Survival Notes Feb 18th 2018

My prepping this week was done almost entirely indoors. We are still living in a massive mud bog – snow pit combo environment. My hubby has been fighting a futile battle trying to keep our road looking like something that more or else actually resembles as road and is passable by a 4-wheel drive.

This is the part of the “road” on our retreat that leads down to my barn, a pole barn, and up another hill to the fruit grove and upper pasture – where our permanent greenhouse was SUPPOSED to start being built this weekend. Yep, my calves have been getting a superb workout walking the quarter mile to the barn at least twice each day.

Bobby keeps urging me to ride the wheeler. I saw him go through this spot with the wheeler to ferry feed out for me, it got very, very tippy…so I’m walkin’ until the ground is semi-solid again. I thought I would outsmart the mud pit by walking on the ridge above the pond-in-progress you can see in the background. Let’s just say it is a bit slippery, I cursed loudly, scared my dog, and turned back around and trudged through the mud like always.

muddy road

One of the primary reasons we chose this property for our homesteading survival retreat is because it is remote, secluded, and there is only way in…and it is straight up a winding quarter mile dirt driveway. You cannot see our house from the road, or even have an idea anyone actually lives here.

Most folks are afraid to cross out creek their first time out here. There is no bridge or culvert, just a large rock in the center that you can find if the water isn’t high, is clear, or you have been across it before. Some friends and loved ones opt to text us to come down and get them instead of daring to cross the creek. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, have however, popped right over the creek in a minivan without hesitation.

We are flooded in again today. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. We have no desire to put a bridge in. Bobby says doing so would be just a waste of time and money because he would blow it up when the SHTF to deter easy access to our retreat. I agree.

So, while Bobby spent some quality time with his tractor working on our road, I honed my natural medicine skills in the kitchen. Like so many places, the flu is really going around bad in our region. I don’t have to leave the homesteading survival retreat for work, I only go to town maybe once a week for a few things from the grocery that we cannot provide for ourselves. So, my exposure to flu germs is extremely minimal, but Bobby’s job forces him to rub elbows with the general public on a regular basis.

He used to catch a fairly bad cold twice each winter. Now that he makes his own colloidal silver (how to article coming soon to Survival Sullivan) and I have expanded my herbalist skills, he hasn’t been sick once this year. I haven’t been to a doctor in over a decade. We each take one teaspoon a day of colloidal silver.

This deadly flu season and concerns about tainted Theraflu have prompted many Americans to discover a great old natural remedy that has been fighting the flu for centuries, elderberries. Since I spent most of my time indoors this week due to the heavy rain, I mixed up several batches of elderberry syrup and gummies shaped “vitamins” for the grandkiddos.

Unfortunately, my hands were either too busy stirring the pot, or sticky, to snap any photos. But, I shared my recipes in a full report about the benefits of growing and using elderberries in a Survival Sullivan article that is currently making its way through the publishing process.

I also took inventory of my essential oils and healing herbs. I have been hitting them hard making immune system boosters for loved ones recently. I like to use my gelatin pill maker machine to mix up dry ingredient immune booster pills so they are always at the ready. If you don’t own a pill maker machine yet (they are manual devices and inexpensive) you can simply beef up all of your recipes with some great natural herbal immune systems boosters.

My Go To Immune System Boosters

• Turmeric – it might turn your fingers orange when you sprinkle it onto a dish, but it really has no taste and even your picky eaters won’t realize you snuck something healthy onto their plate.

  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Oregano
  • Honey

You do not need to heat the garlic or onions to get the medicinal benefit from them, but is is highly recommended to activate the other spices by stirring them into a warm dish.

I also learned how to make a new natural remedy. Well, hopefully it is a remedy, it’s too soon to tell just yet. A loved one with skin cancer issues just can’t afford to go the doctor again ($2,500 a pop for the removal and testing of basil cell skin cancers) because Obamacare cost them their good quality, non-employment related Anthem insurance that had a $285 a month premium and a $1,500 deductible.

Since their children are raised and they are middle class Americans, a low-level Obamacare policy cost them $1,200 a month with a $12,500 deductible and most doctors in a 60 mile radius, including the nearest hospital, are out of network. I best stop writing about this now or I am going to get off on a political rant.

So, I spend several hours researching natural treatments for skin cancer to supplement what I already knew about essential oils and herbs that are supposed to of benefit. The worst, and open, skin cancer spot, is definitely showing signs of changing that I believe indicate healing. Time will tell, I guess.

I am alternating between two different versions of natural remedies that seem to have had the greatest success. I am not a doctor, nor am I giving any medical advice. I am merely sharing my personal experience using natural treatments to help a loved one who has no other options to take care of a potentially serious medical concern.

Treatment 1

• Mix baking soda with coconut oil to form a paste and apply twice a day.

I do about 2 parts baking soda to 1 part coconut oil. The running theory behind using baking soda on skin cancer lesions revolves around the premise cancer cannot live in an alkaline environment – baking soda creates such an environment. Basically, you apply the paste in an effort to “smother” the lesion.

Treatment 2

• Mix baking soda, coconut oil, turmeric, cinnamon, tea tree oil, oregano, and lavender together to form a past and apply twice each day. The amounts you use will depend on whether you opt to use spices or dried lavender or essential oils. Just pour all ingredients in slowly to make sure you get a nice paste consistency and it is not too runny.

I will keep you all posted about the success or failure of this skin cancer natural remedy treatment, and if we alter the recipes to include other ingredients.

I still had time on my hands and can’t tolerate just sitting around, so I fine tuned our garden planning for this year. Companion planting is essential not only for robust crop growth, but to garner the natural pesticide benefits some herbs can offer your primary crops.

After spending several hours going old school and using a pencil and paper to lay out our ground, raised bed, and container gardening areas, I stumbled across a great promo Old Farmer’s Almanac is offering. You can access a 7-day free trial of Old Farmer’s Almanac’s vegetable garden planner without having to put in any financial information, or even your name, just your email address.

Let me tell ya fellow preppers, it is AWESOME! I was about to resort to cutting out pieces of construction paper, writing crop names on them, and moving them around a poster board to get my garden plan just right.

How did y’all prep this week? Have any great natural remedy recipes or garden planning tips that work great on your survival homestead? Share them in the comments section below so we can all continue to learn from one another…we’re all in this together!

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About Tara Dodrill

Tara Dodrill
Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, 'Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out', Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.


  1. Avatar
    Dr. Jerry (surgeon)

    I would recommend consideration of use of topical Efudex as an economical early skin cancer treatment. It is applied twice a day for 4-6 weeks. It can be used on early basal and early squamous skin cancers as well as pre-cancer like actinic keratosis. It should not be used on melanomas (dark irregular margin skin cancers which are aggressive and need surgical removal with wide margin to assure complete removal). The efudex treatment might need only one doctor visit to asses the concerning spot (and order the medicine) and perhaps a second appointment a few months later to make sure it appears to have gone. Efudex works by damaging rapidly growing cells like cancer and pre-cancer lesions. With initial applications the spot will likely look worse as the abnormal cells get damaged. It isn’t usually painful but the irritated tissues can be tender. After the application of Efudex has stopped ( in 4-6 weeks) then the irritated tissues should heal and in a couple of months appear as normal skin. With this strategy of treatment the costs of cutting out the spot and lab testing the specimen might be avoided and should be discussed with the doctor (but would likely offer HUGE financial savings). The drawback with this strategy is that you don’t have lab proof that the spot is gone but if the area heals back to normal appearing skin then the skin cancer likely is gone). The efudex is a little bottle ( goes a long way) but does cost about $100. I hope this helps. I don’t have information about the long term storage of Efudex but suspect that it would store a long time so might be nice to keep some if SHTF.

    • Avatar

      Dr. Jerry,

      Thank you so very much for sharing such valuable advice. I hope it helps a lot of folks who are struggling with both cancer and the high cost of medical care. I am thrilled to report my natural home remedy appears to have worked. Until the spot is checked, if and when it is, there is no way to know for sure. But, the spot scab has healed, the spot has dried up completely, and soft new pink skin, with the typical look of wound healing fresh skin, has appeared where the vile cancer spot was. I am now trying the same natural poultice on two smaller sun cancer spots on another loved one, they never cracked open or bled and are still in the disfigured mole stage, eager to see how the natural remedy works, if it does, on those as well.

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