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Grams Image

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I guess the world didn't end!

Well, all those television shows talking about the world ending on December 21, 2012 were wrong!  I don't know about you but when people called me asking what I was doing to prepare for the end of the world I told them I was doing absolutely nothing beyond reaffirming my faith in God and my savior that I would be at peace that everything about my death would be in His hands......

My favorite answer when I got a call was I don't prepare for the end of the world but I do prepare to live in case of natural disasters, job loss, war, or economic collapse.  You know the ordinary things that we as humans have had to face for all of our existence. 

My opinion is that we as humans and as American citizens are in control of our own destinies but we are not in control of others actions nor are we in control of natural disaster occurences.  It is our responsibility to be prepared for survival in the future just the same as the Amish of today and our ancestors in the past made sure they were prepared in case of crop failures, hard times, weather anomalies, etc.  We must open our eyes, minds and hearts to the possibilities of the future and protect and preserve our family's well being and be able to thrive in the event we lose our jobs or there is an economic collapse because of the world's economic decay. 

Every American knows more than one family that is dealing with job losses and we are all dealing with the price of groceries skyrocketing as well as gasoline staying high, which by the way they removed from the formula that the Government uses to show how we as a nation are doing economically.  They say we are improving and we have come out of the recession and have a bright future ahead as long as we let the President and Congress do their jobs.  Well, so far I have seen the government change their formula's on how to figure how we are progressing to suit their political agenda's.  If you add back in the cost of groceries rising and the cost of gasoline which has more than doubled in 4 years, we not only are still in a recession but are precipitously close to a very bad depression.  If they keep making the market so bad that people keep losing their jobs and businesses have to go to other countries to survive then we will be facing a terrible depression.  The politicians of both main parties don't want us to think about what has happened under their watches.

Food has gone up for many reasons.  Let's take a look at a few of the reasons.  Ethanol has taken much of our crop lands to grow corn for additives to our gasoline supply.  Big Agra has introduced genetically modified organisms into our food supply as well as hybrid plants to supposedly increase our food supply.  If you do even minor research you will find quickly that gmo and hybrids are not able to be replanted because of all the manipulations.  The plants either will not grow or will not reproduce the plant in a true form.  GMO plants have been documented as making our meat animals ill and even has killed them.  Now just think what it is doing to us if it is killing the beef steer, pigs, and chickens which are eating the GMO corn!  It makes me squemish every time I feed my family any of the thousands of items containing corn products. 

Corn products are in thousands of foods we Americans eat daily such as corn starch, corn syrup, cereals, corn meal, corn in cans or frozen or fresh.  If you think about how many foods that high fructose corn syrup is in you would be surprised.  Also look as corn meal, corn bread, muffins, stuffing, breading for fish, and corn chips. Let's not forget the movie treat popcorn. I don't trust any corn any longer to be healthy unless I grow it myself from heirloom seeds.  Even organic corn could have GMO corn in it because Monsanto pays off the politicians to keep them from passing laws that they have to label the products that contain GMO. 

If you spend a  little bit of money on heirloom seeds and grow your own vegetables and grains if it is possible for you then you will know that you are eating a healthier diet. 

As far as gasoline prices go, we are duped by the oil industry to pay higher prices because we have no choice.  They tax the gasoline and control the amount that is produced in our own country.  So we are going to continue to pay through the nose for gasoline and diesel in this country.  The thing that makes me angry is that there are other means for producing energy or running vehicles which are quite inexpensive but the automotive industry paid the inventors off and have hidden these new technologies from the public.  The government again in paid off to keep it quiet by the auto big wigs and the Unions.

Natural disasters will always be a part of our lives and we should be prepared for these occurences.  We never know when our Sun will throw a temper tantram and send us a large solar flare or CME.  We can't control hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, volcanic eruptions, floods or even tsunamis but we can be prepared for them.

Lastly the people who can cause disasters who are in control of our economy and relations with other countries are only minimally controlled by the population through elections and being in contact with our Senators and Representatives.  They can go to war or cause a war without our permission.  So we must prepare ourselves to survive a possible war whether nuclear or conventional.  Wars always seem to bring rationing and shortages. 

Lastly take a look at our country and the runaway spending on everything from a turtle crossing costing a fortune to subsidies to museums, auto industries, and the new Affordable Health Care that is starting this year.  If we hit the fiscal cliff and dive off of it then we will be hurting by taxation and job losses, reduced military to defend our country, and government expenses skyrocketing.  The government goes into debt without our knowledge for unknown reasons all the time.  I remember the House investigating where the huge amounts of money was being spent.  They asked Bernanke where three trillion dollars was and he answered them with "I don't know".  Believe it or not they accepted that answer and dropped it.

There are many reasons to prepare for your future that I haven't even mentioned.  You know now that December 21st was not the end.  We will have to face the future and if we don't have our preparations in order then we will struggle and fail taking care of our basic needs.  I want to help my family to not only survive but to thrive by work and preparations to hold us over till we become more self sufficient and learn to live a basic and frugal lifestyle. 

I wish you all a wonderful New Year!  God Bless all who try to take care of their families and I pray you all success in your endeavors.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cooking Methods for the Future!

Have you thought about how you will be cooking your foods? Most of us do the majority of our cooking in our kitchens on our electric or gas ranges.   What would you do if there were no power or gas to cook with?  Many of us have a propane or charcoal grill and do some of our cooking in the summer months on it outdoors and I would also imagine that we keep at most one tank of propane or one bag of charcoal to fuel this grill.  Am I right?

Well, that also will run out fairly quickly.  So what will we do now?  I don't know about you but I don't care much for eating canned foods cold unless it is fruit or tuna fish!

If you don't have much money there are some cheap alternatives for heating canned foods or cooking quick cooking foods.  Hobo stoves were used a lot during the depression by the really poor or traveling families or single men on the road.  You can use several kinds of fuel with these such as; small pieces of wood like branches broken up or small pieces of leftover lumber, also you can gather pine cones and pine straw for fuel if it is plentiful.  One of the best fuels I have found is Buddy Burners, that are made from cardboard coiled in a tuna fish can and then saturated with melted candlewax from junk candles which would essentially be free if you have access to old candles or candle stubs.  Lastly you can use several candles placed in a circle to increase the heat for your food to be heated with.  The Buddy burners and candles can be used in the house if it is cold, wet or dangerous outdoors to cook.  Do a search on how to make hobo stoves and Buddy Burners to get your directions for making these.

Next I would suggest a small contained cook fire in your backyard if you have one (backyard I mean),  You must be very careful with campfires that you don't let them get out of hand due to the fact that Firestations may not be working in a scenario without power due to communications problems.

I would suggest you gather yourself  a small metal drum or a large metal can and cut them off at about 4 to 6 inches from the bottom then put some slashes or drill holes for air and then place them on some concrete or cinder blocks to bring them up to a height that is more comfortable for you to sit on a bench, log or chair to make it easier to stir and watch your food.  Learn to lay your firewood in such a way that you have air circulation around and under your fire.  You don't need a large fire to cook your food.  Think about how large your burners are on your range.  They aren't huge so keep your fire small and feed it fuel as needed.

You can use a campfire and a hobo stove to bring longer cooking foods to a hard boil and then you can combine thermal cooking methods with the boiling foods to complete the cooking process.  Thermal cooking can be done with several different things. 

Have you ever heard of how the Pacific Island people cook their whole pigs?  Well they get a fire going and use the hot coals to line a pit dug in the ground then they put wet banana leave or other fragrant leaves on the coals to protect the meat then they place the cleaned and gutted pig and then they place more wet leaves on top and place more coals on them then place the soil back over the pit to cook everything slowly the coals keep the buried pig hot and steam and roast it with residual heat.  There is no flame just coals and the meat comes out moist and succulent 12 hours or more later.  That was probably one of the first thermal style of cooking done.  Today we have come up with other ways do thermal cooking.

We can do some cooking in good thermos bottles.  Rice, spaghetti noodles, small cut and cubed vegetables, etc. can be cooked in a thermos by adding the room temperature food in the thermos and adding boiling water.  Remember some foods expand with cooking such as rice and noodles.  So leave room for expansion.  It works really well and saves fuel.

Another way to cook thermally is the haybox style of cooking.  You take an item which is to a boiling state and in a pot like cast iron and wrap it in towels and place it in a box lined with an insulating material such as hay, straw, blankets, comforters, etc.  Leave it cook for at least 6 hrs before checking it and then if it is not done bring it back to a boil again, re-wrap and wait for approximately 2 to 3 more hours.  Works great!  My Uncle used to make whole hams this way for family reunions and it was so moist and tender and succulent we would beg it to be done the same way next time......

The next method of cooking is the Rocket Stove.  These can be bought and are fairly reasonably priced but they also can be made for next to nothing with castoff items.  This is another item you should do a net search for the directions to make one.  The rocket stove is a healthier option for cooking because it puts off very little smoke or carbon monoxide.  The missionaries in third world countries are teaching how to make these and use them for the health of the people as well as for conservation of fuel.  The Rocket Stove uses very little fuel and uses it very efficiently.  It is also a very versatile stove in the fact that you can use most any kind of flamable material to fire your stove.
Pine cones, sticks, straw, needles, paper, cardboard, and wood of course.  If you are needing to keep the smoke down for security reasons then this method is a good choice.   If you use a cast iron pot with a lid you can heat the pot and contents and cook for a short time then leave it over the fire as it dies down then put in a thermal wrap and let it finish cooking.  This method is a good fuel saver.

Next is solar cookers.  There are several kinds starting with the least used which is parabolic solar cookers.  The requires a parabolic or convex lens to cook with.  It is a little more dangerous in the fact that you can get burned if your are not careful with this method.  Search the net for it and see if this is a style of solar cooking you would be interested in. 

Secondly is a popular method in the 3rd world countries and is spreading rapidly there especially in desert countries or countries with little or no wood.  This method is a Solar Cookit.  It is a metalic or aluminum covered cardboard that reflects and concentrates the suns energy toward the food in a black pot and cooks the contents on the inside of the pot.  This is extremely useful for people who are so poor that they cannot afford fuel and food.
This way they can concentrate on just buying the rice and other foods that they need for survival.

Lastly is the Solar Box Ovens which are the most popular in this country.  They can be homemade but are rarely as efficient as commercially built ones.  If you can afford to buy this one then please do so.  You can bake, roast, boil, steam, and do just about everything but fry in a Solar box oven.  It cooks similar to a slow cooker.  Bread, cookies, potatoes, rice, casseroles, meats, soups, deserts, and many more things can be made in these.  This style of cooker works well in the cold or hot summer as long as there is sun shining you can cook.  If it is very overcast and rainy you need to use another method such as the hobo stove, rocket stove or combination of those with themal cooking.  It has the added plus factor of creating no smoke or pollutants.  That is not to say that the delicious aromas won't escape.  So you will probably have to guard your cooker with an eagle eye or you will be fighting off the neighbors who smell your delicious cooking.

My suggestion is to build yourself a hobo stove and buddy burners, a rocket stove and to purchase a good box Solar Cooker.  You will be set then for indoor or outdoor cooking.  Do some research on alternative non-electric and non-gas cooking and on the methods I mentioned above.  You will find directions and all kinds of alternatives that I have not mentioned such as alcohol stoves,  Don't forget that you can stockpile propane and wood to have alternative methods which would be dependable.

There is no substitute for your own research.  You Tube and the Net are full of great teachers and you can then learn to be self sufficient in this one endeavor.  The last thing I would like to leave you with is to have many 3 or more hand operated can openers so you can use your commercially canned foods.

Happy Journey into your own Survival Kitchen!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cooking and life in the 1800's

Cooking like they did in the 1800's was much different than it is today. If things go awry and we have to go back to basics do we all have the knowledge, recipes, and or equipment to accomplish what we will need to do to be self sufficient. We would have to eat differently, cook differently, obtain our food differently than we do in todays world. That is why I think that many people will have a hard time surviving any collapse of society. The ability to live without electricity alone would be totally catastrophic to most people. We have only been slightly inconvenienced by power outages in the U.S. in my lifetime. The longest I have had to go without power was 2 1/2 weeks. Many had to do without in the U.S. for much longer after some of the weather and seismic anomalies. Most of us haven't really had to do it on our own though. Fema came in and supplied water and ice and offered shelters in the local schools and other large buildings. We cannot count on the Government to come to our rescue when the whole country is having a problem. They just don't have the resources to take care of all of us. Let's take a look at how we would eat when we are without power and running water. Also when we don't have grocery stores to go to when we are out of something. We will have to make do or do without. I know that we will be eating much less meat even it we have food storage if we live in a city or suburb. We can only store so much meat in most situations. So we will be eating much more rice and beans, garden vegetables for those of us who will be gardening and will gradually use the items that we have put aside. Instant potatoes, dehydrated foods, commercially canned foods, home canned/bottled foods, etc. will have to be spread out to give some relief from food boredom. I personally plan to have meat as a flavoring in dishes instead of having it as a meat course. Beans will be much more pallatable with ham flavoring to give it a boost in flavor. Chicken will be a welcome addition to a rice casserole. But even that will have to be sparingly done or we will run out of meat very quickly. If you live in an area that will allow you to raise chickens and rabbits then by all means do so. The eggs from the chickens would give you a much more varied diet than having beans so often. I have started cooking dried beans much more often and I use them on their own for the first meal and then as refried beans in burritos, or in chili, or on salads. I also have been getting my family used to eating bean chili with only a some beef bouillon for flavoring in the chili. Next I will be adding lentil and breadcrumbs to my ground beef for cooking things like spaghetti, stroganoff, and soups made with ground beef. I am hoping that getting my family used to seeing and tasting the beans and legumes in their ordinary dishes will acclimate their digestive tract to them as well as help them to transition to meals with no meat in them. Homemade bread made from whole grains is another food we need to acclimate our digestive system to as well. I don't want to spend the first month I have to make everything from scratch on the toilet as I am sure would happen to us after the drastic change from processed white breads and cakes to the whole grain varieties. We will be eating more bread than we do now because it is filling and comforting. When a child is hungry a slice of toast with cinnamon sugar or jam is a good holdover for them. When kids are presented with foods that they don't like but you have to prepare such as beans and rice. A slice of bread and a bit of peanut butter my give them a reprieve once in awhile or should I say the rest of the family a reprieve from hearing the child argue and fuss. Learn a lot of things you can do to hide beans in to increase the family's protein intake. Mashed beans can be hidden even in brownies! It makes a good oil substitute and makes the brownies healthier and no one can tell. Most kids will eat refried beans in tacos or burritos and lentils you can hide in spaghetti sauces and casseroles. Most kids love vegetable or minestrone soup so make sure you have beans in these. My family is not big rice fans but they will eat it with gravy or as spanish rice or in a casserole so I will have to be creative. They also like fried rice with bits and pieces of leftovers in it. If you are going to grow rabbits to eat. Don't expect city raised children to eat it if they see you dispatching the animals. Do it when they are sleeping or busy elsewhere and then cook it in a way that they will think it is chicken, like soups, pot pies, or rabbit and dumplings. Let the children feed and take care of the chickens if you have them. They will collect the eggs and be proud that they are bringing protein to the table. Also let them help in the garden. Planting seeds, weeding with supervision, and harvesting will make them want to eat their greens and broccoli much better. After all everyone should praise them about how wonderful the food is and how it is due at least partially to their hard work. This is the way it was in the old days except back then the kids would watch the animals being butchered from birth and thought of it as a natural process. They will have to be adapted to it gradually in the new society of our future. They will adapt but I don't want them to starve because they are eating Peter or Brier Rabbit. You might let them have a Doe rabbit as a breeding pet and then let them know upfront that the babies for the most part will be raised for eating. And promise that every couple of years you will let them have another Doe for raising as a breeder when the other rabbit becomes too old to breed well anymore. Well, I will stop here for the time being and write more another time. Thanks for reading my ramblings.

Chain Meals

Chain Meals - In this post I will explore a favorite system that I have for cooking what I call chain meals. This is a frugal system that I get a lot of satisfaction in using. Day One.....Let's start out by making a nice pot of dried beans. This can be made from kidney beans or pinto beans or a combination of both. Make them by overnight soak method and then fix them with your own seasonings and onions and you can even add some salt pork or bacon or ham if you want. This first night you serve your beans with rice and cornbread. Yummmm..... Day Two.....You will make a triple batch of spaghetti sauce with ground beef and your favorite recipe of spaghetti sauce. You will serve one third of this sauce on your favorite spaghetti noodles. Make garlic toast and a fruit salad to serve with it. Day Three.....You will make a large green salad and serve some of your leftover beans and fruit on the salad. I usually rinse the beans so they are not messy with the jelled broth on them. I have always loved salad with lots of toppings. I also offer grated cheddar or monterey jack for the salad as well. Day Four.....We are making Chili with the leftover beans and Spaghetti Sauce. We are going to make Mashed Potatoes to serve it over and we will sprinkle it with the leftover grated cheese. I usually just heat the Spaghetti sauce, add the beans, add a packet of chili seasoning or my own blend of spices and heat it. (If you don't like mashed potatoes with chili then you can serve it over rice or with crackers, but please try it I think you will love the combination of mashed potatoes and chili.) Day Five.....Mash and reheat the beans which will be the same as refried beans and make Burritos with your leftovers of the week. Your lettuce salad fixings and homemade refried beans and cheese make absolutely delicious burritos. Make sure you cook those flour tortillas or corn tortillas so they won't taste like raw flour paste. Day Six.....Chili Mac is on the menu. Leftover Chili mixed with cooked macaroni and topped with your favorite cheese. Serve with corn bread if you like. Now you may spread these meals out by freezing some of your beans and spaghetti sauce. I have done this for freezer meals with the directions for what I want to make with the items on the bag. There are other things that I do similar chain cooking with such as a ten pound bag of chicken legs and thighs. I will cook one meal of barbeque chicken with as many legs as it takes to feed our family out of the bag. Then I will boil the rest of the chicken to make chicken salad, chicken pot pie, chicken tortilla soup, and if anything is left it will go into a fried rice for a change of pace. Don't forget that you can always make the old standby chicken noodle soup with the broth that you cooked the chicken in and add some chicken boullion to make it richer and just a half of a cup or so of chicken that has been deboned. You can come up with chain meals for pork roast by making roast pork the first day and then make pork perlau which is like spanish rice with pork in it, then make barbeque pork to serve in toasted buns with cole slaw. You can also make curry if there was any leftover, curry with pork and apples is delish! Beef can be made as a pot roast and then you can make shepherds pie, stew, and shredded beef tostados. You can also make many other dishes with beef and your only boundary will be your imagination. Now the whole idea is to cook one or two main dishes in sufficient quantity to make a large variety of other meals. Cut up the remainder of your meats and package for other meals. Leftover rice, mashed potatoes, vegetables, etc. go into zip lock bags and put in the fridge or freezer to use for those other meals. You can make a list of meals that you can make with the ingredients in a small notebook that you put into your kitchen drawer or laminate a typed sheet with all the meals and tape it inside your kitchen upper cabinet door. That will remind you what you can make. Just take the foods from the fridge or freezer, defrost if necessary and you will have a 30 minute meal with very little work. I make my large meat meal for the week on the weekend and divvy it up into meal sized portions and mark it with a marker stating what it is and what I want to do with it. Such as the leftover beans for chili and another pack of beans for refried beans. Meats portioned out for the pies, casseroles or curry's. Mashed potatoes freeze well but they will need to be thinned with some fresh milk to get them back to the consistency you want. Rice freezes wonderfully and can be used for so many meals that it pays to cook a large amount and freeze meal sized portions for your fried rice, casseroles, soups, and as an accompaniment with gravy or curry. Most of the Oriental dishes you can make with rice, Southwest and Mexican foods also use a lot of rice. Bake up corn muffins in quantity and take out as many as you need for a meal and reheat in the microwave in a covered casserole dish with a damp paper towel in the dish with them. I hope you will try some of these dishes or at least the method with your own dishes and recipes. It is fun to see how many meals you can get from your beans, ground beef, pot roasts, ten pound bags of chicken and your pork shoulders. With one large piece of meat or cooked beans you can eat a whole week with a new dish each day. It will keep you from boredom and save you money at the same time. God bless you on your journey!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bits and Pieces II


Appliance Parts and Cooking Tools

This post is about the different appliances that will be necessary to have to make life more comfortable.  We will be living without electricity if the power grid is down.  So let’s look at the necessities in the kitchen first.

Kitchen gadgets, tools, and food preparation equipment.  -  Can openers, are super important items to have but make sure the can openers you buy are quality hand crank can openers.  I suggest Swing Away brand as they last for years and years being used every day.  I always hated electric can openers because they always got dirty and would have to be taken apart to wash the cutting mechanism and then the rest would have to be wiped off plus they took up space on my small countertop.  You do have to wash your can openers because food bits build up and can get bacteria in your food as you open the cans.  I suggest that you keep a stiff brush to scrub the cutting mechanism and soak in bleach water once in awhile to disinfect.  I also take a metal skewer to scrape around the blades and such to make sure all the crud is removed.  By the way you can buy a wall mounted Swing Away Can Opener at Amazon for $21.00 plus shipping if you are interested.  My mom had one when I was a kid but I prefer the ones you can put in the drawer because they are easier to clean and while I have electricity I can throw them in my dishwasher once a week to sanitize them.

Next item I think will be very important is the cast iron cookware.  It is practically indestructible if you keep them seasoned and learn how to season the new ones.  You can also buy old rusty ones and scrub them down and start from scratch on the seasoning.  If you can get Grandma’s cast iron skillet that is well seasoned you are going to be a lucky person.   There are sites on the internet that will show you how to season them.  Cast iron can cook on any heat method available with the exception of a microwave.  Study up on cast iron cookware and the different styles of cooking that can be done with them from making your soups and stews to using as a deep fat fryer and even as an oven to bake your cakes and breads.  Wonderful for when we have to cook over a fire or propane or a rocket stove after the stuff hits the fan.  Make sure to buy a few small cast iron trivets to put in the bottom of your cast iron dutch oven. They will be good to put your bread pan or cake pan on so the heat can circulate all around your breads or cakes.  You don’t want to put your pan directly on the bottom of cast iron or they will burn on the bottom and not cook evenly.

Number 3 on my list is good knives.  You will be using your knives for butchering, skinning, chopping, peeling, slicing, etc.  Get some good carbon steel and or stainless steel knives and a good whet stone to sharpen it with.  A steel to add a good edge is a good idea as well.  Just ask any chef and he will tell you his most prized possessions are his knives.  This is another time you should look up on the internet how to sharpen and care for your knives.   

Next let’s look at grain mills.  There are many kinds of grain mills but I would suggest you get one with a large hopper so you don’t have to spend so much time filling them over and over again.  Also you should have a hand crank grinder since there is always that possibility of power outage which will be temporary or semi permanent.  If there is ever a CME/EMP then it will be relatively permanent for up to several years. I am afraid that is even an optimistic assessment of what will be happening.  Of course it all depends on how widespread the CME/EMP effect will be.   I have a Country Living Grain Mill and love it but they are expensive and I had to save for over a year to buy it.  I also bought the corn and nut auger to make it more versatile.  I also bought the extra parts that they offer so that I would have replacements to keep it operational even it I broke a part.  So look at the very best that you can afford and think about replacement parts on anything that could break on it.

Pressure canners will be important if you want to preserve food without refrigeration.  Dehydration in the drier and warmer months is an options but food  spoils in a very humid/wet climate before it dehydrates.  My first choice for most foods is to can/bottle them.  If you hunt you will have lots of meat to preserve.  If you have very cold climates that stay below freezing for a few months then you could hang your meat in a shed or garage to freeze.   Otherwise you will be back to the canning process.  There are many brands of pressure canners.  I have a Presto, Mirror and All American canner and I will bet you can guess which one is my favorite.  My husband bought me a 921 series All American for my birthday this year.  It doesn’t have a gasket so I won’t have to stock up on extra gaskets for it and it hold 2 layers of pints or 3 layers of the small half pint jars.  This is going to be a great year of canning for me and I won’t have as many hassles doing it!  I still need to buy a few replacement parts for it to have on hand like bolt down handles and the pressure weight.

Meat grinders are probably going to be very useful items.  It my husband has a chance to kill a deer I will be able to make ground meat and cook my normal dishes with it.  I would miss ground meat if we ran out of my canned ground meats.  It would take way too much time to chop the meat finely by hand to make spaghetti sauce or chili. 

Hand cranked food processors are also a time saver.  I have two of them and I can make cole slaw in a flash or slice onions, potatoes, or carrots in a flash as well.  It also grates cheese finely or coarsely as well.  Love it! Also make sure you have one or two good box graters as well.  They sometimes come in very handy.

Air tight containers would be very helpful to keep bugs out and freshness in for things such as flour, sugar, coffee, and corn starch.  You can keep butter on the counter if you keep it in a container with a tight fitting lid.  Butter will last for about 2 weeks if kept in a cool dark corner.  Salted butter lasts longer than the unsalted variety.  I am getting ready to home can some butter with my new canner.  I will can it in half pints.  If the butter is kept sealed in these containers with the rest of the vegetables and meats in a dark cool pantry it will last for a year or more.

I am sure there are many more handy little gadgets like potato peelers, French fry makers, citrus squeezers, zesters, garlic presses and lots of other things.  If you have them already and use them then keep them and continue to use them.  Otherwise you could probably live without them if necessary. 

Coffee makers are an item most people can’t live without.  Yes, you could just boil your coffee in a pot but most people prefer drip coffee now-a-days.  You can buy non-electric coffee makers both drip and percolators.  I found a stainless drip coffee maker at Lehman’s for $90 but I found a speckleware percolator at a thrift store for $20.  I have made a makeshift drip coffee maker by putting a strainer on top of a pot put a coffee filter and the coffee in the strainer.  Then I poured boiling water in the strainer and let it drip.  It worked great.  You might come up with a better idea yourself if you think about it.  The last thing I would suggest is for you to stock up on whole coffee beans in bulk and buy a hand cranked coffee mill.  I have read that whole beans will last for years and won’t go bad. 

The last couple of things I want to suggest are toasters and mixers.  You can buy camp toasters which you put near a fire and then flip the bread to toast the other side. Works good but has to be watched closely.  The last thing is the mixer.  Without electricity you might consider buying a good new egg beater for mixing batters.  Whisks will do most other jobs.  Buy a few good wooden spoons for mixing stiff doughs and batters.

I guess that is about all for this post on “Bits and Pieces”.  Check back for other things later.






Monday, September 17, 2012

Bits and Pieces

The reason I named this post Bits and Pieces is that it is the whole idea of collecting and storing all the bits and pieces that we will surely need if things go South in the future.   I was reading a blog on the net and found someone talking about collecting games, cards and other things for entertainment in the worst case scenario.  I realized that even though I have collected these things, I haven’t discussed it on here.  So let’s break it down into a few different categories.  Let’s start with entertainment. I will post other articles under “Bits and Pieces”  later concerning other subjects.


With no power what would you like to do on long winter days shut indoors?  Play cards?  Play board games?  Put puzzles together? Draw or Paint artwork? Do you play and instrument? These are all good things to do but do you have the games, puzzles, cards, paints and art materials, puzzle books?  If not the Dollar Tree  have many treasures for your chest of sanity saving simple games such as checkers, chess, dice, cards, children’s card games, puzzles, puzzle books, and even some art supplies.  Check it out and pick up some for your future.  Check online and buy a book of card games and rules.  Hoyle makes one that is good.  For the kids don’t forget marbles, jacks, pickup sticks, baseballs and bats, basketballs and hoops, badminton sets, croquet sets, soccer balls, and any other game paraphernalia that you family is interested in.  If you need to be quiet you might consider the indoor games.  Older people might be interested in horseshoes and croquet or holey board (which is easy to make yourself). Buy a roll of the banquet table paper that comes in approx. a hundred foot roll.  The kids can draw for a very long time on this paper and use it to make holiday decorations and adults can play Pictionary with it as well.  Just have an adult cut it into smaller sheet size pieces.  It will save you a bundle!  Get recipes for play dough, sidewalk chalk, goop, silly putty, etc. on the net.  Print it out and put it in a binder reserved for entertainment ideas.   Make sure you buy the items to make some of the items above such as salt in bulk, flour, plaster, etc.  I will post the links to some of these items I have listed in this article at the bottom of each section.  Children will drive adults crazy if you don’t have a way to keep them occupied.  Noisy kids playing and having fun is much easier to cope with than noisy kids saying “I’m bored” or being fussy and crying because they are tired of sitting around or just doing chores and no play. 

I have set up a wooden box that is like a small footlocker with a padlock on it which is filled with lots of interesting things like small magic sets from the Dollar Tree, string for making different things like we did as kids by making a circle of string or a roll of butchers twine and making shapes, yoyo’s, domino’s, children’s puzzles, match game cards, old maid cards, jacks, pickup sticks, Nerf balls, army men, small dinosaur sets, farm sets, marbles, hot wheel cars, Noah Ark sets, chalk boards and chalk, crayons and coloring books, building blocks, etc.  Find the stuff as inexpensively as possible.  I have gotten many things from unlikely places.  Stop at a new construction site and ask if you can pick up the throw away pieces of 2 X 4’s which are not pressure treated!  Take them home and spend an hour or two sanding the edges and ends with a belt or orbital sander to make them safe, these will make the very best building blocks!  Go to a craft store and buy marbles which are meant for crafts and flower vases.  If you can’t buy different colors then buy some glass paint pens and paint them a few different colors to keep kids happy knowing which ones are theirs. Make your own chalk with plaster of paris, don’t throw away broken crayons! Put them into a box for later melting and making new ones in rainbow colors that will thrill your kids! 
I have lots of construction paper in my box as well as brads, stapler and staples, also lots of pencils, #2 and colored pencils.  I am not a big fan of markers because they dry up and the kids can destroy their clothes and your walls and furniture with them. You will have to choose what you want to store for your own kids, grandkids and other children who may be in your home.  The one thing I would like to suggest is to get extra games that have a lot of pieces because they will invariably get lost.  I have a couple of Monopoly games and Clue games for that reason. I do not ever let my grandkids know what is in my “Treasure Chest”  that way if they are good and I know that they are going to be stuck for a long time indoors I can pull it out and pick out something that is new and exciting even if it was cheap and ordinary in the old days.  Don’t forget printing out the instructions for playing – Statues, Mother May I, Simon Says, Red Light-Green Light, Tag, Hide and Seek, Hula Hoops, Frisbee, and many other games children played in the “Old Days” when I was a kid.  Kids used to be able to occupy themselves and taught each other these games.  My whole neighborhood got together and had foot races, baseball games, marble tournaments, Hop Scotch, Jump Rope and we performed in our own “Circus” for the parents and we just had a ball playing and being creative.  The kids today don’t know that kind of creativity any longer.  They think drawing in a computer program is ‘drawing’ and they think playing a game is playing it on a game system.

Maybe if we had an “Old Days” family night and taught the kids a few of the old time games and interacted with them they would be more receptive to these things when that is all they will have after a disaster happens. Think back to your childhood, what did you play with?  What were your favorite toys?  What were your favorite games?  Of course I mean those that didn’t require electricity or batteries.   Think about it.  Go to some yard sales, thrift stores, craft stores, and dollar stores and come up with your own ideas.  The internet is a great place for ideas if you type the right thing in you will be surprised how many ideas you will get.  Good luck!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

National Preparedness Month

Friday, August 3, 2012

Step Four – Medical Supplies

First Installment

This is a huge subject for me to tackle and I have been debating with myself on how to approach it.  I realize that with the “Affordable Care Act” having been not only passed by the House, Senate and signed into law by the President and now that the Supreme Court upheld 90% or more of it that we are going to be screwed in the future medically.  When martial law is put into effect or we are pushed into World War III we will effectively be without medical care for the majority of the citizens of our country.  The wealthy will always have medical care and the citizens and non citizens that the Big Government wish to give medical care to will be taken care of, but those of us over 55 or that have disabilities such as chronic diseases or birth defects will be given comfort care but no real medical intervention.  If we have problems that will be expensive to treat then we will get what they call palliative care which means alleviating pain and symptoms without eliminating the cause.  This means if you are not important to the government then you will not have surgery for ovarian or prostate cancer or kidney or lung cancer.   They will be glad to give you pain killers though, or help you to die if you choose to give up.  I guess I sound negative but since I am one of the ones that they call a useless eater I will be the one they wish to die so I won’t cost the government health plan any money.  Now with that said I am stepping down off of my soap box.

Now what are the people who want to survive to a ripe old age going to prepare for medically?

Now that we know we cannot depend on the healthcare system to help us we have to prepare and be creative in taking care of ourselves and our love ones.

NUMBER ONE – I am not a doctor or a medical professional of any kind.  What I will discuss in this post will be my thoughts on what I will be trying to do for myself and my family.  I do not give medical advice but I will relate what I have read in my research over the years.  Some of these things may work and some may not work.  I think all we will be able to do is to try by trial and error to do whatever we can to help ourselves. 
Get the advice of a medical professional if at all possible and do not take suggestions as medical advice.  Like I said I am not a medical professional and I will only relate what I have done for my family or what I have researched and feel is possibly a treatment that I would try if we were in a post apocalyptic situation and there is no medical professionals to advise me.  You will do what you think is best and hopefully you will use your common sense and not give up and let someone die when some simple home remedy might have saved them.

Now first off I will say that I learned something recently that was interesting.  Medical Doctors or MD’s are only supposed to be trained to do certain things for patients.  Broken bones and surgery of any kind as well as diagnosis of diseases by use of modern technology are among the things that they are good at accomplishing.  Historically alternative approaches by Naturopaths, Homeopaths, Chiropractors, and holistic medical practitioners were always the mainstream medical practitioners until this century.  In the “old days” what did people do for medical care? They would go to Herbalists or Midwives or depending on the country maybe an acupuncturist.

Guess what folks?  We are headed back to the Shamans of our past but how many of them are left?  Practically none are left in the technological world of today.  The modern medicine  of today have preached against those people who treated the whole person and made them seem like charlatans.  So we don’t trust them and have discouraged the whole lot of them from passing their knowledge on to the present generation.  

Now we have to become knowledgeable about natural medicine and cures without the benefit of many of those we should have held in esteem but instead laughed at them and ignored them.

NUMBER TWO – Do your own research and learn for yourselves what you need to know.

Most who read this post will not have much medical experience.  I doubt seriously that many Dr’s  read my blog.  Maybe that is good because I won’t get as many negative remarks that way.

I could give you lists of things to store and I will give you a list of things that everyone knows they need for injuries and common ailments.  If you cannot afford everything on the list that will follow then think creatively.  If you can’t afford a lot of gauze then go to the thrift store and buy some white sheets, wash them in bleach and detergent on a hot setting then cut into strips and roll your bandages.  Keep safety pins to fasten the bandages or rip the end into 2 parts and tie them to secure the bandage.  If you can’t afford a Sam Splint then buy some very lightweight plywood or heavy cardboard and cut into splint sized pieces and use with your bandages to immobilize sprains or possible broken bones. Reduce the broken bones as much as possible by pulling straight out until the bones go back into place as much as possible.  I did this for myself when I broke both bones in my lower arm years ago.   It gave me some relief until I could get to the hospital.  It turned out okay and they said I not only reduced the fracture but it helped to protect my muscles and nerves and blood vessels until I could get into surgery for a plate in my arm.  They said I had broken it so bad that the bones would never knit properly without the plate because of my age and the severity of the breaks.  I don’t suggest that anyone do this but I wanted to keep my break which was ready to break the surface of my skin from doing that.  I know that a compound fracture that reaches through the skin has a huge chance of a deep bone infection which can ultimately have to be amputated without fast medical care and antibiotics. 

By the way heavy corrugated cardboard cut into splints are more comfortable than wood and mold to you arms or legs much easier. They can also be added to by adding layers to stiffen them or removed to treat rashes or wounds.  Always try to get to a medical clinic, Dr. or hospital for any possible broken bone or serious wound if at all possible.

I would suggest everyone reading my blog to buy some medical books that are written for non medical people.  Next buy a book which is a guide to drugs and their uses.  I would suggest a good herbal remedy book, and a natural remedy book. 

The most important thing is to prevent injuries and illness by using common sense and safety precautions to stay healthy.  If you already have a chronic illness such as diabetes, COPD or any other problem then look into natural ways to help your problem without medical intervention.  There may come a time when you can’t get your medications and when you run out and can’t get more what will you do?  I would suggest learning to eat correctly, exercise and use herbal remedies to keep your problem in check as well as you can manage.  Whatever you do don’t give up.  Keep doing whatever you can to maintain your health as well as you can. 

For diabetes type 2, I found that Cinnamon and Chromium Picolinate are helpful for people who cannot get their pills or insulin.  If you have Type 2 diabetes then consider stocking up on both of these items. Remember that diet and exercise are the most important factors in controlling blood sugar.  Eat 4 or 5 small meals made up of protein and complex carbohydrates such as fresh vegetables minus white potatoes and make sure you eat whole grains and not white rice or white breads and definitely not processed stuff such as cakes and other non nutritive foods.  Sugar should be avoided and if you need something sweet then eat small amounts of fresh whole fresh fruits and avoid juices.  Stay hydrated by drinking water not diet or regular soda’s.  Artificial sweeteners are not healthy to use even for diabetics.  If you have to use a sweetener then consider Honey but keep the amount down to the minimum.  Honey is sweeter than white sugar so remember to use it in very small amounts.

Speaking of honey, I have read that it is a miracle remedy and can help to heal severe burns, severe wounds and is great for making home remedies for sore throats and coughs.  Do a search on honey and cinnamon and see what all it can do.

Two other items that have many uses are Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar.  Separately they have many uses and this is something that is a good natural remedy for many problems, digestive disturbances, rashes, and poison ivy treatment are a few things that they can do.

Then you can make natural antibiotics from garlic, Echinacea, wild indigo, tea tree oil, oil of cloves, comfrey, oregano, and don’t forget colloidal silver.  If you have a variety of these things and the directions for their use you might be able to treat many illnesses and injuries and heal them or at least keep them from getting worse until your body can fight off the disease.

Please above all else do your research for your family’s health problems.  Find natural remedies and procedures.  Stock up on the items you will need.  If you need certain pharmaceutical medications talk to your pharmicist and find out if he/she knows of any over the counter medicines which could be used to help control your illness.  Many over the counter remedies used to be obtained by prescriptions only, such as Naprosyn or Alleve.  When I had a 2 year bout with fibromyalgia you could only get it by prescription.  Now you can buy it in any drug, grocery or convenience store. 

The herbs that will help different problems might not be easily gotten so consider doing a search  for non-hybrid seeds for them.  Things like lavender, echinacea, oregano, ginger, horehound, and garlic.  These are just some of the things you can grow that might help many problems but not all of the ones that might be helpful.  Spices like cinnamon, cloves, and turmeric we can’t grow so easily or not at all so consider stocking up on these and you will have them for future use if needed.  I bought lots of cinnamon because my husband and I have diabetes but I also bought empty gelatin capsules so I could prepare the cinnamon to be taken without having to mix it with applesauce to swallow it.  We may not always have applesauce to do that with.   Think ahead!

I have learned a couple of things that have helped me in a few circumstances that seem odd but they proved to be 100% effective for us.  Vicks Vapor Rub or the equivalent worked miracles for my granddaughter when she caught the H1N1 flu a couple of years ago.  You just rub it on the feet and put socks on and it calms the cough to almost nothing so she could sleep and with a high fever she needed a lot of sleep.  Also warm showers for fevers with gradually cooling the water temperature for 5 to 10 minutes brings the fever under control more quickly than just giving a child Acetaminophen .  Childrens fevers seem to spike rather quickly and very high.  Keep the fevers under control without over medicating as much as possible.  Try to have the child drink as much water, apple juice and chicken broth as possible.  They usually won’t drink much but encourage them to sip.  Dehydration can make them much more ill than just the fever will do.

Remember, antibiotics won’t help viruses, but they can help bacterial infections so save any antibiotics you have or you buy for bacterial infections.  It won’t hurt to try other treatments for viruses though.  Garlic, echineacea, cloves, or oregano won’t reduce your ability to fight future infections so it couldn’t hurt to give that chicken soup with lots of garlic in it, or some teas made with ground cloves or oregano in it to see if they may ease the virus.  Echinacea could also be made into a tea or taken by capsule form.  Vitamin C can be a help for colds and flu as well.  Stock up on it or have Tang in your food storage for the Vit. C that it contains.

If you have a bacterial infection such as a cut that gets angry looking or swollen then soak the cut in warm epsom salts water then treat the  wound with antibiotic ointment or cream and start taking echinacea orally at the very least.  Colloidal silver would be a great wound treatment as well as you can take it orally to fight the infection from within.  Check into how to make your own colloidal silver.  I will write more about it later and give you links to you tube where several people show how to make it.

These are just a few things for this subject and I will write much more later.  Medical is such a huge subject that each individual will have to research their own illnesses and chose what to stock up on for themselves. 

The last thing I will add to this first installment on Medical is that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”!    So always try to prevent injuries and illnesses as much as possible.  We will talk about that as well more in depth later.

God Bless.