The Basics of Survival

essential skills survival Nov 10, 2020

Learning the basics of survival stated when I was very young. My father took us on many camping trips and I spent a tremendous amount of time wandering through the forest. He taught us how to build a shelter, how to build a fire, and how to stay safe and warm. I continued that training as an adult by taking survival classes. Furthermore, I’ve spent many a weekend putting myself in “controlled” survival situations and practicing my skills.  

Although I am not a survival expect, I now live off the grid in an isolated area. Additionally the focus of this site is not about survival. However,  if you live off the grid you already know the importance of outdoor skills and simply being prepared. For example, at certain times of the year, if I stayed at the cabin it might be several months before I see anyone.  Consequently, I have to be prepared for emergencies. After 20 plus years at the cabin there have been several times I’ve found ...

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Learn to Read the Clouds

off grid living survival Nov 10, 2020

Perhaps the greatest challenge to any survival situation is dealing with the weather. Depending on your geographic location and altitude, the weather can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  This is why it is so important to have some basic knowledge about the weather.  Additionally, you can make some accurate weather predictions by reading the clouds. You can learn to read the clouds in less than one hour. 

You do not have to be a meteorologist to be able to make some basic predications concerning the weather.  You just need to be familiar with some basic types of clouds, why they form, and what that means as far as impending weather conditions. Understanding how clouds are named and correlating that with what you see can help you make reasonably accurate weather predictions. 

 

How Clouds are Formed

The most important thing to remember is that as air rises it cools. As the air cools, it can no longer hold as much moisture....

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Guide to Purchasing a Smoker

If smoking food seems like a great mystery, wait until you are inundated with all the possible choices of what to purchase. There are so many smoker products on the market. Additionally, there is a huge variety of smokers based on fuel source, size, shape, and capabilities. This is enough to completely confuse any one. 
 

Reviewing all the features and designs of the various products on the market could be an endless process. Consequently,  I think it is more productive to break this information down into three sections. The first two sections are basic information that will help to narrow down your choices.  The last section gets into reviewing the pros and cons of specific types of smokers.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1) CHECK LIST FOR PURCHASING A SMOKER
2) 6 TYPES OF SMOKERS BASED ON FUEL SOURCE
3) PROS AND CONS OF DIFFERENT MODELS OF SMOKERS
4) FINAL WORDS
5) ADDITIONAL POSTS OF INTEREST

Check list for purchasing a smoker 

  • Price

This is likely the bottom...

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Guide to Cold Smoking

When most people think of smoking foods their mind goes straight to firing up the smoker, throwing in some meat at 160 and letting it sit for 4 to 12 hours.  However, there is a completely different world to experiment with and it’s called cold smoking.  Just about anything imaginable can be smoked in one manner or another. But cold smoking greatly extends those boundaries.  
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1) WHAT IS COLD SMOKING?
2) WHAT ABOUT FOOD POISONING? IS COLD SMOKING TOO RISKY?
3) PEOPLE THAT SHOULD AVOID COLD SMOKED FOODS
4) FOODS TO TRY FIRST
5) CURING BEFORE COLD SMOKING IS VITAL
6) SUMMARY OF THE COLD SMOKING PROCESS
7) TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL COLD SMOKING
8) FINAL WORDS
9) RELATED POSTS OF INTEREST

What is Cold Smoking?

The normal process of smoking involves moderately low temperatures and a long, slow cooking process.  However, cold smoked food is not cooked at all. In fact, cold smoked food is still raw. Consequently, it must be cooked prior to consuming....

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Learn How to Build and Maintain a Fire

essential skills survival Nov 10, 2020

In order to get to my cabin, I have to drive through a Forest Service campground. Consequently, in the warmer time of year, I get to observe the camping practices and skills of a lot of people.  It never ceases to amaze me how many people want to spend the weekend in the mountains and they do not know how to  build a fire. Additionally, many of them do not know how to maintain that fire.  

Building and maintaining a fire is an essential survival skill. In fact, the ability to build a fire is considered one of the Ten Essentials of safe travel in the back country. In extreme circumstances, it could make the difference between life and death. A fire will help you stay warm and dry, cook a hot meal, and it is an incredible comfort in an emergency situation. 

 

Why You Need to Know How to Build and Maintain a Fire

This is a skill you need to learn and practice, practice, practice.  Even if you live in suburbia, it is essential to keep at least a small...

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Guide to Fermenting Foods

If you mention fermenting foods most people typically think of wine and beer. Beyond these first thoughts of delightful fermented beverages, fermentation is a valuable method of food preservation that has been around for thousands of years. Fermenting foods allowed for longer storage in the absence of refrigeration.  In our modern times fermented foods are simple to produce, have excellent nutritional value, and require little effort to process.  However, similar to other methods of food preservation, in order to be successful you need to first have an understanding of the basic science that is involved.
 

Fermenting foods is one of the easiest methods of food preservation.  Very little equipment is required. The steps for successful fermentation are easy.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1) THREE TYPES OF FERMENTATION
2) HOW DOES FERMENTATION PRESERVE FOOD
3) SIX BENEFITS TO LACTO FERMENTATION
4) COMMON FERMENTED FOODS
5) BASIC EQUIPMENT NEEDED
6) A BASIC RECIPE...
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Guide to Pickling Vegetables

Pickling is likely one of the easiest ways to preserve fresh produce.  This process has been used as a means of food preservation for over 4,000 years going back to the time of the ancient Mesopotamians. Food was pickled and used for long journeys especially by sea. 

The term pickle is derived from the Dutch word “pekel” or the northern German word “pokel” meaning salt or brine, which are two components important to the process.  These days in the U.S. and Canada the word “pickle” almost exclusively refers to pickled cucumbers. However, the end product of any food that is preserved by a pickling process is referred to as a “pickle”.

Pickling preserves food by anaerobic (without oxygen) fermentation. Consequently, this is typically done in either a salt brine or in vinegar. The brine creates an acidic environment which inhibits the growth of bacteria. Consequently the food does not need to be completely sterile.

In...

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Guide to Home Canning

Processing and preserving your own food has many advantages. Like any other form of food preservation, home canning is perfectly safe if practiced properly. Being careful to follow recommended guidelines and recipes will ensure that your family enjoys healthy, delicious home preserved foods. This method of food preservation is my personal favorite because there is so much you can do. 

Some people have the opinion that modern food preservation methods have largely reduced the need for home canning. They also question why it is even necessary. Furthermore, many people are concerned about the safety of home canning. With all of these concerns in mind, why would you do it when you can simply purchase canned food from the supermarket? 

Continue reading to find out the answer to that question.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1) 15 REASONS TO HOME CAN YOUR FOOD
2) DISADVANTAGES TO HOME CANNING
3) HOW DOES CANNING PRESERVE FOOD
4) CANNING METHODS
5) PREPARATION FOR CANNING
6) BOILING WATER BATH...
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Guide to Dehydrating Food

As you likely know by now, being in control over your food supply is a vital part of self sufficiency.  In an effort to provide my readers with as much information as possible, this Guide to Dehydrating Food is part of a series of posts on various methods of food preservation. There is a lot of information here so I have provided a clickable table of contents.  Enjoy!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1) INTRODUCTION TO DEHYDRATING FOODS
2) ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF DEHYDRATING FOOD
3) PREPARING FOOD FOR DRYING
4) SEVEN METHODS FOR DEHYDRATING FOOD
5) BEST METHOD OF DEHYDRATING FOOD
6) COMPARISON OF COSTS AND ELECTRICAL REQUIREMENTS
7) HOW TO CHOOSE A FOOD DEHYDRATOR
8) WHAT FOODS CAN BE DEHYDRATED
9) FOODS NOT SUITABLE FOR DEHYDRATION
10)KEYS FOR SUCCESSFUL FOOD DEHYDRATION
11) FAQS ABOUT FOOD DEHYDRATION
12) ADDITIONAL REFERENCES FOR DEHYDRATING FOOD
13) ADDITIONAL POSTS OF INTEREST

Introduction to Dehydrating Food

There is evidence that some cultures dried foods as early as...

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Guide to Freezing Food

Freezing food is one of the easiest methods of preservation for the homestead. Due to the small learning curve this is an easy way to preserve food. Additionally it does not require a huge investment in equipment. Furthermore, modern refrigerators are already equipped with small freezers.  However, if you really want to store a decent amount of frozen food, invest in a chest freezer.  

Many types of foods are amenable to freezing.  It is simply a matter of proper packaging and sometimes a little pre-freezing preparation.  Freezing foods is likely the least labor intensive method of food preservation. That is the advantage. However, there are also disadvantages. 

Most methods of food preservation have a limited shelf life and this includes freezing food. This is especially true of meat. If you have ever tried to eat a piece of meat that has been in the freezer for 2 years you know what freezer burned meat tastes like.  It is still edible but not...

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