Sunday, December 8, 2019

Maintaining survival sanitation when you bug IN


by Jayson Veley , Natural News:

One of the very first decisions every prepper has to make is whether to pack up his or her supplies and bug out or stay put and turn their own homestead into a survival post. Some factors that may compel preppers to choose the latter include the ability to create an underground bunker, a self-contained garden, an animal food system, and whether or not you have elderly, younger, disabled or injured family members in your group.

Whatever the reason, if you choose to bug in rather than bug out, you had better make sure you are prepared and equipped to deal with the day to day sanitation issues that you will inevitably run into. To give just one example, the average person produces up to three pints of urine each day and a pound of poop on top of that, meaning human waste is going to build up at an extremely rapid rate. If you don’t know how to properly dispose of that waste, then you will literally be putting your own life and the lives of your fellow survivalists in jeopardy. (Related: Here are five ways you can protect your health when SHTF.)

Obviously, even if you bury human waste, it can still have a severe effect on water quality. In order to minimize the chances that this will happen, you should bury the human waste at least six to eight feet deep and a minimum of 200 feet away from water. It’s worth noting, however, that there are also quite a few uses for urine, so you may want to consider collecting it in some kind of a container and storing it away from any solid waste. Some of the things that urine can be used for are listed below:

  • Fertilizer – Due to the fact that urine is rich in phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen, it makes a great fertilizer.
  • Dental care – it may sound gross, but the Romans actually used urine to cure bleeding gums and gingivitis
  • Cleansing multi-agent – After urine is stored for a few days, ammonia begins to develop, which can then be used as a cleaning product to kill mildew and mold
  • Tanning and curing leather – Urea and enzymes soften leather, making it a great product to use in the tanning and curing process

Also, as noted by Fox News in an article back in 2013, urine can also be used to make gunpowder. “Charcoal and sulfur used in small quantities to make gunpowder are easily found. But the main ingredient, potassium nitrate was only made available on a large-scale in the early 1900’s. Until then, gunpowder manufacturers used the nitrogen found in urine to make their product,” the article explained. (Related: If you’ve decided to stop prepping, then it could be the biggest mistake of your life.)

Feces, like urine, can either be disposed of or used for a number of unique purposes. If you choose to get rid of the solid human waste, the best way to go about doing so is by burying it or by using a 5 gallon bucked lined with heavy duty plastic bags. In the hotter months, this fecal matter will begin to smell almost immediately, so you can add dry material to it such as shredded newspapers, mosses, dry grass or sawdust to make it a bit more tolerable.

Some uses for human excrement include:

  • Fertilizer – This one shouldn’t come as a surprise. Human feces are rich in phosphorus, which plants can use to create food. It may not smell very good, but it can certainly help your crops grow at an impressive rate

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The Best Way To Keep The Family Fed On Any Budget


by Tennessee Bob, Survival Blog:

Many of us have already provided the basics for our families within a budget. These should include the basic necessities such as shelter, clothing, location, security, and most importantly a stable food supply.

Family’s Nutritional Needs

I’m sure many of us have already taken the necessary steps to insure our own family’s nutritional needs will be met. Stocking up on the basics, such as rice, beans, wheat, and vegetables in the form of dry goods, is an excellent first step. However, in a long-term grid down WTSHTF situation, you must anticipate disruptions in all forms especially food.

Problems with Livestock

Many of us have livestock or chickens. However, neither of these may represent viable solutions for those of us who may be required to hunker down in suburban America. Both cows and chickens have a long history of theft in America. Rustlers and chicken thieves can decimate a herd or flock in an extremely short time, leaving your loved ones with empty bellies.

Cows May Put You in Harm’s Way

Even a small herd of a few cows can place you in harm’s way, from a security standpoint. Additionally, these large animals represent high risk to high reward ratio. They require large amounts of food and significant security to protect your investment.


Chickens Are Challenge

Chickens are excellent as egg producers. However, they aren’t exactly the most viable source for meat. Chickens take extended periods of time to mature, and the best layers are usually not the best meat producers. They can run afoul of pesky varmits on four legs who are hungry and looking for a chicken dinner. Chickens also tend to be noisy and messy and would be mostly impossible to raise in a suburban setting.

Other Difficult Options

Some other popular options that exist for farms big and small, such as goats, sheep, fowl, and swine (pigs), are even more difficult options in a limited land setting. So where can the prepper turn to supply their loved ones with a sustainable food source?

Obvious Answer- Domestic Venison

The answer is obvious. It’s domestic venison, or better known as rabbit.

Now, before anyone starts whining about killing Peter Cotton Tail, or for us southern people Briar Rabbit, give me just a few more moments of your time. You may find this difficult to accept, but regardless of whether you live on a small lot or a 100-acre farm rabbits may still be the best nutritional source for you and your family and quite possibly your surrounding neighbors and friends alike. So let’s begin.


Rabbits have been a stable food source and source of income throughout not only America’s history but on the world stage as well.

Raised and Distributed In Early Roman Rule

In early Roman rule, Spain raised rabbits and shipped them to Rome as a food source and in turn Rome distributed them to Italy, France, and England, where large fences known as paddocks were erected. These enclosures allowed the rabbits to run free and reproduce at will. This allowed for a population explosion. In smaller areas rabbits were caged individually and bred on an established schedule to maximize food production.

Essential Food Source During Both World Wars

During both world wars rabbits were used as essential food sources. In fact during World War II in occupied France, the citizens of Paris built small rabbit cages on apartment building roofs (which were flat) and raised rabbits for food. The French would gather grass from along the roads leading into and out of the city as feed. These practices allowed them to feed their families when food supplies dried up.

In the 1950s

In the 1950’s rabbits again gained popularity as a primary food source during lean times. As anyone can deduce throughout history, rabbits have been and continue to be a highly regarded and valuable food source.

Why Regarded As Valuable Food Source

Here are just a few of the reasons why they are regarded as a valuable food source. Rabbits are one of the highest sources of protein of any animal. In fact most people who consume rabbit will be full after eating a very small portion, usually 1/3 of their normal total meal consumption. Also rabbits, when domestically raised, have a delicious taste and texture. Most people actually prefer rabbit to more familiar meats, such as chicken, beef, or pork. Americans tend to favor white meat; rabbits domestically raised only produce white meat, whereas wild rabbits are all dark meat.

Easiest Digestible Meat and Offer Health Benefits

A fact concerning rabbits is that they are one of the easiest digestible meats on the planet. If the U.S. government would remove certain restrictions on long-term care facilities (nursing homes) and allow rabbit to be served to the residents, we would see some truly remarkable improvements in their overall health. Some benefits might include improved skin integrity, improved cardiac function, and increased regular bowel function, which as always is a lingering problem in the elderly.

Easy To Raise

Another reason why rabbits should be an absolute mainstay in your family’s diet is the ease in which they can be raised. Rabbits are very disease resistant. As long as you provide clean living conditions, sickness is rarely an issue. I prefer small wire cages that are suspended from the ceiling. This mostly guarantees that your tiny herd will remain disease free. Also the suspended cages mean your rabbits are safe from potential predators, such as foxes, hawks, weasels, and raccoons. An additional advantage is that their feces will fall straight through the wire cage floor into a well placed five gallon plastic bucket, making it easy to remove. This rabbit manure is a valuable asset to barter, due to it being highly sought after for vegetable gardens. Rabbits require a minimal amount of food along with daily fresh water.

Desirable Cost To Raise Versus Production

One more excellent reason to begin raising rabbits is their cost to raise verses production. Some great meat rabbits are New Zealand, Californians, and Florida Whites. All three of these are excellent meat producers with small bone structure. They are medium-sized rabbits that efficiently convert food to meat in a very short time.

All three breeds are able to be bred at approximately six months of age. They typically produce a litter of eight to twelve babies at an average rate of eight litters per year. For instance, let’s say you have four female rabbits and one buck. And for arguments sake, you breed each female the maximum amount of eight times in a year, using this formula and allowing for an average litter size of ten babies. This means you would have 320 rabbits to eat each year. But wait, at six months of age, you could begin breeding the female offspring meaning that each litter would additionally produce another 200 rabbits to eat, sell, or barter. So while others might raise one steer per year and need to maintain two cows to breed, you can raise 500 rabbits by the end of your first year. In other words, you would eat well and still have hundreds of rabbits to sell or barter.

Easy to Relocate and Hide From Threats

Finally, if outside threats start to invade your rabbit farm, then you can relocate them into a garage. If you house your rabbits in a shed building, you can secure it similar to a lawn mower. Most importantly, you can hide them from prying eyes and nosy neighbors.

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How to Survive When Prepping Just Isn’t Enough


by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:

Have you noticed a sense of urgency in the prepping community lately?

Maybe it’s the tensions with North Korea.

Maybe it’s the slow-motion collapse of the brick-and-mortar retail industry.

Maybe it’s a contagion from the other places around the world that are actively preparing for the potential of nuclear war.

Whatever the reason, it seems like natural disasters are becoming more catastrophic lately and experts are ringing the warning bell about our economy. Really, it’s only a matter of time before our world changes dramatically.


Many of us have stocked our homes to the rafters with beans, rice, bullets, and band-aids.  Each trip to the store adds more to our stockpiles as we try to get what we need before time runs out.  Newbie preppers are feeling even more frantic, wondering how to get prepared when each week it takes more money to put less in the grocery cart. (If you’re new to preparedness, here’s a littleprimer with some great links.)

But if you read Jose’s article last week about the things he could never have prepared for in Venezuela, it is very clear that merely stockpiling is not enough.  No matter how many cans of green beans you have stored away, one day they will run out.  We have become so dependent on the “buy it as you need it” lifestyle that despite our food storage, there are still gaps that must be filled.

And the only way to fill these gaps is to take things a step beyond prepping.

And that step is self-reliance.

Self-reliance is defined as the ability to provide for oneself without the help of others.  No amount of stockpiling gives you true self-sufficiency.  That can only be garnered from a combination of skills, supplies, attitudes, and habits that mean the difference between a person with a great pantry and a true survivor.

Self-reliance is what will save you when…

  • The grocery stores close their doors or become so expensive that people cannot afford to shop
  • The banks go on an indefinite holiday, after draining depositor savings accounts and pension funds
  • Electricity and heat on demand become so expensive that only the wealthy can afford them
  • Medical care no longer exists for the average person
  • A natural disaster, an act of terror, a nuclear strike, or EMP completely, irrevocably changes our way of life

The list could go on and on.  And you could probably add a dozen different scenarios of impending doom, yourself.

Self-reliance, unlike prepping, doesn’t cost a lot of money – it’s about planning and acquiring basic skills and tools. But more importantly, it’s about putting your plan into practice before you have no other option but to do so. Because trust me when I tell you that if your plan is to open up your bucket of seeds when you’ve never gardened before or hunt deer when you’ve never hunted before, you will be in for a rude – and probably deadly – awakening.

Self-reliance is a lifestyle and to be successful at it, you need to start living it now.

What would you do if you could never go to a store again? If you could never have utilities provided by a supplier again?  What if you were truly on your own, forever?

For some situations, prepping just isn’t enough.

As Jose warned us, there are some situations you simply can’t prep for. And for those situations, you must be self-reliant and realistic.

To truly embrace a self-reliant lifestyle, you have to take a good hard look at what is available around you and focus your efforts there. Most of us aren’t going to have a cow in milk at all times. Bananas aren’t going to be a common food unless you live in Hawaii. Think locally and embrace your resources instead of trying to maintain a life exactly like the one you have right now.

That’s why, right now, wherever you live, you must develop self-reliant plans for the following necessities.


Clean drinking water is one of the most important requirements for survival.  Now is the time to figure out how you will get water if your stored water runs out.  Some ideas might be:

  • Rain barrels (which are illegal in some states)
  • Less obvious water collection containers like pools and ponds (don’t forget the roof if you live in an apartment building)
  • Ways to purify the water you’ve collected (When you purchase a filtration device, don’t forget to stock up on extra filters and repair kits)
  • Locate nearby lakes, rivers and streams and have a way to manually move the water, like a hand cart, wagon, or even a baby stroller
  • Wells (including non-electric pumps)

Food production

Many people believe that they will just be able to stick some seeds in the ground and feed their families year round.  It isn’t that easy. You can only learn the foibles of your bit of ground through trial and error.  It takes a lot more veggies than most people think to feed a family for a year.  Anything from a blight to bad weather to a horde of hungry bunnies can wipe out all of your hard work and leave you without a bite to store away. Look into some of these methods:

  • This article talks about how to grow a survival garden what to do if your garden fails
  • Gardening in your backyard or on a balcony
  • An aquaponics or hydroponics system
  • Raising chickens, rabbits, and other micro-livestock in your backyard
  • Sprouting
  • Hunting and foraging (a nice supplement to your diet but a risky plan for long-term survival when everyone else has the same idea)
  • Full-scale farming/homesteading
  • Rooftop gardening
  • Greenhouses and cold-frames

In the event of a break in the supply system, start working on your garden immediately. If it fails, you will still have your stockpiled supplies to rely on.

Food preservation

Not all of us are lucky enough to live in a place where we can grow food outdoors all year long.  For the rest of us, food preservation is a lifeline in the winter.  A few basic supplies and tools are needed.  Just like food production, it’s important to practices food preservation and work out the kinks now, while you still have moderately affordable groceries as a backup.  As well, this allows you to rely on healthy, non-GMO foods instead of the inexpensive, highly processed garbage at the stores.  Learn the following skills:

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Dirt Cheap: The Best Frugal Gardening Ideas on the Internet


by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:

With the price of healthful groceries going no place but up, lots of thrifty folks are starting a garden to save money on their bills this year. But what about the money to start a garden? It can be a very expensive undertaking, especially if you’ve never gardened before in your particular location.

I’ve been researching ways to start my own garden as inexpensively as possible and thought, “HEY!!! I know some other folks who would absolutely love frugal gardening ideas!” So…here they are.

Step One: What Kind of Garden Are You Going to Grow?

Of course, the very first thing to decide is what type of garden will work best for your situation. This will depend a lot on your soil, your climate, your skill set, and what you have easy and inexpensive access to. Following are some articles and books that will help you make your decision.

Pallet Gardens: Simple, Easy, Free

Straw Bale Gardens Complete

How to Build a Recycled Greenhouse

Create an Instant Garden with Sheet Mulching

Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!

DIY Metal Raised Beds

DIY Super Easy Raised Garden Bed for Under $30

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed for $12

For those who aren’t build-y: Big Bag Fabric Raised Beds (I have used these with great success for veggies with shallow roots and as a bonus, you can use them on concrete if you’re gardening on a patio.)

Using Pallets to Make Free Raised Garden Beds

Square Foot Gardening: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space

15 Fruits and Veggies You Can Grow in a Bucket Garden

PVC Drip Irrigation System for Your Garden

How to Save BIG on Lumber Supplies for Your Square Foot Garden

Step Two: Plan Your Garden

Now that you have figured out how you’ll grow your food, you need to figure out what to grow. A lot of that depends on your goals. Are you just hoping for salad this summer? Or are you planning to grow an entire year’s worth of food for your family? These links will help you make some decisions!

FREE Garden Planning Printables

How Much to Plant for a Year’s Worth of Food

Granny Miller’s Garden Planner for Home Preservation

An Inspiring 5000 Square Foot Garden Plan

Last Frost Date Seed Planting Worksheet

Step Three: Start Your Seedlings

While it’s easy and less hassle to buy your seedlings already started, it costs a whole lot more. One plant can be the equivalent of an entire package of seeds!  Starting your own seedlings is not that difficult and you don’t need an indoor growing operation that marijuana drug lords would envy.

Seed Starting 101

Frugal Seed Starting Station

DIY Seed Starting Mix

10 Seed Starting Hacks

20 Frugal Repurposed Seed Starting Containers

How to Make Newspaper Seed Starting Pots

Another Way to Make Seed Starting Pots from Newspaper

Chicken Manure Tea for Seedlings

Why Your Seeds Aren’t Germinating

Step Four: Amend, Create, or Prepare Your Soil

No matter how sturdy your seedlings or how efficient your beds, your garden is only as good as your soil. These tips will help you, whether you’re amending what exists, creating soil, or preparing your soil to recieve seedlings.

Know Where You’re Starting Out: Test Your Soil

How to Make Your Own Garden Soil and Compost

Create an Instant Garden with Sheet Mulching

10 Tips to Improve Your Soil

Using Eggshells in the Garden

Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden

Build a Compost Bin from Pallets

Is Your Soil Getting Enough Calories?

Bonus: Pest and Weed Control

You don’t have to break the bank to keep weeds and pests at bay.  Many of the things you need are things you’d normally throw in the trash. Other DIYs are chemical-free and thrifty to make.

Natural Pest Control in the Garden

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Inventory your stored food


by Wendy S. Delmater, Peak Prosperity:

One of the chores you can do in the winter season is to inventory your stored food. Whether  it’s dehydrated, canned or frozen, it all has an expiration date. 

I always start my inventory with frozen things, since they have the shortest shelf life. I don’t have a lot of this sort of storage, since I like to keep the amount of frozen things below what I can can immediately if there is an extended power outage – for whatever reason. You’ve been labeling everything so you know how old it is, right?

  Individual portions of chopped bell peppers from 2017's garden, and ground beef, labeled for the freezer.
Individual portions of chopped bell peppers from 2017’s garden, and ground beef, labeled for the freezer.

Clean out the entire freezer and change the box of baking soda that pulls odors from the freezer. Set the items you need to use up right away into the refrigerator, and plan your next few meals around them. IMPORTANT. When in doubt about freezer burn, cook the ingredients separately and see how it tastes before adding it to any other ingredients. That way, if it tastes “off ” you only throw away that one item.

Next are the home-canned goods. I keep mine in the dining room, under a side table. It’s cooler near the floor and that means they keep longer in my hot climate than in the pantry. 

The clipboard at the start of this post is several pages long, and when I use something up, I note it on the clipboard. When I do my inventory, I put anything that needs to be used up soon on the kitchen counter and use those until they’re gone. NOTE: If you still have a lot of something, then don’t plant as much the next year. If you ran out, plant and can more of it. IMPORTANT: bulged and leaking home-canned goods can kill you. Throw them out! A certain percentage of spoilage is normal. 

Next is the dried or dehydrated food. There are a lot of dried things in mason jars in the same area as the home canned food: dried figs, dried apples, sun-dried tomatoes, fruit leathers, dried blueberries, spices, and roasted nuts. They all go on the inventory sheets. I find it useful to put a silica gel desiccant in each dried fruit jar. I also jar the nuts hot, in hot dry jars, and they form a natural seal that makes them last longer. (You may have other dried things like grains, elsewhere. You ARE using those up, right? They will not last forever.) These also go into your inventory. 

Finally, there is the pantry. If might you have a problem with insects for goods, like flour and sugar, those items need to go in metal or thick plastic containers. Plastic bags will not provide as much protection. If you FIND insect problems, throw all of the affected foods out, wash inside the cabinet, and I like to spray with a bug killer that will not harm humans (neem oil). 

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The Invisible Prepper, by Grey Woman


by Grey Woman, Survival Blog:

I am the invisible prepper. I am, on the surface, a caricature of everything that most SurvivalBlog readers seem to deplore. On the surface, I am a caricature of what the non-prepper community expects me to be– completely average in every way.

Who I Am

I am a twice divorced middle-aged woman, a committed democrat, a sincere atheist, a successful product of public schools, and what you would likely call a coastal liberal elite. If you met me, you would probably ignore me, scoff under your breath, and label me as sheeple or a snowflake.

What You Would Not Know

That’s perfect! What you would not know is what follows.


Moving my home to the “country” was less about lower property taxes, empty nest syndrome, and proximity to wineries than about avoiding more populated areas and enabling greater security in the event of a major event. Adding a fence and planting lots of blackberry, raspberry, and rose bushes around the perimeter of my property was less about “curb appeal” than about slowing down potential intruders.


The home renovations I have done have been less about spiffing up an older home or safety measures suitable for a middle-aged woman living alone. They have been more about added layers of physical barrier security that have turned an adorable cottage into something significantly more secure (but still an adorable cottage).

Home-Based Work

Starting a home-based consulting company was less about “corporate burn-out” than about minimizing business travel and avoiding a potentially deadly 60-mile trip home from work on foot.

Proficient at Self-Sufficient

Being proficient at sewing, cooking from scratch, making my own soap, bread et cetera is less about being “so crafty and creative – very cute!”. Rather, it has been about being as self-sufficient as possible.

Those two big goofy looking rescue mutts rolling around in the leaves will eat your face if they think you are a threat to me. (Aren’t I a good person for adopting homeless animals!?!)

What You Would Not See

There are things you would see and not recognize. Yet, what you would not see follows.

Concealed Vegetable Gardens and Chicken Coop

Behind the subtle landscaping and perennial flower gardens on the grounds of my adorably well-kept cottage are concealed extensive vegetable gardens. There is also a large productive chicken coop.

Wood For Heat

That picturesque smoke coming out of the chimney is actually how I heat my home. Though splitting and stacking wood is an activity no one would suspect me of, it’s my sweaty little secret.

Four-Season Stream as Secondary Water Source

The four-season stream across the street, which provides a musical counterpart to my days, is also a four-season water source if my well pump fails. Picking this house was not an accident.

Vintage Car

That cute vintage car safely stored in my garage as a fun summer weekend driver is also completely stock so as to be impervious to EMP. It’s also easy to repair, even for me. And, yes, I can!

Basement and Bins

You would never notice that the visible footprint of my basement does not completely match the footprint of the house. These older homes are so quirky. Pay no attention to that bookshelf full of clearly labeled winter clothes bins. I am so organized!

Of course, you would never see that it conceals a homemade (by me with my own power tools) safe room that holds the results of all of my canning, dehydrating, bargain buying et cetera, which are regularly rotated into my small decoy kitchen pantry and cataloged in that binder, which you will also never see. You will never know that I can feed and supply myself and those select few for whom I privately prepare for at least two years.

Contents of Locked Cabinet

I hope you never have to know what is in the locked cabinet in the corner of the invisible basement. You won’t know where I go to practice or what skills that I have developed. Hint: One does not need to visibly worship the second amendment to achieve deadly hand/eye coordination.

The Value and Cost in Being the Grey Woman

There is value in being the grey woman. But there is also a cost.

The Non-Prepper World

The non-prepper world does not see me for what I am, because they are conditioned to rely on what they expect and what they see on the surface, handcuffed by their normalcy bias. They will not come knocking on my door for handouts in the event of societal breakdown. What could I possibly have to offer?

The Prepper Community

The irony is that the prepper community has the same blind spot for different reasons. Even if you did see hints of my preparedness, you would not recognize them for what they are.

Because I do not share your religious fervor, political affiliation, or social agenda, you would never suspect that I am a dedicated, if invisible, member of the prepping community. You might not believe that values and integrity are a function of character, not church membership, and that differing views on social issues do not necessarily preclude cooperation and mutual support among those of us who have invested our time, money, and energy in preparedness.

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Saving seeds is simple and easy: Basic tips and how-to wisdom


by Frances Bloomfield, Natural News:

Seed saving is exactly what it sounds like: it’s the practice of saving seeds, tubers, and other reproductive materials from plants. It’s a simple yet highly beneficial agricultural art that, sadly, has dwindled in application thanks to the rise of the industrial revolution. These days, it’s mostly home gardeners that take part in seed saving. Even if you don’t consider yourself a gardener in any capacity, you should totally get on board with seed saving. It saves money, lessens your risk of being exposed to GMOs, and can come in handy if you find yourself in a survival situation. Plus, if you keep these tips and tricks in mind, it’s easy to do.

  • Know your seeds: Not all plants are created equal, and the same goes for their seeds. Here’s a brief rundown of what you should keep in mind about seeds:
    • Self-pollinating vs. cross-pollinating plants: Self-pollinating plants are those that don’t need pollen (either from insects or the wind) while cross-pollinating plants do. Peas, tomatoes, peppers, and beans are self-pollinating plants, while corn, beets, cucumbers, squash, and melons are cross-pollinating plants. Because they can yield hybrid varieties, cross-pollinating plants should be isolated from other plant breeds of the same species. You can also choose just to grow one variety of cross-pollinating plants at a time to minimize hybridization.
    • Annuals vs. biennials vs. perennials: Annuals like lettuce and tomatoes are plants that complete their life cycle within one year before dying. Biennials like beets and carrots need two years to finish their life cycle. Unlike annuals, biennials don’t produce seeds until their second year. Perennials like garlic and asparagus can survive for many growing seasons and will bear seeds each year.
  • Keep your seeds clean and dry: Moisture can cause mold to develop on your seeds, making it all the more important that you dry them thoroughly before storage. You can do this by spreading them on plates or newspaper and leaving them to dry in a sun-exposed room for a few days. Don’t forget to rotate and spread them. Remember that larger seeds will require longer drying periods.
    • In case of wet seeds: Certain seeds, like those from tomatoes and cucumbers, are surrounded by gel sacs. According to, you can remove the gel sacs by first soaking the seeds for 24 to 48 hours. Good seeds will sink while the bad ones will float. When all the good seeds have been sorted out, strain them then spread them out to dry. (Related: 7 Tips on How to Grow Delicious Tomatoes in Your Garden)
  • The germination test: Want to know the viability of your seeds? Do the germination test. Simply roll a few dozen seeds in a moist towel and cover it with plastic wrap to sprout the seeds. This can take as little as four days or as long as 28 days. If your seeds take longer than 28 days to sprout, or if less than 50 percent of the seeds do before 28 days, then you’ve most likely got a batch of duds. Toss them and make a new one.

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Selco Explains How (and Why) to be the Gray Man


by Selco, The Organic Prepper:

In our interviews with Selco, he has frequently mentioned the Gray Man principle. This is something that people in the preparedness community mention a lot, but many don’t fully understand it. In this week’s interview, Selco explains how – and why – we should embrace being the Gray Man, even before the SHTF. ~ Daisy

In your articles, you frequently mention being the Gray Man. What exactly does this mean?

It is a simple concept that comes to be very important when SHTF, and it is often completely opposite of how a lot of preppers are planning to look or act.

In the shortest definition, it is staying uninteresting or simply looking and acting like most of the people around you in a particular moment.

It can be used in a lot of situations when SHTF, during prolonged periods of time, or during short-term events.

How can you use the Gray Man concept for your home so it is less likely to be targeted?

It depends on the situation, but in case of a serious collapse in urban settings “home invasions” (especially in first period) happens based on opportunity and what can be achieved from that invasion.

In other words, yes, if your home is less protected then it is easier to get inside, but in terms of SHTF the more your home looks like a place with valuable things inside, the higher chances are for being attacked.

Remember it is a time without (at least without proper working) law and police force. That means there are no police coming to help after a few shots. There is only you and the attacker.

Having a home with visible cameras, expensive equipment, attack dogs, alarms and similar (especially in a neighborhood where that is not usual) clearly makes you different and gives attackers the idea that there are valuable things inside.

Having all that equipment in times when there is law and order makes sense because police and help are only a couple of minutes away.

When the SHTF in Bosnia, the first houses that were robbed were known rich guys’ houses. It didn’t matter that they were defended and had steel bars.

When 70-100 people (who are mostly armed and not disturbed by the police) start attacking a house with only a few people inside, there are no steel bars and no smart strategies.

Not if the attackers have a strong enough motivation to get inside.

Do not give that motivation to them.

I am not talking against alarms and dogs, but I am advocating a more “subtle” way of home defense, and more fluid, more Gray Man type.

Just making your home “gray” alone is a big topic, but here are a few suggestions:


This is the first step of home defense of the Gray Man principle. Using your weapon should be the last!

In one of the previous articles, there was a comment along the lines of “If I make my home look abandoned, then it is going to be targeted, so it is a wrong suggestion.”

The concept is to look like everything else around you. In a prolonged urban SHTF, there are going to be houses around yours that are going to be deserted, ruined, looted.

Sometimes it makes sense that your home looks like that too. Like if 50 people are coming through your neighborhood looking for useful things, it makes sense if your home and yard look on “first glance” looks like someone already looted it (like most of the houses on the street).

Sometimes the best defense is to look like there is no defense. You still can be prepared and ready.

There is no universal advice. In case of prolonged collapse, different tactics will work for different regions, based on the situation.

For example, in my case, it was very useful (and still is) to put few “mines” signs as a deterrent. In your case maybe it is cool to have a few biohazard signs that you may put in front of your home, or in case of a pandemic, a sign that says “bodies inside.”

It works in drastic situations. In my case after some time, people simply avoided going inside places where they suspected bodies were.

Think about what can work in your case.

Think in layers

Your defense should not start at your house door because by that time you have lost some of your advantage. Think in layers.

For example, the first layer is a neighboring house, the second layer is your yard, and the third layer is inside your home.

Use advantages (and disadvantages) in your favor

Example: if you have a yard in front of your home, look now for possible ways that intruders could approach. How many of those ways are there? If there are 4 potential ways, is it possible to watch all of them? Can you minimize that to only one way by funneling the attackers by using obstacles, garbage, etc.? Simply put yourself in the attacker’s mind and see what he sees.

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When Survival is at Stake, Your Animalistic Instincts Could Save Your Life


by Jeremiah Johnson, Ready Nutrition:

ReadyNutrition Readers, I have mentioned the work, Go Rin No Sho” (Book of Five Rings) by Miyamoto Musashi for study.  Musashi, as he is referred to informally, was the consummate swordsman of his day, and arguably the greatest swordsman Japan ever produced.  He was a Samurai, and he wrote the book to summarize what he had learned in his life.  He passed away just weeks after Go Rin No Sho was completed.  Musashi also made beautiful paintings and drawings of ink and watercolor.  He sculpted metals and wood.  He wrote poetry, and the mentioned work was his masterpiece: so important, it became the central instructional doctrine for Kendo, combat with the sword.

Look to Nature to Learn About Survival

One of the doctrines that he held dear was to look to nature for the forms used in practice, as well as for philosophies on life and how it works. 

I have written several articles on the advantages to studying animals, both in the wild and those you have with you as pets and even livestock.  Let’s focus on a few of the animals and take a closer look.

The Cat: As you already know, the cat is my favorite animal…and this fact has targeted me for innumerable insults and jibes.  No matter.  There is a reason the cat is my favorite: I had the opportunity to work as a volunteer for fish and wildlife when I was a teenager, and I took care of a mountain lion every day for four years.  He had lost a foreleg and been found.  For all intents and purposes, he was mine.  Eventually, he was placed with a man who had his own private preserve just for injured animals that couldn’t be in the wild anymore…not for any kind of public viewing.  I learned much from that mountain lion: he gave me an understanding of cats that I could never have found on my own.

The cat is the ultimate solitary hunter.  He relies on keen eyesight and smell, speed, and good judgment.  What can we learn from watching him?  Watch how he is on the heights: the cat doesn’t worry about how high up he is…but finding a place that is firm for his feet to stand upon, and making his way.  The cat attacks when he is ready: not before.  He sets himself in a position to make the most of his charge.  He charges the prey and conserves: perhaps he’ll chase a short distance, but he will not waste all of his energy, as he relies on stealth and cunning.  The cat will defend himself to the death when cornered.  He’ll place his back to the sturdiest feature and fight with all his weapons, all his strength.  Your housecat is this way: he is the same, with all of the qualities of his wild siblings.  Watch him and learn, you’ll see.

The Dog:  Fiercely loyal, often termed “Man’s Best Friend.”  The dog is highly intelligent, very outgoing and a good companion to have around in an emergency.  His intelligence can be relegated to the background: when he’s “into it,” and fighting?  His ferocity is almost unbelievable.  He is usually good-natured unless he’s been mistreated.  Nevertheless, we can learn that there is a time for all things, as with him this holds true: a time to be your friend and time to be the protector of the house.  He is brave, and at times reckless.  When he is loved as a member of the family, he will die to protect that family from harm.  He knows when to back off when to circle and hold his ground.  He flattens his ears and sets his forelegs to make a charge, and then a quick leap to strike the leg or go for the throat.  If he’s been taught to serve man as such, he’ll track his quarry…the one man sets for him…until he’s run to death.  With a pack, he is almost invincible: relying upon the strength of the pack…as his brother, the wild wolf.  He will go with man: to the mountains, on the sea…he is as bold as the man who leads him, and he will follow that man to the end.  Loyalty we can learn from him, and perseverance.

The Crow, or Raven: Once believed to be the very eyes of the gods, he is much more than just a carrion bird.  He is intelligent, purposed, and opportunistic…taking advantage of every option presented to him.  He can work alone or with his fellows.  His intelligence is mirrored by his alertness, his keen senses always ready to react to danger.  Excellent eyesight, excellent hearing, and the ability to solve minor problems…a problem-solving animal.  A crow will use a stick to dislodge a piece of food.  He shows solidarity: he works as a watch-crow, a lookout for his fellows.  He summons them when he finds a large quantity of food.

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Make Your Choice: Change By Pain Or Insight


by Chris Martenson, Peak Prosperity:

It’s time to make the decision. Choose wisely.

Most experienced investors know the four most dangerous words are: This time is different

It never is. 

And yet one of my key predictions here at Peak Prosperity is that The next twenty years will be completely unlike the last twenty years.

So am I saying that things really will be different this time?

Yes, I am. But to understand why, you have to look closely at the unprecedented moment in history in which we live, as well as how the Three E’s – the Economy, Energy and Environment – all tie together now in a way they never have before.

For those who prefer their conclusions right up front, the simplest summary I can provide is that everything we think we know about “how things work” is just plain wrong.

This explains why, among many other grotesque distortions, the stock and bond markets are spectacularly overpriced and overvalued right now.

This danger is important to be aware of because when things correct, as they inevitably must, the next crash will be incredibly damaging. It could be as profound as that which dethroned Spain as a world power, permanently.

Peak Prosperity user Gyurash put this risk in context within his comment to our recent podcast on Economics for Independent Thinkers:

The mention of Paul Volker was interesting. I remember listening to a lecture given by Mr. Volker played on public radio in the mid 80s. He talked about the Spanish empire in the 16th century and the easy money train they had coming from South American gold and silver. He said that although it seemed to create great wealth it also made for a false economy in Spain. In addition to creating price bubbles, the Spanish did not use it to build much of anything other than big villas, built by itinerant foreign labor by the way, so when the gold and silver flow slowed when the biggest mines were effectively depleted, their economy crashed so hard that it never recovered, even up to today.


Delusional Thinking

What’s worse than wishful thinking?  Delusional thinking. 

The sort of ideas that harm rather than help those who hold them.

Of the many current policy delusions I could rail about, perhaps the greatest of them all is the quite-impossible belief that we can have infinite growth on a finite planet.

I know, I know, refuting this is so brain-dead easy to debunk that it seems pedestrian, if not childishly so, to raise it here again. It’s quite an impossible proposition.

Even the most cursory of reviews of mining data (just one of many possible examples), show that many critical ores and minerals are vastly more difficult and expensive to extract and bring to market than they were just a few decades ago. And the trendlines keep getting worse.

But let’s go through this once again, because it’s such an important point.  For those of you already on my side of the boat, please bear with me.  Perhaps something new will emerge for you on this next go around.

The Harsh Math

Exponential expansion requires not just some new minerals coming to market, but exponentially more. 

It works out like this.  Suppose that 100 units of copper were produced in year 1, and output (as demanded by economic growth) was expanding at a 3% rate.  How long would it take for production to double?  The answer is that after 24 years we’d find that 203 units were being produced.  So a 3% growth rate means that it takes only 24 years to fully double production.

However, the more interesting fact is that over that same 24-year stretch, if we add up each year’s production into a cumulative total we discover that 3,546 units of copper had been produced.   How much copper would you guess was produced over the prior 24-year stretch (the one that got us to 100 units in the first place)? 

The answer is just 1775 units.  In other words, half the amount produced during the next doubling.  Going back further and adding up all of the doublings of copper production throughout all of history  we’d discover that each new doubling produced (and consumed) as much as the sum total of all the prior doubling periods combined.

You can prove this to yourself by looking at a doubling sequence such as 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 etc.  Note that 4 is larger than (0.25 + 0.5 + 1 + 2) and that 8 is larger than (0.25 + 0.5 + 1 + 2 + 4) and that 16 is larger than (0.25 + 0.5 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 8) and so on — into infinity.

Again, each new doubling involves an increase that is larger than the combined values of all the prior doublings in history.

For the visually-minded, here’s that same idea expressed in an image:

How Many More Doublings Can We Possibly Have From Here?

Only the most delusional would argue that we can dependably double our extraction of key natural resources forever. 

Every two decades (or so), will we always be able to use twice as much farmland, twice as much fish in the sea, twice as much oil in the ground, as has been used before throughout all of human history?

Of course not. Planet Earth is a finite system.

This is why I claim that everything we think we know about “how things work” is wrong. Our entire economic and financial systems, their associated monetary models and their current financial asset prices, are predicated on the principle of continuous growth. And not just any sort of growth: Exponential growth.  Predictable doubling — forever.

Look, it’s ridiculously easy to prove that there won’t always be twice as much copper (or nearly any other key natural resource) as has been extracted throughout all of prior human history. Things run out. They deplete. They become more dilute as the high grades are exploited first.

At some point, doubling becomes impossible. That’s when you’ve past the point where half has been extracted and half still remains in the ground.  After that, there are exactly zero doubling periods remaining! 

Why care?

Because once the doubling periods are over, every single economic model and financial asset that is predicated on continuous expansion breaks. Our systems stop  steadily growing; and instead start increasingly shrinking.

This not a hard concept to grasp, intellectually, for most people with an open mind. But in practice, because it challenges our comfortable understanding of the world, because it collides with an entire Disney World of incompatible social belief systems, it’s pretty much impossible for the many people to even begin to wrestle with. Forget about a mainstream economist or central banker, whose salary requires them to adhere to the status quo.

The warning here is that we our deluding ourselves as a society. We are herding ourselves, lemming-like, straight towards the cliff ledge.

Think Critically!

Our mission here at is to Create a World Worth Inheriting.  While we help people make informed decisions to imbue their lives with greater abundance and satisfaction today, it’s our dedication to the long-term picture that shapes everything we do.

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You must act fast when SHTF: What to do in the first hour


by Zoey Sky, Natural News:

Don’t get complacent just because you’ve recently purchased some expensive gear for your bug-out bag (BOB). None of the price tags on any item will matter if you don’t know how to use them and if you don’t have a detailed bug out plan for when SHTF.

Do your prepping now while you still have time. If you don’t have BOBs for your family yet, start packing them. Make sure your bug-out vehicle is full of supplies and that it can take you to safety at a moment’s notice. You won’t have the luxury to shop when disaster strikes and other people start panicking around you.

Here’s what you should do in the first hour after SHTF: (h/t to

  • Get your priorities straight and address them. In the first 60 minutes after a survival scenario, your security is your priority. Once you’ve guaranteed the security of your group, you can start worrying about other things.
  • Determine the main problem. After you’ve ensured the safety of your group, try to find out what happened. You only have at least 30 to 60 minutes following a survival scenario because you might have to evacuate soon. Do take note that the information you receive may be contradictory, especially within this time frame, so use your discretion. Monitor the news on TV and radio to identify any possible dangers so you can prepare for them.
  • Do you bug out or hunker down? Now that your family is safe and you’ve determined the reason why SHTF, decide if you’re going to bug in or bug out. As a rule of thumb, if you’re anywhere near ground zero, try to go as far as you can. If the threat is not an immediate one, it may be safe to bug in with your BOBs and supplies.
  • Practice makes perfect. You need to be ready because the 60 minutes after a disaster might not be enough to pack everything you might need in your vehicle. Do you have a backup plan if your car breaks down? Practice walking a couple of miles while carrying your BOB so you won’t struggle if you have to carry one while on the run. Talk to your family so everyone knows where to meet up, especially if you’ve split up and hour before SHTF. Make sure to practice evacuation drills regularly so your family can stay calm if you have to evacuate.
  • Don’t draw attention to yourself. An hour after a disaster scenario, the last thing you should be doing is telling strangers about your supplies and BOBs. You’re prepping for you and your family, not other people.

The optimal plan after SHTF should let you get ready in less than an hour. You can try for 30 minutes, but that might not be enough for most people. You also have to consider how the rest of your family, like children or the elderly, can cope when you’re drawing up your plan.

Supplies to stock up on

When SHTF, you need to prepare all sorts of gear and supplies. Aside from food, don’t forget to stock up on these medical and health supplies:

  • Baby/Toddler Supplies — If you don’t have a baby, items like cloth diapers, formula, toys, and washcloths can be used as bartering tools.
  • First aid kits
  • Herbal supplements/vitamins

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We Never Could Have Imagined (or Prepped For) What Actually Happened in Venezuela


by J. G. Martinez D., The Organic Prepper:

Can we prepare for everything?

We never could have imagined…or prepped for…what happened in Venezuela.

In this article, I wanted to analyze my preps, and the nature of the apocalypse we have been forced to face. I don’t know about you, but anything that kicks you out of your place, of your warm bed, your pets, kids, wife, and the rest of your family, for me does not have another better word to describe it.

My comfort bubble was destroyed, my work of an entire life was thrown out by the window, my family insurance full coverage policy is gone with the wind (although with no medications to be had and doctors running away to Argentina and Colombia, it’s not like it was very useful though), and the few preps I had for 4 or 5 months are history now. Of course, they worked pretty well, and we stretched it a little bit, but once the system collapsed, there is nothing else we can do but close the place and bug out to some other place where we can at least buy food.

What happened was something entirely different from what we had prepared for.

I guess that what I mean is, that, within our means, we prepared more or less adequately, but what really happened was something entirely different that we had not prepared for.

We prepared for some of the consequences of turmoil, unrest, riots, crime. We were able to hunker down for a while and able to defend ourselves silently and seriously, without having to leave our haven. The scarcity problems started back there around 2013-2014. Those years were the last time I remember we could buy large amounts of wheat flour, corn flour for arepas (yes, those yellow packages you see people fist fighting each other for on the web), pasta, powdered and UHT packaged milk, rice, and other staples.

An economic collapse this long seemed like something that was entirely out of the question. It was entirely unpredictable. I would have expected a pandemics or a coup d’etat long before this hungry zombie-like scenario.

We knew something disturbing was going to happen sooner or later. We could feel it in the atmosphere…but nothing like this. We never thought it would be impossible to find a battery, or engine oil, or gasoline (Jeez, this was an oil-producing country!!) or that kids were going to be endangered in the very door of their schools. In the worst of our nightmares we could have imagined that one of our rescued cats that we relocated with one of our friends in a barrio was going to suffer a horrendous death (please don’t ask for details).

We never could have imagined that the oil and electricity state companies employees were going to be threatened with imprisonment for treason if they tried to quit their jobs to leave the country. Because THAT IS HAPPENING. When I found about this, I felt a deep sensation of relief as never in my life because I had left. The only similar feeling I can think about, was when my last son was born, and the doctors told me he was just fine, like a champion, and no reasons to worry about.

Under the current situation, being accused of such terrible charges is a complete nightmare. But with the income from the online freelance work, we have been able to at least keep the home running, without the tiny salary that once was more than enough for a good living. Without it…our family would have been condemned to doom, no matter our preps.

So quitting and leaving the country (and my family) behind was one of the choices that have been the hardest in our lives, but the most sound, and the most assertive in the long run. Just by avoiding the potential danger of being (falsely of course) accused of treason and getting in a messy problem, it’s already a huge benefit. I have always given trust to female intuition. When my wife and I discussed about how bad things were going, and the decision for me to leave first, I knew it was her intuition speaking.

We never imagine that cash was going to be another commodity, and that the prices were going to be much different if you tried to pay with debit card instead of cash. If you pay with a debit card, the price will be double than if paid in cash. This is not surprising: the rate of the circulating cash to the non-circulating is deeply distorted. There are people even SELLING the cash: you transfer them one million BsF to their bank accounts, they will give you 500 or 600.000 cash. And that is barely enough for two dozen eggs and some cheese.

In retrospect, what could we have done to prepare for the current situation?

Let’s see.

  • A 5 years antibiotics supply, for each family member (please include pets, they could be sick or get wounded too, and we consider them members too), with the assistance of good will, close doctors. This should be considered as an insurance policy; a non-transferable, secret stash of medications for the worst scenario. Cefadroxil, penicillin, and some other similar stuff.
  • Diarrhea stopping meds
  • Serum
  • Needles and tubing
  • Surgical gloves
  • Breath cover masks, and a couple of reusable syringes that you could sterilize in a small backpack stove or a bonfire in the backyard…
  • A solar power array with a small battery pack just for lighting
  • A large, buried diesel custom-made aluminum tank with a proper sized generator (there is not too much space left in our place: we live in a subdivision, houses are wall to wall next to each other) with a homemade silencer, and adequately rigged to the wiring of the house for the largest systems, like freezers and air conditioning. Specially designed plastic diesel tanks would have been best as they don’t rust and they are cheap and strong; but the aluminum seemed a better idea because they make it with the size you want, and as the space is limited I would have optimized it. It could have been possible even designing an aesthetically attractive setup, something like a strong wood frame with the tank on top, and with a small hanging plants gardening to obstruct the view of the tank, and wrapping the feeding lines to the generator in ivy.
  • Enclosing our garage before the steel rebar disappeared from the white market and the production was destined to the black and grey market. (I hate fencing, it is like living in a birdcage, but this would helped a lot for peace of mind).
  • A sun-protected small herb garden in the roof of the small workshop in the back of the house, with spices and medicinal plants. The excess of production (These are the tropics, plants here grow like weeds from one week to another, remember, lots of sun and rain) could be exchanged for some staples.
  • Perhaps a chicken coop with a couple of hens. The eggs price has been so inflated this days that a single egg costs more than the minimum wage. A hen produces more than a laborer. Do you remember that stories about the eggs, chocolate, and potatoes acting as currency in the WWII? It is becoming currency here too.
  • Perhaps even growing our own sugar cane to squeeze, grind and get what we call here “papelon” (solidified sugar cane juice) for sweetening would be possible in our small front garden
  • A couple of corn rows, not the hybrid Monsanto genetically modified crap that needs industrial fertilizer, weed killers and unable to generate seed, but the Amazonic variety: larger production in much smaller time, just needs sun (we have more of it than what we would like) and water.
  • Another SUV, with a much taller ground clearance, larger tires, diesel-powered with no electronics and a huge front fender. Something heavy, strong, black or dark grey, windows covered by that plastic clear bullet proof sheeting, able to plow a pack of thugs in motorcycles out of the way without a blink.

Yes, I know how it sounds. But I don’t care after some things I have known these MFs can do, like a guy being shot 30 meters from the person who told me the story by a criminal in a motorcycle, and me and my family almost being stopped in a desert road at 8pm in the middle of nowhere with a log in the middle of the way (I just push it to the floorboard, and we jumped over it).

There is no possible way to have stockpiled pasta and other dry goods for such a long period without buying another house, or building a second floor adding about 60 or 70 square meters to the house. And even so it would have been risky: someone watching in the wrong moment and we would have been in deep trouble, accused of “hoarding” and yadda yadda (insert your favorite “socialist” excuse for stealing private property here). Our goods seized, the 10% sold in public to “the poor people” for the government-owned newspapers and the 90% stolen by you-know-who.

Self-supplying proteins with our current setup in a subdivision is much harder. There is not too much space. Rabbits and other rodents are out of the question as the flies their poop attract here in the tropics are a problem, and economically not viable by the way. The cleaning products and food are too expensive and, as you must suppose, scarce. The people in country cottages already will be much better prepared than we nerdy, espresso-addicted, city dwellers.

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