Why Low-Tech Prepping Is a Better Option for a Long-Term Grid-Down Scenario

Why Low-Tech Prepping Is a Better Option for a Long-Term Grid-Down Scenario | Why-Low-Tech-Prepping-Is-a-Better-Option-for-a-Long-Term-Grid-Down-Scenario | Off-Grid & Independent Living PreparednessSurvival

With power outages crippling cities across the nation, the potential for a nasty solar flare, and geopolitical tensions, it might be time to revisit your long term power outage plan. This article from the archives explains why I won’t be investing in pricey generators or expensive equipment. Low-tech prepping is much more affordable and sustainable for those of us without extravagant budgets.

The Big Blackout: Why I’m Going Low-Tech to Prep for an EMP

This might be stating the obvious, but in the event of an EMP, things will not be the same, no matter how great your generator is.

Aaron Dykes of Truthstream Media wrote an excellent article about the extreme likelihood of a catastrophic event that could take out our power grid:

Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer is warning investors – and more broadly, lawmakers and leaders – about the potential destructive power of an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, which could be triggered by solar events or artificially, via blasts in the atmosphere.

According to Singer, research shows that no other incident, including a nuclear bomb, has the potential for such wide-scale devastation, coupled with the relative likelihood of occurring. While a nuke would primarily impact on the location of a such (such a city), an EMP could occur globally or across large-scale regions, wreaking havoc on the entire electric grid and devices…

…Government agencies, such as NASA and Homeland Security, have taken some preliminary steps towards preparing for an EMP attack – regardless of the potential for natural of man made causes – but the public at large remains cripplingly unaware of the dangers present to modern life, and its reliance on all things electronic, digital and, thus, transient. (Check out the rest of this MUST-READ article HERE)

We’ve all read many articles about the likelihood of grid failure. We’ve been warned again and again that it isn’t a matter of if, but when, it happens.

Because of this, a lot of people are preparing for a very different future.  Folks are getting ready for the Big Blackout.  The thing is, I am not sure everyone is thinking this through.  Many people are spending buckets of money on preparations to try to keep their lives as similar as possible to how they are today. They’re investing in diesel generators and Faraday cages to protect their electronics. They are buying propane-fueled appliances.  They’re stashing away fuel to run these gadgets.

Generators are not a practical investment for EMP preparation.

The problem with that method of preparation is, the fuel-generated lifestyle will only last for as long as you have…well…fuel.

Very few of us have enough storage space or the proper facilities to store 5 years’ worth of fuel.  If the power grid goes down in a catastrophic way, it’s going to take at least 5 years to get things up and running again, and that’s assuming things ever get up and running again in the way they are now.

That means that people are spending thousands of dollars investing in items that will only sustain their lifestyles for a brief period of time.  Generators are not a long term solution unless you have renewable power. (More on that later). While a generator would be a blessing in a short-term emergency (think a week-long power outage due to a storm), for a permanent way of life they are completely impractical.

Furthermore, in the event of an EMP strike, if your generator is not protected, it may not work no matter how much fuel you have stored.

Maybe the fact that I’m not rolling in money is the reason I feel this way. Maybe people with lots of money to spare have ideas about how to keep their generators running forever. But for my personal situation, this is a preparation strategy that is completely impractical.

A low-tech lifestyle is the best way to prep for grid-down survival.

If money is an object in your preparedness endeavors, (and let’s face it, money is an object for most of us these days), then focus your dollars on preps that are sustainable without electrical power.  Instead of trying to live the exact same life you are living right now, only fueled by an individual generator, look for low-tech solutions instead.  This reminds me of people who stop eating gluten but still want to eat exactly like they have been eating their entire lives, only now with expensive gluten-free baked goods that cost 4 times the price of their wheat-filled counterparts.  When things change dramatically, accept the change and adapt to it, instead of trying to maintain the illusion that everything is the same.

Whether you can get power from an outlet in the wall or not, the necessities of day-to-day life will remain the same:

  • Water
  • Shelter and Warmth
  • Food
  • Sanitation and Hygiene
  • Light

The ultimate preparedness goal should be to provide those necessities without any help from the power grid, generators, or fossil fuel. (LEARN MORE about planning for a long-term disaster)

When my youngest daughter and I lived in the North Woods of Canada, we lost power frequently throughout the year. Lots of folks in the area had generators that they would fire up when the power went out, and that was a viable solution, since gas stations were available and fuel was pretty much unlimited as long as you could afford to go get it.  We were on a tight budget, however, and we adapted our situation to live without power during those outages.  After the first couple of outages, we had worked out most of the bugs and we even began to look forward to our time without power – it was like a little vacation from the regular workday.  As plugged in as our society is, power is not actually a necessity – it’s a luxury, and we can live without it as long as we are adaptable, creative, willing, and prepared.

Let’s look at some specific examples of low-tech ways to take care of our necessities.  These ideas are just food for thought, based on my own preparedness plan – they may not be the solutions that will work best for you, but the goal here is to brainstorm your own situation and figure out how to live your life low-tech if the need occurs.

Off-grid Water

If you haven’t located water sources near your home,  it’s time to break out the topographical maps of your area and find them!  A low-tech water plan might include some or all of the following:

  • A manual pump for your well
  • Buckets and wheelbarrows for hauling water from a nearby source
  • Rain barrels for water harvesting (THIS is an inexpensive option with mixed reviews)
  • A gravity-fed water filtration system (we have THIS ONE)
  • A water dispenser for convenient access to filtered water (Be sure to get one with the bottle on top so that it can be operated without electricity, and not one that uses an electric pump to pull the water up from the bottom)
  • Storage units for water such as cisterns or tanks
  • Portable water filter bottles for safe water when you are away from home (we have THIS ONE)

Off-grid Shelter and Warmth

Homes these days aren’t built to function without a connection to the power grid.  If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in an older home that was designed for off-grid living, look at some ways to take your home back a century or so. A secondary heating system is vital in most climates.

  • An antique oil heater can use lots of different oils and requires little effort for installation (THIS SITE is loaded with information about Perfection oil heaters)
  • Have a woodstove installed
  • Clean your chimney and get your fireplace working
  • Set up an outdoor fireplace with large rocks to bring inside for radiant heat (this won’t get you super warm but it’s better than nothing)
  • Have a good supply of blankets, warm clothes, and cold-rated sleeping bags
  • Learn techniques to stay warm with less heat

Off-grid Food

Not only do you need access to food, but you also need a way to cook it and a way to keep your refrigerated and frozen items from spoiling.

Off-grid Sanitation and Hygiene

How will you keep clean and deal with human waste in the event of a long-term emergency?

Off-grid Lighting

The world is a scary place when it’s dark, and most of us have forgotten how dark TRUE dark really is, due to light pollution and the proximity of neighbors. Here are some lighting solutions for an off grid world:

  • Solar garden lights – store them outside to be charged during the day and bring them in and put them in vases where they’re needed at night
  • Oil lamps – you can recycle used cooking oil or use rendered fat to power these – they give a brighter light and can be used for reading and close-work (Learn more HERE)
  • Candles – stock them and learn to make them
  • Solar powered flashlights

Renewable power is practical power.

One exception to my no-generators rule is renewable power. If you can afford a solar set up for your home, then very little would change about your day-to-day life, aside from you being one of the few people with power.  You don’t have to go totally solar to have power for a few important items.  Assuming you have electronics in working order, they can be powered with solar, wind, or water.

Most of us can’t afford an entire set up but these are some options to consider:

  • Build a DIY portable solar recharging station – learn how to make it HERE
  • Solar-powered systems for specific items – learn more HERE
  • Use wind power – learn more HERE
  • Use water power – learn more HERE

What will you do when the electrical power goes out?

Do you have plans in place for a long-term (or permanent) power outage?  Are you planning to use generators and maintain your current lifestyle, or are you planning to go low-tech? Share your opinions and some of your cost-effective ideas in the comments!


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The post Why Low-Tech Prepping Is a Better Option for a Long-Term Grid-Down Scenario appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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Unplug From The Matrix And Escape The Grip Of Social Engineers

Unplug From The Matrix And Escape The Grip Of Social Engineers | globe-world-surveillance-tracking-microchips | Consciousness Off-Grid & Independent Living Science & Technology Sleuth Journal Society

By: Daniel Taylor | Old-Thinker News –

We have been slowly chained down in a kind of technological cave. The age in which we are living has enabled the potential for human isolation like no other time in history. And not just physical isolation. Our reality is increasingly controlled by people we have never seen or even know exist.

You can change the world by starting with the world inside you. Set a humble example for others to follow and carry the fire.

The following is an excerpt from Daniel Taylor’s book The Age of Disconnection.

Technology already has a significant influence on our lives, but the age that we are entering will have an even greater – and probably unforeseen – impact. Unless we learn how to stay connected with our fellow human beings, the influx of new technology in our day to day lives in this era will have a profoundly disconnecting effect.

It isn’t just technology that is responsible for creating this environment of disconnection. The mass schooling system that has dominated western society for decades has played a major role. Our system of schooling is good for social sorting and command and control, but the dynamic human spirit and the kaleidoscope of diverse intelligence that inhabits it is absolutely crushed under its dead weight.

The modern schooling system isn’t connected to the real world. It is the great dis-connector. Everyone knows this intuitively. That’s why there are always individuals within the structure of the system who kick sand into the gears of the machine. Easily managed, predictable “cookie cutter” people are the ideal human resource, which happens to be the way the architects of modern schooling view the majority of humanity; as human resources. Imagination and creativity have no place in this system. Technology exacerbates these traits of a well schooled society.

Mankind, at this stage in our history, has reached a point in which the many roles that our ancestors took upon themselves are now delegated to others. Our ancestors hunted for their food; We buy it prepackaged at Wal-Mart. Our ancestors built their homes; Now someone else builds them for us. In short, the raw reality of survival and the fragility of life has been lost on the majority of modern mankind. It is not something that we need to focus on every day.

These luxuries are by no means a bad thing, but to take them for granted and fall into a state of complacency is not healthy. Collectively we seem to be running away from making this recognition. The secret is that mankind thrives under adversity. We aren’t facing the challenge of survival, thrill of adventure and warfare that our ancestors did. Is this partly why 70% of Americans are on prescription drugs, mostly anti-depressants?

The truth is, we have fallen into a state of complacency, and we all tend to ignore or at the very least downplay serious threats to our way of life. In this environment, predatory humansdivorced from natural lawhave placed themselves in positions of power and treat the vast majority of humanity as lab rats in a cage. It is inside this cage that our lives become disconnected. Artificial means of satisfying human instincts have been given to us. But are we truly free, truly happy?

Do you text more often than you talk? There was a time before cell phones when we had to pick up the phone and actually talk to the person we wanted to reach. Unlike texting, attention is given to inflection in the other person’s voice. It communicates emotion and intent. Listening is required for both parties. Here’s a challenge for you: Make a conscious decision to call the person you want to talk to rather than text. If it feels awkward – well, that says something, doesn’t it?

Cell phones have seriously hurt our collective conversation etiquette. We simply aren’t fully present with the person in front of us when we are distracted by our phones. Recent college graduates, who have grown up attached to their hand held devices, are paying a price for this bad habit. An article from USA Today announced “Many college grads lack interview skills.” They are taking calls and texting during important job interviews. HR executives are finding this troubling trend to be accelerating. Otherwise qualified job candidates are being rejected because of their addiction to mobile devices.

Learn more in The Age of Disconnection

Our net connected gadgets are wiring our brains for distraction. How often can you say that you are truly living in the present moment? Are you constantly checking your phone? Is your mind preoccupied merely with the anticipation of a new message? Being mindful takes practice, especially in our technological era. Make a habit of focusing your full attention on now. Notice your breath, the shape and color of the leaves on the tree, how your body is standing or sitting. Simply relax. Electronic gadgets which seem to fill up every second of our free time distract us from doing any kind of introspection. In the event that we did we may end up focusing on our own state, and eventually our wider society.

As a society we are increasingly finding ourselves in a passive observer mode. We watch what our friends are doing on our facebook feed, which, to our dismay, often makes us feel inadequate in comparison. We watch eagerly for the next viral video. We model ourselves after scripted characters on television instead of creating ourselves. What are you adding to the world? Turn the TV off for a while and re-discover the world around you. Let your thoughts (about yourself, others, and the world) be your own, not suggested by someone else. Own your consciousness.

What will you do when widespread human augmentation begins to take place? It could be here in 10-20 years. For a select few it will be here much sooner. There will undoubtedly be movements started to counter this trend when it becomes an apparent reality. What about the acceptance of life like robotic sex partners? Radical life extension? The meaning of human life and our connection to each other will be challenged in a major way. Our society will undergo a reorientation much like what happened after the industrial revolution only on a much larger scale.

You have a choice!

All of these things have one thing in common; You have a choice in how you are using technology. The societal ills stemming from technology are a natural outgrowth of individual choices being made each day. Technology (and how we use it) reveals the deeper things of the human soul. Focus on how you are living. It is easy to fall into the victim mindset that says “I am this way because of our society and things outside of my control,” but the reality is that we all have a choice. We are self-aware beings. We can choose another way. Here’s the key: When we take back our consciousness and focus on changing ourselves on a deep level, the way we use technology will naturally change as well. You can be an example to the rest of humanity of what we are capable of. You don’t have to follow the script of social engineers.

Start unplugging as much as you can today. I predict that individuals who do this will become the envy of the world some day. Their ability to connect with other people will shine brightly in a disconnected world. Relationships for these people will simply be better. Employers will seek them out for their ability to think creatively. Friends and family will ask them for direction. Our solution lies in re-claiming our very souls and reconnecting with humanity. In almost every case throughout history, civilizations fall when humanity is debased and loses touch with themselves, their neighbors and the wider world.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (written in 390 B.C.) describes a group of human beings who have lived their whole lives chained down in a dark cave. Their entire existence consists of analyzing shadows on the wall in front of them. Puppeteers move the figures back and forth while the captives take pride in naming them as they pass by. This is their reality. One day a prisoner is released. His sensitive eyes are blinded by the bright sun. His former reality is shattered as he sees the strange puppeteers moving the shapes that he so proudly named. He eventually becomes familiar with the color, shape and sound of the upper world. He is enlightened. In Plato’s words,

“And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the cave and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change, and pity them?”

“Imagine once more, I said, such an one coming suddenly out of the sun to be replaced in his old situation; would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness?”

What is the moral of this story in the age of disconnection?

We have been slowly chained down in a kind of technological cave. The age in which we are living has enabled the potential for human isolation like no other time in history. And not just physical isolation. Our reality is increasingly controlled by people we have never seen or even know exist. Edward Bernays, the father of modern propaganda, summed it up like this:

“[We are governed by] an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country… We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”

The cave of our time consists of all technology that limits our consciousness; Our awareness of the present moment. The creators of the modern cave have made it quite enjoyable for us. In some ways it is much more exciting than the real world. It entices us with its dark allure. If humanity were to be completely absorbed by this matrix, each generation that is born will be acclimated to the “reality” of the cave. The memory of human existence and true connection would fade into darkness.

Is this scenario inevitable? Absolutely not! There is a distinct difference between Plato’s prisoners and us. We have a hopeful advantage over them. If we were to enter Plato’s cave we would have to consciously decide to like it. We would exist in a state of cognitive dissonance. For the most part we have an awareness of what we could be missing in the world outside the cave. We know that there is a beautiful universe to behold, freedom to be defended, ideas to explore, and creativity to express.

Our world is set to undergo dramatic changes. We face difficult choices. You don’t need to set out on a grand mission to change the globe. Focus on how you are treating others. How are you living your life?

One of the greatest challenges over the coming years will be the prospect of retaining our humanity. It is easy to harden your heart toward others, the world, and yourself. You can change the world by starting with the world inside you. Set a humble example for others to follow and carry the fire.

Learn more in The Age of Disconnection

Originally published at Old Thinker News.


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25 Ways to Use Flour Sack Dishtowels Around the Home

25 Ways to Use Flour Sack Dishtowels Around the Home | Flour-Sack-Dishtowels | Off-Grid & Independent Living PreparednessSurvival

One of the cornerstones of being prepared is to identify items that multitask and to embrace their use during normal times.  Doing so not only saves money but also saves storage space and eliminates having to choose which product or item to use for what.

A good example is the common Mason jar.  Another is the flour sack dishtowel.

I was chatting with Backdoor Survival reader, Susan Perry, about this very same thing when she offered to share her top twenty-five uses for flour sack towels.  How cool is that?

I grew up around flour sack dishtowels.  I remember how my grandmother used them for everything including cleaning rags, aprons, and tidy little bundles holding dry goods. I had forgotten about them until ten years ago when I saw a package at Wal-Mart.  There was no looking back and I still use those same towels today.  I even embroidered them myself with colorful little cabins.

What the Heck are Flour Sack Dishtowels?

As a homesteader, I’m all about quality when it comes to basic supplies, and as an herbalist who also loves cooking from scratch, that goes double in the kitchen. I discovered years ago that when it comes to kitchen towels, flour sacks are the only way to go.

Although the term might provoke an image of rough, dusty, oversized rags, they are quite the opposite. They’re super absorbent, lint free, and vastly superior to the decorative towels you might find at a department store.

A Short History of Flour Sack Towels

It all started back in the 1850’s. Those old wooden barrels were heavy and bulky. Cotton had become inexpensive, so grain mills began shipping flour in large, thick cotton bags strong enough to hold fifty pounds.

Before long, cotton bags were being used not only for flour, but also for sugar, seeds, animal feed, fertilizer, and more. These goods were sent out to general stores and carried home by horse and wagon. Resourceful housewives soon realized that the bags’ sturdy fabric was way too useful to be tossed out. Rural families typically had limited income, and soon this packaging material was finding new life not only as towels, but also as aprons, diapers, coverlets, and even clothing.

Of course, no one wanted to wear a shirt or dress with the name of a flour company printed across the front for all the world to see. Housewives learned how to remove the labels with several rounds of soaking and washing with lye soap and bleach.

25 Ways to Use Flour Sack Dishtowels Around the Home | Flour-Sack-Dress-Great-Depression | Off-Grid & Independent Living PreparednessSurvival

During the Great Depression, women fashioned clothing out of flour sacks.

Over time, manufacturers decided they could increase their profits by upgrading the bags. They began using removable paper labels and started printing embroidery patterns onto the fabric. But the real excitement began in the mid-1920s when cotton mills started producing sacks using colorful flower prints, border designs for pillowcases and curtains, and patterns for children’s clothing, dolls and teddy bears.

The clever use of cotton sacks only increased during the depression years, and as clothing wore out, every scrap was put to use in beautiful, carefully designed quilts.

I’d been on my farm only a few months when I discovered today’s version of flour sack cloths. A neighbor showed me the Lehman’s Catalogue, and there they were, more than thirty inches long and almost as wide. With every week that went by, I found more ways to use them. That was twenty years ago, and I still find a new use for one every now and then.

Two Kinds of Flour Sack Towels

For homestead use, the best towels measure at least 30 by 30 inches and are thick and durable, made of pristine, high-quality cotton cloth with hemmed edges and a high thread count. With their quality and size, these are the most useful and longest lasting kind, giving good service for many years.

They are perfect for dealing with large batches of herbs and produce. I’ve used them to carry two gallons or more of blueberries from the counter to the sink.

The one thing I don’t use them for is straining herbs, yogurt, or jellies, as the thick fabric usually holds back too much of the liquid. I’ve even had the liquid squirt out the top and onto the counter when I tried to hurry things along by squeezing.

Some may think the smaller, lesser quality towels are not worth having, but I disagree. Their thinner fabric makes them the best choice for straining. They are much less expensive and readily available at discount stores such as Wal-Mart. I keep a kitchen drawer full for daily dish drying and counter wiping, and for small batches of herbs or produce.

There are other sizes and fabric choices, so hopefully the above will help you decide what you need.

Twenty-Five Ways to Use Flour Sack Dishtowels

In the Kitchen:

1. Cover bread dough and baked goods to keep them warm while rising.

2. Wrap and cover dinner rolls and breads to keep them warm at the table and contain crumbs.

3. Spread towels out on the counter to drain produce after rinsing.

4. Fold a towel in half and sew a seam on the edge of the long side, and on one of the short edges. This makes a bag you can use for storing produce in the refrigerator.

5. Line a refrigerator drawer with a slightly damp towel to keep greens, lettuce, and salad items moist and fresh. The produce won’t be harmed as it would be by plastic wrap, which can quickly cause deterioration.

6. Sort blueberries on white towels to easily see and remove damaged berries, loose stems and bits of leaf; clean the berries by holding up one end of the cloth and rolling them from one cloth to another. Any remaining debris or tiny insects cling to the cloths. This eliminates the need to rinse the berries, which causes the skin to toughen when frozen.

7. Use thinner cloths to strain homemade jellies, yogurt cheese, and anything else that needs straining. For large amounts, line a metal strainer with the cloth.

8. Dry dishes, wipe counters and do general kitchen clean-up. Save trees by using fewer paper towels.

9. Set canning jars on a towel to drain after washing; spread out a new, dry cloth to keep jars clean, avoid slips, and catch drips when filling jars with soup or other liquids for the freezer, or when filling jars with beans, grains, or other items for storage.

In the Garden and Around the Homestead:

10. Line a peach basket with a large towel for picking small or delicate produce such as berries, beans, lettuce, and tomatoes. This keeps berries from falling through the gaps and protects produce from the rough edges.

11. Hold the corners to carry a few handfuls of produce from garden to kitchen.

12. Use a cloth to line a wicker basket to cushion fresh eggs as you gather and carry them from the hen house.

In the Home:

13. When a cloth is stained and worn, relegate it to the box of cleaning rags. Snip off a small piece of one corner to identify it as a rag, so it doesn’t end up back in the kitchen. Use for cleaning windows, appliances, wood furniture, and cars; for blotting up carpet stains; and for general cleaning, polishing, and dusting.

14. Fold a towel in half and sew along two edges to make a bag for protecting delicate clothing in a washing machine. These bags can also be used for storing or organizing like items, such as small toys, travel items, candy and snack bars, things to keep in the car, first aid and cosmetics. Add a button or snap to keep it closed if needed.

15. Make a broom cover for collecting spider webs and dust in the high corners of a room, on ceiling fans, and behind furniture. Just fold the cloth in half, place the ends of broom bristles in the fold, then tie the corners together: tie the two corners on the right side, then the two corners on the left side. When finished cleaning, just shake the cloth outside and throw it in the wash.

For First Aid:

To use flour sack towels for first aid, wash and fold new, never-used cloths, then store them in plastic zip-close bags and keep them with other first aid supplies.

16. Use a towel to make a castor oil pack for healing serious injuries.

17. Make a sling to support an injured arm, hand, elbow, wrist or shoulder. Just fold the towel into a triangle, then tie the ends together.

18. Cut a towel to the right size for use as a bandage for covering wounds or wrapping injuries.

19. Stop serious bleeding by applying pressure with a clean towel or wrapping the towel to serve as a tourniquet.

20. Arrange one or more towels to cushion and protect painful areas.

For Working with Herbs:

Prepare towels as for first aid above, and store separately.

21. Use a towel to gather and carry fresh-cut herbs.

22. Spread towels out on the counter to air-dry large quantities of herbs after rinsing. To dehydrate, change to a dry towel as often as needed.

23. Crush and add hot water to healing herbs like comfrey or plantain to make a poultice; place the herbs and liquid on a towel and apply where needed.

24. Use a thin towel to strain herbal oils, alcohol extracts, and teas.

25. Cut a towel into pieces measuring about five by ten inches. Sew together two sides, fill with dried herbs, then sew the third side to make an herbal bath bag or aromatic sachet. These make nice gifts or a luxurious treat for yourself.

Resources

For premium flour sack towels, check these out:  Aunt Martha’s 33-Inch by 38-Inch Flour Sack Dish Towels.  These standard flour sack towels are also good:  Utopia Kitchen 12 Pack Flour-Sack-Towels

For fun craft ideas using flour sack towels check out this Pinterest Board.

To learn about the history of flour sack towels, read this article from the Floursacktowels’s Blog.

And finally, check out these 1930’s flour sack dresses.  It will make you wish flour was still packaged in cloth rather than paper!

The Final Word

Learning how to do things in the resourceful and creative ways of earlier generations can both save the budget and be deeply satisfying. And for me and most other preppers, it’s also great fun. What additional ways have you found for using flour sack dish cloths?

Please leave a comment and share your good ideas!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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The post 25 Ways to Use Flour Sack Dishtowels Around the Home appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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Get 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life for Free

Get 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life for Free | life-options | Off-Grid & Independent Living PreparednessSurvival Special Interests

Things tend to move fast and furious at times and at this moment, such is the case in Backdoor Survival Land. So what is happening?  I am in the process of getting settled at my mountain retreat in Payson, Arizona.  When a prepper moves, it is hectic!

That being said, a couple of days ago I took a break to be interviewed by Todd Sepulveda, the editor of Pepper Website.  He has a new website, The Prepper Website Podcast, and today he is featuring an interview with both me and my BFF, George Ure, who runs the Urban Survival website.

Free eBook:  11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life

We are both honored and thrilled and to celebrate, a copy of our eBook, 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life: A Guide to Survival During Uncertain Times will be available on Amazon for free between April 5 and April 9.

What is this book about?  Strategic Living, of course.

Here is a section from the interview. (Click here to hear the whole thing.)

Question: Could you paste in a paragraph from your book that gives a good feel for what readers will experience?

Answer Gaye:

“Living strategically – by our own definition – means living a life full of abundant adventure while embracing the tenets of simplicity and sustainability. It means being healthy and reaping the benefits of bounteous friendships and caring relationships.

It means living a life full of happiness and readiness, without the burden of wanting to be someone else or someplace else. It means liking yourself and moving forward with this business of life with animated spirit and optimism.

This all sounds like lofty stuff but when you get right down to it, we think we have been preparing for this moment for a long long time. Living strategically means being self-sufficient and being self-reliant. It means being prepared for life in these uncertain times.”

Answer George:

“The only real “business equation” you need ever learn is that if you spend less than you make, you will always be well off. It seems almost childish to say this, but if you can pay cash for anything it is a good idea to do so. There are plenty of reasons why:

1. If you pay cash, your ownership in generally unencumbered. This means that you own something outright and no one can take it away from you without breaking the law. One exception here is that the government can seize property for nonpayment of taxes.

2. If you pay cash, you don’t pay interest charges. Even though real estate loans are at record low levels of interest, there are still credit card outfits which gouge people for 21% and higher at a time when they are borrowing at the Fed discount window for less than 1%. Oh, sure, they whine about nonpayment’s, charge-off rates and other items, but in the end they’re gouging. You don’t have to contribute to their greed and that’s the power paying cash offers.

3. You don’t have to work. We can’t count the number of people we’ve run into who have to work or face bankruptcy, and some multiple times! If you don’t have cash — and can get even a small home with modest utilities and taxes and save something up to provide a few years of cushion, you can take off work for extended periods of time. You stop being a wage slave.”

Sound interesting?  Here is the link to get our eBook for free between April 5-9.

Speaking of Strategic Living – Subscribe Now

At the beginning of the year, I did a gentle roll out of my new Strategic Living website.  There is not much content and the site is still a bit rough around the edges but I expect things to pick up in earnest early this summer.

Want to be the first to learn about new articles being posted to the site?

Subscribe to Strategic Living

I also have a Facebook page where I will be continuing the tradition of posting free eBooks.  The difference is that the Strategic Living FB page will focus more on DIY, Cooking, Essential Oils, and, topics to related to living and being awesome.

The Final Word

I am keeping this brief because I need to get back to unpacking and organizing my preps.  When I can once again see the forest through the trees, I promise to share what moving is like, prepper-style!

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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Homesteading Basics: How To Dehydrate Herbs for Long-Term Storage

Homesteading Basics: How To Dehydrate Herbs for Long-Term Storage | dehydrating-herbs-for-storage | Off-Grid & Independent Living Organics PreparednessSurvival

Herbs are one of the first plants we put in our garden. There is nothing like fresh culinary herbs to intensify the flavors of food. As well, herbs are hardy garden plants that don’t have to be watered as much as vegetables and can serve more than one purpose by being used as natural medicine. For instance, did you know that a sage leaf can be used instead of a band-aid because it has natural healing qualities? Some of these popular culinary herbs are oregano, thyme and sage and can grow year-round in many parts of the country.

To enjoy these herbs year round, many choose to dehydrate them when they are at the peak in freshness and combine them to make their own spices and even homemade tea blends. Can you imagine how much money you could save at the grocery store by implementing this into your pantry?

How To Dehydrate Herbs for Long-Term Storage

Dehydrating herbs and other leafy greens is one of the easiest items to dry for long-term use. All you really need is a constant stream of air. You don’t necessary have to own a food dehydrator because herbs can dry naturally from the air, but it does help with even drying.

Here are some steps to get started:

  1.  Prep herbs for drying. Wash and place herbs evenly on a drying rack and ensure that enough space is made for proper air flow.
  2. Set temperature and time according to the directions on your dehydrator.
  3. Ensure that herbs are 95% dehydrated for long-term storage.

Here are some great spice mixes to start adding to your pantry!

Cajun Seasoning

  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Chili Powder

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

French Herb Mix

  • 3 tablespoons marjoram
  • 3 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons savory
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed

Chili Powder

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Storing Dehydrated Herbs

Herbs can be dehydrated to store for longer periods, but storage is important for any preserved food, and dehydrated foods are no exception. Store either in heavy-duty zippered bags in a metal container, or store in dry, sterile, glass jars. For long-term storage, I recommend using Mylar bags.

As I stated previously, before storing, you want to ensure that your food is 95% or more dehydrated because the more moisture your food has the more likely molds and microorganisms can grow. Like all emergency food sources, ensure that you keep your dehydrated food away from natural elements.

“Best Used By” Guidelines for Dehydrated Food 

  • Spices – 1-2 years
  • Vegetables/Fruits – Up to 12 months
  • Meats – Best at 1-2 months, but can be stored for 6 months.

We are all looking for frugal ways to bulk up our preparedness pantries. Using herbs is a great way to do that. Some of our favorite herbs we love to grow in our garden can be utilized to make long-term herbal seasonings to use year round. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start dehydrating!


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4 Tools to Cut and Chop Wood for Survival

4 Tools to Cut and Chop Wood for Survival | axe-for-chopping-wood | News Articles Off-Grid & Independent Living PreparednessSurvival

One of the basics of survival is having the ability to cut and chop wood.  It is wood that will fuel the fires that keep us warm, boil our water, and cook our food.

It seems simple enough, right?  Grab your tool of choice, head outdoors and chop away.  Alas, if it were only that easy.  How many times have you gone to the garage or outdoors to the shed, only to be perplexed when it comes to choosing the best tool for cutting or chopping wood?  Been there done that.

For this article I have reached out to experienced outdoorsman, Cody Assmann, to share his knowledge with those of us that have yet to select the perfect tool to meet our needs.

An Introduction to Tools for Cutting and Chopping Wood

by Cody Assmann

When it comes to backwoods kits, everyone has their own opinions on gear. What to take, what to leave behind, and what to look for in tools is highly personal. It is also no doubt impacted by the area you will be traveling in and the time of year. Some people take shelters, others make them. Some people go modern, and some people stick to more traditional gear. Still, others aim to go super light-weight, while others go as gear heavy as possible. There is no right or wrong way to build a kit or head into the woods. That said, however, there is one tool that nearly everyone takes every time; a knife.

Steel knives are almost unanimously included in every backwoods kit because they are so absolutely useful. The list of tasks you can perform with a good steel knife is almost limitless but includes shaping wood, gathering fire material, cleaning animals, cooking, and creating other tools. The reality is that steel knives make life easier and better. It was one of the first trade items that Native American people were looking for when they contacted Europeans. In fact, one mountain man, Osborne Russell, met a group of Native people living in the Stone Age, except for the single steel knife they had almost completely worn out. History supports the modern ideology that a good knife makes your backwoods life better.

The truth is, though, there are a variety of tools to cut and chop wood that are extremely handy to have with you. There are many tools for the purpose of cutting wood, but some of the most common are a knife, hatchet, axe, and saw. These tools each serves a specific purpose and adding one to your survival kit might fit your specific needs. By understanding the applications and strengths of each tool you can best decide what you’ll need.

Specific Tools to Cut and Chop Wood

Knife

As discussed in the introduction, a good knife is a great tool to have along. It’s one of the tools to cut and chop wood everyone takes along. You’ll probably want to include one in your survival kit. Not all knives are the same though and understanding what you’ll be asking a knife to do is important to understand. Small knives, like a basic Mora knife, can be handy for a number of reasons. One, a small knife with a single cutting edge is super handy to have around for all the small camp chores you’ll likely run into. For basic carving and cutting, a simple Mora is hard to beat. Two, being so lightweight and small makes them easy to tote around even on long trips.

On the other hand, sometimes a large knife is what you’ll want. One large knife that has received a large degree of notoriety recently is a Condor knife designed by TV personality Matt Graham. This knife is robust and had a blade over eight inches long that is built to withstand serious abuse. If you are trying to stay light and only want one tool to do all your woodwork, a big stout knife like this might be the ticket.

Over the years I’ve been given two pieces of advice when buying a knife I believe are pertinent.

One, when you are buying knives you are generally buying the steel the knife is made with. That means a more expensive knife has generally used a better steel in construction that will last longer and keep a sharper edge.

Two, full tang knives are your best bet for rugged long term use. In a situation where you’ll be asking for your knife to really chip in and do some work, a folding knife has the built-in weakness of a pivot point. Sure they are convenient, but their inherent weak link can problems. I read a hunting story one time about an Alaskan hunter who was gutting a moose with a folding knife. Miles from anywhere, with his hand inside the moose, the blade closed shut and lopped off the fella’s fingers. Fluke or not, play it safe and get a solid full tang knife.

Another knife that is overlooked is the crooked knife. These knives are designed for specialty work such as carving and shaping wood. There are lots of different designs out there, and the specific bend you want will probably depend on what you’d like to achieve. For the most part, these knives tend to be smaller and wouldn’t add a lot of weight to a kit. On the other hand, every time you add something to your kit the heavier it becomes. If you are doing a lot of traveling you might think twice about bringing more than one knife.

Hatchet

A hatchet is another tool to cut and chop wood you might consider taking along with you. Hatchets are basically small axes to be used with one hand. These are good tools that many woodsmen and survivalists have toted with them in one form or another for generations.

Hatchets have a major benefit over a knife, in that they are designed for heavy usage in the field. Chopping small trees, splitting wood, and rough general usage are the tasks a hatchet is designed for. For someone heading to a heavily wooded area, that is predicting doing some heavy chopping and woodwork, a hatchet might be a good option.

Another benefit of a hatchet is the weight of the tool. Although a good hatchet is certainly heavier than a knife, they are still light enough to be strapped to a backpack and carried for considerable distances.

Men like the eastern long hunters and the mountain men of the west often carried a similar tool in a tomahawk. Hawks are lighter and are not as well adapted to heavy work. They can, however, be thrown, and generally come with longer handles which give the light head some torque when used. Personally, I carry a tomahawk on my trips as the reduced weight is ideal for me, and I don’t spend a lot of time splitting wood.

If you are going to constantly be moving camp, trekking, or just want a simple tool you can carry that is capable of heavy use, a hatchet or tomahawk is a good choice.

 

4 Tools to Cut and Chop Wood for Survival | Having-the-Right-Tool-to-Chop-Wood-Backdoor-Survival | News Articles Off-Grid & Independent Living PreparednessSurvival

Having the right tool for your situation is pivotal, and more importantly, individual.

Axe

Another tool that can really benefit someone in a survival situation is a good axe. An axe looks a lot like a hatchet, only much larger in size. These tools are well suited for anyone predicting to be doing an excessive amount of woodwork. Axes were used to fell trees by the pioneers to construct log cabins, build fortified walls, split firewood, and anything else that required the use of mature trees.

If your goal is to build similar structures in the woods, or want to create a large wood reserve, an axe should probably find its way into your kit.

Nearly all axes use a heavy axe head to sit on top of a long axe handle. The result of this is two-fold. One, you get a heavy duty axe head that can be somewhat abused and stand up to the task. Secondly, you can generate a good amount of speed and torque on the head as you swing it. This enticing combination is what made the axe a tool many woodsmen of the past carried with them while doing heavy work.

Not all axes are created equal, though. Before you choose an axe, you should consider what task you will be using it for.

Some axes are designed for splitting wood that has been cut. These typically have a flair in the head that acts as a wedge when driven into the wood. Other types are made specifically for chopping trees. These axes tend to have a smaller profile that makes the axe easier to remove while working.

There are double bit axes and broad axes. Each serves a specific purpose. Whatever task you plan on using your axe for, odds are there is a specialty axe for the job. You can also find a few designs that try to offer a mix of benefits. These could be referred to as the Jacks of all trades, Kings of none. They might be ideal for someone who can’t tote along a variety of heavy axes all the time.


The major downfall of an axe is its weight. Although the heavy head and long handle make using the tool ideal, it is not a combination that lends itself well to extended travel. If you are going to be in a situation where you can afford to stay in one place you might consider one. If you plan on doing any sort of frequent movement or travel, you may find it too cumbersome to drag along. However, if the ability to chop sizable wood is important to you, it might be worth taking along. It all depends on your needs, wants, and personal situation.

Saw

The final tool to cut and chop wood in a survival situation you may want to consider is the tool best suited for cutting wood; a saw. Saws come in all shapes, sizes, and designs, and might be something worth throwing in your bag. Today, we have the luxury of folding saws that are actually sturdy enough for heavy use. These saws stow away easily yet still have some beef to cut through fairly large logs. They are very popular with folks all around the country for their availability, compact nature, and convenience. Odds are you’ve probably seen one of your favorite YouTubers using one of these folding saws.

Another saw option out there is the takedown bucksaw. Takedown bucksaws come in many different designs, but the principle is the same. A takedown frame is put together with enough tension and support to spread and hold a saw blade tightly. Personally, I prefer this tool for several reasons. One, if it breaks you can make a new one, or fix your existing one, with just a few simple tools or materials you have lying around. Secondly, the blades are cheap, super lightweight, and stow away easily as long as you have something to store them in. Thirdly, the bucksaw design is comfortable to use. Not saying the folding saw isn’t, but I simply prefer the bucksaw.

If you’re looking at your local environment and think a saw would be handy and help you complete tasks you’d like to perform these two types of saws are probably your best options. Personally, I don’t often take a saw on my outings. Most of my camps are lightweight, portable, and easily moved. If I do happen to make a camp in one place for an extended period of time, that’s when the saw finds its way into my gear. Again, the tools you bring should reflect your particular situation.

 

Finding the Right Balance When Choosing Your Tools

Having the right tool to cut and chop wood in a survival situation is essential. For obvious reasons, wood will likely become the number one source of building materials in many areas. Having the correct tool for the job will allow you to get the job done more quickly and efficiently, thus opening up time for other chores you’ll need to take care of.

Knives, hatchets, axes, and saws are all possible cutting and chopping tools that could find their way into your pack. Some people can do just fine with a simple knife as their only cutting tool. Others may find the advantages of extra tools to balance out the weight. Finding the right balance is up to you.

The Final Word

I readily admit that there has been a good deal of trial and error involved with the personal selection of wood cutting tools.  I just wish I had read this article before making my selections because I now feel so much smarter!

That said, I do have a sizable collection of Moraknivs, both in my packs and in the kitchen. They are used in one manner or another on a daily basis.  I also have a decent axe, hatchet, and two different machetes. What comes next?  Getting outdoors and actually using them so I know what to do when my life depends on them for survival.

Which brings up another topic.  Perhaps down the road, Cody can provide us with tips for using these important tools in a safe manner.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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The post 4 Tools to Cut and Chop Wood for Survival appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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18 Practical Ways to Use the Ashes from Your Fireplace

18 Practical Ways to Use the Ashes from Your Fireplace | fireplace-wood-ashes | Off-Grid & Independent Living PreparednessSurvival

Do you heat your house with wood? What to do with the ashes is a question for most. Obviously, you want to take great care to dispose of them in a way that won’t start a fire, but did you know that the ashes have all sorts of uses?

Here’s an article from my good friend Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic, where this was originally published.

18 Uses For Wood Ash

Wood ash is suitable for much more than the compost heap.

Wood ash is composed of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, but also contains trace amounts of iron, manganese, sodium, boron, zinc, copper, and molybdenum. As it’s alkaline handle it with care especially when it’s wet and never mix it with nitrate based fertilisers unless you actually intended to produce ammonia gas!!

Did you know that:

  1. Putting wood ash on an ants nest forces them to relocate…the ash seems to cause them problems so they pack and leave.
  2. A pan of ash in the corner of a basement or other dark area will deter mice and roaches…not tried that one but assured by a friend it works.
  3. Decent sized lumps of wood charcoal will filter impurities out of water.
  4. Wood ash in a metal or ceramic container will dehumidify a damp space very well.
  5. Putting ash on a fire will snuff the flames instantly. We actually keep a decorative bucket of it near the fireplace just in case an ember hits the carpet.
  6. Neutralise acidic soil by adding wood ash, never use around tender young plants though as it’s too strong and will kill them off.
  7. Sprinkling wood ash around the edge of a young plant bed will deter slugs and snails from having a midnight feast. they don’t like it’s drying effect on their undersides. re-apply after rain.
  8. At up to 70% calcium carbonate wood ash can replace lime in a pinch.
  9. If you keep chickens ash mixed with sand makes a great dust bath for the birds.
  10. Make soap. Here’s a recipe
  11. Ash on paths and driveways prevent slipping and melts snow and ice. Messy as hell so make sure you have a mat so boots can be wiped before coming indoors. A bag of ash in the trunk is great for giving some grip if you get into a wheels spinning but going nowhere situation.
  12. The mildly abrasive nature of ash makes it excellent for cleaning up dull silver, metals and cloudy glassware, Make a thick paste and rub lightly. leave a few minutes and then polish off. Always wear gloves…it’s caustic.
  13. Wood ash neutralises bad smells. Great for home gyms, shed, garages etc, replace with fresh ash every few days.
  14. Blot up oil stains on drives and floors. Put the ask on the stain, stomp it in, leave for a few minutes and brush up.
  15. If your four legged friend got to close to a skunk help is at hand. Rub ash into the dogs coat and let him run around a while and then brush him…no more eau de skunk.
  16. Control algae in your pond. 1 tablespoon of ash per 1000 gallons of water improves the robustness of aquatic plants and inhibits algae growth.
  17. Clean glass on oven and wood stove doors. Make a thick paste, slap it on and wait a while. Scrape off the excess and then polish.
  18. Clean your teeth with pure wood ash…not ash from painted, varnished or treated wood. Clean your teeth with a dab of ash on the brush, rinse well and feel how clean they are.

Be sure to check out Underground Medic for more excellent practical articles like this.

The post 18 Practical Ways to Use the Ashes from Your Fireplace appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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How to Store Vegetables Without a Root Cellar

How to Store Vegetables Without a Root Cellar | vegetables | Off-Grid & Independent Living Organic Market Classifieds Organics PreparednessSurvival

Anyone who loves to garden, especially those who wish to be able to provide wholesome foods for themselves and their families and live independently enough to survive economic or natural disasters will need to know what to do with all of the surplus from the summer. It’s great to be able to eat vegetables right out of the ground, but it is just as important to have good food all winter long. There are many methods of preservation.

The way you store each vegetable will depend on its needs and its hardiness. Here are ways to keep all of your produce, and especially the root vegetables, in great shape for the long winter months.

Keeping “The Roots” in Good Shape For Storage

Root vegetables are a great resource because they can be stored easily and last a long time without extensive preparation. Plus, root vegetables are amongst the hardiest of the garden crops, and are relatively easy to store without processes such as canning, or even freezing. Here are some great ways to keep those delicious roots and other hardy vegetables in tip-top shape long after the garden has been harvested for the winter.

Put Them to Bed in Their Bed

One great way to store root vegetables like carrots, beets, potatoes and radishes is to leave them right where they are in the garden. Cover them well with a hefty bed of straw or wood shavings, or use a garden blanket that can be found in many hardware or garden stores to keep them tucked in nicely for whenever you need them.

Toss it in a Trash Can

If you have a garden, make use of it during the winter by digging a hole and burying a garbage can up to the lip in the ground. Then layer root vegetables inside, covering each layer with a generous topping of sawdust or straw, and sealing it with the cover. Open up the instant root cellar whenever you need to go “shopping” and pull out what you need from the top layer, then recover. It’s easiest to have a separate can for each type of vegetable being stored in this manner so that you can easily have access to what you need on the top layer of each particular can.

No Ground? No Problem

Even if you live in an apartment or city home with little or no outdoor space you can stock up on root vegetables when they are their most affordable, and have them all year long. All you have to do is build a quick and easy storage for them. A small plastic bin with a cover will do the job nicely. Even a plastic lined box will do well as long as it can be covered up.

Place the vegetables in layers, alternating each with sawdust, straw or a thick layer of newspaper and cover. Remove vegetables as needed all winter long. When kept inside the home, try to place the storage containers in a cool room that can be closed off from heat. Close vents and do not insulate windows in the room.

Know Each Individual Root’s Needs

Some vegetables like it dry and some like it damp. For those that like the atmosphere a little moist, storage in basements, attics, unheated garages, sheds, porches or covered decks are good spots. In homes without those areas, storing on an exterior wall, preferably with a north wall is the best choice. If the storage is in one of the outdoor locations or unheated garages or attics, the temperatures should always stay below 60 degrees, but not go below freezing.

The cold and damp root vegetables include:

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Potatoes

Those that prefer it cold and dry include:

  • Onions
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squashes

Most tubers love darkness. They are best stored in some type of box with a lid indoor, although you can also line a drawer or laundry basket and cover the roots with newspaper for insulation and to keep the light off of them.

Some, like potatoes, do not like it too cold. Allowing them to drop too much below 50 degrees will release the starches in them. Onions need much more air circulation than many of the root veggies. Storing them in a netting in a dark place or in a wire basket or laundry basket where air can circulate freely will keep them lasting all through the winter. They should not be covered at all, but they still need to be out of direct light.

Keep Them Growing for a Little Extra Bonus

Want some extra salad greens for soups and salads all winter long? Plant some beets, turnip or radish bulbs in a pot of soil and place it in a sunny location in your home. They will sprout delicious tops that can be cut continuously all winter for an added treat.

Be Aware of Shelf Life

Even the most well-preserved vegetable will have a shelf life. More tender roots such as beets, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, rutabagas, and turnips will only last 1 to 5 months in dry storage. Hardier roots like carrots, parsnips and potatoes can be stored for between 4 and 6 months. Powerhouses such as horseradish can last as long as a year in storage, but tender kohlrabi will only be good for a few weeks no matter how well you prepare the space.

Prepare Roots for Dry Storage

The better you handle the preparation for storing your root vegetables, the better chance they have for lasting. Make sure you harvest in cool, dry weather and let them dry out on the surface of the soil for 8 to 10 hours to toughen them up a little bit. Cut the foliage down to the crown, and make sure to only store clean, undamaged vegetables. Use up any that have any signs of damage or blemishes immediately.

Other Vegetable Preservation Methods

Preserving Fragile Vegetables

Certain vegetables require careful handling to last beyond their normal fresh shelf-life. These include watery vegetables such as zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Many other vegetables can be canned, or as you will see, are also storable in other ways.

Freeze What You Can

Freezing is a fantastic, easy and quick way to store almost anything from the garden. It is especially good for those vegetables you will be consuming within a three-month period.

Use only strong freezer bags and squeeze as much air out of them as possible when sealing the vegetables in. While this is a great way to store vegetables, it does take up a lot of valuable freezer space, even for homes with large stand-alone freezers. In addition, you could lose your frozen goods in an extended power outage.

For that reason, it is probably best to limit how many root and other vegetables are stored in this manner in favor of other methods.

Canning for Long-Term Dry Storage

Canning is a time-honored traditional way to store many of the types of vegetables that can’t keep on a shelf or root cellar. The drawback to canning is that it takes a lot of time, some special equipment, practice and the vegetables may contain more preservatives and salt than frozen or naturally stored vegetables do. In spite of the drawbacks, canning is an important resource for some of the more fragile vegetables that can’t be stored in other ways, such as tomatoes.

Dry Them Out

The water in the fragile vegetable group is what makes them harder to store. To preserve them for long periods of time without bulky jars or taking up precious freezer space, consider drying them. Use a dehydrator to remove all of the water, and store the shrunken vegetables in mason jars or sealed bags. They can be rehydrated for use in soups and cooking, or eaten dried for a great treat.

Dehydration works for all vegetables, even those that can be kept in storage for long periods of time. The best choices for dehydration are fruits like apples, bananas, peaches, and vegetables such as carrots, potatoes or squash.

 

The Final Word

It takes a little work to preserve your produce for long storage, but it’s worth it. You spent a lot of time planting, growing and protecting them in the garden. Remember that you do not have to pick just one storage method. Incorporate several types of preservation to maximize your space and get the most out of your garden produce.

By selecting the type of preservation or storage that suits the particular type of vegetable, and your own space you can enjoy the bounty of your garden even when the temperatures dip below freezing. It’s a great way to keep your family well-fed and happy regardless of what is going on in the outside world.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

The post How to Store Vegetables Without a Root Cellar appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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Court Officials Who Jailed a Veteran for Living Off-Grid Were “Just Doing Their Jobs” (VIDEO)

Court Officials Who Jailed a Veteran for Living Off-Grid Were “Just Doing Their Jobs” (VIDEO) | job-doing-hall-of-fame | Civil Rights Government Government Control Losing Rights Multimedia Off-Grid & Independent Living Sleuth Journal US News Veterans

Here’s an entry for the “Job-Doing Hall of Fame.”

What if your job meant that you had to go arrest a guy who just wanted to live off-grid on his own land? What if that guy was a veteran? What if his only crime was refusing a service that he was supposed to pay for, like public water or utilities?

Is it actually acceptable to go to his place, kidnap him, and hold him against his will for that?

If YOU are the person who takes any of those actions, are you to blame if you’re “just doing your job?”

Meet Tyler Truitt

Tyler Truitt is a veteran who owns two acres of land in Madison County, Alabama. He and his girlfriend live off-grid. They have a clean, well-cared-for home with solar panels and a rainwater collection system. They don’t have loud parties, deal drugs, or do anything else that could be deemed anti-social.

Well, except refusing to tie into the grid.

And the government can’t have that.

So, in the interest of keeping law and order in Indiana, a guy who served his country is being harassed by his local government because they deem that not having public utilities makes his home unsafe.

I don’t know about you, but I think the unsafe part is the government officials that commit such crimes as trespassing, kidnapping, and extortion.

Truitt and his girlfriend aren’t hurting anyone. They aren’t endangering the welfare of their neighbors. They aren’t stealing, causing a public health hazard, or damaging anybody’s property.

They’re just living free.

Here’s an interview with Tyler Truitt.

YouTube

After this interview, Tyler ended up going to court and was put on probation for his “crimes.”

It gets worse. During his probation, he had the audacity to return to his home.  His probation was revoked and last month, he was re-arrested. He spent 10 days, including Veteran’s Day, in jail, as punishment for living in his own home. Here’s a screenshot of his booking paperwork.

Court Officials Who Jailed a Veteran for Living Off-Grid Were “Just Doing Their Jobs” (VIDEO) | Screen-Shot-2016-12-12-at-08.37.14 | Civil Rights Government Government Control Losing Rights Multimedia Off-Grid & Independent Living Sleuth Journal US News Veterans
This saga has been going on for months and months.

Can you imagine living in your home, minding your own business, and waiting every day for the knock at the door that turns your life upside down and deprives you of your liberty because you choose to live on your own land without public water and electricity?

“Stop abdicating the personal responsibility for your own actions.”

Truitt posted this powerful message on his Facebook page regarding his time in jail:

A Message from Tyler

Today is November 20, 2016. As many of you know, I spent the week before last in jail. The judge had ordered me to serve a 10 day sentence in addition to fines. This was in relation to the trial last year which has been under appeal for some months. The ultimate outcome of which we lost and I was ordered to serve the time. This concludes all pending legal action at the time, but what we expect to happen is for the city to come cite us again and start this process all over again. I’m not sure exactly what they’re planning to do, but I’m sure this won’t be the end of it.

As for my experience in jail, there is one aspect of all this I briefly wanted to mention. Most of the jail and court, city, county etc. employees seem to be on our side. I had numerous guards tell me they thought our situation was messed up and apologize for what is happening to us. The deputy at the courthouse even said “Hey, aren’t you that guy who was on TV living off grid? I can’t believe they are doing this to you. That’s really messed up.” As he proceeded to carry me out without a word of protest to anyone else. That seems to be the common sentiment, and what I want you to notice is the key word “they”. People always say “they”, as if that person, “just doing their job”, has nothing at all to do with this. Just a bunch of little cogs in a big machine all doing their little part with no control over their own actions.

The best thing about jail is that when you are in there, you know you’re a prisoner, no questions about it. Complete with orange jumpsuit, metal bars, and bland, hastily prepared prison food. But what about the people on the outside? All those little cogs just doing a job with no control over their own actions? Going to a job they hate every day and doing exactly as they are told even when it irks their own moral conscience. I think this begs the question, “Who is the real prisoner?” And what kind of invisible walls inside our minds force us to act this way?

Many people are living like a prisoner, and yet still believing they are free. Because we have this grand illusion of freedom, a prison without walls, and so many choices (Should I go to Burger King or Taco Bell for lunch today?) we continue on touting how much freedom we all have, as we compliantly and unquestioningly carry out our orders. Because we have bills to pay and obligations that must be upheld. Obligations so pressing that we would do things which violate our own values and sense of self.

Now maybe some of you out there (especially law enforcement or military) are saying to yourself, “Sure I have to do things at work which make me feel uncomfortable, but I would never do anything too bad. I could stop myself before I do anything seriously unethical or unspeakable.” Possibly, but just where do you draw the line? Maybe for you that line isn’t drawn at incarcerating someone just for living peacefully on their own property (like my situation). But where is it? Is it when you are told to mace protesters? Or lie to cover up the actions of other officers? Is it when you’re asked to round up millions of Hispanic people for deportation? Or when you are ordered to force all Muslims into a concentration camp? Is it when you have to torture prisoners? Or is it when you’re made to confiscate weapons from your fellow patriotic Americans? How about when they tell you to shoot anyone who offers the least bit of resistance?

The point is that every time you’re forced to do something you feel is wrong without putting up the least bit of resistance, you only further train your mind to be compliant. Now is when it’s easy to say no. Do you think it will be any easier when people are rioting and there is chaos everywhere to make the right decision when you only have a moment to decide? Let’s remember, all the people at the Nuremburg trials were just following orders too, and I’m sure most of them never imagined themselves doing the types of things they did.

I guess what I’m asking all of you to do is remember that the choice actually is yours. All those invisible walls only exist in our minds, but we can tear them down and see what real freedom feels like. Stop living like a slave or prisoner to some giant system. Instead of “they”, it’s “we”. Stop abdicating the personal responsibility for your own actions. If you can do that, then you will truly be free. We don’t need to depend on some presidential savior, Trump, Bernie, Hillary, Obama, etc. to make America great again and make all our choices for us. America is the people, all of us. Only through our own actions, taking personal responsibility and making ourselves great, can each of us do our part to make America great.

If you read all of this, thank you for your time.

Tyler Truitt

There is nothing I can add to that. Go here to help fund Truitt’s legal battle and here to follow the story on Facebook.

 

Article first posted at DaisyLuther.com

The post Court Officials Who Jailed a Veteran for Living Off-Grid Were “Just Doing Their Jobs” (VIDEO) appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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