Showing posts with label family survival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family survival. Show all posts

Sunday, November 12, 2017

33 Recommended Books For the Prepper and Survivalist




By Karen Roguski


Being a prepper, farmer, or survivalist can be difficult for those that are not ready and prepared. It takes knowledge of just about every detail that one might have or didn’t realize that they will need.


To help one be as knowledgeable as possible we have gathered together our recommended 33 books. These reading materials are to help ensure accurate and hopefully complete knowledge for the all - the beginner to the proficient.


  • Prepper Handbook: Road Map to Advanced Disaster Preparedness by JR Ray
  • Living Well on Practically Nothing by Edward H. Romney
  • The Encyclopedia of Country Living – by Carla Emery
  • Country Living by Carla Emery
  • The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen
  • Just in Case by Kathy Harrison
  • Real World Survival by Richard Lowe Jr
  • Live Off The Land In The City And Country by Ragnar Benson
  • SHTF Prepping: The Proven Insider Secrets For Survival, Doomsday and Disaster Preparedness by Gavin Williams
  • Off The Grid Living by Oliver Stokes
  • The Self-Sufficiency Handbook by Alan Bridgewater
  • Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills by Abigail R. Gehring
  • Crisis Preparedness Handbook by Jack A. Spigarelli
  • Countdown to Preparedness by Jim Cobb
  • SAS Survival Guide: How to Survive in the Wild, on Land or Sea by John 'Lofty' Wiseman
  • Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales
  • Prepper's Homesteading by Nathan Chester
  • Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook by Peggy Layton
  • Prepping Made Easy by Terry Garreth
  • Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival by Dave Canterbury
  • Little House on the suburbs by Deanna Caswell, Daisy Siskins and Jacqueline Musser
  • Prepper: Complete Prepper’s Survival Guide And Self Sufficient Living by Greg Adams
  • The Home Survivalist's Handbook by Christopher "BigBear" Eastin  and  Ryan Acker
  • Prepping: How To Survive Off The Grid by Martin Luxtonberg
  • The Prepper's Workbook Scott B. Williams and Scott Finazz
  • Survival Hacks: Over 200 Ways to Use Everyday Items for Wilderness Survival by Creek Stewart
  • Survival Theory: A Preparedness Guide by Jonathan Hollerman
  • The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way by Joseph Alton and‎ Amy Alton
  • Practical Prepping (No Apocalypse Required) by Randall S Powers and Steven Konkoly
  • How To Survive The End Of The World by James Wesley Rawles
  • Doomsday Prepping Crash Course Book by Patty Hahne
  • Barnyard in your Backyard by Gail Damerow
  • PREPAREDNESS NOW! by Aton Edwards

One will find hundreds of additional topics, handbooks, tips and tricks books and PDF’s. Keep in mind that with new books coming out on a daily basis one's library will never be totally complete. With this in mind, we at Family Survival Farm hope that you will list any additional recommendations below.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Ten Plants People Should Not Grow Or Plant

By Karen Roguski


Many varieties of plants can be a huge nuisance to yards, gardens, homesteads, and even forests. This is because they are known as space invaders; unlike the classic video game, these stemmy products are often very hard to kill. Protect the survival of your land by avoiding the following examples of space invaders.


Vicia Hirsuta also known as Tiny Vetch



Photo courtesy of Wikimedia


Verbesina Encelioides also known as Golden Crownbeard



Photo courtesy of Wikipedia


Stachys Floridana also known as Florida Betony



Photo courtesy of Wikimedia


Hedera Helix also known as English Ivy


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia


Barbadensis Mill also known as Aloe Vera



Photo courtesy of Ebay

Amorpha Fruticosa also known as Indigobush



Photo courtesy of Wikipedia


Elaeagnus Angustifolia also known as Russian Olive



Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Arceuthobium Cyanocarpa also known as Limber Pine Dwarf Mistletoe



Photo courtesy of Wikipedia


Acacia spp. P. Mill also known as Acacia



Photo courtesy of Wikipedia


Achillea Millefolium L. also known as Common Yarrow



Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Here one can find a more complete listing of those stemmy pests that dominate in the United States. We here at Family Survival Farm hopes that knowing in advance the ill effects found with the above plants can assist your land area in a positive manner to help one thrive.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Preparing for Fire – Tools for Firefighting

By Forest Puha


Wildfires are scary, furious and incredibly destructive. As of this writing, the effort to control wildfires in Northern California and around the United States are pushing local, state and federal firefighters to their limit. For people living on farms and other rural areas, adopting firefighting techniques to keep their homes same can often mean the difference between losing everything and staying alive. Although I’m not a firefighter, every year I gather and burn tumbleweeds, pull clumps of plants away from the house, trim low-hanging tree branches, create some firebreaks and other routine fire maintenance expected of me as a rural homeowner. This helps my local fire department and my neighbors so they don’t have to automatically divert resources to defend my home, and it helps me for concentrating on other important aspects of my fire preparedness, like planning for evacuation.

In this article, I’ll examine some tools I have to remove debris and burn weeds that everyone should have. All of these tools can be purchased brand new or found at local garage sales and thrift shops for pennies. Everything I discuss was based on my experience using them.

For widespread convenience, I've posted images are of products that can be bought at Wal-Mart, Amazon or Harbor Freight. As of this writing, the prices I've listed for everything were what I paid at the time for the items. You don’t have to buy all of these at once; what is important is that you work up a collection of tools that works for you and your needs, so that you can be prepared for fire.



A Bottle of Water

A refillable bottle for drinking water. I own several, so this was "free".


It sounds funny, but this really is one of the most important tools you can have. You’ll want this at all times, whether in a canteen you carry or a bottle you stash at your feet. Stay hydrated, soak your clothes, and reduce your fatigue.



Safety Glasses
Impact-rated safety glasses from Harbor Freight. $1.79 at most stores.

Fires generate lots of smoke that gets into my eyes. They’ll also pop and crackle, sending up sparks that land on my face. Eye protection is an absolute must. These impact glasses are slightly wider than normal safety sunglasses, with more of a rectangular shape and clear side panels that cover more of my eyes and cheeks. They also have adjustable earpieces, so you can shorten them for children or lengthen them while wearing a mask. I prefer clear versions; they also come in various tints to act as sunglasses.




N95 Respirator Masks
3M's N95 respirator with valve. Available at most stores for under $15.

Fires generate a lot of smoke, and sometimes the smoke blows back on you. Like the water bottle, keep these on you at all times. They won’t completely eliminate the smoke and the smell, but the mask will filter out enough to let you breathe and get away. 




OSHA-rated Hardhat

The Occunomix “Vulcan” Cowboy Style Hard Hat. Available at Amazon for $18.50.


I didn’t use to believe that these were necessary for fire prevention around my house, until one day I was cutting off some very small tree limbs around my house and a branch fell on my head. Four hours later, as I held an icepack to my throbbing head while lying down on my living room floor, I came to a realization: hard hats ARE necessary. Go figure.

As the above picture shows, they come in multiple styles nowadays and for pretty cheap. Protective gear pays for itself over time, and with the Cowboy and Construction hardhats I’m two-fifths of the way toward making my own personal Village People collection. Win-win!



Leather Gloves 
Leather gloves with cotton backing. $7.99 for a 5-pack at Harbor Freight.

You need gloves when working around fire; things get hot to the touch. Avoid non-leather gloves as they’ll get hot enough to melt and stick to your skin, causing severe burns and worse. Leather gloves also come in arm-length and full-wrap styles, so you can cover as much of your hands and arms as you like.



100% Cotton Pants and Shirt

“Dickies” double-layer carpenter pants from Wal-Mart. $35.99 at most stores.
I prefer double-layer carpenter pants from Dickies and Carhatt. While they don’t offer as much protection as leather and firefighter pants would, these carpenter pants do protect my legs and feet from burning embers and scratches, can be found anywhere and they’re pretty cheap. Always remember to wear 100% cotton clothing when fighting fire; polyester, nylon and other synthetic material will burn, melt and stick to your skin in horrible ways.



Leather Boots
Brahma unisex “Owden” leather boots. $19.97 at most stores.

Footwear is absolutely important when fighting fires. Because your feet will be stepping on, stepping over and touching fire, extremely hot ground and other dangerous material, you’ll need footwear that can handle abuse. 

These Owden boots are made entirely of leather with metal grommets and a semi-rubber sole which will hold up to most small fires around your home and keep your feet and ankles protected from contact burns and scratches. They don’t have a steel toe or steel shank, which means they don’t weigh much and are very comfortable to move around in, but they also lack the protection you’d get from more expensive boots.
Danner Men’s Wildland Tactical Firefighter Work Boot. Starting at $237.65 at Amazon.com.

If you want to do serious firefighting—assisting your neighbors, becoming a volunteer firefighter, controlled burns in national forest—here's a sample of specialized boots for the task. These come with a metal shank down the sole of your foot that can block nails and glass you step on. Prices go up as features are added, but quality tools repeatedly pay for themselves over time.


A Reliable Shovel 


56-inch Fiberglass Shovel from Harbor Freight. $9.99 at most stores.

One of the most useful tools for fighting a fire. You can shovel burning brush, shovel dirt upon fire, cut and split bushes, dig trenches, dig fire pits, use as a hiking stick, balance across your shoulders and tie things on the back, use as a visible marker, use as a camera monopod… the list goes on. 

Like all the tools in this list, fiberglass or metal handles are preferable to wood, which lessens the chances of the tool catching on fire or breaking in the middle of a project. Fiberglass shovels also weight a bit less than their wooden version of equal length.



A Reliable Rake

14-tin Fiberglass Rake from Harbor Freight. $19.99 at most stores.

The rake is one of the most ubiquitous tools in a homeowner’s firefighting arsenal. It can pull together burning weeds, pull down burning branches, and push ashes into a pile for easy watering. As with the shovel, spend the extra money on a fiberglass or metal handle rake; they’re more fire resistant than the regular wooden ones and can be recovered if dropped into hot embers.





A Pulaski Axe
34-inch Pulaski Axe from Harbor Freight. $24.99 at most stores.

The Pulaski Axe, also known as as the cutter mattock, is one of the more unusual firefighting tools in your arsenal. It consists of a sharpened vertical axe head on one end, with a curved and sharpened horizontal mattock blade on the other end. This allows the user to chop and split tree branches, trunks and roots at various angles, and in firefighting the mattock end can also be used as a makeshift rake and hoe to pull apart and push away burning embers and brush. 

I've found that the wooden versions are too heavy for my practical use; the one I bought from Harbor Freight comes with a fiberglass handle and weighs around 5 to 6 pounds altogether, which makes it relatively lightweight and handy. I can pick it up and use it all day long. 




A Chainsaw


The Husqvarna 445 16-inch chainsaw. Around $250 at most hardware stores and Amazon.

Finally, a chainsaw is a basic tool every rural homestead should own. The above model happens to be one I own, but Stihl also makes reliable saws. For chainsaws, bigger engines mean more reliable power, although the bigger the chainsaw, the more expensive it becomes. I recommend a 16-inch bar chainsaw for the absolute minimum in cutting wood, but others will recommend an 18 or 20-inch bar for a beginner. Keep in mind that bars on chainsaws can be switched to be a few sizes larger or smaller than the original, so you have some discretion in what you need for your purposes. It’s no coincidence that the safety gear for firefighters work perfectly when operating a chainsaw, and you’ll also want to purchase a good pair of ear protectors so you don’t lose your hearing while using it.

In addition to the chainsaw, you’ll want storage containers for gasoline, two-cycle oil to mix with the gasoline, and 30-weight bar oil to lubricate the chain blades with, as well as spare parts, an owner’s manual and tools to fix and adjust the chainsaw. Your local hardware store will carry most or all of the things you need, and the rest can be ordered by them or you from Amazon. Again, be careful and practice with your chainsaw in normal and safe conditions, so that you can rely on it and your own ability during a fire.

That covers the basics for tools. In the next article, we’ll be discussing some tactics and strategies to make your home and your land more fireproof. Thanks for reading and stay safe!


Saturday, September 30, 2017

SHARPENING KNIVES BY HAND

SHARPENING KNIVES BY HAND

Photos by Craig Woods
Article by Heather and Kevin Harvey, Master Bladesmiths with the American Bladesmith Society and members of the Knifemakers’ Guild of Southern Africa
Hardworking hands in the photos – Kevin Harvey – fulltime bladesmith
As a child you may have watched your granddad restore the edge on a knife, seemingly by magic.  His old oil stone with its swayback from years of use, the smell of the oil and his leather strop are the props you remember from his magic performance.  Years later you dug out the props and tried his magic, but it didn’t work.  You had seen it being done, it wasn’t magic, but a lost art.

Anyone with the most basic tools can sharpen any edged item easily when shown how.  There are many good gadgets out there that you can buy to help “set up the correct angle” for sharpening, but you can just as easily learn to sharpen by hand.  Sharpening gadgets limit what you can sharpen, whereas sharpening by hand has no limitations.  You can sharpen an axe or a cut-throat razor using the same basic tools.

The equipment we use to sharpen by hand are Arkansas stones which you can buy in different “hardness’s”, soft, medium and hard.  “Soft” will remove a lot of material where as “hard” will be used to just touch up an edge.  Diamond hones are wonderful and also come in different “grits”, if you only buy one, buy a medium grit.  We like to use water on the diamond hones and olive oil on the stones for kitchen knives, otherwise light oil or paraffin.  Remember to wash the stones/hones  after use with a little bit of dishwashing liquid and water to remove the steel grit that is left after sharpening.  A leather strop is important as the last step in sharpening is to remove the burr that you create during sharpening.  A makeshift strop can be an item as simple as a piece of firewood, your leather belt or the rubber sole of your boot, after all only you only need to flex the burr backwards and forwards, until it breaks off.

Other useful sharpening tools are tapered diamond rods for sharpening serrated edges and fold-up portable small diamond hones that you can carry with you on camping/hunting trips. 

Useful hints are to use a damp dishcloth to secure your stone to your kitchen table and protect the counter surface.  Carry a portable sharpener on your excursions and don’t be afraid to sharpen by hand.  Practise on a few of your cheaper kitchen knives until you master the skill, then you won’t be nervous about sharpening your custom made hunting knife.

People are obsessed with “keeping the correct angle” when sharpening, but it is not critical, so long as you are consistant with the angle you have chosen.  Sharpening angles differ depending on the type of knife and the work it is expected to do.  You should not put a razor edge on an axe, just as you wouldn’t put a chisel edge on a filleting knife.  You want your edge to match the purpose of the knife. 

Lubricate the stone/hone with water or olive oil (tastes nicer than paraffin!) and cut into the stone as if trying to shave off a slice of the stone.  Keep your angle constant and sharpen all areas of the cutting edge, from where it starts near the handle all the way to the point.  Repeat on the other side of the cutting edge.  Keep sharpening until you can see a “burr” (bright shiny ribbon of steel) on the entire cutting edge.  It is now time to strop off the burr on the back of a leather belt.  Your knife is only truly sharp once the burr has been removed otherwise the burr just folds over your sharpened cutting edge, making the knife feel blunt.  Stropping is done by dragging the cutting edge over the strop, (opposite to cutting into the stone) swapping sides, at a slightly steeper angle than you sharpened at.  You will only need to strop a couple of times before you see the burr break off. 

To test for sharpness, see if the edge will bite into your nail when gently pushed onto it at an angle.  Test the entire cutting edge and if any part of it “slides” off the nail and does not “bite”, you will need to re-sharpen that area of the blade.

CAPTIONS TO THE PHOTOS

Variety

Shows various different sharpening stones and diamond hones.

Showing the angle

This would be a good angle (15˚ to 20˚ ) to use for a general purpose knife.

Pushing into the stone

Sharpen by pushing into the stone as if trying to lift a postage stamp off the stone.  A diamond hone is used in this photo with water as lubrication.

Arkansas stone

A natural sharpening stone (not carborundum) is used with olive oil as lubrication.

Serrations

Serrations can easily be sharpened with a tapered diamond rod, one tooth at a time.

Portable diamond hones

Very handy to carry with you while camping or hunting to touch up knives.  Keep your angles the same as you would on the sharpening stone.  With these small sharpeners, the sharpener is moved over the cutting edge, as opposed to the edge moved over the stone as with the larger sharpeners.

The burr

After sharpening you will see the raised burr which needs to be removed by stropping to achieve a sharp edge.

Stropping

The most important part of achieving a sharp knife is the stropping after sharpening to remove the burr that you have created.

Testing sharpness


Carefully and gently push the entire blade, section by section, into your thumb nail at an angle.  Where it “bites” it is sharp, where it “slides” it needs to be re-sharpened.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Surviving MacGyver Style: Duct Tape Survival Tips

By Karen Roguski




MacGyver, televised from 1985 - 1992, gave millions a sneak peek of using unconventional items in an entirely different manner than they were intended. Almost every episode showcased MacGyver in a survival necessary situation that he was able to escape, survive, and thrive.


One product that was highlighted numerous time and in hundreds of ways was duct tape. Here is our very own MacGyver style list of ways to help survivors with the use of the fix-all duct tape.

Twenty-Three Survival Uses For Duct Tape

Originally invented in 1942, for military waterproofing, “duck tape” has inspired many a person in the art of quick fixing. Later the name was changed to duct tape, but the many practical uses remained the same.  

Blister Protection

Reduce the friction of blisters, especially on the feet, by covering the blister with moleskin and duct tape.


Clothing Repair

A quick way in which to patch a snag or hole in garments is to make a patch out of duct tape.

Off- Ground Sleeping

To avoid bugs, water, or any other potential ground issues a quick solution could be an inexpensive hammock.

Location Marker

Wishing to mark the trail back to home or camp is easy with the use of duct tape as it easily adheres to almost any source.

Tent Fix

To prevent bugs, water, or other issues from bothering you or your belongings no matter the material duct tape is one of the best ways to go in a pinch. For best results place tape on both sides of the hole.

Hang A Light

In the event of electrical power failure, one can attach a flashlight to the wall to allow a better light cast throughout the space.

Bandage Wrap

Duct tape bandage wrap can be used for keeping the dressing dry, wrapping a sprain, covering stitches, or so many more medical means.

Drying Clothes

Clothesline made out of duct tape can be done by twisting or braiding until strong. This same technique can be used to create rope, belts, or even means to hang supplies.

Animal Treatment

Just like with humans, animals are often in need of medical or support like means of attention. Duct tape can be used for hundreds of various animal needs.

Tiki Torch

Wrapping duct tape on the end of a large stick and setting the duct tape on fire is a great means of extra light.

Mending Patch

Duct tape is an awesome way in which to patch a leaking hose, duct work, or virtually any object in need of a temporary patch.

Spear Creation

Need a tool, weapon, or food hunting source make a quick and easy spear.

Injury Sling

The following images show just how simplistically making a sling out of duct tape can be created.

Frostbite Prevention

By placing duct tape directly on exposed areas of skin in cold, windy, and snowy conditions can help prevent frostbite and help with overall warmth.

Arrow Fletching

Duct tape can make arrow fletching quickly and easily. One will be easily surprised at how far your arrow can fly.

Weather Preparation

Sealing cracks, stopping air leaks, or even hanging plastic over windows is a perfect use for duct tape.

Sprain Support

Keep a sprain or potential break from getting worse by wrapping the area with duct tape. You can even add sticks, bark, or other items to help support the area in question.

S.O.S.

The use of bright or fluorescent duct tape can help save a life or allow help to find you much easier. Create a giant S.O.S. or a large arrow to guide rescuers or help in your direction.

Waterproofing

Nothing is worse than having to walk about with wet socks. To remedy this add or cover shoe or the hole with duct tape.

Restrain Someone

Strong means in which to bind someone’s hands and feet until you come up with a plan or means to contact authorities.

Stop Leak

Fix a leaking water bottle, Camelbak, bowl, or any other container by placing duct tape over the hole or crack.

Butterfly Stitches

First aid in a pinch is a must when off the grid. The use of duct tape can help seal, cover, or protect a wound.

Bug Catch


Fly or flying bug catcher use duct tape to make flypaper. Hang duct tape from the ceiling, the inside of the tent, or anywhere around the camp site.