Author Archives: Survival Frog

Surviving the Wilderness through Hunting and Gathering

Hunting and Gathering is a form of human adaptation and is the oldest and most extensive in terms of time and space. A hunter-gatherer is a person who lives in a community where most or all of the food is obtained from forage, that is, gathering wild plants and hunting wild animals. Ancient humans were hunters and gatherers from around 2.5 million years ago when stone tools first appeared in archeological records. In this way, humans are hunters and gatherers for much of human evolution.

However, technological development was relatively slow until evolution progressed around 100,000 years ago. Although ancient humans hunted animals and collected plant resources, it is hard to know exactly how they lived.

Man Hunting

Photo by Derek Malou on Unsplash

Toolkit of Hunter-Gatherers

Most kits of hunter-gatherers are quite simple. Many individuals use small arms, rifles, guns, bows and arrows, and knives to hunt the animals. Some tools are far more complex than the usual ones. You can check out some fantastic collections on Shrewd Hunters Buying Guide for excellent deals and offers.

To hunt and gather successfully, extensive knowledge of natural history and good physical endurance is required. It is essential to recognize a large number of plant and animal species and understand animal behavior and patterns of plant growth, flowering, and fruiting.

Plant products provide the most calories, while fish and meat provide the most protein. Collecting plants also requires technical skills and background knowledge of history.

Ways of Hunting Animals

Hunting techniques vary depending on the game and its habitat. You must follow strict rules while using tools and hunting. There are several ways to hunt your prey, such as:

Still Hunting

Still hunting continues to be a standard hunting method for killing large animals such as deer, bears, and wild boar. However, still hunting requires a lot of skill and time.

Still hunting is done by tracking animals, finding traces, etc. You need to follow this sign very carefully. When following animal tracks, it is essential to walk very cautiously while continually looking out for your prey.

Calling Method

Calling methods can be a very effective hunting technique. You can use various devices to produce the sound of the animal you are chasing. Calls to the game are beneficial during the breeding season of the desired type.

For instance, the most frequent calls for deer hunting are screams and rattles of horns.

Baiting Method

Although baiting is a popular and very effective way to hunt different animal species, it is essential to review local laws to ensure that the baiting method is legal in your region. While most places allow bait, some areas still consider it illegal. The technique is quite simple; you can use artificial food sources near your hunting grounds to attract animals.

Gathering mushrooms

Photo by Nico Benedickt on Unsplash

Ways of Gathering Wild Plants & Fruits

The first step to gathering wild fruits and plants is learning how to recognize which one you can eat and what you shouldn’t eat. Before you start assembling the wild edibles, you must know what to look for, where to find it, and how to use it after taking it home. Popular wild edibles include various types of green fruits, berries, roots, nuts, and mushrooms.

Mushrooms

Wild mushrooms can be delicious, but can also be very dangerous. It can be tough to know which mushroom is edible if you are a novice in gathering. Many wild mushrooms contain deadly poisons, and you need to stay far away from them.

Hence, if you wish to gather wild mushrooms, it’s essential to practice with an expert before you start on your own and always carry a field guide to help you identify the edibles. Also, it is best to try a small portion of the gathered mushroom first and wait a day or two to ensure there is no allergic reaction.

An example of wild mushrooms is morels. They are very popular and can only be found in wild nature, and you cannot even plant them. They occur throughout the continent in the spring months, usually in and around the forest’s edge. They often grow around dead or dying trees, especially elm trees. Morel mushrooms are easily recognized by the pointed brown lid attached to the base of the stem. However, beginners must be careful while gathering them.

Nuts

Wild green fruits and berries are delicious, but they don’t provide many calories. You can fill your food by adding wild nuts like acorns. They are commonly found around all of North America in the autumn months and are edible. However, acorns need to be processed before eating because it is full of tannins, which give an extraordinarily bitter taste, and can damage your kidneys.

Fruits

Fruits are quick to gather because you can pull them directly from a tree or bush. To take an example, Mulberries grow on trees in the eastern United States.

There are three varieties of mulberries:

  • Red: It has the most definite aroma
  • Black: It has a soft and sweet taste
  • White: It has a slightly acidic taste with a hint of vanilla

Vegetables

Many plants that are considered weeds can make delicious salads. For example, Stinging Nettle is a tall, thorny plant with small white flowers that are often found along rivers and in moist forest areas. Gathering them requires protective clothing because little, sharp hair can penetrate your skin and release formic acid, causing itching or burning. Once the leaves are ripe, the stinging hair falls out, and they are a good substitute for spinach in soups and stews.

The Paleo Diet

The Paleolithic Diet is a diet chart based on foods similar to those consumed during the Paleolithic period, around 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. 

Paleo diets usually include lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds – food that can be obtained by hunting and gathering. These foods include dairy products, nuts, and cereals. Other names for the Paleo Diet are the Stone Age Diet and the Caveman Diet.

Conclusion

Hunting and Gathering for food is an immensely fun activity. Walking in the jungle to hunt animals or gather berries contributes to a great natural form of training and helps you stay fit.

Knife Safety: 7 Tips to Keep You Safe

Knives are essential tools to have ready at hand during any outdoors trip, whether you are out camping, bushcrafting or you simply keep one ready to use. Whether you use a survival knife or a  pocket knife, all knives have one thing in common: they are dangerous.

Regardless of the type of knife you are using, it is important to keep in mind a few safety measures that could mitigate your chances of getting hurt during a trip, or at any given moment. To help you learn some basic knife safety rules, we have listed a few practical tips and tricks that will help you to decrease the chance of getting hurt while using a knife.

1. Always Use a Sharp Knife

This is the one rule of thumb about knife safety that you should always keep in mind. Even though a sharp knife is dangerous, a blunt knife can be just as dangerous if not more. 

As blunt knives do not cut as easily, it is likely that a person would employ more force to achieve a cut. If the knife happens to slip, the consequence could be a disastrous accident as a result of losing control over the tool. If you cut yourself with a sharp knife, although it will still be painful, the knife would cause a clean would that would be easier to treat and stitch if necessary. 

2. Keep Your Knife Sheathed

The blade of a knife must always be protected and sheathed to avoid any careless accidents, such as sitting or standing on an uncovered blade. While most people do take care of transporting their knife in a sheath, once they pull it out so they can put it to use, they often forget to store it again. If the knife gets misplaced while it is unsheathed, this could be an accident waiting to happen. 

Be wary to not walk with your knife exposed especially outdoors, where you could easily trip over a branch or with the uneven terrain. Falling with an unsheathed knife could expose you to getting a fatal wound. Avoid clumsy accidents and remember to put your knife back into its sheath after using it, even if you will be using it shortly after. When it comes to using knives, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and act preventively. 

3. The Blood Circle and The Triangle of Death

While using a knife, you must ensure that no one is at arms reach. The circle that you can make while reaching out at your chest’s level is called the Blood Circle. If a person is found within that circle, you must abstain from using the knife until the person is away and out of the circle’s reach to ensure their safety.

 

However, it is not just other’s safety you should care about. In order to keep yourself safe while carving or cutting, you must avoid cutting between what is known as The Triangle of Death. The area between your groin down to the knees forms this so-called triangle, which is dangerous as your femoral arteries are found on your legs. If cut here, you could bleed out within minutes.

4. Grip the Knife Tightly 

To avoid slips, grip the knife with a fist grip similar to how you hold a hammer or an ax. Make sure that your thumb or fingers don’t interfere with the blade area and stay within the parameters of the handle.

To not lose your grip easily, avoid using your knife while you are tired. Handling a knife while you are not in your full headspace could leave room for clumsy mistakes and you could easily lose your grip on the knife. 

5. Keep a First Aid Kit at Hand

Although any outdoors experience should already include a first aid kit as a basic necessity, you want to make sure you don’t leave yours at home if you will be using a knife. But having a first aid kit ready to go is not the only thing you need to have ready.

Learn how to treat minor injuries in case of emergency and check your first aid kit every once in a while so that you know if you need to replace something from your kit to use in the future. 

6. Cut Away from Your Body

While cutting or carving, not only do you need to worry about clearing out the Blood Circle and being careful of The Triangle of Death, but you also need to make sure you always cut with the knife facing away from you.

There are techniques such as the chest lever, where you hold the knife tightly and only pull the wood away from you. Always maintain the knife static and be sure to only move the piece of wood. Let the motion of the piece that you are cutting take care of itself and cut away. Do not cut towards yourself or in the direction of your body.

7. Give Your Knife Maintenance

There are a few things that can be done to maintain a knife in fit condition. The first is to always dry your knife after washing it or exposing it to liquids. Although some blade materials are more resistant to liquids, none of them are completely immune to forming rust. Cutting yourself with a rusty knife will expose you to tetanus, so always keep your knife dry. 

Although you have heard previously that a dull knife is a dangerous knife, we can also tell you that a dirty knife, too, is a dangerous knife. This is especially true when it comes to pocket knives, as lint in your pocket can block the pivot and locking areas. This can cause a folding knife to be slower or more difficult to open, which could lead to injury while exerting force to open it or operate it.

As an additional piece of advice, remember to lubricate your knife occasionally in order to prevent rust and also to keep all moving parts of a knife functional, if there are any. Some lubricants are made to attract less pocket lint to help you keep your knife clean, while others are food-safe in case you will be using your knife for food. 

Respect the Tool

Only use a knife when it is absolutely necessary to use one. There are certain tasks that can be accomplished without a knife, such as breaking or snapping a branch with your hands or by putting it at an angle and stepping on it instead of attempting to cut or chop it. 

Being oblivious to the harm this tool could cause can lead you to being careless and clumsy with your knife. Knives are not toys and should therefore be treated with respect and awareness. Understanding the power of your tool will always keep you safe above all and help you to remember these safety tips that could make the difference between safe usage and a life-threatening accident. 

See the knife collection by Survival Frog here.

About the Author: Alex is a former member of the military who firmly believes in a more sustainable world and leading a lifestyle similar to that of the few native tribes that still remain in the world. He is a strong supporter of physical activity, wild game eating and foraged food as habits to lead a healthier life. He likes to share his knowledge with the world through his website outdoorsbeing.com.

How to Live Without Electricity: 7 Key Areas Where You Can

Electricity is more than a comfort. Its usage has become a way of life. Many people can’t go back to old ways because they don’t know how. If you want to stop using electricity, you will have to do so a little at a time. It helps to think about this process in terms of areas where you use power. Here are ways to get the job done in each area:

  • Step 1: Make a list for each area. For example, list all the devices you use cook or heat up food.
  • Step 2: Cut back on devices that use a lot of power. Shut off the hot water heater or other devices when you don’t need them. Use power strips with dedicated shut-off buttons.
  • Step 3: Eliminate Duplicate Devices. If you use a coffee maker, a microwave, and a range, choose just one to keep. In this case, your best bet will be the range.
  • Step 4: Use devices that don’t need electricity. You can buy a lot of devices that use gas, solar, or other power. There are also a lot of things you can build on your own.
  • Step 5: Downsize Your Devices. You will go through a phase where you think you can’t cut back any further. The kitchen stove is a perfect case in point.

Try replacing the oven with a convection toaster oven. It will work just as well and take a lot less power.  Use hot plates instead of stovetop elements. The big element on your stove can take as much as 3000 watts.

A hot plate only uses around 1100 watts on max. That will cut the power usage for cooking by more than half. If you need more heat, use an induction hotplate.

Now that you know how to cut back on power usage, it is time to see about eliminating its use altogether. Here are 7 key areas where you can get the job done and devices or methods that will help you.

Cooking
Being able to heat up food is vital for health and wellbeing. Here are some devices you can use:

  • Solar Powered Devices. This includes solar cookers, solar ovens, and solar dehydrators.  The latter can also be used to make food last for a long time without using a refrigerator.

Most solar cookers don’t reach much over 250 degrees F. You will need to experiment with cooking time and vessel type for each food type. A black cooking vessel works best because it will retain heat and build it up better.

  • Fire.  Many people think using fire is a waste of natural resources. On the other hand, if you get a lot of junk mail, or read a newspaper, you can use them to make paper logs. There are other things you can also burn.

Depending on what you burn, you may also get enough ash to make lye. From there, you can make your own soap.

Preserving Food
Have you ever had your refrigerator stop working? Especially during a long power outage, if so, then you may also know what it feels like to run around looking for ice. Here are some other ways to preserve food.

  • Dehydrate. As I said earlier, a solar dehydrator will help you keep food safe. This is a good way to store fruits and vegetables.
  • Canning.  Also very good for some fruits and vegetables. You will need a lot of heat to get the job done. A fire will be your best source of heat.
  • Salting. This will also dehydrate foods. You can use it on lean meat, but not the fatty parts.  Try using rosemary oil extract to preserve fatty meats.
  • Smoking. This method has been used for centuries to make meat and other foods last longer.
  • Fermentation. Wine isn’t the only thing you can make. You can also make cheeses and other pickled items. Some may or may not need to be kept in a refrigerator.
  • Zeer Pots. Don’t expect this device to work as well as a regular refrigerator. Depending on the humidity and temperature, it may give you 10 or so degrees of cooling.
  • Ice House. Build a cellar or other insulated area where ice will not melt to freeze foods.  You can also use salt to keep the ice intact longer. Unless you buy a freezer that runs on gas, you will need electricity to make the ice.

Heating and Cooling
This is usually the hardest area to deal with. First, the devices use a lot of power. Second, replacing them also costs a lot. Third, it will be hard to cope with extreme temperatures. Here are some things you can try:

  • Insulate.  Keeping hot or cold air in longer is the best thing to do. Since most devices will not produce much heat or cooling, you will need to preserve as much as you can. Insulate all walls, ceiling, and floors.

You do not have to use regular insulation. Carpets and wall tapestries will also help. Do not forget to seal drafts from windows and doors.

  • Passive Heating.  Open curtains during day hours to let in heat from the sun. You can also make a few design changes to your home to make more use of the sun. These changes will also help you stay cool in hot weather.
  • Passive Cooling.  Use black out shades to keep the sun out in the day. Open windows at night.
  • Solar Can Heater.  This is an array of cans that will build up heat from the sun. It also has an outlet that you can use to push the heat into your home.
  • Candle Heater.  A candle, clay pots, and a few zinc-free parts are all you need to make this device. It will heat up a small room for a few hours.
  • Reduce Area.  In an emergency, close off all but part of a room. Use a tent to preserve what hot or cold air you generate.

Don’t burn anything in the tent. It could catch fire. You could also wind up with carbon monoxide poisoning.

Transportation
Right now you can still use gas engines. Depending on the next election, this could get very expensive. Sadly, electric cars are also very expensive.

Here are some ways to get around this looming choke hold.

  • Stop Traveling. During Covid, we have all found out how to shop at home. Telemedicine also means you don’t have to go to a doctor’s office. Find a job or start a business that lets you work at home.

This is the time to see if you can do away with as much travel as possible. If you can get down to just once a month, you won’t have to worry about buying a new electric car.

  • Use Animals. If you live in a rural area, you may be able to use a horse or dog sled.
  • Use Mass Transit – If you live in an urban area, use mass transit. You can also form car pools.
  • Bicycle – You can use these in both rural and urban areas. Be sure to choose the right bike for the terrain. If you need to shop, use a backpack.

There are also cargo bikes that can haul more weight. You can also buy a cargo trailer that will attach to a regular bike. Or, you can use a tricycle.

Communication
Tablets and phones don’t take much power. A solar charge kit doesn’t cost much. From a purely power-oriented point, it doesn’t make much sense to get rid of these devices.

Phones and tablets can’t reach others by power alone. They need a signal carrier. What happens when you can’t get that signal?

Even if you can power the device, you won’t be able to reach others. From this angle, you need to figure out how to do without modern phones and tablets.

The mail is too slow for the kind of rapid communication we have now. If a crisis is very bad, there may not be a mail system.

Carrier pigeons will work, but they are not practical at this time. They might come in handy during a crisis where phones and internet are down.

You may want to keep a bull roarer on hand. It will transmit sound over long distances. The receiver will have to know how to decipher the sound.

Getting Water
Unless you have municipal water, you will need a water pump. Most homes have electric power pumps. There are a few ways to get around that.

  • Ram Pump – These can take water from a low point and bring it upward. For example, if you have a pond, this pump will let you pipe the water up a hill. This pump works on gravity and doesn’t need power.
  • Use a shallow well – If you don’t want to disrupt your well, try to dig a shallow one. You can use a wishing well crank and bucket to get water.
  • Cisterns – Store water from rain and snow in one of these. There are also other ways to get and save rainwater.
  • Hand Power Water Pump. There are many ways to make these pumps from PVC pipe. Some can be used for shallow and mid-depth wells.

Don’t forget you may also have to purify the water. This won’t take power. You should still have activated carbon, sand, and other filter material on hand.

Lighting
As simple as this may seem, it isn’t easy to get rid of electric lights. For example, if you have ceiling fixtures, they cannot be run on anything but electricity.

Here are some ways to solve this:

  • Stop using ceiling-based lights. Even if they take LED bulbs, there is no way to easily use these fixtures with solar panels. They will always need house current.

Instead, use lamps that you plug into a wall socket. You can choose lamps that take lower wattage bulbs.

  • You can also use LED flashlights. Their batteries are easy to charge with a solar panel.
  • Right now they also make solar stake lamps for outside. Modify these so they can stand on their own. Put them outside in the day, then bring them in when you need them.
  • Candles and Oil Lamps – These will all give a good bit of light. Candles can give off toxic fumes if you use paraffin wax. Oil lamps can also give off bad fumes. It is best to use these only for short periods of time.
  • Change Your Schedule. You may not the way day hours change across the seasons when you don’t have modern lighting. It may still be worth your while to try. If you have problems seeing in the dark, save LED lights for those areas.

What About Making Power?
There are many ways to do this. Solar power and wind power are the most popular. You can either buy a kit or build your own system. For smaller devices, the QuadraPro Solar Power Bank by Frog & CO. is a great option. If you’re looking for a larger kit, check out the BioLite SolarHome 620 Kit.

You can also use water wheels. If you have a source of free moving water, you can a make power as long as the water flows.

A water wheel can also power devices on its own. For example, they have been used for a very long time to power grain mills and hammers. If you need power tools, there is most likely a way to make something that will run off a water wheel.

Even if you can’t get rid of all-electric use, you can cut back a lot. The best way to do this is to start with a plan. This plan should focus on each area of your power use. Start with simple things that guarantee success. Build from there to tackle harder things on your list such as heat, light, and food preserving.

About the author:
Fred Tyrell is an Eagle Scout and a retired police officer with a big passion for hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking. He is a strong believer in the old American ways and traditions, living it, and sharing it every time he can. He is also a champion shooter who loves to help others in the right use of firearms for hunting and self-defense. He also has a wealth of experience in bugging out, crime awareness, homestead maintenance, and home defense. You can also read more of his work at SurvivorsFortress.com

Top 10 Natural Shelters every Survivalist must know

If an emergency situation is happening, it may be better to hide inside your house because it is easier to survive when you have many tools and commodities. But there are situations when it is necessary to leave your home. Even if your survival plan is all about hiding inside, you must have a backup plan that will help you to bug out if it’s needed.

One of the most important aspects of such a plan is to prepare your survival kit with items such as a tarpaulin and paracord. You can learn here how to build the ultimate disaster survival kit for free. But even if you create a great kit, you still can’t be sure that you’ll be able to survive without any problems. Of course, if you don’t have such a kit, you will face troubles. Unfortunately, even with a decent kit, you can’t always take everything you want with you, meaning you may have to leave some tools, a tarpaulin or even tent at home.

A tent is not the only thing that can be used as a shelter, but its advantage is that it is easier to set it up and there is no need to spend time searching for materials and building a shelter. One great idea is to know how to use shelters made by nature. Once you have the knowledge to look at objects in nature from a survival perspective, you’ll be able to find an emergency shelter almost anywhere you bug out.

The best survival shelters you can find in nature;

  • Caves. Here is the best shelter created by nature. A cave can help you to hide from bad weather conditions and also it is a great way not to be noticed by any wild animals that can hurt you. There is only one disadvantage in such shelters: some creatures are usually living there. So, when you find a cavern and you decide to go in, make sure if there are no people or wild animals already living there! You’ll find caves along rocky shorelines but also inland especially where the underlying bedrock is limestone or chalk.
  • Undercut riverbank. Such a bank can help you to hide if it’s raining, but unfortunately, it’s not as good as a cavern. If several trees are located right in front of this bank, then it may save you even from the wind. Undercut bank can be a great shelter but check them for stability first. Also be extra cautious of rising river levels if it is raining hard.
  • Underneath a fir tree. Many fir trees (and even cypress trees) have huge branches that are long enough to touch the ground. If you are staying under the branches, you’ll have enough space to feel comfortable. Don’t forget to cut some dead parts of these branches, so that it’ll be even more comfortable for you to stay there. Coniferous species such as this have the added benefit of providing a blanket of old foliage on the floor as well as drying the soil out in an area on the floor as large as the canopy.
  • Deadfalls. These can actually help you a lot in solving many survival problems ranging from dead wood for burning, to providing structural support for shelter building. The roots are strong enough and they can be used as a wall of the shelter, or you may find an uprooted tree with a cavity underneath the roots. You can cut or snap some branches from the underside of a fallen trunk which will create a comfortable space for you. Usually, deadfalls have other trees or even rocks that surround them, meaning that these deadfalls are protected well from the bad weather.
  • Rock structures. It is possible to find many huge rocks that are naturally located in formations that create great shelters. You can improve such rock structures by putting a tarp or foliage on its roof, for added protection. Such spots can also protect you from wild animals, or at least ensure that you can keep all sides except the entrance vulnerable.
  • Things left by people. It may sound a little bit unpredictable, but it is possible to find things that were built by people even in the deepest areas of the forest. Human beings have lived in different areas for hundreds of years and may have left structures that look abandoned or wild today. It is possible to find some buildings or parts of constructions that were created by them, although at first, it may look like unusable. Many spots may be used as shelters as they are, or just be raided for materials that can be used to create shelter.
  • Against a vertical face. Depending on the direction of the prevailing wind, it may be possible to find shelter from the elements by simply tucking in against a vertical face (such as against a rock face or embankment). Even if it is raining there is a phenomenon of ‘rain shadows’ against such faces. You may not stay 100% dry, but you’ll be guarded from the worst of the rain and wind.
  • Lairs of animals. There are wild animals that create lairs to sleep and reproduce. They remove all the plants and everything that may be uncomfortable for them. Animals often don’t sleep or rear their young in the same lair several times; usually, they create or use new ones leaving the previous lairs. So, if you are lucky enough to find such a spot, you can use it as a shelter, although it may be a little bit small or uncomfortable for you.
  • Trees. If you stuck in a terrible situation where you can’t find any natural shelter, just choose a big tree and create a camp under it. Sometimes if you’re sitting under the tree when it’s raining you may be completely dry. It depends on the thickness and type of leaves and the direction of rain. Be careful about choosing the tallest tree if there is lightning. Choose a smaller tree that is less likely to be struck by lightning.

  • Trees with hollows. If you find a tree that has a big hollow, it may be used as a cavern. These are generally smaller spaces which have the added benefit of being more comfortable for sleeping and will keep the warm in better than more open shelters.

Now you know the best natural survival shelters

By looking at the world from a survival perspective you’ll begin to observe the opportunities for shelter that are all around you. Natural environments have been lived in by our ancestors for hundreds or thousands of years. By learning to look for the opportunities presented by our environment there should be no reason to perish from the lack of shelter when we are faced with a bug out scenario.

Author Bio

Based in the UK, Jim has been teaching survival skills as a countryside ranger for over 20 years. For more free survival tips visit his website at ClickSurvival.com

Let there be light MacGyver-style: How to create survival lights from everyday objects?

Knowing how to make light in a pinch is a key skill for any survivalist or really just anyone who doesn’t want to get caught unprepared in a crisis. So, whether you like hiking and need some survival tips, whether you want to know how to deal with a prolonged power outage at home, or you’re just looking for a fun DIY project to entertain the kids at home – here’s how to create survival lights from everyday objects.

When talking about “survival lights” we’ll usually either talk about modern survival lighting such as solar lanterns and lights that work on batteries or go old-school and talk about the many different ways to make candles. That’s because electricity is usually the first thing we loose when we’re in a tough situation.

Any good candle is made of two main ingredients – wax and a wick. So, the trick here is to find suitable tools for making both wax and wicks using everyday items found at home or in your camping gear.

What can you use for candle wicks?

There are lots of different things you can use for a wick as the purpose of a candle’s wick is to burn.

Any piece of cotton twine can make for a good wick. Heavy cotton Butcher’s twine is one of the best choices but you can also cut a strip out of an old cotton shirt or you can get a twine out of a mop.

Another thing to use is a balsa wood stick. You can get those from most craft stores or, if you’re camping, you can look for similar sticks in the woods. All you need to do after that is trim the stick with a pair of scissors to a length of your choice and soak it in olive oil.

Pro tip: If you dissolve 1 tbsp salt and 3 tbsp Borax in 1 cup (250ml) of boiled water and then soak your cotton (not wooded!) wick in it for a while, it will then burn brighter and longer when you light the candle.

Soaking it for up to 24 hours will have increasingly better results but even just 30-60 minutes will be helpful. Allow the cotton twine to dry off completely after that.

Pro tip 2: Freezing your cotton wick for up to 24 hours can also prolong its lifespan.

What can you use for the candle itself and the candle wax?

Cheese wax

This is one of those products that we usually get annoyed by as it seems like it just makes eating cheese harder. However, in addition to preserving cheese fresh for longer, cheese wax can also help you make candles as it’s just, well – wax.

Just cut as much of the stuff as you can, roll it around a string of wick, and light it up as you would a normal candle.

Crayons

Your children’s crayons are great substitutes for candles as they are essentially ready-to-burn candles themselves. Crayons are made out of wax and are covered in paper which can act as a wick even though it’s on the outside of the “candle”.

Just cut off the tip of the crayon and light it up – it will burn for up to 30 minutes.

Alternatively, you can take 3 crayons, wrap them together in foil with a piece of wick string between them, and light that up.

Cooking oil

Any type of fresh or used cooking oil can act as an emergency candle as well. Just pour it in a suitable glass container such as a jar, puncture a hole in the jar’s cap, put the cap on, and pass a wick through the hole into the oil.

A can of tuna

Tuna, sardines, or any other canned fish can work as long as it’s soaked in olive oil or something similar (not tomato sauce!). All you need to do is puncture a hole in the top of the can and put some wick through it. This “candle” can smell a bit like fish but hey – that’s the price a survivor has to pay sometimes.

And as a bonus – you’ll still be able to eat the fish after that as well as refill the can with oil and light it up again.

Shoe polish

Shoe polish is another household item you can easily use for a candle as it’s mostly made out of oil and beeswax. As with most of the methods above – just puncture a hole on top of the shoe polish’s can, put a wick through it, and light it up.

Do check out all the ingredients of your particular shoe polish before you start, though, there are thousands of different types out there. Still, those we know of are perfectly harmless.

Butter

All you need here is to stick a wick string in a rectangular piece of butter and light it up – that’s it!

An orange

Yes, the fruit. Oranges won’t make for the most effective candles but they can work for a while plus they are fun to play with. You’ll need to carefully cut out one half of an orange’s peel with the center pith intact. This video from Lab 360 offers a nice video guide.

After you’ve cut the peel properly, just pour some oil over the orange’s pith and light it up.

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Lip balm tins

Lip balm tins work just like shoe polish – puncture a hole in them, stick a wick string inside, and light it up!

Bacon grease

If you’ve been storing a jar of bacon grease or if you just have some bacon in your fridge with lots of fat on it, you can use that instead of wax. Just put whatever bacon grease you have in a jar, put a cap on it, stick a cotton string through a hole in the cap, and that’s it.

A can of Crisco

Do you have a large can of Crisco in your home? That can work as a candle for a very long time! As with any of the methods above, just stick a nice cotton wick through a hole in the can’s cap and light it up. If you’ve soaked the wick on salt or frozen it for a while it will further prolong the effectiveness of this huge DIY candle.

A headlight and a plastic jug of water

And lastly, for a non-candle solution, a camper’s headlight gear can also be quite helpful in a crisis. It’s usually too bright and its light is too focused for effective candle-like light, however, there’s a way around that.

If you tape a turned-on headlight to a plastic jug full of water, the water can divert and diffuse the light and turn the whole thing into a nice “lamp”.

 

Is It Possible To Live Off-Grid In A Motorhome?

There is an undeniable romanticism tethered to the idea of living “off the grid”. Such a way of life seems natural, normal, and — though it is never mistaken for an easy life — all the hard labour is considered “honest”.

Off-grid living in a motorhome then seems even more romantic. Whereas living off-grid implies a certain rootedness to a particular plot of earth, motorhome off-grid living instills an even greater sense of independence and freedom because it no longer restricts to any one place, for any long period of time.

But is the off-grid lifestyle really possible in a motorhome? That depends on what your definition of “off-grid” actually is.

Defining the off-grid lifestyle

There is some debate over what really “counts” as off-grid living, but the most popular one seems to be: a general way of life independent of major public utilities such as electricity and water.

Hard-core definitions include avoiding all public infrastructure entirely, and at the opposite end of the spectrum we have people who live a sort-of nomad lifestyle, who are more engaged in full-time touring than anything else.

The hard-core definition is not compatible with motorhome living — mainly because public infrastructure includes roads. But while the softest definition of an off-grid lifestyle is certainly possible, the more orthodox view of off-grid living, a lifestyle independent of grid water and electricity, is not without its challenges.


The off-grid and motorhome combination is often associated with freedom

Off-grid motorhome living — what you can realistically do

Living full-time in a motorhome will inevitably make you dependent on the road network. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. One advantage is that, obviously, roads make it possible to travel almost anywhere pretty easily. But a life on the road is also one subject to government laws, rules and taxes — which will all dampen romanticism.

Life permanently on the road can be as tiring as it is exciting, and from time to time a break might be welcome. Especially if there is enough time to grow some food or source water. But it is not possible to just park your motorhome up by the side of the road, even in the middle of nowhere. In the United States, the authorities will demand a building or construction permit after a while; and in Britain planning permission must be produced after 28-days.

Here are some things you can do if you want to settle down for a brief period:

  • Look for a holiday or residential site that accommodates motorhomes. Not all of them are open all year round, but some of them are. It is mostly possible to stay at sites like these for very long periods. Though in some instances, certain legal requirements might ask you to leave the site for a few days, usually every quarter. But this isn’t really a problem, and could even be a great opportunity for some exploring.
  • Live off-grid on a friend or family member’s land, with their permission. “Land” in this instance can refer to almost everything, from a large field to a simple driveway. This is known as ancillary accommodation.
  • Root your address at a friend or family member’s house. Similar to ancillary accommodation, this option will allow you to travel around indefinitely, making only infrequent stops at your semi-permanent address to sort out taxes, insurance, and other life administrative duties.

And that is pretty much it. A fourth option — the most romantic one — of living permanently nomadic, with no fixed address, would come with enormous complications. Mainly from insurance companies and government red tape, of which both will not be keen on covering anything without some form of semi-permanent address.

The middle ground: full-time touring

As mentioned above, there is the option to go full-time touring. This is not an off-grid lifestyle, but I mention it here because when a lot of people dream romantically of living off-grid in a motorhome, what they really mean is they would like to have a free and independent life.

Full-time touring is the easiest, and probably the most desirable, way of motorhome living for most people. Even if it isn’t the most noble. Because it has all of the upsides and none of the downsides of off-grid living.

Someone who is full-time touring would have no hesitant thoughts about going to the supermarket for food; or signing up for a 24-hour gym just to get a hot shower at night. And they most certainly wouldn’t lose a night’s sleep over hooking up to the grid as the going gets tough in the depths of winter. But full-time tourists have advantages over other motorhome enthusiasts, as they will be more battle-hardened. For example, full-time tourists are more likely to settle on holiday sites with no power grid access. Such sites are usually very cheap and almost always empty, even on public holidays and in the midst of summer. And it is here that full-time tourists will often have a try at true off-grid living and self-sufficiency.

Sourcing power in a motorhome

Thanks to modern technological developments, achieving energy self-sufficiency is actually the easiest part of the off-grid lifestyle. Aside from fuel required to get around, there are four key components that, combined, should be more than enough to power your energy needs, and especially when settled down. They are:

  • Solar panels — Infinite, renewable, clean energy from the sun. It doesn’t get much more romantic than that. Over the last ten years especially, the cost of solar panels has plummeted. And a good one can easily last a decade or more if it is looked after. There are lots of different types of solar panels, but the mounted-roof panels are especially pertinent because they can be orientated to follow the sun, and neatly folded away at night to prevent theft.For two people, a 100-watt panel wired into two 110-amp leisure panels should be enough to get by, after some minor sacrifices (there is no real need in TVs, toasters, coffee makers and so on, you can watch TV on a laptop, and find easy alternatives to making toast and coffee).
  • Gas — After solar panels, the most important source of energy will come in a gas cylinder. Gas is important for keeping things cool (refrigeration) in summer and warm in winter. Without mentioning specific brands, a simple refillable gas system, along with a backup cylinder, should be all you need. It pays to shop around and look for systems that are the most cost-effective. Two cylinders should last about three weeks, but overall gas isn’t too expensive (but in the opinions of many it is still a type of “on-grid” source of energy as it requires purchasing from shops).
  • Generators — If the solar panel cannot generate sufficient power for your needs, as sometimes happens on short, overcast winter days, then a generator makes for a great backup energy source. Generators are noisy and smelly, so the less they are on the better. With some smart thinking, two people might be able to get along with a small 500-watt system. Purchase one from a reputable brand, and it should last ten years easy.
  • Car engines — If you are ever stuck for power and do not have a generator, the engine of another car or motorhome should do the trick. Engines have alternators that can help to charge up the electrics. Just be careful not to flatten the car battery in the process.

Sourcing energy is not too difficult, but can get expensive over time. But if you can afford it, energy sufficiency shouldn’t be a problem.


Being food and water self-sufficient is much more difficult than sourcing off-grid energy 

Sourcing water in a motorhome 

By far the most difficult part of off-grid living — motorhome or not —  is sourcing water. Even the most die-hard off-grid enthusiasts sometimes have to source their water from public utilities. On the road, without a permanent settled residence, it becomes even harder.

This is because most rivers and lakes are either polluted (by both chemicals and animal faeces) or home to microorganisms that, if ingested, can cause serious illness.

Digging a well is out of the question. Even in an area with a high-water table, sourcing water is no guarantee. Well-digging also obviously requires digging equipment, and an abnormally high-pressure pump to extract and deliver the water. It can cost thousands to dig a well, and you will almost certainly need some permission, or face reproach from the local authorities.

Sourcing food in a motorhome

So, for the water part, the answer is almost: definitely not. But for food self-sufficiency, the answer is: sometimes. It is possible to grow a surprisingly large yield of fruit and vegetables in a small area with careful management. Raised beds of about 24-inches wide should serve a couple of people well. And the fruits of the raised bed can be supplemented with more edible fruits grown in containers.

The big problem here is, in order to be food sufficient in this way, the motorhome will have to stay put for months at a time. There is a trade-off between food sufficiency, and your independence.

Growing food like this also requires a de facto vegan diet, and the meticulousness of an amateur biologist. Mother Nature will send pests, diseases, and bad weather — all of which will erode at the fruits of your labour. There is also a reality check to be had here. There are plenty of romantic notions around growing one’s own food, but many who have tried it have complained bitterly of stomach problems and developing bad breath. For most people, it is far more satisfactory to grow some food, often in planters, and the motorhome doesn’t have to be grounded in one place.

Conclusion

To answer the question posed in the title of this article, the answer is: it depends. Mainly, it depends on what you interpret “off-grid” living to actually mean. It is certainly possible to source power independently of the grid. This is actually pretty easy and mostly straightforward.

But with sourcing clean drinking water, and being food-sufficient, things are far from straightforward. At best, you might be able to obtain food and water self-sufficiency some of the time. Though it will not be easy, it will be good honest labour. And in those intermittent periods, where one can truly live independently off the Earth, there are fewer greater senses of accomplishment.


This Author

Neil Wright is a writer and researcher. He has an interest in travel, science and the natural world, and has written extensively about living off the grid and self-sufficient living on his website.

 

Safety at Home – Prepare Your Home for Emergencies

Why should we prepare for emergencies? Should we bother to do so?

Indeed, why should we?

There are many reasons why we should take a step to prepare for emergencies swiftly.

In fact, we should start preparing today.

Who knew, for instance, that the Coronavirus would become such a big international emergency. Just a few months ago, no one could have imagined that the world would get into the disturbed state it is today.

This illustrates that it is urgent to prepare for emergencies now.

Identify Likely Emergencies

The first step is to learn about the most likely emergencies that can happen in your area.

Some of the most likely emergencies in any area include hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados and flash floods.

Once you identify the kind of emergencies that are likely to occur, you will find it easier to put up an emergency response plan.

Such a plan should adequately address all your common concerns.

So, overall, what can we do to prepare for emergency disasters?

Think about the following practical steps:

Design a Personalized Plan

The first thing is that your plan to deal with emergencies must be personalized. This means it must especially cater to your personal and family interests.

Determine Escape Routes

It is important to determine a suitable escape route.

Remember that during emergencies the normal escape route may be blocked. Include at least two safe places where family members can meet in case they are separated. One suggestion is the place that hosts the mailbox just outside the house.

Choose a second safe meeting place for the same purpose. This should ideally be near the house. Just in case all these routes are blocked, you should identify a third meeting place outside the neighborhood.

This will work well in case of blockage or impassability of all the other routes.

Create a List of Emergency Contacts.

This includes the numbers for the nearest emergency room, the fire department, local police, water gas and similar utilities, the hospital, the family doctor, an established veterinarian, the workplace, a school or a day care.

Emergency Phone or Cell Phone:

Make sure these are available and easily located.

Make sure that your children know how to use the emergency call feature on the phone or cellphone. Make a printed copy of your plan and keep it in an open place within the home.

Make sure you review the plan with your family at least once in a year.

Prepare for Coming Hurricane:

Many states in the USA will soon face to the ravages of a raging hurricane.

As we all know, these hurricanes have the potential to create a big emergency of unimaginable proportions. Indeed, the degree of destruction is likely to be huge.

These hurricanes inevitably cause a break in the normal power grids. Ultimately, this means the power interruption in many areas will be horrendous.

What can you do to prepare for the destructive hurricanes?

Get a Quiet Portable Generator

It is quite a great idea to prepare for this by buying a small portable generator. This can help you survive such emergencies. They will ensure that you enjoy uninterrupted power even in the midst of a storm.

Of course, you would not want to disturb your neighbors by using a noisy generator at such times. They are already overburdened with the ravages of the storm and other problems.

To avoid creating a noisy disturbance or bothering your neighbors in this way, you should buy one of the quiet generators. Such a generator will allow them to sleep in peace.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Have enough supplies to keep the family going during an emergency. These should last for at least three days. You can keep these safely in a special waterproof container.

In the US, the Homeland Security Department usually provides citizens with a disaster list kit. This generally advises on the basic supplies that a family should have. These include food, water, batteries, matches, first aid supplies and flashlights. You may also include items like cash, prescription medicines, pet food, warm clothing and copies of your most important documents.

Keep this kit in a place that can be accessed easily. Review the contents regularly. Create smaller kits that you can keep at the workplace or in the car.

Prepare a First Aid Kit

As noted one of the essential items that you should pack in preparation for a potential disaster is the first aid kit.

Keep in mind that in case of a disaster you may have to care for injuries yourself. This is because the health care services may be overwhelmed, if at all they are available.

If you keep your first aid kit ready, you will be sure that the needs of your family will be met at the worst hour. This will be possible even if you are unable to reach the nearest health facility.

First Aid Kit Essentials

The Red Cross Society recommends the following items for a first aid kit designed to cater to a family of four: Aspirin, antibiotic ointment, 25 or more adhesive bandages, 2 absorbent compress dressings, 1 roll of adhesive cloth tape, antiseptic wipes or spray, a blanket, tweezers, non-latex gloves, a blanket, and a hydrocortisone cream.

Others include a disposable thermometers, a pair of scissors, the instant cold compress, a 4-inch wide roller bandage, a 3-inch-wide roller bandage, triangular bandages, emergency phone numbers, a CPR breathing barrier, a booklet for first aid instruction, hand sanitizer, family prescription medications, and a flashlight with functional batteries.

Final Thoughts

We cannot imagine living without electricity.

What if you were also unable to access the grocery store because the roads are blocked? Meanwhile, your car is grounded due to a multiplicity of troubles. All these are frightening thoughts that none of us wants to think about.

Unfortunately, these are realities that we must face up to.

At any moment we may have to deal with a hurricane, an earthquake, an ice storm or a tornado. In some places, extreme heat may well convert into an emergency that calls for instant attention.

Yes, we have to swallow the bitter pill and accept that Mother Nature is essentially unpredictable. It is, therefore, important for all of us to know how to deal with such emergencies long before they happen.

This means we have to prepare for it.

We hope that this post will help you deal with any potential emergencies of this nature well in advance.

Slow the Spread: DIY Cloth Face Masks

As the coronavirus makes its way across our country, there are steps we should take to help slow the spread and flatten the curve. While we should all be actively practicing social distancing, which means keeping at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and another individual, this isn’t always possible. 

Because of this, the CDC recommends wearing a cloth face cover when out in public. It can be difficult to safely distance yourself from others at the grocery store or the pharmacy, so this added layer of protection is essential to have while running errands.  

Luckily, making a cloth face cover does not have to be challenging. In fact, it can be a fun activity and an opportunity to be creative. The CDC shared three different tutorials, two of which that do not require sewing, that can easily be done from home with supplies you already have. 

Below are three different ways you can make a cloth mask from the CDC: 

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Try it at home and show us what you’ve created. Bonus points if your fabric has frogs on it! Thanks for doing your part in flattening the curve. 

Coronavirus Pandemic Checklist

While the concerns for contracting the virus are high, especially for those over the age of 60, a larger fear for many is being self-quarantined for an extended period of time.

The typical quarantine period is 14 days. Two weeks seems like a long time to be stuck in the home, but it could go longer due to public safety concern. We recommend to have at least 3-4 weeks of supplies when planning to ride out a self quarantine situation. Think about what you’ll need to keep you and your family safe, healthy and happy. 

With prepping, you can go into all kinds of ‘what if’ scenarios. But it really boils down to making sure you have the following covered: 

  • Safety
  • Temperature Control (cold/extreme heat)
  • Water
  • Food
  • Communications (Radio, etc.)
  • Medical – Medications
  • Tools (Can opener, knives, shovel, etc.)
  • Lighting & Back-up Power
  • Hygiene
  • Comfort & Entertainment

Not sure where to begin? Here’s a list we put together for the coronavirus pandemic: 

Safety: 

  • First Aid kits: have a few. Get a book on home remedies and treating injuries/sickness. 
  • Thermometer (and several back ups) 
  • Self-defense: if you have supplies and someone doesn’t, this naturally puts you in a defensive position. We’re not saying you shouldn’t help, just watch yourself. Even having pepper spray or stun gun can add a lot of protection during a crisis. 
  • Have fire extinguishers in a few spots around your house. Working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 
  • Lighting: available if power goes out. Flashlights, lanterns, etc. 

Drink: 

  • Water: In theory clean water should be available within your home. However, we suggest establishing some redundancy around water storage and filtration. You want to have 1 gallon of water per person, per day – this gives enough for drinking and washing. You can buy 1-5 gallon water tanks on Survival Frog (we recommend WaterBrick).
  • For larger storage, we like this 160 Gallon Tank (not a Survival Frog product).
  • Powdered milk, especially if you have kids/teenagers 
  • Alcohol of your choosing 
  • Flavored dry mixes (cool aid, etc) 
  • Frozen juices 
  • At a minimum getting the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter would be a good insurance policy. It can clean enough water for one person for a few years. You can capture water out of lakes or rivers then filter with LifeStraw. 

Food: 

  • Have redundant ways of cooking food (what if your stove goes out?). Have some camping stoves with gas. Have a few extra 20lb propane tanks for the outdoor grill. 
  • Have long term food supply (canned food, freeze dried food, etc). Most grocery store canned food lasts around a year, or you can get long term food storage which has a 25 year shelf life.
  • Just like it makes sense to keep your car full of gas, keeping your house full of fresh food makes the first week of a shelter-in-place situation a little better. 
  • Don’t forget pet food

Hygiene: 

  • Toilet paper 
  • Paper towels 
  • Feminine hygiene products 
  • Other toiletries
  • Disinfectant hand gel 
  • Disinfectant wipes (surface and hands) 
  • Chlorine Bleach (this does expire every few years) 
  • Soaps: Body, shampoo, dish soap, clothes soap, etc 
  • N95 masks – despite what you hear on the news, the N95 masks do work to protect you from the virus. Sorry, currently we aren’t able to source any for a reasonable price.

Health: 

  • Medicine. Try to stock up on prescriptions and any over the counter medicines. Buy a bunch of cough & flu medicine. 
  • Contact lens solution, extra pair of glasses 
  • Vitamins – staying healthy and keeping your immune system strong during a pandemic is critical

Power and Communications: 

  • Have a few radios to stay up to date on news events. We’re assuming (and praying) we always have internet, but what if we don’t? Radios are an important connection to what the authorities are doing. Crank radios allow you to keep power to the radio during blackouts. 
  • We’d like to assume we’ll always have electricity, but its good to have a few solar charging systems. The QuadraPro is all you need to keep your phone and tablets charged up.

Specialty: 

  • Baby food 
  • Diapers, wipes, creams, etc.

Other:

Also Consider: 

  • Think through how you’ll keep entertained; tablets, board games, etc. 
  • If you have school aged kids; home schooling will be needed.
  • Establishing a routine will help everyone. Have a workout schedule to get needed exercise. 
  • Keep your cars full of gas. Have an extra can of gas in the garage (gas has a shelf life so you can’t keep it more than a few years). 
  • What if the power goes out and it’s cold outside? Huddle everyone into one room in the center of the house or a room with a southern exposure. Have lots of blankets, pillows and sleep bags. If it gets real cold set up a camping tent in the room, everyone’s body heat will help to keep you warm. We also have some great warming products on Survival Frog.
  • Think through an office quarantine – what if you get stuck at work? That scenario needs its own list of things. Start with some of the above basics and keep them at work. Extra clothes, toiletries, etc. 
  • When sterilizing your area don’t forget to wipe down your cell phone, headphones, door handles, light switches, steering wheel and nobs in car. 
  • And please, stop touching your face! 

Now you know what you need, and it’s time to get prepared. Adding any special items to your list? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Bring Your Plants Indoors for Winter

By Clarence Washington

Plants indoors

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Winter is the perfect time for hibernating. It’s the season for cozy fires, flannel sheets,
space heaters, warm puffy coats, and that all-important electric blanket. You can
survive winter’s freeze, but it’s a bit more challenging for outdoor plants if they’re not
native to the region. Frost occurs when the thermometer dips below 32 degrees
Fahrenheit, especially under clear skies. Ice crystals can damage or kill off tender
vegetation.

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Frosted leaves shrivel and turn black or dark brown. Ice crystals soak into plants and
keep water from moving through vegetative tissues. Damage on outdoor plants often
appears in early spring, but a quick temperature drop after a mid-winter thaw may cause
barks and stems to split. Frost injury affects branches, twigs, ground cover, and
shrubbery. It will also kill indoor houseplants left outdoors.

While it’s not possible to bring shrubbery and established outdoor greenery inside, you
can protect potted plants from the harsh temperatures by bringing them indoors.

Step No. 1: Monitor the Temperature

Most houseplants can’t tolerate temperatures below 45 degrees. Keep an eye on the
thermometer and start the process of acclimating the plants when lows reach 50
degrees. Light and humidity are very different from outside to inside. An abrupt transfer
can send the plants into shock, causing their leaves to wilt and drop.

Step No. 2: Inspect the Foliage

Ladybugs on a plant

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Houseplants that have enjoyed the summer sun may now be infested with insects. Check the plants for spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and other tiny critters. These pests would love the opportunity to jump on other indoor plants.  With a water sprayer, hose off the plants before bringing them inside. Apply neem oil as a precaution.

Step No. 3: Prune or Repot

Soaking up the sunshine provides food and energy for greenery; chances are your
plants have grown. If you prune them back, do not clip off more than one-third of the
leaves and stems. Prune the roots the same amount as the foliage. Use bigger
containers when repotting.

Step No. 4: Choose a Location

Indoor plant

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Before bringing your plants inside, determine the location that best suits them — even
shade plants need filtered light. The best place is near a south-facing window, but you
can place them wherever the light streams in. If need be, plant lights are available at
your local garden store.
Drafty window panes and poor insulation can damage greenery and blooms. Dry air is a
problem for windows near heaters and radiators.

Step No. 5: Alternate

Start the acclimation process by bringing plants inside at night and taking them back
outside in the morning. Do this for several days. Increase the number of hours that
plants are indoors until you can keep them in all day. Indoor plants won’t drink as much
water as they did when they were outside. Water them only when the soil is dry.

Bringing Plants Outdoors

When spring temperatures remain above 60 degrees Fahrenheit both day and night, the
plants are ready to go outside. Much like taking them indoors, you’ll want to keep them
out for a few hours a day so they can get used to the new environment.

Plant Health

Unhealthy plants are not always easy to spot with the naked eye, but tell-tale signs are
often there. When leaves are yellow and wilting, appear fuzzy and have holes in them,
the plant is in trouble. If a plant is yellowing, it may be in soil that’s too warm, have
insufficient light (or an overabundance of it), or it may have grown too big for the pot.
The roots need room to spread. Older plants may be lacking nitrogen, potassium, or
magnesium. Root rot and overwatering also contribute to sick plants.
Bringing plants indoors for the winter keeps them alive so you can enjoy them again in
the spring. The greenery also improves the air inside and helps you through those long,
drab days of winter.

Clarence Washington is a longtime landscaper sold on native plants and biodiversity.
His backyard is a certified wildlife habitat.