Sunday, November 13, 2016

SHTF or Natural - Homestead Wound Care....Part 1

Well  it's been really busy for us this last month. Having a farm and a business has been a blessing but also brings on lots of experiences to deal with. I haven't written much new lately and have actually been trying to get out few more videos so many of you can see how we really do things. Here is the latest real life disaster we had to deal with and how we handle wound care naturally if we cannot get to a vet. It may be of interest to those of you who are looking to treat wounds in a survival situation, naturally or on the homestead. Here's how we really roll in the country! The latest video link is here SHTF - Natural Wound Care...could save a life Part 1.
Hope you found these things helpful!
Melisa

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Ways To Take Care Of Your Animals If SHTF

  We are a family living off the land and when it comes to our animals we try to do most things ourselves. If we cannot do what needs to be done, we do have a vet. However we can do most things ourselves and vets are VERY costly in the country, especially if they must drive to your home or farm. The animals best interests come first and foremost, but there are a lot of things people can do to care for their pets when/if shtf by learning from farmers or homesteaders. Here is how we care for our pets and large animals using mostly natural items. I write this as we are nursing a new stray kitty back to health. This little one was found in the tree when doing morning chores and my little girls took it in. Now it's flea free and rid of the eye infection it came with as well. The cost was little to nothing as I keep all the items on hand for just in case purposes anyway.
 1-  First we will cover pests. The majority of pests can be dealt with by using a few simple and natural bought items. Most pests such as fleas, ticks, mites, scabies and mange can be killed easily by using Listerine or any mouth wash with the basic ingredients as Listerine which are Eucalyptol, Menthol, and Thymol. I bought some yesterday (an cheaper brand) at Save A Lot for $1.99. As long as it has the three named ingredients it will work as well as the name brand. A very cost effective remedy that works even on super lice. Many essential oils will repel bugs but Thyme essential oil is the only one to my knowledge that can kill pests that is recorded and proven. So to make the mixture, add a few drops of Thyme essential oil to the mouthwash and you have a very potent bug killer that will NOT harm your animals. It can even be used on puppies and kittens without any side effects or harm. Try not to get into the eyes. Pictures below of how we made and used this on the new kitten. These things I'm giving to you work and work well. I have a YouTube link here for more ideas as well.
To use this safe, natural remedy simply soak animal's fur in this mixture after a good bath and let dry without any assistance. Don't rub off with a towel or use a hair dryer. Just let it dry on naturally. *Use this same recipe to make a spray for carpet, couches, rugs, bedding, pillows and other cloth surfaces that aren't easy to wash or clean. Just put into spray bottle and go right ahead and spray. Cloth surfaces hold bugs longer than hard and they must be treated as well.
For any and all animals with external pests, pour or spray on your animals very liberally and avoid eye area. If it gets in eyes, wipe with cooking oil to remove burn from essential oil. Be sure and massage in very well.
 
Below, we even dip paws.
 
For lice or mites in chickens or dogs, the mouthwash with added Thyme is simply awesome to keep fowl healthy and pest free. Works much better than DE ever did for me. Spray directly on fowl and especially their legs. Also free ranging your birds will help to promote less pests. *Spray animals dwellings with this mixture as well.  
Another amazing pest killer for animals or people is Kleen Green Naturally Enzymes.  Works very well on many bugs such as scabies, lice, mange on animals, bedbugs, any other mites and so forth. It is made of a natural yeast that breaks down the exoskeleton of the pests. This is a product I NEVER will be without, after a trip to the laundry mat 10yrs ago left our family with a scabies infestation. YUCK! Even the meds the doctor gave us didn't help, but this stuff did the trick in days! I covered the house with it and did the laundry with it as well. It's totally safe. I will also NEVER go to a laundry mat again after that. Learning how to do clothes by hand has also been a great blessing when the washer goes out.
2- Next is disease. The next 'must have' is a natural antibiotic known as Ionic Colloidal Silver. This particular type is made with reverse polarity ionization by a maker we know and trust. Colloidal Silver is invaluable to animals (or people) and can help an infection clear up in days. During a shtf situation you could very well need an antibiotic for your family or pets and be unable to get one. It is ingestible and made in distilled water, so there is no taste what so ever. You can pour into animals water and they will never know they are consuming it. This very strong natural antibiotic is a must. Using on topical wounds or an infected eye (such as pink eye) can be very easy to do since it doesn't sting or burn. I sprayed this directly into the stray cat's eye with almost no resistance. Of course it could be used for people too. I am a going to show you pictures of our kittens eye only 1 day (24hrs) from the time we began spraying him.
Look below at the eye on your left, we had just wiped out the pussy junk, but it is still dull and slightly has junk in the corner. I should have left the pussy stuff, but didn't think about writing the article/post until afterward. However, you can see it is quite dull and swollen.
We sprayed it about 5 times within a 24 hr period.
 
Infection healed in a day. No problem. Below is eye after the 5 sprays. Both eyes are clean and clear.
 
3- Now let's talk about diseases. I cannot recommend Litsea Cubeba or Tea Tree essential oils enough. For fungus: I have the Mississippi State Extension Agent for Union Co, MS as a customer of ours.  She has show cows and swears by our Tea Tree oil on her cows for fungus and ringworm issues. Knocks it out in a matter of days. Once she was under the gun before a show and needed to get rid of the ring worm quickly. She turned to the essential oil and was very surprised to see how quickly it worked. Do you have an animal with extremely itchy skin? It is probably a fungus that has taken up residence under the skin. Give Tea Tree a try and watch it fade quickly. The taste of the oil will also keep the dog/cat from licking the area and making it worse. Vinegar is another option for skin fungus. Healthy animals also need to be outside pets, not cooped up inside. God made them to need the fresh air and sunshine just like people.
  For any viral issues (and most poultry illneses are viral) with your poultry or none rumen animals, the Litsea Cubeba will stop things like bird flu, Cocci, and other respiratory issues in no time. Simply drop into water and watch the disease stop. *Also pray animals dwelling with Litsea and Witch Hazel for cleaning virus from surfaces and air. No need to wipe. Do this once a day for two or three days and you're good. I hope these ideas give you some helpful ways to treat your animals if you ever cannot get to a vet or want to use natural remedies as well.
Melisa
 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wild Foods, Why We Wild Harvest and Our Beauty Berry Jelly Recipe

 
  I cannot wait to get outside in late summer and fall months to gather all the things God has laid at our feet to use. We often wild harvest, not because we have to but because we want to! At least I do anyway. As well as growing a garden, our wild harvesting is another way to help feed the family healthy food for little to nothing. It's also a great way to get exercise and teach my children about the wild world around them. And it's so much fun to be outside with my little people, talking about the different ways God blesses our path. We discuss how sweating is good for our bodies, how the vitamin D we get from sunshine will be used in our bodies for calcium and which wild foods are ready next and where to find them. One reason the current generations know nothing about self sufficiency is because no one is teaching them. Ok parents, have you kept your kids from ever having to get dirty and then want them to go on a wilderness trip, just to hear them cry about how hot and sticky they are? How about bugs, dirt and worms? Yes, now is the time for a wake up call if you are not introducing them to the outside world and all it has to offer your family. Getting your bodies acclimated to the weather, being acquainted with the surroundings and knowing what foods are available are a need you may wish you have paid attention to if times get harder. I try to keep it pretty simple when teaching my kids but we are all sweating, learning and working together and that's the fun of it. Not to mention how much free food we are able to put up when others are forced to pay for it through grocery store lines. You can learn how also, and now is a great time to get started. Check out our YouTube channel for more ideas. Simply click the image labeled Our YouTube Channel, to the left of the screen when you finish reading here. It will take you straight to more free ideas on how to find herbs and plants in the wild and has some of my personal tried and true gardening tips.
  Have you seen this plant near you? If so, you also have access to free food!
  Harvesting foods from our garden and from the wild definitely makes a huge dent in our large grocery bill, but these are skills that take persistence to cultivate. Our house is full of folks (think Eight is Enough) but we certainly don't lack for anything, especially food. Wild harvesting is a wonderful way we spend time together and put back for winter. You too might want to start thinking very seriously about what (if anything) you have available to wild harvest if or when hard times hit you. Not all foods come in at the same time, do you know when each thing is ready? It's a real skill and takes years to learn. Somethings cannot be eaten mature, while others can. You need to be aware of these things BEFORE a hard situation hits you. Costs for foods rise no matter what. Start now so you can help your family save money. I've been wild harvesting seriously for about 12 years and I'm still learning more each time. When you aren't tied to a system that requires money changing hands, it is total food freedom. Not only is wild harvested food free of any pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals, it's totally free except your time and a little work. I cannot think of a better way to spend my time with my children, than teaching them in a hands on way of an awesome Creator and how He provides for them. When your food is free given by God why would you turn your nose up to be dependent on others (like stores) for what you already have ?!?!  I for one, cannot express the joy I have seeing my children and I learn to harvest from the wild while at the same time we get to also enjoy putting up the fruits of our labor - literally.

Our find for this week is Beauty Berries. It is a beautiful purple fruit that grows in shady areas and forests across the country and is a bush of tall stalks. Berries are found in clumps on each stalk at every leaf section. Stalks reach 4 to 6ft tall. Often mistaken for a poisonous food, it is not. It's highly nutritious and makes a great jelly. It doesn't have a lot of flavor, but the essential oils I add in the recipe give it just enough tang to enhance it, kill any grassy flavor and make it into a really yummy jelly.

Here is the recipe:
 Beauty Berry Jelly
10 cups berries covered with 10 cups water, ( you can do more if you would like but use equal parts)bring all to a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Mash with a potato masher as it boils and after boiling to infuse water with berry juices. Let sit for about 20min. Strain off busted berries and this will render about 6 cups of juice. Use 3cups of this juice per batch of jelly. You can double the jelly recipe but do not enlarge any more than that or it will not set up.

For each batch of Beauty Berry Jelly, pour 3 cups juice into stock pot and add the following ingredients.
2 Cups Organic Sugar
One box of Low Sugar Pectin Sure-Gel (Pink Box)

2 Drops Bergamot Essential Oil
3 Drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil
*The citrus essential oils will cut grassy taste commonly associated with wild berries and their products. Use in any wild berry recipe to get out the grassy taste.
I am a dumper and dump all above ingredients into stock pot. Bring all to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, it takes a while to get to this point. Once it is at this hard boil, then set a timer for 3 minutes. If you double recipe, you need to boil hard for 4 minutes. Once time is up, pour into your cleaned jars. Cap off with clean lids and turn jars upside down on counter for 10 to 15 minutes.
 
 Turn to upright position after about 15 minutes and viola. Wild beauty berry jelly is some of the prettiest jelly you have ever seen. It is magenta in color and absolutely stunning.
 
I hope if you make some, you will let me know how it turned out. Happy hunting for your wild foods! I hope you found this helpful. Melisa
 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Two Highly Useful Essential Oils For A Pandemic!


 I have researched and used essential oils in home and business for almost two decades. This information is not coming second hand, but with experience. In the event of a national epidemic or pandemic, here are two highly useful oils you might want to have on hand. *Keep in mind MOST diseases that cause epidemics or pandemics are viral in form - from Zika Virus to Swine Flu. Although we have many antibiotics available there are not many anti-viral products. That's where essential oils can really be of some use to you and your loved ones. I am giving you combined years of research and am not quoting from just one source for my information. I highly recommend getting "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils" by Julia Lawless if you want to further your understanding of essential oils, how they are made, their principal constituents and main actions on the body. It gives detailed pictures, safety data, processing and even how each oil has been traditionally used. It's the best place to start, in my opinion. *Not all experts agree on every aspect of safety and some further research on your own is needed to understand each oil you use and their concerns. Some recommend not ingesting, while others are advocates of it. If your oils are tested and proven pure, it's then up to you to do the research and find what you are comfortable with doing. Many oils are not to be ingested by pregnant women or epileptics. There are some oils, even if 100% pure, that should not ever be ingested. Ravintsara is one example. It is toxic to ingest. So do your own homework and know your oils and the safety recommendations of each. Here are two highly useful oils, though often overlooked, I recommend for a pandemic and why.
  1- Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil. It is one of the highest quality anti-viral essential oils and has been shown effective at killing viruses such as flu, common cold, reducing cancer cells in the lungs and shown to aid in all respiratory issues from asthma to tuberculosis. This oil has also been proven effective at removing warts, calming nervousness, aiding in digestion and an awesome oil for sanitation purposes. I personally use it to clean animal dwellings such as a chicken coop or dog kennel.
*To make your own house cleaning spray simply add a few drops of Litsea Cubeba to 16oz of Witch Hazel. Then spray any surface, soft or hard. You can use in the kitchen and in the coop. When a sickness is coming through, make sure you spray the couches, curtains, shower curtains, and bedding. Put a few drops into the wash for sanitizing the laundry items.
  The fruits are shaped like small peppers and very citrus like in taste. The plant is native to India, China and Taiwan. The oil is also used in traditional Chinese medicine for pain, chills, headaches, travel sickness and even cardiac arrhythmia.  The germ fighting power is in the fact it contains 'citral' as it's principal constituent, up to 85%. This one oil is probably the most overlooked gem in the cold and flu season.

  2- Thyme Essential Oil. One of the earliest medicinal plants recorded. This oil boasts application in many areas. Some listed are acne, respiratory, disease prevention, dermatitis, body lice (scabies), head lice and internal pests. See my post here for the only remedy you'll ever need for lice. Thyme is highly anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-septic. The 'thymol' is it's principal constituent and is used today in most mouth washes. The original Lysterine mouth wash was created with Thyme essential oil for it's ability to kill germs and the bacteria that causes bad breath. Thyme oil is recorded as being effective for use on stress related illnesses, asthma, rheumatism, sore throat, chills, colds, flu and other infectious diseases. As recorded in the British Pharmacopoeia, Thyme essential oil is indicated for use with dyspepsia, chronic gastritis, bronchitis, pertussis, asthma and tonsillitis. It is one of the main ingredient for our Sore Throat Spray for it's highly effective germ killing abilities. *As mentioned above, to make any household disinfectant simply add a few drops of essential oil into 16oz of Witch Hazel and spray any surface.
  A real plus for Thyme is it's both a germ fighter and a pest killer. It is known that disease and pests are birds of a feather and usually flock together. This amazing oil has been reported to kill both internal and external pests effortlessly. A few drops in a carrier oil and rubbed into the skin or head of a person with lice or body lice could be very helpful to kill the pests. Put a few drops in shampoo and conditioner is another way to get the oil through out the scalp. A bath with a few drops Thyme oil could help animals with mange or people dealing with body or head lice. A spray on a bed with bedbugs could kill and repel them as well as mites and other bugs.
  *Thyme should not be ingested by pregnant women. When using any essential oil internally make sure it is diluted and of a food grade that has passed Gas Chromotography testing for 100% purity. This is the only way to tell if an oils is truly pure and uncut. I hope you found this to be helpful.
Melisa

Monday, September 5, 2016

"City Can't Pay it's Bills", typical American headline. Election is just 'changing of the guard' on the Titanic.

  * Washington Post article is linked below and is one of many reasons for writing this. I hope it sinks in. Here is what was in the Costco flyer for September.
 
Any questions?!?! Yeah, Mountain House is at Costco! Things that make you go hmmm....
If your still in denial about the direction of our economy, I just cannot do much more for you. Roll over, close your eyes and go back to sleep.
As more and more cities go bankrupt, I am so thankful we heeded the warning signs when we did. I have tried with all my might to offer help to those interested and even homesteader classes. No one is willing to get dirty or sweat. The article I list below is exactly why we were willing to leave the convenient life in the city, for the hard and dirty life of the country. We now enjoy the freedom to let our kids run barefoot because it's a choice, not because the money isn't there. Very shortly those people who refuse to leave their city life behind will no longer have that choice. Children will be running around barefoot due to a lack of money and guts on the part of the parents to build a sustainable life for their children in the country while they had the chance. Food that could be grown with a little hard work, will not be anywhere in sight. Eventually that bloated city money will stop and you will wish you had been willing to work for you food or move and drive a little farther but didn't because it wasn't convenient. And hasn't it struck you as odd that Costco is selling preps and other survival supplies? What do they know that you will not admit? Ship is going down folks and this election is just the 'changing of the guard' on the Titanic. Stop sending the GOP your money and buy a small farm house and get busy. Rent a fixer upper on the edge of a small community and commute to work. There are tons of little old houses in rural communities that rent for pennies on the dollar. You can do something to put your family into a better place. But get growing you some food now before seeds are being rationed as well as water. It happens every time folks, read history. I've heard every excuse out there, but your starving kids won't understand!
 
   Here is a typical head line for America. “City Can’t Pay It’s Bills, Making Major Cut Backs.”
Well, ya don't say?!?! How many times will the people who get up and still have a job overlook that it is only a matter of time before it’s their turn to loose it. I heard it said this way, “A recession is when your neighbor looses his job and a depression is when you loose yours.” Very well said. It’s not going to be enough for people to think only about food storage and how much prepping they can do from now to SHTF. You cannot store enough food to last your family several years! You people are going to have to realize that city life and easy money is based on a complete and total lie that is about to come crashing down. The city is a great way of life, but not sustainable for the long haul. One city after another is getting it’s hand dealt to it after waking up to the reality that NO ONE is too big to fail in the lower 99%. Those of us at the bottom of the food chain will have to totally find a way to fend for ourselves. No big banks care or will bail us out. So in the spirit of love, get yourself moving in a sustainable way before you loose everything! Can you live without power? Can you live on a 15ft x 15ft garden? Can you buy all the preps to feed yourself and family for about 5 yrs or until the economy turns around? I bet the answer to all of these are NO. If so, get the heck out of dodge and get busy on a homestead BEFORE it's too late and your stuck in a crash!
  See very eye opening article here at this link, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/city-on-the-brink-petersburg-cant-pay-its-bills-and-time-is-running-out/2016/09/04/9327c962-6ef9-11e6-8533-6b0b0ded0253_story.html Yes, another American city is going to have to make cuts to all of it’s services such as fire, police, trash, museums, ball teams and even the education of it’s children. The Fire Dept actually had some equipment repossessed. And what they don't tell you is how the city taxes will have to go up just to maintain the 'about to die status'. But why? Because “pride cometh before destruction and a haughty spirit before the fall.” Yes America will fall on it’s face financially and if the people do not begin NOW to prepare a sustainable way to exist they will starve themselves to death. Disposable and hyped up on credit is how the majority of the American people have chosen to live and it’s coming home to roost. You cannot live off of lies and fake money before it makes the full circle and comes time to pay to the piper. Remember Detroit? I wish I could make the mass of you reading this see how it’s only a matter of time before you are the fireman or school teacher who gets the cut. Only another 6 months before you cannot pay the mortgage or car note. Why you do have a car note anyway? You should be forgoing credit and buying only what you can afford. But that's another soap box. What could it be, only a year or two before your trash services aren’t an option and you must be forced to burn or bury your trash? Burning isn’t an option for those in the city and if you cannot afford to dump it yourself, well you should now see how diseases can take over a community quickly. What about the foods you have stored? Well the guys that lost their jobs two years ago are waiting for you to make one wrong move and they will help you with that. Or maybe you're already thinking about a bug out location? It's not going to work long term. Especially with a soil that has never been tilled or worked. What will you do then? You need to seriously get your family unplugged and on the path to sustainability BEFORE it's too late. You need food foraging skills NOW. You need a wife that doesn't whine about her nails getting done and her new clothes so you can buy garden seeds and a good $500 tiller NOW. You need to stop taking them out to eat and start learning how to milk a goat or grow potatoes NOW. If you aren't getting my drift, you will be staring at a starving family in the face. It takes a bit of time to get all the pond to feel the ripples, but eventually ALL THE POND FEELS THE RIPPLES.
  It's not about the amount of preps you have. That is also disposable. You need to return to the way of life that made this country great. At the turn of the 20th century the American population had about 90% of the entire population in farming. Now we have less than 1%. One question America, if you aren't willing to grow your own food and get a little sweaty or dirty, do you think when a crisis comes someone else is going to do that for you? Forget it, you will starve if you cannot start now figuring out how to homestead and use wild foods to get your family in a better position for the long term. We (my husband and I) both work and work the farm. We do it because it's a way of life that will be rewarding in the long run, not because it's easy. I cannot give anyone reading this a desire or wisdom but I can say, act now to avoid what is soon coming to a city near you. And remember, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. I hope you will check out my youtube channel for homesteading tips, wild foraging, soap making and herbal remedies. God put man in a garden to tend it and keep it. We left God and the land we were given, the consequences are about to be rendered. I hope you all find your way back to a love for Him and sustainable way of living, because it's the only thing that can truly feed you body and soul when you're hungry physically and spiritually and your preps have run out. I don't think you will like the results of ignorance. "If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?" TJ
Melisa

Thursday, September 1, 2016

How to build the best bug out bag for large families - stop spending money on junk!

  Happy preparedness month! I would like to share with you my large family 'bob' and how to build your own. I have read many articles about camping bags, wilderness survival bags, bug out bags and so on. I have looked at so many and in my humble opinion most of them are a waste of money. I am a Mom of six and for all the bases I want to cover we cannot afford to waste what money we do have. I have my spin on the 'bug out bag' because I would need to rent a U-Haul to include everything we might need in a survival situation or intense camping trip. So for those of you who also have large families, I'm giving you the best options that I have found, showing you how to build your own or add to the one I think is the very best on the market. I hate wasting money on cheap crap, so I've searched the web and am sharing the best I have found/use for our family, so y'all will quit spending money on big band aids and other useless junk. *This is my honest, unbiased opinion and unpaid advice. It's not too hard to put together a great bag for many people, just requires a bit more thinking to make it work well. Pace your self financially and do one thing at a time if you need too. Buy things in steps so as not to over whelm or discourage yourself.
  To start with I would highly recommend looking at this one here, it's the best for the money. Just think about who will carry what ahead of time, so you can lot items based on abilities. It's a big bag, so think ahead. Although I have a much larger family than four, it can easily be built on for camping or survival by adding a few more ration bars which run about $10), rain coats (which are around $1 at Walmart) and a few tooth brushes ($4). It comes with everything you would need to provide water, food, rain cover and shelter a four person group for 3 days. Add those extras mentioned for more people. It also has a fire starter, lighter, basic tent, water bottle, bandages, multipurpose tool and other items most kits leave out. I hate to see so many people buying bags that lack in those needed items. Essentially a lot of people are spending money on big band aid kits. When you're not getting much more than assorted size bandages, it's a waste of money in my book. I want diversity and to be able to address just about anything that may come up. *Whether you buy a kit, carry these things in your pocket or build your own bag, you must have these things in your 'bob'. These are the most important of all: knife and/or multi-tool, cord, cover for rain, emergency blanket for cold, light of some kind, water or small filter to drink from wild habitats, some food, basic first aid, a good compass and map. Most bags have to have the last two added in by you. Only you know where you're headed and it's your job to cover that. The one mentioned above has all thes but I want to have a bit more, like the ability to deal with bigger wounds and things of that nature.
  So on to the medical part. That bag also has a descent medical kit enclosed, but this basic medical trauma bag is great as well if your just looking for medical. At a reasonable price of $19.99, it comes with a lot and is the best to start with, for the money. You do need a good suture kit to go in all your survival/camping/bug out bags! You can buy this one very inexpensively here. With the suture kit, you will need clean utensils and this pack here is good. *I am NOT advising anyone to suture or perform any medical procedure themselves. This is for emergency use only, in the event a doctor/vet cannot be gotten to. This article by Dr. Joe Alton is the very best one on emergency suturing I have ever read. It cuts to the important issues and gives you a short crash course on when to and when not to close a wound. *Don't forget clotting cloths or Alum powder (the canning kind). In the basic medical trauma bag mentioned above, the clotting cloths are included. You can buy them separately, but will run you $10 to $15 a piece. The basic medical trama bag not only covers bleeding but has a tourniquet kit and directions as well! *Bleeding will be intensive if it is a full moon and much less or a non issue during quarter moon. You should research that now, before it's needed. Moon phases effect the gravitational pull of things on earth. *Note* if you have the money to spend at once and want everything mentioned already and don't want to have to track down each individual item to put things in your kit or medical bag, this one is compact and designed by a doctor. It's on my list next. While your at it, read this very important book BEFORE tragedy strikes or you find your self needing some basic medical knowledge. (Special Forces Med Book)
  Now that you have food, water, rain/shelter medical and heat covered, you will need to remember a few other things: a map of the area you are traveling in and a good compass (this one is great for the price). If  you're traveling with little ones DO NOT FORGET TO PACK EXTRA DIAPERS, WIPES, AND TOILET PAPER! I always throw in underwear and pants for any toddlers that are with us. I always keep this Super Salve (a product we do make) in ours as kits/bags as well. It is great for any minor wounds, cuts, diaper rash, scrapes or burns. Leaves no scarring and help speed healing. From nasal wounds/polyps to rashes, it has always come in handy and could be used as a moisturizer in as well. For lighting, I choose this hybrid flash light here. I read a review from a vet, who tested several and it got the top score. It works whether by solar or LED battery but every single time you turn it on, it works! The solar option is very strong and it's water resistant as well. For the price we bought a couple and it's brighter than any other lights we have (flash lights or head lamps).
  A few other needed items I have put into our kits are: an extra bar of soap and a wash cloth or two in a gallon size freezer bag (baby wipes run out fast and I want to wash up myself), an ACE bandage, saline to flush a deep wound of debris or aid in eye/ear/nose/throat care, super glue or Newskin (for shallow cuts), a topical pain killer such as Lidocaine or Clove essential oil, a cleaning solution such as peroxide or iodine, and our Essential Oil Survival Kit. The Essential 7 Kit comes neatly in a small pouch and will cover everything from bug repellent and upset stomach to basic first aid issues. Instructions are included. *Don't forget any back up meds that may be required for sustaining life such as heart meds, Epi-pen, Benadryl for allergies or inhaler for an asthmatic. If your doctor knows your traveling, he usually will write you an extra dose prescription for 'just in case'. You can also buy your own inexpensive backpack and a can of Scotchguard for making the bag water repellant. Spray the bag and make your own from these suggestions here.
  These things are essentially what I use/do and would advise anyone with a large family to look at when purchasing a bag or building their own for real life camping, travel or survival situations. I hope this is helpful for those of you who travel, camp or need a survival bag for a large family. For more on wild herbs/homesteading/gardening and the like, check out our Youtube channel at Homestead Moma. 
Melisa

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How To Treat Your Poultry For Antibiotic Resistant Sinus Diseases & How The US Just Killed Homesteading & Small Farms

 
  There is so much to say here, that I'm just going to drop my recent Youtube at the bottom, so you can see it for yourself. We are successfully treating our poultry for antibiotic resistance with natural remedies and antibiotics! The turkeys we are raising contracted it from the feed. Once we removed the feed, no more turkeys got sick. Here is how we are treating them and how you can treat yours with inexpensive yet effective remedies.
  Also in the video I cover how we in the US, (the FDA actually) are going to put small farms and homesteading out of business. We have less than 1% of our population in farming (most of those grow corn, soy and cotton) and we are just about to kill those homesteaders and animal farmers that are left with a regulation called the Veterinary Feed Directive. You need to look at this closely. I explain in the video. Please like, share and subscribe if you are a homesteader, gardener or interested in learning more on these subjects! Yes, antibiotic resistance is real, but don't throw out the baby with the bath water. This video shows how to treat a flock with a few inexpensive items. Then how this antibiotic resistance is being used as an excuse to KILL homesteading and small animal farms in the US. Corporate farms will still use antibiotics in there animals to grow them quickly, because they keep vets on pay roll. Yet those who need medicine to keep their animals alive in a rare situation like ours here, will not be able to afford it. Please watch! You will feel the effects even if you don't fully understand the reasons. I firmly believe a famine could possibly result from this regulation. Yes, big corporate farms will still be able to lace your food with antibiotics, while the little guy will NOT be able to afford them for life saving treatment. Also the blog post below entitled "Your Staring Famine In The Face" should help you understand the depth of where this will get us as a nation.  https://youtu.be/Q0WUMWprz3o

Thursday, August 25, 2016

10 Ways To Homestead & Survive In The City

  This is how I began homesteading in the suburbs right near a big city. This is where I got many of my skills way before we moved to the country to do it on a larger scale. I am so glad I didn't sit on my rump complaining about what I didn't have. My kids and I were totally able to embrace our current homestead because of the life style I gave them in the city. When I was growing up, my single Mother raised me with very few absolutes, but there was one thing that was absolutely NOT allowed. It was saying "I can't". If those words ever slipped from my mouth, my southern Mama would quickly give me this reply, "I can't, never could do nothing". Translated, it means that those people who say "I can't", will never do much of anything and will always look for an excuse to get out of doing what they can do. "At the very least", I was told, "you can always say, I will try". And in most cases, she was right, I could do whatever I put my mind to do. You can too. I took that lesson with me all through life, no matter the situations or places I've been, and it has been my #1 Homesteading or Survival Skill: sheer determination. Here are some things we did, not because we wanted to, but because our times call for it. I hope that they might be of help to you if you're homesteading or working on survival skills in the city or suburbs. I would like to say, that your ultimate survival is in God's hands and whether you live, die, sustain your family or are able to benefit others, all glory goes to Him. Make sure your spiritual survival kit isn't lacking before your earthly one.
  1. Snub convenience foods for a better, healthier way. By putting back healthy foods and learning how to cook them from scratch, you can be fine when others are in a total panic for what to do for the next meal. Seek out farmers or gardeners around you so you can begin learning how to can or freeze foods your family will eat/need in the winter or could survive on in a worst case scenario. Make friends with farmers, gardeners or the Amish. Ask to buy their leftovers or even ask to pick what they don't want to. Biblically it's called gleaning. Some farmers will offer you the ability to 'pick on the half'. This means they grow it, you pick it, and split the harvest with them. You each get half of what you've picked. This is a great way to get produce that you haven't put sweat equity or time and money into growing.
 When it comes to canning, my favorite canner is an All American Pressure Canner. They have a few different sizes so you can choose the one that fits your budget or needs. Hands down the best canner ever. You can also find it at Shetler's Wholesale, I give the number below in #10. You can do a water bath and pressure canning in it. You can also do some cooking as well. I will also add here that teaching your self how to cook from scratch would be a very useful skill. *If you don't have the 'right' ingredients, right equipment or a recipe book, can you throw together something that is in your freezer? Or make something from leftovers, that the family will actually eat? Start teaching yourself scratch cooking because it will be needed in worst case scenario or on a farm when the store is 45minutes way and the natives are hungry. :)
These strawberries are a combination of ours and some that were bought as day old berries from a local farm. They made good jam. The tops were used to make wine!


  2. Buy in bulk from growers, not the store. Also look for the day or two old stuff. Ask the folks at the farmers market if they have anything that you might be able to buy in bulk. An example is something like tomatoes that are a day or two old and will go bad. The farmers there will usually let these go for pennies on the dollar because they are just about to go rotten anyway. The picky population in our current society who want everything to look 'perfect' will snub their nose up at spots and such, but you can walk away with tons of produce this way. Some family owned supermarkets will do this for you as well, but the deals are not as good because they need to make a profit too.
 3. Learn how to sew, this is something that can be done inside your home without needing a ton of space or money. Ask friends and neighbors who may assist you if they know how. They may even be looking to get rid of a machine or extra material. Take a class near you and bring the kids, they would most likely love learning it too, if you have taught them that learning is a virtue not to be overlooked. Start with looking at the $1 rack of material at your local Walmart or craft stores. I hardly ever pay full price for material. If it isn't what I was looking for, I usually find a way to make it work anyway. My husband has worn many a patched pair of jeans to work. I've made my girls lots of dresses and we've saved hundreds if not more because of this simple skill.
 4. Learn how to make soap and teach at least one other member of the family in case you aren't able to do it. When we lived in the suburbs, I learned how to make soap for my children's skin problems. I also learned how to make it from scratch buy buying fat from a butcher and getting wood ashes from a friends wood stove. In a worst case scenario, we would have a very important bartering item, when everyone else's supply had run out in a few days or weeks. Knowing how to make soap will cover so many bases. You need soap for cleaning people, pets, washing dishes, washing clothes, cleaning house, shampoo, and it can even be used for brushing teeth when you cannot get tooth paste.  Look for easy ways to get started, learning to do it with and without electricity. Our Survival & Homesteader's Soap Making Kit has easy to follow instructions and all you need to make a batch of soap with or without the power being on. I'll be teaching this in a class in Gonzolas, LA (near Baton Rouge) March 4th-5th, 2017 at the National Prepper & Survivalits Expo.

 5. Make do, do over or do without. Ha, this sounds cliché but it really is a skill that requires discipline. It's simply practicing self discipline. On a farm, there are usually BIG set backs that must be tended to and that much anticipated clothes shopping trip for fun, just flies right out the window when an animal gets sick or the tractor tire has to be replaced for $300. These types of things will break many people in their homesteading venture. On a bigger scale, it could cause some to lose it in a survival situation because of no self discipline, determination and willingness to do without. I've seen it happen in adults, who were never made to except they must do without for others, a greater good or other things more important than what they wanted at the time. Wavering the cost of being more self sufficient against clothes that can wait, be gotten at a thrift store or made yourself is not a even a compromise in my book. It's smart. I started making myself and my children watch our pennies and do without extras (wants) way before we moved to the country. This helped us stay out of financial trouble when other events were weighing down on us. We quit keeping up with the Jones'. We don't buy many new things and are willin' to make do with seconds so we can do other things with our hard earned money, like put up fencing for animals or buy seed for the pasture. The entire family benefits from these animals and therefore the entire family should understand the work to keep them safe, fed and in good health. This is big responsibility in action. Even if your children don't know it, you can explain it to them so they learn these things young. Give everyone in the family what they need, but wants are extras that take away from a greater good or the ability to be self sufficient. *Don't hand your children everything they ask for and have some dream that they will magically turn out to help with garden chores, if they've been plugged into a video game half the day. If you have TV, movies or video games in their face most of the time, you can hang it up. Teach them self discipline now and give rewards for it, like a date for thrift store shopping or a trip to the coffee shop. These little extras do make life sweet and won't kill your pocket book as well.
6. Put up a clothes line. I know this seems like a simple thing, but it helps in many ways. Where we live, it is HOT and HUMID. I was raised hanging clothes on a line. Single Mom, dryer breaks, thank goodness there was a line out back. We had been using the small clothes line in the suburbs so it wasn't a new idea or hard to get used to on our homestead. This year, it made a big difference. I resolved to use it only and no dryer, unless it rained. Because our dryer puts out heat, that makes the AC work harder as well. It did indeed save us 20% on our electric bill to use the line as our only way to dry clothes. The dryer was only used as a back up. Wow, 20% is a lot of money to save and it adds up when it continues for several months during the summer. I'll be looking into putting up a good one on the inside this winter.
 7. Teach the kids gardening skills, how to use wild herb and where to find water. *You may not always be with them. Can they do it if they had to? Or will they say, "I can't?" Try things to make it an awesome experience. Even if you only have a few raised beds, you can get them involved. Let them pick some of the things to grow. Even if it bombs, so what. I started making a notebook of our gardening adventures. Each year we have a contest for the cover artwork. Some years it's colorful, sometimes in black and white. The winner gets to put their artwork in the cover pocket for that year's garden. It is a good way for us to turn a chore into fun. We log everything we grow in this three ring binder by cutting out the picture and description of each item from seed catalogs. Then we glue them to white sheets of paper that get slipped in to tabbed clear pockets. This way we know when an item is due to be ready and all other specifics about that crop. Get organic sprays that the kids can easily use without you worrying if it gets on them. Use my Safe Farm Spray recipe found here. Grow the coolest things ever, for their benefit, not just what you want. I never ask, but usually say "So, what are you going to grow this year?" In this way my child just automatically knows they will be growing something and get excited about looking the seed catalogs over for the coolest tomato or squash that they can show off to others. It does make it fun. Below are some pictures of the binder from last year.



  Also take them to the park, with a Peterson's Field Guide in hand. Go to a near by field or forest to identify useful herbs in a survival situation. If you weren't around, could they pick out the herbs and plants useful for food and medicine? Do they know where the good supply of native herbs are in relation to your home if needed for sustaining life? Can they get there without you? If they were kidnapped could they find there way around a forest or field near you? Do they know which direction moss grows? This sounds silly, but folks are walking off cliffs now a days, chasing cartoons. Simply put, it's your job to teach your kids these survival skills, not anyone else. Don't think your kids have learned anything from a one time a year camping trip. You have to live it, or it's not going to be natural for them.
  *Add a bit of situational awareness here: besides gardening, wild foods and herbs, make sure they know how to locate water (not in your own home) in your immediate area and how to clean it if needed. Do you store it, is there a pond or river near by, can they haul it without you? Ask them how they could get to it and bring it to the house if they needed to in a survival situation. Make them think outside the box. Critical thinking shouldn't only be done at school. Your unit, your responsibility.
Below, the girls are wild herb pickin'; we do this with friends and as a family all year round. I can now send them out for something I need and they know what to get, how to properly gather it and where to find it.


 8. Begin teaching team work now! Practice makes perfect. If times get hard where you are, is your family used to functioning like a well oiled machine? Are the kids 'go getters' or they type to complain and whine that things are hard? Will they drive you crazy and pitch a fit, or get in and help? If not, you need to unplug and get the family into a routine that allows for the entire group to work together. On the weekends, start working together in the garden, on projects around the house, raking leaves, cutting wood or even doing chores for neighbors. We took turns helping friends with farm work when we lived in the suburbs. We drove to other people's houses to milk their animals, pick vegetables, gather eggs and learn to can. We made it a point to do this together. The kids learned WITH US. We don't ask our kids to do anything we aren't willing to do ourselves. Likewise, we do expect them to do all that their age and physical abilities will allow. When you work together, the children will see the willingness of the parents and naturally learn to work with them. If doing as little as possible is your motto, it's there's too! "Monkey see, monkey do". That's another absolute from my Momma. When or if you have a rough time, survival scenario or are planning to move to the country, every imaginable and unimaginable catastrophe will happen. Do you all break under pressure or react in real time? You need to know now. Once we woke up to a cow face down on the ground inches from a water hole. She had caught her foot in her bridle and fell, nose to dirt, and was worming herself around, seconds from drowning. Because hubby and kids knew how to function as a team it saved her life. Another time my husband cut down a neighbors tree, it fell the wrong way and ended up across the road blocking traffic and tearing down a fence on the other side. Thank God our kids didn't even wait to be told what to do. They jumped in, elbow deep with the right equipment (tractor and chains) and knew how to help us at the right time. My husband had to stay in the road, with the tree and make sure no one came by and hit any debris and explain why the road was unable to be traveled. Although it was not a big deal situation, we were very pleased to see them react in a helpful way that 'got 'er done'. Your kids need to be able to be told what to do, but also they need to have enough life experience to understand the situation at hand and react in a manner that is going to get the job done well even without being told in some cases. If your kids aren't getting these experiences on a regular basis, don't expect them to be of any help in a bad case, life or death situation. Did you allow them to say "I can't"? Our did you give them the skills to be able say, "No Problem"? Remember, we reap what we sow. Kids aren't little robots, they are people who will have their own will, but the more encouragement, preparation and skills you give them, the more confidence you give them to handle the rough times with ease.
  Another thing here on this topic of team work, is to get them practicing fire drills or if you live near a fault line have them know what to do in an earthquake. Have a day where you work together on doing laundry by hand. Stop going shopping on Saturday and plan a practice drill together. Our new washing machines always seem to break. Yes, even brand new and top of line and they cannot hold up. So, we've gotten plenty of practice in this area.
 
*A quick tip here, a good ringer helps get out all the water. Ours is this one I found on Amazon. It's worth every penny and does a great job. Doing clothes by hand makes for a very long, hard day, but it's also good team work. Will your family know how or complain if they ever need to do it for survival? Whether you live in the city or country you need to be practicing the idea of team work and how to 'move' together in an "Oh, Sh*t" kinda situation. Quit blowing money on take out food and take a CPR course as a family. Look up how to do it on youtube if money is a problem. I put my oldest through a suturing class, just in case she is ever in a situation that requires it. Then she came home and showed me how. Visit the park and practice with the family dog locating a hidden child. I did this many times to see if our kids got abducted or lost in the woods, could the dog be a helpful member of the team and find our child? He did very well.  Simply use the child's clothes for the dog to smell and each time the hidden child is found, reward the dog with a treat. Simply put, this is your unit. Your leading will determine the success or failure of the team. Every member, even the dog, can be a participating and beneficial member! :)
 9. Buy a wheat or corn grinder and get some grains to start learning how it operates. These grains can be stored for a very long time in the whole grain form and put in a closet if needed, but could save your family when other foods aren't an option. Grinding your own grains will help lower the grocery budget too. It's a lot cheaper and healthier to make your own flour and breads from scratch. Even whole wheat flour from the store is processed in many ways that leave the nutrition virtually worthless. Whether you are teaching yourself homesteading skills or putting food aside for a rainy day, a grinder is absolutely an investment with many rewards. If you needed or wanted to grow your own grains or your animal's food supply you will need a grinder to crack the corn for the animals, grind your own wheat for bread or both. All old time stories from world war stories to famines include the much needed grains as part of survival. I am not affiliated with any company but of all the grinders I have seen I like the Grain Maker the best. Just personal choice, as my husband is a metal guy by trade and helps me with my big purchases. We both like the quality, price and versatility of this one the best. It is by far a better purchase for the money spent. Here is the link.
 10. Start buying those large pieces of equipment, tools, and things now. Those things that are industrial strength and good for the long haul, will only go up in price and value when/if the SHTF or you finally moves to your place in the country. We bought our tractor on payments while we still lived in the suburbs. We bought almost all of our big needed items for our farm while we were living frugal in a tiny home with a  little .25 acre lot. From a good canner to good tools needed to mend a fence, we started putting back money to make these purchases ahead of time so when we moved and needed them, we had them already. Even if you aren't ever planning a move to the country, you will find that having the 'right' equipment or tools will determine the success of your job. That has been my husband's motto for life, "the right tools for the job" are very important indeed. Craigslist is a great place to start for equipment that is second hand. I LOVE the farm and garden section. Also check out Shetler's Amish Wholesale. You have to call and request a catalog and they carry almost any farm/garden item you can imagine. The number is 260-368-9902. It's like an Amish version of Harbor Freight (but with much better quality) and Sam's Club combined. The more you buy, the more you save. Tons of great stuff and a lot of it is American or Amish made. Another great place to look is here, at Scruggs farm and garden. They carry everything from pea shellers and animal medicine to boots and tractor parts.
 I hope you found this helpful.
 Melisa

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Make Your Own Survival - Homesteader's Soap Recipe *Milk Version Too!

  This is a repost of a previous one that I have updated and revised for ease and for newbies to my blog. It is one very important post for those just waking up to the reality that life throws curves and those that know how to handle it often do better than those that don't.
  It's very easy to make your own soap for survival and all you need is three basic ingredients (water, lard and lye, aka sodium hydroxide) and some utensils. I add peppermint essential oil to this recipe for a nice smell, but it's not a must. This recipe is also going to involve electricity but you can do it without it. I'm going to lay this out so it is as easy as possible for those who have never done it before and who cannot get to a class. I will be teaching how to make this basic soap in a class titled "Basic Soap Making for Survival With and Without Electricity" at the National Preppers and Survivalists Expo in Baton Rouge. March 4th & 5th, 2017. If you can come, you can see how truly easy this can be and I'd love to have you!
  A lot of people out there would love to learn how to make a pure natural bar of soap and in a survival situation, you may need to make it yourself or do with out it. I have heard of soldiers and others who were not able to get soap, who placed it up there with food for one of the things they desired most in a worst time.  I do have soap making kits available as well for those who would like the convenience of having all needed ingredients to come premeasured and together in one order.
  So here is my recipe for a basic plain ol' lye soap, free of nasty chemicals, fragrances, dyes, and preservatives. I put the kit together so it would be a little easier to get started and understand than when I first got started years ago for my own children's needs.
  Many of you have probably heard the "scare" tactics commercial soap companies used for years, that says lye or homemade soap is harsh or even dangerous. Well, that couldn't be further from the truth. ALL SOAP IS LYE SOAP. Many companies will disguise their soap's lye ingredient as Sodium Talloate or some other form used to describe the saponification process using lye and fats like tallow. Again even liquid soap is lye soap. Most liquid soap uses Potassium Hydroxide, but it is still a form lye.
  Old fashion lye soap, the plain or milk are the very best for skin problems. It is all we use in our house from hand washing to dishes. It never breaks out our skin and doesn't over dry it either. With all the chemicals in commercial soaps, my children break out and itch constantly. We cannot use any soap or detergent from the store. So here is my all natural soap base that you can use to make many different versions. At first stick to the basic soap and master it. Then, when you're confident, add other ingredients like goats milk. We have a lot of skin issues and our homemade lye soap has no chemicals, and helps with our skin problems like eczema and acne. I have chosen to use more of an old fashion soap that is not super fatted because super fatted soaps usually do not set up right. They will separate and go rancid easily. They also do not clean as well. This basic soap is safe for even using on teeth in place of tooth paste. Although tooth paste sellers would probably disagree, because it will hurt their sales. For more on that topic, research Dr. Gerald F. Judd. You will be surprised at his findings, and how easy/cheap good dental care really is. Making soap has saved us tons of money in many ways.
  For those of you who would like to purchase a totally pure soap, instead of making it for yourself, you may find it here..

   This basic soap has only 4 ingredients and leaves a wonderful smell behind if used in laundry. Lard, lye, water, and peppermint essential oil. If needed you can leave out the peppermint essential oil, you only need the other three for making soap. *You can use this basic recipe for any soap, milk as well. Just replace water with a milk (goat, cow, sheep, ect.). Also make sure the milk is frozen at least half way. The lye gets very hot when it hits the liquid and will quickly cook the milk, so it must be partly frozen or you will have cheese, not a smooth milk for soap. I do also use this recipe with organic fats other than lard. I do not use coconut oil as the base fat, because of the 'detergents' in it. If not using lard alone, use organic fats like coconut, shea or mango butter. Also a solid fat will render a better soap, do not use a liquid only as it will not set up.  Lard is cooked down without chemicals to render a firm fat. It is also what most homesteaders used for years and years. It really makes the best soap, plenty of suds, and hard bars that last for a long time. These bars will last about 4 to 6 times loner than a commercial bar! I am not kidding. They really go far and the lard is why. What about other oils? You can mix and match oils, but using a large amount of liquid oils with this recipe or any others will sometimes cause separation when trying to set up. I don't like having to babysit it. I want to walk away and not be surprised when I go back to check on it. You can use some liquid oils but not as the majority. Don't try changing the basic recipe until you have more experience. Then you could play with it a little, just so long as the total fat used is 3 lbs and 6oz total. *You can use some coconut oil with this recipe, but not for the entire amount. It's still too soft at room temp to give a good hard bar with this recipe.
  When getting started you should also wear apron, safety goggles and gloves to protect yourself and the product. Also lye gets very hot, so stainless steel or glass utensils are best. Very sturdy plastic will work, but with plastic there is always the risk of melting or small particles coming of into product. *Sturdy plastic only and pick utensils carefully to make sure they can hold up. When using metal for soap making, ONLY USE REAL STAINLESS STEEL. Other metals break down with lye exposure!
Utensils needed:
Steel shafted stick blender (In a survival situation you will be stirring a while, in place of the stick blender)
Steel Pot big enough for recipe ( for this recipe, 10 to 12in round and at least 4 inches deep)
Sturdy Plastic Pitcher that will not melt with high heat of lye
Stainless Steel Ladle
Kitchen Scale (Good one costs about $50 or more. A digital is not a must and in a survival situation it will need precious batteries you could use elsewhere so I keep an old fashioned weight scale in my kitchen I bought from the Amish)
Candy Thermometer (You do not have to have this, it helps but is not a must.)
Soap Mold (not thin plastic) A sturdy Tupperware like container or steel mold or dish will work. You can find them at crafter stores online. Mine is a 12 & 1/2in by 10in rectangle. Mine precuts bars by shaping into individual bars with a divider. If your mold doesn't individualize bars you will need to cut using a straight edge and good knife when soap is firm but still somewhat soft, like cutting a block of cheese. Make sure you can flip the big soap out of the mold to cut it. Make sure your mold will allow for this.
Basic Soap Ingredients:
This recipe makes fifteen 5oz bars, so it's a larger recipe than most people use. You may need to adjust based on your mold.
3 lbs & 6oz of Lard *(makes the best soap with a good price, regular coconut oil contains detergents I do not want on my skin or my family's)
9.5oz of Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
24oz Water Or Frozen Milk (at least half way frozen)
2oz Peppermint Essential Oil
*Vinegar, this is must to stop a lye burn instantly if you get it on the skin. It is acidic and lye is alkaline so it stops the burn on contact. A jar of pickles will do in a pinch!

  First label pitcher as 'LYE PITCHER' so no one will drink from it. Then begin by weighing fats (Lard) and place total amount of fats in pan on medium heat to melt. Let fats melt then remove from heat and place on an eye that is not hot to cool and make your lye mixture, directions below. *In a survival situation, you will need to pour the lye mixture (water and lye crystals) into the pan containing the 3lbs 6oz of lard, to melt it that way. You will most likely not have electricity in a survival situation, so the heat of the lye water mixture can melt the lard for you. From there, simply stir until it is as creamy as a thin cake batter. Without electricity this will take a good while, sometimes a few hours.

  Next, weigh and add water or partly frozen milk (24oz) to pitcher, and place in sink surrounded by a little cold water. This will help cool down lye mixture quicker. *If using milk, it will be better to even place ice in water around pitcher to help the milk not curd. When using milk, it will turn light brown or orange, this is ok. It is because the lactose (milk sugar) is carmalizing. Then weigh and add lye to pitcher slowly. Go slow so no splashing occurs. NEVER add any liquid such as water to lye crystals, because of the possible volcano like effect. *This is what people were doing with the drain cleaner in the 80's that caused blindness. They ran the sink water onto the drain cleaner containing lye. It then erupted on them. Always add the lye to the liquid and stir slowly and then let sit to cool. I open my kitchen window to let fumes escape and turn on a box fan. Remember to keep your vinegar handy, just in case it splatters at anytime in the process.
Once cooled to a temp around 150 F or (*in a survival situation just make sure it's not steaming anymore*), you can then pour lye liquid into melted lard, or fats. Using your steel ladle to stir as you go.
 Once the lye liquid is all in the pot with lard, blend with steel shafted stick blender.
Once it's beginning to firm up a bit, (or temp is about 125 F) add your Peppermint Essential Oil and blend once more. KEEP YOUR FACE BACK. The Peppermint will produce a strong fume as it is incorporated into heated soap.

If I am in hurry, I don't use the thermometer for my basic lye, personal soap. If I'm making a specialty soap or for selling, I do. But for this recipe it isn't a must and in a survival situation you probably will not have one on hand. Just let soap get thick and creamy a bit before adding essential oils or heat could kill their volatile properties. After you've mixed in the Peppermint well, pour into mold. This is a big mold my husband welded for me. Make sure your mold is on a towel or some surface that will not scorch because the heat of soap will transfer to surface through the mold. Also it will be heavy, so think about how to pick it up and where to put it when your finished. Sturdy handles come in handy.


*You may want to decrease recipe (by making only half) if you have a smaller mold or increase if needed. Last but not least, *place out of the way of those who might think it is cake batter or pudding.* Lesson learned, I now put on the frig covered with a towel to set up. It will take about 12 to 24hrs to set up. Sometimes, the humidity in the air will cause this time to speed up or slow down. Like candy making, the weather really seems to effect the process. You will then need to slide soaps out from between dividers with gloves on. Lye is still caustic. Then set on a glass or plastic tray to cure for two weeks. Metals other than steel reacts with the caustic lye and will cause issues. After that your soap is ready to use.

*This was written for educational purposes and I am not responsible or liable for any damages, reactions or adverse effects from someone using this or any of my personal recipes. I am also not responsible for the product you create.* I urge you to be careful, and remember to try your first lye soap making without anyone else around. I hope you found this helpful! You can find our handmade soap at Homesteadmoma.com

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Real Dirt About Gardening For Survival

  I know the 'survival' mindset is very popular right now. There's always a new threat of earthquakes, pandemic, flooding, wild fires, food shortages and so on. *As stated in another blog post below, (You're Staring Famine in the Face), less than 1% of America's working population is in farming, fishery or forestry. So, I would like to take a minute to pass on some knowledge to the folks who are not avid gardeners, but may find themselves in a disaster or other scenario where it could be a needed skill. You need to be doing it now, to know how to do it later! Should a disaster such as an earthquake or other event ever occur, your mind, body and resources will be pushed yet limited to what they are accustomed to dealing with normally. If you do not normally make your self garden, weed, problem solve for bugs, understand soil needs, ect...you will be even less able to cope in a 'survival' type situation because of stress and scarce resources. In short, practice makes perfect. You need to practice these skills now, before you regret it.

  Let me share with you the attitude of the proud, those who will starve in a survival situation. A few years ago, I attended church with a pretty wealthy family who's kids really liked my garden and decided to put their own together the following year. The parents, being accustomed to having everything they ever needed at the drop of a hat, wouldn't even help the kids except to till the ground. I asked the Dad what he would do, not having any skills in that area, if a crisis or survival situation actually called for him to provide for his family with his own two hands. To my surprise he says to me "how hard can it be to throw some seeds out there ?" Well, my first thought (after choking on his prideful attitude) was obviously, you wouldn't know. My vocal answer to him was this, "If you think you can sit on some stock of seeds and just get out there when your hungry, and think your going to have the know how to deal with issues or over come the learning curve required to get food on the table, you're going to go hungry." It takes years of practice to learn to do anything well. No matter your career, interest, hobby, or sport. Even seasoned farmers and gardeners will tell you it's a game every year. The skills needed to know how to react and knowing what to do for certain things like diseases or bugs, need to be gained years before you actually have to do it for provision. Read the book before you take the test. Don't think seeds will just grow themselves, that is the gardeners job, as God said, "He put man in the garden to tend and keep it". And believe me it takes a lot of tending and keeping, even for a small garden.
 Above we're filling up the kids wagon to haul to the garden. It takes a few trips on the day we plant tomatoes. We grow some in every color, this makes it super fun for teaching the kids about an agrarian life style and how important these skills are. They will always remember purple and orange tomatoes. :)

  The next topic I want to share is size or the amount of land required to produce the proper amount of food needed. You cannot grow 2 tons of food on a .25 acre lot. Sorry to bust your bubble, it ain't going to happen. I've tried. To my disappointment, it's a joke. Make sure that you can grow things on a large enough scale to actually feed your family. Most big producers will not fit into a raised bed. Reserve the beds for small fruits like strawberries, lettuce, spinach, squash, and some bushy plants if needing to save space. In a real survival situation you will need room to grow hearty things like corn, potatoes, beans, peas, and such. Listen to people who have lived through a war or famine. It's all those type crops that got them through. A few raised beds will NOT keep you fed. Unless you are very diligent about succession planting, have a green house for winter and can eat greens everyday. There are ways to do it smaller, with a green house but that is going to require a lot of work and energy. So get busy figuring it out now. You cannot do the big producers and hearty things successfully in raised beds and get very much food.

  You can do some of these things in a large green house in winter. I know an Amish man that rotates his poultry and early spring growing in a huge green house and that works, but farming is his full time job.  Maybe you should consider getting one if your budget will allow. To feed a family of even just four, most of the year, your going to need at least 1/3 to 1/2 an acre garden. And you'll still need to succession plant. Keeping up with a garden is a rewarding way to live, but like the Amish friend told my husband once..."there's only so much time in a day." So decide to get proactive now rather than later to figure out what works for you. The people who can pull a rabbit out of the hat, garden for 50 all year on .25 an acre or less, are full time gardeners with nothing else going on, with paid help and that IS their full time job. For most people it isn't realistic. If doing fruit trees or fruit, you'll need more space or try edible landscaping. They do not go into that figure of 1/2 acre for a family of four. They are extra and need their own space.
  I know how frustrating it can be to spend so much time trying to get enough food to make it worth my time, only to end up with a few cobs of corn, a few melons, a few tomatoes, and a few peppers at the end. That was when I did it on .25 acre lot. Now, I don't even play. My kids and I grow a full acre garden of veggies with no problem every year. I learned to throw out the books, roll up my sleeves and figure it out my self. Some books are helpful, like seed saving books, but sometimes sweat gives you better results. For more production try the oldies but goodies, the big producers are those row crops mentioned below. Look at these crops for the most bang for your time and money.
  *We must have caught someone's eye, because the helicopters searching for weed, fly over us often. I guess one lady and a bunch a kids growing an acre garden is really something suspicious. Lol...I've learned to just ignore it. The kids think it's cool. :(

 

 
Those cups are our tomatoes, we plant around 200-300 each year. Everyone joins in and we haul them and plant them together. I thank God for these times with the children.
  We haul in some of the strangest things. We grow fancy melons, cucumbers and things that produce well. If it can't hang with our heat, it's gone. It must be a good producer or it's not worth our time. Go for quality row crops and quit wasting your time with things that don't produce as much. To try it out, till up the whole yard if needed, I did when we lived in the suburbs. Our entire back yard had to be sodded when we moved. I grew corn and peas right in our little back yard. It was one good way I could get what I wanted out of the garden. Maybe you could invest in a piece of land or rent a place where you can grow row crops that will yield more than what you could ever eat. Beans, peas, melons, and squash/zuccinini, corn, okra, potatoes, sweet potaoes and all the things old timers grew are the best producers. They were doing it well before all these new fangled ways became popular, and they were getting enough food to eat. In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Row crops are your staples and usually your items that give you more nutrients as well. But you MUST get varieties that are good for your climate and soil. Your local co-op and other farmers around you will be one of the best places to look for those items that will be of real use. What do the locals consistently grow with success? Around here it's G-90 or Silver Queen sweet corn. I tried for years, wasting much time and money on other 'better' varieties. Heirloom corn cannot keep up here and it's a total waste of our time and money. Just to be let down. Finally I gave in and now grow either one of those two, and have an abundance each year. What a waste, to spend your time and money on something unproductive when all you need to do is ask around and give it a try.
  We grow an heirloom variety of purple okra that is found at the local farm supply for a very cheap price. We grow it because 1-it's navite here and grows well, 2- seeds are very reasonable to buy locally on a large scale and 3- it's a good producer.  The co-op seeds are also tons cheaper than these fancy seed catalogs. I do grow the fancy stuff, we have a tomato in every color of the rainbow. We have orange water melons and even a white cucumber. It took years of trying to see what would and would not work well in our soil, climate and garden. The local co-op seeds are usually native to the area and do better than seeds from other places. We also know how to bring in the bacon, by sticking to some row crop staples that don't go out of style, like purple hull peas and green beans. By growing these in large quantities we feel our time is worth the effort. If you've spent lots of money on heirloom seeds that will not survive your climate, or produce little to nothing, you will starve.
  If it comes from similar climates, in another country, it might work as well. One of the best buys I ever made was on winter squash seeds from a Guatemalan Blue Squash. It is the only winter squash that can take our heat and humidity in Mississippi and still be very productive. Even though, all the seed catalogs have Watham Butternut as a favorite, but ours always bombed. Nothing but a couple of raggedy little squash for all my time and work. It's better suited for the north and cannot hang with the southern heat. The squash from Guatemala, however, is an awesome producer here. I am always shocked at how much we get off of one 30ft trellis. Below is a medium sized one. They get huge and put out loads of squash. It's worth my time to get that food. I wouldn't know this if I had not been actively trying to figure out these things, before it could be a needed skill. And though I hope the grocery store is always an option, if anything happens we can do it.
 

  You need to make sure you have enough seeds to do the job. Buying from the co-op makes this affordable. Buying from an expensive seed supplier does not cut it if you need seeds by the pound. Johnnyseeds.com  is a good one for online bulk purchases of seeds. I ALWAYS plant more than what I need, and end up glad I did. I garden with kids and critters with two and four legs around me all day. There is no planning for some of the unreal things that happen around here. So whether it is a natural disaster like a storm or the dogs chasing a rabbit through my beans, I plan for that by planting twice as much as I wanted to get, so I at least get what I needed to get in the first place. In raised beds, row crops or in seed starting, this has saved our food every year in some way.
  Also go into it easy and if the soil has never been worked, don't be ashamed of using a chemical fertilizer just to get started. We did then have weaned ourselves into an organic approach on most things by using our animals manure and other composted material. *Lime for the soil is all natural and most soils need to be tested to see if you need it.
  There we're loading up the corn from a good pickin'. Dogs are a great investment. Not only do they keep away would be thieves, they also keep away varmints that will kill a good crop. Rabbits, coon, deer, you name it...our dogs are our first line of defense in protecting our food supply.    
  Last but not least, humble yourself before it's too late. Make friends with the older folks around you and there is a free flowing well of knowledge right at your finger tips. If you are not actively gardening, take a class or get with someone who is to get you started now! You will need these people as a life line of support as well as learning from them or to trade with in a disaster situation. In bad times, if you are a stranger, they will have nothing to do with you because you will be a threat to them and their food supply. A friend/pastor to third world countries once told me, morals go out the door when you're hungry. People who are normally upright and kind will be killing for food. And those who have it will also be doing the same to protect it. Do NOT think these folks who bust their butts and sweat for a living will befriend you then. Try to form relationships with those in your neighborhood or area of survival now. People who do not know you will laugh at you or 'worse' in a crisis situation. They have their own families and lives to watch out for, you are a stranger and if you intend to make it through, you should have been doing what they were doing years ago. Community needs to be formed way ahead of a crisis. Building trust is as important as building a storm shelter. Your work ethic and skills should speak for you. Hard working folks will only look at deeds not words. "New comers are not to be trusted", is an unwritten rule in the country. Most of the time it's true. We live in a small community off of the interstate, and new comers are usually trafficking drugs up to other states. Everyone keeps a close eye on newcomers here, because they often mean trouble for small towns or very rural areas. In a crisis, you don't need others being leery of you, when everyone is high strung and motives will be questioned.
  You probably will also need to depend on animals at some point and starting now will give you an understanding of there needs such as food, shelter, pests and diseases. So start evaluating what you can do now rather than later for this learning to begin. We began our homesteading in the suburbs about 14 years ago. We had chickens and bunnies right in the suburbs. Do whatever you can, where you are now.
Seriously, I make it a point to befriend old folks. Especially old timers that know how to farm, garden, bee keep and just survive. It's always a treat to have one old timer or another stop by to check in on me, my family and offer garden tips. We chew the fat and carry on about farm stuff and local gossip. My bee man is near ninety years old (he won't tell me for sure) and he still brings me goodies and offers tips that help me in some way every time he comes by. Thank God my husband isn't the jealous type, because I've got a lot of old timers for miles to help me when I need it. They know I want to learn, and they love that a younger person has time for them and wants their knowledge. There's a different older man almost daily coming by to check in on my projects and offer wisdom. They love sharing wisdom and our family is loving the learning we get to do and friendships we have made. One near and dear to us passed away a year ago, but right up to his death, he taught me things. This man was near ninety as well, and went out and wild harvested some Sassafras root for me, so I could have Sassafras tea like he had growing up. I already knew what it was, but I thanked him and came home to make my tea, because he cared enough to take the time to dig it for me. Sassafras was the original base for Root Beer. It's slightly spicy and good served warm with honey. It was a major staple crop for colonial Americans to sell to England.

   Sometimes the bush hog is the best way to haul it! If you get a bumper crop, take the kids to a local farmer's market or gas station and sell out of the truck. We do this sometimes and the kids make a little pocket money for their time and effort. They get to keep the money for whatever is sold.

   Lesson, be sure to invest your time learning now, because when you need it, you'll have the proper skills. If it's ever a game changer and you have to do it for survival, you cannot afford to be unskilled, unlearned and out of shape. I hope you found this helpful. Now I'm going to pick my okry and sweat for a while. :) *I'll be teaching a class on Basic Soap Making With or Without Electricity at the National Preppers & Suvivalists Expo in Baton Rouge, March 4-5th 2017! Check it out at NPSexpo.com Make plans now to attend!