Homesteading and Survivalism

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Tag: survival

Growing Squash and Zucchini

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zucchini survivalist garden

Zucchini pods with the flower on top

Squash and Zucchini – Squash and Zucchini belong to the same family, and they have the same fertilizer requirements, so lets talk about them at the same time.

One of the benefits of Squash and Zucchini – they can be eaten raw. So you do not have to use precious fuel cooking Squash or Zucchini. For for the namesake of sanitation, lets cook your food to kill any bacteria on it.

Fertilizer – use a well balanced fertilizer such as 13-13-13. Your going to need nitrogen for leaf production and pot ash for the Squash or Zucchini to form.

On the plant there is a female and a male pod. Pollination usually occurs early in the morning while its still cool and the honey bees are out. The bee has to go from the flower on the male pod, to the female flower.

If you want to save the seeds from your squash or zucchini plants, do not plant the two species close to each other. The two types of plants will cross pollinate and the resulting seed will be a hybrid.

When squash and zucchini cross pollinate, the squash will have a green color in it and the zucchini will have a yellow color it in.

There are 2 main types of summer squash – cook neck and straight neck. The crook neck has a rough skin, the straight neck has a smooth skin.

Winter squash can be grown anytime, but a lot of people grow winter squash in the fall and then store it over the winter. Certain types of squash store better then others. Summer squash may store for only a couple of weeks, while certain types of winter squash may store well for months.

From my experience, Zucchini is a little more drought tolerant then Squash. A few years ago I had 2 rows of Squash and Zucchini planted side by side. We did not get any rain for probably 3 weeks. The Squash plants started to wilt and die before the Zucchini plants did.

Zucchini also seems to produce more food then a Squash plant. If you leave a Squash on the plant for a little too long, the outer skin gets a little hard. If you leave a Zucchini on the plant, it just grows bigger and bigger.

If I had to pick one or the other, I would pick the Zucchini over the Squash. Unless we were talking about winter squash. For long term storage, some of the winter squash can be stored for months.

Wilderness survival books

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Wilderness Survival

Wilderness Survival

A new wilderness survival books section has been added to online store lineup. These are the kinds of books that every hiker, camping or even day hikers should include in their pack. Whether your trip is 1 day or a week long excursion – its always good to have a book on wilderness survival in your pack. Some people may say “why do I need one of those books for?” Besides covering topics such as first aid, navigation, wild foods, and shelter building, these books also discuss a wide range of other topics.

I (Kevin) personally recommend the SAS Survival Guide and the US Army Survival Manual. Both of those survival books are an excellent source of information.

Visit the wilderness survival forum

Pandemic flu alert level reaches phase 5

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised its pandemic flu alert level to phase 5.   Source – Yahoo News.  Here is a link to the WHO website and press release – WHO goes to phase 5 on swine flu.

What does this mean?  It means that the outbreak can not be contained.

In response to this situation, the Survivalist Forum has opened a Swine Flu Forum section.  Please post any questions or comments that you have in that forum.

Cases of swine flu have been confirmed in the USA, Austria, Canada, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom. Confirmed swine flu related deaths have been reported in Houston, Texas and Mexico.

Good quality ice chest

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After a disaster – such as a hurricane – part of the relief efforts usually include bottled water, MREs or canned goods and ice. The ice is supposed to help people preserve their cold or frozen foods. But, this ice is of little good if the person getting the supplies to does have a good quality ice chest.

It has been in my experience that Rubbermaid brand is almost the bottom of the bucket. I have taken a 34 quart Rubbermaid ice chest, put a couple of bags of ice in it. And the next day just about all of the ice is melted.

On the other hand, Coleman and Igloo both offer quality solutions. One of my ice chest includes a 128 quart Igloo 5 day. Your supposed to be able to be able to put ice in it, and when kept in the shade the ice is supposed to last 5 days.

Back in June of 2008 a buddy of mine got married at the beach. My wife and I loaded up the truck, hooked up the bar-b-q pit and headed to the beach to take part in the wedding. In the back of my truck was an Igloo 128 quart ice chest full of ice, drinks and a couple of frozen gallons of water. We got to the beach friday evening. The Igloo 5 day extreme ice chest was in the back of my truck all weekend, in direct sunlight and day time temps were in the mid 90’s. Sunday, when my wife and I loaded up to go home, there was still ice in the chest.

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Solar powered sidewalk lights instead of candles

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Most people do not realize that they have a renewable light source right at their feet. And that is those solar powered lights along the walkway. If you do not have any solar powered sidewalk lights, take a look at a local hardware store, or big box mart – such as wal-mart, lowes and k-mart. They are usually in the garden section.

When shopping for a solar powered light, do not get the cheapest ones on the shelf. But then again, dont go overboard on the price either. There are usually 2 different colored lights – clear and amber. Do not get the amber colored lens, they do not put out as much light as the ones with the clear lens. Be sure to get the lights that use an LED and not a regular bulb.

The way those lights work, during the day the solar cell recharges 2 AA batteries. As the sun starts to go down, a light sensor tells the unit when to turn on. Depending on how much sun light the solar cell got, that defines how much light the unit can provide. The more sun light the cell is exposed to during the day, the longer the burn time at night.

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Types of Survivalist

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After watching the types of people that join the Survivalist Forum, there seems to be at least 4 different groups:

Hoarders – the people that stock up on everything – food, water, canned goods, beans, rice, MREs,,,.  These are the people that have hundreds  or even thousands of canned or dried food products.

Some of the plans that hoarders have may include storing several years worth of food.  Some of those plans seem to go like this – vacuum seal food products, such as flour, rice, beans, wheat,,,, and then put the packages into 5 gallon buckets, or into air tight containers.

Gardeners – the people that have gardens.  People in this type of group usually stock up on seeds, garden tools, books on gardening and fertilizer.

This group includes the organic gardener and the person who uses commercial fertilizer.

Combination of the two – People that stock up on prepared foods, but also have garden.

On a personal note, I consider a combination of the hoarder and gardener to be the best prepared.  They have enough food stocks to respond to an immediate need.  And then they have access to a renewable food source – their garden and extra seeds.

Some people find comfort knowing that they have a zillion cans of spam. Others find comfort knowing they have enough seeds for at least 3 years of gardens.  And some people find comfort somewhere been the two.

And lastly, there is the militant survivalist. Their comfort is that they have an AR15 or AK47 and several cases of ammo.  This is probably the least prepared group.

Most (not all) of these people envision hordes of looters swarming the streets after society breaks down.  People  in this group may even subscribe to the “Backpack” or “Bug Out Bag” type of mind set.  If there is an outbreak of some kind of plague, some of the people in this group plan on grabbing their family, “heading to the hills” and living a primitive life style.

Survivalist retreat example

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A survivalist retreat should start off with the most basic of necessities – food, water and shelter. Besides those items, location is very important. Access to running water, wild game animals, land for gardening, and away from the public view should also be important considerations.

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Food supply chains

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During outbreaks of the plague in Europe, there was one major problem that faced the rich and poor alike – and that was the availability of food.

The more moving parts a machine has, the more likely it is to break. The supply lines that feed the world are fragile. Before the crops are ever planted, there is fertilizer that has to be made, seeds harvested from the previous year and both of those sent to the farmers. The farmers then spread the fertilizer, plant the seeds, apply water and hope for the best.

In some parts of the world, crops are only grown because modern technology allows them to. Examples of this are water pipelines and irrigation systems that span hundreds of miles. It is only with water that crops can be grown.

Before the first sprout ever breaks through the soil, there are already several “moving parts” or factors. Some of these factors include:

Seed supplies

Manufacturing of fertilizer – either organic or commercial.

Transportation of seeds and fertilizer to the farmer.

Water – either through rain or irrigation.

Pesticides and / or herbicides

Harvesting the crops.

Transporting the crops to either market or to a commercial processing plant.

Processing of food into canned goods.

Transportation from manufacturing to warehouses.

Transportation from warehouses to stores or other outlets.

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Stocking up on seeds

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snap beans survivalist gardenAs the local stores get their garden seeds in, its time to take an inventory as to what is need, what is not needed and what needs to be replaced. Seed stocks should include the types of food that the family will eat. And, most important, the types of seeds that will grow in a certain geographical area.

The bags that the seeds are stored in should be marked with the type of seed and the date when the seeds were bought. The date is very important so that the seed stocks can be rotated out every 2 – 3 years.

Examples of different types of seeds and plants:

Potatoes – are usually planted from cuttings from a mature potato. When the “eyes” start to sprout on the potato, take a knife, cut a good section of the potato off (along with the eye). Types of potatoes like red skin or Irish are high producers.

Squash and Zucchini – are both members of the melon family. Are disease and pest resistant, high producers, can be eaten raw and are full of nutrients. Use a balanced fertilizer, such as 13-13-13.

If the seeds are to be saved from the Squash and Zucchini plants, keep the two species planted separate and away from each other. Bees can cross pollinate between Squash and Zucchini plants, meaning the harvested seeds have a good chance of being a hybrid. The harvested seeds might produce, but the seeds from those plants might be sterile. If place is limited, and there is a certain chance of cross pollination, do not plant the Squash and Zucchini at the same time. But instead, plant Squash on season, and Zucchini the next season.

Squash and Zucchini leaves have little “hairs” on them. This makes the leaves unpleasant for animals (such as deer) that try to eat them.

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16 gallon portable water solution

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Every survivalist should consider some kind of portable water solution. Whether this is 5 gallon buckets, 7 gallon drums or like in this video, 16 gallon drums.

The drum in this video will hold 16 gallons of water, but I only put 15 gallons in it. This is to leave a little head room. These drums originally held some kind of Dr. Pepper syrup. But its nothing that some soap and water will not wash out. When the drums were bought and brought home, dish washing soap was squirted into the drum, a water hose was inserted into the mouth and the water hose turned on. The water was allowed to circulate through the drum for 10 – 15 minutes. Then the drum was turned over, drained, stood back up and the water hose reinserted.

The water stored in these drums are used for hand washing and for general clean up. I do not consider this water drinkable.

Baby food considerations after a disaster

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One consideration that is often over looked is baby food. Even though baby food is artifical food, and should be avoided, feeding infants after a disaster should be a serious consideration.

In the “real” world there is no such thing as baby food. There are no trees that grow jars of baby food, there are no baby food seeds that can be planted to grow a baby food plant. The only natural food for infants and babies is breast milk. Everything else is artificial food.

With this in mind, mothers that breast feed have a distinct advantage over mothers that do not breast feed. In the event of a disaster, mothers that breast feed their infants do not have to worry about formula, bottles or nipples. This means that infants that are breast feed have a better chance of survival in the event of some kind of wide spread or long term disaster.

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Plans for 2009

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As I look back 0n 2008, I also look forward to 2009.

Over the past few months I have not been my usual self. Korey (my son) got a deer this hunting season, and so far that is all we have gotten is that one deer. Tomorrow is the last day of regular deer season, in 2 weeks there is a youth weekend. Hopefully between tomorrow and the youth weekend Korey or I will be able to get another deer. This will fill our freezer for the coming year.

January – my wife and I planted a bed of onions. I bought the onion sprouts 2 weeks ago but have not felt like planting them. The onions were a mix of 10-15Y and some smaller green onions for salads and baked potatoes.

10-15Y are a large onion developed by Texas A&M.  When the bulb is ready to be harvested, it will be about the size of a baseball.  These onions have a sweet taste and are good for putting on hamburgers.

February – Potatoes go in the ground around February 14th. My wife and I already have to seed potatoes in the shed.

This is also one of the months that I like to go camping.

Plant a couple of apple and peach trees.

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Tips on how to bury a cache tube

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Green PVC is better then white.  The green stuff has a life expectancy of around 800 years, buried and full of sewage. Yep, that last part is correct, the green stuff is sewage pipe. So be sure to get it new and not used.

One end cap does not need to be glued on. To make that seal, use heavy duty water proof wheel bearing grease for boat trailers.  Boat trailer wheel bearing grease is designed to be submerged in water. Spread it around the outside of the pipe on the end that the cap will not be glued on. Spread it on thick, as the cap goes on it will push the extra in front of the cap, building up a bead of grease.

The end cap that is not glued on, you will have to have some kind of vent hole, or the caps will not stay on, the compressed air will push the caps back off. Use something like a 3/32 drill bit to drill the vent hole, then plug with water proof, heavy duty wheel bearing grease.

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Hurricane Ike Aftermath

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These pictures were taken in Bridge City, Texas after Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston, Texas. Using Google Earth, and measuring from where these pictures were taken, its estimated that 20 miles inland, there was about a 14 – 15 foot storm surge. This is not a scientific measurement, its just an estimate.

How the storm surge was estimated – my parents house is is about 4 feet above sea level and they got over 9 feet of water in their house. This picture was taken 3 days after Hurricane Ike made landfall and the flood waters had receded about 7 – 8 feet.

hurricane ike, urban survival, survivalist,natural disaster

Bridge City Texas Hurricane Ike

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Tips on hunting wild hogs

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It is believed that hogs were first introduced into the United States by Hernando de Soto in or around 1539. Recent excavations from some of Hernando de Sotos’ encampments in Florida have discovered jaw bones of pigs and other swine bone fragments.

Hogs are a true omnivore, meaning that they will eat almost anything. The diet of a wild hog can include grubs, worms, termites, acorns – anything that the hog can get its mouth on, its likely to eat. There are even stories of wild hogs killing and eating new born deer.

Several factors have contributed to a recent surge in hog populations.

1. For some reason, several states have passed laws prohibiting butchers from processing wild hogs. If a hunter kills a hog, and brings that hog to a butcher, in some states the butcher will not be able to process the meat. This has helped prevent an active hog hunting community of hunters from developing. There are a group of people that hunt hogs, but not to the degree of deer hunters. Most people that hunt hogs process the meat theirselves. This is something that not everyone wants to do.

2. More deer hunters are using feeders. In some cases, deer hunters keep their feeders going all year long, and as a result, supply the hogs with a year round supply of food.

3. Lack of large natural predators to keep the wild hog population in check.

4. Other reasons too numerous to go into here.

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