Back to Basics – Gardening Wisdom From Thomas Jefferson: 5 Things You Should Learn

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When they consider Thomas Jefferson, many Americans first think of him as the author of the Declaration of Independence or as our nation’s third president, who was responsible for the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition. However, Jefferson’s contributions go deeper than those accomplishments.

Jefferson was a true Renaissance man with a variety of interests and hobbies. He was an accomplished architect, an inventor and a violinist. He could read more than five languages. Jefferson also was a horticulturist who made important contributions to American gardening.

In a letter to Charles W. Peale in 1811, Jefferson wrote, “No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden. … But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.”

At Monticello, his beloved Virginia estate, Jefferson became a pioneer of gardening practices that are useful for us today. Always passionate about growing things, Jefferson further developed this interest during a diplomatic trip to England in 1786 with his long-time friend John Adams.

Here are five examples of Thomas Jefferson’s gardening wisdom.During the two-month trip, he was able to tour and examine many English gardens. Those observations became the basis for his own extensive gardening ideas. Much of what he learned can be applied to any garden of any size.

Are you ready to turn back the clocks to the 1800’s for up to three years? Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were the last generation to practice the basic things that we call survival skills now…
WATCH THIS VIDEO and you will find many interesting things!

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1. Experiment … extensively

Jefferson once wrote that the “greatest service which can be rendered to any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.” When he traveled throughout our young country and abroad, Jefferson often exchanged seeds and seedlings with other gardeners. He enjoyed cultivating those seeds and young plants in his Monticello garden.

Because he grew a variety of crops, including a mix of tropical species with cool weather crops, he devised a unique terraced landscape for his 1,000-foot-long vegetable garden. By placing the garden on a south-facing slope, he was able to capture abundant sunshine.

Creating this unique form of “hanging garden” involved the removal of about 600,000 cubic feet of red clay and the creation of a 1,000-foot-long rock wall that was 15-feet tall in some places.

2. Grow what you eat

Jefferson loved to eat vegetables. In fact, he wrote that “they constitute my principal diet.” Because of his extensive travels, he was exposed to a wide variety of cuisines. He frequently took recipes back home with him and encouraged his cooks to use Monticello’s homegrown produce in new ways. In this way, he created a new American type of cuisine he described as ‘half-French and half-Virginian.”

His Monticello garden featured 330 different varieties of vegetables and 170 varieties of fruits. According to Monticello gardening expert Peter Hatch, Jefferson’s garden inspired a “revolutionary cuisine.” A Monticello recipe for okra soup, for instance, reflects influences from Native Americans (lima beans), Europe (potatoes and tomatoes) and Africa via the West Indies (okra).

Karen Hess, a noted culinary historian, called Jefferson “our most illustrious epicure, in fact, our only epicurean President.”

3. Go natural

Jefferson would be quite at home with the organic gardening movement of today. When his daughter, Martha, wrote to him while he was in Philadelphia serving as secretary of state, she complained about insects damaging the vegetables at Monticello.

He recommended the garden be covered that winter with “a heavy coating of manure. When is rich it bids defiance to droughts, yields in abundance, and of the best quality.”He responded, “I suspect that the insects which have harassed you have been encouraged by the feebleness of your plants; and that has been produced by the lean state of the soil.”

In 2009, White House chef Sam Kass reserved a section of the White House garden to showcase Jefferson’s Tennis Ball and Brown Dutch lettuce, Prickly-Seeded spinach and Marseilles fig, a few of Jefferson’s favorite plants.

4. Keep notes

Jefferson had a scientist’s mind, and because of that, he kept scrupulous notes about what worked and what did not work in his garden.

He recorded his gardening efforts in his Garden Book, a personal journal he maintained from 1766 to 1824. Hatch reports that Jefferson was not afraid to admit defeat in certain gardening circumstances. “On one page in 1809 the word failed is written down 19 times,” Hatch writes.  “He had a holistic view, as we say today, of the gardening process. It is the failure of one thing that is repaired by the success of another.”

5. Make your garden an area for retreatIn his “A General Gardening Calendar,” Jefferson’s only published horticultural work, he offered a monthly guide for kitchen gardening. In the calendar, which was first published in 1824 in the American Farmer, a Baltimore periodical, Jefferson instructs gardeners to plant a thimble spool of lettuce seed every Monday morning from February 1 through September 1.

Jefferson enjoyed the restorative aspects of being a gardener and believed that gardens should be seen, experienced and enjoyed.

For example, he designed and built an octagonal pavilion in a central garden location at Monticello and used this spot as a location for reading, writing and even entertaining.

“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth,” he once wrote, “and no culture comparable to that of the garden.”

If you’re interested in learning more old remedies, you should read The Lost Book Of Remedies.

The physical book has 300 pages, with 3 colored pictures for every plant and for every medicine.

Lost Book of Remedies pages

It was written by Claude Davis, whose grandfather was one of the greatest healers in America. Claude took his grandfather’s lifelong plant journal, which he used to treat thousands of people, and adapted it into this book.

Learn More…

Lost Book of Remedies cover

30 Lost Ways of Survival Skills From Our Grandfathers That Will Actually Help You in Any Situation

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People really should avert their gaze from the modern survival thinking for just a bit and also look at how the guys who wandered the west 150 or so years ago did it.

1.Community – We were not meant to survive in isolation forever. There are many skills we can learn from one another. Nothing will help people survive more than a tight knit community that cares for its members. In this community, you will find different skills, access to different resources, and a psychological morale improvement. Finding others with the same mindset will help you survive long-term, and make the situation far more bearable than braving the dark times alone.

Turns out the popular image of the Old West as a place where manly men solved their differences by shooting themselves in the face simply isn’t true. People were more likely to cooperate than fight – in a harsh and lawless world, it was better to side with your neighbor for mutual benefit than start shooting. One estimate places the number of bank robberies at about a dozen for the entire frontier period.

2.Many small towns in the Texas Hill Country have a secret. Beneath our town’s main street are old tunnels that were built to protect settlers in case of Indian raids. That makes me feel a little safer next time I shop for pickles knowing that if a nuclear bomb goes off my family can go underground. Build or have in mind a hideout in your BOL or better said a hideout in your hideout.

3.We don’t dial 911” – there won’t be any. Every type of gun known to man is here to protect their family and property. A good rule is to honk first when driving up unexpectedly to a ranch so as not to spook anyone.  Watching those old cowboy movies gave me a good idea: use both hands when shooting guns.

4.Shooting your dinner. Or shooting to protect yourself. Learn to hit something with a bullet and you’ll be better fed and it may even keep you and your family alive.

5.Repairing guns and reusing ammo. Limited or no ammo availability for my SHTF Guns meant the brass has to last as long as possible. Semi-auto rifles are harder on brass than bolt, falling block or other type’s rifles. With semi-autos, you have brass elongation; you need to trim your brass frequently, full-length size on every load. And after a few reloads, you basically run out of brass life.

A broken gunstock could be repaired with rawhide. The wet, pliable hide would be stretched over the broken pieces at the break, then either laced or nailed in place. As the rawhide dried it shrank, holding the broken stock together as effectively as if it had been replaced.

6.Stockpiling Wood and keeping warm was a chore in winter. About the only thing folks had to burn was wood. There was a woodpile or a woodshed associated with just about every house. There were no iron stoves in early Texas – they didn’t start coming in until late in the Republic period. Heat came from a fireplace, & it generally wasn’t very effective. Along the Rio Grande, especially in the poorer regions, there were no fireplaces in houses. That’s because Spain & later Mexico taxed chimneys. Those people cooked out-of-doors. Because they mostly built of adobe, their house – walls were very thick, so even a small fire indoors would keep the place fairly warm. In summer going into a properly – built adobe house is like walking into a cave. They stay fairly cool even on the hottest days.

7.Brain Tanning Leather – learning the process of skinning a deer, fleshing, stretching, drying, scraping, soaking, brain tanning, and then smoking the hide to waterproof. Deer hides, horse hides, coon hides – was used for just about everything, & rawhide was very useful. It used to be called ‘Mexican iron.’ The stuff is stiff as a plank, but if you put it in boiling water for a while, it becomes pliable. You can then use it in place of nails to tie a corral’s stringers to the posts. As it dried it would shrink, holding the stringers as effectively as nails.

8.Mostly, clothing was hand-made on the frontier. Almost any source of cloth could be used to make shirts or dresses. One of the reasons floursacks, for many years, were made of patterned cloth, was the fact that women collected them to make shirts or dresses, for themselves, their husbands, & their children. I can remember when I was a kid, farm ladies using white flour sacks to make children’s underwear.

9.Blacksmithing. Being able to make something useful like a horseshoe, tool, or cooking utensil from scrap metal could come in very handy. This is a skill people will barter for. Blacksmith work does require a good deal of practice and some special equipment, but it’s a skill worth learning and the learning curve is cut a bit if you already know how to weld or do other metal work.

10.Preserving food without a fridge. Many people have forgotten this old method of preserving food, especially meet. Here is one of the easiest methods available and doesn’t take much time.  You will need fresh pork, pickling salt, brown sugar, and crocks or jars for storage.

First, cut the pork into slabs. Generally, four- to six-inch slabs work best. Mix 1/2 pound of pickling salt with 1/4 cup of brown sugar. This is enough to cover twelve pounds of pork. Liberally cover the pork with this mixture. Next, pack the meat into sterilized crocks or jars. You should make sure it is tightly packed. Cover the meat with cheesecloth.

Using the temperature chart of your house, determine where to store your crocks. You need to keep the meat in an area that is about 36°F – no higher than 38°F. You also do not want an area that could see freezing temperatures. Leave the meat in this cool storage for at least one month. After that time, you can wrap the meat in plastic or moisture-proof paper and leave it stored all winter. You now have salt-cured pork for any occasion.

Many older people remember having a smokehouse on their land when they were young. Meat would be salted and hung to cure in these cool, dry areas. You could build a storage room for handing meat without too much work. The room should have excellent air circulation and stay cool without freezing.

Canned Meat – If you are familiar with canning fruits and vegetables, you should know that you can also can meat. You have to make sure you get the temperature of the meat high enough to kill bacteria before it seals. Chicken and beef are good options for canning, as are fish. You can cook the meat before you can and seal it. For example, you could make beef stew and preserve it in cans. Stewed chicken also cans and preserves well. Raw packing is another option you can try as well.

11.Navigation and Orientation – basic compass, map, landmarks; preparation for traveling outdoors; reading nature signs, stars, and sun to navigate through wilderness; knowing the best routes and time to travel.

Whether someone is going to bug in or bug out to somewhere safer, they need to know where they plan to take a stand and stay. Transportation is a very important issue to consider and how much of what they have can be moved to where they are planning to go. Fuel will be a huge consideration as the lack of it prohibits how far someone can go. Something else everyone should understand is how to read maps. You will likely not have any GPS system to guide you and the good old fashioned paper map may be the only way to show you where you are going. Understanding topographic maps is also key here

12.Trapping – trapping animals for clothing and food; using dead falls and snares; proper preparation of traps; understanding their use and safety.

13.Gardening.  and fruits, knowing soil conditions, how to get water to your plants, extending your harvest season, and common garden pests will be vital to having a continuous food supply. Check out The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers for some great old-time gardening tips.

14.Saving seeds. The other end of gardening is being able to plant again next year. Saving seed can be kind of intimidating and mysterious, especially for plants like carrots that don’t go to seed in their first growing season. Start with non-hybrid seeds and a reference book like Seed to Seed and practice saving some kind of seed from your next garden. This is definitely a learned skill, but could be vital to a continued food supply.

15.Building a home, or another shelter, or a fort, or a fence. Knowing how to use hand tools and simple machines will go a long way if you have to rebuild.

16.Start a Fire without Matches and learn how to keep the fire going 24/7. Prepare your fireboard. Cut a groove in the fireboard. This will be your track for the spindle.

Take the tip of your spindle and place it in the groove of your fireboard. Start rubbing the tip of the spindle up and down the groove.

Have your tinder nest at the end of the fireboard, so that you’ll plow embers into as you’re rubbing. Once you catch one, blow the nest gently and get that fire going.

17.Cooking over a fire. You may have other methods to cook your food available, like a solar oven or barbeque grill, but an open fire is the most primitive and one of the most common means of cooking in a grid down emergency.

18.Tracking – identifying animal tracks; understanding process of tracking.

19.The Bee Hunter. One of the most important men on the frontier was the bee hunter. Sugar was almost impossible to come by. Honey, which was called ‘long sweetenin” in Texas, was the only source of sweetening for many years.

20.Knowing and preparing wild edibles. Which plants in your area are safe to eat and what parts of them are edible? A little foraging can add variety to your diet or even sustain life if there’s nothing else to eat.

21.Learn how to maintain light at night. One of the most depressing situations is to spend night in near to total darkness. Besides this, not being able to see at night is dangerous. Learning how to make candles and wicks should be a skill to consider learning. Fats and other oils will burn and can be obtained throughout nature and the outdoors. Long term solar battery rechargers for flashlights and LED battery powered lanterns are another option.

22.Maintain proper hygiene. This is one of the top priorities because disease and sickness can and do take down the toughest man. People must realize that after a terrible disaster it is not like someone that goes camping, comes back dirty, and takes a nice long shower or a hot bath. After SHTF the water to the faucets, as well the hot water heater, may not work. Bathing on at least a semi-regular basis is necessary to avoid all sorts of bacteria from building up on the skin and causing a variety of health concerning ailments that will then have to be treated. People should plan on just how they will keep themselves clean, even thinking about sponge baths as an option.

23.A car or a horse?

Some people say about SHTF that unless you’re living on an oil well or in a gas tank you won’t have access to gas.

Riding a horse. They make this look easy in the movies, but there is a learning curve involved. A horse is transportation, a pack animal, and a friend. Learning to ride one can get you places when roads are impassable or vehicles aren’t working. Plus, your gas reserves won’t last forever when SHTF.

Texans love all kinds of horse powered transportation. Should an EMP attack render cars useless, they’ll get around riding their horses or driving their horse drawn carriages, buggy’s, hay wagons, chuck wagons and buck board wagons. During the summer on country roads you can run into wagon trains filled with hundreds of people driving their wagons, which is an awesome sight to behold! And yes they still ride their horses into town for a coke, hamburger and even a beer.

There were vast herds of wild horses in early Texas. The horses were considered an excellent source of meat. Many of them were shot for food. Others were captured, but if a horse resisted being tamed and saddle-broke, it usually wound up on the table.

24. Herbal remedies. When the doctor’s not around, knowing which herbs to use and how to use them to treat common ailments like cough, fever, headache, etc. can be a great blessing to your family or others around that may need the help.

25.Learn first aid. Treating yourself and or others will probably be the only thing someone can do as medical professionals are going to be few and far between. Many places offer free classes on first aid because they want people in the community to be prepared. A good first aid book along with a first aid kit is something every household should have before, during, and after a disaster. Primitive conditions should be expected when anyone is helping someone after a catastrophe. A stockpile of antibiotics are always a good idea. Even acquiring the skill of making your own antibiotics can save lives as infection is something that will become an epidemic, especially with minor cuts and abrasives that are sure to be plenty.

26.Don’t throw away anything that may be useful at some point. Personally, I don’t like to keep too many things in my house. So I throw away much stuff. And most of us do that because we know that if we have to, we can immediately buy another one. But our grandparents NEVER threw away jars, plastic bags, casseroles, boxes, cans, metal in general.

27.Stealth. While the survivalist mindset might seem to stem from weathering bad times, it is actually based in a basic enjoyment of nature. Nature is a gift, and the ability to live comfortably from its provisions is one of the most life-changing experiences a person can ever have. The art of survival seems to have been lost over the years, but before the technology boom in the last century, it was commonplace to know and understand survivalist principles.

One of the most basic skills when in the wild is a combination of two methods. These methods are called the “Fox Walk” and “Wide-Angle Vision.” These were the basic “bread and butter” of how tribal populations would hunt and stalk without leaving any trace. Learning lessons from these peoples, it has enlightened us on how to live from the land.

28.How to pan for gold – Although gold pans were much in evidence during the early days of the Gold Rush, miners used them less and less as time went on and they created better gold extraction devices but much more expensive. Even today, however, some gold seekers will use the light and simple pans for prospecting, systematically sampling gravels as they work up a stream, for example, and knowing that when the gold “color” stops, a vein or two of gold feeding into the stream may be close at hand.

29.Understand the psychology of desperate people. This is a difficult one. After a SHTF event people are going to, simply put, go crazy. That neighbor that was in control during many minor emergencies may be the one pounding on your door with whacked out eyes demanding what you have because they did not prepare for anything. In the Wild West most of the travelers when they spotted another traveler – they went around him thinking it’s wiser not to encounter at all.

30.Every cowboy knows that a rope is an important tool. Sure they can lasso a cow, but it serves so many other uses that it would be impossible to list. Suffice to say that that’s one thing that you never can have enough of and I’ve been known to use my son’s lariat in a pinch to tie down furniture on the utility trailer.

If you’re interested in learning more old remedies, you should read The Lost Book Of Remedies.

The physical book has 300 pages, with 3 colored pictures for every plant and for every medicine.

Lost Book of Remedies pages

It was written by Claude Davis, whose grandfather was one of the greatest healers in America. Claude took his grandfather’s lifelong plant journal, which he used to treat thousands of people, and adapted it into this book.

Learn More…

Lost Book of Remedies cover

5 Herbs Every Prepper Needs In Their First-Aid Kit -Our Grandparents Lifelong Plant Journal

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I have a long history with conventional medicine and allergies. More than a handful of times, I ended up in the hospital due to a reaction from the treatment for an illness. Should the cure be worse than the illness? Well, my mother didn’t think so. She turned to nature for my herbal first aid — and I’ve been using herbs ever since.

One of the best parts about herbal medicine is that it is generally free and can be found right outside your door!

Herbs and weeds have been used as medicine since the beginning of mankind. As a matter of fact, herbs are still the building blocks for many conventional medicines.

According to the University of Minnesota, “It is likely that humans have used plants as medicine for as long as we have existed. Archeological excavations dated as early as 60,000 years ago have found remains of medicinal plant.”

Let’s examine five specific herbs.

Minor Burns and Scrapes: Aloe

Aloe is the only plant that I seem to have a green thumb for. Incidentally, it is the first herb I ever recall using as a child.

Often seen in many homes as a decorative plant, aloe Vera is effective in treating minor burns, sunburns and scrapes.

Aloe Vera is an evergreen succulent that grows wild in tropical climates around the world. In colder climates, aloe Vera can be grown indoors as potted plants.

Aloe contains active compounds that help reduce inflammation and pain. These active compounds help stimulate skin growth and repair, in addition to acting as a moisturizing agent. Medical studies have shown that burns treated with aloe heal quicker than burns treated with silver sulfadiazine.

Bleeding and Cuts: Yarrow

According to mythology, the Greek hero Achilles used yarrow to stop the bleeding in his soldiers’ wounds.

Recently after a construction accident, my husband had a wound on his foot that nearly reached the bone. Unable to get to the doctors, I applied a yarrow compress to get the bleeding under control until he could receive medical attention. We have successfully used yarrow several times through the years to treat wounds and to stop bleeding.

Yarrow is a common weed that often can be found growing on the sides of the road. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) tends to grow best in sunny and warm climates. However, I’ve had success growing it in my shaded garden, as well.

Through numerous devices – clotting, unclotting, neurovascular control, flavonoids, etc. – yarrow regulates the flow of blood to and from the surface, in and out of the capillaries and venules, thickening and thinning. Through this, it cures all manner of wounds, bruises, hemorrhaging and clotting.

Stings/Bites: Plantain

I bet you’ve walked by this herb thousands of times without even realizing it, but plantain is the perfect treatment for bites and stings. Plantain has astringent properties that help reduce swelling and draw out the toxins from the bite.

When our daughter was just a couple of years old, she was playing with some wind-chimes. Little did I know that hornets had made a nest in them. She ran screaming to me with tears running down her cheeks from the pain. We instantly rushed outside to where I knew plantain was growing, mashed it up, and applied it to the stings. Within just a couple of minutes, the swelling was gone — and so were her tears.

Sickness: Usnea

I often laugh when I think of this herb, because for years I was told it was a sign of disease in a tree. Little did I know that usnea wasn’t a disease, but a cure!

Usnea is a pale grayish-green lichen that grows like leafless mini-shrubs or tassels anchored on bark or twigs. It grows all over the world and can usually be found on sick or dying trees.

Usnea is known to help staph infections, heal wounds, respiratory issues, allergy symptoms, sore throat, fungal infections, urinary infections and sinus infections. Usnea is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal, making it the perfect herb to treat sickness.

Headache: Willow Bark

Back in the 1980s, I watched a movie where they treated a headache with eating tree bark. That was my first introduction to the medicinal properties found in willow bark. 

From the University of Maryland Medical Center:

“The bark of white willow contains salicin, which is a chemical similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). In combination, with the herb’s powerful anti-inflammatory plant compounds (called flavonoids), salicin is thought to be responsible for the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of the herb. In fact, in the 1800s, salicin was used to develop aspirin. White willow appears to bring pain relief more slowly than aspirin, but its effects may last longer.”

If we take the time to study, learn and observe nature, we will realize that it offers us everything that we need to live. From food to medicine, the answer is often right outside our door

If you’re interested in learning more old remedies, you should read The Lost Book Of Remedies.

The physical book has 300 pages, with 3 colored pictures for every plant and for every medicine.

Lost Book of Remedies pages

It was written by Claude Davis, whose grandfather was one of the greatest healers in America. Claude took his grandfather’s lifelong plant journal, which he used to treat thousands of people, and adapted it into this book.

Learn More…

Lost Book of Remedies cover

14 Critical Lessons From The Great Depression – When Every American Was Worried About Where Their Next Meal

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During the Great Depression in the 1930s, nearly every American was worried about where their next meal was coming from – and for how much longer they would have a roof over their heads. A whole lot has changed in our country since, but those very realistic fears are still keeping preppers up at night.

Now, most preppers know they can open up a long-term food storage pouch and make a meal with just a little hot water and have enough survival camping gear to sleep six of more loved ones, but the underlying premise behind the worries which surfaced in great abundance during the Great Depression are what modern preppers are busy planning to shield themselves from both tomorrow and beyond.

Top 14 Critical Survival Lessons From The Great Depression:

1. Frugality

There are many important lessons we can learn from the folks who survived the Great Depression, but none is more important to apply to our daily lives than frugality. Creating a budget, living within it, now accruing debt, eating food you cook at home and not dining out except for special occasions, are but a few prime examples of living the type of frugal lifestyle that will leave money in your pocket when both it, food, and a paycheck, become scarce.

2. Sewing

Make your clothing last as long as possible by learning how to mend worn garments and repurpose them to give them new life in some other useful manner. You can also save/make extra money by having yard sales to make money on clothing that is in good shape but cannot be passed down, are great ways to avoid waste and always ensuring you and your family have warm coats, work clothes, socks without holes, to wear. The feed sack dresses made by poor farming families embarrassed some of the wearers, but are now considered works of art created expertly Great Depression survivors.

3. Foraging

It was not uncommon for families who lived through the Great Depression to have to forage for their own food and to craft new recipes from what they found, food that was still available in stores that had not shut down, and would fit their shrinking finances.

4. Garden

During the Great Depression, almost everyone had a garden, no matter how wealthy they had been before or where they lived. Every inch of grass around a city housing unit or yard space was dedicated to the growing of food to help prevent starvation, and to use the little bit of money they had to stave off living outdoors – which tens of thousands of former middle class Americans, were forced to do seemingly overnight.

5. Work

Take any type of work that you can get, nothing legal is beneath you – and likely a couple old fashioned illegal jobs, like moonshining, won’t be beneath you when the SHTF either. If your family needs money, do not dip into your savings of go deeper into debt, take a job mopping floors or parking cars if that is all there is available or can fit into your schedule – if taking it as a part-time gig. At the mercy of panicked creditors is not where you want to be if a financial collapse or other long-term disaster happens.

6. Hunting and Fishing

Folks put food into their bellies and garnered the protein they need to keep on working by hunting and fishing extensively – some for the very first time. If you live in a city or the suburbs and cannot hunt on your own land carpool out to public hunting areas in rural counties and harvest meat or fish to preserve and stockpile to save money and in case of emergency – which could be anything from job loss, to regional flooding, to an apocalyptic event.

7. Grocery List

Take a long hard look at your grocery list and eliminate costly items you can either do without or make yourself – even if that means learning how to cook when all you can do now is burn water. Been there, done that. Prepared and processed foods are both the least healthy and some of the most expensive items in the supermarket.

8. Swapping

During the Great Depression folks learned to swap items they were growing or raising with others who were cultivating something else they needed. Bartering nearly became king again during this dark ere. Eggs were traded for haircuts for a scarce job interview, tomatoes swapped for milk, etc. Start taking an inventory of what other members of your community are growing, raising, or services they are providing that you might need during a SHTF event and vice versa.

9. Food Waste

Only enough food was cooked for one meal because either there was not enough to go around of there was no way to preserve it. We should follow these same food conservation lessons today. The level of food waste in the United States is higher than in any other country on the planet.

Do not put leftovers in your fridge and let them go to waste. Make only enough for one meal at a time or better yet, make enough for two meal and freeze half of it. You can also make meals ahead (or meals in a jar) with only the dry items, and stockpile them for busy evenings and emergencies.

10. Avoid Self-Indulgence

For one entire week, track every penny you spend or use – i.e. cellphone package, cable, etc. If you actually tally up how much those morning cups of coffee cost, work lunches, running errands frequently instead of on a designated day to save fuel, impulse buys at a checkout counter, you may very well find that if you took your lunch to work, made your own coffee, and drove wisely, you could save a minimum o $100 per week.

11. Do The Work Yourself

Calling a plumber, electrician, lawn mowing service or other type of laborer can bust your budget quickly. Your skillset (and local laws about certification for skilled labor on home repairs is your live in the city or suburbs) will dictate how often you can do your own home and auto repairs. Work on honing and enhancing your skills so you can be your own handyman and mechanic – or trade services with others who can accomplish the task for you.

12. Air Conditioning

You can live without air conditioning, you really can. If your home has a basement, make it a summer living space to allow the family to stay cool without driving up your electric bill During the Great Depression women soaked sheets in water and hung them in doorways so the blowing air from open windows helped cool down their homes.

13. Commodities

During a crisis of any type, but particularly a financial one, commodities will go sky high before they disappear from store shelves. Learn to use cheaper substitutes, especially ones you can raise yourself, for common recipe ingredients.

To replace sugar in recipes, grow your own stevia plant or sugar beets. You can also use honey, corn syrup, and molasses as a sugar substitute. Evaporated milk or milk you dehydrated yourself, can be used as a substitute for store bought fresh milk. Live somewhere you can at least raise a Nigerian Dwarf dairy goat and you will have a reliable supply of milk – and by extension, cheese and butter.

14. Preserve More Food

Do not limit your food preservation efforts to simply what you can can or dehydrate from your own garden. Look for sales, double or triple coupon deals on foods you can dehydrate or have an extensive shelf life. It is not difficult to dehydrate eggs or dairy products, that are staples of our diet.

What To Do When SHTF In Your City: 5 Urban Survival Skills That Could Save Your Life

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In cities where buildings can collapse, drainage systems can go out of hand, and desperate populations are vying for limited resources, the only way to get through it all seems to be in getting out. It may sound easier said than done, because getting out of an urban jungle requires ultimate survival skills and a will that will never give up.

Staying put in your house, if by some miracle it still stands after a horrific hurricane or a terrible earthquake, is simply out of the question.

Yes, you may be prepared for that extent of disaster. There may be enough food in your pantry to last you and your family for a month. But you should never forget that, in urban disasters, the number one danger is not running out of food and starving, but the fact that misery and shock can force humans to take desperate measures – and this will definitely involve looting and killing.

To get out, you will need to learn essential urban skills that will help you every step of the way.

5 Urban Survival Skills to Learn

1. Adaptability

The primary skill you need to develop in order to survive an apocalyptic aftermath is the art of adapting. Disasters will throw you so far off your comfort zone that the initial shock of waking up to a whole new world will take time to wear off. But you cannot give in to self-pity or misery.

The skill of adaptability can be learned even in peaceful times. It only takes deliberate action from you. Try to put yourself in uncomfortable situations, like moving to a different city and trying the career you’ve always wanted. Take time to eschew your comfort, the way the stoics of the old do.

Finding the balance between pain and pleasure can take you a long way. You can indulge in pleasurable things like good food and wine, but you cannot let those control your life.

You can let pain course through your system, but you cannot let it dictate your actions. By finding the middle ground between the two, you can easily adapt to any changes around you.

2. Physical Skills

Walking long distances, running, jumping, and being physically fit are needed. After all, if you have to escape an urban area, you really need the physical power to go on and on for miles just in case fuel has run out and cars are rendered useless. Staying fit is not just part of a healthy lifestyle; it can also be a preparation for what’s to come.

Try long-distance walking and running to build your endurance over time and help you withstand strenuous physical exertions. Aside from that, weightlifting is also a must if you want to be able to last long on the road with eighty pounds on your back. Doing this regularly will not only improve your blood circulation but will also make sure that your body can cope when the time comes for you to walk and run great distances.

These will help you keep your strength up at all times

There are easy ways to keep up with your strength without machinery: run, do squats, planks, etc. But there are also ways to build up muscles that necessitate some help. Use the accessories below to stay in top shape (they take up very little space and work well)

3. Scavenging

Unlike in the wild, where you need to learn how to hunt for food and other resources, urban areas will be a different challenge altogether. There will be factories and homes that may retain anything useful, from scrap materials you can use to fashion a tool or canned goods that you can add to your depleting supply.

Since most people will normally focus on looting, you should be smart enough to get out of their way and use your brains to scavenge for things that you will really need. That means skipping the appliances and going for the materials you can make use of later, like newspapers and spare parts.

If food supplies come close to dwindling, that’s when you resort to hunting for food in the form of ducks and fish in the pond or even pigeons.

4. Creativity and resourcefulness

Resourcefulness is an ability that many people should acquire. This will be valuable in situations where you run out of supplies or simply need to make do with what you have. Being resourceful can lead you to materials that you can re-purpose to achieve your goals. They don’t have to be found in the obvious places.

5. Preparing a handy survival backpack

Preparation is a life skill you cannot do without. It won’t hurt to be prepared. After all, catastrophes are never predictable. Your top priority is preparing a survival kit that will comprise of tools, medicines, and other necessities that can aid you later on.

This includes a handy knife that can help you cut objects, open cans, clear a path, defend yourself from bad elements, and split woods for fuel. A multitool is ideal, especially when it contains pliers and a wrench. A well-stocked medicine kit will ensure your well-being if you have injuries or sudden illness.

For individuals who consider every possibility during a disaster, they’ll think of ways to make their way to safety. If it means navigating through alleys and walkways, then a compass and a copy of your city maps will do the trick.

If you want to break through a house that can keep you safe for the night, then stocking lockpicking tools will help a lot. Of course, you can always improvise with whatever it is in hand, but if you want a convenient way of doing this particular trick, you can invest in functional lockpick guns for a simpler method of opening locks.

Practice how they work, and master the tension tool, where you use minimal amount of pressure.

Your survival backpack must be sturdy enough to hold all the things you put in it but also not too heavy to carry around the whole time.

Now you’re ready to meet and survive disaster

The above skills are essential: it’s imperative you diligently cultivate them on a regular basis.

It is not enough that you learn; you should also make sure to practice constantly and prepare not just physically but also mentally and psychologically. These 5 urban survival skills could save your life!

Your will and courage can go a long way if you’re facing danger and you need a way out.

Preparing For the Future By Learning From the Past – 9 Natural Antibiotics To Use When the Medical System Is Gone

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Some of these remedies even date back thousands of years, as far back as the tribes of Central and South America. Now, perhaps with the advent of slow-living, these products are slipping back into style. Many appreciate the remedies for their simplicity, price, or their low-impact on the earth. Rather than spend $8 on sea salt spray, you can simple mix some salt with water and spritz it into your hair. You save money as well as a package.

In honor of our ancestors, we’ve gathered some of our favorite time-honored traditions. These timeless products have earned a permanent place in our pantries.

Note: If you’d like to discover even more Natural Remedies , we suggest checking out the  “Backyard Pharmacy” and “The Lost Book Of Remedies

Garlic

Raw garlic when crushed or chewed contains a compound called allicin – which has similar properties to penicillin.

This superfood member of the onion family is antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, and antioxidant (mopping up free radicals that have been proven to cause cancer).

For more than seven millennia, it has been used internally and externally to treat mild illness to serious diseases.

Everything from inflammation to colds to serious infections is minimized and/or obliterated with the addition of garlic and for those who don’t enjoy the taste, there are supplements as well. Check into “aged” garlic supplements for the best results.

Garlic is not only potent, it contains a host of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that are beneficial to total body wellness. Not to mention the cost is pennies in comparison to doctor visits and prescriptions!

Are you ready to turn back the clocks to the 1800’s for up to three years? Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were the last generation to practice the basic things that we call survival skills now…
WATCH THIS VIDEO and you will find many interesting things!

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Unlike chemical antibiotics that kill millions of friendly bacteria your body needs, its only goal is bacteria and microorganisms. Garlic also encourages and increases the level of healthy bacteria. It is a powerful antifungal agent and destroys any antigen, pathogen, and harmful disease-causing microorganisms.

  • Garlic packs a punch with phytochemicals and healing sulfur components. These sulfur compounds even chelate toxic heavy metals (like lead & cadmium), binding with them for excretion out of the body.
  • It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and even antiviral qualities.
  • It promotes the growth of healthy intestinal microflora by acting as a prebiotic (food for probiotics).
  • Garlic helps keep fats from oxidizing.
  • Garlic acts as a strong antioxidant and guards against DNA damage.
  • It protects against radiation & sunlight damage.
  • Garlic fights worms and parasites.
  • It benefits digestion, which is good for the whole body.
  • It contains many nutrients such as vitamins (C, B1, B2, B3), minerals (calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, and phytochemicals (Allicin, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, diallyl-disulfide, ferulic acid, geraniol, kaempferol, linalool, oleanolic acid, p-coumaric acid, phloroglucinol, phytic acid, quercetin, rutin, s-allyl-cysteine, saponin, sinapic acid, & stigmasterol).

Honey

Herbalists consider honey as one of the best natural antibiotics. It also contains antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. A 2014 study presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society found that honey has the ability to fight infection on multiple levels, making it more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance to it.

Ancient Romans used honey on the battlefield to treat wounds and prevent infection.

Civilizations all over the world continue to consider honey one of the best natural antibiotics, antimicrobials, anti-inflammatories, and antiseptics known to man after thousands of years.

Its unique combination of hydrogen peroxide, acidity, osmotic effect, high sugar concentration and polyphenols help kill bacterial cells. To get the antibiotic benefit of honey, always use raw, organic honey.

Olive leaf extract

This substance has been used for a number of centuries to battle bacterial infections and is now currently being used as well to fight MRSA infections in some European hospitals. It provides immune system support while fighting antibiotic-resistant infections. Olive leaf extract also has anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, it exhibits free-radical scavenging abilities.

  • You can make olive leaf extract for external use at home. Put a handful of finely chopped fresh olive leaves into a glass jar with a lid. Pour vodka over the leaves until they are completely covered. Close the lid and keep the jar in a dark place for 4 to 5 weeks. Using a cheesecloth, strain the liquid into another glass jar and your homemade olive leaf extract is ready to use.
  • Another option is to take olive leaf extract in supplement form. 250 to 500 mg capsules twice daily is the standard dosage. However, consult a doctor before taking the supplement.

I think you already know the answer to this, our government is preparing for a crisis – A MAJOR CRISIS
So make sure you watch this presentation while it’s still online…

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Turmeric

This herb has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for many thousands of years to treat a wide range of infections. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities have been known to be highly effective in the treatment of bacterial infections. The antimicrobial activity of curcumin against helicobacter pylori showed positive results. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder and 5 to 6 tablespoons of honey. Store it in an airtight jar. Have ½ teaspoon of this mixture twice daily.
  • You can also take turmeric supplements of 400 to 600 mg, twice daily. However, consult your doctor first.

Echinacea

With similar effects to garlic, it was traditionally used to treat open wounds, as well as blood poisoning, diphtheria and other bacteria-related illnesses. Echinacea is well tolerated and able to stimulate the immune system by naturally boosting infection fighters in your blood stream. Native to North America, Echinacea has been used for centuries in tribal medicine to treat pain and sickness.

Unlike garlic, this antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral solution is generally used at the first signs of illness and should not be taken for more than ten days. It is available in liquid and capsule form.

Echinacea is also used against many other infections including the urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream infections (septicemia), gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections, syphilis, typhoid, malaria, and diphtheria.

Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers are the most powerful circulation stimulators. They just send their antibiotic properties to fight the disease where it is mostly needed.

Onion

Onion is garlic’s closest relative and it has a similar but milder action. Together they create a strong fighting duo.

Raw apple cider vinegar

The far-reaching benefits of daily doses of apple cider vinegar (ACV) include antibiotic and antiseptic properties, naturally alkalizing your system, and can aid you in everything from managing your weight to lowering cholesterol and your risk of cancer.

A chemical-free astringent, ACV can be used topically to disinfect and sterilize.

Oregano oil

Oil of oregano is considered anti-microbial, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal.

It can be used internally and externally in the treatment of wounds, respiratory problems, digestive upset, and even the common cold.

  • For treating foot or nail infections, add a few teaspoons of oregano oil to a tub filled with warm water. Soak your feet in it for a few minutes daily for a week.
  • For sinus and other upper respiratory infections, put a few drops of the oil of oregano in a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam. Do this once daily until you get rid of the infection.

What’s amazing is we are just scratching the surface with this list of home remedies. There are many more home remedies out there.

If you’re interested in learning more old remedies, you should read The Lost Book Of Remedies.

The physical book has 300 pages, with 3 colored pictures for every plant and for every medicine.

Lost Book of Remedies pages

It was written by Claude Davis, whose grandfather was one of the greatest healers in America. Claude took his grandfather’s lifelong plant journal, which he used to treat thousands of people, and adapted it into this book.

Learn More…

Lost Book of Remedies cover

Want To Prep But Not Sure Where To Begin?

What Will You Eat When The SHTF? Neither FEMA Nor Any Other Governmental Agency Is Prepared To Take Care Of You In The Aftermath Of A Major Crisis

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Neither FEMA nor any other governmental agency is prepared to take care of you. If you believe that they are, and you are depending on that just take a glance back at any of the recent weather events and think of the chaos during Rita or Katrina .People were affected not just at the storm center of the hurricane but for a hundred or more miles around the perimeter.

Think of the Mayor of Baltimore, speaking about the rioters and looters running wildly through the streets of Baltimore when she said, “It’s a very delicate balancing act, because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”

This confusing statement was broadcast live as the rioters were wantonly destroying and burning businesses, churches, apartment buildings and toppling over police vehicles and taunting police. The mayor was saying ‘give the rioters space to destroy’!

Individuals and families should prepare to be self-reliant in times of personal and widespread tragedy.

In the aftermath of a major crisis, just about anything can happen to your food supply. This may include unexpected spoilage, theft, or other factors that cause your food supply to go dangerously low or run out.

You will need to be successful at hunting and foraging at least two weeks before supplies run out.

Basic Nutrients and What Happens When you Miss Them

There are 6 main nutrient areas required for good health: proteins (used for building and maintaining the body), carbohydrates (used for energy), fats (used for storage), fiber (no nutritional value, but keeps bowels healthy), and vitamins and minerals (used in just about every bodily process for signaling, beginning, and ending processes).

When you don’t have enough food, and those basic nutrients disappear from your diet, your body will react, as soon as the first signs of starvation appear.

Week 1: You become very hungry, angry, grumpy, irritable. You will begin to lose water weight, which triggers the body to start using fat reserves. Fat will burn immediately if you do not get enough carbohydrates to fuel the body.

This can set up a dangerous situation early on that causes kidney damage. Even if you are catching animals or consuming fish, it is extremely important to find a reliable source of fruit, greens, grain, or other plant based foods that will provide adequate carbohydrates since meat and fish tend to have little, if any usable carbohydrates.

Week 2: You start to get very depressed and begin to feel useless. There is an obvious loss of weight and a noticeable decline in muscle mass because the body is using muscles for protein to keep major organs functioning. Kidneys and liver will begin shutting down, eating will produce stomach pain and nausea.

Week 3: People start acting very crazy and would consider doing things that they normally would not do. Some may have starvation euphoria or other hallucinations at this stage, and perhaps even sooner depending on body weight at the beginning of the starvation period.

The body begins to swell from fluid under the skin. Victim may have bad diarrhea, and the stomach becomes unable to digest food due to decrease in stomach acid production.

Week 4: You have no energy. All that is left is to hang on and hope that you will make it. Most victims have hallucinations, go into convulsions, have horrible muscle pain, and unbelievable cramps through-out the body.

How to Survive for Two Weeks if Your Food Supply Is Gone

Once you enter the first day with reduced food, there will be less time to hunt or preserve food, and more time will be spent recovering from exhaustion and other problems.

Then what is to be done for the survival of the group?

Send out hunting, fishing, and foraging parties

These parties must be sent out as soon as possible before the first week of no food begins. These groups may have to travel long distances into new hunting, fishing, and foraging areas where they may encounter other survivors that will be hostile to them.

When assigning food, you will have to balance the needs of those left behind with those who will go out and forage. Be aware that if they are not successful within the ration limits, they too will suffer from starvation and lose their ability to bring back food.

Search for edible plants, edible insects, and edible reptiles

When people are very hungry they will eat almost anything that they would never think of eating  under normal conditions.

Plants, insects, and reptiles when eaten can keep you alive and in good condition. However, don’t forget to test any new food if you are not absolutely sure that it is edible.

What to Hunt  and Fish 

When you go hunting, always use appropriate caliber bullets or pellets. Ammo that is too large will destroy the meat while ammo that is too small will not kill effectively and make it possible for prey to escape.

Also, being successful hunting certain types of game depends on your experience and the available equipment.

Hunting and foraging parties should be out searching for food long before the stockpile is over, than you should be able to preserve food so that it will last without spoiling.

The Main Component To Survival That Everyone Needs To Consider: Stockpiling Food Might Be Your Best Investment When The SHTF

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Today I wanted to share tips for how to stockpile food for emergencies that anyone can use. I will focus on preppers who are just starting out, but I think some ideas in the topics below could be useful to anyone looking to ensure their family has food and does not go hungry.

I believe there are 5 main components to survival that everyone needs to consider. They are simply Water, Food, Shelter, Security and Hygiene.  The need for water and how you can easily store water for emergencies that render your traditional methods of obtaining water impossible. Water is more important to life than food or at least you can live longer without food than you can water, but they are both important.

Why do you need to stockpile food for emergencies?

If you are new to prepping, you may have something that triggered your awareness of the subject. Preppers have many reasons for doing what they do and no two preppers are alike. Some are preparing for the end of the world, but most see situations in our daily lives that give a perfect reason to stock up supplies. You have only to look at the recent winter storm that affected large swaths of the Eastern Seaboard to have a perfect example of why you don’t want to be left without a means to feed your family.

It seems almost cliché at this point, but invariably it always happens when a winter storm is forecast. Everyone rushes out to the store and certain food supplies are wiped out. Images of empty shelves are shown on practically every newscast and eventually prepper websites. Food shortages during simple storms are common if not expected. We don’t really even blink anymore because we are so used to this practice of waiting until the last-minute and then hitting the local grocery store on the way home from work to grab some basic necessities or comfort food.

If you can’t live for more than 3 days without going to the store, it’s time to reevaluate your family’s readiness. The statistic we hear most of the time is that the average home has only 3 days’ worth of food in it. If this is true, where would you be on day three if you had not been able to make it to the grocery store before the storm? What if instead of a snow storm, a virus outbreak had occurred and everyone was told to stay indoors to prevent infection? Each of us should have more food on hand that our families and friends will eat than is absolutely necessary to prevent surprises from leaving you hungry.

How much food do you need to store?

In the example above I used a virus outbreak as the condition that would prevent you from getting to the store. There are others though and weather could certainly be one of them. Some storms where I live have left roads impassable for upwards of a week. Could we walk to the store? Sure, but what if the stores having already been cleared of just about all of the food were closed? What if power outages prevented them from conducting any transactions? These are things you should consider.

Prepping is not something I ever consider you can accomplish. By that I mean, you are never going to be fully prepared. You may be much better prepared than some or all of the people around you, but you will never be 100% self-sufficient. Prepping should be done incrementally even if you have more money than you know what to do with because as you start to stock up food you learn lessons.

A good rule of thumb for me is to start small when you are beginning to stockpile food for emergencies. You don’t need a year of freeze-dried foods to start with. Try just having a week or two of extra groceries that your family already eats. This is accomplished without any exotic storage needs usually or 5 gallon buckets of grains you have to figure out how to prepare.

What are the best types of food to stockpile?

My wife purchases the groceries and I started out by giving her extra money to simply buy more food. I did this in the beginning because she is a much better shopper than I am and will always save more money than me. This worked great because she was easily able to fill our pantry and had plenty of meals planned to last us well over 30 days. Sure, at the end of that 30 days of food we would be getting into more exotic cans of mushrooms and soups that are better left as part of a recipe as opposed to your entire meal, but we wouldn’t starve.

Once we had a month worth of food and water stored up, I started looking at other options. I think each person should have a layered approach to food storage. This gives you flexibility and more importantly variety that as you go out to 6 months or 1 year or 2 will be important. My own personal goal is 2 years’ worth of food stockpiled for my family but that isn’t made up of only food from our grocery store. That can certainly be done though with a very good rotation plan.

Food storage should ideally cover the following:

Short Term Food Storage – The best and simplest foods are like I said above, what your family eats every day. One thing to consider is that the bulk of this food should be non-perishable in case you lose power. Canned foods are great as well as pastas, drink mixes and staples. These usually last at least a year.

Medium Term Food Storage – For the 5 – 10 year range MRE’s are a great option although they are heavier and their convenience comes at a higher price. I have several boxes of these and I like MRE’s because they are self-contained and don’t really need any water. Freeze dried camping foods like Mountain House are another great option to just add hot water to. Rice and beans make great additions to this category because you don’t really have to do anything crazy to store them as long as they are kept cool and dry.

Long Term Food Storage – When you start to look at foods that will keep for many years you get into stored grains like Hard Red Winter Wheat that you store in sealed 5 gallon buckets. Freeze dried food from any one of many suppliers out there keep for 20 years usually and are individually wrapped Mylar packets. They require water to re-hydrate but the taste can be surprisingly good. Make sure you have seasonings though….

Renewable Food Storage – This is when you have to get your inner farmer working. Renewable foods are an intensive garden, small livestock like chickens or rabbits and the occasional wild game caught either through hunting or snares. In the worst disasters, your food will run out so having a plan for that ahead of time will help you prepare.

How do you plan for your food eventually running out?

I have a mix of the food storage options above. We eat on our grocery store items every day, but I also have MRE’s and a pretty large amount of freeze-dried foods stored. We also have the grains I mentioned and the all-important grain mill to grind them into flour. Several hundred pounds of rice and beans round out the equation.

Stockpiling food is only the start. We have a garden and small flock of chickens. The stored food is just to get us through the worst of the disaster. Hopefully before our food runs out whatever disaster has happened will be mitigated and life will have returned to some sense of normality. If not, we have a huge leg up that will allow us to further harvest our garden to put away food like the pioneers had to do. It is an approach that gives us some sense of security and prepares us to come out on the other side still alive.

What is your plan to stockpile food for emergencies?