Living Large While Living Small

5 Essential Camping Tips for the Novice Outdoorsman

campsiteGoing camping in your area is a great way to get closer to nature and learn more about your leaf-covered neighborhood. In an age of industrial pollution and stressful environments, camping has become a popular hobby for millions of people looking to get away from the concrete and embrace a more simple existence, if only over the weekend. Even residents in rural communities could use a little recreation time in the woods, whether you wish to polish up your woodsman skills, test your survival knowledge or simply pamper yourself with some much deserved “me-time”. When you live in the countryside and love the outdoors, your vacation destination lies literally just around the corner.

The following tips will help you get the most out of your camping trip, and make sure that you return safe and sound from the wilderness.

A Good Shelter

Daylight is a luxury when you’re out in the wild. It disappears all too fast and before you know it, night is upon you. This is when the temperature drops and all the creatures and critters come out to play, making a good shelter your number one priority. The best option is to have a lightweight tent in your pack. Most beginners make the rookie mistake of choosing one that’s too big and heavy. When you’re out in woods, whether you have a fire or not, your shelter only needs to keep you insulated from the cold ground and protect you from wind and rain. A small one-person tent has everything you need to cover the basics. You may not be able to stand up in it, but why would you want to? If you’re travelling in a group, everyone can carry their own tent. As with all camping equipment, be certain to give your shelter a good test run before you head out, and bring enough poles and cordage in case you lose or break some. If you don’t have a tent, a tarp and a good sleeping bag is a good substitute, but will often require you to use natural materials to protect you from the elements.

setting up camp before nightfall

Proper Clothing

After shelter, a good set of clothes is your best line of defense. Dress in layers, with the outermost preferably being waterproof. A sturdy rain poncho, or even a garbage bag, works fine and should keep you warm and dry. Dressing layers will help you regulate your body core temperature and keep you from sweating too much. If you’re not used to walking in the bush, it’s easy to overexert yourself and you’ll soon find yourself sweating. While sweating keeps your body from overheating, it can also be dangerous once the temperature around you starts to drop. Wet clothes will drain heat many times faster than dry ones and can lead to hypothermia. This makes a proper pair of boots a necessity. When you’re hiking, your feet are your only means of travel. Take care of them by using worn-in boots. The last thing you want is having to deal with sores and blisters while you’re walking.

camping equipment

Water and Food

Hiking through the woods is a taxing activity, and you’ll most likely need more food and water than you think. You can bring bottled water with you, but many prefer to drink the water found in lakes or streams. A word of caution, though: Just because the water looks clean, doesn’t mean it’s not full of harmful bacteria or pathogens. The easiest way to make water safe to drink is by boiling it for a couple of minutes. You can also use sanitation tablets that can be purchased in any survival store. These stores have a variety of pre-packaged food supplies as well, most simply requires you to add water to them and they’re ready to eat. Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables and different kinds of jerky make for a good snack on the go, until you find a suitable camping spot.

Fire-starting Tools

Having a fire is always a welcome thing. But when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, it becomes more than just a comfort – it becomes more or less a must. Fire will dry out your clothes, keep you warm, ward off any dangerous predators and cook your food. But the most important aspect of having a fire is psychological. There’s something reassuring to sit by a fire once darkness falls, lulled into a sense of familiarity and security by the light from the flames and the crackling sound of firewood. Lighters or boxes of matches are easier to use for newbies, but make sure you keep them in watertight containers, or they become useless. A magnesium striker takes a bit more practice but is more reliable and will also last longer. You can pick one up in any decent camping supplies store.

survival knife

Worst-Case Scenario Pack

This should be carried with you at all times. A small first aid kit, a good survival knife, a plastic garbage bag, some rope, a small metal container, a compass and a means to start a fire. Even if you’re only heading out a couple of miles and don’t expect to be gone for more than a few hours, you never know what could happen. Hoping for the best while preparing for the worst is a good mindset for any camper. There are plenty of stories of people getting lost in the woods and you should pack a bag for any possible mishaps. Camping is a lot of fun, but comes with certain risks. Keep your essential gear on you and exercise the proper amount of caution and you should have a great time out in the wild, no matter the location, weather or season.

going camping

Time to Make a Stand: Fracking Companies Are Destroying Our Environment

the fracking processNo, it’s not a new curse word we invented, although it might as well be considered as one in our minds. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing as it’s called by its promoters, is a method used by fossil fuel corporations to extract oil and natural gas from the ground. Companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron drill deep holes into the earth and pump vast amounts of fluid into them at extremely high pressure. The fluid contains a toxic mix of corrosive and harmful chemicals that soften up the surrounding rock foundation in order to expose the sources of oil and gas. The fracking fluid is then sucked out of the hole and disposed as hazardous waste material.

The environmental risks involved are quite obvious. Everything from the drilling process to waste disposal is a clear threat to local groundwater and the communities that depend on its supply. There are numerous reports of people living in close proximity to these industrial operations becoming sick or developing physical and mental issues due to exposure to contaminated air and water. The components in fracking fluid react with core elements in the ground, creating poisonous gas and other dangerous chemical blends. Fracking companies are not obliged to disclose exactly what chemicals they use in their fluids, but samples have revealed high levels of toxicity and compounds related to cancer in nearby residents. The fracking process also releases large amounts of methane into our atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Some communities have had to close off their wells, because the methane levels in their groundwater are so high that the water actually becomes flammable and not safe for consumption.

With all these risks and the harm to our environment, why is fracking even legal? You can thank your politicians for that. Energy corporations invest billions every year to make sure their interests are passed through law, and the corruption runs just as deep as the holes that are being drilled in our lands. It’s business as usual, and nobody in the political forum seems overly concerned of the fact that fracking companies don’t have to operate under the same environmental standards as the rest of us. It’s a scandal and an outrage, but we barely hear anything about it in the news reports. Why? Because they mainly target smaller areas in rural regions that no one in the urban community really cares about. But we do, because we’re the ones who live here.

the anti-fracking movement

Fracking is a radical and extremely unsafe way of sucking up the last of our planet’s reserves of fossil fuels. It poisons our drinking water, compromises public health and harms our environment. It’s a last-ditch attempt from the major energy players to ruthlessly extract every last drop and squeeze every penny out of it before the world starts switching over to more sustainable energy sources. It’s a travesty that they’re officially allowed to contaminate our water and pollute our air, all in the name of profit.

Don’t let the big corporations turn our beloved countryside into another industrial wasteland. Join the environmental movement and urge your elected officials to put a stop to fracking before it’s too late.

We only have one home – let’s at least try to look after it.

our planet - our home

Discover the Joys and Festivities of a Genuine Farmers Market

market products

An old-fashioned farmers market is the staple of any rural community that takes pride in its history and heritage. On the surface, it may appear to be nothing more than an opportunity for local farmers and growers to sell their many fine products straight over the counter, but it’s really much, much more than that.

For many small villages, the farmers market is a chance to get the whole community together, while sampling and savouring the very best their region has to offer. You can catch up with distant neighbours, watch the local street performers, grab a bite to eat and listen to some good old tunes – or dance the night away, if that’s your preference.

It’s not just a place where one can get the best products at the best prices, but a festive event where producers, consumers and general food-lovers can meet and greet while enjoying the many amenities of small village life and culture.

A true farmers market takes place in the middle of a field, somewhere outside the village or town. In the lack of a suitable one, modern compromises in the form of parking lots or big tents may also be accepted, but visitors and patrons will obviously miss out on that genuine feeling that the market is supposed to recreate.

market stroll

Popular markets have become huge tourist attractions, letting outsiders and big city folks experience the unique charm and traditions that come from living out in the country. There are even guided tours you can book in order to make sure you don’t miss any of the best fruits, veggies, meat and eggs, handmade cheeses and locally produced milk and honey etc. Everything grown, raised or made right around the corner – the sign of a real farmers market.

The best farmers markets pride themselves in holding a high set of standards regarding what products are allowed to be sold and traded. Members of the community usually volunteer to act as certified testers to make sure that only the very best get a spot in the market’s line-up. A common rule is that all vendors can only sell their own produce, or products that have been prepared or crafted in their own homes and farms.

local farmers market

Apart from the regular apples and tomatoes, every market has its own set of signature products, often depending on their geographical location. Visit one of the coastal markets and you’ll find and abundance of locally prepared fish and seafood. In the mountains, wild game and poultry are more common, and if you go to one of the “golden fields” markets, you’ll likely to leave with a variety of local breads and pastries. A regular favourite amongst visitors is the regional candy, which is as varied in taste as it is in shape or form.

Many vendors will have a combination of raw products for sale and cooked food for those who wish to sample the local delicacies right on the spot. The season will decide your choice of treats available.

With the rising popularity of farmers markets, there have been an unfortunate increase of fake markets. These shoddy events are nothing more than big-time chains and supermarkets trying to sell their products at a higher price by mimicking the setting of the real deal. Any farmers market veteran can spot these vents from a mile away, but there’s always a few unlucky newcomers that end up getting hustled out of their money and the genuine experience of an actual farmers market.

Farmers markets are a cherished tradition of the countryside and a great opportunity for anyone interested in a more simple, down-to-earth existence.

Pay a visit to one and experience the many joys of a good, simple life.

farmers market selection

Organically Grown Mushrooms: Great in Taste and Good for Your Health

wild mushroomHow about a bunch of delicious mushrooms fried in butter with a little salt and peppar sprinkled on top, served with fresh herbs straight from the garden?

Keeping with the spirit of good eating, we’ve decided to follow up our post on organically and locally raised food with another savory treat you can find in the countryside.

Mushrooms are a delicious addition to any home-made dish. They’re easy to find and prepare, and are loaded with good flavour. Edible mushrooms are also highly rich in vitamins and have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. To survive in nature, most mushrooms have developed internal antibiotic-producing factories. This ramped up immune system helps them fight off any harmful bacteria, making them one of Mother Nature’s most potent natural medicines. Biologically speaking, we’re actually more closely related to mushrooms than any other growing organism. We have the same kind of pathogens in our systems, such as friendly bacteria, so there’s not that big of a surprise why eating mushrooms is good for our bodies.

white kings of the forest

Some of the most notable health benefits that come from consuming mushrooms are:

Stronger immune system
Healthier skin
Natural insulin boost
Better metabolism
Cancer resistance
Lower cholesterol levels
Increase of vitamin D
Boost of anti-oxidants and zinc

If you want to learn more of the healing properties of mushrooms, you can head over to Power of Mushrooms, where you’ll find everything you need to know about their nutritional properties.

You can buy mushrooms at any supermarket or grocery store, but the best samples for your dinner table can, as always, be found in your nearby woods and forests. Mushrooms are literally superb sponges in absorbing and concentrating nutrients and vitamins from their surroundings. Unfortunately, this goes for toxins and pollutants, as well. Mushrooms growing in industrial areas have been found to contain high levels of heavy metals and harmful chemicals. That’s why it’s extra important to only eat mushrooms that are organically grown, meaning the best ones will be found out in the rural countryside.

toxic toadstool

There are quite a few species that are toxic by nature, though, meaning you should never consume a mushroom unless you’re absolutely certain it’s one of the good guys. If you’re not sure of your spotting skills, only go for the samples you’re well acquainted with. A basic myco-encyclopedia is always a good tool when searching for wild mushrooms.

Why not gather a couple a friends and head out into the woods for some genuine, old-fashioned mushroom-hunting? It’s good fun and great exercise, and whatever trophies you end up with will make a superb meal in good company.

fried shrooms

The Many Advantages of Eating Locally Produced Meat

local food

Is there anything tastier than munching down on a plate of locally raised food?

There are many more benefits of eating local beef, veal, pork, chicken, duck and all the other tasty treats that the rural countryside has to offer. Add to this a plethora of wild game; rabbit, deer, hare, wild boar and locally caught fish. What’s more, near-produced or regionally hunted meat is not only vastly superior in taste, but is scientifically proven to be better for your health.

By buying your meat from responsible farmers and hunters in your immediate area, you’re both supporting the local economy and helping protect the environment.

When it comes to mere taste, you just can’t beat meat that comes from the countryside. Everyone will tell you that locally grown and raised food tastes way better than anything mass-produced in a big factory. Have you ever seen the difference in colour and texture when comparing meat from a local farm with that raised in an industrial setting? It’s like night and day. The same applies to taste; why do you think all the best restaurants prefer locally produced meat for their dishes? It simply tastes better.

Animal feed used in big factories is often full of artificial growth hormones, antibiotics and a bunch of other obscure additives, while severely lacking in vital nutrients. As a result, factory-grown food is fatter, richer in calories but doesn’t contain enough vitamins and minerals. Food researchers have measured the levels of essential nutrients in “factory beef” and compared them to locally raised cattle that’s been feeding on grass. The results are astounding, and yet not surprising in the slightest. Local food not only tastes better, but it’s better for you, as well.

locally raised beef

You regularly hear a variety of stories involving tainted of unsafe meat coming from factory-farmed production. Foodborne bacteria and sickness is an everyday thing in the industrial processing business. Smaller, local farms and businesses generally have a much higher standard regarding food safety and health procedures, making local meat a much safer option than mass-slaughtered products. Smaller farms also have less of an impact on the overall environment. These people live off the land and simply can’t afford contaminating their own backyard. While huge factories keep polluting water sources and vast expanses of soil, local farmers have a greater understanding of the importance of maintaining a responsible agricultural operation.

grazing cattle

Finally, there’s the health and wellbeing of the animals to be taken into consideration. Locally raised animals are able to roam the countryside, graze on fresh pastures, and live like animals should, without being subjected to unnecessary stress or animal cruelty. Most pictures showing how animals are being treated by the big factory chains are just horrifying. The poor beasts are crammed into tiny boxes, having to sleep in their own filth and never even getting the chance to see sunlight. You are what you eat, and that’s no way to treat your food! Better to choose meat that comes from free-range animals that have had the opportunity of a good life before slaughter.

The only downside to eating locally produced food is the price. A small, sustainable production naturally costs more than a large factory farm. But for socially conscious and environmentally responsible consumers, it’s still a small price to pay. If you have the option of going local, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t.

a happy cow

Find Gold Bars for Sale and Be Able to Live in the Countryside

Times are changing. Like the sands of the hourglass (and the days of our lives), the small rural communities in the western world are slowly but surely disappearing, one by one. Nowadays, if you drive through any countryside, you’re likely to find as many abandoned or dying towns and villages as thriving ones. Economic recession, industries moving their production offshore, job opportunities shrinking at a steady pace… all of it leads to more people abandoning their home towns and moving their families into the bigger cities, looking to make a better life for themselves. Most people don’t want to move, but with the current economy going down the drain, they don’t really have a choice anymore. You can’t really fault someone for wanting to secure their financial future in uncertain times, but there are still a couple of things you can do in order to drastically improve your economic situation while still remaining in your small hometown community.

physical gold investment

Most geographical locations, no matter how remote they may seem, are today connected to the worldwide web in one form or another. You can access the internet via dialup, cable or wireless connection, giving you instant access to the entire world in an instant. What’s the major benefit by being able to go online? Well, you can easily increase your personal wealth by making a few well-placed investments, and the web allows people in rural areas to have the same abilities to invest as any professional broker living in the city. But where should you invest your money? These are volatile economic times, with major political conflicts going on in various parts of the world. In a global economy, any event will create a ripple effect on the international financial markets – and there are plenty of those, these days. If you don’t consider your financial options carefully, you might end up losing your money altogether, because of some series of unfortunate events happening on the other side of the world.

Just look at what’s happening to the price of oil at the moment. The recent lifting of sanctions against Iran, combined with the controversial decision of OPEC to maintain the current supply levels, has caused the price of crude oil to plummet to a new record low. Governments’ traditional response of printing out more equity in times of recession will only lead to hyperinflation, devaluing currency and causing the prices of real commodities like gold bars for sale to spike. As private investors and bank hedge funds leave paper assets behind and shift their focus to physical assets with more intrinsic values, the effect is an increased demand. This results in a great rise in commodity prices. It’s the old supply and demand chain, and the more limited a supply and the greater the demand, the more a certain product will be worth in an otherwise declining global economy.

personal wealth in gold bars

One rare commodity that has always seen a big increase in value is gold bars for sale. Buying and storing gold bars have always been historically important, mainly because of gold’s inherent allure and many practical industrial uses. What makes finding gold bars for sale even more desirable from an economic standpoint is its finite supply. Once the last golden nugget has been dug out of the ground and cast into a gold bar for sale, then that’s it. Once the final gold bar has been sold, there’s no more to be had, ever. Put it all together and it’s easy to see why buying gold bars works like investing in a universally desired currency, especially in volatile and uncertain times on the stock markets. Consider this: a 50,000 dollar purchase of gold bars for sale ten years ago would net you near 300,000 dollars by today’s market price.

As another financial recession is expected within the next year or two, most projections predict an even more rapid climb in price. Gold bars for sale are fast growing in value, mostly due to countries like China and India investing heavily in physical gold assets, together with central banks and influential private investors. Naturally, as with oil, the risk of an eventual gold inflation is always in play, should all the big holders decide to put up all their gold bars for sale at once. However, all economic projections point in the opposite direction, making such an event highly unlikely. Purchasing gold bars is first and foremost an insurance policy of your personal wealth – a financial safe haven for your capital. This is why it’s traditionally been the primary go-to option whenever monetary equity, stocks and bonds are facing major fluctuations.

The value of finding gold bars for sale to invest in has never been more profound than in today’s global economy.

freedom in gold

If you want to make a killing by investing in gold bars for sale, allowing you to stay put in your rural home, all you need to do is open a gold investment account with a trusted gold bar provider. There are many sites online that lets you sign up with a reputable gold company that offers gold bars for sale, either for home delivery or stored in a customized gold IRA. A precious metals IRA means your retirement funds will be backed by a purchased, privately held gold bar supply. After finding the desired amount of gold bars for sale, your investment will be placed in a segregated storage space, specifically set up for holding purchased gold bars and rare metals. You are then free to increase the amount of gold in your account, or put up some of your gold bars for sale, should the need arise.

The best advice is to simply let your initial gold investment sit and accumulate wealth, while the annual value surplus from any gold bars for sale will be reinvested and diversified after your own wishes. This way, your gold bars for sale will be the liquid assets meant to grow your personal fortune, while your main gold bar supply acts as a financial safety net in the case of economic crisis. By finding gold bars for sale and use their increased demand as market leverage, you’re both securing and strengthening your position in the global economy, while staying clear of those dreaded times of recession. Investing in gold bars will allow you to make a good living from the comfort of your own home, without you having to relocate if the local job market suddenly dries up. A personal nest egg of gold bars for sale will enble you and your family to stay in your home town or village, without having to worry about moving your entire life into the stressful existence of modern urban life.

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Living in a Small Community


These days, where rural communities are in a steady decline and an increasing number of residents choose to move away from the countryside in favor of the big cities, we thought it would be prudent to take a closer look at the benefits and disadvantages of maintaining the lifestyle of a closely knit society in a smaller, picturesque environment.

Let’s take a look at the drawbacks first; the biggest disadvantages that come with living in a small village or town. There seems to be a built-in need in people to snoop around in the affairs of others. Let’s face it, we’re a curious species and gossip is the substance of the center square. While most everyday rumors are virtually harmless, it can be hard to keep one’s personal life private in a small community where everyone knows each other, and harder still if a certain amount of these people thrive in putting their noses in business that is none of theirs. Another setback of living away from the pulse of a hub city is that you’re always the last ones to get any important information of events that might concern you just as much as everyone else. While the internet has largely eliminated this issue at large, there’s always the disadvantage of remaining outside the buzzing zone. Geographical distance will always remain a factor and if you’re living far out in the countryside, you’re probably the last to hear about new trends, products, memes, styles, and all of that – if that is your cup of tea, of course. Finally, each community inevitably establishes its own culture and internal rules, and since these often become more strict than if you’re living in an urban environment, it can be hard for smaller societies to integrate new cultural values and concept no matter how innovative or beneficial they are.

idyllic community

On a more positive note, there’s an undeniable charm in living in a community where people actually know each other, something that’s been largely forgotten by the bigger communities. When you interact with your neighbors on a daily basis, you simply can’t help but become close, meaning the entire town grows to be an extended family of sorts. This builds a sense of belonging and brotherhood that you won’t find as easily in urban areas, where people tend to keep to themselves and mind their own business. Yes, this can be a good thing (see: gossip and nosy neighbors), but it also goes both ways, as you’re much more likely to get help instead of the cold shoulder whenever you’re in any kind of need. Maybe the most important benefit of living small is the absence of the constant stress and harrowing pace of the big city. So many people underestimate how detrimental stress is, both physically and mentally. Stress is a natural reaction that is kind of a leftover from the times when humans were not always in the top of the food chain. Short term, it’s a very useful function, designed to save your life through the triggering of what scientists call the fight-or-flight response. Usually, these situations never lasted longer than a couple of minutes, or maybe hours, at worst. But when you find yourself stressed out all the time, it becomes harmful in a lot of ways. Compare the physical and mental ailments between people livingĀ in countries’ capitals and countrysides, and you’ll see exactly what we mean. If you choose to live in a smaller community with less stress and everyday annoyances, you’re guaranteed to live longer, and you’re most likely going to have a happier life as well.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to living small. However, in our opinion, the advantages of a small community far outweighs the negatives. As long as you can stand the odd conservative and a few gossipy tattletales, you’ll be fine – more than fine.

slow down, have a bite