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Low Cost Aquaponics With 5 Gallon Buckets

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Aquaponics is a sustainable method of farming that uses both water and sunlight to grow plants and fish.

Learn more about this new farming technique!

I have lost count how many times I have been asked to do a post on aquaponics. If you don’t know what aquaponics is, it is similar to hydroponics (if you don’t know what hydroponics is, Google is your friend!).

Low Cost Aquaponics

Aquaponics is an advanced form of aquaculture (the cultivation of aquatic animals) that utilizes a closed loop system of recirculating water and nutrients. This process creates a symbiotic relationship between the plant roots and the fish waste, allowing the plants to thrive while providing the fish with a clean environment.

The difference between the two is that with aquaponics you are not adding additional fertilizers to the water to feed the plants as you do with hydroponics. This is because in a separate tank on the system, you have some fish. Depending on the size of your system, these can range from small goldfish, right up to edible larger fish. The fish are fed standard fish food and it is their waste and any waste fish food which provides all the nutrients required for the plants to grow. In return the plants filter the water and keep it clean for the fish. This is all achieved by a pump that circulates the water around from the fish through the plants and back to the fish.

I am not sure I have done a great job of explaining how aquaponics works, but it does work very well and when done correctly, it achieves amazing results with much higher yields from crops and you can grow a lot in a very small space. With this in mind, aquaponics is starting to become very popular with preppers and people who want to be more self-sufficient, but who don’t have the land to grow crops in the conventional manner.

Anyway if you are interested, check out the post about building a low cost aquaponics system from 5 gallon buckets (from Five Gallon Ideas). They also have a better explanation about how it all works!

Popular PostGrow Over 300 lbs Potatoes WITHOUT Digging, Watering Or Any Real Effort

Low Cost Aquaponics With 5 Gallon Buckets

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Homesteading | Off Grid

Shelter from the Storm: Emergency Winter Shelters and Survival Tips

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hiker offers a mug of tea while sitting in a small snowy hut igloo

Winter’s unforgiving grip can turn a routine outdoor adventure into a life-threatening situation. What you thought was just a fun weekend skip trip or a hike in the woods has turned into a desperate battle against creeping death. 

When the temperature plummets and the snow falls, you need the knowledge and tools to create an emergency winter shelter. You don’t need to be a prepper or a survivalist – this is paramount for your survival if you enjoy outdoor winter activities. 

Emergency Sleeping Bag

There are various types of winter shelters that can keep you warm and safe in cold weather emergencies. There’s no reason to be paranoid, but having these skills in your back pocket can make the difference between life and death if you ever find yourself in a winter emergency. 

Why You Need To Learn How To Make Emergency Winter Shelters

When the temperature drops, your body’s core temperature can drop rapidly along with it. That means you’re at risk of hypothermia, frostbite or even death. 

A winter shelter, even a crude emergency one like the kinds we’re about to describe below acts as your first line of defense against the chilling danger of the cold and damp. They provide you a warm and dry place to get your body temperature back up and rest while you wait for the cavalry to arrive. 

Emergency Shelters For Winter Survival

There are some extremely easy to build but also extremely efficient winter survival shelters. Just about anyone can build these, even with their bare hands if they have to – but we recommend carrying around a shovel in your survival pack to help with construction. 

Snow Caves

A snow cave is a winter shelter you can build anywhere there’s snow. Here’s how to build your own snow cave:

  1. Step 1: Find a compacted snowdrift or mound of snow.
  2. Step 2: Create an entrance by digging a tunnel into the snow..
  3. Step 3: Create a larger “room” inside. You want to have smooth, even walls. This reduces dripping water and condensation to keep you dry.
  4. Step 4: Dig out a small vent hole near the top. This allows air circulation while preventing carbon dioxide buildup.

Lean-Tos

A lean-to is another simple shelter you can build. It consists of a sloping roof leaning against a supporting structure such as a tree, rock, or wall. 

  1. Step 1: Find a suitable supporting structure. It should be firm, sturdy and have good support from the ground.
  2. Step 2: Construct your roof using nearby branches, foliage, tarp, or even the snow.
  3. Step 3: Ensure proper ventilation while blocking one side to keep out the cold.

Quinzees

A quinzee is a snow hut made by piling up, the hollowing out, a mound of snow.

  1. Step 1: Pile up a mound of snow and pack it down.
  2. Step 2: Allow the snow to settle for a few hours.
  3. Step 3: Hollow out the mound, smoothing the walls for even insulation, just like you would on a snow cave. 
  4. Step 4: Dig a ventilation hole at the top, allowing fresh air while preventing carbon dioxide buildup.

Survival Tips for Building Emergency Winter Shelters

There are some tips you should know about building emergency winter shelters for survival generally speaking. 

Emergency Sleeping Bag

Site Selection

Site election is arguably the most important part of building a winter shelter. Avoid areas with unstable snowpack as these are prone to avalanches and landslides. Flat, well-drained spots away from strong winds are going to be your best bet.

Snow Quality

Wet snow is unstable snow and thus not suitable for building shelters, so look for dry, compacted snow usually found in snowdrifts or mounds.

Ventilation

You must properly ventilate is vital for carbon monoxide prevention, which can be life-threatening… fast. Always dig out a vent hole near the top of your shelter.

Fire Safety

For the most part, you should not be building a fire inside your shelter. If you do, it’s important for you to be extremely cautious because of the fire, its impact on your shelter and the resulting carbon monoxide.

Warmth and Insulation

Insulating materials like pine branches, dry grass, or foam sleeping pads laid on the ground can create a barrier between you and the cold. This, in turn, will help you stay warm and retain body heat.

Emergency Sleeping Bag

Surviving in the winter wilderness requires knowledge, determination preparation, and resourcefulness. Understanding the types of emergency winter shelters and how to build them is a valuable skill that can save your life in extreme conditions. While it’s essential to have the right tools and supplies, your survival ultimately depends on your ability to adapt and persevere. 

Have you ever built an emergency winter shelter? Did you end up spending the night in it? What did you learn from the experience? Share your experiences in the comments below. 

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Emergency

Without Emergency Heat Sources You Will Die

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tourist is making camp fire in the winter woods

Winter’s icy grip can be relentless and it doesn’t take the end of the world as we know it to make it unbearable – and dangerous. A power outage or other winter emergency can make having alternative heat sources not just a comfort, but a source of survival

We’re going to explore a variety of options for alternative heating sources for when the heat in your home isn’t working for whatever reason. Some of these are tried and true methods, others are a little more experimental. All of them can make the difference between life and death in a winter emergency.

Emergency Heat Supply 1: Wood-Burning Stoves and Fireplaces

Wood-burning stoves are one of the most reliable and efficient sources of emergency heat. They can also be a cozy distraction from disaster, while also keeping your home warm whenever the cost of more traditional forms of heating get too high. 

Emergency Sleeping Bag

Not only can these stoves keep your house toasty warm, they can also be used for cooking. You need an adequate supply of dry firewood, as well as a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector for safety. Keep the stove well-maintained – poorly maintained stoves are serious fire hazards 

Traditional fireplaces can also be used as an emergency heat source. Fireplaces tend to be less efficient than wood-burning stoves, because heat escapes through the chimney. However, you can make your fireplace more efficient by investing in a hearth and sealing gaps or drafts in the fireplace and chimney.

Portable Propane Heaters

Portable propane heaters are an excellent choice for emergency heating. You need to make sure they are rated for indoor use. You also need to use them as directed and not use them while you sleep – that can be a serious fire hazard. 

Much like with the direct fire sources talked about above, you need to make sure that you have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors for maximum safety. Proper ventilation is absolutely essential to prevent carbon monoxide build up, which can kill in a matter of minutes. 

Emergency Sleeping Bag

Kerosene Heaters

Kerosene heaters are another reliable source of emergency heat.  Only use clear, 1-K grade kerosene. This is because it burns cleaner and produces less odor – you don’t want to make a bad situation worse by stinking up the place. As always, make sure your place is ventilated well and keep the heater away from anything that can start a fire.

Generators 

Generators are not a direct source of heat, but they can power electric space heaters, or even keep your home’s electrical heating system going. This will help you to keep warm during power outages. Like everything else on our list, generators should be used with caution. Always place generators outdoors to avoid carbon monoxide buildup. If you’re not an electrician, we strongly recommend you have it professionally installed by one.

DIY Heating Solutions

For survivalists, there are a few ways for you to keep your home heated no matter how long the power goes out. Keep in mind that every heat source requires some kind of fuel. So you might need to get creative about how to stay warm if the power goes down, the supply chain is disrupted and there’s no chance of anything coming back soon. Here are a few innovative ideas:

  • Terracotta Pot Heaters: Placing several terracotta pots within one another around a few lit candles will radiate heat. This will only warm a small space, but it’s better than nothing.
  • Tealight Heaters: Multiple tealight candles placed under a terracotta pot creates a small heater that’s safe for indoor use.
  • Heat-Reflective Panels: Heat-reflective emergency blankets attached to cardboard or foam panels will reflect and retain heat in a room.
Emergency Sleeping Bag

Surviving winter emergencies and power outages requires careful planning and consideration of your emergency heat sources. Each of these options has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. But by understanding safe use of these heat sources (as having a well-prepared emergency kit)  you can ensure you and your loved ones stay warm and comfortable during even the coldest winter emergencies. 

Do you have any unique methods for generating heat without the grid? What do you and your family have for backup heat sources? Share your tips in the comments below. 

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Emergency

Lone Wolves Won’t Make It: How To Build A Survival Community

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Forget an AR-15, an RPG or even a tank. The most powerful weapon you can have for a SHTF scenario is the community around you

In the event that the S does HTF, you’re not going to be able to rely on your contacts you made online. Maybe you can communicate with them with a ham radio, but they’re going to be too far away for them to offer much in the way of direct assistance at a time when you desperately need it.

This underscores the importance of making contacts in your immediate community and building a community of like-minded people who can immediately band together under dire circumstances. 

Lone Wolf? Why You Can’t Go It Alone

Too many in the survivalist and prepper communities think of themselves as “lone wolves.” This is fine if you’re building a homestead on your own during a time of relative peace, stability and plenty. 

Shockwave Mini

The issue comes in when the SHTF. This is when the rule of law will break down and it becomes every man for himself. No matter what you think about your ability to defend yourself and your family now, the simple fact is that you have a massive deterrent against crime in the form of a functioning criminal justice system and a supply chain that means there’s food down at the local grocery store.

What will happen when that all goes away? 

The short version is: absolute chaos. People will be doing absolutely anything they have to do to feed themselves and their families and obtain the other necessities of life. 

Now you might think you can take care of yourself… and maybe you can against one or two or even five attackers. The question is what your plan is for dealing with a gang of bikers 50 strong – or even eight guys with combat experience and knowledge of small squad tactics. In either of these situations, a lone wolf is about as good as dead. 

You need to connect with others, even if it’s a very small, tight-knit community that will have each others backs in the event the whole world goes sour. 

The Easy Way: Joining A Local Survivalist Community

Group of young people collects firewood together

Why build a community if there’s already one nearby?

Clearly, this isn’t the right option for everyone. However, if you live in an area with a survivalist community, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

Now we called this “the easy way,” but a better way of putting it might be “the easier way.” Breaking into a survival community isn’t the easiest thing in the world, especially if you’re new in town and don’t know anyone. Such communities are, understandably, close knit, closed off to outsiders and somewhat distrustful of new members.

With that said, once you earn the trust of a survival community, they can be not just a valuable asset with regard to your own personal survival. They can be an excellent source of support, camaraderie and even friendship that will last you your entire lifetime, whether the SHTF or not. 

Shockwave Mini

So how can you break into one of those existing communities?

The main thing is to make yourself capable and useful while also showing a willingness to learn and pitch in. These communities also highly value people with skill sets that do not yet exist in the community. It doesn’t matter if your skill set if graphic design and marketing – they can use that, especially if you’re willing to learn more “hands getting dirty” kinds of skills. 

Listen more than you speak. Be open to ideas even if they don’t quite make sense to you. If you can do that while being a valued contributor to the community, you can start making inroads in an already existing survival community.

The Hard Way: Building A Survival Community

The hard part about building a new survival community is finding the right people. They need to not just be like minded, but also have useful skills and, perhaps most importantly, be people whom you can trust in the event that the world turns into a massive game of dog-eat-dog and the devil take the hindmost. 

You can’t just go taking out ads in the local circular, nor can you put up a flier at the local supermarket.

The best way to find people is to get involved in communities with adjacent skills, or places where people might have interest in survivalism. Gun clubs can be a good place to start, as can political organizations, though it’s best to make your group non-political. Organic farming and other skills-based groups related to survivalism can likewise be good resources, such as the local DIY solar community. 

The main thing is to not go in, guns blazing as a loud and proud prepper. You need to cultivate contacts, gain people’s trust, be known as a normal guy and then just sort of casually bring up prepping topics and see who responds favorably.

A survival community can mean all the difference between life and death if the SHTF. In the meantime, it can act as a useful resource to pull from as you build out your prepper plan. It’s not easy and can take months or even years to accomplish. But you should absolutely be throwing your time, energy and resources at cultivating this kind of community.

Shockwave Mini

How have you built your local survivalist community? What “hacks” do you have for getting a community starter where there isn’t one?

Leave a comment below to help out other survivalists looking to build a community. 

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