Monthly Archives: February 2013

Veterans Are Receiving Letters from VA Prohibiting the Ownership or Purchase of Firearms

How would you feel if you received a letter from the U.S. Government informing you that because of a physical or mental condition that the government says you have it is proposing to rule that you are incompetent to handle your own financial affairs? Suppose that letter also stated that the government is going to appoint a stranger to handle your affairs for you at your expense? That would certainly be scary enough but it gets worse.

What if that letter also stated: “A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).”?

That makes is sound like something right from a documentary on a tyrannical dictatorship somewhere in the world. Yet, as I write this I have a copy of such a letter right in front of me. It is being sent by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of America’s heroes. In my capacity as Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation (USJF) I have been contacted by some of these veterans and the stories I am getting are appalling.

The letter provides no specifics on the reasons for the proposed finding of incompetency; just that is based on a determination by someone in the VA. In every state in the United States no one can be declared incompetent to administer their own affairs without due process of law and that usually requires a judicial hearing with evidence being offered to prove to a judge that the person is indeed incompetent. This is a requirement of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that states that no person shall “… be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…”.

Obviously, the Department of Veterans Affairs can’t be bothered by such impediments as the Constitution, particularly since they are clearly pushing to fulfill one of Obama’s main goals, the disarming of the American people. Janet Napolitano has already warned law enforcement that some of the most dangerous among us are America’s heroes, our veterans, and now according to this letter from the VA they can be prohibited from buying or even possessing a firearm because of a physical or mental disability.

Think about it, the men and women who have laid their lives on the line to defend us and our Constitution are now having their own Constitutional rights denied. There are no clear criteria for the VA to declare a veteran incompetent. It can be the loss of a limb in combat, a head injury, a diagnosis of PTSD, or even a soldier just telling someone at the VA that he or she is depressed over the loss of a buddy in combat. In none of these situations has the person been found to be a danger to themselves or others. If that was the case than all of the Americans who have suffered from PTSD following the loss of a loved one or from being in a car accident would also have to be disqualified from owning firearms. It would also mean that everyone who has ever been depressed for any reason should be disarmed. In fact, many of the veterans being deprived of their rights have no idea why it is happening.

The answer seems to be it is simply because they are veterans. At the USJF we intend to find the truth by filing a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Veterans Affairs to force them to disclose the criteria they are using to place veterans on the background check list that keeps them from exercising their Second Amendment rights. Then we will take whatever legal steps are necessary to protect our American warriors.

The reality is that Obama will not get all of the gun control measures he wants through Congress, and they wouldn’t be enough for him anyway. He wants a totally disarmed America so there will be no resistance to his plans to rob us of our nation. That means we have to ask who will be next. If you are receiving a Social Security check will you get one of these letters? Will the government declare that you are incompetent because of your age and therefore banned from firearm ownership. It certainly fits in with the philosophy and plans of the Obama administration. It is also certain that our military veterans don’t deserve this and neither do any other Americans.

– Michael Connelly, J.D.


The Daily Sheeple

10 Essential Skills Necessary for Survival

Although it is important to be prepared for disaster situations, many are not adequately trained to handle the disaster situations in which they find themselves in. Having the proper skills and training will provide an individual with a well diversified knowledge base on how to survive during and after a disaster.

 Medical Training

In a survival situation, medical training is going to be a big one.  Due to the increase use of saws, axes and knives, there will be more medical emergencies involving deep lacerated cuts.  Knowing how to properly clean wounds, stitch wounds, as well as knowing how to treat infected wounds will be extremely important.  Additionally, there will be an increase in burns from being in closer contact to fires.  Burns can get infected very quickly, and knowing how to decipher the degree of the burn is and how to treat it will be a concern amongst survivalists and preppers.  Typically, there are online courses offered for basic CPR/First Aid, however, those basic skills will not give a person the fundamental training they need.  Finding a local Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class that is offered for paramedics and first responders to accidents will be a better knowledge source and better equip a person to handle emergency medical situations.

 Disaster Training

Disaster training is typically offered by FEMA, the American Red Cross and other disaster organizations.  A person who is equipped with knowledge on how to plan for a disaster, how to properly prepare for a disaster, and how to mental handle the after effects of a disaster will be able to better adapt to the situation more quickly compared to those that are not.  The American Red Cross offers extensive courses in disaster safety and training as well as basic First Aid/CPR courses.  There are also online courses offered through FEMA.

 Gardening Skills

In a long term survival situation, seeds will mean the difference between life and death.  The only problem is, many have lost the necessary skill of gardening because there is a grocery store on every corner of the streets these days.  It’s time to get your hands dirty and get back in touch with nature.  Learning necessary gardening skills such as companion plants, crop rotations, beneficial insects, natural ways to replenish soil, and knowledge on proper gardening tools will be beneficial.  Another relevant knowledge source is understanding the medicinal value of plants and herbs.  It is amazing how many uses there are for plants besides spicing up our cooked entrees.  Researching natural medicines is another major need in a survival situation, especially if the person has a pre-existing condition.

 Firearm Certification and Training

There are dozens of firearm courses offered through the National Rifle Association.  In a situation where a person needs to defend themselves, 99% of them would want a gun.  And, the more a person practices, the better their aim gets.  This is one survival skill that a person should be as proficient as possible.  Also, practicing gun safety, especially around children, as well as being able to educate others is essential when a firearm is around.

 Canning and Food Preparation

Knowing how to can and preserve foods to eat during the long winter months is essential.  Just think of all the delicious jarred goods a person can store up for when their food supply dwindles in the winter.  The canning jars can be a bit of an investment. However, this author has found people selling their canned jars on, garage sales and even at second hand stores.  Canning jars would also make an excellent bartering item.

 Amateur Radio Classes

Having a radio is encouraged by many disaster relief organizations.  And having knowledge on how to work and maneuver a HAMM radio will provide a person with an emergency communication source during a time when most communication is down.  The National Association of Amateur Radio provides information based on a person’s location and course information on their website.

 Sewing Classes

Typically if there is a fabric store, there are sewing classes and sewing events that are offered at the store.  Everyone has heard of how their great grandmothers would sew quilts out of material from tethered or worn clothing.  Not many of us have this skill anymore.  Sewing classes will not only teach a necessary skill, but it will also get the survival mindset in place: make something new out of what you have available.

 Outdoor Survival Skills Courses

Most preppers and survivalists are planning to “re-connect” with nature.  Learning the necessary outdoor skills will provide a person with fundamental knowledge on how to better survive.  The Boy Scouts offer adult classes as well as some community colleges.  Get creative and search around the internet.  There are some survival courses offered online (some offer free survival courses) that a person can learn from the comfort of their home.  There are also wilderness courses offered at a variety of facilities such as local colleges, the YMCA, community park and recreation facilities, etc.  Additionally, finding books, and e-books on survival skills is another way to find information on this topic.

Candle/Soap making Conventions

Soap and candle making are a lost art form in my opinion.  Having a background knowledge of these skills would also be a great bartering skill.  There are classes a person can take that are usually offered at homes as well as some conventions in certain areas.  Searching on the Internet would be a great start for finding these classes.

 Hunting Skills

As many are planning to hunt wild game for a food source, they will need skills on how to gut the carcass, skin the fur and properly cut the meat.  The “hunter-in-training” will also have to have a proficient knowledge on the different types of hunting tools used to prepare animal carcasses (and these tools come in different sizes based on the animal).  The National Hunting Association is a portal that can take a person to their local area hunting association in order to get more information for their specific area.  Also, this website offers the hunting guides for all of the states within the USA.

Via: readynutrition

Rehydration Chart for Dehydrated Foods

Rehydrating your dehydrated foods requires nothing more than the food to be introduced to a liquid. Get creative with the liquid that you use. Many preppers have found that rehydrating foods in liquids other than water gives the food a richer taste. For instance, soaking fruit in fruit juice makes rehydrated fruit taste sweeter or soaking textured vegetable protein (TVP) in meat stock helps give it a richer flavor.

Product Water to add to 1 cup dried food Minimum soaking time (hours)
Apples, sliced 1 1/2 1/2
Pears, sliced 1 3/4 1 1/4
Peaches, sliced 2 1 1/4
Asparagus 2 ¼ 1 ½
Beans, lima      2 ½      1 ½
Beans, green snap 2 ½ 1
Beets 2 ¾ 1 ½
Carrots 2 1/4 1
Cabbage 3 1
Corn 2 ¼ ½
Okra 3 ½
Onions 2 ¾
Peas 2 ½ ½
Pumpkin 3 1
Squash 1 ¾ 1
Spinach 1 ½
Sweet Potatoes 1 ½ ½
Turnip Greens and other greens 1 ¾
Rice – White, brown or wild 1 1
Pasta 1 1
Poultry 1 30
Ground Beef Crumbles, Deli Meat 1 30
Beans 1 1-2
Textured Vegetable Protein 1 30

Via: readynutrition

Continuous Kombucha for Post-Collapse Wellness

When you think of collapse, what mental pictures come to your mind? Hiding in a hole, eating your dinner out of a can, willing to trade your left pinkie finger for a plastic spork? If we’re talking economic collapse, things probably won’t be that dire, at least for a while. But there definitely will be deprivations. Have you given much thought to what they will be?

One of my main concerns is how I will keep my family healthy now and through collapse. How will I afford vitamins and good alternative health care when I’m unemployed and my money is worthless?

What if I could make my own vitamins? What if I could make my own probiotics, without the need to support a home dairy or when my dairy animals are dry? What if doing so only cost me some tea bags and sugar, items I can easily, and cheaply, stockpile? What if all the space it would require is a few square feet of my kitchen (or cave, depending on your vision of collapse)? What if doing so required absolutely no electricity? Sounds great, right? What could possibly fulfill all these expectations?

Enter kombucha (pronounced kom-boo-cha). What in the world is kombucha, you might ask? It is fermented tea. The fermentation is produced through the use of a SCOBY, a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. During this fermentation acetic acid, lactic acid, glucuronic acid, probiotics, and a host of B vitamins are produced. The typical profile for an 8oz serving of kombucha looks like this.

Vitamins Amount (mcg) RDA (%) Probiotics Amount (organisms) Antioxidants + organic acids Amount (mg)
B1 300 10 Lactobacillus 500 million Acetic Acid 15
B2 340 10 S. Boulardii 500 million EGCG 50
B3 4000 10 Glucuronic acid 5
B6 400 10 L(+) Lactic Acid 12
B12 1.2 10
Folic acid 50 12

(Source: G. T’s Kombucha)

While all of this is wonderful, by far the star of the show is glucuronic acid. It is a substance created and excreted by the liver, which binds to toxins and carries them out of the living body. Considering we face dioxins, heavy metals, BPA, fluoride, pesticides and whatever is in chemtrails everyday, any mechanism our body has to flush out toxins is welcome and vital. But just like with any living organ, the liver can get overburdened and constantly having to create an overabundance of glucuronic acid to combat the toxins we face everyday can wear it out. Supplementing our bodies with extra glucuronic acid is a wise and prudent action if we plan to outlast these toxins and ultimately, beat the globalists at their own game.

Kombucha’s ability to detoxify the living body is why its been referred to as the Elixir of Life and the Tea of Immortality. It is one of the easiest and sustainable ways to preserve and promote vibrant health.

Kombucha is an old beverage. Its modern popularity originates from the Ural Mountains of Russia during the late 19th century, but it is considered much older than that, with references dating back to the second century BC in China. It is a very light, lightly effervescent beverage, that reminds me of ginger ale.

All this goodness and only 2-10 grams of sugar, depending on how you flavor it. In fact, ounce for ounce, flavored kombucha contains less sugar than yogurt or kefir, and certainly less than a soft drink or a sports drink. Natural News just named kombucha one of the four best functional beverages.

So, how to get started? To make your own kombucha you will need a SCOBY. You can order one, from sites like kombucha2000, but where’s the integrity and self-reliance in that? Or frugality?

Or, you can grow your own, like I did. To do that, you will need only a few things; some sweet tea, unflavored kombucha, a glass jar, and a kitchen towel.  In my line of work, moving things around introduces contamination and loss, so I decided to set up my SCOBY growing and kombucha brewing all in one vessel. That way, once the SCOBY was grown I could move right along to brewing by just adding the next phase of ingredients to the jar. This means I chose a fairly large jar, a 0.8 gallon sun tea jar with a spigot. When brewing kombucha, no metal can be present, so I made sure all the innards of the jar and spigot were plastic or glass.

A word about ingredients. Since this is a brewing process, you will want to use distilled water or if you have a home RO unit, water that has been purified by reverse osmosis. Also, you will want to use organic tea. Nonorganic tea introduces a much higher level of fluoride to the end product than organic tea does. And since that is one of the toxins we are trying to avoid, why not start off with the best foot forward. After carefully selecting the other ingredients, it just makes sense to use organic sugar as well. If you’re going to go to the effort of brewing your own, why not make it as good and as pure as possible? I buy organic sugar from one of our local bulk foods stores in 10lb bags.

To prepare the vessel, I washed the jar in hot, soapy water, then rinsed and let it air dry.  If its glass, I will remove the spigot and bake it in the oven at 225F for an hour to sterilize it, keep in mind you can’t bake plastic in your oven. You can also use food safe detergent, like the kind used to clean beer brewing equipment.

To prepare the tea, use 1 organic, black tea bag, 1 cup of hot water and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Cool the tea to room temperature, then add the tea and kombucha to the jar. Do not cover the jar with the lid. Cover the jar with the kitchen towel and secure it with a rubber band. A worn out hair band works well for this. Then place in a warm, dark spot to grow. In two to three weeks you will find what looks like a light, tan colored pancake has grown in the jar. That is the SCOBY. Once it is at least ¼ inch thick, its big enough for brewing.

To move on to brewing, prepare your sweet tea by following the ratios listed below. Black tea will produce the most glucuronic acid, but any combination of black and green tea can be used.

Water Tea Bags  Sugar (cups)
1 quart 2 1/3
2 quarts 3 2/3
3 quarts 4-5 1
1 gallon 6 1 and 1/3
1.5 gallon 9 2
2 gallon 12 2 and 2/3

Allow the sweet tea to cool to room temperature, then add to your brewing vessel, replacing your cloth on top. Now wait.

How long you will wait will depend on how acidic you like your kombucha. I would pour a few ounces off after a few days to try it. Generally, its going to take 3-6 days to get to where you like it. Since I like to practice continuous brewing, I let it go the 6 days, since after that I will be taking some off and replacing it continuously.

Continuous brewing means exactly how it sounds. You never completely empty a brewing vessel, so once you get it started there is no more cleaning or transferring or anything else that could disturb your SCOBY. Your SCOBY will last a good, long while this way, and will stay very happy. So happy, that it will begin forming a baby SCOBY as soon as it goes to work.

When bottling your kombucha, commercial kombucha bottles, Perrier bottles or Grolsch bottles (with the swing-top lid) are recommended. Once your kombucha is ready, start bottling it according to the following schedule. I usually pour off every other day, then once a week pour off an extra bottle from each vessel. But I have also liked the results pouring off every day and a half.

Vessel Size 16oz Bottles
0.8 gallon 1
1.6 gallon 2
2.4 gallon 3
3 gallon 4

After you pour off your kombucha, replace the liquid you poured off with fresh, room temperature, sweet tea. When replenishing the brewing vessel is a good time to inspect you SCOBYs for health and check the growth of the baby. Any tan color is good, but if you spot anything that looks green, blue or black, a mold or an unwelcome bacteria has invaded and its time to discard the contents and begin anew. Continuous brewing helps to keep the baby hydrated, but nonetheless, you will want to take good care of your SCOBYs.

You can drink your kombucha plain or flavor it in any number of ways. I like to use fruit juice, since it is so easy and convenient. I look for true juices, not from concentrate, since juice diluted from concentrate may have used fluoridated water. I have also found juice concentrates at my local health food store that can also be used. Just be sure to use a tiny amount of those since they are concentrated!


Different teas can be used in Kombucha. You can blend white tea with your black or even different herbal blends. To make your kombucha truly self-reliant, Territorial Seed Company sells green tea plants. Why not grow your own?

Continuing on the path to self-reliance and sustainability, here in maple country we have found that maple syrup also makes a good source of sugar for kombucha and is a great way to use up the darker grades of syrup that might be too strongly flavored for those morning pancakes. Also, using maple syrup will bring manganese and zinc into your kombucha, increasing its health benefits even further.

What about caffeine?

Yes, kombucha does have some caffeine, about 8mg in an 8oz serving. If this concerns you, you can decaffeinate your tea following the instructions in the link concerning continuous brewing.

The gift that keeps on giving; good health:

You may have already realized that continuous brewing of kombucha is going to result in lots of baby SCOBY’s. These babies can be used to start new brewing vessels, can be given as gifts to friends and relatives or could become an important barter item in our post-collapse world.

We love continuous home brewing of our own kombucha. It allows us to enjoy daily, what used to be an expensive, occasional treat. We drink it all the time and we all prefer it to sweeter, less healthy drinks. Regardless of how big my little brewery gets, it cannot keep up with demand. I encourage you to try home brewing for yourself and start taking advantage of this wonderful, life-giving gift.

For more information follow these links:

Further information on growing your own SCOBY

Further information on continuous brewing and decaffeinating

The history of kombucha

Benefits of glucuronic acid

 This post was written by Laura Imm at

Via: readynutrition

What To Eat When There Is No Food

What will you do if your family is starving and there is no food to be found?  This fear is always in the back of our minds.  The answer lies in nature.  Nature has all that is needed to survive.  Even if wild game, berries, and plants cannot be found, there are still edible choices to be found.

Tree Bark

There are many choices of tree bark that can be eaten.  In fact, the Native Americans used certain tree barks as dietary supplements.  Some of the most popular edible choices would be aspen, birch, willow, maple, and pine trees which are very common in cities and forests alike.  In an article at, “the Eastern White Pine tree  is high in vitamin C .  Consuming pine needles or brewing pine needle tea is a great preventative and cure for scurvy caused by lack of vitamin C in the diet.”  Subsequently, gathering pine cones and roasting them over the fire, will draw out the seeds inside the cones which can be eaten. These are very tasty and again rich in Vitamins and nutrients. You can also use the cooked seeds to grind into meal for flours.

In an article from,  other parts of the tree offer nutrition as well.  The oak trees fruit (the acorn), has been used by American Indians for soup and pudding.  The nutmeat inside should taste slightly bitter or even sweet.  If the taste is unpleasantly bitter you can remove the taste by roasting.  If it is so bitter you can’t stand it, you will have to leach out the tannic acid.  This is a long complicated process in which you use fresh water for soaking at least overnight.  Also, the oak leaves (if pests are not on it) are edible raw.  The article also discusses that the maple trees will provide year around food guaranteed.  The seeds are edible raw or roasted and can be pounded into flour.  The sap can be obtained in early spring by drilling a hole in the tree.  This thin sweet sap is filled with nutrients and is moisture giving.

For the choicest strips of bark, be sure to go for the nutritious, tender inner layer known as the cambium. (Eating the outer bark would be no more pleasant than chomping into your bookshelf.) If some resin or gum oozes out as you pry off the main course, be sure to lap it up for quick energy.

Cooking Methods:

• Raw.  Shred finely and chew thoroughly.
• Slice it into strips and boil it to make a rustic pasta.  Top with sap, dandelion greens, or insect parts (see entry #2).  Alternatively, you can add the noodles to a stew.
• Dry and grind into flour.  The ground bark is pretty versatile and can be mixed with water into a breakfast gruel, baked into bread, added to soup for extra body, or even guzzled straight like Pixy Stix.

Source –


Our earliest ancestors dined on insects.  And, for some countries, it is considered a delicacy.  There are suggestions that our earliest ancestor’s diet were mainly from eating insects.  The reason why humans evolved and survived was because  of their limitless diet and willingness to eat anything.  And as unappealing as the thought of eating insects are, they are a huge source of protein and a great food for survival.

According to the Special Forces Survival Guide:

  • Attract insects at night with a light.
  • Find crawling insects under stones.
  • Termites, locusts and the larvae of ants make good eating.  Brush them from their undersides of stones and place them into a container of water.  The larvae will float to the top.

In an article from mental floss, it was suggested:

  • Avoid brightly colored bugs which have a tendency to be poisonous.
  • Always remove any shells, wings or other textural offenses.
  • Cook the insects before eating, to kill off parasites.

Here are a few of the more traditional cooking methods:

Crickets and grasshoppers: First, pluck off the barbed legs, because they can chafe your digestive tract. Then, roast the body for a snack that’s both crunchy and nutritious.
Ants: Boil for 6 minutes to neutralize the formic acid of the stingers. After that, inhale them by the handful.
Caterpillars: They can give you a mouthful of tiny hairs, like licking a kiwi, so bite off the heads and then squeeze the insides into a pot. Boil and serve warm.
Worms: The dirt from the insides must be removed before they can be eaten. This can be done by starving them for one day, or squeezing out the dirt by hand.

Source –

It is advised to stear clear of centipedes, scorpions and caterpillars.


Chewing on grass is a great way to get some added nutrients into a starving body.  Do not eat the grass.  Just chew on it to get the juices out and spit it out.


Some of the early colonists of America survived solely by eating their leather clothing.  Food is food, and when it is not available, anything is up for being eaten.

How To Prepare:

  • Before cooking, rinse and dice the (preferably undyed) leather.
  • Tenderize the pieces of leather by pounding it between stones.
  • Boil in water until tender to make a soup.
  • Add seasonings such as dried worms and nettles. (optional)
  • Leather can also be roasted to make chips.

Source –

Via: readynutrition

Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Cold and flu season is in full swing, and with H1N1 running around all over the place, taking a few extra precautions to keep germs at bay is never a bad thing. I’m not saying you need to bathe yourself and your kids in hand sanitizer every few minutes. Washing your hands with soap and water is still the best way to get rid of germs. But after an outing where you come into contact with a lot of germs (like the grocery store, the gas pump, public bathrooms) it’s a good idea to kill off some of those foreign attackers when you don’t have access to a sink and soap. And when you have an 11 month old sitting in the grocery cart who insists on putting as much of the cart in her mouth as possible, you like having a little piece of mind that your daughter isn’t going to break out in hives from all the germs at any moment.

There are many, many hand sanitizing products on the market, but I’ve found that you can make your own hand sanitizer for a fraction of the cost. Most products you buy are made with an alcohol base but as the green craze continues, more natural products made with essential oils are finding their way to the market. If you elect for an alcohol based product, make sure it has an alcohol concentration of at least 60 percent so that it kills most harmful bacteria and viruses. Check those labels on your hand sanitizer products so you know they are actually getting the job done and not just smearing the germs around.

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years to combat disease and you may already have all of the oils in your home that are necessary to make your own hand sanitizer. Using essential oils with disinfectant, antiseptic and antiviral properties will allow you to create a homemade hand sanitizer with no alcohol at all.

Essential Oils to Use

Cedarwood, lavender, lemon, lemon grass, myrrh, neroli, patchouli, peppermint, rose, sandalwood, tea tree, thyme and ylang-ylang essential oils all have antiseptic properties.

Clove, niaouli and pine oils have both disinfectant and antiseptic properties.

Tea tree oil is the most powerful of these essential oils and has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties–making it the recommended essential oil to use in the following recipes. But it should not be used on infants or pregnant /nursing women. Adding more tea tree oil to any recipe will make the hand sanitizer more effective but the smell can be overwhelming. View the American Society for Microbiology’s study about TTO for further information about its effectiveness. A few drops of essential oils like basil, rosemary, rose, lavender, lemon or geranium will lighten and balance the aroma.

Always be careful with essential oils and consult an herbalist before using if you have any current health conditions. As mentioned, some oils (like tea tree, cedar wood and hyssop) are not suitable for children or pregnant and nursing women.

In the recipes below, you can mix oils to suit you tastes or just use one type of oil but their effectiveness will be reduces versus using tea tree oil. One essential oil blend option which is safe for families is a combination of lavender and pine. This will create a disinfectant, antiseptic hand sanitizer with calming effects. Add a little citrus or rosemary to enhance and round out the aroma.

Aloe vera gel is in ingredient in all of these recipes and I just wanted to mention that this means pure aloe vera gel without the coloring, flavoring and so on. It’s not the same as juice. It should say “100% aloe vera gel” somewhere on the bottle. If it doesn’t, it’s the wrong stuff.

If you have trouble finding any of these ingredients in your local stores, try online sources. I’ll be happy to give you a few sites myself.

So here’s the homemade hand sanitizer recipes with and without alcohol. Mixing up a batch of hand sanitizer only takes a few minutes but there’s often a question of what you have available in the house. You’ll probably want to do the mixing in a glass bowl (plastic may take on the aroma of the essential oils and metal may react with the ingredients) but you can also just pour the ingredients directly into a bottle if you prefer. Either way, a funnel is going to be useful. Add the ingredients together in your mixing vessel, then shake or stir to combine. Fill the mixture into hand sanitizer and other small bottles you’ve washed out to keep those landfills empty. Some more liquid recipes may need to be shaken before use to distribute the oils.

Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizer Gel

  • 1 cup pure  aloe vera gel
  • 1-2 teaspoons of witch hazel (add until the desired consistency is reached)
  • 8 drops of essential oils (as listed above)

Mostly Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizer Gel

  • 2 cups pure aloe vera gel
  • 2 tablespoons 90% SD40 alcohol (perfumer’s alcohol if you can get it)
  • 2-3 teaspoons essential oils (as listed above)

Alcohol-based Hand Sanitizer

  • 1/4 cup pure aloe vera gel
  • 1/4 cup grain alcohol or vodka
  • 10 drops essential oils (as listed above)

Previously published at No Ordinary Homestead

Via: readynutrition

Clothes Washing in a Grid-Down World

If we are ever forced to live through an extended grid-down situation, I think many of us would realize how much we rely/depend upon our “common” appliances like our washing machines.

For that reason, having an off-grid secondary option will really make living a whole lot easier if things do go south.

With that in mind, I wanted to share with you how you can make your own effective off-grid “washing machine” using easy-to-obtain items:

What You’ll Need

  • Two 5-gallon buckets with one lid
  • Toilet plunger (make sure it’s a newly purchased one)
  • Liquid detergent (optional: stain stick)
  • Vinegar
  • Rope or clothesline
  • Clothes pins

How to Make an Off-Grid Clothes Washing Kit

Step 1: Drill a hole in the middle of the lid just big enough for the plunger handle to fit through.

Step 2: Place the following items in one of the buckets:

  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Plunger
  • Stain remover/stain stick
  • Vinegar (1/2 cup added to rinse water helps to remove soap)
  • Rope or clothesline
  • Clothes pins

Step 3: Put bucket with items in it into other bucket and place lid (with holes) on top of buckets (feeding the plunger handle through it).

Step 4: Store away for a time you need it.

How to Use Your Off-Grid Clothes Washing Kit

To use your kit, simply perform the following steps:

  1. Take out the items in the bucket
  2. Fill both buckets 1/2 to 3/4 full with water — enough to completely cover your clothes
  3. Put a small amount of detergent in one bucket (this will be your washing bucket)
  4. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to the other bucket (this is your rinsing bucket). Vinegar helps to remove the soap from the clothes
  5. Place clothes in the washing bucket, cap the bucket after feeding the plunger handle through the lid’s pre-drilled hole
  6. Move the plunger up and down for a few minutes until your clothes are clean
  7. Pull out clean clothes and wring them out
  8. Place soapy clothes in the rinse bucket and use the plunger as you did when you washed the clothes
  9. Wring rinsed clothes out again and hang them up to dry
  10. Repeat with another load of laundry until water becomes too dirty.

NOTE: You can get away with doing the above steps with only one 5-gallon bucket if you wish. The only difference is in-between washing and rinsing you’ll need to empty the water.

Via: tacticalintelligence

Can you live without electricity?

A newly declassified report from the National Research Council analyzes the vulnerabilities of America’s electric-power system. Douglas Birch of Foreign Policy

The formerly secret report to the Department of Homeland Security focuses more on the U.S. electric power system’s older technology and lack of spare capacity, saying the “physical capabilities of much of the transmission network have not kept pace with the increasing burden that is being placed on it.” As a result, it found, sophisticated physical assaults against key facilities could damage difficult-to-replace hardware and cause multiple cascading failures with catastrophic results.

Hurricane Sandy wasn’t a “sophisticated physical assault,” but it still did the job. The study was written in 2007 and classified by the Department of Homeland Security, but, in a new foreword, scientists say that its findings are still relevant:

We believe that we have a responsibility to make this report available to the public. Major cascading blackouts in the U.S. southwest in 2011, and in India in 2012, underscore the need for the measures discussed in this report. The nation’s power grid is in urgent need of expansion and upgrading. Incorporating the technologies discussed in the report can greatly reduce the grid’s vulnerability to cascading failures, whether initiated by terrorists, nature, or malfunctions.

A description from the report:

The electric power delivery system that carries electricity from large central generators to customers could be severely damaged by a small number of well-informed attackers. The system is inherently vulnerable because transmission lines may span hundreds of miles, and many key facilities are unguarded. This vulnerability is exacerbated by the fact that the power grid, most of which was originally designed to meet the needs of individual vertically integrated utilities, is being used to move power between regions to support the needs of competitive markets for power generation. Primarily because of ambiguities introduced as a result of recent restricting the of the industry and cost pressures from consumers and regulators, investment to strengthen and upgrade the grid has lagged, with the result that many parts of the bulk high-voltage system are heavily stressed.

Electric systems are not designed to withstand or quickly recover from damage inflicted simultaneously on multiple components. Such an attack could be carried out by knowledgeable attackers with little risk of detection or interdiction. Further well-planned and coordinated attacks by terrorists could leave the electric power system in a large region of the country at least partially disabled for a very long time. Although there are many examples of terrorist and military attacks on power systems elsewhere in the world, at the time of this study international terrorists have shown limited interest in attacking the U.S. power grid. However, that should not be a basis for complacency. Because all parts of the economy, as well as human health and welfare, depend on electricity, the results could be devastating.

Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System focuses on measures that could make the power delivery system less vulnerable to attacks, restore power faster after an attack, and make critical services less vulnerable while the delivery of conventional electric power has been disrupted.

Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System

There are many other reports out there that are worth reading also:

Physical Vulnerability of Electric Systems to Natural Disasters and Sabotage

THE POWER GRID IS VULNERABLE. ( This report sites many other reports also. )

The National Strategy For The Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets

A Vulnerability Assessment Methodology for Critical Infrastructure Facilities

National Infrastructure Protection Plan

Water Sector Interdependencies

Cyber security and Critical Infrastructure Protection

Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack

Cyber Attack Task Force

The Vulnerability of Nuclear Facilities to Cyber Attack

So in the end, the bottom line is that the vulnerabilities of America’s electric-power system come in many shapes and sizes and that it may not even take an “EMP” type event before we find ourselves without power for what could be very long and extended time frames.

Without power things fall apart fast. Without the hope of power being restored anytime soon, then things go from bad to worse.

Are you prepared if the lights go out and have no way of knowing when they will come back?

What if it is the hottest summer or the coldest winter, can you even deal with cooling or heating for your family?

These are just the tips of the iceberg when it comes to questions.

Maybe we all need to take some time to think about how and if we could deal with this type of situation.

The Secret Weapon in Fighting Influenza: Vitamin D

As we stand at the cusp of what many officials have referred to as a “virus of pandemic proportions,” we are all bracing ourselves for the worst and hoping for the best.  People all over the world are already getting colds and flus and the swine flu is continuing to spread like a wild fire.  You can take Vitamin C and Zinc, but perhaps that is not what your body needs.  Studies have shown that deficiencies in Vitamin D have a direct effect on the immune system.  Your body’s vitamin D levels are at their lowest levels during winter time.  The end result is a lowered immune system and increases in colds and flu.

If you can imagine that your body is a plant.  A plant needs sunlight to create the photosynthesis process to thrive.  Without the sunlight, the plant withers and dies.  Our bodies are much the same.  They need certain things to thrive, and Vitamin D is one of them.  Dr. John Cannell MD, states that our Vitamin D levels are 1/3 of what they are in the summertime.

“All of epidemiology will be changed by this…  The effect vitamin D has in preventing influenza and the common cold should not be over estimated.  Especially with pandemic influenza.”

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, to get more Vitamin D in our diets, the U.S. government created a  fortification program to provide more sources of Vitamin D.   Foods such as milk, orange juice and breakfast cereals were among those fortified, but it still is not enough for the human body to use to combat immune attackers.
Selected Food Sources of Vitamin D  


IUs per serving*

Percent DV**

Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon



Mushrooms, enriched with vitamin D, 3 ounces



Salmon, cooked, 3.5 ounces



Mackerel, cooked, 3.5 ounces



Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 1.75 ounces



Tuna fish, canned in oil, 3 ounces



Orange juice fortified with vitamin D, 1 cup (check product labels, as amount of added vitamin D varies)



Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D-fortified, 1 cup



Yogurt, fortified with 20% of the DV for vitamin D, 6 ounces (more heavily fortified yogurts provide more of the DV)



Margarine, fortified, 1 tablespoon



Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D, 0.75-1 cup (more heavily fortified cereals might provide more of the DV)



Egg, 1 whole (vitamin D is found in yolk)



Liver, beef, cooked, 3.5 ounces





They also go on to mention that if you take Vitamin D at high amounts for a longer period of time, “toxicity can occur and cause symptoms such as: nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness and weight loss.  More seriously, it can also raise blood levels of calcium, causing mental status changes such as confusion and heart rhythm abnormalities.”

However, studies were shown stating that “excessive sun exposure does not result in vitamin D toxicity because the sustained heat on the skin is thought to photodegrade previtamin D3 and vitamin D3 as it is formed.   High intakes of dietary vitamin D are very unlikely to result in toxicity unless large amounts of cod liver oil are consumed; toxicity is more likely to occur from high intakes of supplements.”

Via: readynutrition

10 Easy Survival Seeds to Grow

Survival seeds are one of those long term essential emergency preps that every family should have.  If the days come when a survival garden is needed, the family will be happy to have invested in such an important prep item.  In exchange for your energy and time, you will want a survival garden that will provide your family abundantly with food.  Non-GMO, heirloom quality is best as these seeds produce seeds you can save for future harvests.  However, stocking up on some packets of the GMO version is not a bad idea either.  Having dependable seeds in times of a crisis is comparable to having another back up for your back ups.  In this author’s opinion, a person can never have enough seeds.  If stored properly, these seeds can last much longer than their expected expiration dates.

Easy Growing Varieties

 Below are a list of easy to grow vegetable and fruit varieties that are not only easy to grow, but will also provide lots of nutrition.   To learn more about the nutritional content of these varieties, click here.

  • Nut/Fruit Trees – To learn more about essential nut and fruit trees for a survival homestead, click here. 
  • Squash/Zucchini
  • Berries – Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.
  • Grapes
  • Peas/Beans
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin

One of the authors at Backwoods Home Magazine suggest planting survival perennials, or vegetables that come back on their own each year.  Perennials such as asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, horseradish, garlic, perennial onions, and herbs of both culinary and medicinal.  The survival perennials are an efficient way to produce food and make good use of your time.  Some of these perennials, such as asparagus require two years to grow before they produce food.  Therefore, this is why it is so important to research which type of vegetables and fruits you want in your survival garden.

Storing seeds will ensure that in a long-term disaster you will be able to provide needed nutrition and energy for more physical exertion and mental clarity.  Those who have started their survival gardens have no doubt learned from a few garden mistakes along the way. Yet through these mistakes, gardeners have stumbled upon wisdom and grown into better gardeners.  These experienced gardeners  have taken certain factors into consideration before the seeds are planted, and through experience found which vegetables varieties are easier to grow.

Via: readynutrition