Sunday Morning Promises

6:30 am.  A thick blanket of cool, moist fog hangs motionlessly over the barely visible morning sky. It’s a magicians covering to a promising awe filled performance as the sun enters the stage from the east. Nature is holding her breath, not a creature is stirring in anticipation, save for a barking dog far into the distance. Sound does it best traveling in the still early hours of our forested homestead.

I feel my way into the kitchen and touch the button on the coffee maker, not 100_2694wanting to disturb the entrance of the dawn with artificial illumination. Oh, the promises of Sunday morning! The slate has been wiped clean and the canvas is ready to paint a new week. What surprises are in store?

Old man frost made his presence known the second week in September just to make a statement. He wanted entrance into the magicians performance but failed the his first audition. He demanded and got a second and completely demonstrated his ability with a wicked killing frost two nights ago. First Frost-Freeze of 2015 003

“Point made!” shouts old man frost. “My grandfather, Old Man, Winter will reign supreme here shortly and there is nothing you can do about it. It’s our turn for the next 6 months!” he smugly screams as he exits the stage and takes a front row seat.

With hot coffee in hand I’m watching from my damp wooden deck the morning show unfold and suddenly I hear the warm Dawning Sun whisper; “Not so fast Frost, I have a few tricks left of my own. Do you not understand “Indian Summer?”

Yes, I remember the TV weatherman saying we will be enjoying an unusually warm stretch, a full week of unseasonal warm weather. Perfect! I can get those chores done that I have been putting off. However, I do fully understand that here in the north woods our reprieve will be short as this is the middle of October all ready. Memories of summer fun and family campfires will give way to the misery that means  old man winter has arrived.




health · herbs · medical formulas · preparedness · self-reliance · Thinking ahead

The Incredible, Edible, Goldenrod

When It finally happens;

For post-disaster radiation damage or severe case of UV sun exposure, this yellow darling can’t be beat. Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) was one of the first plants to make a come back around the devastated grounds near Chernobyl in the late 80’s, early 1990’s. In my area Goldenrod thrives in sandy or dry soils, along thicket borders, in open wooded areas or running wild in open fields on sunny rolling hillsides. Most everyone I know sees only an invasive weed, but we know better.

There are some 125 species of Goldenrods that grow in this country. All are native, most are found in the East.  A few Goldenrods have adapted to marshes, sandy beaches, deserts, and mountain areas. Most of this family of daisies are between 2 and 4 feet tall.100_2904

Now, let me set the record straight right off the bat. Goldenrod does not cause hay fever. Their pollen is too heavy to be carried by the wind.  A lighter colored, (greenish) Ragweed which blooms at the same time is the culprit for running noses and itchy eyes.

September is prime gathering time here in the Upper Peninsula when the blooms are beautifully yellow, fragrant and loaded with bees, butterflies, and bugs. To harvest, cut it about 18 inches long and bring to the house. Hang it upside down in a well ventilated room to dry or if you are in a hurry, place clean goldenrod on a cookie sheet and put in a gas oven and let the pilot light do the work. It is ready for storage or tincture when the leaves are dry and crispy.  Read more; herbs/

This beautiful golden plant is so misunderstood by the general public and often ignored in the herbal community because it is just so abundant.  Here at Handy Granny’s place, we use the leaves and flowers for teas, tinctures, or alcohol extract. Warm sweet goldenrod tea helps the body rid itself of mucus troubles such as Rhinitis and Sinusitis and slows or relieves  Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding.) Oh, did I mention, it makes a warm golden color when used for died fabrics and wools too.

Goldenrod, leaves and flowers make an aromatic beverage on it’s own but it also helps improve the flavor of nasty tasting remedies and other medicinal preparations. Chop the dried goldenrod flower, stem and leaves into pretty small pieces, place 1 tsp. into your tea strainer and put into your favorite cup. Pour boiled water into the cup over the herb and let steep for about 5 minutes. Remove the herb and drink. You can take 1 or 2 cups a day until any of the above mentioned symptoms are relieved, or just because you like it mixed with other herbs.

This is a very good herb to use for UTI’s, edema, acute anuria and kidney-related skin disorders. It works well in formulas for all sorts of kidney and bladder conditions.

I will tell you for sure, that goldenrod will be in my post disaster first aid kit as a tincture and for use as a tea.

Read more;








When the Power is Out

Let me introduce my sister site over at I started this site years ago but abandoned it for Handy Granny at wordpress. I rediscovered it the other day and decided to revive the site for a more of prepper, survival type format, even changing the name to When the Power is Out. The most recent article has to do with sleep patterns and changes during a prolonged power outage. Other posts are about heating a greenhouses and other topics. It is a work in progress. If you like this new format let me know in the comments section.

homesteading · preparedness · self-reliance · Thinking ahead

Getting your fat on during SHTF

You may remember from your high school history class the story of Lewis and Clark and their expedition into the north west. We are introduced to a young Indian girl, Sacajawea, who leads the unlikely troop of misfits into Indian territories.

Fourteen year old Sacajawea endeared herself to the men of this historic adventure, often being called “little sister”. She patched their jackets and tanned hides to make many pairs of moccasins, she cooked delicious meals and treated their wounds with herbs and earth. However, even this young Indian girl was not aware that although there was plenty of antelope and mountain sheep available to hunt and feed themselves, the expedition was slowly dying.

During one particular meet and greet at an Indian village the expedition picked up an old Indian grandfather. Grandfather Indian was curious about the mission and the men welcomed him to travel along. Several days of traveling with his new found friends, Grandfather Indian noticed many of the men becoming ill and unable to continue the nightly chores.

Grandfather Indian recognized this groups problem as a depleted nutritional condition and quickly gathered up all the troops tallow candles and melted them in a large cooking pot. Next he scooped out a cupful of the melted tallow and had the men drink it down quickly. One by one, each person drank down a their share. Not one of them gaged or choked on the greasy beverage due to the fact the body knew what it needed to survive. By morning everyone was up and ready to hit the trail.

The moral of the story is that fat is required for many bodily functions. Your body cannot make certain fatty acids and needs to get it from outside sources. If dietary fats are not supplemented the body cannot process vitamins A,D,E, and K, creating a host of health problems. Also, fat is so very important for proper brain functions and are crucial for maintaining good eye health.

Besides fat add a lot of flavor to food, fat if a ready source of energy contributing 4,000 calories per pound of fat. Fats other jobs are that it provides a blanket around vital organs thus shielding them from trauma and cold.

During SHTF

You can stockpile beans, rice, pasta and oatmeal for the really hard times, but the more important fat products are seldom thought of. And of course, fats and oils have a short shelf life because they go rancid easily at room temperature. However;

Store purchased lard and beef tallow can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Coconut oil can be frozen up to 6 months–Although, I have had some in the freezer for more than a year and it is still good if kept in a tightly sealed plastic jar.

Butter can be frozen up to a year. Some industrious folks have learned how to can butter, but that craft has escaped me.

Cold water fish are quite fatty, providing the body with many needed nutrients. Cod liver oil will keep in the refrigerator for several months and is an excellent source of vitamin D.

Learn more about collecting and using fat for your survival prep Rendering fat Schmaltz chicken fat Goose fat for bush craft maintenance. How to collect fatwood


Water is Life and Death–

Post Apocalypse Hard Truths, Page 2


Three simple molecules, two hydrogen and one oxygen, bind together to form each molecule of water. According to Elson Haas M.D. Staying Healthy with Nutrition, “Pure water does not exist naturally on our planet; water is the universal solvent, and most other substances present on Earth dissolve in it to different degrees. The earth’s natural water varies in mineral content, as does water found within our bodies. Without clean water we cannot experience optimal health.”

Bacteria, viruses and protozoa are different kind of substances, however, unlike mineral which can be dissolved.

Could this be an explanation of why bacteria and protozoa love standing, dirty water? It allows them access to growth and reproduction?

“Although the U.S. has one of the safest drinking water systems in the world, there are an estimated 4.32 million cases of acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) per year from public drinking water systems 1,2. This estimate does not include waterborne illness from non-public drinking water systems (for example, private wells), recreational water, or water for other uses (for example, irrigation, medical uses, or building water systems.) The frequency of disease from all water exposures is likely higher, but the overall prevalence of waterborne illness in the U.S. is unknown. It is important to understand the full scope of waterborne illness in the U.S. so that researchers and public health agencies can assess the public health risk of illness due to contaminated water, advocate for resources, and develop preventive measures.”   (

 Thirst and Dehydration

  1. At just 2% dehydration, thirst is perceived.
  2. At 5% dehydration, a person becomes hot and tired.–strength and endurance becomes decreased.
  3. At 10% dehydration, delirium and blurred vision becomes a problem.
  4. At 20% dehydration, the person dies.

In one day of heavy work the body can lose between 2 to 3 gallons of water through urine, sweat and breathing. If water in the body is not replaced within a matter minutes dehydration begins.

The average adult human can only absorb about 4oz. every 30 minutes. It has been said that people should drink at least 2.75 quarts of water per day, that’s 250 gallons a year.

Water is not changed in the body, it goes in as water and comes out as water. It picks up waste and debris on it’s way out. If you have no water; DO NOT EAT.

But if icky water is all that you have, know what you may be getting into. . .

Cholera and Dysentery

These little nasties are microbes that get into the food and water supplies via fecal contamination.

Cholera and Dysentery are usually thought to be 3rd world diseases as after such disasters like the Haiti earthquake. The real truth is unsanitary conditions can become prevalent after almost any community disaster where standing water and septic overflow occurs. (See section 3, Water and the human body, and section 11, Before the toilet gets nasty, in How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out)

Cholera usually begins abruptly when contaminated food and water have been ingested, bringing on watery diarrhea.

Dysentery is characterized by inflammation of the rectum and large intestine with frequent loose bloody stools and mucus. Dysentery is scary due to constant watery diarrhea which causes severe dehydration and eventually death if not treated properly. The elderly and children are most susceptible to the debilitating effects of the constant water lose.


Giardia is not a bacteria or a virus but a protozoa, a tiny animal. It has a crusty hard outer skin that lets it survive outside the body for a short while and because of it’s hard shell it won’t be killed off by putting chlorine drops in your water bottle. Transmission of these parasites comes from contaminated fecal matter in the water.

Incubation can take up to 2 weeks, but some people never develop symptoms at all. Giardia is recognized by diarrhea, gas, bloating, stomach pain and vomiting, greasy stools and dehydration. This bacteria is less severe in adults but can effect children with many permanent consequences.


Polio virus is seen in contaminated water, untreated sewage and unsanitary living conditions. According to the CDC; Most people who get infected with poliovirus (about 72 out of 100) will not have any visible symptoms.

Polio only infects humans and is very contagious spreading from person to person through personal contact. As with many diseases it is the vulnerable who are most at risk, those with a less or debilitated immune system. Keeping your environment as clean as possible after a crisis is the most important aspect of remaining healthy.

This is only the beginning

This article only covers four of the most often seen diseases after a crisis. With all respect to my audience, might I suggest that you take some time and research further. Other diseases and conditions are as follows;

Botulism- Clostridium botulism bacteria can grow in food and water. Can be deadly.

Typhoid- Salmonella typhi bacteria found in both food and water.

Cryptosporidiosis- Crytosporidium parvum protozoa contaminates many water systems and is resistant to household chlorine.

Hepatitis A- Hepatitis A virus lurks in food and water usually put their by another contaminated person.

New and emerging contaminates from industrial and farm pollutants and runoff. Also, scientists are discovered fish, frogs and other amphibious creatures are morphing into something never before seen on this planet due mostly to birth control pills and antidepressants polluting our once pristine rivers and lakes.

There is a lot to think about within this article, which is in no particular order. But please, please take your situation with the utmost seriousness. Where will you find long term, clean water after the SHTF?

 What are your thoughts and comments, please feel free comment below.