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An increasing number of people are moving into urban environments and away from traditional agriculture. As a consequence, those who have a mind for self-sufficiency can find themselves falling short. Storable foods are of course an important part of every emergency prepper’s pantry, but storable foods are not a sound long-term solution that contain optimal nutrition.
Even produce from farmers markets and store-bought organic food will lose peak freshness faster than one might imagine. Alanna Ketler from Collective-Evolution explains:
Most people do not realize that vegetables will lose about half of their nutrients within the first week of being picked. The food that you are getting from the supermarket will not be as nutritionally rich as the food you are growing yourself and consuming immediately after harvesting. Imagine how much more fresh and alive this food tastes. If you have or have ever had a garden I’m sure you have certainly noticed a difference. (Source)
Nothing can beat growing your own fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. But it is quite a challenge for those with limited space; not everyone can afford acres of land to become a full-fledged farmer. Then, of course, are the climate considerations that inhibit year-round growing in most places across the planet.
However, several high-tech solutions are becoming available for city dwellers, or those who have a less-than-green thumb. As food prices surge due to climatological and economic factors, there never has been a better time to find ways of becoming self-sufficient at a low cost. It’s a movement toward becoming the ultimate locavore.
The following inventions offer an exciting way to have fresh produce year-round … right in your own kitchen, while also presenting a potential reduction in overall cost.
1. Urban Cultivator – This is a hydroponic system that is currently in use both professionally and in personal homes. One model, as seen in the short promo below, is roughly the same size as a dishwasher and is set up in a similar manner, according to the site’s design specs. By setting the perfect level of humidity and temperature, it’s as simple as adding a 100% organic food solution to be able to grow a wide range of pesticide and chemical free produce in your indoor garden.
Visit the site here.
For restaurateurs, here is what the commercial model looks like:
2. GrowCubes – Using aeroponics, GrowCubes offer efficient indoor growing for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, using 95 percent less water, with an added built-in resistance to diseases and pests. A software program underpins the system, offering a detailed Internet-connected analysis and customization platform to obtain and fulfill the optimal level of nutrients and maintenance. A coming Kickstarter program will focus on bringing this system to market later in the year.
3. Click and Grow Smart Farm – This is a another concept that is heavily invested in the ideas surrounding the Internet of Farming. The Click and Grow system is actually an expandable series of “smart pots” that can grow produce, as well as flowers. It begins by providing soil that remains in proper nutrient and pH balance throughout the growth of the plant. As they point out, the constant watering in traditional potted plants actually leaches away nutrients, so the addition of proper water management increases efficiency and production. This demo shows the process.
4. Kitchen Nano Garden – This is a concept being developed by Hyundai. It is roughly the size of a refrigerator and employs a similar method of hydroponic growing as seen in the Urban Cultivator. It controls the amount of light, nutrient supply and water to create the optimal efficiency for growing. The prototype won the 2010 Fast Company Idea Award and also doubles as a natural air purifier. While still only a concept, it is exciting to see a company with the resources of Hyundai working on this technology.
5. UrbGarden – While the 4 items above appeal to modern sensibilities, some of us still would like to retain a bit of the natural even if we can’t get our hands dirty on a traditional farm. TheUrbGarden is designed to be a vertical herb garden with an integrated worm farm for easy composting. The system produces a natural fertilizer which is then fed back through a drip system. Its open-window design offers an element of harvesting, as the grow trays are removed and re-potted as needed.
It is worth mentioning that in a grid-down situation, the four “high-tech solutions” offered here will become virtually useless as they rely on a power source. And none of these systems should be seen as direct replacements for developing a solid relationship with your local farmer, farmers market, or development of community gardens. However, these solutions do enable people to get away from commercial food and the toxic packaging that its often wrapped in, while making the act of farming as easy and hassle free for as many people as possible.
One thing is for certain: there is a movement to regain the self-sufficiency that has been lost within our modern world. If we are going high-tech, then we at least need to employ it the healthiest and most economical ways possible.
Note: Activist Post does not receive compensation from any of the products mentioned in this article.
Recently from Jeffrey Green:
February 21st, 2014
Editor’s Note: The following article has been shared with our community by Selco ofSHTF School. His personal experiences during the Balkan war have been documented in One Year in Hell and are an invaluable knowledge base for any serious preparedness minded individual. When riots break out in your city or the infrastructure systems upon which we depend begin to destabilize there will be confusion, panic and violence. Selco explains what to expect from those around you, and what it might look like in what was once your friendly and peaceful neighborhood. Pay attention, because this is how things really go down when the ‘S’ hits the fan.
If you are not eating right now take a moment and watch this video of a monkey eating a gazelle.
It feels very wrong for most people to look at this. This shows how much we are out of touch with nature. Most people want to eat meat but not kill it themselves for example. What happens to gazelle is not good and not bad, its nature. It simply is.
When you find yourself in survival situation you get quickly in touch with nature again, and nature is cruel and concept of fairness does not exist.
It is hard to be prepared for that before you experience it. But understanding how nature really is and that we only live in soft bubble protected from true face of nature, is a first step.
I talk a lot in interview in my course about events that lead to total collapse. Here is one more experience I want to share.
When SHTF started, in the time when great majority of us thought that what was going on around us is something like temporary rioting that got a bit out of control, city services still worked in some parts of the city, everybody was waiting for madness to stop.
In that short period before the S. hits the fan with full force, people usually lost their lives because they did not recognize situation.
People were out rioting, stealing, fighting. But all that was still like “moderate”.
At that moment people were still ”inside” the system, so we all were trying to hide more or less when looting was going on in the neighborhood. Police were still arresting people and trying to control things. People were shooting each other yes, but it was not yet like full scale shooting and violence, mostly people were scaring each other with shootings.
One of my friends was involved in shootings in those days, after looting some stores, he got wounded. Wound was not too dangerous, he was shot in foot.
As I said, most of the city services were still working and trying to bring order to that chaos. City ambulances came and picked him up and they rushed to hospital with him.
About one kilometer from place where he got picked up, the group of people that actually shot him stopped the ambulance on some improvised barricade, first shot the driver and then killed my friend in the back of the ambulance. They killed him little bit slower than driver, and more painfully, they used knives. We got there a bit later, too late.
Now this story may sound confusing to you, you may say “it happens in war” but for 95% of folks at that time it was not war, it was something like violent rioting, and those 95% of folks still trusted the system, had trust in police and government that they are going to restore law and order. People still trusted that ambulances are like “protected” and nobody will stop them, not to mention shoot at one.
In this story here that wounded guy and ambulance driver simply did not recognize situation. He was a nice guy, why would this happen to him? Back then I probably would go with ambulance as well if I was shot. It felt very wrong that this happened but was one of first wakeup calls that fair and unfair are concepts of the past.
My friend in the first place should not have been there in that time of chaos. Ambulance driver should have said ”screw it” take valuable medicines and go home at first signs of real violence and total collapse. He did not. It is easy to call him hero and maybe day before or hours before he helped save life of someone else but it was still too high risk to be out at this point in time.
It is easy to say that now, in those time we all still called things by old names, police, trust, government, law, system, penalty…
If that happened maybe day or two later my friend would have crawled and treated his wounds alone, or driver would have refused to drive, or…
Few days after that event s. hit the fan with real force, and nobody had illusions anymore that something temporary is going on or that things get back to normal.
But point is that lots of people died in that short period before realizing that things aren’t the same. You can not still believe in good of people around you, but most people did. This ambulance event was one of many that ended with similar deaths.
So next time, when some rioting erupts in your city, some violence after football game, or some protests because high unemployment or similar and you hear gunshots and screams, and words about people being killed on the streets, stores being looted, you need to hope that it is temporary disturbance but you can not trust in that.
Be suspicious, trust in your bug out bag, trust in your storage, trust in your weapon. Do not go out just “because everyone goes out”. Avoid being greedy and go looting to have a bit more, even if it sounds easy, you prepare to not have to go out.
When you realize how random and brutal nature and violence is, then you realize you do not prepare to be hero, you prepare to survive. That ambulance guy could have helped many more people in later months when we were fighting for survival if he would not have died. But back then, we did not understand situation.
If you experienced situation that reminded you that fairness and unfairness are just concepts in our “civilized” world, please share in comments.
You can follow Selco’s story at SHTF School and learn how he survived one year in hell.
As a survivor of the Icepocalypse that recently gripped much of the South in crippling power outages and freezing temperatures, at least three lessons can be deduced from the experience.
- A very small minority of people are equipped to deal with an emergency in a competent fashion.
- A slightly larger number of people attempt to be prepared but fall short if the emergency persists.
- The vast majority of people are wholly unprepared for even a slight disturbance in their usual routine or living conditions.
While this statement may come as basic common sense to the majority of my usual readers, such observations do bear repeating. Indeed, it is important to remind ourselves of just how unprepared we may be, even though we may be more prepared than most of the rest of the population.
Many of those who are aware of the possibility of an economic collapse, general war, electrical grid failure, or simple natural disasters are aware through available literature of how human behavior will adjust to the new circumstances if a crisis takes place. Although much of what “preppers” are confronted with in terms of information often borders on the state of panic and fear, it is true that what is at first a tranquil community of friends and neighbors can very quickly turn into a violent mob and dangerous enemies fighting over finite resources.
While the recent winter storm did not turn out to be the Apocalypse, the days without power for many was a very important learning experience on just how prepared they were for an emergency as well as how their neighbors will react in the same situation.
As I already mentioned, there were a small minority of individuals who were prepared all along, because they had previously learned to stock up on essential items and tools for personal survival to begin with. These individuals are often called “preppers” by media outlets (mainstream and alternative alike) but, in reality, they are simply people who exercise a level of basic forethought in the manner that was once common behavior and not notable in any sense.
These individuals were able to weather the storm in conditions ranging from basic temporary self-reliance to minor discomfort and inconvenience. They had a source of food, water, and heat. They had a means to defend themselves if necessary. They did not require supplies after the fact.
They were also a distinct minority.
Others still believed they were prepared . . . until the storm hit. They had generators but no gas. They had extra food but no way to cook it. They had a well but no way to pump the water. Some had fireplaces with no logs or firewood with nowhere to burn it. The list of half-preparedness is endless but the resulting sum of that half-work is the same – they were not prepared at all.
In short, being prepared half-way is not being prepared at all.
The vast majority of people, however, did not even have the basic material needed to last through a four-hour disturbance in their normal routine. Most had not purchased extra food and water or made plans to heat themselves in some way other than electricity. Nor had they even bothered to fill up their gas tanks the day before the storm. In fact, with the exception of the usual rush to buy milk and eggs (food that will spoil as soon as the power goes out)when a storm approaches, there was not even the shockwave of panicked buyers looking to prepare. Most of the important items like canned goods were still on the shelves the day before the storm.
After the storm, however, panicked masses brought out by sudden discomfort and disruption were lining up for warm food (or any food they could find) while others lined up for a mile to purchase gas for their vehicles or generators. Any stations and restaurants with a generator were able to make a killing in one day, but the number of stores with that capability were few and far between. People congregated anywhere with signs of heat and commerce. It should also be noted that most open stores were unable to process credit and debit cards.
This was the morning after the power went out.
On the second day without power, the lines of people at the pump were noticeably more irritated, with some breaking in line by parking across the street with their gas containers and jumping in front of motorists to pump their fuel. Others simply tried to use their vehicles to push their way ahead. Thankfully, gas trucks were able to reach most areas, keeping the supply flowing, and food trucks were also able to resupply corporate fast food chains which also faced a number of line jumpers.
While power was gradually restored after the second day, the tension and panic began to subside. However, one can only wonder as to what might have taken place had the power continued to be shut off for another day or even a week. What would the city have looked like if food and gas trucks had not been able to reach the stations and restaurants freshly out of food? What if the outage continued indefinitely?
Clearly, one answer is that a great many people – particularly those who are incapable of even the slightest forethought to prepare for an oncoming storm, much less an undefined disaster which may or may not happen in the future – will be looking for food and warmth. If the crisis persists, they will not be able to find either.
With this in mind, the recent winter storm and its corresponding power outages should serve as a reminder that a little preparation is never a bad idea. However, your preparation should cover the most essential items, as well as cover a longer-than-expected length of time. Indeed, whatever preparation done now in the correct manner will be worth so much more when an actual event takes place.
Thus, a short list of basic necessities to consider in the case of a winter storm is included below. It is by no means comprehensive – but, from my experience, it will definitely keep you well ahead of even the half-prepared. Readers are encouraged to add useful tips in the comments section.
Remember, purchasing goods for the winter in the summer is usually a cheaper route than waiting until the cold has arrived.
1. Storable food and water – This does not necessarily have to be hundreds of dollars of worth freeze-dried food. It could mean something as simple as canned goods, Raemen noodles, and other foods that last a long time without requiring electricity to prepare. Bottled water or storable water jugs are always a good idea as well.
2. Guns and Ammunition – Let’s face it. If the crisis continues, you will need to defend yourself as others reap the fruits of years of television watching when they should have been preparing.
3. Generator – Although a good generator is out of the price range for many and possibly even a liability in a prolonged crisis for everyday use (it can signal who has power when everything else is silent), in a short-lived winter emergency a generator is life saver.
4. Propane and Propane Accessories – A propane cooker, for short-term outages, can provide an avenue to cook all of the food that may be in danger of going to waste if the power stays out. Similarly, having iron cookware that can be used in tandem with a traditional grill or even over an open fire might eventually become useful.
5. Heat Source – This heat source can come from a generator, but only so long as the gasoline lasts. Likewise, almost all heat sources rely on finite sources of energy – gas, oil, wood, etc. Not relying solely on one source is paramount. Wood stoves, kerosene heaters, propane, generators and more are all welcome additions for those of us who need to take heat into a consideration. Also, look into innovative means of heating your home in an emergency such as using tea light candles and other useful mechanisms.
6. Winter Wear/Extra Blankets – Eventually, if the crisis persists, the heat will run out. You need extra sets of warm clothes and several sets of extra blankets if you are to survive. Water-resistant boots can make the difference between comfort and frostbite. The same applies to gloves, jackets, and hats.
7. Flashlights – You will need light inside and outside of the house. Darkness falls quickly and one needs light by which to locate tools, find your way around, or even to travel if need be.
8. Batteries – Lots of them. And not just for flashlights. However, batteries have incredibly short lives when they are being utilized regularly, so the more the better.
9. Candles – Eventually, batteries run out. Candles can provide steady light in the dark so flashlights can be saved for travel or emergencies.
10. Lighters – Fire is extremely important in winter, and for only a few dollars you can make sure that fire is always at your fingertips. Magnesium fire starters are also a good idea.
11. Medicines – If you or a loved one rely on prescription or non-prescription medications, always do your best to save up and keep an extra supply of medication just in case. In a real crisis, medical centers may not be open and family practitioners/pharmacists will be in short supply.
12. Fuel! – If you know a winter storm is coming, fill up your gas tanks and your gas cans beforehand. After the storm, to do anything is always too late.
Recently by Brandon Turbeville:
- Ohio National Guard Trains To Fight Gun-Owning Domestic Terrorists
- Do You Know Where to Find Local Healthy Food?
- Johns Hopkins Introduces Database of Children’s Brain Scans
Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 275 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
February 12th, 2014
Every year somewhere in our country tens of thousands of Americans experience an emergency resulting from any number of scenarios that may include natural disasters, economic hardship or other unexpected circumstances. And every year we watch with amazement as those in areas that have been affected by snow storms, hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes lose everything and have no backup plan to deal with the crisis.
The thin veneer of our civilization should be apparent to everyone, yet it seems that no one really gets it.
Despite warnings from FEMA, as well as the prevalence of popular preparedness TV shows, Americans still don’t seem to understand how susceptible we are to a complete destabilization of life as we know it. It boggles the mind that most people seem to think that when disasters strikes they’ll be able to depend on someone elseto provide them with assistance.
Recent disasters, especially those here in the United States, are often limited to a particular city or region, so emergency service personal are often able to get things under control within a week or two. But events like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Hurricane Sandy on the east coast, and the recent chemical spill in West Virgina often only affect a small percentage of our domestic population.
But what if the next disaster comes in the form of an earthquake on the New Madrid fault line? Or what if the sun unleashes a solar flare powerful enough to take down our electrical grid? Or what if a rogue terror organization were to detonate a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb over U.S. soil?
All of these scenarios would have an immediate and lasting impact on not tens of thousands of people, but millions.
What would it look like in America on that particular day?
If this week’s snow storm east of the Mississippi is any indication, then we can expect widespread pandemonium and panic:
Atlanta residents ransacked neighborhood grocery stores in frantic preparation for their second major snowstorm of the year, waging fights over food items and leaving destruction and empty shelves in their wake, a stunning precursor to what will ensue once a major crisis impacts the U.S.
After three inches of snow shut the city down two weeks ago, causing major havoc and leaving miles of cars stranded on immobile roadways, the residents of Atlanta took heed and shopped early.
According to people who Tweeted photos of barren store shelves, residents went crazy over essentials like milk, bread, water and eggs, and in some cases “people were fighting. Yes fighting,” alleges one user.
Given Americans’ propensity to riot over such inanities as Black Friday sales and winning sports teams, could fights and empty shelves also be expected in the midst of a major crisis?
The pictures and real-time commentary below demonstrate exactly why “preppers” do what they do, despite being ridiculed and laughed at by the myrmidons of the mainstream.
(Pictures courtesy of Adan Salazar & Kit Daniels of Infowars)
— Muhammad Tipu N (@mrautoclutch20) February 11, 2014
— AmFam_Louis4 (@AmFam_Louis4) February 11, 2014
— D.J Jammison (@LordDerrick) February 11, 2014
If a transient winter storm for which we had ample advance warning leads to panic buying, empty store shelves and brawls, then what do you think is going to happen in a worst case scenario?
It’ll start just like Atlanta, with people in panic mode looking for food, water andessential supplies. Once the food runs out, so will patience. Chances are that emergency responders will be overwhelmed or they’ll be taking care of their own families, so calls for help will go unanswered. Government will either be too slow to respond or they won’t show up at all:
“What people have got to know is that they’re on their own, literally on their own,” he said.
Experts say people should be prepared to look after themselves for at least three days after any major disaster.
But Mr Winter says most people have no plans in place.
“If we turn off power and water, how long will you be able to survive?” he said.
“When we put to people, ‘Can you survive for 72 hours without external help?’, the reaction is their jaw drops.”
Three days, maybe less, as we saw in West Virginia last month:
Lesson #1: There will be immediate panic
That’s when the situation goes critical.
The looting and violence will begin. First they’ll target businesses likely grocery stores, warehouses, and restaurants. When those are picked clean, they’ll go door-to-door.
Will you be ready? Because they won’t be knocking.
The Organic Prepper
February 11th, 2014
What’s the difference between an arm-chair survivalist and the real deal? The difference between someone who could get by for a few weeks and someone who could thrive indefinitely?
One word – action.
I was lucky enough to meet someone who is the real deal recently. Mark is a long-term survivalist, and he graciously answered about a million questions about his lifestyle. The end result was, I learned a lot, including how little I actually know in comparison to someone who lives an off-grid, non-consumer life every single day. Even better, I have permission to share this information with the rest of you in the form of a new series: Long-Term Survival.
Mark lives in the desert, and he’s off the grid. His well was dug by hand over the course of a month. His shelter is built by hand. There is no indoor plumbing and he cooks most meals outdoors over a fire. He’s a big believer in tools and skills over beans and rice.
Daisy: What does bugging out mean to you?
Mark: My “bug out kit” is tool heavy for food, shelter, and fire. Everything else is a luxury. So I would not pack a lot of the stuff others might be going for. If I was bugging out, I’d plan for it to be for the long haul. I’d want a set of tools that would make life easier and almost guarantee that you would have a roof over your head, food in your belly, and fire to keep warm by. I am going to carry tools over comforts because the comforts can eventually come from using the tools.
Daisy: Is this the kind of kit you’d recommend for anyone who is interested in building the ultimate bug out kit?
Mark: Well, you have to practice with the tool set I am going to talk about and become comfortable with them. Also, remember that your mind is tool number one and the best tool you can exploit.
Daisy: Why is your bug-out plan so different than the basic plan we see outlined on all of the prepping sites?
Mark: If you look around at everyone’s “bug out bag” and “bug out plans,” they all revolve around a 3 day disaster or getting to your “bug out location”. Not many people are set to “bug out” for the long haul. But what if you couldn’t look back? What if bugging out meant 30 years instead of 3 days, or if there was no home to come back to? If it came down to bugging out, I’d want to far far away. I’d be building a semi-permanent shelter and starting a trap line and learning all the hunting trails. Then, when its time to move south for the winter I’d pack my stuff and walk to my warmer spot, and do the same thing. I want to have a life, not always be running around like a squirrel after a nut once things really collapse, like history has told us EVERY other society like ours has done.
Daisy: So if you had to just grab one bag and go, what tools would be in it?
Mark: In my opinion, there are 5 tools you need to have, and some of these have multiple uses: a Swiss Army champion knife for your medical kit , a Leatherman crunch for repairs, a CRKT Folts minimalist hunter neck knife for small game skinning and utility (best neck knife around and it is only 25 bucks. I personally use it and also the tano one as a utility knife both on neck but one will do, the hunter), a Mora “light my fire” camp knife – it’s a utility medium game skinning with build in ferro rod, and a medium size forged axe with at least a 2lb head 2.5-3lb would be best – it’s one step above a hatchet for shelter, fire wood, large game skinning, and protection.
Daisy: Wow, you answered that quickly!
Mark: You should also add for readers that these tools are for your hands only. They mean your survival, so never lend them out to anyone, not even parents, children, brothers, sisters, husbands, or wives. They should all have their own. These are yours and yours alone.
Daisy: Okay, let’s go over these different tools. Tell me about the Swiss Army knife that you recommend. (link to this tool – $99)
Mark: The Swiss army knife is high grade stainless steel. This is important because it can be sterilized and has a very sharp fine edged blade that can basically double as a scalpel. There are several tools in The Champ that can lend themselves to helping in a medical emergency. There is a magnifier to look for ticks and other parasites, as well a pair of decent tweezers for tick or sliver removal. Fine scissors to cut bandaging or other types of cloth and light materials…the list goes on. Trust me when I say you will be happy you have it along in your medical kit if an emergency ever arises.
Mark: The crunch is a mini “vise-grip” with a groove in its nose to lock down on something like a sewing machine needle, if you need to use it to sew for repairs. It has some screw drivers: a small common blade (flat), a medium common blade, and Philips (cross). As well, there is a rasp, a file, a large screwdriver, and a serrated knife that is graduated in both standard and metric to measure and can cut light wire like copper, aluminum, brass, or bronze. It also has a bit driver, and all of the tools lock into place. It is one of the few tools Leatherman makes that falls under the category of ”heavy duty” in their line up.
Daisy: What is a neck knife? (link to tool $36.99)
Mark: A neck knife is a small all around utility/skinning knife that is always right there within reach. I prefer a hunters blade. This is the knife you will be doing most of your daily small game skinning and other light camp chores with. Never leave home with out it, as you never know when and where you might need it.
Mark: I prefer having a dedicated knife that is married with a ferro rod “fire steel”. That way you have a medium duty knife for skinning, camp utility, carving, and a last ditch resort to make sure you have a fire. Mora makes a very nice and economical bushcraft knife/ferro rod set. You can shop around – several knife makers are now making hunter-bushcraft/fire sets. You want a high carbon steel blade on this knife if you can because the ferro rod will work better. Do not skimp on quality for anything less than a Mora on this item. Mora would be the low end for price, and yet still provide a quality knife that you can rely on.
Mark: The Hultafors hunter’s axe is a high quality choice. Hultafors is the oldest axe company in the world. They have been forging axes since 1697 and their axes are much less expensive than the competition’s axes. This is not the absolute highest quality axe, but it is still a good quality, forged axe. I actually have one of these, its smaller brother, and a carpenter axe from this company, and I love them all. The Hultafors hunter’s axe is in the “classic” line and is around 85 bucks, with maybe a tiny bit more for shipping vs. 150+ bucks from the competition on production-forged axes of this size. You can use this tool for building an advanced shelter, for all of your camp amenities such as table, chair, loo, etc. It can also be used for harvesting all the firewood you need, as well as skinning and splitting any large animals you may have hunted, trapped or found as “road kill”. [laughter] Also, it can be very effective as a weapon to protect yourself. I can guarantee that if you practice with an axe and follow through on a heavy swing you will damage anything wild attempting to get you in its jaws.
Daisy: I’m sure it would also deter anything human attempting to cause you harm.
Mark: You do as you wish. I don’t want people thinking I am a crazy human killer. [laughter]
These tools are tried and true, and Mark owns them all. At an investment of less than $300, they could easily mean the difference between life and death, or at the very least, comfort and misery. He also recommends the addition of a rasp or file and a short honing strop to keep the tools sharp and tuned up.
Next in the Long-Term Survival Series, Mark will talk about living without water flowing from the taps. He’ll discuss digging a well, conservation measures, sanitation, and how he does some of those things that we all take for granted with our indoor plumbing that most of us can’t imagine life without.
About the contributor:
Mark lives in the desert in the American Southwest. He was raised in a survivalist family, and this has been his lifestyle for as long as he can remember. He has entered a design contest with functional axe that has multiple purposes and is geared towards survival…If you have found his contribution to this website to be helpful, please say thank you by going to Facebook and giving it a “like” – the winner of the contest will see his design produced.
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
Contributed by Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper.
Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine J. Frompovich
Everyone thinks it will never happen to them, and then it does. You and your family become unwilling captives of an event that demands your hunkering down for your safety and well-being. It can be a hurricane, snowstorm, or like I lived through, an ice storm that brought the Southeastern part of Pennsylvania into what people were calling “Snowmageddon”– one snow storm after another, often every other day, since November. If that wasn’t bad enough, we experienced a brutal weather ‘centerpiece’, the “ice apocalypse” that downed power lines for over 715,000 people early in February 2014. Most folks had no choice but to shelter in place at home.
After several days in icy frigid weather without power, light, heat, food refrigeration, phone service, cable, the Internet and all the high tech appliances – even cell phones at one time – modern life made us servants to, life stood still and we had to scramble to survive in what seemed like returning to a pre-technological world of make believe. However, it was all too real and many were totally unprepared. No school, no work, and no services – it seemed like no anything!
As a result, I got to thinking how readers would react if confronted with such out-of-control circumstances and what you should know to do when Old Man Winter turns worse than wicked. Some of my thoughts are below. As I write this, the sixth day of the ice apocalypse, more than 35,000 are still without power. I have power and can access my computer word program but no Internet service, so I will submit this when I’m able to connect to the outside world.
I hope my ideas and suggestions will encourage readers to prepare a “bug out bag,” evacuation plan, or shelter-in-place strategy, especially in order to gear up for the rest of this 2014 winter since Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s weather prognosticating groundhog, claims there will be six more winter weeks before astrological spring arrives. That critter surely must know something because he no sooner made his prediction on February 2nd than the weather socked it to us on February 5th, and it just does not want to let up. Several inches more of snow as I write this!
If I seem to be rambling along, please bear with me because in the end, I think it will be well worth your time.
First and Foremost: Stay Out of Harm’s Way
Stay indoors away from windows, sliding glass doors, and near solid walls, preferably in the center of the house to maximize using warmer areas of the house. Those who live in “Tornado Alley” know how important it is to seek proper shelter within the house. During winter storms, like the ice apocalypse, tree limbs, whole trees, power lines and poles can burst into flames or come crashing down onto anything standing in their way, including you if you are out and about walking or playing.
One of my nine lives was used up when a huge tree uprooted and crashed onto the street where I had just walked only 25 steps before.
Discourage playing in snow, as clothing will become wet, cannot be dried and you will be wet and cold. Frost bite can set in within 15 minutes, so remember that.
Cars and Personal Vehicles
- Battery: If your vehicle’s battery is more than 3 years old, consider replacing it so that when very cold temperatures challenge its starting capability, it will be up to the task and start your vehicle. Your vehicle eventually may become your ‘lifeline’.
- Vehicle Charger with USB Port: This device uses the vehicle’s cigarette lighter to recharge a cell phone and/or any electronic device that uses a USB port like a laptop computer simultaneously while charging the cell phone. Every person who has a cell phone needs this charger, I believe. BTW, make certain the car’s lighter fuses are in working order in the vehicle otherwise the charger doesn’t work.
- Blankets: For families, have one heavy duty blanket per family member wrapped in large plastic trash bags to keep them clean in the trunk of the car. This is a must for cold weather survival on the road, for loss of power, evacuation or sheltering in place.
- Gasoline/Diesel Fuel: If there are several vehicles in a family, keep at least one car/vehicle with a full tank of gas. That car should contain the blankets, vehicle charger, and newer battery. When there are power outages, gas stations may not be able to pump gas. Also, if you have to evacuate, a full tank can get you farther than having to worry how far you can go with only a quarter tank of gasoline or diesel.
- Windshield Wiper Fluid: Make certain you use the type that will not freeze! Keep an extra gallon of it in the trunk of the car.
Bottled Water is a must regardless of what type of disaster happens. Always have at least one case (12 liter glass bottles) of water stored within easy access regardless of whether you have municipal water or a well pump that needs electricity to operate.
If you have a well pump, check out online what’s available to draw water from the well without electric power.
Battery-operated Radio with fresh batteries is a must so that you can access important information and updates regarding power outages, safety measures, and/or warming shelters.
Dwellings – Family Homes
- Lanterns, battery-operated: Consider having 1 large lantern with enough extra fresh batteries for each floor of the house. If you evacuate, take lanterns with you.
- Flashlight with extra batteries in each bedroom in case the problem occurs during sleeping hours. For small children consider giving each child a different-colored glow light to carry so the child can be identified easily by his/her flashlight. If you evacuate, take glow lights with you.
- Room thermometer: an old fashion type rather than a digital so you can see when you have to run faucets to keep pipes from freezing. More info under Water Pipes.
- Appliances NOT to use: Kerosene heaters, charcoal grills, or any device (e.g., generator in the house or garage) that makes or emits fumes or carbon monoxide, including scented candles. It should be noted that burning candles ‘eat up’ oxygen in the room and can cause dizziness while under stress, such as no power and no heat.
Plumbing and Water Pipes
Without heat pipes will freeze, especially those pipes that run along the outside walls of the house, e.g., under the kitchen sink inside the wall of the house/foundation, powder room, and laundry room, or if there is no basement and the house sits on a cement slab, like many townhouses do.
Frozen pipes can cause thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of water and/or mold damage.
Beforehand, learn the proper procedures for your dwelling’s specific plumbing situation. However, some suggestions to check out would be:
1. Short term frigid weather, no heat in house and inside house temperature is 50º. Open all faucets (both hot and cold) so that a stream of water runs constantly like a ‘thread of water’. Allow the faucets to run all night until the sun warms up the daytime temperature above freezing or heat comes on. If you have to do this more than 2 consecutive nights, then perhaps you ought to consider
2. Longer term frigid weather, no heat in house. Locate the water main coming into the house from outside. Turn the valve to the Off position. Then, open all faucets to drain the pipes and leave them open until it is safe to turn on the main water valve again. Before opening that main valve, close all faucets first, then slowly open the main water valve and allow the pipes to fill for about 15 minutes before slowly opening one set of faucets at a time.
#2A. If you have to evacuate your home, it may be wise to turn off the main water valve and drain the system as in #2 above before leaving the house, since you don’t know how long it will be before you will return.
3. Toilets: Flush toilets to empty tanks and pipes until no water runs after closing off main water valve.
4. Hot water heaters probably will be safe for several days before having to be drained, if at all. You will need to have a new/clean garden hose long enough that will take the tank water from the drain outlet at the bottom of the tank to a safe distance from the house to let the water drain. However, it is best to check with your plumber beforehand and write the instructions on a 3×5 card and tape it on the wall next to the water heater so you know what to do because in an emergency, we tend to become nervous, confused or forget.
5. Clothes washing machines and Dishwashers. In most cases, those pipes cannot be drained because electric power is needed to activate water.
No Working Toilets; Where to Go
Here’s a trick that works rather nicely.
Along with the stored water, food and clothing, store several large buckets (with lids would be nice) and several bags of kitty litter.
To use the kitty litter toilet
Cover the bottom of the bucket with kitty litter and use it as a toilet. After each use, spread some kitty litter to absorb the moisture. Use toilet tissue sparingly. Cover with lid and use as needed until ¾ full. Place full bucket with lid on in a bathroom so that when the water is back on, and the toilet is running properly, you can flush the kitty litter toilet contents down the working toilet. However, you may have to add a few cupsful of water to the kitty litter toilet to make it pour more easily.
Since we seem to be living in dramatic and traumatic times, maybe it would be best to be prepared with special “survival clothing” that is not worn any time other than when it is needed, especially for winter. Keep that special clothing in an assigned closet or dry basement area where everyone in the family knows his/her gear is located. Schedule a practice drill or two, similar to fire drills at home and in school, so children will know where to go, what to look for, and how to act. Consider it “indoor camping.”
Each member of the family should have a hooded sweater rather than sweatshirt so that layering of other clothing can be more effective in keeping body heat in. Have several long sleeve shirts, cotton long johns/long underwear, and a pair of gloves, not mittens, so chores or games can be played while keeping hands/fingers warm.
If sheltering in place, the last layered piece of clothing should be a full length heavy duty bathrobe, which will keep body heat from escaping from the shoulders down to the mid calves of the legs.
Heavy duty knee-hi socks, heavy duty sweat pants, and a cap rather than a hat—something that a child’s head can fit into to keep the ears warm. Remember, the body loses most of its heat from the head, so a snugly fitting cap is important, especially when worn under the sweater’s hood. It’s nice and snuggly warm!
Don’t plan on changing clothes to sleep. When sheltering in place, keep all clothing on until the house is warm again. Don’t take a chance on changing into pajamas or other bedclothes because: a) you can become very cold and not be able to get warm again, and 2) if you have to leave in a hurry, you will not have proper clothing on. Do not undress; staying warm and keeping body heat from escaping [wearing cap, hooded sweater, gloves, and robe] is the trick that works for being comfortable when sheltering in place without heat in frigid temperatures.
If you can find a hotel/motel that is warm and has not raised the nightly rate from $100 to $250, as happens in disasters and/or emergencies, or if you cannot get to a community warming shelter, then you just may find sheltering in place necessary, and even safe and relatively ‘comfortable’ when prepared.
Keep several quality thermos bottles on hand so you can take them with you in the car and have them filled with hot coffee, tea, or hot water when you find a place open that can provide them.
There are many long-term, vacuum-packed, ready to eat foods that you may want to have on hand and stored with the bottle water. If you can’t do that, then the minimum that you should have on hand and rotate every six months by eating and replacing is:
- Trail mix, several packages and preferably organically grown.
- Organic dried fruits.
- Organic walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds.
- Box-type, high nutrient value breakfast cereal, organic preferred, no sugarcoated
- Non-dairy milks: almond, coconut, oat, rice [keep fresh and safe in a cupboard].
- Bottles of juice to make a very healthful and satisfying ‘cold tea’: ¼ cup of juice topped off with bottle water to make a full cup.
- NO sodas: they will make you thirsty and crave food because of the sugar drop that comes from all the sugar in soda. NO candy or junk foods, as they can make you edgy and children hyperactive, something not needed during a weather crisis.
- Cans of cooked beans that can be eaten cold or heated over an outdoor camping stove.
- Cans of hearty, chunky soups.
- Cans of chili: vegetarian and/or meat varieties.
- Whole grain crackers or saltines.
- Jars of applesauce or individual size applesauce containers.
- Jar of almond butter or cashew butter or peanut butter.
- Instant coffee, tea bags, hot chocolate mix.
- Appropriate food for baby and/or pets that can be spooned out rather than cooked.
- Small outdoor table-top size charcoal grill with briquettes and appropriate safely-protected fire lighter so that you can heat food when the grill is used outside the home with proper precautions, never inside any type of enclosure, e.g., house, tent, camper, and always away from wood decks and house siding.
- Box of wooden matches kept in a tin box for safety purposes. Also, a few emergency wax candles just in case.
Once the power goes off, do not open the doors on the freezer or refrigerator, as that will break the cold seal within, and your food will not stay safe as long as possible.
Here’s something I found surprisingly interesting: I have a regular family-size top freezer, bottom refrigerator unit and when I opened the freezer after 3 days of no power, the ice cubes I had stored in a plastic bag had not even started to melt. They were solid, which indicates the integrity of the cold seal and the freezer contents. The same with the lower refrigerator: Everything was ice cold, including a bottle of carrot juice and other items in glass bottles. That’s the key to not losing food: Never open the refrigerator/freezer doors until power is restored for at least ½ hour and you are certain it stays on. Sometimes there are temporary startups during restoration procedures.
If you must take food out of the freezer/refrigerator, do it immediately after power goes off and store it safely. See information below.
When it’s cold outdoors, 32 degrees and below, you can have a ‘refrigerator’ for some foods by wrapping them securely and placing them between a locked storm door and the regular door. Or, if you have a secure outdoor shed, you can place food securely wrapped in the shed, which is almost the temperature of a kitchen refrigerator.
During the ice storm of 2014, I was able to find a Whole Foods open and purchased cut-up fresh fruit that I stored in my garden shed to have for breakfast the next day. It was ice cold, just like out of the refrig when I went for it 18 hours later. I also kept some cheese in the shed. Same thing—cold and safe to eat with whole grain crackers I had in the kitchen.
Disconnect your computer from the electric wall socket so that when power comes on, it doesn’t get fried. My Verizon FIOS system got fried, so that’s why I had no Internet or phone line.
Also, make certain appliances, except the refrigerator, are turned off so that when electric power comes back, they will not be overloaded and possibly be damaged.
What Else Do You Need?
Something for kids of all ages when boredom sets in. Forget the electronic games, even battery-operated, which can conk out and cause more frustration than needed. Consider having on hand:
- decks of cards for several types of card games with instructions if necessary
- board games like Monopoly, Checkers, Chess, and age appropriate games
- word puzzle books, e.g., Sudoku, crossword puzzles, find the words, etc.
- coloring books and crayons for very young children who enjoy coloring
- box of sharpened pencils with a hand pencil sharpener, plus ballpoint pens
- a spiral-bound, lined notebook so everyone can tear out a sheet of paper and have something to write or draw on
A Few Creative Survival Recipes
Don’t expect gourmet quality food; be grateful for something nutritious and palatable.
Breakfast Cereal or Anytime Food
Into a bowl place breakfast flake cereal along with some chopped walnuts, non-dairy milk, and half or whole banana cut into slices. For added protein, add a tablespoon of organic chia seeds [1 tablespoon contains 3 grams of protein].
Applesauce with either chopped nuts or Trail Mix spooned over. Chia seeds add more crunch, taste, and protein.
Hot water added to chocolate mix and topped off with non-dairy coconut milk. Very tasty!
Fruit juice tea (either hot or cold; see f. above) with crackers and almond butter or cashew butter or peanut butter
Note: If you have a wood stove fired up, you can have hot water, tea and coffee. If not, when you crank up the outdoor tabletop grill, heat water in a pot, then transfer it to the thermos bottles to keep it hot. If you have neither, and it is safe to travel, get in the car and see if you can find a place that is open and has hot water, coffee, and tea to fill your thermos bottles. I was lucky to find a Whole Foods open—it had power, but no phone; and a Wegman’s that was operating on generators.
I want to express my most sincere thanks to both those supermarkets for what they did to help people get food, and to all who helped during this disaster: road crews, plow crews, tree and landscape people, fire departments and emergency rescue crews. Without you we could not have made it through those trying days.
But the real heroes of the ice apocalypse were the unselfish power company linemen – 6100 talented pole climbers – some who came from as far away as Canada, Nova Scotia, Illinois, Arkansas and probably places I didn’t hear mentioned on the radio, to help their fellow humans suffering in a situation deemed worse than Hurricane Sandy. Personally, I can’t thank each person enough; you saved the day, as far as I’m concerned. I hope our power company, PECO, never has to reciprocate your good deed, but it probably will have to, as all power company users will become more vulnerable to the ravages of going off the grid. Thank you for a job superbly done in what may be considered record time, even if it didn’t seem like it was for some of us. God bless and keep you safe always.
If readers have any suggestions of how to make it through a winter disaster, please share your ideas in the comments section, and thank you. Please keep safe and warm.
Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.
Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.
Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.
Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008).
This article was contributed by Humble Seed
Seeds are living things. For that reason, you have to treat them as such. Just like any living creature – exposure to too much cold, heat, sunlight – even moisture – can kill their essence. In fact, as a general rule, any 1% increase in moisture can mean seed life is cut in half. Knowing more about long term seed storage will ensure their viability when you need them most, and can guarantee a never-ending food supply.
Remember that the only seed that can produce another fertile seed are non gmo seeds, non-hybrid, and heirloom seeds, so be sure your pick has these qualities before you start preparing for long-term seed storage.
Why Try Long Term Seed Storage
For one thing, having a continuous supply of fresh produce is one best investments you can make for your health. Additionally, people from all over the country are making efforts to prepare for the worst. Can you blame them? In an unsteady global economy and food market, and considering the impact of natural and manmade disasters – it’s vital to consider your food supply in an emergency situation. You may want to consider, what you would do if our food supply were cut off? Or if the price of food became unaffordable? Stockpiling cans and dried goods can be lifesaving, but what happens if it runs out?
Here’s how to get started for long term seed storage.
The Three Most Effective Ways To Store Seeds Long-Term
Refrigerating Seeds: This method can prolong seed lifespans. Many seed savers simply place seeds in zip block bags with another fabric or brown paper bag over it to prevent light seeping in and penetrating the seeds. Do keep in mind that depending on the availability of refrigeration in an emergency situation, this method isn’t always dependable. Also, refrigeration exposes seeds to some moisture and can decrease viability. If you do have access to a refrigerator, vacuum sealing seeds and refrigerating combined was found to have one highest rates of germination after 12 months.
Vacuum Sealing Seeds: As we mentioned above, moisture is one of leading reasons seeds deteriorate quickly. Vacuum-sealing ensures seed humidity levels are low and can keep seeds dormant for years. While there is an initial investment in purchasing a vacuum seal-packaging machine, the end result is a reliable method to seed storage, even without refrigeration.
Water Proof Storage Containers And Bags: Traditional seed packets just won’t cut it in terms of long term seed storage. There is too much risk of exposure to sunlight, humidity, and temperature fluctuation. Re-sealable Mylar® bags and other FDA food safe containers that are air-tight and waterproof can be very reliable in terms of seed storage. Because seeds are dormant and you do not want to activate the seed, store seeds in a dark, cool location.
The Problem With Freezing Seeds: While some seed savers swear by seed storage in a freezer, many are on the fence about freezing seeds. The argument: since seeds absorb and expel moisture in the air, there’s a chance a seed’s moisture level will shift. Freezing seeds can even force seeds to expand, causing the fibers to deteriorate. What do you all think about freezing seeds? Have you tried freezing seeds with success?
***Friends, what are your favorite methods for long term seed storage? What have you tried that worked? What didn’t work***
Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.
By Lee Flynn
Former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said, “I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best” (Source: Quotery.com). Some people falsely believe that being prepared is the sort of thing that is only reserved for fear mongerers and doomsday enthusiasts. However, being prepared does not mean that you want the worst to happen. On the contrary, it means that, although you hope for the best, you are simply ready for anything that might come your way. In the same way that you get insurance in case your health declines, it is important to take out your own “insurance policy” for every area in your life. This might include food storage, home repairs, budgeting, or any number of tasks.
The most common motivator for people when it comes to preparedness is the type of disaster that gains international attention. Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and all manner of natural disasters have a habit of igniting the prepping spark in many people. Such occurrences are often unpredictable and can leave hundreds of people without homes or even, sadly, their loved ones. However, even those on the outskirts of a disaster can suffer dire consequences. At the very least, they may be trapped in their homes for days on end, perhaps without power or water. This is where your emergency food and water comes in handy.
However, although these are the ones which gain the most attention, natural disasters are not the only, and certainly not the most common, reason for needing to keep certain emergency items in your home. You might not have considered it before, but a sudden job loss could come from nowhere and make it extremely difficult to feed yourself and your family. If you have stored some basic food items in your house, you will be grateful that you can dip into your supplies when the time comes. Other examples of smaller, but still meaningful, catastrophes that could affect you include power cuts, local water contamination, or even just a spate of bad weather.
Being Prepared in Every Area of Life
Louis Pasteur once said, “in the field of observation, chance favors the prepared mind” (Source: Quotery.com). Food storage is a good place to start, but preparedness extends to just about every part of a person’s life. Practices such as budgeting your money, carrying out necessary home and car repairs, and obtaining every kind of insurance, are all ways in which we protect ourselves against an unknown future. Keep and emergency survival kit in your home, and include important and potentially life-saving items inside. If you take these sorts of things seriously, when the worst does happen, the situation itself will be far less serious. Preparedness is not something that is reserved for those who are fanatic or obsessive; it is something that is important for anyone who cares about protecting their life, and the lives of those close to them in the face of a future that will forever remain a mystery.
Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
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