City Gal Gone Country en-us The value of living among the trees Having grown up in Staten Island, NY, I learned the value of trees when I was very young, as they were almost the only living things that could survive the encasement of their roots by the endless concrete of the city scape. I loved to watch them change colors as the seasons passed, and delighted in their yearly denizens of squirrels and birds. On our 43 acres, we have all kinds of trees - hickory's, elms, oaks, dogwoods - an endless array of shapes, sizes and colors. And with them come a... Tue, 29 Nov 2016 12:51:58 -0600 Survival Navigation People generally get lost in the wild because they become separated from their party, have inadequate navigation skills, or leave the map and compass behind. People who get into real trouble are those who get truly lost and don't have the right skills, food, or gear to stay alive until they get found. It's important to know some basic navigational techniques, such as how to use a compass and read a map. Make sure your skills are always a few notches above where they need to be for the terrain... Tue, 26 Nov 2013 11:21:25 -0600 Making essential oils at home I've recently been introduced to the process of making essential oils, through a class offered at our local extension office. Along with the obligatory jokes about not using a still to make alcohol, I was surprised at how easy it can be to make your own essential oils, and how handy they can be for medicinal, as well as overall wellness reasons. There are three common ways to produce essential oils. These include: distillation, expression, and extraction. 1. Three methods of Steam... Thu, 14 Nov 2013 10:29:48 -0600 Foraging on your own land Every prepper knows the importance of being prepared. But I'm often surprised by how many folks I've met who don't put in the leg work to be fully prepared for any situation. Case in point -- just how well do you know your bug out location? We've owned our 43 acres since 2005, and I can tell you when the mushrooms sprout, where the Spring water springs are, and when our various patches of wild berries are ready for picking. How do I know this? By walking my land, every week. You read that... Fri, 08 Nov 2013 09:43:16 -0600 PVC Building projects As experienced preppers, we have often used PVC pipe to create caches to store emergency items around our property and in strategic locations between work and home. But I've been amazed at how many times we've been able to use PVC to create needed items around our farm. We often have excess PVC pipe laying around, generally excess pieces left over from water line repairs and the like. PVC pipe comes in a wide assortment of lengths and widths. They have connectors that allow them to be... Thu, 31 Oct 2013 09:02:41 -0500 Seeds -- The path to real food independence Last week, we touched on the importance of long-term food storage, but we asked the question -- What do you do when the food runs out? Seed harvesting and storing is a practice that goes back to the earliest Americans, and is a time-honored tradition, with some seeds passing down from generation to generation within families. And it isn't just a local phenomenon. In Norway, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure seed bank located in the Arctic, which functions to preserve a wide variety of... Wed, 23 Oct 2013 11:09:52 -0500 Food Storage - Planning ahead for the long term Long-term food storage options are an essential part of any self-reliant homestead, but there's a lot to consider before you start filling your storage shelves. How many people are you feeding? What are their nutritional needs? How many calories per day will sustain them, depending on the environment? And if you add children to the equation, just what types of long-term storage foods will they actually eat? It may sound a little silly, but buying long-term storage foods that your family will... Tue, 15 Oct 2013 12:52:41 -0500 Portable fire on the go Being self-reliant means having the ability to handle any situation on your own -- from food rations to clean drinking water to perhaps one of the most important skills -- making fire. The ability to make fire can literally mean the difference between life and death. Whether you're caught in bad weather during a camping trip or experiencing a power outage in a snowstorm, keeping warm is a necessity for everyone. Things to think about are: * How much room do you have in your pack or... Thu, 10 Oct 2013 14:06:08 -0500 Water Purification Whether you're prepping for your next hunting or camping trip, or making your move off-grid, having a dependable source of drinkable water is a survival necessity. The average person will survive only a week at best without clean water, so it's smart to plan ahead and pick a filtration system that best suits your needs. Important things to consider are: o How many people will need water, and for how long? o Filter longevity and availability of replacements o Durability -- How long can you... Thu, 03 Oct 2013 09:53:58 -0500 Making your own cordage Cordage might be one of the most important products to the human race. The clothes we wear are woven from fine thread. Curtain drawstrings, shoelaces, clotheslines, dental floss, garden twine, fishing line, and flag and banner suspension cords are just some of the common examples of cordage we use every day. The modern survivalist has the advantage of being able to acquire manufactured ropes and cords in a wide variety of sizes and types of materials, and in a large quantity.... Tue, 24 Sep 2013 14:09:20 -0500 Back in the Ozarks I've finally made it back to the Ozarks and home to our land. Sorry I've been away for such a long while, but I have tons of information to share with you on living off the land and being self-sufficient. Lately, the Marine and I have been visiting, sharing with and learning from other off-griders in the Ozarks about ways to become more self-reliant, and I'll be sharing some of these tips and skills here with you, to help spread the knowledge. First up - How to make your own smoker. If you... Wed, 18 Sep 2013 13:19:19 -0500 The dreaded Honey-Do List Life changes for everyone, and recently, our lives changed a bit, resulting in my taking a job where I work in the big city during the week and only come home to our cabin in the woods on Weekends. This leaves the Marine to his own devices during the week at the land -- which can be good and can be, well, interesting to say the least. Remember, this is the same guy who fashioned an oven out of an old smoker and a turkey fryer back when we were living in a tent. So, as I leave on Sunday... Fri, 05 Oct 2012 13:33:33 -0500 Bugs, bugs everywhere! I don't know about your gardens, but mine has just about had it this summer. Between the drought and the recent bug invasion, I have barely a green leaf left in any of my three beds. First, came the grasshoppers - by the hordes! Then came an absolute army of blister beetles, which really - they pretty much cleaned up all the grasshopper leftovers and took out some grass while they were at it. At lunch today, a friend suggested a rather novel way of overcoming these fiends - suck them up... Thu, 26 Jul 2012 16:57:06 -0500 Taking time to smell the wildflowers...and eat some too! Recently, the Marine and I attended an educational program about herbs and wild edibles at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View. I was astounded to find out how many wild edibles there are in the region, and just as excited to get home to our little neck of the woods and see what we had growing on our property. To my surprise and delight, I found corn salad, dittany (a wild oregano that is fantastic in salads and sauces), lambs quarter, narrow leaf dock (which is quite delicious), may... Wed, 09 May 2012 12:22:22 -0500 Whatever happened to the "Thanks" in Thanksgiving? To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. ~Johannes A. Gaertner Gratitude, that simple acknowledgement of thanks for something -- anything really -- a friend, a flower, a good meal. How sorely are we lacking in modern times of this simple gift on a daily basis? In my opinion, Thanksgiving is one of the most abused festivals in our holiday calendar, for we live in a society that has largely forgotten how... Wed, 23 Nov 2011 13:54:29 -0600 The road to self sufficiency is paved with a lot of blood and guts Living on a homestead, and working towards being self-sufficient is a somewhat painstaking process. First, you have to buy some workable land and build your home, preferably without having a mortgage or loan left over following the process. Then, comes the well and electricity to run the well and power your home. We are currently on the grid for power, but have future plans to combine solar and wind energy to eventually get off the grid, plus we have the house wired for a generator back-up... Fri, 30 Sep 2011 12:04:07 -0500 A Simple Solution to the Tax Problem As President Obama released his plan to trim the nation's defecit, one piece in particular has caught the attention of Congress -- the so-called Buffet Tax, named for billionaire Warren Buffet, which would raise the tax rate on the nation's rich. Already, the Republicans are claiming the so-called "Tax the rich strategy" to be worthless. Ah, politics -- what one side of the congressional aisle loves, the other side loathes. It's amazing anything gets done in Washington. Now, back in 2005,... Tue, 20 Sep 2011 13:17:07 -0500 I am my mother's daughter My mom is literally a part of me. You can't say that about many people, except relatives and organ donors. ~ Carrie Latet When we are younger, we always assume we know what's best for us -- often to our detriment. But, that's part of growing up and learning from our mistakes. Now that I'm older, and supposedly "wiser," I find, as many often do, that my mom was right all along. And the scary thing is, I'm starting to think and act like her too. I can't really pinpoint when it happened, that... Tue, 06 Sep 2011 15:34:51 -0500 Novel way to beat the heat As we enter the latest day of oppressive heat and extreme heat warnings, I find myself ever more amazed at our great-grandparents who survived all of this without the benefit of air conditioning. I can't even begin to imagine what that was like. Here on our little piece of the Ozarks woods, we have set up an ingenious little contraption that creates a water misting system, using hose, nozzles, a 10x10 easy-up canopy and well water. Have I mentioned before how handy the Marine is? And let... Wed, 03 Aug 2011 11:13:09 -0500 State of the Cabin Update Well, it's been a while since we managed to get our electric and water lines run and we have thoroughly been enjoying the magickal flip of the switch and turn of the tap, as it were. We are now enjoying two additional advantages to having electric and water - a washing machine and a dishwasher. Granted, as our cabin is somewhat limited on space, we've created a covered area just behind the cabin where we've placed our washing machine and dishwasher on palettes for the moment. We also use... Thu, 07 Jul 2011 11:43:23 -0500