Permaculture

Top 13 Uses for Pine Trees in Woodcraft and Self-Reliance

by Todd Walker

Feel the nip in the air? Summer fades and autumn arrives to transform the forest canopy into an artist’s palate. Hunters, campers, and hikers are gearing up to enjoy the great outdoors.

Winter is on the way and many of your favorite edible and medicinal plants will fade into the landscape. But trees, they’ll stick around all four seasons. Now is the time to locate these valuable resources before their foliage covers the forest floor.

You may have a favorite season to tramp in the woods. For me, it’s Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer! Journal the location of these valuable resources. With the exception of evergreens, the only obvious identifying characteristics in the winter months will be the tree bark.

In this 5 Part Series, we’ll cover my top 5 useful trees found in the Eastern Woodlands; more specifically, in my home state of Georgia. These may be in your neck of the woods too. First up, a tree that is ease to identify year round.

pine-tree-uses-self-reliance

Pine (genus Pinus)

Let’s start with North America’s most familiar and successful conifer, pine trees. Whether you’re from the south or not, you know a pine when you see one.

There are 36 pines in North America to choose from. To narrow down the species, count the needles. The Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) is the only species with 5 needles in the fascicle sheath (the paper-like sheath surrounding the base of the needles). I’m just south of their natural range and haven’t had much experience with this variety. This tree is touted as the king of Vitamin C. But all pines are useful medicinally.

Self-Aid

Medicinal Properties include: antiseptic, astringent, inflammatory, antioxidant, expectoranthigh in Vitamin C for colds – flu – coughs, congestion, and even scurvy. Shikimic acid, the main ingredient in Tamiflu, is harvested from pine needles in Asia.

A.) Pine Needle Tea: Drink a cup of pine needle tea to extract the useful stuff when you feel flu-like symptoms in your body. More research can be found here.

How to Make Pine Needle Tea

Add a few pine needles to a cup of boiled water (Don’t boil the needles in the water as this will release un-tasty turpenes). Allow to steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Add natural sweetener if you like. I prefer pine needles only for a Vitamin C boost!

B.) Pine Bark Band Aid: The inner bark can be fashioned as an antiseptic Band Aid for cuts and scraps. Apply to wound and secure with duct tape, bandana, or cordage.

Inner bark Band Aid from the pine tree

Inner bark Band Aid from a pine tree

C.) Pine Sap/Resin: This sticky sap can also be used to cover wounds, blisters, and burns. Collect hardened sap from a wounded tree and heat it to make it pliable.

Mowers scared this tree on a power line. The white streaks are pine sap. Older sap is easier to collect when it forms a amber "ball" at a wound.

Mowers recently clipped this tree on a power line. The white streaks are pine sap. Older sap is easier to collect when it forms an amber “ball” at a wound.

D.) Pine Pollen: The yellow pine pollen that blankets the south in the spring is actually beneficial, not only for pine tree reproduction, but also for boosting our energy levels with small levels of testosterone.

Arthur Haines describes on his YouTube channel how pine pollen provides multiple avenues of protection against radioactive cesium. The endogenous antioxidants that are promoted by pine pollen are protective of DNA against radioactive particles.

Woodcraft Uses

E.) Bug Dope: “Nussmuk” (George Washington Sears) described his effective insect repellent in the North Woods with its main ingredient being pine resin. Once applied, a bronze protective film gave his skin weeks of protection from pesky biting insects.

Woodcraft and Camping by "Nessmuk"

F.) Firecraft: Fat lighter’d (fatwood, lighter wood, fat lighter, pine knot) is in every fire kit I own. It’s plentiful in Georgia and hard to beat as a natural fire starter/extender – especially in wet conditions.

Shavings from fatwood will ignite with a ferrro rod.

Shavings from fatwood will ignite with a ferrro rod.

G.) Pine Bark Bacon: Inner bark is edible . Check out this woodsman at Survival Topics frying pine bark like bacon!

H.) Core Temperature Control: Debris shelter roofing, pine bough bed for insulation against conductive heat lose, shelter construction,

I.) Pine Pitch Glue: Used for hafting arrowheads, fletching arrows, patching holes in tarps, seal containers, fire extender, waterproofing equipment – really, any stuff that needs adhesive.

J.) Illumination: Fat Lighter’d torches are simple to make and adds light to your camp or night-time trek.

Fatwood torch | www.TheSurvivalSherpa.com

K.) Hugelcultur: Dead wood in hugelcultur beds acts as a water retention sponge to help build food independence and self-reliance. Want to build one? One of our Doing the Stuff Network members shows you how Here.

L.) Signaling: To alert rescuers, a pre-made signal fire built with green pine boughs on top will generate enough white smoke to be seen for miles.

M.) Firewood: Burning pine on your campfire won’t produce BTU’s like hardwoods, but will keep you warm and cook your coffee. Plus, piney forests are littered with an abundance of dead limbs for fuel. The carpet of dead needles can be gathered for tinder material.

The lowly pine is listed first in our series for a reason. As you can see, its uses are many… too many to list here! Please add to the list in the comments anything I missed (I always miss something) to help us learn from each other.

Next up in the series: White Oak.

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.

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Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, First Aid, Natural Health, Permaculture, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

13 Simple Ways to Eat Your Yard and Build Food Security

by Todd Walker

In the March Against Monsanto, millions of people peacefully took to the streets in protest over our unhealthy (being kind here) Industrial Food Machine operated by the little man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. The switches, pulleys, and levers are connected to BigFarma, BigPharma, corrupt politicians, main stream media, and our protected predator class.

Monsanto’s ‘man’ behind the curtain is busy pulling levers that rabidly promote the un-scientific fact that eating GMO’s has little ill effect on human health. What they’re really trying to say is you can pick up a turd by the clean end. Crass but true.

Genetically Modified Organisms should be avoided at all costs. But how can you ensure a safe food supply for your family? You don’t have 40 acres and a mule. You live in a neighborhood with quarter acre lots. You may have never grown a garden in your life. How in the world can you produce even a small amount of real food that’s safe to eat?

There’s a movement gaining momentum around the world. The idea is to make your home as resilient as possible. Having multiple backup systems gives you options when things go wrong. And things always go south with the fragile systems that run our houses. When the lights went out on our farm where I grew up, my daddy was famous for saying, “Bob’s dog must have peed on the power pole again.”

Our industrial food system is no different. Since the end of World War II, our system of food production shifted from small local farming outfits to mega farmzillas. We use to know where our food came from because we produced most of what we ate for ourselves. Following jobs into the city, producing our own food has become a lost skill.

Step by step, we’ve lost (or forgotten) our independent nature.

Building resilience into your food system may seem daunting. It’s not. You just have to start. Maybe you could start eating your yard.

Here are 13 ways to that you can grow food, not lawns.

Creative container gardening

EarthTainers, containers for growing tomatoes,

We grew peppers and tomatoes from four EarthTainers with great results

  • Five gallon buckets of low hanging fruit.
hanging bucket tomato plants, five gallon bucket planter

More tomatoes hanging around

  • You can also set these on the ground, wrap them in burlap, and make them easier on the eye in the front yard.
burlap wrapped bucket planters, 5 gallon bucket planter,

Plastic buckets are cheaper than pots. Dress them up for the front yard with burlap and twine.

  • Vertical gardens. There are many ways to get creative for space limited yards. Grow up if you can’t grow out. 

  • For more ideas on growing up, get your mind (and salad) in the gutter here
  • An innovative way to grow 50 plants + composting in four square feet!
  • The base of the garden tower below measures 27½ inches on each side. Four 63-inch long cedar boards are attached to a central six-foot cedar post to form the pyramidal framework.

Photo of strawberry tower

Grow food, not lawns

Foodscaping is landscaping with food. Are your boxwoods under the eve of your house edible? Didn’t think so.

I pruned our ornamental hedges yesterday to make room for plants DRG and I can eat.

Pruning this pile of un-edible plants to make room for yard food.

Pruning this pile of un-edible plants to make room for yard food.

  • In Bloom Where You’re Planted, I shared an amazing couple’s foodscaped front yard. Some of us can’t get away with this kind of ‘radical’ foodscaping. The time is coming when front yards will have to be utilized for food production. Might as well test your green thumb before you have to rely on your garden in bad times.
  • Worried about the food police and your nosy neighbor ratting you out. Give your front yard curb appeal by blending edibles into your front yard. Julie Chai’s article over at Sunset shows you how to make traditional backyard garden crops look good out front. Some of the favorites mentioned are:

    “Artichoke. ‘Violetto’―especially when interplanted with large pink cosmos.

    Basil. ‘Purple Ruffles’ and ‘Green Ruffles’ basil, with their unusual, frilly leaves.

    Chives. With thin, grasslike foliage and pink flowers, they look great in or out of bloom.

    Japanese red mustard. Large burgundy-colored leaves are very dramatic.

    Kale. ‘Russian Red’, for greenish purple color and oaklike leaves.

    Lettuce. ‘Black-Seeded Simpson’, ‘Red Oak Leaf’, and ‘Royal Oak Leaf’ lettuce.

    Peas. ‘Dwarf Gray Sugar’ is compact and has showy lavender and maroon flowers.

    Peppers. ‘Super Chili’ (peppers change from green to orange to red) and ‘Golden Bell’.

    Swiss chard. ‘Bright Lights’, for its many colors, including orange, pink, red, and yellow.”

Wild foods

Learn now how to utilize all those weeds growing in your yard and waste places. Be cautious and avoid weedy area that have been treated with pesticides and herbicides.

All these crops can be grown from heirloom seeds and plants and not genetically modified versions. I hope you see the merit in this approach.

What’s your thoughts on building food security? Do you have a hobby farm? We’d like to hear about it.

Keep doing the stuff!

Categories: Food Storage, Gardening, Permaculture, Real Food, Resilience, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , , , , | 17 Comments

5 Must Do’s Before the National Nipple Runs Dry

by Todd Walker

I hate labels. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life dodging bumper sticker nomenclature.

Prepping, survivalism, back to basics, resilience, self-reliance, sustainable, self-sufficient, homesteading, simple living, etc. all have a common philosophy: Taking responsibility for you own life. I wrote about chasing the simple life here. Sherpa Simple is…

Living in a way that is economical, sustainable, individualized, self-sufficient, comfortable, practical, resilient, and in harmony with nature and neighbors. It’s all about helping each other as we chase the simple life.

Weaning ourselves off the National Nipple requires time, energy, self-education, and force in some cases. And here’s the thing – the more we drink, the more we believe that the State udder will never stop flowing. We become addicted. Suckling becomes a basic right.

Buzzers Image Ana Ivanovic Nipple

This is what the National Nipple will do for you

“Once the government becomes the supplier of people’s needs, there is no limit to the needs that will be claimed as a basic right.”

— Lawrence Auster

Even if you’re thumping your chest with pride for never wrapping your proverbial lips around the golden udder, we’re all affected by the overwhelming dependency bred into our culture. The State is the great equalizer dispensing fairness for the collective good. This arrangement is not voluntary. It’s sustained by force. “Legitimate” force.

If you knew the day our National Nipple would run dry, wouldn’t you live differently. It’s not a matter of if, but when. And ‘when’ happens, there will be more than a bit of bawling and screaming. Everyone will fill the pain – your elderly parents on medicare and fixed incomes, your neighbor working in the public sector, all the public school teachers (and there are a lot of us), owners of stocks and bonds, retired veterans, everyone. I’m not even counting those totally dependent government for food, houses, and cell phones. The reset will happen.

How could it not. The truth behind the recovery propaganda should cause some of us to begin self-weaning. The feral Federal Reserve will continue the train wreck by printing more fiat paper. The productive class will continue to shrink. It’s becoming more and more difficult for middle class families to provide basic necessities, much less save for that rainy day.

Retirement looks further away by the minute. The elites keep sending their handlers back to the kitchen to cook more numbers to keep the herd happy. Does this make me vigilant and awake or a conspiracy theorist?

You decide. Search economic collapse for yourself. Here’s a small sampling to get you started:

•             Personal Incomes & The Decline Of The American Saver

•             Comparing the past to predict the future

•             A chart proving that the MSM is lying about unemployment

The picture painted is scary. As people come up for air while nursing on the National Nipple, there may be some that begin to wean themselves. For those of you already standing back from the feeding frenzy, you need to get into high gear with your preparedness plan.

You may think I’m hardnosed or uncaring by my next statement. I prefer a sudden reset over a long, drawn out collapse. I never liked tip-toeing into our cold lake. I found jumping in head-first to best for me. My body adapted to the shock of cold water better with total immersing. Let me clarify. I’d prefer no collapse at all. But that ain’t happening.

You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again.  — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The list of nations spiraling towards collapse is growing. What steps should Joe and Jane Average take now to build a hedge against financial Armageddon? This is not a step-by-step plan. It requires thought, creativity, and determination – no matter what your financial status. To answer the previous question, do what we know is the right thing to do. Simplify. Less is more. ‘Less’ dependence on the fragile systems of mono-crop corporate farming, fractional reserve banking, and our ‘sick’ care medical establishment.

Building resilience in these areas one step at a time will only increase your chances of survival. And may actually help you thrive.

While this list is not exhaustive, it points us in the right direction.

Food

Grow your own or buy from local farmers. Doing this will accomplish several things:

  • Strengthen your local food system. These producers live where you live. Small family owned and operated farms will contribute to your overall health and resilience in return.
  • Reconnect with your food and community. Build relationship with food producers that don’t live 2,000 miles from your house. Better to meet them now than after the balloon goes up.
  • Save resources. The amount of packaging material and fuel is drastically reduced by purchasing/bartering for groceries you can’t produce for yourself. Find farmers that practice sustainable growing practices.
  • Education. Many local farmers/producers are happy to help you learn how to grow your own. Plus, you’ll begin to know where your food comes from.
  • Food storage you’ll actually eat. When you preserve the harvest from you garden or local farmer’s market, you’re putting away food that you’ll actually enjoy eating and not some pre-packaged, processed items or MRE resembling food. Dehydrating, canning, and proper storage techniques will go a long way in supplying your family with stores of food for the long run.

Health Vigilante – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

  • 90% of what we eat is the cause of our chronic health conditions.
  • Be your own health vigilante. Take your health into your own hands. This past year taught DRG and me that modern medicine is run by pharmaceutical companies. There’s a chemical soup in pill form for everything.
  • Explore holistic health practices.
  • Eat nutrient dense foods. Avoid processed junk foods. I recommend the Primal Lifestyle. Your mileage may vary.
  • Regular exercise without being married to the gym. Develop a mindset of functional fitness. Lift heavy things, move slowly every day, and sprint (max capacity) once every 7 to 10 days.

Invest in assets and skills

  • By assets, I mean tangible items that hold value. Look up Alpha Strategy. That case of ammo you bought last year was a good investment after all. 
  • Focus on your strengths. You’ve got one or two skills that you’re very good at. Develop those even more. But don’t forget to add more resilience-adding skills to your toolbox.
  • Barter is becoming more important these days. It may one day be a crucial skill for acquiring basic necessities.
  • Learn permaculture. Hiding food in plain sight.

 Build Community

  • Most of us don’t live in a rural homestead self-sufficiently. We live mostly in urban and suburban neighborhoods. Your neighbors will play a huge part in your families ability to survive and thrive in coming days. I’ve written some thoughts on the importance of neighboring here
  • With proper planning and the existence of basic resources, your neighborhood is very defensible and livable in SHTF scenarios. More on this in a later post.

Housing – Living big in small places

  • Learning to live big in small places (locally) means re-educating ourselves on what resilience really means.
  • Simplifying your life gets rid of all the clutter. If you’re like me, that’s a hard thing to do. Letting go of things I’m going to do something with one day. It forces me to really evaluate what’s important. Prioritizing my stuff allows me more free time to focus on what’s really important.
  • Consider downsizing your home. We’ve downsized twice since the housing bubble popped. Talk about freeing up time!

I’m aware there are many more must do’s before the National Nipple runs dry. This is intended to spark a discussion on adding to our list. Please feel free to comment on the list and add your valuable insight. Or email me your thoughts via the contact tab at the top of my blog.

Follow me on Twitter for the latest on our journey to self-reliance, preparedness, and resilient living: @SurvivalSherpa

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Barter, Canning, Economic Collapse, Food Storage, Frugal Preps, Functional Fitness, Homeopathy, Homesteading, Investing/Tangibles, Permaculture, Preparedness | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Did Adam and Eve Practice Permaculture Before the Fall?

Editor’s note: My good friend over at Durable Faith got my wheels spinning with his article challenging conventional wisdom about farming and gardening. I’ve always grown gardens. Til a patch of earth or prepare a medium for a container garden. Plant in rows, build a fence, water, and harvest. Is there a better way to grow more food with less effort? 

In his article, Durable challenges us to pursue the ancient paths – of permaculture. We might learn something hidden. I know I did. 

Tending the Wild vs. Farming – “ask for the ancient paths”

Conventional wisdom is that mankind has evolved from hunter/gatherers to agrarian societies and that only primitive societies gather …

By the Bronze Age, wild food contributed a nutritionally insignificant component to the usual diet. If the operative definition of agriculture includes large scale intensive cultivation of land, mono-cropping, organizedirrigation, and use of a specialized labour force, the title “inventors of agriculture” would fall to the Sumerians, starting c. 5500 BCE. Intensive farming allows a much greater density of population than can be supported by hunting and gathering, and allows for the accumulation of excess product for off-season use, or to sell/barter. The ability of farmers to feed large numbers of people whose activities have nothing to do with agriculture was the crucial factor in the rise of standing armies.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_agriculture

So farming progress brought us mono-cropping (potato famine anyone), big cities, and standing armies…Progress indeed…

We know that conventional wisdom is just dead wrong on many items. God’s thoughts are higher (Isa 55:9) than our thoughts and his ways are higher than our ways.

Let’s take a fresh look at the creation story’s account of the garden

Geneses 2: 8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin[d] and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.[e]14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

Clearly, it was God who planted the garden, NOT ADAM. So, he was caring for something that already exists, sounds more like tending perennials than planting annuals.

But then came the forbidden fruit, the fall, the curse, and everything changed.

Gen 3: 17:  To Adam he said “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

So looking at this in english, it appears that when Adam was blessed, he ate perennials in a sheltered river valley, but after the curse he had to work the fields and produce annuals, battling weeds, weather, etc.

But in the Hebrew, the word translated as field (haś·śā·ḏeh) in verse 18 is pretty generically used to refer to all types of land in other places in the old testament.

A few quick examples of other ways the hebrew word haś·śā·ḏeh is translated into english

Ezekiel 20:46 –  forest land
2 Samuel 19:29 – the land
2 Samuel 23:11 – plot of land
2 Chronicles 25:18 – the wild

So then, the curse should not to be interpreted as any dissuasion or lack of permission from eating off wild and forest lands. Adam was certainly not promoted to tilling and dealing with weeds as a result of the fall of man.

In the context of what is being called ”peak topsoil”, scientists are taking a fresh look at the methods of historical indigenous peoples and the line between gathering / optimized foraging / permaculture and what we consider to be active farming has disappeared. It seems that it was the pride of the superior race that looked at gatherers and saw their methods as rudimentary.

In fact, a noted expert observed that :

“The Iroquois could support roughly three times as many people on an acre as contemporaneous Europeans could with their wheat crops.”

So much for our modern superiority of technologically advanced agriculture.

1 Corinthians 1: 27 –  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Jeremiah 6: 16 – This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

As for Durable, I am studying native american soil management techniques and the modern equivalent of optimized foraging referenced by the concept of food forests.

I humbly suggest you do likewise.

http://whyfiles.org/2012/farming-native-american-style/

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Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Gardening, Homesteading, Permaculture, Preparedness | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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