130 Uses for Vinegar

Blog 130 uses for vinegar

Last week my daughter and I enjoyed a day of cooking with a dear friend of mine.  We marveled at her spotless kitchen, her gleaming glasses, sparkling dishes and the freshness of the air in her home.  Her dishwasher was not working, and we washed everything by hand.  Every so often I saw her reach under the sink and add a spash of something to the wash water.  With a twinkle in her eye, she said “Vinegar! I never have spots.  I use it for everything, not just for cooking.”

It’s easy to forget about vinegar.  Cheap and plentiful, how did we ever get swayed into believing fancy expensive products are so much better?  They are not.

I’m adding vinegar to my food and supply storage in gallon jugs.  For cooking, cleaning, sanitizing, managing my garden, repelling pests, doing basic home maintenance, and much, much more… it can’t be beat!

Learn more about the wonders of Vinegar by clicking below, 130 ways and counting….



Homemade Cough Drops

Home Made Cough Drops


I’ve been absent for a few weeks.  Of course, the holidays were quite hectic.  And my daughter is in town visiting, and for this special treat I put many other things on hold.  But also, I came down with a nasty cold.

Several times I found myself with a tickle in my throat or coughing fits.  I popped a Ricola herbal cough drop into my mouth for immediate relief.

Then I began to wonder if I could in fact make my own cough drops. Chances are good these would not be available in the event of a collapse.  The internet brought many options, and I chose this one for you because of the ingenious method in how the drops are formed.  Can’t wait to try this myself!

Step by step directions and photographs can be found on the link below.


Preserving eggs for up to nine months?


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blog chicken-and-eggs-

We are very accustomed to eggs from the store being refrigerated when we buy them, with expiration dates that allow us a scant two or three weeks before they go bad.  But in many parts of the world, eggs are never put in the fridge.  They are kept in a basket or carton at room temperature.  I can vouch for this.  My daughter lives in England and eggs are sold next to the bread right on the shelf.  And she keeps her eggs on her counter top until she needs them.

In the USA there is a good reason we keep ours cold.  When a hen lays an egg there is a natural coating called “the bloom” that covers the shell.  This naturally prevents oxygen and bacteria from passing through the porous shell.  But in American dairy practices, the natural coating that occurs on freshly laid eggs is washed away to meet sanitary requirements, leaving shells vulnerable and in need of refrigeration.

But we can still preserve our eggs for long periods of time.  Very simply, we can take store bought eggs and apply another coating which will keep them fresh for weeks or months.  Experts say nine months, in optimum conditions, is very attainable.

Preserving eggs is easy.  There are many methods used, but one of the most reliable uses mineral oil.

Simply warm the mineral oil slightly and bring a carton of eggs to room temperature on a dinner plate.  Wearing inexpensive plastic food handling gloves, dab a bit of oil on the palm of one glove, pick up one egg and gently rub it between both hands until it’s completely coated.  The egg will be slippery, so be careful!  When finished, place the egg back in its carton.  Repeat with the remaining eleven eggs.  Close the carton and write the date on the end of it.  Place it in a cool, dry place and once a month, gently turn it upside down.

It’s as simple as that.

Here’s a little test if you need some assurance that your stored egg is still good after a few months.

Blog Egg how to tell if fresh

For more detailed information visit this site:  http://www.truthistreason.net/how-to-safely-preserve-fresh-eggs-for-9-months


Ingenious Field Sink – I want one of these…..


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 Field Sink

Think about how critical cleanliness would become if the grid were to collapse.  Consider how precious every drop of water would be.  Picture the difficulty in doing basic tasks such as cleaning your face and hands.  In the days before plumbing, a wash stand held a pitcher full of water and a basin in which to wash up.  The basin required a fair amount of water to be effective, and this water became contaminated the first time it was used.  To empty the basin was not convenient.

This do-it-yourselfer created a sweet solution for this problem.  It’s wonderfully designed and simple to operate.  It functions as it should, allowing only as much fresh water as necessary to be used, which then drains into a reservoir to be either filtered and purified, or used for washing clothing, or put to use in any number of ways.

I could not find anything on the market quite like it.  He thoughtfully provides a video tutorial for making it yourself.  It’s worth taking a look at this!  What do you think?

Why paracord?


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Blog paracord

While reading random survival blogs, I kept noticing one particular item was mentioned over and over:  paracord

Oh, it looks like ordinary nylon rope, the sort you might find in the bargain bin at the hardware store.  But true paracord is much, much more.

Originally, paracord was the rope the military used in the suspension lines on parachutes during WWII.  One strand can withstand 550 pounds of pressure, yet it is relatively lightweight.  The weave used in creating paracord in complex.  And at the core are finer threads which in themselves are incredibly strong and can be used for sewing, stitching, or for fishing line.

Paracord can now be found in polyester, but the original nylon is still the preferred fiber.

Military and law enforcement still consider paracord an essential part of their gear. It is considered a useful survival tool that can mean the difference between life and death.  A simple woven survival bracelet made from paracord enables you to carry several feet of parachute cord with you at all times, ready to be used in an emergency. It is ideal for camping, boating, hunting, hiking, and much more. The cord can be used for anything requiring great strength & durability. However, you can’t use it if you’re not carrying it. Wearing a bracelet or a belt made of paracord is the best way to have it on hand without it taking up much space.  In an emergency, it can be unwoven within minutes.

Blog paracord bracelet

Some uses for your paracord  include:

  • Tying down a tent
  • Hanging clothes to dry
  • Replacing broken boot laces
  • Securing a boat to a pier
  • Making a bow string
  • Walking a dog
  • Securing shelter
  • Starting a fire
  • Using it for a tourniquet
  • Marking a trail
  • Weaving a bottle holder
  • Using it for zipper pulls
  • Flossing your teeth (center threads)
  • Mending a tear
  • Securing a makeshift arrow to a spear
  • Hanging food in a bear safe tree
  • Repairing a strap on a kayak
  • Setting up fish nets snares/traps
  • Fashioning a fishing line
  • Repairing a backpack
  • Fastening a first aid bandage
  • Stitching a wound

Source: www.amberjcabrera.com

Nylon paracord at great prices can be found here:  http://www.mrparacord.com/

Essential Lemon Oil – Used to keep stored water safe!


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There’s one item we must stock up on for our water storage…

Therapeutic Grade Essential Lemon Oil

Blog lemon oil

I first learned of the benefits of this oil from one of my clients who is a speech therapist by day, and a therapeutic masseuse on the side.  She served me a glass of water that tasted incredibly fresh and pure.   I detected the hint of lemon in it.  She smiled.  She puts a drop or two of therapeutic grade essential lemon oil in every pitcher of water she fills.  She showed me the bottle and told me it is the single most important essential oil there is.  This little miracle has been used for centuries to ward off illness.  Now scientists have come to understand why.

Research by Jean Valnet, M.D. indicated that vaporized lemon essential oil can kill miningococcus bacteria in 15 minutes, typhoid bacilli in one hour, staphlococcus aureus in two hours and germs causing pneumonia within three hours.  Powerful stuff!

Even a 0.2% solution of lemon essential oil can kill diphtheria bacteria in 20 minutes and inactivate tuberculosis bacteria.  Its antiseptic properties in the air and on surfaces will last twenty days.  It is also effective in destroying air-borne germs and neutralizing unpleasant odors.

For our purposes, there are additional benefits when added to water.  Lemon essential oil can keep it clean and fresh for long term storage.  Adding 3-5 drops of 100% therapeutic grade lemon essential oil in a 5 gallon bottle will kill bacteria and keep the water from growing mildew.  It gives the water a very pleasing flavor as well.

It is important to buy only therapeutic grade, not perfume grade, as this means no toxic chemicals were used to produce it.

Fortunately, therapeutic grade essential lemon oil is easy to find at health stores and relatively inexpensive since such a small amount goes a long way.

Source:  http://www.organicsurvivalistsite.com/water-purification-and-storage/healthy-ways-to-store-water

How it all began…

sun beam

Something has been gnawing at my mind.  It began many years ago.  There was a longing to return to nature, to use my fine mind, two strong hands and build a better way of life.  Life in suburbia was not the answer.  One day I visited my sister at her little trailer at an RV park where she and her husband had a getaway.  As we sat and relaxed in this place so far from the hustle of daily life I felt every burden lifted, my very bones felt rubbery and loose, there was a peace that lasted many days.  And I knew I did not want to lose it.  I wondered… could I ever have such a place of my own?  Could I escape to the woods, build fires, cook and look up at the stars, listen to the birds, smell the country air… could this be mine?

It became a goal.  Within a year’s time I’d saved the money to buy a little trailer of my own, in the woodland setting of my dreams.  And I began going to this hideaway every weekend.  While I was there my mind felt untethered by time or circumstance.  Nothing was impossible.

I bought a horse, and then a second one.  What began as a love of horses and interest in riding expanded into a love for country life at the farm where we kept them.  I observed very keenly this way of life and ached for it to be my own.

I then read a few books which awakened within me the very real possibility that something was tragically flawed in the way we now lived as a country.  It was before the economic crash, before a series of natural disasters left parts of the world crippled, before unemployment had soared and home values had plummeted.  The writing was already on the wall.  The way of life so many of us enjoyed could never be sustained.  Something, or a combination of many things, were sure to cause tremendous and devastating impact.  Now, as bit by bit things have begun to fall apart, it’s even more apparent.

A few years ago I had the idea to buy a piece of property a few hours drive out of the city where we could bug out if needed.  (We live and work in the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.)   I wanted a remote location, in an area with a population density less than 9 people per square mile.  It would have land for growing, trees for firewood and water.  Internet sites have properties galore and I spent many hours exploring and researching various prospects.

I looked at nuclear power implications, natural disaster risks, elevation factors, flood plain issues, crime statistics, local industry, soil quality, proximity to high density populated areas.  At first the goal was to cross the Mississippi River into Iowa, but I became concerned that if a major disaster occurred, there could be blockades obstructing bridges across the river.  I would have to acquire and maintain drivers licenses and insurance for two states, and even then could never be sure of crossing.

The second plan was to explore locations in southern or western Illinois.  The area around the Shawnee Forest had appeal, although it had a higher than average incidence of natural disasters.

What happened next altered my plans.  My daughter’s live-in boyfriend of ten years found a job in northern Illinois, after 1 1/2 years of unemployment.  They were forced to live apart during the week, and he came home weekends.  It occurred to me that we could help them purchase property out in that area where they could live, and it would also provide a bug out location for our family.

It turned out that finding properties of five acres or more, at a price we could afford, in this horrific housing market was very difficult.  We encountered difficulties with every parcel we tried to buy.  Multiple offers, short sales, foreclosures, flood plains, estate mandates, you name it.  It was the fifth property we wanted that we finally were able to close on.  The process took nine months, like having a baby.

It’s not the bug out location I originally envisioned.  The area, although rural, is more populated.  The water source is a well and two small ponds, not the stream or spring we hoped to find.  But the land is fertile, ample and well suited to our horses.   We plan to add goats and other animals over time.  We shall plant fruit trees, grape vines and begin gardening in earnest.

So I write this blog, a chronicle of our adventure, and a place to learn more about homesteading and self-reliant survival.  The property has several spectacular Weeping Willows, and in the spirit of endearment I call it the Willows (until my daughter and her boyfriend choose a different name for it).   Hence, we’ll discover what lies “Beyond the Willows…”