When it comes down to it, the reason that science fiction endures is that it is, at its core, an optimistic genre. What it says at the end of the day is that there is a tomorrow, we do go on, we don’t extinguish ourselves and leave the planet to the cockroaches.

But for some of us, living in the present, it really looks like the roaches took over. 

When you see roaches in your house, your first thought might be to grab a bottle of insecticide or to call an exterminator. But not only would you be exposing your family to toxic chemicals, they might not do much good.

A study by published in the journal Scientific Reports finds that German cockroaches — the most common roach species found around the world — are becoming harder to eliminate. These disease-carrying insects are developing resistance to many different insecticides, making them nearly impossible to kill with chemicals alone.

Because cockroaches are becoming so close to invincibility, researchers suggest combining chemical treatments with other methods — like traps and better sanitation — when fighting a roach problem. Or you can forego chemicals and try just natural methods.

Getting rid of roaches naturally can be a slow process. But getting rid of them naturally can also prevent the problem from reoccurring. So how do you do it? Take a shot at these ways to rid your home of roaches without using harsh chemicals!

Ways to Rid Your Home of Roaches the Safe Way

How to Get Rid of Roaches Without an Exterminator

Applying these natural ways to get rid of cockroaches is a longer process than when using hazardous pesticides. But for the sake and safety of your family and pets, taking it one step at a time is all worth it.

Besides, a roach exterminator cost will take a huge dent on your budget. In this article, we will share with you the natural ways to rid your home of roaches slowly but safely, and without a costly exterminator.

1. Boric Acid

Savefrom home-pest-control.us1Pest control ideasInsect exterminator

Boric acid is basically safe for use around the household and in fact used as an insecticidal substance. But take caution though, because it can be irritating to the skin so make sure to keep it away from children.

To make an effective boric acid cockroach killer, mix a part of powdered sugar to three parts of boric acid. The sugar will lure the roaches to the mixture and will terminate the cockroaches.

Sprinkle or spread the mixture in areas frequented by roaches.

What Is Boric Acid? It is a chemical substance which appears as colorless crystals or white powder which dissolves in water. It has many uses including insecticidal.

2. Wet Coffee Grounds (Water Tar Trap)

After brewing, if your grounds look wet & soggy, try this! Make the grounds coarser & increase the quantity of coffee.

What you’ll need:

  • 2-3 large glass jars
  • Wet coffee grounds
  • Water
  • 2-3 small cups

Instructions:

  • Fill the large glass jars about halfway with water.
  • Place the coffee grounds in the small cups.
  • Place one small cup inside one large glass jar. Make 2-3 similar setups with a small cup inside every glass jar.
  • Place these jars where you see roaches the most.
  • Roaches will be attracted by the aroma of the coffee and try to enter into the jar.
  • Once the roaches fall into the water jar, it is nearly impossible for them to escape.
  • Check the jars daily and discard any dead roaches.
  • Make new traps daily.
  • Repeat this process until you discover no sign of roaches within the traps for a couple of days.

3. Liquid Fabric Softener

Roaches breathe through their lower body. When you spray fabric softener on roaches, it will produce difficulty in their breathing and roaches will die due to suffocation.

What you’ll need:

  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Fabric softener

Instructions:

  • Make a spray by mixing 3 parts of liquid fabric softener with 2 parts water.
  • Fill a spray bottle with this mixture.
  • Spray this solution on the roaches; making sure the solution hits the lower mid-region and head of the roach.
  • In addition, spray this mixture wherever you see evidence of roaches.

4. Ammonia-Water Solution

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of ammonia
  • 1 bucket of water

Instructions:

  • Add 2 cups of ammonia to the bucket of water.
  • Wash the hard surfaces of your kitchen and bathroom daily with this solution.

Ammonia works effectively as a repellent for roaches due to its sharp smell. Roaches will leave your home in no time using this method.

5. Catnip

While cats love the smell of catnip and it’s non-toxic to humans and animal, the same cannot be said for roaches. It will send the cockroaches flying to wherever they came from.

While the effect is not permanent, you can always reinforce it with any of the roach killers here. You can make a catnip tea where you can spray in areas where cockroaches might be hiding.

Note: This natural repellent should only be used in homes without cats!

6. Listerine Spray

Does Listerine kill roaches? The essential oils present in the mouthwash is what actually kills the roaches, so any brand of mouthwash with essential oils will do.

What you’ll need:

  • Water
  • Listerine
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Spray bottle

Instructions:

  • Mix equal parts of water and Listerine to make a solution and add two drops of dishwashing fluid to it.
  • Add this mixture to a spray bottle and spray areas where you have seen evidence of roaches; also can be sprayed directly on the roaches.

7. Soapy Water – To Kill Roaches on Contact

As I mentioned before, roaches breathe through their body and spraying them with soapy water will suffocate them.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 Tbsp of dishwashing liquid (preferably regular blue Dawn dishwashing liquid)
  • Water
  • Spray bottle

Instructions: Add 3 Tbsp of Dawn dishwashing liquid to 4-6 oz of water. Using a spray bottle, spray this mixture directly on roaches to kill them on contact.

8. Essential Oils – Citronella, Peppermint, or Lemongrass

It’s amazing how the scent we love, cockroaches hate. You will love this essential oil trick which will make your home smelling heavenly and cockroach-free.

Soak some cotton balls in the essential oil of your choice. From lemongrass, citronella, cypress, tea tree oil, and peppermint, they can all be effective.

Place the essential oil-soaked balls in areas around the home where the cockroaches are hiding. Or, you can also make this essential oil spray cockroach repellent.

  • Make a spray solution by putting half a cup of water in a spray bottle.
  • Add 10 drops of peppermint essential oil.
  • Add 5 drops of cypress essential oil.
  • Mix and spray in areas desired frequented by cockroaches.

9. Bay Leaves

Unlike us, who sniffs at bay leaves before throwing them to a dish cooking, cockroaches hate the scent of bay leaves. For this, bay leaves are a fantastic way to get rid of cockroaches naturally.

You simply need to crush a handful of bay leaves, then spread them in areas where cockroaches may be hiding.

10. Edible Baking Soda

The amazing baking soda simply has no bounds to the wonderful things it can do for our home. With the many benefits of baking soda around the home, it’s incredible they are effective roach killers, too.

Apparently, when baking soda comes to contact with water, it just expands.

To make a simple and safe cockroach repellent, mix edible baking soda and sugar in equal parts and sprinkle them in crevices and areas they frequent. The cockroaches will consume them and you know what will happen next.

11. Cedar

SaveFirst Editions Plants1Patricia PinskyJapanese Maples

Cedar also ranks one of the plants which a few insects find disgusting, and it includes cockroaches. Thujone–an essential oil present in cedar is the culprit.

While we find the aroma pleasant, insects are averse to it. Leave pieces of cedar in the kitchen areas where they could be frequenting to stop these intruders in their tracks.

Learn how to get rid of cockroaches in 4 easy steps in this video from Solutions Pest & Lawn:

We may never know how to get rid of cockroaches forever since they’ve been here before us. But we do know we can get rid of these critters in our territory.

With these natural ways to rid your home of roaches, you have several options to choose from. Apply all these natural ways to rid your home of roaches and we’ll be seeing none of these critters for good!

Which of these natural ways to rid your home of roaches have you tried or wish to try? Tell us about your thoughts in the comments section below!


We thank our guest contributor Stacy Bravo for this article. 


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Getting rid of roaches naturally can be a slow process. But getting rid of them naturally can also prevent the problem from reoccurring.

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

Is there any one of us who doesn’t drool a little whenever you see an exotic sports car tooling down the road? I don’t mean a Mustang GT either; I am talking about Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLauren – something in that range. I love these cars and if someone gave me one I would gladly take it. Of course, after I took it out for a good spin I would sell it as quickly as I could. Why? Because I can think of so many other things I need to spend money on besides the most expensive sports car I can find.

One problem I have with a lot of the Best bug out vehicle lists is that they are full of really exotic (expensive) vehicles that the average prepper simply couldn’t afford. If we could, then I guess we would all have that Knight XV Fully Armored SUV that goes for around $800,000 if my source is right. I started thinking about this subject a little more as I was shopping for my own personal Bug Out Vehicle. After much saving, searching and research I finally found what I think is a great option for me, but I wanted to talk about bug out vehicles and create a different kind of list. This list will be the best bug out vehicles you can actually afford. So if you are in the market for a vehicle that may help you get out of or survive the next disaster, zombie apocalypse or the common summer or winter storm, read on.

What is a Bug Out Vehicle?

A bug out vehicle by definition is what you would hop in if you needed to get out of dodge. If you were going to pack your family and all your survival supplies in a vehicle and race out-of-town to avoid danger that was coming for you, the bug out vehicle would be the best option for you do accomplish this task. All bug out scenarios aren’t created equally though and each person has their own needs and preferences. Fortunately for us, there are almost as many bug out vehicle options as there are situations. The list below should account for most of what I can foresee the average person needing in a vehicle.

What should the bug out vehicle allow you to do?

Could you bug out in that 2 seat sports car? Absolutely. You someone bug out on a survival bicycle? Of course and before it’s all over that might be what you are forced to finally resort to, but in my mind a bug out vehicle has to be able to accomplish a few tasks to even make the running. Ideally we have a vehicle that you can use daily that can also hold its own if forced to be put into action to get you out of a hairy situation.

 

It must hold 4 people – But I am a single girl you say, why would I need something to hold 4 people? I believe it is short-sighted to plan on a bug out vehicle that only carries one or two people. That might be what you are forced to live with if something happened right now, but it shouldn’t be the goal. If this is a real bug out scenario you want to be with some friends or family because there is strength and support in numbers. The best bug out vehicles won’t leave the possibility of taking a few more people with you out of the equation.

It must be able to carry your supplies – Back to the 2 seat vehicle and even a lot of mid-sized cars these days. Most have so little cargo room that you would be lucky to get your bug out bag and a pillow in the trunk but you could forget about all of your prepping supplies, ammo and food and water you have stored. I am not saying that your bug out vehicle should be able to carry everything in your house or else it is worthless, but you do want the ability to pack a good portion of your supplies or gear.

It must be able to navigate rough terrain/rough weather – The first thing that comes to mind when I am considering a vehicle that I could actually use to bug out is 4 wheel drive. I have read other forums where some will complain about the fuel you would need and how a larger vehicle could actually be worse. Some have even recommended a hybrid as a better solution to save gas and I simply disagree. In almost every horrible scenario I can imagine, even something as mundane as a hurricane evacuation, the ability to go off-road is an important advantage. Try taking that Prius across the median of a clogged highway that is soaked with rain. Can you imagine that Chevy Volt in a snow storm with downed trees? Motorcycles don’t pass the test for me on this point although if outfitted correctly, they can go through a lot of rugged terrain. The downside is cargo capacity and exposure to the elements.

It must be fairly nimble and able to negotiate obstacles quickly – Back to motorcycles again. They are perhaps the most nimble but they have their drawbacks. Also, a trailer on the back of your vehicle would give you the ability to carry a lot of gear but seriously reduce your mobility. Try backing up a trailer and turning around to avoid an ambush quickly. Most people have problems backing up a trailer when they aren’t panicked, getting shot at or worse. You could wait for Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist coming in their 2016 line, but is it worth it?

What are the best bug out vehicles?

So taking all of those criteria into consideration and this assumes the market is the US, what are the best bug out vehicles that meet that criteria and won’t break the bank? Most all of these are vehicles that unlike the Knight XV are driven by millions every day and can get you to safety, all things being equal. You can also buy late-model versions of each of these for less than $20,000. Not free obviously, but not $800,000 either.

Jeep – There are several models of Jeep that boast both 4 wheel drive and have a decent amount of cargo capacity to get you where you need to go. For serious off-road enthusiasts there is a huge market of parts and accessories to make this vehicle highly customizable.

JeepBugOut

Jeep’s are tried and tested off road vehicles that could make excellent bug out vehicles.

Humvee – The average prepper knows all about these vehicles and new ones are out of the realm of possibility, but you can get surplus military Humvee right now for less than $10,000 on the GOV Planet website. If you have always dreamed of outfitting your own mini-fiefdom after the world ends, now is your chance. Of course if you just want a great vehicle that can get you and your family to your secluded retreat, this makes a compelling option at this price.

HummerBugOut

A surplus Hummer could be an incredible savings and give you a battle tested winner.

4 Wheel drive Truck with crew cab – There are too many four-wheel drive trucks to list here, but a crew cab make this a natural fit for a Bug out vehicle. You can improve the suspension, add a cargo top and have a great vehicle that you can drive every day or when the grid goes down.

BugOutFord

Trucks are one of the most common bug out vehicles for their capacity and off-road ability.

4 Wheel or all wheel drive SUV – Just like with trucks, SUV’s are everywhere but they aren’t all created equally. Some have 4 wheel drive, but all 4 wheel capability isn’t created equally. For SUV’s I would stick with Toyota 4Runner, Nissan or the Jeeps mentioned above. Obviously, the old Ford Expeditions and Chevy Tahoe can work in this capacity too and there will always be easy access to parts for each.

SUVBugOut

The family SUV can also get you out of a jam with the right upgrades.

Best Bug out vehicle upgrades

These vehicles listed above will make great, affordable bug out vehicle options for most people but if you want to extend their capabilities, you can add some fairly simple aftermarket additions to make them even better.

  • Roof top cargo racks – This will extend the amount of gear you can carry by a considerable bit. Two well-known manufacturers are Gobi and Baha.
  • Improved front and rear bumpers – This is not an upgrade for everyone because they aren’t cheap but if you want some more protection (a lot more) for your bug out vehicle, there are several manufacturers. ARB, Shrockworks and CBI make insanely tough bumpers that you can add to your own vehicle.
  • Winch kits – Sometimes you get stuck and if the end of the world as we know it happens and you are riding into the wilderness in your bug out vehicle, you won’t be able to call AAA. Having a sturdy winch could pull you out of a jam.
  • Enhanced lighting – Regular headlights are only meant to show the road immediately ahead of you at a normal distance that won’t blind traffic coming towards you. If you are out in the wilderness or a power outage or storm has rendered your world as black as night, additional lights can help you see or be seen. The current LED technology has really increased the amount of available light you can have for your BOV. Some of these lights are capable of putting out over 24,000 lumens! For comparison, your regular Cree mini flashlight has about 200 lumens. Rigid Industries is probably the best known (and most expensive) but there are cheaper options out there if you look around. For instance, Amazon has a 24 inch LED light bar for under $60. That will save you about $800.
  • Communication optionsCB Radio and Ham Radio make excellent upgrades to your bug out vehicle. Either will allow you to communicate with the rest of your group or rescue sources nearby.
  • Additional fuel storage tanks – Increase the range of your bug out vehicle by adding a larger or secondary fuel tank. Of course, there are cheaper options where you can just purchase additional fuel cans and mount them on your roof rack or bumper.

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas if you are looking for a bug out vehicle that you can afford. What are you driving?

A bug out vehicle by definition is what you would hop in if you needed to get out of dodge. If you were going to pack your family and all

Squirrels may ravage my garden, but I do appreciate their ability to store for winter. My ancestors did too–storing their harvest in self-dug root cellars. Here in Massachusetts, our winters are too chilly to keep crops in the soil, covered with straw, as they did in England. So the American colonists watched the squirrels put their acorns in holes and promptly did the same.

Root cellars make use of the consistent temperature and humidity present just a few feet beneath the soil.  Most cold-weather vegetables thrive in these conditions, thus allowing them not only to be stored throughout the winter but remain alive, with all of their nutrients intact.  Why buy plastic-tasting vegetables that have been shipped thousands of miles when you can have your own fresh, living ones just a few feet from your front door?

Root cellaring is essential for eating seasonally.  It is one of the cheapest methods of food storage and is arguably even more effective than a refrigerator.  Root cellars are also adaptable to any terrain or budget.  They can be as large as an underground room, complete with ventilation shafts and shelving, or they can be as simple as a hole dug into the ground with a bin put inside.  The latter is the route that I took for my own project.

Materials

  • Large Bin or Barrel
  • Rocks (preferably flat)
  • Hay or Pine Needles
  • An Old Door
  • Something to Store (like potatoes)

Tools

  • Tape Measure
  • Shovel
  • Pick
  • Wheelbarrow

Method
First, choose a location that won’t flood and that you won’t mind trudging to in the middle of the winter. I chose a clearing in the woods just fifty feet from my front door. Remember, if your root cellar isn’t convenient, you’ll never use it.

Next, start digging.  The size of your hole will depend upon the size of the box or barrel you plan on burying.  Dig a hole larger than the box on all sides, and make the depth at least five or six feet from the surface.  You’ll go through a few different layers of soil, but hopefully, you won’t hit any heavy ledge.

Don’t dig too deep or you’ll find yourself with a well rather than a root cellar. And take care not to leave your hole unoccupied or uncovered.  You don’t want anyone getting hurt.

2

After your hole is clean and square, fill the bottom of it up with about six inches of large rocks or crushed stone.  This will give excess water somewhere to go so that you do not make vegetable soup prematurely.  The stones will also draw cool air up from the soil and further insulate your crop.

3

At this point, you need to begin preparing the vegetables you intend on storing.  Since your root cellar can be accessed at any time, you can always add to it.  However, some vegetables must be stored differently than others, so this must be a consideration when you are planning what to put in your bin.  Information on how certain vegetables should be stored can be found in many different books.

In my own cellar, I stored my potato crop. Unless you’re storing massive quantities of potatoes, you can keep them in bins without any special treatment. After digging, allow them a day or so of curing outside.  Use up any potatoes that you accidentally nicked or bruised rather than storing them because they’ll rot.  Beware squirrels, along with excess sunlight, which can turn them green and poisonous.  Once the skin of your potatoes has thickened up, you can carefully add them to the bin.

4 5

When you’re confident with your hole and veggies, gently place your bin or barrel onto the rocks.  It’s not a bad idea to fill in around the barrel with more crushed stone, but since I didn’t have much on hand, I decided to forgo it.

6

Now cover your bin with straw or hay. Since I had neither of the two, I used pine boughs, which worked the same and were actually easier to remove when I needed to get in the bin.

7

Finally, you will need to cover the hole with something solid.  I happened to have an old barn door lying around, but you can use anything from an old car door to a big sheet of plywood.  Just make sure that it covers the hole completely to prevent water seepage and critters from venturing down there.  If you’re really crafty, you could even put a whole door with the frame on top so that you can just open it rather than having to flip the door over. Either way works.

Also, you may want to leave a tiny crack for air flow, but cover this loosely with some pine boughs or hay.  And when the cold weather really rolls in, throw a couple of hay bales on top of the door to fully insulate the cellar.  Remember, we are trying to preserve that steady cool that exists naturally beneath the earth.  Any hot or frigid air from above might disrupt the environment, spoiling or freezing your veggies.

8

Check on your root cellar every once and a while, and remove any spoiled produce.  One bad apple truly does ruin the lot.


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Homesteading’s the fine art of getting your land legs while learning how to do most of the stuff on your own. It’s great to have your own slice of heaven by the sea or in the middle of a dark and twisted forest – I for one can vouch that, most of the time, it’s rather amusing to figure out how our ancestors did things like tending to the garden, raising farm animals, settling in for the winter, picking up fresh herbs from the garden or building simple stuff out back.

Still, as pleasure-laden, as homesteading may be or become, it’s rather a turnoff when you need to do all of the things or more when you’re sick. Even a simple cold or the flu can turn a grown man into a noodle, but imagine what happens when you become bound to your sickbed with no one around to take care of you and your house.

Yes, that may strike as being a little depressive, but, unfortunately, it can happen even to the best of us. I being struck down a couple of months ago by the stomach flu somehow wound up all alone at my hunting cabin. Wife couldn’t come up on account of the kids being sick too and no driver’s license, so I was kind of force to get ingenious about my homesteading.

Anyway, after careful considerations and some chicken soup, I came with this wonderful piece which details my journey from sickly couch-potato to a regular Paul Bunyan wannabee. Without further ado, here’s are my golden rules to successful homesteading while you’re sick.

  1. Stay in bed

Of course, my first golden rule had to be a no-brainer because of reasons. Just kidding – most people tend to underestimate the severity of their medical condition and decide to just brush it off. Don’t do that. If you’re feeling that your legs are turning into the noodle, get to bed, medicate, and sleep on it. Remember that you’re all alone out there, and if you happen to collapse while working the field or chopping wood, there’s no one around to pick you up or drive you to the hospital.

  1. Get in touch with emergency services

No matter if you’re a big city dweller or the king of your own hill or mountain, you’ve still got to figure out how to get in touch with the emergency services in case shit hits the fan. A while after I bought my hunting cabin, figuring out that I kind of get down with the flu when spring comes, I went to my local drug store and bought me a one-push emergency bracelet.

Surprisingly, the device has great coverage, even in places where there’s no phone signal. Don’t kid around with your health, especially if you decide to drop off the grid. If you can’t find an emergency bracelet, use an emergency service smartphone application like Emergency+ if you have adequate coverage. A portable distress beacon is always a great alternative, but it will need some tinkering before you can use it to alert the local emergency services.

  1. Keep an ample supply of chopped wood or fire-starting material

Golden rule number three – when you’re game, chop as much wood as you can because you won’t be able to do so when you’re sick. It would also be a good idea to keep a small wood stack as close to the home as possible to minimize exposure to the elements.

Yes, I know that’s a big no-no in the big book of prepping, but some rules are meant to be bent if in doing so increases your survival likelihood. If your stove is running on another kind of fuel, be sure to keeps some close by, but not too close to the heating device.

  1. Soup broth all around!

I know it’s kind of a cliché but hot chicken soup really help you’re sick or feeling down. Making some in your home is no big deal. Still, I would skip the cooking part and go buy some canned soup. Sure, nothing beats a home-cooked meal, but do keep in mind that you can’t prepare the broth that much in advance.  So, make sure you have enough in your pantry for whatever the case may be.

  1. No one should be without a checklist

Checklists are a marvelous way of keeping everything nice and tidy, especially if you’re the kind of person that has no love for neatness. If you find yourself alone and sick on your property, get yourself together and try to jot down a small to-do list for the next couple of days. That way, you will have ensured that you haven’t missed anything.

  1. Let someone know you’re there

You may be king of the mountain, but every king sometimes requires the aid of a royal advisor. In this case, you should let someone know where you are and, most importantly, how long you’re planning on staying. If you plan on moving there, get to know your neighbors and, if possible, ask someone to check up on you every couple of days to make sure that you’re safe and sound.

  1. Keeping your meds close

You don’t need to be sick in order to figure out that it’s really important for the meds to be within reach. I personally emptied an old wooden wardrobe and sort of turned it into a big med cabinet. Of course, you can do as you like when it comes to med storage. Don’t forget about the golden rule of med hoarding: painkillers first, anti-histamines second, and vitamin supplements last.

These are my golden rules of homesteading while I’m sick. As I’ve mentioned, all of this stuff are the results of my me-time at the hunting cabin. Sure, it may be possible that some steps might be a bit off, but, as I’ve said, this was a personal experience. Think something’s missing from the list? Then go ahead and hit the comments section and let me know what you think.

Homesteading’s the fine art of getting your land legs while learning how to do most of the stuff on your own. It’s great to have your own slice of heaven

There are many reasons to check for gold on your property. If you live in a gold mining area you might be sitting on top of the mother lode. However, most people find gold in the form of buried treasure.

During the civil war, Southerners would bury their household silver, gold, and other valuables when the Northern army came near. I know a man who still buries his extra cash in jars in the backyard. I don’t envy the family when his day comes. They’ll definitely need a metal detector.

If you own gold, you know that storing it can be a problem. It can be difficult to find a secure spot that won’t be found by thieves or family members. Even a safe is not secure if you are forced to open it.

For this reason, many people – in the past, and even today – have resorted to burying their gold and other valuables. Sometimes the owner fails to tell his heirs where it is hidden, or even that it exists. Every property is a potential goldmine, especially older properties.

My Own Experience with a Metal Detector

We bought my son a metal detector for his birthday a few years back. A little exploring in our front yard discovered an abandoned oil tank. It was so rusted that I am surprised it hadn’t caved in from kids playing only a foot above it.

Later, our first trip to the beach with his metal detector turned up an iPhone, a gold watch and a few quarters. Talking to others with metal detectors, we heard a number of stories about the items they had found; gold wedding rings, keys, coins, jewelry and a lot of metal trash.

One retiree claimed to hunt almost daily and was able to supplement his retirement income nicely. He enjoyed finding hidden treasure of all kinds and said that the hunting kept him moving and healthy.

What Can You Find with a Metal Detector?

You can find gold, silver, tin, aluminum, steel, and any other metal. Did you bury your money in a jar and can’t remember where it is? You can find that jar lid and any other junk metal or treasure with a basic metal detector. Some of the more expensive detectors are tuned to detect only gold or possibly silver. This keeps you from having to sort through a lot of bottle caps, but it can also cause you to miss other valuables.

If you’ve buried your emergency food supply in the backyard I can find it, as long as there are some canned goods or other metal included. This is a good point to remember if you are considering burying your cache.

Better metal detectors can find metal that is buried up to four feet deep, so dig your hole deeper or stash only non-metal items. Another way to foil a hunter with a detector is to bury your metal valuables or food deeper, cover it with a foot or more or soil, then bury some decoy metal on top of your cache. If you are lucky, they will find the decoy and move to another spot.

What Features Do You Need?

There is a wide variety and price range of metal detectors available on the market. What do you really need to find gold or other valuables on your property? We purchased a basic-model metal detector for our son and it did everything we needed.

For me, easy tuning, the ability to discriminate between target metals and background minerals, and a solid rugged build would be the most important features.

There is a learning curve with most metal detectors. You need to learn to tune the detector to pick up the types of metal you are looking for and tune out background noise. It takes a little practice to be able to do this quickly and recognize the signals for various metals.

For a beginner, an inexpensive model can be purchased for under $100. You can spend much more, but I recommend a basic model until you learn whether treasure hunting is for you.

As a prepper, you are probably aware of the importance of having some gold and silver in your investment portfolio. Preppers prefer to own physical gold for obvious reasons, but you don’t need a lot of money to get started in gold.

One way to build up your gold stores is to regularly use a metal detector as we have discussed here. You may have days where you find nothing, but the days where you find lost coins, jewelry or a hidden stash will make them all worthwhile. Over time you will build up a collection of gold items to provide your family with a little security when things get tough.

During the civil war, Southerners would bury their household silver, gold, and other valuables when the Northern army came near. For this reason, many people – in the past, and

We have covered many topics in the past such as fluid-based balance, electrolyte balance, and dehydration, along with several articles pertaining to first aid from heat-related emergencies.  We’re going to refresh (as it is the season) the importance of hydration and several things you can do in an emergency situation.  What constitutes an emergency?  Anything that threatens either life or limb, or threatens to incapacitate you in a permanent manner is an emergency that needs to be dealt with.

How Dehydration Occurs

Your body is about 75 to 80% water, which in itself is an oversimplification.  The reason for this being there is intracellular fluid (fluid within the cells), intercellular fluid (the fluid between the cells), and other factors affecting fluid dynamics.  This last term refers to the amount of fluid going in and out of the cells, and directly relating to both input (what you drink and take in with your meals) and output (in the form of urination and diaphoresis, also known as sweating).  An additional form of output is termed extra-sensory perspiration, and this is what is exuded from your body in the form of vapor from the lungs breathed out, as well as fluid loss from the eyes (yes, both the tear ducts and the eyeballs themselves).

When you couple these losses with strenuous or stressful activity, it amounts to fluid loss that can impair your health.  As mentioned in other articles, keep this rule in mind: thirst is a late sign of dehydration.  In order to be hydrated properly during the course of a day, you should consume at least half a gallon to a gallon of water daily.  This amount is in the normal daytime routine.  Heavy physical work or exercise adds to this amount needed.

Have Oral Rehydration Solutions Available

Let’s walk, now.  In addition to taking in water, you can also replenish your electrolytes with ready-made drinks or powders.  Gatorade and Powerade are beverages with a lot of sugar, yes, but they also contain electrolytes such as sodium or potassium that your body needs.  In the service, we had packets called ORS (Oral Rehydration Solutions) that had measured amounts of sodium and potassium to take with the water in your canteen for those strenuous happy moments that called for it.  You can save money and do the deed at your own convenience by buying up the powdered Gatorade and (as I’ve told you to save up the 32-ounce Gatorade and Powerade bottles) make up your own: not to guzzle every moment, but to maybe have one per day in order to maintain your electrolytes.


Make Your Own ORS:

In a one-quart bottle, mix 1-2 Tbsp.’s of sugar and ½ to 1 tsp. of salt in water and drink.


This will do in a pinch if you’re really hurting: the sodium will help you retain some of the fluids and also restore what you’re perspiring.  I did mention in one of my articles that for about $7 to $8, you can pick up a box of about 50 packets of powder that have complete supplies of electrolytes, minerals, and vitamin C to mix in a glass of water and down in an instant.  These are worth their weight in gold in an emergency and when the SHTF.

Natural Ways to Maintain a Healthy Balance of Electrolytes

A good, well-balanced meal will also help to maintain those electrolytes.  Magnesium is found in spinach and many of your raw seeds such as sunflower seeds.  Sodium you’ll take in with the normal course of much of your diet.  Potassium can be found in bananas and prunes.  Regarding the latter, take care and do not eat too many: the laxative effects can outweigh what you gain with the potassium.  Calcium (necessary for good heart function) can be taken in with milk, cheese, and dairy products.

What If You Are Unable to Drink Water?

Lastly, what to do when you are unable to drink for some reason or another?  This one will take a family member, spouse, or friend to aid you on.  Reasons for this may include but are not limited to a shot away/broken jaw, partially crushed or injured throat, or a gunshot/impaled object to the abdomen.  We mentioned IV’s in the first-aid articles last year.  Have you acted on the information?  In the aforementioned situations, you can hurt yourself further by drinking fluids (and potentially die if you have a perforated stomach or intestines with the last example), but you still need fluid.

The IV bypasses the digestive tract and sends the fluid right into the bloodstream.  Another method that is close: you can administer 200-300 cc (equivalent to ml) by inserting that IV tube directly into the patient’s rectum (assuming no trauma there).  It is a parenteral route: that is, a route other than ingestion.  The “regular”/well-known routes of the IV are the veins: radial (the wrists), antecubital (the bend in the elbow), femoral (in the thigh), and [you better really know what you’re doing] the jugular (in the neck).

Supplies being paramount, you must obtain IV’s solutions, with Ringer’s Lactate (or Lactated Ringer’s solution) being the preferred 1000 ml bag.  You’ll also need sterile tubing and a catheter, preferably large-bore.  And what if you don’t happen to have it?  Then you better improvise and improvise well.  Here’s your tip:

            Composition of Lactated Ringer’s Solution:   (per 1 liter/1000 ml bag)

Distilled water

            8.6 grams (g) of Sodium Chloride (NaCl)

            0.3 g Potassium Chloride (KCl)

            0.33 g Calcium Chloride (CaCl)

There you have it!  In an emergency, “you” may be the only “pharmacist” in town.  Your son or daughter’s life depends on it.  Now how far are you willing to go?  Time to get into that abandoned Home Depot and grab yourself some tubing and duct tape, then pick up either a turkey injector needle at Wal-Mart or a needle for inflating footballs and sharpen it up.  Sterilize all of it.  Get your ingredients together, sterilize a glass bottle by boiling, make up the solution, and hang the bag.  Improvise, adapt, overcome.

Those who will take the steps and are ready to employ the knowledge and “take a chance,” as ABBA sang it…these will be the ones to make it.  You must win with the weapons you have.  Crawl by keeping aware and hydrating regularly during the day to prevent dehydration.  Walk by obtaining ORS and other powdered supplements to help you maintain your electrolytes.  Run by taking classes in IV therapy, stocking up on supplies, and improvising your own when the SHTF.

We have covered many topics in the past such as fluid-based balance, electrolyte balance, and dehydration, along with several articles pertaining to first aid from heat-related emergencies.  We’re going to

How are you doing, fellow preppers and preppies? Been a while now since I’ve tried my hand at making stuff, rather than repairing or buying new. Seeing that most of you have trouble figuring out what to use for electricity in case of an SHTF situation, I thought of sharing with you my latest project: a home-made bike-powered generator.

I have to admit that I wasn’t too sure about how this project would turn on since I had to improvise most of the time. The idea came from one of dad’s friends who said he used something similar during the Korean War to power a small radio.

So, after doing a bit of snooping on the Internet, I gathered my tools and the rest of the stuff and jumped right into it. Time-wise, it took me about four hours, give or take the time spent chatting on FB with some of the buddies.

Anyway, this little gadget is quite useful if you’re ever in need to juice up something on the spot – I tried it on dad’s old motorcycle and even on an old tablet (you may need to find an adaptor for electronics such smartphones, tablets or laptops). So, without further ado, here’s how to build your own bike generator.

Tools and materials needed

  • Hammer with a nail puller.
  • Saw.
  • Philips screwdriver.
  • Lightbulb.
  • Old fan belt.
  • Old car alternator.
  • Switch.
  • Battery.
  • Voltage regulator.
  • Short plank.
  • Two 50x6x2 planks.
  • One plank (24 inches)
  • Nails
  • L-corner braces.
  • Bendable metal bracers.
  • Old bike.
  • Piece of metal.

Already gathered your tools and materials? Awesome. Here’s what you’ll need to do next.

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Assembling the bike generator

Step 1. Place the two 50-inch wooden planks next to each other on the ground. This will be your base.

Step 2. Grab the saw and cut the 24-inch plank in half.

Step 3. Using the saw, cut two triangular grooves on the upper part of the two pieces.

Step 4. Attach the two grooved pieces to your base (place them halfway from the short edges).

Step 5. Nail the grooved pieces to the base.

Step 6. Attach two big L-corner braces where the grooved pieces meet the base. Use screws to fix them in place.

Step 7. Attach a small L-corner place in the triangle-shaped indentation. Repeat step for the second piece.

Step 8. In order to secure the bike’s front wheel, attach two bendable braces in the front part of the base. Use two screws to lock them in place.

Step 9.  Using the appropriate wrench, tighten the screw that holds the bike’s back wheel into place.

Step 10. It’s time to place your bike on the support. Carefully place the back end on the two triangle-shaped indentations.

Step 11. Bend the two front metal braces over the front in and secure into place with two screws.

Step 12. Hop on the bike and start pedaling. If the bike feels like it’s about to go forward, add another metal brace to the front part of the wheel and make sure the rest of the screws are tightened.

Step 13. Remove the bike tube from the back wheel.

Step 14. Install the belt of the back wheel.

Step 15. Attach the other end of the belt on your alternator.

Step 16.  Attach the alternator to your base. Keep tension on the belt.

Step 17. Place the piece of metal over the base and attach the alternator to it. You can screw it in place if your alternator has mounting holes or weld it – I’ve gone with the latter option.

Step 18. The alternator has another mounting platform right out the back. Place a thin piece of metal under it and secure in place with a long screw.

It’s now time to test-drive the generator. But before you can do that, you will need to do play electrician for a bit.

  1. Take the voltage regulator to install it on the alternator. This will allow you to control the energy flow and to add a switch.
  2. Grab some wires. I color-coded them to know which is which (blue, red, and white).
  3. Take your read wire and attach it to the motor (this will be on positive).
  4. Take the blue wire and attach it to the voltage regulator (this will be on negative).
  5. To install the switch, take the white wire and attach it to the very same spot on the alternator where the red wire went. The other end goes into your voltage regulator.
  6. Connect the alternator to your regulator.
  7. Attach the last wire to the DF spot on your regulator.
  8. Solder the positive and negative wires to your battery. That’s it!

To try out your makeshift electricity generator, take a regular 12-volt right bulb and connect it to your thingamajig (red on side and blue on bottom). Put in a place where you can see it, hop on the bike, and start pedaling. After a couple of spins, the bulb should turn on. However, do keep in mind that the thing will stay on only if you keep on pedaling.

I’ve also tested out this generator on an old tablet. Had to whip out some sort of adaptor. It’s very easy – take your blue and red wires and connect them to the negative and positive terminals of a car charged outfitted with a USB outlet.

Hop on the bike and start pedaling. A couple of seconds later, I saw the charging icon lighting up on the top-right corner of the screen. I know it’s a crude way to juice up electronics, but it’s very handy to have around for, I don’t know, very short phone calls, sending a quick text or checking your mail.

One more thing: be sure that the belt connecting the back wheel to the alternator is always in tension. You might need to reposition the alternator for that. Anyway, hope you’ve enjoyed my little project. As always, feel free to hit the comment section for any insights, tips or just to say ‘hi’.

This little gadget is quite useful if you’re ever in need to juice up something on the spot – I tried it on dad’s old motorcycle and even on an

Did you know that before the Winchester repeating rifle was invented, Walter Hunt patented the “combined piston breech and firing cock repeating gun”?

Not only that, according to the Smithsonian, he also invented the fountain pen, the sewing machine, and that little thing most of us call the safety pin. While they certainly don’t pack the power of a repeating gun, there are a number of survival uses for safety pins if you include them in your EDC kit.

When it comes to survival , the ideal thing is to have a good EDC kit and some first aid supplies or a bug out bag. But what happens if you get caught out away from home without your bug out bag and first aid kit?

We’ve listed suggested uses for keeping safety pins in your EDC kit below. Please keep in mind using safety pins for some of these things are recommended as a last resort, meaning when you have no other option.  We are NOT recommending that you rely primarily on safety pins for tasks critical to survival.

Also keep in mind this article is NOT medical advice, and anything you do is at your own risk, and neither the author nor www.SurvivalSullivan.comcan shall be held liable for any injuries or negative effects as a result of putting the advice of this article into practice.

#1. Remove Foreign Objects Under the Skin

Just about everyone has probably experienced getting a splinter or some other small sharp object stuck under their skin. Use an open safety pin similar to tweezers to remove splinters, thorns, insect stingers, ticks or even the dreaded botfly. With insects, make doubly sure you know what the risks are and seek medical advice first if available.

#2. Flush Out a Wound

Once you’ve removed a splinter or other foreign object, it’s probably a good idea to flush out the wound to ensure it’s as clean as possible. You can use a safety pin to poke a hole in a water bottle or plastic bag filled with water so that you can have a precise stream and conserve water for later.

#3. Stitch a Wound

It’s not the recommended way to stitch up that cut on your arm but in a pinch, if you don’t have a needle, you can make a safety pin work. Be extremely gentle and take care not to break it off as you pull.

#4. Secure Bait

If you find yourself in a survival situation where you need to use a trap to catch food, the last thing you want to do is risk the prey snagging the bait without setting off the trigger. You can use a safety pin to secure your bait to the trigger so there’s less chance of your prey getting away with a snack and leaving you with an empty belly.

 #5. Replace a Button

Although probably not a true survival situation, you can use a safety pin to replace a missing button on your shirt or pants.

#6. Sewing Awl

In a pinch, you can use larger safety pins as an awl for sewing heavier material such as leather, burlap, or canvas.

Straighten out the pin and use the sharp end to pierce the material, twisting it around a bit to make the hole large enough for your cordage. Push the cordage through the holes using the tip of the pin or your finger depending on which is easier.

#7. Hang Clothes to Dry

When we camp, there are times that it rains or that we need to hang wet clothes or other items overnight. If you drop your wallet in the stream or your jacket falls from your backpack into the mud. You can use clothespins to secure lightweight items to dry overnight from the inside of your tent using some cordage or even a bungee cord stretched between the poles.

#8. Fishing Hook

It’s not ideal but you can use a safety pin as a makeshift fishing hook by tying it to your fishing line and then opening the pin and bending it into the shape of a hook. Add your bait and drop the line in the water. It will only work with smaller fish obviously but it’s better than nothing in a survival situation.

#9. Secure DIY Bandage

If you are injured unexpectedly and need to bandage the wound but don’t have traditional bandages, a safety pin might be a lifesaver. Tear or cut a strip of clothing or other available clean material, wrap it around the wound and secure temporarily with safety pins.

#10. Escape Handcuffs or Locked Room

When SHTF, it’s entirely possible for you to be taken captive by someone who wants your supplies, property, or worse. In the absence of a good lock picking kit, you can use a safety pin to help you pick a lock and escape.

#11. Make a DIY Sling or Splint

If someone falls during a bug out or other type of survival situation and you need to immobilize their arm or shoulder, you can use a safety pin to attach their sleeve to another part of their clothing or put a stick on each side of a damaged finger and wrap with cloth and secure with a safety pin.

#12. Close or Attach a Makeshift Shelter

Again, in a survival situation, I really hope you’ll have better shelter building materials on hand but in a pinch, you can use safety pins to attach clothing or any other type of available cloth together to create a makeshift albeit very temporary shelter.

 #13. Reinforce Zippers

Replace a broken zipper pull on your bug out bag with a closed safety pin or use a safety pin to fasten two zippers together to keep them from working open during your bug out.

#14. Repair a Rip or Tear

Depending on the situation you are in, the landscape, and how quickly you need to move, you may not have time to properly fix a tear in your bug out bag, a loose pant leg hem, or that rip in the sleeve of your jacket from catching it on a branch. Safety pins come in really handy for temporarily keeping things together.

#15. Fix Unthreaded Drawstring

There’s nothing more important in a bad weather survival situation than staying warm. If you find yourself in extreme weather with a jacket hood or sweatshirt with no drawstring, you’ll be scrambling to keep it up and stay warm. Use a safety pin and any piece of cordage to replace the drawstring so you can keep your head covered and your hands free.

#16. Toothpick

It may not save your life, but it could save you some frustration and agony if you get a seed or something else stuck between your teeth in a survival situation. Take care not to puncture your gum and cause an additional issue.

#17. DIY Lance

If you don’t have a needle and you need to lance a boil, smashed fingernail, etc. you can heat a safety pin to sterilize it and use the tip as a lance.

Have we convinced you yet to include safety pins in your EDC kit? You can carry them just about anywhere very discreetly. Pin them inside the hem of your pant leg or the inside of a hat that is part of your EDC. Slide a couple in your wallet or pin into your shoelaces.

Do you have other survival uses for safety pins that we neglected in our list above? Ever use a safety pin for a really unusual repair before? Let us know in the comments below. We always love to hear good ideas from other preppers and homesteaders.


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)

Did you know that before the Winchester repeating rifle was invented, Walter Hunt patented the “combined piston breech and firing cock repeating gun”? Not only that, according to the Smithsonian, he

No matter what type of SHTF you are prepping for, expect the power grid to eventually cease to function. Many preppers stockpile oil lamps, and that is a great idea, but learning how to make oil lamps yourself will allow you to put back even more off grid light sources for a fraction of the price of store bought ones.

In addition to creating DIY oil lamps now (so they are ready immediately ready for use), you can also stockpile kits so more lamps can be put together in mere moments for use during a long-term disaster.

What Kind of Containers Are Used for DIY Oil Lamps?

You can use about any glass container on hand or purchased cheaply at a local dollar store or yard sale. Typically…

  • Mason jars
  • glass food jars
  • …and wine bottles

…are used to make inexpensive oil lamps at home.

Can Kerosene Be Used in Oil Lamps?

Kerosene is often cheaper than commercially manufactured lamp oils but, lamp oil does not boast an unpleasant odor and burns far cleaner than kerosene.

Kerosene is far safer to outdoors than indoors. When using kerosene indoors, proper ventilation is essential to avoid asphyxiation and quite possibly, death. In some countries, kerosene is referred to as paraffin.

Can You Use Vegetable Oil in an Oil Lamp?

Nearly any common type of cooking oil can be used as fuel in a DIY oil lamp. Also, butter, Crisco, lard, and even ghee, due to their animal fat content, can be used.

What Oil Can You Use in an Oil Lamp?

If you do not want to use kerosene, lamp oil or olive oil, there are many other fuel options that are equally readily available and inexpensive to use:

  • Hemp Oil
  • Tallow
  • Coconut Oil
  • Nut Oils
  • Fish Oil
  • Lard
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Seed Oils

Can Mineral Oil Be Used in Oil Lamps?

Mineral oil will ignite fairly easily, especially when blended with other types of safe burning oils.

What Can I Use for an Oil Lamp Wick?

A DIY oil lamp, just like a mass produced oil lamp or a candle, must have a wick in order to burn. The wick draws up the oil to use as fuel to make a flame. Wicks are made of fibrous material, like plant fibers, linen, and papyrus when commercially manufactured.

It is best to weight the bottom of the wick so that it does not move around in the oil. I often use a pop can tab, piece of cork, or washer to tie onto the base of the wick to help keep it weighed down and as immobile as possible.

You can also wrap craft wire around the lip of a Mason jar and then run two pieces of wire across the mouth of the jar to run the wick through to help hold it in place.

Yet another way to help hold the wick in place it to poke a hole through the lid of a Mason jar and thread the wick through it before securing the lid in place with a ring.

DIY oil lamp materials

DIY Oil Lamp Instructions

Equipment

  • Hammer

Ingredients

  • 1 Mason jar
  • 1 Mason jar lid
  • 1 Mason jar ring
  • Olive oil
  • Scissors
  • Cotton, cording, or other suggested wick material
  • Nail
  • Vice, two bricks, or two blocks of wood
  • Washer, nut, or piece of cork

Instructions

  • Put the Mason jar lid in a vise or upside down between two bricks or pieces of wood so the center area is exposed.
  • Use the hammer and nail (or a power drill and a bit if you prefer) to punch a hole in the middle of the Mason jar lid large enough for your wick to fit through.
  • Set the lid aside and remove the tools from your workspace.
  • Slide the wick through the hole so the top end is sticking out. I suggest temporarily taping the wick in place so it does not fall back inside when being placed in the DIY oil lamp or unravel while during placement.
  • Fill the glass jar with your chosen lamp oil.For the best results, fill the jar only a little more than ¾ of the way full. I recommend using olive oil.
  • Tie the washer or nut around the bottom end of the wick.
  • Gently place the lid with the wick through it into the DIY oil lamp container. Line the weighted bottom up so it is as centered as possible in the base of the Mason jar. I suggest keeping your thumb on the taped portion of the top of the wick to make sure it stays secured in place.
  • Screw the ring onto the Mason jar around the lid while holding the top of the wick firmly in place.

Notes

Allow the wick to soak up the oil for at least 15 minutes before lighting for the first time. You can use the oil lamp just as it is, or dress them up a bit with essential oils, herbs, cinnamon sticks, or pine cones and use them as attractively disguised prepper gear around the house.

I often give these inexpensive and handy oil lamps as gifts to loved ones, and to folks I am attempting to introduce to prepping.

If you want to know more about oil lamps and their safety, I’ve included this handy FAQ where I answer some common questions.

Can Oil Lamps Explode?

When using any of the natural DIY oil lamp fuel choices noted above (especially olive oil) such an incident would be highly unlikely. But, the possibility of “liquid fire” traveling along the floor, furniture, clothing, and the human body could happen if the lamp is knocked over or exposed to intense wind or blowing.

Are Oil Lamps Safe To Use Indoors?

Commercially manufactured lamp oil is designed and tested to ensure they can be safely burned indoors even without ventilation. Kerosene is not safe to burn indoors without proper ventilation.

Do Oil Lamps Give Off Carbon Monoxide?

Oil lamps can emit small amounts of carbon monoxide.

Do Any Vegetable Oils Catch Fire?

Like olive oil, vegetables oils are not really considered flammable. When used as a fuel in a DIY oil lamp, place a thick wick into the lamp so it becomes thoroughly saturated and helps to ignite the oil placed inside the lamp. Once started, vegetable oil should burn steadily for many hours.

Is Olive Oil Safer Than Kerosene in Oil Lamps?

The short answer is – yes. Oil lamps that use olive oil as a fuel will be far less likely to ignite if the flame drops down into the oil in the glass container. It would be rare to olive oil to catch on fire while being burnt as an oil lamp fuel. Kerosene will offer a brighter light, but DIY oil lamps using olive oil are generally bright enough to read by in the dark.

Olive oil will also smolder and put itself out and is largely considered a low volatility lamp oil fuel. Olive oil should not burn unless its temperature reaches a minimum of 550 degrees.

It is strongly recommended NOT to use K-1 kerosene in oil lamps and lanterns that will be used indoors because they contain impurities, including sulfur and red dye, that causes fumes that may be harmful and cause headaches.

What Is Lamp Oil Made From?

Commercially manufactured lamp oil is used as fuel in lamps, lanterns, and outdoor torches, oil lamps and lanterns. Generally, store-bought lamp oil has a petroleum base that has been professionally refined to enable it to burn in a soot free and odorless manner.

Is Olive Oil Better Than Vegetable Oil as a Lamp Fuel?

Olive oil has a lower smoke point than vegetable oil, which can be advantageous when using the DIY oil lamp indoors.

Are Baby Oil and Mineral Oil the Same?

Mineral oil is made out of paraffin oil (not paraffin like kerosene) Nunol, white mineral oil, and liquid petroleum. Mineral oil is classified as a hydrocarbon compound. The only real differences between mineral oil and baby oil are density and fragrance.

What Kind of Oil Was Used in Ancient Lamps?

Long before factories mass produced lamp oil, both beeswax and animal fat were used to fuel lamps. To a slightly lesser degree, olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, and sesame oil were also used. In the Mediterranean region, coconut oil was almost exclusively used as lamp oil.

What Is the Cleanest Burning Lamp Oil?

Olive oil seems to be the cleanest burning oil lamp fuel. For my fellow Christians, you might recall that is was olive oil Aaron used to generate light in the temple in the book of Exodus. The cleanest burning fuel is olive oil, the fuel that Aaron was directed to use for temple light in the book of Exodus.

Does Lamp Oil Go Bad?

Lamp oil, regardless of which type you choose from the suggestions given here, basically has an indefinite shelf life – as long as it is stored properly. Keep a firm fitting lid on your lamp oil or oil lamp when not in use and store it at room temperature in a dry place.

Is Coal Oil the Same As Kerosene?

Cannel coal oil is a form of petroleum that is made from a particular type of bitumen soft coal. Kerosene is refined from liquid petroleum (or crude oil) directly. In my opinion, coal oil has a far worse stench than kerosene.

What Is Florasense Lamp Oil?

Florasense lamp oil is an odorless commercially produced lamp oil that is quite popular for use both indoors and out. Florasense lamp oil is known to produce a bright glowing light when used in either manufactured oil lamps or the DIY oil lamp version you can make cheaply in large quantities.

Can You Burn Essential Oils in an Oil Lamp?

Unlike vegetable or animal fat cooking oils, essential oils are plant extracts and should only be heated to room temperature for aroma or natural medicinal purposes and not to create light or heat.

Why Does My Oil Lamp Wick Burn So Fast?

If the wick appears to be burning down too quickly, it is most likely a fuel oil issue. If the chosen oil is burning at too fast of a rate, pour it out and choose a safe indoor oil with a lower ignition temperature.

Can You Make Your Own Oil Lamp or Candle Wick?

To make a wick for your DIY oil lamp, roll up cotton fabric, newspaper, wood, twine, toilet paper, or paper towels as tightly as you can. Tie the wick together using twine or dental floss so that it does not lose its shape and density.

For best results when making your own wick, soak the material in a brine made of equal parts salt and water first and allow it to dry thoroughly. This process helps to prevent the wick from burning too quickly. Some folks use equal parts of not just water and salt, but an equal part boric acid, when making a wick stabilizer brine.

How Do You Trim an Oil Lamp Wick?

To trim a wick to fit a DIY oil lamp, cut it across the top, curving it just slightly at the ends using a pair of sharp scissors. The flame created by your DIY oil lamp should be about ½ of an inch tall to that it does not burn too quickly yet still produces a good quality light.

Do Oil Lamps Smell?

If you are experiencing a strong odor coming from your oil lamp, the flame may be either too high or too low or a poor quality lamp oil was used. If there is a lot of soot like smoke also showing, the wick may be over exposed.

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

No matter what type of SHTF you are prepping for, expect the power grid to eventually cease to function. Many preppers stockpile oil lamps, and that is a great idea,

In a grid-down scenario, we may not have the easy access to our kitchen tools that we have relied on in the past. Most kitchen appliances are powered by electricity or gas and if those both go out due to an emergency you could find yourself living “where there is no kitchen”.

Not having access to your microwave shouldn’t cause you any panic though, because people have been living pretty well without these conveniences for a very long time. Even if you have stored 30 days worth of dehydrated food and water, chances are, you will want to eat something warm before it is all over. Even in the military we only ate MRE’s once a day when we were out in the field. MRE’s will keep you alive but eventually, you get tired of that and want something hot and delicious. I know that MRE’s can be heated up too, but the contents of a regular bag of MRE’s can’t hold a candle to a nice venison stew that has been cooking slowly over a fire all day.

With some simple planning and preparation, you can cook just about anything you need to keep you alive and healthy through any disruption. There are a few considerations and lots of options for cooking that we will discuss below.

Cooking Options

We are going to assume that any cooking that you will be doing is outside in this grid-down scenario. No cooking with open flame should be done indoors and that includes using your big stainless steel propane grill. Fumes are toxic and can hurt you so keep it outside for safety.


stassj-cooking-stirring-woodstove

Wood stoves – These are about the closest you can come to the power and convenience of a range or oven inside your house or retreat location. Yes, I know that I just said to cook outside, but your stove is vented outside already. This is a winter solution though because you won’t likely want to fire up the big wood-stove in the living room in the middle of August.  In much older homes, the kitchen was in a different part of the house because the heat would stifle everyone else. During the winter a wood stove is a perfect solution for cooking and you can easily fit a couple of pans on the top and regulate the heat easily. You can cook on a wood-stove with your regular pans without any problem.

Backyard Grill – This is my personal first line of defense if the power goes out. It is simple to use and already set up outside. The main drawback is the need for propane but I keep an extra 50lb. canister of propane at all times so that if my main source runs out I still have a spare. This spare propane would be on my list of basic household items that you need to stock up on also.

Some people use charcoal so an extra bag or two would be wise. It won’t last as long as a can of propane but having the ability to cook for a few days is always a smart idea. Optionally, if your house is heated with propane, you can purchase an adapter to run your grill but you probably are already using your oven in the house. It’s nice to have options.

tripod

A sturdy tripod will hold that cast iron cookware much more easily than you can.

Campfire – Since the dawn of time people have been cooking over an open fire on the ground. This would be my fallback option after the propane was gone or if I had something that was larger and needed to cook for a long time. Campfires don’t need to be fancy but having a pit surrounded with rocks to contain the fire is preferred. To cook on a campfire, you will want to invest in at least one piece of cast iron cookware. Two would be the best giving you the option to fry or cook a big stew. You will also want to have a method to suspend your cookware over the flames. This is where a great tripod like the one on the left here or a grate you can set on the ground over the coals. I prefer the tripod, but the grate is much simpler when you are using a skillet.

Camping stoves – These are a great solution too and use the same type of Coleman propane cylinders your lanterns take. They do have the drawback that the grill does though, and once your fuel is gone, they are worthless. You can use the grill grating itself over a regular campfire so don’t throw that away. We will talk more about that later. Backpacker stoves also come in handy in a pinch, but that would not be ideal for cooking larger meals. It will heat up single portions nicely though, and there are a lot of fuel options for the short-term emergency.

Rocket Stove – Rocket stoves are simple to build using materials you may have lying around or in the shed. These can be fueled with sticks and twigs and make a great surface that produces a lot of heat without a big footprint.

Lanterns – Anything that produces heat can warm your food and some lanterns give you the ability to use the heat escaping from the top to boil water or heat soup. This is yet another good option that may work for some people. Candles can also be used but this would be my last resort. They take forever but you are already using your candle so this is a way to get two uses out of your preparations.

Solar – I saved this one for last but solar cooking shouldn’t be discounted at all. If you have sun and dry weather this is a great way to heat up and cook meals if you have time to wait. You will want to build your own solar oven which is fairly simple or there are several you can buy online. If you just need to warm up a can of soup you can sit that in the sun on the driveway for 30 minutes and voila! Solar ovens can be made in numerous ways with lots of material.

Cooking Necessities

The first place we look is to our cooking containers, or what we are going to hold over our source of heat to contain this wonderful food you are getting ready to cook. Cast iron is my personal favorite but that isn’t practical if you are on the move. You can also cook with #10 cans if needed, just be sure that the plastic coating on the interior melts out first.

Aluminum foil is not only useful for creating a solar oven, but you can form bowls out of this to cook with or boil water in a pinch. Aluminum foil is a second cousin to Duct tape I believe because it has so many uses and should be on your list of supplies for your household. Can and bottle openers are nice. They aren’t necessary because if you are hungry enough, you will get that can open, but they are very convenient and do not cost anything at all. You will also want to have plenty of capacity for making a fire in the first place. Lighters are simple and cheap, but flint and strikers should be in your survival kits also.

Other tools you could use are oven mitt or pot holders to handle the pots on these cooking surfaces. Wooden spoons and spatulas won’t melt like plastic and you can even make these yourself if you have plenty of time on your hands and a sharp knife.

Cleanup

Now that the group has been fed how do you clean up? Sanitation is something that becomes more important with the severity and duration of the emergency. Germs are easily passed so cleaning your food utensils is an important consideration for the health of your survival group.  Assuming you have some water on hand for cooking, we can look back at how the pioneers cleaned their dishes.

The rare 1881 Iowa settlers manual has a tip for washing dishes when you’ve run out of soap. It’s in the cleaning chapter of the book and was written for some of the first people moving into Iowa to homestead in the 1880′s.

To wash dishes without soap, have your dishwater hot and add a very little milk, as this softens the water, gives the dishes a nice gloss and preserves the hands. It removes the grease, even that from beef, and yet no grease is ever found floating on the water as when soap is used.

For the most part, hot water and a sponge with abrasive on one side will do the trick. Boiling dishwater before doing dishes would be the safest way to make sure you’re not scrubbing your pots with Giardia. But as for me, 99% of the time, I’m content with just getting it hot enough to cut the grease. Your call. After scrubbing, strain your dishwater through a fine-mesh strainer (or a bandana) and broadcast the waste-water. In other words, fling it far and wide. You can use the rest of what’s left for compost.


On a different note, here are 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)

In a grid-down scenario, we may not have the easy access to our kitchen tools that we have relied on in the past. Most kitchen appliances are powered by electricity

A Prepper Must-Have – Baking Soda

I have it on good authority that some people actually bake with baking soda. That’s not why it’s stocked like a mighty brick in my house. Baking soda is one of those items that has about a hundred and one uses, only some of them limited to the kitchen. It’s nice and cheap, and while I don’t think it’s one of the things that runs off the shelves in any crisis – snow storm, hurricane, or larger – it’s hugely beneficial to have plenty of it on hand.

To me, the price and the usefulness put it way up on any must-have list for preppers (or pretty much any adult).

First we want to be sure of what we’re talking about. On store shelves, baking soda is most usually going to be a box, although it can be found in big bags for those of us who use it a lot. It’s the one with sodium bicarbonate listed as the active ingredient, not cornstarch and 4-6 other things in a little round carton. That other one is what you use for bannock bread and microwaved mug brownies – baking powder.

Shoe satchels

baking-soda-for-shoes

Stomping out smells in your shoes is one of baking sodas great claims to fame.

Those of us who have ever had a fridge or dishwasher that’s been turned off for a while have probably heard of sticking an opened box of baking soda in there. Arm & Hammer even creates packages with a mesh-lined side flap for just that purpose. That same deodorizing capability combines with a low-level desiccant, and can be used to dry out and kill the sweat or swamp funk in our boots and shoes. This is the stuff that gets added to kitty litter boxes, after all. Stomping out smells is one of its great claims to fame.

The satchels can be made out of cloth, old socks whose mates have gone missing, coffee filters, or used dryer sheets. The imagination is really the only limiting factor here. As long as it allows easy airflow between the footwear and the baking soda inside, it’ll work. Add at least a tablespoon and a half of baking soda, tie up, and drop inside.

 

If you want to jazz up the shoe satchels further you can add all kinds of things from dried flowers and herbs (lavender, rose, rosemary, mints, eucalyptus) to bath crystals or salts.

This one works not only on shoes, but also on things like old gym bags, the lunch bag from two years ago, a small cooler, a tool bucket or box that has a case of the funk, or a softball bag that’s being repurposed.

Foot Soak

foot-soak-recipes-600x399

If the smell from shoes is originating because of the feet in them, you can combine baking soda with any number of things to create a foot soak.

Mouthwash, herbal teas, various oils like lavender or eucalyptus or rosemary, lemon slices or juice, Epsom salts (excellent addition), apple cider vinegar, and dried herbs like rosemary, mints, or plantain all get added. A simple soak of 1-2 cups in a gallon or two of warm water for 15-30 minutes can soften and rejuvenate feet, and help control various fungus that want to live in warm, sweaty environments.

Surface Cleaner

cutting-board-plastic

We know that baking soda is one of the things we can stock to use as a toothpaste alternate, or to concoct our own toothpaste. It cleans more than mouths, though.

Just sprinkling it on carpets and wooden decks or porches, letting it sit, and then sweeping or vacuuming it up works wonders for some odors and fungi. We can also clean our cutting boards by rubbing with baking soda and-or salt and a lemon, or just scrubbing with a brush and the dry ingredients and then letting it sit for a bit. The powders create a habitat that discourages many microbes, like the kind that live in tiny scratched crevices and outlive even dish soap and the dishwasher.

 

We can use that trick on dog bowls, sinks and counters, as well, using fresh lemons or limes or bottled lemon juice, or just scrubbing and allowing it to sit, then sweeping it and wiping it up.

Pipe & Drain Cleaner

Getting rid of shower and tub mildew and *that* smell in any pipe uses basically the same ingredients as above: baking soda, salt in some cases, and lemon. Vinegar of pretty much any kind can be substituted for lemon juice if somebody likes that price enough for a different smell, or wants to go with apple cider vinegar.

I like the method where you boil 2-8 cups of water to pour down the drain, then throw a cup of baking soda in and let that sit for 5-60 minutes, and follow it up with 1 cup of vinegar or lemon juice mixed with a cup of water.

baking-soda-scrub-sink

There are a few variations, so poke around a bit. Some say to cover it to direct the reaction downward (not so sure about that), and some to limit the fumes in the air (just don’t use white vinegar). Some say to give it 6-8 hours, and some say to just wait until the bubbles stop. Some suggest just rinsing with tap water, and some suggest boiling more water to flush the remnants away. Up to you.

It doesn’t always work, especially in the bathroom where *somebody* sheds 2’ hair with every shower. Sometimes a repeat or upgrade to/of vinegar to the stronger cousins works. Every once in a while, you have to go to a snake or “real” drain cleaner, but a lot of the time, whether it’s a slow drain, a for-real clog, or a smell, the baking soda does the trick.

There are apparently schools of thought where this is bad and degrades things, so research that too.

Fungicide (Outdoor)

spray

We can add one tablespoon of baking soda to one quart of water (4 tablespoons/1 quarter-cup per gallon) and use it to treat black spots in the yard, roses, and berry brambles suffering from the various black fungus illnesses.

One of the things that helps baking soda kill smells is that the sodium bicarbonate is an antacid, a highly reactive one. A lot of growing things prefer an acidic environment. Fungi – from mold to mildew – is one of those things. The beauty is that baking soda is a stabilizing antacid. It’ll react with anything in an extreme, and go through a severe reaction initially (which can also kill bad stuff) but then it’ll self-regulate and return its surroundings to a near-neutral state.

No wonder this stuff is called miracle powder, right?

 

 

That miracle powder can help us in a big way with some common crop and garden pests – mildews.

We can add one tablespoon of baking soda to one quart of water (4 tablespoons/1 quarter-cup per gallon) and use it to treat black spots in the yard, roses, and berry brambles suffering from the various black fungus illnesses.

Powdery mildew on any plants can be prevented and treated with the same, however, the addition of a teaspoon of dish detergent and a teaspoon of vegetable oil per half gallon will help it stick better. Once powdery mildew gets started, it’s a constant battle, so having the spray last longer on the plants can save us a lot of time and heartache.

Creepy-Crawly Pests

destroying-ants

Fungus gnats aren’t usually harmful, but they are annoying, and there are times there are so many that the soil-dwelling larvae stage start stunting plant growth because they’re consuming the tiny root hairs of plants. A teaspoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of dish detergent in a full gallon of water can also help remove or reduce the populations, without changing soil pH so much that acid-loving veggie plants and perennials can’t handle it and die, too. As with mildews, all soils in the area need treated and the treatment will have to be repeated to break the infestation completely since there are multiple stages and locations in the gnats’ life cycles.

Mixing baking soda 1:1 with powdered sugar and surrounding an ant hill with a 1”x1” wall of the stuff can help reduce those garden pests, too. I’ve had it decrease the visible numbers, but they seem to pop back up. Still, it’s nicer working in beds and playing fetch or weed-eating with a few less ants getting aggravated with you. A ring of baking soda will also help deter slugs. (Grits and cornmeal help with ants and slugs, too.)

Pest Sting & Itch Relief

 

Baking soda recently got crowned the Most Prized Possession in my house. I was attacked by some sort of not-bee striped flyer, and ended up with welts roughly the sizes of eggs, from dainty little quail all the way up to jumbos, with 3-6” red raised areas around the big welts. Yay! A poultice of just baking soda and water reduced the swelling and pain.

That poultice is best applied with large Band-Aids already open and waiting, especially if you’re trying to doctor your own elbow and thigh.

If the poultice is allowed to dry, it will come off in big flakes or shingles, and can actually help extract a broken-off stinger, fang or tick head.

 

Like the satchels, the poultice can be improved on. Chamomile tea is awesome, but any kind of tea contains fabulous stuff that helps reduce swelling and pain more and faster. Let it cool and add it to the poultice, open a bag to mix in before the water, or open a used bag to add to the paste. Aloe can be stripped and chopped and added, as can commercially available gel. So can witch hazel, chamomile flowers, lavender oil or flowers, fresh or dried plantain, Echinacea (purple cone flower), chickweed or jewelweed, and lemon balm.

Some people also apparently make their poultice with milk. Not my thing. Likewise, I’m not adding to the mess or pains by using honey or honey crystals in there, but there are proponents of honey as well.

Go as crazy as you like with that one.

Maybe the sting or bite isn’t making you crazy enough to coat your wounds with paste and Band-Aids. Sometimes we’re just hot and itchy and can’t really identify a single place to treat, and a shower or bath isn’t really cutting it.

Baking soda in a tub with or without soothing additives like oatmeal can help.

You can also make a satchel similar to the first use listed, although you’ll want it to be bigger. Again, alone or with things like chipped aloe, oatmeal, chamomile flowers or oil, or tea leaves from a regular grocery-store brewing bag (Camellia sinensis species) can be added. You use the satchel to dab yourself while you’re in the shower.

Baking Soda

There are just so many uses for baking soda, with these the very tip of the iceberg. Run any google search for uses, and you’ll find dozens more, from killing weeds to repelling rabbits and silverfish. It goes in laundry and it gets used for facial masks. Use it to deodorize dogs, make Play Dough, or get gum/caulk out of your hair. The stuff is so cheap, so easy to find, and does so much, it’s worth filling a box or drawer and keeping handy, especially if we live well outside shopping areas.

It’s not one that I expect there to ever be massive runs on, not like generators, snow shovels, tarps and plywood, peanut butter, and toilet paper. However, in a long-term disaster, we could potentially run out. For me, it doesn’t replace a fire alarm and fire extinguisher, some extra batteries that fit that alarm, or having spare oil and coolant in the truck, but it’s right up there with the food and water supplies as a must-have item.

Hopefully you’ll explore its uses a little more, print out some of the many 11, 30, and 50+ uses lists, and stock up at least a little.


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

A Prepper Must-Have – Baking Soda I have it on good authority that some people actually bake with baking soda. That’s not why it’s stocked like a mighty brick in