15-20. They also sometimes pop up at Salvation Army/Goodwill, and if you cultivate contacts, sometimes you get your hands on just the shelf parts because the rest of the racks have been lost during multiple transfers or all the pieces weren’t donated.

Garden Reuse-its – My Favorite Things

These are just a few of my favorite things to re-purpose for growing veggies. The world is full of things like laundry bags we can use to prevent caterpillars and squash bugs on our cabbage and beans and zucchini, and old carpeting we can layer deep in garden walkways to cut down on maintenance time.

Any time we can reuse something, it cuts down on waste, making for a better world – not just the world around us. If we’re saving time and money, and if we’re developing some creativity and a new way of looking at things, we increase our preparedness and better our own world directly.

http://www.theprepperjournal.com

Homemade Substitutes for Toilet Paper

Survivopedia_toilet paper

A big part of being self-reliant is learning to make the most out of every resource. When the crisis strikes, you have absolutely no way of knowing when you will get another chance to stock up on supplies, whatever those might be.

Many people focus solely on food, water and medicine. While these are, indeed, the most important supplies, there are plenty of others to consider. What would you do if you ran out of toilet paper?

This is not something that many people give a lot of consideration to. But think about it. It is a product that everyone needs all the time. In that regard, it is placed in a pretty special category with other essentials which you simply cannot go without. This means that toilet paper is a pretty important resource, but it is also a finite one.

No matter how many supplies of toilet paper you buy, it is a single use item, one which literally gets flushed down the toilet after being used. This not only represents a waste of money, but also an actual waste which you might have to deal with if your plumbing is damaged when SHTF. Therefore, it would make sense to look at homemade alternatives for toilet paper.

Using Cloth Toilet Paper

The most common alternative to regular toilet paper is cloth toilet paper which is also referred to as family cloth. Due to the sensitive nature of the product in question, some people might be reticent to change their habits and find a substitute for toilet paper. However, something to remember is that people used a lot of different other items before toilet paper even existed.

Those who accept this concept will see that family cloth does have several advantages over regular toilet paper.

  • For starters, it is completely homemade. Family cloth is simply squares of fabric which can be made from anything around the house including old clothes which you do not wear anymore.
  • The product is recyclable, a big plus when talking about maximizing our resources.
  • These cloths are simply kept in a basket in the bedroom and thrown in a bin after being used. Afterwards they are thrown in the washing machine and then left to dry.
  • They are reusable. While this might be the notion that upsets most people, it is also the one which constitutes the biggest advantage of family cloth.

Disregarding the specific product in question, whenever we are talking about two solutions, one reusable and one finite, the reusable one is always the most efficient choice.

If you are looking for a way to maximize your resources, then using family cloth is the way to go. Many people who use family cloth regularly claim that it is more comfortable. After all, it would be made from the same material as underwear so the sensation will be very familiar.

These reasons have convinced many people to switch off toilet paper in their everyday life. For them, there is also a financial motivation to consider. Reusing the same family cloth over and over again means not having to spend any more money on toilet paper.

And lastly, you need to consider that you might not have a choice. If SHTF and you become isolated from the community and you run out of toilet paper, this becomes a viable substitute whether you want to or not.

Making Your Own Toilet Paper

For many people, the best substitute for toiler paper is simply… toilet paper. It is possible to make your own as you do not need complicated tools, as you will be recycling all of your old paper which you have no use for anymore. You can use newspaper, general paper and even magazines as long as they do not have a shiny gloss. You will also want to add ingredients such as baby oil, lotions or aloe in order to keep the paper from hardening.

1. The first step would be to remove as much ink as possible from the paper, by soaking it in a tub or a bucket. Afterwards take the paper and place it in a pot with leaves and grass which will help the fibers remain together. The pot should be filled with water so that it completely covers the paper and then left to simmer. It is important not to boil the water from the beginning so that the dry materials have a chance to absorb the water.

2. After an hour of simmering comes about half an hour of boiling at high temperatures. It’s ok to add more water if necessary. You will also need to remove the foam which begins to rise to the top, as this is mostly ink, glue and other materials you don’t want.

3. Eventually, the paper turns into a pulp. At this time you will have to remove the water but without disturbing the pulp. Try to remove as much as possible and then simply wait for it to cool before removing the rest of the water. The pulp also needs to be taken out in order to remove the water, but it should not be done so that the pulp becomes completely dry. Once this is done the pulp is put back in the pot and it is mixed with the softening oils. If you have it, you can also add Witch Hazel which will act as an anti-bacterial.

4. Once this step is complete, it is time to scoop out the pulp. Do it in chunks and place them on a towel or a cloth on a flat surface. Afterwards you will use a rolling pin in order to spread out the pulp in a thin layer. Try to make it as thin as possible. A mallet can be used to gently deal with any lumps that might appear.

5. Now another towel or cloth should be placed on top of the layer as to create a sandwich. On top of this place something flat and rigid and then something heavy. You can even walk on it if you want. The goal here is to remove all the excess water.

6. If this is done you can remove the items placed on top. Be careful with the second towel as you do not want it to stick to the pulp. In order to remove the towel on the bottom, you will have to flip it all upside down. Do not try to remove the pulp off the towel.

Then you are left with a big layer of thin paper which needs to dry in the sun. Afterwards all you have to do is cut it into pieces and you’ll have your DIY toilet paper.

Shared from Source

How to Track and Avoid Dangerous Animals

how to avoid dangerous animals
By Jonathan Kilburn-April 16, 2017

One thing that puts a lot of people off from hiking is the unknown. Sometimes, that unknown becomes very commonplace. Most people, across the Continental United States, have seen a skunk, deer, moose, bear, or other animals in the wild.

In the Northeastern United States, seeing a deer on the side of the road is almost as common as the white lines themselves. When humans venture off into an animal’s territory, these commonplace sightings can become much more dangerous.

When I was a child, I would visit my grandparents in Wisconsin nearlyhand next to a grizzly bear footprint every summer. My cousins and I would go into the woods, hike, find new plants, bird watch, or even shoot guns. My grandmother used to always tell us to, ‘stay in sight of the cabin. I never understood why I needed to stay close to the cabin until I was about 12 years old. There were two girls, down the road from my grandparent’s cabin, that were attacked by a bear. Luckily, both of them survived with minor injuries, thanks to a passing motorist.

While walking through the woods, or walking down the road in a rural area, is not inherently dangerous it can become dangerous if we do not know how to read the signs of nature. Animals are great at marking their territories. While humans have marked their own territories with fences, buildings, and cut grass humans have forgotten how to recognize the subtleties of animal markings and occasionally walk into situations that they do not know how to get themselves out of.

While this guide may be helpful to some readers, we wish to express that the tools may differ from one geographical location to another. It may also differ from state to state, even if these states do border each other. The United States has such a wide range of diverse ecosystems, and the animal markings in these ecosystems may vary from location to location.

However, the same rule applies, no matter what area you find yourself. We wish to share information closely associated with what can be considered dangerous animals, such as Moose, Bear, Mountain Lions, Coyotes, Etc.

Identifying the Animal:

Droppings:

Knowing what wildlife is local may help to determine what kind of animal would readily be present. Don’t expect to find a polar bear in Arizona or an armadillo in Maine. Knowing the local wildlife is the first step necessary to avoiding them.

deer pellets on the groundOne of the best ways to track animals is not to actually follow the animal itself, but follow what they leave behind. That’s right, dung. Dung, scat, or droppings, can tell us what kind of animal has recently been in that area.

Once a dropping is located, the size is going to tell you how large of an animal it came from. As an example, deer tend to leave very small, round droppings. While they are small, they leave a lot of them. A bear will leave a fairly large dropping, similar to a human. On the opposite end, a mouse may leave a dropping roughly the size of a grain of rice.

Once we have an idea of how large the animal is noticing what it may contain also helps a tracker to understand what kind of animal left the dropping. A large dropping, containing bits of fur, would be a good indicator of a predator. Perhaps a Mountain Lion or Coyote is nearby. Bear and coyote dropping also commonly contain nuts and berries.

If an animal eats something, evidence of their diet will be in their droppings.

After size, and contents, we want to look at moisture. If a dropping is moist, wet, and looks fresh it probably is fresh. Dry, white (with some exceptions), and brittle droppings are the sign of an older dropping.

Recent weather plays a large role in determining the age of a dropping. Wet weather can make a dropping appear to be fresh, when it may be old. Additionally, as the weather starts to warm, a dropping that is thawing may also appear fresher than it may be.

The last thing we want to notice is location. Fox will leave their droppings on prominent objects to mark their territories. Deer will leave their dropping wherever they are walking. Feline species will try to cover their droppings. Dangerous animals will either leave their droppings in a very obvious place or try to hide it. Anything in the middle is relatively safe. The only

The only exception is when it looks similar to human droppings or has no real shape at all. These are generally a sign of bear droppings or a sick animal. Bear droppings hold little shape near the end of the summer to early fall, when they feed heavily on berries.

Tracks:

pocket guide to animal tracks
*source – http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dfg/dfw/wildlife/wildlife-facts-pubs/tracks-guide.pdf

Everyone has watched some kind of movie where there is an amazing tracker that looks down at the ground and says something like, “a cat came through here 13 minutes ago” and everyone around them gasps in awe of their skills. While Hollywood has made tracking an exaggeration, the fundamentals are the same. The more practice you have, the more likely you will be to spot tracks.

Dangerous animal tracks will be easier to spot than other animals. They are generally larger, deeper, and farther apart. Feline (cat) species do not show claw marks while ursine (bear), canine (dog), lupine (wolf), and vulpine (fox) track show a clear outline of their claws. Hoofed animals will have between 2 to 4 indentations in the soil, depending on the species. In general, hoofed animals are to be avoided but not considered as dangerous as other species.

Aging tracks is a bit more difficult than aging droppings. Tracks, depending on the soil, will exhibit different aging patterns. Tracks in the soft soil will be well defined, while in the hard soil they may be difficult to spot. All animals need water to drink, so it is very common to see many well-defined tracks near a stream or pond.

As the water starts to dry up, during the end of spring, the tracks will also dry and crack. When the entire outline of a track is brittle it is generally an older track. When the majority of the outline is well defined, the track can be assumed to be fresher. Lastly, as the wind blows, anything that falls into a track may stay there. The more debris inside a track, or footprint, the easier it is to assume the track is older.

Markings:

Every animal will mark territory in its own way. Beavers obviously

black bear marking territory on a tree
*source – https://www.bear.org/website/bear-pages/black-bear/black-bear-sign/56-marking-trees-and-poles.html

need to chew wood to build their homes and will make it obvious their home is nearby. Bear and animals with antlers will also rub against trees, especially near a water source. The markings on trees may look the same, for someone unfamiliar with the different patterns between beaver, bear, moose, and deer. It is always better to be safe and avoid a questionable area altogether. If avoiding a questionable area is not an option, try to imagine an animal rubbing against a tree. A beaver poses little threat to humans and will chew a tree. A bear uses a tree as a back scratcher and may rub the bark off of a tree in one, or more, areas.

Generally, bear marks on a tree are superficial unless the tree was starting to degrade. Deer and moose rub their antlers on trees, especially during molting/shedding season. They use this as a way to put their scent on the tree and rub their antlers off. While some antlered animals don’t shed their antlers they do molt. Elk, especially, have a thin layer over their antlers that peels off. Try to imagine an antlered animal rubbing against a tree. If an animal was rubbing antlers against a tree you will notice hoof marks near the base of the tree, if not an antler itself!

Deer have a natural way of marking where they have been through their resting periods. They lay down on leaves or grass, making the ground, and anything on top of it, flat. They also will urinate nearby, killing much of the surrounding grass. Moose, elk, etc are not much different. If it looks out of place, it probably is.

It’s best to avoid these animal bed, not just because of the animal but the parasites that may be close by. If you see dry, flat, dead grass it was probably a deer, elk, or moose.

Any time an animal walks it will naturally move the soil or vegetation surrounding them. Broken sticks, scattered leaves, holes in the ground, all of these are common indicators an animal has been nearby. While a deer bed will leave the area flat when deer and moose search for food they tend to turn the soil over to find bugs to eat.

Omnivores may also disrupt vegetation when they eat by remove berries, nuts, or leaves from the plant. Most animals are opportunistic eaters. The easier a food is to obtain the more likely a dangerous animal is nearby.

Avoidance:

Now that we know what we are looking for, to spot an animal, we now know how to avoid certain areas. Common sense is at play here. If someone sees any of these signs of a dangerous animal, though droppings, rubbings, overturned ground, and tracks they know to avoid those areas. Seeing each of those once is not necessarily bad. Animals move, they come and go.

The likelihood of being in an area with a dangerous animal is very slim. They will try to avoid human contact first. If a hiker sees similar droppings more than once they should change direction for a while. If they see

If they see three different signs of a dangerous animal (eg. Droppings, tracks, disrupted vegetation) they should quickly change direction. When someone is hiking and oblivious to these signs they are much more likely to encounter a dangerous animal.

Staying alert will always help someone avoid dangerous animals. Exhaustion, in survival situations, allows out mind to not see common signs of danger.

Practicing the skill of spotting indicators of animal activity will help hikers to train themselves to notice even the smallest changes. When a hiker can spot small indicators they are more likely to notice larger indicators, even when exhausted.

Keep your eyes moving. Watch the ground as you walk, but take some time to stop and scan your environment. Just because you haven’t seen any indicators of animal activity doesn’t mean they are not there.

It’s a good practice to stop every hundred steps, or so, just to look around. Not only does this allow you to see the beauty of nature, it will give you a chance to spot marked trees, animal presence, and indicators of animal activity farther away.

When you can stop and scan the area you may notice that you find indicators of animal activity may be parallel to you.

Conclusion:

While animal attacks may be rare they do happen. Thankfully, we have been given all the tools we need to avoid some of these most dangerous animals. Recognizing, and avoiding, animals may not be a natural skill but it is a necessary one for every hiker, hunter, and survivalist.

The only way to learn these skills is to practice them. So, get out there and enjoy nature!

Original Article Here

Retail Store Closings and the Impending Shopping Disaster

Many retail stores have closed due to competition from online stores. People are buying an ever larger percentage of their goods from the internet. So brick-and-mortar stores, from Mom and Pops to large chains, are shutting down. And this development is setting the stage for a shopping disaster.

We have become overly-dependent on the internet for many goods and services. What would happen if there is an internet collapse, and online shopping is no longer an option?

First of all, the number of retail stores has fallen to a level too low to support all our shopping needs. Physical stores would quickly be flooded with buyers. The shelves would be stripped bare in a matter of days (or hours, if people are panic-buying). And resupply from wholesalers and manufacturers would not be able to keep up with demand, not for a number of weeks or months.

Reopening closed stores and hiring new workers might not be practical, at least in the short term. And the small number of physical stores, despite vigorous resupply, would still be over-crowded and understaffed. There would be long lines at the checkout, or even long lines waiting to enter the store.

I recall a store I worked at, many years ago, in Worcester, Mass., called Spag’s. The store was so popular, that on some high-traffic days, they had to post guards at the entrances, to keep too many persons from entering the store. Once in a while, there were literally so many persons in each aisle that it was difficult to move. I’m sure they were violating fire regulations by the over-crowding. I’m not exaggerating. So the idea of too many customers to be serviced by a brick-and-mortar store is entirely possible.

Another problem, if internet collapses, is that payment approvals via internet might not be available. Today, when you swipe a credit or debit card in a card reader, it is verified over the internet. Gone are the days when the device dialed a phone number, waited to connect, and then obtained an approval number. No internet, means no credit or debit card payments. And most persons do not have enough cash in their homes for their shopping needs.

Runs on banks will deplete the cash supply. And using checks to pay for good might not be an option, because check approvals work via the internet as well. In addition, there is literally not enough cash in the country to meet the shopping needs of the nation. The vast majority of buying transactions are non-cash today. So the existing physical stores might not be able to accept payment.

Could this internet-slash-shopping disaster really happen? Absolutely.

One way, is if a foreign nation executes a cyber attack on the U.S. internet. But it doesn’t have to be a hostile nation. Terrorist groups and anonymous hacker groups, with varying motivations, might also be capable of such an attack.

And if you think that taking down the internet would be too difficult, think again. Recently, a large number of internet sites went down because the U.S. internet has become overly dependent on the cloud services of Amazon. And at Amazon, a low-level tech worker entered a command with a small typo, which accidentally shut down the servers running those services. You don’t realize how very small events can avalanche to cause a major shit-storm when computers and networks are at issue.

Another entirely different way that a shopping disaster could occur concerns shipping companies. The vast majority of online shopping products are delivered via a few major carriers: FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the U.S. Postal Service. If some disruption in society shuts down or interferes with shipping, online shopping will be obstructed. This disruption could take the form of a strike, due to disputes over wages and benefit, or due to some stupid new government law or policy. Or it could be caused by general civil unrest, which disrupts all transportation.

Our excessive dependence on the internet for shopping is going to come back around and bite us in the ass, sooner or later. Mark my words.