Survival News

Biochar Ideas

David the Good - 10 hours 20 min ago

Joe D shares some biochar ideas:

Several times when I heard the college kids talk about biochar they mentioned charcoal made under no oxygen. It made me think if you burned then covered it with off the place manure. It would burn off the weed seeds and possibly even chemicals.

I think I’d personally even throw a good layer of remnants, from the local butcher, on top of the burn pile before lighting it. I’d even put another thin layer of remnants on top of the charcoal manure.

Put a thin layer of clay over those animal parts then soak the ground with a strong local fungus tea.

Or possibly even a layer of wood chips instead of the clay

After which a guy would line large round bales, that were sitting on the bales flat end. I would probably line different bales next to each other, such as a corn stalk bale, alfalfa and a switch grass bale.

After you had the bales lined up you would take from the on ranch or farm waste manure pile and cover the bales up.

I’d spray more of that tea on it to stimulate the microbes as well as putting a cover crop seed alfalfa or sainfoin.

Probably all summer, if you got rain (hopefully you get rain), continue topping off the tops of the bales as the manure soaks in. As well as continuing to spray with tea before the rains and after you put new manure on. Keep adding to that positive seed bank cover crop because weeds will be going crazy on top of it.

By the end of the summer I would imagine that the bales internal temp would have cooled down. Whenever them temperatures get cooled off add worms. I’d put all varieties of worms in as long as they wouldn’t have the potential to become invasive.

You’d have to keep adding hay and stuff to it as it consumed it. Keep doing it till you had a great alfalfa patch.

With that base you could start other spots.

I just plan on filling holes on meadows with this method. After the alfalfa has been going for a few years you could mine it, I suppose.

Realistically you could probably (once the worms were going) bury anything in that and it would consume it. As long as whatever went in was inoculated with tea. If you were burying a cow you’d want her 12 feet deep or better I would imagine, the key would be to put a layer of charcoal underneath whatever you buried.

You need the charcoal to absorb any possible run off. This idea goes for producers and feedlots. There should be a layer of charcoal between ground and any manure piles. It would be absorbing and charging that carbon or charcoal.

Possibly those old terra preta soils could of been giant compost or even dumps of organic consumable materials.

It’s possible.

Though there are some strange elements to terra preta, such as its apparent ability to regenerate itself from the native soil, but that could be the result of having been cultured with some strains of fungi or bacteria, rather like kefir.

I went back to my terra preta bed a month ago and dug into it to see how the soil looked. We filmed it, but the audio was not working so the video never got posted.

What I found was not encouraging. The soil had not darkened as I had hoped. I may have to grind the next batch of char rather than just smashing it up a bit. It did grow the first round of tomatoes very nicely, but that could have just been due to all the minerals in the ground. The second planting did poorly. I believe the minerals may have partially leached out or been consumed by the tomatoes, plus the bed had been completely invaded by tree roots. Without the trees next to the bed, we may have seen different results. The oak obviously loved the fertility and probably choked out the next plantings.

Joe’s ideas would certainly make the ground rich for a time, but the long-term effects are still unknown. More experimentation is needed!

Also, watch out for hay bales and manure.

Next time I build a terra preta test bed – probably during this fall or winter – I will put it far away from trees!

It’s possible that the original terra preta piles were simply dumping grounds for waste originally, but there was a LOT of material in there, and they kept their fertility far longer than seems reasonable, hence my microbial culture hypothesis. It could be that the cultures there are not in our soils. One thing that could be done would be to use some actual terra preta from one of these sites as a starter for a new batch, via seeding it into a newly created clay/fired pottery/meat and bone scraps/manure burn pit, then to see if it starts to spread and transform the surrounding soil.

The post Biochar Ideas appeared first on The Survival Gardener.

Low-Protein Diets for Parkinson’s Disease

Nutrition Video - 13 hours 15 min ago
How might we maximize the therapeutic efficiency of levodopa?

How To Build A Barndominium From Start To Finish! – With Video Tour

Old World Garden - Sun, 10/02/2022 - 07:25

So just how easy is it to build a barndominium? And how much design and work goes into the entire process? Those are the questions we hope to answer with …

The post How To Build A Barndominium From Start To Finish! – With Video Tour appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

As Famine Looms, Should You Hide Your Stored Food? Here’s What History Tells Us.

Organic Prepper - Sat, 10/01/2022 - 08:08

We at the OP have been sounding the alarm on food shortages for a long time now. Whether it’s been the fires at food processing facilities, farm closures, or the issues around meat production, we’ve been talking about it. But now, is it time to focus more on how to store food secretly?

Building a pantry and becoming proficient at producing and processing your own food are important first steps. I’d like to think that different groups of people forming self-sufficient production communities would prevent future problems, but that may not be the case. It looks like there are going to be major problems up ahead.

Will history repeat?

During the Holodomor in Ukraine from 1932-1933, any withholding of food by farming communities was forbidden. Everything was supposed to go to the cities. Neighbors were encouraged to rat each other out to the authorities.   Anyone suspected of hoarding could expect to have their homes torn apart, walls broken into, and earth dug up around their properties by the police, looking for caches of food.

These capable peasants, these kulaks, who had been born into the self-sufficient lifestyle many people are now trying to recreate, still largely perished.  

And this sort of thing is hardly unique to the Soviets.

For an account of the famine in Mao’s China, you can read Wild Swans by Jung Chang. In her chapter on the famine in the late 1950s, she recounts many of the same techniques used by the Soviets. This is hardly surprising; Mao idealized Stalin. They collectivized farms, took everything produced by farmers to ration to the city-dwellers, and left the people in the countryside to scavenge. 

Like in the Holodomor, many people resorted to cannibalism. Also, like in the Holodomor, many more starved. Eating alone became forbidden. Everyone had to eat in the communal kitchens, making it easier to monitor who ate what.  

Do I think this might happen in the U.S.? Nothing’s impossible. Knowing how utterly incapable many people are in the kitchen, I think it’s more likely violent fights will occur over things like freezer-ready meals once Americans get hungry. I suspect flash mobs like the one that just ransacked a Wawa’s in Philadelphia will become far more common before any kind of coordinated government action.  

This is the kind of thing a large, working pantry will largely protect against.

Sure, I still go to the grocery store most weeks, but I don’t absolutely have to. If riots erupt at the grocery store in town (again, I think, one of the more likely scenarios), well, I can just avoid it for however long the craziness lasts. And, in case anyone thinks I’m being ridiculous here, the grocery store in my town within the last few months hired armed guards. 

That’s right; there are armed security guards at my local grocery store. Planning for chaos at the grocery store isn’t only for the tinfoil hat wearers anymore; it’s a sober business decision now.

And those of us with home pantries should still be cautious.

All is not well in American farming.

Aside from the catastrophic drought, American farmland is increasingly controlled either by foreign entities or non-farmers with suspect motivations like Bill Gates. As in any other field, centralization makes for easier control, and American farms have been trending toward centralization for a while now.    

The government has also become increasingly interested in home gardens. The People’s Garden Initiative has just been expanded.

Tom Vilsack, then Secretary of Agriculture, founded the first “People’s Garden” on February 12, 2009, Lincoln’s 200th birthday. It was called “The People’s Garden” in reference to Lincoln calling the U.S. Department of Agriculture “The People’s Department.”  The project initially began as a resource for urban dwellers to start their own community gardens. It was a way for people who would not otherwise have access to space and resources to grow their own food could get started and, once started, get advice on things like pollination and compost.  

Tom Vilsack

Personally, I think anything that helps urban dwellers maintain a connection with nature is great. 

But just within the past year, the USDA expanded the program and now encourages everyone to register their gardens. 

I find the timing of this very curious. 

I love the thought of empowering people to grow their own food…but the federal government doesn’t need to know about what I can and can’t grow, sorry.  

Our food production system is slowly being consolidated into fewer hands.

The hands that are still there are being more closely monitored. History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes, and right now, our political and economic situation rhymes with precursors to very ugly, painful time periods.

Most people reading this probably have plans for producing and acquiring food. Where do you store it? Do you have places on your property that aren’t immediately obvious to anyone glancing through?  

I was strangely fortunate in my home purchase. My house is literally an old homesteading cabin with some upgrades slapped on. But not only do I have a true, old-school root cellar with a dirt floor, but the entrance is also extremely inconspicuous. That’s all I’ll say about that.

(How do you build up your emergency food supplies? Read our free QUICKSTART Guide to find out.)

Root cellars come with a few surprises.

There are some things I’d like to warn people about, in case you are considering building your own root cellar or planning on any kind of underground storage.  

Rodents. Can’t say it enough. Rodents. It’s not just me; I’m not a great housekeeper, but I’m not terrible either. My cat keeps them out of my house, but she can’t get to the root cellar. I actually talked to someone responsible for maintaining an old homestead as part of a historical display. We were taking a tour. I noticed the cellar entrance on the property and asked about it. 

The employee told me that it was too disgusting to tour. They just could not keep it clean and pest-free enough for the general public. Both of us mused about how impressive humans’ immune systems must have been back in the day.

You have to plan for mice with your root cellar.

I do use my root cellar for canned goods. I’ve used it for veggies as well, but I pack them in damp sand, cover the tops loosely, and check on them regularly. I also go through copious amounts of mousetraps. I just buy them 72 at a time from Victor. Some people like the electronic ones because you don’t have to handle dead mice afterward, but then you’d need to stock up on batteries too. Also, electronic mousetraps typically don’t work as well in very humid environments, and cellars are pretty humid.

I think the old-school metal snap mousetraps actually work really well. The problem a lot of people have is they add too much bait. If you cover it with peanut butter, then the mouse can just nibble around the edges and avoid the springing mechanism. You just want to put a little bit of peanut butter (or cheese, or whatever) right at that little keyhole so that the mouse has to work for it and springs the trap. 

People have gotten creative with food storage

People have been getting creative with food storage for a long time. In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book The Long Winter, the Wilder brothers built a false wall to conceal the amount of grain they were storing. Pa was able to spot the difference between the indoor and outdoor dimensions of the house, but the rest of the townspeople couldn’t. However, I’d still put money on the presence of mouse turds mixed in with all that seed wheat, and if you’d like to avoid that sort of thing, now’s the time to think about it.

(In case you’re wondering how they keep mice out of commercial grain storage, they typically use aluminum phosphide to kill the rodents. This used to be available to anyone holding a pesticide applicator permit, but states have been making it harder and harder to obtain aluminum phosphide as a private applicator, which is why, for most of us who don’t run a business storing grain, it would be better to simply do our best to keep mice and rats out of the general area.)

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Who knows how the events of the next few years will actually play out?

I would love it if our problems got resolved without a violent sacking of the countryside, but we don’t have any guarantees of that. For now, If you’ve been able to build a pantry, maybe the next step is thinking about concealment and how that would play out in the long term.

What do you think? Is hiding your food storage something you’ve considered or focused on?  Obviously, don’t give away too much information publicly, but let’s talk about it in general terms in the comment section below.

About Marie Hawthorne

A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.

The post As Famine Looms, Should You Hide Your Stored Food? Here’s What History Tells Us. appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

TSP Rewind – Decision Making with Logic and Reason – Epi-207

Survival Podcast - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 09:34
Today is an episode of TSP Rewind, commercial free versions of past podcast episodes. Today’s episode was originally Episode-2096- Decision Making with Logic and Reason and first aired on Oct. 10th, 2017. The following are the original show notes from … Continue reading →

What You Need to Know to Start a Fall Garden

Organic Prepper - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 07:40

In these days of shortages and uncertainty, it’s wise to get as much as we can from our gardens. Every season has its benefits and limitations, and proper planning can increase yields exponentially. Knowing a few facts, such as what’s frost tolerant vs. frost sensitive, how long a given vegetable takes to mature, your planting zone, and frost & freeze dates, are all valuable pieces of the garden planning puzzle. In this article, I’ll discuss what can be done in the fall garden.

When do you plant a fall garden?

If you’re in one of the colder, shorter season areas as I am, the fall garden begins around mid-August and ends at the first hard freeze. In zone 5 and north, light frosts begin in September. The hard freeze, defined as temperatures in the 20s, comes around October 10 or even earlier further north. Gardens are done at that point, so your fall garden has to be harvested before then.

Bulbs such as garlic, onion, and any flowers must be planted 2-3 weeks before, so they’ve established enough growth to be ready for overwintering. I also made a wine cap mushroom bed from the remains of my container colony. As with alliums, planting 2-3 weeks before the freeze allows the mycelia to colonize and establish for overwintering. Winter sowing can be done in Fall as well. Check out this link for a quick winter sowing guide.

It’s possible to use season extenders, such as cold frames and coverings, to protect plants as nighttime temperatures fall into the 30s-40s F.

Another idea, courtesy of Laurie Neverman of Common Sense Homesteading, uses the humble milk jug and a cheap can of black spray paint. Paint your milk jug, then fill it with water and place it in your garden. During the day, the black jug will absorb heat, then release it at night. Combined with a simple sheet or light blanket cover, temperatures will be warm enough to keep your plants alive. This is a great way to get the last from your frost-sensitive plants, such as tomatoes and peppers. 

What can be planted in a fall garden?

You’ll want shorter maturing, frost-tolerant items. Radishes and many greens, including lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and arugula are all great choices. Peas prefer cool weather and take only four to six weeks to mature. Brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and kohlrabi can be planted at the end of summer as well. Careful planning can yield two crops, but be careful to protect them from the local wildlife! Done this and been there. Few things mess up a garden worse than hungry wildlife! 

If you’re down South in the warmer regions, you’ve got a longer growing season, but the principles are the same. I have a gardening friend down in Georgia, zone 7B/8A, who plants her alliums in mid-October.

She has to deal with much hotter summers than I do, and she plans and protects her garden accordingly. Longer maturing heat-loving items such as tomatoes take the full season to mature, but again, short-maturity crops, as noted above, can be planted.

(Do you know how to preserve what you grow? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning to learn more.)

A cut-and-come-again garden, planned with frost/freeze in mind, is also a good option.

Remember, these can include both edible greens and herbs. While you’re at it, why not grow a few simple medicinals? Just in case it becomes difficult to get in to see a doctor. Besides, taking care of small things at home saves money. When I broke my leg in 2007, I went to a doctor. When I cut my finger deeply this summer, I went to my garden and picked some yarrow. Yarrow is a perennial that, once established, will come back year after year. 

This site has a great detailed planting schedule, including lists of things that can be planted indoors vs. directly sown. The author also correctly points out that soil temperature is a factor here. While this site recommends 70F as the sweet spot, many gardeners here get started at 50. Be aware, however, that 48 isn’t good enough. If the soil is too cold, your seeds will rot. In this case, a lousy two degrees matters. Done this, been there. 

Seed starting is an invaluable skill.

Doing so saves money all year, and you’re not stuck with whatever varieties you can find at your local garden center. Racks are easy to make. All that’s needed is shelving, lights, and a way to raise and lower the lights. I actually purchased mine used for $40!

By starting seeds indoors, you reduce the amount of time to maturity outdoors. This is also how second, and even third crops are possible. Starting seeds indoors is very common up here because there’s simply no way the longer maturing items, such as tomatoes, would ever be done in time if direct sown.

I start my tomatoes and peppers on April 1, when it’s still too cold outside, even for planting potatoes. I start my onions in January. One year I was all ready to plant my potatoes in mid-April. I was looking forward to a few hours in the garden after a long winter. We were hit with Blizzard Evelyn that weekend, which dropped three feet of snow. Planting was set back one month because soil temperatures were just too cold. My seedlings were safe indoors! This link gives a great calendar. Your local extension office can help with information specific to your area. Also, be sure to harden your plants before planting them. 

Check out The OP’s recommendation for seeds here at Seeds for Generations. They even have a fall planting calculator that you can use for free.

So this is the fall garden!

By following the principles I’ve outlined, the fall garden can be quite productive. Again, those principles are:

  • know your frost/freeze dates
  • plant things are frost-tolerant and quick to mature
  • use your season extenders
  • use this time to plant things that require overwintering, such as alliums
  • winter sowing is a great time saver
  • starting seeds indoors for the Fall garden helps immensely

(Want uninterrupted access to The Organic Prepper? Check out our paid-subscription newsletter.)

If you’re new to gardening/prepping, we can help!

Check out our store where you’ll find a wealth of information on everything from home agriculture and mushroom growing to building a pantry on the cheap and prepping for pets. The time to start is NOW. There’s plenty you can do to ready yourself for hard times. Check it out, and good luck! 

Do you have a fall garden? What did you plant and will you be planting more? What advice would you have to new fall gardeners? Let’s talk about fall gardening in the comments.

About Marie Hawthorne

A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.

The post What You Need to Know to Start a Fall Garden appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Friday Favorites: Brain-Healthy Foods to Fight Aging

Nutrition Video - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 06:50
What is the best source of lutein, the primary carotenoid antioxidant in the brain?

It Must Be Fermentation Week…

David the Good - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 04:06

Nemo comments:

David, enjoying your fermentation adventures!

We too ferment EVERYTHING! … we usually have a dozen or so ferments going on any given day I write this and look in the kitchen I see jars of fermenting kefir, French and Bulgarian heirloom yogurts, dark red beet wine, a fruit wine prosecco, green beans, hot peppers, green bean leaves, white pine needles, sea rocket and green tomatoes. As our nights are starting to drop into the high 30’s, the tomato ripening is slowing like crazy, so a dinner of fried green tomatoes and hush puppies was on the menu tonight …topped with a red chili sauce and homemade lactic-fermented mayonnaise!

If you haven’t tried fermenting mayo yet, I most def recommend … you make your own mayo as you normally would, but also add some whey from your kefir/yogurt ferment and let it sit on the counter for the day before popping in the fridge .. it adds tremendous flavor and the mayo last so much longer in the fridge this way (not that ours last more than a week or so before we eat it all!)

Enjoy your new gardens brother!

I doff my hat to your superior fermentation skills.

I haven’t tried fermented mayo – I’ll put that on the list! Rachel makes it with olive oil, lemon juice and egg yolks. Fermenting sounds easy – we’ll try it.

I malted and dried some wheat for beer today but we can’t find our grain grinder after the move. I put a $5 bounty on it, so hopefully one of the children will find it soon and we can start that going too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

The post It Must Be Fermentation Week… appeared first on The Survival Gardener.

Eating Real Food

David the Good - Thu, 09/29/2022 - 10:48

Convenience is a killer and we have been making a deliberate choice to eat living, unprocessed, non-factory foods.

No vegetable oils, no high-fructose corn syrup, no processed meats, just good, old-fashioned stuff.

This is yesterday’s lunch:

That is organic homemade wheat bread with homemade butter, lentil and beef stew with homemade sour cream, salad greens with homemade cheese (it looks like couscous – in the middle) and fig vinegar (from Perdido Vineyards – they make great vinegar!), with pink homemade radish and cabbage kraut. In the glass is homemade hard cider.

We’re still stuck buying a lot of food right now since we just moved, but our dairy consumption is completely covered, with more butter, milk, cheese, yogurt and kefir than we need.

This is this morning’s breakfast:

Split pea porridge (made from split peas soaked in water with live vinegar) with some sauerkraut brine for salt, two farm eggs and a good dollop of nice, sour kefir cheese.

This is old-fashioned farm food which feels like luxury in today’s world of tater tots and frozen pizza. It takes longer to eat well but it is worth the time and effort.

We soak our grains and beans before cooking in order to reduce toxic plant compounds, like phytates and lectins.

On the left are wheat berries, which are being sprouted in order to malt them to make homemade wheat beer. On the right are split peas, soaking for a day in preparation for making the porridge we ate for breakfast.

We’re using these cool soaking lids I bought on Amazon:

They really work well, and are easier than using strainers.

When I soak beans or oats for cooking, I like to add a little whey, apple cider vinegar, kefir, yogurt or sauerkraut brine to the soaking water to help the process along and add some living cultures. This is a trick I learned from Sally Fallon Morell at the Weston A. Price Foundation, who is the author of Nourishing Traditions.

Part of the reason I have been off YouTube lately is because I have been experimenting with various ferments. the other part is because I am working on a new book. Today I hope to record the end of my Grocery Row install video and post it.

If I can stop messing around with bacterial cultures long enough to edit it together, that is.

The post Eating Real Food appeared first on The Survival Gardener.

Inspiring Futures: How Ecovillage Design Education Changes Lives

Global EcoVillage Network - Thu, 09/29/2022 - 10:30

GEN Online Ecovillage Design Course Testimonial by Karen Wyeth  Without the knowledge I gained through the Ecovillage Design Education course, I would have never had the confidence to speak to people about something as complicated as forming an ecovillage. I receive GEN newsletters on occasion, and when I learned they were offering an online  Ecovillage Design …

The post Inspiring Futures: How Ecovillage Design Education Changes Lives appeared first on Global Ecovillage Network.

TSP Rewind – Practical Homesteading in the Modern Age – Epi-206

Survival Podcast - Thu, 09/29/2022 - 09:34
Today is an episode of TSP Rewind, commercial free versions of past podcast episodes. Today’s episode was originally Episode-2289- Practical Homesteading in the Modern Age and first aired on Sept. 11th, 2018. The following are the original show notes from … Continue reading →

30 Days of Preparedness SUPERSALE: Day 29

Organic Prepper - Thu, 09/29/2022 - 09:10

Happy National Preparedness Month!

September is National Preparedness Month and we’re going to make the most of it by offering amazing, mindblowing, unbelievable deals every single day of the month. Each deal lasts ONE DAY ONLY so get them while the price is at an all-time low!

Day 29-30 Deal: The “In Case You Missed It” Sale

For the last two days of the SuperSale, we’re going to revisit the awesome deals offered throughout the month. If there was something you missed buying when it was on sale NOW IS THE TIME. Today and tomorrow only, sale prices on all digital products will be active. See the list below for products and prices.

Printables Courses Books Bundles

Thank you to all of our wonderful OP readers! We hope you’ve enjoyed the opportunity to grab our products at deep discounts. Keep on prepping!

The post 30 Days of Preparedness SUPERSALE: Day 29 appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Why I Don’t Recommend Melatonin Supplements

Nutrition blog - Thu, 09/29/2022 - 07:00

Over-the-counter melatonin (“anti-gonad hormone”) supplements tend not to contain what they say they do, and the contaminants could be dangerous.

If you’re crossing three or more time zones during a journey and plan to stay at your destination for a week or more, long enough to make it worthwhile, you can adjust your body clock to the new time by “using behavioural and, if desired, pharmacological methods.” The behavioral method is light exposure and light avoidance at specific times of the day based on which direction you’re going and how many time zones you cross. I feature a helpful table with “recommendations for the use of bright light to adjust body clock after time zone transitions” at 0:23 in my video Are Melatonin Supplements Safe?, which you can also see below. You may want to take a picture or screengrab it for future reference.

The pharmacological intervention is melatonin. “It is called the ‘darkness hormone’ sometimes because…it is secreted at the onset of darkness and is suppressed by light.” A little gland in the center of your head starts to secrete it as soon as it gets dark and shuts off when the sun comes up in the morning, thereby helping to set your circadian rhythm. A lot of research has been conducted on treating jet lag, but most of it has been on rats instead of people, as you can see below and at 0:53 in my video. But, of the handful of human trials that have been done, most have found that taking melatonin “close to the target bedtime at the destination” to try to sync your body to the new time can effectively decrease jet-lag symptoms after long flights “crossing five or more time zones.” It’s important to note that “melatonin differs from most or all other drugs in that the timing of the dose is critical and determines the effect; given at the wrong time it will delay circadian adaptation to local time,” making jet lag even worse. For example, if you were to take “melatonin at bedtime when traveling west,” it “actually could result in a phase advance” when a “phase delay is desired.”

Taking a daily dose of melatonin between 0.5 and 5 mg of melatonin seems to be “similarly effective” in terms of helping with jet-lag symptoms, but the higher dose does have more of a sleeping pill-type effect, allowing people to “fall asleep faster and sleep better after 5mg than 0.5mg,” but that appears to plateau at about 5 mg. Those are massive doses, though. Even taking only a 3 mg dose produces levels in the bloodstream 50 times higher than normal nightly levels. It works, but we don’t know how safe that is. After all, in the early days, melatonin “was known as an anti-gonadal hormone,” with human-equivalent doses of just 1 or 2 mgs reducing the size of sex organs and impairing fertility in laboratory animals. Now, obviously, rats aren’t people, but “considering the pronounced effects of…melatonin on reproductive physiology in these nonhuman mammals, to assume they would not have some sexual effects in humans would almost seem naive.” In fact, the researchers speculated that perhaps melatonin could one day play a role as some sort of a “contraceptive agent in both human males and females.”

Wouldn’t we know about these effects, though? Well, how? Melatonin is available over the counter (OTC) as a dietary supplement, so there isn’t any post-marketing surveillance like there is with prescription drugs. “Without a license, there is no obligation for undesirable side effects following melatonin use to be recorded.” And, let’s not forget about the purity problem. Supplements are so poorly regulated that that you never really know what’s actually in them. Indeed, the “purity of melatonin…cannot be guaranteed. For these reasons, melatonin cannot be recommended….”

Is the purity issue just theoretical though? You don’t know until you put it to the test.

Indeed, due to the “poor quality control of over-the-counter melatonin,” what the labels “say is often not what you get.” Melatonin is not only one of the most popular supplements among adults, but among children, too. An analysis of 31 different brands found that most had just a fraction of what was claimed. What makes that even more egregious is that actual melatonin content varied up to nearly 500 percent compared to what it said on the label. “The most variable sample was a chewable tablet (and most likely to be used by children). It contained almost 9 mg of melatonin when it was supposed to contain 1.5 mg,” which could result in a hundred times higher than natural levels. “In short, there was no guarantee of the strength or purity of OTC melatonin,” leading these researchers to suggest it should be regulated as a drug so that, by law, it would at least contain what it says on the bottle. Okay, but that’s regarding its strength. What about its purity?

“Four of six melatonin products from health food stores”—two-thirds—“contained impurities” that could not be characterized. But, with no exclusive patent, “no pharmaceutical company wants to pay for the toxicological studies and the data assembly required to obtain a product license because it cannot have exclusivity.” The stuff is just so dirt cheap to purchase. The researchers recommend “buying it from a large reputable pharmacy chain and hope for the best.” Is it worth the risk?

A study I discuss at 4:26 in my video suggests it’s not worth the risk at all. Contaminants present in tryptophan supplements were reported to be responsible for a 1980s outbreak of a disease that affected more than a thousand people and resulted in dozens of deaths. Given the structural similarities of tryptophan and melatonin, is it possible that those same toxic contaminants could be created when you’re trying to synthesize melatonin? Indeed, as you can see below and at 4:57 in my video, researchers found similarities between the contaminant blamed on the tryptophan epidemic and what they found in melatonin supplements. In fact, they are a little too close for comfort, suggesting melatonin supplements may just be “‘another accident [epidemic]… waiting to happen.’”


Dividing Perennials In The Fall – How To Create More Plants For Free!

Old World Garden - Thu, 09/29/2022 - 06:41

There is no better way to fill your flowerbeds full of free plants than by digging up, dividing and transplanting your existing perennials in the fall! Dividing perennials on a …

The post Dividing Perennials In The Fall – How To Create More Plants For Free! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

If Sherlock Holmes Stared at a Ham Radio Scanner, What Could He See?

Organic Prepper - Thu, 09/29/2022 - 06:20
By the author of The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications.

Let’s say the poopy has hit the fan, and you’re now living in a post-collapse society. Every man is for himself, and there is no resupply. You already know that information is key to survival, and a large part of that information is gathering as much news on your region as possible. That’s why you’ve been using your scanner.

Thankfully, Sherlock Holmes is living with you.

The only problem is that something has happened to Sherlock’s ears, making it so that he can’t hear a thing. He still wants to help you out at your house, though. He sits in front of a scanner watching for when a radio frequency pops up on the display, telling you what he thinks he can deduce from nothing more than the frequency alone.

Here is some of what he may find…

What can you deduce if you pick up an FRS/GMRS frequency? 

There are a number of frequencies that fall within the FRS part of the radio spectrum. Those frequencies are listed below:

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

If you are listening to your scanner (and you should have one) and you hear one of these frequencies, there are a few things that you can deduce with a relatively high degree of certainty.

For starters, whoever is transmitting is close. We’re talking about maybe within half a mile or so. The reason for this is that most FRS radios are the walkie-talkies that people pick up at Big Box Store. They say they transmit for 30+ miles. They lie. If you pick up one of these frequencies, somebody is almost right on top of you.

Those little walkie-talkies don’t transmit very far at all, and they’re virtually all programmed for FRS/GMRS.

If you’re bugging out, you may want to move camp or stay extra vigilant. If you’re at home, you may potentially have visitors in the next 30 minutes. If you’re traveling, you may want to head in a different direction.

There are GMRS repeaters out there, but in my experience, they are few and far between. Most likely, you’re dealing with a bunch of bubbas – rednecks out there with their radios and rifles. That doesn’t make them any less dangerous, but it does help you to have something of a deduction as to who you are dealing with.

Whether the people you are close to are organized will depend on a few factors. They’re most certainly more organized than the gang of people you can see with your binoculars off in the distance without ANY radios, but are they ORGANIZED organized?

You’re going to have to listen to how they use the radio and what they say here to get a better picture.

What can you deduce if you pick up an amateur radio frequency? 

In particular, let’s examine the 2m, 70cm, and 1.25-meter bands. If you pick up people talking on one of those frequencies, then you’re likely listening to somebody with a good deal of radio experience. If this is the case, I would make the case that you can at least assume that the person has better radio gear than the majority of people out there.

And if they have better comms gear than a lot of the other people out there, what else may they have that others do not? Are they headed your way armed for bear? You don’t really know, but you do know that these people are likely more serious of a problem.

When it comes to the distance, you mainly just know that these people are within your geographical region. Maybe they’re within 5 miles; maybe 30. It’s really kind of hard to tell with nothing other than the “Hey, look. Somebody is on 146.500” data point.

What can you deduce if you pick up a marine band frequency? 

For starters, you may be near a body of water. If you’re on The Long Walk Home after an EMP strike forces you to trek back to your house, this may be information of interest.

Of course, there are guys out there who use marine band frequencies in the woods away from any body of water. It’s something that people get in trouble for in a functioning society, but there are guys that do this.

So picking up one of these frequencies isn’t an automatic indicator of water, but you generally will find a lot more radios using marine band frequencies when you’re close to a lake, ocean, or river.

(What do you eat when the power goes out? Read our free QUICKSTART Guide for more information.)

What can you deduce if you pick up a CB frequency? 

Most likely, the person you are listening to is in a vehicle. There’s a chance that they’ve set up a rig in a house, and there’s a chance that they have a handheld, but the majority of CB rigs that I both see and hear are coming from those who are on the road – specifically from truckers.

There are CB handheld rigs out there like the President Randy, but I don’t personally know of a lot of people out there with them.

While it is possible to get sporadic long-range contacts with a CB radio, the general rule of thumb is that you can reach out a mile for every foot-long your antenna is. So, a truck may have a 4’ long antenna, meaning they would generally have a four-mile range.

What can you deduce if you’re picking up weird buzzing noises and on a frequency outside of the ham radio spectrum? 

Sherlock would need working ears here, but there’s still something to be learned.

We’ll assume that you’re picking up something on the 2-meter band that is outside of where ham radio operators normally would talk. If this is the case, you’re hearing a digital mode.

Let’s say that you keep hearing this type of noise on 154.3475 MHz. You’re hearing P25 – a digital mode. (You can find other great audio examples of various digital modes HERE.) Considering that it’s outside of the typical ham radio spectrum, you’re likely listening to a police officer or other emergency responder.

If you’re in a grid-down environment – let’s say a hurricane just hit – that could be welcome news. You now will know that there is somebody within your region.

What if you’re picking up buzzy noises within the ham radio spectrum? 

These people are still using a digital mode radio. If this is the case, there are two things you’ll know off the bat: these people are serious about their comms gear, and they likely have very good training with their comms gear as well. For what it’s worth, you also know that they were likely hams.

Digital radios are both expensive and difficult to operate. Analog radios are cheap and relatively easy to operate. For as apples-to-apples of a comparison as is likely possible, you’re likely to see a $200 price difference between a high-end analog handy-talky and a solid, digital handy-talky.

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Alright, Sherlock Holmes. What do you deduce?

There’s got to be more possible deductions here that I’m missing. Are there others that you know about that I don’t? Do you agree with the above deductions more or less? Are you potentially giving away more information than you realized? Let’s investigate together. Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to and Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

The post If Sherlock Holmes Stared at a Ham Radio Scanner, What Could He See? appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Foraging for Violets

Insteading - Wed, 09/28/2022 - 18:20

The rhyme says that April showers bring May flowers, but the experienced forager knows that March rains bring violets.

The revision doesn’t have the same lyrical flow (or cheesy, following historical joke), but for those hankering for fresh greens after a long, cold, winter, poetry is found in leaves, not words. Furthermore, violets aren’t only a spring treat. Once the summer has run its blistering course and acorns start dropping from the oaks, these generous perennials make an encore appearance and give the forager one last harvest of deliciously edible greenery.

Wren Everett // Insteading

You may have seen violets as a weed in an unsprayed lawn or as a pleasant sign of spring, but I hope to introduce you to this widespread plant as a valuable source of food as well.

Finding and Identifying Violets

No matter where you live, there’s a local species of violet to be found. They grow coast-to-coast, north-to-south, and in a huge variety of environments from marshy forests to dry pine glades. Every species of violet is edible, though some are certainly more desirable than others. You’ll have to taste and see for yourself.

Violet leaves are so varied — even within species — that botanists are sometimes at odds with each other over which species is which, or if one species actually counts as two separate species, or whether two or more different species should really be counted as one. The best identification feature is the blossom which, thankfully, is similar across all species. They are five-petaled, but the petals are irregular with two distinctly paired on the top, two to each side, outstretched, and one at the bottom that often has purple streaks. If you squint at it upside-down, you can almost see a little person, with a big, stripey, yellow-spotted head, two arms (often complete with hairy armpits) and two legs.

Common Blue Violet – Wren Everett // Insteading

For the purposes of this article, I’ll be focusing on the common blue violet (Viola sororia). It’s the easiest to identify, and it very well may be the most widespread. Common blue violet grows heart-shaped, scalloped leaves that extend up from a center root mass and form a dense layer beneath their purple flowers.

BirdFoot Violet – Wren Everett // Insteading

You’ll also see, however, some images of birdfoot violet (Viola pedata). This violet species is abundantly common on my Ozark hill in the spring as it’s a fan of growing in dry soil near pine trees. The leaves of this species are palmate and so deeply cut that they are nearly fernlike in character. I honestly don’t bother with collecting these leaves, because the abundant profusion of blossoms above them is far more worth my time. Probably no other violet offers so many blooms at once, sometimes carpeting the ground in an unbroken blanket of lavender, white, and purple. They are easy to gather by the handful if you’re on the hunt for blossoms but I admit some springs, I can’t bear to ruin their showy display. I guess I’m a sucker for butterflies and honeybees.

Violet Look-Alikes

Since there are more than 70 species of violet found in the United States alone, all of them with incredibly variegated forms within species, this is a strange section to try to clarify. Thankfully, violets are friendly to the forager. As I said earlier, every species is edible, and their flowers are consistently shaped from species to species. The only problem you may run into is when you’re harvesting from unflowering plants.

Samuel Thayer points out that there are some species of violet with palmate leaves which may be confused with the early leaves of larkspur or pre-flowering buttercup species, both of which are toxic. If you find that palmate-leaved species of violet are common in your area, the best safeguard I can recommend is waiting until they flower to harvest their leaves.

Harvesting VioletsThe first violet greens of the year, emerging before much else does – Wren Everett // Insteading

Violet leaves are a spring delight, offering up some needed greens after a winter of root vegetables and starchy staples. Picking leaves in quantity is surprisingly easy, and as you may find, almost a cut-and-come-again wild vegetable. As soon as you get all the tasty greens from one stand, you’ll find the one that you harvested last week is lush and ready to pick again.

I commonly use my hands like a violet-leaf-harvesting comb, working my fingers beneath the leaves, clenching them together, and twisting to wrest the lovely leaves from the stems. In the height of spring, and again as the fall rains return, you can easily collect leaves by the basketful.

Comb-Finger Harvesting – Wren Everett // Insteading

There’s no worry if you do get some stems, by the way — all the aerial parts are edible even though I find the stems a bit tough later in the season. The root mass underground is suspected to be toxic, but it would be foolish to pick it anyway. You’d be killing off future harvests.

Regrowth of Leaves in the Fall can be lush – Wren Everett // Insteading

Violet leaves are usually pretty clean pickings though they have a tendency to collect bits of dirt on their undersides after a spring rain. I usually wash mine in several changes of water to ensure the grit is kept to a minimum.

A second product violets offer is their flowers. Despite a lovely appearance, they taste much the same as the leaves (at least, as far as common blue violet is concerned. Some species have a wintergreen flavor). That said, they’re a fun nibble in the field, especially for children, who can never seem to get enough of the bright blossoms. They’re so plentiful, there’s no harm in letting the little ones graze like sheep.

You can collect blossoms for use in tea and medicine, but they require some careful drying. One spring, I painstakingly collected enough flowers to fill a mason jar; no small undertaking, considering they shrivel up to a fraction of their original size. I was fairly confident that I had thoroughly dried them before putting them in storage. But when winter came and I wanted to brew some purple tea to remind me of spring, they had transformed into a furry lump of gray mold. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I now store my dried blossoms in the freezer where they’re just as easy to access, but there’s no chance of my efforts turning to dust.

Cooking Violets

Violet leaves are edible raw, and since they sprout at the same time as chickweed, can be easily gathered for a fresh, green spring salad. For raw eating, the slightly unfurled leaves that are a lighter green are the best pickings. Violet leaves are also a good addition to any of your green smoothie recipes. They are sweet and mild, imparting a vegetal flavor without a trace of bitterness.

Wren Everett // Insteading

When cooked, violet leaves have a mucilaginous quality, and so much so, they’re sometimes referred to as “wild okra” when put in soups. I find that they absolutely shine when blended into a green paste and used for a wild version of saag paneer. They retain a brilliant green color, which makes for an eye-catching and delectable presentation. You can find our recipe for wild green saag paneer (and more) here.

Wren Everett // Insteading

You’ll often find recipes for violet flowers online: violet jelly, violet salads, candied violets, and violet blossom smoothies. The lovely, purple-y pigment of violets is water-soluble, so inventive cooks have taken advantage of that feature for eye-dazzling culinary effects. Despite the lovely appearance, you’ll need to prepare yourself for the fact that violet blossoms don’t add much flavor.

But they do have one fun feature. When brewed into a purple infusion, they change to a bright pink blush if an acid is added. This means, you can make a sweet, violet-blossom tea, then add a dash of lemon for color-changing pink lemonade. Kids (and adults) will likely be thrilled, and what a way to celebrate spring.

As a final note, violet leaves and blossoms brewed into a tea, are a traditional throat soothing remedy for those colds that seem to emerge alongside spring flowers.

I hope this article reaches you before the fall violets have faded away for the second time this year, and you’re able to gather one last harvest before the leaves cover the ground. If (for whatever reason), you’re unable to make it this fall, rest assured that the violets will be back in the spring, ever lush, ever available, and a rich reward for those who see them as food, not weeds.

New Grocery Row Gardens

David the Good - Wed, 09/28/2022 - 13:19

Over the last week we have been digging our new Grocery Row Gardens and installing trees.

Our friend James brought over his tractor and tilled. It’s been dry ever since (about three weeks without rain!) and the grass has mostly died out, so we’re putting in our beds.

There are seven beds that are about 80′ each. The lack of rain is hard on the trees and plants we are transplanting and there’s still no precipitation in sight, despite the hurricane hitting Florida to the southeast. (Good luck, Tampa!)

I’m probably just going to have to get a longer hose and drag it around to keep things alive. The weather has gotten cooler and it feels great outside, so it’s a wonderful time to be in the garden.

This morning I started a new gallon batch of sauerkraut, strained out some kefir cheese, started a 2-liter bottle of mead, and got some sheets from the thrift store I can cut up and use for straining out curds. I’ve also got some wheat berries sprouting on the counter, which will soon be dehydrated and turned into wheat beer.

I really should be working on my current book project, but just can’t bring myself to get to real work.

On other news, our goat Ada Claire died this morning. She’s been ill for the last few weeks since we got her home from a friend’s farm. Weak and lethargic. I tried everything I could, from de-worming to giving her kelp meal, pine needles and molasses water, but no luck. She was a very good goat and I was sad to see her crumpled up on the grass this morning.

So… off to the Grocery Row Garden with her.

We’ll miss you, but at least you’ll help us grow some trees and vegetables.

Rest in peas.

In yet other news, pecans are falling from the trees. They are small, seedling pecans, with good flavor. The trees are huge and old! Probably 150 years and still producing.

Yesterday we also got a few gallons of chestnuts off the amazing tree down the road. That’s a blessing. I’ll be planting them all over the yard soon.

Hope you all are well. I should probably find something to do that actually makes money. Perhaps I’ll finish my video on the Grocery Row Garden installation. That would be better than looking up fermentation recipes and listening to lounge music…

The post New Grocery Row Gardens appeared first on The Survival Gardener.

30 Days of Preparedness SUPERSALE: Day 28

Organic Prepper - Wed, 09/28/2022 - 09:37

Happy National Preparedness Month!

September is National Preparedness Month and we’re going to make the most of it by offering amazing, mindblowing, unbelievable deals every single day of the month. Each deal lasts ONE DAY ONLY so get them while the price is at an all-time low!

Day 28 Deal: OTC Medication Printable $1

Do you have the right medications on hand to manage minor illnesses and discomforts? Keep this OTC Medicine Checklist on hand with your supplies, and you’ll have a constant reminder of your essentials.

This 8.5×11 printable has all the basics for everything from wounds to allergies to pain to digestive upsets (and more!)

Grab it today to add to your prepper medical kit! It’s only $1 during today’s Supersale!

Go here to download your printable:

The post 30 Days of Preparedness SUPERSALE: Day 28 appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

TSP Rewind – Total Lifestyle Health for Modern Survival – Epi-205

Survival Podcast - Wed, 09/28/2022 - 09:30
Today is an episode of TSP Rewind, commercial free versions of past podcast episodes. Today’s episode was originally Epi-2516- Total Lifestyle Health for Modern Survival and first aired on Sept. 24, 2019. The following are the original show notes from … Continue reading →

Florida Is About to Get Hammered by Hurricane Ian. Let’s Pull Together.

Organic Prepper - Wed, 09/28/2022 - 07:17
By the author of The Faithful Prepper and The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications.

I’m by no means somebody who lives under a rock when it comes to current events, but I was spending a bit of time listening in on the local ham radio repeaters, where I was met by the usual suspects: a bunch of old men talking about the weather. But they actually had some actionable intelligence this time: there’s a massive hurricane (Hurricane Ian) headed towards Florida, and I had had no idea.

Ian passed Cuba the other day and is already placed as a Category 3, meaning that winds of 111-129mph are possible and devastating damage is going to take place.

From what I understand (thanks to the old dudes on the radio), there is already quite a bit of traffic from Tampa headed north, and some of the guys I was listening to were trying to get their friends to head towards the Atlantic coast if they couldn’t make it out north.

Key West has already seen 70mph winds, and the storm isn’t even there yet. There’s a storm surge warning along the entire western coast of Florida, and the threat of tornadoes there is very real there right now as well.

If you’re in the way of the storm, we recommend The Prepper’s Hurricane Survival Guide for information about what to do before, during, and after the hurricane.

Weather can be a serious threat. 

As we’ve covered here before at The Organic Prepper, you have to take weather threats seriously. We tend to get caught up in just thinking about war, civil strife, tyranny, and the like as preppers – and all of those are valid threats – but we can’t forget that weather can be a serious threat.

Like most coastal dwellers, and I do understand this mindset to an extent, Floridians largely treat hurricanes with a bit of contempt. The idea that “this happens every year” is common amongst pretty much everybody in the Gulf, in my experience. I don’t mean this to bash anybody near the Gulf. It’s just an observation that I think many of you down there will agree with me on.  

Unfortunately, this doesn’t make the weather any better, and there are a few things that I think are worth rehearsing here.  

There is value in listening in on the radio traffic in your area. 

I try to do this every day, and I’m glad that I did here. I’ve loved ones in Florida. Hurricane Ian concerns me. Had I not developed this daily habit of listening in on my local radio traffic, I likely wouldn’t have heard about all of this until it was already here.

Keep your radios close. 

If you’re in Florida, I highly encourage you to keep your radios close, keep them charged, and keep the means to charge them off-grid close at hand as well. NOAA broadcasts are your friend, and you are going to need to use the radio to get a lot of your communications out after Ian is over.

Cell towers are going to experience very high levels of traffic, power may be out in some areas, and there may be internet issues in some regions as well. Keep your radios close because they will enable you to still communicate with those around you once Ian burns out.

(What do you eat when the power goes out? Read our free QUICKSTART Guide for more information.)

Craft an ad hoc comms plan, if you can. 

If it was me, I couldn’t evacuate, and I was going to wait out the hurricane, I would use part of my time right now to tell my friends in the area what frequency I would be on after the storm.

Ideally, your friends will already have radios. If my friends didn’t, I would then use the ARRL website to search for the ham radio call signs that are in their region. Give them the addresses of hams near their house. If they have no other means of communicating with others, then they may be able to get to one of those addresses to ask for help from that ham radio operator.

If you live within driving distance of Florida, consider gearing up some charity packages. 

I know that the mainstream media and your college professor would have you believe that America is the vilest nation on the planet (patently false – read Tocqueville’s Democracy in America to learn more about our heritage. Read just about any history book to discover why America is better. Do Americans leave their country? Or do other people leave their countries to come here?)

One of the great things about Americans is that we are the most charitable people on the planet. And I mean this in regard to true charity, not forced altruism (e.g., theft).

Floridians are going to need bottled water. They’re going to have increased exposure to mosquitoes. They’re going to need food, shelter, chainsaws, plywood, medical gear, and the knowledge that their loved ones are safe.

You can live the kind of life and be the kind of person who says, “Well, they should have PREPARED. Let them reap the consequences,” but I will not. I won’t be able to do much, but I will see if I can’t contribute in some way. May I suggest that you do the same.

We already have organized forces doing what they can to actively separate Americans from one another. Let’s spit in their face by doing the opposite.

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Hang on.

If you are in Florida right now and evacuation away from Hurricane Ian is not possible, I sincerely wish you the best. We here at The OP are pulling for you.

Do you have thoughts on the subject of Hurricane Ian? If you’re in Florida, what are you experiencing? Tell us below.

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to and Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

The post Florida Is About to Get Hammered by Hurricane Ian. Let’s Pull Together. appeared first on The Organic Prepper.