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Introduction to Edible Plants in the Midwest

Welcome to the 3rd part in our 5 part series on edible plants in the United States. This part will feature the Midwest which includes the states of, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota.  These states are known for their farming since they have such fertile soil. If you’ve ever been to any of these states, you probably remember passing a farm with some corn, wheat, or oat growing on it. Not only do they grow what is considered “cereal crops” but many edible plants grow there that you can eat throughout the year. 


The Serviceberry (Amelanchier) is a perfectly balanced sweet fruit. The best time to pick them is between June and early August. There are many different variations of this fruit, and they can be found on a bush or on occasion, a tree. None of them are poisonous but some, for example the Downy Serviceberry, can be dry and tasteless.  When red, they look like Crabapples, and the bottom of the fruit resembles a flower that’s dried up. The leaves are oval, serrated, smooth, a bit hairy, and alternate along the stem. The flowers bloom in the spring, then towards summer, you will start to see the fruit appear. They have a similar taste of a cherry and a blueberry. HEALTH BENEFITS: Serviceberries are high in antioxidants, which can help prevent cardiovascular disease, strokes, cancer, and regulate blood pressure. Like green tea, serviceberries contain a lot of polyphenol, which can help prevent DNA damage, and it can slow down the aging process. They contain flavonoids such as, delphinidin, maldivin, cyanidin, petunidin, and pelargonidin, which are powerhouses against radical degradation, and diseases. On top of all of that, serviceberries can also help with inflammation, GI problems, and the seeds of the serviceberries can help soothe the mucus membranes in the mouth and lining of the lungs. Serviceberries are filled with vitamins A, C, K, E, B, fiber, magnesium and manganese. CONSUMPTION: The best way to eat serviceberries is right off the tree. You can also put them in muffins, pies, soups, puddings, sausages, dried and then put into trail mix, and in jams. This may sound funny, but you can also put them into beer and cider. Some people even make serviceberry tea. WHERE TO FIND IT: You can find serviceberries in hedgerows and in open woodlands.   

Serviceberry

Serviceberry


Yarrow

Yarrow

Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) is a perennial herb that comes in many different colors; from white to yellow to purple and pink. The yarrow grows 2 to 3’ high, with leaves that appear to be very thin and hairy but are lanced shaped and cut into very small segments. The leaves grow into a basal rosette and alternate up the stem. It blooms in the summer, starting in June and blooms through July. HEALTH BENEFITS: This plant has many health benefits, and can help almost every organ in the body. The yarrow can fight bacteria by increasing bile flow from the gallbladder; it also improves digestion, lowers cholesterol, and can prevent gallstones from forming. Yarrow can be used as a decongestant, since it has a drying effect. You can use it to treat eczema, and help promote blood circulation. If you find yourself in a world without access to proper medical care, yarrow can be used to stop the bleeding of wounds, and fight fevers. It can also be chewed to help relieve tooth pain. CONSUMPTION: You can make teas; put it in the bath if you have skin irritations; put it out as flowers to help with sensitivity to environments, and since it has a bitter taste, you can incorporate it into beer. It has been said that it has a very bitter taste with a hint of warming spice. WHERE TO FIND IT: Since the yarrow prefers sunlight, you can find it in open fields. CAUTION: DO NOT ingest yarrow if you’re pregnant. 


Monarda Fistulosa

Monarda Fistulosa

The wild Bergamont, also known as the wild bergamot (Lamiaceae) is also a perennial herb found in the Midwest. The wild bergamot is part of the mint family, and is two-lipped, tubular flowers that are on top of square stems. These flowers grow from 2-4’tall and bloom from July to September. These flowers range in color; from lilac (shown above), red, or pink. HEALTH BENEFITS: The wild bergamot can help with migraines, colds, bacteria, fungus, intestinal worms, stomach spasms, lowering blood pressure, and fever associated with the flu. It can also help with mild depression and anxiety. Externally, it can help with herpes simplex, burns, and warts. Wild bergamot is also high in vitamin A and C. CONSUMPTION: You can make a tea from the leaves, mix in with a salad, or can be used to season meat. It can be added to pasta and pizza sauce, and chili. The leaves and stems can be extracted in raw honey, and put on toast, or as a side with cheeses. WHERE TO FIND IT: Wild bergamot grows in dry thickets, clearings, and the woodlands edges. It likes dry to medium moisture, and it can grow in either full sun or part shade. 


Chickweed

Chickweed

The common chickweed (Stellaria Media) is one of the few herbs that start blooming in the fall, grow throughout the winter, and finishes its seed production in the spring. Even though it looks like there are 10 white pedals, there are actually only 5. It also does an interesting trait called, “sleep of plants.” This term refers to the plant actually going to sleep at night. The leaves fold over the white pedals and new shoots until morning. HEALTH BENEFITS: The common chickweed is high in vitamin and minerals and contains Ascorbic-acid, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Coumarins, Genistein, Gamma-linolenic-acid, Flavonoids, Hentriacontanol, Magnesium, Niacin, Oleic-acid, Potassium, Riboflavin, Rutin, Selenium, Triterpenoid saponins, Thiamin, and Zinc. It can treat inflammation, ulcers, external abscesses, and boils. The common chickweed has been said to also treat asthma, blood disorders, conjunctivitis, constipation, skin ailments, and obesity. CONSUMPTION: It can be added to salads, sandwiches, and tossed into stews and soups. You can also add it to a cooked dish for some extra flavor. WHERE TO FIND IT: The common chickweed can be found almost anywhere in the Midwest, but it’s found mostly in fields, pastures, waste areas, and forests. It’s also one of the most prominent weeds found in lawns. 

Alright Midwest, happy hunting! And as always, please be careful when hunting and eating edible plants! Stay tuned for part 4 in the series!

Article by: Angela Podnar

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Introduction to Edible Plants of the Northeast

This is the second part in a 5 part series covering edible plants found in the United States. This part of the series will cover Northeastern states, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. There are even plants that grow even in the winter that you could scavenge for food. 


Dandelion

Dandelion

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): The dandelion can be found all over the world. It’s considered a type of weed, but when I lived up north, I thought they looked pretty in the grass. While most people try to kill the dandelions that have invaded their lawn, you should try to preserve them. They’re mostly abundant in the spring, but can come back around in the fall too. HEALTH BENEFITS: The dandelion is rich in many vitamins and minerals such as, A, B, C, and D, and iron, potassium, and zinc. They’re also low in calories and high in calcium. Dandelions can help treat liver problems, diabetes, urinary disorders, acne, jaundice, skin care and anemia. Since dandelions are enriched in calcium, it can also help promote bone health. CONSUMPTION: You can eat these raw, engrained with a salad, or sauté them in some oil. Since the whole thing is edible, you can cut it up and incorporate it into pretty much anything. The best thing to pair dandelions with is bacon, goat cheese, nuts and lemon. Dandelions have been described as having an earthly, nutty taste, with a slight bitterness to them. You can also make a tea out of the dandelion blossom, by boiling the root, and then straining the liquid. No matter if you cook, eat it raw, or boil the dandelion, you won’t lose any health benefits. POSSIBLE INTERACTIONS: Even though dandelions are considered safe, people that are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, daisies, or iodine, should avoid the dandelion. WHERE TO FIND IT: You will find dandelions usually in meadows, or even in your own backyard. 


Japanese Knotweed 

Japanese Knotweed 

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica/ Poygonum cuspidatum): Based on the name of this plant, you would think you would only find it in Japan. Fortunately for us, that’s not true. The japanese bamboo, which is what it’s most often called because of its similarity to bamboo, is tall, grows to about 6’-8’, has wide leaves and their length is twice their width, which is quite different than regular bamboo. The most edible part of this plant is the shoots when they are at least 6-8” tall.  Japanese Knotweed is best in the spring, before it begins to turn woody. HEALTH BENEFITS: Since this plant has very high levels of resveratrol, it has been a huge success in alternative and holistic medicine. If you’re not familiar with resveratrol, it’s a powerful antioxidant that helps plants such as the japanese knotweed, protect itself from environmental stresses. It’s also found in the skin of grapes, peanuts and blueberries, but japanese knotweed has the most resveratrol content, excluding wine. Since japanese knotweed has a high level of resveratrol, the health benefits are nothing more than amazing. For one, it helps with many cognitive disorders such as, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Resveratrol also seems to help with neurodegenerative processes that effect neural pathways. Japanese knotweed can prevent or counteract heart disease. It has shown that if resveratrol is added to your daily food intake, even for someone who is eating a rich and high- fat diet, heart disease can be prevented. Blood pressure can be lowered, or regulated with resveratrol, as well. If you’re having stomach issues such as, bloating, cramping, and constipation, then eating japanese knotweed will help ease stomach problems, and since it acts as a mild laxative, it will help keep your intestines clean, and clear out any distress you may be having. Resveratrol can also prevent insulin resistance, and keep your blood levels regulated. Not only is it enriched in resveratrol, it has vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and manganese. By far, I would say this plant has the most beneficial nutritional effects on the body out of all the plants I’ve researched so far. CONSUMPTION: You can eat this plant raw, since it has a tart flavor to it, but if you can, you will want to cook it. You can boil or steam this plant, or eat it raw with a dip. Either way, it will be delicious and nutritious.  WHERE TO FIND IT: Japanese knotweed grows in riverbanks, riversides, and basically where nothing else can grow. 


Violets

Violets

Violets (Viola sororia): These beautiful flowers are considered weeds. Their colors can vary anywhere from purple to white to blue. Like any other flowers, violets are found in the spring. Normally, they’re scattered throughout the yard, unlike other flowers, which are found in the dense woods. These flowers have five petals, two on the sides, and one at the center bottom. The bottom petal is usually discolored, or a different shape than the other four. Violets are bitter, sweet, cool, moist, and a little overpowering.  HEALTH BENEFITS: Violets have been used for many ailments such as, acne, asthma, bronchitis, colds, eczema, fever, headache, sore throat, ulcers, urinary tract infection, varicose veins, whooping cough, and even anger. They contain beta-carotene, vitamin C, salicylates, mucilage, rutin, and essential oil. CONSUMPTION: The great thing about violets is that you can use them for so many things. For example, you can eat them raw; mix them in salads, or use as a potherb to give food some flavor. You can make violet tea, which is made mostly from the leaves. The tea can be a substitute for baby aspirin, and is safe and gentle. The leaves can be used as a lettuce substitute, and is possibly more nutritious. WHERE TO FIND IT: You can find violets anywhere. They grow in a lot of home gardens and lawns, but you can find them in meadows, fields, near riverbanks, along the road, and near the woods. 


Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic (Allium vineale): This plant doesn’t just grow in the northeast, but all over the world. It’s also called crow garlic, and even though similar, it isn’t related to the domestic garlic that many of us use in our household kitchen every day. The wild garlic plant resembles grass, and sometimes makes it difficult to tell the difference; especially in high field grass. Wild garlic can grow in many different types of environments; anywhere from wet or dry soil, sandy or gravelly soils. The basil leaves start to come out in early spring; the flowers come out from May to June, and then die, which leaves the stems through summer and fall. The whole plant is edible, and is good for many different uses. It can be confused with the other two onion plants: wild and nodding onion, which are both edible. The death camas and star of bethleham plants will be discussed a little later. Those are deadly and should be avoided. HEALTH BENEFITS: Just like domestic garlic, wild garlic helps regulate cholesterol, and treats high blood pressure. Wild garlic   treats urinary tract infections, and provides good flora bacteria to the intestines since it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties to it.  It also improves kidney function, the leaves can be broken down to provide relief to knee pain, and the seeds can help with nausea and vomiting. CONSUMPTION: If you’re using them to cook, try to add them towards the end so that the freshness lasts. Wild garlic can also be added to salads to add some flavor. You can also eat it raw, so bon appetite! WHERE TO FIND IT: You can find wild garlic in grain fields, meadows, pastures, lawns, gardens, roads, rivers and streams. 

Death Camus

Death Camus

POISONOUS COUNTERPART: Death Camas (Toxicoscordion venenosum): The death camas is highly poisonous and as you can tell, resembles the wild garlic. It has the toxic chemical called zygacine, and doesn’t just affect the bulb, but the whole plant. What makes it even worse is that they all have bulbs. DIFFERENCES: The death camas won’t have the garlic smell that the wild garlic has. Once you cut the plant, if it doesn’t have the scent of garlic then throw it out. IF IT HAS NO SMELL, IT’S NOT WILD GARLIC! SYMPTOMS OF POISONING: Slowed heart rate, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, headache, reduced blood pressure, respiratory depression, muscle twitching, muscle spasticity, ataxia, hyperactive deep tendon reflexes, and coma. It doesn’t take long to feel the effects of the plant, and if help isn’t available, it will be fatal. Even if you do make to the hospital in time, it doesn’t mean they can reverse the effects either. 


Bittercress

Bittercress

Bittercress (Cardamine pensylvanica): Even though the name might scare you, bittercress isn’t bitter. Bittercress is a weed found in early spring and late in the fall. This plant has identifying marks that will make it easier to spot. For one, the bittercress has circular to three-lobbed small leaves near the base of the plant, which are arranged neatly along the stem. The clusters of flowers are small and white, which turn into seed pods later on. HEALTH BENEFITS: Bittercress contains glucosinolates which help remove carcinogens from the body. It also has vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lutein, which helps keep eyes healthy. CONSUMPTION: You can eat the leaves and flower stalks raw, or you can cook them. Add them to any dish to get it a bit more flavor, and a little spice. WHERE TO FIND IT: Bittercress can be found on most lawns in the northeast. 

Well, that’s it for the northeast. There’s plenty more out there to explore, but remember to be careful and to not eat anything unless you know exactly what it is! Stay tuned for the next part in this series- the midwest.

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An Introduction to Edible Plants in the Southeast

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An Introduction to Edible Plants in the Southeast

When living in an apocalyptic environment, food might become scarce, and you might find yourself asking, now what? Once you’ve gone through all the canned foods, and perishable items, you might have to start looking elsewhere, but where? The answer is probably closer than you think; the outdoors. You can find many things to eat, with high nutritional value, right in your backyard. This will be a 5 part series in which I will cover plants edible plants readily available in the different geographic areas of the United States. 

Today, I’m going to tell you about the Southeast, which includes the states of, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi. I will go over what plants you can find that are edible, and ones that you should stay away from. You have to be extremely careful when choosing plants. Many plants look similar, and you wouldn’t want to grab the poisonous one by mistake.  


Wild Onion (Allium Canadense): This plant is related to wild garlic, and is often mistaken for it, as well. Wild onion has a strong onion smell, and of course, taste. CAUTION: If it doesn’t have a strong onion odor, than it isn’t edible, and is most likely it’s very toxic counterpart. HEALTH BENEFITS: Wild onion provides great immune system support and helps keep healthy cholesterol levels.  CONSUMPTION: To get them prepared to eat, just give them a few minutes in boiling water, and they’re good to go. WHERE TO FIND THEM: You can find wild onion in meadows, fields, and moist or shady woods. 

TOP: Wild Onion, BOTTOM: Daffodil 

TOP: Wild Onion, BOTTOM: Daffodil 

POISONOUS COUNTERPART: Daffodil (Narcissus): While wild onion is beneficial, the daffodil isn’t. People can easily mistake them for the wild onion because each has a bulb, but there are many differences between the daffodil and the wild onion. DIFFERENCES: Leaves on the wild onion are round and hollow, while the daffodils are flat and thick. When you pluck the wild onion out of the ground, it has a strong onion odor. Also, as you’re cutting the leaves, you will notice the strong smell, as well. The biggest difference is that the wild onion WILL NOT have a flower attached. SYMPTOMS OF POISIONING: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The bulb can cause severe irritation to the mouth. Usually, if you don’t ingest anymore, the symptoms will subside after a few hours. The bulb is the most potent, but eating any of this plant will make you sick. In animals, the poisoning can be much worse, so please be careful and watch your animals. 


Persimmon (image courtesy of urbanfarmingzone.com)

Persimmon (image courtesy of urbanfarmingzone.com)

Persimmon (Diospyros Virginiana): This plant is also known as the date plum. It’s very sweet when ripe, but otherwise very sour. If you notice that it’s green, it’s not ripe and you should let it go just a little while longer. The persimmon is yellow-orange to an orange-red fruit. They’re usually a little small, around half inch to four inches in diameter. HEALTH BENEFITS: The persimmon supports eye health, improvement in digestion, increases your metabolism, strengthens your bones, lowers blood pressure, and much more. CONSUMPTION: You can eat it dry, cooked, or raw. You can also make many things with it, such as jams and sauces. WHERE TO FIND THEM: Persimmon can be found in clearings and meadows, fields, dry woods, and pine lands. 


Arrowhead (image courtesy of survivallandusa.com

Arrowhead (image courtesy of survivallandusa.com

Arrowhead (Sagitraria Latifolia): This plant has leaves shaped like arrowheads, and attached is the tuber of the plant, which resembles a potato. HEALTH BENEFITS: Arrowhead can prevent diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, supports lung and respiratory health, fatigue, helps treat anemia (which could be a huge benefit if you don’t have access to red meat), lowers the risk of heart problems, and keeps the pigmentation of your hair and eyes healthy. CONSUMPTION: Since it’s just like a potato, you can treat it as so. You can peel it, dice it, and roast it. If you’re unable to peel it, I believe it would be safe to eat with the skin on. Since none of this plant is toxic, I think you would be okay. WHERE TO FIND THEM: You will find arrowhead in canals and shallow water. To find it, the best way is to wade in the water and then once located, just pull up on the plant. 

Arrowhead (image courtesy of wikipedia.org

Arrowhead (image courtesy of wikipedia.org

POISONOUS COUNTERPART: There is another arrowhead plant that is mildly poisonous. You find it normally in gardens, or even in homes. The leaves are heartshaped when it’s a younger plant, and arrowhead leaves when it’s older. SYMPTOMS: Irritated skin, upset stomach, vomiting. If you have this plant inside, please make sure to keep all fallen leaves off the ground. 


Wild Strawberry (image courtesy of mulysa.org)

Wild Strawberry (image courtesy of mulysa.org)

Wild Strawberry (Fragaroa Viriniana): The flowers from the wild strawberry plant are around ¾ inch wide, with five white petals. The petals are attached to a cone-shaped part of the flower. The cone starts off yellow, then gets larger, thicker, and then eventually redder. That is what turns into the strawberry. CONSUMPTION: You can eat them raw, so enjoy! WHERE TO FIND THEM: Wild strawberries grow around woodland borders, meadows, fields, slopes, and near roadsides and fences. 

 

 

Mock Strawberry (image courtesy of pinimg.com

Mock Strawberry (image courtesy of pinimg.com

POISONOUS COUNTERPART: The mock strawberry isn’t documented to be poisonous but the taste is very bland and dry. It’s not something you would want to eat. It’s actually considered a weed. DIFFERENCES: The biggest difference is that the flower is yellow, instead of white.  HEALTH BENEFITS: Even though I wouldn’t suggest eating the mock strawberry, you could definitely use it for medicinal purposes. The mock strawberry can be crushed and used externally on a number of things such as, boils, laryngitis, weeping eczema, traumatic injuries, snake and insect bites, and abscesses. The mock strawberry can also be used to bring down the swelling, and a mix of the flowers can promote blood circulation. On top of all of this, the mock strawberry can be used to heal many other skin diseases, as well. So if you do find this strawberry, don’t pass over it. You may not be able to eat it, but can definitely use it for other things that are just as beneficial.

So there you have it! Those are just a few choices when looking for food. Good luck, and as always, be safe when scavenging for these plants!  Keep a look out for the next part in this series, Edible Plants of the Northeast

Article by Angela Podnar

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Safety and Security at Polling Places

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Safety and Security at Polling Places

Election day is not only a celebration of our democracy, but a growing security challenge. In general, we’re seeing an increase in violence in our country, and it’s obvious by reading the daily news that people are acting out on their anger like never before. This is a contentious election year, and supporters in both major parties are emotional about their candidates and important “hot button” issues like race, gender and abortion.  We also have terrorist groups targeting our country that may look for an opportunity to impact the election or, at the very least, get wide press coverage of through an attack. Terrorists are now primarily planning attacks against soft targets, which are busy, not well secured locations like schools, malls and stadiums...

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Survive the GREATER Depression, with 50 Tips From the Great Depression

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Survive the GREATER Depression, with 50 Tips From the Great Depression

Editor's Note: Many expert analysis have concluded that we are on the verge of the next Great Depression, or otherwise dubbed the "Greater Depression."  With housing bubbles, college debt bubbles, car loan bubbles, and more, the experts agree we are on the edge of something big!  

The following article will offer you some insight to what it was like during the Great Depression, and allow you to use that information to prepare in advance for what is coming.  This article has been generously contributed by AskAPrepper.com

The Great Depression was one of the most traumatic events in American history. Following the stock market crash of October 1929, industrial production crashed, construction shrank to a fraction of what it had been and millions of people found themselves on short hours or without work. Until the economy picked up again in 1935 life was a real struggle for the average American.

To get through the economic collapse and the grinding poverty that followed it, people had to adapt and learn new skills – or re-learn old ones. For that reason, many people who lived through it looked back with a sense of, maybe not exactly nostalgia, but pride in how they managed to cope.

A lot of the things people did during the Great Depression still make a lot of sense today. With our own economy looking vulnerable, and the risk of a new collapse always lurking just around the corner, would we cope as well as our grandparents and great-grandparents did? Here are some of the ways they took care of themselves and those around them through some of the hardest times the USA has ever seen.

Work

  1. Entire families moved in search of work. By staying together, they could support each other while not missing employment opportunities.
  2. Migrant farm work was a life-saver for many. Different crops needed harvesting at different times, so it was – and still is – possible to find several months’ work.
  3. People were willing to try any job. They didn’t ask “Do you have any work for a…?” But, “Do you have any work?” They were flexible because they had to be.
  4. Everyone in a family was prepared to earn money. Kids could make a valuable contribution too. Families worked for a common goal – earning enough to survive.
  5. Almost anything had some value. Driftwood collected from the beach could be split and sold as firewood. Most any kind of metal can be collected and sold as scrap.
  6. Government “New Deal” employment programs provided jobs and taught skills. They also created a lot of new infrastructure, including many roads – and the Hoover Dam.
  7. There was no such thing as retirement age. Anyone who could work did When money is tight, everyone needs to contribute whatever they can earn.
  8. A lot of jobs became part-time as employers tried to save money. Many people worked several part-time jobs, often putting in very long days.
  9. Many of the jobless spent all day going round employers, looking for any work they could find. Even an hour or two’s labor would make a difference.
  10. People created jobs for themselves. Some women would wake early to cook dozens of meals, then sell them outside factories and construction sites.
  11. Flexibility helped. Someone who knew a little about several trades had a better chance of finding work than someone who was an expert at one.
  12. Farmers would take on workers they didn’t have the money to hire, and pay them in produce instead.

Housing

  1. Many people lost their homes. Often, extended families – grandparents, aunts, uncles – ended up living in one house.
  2. Others were forced to live in their car or truck, buying cheap meals and washing at public gyms or swimming pools.
  3. The homeless often lived in tents – or shack or lean-tos they’d built themselves. Having a place to live, even a basic one, was better than sleeping rough.
  4. To save energy, walls were insulated with anything that would help keep heat in through the winter – mud, newspapers or tar paper. It all helped cut fuel costs.
  5. Homes were kept cooler than normal. Wearing more clothes indoors reduced the need to burn fuel, and that left more money for food.
  6. In summer people hung wet sheets over doorways and windows. As the water evaporated it drew in heat from the air, cooling the home slightly.
  7. Refinancing a home was one way to keep up the payments – and it could also free up cash for living expenses.

Money

  1. Life insurance policies were a safety net for those who had them. If money ran out the policy could be cashed in, helping keep the family afloat for a few more months.
  2. Many people rarely saw cash; barter economies quickly grew up. Small jobs might be paid with milk, fresh vegetables or fruit, especially in rural areas.
  3. With millions out of work, begging was common – and seen as desperation, not antisocial behavior. Outside restaurant was a favorite spot; only the rich could afford to eat there.
  4. People respected banks back then, but when banks started closing the trust soon faded. Nobody knew when their own might shut, so the wise kept cash at home.
  5. Many stores gave credit and let regular payments slide. They just kept track of what was owed and hoped it would be paid someday. Many stores went bankrupt because of this.

Food

  1. Having a vegetable plot made a huge difference. In 1929, 20% of Americans still lived on farms; most of the rest had big gardens, and the skills to grow their own food.
  2. Hunting and fishing were major sources of protein. Meat was expensive, but if you could harvest your own you had a better diet. Surplus was great for barter, too.
  3. Foraging was also popular. Nuts, berries, and wild greens helped put meals on the table, and kids and older people could forage as well as anyone.
  4. In the country, canning was an essential skill. A well-stocked pantry was both a source of pride and a life-saving reserve for the winter.
  5. People learned that you can eat almost anything if you’re hungry enough. Tumbleweed was used as fodder for cattle; then people found it could be eaten. Young plants are best.
  6. No part of an animal was wasted. Offal was fried, boiled or turned into ground meat. Even chicken feet could be boiled to add some taste to a broth.
  7. A little bit of bacon would add flavor to almost anything. The hard rinds or dry ends of a piece of bacon could be boiled – and butchers sold them for pennies.
  8. Communities divided vacant lots and parks into family vegetable plots. Housewives and kids spent much of their time growing extra food.
  9. To keep some variety in their diets, people traded the produce they grew with friends and neighbors.
  10. Meals were cooked from scratch – there were hardly any prepared foods in the shops. Recipes were usually simpler than today’s. That mean they were cheaper to make.
  11. Stores closed on Sundays, so fresh produce that would go bad by Monday would be sold off cheap late on Saturday. Shopping at that time was great for bargains.
  12. Livestock was a great asset. If you had a cow or even a few chickens, you were sitting on a wealth creator. Milk and eggs helped your own diet, and could be bartered.
  13. Meat and dairy products were expensive; bread, potatoes, and noodles were cheap and filling. People bulked out meals with carbohydrates. Lard or bacon fat added flavor.
  14. Soup was a popular meal. It filled you up, and the main ingredient was water. Almost anything could be made into soup – beans, potatoes, even stale bread.

Clothes

  1. Shoes were mended over and over. Holes in the sole were patched with leather from scrap belts or purses. Complete soles were cut from old tires.
  2. People learned to make and repair clothes. Any fabric could be used. Rural families made clothes from feed sacks. One woman turned a casket’s fabric lining into kids’ dresses.
  3. Fashion was canceled. People preferred to get more use out their old clothes and spend their money on food.
  4. When kids outgrew their clothes they were handed down to younger siblings or given to people who could use them.
  5. Really old clothes were cut up for rags to get some more use out of them. Why spend money on dusters and cleaning cloths when rags worked just as well?

Society and Attitudes

  1. Nobody felt entitled to be supported. People knew that they had to work as hard as they could to survive; if they didn’t, they could expect nothing.
  2. On the other hand, people were willing to help those who were trying but struggling. They knew they could be the ones needing help next, so most gave all they could spare.
  3. Communities became closer, giving mutual support and organizing donations of food or cash to those who needed them the most.
  4. Many towns set up welfare loan schemes. Money could be loaned to people who needed it, but it was expected to be paid back. Detailed records were kept of what was owed.
  5. Willingness to work hard, and to do what you could to support the community, was more highly valued than individualism and independence.
  6. People learned to keep a positive outlook on life. They learned that they could lose a surprising amount – almost everything – and keep going.
  7. Positivity was essential. There was no point complaining how bad things were – they were just as bad for almost everyone. What mattered was trying to make them better.

Have anything that you'd like to add to this list?  Please include it in the comments below!

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Can a survival watch save your life?

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Can a survival watch save your life?

Most survival situation start off innocuously, they can happen when you least expect them, when you wander off from camp for whatever reason, picking berries, going to the latrine or just checking out the surrounding area.  There have been too many cases to count of people...

 

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Death By GPS - Lessons and Tragedies

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Death By GPS - Lessons and Tragedies

Over the past 15 years, at least a dozen people have died in Death Valley from heat-related illnesses, and many others have come close. Another hiker vanished last June in Joshua Tree National Park. His body has not yet been found...

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Rescue Writing - How Making Your Own Pencil In An Emergency Can Help You Survive

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Rescue Writing - How Making Your Own Pencil In An Emergency Can Help You Survive

I never understood why someone would want to know how to make a pencil in an emergency situation... then Kirsten effortlessly made a set of pencils while casually cooking a rabbit over the fire and quite literally spelled it out for us all to see.  Watch now to learn the top reason why you need to know this skill.  Even if you don't live near a desert or EVER plan to be in one!  This skill can be applied to nearly any survival situation....

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Strange Spikey Survival Plant To Shampoo Your Hair, Scrub Under Your Nails, or in Personal Areas if You Wish...

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Strange Spikey Survival Plant To Shampoo Your Hair, Scrub Under Your Nails, or in Personal Areas if You Wish...

I consider this chapter to be critical to your survival in the high desert, or low mountains, which is why I'm giving it to you just for be subscribed to our email list.  

This incredible spiked plant, with anti-fungal properties, can be used to scrub your hands, sew your clothes, turn into shampoo, or clean personal parts of your body with.  In vitro experiments suggest that this plant's constituents may exert anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antioxidant, antiplatelet, and anti proliferative activity...

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Survival In The Desert

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Survival In The Desert

It's unfortunate that many people equate deserts with a hostile environment that conspires against human life. In the popular media, desert areas seem to be considered at the top of the wilderness list for danger. The historical fact is, however, that the human race was cradled in arid lands and people are well adapted to survive in deserts. Learning to be part of the desert's ecosystem is the first step of desert survival. My philosophy is not to fight the desert, but to become part of its ecosystem. Being prepared is an obvious benefit.

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Body Armor Info Source

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Body Armor Info Source

D-Rmor Gear

by George Paul Tire

Many preppers are concerned with defending themselves at some point and wind up getting weapons. Hopefully, they also get the training to use them responsibly and effectively. Should the grim day arise that we have to fight for ourselves and our families, we must consider the likelihood that we might get hurt. That leads us down two branches. The first is being able to care for injuries and the second is being able to minimize them. We’ll look into the first sooner or later, but I wanted to write about the second now.

Body armor has saved countless lives and minimized injuries for public safety and military personnel. Many people have begun purchasing it to round out their preps. The subject, however, can be complex with unfamiliar terms and vendors with claims that are hard to test. There are number of types of armor and different levels of protection. There is no perfect armor, and you have to balance protection, weight, bulk and cost before making a buy, so it’s off to the Internet we go for some serious research.

Among the most useful sites I found was D-Rmor Gear . While some gear is sold there as a part-time endeavor by an armor enthusiast, the main thing on the site is information and quite a bit of it at that. The best part of the blog for me is a collection of posts called Body Armor, The Good The Bad and The Ugly. In them, you can find a wealth of information about the many types of armor and the good and bad of each. I’m sure some will disagree with D-Rmor, but I found balanced discussions that came to pretty much the same conclusions I reached after many hours of investigation. I wish I had found D-Rmor sooner, though I’m glad I did the other research. You can never know too much.

There are a few items for sale on the site to help solve some problems with armor. A critical one with steel armor is that bullets fragment when they hit it. Those fragments can hurt you. Most steel armor vendors now offer coatings to contain these fragments, but there is a lot of bare steel out there. D-Rmor makes guards for it that will contain almost all of the perpendicular splash of lead and copper bits.

An item I’ve tested from D-Rmor is their Armometer, a heat recording strip that will warn you if your armor has been exposed to too much heat. Some types of armor can be ruined by temperatures as low as 170 degrees which can be reached in a car in a hot climate. The Armometer has a series of spots that turn black at temperatures from 170 to 200 degrees. I left one in my car (a white Honda CRV) for a couple of weeks and was pleased that it never hit 170. Then I put it in my wife’s small, black SUV and was surprised that it didn’t turn there either. Being inquisitive, I got out my heat gun and infrared thermometer to make sure it worked. Sure enough, at 170, the appropriate dot turned black as did the 180 one when I reached that temperature. I was reassured that I can probably store my armor in either car, but since the Armometer can only be used once, I will have to get another one to attach to my armor.

Regardless of your interests in the D-Rmor products, the site is a good starting point if you want to explore body armor and it is well worth reading every page there.

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