Homemade Household Products Using Bulk Ingredients, by Mrs. Alaska

When people jokingly refer to Whole Foods as “Whole Paycheck” to indicate the price points, I wonder if they conclude that all organic products and foods have to be expensive. It is indeed more expensive to raise meat on a small homestead than to buy a rotisserie chicken at Costco. But so many pricey organic foods and value – add products are quickly and cheaply made at home. A frugal person can save thousands of dollars per year by combining ingredients for tasty or useful products. Put that cash to other purposes less easily accomplished. In addition, making products from …




Handling Trash and Garbage at a Remote Home, by Mrs. Alaska

Editor’s Introductory Note:  This article will prove to be instructive for anyone preparing for a grid-down societal collapse,  where public services are disrupted. — Living off-grid, a 20-minute flight from the nearest road means not only that we receive no electricity, but also no municipal services at all, including those for disposal of garbage, trash, sewage, and gray water. So we have become very intentional about what we buy, make, and use, because we have to figure out how to dispose of or repurpose what remains. The following are some examples of what we do with wood ash, packaging, vegetable …




My Newbie Experience Buying a Milk Cow – Part 2, by SaraSue

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) A Calf is Born and Begins Milking It’s been a bit of a rodeo, but I am undeterred. She was gentle as long as you didn’t touch her. LOL. She was sweet and beautiful as long as you didn’t interrupt her grazing on the grassy knoll. She learned to come into the stanchion, which is basically a structure you build to milk your cow in if you don’t have a barn set up to use. It has a “head gate” so that you can hold the cow’s head still, and therefore her …




My Newbie Experience Buying a Milk Cow – Part 1, by SaraSue

Finding the Right Cow My grandpa grew up on a farm in the South. When I was a little girl I asked him what it was like. He said it was hard work and dirty. I asked him about getting milk from a cow and he laughed saying, “Do you know how many germs are in that milk?” When I was a little older, probably studying the Great Depression in elementary school, I asked him “What did you do during the Great Depression Grandpa?” He said, “Well, we all went back to the farms!” In my child’s mind I had …




Lathe-Cutting Screw Threads – Part 2, by Steve A.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) Screw design must be considered. If the screw shank will go into a hole drilled to accept the nominal size of the threaded fastener then this diameter must be cut all the way to the screw head. If this is a fully custom application you can, of course, leave the shank any size you desire. In this case, the hole in the fixture was made to accept the existing blank screw shank diameter. The trick in all of this work is holding a relatively long, small diameter, and fragile part for threading …




Lathe-Cutting Screw Threads – Part 1, by Steve A.

Making, modifying, and using threaded fasteners seems to me to be a pretty basic part of repairs needed in keeping things running. I realize that the following information is not likely to be directly used by many of the readers due to the use of a metal lathe and the terminology. An amateur machinist should be able to make threaded fasteners as described. In any event there are absolutely a number of good ways to accomplish making a threaded fastener. Understanding that this just scratches the surface of the topic, I hope that it will reach a few folks and …




The Solar Clothes Dryer, by St. Funogas

I know, you were expecting some sort of a solar box that held heat in for drying your clothes, perhaps even with a squirrel-powered tumbler to make the clothes come out fluffier, so my apologies. I had planned on making one of those to go along with my solar panels, solar food dryer, solar beeswax melter, and solar water heater among others. While waiting to build my solar dryer I used the old-fashioned kind my mother, grandmothers, and everyone has used since rope was invented. By the time I was ready to build a box-type solar dryer, I discovered the …




Youth’s Lessons: The Slingshot – Part 6, by J.M.

(Continued from Part 5.  This concludes the article.) For an inexpensive commercial slingshot the PC Supersonic is an excellent initial option. It costs around $20, is made of super strong polymer and has thumb screws for band attachment, which allows quick band changes in the field. It only supports OTT for band attachment, which works well for most beginners, supports multiple grip styles and comes with a single lighter weight band. It doesn’t have an arrow rest option, but if you search the web for ‘diy slingshot arrow rest’ you can find a number of ways to easily add one. …




Youth’s Lessons: The Slingshot – Part 5, by J.M.

(Continued from Part 4.) If you want to easily include some arrows as part of your slingshot carry kit without worrying about how to store and carry them, PocketShot makes some great standard and bowfishing 3-section take-down arrows. If you plan on going after larger game you should replace the field tips on the standard arrows with broadheads. As an aside, since slingshot people stole arrows from archery folks, I guess some turnabout is only fair –a company called Shoottech Systems makes a dual-string bow with a magnetic catch on the string that allows you to shoot steel balls with …




Youth’s Lessons: The Slingshot – Part 4, by J.M.

(Continued from Part 3.) If you’re ever in a survival situation and you need a slingshot, the good news is that it’s possible to make field expedient bands from some commonly available materials, including: Rubber bands Condoms Bicycle inner tube (latex inner tubes are best) Exercise bands/tubing Latex/Rubber gloves Balloons Surgical tubing Spear gun tubing Rubber bladder from sports balls Each of these has different characteristics, so you’ll need to do some experimenting with different ways of shaping, combining and attaching them to see what works best. I realize that this is probably a lot more information than you’d ever …




Youth’s Lessons: The Slingshot – Part 3, by J.M.

(Continued from Part 2.) Add-Ons There are dozens of possible additional features that can be built into or added onto a basic slingshot frame to enhance its effectiveness and functionality. One of the most common ones is a wrist brace, which is a rigid extension that attaches to the frame and presses down on the top of your forearm. In regards to my earlier discussion about the lever behavior of a slingshot, a wrist brace helps overcome this problem by transferring the rotating force on your wrist into a downward force on your forearm, which allows you to use stronger …




Youth’s Lessons: The Slingshot – Part 2, by J.M.

(Continued from Part 1.) On any frame with forks there are also two options for the orientation of how the bands are attached to the forks – Through The Forks (TTF) or Over The Top (OTT). TTF means that the bands come around the sides of the forks, and the ammo passes through the forks roughly centered on the bands. OTT means the bands come over the top of the forks, and the ammo comes out roughly centered on a line across the tops of the forks. Here’s a picture that illustrates the two layouts (TTF on top, OTT on …




Youth’s Lessons: The Slingshot – Part 1, by J.M.

One of the hallmarks of good preparedness is leveraging lessons of the past to help us prepare for the future. However, as we age we tend to discard a lot of the simpler things we learned earlier in life in favor of more advanced (and typically more complex and expensive) approaches. Weapons are a great example of this – if you’re somewhere in the realm of a ‘seasoned citizen’ there’s a good chance you made and used a slingshot (‘catapult’ or ‘katty’ for those of you in the UK) from a tree branch and inner tube sometime in your youth, …




Handguns For Hard Times – Part 2, by Rufus King

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) Traditional Double Action Pistols Aside from striker-fired pistols, the traditional double action/single action (“TDA”) pistol has a following. Examples of this design are the SIG P226 and the Beretta M9. With this type of action, the pistol is carried with its exposed hammer in the down position. The first shot is fired with a long, heavy double action trigger pull. After the first shot, the pistol cocks itself, and subsequent shots are fired single action, with a lighter, shorter trigger pull. Given that the hardest thing about shooting a pistol is learning …




Some Initial Guerilla Warfare Lessons From Ukraine

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the world is witnessing true Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW). According to standard references such as the Infogalactic Wiki, 4GW has these elements and characteristics: Complex and long term Employs terrorism as a tactic A non-national or transnational base – highly decentralized A direct attack on the enemy’s culture, including genocidal acts against civilians. All available pressures are used – political, economic, social, and military Occurs in low-intensity conflict, involving actors from all networks Non-combatants are tactical dilemmas Lack of hierarchy Small in size, spread out network of communication and financial support Use of insurgency …