Seed Saving Tips – Part 1, by St. Funogas

This is not a how-to article, but rather a few tips on what I do to save seeds each year. I’m hoping we all can share ideas in the comments section to help us all become more proficient seed savers.

My first experience at saving seeds happened when I was nine years old. I grew lots of sweet corn in my little garden and decided I better save some seed for the next year. I let it dry enough so I could remove the kernels from the cob then stored them in a green candy tin. A few months later when I opened the tin, there was nothing but a large multi-colored mass of various fungi and my seeds were a total loss. I’m surprised the lid hadn’t blown off. Hence I learned Rule Number One early: always let seeds dry sufficiently before storing. Fortunately, I’ve learned many other seed-saving tips since that time.

First, A Little Botanical Enlightenment

Botanically, fruit is a ripened ovary. Much of the produce we call vegetables is actually fruit. If it has seeds it’s a fruit, if not it’s a vegetable. Tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, peppers, okra, eggplant, etc., all have seeds making them a fruit. In some cases, the only part of the fruit we eat is the seeds such as peas, dry beans, and walnuts. Any produce coming from the vegetative parts of the plant are vegetables. Radishes, carrots, beets, and turnips are roots. Celery and rhubarb are leaf stalks while asparagus and potatoes (yes, potatoes) are stems. Sometimes fruit is fleshy like peaches, plums, pears, and pomegranates, and sometimes fruit is dry such as pecans, peanuts, and pearl millet. Sometimes it’s something in between.

The majority of the plants we see around us produce flowers and have covered seeds. Only a few of the higher plants have naked seeds (not covered by the ovary) such as conifers. If you see a “naked seed” from a flower-bearing plant, those are not the seeds even though we refer to them as such, but are actually a type of dry fruit. These include things such as sunflowers and most other daisy-type flowers, and umbelliferous plants such as celery, carrots, cumin, and cilantro.

A fun fact: what we call the strawberry “fruit” is technically not a fruit at all but a part of the flower base called the receptacle. Since seeds from flowering plants are never naked, each “seed” on the outside of a strawberry is actually an individual dry fruit called an achene. Apples are another exception. What you eat is a fleshy receptacle and when you get down to the core, that’s the actual fruit. When you cut an apple along its equator, you can see the distinct line separating the receptacle from the fruit.

For the sake of keeping things simple, I’m going to refer to dry fruits like marigolds, buckwheat, and cumin as “seeds” even though we’ve just learned that these are actually fruits. 

Seed Collecting

There are many different ways to collect seed and each kind has certain requirements. Many seeds we separate out as we are preparing the fruit to eat such as squash, or while eating such as watermelon, so there isn’t any actual collecting involved. Other seeds require that we let the fruit ripen beyond prime eating stage, such as cucumbers. Cucumbers for eating and pickling are best when the seeds are underdeveloped and not yet large and hard. When harvesting cucumber seeds, we have to leave a few cukes on the vine until they turn from green to yellow to a dark yellow/brown. Only at that stage are the seeds mature enough to be viable.Continue reading“Seed Saving Tips – Part 1, by St. Funogas”



Economics & Investing For Preppers

Here are the latest news items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. Most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor, JWR. Today, the prospect of $200 NFA tax stamps for every magazine of more than 10-round capacity. (See the Tangibles Investing section.)

Precious Metals:

2021 gold price target: ‘not wildly bullish, just positive’ – HSBC

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Gold And Silver Under The Biden Government

Economy & Finance:

Reader H.L. suggested this at Zero Hedge: Is Another “Crisis” Imminent: The Fed Must Double QE In 2021 But It Needs A Catalyst

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Peter Schiff: American Retirees Drowning in Debt

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And at Wolf Street: Wild Ride for Used Cars & Trucks in Weirdest Economy Ever

Continue reading“Economics & Investing For Preppers”



The Editors’ Quote of the Day:

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.” – H.L. Mencken



What Happens When You Get Old, by R.F.D.

I have been blessed with good health and a clear mind these many years. I also have been blessed with inherited traits, or maybe they were learned, which have allowed me to pursue interesting (for me) activities outside my job during my working career. These activities have mainly revolved around becoming self-sufficient, physically capable, working with my hands, and clear thinking. Another trait that may be good or bad is, I tend to be quite obsessive when, I,m picking up a new skill.

I was fortunate in being born late in the Great Depression and having parents who were brought up on the farm. My father was a Michigan Conservation Officer and an avid sportsman. When I was young, a Conservation Officer did not make much money, so hunting and fishing were part of our life. We also had to make many things ourselves because we couldn’t afford to purchase them. Don’t get me wrong here, in the small Northern Michigan town we lived in, most people were in the same boat financially as we were.

Some of skills that I picked up while still living with my parents:

  • Firearm safety skills.
  • Small and large game hunting skills.
  • Fishing skills.
  • Wild game butchering skills, you caught it or shot it, you cleaned it.
  • Foraging for food. (primarily low bush blueberries, blackberries, and morel mushrooms).
  • Cooking skills, everyone in my family learned how to cook at an early age.
  • Camping skills, both locally on the river and in Canada.
  • Was active in High School sports, football, basketball, and track. Some baseball outside of school.
  • I was also a meat cutter during the 4 years of High School, yea, I know, but back then if you were 15 years old, you could work behind the meat counter, use a boning knife, meat cleaver, meat saw, slicer etc., if you were lucky enough to get the job.
  • Being Bull-Headed or stubborn is also a plus, I guess.

What do you do when you get old and hope to survive a few more years in reasonable comfort and security? What are the things that you have done or have acquired that will help in that desire? What things does one really need when you are getting there?Continue reading“What Happens When You Get Old, by R.F.D.”



The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “JWR”. Our goal is to educate our readers, to help them to recognize emerging threats, and to be better prepared for both disasters and negative societal trends. You can’t mitigate a risk if you haven’t first identified a risk. Today, we take another look at invasive Murder Hornets.

Chicago Charts the COVID-19 Comorbidities

Our Editor-At-Large Michael Z. Williamson sent us this data from Cook County, Illinois: Corona Comorbidities.

Are There More Murder Hornet Nests?

Reader C.B. spotted this troubling news: Destruction of murder hornets nest doesn’t end threat. The article begins thusly:

“When scientists in Washington state destroyed the first nest of so-called murder hornets found in the U.S., they discovered about 500 live specimens in various stages of development, officials said Tuesday.

Among them were nearly 200 queens that had the potential to start their own nests, said Sven-Erik Spichiger, an entomologist leading the fight to kill the hornets.

“We got there just in the nick of time,″ he said.

Still, that didn’t end the threat from the that can deliver painful though rarely deadly stings to people and wipe out entire hives of honey bees.

Scientists think other nests already exist and say it’s impossible to know if any queens escaped before the first was destroyed.

Asian giant hornets, an invasive pest not native to the U.S., are the world’s largest at 2 inches (5 centimeters) long, and a predator of other insects, including the honey bees that pollinate many of the crops in Washington’s multi-billion-dollar agriculture industry.”

Trump Lawyer Sidney Powell Predicts Court Action on Election

H.L. was the first of several readers to send us this: Trump Lawyer Sidney Powell: “We’re Getting Ready To Overturn Election Results In Multiple States”.

Continue reading“The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods”





Preparedness Notes for Wednesday — November 18, 2020

On this day in 1978, Peoples Temple founder Jim Jones led hundreds of his followers in a mass murder-suicide at their agricultural commune in a remote part of the South American nation of Guyana. This incredibly tragic occurrence introduced the term “…drink the Kool-Aid” into modern parlance, since poison-laced punch was the vehicle behind most of the deaths. This serves as a stark warning and reminder to those in the prepping/survivalist community who would join with like-minded friends under the leadership of a charismatic leader. Always know who you are following!

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today we present another entry for Round 91 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. The photovoltaic power specialists at Quantum Harvest LLC  are providing a store-wide 10% off coupon. Depending on the model chosen, this could be worth more than $2000.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any of their one, two, or three-day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three-day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (a $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Front Sight Lifetime Diamond Membership, providing lifetime free training at any Front Sight Nevada course, with no limit on repeating classes. This prize is courtesy of a SurvivalBlog reader who prefers to be anonymous.
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, that have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
  4. Naturally Cozy is donating a “Prepper Pack” Menstrual Kit.  This kit contains 18 pads and it comes vacuum-sealed for long term storage or slips easily into a bugout bag.  The value of this kit is $220.
  5. An assortment of products along with a one-hour consultation on health and wellness from Pruitt’s Tree Resin (a $265 value).

Third Prize:

  1. Three sets each of made-in-USA regular and wide-mouth reusable canning lids. (This is a total of 300 lids and 600 gaskets.) This prize is courtesy of Harvest Guard (a $270 value)
  2. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  3. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  4. A transferable $150 purchase credit from Elk Creek Company, toward the purchase of any pre-1899 antique gun. There is no paperwork required for delivery of pre-1899 guns into most states, making them the last bastion of firearms purchasing privacy!

Round 91 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how-to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.



The Modern Possibles Bag, by Steve in Missouri

In recent times, we’ve seen cities burn due to riots and violent protests, fights in stores over others wearing masks, increased crime in some of the major cities, all the while law enforcement across the country is vilified and constrained by their local leaders. Some cities have cut police budgets, which will reduce response times and necessary resources to solve crimes. Anymore, dialing ‘911’ may or may not bring help in time! Meanwhile, criminals continue unabated, secure in the knowledge that corrupt politicians will support them, and in many cases encourage their illicit activities.

More and more Americans have realized this and are becoming more self-reliant. Much like the original pioneers, the concept of being able to call for help is becoming a foreign concept. Having your necessary items ready at a moment’s notice is not new. The Mountain Men, the ‘Minutemen’ of the American colonies, all had a ‘possibles’ bag to carry along with their rifle. This would contain everything needed to fight with. The same thing is becoming a necessity today, and the smart individuals will have one with them.

The question then becomes, what to put in it? Remember this is not a bug out bag, which is what we have for when we’re not planning on coming back for a long period of time. Nor is it a dedicated rifle fighting bag that will have minimal extras outside of rifle magazines, a couple of pistol magazines, some medical gear, and that’s it. Your possible bag will have a variety of things that will allow us to get back home in a day or so, or hunker down in place for a little while.

We’re assuming that in this case you have your rifle with you. This could be an AR, an AK, an FAL, an M1 carbine, a PTR91, or whichever fighting rifle you choose. We’re also assuming you have your pistol with you, because if you have pants on, you should have your pistol on. I’ll tell you about my gear, and why I chose those items.

Rifle: this is a Wilson Combat SR Recon Tactical, with an Aimpoint CompM4 red dot sight, and a Surefire X300 600 lumen weaponlight. This was a gift from some dear friends, and is one of the best AR rifles I’ve had. The Aimpoint CompM4 was chosen because it uses common AA batteries, and has a battery life of 5 years. The Surefire light uses CR123 batteries, but isn’t used unless needed. Spare batteries for each are kept in the pistol grip.

Handgun: Glock 19 9mm semi auto. It’s pretty universal, magazines and parts are everywhere. Small enough to conceal all the time, large enough to be comfortable to shoot. It’s carried in a strongside Kydex hip holster from AAA Concealment, along with two magazines in a double magazine carrier from the same maker. The owner, Greg Yen, is a firearms instructor and successful competition shooter, and makes simple but solid gear.Continue reading“The Modern Possibles Bag, by Steve in Missouri”



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 is also an emphasis on links to sources for storage food and a variety of storage and caching 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 the film music of the late Maestro Ennio Morricone. (See the Music section.)

Books:

Good news! The 2021 edition has been released: A Guide Book of United States Coins 2021

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41st Edition: Blue Book of Gun Values

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The Declaration Of Independence, United States Constitution, Bill Of Rights & Amendments

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This book was written by a SurvivalBlog readers:  How to Build an Igloo – and Other Snow Shelters. (Norton Books, 2007.)  The author wrote me with this description:

“It is available through Amazon and other sources.  The book was written based (at time of publication) on nearly a decade of instructing snow shelter construction.  This year will be my 21st year of instructing a family-friendly igloo building workshop at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont.  Annually the event draws well over 1,000 participants from throughout New England.

In the book and through workshops, I emphasize two things: “make friends with winter” and “appropriate structure for given snow conditions”.  The workshop and book are intended for a wide audience — from  wilderness/outdoor enthusiast, hunter, snowmobiler, and family groups/homeschoolers.  I emphasize safety, and team building.  I also emphasize that this activity, while a great winter survival education, it is a fun low/no cost activity that a family can perform together — right in the backyard. It can be used as a platform for teaching other survival skills, self-reliance, teamwork, etc.”

Continue reading“JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:”



The Editors’ Quote of the Day:

“Under Biden, expect the economic crash to speed up dramatically. Biden will initiate Level 4 lockdowns nationwide within weeks of becoming president and this will cause the destruction of the small business sector, which is already barely hanging on for dear life. The globalists will have to bring down the economy faster under Biden so that they can claim the crash is a residual effect of the Trump Administration. If they wait too long, the blame will fall on Biden and by extension the globalists.

Level 4 lockdowns would also help prevent conservatives from relocating to more friendly states and regions. And, they would help prevent conservatives from congregating in large groups and organizing resistance to leftist policies.

Censorship of conservative voices and platforms will have to accelerate under Biden as well, because the more conservatives are able to share information in real time, the more galvanized they will become and the more confident they will be in refusing to submit to pandemic restrictions (among other things). I believe that web service providers will start directly censoring conservative websites that use their servers. Sites like mine will be removed from the web entirely, or filtered out completely by search algorithms.

Finally, under Biden there will be an immediate call for draconian gun control measures and perhaps even gun confiscation. This will be done by executive order, and it is likely that Red Flag laws will be used. A leftist or globalist agenda cannot progress while conservatives are armed. It is impossible. No one will go along with pandemic restrictions in conservative leaning states. No one will agree to carbon controls. No one will adopt new and insane hate speech laws designed by social justice lunatics.

A Biden presidency would galvanize and unify conservative groups more than anything in recent history. Eventually, conservatives will revolt (including many in the military and law enforcement) and there will be nothing leftists or globalists can do about it. Disarmament would have to happen quickly.” – Brandon Smith, in his Alt-Market blog.





Tips for Moving to the Country, by The Novice

Civil unrest has rocked many American cities. Looting, arson, assault and murder are common. As a result, a growing flood of refugees is fleeing the cities and their surrounding suburbs in order to seek safety in more rural settings. For those of you who may be voting with your feet in this way, I have gathered some tips regarding moving to the country. These tips deal primarily with unfamiliar things you may experience in a rural setting, and how to best respond to them.

SurvivalBlog readers with experience living in the country are encouraged to supplement my list in the comments section with tips of their own.

Situation 1: Your spouse exclaims, “Look, the neighbors are shooting guns out behind their barn!”

Bad Responses:

  1. Reply, “Call 911.”
  2. Reply, “How terrible. Let’s try to get a local nuisance ordinance passed to prevent such behavior in the future.”

Good Response:

  1. Reply, “What a great idea! We should invite them over for dinner, and ask if they would let us sight in our new gun on their range?”

Best Responses:

    1. Reply, “What a great idea! We should invite them over for dinner, and ask if they would help us set up a range behind our barn?”
    2. Reply, “What a great idea! I wonder if they would prefer a box of 9 mm or 45 ACP with the plate of chocolate chip cookies that we are giving them for Christmas?”

Situation 2: Your spouse exclaims, “Look, the neighbors are spreading chicken manure on their garden!”

Bad Responses:

  1. Reply, “Call 911.”
  2. Reply, “How terrible. Let’s try to get a local nuisance ordinance passed to prevent such behavior in the future.”

Good Response:

  1. Reply, “What a great idea! We should invite them over for dinner, and ask where we can get some chicken manure for our garden?”

Best Response:

  1. Reply, “What a great idea! I wonder if we should raise chickens?”

Continue reading“Tips for Moving to the Country, by The Novice”



SurvivalBlog’s News From The American Redoubt

This weekly column features news stories and event announcements from around the American Redoubt region. (Idaho, Montana, eastern Oregon, eastern Washington, and Wyoming.) Much of the region is also more commonly known as The Inland Northwest. We also mention companies of interest to preppers and survivalists that are located in the American Redoubt region. Today, news of a car that was apparently driven intentionally through a store. (See the Montana section.)

Idaho

Idaho National Guard mobilized, Idaho back to Stage 2 due to coronavirus spike

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Hundreds March Through Downtown Boise In Support Of Trump After Biden Claims Victory

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Judge rules to join Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell’s cases

Continue reading“SurvivalBlog’s News From The American Redoubt”



The Editors’ Quote of the Day:

“And yet in early democracies, as in American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted on the ground that man is God’s creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility. Such was the heritage of the preceding one thousand years. Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual be granted boundless freedom with no purpose, simply for the satisfaction of his whims. Subsequently, however all such limitations were eroded everywhere in the West; a total emancipation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice. State systems were becoming ever more materialistic. The West has finally achieved the rights of man, and even to excess, but man’s sense of responsibility to God and society has grown dimmer and dimmer.” – Aleksander Solzhenitsyn — Quote from A World Split Apart, Harvard Commencement Address, 1978



Preparedness Notes for Monday — November 16, 2020

November 16th was the birthday of Michael D. Echanis (born 1950, died September 1978), a former United States Army Special Forces and 75th Ranger Battalion enlisted man. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with “V” device as a LRRP in the Vietnam War. He was born and raised in eastern Oregon. Echanis was killed while working for the CIA in Nicaragua in 1978 in a plane crash along with his colleague Charles Sanders and members of the Nicaraguan armed forces. There was conjecture that the plane was destroyed in flight by a saboteur’s bomb. My novel Survivors includes a minor character from Oregon with the surname Echanis, as a small homage to Mike Echanis.

Avalanche Lily wanted me to post these two important “emerging threat” video links:

Ice Age Farmer: “Next Crisis Bigger than COVID” – Power Grid/Finance Down – WEF Cyber Polygon. Pay attention: Klaus Schwab is warning of a huge “Fire Sale” cyber attack. (Yes, a Hollywood movie from 2007 provided the predictive programming.)

and,

Adapt 2030: Work From Home Taxes and Planned Red Meat Phase Out

Today, another product review from our staff Field Gear Editor,  Pat Cascio.