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Monthly Archives: September 2015

A Self-Sufficient Guide to Winterizing Your Home

How the prepper prepares for winter

As the colder months are quickly approaching, it is time to start getting prepared for the cold season. Winterizing your home is a common step in ensuring that you are safe and warm. Yet, is there a way in which you can do so without the use of a ton of commercialized products and chemicals? The answer is yes. Here are a few ways in which the prepper can winterize their home.

Plant Evergreens close to the home

If you want to block the wind to your home as well as create a nice cover as a secondary purpose, consider using evergreens close to the home. These trees can stop up to 30% or more of the wind you will get in winter. Additionally, the trees can be used as a privacy fence to keep prying eyes away from your prepping. You should note that if you are Urban prepping that there may be restrictions on what types of trees or how close to the property lines you can plant trees. Check with your HOA (if you are in one) as well as your local building and zoning regulations before you start planting.

Turn your metal garage into a solar heater

This is a bit expensive but can provide the house with a great deal of warmth. You will need to put solar panels on the garage as well as make containers for the inside of the garage. As metal is a conductor of heat, you will be able to use that to your advantage during the winter months. You may have to purchase specialty equipment if you wish to have heated water and such from the solar panels. If you want to make a section of your garage or metal barn into a heated area you can:

Wrap the area in dark plastic (such as that found in black trash bags)

Ensure that the room is air tight and that any entranceways do not allow for air leaks when closed

Any water containers are of a darker color to hold in the heat

Sew black curtains for your windows

Black Curtains will be useful in two ways. First, your curtains will attract heat as dark colors trap more heat than light colors (this is why you are told to wear light colors in the summer). The dark curtains will also keep the sunlight and warmth that you already have in your residence from escaping. Of course, this is only effective if you keep the curtains closed the majority of the time.

Place straw around your house foundation

Pine straw is one of the best ways in which you can winterize the foundation of your house. Generally you can find this for free and in abundance in the wooded areas. However, if you do not have pine, use another form of hay. The key is to keep the hay thick and that you change it out periodically. You do not want to get hay mold or insects in the hay as this is a bit counterproductive to staying safe and healthy.

Cover your water heater

PLEASE do this properly to avoid a fire. You can use a weather blanket and other coverings to cover your water heater. If you do not know what you are doing watch a video or get professional help in winterizing this part of your house. As you are working with water and electrical elements it is advised that you do not put anything too flammable upon it. However, if you wrap your water heater properly, the heat will keep your water warmer longer as it will not escape through the metal.

Use a solar powered fan to distribute the warmth

Just because it is cold does not mean that you will not have any sunlight. You can use the same method that you used to make your solar fan air conditioner to make your winter fan (just exclude the ice in the bucket). By making a solar powered fan to distribute the heat you eliminate the need to use multiple heaters throughout the house. Of course a bit of common sense is required, don’t freeze to death trying to save on your heating costs.

Make a ton of soup

As a prepper you have a ton of food and water. Put some of the food which is expired or close to the expiration date to use and make some food. While you may not think that this is too much of a winterization technique, for a prepper it is. Your food supply needs to get you through the winter, using the food that is about to go bad in soups allows you more space for new products. Plus, you stay warm and full in the process.

Seal the bottom of doors

The main way in which a house gets cool during the winter is through cracks under the door. You can fill a sock or make a door stopper easily to stop the draft of air leaving your house. The main factor is to ensure that the stopper covers the entire width of the base of the door. Again, you can use hay or straw as a fill material. If you use natural fill you will need to change it out periodically as the winter air has moisture.

Use ginger/cayenne in your socks

If you want to get your bug out bag a bit winterized you can add some ginger or cayenne to your socks. The herbs will absorb through your feet into the skin and help you to keep warm if you have to bug out. Keep in mind that you do not want to get this stuff in your eyes or on your fingers. If using ginger or cayenne in your socks put the socks in a dedicated pocket of your bug out bag to ensure that you do not get any accidental pepper on other clothing.

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6 Tips For Finding Local Prepper Groups

If you’ve been prepping for a while or are looking to get into it, you’ve probably noticed it’s something that is generally kept on the down low. Preppers are often warned to keep their preps a secret lest hungry mobs show up on their porches after the SHTF. This is a half-truth.

Obviously you don’t want to tell your co-workers, neighbors, or anyone you don’t trust completely. But you should tell people you do trust completely. That is, if they’re also preppers.

That fact is, you are not Superman or one of the guys from The Walking Dead. You’ll have a hard time surviving all by yourself or with your 2.5 kids, spouse, and pets in a true post-apocalyptic world.

It isn’t going to be Hollywood where the good guy always wins. You will be tired, hungry, and completely drained, both physically and mentally. Having some backup will make a huge difference.

This is why you need to pick who you want to count on today rather than stumble upon strangers and hope they are good people.

If you don’t have any prepper friends you can trust, it’s time to get out there and make some.

Obviously you don’t want to give your address and phone number to the first prepper you meet, but you want to at least give yourself the opportunity to forge lasting friendships.

To that end, below you’ll find a list of places and things you can do to find other preppers. Think of it as a series of informal interviews. You want to find people who have strengths where you are weak so you can learn from them.

A group with a variety of skills will fare better than a group with nothing but doctors or hunters.

Here are 6 ways to find other preppers:

Preppers.Meetup.com is a great way to find prepper groups in your area. You’ll have to sign up–which means creating a profile—but don’t worry, you don’t have to use your real name. Preppers are usually secretive and understand that not everybody is okay with sharing their info on the Internet. But don’t get too evasive on the initial questions that are on the form or you could get denied.

PrepperLink.com is another great site that can put you in touch with local preppers. You may be surprised to learn your neighbor or a local business own is prepper. Getting together to talk about things and getting to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses is a good thing to do before a disaster. You may discover they are all about the firearms while you are about the food. Find this out now.

The forums on some prepper sites have areas dedicated to people trying to find other preppers in their area, the most notable of which is AmericanPreppersNetwork.net. You may need to travel a ways depending on where you live, and sometimes the meetings are only once twice a month, but it’s still worth the effort. Keep in mind that you are in a public forum where anybody could be lurking, so don’t give away too much information.

Check your local community bulletin board. Different prepper groups will advertise in different ways. The flyer might not say “we are preppers,” but you need to read between the lines. Attend a meeting and see what they talk about and whether or not it’s something you would be interested in.

Craig’s List is another place to look for groups. Wording like, “Are you worried about the future?” or “Do you know how to be self-sustaining?” are good indications of a prepper group, but it could also be a scam. You might even want to use a throwaway email when contacting them if it looks a little shady. And again, don’t look for the obvious. Not everybody likes to be called a prepper because of the stigma attached to the word, so although some groups might not call themselves preppers, you can still learn a lot from them.

Many churches offer self-sustainability classes. There are plenty of religious people who believe in the “end of days” which is essentially what preppers are preparing for. These groups offer a lot of free or low-cost classes and training courses that teach you things like food preservation, self-defense, first aid, and other survival skills. If you are a spiritual person, you may feel more comfortable joining a group of people who share many of your beliefs.

Tips When Joining Groups

We’ve addressed a few of the issues you need to be concerned with when looking for and joining prepper groups. But sadly, you can’t trust people on their word alone. You still need to exercise caution and use good sense. Here are some tips to keep in mind when joining groups or chatting online.

Don’t give away your home address. If someone needs to contact you, they can do it online.

Create a dummy email address that is not connected to your real name. Any information that needs to be exchanged can be sent through that email.

Don’t give away all your secrets. You don’t have to talk about what you have stashed away or how much.

Avoid meetings that are not in public places. You don’t know the people and just because they advertise themselves as one thing doesn’t mean they truly are.

Think twice before paying any dues or membership fees. A support group should never cost money.

Never assume the people in the group are all totally legit. You never know who is there as an observer, collecting information. Be careful what you say in a public setting.

When signing up online, use your initials or a fake name. Feel out the group before you start sharing any personal information. Even then, keep it limited.

If you are signing up for a class and a fee must be paid, use cash if possible. You don’t want to give out your credit card info if you don’t have to. Make sure the instructor is legit. In most cases, you will sign up for the class and pay on the day of the class. Don’t give your money to a stranger days or weeks before the class.

About the Author

Urban Alan

Alan is a prepper, a blogger, and a full-time dad. He’s been learning about survivalism ever since the 2008 financial crisis. Like many preppers, circumstances have forced him to live in the city until he’s able to relocate. This is why his central focus is on urban survival. He is the owner of Urban Survival Site.

How To Use 100% Of A Pumpkin This Fall

Its fall and that means pumpkins, use them to your advantage

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Fall is iconic for bringing out the desire to have pumpkins and everything related to pumpkins. From the pies to the multiple fragrances offered by retailers, it is clear that there is just something about this season that draws people to them. As a prepper, you can take advantage of this time of the year by purchasing organic pumpkins as well as collecting the discarded pumpkins of others. Here is how to use 100% of a pumpkin this fall to your self-sufficient advantage

Seeds

The seeds of any plant are the most vital part for a prepper or a survivalist. You need to ensure that you have enough seed to get you to the next harvest season.

However, if you have an abundance of seeds (or if you just want to have a good snack) then you can roast the pumpkin seeds.

To do this simply removes the interior of the pumpkin ensuring that you do not waste the main pulp of it. Using a strainer separate the seeds from the pulp.

You will want to let the seeds dry for the best flavor. Once the seeds are dry you can then either add them to the seeds in your bug out bag or food supply or you can proceed to cooking them. Where some would suggest that you add salt to your roasting and to you prepping you should be careful of the sodium content.

Try using cinnamon or another topper once the seeds are roasted.

Eat the seeds with the husk upon them. If you choose to remove the seed husk, put the husks into a pile and grind them down into a powder. You can use this powder later on food.

The inner pulp

The interior of the pumpkin is where all of the nutrient are contained. There are literally thousands of recipes that you can make from pumpkins so find one that fits your needs. Soups are especially useful during this time of the year. As the winter months press upon us standard fruit snacks just will not sustain you.

As a prepper, you will need to work now to find different recipes and uses for the plants that you grow. Yes, you can use the same stuff that you have always used.

However, if these recipes are dependent upon a stove or other methods to cook them, you may be growing a harvest in vain if you cannot eat them.

For example: If you are traditionally a pumpkin pie eater, you may find that it will be difficult cooking on in a wilderness survival situation. Soups on the other hand are fairly easy to make.

If you want to dehydrate the pumpkin for your bug out bag, try to ensure that the strips are all about the same in length and that you remove as much moisture as you can with a rag or a paper towel prior to the dehydration process.

As the skin of the pumpkin (as it is sometimes called) can be rather frail, you may need to mold the skin into sheets and then cut and dehydrate it. Once the pumpkin is dehydrated, add the content to an air sealed bag (not a ziplock but actually remove all the air in the bag) as pumpkin is prone to spoiling even if dehydrated if air comes in contact with it.

The Husk/Shell

Do not discard the husk or the shell of your pumpkin. In fact, if you can find others discarded pumpkins, round them up. The shell can be used for your organic compost heap.

The more you have, obviously the larger your compost pile will be. If you want to use the husk and shell for other purposes you could:

Cut off the vine from the top of the pumpkin and use it as a natural bobber on a fishing line

Make a jack-o-lantern

Instead of cutting the pumpkin from the top cut it from the side and make a seasonal bird house.

Use the pumpkin as a temporary bowl. This is a good way to practice utilizing what you have around you to store your food and water. If you want to make a bit more of a permanent bowl, you can coat the pumpkin with a clear seal of wax to prolong the life of it.

Make a water pitcher from the shell by turning the pumpkin on its side (so that the top makes a natural handle). Saw off the new top side to add a place to pour the water into. About 3 inches down drill a hole for the water to escape from. There you have it a water pitcher. This works best with Cinderella pumpkins.

If you want to have a bit of tactical training and fun you can always take the shell of the pumpkin and get in a bit of target practice. For additional challenges get a few different sizes of pumpkins and set them at various ranges.

Finally, you can use the pumpkin to hone your axe and your knife skills. As carving a pumpkin is a traditional activity this time of year, you can add a variant to the tradition by doing all of your carving with your survival knife and axe. As your knife and axe will be your primary tools in a survivalist situation, it is essential that you feel comfortable in using them for any occasion. Using your knife on a pumpkin is a relatively easy way to practice different cuts and techniques, honing your skills, without the need to damage wood or other necessities in the process.

So what are you waiting for?

Go to your garden and start picking your pumpkins. If you do not have pumpkins in your garden the go and buy an organic one and start getting ready for next year’s harvest. Just because you are a prepper does not mean that you have to avoid traditions.

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38 Reasons To Stock Coconut Oil

Good Reasons to Stock Coconut Oil

stock coconut oil

Coconut oil is one of the most beneficial kinds of oil there are. Offering a wide variety of health benefits, coconut oil id readily available, very affordable and doesn’t have any unnatural ingredients whatsoever.

Some of the best home remedies include healthy increments of this helpful ingredient, so here are some points for inspiration that might make you want to stock up.

Observe closely, since this ingredient has got to be one of the biggest essentials, when it comes to living off the grid.

Coconut Oil is…

  1. An Anti-Bacterial, it is very effective in killing any bacteria that cause ulcers, urinary tract infections, throat infections, any form of gum disease and other kinds of infections caused by bacteria.
  2. An Anti-Carcinogenic, since it has antimicrobial properties which effectively helps in preventing the spread of any form of cancer cells, while it also strengthens the immune system.
  3. An Anti-Fungal, it can kill any infectious yeast or fungi. 
  4. An Anti-Inflammatory, it can suppress inflammation directly and repairs tissues, along with contributing a large part to the body’s defense against intestinal microorganisms which can cause severe inflammation. 
  5. An Anti-Oxidant, it can protect against any damage and free-radical formations.
  6. An Anti-Parasitic, it has abilities that help it fight to get rid of lice, tapeworms, and other parasitic organisms from the body.
  7. An Anti-Protozoa, it is very effective in killing Giardia, which is a protozoan gut infection found very commonly.
  8. An Anti-Retroviral, it actually shows tendencies of killing HLTV-1 and HIV.
  9. An Anti-Viral, it’s very effective in getting rid of viruses like herpes, influenza, measles, SARS, AIDS, hepatitis, and others.
  10. It Fights Infections.
  11. A Natural oil that has no side effects and causes no discomfort.
  12. Can Improve Nutrient Absorption, it is effective in making minerals and vitamins easily available inside the body, and is easily digestible as well.
  13. Completely Non-Toxic.
  14. There are about a million different uses of Coconut Oil, and some of them have been listed right here:
  15. Different Uses of Coconut Oil
  16. Coconut Oil is very effective for age or livers spots. Apply directly on to skin to make them fade.
  17. It’s a great aftershave and it helps your skin heal after shaving without clogging up any facial pores. It is also very effective for razor burns.
  18. Coconut oil effectually supports hair regeneration, which makes it effective for combating baldness.
  19. Coconut oil can be applied on birth marks; it can also be helpful in aiding the healing process of the skin after a laser or apple cider vinegar treatment.
  20. It can be used as a body scrub, in combination with sugar. Rub the mixture all over your body and rinse off to reveal super soft skin. You can even add in some essential oils for some aroma.
  21. It can be directly applied to a bruise to reduce redness and swelling.
  22. Coconut oil can also be applied to a bug bite to stop the burning and itching sensation.
  23. You can make a great chap stick out of coconut oil; just rub a little bit on your lips to make them plump and soft.
  24. Applying coconut oil to your hair regularly can help you fight dandruff and strengthen your hair. It relieves all the dry skin and moisturizes the hair from roots to tips.
  25. If your baby has a knack of getting some rashy bums, coconut oil can be a great diaper salve. It has no harsh chemicals so that you know it’s safe enough for your baby, just apply small quantity on affected areas and rub it till it absorbs.
  26. When you combine coconut oil with sea salts and sugar, it turns into a very effective exfoliator that is safe enough to use all over your body.
  27. If you are prone to puffy eyes, you can apply coconut oil ender your eyes, on your eye bags or wrinkles to relieve some of the puffiness. Use it on your eyelids in the evenings.
  28. Coconut oil can also be used as a face wash with this simple recipe; just mix coconut oil with equal parts of olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil, and castor oil, and use the mixture in place of soap when washing your face. Rub on the oil and keep it on for about 2 minutes, then rinse out and pat your face dry (don’t try this treatment if you have oily skin already).
  29. It’s also a great personal lubricant that has no side effects.
  30. It’s a great massage oil!
  31. It is very effective in fighting any skin conditions, due to its anti-oxidative properties, including dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema.
  32. Coconut oil is very helpful in relieving sunburns, so just rub on healthy amounts of this oil to the affected areas.
  33. Coconut oil can also act as a completely natural sunscreen.
  34. It can help in healing swimmers ear; make a mixture of coconut and garlic oil and apply on the affected ear 2 or 3 times daily till it starts to get better.
  35. Coconut oil is very effecting when consumed, it can aid the absorption of magnesium and calcium which leads to enhanced development of your teeth and bones.
  36. It’s a great digestive.
  37. Coconut oil can effectively stimulate your metabolism and help in the reduction of unwanted fats.
  38. Coconut oil can increase the fluidity of the surfaces of your lung cells, which enhances their functioning.

With all this is much more, coconut oil will be a miracle natural ingredient in household, which can keep you safe, healthy, and far away form a lot of harm!

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7 Bushcraft Skills I Wish I Knew About When I First Started

Bushcraft involves thriving in outdoor wilderness survival. For off-grid living, or even trying to get the hang of it, you need to know a few basic things like building a fire in different kinds of weather conditions or trying to find food through foraging or hunting and building necessary items from natural resources.

Bushcraft is the art of the true survivalist and being able to thrive in the wilderness without modern conveniences.

Before entering into a state of survival of the fittest, the following 11 bushcraft skills will come in handy.

7) Fire Craft

Anyone is fully capable of lighting a fire with a lighter, a few matches or lighter fluid, but you will need some basic instincts to help you when you have to make fire with wood and rocks. Fire craft is an important skill that involves starting and then maintaining fires under any weather conditions.

The entire craft includes a number of fire-building techniques like using the sun, flint, and smoldering plants, along with insights on how you can use fire as a means of survival. You can even learn how to transport fires from one place to another and avoid rebuilding at all.

bushcraft skills

Image source: http://cdn.paulkirtley.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Finding-A-Place-To-Do-Bushcraft-In-The-UK.jpg

6) Tracking

There are many reasons why you should try to get good at tracking. It is the most basic way to catch your dinner in the wilderness, but more importantly, it is a very vital component of OpSec.

When you have the ability of tracking animals as well as people, you can ensure safety for yourself in many ways. For example, you can check your campsite for how often it is visited by animals, or knowing whether someone has been near or around your location recently.

Animals, as well as people, tend to follow their paths repetitively, and being able to recognize their paths and tracking where they are directed towards, you can easily set up snares, accumulate water, and know clearly which areas to avoid.

5) Hunting

Well this one’s a no-brainer, but the ability of hunting effectively with a number of tools is going to help you a lot when you are making your way through the wilderness.

It may be true that a hi-powered rifle can make hunting almost like child’s play, you should remember that you may not even have the basic utilities to survive, which means you probably won’t have a rifle and you won’t be hunting for sport.

The best and probably the most common way used is trapping. You can set up a snare to catch some kind of small game, which is a very good way to survive when you are trying start living off-the grid.

Along with trapping, you also need to learn how to handle different kinds of game, so that you can actually hunt the animals effectively after you trap them. You can learn a few basic butchering and skinning tactics to ensure everything you kill can be eaten.

4) Fishing

This is quite similar to trapping and hunting, but the tools and techniques are different. Learning to fish can get you a good access to high-protein meat and a hefty source of food that won’t ever run out. Fishing can either be done in-line, or the fishes could be trapped.

You also need to know how to handle lures and hooks proficiently, since some hooks can actually be pretty sharp and you don’t want to hook yourself to the rod.

3) Foraging

You probably can’t survive only on animals either, especially if you haven’t paid any attention to fire craft. This is why foraging is highly important.

You need to be able to differentiate between the plants you can consume and the ones that you should completely avoid. It’s very important to beware of the poisonous plants, and knowing how to find plants that you can consume in the wilderness.

2) Shelter

Building yourself a proper shelter is one skill that will probably save your life over and over again when you are venturing through the wilderness. This is more important than keeping yourself dry or comfortable and it is your only hope for safety.

Keeping the shelter dry is important tough, since that will effectively keep your belongings and other equipment dry and usable too. What’s important is only that you know how to build a basic kind of shelter, and which natural resources you can use to build it in the wild.

1) Knives and Axes

Trust me, these are your best friends when you are trying to survive in the great unknown. Survival axes and knives are the most important survival gear tool at your disposal, and using them can often be quite tricky.

Along with using these knives, you should also know how to sharpen its edge from time to time, repair any broken pieces and make your own knife out of natural resources if you had to.

Video about Bushcraft Skills

 

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