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How Walleye River Fishing Works

How Walleye River Fishing Works


You wake up early­ on a Saturday in late March. It is just before dawn, but you can’t sleep. You grab a mug of coffee and take a step outside. There’s an exciting hint of warmth in the air that lets you know winter has finally passed, and spring has come to stay. Get out your gear — it’s time to fish.

Each spring, anglers across North America heed nature’s call. They grab their tackle boxes, fishing poles and bait, and head out for a refreshing morning of walleye river fishing. Tho­ugh walleye can be fished year-round, even in winter, they become much more active — and hungry — in the spring. [source: Scott] If you have never fished for walleye before, this time of year is definitely your best chance to learn.


­Walleye river fishing is active and exciting. Walleye are big, tasty fish. The state record in Minnesota goes to a 17 pound, 8-ounce behemoth that was 35.8 inches long. [source: Minnesota DNR] This isn’t your grandfather’s fishing. Don’t expect to nod off while you lazily float around in a boat. This is a hunt. And once you reel in that first big fish, your walleye won’t be the only one that’s hooked.

Are you ready to take the leap and learn more? Let’s go fishing!­

So you have decided to try walleye river fishing. You have ch­osen a river, have access to a boat, and your best friend has agreed to go with you. You are ready to hit the water, right? Not quite. In order to catch a walleye, you need to hook the bait that walleye prefer on lures that will make the bait look really attractive.

There is a debate as to whether or not to use live bait. Walleye are natural predators and typically feed on other fish and small aquatic animals like insects, crayfish, grubs, salamanders and frogs. For the live bait option, check your local bait and tackle shop, or, if you are a do-it-yourself kind of person, your own backyard or nearby pond. When deciding on live bait for walleye, try minnows, leeches or night crawlers. [source: Scott]

Plastic bait can also be used. Professionals have won walleye tournaments by using plastic crawlers, thumper plastics, twitch baits, shad raps or spoons. [source: Kalkofen]

The key to catching walleye is making the bait look alive. To do this, use a lure that creates the illusion of free-swimming live bait. You can use these three basic lures combined with any of the bait listed above:

Gather your tackle box, and read on to learn how to best use your equipment.

If you have never heard of walleye, chances are you have seen, heard about or even eaten walleye without knowing it. This popular fish goes by several different names including: yellow pickerel, yellow pike, yellow pike-perch, pike-perch, walleyed pickerel, walleyed pike-perch, and yellow walleye pike. [source: Take Me Fishing]

Each state has its own fishing and hunting regulations. Check with your state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for any licenses you may need to get in advance. Be sure to read the regulations carefully. An Idaho man was charged $3,500 for having 44 walleye more than the state allowed. If caught again, he could earn one year in prison, along with additional penalties. [source: The Daily Journal]

Having the correct bait and lure­s is great, but how do you use them? Techniques for walleye fishing can vary from season to season, but there are some general techniques that you can try at any time of year:

Here are a few things to keep in mind when fishing in different seasons:

Now you know the basics. Read on to learn other helpful hints.­

You caught a fish! But how do you know it’s a walleye? The walleye’s first cousin, the sauger, is very similar in size and shape. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to tell the two apart. Walleyes do not have spots on their dorsal fins, they do have a dark patch at the bottom of their dorsal fins, and their tails have a white spot at the bottom. Saugers have dorsal fins covered with spots, they lack the dark area on their lower dorsal fins, and they don’t have the telltale white spot on the bottoms of their tails. [source: Iowa DNR]

­In general, fishing is a trial-and-error sport. There is no bette­r way to learn walleye river fishing than to grab a pole, your bait and tackle, and get out on the river. However, a little preparation can help a great deal. Here are some tips to make your first walleye fishing experience safe, fun and successful:

Walleye is a popular and tasty dish for fish lovers. Walleye can be baked, fried, grilled, crusted, spiced, put in casseroles and salads and baked into cakes. After your next fishing trip, try replacing the fish in your favorite recipe with walleye. [source: In-Fisherman]

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How Walleye River Fishing Works

Research & References of How Walleye River Fishing Works|A&C Accounting And Tax Services

How does this relate to my fantasy?

How does this relate to my fantasy?

If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

I have a little fantasy which I’ll tell you about it in a moment. First, let me digress to an article I read several years ago. I regret I don’t remember enough details to do an internet search on it, but here’s the gist:

A man committed some sort of misdemeanor crime. He retreated to his rural home and stubbornly refused to appear in court. Rather than instigate what could easily become an armed standoff, authorities informed the man he would be arrested the moment he set foot off his property.

They cut off his water. They cut off his power. (I don’t know if they cut off his mail.)

And yet – he and his family stuck it out for TEN YEARS. For ten years, they were entirely self-contained and made no outside trips at all. After that ten years, the authorities apparently decided the man had been sufficiently “punished” for whatever crime he committed, and lifted the injunction. Then, and only then, did he emerge from his self-imposed exile.

I must admit – putting aside whatever misdemeanor he committed – I have to admire this guy. I’m not saying those ten years were easy or fun. I don’t know how close he or his family came to starving. I don’t know what kind of untreated medical issues they had to deal with. I don’t know how they handled laundry or other sanitation matters.

But they made it. They survived. Whatever your views on this fellow’s shenanigans, you have to admit it was a neat trick.

Wouldn’t it be something to be completely self-contained for ten years and still manage to stay alive? That said, I’m afraid it will remain a fantasy. I’m currently 58 years old and my husband is 63. We’re in excellent health, but our peak strength is behind us. So, in lieu of being able to self-isolate for ten years, we’re concentrating on becoming anti-fragile instead, a far more achievable goal.

I found the term “anti-fragile” in an American Thinker piece entitled “How to Fight the Woke – and Win” in which the author stated, “In war, you must always secure your supply lines. One of the Woke’s most powerful weapons is economic pressure, so take that away from them as much as possible. Being anti-fragile will allow you to stand firm when you need to speak the truth.”

Between the pandemic, potential food shortages, social unrest, and possible economic collapse, we are living in uncertain times. Many people are terrified of the cancel culture, which essentially is a cult of bullies. It’s hard to speak up or fight back when doing so could destroy everything you’ve worked for – your job, your business, your career, your home, your family’s security, even your physical safety.

“My husband has been dealing with this at work for nearly 20 years, and yes, it has recently gotten noticeably worse,” one of my readers said. “We are brainstorming ways to increase the number of income streams that are not dependent on him having the job he currently has, because the conditions are NOT going to improve.”

There are even some warnings about the cancel culture in a cashless society.

Addison Wiggin on the Daily Reckoning wrote, “But there’s another angle to the cashless society that hasn’t gotten much attention:  What if the powers that be can ‘cancel’ people with unpopular political opinions?”

That’s why it’s important to become as “anti-fragile” as possible. The less vulnerable we are, the more we can stand tall and fight back against the bullies.

Consider these options:

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Obviously these are difficult steps for many people – which, sadly, means they’ll have to continue what they’re doing (shutting up and keeping their heads low). Nor can any of this be done overnight. It takes time to pay down debt or cultivate alternate income streams.

The point is, the more you can become self-sufficient, the less people can tell you what to do, threaten your livelihood, “cancel” your existence, or otherwise bully you into submission. Becoming anti-fragile won’t be easy, but it’s a goal worth striving toward.

This is not a new concept. There’s a story about the Greek philosopher Diogenes. Another philosopher named Aristippus had obtained a comfortable position at the court of the tyrant-king Dionysius. One day, watching Diogenes preparing a humble meal of lentils, Aristippus observed, “If you would only learn to compliment Dionysius, you wouldn’t have to live on lentils.” To which Diogenes replied, “If you would only learn to live on lentils, you wouldn’t have to flatter Dionysius.”

This sums up the tactic of being anti-fragile. Maybe you can’t self-exile for ten years, but at least you can give the middle finger to the cancel culture.

Patrice Lewis is pleased to announce the availability of the complete collection of 52 Country Living Series ebooklets representing over 17 years of homesteading experience. Subjects include preparedness, frugality, rural skills, food preservation, and more. Click here for details.

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In the event of a long-term disaster, there are non-food essentials that can be vital to your survival and well-being. Make certain you have these 50 non-food stockpile essentials. Sign up for your FREE report and get prepared.

How does this relate to my fantasy?

Research & References of How does this relate to my fantasy?|A&C Accounting And Tax Services

Asymptomatic VS Presymptomatic

Asymptomatic VS Presymptomatic

We have seen a lot in the news about asymptomatic vs presymptomatic spread of COVID-19. This can be confusing because, how do you spread something if you don’t feel sick?

Below, you will learn the difference, as well as ways you can keep yourself healthy and prepared for any pandemic. 

Both people who are asymptomatic and people who are presymptomatic can spread COVID-19. But, what is the difference between the two? 

If a person is asymptomatic, it means that they have the virus, but they don’t have any of the symptoms. In fact, the person may not feel sick at all. Additionally, an asymptomatic person will not ever have symptoms. 

So, if people don’t have any symptoms, then how do we know they actually have the virus? 

Well, this is found out through mass testing. For example, you can find people who have infections and are asymptomatic by testing:

Basically, we have found cases of asymptomatic people through testing, testing, testing. This means that if someone has tested positive for COVID-19, they will have to be tested until they have a negative test result.

If the person gets to a negative test and has never had a symptom, they are considered asymptomatic. 

Because they don’t have symptoms, it is really hard to prove that asymptomatic COVID-19 people are driving the pandemic. Yes, they are contagious because they have the virus.

However, it seems that the viral load is bigger in those with symptoms. This means those with no symptoms or mild symptoms have less of the virus to spread. 

It is also unclear how long an asymptomatic person is contagious. What we do know is that those with symptoms can spread it no more than 8 days after the onset of a symptom.

Thus, it is implausible that an asymptomatic person would be contagious longer than one with symptoms. 

Follow-up is necessary in determining if a person is truly asymptomatic. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 88% of women tested before delivery, were asymptomatic.

In addition, another review said that about 40-45% of positive cases are asymptomatic. However, there has not been any follow-up to determine if any symptoms were developed later. 

If a person is presymptomatic, it means that they have the virus, but do not have symptoms, YET! Most people who may seem asymptomatic do eventually end up with symptoms. Thus, they are no longer considered asymptomatic and were merely just presymptomatic. 

With every virus or bacteria, there is an incubation period. An incubation period is the time between when you are infected and when the onset of symptoms show up. During this time, you are presymptomatic. With COVID-19, people are usually presymptomatic for 2-14 days. Most begin to get symptoms 5-days after infection. 

So, if people who are presymptomatic do not have symptoms yet, how do we know they are presymptomatic? 

Just as with asymptomatic people, we find out someone is presymptomatic through testing. So, if someone you work with tested positive, and you must get a test, and you test positive, you may be presymptomatic or asymptomatic.

Once you develop symptoms, you know that when you got the test, you were Presymptomatic. 

Just as asymptomatic people are contagious, presymptomatic people are contagious as well. Those who are presymptomatic may have a higher viral load than those that are asymptomatic, which means they would be more contagious. 

There is no way to tell if someone who is asymptomatic will become symptomatic. Thus, if someone doesn’t have symptoms, they may just be presymptomatic, depending on how they test and if the symptoms appear later.

Most people develop symptoms about 5-days after being infected. However, symptoms can develop 2 to 14 days after infection happens.

So, if you have the virus, you can in fact spread the virus for 14-days before you even know you are sick, and that’s where the real challenge comes in trying to curb the spread of the virus. 

Let’s face it, no matter what virus you get, you will be presymptomatic before you feel sick. As stated above, there is an incubation period. So, in essence, everyone who does not have symptoms and tests positive is presymptomatic unless they never get symptoms. 

Because you can spread the virus without feeling sick for several days, or even at all, contact tracing is important. Contact tracing is like detective work where experts break down the chains of transmissions of the virus through a community. 

So, if someone you know has tested positive for COVID-19, and lets the experts know they were around you within the incubation period, you should be contacted. Even if you are not feeling sick, you are asked to quarantine for the 14-days to ensure you do not spread the virus unknowingly. 

To learn more about contact tracing, check out my post: Everything You Need to Know About Contact Tracing

One of the reasons we as preppers prepare for any emergency is so when a pandemic comes about we have things in place to help weather the storm, so to speak. When pandemics like COVID-19 strike, things vanish from the stores, we can be quarantined in our homes for a long period of time, and basically, SHTF. So, what can you do right now? 

You could be quarantined for a few weeks, especially if we have a second wave of COVID-19 as predicted. Be sure that you have enough food and water to last you for 2 to 3 weeks, or even longer if possible.

However, due to things vanishing from the shelves, I would suggest stocking for much longer than this. At least 3-months. 

Not only do you need food and water, but you need to have medical supplies in case you do get sick or have to quarantine. Stock up on things like Tylenol, ibuprofen, cough medicine, cough drops, Vicks, or anything you take as a prescription or when you feel ill. 

For several months you couldn’t find toilet paper anywhere. I’m now able to find it in stores and it looks to be in stock on Amazon as well. Now would be the time to start stocking a backup supply of toilet paper.

I don’t know about you, but my stocks definitely saved me during the first wave of this pandemic. Keep in mind that some stores still have limits on how much you can buy, so you may have to go to a couple of different stores. 

I have several pandemic posts that can get you going in the right direction if you are just starting out with prepping. They also help you to think about things you may not have considered. Here are some posts you need to check out:

Besides stocking up on all the essentials, you should strive to keep yourself healthy. Eating the right foods, getting sufficient sleep, and taking vitamins is an excellent way to help keep yourself healthy enough to fight a virus should you get it. Since most gyms are still closed, you’ll need to figure out how to get enough exercise at home, or away from congested areas.

Check out my post: How to Prepare for the Second Wave of COVID-19 to find ways to keep yourself healthy. 

Knowledge is power concerning Asymptomatic VS Presymptomatic situations for you and your family! The more you know and the more you continue to stay informed, the better you can prepare for what’s going on around you.

Knowing the difference between Asymptomatic VS Presymptomatic is not to spread fear about COVID-19, but to help you understand the things we are learning so that you can better prepare yourself.

Stay safe and stay well. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Covid AdobeStock_331819842 By Ruslan Shevchenko

Good post, Linda. Thank you for the information.

Hi Janet, thank you for your kind words, that means a lot to me! Linda

Thank you, Linda! What a lot of research…but schooling remotely makes much more sense with this information, as difficult as it will continue to be.
Staying safe in S. Oregon,

Hi Shirley, I have a post going live tomorrow morning on “Is Homeschooling Right For Your Family”. This year has been crazy and hard for so many families. We will survive but with consequences, I pray every day that the suicide rate does not surpass the COVID-19. God bless you and your family. Stay safe and stay well, Linda

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I’m Linda Loosli. I’m the owner and editor of Food Storage Moms. I’m so happy you’ve found us. Our goal at Food Storage Moms is to help “one family at a time.”

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Asymptomatic VS Presymptomatic

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Bugging Out Is Going to Be Rough

Bugging Out Is Going to Be Rough

16 Things You Must Have in Your Stockpile for This Year’s Hurricane Season

While we’ve all been busy worrying about the pandemic and rioters destroying our cities, the calendar has been marching on. Time, they say, doesn’t stand still for any man, and apparently it doesn’t stand still for a virus either. We’re already into the hurricane season, with two tropical storms behind us.

According to the National Hurricane Center, this is probably going to be a worse than average hurricane season. I’m not sure how accurate their predictions are, but it doesn’t matter. This will be the first hurricane season we’ve faced with COVID-19, let alone any of the other problems the year has brought us. That’s enough to guarantee that it’s going to be a rough hurricane season.

If you live in a hurricane zone, then you really need to be ready this year. More than any year in the past, bugging out, if necessary, will be a real challenge this year. The biggest problem is going to be in finding someplace you can go, should you need to bug out.

This problem actually contains two parts. The first is finding a hotel where you can go. That’s always a problem, but this year there’s the added problem of social distancing. Hotels in some states are required to implement social distancing measures this year, just like restaurants do. So you may have to drive farther to find a hotel with available rooms, than you would have had to in other years.

On top of that, some cities may not welcome you in, especially if you come from a hotspot. There have already been several states which have instituted travel restrictions from other states which have high COVID-19 case counts. I doubt they’ll lift that for a hurricane.

Related: How to Prepare For A Pandemic

The solution to these potential problems is three-fold:

Before you say anything, I realize those three things contradict each other. Even so, they should all be part of your plan. Think of them as plans A, B, and C. Then decide at what point you’ll need to put Plan B (bug out) into effect. That will probably be something like a Category 4 hurricane heading right for you.

If you’re like a lot of us, you’ve probably dipped into your prepping stockpile already this year. The numerous shortages that have existed in our grocery stores have caused us to use food, cleaning supplies and paper products that we had set aside for an emergency. That’s okay, that’s what they were there for, but I’d take this opportunity to do an inventory and restock everything, as much as possible.

Don’t think of a hurricane as a three day problem. It has been clear in the case of every major hurricane since Katrina, that things don’t get back to normal quickly and relief supplies don’t arrive on time. In every case I’ve been able to check on, people were literally dumpster diving, looking for food, weeks after the hurricane hit.

Besides that, there are some specific things you should stockpile to make it through the first COVID hurricane season:

16 Things You Must Have in Your Stockpile for This Year’s Hurricane SeasonIf you’re going to stay home, then you need to be ready to cover your windows with plywood.

Taping the windows, as some people recommend, isn’t enough to keep them from breaking, especially if something hits the glass. All that does is help hold the glass in place.

Many people wait until it’s too late to buy plywood and the stores run out. You’re better off having covers for your windows prepared and kept in the garage or basement, so that you have them. Cut them to size, make sure they’ll fit, and then mark them, so you know which window they go on.

Related: How To Make A Pantry Under Your Bed

Blue plastic tarps are great for protecting your home from further damage, should it become damaged by the hurricane. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about roof shingles coming off, or a tree branch crashing through a window. You can cover up the hole with a tarp and a staple gun.

Of course, you don’t want to try and put those tarps on your home in the midst of the hurricane. That would probably just result in the loss of the tarp and you getting soaked. But once it is over, you’ll want to protect your home from further damage.

16 Things You Must Have in Your Stockpile for This Year’s Hurricane SeasonFew people bother to stockpile gasoline, mostly because it doesn’t keep well. You can only store it for about six months, maybe 12, if you add a life extender to it.

Even so, you should have a couple of cans of gas stockpiled for a hurricane, over and above trying to keep your gas tank full. You can always replace that gasoline later, burning it in your car or lawnmower.

One of the problems with any mass evacuation is that gas stations run out. Then people are stuck along the road, waiting until trucks can bring in more gas. That’s obviously not a good position to be in. Keeping an extra 5 or 10 gallons of gas on hand will help ensure you can get to your destination, even when others can’t.

If you can, I’d recommend keeping that gas in metal gas cans, rather than plastic ones. While the plastic ones are safe for gasoline, they’re really not designed for long-term storage. When the gas heats and expands, it puts a lot of pressure on the material the gas can is made of. I’ve had that cause more than one gas can to leak.

With COVID-19 still raging across the land, there’s always a chance of a family member coming down with the disease. Besides that, we’re heading into flu season, with all the misery and discomfort that entails. Between the two, it’s a good time to stock up on over-the-counter medicines that help treat symptoms of respiratory illness. Granted, those medicines aren’t going to cure COVID, but they might help you deal with the symptoms. They’ll definitely do that for the flu.

If you have to bug out, you want to make sure that you take any prescription medicine which family members need to take for chronic conditions. I’d suggest trying to get your doctor to give you a prescription for some extras, so that you can keep those in your bug out bag or vehicle.

16 Things You Must Have in Your Stockpile for This Year’s Hurricane SeasonThere’s always a high chance of injury in the midst of a natural disaster. The forces that nature can unleash are so far beyond anything that mankind has invented, that we have trouble dealing with them.

A hurricane, especially a Category 4 or 5, has winds so high that it can turn loose objects into projectiles, causing injury when they hit.

I’m not talking about a $19.99 kit from you local pharmacy here, but rather a good trauma kit. That small, low-cost kit might be good for a paper cut or a skinned knee, but that’s about it. You need something that can take care of larger injuries. Better yet, you need two, so you can keep one in your vehicle.

If there’s anything that’s standard prepping supplies, other than food, this is it. We can’t count on the city water supply remaining on during a hurricane, especially if there is flooding. That could cause contamination of the system, forcing officials to shut it down. Not only that, if you have trouble finding somewhere that will accept you, in the case of a bug out, you may have to purify water that nature provides.

Once again, this is something that you want in both your home and your vehicle. Don’t just count on a straw-type water filter either. The water purifier in your car must be good enough to provide water for your whole family.

Chances are very high that any hurricane will cause power outages. Our electrical distribution grid just isn’t strong enough to withstand the high winds and there is always the chance of broken tree branches bringing down power lines. Making matters worse, if you cover your windows with plywood, it’s going to get real dark inside your home.

Most people talk about having flashlights and spare batteries for emergency lighting. That’s fine, as far as it goes. But if you’re going to count on flashlights, be sure that you have plenty of them to go around. You don’t need a good flashlight, you need one for every member of your family, plus a couple of spares.

I’d also recommend having some other lighting source, such as the old-style Coleman “dual-fuel” lanterns. Those will run off of gasoline, so since you’re going to have gasoline anyway, that will hopefully ensure that you’ve got plenty of fuel for those lanterns.

16 Things You Must Have in Your Stockpile for This Year’s Hurricane SeasonIf the power goes out, so does your ability to cook, if you have an electric stove. Chances are pretty good that the gas will remain on, but you can’t be sure.

You can’t really count on cooking with wood in a hurricane either, as it will most likely be raining and windy.

Even if you try and wait it out, you’re still going to have the problem of your firewood being soaked to deal with. It would be a good idea to have a camping stove, along with a good supply of fuel, that you can use.

My preference is the Coleman “dual fuel”, which will run off of gasoline. I still remember watching my dad cooking on one of these when we went camping. They haven’t changed much.

You’re going to need to keep up with the news about what’s happening and the easiest way to do that is with a radio. Be sure to get a good one, preferably with an extendable antenna for extra range. It has to be battery powered, so that you can use it when the power goes out. Make sure you’ve got plenty of extra batteries.

Related: 50 High Value Items To Stockpile For When SHTF

That radio isn’t the only thing you need extra batteries for. You should also have an extra battery pack or two for your phone, so that you can recharge it when there is no power. We depend on our phones for so much today, including getting the news.

Don’t just depend on having a charger, or even a car charger. Something could happen to your car, where you can’t use it to recharge your phone. Make sure you’ve got something that’s totally independent, even if it only allows you to recharge your phone once or twice.

16 Things You Must Have in Your Stockpile for This Year’s Hurricane SeasonIn this time of COVID-19, you’ve got to have masks and gloves to protect yourself with. That would be especially true in a mass evacuation, where everywhere you go is likely to be crowded with people.

I seriously doubt there will be much possibility of social distancing, unless you do what I suggested earlier and go camping when you bug out.

Don’t count on being able to buy these when you bug out. There are still a lot of shortages, especially of gloves. If you’re caught with a lot of other people bugging out, they’ll probably empty the stores. Be sure to keep at least a box of each in your car, just in case.

Like the masks and gloves, you would better count on bringing your own hand sanitizer in the event of a bug out. While manufacturers have been churning hand sanitizer out and you can find it just about anywhere, that may not be the case when bugging out.

Keep some in your car, just to be sure you’ll have it. Since bugging out means you’ll be traveling, you’ll probably go through more than if you were staying home, so be generous in how much you take along.

16 Things You Must Have in Your Stockpile for This Year’s Hurricane SeasonIf you are fortunate enough to find a hotel that you can stay in, you probably shouldn’t count on the quality of the disinfecting process the housekeeping staff has done.

While I’m sure there are excellent people out there who are doing an excellent job, I’m equally sure there are those who are just giving it a lick and a promise. It makes sense to disinfect your own hotel room, as soon as you go in.

Avoid bleach as a disinfectant, as it can discolor bedspreads and upholstery. However, you can use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide without problem. I’d be sure to have a spray bottle, as well as disinfectant wipes. The spray bottle will allow you to spray down the bedding, before using the beds.

Related: 36 Survival Uses For Hydrogen Peroxide

As I mentioned earlier, your Plan C should be camping out. That means having the right equipment to do so. While most of us have camping gear for a bug out, it might not be the kind of camping gear you really need. For one thing, few of us have tents and sleeping bags.

Think it through and ask yourself what your family would need, if you were forced to live in it for a couple of weeks. It probably won’t be that long, but better safe than sorry.

Finally, make sure you have plenty of cash available. With the risk of power going out, your credit and debit cards may not do you the least bit of good. In that case, the only thing that makes sense is to have cash. Think in terms of how much you’d need to have to rent a hotel room and try to have that much on hand. Avoid large bills, as those can be harder to use.

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Hardware and Northern Tools sell Ammo Boxes…these are waterproof and compact…you can fill them with freeze dried food…fire making material…first aid kits…2nd amendment items…portable radios..once set up all you have to do is grab them and put the boxes in your vehicle

you don’t put food – much less store it – in anything like an ammo box >> new or otherwise – you get food grade containers for the purpose – off brand “Tupperware is cheap as hell and you then store that in a pop cooler for protections & some security …

Good article, timely and with food for thought about where to go when the hotels aren’t allowed to reach full capacity because of social distancing, and other states may not want anyone from wherever it is we’re from. Even if we plan to camp out in our “steel tent” if it comes to that, we still need other supplies and equipment, as this article reminds us.

Regarding charging the phone: An extra battery can be quite costly, but most of us can charge a phone using our laptop’s battery, or the battery backup box on our main computer, at least a couple of times if not more. That’s a good reason to keep our laptops charged up at the end of the day, even though it’s good for them to run out some of their charge during operation of them. I charge mine up when it gets down below 50%, and at the end of the day regardless of where it is.

Regarding flammable liquids in a home or vehicle where young children are present: It might work out OK but that’s not part of my plan, given that any or all of my four grandchildren, all 5 and under, could conceivably end up here. My next purchase will be a Kelly Kettle or similar, and I’ll keep enough kindling-sized sticks pre-cut for it in an open box inside my garage. This article is a good reminder for me to get on that.

Having food on hand that doesn’t require cooking, enough for several days, also seems like a good idea.

Here’s a childhood memory this article sparked: Mom serving us cereal and milk for dinner by candlelight during a power outage caused by a hurricane. She didn’t want to let the milk spoil as the fridge gradually came up to room temperature. We kids all thought it was fun having breakfast for dinner! Dad was less amused as he set up and operated the big pump we had for the cellar for times like this. I don’t know if it was gasoline powered or some kind of hand pump–I was too young at the time to help, and none of us were allowed in the cellar when it was flooded. Good policy, for lots of reasons.

Me too! As a kid my parents decided to build a vacation home in the middle of no where, at least at the time. I remember spending three seasons there with no electricity, no phone, no gas, no heat, and no car. My dad and my uncle would come out on there days off. The rest of the time, it was my grandmother, mother, aunt, cousin and my sister. Our only luxury for some time was a working pump and a good well! We had delivery by a local milk man once a week and an ice man. There was a block of ice in the bathtub which was our refrigeration. My sister and I would forage with our grandmother. We would fish and clam. We would ride 3 miles on our bikes to a local farm for eggs and vegetables. My mother would cook in the fireplace. We would play cards in the evening by candlelight! My cousin use to cheat at gin rummy! Aside from that, life was good! We were living in paradise. Folks still do that in parts of Scandinavia. Work in the city and escape to small cabins the wilderness whenever they can. We weathered many a hurricane there. Never had to worry about losing electric because we never had any in the first place!

Hide from the wind; Run from the water.

As Ron White said, “It’s not THAT the wind is blowing, it’s WHAT the wind is blowing.” Still waiting to see Cantrell airborn. He shows up in Navarre and everyone crys.

Claude: Please inform Rich M that ammonia is not a disinfectant. It is a household cleaner. There is a distinct difference between the two.

This is the second time in a week that Rich M has stated that ammonia is a disinfectant. I thought we had cleared that misconception up several articles ago.

Ammonia can be used to clean items that otherwise might be resistant to ordinary cleaning methods but it does NOT kill bacteria nor viruses and to posit that it is a germicide is to pass false information.

Ammonia is an excellent degreasing agent (the caustic family members are).

Absolutely, but not a germicide as Rich M. stated. There is a huge difference between a degreaser, no matter how powerful and a germicide.

I have a press degreaser that is no longer available that is so strong it can take cosmoline off in one wipe. I most assuredly wouldn’t use it to clean up a suspected contaminated spot on my kitchen counter.

Hi Left Coast Chuck,

Thank you so much for your comment and for your continuous contribution to the website.
I have edited the article accordingly.
Best Regards,

Solar powered lights have come a long way in recent years and make a suitable source of alternate lighting. Many of the solar panels on solar lights are sensitive enough that they don’t even need full sun to charge. In any event, if you have several, you don’t need to use them every night. Charging the lights by the window for a couple of days will bring them to full charge.

Unless you are going to be doing something that needs intense light, you really don’t need 1,000 lumens in order to see at night. Remember that our ancestors did quite well for quite a long time with just the light cast by a fireplace or a single candle or oil lamp.

The Coleman lantern is great for outdoors camping but is overpowering inside a normal room. We used to use them every time the electricity went out due to a typhoon on Okinawa, so I got a lot of experience in Coleman lanterns during my twenty-six month vacation on that island.

In addition, if the weather is hot and muggy, a Coleman lantern will add to the discomfort because it really throws a lot of heat too. A solar light with a mirror behind it will throw quite a bit if illumination and be a lot cooler.

A Coleman lantern is at its zenith indoors in the winter time when it provides both light and heat.

we were there from 77-81. you?

’56 to ’58. 3rdMarDiv. HqBn Camp Courtney, Called Camp Tengan when we first opened it after being closed for some years.

Would be helpful if there was more info about a trauma kit. What’s in it? How to put one together or where to buy and what to look for. I’m assuming also, there needs to be training. I still have my HS Red Cross First Aid Book. Back in the day, had to pass that Red Cross first aid class and a water safety and swim class test in order to graduate HS.

CC: Check to see if your first aid book advises not to use a tourniquet. If it does, it is outdated. If it describes how to apply a tourniquet, even if it is from 1943, it is now current. What was old is now new. No more mouth-to-mouth stuff. Just chest compressions which used to be called artificial respiration back in the dark ages. It works. I used it to get a small Okinawan girl breathing again after I pulled her out of a deep tidal pool.

The new method doesn’t describe turning the vic over so that any water coming out of the lungs won’t be regurgitated which is important, especially in a drowning incident.

For a trauma kit, think burns, deep cuts, deep puncture wounds, arterial bleeding, collapsed lung, broken bones, gunshot wounds.

While one may consider that gunshot wounds meet a lot of the above criteria, they also present their own peculiar problems. Often they are two-sided wounds, so with gunshot you always have to check for an exit wound as well as an entry wound. It doesn’t do any good to get the entry wound all nicely patched up to have the vic bleed out due to the missed exit wound on his back.

A wound to the buttocks is not the laughing matter most would think it is. My very first investigation involved a .45 wound to the buttocks. Didn’t even exit. Not much bleeding from the entry wound. Although the ambulance was only a quarter mile away and the corpsmen were on scene in a very short time, the vic bleed out before the corpsmen could even start to administer aid. The slug has severed his femoral artery and he had bled out internally. His buddies thought he was faking when he lost consciousness.

Even if he hadn’t bled out when he did, he would have by the time they got him to the hospital and into a surgical suite. So, if you are treating a wound to the buttocks, do not assume that it is a minor matter.

The other thing with gunshot wounds is that they take the crud from the powder and what is in the barrel that sticks to the slug, plus whatever junk the slug has passed through on the way to the vic, plus whatever junk is on the vic’s clothing as well as his clothing deep into the wound. That’s why you should never stuff junk into the wound to stop bleeding. You are just pushing all that junk carried into the wound further in where it can fester and lead to an overwhelming blood infection.

During WWII and I suppose even now, Marines going ashore to capture an island were ordered to don clean clothes before going over the side into the landing craft. The thought was that although they were going to get dirty mighty fast, as soon as they hit the beach almost, with clean clothes, it would at least lessen that source of infection if wounded.

It would be nice if the member who posted that he had 30 years of experience as an EMT would write an article on treatment of gunshot wounds in the field with emphasis on what you might have to do if there is no immediate medical care available. HINT HINT HINT.

I am sure in 30 years he has had plenty of experience in treating GSWs even if he was not an EMT in a battle zone such as Detroit, Baltimore, Neuyauwk City or Nawleans.

Oh, silly me, I left out The City of the Angles (wow is that a misnomer) and, of course ‘Frisco — but if he worked in ‘Frisco, he wouldn’t have a chance to treat GSWs because they don’t have any guns in that city. They are outlawed.

Now, if he were in Oakland, that would be a whole different story. The battle of Fallujah would just have been a warm-up for a slow Saturday night in Oakland, CA.

Sorry, I got off on a political rant. Back to the main topic. The 30-year experience EMT would be the ideal person to write about what is absolutely necessary, what is nice to have and what you really don’t need (like tampons). Hope to hear from him.

God Bless you for taking the time to respond with so much gusto! I am grateful for every word! For some years, I never thought much about things like this. I always depended on my dad. He spent 35 years in the NYFD. Always new what to do in any emergency. Recently there was an incident on my block. I thought it was an accident. Busy cross street always problems. So I did what I always did, went out to see if I could help. Well, this time it was a shoot out. Drug dealers took over the corner house which was for sale and got into an argument with each other! As soon as I opened the door an officer yelled out at me, lady get back in the house! That got me thinking about what to do and the first thing that came to mind was to bone up on first aid! Yes, my book does include that information. My son gave me Israeli bandages. He said they were good to have on hand. Next time I know to go upstairs too and stay in the center hallway. And there will be no more looking out the window let alone going outside. For one evening, my normally quiet neighborhood turned into a war zone. Hope it never happens again, but if it does, next time I want to be better prepared! Thank you again so much for this help. It is very much appreciated!

CC: To go along with the Israeli dressings, start acquiring a stock of 4 x 4 pads. They are good for wound cleansing, make good bandages and if the paper is intact they are supposed to be sterile.

While tourniquets are becoming commonplace they are a little lower on my list of must haves. Any belt will serve as a tourniquet although in my opinion, I think web belts work better — for me at least— than leather.

Many thanks LCC! Will do ASAP! With the hurricane, I expect everybody will be out and about soon buying milk, bread, water and toilet paper! The stores maybe a little crowded tomorrow, but I should have no problem picking up what I need!

I have the essentials to heat, cook, surgical repaires, batteries and flashlights with a solar battery charger. Camping tent, mess kits, air mattresses and sleeping bags. Et. I have tarps, nails, screws, and more for temp repairs to my home. Don’t have window coverings. We don’t live near either coast.
I keep bbq sized propane tanks filled at most times. I own 2 generators q400 and a 9k. Keep 15 gallons of gas in rotation to keep it fresh. Have additives if needed to keep it fresh longer.. Have 10 gallons of diesel on hand for tractor. Have power tools and hand tools for most jobs. We use little electricity and heat with wood or pellets and can cook on that heater. Have propane water heater, cookstove and a Mr Buddy heater. Have several old fashioned kerosene lanterns and mirrors to multiply the light. Have candles. Multiple fire starting methods. Food stored for a year or more. Beverages and mixes to last a long time. 20 gallons of water plus 2 or more cases of water bottles. A well with a winch. Plan to order a new well bucket soon that fits down the 4″ well casing. A new toilet plunger and 3, 5 gallon buckets for doing laundry. A years worth of laundry supplies.
Herbs, sprouts and micro greens grow in the kitchen window. A lovely garden outside, and equipment for future hydroponics and winter heater in a greenhouse.
We plan now to bug in, under most circumstances. Wildfire would be the exception. Several bags and camping gear packed and stored in a bench by the front door. Easy to grab and go. Vehicles never below 1/2 tank gas.
2 bows and arrows, 1 cross bow and 18 bolts and two more formidable weapons all handy to grab and go. Or just handy for loose dogs after my critters.

Hurricanes are something we worry about in Arizona. No hurricanes, no monsoon rains. No rains, we dry out in a hurry. Best bet for rain are storms coming up the coast of western Mexico, then inland. I keep telling weather people, ask for global warming freaks to come in and give a lecture why we’re in a drought, then it might snow in August. I get a lot of LOL and yeah, God is laughing at them again. 🙂 niio

I have been enjoying your site for a few years now, but never felt it worth writing, as you cover things well, and I don’t need to load up your site with my own prep lists, just saying I pay attention to yours.
But,,,,,I just wanted to mention here that, as long as you are bringing up Hand Sanitizing products, it might be good to caution people that currently there are a good number of products out on the market that were RUSHED onto the shelves as a result of the China Virus, that have methanol in them, which is toxic if a goodly amount is absorbed into the skin. I ended up seeing some of the stuff I recently got had methanol in it, from finding a recall on it. Luckily, the store accepted the return, and had a suitable replacement.

The FDA has a site listing the ones to look out for,

Seems most of the recalled stuff is from Mexico, but check these out, please.
Love your postings, often forward them to friends and family. Thanks for all you do.

The only alcohols to apply to your skin are ethanol and isopropyl alcohol also known as IPA. Methanol is what is used in the most effective paint strippers. It’s the stuff that advises to use rubber gloves and use only in a well ventilated space. Actually using it indoors makes you wish you had move the item outside even if the indoor space is “well ventilated”.

Ethanol is grain alcohol. It is what you put in your stomach that makes you think you are twenty years old, six feet tall and in perfect physical condition. It has a tendency to make one say, “Watch this” while doing really dumb things.

I agree with you, kind sir. You seem to be one of the more prolific responding people I see on here, and I have enjoyed your treatises. I even adopted some of your China Virus protection methods and incorporated them into my wife’s and my protocols. Thanks for contributing your many decades of life experiences.
I just didn’t want anyone here to inadvertently use the wrong stuff, as it was clearly NOT marked on the bottles I had.

Hi Hi-Style,

Thank you so much for your comment and your wonderful feedback.
I really appreciate you took the time to let us know about methanol.
God bless,

I live in N Fl and fortunately this storm ISS… whatever has moved out to sea for the time. Thought something was up when feeding horses and the wind was from the West. But trying to find hand sanitizer of ANY make has been out of the question since this China virus started. Right now if a bad one comes I will be staying at home so can better care for the horses and dogs. Better to let out in the fields than go anywhere, plus I do not have a trailer to take them anywhere. Just put up all the missile hazzards that I use every day and for the most part will be ok.

Sounds Like a very sensible plan. Soap and water is still our best bet. I have been in FL on business many times when the state is preparing for hurricanes. On the whole, id say after Andrew’s wake up call, the state really does a pretty good job! As a matter of fact, this City Chick was downright impressed! If you go further up the coast to the northern states, they do absolutely nothing! Even after Sandy, the response to which was a total failure, they still haven’t gotten the message. When the National Guard arrived at the local armories, there was no supplies and no equipment. Cuomo sold whatever was in storage and spent the money on something else. They had to borrow a generator in Manhattan from a fashion show to set up a computer. Bloomberg told homeowners that the city did a great job! He basically told them to go scratch when they were washed out. No one was prepared at home. Everybody thought everything should somehow magically be provided for them. People really had a hard time. Many still along the coastal areas still haven’t recovered financially and are still dealing with bureaucratic red tape. Good luck to you this hurricane season! I have many friends and family in Florida.

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Bugging Out Is Going to Be Rough

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What is Considered a Non Perishable Food Item?

What is Considered a Non Perishable Food Item?

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When you’re stocking your own pantry or helping others in need, non perishable foods should be on your shopping list. These foods are great for emergencies when the power goes out, for camping, or simply for planning ahead. (Food prices almost always go up, not down.)

We’ll help you choose the best non perishable foods that last for months (or years). Plus, we have storage and organization tips, and a printable list of non perishable foods with estimated shelf life.


Non Perishable Foods are safe to eat for long periods of time without refrigeration. They are also known as “shelf stable foods”.

Some foods can last a few weeks to months on the shelf.  Others can last for months. The longest last 10 to 20 years or more, such as freeze dried food or military MREs. 

Note: In spite of some silly prepper shows might say, it is not recommended to live off of nothing but MREs for an extended period of time. They are nutrient dense, but can be hard on your guts.

A young reporter took the 21 day “nothing but MREs challenge” in 2016.

He wrote, “I would alternate between vicious cycles of spending hours in the bathroom and then not being able to go at all.”

Non-perishable foods don’t require refrigeration, but are best kept cool and dry. If it sits on a shelf in the grocery store, it’s safe on the shelf in your home.

Temperature: Store products at less than 75°F (24°C) or lower, if possible. If storage temperatures are higher, rotate your food to maintain quality.

Moisture: Keep food storage areas dry. Keep containers off the floor to allow for air circulation.

Light: Keep food in opaque containers out of direct sunlight.

Insects and rodents: Protect food stored in foil pouches, cans, jars and bottles from rodent and insect damage.

Keep air out.  Store your food in meal sized portions, or a package size you can use up in less than a week once opened. If you buy in bulk, reseal in smaller packages.

Air is the enemy of long term food storage. Use vacuum sealed containers or Mylar for longer shelf life. Oxygen absorbers and/or vacuum sealing provide the longest shelf life.

See “Preparedness Storage – Finding Room and Keeping it Safe and Sound” for more storage tips.

The following tables give shelf life estimates for an assortment of foods. These estimates vary widely, depending on which reference you use, so we opted for more conservative estimates.

Start with the “best by” date, but use some common sense. If salt has been hanging around in the earth for thousands of years, it’s not going to go bad sitting in your pantry.

Do not use food with obvious signs of spoilage, like bad odors or bulging containers.

Note that whole wheat flour and brown rice have significantly shorter shelf lives than white flour and white rice. This is because they retain more fat, which goes rancid in storage. Don’t use whole grains or whole grain products with a rancid or bitter flavor.

Some of my favorite flours for bread baking are Gold and White by Natural Mills and King Arthur. These companies dry down their products more than most processors, increasing their shelf life.

Click Here to Download the Printable PDF Version of the Shelf Life Chart

If possible, ask your local food pantry what non perishable foods they need the most. Normally they are grateful to be asked.

Our food bank prefers canned meats and shelf stable proteins and meals, because those are not donated as frequently. They are, of course, thankful for any donation in good condition. (Don’t donate items that are many years out of date. They can’t use them, either.)

We have over 100 emergency preparedness post on the site, all sorted by category on the Common Sense Preparedness page.

They include:

Foods to Stock Up On (for Daily Use or Emergencies)

Home Freeze Drying

5 Best Freeze Dried Foods – Quality Long Term Food Storage

Home Food Preservation – 10 Ways to Preserve Food at Home

Emergency Cooking – 10 Ways to Have a Hot Meal When the Power Goes Out

Storage and Shelf Life of Over-the-Counter Medication

If you have preparedness or food storage questions, leave a comment below. We also appreciate it when you share tips that have worked well for you, since we have readers from all over the world, and everyone’s situation is a little bit different.

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Never Buy Bread Again has over twenty bread recipes for all occasions, plus troubleshooting for common baking problems and tips on how to store your bread.

Click here to order your copy today.

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What is Considered a Non Perishable Food Item?

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Wind Turbine from A Treadmill Motor

Wind Turbine from A Treadmill Motor

On my journey to self-reliance, I read endless books, attended many dozens of classes, and spent a small fortune to realize my dream of living off-grid. But I kept encountering the same troublesome snags.

Like most Americans, I’m not wealthy and couldn’t afford to simply write a check for a turnkey homestead. Now I’m glad I couldn’t. Because if I had, it probably wouldn’t have worked in the first place.


Because self-reliance isn’t something you can buy. Instead, it’s something we must build ourselves.

Nowadays, when people confront a problem, their standard response is to reach for their wallets. Which only ever papers over the cracks as it causes our problem-solving skills to atrophy.

For example, a generator could be a good backup power source. But what happens when fuel runs out? Like it did in Puerto Rico, in 2017, after Hurricane Maria battered the island. Leaving locals to bake in long lines under a hot sun. Just to squeeze a tiny drop or two of gas from emergency relief efforts.

In short, their safety net was far too specialized. This made it unadaptable and a little better than a paper shield vs. other resourceful locals who could pull together wind turbines, water wheels, solar panels, and more from the storm’s scrap debris. To give their family comfort.

With that in mind, every project in this article can be built using a basic home toolkit and features parts that can either be scavenged or bought from abandoned structures, junkyards, or your local hardware store. Even in the aftermath of a major catastrophe like a tornado, earthquake, or terror attack.

Today, there seems to be too much emphasis on highly specialized time and labor-saving gadgets that only do one thing but do it well. Often this works fine. But at a price. Because when your circumstances change it’s the highly specialized who struggle most. While the “Jacks of all trades” prosper.

So, without further ado, here’s your first project.

This simple windmill can be built at home out of scavenged parts and will generate electricity whenever there is wind.

It uses a permanent magnet treadmill motor to output around 100 watts and produces electricity twenty-four hours a day, provided there is enough wind. The electricity can then also be stored in a battery bank and used as needed. By comparison, a 100-watt solar generator only outputs electricity for about eight hours per day in peak sunlight hours. The advantage of using a treadmill motor is that:

When disaster strikes you may be left to fend for yourself, and this includes generating electricity. In its most basic form, a generator is little more than an alternator with an engine to turn it. With a quarter of a billion vehicles spread across the USA, a capable survivor could easily scavenge everything needed to generate electricity on a small scale.

This project uses the same principles to build a simple 12V DC generator capable of recharging car batteries.

TIP: Newer 12V alternators are well-suited to this application because they provide a steady 12V DC regardless of the speed at which the spindle is turned. If the alternator is pulled from a vehicle, simply leave the attached pulley in place and pull it along with the alternator, tension bracket (used to tighten the belt), the belt, perhaps a second pully for the motor, and any fasteners they are attached with.

TIP: While a larger motor such as a car motor could be used in an emergency, a small motor in the 2-5 horsepower range will be more fuel-efficient. If a lawnmower motor is used, the fuel lines and tank will also likely be attached.

Home solar power systems have really come down in price in recent years which is great news for anyone who would like to invest in an ability to generate their own electricity. You can pay an electrician to install a system or you can build your own. I suggest the later, so you understand how it works and how to fix it, expand it, or otherwise adapt it to meet changing needs.

In this project, you’d build a 400-watt home solar power system by starting with a 100-watt solar power kit and expand it to 400 watts by adding three additional 100-watt solar panels. As you add panels, you will also increase the size of your battery or battery bank, by adding additional batteries wired in parallel to increase battery capacity without increasing the voltage.

As a rule of thumb, you should increase battery capacity by approximately 35 amp-hours per additional 100 watts of solar panels you add. A 100-watt solar panel can charge a 35 amp-hours (or 420 watt-hour).

A 12V DC battery, in a single day’s sunlight, coupled with a 400-watt solar array can also be charged four times over for a total of 140 amp-hours, or 1.68 kilowatt-hours of stored energy per day, for years. Not a bad return on a modest $850 investment.

The components listed are sold in kit form which takes the guesswork out of the types and sizes of cables needed to connect the various components of a solar power system. In case you do not acquire the components as a kit, I have listed the components and connectors separately. If you use a kit, make sure it includes the necessary components or acquire them separately.

TIP: Solar systems are generally sold as kits with each manufacturer using different combinations and sizes of connectors, both to encourage you to buy all the components from the same manufacturer and so that cables only plug in one way, which prevents mistakes when connecting the components.

If you choose not to use a kit, you will need to either buy cables that interface with the types and sizes of ports or adapt the supplied cables. To adapt the supplied cables, simply clip off the connectors, strip approximately 1/4″(0.64mm) of insulation and crimp the type of connector you need in place of the supplied connectors.

The water wheel is one of the first technologies used by mankind to harness renewable energy. While many cultures developed water wheels, only Europe had enough streams and waterfalls and the right socioeconomic conditions to run the water wheels that drove the Industrial Revolution. Any survivalist with access to a stream or river would do well to learn how to build a basic water wheel because they are simpler than micro-hydro technology, yet still produce energy 24-hours a day.

TIP: Because this build is sourced from scrap, you may have to make some substitutions for the materials listed to find a combination of threaded rod, washers, and nuts to secure the sprocket or bicycle wheel, jury rig a bracket or make other minor modifications.

Of course, all of these are great projects. The kind that could make all the difference when SHTF.

Plus, making them is a cinch. Even for some of the worst DIY-dunces, I’ve ever known. The kind that, when hammering, hit their thumb more than a nail.

But a step-by-step explanation for how to make them all would be far too long for a modest article. That’s why we’ve included step-by-step instructions, in our latest book ‘Survival Sanctuary’, your one-stop shortcut to off-grid self-reliance.

Even better, you’ll get sixty full days to return it in the extreme, highly unlikely event your unhappy.

That gives you two months to test it out, try some of the projects, and if they’re not for you, no hard feelings, you’ll get your money back.

What makes these projects special is they’re made with adaptability in mind. Meaning if the sky falls, and you crawl out of your bunker to glimpse little more than a barren, ashen waste, you’d still find enough material around you to assemble your own off-grid paradise. Or, save money on your bills when times are good.

So why not check it out? Click the image below for more info.

4 Easy Projects That Instantly Slash Your Water Bills

Cache Valley Prepper is the CEO of Survival Sensei, LLC, a freelance author, writer, survival instructor, consultant and the director of the Survival Brain Trust. A descendant of pioneers, Cache was raised in the tradition of self-reliance and grew up working archaeological digs in the desert Southwest, hiking the Swiss Alps and Scottish highlands and building the Boy Scout Program in Portugal. Cache was mentored in survival by a Delta Force Lt Col and a physician in the US Nuclear Program and in business by Stephen R. Covey. You can catch up with Cache teaching EMP survival at survival expos, teaching SERE to ex-pats and vagabonds in South America or getting in some dirt time with the primitive skills crowd in a wilderness near you. His Facebook page is here. Cache Valley Prepper is a pen name used to protect his identity. You can send Cache Valley Prepper a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com

GOOD STUFF, Cache. I like what you write. For the Treadmill motor, go to the Surplus Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. They have a Good Selection and their Prices are Better than Anyone Else. For the gas powered generator use a Briggs & Stratton single, about 7-9 H.P. Any less HP just won’t pull the load and will burn much more gas trying to. Tecumseh motor is OK, just hard to start. For the Alternator use a Chrysler type, pre- 1983. I have been down this road 4 times. Trust me.

Wind Turbine from A Treadmill Motor

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1. Take Time to Plan

1. Take Time to Plan

Staying organized is tough – and if you have a homestead, you might find that’s doubly true. There’s a lot going on both inside the house as well as outdoors, and getting organized always seems to me to be an uphill battle. I’ll get one aspect of my life organized just to find another has gone to shambles!

There are several ways you can organize your homestead, both in and out. It takes some vigilance and patience, but with a bit of practice, you’ll have a homestead that more or less runs itself. No exaggeration!

For me, the key is tackling one area at a time and making sure I stick to an organization plan I set for myself. I can’t hodgepodge or jump from one uncompleted project to the next – in order for me to stay organized, I’ve got to stay focused.

Here are some easy tips that you can follow to take control of your homesteading life.

Your first step toward an organized homestead is to take the time to plan. Even if it’s just one day a week or one day a month, make sure you plan out everything that needs to be done and organized on your homestead.

Your weekly planning routine could include anything you want. You could write down a master list of things that need to be done or make a grocery list for the meals for the week. You can keep your notes in a planner or on a large master calendar.

Your planner doesn’t have to be just for to-do’s, either. For example, you could include notes on how well your goats are producing milk or your hens are laying eggs.

You could write notes on the weather or on your garden. It will help you stay organized and if you share it with the rest of your family, it can help the whole homestead run more smoothly, too.

Some people do better when they’re working with lots of paper, but for me, getting rid of all the paper has been a lifesaver in improving the organization around my homestead. For example, can you clear out any receipts?

Sure, you need to hang on to your receipts for taxes. But if you find yourself with a huge mass of receipts at the end of the year, you’re going to be overwhelmed when it comes to organizing them.

Instead, keep separate folders or boxes for the receipts that you absolutely need to keep and organize them by quarter.

You can do the same for other paper items around the homestead, whether it’s memorabilia or important documents. There are all kinds of apps and other programs you can use now to scan in your receipts so you don’t necessarily need to hang on to all the paper, either.

An easy place to start when you’re organizing your homestead is to designate a spot for everything, and stick to it.

For a long time, we had all these random baskets of odds and ends floating around our house and in our barns because that seemed to be the easiest way to organize things that had no specific home.

I had a basket on top of the fridge that contained everything from old bills to screwdrivers and ointment for the pig.

That’s not the best way to do things. Even though it clears your main living spaces of clutter, you’ll end up wasting time and money because you’ll never be able to find anything you need.

Start with one room and designate a spot for everything that’ sin that room. If you find gear that doesn’t necessarily belong in that room, put it in a basket, clear the room, and move to the next.

Once you’re done with the entire house and homestead, you can go through the basket and find a designated spot for everything in the room.

Once you know where everything is supposed to go, the best way to keep yourself on track so you don’t forget where those items go is to label them.

It’s fine to have bins and buckets filled with assorted nails and screws, but make sure you label it so you know that’s what those bins and buckets are for.

You can make a label maker or you can just write on a sticky note. Some people are high-tech enough to even use QR codes to help label all their gear! However you choose to label it is up to you, but make sure you do it.

…and yes, check it twice!

Make a list of everything that needs to be cleaned and/or organized. You can set this list up to be checked on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis.

Ideally, you’ll be able to get all of your cleaning done during the week with Saturday left as a day for “extras” and Sunday as a total day of rest.

Keeping a list will allow you to automate your processes since you won’t have to think about what needs to be done. This can alleviate a lot of the stress involved with managing a homestead.

If you can, explore some creative solutions to organizing the mess.

For example, if you have a ton of photos hanging around, you might struggle to come up with a good organizational system because you are so emotionally attached to them.

But what if you could upload them to digital storage on a hard drive? Then, you would still have access to the photos but you wouldn’t be overwhelmed by all the clutter.

Similarly, you can make a digital display photo frame do the work. This is even better because your photos can be on display at all times – without all the mess.

Next, think about what sorts of cleaning and organization tasks can be “outsourced.”

Not everybody can afford to hire a cleaning person – and that’s totally fine. But what if you could buy a Roomba to do all the vacuuming for you? Or drop off your dry cleaning rather than trying to hand wash everything yourself?

Is there one specific area in your house that always tends to get cluttered? For me, it’s the bench in my entryway. It quickly becomes a dumping ground for anything and everything that doesn’t have a home.

If you have one of these spots in your home or on your homestead that you can identify it, dedicate a few minutes each day to declutter it. You’ll find that it’s well worth the effort when you don’t have a mound of junk to deal with at the end of the week.

Can’t decide whether you should throw things out or find a space for them?

I usually advocate for throwing things out – I don’t think that’s something my husband is always thrilled with, but it helps keep us organized.

You don’t have to wait for springtime to do a “spring purge” or “spring clean”, either. In fact, I usually do most of my purging, cleaning, and organizing in the winter, because it tends to be a much less busy time on my homestead.

You don’t need to add sentimentality to every item you own. For instance, you might be hanging on to an old sweater because your grandpa gave it to you the year he died. But if you have that sweater in a box, shoved underneath your bed, where you never even look at it, what’s the point of keeping it?

If you’re attached to something and can’t bear to throw it away – even though you never use it and its existence is making you feel less organized – take a picture of it. Then, you’ll be able to preserve the memory without having to hang on to the clutter.

Can’t decide one way or the other? Set aside a box to put in items that you can’t bear to part with, yet know you never use. At the end of the month, or at the end of six months (you can decide for yourself on what kind of interval works best for you), return to the box and reevaluate. If you didn’t use the item in that time frame, it’s time to go your separate ways.

It takes an entire family to make a mess, so why aren’t you getting the whole family involved in cleaning it up? When you don’t have to worry about getting the house clean, you will have so much more time in your day to spend doing the things that matter more.

Don’t be afraid of getting your kids involved with the chores. Just because they are going to school and have homework to do doesn’t mean they shouldn’t pitch in, and do their fair share.

There are all kinds of ideas you can use to get your kids involved. Whether it’s chore charts or calendars with a list of their responsibilities for the day or week, make sure you get your kids involved in homestead chores, both inside the home and out – it builds discipline and responsibility.

We live in the best day and age for organization because our phones can do so much of the work for us.

Rather than relying on yourself to remember what needs to be done, you can set up a phone reminder to do it for you. You can set daily, monthly, or weekly reminders for things as simple as unloading the dishwasher or as complex as deworming your sheep.

Then, apps and websites such as Google Calendar will send a reminder on when you need to treat everyone. Easy peasy!

This is one I struggle with! However, if you’re going to get organized and stay organized, you need to ditch the idea of perfection that you’re carting around.

In our modern day and age, we are programmed to believe that if it doesn’t look perfect right away, we should give up and abandon the task altogether. That’s not the case!

Every little bit helps. Start with your desk. Then move on to the rest of your office. Then the rest of your home. You can do things in bite-sized chunks. Nobody is timing you!

For me, a farm binder doesn’t work well because I’d rather have everything in a digital form. However, keeping a binder is a great way to keep track of notes and information for specific animals.

You could have one binder just for your flock of sheep, for instance. In that binder, you could include things like medication lists, pregnancy notes, registration papers, and more.

That way, you’ll have everything at your fingertips if you need to provide information to a vet, to someone taking care of your farm while you’re away on vacation, or for any other reason.

Farmer’s Almanac has an excellent garden planner you can use. You can input your garden dimensions and plan your crops, which is super useful if you like to rotate your crops from year to year to prevent pests and diseases.

You can’t do everything at once. At the start of each day (or the night before, if that’s easier for you) make a list of everything that needs to be done. Number every item according to priority.

This will prevent you from tackling all the fun or easy jobs first and leaving the hard ones for last – which can quickly lead to you putting off those hard tasks for as long as possible!

If you feel totally overwhelmed by all the things you need to get done, set a timer. You’re only going to clean a certain room for ten minutes, and then move on.

This is a great way to get more done in a short amount of time, since you won’t dilly dally. Plus, I’ve often found that I can get in a great workout in the meantime, too.

For me, the key to a successfully organized homestead is to get up early and tackle the day. This can be tough, particularly in the winter when that cozy bed continues to call to you.

However, getting up early will let you get going on your to-do list earlier so you aren’t left dragging your feet at 3 pm when the inevitable “slump” hits.

How often, at the beginning of a new season, have you found yourself scratching your head because you can’t remember how you did things last year?

I keep detailed records of our farrowing, lambing, and gardening successes and failures each year. We note everything from ear tag numbers for our baby animals to pests that plagued a certain part of the garden. That way, next year, we’ll be able to jog our memory of what we need to do again (or avoid doing again!).

This method doesn’t work well for me because I’ve learned that, if I come up with a rigid plan in my mind, it leads to inflexibility that doesn’t lend itself well to a homestead that requires constant flexibility for emergencies!

However, some people find that it works well to set one day per week per task. For example, Monday is mopping day, Tuesday is bathrooms, and Wednesday is the garage. If that method works well for you, and you like breaking up your cleaning into bite-sized chunks, by all means, go for it.

After each season, try to do one big clean. For example, between fall and winter is a great time to make sure all your heating systems are in good working order. Between winter and spring is a great time to organize your seeds and gardening equipment. And so on.

Sometimes, you’re just not going to be able to get rid of that pile of junk. And that’s okay. Sometimes, it’s okay to let things be.

While piles of junk can be frustrating and overwhelming, sometimes you just need to relax and enjoy the little things on the farm – because sometimes, there are more important things to deal with than the mess.

Before you can organize your homestead, you need to figure out your why.

Why is an organized homestead important to you? Are you sick of hunting for items, or with feeling stressed as soon as you walk in the door? Maybe you want to make day-to-day living easier, or to stop wasting money on items you already have – but couldn’t find when you needed them.

Write down your “why,” whatever it might mean to you, and keep the note somewhere you will see it regularly. That way, when you’re tired and don’t want to deal with the mess, you’ll have some motivation to keep things clean and organized.

Rebekah is a high-school English teacher n New York, where she lives on a 22 acre homestead. She raises and grows chickens, bees, and veggies such as zucchini (among other things).






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1. Take Time to Plan

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Pros and Cons of Sourdough Starters

Pros and Cons of Sourdough Starters

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One of the main keys to becoming resilient against supply chain disruptions is food security. For those of us who eat bread, that includes having a source of yeast.  

Yeast comes in many forms, but most home-baked bread is made with store-bought yeast. When the panic over the COVID-19 virus began, yeast was one of the first things to sell out in most grocery stores. Surprisingly, in many areas, it has stayed out of stock. Where I live, in North Carolina, there was no yeast for sale in any store for over 3 months … but, not surprisingly, the yeast packets that usually sold for around $1.50 for 3 began showing up for sale online for $5–10 for 1.

Being resilient means being prepared. If you eat bread made with yeast, you must prepare for such shortages.

The good news is that you can do so, essentially, for free. 

Sourdough Starter

The first disruption-friendly bread that comes to my mind is sourdough. I LOVE sourdough bread, but it can be difficult to maintain a sourdough starter given the pace of modern life … and even more so during disasters and disruptions.

Sourdough is made from wild yeasts. Sourdough starters can come from already established starters (purchased or shared), airborne yeasts, yeasts found on fruit or flowers, or even the flour itself. However you source your sourdough, most bakers recommend “feeding” your starter daily. This entails keeping a mixture of flour and water on your counter, daily pouring out half and replacing that amount with fresh flour and water. This keeps the yeast at peak activity, which means an actively bubbling starter. 

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I have maintained sourdough starters for several months at a time and they do make excellent bread. However, there are many reasons why you may not find using them exclusively practical.

The most common objection is the waste of flour if you don’t bake (or make pancakes, etc.) daily.  

The next is that starters can become contaminated. Many people never experience contamination, and keep their starters going for decades. However, the tastiest starter I ever had did not survive a stay in the sandhills of North Carolina, where some airborne bacteria turned the starter dark and rancid within just a few days!

The great George Leonard Herter (eccentric outdoorsman and author of a shelf full of cookbooks, including the iconic Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices) solved this problem. His simple solution was to keep the starter refrigerated between bakings. He advised letting the starter come to room temperature and feeding it before baking weekly.1)European and American Professional Sourdough Cooking and Recipes, by George Leonard Herter and Berthe E. Herter, 1973, Herter’s Waseca 

How to Make Ongoing Dough Starter

When the “stay at home” orders were enacted due to the novel coronavirus, I was once again stuck in the North Carolina sandhills due to a family situation. Fortunately, a week prior, I had purchased one strip of yeast packets. My first thought was that, since yeast multiplies as it digests flour and sugar, perhaps I could use half a packet of yeast to raise a loaf. The bread took a little longer to rise, but it worked fine.

Next, I tried half a packet of yeast in a no-knead mix of dough enough for three loaves of bread. The no-knead recipe calls for the dough to be mixed up and left in a container in the refrigerator between uses. That made me think of Herter’s sourdough … and an idea was born! 

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According to their website, store-bought yeast was introduced to American markets by the Fleischmann brothers in 1868.2)https://www.breadworld.com/history The Fleischmanns were Hungarian immigrants from a Jewish family of bakers. They found American sourdoughs and brewer’s yeasts  (another option) to be unreliable in terms of flavor and rise. Their genius was to discover ways to make and market dried yeast—“Dry Active,” “Rapid Rise,” “Instant” yeasts that were inexpensive, reliable in flavor, and very fast in rise. This made them (and other yeast makers) a fortune and changed American baking dramatically.

The invention of the bread machine made home baking even easier. This was a baking revolution and a boon to many home bakers … although many artisan bakers would strongly disagree that it was universally good for the world of baking.

Thinking about how the yeast manufacturers of more than a century ago transformed dough starters into preserved yeast made me wonder if I could reverse engineer the process. In the past, I had saved back a bit of dough from previous batches of bread or pizza to add flavor to the next batch. This is known as a biga or poolish—a preferment or mother dough. I began to wonder if I could use the concept to have an ongoing dough starter made from store-bought yeast. If so, I would not have to buy yeast again. 

How to Make Ongoing Dough Starter

With my last half packet of yeast, I made a small boule. After the dough rose, I pulled off a handful of dough, put it in an old jelly jar, covered it with water, and put it in the fridge. I punched down the rest, let it rise again, formed a loaf, and baked it … hoping it would not be the last loaf of bread I’d have for a long while.

Each day for the next week, I shook the jar of dough and water, and opened the lid to let off gas. Each day, I was relieved as the jar “burped”; that meant the yeast was alive! 

A week later, I made pizza. I used my dough starter, measuring it as part of the water. (The recipe called for 1-1/2 cups of water, and I had about a cup of starter, so I added it to 1/2 cup of warm water.) I mixed it with 4 cups flour, 1-1/4 teaspoons plain salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and a tablespoon of olive oil.

After kneading for 10 minutes, I crossed my fingers and left the dough to rise overnight at room temperature.  


The next morning, the dough had at least doubled, and it smelled strongly of yeast. I pulled off a chunk, returned it to the jar of water and popped it in the fridge. Then, I let the dough in the bowl rise again until doubled, made 3 dough balls and baked a pizza each day for 3 days. 

How to Make Ongoing Dough Starter

Two weeks later, I baked another boule. I wanted to see if the olive oil had affected the starter. It did not. I simply added the starter with the water and mixed it with flour and salt. But this time, my recipe called for 1 tablespoon of molasses. I wondered how this would affect the starter. I let it rise at room temperature overnight, and was greeted with a wonderful ale-like yeasty aroma in the morning. Once again, the starter rose the bread wonderfully.

Three weeks later, I made focaccia bread. It was hard to wait (and to settle for store-bought bread during that time), but I had to find out if my nearly-2-month-old starter would still be vigorous. It had not been fed during this time. Each day, I shook and burped the jar. Eventually, the dough dissolved into a slurry.  

Would it still work? Would the molasses used in the last batch affect the flavor at all?

I made the dough (same as for pizza) and left it to rise overnight. To my great relief, the next morning the dough had risen just as reliably as before and smelled wonderfully yeasty! I put some dough back in the jar, then mixed some dry herbs into the dough in the bowl and let it rise again. (By the way, I used a pinch each of parsley, basil, and oregano; two pinches of rosemary; and a couple of dashes of garlic powder. That is not a traditional Italian recipe, but I’m not Italian, and I like it.) There was no trace of molasses in the flavor.  

How to Make Ongoing Dough Starter

Some experienced bakers may find my revelations lackluster, while some die-hard sourdough fanatics may find this article heresy. But, I am thrilled. So long as I do not make the kind of mistakes I often do—such as forgetting to pull out some dough for the next starter—I have free yeast for life! If I do mess up, a “buck fifty” will buy me a lifetime supply of yeast once the stores restock.

It is a simple thing, but it is one more step toward resilience. 

What’s your favorite dough starter? Do you have any extra tips for keeping your starter going strong? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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Judson Carroll grew up in both the mountains and coastal swamps of North Carolina, on family farms that predate Americas’ founding. Although he holds a Permaculture Design Certificate, most of what he knows about permaculture and gardening he learned from his grandfather and great grandfathers, who had a permaculture homestead and “food forest” before “permaculture” was a term. Judson learned to cook from his mother and grandmother, who were ladies best described as profound. He spends most of his life in the woods or on the water, and tries his best to be the kind of old fashioned, traditional, Southern gentleman who would make his ancestors proud.

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I really enjoyed this article! About how much dough did you put in the jar each time? 2-3 tablespoons or so?

Thanks! Yes, around 3 tablespoons. I basically just pulled off a handful of dough after it rose the first time and before any herbs were added.

Great article thank you. I’ve been loyally keeping my sourdough starter, but I didn’t fully realize how important it may be to actual food security. Somehow that didn’t hit me until I read your article. I’m also converted to this method you describe to add some diversity to our baking choices. We will make a proper pizza dough and go from there. Your pizza dough looks delicious and my little guy LOVES pizza. I’m going to teach him to toss the dough over his head!!!

Great! I wish I could toss pizza dough…. but my excuse that I’m tall and ceilings are low… ;-p It is a mighty tasty dough. I grew up with some excellent Italian restaurants owned and operated by Italian immigrants and 1st generation Italian Americans. I honestly cannot buy in any restaurant near here the quality of food I learned to expect at their tables… VERY glad I got to learn from them!

BRILLIANT!!!! I had been brewing something like a cross highbread (pun) idea of some sort of “sourdough” starter with dry yeast. I will be saving a jelly jar and the next time dough. Thank you for thinking through my misguided idea for me!!!

You’d probably really enjoy Herter’s sourdough book. It has been out of print for 50 years or so, but you may find it on archive.org

Great idea! Can you use a fermentation jar lid?

I think that would work very well!

Great article. I’ve been thinking about this for ages. I’ve made some sourdough starters but never continue with them as I don’t make bread often enough [even when they are kept in the fridge].
Again. I think my problem will be keeping it alive as I simply don’t bake that much bread at the moment. There’s so much produce in the garden to eat right now….good problem to have (:
Appreciate the pictures and the comprehensive details about what you did.

Thanks! My method is not fail safe. But, at least if it does fail, it doesn’t cost much in effort or money.

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Pros and Cons of Sourdough Starters

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Characteristics of Poison Ivy

Characteristics of Poison Ivy

How To Safely Remove Poison Ivy And Hemlock From Your Backyard

Both Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) and Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum) are considered dangerous to humans, especially children. Therefore, it’s recommended to remove the poisonous pair.

Of course, this is much easier said than done. So, as Sun Tzu said: “Know the enemy.”

Poison Ivy isn’t technically “poisonous”. Instead, it has a particularly nasty oil called Urushiol, which is found in the leaves, stem and roots. Just brushing against the leaves can deposit the sticky oil on your skin, and a serious rash or blisters will develop very quickly.How To Safely Remove Poison Ivy And Hemlock From Your BackyardAs the name implies, it has the typical habit of a vine when mature, and sadly, it’s a perennial one. It has hairy, aerial roots to help it attach itself as it climbs, which means older vines can be difficult to dislodge.

It has leaves in groups of three, white berries, and aerial roots that look hairy. It’s also deciduous and its seeds are viable for 5 to 6 years.How To Safely Remove Poison Ivy And Hemlock From Your Backyard

Poison Hemlock is a biennial plant and regenerates from seed. In ideal conditions however, it can act more like a perennial. It is also a prolific seeder, but the good news is that the seeds only remain viable for 2 or 3 years.How To Safely Remove Poison Ivy And Hemlock From Your BackyardMature plants look similar to carrots and parsnips, except that hemlock has pointed leaves, purple spots along the stems, and isn’t hairy. They can grow from 3 to 10-feet tall.How To Safely Remove Poison Ivy And Hemlock From Your BackyardPoison Hemlock is a notoriously poisonous plant due to the alkaloids present in it, and the entire plant is poisonous if ingested. Poisoning can also occur from contact via open cuts, or via the eyes. In some people, handling hemlock can cause a skin irritation and even a serious rash.

Related: How To Tell The Difference Between The Healing “Queen Anne’s Lace” And Deadly “Hemlock”

So, how do you eradicate a 6-foot tall poisonous herb? Or a vine that causes blisters on contact? The answer is: very carefully!

The first step is appropriate clothing. Long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, thick gloves (preferably water-proof) and closed shoes.

The next step is to choose your weapons wisely. A long-handled shovel, a rake and a pair of secateurs are my go-to tools. Long handled tools allow you to keep a relatively safe distance from the plants which minimizes contact (and when you’re only 5 foot 6, it certainly helps).How To Safely Remove Poison Ivy And Hemlock From Your BackyardIf you are dealing with a few scattered plants, then suiting up and digging them out manually is the best option. This is easier when the soil is moist, and best done before any seeds appear.

Make sure you remove everything (leaves, stems and roots) and don’t put them in the compost. Put them in a bag and throw them in the regular trash.

Related: 18 Vintage Homesteading Tools to Search for at Garage Sales

It’s possible to cut the vine at the base and leave the upper part of the plant to die off – just be careful when you eventually remove it, since even dead plants contain urushiol and will still cause a rash.

Now for the roots. You can either dig them out, or you can out-compete the ivy by maintaining a thick, short lawn. Another option for the roots is smothering (read below for details).

In most cases, only humans are irritated by the plant, and many animals, including domesticated ones such as goats and rabbits eat it, especially the young shoots. You can even hire a goat. But don’t touch any animal that has been in contact with poison ivy since the oil will be present on their fur.

For tall plants, I minimize contact by chopping off the top of the plant with either my shovel or secateurs first, leaving about a foot at the base to help with digging out the tap roots (or read below about smothering).

For scattered plants, once the mature plants are completely removed (don’t forget to dig up that pesky tap root), then it’s usually just a matter of re-visiting the site and keeping a sharp eye open for the juvenile plants for the next 2 or 3 years.

Thankfully the seed dispersal is low, so it’s unlikely to be very far from where you dug up the parent plant. The juvenile plants are much easier to remove with a weeding tool, and you can spray very young seedlings with a vinegar solution.

Related: 8 Edible Backyard Plants And Their Poisonous Lookalikes

Poison Hemlock has a hard time establishing in acidic soils, especially under heavy shade. Ideally you want to keep soil disturbance to a minimum, so once the adult plants have been removed, try planting an acid loving perennial and dropping the pH by watering it in with a vinegar solution. Avoid any of the solution touching the leaves.

The drop in the pH may last for a month or up to a year; depending on the soil type and rainfall, so a cheap pH meter is always a great investment.

The hemlock moth (Agonopterix alstroemeriana) is the only insect that can help with controlling large infestations of poison hemlock. The downside is that they can be expensive to buy, but for around $100 you can have a crew of tiny employees doing the hard work for you.

One low cost method that can be utilized for any weed is smothering. Lawn clippings, wood chips, straw, gravel or even other weeds can be used. Anything to stop the sunlight from germinating the seeds or stimulating re-growth.How To Safely Remove Poison Ivy And Hemlock From Your BackyardSome hints to maximize the effectiveness of smothering are:

It is not recommended to burn either of these poisonous plants. The toxins in the plant are released into the smoke and inhalation can cause severe respiratory problems.

Household vinegar solutions desiccate the leaves of all plants, but it has almost no effect on established roots. Hence why it won’t actually kill mature plants. For this reason, a vinegar solution will only be effective at killing very young seedlings that don’t have established roots.

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However when the SHTF, these plants along a fence line would help deter looters/invaders. Briars are another vine to cultivate along fence lines in that situation.

although that might sound effective, while when SHTF I don’t think looters and invaders are not going to be bothered to avoid the ivy. They will be in survival mode and if they know food or shelter is beyond that vine, they will push through.

I’m sure the folks who gave us multi floral rose, English sparrows, and nutrias all thought it was a good idea too. Gators in the moat is neat until the draw bridge breaks 🙂


The only one I for sure know I have is Poison Ivy. And I am lucky to have inherited not being affected by it. I mostly let it grow in the woodlands since it is protection for the rabbits as well as food for them and the deer. But if you have company you need to have it gone. I pull it throw it in a pile and burn it. And burning means NO WIND. My neighbors are far enough way that I may not need to worry but I do. Do not stand in the smoke, you don’t need the oil on your clothes. The smoke may bother your eyes and/or your throat. Also It has a aroma when the plant is smashed that is identifiable.

As a kid I never was affected by it. But something changed as i grew older and it now affects me.

We have poison oak and sumac here, too.

As previously mentioned, they can be a useful deterrent if would-be looters recognize the plants.

Secateurs is a new-to-me word. We always just called them grass clippers.

I used to be unaffected by poison ivy. My doctor told me it was a matter of time like filling a teacup one drop at a time and one day which happened this year it hit me like a ton of bricks. I got into some in my backyard and OH LORD was I ever sorry. That stuff is vicious.

As a kid, teenager young adult and even middle-aged adult, I could touch or brush up against poison ivy and have no issues. When I was about age 50, I pulled weeds around the yard like usual, including poison ivy, and contracted a HORRIBLE case of a poison ivy rash. I got it good. I looked like a leper! So, end of immunity for me. Now I’m VERY susceptible. It’s pretty depressing because we live in the woods and it’s everywhere.

Learned a new word today. I had never heard hand clippers called secateurs. Had to look it up. I wonder if that is a regional word for them. It is French in origin, so perhaps, northeastern U.S. We call them bypass hand shears out here on the left coast. Or anvil hand shears depending upon the construction.

There is a survivalist out here in the PDRK who eats the young leaves of poison oak in the spring to give himself immunity from the plant later in the year. He claims that is how the Chumash people, early settlers in California, made themselves immune to it. They made baskets from the poison oak vines. When the foreign invaders used the baskets they developed the rash and sores associated with poison oak.

Secateurs is a new one on me too, but I have heard the expression suffering succotash. I wonder if I can find some of those baskets to send to China.

One of my 1st jobs was working for a gay Mexican-American arborist who learned to speak English watching T.V., the old Sherlock Holmes movies starring Basil Rathbone were favorites of his so he spoke with a refined British accent. He called pruners secateurs, but until now I have never known anyone else to use the word. Still commonly used by English gardeners.
Corona bypass shears are by far the best secateurs made, made in USA, Corona, California.

For eradication of weeds I use salt, either rock salt picking salt, any of the cheap stuff will do.
After chopping down the area I’ll give it spray with the water hose, dose it good with salt and then lightly water again.
I don’t use that “weed killer” stuff as I am on a well and septic tank system and I do not want glyphosate leaching into my water supply or near my gardens.

Does the salt treatment actually kill the poison ivy? How many times do you repeat it? Even if that only kills the above ground growth, is that good for the season? Worth trying for me, as the ivy keeps coming up under every tree, every year or two.

I’ve used salt, vinegar and dish soap but in my opinion, which I wouldn’t put a whole lot of credence in, that remedy is only seasonal. With all the weeds in my little plot of heaven it is hard to keep track whether the weed this year is brand new or a left-over from last year that only died for one season.

The salt, vinegar and dish soap does do a number for at least one season.

Perhaps if I increased the salt content from one cup to two cups it might have a more lasting effect. When the Romans were really p.o.d at somebody they spread salt over everything. If I recall second year Latin correctly the last line of the Punic Wars is along the lines of “They sowed salt over all the fields.” The only line I really remember from two years of Latin is “Que laborimus sunt.” “What a job that was,” speaking of cleaning out the Augean Stables.

The formula I use is one gallon of vinegar, one cup of salt, ten drops of dish detergent. The dish detergent is a surfactant that cuts the protective oily coating that some plants, especially poison ivy/poison oak have that protects the leaves and stems.

If I were mixing up a batch specifically for poison oak/poison ivy, I would up the dish soap and I think I would also up the salt. The vinegar is an acid and that is what kills the present growth after the dish soap has done its job. I think the salt is the long term killer. Inasmuch as I am neither a botanist, an agriculturist nor a chemist, you are free to put as much credence in the above post as you feel inclined.

On the other hand, I’m with Ivy Mike. You really can’t beat Round-Up. Jury verdicts only prove that the plaintiffs had better lawyers than the defendants. You haven’t lived until you have sat through weeks of “expert” testimony in court. What would you like to prove? I can find an expert who will testify to whatever weird science you want to try to prove.

I had an attorney tell me that he wasn’t a lawyer seeking truth and justice, he was an impresario putting on a fantasy play. I think he had become somewhat jaded by the whole process which is also why I quit a fairly decent paying profession to own a printing company. It was like politics. Both sides didn’t give a damn about truth and justice. Neither did the judge. It was a keep-attorneys-busy-so-they -won’t-run-for-political-office effort.

Oops, looks like I slipped off topic again into a political rant. Sorry about that folks. The absolute Chinese fire drill that is our current national scene is making me despondent.

Chinese fire drill is an old Marine Corps politically incorrect term for a scenario that is SNAFU and FUBAR all at once.
Left over from the old China Marines, some of whom I had the honor of serving with.


Yes, you will have to repeat the salting every so often, whenever you see new growth will do.

Ow, ooch, ouch, organic persons go ahead and throw stones at me, but if you have a patch of poison ivy the biggest favor you’ll ever do yourself is spray it with Roundup. Get it in a spray bottle that gives you the choice of foam, it comes out low volume in a foam and you can carefully spray each leaf w/o hurting other plants, it kills the p.i. forever. The active ingredient in Roundup, Glyphosphate, is the most widely used agricultural chemical on Earth, and has been for decades. The greatest mass experiment ever. California juries aside, we’re all still here.
Why would you want to kill Water Hemlock? Why not teach your ignorant children that it is poison and not to eat it?

I would love to use Roundup . But it will cause cancer . And I don’t want that . Is there any thing else will kill it . I have a lot of it in my yard. I have all most acre of land.

Oh, Irene, please don’t be misled by whatever verdict a jury in California said. That probably is the farthest you can get from real life in this world. Jury verdicts in federal court and especially in California courts have as much relevance to real life as Alice In Wonderland. In fact, having to choose which is more real life, I would have to choose Alice In Wonderland as opposed to what goes on in California courts, both federal and state.

I would love to use Roundup . But it will cause cancer . And I don’t want that . Is there any thing else will kill it . I have a lot of it in my yard. I have all most acre of land.

Irene, you’d have to use thousands of gallons of Roundup over the course of decades to be concerned about cancer. Go ahead and use it, you’ll be fine.

I’m in California too (for now), and left coast chuck is right. There’s a reason that Roundup is made by a company in Missouri but the lawsuit was filed in California.

Monsanto happily produced napalm and Agent Orange, two chemicals that have killed untold thousands of people and badly injured many more. The people running Monsanto were every bit as evil as the famous murderous dictators we all like to name, Monsanto was just quieter about it all. There were corporate memos inside Monsanto that seem to say they were going to do all they could to suppress any negative studies on Roundup, but there was never a negative study. The stuff is safe. Since it was introduced in the 60s just about all ripe grain and cotton crops have been sprayed with it to dry the leaves making mechanical harvest more efficient, now Roundup resistant GMO cotton and corn are sprayed through the growing season. The farmers in my area have just finished treating their non GMO grain sorghum, it’s an eerie shade of brown. Fields are sprayed with it a month before planting to kill any existing weeds. City, county, and State governments spray it everywhere. The landscape industry sprays what governments miss. Homeowners love it. Sales are around 10 billion dollars annually.
I’ve used it twice in the last 20 years, both times to wipe out poison ivy.

For small Poison Ivy plants ( I’ll get 20 to 25 around the edges of my yard a year) I just pull them them up by the roots with a gloved hand and a plastic grocery bag. Put the gloved hand in the grocery bag, pull up the small plants (usually no more the 6 to 8″ tall) and then pull the grocery bag wrong side out around the the plant. Tie up bag and put it in the garbage.

If in the process of getting rid of poison ivy you get a rash, use Zanfel. Expenxive, but worth it. I am highly allergic and this stuff wipes it out by cleansing the oils completely from your skin.

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Food – Growing, Preserving & Storing

Food – Growing, Preserving & Storing

By Melissa Norris

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It’s been five months since the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. There are many changes that have taken place. Some which will remain going forward and some that I’m glad won’t be permanent. The pandemic certainly changed a lot of things for almost everybody. How people view those changes depends on how they look at life. They can focus on the bad parts of it, the good, and the lessons learned and how those lessons can be used as a benefit.

The reason I preface with that is that yes, there have been a lot of negative and bad things about COVID-19, some of which are still happening. But I think we can use this time and really do an honest reflection of our lives and how we’re doing things. There are some things to look at and things that we can be grateful for and used as a pivot point moving forward.

Listen in below to the full podcast, Episode #267 7 Things We’ll Never Go Back to Since COVID19, of the Pioneering Today Podcast, where we don’t just inspire you, but give you the clear steps to create the homegrown garden, pantry, kitchen, and life you want for your family and homestead.

One of the things for us that has been really interesting since March is how we grow our food. We’ve always raised a large vegetable garden for the past 12 years with each year having the goal to raise and preserve a year’s worth of each crop from our garden. But with the pandemic, we chose to increase the garden even more.

I really thought we had a handle on our food storage, what we were growing, and raising ourselves and all of that. But, when all of this happened, my eyes were opened to the areas where I’d gotten lax or was relying on store-bought items. I just wasn’t keeping my back stock up like I should have been. Things like dried beans and popcorn which I ran out of. There were other things here and there that I had run out of or just didn’t have as much on hand as I really needed. I’m grateful for that because it really showed me that I needed to keep up on our food storage and not let things get too down. For me, I decided that I need to make sure I have a year’s worth, or at least six months, of certain things on hand at all times. That is my new goal. So I’m grateful because it made me take a realistic look at what we had and reminded me not to become complacent and keep those stores stocked.

It also made me up our gardening game. I already knew how much I needed to plant of our staple crops in order to harvest it fresh and then have enough to preserve to take us through for a year’s worth of food. Those crops for us are:

I planted a lot more cool weather crops this year that I can leave out in the garden that I can harvest from that I don’t have to preserve.

I feel like for the foods that you can easily preserve, whether by canning, dehydrating, freezing, fermenting, or using root cellar techniques I’ve done a pretty good job. But I realized that for the spring and fall crops that I could actually plant a lot more if I just stayed on the ball. It’s made me want to have more fresh vegetables available for more months of the year out of our garden so that I don’t have to go to the store to purchase things like fresh broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Things that if I just planted more of them and did a fall planting of them that I can harvest from my garden all the way through until we either consume them or it gets super-duper covered by snow and just goes too late, but I can well extend that.

That’s been a good change and was something that I knew we could do. I just hadn’t always been doing it.garlic curing on back porch

One thing I thought I was doing a pretty good job was not going to the grocery store or to town very often. Where I live there is a smaller grocery store, about 12 miles from our house which takes about 15 minutes to drive there. To hit big stores with lots of ingredients or to get things in bulk is a 45-minute drive. I had been going about two to three times a month. I tried to make sure that a trip was never wasted. Meaning if there was an appointment I would go to the store since I was already in town. I wouldn’t waste the gas.

What’s been interesting since COVID is that I have been trying to go the least amount of times as possible. I have found that when I stay home and in our rural environment it feels like things are more normal, but when I have to go into the bigger cities and towns it really does affect my psyche. Even if I didn’t realize it, I’ve noticed that even the following day it affects me mentally to a degree. I’m not saying that it would put me in a full-on depression or that I’m super sensitive but it does have an effect when everybody you see is wearing a mask and everybody is super distanced. We won’t be debating whether it needs to be done, but I’m sharing how it affects me.

I find that the least amount of times I can go is better for me. It’s been great because I’m spending less time on the road, less gas money, less impulse type buying of even little things at the grocery store. It’s made me really go through the food that we have, keep track of things, do better rotation using what we have, and of course, using things out of the garden more now that we have fresh produce coming on. I really like that so minimizing my trips is something I plan to keep in place even after all this is done and over with.

Something else that I wouldn’t have thought that I would change, but has been a change that I actually really like, and that is how often I was committed to other activities. In the next town to me, which is about 12 miles from us, is a historical theater. It’s over 100-year-old building that has been restored. Not only is it used to play movies but the stage and the room in front of the stage where there’s lots of room before the first row of seating is used as a local fitness center. Prior to COVID, I taught a class one night a week but I also attended a lot of the other classes.

So I was driving and going to a fitness class three to four days a week with doing other workouts at home on the off days. If you’ve never done a group live workout before you do push harder naturally. When I was commuting back and forth to the pharmacy when I was a pharmacy tech I couldn’t do any live in-person group workouts unless they were on the weekend. And I rarely did them then because weekends were when I had to do everything else.

It’s only been about two years that I’ve gotten to do live workouts and I’ve really enjoyed them and the group of women there, the camaraderie, and support. I really thought that as soon as this is over I would go straight back to that schedule and doing those group workouts for four to five days a week.

But I’ve noticed that I actually have enjoyed not driving in and going to the workouts all the time. Right now in the phase that we’re at the fitness center can have the instructor and two other people. Technically we’re allowed to have five minus the instructor but we’re limiting it to the instructor and two others. The workouts are being streamed so people can join in from home.

The reason I’m sharing that with you is that I got to go in on the Friday morning workout. When we finished I was totally surprised and overcome with emotion, like good, happy tears. I actually choked up and got teary-eyed.

I realized that I really had missed this aspect of getting to connect with these ladies who I’ve gotten to know so well over the past two years. But I also realized that going five days a week really stressed me out because most of the classes were in the evening for people who were working could still come when they got off work. Having those workouts right at dinner time, even when I prepped dinner ahead of time, really made evenings stressful.

It wasn’t until going wasn’t an option that I didn’t realize that it was causing some stress. So I’ve realized that just going in one to two live workouts a week max is a happy place for me. The rest will be done at home. That really surprised me. I was not anticipating that. That’s definitely a change not doing as many of those group activities. Not being away from the house has actually been really good. It’s also given me the flexibility to try out some different workouts and try different types of things with my workouts. That’s been kind of fun.

The other thing is that we weren’t able to have was church services. We just started having church services again a couple of weeks ago with new guidelines. Not having church, despite doing my own devotion and prayer time, it was the same thing.

That first Sunday back I can’t tell you how much I cherished it and how grateful I am to get to be in a church service with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, along with my family. I don’t think I will ever take for granted the ability to meet together and those relations that I have and how much I missed them. Attending church is the number one priority.

I realized that I thought I had really strong faith on my own, but when we weren’t meeting in church that as the months went on I realized I was not as strong in my faith as I thought I was. I wasn’t spending as much time in prayer. Not just prayer and Bible reading – I did keep up on this – but the worship aspect.

By this I mean listening to worship songs, singing to the Lord, and spending time with him in that aspect. But when you do that it’s so uplifting to the soul. But I realized I had not been doing that at home hardly at all. Prior to COVID I would have Christian radio on if I wasn’t listening to a podcast while driving. Which meant I would sing along with the radio and have time where I was worshiping God that way. But because I haven’t been driving nearly as much – which is a good thing! – I wasn’t listening to those songs. So that’s something that I’m trying to be very conscientious of making sure I’m listening and entering into praise and worship and doing that more on my own.

We’ve all experienced the change in public school with the closures that happened in the spring and now with the changes to be made for the fall. Some schools aren’t opening in the fall. As of right now, I don’t know yet what our school is going to do. We’re still waiting for those answers. My children go to public school. I went to public school. In fact, my kids are in the exact same school district that I went to. My children have had teachers that I had.

However, with COVID all the public schools were shut down in March and did not reopen. I had not done homeschooling prior to that. It was basically a bridge where they were learning at home but was still supported by the school district. That was really interesting because I got to see more upfront where my kid’s strengths and weaknesses lie and where they’re strong in certain subjects and where they struggle, along with their learning style.

During the beginning of the pandemic, I was working between 60 to 70 hours a week, even though it was from home. Trying to home school on top of that was actually stressful. There were a lot of good things that happened but it was a stressful time I have to say. I have definitely lessened the time I was working by bringing on some additional help along with putting in some systems because staying at that level is not sustainable.

The reason I’m sharing that is that I think we are probably going to be homeschooling this year. If COVID hadn’t happened I don’t think I would have ever made that call. I don’t think that we would have done home school.

My kids both really like public school for the most part. I’m 90% sure that we will be homeschooling regardless of what the public school system decides by this fall. It will be interesting because I have never homeschooled before. Clearly I have no experience with it. So that’s a big change that I would have never expected to come about but I’m excited about it. I’m sure it will come with its own set of challenges and difficulties just like anything in life that’s new.

We’ve spent way more time together as a family. My daughter was in sports, which I think is great and she definitely misses the camaraderie of her team and the physical aspect of being busy and with other people. However, we won’t be going back to trying to do two or three sports where they overlap anymore.  We’ll just do one at a time and none of the overlapping because the going back and forth with her from one to another and then the next day doing it all over again which meant me running back and forth, was a lot more stress than I realized. So we’re pulling back though, if it’s an option and not canceled because of the pandemic, she will be allowed to do sports…just not as many.

It’s been interesting in that we have actually spent more time together as a family. Past summers we have always gone on a lot of camping trips. So we would be out on excursions or out with the boat doing different things like that. But a lot of the campgrounds are not open that we would normally go to. We do have a few trips planned. We did our annual crabbing trip where we go crabbing in our little ski boat and get a year’s worth of crab over a three to four days in a little sheltered bay. Fortunately, we were able to get out limit and now have a year’s worth of crab in our freezer.

But I’ve noticed that we’re spending a lot more time at home so we’re a lot more relaxed because we’re not trying to rush and get all of the homestead chores done so that we can be gone camping. It’s been really nice. In fact, this past Sunday we spent together in an above ground pool that we set up. We bought it last year and took it down and stored it really well. Put it back up this year. It’s a four foot above ground pool…the kind you lock together.

We spent the afternoon together as a family of four in the pool playing and just enjoying it. We finally got some sunny weather here and I realized that in years prior to this we would maybe do this for just a short amount of time on a hot summer afternoon or evening in between stopping the workday, getting dinner done, and all of the chores. In the past, it was that we might have had 20 minutes to play in the pool and then my husband and I had to get out and do go all of our work.

Spending the day in the pool was nothing special but it was one of the most wonderful special days ever. So I hope that even after things open back up and we have those other options that we can still have those wonderful moments, that we can be still and just at home and not going as much. Even though some of it was good things, like camping together, just that stillness and slowing down has been really good because I didn’t realize how much we were moving and doing before all of this happened.

I think many of us have felt that need to try those things we’ve been dreaming and wanting to do. For a lot of us, this came in the form of wanting to do a garden, but never quite got to it. Or want to learn how to can food, or ferment food, dehydrate it, make bread from sourdough, or make your own cheese. Maybe it was learning how to sew. I feel like this time pushed a lot of us to do those things that we had been putting off.

I’m doing cheesemaking. I’ve done soft cheeses, yogurts, and those types of things for years but I’m learning to do aged cheese making. But this is pushing me to do more. In a good way. It’s funny right? I’m talking about how doing less has been so amazing, but because I’m doing less it’s allowing me to do some of those things I’ve always wanted to do and have never done or never taken the plunge to take it to the next level like I’ve wanted to.

I know many of you were in that boat because I’ve had many of you email me and tell me so. So many of you have said that you started your first garden this year and you’re beginning to harvest your first vegetables. And oh my goodness, so many of you have been learning how to can. I have so many of you who are in my Pioneering Today Academy, which is my membership group, or in my individual canning course, who have never canned before are doing it.

You’ve done your first run of using a pressure canner or even a water bath canner. The first time you’ve ever made jam. It’s been so uplifting to the soul to see how proud of yourself you are and you should be. And I get to celebrate that with you.

I hope that all of you are picking an area of your life and doing something that you’ve just been putting off and are doing it because I think if we can take that time to reflect and then keep the things that are good, go back to the things that we really need to feed our soul,  then we can say that there’s been good stuff that has come out of this time period.

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Melissa K. Norris inspires people’s faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she’s not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.

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