Resources, tips and tricks to help in several situations, including emergencies.
Disclaimer: This page is here to serve as a guide. Please use your own discernment and research. I am not responsible for any mishaps that may occur from using any or part of the information on this page.
Whether you are setting up camp, building your homestead or generally sustaining yourself in the wilderness, the first skill you will need to master is processing the plentiful wood that grows around you. Wood will give you fuel, a strong building block for shelter construction, it will even provide you with invaluable tools (from boats to mallets). Let's dive into different methods of collecting and processing wood for each specific purpose.
Firewood is essential to any homestead or campsite. It provides you with quick accessible wood that will sustain you for the expected length of time needed. Specifically, firewood describes any wood with a moisture content less than 20%.
In a homestead environment, it is a good rule of thumb to have at least 4 months of seasoned firewood ready to burn at any point. This will require some method of roofing to protect the wood from rain and snow melt. You can use many methods to cover the tops of your wood stack such as, birch bark, waterproof tarps, or even dedicated wood sheds. For homesteads, hardwoods are the preferred wood to put in any fireplace or wood stove as these woods will burn cleaner/longer and are thus safer for chimney. Since keeping a homestead uses a lot of fuel, it is not efficient to gather small branches, instead you will find yourself felling entire trees. I will go more in depth on the skills and tools required in a later post. If you find yourself building a homestead on an undeveloped piece of land (lucky you) you can usually gather enough wood to build your home just by felling an acre or so around the foundation of the house. To fell trees safely you may need a combination of rope with a ratchet, axe, chainsaw and wedges. Not only do you gather many resources by clearing a section of forest around your new home, you can give yourself added peice of mind in the event of a forest fire.
Camping can have many different meanings; to some this means taking your car or RV to a pay-per-night campsite, to others it means hiking out to the middle of nowhere. If you are a 'glamper' make sure you follow all local guidelines on harvesting firewood and campfires.
This post is geared to self-sustenance camping. When you are looking to gather wood for your campfire, you will be looking for three things: tinder, kindling and firewood (in order from least to greatest quantity). Tinder can be carried with you, but I always recommend that you read up on easily accessible tinder in your natural environment (dry leaves, dry pine needles, dry pinecones and dry birchbark are a few examples). You will need a minimum of a half handful of loose tinder per fire (less if you brought firestarter). Kindling is abundant, find areas with the most sunlight and pick up all the dry sticks that are roughly finger width or less (pine sticks are fantastic, again research your environment). You will need a minimum of two handfuls per fire. Firewood is any wood that is dry with a diameter the size of your wrist to no thicker than your neck. The best way to find dry firewood is always going to be the sunniest locations (riverbanks, fields, felled trees). Since firewood is much thicker, you will need tools to process these in the field (folding saw/manual chainsaws and hatchets are what I carry). You will want to cut the firewood in lengths of the desired diameter of your camp fire. A good rule of thumb is 6-8 logs per hour. Gather what firewood you think you need for the night and DOUBLE IT.
Cutting Down Trees
If the tree is already leaning in a safe direction, this is how it's done.
If you have a leaning tree or a 'leaner' for short, you will need to use rope and wedges to gain a mechanical advantage to push/pull the tree where you want and away from structures. This makes the project several degrees more dangerous so watch this video to understand the physics involved. It's not the most exciting video but this is one area where safety and understanding precedes entertainment.
Food preservation is the procedure by which food is treated and handled to stop or slow down food spoilage, loss of quality, edibility, or nutritional value and thus allow for longer food storage.
Preservation usually involves preventing bacteria, fungi (such as yeasts), and other microorganisms from developing, as well as retarding the oxidation of rancid-causing fats.
A number of food preservation techniques can be used which can either prevent, delay, or otherwise reduce food spoilage altogether.
Traditional Methods of Food Preservation
Pickling is considered one of the oldest methods of preserving foods --the history of pickling goes back over 4,000 years to the time of the ancient Mesopotamians.
While longer-term, shelf stable pickling requires specific fermentation equipment (like a pickling crock), the quick pickling method—which is perfect for beginners—requires just a pot, a heat source, and some airtight jars. This method is not only an easy entrance into the world of pickling, but is also an affordable and delicious way to preserve your favorite vegetables and fruits.
Quick pickles, also known as refrigerator pickles, are vegetables that have been pickled in a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, along with salt and sometimes sugar. They don't develop the deep flavor of a fermented pickle and don't require canning. You can use a variety of mason jars for this type of pickling.
Brine Pickling is pickles made in a traditional water-bath canning method, which involves boiling in water to vacuum-seal a jar.
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