All posts for the month February, 2016

By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

In the last weeks of winter, you can sometimes find yourself in limbo. You’re itching for spring and the smell of the freshly turned dirt, the magic of planting seeds, and the good weather to get outside and have some fun. Meanwhile, it’s still cold, possibly slushy, and definitely too soon to plant or bring home baby animals for the farm in most areas. This week, the Self-Reliance Weekly Report is about taking some time to audit your self-reliance, get organized, and plan some projects. (And if you’re getting a big tax return, that might help fund your efforts.)

  The Self-Reliance Weekly Report is a collection of strategies, made up of the articles, books, DIYs, and products that I found useful on my own little prepper’s homestead.


Being organized is incredibly important.  It’s always nice to have a home in which you can find tings quickly, but in a disaster situation that takes on a whole new level of importance. If the lights are out, how quickly can you lay hands on needed supplies? How long would it take you to find a vital first aid item while a family member suffered a medical emergency? This article will help you get your home and preps more organized. And while it’s all well and good to put things away properly, it’s also important to document where you put stuff, especially when your “stuff” is prepper level and placed in various hidey-holes all over your home. (Speaking of hidey-holes, here are 20 places to stash your preps.)  Finally, here are a few hacks to help you stash things away.

Are you just getting started with your preparedness endeavors? This guide is your outline. If you want to be prepared, break it down into simple steps so you don’t get overwhelmed.  Make sure to use checklists to document what you’ve done, what you need to do, and how you plan to do it so that you stay on track. This article can help you build a one-month food supply quickly so that you have at least some supplies while you work on your survival plan. If you have a tax refund coming, here’s a guide to spending it on preps.

Are you absolutely positive you want a prepper “team”?  In fictional accounts, people always band together with others who are like-minded, and indeed, going it alone is difficult and dangerous. But building a team is also rife with potential conflict. Read these scenarios and think about how to avoid the problems that go hand-in-hand when you team up with others.

Have you ever dreamed of going completely off the grid?  My personal long-term survival plan doesn’t include fancy solar arrays that work in the shade, whole house generators,  or propane fueled modern appliances. If there was a power outage with no end in sight, my goal is to go low-tech. The best way to do that successfully, of course, is to begin creating your off-grid lifestyle now. Read about how one family transitioned to a completely off-grid homestead for a fraction of the cost you might expect. While every idea may not work for you, the couple’s creative solutions may inspire solutions that will work.


Use your tax return to improve your homestead. No matter how big or small a lump sum of money is, you can use it wisely to improve your homestead. This very thorough list gives suggestions for all budgets. If you are looking for some tried-and-true mechanical items, this lifelong farmer recommends his top 4 tools.

Are you using raised beds for your garden this year?  I am a big fan of raised garden beds because they help you amend and water only the soil you need, two things that are very important in my hot, dry climate. Those aren’t the only reason to switch to raised beds – check out this list of why raised beds might be the best choice for you, too. This is a very simple, inexpensive DIY to make your own raised beds for your backyard garden. If you aren’t into building, I’ve had some excellent success with these cloth raised beds by the company that makes Smart Pots. (They’re very budget-friendly, too.)  And if you’re just getting started, here are 10 of the very easiest things to grow in your new raised beds.

It’s seed starting time – woohoo!  Last year, because of when I moved, I ended up buying plants at the nursery. This year, I can hardly wait to start my seeds indoors. There’s something magical about nurturing those teeny little seeds and watching them sprout, and it’s far more economical, too.  This page has a ton of absolutely fantastic articles on seed starting that you should check out before you do anything. By the way – don’t spend a lot of money on storebought seed mats or seed tape. It’s unbelievably easy to make your own using common household supplies.


Books and Products

The following are products that I personally use and have recommended in the article above. (These are affiliate links, and purchasing through them costs you nothing extra but provides a small commission.)

Creating-Your-Off-Grid-Homestead-750x971If you’ve ever thought about creating your own off-grid homestead, do I have the book for you. It’s called Creating Your Off-Grid Homestead: Radical Inspiration and Practical Advice. I read this entire book in one sitting, then went back over it to choose some projects for my own homestead.  Teri Page documented her family’s creation of a home that is completely off the grid. She is careful to point out that not every family wants to live like hers does, and ends each chapter with a list of thought-provoking questions that will help you to make decisions that will actually be workable for your own situation. The family spent very little money creating their homestead, so don’t think this is a giant undertaking only fit for the very wealthy. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who wants to go completely off the grid or for those who want the capability to function when the grid is down, while still enjoying their modern conveniences today.


Smart PotsCheck out this economical raised bed solution. If you are looking to add raised beds to your yard but don’t have the money to invest in high-quality wooden beds, try these fabric raised beds from Smart Pots. I had excellent luck with them – they provide excellent drainage while keeping moisture in at the same time. You can easily move them the following year if you want to relocate your garden, unlike a more permanent structure, and, best of all, if you don’t have good soil or an actual yard, you can place these on a patio or deck. A 50″ diameter bed is only $32.47 at the time of publication. I plan to use mine again at my new location for some of my veggies.


Preppers WorkbookGet organized and get prepped!  I’m a huge fan of lists, and The Prepper’s Workbook: Checklists, Worksheets, and Home Projects to Protect Your Family from Any Disaster does not disappoint. You can use this book to go through your preps and get the satisfaction of marking this off that you already have. Then, with what you have left, you can make an easy list of the things you need to still acquire. The book is laid out in a workbook format that is simple to use. You will be far more organized after going through the steps in this guide.



Farm Blog

We had a big success at the homestead this week: we had our first meal of home-raised meat. Those pesky ducks went over to a friend’s place last week, where I bartered one of them in return for having the others butchered. (Due to our impending move, I just wasn’t quite ready to embark on butchering them myself.)

I don’t think I’ve ever had a more satisfying meal in my life. No, it wasn’t cooked absolutely perfectly. (This was my first time cooking duck – total learning experience.) It wasn’t gourmet. But the fact that I provided a good life to these animals instead of the suffering that occurs at factory farms combined with the fact that we are finally realizing some food from all of our efforts made it seem like the finest feast that was ever served.

I picked up some farmer’s market asparagus and served it with some squash from the root cellar. Here was our dinner:

Duck dinner

Also from the food front, we’re getting 5 eggs per day on a regular basis. I’m hoping that this is the year we finally accomplish our goal of raising more than half of our own food.

Hopefully, I can keep up with my publishing schedule over the next couple of weeks, but if not, you’ll know that I got buried under a pile of boxes. Moving when you are a prepper is such a vast undertaking, and one I’ve done way too many times.

While renting is awesome in that I’m not paying the $18,000 bill to relocate our septic system and pump it up a hill, what isn’t so awesome is the lack of control you have. When you rent, even with a lease, you are subject to the whims of the home’s owners. If the property is sold, sure, you still get to stay because of your lease, but there may be changes that put a damper on your homesteading activities. If something goes wrong, the repair timeline is completely out of your hands. Fellow renters, I’m sure you can relate.  Anyway, 3 more weeks and we’ll be done, just in time to welcome our baby chicks and start our seeds.

What’s going on at your farm or urban homestead right now?  How’s the weather in your area? Please share your updates in the comments below!

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: The Self-Reliance Weekly Report: Getting Organized

About the author:

Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.



By Mac Slavo –

In a SHTF event, underground is exactly where many people plan to go to ride out the storm of whatever has descended upon society.

With brewing unrest and economic collapse, the elite have poured millions of dollars into luxury underground communities – many fitted to be more like five-star hotels than emergency bunkers. Even the Davos elite have expressed worry. Those with the means to do so hope to use private planes and helicopters to escape and hideaway. Continuity of Government (COG) operations have a parallel government structure in place buried in fortified mountains redoubts that can withstand all contingencies.

For the rest of us, it is only the most well-prepared among us who will have access to underground facilities – where families could seek refuge from marauding masses, extreme weather, criminals and rapists, police sweeps and paramilitary raids among other scenarios. With the right structure, retreat and hideaway preparations, it could be one of your most important assets.

There are many companies that will install these shelters, but the main barrier for almost every prepper is cost, and a balance of priorities for your limited resources. So it is no surprise that many people have figured out how to build their own.

There’s plenty of disagreement over what methods are best, and sufficiently safe enough, to endure time, the elements and the incredible weight of the earth when considering underground shelters. Further, everyone will have different preferences and needs.

But this man successfully built a very nice looking underground shelter using a 20′ shipping container, with a reinforced concrete entrance using a process that is simple enough to be DIY, with the exception of lowering the container into the ground, and the use of heavy equipment to excavate the earth (which could be DIY).

Whether you think buried shipping containers are ideal, or disastrous, is worth checking out this idea from Wayne Martin’s YouTube channel:

Final attempt to record building of an underground shelter using a 20 ft. shipping container. For those wondering why I didn’t simply pile dirt over it without pouring a concrete cap first….. These containers are mostly sheet metal. Heavy duty as it is, the roof and sides will push inwards from the weight. Eventually the metal will rust through and you’ll be buried alive. My way will insure it is still there a few hundred years from now. Problem is, you’d better keep an eye on your sump pump. If it goes bad or loses power, you’ll go in one day and find it the whole thing flooded. A surface alarm letting you know the water level is above where it should be isn’t a bad idea. Putting the sump pump on a UPS is also a good thing.

Some have ruled out shipping containers, however, because water and moisture are such important considerations, and these metal boxes are not water tight without being sealed up and reinforced, in spite of the sump pump system which is basically mandatory for these structures.

SHTF commenter “Genius” explained that, for this reason, he recommended building a shelter inside a 2000+ gallon septic tank, which is plenty large enough for people and supplies, and is built for water tightness:

Hey Man, you might want to rethink the buried container idea. I have seen first hand a man that buried a container and the next spring it had 3 feet of water in it. They are anything BUT waterproof! You will waste a lot of money and labor if you think it will seal your stuff. A better idea is to bury a few (or a lot) of the biggest plastic septic tanks with good lid seals, they are not as roomy but way way better sealed and rustproof and a hell of a lot easier to haul to your location and bury. If you buried oversea containers where would you get rid of all the excess dirt, how would you hide that? A 2000 gallon septic tank is big enough for 4 people and quite a few supplies. You also need to think about a powered ventilation system, I use 12 volt computer fans with 3 inch pvc pipe, a sealed 12 volt battery, a 20 watt solar panel and a small charge controller. get 2 batteries and a 50 watt panel and you can run your radio and charge small things and have light (led). Please think again before you waste your precious resources on buried containers, you will thank me later :)

This YouTuber, RealWorldReport, shares his approach on how to build a buried structure from scratch with lumber – and on a limited budget:

Mike Oehler wrote the classic book The $50 & Up Underground House Book on building underground homes on the cheap back in the 70s, geared towards minimalists and off-the-gridders.

Many of these same ideas can be utilized in tailoring an underground shelter plan for your prepping needs. They center around sound principles of construction, using found or cheap materials, consideration for a water/moisture barrier, novel solutions to water runoff that could damage an improperly built underground home, and general principles for concealing your home and blending in with the beauty of the natural environment.

Depending upon your situation, a well thought out panic room can be built – and concealed – in your existing structure, or a closely connected one either above or below ground. Joel Skousen is the leading authority on the DIY, common sense and time tested strategies for The Secure Home – including how to reinforce your entire home, as well as how to construct a protected and unnoticed safe room for any emergency that may arise.

This article first appeared at How This Man Converted “Underground Shelter Using a 20 Ft. Shipping Container”

survival knife

By  – SurvivoPedia

Ask a prepper what’s in his pockets, and he’ll tell you about his knife first, for sure. But just any knife will simply not do! And every prepper has his favorite one, so recommending the best knife will certainly not please everyone.

But there are knives better than others and everyone agrees on that. And what’s even more important when choosing your knife is a set of criteria that you have to keep in mind before investing in one.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: What Makes A Good Survival Knife

Cook Using Food Storage Ingredients | Backdoor Survival

By Gaye Levy – Backdoor Survival

Something you may not know is that I keep a folder in my email client where I stash reader comments and emails for future sharing.  For one reason or another, the folder was buried and when I checked this morning, there were over 70 items saved.  Sounds like its time for some digital housekeeping, right?

This week the Survival Buzz is going to focus on reader questions, mail and tips relative to food storage.

But first, I want to share a downloadable eBook with you.  The title is “Cooking with Food Storage Ingredients“.  It was created by the Utah State University Extension Service and is chock full of tips as well as recipes.  The section on wheat is exceptionally good.

Continue reading at Backdoor Survival: Survival Buzz: How to Cook Using Food Storage Ingredients

About the author:

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on


pinworm eggs wikimedia

By Joshua Krause – Ready Nutrition 

Pinworms exist among many subjects that most people would rather not talk about. And who could blame them? In case you don’t know, pinworms are an intestinal parasite that anyone can be infected with if they happen to ingest their microscopic eggs. They live in your bowels for several weeks before emerging from your rectum at night to lay eggs, which leads to unbearable itching. That itching gets the eggs under your fingernails and bed sheets, which helps the parasite spread to new hosts.

I can already sense some of you moving your cursor to click away from this dreadful topic, but before you do, consider this: At any given time, between 10% and 15% of the population is infected with pinworms, most of them children. This isn’t some exotic parasite you pick up after visiting a developing nation. You can get them anywhere, and although children between the ages of 5 and 10 are the most susceptible (on account of their poor hygiene) anyone can get infested with pinworms. Statistically speaking, it will happen to you at some point if it hasn’t already.

So how do you get rid of these nasty critters? There are several options, the most common being over the counter medicines. Pyrantel and mebendazole are the most common treatments, and you take them the same way. You ingest one dose, which will kill the worms but not the eggs. Then you take another dose two weeks later to kill the new pinworms as they hatch. Both of these drugs have a high cure rate, and can be found in most drug stores.

Unfortunately, they’re not suitable in all cases. They’re not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, and they may cause problems for people who are taking certain prescription drugs. They’re also known to cause nausea, headaches, vomiting, cramps, and insomnia. And in any case, they don’t work 100% of the time. That’s why you may also want to consider a few of these natural remedies:

  • Consume raw garlic on a daily basis. Unlike the over the counter drugs, this will kill the worms and the eggs.
  • A daily dose of food grade diatomaceous earth can kill the worms. It can also be applied to diapers and bed sheets to keep them from multiplying.
  • The sulfur in onions creates an environment in your digestive system that repels pinworms. Eat raw onions, or soak chopped up onions in water and drink it throughout the day.
  • Eating pumpkin seeds won’t kill the worms, but there are compounds in the seeds that will paralyze them. Rather than clinging to the intestinal walls, they will slip away during bowel movements
  • Wormwood and ground up black walnut shells are often taken together to kill many parasites, including pinworms.
  • Apple cider vinegar doesn’t kill pinworms, but it does lower the pH in your bowels. The worms can’t thrive in that environment, and will die off naturally without multiplying.
  • Cut excess sugar out of your diet. Pinworms love sugary foods, and struggle to survive without them.

Keep in mind that whatever treatment option you choose, it’s important that every member of the household is treated. These critters are highly contagious. Their eggs are light enough to go airborne, and they can stick to anything. If one person in the house has pinworms, it would be best to assume that everyone has them. And unlike the medicines you buy in the drug store, any natural treatment that doesn’t outright kill the worms should be continued for 13 weeks, which is the full lifespan of a pinworm. If you fail to follow any of these procedures, there’s a good chance that you’ll get infested with pinworms over and over again.

As you can imagine, dealing with pinworms is a major pain in the butt, figuratively and literally. Fortunately, there are ways to keep yourself from getting infected in the first place.

Cleanliness of the highest order is key. In all seriousness, if you’re OCD, you’re ahead of the curve in this case. First and foremost, everyone in your house needs to keep their fingernails trimmed at all times, especially if you have any kids. The most common way they spread is from kids scratching their behinds, and getting the eggs burrowed under their nails.

Wash your hands frequently and take a shower every morning, because the eggs are always laid overnight. Clean your bed sheets, towels, and clothes every few days, for at least for the three weeks following any treatment regimen. Dry them on high heat, which should kill the eggs.

Clean your house religiously for several weeks. Every item and surface in your home needs to be cleaned on a regular basis, because the eggs can survive for 2-3 weeks outside of the body. You might want to consider wearing a face mask while you clean to prevent the eggs from being inhaled or swallowed. The eggs typically don’t last long in the sunlight though, so keep the drapes open and let in as much sun as you can.

And finally, you should learn to stop touching your face. It’s an incredibly difficult habit to break, but like everything else listed above, it will go a long way towards keeping pinworms out of your body, and out of your life.

Additional links:

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition: How to Prevent and Cure a Pinworm Infestation

About the author:

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger



Meat Preservation, The Native American Way

By James Smith Off The Grid News

Native American traditions in food consumption varied greatly, owing much to the diversity of habitats.

For example, the Alaskan Athabascans had very different diets than the Brazilian tribes in the Amazon rainforest. There were also a variety of lifestyles for different tribes as well. Some tribes settled into one place year round, farming the land and being very agricultural, while others were semi-nomadic, following the herds and moving with the seasons as they hunted and gathered their foods. But one constant in both tribal lifestyles was a need for meat accumulation and preservation for use in the winter months and during long hunting and trading expeditions.

In the days before supermarkets, Native Americans in these ancient societies found food for their families in four basic ways: hunting and fishing, gathering, farming, and raising domesticated animals.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: Long-Term Meat Preservation, The Native American Way


Image: ADX ‘Supermax’, Florence,CO (Getty Images)

By Ken Jorgustin – Modern Survival Blog
Here’s a hypothetical for you: While considering the worst case scenario whereby societal collapse and/or complete infrastructure failure (e.g. EMP, grid-down) leads to the escape/release of prisoners within the U.S., do you know where the prisons and prisoners are located, and are any of them near where you live?

Or how about this… Do you know which states have the highest and lowest imprisonment incarceration rates, and how this may or may not affect you depending on where you live?

Continue reading at Modern Survival Blog: Is There A Prison Near You?