Letters Re: The Human-Powered Veggie Garden

HJL, Try straw bale gardening. It’s a lot less work and very productive. I had more tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers than I could handle in my first season. It also takes up less space and saves the back pain of bending over so far or kneeling to weed or trim et cetera. You can garden on your patio or roof, or just about anywhere. I’m 68, and I’ll never use another method of gardening. Note! Use straw bales, not hay! – GSS o o o HJL, Respectfully, double digging is a bad idea. It will destroy the soil structure. It is an idea left over from times when heavy chemical fertilization and peat moss were used in suburban gardens. It destroys the microorganisms in the soil as well as the natural soil structure. Adding 2-3 inches of compost on top of the soil each year is much healthier for the plants, worms (who will “till” the compost in by themselves), and microorganisms and fungi that exist and live at SPECIFIC layers in the soil and should not be disturbed. Steve Solomon is not the person to listen to. This article explains further on what a healthy ECO system for gardens … Continue reading

Recipe of the Week: Country Biscuits and Busy Morning Pancakes, by K.R.

This recipe was economical, as the pre-made biscuit mix was not available in many of the countries we sailed to during our 7-year circumnavigation. Basic Baking Mix Ingredients: 9 cups flour 4 teaspoons salt 1/3 cup baking powder 1 3/4 cups vegetable shortening Directions: Combine first four ingredients; stir to mix well. Cut in shortening with clean fingers until mixture resembles loose crumbs. Do not pack down when measuring. Use dry measuring cup when measuring, scraping excel off with a knife. Keeps about four to six months in an airtight container at room temperature. Country Biscuits Ingredients: 2 cups Basic Baking Mix 1/2 cup milk or water Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix biscuit mix and milk until just mixed. Put on floured board and knead 15 times. Roll out 1/2-inch thick; cut with 2 1/2-inch wide glass or biscuit cutter. Bake for 10 minutes on ungreased baking sheet. Yields: 12 biscuits. Busy Morning Pancakes Ingredients: 2 cups Basic Baking Mix 1 teaspoon salt * 1 egg or 1 teaspoon vinegar 1 cup milk * or water Directions: Preheat griddle. Mix biscuit mix and salt. (* For low-salt dieters, I omit this as there is salt in the … Continue reading

Letters Re: My Family Preparedness Plan, by R.S.

R.S., Wow. I found this to be a grim and sobering article but one of the most sound that I have read to date. I don’t think anyone could cover all the myriads of possible scenarios, but this gives a great launching point for most I can imagine. Thank you for your time in writing such a good article. – J.W. o o o HJL, Most deaths in a post-EMP or post-solar-flare/grid-down situation will be from the combination of starvation and disease. Starvation can be prevented by storing sufficient food to last until the next crop comes in. Disease can be prevented by practicing good sanitation techniques, primarily using septic tanks for waste disposal and solar or generator powered wells for fresh water. It’s hard to do in the city or suburbs but relatively common in the country. If you have a spring, creek, or river water source, the trick will be your ability to purify the water before consumption. Water filters or boiling will accomplish this. If you have a town upstream, be prepared for the water to become polluted with human excrement, as their waste water treatment plant fails. – Old Paratrooper o o o Hugh, Two things: … Continue reading

Letter Re: Diabetes Management

Hugh, I read your recent article on diabetes management with much interest, as I am a 64 year old diabetic myself. The problem with being insulin-dependent is access to insulin after things crash. Walmart (of all places) sells Relion Diabetes management products, which include insulin over the counter with no prescription needed. Relion makes different insulins that are equal to the same insulins that sell for over $250 per bottle at the pharmacy. Their insulins are very reasonable at $28.44 per 10ml vial. I went to my local Walmart in Michigan, and sure enough I was able to buy Relion Novolin R (to replace my Humulin R) with no questions asked! The pharmacist told me I could buy up to four bottles at a time, and the expiration date of the product I purchased on 4/5/2017 is April of 2019! Relion has a full line of diabetes management products that are ridiculously inexpensive with no prescription needed! A long term prepper could buy four vials of insulin every few weeks or months and build up a very nice supply that would last years. In some states, like Indiana, a prescription is needed, but in many it is not. Check your … Continue reading

Product Review: Flamethrower from FlamethrowerPlans.com, by Mike Williamson

Flamethrowers are primarily a tool and, accordingly, are not regulated under federal law as a weapon. As they do not fire a projectile from a fixed cartridge, they are not restricted under BATFE regulations. The FlamethrowerPlans.com flamethrower will be recognized by some as kitbashed from various industrial components. This, however, does not make it any less effective. You can buy the plans (as the site indicates), components, or a finished unit. I opted for the finished unit. The package is surprisingly compact considering the contents. There is the fuel tank, projector, hose, and pressure hardware. The instructions are very clear and simple. Also included is a modified propane torch as an igniter. All that is required is to charge the CO2 tank, fill it with fuel, and attach a propane bottle. Safety is obviously paramount with something that projects burning fuel. The instructions recommend a wet test with water first, to verify function safely. We did this, and we measured a range of right at 50 feet and a firing time of right at one minute. This is a shorter distance than historical military models but with a longer burn time. Fuel can be kerosene, diesel or gasoline, and thickeners … Continue reading

The Human-Powered Veggie Garden- Part 2, by J.A.

Deep Digging and Rock Removal The second round of digging is the hardest work of the whole project. The process is much like the first round, except the goal is to be able to bury the whole head of your shovel in loose soil when you are done. This time, if you hit a rock in the process of achieving that, it has to go. As you back up, some of the rocks will expose an edge you can get under with the shovel. This is where buying good tools, and sharpening your shovel is really going to pay off. Use the shovel to poke under an exposed edge of a stone to create leverage and pry it out. You may have to go slightly off track or attack from a different angle, but if you stick with it for a few seconds, you will find a way to easily pry most of them out. In the instance where you hit a rock that extends far back under the ground you are still standing on and have yet to dig, skip it and remove it while digging another row that exposes enough of it for you to extract it easily. … Continue reading

The Human-Powered Veggie Garden- Part 1, by J.A.

A small amount of land, in some cases as little as half an acre if managed correctly, could supply a bountiful vegetable garden even without the luxuries of fossil fuel-driven technology or animal power. The key to the survival of an individual or a family who is either under-prepared or through the course of events is somehow unable to use any fossil fuel-driven technology or animal power is being able to quickly produce edible crops on the ground that they have using nothing but hand tools. The methods necessary to do this are inexpensive to implement, physically rewarding, and beneficial to the long-term health of your garden. Implementing them on a small-scale now will be immediately beneficial to your health via increased nutritional quality and physical activity. You will also gain the confidence of knowing that if gardening should ever be forced upon you as a full-time job, you would be able to put food on the table for the people who are relying upon you for protection and guidance. I will detail my own experience, gathered over the course of the last four years, which was inspired by the book, Gardening When It Counts by Steve Solomon. It is … Continue reading

My Family Preparedness Plan- Part 2, by R.S.

Grid Down (continued) Given the specific differences in this scenario, the steps would vary post-event. This event will be different in its onset. With an EMP event, panic will set in much more quickly. When everything ceases functioning simultaneously, even if people don’t know what’s happened, they are going to know something has happened, and mobs don’t usually react with calm reasoning. If the power goes out, even a widespread outage, it isn’t a huge cause for alarm initially because people are used to power outages. Thus, you’ll have a bit more time to get things in order. What to do: Get fuel. This is of first importance, because the shortages will likely set in quickly. The challenge will be whether or not the pumps will still work, but give this a shot first. You might get lucky. This is also a good reason to keep fuel on hand in your storage cache. Get supplies. (See EMP scenario.) Get home and contact your group. While the grid may be down, land line phones should still operate. Ham radios and CB radios should also continue working. The longer the event lasts, the worse it will get. If communications are down for … Continue reading

Letter Re: Austere Dentistry

HJL, Thanks for pointing this issue out. In retrospect I should have developed purchasing in greater detail in the article. Additionally, this article has been sitting around for a while on my hard drive before being sent in, and at the time of writing purchase restrictions were not that common. On Amazon, search Zinc oxide and eugenol, and you will find vendors who will sell ZOE without restrictions. When I searched today, I found brand name Temerx as well as generic ZOE. On EBay, despite the disclaimer about sales only to dentists, I have rarely been challenged by U.S. vendors. If you are unwilling to attempt to buy from a U.S. EBay vendor, my advice is to deal with foreign vendors on EBay. Israelis are quite strict, but Chinese and Indian vendors have few, if any, restrictions. Before drafting this reply today, I searched EBay for “zinc oxide eugenol” and zinc oxide, and ZOE temporary filling material all with good results as far as restrictions. Some vendors call it ZOE temporary cement, which is the same product as the filling material. When you search, you may or may not find the IRM or Temerex brand, but this is a very … Continue reading

My Family Preparedness Plan- Part 1, by R.S.

We live in an uncertain world. Riots have popped up in cities across the United States under the guise of righteous protests of elections or officer-involved shootings. Terrorists have taken to the streets in attacks both large and small. Hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes have wiped out entire cities. Our economy is under siege from within and without. Ebola, Zika, West Nile, and H1N1 have dominated headlines, though admittedly done little damage. The ability and precedent for grid failure are ever present. And finally, and maybe most nefariously, our very own government waits in the wings for any one of these events to transpire with devious plans already devised for containment of the populace through martial law. Each of these scenarios presents unique challenges. While much is made of what to do in advance of any of these events (and rightly so), ultimate survival could depend on what you do in the minutes, hours, and days immediately following an event. I originally wrote this guide for my family and close personal friends. Many of them have little understanding of the scenarios discussed. My hope was to bring some awareness to the issues in hope that, should an event transpire, they would … Continue reading

Letter Re: Article V Convention

JWR & HJL: After reading the article Bloomberg’s Anti-National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill Editorial Shoots Itself in the Foot – DSV, with reference to ten years from now, I was reminded of an article concerning the proposed Article V Convention. This I believe is one of the most, if not the most, important matter we need to keep ourselves aware of and do all in our power to defeat it before the required number of states can be met. This is an outstanding website with untold valuable information concerning our country and Constitution. I believe your readers would benefit from using the info contained to educate themselves and others on how our Republic was set up and how it’s “supposed” to work. This particular article has links referencing one of the supposed new constitutions (there are five already pre-written) that could be enacted should an Article V Convention be called. Reading the one linked is nothing short of scary, and I served three tours in Southeast Asia and don’t scare easily. One in particular: Article I – B – Section 8 reads; “SECTION 8. There shall be a responsibility to avoid violence and to keep the peace; for this reason … Continue reading

Recipe of the Week: Pork with Cherries, by MHL

This recipe is my version of an old traditional French recipe, Porc aux Pruneaux, which I altered several years ago after a bumper crop of cherries. This is one of the treats of November after a hog is slaughtered and there’s lots of fresh pork on hand. Ingredients: 2 pounds pork shoulder or boneless rib meat, cut into bite sized chunks 1 large onion, cut into large dice 3 cups chicken stock OR 3 cups water & one bullion cube OR just 3 cups water 1/2 cup white wine, if available (increase water by 1/2 cup if not using) 1 1/2 cups dried cherries. (Sour cherries work best, but use what you have available.) 2 bay leaves 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary leaves 1 Tablespoon dried rubbed sage 1 or 2 garlic cloves, peeled & left whole 1 Tablespoon flour 2 Tablespoons oil or other fat, but not butter Salt & pepper to taste Directions Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy dutch oven that has a lid. Toss meat with flour to lightly coat and then brown in batches in oil. Remove from pot & set aside. Sauté onion until translucent, adding more oil if necessary. Add garlic, rosemary, … Continue reading