How to Make Wooden Mason Jar Crates – Part 2, by St. Funogas

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) Second Jig – Drill-Press Jig  If you have a pneumatic stapler, which greatly speeds up many nailing tasks, you can skip this section. Once you have the first slats cut, you’ll need to drill guide holes for the 4d nails using a 3/16” drill bit. If you try to nail without a pilot hole, not only will many of the slats split, but it’ll slow down your nailing time considerably. This is where jig number two comes in. As seen in Photos 10A  and 10B (inset), this jig positions stacks of five …




How to Make Wooden Mason Jar Crates – Part 1, by St. Funogas

If you’re an average prepper, you no doubt have enough mason jars to sink a small yacht if they were all filled with pickles and tomato sauce and snuck aboard. And if you’ve done a lot of canning, you’ve probably thought there has to be a better way to manage all the jars than those cardboard boxes they come in. I’ve found that homemade wooden crates work great for me and may work for you as well. What I really like about these crates is that you can store empties in them as well as full jars, then stack the …




Low-Tech Off-Grid Living, by Ani

I’m writing this article early in the morning during a power failure. I’ve only lived in this house for six months but this is not the first power failure I’ve experienced here. Previously I house-sat in this town and experienced a long duration power failure complete with four days or so of no cell service either. I got on my phone and looked up the outage map and realized that my town and a couple of adjacent towns have a significant outage, definitely due to the high winds of last night. The electric utility will begin mobilizing the line crews …




Testing 20-Year-Old Mountain House Lasagna, by S.H. in Texas

This article describes my experience with some Mountain House brand freeze-dried lasagna that I taste-tested 13 years beyond it’s “Best By” date. Since I have become a bit of a “prepper”, I have noticed that the years seem to fly by much faster than before! Perhaps it’s just the usual momentum of age, but it seems every time I check on something from my “deep storage”, I find that it has been at least 10 years since it was purchased! Very disturbing. So…the question that plagues us is this: “would this be better-‘n-nothing when the SHTF, or should I just …




Living to 100: The Blue Zone Diet for Survival, by M.E.

“Living well is the best revenge.” – George Herbert. When I was in high school in the late 1960s, we were pretty sure someone was going to drop a bomb on us. We had graduated from duck and cover to emergency preparedness, bomb shelters and all. One day in the auditorium we watched some training on first aid and handling trauma. The films were pretty vivid and some kids left in a hurry to throw up. One thing from this that has stuck with me is: if you are sick or injured, you can’t help anyone else. Anyone who has …




JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Here are JWR’s Recommendations of the Week for various media and tools of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. The focus is usually on emergency communications gear, bug out bag gear, books, and movies–often with a tie-in to disaster preparedness, and links to “how-to” self-sufficiency videos. There are also links to sources for both storage food and storage containers. You will also note an emphasis on history books and historical movies. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This week the focus is on some unusual MRE components and MRE replacements. (See the Gear & Grub section.) Books: Edible Wild …




Maximizing the Homestead Apple Orchard, by Eric K.

“Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits” – Henry David Thoreau American homesteaders and gardeners have a high degree of familiarity with eating and growing apples.  Who hasn’t enjoyed biting into a fresh, crunchy apple on a cool fall morning?  Most homesteaders plant an apple tree or two early on in the process of establishing their property.  This makes sense – the apple is deeply connected to American pioneering history and culture.  Johnny Appleseed traveled the Ohio River Valley and parts of Appalachia planting apple seeds.  Oregon Trail settlers carried seeds and seedlings with them when they came west …




Lessons Learned From a Decade of Food Storage, by Sandi

The pandemic lockdown of 2020 has led to a re-evaluation of my family’s food storage. This is  a food storage that began more than ten years ago. We began actively storing food in large quantities in 2009 and have continued intermittently since then. Where we have failed, however, is in not eating what we stored and not rotating our stock. Our experience with what lasted and what did not may be of some benefit to others as they consider what and how much of certain foods they should store. Overall, I have been pleasantly surprised at how long our food …




Large-Batch Canning & Jam Making, by St. Funogas

One of my favorite garden bounties every year is the blackberry jam I get from my beautiful 100’ row of thornless blackberry vines. I love my blackberries for many reasons: they’re one of my few pest-free crops, they’re perennials, and they’re linked to my Swedish grandfather who was a master horticulturist and berry grower for over half a century. I also get a feeling of not only craftsmanship, but companionship with my grandpa when I’m out working with the vines: tying up this year’s growth, propagating new plants from tip runners, harvesting the berries, and cutting out the two-year stems …




Oral History: A Child of the Great Depression – Part 2

(Continued, from Part 1.) The Principal of Dinuba High School, Walter Hellbaum, came up recruiting at UC Berkeley, because Howard Page, his Agriculture and ROTC teacher–who was another Army reserve officer–had been recalled to active duty.  Daddy was a good fit for a position at Dinuba High School because he was qualified to teach both Agriculture and ROTC classes. But then a more experienced Agriculture teacher came along. So my father ended up teaching Math, Science, Spanish, and he led the Junior ROTC program. Daddy moved our family to Dinuba in 1940. We first lived in a modest two-bedroom rental …




An Old Boy Scout’s Journey – Part 3, by Rocket J. Squirrel

(Continued from Part 2.) For my rifles, I stocked up on 10-round detachable magazines, stripper clips, and en bloc clips. For those of you still oppressed in Kalifornia, and if you missed the opportunity during “Freedom Week” in March/April 2019 to legally purchase 30-round standard capacity magazines then here is an idea to consider – I purchased magazine parts kits. All they do is remove the floor plate from standard magazines. If bad things happened, I could assemble the kits and load the standard capacity magazines. Based on reliability reviews of various magazine brands, I selected 20 round magazine kits …




The $100 Homestead Grain Winnower – Part 2, by PapaP

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) The “L” was constructed from a scrap piece of 1″ thick pine board which was about 9″ long and cut 7/8″ wide. The longer side of the “L”was about 6″ long and the smaller piece about 3″ long. The 3” piece was then screwed to the longer piece to form the “L”. This “L” provides the gap between the two plywood sides, allows a piece of metal strapping to encircle the plastic inlet, and holds the blower securely in place. To secure your particular blower assembly you will have to design and …




The $100 Homestead Grain Winnower – Part 1, by PapaP

One of the pillars of homestead food production is growing small grains such as wheat, barley, oats, etc. The classic text for homestead grain production is Small-Scale Grain Raising, by Gene Logsdon (1977). His focus is on using small-scale or appropriate technology, usually human powered. For example, harvesting small grains would entail the use of a scythe for cutting the grain, a flail for threshing the grain followed by tossing the grain into the air to winnow or separate the grain from the chaff. I was raised on a traditional farm in the 1960s and 1970s where we used farm-scale …




The Semi-Prepper – Part 2, by Francis

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) In addition I stress myself at the range by exercising when I get there (running, pushups, jumping jacks.)  The idea is to degrade my performance by tiring and winding myself, which will show me how I will shoot under stress. Since I’m now in my 70’s, I feel the best home defense weapon is a rifle. Semiautomatic pistols are great but a rifle with its’ longer sight radius leads me to be more accurate. Also as I get older I am concerned about the complexity of the “manual of arms” for the …




The Protein All Around Us, by Oregon Bill

It was the fifth raccoon that I had permanently discouraged from killing our chickens. “If we ever had to eat these in an emergency, our family would put on weight” I said to my wife. I was joking of course. She surprised me with her reply: “Well, why don’t we give them a try so we know if it would ever be worth it?” She had grown up eating wild meat, and our family commonly ate what we raised or hunted, so it sounded kind of like a new adventure. Here is some of what we learned that might be …