Common Grass is Not for Human Consumption

Common Grass is Not for Human Consumption

If you find yourself in the middle of a survival scenario where you run out of food and are facing starvation, you’ll be considering all kinds of things that you never would have dreamed of eating previously.

Plenty of survival experts and survival manuals will recommend you scavenge for various kinds of plant life to supplement your calorie intake, but one that never seems to be mentioned is grass. It is all around us and certainly easy to harvest.

But will eating grass let you avoid starvation? Unfortunately it will not. Human beings cannot eat grass and derive any nutrition from it. Though you can consume it more or less safely, it may make you sick and even if it doesn’t, grass contains a lot of cellulose, which is indigestible. Eating grass might make you feel full if you’re able to consume enough of, but you’ll still be starving.

There is a lot more to learn about this topic, and surprisingly there are a rare few exceptions when it comes to eating grasses, as a couple of them can actually supply nutrition. We will learn about them just below.

The vast majority of grasses that you will see out in the world are not toxic, and they are certainly edible in the strictest sense of the word, meaning you can chew and then swallow them without any deadly effect.

But if you do manage to quaff down the stuff, you are liable to get sick and vomit. Assuming that you don’t get sick from chowing down on grass clippings your body will be unable to process any nutrition in any meaningful quantity from it.

Even though there are plenty of mammals that eat grass as a major or even primary component of their diet, humans are not one of them. Animals that are able to consume grass and live off of it have specially adapted biology that allows them to.

Their stomachs and intestines are able to break down the tough, durable cellulose in grass over a long period of time, and even their teeth are adapted for chewing the hardy plant life without wearing down.

But surely there must be some benefit to eating grass, right? If it isn’t poisonous, then there has to be something in there that your body can extract that is helpful, some vitamins or minerals, right? Unfortunately no, again, not in any meaningful quantity.

Consider other large mammals that are able to eat grass must consume dozens and dozens of pounds of it every day to subsist on it. This should furnish a better understanding of just how little nutrition there is to be had in grass.

The hits just keep on coming when it comes to grass as a potential survival food. Aside from its total indigestibility and near complete lack of nutrition, grass is also very difficult for human teeth to deal with. Sure, it is soft and springy and fibrous and definitely not palatable, but you can chew it.

And therein lies the problem: Grass contains minerals that are very hard on the enamel of your teeth, with silica being the chief offender. You might not notice it straight away, but if you attempt to eat grass for any length of time, your teeth will get torn up in the process.

Also, I would ask you to consider how filthy grass is likely to be. Everything under creation walks on grass, poops and pees on grass and dies on the grass.

It is highly likely that any given patch of grass is crawling with bacteria, and though you might be so delirious with hunger, you can deceive yourself into thinking it is a crisp, fresh salad it will be nowhere near as sanitary.

Please believe me when I say that grass, at least the vast majority of common grasses, are completely useless as a survival food. That is because they aren’t food at all, at least not for humans!

I could admire your determination to get some benefit out of grass in a survival situation, but there is nothing you can do to improve it as a foodstuff.

Cooking it will make the grass softer, but does nothing to reduce or alter the cellulose content that makes it so hard for our bodies to digest it. It certainly doesn’t do anything to improve its already non-existent nutritional profile.

Cooking grass for any purpose, even to just improve its flavor if you are desperately hungry, is nothing but a waste of time and resources.

You are far better off using that time and whatever energy you are spending to try and improve the grass looking for bugs or other nutritious edible plants instead.

It is time to face the facts. Grass is just not for human consumption. You’ll just have to be content to enviously watch your cows and goats eat it.

But despite everything you have just learned about grass and its complete inadequacy as a survival food, even in an extremely desperate situation, you are avowed and determined to eat grass or at least make use of it somehow to stave off starvation.

Well, you are in luck because there are a few edible types of grasses, and even the inedible types might furnish you a few, scant calories if you are dedicated enough to harvesting them.

Regarding edible varieties of grass, you have several options although they do not grow just anywhere, and are only viable and reliable emergency foodstuffs in certain places.

You’ll be able to choose from alfalfa, wheat grasses, and potentially even barley grasses depending on where you live and the season.

But for every other kind of grass if you pay attention you might find grass that is germinating, and has sprouted seed heads.

Though you cannot eat the grass itself the seeds are edible, even though they have the slightest amount of nutrition imaginable and you’ll have to gather and eat a ton of them to make any of your effort worthwhile in harvesting them.

However, if you plan on employing the strategy however marginally successful it is likely to be you must take the time to learn the various species of grass in your area.

First, certain varieties of grass produce seeds that are toxic even if there is no toxin in the blades of grass themselves. This could make for a rude awakening if you harvest seeds for eating.

Second, sprouting grass seeds are vulnerable to mold, including several species of mold that can make you terribly sick, potentially even kill you. You should never harvest or eat any grass seeds that have obvious signs of mold or have a fuzzy appearance.

Also stay away from any grass seeds that have a black or purplish appearance.

There is no way to effectively eat common grasses in order to stave off starvation. If you are able to keep down a sufficient quantity you might be able to reduce your pains of hunger, but your body will not be able to drive any nutrition whatsoever from grass clippings.

Exceptions exist in the forms of certain species which have viability as a crop and scarce nutrition can be derived from germinating grass seeds, though eating these seeds entails its own risks.

You are better off avoiding grass entirely as an emergency survival food.

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Alfalfa is a legume not a grass. It’s more like a clover. You can eat clover. But alfalfa is better.

You might be able to juice the grass by chewing a large amount, then swallowing the juice. And get some sugars from it. Beware of the cyanide too! Ouch!

http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-we-eat-grass/

Has a lot of historical information on this important topic. The comments are interesting too.

I think I’ll just have a nice cup of pine leaf tea, and a lightly toasted slab of pine cambium, thank you… (Folds and sets down the menu on the edge of the tarp;;)

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Correct Placement is Essential for Effectiveness

Correct Placement is Essential for Effectiveness

One increasingly popular option for home security systems is the addition of hardwired or wireless security cameras. Small, sleek, and user-friendly, these cameras typically integrate with your home PC or any other smart device, enabling you to remotely control and intuitively manage a network of linked security cameras.

This is undeniably an attractive option for many people, but what these kits have in user-friendliness is oftentimes overshadowed by the user’s lack of expertise in placing them, especially with regards to exterior lighting.

What is the best way to position your security cameras near exterior lights? Though it is not difficult, installers must be cautious that exterior lights (or the sun) don’t shine directly into the lens, and don’t bounce light off of any reflective surface into it. Failing to account for this will reduce effectiveness, and degrade image quality.

There are also concerns that cheaper cameras may not be able to effectively peer into the deep shadows cast by bright exterior lighting.

You don’t need to be a home security expert to benefit from these camera systems, but it would be in your best interest to brush up on best practices if you want to get the most bang for your buck, and avoid blind spots in your surveillance system.

In the rest of this article we will tell you more.

If you decide to install security cameras around your home it is imperative that they be correctly placed, oriented and aimed in order for them to be effective. This includes proper coordination and deconfliction with any and all exterior light sources around the home.

Failing to do this means you are just engaging and security theater, and theater is rarely a good defense.

Your security cameras have a job to do, and that job is surveilling the various approaches to your home as well as all exterior access points, including windows that are large enough to accommodate an intruder.

Taking care of this using the minimum number of cameras is not always easy depending on terrain features and the shape and style of your house.

But security is a thinking man’s game, and there are other factors to consider aside from placement and aiming.

The security cameras must be placed in such a way they are reasonably protected from weather but also protected from anybody who would tamper with them, either knocking them off your intended viewpoint or disabling them entirely. The other big one, as indicated by this article’s title, is lighting.

There are all kinds of light sources that can harm, or help, your security cameras do their job, and also make your home less appealing to burglars or home invaders.

You’ll need to account for lights not only on your home but also public light sources such as street lamps, and even the lights on neighboring homes or buildings.

Lighting is necessary for proper visualization or recording of an image through a security camera, but if you are dealing with bad light or have improperly set up the light and camera relationship around your house what you’ll get instead are poor or even completely worthless images.

The chief offender is bright light that is directly entering the camera’s lens. This results in washout. Have you ever used a digital camera or even your phone’s camera, and picked up too much sun or even a car’s headlights shining into the lens?

Did you notice how it turned the resulting picture into a muddy, washed out mess, and even made it difficult to tell colors apart if it didn’t completely obliterate certain parts of the image?

That’s what can happen to the image on your security cams just the same when too much light gets through!

For the average home security setup utilizing surveillance cameras, this often comes about as an improper orientation of the cameras, or lights, and the result is a conflict.

For instance, if you have a driveway that runs parallel to the front of the house and you have your security camera placed on one corner, watching the driveway, but your security light placed on the opposite corner, illuminating the driveway there is a high likelihood that you will be splashing your security camera with your security light. Not good!

The result is likely going to be highly degraded, or even totally useless still images or video clips under these lighting conditions.

Though the presence of your security apparatus might be enough to deter criminals it might hang you later if the criminals are too stupid or too bold and decide to mess with your house anyway; you won’t have vital intelligence or evidence that could be used against them.

To further complicate your task of properly setting up your security cameras, you’ll have to be on the lookout for any reflective surfaces that could bounce light into your camera.

I know it sounds like a major pain; now you have to police your property and surrounding area for anything shiny in addition to taking care of the lights themselves! It sounds like a drag but it’s really not that bad a chore, don’t worry.

In short, you’re looking for anything that could produce glare or a direct reflection of light from any source. Some sources of reflected light are obvious. Others are pretty insidious.

Your vehicle’s mirrors or polished wheels could be one source, as could any uncovered metal trim on outdoor appliances or furniture. A window caught from the right angle could be one significant source of glare as could a pool or pond when the water is calm.

It is likely that you can easily get rid of or otherwise neutralize these sources of glare with a little creativity or just by moving them, but in certain instances you might have to move the camera itself or just re-aim it to prevent glare from scrubbing your image.

It is also possible to equip your camera with a kill-flash device or anti-reflection screen that can cut down on perceived glare if it is impossible to do anything about it.

Generally speaking, when it comes to light in a home security context more is better. The better you can eliminate your property all around, and the more darkness you can deprive the bad guys of, the better off you’re going to be.

However, the lights that you install to banish this darkness could actually wind up being a source of darkness that can be turned against you.

Any bright light source is capable of casting a deep well of shadows when something blocks the light. Once again, depending on the terrain around your home and other features, this could be a major problem or it might not be.

I can tell you this, you had better believe that savvy bad guys will look for these virtually impenetrable pools of darkness in order to help conceal their approach or to lurk and ambush.

This will definitely affect your powers of observation, but it might or might not affect your cameras depending on their capabilities and their features.

Most optical systems, even not electrical ones like telescopes and binoculars, will easily pierce gloom and shadows better than the human eye, and your cameras might do just the same.

But if they are cheap or malfunctioning they might not, so make sure you test them if you’re unable to eliminate any of these substantial shadows.

One way to ensure you are properly lighting your camera’s FOV (though potentially not providing enough area lighting for the rest of the property) is to use a coaxial light and camera mount.

These mounting solutions mount the camera and a variety of lighting solutions on the same mast, allowing you to easily aim them in the same general direction, and then fine-tune them for your specific needs.

These mounts work well and are an all-in-one over the counter solution that will be a perfect fit for many homeowners.

Perhaps the only drawback with these mounts is that you must take care to prevent the camera, depending on its size, from obstructing the beam of light cast by the lamps, and thusly throwing an enormous shadow. Not always an issue, but worth mentioning.

As long as you do a little homework to make sure that your chosen lighting system and camera will play well together on the mount, you won’t have any issues.

You are wise to install a home security system that includes surveillance cameras, but haphazardly placing them could defeat the purpose.

Image washout from a variety of light sources both on and around your home is a challenge that you must work to overcome from the outset if you want your cameras to record clear, usable high quality images.

Take care of that you properly manage lighting around your home and eliminate any potential sources of glare if you want to get the most out of your security cameras.

Then you’re gonna love my free PDF, 20 common survival items, 20 uncommon survival uses for each. That’s 400 total uses for these dirt-cheap little items!

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Sanitation is Essential for Survival

Sanitation is Essential for Survival

Keeping yourself and your surroundings clean and free of germs is critical if you want to stay healthy. This is easy enough in kind times though it can be a struggle when far afield for extended forays.

But where most people struggle to deal with keeping clean bodies and surroundings, including preppers, is during long- or indefinite-term disasters.

More than most factors it is the simple propagation of filth leading to an explosion of disease that can level most groups of people, especially people living in close quarters for a long period of time.

Proper control of human waste, garbage and even the deceased are serious concerns that you must be prepared to deal with when society no longer takes care of these things for you. Forgoing dealing with these facts of life will have disastrous consequences.

It might not be pretty, and it certainly isn’t fun to talk about, but it is important. In today’s article we will be telling you everything you need to know about emergency sanitation concerns and procedures for SHTF scenarios.

There is no civilization, from the most advanced to the most primitive, that is not entirely reliant on good sanitation procedures for staving off disease. It is hard to believe that humble germs of all kinds have been responsible for the lion’s share of mass die-off events throughout human history.

Throughout the world, a couple of billion people have been categorized as living in regions where sewage systems, toilets and other fixtures of sanitation that we take for granted are classified as “inadequate”.

This inevitably results in a lack of cleanliness that makes outbreaks of diseases like dysentery, cholera and others more likely.

Before you pat yourself on the back for our achievements, remind yourself that one bad day or a series of bad turns could result in us living in very much the same conditions through loss of public or private waste management services.

Now keeping clean, dealing with waste, trash and other vectors of pestilence is going to become a survival mandate. Getting it wrong could make for a terrible, grueling death for you and your group.

But luckily, these skills are not particularly difficult to learn and a few simple, inexpensive preps can give you a major leg up on taking care of business. It will be best if you committed to learning these skills, and developing a sanitation plan now before you are forced to deal with the ugly truth later.

Diseases like influenza, hepatitis, cholera, typhus and plague have claimed millions upon millions of lives all total, and all are exacerbated and helped along by improper or absent sanitation.

But when it comes to filth-related pathogens none are more infamous than dysentery. Even when seemingly greater threats are in abundance, such as open warfare, dysentery is often the Reaper’s tool of choice.

Throughout our near, modern history, dysentery has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths even in the middle of active war zones.

And what’s more, in the Spanish-American war it killed more people than actual combat. Think about that. It can do the same thing to you and yours when you’re trying to survive the aftermath of a major disaster.

Dysentery is a hideous disease, causing inflamed intestines. The symptoms are gruesome, and disgusting.

Paralyzing abdominal cramping, high fever and never-ending, horrible diarrhea that is often bloody. As bad as this sounds it can easily get worse, with dehydration and electrolyte-related shock being all but certain.

The resulting weakness and eventual incapacitation makes it extremely difficult to care for oneself and presents a severe test for caretakers; lying around in your own filth is a great way to spread fecal born germs to those people attempting to help you.

Dysentery blazes a trail through any group of people who have to live in close proximity to one another, and that makes it a perennial threat in any survival situation where sanitation standards start to slip.

In the remainder of this article you’ll find what info you need to equip yourself against such an eventuality.

When it comes to sanitation you have three primary material concerns that you’ll need to manage during a survival situation.

So long as you can take care of these three things you will dramatically cut down on the amount of germs you will encounter and the other, attendant problems that result from that contact.

They are, in order of priority:

Human waste will be your most pressing and constant concern when it comes to sanitation, with both liquid and (to a far greater extent) solid waste being major vectors for pathogens.

Coming into contact with human waste will easily spread germs to your skin or contaminate anything else that it touches, and it is also highly attractive to mammalian and insect scavengers that then become secondary vectors of dangerous germs.

Second only to human waste in terms of quantity generated is trash, with biological matter being of particular concern.

Food scraps and other kitchen waste can rot, go rancid, and otherwise decompose allowing germs to flourish and once again attracting critters looking for an easy meal.

They’re fine dining experience could make for the beginnings of the next epidemic. Dealing with trash under the circumstances will be a chore but is comparatively easy in most situations.

Second only to human waste in terms of quantity generated is trash, wit

The pathogenic threat posed by dead bodies is greatly overhyped by most people owing to a lack of knowledge about the processes at work.

While distinctly unpleasant and potentially traumatizing to handle, most dead bodies do not represent a major source of disease unless the departed died of a contagious disease.

Nonetheless, dead bodies must be dealt with to prevent substantial discomfort and trauma for survivors.

Each of these concerns requires a slightly different approach to deal with it, with the one common factor being you must deal with them carefully in order to prevent the spread of germs, and then ensure you diligently wash up after handling any of them. We will go into details for all of them below.

Okay, it is now time to get into the ugly part. Before you can prepare to deal with any problem, you must understand the scope of the problem.

Concerning human waste, this means getting into some specifics that are not for the faint of heart. It might make your toes curl, but there is going to be some fecal-centric math in this section. You have been warned, so hold your nose, and let’s get to it!

The biggest part of the problem when it comes to dealing with human waste is that there will be so much to deal with, and so often. Said another way, humans generate a lot of poop day to day, generally.

A normal adult will create around a whole pound of feces every single day, and generate two to three pints of urine, though output can fluctuate based on several factors. Thank God that this all goes into our toilets and disappears with the press of a lever!

But what should happen when our toilets no longer work, or we don’t have any? Oh, boy. You now have over a pound of poop to deal with and a quart of pee. Remind yourself this is just for a single adult!

How many people are in your group? Let’s just say you have a group of four adults to make things simple. That now means you are dealing with four entire pounds of feces, and over a gallon of urine. Good grief!

But we aren’t done yet. What if you could not leave your home or some other shelter in order to dispose of it? Where would you put it? How will you deal with the odor? What will you do when all kinds of animals and insects start homing in on it?

Those animals will likely include your very own pet, dog or cat. I don’t need to explain how far and how wide these animals will spread the germs picked up off this human waste. Imagine them tracking that all over your shelter and all over your supplies…

This is how outbreaks of disease crop up so rapidly in survival situations and then carve a virulent path of gruesome death and destruction through groups and even through entire populations. When sanitation breaks down pestilence is always close behind.

And another thing, those pounds of poop and gallons of pee? That’s just for one day for a group of four adults. A single day! How bad will it be after a week? After two weeks? After a couple of months?

Folks, you cannot afford to screw this up: Time to learn how to deal with it properly to spare your lives and your sanity.

You’ll deal with human waste in much the same way as you normally deal with it in usual, non-disastrous times. The only difference is you’ll have to put in more work to accomplish the same objectives! Whether or not you’re surviving predominantly indoors or out the solution remains.

Dealing with human waste involves two major components: disposal and storage.

A process by which waste is eliminated or relegated to its final resting place. When properly disposed of, waste represents no or minimal danger of contagion, being completely covered or sealed or treated with chemicals that mitigate the threat of cross-contamination as it breaks down.

Waste storage is an intermediate or temporary step when getting rid of waste. While waste might be allowed to accumulate in a storage solution, it is not truly dealt with, and the storage solution must be emptied more or less often to dispose of the waste.

Whereas a proper waste disposal site can be the first and final stop for human waste, a waste storage site is only ever temporary.

We’ll talk more about both of these components below. Other concepts you’ll need to familiarize yourself with include sanitation supplies as well as indoor and outdoor options for disposal and storage.

Concerning the supplies you’ll need to take care of business you should invest in the following, both for taking care of the aftermath and washing your hands:

Toilet paper is one of those things you really don’t want to be forced to improvise in a survival situation. It is not that difficult to improvise, but the efficacy of anything you’ll be able to come up with pales in comparison, not to mention comfort, to the real thing.

There is nothing for it: make sure you stock up on a bunch for your survival stash, and know some of the plants that grow in your area that can replace it.

Baby wipes are a close relative to toilet paper when it comes time to go number two, and will help keep you cleaner than you could be using toilet paper alone. They are also very handy for interim bathing, able to give you a touch up clean on troublesome parts of your body.

Through bad luck, lack of preparation, or just an extremely long-term survival scenario, you have run out of toilet paper and now you must improvise.

There are all kinds of things you can use to wipe your behind with, including pages torn from books or newspapers, old (clean) rags or swatches of t-shirt cut for the purpose, and even leaves from plants, though you must be triple sure you are not wiping with anything that is irritating or poisonous.

Common hardware store 5-gallon paint buckets, the kind that features an equally sturdy, gasketed lid for sealing the contents are absolutely invaluable in a survival situation when used as an improvised toilet or waste storage container.

These have the strength needed to hold up to repeated use and the lid will cut down on disastrous accidents when moving the contents around, not to mention help keep the smell at bay. Get several. Don’t forget the lids.

Ultra-heavy duty can liners are useful for waste storage and compartmentalization. They can help keep an improvised toilet cleaner by allowing you to remove the interior and the waste in one fell swoop before neatly tying it off.

Please listen to me when I implore you to buy the strongest, toughest can liners that you can afford; one rip, one hole and you’ll be dealing with a calamitous mess.

Absorbent media is very helpful when improvising a waste disposal solution. Anything that will absorb moisture and help control odor or provide a barrier between you, and solid waste is a good idea.

Standout recommendations are kitty litter, sawdust, granulated clay pellets, shredded newspaper and sand.

You’ll be thoroughly sanitizing yourself, your equipment, and all nearby surfaces regularly during a time like this if you are wise.

When it comes to sheer germ killing power, bleach is an excellent option- even if it is hell on your clothing! It also makes a good hand wash when thinned a little bit with water.

Other disinfectants are fine, including hand sanitizer, though if you’re going to use anything else on your skin, make sure you double check it for potential health effects.

It is hard to beat good, old fashioned soap when it is time to wash your hands. At least it is so long as you have access to plentiful water. You can use whatever kind of soap makes sense to you and your situation; just make sure you have some on hand.

The situation outside might be dangerous or the weather just too freaking harsh to make doing your “business” outside plausible. Whatever the case, you’ll have to take care of things indoors like you normally do, only now the stakes will be somewhat higher.

Good options are comparatively few compared to outdoor options, but are still reliable and adaptable. The key difference is that most of your indoor improvised toilet solutions will boil down to storage versus proper disposal.

Now, if you have read this far it is so you can get the straight dope on innovative, improvised waste disposal solutions when it is time to do your business, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this nifty trick.

As alluded to above, it is far from out of the question that your existing water and sewer service will be knocked offline during any major disaster scenario.

However, it is also possible that your sewer or septic lines could still be intact and functional, but your toilet is just not receiving the water that it needs to flush.

In this case, all you will need to do is manually charge the toilet with water from any source before going to the bathroom as normal, and then flush. So long as you have loaded the usual amount of water the toilet requires, it will flush with no problems.

Warning: you should be at least reasonably sure that your septic or local sewer pipes are not damaged or otherwise out of operation or you’ll be making a bad situation worse.

If you are able to make use of this technique that will obviously be a big comfort for everyone involved and also highly sanitary, but it does require access to great quantities of water, quantities that might not be endless or replaceable.

Water might be better used for something else, so make sure you take careful stock of your access or existing water supply before employing this trick.

The bucket toilet is a well-known, sturdy and effective solution that will make management and disposal of solid and liquid waste far easier than using some other kind of container.

The setup is simple. All you need to do is line the bucket, preferably, with a heavy duty can liner or thick plastic sheeting lacking that before sprinkling some absorbent media at the bottom.

As mentioned above this could be anything from kitty litter or sawdust to wood ash, newspaper or even chemical toilet agent.

To do your business, all you’ll need to do is fashion a seat. If you are lucky, this will be a purpose made snap-on toilet seat or one jury-rigged from an existing toilet seat.

Lacking this, don’t worry, because you can use a couple of planks of wood carefully positioned to form a functional seat. Simply sit down and do your business as usual.

Once you have done the deed, all you need to do is spray a little bit of disinfectant on your leavings and then sprinkle more absorbent media on top. This will extend the time between bag changes.

Speaking of bag changes, do not try to stretch your bag budget by allowing the container to become too full for comfort! As mentioned above, this is more of a storage solution that will need to be regularly disposed of or otherwise emptied.

If you are fortunate enough to only experience a short-term scenario, you can throw out the bags with your normal garbage when it resumes.

You might say that using the “bathroom” outdoors has been the standard when it comes to doing the deed infinitely longer than indoor plumbing has even been a thing.

The good thing about doing your business outside is that you can generally take care of disposal in one shot with no or minimal need for any follow-up activity.

There are several important considerations though and you shouldn’t go pooping or peeing just wherever you feel like it- especially in the long term!

Human waste is notorious for contaminating above and below ground water supplies due to runoff or ground saturation. Ponds, lakes, springs, rivers, creeks and aquifers can all be vulnerable to contamination from feces under the right circumstances. For this reason you must locate your outdoor toilet with care and due diligence, using guidelines provided below.

But the good news is that, so long as the ground is workable, you can use a digging tool to easily produce a functional and mostly sanitary outdoor toilet using nothing more than a little effort.

Consider the following factors when locating your outdoor toilet, and use extreme care if you are anywhere near a known water source:

Drainage. Remember that anything you put in the ground might not stay where it is, and any germs that it contains can be carried far from the site of its leaving by rainwater, flooding and other sources.

This runoff can sometimes travel a considerable distance to contaminate otherwise safe or at least safer sources of water. For this reason, you must locate any outdoor toilet site with an eye for drainage, and minimizing the potential harm that could result.

Depth. You’re aiming for a depth of at least a foot for any outdoor toilet, and more is generally better especially when it comes time to bury it as you don’t want animals digging it up.

Soil hardness and soil condition in your area will largely dictate what is achievable and how much effort this will require.

With those concepts in mind we will move on to explore the two primary varieties of outdoor toilet.

The trench or pit toilet is exactly what it sounds like: a large hole or trench in the ground that can accommodate a substantial amount of waste, suitable for a small to medium-sized group or a typical family.

You’re going to have to work hard to dig a hole this size but it is definitely a project you should complete as quickly as possible, especially when you are facing down a long- or indefinite-term survival situation with no working sewer. These can also form the basis for a proper outhouse should it come down to it.

A typical pit or trench toilet will vary in size depending on the configuration, with pit toilets usually beginning at about a foot wide and a couple of feet deep whereas trench toilets, as you would expect, are longer and narrower, usually a foot to a foot and a half deep, and around three or four feet long.

Using the trench or pit toilet is quite simple, as all you have to do is squat over the edge or straddle it, and relieve yourself, easy-peasy.

But depending on the physical constitution of members of your group, you can improve comfort and ease of use by adding posts, rails or even a sturdy rope tied around a nearby tree in order to afford a better security, balance and, just as important, a cheap insurance policy against falling into a used trench!

AKA the “cat hole”, for its obvious resemblance to the crater dug by cats prior to their deeds. All you need to do is dig a small hole, about the diameter of a large orange or grapefruit and about a foot deep. This can accommodate an adult for several visits.

Squat, deposit your leavings, cover it when you are done, finished. Despite its hasty nature note that you should take care to locate it according to the standards laid out above.

This concludes the section on fashioning an improvised toilet when your typical porcelain toilet is down for the count. Now, how do you take care of your typical post visit routine in the aftermath of a major disaster?

There are no great secrets or forbidden techniques that I’m going to share with you here about washing your hands. You’re just… washing your hands, just like every other day you have ever washed your hands.

The only major difference is that it is likely to not be nearly as convenient as it is most days, and failing to do a good job of it could have lethal implications should you get sick.

One of the biggest considerations that will impact your hand washing routine is what you have to wash your hands with. Water is precious in almost every survival scenario, especially pure water that is ideal for drinking.

If you don’t have access to an extremely large source of water, or are otherwise able to make efficient use of what water you do have, you might not want to use the old soap-and-water washing routine unless you have no choice.

In situations like this, hand sanitizer is a lifesaver. Hand sanitizer is portable, long lasting, and thoroughly effective as long as you are diligent. You might also employ chlorine bleach as mentioned above, but you’ll need to dilute the bleach to a 6 to 7% solution for safety sake.

Don’t worry, as this is still more than strong enough to nuke any germs that might be hiding on your skin. If you do rely on the bleach method, remember that if you cannot smell the bleach, the bleach isn’t working anymore. Then you’ll know it is time to refresh your solution!

Again, regarding procedures there are no surprises. You should wash from just above the wrists all the way down to and beneath your fingernails. Use the tips of your fingers to thoroughly scrub and rinse between each finger, in the creases of the palm and under your fingernails.

Once you are done, rinse your hands with fresh water if you are able, or just towel off. If you use a reusable cloth or towel, make sure you clean or change it regularly to prevent cross-contamination!

Human waste is probably the nastiest thing you’ll have to deal with when taking care of your emergency sanitation concerns, but it is not the only thing.

Food scraps, used hygiene products, dirty bandages and more are all significantly hazardous items you need to get rid of. These trash piles are another thing that is greatly beloved by pests, so you want to keep a lid on it, literally.

And, though it sure would be nice if your trash service kept on running through thick and thin when the world was ending we definitely can’t count on something so fanciful. As you are probably thinking, there’s nothing to do but deal with it ourselves.

Thankfully you have a couple of options, though which ones will be best for you are dependent upon the quantity of trash you are generating, what kind of trash and other cohabitation considerations like proximity to neighbors and so forth:

Yep, just dump it. Anywhere but here, am I right? Though open air dumps are mercifully (mostly) a thing of the past, you probably aren’t going to have much choice in the matter during a long-term survival situation unless you have access to operational heavy earth-moving equipment so you can landfill your garbage.

Somewhere near where you live there is probably a site that is remote enough, isolated enough, and hopefully blocked well enough from casual observation where you can take your trash on a weekly or bi-weekly run.

No, it is not the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of garbage, and it is definitely not aesthetically pleasing, but it might yet remain an absolute necessity.

One chronically overlooked method of waste disposal that actually provides a genuine return on your efforts is composting.

This only works with organic trash, naturally, but for things like kitchen waste, leftovers and other biological matter you can simply add it to an existing compost pile before moistening it and turning it over a few times.

Microorganisms and insects will hungrily break down this matter in a safe and minimally offensive manner, and the end result is glorious, rich compost that you can use to feed plants in your garden or field.

Even if you aren’t the “green thumb” type, consider that quality compost might be useful trading fodder in a survival situation.

Burning garbage is probably the last thing you should do for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that it is highly visible while burning, and it also generates a considerable amount of noxious, black smoke depending on what materials are aflame.

That being said, for small quantities of certain types of garbage, burning does make a lot of sense, and has been used historically for a very long time as a method of garbage disposal.

First, germs cannot survive high heat to say nothing of open, roaring flames, so if you are particularly worried about biohazards coming back to haunt you, light them up.

Also, some kinds of trash, namely paper and cardboard products, scrap wood and so forth can be burned comparatively cleanly for heat in a pinch.

The topic of dealing with dead bodies is an uncomfortable and unpleasant one when it comes to survival situations. Unfortunately, it is greatly complicated by the strong opinions that are typically held on the matter, as well as a great deal of ignorance and misinformation.

None of this will make a task that is grueling both physically and emotionally any easier. I will do my part to ease this burden and perhaps alleviate some mental strain in this section.

First, bottom line upfront: Dead bodies are not the ticking time bomb biohazard that most of us have been led to believe. Antiquated knowledge and personal custom on the matter informs most of these choices, not facts and reality.

While it is true that a decomposing body smells absolutely hideous and is emotionally damaging to look at they do not form a grave threat of disease by themselves or a vector for disease unless the person perished from disease or harbored a significant communicable disease already.

What does this mean to us? It means that we need not go crazy if we are forced to handle dead bodies in order to dispose of them. Wearing gloves and a face mask will be more than adequate to protect you from any pathogens the body might be harboring.

Obviously, if a body is already substantially decomposing when we are forced to deal with it, additional protective measures to keep fluids and other substances off of our bodies and our clothing are worthwhile.

For this reason it is often better to conduct what rites and burial rituals a group or family prefers in order to obtain closure and peace of mind versus taking any extraordinary measures that could be seen as disrespectful to the dead.

Immolation and soaking with disinfectant are two commonly reported user-improvised solutions for dealing with dead bodies that are typically employed due to ignorance, ignorance that leads to fear of pestilence. Neither will make you safer nor improve the situation!

Sanitation, or rather the lack thereof, is one of the statistically greatest threats to any group in a long-term survival situation.

A lack of water suitable for personal hygiene combined with improper storage or disposal of human waste, garbage and dead bodies can result in an outbreak of disease that can level an otherwise well prepared group.

Learning proper sanitation protocols is not nearly as pleasant or as fun as other skill sets endemic to prepping but they are likely to be far more important across a greater domain of possible situations.

Hold your noses if you have to, but study up and get prepared for this eventuality!

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They Really Are More Afraid of You

They Really Are More Afraid of You

Pretty much anywhere you live in the world you can be assured you’ll eventually run into a snake in your travels. These slithering, cold blooded reptiles give many people the willies and often inspire panic.

Though the vast majority of snakes are not venomous and nearly harmless to people a close encounter with a venomous snake can turn into a life-threatening altercation, and even a bite from a non-venomous snake can have serious consequences. Do you know how to handle one of these close encounters?

What should you do if you run into a snake? In virtually every circumstance your best course of action is just to back away smoothly, but quickly. Never try to handle a snake, and only if the snake presents a definite impediment to movement or an ongoing threat should you attempt to move it out of the way, or dispatch it.

Whether you live in a snake-populated area, and have to deal with them on your homestead or just anticipate running into them regularly in your travels on the trail, you need to have a plan for dealing with snakes. There is quite a bit more to consider, and we will get into it throughout the rest of this article.

It is clichéd advice, but snakes are almost invariably more afraid of you than you are of them, even if you are seriously snake-phobic!

Smaller creatures, including reptiles like snakes, always have to be cautious that they are not trod upon by larger mammals and that includes humans. The typical behavior of a snake that is threatened or fears being stepped on is to scoot out of the way.

Unless you corner the snake or are dealing with a particularly aggressive snake (either through temperament or some other instinct of self-preservation), you will rarely have to worry about a showdown with one of these creatures.

This is good news because interacting with any snake, even when you think you have positively identified, entails some significant risks.

Should you spot a snake in your way or happen upon one suddenly, you don’t need to scream, shout, and lose your wits. Simply back up away from the snake smoothly but quickly and, as the distance increases, so too does safety.

Of course, to avoid a snake you must first detect it and then alter your path accordingly. This might not be the easiest thing in the world to do as many snakes blend in well to their environment, and some employ masterful camouflage that makes them virtually invisible if they aren’t moving.

You must pay attention to where you are putting your feet and what is ahead of you wherever you go if you are in snake country, especially when they are most prone to being out and about or moving.

Going through the world completely oblivious or in “condition white” is a great way to suffer an accident, including a snake bite!

You must also pay attention to where you were putting your hands, as reaching up to grab a branch or an overhead ledge could see you coming far too close to the snake, threatening it or even worse grabbing it directly in which case a bite is all that certain.

This advice is especially crucial whenever there is ground cover or other concealing factors that could help hide a snake or provide it shelter.

You can give yourself an edge if you brush up on what snakes are common in your area. Knowing quite literally what the snake looks like means you’ll be better informed on what to look for, hopefully noticing the snake before it is too late. It will also pay to bone-up on their habits, typical behavior and where encounters are most likely.

For instance if you live in an area where copperheads are common, you’ll know that they are extraordinarily well camouflaged and extremely difficult to detect among the detritus common on forest floors.

To make matters even worse, you would also know that copperheads are notorious for remaining perfectly still and motionless when they feel threatened, this being their primary defensive behavior: simply avoiding notice.

That definitely wouldn’t help you avoid a copperhead for obvious reasons but it would inform you that you need to be especially on alert in copperhead country. Consider also the preponderance of rattlesnakes on the North American continent.

Mature rattlesnakes are generally quite likely to issue their infamous warning “buzz” when they feel threatened, and this auditory signal is intended to help you notice and locate the snake, and then go the other way. Unfortunately, this warning buzz is not guaranteed, so don’t get lazy.

All snakes are cold blooded, and this means they are overwhelmingly dependent upon the climate to regulate their body temperature. Snakes will become more active when the weather is warmer and less active when it is cooler, and clear or partly cloudy weather will see the snakes move more often in order to catch some rays or get into the shade depending on what they require.

Also the season and time of day plays a significant part in a snake’s activity level, with many snakes being more active at dawn or dusk because that is when they’re typical prey items are more active.

You can also depend on running into more snakes in the early days of spring since they will be shaking off the winter chill and on the move more regularly.

Unless you live in a part of the world that simply does not have any snakes, places which are notably few and far between, you can never completely let your guard down.

But you can use your knowledge of endemic snake species along with an informed opinion of their activity levels based on local conditions to drastically decrease your chances of a bad run-in with them.

Despite your best efforts to avoid it, or perhaps because of the snake’s location, you now have no choice but to get rid of it one way or the other.

Maybe it is in the middle of a tight and impassable trail that you cannot detour around, and you certainly cannot risk stepping over it. Perhaps it is too close to the house and is a known venomous or otherwise dangerous snake that could endanger children or pets. What should you do?

If you are in a nature setting such as near your campsite or on the hiking trail one good option is to use a long trekking pole, walking stick or a sturdy branch to gently prod the snake in to hopefully vacating its resting place.

As mentioned above, most snakes are not looking for trouble and are definitely afraid of humans, so with a little luck they will just take off into the underbrush.

If the snake is near your home or some other settlement and you need it gone, permanently, your best bet is to call wildlife management or a conservationist that will come and collect the snake to relocate it but, more importantly, get it out of your hair.

Even dangerous snakes are vital parts of the ecosystem and you should take some pains to avoid killing them if possible.

However, if that strategy is not an option for you, or there is simply no time to waste, you’ll need to dispatch the snake.

Snakes are not tough opponents, but can be tricky to deal with due to the necessity of getting close to them in order to strike them with a melee weapon, or the necessity of actually hitting them with a firearm. They are definitely small targets, and most people are not good shots.

A great option for dealing with snakes is a shotgun loaded with birdshot from a modest distance, since these loads will greatly increase your chances of hitting it and the dense pattern of small shot is likely to completely obliterate the snake.

With any other firearm stand back, take careful aim and try to hit the snake in the head. Lacking a gun, you may use any long-handled garden tool with an edge or blade on it, and an effort to decapitate the snake.

Use maximum caution, and understand that even the snake’s severed head may still envenomate you with a bite!

So you might be deathly afraid of snakes and fear such an encounter, a run-in with a snake is usually nothing to worry about.

Most snakes will actively try to avoid you and assuming they don’t it is easy enough for you to avoid them, so long as you watch where you are putting your feet and hands.

You’ll need to take care if you’re in any place where snakes are common, and especially be vigilant when the season or weather makes it likely that snakes will be on the move.

Then you’re gonna love my free PDF, 20 common survival items, 20 uncommon survival uses for each. That’s 400 total uses for these dirt-cheap little items!

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As terrified as I am of them, I am ALWAYS on the lookout for them when I’m out in the Georgia sunshine. Saying that, I’d probably keel over from a heart attack if one ever came at me. 😳😳😳

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1. Pencil Sharpener

1. Pencil Sharpener

Most preppers who have spent any amount of time amassing the skills and gear they will need to take on a survival situation, or tackle apocalyptic conditions are familiar with the bread-and-butter items needed for the task: Food, tent, water filter, bush knife, etc.

These are the items that most typically think of when considering gear that might save the day. But there is a humbler class of survival gear that could wind up being just as important, one most people would never consider their use in a survival context.

Some common items and even things that you would throw away as trash might turn into vital survival tools in the right circumstances.

Some of these quirky and characterful items have uses beyond their intended purpose, where others can be improvisationally utilized when purpose-made gear is not available, lost or worn out. Regardless, these surprisingly useful items deserve a place in your kit.

Below you will find a list of 20 quirky survival items that just might save your life when the chips are down and many of them can be used in ways that you would least expect.

You don’t have to include every single one of these in your kit, but you should definitely learn how to employ all of them. We will get into the list just below.

The humble pencil sharpener is a surprisingly useful survival tool in certain contexts. You can employ a pencil sharpener with dowel rods, thin branches or twigs and even, believe it or not, pencils to produce sharpened points on a variety of wooden objects, and even some others.

The usefulness of a sharp stick is not debatable, though it might produce a few chuckles. Sometimes, a sharpened stick is just the right tool for the job!

The sharpened points produced by a pencil sharpener are useful in all kinds of constructions, from trap triggers and fishing hooks the weapons like spears, gigs and arrows.

You can even use a sharpened stick as a stake for secure lashing points and other constructions. As the cherry on top, the thin paper-like shavings produced by a pencil sharpener make excellent if short-lived tinder.

If you plan on adding a pencil sharpener to your kit, spring for a durable one.

Floss is obviously super useful for keeping your teeth clean and healthy, even in a long-term survival situation, aside from oral hygiene and has another survival power; flaws make some excellent and bodaciously strong cordage out of all proportion to its cost and diameter.

Floss makes an excellent lashing for a variety of applications, including securing arrow and spear heads to shafts. It also has some utility for tying off heavier loads when it is braided or employed with more secure attachment.

Floss also makes a pretty good tripwire or snare for smaller game. No care must be taken in the latter application since the captured animal can easily chew through it if able to reach it.

Floss is so compact and so lightweight there’s almost no reason why you shouldn’t have a spool or two tucked in your kit.

Might as well keep the surprising survival uses of toiletries going with toothpaste.

Just like floss, taking care of your teeth during a survival situation is just as important as everyday life, especially when living through a long-term or indefinite term event. But toothpaste is good for more than just keeping your pearly whites in tip-top shape.

Toothpaste is a mildly abrasive quality to it that makes it a surprisingly good metal polish, and you can use that polishing quality to shine yourself up a reflective signaling mirror or the bottom of an aluminum soft drink can in order to focus the sun’s rays to start a fire.

Toothpaste also works well as an improvised cleaning agent to help you remove nasty, sticky messes from your hands or your gear that can then be easily washed away with water.

Dryer lint is one of those strange survival supplies that the old-school preppers knew about, but as time goes on it seems the newer generation has either omitted it or forgotten about it entirely.

Dryer lint has no purpose for most people and is only bound for the trash can, unless someone is a weirdo who collects it! Well, call us weirdoes with them, I suppose, because you should be keeping a portion of your dryer lint, too!

Dryer lint is an excellent fire-starting material, burning very hot and quickly. You should collect and compress dryer lint so that it can fit into a small capsule for easy storage and safekeeping.

The old-fashioned film canisters were perfect for the task but you can use anything that is reasonably waterproof. All you need to do is fluff it up a little bit before putting a flame to it and it will catch fire instantly.

You might think a glass bottle has no purpose after it has been drained of its contents but you would be mistaken. A glass bottle can be put to use in several survival scenarios, not the least of which is as a ferocious impact and lacerating weapon.

No one needs any instruction on how the nasty shards resulting from a broken glass bottle can be put to gruesome use on defense or offense at close range.

Beyond that, the glass fragments that you can harvest from a glass bottle can be scattered on a hard surface to serve as a noisemaker and early warning system if trod on.

Even if they are detected by human adversary, they will have to slow down to cross them quietly or attempt to move them, buying you time. You can also bury a glass bottle that has the wide bottom knocked off facing up as an improvised pit trap for small game like mice.

You should never be too quick to pass up a source of quality metal in a survival situation, especially one where you are already very limited on what supplies and gear you have access to. The common, humble soup can or soda can is capable of being crafted into all kinds of useful devices, or repurposed for its raw material.

Soup cans and other steel cans in particular can easily be crafted into small stoves for heating and cooking, and with a little time and patience can be cut in folded into a variety of useful shapes, including weapons.

The thinner, more flexible aluminum cans may be fashioned into fishing lures, choker-style hooks, arrowheads and more.

As mentioned above, the bottoms can be polished into a type of concave lens, useful for starting a fire or even signaling. Don’t be so quick to kick the can down the road! You might be throwing away a useful resource.

And I’m not talking about useful survival manuals and other prepper-centric books either! I’m talking about any other kind of book, new or old, soft cover or hardback, big or small. You can repurpose books for all kinds of surprising and interesting survival uses.

One of my favorite techniques is to create a book safe out of it, a compartment able to hide valuables or sensitive materials in plain sight.

Another use that might become very important indeed, especially during a pandemic, is the tearing out of their pages to use as toilet paper. Simply crumple and uncrumple the page a few times to soften it, and you’ll be ready to go, literally.

That same paper also works well as an aid to fire starting and if you care to stack or arrange multiple books in a row they even make surprisingly decent improvised armor against gunfire. A bookcase full of old books at a strategic chokepoint in your home can shield you from bullets!

You might consider adding mouse traps to your survival stockpile, and not just for keeping pests away from your stash and your shelter although they will do that with chilling efficiency.

The mechanism of a mousetrap is, by design, an extremely efficient and sensitive trigger that you can repurpose for other traps of various purposes, with one of my personal favorites being setting up a snap light on the bed of the trap and stringing it with a tripwire in a visible place.

If a person, or large animal, hits the tripwire it will activate the trap cracking and illuminating the snap light.

Also one should not forget that mice and other rodents are a common and undervalued source of animal protein for food during survival situations.

Consider that you can bait and set a flotilla of mouse traps for far less energy and a higher chance of return than larger traps for bigger game. You might be better off pursuing the “quick nickel” school of trapping for calories.

There are few preppers who undervalue the usefulness of writing utensils in a survival situation, since you will be scribbling down notes, vital information, sketching maps and so much more.

But what preppers do underestimate is the necessity perhaps of leaving messages on natural materials or improvised writing services. This is where chalk comes in handy.

Everybody used chalk at some point in their childhood, either in school or out; doodling on the sidewalk, solving a problem or completing an exercise on a blackboard and more.

You can do much the same with chalk in a survival situation and though it is far from the most permanent form of marking it is much faster than etching or engraving.

You can also rest easy knowing that your message or markings will eventually disappear entirely from exposure to water and wind. Chalk can also be ground to act as a desiccant and sprinkled upon a flat surface to provide a visual indication of the passage of people or small critters.

Pantyhose are a truly strange item for survival, but despite what misgivings you might have the material they are made from is uniquely capable of certain tasks.

First and foremost, the ultra-fine elastic mesh the pantyhose are made from makes it a great option for pre-filtering water, or even incorporating a second- or final-stage filter in an improvised water purification setup.

Second, it makes a great insect or fishnet. Pantyhose also have some utility, if you can take the time to fashion several together, as a mosquito mesh or netting that is capable of blocking even the smallest insects like noseeums.

Lastly, pantyhose are surprisingly adept at preventing blisters, and if you are worried about blistering your feet during some particularly hard work or hard tracking ahead as you should be you can slip on a pair under your socks to give your feet a little extra protection and earn yourself some better mileage.

Remember: Laugh all you want, but blisters can be show stoppers, something you can ill-afford during a real survival scenario!

Steel wool is a handy if unconventional survival item for preppers. It can of course be used for its typical purpose of removing rust, buildup another unwanted deposits from metals of all kinds, but it also makes a wickedly good fire starter in conjunction with a 9 volt or AA battery.

All that you need to do is take your steel wool, roll it up into a rough tube shape, and then pull out and tease the ends of the roll into a thin tapering section on either side.

Get your firewood ready and your tinder in place, then cautiously touch one end of the steel wool to the negative terminal on the battery and the other to the positive terminal.

In no time you will see segments of the steel wool glowing like a hot coal, more than hot enough to get your tinder going even in unpleasant conditions.

This is often far faster and more reliable than trying to utilize any primitive method of fire starting, so remember to make use of this if you have much in the way of junk but little in the way of proper survival gear!

Snare wire is another good addition to your survival toolbox for its intended purpose, catching small and medium-sized critters, but also for its additional uses as high-strength cordage that will resist abrasion and even use as a tripwire for early warning systems.

Snare wire works beautifully for lashing arrowheads or spearheads to their shafts, and so long as you have a blade capable of cutting with it you can work with it with little difficulty.

Cutting snare wire is one application where having wire cutters on your multi-tool or built into your knife sheath will definitely pay off. This will save the primary blade from a little bit of abuse.

Zip ties are a useful lashing component that no prepper should go without. They are fast and effective for securing all kinds of things to something else, creating quick loops for routing or hanging cordage, securing a bundle of like sized items, making hasty attachment points on gear and more.

These work beautifully for securing trap components or creating temporary hold-downs that will show evidence of tampering or passage if broken or forced. You can even use the tapered end of a small zip tie as an effective handcuff shim.

The largest varieties can also help in creating temporary splints for broken bones when used cautiously. As an attachment point that is fast and truly secure for light and medium-duty applications zip ties cannot be beat, and you would be wise to include a variety of sizes in your survival kit.

It stands to reason that quite a few of us will want a smoke to help calm our nerves during the stressful business of survival, but aside from giving you some perk and soothing your nerves, cigarettes have other survival uses.

For one, they make excellent bartering fodder, especially for people who are not getting their nicotine fix under the circumstances and tobacco, even processed tobacco, has mild analgesic properties that could come in handy if you are lacking in proper medical supplies.

Also, don’t forget that pretty much the entirety of a cigarette is designed to burn steadily, and they make a halfway decent fire starter especially when you need one that burns a little bit slower.

Also, despite the health hazards of long term use nicotine is a noted mental stimulant, and if you need some serious pick-me-up for a grueling task or a long march ahead, smoking a cigarette is one way to give yourself a little pep, and still good as a social bonding activity despite the negative connotations.

Liquor is another vice that you probably don’t want to be imbibing on the regular during a survival situation no matter how bad the outlook is. You will be at your best when you are sharp and sober, but that doesn’t mean liquor doesn’t belong in your survival stash.

Very much like cigarettes, high-proof liquors are excellent trade materials because there will be plenty of people looking to numb the pain of the trials and travails they are currently going through.

And now as in years passed, liquors also have some utility as disinfectants, and can be used for everything from rinsing an open wound in a pinch to clearing nasty germs and other mild infections from your feet.

Also, not for nothing, anytime alcohol has a proof of 80 or above, it can be expected to reliably ignite, with anything over 100 proof burning very well. Remember: Most alcohol will burn with a blue flame, and some even burn almost invisibly so remember that if it appears like your alcohol failed to light.

Safety pins are another innocuous item that seems to be beneath notice for serious survival purposes, but they nonetheless can do the job in a pinch. The spring steel that safety pins are fashioned from works excellently as fishing hooks and with a little shaping as suturing needles.

A handful of safety pins can easily be attached to a sturdy stick for use as a gig or arrowheads for birds and small game. Safety pins can also be fashioned into a variety of trap components like toggles if the situation calls for it.

Also don’t forget the utility of safety pins for attaching things to other things, particularly fabric. Safety pins work great for temporary repairs of busted zippers and buttons, and can be used in a series to hold a gash in fabric together.

Safety pins are commonly used for attaching casualty reports, or other important medical information to victims or patients who cannot communicate on their own behalf or reliably.

Sometimes the most reliable form of communication for the situation at hand will be a written note pinned to something visible.

Tampons are another uniquely capable survival tool but not for the reasons you are thinking. Old, Fuddian prepper lore tells us that tampons work great as a tool for treating gunshot wounds, but this is far from the truth as there is no way a tampon can deal with the hemorrhage produced by a gunshot wound.

But what tampons can do is work as a rudimentary filter straw for drinking from found water sources, keeping the larger and nastier particles out of the water you are drinking.

If you don’t need a tampon for water filtration, the cotton wadding found inside is highly dense, fibrous and burns readily, making it a useful bit of tinder.

The plastic hole of the tampon also has a variety of uses in improvised construction. Don’t forget that you can always use tampons as trading fodder during a long-term grid down situation, as most women will not be willing to go without.

Common cork, be it from a wine bottle or cork paneling, has a variety of uses for the savvy survivor. Cork makes a great fishing bobber, so including a wine cork with your survival fishing kit is a great idea.

Cork is also excellent for dampening sound and you can use it to line the inside of noisy containers to reduce your sound signature when traveling with your BOB.

Lastly, cork paneling is easy to puncture (as you probably know), and it is an easy thing to incorporate a panel of cork with foliage and other detritus in the local area to make a sort of camouflage trapdoor over a hide or a trap.

It is not ideal, but cork soaked in any flammable liquid can be easily lit and will burn steadily for some time, making this a great aid for getting a stubborn fire going.

Never leave home without your prophylactic! You never know when you might need a condom, but hopefully you aren’t worried about random hookups in the middle of a major SHTF situation.

Despite this, a condom can save you a lot of grief all the same. Condoms made from latex and other synthetics are incredibly stretchy and can actually make effective if fragile water bladders so long as they are not treated with spermicide.

You can also use a condom to replace a lost cap on a bottle or jug that can serve as an improvised canteen, and they also work wonders for covering the muzzles of long guns to prevent the infiltration of rain, mud and sand.

Garbage bags are a prepping superstar if you are surviving on a budget or just about all out of supplies.

Common garbage bags and especially the heavy-duty can liner-type will take care of all kinds of survival tasks, including water collection, shelter creation, ground cover, being fashioned into a poncho and even made into a sleeping bag.

The latter is a trick that the homeless living in many cold climates are well acquainted with. If you take two large can liner style trash bags, cut the bottom out of one before taping them together into one large bag, and in stuffing the interior with newspaper you will have a surprisingly effective sleeping bag that will keep out moisture and cold.

Combined with some appropriate cold weather clothing, this might keep you alive when everything else fails. Don’t go anywhere without a couple of trash bags in your kit, and remember that so long as you have a roll of these useful bags you can do all sorts of things!

Survival is a risky endeavor, one that is best approached with the right gear and supplies in hand. But sometimes, through accident or just plain bad luck, you won’t have the right gear or you’ll lose or run out of it.

This is where repurposed or discarded items can save the day if you can supply a little ingenuity. Take the time to review this list, and commit these items to memory so you can have a good “Plan B” when you need it!

Then you’re gonna love my free PDF, 20 common survival items, 20 uncommon survival uses for each. That’s 400 total uses for these dirt-cheap little items!

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HAW – How You Homestead

HAW – How You Homestead

Raising cows as part of your survival plan is not for every prepper – I feel the need to just throw that out there right off the bat. Keeping cattle is an excellent idea for some survival homesteaders, but will prove disastrous for others.

Cows are arguably harder to raise than poultry birds, but they do have their advantages for the serious homesteader and farmer – and can be a valuable asset in a long-term survival scenario.

Preppers must first evaluate the “HAW” of your self-reliance operation before seriously considering cows as part of your survival plan.

H = How You Homestead – Can you butcher a large animal on-site by yourself (or with members of your family and survival tribe), and are you able to properly process and store that much meat – even in an off grid situation?

A = Acreage – How much acreage your survival homestead encompasses make a massive amount of difference when contemplating keeping cattle on a prepper retreat.

These large animals need to eat, not just graze during warm weather months, but also when there is four inches of snow on the ground.

To sustainably keep cattle, even miniature breeds like Dexters, you need enough acreage for both grazing pastures and hayfields.

In addition to needing enough acreage dedicated for cattle use, you must also have the hay baling equipment and help necessary to harvest the food source for winter months.

Not only do you need the equipment, but the fuel to put in tractors to operate it – or horses-drawn hay baling equipment, which once again leads us back to the acreage issue because those horses will need to eat too.

W = Where You Homestead – If you homestead in an urban area, keeping cows as part of your survival plan is definitely out. Suburban survival homesteaders are increasingly adding livestock to their bug in plans, as well.

Keeping a miniature dairy cow on a 3-acre suburban homestead may sound like an enticing idea, but you also need space to store enough hay and grain feed to allow the cow to survive just one winter.

Cows roughly consume 2 percent of their body weight per day in hay. Mini cows weigh approximately 450 pounds… That’s a lot of hay to store on a backyard survival homestead.

The general rule of thumb related to space needed to keep miniature cattle breeds is two acres for every mini cow.

If the survival homestead is in a rural area (which is where every single prepper should live, anyway) keeping standard size or miniature cattle is by far a more feasible prospect.

But, if your prepper retreat is not secluded, keeping the cows that graze in a field near the road WILL require armed supervision 24/7 for the herd during a long-term disaster, which will surely include a breakdown of society.

Our survival retreat is located on 56 secluded acres in a rural area – we are perfect candidates to keep cows as part of our survival plan.

The cattle can be kept far from view, which mutes any noise or smells they create, be wintered over as many years as needed and still be fed, and can water securely from two different natural water sources that are also far away from anyone’s view.

You don’t necessarily need this much land to sustainably keep a few head of cattle, but these types of feed, water, and seclusion attributes must be present on your homestead to successfully raise cows.

Unless you are going to keep beef cattle only until disaster strikes, quickly butcher them and put up the meat, you could get by with a less favorable HAW set up.

But, if the cows were positioned in a visible place, like a rural survival homestead near a road or in a suburban backyard, odds are neighbors and motorists will remember there used to be beef on a hoof in that field and may try to take the food from you at gunpoint.

There are many, many benefits of keeping cows as part of your survival plan. But, only if you have the space, equipment, and seclusion to raise them as covertly as possible, keep them alive when the SHTF, as well as process and store the beef so it remains safe for human consumption.

Preppers who live in a rural area should be able to keep any type and number of cows on their land as they want – but not always. Some local laws or deed restrictions could throw a massive wrench in the raising cows as part of a survival plan efforts.

While extremely unusual, even some rural acreage deeds could restrict the type or number of livestock that can be raised on the land.

Before investing hundreds to thousands of dollars buying cows and preparing for their upkeep, always read every single word on the property deed and review local ordinances pertaining to both residential and on-site commercial livestock keeping.

If there are restrictions on keeping cattle in a rural area they are most likely to involve:

Suburban preppers who want to keep cows may be legally allowed to keep one or several cows – though likely of a miniature breed only.

If the suburban retreat is located in a right to farm state, the odds of being able to lawfully keep such large livestock tends to be higher.

As noted above, a miniature cow can be kept on just a few acres of grazing space during the warm weather months. A standard-sized cow should have at least one and a half to two acres of grazing space to feed it entirely from the growing hay or grass in the field.

The land the cattle are kept on does not need to be a flat pasture area. Cows will go most places that horses will venture into, as well.

On a wooded or partially wooded survival retreat, even slightly to moderately sloped or steep terrain can be cleared to make a grazing area for the cows.

Cutting out trees, removing stumps, ripping out briars and then tilling the ground before planting quality livestock grass or hay seed will help you create a grazing space to feed the herd of survival cows.

This is, however, not an overnight process. Expect it to take up to 24 months to clear the land and cultivate a grazing area.

Once you have made the decision to include cows in your survival food security plan, you need to get an accurate idea of how much keeping just one cow – be it a beef or a dairy breed, is going to cost.

A mature standard size cow can drink roughly 1 gallon of water per 100 pounds of body weight during winter months. That daily intake amount doubles during warm months.

A lactating heifer will almost always require two gallons of water per 100 pounds of body weight.

If you do not have at least one natural water source that can accommodate the water needs of your survival herd, your water or electric bill if you have a well, will increase substantially.

If the natural water source is a pond, ice may need to be manually broken during the winter months to ensure the herd has continual access to it.

If the cows cannot live entirely on the pasture you possess or the hay you either bale or stockpile, grain feed will need to be added to their diet.

A 50-pound bag of the cheapest all stock sweet mix feed runs roughly $8.50 per bag. A 50-pound bag of cracked corn is typically less expensive and runs between $3.50 to $6 per bag.

A standard-sized cow that weighs at least 700 pounds should be provided a feed ration that contains 11 percent crude protein and roughage from hay.

Feeding grain is not required, and is often recommended against due to the possibility for the grain to gather in the animals’ intestines since they don’t possess the necessary enzymes to digest starch.

A diet that involves too often or too high of a grain ration can speak a Clostridium perfringens overgrowth. This bacteria can cause sudden death in bovine, and may be more common in feedlot cattle.

Mature cows consume 2 percent of their body weight daily – that’s about 24 pounds of dry matter for the average cow.

Pregnant and lactating cows of course, consume more food on a daily basis. It takes roughly six round bales of hay to feed a cow over the winter if its feed is not supplement with a grain ration.

Learning how to treat or prevent common cow illnesses and injuries yourself – and especially how to use natural remedy ingredients you can grow yourself, will not only cut down on medical and health expenses, but better ensure your cattle herd can be cared for after a SHTF event, when calling a vet is no longer possible.

Many of the vaccines that are recommended for cattle are sold over the counter at agricultural supply stores like Tractor Supply and Rural King – as are the syringes and other livestock first aid items you can stockpile for use during a long-term disaster. Some of the vaccines require refrigeration, and have a shelf life of just six to 12 months.

Cows and not typically kept in stalls or necessarily in a barn, like horses. A sole or pair of dairy cows may have a stall, and get turned out everyday after milking, but beef cattle are typically provided with a run shed or a lean to in order to protect them from the elements.

A run shed is similar to a barn in construction style, but it often (at least on a residential scale) has just one large open area to run the animals in at night and then back out again in the morning so they can graze.

Cows are strong and large animals. Do not let their slow moving out in a bucolic pasture fool you – these farm beasts can run.

When panicked, a single cow or an entire herd can stampede and run as fast as they can away from what frightened them with complete reckless abandon – or a single thought about what they are trampling upon in the process.

The fencing that contains cattle must be strong; electric fencing that keeps your horses contained is not going to cut it here, folks.

Only the first cow that runs in a panic at an electrical fence will feel any pain, the rest will simply follow the herd straight through the opening into whatever lies beyond.

Wood fencing is a decent choice to contain cows, but that alone is not recommended either. Cows will push up against their fence and often use it as a scratching post – even if you provide them ample and better back scratching options.

Barbed wire is also a decent cattle fencing, but it does pose multiple potential problems, as well. First, cows can push through it when in a panic or knock it down when using it as a scratching post also.

When barbed wire snaps because it has been pushed on by livestock, or if a deer runs through it, because a tree fell on it – or a host of other reasons, cattle can become tangled in it and sustain a potentially deadly injury.

A cow that has a leg tangled in barbed wire will most often panic while trying to jerk free – sometimes causing the wire to dig more deeply into a leg or even neck.

Metal fencing options are the safest and when properly installed, the sturdiest option to contain cattle. The most common types of metal fencing for cows include woven wire, high tensile wire, and thicker and less flexible, metal cattle panels.

If you cannot afford to purchase the more expensive metal woven wire or metal cattle panels route to fortify a pasture in the safest way possible, consider using wood with strangs of electrical fencing affixed to it in a manner to deter cows from coming close enough to the pasture border to rub against it.

Regardless of the type of cattle fencing you choose to fit both your budget and terrain, wood posts and not metal “T” posts will be necessary to set the fencing no further than four feet apart – to maintain a durable and sturdy fence.

The actual cost of the various types of cattle fencing and posts will vary by location and the date that you happen to be reading this post. The sticker prices noted below are accurate for the date of publication in my region of Appalachia.

As noted above, cows come in different sizes. The type that best suits your survival food security plan needs will depend on both your level of experience as well as size and location of your prepper retreat.

Cows, unlike bulls, are generally docile in nature – but not always. I have seen aggressive cows break a keeper’s ribs and even a hip by ramming them into a fence.

Turning your back on a cow, even a sweet older dairy cow you have milked for years, is highly unwise. I have been seriously tempted to visit a buffalo farm in our county to see about buying a few heads.

Sure, they are not known to be as docile as a cow – but that’s the point. No one in our survival tribe would ever even think about letting their guard down and becoming complacent if we kept buffalo, like they have learned to regret doing around the herd of survival cows.

Before heading out to a livestock auction in search of cows for your survival plan, you need to learn the proper lingo and classification system to ensure you are buying exactly what you wanted.

Unless the cattle will be kept either for dairy purposes or only until the SHTF and then butchered, you will need to also keep a bull or bull semen for the herd to remain sustainable.

A bull is a mature intact male member of the bovine classification. His purpose is breeding only. A bull is an expensive and precious part of the cow survival plan – the herd will not have longevity without him. Eating your breeders should only be considered if the family was both literally and absolutely starting during a long-term disaster.

Bulls will hit approximately half of their mature weight by the time they are 14 months old, on average.

Just one bull, if he is of good quality, is able to bread roughly 30 calls on an annual basis.

Bulls are not kept in the same pasture as the cows. Only once about every 40 days are the bulls allowed to mingle with the ladies for breeding purposes. Overbreeding a bull can often cause not just severe medical problems for the bull or cow, but can lead to the aborting of calves by the cow, or even the death of what was once a quality breeder.

Newbie cattle ranchers are not typically equipped with the skills to work with a mature bull. Keeping a bull in a fence is also a lot more problematic than keeping a herd of heifers and calves inside a fence – which can be frustrating enough.

Buying bull semen to inseminate the heifers in your herd is an excellent alternative now, but is not sustainable in the long run.

Bull semen must be stored in liquid nitrogen to stop it from degenerating over time. Putting bull semen in a standard residential freezer would not even come close to chilling it to the minimum -112 degrees F it requires to remain stable.

When placed inside a refrigerator freezer or deep freeze, the bull semen would only remain usable for a maximum of three days.

Cattle are most often classified as being either beef or dairy breeds. While any cow, heifer, or steer can be used for meat and any bred mature female cow can be milked, some breeds are simply better at producing both quantity and quality of either staple food item.

When devising a plan to raise cows as part of your survival food security options, it may be best to purchase a dual-purpose cattle breed. Members of this classification can equally or nearly equally well produce a prime beef yield, as well as milk.

To keep a cow and calf pair that garners most of their feed from grazing, you should have three acres dedicated to the animals.

Dairy cows look a bit different than beef cattle breeds. A diary cow will often look “boney”, and possess especially large udders.

A quality dairy cow of standard size is capable of producing between three and seven gallons of milk on a daily basis.

Dairy cows are typically milked twice a day. Keeping up with this task is crucial to continue the milk flow until the cow is once again bred.

Miniature dairy cow breeds produce roughly two to four gallons of milk per day.

When in search of a top quality dairy cow that will also be used for breeding, purchase one that has a valid EPD card to reference. These livestock cards will allow you to trace the most likely traits the cow will pass onto her calves.

A dairy cows production typically peaks when it hits three to four years old.

Dairy calves are not treated the same way as beef calves on most farms or homesteads – at least when not in the midst of a SHTF situation. After the calf has nursed from its momma for three days to ensure it consumes all of the nutrient rich colostrum in the first milkings after birthing, the young animal is pulled off of the teat and bottle fed.

This process occurs to prompt early weaning so the animal can be sold or even butchered as veal, and all of the milk from the cow can be consumed or sold.

No fewer than 100 different types of medicine are harvested from cows – including both estrogen and insulin.

One 3 ounce serving of beef will give the body about 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance of selenium, zinc, protein, riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin, choline, and phosphorous.

Learning how to tan the leather from slaughtered beef cattle will give you the material to make coats, bags, satchels, equine tack, belts, and a host of other useful items.

A typical sized standard bred cow produces enough leather from its hide to make a gross of baseballs or 18 volleyballs – you might need that many sports balls during a SHTF situation, but the example gives you an easy to grasp visual of how much leather you would have to work with for more important purposes.

Leather is not the only beef by products that can be useful after slaughtering a cow or steer. Other beef by products can be used to soap, margarine, gelatin, crayons, and marshmallows. The hooves, horns, and bones from beef cattle can be used to make combs, gel capsules, and fine bone dinnerware. The hair and hide can be made into glue, paintbrushes, and insulation.

The fatty acids and fats from the harvested beef cow or steer are commonly used as active ingredients in floorwax, shaving cream, candles, insecticides, synthetic rubber, deodorant, hydraulic brake fluid, shampoo, and paint.

A dual purpose cattle breed can give you the best of both the beef cattle and dairy cow world. Dual purpose cattle breeds may not have as quick of a growth rate or produce the same level of bulk as top beef cattle breeds, but will consistently offer an above average quality of meat that is also of excellent quality.

Dual purpose breed cows will also offer more milk than a straight beef cattle breed and a quality tasting milk.

A survival homesteader that has only so much land or so much money to spend – or is limited on both, could greatly benefit from raising a dual purpose cow as part of their food security survival plan.

A dual purpose cow will offer ample milk in-between breedings, and still produce calves that will develop into quality beef producers – giving you the best of both worlds.

These types of cattle breeds will not bulk up as quickly as modern breeds, nor will they mature as quickly as common dairy breeds, but they are still very much worth considering as part of any prepper’s food security survival plan.

Heritage cattle breeds, as well as heritage breeds of all other types of livestock, tend to be more independent keepers, extremely hardy and disease resistant in their native environments, and excellent for free range grazing, foraging, or browsing.

The influx of factory farms in the United States has nearly wiped out many traditionally raised types of livestock in favor of cross-breeding to achieve the biggest bulk in the shortest amount of time.

Heritage livestock breeds are raised as naturally as possible and not injected with concoctions that intend to increase their weight or excess antibiotics.

The ability of heritage breeds to withstand severe winters or hot summers, reproduce or birth without human intervention, and thwarts parasites and bacteria can be quite advantageous on a survival homestead during a long-term disaster when calling a vet is simply not going to be a realistic option.

This breed is perhaps the best beef producer. Cows are excellent mothers, all breed members have a lot of farm sense and respond quickly when a predator is about.

Hereford cattle are also known for their longevity, which is a plus for a prepper who wants to establish quality on-site breeding operation.

This large beef cattle breed are among the most intelligent, docile, and quiet of beef producers. A prepper with a keen on on OPSEC when adding cow raising to a survival plan.

This hardy and massive dual-purpose cattle breed is used primarily for beef production today, but has traditionally been used also as dairy cows and as draught livestock.

These dairy cows all stars are known to produce up to nine gallons of milk on a daily basis. Brown Swiss dairy cows create a sweet milk that has a four percent butterfat count.

They are known to be a docile breed that is incredibly compliant even when being milked for the first time.

This miniature cattle breed is another great dual purpose option for the survival homestead.

They are docile breed that is known to be hardy in both cold and warm weather climates. The mini powerhouses can be easily trained as draught livestock to pull small carts and wagons.

You really cannot get a juicier cut of steak from any beef cow breed like you can the angus. This breed is one of the most popular beef cattle breeds not only in Texas and the United States at large, but around the world.

Even though Angus cows are cultivated for meat the vast majority of the time, the cows do generate a nice tasting milk in ample qualities, as well.

A multi-purpose cattle breed that is a steady and consistent producer of milk and meat and strong enough to even be used for agriculture drafting chores.

Cattle in this breed weigh in at up to 1,200 pounds on average. A Guernsey dairy cow is capable of routinely providing seven gallons of milk daily.

Guernsey cows are also excellent breeders, attentive bovine mommas, and throw a high average of healthy calves. The milk from these dairy cows is excellent for cheesemaking.

Cattle of this breed are known to be quite docile and fairly quiet, as well. Jersey cow milk from this breed has a deliciously high butterfat count, that makes it a poor choice for cheesemaking.

Jersey cows have been a mainstay on American family farms and homesteads since before we even became a nation.

For small acreage survival homesteaders who want a docile and reliable milker, Jersey cows and bulls also come in a miniature version, as well.

This beef cattle breed is a miniature version of the famed Angus.

Lowline Angus cows rarely ever grow taller than 42 inches – making them a superb choice for both small acreage survival homesteaders as well as those new to keeping cattle. They are substantially hot climate hardy and provide a nice taking milk too.

Cow mommas from this breed are known to be great calvers and incredibly attentive to their offspring. The milk from a Lowline Angus is quite comparable in quality to the standard size Angus breed.

There are literally hundreds to thousands illness types that could affect the survival homestead cattle herd. The ones noted below are the most common – and potentially the most deadly.

Clean living conditions, a proper diet, maintaining a de-worming routine, and shelter can go a long way in preventing many but not all, of these dangerous conditions.

Stockpiling herbal supplements and recommended vaccinations can also help keep the beef and dairy cattle healthy and producing.

This is the animal version of diarrhea. Scours can be mild and caused by nothing more than a feed change or heat, or it can be severe enough to be considered life threatening if not treated both promptly and properly.

Dehydration caused by scours that has gone undetected or untreated can cause the loss of the meat or milk producing animal in a matter of just a few days.

This is primarily a dairy cow disease that often occurs right before the cow starts the calving process. Milk Fever is a metabolic disease that is caused by a drop in blood calcium levels – hypocalcaemia.

To save a cow with this condition an IV treatment is nearly always necessary. Giving the cows calcium pills in the weeks prior to the anticipated calving can help prevent the development of milk fever.

This cattle disease is often referred to as a “silent killer.” By the time a homesteader notices a member of the cattle herd has pneumonia, it is often too late to save the animal. Signs of bovine pneumonia include a cough, runny nose, fever, and lethargy.

An antibiotic is needed to kill the bacteria that caused the pneumonia, but getting the scours that accompanies the illness under control to prevent dehydration is equally essential to a possible recovery.

Mastitis – This condition involves a swollen udder tissue and mammary gland problem. Mastitis causes the death of a copious amount of cows annually.

Treating this bovine disease also requires the administration of an antibiotic. Cows must still be milked during the illness and treatment, but the milk is not suitable for use for either humans or animals.

Hoof health is as essential to the well-being of a cow just as much as it is to a horse, and other livestock.

When the inside of the hoof or hooves becomes deteriorated due to an injury to the protective covering, a bruise, or unusual growth, it is more susceptible to hoof rot.

Signs of a potential hoof rot condition include a stubborn unwillingness to move, or limping. To treat hof to, clean the area and then dry it thoroughly.

This condition sometimes needs an antibiotic to kill or prevent infection. Keeping the ground in the cattle shelter area dry and cleaning it regularly can also help prevent hoof rot.

This is a bacterial and contagious condition in cows, just like it is in humans. A cow with pinkeye will have a cloudy look to its eye or eyes that tear up frequently.

An antibiotic will be needed to treat pink eye but a slightly warm damp cloth dabbed onto and around the eye (while wearing gloves) can soothe the pain associated with the condition and bring down the swelling.

Now that you are armed with the knowledge you need to determine if raising cows as part of your survival plan is for you, what breed or breeds might work best of your farm, and husbandry basics, it is time to focus on opening up your wallet, and buying a few heads.

The best time to buy cattle is in the fall, from a price perspective. Farmers who do not want the expense of wintering over an excess cows, heifers, or yearlings will head to the livestock auction, or otherwise post their animals for sale.

Waiting until later in the fall will garner you the best savings, but you may face a reduction in selection or quality.

Some cow breeds carry a far higher sticker price than others. If you purchase what is known as “grade cows.” Cattle of this type are not purebreds, but are often still top quality beef cattle or milkers.

Buying locally can also increase your chances of getting a good deal and a quality herd starter or new addition.

Local farmers, ranchers, and homesteaders will likely have the breeding pair on site for you to view and even breeding records you can review – do not expect to get such an extensive amount of information at a livestock auction.

Also, buying directly from a local keeper eliminates the middleman who charges the seller a fee at auction – which is then recouped in the bidding reserve price.

Ask to view a vet inspection card whether you are buying locally, from a private seller outside of your region, or at a livestock auction.

If the auction cannot provide such a document, at a minimum ask to see and review thoroughly the rules governing health checks on all livestock that are offered up for sale.

The degree of verified health information can vary greatly from auction to auction, but any reputable livestock auction house will have health guidelines all sellers must adhere to before placing a number on an animal and placing it in the lineup.

Before purchasing a cow, heifer, calf, or bull review its legs to ensure they are healthy and strong and free from hoof rot.

Lead or watch the animal walk around to ensure it does not have a limp, and that the legs are all evenly proportioned – and the back hock is just slightly recessed.

All breeds of cattle but dairy cows in particular, should have visible wide pin bones, review any animal you are thinking about purchasing for this physical characteristic.

Look at both the teats and the udders of cows – especially dairy cows. A medium size cow should have udders and teats in proportion to her size and not large ones.

Big is not always better if this part of the cow’s anatomy is out of sequence with the rest of her physical attributes. The udder should be pliable when touched by firm at the base if the ligament in the cow’s vulva area is truly healthy.

The udder should hang above the jock joints and not below it if the cow is in top physical condition.

A cow’s teats must point directly down to the ground, and not be angled if they are properly positioned and fully healthy.

The teats should also be spaced apart at even space intervals.

A cow that stands in a calm state when it is approached is a good sign the animal will be docile and compliant. You should be able to get within 36 inches of a cow even upon a first meeting, without it taking off or showing visible signs of agitation.

A cow that decides to move away from a stranger that has gotten within the 36 inch boundary should do so fairly slowly and calmly if it likely also possess a calm and easy to control demeanor.

A cow, heifer, or steer that refuses to be separated from the rest of the herd even for a few moments without becoming agitated is likely going to be difficult to work with and may have either skiddish or aggressive tendencies… or both.

Check the nose of the cow, calf, steer, heifer, or bull carefully. While a little bit of moisture inside the nostrils is not a bad thing, any animal with a snotty nose or bubbly moisture coming out of its nose could be sick – perhaps with a contagious illness.

If a heifer is between seven to 12 months old and has been around a bull, you may want to pass her by – no matter the price.

While getting a good deal on a heifer that may be in calf might sounds like a great idea, if you are new to cattle keeping and coupled with a heifer that is new to giving birth, you might be biting off more than you can chew.

It is not uncommon for heifers to have difficulty calving the first time, unless you know how and when to help her or can get a vet to the survival homestead in time, odds are you could lose both the heifer and the calf she is trying to deliver.

The coat of the animal should be smooth, even taking into account the thicker fur that comes in for the winter months.

Look the animal’s body overly entirely for signs of bald spots, places where the hair is less deep than it is elsewhere, or signs or boils. The presence of any of these issues could indicate a health issue of either small or major significance.

Raising cows as part of your survival plan may be one of the wisest prepping decisions you have ever made – but cattle husbandry is not for everyone.

For every person who starts keeping cows, who successfully raises them and enjoys the bounty of the endeavor, there is likely one person who has experienced an epic failure, and lost a lot of money in the process.

Knowing what you are getting yourself into as well as what your survival homestead, and you can handle on a daily basis no matter what the weather brings, greatly increases your chances of achieving success.

As with all types of livestock keeping, raising cows so they remain healthy and producing meat and – or milk all begins with proper husbandry tactics.

A clean and safe living space along with quality pasture areas and hay are at the foundation of creating such an environment for your cattle herd.

Learn as much as you can about not only proper husbandry practices, livestock first aid and the health needs of the animals – and then cross-train other members of your family or survival tribe so they are armed with the same knowledge and skills.

Making sure the family has meat and milk for the duration of the long-term disaster (even if you become ill, injured, or die) will require at least one other person being able to pick up where you leave off in the barnyard at a moment’s notice.

Taking care of these large animals is not a small job, nor is it one you should expect yourself or anyone else to master overnight. Practice, as they say, will make perfect.

Develop a solid husbandry routine while learning how to milk, humanely slaughter, butcher, and preserve the food you are raising to make raising cows an integral part of your food security plan.

Then you’re gonna love my free PDF, 20 common survival items, 20 uncommon survival uses for each. That’s 400 total uses for these innocent little items!

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HAW – How You Homestead

Research & References of HAW – How You Homestead|A&C Accounting And Tax Services
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Shelter is Near the Top of the Survival Needs Checklist

Shelter is Near the Top of the Survival Needs Checklist

There are many important considerations for survival, among them the need for water and food, the need for security, and certainly a need for clean oxygen. But one of the most important survival requirements is shelter.

Many survival experts, not to mention survival websites like this one, spend an inordinate amount of time preaching preparedness when it comes to providing for shelter in emergency situations.

But why is shelter so important for survival? Shelter is essential survival because exposure to the elements is one of the most dangerous and common killers outdoors. You can survive for weeks without food, days without water, but only a matter of hours when exposed to truly hostile conditions. Shelter is what will help protect you from inclement ambient conditions, and help your body thermoregulate.

There is much to consider when discussing the topic of shelter as a survival necessity, and in the remainder of this article will provide you with tips, advice and considerations on the topic.

In a survival situation, lacking any survival necessity can kill you. Going without air, without water, without food, without medicine or without security could prove fatal.

Ask anybody who is about to die from a lack of one of those things, and they will inevitably tell you the thing they are lacking is the most important survival consideration! There is some merit to this point of view, but it is not grounded in the biological reality of sustaining life.

Human beings need all kinds of things on a micro-scale to survive biologically, things like vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and the like. But we are discussing things on the macro-scale.

When considering survival priorities on the macro-scale a distinct hierarchy emerges, and this hierarchy has brutally ordered itself according to biological imperative.

The math is clear: you can survive longer, in most circumstances, going entirely without certain necessities than you can others. But be sure to put shelter at the top of any survival list you may have or make in the future.

For instance, air is absolutely the most vital consumable that we partake of every day. The vast majority of human beings can only survive a scant handful of minutes without oxygen. Going without oxygen results in unconsciousness and shortly thereafter death. In second place is shelter, the subject of this article.

Shelter is critical to provide for or assist with the body’s thermoregulation of its core temperature. Suffering from a lack of shelter is said to be suffering from exposure, and you can die from it.

Typically death from exposure is as a result of hypothermia, becoming too cold. This can happen in surprisingly warm places when a person is soaking wet, without shelter or fire, and exposed to stiff, constant breezes.

But, a lack of shelter can also doom a person in the sweltering heat of the desert from hyperthermia, becoming too hot.

If we continue on the path laid down by the hierarchy of survival needs immediately after shelter as a requirement for water, hydration. Water is disproportionately emphasized in survival literature because clean water is imperative both for hydration and remaining healthy.

Being forced to drink unhealthy water will gravely complicate an otherwise simple survival scenario. A person can only go a couple of days or perhaps a little bit longer without any water intake before expiring from dehydration, and they will likely be crippled well before that.

The last among the major survival requirements is food. Everyone likes food, and tends to obsess over it but the vast majority of people can easily survive a couple of weeks without it entirely, though the process will be miserable and they will be mentally and physically blunted.

But that is nonetheless a long time, comparatively, that a person is able to survive without it.

Any shelter, including a temporary one, should provide you with what is required to withstand the local environment and its weather. Typically, we rely on shelters to help keep us warm by creating a space where a localized volume of air can be warmed to help keep our body temperature warm.

This smaller volume of air is colloquially known as a “microclimate”. The method by which a shelter accomplishes this varies, but is typically done by trapping heat emitted by our bodies or by fire.

Ultimately, in hotter weather, a shelter should help keep us cool by providing shade to block the incredibly powerful rays of the sun. Exposure to constant UV radiation damages our bodies and also greatly increases our temperature.

Blocking this radiation is essential for survival in hot, arid climates. The best hot weather shelters will be constructed in such a way as to trap a volume of cool, slightly moist air or facilitate cooling by favorable movements of air currents.

Shoulders should also help us battle weather conditions, particularly wind and rain. Wind will strip bodies, and also evacuate any localized pocket of warm air we have established. Rain soaks our bodies and clothes, forcing our body to shed heat drastically faster than it would otherwise.

But it is in tandem that these two conditions have a truly deadly effect: Being soaked to the skin and exposed to steady winds while in already cold air can freeze someone solid in a frighteningly short time.

A good shelter and a roaring fire might be the only thing that can save a person in that situation.

Generally speaking, the more advanced a shelter’s construction methodology, the better protection it will provide. For an easy example, compare the shelter value provided by a tent to that of a tipi to that of a modern stick-built home. No comparison, right?

You will notice that each of these farther along the technological tree provides better control over your personal environment.

That being said, a shelter does not have to be particularly complicated or technologically advanced to have value.

Even primitive shelters can do the trick and do it quickly in a survival situation and are capable of being constructed by one person in a short period of time using minimal tools and only natural materials that are on hand.

A primitive A-frame shelter or lean-to with a plastic tarp or emergency blanket as a reflector to help trap heat is an easy-to-make and effective shelter in most environments. A snow cave or simple igloo is likewise easy to fashion in cold environments.

Don’t get trapped in the way of thinking that you have to have a permanent or semi-permanent structure in order to take advantage of good shelter principles.

It might surprise you to learn that for a single survivor or two a smaller, simpler shelter might actually be compared to a larger and more elaborate one because then you will only have to heat a smaller volume of air in order to take advantage of the warmth that can provide.

The importance of shelter in a survival situation cannot be overstated, and the emphasis that is given by survival experts is completely merited. A lack of shelter in bad conditions can lead to death in as little as a few hours.

Exposure is one of Nature’s most lethal and common killers, and the only way you can fight back against it is by taking pains to ensure you will always have a way of providing shelter in any conditions and climate.

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I was at 4494 ft, at the southern base of the Four Peaks in Arizona. Bedded down in the open under the stars covered in my sleeping bag and a 30 or 40 wool blanket on top to cut the wind.
Calm and clear night changed, the forecast was wrong. First the wind came from the SSW, then the W and high wind gust from the N. Within hours over night cloud cover and a snow had blown in dusting the peaks and turning to a steady yet light rain were I was camped.
I had packed up loose clothing and shoes, at first sign of the weather change, the cave I had stayed in two years earlier had collapsed. I had left the tarp home not knowing.
Covered up completely in the wool blanket I survived the night warm as a bug, as the night progressed the blanket became soaked cutting of my oxygen and waking me.
I left the next morning due to overcast and high chance of rain. The wind stayed with me all the way back to Texas. I would not have done well another night and wet clothing. Even the sleeping back was wet. Love the wool blanket, a survival blanket, or tarp could have extended my stay.

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– Ronald Reagan

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Shelter is Near the Top of the Survival Needs Checklist

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Should I Really Worry About Comfort in a Survival Situation?

Should I Really Worry About Comfort in a Survival Situation?

Many discussions revolving around survival supplies are focused on efficiency, finding something that can do the job better, do it lighter and do it longer, or finding multi-purpose solutions that can radically reduce the amount of room or carrying capacity you must devote to your supply cache.

This is definitely a smart approach most of the time, but as with all things it is possible to become too zealous in the pursuit of a singular goal.

Taking that ideology regarding survival supplies to its logical zenith means you will have adopted an approach to choosing survival gear that often eliminates consideration for the most crucial element in any SHTF situation; the human element!

You might be a salty, gritty mountain man or a dead-hard survivor born- someone who not only embraces the suck but wishes that the situation would suck even more such is your fervor, tenacity and stoic outlook.

While that might be admirable in the strictest sense, it is not entirely practical, as surviving is not just a business of tending to physical needs. Accommodating mental and emotional needs is just as important, since more people fall apart mentally than physically in survival situations.

In many cases it is definitely worth the expense, weight and space to provide for items that can make you more comfortable or improve your mood, items that can ward off the doldrums, despair, or just remind you of happier times past, and hopefully yet to come.

In this article we will be discussing 10 comfort items that can make a SHTF situation more bearable for you and yours.

If you have been tooling around the prepping world for any length of time you might have noticed a distinct thread of severe self-discipline among some adherents.

There seems to be a notion that affording any effort, finances or interest towards accumulating supplies or skills that are not strictly focused on the most primordial matters of survival is worse than a waste.

To some of these dower and stern souls this borders on heresy: After all, survival is serious business! Right. Right?

Survival is of course serious business when it is time to get down to surviving or else face death, and though I can admire the clenched teeth dedication toward putting in the work and disciplining oneself in the face of disaster, it has always seemed to me that for going any comfort items entirely chose a remarkable lack of self-awareness.

I mean to say that you should strive to very literally know yourself. That includes your weaknesses, vices and every other potential shortcoming.

Do you get majorly grumpy without regular snacks? Are you a particular sleeper that won’t get any good rest unless your bed is just right? Maybe you have a meticulous grooming routine, and failing to adhere to it seriously damages your calm.

We all have these quirks and flaws, and many more besides. It is one thing to say stop doing it or stop feeling that way, and another thing entirely to actually not fall prey to your own essential wiring.

It begs the question why you would not spare a little bit of extra room to accommodate yourself or the people you care about.

Assuming that playing your favorite piece of music on your vintage grand piano is not that “one thing” you just can’t live without, many of these small creature comforts are easy enough to pack or carry without breaking the bank or blowing your weight “budget” in the case of a bug-out bag.

Speaking from my own experience and the observed experiences of my fellows and associates, people who plan for and accommodate these desires, even in a small way, are happier (or at least less ferociously unpleasant) even in the midst of terrible circumstances.

Trust me; you will be wise to take any mental edge you can get however you can get it when you were in the middle of a long-term SHTF situation.

Most survival packing lists you encounter on the internet and elsewhere will encourage you to include additional clothing in your cash, particularly socks and underwear.

Having a spare set of clothing will enable you to change into fresh, clean duds when your originals get dirty, and also allow you to stay clothed when doing the laundry in austere conditions. No surprises here.

But I would encourage you to include several extra sets of both socks and underwear, beyond the typical one or two that has become something of the Doomsday standard in the preppers fear.

Why? Simply stated, you will have cause to go through multiple pairs, and there is hardly anything more demoralizing than failing to take care of your feet or wearing nasty, grungy skivvies.

Consider that the business of bugging out or just putting in work in the aftermath of a disaster is going to be hell on your feet; you’ll be trudging for miles and sweating into your increasingly filthy footwear for a long time.

This is a recipe for some kind of infection, but also distinctly unpleasant

Also keep in mind that the stresses of survival, including the consumption of “natural” water supplies, novel food items and ever-present anxiety will work over your guts in a bad way, leading to intestinal distress.

Accidents happen, and even if they don’t, the ability to keep your private places cool, dry and clean is priceless.

If you cannot afford the time to properly get clean, simply changing into a fresh pair of socks and underwear can work wonders for keeping spirits high and infection at bay.

You might think this is another head-scratcher on the list since the vast majority of experts will recommend you include the necessary hygiene supplies of deodorant, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste.

Those selfsame lists will also advise you to avoid carrying extraneous hygiene supplies that fill out your morning or evening bathroom routine. Things like colognes, shampoos, lotions, and so forth.

As it turns out, you might have a good reason to include one or two choice hygiene items that you just can’t live without.

While it is true they might not have much in the way of real survival value, but as mentioned the impact on your psyche can be profoundly positive, especially when you don’t want to stink.

For myself, this is a proper shaving kit, though a compact one. I am simply not happy unless I can keep my face clean-shaven on a regular basis.

A telescoping safety razor, small brush, a small collapsible bowl and a puck of hard shaving soap along with a pack of blades and a small vial of aftershave takes up very little room, and affords me the opportunity to carry “civilization” with me even in the midst of a dire situation.

It is true that I might not have time or inclination to shave, but if I do you had better believe that is how I am starting my morning so long as I have the water to spare.

Consider what your “must have” hygiene items are and figure out a way to store or carry them in a space efficient way.

There will be plenty to do during any legitimate survival situation. But then again, there might not be. If you have all of your ducks in a row depending on the situation, there might not be any pressing needs that need taking care of.

Maybe you just need some rest, or downtime. Maybe your own survival situation might be best handled by sitting tight and waiting for the cavalry. In that case, useless, frantic activity just for the sake of being active could it simply be wasteful.

I know that plenty of my readers will be more than happy to bed down and while away the hours with a good book, one that they actually enjoy reading, and is not necessarily survival-centric, although it might be!

Depending upon your family or group situation, it might be a source of entertainment for others as well, with a particularly adept reader reading aloud for others to enjoy, or group members taking turns reading various sections of the book. This is especially ideal for small children.

Considering that books are not particularly weight or space-efficient, you should not plan on hauling along a library. One, perhaps two small books can be justified as they can also make excellent fire-starting tinder or toilet paper in a pinch.

You might also consider a tablet or e-reader, as these can hold an entire library’s worth of text in an extremely space-efficient envelope, so long as you can provide it power.

If you have a little downtime and want something more engaging to do than reading a book, so long as you have someone else to play with games can be a great option.

Most proper video game consoles and computers are going to be too power intensive to run in grid-down situations, but good, old-fashioned analog board games and card games never run out of power, and have enough variety to suit any player preferences.

Probably the most quintessential “survival” game is a simple deck of cards. Ancient, with endless variety in what kinds of games can be played with one as well as being endlessly replayable.

The entertainment and social value of cards is obvious and hard to over sell. Best of all, for mobile preppers or for inclusion in a bug out bag a deck of cards takes up hardly any room at all.

For preppers who are staying put during a survival situation, you can call upon any number of classic board games from such stalwarts as Monopoly to timeless games like chess, checkers, or go.

Some of these traditional games like chess and checkers even lend themselves well to travel as both their boards and their pieces can be shrunk into smaller sizes intended for travel or “proxied” using simple materials.

So long as you have enough light to play by and interested players to play with games can provide fun, fellowship and plenty of morale boosting benefit to preppers.

You’ll need plenty of calories to fuel your body if you want to make it through a long-term survival situation, and even though you can survive for a lot longer without food, than you can with water, your energy levels, physical capability and mental acuity will all plummet if you are forced to go without food.

For this reason, many preppers spend a disproportionate amount of time acquiring, stockpiling and rotating their food supplies. While it is true you can hunt or gather your own food in a survival situation, you are far better off having a sizable supply on hand.

Most preppers focus on shelf-stable staples that can be kept in dry storage, or in cans or pouches that are ready to eat with no or minimal preparation. Empty, wasteful or inefficient food sources are typically avoided as both a waste of space and a lack of nutrition.

That being said, we all have our favorite treats and delicacies that help give us that feel-good boost when we are stressed out or just craving some salty or sweet snacks.

You’ll never see serious prepping websites recommend you stock up on junk wood and other “wasted” calories.

And it is true that all kinds of sweets, treats and other junk food have become altogether too common elements of American diets, but it is those very same foodstuffs that can provide you with a much-needed mental boost, as well as some quick energy.

Candy, soft drinks, and other items might have very little survival value according to their on-paper statistics, but the emotional fortitude or sustainment they can provide is an x-factor that cannot be denied.

These luxury items also make great trade fodder after stocks dry up in a long-term survival situation, and they are also ideal for cheering up scared or upset children. Consider keeping a small portion of junk food handy for the purpose.

Pop-Tarts are great for the purpose, and also serve double-duty as a quick source of carbohydrates that are easy to transport.

Sleeping bags, bivys, tents and other assorted shelter supplies are perennial inclusions for almost every prepper, even those who plan on bugging in instead of bugging out.

Shelter considerations are huge concerns indeed since you can die in as little as a few hours from exposure if conditions are perfectly terrible.

Especially when outdoors, even mild temperatures might result in hypothermia if you are soaking wet from water or sweat, and hot, arid climates make obtaining shade a potentially life or death endeavor.

Unfortunately, much of the equipment needed for shelter in any form is both bulky and heavy, and considering that your average BOB will already be heavily laden, or the typical prepper stash already represents a significant investment it is easy to omit high-end, luxury or plush bedding and shelter materials as extraneous.

I could make a good case for not going quite so far as that. It might very well be worth investing in a lightweight air mattress, compact camping pillow and flyweight blanket if it means the time you do spend resting is more comfortable and more recuperative.

What good is a minimalist bedding setup if it does not protect you from the cold, hard ground and you sleep like crap? If you go to bed exhausted and wake up feeling exhausted and also beaten you have defeated the purpose!

A couple of extra pounds and a few extra hundred dollars might mean the difference between maximizing what rest time you do get.

Whatever hazards, trials, and tribulations you might be facing knowing you can at least always look forward to a decent night’s rest will be quite a comfort.

If you are a prepper who might have to deal with a cold climate or a major seasonal cold snap, you’ll need to be extra prepared with all the equipment required to stay warm no matter what is happening.

Invariably this means specialized clothing, including gloves, but for preppers who still might have to bug out despite wintry weather you’ll face additional challenges in the cold because all of the many survival tasks that you’ll have to attend to will not wait.

Working with your hands in cold conditions is made even more challenging due to loss of sensation and dexterity brought on by prolonged exposure. This is naturally something of a catch-22 under the circumstances.

Obviously, you can wear gloves or mittens and jam your hands in your pockets to warm them up slowly, or warm them up more quickly near a fire or other heat source, but this is not necessarily the most efficient use of your time.

Take a tip from hunters and other people who pursue their endeavors for extended periods in cold weather: Invest in some Hot Hands hand warmers or a liquid-fueled hand warming device, such as the one made by Zippo. These ingenious items fit easily in a pocket and will keep your hands comfortable and usable no matter how cold it gets outside.

Though some people deride these as extraneous and wasteful (in the case of the Hot Hands), or just another example of gadgetry run amok (in the case of the latter) if there is any possibility you might be facing temperatures cold enough to impair your coordination and motor function you’ll definitely want to invest in some of these as a just-in-case comfort measure for cold weather survival.

This is what you might call a comfort item for most of us, but one that is an absolute necessity for people who spend a lot of time working hard outdoors, and an item that members of our military are doubtlessly already very familiar with. All-purpose body or foot powder works wonders for absorbing moisture and helping to keep you dry, and it also affords you a clean, fresh feeling when you don’t have the time or the resources to really get clean and fresh.

It even works as impromptu shampoo, though by the time you are finished you will look like you have the world’s worst possible case of dandruff, so that is the least of your problems if you are using it in a survival situation.

Rubbing your body and your feet down with powder is very refreshing and will help you feel better pretty much right away, but this is far more than some simple self-pampering: wherever you have moisture you have an increased possibility of breeding nasty, gribbly germs and fungus, both being skin infections that can quickly spread and rampage out of control. This will certainly be painful and unpleasant but it can also lead to you becoming incapacitated if it goes untreated!

Having powder appropriate to the task will serve as a hedge against such an unfortunate affliction and also help keep you feeling good no matter the situation.

Even those of us who are not particularly sentimental, nor particularly superstitious, can at least admit to having a personal token, good luck charm, talisman, or simple reminder of something that is important to us.

It might be a small gift given to us by a loved one or friend. It might be a tiny item that reminds us to hold fast or to cling to our principles. Whatever it is, you would be foolish to disregard the value of such an item when facing a sustained period of pain, suffering and loss.

So long as you are not hauling around a bronze statuette or your lucky concrete planter that your grandma gave you before she passed, you can always justify keeping this item on your person or in your kit somehow, someway.

If it fits in your pocket, your wallet, or around a necklace, add a chain to help prevent loss. Bonus points if this item is actually a usable tool that serves a valid survival purpose.

Perhaps it is a Swiss army knife handed down to you or gifted to you by a departed relative. Perhaps it is a shotgun or rifle that is a family heirloom, kept in good repair and ready for service. It could even be something as simple as a family photo, or meaningful letter written to you by a loved one.

Anything that keeps you motivated and reminds you of what the stakes are, and what you are suffering for will only help focus and energize you.

It is astonishing to me how many preppers do not include baby wipes as part of their kit.

I see them haul soaps of all kinds for impromptu baths using ponds, streams or rivers but believe it or not these sources of water will not always be convenient or even usable, and you cannot be so profligate with any carried, potable water that you use it for bathing, even for a sponge bath.

This is where baby wipes are worth their weight in gold. A small package of baby wipes will provide more than enough for several improvised baths and using nothing more than a handful you can get your entire body clean, or at least cleaner.

If you don’t have time or inclination to stop and break down for a full bath, you can easily use baby wipes just to hit the trouble spots on your body, typically the face, under the arms, feet, groin and back side.

This will go a long way towards staving off odor and infection. Baby wipes are also invaluable forgetting truly clean after using the bathroom in an austere setting.

A package (or brick) of baby wipes might seem like it takes up too much room to justify inclusion in a bug-out bag, or they are not cost effective as part of a survival stash when you can just buy toilet paper instead.

But I’m begging you, take my word for it: these things are worth their weight in gold in a survival situation, and you will be thrilled to have them when the time comes.

Just because you are preparing for a survival situation doesn’t mean you have to abstain from including among your supplies certain items that are intended only to provide relaxation or a mental boost in the form of your favorite foods, physical creature comfort or emotional well-being.

Everybody has their preferences, and you should be well acquainted with yours. Considering that survival is predominantly a mental game you can make a very good practical case for provisioning these comfort items accordingly.

Take a look at the list above, and see which ones will fit the bill for you, or include your own.

Then you’re gonna love my free PDF, 20 common survival items, 20 uncommon survival uses for each. That’s 400 total uses for these innocent little items!

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My suggestion for a foot/body powder is corn starch. It does not clump up in moisture like talcum based powders can. Take that from a Marine. Baby wipes are also critical. you can do a lot of cleaning with baby wipes. Try to get them as unscented as possible if you are bugging out. Bad guys can sniff you out. Another reason corn starch is better than talcum based powders. Use unscented soaps too for exactly the same reason. The more “natural” you smell, the safer you are. Leave your foo-foo juice and spray at home.

If you are just camping, smelling like a French you-know-what is OK, but not when you are avoiding trouble.

After 25 years in Search and Rescue (SAR), I’ve found that a foam pad is preferable to any kind of air mattress – they don’t leak! A foam pad can also be used medically as padding around a fracture that is being splinted.

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– Ronald Reagan

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Should I Really Worry About Comfort in a Survival Situation?

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