Monday, July 17, 2017

An Earthship Overview

Earthships were first heard of in the 1970’s when Michael Reynolds, an architect, decided to design a home that would do three particular things:

  1. It would be constructed of sustainable materials, recycled materials or materials that came from the local area where the home was being built.
  2. All of its energy sources would be natural, leaving it completely off the grid.
  3. It would be possible for someone with no knowledge of construction to build one.


They are constructed primarily of tires filled with rammed earth and usually built in a U-shape. This method came about since it’s hard to construct ninety-degree angles with tires. Each tire holds an average of an entire wheelbarrow load of dirt, which is put inside the tire, and then rammed into place with a sledgehammer. As such, each tire weighs about three hundred pounds. It’s one of the most secure structures at this point.

Earthship Water
The roof construction is usually based on wooden trusses and heavily insulated so little to no heat will be lost. Water is collected from the roof the local environment, from rain and condensation for example. Normally collected into a cistern, it is used for all water necessities except toilet flushing. That is accomplished by greywater that has been recycled throughout the home.



Earthship Power
Power for these homes comes from both solar and wind sources and then inverted into electricity for use in the home. Batteries are stored in special rooms built just for that purpose and collect the power harvested. This electricity is used for just about anything in the home. However, the Earthship is neither heated nor cooled using electricity.



Earthship Food Production
Part of the home is known as the “Earthship wetlands”. These planters make use of the greywater from sinks, showers and other household uses to grow fresh fruits and vegetables to help feed the family throughout the winter. There is no better way to get organic food you can trust, and have it fresh when others cannot.



Earthship Toilets
All of the sewage from an Earthship is treated and composted for other uses. Whether it is for fertilizer or landscaping, it is treated so that no pollution is created. They are also treated in a way that completely removes the “smell” often associated with the subject.



Earthship Benefits
In addition to growing food in the greenhouse planters that utilize greywater, you can also add other food amenities. For instance, you can install a fish pond and grow your own preference of fish to eat, or you could add a chicken coop for all the eggs and meat you might need.

There’s no self-sufficiency quite like that acquired by living in an Earthship. You will have no monthly bills, you don’t have to work for survival and you are literally making the world a better place by reducing your carbon footprint. Between the natural power options, the extraordinary water recycling abilities and the composting sewage treatment facility, you are creating little to no pollution at all.

Earthships really couldn’t be easier to build. Many people have built them with up to three levels in as little as three months time. Furthermore, there was no hired help nor were there any expensive pieces of specialty equipment used. And there’s no home that’s any cheaper to build. The most basic Earthship, known as the Simple Survival Model, costs about $7,000. But even the most sensational models top out at about $70,000.

Probably the best part about an Earthship is the fact that it causes us to think about the world we live in. Not only are Earthships a model in green living, it can even give back to the environment for cheap, simple, hearty living.


It might be time to think about our own Earthship!




Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Unknown and Uncommon Food Sources: Edible Weeds and Plants


By Karen Roguski

There is absolutely no reason in which one should starve when there are so many free to pick food sources available. The primary problem is that these food sources are often unknown or uncommon to the average individual.

The trick is in learning to distinguish between the unknown and uncommon foods sources by sight. If one is not careful it would be way too easy to eat something that is harmful or even deadly. Below are some helpful tips to consider in your search for edible weeds and plants.

  • Be certain you know exactly what it is you are picking, cooking, or going to consume. If there is any doubt seek professional advice or simply avoid using until you are certain.
  • Never pick anything from an area that might have had herbicides or pesticides used. These chemicals when consumed will have negative or adverse reactions when consumed.
  • Keep at least a twenty-five-foot radius from roadways. Besides the possibility of pesticides or herbicide being sprayed in this location, you also place yourself at risk from vehicle exhaust soil contamination.
  • Research the poisonous plants in your area. This is to prevent contact while searching out the edible weeds and plants.

Highlighted here are the names and images of the most common of the weeds and plants that are edible. One must be certain to do their homework as to what parts are usable, taste good, and great recipes in which they shine.

Wood Sorrel

Cattails

Purslane

Chickory

Clover

Dandelions

Plantain

Lamb’s Quarters

Kelp
Chickweed

We encourage you to comment on your stories, recipes, adventures, or previous uses of these or any other often unknown or uncommon food source. We look forward to reading each and every one.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Desert Survival Tips



By Paul Kigen.

As an individual who grew up visiting various deserts around the world, I can assure you that survival in the desert is an incredibly hard task. The dry surrounding air draws moisture out of you so fast, to a point, it might be hard to stay hydrated even when you’re working in your own backyard. You won’t survive for a long time in any desert without enough water as you would in a more humid climate. In an area where water locating a water source is a hassle, and even the animals and plants struggle to get by every day, it can be a real challenge to get by without many inconveniences.
To help you last for as long as possible out there, family survival farm has compiled a list of the various survival skills that could save your life in the desert.

1.          Do not overeat.
The more you eat, the more water you’ll need to stay alive. In case water is scarce (it’s more likely it will be), then you’ll want only to eat the amount needed to keep your energy levels up. Any more than what’s required and you place yourself in a risk of using up too much of your priceless water supply.

2.          Prepare for the cold.
In case you’ve spent some time in the desert, then you know the nights are tremendously cold.  At the start, this will feel like an awesome relief after a long hot day, but as the night goes by, you might find yourself freezing from the cold. It’s crucial, therefore, that you prepare (well) for the cold nights and the hot days.


3.         Move at Night.
You’re advised to rest amidst the day and only move during the night. Not only does trekking during the day increase your body temperature, but also makes you sweat, speeding up dehydration as a result. Try and locate a shady area to sleep off the day so that when the night comes, you’re ready to travel.

4.          Keep your Clothes On.
You might get tempted to take off your clothes when the temperatures’ escalate, but you are better off if you don’t. Exposing your bare body to the sun worsens dehydration and also places your body at a risk of severe sunburns.

5.          Cover your head.
This might seem like a contradicting advice as most people take off their hats to keep their heads cool, but if your head, with its possibly dark hair, is wide-open to the sun throughout the day, your body is likely to absorb a lot of heat, making it hard to stay cool. Preferably, you’ll need to cover your head using a light colored shirt or hat.



6.          Wear Light Colors.
Dark colors absorb sunlight while light colors reflect it. And since keeping your body cool is the main priority here, the latter is far more desirable than the former.

7.          Watch out for the floods.
Floods sound like the last thing you should have to worry about when you’re stuck in a desert, and yeah, 98%of the time it’s true. But, in case it rains in the desert, it rains hard, and as a result, flash floods turn out to be the norm. Whenever you spot thunderheads approaching, abstain from dry washes.


8.          Locate a water source.
Any person stuck in the desert with no water supplies is in an exceedingly dangerous situation. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can use to locate water sources in a desert. In case it's summertime, look for cactus fruits. Consuming cactus fruits will help you stay hydrated, but, you’ll need to watch out because too much of cactus fruit can make you sick, as a result dehydrating you even rapidly.



This means that even after you’ve located cactus fruits, keep looking for water sources. Some of the ways to help you locate water sources in a desert include;
        Animals like camels can lead you to a water source. Look for multiple animal trails converging in the same direction, especially downhill and follow them.
        Explore the dark sides of Canyons. In case you come from the Northern hemisphere, search the north sides of the Canyons, and in case you’re from the southern hemisphere, explore the south sides of the Canyons.

        Search just beneath the surfaces of dried up creek beds.



Good Luck Out There!




Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wilderness and Forest Survival Skills

By Paul Kigen.
We will limit this post to discuss the physical Wilderness and Forest survival skills. Now let’s pick a hypothetical situation. For instance, you are stranded in the wilderness, and it’s almost nightfall. What will you do? How will you cope before the weather or the wild animals get to you? How do you ensure that you beat the odds and stay alive long enough? The answers to these critical and similar questions are contingent upon whether you possess survival tactics or not. You must be na├»ve if you think that a situation requiring critical survival tactics will never arise since according to Murphy’s law, “whatever can go sideways will certainly go sideways.”
So, this implies that you will be better off if you’re well prepared for the unexpected by harnessing the critical skills and tactics needed for survival in extreme conditions. Family survival farm is going to enlighten on some of the survival skills required for survival in the forest and wilderness.

1.    Locate an appropriate site for camping. You’ll need to abstain from spots with natural hazards like insect nests and places prone to being flooded.
2.    Build yourself a suitable shelter to insulate yourself from precipitation and cold.



3.    Light a fire using a battery by short-circuiting the battery.
4.    Further light up your fire using easily flammable things like dry twigs and leaves.



5.    Locate a water source with drinkable water. Your capability of differentiating clean water from unclean water will be critical here. As a basic rule, water that is stagnant or has been in the same spot for some time should be shunned, while dew, snow, and rainwater are good enough for drinking.
6.    You can collect water transpiring from leaves using a plastic bag. This will serve you well as drinking water.




7.    You should be able to distinguish non-edibles from edible plants. Chasing after big wild animals can turn out to be a waste of energy. As an alternative, go for the small, easily obtainable animals such as small reptiles, rodents, and plants. You should buy books to enlighten yourself about edible and non-edible plants and animals in different environments’.




8.    Study how to use and make multi-pronged spears using wood and knife. This is the most recommended way of hunting small game.
9.    Learn how to navigate during the day by using an analog watch or the position of the sun to acquire your general bearing.
10.    You should also find out how to navigate at night by locating Polaris (the North Star.) The North Star is usually at the end of the little dippers handle (lower left), whose stars are faint compared to those of the Big Dipper. By drawing a line between the 2 stars after you locate the Bigger Dipper and by outspreading this line past the Little Dipper, you will realize that it aligns with the North Star. And if you are facing Polaris, then you are facing the true North.




11.    Make sure you learn how to tie different kinds of knots especially the bow line, it could turn out to be your life saver in the wilderness.



12.    Learn how to send out a signal. You can either set up a signal fire on a hilltop or a clearing as long as visibility is maximized to help rescuers’ locate you. Ensure you create a fire base, so moisture does not put out your fire. As an alternative, you can also use a mirror as a signal by getting the light’s angle of the reflection right. This usually works equally well with both moonlight and sunlight.




All things considered, we can summarize by stating that survival in the wilderness is a matter of the correct application of common sense.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Do You Need A Bug Out Bag?

If you don't know what a bug out bag is, you will probably want to find out. Especially if you are serious about prepping for emergency situations. It can often be the determining factor between success or failure, when safety comes into play after an emergency.

In this article, I'm going to explain what a bug out bag is, why you need one, and what to include in the contents.

What Is It?

A bug out bag is any sort of pack that you have ready for emergency situations. It can be a backpack, duffel bag, military pack or anything big enough to hold a good about of items.

It's best to purchase one that has several inner and outer pockets, so that you can divide items up. Keeping some items close at hand will be important in an emergency situation, such as a flashlight, fire starting kit, weather radio, two-way radio and more. 

There are many different kinds of bags for just this purpose. Doing a search on Amazon will give you plenty of ideas, as you'll see from the screen shots below. However, I will say that you can often pick these bags up cheaper at military supply stores and some online auction or classified sites.

It's always best to shop around before setting your mind of a specific bag. While the bag itself is very important, the contents are more so. 






Why Do I Need One?

If you truly want to be prepared in an emergency situation, a bug out bag is a very important factor to you plan. For example, if something catastrophic happens, there won't be time to phone family members, shop for supplies, plan a route to a safe place or decide many other factors for safety and survival.

A bug out bag is that little bit of insurance that will keep you prepared, each and every day. As the old saying goes, it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it! Suppose the electric grid goes down, or your city is under attack. At a time like this, you simply need to go. A bug out bag, either placed in an easy to reach spot or stored in the vehicle, is the peace of mind you need to be able to do so.

Lots of people say, "I'll get around to that," or "I'll do that later," but this kind of thinking can leave you stranded if things go south quickly. You simply never know if or when it will, and preparedness is so very important.


Factors That Will Determine Bug Out Bag Content

In deciding what needs to go in YOUR bug out bag, you need to think about a few things. These things will be specific to your own situation, and can include:

  • How many people will be in your party and how old they are
  • How far you'll have to travel to reach your safe place
  • Your geographic location (are you in an urban setting, mountains, desert, wilderness, etc?)
  • What the overall societal climate is like (are people calm, in a panic, scavenging for supplies, etc?)
The number of people in your party will determine the amounts of specific items such as food, water, medicinal supplies and so forth. The more people you have, of course, the more you will need.

Knowing how far you have to go to reach your "safe place", which should be predetermined, is important in deciding all the above factors. You will also have to think about stops to be made along the way, and what that will entail in an emergency.

Knowing the ins and outs of your geographic location is one of the most important factors. Surviving in the mountains is much different than surviving in the desert, for example. The predators will be different, as will the weather, opportunity for gathering wild foods and hunting opportunities.

The societal climate will dictate whether or not you need to be prepared for confrontation. If you have supplies, you will become a target, there's simply no way around that fact. For this reason, you will need to be armed if you intend to keep what you have. Taking in strangers and helping others is certainly an option. However, emergencies, especially large scale, can create panic in everyone.


The Contents of the Bug Out Bag

There are some things that will need to be in your bug out bag for general purposes. These include:
  • A medical kit. Remember prescription medications for anyone in your party and medicines specific to the age of those people. Babies will need teething medication, fever reducer and rash ointment more so than others might. Elderly people and those on certain medication will need sun block. 
  • A weather radio. In shopping for one of these, if you haven't already got one, be sure to look for one that has emergency broadcasting stations, to stay up to date on the current state of affairs around you. For the sake of space, the smaller the better.
  • Fire starting material. This can be lighters, matches or a flint kit. Take into consideration the likelihood of those materials getting wet and plan accordingly.
  • Water purification tablets. This is especially important if you have not already acquired the knowledge of how to put together a DIY water purification system. It's worth the effort to learn, if you have the time. Without water, survival becomes almost impossible.
  • A good flashlight. Don't leave things to chance with a cheapie in this situation. A good flashlight will be worth it's weight in gold and a good one serves other purposes as well. Spend a few extra bucks, because even if an emergency situation never happens, it will still come in handy.
If you have enough room in your bug out bag, you will want to add some other items as well. A mess kit for cooking and eating, a camp stove, a sleeping bag or even a tent, a foldable shovel, 
links of rope, a hatchet and a good utility knife, just to name a few.


In Closing

A bug out bag is personal. And the contents are even more personal. If you plan yours out carefully, taking into consideration everything that could possibly happen, the better off you'll be.

Do you have a bug out bag already? If so, share some of your contents and why they're important.