Household Basics in TEOTWAWKI- Part 4, by Sarah Latimer

The Physical Properties and Application I’m concerned about having yeast readily available in TEOTWAWKI. I like having dry yeast readily available by the measurable spoonful, and so I buy it in one pound bricks and then store it in a sealed quart Mason jars – one in my refrigerator door and one in my freezer– so that the yeast keeps for well over a year (if I haven’t used it up in that amount of time). It is no problem to use cold yeast directly in your recipes. It wakes up in the warm water just as if it had been stored at room temperature. However, this dry, dormant yeast won’t last forever, even in my freezer, and I wonder if I will continue to be able to buy it. I’ve used other forms of yeast also. Let’s talk about yeast and look at our options for a long-term TEOTWAWKI situation where we can’t buy our dry, packaged yeast. The Simple Science of Common Baking Yeast Yeasts are single-celled organisms that generally reproduce asexually through mitosis, which can be simplistically described as cellular self-replication and splitting. The yeast reproduction process is commonly referred to as budding. Yeasts differ from mold … Continue reading

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How to Plan and Plant a Hidden Garden, by Survival San

I don’t know if it’s just me, but as soon as the holidays have passed my mind turns to gardening. Too soon? Not in my opinion. Spring will be on us quicker than a tick on a rainy day, and it’s best we be prepared. It could be you’re hesitant to plant a garden because you’re worried about would-be poachers and/or vandals. Maybe you’re afraid that a garden will draw unwanted attention from wandering marauders or neighborhood children who may decide to commandeer your harvest or stomp on your tomatoes. Fear not! The solution to this disconcerting dilemma is to plant a hidden garden, or even several. Planting a hidden garden may sound challenging or impractical, but it’s easier than you might think. In fact, it takes very little planning. Your environment will tell you what to do, or more accurately, the weeds will tell you. Most gardeners think of weeds as their enemies, but they can be our friends as well as our foes. It’s really up to you which one you want them to be. I had a field full of lambs’ quarters this past summer. Instead of pulling them, I let them grow because my chickens think … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Growing Pineapples

Mr. Hugh, This is a very good post on growing pineapples. We have grown them in similar manner for several years. We don’t root ours in water but place them in large (3 gallon) pots with very moist potting soil. They are repotted as needed into larger pots to complete their growing time. Be sure to let the base of the “top” dry out as G.J. says. We prefer raising them in the pots because they can be moved easily to a warmer location as needed, weeds aren’t a problem, and the moisture is better controlled during times of drought. As G.J. said, they taste unbelievably good. We have a person in our group who visits Hawaii regularly. When she tasted a bite, her eyes lit up and she said “Wow, it tastes like it is fresh from the field”. It was cut and sliced two hours earlier. This plant is a very good antidote to monotony in a food shortage. Plus, by replanting the top, you always have a renewable “seed source”. M.R.

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Growing Pineapple, by G.J.

In post-Columbian Europe, imported or greenhouse pineapples were a symbol of wealth, often being used for decoration rather than being eaten. Now, imagine a world gone crazy, where even the canned pineapple is only a memory. For those of us who are well-stocked and even have a garden, the loss of trucking and worldwide shipping means a lot of fruits, especially tropical ones, will be simply a memory, kind of like how generations ago received oranges at Christmas as treats. Citrus fruits are not too much of a stretch in parts of the U.S., but pineapples will be rare. What is a fresh pineapple, something otherwise impossible to get, going to be worth? Now imagine that you have a dozen (or more) of these things ripening every six months. Don’t forget the TEOTWAWKI value of fresh tropical fruit—what a precious commodity it could be. Pineapple has several health benefits beyond Vitamin C. It can help inflammation, regulate blood pressure, and ease arthritis. With a greenhouse or in a warm climate, you can grow your own pineapples. Pineapples take forever (up to two or three years) to fully mature, so get started now! One of the ordinary benefits to growing your … Continue reading

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Roses Are Red and Healthful Too, by Sarah Latimer

We have had beautiful fall weather. However, my flower gardens are pretty well gone, as the brisk, cold fall winds blow and leave only a few dried flowers, seeds, and various remains to remind me of the brilliant colors that once adorned our property earlier in the year. If asked what is my favorite aromatic flower, I might say stargazer lily, gardenia, or rose. If asked what is the most beautiful flower, I would struggle to come up with just one or even three, as there are many I adore, but the rose would certainly be high on the list. If asked what is the most health beneficial flower to grow, again I would have to list several, including borage, echinacea, chamomile, lavender, and primrose. However, what are my all-around favorite flowers, I’d have to say rose and lavender, but the rose holds a tender place in my heart that no other can replace. I have quite a few “favorite” (actually sentimental) flowers that each remind me of loved ones and special times or places. However, the dozens of rose bushes on our property remind me of Mom. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of literally following her footsteps … Continue reading

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Lessons Learned in Livestock – Part 2, by C.K.

(Continued from Part 1) The following are the varieties of livestock that  I would not consider for a prepared homestead: Guinea Fowl. I raised over 300 per year. Feed requirements can be met with them running loose, but that also meets the cat’s requirements on little keets. Also a guinea looks for the best hiding spot for eggs. And if allowed to roost outside they will help your owl population by supplying a midnight snack. And they wander to far from home and make way too much noise. The amount of bug reduction is nice but, chickens and ducks also love to eat insects. The butcher weight is no better than a Leghorn rooster. Horses. Have you feed a horse with what you cut by hand and store? If you do not have the horse drawn equipment to cut and haul hay, then how are you going to feed them? What is the value to riding compared to the cost and time of upkeep? Now you horse lovers don’t be mad. Just think: what I can you accomplish by hand? My family used mules up till the early 1950s for the gardens, and we had horses up till the mid-1980s. … Continue reading

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Letter: Advice for Rural Retirees

Dear Editor: My husband and I are older, he is 84 and I am 70.  We are very concerned about the way this country is traveling and are even more concerned if Hillary Clinton is elected.  I realize that we need to start gathering supplies and storing them.  My question is: we live in a small, rural, agricultural community. However, we live on a main road and are within 50 miles of two major cities and about 70 miles of another one.  Our economy took an unusually hard hit in 2008 and is recovering at a slower rate than many other communities. Would you recommend selling this house and attempting to move closer to our town (3 miles away) or try to stay in the country, just off the main road. I have your book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times”. I have lists to use in preparation. One of the things we do not have here is any water supply other than county water.  Our children all live in the south in very large cities.   Thank you. – Mrs. W. JWR Replies:  I believe that … Continue reading

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Letter: Misadventures of a Green Thumb

Dear SurvivalBlog Readers: I’d like to address the idea of “prepare for the unexpected” using a real life example that happened to me. I hope this humorous example leads you to take some steps, however small, to begin taking steps to fill the gaps in your preparedness planning; because for all the good intentions you may have, a totally unexpected event could take place that makes it all worthless. So for me, I have never had what had been called a “green thumb”. I never have actually had a return from my spring and summer garden that I feel was worth the investment in seeds, tools, etc, let alone time spent in caretaking the darn thing. However, I recognize that if some event takes place then I need to have built some skills around this gardening thing, and not expect to wake up the day after and expect to make a garden to provide for my family. Year after year, my practice garden has left me disappointed. Not that I have tried, and read some books, talked to the older generation in the neighborhood that can seemingly grow vegetables out of their cement driveway…but just no luck. Point one – … Continue reading

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I Love Sharp Things, by Phil M.

In any survival situation a defective tool is pretty much worthless and will cost you dearly in frustration or even your life. I’m sure you can think of a lot of examples. Effective tools are a big part of my life and most all of them need to be sharp, and some of them very sharp, like chisels and planer blades. When I started thinking of all the tools that I keep sharp the list started running into the dozens, everything from a potato peeler to a chainsaw. A lot of you are like me in one way or another as far as needing something with a keen edge to get the job done. For instance, the little scissors for trimming those pesky nose hairs or loping shears for the trees and shrubs. All of us have knives in the kitchen drawer or knife block, but how many of them are sharp and I mean really sharp. From experience I can tell you that most are not very sharp at all. Many examples of this come to mind like taking fresh baked bread to a neighbors party and asking for a bread knife that turned out to be so dull … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as a Retreat Locale

James, We lived along the northern shore of the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula  (UP),  in the Marquette area.  This was way back in the late 1960s. (We left in 1972.) We spent the last two years of that living in the middle of a fairly isolated 40 acre tract about half an hour drive (summer travel) from town. The great lakes, Superior in particular, have an enormous influence on the local climate. Varying by distance and prevailing winds, you tend to have cooler summer temps as well as slightly warmer winters.  The lakes effect precipitation, most noticeably snowfall, but cloud cover and rain as well. In our experience the climate favored potatoes, rutabagas and the like. Snow peas did very well. We have had frost on the 4th of July and Labor Day. One year we saw snow flurries all through the July 4th parade. Tomatoes and other tender crops require a greenhouse. The black flies which lasted all summer (unlike at my family place in Maine) made gardening a blood sport (this was before DEET insect repellent which I’m told is effective.). I had friends that moved into the hinterboonies and attempted to garden, also with sad results. One couple … Continue reading

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Letter: Another View of Alaska as a Survival Location

My family and I arrived in Alaska in 1974 while I was in the U.S. Army. I was stationed at Ft. Richardson (now part of Joint Base Elmendorf/Richardson. JBER). I spent five years at Ft. Rich. A 3-year tour, with two one year extensions. In 1980 I left the Army and moved my family back to Anchorage, where I currently reside. I grew up in mid-eastern Pennsylvania and spent two summers working on dairy farms in that area. I agree with some of what S.J. had to say in regards to whites not welcome in native villages as well as that drugs and alcohol are a problem in these villages. Also the population in the “Bush” is so small someone new in the area will quickly be the major topic of discussion in that area. In short, you cannot hide. If you want to live a “survivalist” lifestyle here you must realize that 94% of the food consumed in Alaska is shipped in with most of it coming through the Port of Anchorage by two ships each week, Sunday and Wednesday. This past January one of the ships went in for two days of maintenance that stretched into three weeks. … Continue reading

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Seed Collecting – Part 3, by Sarah Latimer

(Continued from Part 1 and Part 2.) Beans Though we try to be thorough in our pole bean picking, there always seem to be a few that hide so well that they become huge before we find them. These are perfect for using as seed. Any bean pods that are fully mature and large can be set aside in a sunny window to finish drying and then cracked open to reveal the beans inside, which are useful for next year’s planting. Just be certain that you allow the bean pods to completely dry before removing the beans, which are the seed. I also leave the beans out on a tray or rack for several days to ensure they are fully dried before storing. Mold and mildew can destroy the bean’s usefulness. Melons When I cut open cantaloupes and honeydew melons, I scoop out the seeds into colanders over the sink. I try to avoid including much fruit pulp or seed strings, but some is inevitably going to get included. When eating watermelon, we save the seeds on our plates, which I combine into a colander. Then, the colander(s) are taken to the sink, where I run cold water over them … Continue reading

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