Category Archives: Amazon Reviews

The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook by James Green – Item of the Day

handbook

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the book, The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook, A Home Manual by James Green.  If I had to rely on only one book on medicinal herbs and their use it would be this book.

This book is hard to describe in a way as it is almost a dichotomy in itself.  On one hand it is extremely easy to read and highly approachable.  The author starts out with a true project/lesson.  Making a dandelion tincture.  The author does this for a variety of reasons.  First, almost anyone can find dandelion to harvest locally.  Second, the herb is inherently safe to use.  Third, the herb is easy to identify and no dangerous plant even looks remotely like a dandelion.  Fourth, by getting you started with a project out of the gate you gain confidence as you proceed with the book.

This book is written by a guy that uses both humor and humility and never tries to sound smart, he just ends up sounding really smart, because well, he is.  This is not a guy that decided one day that “oh I should gather up some information and write a book about herbs”, rather a man that lives this way who decided to canonize his knowledge into an incredible book.  Yet it is kept incredibly simple with the majority of it based on a core of 30 common herbs.

Then there is the other side.  While easy to read and approachable, this is really like a full course text book on herbal medicines.  Want to know how to make your own simple still from what you likely already have in your home to make a hydrosol?  Well first would you like to know what a hydrosol is and how to use it?  You will learn both in this book.  How about making and using glycerite and 20 herbs that work well in that form?  Yep you will learn that too.  Take the time and work though this book, all 384 pages of it, make at least 2-3 products of every form given and it is like taking a self directed course in herbalism.

One thing to be aware of for some.  The author sort of crosses into the world of shamanism/paganism at times, sayig things like,

“Now that you have properly identified and graciously harvested this plant, offer gratitude one again for its life.  Consider leaving an offering, like a strand of your hair, a prayer, a song, a story, whatever; plant spirits are known to be deeply touched by simple gestures of appreciation.”

While this may be a bit off putting for some, I’d like to point out two things here.  First that showing gratitude is good for our spirits, no matter how you define spirit.  Whether a religious prayer before a meal or simply a thought of I am grateful for this food from a secular perspective, either one builds good character and self reflection.

Second I remember a documentary on Amazon peoples where the tribe decided they needed a new canoe.  A tree was selected and one man selected to fell the tree.  The man said a prayer and spoke to the tree, he apologized for needing to take its life.  He explained that his people would honor the tree’s sacrifice, that the canoe and other parts would serve his people for several generations.  That they would plant a tree from this trees own seed in its place and make sure it was protected so it could grow into a strong tree.

That had to be 25 years ago and I have yet to forget that moment and the words that man said to a tree.  Call such a man a primitive if you want but how much more forest would exist if all trees cut for our needs were cut with such reverence.  Also think about this, that man was about to spend a full day of manual labor to cut that huge tree down.  No chain saws in his tribe and yet he met the task with humility.

So yea there is some woo woo in this book but nothing over the top in my view.  What you get is quality instruction, a true course in home herbal medicine making and concise information to make this practice safe and effective.  Again, if I could only have one book on herbal medicine it would be The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook, by James Green.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

Amazon Elements Multi Vitamins – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Item of the day is Amazon Elements Multi Vitamins available in Men’s, Women’s and Women’s 40+ formulas.  Recently I was asked about the supplements I personally take on an episode and listed them all.  There has been some interest in more on them so I am going to go through them over a few weeks and figured I would start with my core.

Frankly in looking for a simple multi vitamin I almost said the hell with it after a while.  I really have to say while I see value in supplements, I really don’t like the industry at all.  It’s like watching hundreds of jackals snapping at a few suspended hunks of meat the way they market against one another.

So here is what I want in a multivitamin.  Simply I want a good profile of the most essential vitamins to make sure on days I am low on one thing or the other, it is made up for.  That’s it, nothing more.  Let me tell you when you start taking heroic doses of most vitamins you are actually buying expensive urine and not much more.

Worse many vitamins are simply not absorbed well by the body.  When I found Amazon Elements I was at first skeptical but after seeing how abundantly transparent they are with all their results, ingredient etc. I gave them a try.

Simply put they are a top quality supplement and a good general purpose multivitamin.  I won’t go on with line by line marketing and do what all the companies do.  Simply put, I think everyone should take a multivitamin daily.  I also think you should spend the money to get a good quality version.  Sure you can pay half the price and get crap, but then you are just throwing money away.

After researching dozens and trying quite a few I settled on these.  At about 21 dollars a bottle they come out to 31 cents a day.  They also have a botanical blend that I find to be a great selection of herbs, these provide both the benefits of the herbs and some of the minerals and vitamins as well.  You will also notice a slight difference in this blend for the men’s and women’s versions.

Bluntly I am not a natropath or nutritional specialist, I am not going to go line by line though the individual vitamins and minerals as to how the men’s formula and women’s are different.  I’ll just say if I were a woman, I would order the women’s formula.  Basically a personal endorsement of “this is what I use personally” is about as high a recommendation I can give for anything.

The one exception here that I do want to point out is the none of them provide supplemental iron.  Some women I know do supplement iron, specifically when young due to blood loss due to menstruation.  If you want to supplement iron, make sure if you choose this brand you do that separately.  Also they have a regular women’s formula and an over 40 woman’s formula.  I have provided links to all three options below.

Again I don’t prescribe any specific supplements, I am just telling you what I use and why I personally do so.  If you have specific requirements I recommend simply reading the label and assessing these for your needs.  There are some specific things that I supplement at a higher level.  Again I use these as my base and build from it.

Lastly not only is it best to take a multivitamin with meals for absorption it is also a good idea to help avoid stomach issues, etc. that can come with taking vitamins on an empty stomach.  I know most take multis in the AM with breakfast.  I take mine with dinner (my largest meal), in fact I take it about 15 minutes after dinner on a full stomach.  I personally consider this a best practice, but again I am just telling you what I do.  Anyway if you want a top quality multivitamin I do recommend these because they are what I personally use.

Again you can get them in…..

Remember you can always find the TSP Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

Bug-A-Salt 2.0 Insect Eradication Gun – Item of the Day

saltgun

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Bug-A-Salt 2.0 Insect Eradication Gun. I decided it was time for something that was just fun for an Item of the Day.  And this thing is fun.  Here is how it works, you put a bit of salt in it.  Not fancy kosher or sea salt, plain very fine table salt.  You cock it, and find a fly, flip off the safety and BAM!  Dead fly!

Range is about 2-3 feet for effective killing, which is pretty easy to get in range of on a fly.  Is this a practical tool?  In some ways yes it is.  You know when a fly is up in top of a window and you just can’t smack it in a recessed area, well now, BAM! Dead fly.

Or you know that one fly that torments you and you just can’t get a crack at him.  There ain’t no hunting regulation about baiting flies boy.  Put out a bit of scrap, hide by the fridge and when he comes BAM! Dead fly.

Okay but seriously it is just fun to blast the shit out of a fly with salt.  This thing is inherently safe fun as well.  About the only real injury it might cause if if you shot someone or yourself in the face so don’t do that.  Salt is not a aerodynamic substance so at about 4 feet it is pretty much done and done.  It only shots a tiny amount per shot.  What I am saying is you can set any responsible child or adult loose with it and not worry too much.

So check out the Bug-A-Salt 2.0 Insect Eradication Gun today and have some good, clean, salty fun.  And hey if you keep chickens, consider giving some lightly salted flies to them after your hunting trips.

Remember you can always find the TSP Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

Catahoula Manufacturing Tarred Bank – Item of the Day

cmitwineEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is one of my go to essentials for BOBs, Vehicle Kits and around the homestead, and frankly everywhere.  It is Catahoula Manufacturing #36 Tarred Bank Line.  Let me say that any size bank line by Catahoula Manufacturing Incorporated (aka CMI) is fine, if you want heavier or lighter stuff there are many options, check here.

I personally recommend that you get at least one 550 foot roll of #36 because it is such a good bang for the buck.  At 30 dollars with free shipping it isn’t just a monetary value either.  As a pack item you are talking about a spool that weighs only a pound and yet gives you 550 of 320 pound tensile strength line.  Tarred line is the best go to as a twine and binder for everything from “red neck repairs” to setting traps, building survival structures or fishing with limb lining or trot lines.

The key here is ONLY BUY Catahoula Manufacturing Line.  Most bank line is in a word, shit, it isn’t tarred line just because the label says so.  CMI is the only manufacturer I trust when buying this stuff online when I can’t inspect it by hand prior to purchase.

Look I know it sounds obvious but the entire point of tarred line, is that it is well, tarred.  Let me explain a bit further.  Tarred doesn’t mean it is black, or it has some trace bit of a tar like substance on it.  No it is supposed to mean that the twine is fully impregnated with tar.  It should be sticky, you should smell tar when you open it, get it tarred.

You know how they say you can’t push a string?  Well if it is a tarred string you should easily be able to push a foot or so of it.  Again, get it, tarred!

The point is that this twine doesn’t unravel and it holds both in knots and in wraps, the tar is what makes that happen.  That way the part you red neck reparied stays put till you fix it right, or you lean to doesn’t fall on your head, or that big catfish doesn’t yank it off the sapling you used for a limb line set.

Most so called bank line or tarred line has little if any tar on it.  CMI, is the real deal.  So consider adding some Catahoula Manufacturing #36 Tarred Bank Line or other sizes of it to your preps.  Again it is something I consider an absolute essential.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – Yes the prepper/survivalist/bushcraft world is enamored with parachute cord.  Yes I do think it has its uses, but it can’t come close to the versatility, usability and bang for the buck good tarred line gives you.

 

 

Dr Christopher’s Complete Tissue and Bone Ointment – Item of the Day

drchrisEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Dr Christopher’s Complete Tissue and Bone Ointment.  While I have often made my own comfrey ointment by simply infusing olive oil with dried comfrey root and leaf, and then thickening it with bees wax, this particular formula really works well.

I feel it is the combination of other ingredients that make something great like comfrey salve, even better.  As many of you know I severely injured my knee so bad I was on crutches for a week, this spring.  There was severe straining to both my MCL and LCL to the point where I could not even bear weight on it.

Upon returning from my trip I began using this and in two days went from crutches to a cane, one more week and I put the cane away.  I wore a knee brace for another week, and by then was walking normal.  This stuff don’t just help you heal from injuries it also reduces pain.  And that is almost instant.

The other day my daughter-in-law was breaking out with a nasty rash due to post pregnancy hormones.  She was almost in tears as it was so uncomfortable.  I suggested that they apply a bit of this, to one area to test it.  The rash went away, almost at once, so they used it where ever she had the rash and 15 minutes later she was happy and content.

I am not saying this stuff treats or cures things, as the dot gov says I can’t say such a thing.  All I can tell you is our results have been fantastic.  And that the healing power of comfrey is well known and well documented, in fact its traditional folk medicine name is “bone knit”.

I have been recommending this highly on the air for a quite a few months at this point and have heard from dozens of you guys who have used it on abrasions, bruised ribs, twisted ankles, etc. with great results.  I really recommend that as a prepper you keep a jar or two of Dr Christopher’s Complete Tissue and Bone Ointment on hand all the time.  It is too valuable not to, and if you live in the south like I do it is only a matter of when not if you will have an encounter with fire ants.  Let me say nothing I have ever used on a fire ant bite, well bites it is never just one is it, works as fast or as good as this stuff.

I know a lot of you guys have used this stuff so let me know your results in the comments below.  Also most of the negative reviews on Amazon say that “it is hard”, I know I should not have to say this, but that is because it is made with WAX, put it somewhere a bit warm if it is hard to work with, it will soften right up.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

Fiskars 7in Take-Apart Shears – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is one of my favorite kitchen tools, kitchen shears.  Here is the issue, my past recommendation was RedYetiWare Shears but they were discontinued, so I now have gone back to my old favorite, Fiskars 7in Take-Apart Shears.  These are great quality shears, excellent steel, very sharp and they hold and edge well.

Once you have a good quality pair of shears the next thing you want to look for is can you take them apart and do they stay together during regular use.  These do that and I am not sure why but so many others that come apart by design also come apart during use.  I mean it really isn’t that hard to make a pair that stays together during use but I guess Chinese chop shops can’t figure it out.

Fiskars makes great quality stuff and always has, while they manufacture some things in China, as many do, they maintain stiff quality controls and offer a lifetime guarantee on these shears.  And at under 10 bucks a pair a set belongs in your kitchen if you don’t already have great shears.

Let’t talk about the take apart feature though and why it is a must have for me.  I use my shears to do things like cut up veggies but I also use them to break down a chicken, these things will take a back bone out of a chicken as though it had a zipper.  So do you want chicken skank on your veggies?  I sure as heck don’t!  And to me the only way to be sure they are fully clean is to be able to take them apart.

These thing have a great grade on Fakespot so you know the reviews are real and they get 4.5 starts with well over 200 reviews.  The only complaints that are somewhat legitimate is that the hinge can develop rust.  This is because the screw that holds the hinge is made with carbon steel to reduce ware, so when you wash them put a drop or two of oil on the hinge screw and they will last damn near forever.

So if you don’t have a set of quality shears in your kitchen pick up a set of Fiskars 7in Take-Apart Shears at 10 bucks with free shipping they are a hell of a deal.  They are also second only to my RedYetiWare Shears that are no longer made.  I have both in my kitchen, why, 2 is 1 and 1 is none, that’s why.  Well that and at least one pair is always available while the other is in the dishwasher, yea they are dishwasher safe too.

Remember you can always find the TSP Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

 

Globe Electric 48W 360° Work Light – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Item of the day is the Globe Electric 48W 360° Work Light.  I LOVE THESE LIGHTS.  Really I do.  For a long time like many I used typical stand based directional work lights like these for this need.  They do work, they are bight but in many ways they suck.

I mean these lights are fine if you are in a shop and point them under the hood of a car, at a work bench or something like that.  But for ambient light in a work area they are kind of useless.  They only really light up the area you point them at and worse when you turn around, they blind you.

I found the Globe Electric Work Light when my buddy David brought two of them over for one of our workshops.  We try to provide lighting between the outbuildings so people don’t break their necks, so they can wash their evening dishes, etc.  Until I found these we would attempt to elevate the directional lights, etc.  It worked but it was not very good.

We got these and two of them basically turn the area into a well lit work area, and that is outside with no reflection.  In a shop building they provide awesome light.

But think about the prepper applications, one of these fully lights 2-3 rooms if you are talking open concept, say kitchen, dining and living area, certainly well enough to get around, not stub your toe etc in a black out, and it does it all on 48 watts.  So it will run a LONG time on a few deep cycle batteries in a back up system.

And when I had a farm hand working for me in the short hours of winter I called it his “slave light” much to his bemusement.  Because we would just run an extension cord to the area he was working in and it was plenty of light to unload trucks, mulch garden beds, etc.

Oh and one more thing for this little multi-tasker, they are great for when you need to get more light into shooting a video.

For 99 bucks these are simply the best damn work light I have ever found.  If you go night fishing and have battery back up or an inverter man these things are amazing for that as well as lighting up a camping area.  And yea they attract bugs at night, so all the bugs go to the light and you are 25 feet away from them!

Personally I don’t know why more companies don’t embrace this format.  These are not 100% perfect but they are damn good and I still have one I stole from David over three years ago and it still works as good as the day I um, “acquired it”.

Remember you can always find the TSP Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – Don’t feel sorry for David, he has emptied my good liquor cabinet of more than enough to cover the 99 bucks.  As evidence of that I present this!  That was a 30 year old tawny port, looted while I was on vacation.  Yea and he also ran off with about 8 pounds of my dry sausage and jerky and fed it to himself and his dog in Alaska!  True story.  We all need more friends like this.

 

 

Chard/Cary 9.5 quart Smart Pressure Canner and Cooker – Item of the Day

canner

Special Notice – I am bringing this product around today for two reasons.  First it has gone out of stock many times and has currently come back into stock at good levels, where me running it won’t sell out all inventory in an hour, annoying people who can’t order one. 

Another reason is we are starting to hit the time of the year where garden surplus becomes over whelming and it is time to break out the canner.

Every day I will bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Chard/Cary 9.5 quart Smart Pressure Canner and Cooker

In the past I have recommended the PowerPressure Cooker XL, as it was the only electric canner guaranteed to be safe for pressure canning by the manufacture.

The Chard is better in so many ways, while also being guaranteed safe by the manufacturer for pressure canning, it has several additional features that make me want to exchange my PowerPressure Cooker, they are…

  1. The Chard allows you to can quart vs. pint jars.  In fact with it you have the ability to can, four quart jars, six pint jars, eight jelly jars or ten half-pint jars in one batch
  2. It also does a separate water bath or steam function for water bath canning
  3. It uses true petcocks and hence can be used at higher altitudes then the PowerPressure Cooker
  4. It has twenty built in safety features to ensure your safety.

Additionally while I brought this product to you first almost two years ago it was constantly sold out and would go up in price as quantity dropped.  Cary now seems to have supply side worked out and they are readily available for under 120 dollars with free shipping.

Remember you can always see the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here.

P.S. – The PowerPressure Cooker XL is available in sizes like 6 and 10 quart but that is all about capacity, none of them are tall enough for the lid to go on with quart sized jars inside of them.  I really don’t recommend it.

P.P.S. – I  have changed the item name here to the “Chard/Cary 9.5 quart Smart Pressure Canner and Cooker – Item of the Day” because the same product has been marketed under both names.  This is because Chard was founded Richard Carey, or as the brand came from riCHARD Carey, you can read about that here on the chard website.  Just know if the product says Carey or Chard it is the exact same product, I have verified this with the manufacturer.

Maldon Sea Salt – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Item of the day is Maladon Sea Salt.  I when I first discovered this stuff I simply said, “where the hell has this stuff been all my life”!

So, what does it taste like, it tastes like salt, nothing more.

It is pure sea salt which many of us consider more healthy that typical table salt but that is not the magic either.  No it is all about the texture!  I am not sure how they do it but these salt flakes are in like little flaky pyramid like shapes.

I like them so much I am adding a second salt box to our counter top!  Why, this stuff is expensive compared to say typical sea salt or kosher salt which I use for most cooking.  Again the magic is the texture not the taste.

So I use this as a finishing salt which so happens to be the way most chefs use it.  On the top of a steak is pretty great and it is really good on something like sauteed vegetables or on a salad.  In addition to great salty flavor it adds an amazing crunch in such a cool way.

My links go to a twin pack, as I see it as the best value at 9.32 with free shipping on prime.  If you want you can order a single box for only 4.95 but that is considered an “add on order” by Amazon because it is such a small order, but if you are going to be ordering at least 25 dollars that is also and option.

They also have a smoked version of this salt and I am totally in love with it.  It is like sprinkling magic on about any meat, specifcally grilled pork, beef or fish.   Since I first posted this article I now have three salt boxes in my home.  One for plain old Kosher, one for regular Maldon and one for Smoked Maldon.

Remember you can always find the TSP Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

Davidson’s Gunpowder Green Tea – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Davidson’s Gunpowder Green Tea.  As most of you know I drink a lot of herbal teas, so you may be wondering why I am featuring this item.

While I do occasionally make this tea stand alone as either hot or iced, I mainly use it to blend with my herbals.  I do this for two reasons.  One is that it adds great flavor and depth to many herbal teas.  The other is for a kick of caffeine into an otherwise caffeine free tea.

So what is up with the whole gunpowder thing?  Don’t worry there is nothing from Hodgdon in there and it doesn’t smell of cordite.  It is simply the shape and form of the teas.

Gunpowder tea is a form of Chinese tea in which each leaf has been rolled into a small round pellet. Its English name comes from its resemblance to grains of gunpowder. This rolling method of shaping tea is most often applied either to dried green tea (the most commonly encountered variety outside China) or oolong tea.

Gunpowder tea production dates back to the Tang Dynasty 618–907. It was first introduced to Taiwan in the 19th century. Gunpowder tea leaves are withered, steamed, rolled, and then dried.  Rolling renders the leaves less susceptible to physical damage and breakage and allows them to retain more of their flavor and aroma.

Here is a tea recipe I like to make with this tea…

The truth though is you can use it with just about any tea you fancy, also you don’t have to be held to my parts of each ingredients.  I recommend people make up very small amounts using say a teaspoon for your “parts” to find what works best for you.

Of course for loose teas you either want a good infuser or french press.  Either way I think you will be quite pleased if you give Davidson’s Gunpowder Green Tea a try.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – For some reason Amazon has lumped ALL Davidson’s tea reviews together, this renders the reviews on this item essentially useless.