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Thursday, June 13, 2024

40 Lost Homemaking Skills That Need to Be Refound

Kneading Dough

In our fast-paced modern world, many traditional homemaking skills have been forgotten. These practical skills enrich our lives and connect us to past generations. I don’t know how to do all these homemaking skills, but I can do some! I have to say that I know people who use many of these skills as part of their everyday activities. Technology and living in a modern world don’t have to stop us from using these lost homemaking skills that need to be refound, right?

I’m so glad my mom took the time to teach me so many basic skills, like cooking from scratch, sewing our own clothes, and vegetable gardening. In our busy society, the modern homemaker doesn’t seem to have the time to use and share these skills with the next generation. Many never learned them, so they aren’t prepared to pass them along. Let’s discuss what might be considered the most important homemaking skills in hopes you’ll see some you’d like to explore.

Remember, you don’t have to be a stay-at-home mom to learn and apply some of these basic homemaking skills. Even if you work full-time, there may be a few skills you’d enjoy learning and putting to use at your house. I try to make my blog posts helpful resources for all my readers.

40 Lost Homemaking Skills That Need to Be Refound

1. Bread Baking from Scratch

The aroma of freshly baked bread is incomparable. Learning to bake bread from scratch connects you with a time-honored tradition and offers a healthier, more delicious alternative to store-bought loaves. How many of you want to add this to your lost homemaking skills? How To Make Bread I

n years past, I would grind my stored wheat into flour I could use to make bread, muffins, biscuits, pancakes, regular cakes, and more. With these skills, I had so many meal prep options available. Next month Mark and I will celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary, and I’ve used this skill from day one.

I learned a few years ago how to make sourdough bread from a starter. I need to get back in the habit of having a starter in the fridge all the time.

2. Preserving Fruits and Vegetables

Canning and preserving fruits and vegetables ensures fresh, nutritious produce year-round. This skill reduces food waste and allows for the enjoyment of seasonal produce beyond its natural availability. Pressure Canning 101: The Most Comprehensive Guide

You can preserve the food you’ve grown in your own garden, purchased at the local farmer’s market, or from the grocery store down the street. Knowing you have food storage on the shelf provides comfort and confidence in case of emergency or natural disaster.

3. Hand-Sewing and Mending Clothes

Knowing how to sew and mend clothes by hand can extend the life of your garments, save money, and reduce waste. Simple stitches can fix tears, holes, and seams. Building Your Essential Emergency Sewing Kit Learning some basic sewing skills can be fun for you and your kids.

When my girls were young, I made all their clothes. Each one had their favorites and smiled as they showed new outfits to their friends. I miss those times!

4. Quilting

Quilting combines creativity and practicality. It’s a beautiful way to repurpose fabric scraps and create heirloom-quality blankets that tell a story with each stitch. 20 Reasons You Need a Good Quilt

Quilting can become an enjoyable and stress-relieving hobby and craft you can use to make gifts for all occasions. The good thing is, you can work on the quilt even when you have little time since you can do it in phases as time permits.

5. Soap Making

Homemade soap is free of the harsh chemicals found in many commercial products. Learning to make soap can provide a steady supply of customized, skin-friendly options for your family. How To Make Melt And Pour Soap

Check out my archive to learn how to make your own laundry soap. This is one of many recipes you can find on my website.

6. Butter Churning

Churning your butter may seem like an old-fashioned homemaker skill, but it allows you to enjoy fresh, rich butter free from additives. It’s a simple process that yields delicious results. How to Store Butter Long Term

7. Cheese Making

Making cheese at home can be an exciting culinary adventure. It allows for experimentation with flavors and textures you won’t find in store-bought varieties. Cheese Choices for Emergency Prepping

8. Candle Making

Homemade candles are functional and a charming addition to your home decor. They can be customized with scents and colors to suit your preferences, and also a skill you can use to make gifts for family and friends.

9. Knitting and Crocheting

These time-honored crafts are perfect for creating cozy, handmade garments and accessories. Knitting and crocheting also offer a therapeutic, meditative experience. 101 Homesteading Skills We Need To Teach

These may sound like old-fashioned skills, but like other skills we’ve discussed, can be a means to relieve stress. They also provide options for gift giving and a personal touch is the goal.

10. Home Gardening

Growing your vegetables and herbs provides fresh, organic produce. Gardening connects you with nature and teaches patience and responsibility. Summer Gardening Tips Everyone Must Know

It can become a fun family exercise where all members pitch in to plant, grow, and harvest quality foods. We’ve always had a garden and love to eat the products grown. For years, BLT sandwiches with fresh tomatoes have been a summer favorite of ours.

11. Fermenting Foods

Fermenting foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt promotes gut health and preserves nutrients. This ancient method of food preservation adds unique flavors to your diet. 20 Ways to Make Your Food Budget Stretch Further

Fermentation may sound like a lot of work, but it’s really not. The process takes place while you’re busy doing other things and doesn’t take a whole lot of hands-on time.

12. Composting

Composting turns kitchen scraps and yard waste into valuable fertilizer for your garden. It reduces landfill waste and enriches soil naturally. 21 Compelling Reasons You Need a Compost Pile in Your Life

13. Hand-Washing Clothes

Knowing how to properly hand-wash delicate garments can extend their lifespan and maintain quality. It’s an eco-friendly alternative to using washing machines for small loads. DIY Laundry Detergent

With a busy work schedule, this may seem like a waste of time since we have so many modern conveniences at our disposal. As mentioned, many of your more delicate clothes items would be better served by hand washing them.

14. Ironing and Starching

Properly ironing and starching clothes keeps them looking sharp and fresh. It’s a skill that adds a professional touch to your attire. Why You Still Need an Iron and Ironing Board

15. Homemade Remedies

Making natural remedies for common ailments like colds, headaches, and cuts can reduce reliance on over-the-counter medications and promote holistic health.

16. Basket Weaving

This traditional craft is both functional and artistic. Weaving baskets provide practical storage solutions and a connection to cultural heritage.

17. Rug Making

Creating homemade rugs from fabric scraps or yarn can add a personal touch to your home decor while providing warmth and comfort underfoot.

18. Dyeing Fabrics Naturally

Using natural dyes from plants and food waste to color fabrics is an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic dyes. It revives traditional textile art and reduces chemical pollution.

19. Making Firestarters

Homemade firestarters, made from materials like wax and sawdust, are helpful for camping or emergencies. They offer a sustainable way to start fires without chemical-laden commercial products. Top 25 Tips for Starting a Necessary Fire

20. Pickling

Pickling vegetables extends their shelf life and creates tangy, flavorful meal additions. This skill helps reduce food waste and adds variety to your diet.

21. Making Vinegar

Creating your vinegar from fruit scraps or leftover wine is a simple process that reduces waste and provides a versatile ingredient for cooking and cleaning. 62 Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar That Will Make Life Easier

22. Crafting Furniture

Basic woodworking skills enable you to create or repair furniture, adding a personal touch to your home and reducing the need for store-bought items. 12 Ways to Reuse Broken Household Items Inflation has prompted some pretty hefty increases in most purchases we make. If you have the skill, why pay the extra cost for basic furniture items you can make on your own and take pride in using every day?

23. Leatherworking

Leatherworking skills allow you to make and repair belts, wallets, and bags, providing durable and customized accessories that stand the test of time.

24. Making Potpourri

Homemade potpourri, made from dried flowers, herbs, and spices, adds a natural fragrance to your home without the chemicals found in commercial air fresheners.

25. Building a Fire

Knowing how to build and maintain a fire safely is crucial for camping, cooking, and heating in emergencies. It’s an essential survival skill with practical applications. The Best Way to Dry Firewood Quickly

26. Making Sauerkraut

Fermenting cabbage to make sauerkraut is a simple way to preserve this vegetable while enhancing its nutritional value and adding probiotic benefits.

27. Beekeeping

Keeping bees provides fresh honey and beeswax, supports local ecosystems, and promotes the health of pollinators essential for many crops. Honey Bees: Everything You Should Know

28. Making Pasta from Scratch

Homemade pasta offers a superior taste and texture compared to store-bought varieties. This skill allows you to experiment with different shapes and ingredients. Types of Pasta to Stockpile For Emergencies

29. Growing Medicinal Herbs

Cultivating medicinal herbs like mint, chamomile, and lavender provides a convenient source of natural remedies for common ailments and enhances your culinary repertoire.

30. Foraging for Wild Foods

Learning to identify and harvest wild foods, such as mushrooms and berries, connects you with nature and provides a sustainable source of nutrition. Foraging Wild Nuts for Survival Purposes

Plan that next family campout or mountain hike with gathering some wild foods at the same time.

31. Weaving Textiles

Weaving your textiles, whether for clothing or home decor, revives an ancient craft that allows creativity and self-expression.

32. Maintaining a Root Cellar

A root cellar provides a natural, energy-free way to store produce, extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables and ensuring food security.

33. Raising Chickens

Just like churning your butter from fresh cream allows you to enjoy homemade butter, having a few chickens allows you to provide fresh eggs every day. Yes, you need some room on your property, and the local regulations may place some restrictions, but having a few chickens around can be a fun family enterprise.

34. Preparing Home-Cooked Meals

The ability to cook nutritious, balanced meals from scratch is a fundamental homemaking skill that promotes health and family bonding. 20 Staple Pantry Items for Making Cheap Meals

35. Homemade Cleaning Products

Creating your cleaning products from natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda reduces chemical exposure and is environmentally friendly. 20 Easy Spring Cleaning Tasks You Can Do Today

36. Stitching Quilts

Hand-stitching quilts are a way to create warm, personalized blankets that reflect family history and creativity, providing comfort and connection across generations. Do you know anyone who does stitching quilts? It’s a favorite homemaking skill I love to do!

37. Making Homemade Jam

Preserving fruits by making homemade jam captures the essence of summer and provides a delicious, natural spread for your pantry. How To Make Freezer Jam

38. Brewing Herbal Teas

Growing and brewing your own herbal teas offers a natural, caffeine-free alternative to store-bought teas, with the added benefit of medicinal properties.

39. Restoring Furniture

Restoring old furniture breathes new life into pieces that may otherwise be discarded, reducing waste and preserving craftsmanship. This is one of those lost homemaking skills that need to be refound!

40. Homemade Yogurt

Making yogurt at home ensures you have a fresh, probiotic-rich product free from additives, with the flexibility to customize flavors and textures. Frugal Ways To Preserve Your Food Today For Tomorrow

More Tips

Final Word

Rediscovering these lost homemaking skills enriches our lives and helps us be even better emergency preppers. When we are more self-sufficient, we have a better chance of surviving when things go wrong. I’d love to hear which one of these homemaking skills you’d like to pick back up again! May God Bless this World, Linda

Copyright Images: Kneading Dough Depositphotos_62973183_S By MitaStockImages, Buttons On Quilts Depositphotos_68593037_S by Philipimage

The post 40 Lost Homemaking Skills That Need to Be Refound appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

from Food Storage Moms

Medications and Medical Supplies for Emergencies

Written by Bernie Carr If an emergency or disaster occurs, medications and medical supplies becomes a critical priority for individuals and families, especially those living in small spaces. Limited storage

The post Medications and Medical Supplies for Emergencies first appeared on Apartment Prepper.

from Apartment Prepper

Where to Hide Your Supplies During Martial Law

Let’s say we’ve reached the moment everyone’s been afraid of. Disaster has struck so severely that the government declared martial law. There might be chaos and pandemonium in the streets. Chances are people just aren’t as prepared as you are, and they might be willing to defy shelter-in-place orders to get what they need. As […]

The post Where to Hide Your Supplies During Martial Law appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

from Ask a Prepper

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Taking Care of Alpine Goats from A to Z

When it comes to milk production, there are few dairy goat breeds that can rival the legendary Alpine. These large, graceful, and beautiful goats are known for producing gallons of milk a day and also for extraordinarily long lactation periods. Even a couple of healthy does can keep a large family, and all of your ... Read more

Taking Care of Alpine Goats from A to Z can be read in full at New Life On A Homestead- Be sure to check it out!

from New Life On A Homestead

Vegetables to Plant in June for a Late Summer Harvest


The post Vegetables to Plant in June for a Late Summer Harvest appeared first on The Survival Mom.

from The Survival Mom

How To Stop The Bleeding Using A Tourniquet

The danger of hemorrhage from traumatic injuries is ever-present, whether in times of peace or chaos, arising from incidents like car crashes, workplace accidents, civil disturbances, or even a hypothetical zombie apocalypse. Without prompt treatment, a severe arterial bleed can render a person beyond medical assistance within mere minutes. Sometimes, the blood loss is so ... Read more...

from Prepper's Will

What the next ten years will bring and why prepping now is a must

People still talk about how crazy these past 4 years have been, and they can’t believe the changes we've gone through, not only as a nation but as the whole planet.

The post What the next ten years will bring and why prepping now is a must appeared first on Survivopedia.

from Survivopedia

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Fun and Free Ways to Celebrate Dad

Happy Father Day Gift

He is the most complicated person to shop for, and the day we celebrate him is just around the corner. Every year, we search the internet for the perfect Father’s Day gift ideas, we want something he doesn’t have. We may fail to realize that dads love homemade gifts and creating memories with their families. Chances are, he doesn’t want you to spend money on him, anyway. The best gifts always come from the heart, so here are 15 fun and free ways to celebrate dad (or the father figure) in your life.

Fun and Free Ways to Celebrate Dad

15 Ways To Celebrate Dad’s Day

1. Scavenger Hunt

Lead him on a scavenger hunt from the bedroom to a homemade breakfast of his favorite foods. Don’t forget the coffee, hot chocolate, or orange juice!

2. FREE Printable Father’s Day Card

This could be a keepsake he’ll cherish for years to come!

2 Father’s Day Cards for Dad and Grandpa

3. Coupons For Dad

Make a few coupons for Dad to redeem throughout the year. These could be good for anything from a child-free day fishing to spending the day with the adult (or young) children he loves so much! It could also include practical and helpful things like cleaning the BBQ grill or mowing the backyard lawn.

4. Father’s Day Questionaire

Ask the younger kids questions about Dad or Grandpa, and see how silly or spot-on their answers turn out! Check out this questionnaire from “Crafting Chicks” Father’s Day Questionaire and FREE printable Share the responses with the whole family so they can all cherish those memories.

5. Make His Favorite Meal

A way to Dad’s heart is through his stomach. Make him a delicious meal on his special day with a recipe from Food Storage Moms Recipes A great way to help them remember Father’s Day activities is to prepare dad’s favorite foods.

To make it an extra special fun activity, picnic at a local park. If he likes a barbeque, plan to cook up his favorite meat entree and some tasty desserts and snacks he loves.

6. Have Kids Read To Dad/Grandpa

Have the kids read a book to him, just because. It’s summer, and summer reading programs are up and running for many children, offering incentives for kids to read. How about picking a book to read to him and taking no “commission!” (Maybe even practice it beforehand if it’s a new book.)

Reading together certainly qualifies as a fun way to have shared quality time together.

7. Clean His Room

Have the kids clean their bedrooms. While you’re at it, have them clean his room!

8. Wash His Car

If you have the materials, and he isn’t too particular about how it’s done, you could wash his car.

9. Surprise Dad

While we are doing chores, how about trimming some bushes? Or pulling weeds? (Make sure the kids know which are weeds and which are flowers!!) You could even have the kids pick up after the dog. It’s a stinky job, and Dad would appreciate not having to do it.

10. Play Time-Epic Battle

Leave one Nerf gun and a handful of darts by the front door. Please include a note luring him into an epic battle. When he walks in the door, game on!

11. Water Balloon Party

Paint, color, or tape a target on everyone’s t-shirt and have a family water balloon fight.

12. Electronic Support

Offer free tech support. He may even have a running list of questions and tasks he needs your help with on his phone, TV, or computer. Clear his browsing history for him. Upload his photos to Google Photos so he has room for more pictures on his phone or camera. Save his most-visited websites into easy-to-access bookmarks. Create a list of internet usernames and passwords in case he forgets them.

13. Meaningful Quote

Copy a meaningful quote onto a sheet of paper and make some doodles and artwork to surround it. Please write a short note on the back telling him how much he means to you.

14. Interview Him

Use your phone/tablet/computer to take notes as you talk with him. Take some time and interview him so you can learn and document some things you didn’t know or had forgotten. Ask him about his fondest childhood memory. Who was his best friend? Who was his first date? What’s on his bucket list? Record or write down the answers. You will be grateful you did.

15. Make A Homemade Gift

Raid his scrap wood and materials; if the kids can use his tools, have them make him something unique! (If they can’t use his tools, use tape instead.)

Other Gift Ideas

  • Have a marathon movie night and enjoy his favorite movies together. If you can do it outside, throw a blanket out on the lawn and enjoy a beautiful night under the stars.
  • If there’s a new movie he’d like to see, show your appreciation for him by taking him to the movie theater. Buy some popcorn and drinks to make it more memorable. Yep, there is some expense, but not extravagant.
  • Many communities hold outdoor concerts during the summer months. Find out which one(s) he’d like to attend and get there early for the best “seats”.
  • If he has a unique location he’d like to visit listed on his bucket list, consider a short weekend road trip. If it isn’t too far away, you may even be able to grab your bikes and make that road trip an extended bike ride.
  • If healthy enough, plan a nature hike to get him outdoors for the day. Take a bunch of pictures to share with other family members.

Final Word

Try one, two, or even three of these fun and free ways to celebrate Dad, and be sure to share how he loved it! What are your plans for Father’s Day this Sunday or the following week? Please keep prepping because we need to. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Fathers Day Gift Depositphotos_44444105_S By Elena Schweitzer, Happy Father Day Gift Depositphotos_272563568_S By Nupix

The post Fun and Free Ways to Celebrate Dad appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

from Food Storage Moms

How to Make Castile Soap (Great for Sensitive Skin)

Estimated reading time: 15 minutes

How to Make Castile Soap (Great for Sensitive Skin)

The prospect of making soap is a bit intimidating to some people. To others, it’s a complete mystery how to combine ingredients to make something that not only lathers into suds but can actually clean things. While some soap recipes are in fact complex, Castile soap is actually quite simple.

The primary benefit associated with Castile soap is its gentleness. That’s largely due to the fact that it’s made with olive oil and has no harsh additives or other chemicals that show up in other types of soap.  It’s used for both bathing and laundering and does not strip away essential oils from the body when used. 

What’s curious is that even Castile soap is made with lye which is a caustic soda that requires special handling. Fortunately, the saponification process that we’ll detail later neutralizes the harshness of caustic soda, making Castile soap and most other soaps safe to use.

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Soap 101

Soap is essentially a combination of fat and lye. The fats vary from animal fats to various seed oils and, in the case of Castile soap, olive oil. The lye is another story.

Lye is actually a toxic chemical that emerges far on the alkaline side of the pH scale. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 with acidic elements moving towards the 0 end of the scale, and the more alkaline substances moving towards the 14 end of the scale.

Most things fall somewhere in the middle, but elements at the extreme end of the pH scale are equally toxic. Hydrochloric acid has a pH of 1.1 and is not only toxic but can be deadly, causing deep burns and scarring of the skin, and blindness if splashed in the eyes.

But the other end of the scale is no less cautionary. Lye has a pH of 13 to 14, putting it squarely towards the end of the scale, and has the same dangerous attributes leading to burning, scarring, and blindness if splashed into the eyes.

We’re actually going to be using a concentrated form of lye known as a caustic soda, or sodium hydroxide.

It’s hard to buy at a store but you can buy sodium hydroxide online specifically for soap making.

We’ll cover the ways to work with sodium hydroxide and the safety steps to take when using it. Castile soap making may be easy compared to other methods, but it still has its dangers when it comes to lye.

Related: How to Make Soap from Fat and Ashes

Cold Process Soap Making

What we’re going to use is a cold process for soap making. This cold process does not require heat from a stove or heat source for soap making, but instead relies on the chemical interaction of the ingredients to create the soap. 

Soap in Measuring Cup

More Than You Want to Know About “Saponification”

Saponification is the chemical and physical process that turns fat and lye into soap. It involves the careful use of chemical heat (a result of the chemical reaction from the ingredients) and cautious and steady stirring.

What saponification accomplishes is a chemical reaction that bonds fatty acids to sodium salts to make what we know as soap. In actual fact, “sapo” is Latin for soap and the root of the term, “saponification”.

You can learn more here: How to make Soap – Cold saponification process for beginners

Understanding “Trace”

Trace is a description of a characteristic you are looking for when you are mixing and stirring your soap in the early stages. It’s when the combination of lye and fat start to thicken and become either clear or at least a uniform color without streaks.

A trace test is when you lift a spoon (or a hand mixer) from the pot and the mixture falls from the spoon in a long, continuous string. That’s when the saponification has occurred and you’re ready to pour your soap mixture into molds to make bars of soap.

More Details: All About Trace in Cold Process Soap

Hand Mixer Drip Testing for Trace

Hardening and Curing

It takes about 48 hours for the soap to harden in the molds, but you’re not done yet. After soap bars are removed from the mold, they need to cure. The best way to do this is on a sheet of parchment paper on a board or tray, stored in a dry space for anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months.

If you are molding your soap as a brick with the intention of cutting it into bars, the time to do that is after the initial 48 hours. As the soap cures, it will be harder to cut into bars.

Soap should cure at a minimum for 2 weeks before use, but the longer the cure before wrapping or packaging, the harder the soap and the longer it will last with continued use.

Here's more info: Curing handmade soap

Adding Fragrance

Essential Oils

If you’re just making basic soap, you really don’t need to add any fragrances. Then again, it’s easy to do and some people like the idea of a fragrant soap. There are essentially two ways to add fragrance.

One way is to stir in a small amount of essential oils after the soap has traced and before it’s poured into the molds. Which essential oil you use is up to you, and when it comes to soap making, a little goes a long way,

Another way it to add crushed, fresh herbs after tracing. The heat will help release some of the fragrance from the herbs and the bits of herbs will actually act as a mild exfoliant when the soap is used.

Herbs Added to Soap Mixture

Herbs often used for soap making include lavender, rosemary, chamomile, eucalyptus, lemon grass and mint. Citrus fruit peels from lemon and orange zests have also been used to add a fragrance, and some astringent properties to soap to boost cleansing power.

“Exfoliants” Defined

An exfoliant is a mildly abrasive ingredient, sometimes added to soap bars to further scrub the skin to remove dead, flaky skin cells and in some instances, dirt, grease or grime. A brand of soap known as Lava has pumice added as an exfoliant.

Whether or not you add an exfoliant to your castile soap is up to you, but even the addition of something as mild as bits of fresh herbs will give a soap exfoliant properties. Other types of exfoliants sometimes added to soaps include coarse salt, poppy seeds, oatmeal, used coffee grounds, tea leaves and sandalwood powder.

Here's more on exfoliating: How to Make Exfoliating Cold Process Soap

About Soap Molds

The final step in the process is pouring your soap into molds to form bars. The shape is up to you. You can buy soap molds or make your own.

Some people use cupcake trays. The silicone trays are best because they make it easy to pop out the soap bars when they’re dry.

Soap Molds

Another technique is to pour the soap into a square baking pan or wood frame as a large brick as high as you want your soap bar to be.

After the soap has dried, the brick is cut into any shape you want for your final soap bars.

Handmade Soap Brick

We’ll cover a variation for a liquid castile soap that doesn’t require a mold, but most people like the convenience and portability of a bar of soap.

More on soap molds: How to make soap mould at home | DIY homemade soap mould

Important Safety Tip: Any utensils or molds used for soap making should never be reused for conventional cooking. If possible, reserve all equipment for future soap making only.

Making Castile Soap

Castile Soap

We’re going to cover the basic steps for making Castile soap and then offer some variations on the recipe that add fragrances and/or exfoliants. The recipes may vary, but the process is the same and should be applied with all potential ingredients.

Step 1: Assemble Your Ingredients


  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 8 Cups of Olive oil (Regular Olive Oil is fine, you don’t need Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 1 Cup of Lye (caustic soda)


  • Fragrances either from essential oils or fresh herbs
  • Exfoliants either plant-based like oatmeal, herbs or coffee grounds, or minerals like pumice or sandalwood powder
Castile Soap Making Ingredients

Step 2: Assemble Your Equipment


  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Stainless steel pot (a plastic bucket can also be used because any pot used for soap making should not be reused for cooking)
  • Molds for soap bars
  • Wooden spoon for stirring (a wooden paint mixing stick works just as well and is easily disposable)
  • Funnel for filling the molds


  • Goggles or eye protection
  • Face mask or dust mask
  • Nitrile gloves
Soap Making Equipment

Step 3: Add Water and Caustic Soda to the Pot or Bucket

Measure and pour 16 ounces (2 cups) of water into the pot or bucket.

Put on your safety gear (goggles, face mask, gloves) and slowly and carefully sprinkle in 1 cup of caustic soda to the water while gently stirring with a wooden spoon. The combination of caustic soda and water will start to get very hot as a chemical reaction occurs.

Place the pot either on the stove or on a trivet to avoid burning surfaces or countertops.

Stir the caustic soda and water to dissolve the caustic soda. If some crystals don’t dissolve, add a tablespoon of water and continue stirring until all caustic soda is dissolved.

Allow the dissolved mixture to sit and set for one hour. Make sure there is something under the pot or bucket because the sodium hydroxide solution will get very hot as the chemical reaction continues.

Important Safety Tip: Never add water to the caustic soda. It will cause a small explosion that will burn exposed skin. Always add the caustic soda to the water slowly and in small amounts.

Stirring Pot

Step 4: Add Olive Oil to the Soda/Water Mix

After the caustic soda solution has set for an hour, slowly drizzle 8 cups of olive oil into the soda/water mix, stirring constantly with your wooden spoon. (You’ll either want to discard the wooden spoon after you’re done or reserve it for future soap making only. Never use it again for cooking).

Adding Oil to Pot

Continue to stir constantly and always in the same direction. This can take a long time, up to an hour or more. You can take breaks and come back to it, but you want it to achieve the consistency of honey or a thick, uniform batter. This is saponification in action.

Tip: A way to accelerate tracing is to use an electric hand-mixer. However, the general recommendation is that any cooking utensil that comes in contact with caustic soda during the early process of soap making not be used again for food preparation. A link below covers some ways to safely clean up after soap making.

Hand Mixer Stirring Soap Mixture

Lift the spoon (or hand mixer) from time to time and see if the mixture dripping from the spoon forms a long string rather than drops.

Hand Mixer Drip Testing for Trace

This is a characteristic of a proper trace that tells you the soap mixture is ready to be poured into the molds.

If you are adding a fragrance as an essential oil or chopped herb, now is the time to mix them into your traced soap mixture.

Stir until evenly blended.

Stirring Herbs into Soap

The amount of essential oil you add varies depending on the oil, but the measures range from drops up to a teaspoon.

The link below gives you some good estimates for how much essential oil to add to any soap recipe, but on average the amount does not exceed 3% of the total weight or volume of the soap mix. Ultimately, the amount of fragrance is up to you but too much could produce an allergic reaction.

The amount of herbs for the recipe we’ve described is usually measured as a teaspoon or two. You can chop fresh herbs or use dried herbs. A tablespoon of herbs is about right for this recipe.

If you are adding an exfoliant to your soap, now is also the time to stir that into your soap. A tablespoon of any exfoliant is a good place to start, and you can vary the amount to suit your needs for future batches.

Step 5: Making the Soap Bars

You can remove your safety equipment at this point. The saponifaction process has neutralized the caustic soda as the fat molecules from the olive oil has bonded to the soda molecules and rendered them harmless.

Carefully pour your soap into your mold.

Filling Cupcake Tin With Soap

If you have small molds you might need a funnel to direct the soap into each mold.

Place the mold in a dry spot and let dry for 48 hours undisturbed.

After 48 hours, release the soap from the mold and allow to cure, or continue to dry and harden for at least 2 weeks and up to 4 months.

Wrap the soap bars either in parchment paper or plastic wrap and store.

Variations on Castile Soap

Some variations on Castile soap include a liquid version and alternatives to caustic soda as a catalytic agent for saponification. Some of these approaches are easy and some get a bit complicated, especially when you’re trying to implement a lye substitute.

Rather than go into excruciating detail, here are various links to videos and articles that cover these variations.




After you’re made your first batch of soap it’s possible you’ll do it again in the future.  That’s the time to experiment with other soap recipes, Castile soap variations, and various alterations related to fragrances, exfoliants and other unique properties. 

You could also try experimenting with lye alternatives like heating baking soda and other chemicals to achieve saponification. As time goes on you may find you never have to buy soap again.

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from Urban Survival Site

Monday, June 10, 2024

50+ Strange Gardening Tips That Really Work

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

50+ Strange Gardening Tips That Really Work

Gardening isn't just about planting seeds and pulling weeds; it's an adventure filled with bizarre but brilliant tricks. Ever thought of using human urine as fertilizer? Sounds strange, but it’s a surprisingly effective way to give your plants a nitrogen boost!

From lining planters with diapers to using CDs to scare birds away, this article is packed with ingenious gardening tips that might make you do a double-take. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a curious newbie, you'll find that these garden hacks are both creative and practical.

We've divided the tips into the five categories listed below. Get ready to explore and experiment with these out-of-the-box ideas that promise to make your garden thrive in the most unexpected ways.

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Human Urine as Fertilizer

Believe it or not, human urine is a surprisingly effective fertilizer thanks it its high levels of nitrogen and traces of phosphorous and potassium. To use it in your garden, dilute it at a ratio of 10 to 1 (water to urine) and apply it to the soil around your plants.

Aspirin Water

Dissolving aspirin in water and using it to water your plants can help boost their immune systems. That's because aspirin contains salicylic acid, which helps the plant resist disease. This is particularly good for prevent fungal diseases and can also promote overall plant health.

Molasses in Water

Using molasses in water is a great way to boost soil microbes, which are essential for healthy soil. Molasses provide sugars that feed the beneficial bacteria and fungi in the soil. To do this, mix 1-3 tablespoons into a gallon of water, then pour a cup or two around the base of each plant. Be sure it's unsulfured molasses as sulfur can harm soil microbes.

Cooking Water for Plants

After boiling vegetables, don't pour the remaining water down the drain. Instead, let it cool off, then use it to water your plants. Why? Because the water is rich in nutrients that leached out of the vegetables while you were boiling them. These nutrients will act as a mile fertilizer for your plants.

Powdered Milk as Fungicide and Fertilizer

Sprinkle powdered milk around your plants, or mix one part powdered milk to 9 parts water, put it in a spray bottle, and spritz your plants with it. Doing this serves two purposes: It acts as a mild fertilizer thanks to the calcium, and it works as a fungicide, helping to prevent diseases such as powdery mildew.

Plant Copper Pennies

Copper is an essential trace element that helps plants access the nutrients they need for photosynthesis. If your soil is lacking in copper, planting a penny can actually help. However, make sure it's a penny from before 1982 as that's the year they started making pennies primarily out of zinc.

Baking Soda for Sweeter Tomatoes

Sprinkle a little bit of baking soda around the base of tomato plants. This will reduce the acidity of the soil, which means sweeter tomatoes. But do it sparingly because too much baking soda can harm your plants.

Crushed Eggshells

Crush up some eggshells and spread them around your garden to give the soil some extra calcium, which is crucial for preventing blossom end rot in peppers and tomatoes.

Banana Peel Fertilizer

Put 1 cup of water per banana peel into a blender and blend it until it's as smooth as possible. Strain it through a sieve, then pour it into a spray bottle and store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it. Spray it on plants to give them a potassium boost. This is especially helpful for flowering plants.

Epsom Salt as Fertilizer

Add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to a gallon of water and stir until dissolved, then use it to water your plants.

Use about a cup of the mixture for small houseplants and as much as a gallon of water for each outdoor plant. Do this every few weeks for plants showing signs of magnesium deficiency, such as yellowing leaves between the leaf veins.

Bury Banana Peels

Bury banana peels in the soil near the roots of your plants. This will slowly release potassium, which is an essential nutrient for plant growth. This method is easy and turns waste into food for your plants.

Bury Used Tea Bags

Bury used tea bags near acid-loving plants such as roses, blueberries, and azaleas. The tea bags slightly acidify the soil, and the tannins in the tea provide a nutrient boost.

Aquarium Water

If you have a freshwater aquarium and it's time to replace some of the water, use the old aquarium water to water your plants. This is good for plants because the water is rich in nitrogen and other nutrients that act as a natural fertilizer.

Pest Control

Plastic Forks as Pest Deterrent

Stick some plastic forks with the tines pointing up into the ground around your plants. This will deter some pets and wildlife from stepping onto your garden bed. It can also prevent animals from digging up the soil around seedlings.

Pennies to Deter Slugs

Spread pennies around your garden to deter slugs. The copper in the pennies will react with the slime on a slug's body, creating a mild electric shock that discourages them from crossing over the metal. However, make sure to use pre-1982 pennies as pennies made since then are primarily zinc.

Strong-Smelling Soap to Deter Deer

Hang bars of strongly-scented soap around your garden to keep deer away. the strong scent will mask the smell of your plants and confuse the deer.

Cinnamon on Soil to Fight Mold

Sprinkle cinnamon on your garden soil to help prevent mold and fungal growth. Cinnamon has natural antifungal properties and acts as a simple, safe, and natural fungicide that is particularly useful in damp conditions.

Beer Trap for Slugs and Snails

Bury a cup or shallow bowl in your garden so that the top is level with the ground, then fill it with beer. The yeast in the beer will attract slugs and snails which will fall into the beer and drown.

Cayenne Pepper to Deter Pests

Sprinkle cayenne pepper around your garden to deter animals like rabbits and deer. The spicy scent will make them want to turn around. This can also help prevent ants and certain types of beetles from entering your garden.

Vinegar for Weed Control

Carefully apply vinegar directly onto any weeds you want to kill. The acetic acid in the vinegar will dry out the plant's leaves and kill them. However, be very careful not to spray it on your garden plants because it will kill them as well.

Chalk to Deter Ants

Use chalk to draw lines around your garden, or sprinkle chalk dust around your garden to help deter ants. This works because chalk interferes with pheromone trails, which ants use to navigate, so they're unlikely to cross it.

Mint to Repel Mice

Plant mint around your garden can help keep mice away. Mint has a strong smell that mice hate, so it acts as a great deterrent. However, don't plant mint directly in the ground as it will grow and spread out of control. Instead, grow it in containers and place them around your garden. Be sure to prune them regularly.

Oatmeal to Deter Slugs

Sprinkle oatmeal around plants that are susceptible to slug damage. The oatmeal will attract slugs which will eat it, then swell up and die. It's an easy and non-toxic way to control slug populations.

Cinnamon Sticks to Deter Ants

Place cinnamon sticks at garden entry points or sprinkle cinnamon powder anywhere you see ants. The strong scent will disrupt ant pheromone trails and make them avoid the area.

Wool Yarn to Deter Rabbits

Spread wool yarn scraps around your garden to keep rabbits away. The smell and texture of wool are unpleasant to rabbits, so they tend to avoid areas where wool is scattered.

Mustard Powder to Deter Cats

Sprinkle mustard powder around your garden to keep cats away. Cats hate the smell of mustard, so this will discourage them from using your garden as a litter box.

Human Hair to Deter Deer

Spread human hair clippings around your garden to keep deer away. The scent of human hair will make the deer think a human is nearby, so they'll likely stay away.

Aluminum Foil Strips to Keep Birds Away

Hang strips of aluminum foil around your garden to keep birds away from your plants. The reflective surface and the noise of the foil in the wind can scare birds away, protecting your fruits and veggies.

Old CDs to Scare Birds Away

Hang old CDs from trees or posts around your garden. As with aluminum foil, the reflective surface creates moving light patterns that disorient and scare birds away.

Caring for Seedlings

Orange or Lemon Rinds to Start Seeds

Use hollowed-out orange or lemon rinds as biodegradable seed pots. Just fill them with soil, plant your seeds, and place them in a sunny spot. Once the seedlings are big enough, you can plant them directly in the garden, including the rind, which will decompose and enrich the soil.

Eggshells as Seed Starters

Start your seedlings in eggshells. Just crack open your eggs carefully to keep half the shell intact, then fill then with potting soil and plant your seeds. The eggshell will provide calcium to the seedlings and can be planted directly into the garden.

Ice Cream Cones for Seedlings

Plant your seeds in ice cream cones. Yes, the same ones you eat! Simply fill them with soil, plant your seeds, and once they sprout, plant the cone and seedling directly into the ground. The cones will decompose and become part of the soil.

Toilet Paper Rolls as Seed Starters

When your toilet paper is gone, save the cardboard roll to use as a seed starter. Cut it in half, stand it up in a tray, fill it with soil, and plant a seed. Once your seedling is ready, transfer it and the cardboard directly to the ground where the cardboard will decompose.

Gelatin for Seed Starting

Dissolve 1 tablespoon of plain gelatin in 1 cup of hot water and stir until it's fully dissolved. Once it's cooled, use it to water seeds you've just planted. The gelatin will help retain moisture in the soil and provide nitrogen as it breaks down.

Cornstarch to Help Seedlings Grow

Mix a little cornstarch with the soil when planting seeds (about 1 tablespoon per gallon of soil). The cornstarch will help keep the soil moist, which is important for germination.

Milk Jugs for Seedling Protection

Cut the bottom off a milk jug and use it as a mini greenhouse for your seedlings. Simply place the jug over the plant with cap removed for ventilation. This will protect your seedlings from wind and cold weather.

Clear Plastic Bottles for Warmth

Fill some clear plastic bottles with water and place them around your garden. During the day, they'll absorb heat from the sun, then slowly release it at night, protecting seedlings from cold weather.

Watering Techniques

2-Liter Bottle Drip Feeder

You can create a slow drip irrigation system with an old 2-liter bottle. Just fill it with water, put the cap on, poke a few holes int he cap, then bury the bottle upside down near the roots of a plant. It will slowly release water and keep the roots moist.

Kiddie Pool for Vacation Watering

If you need to leave town for a few days and don't have anyone to water your plants, just fill a kiddie pool with a few inches of water and place your potted plants in it while you're gone. The plants will soak up water from the bottom as needed.

Cooking Oil and Water for Fruit Trees

Cooking oil can create a barrier that protects against pests and diseases by smothering insect eggs and fungal spores. To use it, mix 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and 1 tablespoon of mild dish soap with a gallon of water. Shake it up, then spray your fruit trees with it.

Wine Bottle for Gradual Watering

Fill a wine bottle with water, then turn it over and push it neck-deep into the soil near a plant. The water will slowly seep into the soil, providing a steady supply of moisture to the plant roots. This can be a huge help during hot, dry weather.

Ice Cubes for Watering

Place ice cubes on the soil around potted plants, especially those sensitive to overwatering, such orchids. The ice will melt slowly, allowing the water to spread evenly across the soil and prevent root rot.


Packing Peanuts for Drainage

Before filling a planter with soil, put a layer of packing peanuts at the bottom. This improve drainage and prevent water from pooling around the roots, which can lead to root rot. Plus, it will make the planters lighter and easier to move.

Coffee Filters to Keep Soil In

Line the bottom of your planters with coffee filters before adding soil. This will prevent the soil from spilling out of the drainage holes while still allowing water to drain out.

Chamomile Tea for Seedlings

Spritz your seedlings with chamomile tea. It’s a natural fungicide that can help prevent damping off, a fungal disease that can wipe out young plants.

Cut Pantyhose for Garden Vines

Use pieces of old pantyhose to tie up garden vines. They’re soft and stretchy, which prevents damage to growing plants while providing strong support.

Baking Powder as Fungicide

Dust your plants with baking powder. It acts as a fungicide that can prevent fungal diseases such as leaf and fruit rot.

Cornmeal to Prevent Weeds

Spread cornmeal in your garden to prevent weeds. The cornmeal will inhibit seed germination, which can stop weeds from sprouting. Just make sure you don't use it in areas where you've sown seeds that you want to grow!

Sponges for Moisture Control

Place a dry sponge at the bottom of your planters before adding soil. The sponge will absorb excess water and release it back into the soil as needed. This will help regulate soil moisture and prevent overwatering. One sponge should be enough for small planters, but you can use more for larger planters.

Diaper Lined Planters

Line the bottom of a planter with a clean, unused diaper before adding soil. The absorbent material in the diaper will retain water and keep the soil moist longer so you don't have to water as often.

Strawberries in Rain Gutters

Take a section of rain gutter and mount it on a fence for the perfect place to grow strawberries. It will take up very little space and keep your strawberries safe from slugs.

Storing Tools in Sand

To keep your garden tools sharp and rust-free, store them in a bucket filled with sand and a little bit of motor oil. The sand will keep the blades sharp and the oil will prevent rust, making your tools last far longer.

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The post 50+ Strange Gardening Tips That Really Work appeared first on Homestead Survival Site.

from Homestead Survival Site

Here’s How I Raise My Soil’s pH (10 Easy Ways)

For beginning gardeners, one of the trickiest things to manage when you want healthy plants and huge harvests is the pH level of your soil. Soil is either acidic, neutral, or alkaline, and for the vast majority of plants we grow, including many fruits and veggies, acidic soil is not optimal. Many plants will fail ... Read more

Here’s How I Raise My Soil’s pH (10 Easy Ways) can be read in full at New Life On A Homestead- Be sure to check it out!

from New Life On A Homestead

Do It Yourself – Soil Analysis to boost your Garden’s Yield

Whether you’re a veteran gardener wanting to deepen your understanding of your garden beds or a newcomer curious about the potential of a newly prepared plot, there are numerous methods to test your soil. Many of these tests are either free or come at a minimal cost, and even the most expensive option—a comprehensive lab ... Read more...

from Prepper's Will

Stay Hidden: 12 Stealth Tactics for Surviving Urban Chaos

The post Stay Hidden: 12 Stealth Tactics for Surviving Urban Chaos appeared first on Simple Family Preparedness.

from Simple Family Preparedness

18 Startling Realities About Life During a Nuclear Winter

The post 18 Startling Realities About Life During a Nuclear Winter appeared first on Simple Family Preparedness.

from Simple Family Preparedness

America’s 10 Favorite Shotguns

The post America’s 10 Favorite Shotguns appeared first on Simple Family Preparedness.

from Simple Family Preparedness

Yes, They Really Did This During the Great Depression

The Great Depression was arguably the hardest economic since the Dark Ages. The things people had to do to survive that era serve as a reference point for modern-day preppers and survivalists. The Greatest Generation that survived those desperate times left behind a legacy of lessons we continue to learn from today. Most preppers are […]

The post Yes, They Really Did This During the Great Depression appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

from Ask a Prepper

Sunday, June 9, 2024

How to Make Biltong (The Best Survival Meat)

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

How to Make Biltong (The Best Survival Meat)

The process of drying and curing meats has been around for centuries. It was critical for food storage before people had refrigerators and freezers. But even today, it’s still a tasty, nutritious snack that is easy to store and carry.

If you like beef jerky, you may want to try biltong, a close relative to the well-known, dried meat.

What Is Biltong?

Traditional biltong is a dried, cured meat that originated from South Africa. Typically, the meat is rubbed with salt and air-dried over the course of several days. It can be made from different types of meat, but most often, it’s made from beef.

What’s the Difference Between Biltong and Beef Jerky?

Beef jerky is also a salted and dried meat. Beef jerky is usually a very lean cut of beef with as little fat as possible since it doesn’t dry well. Biltong is generally a thicker cut of meat with different types of seasoning than beef jerky. And biltong uses vinegar, which makes it softer and more flavorful.

What’s In Biltong?

Basic biltong includes vinegar, salt, and coriander. Coriander is an important ingredient in biltong. It tastes and smells fantastic, but it isn’t just for flavor. The coriander helps to reduce the growth of bacteria during the drying process. While I used ground coriander, toasting and grinding your own is even more beneficial (and delicious).

Salt helps to remove moisture and preserve the meat, while vinegar helps to soften it and make it more flavorful. You can also add additional spices, such as chili flakes or fennel, if you want to change the flavor of your biltong. 


Biltong Ingredients


1. Prepare your meat.

I purchased beef that was already sliced thin. However, you can purchase a roast and slice it yourself if you prefer. You’ll want to trim off the fat, gristle, and any of the silver skin. Cut it with the grain into slices that are about 2 cm thick.

Sliced Meat

2. Toast the coriander.

Ideally, you’ll have whole coriander. You can toast it lightly in a frying pan. It will smell amazing! Then, coarsely grind it and the peppercorn with a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder.

Coriander in Bowl

3. Lay your beef in a deep tray or casserole dish.

4. Mix together the Worcestershire sauce and red wine vinegar in a separate container, then pour it over your meat to cover it. 

5. Mix the salt and spices in a separate bowl.

6. Use half of the mixture to coat your meat, then turn it over and coat the other side.

Seasoned Meat

7. Add all of the meat, spices, and liquids to a Ziplock bag.

Marinating Meat

8. Store it in your fridge and allow it to marinade for 24 to 48 hours. Make sure all of the meat is covered.

9. Remove the meat from the bag and weigh it on a kitchen scale, recording the weight.

I weighed mine altogether, but you can weigh your biltong pieces individually if you prefer.

Weighing Meat

10. Dry the meat.

Traditional biltong is air-cured in a warm, sunny area with temperatures between 70- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit for about five days. To do this, hang each piece of meat on a hook that has plenty of airflow around it.

However, since I live in a cooler climate, I decided to put my biltong in the dehydrator. This will make the meat take on a bit more of a beef jerky texture, but it will be close enough for my purposes.

I laid each piece of meat out separately with plenty of room around each piece so it would dry evenly.

Using a dehydrator will cure the meat faster – it only took about 12 hours for my meat to dehydrate.

Drying Meat

11. Weight it again.

When the meat starts to look dry, you can weigh it to see if it' i's dry enough. My meat weighed in at around 55 to 60% weight loss, but if you want a dryer meat, you can go up to 70%. If it's not there yet, just let it dry for longer.

Weighing Meat Again

12. Store it.

Once your meat is dry, you can store it in vacuum-sealed bags in your fridge or freezer.

Biltong on Plate

Coriander is an important ingredient. It tastes and smells fantastic, but it isn’t just for flavor! The coriander helps to reduce the growth of bacteria during the drying process. Salt helps to remove moisture and preserve the meat.

You can add additional spices, such as chili flakes or fennel, if you want to change the flavor of your biltong.  

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can build a biltong box for curing your meat. You can learn how to do that here.

Biltong on Plate

How to Make Biltong

A traditional South African dried and cured meat snack, often made from beef or game, seasoned with a blend of spices, and sliced into thin strips.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings 18 Slices
Calories 60kcal


  • 1 Large knife
  • 1 Food dehydrator
  • 1 Mortar and pestle
  • 1 Gallon Ziploc bag


  • 1 lb Meat
  • 4 oz Red wine vinegar
  • 2 oz Worcestershire sauce
  • 3.5 oz Salt
  • 1 oz Pepper corn
  • 2 oz Corander seed


  • Prepare your meat by cutting it into slices that are 2 cm thick. Remove all the fat, gristle, and skin.
  • Toast the coriander lightly in a frying pan, then coarsely grind it and the peppercorn with a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder.
  • Lay your beef in a deep tray or casserole dish.
  • Mix together the Worcestershire sauce and red wine vinegar in a separate container, then pour it over your meat to cover it. 
  • Mix the salt and spices in a separate bowl.
  • Use half of the mixture to coat your meat, then turn it over and coat the other side.
  • Add all of the meat, spices, and liquids to a Ziplock bag.
  • Store it in your fridge and allow it to marinade for 24 to 48 hours. Make sure all of the meat is covered.
  • Remove the meat from the bag and weigh it on a kitchen scale, recording the weight.
  • Dry the meat. You can air cure it a warm, sunny area with temperatures between 70- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit for about five days. To do this, hang each piece of meat on a hook that has plenty of airflow around it.
    Optional: Instead, you can place the meat in a dehydrator for about 12 hours. Be sure there's plenty of room around each piece.
  • Weight the meat again and make sure it's lost at least 50% of its weight.


Serving: 1oz | Calories: 60kcal

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from Urban Survival Site