Survival News

Will the Dollar Lose Global Reserve Status – Epi-3277

Survival Podcast - Mon, 03/27/2023 - 14:33
The U.S. dollar is currently the dominant global reserve currency, meaning that it is held by central banks and other financial institutions around the world as a store of value and a medium of exchange. If the dollar were to … Continue reading →

How to Plant Carrots from Seed

Stoney Acres - Mon, 03/27/2023 - 09:56

How to Plant Carrots From Seed Carrots are a popular crop for the backyard garden, but they can be a little tricky to grow. This guide will help you learn how to plant carrots from seeds and grow them into tasty mature roots! Carrots will continue to grow during the summertime, you will just sacrifice …

The post How to Plant Carrots from Seed appeared first on Our Stoney Acres.

Low Carb Greens with Bacon

Real Food RN - Mon, 03/27/2023 - 05:03

You’ll love this light, healthy side dish that is ready in about 30 minutes. It goes well with any meal and packs a nutritional punch with fresh ingredients.

The post <strong>Low Carb Greens with Bacon</strong> appeared first on Real Food RN.

How to Create a Food Forest in Your Backyard

Organic Prepper - Mon, 03/27/2023 - 02:43

Creating a food forest in your own backyard is a great way to produce your own food, reduce your carbon footprint, and create a sustainable living environment. A food forest is a low-maintenance, sustainable system that mimics a natural forest ecosystem, with layers of plants that work together to provide food and other benefits.

In this article, we will discuss the steps you can take to create a food forest in your own backyard.

Step 1: Assess Your Site

The first step in creating a food forest is to assess your site. Look at the soil type, topography, climate, and existing vegetation to determine which plants will thrive in your environment. Consider the amount of sunlight your site receives each day, as well as any natural water sources or drainage patterns. You may also want to conduct a soil test to determine the pH and nutrient levels.

Assessing your site is a crucial step in creating a food forest, as it will impact the success of your project. You need to consider several factors such as soil type, topography, climate, and existing vegetation.

Soil type: The soil type will determine what kind of plants will thrive in your area. For example, if you have sandy soil, you will need to choose plants that are adapted to grow in that environment. To determine your soil type, you can conduct a soil test and look at the soil texture.

Topography: The topography of your site will impact the water flow and drainage patterns. You need to consider how water flows through your site and where it collects. This will help you design your food forest to capture and manage water efficiently. Another important point here is concealment. Using the terrain in your favor you can avoid many problems.

Climate: The climate of your area will determine what kind of plants will grow well. You need to consider the average temperature, rainfall, and growing season. You can research your area’s USDA hardiness zone to determine which plants are suitable for your area.

Existing vegetation: You need to consider the plants that are already growing in your area. If you have a lot of trees, you may need to design your food forest around them. You can also incorporate existing vegetation into your food forest design and choose plants that complement them.

By assessing your site, you can determine which plants will thrive in your area and create a food forest that is sustainable and low maintenance. It is important to choose plants that are adapted to your area to ensure the success of your food forest.

Choose your plants

Once you have assessed your site, you can start choosing the plants you want to include in your food forest. A food forest typically includes seven layers of plants, each providing a different function in the ecosystem. These layers include:

  • Canopy trees – tall trees that provide shade and shelter for the other layers
  • Understory trees – smaller trees that grow beneath the canopy and provide fruits and nuts
  • Shrubs – medium-sized plants that produce berries, fruits, and nuts
  • Herbaceous plants – plants that die back to the ground each year, such as vegetables, fruits, and herbs
  • Groundcovers – low-growing plants that provide erosion control and weed suppression
  • Vines – climbing plants that produce fruits and nuts
  • Root crops – plants that grow underground

Choose plants that are native or adapted to your area, as they will be better suited to your climate and soil conditions.

Here are some examples of each layer.

Choosing the right plants for your food forest is a crucial step as it will determine the success of your project. A food forest typically includes seven layers of plants, each providing a different function in the ecosystem. Here are some tips for choosing the right plants for each layer:

Canopy trees: Canopy trees are tall trees that provide shade and shelter for the other layers. They are typically slow-growing and long-lived and can include species such as oak, maple, and hickory. Choose canopy trees that are adapted to your area and have a deep root system to improve soil health.

Understory trees: Understory trees are smaller trees that grow beneath the canopy and provide fruits and nuts. They can include species such as apple, cherry, and peach. Choose understory trees that are adapted to your area and have a shallow root system to avoid competition with the canopy trees.

Shrubs: Shrubs are medium-sized plants that produce berries, fruits, and nuts. They can include species such as blueberry, raspberry, and hazelnut. Choose shrubs that are adapted to your area and have a deep root system to improve soil health.

Herbaceous plants: Herbaceous plants are plants that die back to the ground each year, such as vegetables, fruits, and herbs. They can include species such as tomatoes, kale, and basil. Choose herbaceous plants that are adapted to your area and have a shallow root system to avoid competition with the other layers.

Groundcovers: Groundcovers are low-growing plants that provide erosion control and weed suppression. They can include species such as clover, thyme, and creeping phlox. Choose groundcovers that are adapted to your area and have a shallow root system to avoid competition with the other layers.

Vines: Vines are climbing plants that produce fruits and nuts. They can include species such as grape, kiwi, and passionfruit. Choose vines that are adapted to your area and have a deep root system to improve soil health. Passionfruit usually grows like crazy here in Venezuela, and its very high content of Vitamin C makes it one of my favorites. They are useful for concealing buildings, too. We have them available the whole year.

Root crops: Root crops are plants that grow underground, such as potatoes and carrots. They can be planted in between other plants or in dedicated beds. Choose root crops that are adapted to your area and have a shallow root system to avoid competition with the other layers.

When choosing plants for your food forest, it is important to select native or adapted species that are suited to your soil, climate, and microclimate. This will ensure that your food forest is sustainable and low maintenance. You can also incorporate beneficial companion plants, such as nitrogen-fixing plants, to improve soil health and increase biodiversity.

Plan your layout

Once you have chosen your plants, you can start planning your layout. A food forest is typically designed in a naturalistic way, with winding paths and irregular shapes. You can use the existing topography and vegetation to guide your design and incorporate features such as ponds, swales, and berms to manage water flow.

When you plan your layout, please consider the spacing and placement of your plants. Trees should be spaced far enough apart to allow for their mature size but close enough to create a canopy. Shrubs and groundcovers can be planted closer together to create a dense understory.

Prepare your site

Before you start planting, you will need to prepare your site. This may involve removing any existing vegetation, improving the soil, and installing any necessary infrastructure, such as irrigation or composting systems. You may also want to install a perimeter fence to keep out deer and other wildlife.

Plant your food forest

Once your site is prepared, you can start planting your food forest. Start with the canopy trees, and work your way down through the layers. Plant in groups or guilds, with plants that have complementary functions and can support each other. For example, you might plant a nitrogen-fixing shrub next to a fruit tree, or a groundcover that attracts beneficial insects next to a vegetable bed.

As you plant, be sure to mulch around each plant to retain moisture and suppress weeds. You may also want to add organic matter such as compost or manure to improve the soil.

Maintain your food forest

Once your food forest is established, it will require minimal maintenance. You may need to prune trees and shrubs to maintain their shape and promote fruiting, and weed around young plants until they are established. Some layers will need to be replanted yearly, for your annual vegetables. You can also add additional plants and layers over time to increase diversity and productivity.

A food forest is a long-term investment that will provide food and other benefits for years to come. By following these steps, you can create a sustainable, low-maintenance system that will enhance your micro retreat, homestead, or mini compound.

What are your thoughts?

Have you begun adding any kind of permaculture to your property? Do you have a food forest? Are you interested in creating one? Do you have any pros or cons to add to this or advice to someone just getting started with it?

Let’s discuss food forests in the comments.

About Jose

Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has an old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Jose and his younger kid are currently back in Venezuela, after the intention of setting up a new life in another country didn’t  go well. The SARSCOV2 re-shaped the labor market and South American economy so he decided to give it a try to homestead in the mountains, and make a living as best as possible. But this time in his own land, and surrounded by family, friends and acquaintances, with all the gear and equipment collected, as the initial plan was.

 Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on PatreonDonations:

The post How to Create a Food Forest in Your Backyard appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

6 Simple Secrets To Grow Your Best Crop Of Cucumbers Ever This Year!

Old World Garden - Sun, 03/26/2023 - 07:03

Did you know by following just six simple secrets, you can plant and grow your best crop of cucumbers ever – and have a massive harvest for salads, fresh eating, …

The post 6 Simple Secrets To Grow Your Best Crop Of Cucumbers Ever This Year! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

Expert Council Q&A for 3-24-23 – Epi-3276

Survival Podcast - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 09:00
Today on The Survival Podcast the expert council answers your questions on the banking system, canning, pruning, plant propagation, knife sharpening, medical care, generators, hiking, business and more. Make sure if you submit content for an expert council show you … Continue reading →

Friday Favorites: Do the Health Benefits of Coffee Apply to Everyone?

Nutrition Video - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 06:50
Genetic differences in caffeine metabolism may explain the Jekyll and Hyde effects of coffee.

It’s okay if it’s “just” beautiful

David the Good - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 05:39

Modernism rejects the great beauty of the past. In fact, it often destroys or defaces it, constantly stripping away tradition and whatever has gone before. This is one example.

On a smaller scale, I have myself been guilty of viewing my gardening as mostly a utilitarian exercise, focusing solely on things that can be used or eaten.

In doing this, I have sometimes neglected beauty. But beauty feeds the soul, and is spiritually uplifting.

There is great beauty in nature, though it’s not strictly needed.

God didn’t need to make this:

He could have made grey capsules that release and receive pollen.

This is excessive.

Sometimes, in encouraging others to cast off inedible landscaping and worthless lawns, I have swung the pendulum too far, doing ugly things like gardening in tires or just planting rows of crops without giving the eyes – and the spirit – something lovely to rest on.

The woods at this time of year are like a wonderland of green leaves and spring blooms.

But many of our homesteads look like junkyards, focused solely on utility without a thought for greater things.

This year I decided to fill my Grocery Row Gardens with irises and daylilies, sunflowers, zinnias, dahlias and lilies. Just because. No, we can’t eat most of those, but they bring joy and beauty, and since God was the maker of both the olive and the daisy, we should celebrate both.

I repent of directing my eyes only upon the needs of the flesh. There is space for beauty as well.

“Considerate lilia quomodo crescunt non laborant non nent dico autem vobis nec Salomon in omni gloria sua vestiebatur sicut unum ex istis.”

The post It’s okay if it’s “just” beautiful appeared first on The Survival Gardener.

How to Turn “Less” into Everything You Need

Organic Prepper - Fri, 03/24/2023 - 03:56
By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and What to Eat When You’re Broke

Imagine a simple dinner made from a potato that has just been dug out of the earth. You have fresh butter and fresh sour cream, made over the last week. You don’t have much in the way of exotic spices, just a bit of locally smoked paprika, some sea salt, and some black pepper. You don’t have fancy air fryers, 947 different cooking vessels, or gadgets to cut it into fancy shapes.

You have your potato, some olive oil, some tin foil, and your oven.

You bake your fist-sized potato after slathering it in fragrant, dark-gold olive oil (plus a couple of extra ones for future meals.) You cut it open, slather it with the fresh, yellow butter, and season it with your salt, pepper, and paprika. Add a dollop of sour cream, then sit down at your table. You’ve spent about 50 cents total on this, or perhaps you grew every single bite yourself.

The potato is tender, flaky, and earthy, delicately flavored with butter, filling your tastebuds. The skin is crisp. The sour cream topping is a cool, delicious contrast. The flavors imparted by the simple seasonings are delicate, yet rich at the same time.

This is what happens when you say, “I had a delicious, fresh potato loaded with delicious things” instead of “I only had a potato for dinner.”

Lessons from living differently

As many of you know, I’ve taken off to spend some time in Europe, and things are a lot different here. I’m here for a few months, on a temporary basis, to do some writing. But while I’ve been here, I think that there are some lessons we can take away from this that may help us prepare for the economic crisis that looms over us.

As most of you know, Greece suffered its own economic collapse in 2009 that worsened over the course of the next five years or so. (I wrote about it here.) It was a terrible time here, but gradually, the country recovered to some degree. However, people still don’t really make enough money to survive easily in the economy, taxes are exorbitant, and the infrastructure has become badly degraded. Because of the economic crisis, things are less “advanced” here than they are in the US. There’s less dependence on technology, a fact that is in unison welcome (less surveillance) and frustrating (you can’t do everything online here.)

But there are some things that we can use to help us through hard times. No, I’m not saying that Greece is “better” than the US – I’ll always be an American, no matter how far I might wander. I’m just saying that people are people, no matter where in the world you are. And the way others have adapted can sometimes help us find our way.

People here have less than people in the United States, but many of them have turned “less” into everything they need to be healthy, happy, and content.

Local economies

First of all, you see lots of local economies. I am in Athens, a large city. When I say “local” I am referring to my neighborhood. Each neighborhood seems to be built around various circles with a small park in the center and businesses surrounding it. Just up the road from me, I can find all sorts of specialty stores: a fruit stand, a vegetable stand, a butcher shop, a dairy store, a bakery (for bread and savory goods), a pastry shop (for desserts), and a store that focuses on dried goods like beans, pasta, rice, and seasonings.

The people running the shops are quite proud of the origins of the food they sell. One man tells me of the farm his uncle owns, where his vegetables are grown. “My uncle grows things; differently, he touches each plant himself,” he confides. Each vendor wants you to know why their product is so much better than anything else that you’ll find. There’s a certain pride in this, and everything you purchase is of the utmost quality. After a few weeks of returning to the same shops and seeing the same people, you begin to build a relationship and a rapport. A bevy of shopkeepers enthusiastically cheer on my attempts at learning their language, correcting me, and having me say the word back properly.

But it’s not only that.

Every week there’s also something called a laiki, where farmers from the outlying areas come into town and pop up their orange tents selling their current harvest. These happen all over the city, and each neighborhood has a different day on which their laiki occurs. I’ve gotten delightful fresh goods here, and it’s absolutely incredible food. The price is mind-blowing. I handed a two-Euro coin (about $2.12 USD) to a man standing behind a mountain of fresh potatoes the other day and ended up with almost more than I could carry home. I got olive oil decanted into a container that looks like a plastic water bottle. I have honey from a farm that grows thyme. If it grows from the earth and is in season, you can find it there.

People here tend to pay cash because the taxes are so extortionate. They build relationships. They scoff at the chain grocery stores and their pale offerings in comparison to the rich, fresh goodness you can get on your street.

Perhaps this is something we could all look for. Maybe we could find farmers and vendors who take pride in their offerings because they’ve seen it through from start to finish. Perhaps we could go back to the basics, the things that don’t come from packages, and buying from people, not corporations.

Thrift as a way of life

Ever since the collapse (and perhaps before, I never visited previously) thrift is a way of life. Here, you don’t always have hot water. You have to turn your water heater on about 20 minutes before you need it. This saves on electricity because you’re only heating up the water for 20 minutes a day. If you’re careful, enough water will remain in the tank for you to wash your dishes and have at least warmish water for handwashing during the rest of the day.

Nobody has dryers and every street you walk down has laundry on lines flying like flags from apartment balconies. There’s no HOA nonsense here. Every balcony is loaded with laundry, tomato plants, and herbs. Rooftops have solar panels and water tanks. Electricity is used in the smallest amounts possible at all times.

Part of this is that the price here has skyrocketed. Now, it’s all relative. I was pleasantly surprised when my first electric bill was just 43 Euros ($46.50 USD), but if I only made 800-1000 a month, the typical wage for a Greek, that would be pretty devastating.

If you were to leave your water heater on all day or your heat or air conditioner on while you stepped out, locals would look at you as though you’d completely lost your mind.

Small pleasures

One of the major guilty pleasures here is having coffee. Greeks will sit outdoors at one of the many cafes here and sip coffee as a social event, a break from their workday, or on a date. Instead of dropping $10 on dinner or lunch, or $30 on drinks at a bar, the social outing here is a $2 latte. And what’s more, coffee is to be savored, sitting in one place. You don’t get up and walk around with your coffee. You certainly don’t drive through to get it. You sit in a chair, at a table, like a civilized person. It’s an entire ceremony.

A beautiful day might be spent on a park bench, watching your children at a playground or reading a book. There’s a park nearby loaded with orange trees. You can smell the faint whiff of citrus in the air, and benches are everywhere, placed to take in the views.

Walking is not just transportation – it’s a joy. You walk wherever you can because a) traffic is a nightmare, and b) parking is a nightmare. But it’s not a grudging thing – there are lovely shop windows to peruse, beautiful balconies dripping with flowers and vegetables, plump stray cats hissing at you from low branches like the guardians of the trees, and the glorious sights of ancient Athens. Due to this, most people are fit and healthy and truly love being outdoors and walking to their destinations.


Then there’s the simplicity. The meal I described above is quite basic but the freshness of the ingredients made it delicious. I have no kitchen gadgets, few spices, and just one skillet and one baking sheet. It’s a far cry from my well-equipped kitchen back in North Carolina. But the meals I make here is savory and decadent because every single component is as fresh as possible.

Another common meal here is fascia gigantes which translates to “giant beans.” You can find these on nearly every menu of a restaurant boasting home-cooked food from Yiayia (Grandma) and it’s a frequent main dish in home kitchens. These are simply large white butterbeans cooked in tomato sauce. The sauce contains chunky tomatoes, good olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, and carrots and it’s seasoned with oregano, thyme, bay leaf, and the tiniest dash of cinnamon. It cooks all day long until the beans are tender and it’s served with fresh, crusty bread dipped in more olive oil or slathered in fresh butter. (Here’s a recipe that’s pretty close to what I’ve had.)

Meals at home are generally very simple but there’s tons of attention to detail and the best possible ingredients.

Life here isn’t a neverending binge-watch of Netflix or television. People sit outside and enjoy the weather. They talk to their neighbors. They go for coffee (as mentioned above) and the many parks and greenspaces are a testament to their love of nature. I love to sit in a park and read a book with the spring sunshine sparkling through the olive trees above me.

I rarely see people arguing about politics or yelling about anything other than the (stupid) way another person is driving, and it’s all forgotten within seconds, with no hard feelings. People watch the birds feeding in their gardens, and nearly everyone feeds the stray cats and offers them water on the hot days of summer.

No place is perfect, but our attitudes are everything.

Now, this may sound like an ode to Athens, and I suppose it is in a way. But the things I see here don’t have to be unique to a different part of the world. We could all focus on the simple perfection of that ideal dark red strawberry or the tenderness of the beans in our soup, or the fresh smell of the plants surrounding us as we wander through a place of nature, trying to identify the different fragrances and apply them to the proper flora.

We can focus on what we do have instead of what we don’t have. We can stop and look at the world around us and savor it. We can connect with other people and find things in common and a reason to laugh together.

I’m not naive. I know that we have deep problems and rifts that seem impossible to bridge in the United States. But if we start in our own neighborhoods to build those bridges and find some common ground, perhaps that could spread. Maybe we can make our own little corners of the world better just by appreciating them. It could take effort because we’re used to having so much more, but a conscious attempt to try, to take in every delicious, luxurious, decadent detail of a piece of fresh bread dripping with butter will make that bread the feast of kings.

As we scale back our lifestyles to manage this economic chaos we’re facing, we can take a few notes from the way others have done so. We can learn from them, and we can embrace the things that we’re left with. Who knows? It could turn out that your life actually becomes better once you get off the frantic hamster wheel.

Having less doesn’t have to be a bad thing. With the right appreciation and attention to detail, less can magically become everything that you need.

What are your thoughts?

Have you ever had to scale back your lifestyle? Did it work out to be better in the long run? What are some of the small things you like to savor? Have you ever learned something about attitudes when traveling that you’ve applied to your life later? Let’s talk about it in the comments section.

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. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

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 SelfRelianceand You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

The post How to Turn “Less” into Everything You Need appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Fertility and Composting for a Resiliant Homestead – Epi-3475

Survival Podcast - Thu, 03/23/2023 - 15:29
The average farmer and even large scale gardener in the US spends a great deal on fertilizers and fertility aids to gain a good yield on their efforts.  Due to modern chemistry mankind was gifted or cursed depending on how … Continue reading →

Lipstick Contaminated with Lead?

Nutrition blog - Thu, 03/23/2023 - 07:00

Dozens of lipsticks and lip glosses are put to the test.

“Over the past years, using cosmetic products has increased worldwide at an alarming rate due to unending pursuit for individual beautification…” There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that unless cosmetic products contain ingredients that may be linked to disease—ingredients such as toxic heavy metals like lead.

As you can see at 0:28 in my video Flashback Friday: Is Lipstick Safe Given the Lead Contamination?, lead has been found in a wide range of cosmetic products, from eye shadow to skin cream, and foundation to blush. You may recall that I talked about lead in henna in my video Is Henna Safe?, but in looking at the data, “important warnings can be recognized”: the presence of lead in lipsticks. This is concerning because lipstick wearers may actually swallow a little bit of it. In fact, it has “been estimated that a woman inadvertently ingests 1.8 kg [about 4 lbs] of lipstick during her lifetime.” “Moreover, lipsticks can be used by pregnant women or women of child bearing age.” (I mean, obviously.) Yes, lead is highly toxic, but how much lead can there be in lipstick? Surely, it is “a very minor source….Nonetheless, one should not exclude the fact that lead accumulates in the body due to over time and repetitive lead-containing lipstick or hair dye application, which lead to significant exposure levels.” You don’t really know, though, until you put it to the test.

Thirty-two lipsticks and lip glosses were tested, and lead was detected in 75 percent of the products, which “suggests potential public health concerns.” But how much lead did the researchers actually find? About half of the samples exceeded the FDA-recommended maximum level set for candy.

That limit is set for something kids may eat every day, though. Kids are not going to eat tubes of lipstick each day. “Nevertheless, it is generally accepted that there is no safe level of Pb

intake,” and, ideally, we should get contaminant levels down to zero. As a consumer group pointed out, a quarter of the lipsticks were lead-free, so we know it can be done. Maybe we should better regulate toxic metals in cosmetics to protect women’s health in the United States, as has already been done in Europe. Fair enough, but it wasn’t well-received.

The billion-dollar lipstick industry wasn’t happy. In an article that tried to downplay the risks, the scientists-for-hire firm that once played villain in the real-life Erin Brockovich case concluded that, even though lipstick may contain lead, the concentrations are so low that they “are not expected to pose any health risks to adults or children.” Children’s blood lead levels are influenced more by background lead exposures, such as lead in the air, dust, water, and food, than by lipstick exposures, but just because our environment is so contaminated doesn’t mean we need to add to the problem. In fact, because there’s so much lead around anyway, maybe there’s that much more reason to cut down on additional exposures. But in that article, the scientists-for-hire calculated that an adult would need to apply lipstick more than 30 times a day to raise their blood lead level to even the most stringent limits and 695 times a day to get blood levels up to more concerning levels.

However, as you can see at 3:13 in my video, this was based on an assumption that lipstick would only have about one part per million lead or, at the extreme end, maybe two or three parts per million (ppm). But by 2016, about ten times more lipsticks were tested, and they averaged nearly 500 ppm—with 10 percent exceeding 1,000 ppm—going all the way up to 10,000 ppm, with more than one out of five exceeding FDA and even Chinese safety limits on lead in cosmetics.

As you can see in the graphs below and at 3:42 in my video, lip gloss was worse than lipstick; orange and pink colors had more lead than brown, red, or purple; and all of the really contaminated cosmetics were the cheaper ones, sold for less than five dollars each.

Hold on. The highest concentration found was 10,185 mg/kg. That’s 10 grams per kilogram, which means the lipstick was 1 percent pure lead. That means a single application could expose a grown woman to perhaps 12 times the tolerable daily intake.

And if a woman is interested in having children, that poses a “particular concern,” as lead accumulates in our bones and “may be released into the bloodstream during pregnancy,” where it can slip through the placenta or into breast milk.

The good news is that the FDA is considering lowering the maximum allowable lead levels in lipstick from 20 ppm to 10 ppm, something Canada arrived at a decade ago. But without enforcement, it doesn’t matter. As you can see in the graph below and at 4:39 in my video, moving the legal limit from 20 ppm down to 10 ppm would just mean that instead of 23 percent of lip products exceeding legal levels, 27 percent would be exceeding legal levels. Right now, the limit’s 20 ppm, but what does it matter if there still may be products on store shelves that violate the legal limits?

Is Henna Safe? is the video I mentioned.

I think the only other cosmetic safety videos I have are Flashback Friday: Which Intestines for Food and Cosmetics? and Avoiding Adult Exposure to Phthalates.

Planting Grapes – How To Grow Your Own Grape Vines With Ease!

Old World Garden - Thu, 03/23/2023 - 06:27

Planting your own delicious crop of grapes is one of the easiest ways of all to add perennial fruit to your home landscape, especially when you consider just how simple …

The post Planting Grapes – How To Grow Your Own Grape Vines With Ease! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

Here’s How I Know You’ll Survive This

Organic Prepper - Thu, 03/23/2023 - 02:58
Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

There’s a survival secret that not a lot of people talk about, and it’s how I know that more than likely, you’re going to survive whatever is coming at us next.

It’s easy to get swept away by the doom and gloom and the pending disaster of the moment. At times like this, it feels like we have annihilation bearing down on us from every angle: the economy is almost kaput, nuclear powers like Russia and China aren’t our biggest fans, and civil war could erupt at any moment. And that doesn’t even take into account random natural disasters like wildfires and hurricanes, or horrific accidents like the train derailment in Ohio.

It’s enough to make you wonder how on earth you’re going to manage to live through what’s coming.

Suddenly there’s an avalanche of overwhelm, and it’s the kinds of questions that keep preppers up at night. Do you have enough supplies? Can you trust your group? Are you really ready? What if you forgot something vital? How can you get more money to get prepped? What if…what if…what if…

Let me stop you right there.

Spoiler: You’re probably going to survive it.

I have a lot of evidence supporting that. Here’s what you need to consider whenever you feel like you’re not going to make it.

Your ancestors survived.

First of all, you need to remember that you yourself come from a long line of survivors. It’s quite literally in your blood.

If your ancestors had not survived for dozens of generations, you wouldn’t be here. It’s not enough to simply have reproduced. Someone had to get the next generation to adulthood so that they, too, could procreate.

So while some probably died during horrible events in the past, plenty did not. Your ancestors have survived it all. They’ve survived big things like plagues, wars, the Great Depression, the threat of annihilation from various enemies, and natural disasters during times we couldn’t predict them and warn people using the news. They’ve survived smaller things, too, like floods, hurricanes, the S&L crisis, childhood diseases, the high price of gas, bad storms, hyperinflation, accidents, and governments running amok.

Enough of your ancestors got through such events that you are here: alive, well, and fretting about the future.

Look to the past, and you will see that you have everything within you to survive what’s coming for us, too. Survival is in your blood and in your bones. You, my friend, are the result of thousands of years of overcoming obstacles. You come from a line of people who avoided being killed by enemies, marriages, wars, pestilence, and love.

You are genetically wired for survival.

People regularly survive horrible events.

Another thing to consider is that people quite often survive terrible things. While some people do succumb to disaster, grief, or ill fortune, most people do not. Let’s look at some more recent history.

Sure, we can look back and say, “21 million people died from the Spanish flu.” But in 1900, eighteen years before that event, the population of the world was 1.6 billion people. So you could roughly extrapolate from that that one billion five hundred seventy-nine million people survived it. (1,579,000,000) Those are pretty decent odds, right?

And what about the Great Depression? This paper suggests that the only cause of mortality that increased was suicide, and this article says that the life expectancy of people actually increased during that time. In fact, it says that more people live longer during times of economic downturn, referencing the paper mentioned previously.

…historical research shows that during the 20th century, increases in U.S. mortality often occurred during times of economic prosperity, while decreases occurred during economic depressions or recessions.

In the first few years after the 1929 stock market crash, the only major cause of death that increased was suicide, says José A. Tapia Granados, a professor of politics at Drexel University and co-author of a 2009 research paper in PNAS about life and death during the Great Depression. While suicides went up, Tapia found that deaths from cardiovascular and renal diseases stabilized between 1930 and 1932, the worst years of the depression. Traffic deaths dropped in 1932. Deaths from tuberculosis, the flu and pneumonia also declined.

Around 100,000 people died during the Balkan War, and more than two million had to flee their homes to survive. The population of that area was about 4 million people, so again…while the death toll was horrific, more people survived than did not.

I’m not sharing any of this to belittle the horrendous things that have occurred throughout history. Any death that comes from a disaster or a war or a genocide or an economic catastrophe is a terrible thing. But the fact is that more people live through terrible events than succumb to them.

Some of it is out of your hands.

All of this is why we prep. We want to put ourselves firmly on the side of those who make it through to the other side. We want our families to suffer less from terrible events.  But even people who’ve never heard of prepping, who’ve never stacked up a five-gallon bucket full of food, and who haven’t read any books or articles about the topic still have a decent chance of making it through.

Of course, some things are completely out of our hands. If you happen to be at Ground Zero when a nuke hits, there is no amount of preparation that can save you. The same thing goes for a terrible accident at the workplace or a collision with a drunk driver. If there’s an extinction-level event like a giant meteor, we’re all done. Sometimes your ticket gets punched, and it’s your time.

There are also some personal circumstances that can prevent survival, such as reliance on daily medication or equipment. Again, this is largely out of our hands, and there’s only so much we can do about it.

We prepare to give ourselves the very best odds possible, and we are right to do so.  I feel much better knowing that I have skills and supplies put back that just might give me an edge during hard times. I will always be glad that I have taught my children vital prepper knowledge. Maybe we won’t just live through it but find a way to thrive in doing so.

Survival is how we’re wired.

But even without these things, humans are wired for survival. Even the silly ones. (Although sometimes you have to wonder about some of the folks you see these days – it seems like they can barely survive a  day at work or school without “safe spaces,” much less an epic disaster.)

Our operational objectives as human beings are to survive and to further our species by protecting our young. We can adapt to the most astounding things in our efforts to do so. We’ve done it since humans first existed, and we’ll continue indefinitely.

Things may be very, very hard. The world could change dramatically and for the worst. We may wonder how on earth we’ll do it if we lose our house, our car, our way of life, and our stability. (I’ve been there.) And you know what? That will really suck if it happens.

But eventually, we’ll come out on the other side. And even while things are bad, we’ll love people, we’ll find reasons to laugh, we’ll enjoy whatever it is we’re eating, and we will do our best to keep in touch with the things that make us human. We need to focus on those simple joys instead of focusing on what we’ve lost.

We just have to keep going.

If we do, we’ll probably survive.

You’re going to make it.

So if you’re wondering whether or not your going to be able to survive this, you know what? You probably are. The statistics are all in your favor. You were born to be resilient.

You keep on doing the best that you can. Prepare to the best of your ability and learn new skills to make it a little bit easier. Be ready to adapt to changing circumstances. Control what you can and let go of what you can’t control. Remember to find happiness wherever you can.

And don’t forget who the heck you are.

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. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

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 SelfRelianceand You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

The post Here’s How I Know You’ll Survive This appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Miniature Farm Animals for Smaller Homesteads

Insteading - Wed, 03/22/2023 - 17:48

Miniature or diminutive breeds of farm animals have been around for ages. However, it hasn’t been until the last decade or so there’s been a new-found popularity, with more people interested in small-scale or hobby farming.

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Sometimes big blessings come in small packages. Miniature farm animals are excellent for families interested in an introduction to the different types. Some small breeds are easier to care for than their standard or full-size cousins.

Diminutive breeds mature at one-half or a third the size of standard breeds. They’re typically family and kid-friendly, and some require less maintenance and care than full-size farm animals. Not to mention they’re incredibly adorable.

Raising Miniature Farm Animals

Homesteading isn’t always about the “go big or go home” attitude. Sometimes the best approach toward more self-reliance is to stay simple, and worry about producing what you will use immediately with a little time saved for another space or purpose. Maybe you’ve got plenty of land but don’t want the hassle of trying to handle and care for standard-sized animals. Have you ever stood next to some standard breeds of cows and horses? They’re huge! 

Aside from miniature farm animals being adorable, what makes people choose the breeds they do? Let’s talk about it.

Why Are Miniature Farm Animals a Good Choice?

Small or miniature farm animals will need less pasture to graze, fenced space, feed, and grain, and they create less waste. I think if more people had the room, they would farm to some degree. 

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Buying a large piece of property or a ranch, and full-size cattle, goats, pigs (or other farm animals) costs a nice chunk of money. Miniature breeds are perfect for a homestead on a few acres, but that doesn’t mean the initial investment is any lower.

For example, a few years back, a standard dairy cow cost from $1,450 to $2,100, while miniature cattle ranged from $1,800 to $3,500. While the initial investment might be a little higher, miniatures eat about a third to a half less than standard breeds.

How Big Do Miniature Farm Animals Get?

Let’s stick with a miniature bovine. Many miniature cows weigh less than 600 pounds, standing less than 3.5 feet tall at the hip. The average weight for standard dairy cow breeds averages around 1,500 pounds.

That said, while diminutive farm animals are quite a bit smaller than standard, they’re still packing some weight. 

8 Miniature Farm Animals for Smaller Homesteads

Without further ado, let me introduce the cutest little farm animals there ever were.

Mini Cows

These mini farm animals are separated into three categories based on the animal’s height at the hip.

  1. Midsized mini: 42 to 48 inches
  2. Standard mini: 36 to 42 inches
  3. Micro mini: 36 inches and under

It’s said that miniature cow temperaments range from shy and reserved to attention-seeking cuddle bugs. 

Miniature dairy cows can produce from 2 to 4 gallons of fresh milk daily. All that dairy available on hand for cheeses, butter, yogurt, and cream would be delightful for a dairy lover like me.

Miniature cows need a pasture to roam for eating grass, and both sun and shade. A barn or shelter for the animal is essential. Altogether, one miniature dairy cow needs at least half an acre of space.

Your mini-mooer will consume around 25 pounds of hay and grass, a couple pounds of grains, and about 6 gallons of water daily when they’re milking. That’s quite a bit less than a standard breed.

However, large or small, cows require an equal amount of work and care from us.

Mini Oxen

Oxen or bullocks are male bovines or cattle trained as draft animals. Ox is in the same category as transporters and service animals. They’re work animals, whether miniature or standard form. 

Mini ox might be small, but they’re still mighty even if the carts they pull are smaller. Oxen work well in pairs, and depending on the tasks, teams of more than 10 have been used.

Miniature Jersey, Hereford, Dexter, Lowline, and Zebus are popular breeds. The largest mini oxen are Herefords and Dexters, weighing in at around 1,000 pounds, with mini Zebus weighing between two and five hundred pounds.

Bovines or cattle are highly intelligent and can learn a variety of tasks. They’re perfect for 4-H programs, farm shows, parades, fairs, and more. 

If you’re interested in the work-horse aspect of this cow, a small team of them can be used around the homestead to haul things like firewood, manure, compost, hay, etc. They can also plow small plots of land for gardens.

Bantam Chickens

As if chickens aren’t already small, especially in comparison with cattle (and if you’ve never seen bantam chickens, you should do so). They’re petite little things; some hens weigh less than one pound.

If you think of a standard chicken breed, there is likely a bantam equivalent. But true bantams, like Seabrights and Dutch, have no corresponding standard.

Bantam hens aren’t going to produce an average, standard-sized egg. In fact, a bantam’s eggs are half the size of an average small chicken egg. Don’t cancel them out because they’re small. They have better access to grubs and other pesky insects you don’t want around the homestead, including spiders. Not to mention, bantams are brave chickens of small stature.

That said, bantams are prey for weasels, snakes, hawks, dogs, and other predators. Keep them safe.

Smaller birds require smaller hen houses, nesting boxes, and roost spaces. That’s less material for DIYers and less investment overall. One adult bantam hen consumes 1 to 2 cups of grains daily. That’s not including fresh produce, tasty insects, and crawling spiders.

Bantam chickens aren’t really for sustainability (by means of food), but they are possible forms of bartering, trade, and sales. Bantam varieties make excellent show birds and incredible pets. The free pest control is worth having a few bantams running around, and their entertaining attitudes and behaviors are added bonuses.

Miniature Sheep

As if sheep aren’t cute enough.

Miniature sheep are qualified as minis when they are between 19 and 24 inches in height. If they’re below 19 inches, they’re considered “toy” sheep.

I’ve seen mini sheep that look like oversized stuffed animals. Depending on why someone raises sheep, the Babydoll Southdown and Cheviot breeds are fairly easy to manage. They also produce milk, fleece, lambs, and meat.

Keep in mind that the smaller the breeds, the more vulnerable they are to predator attacks. Mini sheep owners say that they’re affordable and friendly, in addition to providing the above resources.

Remember, being smaller than standard breeds doesn’t mean there’s less work and care is required. However, they tend to be slightly more manageable.

Miniature Horses

It took centuries of selective breeding to produce miniature equine breeds. Miniature horses stand close to 3 feet high and weigh between 150 and 250 pounds.

Mini equines are intelligent and can learn tasks easily. Many are bred to be friendly and docile. While miniature horses can haul small carts and be used as pack animals, they can only carry up to 70 pounds. Fairs, carnivals, and some zoos offer small children rides on miniature horses.

I often hear people refer to miniature horses as overgrown puppies. Many people get one expecting that to be true when it is not. Miniature horses are equine, and while they might show some similar dog behaviors, they are much different to care for. 

Miniature Goats

Need I say more? I’m a natural goat lover, and the fact there are small goat breeds that stay small is exciting to me. Farmers can get milk for dairy and skin care products, have the weeds trimmed for free, and enjoy wild entertainment with these critters.

Miniature Donkeys

Donkeys can be used for labor like oxen. Also, their territorial nature comes with a built-in alarm system for farmers and other animals. They’re incredibly noisy, and stubborn. They will challenge predators and fight donkey-style without hesitation, making them excellent livestock guardians.

Miniature Pigs

Yes, there are smaller pig breeds. However, there is no such thing as teacup pigs. All pigs, including miniatures, are on the larger side of life. Any breed of pig weighing less than 350 pounds fall in the miniature category. 

Miniature animal or livestock breeds can make homesteading on a few acres more sustainable. While these animals are cute and seem like pets, they need adequate space to exercise, live, eat, and sleep. My list may be at an end, but the choices are extensive for those who want to add miniature farm animals to their smaller homestead. Always do your research before you add new animals. It cuts out the guesswork and makes things run more smoothly.

Raising Children into Strong Independent Adults – Epi-3274

Survival Podcast - Wed, 03/22/2023 - 14:56
Brian Perry and Luke Grim are the creators of Brian is a long-time listener of TSP and got the original idea when he heard Jack’s podcast titled, “15 Things to Teach Kids that Government Schools Never Will“. Brian is … Continue reading →

Time to plant broccoli

Walden Effect - Wed, 03/22/2023 - 12:57



If you have some broccoli seedlings maturing inside today is the day to set them free.

Broccoli is one of our biggest producers thanks to Anna’s careful planning and our new caterpillar protection method which blocks that seemingly harmless moth from making you nourish her young at the expense of beautiful broccoli plants.

The post Time to plant broccoli first appeared on WetKnee Books.

Oatmeal Diet Put to the Test for Diabetes Treatment

Nutrition Video - Wed, 03/22/2023 - 06:50
What are the extraordinary, lasting benefits we may get from a few days of an oatmeal diet?

Beautiful blooms and a final frost

David the Good - Wed, 03/22/2023 - 05:17

At least, I hope it was the final frost!

We had over a month of warm weather and just about everything woke up, from pear trees to persimmons, apples to mulberries.

And then on Sunday night, we had an overnight low of 28 degrees, then 32 the next night.

It looks like we lost our tomato transplants and took a good bit of damage on the tropicals that were trying to come back from the ground.

When the weather is nice and warm, then hits freezing, plants are simply unprepared. All the new leaves and blooms get wrecked.

But – this should be the end of it.

We covered as much as we could with thrift store sheets and blankets, including the potato beds:

I posted that picture on YouTube and the comments were hilarious.

We have the best commenters.

We covered a crabapple that was flowering in the food forest and it looks okay.

I love those blooms.

One of the worst things about gardening in the Deep South is the swings in spring.

If you wait until later to plant, the weather often gets too hot and buggy to grow a good garden. If you plant too early, you lose your garden to unexpected cold snaps.

The swinging back and forth is terrible. Yet we press on.

The post Beautiful blooms and a final frost appeared first on The Survival Gardener.

How to Prevent Damping Off Disease in Your Seedlings

Organic Prepper - Wed, 03/22/2023 - 03:20

So you’ve decided to start your own seedlings this year. You’ve chosen your varieties, set up your area, and planted. You’re seeing lovely green sprouts in the pots and are very excited, taking the best care of them you know how. Then one day, soon after sprout, your seedlings are lying on the potting medium. No obvious explanation, no warning. Just lying there dying. Chances are you’re experiencing damping off disease. 

So what exactly is damping off disease?

According to the University of Minnesota, it’s a disease of young seedlings that’s actually pretty common and affects a wide variety of vegetables. Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, and Pythium are the most common pathogens. According to their webpage, symptoms are: 

  • Seedlings fail to emerge from the soil.
  • Cotyledons (the first leaves produced by a seedling) and seedling stems are water-soaked, soft, mushy, and may be discolored gray to brown.
  • Seedling stems become water-soaked and thin, almost thread-like, where infected.
  • Young leaves wilt and turn green-gray to brown.
  • Roots are absent, stunted or have grayish-brown sunken spots.
  • Fluffy white cobweb-like growth on infected plant parts under high humidity.

As I’ve noted in the introduction, I’ve seen seedlings simply tip over and die. And there’s no saving them. This disease is vicious and can kill off entire trays of seedlings. 

What causes damping off disease?

Damping off is a soil-borne pathogen. It moves through the soil (or potting media) while watering, which allows it to move easily from plant to plant. It can be introduced by using garden soil as potting medium, which is why commercial sterilized media can be a better option. According to UM Extension, the pathogen can be introduced in a number of ways: 

  • Pots, tools, and potting media that have been used in previous seasons and are not properly cleaned can harbor the pathogens.
  • Spores of Fusarium spp. can be blown in and carried by insects like fungus gnats, or move in splashing irrigation water. 
  • Pythium spp. is often introduced on dirty hands, contaminated tools or by hose ends that have been in contact with dirt and debris.

And there is no cure once infection occurs! There’s no way to save your seedlings. Your best course of action is to start over, following good sanitation procedures to prevent the issue from occurring. 

How do you prevent damping off disease?

There are several steps you can take to prevent damping off disease.

Keep it clean.

Cleanliness is your best option and will save you many problems in addition to damping off.

Clean your workspace, tools, hands, trays, and pots with a bleach solution. Some recommend letting your pots and trays sit in a 10% solution for 20-30 minutes. I simply wipe mine out, rinse thoroughly to remove bleach residues, and let them air dry. I reuse them every year. I clean my garden tools with a Chlorox (or similar) wipe after every use, and between plants if I see problems while pruning.

According to UW-Extension, a spray of 70% isopropyl will also work. They recommend not reusing plastic pots that have had this problem, as they’re difficult to disinfect. The plastic pots I reuse haven’t had this problem. 

Keep it warm.

Since the pathogens thrive in cool, damp soils I like to grow my seedlings on a heat mat, at least until they pass the stage where damping off is common. Heat mats are relatively cheap and will last 3-5 years, and I’ve found them a wonderful investment. In fact, if you live in one of the colder zones as I do, they’re a must! I start my frost-sensitive plants, such as tomatoes, around April 1, or even a few weeks earlier in the case of slow-growing peppers. There’s often still snow on the ground then, and days hover around the freezing mark. Nights are colder, and seedlings won’t thrive without the heat mat. 

Grow lights will also help keep the area warm and provide enough light for seedlings to grow. Simply being by a window, even a south or east-facing window, isn’t enough. Winter light is much less intense than summer due to the Earth’s rotational axis, so daylight has to be supplemented at least. My seedling rack has two T5 lights per tray, one each of cool white and purple. Photosynthesis uses the red and blue light spectra. The other colors contained within white light are a bit superfluous, at least for this purpose. 

Choose your potting media carefully.

I’m not a huge fan of oven sterilization due to my experiences trying to grow mushrooms in oven-sterilized media, so I buy a commercial seed starting mix. Planet Natural suggests an organic mix. Last year I purchased one that claimed to contain both mycorrhizae and Rhizobium and had nothing but problems. I ended up doing an emergency run to the garden center because my seedlings were runted and had several other diseases, mostly leaf spots.

While it is possible to simply get a bad batch of an otherwise good mix, I suggest choosing your media carefully. A well-sterilized media will save you many problems! If you’d prefer to make your own mix, I show you how and discuss commercial options along with the qualities of a good seed-starting mix here.

Give them some air.

Air circulation will also save you many headaches, including those caused by damping off. Plant your seeds and thin them out well so they’re not crowded in the tray. A small fan will not only keep the air moving, it’ll help strengthen stems as your seedlings grow. If you use germination trays with a humidity dome, simply cracking the lid can suffice.

I remove the plastic from my pots once I see seedling emerge. As the weather warms, I open my grow room windows for an hour or so per day. Later as I’m hardening them out, I leave them on my deck so they get both air circulation and any rainwater that comes by. I leave them in my greenhouse overnight to avoid low night temperatures and rodent predation. My deck is 12’ above the street. Squirrels don’t have a problem getting up there. Protection for the plants by night, air circulation by day. 

Water judiciously.

When my seedlings are young, I give just a little water several times per day because the new roots are tiny and water quickly passes them by. As they grow older, I give more water but only 1-3x per day, until I’m watering only once per day. Remember: disease pathogens thrive in cool, moist soils. Roots can also rot under such conditions. Good root development will help immensely at transplant time, giving your seedlings the ability to settle in and grow well right from the start.

Commercial seed starting media do tend to be water-retentive so I suggest paying good attention to this area. If you’ve got mold or mushrooms growing out of your media, repot into clean pots. Done this, been there. While runts will usually recover and grow quite nicely, diseased runts will not. And don’t depend on what the soil looks like on top. Lift the pot and/or dig down a bit with your finger. Heavy pots and fingers that come up with soil attached don’t need watering. 

Have you ever had this issue?

Are you looking for more information about growing food this year? If so, don’t miss our Home Agriculture Comprehensive course.

Have you experienced damping off disease or other problems when starting seedlings? Do you have any tips to prevent these issues? Let’s talk about it in the comments section. 

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 How to Prevent Damping Off Disease in Your Seedlings appeared first on The Organic Prepper.