Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tips for Creating a Survival Garden


Survival gardens are becoming more popular these days, especially considering the rising prices of food in the grocery store, the harsh chemicals used to treat those foods and water supplies that grown more tainted each day. If you aren’t familiar with what a survival garden is, it is simply this: a veggie garden designed to produce enough food for you and your family to live on.



Many people argue that no one can know if we are under the threat of needing such a thing. However, in the same way that we don’t put off planning for other disasters until the last minute, you should at least consider the scenario, and have plans, just in case. The fact is, without food, you won’t last long. And in a dire situation, when food becomes hard to find, you won’t be able to expect anyone to be sharing their own stores either.

Considerations in Survival Gardens

In a survival garden, it’s important to think about which plants will offer the most nutrition by way of vitamins, carbs and fat. You won’t need just sustenance, but foods that will keep you healthy and functioning at the best possible level.



You’ll also want to at least get started working a small plot, if for no other reason than to get some hands-on learning. A small plot will allow you to get an idea about how hard the dirt will be to till, how the weeds reproduce in that area and what pests you will encounter. On the other hand, you could also give some consideration to container gardening, or raised beds, if you have the means to do so.

































When you start small, you’ll want to plant crops that are easy to grow and that you enjoy eating, so you won’t be tempted to give up on them if the going gets rough. A few vegetables that you’ll find easy to grow include:

  • Bush beans
  • Potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Peas

With time, and as your gardening expertise grows, you can add other crops that might take a bit more land, but that are rich in calories, tasty to eat and fun to raise. These can include:

  • Squash
  • Corn
  • Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Assorted Greens
  • Herbs

It’s a great idea to create diversity in your garden, as well as an array of flavors. If you can go out and pick a cabbage, and then also pick a few herbs to flavor the dish, you’ve created something special. This will give you a desire to continue planting more crops that can actually be used together.

Finding Foods That Pack a Punch

If you study survival gardening, you will find that sunflower seeds are a great way to get necessary fat into your vegetarian diet. Peanuts are also great for this. Make sure to search out crops like these that will meet all your nutritional needs but that are easy to grow in your own specific region.


Keep in mind, when your garden produce starts coming on, it’s as important to know what to do with them as it was to grow them in the first place. Storage can be an issue sometimes, especially for crops such as greens, cucumbers, etc. Keeping them throughout the winter months will be the trick. We have found that these vegetables are some of the easiest to store:

  • Onions
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Turnips
  • Beets

Don’t forget that you will also be able to can a great many vegetables. Tomatoes are probably the easiest to can, due to their high acidity content, but you can also can beans, and many other veggies as well, all in a water bath canner that really takes no more than a fire to cook over for several hours and the jars and lids to hold them.

Specific Foods and Why They’re Good

Potatoes are actually pretty high in protein, as far as veggies go, which make them a wonderful addition to the garden. Any variety will work really, depending on your own preferences. They will store very well in a place that is dark and cool, but make sure you don’t store them next to apples, as they will both rot prematurely.

Winter squash is a great source of both calories and vitamins. Some store better than other do, and for longer periods of time. To find out which works best for long-term storage, you can either risk it and try a few different ones, or ask a seasoned survival gardener who has already done it. Another good way to store squash is to cut them into rounds, dry them completely, pound them up and store them in airtight containers. Storage time increases, in this way, to almost indefinitely.

In closing, we suggest that you save and store all seeds from your heirloom vegetables (hybrid variations don’t produce viable seeds). This ensures that if you are unable to get any more seeds, you will still be able to have them for another garden next year. Continued seed saving keeps this going, for years to come.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A Prepper’s Guide To Nutrition

By Tony

Despite the fact that preppers love to talk about nearly any topic under the sun, nutrition and how it applies to preppers is often a neglected topic. Very few, if any, preppers can honestly explain why it is better to eat fats and proteins than it is to eat carbohydrates.

Even fewer preppers can explain the benefits of vitamins or where calories come from. This guide is written to fill that gap.

To start off with, let’s begin talking about a basic calorie.

Calories And Preppers
Without getting into too deep of an explanation, calories are the tool your body uses to produce energy. No more, no less. With calories, our bodies can run, jump, breathe, swim, fish, and anything else we want to do.

Without calories, we starve. Simple as that.

While popular culture often sends us the message that calories are of the devil, a calorie (and a lot of calories) are a prepper’s best friend.

What most people don’t realize is that all calories come from three sources: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. You will never and can never get a calorie without one of these three things.

Let’s break them down separately.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates (carbs) are four calories per gram. Most carbs reside in fruits, vegetables, grains, and sugars. Even though carbs are usually associated with all things evil in modern culture, carbs are necessary to survive and carry precious vitamins and minerals.

Even though they are necessary for survival, they are not ideal for a prepper’s perfect meal. Carbs carry less calories per gram than fats (discussed below) and are not as useful as proteins when it comes to rebuilding and strengthening muscles.

Carbs also have a fatal flaw when it comes to prepper meals: they burn quickly. This means that even though you may eat high calories while eating carbs (think donuts), your meal will not last as long as a meal that consists of mostly fat or proteins and you will find yourself feeling hungry more quickly.

Proteins: Proteins contain four calories per gram and are the food of choice for competition weightlifters and world class performers. Proteins are useful for rebuilding muscles bigger and stronger.

Proteins burn slowly in the stomach and after eating them, you’ll feel full for a long time. Most proteins are meats, nuts, or legumes. These make for excellent prepper meals.

After spending time outside doing whatever your current prepper projects are, your muscles will be fatigued and worn down. Proteins are the body’s way of rebuilding those muscles where they can do more work and last longer the next time you go out to work.

The best prepper meals are high protein.

Fats: Fats contain nine calories per gram and are our go to foods for prepper meals. Since fats contain a lot of calories per gram, you can eat less and survive longer than others (and it’s easier on your budget!).

This happens because fats have more calories per gram than other foods. In theory and in practice, you can eat half as much fatty food as you do carbohydrate food and survive more than twice as long on your fatty food.

This is also a boon to preppers because fats typically burn slowly, meaning that you will feel full for a longer period of time.

Fats are usually found in meats, oils, dairy products, eggs, and nuts. If you’ll notice, foods that have fat and foods that have proteins are very similar. These are the kinds of foods we want to eat as preppers.

Now that we understand what fuels the body, let’s take a look at the construction materials the body uses.

Vitamins & Minerals: Tools Of The Body
Before we get into vitamins and minerals, I would like to say this: if you find yourself in a survival situation, it is better that you focus on how many calories you are consuming than how many vitamins and minerals you are taking in.

All of humanity until the past 50 years has survived without spending any time wondering how their vitamin intake is. If a situation gets bad, worry about your caloric load and the vitamins will follow.

If you can think of calories like the fuel your body uses to run, vitamins and minerals are like a trusty hammer, drill, and other useful tools.
Vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients because your body doesn’t need a huge amount, but it does need some. Without necessary vitamins, you can develop blindness, scurvy, weak bones, or an assortment of other problems.

Interestingly enough, we are more likely today to have an overdose of a vitamin or mineral than we are to have a deficiency. Because of market competition and government intervention, most of the foods we consume today have plenty of all the necessary minerals.

If you take vitamin and mineral supplements, your body is capable of getting rid of most of the excess, but you may be doing an unnecessary deed or even harming yourself by taking supplements without being told to do so by a medical specialist.

What Makes A Balanced Diet?
As said above, most of the food we consume today has all the necessary tools for our body to survive and thrive.

But what if we don’t have the resources of today?

If disaster strikes, we would almost certainly lose access to supermarkets. So how do we balance our diets then?

If you find yourself without a supermarket, your number one goal should be calorie consumption. The average human burns 2000-3000 calories per day depending on how active they are. Your meals should have plenty of meat (which contains fat and proteins), but also eat as much fruit and vegetables as you are able to get your hands on. Fruit and veggies are high in carbs, but will almost certainly carry most if not all of the vitamins and minerals that you need.

If possible, eat as many nuts, beans, and home grown meals as possible. This should prevent any sort of deficiency in vitamins and minerals while making sure that you have enough calories to survive the day.

Even though nutrition can be a complex subject, when it all comes down to it, just remember to eat as much diverse food as you can while prepping or in the bush.

Hope you’ve enjoyed!

Monday, May 7, 2018

My Left Thumb, or How I Learned To Start Worrying And Love My Body

By Forest Puha
May 7, 2018

Note: the following article has graphic medical pictures. Viewer discretion advised.

A month and a half ago, I was cutting wood with a circular saw and then I cut open my thumb.

Yeah. I make that seem low-key, but it's actually more painful, time-consuming and life-altering than it sounds.

It was fun to drop everything, including my tools, and yell in pain. It was fun to run inside and watch my family try not to faint. It was fun to rush to the nearest clinic, freaking out the staff, getting injected with whatever painkillers they had and arguing about whether or not antibiotics are covered under insurance while I was mildly stoned. Fun times all around.

Partly as a record to remind myself of what NOT to do in an emergency, and partly as a teaching opportunity to everyone else, this article will go over what happened and how you can prevent the same thing from happening to you. I learned a lot, including that ignoring common sense will only result in bad things for myself and everyone around.

Here's what happened using re-created photographs of the incident.



The equipment I was using at the time. As follows: 3M-brand eye wear protection, 3M brand silicone earplugs, a Master Mechanic brand handheld electric circular saw, and cheap generic black elastic gloves with yellow leather finger protection.

Note that the gloves are neither full leather or employ knuckle protection. This is Mistake #1.



I was sawing wood for a project, using my wooden table as a cutting platform. Note that I failed to secure the wood to the table surface with a clamp. This is Mistake #2.

I operated the saw with one hand, while holding onto the piece of wood with another. This is Mistake #3. Never, never, NEVER hold a handheld power tool with only one hand, ESPECIALLY a saw.



When operating a power saw, sometimes the wood will shift while cutting. Because the saw blade can only move in one direction at a time (forwards) any subtle movement will gather more wood than the saw's engine can handle, which forces the blade to suddenly stop. The momentum generated by the blade will be transferred into the saw, and as a result, the saw kicked back on me while I was holding onto it. It's not a problem with two hands...



...but I was only holding onto the saw with my right hand, and holding onto the wood with my left hand. The kickback of a power saw is like the recoil of a full-size rifle or shotgun. I had no control and I paid the price. I felt the saw and it really hurt more than normal. I looked down, saw drips of blood and very gently pulled the glove away. It was a gashing, gaping wound. The saw had hit the spot of the glove that wasn't covered with leather or any protection, but simple black fabric. Which happened to be right on my Metacarpophalangeal, the middle thumb joint.

 


Photos taken two hours after stitches were removed.

I calmly rushed inside, while my family freaked out over my accident.

Mistake #4: I washed the wound with cold water. Don't do that. The wound has particles of dead skin, leather, plastic, fabric, oil, wood and heaven knows what else inside; it needs to be properly disinfected with sterile solution found at the neighborhood clinic. The clinic promptly informed me I was very lucky; my wound didn't completely expose the tendons in my knuckle, so I wouldn't have to be airlifted to the nearest emergency room for surgery. They could simply put in stitches where I was at.

Then they gave me a shot of something to numb the pain while they stitched up my hand. It took a couple of weeks to be able to grab things and use a computer's keyboard, and a month to where I could bend my fingers around and not be in constant pain.

I learned a great deal from this incident. Mostly, I learned that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer, and that even when I thought I had the required safety gear, I didn't have the RIGHT safety gear. I nearly paid for it with my thumb. It could have been my hand, or my life.

I'm in the market for a new pair of gloves. These Youngstown Utility Kevlar-lined gloves seem like a good start, roughly $30 on Amazon. Supposedly the entire glove is lined with Kevlar, even the fingers. I think they're cheaper than surgery and I'll have to review a pair.


From top to bottom: a carpentry wood clamp, a cast iron C-clamp, and a spring clamp. These are three kinds of clamps I have on hand, cheaply found in any hardware store, and I recommend everyone not only buy them for their tool box, but also USE them whenever you need to hold something down. I neglected to do so and paid the price for my stupidity.



Step 1: slide clamp over object and surface. Step 2: tighten until they don't move. Step 3: you're done. They're so much better than using your hands.
And the clamps allow me to use both hands when operating my power tools now. I have more control over the tool now! It's amazing!


It could have been so much worse.