Natural Health

27 Survival Uses for Common Mullein Besides Cowboy Toilet Paper

by Todd Walker

Part of our Self-Reliant Summer series

Ever been caught in the woods with nature calling you to a squatty position? If you forgot the Charmin, you’d still be a happy camper with Cowboy Toilet Paper (AKA – Common Mullein). It’s velvety soft leaves have wrangled many a woodsman and camper from certain disaster over a cat hole.

27 Survival Uses for Common Man Mullein Besides Cowboy Toilet Paper

The fuzzy leaf of this botanical wonder may cause skin irritation (contact dermatitis). That’s not a bad thing if you happen to be a Quaker in the new world. Since Quaker women weren’t allowed to wear make up, these resourceful ladies rubbed the hairy leaves on their cheeks for a homemade blush to attract suitors. Hence the name Quaker’s Rouge.

If employed as Cowboy TP or camper’s wash cloth, wipe with the flow of the hairs not against. Use caution with sensitive behinds. If a rash occurs, plantain is usually close by.

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is easy to identify making it a safe gateway herb to wildcrafting and medicinal plants. The leafs, stalk, and root are safe for medicinal purposes.

First year plants grow as a rosette with large, wooly, hairy, velvety leaves. The silver-green foliage gives the plant an artificial waxed appearance. They grow in well-drained disturbed soil by roadways, abandoned fields, waste places, and even gravel, rocky soil in full sun.

10 Survival Uses for Mullein Besides Cowboy Toilet Paper

First year growth

Second year growth can reach heights over ten feet.

10 Survival Uses for Mullein Besides Cowboy Toilet Paper

Forgot my tripod. This is my first EVER selfie! I’m 5’10” tall for comparison.

10 Survival Uses for Mullein Besides Cowboy Toilet Paper

Mullein flowers showing off their five yellow flowers

You may know this European weed transplant by other common names such as flannel flower, Quaker’s rouge, bunny’s ear, candle wick, great mullein, torchwort, miner’s candle, poor man’s blanket, hag’s taper, ice leaf, or Cowboy Toilet Paper. Whatever name you use, mullein has been a valuable mulituse tool for self-reliance for thousands of years.

Here’s why…

Properties of Mullein

Understanding the properties of herbs allows you to get the most out of  your herbal medicine chest. Here’s the plant’s medicinal profile:

  • Analgesic – pain relief
  • Anticatarrhal – reduces inflammation of the mucous membranes (lungs, sinus, etc.)
  • Antispasmodic – suppresses involuntary muscle spasms
  • Antitussive – relieve or prevent coughs
  • Astringent – contraction of body tissue, typically on skin
  • Demulcent – forms a soothing film over mucous membranes
  • Diuretic – increases urine production
  • Expectorant – aid in the clearance of mucus from the airways, lungs, bronchi, and trachea
  • Mucilant – coat and protect mucous membranes
  • Vulnerary – promotes healing of wounds, cuts, and abrasions

For more information on medicinal properties of herbs, check out Bk2natuR’s Herbal Dictionary and other natural goodness!

An additional awesome herbal/wildcrafting resource can be found at Common Sense Homesteading. Laurie, a blogging friend of mine, has a great series called Weekly Weeder with 48 posts on using your weeds for culinary and medicinal purposes. I highly recommend her stuff!

As you can see, Common Mullein has many more uses than emergency roadside TP. Take a look…

Medicine

  • Mullein tea (expectorant) helps facilitate lung function and removes congestion and mucus from the respiratory tract. Dried leaves may also be used as a smoke inhalation.

A dehydrator speeds up the drying process. Set your dehydrator on its lowest heat and process until dry. I set this batch on 95º for about 18 hours for crispy leaves.

[Side note: Even though out Excalibur uses little electricity, I want to build a solar dehydrator. If you have successfully built your own, please contact me. Thanks!]

10 Survival Uses for Mullein Besides Cowboy Toilet Paper

One of five trays of 1st year mullein leaves

10 Survival Uses for Mullein Besides Cowboy Toilet Paper

‘Toby’ the pig helping me make some mullein tea with a backyard bushcraft setup

  • Oil infusion of the yellow flowers for ear aches

How to make Mullein-Flower Oil Infusion

A.) Locate a group of blooming mullein plants (June-September) and harvest the yellow flowers. You’ll need enough to fill a small jam or jelly jar half to three-quarters full. I ended up with about half a jar of flowers. This is tedious and time-consuming. Allow the blooms to dry for an hour or so to remove some of the water content.

10 Survival Uses for Mullein Besides Cowboy Toilet Paper

Flowers harvested from 6 or 7 mullein stalks

B.) Fill the jar with olive oil or any oil you like and screw the lid tightly. Steep the infusion in a warm, sunny spot for about 2 to 4 weeks. Shake the infusion once a day – if you remember.

10 Survival Uses for Mullein Besides Cowboy Toilet Paper

Sunny spot for steeping

C.) Pour the infused oil through a strainer (cheese cloth or bandana) into another container for storage. Label, date, and store in a cool dark cabinet. For ear aches or wax build up, place a few (2-3) drops into the ear a couple of times daily until the problem clears up.

 Garden/Permaculture

  • Improves soil as a nitrogen fixer and heals the worst soil conditions
  • Feeds bees and other pollinators
  • Compost material
  • Some birds enjoy the seeds
  • Rotenone, found in mullein, is synthesized for insecticide
  • Goats won’t eat it so mullein is a good way to add some green to goat-ravaged land

Bushcraft and Self-Reliance

  • Mullein leaves can be used inside shoes as a cushion and warmth
  • Blanket mullein is one alias outdoor enthusiasts should keep in mind for emergency blanket
  • Saponins in the seeds are said to be useful for stunning fish for easy collection – use only in a true survival scenario
  • Dried leaves and seed pods make an excellent tinder for fire starting
  • Dip a dried seed head stalk in tallow, bees-wax, or pine sap for a long-burning torch (torchwort, miner’s torch)
  • The stalk can be used to create a friction fire – bow or hand drill style

Creek Stewart at Willow Haven Outdoor has a great video demonstrating the friction fire technique using mullein below:

Common Mullein is the common man/woman multi-tool of herbal self-reliance. Ah, a new alias… Common Man Mullein!

DISCLAIMER: This information is offered for educational purposes only. Do your own due diligence before foraging wild edibles and medicinal plants of any kind.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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: Bushcraft, Doing the Stuff, Herbal Remedies, Medical, Natural Health, Self-reliance, Survival, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , , , | 55 Comments

Sick of Ticks? Take Brad Paisley’s Advice

by Todd Walker Part of our Self-Reliant Summer series I first heard the song Ticks by Bard Paisley at a bank drive-thru window. Clever lyrics. Why share such a trivial event? Because I like Brad Paisley’s music and hate ticks… passionately!! Sick of Ticks? Take Brad Paisley's Advice These blood suckers are anything but petty parasites for anyone venturing outdoors. Their genetics seem to steer them to the most delicate and hardest-to-get-at places on the human body. Like zombies looking for a blood meal, they sink their barbed jaws in your skin and gorge. For me, I’d rather roll naked in poison ivy than have a tick bite. Once removed, they leave itchy, nagging bite marks for months. However, applying my plantain spit poultice immediately and repeatedly for a few days causes the bite symptoms disappear.

The War on Ticks

We’re in the middle of peak tick season (May – June – July). That’s why I love dirt time in the winter – little to no ticks! My personal war on ticks involves prevention and early treatment. Is your skin crawling yet? No need to panic over these blood-bloated pests.

Take a Deep Breath

Just don’t exhale. Breathing sets off the tick honing device. You see, ticks are attracted to you and me, all mammals in fact, because we spew carbon dioxide with each breath. Check out this creepy field experiment at North American Hunter. Calvin and Grant placed a one pound container of dry ice in a deer bedding area. In less than 8 hours, they harvested over 600 of these blood suckers! One more than the mark of the beast. There’s a the correlation here I think!!

An Ounce of Tick Prevention

If only there were a way to experience bug-free dirt time. There isn’t. Biting insects are part of the outdoor experience. But you can decrease their damage by following these tips. As Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Proactive parasite prevention will help you get out there without constantly worrying about tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. There are hundreds of species of ticks in the world but only a few are of concern to you. Blacklegged tick, Wood (Dog) tick, and Lone Star tick are the 3 arachnids on top of the tick-born disease list.

Image courtesy of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention

Image courtesy of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention

I hate them all but here’s the top woodland offender in my neck of the woods…

Blacklegged Tick (Deer tick)

This is the only tick in the Eastern woodlands with 8 black or dark chocolate-colored legs. Beware of this little devil. Not all deer ticks are carriers of Lyme disease but some are. That’s reason enough to make you cringe, right? Baby deer ticks (nymphs) become infected with Lyme disease by feeding on certain rodents. Early spring and summer are the times they are likely to be found feeding on you and passing on bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi which causes Lyme disease. The good news is that Lyme disease isn’t transferred until about 24-36  hours of an infected tick having a blood meal on you. Early detection and removal is the key. Be a real friend and do what Brad Paisley suggests, “I’d like to check you for ticks”… every 2-3 hours while in tick country. Common Sense Tick Deterrents

  • Light colored clothing makes spotting these critters easier
  • Long pants tucked into boots or socks
  • Walk in the center of wooded paths when possible to avoid brushing against undergrowth where ticks hitchhike for a ride – and no, ticks don’t fly or pole vault from overhead trees limbs
  • Tuck long sleeve shirts into pants
  • Cover your head with a hat, bandana, or buff
  • Apply insect repellant to all clothing and exposed skin

It is recommended by the CDC and other government health organizations to apply repellent containing 10-30% DEET. That alone is the reason I do NOT apply DEET to my skin. Call me skeptical or even a tin foil hatter but I’ve seen the damage done in the name of public health in more areas than pest control.

Natural Tick Repellents

One of the tenants of our Doing the Stuff Network is to trade theory for action. Will natural (non-DEET) insect repellents really prevent you from becoming a tick’s next blood meal? I haven’t tried all these recipes. If you’ve found/created an effective natural concoction, please share in the comments. The war on ticks needs you! Here are a few DiY recipes to consider.

  1. Healthy Household: Bug Away Spray – Doing the Stuff Trusted Resource
  2. Natural Tick Repellents That Worked!
  3. 20+ Natural Insect Repellent Recipes for a Bug-Free Summer – Doing the Stuff Trusted Resource
  4. Easy, Natural Tick Repellent That Really Works (Rose Geranium Oil works on dogs too)

These recipes all contain some form of essential oil. Cat nip has been studied and found to be as effective as DEET. Warning – do NOT use essential oils during pregnancy – animal or human. Other effective essential oils for ticks are:

  • Tea tree
  • Lemon
  • Pennyroyal – do your own research before using this one
  • Eucalyptus
  • Clove
  • Rose
  • Sweet myrrh

Tick Check and Removal

I’ve done my fair share of this unpleasant practice. As the lyrics say, “You never know where one might be.” Ticks seem to migrate to tender, gentler areas of my body. Check for ticks thoroughly while showering. Bathing removes crawlers. Once attached, no amount of soap and water will wash them off. For those hard to reach places, have a really close friend or partner look you over. Of course, they’ll need to rub that freckle and occasional mole to confirm their tick suspicions. 😉 See, another argument against being a lone wolf! If it’s too late and a blood meal is in progress, break up the dinner party. There’s a right and wrong way to remove ticks. No disrespect meant to any folklore methods passed down from grand pappy but these may cause more harm than good. Your goal is to remove the tick without causing it to vomit supper back on its dinner plate – your skin! Pardon the disgusting description. Grabbing the tiny tick with your club-like finger is likely to hurl its bodily fluids back into you. Confession time. I’ve removed ticks with my fingers when that’s the only tools I’ve had available. Just be as gentle as possible. Other Wrong Methods

  • Hot match applied to an embedded tick
  • Paint with nail polish
  • Smother with petroleum jelly

The Correct Way Flip the attached tick in a handstand position. Use tweezers or forceps to grab the little menace close to your skin. Pull straight up and out with steady pressure. Twisting or jerking will likely leave barbed mouthparts in your skin. Companies sell tick tools specifically designed to remove ticks safely. I’ve never used one but would be happy to hear your experience. Now you can go all destroyer mode. In a wilderness setting, drop the tick in your camp fire to return it to its rightful place – HELL! Crush it between two rocks and burn the rocks to destroy any potential gooey pathogens. At home, simply flush the tick down the toilet. It’s also a good idea to sterilize the tweezers via heat or alcohol. Wash the bitten area and your hands with soap and water or antiseptic ASAP. Check the tick to see if it lost its head in tug-o-war battle. If so, apply a plantain poultice to help draw the nasty stuff out of the bite indention. Bushcraft Tick Tools Carry these tools to add redundancy to you kit…

  • Swiss Army Knife – the tweezers are for more than plucking your unibrow
  • Compass – use the sighting mirror to inspect your nether region
  • Magnifying Glass – make fire on sunny days and get a visual on the smaller embedded ticks

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Within 3 to 30 days after being bitten, the first sign of Lyme disease is a reddish bull’s-eye about 2 inches in diameter at the bite location. If detected in the early stage, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics for a quick recovery. Later stages respond to antibiotics but may take months or years to cure. Any itchy rashes or reactions after being bitten is a sign to seek medical attention. An extra precaution would be to preserve the tick in a small vial of alcohol or taped to a white piece of paper for identification purposes if complications arise. I’ve never been a tick saver. I burn ’em! My hatred for ticks can not be overstated! At the same time, I love being outdoors. So my war on these blood suckers continues with the lyrics of Ticks swirling in my head. What’s your best tick tips on prevention and treatment?

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube 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: Bushcraft, Camping, Medical, Natural Health | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

10 Reasons to Add Plantain to Your SHTF Medicine Chest

by Todd Walker

10 Reasons to Add Plantain to Your SHTF Medicine Chest

No matter how domesticated we’ve become, at our genetic core, our hunter-gatherer within longs to be unleashed. In our quest to express our primal genes, we encounter Nature’s revenge from stings, bites, cuts and injury. The fear and misery that follows is enough to keep one indoors and isolated from our natural environment.

If you only learn to identify and use one medicinal herb, I’d like to recommend plantain. Over-the-counter medicines won’t always be available. In North America, this plant is prolific.

Plantain (not the fruit) can be found most any place there’s soil and sunshine. On the trail, in the backyard, and growing in sidewalk cracks, this pesky plant is sprayed, pulled, and hated by millions hellbent on preserving pristine lawns.

I first discovered plantain’s effectiveness on tick bites years ago. It is now my go-to remedy. My skin reacts wildly to stinging/biting insects and poisonous plants. You’d think I would avoid the woods but I can’t. The rewards outweigh the risks many times over!

The good news is that nature provides an antidote – in abundance – which works better than store-bought chemical stuff!

Picking Plantain

There are over 200 varieties of plantain around the world. The roots, leaves, flowers and seeds can be used both internally and externally. The two commonly found in North America that I use are…

Scientific namePlantago major

Broad leaf plantain

Broad leaf plantain without the stalks and spikes formed. It’s too early for them to grow the spikes I guess. The spots on the leaves are dirt from a recent rain.

Common name: Common plantain, broad -leaf plantain, snakeweed, and White Man’s Foot. The last nickname came about as the english and europeans brought seeds over to North America because of its healing properties. Native American’s are said to have coined this name since everywhere the white settlers stepped, plantain seemed to sprout.

Scientific name: Plantago lanceolata

Common name: Lance leaf, snake plantain, ribwort plantain, black plantain, narrow-leaf plantain, and long plantain.

This narrow-leaf variety is more plentiful in my area

This narrow-leaf variety is more plentiful in my area

Narrow -leaf plantain with the head and stalk

Narrow -leaf plantain with the head and stalk

The long stems on the narrow-leaf plantain have seed heads at the tip. As a kid, we would pick these stems, wrap the end around the head and ‘shot’ them like a sling shot of sorts. I know, we were easily entertained.

For more identification info, here are a few links that may help: Broad-Leaf Plantain and Narrow-Leaf Plantain.

Properties of Plantain

I’m not a herbalist or expert feral food forager. After all…

it’s the things that you learn after you know it all that really matter!

I’m not giving medical advice here. This is simply my first-hand experience of Doing the Stuff with this wicked-good weed.

Understanding the properties of this plant broadens its medicinal application. My main use of this plant has been for stings/bites and skin conditions. However, with a little research and digging, I’ve discovered many uses for this common weed.

NOTE: Traditional uses of plantain and other herbal remedies may not have been proven effective through scientific studies or approved by the FDA. But you probably know how I feel about the Food and Drug Administration – use their advice (and herbal remedies) at your own risk after doing your own due diligence.

There’s no money to be made in herbal meds by Big Pharma. Commercial pharmaceutical companies can’t monopolize a weed. Just a thought!

#1 Alterative (Cleansing) Uses

An Alterative herb cleans the blood and organs that help eliminate waste products from your body.

  • Blood poisoning – I witnessed red lines from an infected tick bite disappear with a plantain poultice.
  • Improve liver function

#2 Anti-inflammatory Uses

  • Reduces swelling from bites, stings, and sprains. Approved in Germany for topical treatment.
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Inflamed digestive tract

#3 Demulcent (Soothing) Uses

  • Mucilage (husks of plantain seeds – Psyllium harvesting tutorial) forms a soothing film over irritated and inflamed membranes.
  • Cough suppressant
  • Bronchitis and other upper respiratory conditions
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Sore muscles – apply warmed, bruised leaves to sore or sprained area

#4 Diuretic (promotes production of urine) Uses

  • Kidney problems – taken as a tea throughout the day
  • Bladder problems
  • Bed wetting
  • Water retention

#5 Refrigerant (Cooling) Uses

  • Burns – apply a bruised whole leaf to burned area. An excellent substitute when aloe is unavailable!
  • Sun burn – make plantain tea and spray on burned area.
  • Scalds and mild ulcers
  • Abcess on gums and teeth
  • Laryngitis
  • Lung infections – even pneumonia
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Hemorrhoids – heals and sooth via plantain tea and salves
  • Diaper rash and cradle cap – apply plantain oil or slave infusion to affected area

#6 Styptic (stop bleeding) Uses

  • Chew into spit poultice or crush in a mortar and pestle and apply to minor topical wounds.

# 7 Anti-toxic Uses

  • Plantain contains Aucubin which is a powerful anti-toxin
  • Anti-venomous insect, tick, and bug bites. Get medical attention where available if you are ever snake bit or allergic to insect stings!

#8 Astringent (drawing) Uses

  • Splinters
  • Poisonous bites and stings
  • Eczema
  • Boils
  • Glass shards
  • Poison ivy – relieves itching and helps dry the rash
  • Acne
  • Stinging nettles
  • Gout

#9 Laxative

  • Relieves constipation
  • But also works on diarrhea

#10 Antimicrobial (antibiotic) Uses

Plantain packs high amounts of beneficial chemicals for health and healing. Vitamins A, C, K, and calcium are abundant in this ‘weed’. The chemical mix of tannin, sorbitol, aucubin, acids (eg, benzoic, caffeic, chlorogenic, cinnamic, p-coumaric, fumaric, salicylic, ursolic, vanillic, ascorbic), alkaloids (boschniakine) and amino acids (eg, alanine, asparagine, histidine, lysine).

  • Athlete’s Foot
  • Bacterial infections
  • Anti-cancer effects – no human studies have been performed but plantain has been shown to reduce tumors in rats.

Note: This information should be verified by YOU before using plantain medicinally. In no way is this information intended to overlook the advice of medical personnel. If you are taking other medications, please consult your physician before using plantain for self-healing. While plantain has no known toxicity, be aware that there are documented adverse effects in pregnant women. 

Further scientific studies on plantain’s usefulness can be found here.

Medicinal Recipes

Plantain decoctions, salves, teas, tinctures, poultices and infusions can be made with simple recipes. Here are few you can check out:

  1. Sherpa Plantain Salve
  2. Astringent Tincture
  3. Plantain Oil from Susan Weed
  4. Topical Salves
  5. Internal Herb Methods

Plantain is a prolific ‘weed’ that tops the list in my herbal medicine chest! What’s your top healing herb?

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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

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: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, First Aid, Herbal Remedies, Homeopathy, Natural Health, Self-reliance, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , , , | 21 Comments

Foraging Feral Food: Trout Lily

by Todd Walker Foraging Feral Food: The Trout Lily Craving feral food? Now’s the time to hit the woods. The Trout Lily is blooming!

Before going wild on this gem of the woodland, you should have an introduction to this short-lived blooming beauty. In the creek bottom near the shelter I’m building, the forest floor is covered with a yellow carpet of trout lilies. They are known to grow in huge colonies that can be hundreds of years old. The bulbed plant takes about seven years to produce a one-leafed plant. A two-leafed plant with a yellow flower on top of its red stem is a mature plant.

Its scientific name is Eryhronium americanum. You may know them by other common names: Fawn lily, Deer tongue, Adder’s tongue, or Dog’s-tooth violet. Someone along the way said the grayish green leaves with purplish brown spots resembled a brook trout.

The Dog’s-tooth handle was a mystery to me though. Nothing about the plant above ground shouted ‘dog’ or ‘tooth’. Upon digging a lily from the ground, the bulb (corm) resembles a dog’s canine tooth. The corm is edible and tastes sweet in early spring. By May the bulb has turned starchy. The entire plant is edible and has medicinal uses.

Be aware that the plant is considered an emetic – too much will cause vomiting. And they take seven years to mature, so only harvest sparingly from large colonies. A mature plant produces two mottled leaves and one flower. At this rate of growth, you can see why it takes hundreds of years to grow a huge colony.

Medicinal Uses

  • Native American women ate raw leaves to prevent conception
  • Root tea to reduce fever
  • Poultice from the crom is used to draw splinters and reduce swelling
  • Leave poultice is used on hard to heal ulcers and skin conditions
  • Fresh or dried leaves soften skin – always test for allergic reaction on a small area of your skin
  • From the early to mid Nineteenth century the plant was used to treat gout

 Edible Uses

  • The flower, leaves, and bulb are edible
  • Mass quantities will cause you to throw up – take it easy on them, unless you need to vomit
  • Crom/bulb can be roasted – raw they have a cucumber taste
  • Flowers are slightly sweet due to their nectar
  • Leaf tea
  • Ground croms can be used as a thickening agent for cooking

Other Uses

  • Native Americans chewed the bulb and spit the juice water to attract fish
Foraging Feral Food: The Trout Lily

The view across the creek at my shelter

Identification

Flower: The yellow Trout lily produces a single, nodding flower with six pedals. The flower closes at night and opens in the day light. The flower has both male and female sex organs.

Leaves: This perennial produces one to two lance-shaped leaves. A one leaf plant has not yet matured. Give it a year or seven. The stem of the plant is brownish-red.

Crom/bulb: The mature bulb resembles a dog’s canine tooth and is covered with a brown paper-like skin. Peel the skin before eating raw.

Habitat: In North America, Trout lilies grow in moist, rich soils in the eastern deciduous woodlands from Georgia to Canada. Get out and enjoy this lily while you can. The blooms only last through spring. Hope this was useful as you get some dirt time in this year.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube 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: Bushcraft, Doing the Stuff, Medical, Natural Health, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , | 4 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

Herbal Medicine Kit: Preparations for External Use

Part 3 of our Go-to Herbal Medicine Kit series.

by Kat Yorba

What is Paradise? But a Garden, an Orchard of Trees and Herbs, full of pleasure, and nothing there but delights. ~William Lawson, 1618.

Spa of Colonial Williamsburg Herbal Experience

Image credit

Welcome Back….

…to another posting of the Herbal Medicine Kit!

Today we will be looking at the various external Herbal Preparations!

Only about 6 in all and then at the end of this post I will be sharing basic, foundational Recipes for many of the Herbal Preparations.  These recipes you can build upon and customize for your specific uses.

Here we go…

Preparations for External Use

Aromatic Waters

Scented waters are used to treat many different skin issues ranging from acne to even burns.  Because there is much dilution of the essential oils used, aromatic waters can be applied directly to the skin without an issue.  They can also be taken internally and they are wonderful to use for herbal compresses.  Having a few on hand is a good thing!

Body Oils

Body oils are made from herbs or essential oils, combined with your oil of choice for your specific condition or use.

Tummy rubs are a great way to use herb infused body oils…especially for children who just will not take that nasty tasting herb!

If you add heat-producing herbs such as cinnamon, clove or cayenne to your oil you have a fabulous liniment for rubbing sore muscles and joints.  I use this after a very long day massaging!  Body oils can also be an excellent basis for making creams and lotions!

Compress

Compresses are quick but very effective for many uses:

  • Headaches
  • Bleeding
  • Bruises
  • Muscle Cramps of all kinds
  • Sore Throats
  • To Increase blood flow for circulatory issues

Compresses are easy, remember?!  Soak a soft cloth in any of the following:

  • Strong Herbal Tea
  • Diluted Tincture or Glycerite
  • Essential Oils
  • Aromatic Water

Wring out the cloth and apply to the skin.  Then sit or lay down for a period of time.  While you’re at it, enjoy a cup of Herbal Tea!

Castor Oil Pack

Same as a Herbal Compress above but soaked in Castor Oil which has been warmed.  The cloth is placed on the skin and a warm hot water bottle or hot pack is placed on top.

Herbal Baths

In my opinion, Herbal Baths should be on the front line when it comes to combating illness or stress!!  Lets look at all the components of an Herbal Bath:

  • Herbs; single or a combination
  • Aromatherapy; herbs and/or essential oils
  • Hyrdrotherapy; Hot or Cold and sometimes both

All of these components are extremely helpful in combating illness and stressful situations in life.  Heat from the water relaxes tight and sore muscles and a cold bath will help in the reduction of inflammation and swelling.  The very act of sitting in a bath and doing nothing while allowing warm waters to relax your body and aromatherapy to fill your senses helps your body to let go of stress.  Stress as we know, is one of the most common factors in promoting disease and illness.  Baths nip that in the bud!

Variations on full baths may include foot or hand baths with the additions of essential oils!  Pure bliss if you have been on your feet working all day or working with your hands all day long.

Poultice

Poultices are similar to Compresses, however the actual Herbs or Clays are applied directly TO the skin.  Then the poultice is wrapped with a cloth or bandage.

Usually the herb is pounded or blended (and yes, even chewed) into a sticky paste then spread on the afflicted area and topped off with a bandage.

Clay Poultices use clays, dried/powdered herbs, essential oil and are usually moistened with Herbal Tinctures or a strongly brewed Herbal Tea.

Salve

A Salve is basically a thick herbal oil.  Olive oil is the most common oil base but others can be used as well such as Coconut oil.  Salves are used for many conditions such as:

  • Skin issues
  • Minor bruises
  • Cuts, scrapes
  • Rashes, eczema
  • Swelling
  • Minor Burns

Note: We will be making several of these during the Herbal Medicine Kit Course

The Basic Recipes

These are basic, generic recipes that will guide you as you formulate your own Herbal Medicine Kit.  Feel free to modify, customize and create as you learn and grow in your Herbal walk.

Tincture Formula

1 ounce dried or powdered herbs

5 ounces Vodka or Everclear

Chop herbs, place in clean jar…do not pack too tightly.

It is important for the Vodka to saturate them.  Cover with just enough liquid so they are completely submerged.  Put on a tight lid and store for 2 weeks.  A dark place is fine, shake contents twice daily.  If you used powdered herbs stir with spoon twice daily.

After 2 weeks strain out the herb pulp, compost, and store in a clean bottle in a cool, dark place.  Tinctures will keep for 6 years or longer.

Glycerite Formula

1 ounce herbs

6 ounces glycerin

4 ounces distilled water

Chop herbs, place in clean jar…do not pack too tightly.

Combine glycerin and water; pour over herbs.  Put a tight lid on and store at room temperature.  Shake contents every day to distribute the mixture.  After 2 weeks strain out the herb pulp, compost, and store in a clean bottle in a cool place out of direct sunlight.  Glycerites will keep for at least 2 years.

Herbal Vinegar Formula

1 ounce fresh or dried herbs

5 ounces vinegar, any kind

Chop herbs, place in clean glass jar, not tightly.  Pour just enough vinegar over to cover herbs.  Put a tight lid on it.  If you lid is metal cover with plastic wrap first so the Vinegar does not cause corrosion.  Keep at room temperature.  After 2 weeks strain out the herbal pulp, compost, and bottle in a pretty glass jar.  Herbal Vinegars last for years.

Herbal Pills

Dried or powdered Herbs of Choice

Empty Capsules

Capsule machine

**I will give several recipes for Herbal Pills as this course progresses.

Simply grind or powder your herbs, put into capsules and take as directed!

Body Oil

2 ounces dried herbs

1 pint Oil

Chop herbs, place in clean glass jar, cover with your oil of choice.

Now you need to heat your oil/herb mixture:

5 hours at 180 degrees with either a double boiler on the stove top, oven, electric turkey cooker or Crock-pot-on the lowest temperature or even on warm (my personal favorite).

When done, strain out the herbal pulp, compost, and bottle in a clean glass jar.  Stored in a cool place the herbal oil will keep several months.  Stored in the refrigerator it will keep even longer.

Body oil can be thickened by adding Beeswax, Shea Butter and heating slightly.

Body Oil with Essential Oils

4 ounces Oil of choice

½ tsp (50 drops) Essential Oils

Combine ingredients and your done.

Healing Salves

1 C. Body Oil

¾ ounce Beeswax

8 Drops Essential oils

Combine Body oil and beeswax, heat mixture just enough to melt the wax.  Add essential oils, stir and then pour into clean glass jars.  Let cool.  Stored at room temperature this salve will keep for 6 months.

Herbal Compress

5 Drops Essential Oils

Small bowl of water

Soft Cloth

Add essential oil to water. Soak cloth in water and wring out.  Fold cloth and apply to afflicted area.

Skin Healing Poultice

1 handful of herbs

4 ounces of water

Blend ingredients in blender into a thick slurry.  Spread on wound, holding the poultice in place by wrapping gauze around it.  Leave poultice on wound for 20 minutes to one hour.

Looking Forward

Next week we will be learning about Herbal Preparations for Bites, Stings and Splinters.  This will include in-depth information on Echinacea Root, Lavender and Bentonite Clay.

Preparations we will cover will be an Oil, Poultice and a Tincture!

Shopping List

Lavender Essential Oil

Echinacea Root

Bentonite Clay

Have on hand distilled water

High proof Vodka or Everclear for Tincture

Small Glass Bottle with dropper for storing your oil preparation

*Check last weeks postings Resource List if needed for your supplies

Blessings to you and yours,

Kat Yorba

Kat Yorba

About Kat Yorba: I am a “red-neck country wife” to one wonderfully amazing man, mother to many outrageous children, daughter of the ONE Glorious God. Learning to be more self-reliant & self-sufficient in a semi-homemade, homesteading way! Connect with Kat on her blog, Simply Living SimplyFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+.

Go-to Herbal Medicine Kit series

In case you missed any posts in this series….

Part 1: Go Herbal: Putting Together Your Go-To Herbal Medicine Kit

Part 2: Herbal Medicine Kit: Preparations for Internal Use

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, with a link back to this site crediting the author. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information. Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Related articles

Categories: Herbal Remedies, Natural Health | Tags: , , | 13 Comments

Go Herbal: Putting Together Your Go-To Herbal Medicine Kit

I’m excited to introduce Kat Yorba to the Sherpa family of contributing authors! She will be adding value in the herbal medicine realm – an area I’m weak in but have always wanted to tighten up.

This is her first installment and introduction to a series called Herbal Medicine Kit. Please welcome Kat and check out her bio at the end of this article!

Why Go Herbal?

by Kat Yorba

Kat Yorba

Kat Yorba

As Homesteaders, Preppers and people who just want to eat and feel right….we have learned that “Whole” foods are best for us.  If we nod our heads in agreement with that statement, then why do we continue to use man-made chemical pills, syrups and drugs when we get sick?

The best course of action in my opinion would be the “whole” route…granted the road less traveled, but getting busier everyday!  Your bodies were created to break-down, metabolize and use effectively whole foods, plants, spices and the like….so, let’s look at several reasons why it would be good for us to “Go Herbal!”

  • Herbs are nature made…so they are really and truly natural.
  • We know what’s in them; they have a very small ingredient list!
  • Very inexpensive to grow, harvest, create and use.
  • They work!

I am sure there are many more very good reasons but this is an awesome start!  Let’s take a peek at #2 for a minute: The ingredient list….have you looked at that cough syrup you take, lately?  I have been dealing with allergies this season quite badly…and instinctively reached for a leading name brand allergy syrup to relieve my symptoms.  But lucky for me, I have been on this reading labels kick so I did!  Wow…take a look:

Diphenydramine HCI, anhydrous citric acid, D&C red #33, FD&C red #40, flavors, glycerin, monoammonium glycyrrhizinate, poloxamer 407, purified water, sodium benzoate, sodium chloride, sodium citrate, sucrose.”

Some of the ingredients I actually know like glycerin and purified water, but the ones I cannot pronounce I am quite sure I don’t want in my body!!

Go Herbal: Putting Together Your Go-To Herbal Medicine Kit

Barrel of medicine

Your “Go-to” Herbal Medicine Kit!

The Herbal Medicine Kit 101 – Your Basic First Aid

So let’s create an Herbal Medicine Kit that you can have in your home for any minor medical emergency and everyday aches, pains and illnesses.  The beauty of this kit is YOU make it; so you know what’s in and YOU customize it for you and your family!  This also means YOU can decide how far you want to go in deploying your Herbal Medicine Kit; bit by bit or cold turkey!

Herbal Medicine Kit 101 will deal with just the basics to get us all started.  But look for future postings for information and recipes for specific ailments, and issues that come with the changing seasons.  These posts will help you expand your Herbal Medicine Kit and create a very personalized kit just for you and yours!

What’s In the Herbal Medicine Kit?

Thought you would never ask.  Here’s a run down for you:

Dried Herbs

Herbs we will look at and use in-depth:

Arnica

Lavender

Tea Tree

St. Johns Wort

Yarrow

Astragalus Root

Baptisia Root

Echinacea Root

Comfrey

Calendula

Yellowdock

Grindelia

Goldenseal

Oregon Grape Root

Essential Oils

Essential Oils we will look at and use in-depth:

Lavender

Peppermint

Eucalyptus

Cinnamon

Clove

Marjoram

Chamomile

Lemon

Tea Tree

Citronella

Pennyroyal

Cedar

Rose Geranium

What products will I make?

Aloe Burn Spray

Arnica Tincture

Herbal Compresses

Herbal Healing Salves

Herbal Liniment

Homemade Aloe Vera Gel

Insect Bite Oil & Repellant

Lavender Smelling Salts

Antiseptic Spray

Poison Oak, Ivy & Sumac Past

Ant Bite Remedy

St. John’s Strain & Sprain Oil

Wound Healing Tincture

Yarrow Tincture

Looking Forward

Once a week, Herbal Medicine Kit will be updated with new information ranging from detailed info on each of the herbs and essential oils listed, recipes for the products listed above and fun trivia and pics thrown in for good measure!  I hope you look forward to traveling down the Herbal Road with me…as much as I do!

As we both become more and more familiar with herbs and gain greater knowledge of them I feel confident that we will all find ourselves turning to herbs first in most first aid and everyday illness situations.  I hope you will enjoy and find useful the tutorials (printable too), in-depth descriptions of plants, tips, tricks and recipes that will be a part of this series.

I look forward to learning with you!

About Kat Yorba: I am a “red-neck country wife” to one wonderfully amazing man, mother to many outrageous children, daughter of the ONE Glorious God. Learning to be more self-reliant & self-sufficient in a semi-homemade, homesteading way! Connect with Kat on her blog, Simply Living Simply, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

 

Categories: First Aid, Herbal Remedies, Homeopathy, Natural Health | Tags: , , , , | 25 Comments

35 Reasons You Should Never Be Without Vinegar

This article first appeared on Survival Life and republished here with the author’s permission.

By 

Whether you are storing up supplies for hard times or just want to save a little grocery money on cleaning supplies, one thing you should never be without is vinegar.

35 Reasons You Should Never Be Without Vinegar

Vinegar with the mother!

People have been using it for ages – and not just for cooking or preserving foods. Vinegar’s versatility is virtually unmatched when it comes to having multiple uses.

There are literally hundreds of uses for vinegar around the home.

Check out below to see just a sample of how vinegar can be of use to you, hard times or not:

1. Disinfect wood cutting boards.

2. Soothe a sore throat; use 1 tsp of vinegar per glass of water, then gargle.

3. Fight dandruff; after shampooing, rinse hair with vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.

4. Remove warts; apply daily a 50/50 solution of cider vinegar and glycerin until they’re gone.

5. Cure an upset stomach; drink 2 tsp apple cider vinegar in one cup of water.

6. Polish chrome.

7. Keep boiled eggs from cracking; add 2 tbsp to water before boiling.

8. Clean deposits from fish tanks.

9. Remove urine stains from carpet.

10. Keep fleas off dogs; add a little vinegar to the dog’s drinking water.

11. Keep car windows from frosting up; use a solution of 3 oz. vinegar to 1 oz. water.

12. Clean dentures; soak overnight in vinegar and then brush.

13. Get rid of lint in clothes; add 0.5 cup vinegar to rinse cycle.

14. Remove grease from suede.

15. Kill grass on sidewalks and driveways.

16. Make wool blankets softer; add 2 cups distilled vinegar to rinse cycle.

17. Remove skunk odor from a dog; rub fur with full strength vinegar and rinse.

18. Freshen wilted vegetables; soak them in 1 tbsp vinegar and a cup of water.

19. Dissolve mineral deposits in drip coffee makers.

20. Deodorize drains; pour a cup down the drain once a week, let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse.

21. Use as a replacement for a lemon; 0.25 tsp vinegar substitutes for 1 tsp of lemon juice.

22. Make rice fluffier; add 1 tsp of vinegar to water when it boils.

23. Prevent grease build-up in ovens; wipe oven with cleaning rag soaked in distilled vinegar and water.

24. Kill germs; mix a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle.

25. Clean a clogged shower head.; pour vinegar into a zip-lock bag and gang it around the shower head. let it soak overnight to remove any mineral deposits.

26. Shine patent leather.

27. Remove the smell from laundry that has been left in the washer too long; pour 1 cup of vinegar in with the load and rewash it.

28. Make propane lantern wicks burn longer/brighter; soak them in vinegar for 3 hours, let dry.

29. Act as an air freshener.

30. Soften paint brushes; soak in hot vinegar then rinse with soapy water.

31. Remove bumper stickers and decals; simply cover them with vinegar-soaked cloth for several minutes.

32. Prolong the life of fresh-cut flowers; use 2 tbsp of vinegar and 3 tbsp of sugar per quart of warm water

33.  Prevent Mildew; Wipe down shower walls with a vinegar solution.

34. Soften calloused feet;  soak your feet in a mixture 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water for 30 minutes then scrub them with a pumice stone. The dead skin should slough off easily.

35. Treat Acne;  start with a solution of organic apple cider vinegar and water at a ration of 1:8, apply the toner to blemishes and  leave on a minimum of 2 minutes.

Can you think of anything that I missed?

Also don’t think that you have to buy vinegar from the supermarket.

Check out this article I wrote on how to grow your own vinegar!

Starting your Mother of Vinegar

About ‘Above Average’ Joe

I am the managing editor of Survivallife.com I am just an average guy with an exceptional passion for learning. I am excited to share the things I learn with you but I am most interested in learning from you. Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals; all with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive no matter what this world throws at us. I look forward to growing with you! Feel free to follow me on facebook

Categories: Frugal Preps, Natural Health, Preparedness | Tags: | 12 Comments

Rendering Tallow for Cooking and 12 Other Uses

by Todd Walker

Rendering the fat of animals (beef, sheep, bear, deer, and poultry) is a process that produces tallow. Lard is pig fat that has been rendered. Since I don’t have a source of pastured pig fat, I use grass-fed beef fat. My butcher at our local Earth Fare market freezes grass-fed beef fat just for me. Just picked up 8 more pounds yesterday. I’m now known as the ‘fat man’ every time I walk by their meat counter.

Finding Healthy Fat

Don’t expect to find grass-fed beef fat at big chain supermarkets. I’ve not had success dealing with the big boys. If you don’t have a store that sells grass-fed animals, local farmers may be an option. Of course, the animals need to be raised naturally – not factory farmed.

Here’s a couple of resources that will ship omega 3 and CLA-rich grass-fed tallow to your door!

Why grass-fed, free-range, and naturally raised? Factory farmed animals are pumped with hormones, fed chemicals, and are just not happy animals. Just ask them. If you use tallow for cooking or skin care, you want the best quality fat you can find.

If the thought of eating tallow is disgusting to your delicate sensitivities or eating style, consider the many other uses for animal fat.

12 Non-Cooking Uses for Tallow

1. Cooking is the most obvious use at our home. Tallow has a high smoke point (420 degrees) making it an excellent oil for frying foods. This means you can fry on higher heats without creating free radicals in the oil which is a concern with vegetable oils.

2. Skin care – Saturated animal fat (tallow) was used for beauty products back before the low-fat myth became ‘truth.’ Your grandma and grandpa likely used it to heal cracked, dry hands and as a moisturizer.

Tallow is biologically compatible with our bodies largest organ, our skin. Animal fat contains vitamins A, D, K, and E.

Tallow (especially tallow from grass-fed animals) also contains fats like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as palmitoleic acid, which has natural antimicrobial properties. – Source

3. Lubricate stuff, like the proverbial squeaky wheel. Tallow greases moving parts but is resistant to water. Steam engines and ships uses tallow for many years to keep things running smoothly.

4. Flux for soldering.

5. Leather conditioner.

6. Soap making. The best shaving bars are made from tallow.

7. Candle making. Can’t make a traditional candle? Improvise by placing tallow in a container with a piece of cotton clothe in emergencies.

8. Biodegradable motor oil.

9. Deer tallow is preferred by German athletes to make a salve to prevent sore skin and blisters.

10. Biodiesel. Tallow can be used like plant-based material to produce diesel.

11. Make your own pemmican.

12. Pastry baking.

13. Lubricate muskets and rifles.

If you’re wondering, here are some nutrition facts about this healthy fat:

Nutrition

 

The DiY Rendering Process

Step 1: Trim the grass-fed beef (or other animal fat). You want to get all the red meat off the fat.

Step 2: Cut into small squares. The smaller the cuts, the more surface area is exposed. I did this cutting twice. Then, in a stroke of SmartPrepper brilliance, I pulled out my meat grinder. Now I just stuff the trimmed fat into the meat grinder and collect it my cast iron pan.

Way faster and creates more surface area!

Way faster and creates more surface area!

Step 3: Load your cut or ground fat into a pan or cooking container. I use a large cast iron skillet. Be careful not to overload the pan with fat. It will cook down. But you don’t want to have to transfer hot tallow if it’s up to the lip of your container.

Step 4: Heat your pan of fat on low heat. I shoot for 200-250 degrees. I set up in my outdoor kitchen. My turkey fryer is my heat source. You can use your stove if you don’t mind smelling up your house a bit. It ain’t as bad as cooking chitlins. Still, a distinctive odor.

Almost ready.

Almost ready.

As I’m typing this, I’m thinking I could use my Big Green Egg on my next batch. It’s so easy to control the temp – set it, and forget it!

Step 5: Stir the fat occasionally just make sure it doesn’t sick to the bottom of your pan. You’ll notice liquid starting to collect in the pan. If it begins to smoke, you’re burning fat and not rendering it. Turn down the heat.

Step 6: Once you notice the fat turning a dark brown (think crispy bacon), you’re done. Take the pan off the heat and let it cool for a while. If it cools to room temp, you’ll have to reheat to liquefy for pouring.

Step 7: Once it’s cooled down a bit, pour the contents through a fine mesh strainer. You can add cheese cloth to the strainer to catch even smaller pieces. I’ve stored tallow in wide mouth mason jars. We go through tallow pretty quickly around here. Mostly, we just pour it up in a few two-quart containers and place them in the fridge. Tallow can be stored in the freezer as well.

Oxidation can cause the tallow to go rancid. From what I’ve read and followed myself, rendering the water out of the tallow prevents the oxidation to occur. To be on the safe side, we store ours in the fridge.

I’ve read of other methods of rendering tallow by using a slow cookers. Never tried it.

Any of you rendered tallow or lard in a different way? I’m always interested in learning new ways. Drop your method in the comments if you’d like.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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

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 Projects, Doing the Stuff, Food Storage, Natural Health, Real Food | Tags: , , , , , | 40 Comments

The Essential Pillars of Preparedness for SmartPreppers

by Todd Walker

Part 1 ~ Essential Pillars of Preparedness Series

Don’t be deceived. No matter how elaborate or advanced you think you are in your preparedness journey, it won’t be enough for every conceivable situation. Life has too many unknowns.

Not knowing, or some cases – knowing, motivates us to prepare. It’s easy to be lulled into complacency by our convenience-driven lifestyles. Press a button, get what you want. Food, water, medicine, security, and shelter get taken for granted in our neo mindset.

Just ask school-aged children where that fried chicken breast they’re munching on came from. I once had a 7th grade student tell me that steaks grew in gardens. I kid you not!

I probed deeper. Apparently, farmers dig a hole, cover a piece of meat, and you pick steaks off the stalk. I’m sure the nice gardener takes his ‘produce’ and wraps it in a styrofoam tray with clear plastic wrap and delivers it to the super market.

Chalk this up to youth and our teach-to-the-test public schooling culture.

In this series, you will learn practical ways to increase your chances of not only surviving, but tipping the scales towards thriving in the coming chaos.

We humans have been adapting and changing for thousands of years. If your alive, things change. No matter how much you plan and prep though, our customary way of living can change without notice. Stocking up on essential supplies, resources, skills, knowledge, and relationships will help you get through the hard times – however they appear. No one knows it all. That’s why we have to help each other.

Doomsday events are relative to the individual. Losing your job, being diagnosed with cancer, or the death of a spouse or child all qualify for personal SHTF events. In my world, lessons from our personal SHTF events are transferable to the big picture disaster scenarios – total economic collapse and the coming Reset.

Preparing necessarily means doing the stuff in advance or before the need shows up at your door. There’s not an Easy Button to press to magically make you prepared.

But… here’s the good news! Even if you’re too broke to pay attention, it’s not too late. You can start today!

Once you start your journey to preparedness and self-sufficiency, good habits replace the bad and a whole new lifestyle is forged. You’ll find yourself applying the famous words of Weaver D (of REM fame) as your prepping becomes…

Automatic for the people!

If you’re taking your first steps to climbing the preparedness mountain, I recommend that you focus on these 7 areas first. Any event that disrupts our ‘normal’ can be softened by building firm, sustainable foundations in these 7 areas.

These are my priorities which reflect my paradigm. If you agree, glad to hear it. If not, chew on the hay and spit out the sticks.

Keep in mind that all areas covered in this series must to be applied to your individual situation (see my Individual Preparedness Plan series for more help). This is not meant to be a cookie-cutter solution for all people. For example, if you’re surrounded by natural, abundant sources of potable water, you may put water further down your list.

With that being said, here’s my list:

  1. Health and Fitness
  2. Water and Food
  3. Skills and Knowledge
  4. Shelter and Energy
  5. Waste and Sanitation
  6. Natural Medical
  7. Security and Protection

Health

If you don’t have health and some level of functional fitness, you’re already running on a deficit. This point seems to be lost on a lot of good folk in the preparedness community.

Let me stop right here.

I’ve been there and done that and lived my first two statements. I don’t want to come across as ‘preachy’ or having arrived. I haven’t. Remember, this preparedness journey takes time, effort, focus, and encouragement – NOT bashing!

Here’s what worked for me. Your results may vary.

“Diets” don’t work in the long run. You’re in this for the long-haul, right? Plus, how will all that Jenny Craig ‘food’ get delivered post collapse? Think of all the real food and preps you could buy with the $7,000/yr. you would spend buying prepackaged JC food.

Developing a healthy lifestyle was the key for me. I eat healthy fats, meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other nutrient dense foods. Basically, I stopped eating the Standard American Diet.

I traded our government food pyramid for this one:

food pyramid flat 2011sm 1

Image Source: Mark’s Daily Apple

Fitness

But my Primal lifestyle goes deeper than just eating like a caveman. When it comes to fitness, I don’t float the mainstream.

I hold two degrees in Health and Physical Education. Over three years ago, I made this discovery – the conventional wisdom I was taught in school was a big waste. Eating what the USDA’s food pyramid recommended and following conventional fitness regiments left me hungry, tired, and fat.

fitness pyramid flat 2012

Image Source: Mark’s Daily Apple

Burn out and injury typically accompany conventional fitness wisdom. You can reach optimal fitness without wrecking your joints and being a permanent fixture in the gym.

If functional fitness is your goal, randomness is a good thing. I define functional fitness as being able to do the stuff (fill in the blank) when it counts.

Would you be able to carry your spouse or a stranger from a burning building? Even if you’re never in a life and death situation, lifting heavy things helps you burn fat, improve bone density, survive longer, and enjoy life better than weaker folks.

Humans have been pushing, pulling, squatting, running fast, and walking slowly throughout our entire existence. Although we won’t have to outrun a saber-toothed tiger or battle rival tribes for hunting territory, these basic movements can help you survive.

Here are four bodyweight exercises every SmartPrepper should incorporate into their physical training: Pushups, pullups, squats, and sprints. There’s no expensive gym equipment involved. And you can do these exercises most any place.

B.O.B. pushups

Doing a set of B.O.B. pushups for added resistance.

If you’re engaging your fast twitch muscle fibers with maximum force over a short period of time, you’ll need 2 to 5 days to recover properly before lifting heavy stuff again.

Mainstream conventional workout programs will have you spend day after boring day on some machine trying to isolate a particular muscle group. When I flip that piece of chimney at our park, all my muscles, tendons, bones, and joints work together at maximum effort. This is how our bodies are meant to function.

brick house workout

Don’t know the weight of this section of chimney. I do know that it takes a maximum effort to flip it.

On days when you’re not ‘destroying’ your muscles from lifting heavy stuff or sprinting, remember to walk long distances at a slow pace.

Do you want to look like a bag of skin and bones just to finish a marathon? Or, do you want to build your body into a functionally fit prepping machine?

The crazy part is that you can gain maximum effect with minimum effort. And you’ll no longer look like the other zombies brainlessly walking on those treadmills at the gym.

This is meant to be a primer on our first Pillar of Preparedness for SmartPreppers. There’s much more that can be added on the topic of functional fitness and healthy living. If you have questions or something you’d like to add, please feel free to drop a line in the comment section or email me.

Essential Pillars of Preparedness Series

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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Categories: Functional Fitness, Natural Health, Preparedness, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle, SHTF | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

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