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Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.
Don’t you just love to get out in the garden and get your hands dirty? This week I had so much fun when I planted broccoli and beets. Alas, Sluggo notwithstanding, a snail ate one of my broccoli plants but I still have 7 left so that is okay.
I did purchase starts at the local nursery. The starts were for heirlooms and began life organically so I feel no remorse for not starting the seeds myself. That said, I have at least a hundred packets of heirloom, non-GMO seeds in storage, just in case. I know I have mentioned this before but the best way to accumulate quality seeds specific to your area is to subscribe to the Seeds of the Month Club. It is amazing how quickly they add up.
One advantage of purchasing starts at a neighborhood nursery as opposed to a big box store is that you can get personalized assistance with your selections. Browne’s Nursery had four or five different types of broccoli starts available. After eliminating the generic “green broccoli”, I asked about the differences between them. The clerk who is actually much more than that handed me a computer and we looked up the various varieties so I could pick the one that was perfect for my semi-shady location.
Moving on to the beets, I needed more help. I have always sowed seeds with tweezers, spacing them apart by an inch or so. The little pots of beet starts were a jumble of little beet-leaves. Since beets grow underground, I knew that they would have to be spaced further apart once they went into the ground. But how do I do that?
My friendly nursery lady took a pot of tiny starts and tipped it over. She showed me that the little seedlings would separate in my hand and I could easily transplant them with their tiny little root systems intact. Heck, you learn something new every day!
You can bet that the next time I start seeds I am going to put a mess of them into a little tub and do the same thing, transplanting to larger pots or the ground when the little leaves have sprouted. This will save a ton of time.
I know there are many experienced gardeners out there but there are just as many that are just getting started. My advice to newbies is to find a friendly nursery and let them help you. Most are staffed by plant lovers and will be glad to teach you the art of growing veggies, one baby step at a time.
Moving on, last week I talked about the never-ending to-do list. This week I am sharing a partial list of the half-finished projects I have going soon. Once you read about them, you might not feel so alone as you tackle the challenges on your list.
So what am I working on these days?
I am working on putting a small Faraday cage together using the instructions my pal George wrote about in the article How to Build a Simple Faraday Cage for EMP Survival. I have configured an old laptop computer with the latest security and software, and am now getting other older, unused electronics out of storage to include as well. The time-consuming part is testing everything first since there is no point putting defective gear away for an emergency.
My recipe for Cayenne Healing Salve is still a work in process as I refine the recipe and methodology used for infusing the cayenne itself. With luck, I will have the article ready within a week or two.
You know all of those giveaway questions I ask? One of those was a call for recipes using food storage and I am halfway through compiling a cookbook for you. Now how cool is that? I may do one more call for additional recipes before I wrap it up. This will be a freebie, of course.
It was time to re-work my first aid kit so I gathered everything I had, and set the various bits and pieces in my bathtub for sorting. Yes, the bathtub! Space is at a premium in my house. I added a bunch of new items plus I ordered two ammo cans that I will use to store everything. As soon as I am done, I will share the contents of my newly remodeled first aid kits with you.
Ditto my vehicle bug out bag/emergency kit. I brought it inside and have taken it apart so that I can swap out the contents with a different mix of items. You do learn a lot over the years and the items I will include now are slightly different than what I put together four years ago. To be honest, now, more than ever I recognize the importance of having different kits that serve different purposes. A kit for driving around the island where I live is quite different than the one I need when I take a field trip to Seattle.
By the way, I am thrilled to let you know that Karen S., a long time reader, will be sharing her best practices in putting together various kits for her own use. Like me, she has come to the conclusion that it is easier to put together different kits for different purposes than to have on humongous kit.
I am always talking about my small house. Honestly, it only has one bedroom which is on the second floor. The first floor is one room and there are piles of projects and stuff all over the place. I have a fabulous dining table that only gets cleared off when we have friends over. Maybe I will devote a future Buzz or article to pictures of what things look like around here.
Whew, that is a lot going on and not even the half of it. Is your project list anything like mine?
The Survival Buzz #167
Ready for some giveaways?
Remember, the deadline for all giveaway entries is 6:00 PM Pacific on Tuesdays.
In addition, all winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate will be selected. Once selected, the names of winners are also displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article. This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway.
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The Final Word
I can hardly believe May is already here. To be honest, the past few months have not been easy for me as I have struggled with my client work, the website, social media, and commitments I made to provide content to a few select websites.
Normally, I take a vacation trip to Alaska in June but that is not going to happen this year. There is simply too much going on plus, I really do want to spend some time gardening this summer and traveling and gardening are not compatible. In addition, I want to save money for a big adventure I have coming up in October. More about that soon.
With that, I will turn the table over to you. What did you do to prep this week?
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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The ALMOST FREE Department
It is time for a Survival Buzz “Almost Free” item. Shelly found these on sale recently. It is a great deal given that the match holders alone are worth the cost.
When I tested these matches last summer, I tried to drown them in salt water first; both inside and outside the waterproof plastic case. They really are waterproof! As of this writing, $2.29 with free shipping.
Here are some of the items I mentioned in today’s article.
MTM Ammo Can (Forest Green): I am pretty excited about these ammo cans. They are very sturdy and even when filled, do not bend or bow when carried by the handle. They hold a lot more than I initially thought and the price is reasonable. For testing, I set the cans outside in the rain and it did not leak; always a good sign.
Monterey Sluggo Snail & Slug Control For Organic Gardening: Sluggo does not help with the deer but this is the only thing I will use to deter slugs and snails. It works.
Seeds of the Month Club: Having heirloom seeds will never be a coulda woulda shoulda since new packets arrive monthly, right on schedule. As I mentioned in the article, I have yet to receive a duplicate seek packet. Not only that, the seeds are regionalized to my geographical area here in Washington State.
Behrens 10-Gallon Locking Lid Can: This 10 gallon can what I am using for my Faraday cage from small electronics. The locking lid is a bonus although I would still seal the edges with 2” duct tape. This price, by the way, is less than my local Ace Hardware store. Also available in this larger size 20 Gallon size.
3M Duct Tape: A good quality duct tape is an absolute necessity when sealing your DIY Faraday cage. For slightly less, you can purchase 3M Utility Grade Duct Tape
Midland 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios: No license needed!! These are the handheld radios that I own. There are lots of good uses for the these radios. Handy while hiking, traveling, or simply keeping in touch with your partner while out shopping. Just be aware that getting a 36 mile range out of any handheld FRS radio is a myth. These are going in my Faraday cage.
BaoFeng UV5R Dual-Band Two-Way Radio: I own two of these. Something to keep in mind that if you are just planning to listen, you do not need a license. Still, it is a good idea because it will make understanding the technical aspects of HAM radio a whole lot easier.
Special Note: BaoFeng and Pofung radios are one and the same. Newer units are branded with “Pofung”. Here is the Pofung UV-5R.
The No-Nonsense, Technician Class License Study Guide: Dan Romanchik’s guide is available for free – you can read it online or download it and save it to your computer. For $7.99, you can also purchase a version for the Kindle: The No-Nonsense Technician Class License Study Guide for Tests starting July 1, 2014.
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