Off The Grid News
When many people hear the phrase “living off the land,” they picture a couple (perhaps in their 30s) with a couple of kids playing happily on a swing made out of an old tire. There’s a cabin, naturally, maybe a few solar panels, and plots of land or gardens with lots of ripening vegetables – oh – and perhaps an apple tree in the background. This picture also usually has an animal or two running about. Maybe a goat or a cow, but certainly some chickens if nothing else. When the animals are thought of a bit more, then come movie-like scenes where the oldest child is told to go out and butcher one so they can learn how to do it for the future. The child is initially conflicted… but afterward accepts that the “circle of life” is all part of nature. But does this have to be the picture?
We’re not going to try to convince you to become vegetarian or vegan, but we will say that it’s a whole lot easier to live off the land without having to worry about animals. Some of you may have already found that the economics don’t pan out, with your chickens costing more to feed than it costs to buy eggs at the store, for example. And at that store, there are now more meat alternatives than ever before. These are incredibly high-tech substitutes – some printed with a 3D printer – that taste, smell, look, and even ‘cook’ like the real thing. Let’s put a pin in that, however, but the point is that even if you do decide to go meat-free, there are still ways of satiating meaty cravings and the faux options are multiplying and tastier than ever before.
Some of you may have heard of a book called The Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing in which they relate stories from 60 years of living off the grid… but as vegetarians. And their diet certainly didn’t affect their longevity. Helen Nearing lived from 1904 to 1995, while Scott passed away at the age of 100! (1883 to 1983.) Scott was a trained economist and an ex-college professor who lost his position due to the radical anti-war beliefs he espoused during World War I. Helen was a trained musician whose family belong to a religion called Theosophy, which was essentially New Age before New Age was cool. Now, these two kind souls may be a bit too hippy for your tastes, they certainly were for their times, but in their book The Good Life, first published in 1954 and still in print today, they explain how they lived self-sufficiently for 60 years without a bite of meat. Even if you disagree with statements such as, “nature has provided man with an abundance of food for full nourishment instead of purifying corpses,” it’s still worth giving the Nearing’s book a look just to read their arguments related to animals and economics.
Put simply, raising animals for meat is costly and extremely time-consuming. Helen Nearing noted that “many animals eat more than they produce and are thus involuntary parasites,” and “that a large slice of the farmer’s time goes to the cutting and buying of hay,” and maintaining sheds and barns. If you’ve ever tried to raise animals you know at least a little bit of what she’s talking about. Even chickens require housing, veterinary care, some form of security in the form of a fence or house, and of course, plenty of food. Health care for you is another concern as you really can’t be a self-sustaining farmer and be sick all the time. Despite the purveyors of “Big Meat” trying to convince Americans about the nutritional value of eating meat at every meal “to stay healthy by getting enough protein,” if you look around, you’ll notice a lot of rather unhealthy people eating the so-called American diet.
High cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer have all been linked to eating excessive amounts of meat. So even if you don’t give it up entirely, it’s fair to say the fewer animal products you consume the better. If you weigh less, it’ll be easier on your joints, and you’ll be able to stay mobile longer as you age… which is important for those living off the land as you can’t just call for a pizza. Also, you end up having more land to grow vegetables on. Those living in colder climes that have more space can put up a greenhouse and enjoy fresh vegetables all year round. In summary, you don’t have to become vegetarian or vegan to still understand and agree with the argument that raising animals for food is costly for small farmers, environmentally unsustainable when done on a mass scale such as in factory farming, and not necessarily the best place to get nutrition from. The Nearings experience is worth pondering, and if nothing else, perhaps it will inspire you to eat healthier as you continue your quest to live independently, and off the grid.
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For many people, the idea of increasing their productivity with cannabis is similar to drinking alcohol to make good decisions, but you might be surprised! Great people have used cannabis for many years, not only for relaxation after a working day. In fact, some cannabis users actually use it to be more productive. In this article, we’re going to explore how people use CBD products to increase their productivity.Using Sativa to boost productivity
If you are new to cannabis or have never used it, you should know that Sativa is the cannabis equivalent of a good cup of coffee. This is a cannabis variety known for its distinctive energizing properties. Since Sativa is known for its energy boosts, it is not a surprise that it can help you be more productive. Just like you can enjoy great tea for breakfast or sip your favorite frappuccino, Sativa can improve your mood throughout the day. Fortunately, the Delta-8 infused flower can be found online.
Except for simply boosting your energy, a good Sativa can actually help you keep focused. If you are prone to overstimulation or anxiety under heavy loads, you may just need something to calm you down, so you can stop focusing on the deadline instead of working.Using marijuana outside the office
Using marijuana in the evening does not reduce productivity at work the next day, according to new research published in the journal Group and Organizational Management. For their study, researchers at San Diego State University, California, examined the relationship between three time-of-day cannabis consumption rates and five forms of workplace productivity, using data from 281 employees and their line managers.
The results showed that cannabis use after work was neither positively nor negatively associated with any form of productivity. “The results are obviously important to scientists and organizations who believe that any cannabis use negatively affects workplace behavior,” lead author and management professor Dr. Jeremy Bernert said in a statement. “Our research shows that there is no evidence that post-work use compromises productivity as judged by a line manager.”
Bernert suggests that off-hours cannabis use may even bring some work-related benefits, as it can help reduce stress. Alcohol has the opposite effect. Hangovers do affect employee performance. Smoking cannabis helps people relax, which means that the effect can be “a wonderful soothing after a busy day.”In Conclusion
Cannabis is an incredibly powerful tool that can make wonders if you treat it with the proper respect. The limits are different for everyone, so you have to define them for yourself. With little experiments, you might find that your most productive personality is just a couple of milligrams away. Our advice is to listen to your body. Sometimes you can use cannabis, sometimes you shouldn’t. Anyway, with limited use, it can support you throughout the day.
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Most people who have gone off the grid will say that it’s one of the best decisions they’ve ever made, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Choosing to swap the life you currently have for an entirely different one is not a decision to make lightly, and a lot of thought and planning has to go into it.
Before you start making plans to try this new way of life, take a moment to think about grid-friendly alternatives for some of the following things.Study
If you’re ready to study and mold a new career for yourself, it’s essential to think of practical ways for that to happen, even when living off the grid. If you have an internet connection, you can gain a master of human resource management online. There are also plenty of other online courses that you can enroll in to set your life’s trajectory.
Online courses are just as fulfilling and engaging as in-person ones, but you don’t need to spend time and money commuting to a campus.Work
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we don’t need to be in an office environment to make money. If your workplace already offers remote work, you can continue working for the same company as you transition into an off-the-grid lifestyle. You just need to factor internet arrangements into your off-the-grid plan.
However, as your living costs are generally much lower, you may even decide to try something new that takes up less of your time, such as babysitting, pet sitting, beekeeping, or house cleaning.House
Going off the grid can be a significant adjustment when you’ve only ever lived in a traditional home. However, you certainly have plenty of options from which to choose.
Some people purchase tiny homes which offer the same creature comforts of a larger home. Others opt for RVs, caravans, modified traditional houses, or even tents. When you’re living off the grid, all home options have their pros and cons, so put time into reviewing each living arrangement to ensure you select one that’s right for you.Food
Living off the grid can sometimes mean that you’re far away from life’s necessities. You may not even have suitable cool storage to keep perishables for long periods.
Think long and hard about your food preferences to ensure you’re going to be able to sustain yourself. Many people grow gardens with fruits and vegetables to cover their basic needs and stock up on non-perishables like beans, nuts, rice, honey, and canned goods.Location
Where you’ll decide to live off the grid is a personal choice, but some places welcome it with open arms more so than others. Some countries, states, and regions are also more suitable than others.
Generally, there are a few factors to consider, such as the climate, land prices and taxes, building codes, and legalities. In the United States, Arizona, California, and Colorado are among the most popular places to explore off-the-grid living arrangements.
The concept of disconnecting from our current fast-paced world is appealing, and it’s likely to suit a wide variety of people. However, before you start making life-changing decisions, make sure you come up with off-the-grid-friendly solutions for some of the things above to ensure it’s going to be a suitable lifestyle for you.
The post Top Considerations to Make When You’re Going Off the Grid appeared first on Off The Grid News.
First-time home loans can be a little scary, and extremely stressful. Panicking will not help you get through the situation, but some advice will. There are some very simple things that you can do to save for your deposit. First, though, you need to know a ballpark figure of what you will need.
- Down Payment-You will first need to know about how much money you will need to be able to get a loan. This is the deposit or down payment. You will need to find a home in the area that you want to live in. Get the listing price and write it down somewhere. Decide on how much of a down payment you are planning to come up with. gov claims that the best amount is 20%, so we will use that as the starting point. If you find a house that is listed for $527,000 you would multiply the asking price by 20%, which gives you the amount of $105,400. This is the amount that you will need for a down payment.
- LVR-Your Loan Value Ratio is a number that a lender will use to assess your risk as a borrower. To figure this number out divide the loan amount that you want by the appraisal amount (if you have it). If you don’t have it use the asking price just to give you a ballpark figure. If you don’t have a loan amount yet, take the asking price minus the down payment amount for now. Using the numbers above you will have $527,000 minus $105,400 which gives you the loan amount of $421,600. You will now take $421,600 and divide it by $527,000, which gives you the answer of .8. So, your LVR is going to be 80% in this instance. Anything at 80 percent or above will require you to get an LMI, which is a Lenders Mortgage Insurance policy. This protects the lender by giving them a payout if you are not able to make payments.
- Loan Assistance-Before actually trying to get a loan check some programs that may help you. As a first-time home buyer, there are a couple of options for you to apply for. The First Homeowner Grant will give you some money to help with the down payment if you qualify. The First Home Super Saver Scheme is a savings account set up for you. You can also apply for help through the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme program.
- Lending Agencies-Now it is time to try and get pre-qualified for a loan. The best home loans can be found online, or in person, by simply doing some research. Find a company that will work with you. If you find out that you cannot get a loan to get the house you want, look around in the surrounding neighborhoods and see if you can find a home that fits your budget better.
- Save For Down Payment-Trying to save for the down payment can be the most difficult part of the process. Use your imagination and figure out simple ways to increase the amount of money that you can save every month. If you have a spare room or basement, rent it out. Sell some stuff that you don’t need. Sell your extra cars. Open a savings account that automatically draws from your paycheck. Get a second job. Etc.
These ideas are only a few that you can use to maximize your ability to pay for the deposit on a house. Ask family and friends for a loan. Whatever you can do, within reason, of course, get on it. The faster you get your deposit, the quicker you get to move into your new home.
Since I am living in a century-old home off-grid without air conditioning during what is shaping up to be the hottest summer on record in the Pacific Northwest, I am learning some lessons on staying cool.
First, we need to take heat seriously. Heat can be a killer. Heat waves kill more people each year in the United States than all of the other natural disasters combined. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 400 Americans die from heat-related illnesses in a typical year. That number is more than deaths from winter storms, extreme cold, floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes put together.
So what are some low-cost, low-energy ways to keep cool– or at least somewhat comfortable – during a heat wave, off-grid without air conditioning. Here are a dozen “hot” ideas:
1. Change your activity schedule. Whenever possible, perform chores and other outside activities during the coolest part of the day. You may need to start earlier or end later, depending on when you get your cooler temperatures, but it will be well worth it.
2. Stay hydrated. Your body gets dehydrated much more quickly during extreme heat. Sweating, the human body’s main cooling mechanism, uses your body’s water. Our perspiration does not evaporate easily when the air itself is full of moisture, so we feel hotter on humid days.
To compensate, you need to drink more water in hot weather and even more in hot, humid weather. If you feel thirsty, you are already on your way to becoming dehydrated. This summer, I have gotten into the habit of taking a water bottle with me pretty much everywhere I go.
3. Use a spray bottle. And fill it with water or a damp washcloth, damp bandana or commercially-sold “cooling towels” to help reduce your body temperature. Apply them on your forehead, behind your neck and on your feet for quick relief.
4. Wear loose, natural-fiber clothing in light colors. According to Cotton Council International, loose cotton clothing allows air circulation, which helps absorb perspiration and helps keep your body dry and cool. Light colors help light to pass through the fabric instead of being absorbed by the fabric. This is one of the off-grid without air conditioning methods.
5. Use window coverings. I love summer sunshine, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing this time of year. Keep shades and curtains drawn to reduce heat in your home when the sun is out.
6. Create cross ventilation. Keep windows open – especially windows that are on opposite sides of the home – to creates cross breezes. Install screens on windows and doors to keep insects out. As the day heats up, shut some windows to retain some of the cooler air. This is a off-grid without air conditioning method for survival.
7. Use fans. Window fans, ceiling fans and room fans don’t cool the air, but they do help air to circulate and therefore, provide relief. To cool the air a bit, try making an old-fashioned “swamp cooler” by placing a bucket or pan of ice or ice water in front of a fan. Invest in some battery-operated fans.
8. Minimize use of appliances. Your oven will heat up your kitchen. Limit its use by having cold suppers or by grilling outdoors. Dry your laundered clothing items on a line to reduce use of your clothes dryer. Hand wash and let dishes air dry as well rather than running your dishwasher.
9. Reduce use of certain bulbs and lighting fixtures. Halogen bulbs, for instance, can generate a great deal of heat. LED lights and compact fluorescents will keep your home cooler.
10. Cool off in a pool or bathtub. Even a child’s wading pool can be effective in cooling you off considerably. If you feel silly sitting in a plastic pool, you can feel results by soaking your feet in the cool water for a while.
11. Eat lighter. There’s a reason we like to eat more fruit and salad during hot weather. They help hydrate us. Leafy greens, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes and watermelon are about 90 percent water, so they can help keep your body cool.
Also, you may want to turn up the heat – in your mouth, that is. Curries, chillies and other spicy foods can enhance circulation and cause you to sweat, which helps to cool the body down.
12. Let yourself build up a tolerance. Do you ever wonder how people have survived heat waves before air conditioning? By confining ourselves to air-conditioned homes, offices and stores, we have changed the way our bodies respond to heat. When you allow your body to experience heat and sweating, you can actually become accustomed to the heat. (It doesn’t mean you enjoy it; it means you can tolerate it.)
Here are some other quick tips for off-grid without air conditioning:
- Take cool showers.
- Decrease bathroom heat and humidity by running the bathroom fan after you shower.
- Let your hair air dry for a cooling effect.
- Close your fireplace flue to avoid losing cool air or introducing more hot air from the chimney.
Finally, here’s a word to all of the iced tea and iced coffee lovers out there. While the time-honored advice has been to avoid caffeinated beverages when the mercury soars, that thinking has changed.
According to the Institute of Medicine, caffeinated beverages supply us with more water than their caffeine causes us to lose. So if they help you stay hydrated this summer, drink up!
What are your tips for staying cool without air conditioning?
The post 12 “Cool Ways” To Survive Off-Grid Without Air Conditioning appeared first on Off The Grid News.
Scripture gives us a few specific ages that help map out the growth of human maturity and the pattern of covenant education. So let’s start at the very beginning.
Scripture everywhere assumes that every child is alive from conception. It assumes that every unborn child is made in the image of God and every child is a sinner in need of saving grace (Ps. 58:3). They are already, in fact, capable of receiving such grace through the secret working of the Holy Spirit (Ps. 22:10; Luke 1:41-44). Scripture “entitles” the unborn child to the love, nurture, and protection of his parents and to the full protection of the civil law. In fact, under the Mosaic law, the man who accidentally killed an unborn baby during a brawl was guilty of murder and deserved execution (Ex. 21:22-23).
In Israel, infancy ended with the child’s weaning. Weaning was an important event in the child’s life. Abraham and Sarah held a feast to celebrate Isaac’s weaning (Gen. 21:8). Once Hannah had weaned Samuel, she committed him to Tabernacle service and so gave him up for adoption into the high priestly family (1 Sam. 1:23-24). We are never told directly of an official weaning age, but there is a hint in 2 Chronicles 31:16. Here we are told that food was to be apportioned to Levites serving in the Temple: food rations were to be given to everyone three years old and older. Doubtless, the actual age of weaning differed from child to child as it does today. Egyptians normally weaned their children at four.
It would be a horrible mistake, however, to think that covenant education and spiritual nurturing begin only after weaning. Since children are human from conception and truly made in the image of God, we have no reason to believe that an unborn baby or an infant is incapable of knowing God or learning about Him. Remember that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost in his mother’s womb. Moses’ mother Jochebed had four years to engage her infant son, not only in covenant education but in the covenant promises that belonged to Israel. By God’s grace, she did a fine job.
These earliest years are an excellent time for parents to show their children God’s love and provision by demonstrating their own love, nurture, and care. This is also a time for telling stories that communicate the profound truths and patterns of covenant education and life. Children should learn to pray at this age and to begin the lifelong process of hiding God’s word in their hearts. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that small children can’t understand the word of their heavenly Father. They can and they do.Covenant Education And Childhood (4-12)
Unlike many cultures, Israel had a place for childhood. Scripture even distinguishes children from young men and women (“youths”). According to Scripture, childhood stretches from weaning to about twelve or thirteen. In other words, to the beginnings of puberty.
During childhood, the child’s vocabulary, understanding, and retention increase. This is the time for parents to tell kingdom stories in more detail and to begin teaching all sorts of definitions, facts, and lists. Children should learn the books of the Bible in order. They should memorize the days of creation, the six covenants of promise with some of their distinguishing details, the floor plan of the Tabernacle, the five Levitical offerings, the seven Levitical feasts, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer. Children should also learn the kings of Judah and Israel in order and the prophecy of Daniel 2, which structures the history of the Captivity and the Restoration. It’s also important for children to memorize the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds so they have a basic framework for their theology.
They should memorize and sing lots of psalms and hymns… grown-up hymns, that is. And, of course, they should memorize lots of Scripture: Genesis 1, Psalms 1, 2, 19, and 23, Isaiah 53, the Beatitudes, John 1 and 3, 1 Corinthians 13, and Hebrews 11 are great places to start. This is also the time for parents, particularly fathers who take covenant education seriously, to take their children through Proverbs, a book written by a father for his son. Some denominational traditions also make really good use of catechisms during these years.
Childhood then is preparation for youth and the fuller maturity God requires later in life. Children should learn to read and write, of course. But obedience, humility, purity, diligence, faithfulness in work, and above all the fear of God, are the central lessons of childhood. Faithful church attendance, family devotions, private prayer, chores at home, and good examples from mom and dad all become even more important as avenues of instruction. It’s at this age too that children begin to notice whether parents are consistent in their worldview. They begin to notice if what a parent says matches up with what a parent does.
During childhood, particularly toward its middle, children may begin learning the practical skills that belong to homemaking or to a particular craft. Before compulsory school attendance laws, this was the age when boys were often apprenticed to an uncle, neighbor, or family friend.
However, not everything in childhood should be work. Play is still important. The prophet Zechariah sees the ideal Jerusalem as a city full of “boys and girls playing in the streets” (Zech. 8:5). Children’s games are generally a kind of role-playing in which children act out adult roles—mother, warrior, adventurer, healer, and so on. Play should be a big part of covenant education and worldview training as it strengthens the body and the imagination.Covenant Education And Youth (13-20)
In Jewish culture, thirteen is the age at which boys undergo the rite of Bar Mitzvah, the time when they become answerable to God’s law as adults. This “coming of age” tradition seems to have a long history and has played a major role in covenant education and living throughout history.
Luke tells us about Jesus’ first Passover as a young man when was twelve (Luke 2:41-51). For the first time, Jesus was able to go into the Temple synagogue and be catechized by the teachers of the law. Luke says that Joseph and Mary found him in the Temple, “sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions” (2:46). It apparently “astonished all that heard at his understanding and answers” (2:47). That is, the doctors were asking theological questions and allowing those who answered to ask follow-up questions in turn. Jesus practiced active learning here and it’s a great precedent for parents to take notice of.
Remember, Jesus hadn’t told His parents where He would be because He took it for granted that they would know. Temple training at the synagogue initiated His formal theological training and it was an opportunity that wasn’t open to younger children. Jesus’ example suggests that, as early as twelve, young people should give themselves to their theological studies with great enthusiasm and diligence. They should listen to serious theological instruction and ask questions. Young people should begin to meditate deeply on Scripture. They should start to read books on Biblical and systematic theology and they should study individual Old and New Testament books in depth. Covenantal education should continue the study of Proverbs as an excellent source of wisdom and instruction.
There is something else in Jesus’ example. Jesus Himself went directly to Israel’s best teachers so He could learn at their feet. These teachers or “doctors” of the law treated Him as a young adult and received Him without consulting directly with His parents. In other words, in Israel, the shift from childhood to youth was also a shift from the narrow circles of home and family to the broader circles of public life. Children became young adults and the adult community began to treat them as such . Young people began to relate more directly to their elders and pastors. The concept of adolescence as we know it did not exist in Israel.
Youth should also be the time when young men and women begin to earnestly prepare for marriage and parenthood. During these years, young men pass beyond apprenticeship into productive labor in a respected calling. We may think here of Jacob’s sons and of David, all of whom were shepherds (Gen. 46:3; 1 Sam. 17:33-36). Interestingly, young men in Israel weren’t yet eligible for military service. They were still learning the use of the sword and the bow. Additionally, they were still growing in the courage to stand in battle (cf. Judg. 8:20). I guess that means youth is a good time for instruction in self-defense. It’s all a part of their covenantal education.Covenant Education – Moving To Maturity
Youth blends into maturity as young men and women get married. Scripture speaks of the wife and children of one’s youth (Prov. 5:18; Ps. 127:4). But in Israel, young men were to be ready for military service at twenty (Num. 1:2-3). They also allowed those enrolled in the militia a voice in the public assembly. They were objectively and functionally… adults.
Priests and Levites did not begin their ministry until they turned thirty (Num. 4). Jesus observed this rule, as apparently did John the Baptist, who was six months older than Jesus (Luke 3:23). Perhaps this says something about the age when young men should be ready for leadership roles in a Godly society.
Priests and Levites could cut back in their labors when they hit fifty, as we find in Numbers 4. (That’s nice to know. I’m 60 as I write this.) This is the closest Scripture comes to recognizing an age for cutting back on our calling. The truth is, you don’t find the concept of retirement anywhere in the Bible. In fact, work as a “calling” is our continual duty, and when done in faith, a primary source of joy and fulfillment. Scripture does not release the elderly to play with or waste their children’s inheritance. Instead, the years after fifty are time for Godly men and women to share their wisdom and experience with the next generation.
Moses gave us a psalm that sets an average ending for human life: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Ps. 90:10). Moses himself lived to be a hundred and twenty, but even in his generation, he was an exception. And, of course, there is no “seventy-year guarantee.” Moses is simply speaking in general terms.Covenant Education Should Continue Until We Breathe Our Last Breath
Our time is in God’s hands. And so God calls us to number our days that we might apply our hearts to wisdom (Ps. 90:12). Wisdom is applying God’s word to all of human life and activity. Wisdom is learning the best means to the best ends as God sees and ordains such things. What could be more important than a love for and a healthy appreciation of God’s ordination concerning the timetables of life? These timetables along with Godly wisdom provide a much-needed map… that we might gather up all that God has so graciously given to us and pass it along to our kids and grandkids.
At first the infant . . . then the whining schoolboy . . . then the lover . . . and then a soldier. . . .
—William Shakespeare, As You Like It (1599)
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
 In 19th century America, most students were finished with school when they were thirteen. Eighth-grade graduation, like bar mitzvah and confirmation, marked a real entry into adult life.
Often when talking about foods with a long shelf life, the items we describe don’t comprise a very appealing diet.
Living on rice and beans in a survival situation is very practical, but after about a week I imagine we’d all be sick of the same meal over and over. When we are stocking our root cellars in case of disasters and such, we can take this into consideration. What kinds of meals are we going to want to eat when we have to live off of our survival storage?
Rice is a wonderful survival food, as it is full of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the most common source of energy, and less water is required to process them than is required to process proteins and fats. There are many different ways to eat rice, so when stocking up keep in mind what you can add to it.
Breakfast With A Long Shelf Life
A great survival breakfast is warm rice with honey and virgin coconut oil. Raw honey, which can last almost indefinitely, has live enzymes that aid in digestion, as well as many other health benefits and nutrients. Virgin coconut oil is very nourishing, and just a teaspoon each day provides the necessary healthy fats to stay well. Both raw honey and virgin coconut oil have a long shelf life and can double as medicine. Honey boosts the immune system and fights colds. Virgin coconut oil is a great moisturizer and has antibiotic properties. This makes it a perfect ointment for wounds.
Directions: Boil 2 cups of water. Add 1 cup rice and cover. Simmer on low heat for an hour or until water is absorbed; this can vary depending on what kind of rice you have. Fluff with a fork and add a tablespoon of honey and a teaspoon of coconut oil. You can also add warm spices if desired. Spices are full of nutrients and can last a very long time. Another good option is to put canned non-citrus (citrus won’t last as long) fruit on top of this meal. Just make sure to buy it in juice instead of syrup, as you don’t need any over-processed sugar weighing your system down in a survival situation.
The World’s Healthiest “Storable” Survival Food!
Survival Lunch And Supper
Rice and beans together provide all the amino acids to form a complete protein. It’s a good idea to cook them separately and mix them together to serve. Beans are best if soaked overnight and then boiled in a lot of water. In my experience, beans can take hours to cook, but, of course, it depends on the kind of bean. Adding dried spices such as cumin and garlic adds a lot of flavor and can make a simple meal more exciting.
One wholesome survival supper combination is corn, beans and green vegetables. Dried corn can last about as long as dried beans. Just boil in water until soft. This is a nourishing grain and can help round out the nutrients in your survival stash. Canned green vegetables can prevent many nutrient deficiencies, as green vegetables are dense with life-sustaining vitamins and minerals. Make sure to stock up on the low-sodium kind, as you won’t want anything to make you dehydrated when you may have to ration water. You can add flavor to them by warming them up in a pan with dried spices and herbs.
“Off The Grid” Herbal Remedies Are Here…
A very practical and comforting meal is soup. A can of low-sodium mixed vegetables, beans, a bottle of tomato juice, and dried herbs can make a simple healthy meal with a long shelf life. It’s best to get bottles of tomato juice, as the acidic fruit will not last as long in a can. Tomato juice is higher in vitamin C than orange juice, and vitamin C will be vital if you don’t have any fresh fruits. You can also add dried corn or rice or a can of low-sodium green vegetables for variety. For a great twist, I like to start a soup by sautéing canned onions in a teaspoon of coconut oil with dried basil and oregano. Then I add all the other ingredients and cook for an hour or so.
An absolutely invaluable resource for survival is a handbook on edible plants for your area. Adding fresh fruits, greens and roots to any of these recipes will help you adjust for when your survival stock runs out and you have to live completely off the land.
Here is the list of all 10 foods I have included in these recipes. These are great nutritious foods with a long shelf life.
Virgin Coconut oil
Canned green vegetables
Bottled tomato juice
Canned non-citrus fruits in juice
Canned potatoes and canned onions
Dried herbs and spices
What are your survival recipes and pantry items? Share your tips in the section below:
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Every year, more people are turning to solar for their power which means the residential solar installation business is only going to grow. In 2020 the U.S. installed 19.2 gigawatts (GWdc) of solar PV capacity, which is enough to power 17.7 million American homes. It also accounted for 43% of all new electricity generated power for the second year in a row. The U.S. solar industry is set to boom big time as it plans to install more capacity over the next 10 years. At this rate, it will quadruple the current amount of solar capacity that exists right now in the U.S.
There are a few different types of portable generators you can use for your solar installation or ones you can offer your customers. There are a few types like an inverter, petrol, diesel or even solar, so there’s lots to consider. Brush up on some tips if you’re considering buying a solar-powered generator. Look over these different options for quality portable generators and decide which one is going to best for your needs.
The benefits of portable inverter generators is that they are light, small, quiet and powerful at the same time. They can be used for RVs, camping or outdoor recreational activities. They are a great solution for providing emergency back up or standby power at home when you need. They are also great for trade use, so you can power up tools while on the move or on a remote worksite.
Gas or Petrol Generator
These types of generators come enclosed, compact and reliable as solutions for home backup and standby needs. They offer peace of mind to customers that they will have back up to their home in times of need. They can power the most essential appliances in an electrical emergency or in the event of a power outage. They’re designed to be reliable sources of standby power for the most essential items in a home like the fridge and freezer. They will also have enough charge to provide temporary power to lights and smaller appliances.
Diesel generators generally suffer less wear and tear than other generators like the petrol-run models, so it makes them very long-lasting. They are found mostly in environments like industrial, commercial, mining and agriculture. Companies that need a consistent power supply without disruption, like construction sites will use them to power tools when they cannot reach power grids. While it is the more expensive fuel when compared to gas or petrol generators they are more reliable and durable.
3 Phase Generators
These generators are epic power solutions for large professional, commercial, and industrial applications. These are truly made for powering large scale operations that need consistent and reliable power like hospitals, construction sites, mine sites and commercial offices. The 3 Phase generators have large fuel tanks that run at high output times. Most models are also quiet and enclosed in full sound proof casings that allow them to operate in a stealth manner while producing consistent power, so it’s perfect for urban or populated areas.
Whether you’re looking to buy for your home, workplace, large job site or even to sell to your residential customers there are many designs and price points to meet the requirements of your project.
The post How to Pick a Portable Generator for Solar Installation appeared first on Off The Grid News.
Our planet is in dire need of improved systems that don’t have such negative effects on our world. There are many small things people can do to make their own lives more sustainable, but we are still relying on larger companies and corporations to change their policies and procedures to really make an impact. That doesn’t mean your attempts are futile; every small action towards a green, sustainable lifestyle still counts. You can eliminate unnecessary plastics, use refillable cups, jugs or soaps, and if you’re creating a new home, one of the best things you can do is have a composting toilet installed.
There are a lot of options out there for composting toilets, but they all generally have the same features. The main features of a composting container are an access door to empty when it gets full, an air and exhaust system for good airflow, and an electricity source for a fan or heater. There are even more rustic versions, but composting toilets have improved so much that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for an earth-friendly bathroom option. Here are some surprising reasons why it’s of great benefit to your life.
There are many surprising ways that a composting toilet can be eco-friendly. Using a composting toilet significantly reduces your water usage, which is great for the environment and your water bill. Speaking of water, the waste that collects from your composting toilet can be used to fertilize non-food gardens and other plant life. With some help from technology gases from the waste can also be turned into energy. There are many options to choose from for composting toilets for the home that will work for you and your family. Do some research based on your location and your needs to make the choice that’s right for you.
One of the many benefits of a composting toilet is it can be a more cost effective option. One reason for this is that it doesn’t require a lot of professional maintenance. You don’t need to hire a plumber to install everything a regular toilet needs. If you’re familiar with having a septic system, you don’t have to worry about paying someone to come empty it when the time comes. The best part is the pricing can be flexible based on what you need. There are numerous DIY options that can bring the cost down and many other more advanced ones that won’t cost much more than the price of a regular toilet.
Simple to Install Anywhere
The process of installing a composting toilet is fairly simple. If you already know how to use a composting toilet, then you will have a good idea of how everything works. Traditional toilets need to be hooked up to all kinds of pipes, plumbing and systems. A composting toilet is self-contained and doesn’t need to be hooked up to anything. This also makes it easy to install anywhere, whether you’re in a tiny home in a neighbourhood or deep in a cabin in the woods.
You can feel relieved knowing that when you’re building a home or getaway your options for life’s necessity are aplenty. With good maintenance and care a composting toilet is a wonderful alternative to a regular flushing toilet for all of these reasons and more. If you’re considering making small changes in your life to live a more sustainable lifestyle then this is a great place to start.
Home fires are the most common disaster in the United States, and they can be devastating, causing immense damage throughout your home. If you have suffered a home fire accident, you are faced with the enormous task of getting everything back together. From water-soaked carpets and fire-damaged interiors to a charred roof, it is difficult to know where to start. The rebuilding process may seem involved and long, but it can be easy when you know what to do. This article outlines seven crucial steps for restoring your property after a fire.1. Contact your insurance company
Before you embark on fire damage restoration, you should first call your insurance company to set the claim process in motion. Your insurer should be experienced in dealing with home fire emergencies and can guide you through things like emergency lodging and living expenses.2. Assess the structural damage
Before you open that door, ensure your house is safe to enter. You can inspect the house from outside for signs of structural damage that can compromise your safety. If you are concerned, you can have it inspected by a professional to ensure it’s safe before you enter.3. Secure you house
Once you are given the green light to start working on your house, you should secure all but one entrance. Be sure to board up any doors, windows, or openings that may have been destroyed by the fire. By closing up your fire-damaged home, you help to keep away looters and critters and keep it safe from the elements.4. Minimize the damage
The fire may have been put out, but that’s not the end of the damage. Water, smoke, and soot can cause further damage. Ensure you dry out water residue and humidity to prevent further damage to your property. Soot contains corrosive and acidic traits, which can cause damage to surfaces leading to discoloration. Depending on the time elapsed and the material of the surface, soot staining may be completely removable. That’s why doing an emergency pre-cleaning is necessary before you start rebuilding your house.5. Remove items that can’t be salvaged
Any items in the house that are beyond repair should be removed. Separating your damaged items from undamaged items makes it easier to make a list of unsalvageable items for your insurer. Be extra careful when touching electrical appliances or machines as they can still store electricity after they are unplugged.6. Address structural repairs first
Starting with structural repairs ensures the houses’ structural integrity. Structural repairs include securing the interior framework, repairing the attic, replacing damaged floor joists and trusses.7. Repair the electrical system
It’s crucial to inspect and repair the electrical system, even if the fire didn’t destroy the entire house. A licensed electrician should inspect all the wiring, fixtures, and outlets to ensure safety.Endnote
Home fires are massive disasters that can devastate your home and family, and they can result in plenty of unsettled feelings, especially for kids. You should assess whether it might be necessary to seek counseling in the case of children.
Stockpiling supplies for an emergency is at the very core of survival. Unfortunately, though, not everything stores well, especially when we’re talking about months and years. Most food items don’t store well, but we are able to make up for that by the way we preserve and package them. Other items aren’t quite as easy.
Gasoline is one of these items. I think we all would agree that a good stockpile of gasoline will be extremely valuable in just about any survival scenario. The problem is in finding a way that we can store gasoline without it going bad.
What Makes Gasoline Go Bad?
Gasoline is not a simple chemical substance, such as ethanol or citrus acid. It’s a mixture of a number of different hydrocarbons, with the actual carbon ranging from four to 12 in a single atom. The fractional distillery which refines gasoline from petroleum also mixes in various additives, intended to help a vehicle’s performance.
Most of the chemicals in gasoline are highly volatile. Contrary to popular opinion, this doesn’t mean that they burn easily, but rather that they evaporate easily. It is the gasoline vapor, not the liquid gasoline, that we burn.
Typically, the most volatile parts of the gasoline mixture are also the most reactive or most flammable. As gasoline sits, these volatile parts evaporate, leaving the less flammable parts in place. While an internal combustion engine will still burn those parts and work, some efficiency will be lost.
The second thing that can go wrong with gasoline is that certain parts of it will oxidize, mixing with oxygen in the air to form new compounds. These new compounds are not as reactive as the original ones and, in fact, can cause problems in an engine. These new compounds congeal together, forming particles of a gum-like substance that can plug injectors and fuel filters. Fortunately, these are visible and filterable from the gasoline. They also cause the smell of the gasoline to change to a distinctly sour one.
Finally, the third culprit in the process of making gas go bad is water. The heating and cooling of the gasoline causes water to condense on the inside and outside of the container. The water condensation then mixes with the gas, reducing its reactivity.
What About Ethanol?
In recent years, ethanol has been added to gasoline, in order to extend gasoline supplies. Typically, the gasoline we buy is 10 percent ethanol, or grain alcohol.
Chevron states on their website that adding ethanol to gasoline has no discernible effect on its life expectancy. However, ethanol is known to draw water out of the air, so it would seem that gasoline augmented with ethanol would absorb more water than pure gasoline would.
With all this, it would seem that it is virtually impossible to store gasoline for a prolonged period of time. Nevertheless, there are things that can be done in order to make it possible to store gasoline for months or even years.
Proper Gasoline Storage Containers
To start with, gasoline needs to be stored in truly airtight containers, whether metal or plastic. I prefer metal myself, as plastic containers can allow some small amount of oxygen to pass through. Generally speaking, the seals on plastic containers are made of plastic and there is a mold line running right through the sealing surface. Metal containers, on the other hand, do not have a mold line to contend with and use rubber seals.
During World War II, one of the ways that gasoline was shipped to the South Pacific was in five-gallon Jerry cans. Even with months of storage and shipping, the gas wouldn’t lose any of its potency. I use a 55-gallon drum, which seals tightly and has a non-sparking brass valve. The bung has been reinserted in the hole with Teflon tape to ensure that there are no air leaks.
Dependable Backup Power Direct From The Sun (No Gasoline Needed)
The fuller the container is, the less air there is in it to react with the gas. This will reduce the possibility of evaporation, oxidation and water contamination. However, a gas can should not be filled completely because some space needs to be left for expansion of the gas when it is hot.
It is safer to store gas outside the home, perhaps in a shed. But it is better for the gas if you can store it in a cool, dry place. The more consistent temperature will eliminate the expansion and contraction of the gasoline, allowing the container to be filled more. This also will reduce the likelihood of condensation by not allowing the gas to get cold enough to cause it.
Extending The Life Of Your Gasoline
Gas additives, such as Sta-bil, work well to extend the life of gas as well. They claim that they can add an additional six months to the life of the gas, without any other additives or change. Sta-bil works by replenishing chemicals that may have evaporated from the gas, and also reduces oxidation.
Another aid in storing gas for prolonged periods of time is to rotate your stock. Every month use five or 10 gallons of your existing stock and replace it with fresh gas. That ensures that you always have fresh gas on hand.
Finally, always be sure to filter any old gas, when using it in an internal combustion engine. That will allow you to remove any of the oxidized solids which have formed in the gas. This one step can make it possible to use gas that otherwise wouldn’t be usable.
What advice would you add on storing gasoline? Share your tips in the section below:
Herb gardens have been used since the beginning of humankind. Cultivation of herbs has occurred for millennia. Herbs are grown for flavoring, preserving, and medicinal uses. They are used as dyes and for ritual and worship. Herb gardens are grown for nostalgia, lifestyle values, and to empower one’s own health and body. They provide simple pleasures, economy, spiritual benefits, and connection with the natural cycles of the earth.
Herb Garden Perks
Herb gardens are increasing in popularity as consumers become more and more concerned about the dangers of antibiotic resistance and the risk of superbugs developing. Increased information is available about the benefits that herbs provide in maintaining healthy lifestyles. The desire to grow organic medicines and foods is becoming more mainstream. Savvy consumers are interested in excellent quality vs. quantity. Therefore, obtaining food and herbs locally and the growth of the slow food movement are prompting a surge in the popularity of backyard or windowsill herb gardens.
Health experts recognize that herbs promote longevity. Also, people are realizing the limits that conventional medicine has, especially in the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses. Mass media and society have increased interest in living long healthy lives, and herbs can be a central aspect of reduced fat, sugar, and salt diets.
Fortunately, herbs are among the easiest plants to grow. Anyone can successfully grow herbs.
Considerations when Planting your Herb Garden Herb Gardening Basics
Herbs are generally not fussy plants. They can be grown in every climate. Many of the most common herbs hail from Mediterranean climates. Annual, biennial, and perennial herbs are available. Annuals complete their life cycle in one year. However, Biennials require two years. Perennials live for several years. Herbs also grow in many forms. Sizes range from tiny creeping annuals to trees.
Types of Herb Gardens
Herb gardens can be formal or informal in design. They can be part of a flower or vegetable garden. You may also choose to grow a medicinal, culinary, or tea garden. Your garden may be designed with a color theme or for fragrance. Perhaps you would like a garden for crafting herbs that can be used to make potpourri, wreaths, and dyes. Victorian, Biblical, aphrodisiac, and wild gardens are also popular. Herbs flourish when grown indoors or hydroponically as well as in garden beds and pots. Herbs grow very well in containers.Logistics
When deciding what type of herb garden that you would like to grow, consider the following: Is your garden going to be in the sun or shade? Is it a dry or moist climate and site? How much do you want to spend? How much effort do you want to exert?Design your garden.
Is it part of a larger garden? Is it part of your general landscaping? How do you want to arrange it? Would you like a heart shaped herb garden? Have you considered planting it as a medicine wheel? Some herb gardens are planted with respect to body systems or in a circle.Consider plant characteristics
Some plants that are annuals in the warm south are perennials in the north and vice versa. Seed packet instructions that recommend a sunny location may work in Vermont, while that same herb planted in a hot Florida climate might need some shade.
Perennials generally need more room than annuals. However, I tend to place plants closer together than frequently recommended. Also, I like to plant in wide rows as opposed to single rows so that I get the maximum amount of plants in the least amount of space. Planting close together reduces weeds in gardens.
Mulch conserves moisture, reduces the growth of weeds and can decompose to nourish your garden. Use plenty of mulch.
Consider the type of roots of your plants. Are they invasive, such as mint? Is there a big single taproot that will need deep soil? Many medicinal plants are weeds. Plant in appropriate places or they may take over your garden. Consequently, I once planted a fine stand of nettles. My husband came in one day; he was quite pleased with himself. He said. “Your garden was full of nettles. I just weeded them out for you.” I had failed to tell him that nettles are one of the most useful herbs that grow and that I had planted the nettles.
Benefits in your garden
Herbs are beneficial in any garden. Some have insect repellent qualities. Many attract butterflies. Others can help nearby plants to grow better.
Commercially grown plants often have chemical fertilizers used. Growing organic herbs benefits you, the plants, and the environment. Commercial plants are sometimes bigger but not necessarily healthier. Nutrients are highest in fresh plants.
Just like fresh veggies taste best, fresh herbs taste best. Typically, homegrown herbs are inexpensive. You will also have a great variety of flavors and medicine at your fingertips if you grow your own herbs. If you grow a culinary herb garden, you are automatically growing medicinal herbs. All gardens are healing intrinsically. If you are growing a medicinal garden, think about the types of medicines that you will need. Do some research or ask experts.
By growing an herb garden you will reduce your carbon footprint and have more connections with seasonal cycles. You will have beauty, fragrance, and flavor in your life. Herb gardens are an excellent addition to a healthy lifestyle.
Tomatoes are a little different than many garden vegetables.
Throw lettuce or carrot seeds in the ground and they sprout within a week or two, grow rapidly, and you’re done. Ditto for broccoli, peppers, and onions. Sure, I’m simplifying, but barring disease and insect problems, these vegetable crops need little maintenance beyond watering, fertilizing, and weeding.
Not so with tomatoes. Tomatoes are the prima donnas of the vegetable garden. Of all the produce in my garden, tomatoes are the ones I prize the most. When grown properly, they produce abundant fruit, suitable for both fresh eating and preserving. They’re also the garden vegetable that, in my opinion, has the most to offer in taste over their grocery store counterparts.
They’re also the vegetable that I baby the most. Because indeterminate varieties continue growing until the first heavy frost on sprawling, robust vines, they’re more susceptible to diseases and problems than vegetables with a quick growing season, such as carrots or lettuce. Their fruits need plenty of sunlight – but not too much—to ripen properly.
Over the years, I’ve tried just about every method of tomato growing. Read on to glean from my experiments, failures, and successes and develop a plan for your own garden.
Old tires. My mother grew tomatoes in old tires, which offered some support, kept the weeds down, and produced heat, an important consideration in her northern garden. I don’t have access to free old tires and I worry a little about chemicals leaching from the tires, so I’ve never tried this method. Nevertheless, my mother’s garden always produced abundant tomatoes with this technique.
Cone cages. Early in my gardening career, I used the commercial cone-shaped tomato cages. Nowadays, you can find larger, sturdier cages that probably work well. Mine only stood about four feet tall and were pretty flimsy. I like the cages because they’re easy to store and easy to install. Minimal pruning is needed with this method, but the plants produce prolifically because they’re off the ground, which reduces disease problems and increases fruit production. Inexpensive cone cages work well for compact, determinate tomatoes, but they just don’t cut it if you’re growing heirloom or indeterminate varieties.
Staking. I have on occasion staked my tomatoes. I pounded heavy metal posts into the ground and planted one tomato plant within a few inches of each stake. As the tomato plant grew, I secured it loosely to the post with strips of old cotton cloth. Nylon socks work well too. I kept one strong central leader and pruned out most of the other stalks. I also pinched out the suckers that grow between two strong, main stems. Staking has several advantages. The plants look tidy and attractive throughout the season, and they suffer few disease problems. Staked tomatoes also produce abundant quantities of good fruit. The downside to staking is the work involved. It is one of the most labor-intensive methods of growing tomatoes. Also, if you prune too heavily, the fruit becomes sun scalded.
Trellising. One year, I grew my tomatoes along a fence made of chicken wire strung between two metal fencing posts. This method is similar to staking because you must tie the vines to the trellis as the plants grow. Pruning is also necessary to keep the plants in check. Harvesting is fairly simple. Because the plants are secured against a flat surface, it’s easy to spot and pick the fruit.
Structure-free. The summer after my fourth baby was born, I decided to let the tomatoes sprawl on the ground. I was sleep deprived and short on time and ambition, and this seemed like an easier alternative to other methods. I had heard that tomatoes grown this way produce fewer, but larger fruits, but I was surprised by the results. My tomatoes produced significantly fewer fruits using this method, and the quality was quite poor. Even in my dry climate, I had more problems with disease and insect pests than I’ve ever encountered. I haven’t tried this experiment again.
Heavy-Duty Cages. After experimenting with all the various methods, I’ve settled on using heavy-duty cages. They take up space in my shed in the winter, but they offer the best chance of a disease-free, abundant crop with the least amount of effort. I made my tomato cages from concrete reinforcing wire. They’re very heavy and will likely last forever. If you’d like to make your own cages, Master Gardener Larry Kloze from the University of Maryland offers a video tutorial. Several manufacturers now make sturdier square cages, many of which are collapsible. Whether you use a sturdy homemade or commercial cage, ensure that the cages have a space of at least five to six inches between each wire for pruning and harvesting tasks. When growing tomatoes in cages, I keep pruning to a minimal, removing only the ancillary sprouts and occasionally topping the plant if it becomes too tall.
Once I figured out how to control my tomatoes, I started experimenting with mulches and cloches. In my cold, dry climate, summer doesn’t really arrive until June 1, which means a shorter growing season than I’d like. Once summer does arrive, dry heat and wind quickly parch my garden. I needed some strategies to warm up conditions in the spring and conserve moisture in the summer. Here’s just a few that I’ve tried:
Milk jug cloches. To keep young plants warm and protected, I cut the bottoms off gallon-size plastic milk jugs. I also removed the lid to allow air to circulate freely. I placed these milk jugs in the garden directly over young plants. The results: The milk jugs did an adequate job of protecting young plants, but they must be removed when the plants stand about eight inches tall. I liked the fact that they were free and I was reusing a resource, but my dog and my toddler kept playing with them. More than once, I found them somewhere else in the yard.
Wall-O-Water. I bought these plastic cloches at a local garden center and placed them over my tomatoes. They have tunnels, which, when filled with water, create a greenhouse effect. The results: I’m not one for buying expensive gardening gadgets, but this item has paid for itself many times over. By using these cloches, I can plant tomatoes up to three weeks earlier, a huge boon in my northern climate. The plants grow faster and produce fruit faster, as well. They cost about $4 each, which adds up quickly if you grow a lot of tomatoes, but I’ve had mine for several years. They fold flat and take up almost no room in the shed during the winter. Just be sure to remove the cloches when temperatures rise above 75 degrees; otherwise, you’ll scorch your plants.
Black plastic mulch. My county extension office recommends black plastic mulches over tomatoes, so I decided to give it a try one year. I stretched a length of black plastic over a raised bed and stapled it down. I cut holes in the plastic to plant the tomatoes, and I ran soaker hoses underneath the plastic for watering. The results: I had almost no weed growth, which was fabulous, and the soil did stay moister. On the other hand, the plastic broke down over the season and I hated throwing it away at summer’s end. I also found it difficult to fertilize the tomatoes.
Untreated grass clippings. I spread one inch of untreated grass clippings over the soil every week. The results: I love grass clippings in my garden and don’t reserve them just for tomatoes. The grass clippings reduce weed growth, conserve moisture, and add low doses of nitrogen as they break down. Best of all, they cost nothing, and I’m keeping them out of the landfill. If you decide to use grass clippings in your garden, apply no more than one inch per week. Thick layers can’t decompose and instead become slimy, smelly messes.
If you have any other tips for growing tomatoes, please share them in the comments below!
The post Tomatoes – Growing The Garden Vegetable Prima Donnas appeared first on Off The Grid News.
Mountain climbing is considered to be an xciting pastime for many. The thought of reaching the summit is enough to fuel an enthusiast’s desire to conquer any mountain. It’s difficult to describe the experience, but it does give beginners a compelling reason to take up mountain climbing as a hobby and, eventually, a lifestyle.
However, you can’t become an expert climber overnight, and it won’t be a walk in the park during your first climb. You will need to face various challenges that will test your resolve and endurance. Fortunately, it’s possible to work around these challenges once you have a good idea of what to expect. Here are a few beginner tips you should keep in mind:
- Slow and steady
There is a first time for everything, and it’s important that you start with smaller goals and lower peaks. Your objective here is to develop the necessary skills that will prepare you for more arduous challenges in the future, such as finding water in the wilderness and finding a suitable camping ground. Pick a mountain or hill that’s easy for beginners like yourself. From there, you can progress to more complicated hikes.
- Do a bit of cardio
No matter how low or high a peak you are reaching, your body has to be prepared for the difficult journey ahead. When it comes to building your endurance, you will need to take time developing your cardio health. Jogging and swimming daily are just some of the best ways to build your stamina so you won’t easily get exhausted during your first climb. On top of that, you should also limber up by performing stretching exercises that are designed to condition the joints and reduce injury.
- Adopt a balanced diet
Apart from exercise, you should also adopt a protein-rich diet. You will need all the nutrients you can get so you can last longer during the climb. More importantly, you also need to strengthen your immune system in responding to unfamiliar terrain. On top of protein, make sure you get a healthy serving of carbs, iron, and Vitamin C. Still, it’s best to talk with your doctor and get advice on what to eat in preparation for the climb.
- Bring only the essentials
For an easier climb, it’s advisable that you bring only what’s necessary. Since you are taking an easier trail as a beginner, packing lightly should be enough. Be sure to bring along some water, some protein-rich food, flushable wipes (in case nature calls), and a first aid kit.
- Get the right gear
Investing in high-quality mountain climbing gear is crucial. Price shouldn’t be a factor, but it’s important to pick equipment that won’t fail you during the climb. If necessary, you may need to pay more if it means reducing your risk of injury. When shopping for pulleys, helmets, breathable shirts, and harnesses, look towards brands that are trusted for their safety and reliability.
Going on your first climb can be both intimidating and exciting. You just have to come prepared with the right physical condition and with the right tools.
Nothing’s worse than watching pests munch through your garden like it was planted for them. While we try to avoid pesticide use through companion planting and attracting natural predators , sometimes it’s not enough and we need a targeted and limited application of natural pesticide.
The right pesticide for those living off the grid is a combination of two things. First, it has to be easy to produce from readily available materials. Second, and most importantly, it has to be safe to your family and to the carefully balanced ecological system in your garden. The pesticide mixes below meet these criteria. (Some of them aren’t technically pesticides; they’re deterrents, but the effect is the same — keeping the bugs of your plants).
Before getting started, please remember the following:
- Many of the plant extracts below can irritate your skin. Make sure to wear gloves and eye protection when mixing, handling and spraying. Keep them away from children and pets.
- These are not industrial-strength solutions designed to eradicate any and everything in their path. They are natural, and therefore need to be applied more frequently than commercial pesticides, and after rain as well. They won’t be effective if you frequently apply water to the top of your plants.
- A couple of the mixes call for natural-based detergent. This means detergent without dyes or anti-bacterial agents added (which can harm the plants). If you’re a diehard homesteader and make your own soap, you can use that instead.
1. Chili Peppers
This mix works against aphids, grasshoppers and other larger insects that love to devour your plants. Put three or four halved chili peppers, a coarsely chopped large onion, and a bulb of garlic in a food processor. Add 1/2 cup of water and mix until finely shredded. Cover the mix with one gallon of hot but not boiling water.
After 24 hours, strain and spray on where needed. For areas where need is greatest, follow the same directions, but blend everything to a fine purée and then work it gently into the soil surrounding the affected plants.
Aphids are a constant source of irritation in my garden. If you have the same problem, try a basil pesticide. Bring three cups of water to a boil, and then add a cup of fresh basil. Let the mix cool and strain. Then add a teaspoon of natural-based dish detergent. Spray onto affected plants.
While much maligned for other reasons, nicotine is a natural pest repellant. Aphids, caterpillars, and other pests avoid it. Mix one cup of tobacco in a gallon of water. Let it sit for 24 hours. Spray the solution sparingly where needed, but don’t use on members of the Solanaceae family (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and others) or on potatoes. Nicotine is lethal to these plants.
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4. Chrysanthemum Flowers
Pyrethrum is a commercially available, natural insecticide used by organic gardeners. It works by destroying the insects’ nervous systems. Pyrethrum is particularly effective against aphids, spider mites, and cabbageworms (which is why chrysanthemum flowers are a great companion plant for broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage).
To make your own, boil four or five ounces of dried flowers in a quart of water. Strain and let cool. Spray where needed.
This mix deters many common garden pests. Take a handful of spearmint leaves, two horseradish roots (with tops), and a few scallions. Chop roughly and cover with water. The next day, strain the mix and add a tablespoon of cayenne pepper and two tablespoons of natural-based dish detergent. Spray where needed.
Insect pests are a natural part of the garden, but with healthy plants, companion planting and using natural predators, they often are not a problem. However, if you do get some bugs helping themselves to a free dinner, try these natural pesticides.
Do you have any all-natural pesticide tips? Tell us in the comments section below.
Nowadays, few business people decide to create a farm thinking that it is too expensive and unprofitable. However, this is wrong logic: today, farming is one of the most promising areas of entrepreneurship. To take the first step towards creating your farm, you need to choose a niche. So, we invite you to study the different types of farms in this article.Is It Profitable to Farm?
The growing demand for goods ensures the profitability of farming. For sure, animal farming needs significant investments, especially for breeding cattle. However, with the right approach, the payback time will be no more than six years. Eggs and poultry are the products that are always on the daily menu. However, bird breeding does not require too much investment and area. While with the right approach to the maintenance of your equipment and acquisition of spare parts with https://www.tractor-specs.net/ tractor specs. The payback time is 2-4 years.
Growing fruits and vegetables is a seasonal business that requires special equipment and skills. However, herbs, cucumbers, strawberries, or tomatoes can be grown in greenhouses all year round. This business will be even more profitable in winter when the price for fresh vegetables increases. With such a farm, you will get back your investments in around two years.
One shouldn’t forget that all branches of agriculture make a single mechanism. And the types of agricultural enterprises are associated with the forms of activity and general specialization. In particular, farms can be of the following types:
- Dairy and meat;
- Pig breeding;
- Milk and vegetable;
- Greenhouse vegetable growing;
- Fur farming;
- Fruit tree seedling;
- Flour-milling, etc.
About 90% of farms in the United States are family-owned. Family farms are closed organizational and legal forms controlled by the owner of the farm. Therefore, the production process on such farms depends on the effectiveness of the daily decisions of the owner and the work of family members.
Except for the above-mentioned, eco-farms are getting more and more popular. This is a profitable enterprise that provides farmers and their consumer audience with high-quality, healthy, environmentally friendly and natural food that is grown in the most humane, natural, and even “happy” conditions. In general, an eco-farm is a complex of buildings for various purposes for keeping animals, ensuring their health and reproduction. However, this type of entrepreneurship requires significant investments.
Whatever type of farming a business person will choose, they will need the initial capital. If you do not have your funds, then you can attract investments or use a loan. Finding an investor is a very good option. Such a person can be involved with a competent business plan and a good presentation. If you show all the benefits of a business, then your funds may not be needed.
Left to my own devices, I would be a vegetarian. This wasn’t difficult for my husband and I when we lived in California. However, where we live now, it is not without its challenges. An island whose cuisine revolves around meat, for me oftentimes means substituting beans for the preferred sources of protein: pork or chicken. Prior to moving here, I had no clue there were so many beans in the world. I could name and cook maybe five or six of them. Today, I am thrilled to say, it’s a completely different story.
Beans don’t need to be something you think of as sloppy seconds to meat. Far more versatile than meat, it might surprise you how much you can dress up beans and how well they can complement any meal. As I have said in previous articles, open your mind and your taste buds will follow.
Health Benefits Of Beans 101
Beans are a type of legume, the large seeds of leguminous plants. There are dozens of varieties of beans in the world that grow naturally or through cultivation. People have been growing them for food since they first began farming, many a millennia ago. Today, with the exception of grains, people around the world get more of their calories from beans than they do from any other food.
Beans may not really be magic, but they can have seemingly magical effects on your health. Adding to their versatility and taste, beans are also one of the healthiest foods around; they are a low calorie, low sodium source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and myriad other important nutrients. This means that a diet containing beans can promote everything from healthy weight loss to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease prevention, which continue to strike Americans at alarming rates.
A Dose of Dietary Fiber That Packs a Whopping Health Punch
Dietary fiber comes from plant foods, and is an important part of healthy eating. Beans are some of the best sources of dietary fiber in the food world, along with many vegetables, whole grains, some fruits, and other legumes.
Dietary fiber is divided into two groups consisting of fiber that is soluble in water and fiber that is not soluble. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance as it passes through the body. It also provides health benefits connected to cholesterol and blood sugar management. Insoluble fiber is the fiber that makes it easier for ingested matter to make its way through the digestive tract.
Fiber is often most closely associated with bowel regularity. It also serves other functions as well in maintaining our overall health. Besides regularity, fiber promotes the health and integrity of the bowels by preventing the development of hemorrhoids and diverticular disease. Fiber may also help to prevent other diseases of the colon. However, definitive research has not yet established an incontrovertible connection.Grow A High Protein Garden With An Heirloom Bean and Pea Bundle
Soluble fiber is helpful in reducing cholesterol levels in the blood, specifically the levels of low-density lipoproteins. That’s “bad cholesterol” to you and me. Soluble fiber also causes the body to absorb sugar more slowly. This can help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels and lower the risk of Type II diabetes for people who do not yet have the disease.
Dietary fiber is defined as the parts of a plant that the human body is not able to digest and absorb as nutrients. This indigestibility is what makes insoluble fiber so beneficial to the bowels. It is also what makes fiber a good tool for weight loss. Fibrous foods tend to take longer to chew and swallow, and eating slowly allows your body time to register when you are full. Meals with large amounts of dietary fiber also tend to make you feel full faster and stay full longer so that you will eat less over the course of a day.
A Great Source of Protein
Protein is part of every single cell in the human body, from those that build our muscle tissue to those which form our vital organs. When we eat foods that contain protein, our bodies break it down into amino acids and use the amino acids to replace the proteins in our cells. Although our bodies are able to produce some amino acids on their own, a group of amino acids called essential amino acids must be taken in as food. When our diet contains insufficient amounts of protein, our bodies will begin to break down its own tissues in order to supply necessary amino acids elsewhere.
Since every single cell in the body contains protein, insufficient protein can lead to a very wide variety of health concerns. These health problems can range from minor problems such as alopecia and brittle hair, to serious concerns such blood disorders, muscle weakness, and impaired immune systems.
An Alternative to Red Meat
Unlike low calorie and low fat beans, many types of red meat contain a large amount of saturated fat. Saturated fat raises cholesterol levels in the blood. Excessive bad cholesterol is one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease.
Many people assume that it is necessary to eat a diet with large amounts of meat in order to get sufficient protein. However, ¼ cup of most beans contains the same amount of protein as an ounce of red meat. Some beans, such as soybeans, contain an even larger amount of protein than that slab of steak you were considering for dinner. Vegetarians, vegans, or just people who prefer to eat a minimum of red meat, will have no problem eating a healthy amount of protein if they include beans in their diet.
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Best Foods for Antioxidants
Beans are a tremendous source of antioxidants. Antioxidants can give an incredible boost to your health by battling free radicals. Free radicals are chemicals that damage cells and genetic material by robbing them of electrons and causing them to become unstable. This weakens cells’ defenses against foreign invasion, and can result in more harmful mutations that might lead to cancer.
Antioxidants provide electrons to free radicals, and may help destabilized cells to heal themselves. Like amino acids, our bodies produce some antioxidants naturally, but rely on the food we eat to provide more. Each type of antioxidant has a different chemical composition. Therefore, it is necessary to eat a variety of antioxidant-rich foods in order to get the most benefit from their properties.
The United States Department of Agriculture analyzed the antioxidant levels of a wide variety of foods, and produced a list of 20 common foods with the highest levels of antioxidants. Red beans appeared first on this list, while kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans came in at numbers three, four, and eighteen. Combining these varieties of bean with a range of the other antioxidant rich foods on the list will help ensure that you are getting the maximum benefit that they have to offer.
Other Health Benefits of Beans
Beans contain a compound called inositol hexaphosphate, which has shown promising results as an agent in the fight against cancer. The American Cancer Society provides an overview of inositol hexaphosphate, which claims that the compound inhibits tumor formation and shrinks existing tumors. Beans also contain another compound known as inositol pentakisphosphate, which early evidence suggests may also have cancer-fighting potential.
Beans are a good source of several important vitamins and minerals that our bodies must obtain through diet. They are a great source of folate, a vitamin that helps with cell function and new tissue growth. Beans also contain significant amounts of iron, the mineral that carries oxygen from our lungs to our cells. Magnesium is a mineral that aids in muscle contraction and relaxation, protein production, enzyme function, and energy transportation. Many people fail to get enough magnesium in their diets. Beans are one of the best sources of this mineral. Manganese is also found in beans, and is a component of many enzymes in the body. Finally, beans are a source of the electrolyte potassium, which aids our metabolism and many important body functions.
Life Doesn’t Offer Many Better Guarantees than This
There are no downsides to eating beans. And if one doesn’t float your boat, try another and another. With so many varieties, surely there must be at least half a dozen types of beans that excite you. Providing the protein, antioxidants, fiber, and amino acids that your body needs, without the fat, cholesterol, and elevated risks of myriad diseases that meat offers, what are you waiting for? What magic can beans do for you?
If this article was helpful, please let me know. In a future article I can offer some yummy suggestions to incorporate them into your diet.
As the new case count for COVID-19 patients decreases and then increases according to media needs, we need to realize that the pandemic is far from over. In fact, some medical “experts” now predict that we will be dealing with COVID-19 well into 2022. With that being the case, chances are pretty high that we’re going to see shortages in the grocery store once again.
Our grocers are better prepared for the next run on the stores, with food already palletized and pre-positioned in distribution centers and the back rooms of grocery stores. But that’s merely a stopgap measure, as the amount of food that fits in the back room of a grocery store is, by necessity, minimal.
While they are in better shape than they were last spring, we can expect some shortages. As with the last go-around, the most likely food shortage will be meat and dairy, as the meat packing industry seems to have been pounded by the disease. We can expect that to be followed by canned goods, snacks, baking supplies and soup. How long, or how bad it is going to be, is something we’ll have to wait to see.
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A lot of this hinges on whether there will be another wave of lockdowns. Many Democrat governors seem to be okay with that idea, while Republicans are fighting against it. There are many, especially in Republican camps, which argue that the first batch of lockdowns didn’t do us much good, so it’s doubtful that another round will do much better. As with everything else associated with the pandemic, it’s being politicized.
Of course, there’s also the theory that many conservatives have floated, saying that the pandemic, or at least the hysteria associated with it, was 100% manufactured as a weapon to use against Trump. As that theory tells it, the lockdowns should have ceased when Biden was sworn in as president.
Interestingly enough, troubled Governor Cuomo of New York had reportedly come out saying that it’s time for New York businesses to open. After that, he changed his mind. Now, he’s created a sort of “lock-down” for himself. If I were a suspicious man, and I am, I would see that as an indicator that those who came up with that theory are right. But I’ll reserve my judgment until I see a more general movement in that direction.
What About The Campaign Promise?
This is in total contrast to what the President-elect said. During his campaign, Joe Biden promised that if he was elected, he was going to order a nationwide lockdown. That sounds like he either believes the pandemic is real or he believes there is some other political reason to continue hurting the lives of people who are still out of work and whose businesses are closed down.
Of course, there’s just one problem with that campaign promise. He didn’t then and doesn’t now have the authority to do it.
The only authorities who can order such a thing are the governors of the various states. That became clear when the first round of lockdowns were discussed. People were calling for then President Trump to lock down the country. He couldn’t do so legally, so he encouraged the governors of many states to do so instead.
The full cost of that first round of lockdowns has not yet been discovered. Close to 100,000 small businesses closed their doors for good. Over 40 million people lost their jobs. Billions of dollars of profits were lost. But those aren’t the real costs; what about mental disorder, suicides and children who will never fully realize their true potential, because of how the lockdowns affected their education?
Another series of lockdowns will obviously make the situation worse. Without a control group to use for comparison, it’s hard to prove that any such measure works; and the only possible comparison is with Sweden or South Korea. Neither of those really work, because of other factors they instituted to deal with the pandemic.
Will Biden Pull The Trigger?
But as we’ve already seen, it doesn’t take a lockdown to cause a run on the grocery stores. All it takes is fear. The first run on the stores came about because of fear of the potential lockdown. Remembering the effect that had, it wouldn’t be surprising in the least to see another run on the stores. Most of the people who had stocked up on food back then will have already eaten that food in the ensuing months, so they’ll need a fresh infusion to get through the next lockdown. Once they start the run on the grocery stores, others will follow.
As before, once the run on the stores begins, it won’t take long to empty them out. Oh, it might take a little longer this time, because of the actions which our big grocery chains have undertaken to mitigate against more shortages; but that won’t be able to stop real supply chain shortages; it will merely slow them down. We’re probably in for just as rough a ride as before; maybe even more so.
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With the experts saying that COVID will last well into 2022, there’s no saying how many more shortages we might have. Since these shortages are caused by panic rather than anything tangible or systemic, it all centers on public opinion and what they are being fed by the news media. We are only beginning to see how the media will report things now that Democrats have control over everything.
Should a new pandemic or new COVID variant come along before this one is even over (a very real possibility, especially if this was even somewhat intentional on the Chinese government’s part), then we might go into and out of “spotty food shortages” for years to come. Worse than that, it might affect the farms growing the food and the manufacturing plants turning raw food items into the myriad of foods that we find stocking the supermarket shelves.
Bottom line: I’m not depending on what the system can do to take care of me. While I may still shop in the stores, I’m working on increasing my food production as much as I can. That’s the only sure way I know to make sure my family will be able to eat. Make sure you have supplies in times of calm. That way, you’ll always have what you need and you’ll never be labeled a hoarder.
The recent polar vortex hit Texas hard. While the entire country suffered with unexpectedly cold temperatures which lasted for days; no other state had as many people without power, without water and dying from the cold weather.
But why should this be so?
First, no other state in the 48 continuous states reaches as far south as Texas does, except Florida. But Florida was left out of the fun and games that the rest of the country was facing. Had the polar vortex and freezing rain reached them, like it did Texas, it’s possible they would have suffered a similar fate. However, the one big difference is that Florida doesn’t have its own power grid.
Texas just isn’t prepared for such cold weather; and the combination of cold weather with freezing rain made it worse. Don’t believe those who say that Texas has a freeze like that every decade; that’s bending the facts considerably. Texas has freezes, but they’re overnight things, not something lasting four days. Nor do they usually come with freezing rain.
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So water pipes aren’t buried as deep in Texas, and home HVAC systems don’t have as much heating capacity. It’s not uncommon for homes to get chilly on the two or three nights of freezing weather that actually hits south Texas. Most people just put up with it, not knowing what else to do.
The standard prepper solution is to install a wood-burning stove in the home for use as an alternative heating method. That’s a good solution for those who own their homes. But people who are renting a house or apartment aren’t able to do that one.
Those who aren’t preppers face the problem of trying to keep their home warm, without having prepared for it. Some turn to using their stove, oven, or barbecue grille for this. That’s dangerous, because of the risk of carbon monoxide buildup in the home. Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves don’t create this sort of buildup, even though they produce carbon monoxide, because of the chimney. Whatever carbon monoxide is produced, goes up the chimney and is vented outside the home.
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So, what can someone do for heat, while maintaining a safe environment in their home?
Before answering that question, we need to define something. That is, what is survival heating? If you’re thinking that you need to have your home at 75°F to survive, then good luck. The so-called “comfort zone” is just that—comfort. But comfort is unnecessary for survival. All that’s needed is enough heat to help keep your core body temperature where it should be; anything else is actually a luxury.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Mexico, where few homes have any sort of heat at all. Those people aren’t accustomed to the cold, yet they make it through every winter. Up near the border which connects to south Texas, they have freezing temperatures every time south Texas does, yet they survive without central heating or a fireplace.
Warm Clothes and Blankets
The most basic way of keeping warm is to wrap yourself in several layers of warm clothes. While it may not be all that comfortable to eat dinner at the table with a winter coat and hat on, it’s really not a problem. We’re just so used to the idea of having a warm home, that we expect our home to keep us warm, rather than utilizing our body heat.
During the freeze, I wore heavy knit sweaters every day. That may not seem all that unusual to some people, but I rarely wear them, unless I’m going to be out in the cold. I just get hot too easily and I don’t want to be perspiring all over clothes that are hard to launder. But I was sure glad I had those sweaters available to me that week.
If you’re going to be sitting on the sofa, watching TV, what’s wrong with covering yourself with a blanket? We all do that at night to keep warm, so there really shouldn’t be a problem doing so during the day. Just about the same could be said about wearing a hat… which is the fastest way to warm yourself up. Make use of your body heat, rather than complaining that it’s cold.
One of the safest heaters any of us can use in the home is a propane one. I normally don’t recommend propane heaters for survival situations; but that’s because of the problem coming up with enough fuel. However, that’s a non-issue in a short-term survival situation. Just make sure you’ve got an extra tank or two of propane on hand.
If you buy a propane heater, make sure that it’s rated for indoor use, not outdoor use. There is a difference in how they are made and the outdoor ones are not safe for the home.
In olden times people heated soapstones in the coals of the fire, to have portable heat. That could then be carried in a cloth carrier for providing heat in their wagon or set under the family pew in church. With their laps covered by a blanket, the radiated heat would help keep them warm.
Soapstone was used because… of all types of stone available for this purpose… soapstone and marble have the best thermal conductivity. Therefore, they absorb heat well, holding more than some other types of stone might. Then, when it’s time to use that heat, they radiate it out well. Metals, on the other hand, may absorb heat well, but they radiate transferred heat out too fast to be used as an effective heater.
The idea here would be to use the barbecue grille outside to heat up the stone, then bring it indoors to take advantage of that heat. At the same time, the stone could be replaced with another, so the cycle could continue.
But what if you don’t have a soapstone? Then use some other rock. While soapstone and marble are the best possible choices, other types of stone will work too; they just won’t work as well. That’s okay; whatever heat they produce is more than you have without the stone.
Terra Cotta Pot Heater
Finally, people have been using terra cotta flowerpots as a makeshift heater. The pot is placed upside-down over a can of the fuel that is used for chafing dishes. That’s safe to use indoors, because they don’t produce that much carbon monoxide.
The flowerpot is an essential part of this, because it keeps the heat from just rising to the ceiling. Rather, the heat warms the pot which then radiates the heat outwards, where it will do some good. The trick here is that the pot needs to be propped up in a way so that air can come in under the rim and then exist out the hole in the bottom (or top, since it’s upside down), of the pot.
If you have any other useful heating tips, please share them in the comments below.
The post Keeping Warm “Off-Grid” Without A Wood-Burning Stove appeared first on Off The Grid News.
The arctic blast of February 2021 has proved two things. The first is that the disasters of 2020 haven’t ended. Rather, January and February 2021 might as well be the 13th and 14th months of 2020. The end of the problems that many people were expecting hasn’t gone away. Sadly they seem to be increasing in magnitude, even if not in frequency.
While this isn’t the first time our country has been treated to unusually severe weather, it was unique in one thing… how it affected Texas. This once in 100 year weather event caused massive problems across the state and I had a front-row seat to watch it.
Texas is unique because it has its own electrical power grid. That was done intentionally, to avoid federal regulation. The authority for much of what the federal government’s regulatory agencies do comes from the interstate commerce clause, which gives those agencies and Congress an open door when business crosses state lines. But when the business is solely within one state, their ability to meddle and mandate is severely curtailed.
This is coming under scrutiny right now. Some are saying that this lack of federal oversight caused the blackouts in Texas. But then, there has been a lot of finger pointing going on, ever since the freeze started and ERCOT, the state’s grid operator, is the biggest target anyone can find.
But did ERCOT really mess up? That’s the question. Could they have prevented the mess in the first place?
The Loss of the Texas Grid
While much of what happened was due to freak weather and the decisions made in an instant, there are two things that were done by ERCOT’s board, before the freeze came, which added to the problem. The first was to move more towards renewable energy, specifically in the form of wind farms. Texas produces more wind power than any other state in the Union, accounting for 20% of the state’s electricity usage. This move is partly in line with national and even worldwide goals to “go green” and do away with fossil fuels, specifically coal. Roughly 48% of Texas electricity is now produced from natural gas, which fed into the problem as well.
The second decision that ERCOT’s board made, which fed into the problem, was that they adopted the strategy of maintaining a low level of reserve capacity, the lowest in the country. The plan was to buy electricity from neighboring states, should the need exceed the grid’s capacity to produce.
One last piece fits into setting up this puzzle; that of some power plants being down for scheduled maintenance, something that is normally done during the winter, because Texas used more electric power in the summer. So, when the cold weather hit, the margin between what was needed and what was being produced disappeared.
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As cold weather moved in, home use of electricity increased, because of the need to heat homes. At the same time, wind turbines started having ice form on the blades, putting them out of balance. Wind turbines in Texas don’t have built-in de-icing systems, because of the low probability of freezing and rain together. So, in order to prevent damage, the control circuitry of those turbines took them offline, sending production below consumption. This was the beginning of the crisis.
Apparently ERCOT couldn’t rely on their backup plan, as other states were seeing increased electrical usage as well, because of those states experiencing unusually cold weather. It was necessary to institute rolling blackouts, the normal way of dealing with this situation. Unfortunately, perhaps due to lack of experience, that didn’t work out as it should have.
One of the big problems with the rolling blackouts, which really didn’t seem to be rolling, was that electric power was shut down for much of the Permian Basin. This included natural gas wells that were necessary to provide heat for homes and power plants. This caused a further reduction in electric power availability, as gas-fired power plants were stuck without enough fuel, causing some to go offline. A domino effect began, as the load required of remaining power plants increased. More and more went offline, as their safety systems kicked in.
At this point, ERCOT had to make some hard decisions and make them fast. According to a spokesperson, they were within minutes of the entire grid collapsing, with a prognosis of months to get it back online. This left millions of people without electricity for some of the coldest days in Texas history.
The next problem to occur was the loss of water, pretty much statewide. While there was still some water flowing, it was a trickle in most places. Water pipes are only buried about two feet below ground in Texas, because of the rarity of freezing weather. Some of these pipes froze, causing them to break. But that wasn’t as bad as all the pier and beam constructed homes, which had open pipes in the crawl spaces. This made it harder to get the water back online and some people are still without water a week later, waiting for the plumber to make repairs to their home’s pipes.
But the bigger problem wasn’t broken pipes, it was the loss of pressure in municipal water systems. Unfortunately, caused by a lack of sufficient electrical power to keep them running. Almost the entire state was under a water boil advisory, due to low water pressure.
Water purification plants are required by regulation to have backup power and even backup to their backup. That’s a sensible precaution. But in the city where I live, all four diesel-powered generators, any of which should have been enough to keep the city’s water running, all went down. They haven’t figured out the reason all four failed at essentially the same time yet, but I suspect it’s because the diesel wasn’t treated for cold weather. Again, it’s not an issue here in Texas, so there’s no reason to treat it for the cold. Yet, when they break down those generators, I suspect they’ll find a lot of injectors blocked by paraffin.
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With little water available, people rushed to the grocery store, buying them out of water on the first day. While stores tried to keep up shipping water in, there was never enough to meet the demand. Most people had to get by with minimal water for three to four days.
That brought about the next domino to fall, as people bought out the grocery stores again, just as they had in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bare shelves abounded, as people were panic buying everything they could, just in case they needed it.
Finally, after all this, the temperature rose again. Which meant, after five days of freezing weather, Texans were back wearing T-shirts and turning their air conditioners on. Fortunately, ERCOT got things sorted out just in time for those air conditioners, or the whole thing could have come crashing down once again.
Avoiding the Cascade
One thing this whole scenario really pointed out was how easy it is for problems to cascade, growing with time; very little time. We all tend to look at disasters as isolated incidents; but they’re not. Even something as simple as a hurricane tends to cause cascading problems, but we lump it all together as a hurricane, not thinking of what the actual elements of the disaster entail for our survival.
Fortunately, most of us are preparing for some cataclysmic event, such as an EMP; so we’re ready to lose much of the infrastructure we depend on every day. But we should never forget that even something that seems like it really isn’t a major problem, like some unusually cold weather, can cause us to lose those things.
The other thing that’s fascinating about this particular disaster is the cascading nature of it. Everything that happened after the first loss of wind turbines was cascading effects. While the loss of water was a serious problem, it wouldn’t have happened, has not the grid encountered a situation where there was insufficient capacity.
Finally, this serves as an excellent example of how disasters grow. From what I’ve seen in the prepping community, we’re all expecting a sudden disaster that shuts everything down. Yet that’s not what happened in this case. While it all went down rather quickly, it took a day for that to happen. With that being the case, it could be very easy for any of us to not recognize a TEOTWAWKI event, just because it manifests through the same sort of cascading series of systems breaking down.