How to make your own apple cider vineger

We all know the health benefits of real apple cider vinegar-and just how expensive it is. I decided to make some and used information from a couple of older books. It is easy to do and you don’t need a cider press, just patience as the fermenting and souring process take time.

CAUTION!! Remember that any vinegar you use in canning must be 5% acidic to be safe. Do not use city water because the chlorine will kill your bacteria and yeast. Do not use metal containers – only glass, plastic or ceramic crocks.

  • 1 gallon glass jar
  • 1/2 gallon water – well or purified
  • 1/2 cup each of honey and organic sugar
  • apple cores and peels – any variety will work, but I like to mix tart and sweet
  • 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • 1 teaspoon dry bread yeast – if needed

Bloom Where You’re Planted

A lot is written about the perfect retreat, that lovely cabin surrounded by the forest serenaded by a babbly creek with fresh cool water. A few chickens roam the securely fenced compound and a fence of screen wire keeps them out of the thriving vegetable patch, so verdant that it’s trying to creep underneath the fence.

For how many of us is that actually reality? If you can’t afford that dream, should you give up on prepping? Should all of your resources go towards getting out of the city? Should you give up a good job and relocate, hoping for the best?

Opinions differ, but I say “No.” Bloom where you’re planted is a phrase that I once cross-stitched on a pillow and it’s a phrase that has stuck in my head as I’ve moved around many times in my adult life. I look at that phrase a lot differently now that I’m a prepper, but it still holds true. Wherever you are, whatever your surroundings, you can still be more prepared that 95% of the sheeple around you.

A Wood Cookstove is a Must Have!


One of the most immediate problems during a prolonged power outage is keeping the food in your fridge and freezer from spoiling. In the coming hard times we expect the power to be out for a long time—estimates vary from a few weeks to over a year depending on your location. How will you keep food from spoiling during that time? And what will you do with the valuable food in your fridge and freezer as it warms up?

You can buy yourself more time by keeping spare space in the top of your freezer full of ice (frozen water bottles or ice packs that can be moved in and out as space permits). The ice will act as a temporary emergency backup and keep the food below it frozen longer. A full freezer also runs more efficiently. You can put a few ice containers in the fridge to keep it cooler too. In the 40s and 50s many houses had an “icebox” instead of a refrigerator. These were small insulated containers that were literally cooled by a block of ice in a container on top. The ice was harvested in the winter from lakes in massive blocks by teams of men and horses. It was stored in barns or big cellars covered with deep piles of hay as insulation.

The Poor Prepper’s Guide to Renewable Energy

There are a lot of misconceptions about the best way to set up a renewable/ backup/off-grid power system. I’ve been designing and building power systems for over 30 years.

The last 10 years have been a sort of Renaissance of R.E. There has been an explosion of solar panels, wind turbines, charge controllers, and inverters from our “far eastern” (China) friends. Some of it is actually not bad in quality while some of it is junk that can damage the rest of your system. While we all wish we had unlimited funds like the heroes in all of the TEOTWAWKI novels we love to read, the reality is that most of us are operating on limited funds.

So how do we decide what will work for your system? Firstly get out a pen and paper and decide what your needs are. Lights are a must, power for TV’s,phones and laptop chargers are also a necessity. Where are you getting water from is a real consideration…

If you live in a rural location like I do, then the first thing is to get a generator for backup. While The Big Home Improvement Stores want to sell you a fancy generator with auto start, self-testing and an automatic transfer switch which costs $3000.00 and up, the truth is you can get by with far less.

How to raise Meat Chickens

Surviving in Suburbia: How one family turned their suburban lot into a productive mini-farm

Gather together a group of preparedness minded folks and the conversation invariably turns to pulling up stakes and moving to the country to create a self-reliant home and life. But, for many, moving is not an option. Work, family, kids, health, personal responsibilities are all valid reasons keeping people in their present location. It may not be what we want, but it is where we are right now. We don’t have to postpone our path to self-reliance or preparing for a crisis, though, we can start where we are, with what we have.

Even though a vast country property might be ideal, a large suburban lot can be just as productive. It can be a place to learn and practice, make mistakes; a place to build skills and confidence and learn how to live a life not reliant on a consumeristic society.

When I moved to my property 15 years ago I did so with the idea that I would make it a productive mini farm, with all the pieces of a traditional farm, only smaller. Through the years we have worked and built, reevaluated and rethought what this farm can produce. It’s a creative process that relies on calculated rotation of livestock and produce for maximum production.

Solar Water Pumps

I recommend having a well or large cistern for backup water use when municipal water is unavailable in a prolonged crisis, but you still need a reliable way to get the water out of the ground if grid power is down. As usual, I recommend multiple options as backup—solar power or windmill pumps and a manual backup pump with spare parts for each system. You should also have spare pipe and fittings on hand for repairs and new configurations.

The Ultimate Chicken Coop – Update– Update

Last year I wrote, and MD published, several articles on my Ultimate Chicken Coop project. The Coop and Pen have now been in use for the past 8 months. We are actually using what we designed and built. We’ve got 7 laying hens and, if they could talk, I’m pretty sure they’d say they were thrilled with their new living quarters. I thought that I’d write an update on how the finished project is working out. The Bear Proof Pen and Coop Control System are working well ……. every feature operates as designed (although you’ll read below that some of the features are not being used). All in all, we feel the entire project is a success.

How to use (and retrofit) a treadle sewing machine

Despite the increasing popularity of prepping and self-reliant living, we discovered hand-operated tools were still amazingly available and affordable ― perhaps because there were so many high-quality tools made before the plastic and petroleum age.

We wanted hand-operated devices rather than relying on alternative energy. We even had wind and solar systems at that time, but realized the fragility of those micro-grid energy sources. If just one component goes bad and parts aren’t easily attained, the entire system is left useless. We knew we could not make or repair a solar panel, battery or wind turbine blade ourselves during a catastrophe.