Home2020May (Page 2)

The other week I stopped and stared at my pantry. Looking in on all of the cans of food, bags of rice, beans and jugs of water gives me a sense of accomplishment and a certain satisfaction in all of our prepping efforts to date. For some reason I got it into my head to arrange things because the pantry had gotten a little disorganized over time. I started by pulling every item out of the pantry and staging them in the kitchen. There were bottles all over the place of dressing –  cans of beans and tomatoes took over the kitchen table and pasta galore spilled onto the kitchen counters.

The first sign of trouble was when I grabbed some condiments from the top shelf and noticed I had mayonnaise that was 2 years past its expiration. I started going further and this was the same case with pickles and some soups, even canned fruit. Now I was worried because it was obvious my brilliant solution to all of my family’s food problems had failed miserably. The next order of business was to grab one of my kids and have them check every label on every product. This scored me a lot of points I have to say…

Hard to believe isn’t it?

Next I went back into the pantry to grab some of the larger items. We have large 50 pound bags of rice that I got from Costco for a ridiculously cheap price. I grabbed one of the bags off the top shelf to lift it up and noticed the bottom was a funny color. Actually, it looked like mold and the bag was stiff. When I pulled it down I discovered that yes, the bag was moldy. Someone, maybe I placed a one gallon jug of water on the top shelf and at some point it had leaked. The jug of water was empty and 50 pounds of rice was ruined. I don’t know how this happened, but it was a little depressing.

The first step is to admit you have a problem

Here I was, mid-way through a Saturday afternoon, my house was in chaos due to all of my food storage being distributed around the rooms and I was finding more and more food that was out of date or inedible in some fashion. Initially I was ticked off that I had let this happen. I started thinking about what all could have gone wrong with food and how foolish I would have felt if we had some crisis and I went to grab the food that was supposed to feed my family and it was all rotten. Visions of my family staring at me with angry expressions on their sunken faces started to appear. Not good.

So after I had all of the food out and verified what was really expired I realized that it wasn’t too bad. It was a good idea to do this though because I wouldn’t have found that rice probably until it was too late. What really stunk is that my super awesome system for rotating groceries was not working and again, that was my fault for assuming this was being used.

Why weren’t we rotating our food the right way? Well, it comes down to a few main reasons. The first reason is that our pantry shelves didn’t really have any rhyme or reason to how food was stored. We have a decent amount of pantry space but cans of beans were mixed in with cans of fruit and for some reason we had jars and jars of jelly that nobody was eating. When groceries got put away, there was no predetermined place or order for them to go in so they went where ever was easiest. This usually meant they all got loaded onto and taken off of one shelf. Another aspect of this is that we weren’t using the time tested FIFO system (First In First Out) so food wasn’t getting rotated like it should. Fortunately for us, this didn’t get too far out of control, but we did have to throw away some jars of food.

There were two other contributing factors to our food use and one was the way my wife shopped. She is excellent at clipping coupons and always has her coupon book out when she goes shopping. The problem was that she would buy whatever she had coupons for and didn’t take into account whether or not we needed it. For example, we had a ton of jelly like I said because they were buy one get one free so she stocked up. All of that jelly kept sitting in the pantry and items we do use, but didn’t get the same coupon attention were lacking.

Also, we eat most of our meals from fresh ingredients and my wife cooks from scratch a lot. This in combination with my daughter’s gluten intolerance caused the biggest stockpile of food we had (pasta and canned tomato sauces) to be virtually ignored for many months. What used to be a staple was forgotten and was at risk for going bad.

Starting at the beginning

It makes sense to watch the expiration dates.

Now that I had all of my food out of the pantry, I was able to sort it into groups. This is just as fun as it sounds. I put the food back into the pantry in a specific order. The item order itself doesn’t matter so much as the fact it is in order. I started clockwise in our pantry and put canned meat, then beans, soups, fruit, coffee, tomatoes, sauces, mixes and then baking items like flour, sugar and other sundries. Pasta went into the kitchen and placed in one spot and the hard to reach containers of condiments were placed back down on eye level so they could be used. Freeze dried food went in storage containers under the bed. Water was stored on the floor to prevent anything bad from happening to the rice again. I know that I would have been fine if I just stored all of the rice in 5 gallon buckets, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet and we do eat off of our rice weekly.

So I had the semblance of a system now and I started filling it in with the cans according to expiration date. The cans that were the closest to expiration went at the front of one row and it wrapped around to two or three rows if needed. The newest cans were on the left and the oldest were on the right. I didn’t throw everything out that had expired because I know you can go past the dates on most things. I wasn’t going to give Mayo a chance though… Now not only do we have a simple way of pulling the oldest food item, but we can easily place new cans in a spot that will ensure rotation.

When we go grocery shopping now, my wife can easily see what we have left and fill that up. We are also trying to cook more according to what we have and purchase what we ate, as opposed to what we want, to eat to keep the pantry stocked.

This exercise taught me a few other lessons that weekend; actually it was a weird weekend because I spent both days doing similar things. It was almost like I was a nesting bird and it was a weird compulsion that came over me. I don’t normally spend my weekends reorganizing anything but it was good that I did. This also manifested itself into a good ammo inventory but I’ll write about that on another day. Now we have a better system for storing and rotating food and a different strategy for filling our pantry. That type of understanding is extremely beneficial and ensures that you aren’t just buying a ton of supplies and shoving them in a dark corner. You instead are building a stocked larder that will be ready for you when you need it.

The other week I stopped and stared at my pantry. Looking in on all of the cans of food, bags of rice, beans and jugs of water gives me a

Personally, I think that tallow is one of those things capable of making your stomach spin like a washing machine. I really don’t have anything against the stuff – Hell, I myself have used that stuff more than a few times to cook or to make emergency candles, but the very sight of it…sometimes… I’m only human, after all.

Now, personal feeling aside, tallow or grease obtained by cooking suet, which is the fatty tissue surrounding the organs of various animals, is one of those survival items that shouldn’t be missing from your household emergency kit. Yes, I know that you live in the big city and there’s at least one corner store around from where you can buy cooking oil, but tallow can do more than that. I usually keep around one or two kilos of pork tallow around the house in case, you know, I need to make stuff.

In remembering just how nasty the kitchen smelled when my grandma was preparing tallow, I thought it might be a good idea to share with you a couple of useful hints on how to use this stuff. So, without further ado, here are 28 ways you can use tallow in a shit hits the fan situation.

1. Cooking

Obviously, the first item on the list had to be a no-brainer. Yup, as disgusting as that stuff looks, it’s apparently better for deep frying than regular sunflower seed oil. I mostly use it to fry bacon or to prepare goulash in my cast-iron camping pot. It also goes well with other dishes like fish or pork chops. A friend of mine uses tallow to can pork meat. The process is more or less similar to brining. However, in this case, the salter water’s replaced by melted tallow. Give it a go and see how you like it.

2. Enhanced sharpening

In the olden days, blacksmiths used to dip the newly-forged blades into pork or even dog tallow in order to hasten the sharpening process. Moreover, knife blades coated in a very thin layer of pork tallow stay sharper longer compared to those that are, let’s say, dry-sharpened.

3. Gun maintenance

Long before gun grease became available, soldiers would oil their weapon with tallow. By the way, it’s tallow that led to the Indian revolt, which drove the East India Company out of the country. During the British dominion, Indian regulars were conscripted in order to serve Her Majesty’s interests in the Indies. Apparently, one of the many reasons that led to the Indians turning against the English was the new Lee Enfield rifle. The new version of the gun used tallow-coated cartridge, which was designed to protect the barrel. Since Indians abhor pork, they refused to handle the new rifles, which ultimately led to the 1857 Rebellion.

4. Bacteria buster

Tallow has strong anti-bacterial properties. In fact, our ancestors used this stuff in order to treat candida and yeast infections.

5. Solder away, soldier!

All out of flux for your soldering project? Not a problem. Dip the hot end of your soldering iron in tallow, and carry on.

6. Skin care

Yes, I know the idea of rubbing tallow on your skin seems out of a Hannibal Lecter movie or something, but it actually works. Sure, you won’t come off smelling like the proverbial rose garden, but at least your skin will be silky smooth.

7. Keeping away foul body odor

Now that summer’s around the bend; you will need something cheap and efficient at keeping that nasty armpit smell at bay. Sure, you can waste away that hard-earned cash on expensive beauty products, or you can try this simple recipe – melt some tallow and mix with one tablespoon of baking soda. Allow that stuff to harden and profit. I personally like to apply a fine layer after getting out of the shower. To prevent your armpits from smelling like a cooking lady’s kitchen, use a bit of scented oil.

8. Prevents diaper rash

If you ever run out of talcum powder after wiping your toddler’s behind, rub a little bit of tallow.  It really works wonders on diaper rashes.

9. Putting some meat on your pets’ bones

Nowadays, pet food is as deficient in nutrients just like human food. If your pet needs to gain a little bit of weight, mixt its favorite wet food with tallow.

10. Great for a good night’s sleep

Having problems summoning the Sandman? Maybe it’s because your brain doesn’t have enough fats and amino acids to kickstart the so-called restorative sleep. How to fix this? Swallow a tablespoon of tallow each day. Yes, I know it sounds odd, but it really works (cured me of insomnia).

11. Neutralizes venom from insect bits

If you got stung by a wasp, hornet or bee, rub a little bit of tallow on the sting site. The fat will draw out and neutralize the venom.

12. Hemorrhoids away!

Well, hemorrhoids are a pain in the ass, indeed. What’s worse is that no matter what cream you use, it will take a while for them to subside. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, you can replace your regular antibiotic cream with tallow. Yes, I know that rubbing grease in the spot where the sun doesn’t shine might come off like the intro of a really bad adult flick, but, hey, at least you can now sit on your tushy without that excruciating pain.

13. Lice slayer!

Head lice, because I don’t even want to consider the other variety, are damned hard to get rid of. Well, according to this old-world remedy, a lice-laden scalp can be cured using a mixture of apple cider vinegar and tallow.

14. Health super boost

Research has shown that patients who consume tallow on a regular basis are less likely to experience a heart condition compared to those who would rather stay away from that stuff. Furthermore, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, tallow plays a key role in preventing vascular dementia such as Alzheimer and some forms of blood cancer.

15. Making screwing fun again

No, not that kind of screwing (I don’t even think that stuff can be used for bouncy-bouncy). If a screw is moving too slow or not at all, try using a little bit of grease on the tip. By the way, you can also use a 50-50 tallow and cider mixture to remove rust from screws, bolts, nails, and even tools.

16. Great for lubricating moving parts

All out of WD 40? No problem. Just use a little bit of grease to get those moving parts, well, moving again, I guess.

17. Rocking the gentleman look

Did you know that tallow was used to make mustache wax? Yup, if you have a great pair of whiskers, use a little bit of pork tallow to make them shine. That stuff can also replace hair gel, although I wouldn’t advise it on account of the smell.

18. Doubles as shaving cream

If the lumberjack style not your kind of gig, you can always use a bit of tallow should you ever run out of shaving cream? That thing will moisten the hair strand, making shaving a lot easier. I know that the best the fresh-out-of-the-shower shave is the best practice, but I personally prefer this method when I’m on the run and don’t have the time to step into the shower.

19. Boost the efficiency of breast milk

According to researchers, tallow increases the number of nutrients normally found inside the mother’s milk. Baby breastfed will tallow-infused milk are better protected against allergies and infantile diseases. Furthermore, since tallow has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-scarring properties, it’s recommended for stretching marks aka the tell-tale signs of pregnancy.

20. Keep darkness at bay

Every problem in this world can be solved with a little illumination. In case you run out of emergency candles, lamp oil or tac light batteries, you can make 6-hour candles using tallow. Check out my article on how to make emergency candles from bacon. The principle’s the same.

21. Washy-washy

You know the saying: cleanliness is next to godliness. However, that may be a bit difficult if you run out of soap. Not to worry – tallow has been used for centuries in home soapmaking. Melt, boil, add some essential oils place in molds, allow to harden, and wash.

22. Leather care

Nice leather shoes! It would be a shame if something would happen to them. Well, nothing bad is going to happen to your leather shoes, jacket or pants if you rub some tallow on them. Apart from the fact that fat rejuvenates tanning products, it also adds a weatherproof layer.

23. Say buh-bye to cooking oil

If you ever get tired of using olive, sunflower or palm tree oil for cooking, you can always replace with tallow. Moreover, this stuff’s so good, that it will give your favorite pastries an entirely different taste.

24. Eco-friendly cars FTW!

It’s possible to make your vehicle even more eco-friendly by replacing the regular motor oil with a special tallow mixture. Motor oils made from tallow are biodegradable and boasts the same performances as the regular variety.

25. No more allergies

The only thing I hate about spring is that white tree fuzz which makes me sneeze like there’s no tomorrow. I can’t say if it’s an allergy or simply the fact that my body doesn’t like fuzz, but in any case, I found out that tallow really helps. I have the same problem, put a little tallow inside each nostril before leaving the house. The fact will act as a filter and barrier. You’re welcome!

26. No more balding or brittle nails

There comes a time in a man’s life when he needs to swap the comb for a wet towel. Well, eventually, all those gorgeous locks of yours are going to fade away, but not right now. Now, if you have a similar issue, you should definitely consider applying a thin layer of tallow. You should do this after stepping out of the shower. The nutrients inside the tallow will stimulate hair growth. It also works wonders on brittle nails.

27. Better than butter

Although butter’s better than margarine, the docs recommend using tallow instead of regular butter. Yeah, I wouldn’t try to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with that stuff, but it tastes great when combined with smoked foods or dairy products. Careful with that stuff because it packs more fat than butter and margarine combined.

28. No more poison ivy itching

If you went a couple of rounds with poison ivy, rub some tallow over the area to get rid of the itching.

 

Well, that’s about it on ingenious ways to use tallow around the house and in a shit hits the fan situation. What’s your take on tallow? Hit the comments section and let me know.


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)

Tallow is one of those survival items that shouldn’t be missing from your household emergency kit.

Saving money is most times easier than making it and I have found a way to save LOTS of money. In our home we seem to have mountains of laundry to be done but my honest first thought when I heard about making my own soap was – all I need is one-more-thing-to-do…was the extra work going to be worth it?

I decided to give it a try for several reasons. The first was my ongoing struggle with allergies. I seem to be allergic to the strangest things and at times have a wallop of an attack. Life with allergies is no fun so over the years I have looked at nearly everything I come into contact with to see if there was some way I could mitigate the allergic response. The second reason is financial – we seemed to be constantly buying or running out of laundry soap.

Even though the cheapest brands weren’t always satisfactory they seemed to give me less of an allergic response than the big name brands perhaps because there was less scent. Homemade laundry soap has very little scent to it except clean. The third reason is storage which I will explain in a moment.

Making your own laundry soap might seem like something super-homesteading-large-family-enviromental-frugal people do. Well – perhaps – but it’s so simple it doesn’t matter what your reasons are – this stuff is fantastic and inexpensive and doesn’t make me itch or sneeze (except when grating the soap!) and it super-simple-easy to make and it can be used in a HD washing machine because of the minimal amount of suds AND does a great job of cleaning your clothes!

Here’s what to do:

In a large pot on the stove combine:

  • about 8 cups of water
  • 1 bar of Linda laundry soap grated
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup washing soda

All these items are easily found in most grocery store laundry aisles – you’ve probably just not been looking for them.

I use a pot that is exclusively used for making laundry soap – use an old one or buy one at a thrift store. some people say this is not necessary if you clean the pot out really well after you make it – you decide. I also use a dollar store grater for grating the Linda soap – it’s hard to clean afterwards so don’t use it for food!

Over low heat and stirring often mix the contents until they are completely dissolved for about 20 minutes.Leaving it on the stove longer won’t hurt it – but any shorter and you may not have it completely dissolved.

Add this mixture to a 5 gallon pail and fill the pail till about 2/3 full with hot water. That doesn’t sound very exact and that is because it doesn’t seem to need to be. Stir using a whisk, immersion blender or a hand mixer – whatever you have. It should turn into a gel by the next day when it cools completely or it may look a bit watery like cottage cheese but either way it cleans your clothes very well. You can re-blend it if it bothers you. That’s all there is to it!

Use about 1/16 cup – a heaping tablespoon for the more visual among us – I have a small plastic scoop beside the bucket. If the clothes are particularly greasy or dirty use a little more.

The cost is approx. .05c a load by my last calculations.A pail like that lasts us at least three months (that of course depends on how many loads your family does each month)

How does it save money???

Linda soap bar: $1.49 a bar
2kg. Borax: less than $5.00 (8.5 recipes)
3 kg. Washing soda: less than $5.00 for 13 recipes

But think about this… if you bought:

  • 13 bars of soap $20.00
  • 2 boxes Borax $10.00
  • 1 box Washing soda $5.00

For a total of less than $35.00 you could make the recipe 13 times which would be enough for more than 3 years (39 months to be exact!)
That’s less than $1.00 a month..

Can you see why I love this stuff! We’ve been using homemade laundry soap for 5 or 6 years and I wouldn’t switch back for any reason. Frugal. Practical. Simple.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for 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

Saving money is most times easier than making it and I have found a way to save LOTS of money. In our home we seem to have mountains of laundry

I am not a fan of wasting food because I feel bad for the people that don’t have any but also because I don’t know what will happen in the future and I want to be prepared for anything. These are my reasons why I pickle besides the fact that I really love them and I could eat them with any food.

 

What is pickling? Pickling is the process of preserving foods in a high-acid solution, either by adding vinegar or naturally by means of fermentation. Spoilers cannot grow in a high-acid environment. This state of high acidity is achieved in two ways: by means of salt and with vinegar (though when you pickle with vinegar, you add salt as well).

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

Pickling With Salt

PickingCucumbers

Pickling locks in the fresh taste from your garden

Pickling with salt falls into two categories: dry salt and brined. The dry salt method combines dry salt with vegetables in quantities above what you would add for seasoning purposes. Liquid (watery juices) is pulled from the vegetables, and this liquid combines with the salt to create a brine — a salty, watery solution. With the premade brine method, a vegetable is placed in a combination of salt and water. In both cases, the vegetables are covered in brine for a prescribed amount of time. In this submerged, airless state (below the brine line), the vegetables ferment. Fermentation is the process by which the natural bacteria in the foods convert the sugars into lactic acid. Lactic acid is a natural preservative. Depending on its strength, microorganisms will not grow in lactic acid because of its low pH (high acidity). As a result, low-acid foods such as cabbage can be canned safely in a water bath canner and stored on the shelf for up to a year after fermentation is complete. Lactic acid also supplies that yummy sour taste — hence the name sauerkraut.

 

Pickling With Vinegar

Pickling with vinegar is a much quicker process. In vinegar, the vegetable does not ferment. Usually, the vegetable rests for a short time in a brine (to add crispness and flavor), is drained, often brought to a boil in a vinegar solution, packed into jars, covered in the remaining hot vinegar solution, and water bath canned for long-term preservation. The acetic acid in vinegar brings up the acidity of the vegetable to a point where no microorganisms can thrive. Acetic acid, by the way, is flavorless and colorless. When a recipe calls for vinegar that is 5 percent acid, that means the vinegar is 5 percent acetic acid.

Related4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis

When making pickled foods, it is critical that you use very fresh ingredients. If you start out to make sauerkraut with an old, soft cabbage, your end product will be mushy. Basically, crisp into the brining pot means crisp out of the brining pot. (And this is true of all preserving: Don’t put up foods that are on their way out. Preserving is not a way to postpone eating something that has been aging in your refrigerator. Rather, preserving is capturing a food’s optimum freshness in time.)

The only ingredients necessary to pickling are the food you are planning to pickle, either salt or vinegar or a combination, and water. Salt is key, and it matters which kind you use. Use pickling or canning salt or kosher salt. Pickling salt (sometimes called canning and pickling salt) is pure granulated salt. It is free of anticaking agents, which can cause the pickling liquid to turn cloudy. Table salt with iodine (iodized salt) is not a good choice. It won’t hurt you, but it will undermine the appearance of your pickles, as the additives.

Related – SHTF Foods – How to Pickle Navy Style

do not dissolve completely. I often use kosher salt because it just tastes saltier to me. However, kosher salt has large crystals, which do not dissolve as quickly as pickling salt. When making a premade brine, you have to either heat kosher salt and water together to ensure the salt is totally dissolved or combine the salt and water together in a bowl and swish it around until all the crystals are dissolved. Another factor regarding kosher salt is volume. The large crystals of kosher salt take up less space in your measuring spoon than the smaller pickling salt crystals.

Sea salt is produced by the evaporation of saltwater. It comes in fine and coarse -textures and a variety of colors. The problem with pickling with sea salt is consistency. Because it is an unregulated product, you just don’t know what minerals are in there or how they are going to affect your pickling. Disregarding the fact that it is expensive, sea salt is not the best choice for pickling. Rather, on the occasions when I indulge myself with one of those lovely jars of pink sea salt, I use it to garnish foods.

DSCF2924

It is critical that you use fresh ingredients.

Water is also important. During fermentation, hard water (mineral-rich water) and heavily chlorinated water can interfere with the formation of lactic acid. You can tell you have hard water if it stains the toilet and heavily chlorinated water if it smells like a swimming pool. In this case, you have two options: Either buy distilled water, or bring your tap water to a boil for 15 minutes, cover, and then let it sit for 24 hours. You will detect a scum on top and sediment on the bottom. Skim off the scum and pour the water into another container, leaving the sediment behind. However, if your water is good to drink, it is good to pickle with.

 

And finally, vinegar. Again, it’s all about that 5 percent acidity. I use Heinz distilled white vinegar, cider vinegar, and white wine vinegar. Distilled white vinegar is made from grain alcohol. It is clear, pungent and flavorless. Because of its clarity, distilled white vinegar is preferred when appearance matters, especially when pickling pale vegetables. Cider vinegar is distilled from hard cider (fermented apple juice). It has a light golden color and a softly tart taste. It is milder than distilled white vinegar but causes the vegetables to darken somewhat. White wine vinegar is my favorite, probably owing as much to my Italian heritage as anything else. The taste is fruity and strong.

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

Other ingredients you will encounter in pickling are sugar (white and brown), herbs, spices, and garlic. Of these, unrefined sugar is fine to use if you prefer it. Fresh herbs should be just that. Don’t use fresh herbs that are browning or slimy. Spices should be fresh, too. It’s a shame they are so expensive, because the fact is, after a year you should chuck your spices out, as they diminish in flavor. (Just sniff. If you can’t smell anything, the spice or dried herb is finito.) You should use aged, cured garlic. While very fresh garlic is a delight to eat, it will discolor during pickling. Garlic that has cured at room temperature for two to three weeks is best (and that is primarily what you get at the supermarket).

I don’t use firming agents (to crisp up vegetables), but for the record, there are two: lime and alum. Lime is calcium hydroxide. Obviously, it must be the food-grade product and not that used for agriculture, which is not meant for consumption. In Le Marche, where my dad is from, the large green olive called the Uliva d’Ascoli is cured in lime. Highly prized by the ancient Romans, it is an incredibly sweet, mild olive that the locals peel like an orange and stuff with a meatball mixture and then fry.

Alum is potassium aluminum phosphate or ammonium aluminum sulfate. I know of some canners who lay a grape leaf in the bottom of their jars to firm up their fermented pickles, but I am not one for adding anything to a recipe that I don’t have to.

ceramic_pot

Ceramic crock for pickling

What Kind of Equipment Do I Need?

For dry salt fermenting, the most important item is a 1-gallon stoneware, glass or food-grade plastic crock. I bought mine — a ceramic crock — at a gourmet kitchen supply store. It has 1⁄2-inch-thick walls. I think it was being sold more for decorative purposes — and indeed, I store kitchen utensils in it when I am not using it for fermenting. You’ll need a glass, stainless steel or ceramic bowl for brining. Avoid all metal bowls besides stainless steel, as salt and vinegar can react negatively to them. You should also use stainless steel pots for heating vinegar solutions. Do not use aluminum, copper, brass, galvanized steel or iron pots for fermenting or heating pickling liquids.

When brining foods, such as cabbage, you must be sure the food stays submerged in the brine. A simple way to accomplish this is to place a food-grade, resealable bag filled with extra brine (the salt and water solution) directly atop the food. It is heavy enough to keep the vegetables below the liquid, and if you spring a leak, it’s no problem, because only brine will dribble into your crock.

To process jars, you just need a water bath canning setup.

The Basic Steps for Pickling

These are: brining (which draws water and air out of the vegetables), packing in jars, in some recipes covering with a hot vinegar solution, and in many recipes water bath processing.

Store pickled foods as you would other home-canned products: in a cool, dark place. Pickles should age for about 8 weeks to set the flavor.


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)

I am not a fan of wasting food because I feel bad for the people that don’t have any but also because I don’t know what will happen in the

Do you raise honey bees? If so, you should know that their usefulness extends well beyond the production of honey. In addition to pollinating your plants and ensuring a healthy ecosystem, bees also produce honeycomb.

While it may not sound fancy, honeycomb produces many pounds of beeswax which can then be used around the home. Here are some of the best ways to use beeswax on the homestead – no matter where you live.

beeswax

What is Beeswax?

Beeswax is made from the honeycomb of honeybees. Bees consume about eight times the amount of honey that will need to produce one pound of beeswax. This one pound of wax requires an impressive 150,000 flight miles! Why waste it?

When bees mix pollen oils into honeycomb, this turns the naturally white wax into a luxurious yellow or brown color. When purchased commercially, beeswax can be bought in yellow, white, or bleached shades. While yellow wax will be that which was extracted directly from the honeycomb, white and bleached beeswax have been altered.

Beeswax is a medical aid for a variety of conditions, such as lowering cholesterol and relieving pain. It can also be used to reduce swelling, treat ulcers, eliminate diarrhea, and treat hiccups. White beeswax, as well as yellow beeswax treated with alcohol, are also commonly used as stiffening agents in cooking.

Beeswax works well around the homestead because it contains a mixture of crucial elements like creotic acid, hydrocarbons, alcohol, minerals, esters, pigments, and water. These combinations give it a low melting point, making it possible to work with it without needing special equipment.

How Do I Find Beeswax for the Homestead?

Beeswax is produced by honey bees, used to create honeycomb for their hives. Each hive will contain several sheets of beeswax comb. If you raise your own bees for honey, you can easily harvest the beeswax to use around the homestead. If not, contact a local beekeeper.

Extra beeswax is usually not thrown away after the extraction process but instead melted into blocks to be used later on. It can also be purchased in bulk online or at local craft stores.

If you are harvesting beeswax from your own hives, you will want to allow gravity to remove as much honey from the wax as possible after extracting your honey. Place your wax in a five-gallon pail and top it off with water before pouring it through a colander to wash it. Then, place the washed wax in a double boiler to melt it.

You should always use a double boiler to melt beeswax and avoid melting beeswax directly on a n open flame. It’s extremely flammable, so don’t leave the room while you are working.

Afterwards, you can strain the melted wax through a few layers of cheesecloth to remove any particles. This can then be produced into a block mold to use around your homestead.

How to Use Beeswax on the Homestead

Beeswax has multiple purposes, with a delightful scent and a unique texture that makes it ideal for a variety of homestead tasks. You can use it by itself or with a combination of other ingredients to create products that have multiple uses around your home and farm.

1. Beeswax candles

It never hurts to have extra candles lying around the house for emergency situations. Plus, beeswax candles make excellent gifts! You can use rolled sheets of beeswax or beeswax tapers, or simply melt down beeswax chunks from your own hives. Add essential oils for a lovely scent.

Related Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

2. Sewing buttons

You can use beeswax in sewing to help make it easier to attach buttons. All you need to do is cut your thread to the length needed, then wrap the thread around a block for wax and sliding it along the wax. Push it down with your finger, and the thread will be much easier to knit.

3. Unstick a drawer or zipper

Just a little bit of beeswax can help make your drawers (or even your windows!) slide a bit easier. Just use a few drops of wax to lubricate the sashes. You can even put beeswax on the teeth of your zipper to make it easier to open.

4. Wax wooden furniture

If you have furniture or even structural elements (like ceiling beams) that you want to have a little extra shine, consider mixing equal parts of linseed oil, turpentine, and beeswax. Warm the mixture and apply with a rag.

5. Coat your cooking pans

Don’t worry about using butter or other unhealthy oils to coat your pans. Use beeswax! Just rub a small amount inside your favorite frying or sauce pan before use. Make sure the pan is slightly warm.

6. Seal envelopes

Don’t let your tongue get tired with all the mail you need to send – particularly all those cards at Christmas time! Instead, use beeswax to seal the envelope and you’ll save yourself a lot of effort.

7. Beeswax food wraps

Instead of relying on plastic, use beeswax. You can make your own reusable beeswax food wraps that are eco-friendly -and also better for your health.

8. Preserve a bronze or patina

You can also seal color and shine into copper by rubbing it with warm beeswax. Just polish off any excess with a rag.

9. Use beeswax for canning

Beeswax was used for hundreds of years to prevent jam spoilage during preservation. All you need to do is apply a coat of wax over the food between uses.

10. Clean your grill

If you like to grill – but hate the clean-up process – use beeswax. Make sure it’s warm, but then you can apply it to your grilling rack before use. It will prevent the buildup of food residue, but remember not to use beeswax while the grill is hot – it can flash up on you.

11. Loosen rusted nuts and lubricate screws

If your old screws aren’t twisting quite the way they should, you can use beeswax to smooth the drive and remove corrosion. All you need to do is rub a bit of wax over the threads to keep them lubricated.

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

12. Clean your iron

If your iron has developed heat marks and is leaving stains on your clothes every time you use it, you might want to wipe it down with some beeswax. This should remove any residue.

13. Wax your own cheese

If you make your own cheese on the farm, regardless of whether it is from cows, sheep, or goats, you can make your own natural covers with beeswax. Allow the cheese to dry before applying hot wax. This will give it a proper seal.

14. Fix frayed rope

If you find that the rope you like to use around the homestead is beginning to unravel, you can fix it by wrapping a waxed piece of string around the tip of the rope a dozen times. Tie the loose ends and trim any excess.

15. Dye fabric

Beeswax can be used in a method of fabric dyeing known as batiking. This involves covering fabric that is not meant to be dyed with removable wax. You’ll need a bit of paraffin, too, but otherwise beeswax will do the trick for you.

16. Use beeswax on your saws

If you are preparing to use a hand saw in new wood, consider using some beeswax. If you rub the wax on the sawteeth, it will help them cut through wood more easily.

17. Condition wooden cutting boards

Before you break in your new wooden cutting board, condition it with beeswax. Combine a half-teaspoon of wax to a cup of mineral oil, and heat it up until the wax has melted. Apply it to the board using a soft cloth.

18. Make a pain-relieving salve

Beeswax has anti-inflammatory properties that make it an excellent item to reduce your aches and pains. Mix chickweed, wormwood, olive oil, and beeswax to create individual tins of pain-relieving salves.

19. Use beeswax as a fire starter

If you like to camp or simply enjoy having fires at home, use beeswax. You can brush melted beeswax into tiny squares of cardboard. Pack them with you, and they’ll help you start your next fire in a pinch.

20. Prevent rust

Apply beeswax to your favorite cast iron pans, hand tools, and shovels. This should prevent them from rusting out.

21. Polish concrete

If you have concrete surfaces, like countertops, in your home, you can use beeswax to give them a natural luster. All you need to do is rub melted beeswax on the surface, let it dry, and then wipe it away.

22. Soothe itchy skin

Did you accidentally come into contact with poison oak, poison ivy, or another itch-inducing substance? Consider using beeswax to heal the itch. You might want to mix it with some olive oil or chickweed powder to make it more effective – and easier to spread.

23. Propagate your plants

If you enjoy grafting new plants, consider using beeswax. It can easily hold two parts of plant material together, making it a natural and non-toxic solution.

24. Beeswax cosmetics

Beeswax is used in many popular toiletry and cosmetic items, including lip balm, hand and foot cream, and body butter. You may need to add ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, or magnesium flakes, but otherwise, they’ll come together quickly and work like a charm.

25. Waterproof leather

Before you hang that saddle up, pull out the beeswax. By combining equal parts of tallow, neatsfoot oil, and beeswax, you can make a salve that can be rubbed on your saddles, gloves, or work boots.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Using Beeswax?

The short answer – not really! Because beeswax is a natural product, it is safe when used in most functions around the homestead. However, if you plan on consuming beeswax in any form, make sure you consult a medical professional first.

While it’s believed to be safe in treating most conditions, as well as when applied to the skin, it’s good to consult a doctor if you have any preexisting conditions or concerns.

Should I Use Beeswax on the Homestead?

Beeswax is a great tool to have around any home – but particularly around the homestead. If you live in a rural area or want to become more self-sufficient, beeswax is an excellent tool that has a long shelf life.

You won’t have to worry about running out any time soon! Consider using beeswax for these twenty-five most common tasks around the homestead today.

 

Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for 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

Do you raise honey bees? If so, you should know that their usefulness extends well beyond the production of honey. In addition to pollinating your plants and ensuring a healthy

As preppers we stock up on supplies that we think we will need in an emergency. The order of priority for these items is usually tied to what our bodies need to survive. We can only live for 3 days (on average) without water so we make plans to purchase storage containers and water filtration systems to cover that base. We next need food, so we stock our pantries full of store-bought and freeze-dried food for a situation where the grocery store is either unreachable or out of food. Security and shelter round out the list of initial survival concepts you want to take care of but what else is there?

There are so many aspects to preparedness, but one of the more important ones to consider is medicine. If the grid goes down, the pharmacy will be in the same boat as that grocery store. If you are still able to purchase items (grid up), they may be sold out with no reasonable hope of resupply. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you need simply medical supplies to treat illness or injury and aren’t able to procure them for your family. Thinking about your families’ health from an injury standpoint isn’t as sexy as buying a good SHTF weapon, but knowing which medicine to stock up on for an emergency will allow you to plan for disruptions and possibly keep your family more healthy when they need it the most.

 

What are important types of medicine to stock up on?

This list certainly won’t take the place of a hospital pharmacy and it surely won’t give you the skills you need to treat every injury, but even the most basic of medical supplies and a little knowledge could help you out. When shopping for medicines or thinking about first aid, I consider what types of injuries you could encounter in a disaster.

Disasters both natural and man-made bring death, disease and injuries. The medicines you need to stock up on should take some of these into consideration while not addressing every conceivable ailment under the sun. To achieve a basic level of preparedness I would recommend having the following items on hand.

Pain Medication / Fever Reducer

By pain medication I am referring to over the counter pain relievers. This can help with anything from headaches, sore muscles from too much exercise after SHTF or injuries. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is good for relieving pain and fever. It is generally less irritating to the stomach and is safer for children but can be toxic to the liver if you take too much of it.

Make sure you have the basics for wound care covered also in a good emergency first aid kit. This is what I have in my vehicle.

Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) are examples of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These reduce inflammation caused by injury, arthritis or fever. They can also assist with pain associated with menstruation.

Children shouldn’t be given aspirin as it has been shown to cause Reye’s syndrome and can cause other bad effects. For pain medication I would have at least a bottle or two of your favorite pain reliever. For smaller children who might take liquid or chewable tablets I would stock up on that also. You don’t want your child to experience a fever without having medicine to bring that fever down if needed. The medicines above can be useful for both reducing inflammation, relieving pain and reducing fevers. I personally like aspirin for headaches but we do have large bottles of the other two on hand as well.

Anti-diarrheal

One of our readers put this as his top 4 or 5 items to have in his bug out bag and I can understand the rationale. The last thing you need to worry about in a bug out scenario is pulling over every twenty minutes or trying to find a safe place to let it all out. Diarrhea besides being messy as all get out can dehydrate a person quickly. Dehydration leads to weakness, irritability and confusion. Not the state you want to find yourself in an emergency.

 

There are two main types of medicines that help stop diarrhea, thickening mixtures (psyllium) absorb water and gives number 2 a little more volume. Antispasmodic products slow the spasms of your lower intestine. Loperamide is the active ingredient in products like Imodium and Pepto Diarrheal control. I have also seen loperamide hydrochloride in pill form in dozens of first aid kits. Fortunately, I have never had to use them but have them just in case. Better safe than sorry.

Antibiotics

Sooner or later someone you know will need something a little stronger than a clean bandage. Antibiotics are used in the treatment of bacterial infections. A cut from a rusty piece of metal when the grid is up isn’t life threatening. Without something to fight the infection in a grid down world, a bacterial infection could spell death. Antibiotics do not work on viruses though, so they won’t help you out with every illness.

How do you know when to use antibiotics?

The answer depends on what is causing your infection. The following are some basic guidelines from Familydoctor.org:

  • Colds and flu. Viruses cause these illnesses. They can’t be cured with antibiotics.
  • Cough or bronchitis. Viruses almost always cause these. However, if you have a problem with your lungs or an illness that lasts a long time, bacteria may actually be the cause. Your doctor may decide to try using an antibiotic.
  • Sore throat. Most sore throats are caused by viruses and don’t need antibiotics. However, strep throat is caused by bacteria. Your doctor can determine if you have strep throat and can prescribe an antibiotic.
  • Ear infections. There are several types of ear infections. Antibiotics are used for some (but not all) ear infections.
  • Sinus infections. Antibiotics are often used to treat sinus infections. However, a runny nose and yellow or green mucus do not necessarily mean you need an antibiotic.  Read more about treating sinusitis.

 

 

Obtaining extra antibiotics could be difficult without a willing doctor or an active prescription. A common alternative to pharmacy antibiotics is fish antibiotics. Largely made with the same compounds, fish antibiotics are available without a prescription.

Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver isn’t loved by the medical or scientific establishment, but that doesn’t mean it does not work. Colloidal Silver or CS as it is referred to by some is said to be an excellent antibiotic with the side benefit of being able to be made with simple materials by anyone. You should research for yourself whether or not this is a prepper supply you want to store and there are well documented cases of people who have abused this. I have some in my medicine cabinet.

Additional medical supplies

  • Oral re-hydration solution – To offset the effects of dehydration caused by illness or diarrhea, make your own by adding 6-8 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 liter of water. Best to boil the water, add the sugar and salt while it is still warm to dissolve completely and let cool.
  • Multi-vitamins – I know the experts say that vitamins don’t do anything for you, but I believe if your body is deprived of vitamins supplementing with a good multi vitamin is a good idea.
  • Bandages – Probably more than you would ever expect to need. Bandages on wounds need to be routinely changed and the wound cleaned (based upon injury of course, consult a medical resource book for frequency) and you can easily go through dozens with one injury.
  • Rubbing Alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide – Both alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are useful for cleaning wounds but each have many other benefits in the prepper’s first aid kit.

 

  • Cough Drops – Sure there are natural alternatives to cough drops, but you can buy a few hundred for less than $10
  • Anti-itch creme – Itching sucks.
  • Honey – Natural honey can be used to treat wounds and never goes bad if you have it stored properly. Plus it tastes great on that oatmeal you have stored in your pantry too.
  • Knee Braces and Ace Bandages – A lot of injuries will simply take time to heal. A good knee brace can make getting around possible for someone with mild injuries. Ace bandages can help with sprains.
  • Any prescriptions you take regularly – An entire post could be written about obtaining supplies of life-saving medical prescriptions. The sad fact is that in a grid down world, many people who can no longer access prescriptive medicine may die. There are alternative treatments, homeopathic remedies and natural substitutes for some specific medicines, but these should all be researched thoroughly on your own. At a minimum you should have at least a one month supply of any medicine you must take. If the disaster allows you to make it to another medical provider you have some time.
  • Thermometer – Get the old-fashioned kind if you are worried about EMP, although the newer digital thermometers are really nice too.
  • Blood Pressure Cuff – Helpful in situations although requires some training on how to use one properly. Don’t forget the Stethoscope to hear the heartbeat. – Hat tip to Ty for these last three great recommendations.

When does medicine go bad?

Yes, medicine does go bad, but it may not be bad in the way you think or as quickly as you might believe. For one thing the expiration date on medicine does not mean that the medicine is bad after that date. Medicine does start to lose its effectiveness over time though so keeping your medicine up to date is the best approach to having a good supply of medicine in your home.

How quickly a particular medicine loses its potency will vary by the medicine and the conditions where it is kept. Moisture and heat are not friends to medicine so a cool dry place out of sunlight is the best location. Medicine that has changed color, texture or smell even if it has not expired shouldn’t be taken. If pills stick together or are harder or softer, show cracks or chips they likely need to be replaced.

This is really just a start at some of the most obvious medicine to stock up on but each person has their own needs. What is your plan if you can’t get to the doctor?


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for 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

As preppers we stock up on supplies that we think we will need in an emergency. The order of priority for these items is usually tied to what our bodies

What happens when you have eaten through all your supplies of dehydrated, canned, and stored food?  Even the most optimistic among us should not begin eating on your stores of food without giving a thought as to what comes next. What if the next emergency lasts two years?

When your freeze dried food or packaged foods and stockpiles of hard red winter wheat are gone, you will have to have a plan for keeping your family fed. Not only do you have to worry about where the food will come from, but there won’t be any nutritional labels anymore if we are “eating off the land”.

Thinking about food differently than what we have been used to, for what have amounted to decades of prosperity in the United States is not always easy. Maintaining a proper balance of food may be difficult or even impossible. What if you are barely able to get enough food to survive?

 

What I want to discuss is planning for renewable food options that will give you a balanced nutritional supply to keep everyone in your group healthy.

The essentials

Foods are broken down into three groups:  carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.  You need a balance of each of these things to maintain a high level of health. Some foods may contain mixtures of both groups. Nuts, for instance, are primarily a source of fat and protein.  Providing these and other vital foods to your body cuts down on the stress your body must endure in a survival situation, allows your brain to function and keeps your immune system from being vulnerable to viral and bacterial attacks.

When you have to reduce the amount of food you are taking in, the body starts reverting to using the energy you already have stored. Your body stores energy in the muscles and fat.  This is where the body pulls its energy from if you are forced to go without food for any period of time. Ideally, you are not pulling from your body’s reserves at any time, but providing your body the fuel it requires for survival.

Sources of Protein

It is important to plan now for a renewable source of each of the different types of nutritional elements you will need to stay healthy.

Meat of course, canned meats or dehydrated are the simplest options, but once they are gone what will you eat? I know a lot of people who say they are going to walk into the nearest state park and hunt for game. This will work well for a few people until all of the big game has moved on or has been killed.

 

The easiest way for most people to have their own renewable source of protein is raising chickens and rabbits. Chickens pull double duty as egg layers and a source of meat. Rabbits are prolific at reproducing. That’s why there are several sayings that have rabbits at the heart of the pun… Rabbits are easy to raise and don’t take up much room.

In the garden, beans are wonderful because they are relatively easy to grow and you have the seeds for next year’s crop right there. I also recommend these for stocking up initially as they have a long shelf life. Beans are also one of the most economical items to stock up on as you can buy a 10 pound bag for a few dollars. That same bag will give you a lot of meals if you augment the beans with other supplies.

Barley also contains protein, but few people would be able to grow enough barley to feed their family. If you have a large plot of land, this may be a good option.

Nuts are a wonderful natural source of protein and nut trees can be grown in most climates.  You have to harvest quickly, though, because there will be other hungry critters out there trying to get to your nut tree first.

Important note: If you are rationing water supplies and still searching for a clean drinkable source, you will want to cut down on your protein intake.  Proteins produce urea which your body flushes out of the kidneys.  In order to process the urea properly, your body must have ample amounts of water.  Therefore, lack of water would be problematic if combined with a night of indiscretion where you find yourself consuming large quantities of jerky and salt pork and chasing it with the only bottle of Macallan whiskey left on the planet.   Living like this on your final rations would cause you to die of dehydration before starvation.

Sources of Fat

Fresh meats contain fat. Wild animals will have less of this and rabbits as I mentioned above are actually very lean so you wouldn’t want to rely on that meat for your daily fat intake. Chickens aren’t the same and are wonderful sources of both protein and fat. Fishing is a good source if you live near a body of water that isn’t polluted or over fished by the others who don’t have a supermarket to go to anymore.

 

Avocados, nuts, and flax seed are great sources of healthy fat also.  Avocado can be grown in some climates, nuts and flax seed can be stored, but do not have a long shelf life.  Again, growing your own is your best bet.

Sources of Carbohydrates

All fruits and vegetables and this is the primary reason behind your own garden. Depending on where you live, there will be a sufficient variety of vegetables that can be grown to provide you with all of the Carbs you need. Making sure you have this taken care of before the SHTF is a crucial item to consider. You aren’t going to go dig up your back yard very easily and plant a bumper crop of Martha Stewart worthy veggies your first year.

Grains and rice or any foods that contain these items or are made with flour (grains such as wheat are best kept in their whole wheat berry form; it can keep for up to 30 years in its raw state in a vacuum sealed container or bucket). Growing wheat is a great option if you live in the mid-west as a rule. This won’t be feasible for city dwellers in sufficient quantities unless you take over a golf course or a football field and re-purpose them. Not that this isn’t possible, but grains would be lower on my list of possible replacements.

Sugars and honey (honey is the best for storing because it has a virtually endless shelf life; it may crystallize over time, but it is still good). This is one reason why so many Preppers raise bees. They not only pollinate the garden and your fruit and nut trees, but they make wonderful honey.

Simple Rules to Remember

  1. Simple sugars like candy are carbohydrates, but they break down very quickly.  They may give you a boost of quick energy, but you will quickly hit a wall and be depleted and useless.
  2. In the event  you find yourself without a good source of heat to keep your body warm, simple carbs will be your friend.  The body uses them to tap into fat reserves and it will cause you to burn more calories, thus keeping you warmer.  You should graze simple carbs to maintain your body temperature.
  3. Fats should be included in every small meal because fat combined with carbs gives your body a slow and steady burn of nutrients.  You won’t hit a wall as quickly if you add fat to your meal.
  4. In higher altitude, cut back fat consumption because fat requires oxygen to oxidize their components. High fat intake increases the risk of altitude illness.
  5. Protein is necessary for the building and repair of body tissues.  It regulates body processes such as: water balance, transporting nutrients, and making muscles work better.  Proteins also aid in preventing the body from becoming easily fatigued by producing stamina and energy.

You can calculate your body’s protein needs with this formula: Weigh in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kg.  Multiply weight in kg X o.8-1.8 and this will tell you how many grams of protein must be consumed.

 

Gorp Anyone? 

What is the perfect food, you may ask?  Good Old Raisins and Peanuts, or Gorp for short.  The Native American Indians had survived many harsh winters and lived off the land well before we brought our refrigerators and local markets.  They ate berries and nuts because this is the perfect mixture of all three components your body needs to survive.  The berries or fruit provide essential carbs and nuts give your body the fats and proteins for sustained energy and strength.  If you find yourself on the go and have to carry your food with you this is one of the best food sources available.  I also recommend M&Ms even though I am pretty certain the Indians didn’t have access to them.  They are a source of simple carbohydrates and they are delicious, too!


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for 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

What happens when you have eaten through all your supplies of dehydrated, canned, and stored food?  Even the most optimistic among us should not begin eating on your stores of

Growing your own food and medicine will vastly improve your chances of surviving a long-term disaster. Cultivating fruit trees is just one small way to enhance the food sources at your prepper retreat or bug in location.

There are a multitude of trees that are chock full of nutrients like Vitamin C and ingredients for natural remedies that can treat illnesses and major wounds. First, we’ll look at the top 20 edible and medicinal trees every prepper should be familiar with, then we’ll talk about how to make poultices, salves, and mixtures.

1. Alder

The bark and leaves from this tree are used to create a wound wash and can be consumed as a tea to treat fever, hemorrhoids, and tonsillitis.

2. Apple

Sure, you can eat the tasty apples, but this classic American fruit tree has a lot more to offer than pie-making ingredients. The bark from apple trees can be consumed to treat diarrhea and fever.

Stewed apples can be used as a laxative to treat constipation. The produce from the tree can be used to make apple cider vinegar, which has a plethora of natural remedy and cleaning uses. Baked apples can be used to make a warm poultice that when placed upon the throat or head can help reduce a sore throat or headache pain.

3. Ash

The leaves and tips of twigs from this tree can be consumed to help treat gout, rheumatism, and jaundice.

4. Beech

A tea created from the bark of this tree has long been used to treat tuberculosis and may also serve as a successful blood cleanser. Poultices made from the leaves of the birch tree may be used to soothe minor to moderate burns and to treat frostbite. Neither type of tea is recommended for consumption by pregnant women.

The tree produces small yet edible nuts. They are not very tasty, but they are safe to eat and contain nutrients the body needs to remain healthy. The spring leaves from the beech tree can be eaten raw or cooked. The interior bark can be consumed after drying and finely chopping the material so it can be used as a flour.

5. Birch

A birch tree can be tapped for syrup. It does not produce as much syrup as a maple tree, but the fluid has a delicious butterscotch taste. The leaves of the tree are rich in Vitamin C and can be consumed after being picked or used in natural medicine recipes.

The leaves from birch trees have often been a singular or primary component in natural medicines created to treat urethra, bladder, and kidney infections and can also be used as a diuretic. The interior bark of the birch tree is edible after being dried and ground so it can be used as a flour. The bark may also be cut into fine strips after being dried and added to stew or soup to act like noodles.

6. Cedar

A tea brewed from the bark of this tree can help alleviate the symptoms of the common cold, fever, the flu, and rheumatism.

7. Elder

The tea created from the bark of the elder tree may help treat congestion, break a fever by increasing perspiration, and soothe headache pain.

8. Elm

Both salve and poultices created from elm bark can be used to treat childbirth pain and gunshot wounds. If a poultice is placed on the victim’s abdomen, it may draw out their fever. The bark boasts a high calcium content and may facilitate bone healing, decrease diarrhea, and treat both bowel and urinary problems.

9. Hawthorn

A tea commonly referred to as a “cardiac tonic” is brewed from Hawthorn tree leaves. It is believed to provoke a decrease in blood pressure and therefore helps promote good cardiac health. It is not recommended to consume bark tea for more than two weeks before skipping a week and then resuming the treatment again if necessary.

10. Hazel

Nuts from this tree can be consumed and may aid in the treatment of kidney problems. Interior bark is used to make poultices to treat stomach ulcers. When mixed with animal grease, hazelnuts can be used as an insect repellent.

11. Linden

This tree, which is also commonly referred to as a basswood, has edible leaves and flowers. The spring leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Flower blossoms from the tree can be brewed into a rather delicious tea that can be consumed either hot or cold.

12. Maple

A leaf wound wash or poultice is used to relieve sore eyes and soreness of the breasts for nursing mothers and pregnant women. Bark tea is used to treat kidney infections, the common cold, and bronchitis. Maple seeds can be boiled or cooked and consumed. Smaller seeds are sweet but larger seeds often boast a bitter flavor.Remove the outer skin of the seed and then boil until they become soft, approximately 15 minutes. Add spices to taste, preferably salt and butter, and then bake at around 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

13. Mountain Holly

Spring buds and twigs from the mountain holly tree were once used by Native Americans to treat fever, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, and jaundice. Leaves can be brewed into a tea to treat cold and flu symptoms.

14. Mulberry

The spring twigs from this tree are fairly sweet and may be eaten either raw or boiled.

15.Oak

Acorns from the oak tree can be ground into a fine mash to be used in place of flour or cornmeal.

16. Pine

The interior bark of pine trees and the sap contain high percentages of both vitamins A and C. The sap and inner bark can be eaten either raw or cooked and may help thwart the onset of scurvy. As with other types of bark, you can cut the interior bark into thin strips and use them like noodles.

It can also be dried and ground into a flour. Pine needles can be chewed on for several minutes to ingest the juice before being discarded and not swallowed. The needles can be steeped in boiling water during the winter months after they have aged and used to make a nutrient-rich tea.

17. Poplar

The interior bark can be eaten either raw or cooked and has a sweet yet starch-like taste. The interior bark can be ground up as a carbohydrate-rich flour or cut into strips and eaten. The catkins from the poplar tree are also edible.

18. Sassafras

The young roots can be brewed into a delicious tea. The spring twigs can be chewed on to clean teeth and promote gum health. Leaves and buds in the early spring are also quite tasty and make great salad and soup ingredients.

19. Slippery Elm

The interior bark from the slippery elm tree is sticky yet boasts a pleasant taste. The inner bark can be eaten either boiled or raw. When the sticky bark is mixed with a fairly equal amount of water it forms a thin paste that soothes wounds and rashes and was even once used by soldiers as a battlefield treatment for gunshot wounds to help stem bleeding and ease the pain.

It has also been consumed to soothe sore throats, urinary tract infections, and as an anti-inflammatory agent. Powdered bark mixed with water can be used as an SHTF baby formula and also be consumed by folks who have difficulty drinking or consuming food made with cow’s milk.

20. Willow

The interior bark can be cut into strips and used like pasta once cooked or eaten raw. The leaves of the willow tree are really bitter, but they may be safely eaten in an emergency situation.

Making Natural Remedies From Medicinal Trees

Bark

  • Bark can be dried and powdered after being harvested and preserved for future use.
  • Dry the bark in a shaded area to avoid over-drying which can harm the cambium layer and reduce its nutrient content.
  • To make a bark tea, simmer approximately 3 teaspoons of the ground or chopped bark in a pot (preferably cast iron) with 1 cup of water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • One-quarter of a cup of bark tea is typically considered a single dose of medicine in most natural home remedy regimens.
  • Most bark teas are safe for adults weighing around 150 pounds to drink up to three or four times per day. Cut the dosage in half for smaller adults and children age 12 and up. For younger children, decrease the dosage by half again. It is generally a good idea to not drink bark tea on an empty stomach.
  • Once made, bark tea can typically be stored in a jar with a tight-fitting lid for about seven days.
  • Adding a little bit of honey to a bark tea not only enhances the taste but increases its healing power.

Poultices and Wound Washes

  • Wash the leaves if possible or at least remove as much debris as possible if water is not available.
  • Chop or tear the leaves into fine pieces and mix with enough water to cover them so they can be either steeped or simmered to make a mash.
  • The mixture should resemble pancake mix to a thin dough after being simmered if making a poultice.
  • Spread the simmered leaf mixture onto bandage wrap or a clean piece of natural fabric and apply it to the injured area. Remove the poultice at least once a day and replace it with a fresh poultice if additional treatment is necessary.

Salves

To make a salve, put finely-chopped bark or leaves into a non-metallic pot and cover it with a carrier oil – olive and coconut oil both work well. Simmer the mixture for about 20 minutes and then melt beeswax into the mixture and simmer again for another 20 minutes. Use about 3 tablespoons of beeswax for every single cup of carrier oil used. Pour the mixture into a container with a firm-fitting lid and store until ready to use.

Tinctures

Tinctures are typically made out of spring buds, roots, or barks. The foraged material must be chopped finely and then covered with alcohol that is 80 proof or higher – vodka works best. Cover the mixture with a firm-fitting lid, preferably a glass container.

The mixture should be allowed to settle for about 10 days and must be shaken at least once daily. At the end of the 10 days, pour in 1 cup of water and a teaspoon of vegetable glycerin. Strain the mixture to remove the foraged material and store in a cool, dry, and dark place until ready to use.

If making a tincture using leaves, permit the mixture to settle until the foraged material shows signs of wilting. This will likely take longer than 10 days. Follow the same tincture steps notes above but shake the natural medicine up to three times per day.

Growing your own food and medicine will vastly improve your chances of surviving a long-term disaster. Cultivating fruit trees is just one small way to enhance the food sources at

In a protracted crisis, we’ll be missing a lot of our usual conveniences. While some may already make their own sandwich bread for slicing and render their beef and hog tallow, a lot of folks don’t. Early on, a lot of folks may not yet have the time or energy to do so, and some may be torn between cookware and grinders, dehydrators, saving for a move, and stocking up on food and water supplies, along with all the rest that goes along with preparing for disasters big and small, personal to global.

Having options for cooking that are typically inexpensive and-or easily acquired can open up options for what we store, whether we’re new or experienced. Thinking through what we prepare food in can save us labor in various ways. Both can help us prioritize for purchases moving forward.

Ovens & Stove-tops

The advantages of the clay ovens come from not heating the house, but also from being able to use a single “burn” to cook a number of dishes. James Townsend & Sons have several videos using and making clay ovens, and he’s nice enough to go through the progression of dishes used in the latter half of the video in this one.

 

Another type of cooker that limits the amount of heat we have to produce and fuel we have to burn is a purchased or homemade WonderBag or a wonder box cooker. They basically take any ceramic, cast iron or steel pot and turn it into a crock pot/slow cooker. All we have to do is burn enough to bring it to a boil.

They don’t work that well on kidney beans that really do have to simmer for a while, even after a pre-soak and a pre-boil, but they work on most other beans, lentils and grains, even the ones like wheat and barley that resist softening sometimes. (If doing beans, simmer them in a “fast soak” method first.)

It can take a little while to figure out timing and liquids with both WonderBags/Boxes and solar ovens, but the same is true of a regular crock-pot, too.

 

You can get complicated with mirrors, black paint and larger clear containers to go over them or you can go simple and just stick glass pickle and pasta sauce jars that aren’t really appropriate for home canning and have some nice size to them in a black bag in the sun.

Image: A pickle or spaghetti jar of water and grains or pre-simmered beans can be hung in any black bag, to absorb heat like a solar camp shower and decrease the need to burn fuel for cooking.

The times of year the glass-jar option are good for are somewhat limited to mid-spring through autumn, but even when food’s not getting piping hot, soaking in jars in the sun can help limit the amount of time it takes prepare food.

Sticking water in black jars or jars in black bags, pots inside bags, or systems as simplistic as a pot inside a tire and under a window pane are also great ways to just heat water. That water can then be used for tea, coffee, instant foods, to get a head start on the time it takes to boil or simmer water over fires, or for washing up.

The last cooking method are all the many varied types of candle cookers and space heaters, from the clay pots to the trays of tea lights, and even using standard emergency candles or Crisco candles inside a home oven (where the cracked oven retains some of the heat and makes them more efficient).

*Please use bricks or a bread pan plus bricks, or an overturned brownie pan as a base for candle-clay pot heaters and cookers, not skinny little tubes that will shimmy and fall.

I just don’t see them in off-grid cooking methods all that often, so they bore repeating. They do use a consumable, either Crisco or candles, but they create options, especially for those in urban and some suburban areas, rental homes, or very small homes. They also provide us with an additional backup, especially for times we don’t want to go outside, produce much smoke, or create a great deal of heat in summertime.

Non-Fire Cooking Methods

There are a couple of shared advantages to the non-fire cooking methods listed here and in other articles.

One, they’re infinitely and easily renewable, which lets us save non-renewable (or very slowly renewable) and labor-intensive fuels for the seasons where the sun isn’t going to be much help.

 

Two, they lessen the labor. If we’re only hauling enough wood for a rocket stove or to bring food to a boil, we’re spending less time and energy than if we needed more fuels to cook over directly. That can let us concentrate on producing food to cook and can, and on replacing and stockpiling fuels for when we want them for heat.

Three, while food scent carries – more than you might imagine if you’ve never done long-range packing or been in isolated areas, or just hungry as you pass Fast Food Row – charcoal and wood smoke carries even further. And with a few exceptions, wood smoke can leave a visual trail as well.

Thermal Mass & Reflectors

If you’re a woods-survivalist or a through-packer, you’ve probably heard of the concept of a reflector for fires in an emergency, or of creating a mound or even a loose screen as a wind break in front of your shelter entrance even if you aren’t going to have a fire.

The goal there is to help us stay warm. It either blocks and diffuses wind, which will eddy through and carry our heat away even in a small shelter, or it helps bounce warmth back.

There’s also the thermal mass and insulation theory from survival and backpacking folds. If you build a thicker debris hut or lean-to, you tend to stay warmer, just like you can find a sun-warmed stone bank to put your back against if you’re in the right territory, and it helps by holding onto the heat longer in the day.

Those two are the same theories as are applied to the idea of using a Dakota pit to cook in, as well as the WonderBag and similar slow-cooker methods, and Thermal Mass Heaters that have a cook-pot basin built-in.

The benefits from a screen, reflector and thermal mass can be achieved in any outdoor cooking setup, though, permanent structure or temporary.

Even just a couple extra logs set up on the windiest side can help reduce the amount of time it takes to prepare a meal over a fire or coals. It can also help make sure food is still hot and warm when it’s served, like turning off the ceiling fan over a dinner table while it’s being set.

Stone, thick timbers, brick, and things like a steel barrel or defunct metal washer or filing cabinet on one side of our fire, forming a right angle, or forming a three-sided semi-circle – ideally on the windy side – can help us with thermal mass or the equivalent of a debris hut of loose leaves.

 

The air space or mass warms, and forms a more oven-like environment on top of preventing the heat from being whipped away. As with a survival campsite reflector, they also help bounce heat on the foods we’re consuming.

It doesn’t even have to be a campfire. The methods can be applied with grills and rocket stoves as well. A rearward reflector or a heat sink like a tire can make our solar ovens more efficient and effective, too, and extend their useful seasons.

Even if a bug-out is the last thing on our minds, the decrease in time and increase in efficiency for when we want to cook outdoors instead of heating up the house can make a big difference.

Cookware

Sometimes cookware gets its due, and sometimes not. When I do see cookware in various lists and articles, it seems to mostly be dedicated packing sets or cast iron.

I have family that will make pterodactyl noises if you touch their woks or cast iron with a steel scrubby. Maybe that’s less of an issue in other houses.

To avoid the scrubby, though, the non-ceramic-coated cast iron requires a fat to help foods not stick. Fats are one of the expensive, short-lived storage items for preppers. While they’re necessary (and another one that seems to not get their due as much as I’d like to see), using them as non-stick assistants seems painful to me.

Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Deluxe with Complete Cookware, Dehydrating Racks and Thermometer

Steel and copper cookware have big advantages, especially the ones that have nice, thick bottoms (helps heat efficiently and prevents hotspots in pans). They can be hit with steel wool, and with a metal handle can go from fire to stovetop to solar oven. They don’t need the oiling and oober-drying and maintenance care the cast iron gets in my family, even the small camping Dutch ovens.

But they do still need an oil if you’re going to be doing something like eggs or potatoes.

Because of that, I have started using a stone-lined pan set that came home as a nothing present (he lived). Mine’s Crofton (if it’s inexpensive, tell me; if it’s expensive, hold your tongue so he continues to live).

They’re sturdy and oven safe, they have nice metal handles that are well attached, and those images of just sliding an egg out … yeah, that’s legit, at least with my set. Even oopsed rice just oozes off with a two-minute soak and a regular sponge.

*Tip from the candy makers: Fill an “oopsed” pot or casserole dish with water and boil it while scraping if it’s going to need more than just a little time and a little elbow grease. Smarter, not harder. At least, while water is cheap and copious.

 

The only thing I’d change is that the pans lack the quarter-inch of solid metal base that creates an even cooking surface. The flip side to that, though, is that it’s far lighter.

Metal baking pans have also become obsolete in my kitchen. Oh, they’re stocked back in case of breakage, but I largely do my roasting and baking in Corning and Pyrex, and a fair bit of it in $3 glass bread pans.

That’s about me being lazy.

I can use that steel wool on them without removing coatings and then fighting rust. Most of the time, I don’t even need steel wool.

Most of the time, things I’d have once soaked or boiled on the stove because even Bissel the Labrador couldn’t get the baked-on goo off, I don’t even pre-wash at all. They go straight in the dish washer.

That means that in a crisis, I’m spending less energy/labor on cleaning up, I can conserve more fats and oils for consumption instead of lubrication, and I use less water and cleaning soap.

They also cross-purpose between various cooking methods, and since they’re not metal, they’re non-reactive when I have recipes for cheese that don’t like steel or aluminum or copper.

Cooking in Disasters

Big or small, some disposables are good. And I’ve been poor. I understand that for some, a good casserole dish and a single good pan require the same budgeting as Aimpoints and gennies. Prioritize these, as with anything else, although the daily-life ease the cookware offers may make them worth asking for as a holiday or birthday present.

With any luck, some of the inexpensive food-heating and water-heating options listed above can help with the budget, opening up the ability to build or source other things, or just with creating redundancy in our systems.


Other self-sufficiency and preparedness solutions recommended for 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

 

In a protracted crisis, we’ll be missing a lot of our usual conveniences. While some may already make their own sandwich bread for slicing and render their beef and hog

One of the biggest hurdles to actually doing something that can save your life is getting started. I know many people who research topics, watch movies, create lists and pages and pages of bookmarked websites that they can pull up at a moment’s notice. For every idea they have a source. For every plan, they have written information, sourced in binders with color coded tabs. This could be the same for you and your food supplies that are all written neatly in a binder or on a downloadable excel spreadsheet or parked on a DVD you bought online from a survival expert.

My question is what if the world as you know it ends tomorrow? What if the proverbial poop hits the fan and all your lists are just that; worthless words on pieces of paper. What if your highly organized blueprint for survival is nothing more than electrical impulses burned to a hard-drive that will never run again? What if in your efforts to be thorough, you didn’t actually do anything and now you family is looking to you for guidance? Since you have been talking about Prepping for 3 years, you have something prepared for this day, right?

I know that this isn’t the majority of people who read Final Prepper, but there are those out there that become overwhelmed by information and keep thinking over the details in their mind of what they want or need to do until it’s too late. We call this analysis paralysis and in the world of survival, this can get you killed. If you haven’t begun storing food for your family because you haven’t finished watching a DVD or your excel spreadsheet isn’t completely accurate with the quantities and current prices for all 1000 food items you need, you should try something else. What I want to give you is a simple food supply plan that can feed a family of 4 for a month, can be purchased in about one trip out and will cost you a few hundred dollars. Use this plan if you haven’t started anything yet or simply need a jump start on your emergency food supply list for your home. Trust me, your family will appreciate this if something terrible happens and you will be able to look them in the eye again.

What Foods to Buy?

Rice is a cheap and easy emergency food supply

Rice – Rice is one of my favorite storable foods because it is relatively easy to buy even in big quantities and I don’t know if I have ever met anyone who wouldn’t eat rice. Rice stores easily as long as you keep it cool and dry just in the bag. For longer storage you can seal your rice in Mylar bags, throw them in buckets and you are looking at years of shelf life. For your emergency needs though I would go to Sam’s or Costco and by a 50 lb. bag of rice or two. A 50 pound bag contains 504 servings of rice and will lay flat on your shelf for years. We use our rice though so it is always in rotation. Cost – Approximately $20

Beans – Beans, beans the magical fruit. Beans are another food that has a long storage life and is relatively cheap. Beans are the first part of Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids for a good reason. Beans don’t need too much care and like rice store easily for years. You can use them for a good source of fiber, but you should make plans to deal with excess gas if everyone is going to start eating beans once a day… A 10 lb. bag of beans costs around $7 and makes 126 servings. Buy several bags for your pantry and don’t forget the chili and soup mix.

Canned Meat – The best way to cheaply store meat is in cans and for a little variety and additional flavor for your meals, we stock up on canned tuna and chicken. Depending on the size you will need about 35 cans to cover your family for 30 days but these stack nicely and you can always work them into your weekly meals. Canned chicken will easily store for longer than a year so rotation shouldn’t be a problem.

Canned Veggies – 40 cans of your family’s favorite vegetables will give you the nutrition they need and something they will eat. Make sure you aren’t buying mushrooms or olives (unless your family loves them) if you don’t want to see turned up noses when the power has been out for a week and you are trying to get creative with dinner. 40 cans of vegetables will cost roughly $40 and like the meat will store for years.

Canned Fruit – Some people purchase other items for dessert, but canned fruit has a long shelf life and I have to recommend this for your sweet tooth over most other things outside of fresh fruit. I purchased 5 big #10 cans of pears, peaches, and mixed fruit. Each has about 25 servings and will be a nice addition to the rice, bean and chicken stew… 5 cans will cost around $25.

Oatmeal – Breakfast is served, unless that is you are raising chickens and already have fresh eggs everyday which I also highly recommend if you have the ability to do so. Oatmeal is great for breakfast cereal, its cheap and will store a pretty long time. Oatmeal needs a little more care than your rice or beans, but if you have this stored in Mylar you would have breakfast for years. The old cardboard tubes of Oatmeal has 30 servings, costs about $2 each. Buy 4 and you only need water to make this edible. Unless you have the next item.

Honey – Honey as you probably know has been called the perfect survival food. This is because it has an infinite shelf life. That isn’t something we usually have to worry about though because it gets used as a sweetener to replace sugar in tea, over that oatmeal above and you can even use honey to treat wounds. The normal 5 lb. jar of honey is about $15 right now and has 108 servings. Buy two of these.

Salt/Seasoning – Salt is another good storage item because if you keep it dry it will also last forever. Salt is needed by your body and in my opinion; it makes almost everything taste better. You can buy a case of salt in 4 lb. boxes for about $12. Buy a case and you will have enough for a year of seasoning. You can also purchase pepper and other spices you normally use to make that soup or chili above taste better.

Vitamins – The experts say vitamins don’t help you but I tend to believe that some nutrients even in vitamin form are better than nothing. If you aren’t able to maintain perfect nutrition, a simple multivitamin could keep you healthier than not. If you have kids get them some chewable gummy vitamins to keep their health up too. A bottle for each of you would cost about $8.

Water – I know this list was about emergency food supplies, but I will throw water in here too because if you are going to the trouble of taking care of food, you should knock out water at the same time. Each person needs about 1 gallon per day (assuming you aren’t working in the heat all day) for normal hydration and hygiene. A family of 4 would need 120 gallons of water to live for 30 days so you can either buy a whole bunch of bottled water or get 5 gallon plastic water storage containers. If you have the space, a fifty gallon water barrel would be easier, but you won’t be able to move that once it is in place.

What Next?

If you purchase all of the food supplies above it will set you back around $500 buy will cover your family as far as food and water for 30 days. Is this enough to weather any disaster? No, but it is that start you were looking for and you can really knock out all of these items in one day. One day of shopping and storing water would give you the peace of mind you need to ensure your family is taken care of. Can you go out and buy a 30 day supply of freeze-dried food just as easily? Maybe but the key is to do something now. Act before you need this food and take care of your family.

Next steps would be to work on medical supplies, and security. Once you have those, there is also other lists of prepper supplies you should consider. If you want to read a more comprehensive plan, you can also check out our Prepping 101 – Step by Step plan for How to get started Prepping.

One of the biggest hurdles to actually doing something that can save your life is getting started. I know many people who research topics, watch movies, create lists and pages

When you read the various Prepper and Survival blogs and comments on Prepping, it’s hard to avoid the constant chatter about guns and defensive warfare… Hollywood has done an excellent job of glamorizing the use of guns and warfare to the point where some people actually believe that by simply owning lots of guns their problems will be mitigated. And nothing could be farther from the truth!

What’s even more interesting is that some of these same people own scoped rifles that aren’t even sighted-in! And if you were at a shooting range and handed them a rifle that was all dialed-in, they couldn’t put a single round on the paper (target) down-range under ideal circumstances, let alone if they were in crisis-mode.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I am 100% for the Second Amendment and the right to own and bear arms. I own guns myself and I grew up shooting and hunting for food in the mountains of Southern Oregon.

It seems however that there are a few people who think that survival (Prepping) is all about owning lots of guns and paramilitary training and tactics. And it’s my opinion that these beliefs are based upon defective logic when it comes to the primary objective of Prepping, which is survival, as in ‘staying alive‘ long-term.

If any given Prepper truly believes that there are bonafide risks to their families and friends, which might stem from any one of a host of credible natural and made-caused disasters, then taking a purely logical approach to minimizing those perceived risks requires that Preppers must do what is necessary at the moment such action becomes necessary. This, of course, requires a plan of action that is in place, as well as the equipment, supplies, and tactics that support such an action.

Any tactics supporting any plan that increases potential risks for casualties are defective because it violates the core objective; ‘don’t get dead’.

The superior plan of action is the one that removes as much risk as humanly possible. When you compromise this logic, you also compromise your odds of ‘staying alive’.

Almost anyone with a minimum of training using even marginal equipment can survive off the grid and in the wilderness for a week or even two. How well you fare in such matters will depend greatly upon your fitness, training, experience and the type, amount and quality of the equipment you employ.

However, when you are forced to survive for months and possibly years totally ‘off the grid‘, that’s a whole different subject and few people have the know-how based upon the actual experience that is required to help others prepare for such a challenge.

Few of the so-called ‘experts’ who are providing information into the Prepper community have themselves actually survived off-the-grid in remote locations for many months at a time. And having never been in that kind of a situation, they have no first-hand knowledge or appreciation of what the long-term challenges actually are, let alone the solutions. Surely some of these experts are making many assumptions and educated guesses.

Other experts focus on short-term survival; I recall an episode of Bear Grylls where he is shown squeezing the liquid out of Elephant dung into his mouth as a means of obtaining water in survival mode. Of course, he has the ability to check into a hospital after the show to deal with all the micro-organisms that would readily sicken him, and if left unchecked, potentially kill him in the long-term. These are not the kind of methods that will serve most Preppers very well but are taught in some military survival courses.

Most if not all expert advisers naturally teach what they know best; hopefully based upon their own actual experience. There are a few so-called experts who are writing books and posting information on Blogs who have very little if any actual meaningful or relevant experience.

Should other Preppers be making critical plans and adopting tactics based upon the guesswork of someone else, who may have only read some books?

Living ‘off the grid’ at a farm or ranch is really not ‘survival experience‘. I am not saying that the experience gained from such a lifestyle is not relevant or beneficial, in fact, it is. However, in the case of remote rural living, when a problem or need is encountered, you have the option of driving into town or reaching-out for what you need using the telephone (on our ranch, we would even occasionally ride our horses into town for supplies).

However, as in an actual disaster, where logistical support and travel are cut-off, an Expedition Sailor has no such options. That’s because when an Expedition Sailor has a problem, it is serious since he/she may be hundreds of miles (by sea) away from any outside help (medical, parts, tools, expertise, equipment, etc.). This mandates that Expedition Sailors must be self-reliant in real-life on a daily basis, long-term. It’s not some theoretical or academic exercise, it’s for all the marbles. When you are at sea or anchored at some remote location, separated from the nearest land by water, you can only look to yourself for solutions. This also means having planned ahead in provisioning all the ‘right stuff’ on-board the boat, before leaving port. This is what prepping on land is about; having all the ‘right stuff’ before a disaster hits.

There are some survival experts who have gained their ‘survival’ experience from duty in the military. To make my position crystal-clear; I have the utmost respect and appreciation for our military men and women (my son-in-law is a serving U.S. Marine and we are very proud of him). Some former military personnel who are now advising Preppers tend to teach/preach what they know best….guns, ammo, and military tactics. And a few of these ’experts’ seem to universally fail to acknowledge or even recognize that their success in the field was the result of the guy on the right and on the left, and the extensive training that they all had received in combination with the team of people in the rear, who were providing and fulfilling all kinds of support missions. Preppers will not have access to that training or the specialized training environment, nor the logistics support that is provided by the military.

A few former military operators who have become ‘experts’ on Prepping fail to continue to appreciate that every bullet, MRE, stitch of clothing, intel, transportation and mechanical support that supported their operations in the field were provided by many other trained people in the rear. And without these mission support personnel, the operators on the front line and downrange wouldn’t fare nearly as well as they do in achieving their military objectives. There are exceptions of course in that there are Special Forces who through highly advanced training programs can and do improvise and adapt in the field down-range (damn few!). Here again, Preppers will not have access to anything close that level of training and experience, as it was provided by the military and designed to train that personnel, who were already pre-qualified, screened and selected for that specialized training. In the world of civilian survival and prepping, it’s the Prepper who has to understand and incorporate many mission skills and parameters into their own survival paradigm. If you don’t, you will likely fail.

Nobody has all the answers and no one particular survival paradigm is perfect for everyone. Each Prepper needs to identify his own potential problems and goals and then using the best information from many reliable sources, form a custom survival paradigm to suit.

It’s extremely important to maintain a clear understanding of the vast differences between ‘military objectives’ and the tactics and training to achieve those objectives, and ‘Prepper objectives‘, which are purely related to ‘staying alive’ and long-term disaster survival. Any form of combat, at any level, will lead to casualties on ‘both’ sides of the conflict.

Aside from being fully prepped (supplies, equip, etc.), the most logical approach to survival is to plan to avoid risk when the SHTF.

Should a major large-scale disaster occur, one that may for instance take the entire U.S. electrical grid down, or some other catalyst that would cause a collapse of the supply-chain infrastructure (food, fuel and supplies into cities), there will be masses (in some areas millions) of Un-Prepped people that will be dislocated from the cities and towns and who will relocate themselves to the rural areas in search of resources (food, water, etc.).

Many of these un-prepped survivors (keep in mind, we are talking about millions of people) will be armed and desperate. If Preppers attempt to shelter in place within range of these survivors, regardless of the preps and tactics used, they will likely be ultimately overcome by their sheer numbers. Any argument to the contrary is simply illogical (none of us are John. J. Rambo). If you truly want to survive (as in ’staying alive’), then a realistic relocation plan is of paramount importance.

The thousands (and more) of un-prepared and desperate survivors who will be migrating outward from towns/cities during post-disaster conditions are what some Preppers refer to as ‘Zombies’; I call them the ‘Un-Prepped’. These are the people who are post-disaster survivors and through their desperation pose a real danger to others, akin to a drowning man who will quickly push another person under the water in his desperate attempt to survive.

So what are the legitimate options?

First of all, 24/7 situational awareness is absolutely key for people living in the cities, given that relocation may only be possible just before any disaster/event and/or immediately after (within minutes). If you are already living off-grid in a remote area, you are in the best situation and have much more time to consider the situation as it unfolds.

Second, you’ll need a relocation plan in place that will get you to a prepped facility that is at a secure distance from migrating masses, as in ‘out of reach‘ and remote. Distance is your ally, since many Un-Prepped survivors will be on-foot (vehicles will be grid-locked, fuel will be unavailable), and they can only walk about 10-20 miles in a day. Doing the math, and giving them the benefit of the doubt, the average ‘Un-Prepped’ may be able to travel as far as 2-3 days away from any towns/cities. This gives an effective maximum ‘Un-Prepped Radius’ of about 60 miles (maybe more) from any towns/cities. Therefore, I would expect that if your relocation facility was 75-150 miles away from the nearest major town/city, you would minimize possible contact with the Un-Prepped, and thereby minimize your risks of dealing with these desperate people.

Clearly, there is still some vulnerability being on land. This stems from the fact that some Un-Prepped may nonetheless reach your position on foot, and possibly using vehicles. The ones who reach your location will likely be the most resourceful of the Un-Prepped, since they will have obviously survived the initial chaos and made it out of the towns/cities, and likely have already engaged in lethal combat.

Being under-siege in a fixed location can be a real problem and due to the duration of such sieges, some fixed position facilities ultimately fall. It’s a function of how well prepared you are as compared to the threat that is presented by any hostile force.

There is also another option that is best suited for those people who are living in, or close to a city on the coast, which precludes the need for potential defensive combat and the risks posed by the Un-Prepped.

Bugging-Out in comfort on a boat is a very realistic solution for some people. In fact, Expedition Sailors such as myself do it for fun and have done it for many years with our families, friends, and pets!

Once you leave port and are over the horizon heading to a preselected safe destination, you are out of sight and out of mind, leaving 99.99% of everyone else in the city behind competing for the dwindling resources. The risks at sea and at a preselected remote location (an island with zero or limited population) are far less than those that must be endured long-term on the continent in and around cities. Of course, this paradigm may not be suitable for many people, for a host of reasons.

Over the course of several decades, among other commercial marine operations, I have personally handled all of the logistics, planning, engineering, and operations, including the customization of the vessels that were required for two separate multi-year sailing expeditions that each covered thousands of miles at sea. Each of these expeditions ultimately required that I provide all of the know-how that allowed my family (wife, two children, and two dogs) and I to successfully reach distant remote locations and then live off the grid at uninhabited desert islands in the Sea of Cortez.

The success of these long-range multi-year expeditions was not by chance. The technical know-how that I have accumulated over decades involves detailed knowledge of many disciplines, including but not limited to:

Power collection, generation and storage systems, communications and navigation systems, meteorology, water production-collection and storage systems, provisioning, food storage and long-term field supplementation, life support and safety systems, security, defense systems and tactics, surveillance and counter-surveillance, sanitation systems, equipment and clothing for personnel, advanced first-aid and medical supplies. And all the tools, parts and supplies to maintain and repair all mission-critical equipment, which must function long-term as they must in any ‘Prepper’ survival mission.

The bottom line is this:

When you have actually lived and survived off the grid long-term in challenging conditions you learn what works and what doesn’t work, and I have certainly earned some of that knowledge, by ‘living the preps‘. It would be a huge mistake for Preppers to learn the hard lessons under actual survival-disaster conditions.

For example; equipment fails over time; some much sooner than others and you have to know in advance which equipment is best and why…that knowledge only comes from actual use over time in the field. Morale is another critical matter in both short-term and long-term survival and through actual experience, many lessons are learned and genuine solutions have been developed.

When you read the various Prepper and Survival blogs and comments on Prepping, it’s hard to avoid the constant chatter about guns and defensive warfare… Hollywood has done an excellent