10 Basic Household Items to Use in a Survival Situation

10 Basic Household Items to Use in a Survival Situation | dental-floss-1024x682 | PreparednessSurvival

No matter how prepared you are, survival is really about making the most of what you have on hand. Did you know there are many items sitting around your house that can protect you, no matter what kind of catastrophe strikes?

If this list is any indication, women may be the ones to stick closest to since they have some of the most useful items. If you aren’t one, hopefully, you will know one since they likely will have the best multi-purpose goods when the SHTF.

Household Items To Use When Disaster Strikes

No matter what you have in your storehouse, supplies can run out or you may not have prepared for every eventuality. If you are in a pinch, here are some household items that can mean the difference between life and death in a survival situation.

1.  Tampons and Pads

These two have a variety of uses. Pads are obviously an excellent way to staunch blood if someone suffers a serious wound, but they are also a great way to filter water. Tampons can do a lot of the same work. They can be used to filter water when they are fluffed out, and the string makes an excellent wick. They can both be used for tinder as well.

2.  Dried Kitchen Sponges

These sponges — like those you get at William-Sonoma — were the inspiration for U.S. Military’s tool, XStat, which works similar to a fix-a-flat. Its purpose was to stop gunshot and shrapnel wounds from bleeding out. Since XStat isn’t lying around the house, those super-compressed sponges can be used to do the same thing, though it may take a little finesse without the syringe.

3.  Bras

Snip a bra down the middle front and you have two fairly reasonable particulate filters that can be used as facemasks. You can even use the straps to tie it around the face for hand-free use. Underwire could also come in handy when metal becomes a need, the elastic straps make useful slings and, if the bras are padded, the padding can be used for tinder.

4.  Air Compressor

Air compressors will be great to have on hand in a survival situation for many reasons. Perhaps one of the most crucial is for skinning meat after a kill. Cut a small hole in the thigh of a deer you have killed and hung, insert the air compressor nozzle, and voila, the skin becomes detached from the meat.

5.  Canned Tuna

No matter the situation, wasting food isn’t a good idea. Some foods, however, are packaged in such a way that also makes them good for survival. Not much can beat canned tuna when the SHTF since it can be used as a food source and an oil lamp.

Make sure it’s oil-packed tuna, then stab a hole in the top. Use the tampon string or some newspaper as a wick and shove it into the hole, leaving about a ½” exposed. Give the oil time to soak to the wick, then light it. A can of oil-packed tuna will burn for about two hours, and the fish is still good for eating after.

6.  Chapstick

Chapstick can be used to protect lips, faces and hands against the elements in a survival situation, but it may be more important as a candle. Use wire from a bra to work the tampon-wick into the top of the chapstick. Light it up, and continue to push the chapstick up to keep the tube from melting. It should work as a candle for about two hours. Lip balm in a can works well for this, too.

7.  Alcohol

Because it can increase dehydration, most preppers don’t think to stockpile alcohol, but it can mean the difference between life and death in some situations. It’s a disinfectant, so it can be used to treat wounds and calm the injured person down. Among other uses, it can:

  • Clean a gun
  • Cook an egg
  • Kill bacteria and mold
  • Start a fire

8.  Dental Floss

More than for your mouth’s hygiene, dental floss has an unending list of uses.  It can suture a wound, seal pipes, kill a chicken, be used as a fishing line and to fix broken eyeglasses. In any situation where you might need string it can be handy, but its portability and strength make it effective beyond even that.

9.  Coffee Filters and Coffee Grounds

Prepping sometimes involves taking what no longer has traditional use and using it for survival. Coffee filters can filter water and be used as tinder, but coffee grounds are just as important. Coffee grounds can melt ice, repel pests and be used as fertilizer.

10.  Pantyhose

You can now stop throwing away pantyhose after you get a run. Add them to your stockpile because they have myriad uses. They can be used to carry things, prevent blisters, as mosquito netting, to filter water and to sprout seeds.

The Final Word

Alongside the traditional items to stockpile like salt, water, and canned goods, consider keeping a few of these items on hand. What may seem like common items that get you through your day can also help you survive a crisis. The key to survival is thinking ahead, so look beyond the prescribed use of everyday items in your home and prepare today for anything that could happen tomorrow.

Author Bio: Bobbi Peterson loves writing and regularly posts on her blog Living Life Green. She’s also a freelance writer, green living advocate and environmentalist. You can find more from Bobbi on Twitter.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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Birch Essential Oil For Arthritis, Muscle And Joint Pain

Birch Essential Oil For Arthritis, Muscle And Joint Pain | birch-tree | Natural Medicine Special Interests

Once you move beyond the basic, everyday essential oils that we all know and love, it becomes time to explore some of the more esoteric oils that solve specific ailments.  In my own exploration of essential oils, a specific ailment high on my list was relief from muscle and joint pain.

The oil of choice?  Birch essential oil for arthritis and other aches and pains of the muscles and joints is perfect!

Not only is Birch effective against common, everyday aches and pains, but it is superior if not outstanding in providing relief from arthritis joint pain and those deep, spasmodic cramps that only seem to visit in the dead of night.

What is Birch Oil?

Not surprisingly, Birch essential oil comes from the bark of birch trees. The scientific name is Betula Lenta and sometimes the oil is referred to as Sweet Birch Oil.

Pure, unadulterated birch oil, while not rare, can be difficult to find. That said, it is not an expensive oil relatively speaking.  What makes it special is that 100% pure Birch essential oil contains both salicylic acid and methyl salicylate. Both have a cortisone-like quality that reduces discomfort in the muscles, bones, and joints and in addition, are recognized as germicides and bactericides in the world of medicine.

Whereas Birch essential oil is an effective anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, disinfectant, astringent, and diuretic, it really shines in its use to combat muscle and joint pain.  Bar none, Birch is the oil you want to use to relieve the pain of arthritis, tendonitis, gout, and severe muscle cramping.

How to Use Birch Oil to Fight Arthritis, Muscle and Joint Pain

In my own household, we use Birch essential oil blended synergistically with both Geranium and Lemongrass oils.  We came up with this formula by trial and error and although it uses other oils, we still fondly refer to it as “The Birch”.

We use “The Birch” in two ways: as a topical, roller-ball application diluted with fractionated coconut oil, and also as a heavy duty pain-relieving salve. According to Shelly, who is also known as the Survival Husband, the back to back use of both the roller ball and the salve, morning and night, has made the arthritis in his hands bearable.

Here is what he has to say:

“Before using the essential oils Gaye made up for me, I had so much arthritis pain in my right hand that at times my hand was non-functional.  After using the EO blends morning and night for five months, my arthritis pain has almost disappeared.

I can ride my Harley, play golf, do my chores, and simply get through the day with minimal discomfort.”

Replicating the formula I made for Shelly is easy.  Here are my two “arthritis busting” recipes.  That is what I call them although, of course, they are used for other aches and pains as well.

Arthritis Busting Roller Ball Formula

6 drops Birch Essential Oil
6 drops Geranium Essential Oil
6 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil

Add the oils to a 5ml roller ball bottle.  Top with enough fractionated coconut oil (FCO) to fill the bottle.  If you are using a 10ml roller ball bottle, just fill half way.  (I find that the 10ml size is more common.)

Arthritis Busting Salve

30 drops Birch Essential Oil
30 drops Geranium Essential Oil
30 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil

Add the oils to a 1 ounce jar (I use both these and these).  Top with either Plain “Simple” Salve or DIY Miracle Healing Salve and mix well with a small stick (I use a coffee stir stick).  Use twice daily or as needed.

A Word of Caution

Birch essential oil is a strong oil and if used undiluted, may cause irritation.  In addition, Birch should be avoided by those who use blood thinners, have epilepsy, or women who may be pregnant.

If you do use blood thinners, I suggest substituting the birch essential oil with additional drops of lemongrass oil. While not quite as effective as Birch, Lemongrass EO is an amazing pain reliever in it’s own right.  It is also a very inexpensive oil.

About Essential Oils

After a significant amount of research, for health, first-aid, and wellness purposes I use essential oils from Spark Naturals.  There are a lot reasons, the most important being their commitment to both quality and value.  I am satisfied that the raw materials used in Spark Naturals products are tested and authenticated to be of pharmaceutical grade purity.

If you decide to make a purchase from Spark Naturals, please know that you will enjoy a 10% discount on your order when you use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout. (Note:  I do receive a small commission on your purchase and for that I extremely appreciative.)

The Final Word

As I have mentioned, we call our Arthritis Busting formulas, “The Birch”.  In reality, the title of this article could have been “Using Essential Oils for Joint and Muscle Pain”. Still, with Birch essential oil being a key component, I wanted to introduce the oil to you along with some of its beneficial properties so that you can explore more uses on your own.

Personally, I love using all three of the oils in “The Birch” and even though I do not have arthritis myself, I find the formula useful for breaking down those knots of stress that appear on my neck and on my shoulders.  And for cramping hands and toes?  Nothing beats “The Birch” aka the Arthritis Busting formula.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!Save

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33 Awesome Uses Of Lemon Essential Oil

33 Awesome Uses Of Lemon Essential Oil | lemon | General Health Sleuth Journal Special Interests

When someone mentions the word “Lemon”, I immediately think “fresh, clean and pure”.  There is simply something about lemons that evokes an overall feeling of wellness and goodness.  This might come from my memories of being given a lemon to hold and to smell when I suffered the occasional childhood illness.

Using lemons for health and home is nothing new, since back in ancient times, lemons were used to help heal a variety of ailments.  It has been suggested that the Romans used lemons and lemon rinds to fight off disease as well as to ward off insects, uplift moods and even freshen clothes.

In modern times we have lemon essential oil which is a concentration of oils that have been cold pressed from the rind of fresh lemons.  Pure lemon essential oil is pale yellow in color and has the aroma of freshly peeled fruit.  It’s fresh, clean scent activates the body and the mind and serves as a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and antiseptic.

Today I list some of the terrific if not awesome uses for lemon essential oil, loosely organized by category.  Some of these you may know about but others might be new.  You might find a surprise or two here.

33 Awesome Uses of Lemon Essential Oil for Home and Health

Health & Healing

1.  Soothe Sore Throat:  Add 2-3 drops of lemon oil to  hot tea, or drink it with warm water and honey to help soothe a sore throat.

2.  Coughs, Colds & General Congestion:  Rub a few drops of lemon oil on your chest and/or throat when you feel congested. Repeat several times daily. (You can also diffuse lemon oil into the air for help with respiratory problems.

3.  Stop a Runny Nose:  Use a little carrier oil and a drop of lemon oil in the palm of your hand.  Get your fingertip wet and swipe each side of your nose.  This really works!

4.  Treat Allergies & Hay Fever:  Apply a drop of lemon oil behind the ear or under the nose 2-3 times a day to help fight seasonal allergies. Alternately apply to the bottoms of your feet.

5.  Energy Booster:  Add a couple of drops of both lemon and peppermint essential oils to water for an instant boost in energy.

6.  Sanitize Your Toothbrush:  Put a  drop of lemon oil on your toothbrush then swish it around in a bit of water to immediately clean and sanitize it.

7.  Bad Breath:  Place 4 drops of lemon oil in 4 ounces of warm water and gargle to get rid of bad breath.

8.  Treat Acne: Apply three drops of lemon essential oil to a cotton ball and swipe onto the affected area, repeating up to three times a day.

9.  Fight Fatigue:  Moisten a cloth with five drops of lemon essential oil and hold directly underneath your nose. Breathe in the scent for at least two minutes.

10. Stress Relief:  Add ten to fifteen drops of essential lemon oil to your bath water and soak for at least fifteen minutes.

11. Treat Minor Wounds: Essential lemon oil is a natural antiseptic. Place five drops of lemon essential oil in a bowl of three ounces of water. Wipe the wound with a sterilized cloth or pad that has been dipped into the mixture. Continue this process until the wound appears clean.

12. Remove Callouses, Corns and Warts:  Apply a drop of Lemon undiluted, twice a day until they go away.

13. Heal Canker Sores:  Add a drop of Lemon to a shot glass of water and swish around the mouth for several minutes to alleviate canker sores.

14. Relieve Cold Sores & Fever Blisters:  Dab a drop of lemon oil on the cold sore 2 to 3 times daily.  If the lemon oil stings, dilute first with a bit of coconut oil or olive oil.

15. Control Psoriasis:  Using a roller ball, apply lemon oil to the affected area 2 to 3 times a day.  For an extra boost, top with DIY Miracle Healing Salve, rubbing it in lightly.

16. Clear Up Nail Fungus: Apply a few drops of lemon oil to the affected nail several times a day. Continue until the nail fungus clears up.  Note:  This may take a few months.

17. Skin Brightener:  Brighten a dull complexion by adding a drop of lemon oil to your daily moisturizer.  Be sure to follow-up with a sunscreen since lemon oil (and all citrus oils) increase photosensitivity.

18. Improve Mental Clarity:  Diffuse lemon in your work or study space to improve mental accuracy and concentration.

Household

19. Glass Cleaner:  Add lemon oil to a spray bottle filled with water and use as a glass cleaner.  This will even clean the hard water spots and soap scum off of a glass shower door!

20. Clean and Sanitize Toilet Bowls:  Add a few drops of lemon oil along with baking soda to clean and sanitize your toilet bowl.

21. Disinfect Cutting Boards and Kitchen Surfaces:  Rub a few drops of lemon oil on cutting boards and other kitchen surfaces to disinfect and sanitize.

22. Kill Germs:  To kill germs, soak kitchen cloths and household rags overnight in a bowl of water with a drop or two of lemon oil.

23. Air Freshener:  A few drops of lemon essential oil added to a spray bottle filled with water makes an all-natural air freshener.  Better yet, add 8 drops to a diffuser and let the wonderful smell clean and freshen the air.

24. Remove Odors:  A drop or two will remove odors.  For example, you can put lemon oil on a cotton ball and stuff into stinky shoes or add a few drops to a diaper pail.

25. Freshen Laundry:  Add a few drops to your DIY homemade laundry soap or add a drop to the final rinse cycle to freshen up your laundry.  This will also leave your washer smelling nice.

26. Degreaser:  Lemon oil will remove grease and grime from yours hands, as well as tools, dishes,  and household items.  It will also remove tree sap and the residue left behind from glues and labels.

27. Wood Cleaner:  A few drops of lemon oil added to some olive oil creates a non-toxic wood cleaner and furniture polish.

Outdoors

28. Mosquito Repellent:  Mix lemon oil with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) and run over your skin to repel mosquitos who hate the smell.

29. Heal Insect Bites:  Apply two drops directly to the bite and lightly rub.  Do this two to three times during the day.

30. Hand Sanitizer:  Rub a drop of Lemon oil on your hands after using a public bathroom to sanitize your hands.

Food & Water

31. Improve the Taste of Water:  A a drop or two of lemon oil to your glass of water to improve the taste.

32. Flavor Enhancer:  A a drop or two of lemon essential oil to bland food to liven it up.  Make sure you are using therapeutic grade lemon oil.  You will know this by the supplement information on the label.

33. Prolong Shelf-Life of Fresh Produce:  Fill a bowl with cold water, add 2–3 drops of Lemon oil. Drop cleaned fruit into the water, coating all surfaces.  This will  extend the shelf life of fresh produce.

Precautions

Lemon oil can make your skin more sensitive to the sunlight. So, if you apply lemon oil directly to your skin, stay out of direct sunlight for at least 8 hours and use a sunscreen before venturing outdoors.

Also note that although lemon essential oil is non-toxic, some individuals will find that it can cause skin irritation. This is true of any essential oil.  If that happens, or if you are concerned, dilute the lemon oil in a carrier oil such as coconut oil, Plain Ole’ Salve, or another carrier oil of choice.

The Final Word

The nice thing about essential oils is that a little goes a long way.  Not only that, if kept cool, dark place and they will keep for years.  I say this because at first, the cost for a small bottle may seen pricey but the reality is that when compared with over-the-counter remedies and toxic household cleaners, the cost is nominal.

It goes without saying that not all essential oils are created equal.  You want to purchase a pure, 100% essential oil and not an oil that is premixed with artificial or chemical derivatives.

For healing purposes, I use essential oils from Spark Naturals because they deliver a high quality, therapeutic grade essential oil at reasonable price. Plus, they can be used both topically and internally, if that is your choice.   That said, there are many fine brands and the nice thing about lemon essential oil is that is eminently affordable.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

 

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How to Raise Meat Rabbits in Small Spaces

How to Raise Meat Rabbits in Small Spaces | rabbits | Agriculture & Farming Off-Grid & Independent Living PreparednessSurvival

Whether you are planning to survive disasters or simply want to be self-sufficient and less dependent on outside resources, raising your own meat animals is a smart choice. That said, raising farm animals can be tough for those who live in urban areas, small homes or apartments, or under the rule of restrictive homeowners associations. If that sounds like you, consider raising meat rabbits.  Rabbits make it possible to produce your own meat without raising an eyebrow!

Why rabbits? Meat rabbits are an excellent way to supplement your family food supply.  Rabbit meat is tender and mild, plus rabbit meat is one of the healthiest meat sources, even beating chicken for low calories, high protein, and lower cholesterol levels. Not only that, rabbit meat is also far lower in fat and is higher in calcium and phosphorus than other meats.

Perhaps one of the better reasons for raising rabbits for meat is that they can be raised just about anywhere. If you have a garage, a basement, a porch, a backyard or even a small corner of a living room, you can raise meat rabbits and produce quite a bit of meat for you and your family.  Sound interesting?  Here are some tips that will help you get started raising rabbits.

Raising Meat Rabbits in Small Spaces

Rabbits are an excellent choice no matter where you live. Meat rabbits are easy to breed and raise. They require very little space. Best of all, since they do not fall under the typical livestock category, they are not subject to zoning laws and restrictions like other types of livestock and small farm animals.

Production wise, a small triple stack of cages kept indoors will house a trio of rabbits that can produce between 30 and 60 kits (baby rabbits) per year.  Underneath each of the stacked cages is a catch pan to keep the area clean. The required space is about the same size that would be required to fit an average-sized chest of drawers.  Although larger areas can be created to house even more rabbits and more elaborate setups, a triple-stack hutch really does quite nicely.

Should rabbits be kept indoors?  Yes, when there is room, keeping your rabbits indoors makes the most sense. It is easier to provide a temperature controlled climate year-round and allows you to maximize your breeding schedule.

The cage size most appropriate for medium-sized meat rabbit breeds is 24 x 30 x 56.  There are other sizes available as well, but that would be a perfectly good size.

It is also possible to keep rabbits outdoors in a small yard.  All it takes is a few feet of space. Instead of a stack of cages, you will need hutches that have a portion enclosed for the rabbits to get out of the elements. There are a wide variety of types and styles of outdoor hutches available as either ready-made or DIY.  For do it yourself types, you can find free building plans online.

Hutches create very good accommodations for your rabbits that will keep them happy and healthy outdoors.

Housing your rabbits outside will cut down on the number of litters that can be bred each year. Does (mamma rabbits) will need winters off, and enough heat would not be possible to keep any resulting litters warm enough when first born. On the other hand, using an outdoor space may give you the ability to house a few more rabbits. This allows you to produce the same amount of meet by having extra litters during the warmer months.

While you keep the adults year-round, baby rabbits are usually slaughtered at 8 to 10 weeks.  The gestation period is only 28 to 31 days so the turnaround from breeding to dress out is very short.

Where to Get Meat Rabbits

There are rabbit breeders in all states, but they can be hard to find if you’ve never looked for them. The American Rabbit Breeder’s Association is a good place to start when looking for local breeders. The listing on the ARBA site is limited, however, and many good local breeders do not pay to be listed. You can find more choices on state rabbit breeder club websites like the Illinois Rabbit Breeder’s Association. Some state associations even have listings for neighboring states.

Other great resources are local county or state fairs.  Lucky for us, all states and most counties have their own annual fairs. Most, if not all, have rabbit exhibits for both open (adults), junior and 4-H classes. These are fantastic places to mingle with breeders from local and surrounding areas. At a fair, you will find a wide variety of breeds and will be able to familiarize with them in an up close, and personal way.

Selecting Your New Rabbits

Once you have decided on a breed of meat rabbit, and have an area set up to care for them, it’s time to start looking for your own breeding pair or breeding trio. If you can make an appointment with a local breeder, you will get a lot of information and help on how to handle and care for your new rabbits. There are also local swap meets and livestock exhibits that may have rabbits available for sale. These can be good places to find new stock but, you are less likely to get individual attention from sellers and will be on your own in making sure your selections are healthy.

One good thing with rabbits is that while they certainly can get sick, or be diseased, in general, they are incredibly hardy animals. When selecting your rabbits, the first thing you want to look for is clear, clean eyes and noses. The ears should also be free of any accumulation that could signal infection or mites. They should never have an offensive odor or look like they have been sitting in wet conditions. The anus should be clean and the vent should be clean and dry.  Naturally, the animal’s coat should be clean and unstained. These are not just aesthetic aspects. They are indicators of good care and good health.

The next part of checking out your rabbits for purchase can get a little trickier because you are going to need to grasp and turn the rabbit over.  If you are new to handling rabbits, it would be best to try and find a breeder who can help you so you don’t harm yourself or the animal.

Keep in mind that when handling a rabbit, always grasp them around the ears with thumb and forefinger on either side of the head. Do not lift them by the ears. This can be especially harmful to the heavier adult meat rabbits, but it can damage even small, light rabbit ears. Grasping the ears with the remaining fingers only helps you steady the head and keep control if the rabbit gets scared and tries to get away.

While holding the head, gently run your free hand over the loin and down the hips. This will give you a good feel for the meat on the back of the rabbit. The animal should feel firm and rounded. While maintaining your grip on the head, and the other hand on the rear, scoop the hips under and turn the rabbit over, keeping them close to the body.

You should quickly move the hand under the rear of the bunny up to grasp the hind legs when dealing with skittish rabbits, or those you are unfamiliar with. Those hind feet can be quite powerful.  With the rabbit in this position, check the nails to see if they are overgrown. You should also use the hand not holding the rabbits head to lift the upper lip and pull down the lower lip gently and look at the front teeth of the rabbit. They should not overlap, be buck-toothed, or be crooked and over-grown.

Rabbit Care and Breeding

First of all, let’s start with some definitions.  Female rabbits are referred to as does. Males are bucks. Baby rabbits are kits.  Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about caring for and breeding your rabbits.

Rabbits do not have a lot of fancy requirements. You will need a food bowl and a drip water bottle similar to what is used for hamsters and gerbils and the cages. In addition, when breeding, you will need a nesting box for each doe you are breeding.

The breeding process itself is amazingly simple. You take the doe out of her cage and put her in with the buck. That’s it. Watch and wait. If the doe is receptive, the breeding will take place immediately and be over quickly. Do not be alarmed when the buck does a backflip off and looks like he had a stroke. That’s normal, and he will get up immediately.

If the female runs around the cage and does not let the buck near enough to mount, remove her and try again in a day or two. Never, under any circumstances take the buck to the doe’s cage. The does are extremely territorial and will attack the buck even if they are ready to breed. When put in the buck’s cage they will not be as aggressive.  Also, it is a good idea not to leave the pair alone. If she is not ready to breed she may fight off his advances if you don’t take her out of the cage.  Bucks are persistent and do not take no for an answer well.

Once you witness a coupling, remove the doe and place her back in her cage. That’s all there is to it. In 28 to 31 days you will likely have babies. While there are times when the breeding isn’t successful, they don’t say ‘breeding like rabbits’ for nothing. They are very prolific.

One to two weeks before the doe is due, place a clean nesting box in the cage with her. Place some straw inside so she can make a nest. A few days before she delivers, she will also pull out fur to add to the nest.

If your cages are in a garage or other unheated area, and you are breeding during the winter, a heat lamp placed above the cage will help keep the area warm enough.

Rabbits can be weaned as soon as they are eating solid food, at about 4 weeks. Some breeders prefer to place those kits in grow pens to go on to slaughter age at 8 to 10 weeks, so they can get the mother back in condition to breed again quickly. If space for a grow-out cage is at a premium, however, keeping the babies with their mother the full 8 to 10 weeks is fine.

Dressing out Meat Rabbits

Rabbits are one of the easiest and most pleasant animals to butcher. If you have ever slaughtered chickens, sheep, or goats, you will find that rabbits take far less time and space. They are great for people who have never dressed out their own meat animals before because the learning curve is very modest.

Here are the things you need for butchering:

A gambrel is basically a set of hooks that hold the animal up by the hind legs so you can access it easily.  You will need it to hang the carcass on while dressing it out. These are available premade, but they are simple to construct on your own as well. A sturdy stick, some rope and a couple of “S” hooks will do the trick.

You will also need a sharp knife. Fish filet knives work well. Even a small paring knife can do the job if it is sharp enough. Place a bucket directly beneath the gambrel so that it will catch the blood and offal. Offal is the term used for the non-edible parts of the inside of a meat animal.

Here are the steps needed to butcher a meat rabbit:

To slaughter the rabbit, grasp the hind legs firmly and place the upper part of the rabbit’s body on a firm surface. With a hammer (or your hand if you are strong enough), hit the rabbit directly behind the ears on the back of the neck. This will knock them out. Using the sharp knife, slit the throat and cut through the neck.

Allow the carcass to bleed out into the bucket for a few minutes, and then make a small incision between the bone and tendon of the rear leg at the hock (knee joint). Hang one leg from the incision on one of the gambrel hooks.

From the incision on each rear leg, insert the knife tip between the meat and the skin. Slice down toward the groin. Repeat with the opposite rear leg. Cut off the tail of the rabbit and connect the slices in the pelt of the rear legs. Cut off the front feet at the knee joint. This is easily done with a quick stroke of the knife.

Peel the pelt off of the legs, then grasp it firmly once it is at the body and pull downwards until it is free of the front legs. It will come off in one solid tube of skin and fur.

Put the pelt aside if you are going to keep it for tanning later.

Gently insert the tip of the knife into the belly at the groin. Be careful not to cut too deep. You just want to cut the thin skin. Slice down toward the breast until you get to the rib cage. With a thumb and forefinger, grasp the anus end of the intestine and pinch it as close to the anal opening as possible to avoid any fecal matter from escaping. Pull down to release it, and let all of the intestines and organs fall forward out of the opening.

Remove the liver, heart, and kidneys if you want to keep them, and place them in a clean dish. Rabbit livers are delicious. They are similar in size and texture to chicken livers, but a little more tender.

Dump all of the offal into a garbage bag and tie up securely.

Rinse the remaining carcass under cool water. Cut up or bag whole for later use. Place in the refrigerator for a day if you are going to freeze the resulting meat or use immediately. If you are not going to use the meat immediately, do not use it for at least 24 hours so it has the time to go through rigor mortis. Once 24 hours in the refrigerator is passed, freeze or use the meat.

Using Rabbit Meat

Rabbit meat is tender, mild meat. It can be used in almost any recipe, replacing other types of meat. However, because it is such a mild meat, it is best in recipes normally containing chicken, or in rabbit specific recipes.

You will find that all young rabbits are excellent simply barbecued, fried, stewed or baked. Older rabbits can also be used for meat once they are no longer up to breeding.  If you butcher an older animal, replace it with a rabbit from a resulting litter, or purchase another outside breeding animal.  Prepare the older rabbit for eating the same as you would a young rabbit.

There are pros and cons to consuming older rabbit meat. The animals are usually twice the size of the usual slaughter age rabbits, so they produce twice as much meat. On the other hand, the meat is usually a little tougher. Many consider older rabbit suitable only for stews or ground meat.  That said, many find that even older rabbits taste fine in any of the ways younger rabbit meat is prepared for the dinner table.

The Final Word

No matter how big or small your rabbit breeding operation, these little livestock animals offer the most bang for the buck.  In addition, they are pleasant to have around.

Word of caution: it is a good idea not to allow family members of any age to make pets out of your meat rabbits.  This also applies to your breeding rabbits since they, too, may end up on the dinner table at some point in time.  That said, for me personally, it would be difficult not to name them.  Many of my friends name their chickens that ultimately end up as Sunday dinner.

Finally, in closing, I would like to thank my collegue, Tami P. (you know who you are!), who raises meat rabbits and has provided valuable insight into this article.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

The post How to Raise Meat Rabbits in Small Spaces appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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How to Prepare for A Pandemic

How to Prepare for A Pandemic | hazmat-suit-outbreak-pandemic | General Health Medical & Health PreparednessSurvival

It seems like every time we turn around there is some deadly disease in the news. In recent years, there has been Ebola and the Avian influence A (H7N9) virus. There has also been MERS-CoV and many more. While these are epidemics of serious proportion, they are not yet pandemics, but they could be.

The best time to prepare for a pandemic is when a serious disruptive event of the pandemic-type is not on the immediate horizon.  That said, a pandemic can occur at any time.  It is this unknown aspect of pandemics that make them a potential reality we must prepare for.

This article is Month Two in the series “12 Months of Prepping for Disruptive Events”.

What is the Difference between an Epidemic and a Pandemic?

Because of their similarities, the terms epidemic and pandemic are often used interchangeably, but it is incorrect to do so. The difference between the two is the scope.  Let me explain.

Both happen quickly, usually spreading to a large segment of the population in days or weeks. However, an epidemic is typically contained in a defined area. You might say that pandemics are epidemics that have gotten out of control and have spread to multiple areas worldwide.

Here is something else you need to know.  Widespread diseases are not all pandemics. To be a pandemic, the disease must also be deadly. It must also be contagious.

You might not even know there are pandemic diseases that could become an issue for you personally. An example is H1N1 that evolved into a pandemic in 2009. There are even oldies rearing their ugly heads once again such as cholera, malaria and the measles.

Just remember this: in most cases, these diseases start out as regional outbreaks.  At that point, they are an epidemic.  If they spread out and become national or global, they become a pandemic.  That is the difference between the two.

Can a Pandemic Really Happen?

Pandemics are popular science fiction fodder. Most people have seen the movies detailing the horrors of living through a pandemic. Such popular current shows like “Contagion” show the serious side-effects that go beyond the immediate terror of the disease. The point is, there is more to deal with when a pandemic breaks out than just staying healthy. You have to stay safe from other dangers as well.

Alas, scary movies about pandemics don’t make the threat real to most people. In spite of hearing about pandemics, they don’t seem to be a real threat.  Being a victim of a pandemic will typically fall into the “it will never happen to me” mindset aka the normalcy bias.

Most of us have been exposed to the dangers, though. We just don’t always see the surrounding diseases as something that could produce the effects of the disasters in the movies.

Historically speaking there have been many pandemics that killed large percentages of the population of the world.  Current pandemics that exist today include:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • SARS
  • Smallpox
  • Typhus
  • Tuberculosis

Skills, Strategies, and Supplies You Need to Prepare for a Pandemic

Most of the historic pandemics lasted for more than 2 years. Some are still going on. Others are popping up such as the Zika virus. Dealing with a long-term outbreak takes some special preparations.

Know the symptoms

It is important to know what to look for regarding the prevailing illness. If you must meet with an outside person, it will help you identify whether it is safe to approach.

Knowing what to look for will also help you keep an eye on loved ones during isolation, and to prepare to quarantine them immediately at the first sign of symptoms.  It is important to remember that w hen in doubt, always assume infection. It is much better to be safe than sorry.

Wear protective gear

When dealing with outsiders, always wear protective gear, even if they don’t seem infected.

Learn how to properly disinfect your home and your clothing

Make washing your hands with plenty of soap and water a habit now, before sickness settles in. Also become proficient at using essential oils, alcohol, and bleach as disinfecting agents.

Develop sealed air ventilation

Locking yourself inside your home isn’t enough. It will protect you from the angry mobs roaming the streets. It won’t necessarily protect you from the reason the mobs exist.

If the virus or disease is airborne it can infiltrate a home. You need to have supplies to seal up all vents, windows and doors.

But then how will you get fresh air? Sealed rooms would be fine for a few days, but not months or more. You can find out how seal your home and build a sealed air ventilation system by reading Safely Shelter in Place During a Pandemic.

Create a “sick room”

Heaven forbid anyone in your family does get sick, but if they do, you need to be prepared. When you are confined for long periods of time, it may not even be the danger outside that causes the illness.

People become hurt, catch colds, and get headaches.  It is a fact of life. You can’t just run out to the store easily when there is a pandemic going on. You have to have all of the supplies you need ready.

Make sure you have the common pain killers and antibiotics. If anyone in the home needs prescription medications, it is a good idea to have a rotating supply that will last. You should also have plenty of sanitation supplies like disposable gloves, bleach, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and masks.

Learn how to Effectively Use Essential Oils

Essential oils store well and a little goes a long way. Become proficient at using essential oils for common first aid ailments (see DIY Miracle Healing Salve) and for relief from aches an pains.

Essential oils are also powerful antimicrobials, and can ward off sickness and germs when used topically or diffused into the air with an essential oil diffuser. Two especially useful oils are Oregano and Shield Blend (or other thieves-like blend).

Prepare for Possible Outdoor Excursions

Anytime there is a long-term disaster, the possibility of needing to leave home for an emergency run for supplies becomes a possibility. When the disaster is a pandemic, however, there is the added danger of exposure.

Always wear an N95 medical mask to protect yourself from airborne disease. Wear long sleeves and long pants. Preferably seal the cuffs of sleeves and pant legs. Stay clear of other people if at all possible.

Stock Up on Games

That may not seem like something important during serious illness outbreaks, but boredom sets in quickly. You are likely going to be stuck in a small space with your entire family for a long time. Having board games, card games and even video games at the ready will help alleviate frustration and cabin fever.

Store Plenty of Food and Water

Have enough food and clean water to survive in isolated quarantine conditions for up to a year or more.

Set Up Sanitation Stations

Have bleach trays and sanitations stations set up at entrances to walk through before entering the home.

Use Disinfectant Liberally and Often

Have spray bottles filled with a bleach/water mixture to disinfect the home and clothes. Use them liberally and use them often. Remember,however, that bleach has a shelf life and should be rotated and replaced on an annual basis.

Here is a the disinfecting: ratio: 1/4 (minimum) to 3/4 (maximum) cup of bleach to 1 gallon of cool water or 1 tablespoon (minimum) to 3 tablespoons (maximum) of bleach to 1 quart of water.

Contact Time: Let stand for 2 minutes, then wipe or air dry

Set Up a Quarantine Area

The quarantine area should be set up outside, if at all possible. Having a quarantine area will allow late arrivals to remain isolated until you are sure they are safe to enter. The quarantine spot should be well-stocked with food, water, and amusements such as books and games.

Have a Plan for Safe Burial

If the unthinkable happens and authorities have lost control of the situation, there will be sickness and death.  This is an aspect of prepping no one likes to talk about but the reality is that with a massive pandemic, there will be deaths.

Be Prepared!

Nothing beats having things in place when you need them. By the time an outbreak happens, it will likely be too late to gather up the necessary supplies. I realize that this may seem as though I am preaching to the choir, but get your food, water, and first aid supplies together, know what you need to do to shelter in place, and gather everything you need to set up a sick room in your home.

Recommendation: Bug In or Bug Out?

Your best bet during a pandemic is to bug in (also used interchangeably with the term “hunker down”) and stay safe. Bugging out is not a good option during a pandemic for a couple of reasons. First, going outside exposes you to the prevalent disease. Second, going outside exposes you to the desperate masses who were not prepared.

Remember, a pandemic is not something that will be short in duration. You and your loved ones need to be prepared to hunker down and survive until the danger is past. That could take months, maybe up to a year before the outbreak is under control.

In some cases, it could take longer and indeed, some historic pandemics took many years to contain. Between 1347 and 1453 the Black Death decimated a third of the population of Europe. Even though the US is a much younger country than others doesn’t mean it is immune. Between 1900 and 1904 the San Francisco bubonic plague decimated the West Coast.

The US has also had several outbreaks of Cholera, the measles, scarlet fever, typhoid, polio, whooping cough, diphtheria, the Spanish Flu and of course HIV/AIDS.

Additional Resources

Throughout this article, there are a number of links you can click to learn more about preparing for a pandemic and especially about bugging in during a shelter in place situation.

Here are some additional resources:

15 Things You Should Do Today to Prepare for a Pandemic Flu
16 Items To Help You Hunker Down in Comfort
How to Make DIY Hand Sanitizer With Essential Oils
Zika Virus Handbook: A Doctor Explains All You Need To Know About The Pandemic
11 Things To Do When You Must Hunker Down in Place

The Final Word

Pandemics are difficult because you are battling three separate problems: staying healthy, staying safe, and staying sane during isolation. That being said, being aware of the seriousness of the situation, and what you need to do to survive a pandemic gives you a big advantage over your neighbors who may not be at all prepared.

Being prepared will increase the chances that everyone in your home will be able to deal with it all, and come out on the other side in good shape.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Subscribe to The Sleuth Journal Newsletter for Daily Articles!


The post How to Prepare for A Pandemic appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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Healing Herbs: What You Need to Know About Comfrey

Healing Herbs: What You Need to Know About Comfrey | comfrey | Natural Medicine

Late last year, I set up a poll asking about herbs. More specifically, I asked the question “Name herbs you would like to learn more about relative to wellness and healthcare”.  There were close to one hundred responses with the clear leader being Comfrey.

What is Comfrey?  How do you grow it?  What is it used for?  In this first of a series of articles on plants used for health and wellness, I share what I know along with what I have learned from Susan Perry, a practicing herbalist, educator, and master gardener who is also a Backdoor Survival reader.

Comfrey has been called “The Legendary Herb of Life”.  Known for centuries for its amazing healing properties, it is used a fertilizer for gardens, and as food for farm animals, this herb is truly a homesteader’s best friend.

Legend has it that if you cut raw meat, then put a comfrey poultice on the cut, it will grow back together! I can’t say I believe that, but it’s a great reminder of one of comfrey’s talents: healing cuts and scrapes.

Medicinal Use of Comfrey

by Susan Perry

Parts used: The entire plant is used medicinally: leaves, roots, and rhizomes.

Herb Actions:  Don’t worry – this next part is the closest we get to talking chemistry! These terms help you understand how herbs work and which herbs to use.

1. Vulnerary:  Helps the body heal wounds, cuts and other tissue damage.

Comfrey is a most impressive wound-healing herb. This is partly due to a chemical (allantoin) that stimulates cell growth, promoting healing both inside and out. It is used for healing cuts, and scrapes, surgical incisions, stubborn leg ulcers, and skin irritations. It also promotes smooth and proper healing of scar tissue.

Comfrey has even been used to heal broken bones, particularly fractures of small bones or those that cannot be put in a cast such as ribs, fingers and toes. A poultice of its large leaves is wrapped around the affected area. (see directions below)

2. Demulcent: Rich in mucilage to soothe and protect inflamed or irritated tissue.

Its demulcent quality makes comfrey an excellent soothing herb for healing digestive ulcers, skin ulcers, ulcerative colitis, bronchitis, and persistent coughs.

3. Astringent:  Contracts tissue, can reduce secretions and discharge.

Comfrey’s ability to stop bleeding contributes to its use for first aid, wound care, hemorrhage, and nosebleeds.

4. Expectorant: Helps remove excess mucus from the respiratory system.

Congestion from colds and flu can be alleviated with comfrey. It is also helpful for sinus infection, bronchitis, persistent cough, pneumonia, and other respiratory illnesses.

Regarding broken bones, I love the following, written by Euell Gibbons:

Modern herbalists may smile tolerantly at the old notion that herbal medicine could hurry the healing of broken bones. I refuse to join them.

What causes broken bones to heal swiftly in one person and take months to knit back together in another? Could it not be that in the slow cases the elements necessary for the healing process are absent, or present in such small quantities that healing proceeds very slowly?

Analysis shows that comfrey is high in calcium, potassium, and phosphorus, along with many useful trace minerals, and the green leaves are rich in vitamins A and C, and broken bones simply refuse to heal unless many of these nutrients are present.

Comfrey In the Garden

Comfrey prefers moist areas, but is drought resistant and will grow almost anywhere. It does best in hardiness zones 3 – 9. Check your hardiness zone here.

It can be planted spring through fall, whenever the soil can be dug. It requires only average soil with clay or sandy loam, but its deep taproot allows it to thrive in poor soil as well. In warm, southern climates it can be planted and harvested anytime during the year.

Warning: give comfrey its own space. Planted in garden beds, it will soon take over and crowd out its neighbors!

Before you head to the garden store for some seeds or plants, you need to know there are two species of comfrey. Are you planning to use comfrey as a medicinal herb, or as a garden amendment? Although both kinds will serve these purposes to a degree, each has their strong suit, and one type has sterile seeds.

Healing Herbs: What You Need to Know About Comfrey | Comfrey-in-Garden | Natural Medicine

Comfrey  will take over a garden bed, so plant separately or choose  Russian Comfrey, the seedless variety

1. True or common comfrey (Symphytum officinale).

This is the original, ancient medicinal herb most often used for healing. It contains allantoin, which promotes and increases cell growth.

True comfrey can be planted as seeds, live roots, or transplants. It is most often planted from seed, as it grows easily and seeds are the most economical.

2. Russian comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum) also called Bocking 14 cultivar.

This is a hybrid of true comfrey and prickly comfrey. It was developed to have a sterile seed, to avoid it spreading and crowding or killing other plants. This variety is most often used for fertilizing, mulching, and animal feed.

Russian comfrey can be purchased as a live root or a plant.

Planting Instructions

As Granddad used to say, even a fifty-cent plant deserves a five-dollar hole. The same applies to comfrey.

Nursery/Starter Plants
Dig a hole several times the size of the root ball (see above!)

The soil should be a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. If the soil is too acidic, add lime, which is available at any nursery or garden shop.

Add aged manure of any kind and mix with the lime and soil, then add water to fill most of the way. Situate the plant or cutting so that the root tops are at or just below ground level. Press gently to firm the soil.

Space plants about three feet apart.

Seeds
You may start seeds indoors.  Plant seeds ¼ inch deep in starter pots, and keep them moist. Seeds germinate in 10 to 15 days.

Move plants outside two weeks after the danger of frost.

Plant them 8 inches apart, then thin to 3 feet apart.

Tending to your plants:  Comfrey grows quickly, so weeding is usually needed only during the first month. Fertilize only if you see evidence of nitrogen deficiency, such as yellowing leaves.

Harvesting Comfrey

Harvesting comfrey could not be easier!

• Gather leaves and small stems when you can see the flower buds, but before they have fully bloomed. This ensures the greatest medicinal potency.

• The best time of day for harvesting is in the morning after the dew has lifted, and before mid-day sun, which can deplete the plants’ volatile essential oils.

• Trim the largest parts and allow small parts to continue growing.

•A mature plant can be harvested several times per year.

How to Prepare and Use Comfrey

1. Make a Poultice

A poultice is solid plant material applied directly to the skin. The medicinal properties work both on the skin and the area beneath it. A poultice can be used for cuts, wounds, bruises, burns, rashes, swelling, broken bones, sprained ankles or other joints, scars, and skin ulcers.

Directions:

1. Put fresh or dried leaves in a large bowl.

2. Heat enough water to moisten the leaves until it starts to simmer; pour the water over the leaves in the bowl.

3. Cut and press the leaves to “bruise” them, using a spoon or other utensil.

4. Put the leaves and warm liquid on a clean cotton cloth, and place it on the skin of the affected area. The herb material should be touching the skin. Leave on for thirty minutes or more.

2. Make an Infusion

Infusion is herb speak for what most people call tea made from leaves. Infusions are used for internal healing, especially digestive and respiratory issues. An infusion can also be used as a warm compress for external application. Just saturate a cotton cloth with the infusion, then place it on the skin. Use a heating pad to maintain the warmth if needed.

Note: Use comfrey internally for no more than one week, due to its possible effect on the liver. See additional info in the Cautions section below.

Dr. James Duke says:

“No one should drink comfrey tea by the gallon every day, but I’m not afraid of a little comfrey now and then. I base this on studies done by biochemist Bruce Ames, Ph.D., at U.C. Berkley. According to his findings, a cup of comfrey leaf tea is less carcinogenic than a can of beer, and I’m not going to give that up either!”

Directions:

Use 1 cup water per teaspoon of dried herb, or two teaspoons fresh herb.

1. Heat water to a boil in a covered pan.

2. Remove from heat. Add herbs, stir until all leaves are saturated.

3. Cover pan and let steep for fifteen minutes.

4. Strain out herbs into another container. The remaining plant material makes good mulch for the garden.

5. Keep extra in the refrigerator; stays fresh for up to three days.

Standard dosage: 1 cup up to three times per day.

3. Make a Steam Infusion

This is an excellent method for any respiratory condition. It relieves congestion and irritation.

Directions:

1.  Fill a large pot with water; add one half cup of comfrey.

2. Bring the water to a gentle simmer. Turn off the burner!

3. Put a large bath towel over your head, holding the ends out to the side.

4.  Stand over the pot and breathe in the steam.

4. Make a Decoction

To make a tea using roots, follow the directions above for infusions except for step three, when you simmer the herbs for twenty minutes in a covered pan.

5. Make an Herbal Salve

There are several ways to make a salve. Here is one of them.

Directions:

1. Prepare an herbal oil. Use either dried comfrey leaf, or fresh leaf that has been rinsed and allowed to dry until no water remains on the surface. (This is important to prevent the finished oils from developing mold!)

Put the herbs into a non-corrosive (enamel, glass, stainless steel) double boiler pan and cover with olive oil, using 2 parts oil to 1 part herb.

As a substitute for the double boiler, you can use a medium sized pan for the oil, and put it on a metal trivet in a large skillet. Add water to the skillet deep enough to come about an inch up the outside of the pan with oil. Cover the pan holding the oil and heat it over gently simmering water at low heat for 30 – 40 minutes. Let it cool a bit before you proceed.

2. Strain the oil to remove the plant material. Use a mesh strainer lined with a clean fabric; a flour sack dishcloth works well. Hold the strainer over a large bowl to drain, then gently squeeze the fabric to get out the remaining oil. Avoid getting any plant material in the oil.

3. Warm the strained oil over low heat in a clean pan.

4. Add 1/4 cup of grated or chopped beeswax for each 1 cup of oil. Keep the oil warm enough to melt the beeswax. Stir to blend. The beeswax itself provides additional healing properties.

5. Remove the pan from the heat. Check for the desired consistency by putting a small amount on a metal spoon, then putting it in the freezer for one minute. Add more beeswax to make it thicker, more oil (can be plain olive oil) to make it thinner. Stir in a few drops of your favorite essential oil if desired.

6. Pour the salve into small, airtight containers. Let them sit undisturbed while the salve is cooling to avoid spills.

7. Store in a cool, dark place. Salves will keep for many months, even up to several years.

Precautions When Using Comfrey as a Medicinal Herb

With any herb, use your own good judgment.  That said, with comfrey, note the following:

• Always clean a wound thoroughly before applying comfrey, as rapid healing on the surface can trap any dirt or debris.

• Do not use comfrey on deep wounds, as the surface can heal over and form an abscess or interfere with complete healing beneath the surface.

• The safe use of comfrey is currently a whirlwind of conflicting opinions! Some studies suggest that pyrrolizidine, a toxic alkaloid, can cause liver damage when taken internally. Other studies demonstrate it does not. The highest concentration is in the root, so the use of the root internally is not advised. Swedish and other researchers have determined that these alkaloids are destroyed when making an infusion of the leaves.

I recommend using comfrey internally for up to one week, due to its possible affect on the liver, and only for serious cases of digestive ulcer or respiratory infection that have not responded to other treatment. These conditions can first be treated with a combination of herbs containing berberine (goldenseal, Oregon grape root, or yellowroot) and marshmallow root.

How to Preserve and Store Comfrey

The best way to store comfrey long term is by dehydrating.

1. Select only undamaged leaves. Give them a quick rinse in cool water, then let them air-dry on clean kitchen towels or trays. Cut large or thick leaves into smaller pieces.

2. If you have a dehydrator with a thermostat, set it to ninety-five degrees. Higher temperatures will cause the surface to dry and seal up, leaving the inside still moist and prone to mold.

The other way to dry herbs is on trays in a warm room with low humidity and some air circulation. Do NOT put herbs in a window with direct sunlight, despite what you might have seen in pioneer movies or Italian cooking shows.

With either method, place herbs in single layers, and dry leaves and roots separately.

3. Herbs are dry when leaves and stems are brittle and crumble easily, and when root pieces don’t bend but break with a snap. The time needed depends on how thick the herbs are and conditions in the drying area.

4. Store dried herbs in airtight containers. Glass is good, plastic is not, as moisture can enter. When dried and stored correctly, leaf herbs can keep their potency for a year or more.

Identifying Comfrey in the Wild or in Your Backyard

Comfrey is a large herb in the borage family, native to the temperate northern and central climates of the U.S. It grows wild in damp areas near ponds or stream banks, but can also be found along roadsides and ditches. It enjoys partial shade.

It averages two to three feet tall, with yellow, white, blue or purple tubular flowers that grow on one side of the stem, blooming June through September. The leaves are broad, hairy, lance-shaped, and rough. They are attached to the stem so as to form a wide base.

Above-ground parts are most medicinally potent when they have just started to form buds but flowers have not yet bloomed. Gather them in the morning after the dew has dried. Roots are best dug in spring and fall.

Gather plants with an appreciation for what they are providing you, and enjoy nature’s bounty.

Homesteading Benefits of Comfrey

Pollinators are drawn to comfrey’s blue, pink, purple, or white flowers.

Super Fertilizer:  Add comfrey to the compost pile. It contains Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) along with many other trace elements, all essential for plant growth, and in higher amounts than manure and many liquid feeds. The leaves can be cut for use as green mulch multiple times per season.

Food for animals: Comfrey has significant nutritional benefit for farm animals, including horses, cattle, and pigs, and a long history of its use for such.

Additional Resources

Here are a few resources you can use to continue your study of comfrey for medicinal and wellness.  All three should be available at your local library.

A Modern Herbal by Margaret Grieve
Stalking the Healthful Herbs by Euell Gibbons
Comfrey, Fodder, Food & Remedy by Lawrence D. Hills

The Final Word

Comfrey has been a healing remedy for thousands of years. Records show that starting in 400 BCE, early Greek physicians used comfrey to stop bleeding, treat bronchial problems, heal wounds, and mend broken bones.

In the Middle Ages, comfrey was a famous remedy for broken bones, and the name Comfrey comes from con firma, in reference to this. In a book by Madame Susanna Avery from 1688, comfrey is mentioned for its wound healing. And so it goes with many references throughout the years of the positive benefits of using comfrey for healing.

If you’re interested herbs for healing or for use on a homestead or for when traditional medicine is not available, you simply can not go wrong with comfrey.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Subscribe to The Sleuth Journal Newsletter for Daily Articles!


The post Healing Herbs: What You Need to Know About Comfrey appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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Is Prepping a Monkey On Your Back?

Is Prepping a Monkey On Your Back? | monkey-on-back | PreparednessSurvival

At one time or another, every prepper on the planet has asked themselves whether they have taken things too far.  Has their passion for preparedness gone too far?  Has it taken over daily life in such a way that every trip to the store involves scouting out that perfect something for when the poop hits the fan?

How do you determine whether being prepared is an addiction, an obsession, a chore, or simply smart living?  Has prepping become a monkey on your back?

For many individuals and families, prepping has been a mission, passion, and way of life for years.  In my case, for example, it has been close to seven years and in some ways, I still feel like a newbie.

It all starts innocently enough. We get bit by the prepping bug and start storing some extra water, food, flashlights and batteries in response to a widely publicized natural disaster. Soon we move on to first aid supplies, home defense systems, and bug-out-bags.  Then comes off-grid solutions for cooking, heat, and power. And still, there is more.

Somewhere along the way, prepping takes over our lives and creates a significant shift in our lives and our lifestyle.  Our spare time is spent planning for the big disruptive event.  It makes no matter whether it will be a natural, man-made or even a politically motivated apocalypse. It is coming and we know it.

We have read the books, watched the DVDs, compiled resource manuals, and purchased gear.  And even though we are bursting at the seams with stuff, we are compelled to get more.  Does this sound familiar?

And so I ask again: Is being prepper an addiction, an obsession, or a chore?  Can we call it quits if we have to?  How do we know when enough is enough?  Or are we hoarding?  And what is the difference between prepping and hoarding?

These are tough questions which we each must ask and answer for ourselves. To get you started, let me offer up some definitions so that you can begin to formulate a response and arrive at some personal conclusions.

Addition versus Obsession versus Hoarding

  • Addiction:  the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.
  • Obsession:  a compulsive or persistent preoccupation, idea, or feeling.
  • Chore:  a routine or minor duty or task.
  • Hoarding:  a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation or future use.

The Reality of Prepping

Perception often blends with reality so what I say next needs to be taken within that context.

In my own household, it seems as though every spare moment is spent learning or doing something related to preparedness.  When we shop, foremost in our mind is “would this work if the SHTF?”.

We learn new skills and revisit old ones so that we stay current and up-to-date with our survival skills.  We no longer garden for the joy of it but because we feel we have to. Even during our recent move, the punch list we created as selection criteria was dictated by the need for isolation, storage facilities for three years worth of food, and a place with plenty of water sources and firewood nearby.

This business of prepping can be utterly exhausting!  And not only that, with extra money being directed toward the purchase of prepping supplies and gear, the budget often gets stretched to the point where a non-prep related purchase becomes a gut-wrenching exercise in guilt.

This is not an isolated phenomena.  The like-minded people I pal around with feel the same way.  With a life that was very busy to begin with, the additional time and energy taken up with prepping activities takes precious hours away from the rest of our lives.   A breaking point is reached and without realizing what has happened, prepping becomes work.

A Call For Balance In Life

How do you feel?  Has prepping taken over your life to the exclusion of everything else? Do you feel you have balance in your everyday activities?  Or not so much?

To help come up with answers, I would like to share a quiz that includes topics I ask myself when I feel overwhelmed by the never-ending to-do list:

Do you have more than enough time to do what you want to do?

Do you spend quality time with the people who matter to you?

Do you have at least one hobby or pastime outside of your work, family and prepping activities?

What have you done for fun and entertainment lately?

Do you treat yourself to something special at least once a month?  What is that?

Do you sleep well and do you look forward to getting up every day?

When is the last time you spent a day doing nothing more productive that watch a DVD or read a book?

When is the last time you ate a meal at a table, without the television or other distraction?

Do you have something to look forward to such as a vacation or special event?

I hope that you will take the time to ask these questions of yourself, for in spite of the dire outlook you may have about the state of our world, the economy, and our planet, you still need to get on with this business of life. What we perceive as a bubble in time may go on for decades and, depending on your age, a lifetime.

Can we put our lives on hold and wait it out?  I think not.  Balance is the key to avoiding prepper burnout while at the same time embracing the secure feeling you get from knowing you are as ready as you can be.

The Final Word

To summarize, my recommendation is that you be content with the knowledge that you have prepared to the best of your ability and then move on and move forward. Embrace the life experience now. Do not wait for some undetermined time in the future to have some fun, to relax, and to savor just being alive. That future, if the SHTF, may never come.

Take the cure from prepper addiction and prepper obsession.  Continue to prep but recognize and accept it for what it is and move on to include other things in your life.  Go out for an occasional movie.  Have a few beers with friends.  Shut down the computer for a day or two and share some special time with your sweetie.  But most of all, be balanced, be happy and go for the gusto.

Being prepared can be a chore, yes.  But it can also be a chore with a happy ending.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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The post Is Prepping a Monkey On Your Back? appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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DIY Cold And Flu Bomb

DIY Cold And Flu Bomb | Wellness_Products | Natural Medicine

Essential oils have taken the prepper world by storm and with good reason.  For a relatively low cost, a few bottles of carefully selected essential oils can resolve a myriad of first aid woes, not the least of which are colds and flus, headaches, minor infections, and those dreaded aches and pains caused by sore muscles, charley horses, and more.

Each month, as I have written about essential oils, the message has come back loud and clear.  “We want specifics!”

Today I am going to share with you a very basic, very useful, and very specific use of essential oils.  It has been my experience that three simple oils, applied to the bottom of your feet at the onset of a cold, will bust the nasties quickly and allow you to get on with the business of living.

This protocol is commonly referred to as the “Cold and Flu Bomb”.

The Cold and Flu Bomb Recipe

This essential oil recipe is so darn easy, yet effective, that it is embarrassing.

Cold and Flu Bomb

5 drops Melaleuca essential oil
5 drops Shield Blend (a proprietary “Thieves” type blend by Spark Naturals)
3 drops Oregano essential oil

Combine the essential oils in a roller bottle.  At the onset of a cold, apply to the soles of your feet plus the big toe every 2 to 3 hours.  Continue to use for at least one day after your symptoms are done.

I find that this makes up enough to use on one person for one day.  It is easy to double or triple the recipe so use your judgment and prepare as little or as much as you think you will need.

Special note for use on children under eight:  You will not want to use these oils undiluted on the kiddos.  You can’t go wrong with a 50/50 dilution with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or even Plain Ole’ Salve (healing salve without essential oils).

That’s it.  Were you expecting more?

Actually, there are variations to this recipe, such as adding 5 drops of lemon essential oil or a few drops of Peppermint or Frankincense.  I have had excellent results using the basic recipe so have not bothered with any alternatives.

Night Time Cold Buster

For extra healing, I have used 2 drops of melaleuca, 2 drops of Shield, and 1 drop of Oregano in my diffuser at night.  If you are stuffed up, you may want to diffuse eucalyptus or Respire blend instead.

A Note About Essential Oils

I use essential oils from Spark Naturals because I feel they are they are the most affordable, therapeutic quality essential oils out there.  That said, there are many quality essential oil companies and I am certain their oils will work as well.  On the other hand, why pay more when you don’t have to?

That being said, I am building up a supply of Melaleuca, Shield, and Oregano essential oils for long term storage.  So far, I have 2 of each stored away in a cool dark location and there is no reason to believe that they will not be good years from now.  If however, you live in a warm, humid climate, you may want to store your oils in the refrigerator during the heat of summer.

If you decide to give Spark Naturals a try, be sure to use the discount code “BACKDOORSURVIVAL” to receive a 10% discount.

I should also mention that you can take these oils internally in gel or veggie capsules.  I have not tried this myself so I leave it up to you to decide if you want to give internal use a try.  The typical dosage is 3 drops of each oil per capsule.  Just make sure you are using a therapeutic grade of oil as indicated by the supplement information on its label.

The Final Word

As I have written in the past, Oregano essential oil is considered to be nature’s strongest and most effective antibiotic.  In addition, Melaleuca (aka Tea Tree Oil) has been proven to fight bacteria, viruses and fungi.   Shield is a blend of oils that support a healthy immune function plus kills bacteria, mold and viruses.

All are great oils to have on hand for use now as well as for the long term when traditional drugs and OTC remedies may not be available.  For more information, read:

25 Ways to Use Oregano Essential Oil for Health and Wellness
The Miracle of Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil: 80 Amazing Uses for Survival
DIY Antiviral Sanitizing Spray: When Hand Sanitizer is Not Enough

One more thing.  Over the next year I plan to share more essential oil solutions that I have used personally with good results.  To me, first hand anecdotal knowledge and first hand experience trumps volumes of material found on the internet that may, or may not be valid, in practical terms.

What do you think?  Do you have an essential oil “recipe” or formula to share that may be useful to someone else?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!Save

The post DIY Cold And Flu Bomb appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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What Type of Prepper Are You?

What Type of Prepper Are You? | survival | PreparednessSurvival

When disaster strikes, a lot of things happen. There are people fleeing the area, people rushing into the area to help, people in shock who can’t figure out what to do, people who jump into action right away — and the list goes on. Everybody is different, and everybody reacts differently when put in a disaster situation.

Learning how to prepare for a disaster is an important thing to do, even if you don’t think it will happen to you. Some people may be born preppers, meaning they are constantly doing what they can to get ready for a disaster. Some people believe that nothing bad will happen to them, so they don’t bother.

When Answering, Be Mindful of the  Psychology Behind Disaster Situations

Here is a list of some of the most common types of people during disaster situations and what you should know about them when preparing for or dealing with a tough and possibly dangerous situation.

The Denier

This type of person believes that if disaster strikes, it won’t affect them. They see natural disasters and other terrible things happening on the news or online, but they wholeheartedly deny the fact that such a thing could ever happen in their hometown.

These people avoid the daily stressors that come with anticipating disaster situations and may lead more laid-back lives, but if a disaster ever did strike, they wouldn’t know what to do at all.

If you come across this type of person, share with them the importance of preparing for an emergency situation and give them a few pointers. If nothing else, they’ll at least have some advice if the time ever comes to deal with a disaster situation.

The Self-Defense Guru

Some people understand that they could be put in bad situations and want to be prepared for situations where they can fight their opponents and defend themselves and their family. These people work out often to build muscle and become strong and confident. They may also invest in weapons to keep in their home in case of an intruder.

This type of person is probably well prepared for violent disasters or attacks close to home, such as break-ins or gang violence. However, they are not prepared for natural disasters or situations in which the problem is not a physical person who can be fought. If faced with a disaster they cannot defend themselves from, they may become panicked and violent — which could lead to more potential problems such as road rage and aggressive driving.

Keep the self-defense guru in your life close. They can definitely come in handy for some of the situations mentioned above and are a great person to have on your side. Talk to them to find ways that their strength and abilities can come in handy during other disasters, like severe weather.

The Outdoorsman

The true outdoorsman is ready for anything. These people are typically strong, have good survival skills, know what to do when faced with harsh conditions and are ready for anything. They may enjoy being off the grid and living life deep in nature.

The outdoorsman is very well prepared for basically any type of disaster. They can survive anywhere they may have to flee to, are strong enough to fight off enemies and have experience living in harsh or unpleasant conditions.

When dealing with outdoorsmen, remember that for them, spending time outdoors and off the grid is where they feel safest and most comfortable. Support their lifestyle and learn anything you can from them — in case the time ever comes for you to enter the wilderness with nothing but a backpack.

The “Doing the Best I Can” Prepper

Some people don’t let prepping for a disaster take over their lives, but they have the basic skills and materials to protect their family. These people may be single parents, young adults living alone or families who simply aren’t making disaster prep their main focus.

People who are doing the best they can may have some food stocked and have an evacuation plan in place. They might also have some basic self-defense skills and could probably defend and protect their family if it came down to it. However, these people aren’t consumed with the idea of a disaster striking, which is probably a healthy outlook to have.

The “Doing the Best I Can” prepper is typically very logical and reasonable. Having conversations with these types of preppers about potential disaster situation can probably be eye-opening for both parties. Don’t count these people out.

The Final Word

The bottom line?  People are different.

How people handle disaster situations isn’t just a human reaction. Everyone is different. If somebody has been through a traumatic experience before, post-traumatic stress disorder may force them to replay those scenarios and prepare themselves for another situation.

People who maybe haven’t experienced a disaster situation firsthand, but have seen them on TV, can feel a variety of ways, depending on their personality. Some might feel thankful it didn’t happen to them but are realistic in the fact that it could. Some people will look at the news coverage and shrug, believing it won’t ever happen to them. If somebody has family members who have been affected by disasters, they may constantly feel a sense of fear about somebody they love dealing with another bad situation.

Truly, everybody experiences disaster situations differently, and individual reactions depend on a lot of factors. How you deal with these situations is unique to you, and the best you can do is prepare in whatever way makes the most sense to you.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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The post What Type of Prepper Are You? appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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Advanced Prepping: How to Survive a Fall Through the Ice

Advanced Prepping: How to Survive a Fall Through the Ice | ice-winter | News Articles PreparednessSurvival

Let’s face it.  There is a whole lot more to prepping than having plenty of water, food storage, medical supplies, and an arsenal of weapons to protect yourself and your property.

In this exclusive article from contributing author, Joe Alton, learn what you need to know to survive a fall through the ice.  With a few easy to remember strategies and some basic items in your pack, you will not only escape safely but will also avoid hypothermia.  I call this “advanced prepping”.

The best advice is to avoid getting near unsafe ice in the first place!

A Fall Through the Ice

In winter, many northern outdoor enthusiasts run afoul of the extreme cold. If you don’t take weather conditions into account, you have made the environment your enemy, and it is a formidable one. Some simple additions to your pack will help “winterize” you to deal with mishaps in the backcountry.

Whenever you’re out in the wild, it makes sense to take a change of clothes in a waterproof container. This way, you’ll have something dry to wear if you get wet. Wet clothes in the cold will drain body heat and could cause hypothermia, which occurs with a drop of just 3 or 4 degrees in body core temperature.

A fire starter that will work even when wet, Mylar or wool blankets and some shake-and-break heat packs are important additions to your supplies.

What if you’re hiking in the wilderness and that snow field turns out to be the icy surface of a lake?

Ice can handle the weight of an average human if four or more inches thick. This “safe” thickness may be undermined, however, by flowing water just below the surface, which weakens the underside of the ice. When it comes to walking on ice, safety is never guaranteed.

Knowing the above, you might be able to identify weaker areas on the ice. Is the ice on the edge of the water body firm? If it’s slushy or cracked, it’s unlikely to be a reliable walking surface and you should go around.

The safest ice to be on is clear blue in color due to higher density, although testing for thickness with an ice pick or auger (useful items for hikes in the cold) is prudent.

Thinner areas of ice tend to be darker in color. Ice that thaws and refreezes in layers might be white in color but is questionable due to air pockets. Areas of contrasting colors indicate an uneven thickness and should be avoided.

Let’s say the worst happens and you fall through the ice. Your body will react to a sudden immersion in cold water by an increased pulse rate, blood pressure, and respirations. Although it won’t be easy, make every effort to keep calm. Concentrate on slowing down your breathing. You have a few minutes to get out before you succumb to the effects of the cold. Panic is your enemy: It causes mental paralysis at a time when quick action can save your life.

Start by holding your breath and getting your head out of the water. Once you’ve done so, inhale deeply and bend backward. Turn your body in the direction of where you came from; you know the ice was strong enough to hold you there. Tread water and quickly get rid of any heavy objects that are weighing you down. Keep your clothing on, though. It has air pockets between the layers that are helping you stay buoyant.

Now, try to position your body as horizontally as possible and lift up out of the ice using your hands and arms. Keep your arms spread in front of you to help distribute the strain on the ice. Kick with your feet to gain some forward momentum. At the same time, try to get more of your body out of the water. The more of your body that’s out of the water, the better. Cold water drains body heat much faster than cold air. Allow a few seconds to let water drain from your clothes; it’ll make you lighter.

Some of the ice may crack but keep moving forward. An ice pick would help gain a handhold (another good reason to have one handy in icy conditions).

Lift a leg onto the ice and then lift and roll out onto the firmer surface. Do not stand up! Keep rolling in the direction that you were walking before you fell through. This will spread your weight out, instead of concentrating it on your feet. Then crawl away until you are sure that you’re safe.

Start working to get warm immediately by removing wet clothes and getting out of the wind. Extra clothes from your or a party member’s backpack should be put on immediately.

Perhaps the most important safety precaution when hiking in the frigid wilderness (besides not walking on thin ice) is to have a partner or partners. Walk in single file on the ice with some distance between party members. If the advance hiker falls through the ice, tell them not to panic and walk them through the above. If you can throw them a rope (make a loop they can put around their body) or hold out a branch, do so, but don’t get so close that you fall in also.

It will actually take a while to die from hypothermia, but a loss of consciousness will occur if rapid action isn’t taken to effect a rescue. Here is a link to an amazing video by a professor from the University of Manitoba that uses himself as a guinea pig to show you the process: http://drbenkim.com/what-do-if-you-fall-through-ice.

The Final Word

Depending on where you live, cold weather may or may not be a factor at the moment.  That does not, however, negate the need to be knowledgeable of advanced strategies for saving yourself or a companion when stuck outside in a freezing cold environment.

Although this article refers to a fall through the ice, many of the same techniques are useful during an accidental fall into an icy lake or river.  Please take heed; I don’t want anyone of you to succumb to hypothermia!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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The post Advanced Prepping: How to Survive a Fall Through the Ice appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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