gardening

survival lessons old timers

11 Survival Lessons We Can Learn From Old-Timers

For the last 20 years I have been working on my genealogy. The research is fascinating to me. Old certificates and wills captivate me and the search for my ancestors is like a treasure hunt. One part of genealogy that I have found most valuable are their personal journals. Their stories of survival and endurance have always left me in awe and reminded me that I have life pretty easy. I have done my best to apply their wisdom to my …

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24 Ways to Prepare for Your Spring Garden in the Dead of Winter

  It can be hard to think about gardening when it’s below freezing, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Cold weather is the perfect time for planning, and it’s also the perfect time to assess challenges you ran into last growing season, learn more about what works best in your growing zone, and come up with a plan so next season’s garden is your best ever. You can do that with my free, printable Gardening Self-Assessment, which you can …

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28 Pieces of Weather Wisdom From the Pioneer Days

This year when I was getting ready to plant my spring garden, I was a little hesitant to plant according to frost date this year. In February, I had seen a local farmer post on Facebook something that sounded to me like pioneer weather wisdom: February thunder brings a May frost. It sounded like something out of the Farmer’s Alamanc. We had a thunderstorm on February 2, this year, and while our last frost date is usually around Mother’s Day …

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smart prepping

Seven Things I Wish I Had Known When I Began Prepping

Have you gotten bit by the prepper bug? Millions all over the world now consider themselves to be preppers, and there are handbooks, such as this one, that provide step-by-step survival instructions for families. I bet you’ve spent hours on the internet searching for the ultimate solar radio, the most comprehensive food storage inventory list or maybe which water filtration system to use. We have all been there, usually late at night by the warm glow of the computer screen. …

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teaching self-reliance

5 Steps to Creating a Culture of Self-Reliance in Your Family

We have all known people who save everything. My grandmother is one of them. If there are four green beans left in the pot, she puts them in the freezer. I remember one specific visit with her, 27 years ago, where she asked me to get her a bowl of ice cream. What I thought was the container of vanilla ice cream was actually a container of saved bacon grease. Fast forward to today. She is now 96 years old, …

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seed vaults

Survival Mom DIY: Create Your Own Altoids Tin Seed Vaults!

You gotta love Altoids. The mints settle a queasy stomach and freshen even the most Dragonesque breath. They can make any beverage minty, help clear a stuffy head, and even defeat the munchies. And then there are the tins. What junk drawer would be complete without an Altoids tin (or two) full of whatnot, so why not use one or more for your own seed vaults? Long a favorite of Scouts, hikers, and others needing to travel very lightly, the …

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urban living off grid

Living Off the Grid, (or Close to it) Urban Style

Admit it, you have been thinking about it. Off the grid living. Late at night, at the end of a long day, you have pictured your life off grid. Images of Little House on the Prairie come to mind. Maybe you ponder becoming a long bearded man living in the mountains, content to be a hermit. You are not alone in your thoughts, as more people are choosing an off grid lifestyle. Some are able to escape the noisy concrete …

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California drought survival tips

How the California Drought Has Tightened Up my Prepping

In all my years of preparing to work in Emergency Management, it never occurred to me that one of my biggest personal challenges would be a California drought. I was in Sacramento for the Yuba County floods of 1997, when flood waters caused 80,000 people to evacuate. In 2010, I was working in Orange County when the floods came, warranting a Presidential Disaster Declaration. Drought was something that happened overseas somewhere. We usually had much more water than we knew …

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gardening in a drought

Gardening in a drought

I have lived in many countries over the years, and have always had a vegetable garden. Not just for saving money, as many of the countries I have lived in have had what we considered dirt cheap food, but for the better quality. Nothing compares to the taste of veggies fresh from the garden. But gardening in a drought can be difficult and sometimes near impossible. Is your growing zone susceptible to drought? Take my super quick Gardening Self-Assessment to …

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30 Uses for Phone Books

We all get them dropped off one (or more) times every year — big, thick phone books. But what to do with them now that we just look up phone numbers on Google or we have them stored in our cell phones? Here are some creative uses for phone books our readers came up with for phone books – actual, paper phone books. In the House Emergency toilet paper (Note: may not be the best for your pipes or septic system.) …

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