Survival News

Is a Venezuelan-Colombian War on the Horizon? A Brazilian Perspective

Organic Prepper - Sat, 05/14/2022 - 07:05
By the author of Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City and The Ultimate Survival Gear Handbook.

With the escalation of events surrounding the war in Ukraine sucking all the oxygen in the room at the moment, it’s easy to forget about the disputes and conflicts flaring up in various other places around the world. One of these quarrels is heating up at the border between Colombia and Venezuela and involves both the US/NATO and Russia, with the real possibility of a Venezuela-Colombian war.

NATO? In South America?

Yes, it’s a mess of a situation with hints of a throwback to the post-WW2 Cold War period, plot twists, and a coat of modern, multifaceted unconventional warfare. But it has the potential to destabilize South America and even connect with the contention going on in Ukraine and Eastern Europe at some point in the future. Not to mention the possibility of a Cuban Missile Crisis 2.0, which would directly affect the US. 

A brief history of the Russia-Venezuela alliance

Russia has supported the leftist Bolivarian government of Venezuela since 1999 when former president Hugo Chavez took office and took the once-richest South American country on a communist trip. 

Hugo Chavez on right.

Just like the deals with Cuba and Nicaragua decades prior, the alliance includes financial, political, diplomatic, and commercial agreements. From the very beginning, the goal of the Kremlin was to establish another pro-Russian ally in the western hemisphere, and specifically, in South America.

Beyond direct financial support, these agreements include the trading of commodities, weapons, and even nuclear technology for non-military uses (i.e., energy). And, of course, there was oil. Rosneft has helped Venezuela circumvent the restrictions levied by the US and its allies on the communist dictatorship.

(Want information on emergency evacuations? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide.)

The propaganda machine

Russia uses its RT (Russia Today) channel and local Sputnik news agencies (among a host of underground organizations) for their targeted-for-Latin America pro-Kremlin propaganda. 

That’s no different from tactics used by western media and the US government, really. The bottom line is that both sides are trying to spread their messages and impose their agendas, with the ultimate goal of increasing political, ideological, strategic, and commercial influence. 

This Cold War warfare never really ceased to exist. 

It just went somewhat dormant with the fall of the USRR and the advent of globalization in the early 1990s. With the issues brought by the plandemic and the swelling of western-eastern disputes, the Cold War is seemingly back en vogue and in full force again. 

It’s impossible to know for sure what is information, misinformation, and disinformation in this nuclear exchange of narratives and ideological propaganda. So, before we dive in, try to read beyond the words and news. Take declarations from both parts (official or otherwise) by both sides with not just a grain but an entire bag of salt.

And remember: what matters is that history shows that’s how nations prepare and build up for actual wars. This is usually the first stage. The second is commercial and financial war – which we’re already deep into as well. Time will tell if we’re headed for another global conflict.

Latin America geopolitics: always a very complex (and oftentimes crazy) game.

In February, Nicolás Maduro declared that “Russia has the entire support of the Bolivarian Republic for its military intervention in Ukraine.” He also endorsed “the path for a powerful military cooperation between Russia and Venezuela” (his own words), showing the intentions of Russia to help arm the country.

Nicolas Maduro

These declarations were given during a visit of Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov to Caracas, Havana (Cuba), and Managua (Nicaragua). 

In March, after a visit of US officials to Venezuela, Maduro changed his position quite radically, coming to the point of declaring being “united with the US.”

 After US officials flew to Venezuela to hold rare talks about breaking the country’s longstanding Russian influence, Nicolas Maduro changed his tone on the Ukraine war (SOURCE)

Now that’s an odd twist right there. Sudden shifts in mood and position are common to banana republic regimes and dictatorships caught between superpower disputes. But one can only wonder what transpired during this “rare” encounter. 

As telling as these swings may be, they shouldn’t be a surprise or concerning. 

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It’s other recent events and initiatives involving US and Russia in Latin America that deserve attention.

In April, Sputnik Brazil agency published an article highlighting the US efforts to co-opt Colombia into NATO. As odd as this may sound, the Biden administration actually announced Colombia as a “major non-member ally” of NATO in early March 2022.

The article goes on to call Colombia the “Ukraine of Latin America,” speculating the country would be militarized and used to defend American interests in the region. The Venezuelan Defense Minister then called Colombia a “NATO and US puppet,” citing it could be turned into a springboard to invade Venezuela.

This promptly led local and foreign analysts to question: Is this a Cold War reboot, with US and Russia exerting diplomatic, commercial, and economic courtship (or more direct pressures) to shift associations and fetch support? Or are both powers actually setting up the stage to wage another proxy war, this time in Latin America?

The situation on the Venezuela-Colombia border

Early this year, both countries increased their military presence at the border between the states of Arauca and Apure, where a dispute between two previously allied groups broke out over control of territory and illegal activities in the region. 

According to Human Rights Watch, thousands have been displaced due to fighting between the Joint Eastern Command (a coalition of dissident groups that emerged from the demobilized FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Members from both sides have been committing abuses and acts against the civilian population. Killings, compulsory recruitment, kidnappings, and forced displacement have become frequent and keep increasing in number and brutality. Venezuelan security forces have conducted joint operations with ELN fighters and been complicit in their actions.

Colombian president Iván Duque accuses the Venezuelan government of being conniving with the action of the guerrillas, while the Bolivarian regime of Nicolas Maduro blames the Colombian armed groups of invading the Venezuelan territory. Hmmm…

Ivan Duque Where the rubber meets the road

So, is it possible that this situation in the Arauca-Apure region is being strategically manipulated and provoked? Are the paramilitary and guerrilla groups being used to spark a national conflict between the US and Russian allies?

It’s certainly possible, so maybe the question is how likely. I’m no expert in geopolitics, but it’s hard not to see a connection between the declarations, events, manipulations, and interferences narrated above and the on-the-ground developments at the border of Venezuela and Colombia. 

The upcoming presidential election in Colombia is also set to make things even more volatile. Especially with the rumors of Russia trying to interfere and manipulate the process. Nothing has been proved, but the American audience might have an opinion or two about this aspect, so I’ll leave it at that.

Crises lead to insanity. Insanity leads to SHTF.

Western democracy is in a deep crisis of its own making. Eastern powers (i.e., Russia and China) are also in their own hell. Heck, the entire world is up to the eyeballs with problems of all sorts. Everywhere is volatile. 

But that won’t stop ideological warfare from raging on. In fact, it’s during these times that the efforts to win hearts, minds, and actual support get intensified. We’ve entered the age of widespread conflict. Expect more of it to pop up in all corners of the globe. 

This whole mess makes one wonder: if the situation in eastern Europe prolongs or comes to an impasse, what are the odds of Russia turning to Latin America and opening another hot stage with Venezuela and Colombia? What would be the response of the US and NATO? This sure gives some food for thought.

I’ve been following the development of this situation for two reasons. 

One, because both Venezuela and Colombia have borders with Brazil (my home). A larger or more serious conflict has the potential to destabilize the region and, in some way, shape, or form, my country as well.

The second reason is that this can lead to even more complex developments in Europe, but also with the US. 

For instance, if Colombia gets armed and militarized by the US and NATO, Russia could do the same with Venezuela. Given the recent change of tone, it’s not yet clear what’s the position of the Bolivarian government in the matter of Russia and Ukraine. It could change again at any moment, so this is sort of a question mark for the time being.

The possibility of nuclear weapons being installed in the northern part of South America by a US enemy, close to US territory, could lead to another Missile Crisis (the distance between Venezuela and Florida is a mere 2.837 km (1762 miles). 

This would be an extreme scenario, admittedly. But crazy seems to be the new normal, so there’s that.

One thing is for sure: beyond the barrage of declarations, narratives, and propaganda, there’s something tangible happening between Colombia and Venezuela. And it’s not good. 

It has crossed the sphere of ideological manipulation and political interference and taken physical form in the conflicts at the border. These are already affecting large swaths of the population through the action of violent paramilitary and guerrilla groups. And it clearly involves both Russia and the US. 

I’ve recently come across a very interesting and thought-provoking piece by Guido Torres in the Small Wars Journal about non-linear warfare. The author asks if Russia is waging a silent war in Latin America and goes at length to dissect the new approach of the once-URSS to regain its superiority after the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1991. 

The quote at the opening, a declaration by Chief of the General Staff of Russia Gal. Valero Gerasimov gives the tone of the article: “The very ‘rules of war’ have changed. The role of non-military means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown, and, in many cases, they have exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness.”

I highly suggest the read to anyone interested in an insightful perspective on modern warfare, military strategy, and geopolitics in general. While everyone expects China to take prominence on the post-pandemic global stage, it’s the invasion of Ukraine and the military advances of Russia that are currently taking the spotlight and posing more critical questions.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Let us know in the comments below.

About Fabian

Fabian Ommar is a 50-year-old middle-class worker living in São Paulo, Brazil. Far from being the super-tactical or highly trained military survivor type, he is the average joe who since his youth has been involved with self-reliance and outdoor activities and the practical side of balancing life between a big city and rural/wilderness settings. Since the 2008 world economic crisis, he has been training and helping others in his area to become better prepared for the “constant, slow-burning SHTF” of living in a 3rd world country.

Fabian’s ebook, Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City , is a practical training method for common city dwellers based on the lifestyle of the homeless (real-life survivors) to be more psychologically, mentally, and physically prepared to deal with the harsh reality of the streets during normal or difficult times. He’s also the author of The Ultimate Survival Gear Handbook.

You can follow Fabian on Instagram @stoicsurvivor 

The post Is a Venezuelan-Colombian War on the Horizon? A Brazilian Perspective appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Homesteading Myths: 6 Things That Pop Culture Gets Wrong

Insteading - Fri, 05/13/2022 - 15:00

I don’t expect the pop culture version of the world to bear much resemblance to the real thing. It exists to distract and entertain, of course, and in doing so, must grab our attention for as long as possible and by any means necessary.

But even when we admit our disbelief is suspended (as we stare at the antics of those flickering screens), the stereotypes and imagery have a funny habit of burrowing into our minds and rooting there.

As a result, homesteaders face their share of strange misconceptions when watching pop culture representations of their lives. Sometimes, it’s funny to compare our experiences of homesteading reality with the flat screen cutouts that movies, shows, or video games hold up. Other times it can be frustrating as we realize that our friends or family in the city believe those images are anywhere close to an accurate representation. As someone living this life, all I can tell you is that being misunderstood is par for the course. Not everyone will understand why we do what we do unless they’re living the life themself.

So we may as well laugh a little at the homesteading myths and cliches. With that said, let’s take a look at a handful of details about homesteading life that pop culture gets totally wrong.

1. Hay PilesWren Everett // Insteading

One of the most iconic elements of the “Assassin’s Creed” series is the leap of faith, where the likes of Altair and Ezio fling themselves from the heights of historical landmarks and land safely on the ground below (with accompanying eagle sounds, of course). The key to the eponymous assassin’s survival is landing in a conveniently located, shock-absorbing haypile.

These life-preserving stacks of grass are also excellent locations to hide, concealing the player’s character within a second. We willingly go along with the adventure, of course, because the stories are fascinating, the protagonists are intriguing, and there’s nothing like a heroically dramatic, Templar-evading exit to round out a cops and robbers chase.

Those of us who deal with actual hay piles would never launch ourselves into them, though. True, loosely-piled hay is springy to walk on, but a real haystack is surprisingly dense and solid. These fodder-keeping structures are the barn’s so-called root cellar, keeping food for the larger livestock dry and edible well through the cold winter months. And they’re packed tight. In order to fit as much food for the stock as possible, many old-time hay piles were densely, strategically, and expertly arranged to both stay dry and shed water.

2. ChickensWren Everett // Insteading

With the way they are represented, the ubiquitous chicken is one of the most poorly-understood creatures in Hollywood. I’d give bald eagles a close second, as they are always shown soaring and screeching with the borrowed, bold call of a red-tailed hawk and not their authentic, somewhat uninspiring squeaky chitter.

Take, for instance, the chickens in the “Legend of Zelda.” Of course, we accept their ridiculous antics are (indeed) ridiculous, and readily convert it to pop culture lore with a nostalgic grin. Nevertheless, the chickens in this long-running series have been endowed with characteristics that far exceed the natural abilities of any barnyard hen. If you hold a bird over your head, you’re more likely to get pooped on than float safely away to the ground from a height. And if you were to hit a hen with a sword, the rest of the flock would probably just cluster around the rooster in fear of you, rather than mass in a coordinated attack to send you to the death screen.

Thankfully, real chickens are a lot nicer than the death-dealing poultry of the franchise. Some are downright cuddly, such as the floofy Cochin or the gentle Orpington. As you’ll see in our helpful Chicken Breed Database, if it’s a feathery pet or docile, kid-friendly bird you’re hoping for, there’s a breed out there that will fit the bill … er, beak.

They Just Want to Sleep – Wren Everett // Insteading

I’ll also extend an honorary mention to the chickens of “Red Dead Redemption 2.” The game is rightly renowned for its absolutely gorgeous panoramas and acute attention to historical detail, representing the 1890s western landscape in a complicated, immersive story. But there’s a singular detail to this game that tells me some of the folks at Rockstar Games don’t have chickens of their own. As Arthur gallops across the plains and mountains, he often passes homesteads, and every once in a while, no matter what hour of the night, those familiar fowl are out scratching and pecking. As those of us with coops in the backyard know, no chicken worth its salt would ever linger outside after sundown

3. ForagingWren Everett // Insteading

I bequeath the 2004 film “Into the Wild” with the award for most erroneous representation of foraging. The storyline of the film itself is a fascinating look into the mind of a young man disenchanted with his upbringing and longing for a more meaningful life — something many of us can relate to, even if we don’t run away to Alaska. The well-known ending of the story is, however, that Chris McCandless dies in an abandoned bus, alone and despairing.

The film is based on a tragic true story. But the cause of McCandless’ death has been completely synthesized and rewritten. Though the true nature of his death is somewhat shrouded, it’s likely that he died of starvation. In the film, however, Chris dies from ingesting a wild plant that the film deliberately wrote to be poisonous for the sake of their story. They even went so far as to write a falsified entry in the real-life plant guide Chris reads in the film though the actual book bears no such toxicity warning for the plant in question.

As someone who uses foraged plants and mushrooms for hundreds of my meals every year, I get frustrated at the Hollywood wild food boogeyman that haunts my conversations with folks who don’t forage. Because of deliberately sensationalized moments in films like this one, they believe I’m playing a botanical game of Russian roulette when I head out with my basket — rather than collecting nutritious and safe foods.

For those interested, a much more thorough and well-written critical essay on the foraging aspect of the film in question can be found in Samuel Thayer’s book “Nature’s Garden” (the essay is available to read at this link). For those interested in learning how to forage with knowledge and no fear, I humbly recommend our video and article on the basics of getting started.

4. Backwoods HicksWren Everett // Insteading

When I first moved to the country, the people I left in the city immediately began asking if talking to my neighbors felt like reliving a scene from “Deliverance.” I’m decidedly not a movie buff and never saw the film, but from the way they talked, it seemed they thought a rural community only picked banjos on their porches and had disturbing affections for pigs. Eventually, I looked up the 1972 film on IMDB, and realized I was glad I’d never seen it.

Now, I’m not here to hate on a decades-old film that I still haven’t seen. But I am curious about these strange touchstones that add to the cultural zeitgeist of historical, self-sufficient rural folks. They’ve been given a pretty dirty turn in popular films. They’re often written as toothless, inbred, unintelligent people, closer to animals than real, modern humans. I suppose this cliche is to make us feel like we’ve advanced far beyond scratching in dirt for our food, since we can now boop a phone app to make it appear on the front porch instead.

One interesting thing about “Deliverance” is that it was filmed in Rabun County, Georgia, a rural Appalachian community full of the very sort of country folk that supposedly populated the horror film. If you’re familiar with the “Foxfire” series, you’re already aware there’s a far more accurate representation of the self-reliant communities of Rabun County to be found.

I recommend the first three or four books in the series. They are full of interviews with the mountain residents who truly knew how to live on their own land. Sure, the elderly folks they interview may be missing a few teeth and may talk in a manner seemingly quaint to modern ears, but I would gladly trade my college degree for the knowledge of how to grow and preserve food through like they did.

5. ScythesWren Everett // Insteading

My brother-in-law once told me that his favorite weapon in “Dark Souls 3” was some sort of deadly-designed scythe. I couldn’t help but laugh, however, at the thought of this graceful, gentle tool as the weapon he described in the game. “Dark Souls” isn’t the only culprit in scythe assumption, however. The giant, razor-sharp blade on the original lawnmower undoubtedly inspires awe in those who have never handled one. It looks like it would and should deal damage with ease. But the fact is, a scythe blade is a finely-honed, delicate instrument, and you would never swing it around or over your head like the characters in video games.

Scythe blades never slice through the air. They skim a few inches off the ground, held horizontally, and shearing grass blades as easy as a thought. The sight of a person using one skillfully looks as graceful as a dance. Furthermore, the long blades can be easily damaged by running into stones or hard objects — something that the true scythe-wielder dreads.

When it comes to self-defense or battle, pretty much any other garden tool would be a better weapon than a scythe. But when it comes to blissfully quiet hay cutting or gas-free prairie grass maintenance, you could do no better than a scythe.

6. Homestead Daily Life

Cable television shows like “Mountain Men” or “Homestead Rescue” have a job to do: They want to entertain you for a set amount of time. To do so, they need to have some sort of problem for their rural, off-grid stars to face like bear attacks, blizzards, floods, or roads blocked by fallen trees. The general tone seems to be that these hard-living folks are fighting tooth and nail to cling to existence in their wild homesteads, always preparing for the next disaster and not having to wait long for it to arrive.

The reality of homestead daily life is, however, that though it’s full of hard work, it’s often peaceful and enjoyable. That’s why we choose this life, after all. Sure, there’s the occasional sick chicken, escaped goat, or hornworm-chewed tomatoes, but there’s also a whole lot of good, wonderful, quiet, or satisfying days. A day spent mending fences, milking goats, tending the garden, and gathering fresh eggs may not make for exciting television, but it does make for good living.

Since I’m an off-grid homesteader, I don’t like to spend much time vegging out in front of my nonexistent screens. I know I’ve missed out on plenty of other examples. But I’d love to hear from you. Where have you found the mass media representation of homesteading myths totally, hilariously, or frustratingly wrong? Share some examples below and we can all have a laugh in solidarity.

The 7 BEST Non-Military Field Manuals

Organic Prepper - Fri, 05/13/2022 - 12:45
By the author of The Faithful Prepper andThe Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications.

Everybody is familiar with military field manuals, and I confess that I thoroughly enjoy reading them myself. There’s a lot of good information in them, even if they can be rather dry sometimes.

But there are a host of other field manuals out there as well that you may have never read and should. Plenty of them come from non-military sources, and that’s what I’d like to take a harder look at today.

What are we designating as a ‘field manual?’

To be classified as a field manual, a number of conditions have to be met. For starters, the book can’t be a brick. It has to be readily packable into a bag to be taken out into the woods and used for in-the-field learning. Next, if it has the word ‘manual’ in the title, it’s a bonus.

And lastly, the book has to be filled with the knowledge of how to do particular things in an easy-to-find format. You can learn a lot from Doom and Bloom’s books (and I highly recommend checking them out), but they’re too big to easily stuff into a backpack and head into the woods with.

For that reason, you’re not going to see 400+ page handbooks listed here. We’re looking for backpackable books that are filled with hands-on prepping advice that can be used easily out in the field. What are some of the best? Here are my thoughts…

(Before you delve in, be sure to check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to what to eat when the power goes out. Consider it something of an ebook field manual.)

TW-01 – Baseline Training Manual

Joe Dolio has absolutely exploded onto the scene within the survival/prepper genre, and for good reason: he offers a no-nonsense, practical approach to prepping that people have come to crave. If you’re brand new to prepping and wondering where to start, I would point you towards this book first.

It’s here that you’ll learn what you actually need and what you actually don’t. Joe also helps to lay the scene for what a societal collapse situation is actually going to look like for you and your family, helping to blast through a lot of misconceptions out there that seem to have taken root. Pick up this book and work your way through it. You’ll finish much better prepared than you would have been otherwise.

TW-02 – Fieldcraft

Read up on the Rwandan Genocide, the Chinese evacuation of Manchuria during World War 2, the Bielski brothers, the Holocaust, the Donner Party, the Armenian Genocide, or the split of Sudan. If you do, you’ll read account after account of normal people who were thrown into a world where they suddenly had to live out in the woods, jungles, and mountains without any modern conveniences.

If they didn’t go to the wild, the alternative was certain death. They’d be raped and hacked to death by machete (Rwanda), raped, tortured, then shot/attacked by a katana (China), sent to a gas chamber (the Bielski brothers/the Holocaust), and more of the same. 

What do you need to know to be prepared for a future situation? How do you stay alive in the woods? What gear do you need to have to do so?

Here, Joe Dolio walks you through step-by-step. Land navigation, analyzing terrain, and camouflage are some of the topics covered here. Should there ever come a time in your life where you have no other option but to take to the woods for an unknown number of days in order to stay alive, you’ll have the knowledge and gear necessary to be able to do so.

TW-03 – Defensive Operations

The most recent of Dolio’s books will teach you exactly what you need to know when it comes to protecting your friends and family after society collapses. The more I talk with people from other countries – the more history I read – the more I have come to understand that the lack of violence that America has enjoyed compared to every other nation out there is the exception.

Violence truly is the norm.

Let’s say a Russian cyber attack hits the EBT system and you live in downtown Chicago. You and your family are all driving out of the city together, caravan-style. Do you know how to do this safely? If you’ve read this book you will.

What if you live in Romania and your village is concerned with the threat of sabotage to local infrastructure? You can learn how to set up an entry control point here as well.

It’s a really cool book that will help you to understand what you need to do to survive the violence that normalcy bias brains never even think about.

The US Armed Forces Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Survival Manual

For starters, don’t let the title confuse you. This book is written specifically for civilians (it appears it’s a sanitized version of what the military actually uses). 

I think that Cresson Kearny has written the best book on nuclear war that there is, but I wouldn’t consider it of the proper size to be a field manual. This one, I would. To date, this is probably the most comprehensive little book I’ve found that will tell you exactly what you need to know for a wide range of WMD-style events.

It was largely reading this book (along with War of Nerves) that has caused me to rethink my initial stance on gas masks (I used to think that they’re largely unnecessary). I think other preps are most certainly more important (e.g., having plenty of food and water), but I no longer dismiss the notion of a gas mask out of hand. (MIRA Safety has the best out there, by the way.)

Anybody else remember the Gulf War? Or has it largely been forgotten?

If you want to learn about NBC stuff in-depth, I recommend Ken Alibek, Richard Preston, or Kearny. If you want a field guide that will give you the quick and gritty details on what you need to do to survive them, that’s this.

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Land Navigation from Start to Finish

How proficient are you with reading maps? Do you know how to use a map protractor? Can you reliably shoot an azimuth with your compass? Can you figure out your coordinates with a map? If any of these are topics that you are either rusty on or clueless about, you need to check out this book.

This is one of the most straightforward guides to learning map/compass/navigation skills out there that you’ll ever find. In the event of a societal collapse, you’re likely not going to want to take the roads. You’ll need to go into the bush.

Whether it’s the long walk home, an evasion scenario, or your attempt to rescue a family member, you’re going to need to know how to navigate in the woods without roads and street signs to help you. And this book is what will teach you how to do that.

Knife Only Survival

While this book doesn’t call itself a field guide, that’s the only way to use it. It’s small enough to slip into the smallest pack next time that you head out into the woods to work on your bushcraft skills. I’ve read a lot of bushcraft books out there, and this one is one of my favorites.

It’s simple to read and is filled with pictures, and I’ve worked through just about every project in it so far. The only problem that I, admittedly, keep getting stuck on is carving those little deadfall traps. I have a hard time getting everything to continue staying upright.

That by no means is indicative of any problems with this book – the book is fantastic – just that I need more practice. I highly recommend picking this one up.

Pocket Field Guide: Wilderness Survival Breads

For starters, Creek Stewart is the man. His Fat Guys in the Woods, about a bunch of fat guys in the woods, was one of my favorite shows when it was on (who doesn’t love that title?).

Reading The Seven Pillars of Wisdom caused me to realize the weight differences between rice and flour and how you get more calories/pound by carrying flour. We’ve talked a bit about non-traditional bug out foods before, mentioning flour specifically.

What do you do with flour? You make bread.

This book will show you exactly how to do that while you’re in the middle of the woods with your campfire sitting there in front of you.

What are your favorite non-military field manuals? 

There is a host of them out there, but these are some of what I think are the best of the best. I may not have read what you like most, though, nor have others. So, if you know of a field manual that you think other people should know about, share it with us 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 three published books, The Faithful Prepper 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 The 7 BEST Non-Military Field Manuals appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Episode 253. How to Conserve Water at an Urban, Mountain Desert Farm

National Center for Appropriate Technology - Fri, 05/13/2022 - 11:00
NCAT’s headquarters in Butte, Montana, has a complicated growing climate to say the least. That makes John Wallace’s job as farm manager of NCAT’s Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training program – or SIFT – challenging as well.
John Wallace and Victorian Smart

Expert Council Q&A for 5-12-22 – Episode – 3093

Survival Podcast - Fri, 05/13/2022 - 10:00
Today on The Survival Podcast the expert council answers your questions on government, war, cured meats, nutrition, homeschool, tool storage, pasture development, the lightning network and more. Make sure if you submit content for an expert council show you do … Continue reading →

What a Week! Fixing Soil and Milking Cows

David the Good - Fri, 05/13/2022 - 07:50

I visited my friend Elizabeth this week and filmed another video in her garden:

She wrote me afterward to say the video looked nice, but wasn’t a rich, vibrant green like my previous video at her place.

I told her it was because of the vintage Soviet lens I was using plus the cinematic color grading. I like the videos to look like they were high-end analog recordings from the 70s. It’s my look!

I deliberately run my camera with its internal settings set to minimal saturation and contrast, then I bring up the levels to where I like them in the editing.

But – weird artistic pretensions aside – this new video a great look at how she turned some terrible dirt into lovely soil and a productive garden through adding lots of organic matter and microbial life.

In other news, I haven’t posted much this week because we were busy with a new baby cow and getting a milking shed set up.

That is a picture of Brandy’s first milking. She still has her calf with her, but she still produced almost a gallon for us.

I made the milking shed from scrap roofing, pallet wood and felled popcorn trees I notched with my machete. It’s remarkably stable.

Here you can see the “head gate” we built to keep cows somewhat still as they are milked.

There is a manger in front which keeps the cow occupied:

She is an easy cow to work with and let down her milk right away. Her willingness to be milked was impressive – she went right into the shed and contentedly munched grain through almost the entire process.

She did manage to kick Rachel in the leg and spatter her with manure at the end, though.

I need to make a milking stool next. Maybe early next week. We’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to separate the calf for part of the day to ensure a better milk supply.

It’s been a busy week but a good week. Have a wonderful weekend – I’ll catch you again on Monday.

*          *          *

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

There is a river, the streams of which shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he has made in the earth.

He makes wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and cuts the spear in two; he burns the chariot in the fire.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

-Psalm 46

The post What a Week! Fixing Soil and Milking Cows appeared first on The Survival Gardener.

Belarus Just Mobilized Troops, Artillery, and More To Ukraine Border

Organic Prepper - Fri, 05/13/2022 - 07:03
By the author of The Faithful Prepper and The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications.

NATO has just begun a new military exercise, Defender Europe 2022, and it seems to have had some unexpected consequences – Belarus just mobilized its military.

At least, that’s the reason Belarus is giving us for why they’ve recently started moving troops to their southern border.

War is logistics – Defender Europe 2022

Every year, the US Army puts on Defender Europe with NATO forces. It’s essentially a logistics exercise in which soldiers practice moving large amounts of military materiel throughout NATO countries via rail by the Deutsche Bahn. Gear is packed up at an Army Prepositions Stock (APS) by soldiers, sent out by rail to a NATO member, the gear is used, and then the material is shipped back to the original APS.

Upon receipt of the original goods, the items are inspected for wear and tear. Then, the process begins anew all over again.

Defender Europe 2022 started this month and is currently scheduled to continue on through June. This is apparently one of the largest Defender Europe exercises that’s ever been conducted.  Soldiers from Denmark, Estonia, Germany, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, and Great Britain are currently involved in the exercise.

Dutch troops 2020 with a pretty cool flektarn camo variation.

According to US Army General Christopher Cavoli, “Through exercises like this, we are prepared to defend every inch of NATO territory with a strong, combat-credible force to ensure we stay stronger together in the face of any aggression.”

In regards to this year’s exercise, program integrator Logan Rappuhn has said, “We are getting our operations in line with being able to do a mass draw (of equipment),” while forward site manager Joseph Robinson has said, “We have over 5000 lines of medical equipment for sustaining lives.”

Massive amounts of military goods are currently being transported around NATO countries, and this is going to continue throughout June.

(Probably a good time to check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to what to eat when the power goes out. Just in case.)

The recent actions of Belarus

We’ve covered this nation a bit in the past here at The Organic Prepper, noting that they were a country to pay attention to throughout this war (they’d just voted to allow nuclear weapons into their country).

Last week Belarus announced that they were going to begin a series of military exercises within their own border to assess the fighting capability of their own forces. Earlier this week, they announced that they are actually mobilizing their military.

Major General Viktor Gulevich has said that troops are currently being moved to (or already have been moved to) three key regions throughout the country. Gulevich said, “In order to ensure the security of the Republic of Belarus in the Southern direction, units of special operations forces are deployed in three tactical areas.”

Belarus shares a border with Ukraine – a border where it is currently alleged that Ukrainian forces are building en masse. Gulevich has also said, “As part of the second stage of checking the immediate reaction forces, battalion tactical groups were advanced to the Western and Northwestern operational directions.”

(I’m not entirely sure what this means. Belarus is sending troops South, West, and Northwest?)

Whatever Gulevich means by this, he went on to add that “to strengthen them, air defense, missile forces and artillery units are being moved forward to ensure their combat functioning.”

So you have massive amounts of military equipment being moved to the border under the guise of “military exercises.” I feel like I’ve heard this one before

Allegedly, this buildup is also being done because of Defender Europe 2022.

The Belarusian Minister of Defense, Viktor Khrenin, has said, “The United States and their allies continue to increase their military presence near the state borders of the Republic of Belarus.” He went on to say, “In the past six months, the accumulation of forces has doubled, in terms of quantity and of quality.”

According to Forward Observer (which you should buy a membership to), this could potentially lead to Poland mobilizing its troops by its border. What happens beyond that? Well, it’s anybody’s guess.

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Poland is orange. Belarus is green. How tight can we wind things up?

Does anybody else feel like the world is a spring that has been wound up as tight as it can go? There’s almost a palpable friction in the air. Day by day, things only seem to be growing worse. I honestly don’t have high hopes for any of this overseas fighting, and an expansion of the war only seems inevitable to me at this point.

But, time will tell. What are your thoughts on the matter? Let us know in the comments 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 three published books, The Faithful Prepper 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 Belarus Just Mobilized Troops, Artillery, and More To Ukraine Border appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Friday Favorites: Urinary Tract Infections from Eating Chicken

Nutrition Video - Fri, 05/13/2022 - 06:50
Can UTI-causing ExPEC E. coli bacteria be transferred human-to-human from those who eat chicken?

UN Grocery List: Bread, Milk, Grubs, Beetles, Maggots

Organic Prepper - Thu, 05/12/2022 - 11:20
By the author of Prepper’s Pantry and The Blackout Book.

[Originally published May 15, 2013] Have you ever read about a survival scenario where a kidnapping victim, a forgotten prisoner, or lost hiker was forced to choke down insects in order to survive? Did it sound repulsive? Demeaning? Even sub-human?

Well, welcome to your life if the United Nations has anything to do with it. Our “friends” at the United Nations have released a report that promises a solution to world hunger:

Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security.

According to an article about the U.N. report , “Fight World Hunger by Eating Bugs, Urges the U.N.”, that appeared on, the UN is:

…asking us to consider how underutilized insects are as potential food for livestock, or the ways insect consumption could benefit the environment. The original report notes that insects’ feed conversion rate is fairly high (we’d get more for less, in other words), they could be raised on “organic side-streams” like human/animal waste, they emit fewer greenhouse gases and ammonia than animals like cattle and pigs, and they need much less water than the latter.”

If you needed more evidence that the “elite” and those in charge at the UN think of the rest of us as somewhat lesser beings, this is it. Do you think that Bill and Melinda Gates will be sending their housekeeper to the market to pick up a basket of fresh caterpillars for dinner? Will baked beetles be on the menu at the Rothschild estate? Will the Obama children have bug salad sandwiches in their lunch boxes when they go to school?

(Don’t want to eat bugs? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning.)

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization touts another environmental benefit of “farming” insects – they eat poop.

Aside from their nutritional value, farming insects could considerably benefit the environment. According to the FAO, insects emit fewer greenhouse gases and need less land or water than cattle when farmed.

As cold-blooded creatures they are “very efficient” in converting feed to protein, needing 12 times less feed than cattle in order to produce the same amount. They also feed on human and animal waste, and can transform this into protein. (source)

This suggestion that everyday people be reduced to consuming insects that are fed excrement is part of the hijacked green movement, cloaked under the guise of “sustainable development”. World leaders and fake environmental groups are doctoring science and conveying propaganda through media and the school systems.  The development sustained with their plan is not the development of everyday people like you and me.  It is not the development of struggling families who don’t even have clean water to drink.  It is the development of the “elite” and their heirs.

The thing so insidious about the UN is that they cloak their motives in an air of benevolence

They garner the whole-hearted support of the unaware by their word choices, their propaganda, and their warm politically correct façade. Meanwhile, the people of the world are willingly, happily led off a cliff, while being lulled by the UN Scheherazade.

Through Agenda 21 and the United Nations, the  “elite” are attempting to brainwash the entire world to believe that allowing them to control the resources of the earth will be in our best interest. I would bet that grass-fed beef and free range chickens will still make their way to the banquet tables of the wealthy.

Clearly, indigenous people around the world have consumed insects as part of their diet. However, do you believe they farm those insects and purposely feed them feces?  There is an enormous difference between the UN’s proposition and the foraging methods employed by hunter-gatherers across the globe.

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If the UN was truly concerned about the well-being of the hungry people of the world, wouldn’t they teach sustainable farming methods? Wouldn’t they be promoting urban gardening, micro-livestock, and handing out heirloom seed packets? Wouldn’t they be cracking down on companies like Monsanto and Dow? (Who are poisoning much of the farmland of the world with their toxic seeds and pesticides.) This is pure Agenda 21 “resource management” to remove more resources from the hands of the poor and reallocate them to the wealthy.

If you are truly worried about world hunger, the answer is food self-sufficiency. Divert gray water to the garden. Learn to save seeds from one season to the next. Use farming methods that feed your soil. Avoid toxic chemicals. Learn urban farming techniques. Have the means to harvest  and store water from multiple sources. Education is key. Not brainwashing behind a disguise of benevolence, land grabs, or dehumanizing options presented in a trendy new light.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. 

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

The post UN Grocery List: Bread, Milk, Grubs, Beetles, Maggots appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Pastured Meat Production at Homestead Scale – Episode 3092

Survival Podcast - Thu, 05/12/2022 - 10:00
Today regenerative farmer Charles Mayfield returns this time to discuss raising pastured meat at a homestead to farmstead scale. With the current “war on food” and specifically the attack on meat this topic is more important than ever. Charles is … Continue reading →

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Guacamole

Nutrition blog - Thu, 05/12/2022 - 07:00

High-fat plant foods—avocados, peanuts, and walnuts—and olive oil are put to the test.

In the preface of my book How Not to Die, after bemoaning the fact that although Big Pharma offered me countless steak dinners during my medical training, Big Broccoli never asked me out, I wrote that you’ll probably never see an ad on TV for whole natural foods because there just isn’t much of a markup, they aren’t shelf-stable, and you can’t brand them, patent them, or trademark them. Real food just isn’t as profitable as junk. But, I may have to eat those words. As I discuss in my video Flashback Friday: The Effects of Avocados on Inflammation, there was a TV ad for avocados—aired during the Super Bowl, no less—and it wasn’t for avocado-flavored Doritos or something like that. It was an ad for the actual fruit. Thanks in part to the billions of avocados sold every year, the Avocado Board has $50 million—not only for ads but for research, too.

I’ve touched previously on its burger study, in which the addition of avocado blunted the spike in inflammation one gets within hours of eating meat. Amazing. The burger with more added fat and more calories from the avocado produced less inflammation, perhaps because the added fat and calories were in the form of a whole plant food, which tend to be packed with antioxidants that can inhibit the formation of oxidized fats that are formed when meat is cooked and when it hits your stomach acid.

Do other high-fat, high-calorie whole plant foods have the same protective effect? What about peanuts, for example. Not to be outdone by Big Guac, the Peanut Institute funded a study with the understanding that most of us spend most of our waking hours in a postprandial state—that is, an after-meal state—and the fat from those meals that courses through our systems is “a well-recognized risk factor for atherosclerosis,” the number one killer of men and women, manifesting as “impaired endothelial function.” That means we may have crippled artery function within hours of eating something crappy, like a milkshake, about 1,200 calories of mostly sugar and heavy cream. Well, what if you drank that same milkshake with 3 ounces of peanuts thrown in? 

To mimic the nutritional profile of the added peanuts as closely as possible, the researchers tried to match up the added fat and protein by adding oil, egg whites, and even a fiber supplement to the control. So, as you can see at 2:07 in my video, the two milkshakes had pretty much the same amounts of calories, sugar, protein, fat, saturated fat, and fiber. So, on paper, it would seem the two shakes should cause the same reaction in the body, right? But peanuts are whole plant foods, so what you don’t see listed in a nutrient profile are the thousands of phytonutrients in the peanut milkshake that are missing from the non-peanut shake. Did the phytonutrients make any difference? 

As you can see at 2:44 in my video, within hours of consuming the non-peanut milkshake, all that saturated fat and sugar in the shake clamped down artery function by about 20 percent. Just one milkshake reduced the ability of our arteries to relax and dilate normally by 20 percent! Okay, but what if you consumed the same amount of saturated fat and sugar but with a little real food thrown in? There was no significant drop in artery function! The peanuts helped preserve artery function in response to the endothelial insult, a “cardioprotective effect” presumably due to the active phytonutrients in the peanuts and peanut skins.

Walnuts may work even better. As you can see at 3:23 in my video, after you eat a salami and cheese sandwich with some olive oil, artery function plummets by about a third, but if you replace that olive oil with the same amount of plant fat in the form of whole walnuts, you don’t just blunt the effect of the salami and cheese—you reverse it. You end up even better than you started out.

What about avocados? “Research indicates that energy-dense [calorie-dense] foods increase inflammation and oxidative activity, thereby contributing to the development of vascular [artery] disease. However, it is not clear whether the high kilojoule [calorie] load alone, irrespective of the nutritional content of the ingested food, produces the postprandial [after-the-meal] oxidative and inflammatory activity.” So, researchers compared the impact of “a high-fat, high-sugar, phytonutrient-reduced food (ice cream)” to the effects of the exact same number of calories of a “phytonutrient-rich whole food (avocado).” If it’s just the concentration of calories and fat, the ice cream and avocados should have the same effect. The researchers tested reactions to four different meals: (1) ice cream, (2) avocado, (3) just the fat and protein from the ice cream (to separate out the sugar), and (4) just the amount of sugar in the ice cream (to separate out the effects of the saturated butterfat).

As you can see at 4:43 in my video, the four “food/food components” were ice cream, just the cream, just the sugar (without any fat), and about four avocados, which had, compared to ice cream, about three times the fat and the same amount of saturated fat and calories. What did the researchers find? If you eat the ice cream, just the cream (the sugar-free components), or just the sugar (the fat-free components), the level of oxidative stress in the bloodstream goes up. But, this was not observed after ingestion of a calorie-equivalent whole plant food.

“Unlike ice cream, ingestion of the whole-food avocado, which has the same energy density [calories] and a similar amount of fat, did not produce a rise in oxidative or inflammatory activity. This suggests that the postprandial [after-meal] oxidative stress observed after eating foods such as ice cream may be due to their isolation from non-energy-producing food components such as antioxidants.” Sugar is okay in fruit form because it naturally comes prepackaged with phytonutrients. Similarly, the fat in whole plant foods like nuts and avocados comes prepackaged with “a rich matrix of phytochemicals [and] therefore does not demonstrate the same potential for oxidative damage.”

Want to read more from How Not to Die? Please do! All proceeds I receive from my books are donated to charity. 

I also mentioned Flashback Friday: The Effects of Avocados and Red Wine on Meal-Induced Inflammation.


  • Adding avocado to a burger blunts the spike in inflammation that normally occurs within hours of eating meat. Despite the avocado adding more fat and calories to the meal, less inflammation is produced, likely because the additions are from antioxidant-rich whole plant foods that can inhibit oxidized fat formation.
  • Most of our waking hours may be in a postprandial (after-meal) state, and the fat we eat may be crippling our artery function soon after consumption.
  • When two milkshakes with virtually the same amounts of calories, sugar, protein, fat, saturated fat, and fiber, but one included peanuts, a whole plant food containing thousands of phytonutrients, were given to subjects, within hours of drinking the non-peanut shake, artery function was diminished by 20 percent. With the addition of peanuts, though, there was no significant drop in the ability of the arteries to relax and dilate normally, and walnuts may work even better.
  • In another study, researchers examined reactions to: (1) ice cream, (2) avocado, (3) just the fat and protein from the ice cream (to separate out the sugar), and (4) just the amount of sugar in the ice cream (to separate out the effects of the saturated butterfat). Oxidative stress levels in the bloodstream increased with the ice cream, just the fat and protein from the ice cream, and just the sugar in the ice cream, but no increase was observed after eating the avocados.
  • Whole plant foods, which are rich in antioxidants, come naturally prepackaged with phytonutrients and do not show the same potential for oxidative damage.

For even more on avocados, check out:

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live presentations:

How Did We End Up Having a Baby Formula Shortage?

Organic Prepper - Thu, 05/12/2022 - 06:58

The United States is now facing a severe baby formula shortage and all the data only points to things getting worse. As of early April, approximately 30% of popular infant formula was out of stock at stores across the nation. CVS, Target, and Walgreens were some of the more noteworthy stores that began to ration baby food out at that time. This comes at a time shortly after Georgia has declared a state of emergency due to lack of supplies and Washington DC has began to advocate for the rationing of food.

Now? Now, the data indicates that 40% of popular infant formula brands are out of stock throughout America. What will that percentage be next month?

Much of this has been caused by the recall at Abbott.

Abbott is the largest supplier of infant formula in America. Approximately three months ago, four infants became ill, two of which, sadly, passed away. The FDA and the CDC stepped in, claiming that Abbott’s Michigan facility needed to shut down. Initially, the FDA said that they found unsanitary facility practices at the Abbott facility. Anybody who has ever talked with anyone who has tried to produce and process their own livestock for sale understands how asinine FDA rulings of “unsanitary” can be.

Last month, the FDA and CDC stated that the bacterial strain that made the four babies sick didn’t match the strain of bacteria that was found at the Abbott facility. Despite this, the plant remained closed. There is currently no explanation as to how the contamination occurred.

(Here’s a link worth exploring. “Sabotage operations.”)

Now, because of the shortage, the FDA is saying that the Michigan Abbott facility can reopen. According to the company, it will take them approximately 10 weeks before formula once more begins to show up on store shelves across America.

Headlines about the shortage are popping up in media across the nation.

The Guardian recently published a piece titled, ‘It’s a nightmare’: baby formula shortage leaves US parents desperate. Other media outlets have began to publish articles along the lines of ‘How to Feed Your Baby When There’s No Infant Formula.’

As of April, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Iowa, and Missouri were hit the hardest by the shortage of infant formula, experiencing a 50% reduction in infant formula.

(You need to get your food storage in order NOW. Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide on building a three-layer food storage plan.)

Let them drink Biomilq.

A new formula alternative should be available on the market within the next 3-5 years, though – Biomilq – the world’s first lab-grown breast milk.

This Durham, North Carolina company was founded in 2019, and has recently acquired hefty financing from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Bill Gates’ investment firm that is predominantly focused on tackling “climate change.” Other partners with Breakthrough Energy Ventures include Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Masayoshi Son, Jack Ma, Michael Bloomberg, and Marc Benioff.

After serving a stint at the Gates Foundation, food scientist Michelle Egger co-founded Biomilq with Leila Strickland.

But why did a “climate change” organization invest money in a lab-grown breast milk company?

According to CEO Michelle Eggers, at the moment, approximately 10% of the world’s milk supply is used to produce milk for infant formula. This is apparently bad for the planet. Eggers and Strickland tout Biomilq as an environmentally-friendly means of feeding babies. Their hope is Biomilq will reduce the carbon footprint of the infant formula industry.


At the moment, we have mysterious fires that are devastating the American food supply. For 3 months, the FDA shut down one of the facilities that America’s largest infant formula manufacturer uses. Despite no link between the bacteria that made the babies sick and the bacteria found in the factory. Furthermore, the FDA discovered no explanation for the infections, but kept the facility shut down another month.

Bill Gates is funding a lab-grown milk factory. (By the way, to create the milk, donors gave breast and milk cells to the company in exchange for a Target gift card. These cells, placed in a bioreactor, replicate the environment found inside of a breast, and produces milk as a end result.)

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We have been warning about an American famine for quite some time. The Irish Potato Famine Memorial.

You are about to experience it at a level that you never thought possible. When did you last hear of American babies dying from starvation? Why are you suddenly hearing about it now?

What are your thoughts on all this? Do you have more to add to the conversation? Let us know what you’re thinking in the comments below.

About Jeff

Jeff Thompson is an avid fisherman who likes to spend time sailing on his boat and reading while at sea.

The post How Did We End Up Having a Baby Formula Shortage? appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

7 Garden Mistakes Gardeners Often Make – And How To Avoid Them!

Old World Garden - Thu, 05/12/2022 - 06:38

Today’s article is all about avoiding some of the most common garden mistakes new gardeners (and veteran gardener’s too) often make as they embark on a new growing season. There …

The post 7 Garden Mistakes Gardeners Often Make – And How To Avoid Them! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

Homestead Stories: The Rainbow Tree

Insteading - Wed, 05/11/2022 - 17:51

I love my trees, and I’m always looking for something unusual or different from forests around the world.

Judy Gallagher // flickr

Imagine my delight to discover a tree that grows in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. It is cleverly called the rainbow tree. Actually, rainbow eucalyptus or Eucalyptus deglupta, to be more accurate. It’s also known as the Mindanao gum or rainbow gum. Why rainbow in the name? Well, its trunk is naturally “painted” (for lack of a better word) with stripes of all the colors in a rainbow.

Surprisingly, this multicolored tree trunk is used as pulp in the production of white paper (not rainbow-colored paper, but white).

Rainbow Tree Appearanceucumari photography // flickr

When I first saw images of rainbow trees, I believed them to be works of art, deliberately splashed with paints of different colors. Then I discovered these trees were naturally color streaked. The rainbow eucalyptus is a fast-growing tree that reaches heights up to 250 feet with a thick trunk that can be more than 90 inches in diameter. Its smooth bark is orange-tinted and it sheds in strips to reveal the colorful streaks of red, orange, pale green, gray, and a mixed, purple-brown shade.

It’s not just the rainbow-colored bark that makes this tree’s appearance so quaint. There are other unique attributes. The branches are almost square when looked at in a cross section, and they sometimes have what look like wings in the corners. The leaves grow in opposite pairs with each leaf being about 3 to 6 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. The flower buds appear on leaf axils or at the end of the branches. A group of flower buds usually has about seven. They’re spherical and about a quarter of an inch in length. The buds are cream colored, sometimes with a pale green hue. The flowers are white and pale yellow. The fruit produced looks like a capsule that’s woody and brown in color. Every fruit contains 3 to 12 seeds.

Related Post: Homestead Stories: The Mighty Oak Tree

The unique, striped trunk of the rainbow eucalyptus develops over time. The tree sheds its bark and as this happens, the bark slowly ages and takes on different colors. At first, the shedding reveals a bright green color. This is followed by others: blue, purple, orange, and maroon. The rainbow effect is a result of the irregular shedding of bark.

Rainbow Tree Natural Habitat

Native to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, the rainbow eucalyptus is the only eucalyptus tree that lives in the rainforest, some even growing in rainforests in the Northern Hemisphere. It prefers the lowlands and lower montane rainforest from sea level to 5,900 feet. It’s also grown in habitats other than its natural one and is found in groves of trees in Maui, Hawaii.

Growing Conditions

Can we grow this tree in our own yards? It would require a lot of extra work to meet the growing requirements of this special tree. It needs full sun and moist soil so that it can reach its growth potential of about 3 feet per season. And, it wouldn’t do well in the cold, harsh winters of the northern hemisphere.

The tree requires a steady warm temperature, about 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, especially when starting the tree from seed. Once the tree is about 5 years old, the roots can’t be cut for the purpose of dividing it.

If you have a large sunroom or greenhouse, you may think you can try growing this tree in a controlled space. This tree grows very fast, however. As a mature tree, it can be as tall as 250 feet. Not something that will fit in most controlled growing spaces.

If you do happen to have the ideal outdoor climate and growing conditions, you will be pleased to see the results of your care within a short period of time. It doesn’t take long for this tree to mature and display its beauty.

Rainbow Tree Medicinal ApplicationsForest and Kim Starr // flickr

There are some natural folk medicines made from different parts of this tree. The leaves are known to be antiseptic and can be used to treat wounds or brewed in tea to treat asthma and coughs. In fact, this natural cold remedy is also a common ingredient in cold and cough products due to its natural anti-inflammatory agents. Since it helps to relieve congestion, the oil from the tree has relaxing qualities which help people who have difficulty sleeping. An added benefit is to have a hot shower with fresh or dried leaves as the oil is activated by the shower stream. The leaves are also used to repel mosquitoes.

Rainbow Eucalyptus Oil for Inflammation

Combine 8 drops of rainbow eucalyptus oil and 8 drops of peppermint oil (which is another pain reliever) and rub on inflamed joints. For a more potent anti-inflammatory, add 3 teaspoons of moringa carrier oil. This is an oil extracted from the seeds of the small Moringa oleifera Lam tree found in the Himalayan mountains. Often referred to as the miracle tree due to its many health-related uses, the moringa carrier oil, combined with the rainbow eucalyptus oil and the peppermint oil, triples the effectiveness of joint relief.

Rainbow Tree Nonmedicinal Applications

Tree plantations around the world have fostered the rainbow eucalyptus as it’s a good source for pulpwood for the production of paper. The Philippines is known for its rainbow eucalyptus pulpwood plantations.

The wood of the rainbow eucalyptus is also in high demand. It’s a hardwood timber used for making furniture and other items.

Like other eucalyptus trees, the rainbow eucalyptus tree can be used effectively to make natural dyes which are then used in fabrics like silk or wool. Any part of the plant can be used to make these dyes, though the most commonly used parts are the leaves and bark. The colors produced range from red to amber and gold and they have nothing to do with the rainbow-colored trunks. Unlike other natural dyes, the dyes made from this tree do not require a mordant — a substance that helps firmly adhere the dye to textile fibers.

How to Make Rainbow Eucalyptus Dye

Use fresh or dried rainbow eucalyptus leaves. Crush the leaves as this will make greater surface area to soak up more of the natural dye components. Place in a dye pot or a large kettle. Cover with water and simmer on medium heat until the leaves have faded (because the dye has transferred to the water). This process takes about an hour, but the longer the simmering process, the deeper the dye. Strain the leaf crumbs and discard. Add wool yarn or fabrics intended for the dying and continue to simmer in the pot for another hour. Remove and hang the dyed fabrics or wool to dry thoroughly.

Problems Caused by the Rainbow Eucalyptus

 The rainbow eucalyptus is also planted as an ornamental tree, but only in frost-free climates like Hawaii, southern California, Texas, and Florida. The Huntington Botanical Garden in San Marino, California has some young rainbow eucalyptus trees (about 50 to 60 years old), as does the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden in Florida. It’s also grown along the streets of Los Angeles for ornamental reasons.

This very large, fast-growing tree, can cause problems. Since it’s known for its raised roots, planting it near buildings, sidewalks, or roadways can damage foundations and break up concrete sidewalks and roadways. Consequently, the tree is better suited for large, open spaces, perhaps parks and fields, where its fragrance, beauty, and welcome shade will be thoroughly appreciated.

Planning Your Garden? Read This First.

Organic Prepper - Wed, 05/11/2022 - 13:06

So you’ve noticed current events in terms of shortages at the grocery store and the many problems plaguing our centralized food system, from fires to food recalls to massive bird culls. You’ve decided to take matters into your own hands as much as possible, most notably growing at least some of your own food, and now you’re looking at planning your garden.

Good for you! A good food system has many layers, including a full pantry, local sourcing, and growing as much of your own as possible. There are many ways to provide for yourself, from hydroponics to urban foraging to container gardening and renting a plot from your local community gardens. So how do we make a plan to best utilize our resources and grow as much as we can? Read on!

The first thing required for proper garden planning is a food list.

This list should consist of the food you eat that can be grown in your grow zone. If you don’t know your USDA grow zone, plug the term into your favorite search engine along with your zip code. Knowing this is essential, because it tells you how long your growing season is.

Many plants, such as tomatoes, die at the first touch of frost, whereas potatoes and other frost-tolerant plants can take it down to a hard freeze. Once you know your grow zone, make a food list by listing everything on your plate that can be grown in your zone. Be very specific! If you’re eating salad, write down everything it’s made of. Grow what you eat and eat what you grow.

(Make sure to check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to building your own 3-layer food storage plan so that you have a better prepared larder.)

The next step in planning your garden requires a pencil and paper.

I’ve tried the garden planning apps, and honestly, I prefer the old-fashioned way. So let’s say our food list includes these items: tomatoes, peppers, salad greens (buttercrunch, Romaine, red lettuces, and arugula), spinach, radishes, beets, basil, potatoes, garlic, carrots, cucumbers, beans, peas, squash, and two varieties of mushrooms (red cap and almond agaricus.)

Now measure the space you have available. For the sake of this article, I’m going to discuss my own garden. I have one raised bed of 4’x8’, four beds of 4’x4’, and seven containers. I draw them on paper and measure out 1’ squares. Therefore, I have 32 1’ squares in my big 4’x8’ bed, 16 1’ squares in the other beds, three large containers, and four smaller, 20 gal pot-sized.

The next step is to consider companion planting.

After the tomato-kohlrabi pairing that worked out so poorly, my belief in this has increased considerably. Since potatoes get along with onions and spinach, they’ll go into two of the 4×4 beds. The other two beds hold strawberries, which are perennial.

I plant my garlic in those during my fall plantings. So, two beds will hold potato plants, one seed potato per 1’ space planted 6 inches down. Spinach and green onions are planted between the rows of potatoes using a process called intercropping.

The spinach will mature and be harvested in 4-6 weeks before the potato plants are big enough to shade it out totally. Also, spinach does prefer some shade. It’s not a sun lover, as potatoes are. I write all of this on my paper diagram.

The large 4×8 bed has 32 1’ squares. However, tomatoes will take up much more room than that, and spacing the plants out will allow for better airflow. This is a disease deterrent, as wet leaves invite disease-causing organisms. Trust me: I’ll have plenty of tomatoes!

In order to squeeze three plants into an 8’ space, I mark 2-1/2’ for each tomato plant. That’s one entire row in that bed. Keep in mind that your tomatoes will also require some support, so account for this on your diagram. Which plant goes into which row should be planned by the sun, such that the sun hits the lower plantings first. Otherwise, the taller plantings will shade the shorter stuff out.

There are a wide variety of greens and herbs go along with tomatoes

Greens and herbs like basil, lettuce, mint, borage, parsley, lemon balm, celery, and chive, to name a few, go along well will tomatoes. From my food list, I’ll plant 3-4 kinds of salad greens between the larger plants. Like spinach, these will mature quickly and be harvested before the larger plants have grown enough to shade them out. Beets and radishes can be planted between the rows also, as can carrots. I plan exactly which squares these will occupy.

Squashes (2 plants) tend to be huge but squat plants if they’re staked, or they can be trellised along with cucumbers (3 plants.) Since they are so big, I give them more room in those rows (2-1/2’ each), as I do with tomatoes. I stake so the vines will run along the ground, a kind of natural mulch and weed deterrent. Note exactly which rows and how much of each row this will require on your diagram. I account for every inch of space and every crop I plan to grow precisely on my diagram.

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How do you use containers when you’re planning your garden?

The 20-pound rounds are great for beans and peas. Since I can’t really grow animals well in the city, beans are a major alternative source of protein, so I grow as much as I can. I mark four plants per pot on my diagram, as well as where on my deck I plan to place those pots. I might even plant some summer savory and rosemary in those pots.

While radishes are good companions to beans, the pots are too small for them to coexist. Peas can be grown in the same way, so I mark this on my diagram. Three pots of beans, and one of sugar snap peas, are to be located in the corners of my deck near the rain gutters. I trellis these by threading some hemp twine over said rain gutter. Weight is a consideration, but when done correctly, I’ve had great results. The one year I neglected to use the twine, I had angular leaf spot, aphids, and no beans. Air circulation is good.

Don’t forget the mushrooms!

This year, I have 2 Earth box containers, 1’x 2’x 9” deep each. I mark the mushrooms (almond agaricus and wine caps) I intend to grow in them on my diagram. I include a notation of the phlox for the agaricus shroom, which will give the shroom some needed shade while attracting pollinators for the other crops. Then, I diagram what I plan to grow in the VegTrug, an elevated bed that’s slightly larger than 3’ square. There’s a nice ‘V’ in the middle for growing root crops, so why not? I can grow more beets OR radishes OR carrots, along with more salad greens and herbs here. By the way, the leaves of both beets and radishes are edible. When one crop is harvested, I can plant another, and I mark this on my diagram as well. (Learn more about cultivating mushrooms here.)

So there you have it!

A garden plan, written down on paper to guide you through the season for maximum yield. If you found this article useful, there’s more coming in our Urban Agriculture course, soon to be released! Watch for it, and until then, happy gardening?

How do you plan your garden? Let us know in the comments below!

About Amy Allen

Amy Allen is a professional bookworm and student of Life, the Universe, and Everything. She’s also a Master Gardener with a BS in biology, and has been growing food on her small urban lot since 2010.

The post Planning Your Garden? Read This First. appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Episode 252. Meet NCAT. Darron Gaus Has a Passion for Teaching Sustainable Ag

National Center for Appropriate Technology - Wed, 05/11/2022 - 11:00
Darron Gaus grew up in Yoakum, Texas, a small agricultural town. After some other career moves, he made his way back to agriculture, including a stint as the farm manager at the San Antonio Food Bank.
Darron Gaus and Justin Duncan

Developing True Mental Sovereignty – Epi-3091

Survival Podcast - Wed, 05/11/2022 - 10:30
Mental Sovereignty is the ability to fully and wholly think for oneself by using logic, reason and all available fact to form truly independent opinions and then take useful personal action based on them.  Such actions may be proactive, such … Continue reading →

What Is DARPA Planning With The WEF?

Organic Prepper - Wed, 05/11/2022 - 07:25

In 2013, President Obama awarded $100 million in grant money to launch the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative. This program conducts neurotechnological research in the name of treating various neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and brain injuries. 

By 2016, the BRAIN Initiative was supported by multiple federal agencies and dozens of partners in the academic and private sectors. Some of the research sounds fascinating. They have been investigating ways to deliver naturalistic sensations to amputees, as well as restoring brain function in people that have suffered severe brain trauma. I can see this being a godsend to people with severe injuries or amputations. 

Some of the other stated applications I’m not so sure about.

I look at the proposed treatment for mental illness, and I can’t help but be reminded of the thousands of lobotomies performed on World War II veterans back in the 1940s and 50s. We’ve tried manipulating brain tissue before to deal with individuals suffering from PTSD. It didn’t always go well.

DARPA’s research involves treating brain networks. The Systems Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS) program involves therapies that treat psychiatric illness by recording and analyzing brain activity with near-real-time brain stimulation to correct brain dysfunction.

This research, begun under Obama’s BRAIN Initiative almost ten years ago, has translated into some real-world success stories. Some people have indeed experienced real relief from the symptoms of severe depression with targeted brain stimulation.

I am genuinely happy some individuals have found relief from depression, but the jump to expensive technological solutions in treating mental illness, particularly in combat veterans, will always rub me the wrong way.

Not enough emphasis has been placed on low-tech solutions.

With the new technologies being introduced in the name of treating combat veterans, I feel as though it’s a way for the people who live behind desks, far away from physical danger, to absolve themselves of responsibility for getting us into wars to begin with.

It’s the mentality of a child that breaks a toy in a fit of rage, then fixes it and acts like nothing ever happened. Getting better at fixing things doesn’t absolve the guilty party of initial wrongs committed. 

Avoiding war should be the first priority.

Members of Congress should not be allowed to own shares in defense contracting companies because, as two-time Medal of Honor recipient Maj. General Smedley Butler so famously said, “War is a racket.”

There will be combat veterans who, yes, absolutely need medical interventions. I’m glad we have the treatments that we do. But many veterans also suffer from milder depression and anxiety. They would probably simply benefit from clear-cut missions that give them a sense of pride in their accomplishments and provide meaningful context to their experiences overseas.  

Refusing to engage in conflicts overseas without a mostly-supportive general public would also help.

One of the reasons I got so depressed after my brother got killed in Afghanistan was that, as soon as I’d say something about losing my brother, the average American suburban mom would come up with a reason why it was actually my family’s own fault for being so violent. Many members of the military and their families encounter this, and yes, it will make you depressed.

But we don’t need drugs or experimental therapies to fix that problem. That problem gets solved when individuals choose not to be insensitive. It is normal to experience sad feelings when sad things happen. We’re pathologizing everything that makes us uncomfortable or inconvenienced. 

More than a decade after the fact, I have made my peace with the universe as far as my brother is concerned. I will always miss him, but the loss no longer dominates my waking thoughts. I had to make some major life changes. My marriage ended, I moved, and I left the church in which I grew up…but I made a lot of new friends, I found a new support network, and I have peace of mind.

I didn’t need drugs or experimental therapies. I needed love, support, and patience.  

But no one gets rich off providing those things! No one’s stock in defense companies goes up when we’re all loving and supportive of one another. And it’s hard. Most people would rather put their money into expensive high-tech solutions than put emotional energy into low-tech ones.  

We don’t want to treat each other as brothers and sisters of the earth. We want to treat each other as equations to solve or as machines to be hacked. DARPA has made progress manipulating brain function via surgically implanted electrodes. They are also researching non-surgical methods to do the same.

Depression debilitates many people every year. Having another way to treat sufferers benefits us all. 

DARPA claims that they conduct research with only the health and well-being of the public, but especially wounded soldiers, in mind. Though, as someone who spent about five years accused of mental illness, I have to ask: who gets to decide when someone’s brain is dysfunctional?  

And with every new technology comes new risks.

What are the risks here of the DARPA BRAIN Initiative?

When we open up channels between human brains and electronic devices, we create new pathways of communication. In his 1928 book Propaganda, Edward Bernays states, “There is no means of communication which may not also be a means of deliberate propaganda.” Every time we open up new avenues of communication, we also open up new ways to be manipulated.

Regardless of my own feelings about it, the technology toward brain-digital interfacing has progressed a long way. And we have the same argument that comes along with every burst of new technology. 

Do the risks outweigh the gains? 

Most of the time, we say no.  

But let’s think about the internet.

The internet created a revolution in communications, the like of which we have not seen since the invention of the printing press. And are we not subjected to more propaganda than ever? Does it not take more and more effort to sift the truth from the half-truths and the outright lies?

This is widely recognized, though I think we’re heading in the wrong direction. Look at Biden’s newest creation, the Disinformation Governance Board. Ostensibly created to crack down on Russian misinformation and smuggling on the U.S.-Mexico border, the DGB will ultimately stifle dissent. Many people in alternative media are worried about the implications of this. If you’re more concerned about the truth than about the current official narrative, you should be too. (Want uninterrupted, uncensored access to The Organic Prepper? Check out our paid-subscription newsletter.)

For now, as pervasive as the internet is, one can still turn it off. I can still shut my laptop and go talk to my kids or work in my garden as the need arises. As humans’ ability to manipulate brain waves via electronic stimulation progresses, it will be more and more difficult to “get away.”  

Again, think about what life was like before the internet. Back in the 1980s, when Dad was home from work, he was home from work. 

Twenty years later, he was never “off.” 

The email notifications never ended. In the digital age, many people are never really off work. Opening up entirely new channels of communication is simply another step along that path of constant interconnection. Are we really ready for it?

(Want to learn how to starve the beast? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide.)

And it would be naïve in the extreme to think that none of this research by DARPA could be used for nefarious purposes.

DARPA only discusses the peaceful, medical aspects of their neuroscientific research. But a funny thing turned up in a FOIA request back in 2018.

A journalist for Muckrock magazine sent in a FOIA request regarding Antifa/BLM activity. Along with the information he requested, another file was accidentally slipped in with everything else.

The Muckrock journalist was shocked by his accidental find, to say the least, and they published this back in 2018.   It’s unclear how much progress has been made in weaponizing the human-digital interface, but people are thinking about it, and it looks like they have been for a long time.

Now, DARPA may be full of the most selfless public servants dedicated to nothing but the safety and well-being of the American people. But a funny thing about technology is that it has a way of escaping, and there are plenty of groups out there who emphatically do not have the well-being of the American people in mind. I can imagine they are pretty interested in brain mapping and manipulation too. (Learn more about the move toward transhumanism here.)

One man in particular who regularly speaks of humans as machines to be “hacked” is Dr. Yuval Harari. 

He took part in a roundtable discussion on Hacking Humans hosted by the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL).

The thought of this man, or anyone with his mindset, having control over other humans is disturbing in the extreme. Dr. Harari believes in the inherent superiority of algorithms. He insists humans kill everything around them and that the majority are only capable of thinking in the short term.

To have any life left at all, we must rely on algorithms to make decisions for us. Dr. Harari says that humans have never been as free as we thought and that the concept of freedom is mostly just a collection of bio-cultural factors. He goes on to say that people with a firm sense of their own free will are dangerous but easy to manipulate.   

Dr. Harari’s contempt for human individuals and their respective cultures has no limits. In his 2017 article written for The Guardian, he discusses the future of the “useless class,” the large amounts of people that will soon be unemployable due to the inherent superiority of robots. 

Dr. Harari works with the World Economic Forum and so, unfortunately, does DARPA.

While DARPA claims to work primarily with the interests of the United States at heart, what happens to their $3.8 billion per year budget tells another story. You can go down a real rabbit hole trying to find every last detail about where their money goes, but for the purposes of this article, it should suffice to say that they direct a great deal of money to the same bioengineering firms as the WEF. If DARPA knows how to do something, it’s safe to assume that the control fiends at the WEF will soon know it, too.

You could also go down a philosophical rabbit hole here. The story of men creating something and then worshiping it goes back to the Old Testament. Men used to worship statues of Dagon and Moloch. Today, instead of statuary, we have all-knowing algorithms. That impulse to worship the works of our hands remains. Human nature never changes.

And the tendency for power to corrupt never changes. We are gradually gaining the power to manipulate brain function. Do we believe that this kind of power will never be corrupted?  Let us know what you think 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 Is DARPA Planning With The WEF? appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Natural Dietary Remedy for Insomnia

Nutrition Video - Wed, 05/11/2022 - 06:50
Lactucin, the hypnotic component of lettuce, is put to the test in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of lettuce seeds.

8 Amazing Health Benefits of Raw Honey

Real Food RN - Wed, 05/11/2022 - 05:03

Raw honey is a wonderful sugar substitute, and it also boasts plenty of health benefits. Aside from the different health benefits of honey’s antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties, honey is so darn delicious in baking.

The post 8 Amazing Health Benefits of Raw Honey appeared first on Real Food RN.