Sep 16

Meat Rabbits for the Homestead

RabbitsMeat rabbits for the homestead. Beyond chickens, probably the “next best”, most productive animal for the homestead is the meat rabbit. Rabbits are inexpensive, easy-to-raise, prolific, quiet, and take a minimal amount of space. And, they produce the leanest meat of all domestic animals as well as usable pelts and incredibly-rich garden fertilizer.

Of course, many people are put off by the idea of eating what they consider a pet animal and can’t picture themselves being able to dispatch “those cute bunnies”. But the reality is, if times Rabbitsget tough(er) and you need a delicious protein source for your hungry family, you will quickly get over your apprehensions and be grateful you have a ready source of meat. (Quite frankly, 3 month old rabbits – which is prime butchering age — aren’t nearly as cute and cuddly as what you are imagining.)

A breeding trio of rabbits, that is, two females and one male, could easily produce 42 babies a year. If these youngsters are butchered at 3-4 pounds, this translates into approximately 150 pounds of meat per year.

Meat RabbitThere are many breeds of domestic rabbits but for many meat producers the New Zealand white and Californian are two of the more popular. Fryers, bakers, roasters, and stewers are the names given to meat rabbits. Their age and weight will determine their title. Want to learn more? Then tune in this Thursday, September 12, to the Homestead Honey Hour where we will dive into this subject to help you get started raising rabbits!

Listen to this broadcast on “Meat Rabbits for the Homestead” Go Here!

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Aug 24

Sustainable, Practical Medicine before and after the Sh*t Hits the Fan

8-22-2013AnkleWrapMost preppers spend some time thinking about medicine after a social collapse, and stocking up on pharmaceutical supplies, as they should. Food, water and medicine are the first three resources that are fought over after every disaster, large or small. However, pharmaceutical supplies are limited and also require a certain type of training and experience that is not available to everyone. There is another option that means you do not have to be in “ration mode” and constantly limit your possibilities when dealing with medical issues in a post-collapse environment. This option is plant medicine and it is not only self-sustainable, it is easy for anyone to learn and begin to use immediately as an extremely valuable skill.

8-22-2013AntelopeHorns_BookSam Coffman has spent most of his adult life working with and understanding plant medicine on a practical level for acute injury and illness, as well as chronic illness. His background as a former Green Beret medic lends him the training and experience to understand the fundamentals of ditch medicine, and how those gaps left by the absence of pharmaceutical medicines can be filled with highly effective plant medicine.

In today’s broadcast of The Human Path, Sam teaches us SIX medicinal plants that grow in every state in the USA that are not only very common, but also very easy to identify. These are plants that are all very good medicine that is easy learn and understand. Sam walks us through the identification and use of each plant.

As a bonus, there is a discussion between Mykel Hawke (of Discovery Channel’s “Man, Woman, Wild) and Sam about survival topics, to include Myke’s survival manual. This is a short interview that will be continued in September with a longer discussion about specific survival skills.
Sam’s survival school is called The Human Path and can be found online here
Sam’s survival school is called The Human Path and can be found online here
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Listen to this informative show Go Here!

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Feb 05

Ohio Prepper Meetup Groups

 

Map of all American Preppers Network and Partner meetup groups.

Scroll past the map for a listing.


View American Preppers Network Meetups in a larger map
Cincinnati
Cincinnati Area Preppers Group
(APN Partner)
http://cincypreppersgroup.weebly.com

Sep 07

Property Tax reduction for storm damage

Ok, so you`ve got damage from the big storm. You`ve argued with the insurance, wrangled contractors, and did a LOT of general cleanup yourself. So where`s there any benefit out of all this for you?

Check with your local auditors office. Many across the state are offering reductions on this years property tax for the storm damage. You`ll need to fill out their form and provide some proof, but it`ll be worth the effort.

Start here…

http://www.caao.org/DIRECTORY/ohio.php

This site lists links to all the county auditors, pick your county and see what they have available.

Sep 07

So You Want to be a Soapmaker?

You`ve decided to take the plunge. You want to make your own soap, something else to add to your list of skills.  So you`ve studied and read, watched all the videos you can stand, even bought a couple of books.  Now what?

Well you`ve got to get some supplies together, there’s lots of stuff they say you have to have to make soap, and to a certain extent they`re probably right. Every book you`ve read, every video you`ve watched, they all seem to have been doing this for a long time, so they should know what they`re doing, right? It`s a pretty good chance that most of what you see and read will be biased towards that particular soap makers methods, but if you look past the hype, you`ll see that the basic methods are relatively similar. You`ll need to get your ingredients together, based on what type of soap you want to make. You`ll also need to start looking for a soap pot and all the other miscellaneous items that you`ll need along the way. Since you`re just starting out, visit your local Goodwill or thrift shop, this is a good place to find a lot of the basic tools you`ll need. Look for measuring cups, spatulas, large spoons (wooden ones are my favorite!), glass or stainless steel bowls, and anything else you might think you`ll need (a thermometer is real handy, I`ll explain why in a minute…). 

Next you need a pot. #1 rule, avoid aluminum. Making soap involves using lye (sodium hydroxide), which is a very volatile caustic. When lye comes in contact with aluminum, it makes hydrogen gas, not a good thing to have in your house as it`s extremely flammable! Use either stainless steel or a granite ware (enamel) pot. My recommendation is to go with the enamel, the extra mass in the pot helps to hold in heat, you`ll see why in a bit….

Now you need a scale, something to weigh your ingredients. Why a scale you ask? Why can`t I just use a measuring cup and be done with it? Well, most recipes that you`ll find are based on weight, not measure, and you`ll get a more exact quantity by using weight. And if you`re making a small batch, being off an ounce can mean the difference between soap and grease….(yuk!). Buy a good digital scale, avoid the spring loaded variety, they`re just not as reliable. The small postal scales work great, and most have a tare function (very important…), you`ll use this a lot once you start to experiment with different recipes.

Mixing. Yep, you need something to mix with, unless you really want to go old school and stir, stir, stir, and stir some more with just a spoon. Avoid the normal mixer, instead go for a stick blender. There are several reasons for this, #1 it`s easier to control with one hand, #2 it avoids getting a lot of air in your soap, and #3 it doesn`t splatter things all over (a good safety point when working with lye).

About lye…..

Lye is a caustic, very volatile and hygroscopic, meaning it readily takes to water. It`s so sensitive it will pull moisture right out of the air, just set a few granules of lye out and watch, you`ll be amazed at how fast it will change from a solid little chunk into a small pool of liquid. So when you’re making your lye measures, pour only what you plan to use immediately and keep the rest in a tightly closed container.

When shopping for lye, avoid the drain cleaner type, unless the ingredients list only sodium hydroxide. Drano and other types of drain cleaners have some lye in them, but they also have other chemicals that you really don`t want in your soap. Companies that supply the bio-diesel industry will be good sources of lye, and you`ll get a very reliable product from them.

Now a bit about safety. Always wear gloves. And safety glasses. Once the lye mixes with the water it will reach 250 degrees in about 3 seconds. You don`t want to get a caustic burn, that`s no fun. But…if you do get some on your skin, rinse it under cold water for at least 15 minutes, then air dry. This will neutralize most of the burning, but if it doesn`t stop, get to a hospital, they know how to handle these things. Don`t wait, don`t be the tough guy because caustic burns are the gift that keeps on giving. Until it`s fully neutralized, a caustic will continue to do what it does until it or you are gone.

Ok, so you`ve got your pot, now what to put in it? Here`s where the fun starts, you can mix and combine lots of different oils, botanicals, fragrances, and colorants to make many different types of soap. Everything from basic lard/lye soap just like granny used to make all the way up to French milled will be possible once you figure out the basics!

So let`s get started. We`ll go with a basic lard/lye mix that will make a very simple, long-lasting soap, and is fairly foolproof.

To start off, get all your tools ready, and make sure everything is organized and neat so you can see everything at a glance. Let`s start out by getting your lye ready. We`re looking for 6 oz of lye crystals, so here`s where the tare function of your scale comes into play. Using a small cup or bowl, place it on your scale and note the weight. Now, hit the tare button. Your weight will go to zero, this is how the tare works. Pour the lye crystals slowly into the container until you hit your weight. Depending on how fast your scale reacts, you might want to stop a bit short of the total , then add the remainder, this is easier than trying to repour some back. Get another container, this is going to hold the complete lye/water mix, so size it appropriately. Tare the container, then add 16 oz of water. Take these two ingredients to a well ventilated place (outside is best) and combine by pouring the lye slowly into the water. Never mix the water into the lye, this could cause the lye to react too fast, and possibly explode! Make you don`t lean over the container while mixing, the fumes that the mix gives off are very caustic, and will take your breath away. So avoid the coughing fit, mix outside and stay as clear of the mix as possible. Let this stand, the fumes will die down fairly quickly, but the heat will still be there, you`ll need that.

Next, we`ll measure out the lard. Using the same tare process as above, set your scale up and weigh out 3 lbs of lard. A quick word about lard, it should smell clean. If it doesn`t, then your soap won`t either. If you can`t find lard, or prefer not to use it, shortening can be used in its place (animal or vegetable, your choice). Move this to your soap pot and place it on low heat, just enough to get it melted.

Now retrieve the lye/water mix, being careful not to spill any of it. Place this in the sink and fill the sink up with cold water, enough to match the level of the liquid in your lye container, this will help cool the lye a bit faster. Now get your thermometer (told you I`d get to it) and check the temp of the lye. Swirl the mix about to blend the cold outer parts with the heat on the inside to balance everything. Dip the thermometer in and see what it reads, you`re looking for around 110 degrees. If it`s too hot, let it stand a bit longer, if it`s a bit cold, set it on the countertop, it`ll heat up a bit once out of the cold.

Rinse off the thermometer and check your lard. You want it to be around 100 degrees, but it`s probably a lot hotter than that by now. Here`s where that sink full of cold water comes in handy (you did leave the water in the sink didn`t you?). Set your pot in the cold water and swish it around a bit, pulling it out to check the temp of your lard every few minutes. This process will allow you to bring both ingredients to the temperature range you want very reliably.

So now we mix. Slowly pour the lye into the lard. Keeping the mixer on the bottom of the pot, start blending in short bursts, giving yourself a chance to get the feel of the mixer. Once the mix starts to come together, blend continuously, making sure to work around the edges, keeping the mixer submerged the whole time. If you want to add fragrance, now is the time to do it. 2-3 oz of fragrance oil, or a bit less if using essential oils will be just about right for a batch this size. This is also a good time to add extras. Finely ground oatmeal makes for a good exfoliant, and helps heal itchy skin, lavender buds add aroma therapy and color to the mix, the choice is yours. Oh, and there`s color too. Ground mica makes a good colorant, some vegetable pigments will work as well, or you could even try food coloring or even crayons! This is where the fun comes into soaping, trying different scents, experimenting with colorants, adding botanicals, it`s totally up to you as to how your soap turns out.

Ok, so you`ve got this mixture, and it`s starting to get a bit thick, thicker than when you started out. This is what is called trace. If you can make a line in the soap and it stays, then your right where you want to be. The soap will act just like pudding at this stage, so be prepared to pour it into your molds.

“Wait, you didn`t say anything about molds yet!!!!” Your right, I didn`t. This is another one of the parts of soaping that`s up to the individual soaper. Some people like to keep it simple and make their own molds, some prefer to buy them. For this type of soap, your best bet is to go with a silicone mold, the type they use for baking works best. This recipe will make a very hard bar, so plan on using a mold that will be in a shape you like. I`ve seen pumpkins, leaves, footballs, and many other shapes available, shop around a bit and see what you can come up with!

Pour the soap into the molds, filling them to the top. Placing the molds on trays so you can move them is always a good idea, the soap will still be soft for a day or so. Set the molds someplace out of the way and forget about them for a day or two, this will give the mix time to saponify. Saponification is the chemical process that takes place when you mix the lard with the lye, it creates a reaction that converts the mix into soap. This creates heat, so if your soap feels hot to the touch at this stage that`s okay.

Once the soap cools and had had a day or so to saponify, you can turn it out of the molds. The bars will be a bit soft still, so handle them carefully. Place them on a tray or shelf to cure, they will need about a month to fully cure out. After that, you can wrap the bars in whatever you choose, and store them in a cool dry place, or give some out as gifts. Once you`ve gifted someone with your homemade soap, they`ll be back for more!

So have fun, be safe, and make some soap! Be bold, experiment, see what you can come up with!

 

Materials List/Quantity:

Lard/Shortening -3 lbs.

Water – 16 oz

Lye -6 oz

Interesting fact – lye soap helps cure poison ivy, and also helps to remove cuss words from the mouths of children!

Jul 24

Gleaning…

This is a repost of an earlier topic posted by nutcase over on the APN, very well written and informative, and a topic not a lot of people know about these days…

Gleaning for for free or really cheap
by nutcase » Fri May 18, 2012 7:53 pm

http://americanpreppersnetwork.net/viewtopic.php?f=402&t=27793

I am sure many already think of this, so I am just going to put this out there.

In my community there is a gleaning “club” at the local senior center. Local farmers often have a contract for so many ton of a certain crop. Once they reach the quota, if the market is soft they will cull the remaining crop. Before they do they will give the senior center a call and say come get all you want. They in turn give us a call and say come get all you want. This is my first year and so I have high hopes. So far this year we have received calls for carrots.

So that is the “Club” way of doing things. Another way is to just get to know the farmers yourself. Often times they don’t mind you coming out to glean after harvest. Here is a few examples:

Apples (I do live in Washington): they are labor intensive to harvest so some years they just leave them on the trees because labor is too expensive. Even if they do harvest them all, there are pollinator trees they do not harvest, so harvest these. Then there is always the windfall fruit or any fruit that falls on the ground cannot be put in the boxes to market.

Fruits: often many people have fruit trees in their yards and never harvest anything, maybe a bucket or two but never really touch the bulk of the yield. Approach the homeowner and ask for permission to harvest, and get all you can. Then go home can it and make sure you bring back some of your bounty to the donor. They will be more inclined to let you come back next year, if you give them some jam or a pie.

Potatoes: They are every where here. Go out soon after, same day if possible, harvest and pick out the culls they throw off. Lots of times they don’t always get every single piece harvested, on the edges of the field they will leave a little for you.(http://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/ruth/2?lang=eng) After harvest is over I have a friend that allows me to get all I need from his spud shed. Even after that my brother hauls spuds for the farmers to the plants. At the plants they often have QA rejects and it just goes to the hogs. I have been known to eat hog food; we have the same stomach you know.

Carrots: This is one of those contract things, most of the times a farmer gets a contract for say 100 ton, they grow a full circle to ensure they meet their quota, and usually fill quota with only 1/2-2/3rds of circle. The balance of circle is then tilled back into ground. If you have contacts this can be an easy source.

Grains: This one has eluded me for the most part. We have had a couple of train derailments which has provided some grains. Near the grain silos they spill some and just let the birds collect. I am a bird brain sometimes. It is easier for me to buy directly from farmer, at least until I find a way to glean it consistently.

Tomatoes: Here in NW Ohio, there are always a lot of tomatoe fields, just take a short drive in the country and you`ll find one. Stop by and talk with the farmer, most have no problem with you helping yourself once the harvest is done. You will want to bring help, beacuse it`s easy to gather BUSHELS of tomatoes. Easy to process, we normally put up over 40 quarts a year w/o planting a single vine. These types of tomatoes are closely related to roma`s, so they`re excellent for sauce, stewing, and/or juicing!

Breads: This I think any one can do. In my town and many across the US there are bread stores that sell close dated bread (breads that are about to expire) to me this just mean opportunity. I buy it in the form of animal feed (sometimes they call it hog food). I buy a rack (about a pick-up load) at a time; it usually costs me $25. Most of this truly does go to the birds, but I do scavenge through and preserve my favorite types of breads and sweets. I usually freeze what I will use in the next month or two; it takes that long to get through the list back to me. After I pick through what is family food I just unpackage the rest to dry up so it does not mold. Then I feed it to my chickens.

I know not everyone has the same opportunities. I think if one to look around they would see the waste all around then try to find out where you can get the freshest waste available. Sometimes, more often than not, it is even fresher than market. Some of these strategies may take time to build up, but the reward can be very big, if you are willing to invest some time.

I am always looking for new ways to get lots of food to either store or consume. This is just some things I have done to help reduce the food bill for our large family. If you have others ideas please post.The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.

A lot of the same principles apply right here in the buckeye state, just a few different crops to pick from.

Thanx to nutcase for the great info, just thought I`d share it again!

Jun 09

What Are the Symptoms of Heat-Related Illnesses?

What Are the Symptoms of Heat-Related Illnesses?

Heat exhaustion symptoms include:

• Severe, sometimes disabling, cramps that typically begin suddenly in the hands, calves, or feet.
• Hard, tense muscles
• Fatigue
• Nausea
• Headaches
• Excessive thirst
• Muscle aches and cramps
• Weakness
• Confusion or anxiety
• Drenching sweats, often accompanied by cold, clammy skin.
• Slowed or weakened heartbeat.
• Dizziness
• Fainting
• Agitation

Heat exhaustion requires immediate attention but is not usually life-threatening.

Heat stroke symptoms include:

• Nausea and vomiting
• Headache
• Dizziness or vertigo
• Fatigue
• Hot, flushed, dry skin
• Rapid heart rate
• Decreased sweating
• Shortness of breath
• Decreased urination
• Blood in urine or stool
• Increased body temperature (104 to 106 degrees)
• Confusion, delirium, or loss of consciousness
• Convulsions

Heat stroke can occur suddenly, without any symptoms of heat exhaustion. If a person is experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, GET MEDICAL CARE IMMEDIATELY. Any delay could be fatal. Seek emergency medical care for anyone who has been in the heat and who has the following symptoms:

• Confusion, anxiety, or loss of consciousness
• Very rapid or dramatically slowed heartbeat
• Rapid rise in body temperature that reaches 104 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit
• Either drenching sweats accompanied by cold, clammy skin (which may indicate heat exhaustion); or a marked decrease in sweating accompanied by hot, flushed, dry skin (which may indicate heat stroke)
• Convulsions
• Any other heat-related symptom that is not alleviated by moving to a shady or air-conditioned area and administering fluids and salts

Feb 18

Cabela’s to open 1st Ohio store at Polaris

Cablea`s Inc. plans to open its first store in Ohio at Polaris.

The iconic hunting, fishing and camping equipment retailer said Feb. 16 it has picked a spot along Gemini Parkway west of Interstate 71 for a store expected to open in spring next year. At 80,000 square feet, the store would be a smaller version of the superstores on which Cabela’s  launched its reputation. It will have about 175 full- and part-time employees.

“We have so many great customers in the Buckeye State who share our passion for the outdoors, who live the Cabela’s lifestyle, we wanted to build this store to better serve them,” Cabela’s CEO Tommy Millner said in a statement. “Generations of Ohioans have been loyal Cabela’s customers and now, with this store, they will be able to really share in the Cabela’s shopping experience.”

The Sidney, Neb.-based chain operates a 225,000-square-foot store north of Toledo in Dundee, Mich., that opened in 2000, and a 175,000-square-foot store that opened eight years ago in Wheeling, W.Va.

Cabela’s also plans to open 88,000-square-foot stores in Grandville, Mich., and Louisville, Ky., in 2013. The three “next generation” stores are designed to maximize the assortment of products while still featuring the chain’s trademark log cabin exterior design and indoor wildlife displays. The stores also will have the chain’s gun library, “bargain cave” and fudge shop. The Columbus store will have a 5,575-gallon aquarium.

 

Thanx to Hiker72  for the heads up!

Jan 22

Two girls new to the prepper scene!

by PillarsofSalt

Hi, our names are Stephanie and Murphy, and we are new to the prepper scene. We are on a mission to learn and teach others by trial and error. We have made a few experimental videos and some how-to videos. Last week we tried several different types of alternate fire-starting techniques. Some of them worked for us and others didn’t. We tried an experiment with a potato and toothpaste (among other things) and we could not get it to work. Maybe it has worked before, but our goal is to help ourselves and others find the most efficient way to survive. We also tried using a 9-volt battery and steel wool which worked very well. To watch our videos go to http://www.youtube.com/user/SaltPillars?feature=mhee

Check out our potato video here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPvg9hYPoHA&feature=plcp&context=C3ec8672UDOEgsToPDskJgi8-TPy8h4VBJOVinCxEE

Jan 17

Roll Call & Giveaway – Everyone Please Respond

All Preppers, Please read this entire post and then respond.

http://americanpreppersnetwork.net/viewtopic.php?f=606&t=17742

This is the General APN Roll Call, and is slightly different than the State Roll Calls, as we are also offering a giveaway contest with several prizes.

These Network-Wide Roll calls only happen a few times a year and serve a few purposes. They remind people that haven’t been to the forum in awhile to come back and check us out and see what’s new, plus they also serve as a membership drive. But it’s much more than that. They help you, our members, to better network with each other. Members who haven’t been back in awhile can reconnect with members that are still active. New members can network with more experienced members, and members who’ve been trying to start meetup groups and get-togethers have a better opportunity to connect with each other. But most of all, there is a huge brainstorm of tips, ideas and information that we all share with each other.

Please respond to this post and let us know what you’ve been doing to prepare lately. Share any tips, ideas or educational information that you might have for others. The information you share is especially helpful to new members who are checking in.

In addition to responding to this post, please also respond to your states group as well and check to see if there are any new meetup plans.

To respond to your states roll call, follow this link to the state directory:

http://americanpreppersnetwork.net/viewforum.php?f=36

Then click the “Check In Here” link for your state and respond to the most recent Roll Call.

Don’t forget to check back to your state group regularly so you can interact with fellow members. This is very important, checking in frequently will ensure that you don’t miss any new members. If you are interested in starting or joining a meetup, be sure to check into your state meetup section as well.

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