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SurvivalBlog Readers’ & Editors’ Snippets

This weekly column is a collection of short snippets: practical self-sufficiency items, how-tos, lessons learned, tips and tricks, and news items — both from readers and from SurvivalBlog’s editors. We may select some long e-mails for posting as separate letters.

First up, over at Media Matters: Tucker Carlson gives his full endorsement for the use of illegal fake vaccination cards [1]. “Buying a fake vaccination card is an act of desperation by decent, law-abiding Americans who have been forced into a corner by tyrants”

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M.J. wrote:

“I enjoyed APD-4’s article and SaraSue’s article.

APD-4 encouraged seeking out like-minded groups. I’m trying to do this.  APD-4 suggested joining groups such as the police auxiliary or volunteer fire department.  I’ve thought about joining the State Defense Force. However, I have three concerns: what if it’s been taken over by the Marxists, like the regular military [2], 2) general lack of spare time, and 3) if we get to a WROL situation and I’m called up, who will defend the home I just purchased?  The solution might be to find a good wife, which is one reason I’m still in the city; there’s a larger dating pool.
With regard to SaraSue–for now, I’m in the city. However, the city I live in is much smaller than Southern California, so that’s progress, even if I’m not in a really small rural town. My goal is to find my other half, save money, and then get out before I’m of retirement age. Then I can raise my future youngsters in a small town where people still love our country and value liberty.  I just hope it’s not too late.  SB readers may be interested in this article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10050039/More-HALF-Trump-voters-want-red-states-secede-union.html [3]
Regarding my new home: I was able to make a large down payment and obtain a loan with a reasonable rate of interest from my parents.  Please encourage SB readers to do this if they can; that way, wealth is being kept in the family instead of being given to big corporations.  “

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Government Orders Google to Track Anyone Using Certain Names, Addresses, and Phone Numbers [4].

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Making hay while the birds nest? Study finds landowners willing to protect grassland birds nesting in their hay fields [5].

Reader Pam B. sent this update:

“We are and have been for some time, ramping up our preparations for shortages and for self sustainability.  Several trips weekly to buy ammo and evenings spent filling magazines.  We are growing quite a pile.  But never enough.

Our freeze dryer has been our most influential and productive purchase, which was a year ago this month.  With that appliance, I have put up a great deal of food.  Both for long term and regular use purposes.  Of note is we harvested our 50 meat chickens last weekend and the freezers are full.  But I processed all the gizzards, hearts, and livers by freeze drying.  The hearts had to go into the fridge after freeze drying and Mylar packaging, because despite adding a great deal of extra processing time, they still didn’t feel quite right and that is due to the layer of fat, that I couldn’t get off the heart and thus they didn’t freeze dry properly.  Fat doesn’t freeze dry.  Next year, I will cook the hearts first before freeze drying. I am hoping then that the fat will be melted off and they will freeze dry completely.  The resulting broth can also be given to the dogs to boost their nutrition.  The livers and gizzards did beautifully.  The necks and feet will be made into stock. If folks aren’t aware, the feet make an extremely nutritious and tasty broth.  We use a rubber glove specifically designed to withstand heat, to dunk the entire bird in the trashcan scalder when we process them thus allowing the skin and outer nail to be removed from the feet.  These come off in the Whizbang Chicken Plucker and so all that is left after removing the feet from the bird is to give a light wash and then boil for broth. The gizzards take more work.  I watched a fair number of Youtube video’s and then came up with my own version of cleaning and salvaged that meat which, I confess, in years past, we would give to the local wildlife.

I am reticent to share this as I know if widely known, I would be turned in for improper food preparation, but I have a secret to fabulous tasting soup.  Not only do I add bay leaves to broth making, but I put the carcass in water and bring to a boil for about 15 to 20 mins then cover and turn off and let sit on the stove.  Overnight.  And repeat that process for two more days for a total of three days.  What I found is that the broth is richer, deeper and so delicious that both my husband and I are sorely tempted to overindulge in this soup.  I know, right?  Who makes a pig of themselves over chicken soup????  We do.  Soup night at our house is surrounded by much anticipation of goodness.

Last week we harvested some apples from a local apple tree.  This tree, sits right on the road coming in and out of our little town and does see traffic, but it is a very small town and the main ingress to town is actually another set of roads.  The tree sits on the property of a very small private college which closed in the Spring of 2020.  They were struggling already and the events of last year pushed it over the edge.  It has had some changes of ownership since and communication with whomever is the current owner is fruitless, pardon the pun.  However, my diligent husband, saw the head maintenance person out on the property on his way by one day and stopped to inquire to whom we should seek approval to pick these abundant and beautiful apples and the reply was, “Yourself, help yourself and pick them so I don’t have to pick them up off the ground.”  So I did.  And of course I was challenged by a young late twenties/early thirties couple who were the poster children for their generation.  Passive-aggressive, self-righteous little snits. Pulled up, sat in their running car for about a min without saying anything to me.  When I finally stopped picking and looked at them, they continued to stare at me.  Finally I asked them if I could help them and their response was….”So you’re picking apples.”  They went on to say how they have been trying to navigate the bureaucracy of the current owners to gain permission and were not successful yet, and since they had harvested in the past I guess they felt they had some type of “rights”.   I confess I didn’t handle it as maturely as I would have liked.  I used a snarky tone and said I had permission from an employee and that I was indeed picking apples.  Now, I am one person and there is no way I could have harvested that entire tree.  It was loaded.  (And it still is!) You could plainly see that of all the containers I had were full and only two left to fill.  Anyway.  They went on their “merry” way after more asinine comments.  And what had been a quiet pleasant task now was ruined.  If the situation had been reversed, I might have stopped and said, “I’m sorry to interrupt you but I am curious about the apples on this tree. We have been trying for years to get permission to pick them and would gladly donate them if the owners prefer, but we just hate to see perfectly good food go to waste.  How did you get permission and do you plan to harvest them all or just enough for your use?”  Because indeed, that is our scenario.  As long as someone is making use of these apples, I don’t care.  But for the last several years, they rot on the tree.  That is unconscionable. But it just makes me sad to see how poorly communication has degraded.  And that I didn’t handle it better.
Anyway, today those apples will be made into applesauce and apple pie filling.
Also, we pulled our garden and harvested several pumpkins, ate the last watermelon last weekend, had stuffed peppers, Mexican style last night and will pull the remainder of the garden in a bit.  Can’t wait to see how many potatoes we were able to grow.  Have a ton of serrano peppers.  Amazing that you can grow good quality hot peppers in New England.  Got a bumper crop of butternut squash and next weekend most of that will be cooked and freeze-dried.  Seed saving is also one of our sustainable tasks.  Firewood making is my husband’s task this month and mine will be moving it next to the wood boiler using the tractor.  It does take a toll on my arms and hands so I use wrist braces to prevent complete over use but I still pay for it over the winter.  I wish we could find a reasonably priced dump trailer for this job.  I just can’t justify 7 grand right now.  But I have to think of the future.
I am putting the final purchases together to put into place a rainwater harvesting system for our turkey and chicken coops.  This summer we purchased two IBC totes (had avocado oil in them) and washed them out.  Several weeks ago I wrapped one in black 10 mil plastic and created a platform of compacted road base and cinderblocks.  Need to get some gutters and associated equipment and maybe get it in place before the weather drops.  Likely won’t have any water collected by the time snow flies but it will be in place for next spring.   So yet another winter of hauling water down to the coops and trudging thru the snow.
I plan to make a run to the closest Costco and stock up on more staples (flour, sugar, salt and OTC medicine) on Monday and then put it into Mylar bags with O2 absorbers.
So much to do and not enough time and yet here I am typing away.  I miss having this time to research, read, write but living a sustainable life is a lot of work and I for one don’t begrudge it.
Just miss my computer time I guess.  So off to work I go.  Hi ho, hi ho. “

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Tim J. suggested this video from Tech Nerdette Naomi Brockwell: What is a GOOD VPN? [6]

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Reader A.R. sent us this:

“If you live in town and long for country living with a milk cow, chickens, goats, sheep, etc., how do you go about getting there? Do you buy a raw, undeveloped piece of land and set about building a house with a well and solar power, while pretending to be Laura Ingalls Wilder? Is there another way?

Another way would be to buy land that is presently a farm. Perhaps the old farmer is wanting to live out his last days seeing his lifetime’s work stay a farm, instead of being sold off piece by piece. Perhaps he retains a lifetime estate, and is available to train the young, energetic, city slickers in the wisdom of country living. The young folks have the energy to repair the old equipment, fences and buildings, but not the money to buy new of everything all at once. This would enable them to not only develop the discipline of frugal living, but also to gain the skills that will help them to survive the coming hard times.

There are many skills needed to do this farming gig, as well as patience and endurance when times get hard. It is hard enough that many would be prone to quitting when it gets hard. Imagine that everything seems to be breaking, and you have no money, and don’t know how to fix it, and you just want to throw in the towel? What do you do? How do you figure out how to move forward? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have some old timer to sit on the porch with and pour out your heart to and gain wisdom as to what to do?

Perhaps you need to learn how to build/repair a fence. Perhaps you want to can food, and need jars and a pressure canner. Perhaps you need to learn how to slaughter an animal. Perhaps you need to know what to do when the milk cow gets mastitis.

There are many advantages to this.
It would save a lot of money.
It would save a lot of time in being up and running as a farm, and thus you would more easily survive.
If it is a livestock farm, you would have many years of manure built up on the pastures.
You may have a ready made group of animals that don’t have to move to new property.
Wisdom from the old farmer.

Some disadvantages:
Everything isn’t clean and new, like lots of new land owners want.
You would’t have all the say in how things should change.
If you are wanting organic, and the farm had pesticides and herbicides sprayed on it.
It may have been overgrazed and thus the soil was depleted.

I’d love to see discussion on this idea. I believe that overall, the benefits outweigh the risks and help to preserve our country’s small farms. BTW, I did something like this.”

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Yet another reason to vote with your feet: Illinois will require background checks for all gun sales by 2024 [7].

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HW from the Northwoods had this suggestion:

“I really have to recommend these HMT windup watches [8] for anyone interested in a low tech time solution.  For less than $15.00, you get a refurbished 17 jewel watch that runs very well.  Apparently, these are essentially Bulova clones from a Swiss industry India tried to duplicate 50+ years ago. The luminous paint on the military watches has been redone very well on the ones I bought.   The bands are new, but kind of cheap. They’re also smaller than modern watches, which was ordinary in the 50s and 60s.  Shipping is free but with a lengthy wait.  They package them in nice plastic boxes the size of Altoids tins. Try finding a watch battery in a store these days — or even a watch.  Another victim of the smartphone.”

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Reader C.B. sent this: Are silver nanoparticles a silver bullet against microbes? [9]

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From SaraSue:

“Torrential rains this past week with a tornado warning one night (my first). It was a fitful night but calm the next morning. This past week I ordered meat chicks from McMurray Hatchery and they should be here end of the month. I chose dual purpose heritage birds so that I am not forced to butcher them all at once like the Cornish Cross require. One of my dogs killed one of my small layer hens (2nd kill now, so she was sorely disciplined and she sat with her ears down for almost 2 hours. My discipline is all verbal – my dogs would rather I love on them than be mad at them). I started with 10 ea laying hens & guineas (chicks/keets)and now have 6 each Sigh. The Guineas are huge and not the nuisance I thought they’d be. They actually protect the hens as if they are their babies. Some of the little hens like to sit on the backs of the Guineas! Probably because I raised them together. I still haven’t seen any predators, other than a big rattler that got mowed over, and the Turkey Vultures haven’t bothered the birds but snarfed up the rattler. The baby Nigerian goats are doing fantastic and even come to me when I call now – they’re learning to graze, which is their sole purpose (besides being cute). Even the Guineas come when I call. LOL. I finally found someone to install gates for the wide driveway and modify the smaller barn. I had the chimney inspected and it needs a new liner – water intrusion damage. I cooked down half a case of Butternut squash and froze portions for later soup making. Saved seeds since it was organic. I cooked up several pots of good food, spooned into ziplock freezer bags, and laid flat in the big freezer to save space. Purchased a dozen more food grade buckets and lids -the price has doubled I tackled the garage this past week. Whew! It’s absolutely beautiful here, but I do miss Idaho fall weather when you feel the crispness of winter coming in September. I’m not going to miss navigating 6′ of snow for months on end though. “

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Just in case Third World conditions come to visit the First World: Flocculant/Disinfectant Powder [10].

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Avalanche Lily alerted me to this: Amazon Unveils ‘Astro,’ a Privacy Nightmare Robot That Follows You Around [11].

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Sean B. wrote us:

“Maybe this suggestion will work to help with the skunk problem Lily has mentioned.

For those having problems with a skunk, this approach has worked for me on two occasions. Use a large cage trap (e.g., Havahart trap) that is a suitable size for a skunk. Set the trap in a location that has backstop as you will be shooting the skunk once trapped (use, using a “live trap” to kill an animal…irony). In my case, the skunks were raiding my garden and I set the trap against some raised beds made with retaining wall bricks. Put a sheet, tarp, large towel, or other material over the trap. Skunks will be more apt to enter the trap if it seems more “cave like.” Tie a long piece of string or rope (10 feet or more) to a corner of whatever you are using to cover the trap. Set the string/rope out away from the trap. You will be using this string/rope to pull the cover off the trap and expose the skunk without getting sprayed. Whatever you use for the cover is likely to get sprayed, so use something you are willing to throw away or burn after use. Bait the trap with something sweet. This will prevent you from trapping cats. I have found that there are few omnivores (including humans) that can resist a popular black sandwich cookie with a white cream filling. Walk cautiously towards the trap each morning and see if the door on the front is closed, indicating the trap has been sprung. If the door is closed, pull the string/rope attached to the cover to see if there is an animal inside. If a skunk has been trapped, utilize your preferred firearm for a humane kill while you remain outside of spraying distance. If you happen to hit any of the trap wires (which I haven’t so far firing .22 LR into the trap), it is not a problem as the trap will still be perfectly suitable for trapping the sizes of animals it is designed for. If an animal you do not wish to kill is in the trap, it will likely not be happy and I would suggest wearing some heavy gloves while opening the trap door and allowing it to escape. Best of luck.”

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