How to Make Fire at Camp FEMA

by Todd Walker

Before you try to make a FEMA Camp fire, you need to be of sound mind, not stupid, drunk, or indoors. This technique is for emergency use only. Any reasonably prepared person should have other fire starting methods at their disposal.

But then again, if you’re reasonably prepared, you won’t be staying at Camp FEMA!

I’ve adapted this idea which came from a close friend who spent a few years in a facility similar to Camp FEMA – state prison. He and his convict friends called this a Chain Gang fire. It came in handy to light cigarettes when their contraband lighters died. Prisoners are very resourceful like that!

Imagine being a guest at Camp FEMA. The basics would be provided – or maybe not. But I’m sure you can acquire a pencil and toilet paper. And you’ll probably have electricity in your FEMA zone camp. That’s all you need to make your cozy little FEMA Camp fire.

FEMA Camp Fire

How to Make Fire at Camp FEMA

Add toilet paper for fire!

Split the pencil with a knife or your teeth. On a side note, I had a student who could remove an entire, intact lead from his sharpened #2 pencil a year ago without destroying the wooden sheath. A talented young man indeed!!

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DSCN0432

 

Break two pieces of lead (graphite) about an inch long. The longest portion will be used to ignite your toilet paper or napkin.

 

DSCN0433

Insert one of the short pieces into an electrical outlet. I did mention not to try this if you’re stupid, right? Okay. Just making sure.

Now insert the other short piece in the other side of the receptacle. The lead should stick out of the receptacle high enough to make contact with your cross-piece.

Wrap a piece of napkin or TP around the middle of your longer cross-piece of lead. Twist the paper tight without breaking the cross-piece.

DSCN0435

The paper has to be twisted narrowly around the lead so that the cross-piece makes contact with the two pieces stuck in the receptacle.

Brace for a flash!

Carefully touch both short pieces with the cross-piece while holding only the twisted paper.

How to Make Fire at Camp FEMA

Congratulations! You’ve just made your first FEMA Camp fire!!

You can use the FEMA fire for cooking, warmth, or to affect your escape.

Disclaimer: Burning an open fire indoors is a good way to die. Being stupid while playing with fire and electricity can burn down your house and kill you too.

Hope this was somewhat helpful. Now you have another fire starting method in your kit. You can never have enough options for making fire!

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #DoingTheStuff when sharing your stuff on Twitter.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

 

Categories: Doing the Stuff | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Here’s Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

by Todd Walker

It’s well documented by DRG that I’m a container freak. Plastic jugs, metal tins, glass bottles, clay pots – I hoard collect them all.

Here's Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

A small sampling of my metal tin fetish

Wooden pallets – don’t get me started! This free wood can be used to build bird houses, fences, furniture, compost bins, and other useful stuff with a little sweat equity, imagination, and simple tools.

Here's Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

A bluebird outhouse built from old barn and pallet wood

Yesterday, I received a sign from above pointing out my inability to turn down “trash”...

Here's Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

Here’s Your Sign! How could I turn down a 14′ x 40′ used billboard!?

If you’ve priced tarps this large at retail stores, you’d spend a decent wad of your hard-earned cash. One box store sells 20′ x 30′ heavy-duty tarps for over 100 bucks. My tarp sign set me back $14. They don’t look this large when you pass them on the freeway.

I won’t be using it with the printed side exposed. The backside is solid black and can be used for projects like ground cover or emergency roof repairs.

I may use this portion as a training aid for our dogs. If I could only teach “Moose” and “Abby” to read.

Here's Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

Doggy boot camp

I cut a section of the sign and plan to use it as a tarp for my base camp shelter I’m building. Modern debris for a debris shelter. It pays to have a possum mentality!

Here are a few more up-cycle ideas for fellow dumpster divers:

You don’t have to break the bank to get prepared. With consumerism gone wild, people have to have the latest stuff. If you’re anything like me, which I suspect you are, other people’s “trash” is survival treasure!

What’s your best method of using other people’s “trash”?

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #DoingTheStuff when sharing your stuff on Twitter.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Frugal Preps, Preparedness | Tags: , , | 15 Comments

The Art of ‘Smoothing It’ in Struggleville

by Todd Walker

Whether physical, mental, or spiritual, your comfort zone is an oasis of low anxiety, little risk, and predictable outcomes. It’s that place which offers protection, real or perceived, from the scary unknowns of life.

Welcome to Struggleville: Now Entering Your Un-Comfort Zone

You’re entitled to comfort, right?

Well, yes, to some degree.

We all have comfort zones and comfort items we’d hate to do without. These places and things are needed for maintenance, rest, and recuperation.

However, they often turn into self-made snares. For some of us, stepping one toe outside our comfort zone would be like passing a kidney stone.

Here’s the thing…

More comfort does not necessarily equate to survivability. We need stretching, bending, tearing, ripping to grow. It’s the struggle, plain and simple, that brings new life. Babies aren’t born without pain.

But, like my bug out bag or bushcraft kit, my philosophy and mindset evolve the more time I spend Doing the Stuff. The process can only happen by entering Struggleville. And yes, Struggleville is an actually “town” in GA.

The Art of 'Smoothing It' in Struggleville

Struggleville is real!

Metaphorically, Struggleville is the place you live. The place where life is forged – good or bad – peaceful or hectic. The place where kids cry, bosses fire, mistakes are made, and life lessons are caught.

Welcome to Struggleville!

It’s located in the valley, not the mountain top. You’ll never climb your mountain, learn that new skill, or build self-confidence living in your comfort zone.

Here’s the danger of never venturing outside your warm, fuzzy boundaries…

  • You stop growing
  • You stop learning
  • You stop doing

It’s easy to talk yourself into staying put in your comfort zone. You look around at those who have reached optimal success in your field and your tempted to set your bar to their height. They make it look easy. Nothing wrong with aiming high, but your heroes didn’t magically reach the top. They learned to smooth it in Struggleville.

As “Nessmuk” (aka – George Washington Sears) so eloquently wrote in Woodcraft and Camping,

We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. [Emphasis mine]

Nessmuk was referring to our ability to enjoy the great outdoors. But his statement applies to all areas of preparedness. Learning to smooth it takes practice. Skills aren’t developed by just reading about how to. The smoothing it process requires “dirt time.”

In a survival situation, dirt time pays off. Whether it’s wilderness survival or homesteading, you must trade theory for action. The only way to get dirt time is by Doing the Stuff!

Here’s my latest project.

The idea came from a video by Chris Kane on Pathfinder TV on how to build a semi-permanent trapping shelter. Cool project! I decided I needed one for base camp. It’s a weekend project I work on when I get a chance.

The Art of 'Smoothing It' in Struggleville

Frame almost complete. It will sleep two comfortably with room for gear.

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The overhang on the front was made from 32″ poles lashed to the ridge beam.

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Here are the main tools used to construct the shelter: (L to R) limb saw in black sheath, almost free ax I re-helved, and a Wetterlings belt ax. Other tools used but not pictured are my Swiss Army Knife (for lashings), Bacho Laplander folding saw, and a WWII trench shovel.

Also, I used 36# tarred bank line for lashing material. I’ll probably re-lash the main frame with a more robust natural fiber rope.

DSCN0416

Wild grape-vine is woven between the lean-to poles for stability and to help hold debris on top. I’ll use a tarp on top of a layer of pine bows for the roofing. Then I plan to cover the tarp with debris.

As Nessmuk wrote, we don’t go to the woods to rough it, we go to smooth it. And we learn the art of smoothing it by going to Struggleville.

I’ll update you with my first night in the shelter. Ought to be a blast!

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #DoingTheStuff when sharing your stuff on Twitter.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Doing the Stuff, Self-reliant, Survival Skills | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

SafeGuard Armor Giveaway

Want a chance to win a set of Level II covert body armor valued at $476? Check this out!

A few of my blogger friends have gotten together to give away 2 sets of body armor! My friend John (Geek Prepper) organized the giveaway for our group and put in the leg work to give you a chance to win.

By the way, all of these fine folks are a part of our DTS Trusted Resources. Be sure to check them out after you enter!

Legal Stuff

NOTE: Please be aware, it may be unlawful for you to own body armor. For instance, if you’re a felon, you’re not eligible to win. In most cases, law-abiding citizens may purchase (except in Connecticut where it has to be a face to face sale), but if you have a felony conviction, federal and state laws may prohibit you from owning body armor. Please check your local regulations before entering this giveaway as we cannot do that for you.

Here’s how to enter…

safeguard covert body armor giveaway

You could win one of 2 SafeGuard Armor covert body armors!

We have both the Ghost or the Stealth, that offer some great protection, while being subtle and concealable!

Each one is valued at $476, as configured

Act Now!

This is your chance to get some free covert body armor.

Enter to win!

Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 6 Comments

How to Make Ranger Pace Counter Beads

by Todd Walker

“How far have we walked?”

“I dunno know… But that tree looks awfully familiar!”

How to Make Ranger Pace Beads

 

Have you ever wondered while out wandering in the wilderness how far you’ve traveled? Stupid question for today’s moderns. It’s called GPS (Global Positioning System), right!?

But what if technology fails… or Mr. Murphy shows up. You’d be happy to have a little navigational redundancy in your kit.

Additionally, some of us aren’t to keen on beaming our exact location to the eyes in the sky.

Dirt Road Girl and I are stoked about learning a new Doing the Stuff Skill: Navigation using a compass and topographical map. In last month’s local meet up, our group was introduced to the basics of land navigation by one of our members with loads of experience humping packs in the wilderness.

This is not a tutorial for the navigationally-challenged. That tutorial comes after we’ve practiced our new skill for a while. Today, we’re simply making an old-school tool to help determine how far you’ve traveled without technological gadgets.

Let’s get started!

Gather the Stuff

  1. Paracord
  2. Beads (DRG chose to bedazzle her Ranger Beads :) )
  3. Fire
  4. Cutting tool
How-to-Make-Ranger-Pace-Counter-Beads

Guess which beads belong to DRG?

Step 1: Cut a length of paracord

Take into account the width of your beads and the three knots in your Pace Counter. My beads were over twice the width of DRG’s. Therefore, I cut a 40 inch piece of cord. Cut it longer than you think you’ll need. You can always trim the tag portions below your last knot.

Step 2: Thread the beads onto your Pace Counter cord

To save you some frustration and flying beads, try this simple method. Use one of the inner strands of a scrap piece of paracord. This strand needs to be about 18 inches long. Pull the sheath (outer layer) back and “gut” the cord by pulling the inner strands. All 7 inner strands should pull out easily.

How-to-Make-Ranger-Pace-Counter-Beads

Gutted paracord

With your Pace Counter cord halved, thread the single strand through the end of the loop. Load the single strand with beads.

How-to-Make-Ranger-Pace-Counter-Beads

How-to-Make-Ranger-Pace-Counter-Beads

The bead’s hole diameter needs to accept a double thickness of paracord

Now pull the beads onto the Pace Counter. The beads should fit snuggly. Use some force to get the beads past the eye loop. If they won’t fit, either get larger inside diameter beads or gut your paracord and use the outer sheath only. Craft stores sell beads that will work.

Step 3: Add knots

Once you’ve threaded 9 beads, tie an overhand knot above the beads on your Pace Counter. Be prepared to undo the knots to adjust knot placement – so don’t cinch them down too tight.

The first knot is at the tail end. The second knot is above the first 9 beads (or 10 beads depending on your counting method). You want enough room between the sections to move the beads like an abacus.

With the first section complete (9 beads and 2 knots), load the remaining beads onto the Pace Counter. Tie your third knot above the beads. This creates a loop to hang the Pace Counter from your backpack, coat, or any place you can easily reach.

Step 4: Melt the knots

With a lighter or heat source, melt the tag ends to prevent the paracord from unraveling.

How-to-Make-Ranger-Pace-Counter-Beads

Terminating tag ends with a butane cigar lighter – it throws a hot, blue flame. A candle or match works too. 

Paracord knots tend to loosen over time. To make them permanent, heat the knots until the outer sheath welds (slightly melts) together. Keep the knot rotating or you’ll melt through the sheath and inner strands.

CAUTION: Melted synthetic material like paracord is HOT and will stick to and burn human flesh. Don’t touch the melted tag ends until they cool. Just thought you might want to know.

How-to-Make-Ranger-Pace-Counter-Beads

My Pace Counter measured about 12″

Here’s DRG’s Pace Counter…

How-to-Make-Ranger-Pace-Counter-Beads

Bejeweled Ranger beads!

How the Stuff Works

The section with 9 beads represents the 100-meter distance. After counting your average steps in 100 meters, you move one bead to the bottom of the section. Once the 9 beads are moved, count another set of your average steps in 100 meters and move the bottom bead of the 4-bead section down to the next knot. That signals that you’ve traveled 1,000 meters.

As I mentioned earlier, we’re just learning how to use non-techie stuff for land navigation. I’ll post a few updates on our progress. Of course, all these numbers are individualized and dependent on several factors (age, fitness level, height, terrain, and the load you carry).

I’m sure many of our readers have more insight and experience with traditional land navigation. If so, chime in with your comments and suggestions. I’m all ears!

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #DoingTheStuff when sharing your stuff on Twitter.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

Categories: DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

A Simple Fixin’ Wax Recipe for Fixin’ Stuff

by Todd Walker

Need another DiY fix? Stay tuned, I’m fixin’ to give you one!

Wouldn’t it be great to have an all-purpose, all-natural, miracle substance that, when applied, fixes most stuff?

Stuff that would fix chapped lips, busted knuckles, ax-heads, wooden tool handles, bow strings, a squeaky hinge, wooden spoons, leaky tents, rusty metal, leather sheaths, and… be edible!

First, for those unfamiliar with Southern speak…

Fixin’ means:

  • About to do stuff or in the process of doing stuff – replacing such worn expressions as ‘about to”, ‘going to’, ‘preparing for’, etc. Examples: “I’m fixin’ to cook dinner.” Or, “I’m fixin’ to go fishing.”
  • An accompanying food dish to round out a meal. Example: “Grandma made Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixins.
  • The process of repairing stuff. Example: “The fence needs fixin’.”

Then there’s the simple, multi-functional stuff called fixin’ wax. It’s also an edible emergency lamp fuel (replace the olive oil with fixin’ wax).

Ingredients for Fixin’ Wax

  1. 2 parts tallow – click here to make your own
  2. 1 part bees wax
  3. shea butter (optional) – 1 tablespoon
  4. essential oil (optional) – a few drops
A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

Tallow and bees wax are the must have ingredients

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

Optional ingredients

Fixin’ Wax Procedures

The ratio of tallow to bees wax is 2:1. In hotter climates, you may want to make it half and half to keep a more solid consistency.

Step 1: Melt the tallow and bees wax together in a container. Remove from heat and stir occasionally while it cools to ensure these two ingredients combine.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

Double boiler method is best

If you choose to add the optional stuff (shea butter and essential oil), do so while over the heat. For a pine scent, add chopped pine needles and strain the liquid through a clean cloth to remove the needles from the liquid wax.

Step 2: Line your mold(s) with wax butcher paper. I used the press n seal wrap in my tins. Wax paper would work better as the thinner press n seal wrap made removing the fixin’ wax from the tins more challenging. Live and learn. I had to use a butter knife to pry the product out. Not a problem.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

The benefit of using the sticky press n seal stuff was that it formed to the tin and produced beautiful, tin-shaped fixin’ wax! I’m guessing you could use a muffin tin for larger batches. Maybe insert cupcake liners in the individual forms for easy removal when the fixin’ wax sets.

Step 3: While liquified, carefully pour the stuff into your mold. The half-pint jar filled one and one half tins.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

Ready for some fixin’

Step 4: Allow a few hours for the fixin’ wax to cool and set. Once solid, rub it with your finger. You should get a film on your finger tip. Apply it to your lips so you don’t waste any. I used a few drops of peppermint essential oil. I like the cooling effect on my skin.

Step 5: Remove from the form. Wrap the fixin’ wax in butcher paper – wax side touching the fixin’ wax. I placed the partial block back in the Altoids tin for use around the house.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

For my bushcraft kit, I wrapped the full block in wax paper, placed in a brown paper lunch bag, and tied it up with a length of jute twine. This gives me an excellent emergency fire starter – jute twine, brown paper, and fixin’ wax are known to burn well.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

Wrap it up, I’ll take it!

Wrap it up and give it as a gift to someone for their bug out bag.

Here’s an old leather screw driver pouch I repurposed for my Bacho Laplander folding saw sheath. It needed some fixin’ wax love.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

Before

Rub the bar of fixin’ wax all over the surface and massage in with a cloth. Rejuvenating and sealing leather and dried wood is easy and effective with fixin’ wax.

A Simple Fixin' Wax Recipe for Fixin' Stuff

After 

Do you have a recipe or other uses for this amazing fixin’ wax? Drop us a line in the comments.

Keep Doing the Stuff… with Fixin’ Wax,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. Ready to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Doing the Stuff, Frugal Preps, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

The Definitive Guide to Dehydrating Jerky

by Todd Walker

Before the invention of modern food preservation equipment and techniques, premodern man stumbled upon the art of preserving harvested food to preserve life. Mother Nature has always thrown the unexpected at us – drought, floods, swarming insects – which could wipe out next year’s food supply.

Survival was never guaranteed. But we are a creative, wily species. Thanks to our fat-fed brains and trial and error, humans learned how to preserve excess meat for lean times!

the-definitive-guide-to-dehydrating-jerky

Jerk-able Meats

Depending on your location and availability, any lean meat can be jerked. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but the following meats have been used as a light-weight, portable, nutrient dense staple for thousands of years.

  •  Wooly Mammoth – Sorry, Wooly is no longer available. Suitable wild substitutes include: venison, elk, moose, bear, caribou, fish, bison, alligator, crocodile, wild boar, and other critters.
  • Llama – a favorite on-the-go snack of Incas. South Americans still find llama jerky tasty.
  • On the exotic side – Yak, ostrich – and it’s cousin – emu, whale, shark, kangaroo, camel, and even horse. Equine jerky is not culturally accepted in America expect for dog treats.
  • Mainstream jerky – Beef, sheep, pork, and turkey are popular for moderns in prepackage containers.
  • And wait for itZombie Jerky! I kid you not! Nothing else helps you survive the Zombie Apocalypse like green dead meat chunks.

Wow! More than you probably wanted to know.

Jerky’s #1 Enemy

Drying is the oldest technique of preserving meat. Removing moisture from meat prevents micro-nasties from growing and decreases the spoilage rate. It was so easy cavemen could did it! Grok, after learning to corralling fire, figured out that fire would heat mammoth meat just enough to evaporate excess moisture.

Super! Portable calories meant he could extend his hunting and gathering territory.

Yes, drying meat over an open fire is doable. Smoking/drying meat over an open fire method is one of my Doing the Stuff skills for 2014. But for now, before the industrial machine grinds to a halt, I’ll use our Excalibur dehydrator.

You can use your oven if you don’t have a dehydrator. Prop the door open with a pot holder or wooden spoon and use your oven racks to hang the meat strips. Test the empty oven temp with a cooking thermometer for an hour to see if the temp stays in the 145°-155°F range. Ovens use more energy than dehydrators and don’t employ a fan to circulate air during the process.

I’ve even survived eaten jerky from Daddy’s DiY box fan dehydrator. Now you see where I get my tinkering skills!

Keep in mind, the USDA does not approve of DiY box fan or solar dehydrators. Fed Gov doesn’t approve of my eating lifestyle made up of 50% healthy fats either. Oh well… as always, do your due diligence before listening to me or anyone else.

An important note about jerking wild animal meat. Feral hogs, cougars, and bears have a tendency to host Trichinelle parasites. Salmonella and E.coli 0157:H7 have to be taken into account when making jerky too.

3 Safe Methods

According to research from my alma mater, the University of Georgia, there are 3 ways to kill the bad stuff in homemade jerky.

1.) (Easy) Post-heat the dehydrated jerky slices in a 275°F oven for 10 minutes. This is the method I use. Place the slices on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven.

2.) (Complicated) Pre-heat raw meat strips (un-marinated) in a hot brine/marinade mixture for about 2 minutes or until the meat reaches 160°F (165°F for poultry).  You could also bake the meat until it reaches the safe temps. You’ll need a thin tipped thermometer to test the meat with this method.

3.) (Domesticated Meat Only) Pre-soak the sliced meat in vinegar for 10 minutes. The combination of heat and vinegar kills pathogens in non-game meat.

Method 1 and 2 are effective in killing Trichinelle in wild game. The vinegar method (#3) is not as effective for wild game.

Scared yet? Don’t be. Just take safety precautions when making tasty jerky snacks.

Meat Prep

Since I’ve never tried to make ground jerky, these directions are for whole strips.

The Art of Making Jerky Safe in a Dehydrator

Slice uniformly for best results

Trim any visible fat or connective tissue off the meat. Cut your selected meat into 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices between 5 to 10 inches in length. Freeze the meat until it becomes firm (not frozen solid) to make slices more uniform. I’ve found it challenging to slice meat straight out of the refrigerator – almost like trying to nail jello to a tree – even with a razor sharp knife. Or have your local butcher run it through a meat slicing machine.

Slicing along the grain of the meat produces a more chewy jerky. Cut across the grain for a tender product. Even thickness ensures consistent drying for all the meat.

Meat Marinade

How you season your jerky is up to your personal preference. There are many recipes online or you can make your own – which I did.

The Art of Making Jerky Safe in a Dehydrator

My marinade ingredients

After cutting the meat into thin strips, add enough marinade to cover the meat in a food safe container . I use a gallon size zipper freezer bag. Place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. The longer you marinate, the stronger the flavor. You can make a simple jerky by using only salt and pepper. I like my jerky to bite back.

Drying Time

Pre-heat your dehydrator on the max heat setting (155°F). Check the true temp with a cooking thermometer in the empty unit if you like.

Lay the marinated meat flat on the trays with enough room between the pieces for air flow. Close but not touching.

the-definitive-guide-to-dehydrating-jerky

The last tray!

This batch contained more marbled fat than I like. The oil in the fat won’t evaporate like other moisture. Too much fat in the meat can cause it to go rancid. Not a problem. It didn’t last long. There are only 4 strips left in the freezer.

Here’s a handy heating chart: Source

Drying Temperature Minimum drying time
125º F (52º C) 10 hours
135º F (57º C) 8 hours
145º F (63º C) 7 hours
155º F (68º C) 4 hours

Set a timer for 4 hours and go do some more stuff. Check the meat and temp of your dehydrator after the bell sounds. I ended up drying this batch for six hours. Again, drying times depend on your equipment and thickness of the slices.

Before removing the meat from the dehydrator, pre-heat the oven to 275°F. When the oven reaches temp, transfer the dried jerky to cookie sheets arranged without touching and post-heat in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely on drying racks.

There’s a scientific way to check for dryness (aka – water activity) of jerky. But you need complicated equipment. I’m guessing you don’t have said equipment. If you did, your jerky should measure a water activity of 0.85 or less.

For the non-scientists among us, check the bendiness

Use the green twig method to check for dryness. Your jerky should bend and slightly crack like a green twig. The bark of the twig may break open when bent, but won’t snap in half like a dry twig. Not very scientific but you’ll see what I mean on your batch.

Packaging Jerky

Knowing this batch had more fat than I like, I placed them in quart sized zipper baggies after they were cooled to room temp. They were dated and stored 4 strips/bag in the freezer. One bag lasts me about a week for in between meal snacks at school. Dried fruit, nuts, and jerky ride in my bushcraft kit.

Properly dried jerky will last a couple of months at room temperature – some say longer. Store it in a food safe container in a dark, dry, cool place. Mason jars are good containers.

Do not pack it tightly. And no vacuum sealing – no matter how much you love your Food Saver. Store bought jerky gets away with vacuum packing by adding chemical preservatives to their product. Leave room for any residue moisture to transfer to drier areas of the jerky. If moisture collects inside the container at room temperature, your jerky is not dry enough.

Refrigerated, it will last even longer. Frozen jerky lasts for a year or more.

Now take your jerky and make some pemmican, another long-lasting, portable, stick-to-your-ribs survival food. Click this link for my Bread of the Wilderness (pemmican) tutorial. (Check the comments from Anne O. for some great tips on pemmican)

To safely salvage and preserve excess harvested meat, dehydrating is the way to go. I’ll let you know how my experiment goes with jerking meat caveman style. How hard can it be, right?

Also, if you haven’t joined the Doing the Stuff Network yet, there’s still room for those of you willing to trade theory for action!

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. Trade theory for action and join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Doing the Stuff, Real Food, Self-reliance | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

The 2% Solution to Prepper Paralysis

by Todd Walker

Stuck in a paralyzing paradigm? Want to improve your skills but feeling overwhelmed?

If so, 2% is your solution.

The 2% Solution to Prepper Paralysis

Your preparedness equation

The American Heritage Dictionary defines paradigm as…

“A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them”

Paradigm and mindset are closely related. The emphasis on paradigm is geared towards our preparedness community. Mindset, for our purposes, will focus on the individual.

According to the Oxford American Dictionary, mindset is…

“an established set of attitudes held by someone”

Many believe mindset determines actions. Hipster life-coach gurus tell you to get your mind right before tackling a new skill, shedding pounds, or reaching goals. Your body follows your head.

This theory may sell books, but will it work in the real world?

Too often people believe they have to get mentally ready to start doing the stuff. A common result of information overload is prepper paralysis – drowning in a sea of knowledge.

It’s not complete gobbledygook that our thoughts determine our actions. However, I have found that my actions determine my mindset – for good or bad.

The act of doing a new skill or honing an existing one builds confidence in your ability. This cycle creates a circle, if you will, with no beginning or end. However, your circle remains broken until you take the first step… Action! Thoughts won’t get the job done.

Think of it this way…

The 2% Solution to Prepper Paralysis

Left: Closed – Right: Open  

Image source

Action (Doing the Stuff) is the light switch in an electrical circuit above. Flip the switch “On” and your circuit is closed or completed allowing electrical energy to flow to its target. Turn it “Off” and your circuit is open or incomplete. The energy is there but can’t bridge the open gap without action.

This should be applied to your preps – and life in general. And the good news is that it only takes 2% more time, energy, and resources to give you a slight edge.

Overrated Moments

There’s a dangerous mindset that new preppers embrace. This kind of thinking will sink you before you start. You have to have X amount of beans, bullets, and Band-Aids to be prepared. Once you’ve reached that defining moment, you’re prepared… for anything.

Nope.

Any veteran will tell you that preparedness is a journey, a marathon of skills, not a sprint to some illusive summit. Preparedness is a culmination of the tiny things over time.

Meaningful improvements happen with consistent, minimal changes. Don’t fall into the trap of large visible events.

The 2% Solution

The beauty of this mindset is that you only need an extra 2%. That may not seem like much, but over time it has a huge impact. This is why I say a daily process is more important than setting lofty goals.

In our Doing the Stuff Network, everyday people are challenging themselves to learn a minimum of one new skill this year. This is what we’re learning…

Our skills and abilities are not fixed… unless we decide they are.

Use 2% of Your Time and Energy

You’re life doesn’t have to come to a complete stop to learn how to safely pressure can your harvest or start a friction fire. Simply start giving 2% of your time to learn the basics. That translates to 30 minutes in a 24 hour day to learn a new skill. Take a Doing the Stuff lunch break.

When I coached football in the 80′s, I never understood why we asked our players to give 110%. Not a realistic goal. That’s when I began to understand the 2% Solution. I only asked my players to give 2% more than the guy they were competing against in practice or the player across the line of scrimmage in a game.

This was a mindset teenage jocks could understand and employ. They pushed themselves an extra 2% in fundamental drills, conditioning, strength training, and nutrition. Doing this stuff over the course of two seasons led to small gains over time which helped land us in the state playoffs after a years of losing seasons.

You can find 30 minutes a day to work on your skills, right? Set boundaries on common time sinks. Social media sites are one of the worst offenders. I mean how many cute cat videos are really necessary!?

Set a timer to budget the amount of time you’re willing to spend on Facebook or Twitter. When time is up, move away from the mouse! This saves you valuable time to devote 2% to your skill set.

Using 2% of Your Resources

Hopefully no one remembers my epic fail at fire by friction. Actually, failure is our best teacher if we fail forward. I created a bow drill on training wheels a year ago. What I learned from this experiment is that I don’t need training wheels to create an ember with a stick and string.

I successfully created an ember and fire with a bow drill last night with my friction fire kit!

The 2% Solution to Preparedness Paralysis

Fire at last!

Here are the tutorials I watched (took less than 30 minutes) on the finer tips and tricks of friction fire by David Wendell at Bushcraft On Fire.

<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/sNcYyUn38qY?feature=player_detailpage” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Resource gathering is an important part of preparedness. If you’re like me, you don’t have time to waste looking for value-adding resources. I’ll save you some time and point you to our Doing the Stuff Trusted Resource list. There are more out there, but these folks I know and trust. You’re welcome to add suggestions to our list.

The modern convenience-store mindset conditions us to want immediate results. If we could only reach that big event, we’d be ready. In reality, preparedness is not an event. It’s a chain of tiny stuff linked together over time.

How do you plan to leverage your 2% this week, month, or year? Share in the comments if you don’t mind.

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. Trade theory for action and join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S ~ If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper Sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Doing the Stuff, Preparedness | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Live Wild Where the Pavement Ends

by Todd Walker

Statistically, SUV’s pose a greater threat to life and limb than a charging mama bear. We’re more likely to meet our maker in concrete jungles than in nature.

This begs the question: Why don’t we spend more time in the wild? Answers vary widely.

  • I’m afraid of snakes, biting insects, spiders, and bears!
  • I don’t have time…
  • I don’t know what I’d do out there…

We still retain our wild ancestral genes. We just have to escape the modernized Petri dish and rediscover our wilderness within. Even if the closest you’ve been to nature is watching the Discovery Channel, your wild calls.

self-reliance-here-the-pavement-ends

Live wild and keep doing the stuff!

In some men, the need of unbroken country, primitive conditions and intimate contact with the earth is a deeply rooted cancer gnawing forever at the illusion of contentment with things as they are. For months or years this hidden longing may go unnoticed and then, without warning, flare forth in an all consuming passion that will not bear denial. Perhaps it is the passing of a flock of wild geese in the spring, perhaps the sound of running water, or the smell of thawing earth that brings the transformation. Whatever it is, the need is more than can be borne with fortitude, and for the good of their families and friends, and their own particular restless souls, they head toward the last frontiers and escape. -Sigurd F. Olson (H/T to my FB friend who shares my first name)

Every trial has a story, every tree has a tale, every rock sings. You can smell your history in the wild. You’ll never find true center trapped in the domesticated zoo in which we live. Freedom awaits outside.

Break out of your daily grind and go wild. Your true nature is in the field and forest.

Where the Pavement Ends

I go to the woods for many reasons. Take a pictorial hike with me see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Live Wild Where the Pavement Ends

I found where Alice went…

 

Live Wild Where the Pavement Ends

Looking into the hollow tree

Locating Resources

Live Wild Where the Pavement Ends

Beech tree leaves hang around through winter

Live Wild Where the Pavement Ends

Crush the leaves for fire tinder

Practicing Skills

Live Wild Where the Pavement Ends

Blowing an ember in the Beech leaf tinder bundle

Live Wild Where the Pavement Ends

Twig fire lay

Live Wild Where the Pavement Ends

The frame of my traditional trapping shelter

Live Wild Where the Pavement Ends

Using simple machines for mechanical advantage when splitting cedar rails

DSCN0333

 

Reclaim Your Peace

Live Wild Where the Pavement Ends

Live Wild Where the Pavement Ends

Follow a stream

Live Wild Where the Pavement Ends

Find Feral Food

Live Wild Where the Pavement Ends

chanterelle in the spring

Take your own adventure where the pavement ends!

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. Trade theory for action and join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S ~ If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper Sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

their only “guides” were instinct and necessity, not a methodical system.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, Natural Health | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

How to Build a Bushcraft Tripod for Your Outdoor Kitchen

by Todd Walker

Southern Ice Storm Cooking Check List

  1. Propane cooker and fuel: √
  2. Camp stove and Coleman fuel: √
  3. Lump charcoal for the Green Egg: √
  4. EmberLit stove: √
  5. Firewood: √

We stock up on all these items in case of emergency events like the latest ice storm. Fortunately, we were without power for only three hours. Other Georgians didn’t fare as well.

Our Plan-B cooking methods were in place but were never called into action.

Today, cabin fever struck. I needed some back yard dirt time. What to do???

I know… make a tripod for our fire pit!

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

Roast me!

The first two emergency cooking fuels on my list are non-renewable. I’m sure I could make lump charcoal but not something I’ve done before. I don’t count on a method until I’ve practiced it. Always trading theory for ACTION!

Firewood is plentiful and gives us one more cooking option. Now I needed to build cooking equipment for our primitive outdoor kitchen.

Materials and Tools

Here’s what you’ll need to build your own sturdy cooking tripod:

  • Three green saplings – each about 6 to 7 feet tall
  • 20 feet of thin, strong cordage – tarred bank line works great (find it in Hunting and Fishing departments of box stores)
  • Cutting tool to harvest saplings
How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

All you need is wood, cordage, and cutting tools

 

Cut the three saplings and trim branches. The base of my trees were about forearm size with the tops about wrist size. Don’t discard the branches. You’ll use these resources later in your build.

Lay the saplings side by side. Tie a Timber Hitch with bank line onto the end of one of your poles. Here’s an animation for a tying a Timber Hitch.

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

Simple Timber Hitch

For this application, skip the half hitches if you’re using tarred bank line. Fold over a 4 inch tag and twist the loop several times. Then pull the long tag line through the loop and cinch it tight about 4 or 5 inches from the top of one of your poles.

With poles laid flat, wrap three revolutions of cordage. Use a stick, screw driver, or attachment on your Swiss Army Knife to pull the loops tight. Now make three more passes and pull tight again. Keep the cord as tight as possible while keeping the poles side by side – don’t allow them to bunch together.

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

The packaging hook is a jewel for pulling cordage tight

Next, thread the cordage between the first and second pole below the previous six wraps. Pull the cord up and over the top of the six cords. Repeat this until you have three revolutions around the six strands running perpendicular to your poles.

Tighten your cord every third wrap. You now have six wraps running horizontally with the poles. Tie off the tag on the sixth wrap with a half hitch.

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

Lashing between two poles

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

Joint on left needs two more wraps

Spread the poles out and set up over your fire pit. Mark where the ends meet the ground and fold your tripod back up. Place the poles on a wood anvil and trim the ends to a point for a better bite.

Re-install the tripod around your fire pit.

You should have a long tag of cordage dangling down the center of the tripod. Use this to hang cooking pots over the fire. If you don’t feel #36 bank line is sufficient, you could use a metal cable or small chain.

How to Build a Killer Cooking Tripod

Prefect!

Toggle

Make a toggle out of one of the limbs from your sapling. I made mine about 8 inches long. Cut a notch in the middle and secure the bank line in the notch.

Slip the toggle through the wire handle to suspend the pot. You can adjust the pot height by looping the cordage over a pole stub at the top of the tripod.

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

Toggle holding cast iron squirrel pot

Hook and Toggle

I also made a hook for the toggle system. Notch the top of the hook safely with a knife and tie a 12 inch piece of line around the notch. Tie a loop in the long tag end for your toggle stick to go through. This hook will allow you lower the pot close to the fire keeping the bank line farther away from the heat.

How to Build an Outdoor Cooking Tripod

Squirrel stew pot ready!

This set up is simple, sturdy, and functional. Wrap your tripod in a tarp or canvas drop cloth to smoke the thawing meat in your freezer. Just a thought.

Only thing missing is a few squirrels.

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. Trade theory for action and join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S ~ If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper Sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Frugal Preps, Preparedness | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

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