As Final Preppers, we need to be ever resourceful, and growing our own food and making our own medicines certainly is part of that mindset. Here are some simple instructions in making two things – first, hard apple cider (cider with alcohol) and secondly, further fermenting the hard cider to make apple cider vinegar.

Making Hard Apple Cider

The first thing you need, naturally, are apples. Not just any apple will do, you will need apples that ripen in the fall or winter. These apples contain more sugar than summer and green apples, which don’t make good cider. In a pinch you can use any apples; you might just have to increase the sugar content of your ferment, more on this later. Let us begin:

  1. Gather up the fruit you need and wash it to remove any dirt and debris from the skins of the apples.
  2. Now, take the fruit and crush it into pulp, if you have an apple press it will be much easier.
  3. Drain off the juice from the pulp. If you don’t have an apple press, use cheesecloth to strain the juice and separate it from the pulp.

You can also make your hard cider from apple cider that you have bought. It can be from commercial ciders because they are usually pasteurized and this will ultimately affect the flavor.

There are two kinds of pasteurization, cold and hot.

Cold pasteurization is done with ultraviolet light to kill o the microorganisms and this is the preferred method because it impacts the flavor less than heat pasteurization.

At this point you have two choices.

You can put the juice in a large glass bottle and cover the top with a double layer of cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band and place it in a dark, cool place for several months, the ideal temperature being around 60 degrees F. Natural wild yeasts in the air will enter the juice and start the fermentation process. Is slower than the second method of adding active yeast cultures to your juice.

Note: Bread yeasts are not good for this. You can use dry wine yeasts that work fine; these can be found online or from any home-brew store. Dry wine yeast packs are very inexpensive and work just as well as cider yeasts.

You can also make your own starter. This is your own active culture which you can add to lots of batches of cider. The formula for your own starter is:

  • First, pour out about one-fifth of your cider out of its bottle; you will need this room for fermentation.
  • Crumble one cake of cultivated yeast into the remaining one quart of cider.
  • Reseal the bottle and shake it vigorously for a few seconds and then reseal the bottle.
  • Within five or six hours you should start to see bubbling in the bottle; now fermentation has begun.
  • Once you see this, lift a corner of the bottle’s lid to release the pent up gases within the bottle and then reseal it and put it in the refrigerator.
  • To use it as a starter you will need to take it out of the refrigerator again and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours before you add it to your next batch of cider.

This will make enough starter for approximately five gallons of cider. Doing this step is optional, but I recommend doing it because if you have a bad batch of yeast then you have not ruined a large bottle of cider. You will know if it is a bad or dead batch of yeast because it will not begin the bubbling signifying that fermentation has begun.

Only use glass, ceramic, or stainless steel to make cider, do not use other metals or plastic which will react with the ferment and leach out toxins into the cider. The acid in the cider will also corrode most metals except stainless steel.

It is best to sanitize your container or vessel. This step is not critical but highly recommended or you could possible spoil your cider. Sanitizing your container is relatively easy; here is how I recommend it:

  1. Pour a cup of bleach into your vessel or container
  2. Fill it with cold water
  3. Swish it around
  4. Let it sit for about a half an hour
  5. Then pour it out and rinse thoroughly with cold, clean water.
  6. Repeat this process one or two more times to get any smell of bleach out of the container.

Now take your cider and add either your starter or directly add your yeast.

  • Stir the mix with either a plastic or stainless steel spoon for several minutes to mix it well and then seal the lid.
  • Place your container in a room, closet, or basement.
  • The ideal temperature for fermentation of cider is about 60 F, but anywhere from 60-75 degrees F will work.
  • If the room is too cold it will stop the fermentation and if it is too warm it will speed it up too much and will change the flavor.
  • The temperature is very important for proper fermentation and you should make every effort to keep it as close to 60 degrees F as you can; doing this correctly now will really pay off in the end.
  • Within a few days, you will see gas bubbling from the airlock. This is great news; that is carbon dioxide, a by-product of the fermentation process. We are now on our way to making some great cider.
  • This bubbling will subside after about two weeks, signaling the end of the first step or primary fermentation.
  • Now let the cider sit for a few more weeks to allow the yeast in it to settle out.
  • At this point, you can pour the cider off into smaller bottles or jugs that have been sanitized
  • Reseal them and allow them to sit for a week or two and then they will be ready to drink. When performing this step be careful not to slosh around the large container as this will raise the yeast sludge from its bottom and cloud up your cider. This is only cosmetic and does not affect the cider in any other way.
  • Keep in mind that your cider will most likely be “still”, meaning it is not fizzy.
  • However, if you let it sit for several months the fermentation will produce some fizz. Cider is like wine, it does improve with age.
  • The alcohol content of your cider can be raised by raising the amount of sugar that is in your cider for the yeast to ferment and change to alcohol.
  • To sweeten the cider, add either honey or brown sugar before you add the yeast or starter to it. This will raise the sugar content of the cider and once fermented will raise its alcohol content as well.

Now you have completed the first step in making hard cider. This step is also known as yeast fermentation for obvious reasons, and is done anaerobically or without oxygen. If you want to drink some of your cider, now is the time. Usually the alcohol content of most ciders is about twice that of beer, so enjoy yourself.

Making Apple Cider Vinegar

Now if you want to go on to make apple cider vinegar, this involves changing the alcohol of the cider to acetic acid of vinegar.

This step is known as “acetic acid fermentation” and is carried out by the acetobacter bacteria and unlike step one, this is done aerobically or in the presence of oxygen. The production of apple cider vinegar from apple cider involves two critical factors; temperature and oxygen content.

The temperature has to be as close to 60 F as you can get it and you have to stir your brew daily to introduce oxygen into the mix. Also covering the brew with cheesecloth will allow oxygen to enter.

The first step in the conversion of hard apple cider to apple cider vinegar is to pour off the cider into the containers you want to use to ferment your cider. These have to be sanitized as explained above. Only fill the containers about three-quarters of the way, and cover it with cheesecloth and keep it out of direct sunlight and as mentioned at as close to 60 F, but no warmer than 80 F. Take a large, stainless steel or plastic spoon and stir the contents daily to introduce oxygen into your mix.

Each time you are finished stirring, replace your cheesecloth cover. This will allow oxygen to continue to enter your mix and will allow the bubbling off of carbon dioxide from the fermentation. A mat of what is known as mother will develop at the bottom of your mix. This is harmless and is a natural part of the fermentation by the acetobacter bacteria.

Full fermentation will take about three to four weeks. As the vinegar is maturing, the mix will get a vinegar smell. This is from the acetic acid formed by its conversion from alcohol. The taste will mature over time. You should taste your mix periodically to see how far along you have reached.

When your vinegar is fully fermented you can filter it through either several layers of cheesecloth, or a plain coffee filter will work just fine. The filtering will remove the “mother of vinegar” or the cloudy sediment that has accumulated from the fermentation process. This does not have to be done and is only a matter of preference. Personally, I prefer the mother in my vinegar. However, if you choose to remove the mother this will prevent further fermentation and will prevent the vinegar from ultimately spoiling.

Another method to prevent spoilage and ensure indefinite storage of your vinegar is to pasteurize it. Pasteurization is done with heat and you have to do it at just the right temperature. This requires a minimum of 140 degrees F and a maximum of 160 degrees F. This will kill off the acetobacter bacteria and allow the vinegar to be stored indefinitely.

You do this by placing the bottle of vinegar in a large pan of water and bringing the water to the 140 to 160 F range as stated above. You should use a cooking thermometer to ensure the proper temperatures. As soon as this level is reached, remove your vinegar bottle from the pan of water and allow it to cool. Store it out of sunlight in a cool area at as close to 60 degrees F as you can. Remember, the vinegar reacts with its container and can only be stored in glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bottles.

Flavoring Your Vinegar

You can also flavor your vinegars if you like. This can be done with a variety of items including garlic, green onions, ginger, and various herbs. is will also boost the nutritional content and allow you to make some delicious vinegar that is also very nutritious.

Flavoring your vinegar with plant parts whose molecular size is too large to normally use in essential oils is not a problem, and they can easily be introduced into vinegar. The reason this can be done is because vinegar is being ingested, broken down and absorbed by your intestinal tract.

This will also allow you a method to introduce larger plant molecules that can be ingested and absorbed in the intestines that otherwise would be too large to cross the skin in an essential oil. To flavor a vinegar, suspend the vegetable or herb that you want in a small cheesecloth bag and leave it in the vinegar, usually for four days with the exception of garlic, which is only one day. Make every effort not to overload the vinegar, too much vegetable matter will ruin the acid and ruin the preservation of the vinegar and ultimately cause it to spoil.

A good rule of thumb is to mix as follows:

For every two cups of vinegar add the following for each flavor:

  • Fresh Herbs
  • use half a cup Dried herbs,
  • use one tablespoon Garlic,
  • use two large cloves Green onions, use eight small

What do you think? Still here with me? Would you surprised to find out this recipe comes from a book that has it all? Written by real doctor? His name is Ralph La Guardia. And the book is The Doomsday Book Of Medicine. And you can only find it here, at Final Prepper. Like, really.

I’m just saying.

You do the math.

Until next time, God Bless. And don’t forget to tell me when I’m right or wrong, good or bad…

As Final Preppers, we need to be ever resourceful, and growing our own food and making our own medicines certainly is part of that mindset. Here are some simple instructions

I never imagined that there’s anything better to start a fire than char cloth. Well, times have changed, and so have I. At least about the fire-starting bit.

Ever heard about steel wool? Yes, I know it sounds rather contradictory, but this thing which, by the way, our grandparents used to scrub clean all those pots and pans, is everything a prepper may expect to find when reading our articles.

Apart from the fact that steel wool goes up in flame like its gasoline or something, it has tons of other uses around the house and, of course, in survival-type situations.

Fascinated by this – I don’t know how to call it – a byproduct of the metalworking industry, I spend a couple of hours searching for ways preppers utilize this stuff. What can I say, other than the fact that I struck gold? So, without further ado, here are 6 ways to use steel wool in a shit hits the fan situation, both in and out of the house.

Prevent drain clogging

I’ve always hated the idea of playing repairmen around the house (at least in rooms that have nothing to do with the bedroom). You want to know why? Because everything can be avoided if everyone around the house would exercise a quint little thing called common-sense. Recently, I had to unclog the bathtub’s drain two times because my wife has this thing about washing the dogs more often than necessary.

Anyway, I found out that a great way to prevent these mishaps would be to put some still wool around the drain before taking a bath. That thing sucks up every lock of hair like it were a sponge or something. You should also try using it in your kitchen’s sink, especially if you don’t have a garbage disposer.

No more loose screws

You probably know how frustrating it can be to try and drive a screw through a piece of wood when the hole’s too big. Well, you can try your luck finding a screw to fit the hole (pun intended), or you can use this simple prepper’s trick – wrap some steel wool around the screw and give it one more twist. If you don’t have any, take rip a small piece from a match, and stick it in the hole.

No more mice around the house

If you’re having critter trouble, snoop around a bit to see where they’re coming from. Once you find the mouse hole, cover it with a big piece of steel wool. Don’t worry about the mouse chewing through it – never going to happen!

Keep things sharp

If you ever run out of sharpening stones (true story here), you can use a wad of steel wool to keep your tools in working conditions. Works great on knives, but steel wool really works wonders on blunt scissors. Just take a big piece and snip it a couple of times with your scissors. You’ll get that thing sharpened in no time.

No more critters in the exhaust pipes

Winter comes, many people allow their cars and motorcycles to take a breather until spring. Nothing odd about this. However, what about them critters which tend to crawl into the exhaust pipes and air intakes? Apart from the fact that you end up gassing them to death once you start the engine, the stuff they bring along with them can clog the exhaust, resulting in engine damage and, possible, carbon monoxide poisoning.

Plugging the exhaust is the most obvious. Still, you don’t need to buy something very expensive to get the job done. Take a wad of steel cloth and shove it inside the air intake and the exhaust. You can wrap a bright-colored cloth or take around the pipes which you’ve stuffed with steel wool to serve you as a reminder to take them up before using the car.

Make rusty tools shine again

While searching for some stuff around the attic, I stumbled upon a small toolbox with several rusty tools inside. Asked my dad about them, and apparently, they belonged to my grandfather. Seeing the state they were in made my heart bleed, which meant I had to do something about it. Luckily, I had a pack of steel wool in my garage which made my job a lot easier. If you have rusty tools, try giving them a good scrub with a wad of steel wool. Works like a charm.

Now, if you really want to restore them to their former glory, you can try this trick – fill a tub with Coca-Cola and put every rusty tool inside. Let them soak overnight. Early in the morning, take them out and use a towel or cloth to remove the excess liquid. After drying them, scrub them with steel wool. You won’t find shinier tools anywhere. By the way, this method works on chrome surface as well.

Remove persistent wood stains

I’ve never seen true Hell until my wife put her coffee mug on the small living room table I just bought. You know those rings on the bottom of the mug that usually form when the coffee goes over the edges? They never go away. And, no matter how hard you scrub that wood surface, you won’t be able to remove it.

Well, least I thought before using steel wool. Encouraged by the kickass results I had with restoring grandpa’s rusty tool, I attempted to apply the same method on the wood table. Wouldn’t you know it? It worked! I had my share of doubts about using something as abrasive as steel wool on a fine surface, but, apparently, it didn’t leave any scratches. If you’re having the same issues, try a wad of steel wool.


Well, that’s about it for my uses of steel wool around the house. Sorry for not writing a word or two about its fire-starting abilities, but it seemed like self-implied. Anyway, hope you liked my article. As always, for comments, additions, rants or all three of them, hit the comments section.

Apart from the fact that steel wool goes up in flame like its gasoline or something, it has tons of other uses around the house and, of course, in survival-type

How come today’s subject is money, when is Tools Day here, at Final Prepper? Well, simply because starting today, I want you all to refer to money as the tool that it is. Come on now, isn’t that the truth?

I mean, money, as an object, won’t make you happy. But what you can do with it, definitely will. Try and look at it from this new perspective, and things may change sooner than you think.

Cash reserves are as necessary to survive in our modern world as beans, bullets or band-aids.

Many survivalists prophesy that cash won’t be any good in a disaster. I try to stay out of the business of predicting the future. Instead, I just try find fragility and root it out. If the past is any guide, cash has been supremely useful in most disasters, so it’s high on my list of “must-have” emergency preparations.

I use the term ‘cash’ loosely in this article. Consider it to refer not only to banknotes, but to any form of wealth that is easily portable and widely valued. “Cash is King!” is a phrased used to emphasize the importance of maintaining sufficient cash reserves. Unfortunately, the term is most often used when analyzing business or personal financial failures and keeping enough cash on hand is as relevant to survivalists as it is to finance.

I should point out that I’m not recommending that you covert all your investments to cash and store it in your bugout bag. What I am recommending is simply that you not put all your eggs in one basket.

Cash Can be Held in Your Possession

Money in bank accounts or investments may be impossible to access without electricity or access to the internet. If storage media is irretrievably damaged, accurate and timely records could be lost. If you can’t get at your money, it won’t do you any good. Cash doesn’t have these drawbacks.

Cash is Portable

$100,000 in $100 bills is about the size of a large book. Needing to hide a lot of wealth in a small space is a good problem to have, as problems go. If you’re lucky enough to have this problem, you might consider 500 Euro banknotes, gold or similar forms of portable wealth.

Cash is Liquid

To spend precious metals, they must first be exchanged for cash at a bullion exchange. Accessing bank accounts or investments without electricity or the internet may be impossible.

Most people entrust nearly all their wealth to bank accounts, CDs and certain types of retirement accounts that are FDIC insured. For most types of accounts, this insurance has been reduced to a maximum of $100,000 per account, per bank and stocks, bonds, annuities, mutual funds and many other types of investments are not covered at all.

Unless you own your home outright, if you miss a payment, you set the eviction process in motion. If you live in an apartment, do not expect your landlord or the bank to take pity on you if the banking system goes down. With sufficient cash reserves, you can keep making payments if the banking system goes down.

Unfortunately, even if you own your home, you don’t really own your home. Miss a property tax payment and you set a process in motion that allows the government to sell your home to recoup the unpaid taxes.

One solution is to set cash aside cash to pay your rent, mortgage or property taxes in case you lose your source of income. When allowed, sometimes the better option is to prepay. Prepaying future expenses that you will almost certainly have to pay anyway also protects you in the event of hyperinflation, which could drive up the price of housing, but not if you have already prepaid.

When calculating how much cash you need on hand, consider mortgages, leases and zoning laws. You may be required to pay for power, gas, parking and other services to keep your residence, even if you don’t use those services or they are on again, off again. If sheltering in place is figures into your plans, you had better have cash reserves.

Major Disasters

In my line of work, I get to talk to a lot of survivors and a Hurricane Katrina survivor I spoke with was a good example of the need for cash in emergencies. His household was more prepared than most. In particular, he had a generator. Because his generator was the sole source of electricity for their family, and eventually for all the neighbors who could hear it running, he ended up running more than he planned. As time went by, gas usage increased, gas became harder to find and gas prices soared. When gas could be found, lines were long and vendors only accepted cash.

Since his generator ran on unleaded instead of propane, it cost upwards of $400/week to feed it. One week turned into two, and then two weeks turned into four, and they had not planned on an extra $1,600 per month above and beyond what they spent on hotel rooms and travel expenses to house family members who had evacuated, and nobody was getting paid. In serious disasters, money becomes very useful, while bank cards often become useless.

 

Stability to Face an Uncertain Future

With few exceptions, disasters and emergencies cannot be predicted. If we could predict them, they wouldn’t be emergencies. They’d just be one more thing to plan for, like a house payment or saving for college. Because we can’t predict them, emergencies seem to materialize out of the blue and our best plans often fall short. Cash reserves give you the time and resources to respond to volatility whether it takes the form of job loss, a large-scale disaster or some threat you haven’t even considered yet.

Deflation

Inflation and hyperinflation are not the only risks. In deflation, investments in the stock market lose value and banks go bust. Cash reserves ensure that you can weather the storm because, while investments like stocks and bonds will lose money, the value of cash will increase. This increase can help offset your losses if you possess enough cash.

Minor Emergencies

Small fires, medical emergencies, loss of employment, car accidents, robberies, vehicle theft, home invasions, vandalism, identity theft … these events result from the low order volatility that is life’s soundtrack. Lesser ups and downs happen all the time, so be ready for them.

Supply Your Own Credit

Cash in reserve means you do not need to use credit and do not miss payments, which means no interest, NSF charges, late fees or penalties. I have not used a credit card in almost fifteen years now. I also haven’t paid a dime of interest. People who understand interest collect it. Those who don’t, pay it.

Privacy

Privacy has become mighty expensive for a human right. The costs of separating your mailing address from your residence address, separating your name from your vehicle registration and license plates, buying burner phones and other privacy tools can really add up. Survivalists wanting to maintain personal, group or operations security would be well advised to save up a few thousand dollars in cash before attempting to drop off the radar because it can get expensive.

The first step to making yourself hard to find is to move and sell any vehicles. You’ll need a ghost address or two, mail forwarding, PO Boxes, some computer and phone hardware and you’ll probably have to set up a few LLC’s. You’ll also want to stop using credit. Each of these steps costs a little money up front, but not using credit is likely to save the average American more than they’ll spend on the whole shooting match.

Self-Recovery

Always carry money, even in the wilderness, because you’re not planning to stay there forever. When you do make your way back to civilization, you’ll need cash. Should you make it out of the wilderness under your own power, you can buy food and a drink and go to a hotel or go home. Otherwise, you’ll be a refugee or a victim staying in a shelter if you’re lucky.

Because self-recovery takes money, cash, local currency, gold coins and gold rings are sometimes issued to military personnel who operate in or fly over enemy territory. It’s cheaper and puts fewer lives at risk than a rescue mission.

 

Cash Makes it Possible to Invest

Investors play the long game. Without enough cash in reserve, you can be pressured to sell at the worst possible moment. Buying low and selling high is easier said than done when your investments tank and you do not have sufficient cash reserves to weather the storm. Without those cash reserves, you may be forced to sell low just to pay your bills.

Money is Multi-Use

Effective survival planning and equipment must be versatile, adaptable and multi-use and few pieces of survival equipment are as multi-use as money. Properly used, it is hard to equal the utility of cash anyplace you deal with other people.

Although operatives do not normally carry firearms on foreign soil, they do carry money. They can lay hands on firearms, when necessary, but carrying a firearm in a foreign country can create more problems than it solves. They don’t just dole out money to make people like them, but it’s easier to like someone who is generous, and pays their own way. Keeping commitments, especially financial commitments, is the key to building relationships of trust.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in the Same Basket

How often do monetary systems collapse? It depends what part of the world you live in, but even in most of Africa and South America, most people still do business in the local currency most of the time.

I do not advocate keeping all your assets in cash. That would be putting all your eggs in one basket. I don’t advocate putting all of your money in the bank. The safest strategy is to diversify. Leave some money in the bank, invest some, put some in precious metals, put some in local currency and some in a stable foreign currency. Invest some in hard assets like food storage and other survival stores. Just don’t store them all under the same roof.

If someone tells you to put all your money into any one place, I would view that advice with a healthy dose of suspicion.

Detachment

It may be because you house is on fire or due to some other disaster or due to a threat to your security, but independent of the “why”, some day you may need to walk out the door and never come back. If that day ever comes, having sufficient cash reserves tucked away gives you the option to walk away.

Survival Uses for Cash

  • Use a pay phone – Cell towers are often overloaded during emergencies but pay phones use land lines, which are a completely different system that sees comparatively less use due to the popularity of cell phones. Carry lists of pay phones for areas where you spend time.
  • Transportation – Use cash to take a taxi or a bus if they are functioning.
  • Social Engineering – Getting people to do what you want is easier when you have money to obtain needed resources.
  • Communicate without being Tracked – Use cash to buy a burner phone and an airtime card.
  • Air up a tire – Every driver has needed to air up a tire at some point and only been able to find places that require quarters.
  • Pay for internet access at an internet café – Believe it or not, there are still airports without WiFi. I found one while I was in a rush to buy a ticket online so I wouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg.
  • Rent a Room – It’s harder to make money when you are living out of a backpack in a campsite and chances are that you’ll need to make some money at some point.
  • Last Minute Purchases – There are some things that may be difficult to stock up on, like certain prescription medications. Even the most prepared of folks might benefit from a few “last minute purchases.”
  • Last Minute Purchases – Some things are tough to stock up on, such as prescription medications. Even the most prepared of folks would probably benefit from a few “last minute purchases” when disaster strikes.
  • Car Parts or Repairs – Finding parts or repairs can be difficult off the beaten path. I have run into folks on backroads trying to bargain combinations of cash and property for a full-size spare tire or something else they needed. Most of the time, they end up having to offer a whole lot more in even a partial barter than they would have in cash, so be sure to bring enough cash that don’t wind up trying to scalp deer tags on the side of the road due to a blowout.

How to Start Saving Cash

I did this and am a much happier person for it. Give it a try and you’ll get out of debt and have more discretionary income to invest in becoming more self-reliant.

  • Visualize Why it’s Important to Save Cash – Before you start, visualize your reasons for wanting to do this. People think they fail due to lack of willpower, but that’s not why they fail. They fail because they don’t sufficiently commit themselves to their cause. One your vision changes, your attitudes and behaviors will naturally fall in line because they are functions of vision.
  • Save Enough to Pay Your Expenses for a Month – Have a month’s expenses on hand gives you 30-days to create a plan and then act on it. Once you have a month of reserves on hand, then go for two, then three and so on.
  • Stop Using Credit – When I was a young man, if I wanted something, I had to set to work and save up enough money to buy it. Today, credit offers a quick fix, enabling young people right out of college to buy everything their parents accumulated over a lifetime of hard work. The truth is that they don’t need it, they just want it. They swipe their plastic and start making payments, much of which is interest. The solution is to stop using credit.

Not using saves big money in interest and pays dividends in increased privacy. You can even pre-pay rent. When you prepay, you aren’t asking the vendor, bank or landlord to loan you money, so there is a whole lot less paperwork, which protects your privacy. So, pay cash.

The other side of not using credit is to stop buying things you don’t really need. Most people pay for all sorts of things they don’t really need. If you’re in debt, cut out everything you don’t absolutely need and use debt stacking to get out of debt. That means no cable TV, no new clothes, cancel all your subscriptions, cut deep. In the end, Diversify Your Cash Reserves – If all the cash you have on hand is in US bank notes, you could be hard hit if the dollar loses much of its value. Splitting those reserves between more than one currency and precious metals ensures that you won’t lose everything if the dollar takes a hit.


If Cache Valley Prepper’s Article is not enough, here are two different ways of making the extra money we all need in order to prep like there IS tomorrow. First comes from #1 Best-Selling Author Zach Scheidt who shows you 47 life-changing income “tricks”. And the second teaches you how to understand the government-issued Social Security handbook. In case you didn’t know, this is a whopping 835 pages. Inside, there is some info that could work in your favour, money wise. And even if you do find it, it is confusing… loaded with big words… and saddled with bureaucracy. Get here the done-for-you help you need to make it worth your while and your money.

Starting today, I want you all to refer to money as the tool that it is. Come on now, isn't that the truth? Is not money making us happy, but all

Sometimes in the preparedness folds, we really get wrapped around axles. We have so much that we’re learning and trying to do, and we’re regularly doing it on a budget – which is just one more thing that circles around our heads and beats us up.

We can limit some of the pains of preparedness by changing how we look at things, but also how we do things. Gardening and larger-scale growing is routinely on our to-do list. It’s something that’s going to come as a shock for those who don’t practice ahead of time, no matter how many tricks get applied. However, we can save some time and stress on our bodies with a few low-cost and low-skill tricks and tools, and see increased yields. Bigger yields means lower dinner costs and potentially some increased food storage, letting us expand our preparedness in other ways.

Here are a handful of quickie, usually highly inexpensive – easy garden hacks to save time, money and labor. As you read them, don’t forget: paper products are compostable.

Mulch

Mulch makes life easier.

In some forms of mulch gardening, the mulch stays right there year-round. Some styles use a mulch that in hot, damp climates rots enough during the off-season and is tilled in that winter or early in spring. In others, we scoot aside just enough to drop seeds or transplants in during succession plantings, add amendments like cured manure or compost or pH-raising pine by raking it just into or over the surface, and add mulch more slowly.

Mulch can be straw or wood chips, lightly soiled animal litter, mown or whole leaves, the tips of branches we’re pruning, or shredded white paper. Shredded paper will settle into a mat that makes it tough for weeds, but “loose” mulch routinely does better with a weed suppression barrier down first.

We can use newsprint, cardboard, or phone book pages as a weed suppressor and to keep small plants free of dirt kicked up by rain. We won’t get the same moisture-holding and soil aeration improvements, we will still have to weed some, especially if we already have beds that are weed prone, but it lessens our time spent sitting or crouched and bent over.

Mulch lessens the pains of gardening. We don’t weed as much, our plants do better, and we don’t have to water as much.

Plastic bottles

olla-drip-irrigators-easiest-way-to-do-it-plantcaretoday_com

Sub-irrigated planters for buckets and storage tubs and conventional planters can be made using bottles for the tubes instead of aquarium or garden hoses or PVC.

We don’t store water or foods in milk jugs because they’re porous and can leach previous content out slowly, but they have their place among soda and juice bottles in the garden.

Various bottles can be used to make mini-greenhouses, cloches, scoops, and seed spreaders, as well as mouse and rat traps (2Ls can work for small squirrels and chipmunks, too, or slow them down enough for the garden terriers to get there). They’re great for vertical strawberry and herb and lettuce towers. We can use them to keep cord from tangling, and punch various holes to use for spreading amendments and treatments. Whack them in half, use sourdough starter and water or beer, and they catch horrific numbers of slugs.

For time savers and back savers, though, bottles really excel at helping us water.

Sub-irrigated planters for buckets and storage tubs and conventional planters can be made using bottles for the tubes instead of aquarium or garden hoses or PVC.

Whether we grow in raised beds or tilled rows, mulched beds or lasagna beds, we can use bottles as a spin on irrigation, too. We can drill holes all over, bury it near our plants, and use a hose to fill it quickly.

A similar version plants the bottle cap-down, with holes drilled in the cap and the sloping neck, and the inverted bottom cut entirely or with just enough remaining to make a flap. Those are even easier and faster to fill, with less aim needed.

The water from those will then sink out slowly, watering deep at the roots and watering our plants, not the weeds or walkways. Less water is lost to evaporation, and we don’t have to deal with timers or hose connections, or PVC to avoid standing out there forever to slowly sink in water. We pour it in, fill it up, and move to the next. If it’s really hot and dry, we might need to repeat, but it’s a low-tech, low-expense way to work faster than standing there with a hose or moving hoses back and forth so we can mow.

Maybe that means less time on our feet overall, or maybe that lets us progress to our weeding and suckering or the next round of planting.

Seeding time – The Dibble

A dibble is basically just something that makes a hole for us. Usually, it’s a somewhat shallow hole and it’s usually intended for seeds but we can work with that. There are two general types, rolling or boards, although with leek dibbles (which work with any transplant), you walk around with a rake or double-handle tool poking your holes. Boards are typically set up with dowels that will poke holes, or come as cutouts and we use something to poke holes to our desired depths. Rolling dibbles tend to be drum or wheel style.

drum-or-rolling-dibbler-and-dibble-board-www_ncat_org

There are two general types, rolling or boards.

Plans are out there for dibblers that can run from almost nothing if you salvage parts or make minis out of coffee cans and 12” PVC or make a single, double- or triple row dibble wheel out of bikes from Craigslist. Drum styles can cost as much as $100-200 to make at home if you’re inclined to go that route instead. Some of the really fancy board dibblers even get marked in colors so one board can be used for spacings from 1” to 6”.

In no-till schemes where you drag a pointed hoe to clear a spot for seeds, dibble wheels tend to be handy. In tall raised beds and window boxes or trays, a board dibbler may be more beneficial.

Using dibbles at whatever scale we choose to lets us quickly mark the space for seeds and transplants. Even if we have to go back with a post hole digger for some of those transplants, time spent upright instead of crouched tends to make for happier backs.

Seeding time – Furrowing rake

A furrowing rake is the simple DIY result of adding tight, relatively stiff hose or PVC to an ordinary hay or garden rake, and using it to drag lines along a prepared bed. It’s typically done so that the extensions are movable, letting us go as tight as the 1-1.5” gaps of the rake tines out to the full 1-2’ width of that rake.

We can get as complex as we like, adding marker lines to tell us how deep we’re aiming, or using multiple depths so we can plant cutting salad greens in the shallowest grooves and have deeper grooves for our peas. We can drag it both down and across a bed to create a grid, with seeds going at the cross points.

rake-with-hose-for-seed-spacing-1-themarthablog-dot-com

A furrowing rake is the simple DIY result of adding tight, relatively stiff hose or PVC to an ordinary hay or garden rake, and using it to drag lines along a prepared bed.

Taking a few minutes to prep some moveable rods or pipes and lay out our grid – while standing – limits how much measuring we do while we’re bent or crouched, saving time and pain with a very quick and low-cost trick.

Seeding tubes or pipes

Dibbles and furrowing aren’t the only way to limit how much time we spend crouched over during seeding time. Even a congestion-planting scheme that calls for under-seeding doesn’t have to be done from a stool or our knees.

All you really need is a pipe smooth enough for seeds to roll through cleanly and sturdy enough to stand up straight.

If you want to work with tiny seeds as well as larger ones, maybe you lay on skinnier aquarium tubing to attach to a tool handle or yardstick (with rubber bands, even), and make yourself a pasteboard, tin-can or paper funnel and tape it in place. Use the back-end of a teaspoon or the little measuring spoon from somebody’s aquarium chemicals to fish out 2-5 seeds at a time.

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Seed tapes and mats

If we’re not digging the various seeding tubes, we can also use our rainy days or blistering hot days to make seed tapes out of strips of paper, or larger seed mats out of unfolded paper napkins and paper towels. We don’t have to mix up some kind of funky glue like with some of the DIY-ers show. The toothpick dab of white Elmer’s the first site shows is water-soluble and works just fine.

When we’re ready to plant, we just zoom along exposing our soil or following her mix, lay out our mats, and cover them again. We can work in fair-sized lengths that we roll up around an empty tube and then just nudge along using a broom or hoe, or use a square or two at a time that lets us stagger our planting for a staggered harvest or interspersed companion flowers.

Seed mats and strips can also be made out of a single thickness of newspaper pages for larger seeds like peas and beans as well, although we’ll want to make a small 1/8” slit or poke a pencil-tip hole through to give our seeds a head start on busting through the heavier paper.

Since we’re planting 3-6” or as much as 8-12” apart in those cases, whether we do rows or congestion beds, working with a larger paper size makes sense. The newspaper sheet will decay over the season, but being thicker, it does offer a nice head start for our seeds over the weed seeds that may be lurking below. Being thicker, it also does better if the seed gets that head start of a slit.

No more removing gloves. No more exposing seed packets to dirt and moisture, or unfolding and refolding and sticking them in a pocket as we try to keep track of where exactly the tiny black seeds landed in our bed. And since they’re evenly spaced instead of scattered in lines and areas, it’s minutely easier to tell which tiny baby dicot we should be plucking when the weeds start – at least we can work quickly in some of the gaps.

In the garden – Avoid the crouch-ouch

So why the focus on things that improve soils without hauling lots of bales, limiting all the bending, limiting the bending and time we spend watering (or pumping water), collecting trash to make all kinds of weird contraptions in the garden?

Especially for seniors and those with nagging pains and injuries, the ability to work standing upright or from a chair without leaning over or reaching far can not only increase the joy of gardening, but in some cases go as far as making gardening possible again.

Arthritic hands, shaking from an injury or age, and loss of full motor function from an accident can make it frustrating and painful even to fetch out and drop a lima or pea, let alone broccoli and spinach, and unless they’re willing to just punch some holes in a baggy and shake, just forget about iceberg and romaine and strawberry spinach.

The ability to work slowly over winter or summer to prepare for spring and autumn leaf and root crops, the ability to use a tube and funnel, then shake or scoop seeds using something they can actually grip is enormous.

Reexamine how you garden

Even for those in good health or who just like to be out there, some simple and inexpensive DIY projects and some trash collection and reuse can save a lot of time.

That might make a difference in garden size now, while we’re working and balancing families. It will definitely make a difference later, when we’re depending on those gardens to feed us or add a little forkability and crunch to our starvation-staving diet.

Saving backs and creating easy-to-use tools can also let us involve our parents and kids a little more in some cases, giving them independence and sharing the satisfaction that comes from a meal we procured for ourselves. There’s little better in life than seeing that pride returned to your parents and grandparents, or watching it bloom in your children.

It also sucks to fail, especially when we have a lot of time invested in something.

Water reservoirs, reduced weed competition, proper seeding coverage, and workload-friendly seeding methods can help increase our rate of success, which encourages us to do it again.

Saving backs and creating easy-to-use tools can also let us involve our parents and kids a little more in some cases, giving them independence.

I will start by complaining, since it’s Monday. Whenever I talk about a solution to our financial problems, some of you ask me what’s prepping got to do with learning how to make an extra buck. Are you for real? Do you really think the rich don’t prepare for what’s to come? The only difference is the money you invest in it. While we are able (and forced) to build a root cellar for as little as $400 bucks, the people who can afford it, are building entire mansions underground.

The only thing we have in common with the 1% is the fact that they are also aware the future is not so bright. Not for all of us, anyway. You don’t believe in global warming? It’s ok, something else will get you – the national economic collapse. So maybe now you understand why, from time to time, I want you to also consider our financial products.

With all that is being written about the national economic collapse, people seem to be waiting for some huge event. I don’t want you to wait until it’s too late. And isn’t that the whole purpose of prepping? To be prepared? So please remember that next time you’re on Final Prepper – we are here to help each other. Because it looks like no one else will.

For many people who were formerly financially comfortable, the economic collapse has already happened, in the form of a job loss, hours that have been cut back due to new requirements for employers, an exorbitant medical bill or other crushing debt, or simply an inflation rate that has outstripped your pay increases.  Despite all of the warnings, many people are still going to be absolutely blindsided. Today, it is still a choice to survive the coming crisis. There are always solutions. You just need to broaden your perspective.

Otherwise, we’ll soon be left to make terrible choices:

  • Which utility can I live without?
  • Should I walk away from my mortgage?
  • Should I eat something so I can work harder or should I skip meals so my kids have food?
  • Should I use the grocery money to take my child to the doctor or should I wait and hope he/she improves without medical intervention?
  • Do I risk the IRS-enforced penalties or should I skip that whole grocery shopping thing so I can pay the monthly premiums and enormous deductibles in order to stay in the government’s good graces?

These are the kind of decisions that people across the nation are grappling with every day.

I’m talking about good people, hardworking men and women who have always been employed and paid their bills. A personal financial crisis does not just strike those stereotypical “welfare queens” with the long manicured nails, Gucci knock-off purse, and a grocery cart full of EBT-funded lobster.

I’m talking about the person next door, who seems to have it all together. I’m talking about that quiet family that sits two rows in front of you at church. I’m talking about that two-income family with two children and a car in the driveway that takes them to work and school 5 days a week. I’m talking about people just like you and me.

What is a personal economic collapse?

A personal economic collapse is a little different than the major crises you see all over Europe right now, where huge segments of the population can’t feed their children or stay employed. It is a crisis that just hits your family due to a given set of circumstances.  (In actuality North Americans are on the brink of the kind of collapse that is occurring in Europe, but because of easy access to credit and a buy-now, pay-later society, many of us still have the appearance of prosperity.)

Here are some signs that you may be in the midst of a personal economic collapse:

  • You can only afford to pay the minimum payment on most of your bills.
  • The same dollar amount you used to spend on groceries doesn’t buy enough food to feed your family for the week.
  • You can’t afford to go to the doctor when you’re sick.
  • You are taking dangerous steps to “stretch” needed medications because you can’t afford the prescriptions.
  • Your utility bills are past due and your power is in danger of being cut off.
  • You skip meals in order to save money or to have enough food for your kids.
  • You’ve lost your job or had your hours cut.
  • You have lost property due to foreclosure or repossession (such as your home or your vehicle).

Surviving the crisis

Times are tough but you can survive this.

1.) First you have to see exactly where you are.

It’s time for a brutally honest assessment of your finances.  If you use your debit card or credit card for most expenditures, you’ll easily be able to see what you’re spending and bringing in.

Print off your bank account statements for the past 2 months.  On a piece of paper, track where your money is going.  List the following:

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Car payments
  • Vehicle operating expenses (fuel, repairs)
  • Insurances
  • Credit card and other debt payments
  • Telephone/Cell phone
  • Cable/Satellite
  • Internet
  • Extracurricular activities for the kids
  • Extracurricular activities for the adults
  • Dining out
  • Groceries
  • School expenses
  • Clothing
  • Recreational spending
  • Gifts
  • Miscellaneous (anything that doesn’t fall into the above categories gets it’s own category or goes here)

Don’t say to yourself, “Well, I usually don’t spend $400 on clothing so that isn’t realistic.”  If you spent it, then it’s realistic.  You are averaging together two months, which should account for those less common expenses.  Brutal honesty isn’t fun, but it’s vital for this exercise.

So….what do you see when you look at your piece of paper with your average monthly expenditures for the past two months?  Are there any surprises?  Did you actually realize how much you’ve been spending?   Most of us will immediately see places that we can trim the budget.  Those $1-$5 purchases can really add up.  Reining them in may just allow you to take care of an important need that you thought you could not meet.

It can’t continue like this.  The economy will not withstand it.  Step one is to see where you can cut things out right now from the above expenditures.  Can you reduce your grocery bill?  Slash meals out?  Budget more carefully for gift-giving and school clothes?

2.) Rethink necessities.

If your finances are out of control, the best possible reality check is a stark look at what necessities really are.  It is not necessary to life to have an iPhone, a vehicle in both stalls of your two-car garage, or for your children to all have separate bedrooms.  People in Southern and Eastern Europe right now will tell you, as they scramble for food, basic over the counter medications like aspirin, and shelter, that necessities are those things essential to life:

  • Water
  • Food (and the ability to cook it)
  • Medicine and medical supplies
  • Basic hygiene supplies
  • Shelter (including sanitation, lights, heat)
  • Simple tools
  • Seeds
  • Defense Items

Absolutely everything above those basic necessities is a luxury.

So, by this definition, what luxuries do you have?

3.) Reduce your monthly output

Reduce your monthly payments by cutting frivolous expenses. Look at every single monthly payment that comes out of your bank account and slash relentlessly.  Consider cutting the following:

  • Cable
  • Cell phones
  • Home phones
  • Gym memberships
  • Restaurant meals
  • Unnecessary driving
  • Entertainment such as trips to the movies, the skating rink, or the mall

4.) Waste not, want not.

We live in a disposable society.  Food comes in throw-away containers.  People replace things instead of repairing them.  If you throw out more than a couple of bags of garbage each week, that’s a very good sign that you may be wasting resources.

Before throwing anything away, pause and think about how it might be able to be reused.

  • Food

Many times small amounts of leftovers can be recycled into a brand new meal. Meat bones can be used to make broth or stock.  Small amounts of veggies or grains can be frozen and added to a future soup or casserole. Leftovers can be frozen in meal-sized portions to take to work for a brown-bag lunch.

  • Clothing

Clothing that is torn or damaged can often be repaired with only rudimentary sewing skills. If it has been outgrown or cannot be repaired, often the fabric or yarn can be reused for other purposes, from cleaning rags to fashionable accessories like scarves and headbands, or home items like throw pillows, potholders or rag rugs.  When all else fails, the fabric can be used for cleaning rags or patches to repair other items. Keep jars full of buttons, elastic, and other notions that can easily be removed before you throw  a clothing item away or relegate it to the rag bag.

  • Electronics

Obviously, initially you should attempt to repair (or have repaired) electronic items that are not working. If this is not feasible, are there components of the item that can be reused, either now or in the future? What about hardware such as screws or fasteners?

  • Containers

Most food comes in a container of some sort.  Before throwing the container away, consider whether or not it might be useful. Glass jars, plastic tubs, and plastic bags can often be reused to store food in your refrigerator or to contain food in brown bag lunches.  Clean aluminum cans can hold all manner of items, from hardware and tools in a workshop to sewing and craft supplies. Use your imagination.

5.) Take control of your food budget.

The price of food is skyrocketing.  Who hasn’t been to the grocery store recently and been shocked at the high price of that cart full of groceries or at the mysterious shrinking food packages that are the same price as yesterday’s larger ones?

  • Stockpile:  Create a stockpile of nutritious, healthy staples at today’s prices to enjoy when the cost goes even higher tomorrow.
  • Preserve: Learn to preserve food yourself when you come across a windfall.  Pressure canning, water-bath canning, freezing, and dehydrating can allow you to take advantage of great sales or end-of-season scores.
  • Eat less:  This suggestion isn’t for everyone, but many of us could stand to shed a few pounds.  Perhaps now would be a good time to cut back a little and shrink both your waistline and your weekly food bill.  Lots of people eat for the sheer entertainment of it or out of habit.  Next time you’re watching TV, grab some mending or a crossword puzzle instead of a bag of potato chips. Dish out slightly smaller servings at dinnertime to leave enough to stretch the leftovers for a brown bag meal the next day.
  • Drink water:  Skip the beverages and drink water instead. At less than $1 per gallon for purchased water you simply can’t beat the price.  It’s better for you, also, than sugar-y drinks.  If you are lucky enough to have well water or access to spring water, your drinks don’t have to cost you a penny.
  • Focus on nutrition instead of convenience:  Buy the best quality of food you can,  and skip the processed, nutritionless convenience foods.
  • Grow your own.  In the summer, grow the biggest garden you can. In the winter, or if you are an apartment dweller, put some sprouts and greens in a sunny windowsill to add some fresh produce for pennies.

6.) Reduce your dependence on utilities.

Energy rates are skyrocketing. As the prices begin to rise, more and more people will be unable to pay their bills and eventually their power will be shut off.  Check your bill each month and as prices increase, use less power. Try some of these ideas to reduce your reliance and drop your bills.

  • Hand wash your clothing
  • Hang clothes to dry
  • Cook on a wood stove or outdoor grill
  • Can foods to preserve them instead of relying on a large chest freezer
  • Turn the heat down a few degrees and use non-grid methods to keep warm
  • Use rain barrels to collect water
  • Direct the gray water from your washing machines to reservoirs
  • Turn off the lights and open the blinds
  • Use solar lighting whenever possible

How do you intend to weather the storm?

There are bleak days ahead.  Have you planned for this?  What strategies do you intend to use to weather the financial crisis that is coming for all of us?  What suggestions do you have for families who are undergoing their own economic collapses? Please post questions and ideas in the comments section below.

P.S. – You can also check these 47 life-changing income “tricks”.


Part of this article is by guest contributor Daisy Luther.

I don't want you to wait until it's too late. And isn’t that the whole purpose of prepping? To be prepared? So please remember that next time you're surfing Final

There’s nothing aspirin can’t solve. Headache? Take an aspirin. Fever? Take an aspirin. For everything else, there’s MasterCard. Joke aside, this little pharmacological jewel is not only a great remedy for all sorts of pains and pangs but also a great helper around the house. Last I heard, some people use common aspirin to make pot plants stay green for a long amount of time.

And, quite recently, I’ve discovered that this wonder pill can really do amazing thing around the veggie garden. Not only that, but it also works on life stock (my father-in-law uses aspirin to treat whooping cough in cows and sheet).

Anyway, getting back to the subject at hand, aspirin’s really great for your veggie and flower gardens. Wouldn’t have believed that the same thing used to cure anything from fevers to hangovers could do them plants so much good. So, after getting some kickass results with my cabbage patch, I thought that the most sensible thing to do would be to share some of the reasons why I’ve decided to use the stuff in the first place.

So, without further ado, here are 4 reasons why you should stockpile and use aspirin in your veggie garden.

  1. No more fungus

No, I was talking about foot or nail fungus, but about that greenish stuff that chokes plants and makes gardeners cry. I’ve literally tried every damned anti-fungal solution on the market, but nothing seemed to work. That’s when a good friend of mine, who’s also a pharmacist, told me that I should add one or two aspirin tablets to the watering can. Apparently, salicylic acid is fungi’s number one enemy (has something to do with how the acid disrupts cells inside the fungal growth).

Anywho, if you want to get rid of all the fungus from your veggie garden, use aspirin in conjunction with water. Do keep in mind that the results are not instantaneous – in my case, I had to wait around two and a half weeks to see the results.

  1. Cut flowers will last even longer

I have to admit that I have a thing for freshly-picked flowers. Ever since I can remember, our family always had at least one vase with pretty flowers around the house – mom likes roses, just like my grandma. Still, the only trouble with cut flowers is that whatever you do, they will eventually wilt and day. And this happens faster than most of us realize.

Even that Valentine’s Day bouquet doesn’t last longer that one, maybe two days, provided that you don’t drown it. I read somewhere that flower dealers (yes, I know exactly how it sounds), use a sugar and salt combo to prevent wildflowers from wilting too fast.

I think that’s a load of crap – I’ve tried on many different types of flowers: roses, orchids, tulips, lilies. It doesn’t work. And no, it’s not about balancing the ingredients. Sure, among other things plants take from the soil is salt and glucose. But they also need plenty of other stuff to survive and thrive.

In searching for a better alternative, I tried adding a tablet of aspirin to a vase halfway filled with water. This time, my flowers of choice were Carson roses.  One week later, lo and behold, the roses were still clinging to life, more alive and greener and red than ever before.

  1. More veggies in the garden

In my opinion, starting your own garden is a gamble – you’ll never know what that land will yield or if anything will grow at all. Yes, I know that there are some veggies like potatoes or onions that can be grown anywhere, but this is not always the case.

After harvesting my very first crop, I’ve discovered, much to my dissatisfaction, that I ended up with a basket filled to the brim with nice and round onions, and another with some things that looked like Area 51 experiments. However, the thing that puzzled me the most is that the crops were two weeks late, although I followed the instructions to the letter.

The main issue was, of course, the soil. It needed a little bit of help to yield a better crop. After doing a little bit of online research, I’ve discovered that a surefire way to turn any kind of soil into a veggie-making mean machine was to add some aspirin. So, if you’re having the same problems, try this nifty little trick: dissolve four aspirin tablets in approximately four gallons of water.

Use this mixture to water your plants daily for at least two weeks. It may strike you as a little odd, but apparently, aspirin has a way of encouraging plant growth better than any chemical or organic fertilizer. According to the big and scary book of science, salicylic acids stimulate the soil to generate more vitamin C. And, wouldn’t you know it, even plants like a vitamin C infusion, not only human bones.

  1. Makes for stronger roots

Roots are everything to plants – strong and long one means that the plant will go to get all moisture and nutrients it needs in order to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, with all the chemicals used to stimulate plant growth, roots have become brittle, weak, and unable to properly feed the plant. And that’s bad news for you if decided to ditch supermarket veggies.

Apart from using only organic stuff, you can try and give those roots a little nudge. Yup, you’ve guessed it – aspirin is that swift kick in the keister each plant needs to develop stronger roots. Here’s what you will need to do. Head to the drug store and get some uncoated aspirin (the variety that doesn’t offer gastric protection). Before planting the seeds, dissolve one tablet in one gallon of water and pour the mixture into the hole. Allow the soil to absorb the mix. After that, you can plant whatever your heart desires.

So, what are your thoughts on using aspirin in the garden? Hit the comments section and let me know.

There’s nothing aspirin can’t solve. Headache? Take an aspirin. Fever? Take an aspirin. For everything else, there’s aspirin.

What do climate change, an asteroid attack, and a pathogenic pandemic have in common? Aside from each having it’s place within at least one doomsday movie? They are also the first three on a list of nine ways the world could actually end provided by CBN.

The list goes on to include fatal fungus, an engineered disease, nuclear war, a robot takeover, and overpopulation.

While all of these events are possibilities, many scientists believe that number nine on the list, a snowball effect, is most plausible. If two or three of these things happen in accordance with each other, the effects would be devastating. And that is why being prepared is of the utmost importance.

A Basic Bug Out Bag

In the event of any of these situations perhaps the most important item you will want to have with you is a Bug Out Bag. In case you don’t know what this is, think of it as a large backpack full of everything you might possibly need in a survival situation. While what you pack depends entirely on your own personal needs, there are some essentials that should be in every bag.

  • food and water
  • shelter
  • bedding
  • a heat source
  • personal hygiene essentials
  • survival and self defense tools
  • a communication devise
  • multiple light sources
  • traveling essentials
  • a first aid kit

Bug Out Bag Academy provides a list of 75 items fitting into these categories that can help in building a basic bag; however there is one area where this list is lacking, and that is in medicinal supplies. Having weapons, shelter and food won’t do you much good if you get sick and have no way to treat illness. While there are many modern medicines that can be of aid, there are also ancient Chinese Herbal remedies that can come in handy.

A Brief History of Chinese Medicine

The Chinese began studying natural remedies, as early as the 2 century B.C.E. and by the 12th century A.D. they were experts in everything from acupuncture to herbology. As the years have gone by Chinese scholars have continued to improve upon these ancient methods, bringing us what is today known as Chinese Medicine. This time-tested practice is perfect for a doomsday situation because it focuses on using natural ingredients that can be more easily obtained than western medicine should disaster strike. According to Final Prepper there are seven essential Chinese remedies you should include in your doomsday first aid kit.

7 Chinese Remedies for Preppers

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Giant Hyssop

Giant Hyssop – Commonly found in pill form, this herb is a fantastic remedy for any stomach ailment. It can help relieve diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In some cases it has also been used to treat headaches and heat stroke.

White and Red Flower Oils – These two herbal concoctions are useful in soothing a wide range of aches and pains. White flower oil is traditional seen in a balm form, made up of wintergreen, eucalyptus, menthol, peppermint, camphor, and lavender. Its soothing smell helps relieve headache pain and clear the sinuses. Red flower oil consists of menthol and camphor oils and can help ease the pain of arthritis, sore muscles, and seasonal aches and pains.

Jujube Seeds – These seeds come from the delectable jujube fruit, a historically valuable medicinal source as well as a loved part of traditional Chinese cuisine. They can be purchased at any store that specializes in traditional Chinese remedies. When ground into a fine powder over a heat source they are a fantastic cure for insomnia. Already prepared powder can be purchased as well.

Loquat Syrup – This herbal remedy comes in the form of a thick ointment made up of an array of ingredients including apricot seed extract, loquat leaf, licorice root, honey, and white olives. It is commonly used to sooth a sore throat resulting from a cough, cold, or bronchitis. This remedy is especially valuable because it is considered to be safe for children.

yunnan-baiyao-capsules

Yunnan Baiyao

Ching Wan Hung – This red ointment is made of a variety of herbs, including myrrh, lobelia, frankincense, dong quai, quince fruit, beeswax, and sesame oil. It is commonly used to treat skin irritation resulting from first, second, and third degree burns, rashes, bedsores, poison ivy, poison oak, and sunburns. Its distinctive color can stain clothing, so it is important to keep the treated area covered with gauze or some other barrier that is changed daily.

Yunnan Baiyao – Sometimes known as Yunnan paiyao, this powdered herbal combination is fantastic to help stop bleeding and encourage immediate healing. It can also be combined with a small amount of alcohol to treat bruises. The various companies that make this remedy guard their recipes faithfully, however this concoction is known to contain Chinese yam and ginseng.

 

Conclusion

These 7 basic herbal remedies store longer than modern medicine, and are often easier to come by than their western counterparts. They can all be ordered through Solstice Medicine Company along with many other traditional Chinese supplements, remedies and medicines. By including them in your But Out Bag you will ensure that you are prepared for most any first aid situations that may arise.

This time-tested practice is perfect for a doomsday situation because it focuses on using natural ingredients that can be more easily obtained should disaster strike.

Fact: there’s no limit to what you can with a beer can. Why? Simply because it’s called a beer CAN, not a beer CAN’T. Yes, I know it’s a shitty pun, but there’s truth in what I’ve said – a metallic beer container can serve all kinds of purposes, long after the beer’s gone (sad face). Anyway, a couple of days ago, I had myself a little pow-wow with some of my buddies.

Not all preppers, but we do get along even on stuff that is not exactly related to survival. However, in talking with them, I found out that there are in fact people out there who really know how to get creative when they have to deal with what we come to an SHTF-type of situation. And because no boys’ night should be without beer, we kinda ended up talking about ale till the crack of dawn.

I’m truly sorry for not being able to share a bottle of suds with you people, but at least I can make it up to you by showing you a couple of ingenious ways to use empty beer cans in a shit hits the fan situation So, here’s my top X choices in reusing cans.

  1. Perimeter alarm

Halt! Who goes there? Maybe’s just the wind of a highwayman ready to deprive you of your valuables. Just joking. A perimeter alarm is a must-have if you’re planning on spending a night in the woods. Of course, I don’t think there are any cutthroats nearby, but there may be wild animals prowling the area.

No need to invest tons of money in one of those fancy, laser-triggered alarms when you can make one yourself using a couple of empty beer cans and some cordage. You can always replace regular cordage with dental floss if you plan on using it for other purposes.

  1. Poor man’s survival kit

If you can’t find it within you to spend a couple of bucks on a professional or military-grade survival kit, you can always make one yourself using an old beer can. Just cut a hole on the side and fill it with stuff like weatherproof matches, lighter, dental floss, shoelaces, fishing utensils or whatever.

  1. Camping Stove

As they say, survival can be a beach. If you find yourself in a tight spot with nothing to cook your dinner or warm up the inside of your tent, craft a small camping store using an empty beer can. Flatten the top, cut a hole on the side, and place a small candle on the base. Soup may take forever to cook, but at least you’ve got something to keep you warm during the night.

  1. Lantern

All out of matches? Tac light’s batteries died out on you? No problem. I got you covered. It may be possible to make a meager lantern out of an empty beer can and a small candle. Cut a hole in one side of the beer can. Fit a small candle inside. Attach a stick to the ring, fire up the candle, and, voila, you now have a small lantern. May it be a light for your in dark places, when all other lights go out (and I did not quote from The Lord of the Rings).

  1. Starting a fire

Remember that article about how to start a fire using a water bottle? Well, believe it or not, you can do the same with an empty beer can. Basically, you will need to harness the reflective power of the can’s butt in order to focus sunlight on tinder. Here’s what you will need to do. While the sun’s still high (not that kind of high), grab an empty beer can and place it on the ground. Just below its butt, place a handful of tinder. Rotate the beer can in order to focus the sun rays on the tinder.

If nothing happens after 15 or 20 minutes, it means that the can’s butt is not polished enough to reflect the sunlight. Not a problem – grab a handful of sand or rock salt and start giving that butt a good shine. Allegedly, you can also use chocolate to do the same thing, but I haven’t tested that yet. Place the can again on the ground and rotate it in order to focus the light. When you see smoke coming out, add some more tinder, and blow on it.

  1. Makeshift kettle

Cowboys went through a lot of trouble to make sure that they start each day with a hot cup of coffee. As you know, that meant carrying a heavy cast-iron pot. Well, times have changed, but our need for a hot drink remains the same. Now, if you find yourself stranded in some neck of the woods and nothing to boil water in, you can always pour water in an empty beer can and place it close to the embers. That’s also a great water purification method.

Here’s how it works. First of all, find a way to wash the beer can. Second, pour water into it and place it directly into the fire. Please bear or beer in mind that it will take a while for the water to boil, so sit tight. Once you hear bubbly sound coming from the can, use a stick or a pair of prongs to remove the can from the flame. Wait for it to cool down, pour in your canteen, and enjoy. You know what? This kind of victory calls for another beer. Cheers!

  1. Making char cloth

If you the thought of packing some char cloth has never crossed your mind, don’t worry because you can make some using an empty beer can. Get a fire running. In the meantime, fill a can with cotton, punk wood or bark. Fold both ends and toss in the fire. In a couple of minutes, the beer can will begin to disintegrate. When you see that you’re running out of a can, remove it from the fire, wait for it to cool down, retrieve the char cloth, and celebrate.

That about covers it for my list of great ways to reuse an empty beer can. Feel that something may be missing from the list? Get scribbling and let me know.

Fact: there’s no limit to what you can with a beer can. Why? Simply because it’s called a beer CAN, not a beer CAN’T.

For every season there is beauty. Its something that comes to mind immediately at the thought of that season. Even the cold of winter is highlighted by warm drinks, roaring fires and the holidays. Maybe it’s a means of making the mundane a little more magic or maybe its an appreciation for this life.

If you are a person that lives a prepared lifestyle chances are these seasons mean other things, too. Vital tasks and responsibilities must be handled throughout the year and many are season specific.

What helps more than anything is a schedule for it all! How on earth are we supposed to keep up with all the stuff that we need to keep up with. Its just so much and when you add a full time LIFE on top of that, it gets overwhelming.

Let’s have a high level look at the four seasons and what responsibilities you should prioritize for each.

Spring

1. Home Maintenance and Inspection

After a long winter of being trapped in the house its time to get out, under and around the home. Now is the time to inspect your home for things like:

  • Pests
  • Damage
  • Leaky Pipes
  • Missing Property
  • Fencing
  • Drainage

2. Planting

Of course, spring is a time for planting! This is when the ornery gardener can finally get out and put seeds and seedlings into the soil. Its an exciting time and most gardeners are hungry for that first taste of fresh produce from the garden.

Things like English peas and radish are great candidates to get in the soil early.

3. Fishing

Spring is also a time for fishing. A great skill to practice, fishing is both fun and a great way to fill your bell with protein! The big bass come out in spring, when the water is warm enough, but it can be just as fun to spend the day catching bluegills.

4. Baby Animals

Depending on what you have on your property you might also be dealing with chicks, kids, calves and piglets. The spring is a special time that might require extra work for baby animal care.

 

Summer

5. Hunting Prep

The summer is a good time to spread out your hunting gear and get ready for the coming fall season. Its also a great time to get out and scout hunting areas. Find out where the deer are going to be and where you are going to set up to take that shot!

6. Processing Wood

Its never too early to start splitting wood for the fireplace. The winter will be upon you before you know it and cool summer nights are also great for burning wood. Splitting wood is also a great workout!

7. Managing Pests

If you keep chickens or other small animals, you might find that this time of year you are managing larger and more dangerous pests. Things like opossum and racoon can wreak havoc on your flock. It might be worth investing in some steel traps or a good .22 rifle to keep your chickens safe.

Fall

8. Insulation

Fall is the time to check home insulation. You are going to be combating the cold and you want to be sure your home is up to the task. Good insulation makes all the difference in this. Consider things like pipes doors and windows.

9. Cold Gear

You will also want to bring out cold weather gear like sweaters, boots and coats. Don’t forget your gloves and hats. Get them out and ready because the cold is on its way. This will also give you time to react if you find you need something new.

10. Harvest/Canning

By this point you are going to be consistently harvesting food. You have probably already been canning and preserving at this point, too!

When it comes to this game you might also be thinking about extra storage. Have you ever considered the old root cellar as a means of increasing storage? It could be just what you are looking for. These root cellars are simple to build and if you know how, you can make them very cheap!

Timothy Griffith created a book called The Easy Cellar that describes the whole process from start to finish using affordable earthbags as the base. It’s a must read if you are interested in an underground shelter or root cellar.

11. Hunting

Winter

12. Deep Food Storage

Winter always seems like a good time to put up more food. Long term food storage, in particular. You need a good place with a consistent temperature. This is another perk of having a root cellar. You can get that kind of consistent temp underground and it takes some of the food storage out of your home!

13. Organizational Preps

The cold winter days can be depressing. However, organizational projects are a great way to pass the time. Maybe you want to store things differently or in a new area. Its also a great time to clean out old space for new items.

14. Prepare Garden Areas (late winter)

Removing debris and waste from growing areas is one of those late winter tasks that can give you a jump on the growing season. Don’t leave this out of your plans.

Conclusion

A little bit of organization can go a long way. In the wide world of prepping, homesteading and the self-reliant lifestyle, there is a lot to consider. Hopefully we have offered you a few seasonal tasks that will make a difference in what you can accomplish.

You don’t wanna wind up funneling all the hard stuff to the end of the year and must rush through it all.

Also, consider adding a root cellar to your property. Even something small can go a long way. I really like the earthbag design laid out in The Easy Cellar. It might be just the storage answer you have been dreaming of!

If you are a person that lives a prepared lifestyle chances are these seasons mean other things, too. Many vital tasks and responsibilities are season specific.

This article was written by guest contributor Amanda Suazo, a copywriter and food blogger from northern California.

CBD oil recipes are the easiest way to incorporate CBD oil into your routine. Since it can blend easily into sweet and savory dishes, you can collect all the benefits no matter what food you crave.

Since CBD doesn’t contain the psychoactive properties of THC, CBD oil recipes won’t make you “high.” Instead, you might collect a host of other benefits, from reduced anxiety to better sleep.

If you’re new to cooking recipes with CBD oil, start small — make half batches to avoid wasting oil, and use small quantities to test how you feel. Using more refined oils when you want less bitterness and aftertaste, and less-refined oils when cooking with strong flavors that can mask their taste. Most importantly, cook at low temperatures to ensure you preserve all the benefits of the oil.

From drinks to sweet treats, use these CBD oil recipes to keep your cool:

CBD oil drink recipes

1. CBD Oil Golden Milk

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via Real Nutritious Living

With a golden touch from turmeric and fresh ginger, this spiced golden milk gets extra benefits from a dose of CBD oil. Make it more Bulletproof and choose full-fat canned coconut milk and raw honey in the recipe, and skip the black pepper and nutmeg.

2. CBD Rooibos Tea Latte

This is the perfect CBD oil recipe to enjoy before bed. Naturally caffeine-free rooibos tea gets a boost with healthy fats from grass-fed ghee and Brain Octane Oil, plus a dropper full of CBD to help you wind down and power your sleep.

3. CBD Chocolate Latte

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via mindbodygreen

When you don’t need the stimulating effects of coffee, use this drink as a low-caffeine alternative. A sweetened milk base simmers away with raw cacao powder and CBD oil for a warm and frothy treat. Use full-fat canned coconut milk for your dairy and swap maple syrup with non-GMO erythritol to stay Bulletproof on this recipe.

4. Dairy Free Green Tea Matcha Latte

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via Clean Eating Kitchen

This warm paleo latte is packed with antioxidant benefits from matcha powder, plus healthy fats from creamy coconut butter. To keep this CBD oil recipe Bulletproof, simply swap the coconut sugar with non-GMO erythritol, stevia, or birch xylitol.

5. CBD Fresh Mint Tea

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via Mowellens

Tea brewed with fresh mint leaves gets a sweet upgrade from CBD-infused honey, then poured over ice for a relaxing refresher. Use a raw CBD-infused honey to keep this sweet recipe Bulletproof.

6. CBD Pumpkin Golden Milk

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via GanjapreneurGal

Switch up your pumpkin spice latte routine with this orange-tinted golden milk recipe. Pumpkin pie spices blend with smooth pumpkin puree and coconut milk for a drink bursting with fall flavors. Keep it Bulletproof with full-fat canned coconut milk and ceylon cinnamon, then skip the nutmeg.

CBD oil snacks

1. CBD Chocolate Coconut Fat Bombs

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Sink your teeth into these rich fat bombs that take just 10 minutes to prep. With a coconutty CBD-infused layer and a smooth chocolate layer, they’re the perfect way to tide you over until your next meal.

2. CBD Bliss Balls

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via Hello Glow

This snack ball mixes up a satisfying blend of almond flour, shredded coconut, cacao nibs, and spices, all with a healthy dose of CBD. Use raw nuts and ceylon cinnamon to keep this CBD oil recipe Bulletproof-friendly.

3. CBD Peppermint Chocolate Cups

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via Fragrant Vanilla Cake

This CBD oil recipe creates layers of flavor with a chocolatey bottom and matcha cacao butter top. Swap maple syrup with liquid stevia to taste, use matcha powder instead of spinach powder, and get a high-quality dark chocolate to keep this recipe Bulletproof.

4. Two-Ingredient CBD Coconut Fat Bombs

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via Balanced-Life Leslie

Simplify your CBD intake with this ultra-easy recipe. Melt down coconut butter with coconut oil, then add CBD and pour into molds for a quick snack that you can even blend into coffee and tea. Make it Bulletproof and gently warm your ingredients on the stovetop instead of the microwave.

CBD oil spreads and dips

1. CBD-Infused Butter

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via The Joyce of Cooking

Make this CBD oil recipe ahead of time, and you can swap it in for any low-temperature recipe that calls for butter! Simply heat your butter with oil and water, cool, then store in a container when you’re ready to use it. Make sure you use grass-fed butter to make this recipe Bulletproof.

2. CBD-Infused Guacamole

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via Creating Better Days

CBD oil adds a low-profile upgrade to everyone’s favorite high-fat dip. If you’re sensitive to nightshades, skip the tomatoes and peppers. Otherwise, make this CBD oil recipe Bulletproof and skip the garlic and onion.

CBD oil recipes: Desserts

1. Cookies and Cream Cheesecake CBD Bites

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via My Tiny Laguna Kitchen

This sugar-free CBD oil recipe gets creamy texture from almond milk cream cheese and a cookie crunch from and almond flour and cacao mixture. Enjoy but milk cream cheeses in moderation to stay Bulletproof, since nuts are a suspect ingredient and cream cheese can contain additives that can irritate your gut.

2. CBD Oil Gummies for Sleep

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via Real Nutritious Living

With raw honey and CBD oil, this recipe supports better sleep and creates a perfectly chewy texture in every bite. Instead of tart cherry juice, use a lower-fructose fruit juice such as lemon or lime to make this recipe more Bulletproof.

3. Pumpkin Spice Latte Loaf with CBD Icing

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via Lil Sipper

Instead of altering CBD oil by baking it into this paleo-friendly pumpkin loaf, this recipe mixes it into a sweet sugar-free icing. Use coffee from mold-free beansinstead of standard espresso powder to make this one a little more Bulletproof.

4. CBD Homemade Butter Mints

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via Desserts With Benefits

Creamy butter mints get an upgrade from real grass-fed butter and vanilla, plus CBD isolate powder — all ready in 20 minutes. Use powdered vanilla bean instead of vanilla bean paste to make this CBD oil recipe Bulletproof.

5. CBD Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via Kalejunkie

Instead of straight CBD oil, these classic cookies get a high-fat boost from CBD-infused coconut oil, grain-free flours, and creamy almond butter. Use a high-quality raw almond butter, swap coconut sugar with non-GMO erythritol or xylitol, and use very dark chocolate to make this one more Bulletproof-friendly.

6. Chocolate Lavender CBD Truffles

Fill up and calm down: These CBD oil recipes are the perfect way to enjoy sweet and savory food with the unique benefits of CBD.

Image via Whitespace + Wellness

These striking little gems are fat bombs with benefits. With a layer of lavender-infused coconut butter and a layer of sweetened chocolate and coconut oil, these high-fat bites will help you find your calm. To keep it all Bulletproof, skip the food coloring and swap the maple syrup with liquid stevia or monk fruit extract.

 

Pretty crazy I must say. Which one are you going to start with? Any other ideas? Other recipes that didn’t make it to the list?

Make sure you give us a shout in the comments section or on our social platforms. If you’re able to still move after eating some of these goodies.

 

And a sweet weekend it is.

Enjoy yours.

P.S. – This was just another insight on the finally recognised benefits of cannabis, in all of its forms. It was Weed Week here at Final Prepper, so we hope there was something new to learn each day. We know we did. Especially how we can also profit from this booming business by investing in cannabis stocks while it’s still affordable for the common prepper.

 

 

 

Since CBD Oil can blend easily into sweet and savory dishes, you can collect all the benefits no matter what food you crave.

Since we don’t usually deal with this kind of themes for our articles, we had to call out our guest contributors. So is the case with today’s article, courtesy of Premium Jane. This is part of our Weed Week saga into the various uses of pot. And its pot friend – hemp. So, anyone has a lighter?

Without trying to sound too corny or cliche, we are lucky to live in a time where hemp is legal. Hemp used to suffer from an unfortunate case of “mistaken identity” where it was lumped in with marijuana, making it completely illegal to grow throughout the United States. Hemp products could still be imported from other countries for certain uses, but for all intents and purposes, it could not be grown in the US.

Nowadays, hemp has been removed from its position as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and can be grown throughout the country (with the proper licensing) under the newly updated U.S. Farm Bill. This is great news as it will surely increase the availability of domestic hemp, as well as remove some of the negative stigma that was traditionally attached to the plant.

But now that hemp is legal to grow, what can we actually do with it? It turns out that the possibilities are truly endless; hemp is an extremely versatile plant that has a lot to offer, so let’s check out the top 10 uses for hemp and how they can be practically applied right here in the USA.

WHAT CAN HEMP BE USED FOR?

In a historical sense, hemp used to be described as the “billion dollar crop,” with Popular Mechanics magazine claiming way back in 1938 that it could be used to “…produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to Cellophane.”

Furthermore, in a Perdue University article titled “Hemp: A New Crop with New Uses for North America,” researchers cited some of the most promising products that hemp could be used for, with things like cigarette paper, bank notes, hygiene products, construction and insulation materials, and automobile composites (door panels, etc) ranking in as the most practical.

While we’re not quite going to list all of the 25,000+ things that hemp can be used for, here are ten very practical things that we can use it for today:

1 | HEMP AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO PLASTIC

It’s obvious that we use way too much plastic, and we should definitely be turning away from it. From using reusable grocery bags to investing in a portable metal straw, there are plenty of ways we can cut down on plastic use. One of these ways is hemp.

Some of the earliest plastics were made from non-petroleum-based sources, including hemp. Since hemp contains around 65-70% cellulose, it is a great source for making plastic. Hemp-based plastic is certainly a possibility, and composite bioplastics – that is, those made using a combination of hemp and other plants – are already entering use. They are incredibly strong and rigid, meaning they can be used in anything right up to building ships and cars.

If this is the case, then why aren’t we converting all our plastic items to hemp plastics? Unfortunately, the amount of hemp farming that would need to take place to support the earth’s plastic needs would harm the environment by destroying natural habitats.

But it’s not all pessimistic.

In the future, turning even partially to hemp plastics will make a difference. Hopefully, governments and manufacturers will see the use in using more and more bioplastic alternatives.

2 | HEMP AS A TEXTILE (USED TO MAKE FABRICS)

Hemp textiles have long been a in usage. Nowadays, hemp fabrics are less common than things like cotton – but this makes no sense!

Hemp fabric is just as soft as cotton, perhaps even softer. In fact, it is reported to become even softer over time. It’s naturally resistant to bacteria (gets rid of BO!), and it can provide protection against UV rays. It even retains colour better than other fabrics.

Another bonus is that hemp requires about 5% of the water used to grow cotton. Often, it can just be rain-fed. Plus, it grows so densely that it saves room, and its hardiness reduces the need for pesticides and insecticides, as well as fertilizers.

The list goes on and on as to why hemp beats out cotton and other fabrics. Why it’s not in wider usage, we just don’t know.

3 | HEMP AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO PAPER

Once again, the fibers of the hemp plant come in handy. Paper can be made from either the long bast fiber (hurd) or the short bast fiber (pulp). Hemp hurds are preferred for their strength, whereas pulp paper is easier to make.

Believe it or not, the first hemp paper was made in China, during the Western Han Dynasty in 200-150 BC. It has been used for centuries since. In fact, the first and second drafts of the US Declaration of Independence were written on Dutch hemp paper in 1776.

Unfortunately, hemp paper was all but abandoned in the 1930s, when cannabis was outlawed. With hemp sadly falling under the cannabis categorization, it too became illegal. Initially, the cannabis prohibition movement was centered around immigration, with Mexican immigrants stereotyped for using the drug. However, large synthetic textiles companies began to back the movement, too – we can’t help but wonder if they had hidden agendas regarding getting rid of hemp.

But it’s not too late. Just 1 acre of hemp could produce as much paper as 4-10 acres of trees over a 20-year cycle. This is because hemp grows so much faster than trees, as well as the higher concentration of cellulose. Furthermore, hemp paper is more durable; it does not yellow or deteriorate.

Switching to hemp paper could help in the deforestation crisis. If you can, then try getting your hands on hemp paper where possible – it’s a huge benefit to the environment.

4 | HEMP MILK!

Veganism is a popular movement nowadays, with many people citing their personal health and the impact that animal farming has on the environment as reasons for turning to the diet. For people who haven’t always been vegans, it can be hard to find enjoyable foods at first. You might find yourself missing certain foods.

If milk is something you miss – or even if you like to whip up a yummy latte – then you’re in luck. There are plenty of plant-based milk, common ones including almond milk and soy. Did you know that you can also make milk from hemp seeds?

Hemp milk is made by blending water with the seeds of the hemp plant and straining the mixture, similar to how nut milks are made. It has an earthy, nutty flavor and is surprisingly creamy in its consistency. You can buy sweetened or unsweetened varieties.

Plus, hemp milk is really nutritious. It is filled with more protein and healthy fats than almond milk, and is less calorific than cow’s milk. Hemp milk also contains calcium and iron.

It has a number of other health benefits that make it a wonderful plant-based alternative to cow’s milk, too.

5 | COOKING WITH HEMP SEED OIL

Hemp seed oil is made by cold pressing the seeds of the hemp plant to produce an oil. It has a translucent green color when unrefined.

Hemp oil has a fuller flavor than some other oils like vegetable oil. It tastes more nutty and earthy, which is why it is often used as a salad dressing or drizzled over bread. Because of its unique flavor, hemp oil should not be used in sweet dishes where the more bitter taste of it might become overpowering. However, it can still be used in plenty of dishes.

If you want to cook with hemp oil, it can be really good for you. It contains plenty of nutrients that are great for your health, including proteins and essential fatty acids. However, remember that hemp oil has a low smoke point and thus cannot be used in cooking in the same way olive oil is. You can warm it up a little, but too much heat will burn the oil and change the flavor.

6 | USING HEMP FOR PLANT-BASED PROTEIN INTAKE

Like we said, veganism is becoming increasingly popular. Often, new vegans struggle to find sources of plant-based protein, but hemp could come to the rescue here.

Hemp is now a popular supplement used in creating plant-based protein powders, used by athletes and dieticians alike. Hemp protein powder is made by grinding pressed hemp seeds down into a powder. It is earthy and nutty in flavor, just like the hemp seed oil.

One of the best things about hemp protein is that it’s considered a complete protein. This means that it contains all nine essential amino acids, similar to egg whites and soy. Complete protein sources are rare in plants, which is part of what makes hemp a superfood.

Just ¼ cup (30g) of hemp protein can contain around 15mg of protein.

Moreover, 91-98% of the protein in hemp powders is easily digestible. This is not the case with a lot of plant proteins, which is why hemp could make a great addition to a plant-based diet.

7 | USING HEMP TO UP YOUR BEAUTY REGIME

Hemp is actually one of the latest trends in the beauty world. It is part of the eco-friendly beauty movement; since hemp is four times more effective at capturing CO2 than trees and it is a zero-waste crop, hemp can go into creating guilt-free beauty serums.

The natural fatty acids provide a wonderful skincare ingredient that can help keep your skin healthy. Furthermore, hemp products can hydrate, moisturize, and reduce swelling.

If you’re into environmentally friendly beauty, then you should really be checking out hemp products.

8 | HEMP FOR CLEAN SOIL

Did you know that hemp can clean toxic soil? This hardy plant can survive in extreme conditions, even growing in areas where the soil is considered to be toxic.

Back in 2001, it was shown in a study that hemp could extract lead, cadmium and nickel from a plot of land contaminated by sewage. It’s possible that hemp could be planted in polluted soil in order to suck out the intoxicants, cleaning up the soil so that it can be used once again in the future. This is a fantastic use of hemp, as it improves the environment by reducing pollution, and also frees up space for agricultural use, meaning that we don’t have to cut down existing areas of forest.

We might see more of these initiatives in the future.

9 | HEMP FOR PET FOOD AND BEDDING

Hemp-based pet products are the latest trend in all things involving animal pampering. Us humans just adore our furry friends, and we always want to give them the best possible. It just turns out that the ‘best’ nowadays is hemp!

You can now get your hands on anything from treats and food toppers to oils, salves, and bedding made using hemp. It is certainly possible to get your hands on hemp pet foods, but we don’t recommend feeding pets a vegetarian diet. Animals should be given a diet that is suited to their species, and so it is important to give them meat, too. This is not to say that hemp foods are bad, only that you should mix them with other pet foods.

A larger area of interest for hemp-enthusiast pet owners is CBD. Since CBD is reported to calm and create balance, people are wanting to give it to their pets in order to help them thrive. It turns out that you can do just that! Various CBD-infused treats and CBD oils flavoured like your pet’s favorite food are appearing in the market. Just make sure you buy a product specifically aimed at cats and dogs so that you don’t accidentally harm your pet when you’re trying to make them better.

10 | HEMP-BASED CBD OIL!

This is perhaps the most predictable item on the list, but we wanted to save the best for last! Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is the popular health supplement that has taken the world by storm. It is used for a vast number of different reasons and by a huge range of people, and for good reason.

It is thought that CBD could promote a healthy immune system and promote overall wellbeing by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, a biological system that exists throughout the whole body. For this reason, CBD products have seen an enormous upturn in popularity.

Since CBD is a cannabinoid, it can be found in all members of the cannabis plant family. This includes marijuana. While marijuana is enjoying legalization for either MMJ or recreational use in several states, it remains federally illegal. Some might think this unfortunate, because it denies people access to CBD.

But no need to fear, hemp is here! Since hemp contains very few psychoactive compounds and can’t produce a high, it has recently been made legal to grow. This means that people all across the country will be able to get their hands on 100% legal CBD without having to worry whatsoever about legal repercussions. At last!

WHAT CAN HEMP BE USED FOR? A GENERAL SUMMARY…

So there you have it – just 10 of hemp’s many uses. As you can see, hemp is an absolutely amazing plant, and frankly it’s shocking that we aren’t utilizing it to its full potential.

Of course, growing acres upon acres of hemp may be damaging to the environment if it gets out of hand, but the fact that it can be grown so easily and in short a small space suggests that it definitely has potential to be our saving grace in the future.

Now that the Hemp Farming Act has arrived on the scene, we might be able to make better use of this wonder plant in the years to come. Same goes for its bigger sister. Mary Jane.

Until then,

God Bless,

Charles

Finally, we might be able to make better use of this wonder plant in the years to come. Same goes for its bigger sister. Mary Jane. 

CBD oil has been studied for its potential role in treating many common health issues, including anxiety, depression, acne and heart disease. For those with cancer, it may even provide a natural alternative for pain and symptom relief.

Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another type of cannabinoid, CBD doesn’t cause any feelings of intoxication or the “high” you may associate with cannabis.

I tried CBD, but it didn’t do anything for me.

Why isn’t CBD working for me?

Is all this CBD hype just a scam?

Sound familiar? If you’ve tried CBD products without any results, you’re not the only one — but that doesn’t mean the whole industry is a scam.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a nonpsychoactive component found in the Cannabis sativa plant. It’s being researched for many possible medical benefits, and unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), this active compound doesn’t get you “high.”

People are using it to help manage a number of ailments, including:

  • chronic pain
  • inflammation
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • seizures

Before treating a medical condition, speak to your doctor to determine whether CBD is the right option for you, especially if you’re taking other medications.

You may have heard some folks with chronic conditions raving about good results — and that’s because for them, it’s one of the only few options that works.

That said, there are also some legitimate reasons why CBD might not be working for you.

So before you give up on it and tell your CBD-obsessed friends that they’re full of it, check to see if any of the following reasons apply to you.

1. Your CBD product isn’t from a reputable source

Where did you buy your CBD oil?

As it grows in popularity, it seems like CBD is popping up everywhere — from online companies to over-the-counter shops. You might have even tried a free sample to see if it works without investing anything more than the cost of shipping.

Unfortunately, some of these products don’t have high-quality CBD. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the industry, and some scammers take full advantage of that fact by selling low-quality products that aren’t as potentTrusted Source as they claim to be.

Some have even been found to contain no CBD at all.

So the next time you’re looking to invest in a new CBD product, use these three tips to make sure the product lives up to its promises:

  • Look for evidence of third-party lab tests. Lab testing can reveal exactly how much CBD is in the product, and the test results should be available for you to see for yourself.
  • Read consumer reviews. Websites like CannaInsiderLeafly, and CBD Oil Users provide reviews on brand effectiveness, delivery time, and customer service.
  • Pick from a list of well-established brands. Read enough lists of favorite CBD products and you’ll see some of the same companies pop up over and over again. Popular brands such as Charlotte’s Web, Lazarus Naturals, and CBDistillery have firmly established themselves as quality sources. You can also pick a brand from a list like this one and you won’t have to worry about the guesswork of figuring out if the brand you’re buying is trustworthy.

Many CBD users have reported trying several different brands before settling on one that works for them, so keep searching if your first try doesn’t produce the results you’re looking for.

2. You need to build it up in your system

Finding the right dosage of CBD can be a tricky endeavor. The appropriate amount varies for each individual, as every person has a unique biology that results in a different reaction.

So how do you figure out what’s right for you?

Experts recommend starting with a low dose — 20 to 40 milligrams daily, according to Healthline’s Medical Network (HMN) — and slowly increasing dosage over time until you find your “sweet spot.”

Some folks find that taking a daily dose can help sustain a level of CBD in your body, which might stimulate your endocannabinoid system (more on what this is, below) to make it react more to cannabinoids like CBD.

And many people use a microdosing technique to find their personal dosage and adjust it as needed over time.

You may find it helpful to use a journal to log your results. Keep track of how much you’ve taken, how you feel before dosing and at several time intervals afterward, and any changes in symptoms that you notice.

Over time, this info can help paint a picture of how CBD affects you.

BUILDING UP A TOLERANCE Keep in mind that it’s possible to build up a tolerance to CBD, like many other drugs and chemicals. So if you find that it’s not working as well after a while, try taking a few days’ break to reset your system before starting with a low dose again.

3. You need to give it more time

The first time I tried CBD, I wondered if I’d wasted my money on some overhyped trend. I put some drops of an oil tincture under my tongue, expected near-instant relief from my chronic pain, and got… nothing.

My experience isn’t at all unusual, because immediate results aren’t all that common.

In fact, many people take CBD for several weeks or even several months before they see a difference.

Exploring the effects of CBD isn’t as simple as taking a couple of Tylenol and calling it a day. It actually requires a certain level of commitment to put time and thought into your process of uncovering the long-term effects.

If you’re still not seeing results after a while (think a few months), then it may be time to move on and try a different brand. Your CBD journal can help you keep track of how long it’s been and whether or not you’ve experienced any changes.

Patience is key, and while it can be frustrating to keep trying with no results, you may end up feeling super grateful that you didn’t give up.

4. You need a different delivery system

It seems like I’m hearing about a new CBD product just about every week. You can find everything from CBD coffee to bath salts and lube.

Common forms of CBD

  • tinctures
  • topical creams
  • vape oils
  • capsules or suppositories
  • edible treats like gummies and chocolate

So if you’ve been trying one delivery system with no luck, it’s possible that a different form would work better for you.

One factor to consider is bioavailability, which essentially refers to how much of the CBD actually gets into your bloodstream.

For example, if you eat CBD gummies, they have to go through your digestive tract before you can absorb them, and the amount that ends up in your system may be relatively low.

On the other hand, if you take a tincture sublingually — which means under the tongue — you’re absorbing it directly into your bloodstream. So you could get quicker, more noticeable results than you would from waiting for your digestive system to process it.

In addition, your most effective method may vary depending on what type of relief you’re looking for.

For example, a topical balm won’t help you with your panic attacks. But it can offer potential relief for, say, sore muscles, if you zero in on that particular area.

 

5. It’s just not for you

CBD may be popular, but that doesn’t mean it’s a miracle drug that will work for everyone. After all of your efforts, it’s possible that you’ll find that CBD simply doesn’t work for you.

Your level of absorption and reaction to CBD depends on a variety of factors including your:

  • metabolism
  • biochemistry
  • genetics

Your endocannabinoid system is the system in your body that interacts with the active compounds in cannabis, and each person’s operates a little differently.

In fact, a professor of clinical psychiatry noted 20 percent of Americans may have a genetic mutationTrusted Source that makes them naturally produce more endocannabinoids — similar to cannabinoids but produced by your body.

If you have that mutation, you might be prone to lower levels of anxiety, but because you already have extra endocannabinoids you might not see much of a difference when you take CBD.

Check with your doctor about other options that may work for you.

And if you have persistent friends, don’t be afraid to tell them to stop bugging you about giving CBD a try. After all, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all treatment!

Getting CBD to work takes time, patience, and research

CBD isn’t as well-researched or regulated as many other treatment options like prescription medications, and people within the industry are still trying to narrow down the best practices for taking it.

But one thing’s for sure: It’s not as simple as taking some standard dosage and seeing immediate results. It takes time, patience, and ongoing research to find the right brand, dosage, and delivery method for you.

Which means the process can also get pricey — as you might have to buy products from several different companies over the course of several months before you find what works.

TIP – Before you go all-in on a full-sized product from a reputable company that may cost a lot of money but might not work for you, check to see if you can buy sample packs of the product.

So before you give up on CBD altogether, use the above reasons as a check list to figure out why CBD isn’t working for you.

 


Today’s article is by guest contributor M. Z. Johnson, writer and advocate for survivors of violence, who lives with chronic illness and believes in honoring each person’s unique path to healing. 

God Bless and good luck with finding yours!

CBD oil has been studied for its potential role in treating many common health issues, including anxiety, depression, acne and heart disease. For those with cancer, it may even provide