New Mexico Urban Homesteader

Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!

(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)

This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Are You In Control of Your Essentials & Desires?

“We are driven by five genetic needs:
survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.”
William Glasser

We humans are way too wrapped up in pursuing our fantasies, dreams and pursuit of happiness that we often create a living environment that we despise and try to escape from. We are hooked into believing that we won’t have more time or money in the future or that we won’t be part of the “in crowd” if we don’t spend NOW on this or that. To top it off we tend to do this to ourselves, like we are just a bunch of glutens for punishment.

We are constantly bombarded with the images of the “perfect” kitchen gadget, garden tool, sweater, house, yard or look and style; that we have no true idea what we ourselves actually like or dislike. As a result we are often like the hamster on the training wheel, running in circles and getting nowhere.

“Frugality may be termed the daughter of Prudence, the sister of Temperance, and the parent of Liberty”
Samuel Johnson

We convince ourselves that we can control the future, if we just get this or do that NOW. We fail to keep in mind that we humans basically control nothing but ourselves. The future will be what it will be.

For those of us that wish to be self-reliant or prepared, this distinction between needs and wants can be a major roadblock to our success.

"Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs
that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions."

Niccolo Machiavelli

A need is something you have to have, something you can't do without. A good example is food. If you don't eat, you won't survive for long. Many people have gone days without eating, but they eventually ate a lot of food. You might not need a whole lot of food, but you do need to eat.

A want is something you would like to have. It is not absolutely necessary, but it would be a good thing to have. A good example is music. Now, some people might argue that music is a need because they think they can't do without it. But you don't need music to survive. You do need to eat.

“Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it.
The more a man has, the more he wants.
Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.”

Benjamin Franklin

Our needs are relatively few, even from birth. We don’t need a lot of stuff, toys, gadgets, etc. The most basic needs you as a human require for survival are oxygen, water, food, clothing and shelter from the elements, clothing, food, love and understanding; we need friends and family around us. Anything beyond those are "wants".

When we cannot distinguish between wants versus needs, or if we can't identify a want as a want, we set ourselves up to live in a constant state of craving and disappointment.

“If you want to feel rich,
just count the things you have that money can't buy”


We can see this when we look in our drawers, closets and kitchens. How many gadgets, trinkets and articles of clothing do we have that we really, really wanted when we purchased them, yet at best have only utilized once or twice in the last two years? These items were wants and desires and not needs or essentials.

There is nothing wrong with wanting these things. However we need understand that these things, in and of themselves, are not necessities to human life and often do not make us happy. Plus they are links in the chains that bind us to activities and jobs we ultimately despise or from obtaining our true goals.

“Life belongs to the living,
and he who lives must be prepared for changes.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Read on to learn how to identify the addictive cycle of "more" or "not enough" as well as tips on how to avoid it.

“A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them;
the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences."

Proverbs 22:3


Monday, January 16, 2012

Vinegar In All Its Wonder & Common Uses

Vinegar is a liquid substance consisting mainly of acetic acid and water. The acetic acid is produced through the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. It is today mainly used in the kitchen, but historically, as the most easily available mild acid, it had a great variety of industrial, medical and domestic uses. Commercial vinegar today, is produced either by fast or slow fermentation processes.

In today’s perceived ‘time pressed’ world, many of its great uses have been forgotten. However, since the ‘silent economic depression’ seems to be dragging on, vinegar is again being used in place of the newer more expensive products and since vinegar has an almost limitless shelf life, it is a great, inexpensive item for long term emergency storage.

Unopened bottles of vinegar can be stored indefinitely. Producers recommend that opened bottles should be used up within 6 months to enjoy peak flavor; although many (including me) have kept vinegars much longer than that (years!). All bottles should be kept in a cool, dark place - including those gourmet bottles with sprigs of herbs inside. You need to choose if they’ll be food or decor, since daily exposure to bright light can alter the flavor over time.

Remember long term storage for most things (especially food and medical items) need cool, dry, dark places. The opposite of what is generally needed to grow them

While most people think of vinegar as something that is made from wine, it can be made from the fermented juices of virtually any plant material, including rice, grain and fruit. Thus, while European vinegar is basically an alcoholic beverage that has gone sour (the word vinegar that we use today is French for sour wine vin is wine and aigre means sour), around the world vinegars are made from a broad variety of bases.

Vinegar is a totally natural food. In a bottle of vinegar there are no harmful chemicals or preservatives, indeed vinegar is a preservative itself. There are so many ways that you can utilize its virtues. It is not just for vinaigrette dressing. There are many healing functions you can use it for. It cleans and sanitizes almost as well or better than anything on the market, it deodorizes and is a natural way to get rid of ants, other insects, and unwanted weeds. Vinegar through history has also been a good way to preserve foods. It is of course used in pickling but also when you marinate meat it kills unwanted bacteria such as ecoli.

The many uses of vinegar have been passed down through the centuries from medical, food preservation and condiment ingredient, to cleaning. White vinegar is especially popular for the treatment of rashes, bites and other minor ailments when camping.

Vinegar actually makes itself when aerobic bacteria (Acetobacter aceti or often called Mother of Vinegar) comes in contact with alcohol, while exposed to oxygen. The bacteria turn the alcohol to acetic acid and water; the acid that is found in all vinegars. Acetic acid is what gives vinegar its unique sharp sour taste. While acetic acid provides the vinegar with its primary taste component, it is the nature of the actual alcohol itself that gives the vinegar its specific character.

So, is it worth it to make your own vinegar?

It is becoming more and more popular to make your own vinegar or enhance store bought vinegar. Good homemade vinegar, when made properly, generally has a much better taste and more variety of flavors than the store bought. It is also fun just to see the process of nature at work.

Making simple cider or white vinegar can be cheaper than store bought, not always though.

Homemade vinegar does have one drawback – the acidity level will vary greatly, as us home producers do not have all the strategic testing of the acidic level to guarantee a consistent level. It can be done, however it will be way more of a time consuming thing, than an expense thing.

You can basically make vinegar from anything that has sugar in it.

First the sugars must change to alcohol. Then airborne bacteria turn the alcohol into acetic acid.

You can make vinegar from sugar water or molasses.

For some facts, history, uses, how-to’s and resources on the Wonderful World of Vinegar! see

“If it is to be, it is up to me.”
William H. Johnsen
Depression-era realist/impressionist painter


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Household Cyclopedia-Over 10,000 Useful Domestic Arts How-to's 1881

A great online resource that is downloadable @ is The Household Cyclopedia of General Information. It contains over 10,000 'receipts' or homemade items concerning useful and domestic arts - all of them; from agriculture to wines.

It was published in 1881 by Henry Hartshorne, M.D. who was a professor of Hygiene at the University of Pennsylvania. There were a slew of other contributors to this endeavor, from a report on the trial of agricultural implements that occurred at the Great National Field Trial in Auburn, New York and a treatise on Bees by E.S. Tuper; Plus much, much more.

This is a great digital item to have printed and bound, then given as a gift. Of course keep a hardcopy for your library too ;-}

“The only easy day was yesterday.”
From On Lavender Lane by JoAnn Ross


Monday, January 2, 2012

A Few Thoughts on that Nasty "M" word

First and foremost let’s not confuse Militia with Militant. There is a distinct difference between the two – Despite the misuse of Militia instead of Militant by our news media and government.

militant adj. 1 Pertaining to conflict with opposing powers of influences. 2 Of warlike or combative tendency; aggressive -noun A combative person; a soldier.

militia noun. 1 A body of citizens enrolled and drilled in military organizations other than the regular military forces, and called out only in emergencies. 2 U.S. All able-bodied citizens not members of the regular military forces.

criminal noun. 1 One who has committed an offense punishable by law.

Second we cannot confuse Militia with 3 Percenters

Basically a 3 Percenter is a mindset of doing what is needed, when it is needed no matter what the cost. They essentially ‘buy time’ for others around them to come to their senses and or mobilize, in an intense/dangerous situation; which usually results in death. Three Percenters today are mostly American gun owners who have taken a stand.

If you are a history buff, you can find other examples of the Mindset of 3 Percenters:

  • The 300 Spartans and the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC - These men sacrificed themselves to buy time for the whole of Greece!
  • Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 - These men sacrificed themselves to buy time for the whole of our new fledgling country!
  • Battle at the Alamo (February 23 – March 6, 1836) These men sacrificed themselves to buy time for Sam Houston to rally the rest of the troups for the independence of Texas!
  • Siege of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, December 21, 1944 (there abouts) These soldiers were surrounded, had few supplies and it was the dead of winter. Yet they stood their ground and sacrificed their lives to stop the Nazi’s last ditch effort to turn the tide of this war!

Militias, are a form of citizen-based defense that shaped early American history and created an American tradition of citizen soldiery. Early American colonies faced dangers from Native American and European foes. Colonial governments quickly established universal military obligation for white males. At its simplest, men were armed or ordered to arm themselves, organized into units, and trained.

The modern concept of the militia is as a defensive organization against invaders. It grew out of the Anglo-Saxon "fyrd". In times of crisis, the militiaman left his civilian duties and became a soldier until the emergency was over, when he returned to his civilian occupation and life.

In understanding these different meanings and the history of militia, one would think we should now be able to use the word and it can lose some of its nasty connotations. However, Theory and Reality are like apples and oranges – they are not interchangeable!

So let me stress again – Militia are NOT Militant in and of themselves. Yes, some militant groups (there is good and bad in everything) abuse the word militia in their group names. Overall militia groups are NOT the Ruby Ridge; Waco; Hutaree or Timothy McVeigh’s of our recent past.

Read on for in-depth definitions of these words, as well as a little bit of history to further explain their differences and some detail on the various “Militia Acts” that have been passed. And last but not least, how YOU can correct the 'bad' image that the word Militia now evokes and what to do with militia groups around you, with a complete list of resources from the pros.

Now is time to don your armor of knowledge and Prep On ;-}