Thursday, March 31, 2022

How to make soap from wood ashes (lye water and tallow/lard)

Turning a Spoon into an Arrowhead: How To Tutorial



Being creative and having the ability to think outside of the box is incredibly useful, especially when it comes to atypical or survival-type situations. 

This is because during these times we may not have access to the materials or tools that we would like to. 

Thus, thinking outside of the box helps us to create something that we need out of something else. 

Why am I bringing this up? Because in this article I will be showing you how to create an arrowhead out of an ordinary kitchen spoon. 

Why Make One?

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

STOP Wasting your FireWood ASH! LEARN what we use it for...

HOW TO USE A DROP SPINDLE ~ HANDSPINNING FOR BEGINNERS


Spinning angora on a drop spindle

Though we raised fiber animals for years, I’ll admit the thought of actually spinning it into wool was incredibly intimidating.  Raw fiber from our angora rabbits piled up, and I stored it all away in totes for that “someday” when I’d have time and patience to learn the art of hand-spinning.

After my children were born, “someday” seemed to stretch further into the future, at least until my 4-year-old daughter became incredibly interested in making her own clothing.

We started with basic sewing tutorials, and she loved every minute, but sewing wasn’t quite enough.  She wanted to “make” clothes from scratch, rather than just sewing together purchased fabric.  (A child after my own heart…)

Earlier we’d explained that the more things we could produce ourselves, the less time her mom and dad would have to spend at work.  The more produce we grew in the garden, the less we’d have to buy at the grocery store. 

She hates it when we have to work and is incredibly committed to helping the family save money (at least as far as a 4-year-old can be).  She helps in the garden as much as she can, but still wanted to do more, since somehow that didn’t stop us from having to go to work…

Outside of the garden, clothing seemed like the next logical thing to make ourselves, at least to a 4-year-old.  I didn’t have the heart to explain that weaving fabric by hand is a lot more involved than planting tomato seeds, and I did still have literally buckets of raw angora…

Suddenly “someday” had arrived, and the two of us spent a few days learning to use a drop spindle together.  In the end, it was a lot easier than I’d imagined.  Our work is far from perfect, but within the first hour of practice, we each had several feet of passable angora yarn spun. 

After that, things got a lot easier and faster as muscle memory quickly takes over.  With a bit of practice, it’s something even my preschooler could learn to do (especially with the help of a few good youtube videos).

Before I go into the technical aspects, this handy video shows all the basic steps of using a drop spindle.  If you’ve never seen one in action, I’d highly recommend watching this video before you continue reading:

WHAT IS A DROP SPINDLE?

Drop spindles are suspended spindles used to twist fibers into a workable thread or yarn. Drop spindles come in a range of sizes and weights and are typically chosen to match the needs of the fiber being spun.

Top whorl drop spindles (the type of spindle we’ll be looking at in this article) have been used to make yarn and thread for many thousands of years, in many different cultures around the world.

While spinning wheels are handy tools, they’re big, bulky, and expensive.  A drop spindle can fit neatly into a pocket, and nomadic herders have been using them for millennia to make use of wool from their animals.  This tiny tool can turn an evening by the fire (or by the TV) into a productive session, keeping your hands busy and making something beautiful (and functional) at the same time.

Drop spindle

HOW DOES A DROP SPINDLE WORK?

True to its name, a drop spindle is meant to drop down and spin as the thread or yarn is twisted and formed. Depending on your skill level, you can let the spindle hang freely or hold it against your leg.

A hook at the top holds the wool, and the weighted wheel (either at the top or bottom) provides inertia to keep the spindle moving.  Above the spindle, the raw fiber is “drafted” by the spinner, and fed into the spinning thread as it forms.  The drop spindle will slowly work towards the ground as more yarn is spun.

Once the yarn is long enough, the spinner stops and winds it on the dowel below the weighted wheel.  Hook it back on the top and then “drop” the spinning spindle to keep spinning more wool.

Until you get the spinning mechanism down, which isn’t difficult but requires some dexterity and muscle memory, beginner spinners might find it easier to hold a drop spindle in a static hold while getting the hang of it. 

Angora Drop Spindle

TYPES OF DROP SPINDLES

For such a seemingly simple apparatus, there are as many drop spindles to choose from as there are fibers! Let’s take a closer look at some of the more popular spindle options, and what you should be considering when making your choice.

Top whorl drop spindles, also called top-weighted or high-whorl drop spindles, are what my family uses and you can see what they look like in these photos. The thread or yarn is collected at the top of the spindle which means the spindle is naturally weighted at the top.

When made with light materials, top whorl spindles tend to spin better and more easily than other kinds of spindles. Some amateur spinners find top whorl drop spindles more difficult to learn on, although I haven’t found the learning curve to be particularly tricky (again, using a drop spindle correctly is largely dependant on muscle memory). 

Bottom whorl drop spindles, also known as bottom-weighted or low-whirl spindles, have the weight of the yarn distributed at the bottom of the spindle. Bottom whorl drop spindles are sometimes preferred to top spindles because they have a low center of gravity, which results in a spin with more stability.

If you’re making your own drop spindle, you’ll probably find that bottom whorl spindles need less precision in their construction in order for the spin to work properly. 

Making your own drop spindle, whether top or bottom weighted, is easy (and you can give them away as gifts, if you have crafty friends). You can make a drop spindle using wooden toy car wheels and a dowelpolymer clay, or even a pair of old CDs!

Though making a spindle is easy, matching the weight of a homemade spindle to your fiber can be tricky.  I’m spinning angora fiber that we harvested from our own angora rabbits, which requires an extremely light drop spindle.  Heavier fibers, like coarse wools, want a much heavier spindle.

CHOOSING A DROP SPINDLE

When choosing a spindle, there are a couple of factors to consider. Most importantly? You want a well-balanced spindle. If your drop spindle has an uneven spin it makes the spinning process especially frustrating, whether you’re an experienced spinner or just beginning.

You can test the spin by tying on a piece of yarn and spinning the spindle clockwise — the spin should be smooth and balanced.

Generally speaking, larger, heavier drop spindles are used to spin heavier fibers to make bulkier yarn. Small, light drop spindles are used for spinning delicate fibers — the smallest drop spindles can even spin fine thread for lacemaking!

If your chosen fiber is lightweight, such as with cotton, cashmere, angora, alpaca, and merino wool, then a lighter, faster-spinning drop spindle is the way to go. Spinning heavier sheep wool into thicker, heavily-weighted yarn requires a heavier drop spindle to match. 

Remember that learning how to use a drop spindle requires patience, and the more time you spend with it the likelier you are to develop an intuitive approach to choosing the correct spindle for the job.

PREPARING YARN FOR SPINNING

The truly fun part of using a drop spindle to create your own wool or thread is choosing and preparing the fiber for spinning. 

Buying pre-carded yarn is always an option, and there are so many choices available in terms of color and texture. Here are some terms to be aware of when making your decision:

Wool roving is a term that is used to describe wool that has been processed and carded, but that has not yet been spun. Wool roving maintains the natural crimp of the wool, adding a textured effect to the finished yarn. Available in a rainbow of colors and thicknesses, there are lots of options to choose from when it comes to buying wool roving.

Batting, also called batts or fleece, is a type of wool that’s similar in production to wool roving. Unlike wool roving, batting is formed into thin sheets which are then stacked on top of one another, resulting in textured, dense wool that is ideal for spinning and felting.

Here I’ve used hand carders to comb our angora wool into “batts,” or sheets of fibers cleaned, combed, and lined up for spinning.

carding angora

Raw wool is, essentially, wool directly from the animal and it must be processed before it can be spun into yarn. Cleaning your own wool isn’t difficult, it just requires some extra labor (this article does a great job of explaining the process).

While sheep are usually what comes to mind when you hear ‘fiber animal’, they aren’t the only animal with hair that can be used for spinning!

If you have a particularly hairy pet cat or dog that loves to shed, you can actually clean their fur and use it for future spinning projects. Even some plants, like flax or hemp, can be processed and spun into thin yarn or thread.

If you’re preparing wool from scratch it needs to be hand carded first. Hand carders are simple to use, the goal is to remove tangles and line up the natural threads in the wool by brushing the fiber back and forth. This helpful guide has photos to show you the exact steps, but it’s a super-simple task from start-to-finish.

Since I’m carding angora, I’m using very fine hand cards made for carding cotton, which have over 100 points per square inch (PSI).  Carders are measured by PSI, or basically the number of teeth they have per inch, which determines how fine a wool they’re meant to card.  

Coarse wool is carded with coarse carders, or combs, which is just an efficient way to clean the wool and line up the fibers before spinning.

carding angora

HOW TO USE A DROP SPINDLE

When I found decided to finally learn to spin our angora wool, I started by watching this video on the basics of spinning angora yarn.  It’s a good foundation, and even if you don’t understand the terminology she uses, I’d still recommend you start by watching this video before you continue reading this article so we’re all on the same page. 

Go ahead, watch it, I’ll wait…

(Don’t worry if you’re not spinning angora, it’s all quite similar and this is a good introduction and about halfway through the video she switches to spinning Romney wool to show you the differences between fibers.)

After watching that, you might be thinking, I’m ready to do this!  It’s actually pretty tricky to do it anywhere near as smoothly as she does, especially if you’re a beginner.  

I’d suggest you start with the “park and draft” method, which after a lot of trial and error, I learned is just about the best way for a beginner to start hand spinning.  My daughter, even at 4 years old, was able to park and draft and make a few feet of yarn all on her own after watching mama do a few rounds.

First thing’s first, you’ll need to attach your fiber to the spindle using what is called a “leader.” A leader is just a piece of yarn that is used to facilitate joining the wool to the spindle. You can make one by taking a length of yarn (it doesn’t matter what kind), tying it into a loop, and then wrapping the yarn into another loop around the spindle shaft.

Now you need to connect your chosen fiber to the leader. Take a small piece of the fiber and slip it through the knot of the leader, fold it back upwards on itself, and gently twist to create a secure hold/loop. 

Once the fiber is connected to the leader, you’ll need to get the twist going. If you are working with a drop spindle that has a long shaft, you can twist it against the inside of your thigh to get it started. Keep an eye on the spinning direction, I usually stick to a clockwise direction for most fibers. Some people find it helpful to think of a clockwise twist as a “Z” twist and a counter-clockwise twist as an “S” twist. If you forget the direction you were twisting, you run the risk of unwinding your spun yarn.

Now, the next step is when the “park and draft” method comes into play.

With the leader twisted and connected to the fiber, “park” the spindle between your legs before the yarn starts the twist the other way. You’ll be able to see the twist move all the way up the fiber, which is where the spinning takes place.

The “draft” component is next, which is the action needed to create yarn or thread. Pinch the connected fiber to keep it spun relatively tightly, and move your finger upwards as the fiber continues to spin. Move slowly, releasing only small amounts of fiber at a time — don’t let the twist move further than your fingers into the non-drafted fiber.

When you have a length of yarn finished, wrap it carefully around the spindle shaft. Begin at the top of the spindle (closest to the whorl) and keep the yarn wrapped near the top to keep the spindle evenly balanced. If the yarn is slipping, you can use an elastic hair tie to keep it close to the top. 

Leave a couple of inches of yarn unwrapped so that you can bring it through and up around the hook. You’ll use the end of the yarn to attach and twist the next piece, just as you did with the wool and the leader.

This video taught me the park and draft method, and she has a lot of closeup shots so you can see exactly what’s happening:

MARRYING YARN

Fixing a broken strand, or marrying broken yarn as it’s also called, isn’t difficult. Overlap both broken pieces by a couple of inches and gently hand-twist them together, rubbing them together with your fingers, before continuing to spin.

Thick wool is fairly forgiving and can usually be repaired using this method; fibers that have been made into single threads are much more difficult to fix this way.

Marrying Angora Fiber after a break on a drop spindle

PLYING HOMESPUN YARN

The term “plying” refers to the process of taking two (or more) strands of yarn and twisting them together to make a stronger yarn. When you’re comfortable spinning a single piece of yarn, plying or combining yarn is a fairly straightforward endeavor, just keep in mind that you’ll need to spin the strands of yarn together in the opposite direction that it was originally spun.

Check out this tutorial for plying homespun yarn to see how the process works.

WORKING WITH DIFFERENT MATERIALS

Unless you’re an experienced spinner, it’s best to stick with materials that have long, sturdy hairs as this helps prevents breakage while creating a stronger yarn. Some fibers, such as those from alpacas or Angora rabbits, are very short and therefore difficult to work with. While it’s possible to spin these fibers into yarn, they’re often mixed with yarn made from long-haired animals (or combined with a synthetic yarn) to bolster the strength of the finished item. 

Across the board, wool fibers are easier to spin with a drop spindle than any other fibers. I like to use wool from Shetland sheep because it has a slight stickiness, which is truly helpful when you’re learning how to spin at home. Merino wool is also an excellent, albeit somewhat slippery, choice for beginner spinning projects.

If you’re curious about animal-free fibers, you can also choose one of the many plant-based options available. The one drawback of using plant-based fibers is their lack of elasticity, which is why spinners often ply them together.

Common examples of plant-based fibers include linen, milkweed, cotton, hemp, and even coconut husks!

Spinning angora

BEYOND DROP SPINDLES

A spinning wheel might seem like a big leap, but the mechanism is still the same (you’ll just need to make room for it).

Learning how to spin, whether that’s using a drop spindle or a spinning wheel, is incredibly satisfying and it’s something you can get your whole family involved with. Spinning is an activity that can be done for the sheer pleasure of creating your very own, very unique yarns, but it can also be done to create fine yarns and threads to sell.

For tips and suggestions on choosing the right spinning wheel for your needs, I’d suggest beginning your research with this informative article

(I actually just picked up an antique but fully functional spinning wheel for $50 from a fiber artist that’s retiring after 50 years of work.  They’re out there second hand, so don’t feel like you need to drop hundreds of dollars for a new one.)

HOMEMADE CRAFTS

Looking for more homemade craft tutorials?

How to Use a Drop Spindle to Make Homespun Yarn

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Everything You Need to Know about Survival Traps & Snares

By 



Fishing, trapping, and hunting can help stretch food reserves and supplement lean harvests.

They can also prevent varmints from stealing eggs, eating crops, or killing livestock. Sometimes spontaneous opportunities to take game or varmints arise while tending to the garden or livestock or while traveling out on the trail.

While there are many ways to procure game, some of the primitive methods can be cruel and should only be attempted when the hunter has a pressing need. Otherwise, modern methods should be used, and best practices adhered to, to ensure a quick, clean kill and this article will focus on modern traps. In all cases, every part of the animal should be used, whether that animal is a wild game animal or livestock.

These 10 Types of Preppers Will Die First When SHTF

Monday, March 28, 2022

Never Use Oxygen Absorbers With These Foods - Basics How To Use Oxygen A...

5 Reasons You Should Start Filtering Tap Water

Among other things, tap water contains chlorine as a disinfectant. This gets rid of bacteria and prevents the spread of diseases carried by pipes and potential infiltrations, but once it is clean and out of your tap, do you need to drink that much of it? Besides, there are other impurities that can make their way into your drinking water in the space between the nearest filtering station and your house, especially in crisis situations. So here is why you should consider filtering water at home, all the time!

The Benefits of Filtering Water At Home

1.     It’s Better For Your Health

On top of the chlorine, the water that comes out of your tap contains salts and minerals that can dry your skin and hair. Filter these out by using a house-wide filter or one that attaches to your tap. These will also help in the situation when the general water supply has been contaminated in the case of a disaster or system failure because they clean the water all the time. This means that when the tap water is not safe to drink or use, you already have a system in place to clean it without you knowing or having to worry about it. Prepare for a tough situation before you are in that situation and filter your water!

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Storing Instant Potato Flakes in Long Term Food Storage

The Global Supply Collapse Continues to Get WORSE: Shortages of Clothing, Appliances, Food, and Other Essentials

by Robert Wheeler


The United States and the world have been suffering under a slow-burning economic depression for three decades now. Although the US began inching slowly out of the clutches of depression under the Trump administration’s quasi-Americanist tariff policiesCOVID mandates, and the government’s war on independent businesses, personal finances, and the economy thrust both the United States and the rest of the world straight back into a financial and economic hole

This time, however, that hole is much deeper than even the most negative predictions could have foreseen.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Surviving An Economic Collapse: What to Prepare Now

Why You Should Stock Sauerkraut

 Original Article:





Whether you realize it or not, sauerkraut is a superfood that is really good for you! As preppers, we stockpile a lot of canned and processed foods. However, eating processed foods long-term isn’t a good source of vitamins and nutrients that our body needs. That’s why I think it’s a great idea to stock sauerkraut, as well as other superfoods. Printable recipe below, enjoy.

Things You May Need

What is Sauerkraut?

Friday, March 25, 2022

You Can Live Without Refrigeration - Here's How

Managing Risk Factors for Fires, Indoors or Out



Learning how to build a fire and maintain it for heat, light and cooking is an essential prepping skill, and often one of the first primitive or austere environment tasks that a beginning prepper will learn, often times right after establishing their three-day supply cache.

There are all kinds of ways to create a fire, both indoors and out, but a sometimes neglected part of a prepper’s education, and being a proper fire keeper is managing and mitigating the inherent risk of creating a fire in the first place.

match on fire

Fire is one of mankind’s oldest tools, and was absolutely essential for helping us master the harsh and unforgiving environment around us.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

HOW TO MAKE BUTTER - THREE DIFFERENT WAYS!

The Layered Approach to Survival

By 



The old saying goes, “the only constant is change.” That’s as true in the world of survival as it is anywhere else in life.

Many of the ideas we have today, much of the gear didn’t exist 45 years ago when I took my first class in wilderness survival. Nor are our concerns the same. Back then, it was about surviving if you got lost in the woods. The only major disaster anyone talked about was the thermonuclear war. It wasn’t a very comprehensive viewpoint compared to the one we have today.

Our understanding of disasters and the risks we face have expanded since then. We now have a whole plethora of disaster scenarios we study, seeking out how to survive them. But we also have many more tools to work with, much more gear we can choose from, and even packaged survival food we can buy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

WATER GLASSING EGGS: PRESERVE YOUR EGGS FOR WINTER!

How To Make A Bug Out Jacket


The bug out bag is something that is ingrained into the fabric of the prepping community. Odds are good that most survivalists and preppers either have a bug out bag ready to go or are intimately aware of what one is and how to construct one.

While having the necessary survival gear in a bag is great, what happens when you end up in a situation that you have only the clothes on your back? What happens if you are forced to abandon your bug out bag?

This is where a bug out bag jacket comes into play.

Why Would You Need A Bug Out Bag Jacket?

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Canning Meat (Super Easy Raw Pack)

What Should You Do If You’re Being Followed?

by Bernie Carr

I came across a post on Facebook written by a woman who was certain she was being followed by a man while shopping at Walmart. Before exiting the store, she spoke with a manager who assigned one of the associates to walk her to her car. As she walked out, she noticed the same man hanging around outside, but he walked away when he saw she was accompanied as she left the store.

It is scary when you feel you are being followed. I’ll never forget when it happened to me. Years ago, I took out some cash at a bank branch inside a grocery store. As the teller counted out the cash, I felt this guy at the next counter staring at me. Instead of walking back to my car, I grabbed a shopping cart and went to the grocery store. At one point, I faced him and looked straight at him, then I quickly walked to aisles that had a lot of people. After that he went off in another direction. I think the fact that he knew I was aware of his actions, plus my walking to a crowded area sent him away. I was on high alert when I left the grocery store and made sure there were a lot of people around when I got in my car.

How to tell you are being followed

Before you start thinking why would anyone follow me, I’m no one, think again. You could have an ex who hasn’t given up harassing you, someone with a grudge against you, a stalker, road rage driver – you just never know. Or, you could be a target for a follow home robbery. Just a few weeks ago, two women in Houston were robbed at gunpoint at their apartment after the perpetrator followed them home from ATM nearby.

  • Practice situational awareness at all times. This means you must be focused on who’s around you, your immediate surroundings. If you are driving, you notice the cars that are near you.
  • According to former CIA officer Jason Hanson, author of Spy Secrets that can Save Your Life the rule of thumb in the intelligence community:

One time-an accident

Two times-a coincidence

Three times-enemy action

As an example, if you think you are being followed at a Walmart, go to unrelated aisles such as the produce department, electronics, then furniture. If the person is still sticking around, he may be following you.

  • Is the individual matching your pace?
  • Is the person staring intently at you? When I was followed at the grocery store, I felt the guy staring at me as the bank teller was counting out my cash withdrawal.
  • Are you noticing the person at various times, in various areas?
  • If you are driving, make three to four right turns and see if the car you noticed is still behind you. Or, if you are on the freeway, safely get off the freeway then get back on.
  • Trust your gut. Don’t discount your intuition or “spidey” sense – a lot of times, victims regret not listening to that inner voice warning them something bad is about to happen.

What to do

You’ve noticed you are being followed. What should you do? In my case, I went to a crowded grocery store and purposely visited the most crowded aisles. For about three aisles, I knew he was still behind me, but by the fifth turn, I turned around and left.

Stay calm

Take a few deep breaths and calm yourself down. If you panic you might endanger yourself more.

Pause and take a look

As it turns out, when I looked directly at the guy who I believed was following me, I had done the right thing by looking over and making him realize I was on to him. Criminals would rather pick someone who is not paying attention than someone who is alert and watchful.

“While you are walking, simply pause, turn around, and pretend to do something-like check your phone, tie a shoe, or turn around as if you were looking for someone. Then look directly at the person you think is following you.”

Source: Spy Secrets that can Save Your Life

Don’t look like a victim

Walk purposefully, keep your head up. Use your cellphone and call someone (while out in public). Speak in a loud voice. If you have pepper spray, make sure you have it out.

Stay in a public place

If you are driving, don’t go home. The last thing you want if for the criminal to know where you live. As the news report indicated, criminals often follow their target all the way home. You are vulnerable as you are getting out of your car or walking to your door.

Instead, go to a busy area such as a department store, coffee shop or fast food restaurant that is open. Many stores have shut down during the pandemic, so make sure the place you are headed to is open!

Get help

If you are in a store, don’t try to walk to your car. Go to security and have someone walk you to your car.

The final word

Criminals choose their victims based on their perception that the target will be weak and caught by surprise. If you appear strong, alert, observant, they’ll be motivated to move along.

Monday, March 21, 2022

How to Make Hardtack (Forever Lasting Bread)

The Best Ways to Get Rid of Mice in Your House and Garage


If you build it, mice will come. Sooner or later, you'll probably need to get rid of mice or rats. Fall is prime time for an increase in mice in your house, as they look for winter protection, but mice and rats can move in at any time. While small, mice and rats can cause big problems. They chew on everything, causing property damage and potential fire risks when they gnaw on electrical wiring and build tinder dry nests in dark corners. Rodents can spread disease, on their own, through the parasites they carry (their fleas carried the Black Plague) or through their droppings (such as hantavirus).



get rid of mice

How to Tell if You Have Mice in Your House

It’s probably more common to see mouse droppings or mouse damage before you see the mice themselves, as they are nocturnal. When I was a kid, the little buggers would drive me crazy at night running around up in the attic. Thankfully we didn’t get rats in the house, but they would sometimes show up in the outbuildings around the farm.