Doing Laundry Off-Grid and DIY Soap Recipes, by E.H.

When living completely off-grid, without either running water or corporate electricity, I wash clothes by hand and that’s okay. One way to maintain a good attitude about hand-washing laundry is to stay on top of it. Facing a mountain of dirty laundry with no washing machine can stir up feelings of dread, so I do it in small batches on a regular basis. I’d rather head for a laundromat when confronted with a big pile of stained and stinky laundry. Days are coming, however, when that won’t be an option, but you can bet things will still keep getting dirty. …




Beginning Bees on a Budget, by St. Funogas

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with the spices of a million flowers.” Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine It’s January and getting close to time to get your bees ordered for anyone wanting to try their hand at beekeeping this year. Most bee suppliers have begun taking orders for bees and they typically sell out by late March so now is the time to start looking more seriously into whether or not you want to want to give beekeeping a shot. Many people want to get into beekeeping until …




A DIY Masonry Outdoor Cook Stove, by K.R.

During our harsh winter weather, I look for projects that increase our preparedness, but that can be accomplished in the warmth of my garage; preferably with a minimum of cost. This winter, my wife and I were reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of our preparations. We were inspired by the SurvivalBlog articles that have implored us all to examine and test our preps. We considered how we would do our cooking in a grid-down situation during summer, when cooking on our inside wood stove would be impractical. We already have (a few) gas-fueled camp stoves; but what about that day …




Hiding and Tracking – Part 4, by J.M.D.

(Continued from Part 3. This concludes the article.) Tracking As I alluded to earlier, becoming an expert tracker requires a lifetime of practice and experience, but there are a number of things that you can do to begin developing and improving your ability to track people: Improved Endurance – The further away your target gets, the harder it will become to track them, and if they’re in better shape than you they’ll be able to quickly increase the gap between you. You need to be able to move long distances at a reasonable pace if you want to be able …




Hiding and Tracking – Part 3, by J.M.D.

(Continued from Part 2.) Weather The weather can have a significant impact on both the trackers as well as the trackees. A clear sunny day can make it easier to follow someone visually and detect signs of their passage, while rain, snow, fog or mist can reduce visibility and require trackers to close the distance or move slower to locate sign. At the same time, snow on the ground will leave obvious footprints and is one of the easiest conditions in which to track someone, unless it’s snowing hard enough or blowing snow that fills in or covers tracks. Rain …




Hiding and Tracking – Part 2, by J.M.D.

(Continued from Part 1.) A somewhat more obscure but still possible method of tracking is by following an electronic signal. If you’re using any type of transmitting device such as a radio or cell phone, a tracker could potentially locate you by detecting that signal. There have been a number of good articles on SurvivalBlog.com on radio frequency direction finding and locating, so I’m not going to go into detail here. Someone could also plant a dedicated tracking device on you or your vehicle and use that to track your location, but the tracker would obviously need the right equipment …




Hiding and Tracking – Part 1, by J.M.D.

I enjoy learning new things and picking up new skills, and the many activities I engage in such as shooting, paintball, backpacking and, of course, prepping give me ample motivation and opportunity to do so. A year or so ago while on a backpacking trip with some friends I met a guy who was a pretty decent tracker, and after he kindly spent some time on that hike showing me some of the basics I decided that tracking (and evading trackers) were some skills that might be useful in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. Since then I’ve taken training classes, read books, …




Are You Self-Reliant, Self-Sufficent, or Self-Sustaining?, by Mrs. Alaska

One of our goals each year is to decrease our dependency on others by increasing our skills and resources. In the city, it was convenient to pay for services and products. Living remotely, we learn to do many things ourselves or do without. I evaluate aspects of our life on a continuum from dependent to independent: Dependent on others Self-reliant Self-sufficient Self-sustaining Given recent news reports of coronavirus and the economy, tornadoes, wildfires, and power outages, perhaps readers are applying this sort of rubric to their situations, too.




Update: A Home-Based Business — Your Ticket to The Boonies

JWR’s Introductory Note: This article is an update and substantial expansion to a piece that I wrote back in December of 2005. — The majority of SurvivalBlog readers that I talk and correspond with tell me that they live in cities or suburbs, but they would like to live full-time at a retreat in a rural area. Their complaint is almost always the same: “…but I’m not self-employed. I can’t afford to live in the country because I can’t find work there, and the nature of my work doesn’t allow telecommuting.” They feel stuck. The recent Wu Flu pandemic proved …




Preparedness Regrets and Priorities, by N.C.

We all have our own ideas of how much risk we’re running and what type of disaster seems the most likely threat. Your answer to that will depend largely on where you are. Doubtless, my focus would certainly be different if I lived in Germany and it would be different if I lived in Ukraine or in New Zealand. Since I live in the United States the one that has cost me more than a little sleep is the prospect of a civil war in the US. It used to be that this was an extreme subject, raised only rarely …




No Ammo, No Primers, No Problem! – Part 4, by M.B.

(Continued from Part 3.) 20 Gauge Shotgun Shells and Black Powder Safety Note: When loading black powder shotgun shells, there must be no empty space inside the shell, and the powder should be compressed slightly (about 1/16 inches, or about 2mm). You may need to use a wadding or other “filler” inside the shell, so that there’s no empty space below the crimp. Six 20 gauge shotshells were primed with recharged shotgun primers. Note: The primers were recharged WITHOUT black powder in the primer bodies, and no tissue paper was used to close the flash holes. I measured out 7/8 …




No Ammo, No Primers, No Problem! – Part 3, by M.B.

(Continued from Part 2.) FOR SHOTGUN PRIMERS ONLY You will need the following to recharge shotgun shell primers: Large (3/8-inch or larger) hex nut – Depriming stand for shotgun shells and assembly holder for shotgun primers. A 1/4-inch hole is drilled in one of the flats for the primer body. Used with the C-clamp for pressing the primer cup into the body, the open space in the middle of the nut allows gases to vent if the primer “pops” during assembly. 8mm Nylock nut – Supports a fired shotgun primer to aid disassembly. Small nail with point cut off flat …




No Ammo, No Primers, No Problem! – Part 2, by M.B.

(Continued from Part 1.) The components for black powder really are not all that hard to obtain. In many cases, you can buy potassium nitrate and sulfur locally with cash, generally at a nursery, garden or home improvement store, “Garden sulfur” is what I have used in powder making. It’s used as a fungicide and insecticide, and you can even make black powder without it. Black powder can be made with just potassium nitrate and charcoal. Sulfur serves to make black powder easier to ignite, so keep this in mind if you decide to make sulfur-free black powder. Potassium nitrate …




No Ammo, No Primers, No Problem! – Part 1, by M.B.

Introductory Disclaimer: Recharging primers and making black powder, while safe in the author’s experimental experience, can be dangerous. The author and SurvivalBlog.com do not endorse recharging primers, nor making black powder, and you do so at your own risk. Making primers and/or black powder could also be in violation of the laws in your jurisdiction. You are responsible for compliance with all laws in your area. Neither the author, nor SurvivalBlog.com, are responsible for your use of the information in this article. The processes described herein are therefore for informational purposes only. Important Safety Note: Black powder can be dangerous …




Old School Weather Monitoring, by Hollyberry

It is so convenient to be able to turn the television, visit an Internet site, or turn on a weather radio to get the weather forecast for the next seven to ten days. But what happens when all the modern conveniences stop working? Anyone can tell the obvious current weather without much skill but it would be very helpful to predict future weather on the homestead, especially stormy and inclement weather. I am not going to use the scientific name for most of the clouds because as humans, we remember the descriptions of them rather then the scientific name. We …