Monday, October 31, 2011

One thing that always bugged me

I was so excited when I learned how to vacuum seal stuff into canning jars but it always bugged me that the method required electricity.  I found a system that didn't use electric but it made a hole in the lid and you had to cover it with a sticker and then you couldn't reuse the lids.   Then one day I was flipping through my copy of Making the Best of Basics by James Talmage Stevens.  There are a few ads scattered throughout the book and I found one that offered plans to make a Multi-Jar Non- electric Vacuum sealing Pump.  James says he's been using his homemade unit for over 10 years and it works great, even does 5 gallon buckets!   So I sent $13 off and got my instructions and a friend is busy making me one right now.  If you too would like to order in the plans I will give you the ordering info here.  "Get you copy of plans for this do it yourself project by remitting $10 check or money order + $3 postage to: Tom Halverson, 46962   269th Avenue, Laporte, MN 56461       You can e-mail him if you have other questions:

Now this uses an old piston style compressor from a car.  He tells you exactly the ones to buy and even tells you how to test it before you buy it.   I very much prefer to get equipment that doesn't need electric or gas to run so that in a crisis I could still use it without power if I had to.  If you are not mechanically inclined  make a copy of your plan and go find a friend who is!  For a nominal fee they can make one for you and get to keep their copy of the plan.  Our friend already has orders to make more of these  so it will help him earn more $$ to support his family. 

Hope you have a great day!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Just found a great site!

Planning out your food storage can seem kind of hard at times.   Each family is so very different and trying to figure it all out can seem almost impossible.  I found this site today and while they had things I don't store they also are lacking things I do store.  Their free food calculator can help you plan and see where you are at. 

Now I don't store things like Mayonnaise and jello.  But I do store things like Nuts and coconut oil.  I just decide how much I want stored for nuts and that is heavy in oils so I replace the mayo with it.  I am still trying to figure out how many quarts of nuts I need and then I will be able to plan that.  I do vacuum seal my nuts into quart jars so this category works well for nuts. 

Anyway I am passing this site along so you can play with it and see where you are in your storage and where you need to fill in the gaps.

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

a needed break

Some times you just need a break.  After going crazy all summer long preserving garden produce isn't it nice to just take a deep breathe and relax for a day?   I know soon I will need to select the winter squash we will save fresh for winter storage and then I will need to can up the rest of it including all that pumpkin.  Pumpkin only stays good for a few months so I know I just need to get it all canned up.  Just think of all the things we can make with pumpkin!   Pumpkin Roll, Pumpkin cookies, Pumpkin bread, Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, Pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cake, pumpkin shakes.  The list goes on and on!  But one of my favorite recipes for not just pumpkin, but also butternut, Acorn squashes and Sweet potatoes too!  It uses no nasty sugar and is so very good!

Sweet Potato or Winter Squash Whip

6 large sweet potatoes or 1 pumpkin or 2 large butternut or Acorn squash
1/4 cup heavy cream, scalded
2 or 3 Tablespoons dry sherry, to your personal taste
scalded milk if needed

Bake potatoes or squash in a preheated 375 to 400 degree oven until tender, about 1 hour.
Place cream, sherry and butter in food processor or blender.  Scoop out the meat of your chosen vegetable and add to food processor or blender.  Process until it is smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  If to stiff add a little warm milk until right consistency.  If to thin, heat until thickened.

It is so yummy instead of the nasty sugary sweet Potatoes most places serve.  I make mine up early and leave in my crockpot on the keep warm setting.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

First Hand Account of War

We all feel it could never happen here but I can't help but feel like it very well might.  Our Nation is head over heels in debt and there is no way that I can see to get out of it at this point.  Maybe if our Congress had their heads on straight and really worked on a plan.  But no one want to take blame for cutting stuff they think we can't live without.  Years ago most American's personally were in debt more than they thought they could ever pay off.  But a revolution quietly took place and now many through hard work and sacrifice  are living debt free.  We know what it took to get there and it was a painful battle that we fought and won. My family still has a mortgage that we are trying to get paid off  but all those credit cards, ect are long gone and will never return. 

We have become a society where we feel the government "owes" us everything.  No true.  We need to stand on our own feet and take care of ourselves, our family and help our neighbors when they need a hand.  Each state needs a well trained Militia and we need a well trained but smaller US Military to protect our borders and nation, not police the whole world.   We don't need to fund every nation in the world and we don't need to fund those feel good projects.  And yes we'll need to trim those social welfare programs.  How many get social society that have good pensions or retirement funds?  I know lots of folks who get more than 100,000 per year in such accounts and also collect their social security too.  These can be trimmed off so Grandma who has nothing else can survive.  How many on welfare can work or have family who can help support them?  Not all but part of them could.  Hard choices but we are facing hard times.  I'd rather face those hard cuts now instead of facing a bankrupt nation where anything could happen. 

I hope you will go to this link and read this person's comments on what happened to them. /Incredible_Survival_Q_A_from_Serbia.html


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Long Week

We've been working hard here all week.  We have been ripping out rooms in our pole barn.  When we first moved here we lived in the pole barn.  We ended up being there much longer than we had planned.   Some think 9/11 happened in NY and Washington DC But the aftermath of it happened all over.   First responders, travelers, soldiers, so many paid a price and still are.  My husband was called up with his guard unit and spent the next 8 years mostly gone.  It took a good long while before we got our home.

So now we are reclaiming the pole barn for parking and storage of machinery.  It's been a long week but we have gotten all the rooms removed except the kitchen.  One more day of cleaning up and it will all be history. 

This last week also brought a regional hard freeze.  I was able to get 2 boxes of tomatoes.  So I've also been working those up.  I canned ripe tomatoes and juice.   I was going to make green tomato relish but my family wanted ripe tomatoes and and fried green tomatoes.  So I've wrapped many of them in newspaper and set them on a shelf in the basement just like my Mom always did.  They will slowly ripen of the next several weeks and we could have ripe tomatoes as late as Christmas time depending on how green they are.  

Now the rest of the green tomatoes I am slicing them and then blanching them (dropping in boiling water for 30 seconds) and then breading them in a flour salt and pepper mix.  I spread them out on paper lined trays and freeze them.  Then I bag them up into freezer bags.  I had 8 quart bags so far and will finish them up on Monday.  the summer squash worked so well I just had to try the green tomatoes.  We tried just one tomato over night and then fried them up and we all loved them.  It will be great to have fried green tomatoes all winter!  

We also discovered hot Epsom salt baths really do revive sore aching muscles.  A new item to have in our storage!  Good for the garden and us too!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Getting ready for Winter

As the days pass along here the days and nights are getting cooler.  We'll still have a few warm days but the leaves are mostly turned now and falling.  It's time to get things done for winter. 

By tomorrow I should have all our garden beds cleaned out so we just have the isle ways and the compost bins to take care of.  We've done the last of our mowing and put the blade onto the tractor.  My husband chalked most of the windows, I'm not sure if he finished them all or not.   We are also finishing up the pole barn.  Taking out the rooms we had made so that we can park inside this winter.  Our winters tend to be pretty brutal here.  Yes there are plenty of places much worse but just a few more miles south they are much milder!   We just assume park and stay put in the winter time and only go out when we absolutely have too.

Don't forget your cars too!  Check your antifreeze and make sure you have good wipers and tires.  Redo your emergency pack so it's ready in case you get stranded in the winter time!  Having an emergency heater, food, water, and warm clothing can be a life saver!  A good pair of boots in case you have to hike out to get help.  I took an old pair of chore boots and bought some of the felt pads (at farm supply store) and put a double layer in each boot.  They were cheap and if I have to go tramping trough snow they keep my feet toasty.  Is your car ready for winter?

So now is the time to prepare for winter.  Don't put it off, do it now!  Also make sure you have food and water stored.  I even buy extra milk and freeze it so we still have fresh milk if we stay in for a long time. 

Enjoy the Autumn and make sure you are ready for winter before it gets here!


PS  I wonder where I put that really good scraper I had last year?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalms 118:24.   I have these days every Fall and Spring.  Fall when we start having those cooler days and then suddenly have a perfect 70 degree type day with a gentle breeze and lots of sun.  Spring when you have those days it's coming on the heels of a long hard winter.  You just got to appreciate those days!

Yes when we have them they are so very perfect.  Today was one of those days.  I dashed out and got three loads of laundry hung out to dry and we worked out in our pole barn ripping out some more rooms to make parking areas.

When we first moved here years ago, it was right after 9/11 and my husband got shipped out with his guard unit.  We had started a pole barn and the kids and I turned part of it into a home to live in.  We were clueless on what we were doing.  We relied solely on the Lord to show us what we needed to do each day or someone who knew how to do it. 

We learned a lot that first year!  But mostly we developed great faith.  You have to understand we live far off the beaten path here.  To have people just show up right when we needed them was a big testimony builder.   We had one family who just got in their car up in Minnesota and started driving with no clue why or where they were going.  They drove straight into our driveway right at the moment we needed their special talents. 

It was a bitter sweet moment today to be ripping out what we had worked so hard to create.  But it was so sweet to be out in this glorious sunshine today! 

So today I hope you will count your blessing and be grateful for this day!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Beware of what you buy at the store

So many have no choice but to go buy all their food at the grocery store.  I am a retired bio-chemist that has worked for our government.  It was a very shocking and revealing experience.  I learned we were there to help support our food industry and to find a way to make what they produce sound like it is good for the American public.

So now we have them assuring us that GMO products are good for us.  Adding steroids into animal feeds is not only good for the farmer, it is good for us.  Well don't you believe a single word of it!  

These are unnatural products that our bodies can't process.  Our body gets confused and if you are lucky it will lay those unnatural foods into fats and make you nice and plump.  But so many are getting strange diseases that use to be so very rare and now are so very common. 

So many of these items are hidden and we would never even know we are eating them!  All corn used to produce food except for popcorn is GMO products.  All soy beans used for food is GMO soybeans.  Soybeans are also very unsafe to use because they release a very unnatural type of estrogen.  This is being added to animal feeds so unless you get the right organic milk your will be getting soy in your store bought milk.  We made our own almond milk for quite a while before we found a local source of safe milk to use.  

Do you buy bottled water?  Yeah, we use to buy cases of the stuff!  When these are exposed to sunlight they release unnatural estrogen into the water.  When I said this stuff is hidden I really meant it is hidden!   

I make everything from scratch.  My husband bought me an awesome hand mill(Montana Grainmaker) and an electric Wonder Mill.  I mill all my own grains.  Making your own crackers and breads is easy to do.  I make chips also and potato chips are so very easy to make.  Fritos and tortilla chips are a little more work but very doable!   If you want to know how to make anything, just ask and I'll post it in the blog!

Now you can go to the store and see with new eyes what you are really eating and feeding your family!   


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lesson's from a 91 year old

I listen to lots of blog talk radio show on preparing but this one is one that will help so many learn lessons that can help them survive no matter what they must go through.  Hope you can enjoy his lesson's in this hour long show as much as I did!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Seventh Seal has been broken but no need to panic

So many feel the end is coming quickly.  Yes the seventh seal spoken of in Revelations has been broken.  What do each of the seals mean?  Time.  Around 1,000 years each seal.  Honey, a thousand years is probably like a day to the Lord but to us, it's a long time.  Is the end coming?  Yelp, but it won't happen overnight.  If you really read your bible you know things are going to get pretty bad before that end comes.

What we need to do is be prepared to feed and take care of our families.  We never know when we will face famine but if we have stored food we'll be prepared.  The water thing might take a little more work but prayerfully work on your preps and you'll be ok.

But most important we need to remember our Lord and do the things He has commanded us to do.  We can start with the 10 Commandments. I'm borrowing a little section from our prophet Thomas Monson given just a few weeks ago in the Oct 2011 General Conference session in SLC.

"Although the world has changed, the laws of God remain constant. They have not changed; they will not change. The Ten Commandments are just that—commandments. They are not suggestions. They are every bit as requisite today as they were when God gave them to the children of Israel. If we but listen, we hear the echo of God’s voice, speaking to us here and now:
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. …
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. …
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. …
“Honour thy father and thy mother. …
“Thou shalt not kill.
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.
“Thou shalt not steal.
“Thou shalt not bear false witness. …
“Thou shalt not covet.”2
Our code of conduct is definitive; it is not negotiable. It is found not only in the Ten Commandments but also in the Sermon on the Mount, given to us by the Savior when He walked upon the earth. It is found throughout His teachings. It is found in the words of modern revelation.
Our Father in Heaven is the same yesterday, today, and forever."


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Feeling Overwhelmed

Some times when you are thinking about prepping you can feel quite overwhelmed.  I need sugar and dry milk for my food storage and I have nothing at all except a couple boxes of band aids for 1st aid supplies.  That's going to be real helpful when one of us gets out of control allergies and swells up and can't breathe!  Oh I really like that new Aquapail and that hummer solar generator!  Really need to get those!  If the power goes out we really need a hand cranked blender too!  Wish I could talk my other half into putting in that rocket stove biomass heat system now!  Dumped all our water storage so he could build those stands for the 55 gallon barrel and he hasn't gotten to it yet.  Really want some shelves in the food storage room too! 

        See how you can start thinking to much and get overwhelmed?  Don't do it!  There are just so many hours in a day and so much money to spread around.  Set your budget and make your list and just work a little at a time as you are able to do so!  Every month if you spend $20 you will make a difference before you know it!   You might focus on Food one month and medical needs the next and rotate so you have a little in each area along the way. 

     If you are on a tight budget and have no food at all then focus on basic stables that would fill you up.  There is a well balanced meal and then there is a survivor meal.  If you have no food you should lay in a 3 month supply of survivor food.  For me that would be beans and rice.  For my son that would be Ramon noodles.  What would be your basic survivor meals?  After you get that 3 month survivor food stashed then you can start planning what you would really like to eat and get that stuff.  But now you can relax because you know you have a good 3 month's worth of food already stashed. 

       As you go through your days and weeks, keep track of the things you use.  This can help you plan for the future storage.  But Don't panic and don't get caught up in garbage you hear.  Slowly work on your family emergency preps and you will get it done over time. 

I hope you don't get overwhelmed!  If you do take a big breathe and say " It will all get done over time so there is no need to panic". 


Monday, October 10, 2011

I found a free E-Book that's worth having!

Food Storage Made Easy is a fun site to go visit.  Right now they are offering a free downloadable Shelf Stable food Storage cookbook.   These are recipes that their readers submitted to them.  I printed mine out as a booklet and bound it up.  I love collecting these kinds of recipe booklets!  In a true crisis, you never know which recipe will brighten your families face!

Make sure you download it quickly just in case they pull it soon!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cleaning dehydrating trays

A friend told me to clean my trays in a tub of hot water with borax added to it.  I decided to try my home made dish soap instead and it worked great! 

MYO dishsoap
  • 2 bars of shredded octagon soap
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup washing soda
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
Put shredded soap in 4 1/2 - 5 quarts of water and stir and melt. After melted turn stove off and add the other ingredients. Stir and wait till it cools before pouring into containers with lids.
Use as you would use other dish detergents. This doesn't suds very well but, it sure does clean. I got 5 quarts out of this.  You can try other bar soap with this but I sure do love this Colgate Octagon Soap!  

Anyway, don't fret over those nasty sticky dehydrator trays!  Soak them in hot soapy water or borax water and then just rinse and dry.  I just did bananas and they sure were a nasty mess!  Worked like a charm and no more worries over if I really want to dry something or not because of the mess it makes!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dehydrating guide

I know I have a book somewhere but I am dehydrating bananas right now and just needed to know quickly how far to dry them.  I checked online and found a wonderful guide to not only drying stuff but also re-hydrating them to use also.   I've never been real big on dehydrating until last year when I decided to stop filling my freezer full.  I like having most stuff canned but sure like having part of it dehydrated.  With part of it dried I can make up my own dehydrated mixes for over 50 different meals.  The jars look so pretty and are labeled with the recipe to use it.  But that is another post some other day!  Today I just wanted to share this link for the guide to dehydrating with you!  Hope it helps you!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Becoming Self Reliant

Becoming self reliant is a way of life.  You change how you do stuff and even how you think.  I am always looking for that bargain to fill my needs.  Canning jars fall into my lap because I've spread the word that I need them!  Sooner or later someone cleaning out their basement will run across canning stuff they no longer need and remember me and call.  Pay attention to sale prices too!  I used a lot of sugar this year when I was canning.  The cheapest price I have found for sugar works out to 2.63 per 4 lb.  A local grocery store is selling 4 lb bags for 1.49 today limit of 3.  If everyone in my family picks up their 3 bags we've made a dent in replenishing all that sugar that was used in canning.  I also learned I need a lot more sugar, canning salt and vinegar than I had planned for.  But there are other things like realizing we are low on pasta and we have tons of eggs right now.  Making our own egg noodles is rapidly replenishing our supplies and it is costing me nothing except my time and labor.  Are you constantly looking for things you will need in a crisis?  Big ticket items are always a good thing to be watching for!  Pressure canning, hand tools, treadle sewing machines, medical supplies are always good items to be watching for.  I found my All American pressure canner at a sale for $35 but you have to be watching and be ready to grab the bargains!  To be self reliant you also have to be willing to work.  Always take stock of what you have and what holes you need to fill.  Over time you will slowly fill the holes and become a much more self reliant person.   Just remember you can't instantly become self reliant, you slowly evolve into that type of person, it is a way of life.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall Harvesting

When you harvest those Fall Crops you need to know how to store them.  Pumpkins and winter squash should be picked with long stems left on them.  Once you have them all gathered in you need to cure them.  I picked a small room to spread them out in.  Now for the next 2 weeks I have to keep that room above 70 degrees.  I spread them all out on the counter tops in my Utility room and made sure none of them were touching.  Keeping them at 70 degrees or higher will give them a nice thick skin so they won't rot right off in storage.  The Pumpkins will keep nicely for at least 3 month's if cured. the Butternut & Acorn squash will last into March through May.  The squash that the stems got broke off on are the ones we'll use first.  Now I can relax and when I have time I will start canning some of it up starting with the pumpkins.  But that is for another day!  Today you just need to know how to cure all those fall harvest!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Todays Pasta

Filled 3 cases of regular egg noodles so far and today switched to make some Lasagna noodles up.  I'll give you the recipe for a single batch.  I made up 6 batches at once to fill my table top.  Using my surplus up to fill those #10 cans with dry egg noodles and decided to see if other noodles would work as well.  Filling up the freezer also to use up this winter.

Lasagna Noodles

1 1/2 cups Flour
1 egg
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
water to get a firm non sticky dough

Mix all together until you have a firm dough.  Roll out into a thin flat sheet and cut into wide strips and either use or air dry and can.

We have a dry pack canner in our home so we put stuff like this into #10 metal cans.  If you don't have access to a dry pack canner you can vacuum seal the dry noodles into the canning jars.

Have fun using what you have to make the things you need!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

I collect Emergency prep books all the time that help with crisis.  One that I had gotten from the LDS Church last year has been renamed and put online so you can download it and print it free of charge.  There is so much awesome material in this manual.  While it was geared to help those living in a 3rd world country in a crisis it could be a great help to us!  In this manual along with other things it also shows how to make a powerless evaporation type refrigerator.  I tried it out using 3 milk crates covered with fabric this summer in our 3 week 100 degree heat wave and it actually got down to 40 degrees!  A friend suggested making this out of PVC pipe instead of wood and I agree that that would be a viable option.  I hope you will take time to down load and print at lest the pages you find useful.  You can also go to and click on the online store and order this manual for $11.75.

Please remember it is important for you to print out information you find useful and not rely on pulling it up online.  In a crisis you may not have power or internet to turn to!  putting information in 3 ring binders and keeping it with your emergency preps can be a great blessing to you!  Also taking the time to try some of this stuff out may be the difference between surviving easily and struggling in a crisis.  I bought a Global Sun Oven and have used it off and on over the last few years.  At first I struggled to get it above 200 degrees.  Over time I learned tricks to keep it from fogging over and now it regularly heats up to 350 and beyond.  I use to grow gardens with no trouble but when I tried in our new location I discovered it wasn't so easy anymore!  My 1st two gardens failed.  If our lives had depended on it we would of starved.  We've figured it all out now and could make it on our garden if we needed too.  Make your water filter (also listed in this manual!) or fridge or anything else you think would be good to have.  Try it out so you know ahead of time how to do it.  


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Preparing for what we never thought could happen

My GGGrandfather went throught the New Madrid Earth quake in 1811-12 and left his Journal to the Missouri State Archives.  it's written in old french so it took me a few years to find a translator and cost me a pretty penny.  What I heard in those few days she read this journal to me changed my life forever!  I never dreamed something like that could happen anywhere!  He, Michael Branum and his wife survived the initial earthquake and because of the flooding was able to find a mule and fled westward.  Remember New Madrid Missouri is right against the Mississippi River so they had to go west.  This is land that had been bought in New Orleans from the French. They had been there for over 30 years.  They did not volunteer to walk away, they ran for their lives!  For over 2 month's they could not stop even at night.  The ground kept quaking and opening up and swallowing whole trees and anything around it.  Flood water keep flowing in.  After two month's of walking they finally reached stable land in what is now LaClede/ Wright counties.    Here they started over.  All the land in New Madrid was taken over by land speculators.    I am listening to a show on blog talk radio right now that covers New Madrid quake zone and also a survivor of the Armenian Earthquake and all they went through.  Please take some tome and listen to this 2 hour show!