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When pounded into a tree, a stream of fresh water flows from the tube. The technique used in the movie would only work in early spring or late winter, when the watery sap runs high in the trees. The taps that are placed in maple trees are placed into drilled holes and the resultant fluid is sap, not water.

Sycamore trees (Platanus occidentalis), birches (the genus Betula), and hickories (the genus Carya) can also be tapped for drinking water that can be boiled for syrup. Black birch sap is particularly delicious.

What happens if you find yourself lost in the woods with no potable water?

The clock starts ticking, that’s what. You can only live three days without water, after that you’re buzzard food. Tick. Tock.

Related – Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

Finding emergency drinking water should be your top priority in that situation, but sometimes you’re not lucky enough to have any groundwater nearby. So, what then?

One primitive survival tactic that you can implement quickly using only the most basic of survival tools is harvesting emergency drinking water from the very trees all around you.

The best part is you don’t have to filter or boil this water, the tree does all the cleaning for you. And this isn’t just regular water either, it contains all the good stuff the tree is using to feed itself – minor nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and sugars.

Related – This book will teach you everything from the soil up

This is a pretty nice video from Rob at Sigma 3 Survival school that illustrates how to fairly easily get water from a tree. This could come in handy in a survival situation but according to the narrator is only effective 2 times a year (early spring and late winter) and works better with certain trees.

Rob also demonstrates how to use a root from the tree to support your canteen while the water flows into it.

WARNING

If your tree is leaking water from the trunk,, there is a good chance your tree has bacterial disease called wetwood, also known as slime flux. This disease enters and seeps out of the trees in a liquid form that looks like water. It’s not usually a little liquid either.

Affected trees may leak copious amounts of liquid out of their trunks or branches, discoloring the bark and dripping onto the surrounding ground. Bacterial wetwood occurs as after bacteria infect the wood of a tree. Bacteria can enter the wood through any wound in a trunk, limb or root.


Here’s some other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)

Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)

The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

The technique used in the movie would only work in early spring or late winter, when the watery sap runs high in the trees.

Probably the best thing about an off-grid home is that it kinda forces you to get back on speaking terms with things you wouldn’t do for all the money in the world. If someone had told me 15 years ago that I was I going to split logs, stack manure or making candles out of bacon, I would’ve probably told him that his mom’s a very nice person (not!).

Anyway, ever since I bought this dingy, I learned that the things I once considered as being nasty or beneath me are actually very entertaining and, dare I say, therapeutic to some degree. Of course, shoveling manure can hardly be considered fun, but spending an afternoon splitting logs for a cozy campfire or late-night BBQ is awesome.

On the latter activity – splitting logs and making fires is fun. Cleaning up afterward is not. The only thing that kept me from doing this all day was sawdust. It gets everywhere – I found that stuff inside my boots, my pants, even my skivvies for God’s sake. And no matter how hard you broom or power wash the place, you will still find sawdust piles.

Okay, so cleaning sawdust is not entertaining, but figuring out what to do with that stuff after gathering it, well…still not fun enough for me. I mean, what in Hell’s name can you do with a handful of wood chippings and dust apart from taking it to the thrash? That’s when it hit me.

I remember watching this outdoor cooking show featuring this guy who had the same problem with sawdust. The only difference between us is that he figured out a way to reuse it. His clever workaround was reusing the stuff to cure and smoke meat. Neat, isn’t it? Well, long story made short, I hopped on the Internet and searched for ways to reuse that stuff around the house. And, wouldn’t you know, there is indeed life after death, at least for sawdust. So, without further ado, here are X creative recycle and reuse wood dust.

Making a campfire

Remember about the tinder box? Well, because it can get so lonely for that char cloth of yours, here’s one more thing you can add – fine sawdust. Since this stuff’s the byproduct of woodworking, it’s safe to assume that it can be used to start a fire. However, since sawdust’s very, well, dry, it will need something else to sustain a flame.

On a prepping forum, someone suggested that you can make a briquette out of a bar of wax and a handful of sawdust. It’s very easy – melt the wax in a small pan and add the wood shavings. Stir and allow the mixture to harden. After that, cut it into tinder box-size pieces and profit.

Weed-whacker

A gardener has but four sworn enemies: moles, bad weather, moles, insects, and weeds. Moles can be kept away by sprinkling a bit of wood ash at the base of the plant, while insects go nuts around coffee grounds. There’s nothing you can do about bad weather, though (you can try a rain dance if that makes you feel a little better). But weeds can be dealt with by using sawdust. After planting your veggies, place a thin layer of sawdust on top.

Veggies don’t mind wood chippings; weeds, on the other hand, won’t go near that stuff. I don’t know the science behind this claim, but I’ve read somewhere that it has something to do with inhibiting the weed’s natural parasitic properties. Tried it a couple of times in my garden, and it works like a charm. You can also use some of this stuff in those cracks that appear on your driveway.

Pulling a fast one on a drunk friend

I don’t think there’s anything more disturbing than waking up butt-naked outside during the winter. If you want to pull a fast one on someone’s who got sauced at your party, get some sawdust, spray-paint it white, lay it outside, and carry your bud then. Well, this may not be your typical SHTF use, but at least it makes for a great YouTube video.

Dealing with oil spills

Probably most of you have attempted at least once to fix your car in the garage. The operations might have gone well, but the same thing cannot be said about the floor, which is covered in motor oil. Power washing the floor won’t work. Trust me. I think I’ve used up more water than two hospitals trying to clean one tiny spill.

To quickly get rid of that thing, sprinkle some sawdust over it. In a couple of minutes, the sawdust will absorb all the oil. All you need to do now would be to use the power blower to get rid of the oil-soaked sawdust pile.

Make neat garden or forest paths

If your home’s next to the forest, there’s bound to be a place of interest nearby – a creek, rock with peculiar features, an old tree, perhaps even a cave. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a nice path leading to it, instead of relying each time on markings or memory? Well, you can do that using sawdust, sand, and a couple of river rocks. Start by choosing you rocks – they should be flat and smooth because you wouldn’t want to hurt your feet now, would you?

The path should be at least one-and-a-half meters in width which mean that you’ll need to use at least three small and flat rock or two big ones. Figure out just how many rocks the path will require before heading off into the forest to scavenge for materials.

Use a hoe or an implement with a flat head to trace the path from your garden to the place of interest. After that, add a think layer of sand and a layer of sawdust on top – this combo will allow you to them the river rocks easier. Finally, arrange the rocks, place some tiki torches on either side of the path for mood, and you’re done.

Extra fertilization!

Plants don’t have enough yum-yum to grow? Try a little bit of sawdust. Here’s what I like to do about pretentious veggies – in a plastic bucket, put one full shovel of manure, two shovels of organic compost, and half a kilogram of sawdust. Add some water and mix with something (I usually end up putting some surgical gloves on because it’s easier to mix that stuff with your hands). When you’re done, pour that mix over your veggies of choice and wait to see what happens.

Sawdust’s also a great and eco-friendly way to combat soil erosion. Some gardeners even use it for mulching.  Word of warning though – if you plan on using sawdust in conjunction with manure and compost, avoid walnut trees. Apparently, walnut wood contains a substance that kills plants without discrimination.

For when nature calls

Well, these are shitty times, which means that we always have to ensure that there’s at least one functional toilet around the house. This is not a problem for those of use leaving close to the woods, but what do you in case your city toilet gets clogged, or the water pump fails? Sure, you could go to a friend or neighbor’s house for number 2 or number one, but that’s hardly what I would call a solution. In the immortal words of Bear Grylls: adapt, overcome, and…. make a portable shitter.

It’s very easy to build one. Best of all, you’ll only need things that are usually found around the house. Here’s how to do it. Take a big plastic bucket and saw the top off. Get a second smaller bucket, and place it inside the bigger one. Fill the smaller one with a mixture of sawdust, kitty litter, and perhaps something to wish away the nasty smell. Now, go around the house and search for an old toilet seat and a plastic ring.

The latter should be thin enough to slide in the narrow gap created by the two buckets. Use some epoxy to glue the plastic ring to the bottom part of the toilet seat. Congrats! You’ve just built your first portable emergency toilet. When the potty fills up, take out the second bucket, discard in the compost pile or heavy-duty garbage bag, and refill with sawdust and kitty litter.

Using as bedding for your cats and dogs

If you’re unable to get to the pet shop, you can use sawdust to fill your cat’s\dog’s poopy box. It may not be pretty, and your cat will surely have the murderous gaze in its easy, but at least your pet will not go number two on the carpet or bathroom tiles.

Provides extra traction

As you know, many counties made winter traction kits mandatory for drivers. A good thing too, because getting snowbound isn’t exactly relaxing. If you want to add more kick to your winter traction solution, try this trick. In a bag or bucket mixt kitty litter, sand, rock salt, and sawdust. It’s a great combo – litter, sawdust, and sand will provide you with extra traction while salt makes the snow melt.

Patching holes in woodwork

I was more than thrilled about my new home away from home. Mostly because I managed to convince the former owner to go way below the initial price. Well, long story short, there was a reason why the guy did this – the entire living room carpentry was full of holes as if someone had been using the walls for target practice or something. Obviously, the thing cost me a pretty penny, and I didn’t have much left to repair the walls. However, a fellow prepper told me that I could use sawdust to temporary fill the holes.

Yes, I know it was a piss-poor job, but at least the living room didn’t look like Swiss cheese. If you’re having the same problem, here’s what you will need to do – put a small amount of epoxy inside each hole. After that, take a handful of sawdust and fill the hole. Allow the glue to harden. Finally, give that wall a fresh coat of paint and, voila, no more holes.

Grow your own mushrooms

Remember my article about using coffee grounds to grow mushrooms? Well, there’s another way to grow a yummy-yummy batch of shrooms. The trick is to use Eastern Red Cedar sawdust. This might come as good news for people who have no love for coffee. Or for those who prefer coffee capsules over the regular variety.

The procedure’s more or less the same as in the case of using coffee leftovers. Get a plastic bucket, put some fresh dirt into it, add a handful of sawdust, add some stuff from your compost pile, mix, add some mushroom seeds, and store into a damp place. You’re welcome!

Well, that’s it on how to recycle sawdust. Do you have other ways in mind? Hit the comments section and share your thoughts with the rest of the community.

Probably the best thing about an off-grid home is that it kinda forces you to get back on speaking terms with things you wouldn’t do for all the money in

When garden composting caught on in the early 1980s, I thought back to my mother sending us kids to the garden every night to bury the day’s apple cores, carrot tops and hickory nut shells. It seemed Mom was ahead of her time.

Or was she?

I’ve been reading in the “1881 Household Cyclopedia of General Information” about enriching soil. In the days before chemical fertilizers, making compost was vital for a successful harvest. Only a lazy farmer was not continually building up his soil. And to neglect the earth meant to have poor quality vegetables and crops.

“The best natural soils,” according to the book, “are those where the materials have been derived from the breaking up and decomposition, not of one stratum or layer, but of many divided minutely by air and water, and minutely blended together: and in improving soils by artificial additions, the farmer cannot do better than imitate the processes of nature.”

Although the 813-page book was published in 1881, it contains information from farming practices in use before the Civil War, according to the authors. My mother did not start gardening until the 1950s, but instinctively knew the old-time methods were best.

Linda’s Home Garden

Because we ate so much wild game when I was young, we had, or course, lots of animal innards, bones, skin and other parts to get rid of all winter. When the garden was too frozen for burying scraps, we chiseled up as much soil as possible and covered the stuff with snow until springtime. It grossed me out as a kid to put animal parts in the garden, but Mom had it right – we were imitating nature.

The book applies the term manure indiscriminately to all substances known from experience either to enrich the soil or contribute in any other way to render it more favorable to vegetation. Healing the soil is akin to healing a body.

“In an agricultural point of view, the subject of manures is of the first magnitude,” the book states. “To correct what is hurtful to vegetation in the different soils, and to restore what is lost by exhausting crops, are operations in agriculture which may be compared to the curing of diseases in the animal body, or supplying the waste occasioned by labor.”

Like other household hint books on the era, the Cyclopedia is compiled of 10,000 submissions by farmers and home gardeners on topics from agriculture to wine. The book states the following conclusions may be regarded as scientifically sustained, as well as confirmed by practical experience:

 

Organic Manures

1. Fresh human urine yields nitrogen in greater abundance to vegetation than any other material of easy acquisition. The urine of animals is valuable for the same purpose, but not equally so. Still, none should not be wasted.

2. The mixed excrements of man and animals yield (if carefully preserved from further decomposition), not only nitrogen, but other invaluable saline and earthy matters that have been already extracted in food from the soil.

3. Animal substances such as urine, flesh, and blood decompose rapidly and are fitted to operate immediately and powerfully on vegetation.

4. Dry animal substances (horn, hair, or woollen rags) decompose slowly and (weight for weight) contain a greater quantity of organized as well as unorganized materials. Their influence may be manifested for several seasons.

5. Finely crushed bones, acting like horns in so far as their animal matter is concerned, may ameliorate the soil by their earthy matter for a long period (even if the jelly they contain has been injuriously removed by the size maker), permanently improving the condition and adding to the natural capabilities of the land.

Using animal manures

“Dung is the mother of good crops; and it appears that no plan can be devised by which a large quantity can be so easily and cheaply gathered, or by which straw can be so effectually rotted and rendered beneficial to the occupier of a clay-land farm, as the soiling (feeding) of grass in the summer season.”

Any farmer can tell you that animal manure varies in potency by the animals’ diet. The book recommends not letting early springtime weeds go to waste as they pop up in fencerows or alongside buildings. Cut those nutritious weeds and feed them to your animals. You’ll be rewarded for your effort.

“In a word, the dung of animals fed upon green clover, may justly be reckoned the richest of all dung. It may, from the circumstances of the season, be rapidly prepared, and may be applied to the ground at a very early period, much earlier than any other sort of dung can be used with advantage.”

Also, the practice of soiling or feeding horses or cattle in the barn or farmyard is eminently calculated to increase the quantity and quantity of manure on every farm. In the 1800s, feeding horses in the summer months on green clover and ryegrass was a common practice in grain districts where farm labor was available.

 

“The utility of the practice does not need the support of argument, for it is not only economical to the farmer, but saves much fatigue to the poor animal; besides, the quantity of dung thereby gathered is considerable.”

Positioning and management of the pile is also important to obtain the best quality compost in shortest amount of time.

“When driven out of the fold-yard, the dung should be laid up in a regular heap or pile not exceeding six quarters, or four feet and a half in height; and care should be taken not to put either horse or cart upon it, which is easily avoided by backing the cart to the pile, and laying the dung compactly together with a grape or fork.”

While you may not be using a horse to cart the manure, the message is the same – don’t smash the pile. Also cover the outer edges of the manure pile with soil to keep in the moisture and prevent the sun and wind from depleting nutrients. A small quantity of earth scattered on the top is also useful.

“Dung, when managed in this manner, generally ferments very rapidly; but if it is discovered to be in a backward state, a complete turn over, about the 1st of May, when the weather becomes warm, will quicken the process; and the better it is shaken asunder, the sooner will the object in view be accomplished.”

When starting the pile, select a secluded spot not exposed to wind or where water pools. The pile should also be downhill from and at least 100 feet from water sources to keep from polluting your freshwater.

To save trouble later, start the pile in the garden or field where it is to be used. It is also most convenient to have the manure pile near the homestead.

“There it is always under the farmer’s eye, and a greater quantity can be moved in a shorter time than when the situation is more distant. Besides, in wet weather (and this is generally the time chosen for such an operation), the roads are not only cut up by driving to a distance, but the field on which the heap is made may be poached and injured considerably.”


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for you:

Healthy Soil + Healthy Plants = Healthy You

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns

Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need

4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps

When garden composting caught on in the early 1980s, I thought back to my mother sending us kids to the garden every night to bury the day’s apple cores, carrot