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Staying Healthy In the Wilderness

Staying Healthy in the Wilderness

 Your body is one of the most important considerations of survival that we often overlook in favor of the latest prepper gear. Imagine a bug out scenario where you could be walking over rough terrain, possibly for hundreds of miles to make it to your bug out location or even back to your own family. If you get hurt or ill, life can become monumentally more difficult, and if you are forced to rely on your body more than usual such as in a bug out scenario it has to be taken care of. So how can you keep your body healthy in the wilderness if you are spending extended periods of time outside? Here are some tips and tricks to keep your body in tip-top shape so you’re sure to make it back safe.


Hiking Boots

Your feet are your transportation. While blisters can be an annoyance if treated properly, a cut foot can lay you up for a week, maybe more, while frostbite can lead to lasting damage. To protect yourself from these dangers you’ll need the right gear. Merino wool socks wick away sweat and dampness from your skin. Though these socks are extremely warm, they are also breathable and keep your feet from getting too wet. Unlike cotton, the warming qualities of wool doesn’t diminish once it is wet.

Once you have the right socks, it’s important to have the right boots. Nothing contributes to foot blisters more than ill-fitting boots. Weight, stability and material all make a difference. It’s a good idea to have more than one pair of footwear if you’re going to be spending a lot of time away. Remember that a light pair of boots will probably be more comfortable but less durable, so having a pair of each will ensure you’re prepared.

While good socks and boots are essential to keep your feet safe from harm, blisters can form as boots wear in or break down, changing their shape. Be prepared with some cloth athletic tape or moleskin.



If you’re spending time in snow-covered landscapes and sun, temporary snow blindness can occur if you don’t have the proper eyewear. Just because you’re not spending a lot of time in snow fields doesn’t mean your eyes are safe either. Even on overcast days glare can make you squint and cause eye fatigue. Use sunglasses with UV-protective lenses. Just like with your boots, it might be a good idea to have an extra pair or, at the very least, some replacement lenses in case the ones you currently use become scratched or broken during your trek.


Hiking layers

Keeping your body in good shape while in the wilderness isn’t always about staying warm. Sometimes it’s also about staying cool. This means layering your clothing so you can regulate your temperature. Becoming too hot and dehydrated is just as much a worry as becoming too cold and falling ill. Layering clothing is pretty simple, but not necessarily intuitive.

Three layers are the norm. The first layer is moisture management. This on-skin layer regulates your temperature by moving moisture away from your skin. This layer is commonly made from merino wool. The second layer is an insulating layer. This is a down jacket, wool sweater or even a traditional fleece. The last layer is your weather protection. This is a rainproof, windproof shell that protects your inner layers from getting wet. If the weather is nice, it’s easy to regulate your temperature by shedding layers. While this equipment is necessary, it’s also expensive, so it’s a good idea to look around and do some homework before investing your money, just to make sure you get the products that fit your needs the best.

Hat and Gloves

Lastly, a good hat that will keep the sun or rain off your head and gloves to protect your hands are important items to have. You may not need the gloves if you are walking down the road in the middle of summer, but even relatively lightweight gloves like Mechanix Gloves are great to have. If you need to pick up anything hot or cold or are forced to scrabble over rocky terrain, gloves will save your hands from injury.

For hiking I have two different types of hats that are lightweight but meet different criteria. For sun protection and rain I have the regular boonie style hats that you can find almost anywhere and a wool cap for colder conditions. Both are great to have if I am spending a lot of time outside. These two are easy to forget but are very important in keeping you protected from the elements.

Your bug out scenario will be dependent on a lot of factors, but if you are counting on your body to get you to safety, you need to take care of it.

This article was written by Pat Henry and can be viewed here:


Grow, Can and Store!

Like me, so many of us are diligently planning our spring gardens.  We start our pen-to-paper plans, gather supplies to start our precious seeds, and wait for the weather to turn so we might start working and preparing our beds.  But in this idle time we have waiting, you really should be considering inventorying your canning supplies and planning your crop based on your families  need.


It’s a good time to calculate how many jars of pickles, cans of jelly and jam your family typically needs to get you through winter months.  I learned this winter that I hadn’t actually canned enough dills to carry me through.  Same was for our tomatoes.  I’m down to only a few jars of my tomato’s and sauce not having realized how much our family of four would actually go through.  I’m a good canner, but my math needs to be honed.

I am now in the process of figuring out how many canning jars and sizes I have vs. what I will need.  Same for lids.  Since I have to replace dozens of lids, I have opted to invest in reusable Tattler lids after having decided they work beautifully and will save me money in the long run.  Another consideration I made was, as a committed prepper, I believe material may be hard to come by.  Having to replace my lids every time I can and believing there is even a remote possibility that they may be hard to come by would defeat all my seasonal garden planning.

How many quart jars did I use last year and how many more I need this year was a big question.  How much jelly or jam will I put up?  How much applesauce or peaches will I need?  Obviously, I could never lay out a formula for you, but you really should start planning and pre-planning.   And buying your canning supplies now, before the season hits will save you money.  Last season I found myself running around looking and buying jars when the prices were their highest.  Buy them out-of-season to get the best price.


Salt, sugar and spices will also be needed.  Will you be planting the herbs you will need to can your harvest?  Dill is one that is vital to me.  Italian herbs are as important.


You may, like me, wish to scan all your recipes and determine which ingredients you can grow and what you will need to purchase.  Start planning now, watch for sales on items you will need to purchase and be sure to stock up on it when it’s most feasible.  And your canning books are as important as anything.  A few of the VERY best I could recommend are:

Ball Complete Book Of Home Preserving

Canning is just one aspect to preserving your food.  Dehydrating is another.  Do you have a dehydrator?  You can look on Craigslist or garage sales to find one, but if you are seriously planning on building a food supply, you really need to invest in one.  And because dehydrating is sometimes much more than slicing and drying, you will want a great cookbook.  The best on the market (by many standards and reviews) is Mary Bell’s Complete Dehydrator Cookbook.

The same is true for a vacuum seal system.  I use and would recommend the FoodSaver which is a workhorse.  I use it nearly every day and much more in the summer months.   All these appliances which allows you to protect and preserve your food may not pay for themselves this season, but they will pay for themselves over time.


Also, if you plan on putting some of your foods into long-term storage, you will need oxygen absorbers and mylar bags.  Start asking your bakery and deli department for 5 gallon buckets now. You may also wish to purchase moisture absorbers as an added line of protection for your food.  You will need these if you plan to store food.  Many local businesses will give them away or sell them for $1 each.  But, be sure you get food-grade buckets.  You may also wish to invest in high quality gamma lids.

I’m Penny Batts, aka PrepperPenny! Having been born and raised in Illinois, I now live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband of 20 years and two small grandchildren. After having a successful career in non-profit management, I now devote all my time to my family and home. I am a suburban homesteader having transformed our home into a sanctuary of simple, country living without the demands and stresses of the society around us all. I hope you enjoy watching me and my family as we learn new aspects of this glorious life that leads us to self-reliance and preparedness for an inevitable economic collapse of the US economy, wars, terror attacks and other natural or man-made disasters. All this serious consideration has not taken away my zest and love for life. It’s serious, yes. But I love to teach preparedness with joy and happiness. I advocate being prepared so you will not be scared.

This post can also be viewed here:  www.modernhomesteaders.net

Making Homemade Vanilla Extract

20130611 231723 Making Homemade Vanilla Extract

A couple weeks ago one evening I started on my homemade vanilla extract! This is something that I’ve always wanted to try out, but had been skeptical about it, and still am….a bit. I’ve been reading from various blogs about how easy and cost effective it was to make your own so I’ve finally decided to try it myself. I LOVE vanilla extract but buying pure vanilla extract can be costly!! Looking at the recipe to make it, it will take 2 months or longer (the longer it sits, the better!) so I think making it now will be perfect for the holiday seasons coming up where I will use vanilla extract a lot.  Homemade vanilla extract takes up to 6 months to be completely finished, but you can start using it after only 4 weeks.

Here’s what you’ll need-

  • 3 vanilla beans
  • 1 cup of vodka
  • glass jar with a tight fitting lid

20130611 231222 Making Homemade Vanilla ExtractMy vanilla beans are from Madagascar & my vodka is from Krogers 


1. Use kitchen scissors or a sharp paring knife to cut lengthwise down each vanilla bean, splitting them in half, leaving an inch at the end connected. 


20130611 231513 Making Homemade Vanilla Extract
(you can see the bottom of the beans are still connected and it’s split all the way to other end)

2. Put vanilla beans in a glass jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid. (I used my wide mouth pint jars and lids) Add in the 1 cup of vodka.

3. Give the bottle a good shake frequently, everyday would be best if you remember, and store in a cool, dark place.

Once completed, homemade vanilla extract can lasts for years. I plan on buying some cute bottles to put them in to give as gifts this year. Also, once the beans have been used in your extract, you can lay them out to dry and use to make vanilla sugar! Lay out the beans so that they dry out and then place the split vanilla beans into a jar of white sugar. This is a great way to infuse the sugar with vanilla flavor for baking….and just in time for the holiday season!

**I’ll keep ya’ll posted on my progress!**

Mary is a married mother of two children, who lives with her family on a 5 acres farm in Southwestern Ohio. While at work, she day dreams of being a full time farmer and gardener. Within the last couple of years, her and her husband, Aaron, became more interested in becoming self sustaining and leaving a lesser impact on Earth for future generations. Together, they have worked on growing more vegetables and fruits around their farm, raising animals, learning how to cook wild game caught, and learning how to preserve that food they harvest. Mary’s blog, Homegrown on the Hill, is a creation of their journey to becoming more self-sustaining. She has been a contributing author with Modern Homesteaders since May 2013. You can find her here at Modern Homesteaders with her weekly articles, or look for her at her blog, Homegrown on the Hill, and on Facebook as well!

This post can also be viewed here:  www.modernhomesteaders.net

Poverty Jelly

In the worst of financial circumstances you can always make bread.  It is incredibly inexpensive and fills your belly.  Having a jelly or jam on top can be the difference between choking down bland sustenance or having a sweet treat.  You can really make jelly out of anything and people have.  For years my grandmother and great grandmother made strange jelly appear out of nowhere.  I would like to share a few of those recipes with you.


This one will be familiar to many.  It isn’t common but it isn’t uncommon either.  This is easily my favorite and I love it because it makes use of what would otherwise just get thrown out.  There are lots of colored sweet corns out there now and the cobs of these colored ears dye your jelly.  Many people like to use red cob corn for the sole purpose of making their jelly red, which is fine.  I have seen purple, white, yellow red and orange cob jelly.  You could just use a little food coloring too.  Play with the color and have fun.

We usually have between 14 and 20 ears of corn after my family is done with a meal.  I usually use 1 cup of water to 3 ears of corn as a ratio.  Boil your ears for 15 minutes in the stock pot you used to boil them initially.  After 15 minutes discard the cobs and strain your water through cheesecloth (or I admit it…I frequently cheat and use a dishtowel).  Using 16 cobs…this should give you about 4 cups of liquid.    Return to your pot and add 2 ounces of fruit pectin and bring to a rolling boil.  Add 4 cups of sugar and return it to a boil.  Skim off the foam and add color (if you desire).  Pour into cleaned and hot canning jars and let stand upside down for 10 minutes.  Turn upright and allow them to cool completely before you store them.


Lots of people have crabapple trees and have no idea what to do with the bitter little things.  Well…make jelly of course!

Pick about 2 quarts of crabapples.  Clean, de-stem and cut out bad spots.  Cut in half.  Place your cleaned up fruit into a pot of water with the water level at the top of the apples.  Simmer the apples in the pot for 30-60 minutes or until the fruit is tender but not mushy.  Let the fruit drain into pot for several hours using a jelly bag or pantyhose.  You may speed up the process by using cheesecloth and squeezing but this will give you a cloudy jelly.  Ideally let them hang for 12 hours and then measure how many cups you have.  Use 3/4 of a cup of sugar for every cup of juice.

Pour the juice into a pan and let simmer for 30 minutes.  Add sugar per original number of cups of juice and bring to a boil.  Add 2 pats of butter to cut down on foam.  Simmer for an additional 10 minutes and the natural pectin will start to thicken your jelly.  It should drop from the spoon in sheets rather than drops.  Store in hot, clean jars.  Ideally this jelly should be sweet tart.  They are crabapples after all.


Wondering what to do with the pesky weeds that pop up everywhere in your yard.  Make one of the prettier  jellies and use what otherwise would just be a nuisance!

Start with 1 quart of lightly packed dandelion flowers.  Only the yellow portion.  Try not to get any of the bitter greens of stem in to the pot.  Boil the flowers in 2 quarts of water for about 10 minutes.  Cool and strain your liquid.  Add 2tbs of lemon juice, the zest of one lemon and 1 package of pectin to 3 cups of yellow liquid.  Bring to a rolling boil and then add 5 cups of sugar.  Mix well and return to a boil.  Pour into hot pint jars and seal.  Allow to cool before storing.



I love beets but they get a bum rap when it comes to doing things with them.  There is more to them than making pickled beets.  It is a pretty jelly for sure.

Use 8-10 medium beets.  Peel and simmer in 5 cups of water until fork tender.  Strain the beets juice which should yeild about 4 cups.  Mix the beet juice with 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 pkg of pectin and bring to a full boil.  Stir in 6 cups of sugar and return to a boil for roughly 1-2 minutes.  Put into hot, clean jars and let cool before storing.


Spring is a great time to make floral jelly.  Violet jelly is beautiful to look at and has a faintly floral, kind of grape flavor.  I give it in gifts often because it just looks that darn good!

Collect 3 cups of violet blooms.  Pick all the stems and greens from the flowers.  Pour 3 cups of boiling water onto the flowers and let them steep until the water color is a bright and brilliant blue.  Strain the flowers and place your blue water into your cooking pot.  Add the juice of one lemon and your liquid will change color.  This is normal!  Add 1 pkg of pectin and bring to a rolling boil.  Add 3 1/2 cups of sugar and return to a boil while stirring.  Place into hot/clean jars as normal and allow to cool.

**You can also make LAVENDER JELLY using 1/2 cup of dried lavender flowers.  Place them into 3 1/2 cups of boiling water and allow them to steep for 30 minutes.  Prepare in the same way as the violet jelly.

So I hope you get the gist of it.  You can also follow the basic rules above and make jelly out of your discarded pea pods, extra cucumbers, any fruit tree you have around your house and many florals, like roses.  My favorite question is “what can I do with that?”  Always think about what you can do with what you have available…before you pay for it!


My name is Tracy Loucks but at Modern Homesteaders I am the Hometree Gal. We started homesteading 3 years ago and still have much to learn. My family consists of my husband Todd and our 7 children…Toney, Amanda, Steven, Samuel, Sawyer, Marley and Ben. We live in Missouri at Hometree Homestead where we raise goats, rabbits, chickens, turkeys, ducks and an occasional hog. We, of course, garden but every year the garden gets bigger and yet is never big enough! We also homeschool the children who are still at home. I am happy to be a small part of the MH family. I do think that tough times are ahead for our country and people truly need to know how to take care of their own!

This post can also be viewed here:  www.modernhomesteaders.net

The Seasonal Food Challenge

Hey Preppers,

Have you ever noticed that your supermarket in Chicago has bananas for sale in February? Down here in South Florida, we have chestnuts available at Christmas time, and lots of other stuff that you know came from a place far, far away. Can anyone even remember a time when the only things you could get to eat were produce that was “in season” and locally grown? I can’t. We take for granted amazing things like coconuts for sale in a market in Montana, and don’t realize that the variety that we have been blessed with, even in the dead of winter, is something that is plain old unnatural. Even worse, the fuel used to transport all these wonderful things to our area leaves a carbon footprint and increases our dependency on foreign sources of oil.

In the old days, we could only eat whatever food was in season, and grown relatively close by if not locally. The complex infrastructure that allows us to eat a wide variety of produce is still intact, but one day that infrastructure, fragile as it is, may no longer be there. What will we do then, after being spoiled our whole lives by the luxury of having the entire world be our grocery store? We’ll have to eat what is grown nearby and producing at that time of the year. It will be a shock, and it won’t be pretty.

I’m looking at our garden. It’s pretty extensive for a suburban property; yet, because it’s so hot here in summer, we have less variety that what we usually have in the cooler seasons. Agriculturally, this is our winter. Despite this, we South Floridians still have cucumbers, okra, some melons, peppers, bananas (yes, we have bananas), sugar cane, avocados and mangos. If we only ate what grew naturally and at this time of year, I could scare up a diet that would keep us healthy just by adding a protein source. But what if we were up north in the winter? We’d be living off whatever we were able to store: corn, potatoes, apples, more if we were skilled at dehydrating.

What if a collapse occurs, and there’s no transportation of food to our area? Without significant food storage, our diet would be pretty bleak by today’s standards. It’s important to plan out now what your daily meals will be like if the you-know-what hits the fan one day. If you’re a prepper, your food storage will fill in the gaps. If you’re not, you’re in trouble.

Here’s a challenge for you. Spend one season, maybe even just a couple of weeks, eating only what’s locally grown and in season for your area. This won’t be a terrible sacrifice in the summer. Many farmer’s markets will sell only locally grown produce. Doing this will teach you what is locally grown in your area, and this is good to know. Visit the same market at different times of the year, and you’ll see how availability changes depending on the season. This will give you a true picture of what is going to go on the table if things go South. If you’re smart, you’ll save some of the seeds from the produce you buy, and plant it next spring. At the very least, you will gain an appreciation for the bounty that we currently enjoy, even if it is somewhat at the expense of the environment in terms of fuel used to deliver it to us.

Dr. Bones

This is a guest post by:


You can view the original article here: http://www.doomandbloom.net/the-seasonal-food-challenge/

Can also be viewed here:  www.modernhomesteaders.net