Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Month: October 2009

Patio Gardening Project – 1st Update

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This is the first update to our patio gardening project.  Last week we took 2 tubs – in 1 tub spinach and onions were planted.  In the other tub some radishes were planted.

The Radishes were the first ones to sprout.  The onions are green onions that my wife and bought from a local grocery store.  She cut the tops off to use in a baked potato, and the bottoms were then planted.  Once the bottoms are planted, the roots start to sprout new tops, which can then be cut again.

In 7 more days another batch of radishes and spinach will be planted, and the results will be posted.  Hopefully, in 2 more weeks we will get our first harvest of radishes.

Urban Survival Patio Gardening – Episode 1

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This is the first video in a series on Urban Survival Patio Gardening. The plans are to take a plastic tub and turn it into a small garden. The tubs were used to store canned goods and dried products under beds and out of sight of friends and family members.

Once the food is taken out of the tubs, they are just sitting there not doing anything. So lets take them fill em full of dirt, add some fertilizer, seeds and lets see what happens.

Generators and disaster preparedness

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Picking the right generator to power your house during a power outage can be a tricky job. If your serious about getting the right generator for the job, then its time to call in a professional. For this video, Billy Williford of Doug Williford & Son AC and Heating was interviewed. Billy installs Generac generators in the Jasper, Texas area. So if you need a generator, and live in Southeast Texas, give Billy a call at 409-384-5458.

Instead of having to worry about storing gasoline, consider getting a generator that runs off of Propane or Natural Gas. During power outages, gas stations do not have a way to pump gas out of the underground storage tanks. After hurricanes, uprooted trees have the chance of pulling up buried natural gas lines. But with propane, it will stay stored for years.

Post your comments in this thread of the disaster preparedness forum.

Survivalist and Mental Conditioning

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Survivalist should take time to condition themselves to better prepare for a disaster. Its easy to sit in a chair and watch videos, or read articles about survivalism.  But that is not enough.  To really prepare for a disaster, people need to actually do something and practice their skills.

Take the time to expose yourself to adverse conditions, but in a controlled situation.  This will help with the mental and physical conditioning. So that when a disaster does happen, you may better prepared.

Post your comments in the Survivalist Mental Conditioning thread of the forums.

In case your wondering what pack that is in the video, its a Maxpedition Condor II.

Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger Review

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maxpedition sitka gearslingerThis review of the Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger should be able to answer most of the questions that people have about the pack.  First of all, when the Sitka was received, it was well packaged.  Inside the box was a large packing slip that was easy to read and everything was spelled out.  The toll free phone number is located in the top left hand corner of the packing slip – so its easy to find.

First impressions: This is everything you might expect to find in a daypack – and more. There is a pouch on the outside for a 32 ounce water bottle, a compartment for a water bladder, the main compartment is big enough for a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE), or an Eversafe meal, rain poncho, some tent stakes (for setting up an emergency shelter), water filter or water purification tablets, and a few other odds and ends. The large outside pocket is big enough for a small first aid kit, TOPO maps, flashlight, matches,,,. The small outside pocket is big enough for map compass, medium sized GPS and maybe a couple of other small items such as a swiss army fire starter.

The reason why its called a “GearSlinger” is because the pack has one shoulder strap and another strap that goes under the opposite arm.  The under strap is released and the pack can be “slung” under the right arm and positioned in front of the wearers chest.  The pack is designed to be unzipped in a horizontal position while being worn.

maxpedition sitka gearslingerLets get started with the amount of gear that can be carried in the Sitka.  Just to show how much this pack can carry, an assortment of dayhiking equipment was rounded up.

This list includes – 2 quart water bladder, 32 ounce water bottle, Meal Ready to Eat (MRE), home made first aid kit with a custom logo custody of my daughter, toilet paper, rain poncho, GPS, TOPO map in water proof case, map compass, water filter, bible, hand sanitizer, insect repellent and strike anywhere matches in a pill bottle.  Two things that were overlooked was some cord to build an emergency shelter with and a cell phone.

This should be everything that anyone might need for a warm weather hiking trip.  The MRE has enough food for 2 meals – 3 meals if its stretched out, the poncho can be used to build an emergency shelter or worn during a rain storm, water filter to refill the water bladder and water bottle, first aid kit of minor cuts and scraps, bible for reading material, toilet paper for taking care of business in the woods.


Recommended Products and Contest for October

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Contest:  Survival Ebooks is having a contest for a collection of CDs packed full of all kinds of information.

First Place Prize:
22,000 Military Manuals And Survival Books
5,000 Military Technical Manuals

Second Place Prize:
2,100 Firearm Manuals and Books
2,100 Medical Military manuals and books
The Military History Library

Third Place Prize:
The Interactive firearms Manuals Library
The Interactive Survival & Military Manuals Library

Go on over to the forums and get signed up for the Survival Ebooks contest.

Recommended Products: Products that have been tested and Survivalist approved.

maxpedition condor 11 backpackMaxpedition Condor II – 17.5″(H) x 14″(W) x 6.5″(D) main compartment, approximate overall capacity of 1950 cubic inches, 2 quick release compression straps per side, 1000-denier cordura which is water and abrasion resistant, YKK zippers, internal seams taped, fits up to 100 oz / 3Liter water bladder.

This is an outstanding pack, in the opinion of the author of this article, its perfect for dayhikes and overnight camping trips.  For lightweight campers, the Maxpedition Condor II, with the extra map/GPS compass pouch is a great combination.  Add an internal water bladder and you have a well balanced pack.

maxpedition sitka gearslingerMaxpedition Sitka Gearslinger – 16.5” (H) x 8.5” (W) x 3” (D) main compartment, approximate overall capacity of 618 cu. inches, YKK zippers, 1000-denier cordura which is water and abrasion resistant, YKK zippers, internal seams taped, fits up to 100 oz / 3Liter water bladder and a pouch for a 32 ounce water bottle.

The Sitka Gearslinger would be a good choice for anyone looking for a lightweight daypack. Its big enough to carry an MRE, GPS, Compass, TOPO maps, 2 quart – 100 ounce water bladder, rain poncho and a few extra things makes this a well rounded pack.

fundamentals first aid kitFundamentals First aid kit – from Red Flare Kits has just about everything you could want in a First Aid Kit. This kit was designed to serve a group of up to 8 adults for up to 14 days. Along with a wide range of assorted medical supplies, it also contains a first aid book written by Dr. Weiss.

The compartments are laid out in an easy to read fashion, with each compartment labeled so they are easy to find.

The whole kit folds up into a nice package that should fit into just about any backpack.  If your pack is a top loader, put this kit top of, so its the first thing you see when you open the pack.

shake flashlightShake Hybrid Flashlight from is a must have for anyone that is serious about disaster preparedness.  Just a few minutes of shaking provides plenty of light.  With a shake light, there is no need to recharge the batteries – this makes it perfect for kids.  When the batteries run out because the kids left the light on, just tell them to shake the light and recharge the batteries. For the price, this flashlight is difficult to beat. Unlike a lot of shake flashlights that cost a small fortune, this one is reasonably priced.

Getting ready for deer season

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Bow season started this past weekend here in Texas. Now its less then 1 month until rifle season. Its past time to get out to the woods and start looking for deer sign.

Since Bow season started, the rifle hunter need to be considerate of the bow hunters and keep the noise down. Lets not be running chain saws early in the morning or sighting your rifle in late in the evening.

It looks like the bucks are entering into rut, because I found some fresh scraps in the creek bottoms and lots of rubs. It looks like one deer was trying to fight with some shrubs – they were broken, twisted and the bark was rubbed off.

Post your comments in the getting ready for deer season thread of the hunting forums.

Consumers Warned Not to Eat Certain Imported Dried Plums

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The Texas Department of State Health Services is warning consumers not to eat certain imported dried plums and products containing imported dried plums because they have elevated levels of lead.

Most of the products typically are sold as salted or candied treats in Asian and Hispanic markets but also are available in other retail outlets. DSHS officials believe the dried plums came from Asia, but an investigation to identify specific sources is ongoing. Test results from the DSHS laboratory in Austin show that the dried plum products or products containing dried plums contain lead levels ranging from 0.11 parts per million to 30.3 parts per million.

Health officials say lead should not be consumed in any amount but DSHS used a U.S. Food and Drug Administration established maximum of 0.1 parts per million for candy as a guide in assessing elevated lead levels in the dried plums and dried plum products.

A list of products and product photographs are available online at: Consumers are advised to discard any of the products and to check the Web page periodically for updates. More dried plum products may be added as pending laboratory test results become available.

DSHS is working with the FDA and with health officials in California and New York, where some of the product distributors are located, in an investigation. DSHS also is working with Texas distributors on product recalls.

Officials emphasized that the warning does not apply to dried plums, or prunes, from the United States.

Lead can accumulate in the body over time. Too much can cause health problems, including delayed mental and physical development and learning deficiencies. Pregnant women, infants and young children especially should avoid exposure to lead. People concerned about blood lead levels should contact their physician or health clinic to ask about testing.

See this link to the Texas DSHS website for the list of affected foods.

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