Outdoor Ice Cache for Frozen Food Storage in Winter

The cold winter air has a remarkable power–the power to freeze things. This can be our nemesis if we are stuck out in the cold, but it can also be used to our advantage. Winter is nature’s fridge and freezer, and if you get caught without power, you can allow the cold to preserve your food through freezing. A simple way to do this is to place your frozen food in a cooler full of ice and set the cooler outside in a shady area or an unheated shed.

Or you can do what our ancestors did to store their food by freezing it in an outdoor ice cache. Here’s how.

1. Pick the Best Spot
The ideal spot for an ice cache is someplace near your dwelling, on the north side of a large structure. This northern orientation will keep the southerly sun from warming up that spot during the day, and in the shade. As a result, your ice will last much longer. The paleo Indians made their ice caches in pits dug on the north side of boulder outcroppings. This provided both shade to preserve the ice and a marker to find the spot again, even in a snow covered landscape.

2. Build Your Box
Once your site is picked, lay out some ice blocks to create a small ice platform. Your food will sit on top of this, rather than the bare ground. Then, using blocks of uniform thickness, build a wall around the foundation. Carve or saw the ice to make each block fit tightly. If you need something to act as “chinking” to fill any gaps, apply slush while the air is sub-freezing. The slush will freeze and fill the gap. Finally, make a slab of ice that will cover the entire structure like a lid. Check the lid for fit, load in your food, and seal the lid on there like some kind of frosty sarcophagus.

3. Have A Security Plan
The hungry scavengers of winter will be very interested in the “abandoned” food they’ve found. Yes, some critters can smell it through the ice. And while most creatures won’t be able to scratch or bite through your icy storage locker, it’s still a possibility. For extra security, bury the ice box in slushy snow and allow it to freeze into one solid block. Then, only humans with tools can break the ice and retrieve the food. If you find that certain creatures keep visiting the box, you could also set up traps to take advantage to the draw.

How you ever tried anything like this?

How to Survive a Riot: What to do if you find yourself in the Middle of a Riot

From the riots and looting in Baltimore and Ferguson, to the widespread chaos that’s sweeping throughout Europe and the Middle East, the world seems to have reached a boiling point where one little spark can cause things to go bad rather quickly.

Because this is one of the top threats we face, you need to have a plan in place to protect yourself and your loved ones from these types of events. As we’ve witnessed recently, these types of violent events can break out just about anywhere in the world, even in your once peaceful neighborhood.

Social Unrest is a real Threat

Civil disturbances are pretty common in areas of the world with histories of political instability, but up until recently, it wasn’t something that most Americans thought of. Unfortunately, we have reached a point in this country where the slightest perceived outrage can quickly devolve into a full blown riot.

anger

Tensions throughout this country have been high for some time now; between local police forces that look like mini-military units, and groups of violent criminals looking to spread their chaos through fake street demonstrations, these types of events are becoming far too common.

Some things to consider:

  • These events can happen anywhere; you must be prepared.
  • Situational Awareness and staying informed are both extremely important to avoiding problems.
  • While some riots are unpredictable, most can be seen coming and will offer signs of impending danger. Street demonstrations, high-profile political rallies, and pending legal decisions on controversial cases are things you should keep an eye on.

So what should you do if you find yourself in the middle of a full-blown riot?

The first thing that you want to do is quickly assess the situation. These types of events can break out quickly, and over the last couple of years violent flash mobs have even started targeting malls, grocery stores, and places where you would never expect a riot to break out.

  • Are you in immediate danger?
  • Where are the quickest routes of escape?
  • Is this beginning of something larger?

After assessing the situation, I advise you take the following steps:

If you have an easy way out, take it now

The last thing you want to do is get caught up in the middle of the storm. If you are near an escape route, get out as fast as possible. Also, keep in mind law enforcement has no idea if you are part of the threat, so be careful when approaching police officers.

Become a Grey Man: Look like part of the crowd

If you were not able to make a quick exit, the first thing you want to do is look like you are part of the crowd — something known as becoming a “grey man”.

Don’t do anything stupid that’s going to get you arrested, but you want to look like you are part of the crowd. Now is not the time to voice your opinion, or prove some political point. If someone tries engaging you in conversation, mirror what they are saying and let them think you are on their side.

By blending into the chaos, and not drawing direct attention to yourself, you’re less likely to become a target. Just remember, you are only doing this until you find a safe route out.

Avoid All Law Enforcement

Although this may seem counter-intuitive, you are going to want to avoid law enforcement. The police have absolutely no way of knowing whether you’re a threat or someone who just got caught up in the chaos.

Once the riot police show up, you need to realize that in their eyes you are probably a threat. Once things go bad, you could be hurt by either side so you need to put space in between yourself and the police line and realize that going towards the police is probably not the best escape plan.

Be aware and ready for an attack

Watch your surroundings and be ready for an attack. Watching the crowd’s body language can help you decide what your next move should be. Scan your surroundings and find the best route of escape. Read our article on defending yourself from multiple attackers.

Don’t get caught up in the chaos

How many times have you been stuck in traffic, only to find out the crash was on the other side? We see it every day, for some reason, people are drawn towards disasters. It’s human nature to want to look at the accident.

Don’t make that mistake during a riot situation. I don’t care how safe or protected you think you are when things start going bad your first priority is to make your way to safety. If you’re that curious about what happened you can watch the action on the evening news.

Go with the flow

Think of the crowd as a large raging river. The best way to get out of a river is to swim with the current and slowly make your way to the edge. The same is true when stuck in the middle of a crowd.

Don’t try to cut through the crowd, as this could cause unwanted attention. Instead, go with the flow of the crowd and work your way to the edge. Then quietly and slowly slip away to safety — avoid running as it will attract unwanted attention from the crowd and the police who could see you as a threat.

A thought on using your firearm or a weapon: I think always being armed is a good thing, but pulling a gun out in the middle of a riot might not be the smartest idea. Unless you’re physically being attacked, it’s better to slip away unnoticed. Don’t try to scare the crowd away you’re your gun. That being said, if you are being physically attacked or threatened with attack all rules are out the window.

How to make a pocket grill

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There are lots of portable grills out there for camping and other outdoor adventures, but we’ve discovered that ‘portable’ usually means ‘luggable’. But wait ‘coz the one featured here is pocket size and yes… it’s an easy DIY project.

A grill that you can carry in your pocket has to be as good as it gets as you won’t even feel its weight when added to your backpack!

As the title indicates, this really is a DIY grill compact enough to can carry in your pocket, yet it expands to a realistic, usable size! How’s that for packing light?

And what makes the pocket grill really perfect for outdoor activities is that it is easier to clean compared to the regular portable grills. Just disassemble it (which only takes about ten seconds) and clean the parts with ease!

Worried about the materials used? Aside from aircon tubes and gas lines copper is also used to make pots and other cookware, with many people regularly using them to make jams and other delicacies. The ‘grill grate’ on the other hand is made with stainless steel rods… So this pocket grill is totally safe for cooking.

Materials:

  • 3/4″ diameter Copper Tube
  • 5/8″ diameter Copper Tube
  • 2 Copper Tube Caps (size that will fit the larger diameter pipe)
  • 1/16″ diameter Stainless Steel Bicycle Spokes

Tools:

  • Hacksaw
  • Cutting Pliers
  • Drill
  • Utility Knife
  • File (or Sandpaper)
  • Ruler

The materials: Of course these are not mandatory, you are welcomed to improvise, but please wear safety gear and respect work security guidelines (or suffer the consequences of your foolish actions).

Basically you need two pieces of pipe, one must fit in the other, I used 18mm (3/4 inch) and 15mm (5/8 inch) copper tube; any metal should do, but I used copper because: it is relatively lightweight, doesn’t bend much when exposed to fire, it has thin walls and most importantly I had them lying around the house (leftovers from the heating system) so they were free.

Two copper tube caps that fit the larger diameter pipe (also lying around and also free).

Handful of approx. 2mm diameter bicycle spokes (1/16 inch). I can’t give you an exact number, you’ll see why in a bit. Make sure that you use stainless steel spokes, you’re going to eat off of them.

Pro Tip: If you have a bicycle repair shop nearby, you should ask them for broken spokes, you may get them for free (I hacked my old bike tire to death for this).

The measurements are pretty simple since you’ll need to cut everything to the same size (you will get a rectangular grill).

Pro Tip: The bigger you make your grill the more spokes you’ll need, make sure that the number of spokes you intend to use all fit inside the smaller diameter tube.

I made mine 20 cm wide (7.87401575 inches, just make it 8) since I found that about 25 2.2mm spokes fit inside the 15mm diameter tube

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Cut tubes to length: Cut the two tubes to equal length and file the rough edges, as I previously mentioned I made them 20cm (approx. 8 inches).

DIY-Pocket-Grill-Step-01

Measure, mark and drill holes: Now that you’ve got your tubes cut to length, you need to mark and drill the holes for the spokes. (The only holes drilled through both sides of the tube are the ones where the nipples attach.)

DIY-Pocket-Grill-Step-03

Cut spokes to length: By now you have the exact number of spokes you’ll need, just count the holes. The spokes need too be the same length (or smaller) as the tubes, since they need to fit inside.

DIY-Pocket-Grill-Step-04

Pro Tip: You will need 2 spokes with intact threads on one end and 90° bend on the other so cut them about 5 – 10mm (1/16 – 3/8 inch) longer than the rest, please keep this in mind.

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DIY-Pocket-Grill-Assembly-2

DIY-Pocket-Grill-Assembly-3

Assemble the grill: I’m not going to lie to you, this is painstaking to do until you do it a few times and get used to it.

DIY-Pocket-Grill-Disassembly

Disassemble and pack the grill: This is a “piece of cake”. Just unscrew the nipples and it falls apart. Packing it up is also pretty easy.

DIY-Pocket-Grill-27

Final Thoughts: Some of you expressed concern that copper emits harmful gasses when heated, I can’t scientifically refute this, but I couldn’t find any source on the internet proving it…

 

Linked from: http://diyprojects.ideas2live4.com/2016/01/29/how-to-make-a-pocket-grill/

 

How to Survive a Hurricane

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After Hurricane Katrina took over 1,800 lives and left a trail of devastation, you’d think that people would have learned their lesson. But, when Hurricanes Ike, Irene, Eresto, and Sandy struck (amongst the many other hurricanes and tropical storms which have hit the United States in the past decade), the local residents and governments were overwhelmingly unprepared. Take a lesson from history and learn how to survive a hurricane – before it is too late!

Truth: You Aren’t As Prepared As You Think

Many people of coastal towns think that they have done a good job of preparing for a hurricane. But, in reality, they often haven’t done more than stock up some non-perishable foods.

Unless you plan on making a floatation device out of your boxes of Cheerios, this isn’t going to save your life!

Disaster planning requires a multifaceted approach. If you want to really be ready to survive a hurricane, then you need to ask yourself questions like:

  • How will my family and I evacuate? Where will we go?
  • What will we eat and drink during and after the hurricane?
  • How will we go to the bathroom? (the plumbing won’t be working during a flood!)
  • How will we treat injuries?
  • How will we stay clean?
  • How will we pay for cleanup and restoration after the hurricane?

If you can’t answer all of these questions, then you aren’t prepared to survive a hurricane!

Truth: You Don’t Know What to Expect

When hurricane winds of 75+ miles per hour hit, you can expect broken tree branches, downed power lines, and large tidal waves. But, with any disaster, there is a lot that we can’t predict.

For example, 6 unarmed people were shot by the police at Danziger Bridge in New Orleans as they looked for food and supplies. The police said they were protecting the community from looters. But, in the chaos, the police were strained and opened fire on civilians – the very people they were supposed to protect.  This is just one example of how disasters can spiral out of control and create other disasters.

Truth: You Are More Vulnerable than You Think

If you live on the coast, then you are probably aware of the risk of hurricanes and have taken some effort to prepare. But it is actually the people who live inland who suffer the most casualties from hurricanes. Yes, that’s right: 60% of hurricane deaths occur inland and away from the ocean!

The deaths occur because of flash flooding, mudslides, and tornadoes which are caused by the heavy rainfall and winds. So don’t think you are safe just because you are away from the coast.

Truth: Most Hurricane Deaths Occur Are Avoidable

Even though hurricane winds are above 74 mph, it isn’t the wind which kills most people. It isn’t even drowning which kills most people.

The majority of deaths from hurricanes occur because people did something careless.

Or they did something downright stupid. Like taking a “walk” to the coast to see how big the waves are.

For example, during Hurricane Sandy, 8% of deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning. This occurred when people used generators in their homes, but without proper venting or a carbon monoxide detector. Use of propane heaters and lamps can also cause carbon monoxide.

Some common “careless” causes of death in the aftermath of hurricanes include:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Electrocution from touching downed power lines
  • Drowning in car because attempted to drive through flood water
  • Falling off roofs during cleanup

How to Survive a Hurricane: What You Should Do

FEMA has a decent guide on what to do to survive a hurricane. However, here is the more in-depth guide on how to survive a hurricane so you can be ready. Click the links to learn more about the steps.

Preparation Steps before the Hurricane

  1. Stockpile emergency food and water
  2. Stockpile emergency supplies
  3. Gather evacuation documents
  4. Make an evacuation bag
  5. Learn how to turn off the gas, electricity and water safely (and teach everyone on the family)
  6. Create an emergency communication plan with your family
  7. Create an evacuation plan (plan where you will go and map out routes)
  8. Get a generator and learn how to use it safely
  9. Get flood insurance if you can afford it
  10. Install a flood water pump
  11. Put equipment higher up in your house (such as moving breakers from the basement to the first floor)
  12. Reinforce your doors and latches
  13. Install wooden storm shutters on windows
  14. Install sturdier shingles on roofs
  15. Buy an reliable inflatable raft and life jackets

Steps When a Hurricane Watch is in Place

  1. Bring in all outdoor furniture
  2. Check your survival supplies. Fill up more water if you need to.
  3. Listen to the news of the hurricane.

Steps When Hurricane Warning is in Place

  1. Evacuate! Do NOT wait until it is too late. And do not wait until an evacuation order has been issued. By then, the traffic will be very bad.
  2. Board up windows and doors with plywood. Tape will not protect windows.
  3. If you cannot evacuate, then get into a safe room in the house.
  4. Turn off the electricity and gas at the mains.
  5. Do not look out windows or go outside
  6. Do not drive. If you must drive, do not drive through water. Just 6 inches of water can carry away a vehicle.
  7. Do not use candles or unprotected flames during the hurricane

Steps After the Hurricane Has Passed

  1. Do not exit until authorities say the threat is over. The sudden calm might just be the eye of the storm.
  2. Stay out of rooms which could be hit by falling branches
  3. Do not drink water without sanitizing it first. Sanitation facilities don’t work during power outages. Listen to hear if “boil alerts” are in place.
  4. Use text messages only to contact loved ones. Do not tie up the phone lines as these are needed for emergency calls.
  5. Do not walk through flood water in your home. Many drowning deaths occur from slip-and-fall accidents.
  6. Do not walk through flood water outdoors. It is often contaminated with sewage, or may be electrified from downed power lines.
  7. Do not perform any repairs unless you are 100% you can do it safely.

Linked from: http://www.primalsurvivor.net/how-to-survive-a-hurricane/

How To Grow Your Own Antibacterial Bandages

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As I work on turning this one acre homestead into a self-sustaining Garden of Eden, I have two requirements for every single plant I consider putting in the ground: they must be either edible or medicinal. Preferably both.

Why? Because frankly I don’t have money or space to waste on frivolous landscaping. Everything from the plants to the animals must have a purpose.

More and more people are beginning to see the benefit of having a garden and growing your own food, but growing your own medicine could be equally as vital to your well being. What would you do if you couldn’t get the medical supplies or help you needed for a very long time? How would you manage?

As I plan my medicinal garden, I choose what to grow by studying different medical emergency scenarios and learning which plants I would be able to use if it ever came down to that.

One day as I was doctoring up one of my kiddos, the thought crossed my mind, “What if I couldn’t get any more of these band-aids? What could I use?” This question prompted me to delve into my herbal books and scour the internet for an answer. And I found a good one.

Young Wooly Lamb's Ear settling down for the winter.

Young Wooly Lamb’s Ear settling down for the winter.

Wooly Lamb’s Ear.

It’s one of my favorites because it’s medicinal AND edible.

A Natural Antibacterial Bandage

Wooly Lamb’s Ear, botanical name Stachys byzantina, has been used for centuries as a wound dressing on battlefields. Not only do the soft, fuzzy leaves absorb blood and help it to clot more quickly, they also contain antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. All of these factors make this plant a really great alternative to store-bought bandages (especially since many of them are made in China!).

Other Medicinal Uses

Wooly Lamb’s Ear actually has many medicinal uses. You can heat a few bruised leaves in a pot of simmering water, and use the cooled infusion as an eyewash to treat pinkeye and sties.

Drink a tea made from young, dried Wooly Lamb’s Ear leaves to help with fevers, diarrhea, sore mouth and throat, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart.

You can bruise the leaves so that the juices are released, and put them on bee stings or other insect bites to help reduce the swelling. The same effect can be seen when used for treating hemorrhoids, or for postpartum recovery.

Wooly Lamb's Ear

 

Still More Uses

As if Wooly Lamb’s Ear isn’t awesome enough, the list of uses continues.

Being soft and super absorbent, Lamb’s Ear leaves can be used as menstrual pads, or in place of cotton balls. It can even be used as toilet paper!

You can eat it as well. Enjoy young, tender leaves fresh in a salad, or gently steamed as greens.

 Are you growing Lamb’s Ear yet?

If you don’t have any of this important medicinal plant growing around your home yet,get some. If you can’t find any plants locally, buy some seeds and grow them yourself. It’s super easy, and much cheaper that way anyways. Lamb’s Ear make a gorgeous landscaping border, and grows well in containers. Plant as much as you have room for, ’cause it’ll come in handy when your stash of tp runs out!

Wooly Lamb's Ear leaves

How To Grow Your Own Antibacterial Bandages (Wooly Lamb’s Ear) From Seed

Starting your own plants from seed really is easy. Here’s how…

1. Fill a well-draining container with Seed Starting Mix.  A yogurt cup with holes poked in the bottom works nicely.

2. Wet the soil thoroughly. If you’re on city water, use filtered water for your plants.The chemicals in treated water can inhibit plant growth.

3. Plant 1-2 seeds per small container (thinning out the weakest seedling), or plant seeds about 6″ apart in a larger pot, burying them 1/4″ deep.

4. Keep the soil moist and the containers out of direct light until the seedlings germinate. As soon as you see the tops of the plants emerging, put them somewhere where they can get at least 6 hours of sunlight daily, or under a grow light. It helps to set the cups/pots in a shallow tray of water to keep the soil from drying out.

5. When the plants have at least three sets of leaves, they’re ready to be transplanted to a semi-shady place in your yard. Space them 12″ apart. They will multiply readily in good soil.

If you haven’t started thinking about growing some medicinal herbs, Wooly Lamb’s Ear is a perfect one to begin with. And in my opinion, you can never have enough!

Linked from: http://theprepperproject.com/grow-antibacterial-bandages/

How to Make a Homemade Camping Shower

Camping may mean getting back to nature, but it doesn’t mean you want to be au naturel in front of your fellow campers. This portable camp shower partition provides welcome privacy when you’re out in the woods. It sets up in minutes, and can be free standing or hung from a tree branch, depending on your shower setup. It can also be used as a clothes changing area. This gives you the privacy… but for the water part, don’t forget to bring a portable sun shower found at any camping store.

Things You’ll Need

  • Four 6’ sections of ½” PVC pipe
  • PVC pipe cutter
  • Eight ½” PVC corner pieces
  • Two 6’x8’ vinyl tarps
  • For freestanding shower:
  • Eight 3’ sections of ½” PVC pipe
  • Cable zip ties
  • Bricks or sand bags
  • For hanging shower:
  • Four 3′ sections of 1/2″ PVC pipe
  • Four ½” PVC elbow pieces
  • Eye-hook screws
  • String
  • Metal washer
  • Two 6’x8’ vinyl tarp

Step 1

PVC pipe comes in standard 10’ lengths, so you will need to cut them to size using a PVC pipe cutter so you have four 6’ sections and eight 3’ sections.

Step 2

Start with the base of the shower enclosure. Connect four 3’ pipe sections with four PVC corner pieces. These corners are also called 90-degree side outlet elbows.

Step 3

Attach the four 6’ PVC pipe sections vertically to the corner pieces.

Step 4

Attach PVC corner pieces to the top of the 6’ PVC pipes and connect the 3’ pipes to them to form a tall cube.

Step 5

The shower enclosure is 6 feet tall. Turn the 6’x8’ vinyl tarp on its side so that it is 6 feet tall as well. Using the pre-drilled grommets, hang the tarp on the PVC pipes with cable zip ties. Attach the tarp to the vertical PVC pipe as well. For maximum privacy, overlap the two pieces of tarp so there are no openings.

Step 6

Decide which side will be the opening of the shower enclosure. Do not connect the side grommets to the vertical post on this side so the tarp can be opened and closed. Place bricks or sand bags on the PVC pipes at the base to help keep the structure from blowing in the wind.

Step 1

For a hanging shower enclosure, connect four 3’ sections of PVC pipe using PVC elbows. They do not need to be corner pieces because you will not be connecting vertical pieces.

Step 2

Attach eye-hook screws to each of the four elbow pieces, and tie string to the hooks, going diagonally from corner to corner. Without the eye-hook screws, the string can slide off from the elbows.

Step 3

At the intersection of the two strings, attach a metal washer. Tie wire around the top of the washer to hang from a tree branch.

Step 4

As with the free-standing shower enclosure, hang the tarp from the PVC pipe with zip cable ties. Overlap two tarps to provide extra privacy.

Old Survival Trick Revealed: How To Use An Acorn To Make A Very Loud Signal Whistle

If you were lost in the woods and wanted to be found learning to use the acorn as a whistle could come in real handy. This is a great survival skill to have, and it could save your life. It’s also a great way to get peoples attention in a crowd when you’re trying to speak.

At the very least it’s a great conversation piece with your family, and friends. Watch the video and you’ll be whistling using the acorn in no time flat. Some people have been able to master this in as little as 90 seconds.

Campfire Infographic

How to Build the Perfect Campfire

Whether you’re building a campfire to enjoy with friends on a camping trip, or you need it to keep warm and stay alive through a cold winter night, knowing how to build a great fire is a must-have skill.

To build the perfect campfire, you need just the right combination of the perfect tinder and firestarter, as well as the right conditions to keep your fire fed with oxygen so that it can stay burning as long as possible. There’s really an art to it, and it’s fun to perfect your campfire building skills.

Electricity-free Groundfridge Lets You Store Produce Without Traditional Refrigeration

Meet the GroundFridge. Modern day technology combined with a traditional root cellar to create a practical and beautiful well designed way to keep food fresh. Temperatures in the GroundFridge remain a cool 50 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit, year round. The design is so simple, all you need is to dig a hole, place the unit in the ground and recover with earth. You can even plant a garden on the top and around the sides if you like the decorative landscape, and double the use by planting fruits and veggies.

“The Groundfridge is an innovative take on the traditional root cellar. It meets the requirements of people with their own vegetable garden, who choose to live in a modern and self-sustaining way. Floris Schoonderbeek (founder of Weltevree) is continuously discovering and exploring new angles, chances and materials that he puts to good use in improving and enriching our habitat. With the Groundfridge, he presents a means for new world citizens who want to handle their food in an autonomous, independent way. ~ GroundFridge

“20 refrigerators, zero electricity – The Groundfridge has a storage capacity of 3,000 litres. This equals the contents of 20 refrigerators, that store 500 kg of food (the harvest of a 250 m2 vegetable garden) to prepare 350 meals – enough to feed a family of 5.
On average, 20 A grade EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) Refrigerators combined, use 6,620 kWh per year, whereas the Groundfridge performs the same feat completely without any electricity.~ GroundFridge

This is one of the first real-world design improvements on the old fashioned root cellar traditional farms used.

So… Who wants one!?

How to Disinfect and Sterilize Medical Instruments in a Survival Situation

Remaining whole and healthy in a survival situation is something we all strive for.  But what happens if an accident, or worse, an attack, results in wounds that need tending?  This is a question that every prepper asks themselves.

It is fairly easy to accumulate supplies for first aid and wound control but what about the tools you will use to tend to thehurt or wounded member of your group?  Given an austere setting where traditional medical facilities are not available, how do you ensure that your instruments are clean, sterile, and fit for use?

These are important questions and to provide you with answers, Dr. Joe Alton is back with some advice not only relative to six ways you can sterilize your medical supplies, but also a general discussion of clean versus sterile and the difference between disinfectants, antiseptics, and antibiotics.

Sterilizing Instruments In Austere Settings

A significant factor in the quality of medical care given in a survival situation is the level of cleanliness of the equipment used. You may have heard of the terms “sterile” and “clean”. Certainly, ideal conditions warrant both, but they are actually two different things.

Do you know the difference?

Sterile Vs. Clean

When it comes to medical protection, “sterility” means the complete absence of microbes. Sterilization destroys all microbes on a medical item to prevent disease transmission associated with its use.

To achieve this, we want to practice “sterile technique”, which involves special procedures using special solutions and the use of sterile instruments, towels, and dressings. Sterile technique is especially important when dealing with wounds in which the skin has been broken and soft tissue exposed.

Of course, it may be very difficult to achieve a sterile environment if you are in the field or in an extremely austere setting. In this case, we may only be able to keep things “clean”. Clean techniques concentrate on prevention of infection by reducing the number of microorganisms that could be transferred from one person to another by medical instruments or other supplies. Meticulous hand washing with soap and hot water is the cornerstone of a clean field.

If you are going to be medically responsible for the health of your people in a survival setting, you will have to strike a balance between what is optimal (sterility) and what is, sometimes, achievable (clean).

The “Sterile” Field

When you’re dealing with a wound or a surgical procedure, you must closely guard the work area (the “sterile field”) to prevent contact with anything that could allow micro-organisms to invade it. This area is lined with sterile “drapes” arranged to allow a small window where the medical treatment will occur.

Although there are commercially-prepared drapes with openings already in them (“fenestrated drapes”), using a number of towels will achieve the same purpose, as long as they are sterile.

The first step is to thoroughly wash any item you plan to reuse before you sterilize it. Using a soft plastic brush removes blood, tissue particles, and other contaminants that can make sterilization more difficult. Consider using gloves, aprons, and eye protection to guard against “splatter”.

6 Ways to Disinfect and Sterilize Instruments

Now, the question of how to sterilize your medical supplies: There are a number of ways that you can accomplish this goal. I list them below in approximate order of effectiveness.

1. Simply placing them in gently boiling water for 30 minutes would be a reasonable strategy, but may not eliminate some bacterial “spores” and could cause issues with rusting over time, especially on sharp instruments like scissors or knives.

Note: always sterilize scissors and clamps in the “open” position.

2. Soaking in bleach (Sodium or Calcium Hypochlorite). 15-30 minutes in a 0.1% solution of bleach will disinfect instruments but no longer or rusting will occur. Instruments must be rinsed in sterilized water afterward.

3. Soaking in 70% isopropyl alcohol for 30 minutes is another option. Some will even put instruments in a metal tray with alcohol and ignite them. The flame and alcohol, or even just fire itself (if evenly distributed) will do the job, but eventually causes damage to the instruments.

4. Chemical solutions exist that are specifically made for the purpose of high-level disinfection (not necessarily sterility) in the absence of heat, something very important if you have items that are made of plastic.  A popular brand is Cidex OPA, a trade name for a solution with phthalaldehyde or glutaraldehyde as the active ingredient.

Insert the instruments in a tray with the solution for 20 minutes for basic disinfection. Soaking overnight (10-12 hours) gives an acceptable level of “sterility” for survival purposes. There are test strips which identify when the solution is contaminated. If negative, you can reuse it for up to 14 days. As an alternative, some have recommended using 6-7.5% hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes (household hydrogen peroxide is only 3%, however).

5. Ovens are an option if you have power. For a typical oven, metal instruments are wrapped in aluminum foil or placed in metal trays before putting them in the oven. The oven is then heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or, alternatively, 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours.

6. Although ovens and microwaves have been used to sterilize instruments, probably the best way to guarantee sterility in an austere setting is a pressure cooker. Hospitals use a type of pressure cooker called an autoclave that uses steam to clean instruments, surgical towels, bandages, and other items. All modern medical facilities clean their equipment with this device (I hope).

Having a pressure cooker as part of your supplies will allow you to approach the level of sterility required for minor surgical procedures. As you can imagine, this isn’t easy to lug from place to place, so it’s best for those who plan to stay in place in a disaster scenario.

In most survival settings, “clean” may be as good as it gets, but is that so bad? Modern medical facilities have the ability to provide sterility, so there is very little research that compares clean vs. sterile technique.

In one study, an experiment was conducted in which one group of patients had traumatic wounds that were cleaned with sterile saline solution, another group with tap water. Amazingly, the infection rate was 5.4% in the tap water group as opposed to 10.3% in the sterile saline group. Another study revealed no difference in infection rates in wounds treated in a sterile fashion as opposed to clean technique.

Therefore, clean, drinkable water is acceptable for general wound care in survival scenarios. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use antiseptic solutions if you have them, especially for the first cleaning.

Disinfectants, Antiseptics, Antibiotics

So what’s the difference between a disinfectant, an antiseptic, a decontaminant, and an antibiotic?

To maintain a clean area, certain chemicals are used called “disinfectants”. Disinfectants are substances that are applied to non-living objects to destroy microbes. This would include surfaces where you would treat patients or prepare food. An example of a disinfectant would be bleach.

Disinfection removes bacteria, viruses, and other bugs and is sometimes considered the same as “decontamination”. Decontamination, however, may also include the removal of noxious toxins and could pertain to the elimination of chemicals or radiation. The removal of non-living toxins like radiation from a surface would, therefore, be decontamination but not necessarily disinfection.

While disinfectants kill bacteria and viruses on the surface of non-living tissue, “antiseptics” kill microbes on living tissue surfaces. Examples of antiseptics include Betadine, Chlorhexidine (Hibiclens), Iodine, and Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK).

Antibiotics are able to destroy certain microorganisms that live inside the human body. These include drugs such as Amoxicillin, Doxycycline, Metronidazole, and many others.

Having disinfectants, antiseptics, antibiotics, and clean instruments will give the medic a head start on keeping it together, even if everything else falls apart.

The Final Word

Up until now, I have held off on adding anything but the most basic of medical instruments to my emergency kit.  That has been foolhardy.  Just last week, I spoke with someone whose son had a huge splinter embedded under his fingernail.  In spite of his extreme pain, the 24 hour emergency clinic sent him away telling him to “see a doctor in the morning”.

If something like this happens in a survival situation, having a set of medical instruments along with a means to ensure they are sterilized will be important.  Even without being in a survival situation, they are useful and can be put to good use..

7 Badass Weapons You Can Make at Home

No Arsenal is Complete Without These DIY Survival Weapons

Want to make some awesome homemade weapons?

In a SHTF situation, you’re likely going to need a way to protect yourself.

Weapons, though very useful, are also a lot of fun–especially when you can make them yourself.

With a multitude of DIY weapon techniques mastered and under your belt, you will never be without the ability to be armed or entertained.

Check out our step by step instructions for 7 badass weapons you can make at home.

1. PVC Pipe Compound Bow

This instructional video shows step by step how to make a compound bow from inexpensive, readily available materials. Anyone can do it if you have some patience and are willing to try. This is a good project for anyone who wants to get into archery with a compound bow but doesn’t want to pay for such an expensive item. Or you could just make it to learn about how these types of bows work and gain experience working with this sort of thing.

2. Mini Cannon

Here’s how to make a mini combustion cannon sized to fire airsoft pellets. The only materials required are a BBQ lighter, a few screws, epoxy or other strong glue, and a drill.

3. Stun Gernade

Made from simple PVC pipe and baking soda and vinegar, these relatively harmless grenades are cheap and safe to use. These grenades are less for physical harm and more for their startling ability. 

4. Pump Action Rocket Gun

This inexpensive gun is a fun project and a cool item to have around. The DIY is very simple and relatively cheap as well.  The entire project, including a bunch of ammo, could easily be made for around $20.

5. Mini Stun Gun

This is a really easy project which anyone with a little soldering skills can make. All you really need is a continuous piezo electric sparker, a lighter that takes a battery. These are used to light gas BBQ’s, heaters, etc.

6. Primitive Club Tool

 

If stuck in the wilderness with limited resources, knowing how to make this tool could come in handy. This simple technique will quickly transform a few items into a very useful weapon and tool.

7. Pocket Dart Gun

This easy DIY will allow you to shoot your own darts out of a syringe. It won’t work for very long distances or with a huge amount of accuracy, but if your need a dart gun in a pinch it will get the job done!

How to Make PVC Ice Packs for Coolers

When camping, tailgating or going on a picnic, keeping food and drinks chilled is top priority. Instead of using ice, which melts and creates a slushy mess, make your own ice packs using PVC pipe. This is a more efficient method for transport and cleanup, and you can personalize the ice packs with your own signature style, such as your favorite team colors.

Things You’ll Need

  • Tape measure
  • 2-inch PVC pipe, 10 feet
  • 2-inch PVC end caps, 8
  • Chop saw or 2-inch PVC cutter
  • Clear PVC cement
  • Paper towel or rag
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Clear sealant (optional)

Step 1: Cut the PVC Pipe

Measure the inside of your cooler to determine how long you want the ice pack to be. Subtract 3 inches off that measurement to make room for the end caps.

Use the chop saw or PVC cutter to cut your PVC pipe into the desired lengths. In this project, we cut two 18-inch pieces for a large cooler and two 10-inch pieces for a smaller backpack cooler.

If using a chop saw to cut the pipe, be sure to clean off any debris inside or out.

Step 2: Close One End of the Pipes

Seal off one end of the PVC pieces with end caps. Apply a liberal amount of PVC cement on both the inside of the cap and the outside of the pipe. Push the end cap firmly onto the pipe, and use a damp paper towel or rag to clean up any extra cement that may have seeped out. Allow the cement to dry completely, about one hour.

Be careful not to get any PVC cement on your skin, and refer to the warnings on the canister.

Step 3: Fill Pipes With Water and Seal Other End

Once the PVC cement is dry, fill the inside of the pipes with water — fill them only about three-quarters of the way up, since the water will expand when frozen. Seal off the other end of the pipe the same way you did in the last step. Place the pipe upright while it’s drying, so the water doesn’t mix with the cement

Step 4: Paint the Pipes (Optional)

Spray paint the pipes any color you’d like. Be sure to do this in a well-ventilated area (ideally, outdoors). Allow the paint to dry completely.

You can also use a clear sealant after the paint has dried to help keep the paint looking pristine over time.

Step 5: Freeze the Pipes

Place the pipes in your freezer and let them stay there overnight. Presto! You now have your very own ice packs to use on camping trips, tailgating parties or picnics on the beach

Build a Jig to Slice Plastic Bottles into Rope Project

This step by step tutorial of how to build a jig to slice plastic bottles into rope project in a way to re-purpose a soda pop container into a useful item. The project is extremely to follow and in no time at all you will be making all the rope you could need for your crafting. The completed jig is equally simple to use and with just a few bottles you will soon have a huge pile of crafting material.

When it comes to making crafts you can use a wide variety of materials in order to create your unique beautiful artist items. Whether you choose to use supplies you find in a craft store or prefer to use materials that come from recycled stuff, it is totally up to you.

One of those materials that are often used for crafting is called plastic rope. This can be used to make a number of unique items and it is really easy to acquire. Clear, green, blue and brown are just a few of the colors choices of plastic bottles on the market. The plastic strips can be cut in different widths, customized to your need.

This Do It Yourself project offers to help you to create your own way to turn an empty plastic soda bottle into tons of plastic rope.

Materials and Tools:

A Wooden Surface(2×4 works great)

2 Screws(Long enough to go through all of the washers and into the wood)

8 Washers(Holes in the middle must be smaller than top of screw)

Exact-o knife

Cordless Power Drill

A marker

2 liter soda bottles

Benefits of using the Build a Jig to Slice Plastic Bottles into Rope project

● The project includes a complete listing of all the materials, supplies and tools you will need

● It also includes a complete, easy to read and follow step by step instruction guide

● It has several full color photos that help to depict some of the steps

Simple Emergency First-Aid: How to Treat a Stab Wound

Although many survival manuals and emergency first-aid guides detail the effects of a gunshot on the human body, stabbing wounds from knives and other sharp objects are often overlooked. However, during an emergency situation it is likely that knives and other implements will be common weapons for many as personal supplies of ammunition become limited. As such, it is important to know how to give first-aid to those in your party who may be stabbed while bugging-out or defending your retreat.

What kind of damage does a stabbing cause?

Before you go into the actual techniques of treating the wound, you should understand the of damage a stabbing wound can cause.

  • Any stabbing causes lots of bleeding, but a sharp blade causes more. When dealing with stabbing wounds, expect a fair amount of blood. Dull blades cause veins and arteries to spasm, opening and closing, while sharp blades just leave the blood vessels open which causes extra bleeding.
  • Stabbing is likely to cause infection. Knives and other stabbing weapons are rarely kept sterile, and the blade puts dirty metal in direct contact with the bloodstream. Larger stab wounds also open the skin, exposing open blood vessels to infection from the air.
  • Stabbing is unlikely to kill instantly, and can even go unnoticed if the subject goes into shock. Even being stabbed in the heart or the throat is unlikely to kill someone immediately. The infamous case of the Austrian Empress Elizabeth demonstrated this clearly when she was stabbed in the heart by an assassin, only to survive a carriage ride and a 100 yard walk to a riverboat before collapsing. She never knew that she had been stabbed at all, and even her nearby courtier merely thought she had taken ill as shock caused her skin to pale. The wound itself was not found until much later, when a small bloody hole was discovered when medical staff pulled the Empress’s clothes aside to determine what was wrong with her.
  • Wounds to the chest and abdomen can be extremely deadly from even a small wound if they go deep. Knives can puncture lungs, slice organs, and cause internal bleeding and swelling that harms organ function. Stab wounds near the intestines can pierce them, and can also cause them to be pushed out of the gut through the hole.
  • Deaths from stabbing are primarily caused by blood loss, infection, shock, and organ failure.

When to offer first-aid

Before you go rushing in to help someone, even a friend or family member, you have to ensure that there isn’t something else you need to deal with first. In a defensive situation you will have to pry your attention away from a person screaming in pain to make sure that no other human threats are present. Only go to help someone once you’re sure that the area is safe and that you can reach the person without becoming injured yourself!

How to treat the wound

Stabbing wounds can be extremely tricky depending on where and how the person is stabbed. If the stab is shallow, a simple cleaning of the wound and a sterile bandage might be all they need. However, a wound that punctures a lung or slices through the liver is immediately life threatening, and is beyond the scope of general first-aid. Therefore, these instructions can help completely treat a minor stab wound, but are limited to merely keeping a seriously stabbed person alive awhile longer until trained medical help arrives, if it is available.

  1. Inspect the patient, and determine the extent of their injuries. Unless the person was caught unawares, they may have multiple stabs and slashes on their body, or clothing may obscure any wounds at all. Part clothing, and look for all wounds before starting your treatment unless there is an obviously serious wound that need immediate treatment (massive amounts of blood, particularly if it is spurting out like a geyser should be treated as quickly as possible!)
  2. Apply a facemask and sterile gloves if possible. At the very least, disinfect your hands. Before the modern world of antibiotics and advanced medicine, battlefields killed men by the thousands through infection. Your hands need to be clean and your mouth should be kept away from the wound to reduce the chances of infection in a world without easy access to antibiotic medicines.
  3. If the person is conscious, begin working but also talk with them. They probably won’t feel much pain to help you know where wounds are, but talking helps keep the person calm and slows heartrate. If any wounds are particularly nasty (say, a knife sticking out of their leg) keep their eyes averted so they don’t focus on it.
  4. If present, leave the weapon in the body. This reduces bleeding and keeps you from accidentally cutting any more vessels when it is removed. Don’t jostle it when helping, and if you move the patient have someone to steady it and keep it from moving. Weapons left in the body should only be removed by knowledgeable medical staff that can immediately perform needed surgery to correct potential damage.
  5. Choose the wound that is bleeding the most and stanch the flow. Any wound where blood is spurting out has priority unless there is serious flow elsewhere, since spurting blood comes from an artery that your body desperately needs. A tourniquet may be needed if there are multiple serious wounds, but it is always better to apply direct pressure instead since that actually stops bleeding rather than cutting off blood flow. Keep a barrier between yourself and the patient’s blood. If you lack gloves, use layers of clean cloth. If you have helpers, clean their hands and let them apply the pressure so you can continue directing things.
  6. Proceed to stanch bloodflow from each major wound, if there are more than one. If possible, have the person sit up and lift limbs above where the heart would be to slow bloodflow. If the wounds are mainly in the legs, lay the patient flat and lift their legs up on a chair or box.
  7. Once you have some control over the bleeding, begin cleaning the wounds in order from most serious to least serious. Remove debris if present, but remember that even a wound without debris has had a dirty sharp implement jab at it, so they all need cleaning. Clean water is the best for sheer irrigation, but in a pinch peroxide or even alcohol will work.As salt is an excellent natural cleanser, a mix of 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 cup of warm clean water is perfect here. Be aware that there will be pain when applying cleaning liquids, so if the person is somewhat conscious give them warning.
  8. Once a wound is clean, close smaller gaping wounds. Butterfly bandages can obviously help here if they are the correct size. Otherwise, glue (on the outside of the wound only!) and duct tape can make an effective placeholder. You want to close the wounds to prevent infectious materials from getting inside, and to keep the wound fairly dry.
  9. If a larger wound refuses to stop bleeding, DO NOT CLOSE IT. Instead, pack it with clean rags and cover with tape. The tape should be reasonably loose: it is primarily a strong covering, not a wound binder, and you want to be able to change out the rags as needed. Some clean spiderwebs can be used over the rags and under the tape, as an extra anti-bacterial layer if you choose.
  10. Keep the person resting, and apply antibiotic ointment if you have it periodically. Check the area furthest away from the heart for each limb that has a bandage on it: check fingers for arm wounds and toes for leg wounds. If a bandage is too tight, it may cut off blood flow to the area below it, and you will need to loosen it immediately.

In many places, the ability to properly treat a knife wound is already invaluable. When disaster strikes and the dredges of society decide to make their move for your supplies, be sure that you can patch up your group of defenders and keep everyone alive.

How to Dry Cure Meat at Home

50 g salt  5 g pink salt #2  20 g Hungarian paprika  20 g pepper  10 g fresh garlic, minced  4 g dextrose  3 g white pepper  24 g reduced dry white wine (Hungarian Tokaji)  3 ft of beef middles 1. If using natural casings, soak the casings in cold water for about an hour, making sure to rinse and replace the water at least once halfway through. Open the casings underneath running water to rinse the insides. 2. Grind partially-frozen meat through small die and pork fat through large die. 3. Dissolve the starter culture in de-chlorinated water. Let sit for 20 minutes. While it is rehydrating, chill the beef and pork in the freezer to keep it cold. 4. Combine meat with starter culture, salt, and remaining dry seasonings. Mix for 1-2 minutes, until it becomes tacky. 5. Add chilled Tokaji wine and mix until combined. If you took the optional step to boil off the alcohol and concentrate the wine flavors, be sure to add the same mass of liquid that the recipe calls for (start with a quantity of wine greater than 24 g and boil this down to 24 g). 6. Stuff immediately into casings. Prick all over with a sterile pin to eliminate air pockets. Weigh the mass of your salamis and record this value. 7. Ferment in the Cave chamber at 70ᵒF and 90% relative humidity for 72 hours. 8. Cold smoke for 6-12 hours. 9. Dry in the Cave at 55-60ᵒF and 75% relative humidity until the salami has lost 30% of its weight. Adjust airflow so that it is highest at start of drying, and gradually decreases until the salami is complete. This may take 2-3 months if using beef middles.

One of the old forms of food preservation is fermenting and curing meat. It’s also one  of the tastiest in artisan salamis, pepperoni, aged cheeses, and of course, bacon, just to name a few. Not only does fermenting add preservation to the meat, but it adds flavor, flavor. Need I repeat it again.

If learning how to do things the old-fashioned way, bringing back traditional skills and learning true art forms, or just plain eating delicious foods that you know where they came from and went into them, then you my friend, are in the right place. Let’s raise our cheeses and pepperoni together!

Today we’re talking about the art of using salt and fermentation to preserve your meat.Many people use the freezer or canning to preserve their foods, and while I’m a die hard Mason jar and canning addict, looking back at older forms of food preservation is just as important.

The art of fermenting is using the good bacteria (and salt with meats or dry curing) to give flavor and preservation to the meat, along with drawing out the moisture, which allows it to be a form of preservation. 

Advantages to Fermented and Dry Cured Meat

Cured meat increases in flavor as it ages, as opposed to time in the freezer where over time your meat slowly degrades. Hanging and aging your whole muscles cuts and salami it concentrates the flavors and gives it a more intense flavor process. Plus, there’s the cool factor of being able to have shelf stable meat cured like the pioneers did.

 How to Dry Cure Meat at Home

Purchase a culture specifically for meat SausageMaker.com or ButcherPacker.com  You can keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to do your meat.

The easiest way to preserve your meat is taking a whole muscle cut, make a salt and spice rub and cover it with the rub, and put it in the fridge for a few days. This way you don’t have to use nitrates or any special ingredients.

After a few days, when the salt has had a chance to get in there and draw out some of the moisture, hang it in a controlled environment at 60 degrees Farenheit with 70% humidity and let it dry until it’s lost about 30% of its water weight. That is preserved traditionally and you can eat it raw.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. I make a commission if you make a purchase, but it costs you  no more. Thank you so much for helping support this site and podcast.

Resources for Dry Curing Meat at Home

Kitchen Scale– digital kitchen scale weighing up to 18 pounds at a time to make sure you can accurately tell when 30% moisture loss has occurred.

Salt This is a pink Himalayan sea salt with no additives

Curing Salt– for use in ground up cured meats to help prevent the growth of botulism

The Cave – unit that allows you to control the temperature and humidity on any refrigerator or freezer.

Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing -the book on how to cure meats at home.

Three FREE Recipes on How to Dry Cure Meat at Home- homemade pepperoni, salami, and prosciutto

How long do you let your muscle cut cure?

Prosciutto cuts can take up to a whole year, but smaller cuts don’t take as long. It depends on when it looses the 30% of its water weight. So you need to weigh the cut going in and then after its aged.

You can make Panchetta, which you usually cook, so if you cook it, and don’t eat it raw, then the 30% weight loss isn’t as crucial.

How do you store your cured meat and how long is it good for?

You can continue to store it in The Cave to continue to age it and concentrating the flavors. If you keep curing it will get really hard, otherwise you can store it in your fridge.Lowering the temperature slows down the aging. You can freeze it as well.

Once the meat is completely dry cured, it is shelf stable. You can keep it out on the counter. But to keep it as palatable as possible,  you store it in the fridge or freezer to extend the shelf life and keep it from drying out too much.

Karen says they take they’re salami camping and don’t worry about keeping it in the fridge.

What cuts are a whole muscle cut?

The most popular would be your back leg of a pig, deer, or lamb. You can do something smaller like a loin or neck muscle. Just a whole muscle group, just follow the line and separate that muscle from the rest of the muscle groups. This way you don’t need a grinder.

A grinder is a small investment and you can find both manual and electric
meat grinders here–>stainless steel meat grinder

You can take any piece of meat and do this process of salting and dry curing it.

Back when people naturally cured their own meant, they’d use an basement, cellar, or attic.

You want a slightly warmer temperature so the good bacteria blooms and forces the bad bacteria out, and not being to cold helps with this.

You can use cheese cloth to wrap your meat while its hanging if its in an open environment like a basement or attic. For ease and safety, a contained chamber is best, not only to keep the bugs off, but to help with humidity and temperature levels.

Karen and James created a product, called The Cave, to control your humidity and temperature that attaches onto any refrigerator or freezer. It has a touch screen that allows you to set the humidity and temperature for dry curing meat, cheeses, and even culturing yogurt and sourdough. It has a wireless app so you can easily change the settings if you’re not home.

Right now (thru June 8, 2016) they have a kickstarter campaign going for the Cave including some special kits and e-books.

The fridge or freezer you put it on should be a single unit (no separate freezer) and the heater for warm cultures works best at 10 square feet.

With cheese and meat, if it gets to dry on the outer layer of your meat and cheeses then it creates a hard crust and that hard crust traps the moisture inside and creates a safety issue. This is why the humidity level is so important.

This is also true of your cheeses, if the good mold doesn’t start to form. We had some disasters in the first few years, before The Cave, which is why we ended up creating.

How to Make Bacon at Home

Take your pork belly and throw it in a container with spices, maple syrup or brown sugar is a favorite, and put it in the fridge and flip it once a day for a week. Then throw it in the smoker or in the oven and cook it to a set temperature and you’ve got your bacon.

On the Kickstarter campaign is bacon making kit, both ginger garlic and apple cinnamon bacon.

Salt Safety in Dry Curing

Again, you really need some type of scale. You need 2.5% percent of the weight of the meat to salt ratio, if the meat is 100 grams then you need 2.5 grams of salt to the meat.

If you’re grinding the meat you need to include some type of sodium nitrate or pink salt, and it’s .25% in order to prevent botulism. Nitrates are controversial, but our opinion is we’d much rather not die of botulism if we’re aging salami, the nitrates protect against that.

You don’t need to use nitrates in a whole muscle cut. Unless, you’re rolling up panchetta, in that type some of the meat has been exposed to oxygen, and some hasn’t. Nitrates are needed when the  meat has been exposed to oxygen and is then put into an anaerobic environment. 

Type of Salts for Dry Curing

You want to use salt that doesn’t have any additives to it, like anti-caking methods.

Sea Salt, Kosher Salt, Himalyan Pink Salt.

Is your cured meat okay if its moldy?

Orange and black are bad.

You’re dry aged pepperoni’s are covered in white mold.

You can buy mold powder to add to your meat when you’re hanging them. It’s beneficial to help with the moisture level and to establish the good mold.

We dissolve the mold culture into water and then spray our sausage with it to help bloom that mold onto the surface of our sausage.

What’s the molds purpose?

It helps the flavor profile and when you make a sausage like salami, the casing helps it not dry out too quickly, and the mold does the exact same thing. It helps regulate the moisture loss, so you don’t dry out the outside too quickly and then moisture gets trapped inside instead of releasing.

Three Dry Meat Recipes:

Home Curing Recipes Pepperoni: Homemade pepperoni is worlds above what you can buy in the store. It is also a great “beginner” fermented sausage, since it is aged in a smaller casing and is ready to eat much sooner than other sausages.

1400 g pork  600 g lean beef (or venison)  10 g Bactoferm F-RM-52  50 g de-chlorinated water  50 g salt 5 g Pink salt #2 (not Himalayan salt—pink salt is a mix of sodium nitrite/sodium nitrate)  30 g dextrose  56 g nonfat milk powder  13 g paprika  6 g sugar  6 g black pepper  6 g cayenne pepper  5 g anise seeds, crushed  1 g fennel  24 g reduced dry red wine (optional: boil wine for 15 minutes then chill)  3 meters hog casings, or 6 meters sheep casings

If using natural casings, soak the casings in cold water for about an hour, making sure to rinse and replace the water at least once halfway through. Open the casings underneath running water to rinse the insides. 2. Grind chilled beef and pork through the small die of your grinder. 3. Dissolve the starter culture (F-RM-52) in de-chlorinated water. Let sit for 20 minutes. While it is re-hydrating, chill the beef and pork in the freezer to keep it cold. 4. Combine meat with starter culture, salt, and remaining dry seasonings. Mix for 1-2 minutes, until it becomes tacky. 5. Add chilled dry red wine and mix until combined. If you took the optional step to boil off the alcohol and concentrate the wine flavors, be sure to add the same mass of liquid that the recipe calls for (start with a quantity of wine greater than 24 g and boil this down to 24 g). 6. Stuff immediately into casings. Prick all over with a sterile pin to eliminate air pockets. Weigh the mass of your sausages and record this value. 7. Ferment using the Cave fermentation controller at 85ᵒF and 90% relative humidity for 12 hours. 8. Optional: cold smoke for 6 hours. 9. Dry using the Cave fermentation controller at 55-60ᵒF and 75% relative humidity until the pepperoni has lost 30% of its weight. Adjust airflow so that it is highest at start of drying, and gradually decreases until the pepperoni is complete. This should take approximately 2-3 weeks, if using hog casings (less time if using sheep casings)

Goat Prosciutto: Lamb or goat prosciutto is easy to make, requiring only a few minutes of hands-on time before hanging in the Cave. It is intensely flavorful and has an amazing mouth-feel when sliced thin. This is a traditional recipe made with juniper berries, garlic, and fresh rosemary. You could also substitute other game animals for this

de-boned and butterflied goat leg (or leg roast)  3.8% sea salt  0.25% cure #2 (optional)  3.0% sugar  2.0% minced garlic  1.0% fresh rosemary (or 0.6% dried rosemary)  1.4% pepper  0.4% crushed juniper berries 1. Start by de-boning and butterflying the goat leg. Trim off any silverskin. 2. Mix the salt, cure, and seasonings Cure in the refrigerator: place it all in a zip-loc bag (or a covered non-reactive container) and put in the refrigerator. Cure for about 5 days, being sure to redistribute the cure every day or so. 4. Rinse in water or wine and pat dry. Weigh the meat and record this number. 5. Tie with butcher’s twine and hang in the Cave. Age at 55ᵒF and 75% relative humidity. The goat prosciutto is done when it has lost 30% of its weight and is firm to the touch. 6. Slice thin and enjoy!

Hungarian Salami Hungarian salami is a slow-fermented sausage with traditional flavors of Hungarian paprika, pepper, and garlic.

1200 g pork  400 g lean beef (or venison)  400 g pork fat  0.9 g T-SPX dissolved in 30 g de-chlorinated water 50 g salt  5 g pink salt #2  20 g Hungarian paprika  20 g pepper  10 g fresh garlic, minced  4 g dextrose  3 g white pepper  24 g reduced dry white wine (Hungarian Tokaji)  3 ft of beef middles 1. If using natural casings, soak the casings in cold water for about an hour, making sure to rinse and replace the water at least once halfway through. Open the casings underneath running water to rinse the insides. 2. Grind partially-frozen meat through small die and pork fat through large die. 3. Dissolve the starter culture in de-chlorinated water. Let sit for 20 minutes. While it is rehydrating, chill the beef and pork in the freezer to keep it cold. 4. Combine meat with starter culture, salt, and remaining dry seasonings. Mix for 1-2 minutes, until it becomes tacky. 5. Add chilled Tokaji wine and mix until combined. If you took the optional step to boil off the alcohol and concentrate the wine flavors, be sure to add the same mass of liquid that the recipe calls for (start with a quantity of wine greater than 24 g and boil this down to 24 g). 6. Stuff immediately into casings. Prick all over with a sterile pin to eliminate air pockets. Weigh the mass of your salamis and record this value. 7. Ferment in the Cave chamber at 70ᵒF and 90% relative humidity for 72 hours. 8. Cold smoke for 6-12 hours. 9. Dry in the Cave at 55-60ᵒF and 75% relative humidity until the salami has lost 30% of its weight. Adjust airflow so that it is highest at start of drying, and gradually decreases until the salami is complete. This may take 2-3 months if using beef middles.

Survival Bread

Many years ago, at a Preparedness Fair, I picked up this recipe for Survival Bread. The recipe says that after it’s made, it “will keep indefinitely”. Hmmm… Made me think of Lembas bread – something the elves would make (for you Lord of the Rings fans). “One small bite will fill the belly of a grown man.” Since I can’t stand to waste, it didn’t sound like anything I wanted to HAVE to consume on an otherwise perfectly good day, with soft yeast bread and an abundance of other good foods in the fridge. But this recipe keeps popping up in front of me, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and bake up a brick of Survival Bread today. 

Many years ago, at a Preparedness Fair, I picked up this recipe for Survival Bread. The recipe says that after it’s made, it “will keep indefinitely”. Hmmm… Made me think of Lembas bread – something the elves would make (for you Lord of the Rings fans). “One small bite will fill the belly of a grown man.” Since I can’t stand to waste, it didn’t sound like anything I wanted to HAVE to consume on an otherwise perfectly good day, with soft yeast bread and an abundance of other good foods in the fridge. But this recipe keeps popping up in front of me, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and bake up a brick of Survival Bread today.

Here’s the original recipe, just as I received it:

Survival Bread

2 cups oats

2 1/2 cups powdered milk

1 cup sugar

3 Tbl honey

3 Tbl water

1 pkg. lemon or orange Jell-O (3oz)

Combine oats, powdered milk and sugar. In a medium pan, mix water, Jell-O and honey. Bring to a boil. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. (If the dough is too dry, add a small amount of water a teaspoon at a time.) Shape dough into a loaf. (About the size of a brick.) Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool. Wrap in aluminum foil to store. This bread will keep indefinitely and each loaf is the daily nutrients for one adult. 

Well, the ingredients don’t sound too bad, but that last line bothers me for some reason. Healthy food should deteriorate, shouldn’t it? I have teenage boys and not much goes to waste around here, so I figured it was worth trying out. Even though the recipe doesn’t specify, I used quick oats. As for the liquid, that little bit didn’t even begin to cover it. It was so dry, I was still stirring mostly powder, so I ended up adding another 1/3 cup water plus more – almost 1/2 cup! It was very stiff, and very sticky. I wonder if I should have added less and got my hands in there and just packed it all together when it was still a lot drier. I don’t know, but here’sthe results:

It doesn’t look so bad! AND – it actually tasted pretty good! It has a heavy powdered milk taste, which I’m not a big fan of, but with a little butter, or honey, or butter AND honey(!) I hardly noticed. I’m sure the recipe can be altered. Maybe less powdered milk and more oats? Unless it’s formulated to an exact scientifically nutritional specification! 🙂  But I doubt it.

Has anyone else had any experience with survival bread? Or maybe if you have a different recipe you’d like to share, email it to me and I’ll post it with your name.

How to Build a Fire Bed

Did you know that you can have your fire and sleep on it as well?  Most people are content to sleep as close to a fire as possible in order to stay warm at night.  However, we all know that this doesn’t always work as effectively as we would like.  Parts of our bodies get really hot while others receive little or no heat at all.  Let’s explore a really easy trick that can give you the best of both worlds and provide a long-lasting source of heat that your whole body can enjoy.

Did you know that you can have your fire and sleep on it as well?  Most people are content to sleep as close to a fire as possible in order to stay warm at night.  However, we all know that this doesn’t always work as effectively as we would like.  Parts of our bodies get really hot while others receive little or no heat at all.  Let’s explore a really easy trick that can give you the best of both worlds and provide a long-lasting source of heat that your whole body can enjoy.

Build A Solar Dehydrator For All Of Your Garden Bounty

Build a solar dehydrator for all of your garden bounty. This is a great diy project if you want or need to dehydrate a lot of food. It is perfect for folks that follow a raw diet or are mostly vegetarian. When preserving foods you have a few choices and a lot of folks like to can their foods for storage but canning does affect the nutrients because the food is cooked, where dehydrating only removes the moisture content of foods leaving all the nutrients behind. 

Build a solar dehydrator for all of your garden bounty. This is a great diy project if you want or need to dehydrate a lot of food. It is perfect for folks that follow a raw diet or are mostly vegetarian. When preserving foods you have a few choices and a lot of folks like to can their foods for storage but canning does affect the nutrients because the food is cooked, where dehydrating only removes the moisture content of foods leaving all the nutrients behind. Another plus to dehydrating is storage space. Dehydrated foods take up much less space than either canned or frozen. While a lot of people have electric dehydrators, these can take hours to dry foods and they are using energy the entire time. This diy solar dehydrator tower by Peak Prosperity can dehydrate a great amount of foods while it costs nothing to use because it drys with the sun.He built it using some recycled materials to help keep costs down but says the family is mostly vegetarian so they dehydrate a lot of their garden produce. As long as you have a place to build this that can catch enough sun you could dry a lot of your garden produce, saving on energy and storage while retaining all of the nutrients in the foods.

This is a story of one of the steps my family has taken towards increased resiliency, including actions taken to build a more sustainable lifestyle and invest in our food security.  My family lives on mostly a vegetarian diet. We currently grow a large garden and plan to grow most of our food for the full year. Growing a year’s worth of food brings up many questions, but the most critical one is how do we preserve the bounty of our garden?  Of methods that I know of, one can dry, ferment, can, or use cold storage. Canning heats the food and takes away some of the nutrients. Not all foods can be stored in cold storage (but I am working on this, as well). We have an Excalibur dryer but find it takes forever to dry things and the electricity to match.

So I decided to build a solar dehydrator. After researching different design ideas, I went with a design that I could use some recycled materials and materials left over from other projects, plus some new. I also wanted a high-capacity design that could dry a lot of food at once. This design has a heat collector and a tower.

Construction

First, I built the foundation out of 4×4 pressure treated (PT) and some not PT. The wood that did not touch the ground did not need PT. The site was also at a slight slant, so I doubled the wood under the tower. The design has a 4′ square tower and an area for the metal that is used for the heat collector mass. I dug trenches in the dirt, drilled screws into the 4×4’s and filled the trenches with concrete. I set the 4×4’s (with the screws down) in the trenches, then leveled the 4×4’s and bolted the intersections together. Then I covered this with 1/2″ plywood that I painted black.

We have a shop in town that sells recycled construction materials (Habitat for Humanity Restore) that makes finding used materials easier for these types of projects. I was able to find three 5′ long, 6″ diameter, single-wall stove pipes and one 14″ diameter single-wall pipe. The three 6″ pipes fit nicely inside the larger pipe. I painted the pipes black with high temp paint (the same paint that you paint a woodstove with). I was going for as much mass as I could get to dry a lot of food at once.

Next, I built the tower. I used 5/8″ plywood siding, as I have this thing for making structures that not only function, but look nice as well. You could use 1/2″ CDX plywood instead, if you chose. Since the plywood is 4′ x 8′, it took 3 sheets (the door is on one side). The framing, including the rafters was made from 2×4 studs. I was able to get a recycled 3′ wide door with a full dual-pane window. This I framed in on the west side of the tower, so the food would not be in the direct sun, but you could see inside. (It could have also been in the rear.) The roof is slanted to allow for an exit vent in the rear. The exit vent opening should be approx. equal to the inlet opening. I covered this with galvanized welded mesh wire on the outside (for animals) and window screening on the inside (for insects). I covered the roof with 1/2″ plywood and scrap metal roofing.

I went to my local glass shop and they had recycled (like brand new) 3/16″ thick, tempered glass shower doors. I framed in a triangular box to hold the shower doors. This area became the heat collector area. Again I covered the inlet with welded mesh wire on the outside (for animals) and window screening on the inside (for insects). This could be flat, as well, with corrugated metal sheets as the heat mass. I made covers for the inlet and outlet for winter.

Cool air comes in the heat collector area, is heated by the metal, and flows up thru the tower and out the top rear of the tower. It works like a woodstove or greenhouse. Heat rises.

Now for the food trays: I made 10 frames out of 2″ x 2″ wood, painted with mineral oil. They are 3′ square. The mesh covers an area of 2′ x 3′ (the mesh comes in 4′ width, so I cut it in half). This leaves an area of 1′ x 3′ opening. I covered 3/4 of this opening with plywood. The opening is on the outside of the frame, away from the mesh. These are installed in a staggered pattern, with the opening opposite on each. This makes the air flow on both sides of the food and slows it down, as it makes its way up to the exit vent. The food is sliced thin and placed with maybe 1/4 to 1/2″ between the pieces. This makes the hot air stay more on the bottom of the trays and move to the opening. The trays rest on angles mounted the inside walls of the tower.

Material for food trays: I used 1/4″ mesh welded wire, type 316 stainless steel, to hold the food. This type of stainless is best for acid foods. It’s expensive, but there are only two types of mesh that you should use for this: food-grade plastic mesh (which I could only find commercial grade) or type 316 stainless steel. (Window screen is fiberglass and can put fibers in the food; aluminum window screen adds aluminum to the food. So these should not be used.) The stainless mesh needs to be welded, not woven, as food can be caught in the weave. The stainless comes in 4′ wide and sells by the foot. I needed 6 square feet (2′ x 3′) per tray x 10 trays = 60 square feet x $6 per square foot = $360.

Final Thoughts

The overall project came out nicely and the ability to use a lot of leftover and used building materials makes this type of project creatively adaptable regarding the design and size of the final dehydrator. The size of our system gives us the capacity to dry and preserve large quantities of garden produce with limited light exposure (we live in a mountain home) and maximize our harvest yields. Some of the other things we will be exploring with our system are:

  • Creating an adjustable cover to regulate heat levels
  • Adding a wireless thermometer to monitor temps from the house
  • Evaluating temperature ranges and zones of differing heat levels within the tower.

I’m happy with how this project turned out, and I hope you will be inspired by my efforts. Do-it-yourself plans for capturing and utilizing solar energy are a solid step on the journey toward resiliency. I’m looking forward to increasing our year-round preserved food supply with homegrown dehydrated produce and dried fruit, and I look forward to sharing our experiences after we’ve used our solar dehydrator through another growing season.

How to find and use soap plants

As functional members of our modern society, we are somehow accustomed to take things for granted and we become dependent of stores and the items we buy. Soap is one of the many items that we take for granted and if stores would stop selling this item tomorrow, we would have no clue how to make do without it. Luckily for us, there are soap plants that we can use as substitute when soap runs out. Sanitation will become an important task during a crisis scenario and although you may have stockpiled enough soap to last you for a lifetime, it is always better to learn about the alternatives we have. Learning how to make soap is a skill that will come in handy and it will help you stay clean when stores will close. However, in today’s article I will share some of my knowledge regarding a natural, cost free alternative; the soap plants that can be found in the wild!

soap-plants

As functional members of our modern society, we are somehow accustomed to take things for granted and we become dependent of stores and the items we buy. Soap is one of the many items that we take for granted and if stores would stop selling this item tomorrow, we would have no clue how to make do without it. Luckily for us, there are soap plants that we can use as substitute when soap runs out. Sanitation will become an important task during a crisis scenario and although you may have stockpiled enough soap to last you for a lifetime, it is always better to learn about the alternatives we have. Learning how to make soap is a skill that will come in handy and it will help you stay clean when stores will close. However, in today’s article I will share some of my knowledge regarding a natural, cost free alternative; the soap plants that can be found in the wild!

Interacting with nature and using all its resources is an important aspect of preparedness and off-grid living. If you are familiar with this site, you’ve probably noticed by now that I encourage people to get back into nature and learn about foraging and every other skill that will help them survive when our modern society will collapse. Foraging for wild plants is a forgotten skill that will prove very useful if you are forced to leave your home and head for the woods. Nature provides all sorts of plants that can help you survive and thrive in a harsh environment. Besides the medicinal plants and the wild edibles, there are quite a few plants that contain saponins (steroids that dissolve in water and create a stable froth). These plants will help you stay clean when exploring the great the outdoors.

Most of the soap plants that you can find in the wild were used by the Native Americans and the first pioneers. Although they are different from the old fashioned soap that your grandma used to make on the farm, these plants work just as well and they are a great substitute for the traditional soaps.

Some of the soap plants listed in this article are found everywhere in the wild and they can be prepared very easily.

Soap plants – Yucca (Yucca spp.)

soap-plants-2

Yucca is one of the soap plants used by the Native Americans and there are numerous species of yucca spread throughout the plains and western States. This is one of the arid edibles I wrote about in a previous article and it is very easy to identify it. The plant produces a stemless cluster of long, rigid leaves which end in a sharp point. The leaves are 8 to 35 inches long and have a gray-green color. This is a versatile plant and the Native Americans used it extensively for various purposes. Besides being used for soap, the plant produces several good foods, quality fiber that was used to make sandals. It was also used as tinder and it helped improvising carrying cases or quivers from the mature, hollowed-out flower stalks.

Although many prefer to use the root to make soap, digging up the root is an intense labor and you may even get fined for doing so because some Yucca species are listed as endangered. To make soap easily you can cut the leaves (even one would do) and strip them into fibers until you have a handful of very thin strands. Add water and agitate between your hands until soap forms. You will need to pay attention when cutting the lives because you can hurt yourself with the sharp tips or you can slice your fingers on the edges of the leaf. Make sure you snip off the sharp tip before you strip the leaves. Yucca soap has extremely good cleansing properties and the leaf fiber helps in scrubbing. It provides medium to rich lather depending on the species, but since the leaves are available year-round and the plant is widespread it makes Yucca one of the soap plants that can be used the most.

Soap plants – Mountain Lilac (Ceanothus spp.)

soap-plants-3

This plant is also known as soap bush and there are over 50 species of shrubs or small shrub trees. Most of the species are confined to North America. The soap bush is common throughout the southwest and if you go hiking in the spring, you will notice a spot of white, blue or purple along the trail and on the hillside. Many species can be used as soap plants even though their botanical properties will sometimes be different. To make sure you have mountain lilac that can be used as soap you can do a simple test. Take a handful of blossoms, add water and rub them between the hands. If you get a rich lather with a mild aroma, you got the right plant! The plant will lose its flowers early summer and it will form some sticky green fruits. Don’t worry if you missed the flowering period of the mountain lilac because the fruits can also be used to make soap. The early pioneers used to dry the fruits and used them for soap when needed. If you decide to dry the fruits and store them for later use, you must know that the fruits will get very hard and you will need to ground them into a fine powder before using it as soap. Once you have the powder, add water and rub vigorously. The soap doesn’t have the same quality as the one made from the fresh fruits, but it is a good alternative when nothing else is available. Mountain lilac has good cleansing properties and it’s worth traveling to the difficult terrain to collect its flowers and fruits.

Soap plants – Soaproot (Blitum californicum)

soap-plants-4

This is a plant that was used by the Native Americans both as medicine and as a food source. The leaves of soaproot can be cooked, drained and used as you would use spinach. This is often confused with lamb’s quarter by many foragers, but if you pay attention, you can notice that soaproot has a large taproot. This is the part that can be used to make soap and it is often similar to a ginseng root or an overgrown carrot. Getting the root requires some effort and in hard soil it can be a foot deep, making it impossible to be harvested without a good shovel. The first pioneers learned to make soap from the Native Americans and they used to preserve the root in a dark, cold place for later use. In order to make soap you will need to grate the root with a sharp knife. Add water and rub between the hands to obtain a soap that many consider superior to store-bought soaps. The taproot produces a frothy lather that has very good cleansing properties. This plant is harder to find since most of those who know about its cleaning properties would take entire taproots and store them for later use. It can be found only in isolated patches and if you plan to use Soaproot, make sure you only use small taproots and leave the rest.

Soap plants – Amole (Chloroglaum pmeridianum)

soap-plants-5

Amole is widespread plant that is part of the lily family and it can be identified easily due to its long liner leaves growing from the base of the plant. It develops flowers on a long stem and it grows a large brown bulb. To reach the bulb, which is the part used for making soap, you will sometimes have to dig down up to a foot deep. The bulb is usually covered in layers of brown fibers and you will need to remove these fibers until you reach the white bulb. The white bulb is stick and has many layers, just like an onion. You can take some of these layers, add water and agitate between your hands. As a result, you will obtain a rich lather that can be used for any sanitation operation you might need. You can use it to take a bath, to wash your hair and even to clean your clothes. You can also dry the bulb for later use, but just like for all other soap plants, the soap made from the fresh parts is far superior. The bulbous root of the Amole plant can be dug year-round if you know where to look for it. In the fall the plant is dormant and although it is widespread in various areas, it will be harder to find compared to the other soap plants.

Soap plants – Buffalo Gourd (Cucurbita foetidissima)

soap-plants-6

This plant can be found in the central and southwestern United States and northern Mexico and it even grows in urban vacant lots. Some people know it by the name of coyote melon and based on its form, you can notice that it is a relative of squash and pumpkins. The Native Americans used the plant as rattles, but also as soap to for washing clothes. In order to make soap, they used the tender growing tips or the leaves of the plant. Adding water and agitating between the hands will result in a green frothy lather that has satisfactory cleansing proprieties. If you decide to use buffalo gourd to make soap, you have to handle the leaves with care as they are covered with tiny rigid spines. These tiny hairs are known to cause irritation to the skin for some people and many survivalists will use this soap plant as a last resort.

Soap plants – Bouncing Bet (Saponaria officinalis)

soap-plants-7

Many people know this plant as soapweed or crow soap and it is widely available since many gardeners will plant it for its pink flowers. This is an introduced plant and it is mostly used by European countries as soap substitute.  Although the leaves and the roots can be used, it is much easier to use the leaves since it will also help maintain the plant alive. There are various ways you can use the leaves to make soap. You can agitate the fresh leaves between your hands with water or you can boil them to produce a lather liquid that has the ability to dissolve fats or grease. Take a handful of fresh leaves, bruise and chop them for 30 minutes in 1 pint of water. Strain the liquid and use it as you would use liquid soap. This plant has satisfactory cleansing proprieties and it is a good alternative if it grows abundantly in your area. You can plant it in your off-grid garden as a useful ornamental and use it as soap substitute year round if no snow has fallen.

Soap plants are just another proof that Mother Nature will take care of your needs and it can provide you with viable alternatives to commercial products. The plants listed in this article will help you stay clean when your soap supplies run out and this is knowledge worth knowing.

27 Uses for a Five-Gallon Bucket

Texans may have their five-gallon hats, but the rest of us preppers have our five-
gallon buckets! Grab some of those buckets, because there are dozens of do-it-
yourself projects you could be starting. Consider this your prepper “bucket list”!

Texans may have their five-gallon hats, but the rest of us preppers have our five-
gallon buckets! Grab some of those buckets, because there are dozens of do-it-
yourself projects you could be starting. Consider this your prepper “bucket list”!

Dozens of Do-it-yourself Prepper Projects with Buckets
Here’s our bucket list of dozens of projects you can do yourself if you have a food-
grade 5-gallon or 6-gallon bucket:

#1: Assemble and off-grid laundry station.
Include a Rapidwasher mobile washer agitator, which is much better than a plunger
because it has slots for the water. Also it uses minimal water and less soap
(because of the agitation motion). Fill your bucket with your favorite laundry soap,
borax,  baking soda, and stain remover, along with a clothesline, clothespins, and
rubber gloves. Right, Prepare My Life has assembled everything for you in a kit with
a gamma seal lid.

#2: Fuel up at Costco with Charcoal.
This is an easy do-it-yourself prepper project: charcoal storage. Preppers must stock
a variety of fuel and charcoal is ready to go! The problem is that the bags are messy
and are not moisture proof. At Costco, you’ll find Kingston Charcoal: it’s around $20
for two huge bags. Grab them, then stash your charcoal treasure into a couple five-
or six-gallon buckets. Having charcoal in a bucket provides the added security of a
weather tight capsule.

  • Why hoard charcoal? Charcoal is highly combustible and paired with a lighter
    is an easy source of fuel. Charcoal has an indefinite shelf life when the
    product is stored in a cool, dry place. Use charcoal after you exhaust your
    supplies of propane, kerosene and other liquid fuels.
  • Is commercial charcoal good for composting? No! Kingston Charcoal and
    other briquettes won’t aid in the breakdown of organic matter, because they
    contain other ingredients to make them light faster. You’ll need to dump your
    commercial charcoal in an area separate from your composting.
  • #3: Tackle this one: create a bucket for your fishing gear.

Go fishing for tackle supplies and make a tackle bucket. Pictured right is a tackle
organizer. There are organizers for inside and outside of your bucket. Complete
your tackle bucket with a comfortable seat lid. Makes a great gift.

  • Fishing Bucket Organizer. Right, from Wild River Tackle, is a five-gallon
    bucket organizer that fits most 5 gallon buckets. It’s a single solution soft
    tackle bag with an integrated flexible neck LED light system that allows you to
    see into the bag or the bucket when natural light gets scarce. This is a clip on
    LED light that can be moved to illuminate any area of low light. It also
    features a zippered pocket ready for your aerator to keep your bait lively. The
    rigger has storage areas for two 3500-series trays and extra pocket to hold a
    third reel or fishing line. A fisherman’s dream, this organizer features a
    removable self-retracting steel cable lanyard for clippers or small tools. It has
    clear internal pockets to keep maps and fishing license dry but visible. The
    exterior mesh pockets will allow you to carry popular tools and easily view
    contents.
  • Sit-n-fish. Left, from Frabill is the Sit-N-Fish bucket. It’s the perfect fishing
    bucket for on the ice or during open water season! This bucket is the “real
    McCoy”! Keep your bait inside during both seasons, and sit comfortably on its
    padded seat whenever you’re out. 6-gallon outer plastic pail; Removable 8-
    quart insulated foam bait bucket; Keeps bait alive and frisky without freeze-
    up; Comfortable snap on / off padded seat lid is included.

#4: Make an emergency toilet.
Here is a port a potty you can actually port… Take a five-gallon bucket (use a
colored bucket, so you don’t mix it up with your food grade buckets) and line your
bucket with appropriate bags, chemicals or Borax to keep down the stench, and of
course, toilet paper and a plastic toilet seat lid and you have a grid-down
emergency solution! This portable potty is also an ideal solution for camping,
hunting, and having an adventure in your RV.

#5: Use your noodle and stockpile the macaroni!
Preppers don’t often think of storing macaroni in food grade buckets, but it will keep
you from eating your emergency stash on an everyday basis. You can fit 25-lbs or
more of elbow noodles in a six-gallon bucket. Next time it goes on sale, use your
noodle and stock up on versatile elbow macaroni or your favorite pasta. Remove the
pasta from the plastic bags and insert them into mylar bags with oxygen absorbers
to enhance their shelf life. Include the boiling instructions on the inside of lid of the
bucket. To make retrieval easier, get a gamma seal lid. Be sure to use a food-grade
bucket or the plastics will leach into your macaroni or other pasta. Be sure also to
store your macaroni inside your home, and not in a basement or attic, which has
heat fluctuations. Be sure to store enough water to boil your noodles!

#6: Sugar up your food storage!
Sugar lasts indefinitely and is another easy prep for a food grade bucket. Sugar
doesn’t need. Head to Costco for pure cane sugar, preferably organic, which has a
hint of brown color. Get a gamma lid for easy retrieval of your food storage. Don’t
stop your food storage projects with sugar or macaroni. In addition to sugar, buy in
bulk to save and stockpile:

#7: Build a better mouse trap!
Featured on Doomsday Castle, the concept of a five-gallon bucket  rat trap at first
seemed a little far fetched, but it worked! Here’s a how to build a better mousetrap!