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Outdoor Survival Skills

Crops to Can and Preserve in August for Beginning Homesteaders

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As August ushers in an abundant harvest on the homestead, beginning homesteaders can seize the opportunity to preserve the summer’s bounty for year-round enjoyment. Canning and preserving fresh produce allow homesteaders to savor the flavors of the season even during the coldest months. In this article, we will explore the best crops to can and preserve in August. From tangy tomatoes to crisp cucumbers, these preservation techniques will equip beginning homesteaders with the skills to stock their pantries with homemade delights.

Tomatoes

Organic ripe tomato cluster

Juicy and versatile, tomatoes are a quintessential crop for canning and preserving. Consider making homemade tomato sauce, salsa, or canned whole tomatoes to add a burst of summer flavor to winter dishes.

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Peppers

three bell peppers

Whether sweet or spicy, peppers can be pickled or preserved in vinegar solutions for use in salads, sandwiches, or as a zesty condiment.

Cucumbers

Heap of fresh sliced Cucumbers

Crisp and refreshing, cucumbers can be transformed into crunchy pickles, either dill or bread-and-butter style, perfect for snacking or pairing with grilled dishes.

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Zucchini and Summer Squash

Experiencing a surplus of zucchini and summer squash? Preserve them by pickling or turning them into relishes to add a tangy twist to various meals. Check this video out from Outdoors and Country Living on how to preserve your zucchini and summer squash!

Video from Outdoors and Country Living

Berries

Bunch of red viburnum berries on a branch

August brings forth an abundance of berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Consider making berry jams or fruit preserves to spread on toast or pair with cheeses. Check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation article on the best berries to can and preserve.

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Peaches

whole peach and split

Juicy and aromatic, peaches are a summertime delight. Preserve them as peach preserves or canned peach slices to enjoy their sweetness in the colder months.

Green Beans

putting green beans into a wicker basket

Green beans can be canned as dilly beans or pickled with various spices for a flavorful snack or side dish.

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Corn

Corn field

Capture the essence of sweet corn by freezing or canning it as kernels or cream-style corn to savor its taste long after summer ends.

Apples

Apple tree

Though not ready for harvest until late summer or fall, consider preserving apples as applesauce or apple pie filling for cozy winter desserts.

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Herbs

aromatic herbs

Preserve the flavors of your herb garden by drying or freezing herbs such as basil, oregano, and thyme, ensuring a fragrant culinary journey throughout the year.

As August brings an abundant harvest to the homestead, beginning homesteaders have an excellent opportunity to embrace the art of canning and preserving. By preserving fresh produce at its peak, homesteaders can enjoy the vibrant flavors of summer during the colder months. From tangy tomato sauces to crunchy pickles and sweet fruit preserves, each preservation technique adds to the homesteader’s culinary repertoire and self-sufficiency.

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Embracing these preservation practices fosters a deeper connection with the land and a sense of accomplishment as the pantry shelves fill with homemade delights. What crops have you grown and what advice do you give to new homesteaders?

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Outdoor Survival Skills

A Quick Way To Estimate Remaining Daylight That Can Save Your Life

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Navigating the great outdoors can be a thrilling adventure, whether you’re out for a leisurely hike, an invigorating run, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature. But as the day wears on and the sun begins its descent towards the horizon, it’s essential to keep track of how much daylight you have left. 

While smartphones have become indispensable tools for many aspects of life, they’re not always reliable in remote areas or during outdoor activities. So, what do you do when you need to know how much daylight remains, but you don’t have access to your phone or any other timekeeping device? Fear not, for there’s a handy trick that has been passed down through generations – using nothing more than your hands and a bit of observation.

In an era where technology reigns supreme, it’s easy to overlook the simplicity and practicality of age-old techniques. Yet, sometimes, the simplest methods are the most effective. This is certainly true when it comes to estimating daylight using just your hands.

Now, before we delve into the intricacies of this method, it’s important to note that it’s not an exact science. Factors such as geographical location, terrain, and weather conditions can all impact its accuracy. However, it provides a rough estimate that can be surprisingly reliable in many situations.

So, how does it work? Let’s break it down step by step.

First, find a clear view of the horizon – a flat, unobstructed area where you can see the sun’s path as it moves across the sky. Ideally, you’ll want to be in an open space without tall buildings, trees, or mountains blocking your view.

Next, extend your arm straight out in front of you, with your palm facing towards you. Your arm should be fully extended and parallel to the ground, creating a straight line from your shoulder to your fingertips.

Now, focus on the position of the sun relative to the horizon. Place the bottom of your pinky finger on the horizon line, with your fingers together and pointing upwards. This creates a makeshift measuring tool that you’ll use to gauge the remaining daylight.

Observe how many fingers can fit between the horizon and the bottom of the sun. Each finger represents roughly 15 minutes of daylight, with four fingers equaling one hour. If there’s more space than one hand can cover, you can use your other hand to continue counting. And if the space exceeds the width of two hands, you can stack them on top of each other to measure accordingly.

By using this method, you can quickly estimate how much daylight you have left without the need for any external devices. It’s a simple yet effective way to stay informed and plan your outdoor activities accordingly.

Of course, it’s important to remember that this method is not foolproof. Variations in terrain, weather conditions, and other factors can affect the accuracy of your estimate. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to carry a backup timekeeping device, such as a watch or a smartphone, especially if you’re venturing into remote or unfamiliar areas.

Despite its limitations, the hand method can be a valuable tool for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, runners, and anyone else who spends time outside. It’s a testament to the ingenuity of humans and our ability to adapt and thrive in any environment.

In conclusion, knowing how to estimate daylight using just your hands is a useful skill that can come in handy when you least expect it. So, the next time you find yourself outdoors and in need of a quick time check, remember this simple yet effective method. Happy exploring!

 

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Outdoor Survival Skills

11 Nuclear Disaster Preparedness Supplies That Can Save Your Life

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In the realm of disaster preparedness, readiness for a nuclear or chemical attack is paramount. While such events are rare, their possibility cannot be overlooked, particularly in today’s volatile circumstances. Even novice preppers are increasingly mindful of preparing for a nuclear disaster due to its heightened reality. 

The risks and challenges associated with such events can be far more daunting than anticipated. However, with apt preparation and know-how, you can enhance your chances of survival and protect the safety and well-being of your loved ones. Here’s a comprehensive list of essentials you should include in your nuclear disaster prep kit:

1. Water

Water tops the list of essentials for surviving a nuclear disaster. You’ll need it for drinking, sanitation, and rinsing off radioactive fallout from your body. Experts recommend storing at least one gallon of water per person per day in reserve for survival situations. Bottled water is the safest option, as it is packaged before the disaster, ensuring it remains uncontaminated.

2. Food

Like water, food is essential for any emergency kit. Stock up on non-perishable and nutritious items to sustain your family for several days. Avoid using fresh fruits and vegetables, as they may be contaminated. Packaged food is the safest choice, as it is packaged before the disaster and is unlikely to be affected by radiation.

3. Essential Medications

Ensure you have an ample supply of essential medications to last several days. Stock up on medicines for common health conditions and prescription medications for all family members. Also, keep a well-stocked first-aid kit on hand to address unexpected injuries.

4. Potassium Iodide Tablets

Potassium iodide pills provide protection against radioactive iodine by preventing its absorption by the thyroid gland. Stock up on these tablets to lower the risk of thyroid cancer and other diseases resulting from nuclear exposure. However, remember that potassium iodide protects only the thyroid and not the rest of the body from radiation.

5. Personal Protection Equipment

Man wearing protective gas mask

Invest in personal protection equipment such as gas masks and hazmat suits to shield yourself from radiation. While staying indoors is the best course of action, evacuation may be necessary in certain situations. Equip yourself with the necessary gear to minimize radiation exposure.

6. Radiation Filter

A radiation filter is essential for long-term protection against radioactive particles in water. This device removes various radioactive contaminants, ensuring a safe water supply for consumption. Consider adding a radiation filter to your kit for extended protection.

7. Battery-Powered Radio

Stay connected during a nuclear disaster with a battery-powered radio. Use it to receive emergency broadcasts and instructions from local authorities. A hand-cranked radio is ideal, as it doesn’t rely on external power sources.

8. Decontamination Supplies

Ensure you have adequate decontamination supplies to clean yourself and your surroundings after exposure to radioactive fallout. Soap, water, and moist towelettes are essential for removing radioactive particles and minimizing exposure.

9. Plastic Bags, Gloves, and Accessories

Stock up on plastic bags for disposing of contaminated items, gloves for handling radioactive materials, and other accessories for managing nuclear waste. Sealable bags are ideal for identifying and containing hazardous materials.

10. Plastic Sheeting and Duct Tape

Seal off windows and ventilators in your shelter with plastic sheeting and duct tape to prevent the entry of harmful radiation. Choose a room without windows or ventilators for maximum protection against fallout. Note that you will need to find a way to properly ventilate the room, but this is a topic for an entire article. 

11. General Emergency Supplies

emergency-backpack-equipment-organized-on-table

Don’t forget general emergency supplies such as flashlights, batteries, matches, multi-tool devices, extra clothing, sleeping bags, cash, emergency contact information, and copies of personal documents. These items are essential for both sheltering in place and evacuation.

Disaster preparedness for a nuclear event is crucial for safeguarding yourself and your loved ones. By stocking up on essentials and taking proactive measures, you can mitigate the risks associated with nuclear disasters. Stay ahead of your supplies and regularly assess your preparedness to ensure you’re ready to face even the most critical situations. Remember, preparation is key to survival in any disaster scenario.

How is your family preparing for a nuclear disaster? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Family

Teaching Kids About Wilderness Safety and Survival

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Exploring the great outdoors offers numerous benefits for children, from fostering a love of nature to promoting physical activity and learning valuable life skills. However, venturing into the wilderness also comes with inherent risks. Teaching kids about wilderness safety and survival not only empowers them to enjoy outdoor adventures responsibly but also prepares them to handle unexpected situations effectively.

Understanding the Environment

The first step in teaching kids about wilderness safety is helping them understand the environment they’ll be exploring. Discuss potential hazards such as uneven terrain, wildlife encounters, and changes in weather conditions. Encourage curiosity about nature while emphasizing the importance of respecting its power and unpredictability.

Hiking Essentials

Before setting out on a hike, ensure that your children are equipped with the essential gear and knowledge to stay safe. Teach them to dress appropriately for the weather, wear sturdy footwear, and carry essentials such as water, snacks, a map, and a whistle. Emphasize the importance of staying on marked trails and never wandering off alone.

Navigation Skills

Teach children basic navigation skills to help them stay oriented in the wilderness. Show them how to read a map and use a compass, pointing out landmarks and trail markers along the way. Encourage them to pay attention to their surroundings and make mental notes of key features to aid in navigation.

Emergency Procedures

Prepare children for emergencies by teaching them essential survival skills and emergency procedures. Demonstrate how to signal for help using a whistle or mirror, build a shelter using natural materials, and start a fire safely. Discuss what to do in case they become lost or separated from the group, emphasizing the importance of staying calm and staying put to make rescue easier.

Wildlife Safety

Educate children about the wildlife they may encounter in the wilderness and how to coexist safely. Teach them to observe animals from a distance and never approach or attempt to feed them. Discuss how to react in the event of a wildlife encounter, such as backing away slowly from bears or standing tall and making noise to deter smaller animals.

Water Safety

If your outdoor adventures include activities near water, such as swimming or boating, it’s crucial to teach children about water safety. Emphasize the importance of wearing a life jacket, swimming with a buddy, and avoiding strong currents or dangerous water conditions. Teach them how to recognize signs of drowning and how to perform basic water rescue techniques if necessary.

Leave No Trace Principles

Instill in children the importance of practicing Leave No Trace principles to minimize their impact on the environment. Teach them to pack out their trash, stay on designated trails, and avoid disturbing wildlife or natural habitats. Encourage them to appreciate the beauty of nature while also being responsible stewards of the land.

Teaching kids about wilderness safety and survival empowers them to enjoy outdoor adventures responsibly while equipping them with valuable life skills. By helping children understand the environment, providing essential gear and knowledge, and emphasizing the importance of safety and respect for nature, parents can foster a love of the outdoors that lasts a lifetime. Encourage curiosity, exploration, and a sense of adventure, while always prioritizing safety above all else.

How do you teach children about wilderness safety? Leave your tips for other parents in the comments below.

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