Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The Massive Threat No One is Talking About

A Fresh Look at Alternate Weapons

Original Article

 


By 

By Bill White

Alternative weapons are an area that many have looked at before, mostly listing the same sorts of weapons repeatedly. While being a big gun fan myself, I’ve never ignored the possibilities offered by other weapons and the reality that there may come a day when we can’t use firearms to protect ourselves.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Mexico, where it is illegal to buy or own a firearm. There is one office in Mexico City where one can apply for a firearms permit in person and one gun store on a military base. Those who jump through enough loopholes and probably pay enough bribes can manage to get the proper license and buy a firearm. But this eliminates the majority of the Mexican population, as they can’t afford to pay what it costs. If our Democrat friends in Congress had their way, that would be the case here as well.

We had a nice reprieve from attacks against our Second Amendment rights during Trump’s presidency, but Biden and the political left are making up for it now, looking for every loophole they can find to eliminate those rights. Considering how they are ignoring the Constitution, I wouldn’t be surprised at anything they try.

After the mass killing in Norway, where a bow-armed man killed five and put two others in intensive care, I suppose we can expect to hear the left complaining about the “bow and arrow loophole.” They did something similar about black powder historic firearms and replicas back in 2016 when a man killed his neighbor with a replica black powder revolver he had purchased over the phone from Cabela’s. That man shouldn’t have been able even to buy that gun because he was a felon, but the store made a mistake, which the left now calls a “loophole.”


It’s unlikely that the left will ever manage to get a full-bore win on eliminating gun rights, but that’s not to say that they won’t keep trying. While any significant attack wouldn’t survive a challenge in court, if the Democrats pack the Supreme Court, as they’ve threatened, they could get away with demolishing the Second Amendment in all but name, as well as a whole lot more.

Let’s Talk Self-Defense

While it isn’t the only reason for the Second Amendment, the ability to defend ourselves from unlawful attack is one of the top two or three reasons it is so important. Guns are the ultimate self-defense weapon, functioning superbly as an equalizer for those who are not as strong or well trained in exotic hand-to-hand techniques.

It is a principle of American law that it is acceptable to use deadly force in self-defense. But there’s a caveat to that; the courts have to agree that it was truly self-defense. As part of that, there are two tests used. The first is that the act of self-defense has to be because there was imminent danger of life and limb, and the second, called the “reasonable man rule,” is that the action taken is that which a reasonable man would take.

That reasonable man rule can get us in trouble. What may have seemed like proper action at the moment, when you were under attack, may not seem so reasonable to people who have all the time in the world to dispassionately analyze the situation when their own lives are not at risk. They might decide that excessive force was used in some cases, especially if the assailant didn’t use a gun themselves.

A lot of this depends on the state you live in and the political/legal climate there. What might be seen as self-defense in Texas could see that same person end up with a lengthy prison sentence in California. Yet if the person defending themselves had used a weapon perceived to be less lethal, they might have beaten the charge, even in California.

We need to remember that the purpose of self-defense isn’t to kill the other guy or even to do him great bodily harm; it’s to keep him from doing that to you. That’s all it is. I see a lot of preppers running around, bragging about their tricked-out AR-15 or their collection of guns, ready to take on the zombie apocalypse or their hungry neighbors after the SHTF. I have to wonder about some of these people because they seem just a bit too anxious s for that day to come, where they can go rock and roll with their firearms to defend home and family.

The reality is, if we can use a less-lethal form of self-defense while still ensuring our survival, then there is a valid reason to do so. But be sure to catch my caveat in there; it still has to be something that ensures your survival. Don’t take unnecessary risks, and that means both your physical survival and your legal survival as well.

Alternative Lethal Weapons

While firearms are the weapon of choice for survival, they aren’t the only thing available. That’s good because firearms require ammunition, and we may come to a time, in a post-disaster world, where ammunition becomes even harder to come by than it is today. Should such a time come, I will personally be saving every round I can, only using firearms when I am forced to. I’ll use other weapons whenever possible.

Bow

The bow is one of the best weapons ever invented. While it doesn’t have the range of a rifle, its effectiveness is shown by how long it has survived. The bow, in one form or another, has supposedly been around for around 48,000 years ago. Other than the knife, I know of no other weapon which has been around longer.

With practice, the bow can be shot rapidly and accurately; but it has something that firearms don’t have… it is quiet. In a post-disaster world, where shooting a gun might attract the wrong type of attention, a bow provides similar capabilities without the noise.

The other significant advantage the bow has is ammunition. Not only can arrows be reused, but you can make your own in a pinch. While arrow-making is a skill that requires some practice, it’s much easier to make an arrow than finding the ingredients and making your gunpowder, bullets, and primers. After all, the American Indians were doing it for centuries before the white man appeared, and they did it without having sophisticated tools to work with.

Melee Weapons

While it is always best to keep the enemy at a distance in any fight, there may come times when that is impossible. While it might be theoretically possible to use a bow indoors, I really wouldn’t want to try it. Nor would I want to try it if my adversaries were within 20 feet. While that might work well in Hollywood, it probably wouldn’t work out well in real life.

This problem has existed for millennia, and people have found solutions for it. During the Middle Ages, many of the weapons used in battle were called “melee weapons, meaning that they were used in melee, referring to a confused fight at close quarters. Battle axes, war hammers, and other weapons were merely adaptations of tools used by everyday people every day to complete their work. In many cases, the existing tools were used, as the people who were wielding them were peasants who couldn’t afford anything better. Yet, they still killed people.

The same can be said for many martial arts weapons, which all came from peasants’ tools. However, there is one big difference between these and the European melee weapons, in that they have developed the use of those weapons into a proper fighting form that can be taught.

I remember seeing a video of an ax-wielding attacker facing off against a trained sworder several years back. While the person with the ax hardly had any training with it at all, he could rout the swordsman in a matter of seconds. That’s because he could use his ax as a berserker weapon, whereas the sword doesn’t function that way; it has to be used in a controlled manner to be effective.

There’s a valuable lesson to be learned there. That is, it’s not the weapon so much that counts, as it is whoever is using it. Learning how to use melee weapons effectively is much more important than buying the perfect battle-ax. That way, anything that comes to hand might be used in a pinch.

Would I take on a gun-wielding attacker with a melee weapon? Not unless I had no other choice. But there are still criminals who break into homes with nothing more than a knife, and if things are so bad in a post-disaster world that we have to resort to using them, we’ll probably be facing off against similarly armed people. In those cases, reach is essential; a good melee weapon gives you more reach than your opponent might keep you alive.

One last thing I’d like to mention here is that many melee weapons can be used as either lethal or less-than-lethal weapons, depending on where and how you strike the other guy. This is a true advantage as far as I’m concerned.

Knife

A knife is a great tool, but as a weapon, it’s the weapon of last resort when nothing else is available. In that case, I wouldn’t use that knife as a lethal weapon but instead as one to try and disable my attacker, making it impossible for them to attack me. To do that, I’d cut their arms as many times as possible rather than trying to stab their bodies. They have to extend their arms to attack or defend, putting them within my reach. On the other hand, I have to extend my arm to attack their body.

Less-than-Lethal Weapons

Any time you choose to use a less-than-lethal weapon, it should be backed up with lethal ones as well. When police attempt to use less-than-lethal rounds for a shotgun, they have other officers standing by with real bullets in their firearms. This allows them to preserve the suspect’s life they are trying to apprehend without putting their own life in jeopardy.

That’s a bit harder to do when you’re by yourself, but not impossible. First, it requires having both lethal and less-than-lethal weapons available to you, not just less-than-lethal ammo for your primary firearm.

There are two keys to making this work. The first is being able to drop your less-than-lethal weapon if that proves to be ineffective, and the second is being able to draw your sidearm quickly. So don’t even try doing this until you work at drawing your sidearm and getting a sight picture quickly.

The other thing that has to go with using any less-than-lethal weapon is a plan for what to do with the perpetrator after incapacitating them. That would typically mean tying them up in some way and turning them over to the police. But in a time where there is a breakdown of society, would that even be possible? Maybe; you could at least try, tying them up and dropping them off on the doorstep of City Hall if nothing else.

Less – Lethal Shotgun Rounds

I have been impressed by a number of the less-lethal shotgun rounds that I have seen, impressed enough to use them. However, I have to apply the previously mentioned caveat: I wouldn’t load them in my shotgun unless I had backup available. From what I understand, those rounds don’t have a lot of range, so I wouldn’t count on my ability to unload that shotgun and reload it with a lethal round if I need to.

Suppose I were to use those less-lethal rounds in a shotgun without backup. In that case, I’d have the shotgun on a sling to change weapons quickly and make sure there was enough of an obstacle between the attacker and me so that I would have time to react, should they continue the attack.

One important thing to know about these rounds is that the aim point is the belly button. The idea is to force the assailant to buckle over in pain, not to cause them harm. Shots in the face or on the sternum can still be lethal.

Rubber Bullets

While this may seem like a contradiction with what I just said, I can see no situation where I would use rubber bullets in a pistol. Pistols are close-range weapons, and if I had rubber bullets in my pistol, I wouldn’t have time to reload if they closed with me.

Tasers

Tasers are one of the more popular non-lethal self-defense weapons. But they have one major flaw; most of them can only be used within arm’s length of the attacker. That puts you in a dangerous position, one that you want to avoid. At arm’s length, it’s easy for them to either prevent you from using that taser or take it away from you and use it themselves. That’s too risky to me.

On the other hand, the taser pistols that the police have are possible if they are legal in your state. While they only have about a 20′ range, they will incapacitate someone. Here again, I wouldn’t use it because of the close range unless I had backup.

Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is another popular alternative weapon, but there is no place I could see where I would carry one unless I were in a state that didn’t allow me to have a firearm. But then, those states probably wouldn’t enable pepper spray either.

Sonic Weapons

I’ve always been intrigued by sonic weapons. The Army and Navy have both now developed and fielded these. They are intended to incapacitate an enemy, which fits ideally with the idea of self-defense. While we can’t buy the military versions and probably couldn’t afford them anyway, smaller civilian versions are available.

I’m not sure how effective the civilian versions are, but I have thought about buying some and placing them in a way to serve as one of the defenses for my home, with the ability to trigger them remotely. Even if they slow attackers down, that would be advantageous.

Conclusion

While there is a place for non-lethal and less-lethal weapons, our priority must be defending ourselves. Even so, the political climate might make it such that being able to use something besides a firearm could be desirable, especially when facing off against attackers who are not shooting guns at you. However, just because someone isn’t shooting a gun doesn’t mean that they are not using deadly force. Please don’t allow them to outdo you with more firepower.

At the same time, I can see several places where alternative weapons, especially lethal ones, could be used against adversaries who aren’t armed with firearms or in a post-disaster scenario. The important thing is to get some training and practice before that happens to use those weapons effectively.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

SIX MONTHS TO COLOSSAL FOOD SHORTAGES: Attacks on Food Supply Chain

Coturnix Quail: Livestock for Small Space Self-Reliance










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by Jeanne Salt Worthen

In 2020 when the pandemic began, I was concerned about grocery shortages. Being an experienced prepper, I had a good supply of flour, sugar, and so forth already in my pantry. I did have a small supply of purchased powdered eggs, but I’d already done some cooking and baking with them and wasn’t overly impressed with the results. As an avid home baker and an egg aficionado, I wanted to ensure a ready supply of fresh eggs for my family.

But I own a tiny piece of property, too small to keep chickens or ducks. While watching a series of homesteading videos one day, I saw the cutest little birds in one and started searching out more about them. I soon learned that keeping Coturnix quail just might be a great option!
What are Coturnix quail?

Coturnix quail, also called Japanese quail, have been domesticated in Asia for a thousand years. Raised for meat and eggs, they have been selectively bred for egg production for about the last century. As ground-dwelling birds, they prefer living in groups undercover, and therefore are easily and very happily kept in small cages.

Unlike standard chickens, which need at least 3-4 square feet of space each, Coturnix quail are very healthy and content in much smaller areas. The rule of thumb is 1-3 adult quail in each square foot of space, but growing chicks need even less space; 10 chicks in each square foot is acceptable for the first two weeks of life, and five chicks per square foot from 2 weeks of age to maturity (around seven weeks).
They also don’t need roosts or nesting boxes!

While quail kept in aviaries may occasionally get broody, it’s uncommon. Typical quail cages for egg layers are built with a slightly slanted wire bottom with a lip in front to allow eggs to roll to the front for collection, while their waste drops through the wire to trays or the ground below. The cages I keep my quail in have a PVC coated welded wire floor for the health of their feet and easy cleaning, and a galvanized tray below to catch their waste, easily removed for cleaning every day or two.
Get ready to have eggs in just weeks!

The best part about Coturnix quail is how fast they mature and start producing eggs!

While chickens typically begin laying at 6-8 months of age, Coturnix quail start laying at 6-8 weeks. In fact, most of the hens I’ve raised started laying by six weeks old! Obviously, if you’re not interested in fertilized eggs, you don’t even need to keep any males. But the Coturnix roosters’ crows are reasonably quiet and really kind of adorable. So it’s not nearly as bothersome as having chicken roosters.

As long as the hens have at least 14 hours of light daily, they’ll continue to lay eggs year-round. It doesn’t need to be a lot of light, either! My quails live in a stacked cage right outside my back door, and now that it’s autumn and they get less than 12 hours of sunlight, the only supplemental light they get is a regular 60-watt porch light. I turn it on just before sunset and turn it off before I go to bed.

Of course, the eggs are smaller. Quail eggs are typically 10-15 grams in weight, which means it takes around 4 or 5 to equal a typical chicken egg. According to the US Department of Agriculture, quail eggs are slightly higher in calories than chicken eggs (158 calories in 100 grams of quail eggs vs. 143 calories in 100 grams of chicken eggs). But the same volume of quail eggs has twice the iron, riboflavin, and 1.5 times the B12 as chicken eggs.

Quail eggs have a slightly higher yolk to white ratio than chicken eggs. However, I find that only makes scrambled quail eggs taste creamier and richer! And quail eggs boil up in only 4 minutes!
For those who want to raise quail for meat:

If a quail keeper wants to raise Coturnix quail for meat and eggs, the birds are full-grown at 6-8 weeks and ready for the freezer at 8-10 weeks. At maturity, a typical bird weighs around 10 ounces (280 grams) and will produce about 4-5 ounces (110-140 grams) of finished meat. However, a breed called “Jumbo Coturnix” typically weighs 12-15 ounces (340-425 grams).
How did I get started with Coturnix quail?

In April 2021, I searched Craigslist for chicks and bought ten, week-old chicks. The standard coloration pattern, often called “wild” or “brown,” is sex-linked. So, you can tell the boys from the girls by 5-6 weeks old. Females have speckled breasts, while males lack the speckled breast feathers and have plain cream, tan, or light red ones.

However, thanks to Coturnix quail breeders, there are dozens of different colors and patterns. Some of which are sex-linked and some which aren’t. If you don’t have sex-linked patterned birds, you can determine whether you have hens or roos by vent-sexing after the birds have reached sexual maturity.

Out of my first ten chicks, I only got three females. So, I decided to get an incubator and order eggs through the mail to increase my flock. My first batch of incubator chicks only had a 47% hatch rate. A 50-60% hatch rate is typical of shipped eggs. My second batch of incubator eggs, from eggs I collected from my hens, had a 74% hatch rate — and that’s considered quite respectable.
Tips on incubating Coturnix quail eggs

Incubating quail eggs only takes an average of 18 days (the normal range is 16 to 20 days, but the majority will hatch on Day 18). They need to be turned, either by a mechanical turner in the incubator or by manually turning twice a day. (Some quail farmers don’t bother turning and still claim to have over 50% hatch rates, but I haven’t tried that.)

The incubator temperature is comparable to incubating chickens, about 100-102F (about 38C). Humidity should be in the range of 30-50% for the first two weeks, then raised to 60-70% for the last three days of the “lockdown” period — which is Day 15, when you stop turning the eggs and remove the mechanical turner if you used one.
It can be so tempting to take the newly-hatched chicks out right away, but that’s a big mistake!

They need to be fully dry before moving them to a brooder. No worries, they have all they need from their yolk sac to survive the first 72 hours without food or water. It’s best to leave them alone for 60-72 hours after the first chick hatches. The humidity will rise naturally during the hatching period. But, if the humidity in the incubator increases to more than 80%, it can “drown” the still-unhatched chicks in the egg.

You’d think opening the incubator to release humidity would solve this. It can, but a sudden temperature drop from opening the incubator too soon can also cause still-unhatched chicks to become “shrink-wrapped.” This means the chicks will suffocate in the egg membrane. Aim for humidity of 60-70% during the lockdown and leave the incubator closed until the chicks fully hatch and are fluffy-dry.
Out of the incubator, into the brooder!

Quail need to be kept in a brooder for the first 3-4 weeks. At hatching, they need temperatures of 95-100F (35-37C). Then the brooder temperature can be dropped by around 5F (3C) every four days or so until they are at “room temperature” of 70F (21C) (Around 3.5-4 weeks old when the quail are fully feathered.) At that point, they’re fine to be outdoors, even if it’s cooler, as long as they have protection from the elements.

Quails are very cold-hardy and do fine at temperatures as low as -20F (-29C) as long as they are well-sheltered from wind and precipitation. They aren’t quite as happy in extremely hot weather but should manage fine as long as they have plenty of water, shade from the sun, and good airflow in their habitats. Some quail keepers put frozen water bottles in the cages during the worst of the heat. The quail huddle next to the bottles to stay cool.
What do Coturnix quail eat?

Coturnix quail require a higher protein feed than chickens, but luckily game bird feed is easily obtainable. My chicks get game bird starter feed, 30% protein, 2.5% fat, and 6.5% fiber. At 6-8 weeks of age, hens should transition to a game bird layer feed with 20% protein, 2.5% fat, and 7% fiber, with added calcium for egg production. Birds raised for meat can be fed any game bird feed with a range of 19-30% protein.

But most important is 24/7 access to clean water! Coturnix quail drink even more than they eat (and they eat a lot, for their size).

They also enjoy fresh vegetables such as cucumber, squash, pumpkin, and leafy greens (including comfrey). Don’t feed them vegetables from the nightshade family, such as tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, or peppers. Most non-citrus fruits should be fine in moderation, as well as most seeds that birds typically eat. But their favorite treat is mealworms (mealworm beetle larvae) or boonworms (black soldier fly larvae). If you want to tame down a skittish quail, a still and patient hand, holding dried mealworms or boonworms is the way to entice them.
Where do you house your quail?

There are many housing options for quail and dozens of free “how-to” videos on building quail cages online. I decided American-made was important to me, even if it was a little more expensive. So I purchased Wynola Ranch cages specifically made for Coturnix quail. But any habitat which provides shelter from wind and rain or snow, doesn’t allow their waste to build up, and is secure from predators will work fine.

Most cages designed for quail have no more than a 16-inch (40cm) vertical space since they do like to pop straight up and can injure themselves if they have too much headspace. If you intend to build your own, the best height is at least 3-4 feet (1-1.3 meters) off the ground to allow easy access for cleaning and general care of the birds.

I’ve found that if you use poop trays, it helps to keep the smell and the flies down by placing a 1/2-inch (1cm) layer of sawdust or wood micro-shavings on the tray every time you clean it. My birds’ waste goes straight into a large compost bin, including the sawdust. Still, quail manure is very “hot” (high in nitrogen, similar to chicken manure), so it needs to be composted for 6-9 months before you can use it for fertilizing your garden.
How do you safely breed Coturnix quail?

Breeding Coturnix quail is simply a matter of putting in a boy with the girls. But keep the ratio no more than one rooster for every four hens. One rooster for every 6-8 hens will still give a high fertility rate in the eggs and help prevent over-mating. Too many roosters and not enough hens, and the boys will beat the daylights out of each other.

The roosters will also pull all the feathers out of the hens’ backs by over-mating. Quail can be vicious little birds toward one another. It’s not uncommon for an aggressive rooster to scalp or even kill other quail (which is why quail farmers generally select the least aggressive roosters when choosing which to breed and which to cull).

If you add unfamiliar birds into an established habitat, there may be some injuries as well, until they all sort out the “pecking order.” I’ve found the best way to introduce unfamiliar birds to one another is to put them all in a dust bathing container. Let them be distracted by enjoying their dust bath for 30-60 minutes. Then put them all into their cage, with little to no problem after that.
What do you do if a quail is injured?

I spray the wound once or twice a day with Vetrycin animal wound care spray for treating injuries. Quail heal exceptionally quickly, so a wound that might seem drastically bad can often completely heal by the following week.

But what if you have an injury (or birth defect) that leaves the bird suffering needlessly? Any responsible animal keeper knows they may face euthanizing an animal, even if they never intend to harvest the meat. The fastest, kindest way to dispatch a quail is decapitation with a pair of very sharp, sturdy scissors. Since Coturnix quail are small enough to be held securely in one hand, it’s the least traumatic method for both bird and keeper.
Would you consider Coturnix quail?

Even though I’ve only been raising Coturnix quail for six months, I’ve learned a lot and had so much fun with them! They are charming and endearing, easy to care for, and enjoyable to have. I still get a little giddy every day when I collect the eggs. My husband, who doesn’t eat eggs at all, is happy that I take such delight in having quail. He also enjoys trying out tasty recipes for the barbeque. And I’m certainly not worried about lacking fresh eggs anymore.

Have you thought of raising birds for eggs or meat? Are you currently raising chickens, ducks, or quail? Do you have any questions or suggestions? Let’s talk about it in the comments section.

Monday, July 4, 2022

5 Food Items That Soon Will Disappear (That You'll Want)

Tips For Harvesting and Eating Flower Buds

Original Article


 tips for harvesting and eating flower buds


When you’ve had a long day out in the fields, you deserve a break. And a bud. No, I don’t mean a beer. I mean a good meal, featuring, of all things, flower buds. Now before you toss this down, think about it.

You are probably very familiar with several flower buds, commonly eaten in most homes: broccoli, cauliflower, and artichokes. I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten busy with other things, only to go out in the garden to pick one of these, only to find that I was too late.

The buds were in full flower, past their prime as a vegetable. In the wild, there are many, many flowers and flower buds that are not only edible, but actually choice fare for the table.

Native Americans regularly dined on these tender, seasonal delights. Let’s take a look at several other common buds and tasty flowers available to us. While they are most often thought of as “survival” foods, they form an extended garden for our family, and many other backwoods dwellers.

Here are some flower buds you should try:

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)

milkweed plant

Nearly everyone is familiar with the common milkweed, with its large oval leaves and seed pods that pop open in the fall, sending fluffy parachutes sailing through the air.

As these dry seed pods remain on the dead plant through the winter, it’s usually easy to identify the next spring’s milkweed patch. As with all wild plants, the wild forager should make sure the plant is the common milkweed before consuming any part.

As the milkweed gains mature height, clusters of buds form and begin to open. These flat clusters of buds open to lavender flowers. The best time to harvest milkweed buds is when they are tightly closed. Snip these buds from the plant and gather a nice bowlful.

To eat, simply bring a pan of water to a boil, adding a pinch of salt. Then boil for four minutes. Drain and discard the water. Boil briefly in two more changes of water, then drain and enjoy with butter and a squeeze of lemon, if you desire. Milkweed buds are very good.


The reason for the three boilings is to remove any trace of bitterness from the milky sap. Also very good are the very young milkweed pods. These are best eaten when only an inch or an inch and a half long. Simply pluck these immature pods, then boil for four minutes, draining and discarding the water.

As with the buds, boil again for a minute, twice, discarding each water. Then boil for about 10 minutes in fresh, salted water until tender. You will think you’re eating okra. And like okra, you can also slice and bread the pre-boiled pods and deep fry them. They taste like okra, but are not as “slimy.” Immature milkweed pods are a valuable addition to meat stews and soups.

Yucca (Yucca L.)

yucca plant

The common yucca is found just about nationwide. It’s tough, pointed, strap-like leaves make it look pretty dry and useless. But you should taste the small, tender flower buds that form along the tall flower stalk in the late spring.

Pick the buds when they are quite small and tight and you will think you are eating fresh garden peas. They are very succulent and tender. Simply pick these buds as you would peas, then boil just enough to make them tender, not mushy.

I like them either with a pat of butter and sprinkle of salt, or in a light cream sauce. Another favorite of mine is to harvest the just-opened yucca flowers on a cool morning. Dip them in your favorite vegetable dip and eat raw or take them home for lunch.

While they are still very fresh, you can also dip them in deep frying batter (such as tempura), then deep fry briefly until just crisp and golden brown. They are also excellent served with a sweet and sour dip.

Wild daylily (Hemerocallis L.)

wild daylily plant

How about the common wild daylily. This large, showy orange flower forms on a tall stem, accompanied by many other buds, as each flower only stays open for a day, hence its name. The plant is a shaggy bunch of drooping, strap-like leaves.

In many areas, the wild daylily fills ditches and roadsides for miles. Not only is the daylily gorgeous, but tasty, as well. Yes, you can eat the domestic daylily, but with so many new colors and variations it seems almost a shame to eat the flower buds. But if you get tempted, just remember that the flower would only last a single day anyway, and there will be many more very soon.

Daylily buds are best harvested when fairly long, but before they show any sign of opening. I like them dipped in batter and fried, but my very favorite is to make egg foo yung with them.

Simply whip up the whites of two eggs per person, add a pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of hot chile, if you like. Then chop several daylily buds, along with one small onion. Gently fold in beaten egg yolks and vegetables.

Fry four-inch wide patties in vegetable oil until done. Serve warm, topped with sweet and sour sauce or traditional egg foo yung sauce, which is 1½ cups chicken broth blended into 1½ Tbsp. cornstarch in a small pan. Stir in 1 tsp. soy sauce, ½ tsp. salt, a dash of black pepper, and a ½ tsp. sugar.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When thickened, serve hot over egg patties. These are very good, and nearly everyone loves them. Just don’t tell folks they’re dining on flower foo yung. And if these aren’t good enough, you must try batter-fried whole, open daylily flowers.

I especially like the new hybrid domestic daylilies that have a thicker, ruffled petal. They have more substance than their wild cousins, but the wild daylilies are pretty darned good, as well.

Violet (Viola L.)

viola plant

There are many violet species which grow throughout North America, ranging from white, yellow, and, of course, violet including bi-colored flowers. All are edible. While the leaves can be eaten as one would spinach, as a child my very favorite was violet flowers.

The new flowers are crunchy and slightly sweet. You can toss a handful on top of a salad to beautify it. Or throw some in a light-colored Jello dessert after it has cooled a bit. Pioneer children thrilled to violet candy, which was simply moist violets dipped in precious white sugar, then allowed to dry. This creates a delicate shell around the sparkling flower. A very pretty “candy.”

Pumpkin and squash blossoms

squash blossoms

While not “wild” in the true sense, you will think the pumpkin and squash vines have run wild by the time they bloom. If you pick the male flowers (the ones that do not have a slight bulb at the base), you will not damage your future crop at all.

These flowers are excellent when slightly stir fried with mild chiles and onions. Or you can dip them in tempura batter and deep fry them until golden brown. Serve with your favorite dip. I like them with a bowl of chili and sour cream. Dip them first in the chili, then just a bit of sour cream. They are so good.

You can also stuff pumpkin and squash blossoms that are open, nearly all the way. Simply mix up your favorite meatloaf recipe, including bread crumbs, then gently stuff each blossom. Tuck the ends of the petals in and repeat until the baking dish is full. Bake at 350° until almost done, then sprinkle with grated cheese and drizzle catsup over the top. Bake until done. Be ready for raves.

Concluding

Eating flower buds is something our ancestors were used to and it was a great and smart way to supplement their diet. Why don’t you try some of these delectable buds and flowers this year? They are so easy and fun to pick, and even easier to prepare and serve. Have a bud….on me.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

EMERGENCY HEAT and Light for 72 DAYS | Crisco candles | SHTF

What Is The Closest Power Plant To Your Home? Are You Living In The High-Risk Zone?





by RICH M.

We do a lot of talking about electrical power in the prepping and survival community: specifically, how we can survive without it. But surviving without electrical power isn’t the only way that we should be concerned about it. Electrical power production can be dangerous in and of itself, especially when we talk about things like nuclear power.

There are plenty of statistics around, which show just how safe nuclear power is. But there are also some rather spectacular examples of accidents involving nuclear power plants.

While nuclear power is safe, when all those safety measures fail, the results can be catastrophic. All anyone has to do is mention nuclear power and people instantly remember the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011, the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 and the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. Those aren’t the only reactor accidents, by the way; but they three of the top five.

We currently have 60 commercially operated nuclear power plants, containing a total of 98 nuclear reactors. Surprisingly, the state of Illinois has the most, with a total of 11 operating reactors. A total of 12 states generate more than 30% of their power through the use of nuclear power.

Related: Alphabetical List of Operating Nuclear Power Reactors by Name

In addition to these, there are another 39 smaller nuclear reactors which are not used for the generation of electrical power, but are housed in research facilities. These reactors produce radioisotopes for nuclear medicine, as well as being used in training and as laboratory tools. Some are working on developing new technologies, seeking to make nuclear power even safer for use.

Our fleet of nuclear power plants is aging though, with the average age being 39 years. That’s fairly serious, when we consider that they have been designed to last a mere 50 years. The oldest of those plants entered service in 1969, putting it over that 50 year threshold. That’s only one of four which have already surpassed their expected service life.

On the other end of that scale, there is only one nuclear power plant which is less than 20 years old. Thanks to environmental activists, it is extremely difficult to open nuclear power plants, even though it is one of the cleanest forms of energy production there is.

How Much Risk is There?

In today’s day and age, the big question isn’t so much how many reactors we have or whether they are inherently safe, but whether anyone could make them unsafe. Stories abound about hackers trying to break into our electrical grid, including our nuclear power plant. There’s even one story about some foreign power hacking into one of our nuclear power plants and taking control of it for several hours.

The potential damage that could be caused by someone taking control of one of our reactors is definitely something to be concerned about. Can you imagine the panic that would occur if one of the recent ransomware attacks that have hit our country were to have been aimed against one of our nuclear power plants? Or how about if the pilots who flew those airliners into the twin towers on 9-11 had aimed for a nuclear power plant instead?

The truth of the matter is, with people who are willing to do anything, including putting their own lives on the table as gambling chips, our nuclear power plants are vulnerable to attack. While I have been assured that the computer controls to those plants are not tied into the internet or any other network, making them supposedly impervious to hacking, all it would take is one unscrupulous worker accepting a bribe to make them vulnerable. There are also many ways in which a direct attack on one of the plants could be catastrophic.

Related: The First Thing You Should Do After a Nuclear Attack

Our big question isn’t whether something could happen to a nuclear power plant, but how bad it would be and whether or not we should be concerned. That will vary for all of us, depending on how close we live to one of those plants. Even the 19 states which don’t have a nuclear power plant could be at risk of fallout, if a plant were to be destroyed upwind of them.

Nuclear Emergency Planning Zones

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has established two different types of emergency planning zones (EPZs) around every nuclear reactor in the country. The closer in zone is called the “plume exposure pathway EPZ” and extends about 10 miles in every direction around a nuclear plant.

The big concern in this case, is the inhalation of airborne radioactive contamination. The farther zone is called the “ingestion pathway EPZ” and is concerned with food and liquids which might become contaminated and then ingested. This zone extends roughly 50 miles around the power plant.

As the power plants are constantly monitored, with extensive redundancy in the monitoring methods used, the NRC expects to be able to issue warnings and alerts should any unexpected radiation escape from one of our nuclear power plants.

But there is ample reason to question these EPZs, based upon past nuclear accidents. Japanese officials weren’t able to determine a proper safe zone from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. As a compromise, they set a distance of just 30 km, with the first 20 km being a mandatory evacuation zone and the following 10 km being voluntary.

Many organizations, including the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) came out saying that 30 km wasn’t far enough. Several countries, including the United States, recommended that citizens visiting Japan keep a minimum of 80 km away.

Yet radiation from that accident spread from four of the six reactors, contaminating the Pacific Ocean. That radiation, as well as airborne radiation carried by air currents reached the western coast of the United States, killing a considerable amount of marine life.

Related: A Strange Thing That Might Save Your Life in A Nuclear Aftermath

What About Explosion?

One of the big questions about nuclear power plants is whether or not they can explode. This has been a popular theme in science fiction and even a few movies; but in reality, a nuclear power plant cannot produce a fission explosion. The nuclear fuel is too dilute to form the critical mass necessary to produce a chain reaction, leading to an explosion. So at least we’re all safe from that.

While we don’t have to worry about a nuclear explosion from the reactors, that doesn’t mean any of us are safe. The Fukushima accident was created by an earthquake that caused a tsunami. Other similar disasters could cause similar results at literally any other nuclear reactor, anywhere in the world.

Are You in Danger?

Whether or not you are in danger from a nuclear power accident depends mostly on your proximity to a nuclear power plant. Fortunately, this information is public and easy to find. All you have to do is search online for nuclear power plants and you can find the information, either in map form or in list form.

Check the location of nuclear power plants in your state and in neighboring states if you live near the state’s border. If you are outside the 50 mile zone, about the only way that you could be affected by a nuclear power plant catastrophe, would be if someone blew the plant up with a large enough bomb to cast nuclear material into the atmosphere, creating fallout. Other than that, you’re safe.What Is The Closest Power Plant To Your Home? Are You Living In The High-Risk Zone?

If you live within the danger zone, I’d recommend having an emergency evacuation plan in place; one which will take you far enough away to keep your family safe. That plan has to be one that you can put into place quickly, so that you can beat everyone else who might be evacuating as well. Don’t stop for anything, including driving back home to pick up your bug out bag. This is the type of disaster where it’s best to take action first, and then do the analysis later.

That means you have to have a supply cache somewhere outside the EPZ, so that you will have basic supplies to use if you find yourself forced to evacuate. I’d recommend establishing it at or near your survival retreat, either at the home of a friend or in a rented storage unit.

What About Fallout?

If someone actually manages to blow up one of our nuclear power plants, sending nuclear material into the upper atmosphere, then the abovementioned EPZs won’t really matter all that much. They weren’t done with that scenario in mind. Nevertheless, if you live within the 10 km zone, I’d still bug out.

The bigger, more difficult question will be about fallout. Where fallout occurs, how long it lasts and how far it extends all depend on the weather. The National Weather Service will be monitoring that, in conjunction with other government agencies. You can be sure that the government will be providing constantly updated information about that.

Evacuation isn’t necessarily required due to fallout, although it isn’t a bad idea. But you can do just as good sheltering in place, in your basement (assuming you have a basement). The fine particles of radioactive material that are fallout won’t penetrate below the ground. So as long as you are in your basement, you’re fairly well protected.

Depending on the situation, you might have to shelter in place for as long as 30 days. That means having enough supplies and other essentials stored in your basement, for your family to survive that long.

You’ll also need such things as bathroom facilities and a means to cook food. Essentially, you’ll need to plan on living in your basement, as if it were a bunker.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Tin Cans :12 Survival Hacks/ Uses

What to Put in a Bug-Out Bag for Toddlers






By Aden Tate





By the author of The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices

Have you ever considered a bug-out bag for your little ones? Well, imagine this: disaster has struck, and you decide to get your family out of the house and head for the hills. One of those family members happens to be a toddler. While you’ve undoubtedly built your bug-out bag for such an event, what about a bug-out bag for toddlers?

Sure, many people with small children stash things for the kids in their bug-out bags. But, wouldn’t it be wise to have a special bag just for them? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a toddler bug-out bag and what should go in those bags.
Pros of a bug-out bag for toddlers

Imagine you and your family are on your way to your survival retreat, and there’s a roadblock up ahead where gunfire has just erupted. You have no chance of turning around, and you’re a two-day hike from your destination. Do you and your kids have what it takes to make the walk?

It’s important to ensure that your family has what they need to stay safe at all times. Particularly during events such as hurricanes, floods, wild fires, and even civil unrest and riots. You need to quickly throw essentials in the car and get the heck out of dodge in these situations. Should anything push you out into the woods or knock you off course as you journey to your BOL, having ready-to-go BOBs could be life-savers. Having a bug-out bag for your toddler can also help ensure an easier getaway.
Two main advantages of a toddler BOB

#1: Space-saver

Face it. Kids gear is bulky. Whether we’re talking about diapers, blankies, toys, or whatever else, it all takes up space in your pack. You need to carry as many of the items necessary to survive as possible in your BOB.

If you can’t carry much food with you because you have a bunch of diapers taking up space, you have to find a solution. A toddler BOB can be a small part of that solution.

#2: Comfort items close to the kids

Many kids don’t do well if they know their favorite toy is just out of reach. They want to KNOW their favorite item is there with them. Having it in the mini BOL will help do just that. While you may be able to live a spartan lifestyle, your kid cannot. They need the small comforts that you deem unnecessary to survive. For a kid, they are necessary.
Cons of a bug-out bag for toddlers

The main thing that sucks about a toddler’s BOB is that you’re eventually going to end up carrying it. If you’re evacuating from a hurricane and can quickly toss your kid’s BOB into the SUV as you head for relatives in Tennessee, then this is no big deal.

If you’re trekking 20 miles through the woods to your mountain retreat as you avoid enemy invaders, that’s a bit of a different story. Your kid will help to carry their BOB, but that’s all they’re doing – helping. You, as the adult, are primarily responsible for ensuring everyone and everything gets from Point A to Point B.
What to pack in a bug-out bag for toddlers

The main thing I think about with a toddler BOB is saving myself space in my own kit. Remember, that’s space, not weight. There’s a huge difference between the two. If you load your kid down with all kinds of heavy items, they will not go anywhere. Your toddler’s BOB should not weigh any more than 1-2lbs.

First you will need the bag. If your child already has one that is lightweight and durable you can use that. If you need one here is a fantastic, lightweight and super cute bag from Dueter.
Favorite toy

Every kid has their favorite toy, and as a parent, you know how devastating it can be to them to lose it. I consider this to be the first necessity for a toddler’s BOB. Kids need routine, and losing their favorite belonging hurts my heart and is a huge deal in the world of a little kid. Cut the crap about “it’s not a necessity.” You love your kid. Pack their dang toy.
Small blanket

Your kid may very well have their favorite blankie. Some of these are no larger than a dishrag. Others are kid-sized. Either way, it will fit in your toddler’s BOB saving you quite a bit of space in your BOB. Also, you won’t be adding unnecessary weight to your kid’s bag.
Snacks

I focus on dry goods here. A few little bags of gummies and Goldfish are the only things I add to this category. I avoid pouches as they’re a heavier food item compared to dry goods. I can carry those.Annie’s Variety Pack
Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars
A Raincoat

A little raincoat rolled up doesn’t weigh much and can easily be carried by a toddler. I consider Rainproof clothing an essential component of a BOB, and your child needs protection from the elements. A raincoat can be a little piece of the puzzle to help do such.Arshiner Little Kid Lightweight Raincoat
Diapers

By no means would I make the kid carry his entire stash of diapers. I don’t see a problem with 2-3 being in here, though. They’re light items that a kid can carry with ease. And, they will be as easy to get to as possible as the daily accidents happen.
Small Flashlight

These don’t need to be super fancy. Just something small and easy to use.KunHe Toddlers Mini LED Flashlight
KunHe Small LED Flashlight for Kids




What NOT to pack in a bug-out bag for toddlers

Liquids

You have to have water with you in your BOB, but don’t make your kid carry it. Water is heavy. You are the one that carries liquids and sippy cups.
Wipes

Wipes saturated with liquid are heavy. Don’t make your kid have a weight strapped to their back. Figure out a way to make room for the wipes in your own BOB.
Actual survival gear

Do you only have one fire striker? Is it a good idea to put that in the hands of a 2-year-old in a survival situation? I don’t think so. If it’s essential to life, the kid doesn’t get to carry it—end of story.
Anything dangerous

This should be a no-brainer. If the item is potentially dangerous, your kid doesn’t need to have it in their pack. Odds are they’ll open up their bag at some point when you’re not looking. Be responsible and keep the dangerous stuff on your person.
“Da’ee, look! I ha’ bahpah TOO!”

Many of you know the physical and emotional toll disasters can have on people. Just think of the toll on young children. The mental and emotional well-being of your kids is just as important as their physical well-being. Teaching them to be resilient and competent will help with this.

Help give them a sense of security by talking to them, in a way they can understand, about these situations and what you expect from them. Make sure to involve them in crafting a bug-out/evacuation plan for your family. A toddler BOB is a cool way for a toddler to “help” and keep some of their essentials as easy to access as possible.

What are your thoughts on the situation? Do you agree or disagree with the steps I lay out here? Are there other tweaks you would make? What would you put in a bug-out bag for toddlers? Let me know in the comments below!
About Aden

Aden Tate has a master’s in public health and is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com, TheFrugalite.com, PewPewTactical.com, SurvivalBlog.com, SHTFBlog.com, ApartmentPrepper.com, HomesteadAndPrepper.com, and PrepperPress.com. Along with being a freelance writer, he also works part-time as a locksmith. Aden has an LLC for his micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.