Sep 04

Built to Last “My Homestead” where I am!

Backwoods Home150x100The elderberries are ripe and the first signs of changing seasons are appearing, soon fall will be on the wind. Join Lynna on The Other Side… A Preppers Path as she brings in the first day of September with a smile and a look at Built to Last My Homestead. Often when thinking of a homestead we envision a country mural with a quaint farmhouse, smoke curling out of the chimney, a wood stack nearby, chickens roaming a green expanse with a barn and other critters milling about. A perfect picture of a sustainable self-reliant home but in reality that is just one take on a homestead.

Homestead6-8Are you yearning for that picture of a homestead, wishing away your days and nights, take heart and come realize your homestead right where you are TODAY. They say the home is where the heart is, where you are is your stead, turn your stead into your homestead today, whether you are in the rural wilds, a sprawling downtown urban apartment, a tucked away subdivision, a boat, or any other place you call home. Homesteading is about living life in a self- sufficient, reliable and sustainable method, we think it has to be out in the country somewhere and frankly that is the pinnacle of homesteading but today you can take steps to realize the homesteader in you.

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May 29

New Strain of Bird Flu Could Appear in Washington State First

By Stephanie Dayle
 
Washington State Department of Agriculture officials are urging owners of backyard chicken to sign up their flock for bird flu testing. This is not a conspiracy theory in the making about how the state is spying on your flock, this is a serious preventive measure and early warning signal. Even if you choose not to sign your flock up, use the information in this article to Be Aware and Be Prepared.
The latest strain, H7N9, is carried by birds that do not show any symptoms, which means your flock could be infected and you would not even know.  Some wild migrating birds have flight paths that connect China with the west coast of North America, specifically Washington State. As a chicken keeper in Washington State myself, I did not know this until recently.
Even birds that appear healthy may be infected with bird flu.While there has never been a bird flu outbreak here, one of the places this wild strain might surface is in chicken flocks many people keep in their backyards, especially those that are near a water source. When wild birds complete their overseas journey they need to rest somewhere and rehydrate before continuing on to their destination. While not an easy task some backyarders strive to keep their flocks separate from wild birds for this reason.
At the highest risk are flocks that are kept in the same area as commercial poultry. A small unchecked outbreak in such an area might lead to a massive outbreak similar to the one that devastated the chicken industry in British Columbia a decade ago.
Things you can do to help keep your flock safe include: Keeping them separate form wild birds, since this is not Do the best you can to protect your flock from bird flu.always possible flock owners can still keep their waterers clean by spraying them down with a bleach dilute or vinegar (warning: do not use vinegar on galvanized metal waterers). Apple cider vinegar is a healthy additive to your chickens water and it also helps to discourage disease from taking up residence in the waterer. The common mix is one tablespoon to one gallon of water. I have also heard of people adding colloidal silver to their chicken’s water for it’s disinfecting powers.
About 50 households who keep chickens in the state have volunteered for testing. They would like to expand that if possible. The birds will be tested twice over a year, first swabbed then their eggs later tested to harm or rough handling is required. Any willing volunteers are urged to call the Avian Health Hotline at 1-800-606-3056.

 

Click here to visit my blog, The Home Front.

Sources:  KPLU – NPR Radio; Scratch and Peck

Apr 08

Cold Weather Clothing / Layering

Dear Readers,

This is a guest post by Jason E. Hill.  If you are interested in more information from him, he can be reached at  No Jokes Survival.  

Please enjoy!

Josh

APN State Blog Editor
The Daily Prepper News

 

Cold Weather Clothing / Layering

1. Cotton Kills! What it actually does is trap moisture and is very poor at insulating.

2. Heat is lost from the body through exposed skin. This can be your head, neck, hands, or your legs if your one of those Viking types that wears shorts in the winter. Cover all exposed areas to maintain warmth.

3. Loose clothing in layers is good because it allows warm air to be trapped between the layers.

4. Stay dry! Although some materials will maintain a certain amount of insulating properties…your body will cool quicker when it is wet…up to 25 times quicker than dry.

5. In order for the body to be able to properly regulate temperature…you must be hydrated and fueled. This means you must drink plenty of water and eat snacks, even in a cold environment.

Baby wearing layered clothing.Layering

Base Layer: A base layer is designed to ‘wick’ moisture away from the body where it can then evaporate. The base layer should be close fitting to allow proper wicking of moisture.

Polyester, Polypropylene, and wool (merino)

Middle Layer: The middle layer should be an insulating layer. It can also be multiple layers of insulating materials depending on the weather conditions. They should be somewhat loose fitting to allow pockets of air to be trapped.

Wool and Fleece are the most common insulating middle layers.

Outer Layer: This layer should be windproof and waterproof. The function of this layer is to protect you from the elements such as wind, rain and snow. This layer is designed to keep you and your other layers DRY.

Waterproof, Waterproof Breathable (Gore-Tex)

Foot Layer: This is the most often overlooked layer of protection and possibly the most important. In a cold/wet weather environment you want to have a waterproof boot. If your feet get wet..its hell trying to get them dry again. I personally invest in a quality waterproof boot that is also insulated…because I don’t like me feet being cold.

Extremities Layer: A hat for your head. Choose one that will block the wind. A hat may look warm until a 20 mph wind is blowing cold air on your ears. Buy something of quality that is windproof and preferably insulated. Gloves- Different activities demand different products, but as a rule I like a waterproof insulated glove. Cold and wet hands are a major bummer. Socks – Polyester/Polypropylene for a base layer, wool for the outer layer. This not only wicks moisture away from your foot but the inner layer of sock will move inside the outer layer and helps prevent blisters while hiking. Scarf- protect your neck from the cold/wind.

 Materials

Fleece – good insulator…even wet, dries quickly, absorbs little moisture, similar to wool…but lighter

Wool – good insulator when wet, transfers moisture well, feels warm even when significantly wet

Down – great warmth to weight ratio, can pack very small, very lightweight, loses insulating ability when wet, dries slowly, expensive

Synthetic – (Thinsulate, Primaloft) not as good warmth to weight ratio, absorbs little moisture, dries quickly, good insulator when wet, typically less expensive than down

Cotton – inexpensive, poor insulator…especially when wet, poor moisture transfer

Silk – is soft against the skin, good insulator, good moisture transfer. It is a natural product and can be a little expensive.

Waterproof – (plastic) typically used for raincoats, completely wind and waterproof, allows no moisture in or out. Some items have zippered underarms to allow release of moisture or condensation.

Waterproof Breathable – (Gore-Tex) also known as ‘Hard-Shell’ This material has a porous membrane that repels liquid water but allows water vapor to escape. Typically expensive.

Water Resistant – also known as ‘Soft-Shell’ This material typically has a water repellent coating. It is not completely waterproof. Soft shell jackets breathe well, are softer and more comfortable and typically much cheaper.

New products and technologies are constantly coming into the marketplace. Newer coatings and materials are making jackets more waterproof, more breathable, lighter and less expensive.

 

 

Feb 10

Gleaning

While looking through the archives, I came across this post by Jerry.  It was a good one when he wrote it and is a good one now.  I know I will be looking for local produce just “hanging around” so to speak that will go to waste otherwise.  Enjoy!

Josh

The Daily Prepper News

 

I am sure many already think of this, so I am just going to put this out there.

In my community there is a gleaning “club” at the local senior center. Local farmers often have a contract for so many ton of a certain crop. Once they reach the quota, if the market is soft they will cull the remaining crop. Before they do they will give the senior center a call and say come get all you want. They in turn give us a call and say come get all you want. This is my first year and so I have high hopes. So far this year we have received calls for carrots.

So that is the “Club” way of doing things. Another way is to just get to know the farmers yourself. Often times they don’t mind you coming out to glean after harvest. Here is a few examples:

Apples (I do live in Washington): they are labor intensive to harvest so some years they just leave them on the trees because labor is too expensive. Even if they do harvest them all, there are pollinator trees they do not harvest, so harvest these. Then there is always the windfall fruit or any fruit that falls on the ground cannot be put in the boxes to market.

Fruits: often many people have fruit trees in their yards and never harvest anything, maybe a bucket or two but never really touch the bulk of the yield. Approach the homeowner and ask for permission to harvest, and get all you can. Then go home can it and make sure you bring back some of your bounty to the donor. They will be more inclined to let you come back next year, if you give them some jam or a pie.

Potatoes: They are every where here. Go out soon after, same day if possible, harvest and pick out the culls they throw off. Lots of times they don’t always get every single piece harvested, on the edges of the field they will leave a little for you.(http://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/ruth/2?lang=eng) After harvest is over I have a friend that allows me to get all I need from his spud shed. Even after that my brother hauls spuds for the farmers to the plants. At the plants they often have QA rejects and it just goes to the hogs. I have been known to eat hog food; we have the same stomach you know.

Carrots: This is one of those contract things, most of the times a farmer gets a contract for say 100 ton, they grow a full circle to ensure they meet their quota, and usually fill quota with only 1/2-2/3rds of circle. The balance of circle is then tilled back into ground. If you have contacts this can be an easy source.

Grains: This one has eluded me for the most part. We have had a couple of train derailments which has provided some grains. Near the grain silos they spill some and just let the birds collect. I am a bird brain sometimes. It is easier for me to buy directly from farmer, at least until I find a way to glean it consistently.

Breads: This I think any one can do. In my town and many across the US there are bread stores that sell close dated bread (breads that are about to expire) to me this just mean opportunity. I buy it in the form of animal feed (sometimes they call it hog food). I buy a rack (about a pick-up load) at a time; it usually costs me $25. Most of this truly does go to the birds, but I do scavenge through and preserve my favorite types of breads and sweets. I usually freeze what I will use in the next month or two; it takes that long to get through the list back to me. After I pick through what is family food I just unpackage the rest to dry up so it does not mold. Then I feed it to my chickens.

I know not everyone has the same opportunities. I think if one to look around they would see the waste all around then try to find out where you can get the freshest waste available. Sometimes, more often than not, it is even fresher than market. Some of these strategies may take time to build up, but the reward can be very big, if you are willing to invest some time.

I am always looking for new ways to get lots of food to either store or consume. This is just some things I have done to help reduce the food bill for our large family. If you have others ideas please post.

Apr 23

Being Thrifty In a Bad Economy!

Does the threat of $4+/gallon gas make you queasy? How about a trip to the local grocery store? Let’s not forget all the other daily essentials that are costing more than ever! Want to find ways to offset the thin wallet syndrome? See what these preppers are doing to combat inflation…

 

Thanks to MomtoMany for starting the topic on APN.

Apr 16

Find Prepping Supplies at the Dollar Store!

In this economy, it’s always nice to save some cash wherever you can! See how these preppers save by shopping at the dollar stores.

 

Thanks to 2leelou for starting the thread on APN

Apr 02

Skyrocketing Ammo Prices and Reloading…

Seems ammunition prices are rapidly heading upward. One option to offset costs would be learning to reload your own. See the discussion here.

 

Thanks to SaltyDog for starting the topic at APN!

Apr 01

Warming and cooling your body

When emergencies happen, many times there is no power, and at least in my experience the weather is seldom perfect.  This coupled with stress, illness, overexertion or poor weather conditions can create serious problems for people.  The very young and very old are especially susceptable to these adverse conditions.

There are several “passive” ways to help people regulate body temperature but here is one that a doctor showed me years ago and has worked for me for a long time.

You have a large blood supply going up the inside of your thighs and under your arms.  If you put something hot between your legs or under your arms it will quickly warm that blood supply and in turn your whole body.  If you put something cold in the same place it will cool the body.

You don’t need, nor is it wise to use something too hot or cold but just something enough different from the body temp that it feels warm or cool.  Soon the heat or cold will transfer into the hot or cold pack and then you can change it so that it will absorb more of the heat or cold.

There are many different ways to make a pack to do this.  You can put rice in a sock and tie a knot in the top.  Then heat the rice in a pan over the fire or in the oven or whatever you have.  Wal Mart sells old fashioned hot water bottles that last a longtime and can be either hot or cold and only cost a few dollars.  Flax seed works like rice but holds heat or cold longer.  Grains do well for hot applications but without electricity hot water bottles are better for cold applications because you can usually find water cool enough to work where as you need to cool the rice or flax.

 

Apr 01

WILD HERBS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST OR WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THOSE WEEDS STINGING NETTLE

Since spring is almost here I thought it might be good to talk a little about all those wild herbs we have here in eastern Washington. We are very lucky to live in an area where there are so many wild plants that can provide much of the nutrition and medicine that we need if for some reason we can’t get to the store.

One of my favorites is the nettle. Well I should say I have something of a love hate relationship with nettles actually. While there is nothing worse than walking through a patch in shorts before you realize what’s there, they are chock full of vitamins, minerals, and medicinal qualities. Nettles have been used as both food and medicine since ancient times.

Nettle tea makes an excellent spring tonic. The leaves and stems contain protein, iron, phosphorus, calcium, beta-carotene, magnesium, and vitamins A, C and B complex. There are many recipes for cooking spring nettles on the Internet and many ways to enjoy this healthy green. One of the easiest ways is to pack a cup about half full with fresh washed nettles, remembering to use gloves to gather them and fill the cup. Then pour boiling water over the herbs to fill the cup. You can also eat them as cooked greens. Just remember that they will sting you when they are fresh but as soon as they are cooked they will not.

Herbalists have been using nettles for a variety of remedies for hundreds of years. It has been used for gout, anemia, arthritis, painful muscles and joints. Now some people have begun using the root for treating enlarged prostate, although you should always talk to your doctor first.

Nettles grow everywhere in northeast WA state and provide free nutrition and medicine for the picking.

Mar 28

Is the Moon Actually Out of Place?

Find out what preppers think about the moon being out of alignment!

 

Thanks to Gannett for starting the topic at APN!

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