DIY Preparedness

Being a Prepper and Producer

by Todd Walker

If you had the four basic materials – graphite, cedar, metal, and rubber, could you produce a wooden pencil?

You may be wondering why we’re even talking about a simple writing utensil. They’re not on most List of Lists to help you survive mutant biker zombie attacks. I’ve read that we need guns, lots of ammo, and mall ninja weapons to repel the un-dead. Even blunt objects work in a pinch!

This question isn’t just mental gymnastics. The reality is that no one person can produce a single wooden pencil. The production process is too complicated. If you want to learn more on what goes into producing one pencil, read Leonard Reed’s essay “I, Pencil.” You’ll never take pencils for granted.

If you can’t produce a simple pencil, do you have any hope of producing sustainable stuff like food, water, and fuel? The good news is, yes!

Here’s more good news – you don’t have to produce everything. In fact, you may be better situated by being dependent on others for some of your stuff. This may not sound like SmartPrepper advice, so I’ll explain.

Complete self-sufficiency is rarely going to happen. Think for a moment about the complexity and interconnectedness of our goods and services that we depend on and consume. I make my own DiY deodorant, grow some of our food, collect rain water, and pride myself in being able to produce some stuff we need around our place. I trade time and skill as a teacher for stuff (money) which I exchange with other producers to fill in the gaps for things I don’t or can’t produce, yet. We haven’t ‘arrived’ yet, but every new item I learn to produce is one step closer to freedom.

Take a look at self-sufficiency pins on Pinterest, or #PrepperTalk on Twitter, or other popular preparedness/homesteading blogs to see if you measure up. We tend to fall into the dangerous trap of comparison. Or we get motivated to apply knowledge and start doing the stuff.

Whether events unfold as we fear or not, there will always be the need to trade with other producers. Positioning yourself to be a producer, at whatever scale, will only add value to your future preparations.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of becoming a producer.

  • Value. Producers are people who add value to others. A product or service that adds quality of life to others will always be in high demand and barter-able.
  • Frugal. If you produce your own food or energy, you have a great appreciation for the stuff you’re producing. You understand the hard work, skill, and time that goes into your gadget or groceries. Producers are less likely to take their product for granted. Producers are stewards and are reluctant to squander resources.
  • Independence. Producing stuff, if only for personal use, reduces your dependence on the system that is rigged against you.
  • Interdependence. This is the flip side of producing stuff. No matter how self-sufficient we become, we’ll still need stuff others produce. You’d think this would be a negative. It’s not. If everyone was completely self-sufficient, where would you find a demand for you product. It’s all tied into the complex web of producing and consuming.
  • Wealth. This is a tricky word. The definition changes depending on the circumstance we find ourselves in. After a collapse, fiat dollars in a bank won’t build much wealth for you. When hyperinflation kicks in and you need a wheelbarrow of greenbacks to buy bread, you’re not a wealthy individual. Wealth in this situation means skills, tangibles, and attitude.

“I don’t want to be a product of my environment; I want my environment to be a product of me.” —  William Monahan

The road to preparedness and self-sufficiency is paved with obstacles. Some are speed bumps. Others seem like mountains. Having the ability to produce the food, water, and energy makes you more antifragile. Antifragile systems improve with random roadblocks. They don’t curl up in a corner and cry.

Fuel or energy is needed to do all the pushing, pulling, and lifting to leverage your time. Once the balloon goes up, there will still be modern heavy equipment and vehicles sitting around for resourceful, SmartPreppers use. Instead of an eight ton piece of yard art, producers will be able to fire up these bad boys and do work.

Prepping or Producing?

To prep or produce. Both are necessary. Storing stuff is smart. But how long will that your stored fuel last? And how much is enough? It will eventually go bad or be consumed. I have gas stored for emergencies, but not long-term use.

Here are some sustainable ideas on how to feed the machines to get work done. Before any environmentalists write nasty comments about creating greenhouse gases, go out with your spade and till an acre, no, just a half-acre garden spot by hand and get back to me. Nothing runs like a deere.

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Produce it Yourself energy. To build a generator, you’ll need wire, motion, and magnets. The amount of electricity produced depends the size of these items. Here’s a simple science experiment you can try with the kids to get you in the flow.

Water is a way to provide the force needed to create motion. Hydro power is a viable alternative for those with water available. And you don’t need a large river on your property to get the power flowing.

Producing stuff should be an essential part of your preparedness strategy. That stored stuff won’t last forever.

What’s your plan for producing stuff?

Doing the stuff,


P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

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

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: 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, DIY Preparedness, Frugal Preps, Preparedness | Tags: , , | 13 Comments

The Most Important Piece of Furniture in Your House

by Todd Walker

I had hoped to get this project finished last weekend. With out-of-town family coming in yesterday, Dirt Road Girl gave me the nudge I needed.

Why is your kitchen table the most important piece of furniture in your house?

Here’s what Caroline Cooper had to say about this project two weeks ago:

“In my opinion, the kitchen table is the most important piece of furniture in a household. It is the place that family and friends share their meals and their lives. The kitchen table can be the place of home industry where the household produces goods rather than just consuming. The household table was once the center of activity for food storage preparation, crafting, and other forms of paid work. The kitchen table used to be the place for teaching our children, but that use has gone out of style, or has been regulated by the state out of existence.”

This is the last picture y’all saw of the table assembled, but unfinished.

Finished table with breadboards attached. Next step is to stain and seal the whole thing.


All it needed was stain and 3 coats of sealer applied. That process took more time than actually building the table. DRG picked out a stain that would give it a weathered look. After testing it on a scrap piece of wood, we decided against it. It had a blue tint to it. Not our style.

After two more trips to the box store, we settled on the color pictured below:

farmhouse table, finished farmhouse table

The most important piece of furniture in our house

Getting it into the house was the challenge. With a combination of dollies, ramps, and one blood blister, DRG and I moved it to its proper place. We used an incline plane to navigate steps – and save energy and back pain. My daddy taught me to work smarter, not harder.

I estimate a total of 15 hours to complete this project from the first saw cut to the last brush of polyurethane. We invested a total of $150.00 in materials. The finished product is a priceless family heirloom.

Last night we broke bread for the first time on our new family table with DRG’s cousin and wife we haven’t seen in years. Caroline, you’re right. We spent the whole evening catching up around the most important piece of furniture in our house. Lots of great memories will be created on and around our simple, rustic, functional farmhouse table.

To learn more about building one yourself, click here.

Do you have any DiY Preparedness Projects you’d like to learn about? Drop us a line in the comments or email us and we’ll get busy with a tutorial. In the meantime, check out the other preparedness projects on our DiY Projects page. Ideas are always welcome.

Categories: DIY Preparedness, DIY Preparedness Projects, Frugal Preps | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Arm Pit Probiotics and DiY Deodorant

by Todd Walker

The importance of probiotics to intestinal health has been common knowledge for some time. I’ve written about the helpful bacteria we ingest via fermented foods here. But there is less known about the health benefits of probiotics for our largest bodily organ – our skin.

Just as our gut is infested with billions of microorganisms busily doing their thing to boost our immune system, researchers are now looking into how these friendlies actually help our skin.

Our skin is literally bathed with trillions of bacteria. For all you ultra clean freaks, you can’t just wash them off. Why would you want to anyway? Just as a healthy gut flora benefits overall immune function, studies are showing the colonies of skin microorganisms play a major role in your overall health as well. Though you can’t see these little critters, we live together with them in a symbiotic relationship, much like a bird lives in symbiosis with the hippopotamus. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

In other words, the bacteria living on your skin are involved in a symbiotic relationship with you.. The bacteria on your inner elbow, for instance, process the raw fats it produces and in turn moisturize your skin. – Source

Let’s talk arm pits shall we. I stopped using commercial deodorant a while back. Aluminum chlorohdrate or aluminum zirconium found in commercial brands was not something I wanted absorbed through my skin. I’ve always used natural brands. They’re expensive though. I’ve used a coconut oil and corn starch mix before – and other homemade recipes – but was never really satisfied.

Then Andrea over at Frugally Sustainable comes out with a probiotic deodorant recipe. Right on! Two of my favorite things: probiotics and another DiY project!

So, Dirt Road Girl and I go shopping for ingredients. What a hoot. I broke one metal – yes metal – scoop digging out bulk cocoa butter. It’s cheaper to buy in bulk and I was determined to do just that. The store had everything we needed that we were missing at home. And they were probably glad to see us leave before breaking more equipment.

I used Andrea’s recipe over at Frugally Sustainable. Click here to for details.  If you haven’t visited her site, stop by. It’s loaded with great tips on frugal preparedness and health tips.

Instead of rehashing her recipe, I’ve added it below with a few of my own [italicized] comments in brackets. Also, photos are mine. To see original pics from Andrea’s site, click the link above.

Homemade Probiotic Deodorant

DiY Deodorant1 - Copy


-1 tbsp. cocoa butter
-1 tbsp. coconut oil
-1 tbsp. shea butter
-1 tbsp. beeswax
-2 1/2 tbsp. arrowroot powder
-1 tbsp. baking soda
-1/4 tsp. vitamin E oil
-15 drops essential oil of your choice
-2 capsules powdered probiotics


1. Melt cocoa butter, coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax over low heat. [I used a grater to shave of the beeswax. The cocoa butter is rock hard. I dug out enough with a spoon – without breaking it – to get the tbsp. need. We almost passed on the shea butter due to its smell. I talked DRG into buying it since we’d be adding peppermint essential oil to the mixture.]

Let it cool before adding probiotics

Let it cool before adding probiotics

2. Remove pot from heat, then add arrowroot powder and baking soda. Whisk with chopsticks until all powders are dissolved and combined. [Since I don’t own chopsticks to stir with, I used an old-fashioned fork and a whisk. Even if I had chopsticks, I prefer the whisk and fork. It seems like they’d accomplish the desired effect (stirring) better. I’ve never been skilled with those little sticks.]

Add vitamin E oil and essential oils at this time. [I added 12 drops of peppermint essential oil at this point. I’m calling my concoction “Candy Cane B.O. Killer”.] Allow mixture to cool in pan. Once it is cooled and the consistency of pudding, open capsules of probiotics and add powder to mixture. Stir with spatula quickly to combine. [Let it cool. I dumped two capsules of probiotics into the pan before it cooled. Realizing that the heat cooked my probotics, I followed directions and added two more after the right temp was reached.]

3. Add mixture to a clean, used deodorant container. Place in refrigerator to cool and harden. After this, product may be stored on counter (Note: Using a shelf stable probiotic such as Bio-Kult will prevent the need for refrigeration). This recipe will fill container and last for 3-4 months. Remember…a little goes a long way!

The stick on the left is only partially full.

The stick on the left is only partially full.


-When choosing a probiotic supplement for this deodorant it is important to find one that is shelf stable. It should also contain highly resistant beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. These “good bacteria” have the ability to survive the pH of our stomach acid during digestion and are the one’s that should be included in this recipe.

-If you have sensitive skin, substitute baking soda and use arrowroot powder solely. You may also consider omitting the essential oils.

-Use good smelling essential oils, any scent or combination of scents will do. So pick your favorite and have fun with it!

My Results

I used my Candy Cane B.O. Killer for the first time yesterday. It was a typical work day for me. Standing all day teaching. I also did my usual 3 sets of 30 push ups between classes and on breaks. In the past, the natural store-bought deodorant starts to wane by 4 or 5 o’clock. Not big a problem since I’m getting home by then where I can reapply as needed.

But here’s the real test.

DRG has a highly sensitive sniffer. When I walked in after work, I kissed my lovely wife, dropped my lunch pail, and raised my arms in surrender and said, “Smell.” Drum roll…..

It really works! I pasted the DRG sniff test – and with only two light swipes under each arm. My old deodorant took several swipes and left my pits soaked.

My pits, my students, and DRG would like to give a sniffing shout out to Candy Cane B.O. Killer!!!

Keep Doing the Stuff,


P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

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

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: 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, DIY Preparedness Projects, Frugal Preps, Natural Health, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

Building A Dirt Road Girl Compost Tumbler

by Todd Walker

I’ve had different compost bins over the years. I usually make them out of four shipping pallets sitting directly on the ground. We’d have to manually stir the pile with a pitchfork. I wanted to “up” grade.

“Up” being the key word here. The goal is to give Dirt Road Girl the ability to roll her wheelbarrow or garden wagon to the compost station, dump in black garden gold, and distribute to our garden and potted plants.

The Dirt Road Girl Compost Tumbler

The Dirt Road Girl Compost Tumbler

Over the last year of fighting cancer, her body has weakened – not her desire to get beneficial bacteria under her nails. She’s never shrunk from any outdoor tasks like clearing land or hauling firewood. This is my attempt to make garden life a little more efficient and less labor intensive. Work smart, ya know.

There’s an ol’ timer who sells barrels ten minutes from our house on the main highway. I’ve traded with him in the past for plastic and metal containers. I bought two plastic 55 gallon food grade barrels from him. One for the DRG tumbler and one to be used for rainwater – or some other resilience project.

Tip: When buying containers for gardening, water storage, or food storage, make sure they are food grade.

My barrels contained apple cider vinegar.

Now onto the project.

Step 1: Mark and cut the axle holes.

DRGcompost1 - Copy

Measure half the diameter of your barrel and place a center mark on both ends of the barrel. I used a sharpie but a pencil will work if you have good eyesight. I then cut a short piece off my axle pipe to be used to trace a circle for the cut. I had an old piece of chain link fencing pole out back. It measured 1 1/4 inches in diameter by about 6 feet in length. Center the short piece of pipe on the center mark on the end of the barrel and trace around the outside of the pipe. Repeat on the opposite end of the barrel.

I then used a 1 1/4 inch paddle bit to bore the holes in the barrel ends.

Step 2: Mark and cut the door opening.

DRGcompost2 - Copy

My door measures 18″ x 12″. You want to get your door centered with the 18″ side running the length of the barrel. Use a framing square to make sure the door corners are 90 degree angles. I used a flexible 18″ metal ruler for tracing on the curved barrel.

Once you love the door outline, it’s time to cut. Since you’ll be using the cut out to make the door, don’t drill large holes at each corner to get your saw blade into the plastic to make the cut. I drilled a couple of 1/8″ holes in one corner to get my jigsaw blade started. This worked on the first corner. On the remaining corners, I held my jigsaw at an angle, braced against the barrel, and started the cut until I penetrated the plastic barrel. This technique is not for finishing work, but it’ll get the job done.

DRGcompost3 - Copy

Step 3: Door installation. Install the hinges on the door first. I placed mine about three inches in from each corner on the door. I quickly realized that my door would need a stop along both the hinge side and the latch side. I screwed two pieces of wood molding to the inside of the barrel along both 18 inch door frames. That turned out to be good fix for a floppy door. DRGcompost4 - Copy

I installed a barrel lock on the other side of the door. Not impressed with its ability to keep the door shut. I plan to replace it with a better latch.

Step 4: I then inserted the axle through the barrel leaving enough pipe to rest on the brackets. To keep the weight of the barrel off the plastic holes, I attached an “L” bracket to the pipe and barrel on both ends.

DRGcompost5 - Copy

The barrel is now ready to take a spin. All I need is a frame.

Step 5: Build the frame. I’ve seen many different types of stands for tumblers: Posts in the ground, X posts, and drums that spin lengthwise. I wanted a stand that was more mobile.

Here’s my material list for my frame:

  • Two pressure treated 4x4x8’s (purchased at box store) – used for vertical posts and base
  • One 5’ length of pressure treated 2×4 (scrap from my wood pile) – used for cross support on base
  • 5’ length of 1×6 pressure treated fence panel (scrap from my wood pile) – screwed to top of post to maintain plumb on vertical posts
  • Two 5/16×5” carriage bolts (poached from an old swing set a few years back) – secure vertical posts to base accompanied by decking screws
  • Hand full of exterior decking screws (I keep plenty of these and other assorted hardware on hand)
  • Bracket for axle – I was going to drill a hole through the vertical posts to accept the axles but didn’t have the proper size hole saw bit. The paddle bit would have worked, but I wanted a slightly larger hole diameter to allow the axle to spin without binding. I improvised and screwed two metal caster brackets to the posts.
  • Two hinges for the door
  • One barrel lock

Tools needed:

  • Circular saw or any saw to crosscut the stock
  • Jigsaw to cut the barrel door
  • Drill/impact driver and 1 ¼ inch paddle bit. The bit size will differ if you use a pole with a different diameter.
  • Palm-sander to take off rough edges on door and door opening left by the jigsaw.
  • Measuring device and writing utensil
  • Framing square

First, cut two 5’ lengths of 4×4. You’ll have two 3’ sections leftover for the base of the frame if you use 8 foot stock. To join the vertical post to the base, cut a 3 ½ inch x 1 ¾ deep notches in both ends of the vertical posts. Cut the same size notches in the center of each base piece. Newbie tip: Set your circular saw to the desired depth (1 3/4″) and make several passes over the area to be notched. Strike these “feathers” with a hammer and clean up the bottom of the notch with a chisel.

Mate the vertical posts with the notch in the middle of each base. Now, drill a suitable diameter hole for the carriage bolt in the center of each notched area. Carriage bolts aren’t necessary but recommended. Go ahead and press the bolts through holes and tighten with a nut and washer. No need to worry too much about the bases being square now. You’ll make sure they’re perpendicular when you screw in a few decking screws in the joint.

My barrel measured 35 inches from rim to rim. I decided to use 46 inches as the inside measurement between my vertical posts. I cut my 2×4 53 inches long and attached it to the back-end of the two base supports. Square it and screw it. The frame should stand on its own now.

Next, I cut my 1×6 the same length (53 inches) and attached it to the tops of both vertical posts. I then attached the brackets 13 inches from the top of each vertical post. Skip this step if you bore holes into your posts for your pipe axle.

The last step is to mount the tumbler on the frame. Since I used metal brackets, I simply slid one end of my axle into a bracket and repeated on the other side with the opposite bracket. I slid two more poached carriage bolts in the end of the brackets to keep the axle in place.

DRGcompost7 - Copy

Note: If using drilled holes in the vertical posts to mount the tumbler, you’d probably want to insert the axle through the holes before attaching the bottom and top cross rails to the frame.

This was a weekend project. I worked off-and-on for about 3 hours. DRG now has an elevated tumbler for easy access to compost.

Future modifications:

  • Add a couple of agitator bars running through the length of the barrel to help stir the contents as barrel spins.
  • Replace the barrel lock with a more secure lock to keep the door from flopping open while spinning.
  • Add an improvised crank handle on the end of the axle for easy spinning.
  • Add some 20 inch rims and low profile tires for added mobility – just checking to see if you’re paying attention :)

Any suggestions on making a better “mouse trap”? Don’t be shy. Please let me know.

Keep Doing the Stuff,


P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

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

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: 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, DIY Preparedness Projects, Frugal Preps, Gardening, Homesteading, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

Baking Soda: 20 Frugal Preparedness Uses

Here’s another one for the growing library of baking soda uses from Peak Prosperity contributor Jason Wiskerchen. See here and here for even more.

Doing the stuff,



Source: Peak Prosperity

20 Reasons to Keep Baking Soda on Hand

It’s not just for baking cookies
by Jason Wiskerchen
Baking soda, a.k.a. sodium bicarbonate, is another house old item that every well-prepared home should have plenty of.  Keep it on hand for daily use as well as those special occasions where this wonder powder is irreplaceable.  Like vinegar, baking soda has hundreds of uses and applications, including keeping your home clean, shiny, and most importantly, toxin-free.

From Wikipedia:

Sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate is the chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3. Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda (sodium carbonate). The natural mineral form is nahcolite. It is a component of the mineral natron and is found dissolved in many mineral springs.

Since it has long been known and is widely used, the salt has many related names such as baking soda, bread soda, cooking soda, and bicarbonate of soda. In colloquial usage, its name is shortened to sodium bicarb, bicarb soda, or simply bicarb. The word saleratus, from Latin sal æratus meaning aerated salt, was widely used in the 19th century for both sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate. The term has now fallen out of common usage.

The following list of uses is by no means completely comprehensive, but it should give you a good idea why I buy baking soda in bulk and why I recommend that everyone stock up and learn to use it in their everyday lives.

In the Bathroom

Soothe an Upset Stomach
Mix a teaspoon into a glass of warm water to combat heartburn, acid stomach, and other stomach issues. Baking soda is alkaline, and it can help neutralize the acids that can cause digestive problem and discomfort.  Note: Always seek proper medical support if you feel you have a serious issue or if your condition worsens.

Bath/Foot Soak
Mix some baking soda into a bath for a soothing and skin-softening experience.  Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a relaxing enhancement.  The foot version can be done in large bowl or bucket while reading the latest seed catalogs.  Or simply add baking soda to your entire bath for all-over skin softening.

Toothpaste Alternative
Lightly dip your toothbrush into a small bowl of baking soda to use as toothpaste and give a mild abrasive quality to your brushing.  It will also give your mouth a nice fresh feeling.  A drop of mint oil can also be added to the bowl for a more traditional “minty toothpaste” flavor.

Soothing Stings, Insect Bites, or Sunburn
A topical paste of baking soda and water is a time-tested, quick, soothing remedy for bee and wasp stings.  Be sure to remove the bee’s stinger first, if there is one.  A cool baking soda paste also eases insect bites and sunburn.

Underarm Deodorant
Apply a dusting of baking soda with a powder puff for an effective underarm deodorant.

Read the rest here

Categories: DIY Preparedness, Frugal Preps, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

21 Awesome Emergency Preparedness Hacks

Source: BuzzFeed

Hurricane Sandy is here. How many everlasting Crisco candles have you got on hand? 

Emily Fleischaker BuzzFeed Staff

1. Strap a headlamp onto a water jug to make a light.

Strap a headlamp onto a water jug to make a light.

2. Make a candle out of Crisco.

Make a candle out of Crisco.

Get directions here

3. Or out of olive oil.

Or out of olive oil.

Get directions here

4. Stock up on batteries and keep them organized and protected from water damage.

Stock up on batteries and keep them organized and protected from water damage.

5. Convert AAA batteries to AA batteries with tin foil.

Convert AAA batteries to AA batteries with tin foil.

Get directions at Lifehacker

Read the other 16 here

Categories: DIY Preparedness, DIY Preparedness Projects, Frugal Preps, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s In Your Canteen?

Today’s post was originally published by Claire Wolfe on her Freedom Living blog. It is reprinted here with permission. Please pay her a visit and check out the rest of her preparedness series and musing on liberty and preparedness.


Preparedness priorities, part VI

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Storing water

Again, I’m going to deal with the simple stuff here. I won’t cover things like rainwater catchment systems, homemade water towers, or underground cisterns. Once again, I’m just sticking with things anybody could do simply.

The most basic thing

Everybody should have a few days supply of water in every vehicle and every bug-out bag. The “official” recommendation is a three-day supply. A week is better, but water is heavy and three days supply will get you through most mobile emergencies.

As with everything else, we need to evaluate our own circumstances and needs. Do you live in a wet or dry climate? A cool one or a hot one? Is your typical vehicle trip across town, across country, or into the back country where you could get stuck and die? Might you have to live in your vehicle without outside assistance for a few days or a week after a natural disaster? Is there a chance you’ll have to exert yourself and therefore require more water than average?

The very, very easiest, no-brainer thing to do is buy Coast Guard approved pre-sealed emergency water packets.

They’re handy. They store and carry well. They can be tucked into little spots here and there without taking up one big mass of space. They can last years without attention. They’re designed to prevent nasties from getting inside. They’re even cheap as survival preps go, only about $8 for a three-day supply for one person.

But they’re expensive as water goes.

In other words, they’re a good solution if you might have to carry your water in a bug-out kit or tuck it under the seats of your vehicle. For home storage there are better ways to go. Ditto if your vehicle has plenty of good storage space.

Other portable or semi-portable water storage

If you expect to have to carry your water on your back, another option is hydration packs (the ultimate of which is the GeigerRig).

Hydration packs range in price from $15 hardware-store crap (which I guarantee you’ll regret once you’re sucking desperately on their slow & faulty valves) to … well, GeigerRigs and CamelBaks.

There are also old-fashioned canteens and more newfangled totes. I’m always on the lookout for these at garage sales (more about safety aspects of buying used containers next time). They’re not ideal solutions, but I currently have things like these with my bug-out bag and in my vehicles:

They cost me $1 apiece and the time it took to clean and fill them.

Read the rest here

Categories: DIY Preparedness, Frugal Preps, Potable Water, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Water | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DIY Pemmican: Bread of the Wilderness

by Todd Walker

What’s bread of the wilderness?

This is a follow up to an article I posted about making this perfect primal stick-to-your-ribs survival food a few months ago. Like most things survival related, it’s best to experience it first hand before counting on it with your life. Here you’ll find my mistakes and successes making pemmican. “Doing the stuff” is more important than talking about or reading about the stuff.

Why pemmican?

Charles Washington’s Zeroing In On Health blog has a great primer on the importance and history of this survival ration. He writes,

“Pemmican has been described by many famous and influential people as being the most concentrated and nutrient-dense ration known to man yet became a marginal and even forgotten item.”

Frontiersmen, polar explorers, American Indians, fur traders, soldiers, hunters, and mountain climbers all understood the importance of carrying a lightweight, compact, food to sustain them on physically taxing adventures. Little is needed to prepare tasty (with the right recipe) “bread of the wilderness.” Just a few ounces was said to keep soldiers marching for several days. Also, with no time to cook with an open fire that might give up your position to the nearest looter population, packing pemmican is a great fuel to help get you to your hideaway.

Pack Pemmican and Less TP

Another advantage, according to Washington, is you poop less and with less offensive odor. Unless you’ve never wiped your backside in the woods with leaves, sticks, or a shirt tail, you won’t appreciate this point. Eating the low-carb, primal/paleo diet that I do, my family can confirm the odor claim. Yeah, whatever Walker! We all know your sh#t don’t stink…

There are many recipes online for pemmican. Here’s what I used.



  • 9 oz. of beef jerky: I would have preferred to use homemade jerky (venison or beef) but I’m out. So I went with 6.2 oz. and 3.0 oz. bags.
  • 3 oz. of dehydrated blue berries and maybe a couple of ounces of cranberries. I didn’t measure.
  • About two inches of melted tallow in a pint mason jar. Again, not exact measurements. I buy my organic beef fat from a local butcher and render it myself. Frying with tallow beats veggie oils and Crisco which is only a few molecules away from plastic.

You want to grind the jerky into as fine a power as possible. I used a food processor. NOTE: If using store bought jerky, you’ll want to dehydrate it in the oven (or dehydrator) until it is brittle when bent. I tossed this batch in the processor and it didn’t give me the desired powdery texture. I dumped the chopped meat into a pan and placed it in the oven at 175° with the oven door cracked slightly to vent moisture.

Be sure to remove these before processing store bought jerky. I almost ground this one up.


Dusty ground jerky

I loaded the fruit into the processor thinking I’d create fruit dust. Wrong! All those little individual pieces turned into one huge glob of fruit. Not what you want to happen. You’re going for a powdery mixture on the fruit as well. Some say a few chunks are okay. To remedy this, I rolled the fruit ball out into a thin layer on a cookie sheet and tossed it in the oven with the jerky.

Too much moisture leads to a fruit ball!

I stirred the jerky every hour and poked the fruit. After about 3 hours and no more patience, I took both out and let them cool. The fruit tasted like a fruit roll-up. Very yummy! The fruit hardened after cooling. I then added these two back into the processor at the same time and let her rip. With more moisture evaporated, both the meat and fruit broke down into smaller pieces.

Now comes the best part. Add the liquefied tallow in small increments in a container with the ground jerky and fruit. Hand mix as you go. You want enough fat in the mixture to be able to hold the ingredients together. Too much liquid fat will cause a soupy mixture that won’t hold together. Too dry and it crumbles.

Once you’re satisfied with the consistency, give it a test. Take a scoop into your hand and form it into a ball. I squeezed mine into a log shape. Dirt Road Girl said that the shape I created was very unappetizing. It reminded her of cleaning up after our two mongrel mutts in the backyard. A good buddy of mine who cooks in BBQ competitions told me that we eat with our eyes. If that’s the case, you may want to spread your pemmican out in a Pyrex dish and cut them into more appealing brownie shaped bars – for your eye’s sake.

Don’t eat with your eyes!

Either way, they turned out fine to me. They will store without refrigeration – if I don’t eat them beforehand. My next batch, I’m adding a little spice like cayenne pepper. Kick it up a notch!

On my last pemmican post, Matthew from Jimmy Cracked Corn, asked me for an honest assessment on the taste. Here’s what I think Matthew. It’s not something I’d serve at the dinner table with company. It is very tasty, nutrient-dense, and long-lasting – both as a storage food and fuel in the body. It’s an acquired taste I’d say. It’s a survival food.

Other recipes:

Keep Doing the Stuff,


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Categories: DIY Preparedness, Food Storage, Preparedness, Real Food, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Video Vault of Retreat Preparedness

Hat tip to John Rourke at Modern Survival Online for graciously allowed me to share this massive video vault with our followers. This section deals with retreat preparedness and comes from the YouTube channel of southernprepper1. Enjoy.

Retreat Preparedness

Files related to all aspects of a survival & preparedness retreat – from defense and security to stocking with sufficient supplies.


- – – Articles – – -



- – – Books/Manuals/Guides – – -

- – – Video’s – – -

Below are many videos that come from a YouTube Channel – southernprepper1. Southerprepper1 places and emphasis on preparing for a WROL (without rule of law) situation and quite often focus’s on preparing for such an occurrence in a retreat. The information is vast and second to none.

Here are the southerprepper1 videos (oldest to newest):

Up to date as of 8/13/2011

Read the rest here


Categories: DIY Preparedness, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival Skills | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Emergency Car Repairs WTSHTF

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

 Source: Kwitchabichen
                Well I thought I’d write up a post about what I know to help the prepper community. I’m not ex military or a professional survivalist but I am an ASE certified mechanic and make my living turning wrenches. Often in my job (maybe two to three times a week) I’m forces to go on service calls after broken down vehicles in our fleet. Drivers usually give a vague description over the radio of what is wrong with their vehicle and I have to decipher what I will need to take with me. Now I can’t carry everything with me (that’s what the shop and parts room are for) I do carry a few tools and a handful of parts that may be used. Several times I have been out and the problem is not what the driver described (that’s why they are drivers not mechanics) and I have to rig and fix the best I can with what I have.
                So here I will tell you some common problems and how to fix them enough to get you down the road or across town. One thing to mention is that these are not permanent fixes! Do not do these to your car or truck and think everything is good to go for another 100,000 miles. These fixes are not just internet rumor either; I have uses each of these to get a vehicle back to the shop for repair. Sometimes it is just a few miles up the road I have to travel, but more often than not I have to get the vehicle in from way out in the country. These tips and tricks will help you get going again in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI scenario. WARNING SOME OF THESE ARE DANGEROUS AND WILL KILL YOU IF NOT DONE SAFELY PLEASE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING BEFORE ATTEMPTING.
                First up is coolant problems. Blown hoses, loss of water, etc. Blown hoses can be fixed easy with tape (as long as they are not completely torn up, then you have to use lots of tape).
First thing you would want to do is use electrical tape not duct tape. Duct will not stick if there is any wetness on the hose and coolant itself is kind of slimy even after you wipe it off. You will want to wrap the hose as best you can and as many times you can. Once you get it sealed pretty well and you have coolant back in the system the next thing is to loosen the radiator cap, this will keep the system from building up pressure and blowing your repair off. It won’t over heat with the cap off but it will steam something to keep in mind.
                If the hose happens to be a heater hose (two hoses that come from the motor to the firewall together) these don’t need to be repair, they can be rerouted. You will need to remove the good hose from the firewall and run it to where the busted one comes out of the block. This will bypass the heater core so you won’t have heat but the motor will still hold water and you can drive on.  Some cars and trucks have heater control valves that cut the flow of water off to the heater core. You can use these to block the water from reaching the busted hose, keeping the water in the motor where it should be.
                Once you have repaired or rerouted your hoses you will need to refill the coolant you lost. Naturally a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze is what you want (may differ in extreme hot or cold climate) but if you don’t have any antifreeze with you water by itself is ok even in cold weather as long as you keep the motor running and warm it won’t freeze.
                Starter problems are the next big thing. Starters have a habit of not working when you need them. The most likely problem with one not turning over is that the brushes are seized up. A simple tap with a hammer, knife handle, or in one case a big rock, will knock the brushes lose for a few more starts. Something you have to beat the shit out of them but try not to do much damage. I have seen some start for months after tapping with a hammer before it finally stopped working.
                The second problem is a bad starter relay. The relay is located on top or side of the starter itself. When this goes you will need to cross it out. Locate the large wire (most likely the red one) that runs straight from the battery and a smaller one sometimes purple (it will be much smaller, don’t confuse with the ground that is the same size as the power cable) using a screw driver or knife blade to make contact between these two will cause the starter to turn. Make sure the key is on before doing this or you will just be turning the engine over and not starting it. There will be some sparks so don’t be afraid, you will not be electrocuted.
                Alternators are next. There is not much to do when one stops charging, especially on newer vehicles that have electronic controls everywhere. Older cars and trucks with mechanical fuel pumps and few electrics can run for a long time on just battery power. One thing to keep in mind is to cut off everything you can that uses power, lights, radio, windows. This will reduce the draw on the batteries and keep the engine running for a while longer, hopefully to safety or somewhere to get another vehicle.
                Once you find a new car in the SHTF scenario most likely the batteries will be dead. Manual transmissions can be bump started by placing the shifter in first or second with the key on and pushing the car to some speed and releasing the clutch. There will need to be some charge in the batteries to get the car running and the alternator charging, 9.5v is enough to energize the alternator to make it charge but not enough to start the motor. (Note alternators are not generator, generators can make power from nothing, alternators need some power to energize it to start creating power) so if the batteries have nothing you can use the one from your other car to help energize the alternator after bump starting.
                Last topic I want to touch on is transmissions. For and automatic trans there is not much you can do for it if it goes out. Something simple like a buster shifter linkage is easy to deal with. If you find yourself with this problem, you will need to find the shifter linkage on the side of the trans, here you can either repair the cable or move it by hand.
The car will need to be running and the park brake applied to do this (WARNING KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING BEFORE YOU TRY THIS, OR HAVE SOMEONE HOLD THE BRAKES FOR YOU OR BLOCK THE WHEELS, IF NOT YOU WILL GET RAN THE FUCK OVER!!!) once you locate the shifting lever take note what gear it was in when it broke. Let’s say it messed up in park, that means the lever will already be in the park position, just like the shifter inside move it (easy click) down for reverse, neutral, drive. Just remember to put it back when you stop, the car will not start if you leave it in drive and shut it off.
                Manual transmissions are little better to mess with, shifting can be done inside the car on some models if the shifter handles messes up. But I want to talk about blown clutches. These are not the end of the world in an end of the world scenario.
                If you find yourself with a busted clutch fear not I can help. Most times when one slips and tears up you can still get it going. First you will need to get the car rolling some with the motor running let the clutch out and drive on. This works most times since taking off from a stop is the hardest on clutch. Once you are moving there is less stress on the clutch and most times it will hold. One thing to learn before the world ends is how to shift without a clutch. Most if not all semi truck drivers shift this way, less wear and tear on the clutch. Once you get the car rolling and the clutch engaged, shifting without it will help you get that last several miles (or days) out if it so you can get to safety.
                Shifting up all you need to do is get the engine rpm up while driving, let off gas, and pull the shifter out of that gear, next before the rmps drops to low slide it into the next gear.  Don’t force anything. I find it easiest once you get it out of the first gear, is to hold the shifter up against the next one (don’t grind it) until the rpms drop and match inside the trans and it will fall right into that gear.
                Shifting down is a little harder and needs more practice than up shifting. From high gear, let off gas while holding the shifter (putting pressure on it like you are pulling it out of gear) the shifter should fall out of that gear. Once in neutral rev the engine up to raise the rmps in the trans while holding the shifter up to the next lower gear. Do this right and it will grab the lower gear.
                That’s it for now. If you have any auto questions or topics you want help with, leave a comment and I will do my best to answer.
Categories: BOV, DIY Preparedness, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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