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a-5-step-guide-to-family-self-reliance

a-5-step-guide-to-family-self-reliance

Family self-reliance is making sure in the event of a disaster your loved ones know the "Family Plan" and how to execute properly. It is important your family's basic needs are being met and that they are safe. Knowledge through communication is the key to making sure your family is prepared during an emergency. Disasters can strike without warning, so all family members should know who to contact and where to meet depending on the emergency at hand.

Step 1- Emergency Evacuation & Shelter Chart Create two blueprint drawings of your home. One blueprint in the case of an evacuation and the other in the case of shelter needed. The evacuation chart should show every possible exit in the home, as well as simple instructions. These charts should be easily understood by every member of your family, then placed in a common area of the home.

 

 

Step 2- Teach Your Children Children can feel the stress of an emergency in a very deep way. It is important to teach them about natural hazards like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, etc. But how do you know how the right way to explain all this? Knowing your child will help you determine how best to explain emergencies to them. Some kids can handle hearing about tornadoes while others may need to be eased into the concept. The goal is not to scare your child into thinking the world is going to end, but that they have the tools to decision make if the situation arises. An understanding of cognitive development in children might help to know what they might be ready to handle.

  • Children 2 to 5- have developed the skills to focus attention for extended periods, recognize previously encountered information, recall old information, and reconstruct it in the present. For Example, a child in this age range can remember an event that happened (or story told to them), then relay that information to a friend at school.
  • Children 5 to 7- learn how to focus and use their cognitive abilities for specific purposes. For example, children can now comprehend stories or facts have been relayed to them.
  • Older Children start to develop and choose specific strategies for approaching a given learning task, monitor their comprehension of information, and evaluate their progress toward completing a learning task.

Step 3- A Walk Through

  • Gather everyone in your family together to go over the Evacuation/Shelter Charts you previously created.
  • Walk through your home and inspect all of the possible exits and escape routes.
  • Make sure the escape routes are clear and doors/windows can be opened easily.
  • Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, mailbox, playground) a safe distance outside your home.
  • Choose #1 person (mom) & #2 person (dad) to be the point of contact for everyone.
  • If there are infants or persons with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them. Assign a backup person too in case the designee is not home during the emergency.
  • Test your walk through! It is suggested to be tried twice a year making the drill as realistic as possible, but remember the objective is not to scare so telling the children there will be a drill can be just as effective as a surprise drill.

Step 4- Emergency Kit (Food,Water,Supplies)

Every family should have an easy-to-grab bag for each member of the family which includes all needed food,water, and supplies to last at least 3 days. After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days and being prepared means having the below items. You will also want to consider what unique needs your family might have (pets, infants, seniors, etc.). Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare separate grab bags for home, work, and vehicles.

  • Water -one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Tent for shelter
  • Personal sanitation
  • Blankets
  • Hand Warmers
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Step 5- After The Disaster

After a fire, hurricane, or other major disaster you likely won't be able to return to your home until after the danger has passed. Wait for the officials to tell you it is safe to return. After you return, take as many pictures to document as much damage as possible.

  • Secure your property by whatever means necessary. Every homeowners policy requires you to take responsible steps to minimize the harm to your property. So, after a fire, if the structure is still burning you must contact the fire department to prevent another flare-up.
  • Contact your insurance company, mortgage company, landlord (if applicable), lawyer, or any other relative agency to inform them of what has happened.
  • Make sure the insurance company acts promptly. In some states they must send you a "notice of intentions" within 30 days of receiving your claim.
  • Keep track of all of your living expenses while you're out of your home. Your policy may include a "loss of use" clause which entitles you to reimbursement.

Tell Us About Your Family's Self-Reliance Plan!

We'd love to hear from our ReadyFamily and how they are staying prepared! 

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8 Tips To Help Your Chickens Lay More Eggs

If you start to raise chickens to be more self-sufficient, you want them to be as productive as possible. But what if they aren’t laying as many eggs as you’d hoped? The most common reasons that chickens aren’t laying eggs is because they are too young, too old, the hours of daylight are too short, it is molting or the feeding is not of sufficient nutritional value. You might not be able to affect those first points, but you can help contribute to a stress-free environment for your chickens while keeping them healthy and well. Chickens will typically lay one egg or less during a day and that will decrease with age. Their egg-laying years will typically last for 2-3 years. If you are experiencing a low yield of eggs from your chickens, check out these tips below to see what you can do to help them lay more eggs.

1. Quality Feed You don’t have to go crazy with some cutting-edge feed that’s guaranteed to make your chickens produce eggs the size of a garden gnome. It’s recommended that you use a diet of premium laying mash or pellet, along with occasional fresh fruit. vegetables, meal worms and other healthy treats. If you’re going to change your tin foil, do it gradually substituting it in slowly.

2. Clean Nests Boxes One of the most important factors to helping chickens lay eggs is a clean nesting box area with comfortable bedding. You can also make a soft surface with recycled-newspaper pellets which also are easy to toss and replace.

3. Open Areas The idea behind free-range chickens is that if they are more comfortable, they will produce more healthy eggs. While free-range chickens might not be a possibility for some urban homesteaders, it’s a great idea to have a larger area with enough area for the chickens to graze on a lawn while still being protected from hawks or other predators.

4. Calcium Egg-laying takes a lot of calcium from a hen’s body. Be sure to provide them enough calcium in their diet to keep a steady flow of eggs. Besides a high-quality feed, you might consider mixing crushed oyster shells in a cup of of feed. Or even placing a cup of oyster shells in the coop for the chickens to eat when they need it.

5. Inspect Regularly Try to handle your hens often checking for problems. If they have large cuts, broken bones, etc. it will give you a better idea of how you can help. Are they uncomfortable? Have they been pestered by predators? Handling your hens on a regular basis will help you know how to best help them.

6. Coop Security Along with the previous point, make sure your coop is secure from predators. Make sure that animals like raccoon's, cats and other animals can’t burrow or find their way into the coop.

7. Fresh Water To stay healthy, chickens need constant access to water. Change the water every day. It might be a chore to do it every day but it will lead to healthier chickens who will lay more eggs.

8. Parasite Control Parasites love to prey on chickens. Mites are the most common and can take control of your coop without you even realizing it. Make it a habit to inspect your chickens at night when mites are most active. Mites are small, reddish-brown insect that scurry around a chicken’s head. If you do have a mite infestation, use a dose of ivermectin (available from a veterinarian) for each chicken.

What Have You Found? How have you helped your chickens lay more eggs? Comment below to help us know what we can do to make our chickens more productive. Explore more DIY possibilities and get the supplies you need to enhance your preparation.

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The Difference Between Civilian MREs & Military MREs

We’ve received a lot of questions over the years about the differences between civilian and military MREs. Does one last longer than the other? Are they equally nutritious? Which should you stock your food storage with? To get started, let’s see the differences between civilian and military MREs.


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What’s The Difference?

In short, there’s not much of a difference. Both civilian and military MREs are made for use by the Department of Defense (DOD), and the most noticeable difference is their packaging. Military MREs also include a few additional accessories. Otherwise, civilian and military MREs are equally reliable and nutritious. So, which should you be prepared with in the case of an emergency? Let’s start by looking at what each MRE contains:

5-Year Full Meal Civilian MRE Contents

  • Main dish entree
  • Side dish
  • Cracker with spread
  • Dessert
  • Electrolyte beverage mix
  • Coffee and creamer
  • Accessory pack includes:
    • Spoon
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Wet Wipes
    • Sugar
    • Napkins

5-Year Full Meal Military MRE Contents:

  • Main dish entree
  • Side dish
  • Cracker with spread
  • Dessert
  • Electrolyte beverage mix
  • Coffee and creamer
  • Standard accessory pack plus:
    • Tabasco sauce
    • Gum (1 piece)
    • Toilet paper

  As you can see, civilian and military MRE contents are almost identical. Both types have 1,250 calories per meal on average, and they even use the same MRE heater. So, if the only difference is a few additional accessories in military MREs, why buy civilian MREs?

The Benefits of Civilian MREs

As we mentioned earlier, one of the main differences is the MREs packaging. DOD military MREs use very specific packaging that states it is specifically for U.S. Military use, and not for commercial resale. Although you may have seen “genuine military MREs” for sale, it is illegal to buy or sell military MREs. Back in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, military personnel were reported to have sold them with the intent of making a profit. Since military MREs can undergo more demanding treatment and temperature changes, its buyer may not be aware of its now shortened shelf life. As you’d imagine, this is problematic. When we count on a product for emergency preparedness, we should have a clear expectation of its lifetime. When you buy an MRE from a dealer like The Ready Store, you can be confident it has been stored gently and trust the printed expiration date is accurate. Now more than ever, being ready for anything just makes sense. Stocking your food storage with full meal MREs is a great way to ensure you and your family will have ample food available in the case of a disaster. They’re perfect for packing into a backpack on any outing, storing in a 72-hour kit, or simply eating at home if other food is unavailable.   Update: The Ready Store still has ample stock of MREs, with 1-12 month supplies available. Order your full meal MREs today.

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Building Your Own Faraday Cage

A Faraday cage is an enclosed space with an outer layer that conducts electricity. The physical shape of the Faraday cage does not matter: it can be spherical, cylindrical, or a box. Either the cage itself can be made of a conductive material, or the cage can be built of a non-conductive material such as wood and then covered in a conductive material. The conductive material can be as simple as several layers of aluminum foil, which makes constructing your own Faraday cage a fairly simple and inexpensive affair.

 

What are Faraday Cages Used For?

Faraday cages are designed to guard whatever is inside of it from excessive levels of static and non-static electricity. This can be accomplished either by reflecting incoming electric fields, absorbing incoming fields, or creating opposing electrical fields. The Faraday cage can help to protect whatever electrical equipment is contained within it from the kind of electromagnetic pulse (EMP), it’s a good practice to keep your emergency electronics such as radios and GPS devices stored in a Faraday cage so they are not incapacitated in the event of an EMP.

 

How Does a Faraday Cage Work?

Incoming fields are cancelled when the free electrons in the conductive material on the Faraday cage instantaneously realign themselves and block the incident electric field. For this to work, the cage has to be made from a conductive material; otherwise, the free electrons are not sufficiently mobile to realign themselves. The layer of conductive material can itself be quite thin. This is thanks to the “skin effect,” which is a term that describes the inclination of electrical currents to move mainly on the outer layer of a conductor. Provided that the conductive layer is more than the skin depth of the material, the electrical shielding of the Faraday cage will be outstanding because there will be very high levels of absorption loss. The skin depth is a function of the material the conductor is made of and the frequency of the incoming wave. Typically, wrapping your Faraday cage in several layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil will give you the needed skin depth to protect your electronics from high-frequency radiated fields like the kind generated by a EMP.

 

Building a Faraday Cage

The material you use for your Faraday cage does not have much influence on how effective the cage will be at protecting your electronics from high-frequency fields. Virtually any metal has the necessary conductivity to allow free electrons to realign and cancel out incoming electric fields. Certain metals, are more conductive than others, which gives them a reduced skin depth – for example, at 200 MHz, silver has a skin depth of less than five microns, as compared to aluminum, which has a skin depth of 24 microns at the same frequency. But on a macro scale, that difference is negligible, which is why you can use heavy-duty aluminum foil, instead of far more expensive materials. Your Faraday cage can have small holes in it, provided they are not too large with respect to the wavelength of the incoming electromagnetic wave. This is why you can also use fine aluminum mesh to build a larger Faraday cage. For example, a 1 GHz wave has a wavelength of 0.3 meters in space. Generally with these kinds of mesh cages, the cage door is typically the part that causes the most leakage, but this can be fixed by taping the seams with conductive tape. You can also use existing metal containers as Faraday cages, including metal ammunition boxes, metal garbage bins, anti-static bags, and even unused microwave ovens. Each of these has its own level of effectiveness: the main concern is that gaps and seams are minimized to reduce leakage. You do not have to ground your Faraday cage in order to protect the electronics contained within, although doing so will help to keep the cage from becoming charged and possibly re-radiating charge, which could be dangerous if you touch it.

 

Large Faraday Cages

If you want to build a larger “shield room,” as engineers refer to rooms that are essentially large Faraday cages for storing electronics, you can do so by covering the inside of a small room or closet with several layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Overlap all of the seams and tape them with regular cellophane tape. Cover all outlets, light switches, and other conductive breaches with aluminum foil, and do not plug anything into any outlets. Once the floor is covered in foil, place a piece of plywood over it so you do not damage it by walking on it. Such a room can store all of your emergency electronics and protect them from incoming high-frequency radiated fields.

 

Have You Made a Faraday Cage? Have you made a faraday cage or room? Have you ever had to use it? How did it turn out? Protecting your electronics is extremely important, but so too is a reliable power supply.

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5 Ways to Elevate Recipes Using Freeze-Dried Fruit

We all have recipes that we know and love, crowd pleasers that are tried and true. For many of us, we often look for ways to mix up the norm with our favorites, adding our own spin on a classic. And for that, freeze-dried fruits stand out as a game-changer. These remarkable morsels of nature's goodness offer a unique twist, infusing dishes with intense flavors, mesmerizing textures, and a vibrant aesthetic appeal. If you're a foodie, or even just a busy mom, eager to add a dash of creativity to your recipes, you're in for a treat.

Join us as we uncover five ingenious ways to elevate your culinary creations using the magic of freeze-dried fruits. Whether you're a seasoned chef or an amateur cook with a flair for experimentation, these ideas are sure to spice things up. 

Freeze-dried fruits, with their concentrated taste and delicate crunch, are the perfect addition to so many recipes and foods. In this blog, we'll delve into the art of transforming ordinary recipes into extraordinary delights using freeze-dried fruits. The best part? Freeze-dried fruit will last on your shelf for up to 30 years. Stop stressing about fresh fruit from the grocery store going bad, and simplify! Freeze-dried fruit offers the same nutritional value as fresh fruit, making it a no-brainer as a kitchen staple. Plus, buying freeze-dried means you'll be prepared for everyday emergencies, and whatever else life has to throw at you.

1. Elevate a Box Cake Mix

 

Alright, let's take that regular old box cake mix and jazz it up with some freeze-dried fruit magic! First, grab your favorite freeze-dried fruit - Saratoga Farms Freeze-Dried Strawberries, Saratoga Farms Freeze-Dried Blueberries, Saratoga Farm Freeze-Dried Raspberries, you name it! 

Then, take a handful and crush them up. Be sure not to crush them too small, your hand should be able to break them into smaller pieces just fine. Toss them in your cake mix and stir! The liquid in the cake mix will rehydrate the freeze-dried fruit. If you want more crunch, consider adding less liquid. If you want your fruit a little more rehydrated, add just a tablespoon or two more water, or milk. 

Your box cake mix is now infused with fruity flavor! You can also mix in crushed freeze-dried fruit with any frosting, or use it to garnish. This will absolutely be a crowd-pleaser and add the wow factor to any cake you make.

2. Summer Milkshake

 

Maybe you're in the mood for a refreshing, delicious, summer milkshake? We've got just the thing. Try a new freeze-dried fruit for this one, Saratoga Farms Freeze-Dried Mangos will be to die for!

Once you've picked your fruity flavor, gently crush up the fruit. Add a few heaping scoops of vanilla ice cream to the blender, add your fruit, and a splash of milk. Now, blend! If you want the flavor to be more prominent, add more freeze-dried fruit and blend again. The milk and ice cream will do the rehydration. Top with whipped cream for the ultimate milkshake. Enjoy creamy, fruity goodness!

 

3. Oatmeal or Overnight Oats

 

Dessert is wonderful, but now let's talk breakfast. Here's how to sprinkle some freeze-dried magic into your morning. Freeze-dried fruit makes the perfect addition to any breakfast, particularly oatmeal or overnight oats. Some fan-favorites for oatmeal are Saratoga Farms Freeze-Dried Apples, Saratoga Farms Freeze-Dried Blueberries, or for an even better twist, Saratoga Farms Freeze-Dried Cinnamon Apples.

For oatmeal, cook your oatmeal like you usually do - stovetop or microwave both work great. When your oatmeal is almost ready, toss in a handful or your fruit. Stir in gently, and watch those fruits rehydrate and add a burst of flavor. You can also top it with a drizzle of honey or some chopped nuts. P.S. This is one of my favorite camping meals, so easy!

For overnight oats, pick out a jar or a container, something with a lid. Add your oats, a splash or milk, and a dollop of yogurt. Now throw in your freeze-dried fruit. Mix everything together, put the lid on, and place it in the fridge overnight. In the morning your oats will be creamy and fruit, and your freeze-dried fruit will be rehydrated and delicious.

4. Dessert Topping

All of these ideas are delicious, and hard to beat, but this one might be the best one yet. Try using freeze-dried fruit as a topping on any and all of your favorite desserts. 

Using Saratoga Farms Freeze-Dried Strawberries, make a quick and easy compote to top your cheesecake. Mouth-wateringly delicious. The best part, you don't have to stress about the fresh strawberries, you've already got freeze-dried strawberries with a 30 year shelf life. 

Or use your freeze dried fruit as a healthy ice cream topping. The crunch of the freeze-dried fruit makes the most amazing texture on top of ice cream. Don't forget the whipped cream!

 

5. Dutch Oven Cobbler

 

Finally, Dutch oven cobbler! Cobbler is the quintessential camping dessert. But sometimes, bringing fresh fruit camping is more of a hassle than it is worth. Freeze-dried fruit is lightweight, easy to pack, and doesn't go bad, making it perfect for camp cobbler. Try Saratoga Farm Freeze-Dried Peaches for a wonderful peach cobbler. 

Use your favorite cobbler recipe, and simply replace the fruit called for with your freeze-dried fruit. No need to rehydrate; they'll do that as they cook. Cook as you normally would, and next thing you know you'll be eating the most delicious, cozy cobbler. Don't forget the ice cream! 

 

 

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Mouthwatering Blueberry Muffins

Mouthwatering Blueberry Muffins

Welcome to our delectable freeze-dried blueberry muffin recipe – a delightful twist on the classic treat that will have you reaching for seconds! By incorporating freeze-dried blueberries into this scrumptious creation, we unlock a plethora of benefits that take these muffins to the next level.

Unlike their fresh counterparts, freeze-dried blueberries boast intensified flavors and a concentrated burst of natural sweetness, ensuring each bite is a flavor explosion in your mouth. Not only do they lend a gorgeous pop of color to the muffins, but their light and airy texture ensures even distribution throughout the batter, leaving you with a moist and evenly infused crumb.

Additionally, freeze-dried blueberries have an extended shelf life, making them convenient and available year-round, allowing you to enjoy the taste of summer whenever the craving strikes. Freeze-Dried Blueberries will rehydrate as you mix them into the batter, they'll naturally rehydrate!

So, gather your baking essentials, and let's embark on this delightful journey to create these irresistible blueberry muffins!

Don't forget the key ingredient!

 

 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup softened butter

  • 1¼ cups sugar

  • eggs

  • teaspoon vanilla extract

  • cups flour

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ cup milk

  • cups Saratoga Farms Freeze-Dried Blueberries

  • teaspoons sugar

 

Preparation

  1. Step 1

    Preheat your oven to 375.

  2. Step 2

    Cream the butter and 1¼ cups sugar until light.

  3. Step 3

    Add both eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Add vanilla.

  4. Step 4

    Sift together the salt, flour, and baking powder, then add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk.

  5. Step 5

    Crush ½ cup dry Saratoga Farms Freeze-Dried blueberries with a fork, and mix into the batter. Fold in the rest of the whole berries.

  6. Step 6

    Use cupcake liners to line a 12-cup standard muffin tin, and fill 3/4 of the way with batter. Sprinkle the 3 teaspoons of sugar over the tops of the muffins, and bake at 375 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.

  7. Step 7

    Remove the muffins from the tin and cool for at least 30 minutes. Store, uncovered, or the muffins will be too moist the second day, but they will likely be gobbled before that. Once muffins have cooled completely they can also be frozen and eaten later!

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How to Best Store Your Food Storage

One of the largest questions with food storage is “Where should I put this?” Where you store your food storage has a large impact on how long it will last and how good the food will taste once you use it. What type of container you use to store the food and the conditions of the area you store it in, have a large impact on the food. Below we’ve listed out a few things you need to consider with your food containers and the conditions in which you store them. Let’s get started!

Containers There are three types of packaging you’ll find for typical food storage supplies: Mylar pouches, metal cans or plastic containers. Each will provide a slight difference with your shelf life and storage requirements.

Cans. Commonly known as #10 cans (so named for its volume), these container often use oxygen absorbers to increases shelf life. In fact, this method of storage has proven to yield the longest shelf life (10-30 years) for dry foods. However, the seams of the can should be carefully examined and maintained, as faulty seams are the primary threat to food quality long term.1

Pouches. High-quality Mylar pouches can keep a meal for 15-25 years thanks to their superior oxygen barriers protecting the food. When the bags are thicker, contain oxygen absorbers and are stored correctly, it all comes together to create an effective, lightweight storage system.

Large Buckets. Buckets are effective at holding large amounts of food while keeping smells contained and sunlight blocked. As stated earlier, the most effective bucket storage also uses Mylar bagging on the interior of the bucket. This combination has proven to be one of the most effective at preserving food long term. Jars. This storage container isn’t used commercially much anymore, but continues to be the container of choice for many food storage DIYers. So long as the seal is airtight and the jars have been properly cleaned, glass jars are an effective form of storage. However, the food is more exposed to light, so it is important to keep glass jars used for food storage in the dark as much as possible.

Oxygen Absorbers Reducing oxygen is crucial because it helps ensure flavor, fights rancidity, nutritional breakdown, and keeps food free of infestation. Historically, two practices have been used to remove oxygen - nitrogen flushing and oxygen absorbers. Nitrogen flushing was a process that attempted to push out oxygen by flushing the food containers full of nitrogen and expelling the oxygen. By its nature, effective nitrogen flushing was a difficult process that was hard to get right. Nitrogen flushing also had a somewhat negative impact on the flavor of the food.2 The other, more proven3, method is placing oxygen absorbers inside food storage containers, which removes oxygen from the environment they are placed in through a chemical reaction. It’s recommended that your food storage has an oxygen absorber inside the can or mylar bag.

Storage Conditions When considering where to store your food storage, find a place that is dry, dark and cool. In order to properly store your food, focus on two main areas: Moisture and temperature. There are other important criteria to consider too, such as light levels, air circulation and avoiding infestations, but dealing with moisture and temperature should be your top priorities. Moisture. This is enemy number one when it comes to safe food storage. Moisture causes all sorts of problems to your food, namely deteriorating food value and promoting an environment for harmful micro-organisms to grown in. In fact, the absence of water is the main reason dehydrated and freeze-dried foods last so long. Wherever you keep you food, make sure it won’t come in contact with water, typically by avoid storage directly on the ground. Don’t forget that a lot of food can even spoil from the moisture in the air. Temperature. Remember the two Cs - consistency and coolness. Avoid storing your food in a location that changes temperature drastically depending on the season (so, typically no garages or attics). Additionally, keep your food away from heat sources like freezers, furnaces or refrigerators, as all of these utilities generate varying degrees of heat in their rooms depending on the season. The ideal temperature for most food storage is below 70 F.4

Light. Direct sunlight destroys nutritional value and rapidly degenerates food quality, appearance and taste.5 Additionally, direct sunlight often raises temperatures, which spoils food. Light is only a threat if you are storing your food in containers other than plastic containers, pouches or barrels.

Infestations. Insect or vermin infestations occur when at least one of the above criteria are compromised. If your food is wet, smelly, warm or exposed to the air, it is only a matter of time before a colony of insects starts growing in your food or vermin sniff it out. Keeping your food in ideal storage conditions not only preserves it longer while maintaining nutritional value, it also ensures only you and your family will have a chance to eat it and not any unwanted critters.

What to Take Away From All This? So, how should you store your food storage? First look for a product that is sealed well, contains an oxygen absorber and offers a protective barrier from light and odors. After you’ve purchased your food, make sure to store it in a cool, dry and dark location that will have consistent temperatures.


[1] Halling, Van Noy, Ogden & Pike. 2007. “Quality of white rice retail packaged in No. 10 cans for long-term storage.” Poster presentation at Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting. Accessed online Sept 23, 2013 at https://goo.gl/kE60Tb [2] Mexis & Kontominas. 2010. “Effect of oxygen absorber, nitrogen flushing, packaging material oxygen transmission rate and storage conditions on quality retention of raw whole unpeeled almond kernels (Prunus dulcis).” Food Science and Technology. Volume 43, Issue 1. Pp 1-11. [3] Purcell, Barber and Johnson. 1993. “Use of Oxygen Absorbers in Dry Pack Canning.” Accessed Online Sept 23, 2013 at https://goo.gl/lrWCN2 [4] Norseth, Amy L. 1986. “Storage of Low-Moisture Foods: Effect of Storage Temperature, Time and Oxygen Levels on Consumer Acceptability and Nutrient Content.” Accessed online Sept 23, 2013 at https://goo.gl/LCz604 [5] Shelley, Reid A. 1978. “Solar Drying of Foods: Effects on Drying and Treatment Method on Vitamin Retention.” Accessed online Sept 23, 2013 at https://goo.gl/S1x6D1

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Should You Raise Pigs?

Should You Raise Pigs?

I'm sure you saw the title of this article and immediately thought, "I already live with a few."

However, whether you're a self-reliant homesteader or just want to cut away from your food budget, raising pigs (of the porcine variety) is a great way to become more self-reliant and sufficient. If you raise your own meat in any scenario, you will have more control over how it is raised and fed, and you can make sure that it is essentially raised organically (whether or not you apply for organic certification).

Raising your own meat is less expensive than purchasing meat that is not factory-farmed. And raising your own meat is sustainable in the event of economic hard times – the source is right there on your own land. In fact, you may be able to barter your homesteaded meat with others in the community for useful supplies and resources.

 

Space Requirements for Pigs

The first and probably the most influential question to consider is how much space you are working with.

Pigs are very social animals, and do well in groups of two or more. You’ll want to have at least that many if you intend to breed your pigs for the long term. They don’t need a great deal of room, although you will have to give them enough space to be comfortable – any enclosure should allow for at least ten or fifteen square feet per animal.

Hog panels are the most affordable means of enclosing pigs that is also effective. Make sure their enclosure has at least a partial roof to give the pigs shade as well as some shelter from inclement weather. And pigs will appreciate it if you provide them with a few bales of hay for bedding.

Food for Your Pigs

Pigs eat a lot, as anyone knows – but they require a balanced diet to be healthy and produce quality meat. You can pasture your pigs for part of their diet, but they also need a rich source of protein as well. While pelleted pig feed is sold commercially, you can also construct a balanced diet of table scraps, boiled eggs, apples, pumpkins, and cracked corn.

Many people will tell you that you can raise a pig on any type of food - "They'll eat anything." While this might be partly true, your pigs will produce better results and higher-quality fertilizer if you feed them a balanced diet. Be careful not to get too carried away with the protein you feed your pig. Many people know that pigs need protein and get carried away giving them too much. Instead keep to a balanced diet.

Compost

Like we hinted at above, one of the advantages of raising pigs is that their manure is as rich as their diet. Pig manure can be composted along with green and brown garden matter to create a rich fertilizer that your vegetable gardens will certainly benefit from. 

 

Keeping Your Pigs Healthy

Pigs are generally very healthy, robust animals that will make it from birth to bacon without so much as a runny nose. But it is still a good idea to make sure you know your local livestock veterinarian in the event that you do encounter any issues with your animals. It’s also a wise practice to treat your animals with anti-parasitic medication; if they develop a parasite it can wreak havoc on your entire herd.

From Birth to Bacon

While pigs can be a great way to treat your kids responsibility, most people raise pigs in order to eat them. If you are homesteading your pigs, you’ll want to find a local processor who can slaughter them for you, as it is difficult work. If money is pretty tight, you may not have this luxury, so you will want to learn how to properly raise, slaughter and dress your animals. Have a seasoned hunter or professional help you the first few times until you know what you’re doing.

Do You Raise Pigs?

Do you or someone you know raise pigs? We'd love to hear from you. Comment below and tell us what recommendations you have about raising pigs. What lessons did you learn and what advice do you have for others?

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How to Identify Venomous Snakes

A huge part of learning how to become more self-reliant is knowing how to protect yourself against dangerous creatures in the wild. For instance, wild snakes. A question we’ve been asked by one of our customers is, do you know how to identify what snakes are poisonous and those that are not life threatening? Rest assured, it’s easier than you’d think. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7,000 - 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes and unfortunatley 5 results in death. This number would be higher if people did not seek medical care 1. It doesn’t matter if you’re working, camping or just outside, being able to identify snakes will hopefully save you from an unwanted hospital visit.

Common Venomous Snakes in the United States

Rattle Snakes

  • Easy to identify since they have triangle-shaped heads, large bodies and a rattle at the tip of the tale.
  • Their sizes range from 1 – 8 feet, depending on the breed.
  • They can be found in forests, deserts, swamps and grasslands.
  • Rattlesnakes have heat sensing organs located in the pits of their eyes. This helps them "see" their prey even in complete darkness.
  • Rattlesnakes can be found almost anywhere in the United States, especially in the southwest.

 

Copper Heads

  • Copperhead snakes usually have an unmarked copper-colored head, reddish-brown, coppery bodies with chestnut brown hourglass crossbands2.
  • The average size of a copperhead snake is 30 inches.
  • They can be found on the east coast of the Unites States and in mid-southern states as well.
  • Copperheads have heat sensing organs located between their eye and on each side of their head.

Cottonmouths/Water Moccasins

  • Cottonmouth snakes have large, triangular heads with a dark line through their eyes, elliptical pupils and large jowls (cheek) due to the venom glands3.
  • Their sizes range from 24 - 48 inches.
  • They can be found in the southeast, north to southeastern Virgina. Since they are semi-aquatic, they can be found near swamps, rivers, and wetlands. They can also be found around drying pools as well.

Coral Snakes

  • The most common type of coral snake is identified by the red, yellow and black band pattern. However, not all coral snakes have the same colors. The head is always black, regardless of the region.
  • Their sizes range from 18 - 20 inches.
  • The Eastern Coral snakes are more common the Western Coral snakes. They prefer marshy, wooded areas where they can hide.
  • The venom in coral snakes is considered neurotoxic. This means that it'll affect the way that the way that the brain communicates with muscles, slurring speech, affecting movement and ultimately ceasing cardiac and respiratory function4.

 

  What to Do If You're Bitten By a Venomous Snake

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible
  • Keep still and stay calm
  • Try to remember the color and shape since this will help with the treatment of the snake bite
  • Apply first aid if you cannot get to the hospital right away (lay down with the bite below the level of the heart, wash the bite with soap and water and cover it with a clean dressing)

DO NOT

  • Do no wait for symptoms to appear, always seek medical attention
  • Do not pick up the snake or try to trap it
  • Do not apply a tourniquet
  • Do not suck out the venom of the snake
  • Do not apply ice or put in water
  • Do not drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages

Signs or Symptoms of a Venomous Snake Bite

  • Redness or swelling around puncture marks
  • Impairment of vision
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Increased sweating and/or salivation
  • Numbness or tingling

We recommend that you always have a first aid kit on you when exploring the outdoors. If venomous snakes are common in your area, it would be a wise idea to invest in a snake bite kit or venom extractor.

What do you have in your emergency kit to help with snake bites?

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What Are the Best Guns for Emergency Preparedness?

We often get asked about what type of gun we would recommend for emergency preparedness. The answer is a bit complicated. The short answer is that it depends on what you’re going to use the gun for. Is it for hunting food that you’d need in an emergency? Is it for self-defense? Each gun has different strengths and weaknesses and the gun you choose should be tailored to your specific needs.

Points to consider before you add a gun Before you choose a gun for your preparedness needs, you’ll want to consider a few points:

What Needs Will You Have? Will you be using this gun for protection? For hunting? Whatever gun you choose will depend on what you’re going to use it for. For example, a rifle would be better for hunting during an emergency while a shotgun would be better for self-defense.

Popularity/Availability of Ammo. You might not be able to buy more ammo in an emergency. As a rare commodity, you’d need ammo that would be popular enough to fit in your gun. You’d also need a gun that takes a very popular type of ammunition.

How Much Ammunition the Gun Holds. How many rounds does the gun hold? This might affect your decision of gun because of the needs that you have.

Interchangeable Choke and Barrel. For shotguns, the choke of the gun is the tapered build of the gun that helps determine how much the shot will spread. The choke will determine the accuracy and range of the gun. An interchangeable choke will allow you to change the use of your gun from a longer range to a shorter range weapon. The barrel length also makes an impact on the range but more importantly makes it easier or more difficult to handle in close quarter like turning around corners in your home. Handling a 4-foot gun for self-defense to protect yourself from a perpetrator in your home will be impractical.

Safe Storage. How are you going to store the weapon? Is it going to fit inside of your 72-hour kit or would it be something you keep under your bed or in the top of your closet? Will the gun break apart and store in a different space? Depending on what you’re using the gun for and how readily available you need the gun, the answers might change. But always keep your gun in a safe place away from children. If you are going to own a gun, treat it with the respect it deserves & get proper gun safety training.

Understand Your Weapon. No matter how many guns or how much ammunition you have, if you don’t understand how to use your gun and don’t have practice shooting it, it will be worthless. Or worse, your ignorance could cause injury or death for yourself, loved ones, or innocent people.

Which Gun Should I Own? Below we’ve listed the different types of guns you could consider acquiring for use in an emergency with some helpful details for each type of weapon. Please keep in mind a couple things: • Prices for ammunition can change. The prices listed below are on the cheaper end. High-grade ammunition can be much more expensive than the prices listed below. • *Range has many variables including: weather, specific ammo, specific gun, gun condition, visibility, and shooting experience to name a few. The best way to know the range of your gun is to use it.

High-Caliber Rifle (Price Range = $300 - $6,000 | Average Price = $800) These weapons are designed for use in hunting large game like deer or elk from a longer distance. The ammunition is large, heavy, and travels very fast in order to take down larger game from far away with a high level of precision and accuracy.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
.30-30 300 yards* Common $1.25 (Oct 2012 was $1.00)
.30-06 500 yards* Common $1.25 (Oct 2012 was $1.00)
.308/7.62x51mm 500 yards* Very Common $1.10 (Oct 2012 was $0.90)

Tactical Rifle (Price Range = $400 - $4,000 | Average Price = $1,000) These weapons are designed for self-defense and are typically semi-automatic (you can just keep pulling the trigger to fire without cocking or reloading). Usually these weapons will hold more rounds of ammunition than a typical hunting rifle and are commonly used with a high-capacity magazine. They are usually shorter than a hunting rifle and have a pistol grip and stock combo for easier handling in close quarters.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
7.62x39mm 500 yards* Very Common $0.40 (Oct 2012 was $0.25)
.223/5.56 300 yards* Very Common $1.00 (Oct 2012 was $0.25)

Low-Caliber Rifle (Price Range = $150 - $1,000 | Average Price = $300) These weapons are designed for hunting smaller animals like rabbits. They have a much shorter range, but the ammunition is significantly less expensive than other weapons. With a little digging you can find rounds for close to a penny each.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
.17 HMR 300 yards* Uncommon $0.30 (Oct 2012 was $0.20)
.22 LR (Long Rifle) 100 yards* Very Common $0.20 (Oct 2012 was $0.05)

 

Tactical Shotgun (Price Range = $200 - $2,000 | Average Price = $500) Tactical shotguns like tactical rifles are intended for short-range self-defense. They usually have a shorter barrel and a choke designed to spread the shot as much as possible. Typically these are pump action or semi-automatic weapons. Barrels shorter than 18” or weapons shorter than 26” are illegal in the USA without proper registration. Another thing to consider is shotguns are the easiest ammunition to load yourself.
Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
12 Gauge 3” #1 30 yards* Common $0.80 (Oct 2012 was $0.50)
20 Gauge 3” #2 30 yards* Common $0.80 (Oct 2012 was $0.50)

Hunting Shotgun (Price Range = $200 - $2,000 | Average Price = $500) Hunting shotguns are designed for shooting small game (especially birds). These weapons typically have a barrel 28” - 33” long. There are many choices for ammunition depending on your intended use.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
12 Gauge 3” Slug 75 yards* Uncommon $2.50 (Oct 2012 was $0.50)
12 Gauge 3” 00 Buckshot 50 yards* Common $1.30 (Oct 2012 was $0.80)
12 Gauge 3” #7 Birdshot 35 yards* Very Common $5.00 (Oct 2012 was $0.50)

 

 

Pistol/Handgun (Price Range = $150 - $3,000 | Average Price = $500) Pistols, like shotguns and tactical rifles are design for close-quarter self-defense. Handguns have the advantage that they can be legally concealed with a proper permit. Ammunition is cheaper than other weapons but still not as cheap as a low-caliber rifle.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
9mm 50 yards* Very Common $0.50 (Oct 2012 was $0.35)
.40 S&W 50 yards* Common $0.80 (Oct 2012 was $0.40)
.45 ACP 50 yards* Common $1.15 (Oct 2012 was $0.45)

 

What are you packing? So, what gun do you prefer? Comment below to tell us what kind of gun you prefer for emergency situations. Don't forget to complete your preparation with MRE meals and other emergency supplies.

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How to Turn Off the Natural Gas to your Home After an Earthquake

KNOW THE LOCATION OF YOUR GAS SHUT-OFF VALVES

Knowing the location of your gas shut off valve is a critical safety measure, especially if your house is supplied with natural gas. In this article, we will guide you through the process of finding and identifying your gas valves, and share important safety tips that could potentially save your life.

Safety Precautions

It is not always safe to turn off the gas valve during an emergency. If you suspect a gas leak, leave the house immediately and call the gas company or fire department. If the leak has been happening for a short time, turn off the valve before exiting the house.

Gas Valve Location

The location of gas valves varies depending on the age of your house, local codes, and your geographical location. They are usually not in obvious places, so it's essential to know where they are located.

Street Side Valve

The main shut off valve is typically located just before the gas meter and is referred to as the "street side valve."

House Side Valve

The "house side valve" is located on the inside of your house, where the pipe enters. It is a ball valve attached to a black iron pipe, and you may also see a gray galvanized pipe nearby, which is your water pipe.

High-Pressure Systems

If your house has a newer high-pressure gas system, you will see a flexible copper pipe running from the meter to your utility room. In this case, the main shut off valve is usually located near the water heater or furnace.

TURNING OFF THE NATURAL GAS TO YOUR HOME

If you experience an earthquake, it is important to take steps to ensure the safety of your home and family. One of the things you can do is turn off the gas to your home to prevent the risk of gas leaks and fires. Here's how you can turn off the gas:

1. Locate the gas meter: The gas meter is usually located near the street and outside the home, near the main gas line. It is typically a metal box with a valve that controls the flow of gas into your home.

2. Locate the shutoff valve: The shutoff valve is usually a metal lever or knob attached to the gas meter. It controls the flow of gas into your home and can be used to turn off the gas.

3. Turn off the gas: To turn off the gas, turn the valve a quarter turn so that it is perpendicular to the pipe. This will stop the flow of gas into your home.

4. Check for leaks: After turning off the gas, you should check for any gas leaks. You can do this by smelling for gas (natural gas has a strong, sulfur-like odor) or by using a gas leak detector.

It's important to remember to turn off the gas only if you suspect a gas leak or other damage to your gas lines. If you're unsure about how to turn off the gas or if you suspect a gas leak, it's best to evacuate the building and call the gas company for assistance.

Note: If you live in a rental property, it is recommended to inform your landlord or property manager of the earthquake and any damages. They will be responsible for turning off the gas and ensuring the safety of the building and tenants.

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How to Seal Your Own Food with Mylar Bags

Metalized bags, or Mylar bags, offer a great solution to sealing your own food. Mylar bags help keep moisture, sunlight, and oxygen out of your food – extending your food’s shelf-life! Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to seal your own Mylar bags.

What you’ll need

First, be sure to round up all of your supplies. It’s recommended that you seal more than one Mylar bag in a sitting because the oxygen absorbers that you place in the bags can only stay out in the open for a few hours. So, you can’t really open the O2 absorber bag and then use the absorbers later.

Be sure to gather:

• Your food

• A bucket (doesn't need to be food-grade)

• A lid

• Mylar bags for each bucket

• An oxygen absorber for each bucket

• A heat source like a clothes iron or a hair straightener

 

Step 1 – Put the Mylar bags in the buckets

Be sure to spread the bag out along the bottom of the bucket as much as possible. This will help you food settle to the bottom as much as possible.

Step 2 – Pour the food into the Mylar bag

Step 3 – Lift the Mylar bag to settle

Take the Mylar bag and lift it up inside the bucket. Don’t take it out. Shake the bag to make sure that all the contents are settled to the bottom. This will help the food fill into the pockets of air in the bag so you can get more food into the bag.

Step 4 – Throw in an oxygen absorber

You don’t have to bury it or anything. You can just throw it on the top. You’ll want to press the sides of the bag so the part you’ll be sealing stands straight. This is a good time to push out the remaining air.

Step 5 – Seal the bag

Use a clothes iron or hair straightener to seal the top of the bag. If you use a clothes iron, make sure that it’s not on a steam setting. The heat source should be at a high setting to seal the bag correctly.

When using a clothes iron, it is sometimes helpful to use a piece of wood to iron against. You can wrap the top of the bag around the wood and push against it to iron. Start heating from the middle of the bag and move your way to the outside. This will help the seal lay more evenly.

We’ve seen a lot of videos where people leave a slot at the top of the seal, quickly vacuum out the remaining air and then seal the rest of the bag. This isn’t necessary. If you have a good oxygen absorber, it will take out the remaining oxygen from the bag.

You might notice there is still some space in the bag due to nitrogen in the air, which doesn’t harm the food. A 2000cc oxygen absorber is potent enough that if you were to inflate the entire Mylar bag with air and seal it with the absorber, it would take all the oxygen out, leaving only nitrogen and traces of other gases (less than 1 percent) that are not going to harm your food.

Step 6 – Place a lid on top

Fold over the Mylar bag and then place a lid on top. You’re done! What other tips do you have? What have you found to be effective for food storage? Comment below and let us know.

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Can I Use Bleach to Purify Water Storage?

At The Ready Store, we often get this question. Many believe that you can use household bleach to purify water storage. Here is the best answer we can provide. Household bleach is not manufactured with human consumption in mind. The chemicals are much higher than what would be considered safe for human consumption. Having said that, if you don't have anything else, using bleach may be better than nothing.

It's not recommended to use straight bleach to purify your stored water if you have better options. It would be much better to purchase a water treatment that is guaranteed not to harm you when consuming. The water treatment we and many other companies carry would purify the stored water up to 5 years so you don't need to worry about changing it out or over contaminating the water with bleach.

One option is sodium hypochlorite (bleach) but has been manufactured so that there are no impurities in it and as a result it is the only bleach product that has been approved and certified by the EPA for human consumption.

Many people use unscented household bleach to store there water. We don't recommend it because it can potentially be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. Why not use a bleach that's been certified for consumption just in case?

If you do choose to use household bleach to fill your water storage containers, please follow these steps put out by the Center for Disease Control:

1. Wash the storage container with dishwashing soap and water and rinse completely with clean water.

2. Sanitize the container by adding a solution made by mixing 1 teaspoon of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach in one quart of water.

3. Cover the container and shake it well so that the sanitizing bleach solution touches all inside surfaces of the container.

4. Wait at least 30 seconds and then pour the sanitizing solution out of the container.

5. Let the empty sanitized container air-dry before use OR rinse the empty container with clean, safe water that already is available.

The CDC only recommends using unscented common household bleach for cleaning water supplies if you don't have bottled water or boiling is impractical. They also only recommend using it in small quantities.

Check the label to see what the percentage make up of Sodium Hypochlorite is in the bottle. Here is a chart of how much bleach to add per bleach grade:

Adding Bleach to Water Storage
 
% Sodium Hypochlorite
Add Bleach/Per
 
 
1%
10 drops / qrt/ltr - 40 drops/gallon
 
 
4-6%
2 drops / qrt/ltr - 8 drops/gallon
 
 
7-10%
1 drop / qrt/ltr - 4 drops/gallon
 
 
Unknown
10 drops/ qrt/ltr – 40 drops/gallon
 
 
If the water is cloudy, murky, colored or very cold; double the amount of bleach added.
 

Let the water stand for 30 minutes before using it. Remember that water purification is vital, so stock up on water purification and water filtration systems.

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How to Make Emergency Water Storage Last

How much water do you think you use on a daily basis? Depending on your personal hygiene preferences: 5 gallons? 10 gallons? 20 gallons? According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the average American uses 80 - 100 gallons of water per day! In fact, over 410 billion gallons of water are withdrawn from the country’s water supply each day!

Now imagine that supply wasn’t available. What would you do? That’s why having an emergency water storage supply is so important - not only for natural disasters but water outages and other problems.

It's recommended that you have 1/2 gallon of drinking water per day. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, recommends that you have 1 gallon of water per person per day for drinking AND hygiene. That means if you want to prepare for a month for a family of four, you’d need about 120 gallons of water! You can see how water storage preparations would begin to add up! That's why It's so important to store enough water for your family.

Good material.

All of our water containers are made from BPA-free plastic with heavy-duty walls that are ¼” thick. The walls are made from food-grade high-density polyethylene. That means you can store water in it and not worry about harsh, man-made chemicals. All of our containers are made with food-grade plastic and an opaque lining that protects your water and prevents bacteria from growing. 

How long will water storage last? 

If you follow FEMA’s recommendation of preparing 1 gallon of water per person per day, you’ll obviously be cutting back on your water consumption. If you chose to use more water per day, the 500-gallon tank would still last! You can use this chart to plan for your family’s needs:

How long would 500 gallons of water last your family?
# of family members 1 gallon per day 2 gallons per day 3 gallons per day 4 gallons per day 5 gallons per day
1 500 days 250 days 167 days 125 days 100 days
2 250 days 125 days 84 days 63 days 50 days
3 167 days 84 days 56 days 42 days 34 days
4 125 days 63 days 42 days 32 days 25 days
5 100 days 50 days 34 days 25 days 20 days
6 84 days 42 days 28 days 21 days 17 days
7 72 days 36 days 24 days 18 days 15 days
8 63 days 32 days 21 days 16 days 13 days
9 56 days 28 days 19 days 14 days 12 days
10 50 days 25 days 17 days 13 days 10 days

Questions? If you have any questions about your water storage needs, we’d love to help! Post your questions below and we’ll answer! Also feel free to browse our full selection of water storage items and water accessories.

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How to Build an Underground Bunker

Underground bunkers became extremely popular during the Cold War Era. Today, we may still have a need to protect ourselves from unforeseen dangers. A backyard bunker may be exactly what you need to protect your family. When building an underground shelter make sure to have at least 2 feet of dirt over the top. This layer of Earth will protect your family from gamma radiation in the event of a nuclear attack. The deeper the bunker the better. Keep in mind air can get stale quickly underground. Invest in a good air exchanger and filtration system. Make sure the door opens towards the inside so you can still get out if something falls and blocks the door. Having a second emergency exit is recommended.

Shipping Container Shelter

Shipping containers come in a variety of sizes, 20ft and 40ft long for example. Many large companies sell used containers for a discounted price. Reinforcement is a must because containers were designed to take a load on the 4 corners, not on the top or sides. They won't withstand a car or tractor driving over the top. Combine several containers for a larger shelter to house more people and allow for more storage.

  1. Dig a hole a least 2 feet deeper than the height of the shipping container.
  2. Pour concrete stairs leading down to the bunker.
  3. Use I-beams to support the entryway roof.
  4. Place corrugated steel across the top of the container as a base for the concrete roof.
  5. Weld a re-bar frame around the stairs.
  6. Add blocks to the rebar and fill with concrete.
  7. Install air vents and PVC pipes for utilities.
  8. Pour a 6-inch layer of concrete over the top to insulate and strength the roof.
  9. Backfill with topsoil in order to plant grass and bushes on top of the bunker, thereby camouflaging it.
  10. Add food storage, bunk beds, and a gun rack if desired.

 

Tube Survival Shelter

Tube shelter won't need as much reinforcing as they are designed to take a load on on sides. It is a bit like living in a submarine. Atlas Survival Shelters has premade bunkers, just pick a site to install them. They are made out of 12-foot diameter galvanized corrugated pipe. They are 11 times stronger than a square design and they can last for 200 years underground. They can even be buried up to 42 feet below the Earth's surface. Here are some tips for building your own tube bunker. It will probably be easier to construct the bunker above ground and then simply drop in into place.

  1. Build a frame for the frame for the floor out of 2x4's, allow for 3-feet of storage.
  2. Add plywood over the frame to create a level floor.
  3. Cut holes and add doors in the plywood down the middle of the tube to allow access to the underfloor storage.
  4. Add bunk beds and the comforts of home.
  5. Dig a hole large enough to fit the pipe at the desired depth.
  6. Place the pipe in the hole.
  7. Weld a smaller pipe to the outer door area and add an access ladder to the surface.
  8. Connect water and utilities.
  9. Install a generator and air filter.
  10.  Weld an additional small pipe at the back for an emergency exit.
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Freeze-Dried Food vs Dehydrated

A lot of people use the terms dehydrated and freeze-dried like they are the same thing. However, there are some major differences between dehydrated and freeze-dried food storage. Don’t worry, we’re going to help you understand those differences.  

The Dehydration Process

With any type of food preservation, moisture needs to be removed from the food. The most common way to do this is by dehydrating. Dehydrating has been a food preservation practice for thousands of years, dating back to at least 12,000 BC.[1] The Romans and Middle Easterners would dry fruits and vegetables in “still houses” which would use a fire to dry out and smoke foods. Modern-day dehydration isn’t that complex. Machines circulate hot and dry air across the food. This removes much of the water. The moist air is then dried so that water continues to be removed. The temperatures are high enough to remove water but not high enough to cook the food. Dehydrated food is usually withered and harder.freeze dried food vs dehyrated food process

The Freeze-Drying Process

The freeze-drying process is a relatively modern preservation process. Freeze-drying isn’t something you can do at home without high-tech machinery. *Update- Freeze-drying can now be done at home with the Harvest Right Freeze-Dryer. Some reports show that freeze-drying originated with the Inca Empire.[2] However, reliable sources of freeze-drying were created during World War II as a way to preserve blood plasma, medicine and later, food for the troops. Freeze Drying is a fairly simple process too. The food is placed on large racks inside of a vacuum chamber. The temperature is lowered to below freezing and then slowly raised. The water in the food moves from a solid state to a gaseous state - maintaining the structure of the food and keeping the nutritional value.

The Main Differences

Moisture Content. The main objective with food preservation is to remove the moisture so that the food doesn’t decompose, grow mold, etc. Dehydration removes about 90-95 percent of the moisture content[3] while freeze drying removes about 98-99 percent.[4] Foods that you dehydrate at your home will typically have a 10 percent moisture content level while foods that are dehydrated professionally will have a lower moisture content - which increases the shelf life.

Shelf Life. The moisture removal has a direct impact on the shelf life. Most dehydrated products like dried fruits, vegetables, powders, and TVP; have a shelf life of about 15-20 years. However, dehydrated items like honey, salt, sugar, hard wheat, and oats have a 30-year shelf life - sometimes longer.[5] Freeze-dried foods will have a longer average shelf life. Freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, just-add-water meals and real meats will have a 25-30-year shelf life.[6] Ideally, all of your food storage would be stored at a temperature of 60 degrees or lower.

Nutritional Content. According to research by the American Institute for Cancer Research[7], freeze-dried foods retain the vast majority of the vitamins and minerals found in the original food. However, when compared to fresh fruits and vegetables, freeze-dried foods did lack in some vitamins - like Vitamin C - which breaks down very rapidly. Dehydration doesn’t change the fiber or iron content of food. However, dehydration can break down vitamins and minerals during the preservation process and retain less of their nutritional value when compared to freeze-dried food. Dehydration tends to result in the loss of Vitamins A and C, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.[8]

Appearance & Composition. One of the main differences between dehydrated and freeze-dried food is how they look. Most people are familiar with banana chips (dehydrated) but not necessarily freeze-dried bananas (which become soft when you place them in your mouth). Weight is another difference. Freeze-dried foods are going to weigh a lot less than dehydrated foods. This makes them easier to haul or store. freeze-dried food vs dehydrated food process

Cooking. Dehydrated foods will require cooking. Many times, they will also require some type of seasoning. This means that you’ll need to spend time boiling the product in hot water and letting it cook. The preparation time for dehydrated products can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours depending. However, with freeze-dried foods, you just need to add water. Adding either hot water or cold water will get the job done depending on what you’re eating. Freeze-dried foods will usually be ready to eat in less than 5 minutes.

Cost. Obviously, the cost of food storage will depend on what you're buying. But usually, dehydrated foods are going to be cheaper than freeze-dried. Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods offer different benefits that might be worth the cost. However, if you're on a tight budget, dehydrated foods are definitely the way to go.

The Main Similarities

Packaging. Food storage cans are highly efficient. It’s not like the bag of potato chips that you open and half of it is air. Cans are filled as high as they can be no matter if they are dehydrated or freeze-dried. All of the cans are double-enameled and are sealed with an oxygen absorber to extend the shelf life.

Storage Requirements. There isn’t a difference in storing food that’s freeze-dried or dehydrated. The cans or buckets are all the same size.

Insurance for Your Family. Whether freeze-dried or dehydrated, the food will be insurance for you and your family against natural disasters, power outages, job losses and more. If you’re prepared, you don’t need to worry. Check out our complete listings of food storage and water storage items.

 

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8 Kinds of Bird Eggs You Can Eat

Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods in the world. They contain proteins, vitamins, and fats that we need to stay healthy. We most commonly think of chicken eggs as being edible and it is the main egg we eat in our diet. However, there are many other types of edible bird eggs with varying nutrition and taste.

Chicken Eggs

Chicken eggs are the most common type of egg that we eat. They are fairly mild as far as taste goes and they have many vitamins and nutrients. Store bought chicken eggs are typically white, but chicken eggs have various different colored shells, such as brown or green, depending on the breed of chicken.8 Kinds of Bird Eggs you Can Eat

Duck Eggs

Duck eggs are very similar to chicken eggs, with a slightly larger yolk. The taste is more rich and smooth and contains more fat and protein than a chicken egg. Duck eggs have a thicker shell that allows them to stay fresh for a longer amount of time.8 Kinds of Bird Eggs you Can Eat

Turkey Eggs

Turkey eggs are similar to duck eggs in size and taste. The egg has a thicker yolk and egg white, giving it a creamier taste and consistency. Some people prefer turkey eggs for cooking pastries because of the richer flavor. Turkey eggs are hard to find in stores because most farmers get more value from raising the bird rather than selling the egg.8 Kinds of Bird Eggs you Can Eat

Goose Eggs

Goose eggs are about double in size to a chicken egg. They also have a heavier, more dense taste with greater protein content. The shells are thick and take more force to crack open. Goose eggs are much rarer than chicken or duck eggs because geese only lay about 40 eggs a year.8 Kinds of Bird Eggs you Can Eat

Quail Eggs

These eggs are tiny and delicate, with a flavor to match. The taste of a quail egg is lighter than most eggs and its nutritional contents are similar to those of chicken eggs. However, you would need to eat multiple quail eggs to match the same nutrition as a chicken egg. These tiny eggs are considered a delicacy in many countries and have even been used in healing remedies.8 Kinds of Bird Eggs you Can Eat

Pheasant Eggs

Pheasant eggs are similar in size to a duck egg, making them slightly larger than a chicken. The taste is light and less rich, like a quail egg. However, they have a more gamey taste because it is a more gamey bird.8 Kinds of Bird Eggs you Can EatOstrich Eggs Weighing in at around 3 lbs, this is the largest of bird eggs. This is 20 times greater than a chicken egg! The shells have a creamy color and are extremely thick and hard to crack. If you do manage to get one open, you’ll find that each egg is packed with 2,000 calories. However, it has similar nutrients and runny yolk of a chicken egg.8 Kinds of Bird Eggs you Can Eat

Emu Eggs

Emu eggs weigh in less than an ostrich egg at about 2 lbs. These eggs have a dark shell that is usually black in color and speckled with a deep green. Emu eggs are one of the richest tasting eggs. The yolk is like silly putty and the egg white is like glue. When you cut into it, nothing will ooze out.8 Kinds of Bird Eggs you Can EatWe’ve all tasted chicken eggs, but there are so many other kinds of eggs out there that vary in size, taste and look. Eggs have many important nutrients that are essential for our health. Mix it up from time to time with a different egg for an entirely renewed egg experience. What kinds of eggs have you tried?

 

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What is a #10 can?

When you search for emergency food, you will find the majority of vendors sell their goods in a variety of container sizes like a pouch, bucket, and a #10 can. Here are a few frequently asked questions regarding the #10 can and we hope it will assist you with getting prepared.

WHAT IS A #10 CAN?

A #10 is a food-safe aluminum can. These cans are commonplace in food storage and are wonderful for long-term storage, pantry convenience, and easy access. 

WHAT DOES #10 CAN MEAN?

When food cans were invented in the 1890s, there were no standards. Manufacturers produced cans to fit the products they sold. Within about ten years, however, food manufacturers realized that certain standard sizes were evolving and that there could be economic benefits to setting and following standards. The standard can sizes that evolved came to be known by numbers from one to 10. The term "#10" does not mean that the contents will weigh 10 pounds, the #10 refers to the type of can that is used. The actual weight and volume of the contents will vary depending on the product. On average, the #10 can will hold 109 oz. To help you visualize, your average soup can is #2 can. To get the same amount of food as one #10 can, you would have to have a total of 5.32 soup cans to have the same amount of volume as the #10 can.

How big 10 can

HOW BIG IS A #10 CAN?

We always get asked this question about the size of a #10 can because people wonder about using it in their storage. Depending on how your house is set up, you might have the ability to store 7” tall cans in your cupboards, but many people will need a dedicated shelf in their basement or storage room that can fit the #10 can.

What is a #10 can?

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING #10 CANS?

#10 cans are perfect for emergency food storage. They are a lightweight easily portable container option for your freeze-dried and dehydrated food. Ready Store #10 cans come with a resealable plastic lid for continued use after opening. Buying #10 cans of freeze-dried food can also save you money! Buying Ready Store freeze-dried food with a 25-year shelf life means that food won't go to waste. Buying in bulk will also save you from extra trips to the grocery store. 

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Paracord Rifle Sling Design

Paracord can be an awesome tool in your preparedness arsenal. This durable nylon rope can be tied into tons of different designs including bracelets, strengthened cords, pouches and more. If you’re in an emergency, you simply unwind the strong cord and use it to bind, haul or anything else that you might need. So, whether you’re a beginner or an expert paracord lover, we have a design for you. Check out these paracord designs below. If you don’t want to spend time weaving your own sling, you can always buy one here.

 

What is Paracord?

Paracord, also known as parachute cord, is a soft, lightweight nylon rope that was originally used for parachuting. Typically, 550 paracord (which is the paracord used for our bracelets) is made of 32 strands of nylon sheath on the outside and seven strands of 2-ply nylon yarns on the inside (the “guts”). The 550 paracord is the same made for the government and has a minimum breaking strength of 550 lbs. Paracord designsWhile paracord started out as a parachuters tool, people quickly recognized its usefulness in other areas. Since the cord is quick-drying, rot- and mildew-resistant, it’s great for many purposes. Military units use it for securing packs, hanging covers and tents. Many military personnel even use the guts as fishing line.

 

Paracord Rifle Sling

You’ll need:

• 100 feet of paracord

• Needle nose pliers or forceps

• 2x4 of wood (as long as your desired sling length)

• 2 Flat Washers

• 2 Screws

• Knife

• Swivels off of your guns

 

Directions

1. You’ll first want to figure out how long you want your rifle sling to be. Since this isn’t an adjustable strap, you’ll want to make sure you get it right.

2. After you figure out how long you want it to be, measure that length on to a 2x4. At one end of the 2x4, you’ll want to attach the swivel from your gun. Be careful not to damage the swivel by screwing it too tight. Add some space by placing a washer between the wood. Secure the other swivel on the board at a distance that you would like your sling to be.

3. Take the paracord and tie one end securely to the swivel. Attach the other end of the line to the other swivel.

4. You’ll want to repeat this process a few times until you have 4 parallel cords running between the two swivels. Make sure there is spacing between each cord by wrapping the cord around a few times each time you come to the swivel. This will provide a buffer of space. Tie off the cord securely to swivel.

5. Now that you have the four cords running between the two swivels, begin to weave the paracord through the four strands - over one, under the next - and circle around and work your way down the four strands. Tighten the strand as you work your way down.

6. Once you reach the end, you’ll want to securely tie off the paracord. To do this, you can either tie a knot and tuck the loose end back into the sling, or you can tie a knot, cutting off one edge and burning the end of the paracord.

7. Remove the screws from the 2x4 in order to release the swivels and reattach them to the rifle.

Paracord is incredibly versatile and is one of the most important survival tools you can keep in stock. What else have you made with paracord? Comment below to let us know. Or let us know what you’d like to see a tutorial on.

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How to Homestead

Homesteading has a rich history in the United States. The idea was used to populate and explore the wild frontiers of our country. However, in recent decades, the idea has transformed into something new. Below, we explain a little about what homesteading is and how you can do it. While you might not be able to apply all aspects of homesteading, there are many activities involved in it that will make you and our family more self-reliant and self-sufficient.

 

What is Homesteading

Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency that typically involves subsistence agriculture, food preservation, creating your own clothing and textiles, and maintaining your own house and property. In history, philosophers like John Locke, wrote about a homesteading principle. The idea was that someone could gain ownership of something solely on the principle that they had labored to make it:

Though the earth and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person. This[,] nobody has any right to but himself. The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever, then, he removes out of the state that Nature hath provided and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with it, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. - John Locke

In other words, if a farmer used unowned land to plant crops, he owned that food and could sell it as such. Other philosophers have also debated that the farmer would henceforth own that property. This idea crystallized into many capitalist ideas that our society has been based on. Homesteading houseYou may remember reading about the Homestead Act (1862) in history class. The government used the idea to populate new areas of the U.S. The idea that a person could own their own property and become independent from any entity or person struck a chord with Americans. Thousands of Americans pushed forward to settle the frontier and make it habitable for others that would follow. The back-to-the-earth ideals made a comeback in the 1960s and applied these self-sufficient principles to an urban and suburban setting, also known as urban homesteading. Instead of moving to an isolated location, urban homesteaders focus on self-sufficiency while still maintaining their relationship with the community. In recent years, the idea has resonated with people who worry about their dependence on the economy. Instead of putting their trust in a government or entity, they have moved to a more independent economic situation.

 

How to Begin Homesteading

Gather Supplies. Homesteading is about being self-sufficient, that means being able to have all the tools, home-space, clothes or materials that you’ll need. Don’t think that you have to have everything in storage that you’ll ever need for the rest of your life. You’ll be able to use items to barter or trade. Many items will be self-sustaining and be able to be sold later on down the road.

Plant a Garden. The garden is a perfect example of an income. With a permaculture attitude towards gardening, you’ll be able to plant once and sow for years to come. Be sure to have land and space to store your food once you’ve harvested.

Have Food Storage. The trick to homesteading is to be able to have food when you need it. Growing your own food in the garden That could mean canning your foods out of the garden or using freeze-dried foods that last for 30 years.

Reuse Items. One of the easiest ways to be self-sufficient is to save money by reusing items. It could be as simple as making old clothes into blankets or using baking soda for other uses besides cooking. Most of the time, it comes down to creativity and how you imagine things being used. Feel free to peruse our DIY section of the blog to see if you can find any ideas that will save you money.

Raise Animals. One popular activity in homesteading is to raise animals that will provide you and your family with food. Chickens and rabbits are a common animal that are easy to care for and provide eggs and meat to your family. Many animals, like llamas or sheep, can also be used for their wool and be used to make different items. Others even produce herds of livestock enough to sustain their family.

Alternative Energy. Homesteaders often refer to using alternative energy as “living off the grid.” It’s a great way to be self-reliant and not have to depend on power companies or others for electricity to your home. You can purchase solar panels and generators to power your home. That way, if there’s ever a power outage in your town, you’re already set.

 

Where to Homestead

Previously, homesteading was all about the location - far and away. However, homesteading has morphed into the idea of being self-reliant and sustainable. Therefore, you can really be a homesteader anywhere that you want. You probably will need a larger supply of land if you plan on raising animals and gardening. But to be able to reuse items or live off the grid, you just need the right supplies. While the government no longer sponsors any homesteading initiatives, you always have the option to purchase that is far and away. Many people are setting up makeshift homesteads in lightly-populated areas of Alaska and the Midwest.

 

To Be Continued... We’ll continue to post articles on how to improve your homesteading efforts, including how to use alternative energy, multiple uses of items, food storage, raising animals and more! What would you like to hear about first? Comment below and let us know your thoughts. We’d also love to hear your stories about homesteading? Are you a homesteader? What difficulties have you found? Comment below!

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