The Self-Reliance Weekly Report – Jan. 20, 2016

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

By Daisy Luther

Dear Friends:

If you are a regular reader or subscriber of this site, you’ve probably seen my Survival Saturday posts and newsletters. Because I am a voracious reader and a current events junkie, I decided that I’d write a weekly post and let you know what I found to be the pertinent news stories of the week.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this feature to be so incredibly popular. The feedback, the number of views, and the encouragement has been astounding.

So, I figured if you liked the same news stories that I like, you might also enjoy some other types of articles. Just to try it out, I wanted to do a couple of extra posts per week of the things that I have found valuable that don’t necessarily fit into the Saturday news post. Today I want to introduce something I’ll continue weekly if you enjoy it, tentatively named “The Week’s Best Self-Reliance Strategies.”

This will be a collection of articles, products, and books that I found personally helpful during the week.  The topics will be related to our shared love of self-reliance: prepping; homesteading on all levels (whether you have a balcony or 100 acres); DIY projects so you can make stuff instead of buying it; and some posts that will inspire you to seek independence in all things. Mixed in, I’ll talk about some of the things going on here at my little farm, so you can see how I found these articles to be relatable, and just because it’s nice to get to know each other better.

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Your mission, should you choose to accept it (cue Mission Impossible theme music) is to share the things that YOU learned this week. I really want to see a community grow here, where we can discuss things, teach each other, and ask questions. So please, comment! And if there is an article you found someplace that deserves a mention, please feel free to share it. There is not a single prepper out there who has all of the answers. It’s a journey for us all, and we can really speed the way by sharing our own experiences and information.

I’m putting together one more post of this type – be looking for it on Friday. 🙂 Please let me know what you think. Do you love this format? Hate it? Wish I’d stick to articles? Have suggestions for other topics for a weekly round-up? Please share your thoughts below.

Introducing the Self-Reliance Weekly Report


Do bargain buys make a prepper stockpile? Just because a food is cheap, it doesn’t necessarily earn a place in your emergency food stockpile. Every time I see those coupon-clipping maven’s pantries, I just cringe. Not because there is anything at all wrong with coupons and buying things at a bargain price, mind you. But often the foods are totally bereft of nutritional value, they’re just placed on a shelf in their original packaging, and those who choose foods strictly because they’re cheap won’t end up with a very balanced pantry. This article talks about working the bargains into your stockpile strategy. If you’re new to prepping, you can also check out this guide to learn about building your pantry from square one.

Winter is coming…finally. It seems like winter got a late start this year for most of the country, but this week, the weather could be making up for lost time, bringing ice, snow, and high winds in a “colossal” storm headed to the Eastern part of the US. Weather like this makes power outages likely. It isn’t enough to just have some food on hand (although you should definitely have emergency food!) – have you thought about how you could stay warm if a power outage meant that your usual heating method didn’t work? Check out these tips for keeping warm in during a winter-time power outage.  As well, check up this round-up of 20 ways to winterize your home and homestead before the big storm hits.


Are you trying to come up with the money to start homesteading? I can tell you for a fact, it’s an expensive process, buying animals, setting up shelters, and modifying your property, and the rewards don’t come overnight – it took me nearly 8 months to realize any food for my efforts.  I wish I had come across these tips for getting started frugally when I first began. Actually, I just got my new fella, Bon Jovi, for free using a tip from the article.  Here’s a picture of him in all of his colorful glory.

Bon Jovi


How do you introduce a new rooster to your girls?  I asked two experts: Janet Garman, the author of Chickens from Scratch and Jess Lane, the brains behind The 104 Homestead.  Why? Because Mr. Bon Jovi, a 5-month-old Copper Maran,  was a bit overly enthusiastic when I let him out of quarantine to meet my ladies and my Silkie rooster, Orwell, who is awfully cute but not necessarily the toughest rooster around. (He’s sort of like the metrosexual male of the chicken world). First, I learned that age 5-6 months is like a cross between the terrible twos and teenage angst in the rooster world, so hopefully this shall pass. Then, with some further reading, I learned a bit more about how they naturally sort out their pecking order. (Isn’t it funny, when you start raising livestock, how much you discover about where all of those old adages come from?)

Want to get a jump start on garden season by planting a little earlier? Simple garden structures can extend your season on both ends of summer by helping to protect your plants against cold weather. I’m going to make these simple row covers for my small raised beds to get my spring veggies going as soon as possible.

Do you have medicinal herbs in your garden? I’m going to try my hand at growing these 10 particularly useful plants. I’m also going to add some tea herbs like peppermint and chamomile because we love them. Herbs are an essential part of your natural medicine cabinet. Do you have other recommendations to add to the list?



On guns and self-reliance…If you’ve read many articles here, you know that I’m a strong advocate of concealed carry and the safe use of firearms. If you’re just getting started, the slower schedule of winter allows you some extra time to get some instruction so that you can become more comfortable with your weapon. For new gun owners, there are some common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid. Being able to defend yourself, your loved ones, and your property is an essential part of self-reliance. Remember, if you can’t protect it, you don’t really own it.

On the current efforts to centralize agriculture…From the very beginning, America’s founders realized that a strong and decentralized agriculture was essential for the maintenance of a free and independent republic. Because of this history, we should really question the current state of our country’s agriculture. It seems that only huge corporate farms with unsavory practices are blessed by the USDA, while small farmers have to jump through hoops and scramble around legal barriers to make a living. Here’s why this matters.

Farm Blog

We’ve had some epic chaos here at the farm this week. Due to the massive rains (that California desperately needs – not complaining!) we are partially underwater.  Unfortunately, the victim of this low-level flood is my septic system. Last weekend (of course – when no help was available) it began backing up into my bathtub. The groundwater is pouring into the system. Here’s a photo of how quickly things were filling back up. This was taken 5 minutes after 2000 gallons of sewage mixed with water was pumped out. 🙁

septic flood

My house smelled horribly after this incident, of course, so I ran some clean-smelling essential oils in my diffuser on and off to combat the smell.

In other (and much better) farm news, I did some bartering with 6 of my ducks, and the others will be headed to “freezer camp” as soon as I can clear out the space in my freezer. I’ve ordered 25 meat chicks to get a start on next year’s freezer supply. They’ll arrive in March. I took the advice of a reader and went with Freedom Rangers.

Little Gus, our recent adoptee Yorkshire terrier, is thriving and making friends with the big dogs. He’s almost up to 5 pounds now and his confidence is increasing daily. Here he is with our guard dog, Thor.

big dog little dog

What’s going on at your farm or urban homestead right now?  How’s the weather in your area? Please share your updates in the comments below!

Books and Products

The following are products that I personally use and have recommended in the article above. (These are affiliate links, and purchasing through them costs you nothing extra but provides a small commission.)

Health Wellness KitSpark Naturals are the essential oils we use. I like the fact that Spark doesn’t have the hype of some of the multi-level marketing oil companies out there. They are simply good products at a fair price. ORDER HERE (and put DAISY in as the promo code for an additional discount.)




My new oil diffuser just arrived a week ago, just in time for my septic system crisis (thank goodness).  This one has an automatic shut off when the water runs out, and dispenses a light mist that isn’t overpowering. My friend Gaye, from Backdoor Survival, recommended it and she’s never steered me wrong. I love this little gadget. ORDER HERE.



numanna bucketNumanna is the only emergency food that we use. It’s non-GMO and free of the nasty ingredients like MSG, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and soy. They also have gluten-free products, which is of particular importance to us since two family members suffer from a fairly severe intolerance to wheat. ORDER HERE.



Chickens from Scratch

This is my new chicken-raising Bible. After Janet’s sound advice regarding our new rooster, I picked this up. It’s warm, friendly, and makes all things chicken sound easy and approachable for even the least experienced wannabe farmer. ORDER HERE.



Preppers Survival Hacks

Jim Cobb’s book is a must-have to get you into that prepper state of mind. The projects all use basic items you will find around your house – there’s not an expensive shopping list in sight. The best thing about this book is how it helps you to tap into your inner MacGuyver and learn to solve problems using whatever you happen to have on hand. (Here’s my review of this book for more information.) ORDER HERE.


the pantry primer

This book tells you how to build a pantry based on healthful, nutritious whole food, even if your budget is tight. This is the second edition of the book. The original edition was my first person account of rebuilding our pantry from scratch after we moved back to the United States from Canada. We weren’t allowed to bring our food with us, so we started from square one. The new edition is greatly expanded, with more how-tos, more lists, more budget advice, and even a bonus chapter full of healthy, pantry-based recipes. ORDER HERE.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • I appreciate that you want to know what your readers are doing. Sometimes, one can get a bit isolated, may even lose some of their social skills, when one homesteads…especially if you live in a rural area.
    Right now, I’m having to work an off-homestead job to qualify for a mortgage and then we’ll have to move come April. So we’re also house/ farm hunting. And browsing seed and nursery catalogs. Canning some winter squash before they “go-back-to-nature”. Catching up on our member hours at our local food co-op so we can continue to benefit from the higher savings as a working member. Rotating pantry and food storage and general winter stuff…keeping livestock comfortable in cold temps, cutting firewood, sometimes ice skating or sledding now that winter temps finally arrived. And reading…reading alot.

    • Hi, Pam: HOW TOTALLY EXCITING!!!!! Hunting for the perfect place is so difficult and exciting all rolled into one. You’ll have to keep us posted on what you find. Best wishes for the farm of your dreams! 🙂

  • Daisy,

    Re: “The Week’s Best Self-Reliance Strategies”

    I think this is a great idea! I like the format and all the links to useful information. Please continue this.

    It is cold and snowy here, with more (plus freezing rain) on the way tonight.

    All warm and cozy here and have been reading. I am reading about trimming the fruit trees. It needs to be done.

    Wood is already brought in and stacked neatly. Since it has been cold, we keep the wood burning stove in the family room going the past few days. Living in a rural area, if the power goes out, it might be out for several days. If that happens, we temporarily move into the family room.

    Hope you have a great day!
    KY Mom

  • Herbs? Herbs! My favorite herbal cure ever is oregano. Homegrown oregano tea is the best thing for lung problems. Stops a cough dead in it’s tracks, greatly helps asthma, and actually helps provide some relief for my friend’s uncle who suffers from Agent Orange exposure (sadly, some is all I can help him with). 1 tablespoon of loose leaves plucked fresh in 1 cup of hot water; or, 1 teaspoon of dried. The tea turns a goldenish color when it’s done. Homegrown works far better than storebought bottled cooking spice. I plant greek oregano for both cooking and medicinal use.

    Myrrh is my other favorite. This one, for mouth problems. A myrrh mouthrinse will greatly speed healing of gum injuries (lesions, cuts, receding problems, etc). I was always told by my great-grandma to never swallow myrrh, but rinsing is fine. Alas, it doesn’t grow in my zone. Does well in Arizona though.

    My favorite herb book ever is The Herb Book by John Lust (1974 ed). It is absolutely fantastic. Indepth scientific descriptions of every single plant for identification and where to find it, medicinal uses and how to prepare it, warnings if toxic, etc, etc. The front section also has glossaries of the terms used, the back includes a great section of plants for dyeing fabrics, and just gah. It’s my favorite. The only trick is that some of the language is a little dated and can call for a dictionary search (particularly with certain diseases that are now called something else).

    My second favorite herb book is Herbs: An Illustrated Encyclopedia by Kathi Keville (1994 ed). An exceptionally well researched book, it focuses on fewer plants than the Herb Book but provides more recent scientific studies verifying or denying various claims in plain English (compared to the Herb Book which calls more on traditional folklore).


    At the moment I’ve just been trying to wheedle certain trees past the family. Hazelnuts and persimmons are a go this year; apples, cherries, and pears will probably have to wait for next year. Almonds might make it in because I found a Ukrainian variety that will hopefully take the cold (Alenia with Dessertniy as a pollinator). I might be able to slip in the Chinese Yellowhorn as an ornamental on the side (absolutely gorgeous tree and it throws edible fruit/nuts, when it blooms it looks like stalks of gladiolas).

    Otherwise, I’m just stupidly excited to see if the grapes will actually grape this year. It’s been so hard waiting for them. If they manage to fruit I get to plant a couple dozen more vines. I live in a zone 4 with ridiculously early frosts so this is an exciting test. If they don’t, at least I’ll still have grapeleaves to make dolmades with.

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